Friday, July 22, 2011

Love in the Afternoon

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I’ve been somewhat...oh, how shall I put it… disenchanted with Days lately.  Fans of the show (myself included) wondered aloud why the powers that be didn’t just make the decision to pull the rest of the summer (ie. Dena Higley’s writing/refuse) and show classic Days episodes.  Then some very, very clever women suggested that since I can’t stomach the show long enough to do episode commentaries right now, I should just take advantage of YouTube and show some classic Days myself.
Since we’re told we’re going back to the days of “love in the afternoon”, I decided there was something I needed to come clean about.
I hate soap sex.

Okay.  Not all soap sex.  There are a few gems here and there, but the distance between the “here” and the “there” can sometimes be miles.  You know how viewers will say “Ah, they just can’t do romance the way it was done back in [insert decade here]”?  Well, I believe they’re half-right.
Back in the eighties it was all glamour, glamour, glamour, both in daytime and primetime soaps.  Not just during big business dealings, lavish dinner parties, or super couple weddings.  Even the most harrowed soap heroine rarely had a hair out of place that wasn’t deliberately shellacked that way.  A woman could claw her way out of the east wing of some wealthy tycoon’s burning mansion with little more than a tear in her blouse, a small puncture-wound in one of her massive shoulderpads, and a strategically-placed, ashy smudge on her cheekbone. 
When it came to love scenes, times all this meticulous attention to detail by ten.  It was all very Old Hollywood, which makes sense given that seventies television, despite the Farrah Fawcetts and Linda Carters out there, still had a grittier, more “street” look to them.  These things always go in cycles - sort of like the width of neckties. They get wider and wider, to the point of ridiculousness, then thinner and thinner.  The eighties on soaps were like neckties at their widest.
Of course right on through the nineties, and straight on into the twenty-first century, fashion has changed.  Love scenes haven’t.  Every move is choreographed.  All the colours match the numbers.  Even the music hasn’t changed much.  It’s still all saxophones, Celtic flutes, or easy listening, Rancho Relaxo-esque guitar instrumentals.
WHO:  EJ and Sami
WHERE:  Sami's DiMansion Bedroom
MUSIC:  Celtic Flute
Okay, I know.  Days doesn’t have the money or the space required to access twenty different camera angles, and getting the rights to music that doesn’t sound like it belongs in a Nescafé commercial (sorry Ken) can be expensive.  And you don’t want to offend the sensibilities of those who still…You know, I don’t know how to end that sentence.  I’m pretty sure even the oldest viewers were born after the Victorian Era and recognize that things have changed.  I’m not looking for Squelching In The Afternoon, but a little spontaneity, a little reckless abandon, a little less satin…

Tell me this doesn't look like a page out of a self-help manual on how to keep the romance in your marriage alive after becoming parents, especially with the menacing silhouette of that baby monitor in the foreground, just waiting there in the shadows like a ticking time bomb. 

Granted, the real action hasn't started yet.  This is the point where EJ is just waiting for the all-clear from the air traffic control tower, which is why Sami's arms are lying at her sides like wooden planks, and  EJ is still balancing rather precariously on one knee to be sure we know without a cloud of doubt in our minds that, yes - that is Samantha Gene Brady he's about to land his plane on...or in.  Nevermind.  What I'm saying is that we don't want any pesky shoulders or elbows blocking our view, otherwise we might mistake that little minx in all that pink satin for Grandma Brady.  Nope. That is definitely Sami.

"I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

Okay, I know that the majority of soap viewers are women, but is all that pink satin really necessary?  This ain't a Disney movie.  The baby monitor, the prince having nipples, and the simulated fellatio sort of tipped me off.

You just gotta hand it to Alison Sweeney.  My boobs would have probably been in my armpits by now.  Even those aren't going anywhere they're not directed to.  Gravity has no place in a soapy love scene.

EJ brought over his own bedsheets, along with the ones already on Sami's bed, to ensure that we don't see his legs, which, frankly, I don't understand.  It's not like the crew had to cover up the fact that he has one more leg than he's supposed to, like with Phillip.  Or maybe they did.  Okay.  No more dick jokes from here on in.  Promise.

Okay, maybe just one more.


