Days of Our Lives, The Enjoyment Factor

As I write this I’m battening down the hatches and looking for a shovel to dig myself an underground bunker, because I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to be the voice of unpopular opinion. Let me explain.

When deciding which soaps I enjoy most or discover I’m most interested in watching on my DVR when I get home, I look at two things, quality (writing and acting) and enjoyment. These two can be in the same, or entirely different. The Young and the Restless and One Life to Live fall under the “quality” umbrella. I enjoy them because the writing is on fire and the acting is superb. On the other hand, I can enjoy some soaps at a gut level even though they may not have as good of writing or as strong acting. Call it “the show I like, but no one else seems to” factor. This is how I feel about Days of Our Lives.

On this week’s CBS and Days of Our Lives podcast episode (which should air on Thursday) I reveal that Days of Our Lives is currently my third favorite soap, even beating out the drastically improved Guiding Light and my version of As the World Turns. This is something I have refused to admit, even to myself, for some time. If I did, might it mean I’ve succumbed to Dena Higley’s evil charms?

I’m not saying that Days of Our Lives should win any awards or isn’t in need of further improvements. It shouldn’t and does. However, when compared to All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful it’s almost Shakespearean.

Kate (Lauren Koslow) is back to her scheming ways – not as good as Kate versus Sami, but it’s a step in the right direction – trying to manipulate Lucas’s (Bryan Dattilo) love life. Titan, once seldom seen or mentioned, is back. Sami’s (Alison Sweeney) return has made a big difference and I am really enjoying her relationship with Rafe (Galen Gering).

The return of Will (Dylan Patton) and the addition of Mia (Taylor Spreitler) is laying the groundwork for potential. Given time, proper character development and a decent storyline these two actors show potential. Until then, watching Rafe trying to help Will accept his newly “adopted” sister was a highlight last week. Sure, Patton and Spreitler aren’t ready to go toe-to-toe with the teen casts at One Life to Live or As the World Turns, but they are certainly better than anything The Bold and the Beautiful has had to offer since Adrienne Frantz. Another plus, I don’t hate them like I do Melanie.

Speaking of which, I can even make lemonade out of lemons. Thanks to the abominable Melanie (Molly Burnett) and her insipid storyline, Victor (John Aniston) has had quite a bit of screen time recently.

One concern is what will happen to Darin Brooks after Rachel Melvin leaves? Ideally, he’ll throw Melanie off the dock, with a cement block tied to her octuplet ankle, and never look back. At the same time, the show really needs to find Darin a new leading lady. The only requirement; the love interest can’t be related to the Brady family in any way, shape or form.

Bo the surly psychic is a terrible storyline, but at least we still get to see Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso. If this were General Hospital - which uses its 80’s supercouples oh so well – they’d be sitting in rocking chairs with drool dribbling down their chins.

Shockingly enough I’m even enjoying Stephanie (Shelley Hennig). I don’t know if it is because Stephanie isn’t on my screen as much or if Hennig has been brushing up on her acting. Either way she’s improved.

Over at DiMera mansion EJ’s (James Scott) flat ironed bangs seem to have disappeared. I’m hoping Stefano figured out a way to put them on a disc and they’ve been locked away in his safe, never to be seen again. Arianne Zucker (Nicole) continues to shine as one of the show’s strongest actresses. Hopefully the death of Tony (Thaao Penghlis) will give Joe Mascolo an opportunity to put Stefano back on track and that the phoenix will rise once again.

Days of Our Lives still has a lot of things to improve so come after me with pitchforks and torches if you like, but I’m enjoying it. I know many fans aren’t enjoying it, but compared to 2008 I think it has made significant improvements. It isn’t The Young and the Restless or One Life to Live, by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to be going in the right direction. That’s more than I can say for at least three other soaps at the moment.

24 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Johnathon

    I can’t fault you for enjoying DAYS, because of the way you explained it makes sense lol, with that said I do not see a real reason for me to tune back in at the moment, hopefully i will find a reason sometime soon but at least for now i am living without salem :(.

  2. Profile photo of loveliason65

    I have to agree with you about Days. Dont get me wrong the show’s not that good in terms of writing and acting (especially acting) but its goold ole simple soapy goodness. It has all the things that are lacking in my “fave” GH (which I’m about to give up completel uggh talk about awful). Use of older actors and keeps core supercouples as part of the action; keeps the cast connected with all of the plot points possibly effecting a multitude of characters. Loving the EJami/Safe/Ejole storyline. I love love love seeing older actors with s/ls integral to the entire show. Days is now my new guilty pleasure, again, its giving me more reasons to what than GH.

  3. Profile photo of desertgal

    So glad to hear you are enjoying the Sami/Rafe pairing. I think it’s terrific to finally see Sami with a guy who wants to protect her and isn’t always scheming. Galen Gering has been a tremendous addition to the show as well as Eric Martsolf. My only wish is that we would see more of him on screen.

  4. Profile photo of snags

    Luke, you are suffering from GL grief. You’re in the state of denial, and that includes the denial that DAYS sucks! It’s OK, your blinders will come off eventually. Besides, Dena can’t maintain a decent soap for very long, it’s just not in her! Look at her track record!

  5. Profile photo of rebecca

    I kind of sort of like it a little bit again,b/c i like Sami & Rafe. I just wish they would bring Christie Clark back (WITHOUT Austin) and write her a good storyline. Maybe they could pair her up with Daniel? It would be great to see her and Sami realize that it is STUPID for them to fight over ANY guy and become REAL sisters/frienimies!

