The Hourglass Runs Out... OR DOES IT?!?
November 16, 2019 12:05 PM   Subscribe

The long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives has scripted a new cliffhanger, this one playing out in the real world, with the entire cast being released from their contracts and production being put on hold.

But wait! This doesn't mean the end of DOOL after more than half a century. For one thing, the show's shooting schedule is so far ahead that they have nine months of episodes in the can. For another, Corday Productions (which also makes The Young and the Restless) will likely use the pause to renegotiate contracts and shed some cast members, rather than simply let the show die.
posted by Etrigan (41 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I guess that's one way to fuck your workers without running afoul of the Screen Actors Guild.
posted by at by at 12:18 PM on November 16, 2019 [8 favorites]


Read about a soap in the earlier years that got a new producer that hated the entire cast except for one. Wrote a scene where they all went to a church picnic in a school bus and on the way back it drove off a cliff leaving the one survivor for continuity.

Then there was the cliffhanger on Dynasty where the plane was captured by terrorists, so not unheard of in that genre/industry.
posted by sammyo at 12:28 PM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


I guess I'm a bit surprised that the network daytime soaps still exist. I'm also amazed DOOL has nine months of shows in the can. That's one hell of a production schedule.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:38 PM on November 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


Monday. . . Tuesday. . . Wednesday. . . Thursday. . . Friday. . . Saturday. . . Sunday. These are The Days of the Week.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2019 [12 favorites]


There's a musical is this.
posted by clavdivs at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


A friend is a longtime cast member on another daytime soap. He's a fan favorite, he's won an Emmy. The last time his contract came up for renewal, he was offered a salary cut or the opportunity to leave the show. It's a brutal time for soap actors.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:56 PM on November 16, 2019 [24 favorites]


How about a plot where only one cast member survives but winds up in a Bizarro universe ala Seinfeld?

HELLO, VARGUS! (high five)
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:57 PM on November 16, 2019


Aw, this makes me sad. I was a fan in the 90's - I'd watch it at noon during lunch break in college. I still kind of keep up with Bo, Hope, Sami and the rest of the Salem crew when I'm in line at the grocery store checkout (little soap mags). And let's not forget about Eric Brady, played by a young Jensen Ackles.

Has anybody questioned Stefano? This smells like a dastardly DiMera plot.
posted by Gray Duck at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2019 [19 favorites]


Bummer. My wife and I watched Days for a bit. I grew to really admire the work the actors had to put into a 5-days-a-week show. Every now and then I’ll grumble at my wife, “I mean, my God, Kate!,” in my best John Black impression.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


There is no soap opera, only DOOL.
posted by Splunge at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2019 [26 favorites]


I just saw Deidre Hall on an old Columbo episode. I watched DOOL in the 70s and 80s with my mom. My sister still watches it. Soap actors work incredibly hard. This is a pretty lousy way to treat people who have worked so hard for so long.
posted by ceejaytee at 1:13 PM on November 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


My friend ironically (but maybe not) watches Days and talks about some of the more outrageous plotlines. She recently told me that as shorthand for carrying out a "dastardly DiMera plot", the characters will instead carry around a portrait of Stefano and tell it their evil plans. The actor (definitely) and the character (allegedly) are dead, so this strikes me as a brilliant way to save money while complying with surreal soap opera logic. I've taken to using a screencap (as seen here) and photoshopping over the portrait of Stefano with other things I might tell my secret plans to. Or just other funny memes.

It is an incredibly niche joke but it has brought me some joy lately, despite the fact that I haven't even seen a TV with the show on in likely twenty years.
posted by cacophony at 2:59 PM on November 16, 2019 [16 favorites]


I guess I'm a bit surprised that the network daytime soaps still exist.

Yeah, came here to say, it’s widely accepted that DOOL is the next to go. Y&R will be the last.
posted by Melismata at 3:42 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I would truly hate to think telenovelas swept in and ruined the soaps market...

Also, I guess Shonda Rhimes treatment of her cast on Grey's Anatomy makes a little more sense now.
posted by ipsative at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2019


My poor mother will be crushed.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:22 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


My friend ironically (but maybe not) watches Days and talks about some of the more outrageous plotlines.

