Wonderfully Awful: Like Sands Through The Hourglass


A blogumn by Robin Rosenzweig

This year, Days of our Lives celebrates its 43rd anniversary. And like sands through the hourglass, I have been watching for approximately 25 of them.  It’s hard to say why I have remained so dedicated to Days, with its outlandish story lines and convoluted family trees. But truth is I can’t help but enjoy following the scandalous and sometimes implausible activities of the overly made-up residents of Salem, USA.
I grew up watching such legendary super couples as Bo Brady and Hope Williams and Kayla Brady and Steve “Patch” Johnson. The stories were similar – rebellious bad boy finds himself at odds with nice, sweet girl. They somehow end up on all sorts of crazy adventures, and of course, fall in love along the way. And even though Steve died years ago, and Hope died at least a couple times through the years, somehow all four of these characters are back on the show today.

With the introduction of baddies such as ruthless businessman Victor Kiriakis (played to this day by Jon Aniston… yes, Jennifer’s daddy) and evil, pretty-much-impossible-to-kill Stefano Dimera, Days of our Lives has evolved into a deliciously campy, at times utterly ridiculous delight.  From Sami Brady’s Dimera-influenced transformation into “Stan” – played by an actual dude –  so that she could anonymously get revenge on those who wronged her (and so portrayer Allison Sweeney could go on maternity leave) to Marlena Evans’ devil possession (!), no plot is off limits due to being “unrealistic.” In Salem, USA, time passes by slowly, children age rapidly, and once characters arrive at about age 40, they just stop aging altogether. Max Brady dates his nieces, and Chelsea Brady has had one boyfriend sleep with her mom and another sleep with her grandmother. I can see how some may be turned off by all of this nonsense. But to me, all of this is what makes soaps like Days so fantastically fun to watch.

Living in Los Angeles, I have easy access to Days of our Lives fan events, and yes, I have attended a few. The extent of true and serious fan devotion always astounds me when I’m at these things. I always hear about people who fly in from across the country, bring along books, photos and other collectibles, and wait in long lines just to get a quick autograph from someone whose real name they may not even know.  Though I can generally just walk or take the subway to see if soap actors are as hunky in person as they are on my screen, I, too, have my fangirl moments. When the emcee at the recent “Day of Days” event asked the crowd what the dearly deceased character Isabella’s last name was, I caught myself screaming “Toscano Black Toscano Black TOSCANOOOO BLAAAACK!” in a vain attempt to win a Days of our Lives tote bag.

When Days was in the midst of their Salem Stalker serial killer storyline a few years back, LA’s Cineramadome Theater hosted a screening of the episode where OG character Maggie Horton was to be murdered. All I have to say is that if you ever have the chance to watch a soap on a movie screen, please do so. The over-the-top acting is multiplied a hundredfold…and is HILARIOUS.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Maggie’s death was short-lived. Turns out she was just sent to an island called New Salem as part of a wacky Dimera scheme, and is now back in Salem running an environmentally friendly upscale restaurant…but of course.