Higley vs. Hogan: Smackdown!

So, it’s been five months. How is everyone feeling about Higley?

Let’s start with the good. One improvement that Higley implemented right away was increasing the number of different storylines going on. Almost everyone on the canvas has their little corner of the world that concerns them, no matter how trivial it may be. Hogan seemed to have only two major stories going on at a time, with hardly any minor stories going on at all. This, coupled with the fact that people never went to work or did anything with their lives, meant that people had nothing to talk about except … those two major stories that were going on.

Like the two triangles that would not die. One of my biggest frustrations with Hogan was his relentless focus on Shelle and Lumi. It made no sense to me that the key couples, the only couples, in the 25-35 age range had both been established in the 90’s. After so many years, story ideas for both couples were thin on the ground, so every other character in that age range had to be conscripted as an obstacle to twu wuv. I hated seeing hot, promising actors like Jay Kenneth Johnson and James Scott stuck in the role of lovesick, celibate fools. It was so bad I assumed that Corday was tying Hogan’s hands, telling him he HAD to write for those couples.

Well, I was giving Hogan too much credit. Because when Higley came in, she got rid of Shelle—like that, so simple!—and took advantage of Bryan Datillo’s absence to start paving the way for EJami. The visa story was stupid, but it served as a buffer between Hogan’s version of EJ and Sami—which was an incoherent mess—and our current version, which I am finding rather delicious.

More importantly, Higley realized that the 25-35 set should be the heart of the show. I concede that reasonable people can disagree on this, but in my opinion this is where the major storylines and the new romances should be taking place. Hogan had the supercouple set on one end, the teens on the other, and nothing but Shelle and Lumi in the middle. It was like a sandwich with nothing in it. Higley, in addition to breaking up the dead weight of Shelle and Lumi, beefed up the roles for Chloe, Phillip, Lucas, and Max, brought Nicole back, subtly aged Morgan and Stephanie, and started mixing up the cast in new and interesting ways. (I suppose, technically, that I should include Dan and Chelsea on that list, but I … just … can’t do it.)

Higley fixed a lot of the things I used to complain about with Hogan. So what’s not to like? Well, somehow, something gets lost along the way. I get Phorgan and an EJami I can root for, but I lose Chick and have to put up with Chan. I get Nicole back, but I have to sacrifice anything good for Steve and Kayla. I get multiple storylines and new romances, but say goodbye to smart dialogue. Rushing isn’t a problem anymore, but how about repetition and stagnation?

Hm, it’s like one of those fairy stories where you get exactly what you wish for, but it’s twisted beyond all recognition … it’s like … it’s like …


Let’s back up a little and take another look at Hogan. He was maddeningly inconsistent. He had a major problem with dropping story threads. He sucked at introducing new characters. He sucked at romance. He botched the Steve and Kayla return, badly. He gave us Chick bad!sex. He did his best to ruin EJ. He never saw Phillip’s potential. But, when I think back on what he did right, things like:

The return of the DiMeras: a reflective Stefano in his twilight years, the sibling rivalry between Tony and EJ, Steve hanging at the DiMansion. Some amazing individual scenes for Steve and Kayla, like when Nick/Steve said, “Who am I? I’m no one.” Kayla and the drill. The Chick trip to Toronto. Chelsea’s redemption. Ford’s death. Some of those things were really, really good, much better than anything I’ve seen Higley do.

There were some amazingly layered setups to stories, amazingly rich individual scenes. Maybe it was just Hogan’s dialogue writers, not Hogan himself, but it was gratifying to watch Days sometimes and feel like I was watching a show that was smart, meaty, and nuanced. Speculation, discussion, and even fanwanking was so much fun back then. Yes, it was frustrating, incredibly so, to never have that potential realized. But I had an endless appetite to discuss the show under Hogan, and that is no longer true. Speaking as a blogger and a former message board junkie, that is a major drawback for me.