I did follow one daytime soap one summer in high school when I was nine every day at 2:00 or whatever. It made quite a delible impression on me; I cannot even tell you which one it was.

That said, in my proto-hipster days I liked that my local newspaper had a daily update of what happened on each of the major soaps. I read that with amusement for months once. No idea who any of these people were but I did know that Stephanie had returned unannounced from Hong Kong to find C.J. hiding in the secret room in the basement, that Jennifer had learned her baby was not her own, and that Eric’s twin had been declared dead after the plane crash. Far out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:23 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I watched it on weed during summer breaks from college ca 1995-96 in between my morning shift of hotel laundry and my evening shift bussing tables. It was the Sammi-Austin-Lucas-Carrie dramz and Marlena's possession era.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:53 PM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh, and Hope/Princess Gina and Billie played by Lisa Rinna and someone else not Lisa Rinna.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


I was an ABC soaps girl but I did spend a few summers watching Days. I remember Marlena's possession by the devil and Carly being buried alive.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 6:57 PM on November 16, 2019


Carly being buried alive.

Yes! I remember this! My mom was a regular viewer when I was in elementary school. I was probably too young to be exposed to this fantasy world where someone was buried alive and psychologically tortured via walkie-talkie. I was mildly haunted by that storyline for years.
posted by bkpiano at 7:13 PM on November 16, 2019


Watched in the summers as a teen. Once in the 90's, I found a soap magazine which detailed the plot from pilot to current day. Many, many pages in small type. Would love to see something like that for the show now. Would especially love a novelization of the entire storyline. With multiple volumes, massive effort, and few buyers, I suppose that will never happen. Still though, I'd buy the hell out of that.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:56 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm just sad that soaps are dying off. This is reminding me of what happened with All My Children and One Life To Live.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:03 PM on November 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


I only ever watched this in the early 2000s. The story line I remember is that there was a serial killer that was one of the main characters (but who!) and everyone who "died" really ended up on like... an island that seemed like heaven?
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:12 PM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Is this something I would need to have had a TV in the 80s to understand?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:43 PM on November 16, 2019


Monday. . . Tuesday. . . Wednesday. . . Thursday. . . Friday. . . Saturday. . . Sunday. These are The Days of the Week.

Well, that was a enjoyably confusing several minutes of what the fuck is even happening. I opened that in another tab and wasn't really paying attention and didn't even realize this was a parody until I saw John Candy. Until that point I wasn't entirely unconvinced that it wasn't a real, live Hands of Manos-level terribly hilarious soap opera.

And holy crap there's like two hours of this? Heeeelp.
posted by loquacious at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


WHAT DO MEAN THAT'S RICK MORANIS!? *HEAD EXPLODES*

Sorry for the derail but no seriously I can't turn this off because I need to see what happens next. I think it's the only time a soap opera grabbed me that wasn't Robotech when I was, you know, like twelve.
posted by loquacious at 9:10 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Dust....wind...dude.
posted by praemunire at 1:13 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ah man now Sami and Austin will never get together... again.
posted by taterpie at 2:55 AM on November 17, 2019


Yes! I remember this! My mom was a regular viewer when I was in elementary school. I was probably too young to be exposed to this fantasy world where someone was xxxxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxx-xxxxxx.

I will be mildly haunted by that comment for years.
posted by fairmettle at 2:59 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Days is the only soap that had a real-life twin actor playing a character's evil twin instead of having one actor play both parts. I was watching back in those days with my mom when Marlena's evil twin, played by Deidre Hall's twin sister Andrea, had Marlena institutionalized and took her place. I guess you don't often get lucky enough to have a lead character who has an actor twin.
posted by ceejaytee at 6:29 AM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


I guess you don't often get lucky enough to have a lead character who has an actor twin.

