NBC’s Days of our Lives is the best daytime soap opera on air right now. I’ll be the first to admit, until last summer when Ron Carlivati took over head writing duties, I was someone who watched the soap infrequently. It wasn’t on my DVR, I didn’t catch it on the NBC app, I rarely even tweeted about it. There was nothing compelling me to watch, or, to put it bluntly, I didn’t care. That all changed once Ron Carlivati, Sheri Anderson and Ryan Quan took over creative. Since then, I’ve become the faithful viewer that I haven’t been since 2004. Nowadays, I rarely miss an episode, and if I do, you best believe I find some way to catch up.
Because I’m enjoying this soap opera so much, I felt it was only right that my debut article for TV Source Magazine highlight my top ten reasons why you should be watching Days of our Lives.
10. The French Johnny Cochran Delivers Epic Levels of Shade
He’s been run out of town for now, but I’m certain that attorney Ted Laurent, played by the fabulous Gilles Marini, will resurface at some point in the future. Ted has ruined soap opera lawyers for me for the rest of my viewing days!!
Ted popped up in town a few months ago and since then has gained some high-profile clients. He represented my girl Jeannie Theresa Donavan during her custody battle over Tate with Brady where Ted delivered truth bombs and epic levels of snark to every witness that was called to the stand. He brought up all their misdeeds and read them for filth without breaking a sweat and it was glorious. His shade of Brady Black’s love life will forever be my favorite. Most recently he went toe to toe with Police Commissioner Hope when he accused her of misdealing with his new client, Ben Weston. Sadly though, Wonderful Ted aligned himself Kate DiMera and she ruined his stay in Salem.
9. The Foreshadowing is Alive and Well
Cartoon characters may avoid them like the plague, but if you are like me, you love a good anvil dropped right on your head. I love being able to listen to a sentence of dialog and take away an idea of what might be coming down the line. I know that if a character is told that she (or he) will never be able to have a baby, a baby is going to come at some point. I know that if a character talks about how he doesn’t have any children of his own and have come to think of their significant other’s child as their own, he’s going to end up with a baby, toddler or teenager on his doorstep sooner or later. I know that if a presumed dead or out of town character is mentioned numerous times suddenly, that character is going to return at some point. These things are some of my favorite soap opera tropes, and Days has been setting all three of these scenarios up throughout the summer. I’ll let you tune in to figure out just which characters I’m referring to.
8. Shirtless Hotties
Look, I am a living, breathing 30-something who has been married for 100 years, and while my husband is handsome, he is no Xander, Brady, Eric, Ben, Paul or Tripp. Those are just a few of the very handsome men who have graced TV screens with their rock-hard abs over the last few months. I don’t care if they are sexing up their romantic interest, running through the town square or changing out of a soot covered shirt, any glimpse I get makes me happy. It’s a soap – naked men is a must. Days has an extremely handsome cast of men and isn’t afraid to use them to make their key demographic thirsty for more.
7. Children Are the Plot Points They Were Intended to Be
Kids are fantastic. They really are. I have four of my own whom I love dearly. However, when I sit down after a long day of listening to their never-ending whines and temper tantrums, I don’t want to see kids on my show every day. They should not be driving storyline or caught up in an elementary school romance. We should see them at holidays or when they need a transplant to save their life while also discovering their true paternity. Or in the case of Days, when a child is angry at their mom for circumstances beyond her control and its spurs her need for revenge. The show does a really great job of making the children heard about until they are needed to serve their purpose and then they go back off screen. Unless I’m unintentionally forgetting someone, Parker Jonas, Thomas DiMera and Ariana Horton are the only kids we have in Salem at the moment, so Salem is definitely not overrun with plot point babies. Although, I guess at some point we have to get some more kids around or else when it’s time to rapidly age them for their teenage romance years we are going to be in for a twisted kind of treat since they are all pretty much related.
6. Rotation, Rotation, Rotation
Days doesn’t have the smallest cast of all the remaining soaps, but I feel their utilization is far better than most. We see our veterans and recurring cast members as much as we see everyone else. I don’t have time to be upset if my favorites aren’t on more than two or three times a week because other characters who I enjoy are on in their place. Though there are some glaring omissions in stories that should be highlighted (hello Eli and Lani), I think the show does a great job of rotating A and B stories each week. In recent weeks, I don’t think that there has been a story on all five days a week. This way of storytelling ensures that the audience doesn’t get bored and keeps them coming back for more week after week.
