Days of Our Lives is one of the longest running soap operas in TV history, following love triangles, relentless pregnancies and the odd demon. Alex Casey watched it for a week and tried to make sense of the soft focus world.
As always, the week opens with an exhaustive supercut to get us nice an prepped to enter the Days of Our Lives universe. I’ll be honest, I’m stressed already. Of all my many confusing television experiences this year, Days of Our Lives already ranks well above True Detective. Give me Vince Vaughan muttering to the ceiling any day, over this rat king of pregnancies, affairs and stolen identities. The first shot is Stefano sitting on the phone, playing with a chess piece and talking about how some land in Ireland will be his soon.
What else has been happening? Ben and Abigail have just got engaged through oddly strained smiles, Mrs Brady has had a hardcore stroke on the tiles outside, and everyone else is basically lying cheating scum:
The CGI hourglass comes spinning towards me in zero gravity, and the nameless faceless omnipotent voice booms “Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives”. The hourglass rests gently on the ocean whilst holding up the sky, the one thing between heaven and hell that keeps us all here. The prison of time. I’m truly too depressed to go on, but go on I must.
The “lying ass” that Brady was referring to earlier was in fact, Theresa, who has lied about having a broken leg. We’ve all been there. Does she have an exam coming up? The beep test at school tomorrow? “EVERY WORD THAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH IS A DAMN LIE” Brady yells, as Theresa desperately tries to stop more lies from tumbling out embarrassingly.
Mrs Brady is well and truly still having a stroke on the ground, but elsewhere a faux Meg Ryan is setting up a lovely picnic for herself on a piece of astroturf (the local park). She is accosted by a park ranger with a muddled accent. German? English? Why is wearing a full khaki disguise? If you want to fit in on Days of Our Lives, just chuck on a funky Ezibuy tunic and pour yourself a vino mate.
Chad has swung by to troll the newly-engaged lovebirds Abigail and Ben, who are about to find out that Abigail is pregnant. He jazzily provides what I would describe as a “tongue-in-cheek” comment on the frantic nature of soap relationships.
Bloody hell, self-aware alert! Next up he’ll be breaking the fourth wall and brooding down the barrel about unreliable narrators. Haneke is over, Chad is the future.
Theresa, still with the rampant lies falling right on out of her mouth, is still trying to convince Brady that her leg is actually broken. Quite frankly, I’m more concerned with the floaty baby ghost bride behind her, and the hellishly dry-looking jam bikkies at her side. Later she will slice off the cast in a clear homage to Garner vs. security anklet on Story.
We briefly visit the silhouette of an old man standing in a shed, and I have no fucking idea what’s going on anymore. I think it’s Victor, but there is only one blue LED lighting this whole set so who knows. Could just be a giant jam biscuit in a suit?
Stefano, still hyped up on this idea about conquering Ireland, is conducting a symphony of zero alone in his house. Is this a sad portrait of a man spiralling into a dementia? There is no Ireland is there? I bet the phone wasn’t even plugged in. Chad comes in and snaps his baton, basically the human wrecking ball who won’t let any character slip into marriage and/or the sweet arms of madness peacefully.
Finally, that park ranger I was telling you about has made it to the blue shed of doom, and is angrily hacking at what appears to be an A5 image of Burt Reynolds.
I need a very strong drink.
Mrs Brady, who has just finished having her lengthy stroke, is now in intensive care. I assume it’s intensive care, there is at least one wire thing coming out of her nose.
My good friend Suzanne Rogers, also known as Maggie Horton, makes an appearance. I’m too busy reliving the good times we shared to listen to what she has to say. She’s a classic card, nobody else on this show says “butt” quite like Suzanne.
Ben and Abigail have gone to their respective parents to whinge about how they don’t want to get married to one another. I’ll be honest, this has been quite a whingey episode. Abigail says she is crying because she’s hungry, but I have a secret feeling it’s because she is pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want, to a man that she doesn’t love. This is want Ashley Madison wants, people!
The episode ends with a slow zoom onto a poster featuring a man on a rickshaw for the Salem Bicentennial, and I just dunno.
First up: I was so distracted by this humiliating extra with their label sticking out of their shirt, that I didn’t even notice Kate had dyed a part of her hair blue for some reason.
We are in the Ponsonby Central of Days of Our Lives today, where there is mostly just a lot of benches and a frozen yoghurt stand called ‘Day & Night’.
Derek is embracing one of the many benches with his new boyfriend Will. We all know that nothing intense ever happens on a Days of Our Lives bench, and everyone just has non-stop fun.
After the deep benching session, Derek then goes off to meet Paul, presumably his ex-boyfriend but also possibly his Dad, brother or son, in a booth lined with a shower curtain.
They are looking to clear the air about something, probably the steam from the shower that one or both of them is secretly having in this bathroom-pub hybrid. Turns out Paul just wants to call his Dad, “Dad”. “Pretty soon you’ll be playing ball down at Golden Gate Park” says Derek. “How did you know that was my dream?” says Paul, baffled.
“I went online” he reveals shockingly, like nobody else has ever Googled someone before. Derek would be horrified to see how many times I’ve searched “john + krasinski + emily + blunt + supermarket”. It’s 2015 man, get with the programme.
Fake Meg Ryan and Fake Colin Farrell are having an argument about their son, and how they miss him a lot. Tell you what, if you are in the market for a son might I suggest this VERY SMALL MAN SITTING ON THE DRESSER BEHIND YOU.
Back in the mysterious blue garden shed, the Park Ranger is screwing up paper like an absolute maniac. “Revenge is a dish best served cold” he says, to a bag of fertilizer.
Ponsonby Central is bustling today, the frozen yoghurt is flowing and the faux flowers blooming. A man, who I’m 98% sure is called Mr Centrefold, is yelling in the middle of the courtyard to some poor woman about a slanderous PR disaster. ““Little girl, nothing is going to stop me” he bellows, before she scampers away. Eve witnessed the whole thing, hiding very convincingly behind ye olde flora cart.
Eve sneaks out, picking up a small piece of card left in the wake of the PR diasaster. I think I know what it is:
Sometimes it is impossible to tell whether or not you are watching Days of Our Lives, or the beginnings of a softcore porno. This is one of these instances – a shirtless, vaguely foreign man tinkering in a fake garden.
Don’t get too steamed up though, because he’s in massive hot water with Brady
A hostage situation in an enclosed garden is a real boner killer.
This episode is all about JJ, who is involved in a drug inquiry with a villainous man who has skin like artisanal luncheon. They are trying to bring down a drug dealer through the majesty of yelling in an office. JJ gets a phone call – it’s a punky looking dude that I probably would have had a crush on when I was 15.
JJ makes it to the punk den, and wanders over to the open window. What is that bright light streaming through? What is this warmth we are suddenly feeling? IT’S SUNLIGHT! FINALLY! JJ basks in the glow, and I learn towards the screen to soak in every ounce of manufactured vitamin D. The punk is wanting to expand his business. Reading between the lines, I think it’s safe to say his business is cold hard drugs.
Ooh, Forest Gump homage alert! Good old Chad knows his cinema, it’s been a real week for referentiality.
Abigail receives flowers to celebrate her engagement. It’s a pity she doesn’t love Ben at all, but she seems to temporarily have forgotten that. As we all know, a lovely bouquet will do that to a chick. She trots into a darkened room, and doesn’t turn the lights on.
That’s not something you should do in a horror film, so it’s definitely not something you should do on Days of Our Lives. Surprise, there’s someone sitting there. But who? And why? And when are we all going to get some frozen yoghurt?
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