"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."
Very verylong-running US daytime Soap Opera which debuted in 1965, rivaling Coronation Street for popularity and longevity. It's also the only thing left on the NBC daytime schedule that isn't Today.Originally, Days focused on the Hortons, a family who tended to become doctors. As time went on, more focus was given to the rivalry between the Italian DiMeras and the Irish Bradys, while still keeping the Hortons at the forefront.Despite being generally grounded in reality, the show has featured stories involving aliens, ghosts, and mad scientists. These are generally considered to be the worst seasons — or the best.A popular show among daytime drama queens.
This series provides examples of:
AB Negative: Philip has a rare blood type, as do many others on the show.
Absentee Actor: Unfortunately, Frances Reid (Alice) due to her health. Her last appearance before her death in 2010 was in 2007.
Abusive Parents: Jack and Steve's biological dad, Melanie's adoptive dad, Nicole's dad, Austin and Billie's dad...
Anyone Can Die: But a lot of the times, they regretted the decision...hence the next trope.
Artistic License - Geography: Salem is the center of the universe. Many characters leave Salem to live in "Europe", as if it's one city or country.
Back from the Dead: Just about 90 of the cast has been killed off at one point of another...
Stefano and Tony have died about 20 times so far... each...
During one story line, characters were shown killed in over-the-top ways, had funerals with open caskets, and were shown as ghosts. They still all came back at the conclusion of the storyline several months later.
Big Bad: Stefano DiMera since the early 1980s, but to a lesser extent most members of his family at various times.
Victor Kiriakis was also this, to the point that he was arguably an Expy for the show's own villain Stefano, through the mid-late 1980s. He was eventually redeemed, while retaining more than a bit of an edge, and is now even married to the show's Big Good Maggie Horton.
Big Good: Alice Horton, the matriarch of the Horton family (originally the main focus of all the show's storylines) and one of the show's original 1965 characters. Even though she didn't really have any storylines since the 1970s and the Horton family eventually receded in favor of other families, she was in a very real sense the center of the show, until her actress Frances Reid stopped appearing onscreen by 2007 due to illness (Reid died in 2010 at the age of 95; she was still on contract). Her place has been more or less taken by her daughter-in-law Maggie Horton.
Black Sheep: Sami used to be considered this of the Brady family.
Brand X: an extreme case where the sleeping pill causing Hope's nighttime Face-Heel Turn is obviously an Expy of notorious weirdmaker pill Ambien, but is never even given a name.
Brother Chuck: Numerous characters have just disappeared with no explanation.
Buried Alive: Carly Manning was famously buried alive by Vivian in one of the soap's more known moments.
And now Vivian is locked in a sarcophagus that she intended for Maggy but said was for the remains of Victor's daughter. Not quite "buried", as the thing is above ground, but still "live person where you'd expect a dead body".
Butt Monkey: Chloe. She started out as "the weird goth chick who sings" and the target of frequent pranks by classmates. Despite having no discernible negative qualities apart from being a bit of a slut (albeit less so than some married characters), she still gets no respect whatsoever from anyone.
Roman got a bit of this treatment back in the 1990s when it was revealed that Belle was John's daughter and not his. Even though Marlena cheated on Roman with John, Roman was vilified for refusing to raise another man's daughter. Especially considering the other man was still alive and Marlena was still having an affair with him!
Character Outlives Actor: Bill Horton. The three previous actors who played the role had all died, but that didn't stop them from bringing back the character for his mother's funeral in 2010. The mother (the show's matriarch Alice Horton) was killed off for good because the actress who played her died.
Character Shilling: Dr. Daniel Jonas. A large number of characters are given dialogue explaining how wonderful, brilliant, sexy, handsome, moral and brave Dr. Jonas is. It is especially common for Nurse Maxine, Nicole, Father Eric and Daniel's biological mother Maggie Horton to praise him as well as criticize his critics. Lately, JJ and Abigail Deveraux also sing his praises.
Circus of Fear: Tony (Andre) Dimera was the ring leader of this particular circus and was about to reveal the identity of the Salem Stalker when the Stalker sent a tiger at him.
