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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Marlena Evans Black and her daughter Belle Black: A popular fan interpretation of the characters are that they are selfish jerks who play their romantic suitors against each other so she can have TWO men loving her at the same time.
    • Jennifer Horton, once the Nice Character, Mean Actor reveal happened in the mid-1990s, when Melissa Reeves was revealed to be having an adulterous affair with a co-star. Jennifer went from the plucky girl next door who's pure heart was such that she was able to redeem a rapist who argued IN COURT that a man can rape his wife and it not being rape, to a self-absorbed hypocrite who mocked her husband's post-traumatic stress disorder from having his life destroyed by the DiMeras and who was bed-hopping with strangers whenever she thought he was dead.
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    • Sami Brady: Cold-blooded sociopath or fucked up teenager who went though the trauma of losing her mother as a child, being raised by a father who turns out to be an imposter (after being told originally that he had plastic surgery) and then being reunited with her real dad only to watch her mom cuck her dad with Fake-dad and try and pass off their bastard daughter as her real dad's and then gets raped by a college-age guy who she thought was her friend and calls her a liar when he gets arrested, plus out that he only was her friend because he wanted to rape her half-sister!
    • Kate Roberts: The only sane woman in a town of fucked up families who wants protect her son from the lunacy of the city and Sami Brady (whom the whole town knows is crazy and evil), or a cold and ruthless matriarch who seeks absolute and total control over her son Lucas to make up for how she abandoned and forsaked her other children.
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    • Daniel Jonas: Is Daniel a good-hearted, laid back doctor who sometimes make a bad decision in his personal life or a serial homewrecker who will do whatever he needs to if he has the hots for a woman?
  • Broken Base: This happens with any soap opera regarding couples, story arcs, etc., but the original tenure of head writer James E. Reilly is still controversial. Supporters fans will argue he breathed new life into a show still reeling from the effects of the 1988 writers' strike and point out that quite a few of his characters (e.g. Sami Brady, Kristen Blake, Lucas Horton, and the Reed-Roberts family) are still present and popular in the modern day. Detractors claim his use of supernatural and other unrealistic (even by soap standards) elements derailed the story and alienated longtime fans, and/or that he relied too much on shock value, ignored continuity, dragged-out storylines, made an incoherent mess out of backstories like John Black's (including the retconning of "Roman Brady's" origins to reveal that John had just assumed Roman's identity) and Tony DiMera's parentage, and reduced characters and their motivations to two dimensions, at most.
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  • Creator's Pet: Belle, Shawn-Douglas, Daniel, Melanie and the whole Hernandez clan are characters this has been thrown at over the years.
  • Die for Our Ship: Days couples tend to have very passionate fanbases. The Broe vs. Phloe (Brady and Chloe/Philip and Chloe), Shimi vs. Shelle (Shawn-Douglas and Mimi/Shawn-Douglas and Belle), and Lumi vs. Ejami (Lucas and Sami/EJ and Sami) battles come to mind. And God help you if you think Jennifer Horton should be with anyone other than Jack Deveraux.
  • Dork Age: Years and several writing regimes later, there are still critics who assert that the show never recovered from Reilly's initial tenure as head writer. But even fans who liked his original run will generally agree that his second (from 2003-2006) was a dumpster fire, even if they did enjoy Chelsea Brady and gloriously-nonsensical Salem Stalker storyline.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Jack Deveraux, Steve Johnson, E.J. DiMera.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Jack Deveraux was originally envisioned as a typical rich jerk that would serve as a Romantic False Lead for Steve and Kayla, as many other couples have had before and after, and the character was so destined-for-nothing that they went through three actors in less than a year (Joseph Adams, James Acheson and Matthew Ashford). Eventually, however, the character found the right actor (Ashford) who provided him with so much depth and humor, that while the couple he was interfering with was gone within the next couple years, Jack Deveraux wound up spending more time on the show than either of them combined (while Mark Valley and Steve Wilder assumed the role during the mid-to-late 1990s, fans associate the character with Ashford's portrayal most).
