Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Some might say I have a bit of a preoccupation with DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ Philip. What’s not to like? He’s a complex, well-written guy, and he has dimples! But I’m also fixated on him because I’m impressed that DAYS “went there” with the character’s war injuries and gave him a prosthetic leg. Since that initial storyline, which Kyle Brandt played out, Jay Kenneth Johnson has done a great job of remembering to limp on the correct foot. But what DAYS itself sometimes forgets is that an artificial limb isn’t just about a limp and experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t just footnotes and dogtags worn on a chain. 

In real life, people live with disability every day and it impacts them in myriad ways. Why haven’t we seen Phil sit down Stephanie, and talk about what his entails? I don’t recall him mentioning it to Morgan either. He’s practically blasé about it. Wouldn’t it be nice for viewers dealing with similar conditions to see him actively acknowledging his issues and overcoming obstacles on a weekly basis? Back during the February 2008 plane crash arc, Philip and Chloe joked about how it was lucky his prosthetic leg got trapped under wreckage and not his real one, and then he asked her if it was okay if he detached it. With wreckage and snow carefully hiding the fact that Jay Johnson has two working limbs, Philip took off the prosthetic and commenced to fixing it. I appreciated that. It made sense and it reminded viewers of a key part of who he is. 

But since then, aside from the limp, we get nary a hint that this is an ongoing issue for Philip. As a viewer, I get that he’s smokin’ hot and rich and charming, but when it comes down to the mechanics of say, SEX, don’t you think a conversation with a ladyfriend about how not all of Philip is as prettily sculpted as his chest is warranted? And it’s something that Stephanie would probably be able to relate to and connect with him over, as her own father is missing an eye and she’s seen what a non-issue that is for Kayla. 

I had to laugh at yesterday and today’s episodes, where Philip pulled back from Steph because of his track record with women, because he didn’t want to hurt her, and not because he might have some lingering insecurities about how she’d react to his prosthetic. Even funnier? When Philip vaulted over the footboard of the bed with absolutely no problem. 

It would feel so much more organic if the show put aside the “emotionally wounded bad boy” thing for a second and remembered that he lost both his leg and his face in service to his country. And didn’t he also work for the ISA for a bit? There is so much that could be mined from those aspects of his past and so much that those experiences could explain about who he is and why he acts the way he does when it comes to matters of the heart. I’d find that a much more compelling story than the poor little rich boy.


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