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Series / Days of Our Lives

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"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."

Very very long-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.
    • Mickey Horton was treated like this for awhile as well. Always off screen until they wrote his death into the story.
  • 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 – Biology: The many mystery diseases and treatments.
    • And no matter how a person "died" it's completely possible they will be back one day.
  • 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.
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    • Doctor Rolf had his body crushed by a crate on screen and had his corpse used to fake another death, yet when it came time for another story, he was back. When asked about it his Lampshade Hanging answer? "It didn't take."
    • Another funny quote from this had Clyde Weston meeting Orpheus (another character who was dead when last seen) Clyde asked "How did a guy named Milo Harp get named Orpheus? Did you rise from the dead or something?" Orpheus responded with "something like that."
    • Speaking of Orpheus, who had a fake death since that return and when it appeared he was dead again. Steve ordered the EMT to "check again" after he pronounced Orpheus deceased.
  • The Beautiful Elite: And how!
  • 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.
    • Over the years many other characters have come and gone trying to cement themselves as the new town main bad guy. Most of them don't have anywhere near as long a tenure. Some of them include Deimos Kiriakis, Clyde Weston, Vivian Alamain, Anjelica Deveraux.
  • 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.
    • Victor treated Xander Cook as this but it seems this extended out to Xander's father Titus Kiriakis and the other new brother Deimos.
  • 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.
    • Then Vivian was locked in a sarcophagus that she intended for Maggie 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".
  • Bury Your Gays: Not long after becoming part of the show's first married gay couple and its first out gay parent, Will Horton becomes the victim of a serial killer. It quickly proved to be an unpopular story development among viewers and the cast. Unsurprisingly, it was reversed.
  • The Bus Came Back: A whole lot of examples given how long the show has ran. Many characters that were once written out have returned as short term or long term characters, and as also said it didn't matter if their last bus out was a hearse.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Nicole and more.
  • 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.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Stefano, EJ, Sami, and Nicole, among others...
  • 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.)
    • In 2017, Dario Hernandez lied to pull off one of these with Abigail Deveraux.
  • Class Trip: Sami and Lucas go camping with their son Will's class and decide to give their relationship a chance.
  • The Chew Toy: Jack Deveraux. Especially under Reilly's pen (as the writer hated Matt Ashford), but especially in his final stint on the show, where he was mocked repeatedly by Jennifer for the huge amount of post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered after the 2002-2006 Salem Stalker storyline (most notably, being stabbed, vivisected, trapped on an island for nearly an entire year THEN failing to be rescued with everyone else, nearly escaping only to find the wife who you reunited with was a fake who dragged you back to being imprisoned, only to be freed to find your wife was sleeping with the sleazy son of a grifter who was trying to seduce members of your wife's family to leach off their money! And even when you are reunited, that pesky terminal illness you thought had beaten years beforehand comes roaring back and nearly kills you, AGAIN).
  • Creepy Child: Ciara Brady is basically Wednesday Addams, albeit slightly less homicidal. The teen Ciara however lost a lot of these qualities.
  • Creepy Twins: A lot of this town thought of Rex and Cassie this way, although they were just more weird than creepy.
  • 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...
  • Deadly Gas: Jennifer and Frank go through this when trying to crack a safe.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters over the years get these lines right now the throne is held by Victor.
    • Jack was the king of this when he was on the show. There were scenes he would appear in and have no business being in, just so he could make fun of everyone.
    • Melanie also had her share of good snark to dish out.
  • Demonic Possession: Marlena.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Just at the birth of the Kayla/Steve supercouple. After an aggression, Kayla gets into a gas explosion, and despite having no other visible injuries, she wakes up with (seemingly) permanent hearing damage and a useless voice box. She later gets her hearing back because of a risky, experimental surgery, after deciding to marry Steve, and her voice returns just in time to exchange her wedding vows.
    • Chloe Lane after her car accident in Austria.
