Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Unreasonable Facsimile

I was going to start this entry with “What the hell is going on with Days?” but ended up changing my mind about opening with a rhetorical question.

The truth is that we know what the hell’s going on.  The show is suffering from a massive pacing problem and, evidently, a mid-life crisis.  It lost momentum after November sweeps, and it’s uncertain whether or not this is the beginning of a pattern where we’re stuck with meandering episode after episode until the next sweeps period.

I figure I’ll stick to just one issue this entry.  It’s Sunday morning, after all.  I’ll try to take up less time than it took Daniel to pack up his lifesaver necklace and board wax, and bid his family adieu.

There are too many damn people on this show.

Not that we’re ever meant to pay any attention to what Ken Corday says, but when Nadia Bjorlin, Crystal Chappell, and Louise Sorel were given their walking papers, and the reset was announced, we were told that the cuts were made because the cast was just too large.  We were told that approximately six characters were going to be asked that they not let the door hit their asses on the way out (Quinn and – thank Christ – Taylor were included on this list).  The show would now focus on fifteen characters. 
Around that same time, it was announced that John, Marlena, Jack, Carrie, and Austin would be returning to Salem.  A new character, Madison, was being introduced as Brady’s new thang, and former pimp Quinn, realizing later than the rest of us that Taylor was a cloying, self-righteous twat, dumped her ass somewhere in Europe and was coming back to Salem to open, of all things, a spa.
Shortly after we were led to believe that the cast of characters was being streamlined, it quickly started to balloon again at an alarming rate.  Ian Buchanan was hired on.  Kayla came back to town (though one wonders if she’s already been swallowed up by the same Brady Pub bar beast that ate Caroline).  Then came announcements that Billie, Lucas, and (a recast) Celeste will be returning.  Apparently Nadia Bjorlin is about to sign back on for another stint, too.  In the meantime, Doug and Julie get pulled out of storage and shtickied for holiday appearances, and Justin and Adrienne fell out of a tree last week just long enough to tell Will how much they love their son.
Everyone has their favourites.  Obviously I’m a huge Jack fan, so when it was announced that he was returning, I was thrilled.  But here’s the thing – no one behind the scenes seems to know what to do with him, or how to write for him.  If you’re going to bring Jack back, bring him back.  You can’t just (figuratively, for a change) bring a character back from the dead and apply a couple of paddles to him as needed.  A character like Jack can’t be brought back and used as a speed bump on the road to Dannifer.  The point of bringing back a much-loved character, I’d imagine, is to bring back that character’s fans, while also changing an unfamiliar landscape back into something we recognize again one face at a time.  Why you’d bring back a classic character just to use him as little more than a romantic splinter is completely beyond me. 
Of all the returning vets, the only characters who have been given the royal treatment are the queen and crown prince of Days, John and Marlena.  Front-burner storyline?  Yes.  Unshakeable marriage?  Check.  Romance coming out the wazoo?  Well, it’s definitely coming out of something.  I don’t know what the hell the point is of having a mayoral election because Marlena is already running the whole damn town.  She’s won over just about every Salemite with her fortune cookie wisdom, so, of course, the fastest way to turn anyone into a pariah on Days is to have them thumb their nose at Her Majesty.  I'm looking at you, Sami.
Outside of John and Marlena, though, no one is safe.  Fans of Carrie and Austin got screwed over faster than those ice cubes melted into Carrie’s heaving bosom a few episodes back.  Kayla, whose presence in Salem is pretty damn pointless without Patch to begin with, has gotten less scenes than Patti “gay men are incapable of monogamy” Stanger got over the course of her two separate guest appearances.
How is it that, with all these characters wandering around Horton Town Square, I’m still seeing Melanie almost every damn day?  That question is probably going to get its own entry.  How sad is that?
It could be just me, but the whole show feels rather soulless right now, despite all the historical references, flashbacks, and returning characters.  I’m a sentimental gal, so I should be eating all this up with a spoon.  Here's the thing, though – I’m one of those people that would rather eat a spoonful of sour cream than a bowl of the fat-free stuff.  Right now I feel like I’m being fed the fat-free stuff, and may not see the real thing again until next sweeps. 

To beat the metaphor to death, I’m afraid I might lose my appetite completely before March.


  1. You hit the nail on the proverbial head again Diggy.

  2. As usual, yes to all of that! Your comments about Jack in particular are on the money. The show gets me all excited to watch again, my Jack and Jennifer heart all aflutter, with news of Matthew Ashford's return. I'm thinking the story potential for JnJ is huge, but then it turns out to be a bait and switch, because, as you so poetically put it, instead of bringing Jack back, they use the legendary HappyJackBillyJackDeverauxJohnson as a splinter in the trite non-romance of Daniel and Jennifer. Such as shame. I'm given only five minutes a week of Jack, yet I see plenty of Melanie. Why, Soap Gods, why? There she is, moaning that she can't have Chad, crying that her useless father is going on a little trip---by the way, why is everyone carrying on like Daniel's leaving for good? (If only---there's a cut I'd like to see.) Yes, the cast is too big, and I think huge amounts of focus are on the wrong characters. I was on board and excited for the reboot; I wanted to be happy with it, but it did not deliver. And now so much momentum is already lost.

  3. I gotta agree with the truth. Way too many characters and waaayyyy too much Marlena.

  4. Great post as always...I gotta agree...GIVE ME JACK!!! They are so wasting him and they are giving up a great opportunity....again.... to write an awesome, moving, romantic s/l with Jack going through PTSD with Jennifer at his side. Epic Fail Days!! The cast keeps adding on and I can only hope that means the removal of characters that add nothing to the show (I'm looking at you Rafe), but I fear it will mean losing characters I really want to see. Days really needs to stop wasting the potential they have and start exploiting the hell outta it (EJami, the Alice s/l, Will/EJ, Bricole, Dimeriakis)...I could go on, but I'll stop before this becomes a novel. Great post!

  5. Where the hell was that lifesaver all this time? Do the writers whip that out whenever they want to indicate "mid-life crisis happening" to the viewers? I love Daniel but seriously, in RL that lifesaver equals spit-take.

  6. Just discovered this blog thanks to Dimeriakis on twitter. Good stuff! What's even more annoying are the plots that start & never finish. What about Victor's knowledge of Dr. Jerk/Dan's mother being Maggie? And didn't Doug & Julie go to Africa for some reason?

  7. I can safely say, after almost 50 yrs, this show still does not know what the fuck they are doing. They bring chars on, they drop them, they hire writers, they fire them. It's as if Corday goes into his dark room, full of goat heads, prays to some unknown forces, spins around a few times, and then throws darts at storylines he likes on the wall. The real problem is most of those storyline cards have not been changed in over 20 yrs. It's one thing to try new things, and to run a business, it's another to treat your cast like trash, and bring the chaos of backstage to the stage. As the old saying goes, leave your drama at the door. The senior Cordays roll over in their graves daily. So glad Frances is dead, and did not live through this crap. Sometimes I am surprised the cast takes as much as they do, it's ridiculous.