Romance is dead

Okay, “dead” might be an overstatement. I’m just trying to understand a mindset that decides Thrady is a go but Ericole is tossed aside.

But this isn’t really about my personal preferences. Let’s back up a little. When the Higriff team came on board, the couples on the show were John/Marlena, Justin/Adrienne, Eric/Nicole, Chad/Abby, Theresa/Brady, Hope/Aiden, JJ/Paige and Will/Sonny. You could also throw in Daniel/Nicole, Ben/Abby, and Paul/Sonny as potential alternative couplings.

Of all of these couples, only John/Marlena, Chad/Abby, and Theresa/Brady are still being written for. That seems like a very, very small number.

I have long theorized that shipper fanbases make up a much smaller percentage of the viewing audience than they imagine. I’ve also been reading the complaints of shippers for years on message boards, and let’s just say they have a tendency to get a little paranoid (“It’s obvious that TomSell HATE John and Marlena and want to DESTROY them!”) But I’m starting to wonder if the shippers have a point here. Is it really a good idea to dismantle so many couples all at once? I know Freddie chose to leave, so I understand WilSon (and PaulSon) were doomed – but did they have to blow it up forever by killing Will?

I can also respect the thought process that went into blowing up Haiden so Bo could get his sendoff, though I’m not sure I agree with it. Since it looks like they are indeed pursuing Rope, they essentially killed two fanbases in favor of a coupling that is untried and unproven.


(That said, I thought Hope and Rafe were electrifying today in their argument after the Russian roulette interrogation. Galen and Kristian played off of each other so well. They do have chemistry, I admit it! That doesn’t change my point, however.)

Regarding Ericole and Danicole, both couples have fans (though Ericole has more), but neither couple will be written for! Both men are being written out. If Nicole is sticking around, which she seems to be, they are scrapping everything and starting from scratch. Why? For Fynn?

With Thrady, I think they do have fans. I don’t dislike them. In fact, I keep trying to like them.


I think I am struggling with the fact that neither of them is well-defined as an individual. Theresa’s redemption seems sincere, but it’s awfully rushed. She hasn’t “paid” for her sins or done anything to make up for them. It’s good for us to see her striving to be a designer, but it all seems a little bit too easy for her. With Brady, they made a few noises in the right direction today, when he said he’s an addict who’s been living under his grandfather’s thumb. His departure from Titan, and Phillip’s arrival, might give Brady some definition outside of his love life — something he sorely needs.

That takes care of the characters and couples that Higriff inherited. Obviously, they must have plans for romances among the characters they have brought to the canvas. Steve and Kayla are having a lovely reunion story. JJ and Gabi are just getting started. And among Belle, Phillip, Shawn, Lani, Paul, Dario, Lucas, Fynn, Ava, Nicole, Eddy, Vincent Irizarry’s character, Jennifer, Justin, Adrienne, Kate — obviously there will be some new pairings here. The teens will get their romances too. But they have to start from nothing, and all at once. It just seems so risky!

And part of me applauds that. Sometimes soap writers play it safe and try to please everyone. That’s the way to write a bad show. I honestly would rather watch a coherent story with a couple I’m not rooting for, than an incoherent mess that features the couple I want. Make bold choices, tell the stories you want, and commit to them — don’t switch horses in midstream.

But another part of me doesn’t trust the show to know a good couple when it sees one. How can they make these choices without us? But they seem quite determined to do exactly that, so let’s hope they know what they’re doing.





19 thoughts on “Romance is dead

  1. It feels to me like they are absolutely clearing the playing field and starting from scratch. Maybe it needs to be done, maybe not, but it seems to be the case. They are obviously completely invested in Rafe/Hope (they were great Friday), Steve and Kayla, John and Marlena, and Chad and Abby, but they need to start building some new couples fast!

    So far I like what I’ve seen of Gabi/JJ, but they don’t scream super-couple to me. My problem with Thrady is that they seem to have jumped over about a billion steps. They went from Brady hating Theresa, to them jumping into bed, to giving them these romantic love scenes with what feels like very little build-up. It seems too easy. My only thought is that Thrady may be about to be blown up. They may have a plan to introduce a third party into it.

    My guess is that these writers have their own plan, and didn’t like what they saw currently on campus when they came aboard, so they just decided to say screw it and start fresh. It’s a very risky move. They need to be really damn good to keep the ratings climbing after all the 50th hoopla.

