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The Undoing of DOOL, Days of Our Lives
An Opinion by Sky Taylor-Griffin
The Downward Spiral of DOOL
As a decades-long fan of Days of Our Lives, I feel like I'm watching my favorite pastime balancing on a knife's edge. Unfortunately, the blade isn't crafted of steel. Bronze even. I think it's a low-grade plastic.
The exits of Sami and EJ ended an era, the writers attempting to lead this fan into a fantasy land that I have no desire to enter.
I find myself surfing through 90% of the show now. Most of the characters and storylines simply aren't worth my time. Keep in mind that Time is a personal investment. We only have so much of it - and it shouldn't be wasted.
James Scott and Alison Sweeney - you are dearly missed by this viewer. Unfortunately, for this fan, Days of Our Lives has several more issues. For me, both casting and writing have massive issues - and I have to wonder if there is still time to patch the potholes before the road completely caves into nothingness.
Let's Begin With the Poorly Written Exits of Sami & EJ
If only we could go back and stuff the Poplar Bluff clan back into that bottle on the beach that one of the writers stumbled upon.....
This is what the writers would have us swallow; EJ gets murdered by his own henchman who is suddenly in cahoots with squinty-eyed Clyde. Understand that the character of Clyde is much like a Gomer Pyle on steroids. Looking at the storyline, there are more holes than Swiss cheese throughout. First of all, henchmen are more loyal than Man's Best Friend. Secondly, any proper thug [yes, like our beloved EJ] never has just one henchman stand guard. Henchmen run in packs. That day in the park, when EJ was shot - he would have been surrounded and effectively guarded by a minimum of three henchmen. Although sworn to loyalty - something they must prove prior to becoming a henchman - a pack is less likely to experience disloyalty. When that happens, the loyal henchmen take aggressive and effective action - and are rewarded for such by said thug. Even in a state of financial crisis, the DiMera's can afford more than one measly, disloyal guard.
So EJ passes very quickly. For me, he's the strongest actor to have ever donned the DOOL stage with Sami running a close second.
As much as it pained me to see EJ die - what followed was the most painful train wreck of all. Sami cries me a river, lamenting EJ's loss. She should get an Oscar for that - would, if DOOL was set on a different stage. I cry with Sami. Here we are, walking hand in hand together - both of us bawling over losing our drop-dead gorgeous EJ...literally. Okay; as much as it hurt - I'm still onboard. Characters arrive, characters leave. It's part of Soaps.
Onto Sami. After a week of deep grief and a face swollen larger than a Texas-sized pancake from the super-bawl, the writers turn her upside-down, much like an hourglass. Now she's super frenzied, super happy, super excited because she's leaving town, riding a magic carpet that suddenly appeared with an offer too good to refuse. Between the deep grief and super happy phases we have a threat that Sami may have to serve jail time shoved down our throats by the writers. That is quickly amended, thanks to good old Victor.
The writers have this poor grieving woman acting out so many different emotions - this viewer got queasy watching. I admit - I surfed through almost-all of Sami's super happy moments because I was irritated that she could be so happy after losing EJ. That's just not feasible. It's not how this situation plays out in the real world - and anyone who has lost someone close knows this.
In addition, Sami went to being terrified of Grandpappy Stefano grabbing her kids, to being fearless of him. Frankly, I was left gobsmacked over how the departure of Sami and EJ played out. After he was shot, why not have him recover in a safe place? Go away and live with EJ's mom, Susan? By the way, Eileen Davidson was a riot in that roll.
By leaving, Sami and EJ get their happy ending - the viewers are happy. But no, they have a mysterious Kristen jab a needle into a dead EJ - and I'm sure that will play out in the future in a Frankensteinian manner. But that is so unbelievable - like the 'Marlena Possessed' storyline we all lived through.
Wishy-Washy Men on DOOL
The next issue is with the men and their relationships with the DOOL women.
Let's start with EJ. He loved Sami so fiercely that he gave up everything he owned for her so that she wouldn't go to prison - yet the writers would have us believe that he'd cheat on her with an inexperienced girl who shacked-up with his brother, and who is young enough to be his daughter? Sorry, not believable.
I will add that while EJ was on the screen, it was impossible for me to take my eyes off - not because I thought he was attractive - which he is. I'm old enough to be the guy's mother - if not his grandmother. He has a presence that demands attention, and he was the most enjoyable character to watch that has ever graced my 40+ years of watching DOOL. Same with Stefano - who always commands the screen.
Ben. Or is it Ollie... Let's just move this family back to Poplar Bluff, please....
Rafe. He's head over heels in love with Jordan - yet when his sister Gabi gets sent to the Big House for giving Nick a bullet, Rafe drowns in a bottle of spirits - and ends up spending a night with a woman old enough to be his mommy - Kate. And all because Rafe - in his drunken state decides that Jordan is 'icky' for being secretive. So....being unfaithful made it all better. The man's poor ethics are definitely skewed.
Daniel. Poor Daniel - whether the situation involves saving someone's life with his awesome, miraculous skills as a surgeon - or rescuing a dying Eric & Nicole from the basement, Daniel's the man. When Jennifer tossed him to the side for JJ's sake, THAT was reason for him to leave her. But now, the writers add some flimsy 'trust' issue to the storyline, and it isn't flying for me. It's making our hero look very picky, very out of control. And how does he fix things? Hello Kristen.... Again, really poor writing. The woman just kidnapped him, had the living daylights beat out of him - now he's kissing her [among other things]??? Very hard to watch.
