As a long time viewer of Days of Our Lives, there are just a few patterns I notice within the show. Some are more obvious than others, but I find them all to be rather interesting phenomena.
Mama I’m a Big Kid Now: Rapid Aging Syndrome
No kid in Salem seems to escape the wrath of Rapid Aging Syndrome – and in some cases, Regressive Aging Syndrome (though that one is rare). Rapid Aging Syndrome occurs when a child on the show is suddenly replaced by an older actor or actress to make the character seem older. This leads them into newer storylines. It’s not always a major difference in the age of the character, sometimes it’s only a few years. Will is an example of this. He’s only been aged a few years overall. He was born in 1995, but he’s probably about 17 now. They couldn’t age him much because Sami didn’t look old enough to have a child any older – she was already 18 when her son was born. Other characters, such as Abigail Deveraux, was a preteen before she went off to camp, but when she came back she was almost an adult. She was also aged from a toddler to a preteen a few years prior.
The most extreme cases of RAS are ones such as Philip Kiriakis. The character himself was born in 1995, the same year as Will. Yet, he’s played by Jay Kenneth Johnson, who is 18 years older than Philip should technically be. It wasn’t long before he was aged. By 1998, he had fallen victim to the RAS trend. So too have characters such as Belle Black, Brady Black, Nicholas Alamain, etc. Already we’re seeing this with some of the other children, such as Ciara Brady, Allie Horton and Johnny DiMera.
So if a child ever goes off on a vacation with their parents and aren’t shown on-screen or if they go off to camp, then you can almost always expect them to come back at least a little bit older than they were before. Sometimes it’s not even that subtle, though. Oftentimes, the new actor will just jump right in and take over, as when they replaced Dylan Patton to Chandler Massey (although I’m not so sure that was as much RAS as it was a general recast). Claire Brady was another example. One day she was played by Ava and Olivia White, then the next she was played by Alina Foley. It strikes randomly, but I’ll be surprised if I ever see a child in Salem who isn’t aged.
As a side note to that, considering when Carly left the show (1993), the oldest Melanie could be is 16, not 19.
There were also a few cases of Regressive Aging Syndrome, where suddenly a character would become younger. Notable cases include Stephanie Johnson, who was a race car driver, then suddenly a freshman in college, played by a different actress, and Mickey Horton, who was in his seventies, then suddenly in his fifties (and later back to his original age when he died). Philip Kiriakis also falls into this category, as Jay Kenneth Johnson was replaced by Kyle Brandt for awhile, then later brought back to reprise his role.
Ireland? I’ll Be There in Five Minutes!
Travel times on Days have always been questioned in my house. Sometimes a flight will span a whole episode – or more – like when Carly was arriving back in Salem. Yet, other times, it seems like they don’t exist at all. To get to Ireland where they met Colleen Brady, it only took one scene for most of the characters, while time progressed at a normal rate for the rest of the characters. Or when John and Marlena went to Quebec a few years back, taking John’s private jet, they said goodbye to everyone and suddenly, there they were, in Montreal.
Similarly it seems like everyone in Salem must have a teleportation device of some sort, since they can be across town in a matter of seconds. That, or they all live in one tiny little neighborhood. This wouldn’t be so bad if time skipped on ahead with the other characters as well, but it never does.
Yet, other times it can take weeks for a flight or trip to be through. This is only if a major storyline takes place on the airplane, though. The most obvious example of this being Shawn Brady’s death when the cabin lost pressure and there was no oxygen. He gave up his life to save others. This whole process spanned over a week, when it took them almost no time at all to get to Ireland. It seems return flights tend to be the longest – and the only ones remotely accurate in terms of real time (when related to the other characters’ lives).
Is This Just a Dream?
Anytime there is a character who knows something they shouldn’t, or hiding a secret, or even dreaming of revenge upon an enemy, there are always plenty of ‘dream’ sequences to be found. How many times has Nicole imagined telling the truth to someone – usually Brady – and imagining their bad reaction? Or when Mimi discovered that Claire was really Shawn’s child, instead of Philip’s, she constantly imagined herself telling the news (or someone else breaking it to them that she knew) and seeing Shawn leave her for Belle. The thing with the dream sequences is, they’re usually not noticeable as dreams until you realize that nothing is that easy on a soap. They suck you in to make you believe it’s reality, only to show a character snap out of their trance.
