Time for a “Come to Jonas” Talk

I’ve been watching Days for 18 years. I’m starting to realize it’s a lot like a marriage: I love it, but there will be ups and downs, and it takes work. Sometimes I need to force myself to stop reading Wikipedia articles about Mariah Carey single releases and pay attention. And Days needs to do its part to keep me entertained. And you, Days of Our Lives, are not holding up your end of the bargain right now. You are falling asleep in front of Law & Order reruns. You are missing Date Night to work late. You are stopping by the gas station to pick up some crappy stuffed bear on your way home on Valentine’s Day.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 8.57.41 AM

This will not do.

So much of the show just feels like it’s sputtering right now. I can enjoy a lot of the smaller interactions, and I can understand what the intention behind things is, but I’m far too often bored or perplexed or both. I don’t hate the idea of Brady and Melanie getting together, but this is so inorganic. Melanie just randomly has this crush on Brady that she can’t stop thinking about? Couldn’t we have seen this develop through some shared experience? And they’re so clearly forcing them into a triangle with Theresa that it’s tough to watch it without seeing the seams.

Similarly, I can admire the construction of the entire situation with Clyde, Kate, Chad, Jordan, Abigail, Ben, and Rafe, but it isn’t really engaging me dramatically — partly because I’m not sure why any of these people are doing what they’re doing. Chad is screwing with Rafe because he’s Jordan’s ex (in whom she has zero interest now) and also because Stefano doesn’t want Rafe to be a cop anymore? What about Hope and Roman and the rest of the inept Salem PD? Clyde is inserting himself into his kids’ lives, but all he’s really doing is being nice to Ben and vaguely taunting Jordan. I 100% understand why Jordan wants nothing to do with Clyde, but when the clearest drive in a story is someone not wanting something… that’s a tough sell. I might care more if I knew these people better, but Kate’s being played, Rafe is butting into other people’s business, and Abigail is doing absolutely nothing besides having sex with Ben. And meanwhile, Nicole — about whom I actually care! — is once again the town punching bag.

I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to be latching onto right now. As big a supporter as I’ve been of Tomlin and Whitesell, I’m starting to think that it might be time to freshen up the writing team. I love the way they do things, but the storytelling has become seriously weak and strangely unfocused.

At least there’s still terrible wardrobe to keep me engaged, I suppose.

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21 Comments on “Time for a “Come to Jonas” Talk”

  1. Alana Says:

    Well said. For the first time in years, I am not watching every episode- I’m down to about once a week. I don’t think it’s just because Sami and EJ are gone, but that is definitely part of it. Instead, I am enjoying Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson on Real Housewives and pining for the drama of the priest rape and church porn show. I am a total Nicole apologist, and I hate the way they’re writing her right now. I am just meh about the show right now. I don’t care about a lot of the characters, and the ones I do care about are being given nothing to work with. Worst of all, it’s not even funny bad. It’s just kind of meh bad. I hope they hit their stride soon.

    • mykleraus Says:

      It’s certainly not a trainwreck — it’s just boring. It’s stuff that could maybe be finessed to work better but just isn’t that dynamic. On the plus side, it means the writers are capable (as we know), but they need some way better ideas.

      I keep meaning to do a post about RHOBH on here. I was at my wit’s end with that show, so at least LR and ED have kept me interested. And Eileen’s finally involved in the drama without making an ass of herself, which is interesting…

  2. Dylan Says:

    It’s been really bad in my opinion. I don’t even bother with the Tammy Sue/Clyde/Kate/Chad/Ben/Abigail nonsense, and that seems to take up most of the show. I still don’t really care much about Serena, her scenes have kind of bored me so far. JJ/Paige/Eve is a disaster too, I don’t even watch it anymore. And the Melanie/Brady/Theresa thing seems very contrived and I just can’t stand Theresa lately anyway. Hope & Aiden are interesting but they’re barely onscreen, and this Paul/Sonny/Will storyline could become interesting too.

    • mykleraus Says:

      They need to make Hope/Aiden and Will/Sonny/Paul the A stories. Right now, it’s the JJ and Jordan stories getting the most play, and they’re the least engaging.

      I don’t like much of the Serena stuff, BUT if it turns out that Serena is nuts and Nicole winds up being the one to expose her, I could get onboard.

  3. Andie Says:

    Good point, the crew is not firing on all cylinders…there is still some compelling dialouge (especially out of Victor and Nicole) however there seems to be a lack of fluidity, sense of direction, and clear explanations. For example, it was never explained how Eve was entitled to royalties from a book which was not yet written by a man she was married to for 5 minutes about 20 years ago! It’s evident that the writers have “winged it” by re-writing history and/or doing so many off-screen back stories as they force feed us new characters as they refuse to write for many of the vets who are a part of or have stronger connection to the core families which are the heart of this show. Quite frankly, there seems to be an overabundance of characters and story lines in the past few years which were duds (i.e. Paige and Jordan). I think they need to listen to the fans input unless of course their intention is to single handedly flush the show down the toilet and have an “End of Days” after its 50th Season. Interesting screen shot by the way, Melanie is like a walking emotiocon chart.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think a huge part of the problem is that by the time stuff is onscreen so they can get viewer feedback, they’ve already filmed six more months of stuff. So if something isn’t working, we’re still six months away from seeing any adjustments onscreen. There has to be a way that they can take off like three months from filming so they can close this damn gap.

