Like Unnaturally Fast Sands Through the Hourglass…

Note: This article first appeared in full on Soaphub.com.

You guys. I wrote an article on the history of SORASing through the entire 50-year run of Days of Our Lives. And I even made little timeline graphics, like the one below, which is probably the saddest/most embarrassing thing I’ve done in quite some time.

soras-timeline1

Full article behind the cut.

 

With the recent announcement that newcomer James Lastovic has been cast to play Joey Johnson, the now-teenaged son of Steve and Kayla, as well as a slew of other casting calls that seem to be for familiar characters (Theo, Ciara, Claire, and maybe Chase), Salem might be about to suffer another outbreak of the disease that strikes every few years: SORAS, or Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. Using some visual aids to represent when characters were actually born onscreen, let’s take a look back at the history of SORAS since Days of Our Lives‘ inception — and what kind of effect it has had on the stories that have played out over the years.

soras-timeline1

While we have a tendency to reflect on the “good old days” when things were pure, it’s interesting to see that the first two Horton-descended children born on the show were SORASed — and not just aged, but aged in egregious ways. Right off the bat, we have Julie’s son, David Banning, who was born in 1967. Please note the Scotty Banning who appears a mere decade later in the timeline. Scotty is not David’s sibling, but his son! David was involved in adult storylines by the mid-70s and had made Julie (a teen when the show began) a very young grandmother before the 80s even hit. And Scotty was aged to adulthood in 1989! Then there’s Mike Horton, born to Laura and Bill (though he for years thought his father was Mickey) in 1968, who was already married to his first love, Margo, by 1978.

Hope was born in 1974 but celebrated her 18th birthday in 1984, while Jennifer (born in ’76) returned as a teen in 1985. Maggie’s daughter Sarah, born in 1981 as part of a surrogacy program, was a young woman who left town in 1991 and hasn’t been back since; considering that the egg donation that led to her birth has been implied to be the same one that resulted in Daniel’s conception, it’s possible she is around the same age as Daniel now, although as we can see, ages and history often abide by some fast-and-loose rules in Salem.

At the very tail end of this period, we come to Sami and Eric, who were already teenagers by 1992. In and of itself, that wasn’t a huge problem, because their parents (Roman and Marlena) looked appropriate as parents of teenagers.

soras-timeline2

Although all the significant births’ for the show’s first 20 years could easily be fit into a single timeline, there are so many after 1985 that each timeline is now only a single decade — and some of these are still very crowded! The second half of the 80s and the very early 90s in particular are packed with the children of prominent couples; it seems that the number of pregnancy- and baby-related stories in these years boomed. I didn’t even include Justin and Adrienne’s other two boys, the twins they adopted who are just a bit older than Sonny, because that part of the timeline is so clogged up!

Many of the characters whose births are depicted here are actually very close to their actual ages in the present-day show (Sonny, Theresa, and Abigail, for example), though some of this is probably due to their parents having been offscreen for many years. And in the case of Abigail, she is currently around the right age — she should be 23 chronologically and seems to be right around there as played by Kate Mansi — but she was actually frozen in time for a while. She was 14 in the fall of 2004, then in college by 2006, and then returned in 2011 still a college student. Shawn Douglas Brady was aged pretty gradually, since he was SORASed into a high school student in 1999, when he should have been 12 in real time.

This period is also where we come to the first truly out-of-step case of aging: Brady Black, born in 1992, was college-aged by 1999, which made him older than Shawn Douglas (then a teen). His sister, Belle Black, was born in 1993 and became a teen by 1999, which made references to how Sami (now only a few years older than her) tried to sell her on the black market as a baby very strange, since Sami would have had to be about five when she did that.

soras-timeline3

The 1995-2000 period truly gets out of control. Philip Kiriakis, who is only a few months older than Will Horton chronologically, joined the Salem High crowd in 1999, making him a contemporary of Shawn Douglas, Belle, and Brady, despite their birthdates being spread over an 8-year period. Will stayed a child for many more years, to the point where he is close to his real age onscreen today: he should be 20 years old, and he’s being played as early 20s (albeit married and with a baby).