  6. Profile photo of momsmistchief

    As a fan of the show for over 40 years I am not entirely happy with the way things are going. That said I do agree that it is picking up and holding my interest more than it has. At least I’m not FF through the scenes and the are shows that put me to sleep occasionally do seem to be fewer. I still feel the writing needs a kick in the pants and the history of the characters and show needs to be better looked at. I just can’t see myself abandoning the show I have loved so much. Enjoy your comments and love the pod casts. Looking forward to this Thursdays. :)

  7. Profile photo of bonobochick

    Certain things on Days are easier to take right now so the show isn’t a black hole of suck (though Bo running around with dreams of Hope schtupping Roman is stupid).

    My unpopular opinion is that Melanie isn’t that bad and is easier to watch her now that she is not on every day. I think Shelley Hennig is a doing alright as Stephanie but Stephanie/Philip is still meh to me. Not as horribly spark-free as ATWT’s Casey/Alison, but definitely tepid at best. Not to mention Stephanie/Philip is starting to become monotonous with their conversations & make-up/break-up cycle.

  8. Profile photo of Steph

    The show has shown some improvement lately. I like the whole DiMera against the Kriakas story line. I am enjoying the new Will and Mia. Days finally got a teen story line and casting right. Love John Callahan being back as Dr. Baker. And I am glad to see scheming Kate back in action.

    Can’t agree with the whole Sami and Rafe thing. They are pretty much the only part I forward through. It is too boring and contrived and the actors have zero chemistry.

  9. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    Hey snags, I don’t think it has anything to do with GL grief. I’ve been thinking this for a while. I agree with your comment about Dena, which is why I feel weird about enjoying her show, but I am honestly enjoying it.

  10. Profile photo of SusieQ

    I think the show is better than it has been over the last few months but it does have a long way to go. Of course, Luke, if you’re watching it along with GH and AMC I can see why you’re liking it so much -lol!

  11. Profile photo of missannkimba

    Have you been watching OLTL lately??? That Rex/Gigi/Stacey story is the hottest of messes. Farah Fath cannot act, I’ve seen high school girls that are more convincing. The whole bone marrow thing is an obvious ploy to make the audience care about Rex and Gigi. You want quality watch Y&R.

  12. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    I’ve been watching OLTL…I think that the Stacy portion of it is awful, but unlike others I still enjoy Rex and Gigi. However, I will say that I enjoy Rex and Gigi more when they are apart trying to get back together than when they are together and someone is trying to break them up. Here is how I rank the soaps.

    1. Y&R
    2. OLTL
    3. DAYS
    4. My ATWT
    5. GL and GH
    6. B&B
    7. AMC

  13. Profile photo of naughtytomato

    Hang in there Luke! You’re a brave one! LOL!

    Day’s has never gotten any respect everybody craps on it. Soap snobs! LOL!

    The show is like the Monkeys – “they are not a ‘real’ band,” etc. And yet, they managed to be a hit for a few years with enough pop hits to entertain people in concert tours. Critics may hate them, but the people like them.

    I’ve bitched and moaned about certain aspects of the show on the boards too. That’s the way it is. But there are some things that I enjoy, even if its just a few scenes.

    I don’t watch every single soap but I have been watching AMC so I can say enjoyment wise Day’s beats that show. But to be fair, I have only watched AMC since 2004 so I don’t have the same feeling about that show. So, when I read people saying ‘Day’s sucks’ I have to wonder the same thing.

  14. Profile photo of salem1975

    DAYS has been the solid #3 soap in ther ratings for months, ahead of all the ABC soaps and ATWT and GL, so what you are saying is what America is saying. America still likes DAYS, with or without John and Marlena.

  15. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    While I loved Marlena and appreciated John, they were never the reason I watched. Almost all of the characters that I watch Days of Our Lives for are still on the show. That having been said, I’m not in any way condoning how DH and DH were let go. It was terrible how they were treated.

    Right now I’d love for Louise Sorrel to return as Vivian…I’d be in heaven and Victor, Kate and Stefano are all still on the show so her return would fit nicely into those characters current s/l. (going off to dream about a return that will never happen) 

  16. Profile photo of angelatil

    I think Days sucks personally. I don’t like what they did to their characters I loved to watch. They pretty much backburnered Rachel Melvin and I loved her as Chelsea. I also loved, loved the Daniel and Chelsea storyline and thought that Shawn Christian and Rachel Melvin had chemistry that was just off the charts. I stopped watching a little bit when they broke them up but then putting Daniel with Chloe??? Are you freaking kidding me? I am sorry but Daniel belongs with Chelsea…I hope Days puts them back together! And I am sorry but that is NOT the Daniel that came surfing into town last year!

    As for the other storylines, I think Philip and Stephanie are a bore and I just can’t get on board with many other things. I don’t know who is writing the show but they need to make things right!

  17. Profile photo of SafeFan

    This is just a “pile-on” comment to celebrate DAYS. I concur with the whole post. There’s such a momentum from Tony’s death that highlights the war between the DiMera’s and Kiriakis’ and the baby switch storylines, the next two months, must see tv!

  18. Profile photo of jeannelw

    my enjoyment factor is ALL GALEN & ERIC

    i love SAFE ali&galen have great chemistry

    eric is awesome as brady he needs a WOMAN now not that

  19. Profile photo of Laurie

    DAYS is reinventing itself for a new audience — translated: dumbing down the show for less committed viewers. It’s truly sad if this is what it’s come to for DAYS to survive.

  20. Profile photo of pchca

    Wow I finally agree with something you said! I am just tuning back in after a many year absence, and I love it. I could easily part with Melanie, but other than that I think they have a great cast right now. Will & Mia are showing a lot of potential, and I hope those two actors stick around. The only thing that could top it off for me would be to bring back Jack & Jennifer, and the original Shawn & Belle. Perhaps if Corday croaks, I’d have a shot at winning.

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