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« Night Shift Episode 9: Gutter Ball | Main | General Hospital Week in Review, -ish »

September 09, 2007

Days of Our Lives Week in Review, Sort Of

Sorry guys, but personal life events require an abbreviated Week in Review this time around (Tragic hair-coloring accident?  Diet soda overdose?  Shoe-shopping induced exhaustion?  You decide).  So I thought I'd hit the main high and low points and then throw it open in the comments to suggestions for new Executive Producer Ed Scott, dubbed by the awesome Stephen Nichols as "The Dude in the Orange Shoes."

On with the highs and lows, with an assist from our underutilized awesome alert scale.

Awesome:

EJ calling Sami a "modern-day version of a Stepford wife."  Word to your crazy-ass, multi-personalitied mother, EJ. 

Prettyfreakingorange

(Though I think it is worth noting that Stepford wives are less screechy.  What is happening to Sami these days?  She and Lucas are a pretty angry couple.)

Divider

Santo and Colleen.  Yes, it's pure cheese, his mustache and her wig are still guffaw-inducing, and the accents are terrible, but I am loving this nice distraction from the usual Salem goings-on.  Plus really anything that gets James Scott shirtless more often is a very good thing.

Soyellow

Divider

Max and Stephanie being forced to parachute out of the plane.  If you set aside the fact that he's her uncle, this storyline has potential.  I mean, clearly this is leading up to a stranded-in-the-wilderness-together story, right?  And that's the kind of 80s throwback I love.  But it's Max (who's mostly lame), and Stephanie (who's a rebel inexplicably in search of a cause, and who has terrible taste in men), so I'm only letting this thing inch onto the awesome scale.

Justbarelygreen

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The faux-murder of Stefano is truly promising.  Things could go horribly wrong, but for now, based on the involvement of so many veterans, the furtherance of the DiMera/Brady drama, and the pretty original twist on the "not really dead!" soap standby, I'll take a risk and say it is going to be totally awesome.

Totallyred

Please don't disappoint, Days!

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Far Away From Awesome:

  • This is way harsh, but . . . The dude who plays Jett, Marcus Patrick, turned in one of the worst performances I have seen in soaps in many years.  His "dying" scenes were HORRIBLE.  If I were one of the guys he beat out for the role, I'd be cursing the acting gods and whoever cast Patrick about right now. That was just awful.  And Jett telling Chelsea he loved her?  Are the writers under the impression they've built up any viewer investment in that relationship?  The whole thing, much like everything else associated with Touch the Sky Airlines, needs to be eliminated, stat.
  • Oh my god, they are NOT setting up Kate and Roman again, are they?!  I have already warned about the terrible aesthetic consequences of such a pairing. 
  • I'm not so sure I would have had EJ kiss Sami while she was semi-conscious, given their history. 
  • With all the good stuff this week, the Friday cliffhanger was kind of lame.

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Stephen Nichols, whom we've said before has the best soap star blog on the 'net, recently did an entry praising The Dude in the Orange Shoes, aka Ed Scott, the new Executive Producer Days recently hired to try to bring up the ratings (and husband of Melody Thomas Scott and former EP for many years over at Y&R). 

Now, there was one bad thing about this blog entry, and by extension about Ed Scott.  I'm pretty sure, based on current trends, that the orange shoes in question are Crocs.  It is no overstatement to say that I think Croc clogs on anyone over the age of 8 are a crime against humanity and may in fact be responsible for a good portion of international terrorist incidents.  But let's put that aside for now. 

Anyway let's say you own orange Crocs.  Calm down, it's just a hypothetical.  Let's say you are The Dude in the Orange Shoes and are therefore largely in charge of putting Days on the fast-track to ratings success.  In one sentence, what would you change about Days to bring it back from the brink of threatened cancellation in 2009 (sob!)?  What needs fixing, tweaking, firing, etc.?  Your suggestions in the comments, please!

And there will be a full Week in Review next week, I promise.  Unless I am attacked by one of my many enemies and sedated into a condition that fools even a coroner into thinking I'm dead.  So, 50/50 chance, I'd say.