So I think Higley’s biggest problem boils down to this: mediocrity. When Higley was headwriter for OLTL, Erika Slezak said that Higley “wants to write stories that she thinks are interesting but nobody else does.” I think Higely sometimes forgets the first rule of fiction: before you can do anything, you have to engage the viewer’s attention, to make them care. Some of her ideas sound great on paper, but the execution is so thin and generic there is nothing, as a viewer, to sink your teeth into.

But, in the final analysis, I’ll stop short of saying Hogan was better. Some days, when I’m watching Stephanie plead with Max for the zillionth time to open up to her, I would kill to have Hogan back. Some days, watching Phillip have a power play with Victor, then flirt with Morgan, and finish the day jumping into bed with Chloe, I wouldn’t take Hogan back for a million dollars.

But, truthfully, neither one of them has been good at what I used to love about soaps: structuring long term story arcs, slow burn romances and redemptions, angst and payoffs. And maybe we could get another totally new, totally different writer who would excel at those things. Although … maybe if the next writer is good at that, he or she will suck at something else, something Higley or Hogan did well. Beware the monkey’s paw.

Watch Days of our Lives: now bad in a different way!


30 thoughts on “Higley vs. Hogan: Smackdown!

  1. Wow, MP. You summed it up perfectly. I think Hogan at his best was better than anything Higley has given us, but his faults somehow cut deeper in many ways that Higley’s do (with the notalble exception of the lack of fallout from the ViMansion stuff).

    I used to love to speculate where Hogan might be going with certain things and there were enough layers and nuances to allow that. Now, that doesn’t exist, really. There just isn’t enough depth in Higley’s writing to allow for that kind of speculation most of the time.

    But, I totally agree that Higley’s done much, much better with EJ and Philip and that Nicole has been a wonderful addition. Having multiple storylines with many more characters involved is a huge improvement.

    So, Days is bad in a different way now. I wouldn’t want Hogan back but I don’t really want Higley there either. Isn’t there some third option out there? Or is that just tempting the Monkey’s Paw all over again?

  2. Hogan is Cary Grant. Frustrating, flawed, hard to live with, often lets you down, but when he’s good, he’s very, very good, and those brilliant moments keep you hanging on.

    Higley is Ralph Bellamy. More consistent than Cary, more dependable and has several good. workmanlike traits, but never quite manages to blow your skirt up.

  3. Watch Days of our Lives: now bad in a different way!

    That’s exactly it. I will always prefer Hogan over Higley, just because I am a viewer with narrow interests, and he was a better caretaker of the little corner of Salem that I watch for. But I do see where she has improved on his weaknesses, and I couldn’t agree more about Shelle and Lumi.

    There was an interesting interview with Maria Arena Bell last week (whom HS will be writing with at Y&R), where the interviewer baldly came out and said, “I don’t believe Hogan was writing Days,” and she agreed. I’ll be watching with interest to see how he does over there. The whole behind the scenes saga is still at least as good as the show, and just about as tragic, too.

  4. lska, I had heard that Hogan was moving to Y&R, and I’ll be curious how he does there. That’s a very interesting quote you mention. I sometimes harbored doubts on that score myself. It seemed impossible that anyone could be so good and so bad.

    I love your analogy, Paula.

    Beware the monkey’s paw, esp! 🙂 And regarding wishing for a writer who does long-term stories, I always remember one of Hogan’s breakdown writers saying in an interview that long-term stories can’t happen in the current business environment for soaps. I don’t know why that would be, but if so it means there is only so much I will ever enjoy Days again. Sad.

  5. If Hogan wasn’t writing Days–I presume the implication here is that Corday or someone else was telling him what to write?–then is Higley? She also complained on her blog that her ideas were not allowed to play out, or words to that effect. Whether those ideas would have been better or worse, or whether that’s even true, who knows. I’d guess Higley gets less benefit of the doubt than Sheffer in terms of responsibility for storyline because she wrote for Days before and her fingerprints can be recognized, although not by me since I wasn’t watching during her first run.

    lska, you’ve summed it up for me, I think, in that Sheffer was so bad with the characters that I watch for that I would never want him back. If you liked the characters/couples he liked and wrote well for, you were happy, but that wasn’t the case for me. I don’t care about Chick, I like Steve and Kayla but they’re not my favorites, and as mp pointed out what he did (or not did) to Philip and EJ was just not, to me, acceptable.

