Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maggie's Morality on DAYS OF OUR LIVES

One of the things daytime soaps used to do so well was to posit questions of morality and values through a dramatic storyline.  A conflict would arise, and the viewer would be treated to different points-of-view through several main characters.  The audience would often come away more informed about an issue, with a greater sensitivity toward diverse opinions.

In the last few decades, this form of story telling has mostly been erased and replaced by tales of reformed rapists, serial killers, natural disasters, and explosions.  However DAYS OF OUR LIVES offered a little reminder this week of how fascinating moral dilemmas can be successfully presented on soaps.

To review - Vivian Alamain intended to trap Maggie Horton in a sarcophagus and torture her before she died.  Brady Black got wind of this plan, and put Vivian in there instead.  Over the next few weeks Nicole, Victor, Kate, and Phillip all learned of Vivian's plan and subsequent entrapment. Morally outraged by the plan to kill Maggie, and annoyed with Vivian in general, they all conspired to keep the secret, and allow Vivian to die.  The story was completely presented from the standpoint that Brady's actions were justified, and his reaction made perfect sense in the context of Vivian's nefarious plot. 

Ultimately Vivian escaped, trapped Maggie, and Maggie was subsequently rescued by Victor.  However, when Maggie learned of Brady's (et al) actions, she was not impressed, amused, or in agreement with what he did.  In fact, Maggie has become the lone voice is Salem arguing that it is NEVER okay, under any circumstances, to throw a woman in a sarcophagus and leave her to rot:

For the first time in a long time, DAYS is presenting a solid and substantial moral argument opposing the justified violence of several main characters.   As a viewer, this only adds interest and complexity to the resolution of a story that arguably went overboard.  However, some may perceive Maggie's position as too heavy handed and rigid. 

What do you think? Does Maggie have a right to judge Brady for punishing Vivian's actions?  Do you enjoy seeing moral shades of gray on soaps?  Tell us what you think!

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City.  He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at [email protected].


  1. I think Maggie is totally justified in being disgusted that Brady, along with everyone else, didn't see what was so wrong with putting and leaving Vivian in the sarcophagus to die.

    The story did go overboard. Five people now are going to have their lives messed with by the lovely Vivian.

    When it comes to characters on SOAPS, I prefer clear cut morals. Grey is a drab color, don'tcha think? If this story was to be told every character on Day's, I think most of them would either be black or white. Melanie saw nothing wrong with it and we know her character background ;)

    Check me out on Twitter and Youtube. Daysguy90. My most recent video is me meeting Mark Hapka and Shelley Hennig. I actually got to talk to her outside of the fan craziness area. I just so happened to be conveniently checking out of the same hotel they were staying in.

  2. Maggie's reaction is just not very realistic. (I know, DOOL:Realism, not likely.) If she hadn't been trapped herself by Viv I can see her outrage after learning about Vivian's ordeal.

    However, seeing as how Vivian trapped HER in the sarcophagus and proceeded to torment her for several days, I'm not sure she'd be all that upset once she was rescued.

    At least, not that upset at the co-conspirators.

    What would have been more likely, and more interesting story-wise, would have been for Maggie to struggle with her own reaction. Feeling "good" about Vivian's turn in the box and Brady's actions in the attempt to save her, yet being disgusted at herself for having those feelings. Could even have resulted in temptations to 'fall off the wagon' again.

    I like multi-leveled characters myself. And, while some storylines beg for a suspension of belief, it would be nice to have characters reactions to them based a little firmer in reality.