It was the summer of 2007 that a bunch of us on the Television without Pity Days board—which is a single thread forum—noticed that, in terms of total posts and pages, we were slowly gaining on the boards for All my Children and One Life to Live. We thought, hey, why not catch up? So we talked. A lot. We talked about Hogan Sheffer vs. James E. Reilly. We talked about the various recasts of Belle and Shawn. We talked about supercouples from the 80’s and the supernatural plots from the 90’s, and how they affect the show today. We talked about Shelle and Chick, Billie’s dysfunctional history, whether Lucas was salvageable, and how they should have handled Steve and Kayla’s return; we discussed the merits of smashed couple names, we talked about our dream pairings, we counted Marlena’s gasps and Claire’s bows, and we debated EJ’s rape of Sami (over and over and over).

Even before we set this meaningless benchmark for ourselves, and then after we passed it, the board was usually hopping. Not that we all thought the show was great, far from it. But there was always something to talk about. We coined words like sweeeeevil (sweet + evil, first applied to Victor) and the verb to shawn, which meant “to deliver,” from Shawn’s short-lived job working for EJ. We did “schematics,” which are somewhat difficult to explain, but involved representing something about the show in picture form. Here’s one I did during the kidneynapping storyline.

To handle disagreements, we started different “tables” representing different points of view. This started after EJ’s rape of Sami, when things got heated. We ended up forming six or eight different tables representing the different perspectives on EJ. Then suddenly the tables multiplied, and it became a popular way to introduce a dissenting opinion, or any opinion. The Table of Moral Bankruptcy (TOMB) was a big one, I remember. We set up the Bar of Indecision (started I think by someone who couldn’t decide which EJ table to sit at) and were constantly sending drinks back and forth to each other.

Hee, I guess it all sounds a bit silly. But it was fun. And, it being a single thread forum, it was hard to keep up. Those of us who were regulars didn’t want to miss a thing, so if you went out of town for a week you were faced with reading fifty pages of posts before you could post again.

Those glory days are gone. Nowadays, while still being snarky and funny, things are very, very slow. (I bet OLTL could overtake us easily!) Even when I’m not watching Days, I still read the forum, and some days go by with only three or four posts, the whole day. And many times these posts aren’t even about the episode. So even though I’m reading the board partly to keep up on what’s going on in the show, sometimes I can’t really tell. People just don’t have much to say.

But, over the last month, two running themes have emerged: Melanie is involved in every storyline, and EJ’s hair looks terrible.

I watched two episodes this week to catch Nick’s last scenes, and I must admit that in spite of everything it was gratifying to be back in the loop. So, you might be hearing from me occasionally—very occasionally—about today’s Days after all. (What is it about soaps? There’s no other show that I would watch when it offers so little in quality or entertainment value.)

Boy, those TWoPers weren’t kidding about that hair:


The other storyline that has sparked some discussion is Danloe, in the “it’s so disgusting I can’t look away” category. I watched their big love scene this week, and it managed to be both sleazy and cloyingly saccharine at the same time. That is not a combination I thought possible.

I finally have a bead on Dena’s writing strategy. It’s not complicated. It’s to create as many new couples as possible in as short a time as possible, leave them together long enough for them to acquire a couple name and a few fans, and then give them the most damaging and character-destroying problem you can think of. Grannysex! Sex with another man at your engagement party! Faking a pregnancy and stealing a baby! Then lather, rinse, repeat.

9 thoughts on “Recidivism

  1. I started reading TwoP as a result of reading your blog, so I’m a recent reader. I wasn’t reading in what must have been its heyday. I haven’t posted there because, really, what can you say? But even I have noticed the sad fall off recently. Other than chewing over the Melanie, EJ’s hair, Danloe stuff, no one is excited about anything. I am certainly not. And yet, I keep watching.

    It’s really all your fault. You reminded me of my love for S&K. Watching the 80’s stuff reminded me of how much fun it used to be watching soaps. So I gave it a try. I’m still longing for that fun and I’m still watching (sort of — it takes me about 5-10 minutes to get through an episode), but I don’t have much hope. Do you think soaps might really be over? I started watching Night Shift as a result of the enthusiastic raves of the Serial Drama ladies (and because their blogs regularly give me much-needed fits of laughter). I used to watch GH and seeing that history revisited in a really good storyline with really good actors was like ecstasy, once again reminding me of what I once enjoyed.

  2. I haven’t had time to catch up with the Board for a long time now – though my own site definitely grew out of hanging out there talking soaps several years back – but I know what you mean about feeling out of the loop.

    For me it’s not out of the loop so far as the board is concerned any more, but out of the loop with everyone’s blogs. Back when I was deluding myself that I’d catch up on all those episodes of Days (and GH) I hadn’t got around to watching I’d stay away from all the blogs so as not to be reading their own commentary in advance. But now I’ve given up on the delusion that I even want to catch up with Days, and am now free to read everyone’s blogs regardless. It feels so much better.

  3. Flaco, I feel I should apologize for reminding you of how great S&K were, but I can’t! I need people to share in my obsession!

    Zara, I don’t blame you for giving up on Days. I saw on your blog you started OLTL awhile back and Y&R more recently. I thought about picking up OLTL at one time myself, but instead I went for, well, this, I suppose.

    I just received my DVDs from late 1983 and 1984—full episodes! I plan to order 1985 and 1986 in the next batch. I’m so excited. But I’ve still got a good long while to go on my current set (which go up through 1992), which I am really enjoying. With today’s Days in the state that it’s in, I love seeing that big stack of DVDs to look forward to.

  4. Where are you getting the DVDs, MP? I’d like to watch some of the stuff I missed before 1986. You can email me if you don’t want to post it here.

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