What DAYS Needs to Do If It Wants to Stay on Past 2010 Pt. I: The Hortons and Bradys Generation Next





It's no secret Days of Our Lives is my heart. Like Tara to Scarlett, Llanfair to Viki and the Promises Treatment Center in Malibu to Lindsay Lohan, DAYS is home to me, which is why it pains me to find the land of my childhood, fanboy dreams war-ravaged, and overrun with some strange cow wandering about chewing cud.
 
I wrote last week how the show was actually watchable again, well, watchable won't keep DAYS on the air past 2010. In years past I never worried about whether NBC-U-Later-Soaps would kill Days of Our Lives, because I knew CBS or ABC would readily fight to the death grab up the most buzzed about soap in the last 20 years of daytime television. Thanks to the woeful state of the U.S. economy, coupled with DAYS being written by someone who would make the top brass at AIG shake their heads and go "tsk, tsk, tsk", I no longer have the quiet comfort that Frons or Bloom will pick up DAYS once it's cut by NBC. Hell, Mickey Mouse and Tiffany are having a hard enough times keeping the soaps already on their network lineups afloat, why would they consider bringing DAYS to the table in the shape its in? 

Horton Hears a Higley

It's time for DAYS to re-establish its core, and sorry folks, that ain't the Kiriakis family vs. The DiMeras— it's the Hortons. The DiMera and the Kiriakis families respectively were two of DAYS great, villainous dynasties of the 80's and 90's, but they are basically interchangeable. There is no long term drama or inherent conflict to be derived from focusing a soap opera around two mustache-twirling Euro trash crime dynasties.

The saving grace of this disastrous set up has been the Nicole/EJ/Sami dynamic, however, this aspect of the show isn't interesting or far-reaching enough to anchor a soap opera. The best soap triangles, i.e. Rachel/Steve/Alice on Another World, Erica/Phil/Tara on All My Children, etc. worked because they had two unique female archetypes— one principled and noble, the other methodical, scheming and on the make— vying for the man of every housewife and future Broadway season ticket holder's dreams. How exactly does DAYS plan to build long term story out of two bitches fighting for a rapist?

When Days of Our Lives premiered, it was considered highly-unique for its time, because it combined the tried and true tenets of serial dramas like Guiding Light and As The World Turns— which focused on family— with that of General Hospital, which focused on the workplace. Fans were able to see good Doctor Tom Horton (the late MacDonald Carey) head home after a hard day at the hospital to face a myriad of familial dramas, brought on by one or more of his five children and grandchildren, meanwhile his doting wife Alice (Frances Reid) offered sage counsel and one bitchin' donut recipe!

Now before we go any further, I am not suggesting DAYS pull a Guiding Light circa 2007 and try to recreate some faux-wholesome yesteryear feel for the show. I don't want EJ to suddenly become a doctor—or worse, a preacher— and move himself, Sami, Nicole and their Springer Show kids fest into Horton House, however I am suggesting DAYS take drastic and calculated steps to recreate the Horton family for a new generation.

As it stands now, the members of Salem's first family have no cohesive unit. Because of the advanced age and rumored failing health of Frances Reid, Alice is understandably no longer a presence; one bad Mickey recast too many has left that character irrelevant; meanwhile the soap's first supercouple, Doug and Julie (Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes) are only trumpeted out for under five work.

The few Hortons with viable presences in Salem are Hope (Kristian Alfonso), who let's face it, is more identifiable with the Bradys after almost 30 years of loving and leaving Bo (Peter Reckell); Lucas (Bryan Datillo), the illegitimate offspring of a long-absent Horton son, who is more associated with the Robert-Kiriakis family; and Maggie (Suzanne Rogers), Lucas and Hope's aunt-by-marriage.

 DC's Mike pointed out recently that Emmy-winner Rogers is managing to provide some semblance of familiarity and comfort as DAYS brutally slashes through its veteran cast, as well as much of its storied history. Rogers somehow figures out how to sell even the most forced and contrived of connections. Her chemistry with Blake Berris (ex-Nick) and Datillo have been notable highlights over the past few trying years for the Horton clan and DAYS as a whole, but having this character be used to invoke sympathy for Melanie (Molly Burnett) is beyond disrespectful to Rogers' legacy and fans' patience.


Comments

Member since:
22 March 2009
Last activity:
1 year 14 weeks

I really donŕ understand the reason for this post. It´s just like a miriad other fanfictions all around the net. You are not taking in account the popularity of the characters, the logistic behind the show which itself very much limites what characters and what occupations are possible, the already going or developing stories people wants to see finish. The title suggested this will be some serious analyze of the show and what it does right and what it should do better, but what you did is just another "I hate Melanie, so she dies" kind of fantasy.

