Days of Our Lives has brought the frustration back to my life. I have to be as real as I can be with this review, I really don’t want to hold much back and give some of my honest feelings on the current standing of the show. Just when it had seemed like my hopes of the show continuing with solid stories (solid doesn’t mean the best, just solid.), we viewers had our patience tested with this short week of episodes.
Basically, I was happy that it was a short week of DAYS or else I would have pulled out my hair. With drama and rumors about NBC’s commitment to DAYS buzzing around lately, it’s unsettling to see the show continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. All of the issues I had this week boiled down to the most important about writing a character driven ensemble show – characterization! To fit a plot point, you can’t radically change a character’s personality and expect viewers not to notice. And in that same vein, you can’t destroy a once interesting character over time without damn good reason. If any of this negative buzz rings true to any degree, DAYS truly has to look at itself creatively, really look at itself and fix these issues so we can fight for the show together. Whether or not it’s in a dangerous position, we should all want DAYS to be the best DAYS it can be so that we can fight if we have to. No more excuses! But back to the theme of bad characterization, let’s get into some of this last weeks “highlights” or stories and characters that didn’t get me all the way upset (I’m looking at you, Nicole Walker!).
Week in Review for Days of Our Lives episodes airing January 2nd – 6th.
Sugar, No Spice
The timing of Paige Searcy leaving DAYS and Jade Michaels’ her character suddenly flipping in personality makes me wonder if that played a part in her exit. The character of Jade began as a firecracker and continued so up until a week ago, but then Christmas came around so the importance of family was driven in like a nail until Jade became someone entirely new. Searcy excelled with even the lukewarm material they gave her, filling the town’s troublemaker void with relative ease. There were many times she exhausted me as a viewer (that ridiculous cult story!) but that’s what someone of her character archetype should do. So why stick around if the role was no longer fun? Everyone in town seems afraid to misbehave these days, only wanting to cry about things when it gets too rough but Jade was supposed to be different. Now she’s Kayla’s sweet surrogate daughter who is a welcome part of her household after only two weeks. The conflict that had been building there was playing out so well, giving us that hard side of Kayla that we’d lost for years and just like that it was squashed.
Jade was meant to be this thorn in Kayla and Steve Johnson’s side, a problem big enough to even upset Joey Johnson’s extended family too. But the writing quickly turned fluffy and that should have clued viewers in to what would happen next with the young couple – wait, they’re dating again right? A severe cramp made Jade’s New Year celebrations with her new family take a sad turn. Even though her father had disowned her, Jade felt thankful to now be a part of a family only to have that cramp snowball into a miscarriage that severed her ties from said family. I can understand why the writers turned the Johnson-Michaels household into the beginnings of a new age Brady Bunch over the course of a few days, or at least I think I know why. How bad might it look for a girl to inexplicably lose her baby after being a total hell raiser, especially on a show where characters are blamed for actions they could not control by other more self-righteous characters. It can be really hard to gauge whether DAYS writers make these story decisions with social impact in mind or not at all. We really all hated Jade – loved to hate her or just outright hated her – but she was about to go through something traumatic, so we had to feel bad for her now or else it’d look bad.
My sympathy for Jade does not come because she’s suddenly a good girl that had something bad happen to her, it’s simply because something bad happened to her. Miscarriages happen to people of all sorts for all different reasons. Jade did not need a complete overhaul for viewers to feel for her though.
My only fear is that this is the Jade we’ll continue to get when pretty and wholesome looking Gabrielle Haugh steps into the role later this month. Jade could have easily disappeared from town given the fact that without the baby, she has no reason to stay with the Johnsons. Again, I don’t think she and Joey were even together at this point. Without that bit of spice the original Jade had, I can’t see the reason behind keeping a peripheral character like her on the canvas when so many important core characters need the story time. Also, did we really have to give Joey another reason to weep and get coddled by his parents?