Here we are

So, Mama Pickford’s gone home. We closed out TomSell’s last full week together. Josh Griffith and Dena Higley material starts this week.

I’ve been waiting for this for so long, I feel like I should throw a Grand Opening party, a welcome to the 50th anniversary! But, this blog post will have to do.


25th anniversary cast photo – credit Jason47

I’ve been trying to keep my expectations at a realistic level, and will continue to do so. But for now, I’d like to daydream a little about what I want to see on my show.

  1. Slow-burn love stories – Let’s start with the big one. One of the reasons I am leery about Higley as headwriter is that she created exactly zero couples that I shipped during her last stint. There was plenty of coupling and uncoupling, don’t get me wrong. But everything happened so fast that it felt mechanical. Chloe is with Phillip, then Lucas, then Daniel. Nicole is with EJ, then Rafe, then Brady. Some of these pairings “worked” in the sense that the actors had chemistry and sold it. But none were the type of romance that I like – the slow burn. Give me some time to get invested in a couple. Keep them out of bed for awhile, but tease us with close calls along the way. And then boom! the big payoff.
  2. Remember the plot is just the framework. – I love a good soapy plot, especially an intricate one involving lots of characters. But, too often the plot becomes the point, and the show forgets that what we really care about is how the characters react within it. How are their relationships affected? Does this connect with anything from their past? Does it make them see someone in a new light, good or bad? This is why we watch, to see people react within the craziness of the plot. Look at Chad and Abby. A WTD story and a faked paternity test? YAWN. But we care because the show is making it a love story.
  3. Family – I loved the scenes in the hospital this week, when all the Bradys on the canvas stopped by to see Caroline. Family scenes often take characters out of their usual circle and give us different perspectives. I don’t even like Theresa much, but I adored the scenes of her with Eve this week. That’s a sisterly relationship that could be explored further (and I loved their snark!). Eric and Brady, and Jennifer with Abby and JJ were wonderful. But I want more, more!
  4. Friends – Similarly, let’s not forget that characters can be friends! Nicole and Jennifer, and Marlena and Kate, had scenes this week. Theresa and Anne are fun. Why not give us more? When was the last time we saw Adrienne and Kayla together? And men and women can be friends too! When Eric had three scenes with Jennifer over the past few weeks, I saw people were freaking out they were going to be paired off. Why? Because men and women are never platonic friends anymore. Remember Steve and Hope’s friendship? Jack and Isabella? If Theresa and Brady continue to have as much chemistry as I’ve seen so far (none), why not make them uneasy friends and co-parents instead?
  5. Let our heroes be heroes – or heroines, of course. I don’t need my good guys to always be good. In fact, let them make mistakes. But show me a reason for the mistake, and also show them paying for their mistake. One of the quickest ways to create a hated character is to have someone act like a lech, a cheater, a schemer, a judgmental ass … and have NO ONE on the show call them on it. And if someone is a “good guy,” give us a chance to see them – at least sometimes – doing something truly good. Rescuing someone, being kind, facing down temptation, going out of their way to help someone, or forgive someone. Also, the bad guys can have their moments too. Show us a reason for their bad behavior, so we can see they’re human. And just like the good guys, they have to pay for their mistakes, they have to suffer a little.
  6. Just say no to endless triangles and quads. – This is a personal pet peeve, which is related to my desire for slow-burn love stories. I think soaps rely on triangles way too much, and I think they like the neverending plot opportunities of stringing two fanbases along. But when neither couple is endgame, it leaves the actors at sea. Especially the one in the middle. Who should they be casting longing looks at? Also, triangles that drag on forever tend to make everyone look bad. The one in the middle seems wishy-washy and unfair. The two on either side seem like doormats or endless schemers. But if you can show which person is the “true love” and also give us an understandable reason to pick the “wrong” person, you can still get a lot of plot mileage out of the story without pissing everybody off.
  7. Mechanics – Another pet subject of mine. Is a story not working? A couple not clicking with fans? Don’t just abruptly drop it. Don’t rewrite history and try to pretend something didn’t happen. Especially if it’s been a painful story filled with suffering, you must give us a payoff, a hash-it-out scene, ideally more than one. See what you can salvage from the old plot as you ease into the new. Abruptly dropping stories, and giving us no payoff or fallout, erodes the trust and investment we have in the show.
  8. Nods to history – Scriptwriters, want to make the message boards light up? Refer to something that happened years ago that relates to something that is happening now. Longtime viewers (and Days bloggers!) live for that stuff. A reference to a character off the canvas is also always welcome. Just be careful to make it vague enough not to interfere with a future return!

