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DAYS: Is the emotional connection gone?


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John, Marlena, Bo and Hope have been on the backburner together for six months.

Now, they're all back. Glory, glory, hallelujah!

I have a worry, though. With the favorites being gone so long, have viewers lost their emotional connection to the characters?

Never before have Days fans seen every member of the "fab four" backburned all at the same time, and for such a long stretch together. As we all know, soap viewing is caused (in part) by habit. When the two supercouples were shoved to the backburner, viewers tuned out in droves. However, in tuning out, they also "quit the habit."

Even with John, Marlena, Bo and Hope all being brought back at once, do the lost viewers care anymore? Now that they're rid of 'the habit,' the temptation to come back may be gone because they no longer have a connection to the "fab four." Their favorites were gone so long that to many, they don't have the same emotional pull anymore... thus a majority of viewers not likely to return, even with them back front and center.

That being said, will the return of Bo/Hope/John/Marlena to the frontburner make a difference in the ratings (thus saving the show) or is it too late?

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My emotional connection to the show is very diminished, yes. I'm not sure I like the particular characters any less (and some I like quite a bit), but the show's track record has led me to expect that it won't ever pay to be emotionally invested in anything on this show again since, unless it's one of Sheffer's own creations, emotional buildups and payoffs tend to suck.

I do think that bringing them back won't give you back the ratings you lost when you took them off, it doesn't work that nicely and neatly. "Habit" is part of it with soap watching, yes, it's addiction psychology. They made it hard on themselves by being such idiots.

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Sorry, but lack of airtime of a few characters doesn't diminish twenty years of watching my favorite soap opera. Every character has their moment to shine, and every character will have their time in the shade. But I tune in because I care about the show as a whole and have an emotional investment in the fact that its getting better and better.

As long as its well written, well acted soap opera, that's all that should matter. JMO.

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I agree yet again, Shawn.

It's the writing that defines the connection and even during the first 6 months of the year when the big 4 were backburnered I still had an emotional connection with the characters. I still felt for them. John waking from his coma had me getting teary-eyed. If the show is well-written, which Days usually is under Hogan, then my connection is there. The writing and acting is all that matters and, as long as those are good, then it's all fine.

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Sorry, but lack of airtime of a few characters doesn't diminish twenty years of watching my favorite soap opera. Every character has their moment to shine, and every character will have their time in the shade. But I tune in because I care about the show as a whole and have an emotional investment in the fact that its getting better and better.

But what if the show stops being "the show" that you love and turns into something you don't recognize anymore? Would the care for it continue on, or no? Because for some, the show has lost its identity over the last six months and many people don't recognize it anymore... if you were in their shoes, do you think you would keep watching or come back to what you perceive as empty promises?

I'm not speaking for myself, because I still recognize the show for the most part. I've been uhappy about decisions, but I'm not that disconnected. Some are, though... many, obviously. Just look at the Neilsens. I can't help but wonder if it's too late to woo THOSE viewers back in time for Corday to shop the show around come fall.

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For what it's worth I do think it's largely the writing ... I have wavered in my emotional connection even when the show has shown the big four (who incidentally aren't actually my favorite characters, so that's not it).

The problem IMO is that it HASN'T been a well written soap opera in the past few months. Combine it with a difference in faces and a viewer who may only watch twice a week during lunch hour just loses all continuity.

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To be honest, I think people tuned out this past winter and spring, because the show was boring as hell. Even without Bo, Hope, John, and Marlena, the show could survive. although, i don't want to think of DAYS without Bo and Hope!

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But what if the show stops being "the show" that you love and turns into something you don't recognize anymore? Would the care for it continue on, or no? Because for some, the show has lost its identity over the last six months and many people don't recognize it anymore... if you were in their shoes, do you think you would keep watching or come back to what you perceive as empty promises?

I'm not speaking for myself, because I still recognize the show for the most part. I've been uhappy about decisions, but I'm not that disconnected. Some are, though... many, obviously. Just look at the Neilsens. I can't help but wonder if it's too late to woo THOSE viewers back in time for Corday to shop the show around come fall.

The show today is a shell of the show that I started to watch back in the late 80's. Characters that I adored and made me want to tune in back then are long gone, but I stuck by it, even though I was unsure that I'd fall in love with another character. But I remained a loyal viewer, and I did get attached to more characters. So with or without the "fab four", I know that I'll still be able to tune in for someone.

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The show today is a shell of the show that I started to watch back in the late 80's. Characters that I adored and made me want to tune in back then are long gone, but I stuck by it, even though I was unsure that I'd fall in love with another character. But I remained a loyal viewer, and I did get attached to more characters. So with or without the "fab four", I know that I'll still be able to tune in for someone.