  6. If you liked the characters/couples he liked and wrote well for, you were happy, but that wasn’t the case for me.

    I think that’s true, and I feel that way about what Higley has done not only to S&K, but also to Chick, B&H during the pancreas story, and even Max, Ava/TB, and losing Billie from the canvas. It’s always going to be an issue that a new HW uses certain characters better than others; I’ve even seen similar criticism of our lord and savior Ron Carlivati. *g*

    IA about EJ and Phillip, although I do have to admit that I miss BSC!EJ just a little bit.

  7. BSC EJ was swishy (and I don’t mean that to imply sexual orientation), and I kinda floved that about him. He was very free with the hand gestures and the sashaying walk and the crazy eyes, and James Scott seemed to love playing him that way. Speaking of Cary Grant, he was very Cary at times when he was playing dementedly evil. I liked that about him, too.

    One thing that neither Higley nor Sheffer does well is create longing between characters who want to be together. Does anyone remember the excruciating, wonderful, frustrating, glorious months-long wait for Steve and Kayla to kiss for the first time? I realize you can’t take months anymore, for whatever reason, but some characters kiss within DAYS of first showing interest in each other. Or they kiss within weeks or even months, but most of those weeks or months were spent not having any scenes together, so there was still no build-up.

    I miss honest to goodness unresolved sexual tension. Does anyone else?

  8. Great post, mp! Looking at the good and bad points of both writers, I’d say they’re technically even, but Hogan’s faults bother me so much more than Higley’s (not that hers don’t piss me off as well). Some characters I used to love are being horribly written now, yes, but they were already well on their way to being destroyed under Hogan, so I can’t blame Dena too much on that one. The things that Dena is doing right were just the things I wanted and never got from Hogan. And I was just never wowed with what was considered Hogan’s best work.

    No doubt in my mind that Hogan (or Higley, or hell, maybe even JERk) didn’t get to write what he wanted for Days, but I still think that he should have delivered something interesting under whatever idiotic constraints Corday laid out. He never did, imo. And I’m not sure how much I can blame tptb for Hogan’s failings, since the things I hated most about his writing seem to be the very things people complained about when he was on ATWT.

    I agree that it was much more fun to speculate when Hogan was writing, but I even started to hate that about him, too, since I was always disappointed.

  9. Sorry to double post, but it occurred to me that what made so many people so interested in Sami/EJ (before The Event) was that they played out longing and sexual tension very well in that storyline, without actually having them kiss or attempt couplehood. It built an echo of longing in the audience, which is why a lot of people can’t quite let go of that pairing, even though it’s now become problematic.

  10. Paula, I so hear you on the unresolved sexual tension. I’m all for more casual sex on daytime, but I also want slow-burn and anticipation.

  11. Excellent blog and so true. I kind of long for a new head writer, but since I don’t know what I’d be getting, I fear the change as well.

    I didn’t like what Hogan did to EJami or Philip, but I think he was starting to take steps to correct what he’d done to EJ. For some it was too late, but he sure gave us a lot more longing EJami moments than Higley has, even though she got them to hit the sheets.

    I kind of hate Higley for Chan, and I can’t speak coherently about that, so I won’t try. I do agree that she’s made Nicole likeable, but she’s made Chelsea unlikeable, and Hogan had fixed her. I don’t know, I guess as was said above, the writers have their faves and they do well for some and not for others.

  12. Great summary maryp! Having got behind on my Days watching, catching up has been about the worst of Higley – the repetitiveness, the dialogue, the snail’s pace – making it easier to catch up with a liberal use of the fast-forward button for pretty much everyone, even the characters/couples I liked. While that’s great for getting caught up quickly, it’s not so great as a general rule…

    And yes, you’re all right about the lack of unresolved sexual tension. If there’s one thing I miss about old style soaps – and I think this applies to pretty much all the soaps I watch in the last couple of years – it’s that they don’t seem capable of delivering that long period of sexual tension any more. It used to be such a great key to actually caring about couples and wanting them together, and now it doesn’t exist anymore.

