FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CLAIM that people who aren't in the soap opera business have no right to criticize a soap, why are you allowed to praise a soap when you have nothing to do with the business either?
Let me start off by saying that I used to love coming home from school and tuning into "Days of Our Lives" every day. There was always excitement, adventure, love, suspense and real drama in the air. But "was" is the key word here, for Ken Corday, James Reilly, Tom Langan, Sally Sussman Morina and company worked hard (or hardly worked?) to make sure that viewers will never watch this once-great soap opera for the romance, the mystery, the intrigue, the drama and the anticipation.
The show's storylines have gotten so stupid that their once-smart, three-dimensional characters had to be dumbed down in order to keep these hack plots dragged out for months on end, only to have them reach contrived, convoluted and anti-climatic resolutions with no real payoff. These characters don't even develop anymore, other than to suddenly become overnight what the writers make them up to be to fit the plot -- especially if it contradicts everything the character is supposed to be about. And the dialogue is so unnatural, repetitive and quick to point out the obvious that the alleged writing staff must think the audience is as dimwitted as they are (I suppose the "writing" can't insult the viewers' intelligence if they have none).
In fact, I haven't watched an entire episode of this abysmal waste of timeslot since the 90s. You can probably tell with my all my out-of-date references further down this page, but the fact that everything I complained about still resonates today speaks volumes, doesn't it? In fact, the last time I happened to come across Days on TV, one of the bad guys was ranting about his "master plan" and one of the good guys was talking to himself about something that just happened, as if the viewers were so stupid they couldn't follow what was going on. What more needs to be said after that?
Essentially, this show's viewership depends on longtime followers who sit through this garbage in hopes that it will one day return to its better form (which, to be honest, is never going to happen as long as Ken Corday is breathing and NBC is digging themselves a daytime hole they can't climb out of), and newer viewers (a.k.a. sheep) with absolutely no attention span (meaning they don't realize they're watching the same thing word for word, over and over again) who are unable to think for themselves, thus needing the characters on the show to spell out everything slowly for them in crayon with short-syllabled words and large capital letters. For prime examples of both, check out the Guestbook entries (although the frustrated masses who don't like to watch pure crap five days a week are growing).
Of course, the bottom line is ratings, and Days' ratings -- by soap standards anyway -- are typically high, as their numbers consistently put them in the top five ("The Young and the Restless" always being number one). It's a sad commentary, actually, about the American public when shows get dumber only to have their viewership increase. Remember when "Melrose Place" was about twentysomething people simply trying to make it in the real world? Or when "Beverly Hills 90210" was about a brother and sister trying to fit in at a new school and new city, dealing with the real dilemmas most teenagers had to face? How about the "Baywatch" that was about the day in the life of several lifeguards and not a showcase for Playboy Playmates running in slow motion? I'm not saying these shows were any good (because they weren't), but as these shows got revamped and watered down to cater to the lowest common denominator, more people tuned in. It's much like when people slow down to look at the aftermath of a car accident, causing a traffic jam in the process that had no reason to happen in the first place. How else do you explain how a car wreck that's OFF TO THE SIDE of the freeway backs up traffic for miles IN BOTH DIRECTIONS?
The same also goes for Days, which now caters to a younger generation who apparently doesn't know the meaning of high concept and imagination, and jettisoning viewers over 30 who remember what the show was like when it was well written and well acted, who actually pay attention to the storyline details and are capable of noticing when things don't add up. In fact, the same people who think Days is the greatest thing on television are probably also wondering why "The Single Guy," "Titans," "Homeboys in Outerspace" and "Models, Inc." got canceled and how come Rob Schneider never received any Oscar nominations for The Animal, Surf Ninjas, The Hot Chick or Deuce Bigalow. Just take a look at the Days defenders in my Guestbook, whose comments are devoid of all facts (if "The Young and the Restless" is always the top soap by about a million viewers, and Days usually finishes in third or fourth, how is Days the number one soap opera again?), as they are unable to string together coherent sentences or provide any sort of evidence to support their love of the show, who view ratings as quality yet have low opinions of soaps that have higher ratings than Days. I guess by that same standard, Independence Day is one of the greatest movies of all time and Armageddon was robbed of several Oscars. The ones who resort to profanity yet still don't have anything to actually say about the show are the worst. I'm surprised they even know how to turn on the television, let alone access the Internet.