    • The same can be said of Lucas and Sami. Originally the meddling little siblings of big couple Austin and Carrie, respectively, they wound up lasting longer and becoming much bigger than both of them. Sami eventually ended up the main heroine.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Despite Word of God that any characters killed off from now on will stay dead, most fans are refusing to believe this about Stefano, given the myriad of times he's returned from the dead. Such a rule didn't really stick again and they even ran a story where Rafe and Shane made it look like Stefano was alive when they thought he wasn't. At least until they saw a picture that wasn't a part of their plan of what appeared to be Stefano alive. This was presumed to be the last official plot for Stefano now that his actor, Joseph Mascolo, passed away in December 2016... but even Mascolo's death couldn't prevent the Phoenix from rising again, and Stefano was revived in November 2019, with Stephen Nichols in the role (albeit presumed to be as a brainwashed Steve Johnson).
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Shelle (Shawn-Douglas and Belle), Ejami (EJ and Sami), Chabby (Abigail and Chad) and Bope (Bo and Hope), just to name a few.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: One particular aspect of the 2019 storyline in which Julie Williams suffers a massive heart attack (which Gabi thought Julie was faking to make her feel guilty about her behavior towards Julie, nearly leaving Julie for dead) was seen as pretty outlandish among some fans. After forcing Lani Price to do some groveling to allow the transplant to happen, a grieving and vengeful Gabi Hernandez allows Julie to receive the fatally wounded Stefan DiMera's heart. As payback for Lani accidentally killing Gabi's husband, Stefan DiMeranote , Gabi blackmails Lani into jilting Eli Grant on their wedding day under threat of using an app that controls the speed of a DiMera Enterprises-manufactured pacemaker implanted into Julie (Eli's aunt) heart to kill her. Head writer Ron Carlivati revealed on his Twitter account in October 2019 that the plot device was inspired by a 2013 CNN story about former Vice President Dick Cheney, who had an internal defribrillator he received in 2007 modified to disable wireless features that could be hacked to induce a coronary event.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Chelsea Brady, upon being SORASed, started off as an extremely hated character. She was an arrogant jerkass, was rude to everyone around her (even her best friend Abby), was responsible for killing her little brother, and tried to break up Bo and Hope's marriage in order to rekindle his relationship with her mother, Billie Reed. When she started dating Hollywood Nerd Nick, she became a much better person. She went from being the most hated character to one of the show's more popular characters.
    • Arguably to a lesser extent, the same happened with Melanie Layton (now Jonas). She started out an unlikable and shallow con-artist (although deliberately so), but was given a sympathetic backstory and became so popular she was even given a connection to the Horton family by way of her birth father, Daniel Jonas, being tied to that family tree.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Belle Black. While Carrie and Sami Brady, and Jennifer Horton all worked well in their role as the young blonde female heroine of the show, Belle was widely reviled by fans.
    • Taylor Walker, particularly for coming off as such a Relationship Sue for EJ. After two extremely likeable actresses (former General Hospital stars Natalia Livingston and Tamara Braun) failed to sway fans into liking her, she was mercifully Put on a Bus for the second time. (Taylor was first seen in 1998, with Katherine Ellis in the role, also short-lived.)
    • Willow Stark (so much that she was Killed Off for Real due to the large volume of hate mail that NBC received about her character).
    • Alex North, a new character that was developed to allow Wayne Northrop to be able to return the show (his old role of Roman Brady having been recast nine years earlier, in 1997, with Josh Taylor, who previously played bartender Chris Kositchek from 1977 to 1987), launched into a storyline that a good chunk of fans would prefer to forget, in which Alex was revealed to be an abusive ex-husband of Marlena's who used his authority as her therapist (in order to help her regain her memory) to control her.
    • While a lot of people liked Will Horton, the Guy Wilson incarnation was reviled as having made one of the most likable characters on the show turn into one of the most annoying. This was to the point where while some were sad to see the character go, the murder of Will was in some cases applauded for finally getting rid of the actor. Needless to say upon Will's resurrection, the show brought back his previous actor, Chandler Massey, and had him reshoot scenes that they needed for flashbacks from when Wilson played Will.
  • Seasonal Rot: There have also been issues with the frequent writer switchups in recent years. Storylines and couples have flip-flopped so often that it became irritating to try and keep up with. Each turnover seems to warrant changing the B-cast at much-higher rates than usual: In a span of two years, Belle and Shawn returned and left the show twice (each), and are now returning for the third. Xander has been Put on a Bus only to be brought back for another storyline...three times. Eve was let go only to be returned as a recurring character two times and then being forgotten about. (Her actress, Kassie DePaiva was diagnosed with cancer and was allowed to take time off, but there was no on-screen reason for her departure until she returned again.) And so on and so forth.
  • Super Couple: Bo and Hope, John and Marlena, Jack and Jennifer, Steve and Kayla and more.

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