What DAYS Needs to Do If It Wants to Stay on Past 2010 Pt. I: The Hortons and Bradys Generation Next
The Death of Uncle Mickey
The best way to revamp the Hortons, and give Rogers and the show an Emmy-worthy storyline is to kill off the character of Mickey Horton. It's time to send Mickey to the Great Courthouse in the Sky. I love John Ingle to pieces, and adore his Edward Quartermaine on General Hospital. In the same vein, Kevin Dobson was the best husband Seaview Circle ever saw as Mac on Knots Landing, but neither of these men were my Uncle Mickey!
Mickey Horton died the day John Clarke announced his retirement from the show to watch his daughter Melinda scheme it up on The O.C., and enjoy his grandkids. It's high time this iconic character received a proper, history-rich burial. By having Maggie get a phone call telling her that Mickey has suffered a fatal heart attack while out of town on legal business, DAYS can quickly refocus the show around the Horton family. Bo and Hope, Lucas and Sami, Will, Doug and Julie can all come together, minus the ridiculous plot contrivances Dena has playing out for these characters, to help Maggie deal with the death of her soul mate, and how the family will break the news to Gran.
Think of all the mileage One Life to Live got out of Asa's touching memorial storyline. That character had only been on the show since the 80's, Mickey Horton has been a character on Days of Our Lives since episode one in 1965. Y&R showed in one fell-storyline swoop it remembered who it was, when they buried "Katherine Chancellor", causing fans and critics alike to log on and cheer. DAYS could accomplish a similar feat by killing off Mickey— for real this time.
I imagine DAYS thought killing Frank Parker's Shawn Brady would provide an effect similar to the one I am typing about. Yeah, not so much. Shawn was a great character, but he was never anything more than a Greek Chorus for the Brady kids and Caroline. He rarely drove story, whereas Mickey was one of DAYS most popular characters during its first two decades. Plus Parker was still in good health, and as a rule, soaps simply shouldn't kill off elderly veterans if they still have the ability and desire to come in to work everyday. It's cruel and unusual punishment to the fans who have stuck around for so much of the crap this industry has put us through.
For Mickey's funeral, old favorites like Lisa Trusel and Roark Critchlow could return as Mickey's older children, Melissa and Mike, while the show could take a great opportunity to re-introduce Mickey and Maggie's youngest daughter Sarah with a name actress in the role. Ready for the Wishful Casting? I would love to see All My Children's Eden Riegel as the daughter Maggie conceived via artificial insemination with family friend Dr. Neil Curtis!
Riegel just wrapped her stint on AMC and is back on the West Coast, so it's perfect timing for DAYS to snap her up, along with the hundreds of thousands of diehard soap fans who helped make her web series Imaginary Bitches such a smash hit, not to mention those same fans helping AMC receive notable ratings spikes over the past four months.
Blessed with killer acting chops, a ravenous fanbase and a husband-for-a-writer who could teach Judd Apatow a trick or three, Riegel isn't long for soaps. Some West Coast sudser better snag Riegel before daytime loses her to primetime, film and the web all together. I can't believe Fronsie didn't think about offering the role of Sarah Webber or Brooke Lynn Ashton on GH to Riegel before letting her get away. Oh well, ABC's loss could be DAYS gain!
Long before Sami found John making her mother meow on that Titan board room table like a horny, high-pitched, housecat, Sarah Horton lashed out at her mother after discovering Maggie was having her own steamy affair with Neil. Sarah was furious that her mother could do that to her beloved adopted dad. She didn't want to hear Maggie's excuses about how the workaholic Mickey had been neglecting her. Not long after that, Sarah and her sister Melissa left town, and while Melissa has popped up for a few visits, Sarah hasn't been heard from in years. In a twist of soapy irony, Riegel's sapphic AMC bride Tamara Braun was first rumored to re-create the role of Sarah, before joining the soap as Ava. Maybe Tams could put in a good word for Eden? Hook a sistah up!
Sarah's return, on the heels of her father's death, could be classic soap opera. It would be even sweeter if Sarah runs into her old flame, Rafe (Galen Gering) shortly after arriving in town. An attorney like her father, Sarah could have done an internship with the FBI, resulting in a brief, but steamy affair with Sami's new man—instant, character-driven conflict. Sarah could decide to remain in Salem— much to Sami's chagrin— to assume her father's law practice, and work on her issues with her mother. After almost a decade battling Erica Kane, no one does Mama Drama like Riegel.
Critchlow's Mike could also stay in town, reeling from the death of the man who raised him and continued to love him as his own, even after it was discovered that Mickey's own brother Bill was actually Mike's biological father, the product of Bill's rapemance of Laura. A two-day return stint from Jamie Lynn Bauer (ex-Laura Horton) for the funeral to share scenes with Mike would be icing on the soapy cake. Laura could once again apologize for keeping the truth from her son for the first 18 years of his life, providing a nod to DAYS first breakout storyline, penned by the late Bill Bell.
Mike's son Jeremy could also return to Salem a few months down the road, to hash out his issues with dear old dad. This time, instead of a Ken Doll-come-to-life, DAYS might wanna consider hiring a real actor, perhaps Karl Girolamo (Kevin, ATWT) or Dylan Bruce (ex-Chris, ATWT)? Maybe Jeremy's acting out is what broke up Mike and his true love Carrie (Christie Clark)? Clark could then return to play this storyline out and give DAYS a classic, 30-something romantic couple to root for, that doesn't involve the aforementioned bitches and rapists.