  13. I really, really miss unresolved sexual tension. I think Paula is right that EJami maybe was the closest we’ve had to that in a long time.

    I think it was Irna Phillips who said “Make ’em wait,” and I wish some headwriter would come along and make us wait.

  14. Wow… miss a few days here and you miss a lot!

    I’ve just read MP’s post so far, and I think “The Monkey’s Paw” is a very apt comparison. Days really does seem to make poor decisions in hiring headwriters.

    MP, I do agree that with Hogan, dialogue and individual scenes were better. In my mind, this may very well have nothing to do with Hogan himself. My biggest problem with his writing was that he seemed to think of the stories ahead of time and then insert the characters into the stories. Sometimes it worked well, sometimes it worked ok, and sometimes it didn’t work at all. I think Tony/Andre worked fairly well. I think Stefano worked… ok. Joe Mascolo himself said that he didn’t appreciate the way that Hogan wrote Stefano. But I do think that Hogan got the feel and “flavor” of the DiMera family pretty well.

    Pretty much the remainder of the characters, imo, really didn’t work at all. Meaning that Hogan didn’t really think of who their characters were before plugging them into his stories. Granted, he may not have known the characters’ histories at the outset, but I think it was his job to learn them before he planned out his storylines.

    Also, I found his pacing and the number of simultaneous stories to be a problem. I agree MP that Higley is better in that area. (She’s not great, but certainly better than Hogan). Days viewers are used to a certain pacing, given that virtually all of the headwriters over the years have used a similar format. When Hogan had only two or three stories going, and when he would show the same characters two or three days in a row, and then not for a week, viewers became confused and alienated.

    Completely agree with your Higley ‘mediocrity’ paragraph, and with the Slezak quote, for that matter. Higley’s stories do not have a beginning, middle and end. They really are ‘events’, not stories. Steve and Kayla’s baby storyline should have stretched for months. I have a close friend with a preemie right now and it’s impacted her life (and truthfully the lives of her family and friends) in almost every way. A soap is the perfect venue to show something like that. Instead, Kayla had the baby on an emotional and well-done set of episodes, and that was that. No buildup, no fallout. Similar to all of Higley’s stories. The ratings are stagnant because the stories are too.

  15. That’s exactly it. I will always prefer Hogan over Higley, just because I am a viewer with narrow interests, and he was a better caretaker of the little corner of Salem that I watch for.

    lska, I’m glad you said this first, lol. I’ll come out and say it, Hogan did an absolutely terrible job with the corner of Salem that I care about. I realize that that colors my opinion of him. While Steve and Kayla may have been in character (but with my limited knowledge of them, though, I don’t really think they were), Marlena and John absolutely were not. And sure, the letter reading was a complete insult as well. I kept track of all of the moronic lines that Hogan gave Marlena. It was almost like Marlena was in the scene anyway, so he’d just give her whatever line he needed the secondary character in the scene to say. The worst was when Marlena (who was once raped) told Sami that EJ loved her, and it was Sami who had to tell Marlena that rape isn’t love.

  16. Ok one more comment for now lol – completely agree with Paula about the unresolved sexual tension. It’s just not there now. Bed-hopping (or elevator-hopping, as the case may be) is the complete opposite. And Hogan was no better. I’m a huge Sheri Anderson fan, and she did this so well. When viewers see tension like that building, they get completely hooked and tune in day after day to see what will happen next. But if viewers know that next week, the characters on their screen will be in someone else’s beds, they have no reason to keep tuning in.

  17. I will totally agree with you that Hogan wrote Marlena pretty badly. I always got the impression he really didn’t care for the character. Though I loved Ninja!Marlena, LOL.

