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Viewing Single Post From: Strange Days Vol. 3: My Say in Salem
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After all... tomorrow is another day!

What is the cause of this ratings doomsday for “DAYS”?


Despite “Days of our Lives” producing some truly outstanding episodes this week, most “Days” fans can’t help but be a bit apoplectic over the 1.8 rating the show pulled in last week and its last place finish yet again. I know I am one of them.

No one can say with certainty how we got here – how “Days” went from a 2.5 rating tied for third place in the rankings at this time last year to the bottom of the barrel with a 1.8, tying its lowest rating ever, but I think I have a pretty good idea how and when this disaster was set in motion.

Sure, all of daytime is struggling somewhat with a loss of viewers, but that doesn’t explain it all given this soap’s fall from grace while other soaps are exactly where they were last year. In the case of “General Hospital” for example, the ratings are exactly where they were this time last year – 2.5 and third place.

While some fans like to point fingers at this couple or that actor for getting too much or too little screen time as the cause of it all, I don’t think that’s the whole story. Nor do I think the looming possibility of cancellation or “Passions” leaving NBC is the culprit.

I think the biggest cause of this show’s struggles is simply the incompetence and lack of creative vision of Hogan Sheffer, Ken Corday and the since departed Stephen Wyman. And I think you can trace it all back to the fateful last week of December, where all of the 2006 stories were finally wrapped up (or as wrapped up as they’ll ever be) and “Days” launched into the dismal stories that alternately repulsed and bored to tears the vast majority of its audience, especially through bland February and May sweeps periods, during the first months of the year.

If “Days” is cancelled due to its poor ratings, I think the place where you will point to the show going off the tracks irrevocably will be the events of that last week of December.

I don’t know if what we saw on screen from January to April is what Hogan had in mind all along for what he set in motion back then or the stories were somehow diluted or distorted by interference from Corday, Wyman or someone else. I just know the show sucked. Hard. As a result of that last week in December.

Shooting John and putting him in a coma was a huge mistake. Really, what did it accomplish? Lexie and Tek disappeared because of it, but she came back and Tek was forgotten. Marlena didn't change in any way from being without John and she didn't pursue any sort of romance in his absence. It had essentially no effect on Belle because she was gone in Tinda Lao the whole time. John came out of the coma with no ill health effects. No one was arrested or went to trial or jailed because of the shooting. John doesn't seem that pissed about it and isn't trying to get revenge. It just doesn't make a lick of sense whatsoever. I wonder if Hogan initially did want to kill John off but Corday was afraid so he wanted the shooting to be non-fatal because he was afraid of the fan backlash. Another theory I have is maybe they noticed EJ's popularity and were afraid what it would mean for his character if he killed John. Because somewhere along the way “Days” just blew it. Rather than having the balls to just straight up kill John Black last winter in a dramatic and emotional way and perhaps out of fear that another soap would snap Drake up, they decided to put him in a coma and give fans more time to get used to the idea of John-less “Days” and just phase him out it seems. What a tragic mistake.

Of course the other major mistake that week was the rape/sextortion of Sami. Tainting one of the show’s best potential romantic leads while relying on a melodramatic stunt like this to try to stamp out support for EJami and cement Lumi was a mistake, and though TPTB seems to have realized that and that is why we are getting the storyline we are now and more of a real EJ/Sami/Lucas triangle, the problem is it's way too late for many viewers, who are in most cases so invested in one pair over the other they just want to see Sami with that man now in their own story at this point, or they are not invested in either pairing and in many cases just so bored that they wish the three of them would all jump off a cliff like Colleen. Besides the events of the last week of December and what was set in motion from them ruining the character of EJ for a sizable contingent of viewers, those events also hurt the character of Sami because she acted so illogically in the event’s aftermath and wasn't really even given a chance to engender sympathy because she was never shown upset or traumatized by what happened to her, but only freaking out about how Lucas would react. The fact that we had it drilled into us four days a week for four months that Sami thought so little of Lucas and his love for her that she thought he'd dump her for getting raped/being emotional blackmailed into sleeping with another guy to save his life made it difficult for people who weren't already invested in Lumi or didn't like Lucas to begin with to get invested in that pairing and want them to work when the show gave us “the most anticipated wedding in daytime.” And the show making the decision to continue to put EJ and Sami still in scenes together after what happened, not only was insensitive and stupid if they truly thought they were telling a story of rape and pissed off Lumi fans for no reason, but only served to build up more and more support for the EJami pairing as the appealing chemistry between Alison Sweeney and James Scott continued to be on display.

Of course, this isn’t even getting into the subsequent unmitigated disasters not necessarily related to that last week in December that were Hairbrushgate, Shelligan’s Island and One Flew Over A Payla’s Nest.

Sadly, there isn’t much the show can do about these things now except try to move on and learn from past mistakes. I do ask them to stop making promises they can’t keep. I will root for them to give up the melodramatic stunts to draw viewers without considering their long-term impact on characters. I will long for them to give up the reliance on so many newly introduced short-term characters while so many talented veterans in the show’s stable languish in the backburner. I will hope the writing staff provides viewers with stories as compelling as Ed Scott has made the acting and aesthetics of the show brilliant during his short time as co-executive producer. I will pray that they are rewarded with returning viewers for doing these things.

Because a daytime landscape without “Days of our Lives” is a barren one – 1.8 or not.



This week in Salem:

Performer of the week – Alison Sweeney (Sami/Colleen) … Whether I was cheering Sami as she kicked the shit out of Andre, sympathizing with Sami as she tried to deal with her complicated situation with Lucas and EJ, amused as Sami was beaten but refusing to be bowed in her dealings with Stefano or having my heart broken along with Colleen’s as I watched her find out about Santo’s lie and take her vows, Alison Sweeney made this week for me.

Episode of the week – Thursday … Now THAT was some soapy goodness.

Scene of the week – Andre/Sami/Lucas/EJ (Wednesday) … The Sami’s choice scenes were my top choice.

Couple of the week – Nick and Chelsea … It’s amazing how much more I love these two when Jett is nowhere in sight.

Salem stooge of the week #1 – Sami … Move over Cleopatra, because Samantha Gene Brady is the new Queen of Denial. She’s in denial about her feelings for EJ, in denial about how marrying EJ will ruin her relationship with Lucas and I think in denial about how unlikely it is that Stefano will somehow leave her family alone forever if she just agrees to marry EJ.

Salem stooge of the week #2 – Santo … Besides the whole idiocy of the situation with Colleen… a gold watch to bribe Young Old Man Brady? Couldn’t he have a least brought him a shiny, new lorry in his desperate plea for help in winning back Colleen?

Scene-stealer of the week – Trevor Donovan (Jeremy) … This guy just grows on me more and more each episode. I loved his performance Wednesday in stepping in to save Nick’s children and send that bad man in the Panama hat packing.

Line of the week – “Isn't it just like a Brady, huh? Sweep the past right under the rug. God forbid you should face something unpleasant head on.” (Stefano, Thursday)
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Strange Days Vol. 3: My Say in Salem · Y&R & B&B: News, Spoilers & Discussion