    I don’t know what to think about getting rid of Eric. I’m disappointed. And I like Fynn even less than Daniel right now. I hope they have a plan to either give that character some depth, or send Nicole in a totally different direction.

    Still more exits and entrances to come! I have to give them props for bravado. I have some hope for them because they have gotten so much right with Steve and Kayla and Ben/Chad/Abby, Bo’s departure, the rejuvenation of Rafe’s character, etc. I hope they are going to go balls to the wall with some exciting new stories. I’ll take bold over wussy. Of course the risk is a big crash and burn LOL.

    • I’ll take bold over wussy, too, LOL. There’s so many things to like about these new writers, that I hope they can get some good romances going too. It just makes me worry when they throw so many of the established couples to the curb. I don’t know if it shows confidence or foolhardiness! We’ll see.

      They almost have me won over to Rope after yesterday’s episode! I never thought I’d say that! Let’s hope that’s a good sign.

  2. Sorry, no — no confidence in them at all. I think you got it right in the headline — the romance is gone. Oh, sure, they may have couples, and love stories. But I don’t see anything very romantic is their interactions. I think these longtime writers are all about mystery and mayhem and danger — and sure, that’s always been a part of Days. But I first went to the show for the romance, and I’m not getting any of that these days.
    Here’s my wish — that TPTB at Days would take a chance on one of the younger writers in their stable. If you’re going to start from scratch, really commit to that, and give us something really fresh.

    • You make a good point, and I can’t disagree. It seems like the same writers move from soap to soap and recycle what they’ve always done. Some new young blood would be welcome. I still can’t dismiss everything the new regime has tried to do though, bringing back some of the vets we love, and breathing some new life into characters that I thought were duds when I first tuned back in (Rafe and Ben for example). I’m willing to give them a little more time to either prove or hang themselves.

      The only two soaps I watch are GH and DOOL, and both of them seem to be struggling with romantic pairings currently, with a focus more on intrigue and action rather than romance. Maybe writing romance is a lost art? They used to be able to do it successfully. I think TPTB underestimate the audience’s attention span, going for high action and quick payoffs rather than the slow burn, or alternatively drag everything out endlessly until you want to scream.

      • ETA: and they don’t seem to recognize WHAT moments should be drawn out, and what should be moved along quickly. They’ve done a good job with S&K for example, but Thrady is a mess.

      • I know what you mean about the slow burn, Denise. I think some of it is deliberate, honestly. I think they don’t want too many supercouples, couples that are unbreakupable. Those really slow burn stories tend to create that dynamic. I disagree with that, just because I love that formula, but in any case I think there is a happy medium between the “wait six months for first kiss” and “jump into bed on the first date.” Dena really did the revolving door type couplings in her last run, and we’re not at that warp speed now.

        But yeah, I agree that it’s a skill, knowing what should be drawn out versus what just tries our patience. Thrady on paper aren’t going at warp speed — we had a couple months where we saw him softening, before they slept together — but what they are doing doesn’t seem quite right. But maybe they just aren’t my cup of tea, so it’s a bad example.

        Chabby has been done well, I think. All the “I love Ben!” from Abby was frustrating, but for the most part it’s really working. But maybe they aren’t a good example either, since this team came on in the middle of it. I’ll be watching JJ/Gabi closely, because that is totally on Higriff. Maybe that will give us the best indication of how this team does their love stories.

    • Totally agree about taking a chance on a younger writer, see what a fresh perspective could give. I like the idea of Josh Griffith (who’s never written for Days) together with Beth Milstein (who’s written for Days for forever) – they brought her over when Dena’s leave of absence started, and she’s still there. I’m still not sure about Dena’s status, LOL.

      I disagree that we’re not getting ANY romance these days (I think they’ve been doing a great job with Chabby and S&K, for the most part anyway). But we’re not getting very much. I still hold out hope for the future, though. I’m just a cockeyed optimist that way.

  3. Excellent post. And I absolutely agree with this: “I honestly would rather watch a coherent story with a couple I’m not rooting for, than an incoherent mess that features the couple I want.” I’m not a big ‘shipper to begin with, but as long as the story makes sense and is engaging, I’ll kinda watch whatever couple they give me.