Update:  Phew!  They aren't Crocs.  Thanks to reader Ellie for the photographic evidence.

Comments

In one sentence, what would you change about Days to bring it back from the brink of threatened cancellation in 2009?

Keep Drake Hogestyn on the show and write a story for John and Marlena.

(ps - SN had a picture on his blog. They weren't crocs.)

One sentence: Force the writers to write something we haven't already seen several times over the last two decades that was lousy then and will continue to be lousy especially with actor substitutes(or put simply: be original).

Not to be a pessimist, but I'm not sure if there is anything that can be done beyond a radical change in management and policy. Still, I think there's a lot that can be done...

My top priority would be to introduce new characters that aren't tied to the existing families but aren't all in the teenager/young adult range either. That said, I'd definitely try to keep quite a few characters that were popular in the show's most successful eras: Tony, Anna, Steve, Kayla, Kristen, etc. I think the key is to rely on the show's history without letting the show become nothing but a nostalgia-fest. Also I'd finally get rid of all of the show's weird social conservatism. It's a relic from Reilly's era that's been allowed to stick around for some reason and it doesn't do anything but makes "Days" - and soap operas as a whole - look archaic.

Along those lines, it'll be a great idea to do a genuinely controversial and contemporary storyline. Write a long and prominent storyline about, say, a gay couple where one is dying and the other won't receive property rights to the home they bought and lived in together because of state "gay marriage" laws. It'll definitely piss off and even drive away some of the older viewers, but it will without a doubt get mainstream media attention outside the soap opera magazines and hopefully bring in some new viewers who might be convinced that soap operas are still a relevant and viable genre.

The most fundamental thing I'd do, though, is try to steer the show away from all the "adventure and intrigue" storytelling. Taking that concept from "General Hospital" in the first place helped revitalize the show in the early '80s, but that was a long time ago and I think it would be a good idea to make another shift: this time toward "dark domestic" stories, a la "Desperate Housewives."

Thank you on your harsh statements on Marcus Patrick's acting of Jett being shot. I felt for Rachel Melvin in those scenes but at least the whole episode could be broken down in TWoP style.

I'll probably be banned from here for admitting this but I sort of like Roman and Kate. I'm not suggesting we see any...touching since the actress who plays Kate might get seriously hurt from JT's unmovable face but I can't help it.

Ed Scott's changes are so apparent. I'm loving him so far. Could Steve Wyman been really to blame for so many of the problems at DOOL?

Okay, So I would stop trying to please both sides and pick the couples.
EJ/Sami/Lucas
Phillip/Belle/Shawn
Jeremy/Stephanie/Max

I seriously don't care about any of these parings with the exception of Ejami. That said I would be able to totally get on board if the writers would give me something to like/care about in any of the pairings. They(the writers) seem to be stuck in some grey area that they cannot escape from.

Becca- I think that Roman and Kate are perfect together. They have both had enough plastic surgery that they look normal when standing next to each other. Match mad in heaven.

Also how awsome was the Santo/Colleen sex scene this week? When was the last time Days had a legitamite sex scene?

I would just like to comment on your Jett comments. I loved your comments, you nailed it right on the head. I didn't like those scenes and thought Marcus did the worst acting I have seen on this show in a long time. On the flip side, Rachel did an excellent job, with what she had to work with. I don't think she could do a bad scene anymore.

I don't like the Chett relationship, I love the Chick relationship and hope they get them back together soon.

Jett definitely needs to go. It's literally painful for me to watch his acting and attempt at an American accent. He's pretty, but that doesn't cut it.

John definitely needs to stay, because there would be a huge "And that's a fact!" void no one else could possibly fill.

Shawn and Belle... I have absolutely no reason to care if these characters live, die, or whatever. Zero chemistry, zero interest.

I like Philip, but I can't believe he'd still care about BelleBot. Or that BellBot would care about Shawn, or that Shawn isn't the emotional equivalent of a 12-year-old little boy. Dude, stop whining and do something productive.

Steve should be allowed to fly off the handle about anything and everything, because he's so good at it.

Pocket is still adorable.