Elvis DiMera (a.k.a. EJ) represents an even more absurd case of SORASing. Born in 1997 as the baby Kristen tried to pass off as her and John’s, he returned to Salem in 2006 as a fully grown adult ready to take over Stefano’s empire — and a contemporary of Sami Brady, who had been a hell-raising young mother when Elvis was born! In retrospect, actor James Scott could have been cast as almost anyone: a long-lost son of Stefano or Tony DiMera, or even as Benji DiMera, the son of Stefano’s who had been seen as a child in the late 80s. EJ’s storyline didn’t even involve Kristen until very late in his run, at which point anyone who stopped to think about it would realize there was no way Kristen would have been old enough to pass infant EJ off as her and John’s kid unless perhaps John had taken her as a child bride.

The next child on the timeline, Georgia Brady, was actually stillborn to Billie Reed in 1998. In 2004, she turned up in Salem as a teenager named Chelsea Benson, a classmate of Abigail’s (who, due to her 2011 de-SORASing, would actually be several years younger than Chelsea now).

After the turn of the century, we have: Zack Brady, who was killed by Chelsea in 2006, so he’s probably due to turn up as a 30-year-old soon; Joy Wesley, not seen since she was a child in 2005); Theo Carver, who’s actually right around his chronological age of 12 on the show now but seems likely to be SORASed with the next crew of kids, despite being years older than them; and finally JJ Deveraux, who returned as a teenager in 2013 in a case of rapid aging that didn’t really foul up any existing timelines or references to the past.

soras-timeline4

The 2005-2010 period was also a hotbed of significant Salem births. Shawn Douglas (born 1987) and Belle (born 1993) became parents to Claire in 2005. Shawn also became the big brother to Ciara — younger than her niece Claire! — that year, and now it looks like Ciara and Claire are about to be aged, but Ciara might be older than Claire now, which makes zero sense if one thinks about the history because Claire received a life-saving organ donation from the dying Zack, and Ciara was only conceived following Zack’s death.

Sami, meanwhile, gave birth to and/or raised roughly 100 children during this period, all of whom were approximately the correct ages when last seen. The same goes for Parker and Arianna, both born in more recent years and still being played as their chronological ages. The outlier on this timeline is the aforementioned Joey, who was born in late 2008, has been seen only sparingly as a child over the years, and will be 16 when we see him again in the fall of 2015. This isn’t quite as aggressive as the SORASing of Philip or EJ, and oddly, it doesn’t cause many complications as far as referencing history, since his conception and birth were pretty divorced from other storylines (though if Tyler “Pocket” Kiriakis, whom Steve and Kayla fostered before they had Joey, turns up, that could get complicated).

One other thing to mention: there is often a second, more subtle SORASing that Salemites go through — usually around the college years, when characters go from 18ish to suddenly having careers, getting married, and becoming parents when they should be hitting the bars, scoring internships, and the like. This tends to double-down on the effects of SORASing because it makes certain characters into grandparents even sooner (Hope became a grandmother 21 years after her 18th birthday; due to Sami’s SORASing and Will getting Gabi pregnant at a young age, Marlena became a great-grandmother in 2013!).

It also seems that SORASing has forced certain branches of core families offscreen — most notably in the case of Julie’s entire line of the Horton family, since she was a grandmother so early that she got pushed into the “old people” bracket despite Susan Seaforth Hayes barely being in her 40s by the early 80s.

Finally, this list doesn’t address characters whose births occurred completely outside the story but were later introduced, such as Nick FallonNathan HortonMelanie JonasChad DiMera, and now Paul Narita, all of whom had to be integrated into the timeline in ways that could make a viewer’s head explode. For instance: Paul is younger than Brady, but their father, John, was heavily frontburner before, during, and after Brady’s birth. And then there’s the weird case of Nicholas Alamain, introduced as a boy in the early 90s, brought back as a man old enough to work at Titan and have a fling with Kate Roberts in 1999, and then seen again as a man in his early 20s in 2011!

What do you think about SORASing? Is it fun? A necessary evil? Is it okay in some cases? Has it ever been so distracting that you had trouble watching the show?

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15 Comments on “Like Unnaturally Fast Sands Through the Hourglass…”

  1. Jayme Says:

    This is amazing. And I have a headache.

