I hate to complain, I really do.

There are so many things to be happy about with today’s Days. There are so many stories going on, many of them interlocking. There are new characters and potential new couples. Stories are well paced, the balance of airtime is fairly good. We are seeing the important reaction scenes, and story beats aren’t being skipped. Almost all of the frustrations I had with Hogan have been resolved—the jury only still out on beginning, middle, and end story construction, because there hasn’t been time for any story to fully play out under Higley.

So why am I fighting boredom whenever I watch the show these days? When I think about the stories going on, together with the improvements I list above, it seems like the show should be rocking right now. A DiMera/Kiriakis showdown! People actually at work! Phillip being chem-tested with other actresses, no Shelle, Steve and Kayla in a big frontburner story associated with Steve’s missing years, Tony and Anna in a featured story, the younger set thinking about school and jobs instead of (just) their love lives, family connections featured. All of it sounds great.

Is it as simple as the dialogue being flat, repetitive, and banal? Is that really all it takes?


12 thoughts on “Malaise

  1. Is it as simple as the dialogue being flat, repetitive, and banal? Is that really all it takes?

    In a word? Yes. At least that’s how it feels to me. I’m a couple of days behind on my Days viewing and don’t have much incentive to catch up, although I will. But, in the past, I couldn’t wait to see what happened. Now, I kind of have to talk myself into it. I keep hoping that the dialogue is going to improve just any day now. Maybe tomorrow will be the day. 🙂

  2. I think the dialogue is a main problem too but it feels like the stories themselves are just…ideas without being fine tuned. It’s like they are missing a step. Bo’s illness is a good example…”Let’s write a story on making Bo near death and let it languish for weeks!” So what happens instead of the story being about Bo trying to live life knowing he’s possibly terminal, we go directly into “insta death” stage with Hope crying forbidding him to die for a month. Instead of letting Chelsea be there for her father and work her way up to being the donor because she wants to do it for him, we wind up with her spending hours talking about how this all affects her and then suddenly think being the donor is a good thing but then back off w/o warning and get drunk. Instead of using Nick…well at all (such as having him be the donor match and feel the angst of having to announce his girlfriend is the only match) he’s totally missing. Lastly, Daniel’s arrival as Dr Jesus was so heavy handed it was difficult not to think he was going to screw up somehow which I’m still waiting for.

  3. in theory the stories should work but they’re very poorly written and executed. to me almost everything about the show seems tedious and dull, which makes it even more frustrating when they occasioanlly get things right. i usually find other things to do around the house while days is on in the background (unless nick shows up – he’ll always have my undivided attention).

  4. Well, I’ll be the contrary one again. I still think things are better now. I can’t put my finger on why the dialogue bothers other people so much and me so very little. I think in part it’s because I read very little fiction and don’t watch other scripted (non-animated) shows. All the sports I watch may have numbed me to repetition as well, since how many times and how many ways can you say, for example, that rebounding is key? I’ve heard them all a million times.

    When people talked about Higley writing “events” only, I was scared that meant only OTT stuff that was utterly unbelievable. I think what I like about the show now is that really isn’t all that true. Yes, of course events are more dramatic than in real life, but even the more dramatic stuff (Ava kidnapping Hope, for example) is still rooted in semi-understandable behavior. I kind of miss Stefano, but I do not miss Hogan’s insistence on making Stefano responsible for every bad thing that happens to every Salemite. Why? Because Stefano hates the Bradys? Why? Because. . . wait, what was the deal with Colleen again? Ava is clearly mentally ill, and she does have an emotional past with Steve, so I can at least understand her motivations.

    Anyway, I feel like the show is more “normal”, for lack of a better word, and if the pace is slow that’s not the worst thing. When we start seeing bomb after bomb and people getting raped and the DiMeras being 100% evil all the time, I’ll start complaining loudly again too.

  5. of course i responded to this blog then went home and found that yesterday’s show was actually quite good. wednesdays tend to be the most exciting days for some reason.

  6. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling positive about the show, Paxton (and you too, artemis, at least about Wednesdays 😉 ). And I just can’t argue about the bad things about Hogan. It’s true, it’s all true!

    There are bright spots now, as there always are. I have enjoyed just about everything with Ava, Hope, and Steve this past week. Like you, I am glad to understand Ava’s motivations. The Kiriakis dinner scenes yesterday were good (the reference to “gnarly tubes” aside). I am feeling a little bit better about the show since I wrote this.

    But … the dialogue! I want to get past it, I really do. Sigh.

  7. I don’t know, the dialogue on Days has never been a make-it-or-break-it thing for me. I’m a huge fan of JER’s 90’s stories, and the dialogue then was horrendous. But I’m also a huge Sheri fan, and the dialogue under her was wonderful. I think what’s more important than dialogue is interesting, character-based stories. Right now I’m not seeing much of that. The John and Marlena story does seem to be heading in that direction. The Steve and Ava story isn’t really character-based at all, though you’re right, knowing Ava’s motivations does help. But other than that, the story could be happening with any characters on the show. The Chelsea story is based on her character, and I’m enjoying that a great deal. Imo the writers have bigger fish to fry than the dialogue. I think if the stories become more engaging and character-based, the poor dialogue (and I agree, it is poor) will fade into the background.

  8. I posted about this at TWoP–I’m having a very hard time watching Days right now. It’s not just the poor dialogue. It’s that it all feels so artificial to me, it feels like a scene from Soapdish instead of a soap.

    And since things that are artificial bug me (especially when they’re played to be straight, I don’t mean parody), I find it tough to watch.

    The stories sound great, but when I watch the execution onscreen, I can’t take it.

  9. I know what you mean, Emily. It’s improved for me this week, but watching the show has felt more like a chore than it has for a long time.

    Good point about character-based stories, Ellie. I actually think John and Marlena’s story is the most character-based, silly as that may be to say. It’s the “new” John’s character that it’s based on—and of course the reason he’s “new” is totally artificial—but it’s something within him that is causing the conflict.

  10. Thanks – and good point about the J&M story. The “new John” character was invented for the sake of this story, but the story is based on the character. And the writers are trying (imo, often failing, but seemingly trying) to keep Marlena in character as well as she reacts to the new John.

  11. I think what’s more important than dialogue is interesting, character-based stories.

    I missed this discussion before! I agree with the above, but I think better dialogue could help here. My problem with the dialogue isn’t just that it’s not very sparkly, but that the characters are having generic moments instead of specific ones that make use of the history. I really think there’s a lot of potential in the current stories as they are set up.

    Ironically, I’m really enjoying J&M right now. (Ironic for me, because I’ve never really been a fan and was strongly against bringing Drake Hogestyn back this last time.) They have one of the most interesting stories at the moment, and the writers are showing some guts in doing it this way. I’m definitely watching to see where it goes.

  12. I am enjoying John and Marlena too.

    And I agree about the dialogue being generic instead of specific (and what a great way to put it). It’s the banality that gets to me.

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