Citizenship Marriage: Sami decides to stay married to EJ and this is one of the reasons. (EJ is, legally, an American citizen, but came into the US without the right papers. Then again, EJ is also 11 years old.)
Class Trip: Sami and Lucas go camping with their son Will's class and decide to give their relationship a chance.
Creepy Child: Ciara Brady is basically Wednesday Addams, albeit slightly less homicidal.
Dating Do-Si-Do: It would probably be faster to list the characters who haven't been together at one point or another in the past...
Dull Surprise: Crystal Chappell's default expression (Botox may be involved); it usually indicates "perma-frazzled", though she also uses it for "angry" and "scared".
Even Evil Has Standards: The morally bankrupt of Salem (about half the cast) all consider Stefano to be the worst one. Nicole to a lesser degree is hated by "pious saints" Kate and Sami.
Eyepatch of Power: Steve Johnson wore a patch over his damaged eye and was generally the most Bad Ass character on the show during at least his first run.
Evil Twin: Tony and Andre Dimera (albeit they are cousins).
Specifically Andre was given plastic surgery to make him look like his cousin Tony at the contrivance of the man Tony grew up believing was his father, crime lord/practical supervillain Stefano Di Mera. At Stefano's behest and while Tony was kept secretly imprisoned, Andre while impersonating Tony became a serial killer just to frame an enemy of Stefano's, although Stefano ended up betraying him once Andre's killing spree included Stefano's own daughter (although that didn't stop Stefano many years later getting Andre to pretend to be Tony again!).
Marlena and her (now deceased) twin sister Samantha.
Shane and his twin brother Andrew.
Face-Heel Turn: Kristen Blake Dimera begins as a White Sheep for the Dimera clan, but when she loses John to Marlena, she turns insane and engages in all manner of over-the-top evil schemes to get him back. Nick Fallon starts out as a nice guy and a Hollywood Nerd, only to become a drug addicted murderer and stalker, and after a difficult stint in prison, a blackmailer, homophobe and would-be rapist.
Fainting: If you faint, then you must be pregnant.
Feuding Families: The Bradys and Dimeras are lifelong enemies. Recently, the Kiriakis and Dimera family have started a new feud.
Filler: Many stories move so slowly that one can miss a few episodes and still know exactly what's going on.
Flashback with the Other Darrin: Billie and Bo (Julie Pinson being the recast), Belle and Shawn (Martha Madison recreating scenes by the originator Kirsten Storms), Jennifer and Eve (Kassie De Pavia recreating scenes by the originator Charlotte Ross with heavy filters masking that both actors are a couple of decades older than their characters were in that scene.)
Groin Attack: When Stefano got wind that Rafe had been hooking up with his ex-wife Kate, he decided the best response was to send a goon to make Rafe a eunuch. Too bad for him, Sami was there with a gun.
Heel-Face Turn: Several characters, but Sami Brady is the queen of this.
The Hero: Bo Brady, although really there have been hundreds (John Black being another big one). That said, Bo is by far the most notable and long-lasting.
Hijackedby Ganon: Stefano DiMera is usually revealed to be the true mastermind behind the various criminal organisations that routinely target the characters.
Hospital Hottie: Dr. Daniel Jonas. His main role seems to be falling in love with his patients. Many fans also accuse him of being a Creator's Pet.
Idiot Ball: Hope, in the current Carly/Bo/Hope/Justin storyline. Hope's jealousy of Carly is understandable, but her constant angsting over her marriage to Bo has been going on so long, you wonder why she takes offense to Bo and Carly if she was the one who walked out.
It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Somewhat reversed. Sami will not be with EJ because his life is too dangerous. And because he raped her. And just kidnapped their daughter.
Kissing Cousins: Most of the Days characters are inter-related somehow. Max Brady has dated not one but two of his nieces (Stephanie Johnson and Chelsea Brady), albeit they are not blood related due to Max being adopted but he is still considered their uncle. Also, if you look at it from a sufficiently skewed perspective, Carly is Frankie Brady's sister, so when Hope dumped Bo and Bo took up with Carly...