  2. fluffysmom Says:

    Great job compiling all of that data. My head feels like it’s literally spinning now. I think Will was 14 years old for about 5 years. They couldn’t really SORAS him because Sami and Lucas were too young to have an adult son. Nicholas Alamain’s timeline is flat out ridiculous.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for checking it out!

      Will was definitely frozen in time for a while. He was 14-15 before he left to go live with Carrie and Austin for a few years, and he was 15-16 when he came back as that Justin Bieber-haired actor. I do think his parents’ ages are what spared him from insane SORASing. There was a rumor in 2008 that they were recasting him as an 18-year-old with actors who were like 28 years old.

      The Nicholas stuff is insane. I think when they brought him back as Victor Webster, they truly never thought Carly would ever return (which was short-sighted), so they were just looking at him as Vivian’s nephew and playing the Kate/Vivian feud. I didn’t think we’d see him after that, so I appreciated that they brought in that actor for Carly’s rehab and exit, especially because it allowed Melanie to meet her brother. But he spent a decade going back in time, basically.

  3. underyourwing Says:

    you are a treasure!!! 🙂

  4. Gavin Says:

    My number one pet hate with Days is the rapid aging. I can take the ridiculous storylines, the never-ending comings back from the dead, even that San Francisco set recently – but SORASing makes the audience out to be idiots, especially when it’s of the EJ, Nicholas or Chelsea kind.

    I knew Mike and Jen had been rapid aged, but didn’t realise it went back as far as David Banning. I wish they’d never started doing it. Basically, if they’d set the soap up at the start with a few toddlers, tweens and teens, they wouldn’t have needed to bump newborns up to teens when they realised they had a gap. That way, they would have always had a couple of characters coming through at the correct age when they needed the next tearaway teen.

    And I don’t buy into the need to skip over the years from 5 to 15. Ciara has proved that if you cast right, you can have relatively interesting storylines for that age group. Or at least, they add to the depth of the show.

    And how much better was it seeing Will (kind of) naturally age and have all that history between him and Sami, than having a hey presto 18-year-old with no link to his parents?

    I also watch the UK soap Eastenders, and a bunch of kid characters have grown up on that show – sometimes played continuously by the same actor. And it really makes a difference to the history of the show.

    For a soap that’s been around 50 years, Days has a very short-sighted approach to its history – choosing quick fixes like SORASing and retcons instead of decisions that will pay off 5 or 10 years down the line. Guess that’s what happens when you change the writing team every five seconds.

    Anyway, rant over. This topic has been on my mind for a while – can you tell? Loved the summary, Michael – thanks for sharing!

    • mykleraus Says:

      That’s really what it comes down to — everything is done so short-sightedly. They just age the kids all willy-nilly without any regard for what it’ll do. I would’ve been fine with Shawn D becoming a teen when he did, because he was supposed to be 12 — those gradual little bumps make sense to me. Same with how they handled Will. The EJ and Belle ones jacked up history so much that they drive me insane.

      There’s probably enough material for a totally separate article on “Kids Retconned into Existence and How They F***ed Up the Timeline.”

  5. Jamie Says:

    This is fantastic!! And, I also have a headache now. Very fun and funny read. We, as the fans, need to keep this history as the writers certainly don’t seem to care.

    Well done & congrats on the article!

  6. Dylan Says:

    Wow, that’s impressive.

    Something similar happened on Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden (Dutch soap opera I used to watch)- a character had a son who was younger than her grandson. Oops! They quickly aged the son and then he left. He went from 4 to 17 in all of.. one year!

    • mykleraus Says:

      Like, if you’re gonna wind up with a grandkid and a kid who are age-reversed like that, you can’t UNDO it, so just play the weirdness. It could wind up being fun!

  7. fluffysmom Says:

    Claire is a little older than Ciara. That could change after the SORAS.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think it’s going to change. I wish they’d leave them the right ages (especially given the Zach-related backstory) and just play the quirkiness of the granddaughter being older than the daughter.


  8. […] He came back to town with wedding presents for his parents. And he’s one of the few kids who hasn’t really been SORASed at all, so you can’t even wank it that he was in his ambiguous 8-to-18-years-old phase during the […]


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