Then there are those who find Days to be exempt from everything that has anything to do with quality, citing the fact that it is a soap and not primetime TV or a feature film. Not once do they even think of what is being stated on this site -- that Days is shallow and redundant, whereas it once was rich and moving. How does Days simply being a soap justify it's state of awfulness when this same soap's last great era was during the Stephen Nichols/Charles Shaughnessy years? Other (non-NBC) soaps aren't this awful, yet they are still soaps, aren't they? Since Forrest Gump and 2 Fast 2 Furious are movies, does the fact that they're both made for entertainment put them on par? Just how blind and deaf do you have to be to think that because Kyle Lowder, Kirsten Storms, Victor Alfieri, Eric Winter, Arianne Zuker and Austin Peck are soap actors (I use the term "actor" loosely), they are of the same caliber as Finola Hughes, Roger Howarth, Rick Hearst, Michael Easton, Michelle Stafford and Billy Warlock? Of course, when Days actually has legitimate talent, they like to disrespect the actor as much as possible and then jettison their character in a very insulting manner, such as with James Reynolds and Lisa Rinna, or Matthew Ashford and Thaao Penghlis -- TWICE!!
Here's a way to put things into perspective: Would you like it if "ER" decided one day to drop everything they were doing and turn the show into something that had nothing to do with doctors or a hospital? If Abby Lockhart was in a serious car accident and the storyline (and character) was dropped suddenly without resolution and never brought up again as if it never happened? If Peter Benton "forgot" his whole child custody story (because his son ceased to be a character that ever existed) and was next seen driving around in a submarine hunting down memory-erasing alien clones from the future? If George Clooney's character of Doug Ross came back . . . recast with Screech from "Saved By the Bell"?
Now before some of you "winners" out there cry out sham and shame because I'm comparing a soap opera to a prime time juggernaut (and thus having everything you've just read go completely over your head -- which, quite frankly, is to be expected), let me ask you this: are character development, smart dialogue, plot continuity, events unfolding, multiple-layered storylines and decent acting reserved for prime time only? Yes, Days is a completely different show than any other soap out there -- not to mention practically every television show ever made with the exception of "Passions" -- but how some of you can actually defend the complete lack of storyline arcs, plot points, character development, plot progression, climax and payoff, acting ability, creativity and intelligence is beyond me, because that's essentially the "differences" you're singing praises about. The fact that a few of you also think Days is intentionally trying to be a farce is also quite laughable. Getting a kick out of the show in spite of its complete idiocy in a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" kind of way is one thing, but calling the Princess Gina storyline genius gives you the credibility of O.J. Simpson searching for the real killers.
It's not what a story is about that makes it good or bad, but how it is told. "Port Charles" was a soap opera that could make vampires and angels engaging daytime storylines by creating three-dimensional characters, using them on a developed canvas and actually allowing the actors to act. Of course soap operas aren't gritty dramas -- they're not supposed to be, especially with characters coming back from their fake deaths numerous times, plastic surgeons who also perform open heart surgery and organ transplants, children who age 10 years over the course of one summer, all the comas, all the STD-free affairs, all the long-lost illegitimate children and all the "outdoor scenes" that are clearly sound stages. But what the show did to Stefano DiMera when they brought him back (over and over again) in the 90s is absolutely ludicrous -- it went beyond camp into outright absurdity. And how anyone buys a scene where a character on the run from the law just happens to play cops and robbers with children using a black water pistol -- supplied by the mother of all people -- as the cops bear down on him and decide to disregard all police procedure to burst in and shoot him as being gripping daytime drama is beyond all rational thinking.