    I really don’t ‘get’ Thrady, and I’m not sure the show does, either. It feels a bit like a default pairing. They had to keep Brady busy once Kristen took off, and I feel like there was more of a plan with Theresa/JJ that got dropped, so they slapped them together (with a random, one-day write-off of the entire “Brady is a DiMera/Brady” thing so it wouldn’t be incest). They made sense to me as a downward spiral type of coupling, but I don’t know what the dynamic is now. Theresa’s redemption, positioning her as an underdog, has generally worked for me, though it feels unearned — I guess having the baby justifies a lot of that — but I sort of don’t get why these two people would want to be together other than that they share a child. It’s very ill-defined. If Brady were being drawn to Theresa and she were still a loose cannon, it might feel more like a threat or danger to him, which could be interesting. Aside from Victor hating her, there isn’t much in their way besides Brady’s waffling.

    The build for Chabby has been really spectacular — not perfect, but leaps and bounds better than any couple they’ve attempted to build in probably the last decade (aside from Ericole, RIP). I’m hoping they apply the same principles to whomever they decide to push next.

    I actually liked the idea of Rope a long time ago, because there was some natural, easy chemistry between the actors and characters. I’m scared they’re going to do too much TELLING because they’re determined to make this couple happen. I don’t think it should’ve even been a glimmer in anyone’s eyes until Bo was gone.

    • I think the TELLING hasn’t been too bad for Rope. I feel like I see people complaining about it being forced more than it feels forced on screen. I was against it on that same basis, though, especially Bo talking to Rafe and “willing” Hope to him. I was glad to see Hope reject that on Friday.

      I am hopeful too based on what’s happened with Chabby. Thrady has shaken my faith, but I really think at base I just don’t see chemistry there. The writing hasn’t been terrific but a couple that had more spark could pull it off. IMO, anyway.

      • It’s a shame that Martsolf’s strongest pairing was the one with Kristen. I don’t think Brady makes ANY sense in this storyline. Almost everything that’s working for me is Theresa, and a lot of that is just that I like Jen Lilley.

    • Aside from Steve and Kayla (and maybe Jack and Jen), I’ve never been a big “shipper” fan either. I’m usually willing to go with it ,regarding particular pairings as long as the story is good. I’m starting to agree with you about Thrady. It seems to me that there is a blow-up coming there. Also, with Daniel AND Eric leaving, what do they do with Nicole? Fynn seems like a weak character to me, but maybe we see some more depth in the aftermath of whatever happens with Daniel. Nicole seems to me like she’s going to be the toughest character to pair going forward.

      The thing that typically annoys me is characters jumping from bed to bed, relationship to relationship. I agree with Shea below on that. Sometimes it’s really difficult with characters that have been on the show for decades, but aren’t part of a “super” pairing. It seems like they work their way through everyone in cast, and it becomes distasteful rather than fun (see Daniel, Nicole, Rafe, Kate, etc.). Hopefully the new writers intend to bring a balance with that type of story. Even saying that though, I’d rather they abandon something that isn’t working, rather than try to sell it too hard. Selling a couple never works, it has to develop organically through the writing. I think they’ve edged toward too much selling with Rope, but might have been able to pull back from that edge lately. I also feel their fingers on my back with Thrady, but I’m hoping now that there is something else going on there.

      For me it’s about balance. Some great romance, some intrigue, and some good family drama. They seem to be building up the family relationships (despite all the exits) which to me is a good sign. An influx of “new” and unrelated characters might be a good thing right now, as long as they are interesting actors. I’m excited for Vincent I. and to see what they do with the new Philip and Dario.

      These writers have gotten a lot right lately, so that gives me hope that they have a plan. I can’t believe they are investing in such a culling of the cast if they don’t have some firm ideas going forward. Not sure how long it will be until we see that vision firmly in place though, or how well it will work. it’s a bold move for sure.

      • I agree about the new blood. If the actors are decent and the characters interesting, it’s a needed infusion of fresh energy.

        I really don’t know what they do with Nicole now. Three months ago, she was positioned to be a major force on the show, and now she’s just… in the background making calls to “Milan” and having Fynn leer at her. I’m wondering if they are going to play her with Dario.

        I HATE the bed-hopping, too. It just isn’t interesting. I don’t feel like this regime is aiming for that… yet.

      • I’ve heard for months that Dena “loves” Brady/Nicole, but I have seen almost nothing in that direction. I’m not opposed to trying that out — since I can’t have Ericole now, I think it would be a better use of Brady. But it doesn’t scream supercouple to me.

        I’ve also heard speculation that Nicole will be written out (her contract is up in March). At any rate, it looks like she’ll be heavily featured early 2016, so maybe we’ll have better insight as that story plays out.