It would be nice to see Joe Gallison (ex-Neil) return to Salem for a couple of episodes for Mickey's funeral. I'm sure DAYS fans would much rather see a vet from their show return as opposed to old faves from All My Children or Another World, no offense to John Callahan or Sandra Ferguson. I loved me some Edmund Grey and Amanda Cory, but I wasn't trying to feel y'all coming to Salem the same week Doc and John were told to get to steppin'!
Imagine the explosive outburst from Sarah as her biological father shows up at her adopted father's funeral! It would be enough to make Maggie fall off the wagon. Neil could even bring his ex-wife Liz (Gloria Loring), who would sing "Amazing Grace" at the service, as the congregation flashes back to over four decades of memories with Uncle Mickey. Was anyone at DAYS paying attention to the fan reaction when news broke that Tricia Cast was reprising her role as Nina on Y&R for Kay's faux-neral? Road weary soap fans eat that kind of stuff up. Maria, Paul and Hogan get that. Frank and Ron get that. Hell, finally even Ellen, Jill and the rest of the 12 disciples, er head writers finally get that. When are Ken, Gary and Dena gonna get it?
DAYS could cast Ben Masters (ex-Julian, Passions) for a short-run as DAYS first antihero Bill Horton. Bill's troubled relationship with his sons Lucas and Mike— neither of whom he actually raised— would provide good, classic, melodrama. Imagine Masters opposite Bill's one-time mistress Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow). What if Laura confronts Kate at Mickey's wake, saying her husband's mistress has no right to be there, only for a grieving Maggie to inform her sister-in-law that since Laura's been away, Maggie and Kate have become friends, bonded over mutual affection for Lucas, and Kate is welcome to stay? It would be Brothers and Sisters for daytime!
DAYS has barely touched on how Lucas feels about being the illegitimate son of one of Salem's most prestigious families. Is that what drives him to drink? Psychologically, how does one go from believing their father was a distinguished military leader who died in service to his country, to finding out his mother was a common whore? Could this explain the penchant Lucas has for sluts, tramps and psychos? I know Dena is busy penning those groovy scenes where Phillip ( the deserving of better Jay Kenneth Johnson) screams STELLA, I mean Tony, at the top of his lungs, but I'd sure like to find out the answer to some of these questions!
How would Laura treat the constant, living reminder of her husband's infidelity? How would she react to Bill bonding with Kate, and their grandson Will? Laura's mistreatment of Will could bring about a (temporary) truce for Kate and Sami as both women vow to protect Will from the unstable Laura's wrath.
Perhaps even big name DAYS vets like Melissa Reeves (ex-Jennifer) and Matt Ashford (ex-Jack) would consider returning for a week to honor Mickey's passing, and by extension a recommitment to the essence of the soap? It would be the perfect opportunity to bring Abby Deveraux back to the canvas permanently. Abby could return with Jack and Jen for Uncle Mickey's funeral and decide to stay in town when the budding journalista is offered an internship at The Spectator.com or Bella Magazine.
My dream Wishful Casting for Abby is Danica Stewart (ex-Maxie, GH; ex-Jessica, Passions). I absolutely fell in love with this girl on NBC's short-lived, addictive web sudser Coastal Dreams and have been clamoring to see her on my screen ever since. If Stewart isn't available, maybe Julie Marie Berman (Lulu, GH) could be lured away from Port Chuck? We hear she's not happy with the way Shrew-Lu is being written these days...
Since Darin Brooks has said he would like to juggle his new sitcom gig with his DAYS job, the show should at least reward the talented young hunk with a decent storyline that doesn't involve Max committing near-incest with one of his adopted nieces— Abby is the perfect solution.
Fans would love a fun, sexy Max/Abby/Phillip/Stephanie front burner summer storyline that relied more on character and history than contrived plots. Max and Abby dated in the past, and Abby's parents Jack and Jennifer, were constant thorns in the side of Phillip's dad Victor, forever investigating his illegal business dealings. What if Abby picked up where her parents left of, much to Phillip's dismay and fascination? Max, could finally morph into Brady hero mode, by forever trying to keep Abby out of trouble.
You might have noticed I didn't mention Melanie when talking about my dream Horton/Brady-anchored DAYS young adult storyline. That's because in my scenario, Melanie's death would be what keeps Abby in town. After alienating everyone in Salem, Melanie would be killed off in a big summer Whodunit. Abby would stay in town to help her old flame Max find out who killed his sister. Was it EJ? Stefano? Victor? Phillip? Maggie (She got tired of sharing scenes with her)?
Matt Ashford could stick around all summer to help the audience get used to NuAbby. Jack could decide to stay and manage The Spectator.com, while Vern has hernia surgery. Jen, meanwhile heads back home after Uncle Mickey's funeral, because Jack Jr. has to finish out the school year and she's about to resume taping the next season of her talk show, Jennifer Rose.
Abby being back on the canvas would facilitate more short-term return stints for Ashford or Reeves, ala Finola Hughes on GH, where the witty reporters could pop up to help their daughter snoop around whenever the Kiriakis or DiMera's pull a scandal.
As for Jen's big brother, Mike should take Kayla's old job as Chief of Staff at Salem University, which would put him in quite the awkward position once it is revealed that Daniel Jonas, who just so happens to be a friend of Mike's from medical school, is bagging the wife of Mike's little brother Lucas. What if Mike fires Daniel on a morality clause? Daniel could file a discrimination suite, accusing the Horton's of targeting him unfairly. Sarah could defend Mike and the Horton name in court, opposite a new character, a cocky, ambulance chaser played by someone like Tom Pelphrey or Chad Brannon, who squares off with Riegel's Sarah ala Tracy and Hepburn.