I did not know this about DOOL. I think few shows have ever been as fantastically lucky as Orange is the New Black with Laverne Cox and her twin brother.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:24 AM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ironically, SNL did "Days of Our Impeachment" last night.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:27 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I only got into soaps for a brief period once, when I was working as a live-in aide for an elderly man who had both late-stage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. His wife worked during the day (whether it was because they needed the money or she just didn't want to be in the house all day, I don't know), and she encouraged me to watch her favorite soaps so that I could update her when she came home. At first, of course, I had no idea what was going on, and I think that I took notes: "So So-and-So is now with So-and-So, and Whatshisface has come back, and that's... bad? I guess?" But then things started to click, and I started to get into it... but at about that time, the guy I was taking care of stopped eating, and went into a nursing home, and my next placement was a guy who just wanted to watch pro wrestling when he was up, all day, and didn't care if he was watching an old taped show over and over.

The funny thing was, when I'd catch the occasional episodes of the show after that, I could pick up some of the previous plot points pretty easily. "Oh, so now So-and-so is with Whatshisface? Huh, who saw that coming." It wasn't compelling enough for me to try to keep up with it, but enough so that it was interesting to get that occasional update, like a cousin that you're not that close to but leads a complicated life.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:13 AM on November 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


my next placement was a guy who just wanted to watch pro wrestling when he was up, all day, and didn't care if he was watching an old taped show over and over.

Soaps and pro-wrestling have a surprising amount in common, plot-wise.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:33 AM on November 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Soaps and pro-wrestling have a surprising amount in common, plot-wise.

There's a funny scene in GLOW about this
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:30 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


My college friends were convinced that Passions was a soap opera parody and wouldn't miss an episode. I wasn't so sure.
posted by Merus at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I went to high school with Ali Sweeney, who plays Sami. She got cast on the show before we graduated, and all of us who were in acting were exasperated with her; she'd never been in any of the acting classes, and now here we were all supposed to treat her as a Real Actor. (This says as much about us as it did about her.)

I can't believe she's been on the show for over 25 years now. I'm assuming any of them will land on their feet after putting in all those years of work, right?

(The summer she and now-Broadway-producer Hunter Arnold staged a handful of shows at our high school after we all graduated was a whooole other story...)
posted by gusandrews at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of surprised that Days still exists (or any daytime soaps, really). I have a soft spot for DOOL and it's absolutely absurd plotlines. My mom got into it as a teen and watched it for decades. I have distinct childhood memories of Christmas morning needing to be "done" by noon (or was it 1 p.m.?), so Mom could watch the Christmas Day episode...

She was a stay-at-home-mom for a number of years and when she later went back to paid work, she programmed the VCR to record DOOL to watch after work; she did this for YEARS and I now feel compelled to ask her if she does the same with the PVR.

One side-effect of this late afternoon/early evening viewing of DOOL was that I often ended up watching it, or at least hearing it in the background as I did schoolwork.

I also remember that it was often on in the breakroom at the retail job I worked through my university years, usually with the closed captions turned on. I remember the plotline where Marlena was possessed being especially funny, not just for the obvious reasons, but because the closed captioning specified her lines as being spoken by Possessed Marlena.
posted by asnider at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2019


I'm so sad about this. I was *just* going to start watching again because one of my all-time favorite characters ever, Steve Johnson (Stephen Nichols), was returning to the show finally at the end of the month (the day before my birthday!). And that might be all I get of him, because as one of the older actors, he doesn't get as much screen time as the young ones, so maybe a day a week or two, just for those months they have in the can.

I watched a ton of soaps in the '80s heyday, but most of them I didn't like all that much--Days was the one that I always came back to, whenever Steve and Kayla were around. So many of my favorite characters are basically kind of a version of Steve Johnson.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 9:58 PM on November 18, 2019


Turns out this was maybe the biggest tempest in a teapot since everybody thought Marlena had killed Abe and Jack and Maggie and Caroline and Cassie and Roman and Tony and Doug and Alice but then she died being arrested and then it turns out they were all alive on the tropical island of Melaswen and actually Marlena wasn't the (non)-killer and also wasn't dead.

‘Days Of Our Lives’ Renewed For Season 56 By NBC, EP Says
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2019


(I mean, that said, I'm sure the actors are getting completely fucked on this deal eventually, so that part is still true.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:38 PM on November 21, 2019


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