    I didn’t realize that Joe Mascolo didn’t like how Hogan wrote Stefano. I thought Stefano was one of Hogan’s best characters.

    Sheri Anderson was undoubtedly the queen of UST. I wish whoever was writing Days would understand that the plot shenanigans don’t matter nearly as much as keeping the relationships developing consistently and slowly. When I started watching Days this time around, I was completely ready, even eager, to ship the younger couples on the show. I didn’t realize that those slow burn stories weren’t happening anymore. I ship couples in spite of the writing, not because of it.

    I always marvel at the fact that Steve and Kayla took six months to kiss, a year to sleep together, and two years to get married. And I was hooked through all of it. That would never happen now. It takes real skill, to stay true to the characters and also keep the obstacles believable.

  18. Though I loved Ninja!Marlena, LOL.
    Ok you have stumped this Marlena fan. :p When was this? Do you mean Lexie?

    I didn’t realize that Joe Mascolo didn’t like how Hogan wrote Stefano. I thought Stefano was one of Hogan’s best characters.

    Here is a link to the SOD article when Joe got fired. I’m not sure I ever thought Hogan completely ‘got’ Stefano, though. Which scenes/storyline do you think were written well for him? I might not be remembering all of them. imo Sheffer’s Stefano came off as too much of a caricature of what he could have been.


    COMPLETELY agree with your last two paragraphs above. Very well put. (And I love your Sheri post you wrote a while back.) J&M under Sheri had much the same timing as S&K did, both in 86 and 92/93. In 86, after spending months being attracted to each other, J&M slept in a hotel bed next to each other while ‘on the run’. And… major tension, but nothing happened. Then a week or two later, Marlena fell asleep in John’s arms also when they were on the run, and… they dreamed about each other. It took even longer for them to actually kiss. Complete opposite of the gratuitous sex thrown in our faces today.

  19. Hee! Ninja!Marlena attacked Steve with the hypo shot when he was escaping from the loony bin. It was a bit like the recent scene where she gave John the shot when he was resisting arrest, but Marlena was much more like a Charlie’s Angel in the Steve scene. Anyway, I loved it. 🙂

    But yeah, like I said above, I got the sense that Hogan didn’t really like writing for Marlena. Though I remember thinking the J&M trip to Italy was pretty good, when they broke open the crypt.

    I read that article from Joe M, it’s too bad he was let go so abruptly like that, and he had such a bad experience. How horrible that no one even called him to let him know personally.

    What I liked about Hogan’s Stefano was especially when he first came back, when he seemed so aware of being in ill health and in his twilight years, and concerned about his legacy. I loved the tension between Tony and EJ as they vied for Stefano’s good opinion, and Stefano seemed to enjoy playing them off of each other. I know there was some cartoonish stuff with the DiMeras later, but I felt like Andre got most of the really silly stuff.

    Other scenes that stand out for me: Steve and Stefano after Benjy’s death, Shawn and Stefano in the graveyard around the same time, talking about the past. Stefano and Tony had a great scene right around the time of EJ’s paralysis (I think), when Stefano tried to rope Tony back into being a DiMera lackey.

    I know there was a lot of unrealized potential to the DiMera backstory and the whole DiMera family, but that is true of every storyline on the show. I felt like Stefano was usually well used. I remember being really disappointed after Higley came on, and Stefano was back to tinkering with people’s heads in his laboratory, with no apparent motivation.

    But that may be just me!

    Was the J&M hotel scene from 1986 when they were in West Virginia?

  20. Hee, Ellie — I’m totally willing to admit my biases as long as others are, too. *g*

    I kept track of all of the moronic lines that Hogan gave Marlena. It was almost like Marlena was in the scene anyway, so he’d just give her whatever line he needed the secondary character in the scene to say. The worst was when Marlena (who was once raped) told Sami that EJ loved her, and it was Sami who had to tell Marlena that rape isn’t love.

    I know Marlena is still taking hits around the ‘net for her advice to Billie about Steve in ’06, when she really should have been written to see both sides of the dating-an-amnesiac issue. It’s unfortunate.

