A common complaint these days is that there’s not enough romance on the show. So what do people mean when they say they want romance?

One obvious thing that gets tossed around is the lack of love scenes. Someone on TWoP suggested awhile back that we keep a signboard posted like they do at factories about the last accident: It has been ___ days since the last love scene. I can think of only two since the summer, the Santeen love scene and the Belle/Phillip hookup. Well, maybe Max and Stephanie in the cave counts too. The only thing I can say about this is that at least these were well-lit, sensitively filmed love scenes, which is more than I can say for some of the love scenes from before Ed Scott came on board. So thanks for that, Ed.

Love scenes are important. Days used to go all out for these, and I’m sorry that isn’t true anymore. They are nice for established couples, but they are crucial for first-timers and for reuniting couples. A good love scene is part of the payoff after we’ve invested in a couple falling in love, or rooted for them to get back together. Leave it out and we feel cheated. I feel cheated of a love scene for Steve and Kayla after she deprogrammed him. And don’t even get me started on bad!sex for Chick.

But love scenes alone don’t cut it. Nor do I think the answer is to show Steve giving Kayla yellow roses, or show Bo and Hope having a candlelit dinner, or Chick slow dancing at a gala. Don’t get me wrong, those things would all be wonderful to see (particularly Chick at a gala!). But personally, what really makes me swoon is a romantic story.

My absolute favorite romantic scenario is when two people are attracted who are absolutely wrong for each other. External obstacles can (and should, for plot purposes) factor in, but at the heart of it one or both of these people have to firmly believe that this attraction is wrong, wrong, wrong. They are thrown together by circumstance, and we get to watch them fight their feelings for all they are worth. Then we watch them give in, or almost give in, or we just see them want to give in. Then cooler judgment returns, and they pull back. Give in, pull back. If you are smart, and Days used to be very smart, you can keep this dance going for a long, long time.

I regretfully say that Hogan doesn’t do romance this way. Chick were the perfect vehicle for the classic opposites attract story. He could have thought she was a bitch (but a sexy one), she could have thought he was a geek—well, that was true at least. Then circumstances show Nick a softer side to Chelsea, but she rejects his overtures of sympathy. Then when she’s in need she remembers it and goes to him for help, but is prickly and resentful about it. And then … well, you get the idea. EJ and Sami, pre-rape, were tailor made for a Romeo and Juliet love story. She’s a Brady, he’s a DiMera! Complications ensue!

When Hogan does go for Romance, it’s in my least favorite flavor. I don’t care for the “our love is so strong it can move mountains/transcend time and space and comas/bring the dead back to life.” I love Steve and Kayla no matter what they do. And I found the “kiss of life” to be well-acted and filmed (the music and the flashbacks were great). But it’s not my thing. Marlena and John’s dream connection was even worse. I will accept cheesy moments, however, if they are earned as part of a longer love story. When Kayla, who was temporarily mute, got her voice back just in time to say her wedding vows back in 1988, I rolled my eyes a little, but mostly they were swimming with tears.

There are bright spots on today’s Days. Writing for happy, established couples is not easy, so I give Hogan credit for the way he has written Bo and Hope and Steve and Kayla since their respective reunions. Credit goes to the actors too, of course, but I really believe in the connections that these two couples have. Bo and Hope have been delightful, whether making bets with each other, going on mini-adventures, or interacting with the rest of their family. It’s especially difficult to give an established couple an emotional “meaty” story without breaking them up, and I thought the Pocket story for Steve and Kayla hit all the emotional beats. There was the regret for the years Steve lost with Stephanie and the other children they might have had, Steve’s uncertainty about being a father given his recent mental health issues, Kayla’s endearingly irrational desire to take the baby, Steve’s indulgence of that desire, and the regret when they lost the baby in the end.

But I admit I’m dying for an old-fashioned, “we’re so wrong, but we’re so right” love story. I know some people see it for EJami, and though I’m not a shipper I would get on board if they did it right—that is, very slowly. But I’m afraid to get my hopes up.


8 thoughts on “Swoonworthy

  1. I’m with you all the way there maryp, from the way they’ve stuffed things up, to the ways they’re doing it right, to rolling my eyes at Kayla getting her voice back during the wedding.

    I also agree that though the love scenes recently have been few and far between, the three you cited certainly worked a hell of a lot better than what was going on before. Now if only there were more like that.

  2. I so agree. I’m still so bitter on Chick’s fast paced courtship not because of how awesome RM and BB could have made it, but how EASY it would have been for the writers to write it. Even with Nick falling so hard for Chelsea initially, they could have taken their time with Chelsea falling for Nick in return. Sigh.

