Where James E. Reilly fails, and drags the show down with him as a result, is the pacing of his stories, the repetitive flashbacks and dialogue, and the poor character development.
I've received a few emails recently from people who think that I work for Days of our Lives, so I thought I'd share the letter that I wrote to DOOL care of NBC a while ago. I thought it would show that indeed - I do not work for the soap (I had a viewer tell me that I had to be lying about not being affiliated with Days. Guess he doesn't read my column often! LOL)
To Whomever it May Concern:
I have been a regular DOOL viewer for 22 years and I am writing this letter to tell you that something has to change! You are driving your loyal fans away in droves. Changes in head writers have been made before - in answer to fans' displeasure. Where is the responsiveness now? With regard to James E. Reilly's particular talents as a head writer, I do not want to bash the man as I don't know him and he does seem to have decent story ideas. Where he fails, and drags the show down with him as a result, is the pacing of his stories, the repetitive flashbacks and dialogue, and the poor character development. We are tired of the way the stories are dragged out; it takes far, far, FAR too long to complete a story. By the time a story wraps up, nobody cares anymore. And the dialogue has got to be the worst I've heard in years. Not only are the conversations repeated endlessly again and again until you are completely numb emotionally (and therefore have no buy-in to what the characters are feeling positively or negatively) the dialogue itself often makes no sense. The characters refer to events that we are unfamiliar with - like when Tony told Bart that everyone would pay for what they did to his family. We the viewers have been waiting for this explanation for years. Since we don't know WHAT that is - we don't care about the vendetta. And they say dialogue that isn't relevant in the 21st century - like when Kate told Shawn that Belle belongs to Philip. People do not belong to other people. This is not the 1950's. They also continually repeat what they've been saying for days/weeks (real people don't do this; if they did they'd be labelled OCD or something). The characters are not developed fully - no one bought in to the John/Kate relationship because it was rushed along simply as a means to an ends. How can we be expected to care about the trouble brewing for John/Kate/Roman/Marlena if we don't buy in to the relationships? Please understand that I, and others like me, are writing to you in attempt to get your assistance in saving Days of our Lives. Personally, I can't imagine that a show as venerable as Days of our Lives once was, could be cancelled because of a lack of viewers. Thank you for listening."
So that's it, just thought you guys might be interested to read my letter. I hope that some of what was said gets through to them. The more I think about it, the more I think that if they don't change head writers, we could be watching the final days of a show that has been around for 35 years! Can't even imagine it!
Call me ignorant - and I totally am where Military matters are concerned - why did the marine Chaplain go see Belle personally? Wouldn't a visit to a serviceman's spouse only be done in the event of death? I'm presuming that the marines don't send their personnel to inform the family if there's been an accident. Or am I wrong? So..... Philip lost a leg huh? Big shocker... of course we know that Belle won't leave Philip now...oh no of course not; a missing limb = staying married to someone you don't love. Give me a break! Who didn't see this coming 5 months ago when Philip left for the "war"? That being said, it occurred to me, while I watched Belle's histrionics this week that the only way I could be drawn back in to this story is if they pairs Belle with Philip and Shawn with someone else. This current Belle just doesn't sizzle with Shawn the way Kirsten Storms did. I think they should have Belle realize that she truly does love Philip and decide that she wants to be with him (and not only because he is missing a leg). That way Shawn can come to the realization that it's too late for him and Belle and he can move on to someone else; like Cassie for example. Now don't go getting all crazy on me but, I see that as being a much more interesting storyline than having Shawn pine after Belle and Belle being torn between the two guys etc. Besides, I think this Belle has much more chemistry with Philip than she does with Shawn AND I've always thought that Shawn and Cassie were smokin' together. Here's hoping!
