Monday, November 16, 2015

Playing Catch-Up With A Limp

It's been just over a year since I last updated [enter rolling tumbleweed, stage left].  I'm not going to get into the specifics of why.  The show bugged me.  People bugged me.  Well...more than usual, anyway.

With EJ and Sami gone, I've been freed from shipper hell.  Mind you -- I didn't like the way it happened, but it happened.  Once soap shipdom security escorted me out of the theatre, I felt like a fog had lifted.  And beneath that fog, the show became...Well, it's still shitty.  But the good news (for me) is that I can now watch the show without having an aneurysm.  It's a soap, and getting angry is one thing, but becoming so emotionally invested in it that it's still getting under your skin hours after you've read an interview, stumbled on a spoiler, or watched an episode, means it's time to take some steps back.  And maybe also a sedative.  At the time, my professional writing career was less stressful, and that's involved so many things that terrified and continue to terrify me.

To make a long story slightly less long, I'm going to try to get back to blogging about Days.  As a non-shipper.  You're welcome to join me, if you're interested.  Or not -- I'll be here no matter what.  *Sniff, sniff*.


I'm totally kidding.  I'm fine.


Because I only just started properly watching the show again last week, I figured I'd give myself a little more time to familiarize myself with the longer story arcs before I launch into complai-- er, commenting on single episodes.  I'm rusty.  Really rusty.

Here's what I know --



JACK WASN'T THERE.



Let me just get this out of the way -- Where the hell is Jack?  Why, Days?  What kind of sick, twisted testicle tickles are you getting out of keeping us apart?  I would have been happy with just a single episode.  A dream sequence.  Something.  Anything.

The guy must have told someone's kid a long, long time ago that there was no Santa Claus or something, because Jack just can't catch a break on Days.  No matter how many people seem to want him back (I can only gauge this by the fan action I see on Twitter and Facebook) TPTB just won't bring him back.  The last time he was brought back, the writers had him swinging between Zany Jack and Manic Jack.  I loved his PTSD-related scenes, but his storyline outside of that - that dreadful Jack/Jennifer/Daniel triangle - was a mess, even though I still frequently quote the line, "He has a tan.  In October.  It's unnatural."

I've written about Jack before.  Again and again.  And again.  Zany Jack made me and Baby Jesus cry because it just wasn't Jack.  It was a single facet of the character - one of many.  The strange, spontaneous bursts of insanity worked in the early days of Jack and Jennifer because he was usually very straight-laced and worked at cultivating a somewhat frosty exterior.  We knew it was because he was trying his damndest to keep the emotionally damaged little boy within under wraps.  When he started developing feelings for Jennifer, there would be these adorable moments where he'd completely lose his cool and struggle in vain to get it back before anyone noticed.

Remember how Seinfeld's Kramer got more and more spastic as the show went on?  That's pretty much what writers did to Jack.  "Remember that fire truck thing?  People dug that.  What if we have Jennifer break up with him again, and then he'll fumble his way through a whack of crazy shit to get her back?"  Like, remember when Victor Kiriakis did more than just argue with Brady about bringing yet another woman he's sleeping with into the mansion?  Remember way back when Victor wasn't just a wizened misogynistic Mr. Wilson?  He and Jack have been running on that hamster wheel for ages now.  Well, at least until Jack spun off to his death during his last stint.  It was almost like a mercy killing at that point, though.  Zany Jack was doing double-duty as a wacko trying to get his wife back, and a wacko who didn't want his daughter fucking men on their couch.

Lordy, with all that's happened to Abigail over the past two years, Jack would have cart-wheeled through about a dozen patisseries and driven a firetruck right off a cliff.

As a result of the bad writing, a some Days fans were just tired of Jack.  And while I could watch Matthew Ashford sitting on the floor in the middle of an empty room talking to himself about looms, I can't blame some people for just not seeing the Mattgic.  The guy was reintroduced to the canvas by falling into a cake sporting that wasps' nest of a beard.  I mean come on.

I could go on and on about why Jack belongs on Days -- the Jack from Days of yore.  A Jack that can not only survive, but thrive without Jennifer.  Then, instead of writing a story where the only point is to get Jack and Jennifer back together, write a story where the pay-off includes, among other things, a romantic reunion, or the potential for one.  No need to rush, Days.

Geez, did I ever go off-track there.  What I actually want to say is this:  the 50th anniversary was supposed to be a celebration for viewers, old and new.  I don't care if Matt Ashford ate the last Boston cream in the doughnut box.  He should have been brought home and written for because he's brilliant, beautiful and loyal, and we adore him.

And while you're at it, if Ari Zucker is still around when you finally come to your senses, get those two working together.  She's the only person left on that show who can go from drama to comedy and back again in a single scene.  Those two would be gangbusters together.

WILL'S DEAD.  LET'S DISCO.


So Will's dead.  What the hell?

I didn't like Guy Wilson's Will.  I totally acknowledge that Woe-is-Will isn't entirely the poor boy's fault.  The great writing for Chandler Massey's Will petered off while he was still in the role.  I personally thought Guy looked too young to play Lucas and Sami's world-weary son.  There was something too...wholesome looking about him (despite all the less-than-wholesome behaviour).  He reminded me of Phil from that old lunchtime manners short.