The most fun dream sequences, though, are definitely the revenge one. A few years back, during the Lumi heyday, Sami would often dream of things she could do to Kate. There was one sequence during Thanksgiving where she imagined Kate’s head atop the turkey she was making, taunting her, and took sweet revenge upon it. It was quite possibly one of my favorite fantasies ever.
Other popular dreams tend to be about romance, like when Nathan imagined kissing Melanie, then woke to find Stephanie beside him instead.
Don’t Worry. Even if You Get Caught, You Won’t Go to Prison.
The only time anyone goes to prison on Days of Our Lives for more than a few weeks tops and is actually punished for their crimes is when an actress goes on maternity leave (like Nicole, while Arianne Zucker was busy with her new baby Isabella Lowder in real life), or when they are leaving the show (like Blake Berris). So if things are looking grim for your favorite character, don’t worry. Jail is highly unlikely, unless you’ve heard something about them leaving the show permanently. They might be there for a few episodes and fighting the justice system for their freedom, but they’ll usually win, unless the actor is leaving the show. This is why I have faith that EJ will never get what he deserves – at least from the law – for kidnapping Sydney.
The Pier: Shady Business Central and Local Hangout
The pier seems to be the place where everyone goes to plot, blackmail and fight. Why is it that everyone goes down to the pier when they need to have a serious discussion? It’s usually something of a private nature, so why are they in public, discussing some major secret? Wouldn’t it make more sense to discuss how you’re framing your ex’s new girlfriend for mugging half the men in Salem in a more secluded location? Or discuss faking a pregnancy somewhere your crazy husband’s goonies won’t be able to record your conversation? You could easily be caught in the act by anyone at any moment.
More fights take place there than can be counted – and it seems like often, someone will end up dead after. Two cases of this jump into mind. Firstly, when Tony died, he and Philip were arguing. He fell and hit his head, ultimately resulting in a fatal injury – though he was in the hospital torturing Nicole awhile until that happened. More recently, the case of Judge Madeline Peterson Woods. She was fighting with Chad and lost her balance when he shook her off of him while she followed him up the stairs. She hit her head and her aneurism ruptured, leaving her dead as well. On top of that, the pier is also where EJ was mugged, where Sami was held hostage, etc.
Even if it’s not shifty business, the pier is where everyone goes just to meet up or randomly bump into someone. Is it impossible to get anywhere without passing through the pier? Seems like the majority of the characters are always just passing through or hanging out during their break. It’s where Bo and Carly frequently visit during her breaks at the hospital. Chad and Will seem to always be walking by the pier on their way home. Nicole may as well move all her stuff there and build a house, considering the amount of time she is on the pier each day. With the number of people who end up hurt, why does everyone still go there? And why can’t they learn to hide their evil plotting better? They really shouldn’t be so shocked when everything blows up in their face.
Self-Talk: Why Think it When You Can Say it for Everyone to Hear?
No one in Salem seems to know how to just think something. Everything they say has to be out loud for the rest of the world to potentially hear. Granted, we all have our moments of talking to ourselves – at least I do – but shouldn’t master manipulators such as Kate know better than to talk to herself while her husband is in the next room? She just stands there and tells herself she’s the only one who knows about Chad’s real father. Interesting, considering that won’t last long if she keeps saying it. They’re so surprised when someone walks in and asks what they just said (of course it’s rare the person actually heard what they really did say). Announcing they had an affair, killed someone, kidnapped a baby, altered a paternity test, etc. where someone can easily walk in and hear you? Definitely the smartest possible move. Even discussing issues with others can be problematic. Case in point, Stefano and EJ discussing how EJ paid Anna to kidnap Sydney while Nicole listened in. Why keep your secret quietly in your thoughts when you can say it aloud and make your own life more difficult?