As I have mentioned many, many, many times (and if you're a regular reader, you'll be sick of hearing this) - I love Sami Brady. However (yep, there's always a caveat) I want her to get over her "I want my parents back together" mantra. I realize that the character is written as being a little less mature than others but...she often goes on about this without giving it much context. Why does she want her parents back together? It's not like John treats Marlena badly or cheats on her or any other plausible reason that could be given as cause to break someone up. Sami grew up thinking that John was her father; she doesn't even know what it's like to have her parents "be together." I wish the writers would come up with some other reason to blame all of Sami's motivations on. This is why the writing for the show isn't working. It's just not plausible that at her age; Sami would still be scheming to get her parents together. JER has a great opportunity here to have Sami grow up and start dealing with life like an adult. I want to see her coming to grips with her parent's spouses, building a solid relationship with Lucas, being a role model for her son, a good friend to her sister etc etc. Now that would be interesting! I'd be willing to bet that watching Sami struggle and come to terms with her issues would draw more viewers than watching her ridiculous antics would. If Reilly doesn't fix it soon, I'm afraid that Sami will become a caricature of herself and he'll have wrecked yet another money character. ['Money Character' is the term I use for characters who keep the viewers tuning in no matter how stinky the show has become]
I am losing hope for Chloe and Brady. At the end of last week - I TRULY thought that we would finally see a reunion between the two this week. Call me gullible I guess! How wrong I was. Fool me once, shame on you - Fool me twice, shame on me. I'm not falling for it this time. They want us to believe that Chloe will finally reveal herself but I'll bet it's just another red herring. YAWN. Every time I saw Chloe I hit the FF because I knew it was going to be the same dialogue again about how she just can't go through with it
. Ai-yi-yi! I want her to get over it all ready! Even with the head wrappings and face bandages, she looks stunning! Which is one of the reasons why this storyline has become too much to swallow. I was shocked that Chloe just sat in the bushes while Nicole lied her face off to Brady. Is Chloe's vanity more important to her than her love for Brady? If she really loved Brady the way she says she does, she wouldn't want him tortured this way. How could she simply stand by while Nicole told Brady how happy she could make him? If Chloe wants to be with Brady, how could she let Nicole say all those things? Especially at the point when Brady told Nicole that if Chloe were alive - he would be with her and not Nicole? It doesn't make sense to me but I'm not sure I even care. Please let this be over soon!
So Friday's show ended with Marlena/John/Roman/Kate splitting up again. This time voluntarily, Belle, Kate and John are going to Germany to be with Philip. Does anyone want to join me in crossing my fingers that John and Kate get kidnapped and stuck on the same island as Victor and Caroline? Even though it would be a tremendously stupid plot twist - I'd be happy to see the back-end of Kate. John is at a take-it-or-leave-it stage for me so; I wouldn't mind if he was gone for a while. I'm irritated with how he acted during his fight with Roman about Sami's involvement with Tony. Anyhow, here's hoping that both John and Kate take a break from the front burner for a while.
The biggest highlight of the week was seeing Bo and Hope get back to basics by reaffirming their love for each other and reconnecting in a romantic beach rendezvous. Kudos to Bo for planning the night for his beloved Fancy Face. I was very impressed with the conversation they had about their family, Billie/Georgia and Shawn's situation with Belle and Philip. I thought they had a very real conversation and communicated very well. Especially in regard to their discussion about Shawn, I thought they handled their opposing views on the subject very well, but I hope that this doesn't become a thorn in their marriage. If any of you missed it, you missed a brief return to the heart-warming Bo and Hope of old. I am crossing my fingers that the writers can continue to keep it real for this couple. If they can, there's hope for the show yet!
Caroline and Victor. They're ALIVE!!! Yeah...not surprised - as I'm sure none of you are either. Here's what I thought when I saw them for the first time on Monday "YEE GAWDS! Not another frickin island!!!" Let me guess...Tony has an unlimited supply of deserted islands at his disposal? There can't be that
many of them lying around out there in the Atlantic/Pacific oceans! Question - who stocks and supplies these islands for the DiMeras? How did they get a supply of Listerine pocket packs? Did they shop at the Costco before they left?
- Another example of stupid dialogue: When Lucas was about to tell Rex about Philip's condition he said "its worse than you can imagine." You know what? Worse than I can imagine would be death. Losing a limb is not worse than death. I'm sure that many amputees can attest to that.
