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18 hours ago, beebs said:

Definitely agree about Maggie. Just her feeling like a fish out of water could've really heightened the drama, and with Linda still lurking about, still trying to win Mickey over, there was years of story still able to be told there. Seems silly to throw it all out the window so quickly, but, as you said, the focus on middle-aged characters was starting to be a real problem here. I suspect this is why the focus was shifted so heavily to whiny Mike and perpetual victim Trish.

 

17 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

After the wife beating story Mickey/Maggie had the Janice story which served them better, although losing Janice and turning Maggie into a drunk was a misguided move. Perhaps Maggie could have turned away from Mickey because he could not give her a child. Maybe bring back Jay from the farm...

I spent my afternoon trying to come up with alternative story path for Maggie. Suppose she became an alcoholic because of her fish out of water situation. Here she is, feeling like she's coming up short as a wife, potential mother, member of Salem society, etc. A story about anxiety and low self-esteem tells itself in 2020, but it could have worked in the late '70s, too. Maggie could end up befriending every young woman in town (Trish, Margo, Donna, Melissa) with maybe a little jealousy about the liberation she was just a little too old for/isolated from, but also genuine friendship for her mentees. Maggie will still make mistakes (yes to the idea of a fling with Jay), but she's also learning to appreciate herself (and Mickey) along the way.

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I think that Mickey's recovery /re-integration was maybe a little rushed,

After everything he'd been through, for him to return to being a respected lawyer and upstanding citizen seemed a waste.

Maybe he could have uncomfortable at being pressured to return to his old life and the rivalry with Bill could have been simmering.

Maggie could be caught in the middle dealing with her own issues.

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7 hours ago, AbcNbc247 said:

@beebs that was the best rant I've ever read lol

 

I can see why the ratings dropped a little at this time. The change from years of psychological realism under Bell and Falken Smith to melodrama must have been quite jarring.

LOL thank you @AbcNbc247, I'm gonna keep reading the Daytime Serial Newsletters and maybe post a little more about what happens as I go along. Do we know when the last DSN was published? I really like the detail they put into their summaries.

It honestly feels as though Ann Marcus put all the stories on fast-forward and simplified everyone's emotions in order to get a handle on the show. I can appreciate how, as a new writer coming into a show you're somewhat unfamiliar with, this particular show would be daunting and rather dense from a characterization point of view. But, having said this, I totally get why people say she dumbed the characters down. And yes, the stories are relatively melodramatic and less controversial than what PFS was writing. It suddenly feels like a stereotypical soap, which is especially unfortunate, given what Ann Marcus was handed when she arrived. 

 

The only thing I will give Ann Marcus credit for is that her DAYS seems to have the women more dominant in story, and gives them a lot more agency than PFS, who seemed to have rather aggressive men dominating the narrative. Phyllis exacting revenge on her gross, philandering sleaze husband Neil has been delightful, and a nice surprise considering how psychologically fragile she was previously.

Either way, I'll keep reading and update everyone on my findings, haha. I'm curious to see the change between Ann Marcus and Elizabeth Harrower.

3 hours ago, Franko said:

 

I spent my afternoon trying to come up with alternative story path for Maggie. Suppose she became an alcoholic because of her fish out of water situation. Here she is, feeling like she's coming up short as a wife, potential mother, member of Salem society, etc. A story about anxiety and low self-esteem tells itself in 2020, but it could have worked in the late '70s, too. Maggie could end up befriending every young woman in town (Trish, Margo, Donna, Melissa) with maybe a little jealousy about the liberation she was just a little too old for/isolated from, but also genuine friendship for her mentees. Maggie will still make mistakes (yes to the idea of a fling with Jay), but she's also learning to appreciate herself (and Mickey) along the way.

I really love this angle. It seems a much more organic way to lead to alcoholism for Maggie, and takes the threads PFS laid out and runs with them, as opposed to dropping them like a sack of cement, which appears to be what happened.

 

3 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

I think that Mickey's recovery /re-integration was maybe a little rushed,

After everything he'd been through, for him to return to being a respected lawyer and upstanding citizen seemed a waste.

Maybe he could have uncomfortable at being pressured to return to his old life and the rivalry with Bill could have been simmering.

Maggie could be caught in the middle dealing with her own issues.