    My inclination is to defend Hogan, and I’m trying not to do that too much. I do think, though, that one factor on coming into a new show that he didn’t have the history with was — how far back was he supposed to go in rehabilitating these characters? With S/K, they were just back from a long absence, so he could go right back to that golden 80’s material. And he didn’t always get that right. With J/M, it’s not as clear to me where to start with characters that had come out of the Alex North saga and the Salem Stalker arc. How far back do you go to find the core of what made them work in the past? I don’t think that’s an easy question to answer from an outside perspective, although it’s not to say he shouldn’t have tried harder.

    I still think that for all his missteps, HS left the show in a much better condition than he found it. It’s something I think about when comparing him and Dena, and what they each had to work with when they came aboard.

    What I liked about Hogan’s Stefano was especially when he first came back, when he seemed so aware of being in ill health and in his twilight years, and concerned about his legacy.

    I liked that, too, and it tied in with my one of my favorite versions of EJ as the young DiMera scion. Cultured on the outside, but unlike his father, willing to get his hands dirty. And a little swishy. *g*

  21. Your post sums up exactly how I feel. With Hogan, I felt like there was something “there” there. Now when I think about Days, I think, do I want to put the energy in to putting in a new tape/watching what’s on the tape? I looked forward to watching almost every day under Milstein and then Hogan. And I thought Hogan near the end was really starting to get it with his stories. The whole sorority storyline–loved that, even though I grimaced my way through the opening party.

    I loved Hogan’s Stefano. And if Hogan hated Marlena, well, that gives him credit in my book.

  22. lol MP, had forgotten about that “ninja” scene. My first reaction when reading what you wrote about it was… didn’t I hate that? But I just re-watched it to make sure. I hated it. :p (And for the record, I hated when Marlena recently injected John.) But with the Marlena/Steve scene, in my mind it’s kind of what I was talking about… someone probably told Sheffer that he had forgotten to put Marlena on the show that month, so he stuck her in those scenes. Might have been cute to watch on the ‘campy’ scale, but wasn’t really who Marlena is at all.

    MP, yes, the hotel scene was from 1986 when they were in West Virginia. Major ‘UST’ as you call it in that storyline (and beforehand), until they finally did kiss.

    MP and lska, interesting points about Stefano. I wonder if Joe M wasn’t really happy with Stefano in the ‘patriarch’ role like that. It does age a character to do that, and Stefano hadn’t really been used in that way before. One reason I didn’t really like some of the scenes you mention is that I prefer seeing Stefano himself in action rather than his “passing the torch”. That was one of the reasons I loved the Stefano/Marlena scene during the Shelle wedding episode. It was like Stefano of old -no mention of any heirs to the throne there at all. What I’d like is for the DiMera sons to be spun off in storylines of their own, perhaps checking in with Stefano once in a while, while he’s wreaking his own havoc in his story. I’d prefer that much more than Stefano just giving orders from his perch in the mansion.

    With J/M, it’s not as clear to me where to start with characters that had come out of the Alex North saga and the Salem Stalker arc. How far back do you go to find the core of what made them work in the past? I don’t think that’s an easy question to answer from an outside perspective, although it’s not to say he shouldn’t have tried harder.

    Well, aside from Italy, Sheffer didn’t write for J&M as a couple at all. And I did like Italy for what it was, but I wouldn’t call it a ‘storyline’. It only lasted about a month. So in my mind it’s not that he should have tried harder, it’s that he should have tried in the first place.

    But regarding ‘how far back should he have gone’… lol that’s a whole essay in itself, but really, J&M as a couple were in character during SSK and Alex North. The SSK story was based on John’s loving Marlena above anything else and doing all he could to help her. Ditto Alex North. And then, in the hospital scenes in January 2008 after Marlena found John, J&M were *perfectly* written. So that’s one reason I do fault Sheffer for how he wrote (or didn’t write) J&M.