Belle and Shawn aren't cousins or even biologically related, but they do have a startling amount of relatives in common. They could also be considered second step-cousins.
Will and Sonny share cousins in JJ and Abigail. Abigail, in fact, introduces them to each other as her cousins from different sides of her family.
Large Ham: Many. Joe Mascolo, Drake Hogestyn, Lauren Koslow, (formerly) Judi Evans, but above all, honey-glazed with a side of biscuits and red-eye gravy, Louise Sorel as the flamboyantly insane Vivian.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Sami has four children, and none of them were planned while Nicole supposedly cannot have children anymore despite desperately wanting to secure her relationship with EJ. Shawn and Belle had Claire during a one night stand (that they didn't even realize they had due to convenient hypothermia) while Philip and Mimi have trouble conceiving.
The Simpsons parodied it as "It Never Ends": "Like the cleaning of a house, it never ends..."
Love at First Sight: EJ Dimera and Taylor, in what became known as the infamous scarf incident. Their "love" was so ridiculously instantaneous that it was later lampshaded by EJ himself in this exchange:
Nicole: Maybe you can help me with my nausea. You explain to me what that was—you and my sainted sister. EJ: Truthfully? Nicole: (sarcastically) Well if you can manage it, yeah. EJ: What did your sister and I see in each other? What did we see in each other. . .I have no earthly idea.
Love Dodecahedron: Sami/EJ/Nicole/Brady/Lucas/Chloe/Daniel/Kate/ohlorditjustgoesonandon.
Sami in particular has shared a LOT of men with her nemeses Carrie, Kate, and Nicole. Or they date the others' relatives.
Never Found the Body: Roman Brady is presumed dead, only to reappear portrayed by a different actor. Several years later, the previous actor returned to the show and re-assumed the role.
Officer O'Hara: The Bradys tend to become cops. The Hortons had have a number of doctors, Tom, Tommy, Bill, Mike and Nathan. Four generations.
The Other Darrin: Many characters have been recast throughout the years. Recent ones that come to mind are Brady, Philip, Belle, Shawn, Will and Eve. Roman has been recast for years by Josh Taylor, but people still do not accept his version.
Put on a Bus: Cassie was last heard of taking a nap upstairs in Brady Pub, Don Craig hasn't returned yet from mailing a letter, Steve and Kayla are still in Salem and mentioned occaisionally but their portrayors have been fired. Chris went into his office one day and was never heard from again (his actor is now playing Roman Brady).
Kayla has recently returned onscreen. Steve is presumably still in their invisible home with their invisible son Joe.
Sami really didn't get much redemption after her first rape (shortly afterwards she drugged and slept with her sister's boyfriend). And it's pretty sad to point out that's she's been raped TWICE, although some viewers still question whether the second time was "rape-rape".
There also was a story arc where Jan Spears kidnapped Shawn Brady and kept him chained in a cage, referring to him as her "love slave". She did have wild swings between "I'm so going to rape you now" and "Why don't you love me", but at no point did she actually proceed to rape him. They eventually had (consensual) sex after Shawn had some kind of amnesia.
Kristen Dimera drugs and rapes saintly and pious Father Eric Brady, and she takes video of the encounter and has it edited to look like its consensual. Eric winds up leaving the church in disgrace, accusing Nicole of being his attacker and sitting around while Nicole and Daniel look for the medical proof to clear his name. After Eric declares his love for Nicole, Nicole shreds the proof she has found, which leads to much drama.
Some very complicated examples. Originally, John Black got his alias from the Vietnam War memorial and it was revealed he was Roman Brady...then it was revealed that the real Roman Brady was alive and John was really Lawrence's brother Forrest Alamain. Later it was revealed John got his alias from Stefano during his years of being "The Pawn". Then it was revealed he was Tony Dimera's half-brother on their mother's side. Then it was revealed he was actually Ryan Brady, the son of Collen Brady (Roman's aunt) and Santo Dimera (Stefano's father).