Jeremy... meh. Not a bad actor, but the character annoys me. Max and Steph are fine together, in my opinion. It's not like we saw the characters grow up together on screen to make it squicky.

Lucas needs to take several chill pills and stop... well, just stop.

Bo and Hope are excellent actors, great characters, and are always entertaining. And more Steve/Bo interaction is always a good thing.

I adore Nick... he's a bit off-beat, and I like that. Not the typical musclebound dude who can't act, like Jett.

Just keep Abe and Lexie together and no more affairs or bedroom issues, 'kay?

Andre in drag trying to kill people in wildly ineffective ways is strangely amusing. More of that sort of thing, please.

I must say, Ed Scott, if he is responsible for Santeen sex and those longing glances that EJ gave Samantha in her hospital bed, is a GOD to me. FINALLY some actual sex on a show that used to be all about it, and finally some movement on the EJami front. I know there are lots of people that can't get beyond Dec. 29th, but I'm not one of them and figure the writers are at fault for that mess, and I want it all rectified. They can either show EJ as another pawn or have Sami/EJ really hash it out, but I want them to move forward.

What could make this show better? Jett could die for one. Second, have the younger set interact with the older set...there's no reason that Chelsea and Stephanie should not be involved in the DiMera feud, both of them were robbed of their parents for years because of it. Killing Shelle or recasting would also be a big improvement. Those 2 have no chemistry and are so boring as to suck the life out of the rest of the days they appear. Fourth, they could have the Sami babies be DiBrady babies and not Roberts' babies, or at least let it be one and one. Having a DiMera/Brady baby makes for all sorts of soapy goodness down the road. Get rid of John & Marlena, either kill one or kill both but they're not remotely tolerable when they're together.

I'm sure I have other ideas, but those are the main ones for now.

Ooh! Dustin's Day Page (on his Rumor Mill page -- http://www.soapoperafan.com/days/rmill.html ) is reporting that someone is reporting that Jett has left the show in an abrupt sort of manner thing.

ITA on the Jett front. Also- why is Chelsea always licking her lips? I like Nick as a father- taking care of kids it's cute. Now- If I were in charge and wanted better ratings- I would have more James Scott. I agree that they need to fix the Dec. 29th mess. Also- I want the old Sami back.

The most important thing Ed can do is give Hogan a Co-HW who can write romance and fill in all the holes Hogan leaves in all his stories. The man hasn't told a full, satisfying story yet. Ditto on getting the old Sami back. And we desperately need new, UNRELATED TO ANYONE, characters in the 25-35 age range. And not every new character has to be an annoying douche bag who's later redeemed.

I think the Dimera presence should definatley remain on the canvas. No more bringing back these wonderful characters (namely Tony and Stefano), only to have them leave after a year or two. There ARE ways of keeping shaded characters on the show even after the climax of a great s/l...just develope a new one. Flawed characters like, Stefano, Tony, Kate, Victor, Philip, EJ and what used to be Sami are the ones people want to watch, and they will always have appeal and s/l possibilities. Keep the romance factor intact. I dont know when it happened but Day's all of a sudden lost it's romance, with the exception of course of the recent (and may I say beautifully done) Santo and Colleen scene. Wrap up controversial issues such as Dec. 29th in particular and put the couples with real chemistry together and stop frustrating STRONG fanbases, and finally get rid of useless characters, which are used as either fillers or proppers. I must say tho that since Ed Scott's entrance I've much enjoyed the production differences. This show has the potential to be really good again and I believe it will happen soon.

By the way, I apologize if the Jett thing I posted above is too spoilerish. Feel free to delete it.

No worries! I just hope it's true. Plus it doesn't mean they're writing off the character.