More specifically, my wants are simple. Give me a nice umbrella story for the 50th, with lots of cast mixing. Show Steve wooing Kayla. Reunite Ericole and Chabby after some angsty longing. Give me some new characters and couples to root for. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Don’t answer that. 🙂

24 thoughts on “Here we are

  1. I want all of those things too, but I’m refusing to actually expect any of them except maybe the family interaction stuff. 🙂

    Oh and I hate to tell you this but Friday was not TomSell’s last official show, it was just their last full week. I think the actual transition is Tuesday or Wednesday. :). It’s really, really close though.

  2. At the risk of sounding like a suck-up, I have to say it is a real pleasure to read your blog — not just the content (team Ericole!), but the quality of the writing. I’m a former copy editor, and there is plenty of tortured prose out there, so it’s great to come here for a respite.

  3. So it’s Tuesday-Wednesday and then the 28th! Almost there! Continuing our Twitter convo Mary, wouldn’t it be nice if Steve and Eric would be in the same orbit somehow? What does Eric do for a living? I’ve seen bits about photography but that’s it. Maybe he could have another calling (😇) this time to the Salem PD 😀 and they could work together. For that matter, I’m not sure what Steve does for a living. I would just love to see these two interacting in some way, in any way.

    Hopefully Josh Griffith had a stronger hand this go round on the couples. I’ve heard he was good on Y&R. I’d also love to see some slow build up instead of chemistry free hookups. I’ve seen the Rafe and Hope scenes and I want to see something there but so far, it’s not hitting me. I wish they would do more close ups of the actors faces so we could get a better idea of what they are thinking. Remember now they used to zoom right up to MBE’s face SO close you could almost see her pores, lol? It doesn’t need to be that close but you get what I’m saying? I know some of the actors are worried about their appearance but it seems they could help with lighting which would help with showing their emotions.

    The fake paternity test is old as time but the Chad and Abbey story is one of the most interesting right now bc of how the are dealing with it. I need more Chad! It looks like we are getting more Dimera family stuff coming with Tony so that sounds good. I’ve never seen Thao P on the show but I’m following him on Twitter.

    I loved everyone going to the hospital last week. I wish they had scenes with several people in them. There was a scene last week and I wish I could remember who but it was but it had two characters walking and talking, I think it was Days and it was like what they did in the West Wing. I wish they would do more of that! I must be dreaming! Lol!

    They should make Theresa and Brady friends. I don’t see any chemistry there. Oh. I saw the scene of Isabella dying and it made me start bawling. I did not know she died of cancer! She sounds like a character they really let die. I saw her as an angel talking to Brady. Poor Brady! So John is his dad right? If John found out he was really Roman Brady would Brady become Brady Brady? Is his last name Black?

    • Yes, Eric is a photographer. He was a photographer back when he was played by Jensen Ackles, then he was a priest, and now he’s a photographer again. And Steve was a PI back in his last run and apparently ran off to help on an ISA case and that’s the last we’ve heard. So I’m not sure what Eric and Steve would interact about professionally, but they could always find another reason to put them in the same scene. That would make me very happy. 🙂

      I love Chad in his scenes with Stefano and I’m excited to see Tony/Andre with them and see how the three of them interact. If you ever watch the 2006-09 run of S&K you’ll see some of Thaao there. Steve was a brainwashed Dimera pawn and had a fair number of scenes with EJ, Stefano, and Andre/Tony. Some of those scenes were great.