    In terms of individual characters, though, Marlena hadn’t been in character since her lucid moments during the SSK story. But whoever wrote her dialogue during John’s death ‘got’ her 100%. So… it is possible imo to go back to the core of what makes a character who they are. I just don’t think Sheffer was capable of doing that – or he didn’t want to try.

  23. Heh, I imagine as a Marlena fan seeing that ninja scene probably wouldn’t go over very well. Especially since, as you say, I think it was just about the only time she was on that month. But I can’t help it, I liked it. 🙂 I also liked the scene you mention with Marlena and Stefano during Belle’s wedding.

    I really, really liked John’s death, which I tend to forget about because he came back from the dead so soon afterwards. (It undercuts it all for me.) I agree with you that they were very well written, the funeral scenes especially, and all the actors did very well with them.

    Emily, I too looked forward to watching Days during Hogan’s tenure (well, usually), and Milstein’s before it. It never felt like a chore like it sometimes does now.

  24. I think Hogan was capable of writing for John and Marlena, or at least Marlena since John’s death and Marlena after his death was written by Hogan. Why he didn’t until that point is up for debate (didn’t like them, wasn’t allowed to, a combination of both). But, I can say I’ve never liked Marlena as much as I did in the scenes between John’s death and his resurrection.

    I too looked forward to watching during Hogan’s tenure much more than I do with Higley. As much as there are things I like now that were sadly missing during Hogan, there was just something fundamental and perhaps undescribable that I liked about Hogan’s style. I can’t necessarily support it with evidence or logic, it just is. I suppose it’s kind of why some people love certain authors while others find the same author to be unreadable. On some level, it’s just what you connect with and it’s either there or it isn’t.

  25. I was listening to the Tom Casiello interview on In the Zone radio, where he talked about some of the problems with Days right now. One thing he mentioned was that there was no sense of anticipation witht he show anymore. I think that ties into my own sense that there’s no longing on the show anymore (and, as a result, we don’t long for anything, either, except a better show).

    I can put up with a great deal of angst if I know I have some sort of final denouement, some pay-off, for the angst. We’ve been burned badly over the past couple of years in the pay-off department, which makes it hard to anticipate anything.

  26. Regarding John’s death and “resurrection”, I actually put that in the negative column for Higley. I thought John’s “death week” was done very very well, across the board – dialogue, direction, editing and acting. I thought Marlena’s scenes after John died were also very well done, especially the ones focusing on her as a character (rather than Sami’s love woes.) But, I also really liked the scenes in December and January introducing the idea that John might be alive. The chance meetings between J&M, the psychic putting hope in Marlena’s heart at Christmas… that was very much in tune with J&M, and Deidre played it very well, I thought – a distraught, depressed widow who had been given a glimmer of hope. And then the first week of J&M reunion scenes were a little earlier than expected (I thought the ‘chance meetings’ should continue and intensify for a while) – but they were also done so well. That first scene with John in the hospital was similar to one of the best J&M fanfics ever written, and well, when what’s on the show is the same as what many J&M fans consider the gold standard in fanfics, you know they’re on the right track.

    But then – the story moved right to Ireland, and the plane crash, the ‘dock wars’, the computer disk, and where it is now.

    So really, for me it’s not John’s coming back to life that undercuts the death scenes, it’s the writing now. I thought that December and January did justice to the death scenes while introducing a new element to the story. But with the way the show’s been written now, the October scenes have pretty much been forgotten. It’s only the actors imo who are attempting to put consistency and followthrough into the show. I can’t see any of that reflected in the writing, though.

  27. Actually, I really liked the “teaser” part of the story, too, Ellie, before John came back for real. I thought it was very effective drama. I loved how it wasn’t clear whether John was alive or if Marlena was just being preyed upon by an opportunistic psychic.

  28. haha well now I know why your site is called “no spoiler Days”. I should try that sometime, lol. Because let’s just say I didn’t have that exact same reaction. But either way, I agree with you that it was very effective drama. 🙂

  29. I like Hogan writing far more better than Highley writing. She doesn’t make a good job it’s for sure. The mystery is why Corday keep her ??!!!!

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