5. Here a Secret, There a Secret, Everywhere a Secret
Is it really a daytime soap if at least one character isn’t keeping a secret from someone in their life? It’s one of the most angsty soap tropes out there, and one of my favorites. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in Salem that isn’t currently keeping a secret. Brady, Eve and Jennifer are keeping a secret from Eric. Eve and Jennifer are keeping a different secret from Brady. Kayla is keeping a secret from Steve. Sonny and Will are keeping a secret from everyone except Kate and Paul. Kate and Gabi are keeping a secret from Chad and Abby. It’s just a tangled web of secrets in Salem, USA and each and every one of them has the potential to blow lives and relationships apart for months to come.
4. The Weekly Promos
When a show releases a preview of what is coming up for the week, it’s supposed to be exciting and keep you counting down that clock till the next episode is on. Days has become absolutely masterful at this concept over the last few months. They do not focus their promos on the same characters or stories each week. Often, they preview a variety of stories rather than just one, that will be showcased during the week. It’s entertaining and fun and leaves you wanting more right then and there. The fact that the weekly promos are released on Friday afternoons makes it even better because it gives the fans two whole days to watch it over and over and ponder what exactly is happening.
3. The Baddest Bitch
Gabriela Hernandez has had enough of being pushed around and it’s glorious! I’ll be the first to admit that I was indifferent to the character until a couple of months ago. Now she is absolutely one of my favorites. After being falsely accused and convicted of murder (by her best friend), Gabi spent months away from her daughter for a crime she didn’t commit and literally lived a hellish life in prison, where she was beaten and left for dead. One of her injuries resulted in her inability to carry a baby again. Now that she is finally out, she has vowed revenge on everyone that has wronged her. From burning paternity test results and sipping martinis, to having long soap villain monologues in public places, Gabi is done being a punching bag. She is a classic example of a good-girl-gone-bad and it’s one of my absolute favorite things on the show right now. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
2. Ben Weston and Ciara Brady #SummerofCin
He’s a former serial killer. She is the rebellious only daughter of a beloved super couple. They shouldn’t work together on paper, but yet they do in every single way. From the red-hot chemistry between portrayers Robert Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal, to the magic ink from the writing team’s pen, this potential love story has everything super couples are built upon. It’s been a slow, steady transition from the night Ben found Ciara laying helpless in the middle of a dark road, to their current status as co-habitants with Claire and Ciara’s boyfriend Tripp.
It’s a slow build, with plenty of push-pull moments with subtle “does he or doesn’t he feel something” instances thrown in for good measure; they have the perfect setup for a lasting spot in soap opera super couple history. There are at least three romantic couple troupes built into their first three months of interactions. If you haven’t joined the Cinful journey yet, you are missing out on what is promising to be one hell of a ride.
1. Sixth Time Proves Loves Is Always in the Air
If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably shocked that Ben and Ciara’s weren’t my number one reason for why you should watch Days of our Lives. If I’m being honest, they were, that is before I watched the wedding of DAYS icons John Black and Marlena Evans. We’ve anticipated their nuptials all summer long (their sixth walk down the aisle). From the second the date was set, I’ve been beyond excited to witness them become husband and wife again. Of course, I knew that would be drama, because let’s be honest, it’s a soap staple – it’s how it should be. What I didn’t count on was how amazing the whole thing would be.
We have fan favorite guests (hi Shawn and Belle), laugh out loud moments (Paul hitting John in the eye with a baseball cracked me up ), Marlena’s nightmare full of nods to past storylines, touching speeches from the happy couple’s loved ones, and of course it wouldn’t be a wedding if there wasn’t an interruption right before a pivotal moment. This interruption brought along a slap that literally knocked teeth out and resulted in gunfire. It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I’m not even sorry that I told my kids to leave me alone at least twice.
Most importantly, John and Marlena’s wedding is a showcase of the kind of love Days of our Lives is known for, and a testament to what their love represents for the others in Salem. Everyone in Salem, even those who may not like them, are in awe of what their love is. They hope to find the kind of love they share. And through all the years of ups and downs, kidnappings, false deaths, amnesia and mind control — the power of love is what brings them back together. It’s a love that their children — Eric, Sami, Belle, Brady; grandchildren Will and Claire, and others aspire to live up to. It’s the kind of romance that viewers wish they could have.
My top ten reasons may not be yours, but that’s the beauty of Days of our Lives right now – there’s so much to enjoy, no one’s list will be the same. If you aren’t watching right now, you’re missing out on one hell of an escape. Days of our Lives may be the underdog in the soap world, but for this viewer, it’s the main event.
Share some of your reasons to tune into Days of our Lives!