WHO:  John and Marlena
WHERE:  Executive Meeting Room
MUSIC:  Ominous piano instrumental

John and Marlena's conference room love scene was much seedier, relatively speaking.  It was unexpected (they were dressed in their finest fineries, the building was filled with people, one of those people was Marlena's husband at the time).  After their "merging of assets", there was no time for pillow talk (and not just because there were no pillows).  John "adjusted" himself in the background while Marlena smoothed out the already perfectly wrinkle-free skirt of her billowing purple ballgown in silence. 

It's dated now (for obvious reasons), but in many ways the scene is still ahead of its time (mostly because as far as love scenes are concerned, there's a cork in the hourglass keeping the sand from counting down the time).  As far as daytime love scenes go, it's pretty soap-tacular.  I have only a few complaints.

 Up a bit, and a little to the right.

For a dangerous liaison, they're certainly taking their damn time.  John's schnoz travels around her earlobes, up and down her neck, in and out of her hair, for what feels like an endless amount of time.  Between the time he reaches for Marlena to kiss her, and his mouth actually making contact with hers, Roman has already asked around the room as to the whereabouts of his wayward wife, and has determinedly headed off to look for her.

Stand out in the foyer, hold a hand to your ear and listen
for the sounds of taffeta rustling and hairspray crunching.
It will lead the way.

Finally, John very, very slowly lays Marlena out on the conference table.  Immediately afterwards, we cut to a shot of a plane landing.  I'll be honest with you - I can't remember who's supposed to be on the plane, or why it's suddenly so important.  Needless to say, though, the symbolism is not lost on me.

Okay. We're ready for you. Bring it in.

Once things get started, they get raunchy pretty quickly, and the boom mic picks up everything.  Moaning.  Grunting.  Are those - GASP! - Doc's sexy gams snaking out from under all that purple fabric?! 

Henry!  Bring me my smelling salts!

Afterwards, there's no time for a post-coital cigarette - only regret.  And blame-shifting.

“Don’t take advantage of the way I feel about you!”

Ah, so that's where Sami gets it. 

Marlena then flounces off, her Isadora Duncan wrap trailing dramatically behind her like the tail of a lip-glossed, costume jewellery-wearing comet.

"I don't have the right to love you!"


WHO:  Rafe and Sami
WHERE:  Rafe's Bachelor Pad
MUSIC:  Acoustic "Rancho Relaxo" guitar instrumental

Recently we've been subjected to Days' idea of a contemporary love scene.  No big hair.  No taffeta.  No pink satin.  No frills whatsoever.  Also, no happy medium.

Here's what I'm guessing was the idea behind this gritty (in more ways than one) love scene. 

After Sami escapes the DiMera mansion and all its luxuries (like the prohibition of plaid and, as you'll see later, soap), she finally reunites with Rafe in the biblical sense (before a very unbiblical attempted murder that happens mere hours later).  My theory is that the writers were trying to go for a "See?  We don't need pink satin.  All we need is our sweet, sweet love" thing.  And it backfires spectacularly. 

The room is decidedly dingy, and not just because it's supposed to belong to a bachelor who also happens to be an FBI agent always on the go (going where, we have no idea).  Whoever dressed Ali for this scene should be forced to wear stone-washed, high-waisted, pleated jeans for the remainder of his/her career.  That is, if he/she isn't already wearing a pair.

Windows, matching picture frames, and carbon
monoxide detectors are for poncy, rich crime lords.

Hey, wait a second.  Are those...?  No.  It can't be.

Yes.  It can.

Lucas' old bedding.

Days, if you're going to film a love scene that involves reusing and/or recycling (something you do regularly), make sure of one of two things.  Either the pillow cases have to be different, or the girl has to be different.  Unless it's all part of the plot, of course.  In this case there wasn't a single line about how "it feels as though Lucas is right here in this room giving us his blessing", or "Rafe, could you wear this mask?"  No mention of Lucas.  No excuses.

So between the dingy, dank-looking apartment, the tie-dyed top, and the secondhand bedsheets, it looks like some guy living with his parents took his girlfriend down to the basement to dry-hump to Jefferson Airplane after lighting up some strawberry incense in a feeble attempt to mask the overpowering scent of mould and marijuana.

Is that you, White Rabbit?

