Frances Reid
So long, thanks for the fish
For the Week of April 18, 2005
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One of our columnists bids Salem a fond farewell, and vents their frustration about James E. Reilly's writing.

If you're a Douglas Adams "HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fan, you'll have recognized this week's lead as the title of the fourth book in Adams' 'trilogy'. Like his dolphins, I am about to disappear from your life. The fish were lovely, thanks!

When I started writing this column - can't remember when, but it feels like eons ago - I was already getting very angered with the direction in which the soap world in general, and DAYS in particular, was moving. And here we are, after all this time, having gone through what should have been a fabulous roller coaster of soap emotions, only to find that James E. Reilly, head writer, provided us with a used sand box.

Mr. Reilly's writing still fills me with contempt. My darling "DAYS" characters have been thoroughly deconstructed and replaced with inane, look-a-like robots. Actually, Grandma Horton's ignominious death by donuts was such a low point, I've never really been able to climb out of that pit.

Many of you agree with my thoughts on Days of our Lives. A few of you vehemently do not, and you've brought that to my email attention. S'Alright - everyone has an opinion, and we all have the right to express what we feel. By writing this column every two weeks, I've had the opportunity to read some lovely comments from the faithful readers and viewers. Had a couple of nasty reviews from some who disagree. And through it all, I've waited and hoped that the Powers That Be would come to their senses and chuck Mr. Reilly back into the snake pit he crawled from. No such luck. I have to admit that when I read that Mr. Bill Bell Sr. had died, my first thought was how lucky he was not to have to watch another soap go down the tubes. Shows you how depressing the various soaps have been - to me - in the last few years.

For all that, I'm not leaving because of Reilly's writing, or the pathetic state of the soap world. Actually, I've been working on a construction/remodelling project that has required long hours of physical labor and mental concentration. When I do remember to turn the television on, I rarely remember to actually look at the screen. I had my first day off in ages today. I watched DAYS. I give up.

Today's (Monday's) show was chock full of everything I detest about the current DAYS. Stupid dialogue, contrived situations, and plot driven characterization - JEReilly's trademarks.

When I've moaned about the state of this soap in the past, I've mentioned WHY I find it so infuriating to see what it has become; I used to love, love, LOOOOOVE Days! Even on Christmas Eve, you'd find me tucked away by the nearest TV, getting my DAYS fix, even though a lot of my family thought I'd lost my mind just to be watching a soap, period. I didn't care. I needed my soap. I needed the quiet sanity and grace of Alice Horton, the annual tradition of hanging the engraved ornaments, the sweet faces of the children at the hospital listening to the Christmas Story. The people of Days of our Lives had become like family to me. I let them into my home and my heart, spent far too much money on soap magazines and paraphernalia, and risked the ridicule of my writing peers and family to write this column and others, all unpaid, tokens of my obsession and love.

Like so many others, I waited impatiently for the deities at Days of Our Lives to come to their senses and boot the JERk out. I moaned and whined my opinions to you all. I became increasingly angry and frustrated as the months went by, with no changes to the depressing tone of writing, and no end in sight. Just more lying in the trades, and disrespect for the audience.

Well, you win, DAYS. I give up. Live's too short for this much aggravation. I'm passing the writing torch on to whomever Dan chooses to pick up my duties. It's been - interesting - to write about my ex-soap. It's been fun to read your emails. I don't regret the time I have spent watching DAYS and writing this column. I'm just totally burned out, and need time to unwind, and watch TV that entertains, not infuriates.

So adios, amigos. It's been swell, but the swellings gone done, and I'm off like the proverbial bad woman's drawers. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, ...


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