      I want to see more creative camera work too, and even just more closeups, or scenes of people actually walking while they talk would be a good start. I don’t remember a scene like that from last week but let’s say you’re right. I’m glad the lighting is better, that’s a start. We’re supposed to get some more and better sets as well.

      Yes, Isabella stayed dead. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. LOL. John and Isabella named their son “Brady” because he was born soon after he found out he wasn’t Roman, and they were kind of paying tribute to that identity, I guess. I don’t think they would make John Roman again after all this time, especially since it would make Belle and Shawn incest. But if they did I guess Brady Black would be Brady Brady. Hee!

      I would like to root for Theresa/Brady because it certainly looks like they are going there. I like Eric Martsolf, I always have, and I think he’s sexy. I would like to enjoy him in a couple. 🙂 But he seems so much older than her, and the height difference makes it worse. If they had chemistry, though, it wouldn’t matter — look at Jack and Jennifer!

  4. I’m starting to wonder if the walk and talk scene I saw was on GH. But they should do it if it’s possible. I think in the old days, the stairs like at Steves apartment and the pier helped give the show some energy. It would be nice if they added the pier back in as a set.

    Did u see the Twitter pics of Greg Vaughn on the plane to an event this weekend? Can that guy get any more adorable? 😍😍 I really like him!

  5. So much goodness in one post!! omg I love this MP! Have to comment on 4 items from your list:

    Re: #1 Slow Burn…Oh yes, this above all is what made me fall in love with soaps- the key to romance. Build it slowly, throw in some push/pull…Show us 2 people are drawn to each other but are torn apart by circumstances, and self doubts. I love those old yearning looks and angsty expressions when two people were apart but wishing things could be different. Oh the way Steve would look at Kayla when she walked away angry or upset at him- and he wanted to reach out to her but stopped himself. It’s those little details I miss.

    Re: #2 Plot as the framework. This needs to be framed above the writers’ desks. I remember some of the most classic “out of this world” plot of the 80s- the disk made out of indestructible material, the tattoos as markers on a map for the location of the bonds… “plot lines” that sounded ridiculous when you tried to explain them to a non-viewer or new viewer. But they weren’t the “point” of the plot. Because if they were, not many viewers would have cared much. The point was the romance and character development that happened within the framework of that plot. I didn’t tune in to see them find the Bonds. Or whatever they were looking for. I tuned in to see how Roman searched for his love Marlena, how Steve and Kayla grew closer and how they looked at each other. This is what Days needs to remember. They can tell the most convoluted, crazy stories or even the most predictable “WTD” stories…just keep the characters and love stories at the heart of it all and the audience will care.

    Re: #3 Family. The recent Kayla/Abby scenes, Bradys with Caroline, and Deveraux family scenes gave me hope that Days is seeing the light on how important these ties are. Family is so much a part of what drew me to Days in the first place. It wasn’t just supercouples. I loved the multi-generational scenes and interactions. I loved seeing people who cared about each other deeply. It made the show feel like everyone was tied to each other in some valuable way…like a community instead of just individual storylines.

    Re#6 Endless triangles and quads. This was one of the things that turned me off soaps in the 90s. It’s the opposite of romance. Characters end up seeming fickle, weak, desperate and/or indecisive. A well written “triangle” to me is a short term sub plot, with the purpose of keeping the “rooting couple” or “real couple” apart for a while (not endlessly, not for years and certainly not forever). I just can’t fathom caring to watch a triangle or quad for more than a year (at most). To me that would become a stale, dull and redundant set of circumstances that I wouldn’t bother investing in. I just can’t imagine caring anymore after a while? I remember tuning in to Days once and then 3 years later and it was like the story had not changed at all (Austin Carrie and Sami I believe). No thanks.

    • I was encouraged by the recent family scenes too, hope they are a sign of what the new team has in store.