If you absolutely hate the the way that Days has flushed everything that was ever good about it down the toilet, then this is the place to be. If you've got a gripe about the drivel this once-great soap now puts out in bulk, feel free to let it all out and say what you want to in the Guestbook. If you're going to try to defend Days, by all means feel free to -- it's your right to state your opinion -- but at least bring some game to the table. State specifically why you find Days to be a great show and what about it that I'm lying about (a lot of people who signed the guestbook apparently don't have the attention span to recall what I've typed here that sent them into a pissed-off frenzy in the first place). Or better yet, why don't you go make your own web site about how awesome beds flying in outer space, mime minions, mood-controlling tooth implants and characters who spend the entire episode talking to themselves are? What I don't want are the morons who think criticism is uncalled for but gushing over Days is the only appropriate course of action. Criticism and praise are both cut from the same thread, and if you can't criticize, then you sure as hell aren't in any position to praise either. Common sense ought to tell you that. You can like this show for what it is, but to call it the best soap on TV is like saying White Chicks and From Justin to Kelly should be on the AFI list of the greatest 100 movies of all time. However, I will say that those who calls the Days-of-today the best soap out there are just as much to blame as the incompetent Ken Corday and talentless James Reilly (check out MediaDomain and look for the comments by Days_Fan4ever and jnickle to see the textbook example of how stupidity begets stupidity -- i.e. "JER is a story-telling genius!" or "i wish the show was 3 hours a day! i am so glued to my seat!").
If you're too stupid to see that I loved this show and am bashing it now because I want it to be good again (which shouldn't be too difficult considering there's no place for it to go but up), then not only am I surprised you were able to read this far without having any dizzy spells or your head exploding, but don't even bother trying to come up with a thought (as difficult as that probably is for you) in my guestbook, and seriously consider taking grade school over again. The worst "fans" are the ones who type away half-assed messages that attack me for comments I never made. But what else is new?
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* Are We Watching the Same Show? - it is quite fascinating to see how some people think quality has nothing to do with . . . quality.
* Defining the True Days Fan - since when did being a loyal fan of Days of Our Lives equate to being a thought-deprived, articulately-challenged, directionless and purposeless imbecile with the mentality of a nine year old who gets picked on every day during recess? ("LOYAL Days fan!!!", this means Y-O-U.)
* In Defense of Crap - an effort to right the wrong of those who think they're right.
* Dumb as Dirt - I ask for someone who likes Days to bring some game to the table, and I get someone who types with all capitals instead.
* How NOT to Ruin a Soap - guidelines specifically set forth by the late Douglas Marland about being a daytime head writer, which goes against EVERYTHING the Days of today stands for.
* The Joke That Took Itself Seriously - apparently the viewing audience is to blame for the bar being lowered substantially on the quality of television that is now produced.
* Like Sands Through the Hourglass - (an oldie but a goodie) a sarcastic look at why Days of Our Lives should be hailed as the greatest soap ever instead of being an even bigger joke on daytime television than Jerry Springer.
* Open Mouth, Insert Foot - stupid viewers are more responsible for the sad state of Days of Our Lives than longtime faithfuls who keep watching in hopes that it will one day get better; there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
* The New Target Audience? - is this really who the show caters exclusively to these days?
* Survival Guide to Living in Salem - a handy dandy guide to staying out of trouble in Salem.
* A Tale of Two Soaps - the difference between General Hospital and Days of Our Lives is like night and day, like sirloin steak and Happy Meals, like Good Will Hunting and Police Academy 6; now at 76 reasons.
* The Top 10 Signs that Your Head Writer May be an Idiot - the only thing more laughable than Days' ludicrous and incompetent storylines are the people that write them.
* The Top 10 Things No One Knows About Sally Sussman Morina - even though the head writer isn't completely to blame, she still deserves to be a target of our frustrations.
* The Top 10 Things Overheard at the Brady Pub Christmas Party - when the acting's bad and the writing's even worse, the characters will suffer dearly.
* The Top 10 Things Overheard at the Days Casting Office - with idiots like these at the helm, how can you honestly expect to see a good show?
Also check out these links:
Days of Our Lives Analysis - for anyone totally sick of the stupidity of Days of Our Lives storylines.
Days of Our Lives Jumps the Shark - The title is pretty self-explanatory.
Venisha's Days of Our Lives Page - create your own script, alternate storylines, games, and links.
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