I honestly wonder if that wasn't Ann Marcus abandoning a story that had been accused of being too heavy and unpopular. I don't really fault her for that, given the state the show was in when she arrived, but it seems as though she overlooked the decade that that story had been front-and-centre on the show, and, in doing so, threw away the loyalty of the millions who had stuck with it through all that time. I feel like it would've been far better payoff to stick with PFS' plan to see Mickey through that recovery to finally struggle to earn the trust and respect of the community and his loved ones again.

 

The newsletters suggest that while Mickey's time in Bayview was heavy, but it was handled carefully and thoughtfully, and was heading in an optimistic direction. Why not stick with it? Maybe follow it through to another big court case that Mickey successfully tries, signalling his return to prominence in the community. Perhaps tied to the baby Dougie custody case?

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21 minutes ago, beebs said:

I really love this angle. It seems a much more organic way to lead to alcoholism for Maggie, and takes the threads PFS laid out and runs with them, as opposed to dropping them like a sack of cement, which appears to be what happened.

Thanks. I see it as a slow burner. Maggie has an extra drink or two at Christmas and New Year's, then other parties, then with dinner, then without dinner. It doesn't have to be a cliché if it's told honestly and relatably.

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1 minute ago, Franko said:

Thanks. I see it as a slow burner. Maggie has an extra drink or two at Christmas and New Year's, then other parties, then with dinner, then without dinner. It doesn't have to be a cliché if it's told honestly and relatably.

I love it. And you're absolutely right. Play it so slowly we hardly notice it happening until it's right in our faces. It can so easily be done, especially since the real story is Maggie's insecurity, and longing for the simplicity of her previous country life. Eventually, that could've even led to Maggie resenting Mickey having come into her life, driving him back toward Linda, for example.

Ann Marcus seems allergic to this kind of story so far, as everything I listed above, plus Brooke spying on Bob, getting caught, and trying to run out of town and crashing her car and "dying", all within her first five months. It's absolute whiplash compared to previous years.

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Thanks for the links @victoria foxton, and yeah, I'm less than engaged in Ann Marcus' stories so far, tbh. I watched the March 1979 episode earlier, which is early in Elizabeth Harrower's run. It already seems to be shifting back into a more intense style of the Bell era. Stephanie frying her fingertips off to stop the folks at Anderson from finding out she's actually Brooke is still shocking viewing 40 years later. As silly as the whole "Brooke comes back with a new name and face" story was (another Ann Marcus plotty story twist), I really do wish her identity had come out more naturally, and Stephanie had stuck around post-1980. She was a fascinating character to me.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, beebs said:

Thanks for the links @victoria foxton, and yeah, I'm less than engaged in Ann Marcus' stories so far, tbh. I watched the March 1979 episode earlier, which is early in Elizabeth Harrower's run. It already seems to be shifting back into a more intense style of the Bell era. Stephanie frying her fingertips off to stop the folks at Anderson from finding out she's actually Brooke is still shocking viewing 40 years later. As silly as the whole "Brooke comes back with a new name and face" story was (another Ann Marcus plotty story twist), I really do wish her identity had come out more naturally, and Stephanie had stuck around post-1980. She was a fascinating character to me.

 

 

I would love to read your thoughts on other runs. Like Harrower,   Laemmle,  Tomlin / Poteet Lisanti. Stephanie/Brooke always struck me as a fascinating character. A shame she was killed in the 1980 reboot.

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Made to May 1978 now in the Daytime Serial Newsletters.

Ann Marcus seems to have settled into the job as headwriter now a year in, and is starting to find her groove. It's still not anything like it had been in Bell or Pat Falken Smith, but her show is finding its footing. 

 

I think if I'm to look at Ann Marcus' run through cynical modern eyes, it's easier to find fault in it than it is in the context of where daytime soaps were in 1978. I'll agree with @Paul Raven that Julie being raped by Larry Atwood was unnecessary, but I think part of me looks at it that way because SO MANY women on DAYS have been raped now, it just seems excessive. But by 1978, only Laura had experienced this, and under vastly different circumstances, so I don't necessarily think the twist was ill-advised. Am I a fan of the Atwood underworld caper? No. But I've seen worse.

Larry Atwood murder story is somewhat interesting, but I think years of GH centring so heavily on the mob has put me off any kind of underworld story on soaps. At least this organization seems a little slapdash, and not omnipotent like some of these organizations tend to be, but then that leads to me not taking them all that seriously either. I never get the sense that Larry Atwood or his associates are a real and pressing threat over Doug and Julie. Doug, indeed, is off singing on cruise ships all this time, and isn't exactly calling on anyone to watch over Julie while he's away. He just seems to sorta...leave her to her own devices.

