I have watched soaps my entire life. My mother watched both Another World and Days of Our Lives from their very first episodes. She also checked in and out of many other shows: All My Children, General Hospital, Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, and Santa Barbara, just to name a few. One of my fondest “kid” memories was during the summer. My mom would tell me, “We play all day, but from noon to 2:00, we watch DAYS and AW.”
I honestly can’t remember a time in all of my years when I wasn’t watching daytime soaps. I watched when I was a kid because of my mother. As a teenager, I was hooked on the romance, excitement, and devious plots. As an adult, I watch mostly out of habit, but also because I long to be invigorated by a storyline in the same way I was as a kid. It doesn’t happen as often, but when it does, the feelings are there, and my devotion to the genre is renewed.
AW was the first show that captured my attention. I remember Carl Hutchins (Charles Keating) tormenting Rachel (Victoria Wyndham) and Mac Cory (Douglass Watson), and how those storylines would get my heart racing. I hated Carl for the havoc he wreaked in Bay City, but I sure did love it when he came around. DAYS was a show I liked, but I basically watched it to get to AW. That is, until it was revealed that the hoeishness of Victor Kiriakis (John Aniston) and Caroline Brady (Peggy McCay) produced one Beauregard Aurelius “Bo” Brady (Peter Reckell). That storyline grabbed me, and I was invested. From then on, I couldn’t wait to get home to watch what was going on with my story. The romances of Bo and Hope (Kristian Alfonso), Patch (Stephen Nichols) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans), Kimberly (Patsy Pease) and Shane (Charles Shaughnessy), Jack (Matthew Ashford) and Jennifer (Melissa Reeves), to name a few, captured my attention. There was the mystery of this guy (Drake Hogestyn) who said he was Roman, but didn’t look at all like Roman (Wayne Northrop) – and was quite a bit taller! Ah, the romance. The supercouples that defined DAYS in the 80’s and 90’s was intoxicating!
What really captured me about DAYS was the mystery and intrigue. A lot of that intrigue revolved around one Marlena Evans Craig Brady Bradford Black x five (and no, I don’t count Alex North, that mess NEVER happened). She was kidnapped, killed, repeatedly, returned from the dead, repeatedly, possessed by Satan, manipulated into being a serial killer, sort of, and most importantly, was the object of Stefano DiMera’s (Joseph Mascolo) fascination. He even put her in a birdcage! A birdcage, people!
Marlena (Deidre Hall) was a heroine in which I became very invested. I wanted her to be happy and coo at John Black, but even more, I wanted her to be in peril. I wanted her to be presumed dead in an explosion only to be shown weeks later, on an island, forced to be a mother to Orpheus’ kids. All of these storylines eventually resulted in a reunion with the love of her life, John Black. John would whisper “Doc”, raise that eyebrow, and cooing, gasping, and strawberries and cream ensued.
Something happened in the early aughts. I’m not sure if the show lost its way or I got distracted – possibly a bit of both. I still watched, but I wasn’t as invested. I had lost the passion and excitement I once had for DAYS. My characters weren’t as interesting. Someone named Melanie (Molly Burnett) took over the show (for the record, I came to sort of embrace the character). There were new characters I didn’t recognize or care about. I started thinking that if I missed a day, I really didn’t miss a lot. That all changed with the emergence of EJ DiMera (James Scott) and his pairings with both Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) and Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney). He was fire! Then we got Kristen back! Eileen Davidson was back in all of her glory, tormenting Marlena and bedding John and his son, Brady (Eric Martsolf). I need a moment to bask in Kristen and all of her messy glory. The addition of Kassie DePaiva and Jen Lilley as sisters Eve and Theresa (don’t call me Jeannie) Donovan was also a bright spot of hot mess!
Of course, there were duds along the way. The painful romance of Dr. Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian) and Jennifer Rose Horton, and the disaster that was Deimos Kiriakis (really, how do you screw up Vincent Irizarry?) were just a couple of major missteps over the past few years. Those storylines didn’t stop me from watching though. They just made me grimace in pain. I kept watching, hoping for a renaissance – some sign from the soap gods that a new day was on the horizon.
Then, (drumroll, please) it was announced that Ron Carlivati was hired as head writer. My prayers had been answered! I couldn’t wait. The addition of Sheri Anderson, along with the solid work of Ryan Quan, and Lorraine Broderick working with the breakdown writers – it was a DREAM TEAM! The dream team did not disappoint. The last eight months of DAYS have been gold. Will (Chandler Massey) returned from the dead in a gangbuster storyline featuring Sami in all of her glory, Lucas (Bryan Dattilo) in all of his drunkenness, and Susan accusing people of being “mean, mean, mean”! And let’s not forget those wonderful 30 seconds of Kristen DiMera throwing her head back and laughing raucously, while more than hinting that EJ is alive! Gold, I tell you! We’ve had appearances from Vivian (Louise Sorel), Billie (Lisa Rinna), Anna (Leann Hunley), and Carrie (Christie Clark), with more to come! They are even using history, imagine that, with Stefan reading Kimberly Brady’s book to help him understand the emergence of #Gabigail! There’s so much more to discuss, but I have a word limit here.
Thank you DREAM TEAM for bringing back my excitement and passion for this show – my show. DAYS is once again must see TV! The only thing missing is an addition to those promos, “Miss A DAYS. Miss A Lot.”