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Days of Our Lives: October 2021 Discussion Thread


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Just for discussion sake, and not to defend or compare offensive behaviors, but to those who object to Ben ever being written as a romantic hero, should the same rules apply to Sami, who drugged Austin in order to have sex with him without his consent (or at least make others think they had non-consensual intercourse)?

In other words, does the classic soap tale of people being redeemed by the power of love no longer work for today's generation of soap fans?

Edited by j swift
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7 minutes ago, j swift said:

Just for discussion sake, and not to defend or compare offensive behaviors, but to those who object to Ben ever being written as a romantic hero, should the same rules apply to Sami, who drugged Austin in order to have sex with him without his consent (or at least make others think they had non-consensual intercourse)?

In other words, does the classic soap tale of people being redeemed by the power of love no longer work for today's generation of soap fans?

Sami didn't kill 4 people in a row, and she wasn't propped up as something great.

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2 minutes ago, koos said:

Sami didn't kill 4 people in a row, and she wasn't propped up as something great.

To be fair, and keep the record straight, Sami shot Allen (in the crotch) and EJ (in the head) with the intent of killing them and she kidnapped baby Belle in order to sell her.  While maintaining her status as the romantic lead of the show for over decade.

So, the question remains, can soaps no longer use stories about characters being redeemed by love?

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For me, a huge difference is that no one is going around Salem talking about what an amazing person Sami is. The town doesn't sing her praises. They're not talking ad nauseam about how she's redeemed and changed and just the greatest woman to ever walk the earth despite everything she's done. The family members of her victims aren't berated for not liking her. Sami is a hypocritical bitch and the whole town knows it and the people of Salem are allowed to not like her because of the things she's done. None of this can be said about Ben. I will never get over Ciara bullying Eve for not liking for the man who brutally strangled her daughter to death. The insane propping is one of the major reasons why Ben simply does not work.

Edited by AlexElizabeth
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I admit that I am never going to win this argument, but I'm bored on a weekend night with nothing but time so here it goes:

To use your example about Eve, after Sami was wrongly convicted of killing Franco, Kate was vilified by everyone in Salem for hating Sami.  Kate lost her job, her fortune, and the respect of her children. Even though Sami withheld the information that Will was Kate's son Lucas's child, falsely accused Lucas of abusing Will, and assaulted Kate.

While I agree that few defended Sami (with the notable exception of Roman), her felonious intentions were always justified, and the audience was meant to take her side in romantic stories, because we were supposed to root for the redemptive power of love.

 

Edited by j swift
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5 minutes ago, j swift said:

To use your example about Eve, after Sami was wrongly convicted of killing Franco, Kate was vilified by everyone in Salem for hating Sami.  Kate lost her job, her fortune, and the respect of her children. Even though Sami withheld the information that Will was Kate's son Lucas's child, falsely accused Lucas of abusing Will, and assaulted Kate.

I have been thinking really hard about your question since you first posted it - which is great actually; love that you got me thinking even though I don't have a good answer! Thanks for a great conversation starter - and one thing I can immediately spot in those examples is that Kate's lie almost led to Sami's death (on death row). Which is akin to murder.
Sami's behavior at least in the examples you mention did not rise to the same level.
So in the immediate aftermath of that storyline I think it somehow explains why the consequences were more severe for Kate. She was literally ready to let Sami die. And the fact Sami spent time on death row for something she didn't do presumably functioned as Sami's "punishment" for her own misdeeds.

Now, Sami raping Austin was not presented or played as rape for cultural and sociological reasons and therefore the audience didn't receive it as it.
This has to do with the times being different: back then I imagine the idea of men being raped was not taken seriously, the entire issue of drug-addled consent was not treated as as clear-cut as it should have been and as it thankfully is now, and so on.
I am not sure how the old "scheming woman drugs guy to get him into bed" trope would be received nowadays but something tells me the audience would correctly recognize it as what it is and not shrug it as just a "scheme" like they did back then.
But they played it as a lie, rather than rape so it didn't have the same impact on the audience as a more "classic" rape would. 
I do think if the story was told now, the response would be completely different. But it is hard to expect an audience to revisit its impression of a 25-year old storyline

Similarly the various acts of violence Sami committed against EJ felt like a tit-for-tat between them. Their relationship started with another rape (which I never forgave him for but most of the audience and writers did) and that entire toxic back-and-forth was just vile and toxic from both ends. And since both were equally culpable of crossing all kinds of lines, no one bore the judgement of the audience in quite the same way a one-sided crime would have.

I really think this is an interesting question in general: why certain crimes and/or characters do not get the same response from the audience as others.
I do not think Ben is a good example though because it is pretty-straightforward: killing several innocent characters is just a line that you cannot come back from.
ESPECIALLY since there is no remorse here. He didn't "redeem" himself. He just magically was written an excuse for his crimes and allowed to move on and be treated as a hero.

A better case for me - and this isn't the right thread for it - is Jason Morgan who IS a killer and not strictly for self-defense. The indulgence for that character is infinitely more problematic to me than Sami who is, by all accounts, correctly identified as not an outstanding citizen but has been on the receiving end of enough crimes and dastardly plots by others to somehow balance the karma in the mind of the audience.
Ben was given an excuse for the heinous crimes he committed and is never supposed to be on the receiving end of any consequences - direct or karmic. As AlexElizabeth said, there actually was an entire storyline where the mother of one of his victims was written as the villain because she couldn't forgive him.
This really makes it hard to swallow. You can't redeem a character who hasn't reckoned with their crimes. And the reason they don't write it is because they know they couldn't. There is just no way a serial killer can be fully redeemed in a way that would be satisfying enough for us to want him to be happy.

But I have been thinking a lot about what you said about the rape part and Sami's crimes. And that is a really good point I don't have a solid response to besides my above babbling.

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I feel it necessary to clarify that I am not pushing a false comparison of Sami and Ben.  I am simply asking if it is a generation divide that younger viewers are no longer swayed by the soapiness of characters being redeemed by love.

Edited by j swift
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I don’t think Sami has been “redeemed by love”. She is still scheming. I don’t think the writers wanted us to take her side when she bribed Xander to “out” Nicole at her anniversary party. We were supposed to think she was being a hypocritical bitch and root for her own affair being exposed to EJ as payback. Sure, Sami hasn’t murderer 4 people like Ben, but I don’t think we are supposed to view her as a romantic heroine either.

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