  • Dull Surprise: Carly's default expression (Botox may be involved); it usually indicates "perma-frazzled", though she also uses it for "angry" and "scared".
  • Entitled to Have You: After Ciara returns to Salem, she believes Theo has to pick her over Claire because she considers herself to be better than Claire. She doesn't listen to any kind of reason and is adamant Theo cannot prefer someone else to her, never taking his feelings into account.
  • 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.
    • Subverted with Jack, who was widely reviled throughout Salem following his rape of Kayla (and his subsequent ACQUITTAL for the rape, which was achieved by Jack going before a jury and basically arguing that martial rape isn't rape-rape and getting a jury to buy that defense). Only through pure force of will from Jennifer Horton, plus Patch and Kayla both forgiving Jack for his crime (since the rape was brought on by Jack finding out that Kayla never loved him and that Patch had forced her into the loveless marriage because Jack has severe health problems that everyone was expecting to kill him), did polite society in Salem forgive him
  • Eyepatch of Power: Steve Johnson wore a patch over his damaged eye and was generally the most badass 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 Dimera. 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.
    • Marlena also has a twin in Hattie who was given surgery to look exactly like Marlena. In 2017 she has started impersonating her.
    • Shane and his twin brother Andrew. When Drew finally got a The Bus Came Back moment he's on better terms.
    • Likewise while it had never been acknowledged, Adrienne and Bonnie were played by the same actress. The above mentioned Hattie in 2017 got Bonnie out of jail to help impersonate Adrienne.
  • 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.
    • Tony Di Mera, was, like Kristen, a white sheep, estranged from his father, then turned heel when he lost his wife Kristen to John (notice a pattern?). It was later retconned that all of Tony's heinous acts were done by his lookalike cousin Andre, posing as him. And Tony came back as a (reasonably) good guy.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: For a ruthless godfather "at war" with the Brady family, Stefano never seemed interested in actually fatally harming anyone. He was more of a troll than a genuine killer.
  • 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.
    • Deconstructed during the show's heyday (the 80s and early 90s, before James Reilly took over as writer). The writers constructed a format for how storylines were presented to maximize ratings: basically the main stars of the show (Bo, Hope, Marlena, Roman/John Black) were featured on Monday, Wednesday, Friday with Monday/Friday being being the days when major plot developments happened and Wednesday being a "breather" day with occasional cameos Wednesday/Thursday when required. Tuesdays and Thursdays (which according to research done by the major networks were the days that most people didn't watch soaps and as such, had the lower ratings), were reserved for secondary characters (Jack, Jennifer, Kayla, and Steve) and their storylines along with "day in the life" style spotlights for minor characters or older cast members who had been phased out (Bill and Alice Horton).
  • 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.)
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Pretty much was Sami's fate for the bulk of Allison Sweeney's run on the show. Sami's storylines were almost always isolated from the main cast, especially the various Stefano storylines. Granted, this allowed writers to have a secondary Big Bad for other stories, but it got very frustrating, watching Sami only having tangible awareness of the crap going on around her, especially since Stefano and his various schemes are part of the core reason why she ended up a sociopath.
  • 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. She didn't so much undergo a change as become bored of evil, as she'd already accomplished all of her objectives.
  • 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.
  • Herr Doktor: Doctor Rolf embodies this trope, he's a go to man for plastic surgery and bringing back the "dead".
  • High-School Sweethearts: Jennifer and Frankie, Shawn and Belle, and Chloe and Philip.
  • Hijackedby Ganon: Stefano DiMera is usually revealed to be the true mastermind behind the various criminal organizations 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 2000s 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.
  • 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 conceived 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.
  • Locked in a Freezer: This has happened to several pairs of characters over the years.
  • 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.
  • Love Redeems: Steve Johnson, Jack Deveraux, Sami Brady.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jack Deveraux. Philip Kiriakis, to a lesser extent.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: "It's true Bo, I am your father"
  • The Mafia: The DiMeras vary on how evil, competent, or realistic they are, but they're always Italian mobsters.