It seems that lately – okay, not lately, it’s just been more prevalent in recent months than before – someone is always behind the door when someone is leaving an apartment or house. It also seems that it’s almost always Carly waiting. Both people look totally shocked, but now whenever a door opens, I’m shocked if someone isn’t waiting to knock. Carly? There is such a thing as a doorbell and a knocker. You don’t have to wait for someone to be trying to leave. It’s creepy.
Do You Ever Work?
It seems like everyone in Salem has a job, but none of them are ever actually working. Philip is a prime example of this. He’s the CEO of Titan and yet, we haven’t seen him working for months now. He is always off visiting Chloe or taking Melanie somewhere in the middle of the day when everyone else would be in the office. He has a high-pressure job in theory, but apparently he doesn’t feel the need to actually do it. By the way, I loved that Daniel mentioned that the other day. I’ve been wondering the same thing for a long time.
Similarly, even those who do work, like Carly and Daniel, are constantly on a break. They’re doctors, and yet when they meet each other or one of their friends at the hospital, they start having a personal conversation and go off somewhere else like the Brady Pub or to the pier. Instead of staying at the hospital and doing their jobs – even if they talk about their personal problems while working, they’d still at least give the appearance of working. I don’t know about other people, but I’ve never found that I can just leave work midway through a shift for a chat with a friend on a regular basis.
I’m a Doctor. I Do Everything.
It seems like doctors in Salem are forbidden from having only one specialty if they want to be hired byUniversity Hospital. The same doctor who just performed spinal surgery on one patient will be performing paternity tests and giving ultrasounds to another. At least now there’s more than just one doctor working there. For a long time, it was only Lexie working there. Now we have Daniel, Carly, Nathan and Lexie, as well as Melanie and Maxine and some random others as nurses. Many doctors have specialties. They’re heart surgeons or brain surgeons, paediatricians or pediatrists. At University Hospital, you’re a mixture of everything, and excellent at all kinds of medicine.
What Ever Happened To…..?
Some characters die, others go into comas (Jan Spears; anyone remember her?), occasionally one or two will go off to prison… All are logical reasons for believing a character will not be seen on-screen again – or at least for awhile. Others aren’t so understandable. My favorite example of this is Don Craig – Marlena Evans’ first husband. He was on the show for fourteen years. He and his wife shared a child, who died of SIDS. Then, in 1985, he went to mail a letter and never returned. He was rarely, if ever, mentioned after that. I have to wonder what happened to him… He’s not the only case, but he’s my favorite.
Some other characters have also left the show through, well, no means at all, really. Characters such as Neil Curtis – the chief of staff at University Hospital for quite awhile – just seemed to vanish but were later mentioned in passing to have left Salem. In Neil’s case, he left to go on rounds, but was never seen again. Tommy Horton went upstairs to put away Christmas decorations and wasn’t seen on-screen again until Tom and Alice’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1980 and is mentioned at the funerals of his father, mother and brother, Mickey.
How many times have characters come back from the dead? I no longer believe anyone is dead. Ever. Well, save perhaps for Alice Horton, and characters of the like where the actors have died in real life. If I don’t see a body, I automatically assume that means the character has been kidnapped. If there is a body, even then, they may turn out to just have been drugged. The most obvious example is the Salem Stalker storyline, where numerous members of the main cast were killed off, and suddenly all reappeared on a desert island later. Jack Deveraux came back from the dead more times than I can count. I think the best ever scene was where his daughter Abby was talking to him as he died, his spirit was leaving his body, and her words made him decide to live. He literally willed himself to live! Suddenly the fatal disease which was obviously very far in its progression, just disappeared. If only life really worked like that. Ironically he left the show soon after anyway, to go off with his family to London.
These are just some of the strange trends I’ve noticed from watching the show. Soaps can certainly get away with a lot in terms of storyline and logistics. Just look at the completely medically unsound explanation for Nighttime Hope. But that’s one of the things we love about them. If Daytime Dramas weren’t at least a little bit out there, they probably wouldn’t be nearly as fun to watch!