- Once again - Nicole is the smarty-pants to put two-and-two together and realize that Sami was Stan. I think I uttered a swear word out loud during that part. That's just great! Now Nicole is going to torture and blackmail Sami with this knowledge. Although I guess they could probably blackmail each other. Sheesh! It's always Nicole...go figure!
- I LOVE Bart! I just couldn't stop laughing when he kept making remarks while Tony was on the phone with Sami. I hope you guys caught it - it was priceless, I think Thaao was laughing for real. I hope Bart gets more screen time soon!
: Thanks to everyone who wrote in, there were some fabulous comments this week. I apologize if you don't see your email below; I had a really tough time deciding which ones to post. Please keep writing in though; it's nice to know that we all feel the same way.
" There are people who think you should stay married because YOU PROMISED and that DEE-vorce is the worst! When Philip is paralyzed or maimed or whatever, his supporters will pile on Belle with how can she hurt him on top of all that. No one remembers that P took the suicide mission SO HE COULD GO HOME. I think that's what the jerks mean when they say he did it all for Belle. **** I don't think anyone knows Shawn was Jan's sex slave. Just Mimi and Belle. He should tack himself onto Marlena's growing list of counseling patients. He had his license revoked for literally crashing the wedding. It was mentioned when he drove into the tree. He didn't think to report it to Tek, for whom it might have shed light on Jan's present condition. **** John didn't care when KATE SLAPPED BELLE. The men treat Kate just as they do Billie. If Cassie ever resurfaces, she could prove or disprove the trend. I'm glad John said Kate would set up Sami, and he even worked through her "logic." He's not a lost cause if he can still raise that eyebrow regarding Kate. He should stick up for Sami just because she's Marlena's; everyone should. **** Billie definitely had some sort of bird on her T-shirt. The wings were spread like in the Aerosmith logo. Man, I hope she's evil, but she's probably just programmed to keep tripping over Georgia so Tony can break up Bo and Hope. **** Chloe is such a good person, she isn't jealous that Nicole has been sleeping with her pretty-boy!" Great comments Macarena - thanks for writing. I hear you about the Chloe/Nicole thing - if I were Chloe, Nicole would be the LAST person I'd ever confide in or seek out help from. Craaazy! ~P
" I hate that everyone is spewing all of thier hate towards Kate. I mean, yeah, she has done some bad things, but they really don't compare to the things Sami and Nicole have done. I really don't see how people can feel sorry for Sami, because her wedding was cancelled. Does that excuse all of her heinous activities because of that? I mean really enough is enough of her little girl dream of having her parents back together. How long is she going to let that rule all of her life decisions? Grow up Samantha, and take responsibility for your life and actions. I hope that her schemes do come out. Nicole: talk about someone who hasn't paid for her actions. This is one character that needs to be killed off. I hope Victor comes home and puts her on some island with Kristan Blake. I mean yes Kate does cross the line with her meddlling in her children's lives. But most recently the worst thing she has done is made it look like someone was sleeping together when they really weren't. Sami/Stan put Nicole up to permanently disfiguring Chloe (what has Chloe done to deserve that?). Also with her comments in the past weeks, yes they may have lacked tact but they were true. I think she said that Marlena and John needs to realize that belle isn't a innocent child anymore. That is soo true. Marriage is a serious thing and no one held a gun to her head and forced her to marry Philip. When she said that Sami more than likely wasn't a victim like the other captives, that was another very true and accurate statement. Sami knew what she was doing. Okay, the defense rests." Thanks for writing; it was nice to read your perspective! However, I do have to disagree with your contention that the things that Kate has done can't compare to the things that Sami/Nicole have done. I think the three of them could compare quite nicely if you go back over their individual histories in Salem. Like the Franco Kelly incident - Sami almost died as a result of Kate's lies. And no one ever found out about that. Okay the prosecution rests :) ~P
" Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for stating if Sami gets caught for being stan, and Kates evil misdeeds are not revealed you will stop watching! I will too!!!!! I hate Kate so much it is rediculous and I love Sami. Also I think you don't know this but Chloe and Brady may not be reuniting soon! I read the spoilers and they are not going to reunite for a while, (maybe Im wrong) well thanks for the lovely 2 scoops and I agree with you for the way Days turn out to be. How funny was it on Mondays DOOL that the former captives change clothes and took showers in minutes before reuniting with their loved ones!!!!!! I was really glad with Tuesdays episode of DOOL the reunions were really good. I just wished the ones with Sami and her parents were longer. I think Days is kinda getting better, but it is still one thing I hate. The chloe/nicole/brady triangle is rediculous!!! Really if you think about it, what progress has the story made besides Chloe getting the flesh eating bacteria. I think that they should put this love triange on the back burner until Chloe finally reveals herself to Brady. All she does is debate rather she is going to tell Brady is she is alive and this has been going on since her accident on CHRISTMAS of last year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" It looks like you were right about the Chloe/Brady reunion and I was taken in by Reilly's red-herring once again. How silly of me to think that Brady would actually see Chloe at the reunion party. You'd think I was a newbie or something! Ha ha! Thanks for writing! ~P
I totally agree with dumping Kate already. She is so vicious. Sami may be messed up, but she usually lashes out for a reason. Kate is just spiteful and mean. And I cannot fathom that John and Kate would have hooked up so soon after Roman and Marlena were presumed dead--AGAIN. And they still act weird now that the other two are back. Marlena is the love of John's life. I'm not buying this story of John and Kate. I also agree that the marine storyline is a slap in the face to the whole military system. My son-in-law's brother was killed in Iraq 2 years ago, and my son-in-law served over there as well. Heroes---HMmmP! I wish Day's would tie up loose story ends before trudging right along into the next arc. In summation, DOOL is like the movie "Groundhog Day." Same dialog, same confusion. I totally agree with you Sandi, thanks for writing! ~P
" Pam I read your comments occassionaly, but why are people acting like Kate's behavior towards Sami lately is brand new? She has always done that! Since 1995 she has trashed Sami to her parents and yet Marlena, and Roman never once stuck up for their daughter till very recently. Everyone else in Salem has bashed her consistently! At least three times a week a character will trash her, even when they are home alone away from her they'll suddenly talk smack on her to another person, most times not even provoked. Rex gave some bleeding heart speech a few weeks back on the plane to Brady, Lucas, and Shawn about how hard he tried to get along with Sami. What a load of bull! All he did was cry and moan for months when he was keeping his Brady heritage a secret that Sami Brady was his half-sister. He never tried. Is he that delusional? Or is he secretly still angry she outed him as a Brady, and kept him from milking the DiMera cow longer? Why does everyone find it so hard to believe Tony would hold Sami captive...a Brady no less? They act as if it's impossible. What the sickest thing is; is how Sami has been telling her parents for years that she suspected Kate of engineering the Franco incident, but Roman and Marlena both ignored her, and continued to stay friends with Kate, and Roman even married her! If Kate setting up Brandon, and Sami comes out, so should the Franco thing, and her seducing Moroni to off Sami, and Victor. I'm sick of Kate getting away with evil deeds, and getting all the sympathy from Sami's whole family, but Sami farts, and the whole town cries for eight years about it." Thanks for writing Chas - your feedback was highly entertaining. I'm with you on all your comments!
" I've been watching Days for over 40 years now, and I am sooo tired of the repetition and the whining and the hand wringing. Nobody is happy, there is not a believable bad guy, (Remember Stefano when he actually lived in Salem?) the characters are doing things that they would never do, (Beau would never leave Hope and Shawn to go flying off with Billie to look for anybody)and nobody ever has to face consequences. We all know that Belle is pregnant with Shawn's baby, and that everybody will think that it is Philips. We know that Chelsea is really Georgia. Hurry up and move through those inevitable plots so we can move on. Remember the tunnels that exist under Salem, between what use to be Doug's Place, Stefano's house, and who knows where else? Why doesn't anyone else remember them? What happened to the lake where the Anderson's use to live? Mickey would NEVER even have to think about making a choice between beautiful, classy, sweet, Maggie and that gold digger. They "powers that be" over at DOOL should hire some of us who really know the characters and let us write some plots!" Absolutely Roberta - TPTB should hire some viewers to help them write the show. At least we know that they'll give two hoots about the characters on the show. Thanks for writing!
