Monday, October 4, 2010

Why These Are Still The Best of DAYS

If you had checked out DAYS OF OUR LIVES a few months ago, you may have been less than  impressed.  As someone who loves this show, especially Gary Tomlin and the current team of producers and writers, even I was a bit disengaged by the stories focusing on Madeline's past, EJ's deception, Hope's sleepwalking, and Chloe's uterus. 

But what a difference a month can make!  DAYS is back to being can't-miss appointment watching for over a month now.  It is classically telling dramatic stories without the pretense or interest of trying to pretend it is a prime time series.  Here is why new and old fans of the show don't want to miss one "day." 

5. Hope behind bars.  I for one, took no enjoyment in watching Hope sleepwalk through the entire summer.  The aftermath, however, has been brutal, and I mean that in the best possible way  We have seen Hope overcome death, kidnappings, face switchings, two plane crashes, and a plethora of other disasters.  Never before have we seen her defeated and depressed.  I'm not sure where this story is going, but seeing a new and unexpected side to Hope's character is compelling for me, and is giving Kristian Alfonso an opportunity to show new sides to her acting.

4. E.J.'s secret revealed.  In classic soap form, the revelation that E.J. had kidnapped Sydney and faked her death earlier this year has had long lasting and shocking implications for many characters.  Kate betrayed Stefano by warning Sami of E.J.'s plan to take the kids.  Sami shot E.J. while he was drunk and passed out (staying consistent with Sami's history of shooting men in her life). Will was put at risk when he was suspected of shooting E.J.  Lexie has cried her eyes out.  Will must keep Sami's secret. Sami must now lie to Rafe. Soaps thrive best when they explore the consequences of events versus the events themselves.  Every day a new consequence unravels and this is what makes soap watching so delicious and entertaining.

3. A new spin on the classic "Whodunnit."  Okay, I have been vocal about my disinterest with the Chloe/paternity story.  Did any one for a second doubt that Philip would be the father? Up until recently the show played out the who's-the-daddy scenario by the numbers.  But suddenly, it has taken an unexpected turn.  Someone switched the paternity results to make it look like Daniel is the father, not Philip.  Whodunnit?  Everyone has been a suspect, and the story has now drawn in unexpected players such as Melanie, Nathan, Stephanie (showing her Johnson side), Nicole, Carly, and even Kayla!  A good soap uses an unlikely event to cast a dramatic ripple onto the entire canvas.  Slowly but surely, Chloe's uterus is becoming an issue for half of Salem, and this has changed the course of this otherwise formulaic story.

2. "Viggie" are front and center.  The quiet, intimate, and funny scenes between Maggie and Victor are becoming more frequent, and more intense.  On a recent episode, the two sat down and maturely communicated that they have feelings for one another, though Maggie is unprepared to act on them.  Suzanne Rogers and John Aniston have incredible chemistry, and seeing them play off each other is a treat for any long term DAYS fan.  Seeing these veteran characters get a second chance at romance creates inspiration and hope for the audience, exactly what a good soap delivers.

1. Vivian's karma.  I can tell you that after 39 years of soap watching it is pretty hard to surprise me.  But when a drunken Brady Black discovered Vivian's plan to trap Maggie in the sarcophagus, and turned the tables by throwing her in there, I was shocked!  I did not see this turn coming, especially not between Brady and Vivian.  With this twist the writers have given Eric Martsolf and Louise Sorel the chance to display new acting skills they have never shown before, and have given the long term viewers of DAYS a tasty lesson in karma.  Vivian cruelly buried Carly alive seventeen years ago, and now must suffer the same fate.  When a show honors history this closely, and utilizes this history to expose new sides of current characters, it is a winning combination that leads us to want to tune in everyday!

My few quibbles:
3. Get a new restaurant.  Keep in mind, I do love the Brady Pub.  But would Stefano and Kate realistically hang out there? Wouldn't it be more fun if they went to Chez Rouge and annoyed Maggie instead?

2. Bring back the Carvers.  How many times must Renee Jones steal a scene to demonstrate that she is a strong and capable talent deserving of her own story?  She did not miss one emotional beat during Lexie's decent into "evil" during the 2000-2002 baby switch story.  She still has it, and deserves to show it.

1. Inconsistencies. Isn't it strange how Hope and Sami can wander around Salem at night committing crimes without being spotted, while Chloe can't have one conversation about her baby without someone overhearing? This inconsistency is a bit disconcerting at times in terms of plot development.

