Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Romance Needs to Return to 'Days of our Lives'—For All!

Romance Needs to Return to 'Days of our Lives'- For All!
By Carolyn LeVine Topol

Marlena (Deidre Hall)  presides over Will (Guy Wilson) and Sonny's (Freddie Smith) Wedding on Days of our Lives
It was just shy of two years ago when one of the loveliest romances, in recent Days of our Lives history, culminated in a beautiful wedding at the Kiriakis mansion. I’m sure I’m not alone in fondly remembering the wedding of Sonny Kiriakis and William Horton (played by Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson). Not only was their wedding a pivotal moment in daytime TV, but it contributed to Days being recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards.

As a Days viewer for nearly four decades, I still remember Marlena (played by Deidre Hall) ending the wedding ceremony with, “May the love you share be the bond that brings you strength, and comfort, and joy all of the days of your lives.” Incorporating those particular words, I expected Will and Sonny to become one of the enduring love stories in this beloved soap opera’s history.

Instead of a long-lasting bond, which should have endured many soap-style ups and downs, the love story of Sonny and Will, so full of promise, ended tragically. In a sad mess of betrayal, followed by the slow, but evident, maturity of the characters, and expected renewal of their love, all was destroyed with the senseless murder of legacy character, William Horton. Will’s brutal death not only killed the chance for Will and Sonny to have their well-deserved happy ending, but also appears to have killed the entire gay storyline.

Currently, as I watch Days every afternoon, I await the time when the show will renew my faith in groundbreaking storytelling and continue to crush antiquated barriers to all love stories.

Christopher Sean as Paul Norita
There is still one prominent gay character left in Salem, although he’s been conspicuously off the radar of late. It’s time for Paul Narita (played by Christopher Sean) to get the chance to find love in Salem. Having hoped to reconnect, unsuccessfully, with his former love, Sonny Kiriakis, Paul has been left adrift in a town with a preponderance of characters pairing up on an ongoing basis.

Learning John Black (Drake Hogestyn) is Paul’s father, led me to believe Paul would play an integral part in all aspects of life in Salem, as do his siblings Brady and Belle (Eric Martsolf and Martha Madison). Upon his entry into Salem, viewers fell in love with Paul, as he bravely came out to his mother and grandfather, and then cheered him on or sneered at him as he attempted to find a place back in Sonny’s life.

However, with Sonny currently working in Europe, managing a portion of his uncle’s ventures abroad, it’s time for Paul to get the same opportunity as the rest of the Salem community. As fans learned during the past few years, there is a gay population in Salem—enough to warrant having The Spot nightclub. Certainly there must be room for another gay character on the scene.

With all the love we have been promised, it would be gratifying and satisfying to see Paul reap some of the same benefits, beyond the clichéd date with the fashion photographer.
Christopher Sean as Paul in a scene with Guy Wilson as Will on Days of our Lives
Having talented, strong actor, Christopher Sean, at the helm, Paul Narita can go in a number of directions. Paul can have both a powerful front-burner storyline AND a romance—especially one riddled with lots of dramatic complications.

It’s critical for Days of our Lives to return to that place of recognition they so deservedly achieved with their previous gay storyline. In 2016, this story should not be left off the grid. In the past DOOL has been praised for its “Love Wins” portrayal of the LGBT community. I hope this soap, formerly lauded by GLAAD, will not avoid the challenges of creating a new gay romance for all the viewers to enjoy.

If it’s all about the romance, let’s get ALL the romance that ALL the fans so richly want and deserve.

Carolyn LeVine Topol regularly contributes television and web series features to Serial Scoop. Having always dreamed of writing her own version of The Great American Novel, it took her many years to discover her most heartfelt stories took their form in the creation of LGBT romances. Carolyn had one lesser-known passion, her dedication to all things "soap opera". Starting as a child with "Dark Shadows" and "Secret Storm", Carolyn has found a way to keep up with nearly every soap, on every network over the past 45 years!

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