Days no heart mashup Setphanie Tripp Joey Allie John jpi
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (5)

We could really do with some more of this, so where is it?

It’s hard not to be cynical in today’s world. That’s part of why we love television, movies, reading — they’re an escape into worlds where we don’t have to be so pessimistic. It’s why soaps like Days of Our Lives have been a comfort to so many people for years.

We’re supposed to find love stories to root for, heroes to cheer on and villains we want to see get their comeuppance. We want to love, hate and mourn with the characters. But lately, we’ve been finding ourselves more and more cynical about the goings-on in Salem. We’re cynical about the relationships that seem to constantly be torn apart, about the deaths that never stick and now, about the mourning that we’re told is happening but aren’t shown.

We’ve written about the problem with the love stories, and we all know how meaningless death has become… but it’s only now that we’re getting into so many characters behaving oddly — if not downright poorly — that we’re realizing the common thread tying all these problems together.

We’re having a hard time finding the show’s heart.

At the bar, Chanel and Johnny gape at Alex and Allie, who gesticulate.

“Let me get this straight: You’re saying someone… died? But who? And why am I struggling to care?”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

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Johnny and Allie each lost both of their grandmothers, not to mention their aunt. But while there’s been lip-service paid to their loss — Paulina suggested Allie’s not handling things well because of it and Chanel and Johnny almost… kissed? — they just don’t seem that bothered. Well, they do seem bothered, but more by each other and their significant others than the deaths.

And Joey and Tripp… Look, we get that everyone deals with loss differently, but their mom/stepmom just died. Yet there’s Joey, gleefully playing matchmaker with Tripp and Wendy as if he doesn’t have a care in the world.

Steve defaulting to violence in response to losing Kayla makes sense — she was his beloved voice of reason who kept him from doing that before she died. And now that she’s lost, he’s going off the deep end. But we’ve hardly seen the trio mourn besides the first few moments of death. And some, not even that. John was all emotional leading up to Marlena’s death, but we haven’t seen him mourning all that much since. And Roman’s a stoic guy, but he’s seemed curiously calm as he’s supposedly got Kate’s ashes sitting in his pub.

Compare that to when Abigail died, and we got so many haunting, heartbreaking scenes as Jack and Jennifer struggled with the loss. In fact, Jen was so shattered, she turned back to pills to cope. And then here was Chad, who was left a broken mess for months — he’s only now coming out of it. He wanted vengeance like John, Roman and Steve, but that didn’t stop or hide his grief.

Stephanie smiles at Chad as they sit on an outdoor bench.

“I love bonding with you over death, Chad. See? We’ve got so much in common now!”

Credit: Peacock screenshot

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The loss from these deaths is just so lackluster in comparison. And when it does happen, it feels more like a plot point. We have to give the show credit for Stephanie’s struggles, but at the same time, it’s starting to seem more like a way for Days of Our Lives to make her and Chad a better match and push her away from Alex.

Part of the problem may be due to the artificial stretching of the story putting the reactions off until… later? Kayla said she was in heaven for weeks, and, indeed, in the real world, that much time passed, but in Salem, they still haven’t gotten to funerals yet. Heck, Bonnie and Anna seem to be the only ones we’ve seen bothering to prepare for the services.

That’s just bizarre and helps make these deaths feel so hollow, while also driving the point home that they were meaningless. Unless everyone is secretly in on the fact that their supposed loved ones are coming back, the behavior is just silly. If they seemed more invested in the story, maybe that would be enough to bring us along with it. But they curiously aren’t.

Roman John and Steve sit around a Brady Pub table with coffee cups. John pours over a legal pad.

“I feel like we’re forgetting something on our To-Do List… Plot? Check. Kill Orpheus? Soon to check. Funeral? Nah, scratch that one off.”

Credit: Peacock screenshot

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Why should we bother to care when the characters hardly seem to? Listen, we want these stories to succeed — all of them. And they can, even if we’re sure of where they’re headed. It’s not always about the destination, but the journey. All we need is a little more heart in them, and we’ll happily go on that journey wherever it may lead.

What are your thoughts on what the show’s missing right now? Let us know below!

How much heart is the show capable of? Check out our photo gallery tracing John and Marlena’s unforgettable love story from its earliest days to it last to find out.