      • Andie Says:

        Haha 😄 I forgot about that 6.5 month ahead aspect. I will be intersted to see in April or May what they do with Sonny bc Freddie Smith was in a bad car accident and has legal repressions from a DUI as a result. Speaking of bad fashion, I seem to notice inconsistencies with the wardrobe choices. Some characters seem to dress out of season most notably Jen and Abby.
        What was up with Melanie being on duty at the hospital sans the scrubs or some sort of standard nurses attite? I’ve never even seen school/summer camp nurses dress in a lacy shirt which looks like retro-fitted lingerie. I’ve seen Nurse outfits at costume or sex shops which look more professional than what Melanie wore to her first day back.

      • mykleraus Says:

        Yeah, I wonder if we’ll see any effects of Freddie’s legal trouble onscreen. Doesn’t seem like it — the crash happened when he had time off, and he seemed to recover quickly, and it’s not like he was on trial for months or something.

        I couldn’t tell if Melanie was actually working or just getting herself started there. Still better than Jordan dressing up as a hooker to help PT patients, I guess.

  4. Jamie Says:

    The picture you selected to go along with this post is THE best thing that has happened to/on/for DAYS for months!!

  5. Mykleraus,

    My name is Peter and I’m with soaphub [dot] com. I’d really like to speak with you about contributing on SoapHub. If possible, please reach out to me via soaphubteam [at] gmail [dot] com.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  6. UnderYourWing Says:

    everyone butts into everyone else’s BIZ right?? perf pic of speedy gonzales!!

    • mykleraus Says:

      LOL, Speedy Gonzales.

      And it’s true — there’s a fine line between healthy cast interaction and Melanie just marching up to someone who wronged her father’s mailman’s niece and screaming in their face for no reason.

  7. Morgan Says:

    Well said! I WANT to like these characters and they have so much to work with but they are just spinning their wheels. Attractive actors who can act. I think it’s the lack of a uniting theme at the moment. Soaps are often at their best when everyone is focused on a death, wedding, disaster, etc. That can be overdone too but DAYS hasn’t had a good uniting story since Jack died IMO. The weddings and funerals just get smaller and smaller…

    • mykleraus Says:

      I thought the Kristen and Nick stories in 2013 were terrific and tied in lots of people. We’ve really been missing that sort of centralized driving force of late, especially since Sami’s final story.

      (I was actually impressed by the Gabi/Nick wedding and how they busted out the church and had actual people there! Same with Brady/Kristen… plus we got the humor of Marlena fumbling with the AV equipment.)

  8. Dan Says:

    I don’t know who to blame for the current mess the show is in. I think it’s clear that there has been interference from the production team. Paige and John’s arrival/return in February was a hot mess. It was clear that no one wanted anything to do with John in terms of writing. Similarly, Paige and J.J.’s romance made me harken back to the days of Dylan Patton and Taylor Spreitler, which we all know was no picnic. I think it’s clear that production’s agenda didn’t match the writing team’s agenda.

    Over the past year, we’ve had the chance to tell really interesting stories (E.J./Abby’s affair , Eve / Jennifer 2014, and Nick returns to Salem) but the execution has been so haphazard. I cannot believe the team that gave us the messy Chloe/Daniel affair would produce something as underdeveloped as the E.J./Abby affair. Also, bringing Eve Donovan back to Salem is something only Tomlin/Whitsell would cook up, but all of Eve’s initial stories (flirting with Daniel, issues with her voice, going after Jack’s royalties) all shriveled up without any proper resolution. I think there are too many conflicting cooks in the kitchen. And, if that’s the case, changing the writers isn’t going to help.

    Similarly, we know that production has never been big on the gay angle. Greg Meng’s comments were rather telling during the Undo of the Reset. So clearly the writing team has some say in the story direction. With that said, everything feels very safe. By safe, I mean DAYS circa 2004-2007 where they wouldn’t really rock the boat in terms of ‘legacy’ characters. Hope’s story is very safe. Removing Jennifer from Daniel’s orbit was a very safe decision. Even John and Marlena’s C-story romance is very safe. And yet, there are a number of new characters on the canvas, which is very unsafe. Yet, I attribute this to the financial realities of soaps operas of the last five years.

