Friday, July 03, 2009

Thoughts on the new Days promo

I really love the new promo for Days of Our Lives, but it's also a little frustrating to watch. The things that make it a successful clip are the very things that the show could use a lot more of. If the marketing folks can get it, why can't the writing and production teams?

The show on display in this promo is one I would love to watch every day. The one I watch every day is nothing like it. If I were not watching Days, but decided to check it out based on this clip, I'd end up confused and a little disappointed.

First off, it's fun! The show has been so dark and dismal lately, what with babies dying and being stolen and people being kidnapped or poisoned and whatnot. It's just plain nice to see everyone smiling and laughing. It would be nice if that would actually happen on the show, just a little. After all, the clip does promise a "summer of fun!"

Next, the focus is on family and romance, the two key ingredients of any good soap, something Days has a hard time remembering at times. Not that the show is devoid of them, but we just don't get enough of the kind of light-hearted romantic sweetness that's on display here. People taking pleasure in simply being with each other comes from the characters themselves, not the plots. Too much on the actual show is plot-driven right now.

The clip is just full of all kinds of awesome little character bits that would enhance the show so much right now, simply by providing some counterweight to the plot-driven nature of the show. These little moments tell us so much about the characters and who they are that we don't get when we're watching them muddle through plot-decree number thirty-seven.

Simple stuff like this is what I'm talking about:

    Maggie standing arm in arm with Nathan and Lucas
    Brady stopping the swing by putting his arms around Arianna's waist
    That little look between Nicole and Stefano at the end
    Sami and Roman hugging at the table
    Bo and Hope on the little bridge
    Hell, even the little bit with Kate tossing the apple and catching it is a delightful summation of her character these days, and I loathe that whole story!

Instead, on the show, we get stuff like:

    Maggie lying to Lucas about his accident
    EJ the eternally angry emotionally abusing Nicole the eternally needy
    Bo the psychic and his stupid visions
    Kate trying to kill Chloe
    Phillip making Stephanie lie about her kidnapping, a time when she was held captive in a drawer in a morgue, for god's sake!
    Stephanie abusing pills to try and forget all of the above*
    Rafe threatening to leave Sami three days after their baby dies because he's trying to keep some dumb secret about a dead woman we don't know or care about

My favorite thing about the whole clip is that every character is featured, except possibly for the babies (and Alice), which I totally love. Due to the economics of the business of daytime, the whole cast never appears in one episode any more. Of course, when you look at the whole group in one place, it's a little shocking how small the cast is these days. I mean, they're all gathered around two or three picnic tables! It's also a little troubling to be reminded how infrequently Roman and the Carvers appear these days.

Still, despite my mixed feelings, there are some aspects of this promo that are completely positive, with no downside. For one, the damn thing exists! NBC has spent the last ten years or so tearing their soap stable apart show by show, until the shadow that calls itself Days of Our Lives is all that's left. It's completely uncharacteristic of their attitude toward daytime that they went to the expense of shooting a special Days promo like this. You simply have to see it as a positive sign and hope for a few more.

Not only did they go to the expense of shooting the promo, but they went the extra mile with it and did it as a location shoot, adding a lush, realistic feel to the clip. That's the kind of luxury soaps never get these days. I can't remember the last time the show did an outdoor shoot. Maybe the promo is a sign we'll get some location shoots on the show soon as well. That would be nice.

You can't fault the network for making a super clip, that's for sure. I just want to see some of the things that make the promo so special happen to the show as well. Time will tell if that happens.

*Not that I blame her. I'm taking drugs to try and forget the whole stupid story myself.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Glad to see you back blogging.

I gave up on Days YEARS ago - one of those cruise disasters (I no longer remember the particulars but it would have been '91 or maybe '92). Days has such a rich tradition that I would continue to read about it in the Soap Opera mags (which I read for Another World, RIP), just to keep up with the stories. But I never came back to watch. And when AW died in 1999, all I know about DooL is what you write or whatever the TV Guide guy writes.