Tony Dimera was originally the son of Stefano and his mistress Daphne. Then he slept with Stefano's daughter Renee before knowing they were siblings. Then it turns out he's the son of Daphne and the stable boy Enrico. Then he comes back and marries Stefano's adopted daughter Kristen and he's back to being Stefano's son again. Then Kristen ends up with his supposed brother John. Then he becomes evil and dies. Comes back is good then evil then dies again. Then it turns out for the past 20 years he was alive and stranded on an island by his identical cousin Andre. Then it turns out Andre is really alive too. Then both die. Oh, and Andre wasn't really his cousin...Tony really was the gardner's son.
Retool: Originally, the show was a medical soap drama. In the 1990s, the premise was radically altered and wilder and wilder plots begun showing up. The 2000s saw story arcs that dramatically deviated from the traditional Soap Opera: characters fighting terrorists in Qurac, a volcanic island adventure and spiritual forces impacting things to name a few.
Before that, even in the early 1980s the show followed General Hospital in presenting more action-oriented storylines and fewer storylines dealing with medical or domestic drama.
Ruritania: Alamania, a small European country where the show's often villainous Alamain family (including Laurence, Vivian, and Nicholas Alamain) are royalty. In an aversion of the trope, Alamania is implied to be somewhere around France, Germany, and/or Switzerland, but the country's government is portrayed as so corrupt and autocratic it's depicted more along the lines of a former Soviet Bloc country than a western European one.
Belle and EJ are probably the most egregious examples. Weirdly inverted in the case of former character Mike Horton, who was kept in his twenties for a good two decades.
Philip and Chelsea are actually worse examples than Belle, though no one comes close to touching the insanity of how much E.J. was aged up.
Nicholas Alamain is a very weird example. He was aged about 10 years to his 20's in the 2000s. Over a decade later, he comes back to the show as another actor and is even younger than what he was aged the first time around.
Sympathetic Murderer Gabi Hernandez kills her obsessive, stalking, mentally unstable ex-husband Nick Fallon. Nick had been blackmailing her into a relationship, blackmailing multiple people she loved and had a fixation on keeping Gabi's infant daughter away from her biological father, Will Horton. Gabi lacked the moral courage to come forward to defuse Nick's blackmail, but she ultimately steps up and takes responsibility for her in-cold-blood shooting of Nick. Gabi's guilt is revealed after a classic Whodunnit that portrays most of Salem having a motive to kill Nick.
Take That: During the Salem Stalker storyline, they did a dream sequence when a then-evil Marlena rants about what a worthless person her daughter Belle is, running off several major fan complaints about the character.
Title Drop: One of the most dramatic and well-done moments in the entire series is when Hope performs a title drop at Alice's funeral.
Their First Time: Belle and Shawn discussed this a lot and eventually decided to wear purity rings. Ultimately, however, Belle's first was with Philip while Shawn's was with Jan.
Unexplained Recovery: Stefano DiMera was conceived as this from the very beginning, but seldom is anyone in Salem truly dead for good.
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The whereabouts of Salem are never mentioned, but it has been hinted that it's somewhere near Chicago. It was evidently originally Salem, MA, but the writers stopped paying attention a long time ago, and many of the characters (particularly Bo) make frequent references to being Cubs fans.
White Sheep: For many years, Alexandra "Lexie" Carver was this to the DiMera family, as was her brother Tony DiMera, at least when he wasn't being impersonated by his homicidal cousin Andre. But even they dabbled with being villains.
Both characters are now deceased (Lexie likely for good, given that the actress who portrayed her for most of the character's existence has retired from acting). In their place Chad DiMera currently is striving to be this.
Who's Your Daddy?: If a character has slept with two men quite recently, chances are she will become pregnant and not know the daddy.
In Sami's case, she slept with two men EJ and Lucas and ended up pregnant with fraternal twins. Both men were the fathers of one of the twins.
Wicked Cultured: Stefano DiMera. Occasionally Victor Kirakis and Brady Black will make Greek references.