      Endless triangles kill my desire to ship anybody and in fact usually make me hate everyone involved. 🙂 I saw some of Carrie/Austin/Sami/Lucas, probably the worst part of it, near the tail end. Then Carrie left with Austin and it became EJ/Sami/Lucas. That was bad, but not nearly as bad as Shawn/Belle/Phillip. I grew to despise the character of Belle based on that triangle. I hope they write her better this time around!

  6. Before I comment on your post let me say that I am watching 2007 and no one warned me that I was heading into an umbrella story with Steve and his programming but I can’t figure out how in the hell the payoff was anything other than EJ getting murdered! Quite honestly I want to stop watching just because I know he isn’t going to die for several years…lol.

    I know we have discussed this alfeady but I doubt we get any slow burn romances. The younger viewers don’t have the attention span for it and quite frankly with the shows future being on the line I doubt they try to go there. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see it but I don’t expect it to happen.

    I don’t know how a soap opera could get so off course that they forget about family relationships but they definitely need more scenes of family interactions. I am hopeful for this one.

    Give me more sets and give them to me now! The pier is first on my list. I can’t imagine the 80s without the pier and how expensive can it be to construct a pier set?

    • Regarding the sets: I could forgive a lot of things. A LOT of things- if they only brought the loft back for Steve and Kayla. omg. I think I would pass out from joy lol.

      Regarding slow burn romances: I totally think fans today would go for it. Maybe instead of waiting 6 months for a kiss though, maybe 3…lol

    • I remember when I thought they were setting up a “who killed EJ” umbrella story. I think maybe they were and changed it based on James Scott’s popularity.

      Don’t get too excited hoping for much in the way of payoffs during the second run. The stories were lurching all over the place back then. Keep your expectations low and just enjoy the good moments as they come.

      Like Liz says, I also think the audience would go for a slow burn, maybe not as slow as supercouple days but slower than a couple dates and hop into bed. The latter was Higley’s style, though, as I mentioned. The audience hangs in there for other types of payoffs, so I think they would for that too. That’s not to say I’m confident we’ll get a romance like that, though. 🙂

      The pier and the loft would be fantastic!

    • I think that the writers and TPTB THINK that they ounger audiences couldn’t withstand a slow burn romance, but I think they are wrong. I think they would go for it, depending upon the story/characters. Perhaps not the SLOW slow burn we were all subjected to back in the 80’s, but certainly a bit slower than today, when it seems like the first kiss leads right into the “main event!” It seems to me that they are afraid to even try it because of the complaining that the fans would do (I’m talking the vocal majority on the internet), but they complain about everything anyway LOL, so why not give it a try? The golden age of the soaps was all about the slow burn, super couple romance. It would be worth a shot to pick one new or old couple and give it a go, to see what the reaction actually was. They might be surprised.

      I agree with you 100% about the sets! We need to open things up a bit. Give folks more places to hang out. The pier set would be my #1 too. I think we are starting to see more family and friend interaction, and that bodes well.

      Also the point about the endless triangles and quads. I really enjoyed Sami/EJ, but Sami’s endless string of trianges and quads really tried my patience. If I was watching live, rather than skipping along on youtube, I don’t think I would have stuck it out. What ends up happening is everyone is married six times before they are forty! There are a million different ways to keep a couple apart aside from “enter a third party.” The writers need to start thinking outside the box!

      • That’s my feeling too, Denise – everybody complains anyway, why not give it a shot?

        And not to harp on Ericole, but they actually did do a slow burn for them, mostly because Eric was a priest. It was MORE than a year before their first kiss – amazing! I joked awhile back that maybe they should make all the men priests, lol.

        What they seem to do now is throw people together and see what the reaction is. If it’s positive, they break them up again so we can long for them to get back together. Sigh. It’s not the same.

        Now that they film so far out, though, maybe they can’t do that so much anymore. Regardless, I am a little encouraged by how they are handling Chad/Abby. So we’ll see.

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