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Strange Days Vol. 4: My Say in Salem; Brady-DiMera feud storyline a mixed bag
Topic Started: Oct 6 2007, 10:58 PM (929 Views)
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After all... tomorrow is another day!

Sorry this is a day late.

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Survey Said: Family Feud Storyline a Mixed Bag

It sure is a strange time to be a “Days of our Lives” fan.

On the one hand, the performances and production values being served up on a daily basis by this soap, especially in its Brady-DiMera storyline, are some of the best I can remember in my 15 years of being a “Days” viewer.

On the other hand, some questionable and controversial writing decisions also seem to be keeping fans guessing on a daily basis – often guessing how exactly the man penning this show won his Emmys and guessing what exactly the show hopes to accomplish by provoking outrage from just about every single fan base this show has.

So much of it all – the good and bad – seems to be tied into this Brady-DiMera storyline.

I can’t tell you how excited I was at the start of the “big summer story.” I’ve never been that enamored of the hoity-toity Hortons as much as I do respect their history with the show so it was a thrill to learn my favorites would be featured in a storyline that had the potential for so much.

I was thrilled when I heard Lucas and Sami’s honeymoon would be spent at Maison Blanche, couldn’t wait to see Tony back again, I loved the intensity of Lexie’s return coming out of the tunnel, I squealed with delight when I heard Stefano say it was “good to be back” and it took me about one episode before I was head over heels in love with Anna DiMera.

Then somewhere along the way things went off-track. The holding pattern of non-fatal bombs and doofuses in distress needing rescuing just got to be too much. And the failure for the show to live up to the lofty expectations all fans had for this story (as well as some promises made by TPTB) doomed whatever momentum initially gained from the excitement over its beginning.

By the time “Days” got around to actually showing us Santo and Colleen, some people were already bored with them. Some weeks we had Santo and Colleen flashbacks, some we didn’t, so the whole thing seemed to drag on forever. While this storyline provided the hottest love scene I can ever remember on “Days” between Santo and Colleen, it also provided possibly the biggest disappointment I can remember on “Days” and a lot of it stems from my memory of Hogan telling us in an SOD interview back in May that this time the DiMeras wouldn’t be the bad guys, a murder would trigger the vendetta and there would be romance for Bo and Hope as well as John and Marlena.

Instead, the Bradys are even more white-hatted than they ever were with the DiMera causing the feud painted as a lying lothario whose seduction of a girl caused her to commit suicide and him to irrationally seek vengeance upon her family. Instead, Bo and Hope still haven’t been given a love scene since they got back together following Ciara’s birth and while John and Marlena got a chance to suck face in random places for a while their significance in the rest of the story was almost totally ignored.

Survey Said: X

Hogan’s decision to center the entire Brady-DiMera storyline around Sami and it being “costly” for her and nothing else left so much of the canvas bare and dull when this umbrella story could have been the vehicle for so much more for all the characters on the canvas.

The biggest missed opportunity for me was the failure to incorporate John and Marlena in this in any meaningful way when if Hogan wanted to get rid of this couple he could have given them some swan song of a story where John was revealed as the Santeen love child or he got a chance to battle the DiMeras and went out the hero he always was, tragically dying as he rescued someone from one of Stefano’s dastardly plots.

Sadly, however, that’s not the only missed opportunity.

If Hogan wanted to make this whole feud the result of a fatal tug-of-war between the Bradys and DiMeras over a blonde woman, why couldn’t they have brought Anna into this more and explored more of the Roman-Anna-Tony love triangle? Even if Tony isn’t a bad guy and isn’t a blood DiMera, it could still have been a great way to show non-violent conflict and competition between the two sides.

Also, where in the heck are Celeste and Lexie? Lexie was so protective of Benjy not that long ago yet no one has bothered to call her and tell her that her brother is dead? And Celeste played such a big role in the machinations of the DiMeras from January to May but we never get to see her any more. That’s disappointing to me. You’d think she would want to get revenge on Andre for locking up Lexie in that tunnel. Will we ever know what the voodoo paternity test in Maison Blanche was all about?

Survey Said: XX

I also think this storyline has given “Days” somewhat of an identity crisis. The complexity, intensity and history-intensiveness (both old and new) of this tale has taken “Days” to a very heavy, somewhat bleak and often unsoapy place.

Sometimes during this storyline it has seemed like we’re watching a soap try to be “The Godfather.” Other times, especially during the slew of non-fatal bombs from Andre, it felt more like a cartoon. And just the storyline as a whole has this feel of much more like some Shakespearean tragedy or period drama than simply a soap tale.

While I find a lot of this stuff entertaining, I do miss the romance, the light-hearted moments between family and friends and the feel of continuity that the show sometimes lacks when it intersperses this dark and deep story with more frivolous fare featuring the college kids.

It just seems like in the midst of all the hospital visits, threats, murder attempts and tragic deaths that this show would be more aptly titled “Days of our Deaths” rather than “Days of our Lives.”

Survey Said: XXX

Now let’s play fast money:

Name a person whom Andre stabbed.
Name a place where something exploded.
Name a person whom was taken to the hospital.
Name a supercouple whom read a Santeen letter.
Name a person whose return was touted with heavy fanfare but has appeared in less than 10 episodes.


This week in Salem:

Performer of the week – Joseph Mascolo (Stefano) … Someone get this man a Best Supporting Actor Emmy nod, please. Stefano is a total sociopath and yet I feel sorry for him and root for him most of the time. Why? Joseph Mascolo gives Stefano amazing heart and vulnerability without taking anything away from his intensity, fire and fierceness.