    And you are right on EJ and Sami. I remember the dance they had before her wedding with Austin and that was really romantic. Weird they turn around and have him do…you know to her later.

  3. Not surprisingly, I agree with you, even though it pains me to see you refer to Philip/Belle as a “love” scene. I would add that Lucas and Sami actually have probably had the most onscreen sex this year, although the way they’re written is puzzling too (I don’t like them together, so I don’t care, but why for example did they get such a non-romantic honeymoon?).

    You make a terrific point about the “love that transcends time” variety being annoying. I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but you’re right: where is the interest if the couple is “meant to be”? I hate contrived obstacles to a couple’s happiness. It’s like the writers can’t figure out a way to sustain interest in a slow buildup without some huge roadblock–for example, Billie/Nick sex, which I will always maintain was ridiculous and infuriating. There was enough there to make Chelsea and Nick interesting without putting that problem in their way.

    Thanks for expressing this so artfully.

  4. Hee, sorry, Paxton.

    They had a chance with Chick to do a real, slow-burn, opposites attract love story, and to wed it to a redemption story at the same time (I’m a sucker for those too). I think Hogan did okay with Chick, definitely too fast and too many obstacles, but until the inexplicable Jett attraction and badsex, I was following it right along.

    The mother hookup was definitely not needed. It was executed reasonably well, but there were plenty of internal obstacles at that point that hadn’t been tapped.

    All those Lumi love scenes proved to me how important lighting and camerawork are to a love scene. So at least Days is doing that better. Now, just give us more of them.

  5. I enjoyed reading your blog and agree with many of your points except one. I don’t agree that they should drag their heels any more than they already have on the EJami romance. They made a mistake and they can fix it and they have already taken big leaps forward having EJ apologize many times and show remorse for what he did.

    What happened wasn’t clear cut rape to many viewers and there are so many holes in the actual scene that they could go back and expand on the scene to take away much of the rape speculation from those viewers who do “see” it as clear cut.

    They could show EJ changing his mind and telling Sami that he can’t go through with it but then show Sami seducing him anyway thinking it is the only way to save Lucas. This doesn’t turn it into anything romantic but it shows that EJ is not capable of what everyone thinks he is and that he was guilty of no more than giving in to Sami seducing him as she always does with men to get what she wants – she’s done it with Lucas more times than I care to count.

    Anyway, great blog! I look forward to reading more from you. 🙂

  6. Thank you, Angela! And thanks for commenting. I dearly wish they had done something like you said to soften the rape, either at the time or soon after. A “devil’s bargain” or Sami seducing him could still have resulted in the WTD story they apparently wanted.

    I do feel it’s a little too late now, after they’ve been throwing the word “rape” around like it’s going out of style.

    This current story is giving Sami the upper hand, and I think that changes their dynamic in interesting ways. I love seeing the return of scheming Sami.

    And my desire for them to go slow is partly because of my desire for them to tell ANY love story slowly.

  7. mary – I do agree with you on taking the love story slowly to build the romance. All I meant was that I really don’t think it would be far-fetched based on current storyline for them to move past the “rape” at this point. I’m not talking Sami jumping into bed with EJ immediately or anything but a real start to building the friendship and relationship back up. I think it has started and I hope they keep moving forward now – this past year, every time I think they are moving forward, they take 10 steps back.

    I agree that they’ve been throwing around the rape word like it is going out of style and that is one of the reasons I think perhaps the angle where Sami admits she didn’t tell the whole truth when she told the story of the “deal” to her family is still possible. While the scenario I mentioned earlier is possible, there are also many other scenarios that they could use to soften the whole thing. Perhaps Sami could admit that while she went along with what everyone else said was rape, she never felt as though she was raped because she knew that EJ would never hurt her and she didn’t sleep with him because she was afraid he would kill her. Have Sami admit that she did think about possibly trying to find help elsewhere but made the decision because in some twisted way, she did trust EJ.

    I don’t know, it really is such a mess but based on what we’ve seen, I do believe EJ still has a dark side but that he definitely regrets what he did whether it was technically rape or not. All I know for sure is that I’m enjoying the show a lot more now than I did 6 months ago. It’s far from perfect but there has been a definite improvement since Ed Scott started.

  8. Ed Scott has improved the show, I agree. Things are moving along more smoothly, the new lighting is fantastic, there are fewer “dropped” scenes. Overall the execution is better, it feels like things move forward instead of zigzagging all over the place. I am enjoying the show too.

    Only time will tell if Ed Scott’s influence will improve the romances on the show (in story terms, not just individual scenes). I hope so. Like I’ve said I’ll get on board with EJami if they give me a good story. Here’s hoping they will.

    Thanks again for the comments!

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