    • The Syndicate: In his last years, Stefano's operation expanded to Blofeld-level proportions (a multi-ethnic gang and bases on every continent), and his No. 1 minion was a German chemist.
      • Even in the '80s, Stefano had his own island compound, complete with female henchpeople!
  • Magical Seventh Son: Crime lord Stephano DiMera has claimed to be the seventh son of a seventh son, and to have various magical powers as a result.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Hattie, Andre, Philip
    • Philip's case is a very bizarre one as it was the in-show reason as to why the character changed back to being played by the first actor. So yes, he magically changed one day to actor 2, got injured in warfare to get plastic surgery to look like actor 1 again.
  • Meddling Parents: Kate Roberts, to a psychotic degree.
  • 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with, given the long running status many names have been passed on and in some cases used by various characters throughout the run. At times though they will invoke this in the direct on contract cast.
    • One biggest example was Bo and Hope's son being named Shawn-Douglas after Shawn Brady and Doug Williams. To differentiate the two Shawn-Douglas was sometimes called by his full name or Shawn-D. However plenty of times they just still call him Shawn regardless of whether Shawn Senior was around and after his character died.
    • There's also two Nicholas, one who is currently deceased went by Nick, Nick Fallon and the other who went by Nicky, Nicky Alamain. Neither character were on the main cast at the same time though.
    • In one example Jack Deveraux even though currently dead holds the mantle on the name Jack. His son who is Jack Jr, has been known as JJ for most of his existence. While when Jack's nephew Jackson Kiriakis returned as an adult he revealed that he now goes by Sonny.
    • Sami's twins were named after John (who was dead at the time but wasn't) Black and Alice Horton but have mostly been called by their nicknames of Johnny and Allie when on screen or mentioned. Alice's character being deceased now and John still active.
    • Perhaps directly played around with as Sonny has a half brother named Alexander Kiriakis, when a man named Xander came to town and called Victor Kiriakis "Uncle" it lead to assumptions that proved wrong when Xander Cook was Alexandros Kiriakis who while related to was not Alexander. Xander and Maggie even had a brief conversation with Maggie admitting this was confusing.
    • Sonny and Alexander's adopted two brothers share names with other characters on the show Victor and Joseph. While the Joseph Johnson relation generally goes by Joey, these two boys haven't been named on screen anywhere near as often as Alexander.
    • Currently Chad and Abby named their son Thomas Dimera, after Tom Horton. Tom Horton had a son named after him too, named Tommy. Whether Thomas will remain Thomas as he grows up or assumes either name will be seen; Tom Horton being long dead, Tommy Horton still being alive but not having been mentioned in years.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Hey, you can be a ghost and talk to people, even if it turns out your character wasn't really dead.
  • Pinky Swear: Nicole and EJ.
  • Plot Hole
  • Psychic Power: Celeste and Bo are the characters who used this the most.
  • Put on a Bus: Lots of characters have left town with short reasons but some have gotten more bizarre exits. Colin Murphy (or his body) is still lost at sea. Don Craig hasn't returned yet from mailing a letter. Peter Blake is still in jail although Stefano told him he'd be eligible for parole (back in 1998)note . Jeremey Horton is apparently still on the run from the law. Eugene Bradford disappeared into his time machine (although years later his wife says they are still married). Neil Curtis must still be seeing the patients he told Victor about in 1991. Jan Spears is still in a coma that nobody bothered to check up on. Chris Kositchek went into his office one day and was never heard from again (his actor is now playing Roman Brady).
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Stephanie and somewhat Sami.
    • 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".
  • Rape as Drama: Jack raping Kayla led to much drama.
    • 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 it's 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.
    • Chase raped Ciara in a storyline that came off very rushed, but in the end Chase pleaded guilty and didn't even let his father try to easily get him out.