Even Mr. Bungle wouldn't cheat on his husband, kid.


When I heard Will was being killed, I wasn't surprised.  Not because I had had any idea it was coming.  I wasn't surprised because it was a bone-headed move and I've sort of come to expect that from Days whenever another writing regime comes in.  They want to do something shocking to usher in the latest attempt to save Days.  I hate it, but what are you going to do?

Maybe not kill off a legacy character during your 50th anniversary celebration, which again is supposed to be for the fans.  And, well, fun to watch.  I didn't like Will, but the character could easily have been written off the canvas for a while, then recast and brought back at a later date.  That he died and nothing came of it is such an enormous waste for two days' worth of shock value and less than two weeks of tearful post-mortem performances.  It didn't drive any story - he was just one in a line of victims to keep this serial killer mess going a little longer.  That's sadder than any death Days could have given us.

Speaking of...


THEY'RE NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO KILL BO, ARE THEY?

Stop, Days!  STOP!


This isn't actually a thing that's going to happen, is it?  Because Jesus H. Christ!  HUH?  I noticed in this week's promo Bo and Hope are embracing in what was formerly the scene of Lexie's death, which was also caused by a brain tumour.  First of all - another brain tumour?  You can do better, Days.  Secondly, this is the worst anniversary party ever, guys.  And thirdly, this is the worst anniversary party ever, guys.

Okay, fine - closure is needed.  But just because one might like the idea of a man going to his grave having only ever truly loved one woman his entire life, it doesn't mean it works on a soap.  Or at least it doesn't work with Bo and Hope so long as Hope remains on the show, and Bo is so darn beloved.  And yet if Hope is going to stay on the show alone, she's going to require a love interest (because soap).  I can only assume that Rafe is going to be the next notch on her Salem PD-issued gun holster. I can see how it might be challenging for writers, which is why maybe this isn't the story you want to go with for your 50th anniversary.  A romantic reunion, followed by the realization that this is just not their time would have sufficed, I think.  No fight, no affairs, no kidnappings, no death.  Just a beautiful goodbye and the glimmer of hope that some day they'll find each other again in the right place at the right time in their lives.

Despite my hating Angel, I have to say that Angel and Buffy's silent goodbye scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favourite TV goodbyes.  Everyone gets out alive, everyone is still in love, and it left the viewer tearful but with a glimmer of hope that one day, just maybe...


  

It was a wholly satisfying goodbye.  Heartbreaking?  Yes.  Good television, though?  Oh, yes.  There was adventure, near-deaths, love scenes, a slow-dance, and closure.  I'm sort of hoping this is sort of more in line with what's going to happen with Bo and Hope.  You know how the saying goes - hope for the best, expect the worst...


GAH.  MORE BABIES?

I've been following along with the Chad/Abby pregnancy saga via social media, articles, interviews, etc.  Not more babies, Days.  I'm so damn tired of this soap saddling perfectly decent twenty-somethings with babies.  It's such lazy writing, and - much like Will's death - doesn't do much story-wise in the long-term.  Theresa could be oot and aboot causing all sorts of trouble, but instead she's at home wiping her tears on Tater-Tot's soft, little head while Maggie strokes her hair and Victor thumbs through his thesaurus looking for even more synonyms for "tramp" to call the poor girl.

I know a baby is usually a shipper's dream - it links your OTP together forever (or at least until another milestone anniversary rolls around and someone needs to die), and there are a lot of people out there who believe a baby is the utmost in romantic gestures.  I'd argue that's less so in a town that has banned contraceptives of any kind, but to each their own.  I tend to prefer couples go on a few adventures before they're leaving kids in the kitchen of the Brady Pub until a cancer scare brings them back on screen.  



I'm all for a good, soapy kidnapping -- something that has no resolution for a decent stretch of time.  I'm not talking a kid hiding under a table, or bloody clothes turning up by the pier.  A baby just vanishing, and maybe resurfacing when she/he is a little older.  It's something that's always there in the background.  There's fear, anger, and sorrow, then mourning.  Eventually the family has to learn how to move on, but - once again - there's hope that one day that missing child will return to his or her parents' lives.  Hell, just as a present to me - send Roman off canvas to search for the kid.


IN CONCLUSION


So this is what I've managed to pick up from the show so far.  I know I haven't even touched on Kayla and Patch, Caroline's illness, Nicole and Dan's upcoming nuptial disaster, the introduction of low-rent Chris Pine, Aiden, Ben, Andre, or the new teen scene.  We'll see if I can keep my shit together long enough to do another post on all that.  I forgot how hard it can be getting back into the swing of things when it comes to watching soaps, and I have quite a lot to catch up on.




4 comments:

  1. It was a treat to read your observations - that are always right "on point" with my thoughts on Days. Hope you come back and share again.

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  2. Oh YOU! Merry Christmas to us! YOU'RE BACK! And I laughed all the way through! How did we ever live without this? Blog, blog, BLOG YOUR HEART OUT, LADY!

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