If 'Days Of Our Lives' Doesn't Come Back, We Will All Pay A Terrible Price
As the final grains of sand seem to be filtering through the hourglass and the town of Salem may no longer exist, a little bit (actually a LOT) of my heart is disappearing along with it.
At least, that's how I felt when I heard that the cast of Days of Our Lives (DOOL) was released from their contracts, apparently indicating the end of the show's 55-season run. (The cast and crew insist the show hasn't been cancelled, but NBC, the show's network, hasn't commented.)
The truth is, all cards on the table, I have watched on and off for nearly 30 years. It is a guilty pleasure that I don’t feel at all guilty about. And while I do harbour a love for most soap operas, DOOL is in a league of its own.
Sure, Passions had plenty of crazy with little Timmy the living doll and Tabitha the witch. But DOOL offered a particular variety of crazy -- an almost believable crazy that found its way into my heart.
You know, like that time when the alien Gemini Twins landed in Salem after a meteor shower? Or that parallel universe in Melaswen Island where Tony got mauled to death by a tiger and Alice was attacked with doughnuts?
Or, the HUNDREDS of resurrections from death, at least four of which involved John Black alone, including that time he came back as a robot. There was even magical makeup that turned Sami (a woman) into US Army Officer, Dan (a man) fighting in Iraq.
Yep, DOOL really had it all.
For me, it is also about the memories -- the sick days off from school that I would spend at my grandparents' house, listening for the iconic music to begin and the deep-voiced man... "Like sands through the hourglass so are the days of our lives.”
As I sat next to my Grandma on the couch, colouring or folding origami, I would watch as Grandma (Caroline) Brady would serve drinks at Brady’s Pub. I would watch Stefano DiMera maliciously plot his next evil plan, including that time he sent his son Elvis to impregnate Sami so he could steal the foetuses' stem cells to improve his own health (as you do).
In between uni classes or on the days I had off, I would carefully coordinate my schedule around the show so I could check to see if Marlena ‘Doc’ Evans was actually ‘Doc’ or whether she would become possessed by the devil again (levitating and all.)
I also didn't want to miss any part of ‘Doc’ and John Black’s romantic, yet tumultuous journey -- their three weddings (to each other), amnesia, jail time, brainwashing and lots of love making in front of open fireplaces.
But if by chance my VCR didn’t record, what was so great about DOOL was that it didn’t matter if you missed it --you could always pick up right where you left off. In fact, it didn’t even matter if you missed an entire year, or if there was a new actress playing Sami Brady (the chances were pretty good -- eight different actresses played this role over the run of the show). With the dialogue heavy script that would explain and re-explain all that had ever transpired, I could just jump right back in.
Admittedly, sometimes this was also because a storyline would still be going months later, like Carly Manning being buried alive inside a casket by her arch nemesis Vivian. In a plot that's considered one of the most "out there" ever to be featured on a day time soap (which says a lot on its own), Vivian was able to torment Carly from above ground with the help of a wired up coffin. Inside was enough food and water to keep poor Carly alive -- and me entertained -- for weeks. I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. And as I do, that same passionate hatred I felt for Viv as she attempted to exact her revenge comes flooding back.
For me, it is the absolute absurdity of the stories and the over the top acting that make DOOL the cultural phenomenon that it is (yep, I said it). It is the way that it takes the viewer away from the real world and into one so fantastical, yet somehow convincing, that makes the show's potential end so completely devastating.
Between TV news, reality TV, talk shows and documentaries, it's just great to have, you know… storylines. Characters. Imagination.
Sometimes we need to see a person fake killed, then a chip planted in their brain and then they believe they're an art-thieving princess. Sometimes we need to see Satan-possessed ‘Doc’ undergo an exorcism performed by her ex-lover, now priest, Father John.
But for now, all I can do is hop that, like so many Salem residents before, DOOL will also find itself resurrected -- and on my screen for years to come.