Well, that's good.

Unfortunately, I don't think most viewers share your same mentality.

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I think the major reason why so many tuned out from January to the end of April (and even still now, but DAYS seems to be rebounding in the ratings), is because the show was boring, the fab four being backburned and the filler that was in place.

I think that viewers that have stopped watching and are only testing the waters, definetly still have an emotional connection to the fab four characters, but it will take a good storyline and a reassurance from the show that these characters will be used 3-5 times a week for them to make the trek back to show for a sizeable amount of time.

For me personally, Feb-Mar-Apr were the hardest months to get through (outside of S/K) in a long while, and having no Bope or Jarlena on my screen was hard to swallow and seeing them now everyday is like a treat...I am cherishing it alot more than I did before.

I think backburning these characters only will make those who loved them or just liked them before, appreciate them ALOT more now that they are back.

So my answer is no, the emotional connection is not gone, but the trust connection and general interest connection has been strained over the 1st qrt of this year and is only now starting to be repaired.

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Well, that's good.

Unfortunately, I don't think most viewers share your same mentality.

I think you are overlooking something though. There is a difference between people not being invested in other characters and people refusing to be invested in other characters.

People refusing to be invested in other characters tend to be disgruntled internet fans who kind of need to show off their indignation to send a message. I wouldn't assume that this is the governing model for all 800000 viewers the show has lost lately.

People simply not being invested in other characters is the fault of the show itself and the way it connects them to the larger canvas. That doesn't mean that these people, who I think are more like the general fan, are unwilling to invest. But they are not going to do the work that the show is supposed to do: supply the characters' motivations, connections, etc. It's the show itself that doesn't know how to do this any more.

Hence for the general fan continuity has been very disturbed over the past four months, and actually I think the past 8-10 months give every reason to believe that build-ups and payoffs, which are a big part of investment, will underdeliver.

Edited because I have lousy grammar.

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I think you are overlooking something though. There is a difference between people not being invested in other characters and people refusing to be invested in other characters.

People refusing to be invested in other characters tend to be disgruntled internet fans who kind of need to show off their indignation to send a message. I wouldn't assume that this is the governing model for all 800000 viewers the show has lost lately.

People simply not being invested in other characters is the fault of the show itself and the way it connects them to the larger canvas. That doesn't mean that these people, who I think are more like the general fan, are unwilling to invest. But they are not going to do the work that the show is supposed to do: supply the characters' motivations, connections, etc. It's the show itself that doesn't know how to do this any more.

Hence for the general fan continuity has been very disturbed over the past four months, and actually I think the past 8-10 months give every reason to believe that build-ups and payoffs, which are a big part of investment, will underdeliver.

Edited because I have lousy grammar.

WELL SAID!

I'm sure a big part of it is fans that are pissed off about not seeing enough of their faves and therefore lash out and refuse to be open minded about liking another character. If everyone was like that throughout the entire run of the show, then there would be no fan faves, supercouples or true stars of the genre. JMO.

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I'm sure a big part of it is fans that are pissed off about not seeing enough of their faves and therefore lash out and refuse to be open minded about liking another character. If everyone was like that throughout the entire run of the show, then there would be no fan faves, supercouples or true stars of the genre. JMO.

I think "pissed off" is part of it for the uber-invested fan. However I think for the general fan, the big thing is continuity. All sorts of deficiencies in planning over the past year contributes to a lack of continuity.

I do agree that refusing to ever like another character is, in theory, absurd, since all characters except Alice (and Julie and Mickey, if they were ever on) were new at one point.

The confounding variable however is the quality of characterization. The character writing for this show has enjoyed a steady decline over the past decade at least, and combine it with the fact that they try to introduce too many new characters at a time (see: Langan's teen scene), and resentment from the general fan IMO becomes justified.

In short...

I don't like this:

"I refuse to like anybody new that isn't already my favorite because they're new and not my favorite."

I totally understand this:

"I refuse to like anybody that isn't well written and comes at the irrational expense of established characters."

I personally do think that the latter is more a model for the general fan than the former. I think the former is what one could come to THINK everybody is like based on internet message boards. But internet message boards have their own internal politics and blah blah blah, so in actually they are not necessarily indicative of the mentality at large (depends on who you look at, of course, but you can see how it would get to be unscientific to draw conclusions from the internet based on things like volunteer bias and self selection, establishment of echo chambers, etc). I have noticed differences along these lines between people who are new to message board culture and people who are long entrenched in message board culture. I even know that my own behavior has changed since I became a regular poster, I begin thinking thoughts that I didn't before.

Anyway, in short, I think the big picture ratings drop is the show's fault and not the viewer's. Customer is always right.

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