Are we being punished?

For the Week of November 1, 2004
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DAYS Two Scoops: Are we being punished?
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Fun is in short supply these days. Seems like The Powers That Be are depressed or bored, because there hasn't been an upbeat or uplifting feel to the show in ages.

I'm back again! I had thought I had the computer problems under control, but noooooo - nothing would do but a replacement 'puter. Hopefully, I"ll be back on schedule from here on in!

So, judging by the weekly soap mags, and Sami's ominous habit of fainting lately, I'm guessing that Sami and Lucas are about to add another little one to their family! In real life, actress Ali Sweeney (Sami) is expecting a boy in February, so it's likely they've decided to write her real life pregnancy into the show. Should be fun for her, and hopefully, for we viewers!

And heaven knows, fun is in short supply these days. Seems like The Powers That Be are depressed or bored, because there hasn't been an upbeat or uplifting feel to the show in ages. Everyone's unhappy, everyone's either falling off cliffs, or hurting themselves in some boring fashion. Anyone who hasn't been physically or mentally damaged is either blackmailing or being blackmailed. And no one ever seems to have sex these days. Looks like our summer of discontent is seguing into our autumn and winter of yet more discontent. For this I give up an hour of my life every day?

On the other hand, if I'll just totally forget that I'm watching a venerable old soap and think of this phase of Days of Our Lives as a horrible moment in time, I can watch silly, childish effects like Stefano's 'corpse', complete with hair and goatee, and chuckle. Everything about NewSalem has been like an annoying trip down Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole - topsy turvy and impossible to believe.

I've heard rumors that the reason the NewSalem plot line is so badly thrown together is because James Reilly had a very different writing angle in mind, but was stopped short by the show's executives when viewer response to the murders was so dismal. If that's the case, then the soap that we're now watching is the product of a spiteful, angry brat who has decided that if he can't have his own way, everyone will suffer. Sure feel's like I'm suffering now!

All previous bets are off, there is certainly no mystery to solve, since nothing is as it seemed. Are we watching science fiction? Are we really to believe that Tony is mad as the proverbial hatter, and actually drained his father of blood, then kept him with him a la Psycho? And that the fabulous Phoenix ring, now taken from Stefano's bony claw and put on Tony's supposedly dead finger, has raised Tony from the dead? Didn't this sort of nonsense kill the soap "Port Charles"? Will no producers/directors/writers ever learn that the average soap viewer is far more interested in sex and romance in the afternoon than the supernatural? There's a very good reason why "Port Charles" was cancelled, and why "Passions" stays at the very bottom of the ratings rung ; it's because The Powers That Be (TPTB) are trying to force their own visions on to a well-developed genre that simply won't accept the supernatural on a long term basis, anymore than they appreciate brand new characters with indepth storylines, or having mobster families shoved down their throats. Soap viewers are desperately loyal - up to a point. And that point is when TPTB try to fix something that just ain't broke.

I guess we can all take comfort in the fact that Days is not the only soap going through a particularly nasty time - I hear complaints more and more often about almost every soap currently on air. When long term viewers see the same plots being recycled every year, it begs the question - Have soaps outlasted their potential?

What do you think? Have soaps finally shot their bolt? Is their hope for renewed life in the soap arena? And what development would make you once again look forward to tuning in? I'll print some of your thoughts in my next column.

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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