" Tonight was the first time I read your column. Too funny! You say what we are all thinking. I've been a Days fan for years, but can hardly tolerate it any more! I watch it on Soap Net at night. It got so stupid with the "other Salem" storyline that I started watching AMC and am now hooked on it! Maybe one day Days will be the old soap I once loved! Until then, I'll keep up with what is going on in Salem through your comments! Thanks!!" I think you're on the growing list of ex-DOOL lovers that have found new soaps to love. If I wasn't all ready hooked on both ATWT and GH, I'd be hunting for a new show too. Thanks for writing Julie
"yup i agree with everyone, what's happening to the show??? it's time to get some new writers and clean up the mess that has been made. yes it's a soap, but let's not stray too far away from reality and consequences and such..... the whole military stuff, i agree not being portrayed properly, and belle get a backbone and stand up for yourself. i'm so tired of her crying. she's always in my books been an aweful character. anyone raises their voice, she cries. and yes kate is aweful too, anyone talkes about my family in a bad way there is "hell" to pay, and yet everyone just sits there and takes it. she used to be a great character but it's just gone on too much too long. and the whole prisoner thing with "most of salem" all of salem plus any help they need can not conquer over tony????? give me a break. i'm so tired of anything having to do with tony. clean up the storylines and maybe just maybe the show can make a superb comeback. i just can't talk about all that's wrong with it because i'd be here all day. time to clean house. i can't sit and watch a show while it airs, i get to frustrated and bored. yawn yawn yawn! i however don't want to give up on it, because of a dry patch. time to wake up the writers and do some shuffling. thank god for vcr's i simply tape it and fast fwd through all the crap, so i watch it very quickly. bring back the good stuff, i know they can do it." No, this is not me sending myself feedback, this is another person named Pamela - honest! I'm tired of Tony's invincibility too - time and again he manages to escape and survive the most preposterous situations. I don't want to bail on the show because of a dry patch either but how long are we expected to put up with it? This current dry patch has lasted for almost 2 years! Here's hoping! Thanks for writing! ~P
From Sezi Demirkilic:
Hi... Who on earth would believe that Marlena can just come back to Salem and be a psychologist again? First she was the Salem murderer, then she was dead, then she was on some island, then she came back and now she is back to being a doctor. I don't want to say it, but "whatever." AND, Roman is back to being "commander.".. AND, please someone just go ahead and kill Philip. He is so desperate with all his love talk for Belle. Just get over it dude, she was, is and always will be in love with Shawn. AND, while I'm being mean, go ahead and someone also kill Kate. I used to really like her and now I can't even bear to hear her name. I agree with you on everthing you write and am so glad that every other fan of DOOL also feels the same way. Too bad that such a great show has to be ruined..." I know! Let's hope the combined strength of voice from all the unhappy viewers will produce some changes! Thanks for writing! ~P
OK, I thought I read this, but I'm struggling to find it on here again....but....isn't the new Chelsea the same girl that played the "Georgia" wannabe in Europe....the one who gave Bo and Billie a piece of her hair for a DNA sample? I can't figure it out, but it sure looks like her. I'll keep looking on here in the coming weeks to see if anyone else thinks this, too.
Yes, I agree with everyone, just about, that this show is beginning to stink big time. I've watched it since I was little, and I'm so disgusted. I wish it were more interesting so my husband didn't make fun of me for watching it. I'm not in the mood to try to pick up on some other show, so I just read, watch something on cable, or clean house while this is on hoping that something interesting will happen, maybe once a week....if that! Yes, the actress playing Chelsea is the same actress who played the girl in Europe. I don't think that we're supposed to remember that though. :) Happy house cleaning! Thanks for writing! ~P
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