First and foremost, I have to say I'm thrilled with what I'm seeing of Ed Scott's influence thus far. EVERYTHING seems better. For the first time ever I could manage to sort of pretend to care about the Touch The Sky crap - if only for the reason that it feels like it might be coming to an end.
The number one thing I'd like to see him do is fix Dec. 29th - the EJami 'rape' issue. There are dozens of ways to do it in my mind - probably hundreds that I haven't thought of. But whatever they do - just fix it and make it go away. James Scott and Ali Sweeney have proven beyond a doubt they have the chemistry to ignite the next Super couple (and how long has it been since we've seen one??). This week's Santeen scenes were a testament to that. Holy cow - they were wonderful! So - just fix it and find a way to put EJ and Sami together as a couple in a real way. There are strong fan bases all over the map and there is no way to completely satisfy them all - so do what it takes to make the show compelling. Clearly, the pairing of JS and AS does that in spades.

Gosh the list of what they could do IMO could go on and on... but I will try to keep it brief.

While I like the soapyness of a soap I also like to see things that might happen to a normal person in the REAL world. Like say for instance... I would like to see people WORKING! I know it is a stretch... but there are some great companies in Salem. Like how about some kind of rivalry between Basic Black and Titan. Remember those TPTB? The companies owned by two of the richest men in Salem? How about Marlena trot her butt into her office and work on some of the crazies wondering around Salem? There just might be a mental reason why Kate and Roman look as those they are molded out of plastic.

How about they go five seconds without Belle throwing a tantrum? Or at the very least give her a scene at the Salem beauty salon so she can get that hairdo fixed.

But seriously they need to focus on sl's that are well planned and thought out... and not just pull some scripts out of the recyling bin. Here are a few ideas.

1. Figure out who the hell John Blacks' daddy is, how he was abducted by Stefano, and who he was BEFORE the brainwashing (as long as hes NOT Roman). Or at the very least have him go all mercenary again!

2. Have Lucas turn out to be Stefano's son... which would make him and EJ brothers, which in turn would make for all kinds of soapy goodness.

Thats all I can really think of... but I am sure more stuff will pop into my head ;)

1. Fix Dec. 29th and make EJ/Sami finally happen. Have EJ or Andre or Tony have switched the test results so that at least one of the babies is EJ's. EJ would be a good redeeming choice because he was protecting the children from being murdered by Stefano. Then, I want scenes of - dinner at the Bradys or the DiMeras or something, along the lines of:

Marlena: Pass the chicken, please.
Sami: Sure, Mom.
Marlena: Oh, um, the other bowl of chicken, please.
EJ: You think I'm drugging the chicken? *incredulously*
Marlena: *wrinkles nose* Well, your father and you looked rather chummy this morning. I'm not forgetting that cage business.
EJ: *wounded look*
Marlena: *sighs and eats the chicken*

Four hours later:
Marlena: Another cage!? Why can't you people get inventive?
Stefano: I have improved the virtual reality glasses this time! *DiMera laugh*

...the point being, more in-depth, strange DiMera-Brady interaction would be fantastic.

2. I literally do not watch the Touch the Skyline business. I don't know what is happening; I do not care to. It scares me.

3. Get rid of Shawn and Belle for awhile. If they must come back, let them be as new people. The planes of Shawn's face unnerve me, and Belle's voice grates. If Belle must be on the canvas; put her with Phillip. She seems less annoying. I'm sorry to do that to you Phillip, but sacrifices must be made.

4. Give Kate, Bo, Hope, Steve and Kayla all viable, interesting things to do.

The posters to, and commenters on, this blog all need to be on the writing staff of Days of Our Lives--ceaselessly entertaining and hilarious!

What would I change to spare Days it's death sentence? I'd do anything and everything possible to get Leah Laiman to Head Write, if not her, then Sheri Anderson (or possibly the two of them to co-Head Write together, again), and if I could get neither of them, then I'd go for Paula Cwikly. Now that Days is actually being produced by a competent Producer, the massive lack of skilled storytelling is it's malignant tumor. Out of the incestuous world of soap writing, those are the only skilled writers I can think of who are capable of putting story together and have the work behind them to prove it. Plus, they know the show and it's major characters as they're largely responsible for building it's golden history.

Fix 12/29 and make EJami happen, make Lucas into the new Scotty Baldwin, kill off all involved with TTS except for Chick and focus on characters we care about, even if we have to trim the cast (killing extraneous characters such as TTS will help) - I'd rather see the vets in compelling s/ls, than newbies in stinky ones.

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