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Can We Talk?: Year One of Ron Carlivati's DAYS

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Looking back on both stints, it is interesting to note that RonC had to pivot and reboot the early stories on both shows.  OLTL had the infamous offloading of the gay characters which changed the custody story and changed the focus.  On GH, he seemed more interested in the Q's and the hospital, rather than Sonny/mob stuff.  Then, he had to re-write the three OLTL characters and the focus shifted back to Sonny through Michael and Morgan.  In both cases, the shift was necessitated by an outside source but it alienated a lot of fans.  I wonder how he will deal with all of the re-casting and BTS stuff that is currently happening on DAYS?

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There's no writer on the planet who could successfully navigate Days' budget issues and tape schedule.  Throw in Corday's proclivities, non-creative network execs tinkering with story/casting and you have a recipe for failure.  To Ron's credit, he's given all the vets meaty material (even if you hate it), he uses traditional soap format (dragging one day into weeks and months ala Bill Bell and unlike Mal Young on YR who kills the drama by changing the day each episode).  Ron's JJ shooting story was solid but, I'm sure, white washed by the white network execs.  He uses a regular rotation of fan favorites in recurring roles (Julie, Doug, Belle, Shaun, Lucas (until he was fired), Sami).  The day to day writing has massively improved, particularly the outlines.  The dialog writers have always been good and the newer writers added in the last year have done a great job (Kreizman and Cohen scripts stand out). But I think Ron has three categories of misfiring with the deck he was dealt coming into days.


How he handled Will's return and first year.  It was a patchwork of high drama and the mundane, with lots of absences by the character in between.  Chandler does best with consistent, solid dramatic material.  There was so much potential for Will to be changed like Jason Morgan on GH after he lost his memory.  They could have made him more like Sami so all of these love story machinations would make sense. Dumping Sonny for Paul and going back to Sonny.  Sonny's character had come to life when he was looking for Will but it was all dropped when they quickly put Paul and Will together.  (And having Sami stage Ben's attempted strangulation was a jump the shark moment unto itself in daytime history, a true low point for Days)


Second on my list would be hiring Tyler Christopher and the intro story.  Love Tyler but he's not a DiMera.  They also made him completely unsympathetic and crazy in how he handled Abby alter.  I don't see any chemistry with Marci or Camila.  He does, however, have chemistry with Aly Sweeney.  Overall, the alters plot failed to give Abby and Chad top notch, Story A material.  No wonder Billy's leaving.  He's been chewing the scenery with his stuttering because there's no meat on the story bone.


Ron's biggest failing and this is true of most other daytime head writers in the last 15 years: back from the dead/characters who commit crimes and those who cover up the crimes/assist to the newly rehabilitated and retcon stories.   Take Ben: rehabilitating Ben is not the same as when Pat Falken Smith turned rapist Luke into a hero and romantic lead.  They should have, at a minimum, given him a massive brain tumor (see Franco's story on GH).  Yes, Ben and Ciara have chemistry but it's gross that they couldn't be more inventive with the story.  In this vein, they resurrect dead characters and/or turn every character into criminals or accessories to major crimes. Will/Paul covering up Leo's death was the worst twist in this regard, cheap, dumb, not compelling.  Chad nearly killing Stefan, and walks. Stefan's crimes. Kate's crimes and attempted assassinations. Kristin's antics and return from the dead and running around town square.  The dumbest plot yet that really weakened the show as the year closes out is the Hatti/Marlena switch.  Dee deserves better than this.  As do Mary Beth and the others who have to make it work. Think about it. Dr. Evans is in the basement of the hospital on life support, put there by her family who sprung her lookalike. Please leave Jim Reilly, along with his storytelling style, in the past.  I would have rather seen Marlena possessed when she wakes up, having made a deal with the devil while in coma. Now that would have been whacky but awesome. They could have shown her near Eterna  (Lol) and had her before a counsel of the devil's apostles like Tony, Kristen etc.  


And we shouldn't let the three executive producers off the hook with casting and the production values/sets.  They have major influence. I ask: why do we have to watch paint dry (any scene with Lani). The character and actress don't work.  Now Tboz /Sheila (even with the uneven acting by TBoz) has spark.  And surely they can fix the stupid move years ago to have a cheap town square and limbo bush sets.  I say burn down that awful set and styrofoam memorial to Tom and Alice and start over.  And the Horton living room was tweaked years ago and is just awful.  Who is responsible for filling that living room set with tacky Target knick knacks, the oversized fire place portrait covered by that ancient clock, the tiny Secretary in the far left corner of the room. It looks like Henrietta Hippo's living room in New Zoo Review from the 70s.  Alice is rolling over in her donut powder.  In other words, the look of the show, while massively improved, still has some awful elements.  And don't get me started on the actor outfits.  Bloore has improved is costuming but some of the clothing choices are worthy of a pink slip from Ken (i.e. Gabby's candy striper dress worn in the episodes that aired this week).


None of these antics are going to save the show.   The wedding aftermath was low rated even by Days' standards. I think one week recently they added 58K viewers.


Yet I watch most episodes but many aren't.  Something's not right.


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