  • Retcon: 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). The story being that she had to give him up and that was when he was adopted by the Alamains and later abducted by Stefano. It was then revealed that John wasn't the real Ryan Brady - the real Ryan Brady died shortly after birth and Colleen was misled into thinking John was her son. This was followed up years later when John met his real mother (a woman named Maude) and learns his actual father was a believed dead war veteran (Tim Robicheaux) and his real first named really is John. Maude's story being that after Tim died, he was to be adopted by a wealthy couple but they died in a car crash and he ended up as a baby in the orphanage where the nuns would switch him for the dead Ryan Brady. But in true Days fashion this wasn't complicated enough, as his father Tim was alive now going by Yo Ling is the leader of a criminal cell of mercenaries (he happened to be played by Tobin Bell of all people) The story now went that after Lawrence nearly let John drown, he was sent to a boarding school secretly ran by Yo Ling and was trained to be an assassin. But one of the school's tutors was Petrov (a man who had been a Stefano henchmen when last on screen) and he took John and gave him to Stefano to be turned into the new Roman/the pawn. And that we can only hope is the last edit needed here.
    • 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 stable boy's son. And as of 2015 Andre (who is alive again) was actually Stefano's son this entire time! Andrea died once again but this time allegedly being murdered by Abby Dimera in 2018.
    • Really the show should just have a whole episode where John Black and Andre compare notes and complain about not being able to follow their own biographies.
    • Normally (as even witnessed twice on the show prior) serial killer stories either only knock off one or two major characters or make up a cast entirely for the sake of knocking them off. With the Salem Stalker, the show literally killed off a large number of fan loved characters, which made for a good story, except that it took place on a soap, one of the media that need to keep fans coming back day after day, so in one of the most strangest retcons in history, surprise everyone isn't dead, they are on an island in an elaborate plot committed not by the "murderer" (Marlena) but one of the murderer's victims (Tony)! (who as mentioned above was not really that victim but his evil cousin masquerading as him for 20 years)
      • Made even more confusing by the fact two people not killed by that serial killer(aka there were other murders going on at the time) were also on the island as well as a character that had been off-screen for years.
  • 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. This would be deconstructed though when General Hospital, in the wake of the writers on Days hitting gold with Sami Brady, 18-year-old sociopath. General Hospital turned Jason Quartermain into a sociopath (though even more severe case, with Jason suffering full-on memory loss and ability to feel empathy for others) but becoming an anti-hero instead of villain.
      • Several characters also got retooled, when The Bus Came Back: Jack's past as a rich preppy/yuppie was jettisoned in order to have him be more blue collar. Billie went from girl from the wrong side of the tracks foil for the more uptown Hope, into being a full on action girl and secret agent. Phillip went from brash and arrogant jock with a secret heart of gold to being a respectable and honorable man who ended up getting cucked by his best friend.
      • Riding the bus didn't protect you from being retooled: Vivian started out as a villainous matriarch but quickly turned into a comedic villain character who often found herself being dragged into storylines against her will as a sidekick for other villains (Sami, Stefano). Jack went from evil rapist yuppie to tragic Byronic anti-hero after the writers retconned him and Patch as long lost brothers. Or in the case of Sami, going from one of the most evil characters on the show, to being the lead female heroine in large part to ratings slump and them having no one else left on the cast they could focus on as the face of the show, due to budget cuts forcing them to jettison most of the old guard.
  • 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.
  • Sauna of Death: Sami and EJ.
  • Serial Killer: Salem Stalker, Salem Strangler, Salem Slasher, The Riverfront Slasher. The Neck-Tie Killer.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: The Salem Slasher killed one woman (who was going to marry the man she loved) and was forced to keep killing people in order to cover up the murders.
  • Shoe Phone: Roman received a tricked-out cowboy costume in a late-90s arc.
  • Show Within a Show: In Friends, where Joey plays a doctor in a slightly more ridiculous version of the show. Many non-American Friends fans don't realize Days of Our Lives is a real show.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Must we mention the time that Patch got quarantined for...whatever that was?
