Best and worst of 2004

For the Week of December 27, 2004
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Best and worst of 2004
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Part one of a two-part look back at the events of the past year in Salem.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All! Whatever customs you follow at this time of year, I hope you had a happy and healthy time. Our household was noisy and chaotic, and there's a ton of cleanup to be done, but I wouldn't trade a second of this mess for the world! The only 'fly in the ointment' over the holiday cheer was knowing that today I'd have to come up with my annual "Best and Worst" column of the year. Regular readers will know that I'm darn good at finding the bad things in our beloved soap. But I'm not so good on finding good things to say about it lately. Mama may have told me ''if you haven't anything nice to say, say nothing at all", but like most of her suggestions, it was ignored.

I hope you do all realize, though, that I'm not cutting up DAYS because I hate it. Au contraire - I adored Days of Our Lives in it's heyday. The reason I have problems with the stories and plot lines now is because I miss the quality of writing and acting I became used to when there were other writers involved. The current staff, in my humble opinion, do not live up to the DAYS I really enjoyed..

I know I'm not the only one complaining - I get enough email from readers who agree emphatically with my dismay at head writer James E Reilly's (JER) lack of empathy for the characters, and lack of maturity in his choice of storylines. And when I cruise the internet seeking other points of view, I generally do come smack up against the very same negative points that I make here every two weeks.

This week I was sent an email from faithful reader kayannbrady that pretty much summed up what I've been saying all year. Quote:"Feedback: I strongly believe that Belle and Shawn should be used to continue the Tom and Alice tradition of fighting for your love. Philip is a drag on this one. Solve the Jan Spears storyline soon and reveal that she was plotting with Philip to separate Belle and Shawn. Scrap the Billie and Georgia storyline as this is unappealing. Stop beating this dead horse. It would be far more interesting to see Belle and Shawn united fighting new threats posed by the DiMeras. .. cut the crap with Abby and make her support her mother in her fight to bring her husband home. Use Celeste to find the missing Salemites. Find a new girl for Brady -not Nicole. Please stop killing us with these storylines ... Give us something to watch."

Can I get an "Amen"? That simple email sums up just about everything that makes the current Days of our Lives so painful to watch.

On another board, I found this post from JADE, dated Dec. 21: "now I'm back to skimming spoilers and tuning in every once in awhile. I can't say that's really enjoying Days. It's like I keep hoping something interesting will happen. Honestly this is not the worst Days has ever been. But it is the most BORING Days has ever been. "Worst" to me is Gina and Sub-Rape. Or the first few dozen times we sat through Billie. But this? No this is just yawn-o-rama. I can't even get too worked up over Billie because we've seen it all before! "

Add to that my own personal beefs of Kate's singleminded need to control her children's sex lives, and the utterly unappealing Mickey/Bonnie/Maggie triangle, and I think we've just about covered the most annoying 'worsts'.
Even the venerable Soap Opera Digest had little positive to say about the past year on DOOL. They cited Bonnie as the Most Entertaining Female Character, Dierdre Hall as the Biggest Waste of Talent and Bo and Hope, John and Marlena and Jack and Jennifer as Most Enduring Couples. They called Mimi's abortion the Worst Social Issue, mentioned amnesia as the Most Overused Soap Cliché of the Year, and gave DAYS both the awards for Most Shocking Twist and Most Preposterous Plot -as in They're All Alive and HOW everyone is Alive .And strangely, even the notoriously 'faithful to the show' writers mentioned the lack of continuity of storylines and the plot points left dangling forever. I say 'strangely' because it's always the soap magazine's job to keep on the right side of the executives on the soaps, lest they be cut off from the interviews and information they need from the set-siders.

So, that all being said, I need to find a few 'best things' for you. Well, for me, I had my fingers crossed that JER would not completely screw up the traditional holiday spirit that has blessed DAYS for so many years. And I did indeed get my 'reading of the Christmas story to the children in the hospital', this year, read by Jennifer. (Although Patrick lurking in the background holding the impossibly small doll they're asking us to believe is her baby was a bit much.) And we did get to see the beloved 'name' ornaments on the tree - although I could have done without Bonnie's being included!

But at least I had one completely happy scene, left right until the end, and that was of Alice Horton, sitting snugly in her chair and looking angelic as she wished us all a Merry Christmas for all the days of our lives. Somehow her mere presence lifted the show into a semblance of the warm, family homecoming this once great soap offered it's faithful viewers in the past. But alas, the moment was not long enough. And I'm sure that Monday we'll be back to teenage angst, spoiled bratdom, and bizarro mothers. Sigh

In the spirit of the season - God Bless Us, Every One!

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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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