What do you think? Is DAYS a must see event for you now? What do you think must happen to get viewers back?  

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals, couples, and families in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve."


  1. I am loving Eric as Brady. And Victor and Maggie are just adorable together. As for Sami I really wish she shot Enormo twice to get the job done. I just hate that guy and want him gone.

    There are parts I like but I do agree that it is weird to see everyone at the Brady Pub. It makes me wonder if all the other places are out of business. What happened to Shennanigans, Buddy's Burger Barn, Tuscany?

    It is weird that Sami and Hope just wandered around Salem without anyone noticing while Chloe has the knack of spilling out just when someone is in hearing range. Maybe she's cursed.

    I knew Phillip would turn out to be the Dad but damn I want to know who switched the results. I've been thinking it might be Carly but who knows at this point.

  2. Damon, I could not disagree more about this show being must watch. It feels like all of the stories are in the middle of long arcs and it'll probably be November until things move along.

    Viggie, Viv in a box, and Hope-Bo-Carly could've been interesting but are being handled very poorly. Viggie is moving too fast since it's only been weeks in Salem time since Maggie became a widow. Brady vs. Viv is a snooze and looks to last for months if not years. The outcome of Bope vs. Carbo is a forgone conclusion. I'm more annoyed than bored with it all.

    Oh, and EJ-Sami-Rafe have been circling that same tree for years.

  3. Carly switched those results when she was at St.Mary's. I'm sure of it. She often stands alone and looks guilty at the same time as Stephanie (pathetic and disappointing) and her friend (equally pathetic) ponder on who it could be.

    I admit that when Sammy shot Ej I was rooting for it and asked her to shoot again (as if she could hear me). However, when he woke up I was relieved. It's crazy how mixed emotions build up on Days. There was a time that hated Melanie and loved Stephanie. Needless to say that is reversed.

    Bo and Carly, they make me sick. I'm a Bo and Fancy Face fan. I like Carly, just not with Bo. Maybe she and Daniel will reunite when Chloe being a cheating w&&&e comes out.

    Sammy and Rafe will never make it work. They are doomed because they can never get on the same page. I would love to see her happy but I just don't think it will ever happen.

    I LOVE Viggy!!! They are so cute together and she brings out the best in him.

    Melanie is the cutest!!! I seriously love her and can not wait for her to slap Chloe for cheating on her dad. I hate that she is going to be hurt by the fact that it's with her hubby.

    Brady is crazy. I wish he would have just exposed her plans to put Maggie in the sarcophagus. Now he is on a world of trouble. Yes, she deserves it but he doesn't. I love Brady and I wish he would leave Nicole alone.

  4. Oh Damon, I could not disagree more. Days ratings declne is well deserved, this show is god awful. The ratings do not justify the Sami/EJ/Rafe Show everyday. The same boring people, the same boring dialogue. The Chloe paternity storyline is stupid and anemic mostly because it involves two of the shows most anemic characters: Chloe and Daniel. Who cares!!! They could both leave the show today and who would care! The Vivian reprise of the buried alive wreaks of desperation. Bad Brady is the only saving grace. Days needs a new head writer stat and they need to make some cast changes immediately or this show will not get another renewal. Not that they deserve one.

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  6. The best parts of Days for me are Melanie, Philip and their involvement with their parents (Maggie, Victor, Carly, Daniel). I want to see all this mess hit the fan and see how this family copes and hopefully finds a way to heal.

    Molly Burnett is a wonderful actress and a joy to watch in all her scenes. I am thankful everyday she is on the show. Then paired with the woefully underrated, but oh so talented, Jay Johnson and we get these pockets of magic on the show. They are such a well paired acting team.

    While I like Brady's dark turn, I hate him and Vivian's storyline. I feel like his darkness is being wasted. I want Vivian out and about causing havoc like she is meant to. I want Brady to embrace the darkness (and Nicole) for a bit, then I want him to crawl out of the bottle. This could have been a deep emotionally rich story, but instead it is being played for laughs.

    Stephanie is unhinged, and Shelley is playing the hell out of it. I have never cared about Stephanie Johnson until now. Her walk on the dark side is really well done. Makes me loathe Nathan all the more, for his hand in helping her off the deep end.

    Oh and more Lexie please...

  7. I thought Phillip was sterile. Isn't that why he and Belle went through invitro? And also why it was subtly obvious that Claire was Shawn's?? So that seems to be an inconsistency to me.