    What really hurt the show in the last year was that most of last year’s departures were actor-dictated. Other than original flavor Ben, everyone else chose to leave Salem of their own accord. This hurt the show. The Sami/E.J. angle only hurt the show because both characters are integral to the story canvas. Over the past few years, Sami has really been the central dramatic force of the Brady family. The show seems to be repositioning Eric and Theresa into that role, which will work if the show commits to it. Both characters are well developed and have the potential to carry the show. Similarly, Chad has been positioned well as the new alpha Dimera male though I’m concerned they’ve only signed Flynn to a 2-year deal. The show will never use Stefano with Tomsell in charge because Mascolo’s health is too big a deterrent. Unfortunately, because of the schedule, you cannot build a story around a man who might not be available. This is why I doubt we’ll see much of Justin Kiriakis while Kurth is over at “General Hospital.”

    I’m curious to see what happens going forward. I just don’t see changing writers as the show’s solution. It might work for six months, but we’ll be back in the same position we were with MarDar. Tomsell know how to produce under the current financial restrictions, which is what is going to be necessary to keep this show going. Also, I’m not really in the mood for another cast turnover that would accompany any sort of writing change. In the end, I fear Tomlin/Whitsell/Higley were the last team that will have had much cohesive power or control.

    • mykleraus Says:

      There definitely seems to be some… confusion over direction. You’re right about how much Eve stuff was quickly dropped. I can’t tell if anything deeper was planned with that stuff or if it was, like Melanie’s card-counting story, just material to get her back into town and set all this Paige stuff in motion. Either way, I’d much rather see her interacting with the big kids.

      I do think the EJ/Abigail affair was cut short when Scott announced his plans to exit, so I understand that. And that was largely a Sami story, the way it was told.

      There’s good stuff brewing right beneath the surface, but what’s being slapped onscreen is so dull. I still have no idea what we’re supposed to be rooting for in this Jordan story. What is Clyde even trying to do, besides vaguely become some big-time mobster? It’s all very muddy.

      I can’t really fault anyone for the Mascolo or Kurth situations. I appreciate that they’re finding ways to use Mascolo, by keeping Stefano a presence in a way that they can block-shoot all his scenes and not eff up the schedule. I wish they could use Kurth more, but I’m sure the scheduling must be a nightmare, so I get it.

      • Andie Says:

        Great commentary and information Dan! 😃 Well, the good news is Wally Kurth/Justin is supposed to return to Days sometime this month. I don’t know how much of a prevelant story this Adriene/Lucas affair is going to be (which is being speculated) and how this will all play out when Justin returns from working in Dubai. It’s rather interesting how impressionable they have made Adriene; we have seen Adriene flip out when Sami lied about Justin and Kayla having an affair with photographic evidence. Furthermore last week Adriene got ideas in her head about Justin being unfaithful as Lucas was talking about traveling for business and his experiences in Hong Kong.
        Ken Corday has mentioned in an interview that he is no longer focusing on “super couples” so, naturally it’s time to shake up/break up another one of the few married couples. I see the dymamics and Will and Sonny adds another layer to the drama.
        It’s a shame we haven’t seen a great deal of Justin and Adrienne on screen when they returned to Salem, they vets,characters which I knew and loved back in the ’80s and are a part of important families the Kirakus clan and the Johnson’s which are pretty much dead/left town except their legacies: Sonny, JJ, and Abby. That’s part of the crux of the problem not writing or vets and having many of them on just a reoccurring basis. For example, we don’t see much too much of Kayla, Roman, and Abe these days. On the other hand, Melanie has been on every single day since she returned. I think they should not have new and returning characters shoved in my face so much, they should be eased…there needs to be some better balance.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I like a lot about how they use the recurring cast — Kayla, Adrienne, Justin, Lucas, etc. — but I do wish they’d offload some of the actual story onto them. Especially since we barely have any stories playing at the moment! A mini-story with Adrienne or whoever could actually make something HAPPEN, as opposed to another scene of Chad f*cking Jordan on the couch.

  9. I’m seriously concerned about the creative health of this show. I haven’t seen it so aimless since Higley’s reign of bounty hunters and DiMera Goo in 2003. Aside from history and loyalty, there is no reason to currently watch this show, no clear idea of what this show is about.

    What could help? An umbrella story: an Ebola-like disease comes to Salem via a visit from Mike Horton, and everyone in town panics. The way people handle that fear divides families, friendships, long-term loyalties. People are unfairly quarantined, The Hortons are villified, and Anne gets to run University Hospital.

    Eventually, Bo Brady returns to town with the cure. Turns out he was a candidate for the cure research trial after surviving the “Disease” virus in 1991 (it was a disgusting AIDS metaphor storyline, look it up). Bo is a hero, the town is saved, Anne is demoted, love conquers all, we all survive cancellation after the 50th Anniversary.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I could go for that! Just something BIG. There’s nothing going on. Like, when I do the weekly recaps, it just boils down to “these people talked and then these people talked…”

      I had never thought about that ’91 virus story as an AIDS metaphor. Yikes.

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