 

I also think revealing Arlo Roberts, bit player waiter from Doug's Place who was a plant by Larry to try to undermine Doug and Julie's business was a cop-out. I would've much rather seen someone like Jeri Clayton be revealed to be Larry's killer, especially considering her ties to Atwood, and her anger at what she perceived to be Larry's two-timing her with Julie. Have her kill him, and block out the memory of that, plus the revelation that Julie was raped, which would be what incites Jeri to kill him, and we've got a story. It's not like Jeri was a cornerstone of the show, but she mattered far more than Arlo the Waiter.

Sam throwing Marlena in Bayview and taking over her life is another story that's been done so many times since, I can't help but roll my eyes at it, but it was a well-constructed story, at least. There's scripts posted from when Sam visits Marlena in Bayview, demanding she consent to shock therapy which I was fortunate enough to read (thanks Jason47!) that are very intense. Sam is cold, and menacing to Marlena, even threatening to kill her if she doesn't comply, before realizing that, DUH, SHE'S SAM! She can sign her OWN damn consent form! Of course, Marlena's saved, and Sam goes to rehab, but when Don and Marlena are to be married the next year, Marlena agrees to have Sam be her maid of honour??? Between Sam and now Ben, Marlena may be the most selectively forgiving person on the planet.

One angle of Ann Marcus' show I'm really liking is how she's writing the Andersons. Phyllis and Linda, in particular, have flourished under her. I like how cunning Linda has become, playing Tommy and Bob against each other, all with the plan of not just marrying Bob, but becoming indispensable to his business, and, indeed, the REAL person with all the power at Anderson. It's been a fascinating transformation and I find myself rooting for her at every turn. Mary and Chris have been a decent match as well. I've also been really enjoying Phyllis finally growing a spine against all the sh!tty men in her life. The moment she finds out about her husband Neil carrying on an affair with her daughter, Mary, she begins to sabotage their relationship, calling Neil on dates with Mary that Mary doesn't show up to because Mary never made the date to begin with. Later, Phyllis cavorts about with her tennis instructor right in front of Neil while refusing to share Neil's bed. Mary won't speak to Neil either, so a sex-starved Neil tries to try it on with the nurse at his clinic, and she immediately quits in response! Brilliant! After years of Neil being a slimebucket and a horndog, he finally gets some comeuppance, and Phyllis regains some power. The best part for me was reading that she finally ended up leaving for a few months on a world tour after this because she "got bored" with emasculating Neil. An absolute delight.

I notice the hotshot Dr. Griffin and his teenage daughter who was set to be paired with Mike got dropped with a quickness, as did Danny Grant and Toni's story. DAYS is now back to being lilly-white, I guess. Trish randomly decides she doesn't actually love David and runs off to Gary, Indiana (of all places) where Arlo the waiter has her singing at some random club, and just has her baby adopted out (Timothy but I know he eventually somehow becomes Scotty??). I'm guessing Patty Weaver left the show around this time because this seems like a real sharp left turn in the story, with Mike now hooking up with Chris' new secretary Margo, who immediately is diagnosed with leukemia and we're supposed to care a lot about her because she's mousy and blonde, I think.

 

Mike goes running after her when she finds out, because she "doesn't want to be loved out of pity" (barf), but Mike flies cross-country to Margo's twatty mother's house and throws a bunch of platitudes at her and she falls for it and now they're getting married. Yawn. Cue what I know to be the slowest death from cancer in soap opera history.

The Barton family saga ended in a nice neat little bow. Abused wife Jean tries to leave her husband, Fred. He trips over her suitcase while he's trying to get at her, falls down the stairs and has to go into surgery for a head injury. Because the hotshot Dr. Griffin was too busy looking for his daughter that night who was on a date with some dweeb he didn't like, Dr. Griffin couldn't be bothered to do the surgery. Bill and Kate found an intern to do it, but the guy was so nervous he ran off, so Bill had to, despite still having a sh!te hand after Mickey shot him while in his psychotic rage over Laura. Fred Barton wakes up and can't walk. Laura says it's psychosomatic. Fred sues University Hospital, so Kate and Bill are up for dismissal with the hospital board. The intern turns out to be a spineless rat who conveniently neglects to share his part in the debacle with the board and says Bill MADE him leave the OR, so Kate and Bill are fired. This is where Kate and Bill get to the point of emotional affair (it so far hasn't become sexual), as Laura feels Bill is threatened by the fact she's working and he isn't, and Bill and Kate were getting close as Bill became more involved in anesthesiology, which Kate is the head of for UH, or I guess, was, until she got sacked.

