Thursday, April 18, 2024

THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: Days a part of our lives


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I haven’t watched Days Of Our Lives in years but I am sentimental about it.

I was weaned on it throughout the 1970s and ’80s. So forgive me if I get nostalgic about the American daytime soap because it forms part of many of my early memories.

I remember when our household was hooked first on Peyton Place and one of the leading characters, the darling Rodney, played by Ryan O’Neal. That O’Neal was loved by Barbadian women is an understatement, given the number of males born in the early to mid-70s whose names are either Rodney, Ryan, O’Neal or any combination of the three.

But that obsession gave way to a more enduring one, Days, with characters which Barbadians hated or loved. Sometimes they were confused emotionally because having loved the character initially, they discovered that fatal flaw in them. For example, William “Bill” Horton’s unrelenting desire for his brother Mickey’s wife, which led to rape.

Using that one incident, writers maintained the intrigue surrounding the horrible family secret that made thousands of Barbadians gasp each time it appeared it would be found out.

During my early years at the Advocate, the lovable Aubrey would appear almost every evening just before it was time for Days and, after he’d completed his chores, make that one call to a female friend. It would always be along the lines of whether she had put her husband’s food on the table or would “that man” have to “share some licks when he get in” because she was watching Days.

I always felt that MADD must have been listening in on Aubrey’s conversation after they so perfectly penned the comedic calypso Days Of Our Lives.

The effect of the show was such that for an hour each day, things virtually came to a standstill.

How many times have you absent-mindedly called someone’s home just before 6 p.m. and they bluntly told you that they had no time for you or that their picture was about to start and the phone went dead before you could finish the conversation?

Or, have you ever been in conversation and realised that the person on the other end appeared to be on a ten-second delay system, only to find out they were preoccupied watching DOOL.

When my daughter was about four years, most evenings my mother would babysit until I collected her. Daysie is one of my mother’s favourite series. Sometimes Ya Ya would request that I not come because she wanted to watch Days first.

Sometimes, if she was away from a television, she would call my mother and ask: “Mama, wuh happen on Daysie?” From there it was a blow-by-blow account of the evening’s episode until Ya Ya was fully up to date.

On other occasions, she would call my mother with the specific request to tape Daysie because she would not be able to pass by that evening. That watching of Days, though strange as it may seem, provided a bonding experience for grandmother and granddaughter.

The show, or Days or Daysie, as millions of viewers have rechristened it, has played a major role in some part of our lives and not always for the best reasons. Nevertheless, its impact cannot be dismissed. Many of the day’s activities were planned around 6 p.m. and for many years you could predict what almost everyone in the district was doing. I may be wrong but I believe it started out as a 30-minute show before it became an hour-long viewing.

Though I stopped watching it, I don’t join the throngs who celebrate its end. I’ll bet that there are some worse things out there that the multitudes are viewing every Thursday that are without question far less scandalous than the 15-years-behind Days.

That it lagged so many years behind made us laugh to see how far we’ve come in the use of technology and how some of the styles of that day have returned.

To the young ones the time frame is history; to us the period stirs memories.

• Antoinette Connell is a News Editor.


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