Episode of the week – Thursday … EJ and Sami bickerflirting, Bope vs. Andre showdown, Steve vs. Stefano, Steve and Kayla reuniting, EJ and Stefano bonding, Sami and Roman bonding, Andre falling off a building and not dying AGAIN, the Cheatin Heart not being THAT distracting… this episode had it all.

Scene of the week – (Andre/Roman/Stefano/Steve/Bo/Hope - Wednesday) … The TV station confrontation was simply awesome. So complex the way that Bo tried to talk down the resident Brady crazy while Stefano worked on trying to reason with the resident DiMera crazy. Great performances all around.

Couple of the week – Bo and Hope … That scene with Bo and Hope on the rooftop made me fall in love with these two all over again. That kiss after Andre fell off the roof could have been cheesy or gross with a lesser couple, but have no fear because this supercouple made it HOT and SEXY. Get these two a love scene, STAT!

Salem stooge of the week – Kayla … What will it take for you Bradys to get it through your thick skulls that threatening DiMeras, especially Stefano, is not a good idea?

Scene-stealer of the week – Ed Scott … Just when I think I couldn’t love what this man has brought to “Days” any more he gave us that great location shot at the television station and all the little touches in the rooftop confrontation to make it come alive.

Line of the week – “You’d think we were married already – all these rules.” (EJ, Thursday)
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Great column, Mary! I definitely agree!
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Great column as always Mary. You're right, Days is having an identity crisis. Right now, despite some things that drive me nuts about the show, I'm finding Days far more enjoyable to watch than I have in years. I also feel like it is a fascinating time in the show's history to watch because I feel like the TPTB are at a crossroads right at this moment. Are they shifting the way this soap is written and presented? Or are they planning to go back to the tried and true and, in my pov, stale? Or will they try to straddle the fence, thereby pleasing no one, in same the way they have with the fanbase wars?

Are they going to start taking some real risks on this show in order to save it?

In the next two weeks, I think we're going to see exactly what road they are going to choose. Although I would be happy to see Days take a harder edged, riskier path in storylines and storytelling, I tend to believe they will not have the guts to follow through on something gutsy, because I've never seen them do much risky in the entire time I've watched the show.

I personally wish that they would.
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Streetcorner Philosopher

The biggest missed opportunity for me was the failure to incorporate John and Marlena in this in any meaningful way when if Hogan wanted to get rid of this couple he could have given them some swan song

Yes! Swan song- this should've been the swan song for John, Marlena & Stefano, imho, as well as a serious push to the back for Bo and Hope while guiding Lucas, Sami, & EJ to the fore.

For me though, that wasn't even the biggest missed opportunity, 'cause I'm more bothered by their failure to integrate the younger characters in a meaningful way.

Chelsea and Stephanie both have reasons to investigate the Dimera family, to get involved in some kind of ancillary storyline to the main origins stuff with letter-reading, but they gave them Touch the Sky. Belle and Shawn should have played roles in this, too, imho, beyond getting locked in a freezer (which- I sort of think that was supposed to go to Lucas-Sami-EJ but they swapped them out for some reason).

I mean, if you're going to bring back Mascolo and scenery-devouring Penghlis (sp?), you might as well use their presence to force viewers to watch new characters. And at least that way it would be a family feud storyline- as it's written, it's really not.

And just the storyline as a whole has this feel of much more like some Shakespearean tragedy or period drama than simply a soap tale.

Good point about the feeling of it. Shame they didn't get what Shakespeare got: that the characters are key. I still don't quite get why people are doing what they're doing when they're doing it, and while I can make it work if I rationalize I feel like I'm stretching things too far.

And as far as tone goes, I wish they had taken it dark. I remember scenery-devouring all-knowing Penghlis making some comment back when he first came back about how it was too dark and he was going to lighten it. But if you're going to dive into Santo's manipulations and suicide and bombings and a pregnant woman continually in life-or-death situations you might as well go all the way, if that makes sense.

I feel the same way about the period stuff, actually. If you're going to have those flashbacks, why not be more Dark Shadows about it and use other cast members as different characters? Introduce the letters, dive right in, make it an event for 2-3 weeks then move on.

I dunno. I'm still hoping for another major rewrite twist, though the show doesn't need that, saying this was all a Dimera trick perpetrated by EJ, with Stefano's help, to get the woman he wants. Given that I started the show watching & loving Kristen, that would feel much more right to me than all this Ireland stuff. I'd probably like EJ more, too, and then all the almost-deaths would be ok because they weren't the failure of Indestructible Andre but someone's conscious actions.

I really enjoy your columns, by the way. Agree with you completely on Anna Dimera. Took me about a scene to love her, would've been nice to see her around more.
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After all... tomorrow is another day!

Thanks for reading and commenting, PX. I appreciate it.

And I so agree with you about the missed opportunities as far as Chelsea and Stephanie and the new/younger characters who could have been better incorporated into this.

I thought there was a huge missed opportunity in not doing more in terms of the DiMera connection to the Touch the Sky stuff, and not having Anna have any connection ot the designer clothes knockoffs. Plus, if they were going to get rid of Jeremy why couldn't they have given us an awesome Touch the Sky plane crash caused by crazy Andre? UGH. And really it hasn't gotten any better with this major disconnect while Chelsea and Stephanie are out pledging and being drunk co-eds at the same time their families are in perpetual crisis.

I mean I already knew that Hogan sucked at romance, but umbrella stories too? How did he get Emmys again?
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Good column!
I enjoyed the Family Feud angle!
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