Either way, they manage to convince the intern to stop being a baby and tell the truth, Kate and Bill are rehired, and Kate won't screw Bill because he's married. So...for now, that's it for that angle. Incidentally, the only discernible characteristic I've been able to uncover about Kate Winograd is that she REALLY REALLY REALLY doesn't want to be "the other woman". So, A+ character development there.

The Bartons, on the other hand...Fred gets on an elevator with Marlena, who tries to shrink him on the fly. He's not having it, but then the elevator gets stuck between floors and Marlena has time to work her magic, and he goes on about how his mom got beat by his drunk dad and he has a sad and that's why he's a prick to his wife when he's stressed. A week later, he shows up to court and walks. His case against UH is dropped, Fred suddenly decides therapy is A-OK, and suddenly, Mickey & Maggie might as well have an empty apartment above them, because we never hear from the Bartons again...

...or Kate Woodville's Marie, who apparently disintegrated into the counselling program she was volunteering at after Alice finally snapped at her for taking over her home and family. Interesting that, other than a few minute conversation on the subject, Tommy and Marie's bonkers history was all-but-ignored on this run. I wonder what Ann Marcus' plan was for Marie, cos it certainly went nowhere.

Also, Janice's bio mom moves into Mickey & Maggie's neighbourhood and is apparently pretending to be Janice's fairy godmother. This will end well.

Aaaaand finally, we get to Don's senatorial campaign, in which the big scandal was going to be Marlena and Don LIVING IN SIN, causing Don to temporarily move out. This becomes mitigated by Don proposing...until Lorraine shows up. Lorraine apparently lived with Don for a month in 1964 until he found out she was turning tricks, and he never heard from her again, but apparently now he has a daughter: Tracey E. Bregman's Donna. And despite being clumsily named after him, he turns out not to even be her father, and it was all a scam to get money out of Don. Except, when it all was exposed, Lorraine skips town and leaves Donna in Salem??? WTF! So now she's Marlena's ward-du-jour. 

 

 

 

 

 

*inhales*

 


Again, I think my biggest complaint about Ann Marcus' writing of this show is that it moves SO FAST she has burned through all this story in just one year. It must have been INCREDIBLY jarring for the audience so accustomed to tightly-focused, slow-moving psychological character studies, and suddenly having so much big-stakes, largely plot-based story thrust at them like this. There really is little room for dramatic tension, and when I read some of these writeups, I am absolutely rolling my eyes at a lot more of the plot points than I ever did under PFS, who I spent more time considering the nuance of the characters' behaviours with. 

It feels like Ann Marcus' intention was to play with similar themes as before, but in a far shallower, perhaps more accessible way, but I think that sells the audience short, as DAYS was extremely successful for a very long time without dumbing down the story. I still really enjoy the more empowering way she writes many of the women of the show, but it really does feel a lot more stereotypically soap opera than what came before, and that's disappointing, because it comes off as lazy writing.

Anyway, onto June we go. More ramblings to come.

Edited by beebs

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I just logged back in and realized how long that post was. I should never post at 3am with insomnia. I am SO sorry, Y'all. 😂😂😂

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10 hours ago, beebs said:

Aaaaand finally, we get to Don's senatorial campaign, in which the big scandal was going to be Marlena and Don LIVING IN SIN, causing Don to temporarily move out. This becomes mitigated by Don proposing...until Lorraine shows up. Lorraine apparently lived with Don for a month in 1964 until he found out she was turning tricks, and he never heard from her again, but apparently now he has a daughter: Tracey E. Bregman's Donna. And despite being clumsily named after him, he turns out not to even be her father, and it was all a scam to get money out of Don. Except, when it all was exposed, Lorraine skips town and leaves Donna in Salem??? WTF! So now she's Marlena's ward-du-jour. 

 

Woah woah woah... Donna wasn’t even Don’s daughter after all???

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23 minutes ago, OzFrog said:

 

Woah woah woah... Donna wasn’t even Don’s daughter after all???

Unless Ann Marcus did a 180 on this, it seems he isn't! Donna blew the whole scam by telling the lawyer who was representing Lorraine in the custody suit all about the scam because she stupidly thought he was in on it. Her actual father is apparently some GI who Lorraine slept with before moving in with Don. She was already pregnant when she lived with Don. 

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