Brady. This poor guy - one of the best actors on DOOL, is used by everyone around him. Kristen, John and Teresa - all of them are playing with him like a toy on a string. Please writers - let him grow up and become EJ-like. He has the chops.
Eric. I absolutely adore actor Greg Vaughan - but this character makes me think of dish-pan hands. He's a priest. No he's not. Yes he is. Nope. Yep. It's like he has a daisy and is doing the 'she loves me, she loves me not' thing. Please writers - give the man a backbone.
JJ. The writers are traveling down Mrs. Robinson Street with this young man, and it just twists my gut. Eve's old and her beauty pales in comparison to Paige. And Paige is sweet, but JJ is leading man material. Let's let him grow up alongside of Brady, please?
Chad. He seems to have the inability to laugh. That laugh....that's one thing that made the old Chad really cool to watch. This Chad...the writers and possibly the directors are making him too robotic, too calculated, too cold. It works for Stefano and Victor. Stef has always had a frightening edge while Victor is dominant - yet with a flair for dry humor. It's not working for Chad.
Will. His quest for fame has him rushing off with mommy, leaving Sonny in the dust. Fame doesn't override true love.
Needy Women on DOOL
Jennifer. Get the lady a man who will take care of her properly. We have a 'Tom & Alice Horton' couple in the making. Jen's excellent at supporting people - excellent at giving advice. That's her forte. Help her writers - help her choose a man, not a lunatic that will leave her running for her life on Fantasy Island with Daniel in hot pursuit, trying to yet - once again, save her - only to have her criticize him afterwards for some minute thing.
Jordan. Or is it Tammy Sue? At this point, she appears to have overreacted severely to squinty-eyed Clyde. The storyline, along with those hick accents, just make these scenes unwatchable for me. Press the surf button please. I'm really sick of seeing Jordan sob, or looking like she has gas when she's around Clyde.
Nicole. She forgave Eric for accusing her of drugging and duping him - but he can't forgive her for loving him. Time to move on, Nicole. She's spice - and Eric is sugar, but the two just aren't mixing well together. Perhaps Nic needs more spice in her life.
Kate. Strong character and one of my favorite leading ladies on DOOL but the writers have her sleeping with a man young enough to be her son, and one old enough to be her father....perhaps even, her grandfather. And now they are pairing her with Clyde? This woman is Velcro for seedy men, it seems. Time for the writers to break the mold and give her a deserving man.
Abigail. "I'll take Chad. Wait! I won't take him because he tried to trick me - so you know what? I'll take his brother instead. Yeah, that'll reap revenge on Chad - and an engaged man is so much more of a challenge. But wait - I don't want EJ anymore. I went from hot to cold in a flash, but I still don't know why. So...I'll try Ben now, k?"
Good grief - give this beautiful young woman a brain, writers!
Paige & Eve. More surfable moments. DOOL was best without these characters. If we must have Eve, she needs to ditch the Southern accent and the whine. Make those go away when she has the botched surgery. Doctor: "I couldn't fix those vocal cords, but great news! I successfully removed the whine and Southern accent."
Paige needs someone younger and is too sweet to handle a bad-boy like JJ. Eventually, she'll drive him nuts should their relationship last.
Teresa. Her vendetta against Jennifer is childish. The drug scene isn't accurate and may encourage drug usage. I think DOOL missed the opportunity to showcase the negative and horrendous impact that drugs have on the human body. We didn't see any changes in her appearance, or in Brady's. We didn't even see either of them get the rigors.
Characters That Should Have the Shining Spotlight
Abe Carver. Seriously, him and Maxine? This shoe doesn't fit. Let's rediscover Abe - bring in a mysterious and beautiful lady from his past. Perhaps even a grown son or daughter.
Lucas Horton. This man is ageless - a regular Dick Clark. Lucas looks basically the same as he did decades ago. He's likeable, loveable - and has a commanding stage presence. He needs a viable, exciting storyline along with a deserving woman.
Kate Roberts. She's iconic - and can pull-off any emotion. Wasting her on Clyde - well....it's a waste.
Kayla. The writers are reinventing Hope - they can do the same with Kayla.
Harold. I want to know more about Harold, the DiMera butler and 'man about the mansion'. Perhaps he has an interesting private life. Perhaps he even rubs elbows with Victor's butler. Would be hilarious to see the two dining together - or having a beer together and discussing the woes of the DiMera and Kiriakas households. For faithful fans like myself, remember the hilarious pairing of Calliope and Eugene? HUGE! [That was her response when asked about her wedding night. One word. Huge.]
Anne Milbauer. What a hoot this woman was alongside of Kristen - blubbering while Kristen was taking advantage of her. Meredith Scott Lynn is a fantastic actress who is not being used to her potential. What a waste. Ditch the 'I don't like Jenny' storyline writers - and give this actress some meaty lines. She'd play off of Kate exceptionally well.
What DOOL is Doing Right
Hope and Aiden. Let's get rid of Bo permanently, shall we?
Victor and Maggie. Unfortunately, Victor is reported to have thoughts of retirement.
John and Marlena. Unfortunately, John is reported to be leaving DOOL.
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