I think what you are trying to do is desperately mold the show into the form you like, ie. more like OLTL or Y/R. But the show seems to already find a form on its own which works for it and is accepted by majority as well, as the ratings proves almost every week. I´m sorry you and some people here are not able to enjoy it, but right now there is no valid reason to try undermine the vision Higley/Tomlin/Whittesel have for the show and push it into another transition. I mean, even Corday leaves them alone.

As for the idea, I really don´t think there is some desperate need of more Hortons. Was Jeremy more interesting character just because he had the right surname? The big soap family gatherings are thing of past anyway, it costs too much and what breaks or makes soap are the stories and characters, not how many people with the same surname is able to gather in a room around a christmas tree. I think right now DAYS has a good set of leading characters and there is no reason to change it just to push Hortons back to front.

I do think Abby should eventually return as a replacement for Chelsea and roomate for Steph, but DB will be off most of the summer so I quess whatever idea they had for his new love interest, it will have to wait.

Member since:
19 November 2007
Last activity:
1 hour 59 min

I'd like Carrie and Austin to stay together. As weak as their return, reunion, and quickie remarriage was, I'd like to think that they finally got their happy ending. I don't need them broken up yet again my Mike Horton.

THEBEST's picture
Member since:
12 February 2008
Last activity:
2 days 6 hours

Tws1978, what are you on? Jamey is a genius when it comes to How To Save A Soap 101...

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
4 years 26 weeks

tws1978 I'm glad that you are actually able to enjoy the regurgitated crap that Dena puts out weekly. Can you actually say that Bo having Visions and the possibility of Hope sleeping with Roman appealing and worth recording? Do you see Melanie and Max the future brother/sister duo of the century? And the Sami hour with her whining and crying over baby daddies and not being able to stand on her own two feet with out the help of a man riveting? I really think that Jamey's post was meant to give ideas Dena could do to bring a new focus on the show by taking it back to where it began in the first place and the actor and actress's he suggested for those parts would give everyone a reason to watch everyday IMO. And news flash Days will never be Y&R Dena hasn't got it in her but she is already writing the show in another direction and focus by cutting out the sci fi stuff to which the show has been famous for 10 years or so. To add the dialogue for some of the older characters is so beneath them I mean Lucas saying stuff like kicking it with my HOMIES are you serious Dena who talks like that in their mid thirties. And Sami saying Narley I'd be happy alone if everyone talked at least half way intelligent.

Member since:
23 April 2008
Last activity:
1 year 10 weeks

Without getting too verbose, Jamey, you are a genius! I, officially, offer my services to either be a breakdown or dialogue writer for you, especially for this DAYS outline. I was riveted while reading it and getting excited over the fantasy casting!

To TWS, I was always told that if I have nothing nice to say, to either:
a) say nothing at all
b) remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinions
c) compliment what you're wearing and admire your haircut/hairstyle
d) sit next to someone who disagrees too and dish on you

Since I can't see you, I choose B...with a shady dash of D.

Soap_Stud's picture
Member since:
28 November 2008
Last activity:
4 weeks 15 hours

Days does need to return to the Horton family. Jamey has some great ideas, but it is up to Ken Corday to make the Horton family a priority again. Suzanne Rogers is an amazing actress who has proven over the last 35 years or so that she can make any story or scene watchable and enjoyable. Give her more of a chance to shine, DOOL. I don't think Dena is the writer to do that! I'd love to see what Salem would like if former GH and RH head writer Claire Labine was given full control of the soap.

Eden would make a great Sarah Horton and the return of Joe Gallison would be great, even if it was temporary. Ben Masters as Bill Horton would be interesting as well!

DOOL was a must see show for me for over 20 years, but I took it off my DVR three weeks ago and haven't watched an episode since! I miss the characters that feel like an extended family to me, but I don't miss the predictable and uninspiring stories Dena is telling on the show!

inspiron's picture
Member since:
21 February 2009
Last activity:
41 weeks 4 days

eden reigel is my least favorite actor on amc

naughtytomato's picture
Member since:
27 January 2009
Last activity:
1 year 14 weeks

How exactly does DAYS plan to build long term story out of two bitches fighting for a rapist? LOL! yea, how? When you put it that way!
I still can't fully buy Sammi as a romantic herione. Last year in the middle of EJ, Lucas. Now Rafe, EJ, Nicole. yea, problem there.

Bringing back the Hortons. The last Horton they brought back was Jeremy (June 07-Oct 07). Bad Memories! Ugg! Who was writing then- Soap writer hero Hogan Sheffer. Fitting Jeremy's xmass ornament broke in the box that Dec.

Member since:
2 March 2009
Last activity:
1 year 36 weeks

Am I the only person who isn't suprised that Higley most likely stole this idea?