  4. At this point I am not convinced that Teresa and Brady are truly a “GO.” I mean just 3 months ago we were getting tons of romantic scenes for Hope/Aiden and Abby/Ben and look where that got us. So just because it is happening now doesn’t mean it’s going to last.

    I have a feeling that either Nicole or Teresa will be returning to the lying. schemers club pretty soon but I could be wrong. Of course given Brady and Nicole’s history, it is possible that Nicole leans on Brady after Daniel’s exit and Teresa becomes a jealous lunatic. That could be fun.

    I am not a fan of the continuous carousel of bed hopping and I hit the point with some characters where I can no longer care about any relationship they have because I have just seen them with too many people. Kate and Nicole are that way for me. Brady is close to falling into this category for me. (If I had been a continuous viewer over the years I might feel this way about Rafe too.)

    Having said all that, when I started watching again in late summer, this show was really bad and it was painful to watch. Now it is a must see for me so I will do my best to trust that TPTB can continue to entertain me whether it is with action, adventure or romance.

    • I could go for Thrady as a temporary thing — I thought they worked as a “downward spiral” couple, from what I saw of them then. We’ll see what happens.

      I kind of think that whatever happens with Daniel and Eric’s exit might send Nicole into a tailspin and back to her old more unstable self. I kind of don’t think it will be Theresa who backslides, just because they reformed her so recently. But maybe. If things go wrong with her and Brady, that might happen.

      I agree with you about how for some people, they got through so many pairings it’s hard to care. That obviously hasn’t happened to me with Nicole, but with Brady I definitely see it. Give him a break from relationships and develop him as a character by himself.

  5. These writers are doing something’s good. The stories are more interesting. But that’s where it ends. The writers have picked a few favorites to write for, and if your not a fan of chabby, rope, or steve and kayla your out of luck. Or should I say thrown under the bus. Bringing on so many newbies and getting rid of so many fans already liked, is a action that had fans mad at tomsell. So why do it again. These writers are letting go of actor and never really giving them a chance. Whats even more maddening is if they knew they wanted to writer off GV and SC, why not give the fans a little something before they totally destroy them. Dicole fans have had a few scenes but all they do is stand there and talk, and most of the time fynn is there. Ericole fans have had zipo for months! Why not give them a few scenes where Eric and Nicole being happy. Or Eric seeing Dan and Nicole holding hands. With the way GV does facial expressions it would melt your heart, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for Eric. I was disappointed they never followed up on the FOL scenes. At least give us a scene where Nicole tells Eric why she chose Daniel. Maybe let Nicole tell Eric she’s scared to be with him because how they keep hurting each other. Instead they are barely on, in the background, and are never interacting with one another. It would have been nice if the writers would have given the fans something knowing the end of their ship was near.

    • I am worried about the influx of new people too. Salem does need new blood occasionally but bringing on new people on the heels of all these returns feels risky.

      I am beyond disappointed about Greg being let go. I love what you say about showing Eridc watching Nicole and Daniel holding hands. That’s one of my favorite soap staples, the longing look across the room. And GV does a great longing look.

  6. I think the new writers were a bit to hasty in getting rid of so many characters. They never even gave many of them a shot. Just left them off screen for most of the last 3 months. I am a fan of Greg Vaughan. I went ga ga over the FOL scenes. And I was hoping the new writers would see what I saw, and give eric and Nicole a go. But they just dropped them completely. Now I hear that GV is written off the show. And AZ maybe next. That is crazy their both great actors. And if their idea is to let AZ go after her contract is up in march. Then why not give ericole a happy ending story. If they can extend GV’s contract to write him an exit story (and throw is character out the window from what I’ve hear) then why not give the fans an ericole story, where they can leave the show together?

    • I really think Ericole fans (of which I am one) are the most tortured. The FOL scenes seemed to set up a reunion — I think that’s what TomSell intended. Well, actually they probably intended an endless triangle of Daniel/Nicole/Eric, but there would have been some Ericole moments in there. I still can’t wish that TomSell had stuck around, but it is extra painful that the setup was clearly there for something — and then it just disappeared when the new writing team came on.

      I was still hopeful, though, for a long time. I thought after the hoopla of the anniversary, Eric and Nicole would cycle back to the frontburner. Eric would be working at Basic Black, they’d get a little bit of a happier story, and an eventual reunion.

      It does look like it will be a big frontburner story, and GV and AZ will get some meaty material, but I admit my Ericole heart is broken.

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