One also has to wonder who was working the camera that day.  One person?  Two?  I don't know how these things work, so I have no idea.  What I do know, though, is that one or more people didn't drink their Ovaltine that morning.

Yes. I know that's not his hand, but tell me you didn't do a
double-take there for a second.

 Not one person on set thought to wipe down the woman's feet? Not ONE?


Powers that be, grant me this one wish:  No more flutes.  No more poor man's Kenny G saxophones, acoustic guitar instrumentals, or synthesized slow-jams.  Please.  I beg of you.  No more awkward acrobatics to keep the odd elbow or knee out of view.  I can handle it.  No more dirty feet, tie-dye, pink satin, highly-sensitive boom mics, goosing, or bullet-proof hair.

Watch some prime-time.  Maybe a movie or two.  Push some pearl-clutching boundaries.  We're living in the age of HBO, so it's okay - I won't go spontaneously deaf or blind.  I can take it. 


  1. I kept stopping myself while reading this post... because I was laughing so hard!! You are so right, though. They need to take some hints from primetime to perform a good love scene. Though I do think the Bricole love scenes show they can do raunchy, I they fail at the other kinds of love scenes. I have some hope that these new writers will fix it, though I don't think it is the first thing on their list; Days has way bigger problems than that. It will be fixed in due time... I hope.

  2. I actually loved the simulated fellatio. Whenever Sami Brady isn't talking, I am all for it.

    As for raunchy, anyone who knows me that I love my smut and I do consider myself as a smut savant. The censors were upset that May 2008 used "Full Mount", so it's 2011 now, let's see what they can get away with 3 years later.

    Great post twin. Amazing job and it was hilarious as usual.

  3. Daytime definitely doesn't do much to get the audience lathered up. However, that creepy saxophone music does remind one of really bad soft porn. On the other hand, is there such a thing as good soft port? During a Safe sex scene with Rafe2, it sure as hell looked like GG popped a boner. How many soap guys grap their crotch while acting in front of a room full of people? Now that when those saxophones should have been blaring away.

  4. Who needs to watch Days? Your blog is a million times more exciting! Hoping when September comes, maybe you're blog will only be 100 x more exciting. ;) I must tell you, I got a bit squeamish when you talked about John and Marlena, but you got it dead on. Is it just me, or did it always seem like John was trying to suck her face off? Reminds me of when Liza Minnelli married David Gest!! LOL!

    Loved the post, as always. :) You have such an interesting sense of humor and a keen eye for details. Loved the self-help book example! Fit perfectly! ;) And those poor recycled bedsheets......

  5. Diggy,

    As always, your snark had me cracking up! Soaps, and Days in particular, just don't know how to do a compelling love scene these days. They were always on the cheesy side, but this has only gotten worse as they try to convince us that they are "with" the times.

    In many cases, the love scene lacks the "love" and the romance is nowhere to be found as the partners "bang bang" and get it over with.

    I could tune out, sometimes even ignore, the bad saxophone music and the overabundance of satin (or taffeta) if I felt the slow build up between the two people making love.

    At least for Jarlena's boardroom tryst and Ejami's 2008 Dimansion had that something that compels you to be interested, regardless of how artificial the actual act is since it takes place in front of a set full of people and is subject to what I condsider some very odd rules of censorship (Sorry, here in the great white north, censorship is usually more lax than in the US and it's what I'm used to. What would Davinci's Inquest be without all the graphic details and foul language? - Oops, off topic!)

    With many soap couples, that spark of something that makes you interested just isn't there anymore. They try to manufacture it, but the audience just doesn't feel it and the "love" scene becomes something to FF through.

    As always Diggy, your commentaries are way better than watching this shitshow we call Days. Thanks for the entertainment and the food for thought!

  6. WOW! I can't believe you went there...that satiny, simulated fellatio executed by Sami during the greatest naptime of all time, fueled my fantasies for months, nay years! You know how I feel, you've seen my FL banner. Jeez. I turn my back for one minute...

  7. Cracking up over here. I am so excited I found your blog after googling about the conference table affair... Would you please, please do a play by play of Mike and Carrie's flying bed scene from the late 90s?

    I don't remember John "adjusting" himself during the conference table scene, which means I need to go watch it again.

  8. Okay regarding the plane symbolism...I think I have it figured out...does it fly into a tunnel?