As promised, here's the second half of my list. Today I'm a softer, gentler, mellower Diggy. This afternoon I'm going to give these people a bit of a headstart before I give chase.
What is there to say about Daniel? Not a helluva lot. That's the problem.
I have absolutely nothing against Daniel. I'm pretty indifferent to him. I remember thinking Shawn Christian did a wonderful job post-Parker paternity reveal, but that seems like a lifetime ago.
The problem with Daniel is that I still have no real idea who he is. Is he a lech? Is he a hero? Is he a well-reknowned wonder doctor? Is he a super couple cock-blocker? Is he all of the above? Does he still have shaky hands, or did all that salt water he was wading in during his time away from Salem cure him? I have no idea, nor do I care.
I actually really like Shawn C. (he's fabulous on Venice), but his character on Days is an unmitigated disaster. He's an enabler to his twenty-something daughter, who continues to act like a petulant little girl when things don't go her way (remember that week-long hissy-fit she threw when he told her he was going on vacation?). One week he and Brady were involved in a heated bromance, the next week he was doing topless, oily yoga with Quinn at the spa, and the next week, he and Jack were bar buddies at the pub, comforting each other over their failed relationship with the same unreasonable, unbearable woman.
Since those days of whine and roses, we haven't seen him really do anything except flirt with Billie (creepy) and dish out phone-it-in advice (I wonder how many other ways of telling Nicole to "calm the fuck down or you'll kill your fetus" the writers were able to come up with). The egg story (that first one that was abruptly dropped, not the second one that really should have been abruptly dropped) turned out to be a complete waste of time, especially since, up until it happened, we really had no idea what sort of a relationship Daniel previously had with his parents. Hell, we weren't even sure he ever had parents. They sort of grew out of the ground, probably in the same cabbage patch Mama H. and the rest of the Hernandez clan popped up in. As far as I'm concerned, the only point of the story was to explain to us why Maggie and Melanie are both redheads.
I really like Shawn Christian, and I have no doubt he can act his ass off when he's given decent drama to sink his teeth into (he's pretty gosh-darned excellent with light comedy, too, as evidenced by his scenes with Hilary B. Smith on Venice) , but if cuts need to be made, Daniel is on my list. It's officially been a few years now, and Florence Nightingmale still feels like a stranger to me.
JOHN AND MARLENA
Okay, this is less a cut and more about two characters in desperate need of a makeover.
John and Marlena were all about intrigue, romance, adventure, old-school heroism, and really big hair. But daytime just isn't like that anymore. More importantly, Days just can't afford the sets or location shoots for it right now. How long were we trapped with Jawn and Princess Gina in that single room in Alamania?
Obviously I'm not saying there's no room for romance and intrigue. Those are daytime staples, and prime time is finally starting to give us a real break from reality television and cop shows to give us some contemporary soapy goodness. The face of prime time is no longer about good versus evil, and Days really needs to wise up to that.
I'm going to make it clear before inching towards my point that this isn't an age issue. I still get angry when I think about the shitty treatment Thaao Penghlis and Steve Nichols received during their last stints on Days. My issue with John and Marlena is that there are better, more plausible things they could be doing on the show right now. Marlena's best storyline since the reset has been the one she's sharing with Will. Marlena is in her element in those scenes. She's a psychiatrist and a woman who loves her grandson. The few scenes she shared with Jack as he dealt with his PTSD were also compelling to watch, and not just because DH was working across from Chandler Massey and Matt Ashford (who both kick much ass). Remember her scenes with Bo and Hope as they dealt with their youngest son's death? Good stuff, right?
Marlena could be playing such an important, and much-needed role on the show - a sounding board for the people of Salem so I don't have to see characters standing around talking to themselves, or having conversations with random people they run into at the pub or in the square. Did anyone else think it was odd when Kayla was giving Melanie, the girl she believes stole her daughter's fiance, advice about Chad a couple of months ago? Or Brady, after not talking to Nicole since November, casually showing up with coffee and cake to wax dickishly about how wonderful and so not like Nicole Madison is?
I would love to see people on Marlena's couch besides John and a bowl of strawberries. Who in Salem isn't in desperate need of therapy? She could be Days' Doctor Melfi, drawing out her patients' deepest and darkest secrets and desires, giving us a little more insight into characters, touching on their history on the show to remind old viewers, and educate new viewers on who these people are and why we love (or hate) them.
As for Agent Black, if I never see Jawn again, it'll still be too soon. Watching John squinting over a whole wheat sandwich, playing cards, and threatening to kill an eighty-year-old diabetic the other day still sets my eyes rolling. What are TPTB thinking? These storylines are really dating the character. Right now, John would be best-suited to playing founder and CEO of Basic Black, and a father to his prodigal son - showing him the ropes, imparting his quirky brand of wisdom, and locking horns with the likes of Victor, Kate, and Ian. This ISA stuff is bullshit. The squinting is starting to look like senility. Breathe some new life into the character, fer chrissakes. You're making him look like a dinosaur, and by putting him on the front burner in such a state, you're making the show look like the Land Before Time.
MELANIE AND CHAD
I'm going to be blunt - I want to strangle these two to death in the hopes that they'll be reincarnated as the Bonnie and Clyde of the twenty-somethings. This is another case of two people I don't necessarily think should be cut, but need to have their balls handed back to them.
Chad is a DiMera and Melanie was once the girl who could have given a young Sami Brady a run for her money. Instead, you've got them eating cold pizza for breakfast, listening to Kenny G (or is it Kenny C?), and being outsmarted by GABI of all people. Nurse Melanie working with Nicole to keep the paternity of her baby a secret? Instant conflict with Daniel (who has a helluva lot of experience dealing with hidden paternity/maternity disasters), Chad (whose brother is being deceived), and Stefano (who's...well...Stefano). Melanie whimpering over a few nasty words about her on the internet and finding earrings in her boyfriend's bed does not make for good television.
Chad, Chad, Chad. Modeling? Really? Let's ignore the fact that Days doesn't have the sets, the equipment, or the wardrobe to accommodate everything an even vaguely believable modelling career would entail. I could see Chad being a musician, updating his own angry, political blog, experimenting with slam poetry, writing crime novels, or conceiving a really dark series of comic books. Chad is supposed to be an ambitious bad boy with a heart of gold and a mind for business, isn't he? This Zoolander thing just isn't him.
One more thing -- You bought Melanie a pink robe, of all things? That's something Bo would buy Grandma Caroline for Mother's Day. Come on, kid.
So this list wasn't nearly as bloody as the last. With a little cosmetic surgery (I won't touch that one), and a short trip around the world to find themselves, I think Days could salvage these people. What do you think, though? Anyone you'd add to the list? Take off the list?