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: As a rule of thumb characters on Days will either change over night or come back aged. Generally though they did try to make sure on screen kids age in the correct order but this sometimes is goofed.
    • Belle (1993) and EJ (1997) 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(1994) and Chelsea (1998) are actually worse examples than Belle, though no one comes close to touching the insanity of how much E.J. was aged up. Chelsea and EJ both returned SORA Sed in the mid 2000s, where Chelsea was now a teen character, EJ was an accomplished grown man.
    • With the new writers in 2015, Joey Johnson, Ciara Brady, Chase Jennings, Theo Carver and Claire Brady all got their upgrades.
    • Nicholas Alamain (1992) 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.
  • Something Completely Different: At certain times Days has let different story directions engulf the show turning into a very different show. One time it had an exorcism storyline, it's been a jungle adventure and at another time it was about a Cruise of Deception.
  • Split Personality: Kimberly Brady;
    • Hope Williams-Brady had two rounds of this. At one point she was brainwased into thinking she was Princess Gina which sort of acted like a split personality. Another time she was taking sleeping medication and ended up becoming a Nightime mugger her daytime personality had zero knowledge of.
    • Abby Deveraux-Dimera developed these after murdering Andre Dimera but in a twist her personalities are copies of people she knows, Gabi Hernandez and Laura Horton.
  • Straight Gay: Sonny Kiriakas comes to town to be with his parents, popular 80s couple Justin and Adrienne, and quickly reveals himself to be gay. While his parents and cousin Abigail knew prior to his arrival, most people, including his eventual love interest Will Horton, are surprised because the athletic, adventurous Sonny doesn't seem gay. Will Horton, especially the version played by Guy Wilson, also fits to a lessor extent.
  • Supernatural Soap Opera: Marlena's possession, the Gemini twins.
  • 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.
  • Tickle Torture: In one episode, Jack has a dream that Greta and Jen have tied him to a chair and are about to torture him. He snaps out of the dream and tries to calm himself down by meditating. When that doesn't work, he begins to dream again and this time Greta grabs a feather and says they will tickle him right where it tickles the most...his feet. They tickle his feet and Jack snaps out of it again, only to find Jen and Greta standing there confused.
    • And again when Bonnie Lockhart sneaks in the morgue, looking for bones. A member of the staff walks in and sees red spiked shoes sticking out from the bottom of a sheet covering a body on a gurney. The woman walks to the shoes as Bonnie lays under the sheet, waiting to be exposed. She takes the red heels, places them in a bag and grabs a cloth to clean her feet with. Bonnie tries to resist and keep still but, one of her feet shoots up involuntary. The woman becomes frightened and heads towards the door of the morgue, muttering to herself about rigor mortis.
  • 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.
  • This Is Reality: In an old episode, Chloe thinks of jumping into the river and while trying to talk her out of it Melanie says this isn't one of her stories.
  • 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.
  • Will They or Won't They?: At any given point of this soap this trope will describe at least one if not several relationships between two characters.
  • You Look Familiar: Josh Taylor as Chris and Roman, Wayne Northrop as Roman and Alex North, Judi Evans as Adrienne and Bonnie, Tamara Braun as Ava and Taylor.
  • Your Son All Along: Inverted. Craig is floored when wife Nancy confesses that she had a teenage daughter (Chloe) that she gave up for adoption. He asks her how she could hide the fact that "they" had a child together (they'd been childhood sweethearts but lost touch when he left for college, reuniting years later) and is devastated when she tells him the girl is her daughter, not his, meaning that she had cheated on him. After a rough start, the three are able to bond as a family. Until the girl becomes ill and needs a bone marrow transplant, at which point Nancy confesses that she's the result of her rape. However, when the rapist's blood type doesn't match the girl's, Craig realizes that the young woman who he's grown to love as if she were his own his daughter.


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