I have watched and loved Days of Our Lives my entire life. It was my family’s story.
Sure, we had brief flings with other soap operas: Another World, Santa Barbara, Generations, even Passions, I’m embarrassed to say. But we stayed true to the NBC line-up. We never dabbled with other channels, like CBS’s Young and the Restless, with its hipster pop music opening theme and weird half-hour start time. Why, CBS, would you start a show at 12:30PM EST?
No, in our family, it was the hourglass that anchored generations of women together at lunchtime Mondays through Fridays.
So many of my childhood memories are tied to Days of Our Lives. I remember my grandmother at the end of her life, so weak she could barely walk, leaping out of her chair and clapping the day Bo charged into the church to stop Hope from marrying Larry Walsh. And my Aunt, wrestling her VHS tapes as she cursed my uncle for “deliberately” not rewinding them. But it was in 2012, when Days of Our Lives became the first daytime soap to write a gay romance into its storyline that I was not just in love with my show, I was proud of it.
Despite a lifetime of devotion, though, I quit watching Days.
Why? The commercials hurt my feelings; that’s why. Smart people who work in marketing and advertising get paid lots of money to know the audiences of different programs. And I really don’t care for what NBC’s advertisers presume (correctly) to know about me.
Below are the three most frequent commercials running during Days of Our Lives, and their insulting implications.
1. Miller-Motte Technical College: Because you're an unemployed loser who watches daytime television.
Like Devry and the University of Phoenix, graduates from Miller-Motte wear suits and stethoscopes, sometimes at the same time, so you know they work somewhere important. And they look so confident and professional that you can almost forget it’s a payday loan equivalent of college.
You got me there, though, NBC advertisers. I don’t have a job. When my first daughter was born I decided to stay home with her. It was an option for us financially and I’m so grateful. I’ve never regretted this time with my children. That being said, there is no way for me to fill out the employer line of a form that is not demoralizing. “Stay-at-home mom” is basically just “not barren housewife.” Homemaker? Jesus Christ, no. I just leave it blank.
2. Abilify: Because you need to supplement your current anti-depressant.
It tells you something that they don’t even bother advertising first-line antidepressants, like Zoloft and Prozac. Why preach to the choir? They know you're already taking something or you wouldn’t be home watching this show.
And unlike ads for first-line antidepressants, Abilify commercials don’t fill your head with unrealistic expectations. They don’t oversell it. Even after “talking to her doctor and asking about Ablify” this woman barely looks like she’s keeping it together. There are no family picnics or flying kites for her, but at least she can go with her family and sit quietly on a blanket without ruining it for everybody else.
This one doesn’t quite apply to me, because Sertraline worked just fine for me on its own. And I take it for anxiety, thank you very much. I’m not some depressive sad sack, moping around about the past. I’m a proactive sad sack. I used to wake every morning crying about things that hadn’t even happened yet.
3. Vagisil: Because your vagina is lousy with yeast.
Judging by the volume of commercials, yeast infections are a real public health crisis in this country. This feels like the lowest hanging fruit of all the commercials. Most depressed people are already hypochondriacs. And vaginal discomfort is a truly vague symptom. Just thinking about mine makes me feel uncomfortable. Sprinkle in the mention of feminine odor and Vagisil is going to fly off the shelves like hotcakes.
Guess what, NBC? I’ve never had a yeast infection. Ha! I bet you’re embarrassed now. It speaks to my lack of accomplishments in life that I am absurdly proud of this fact (or that I consider it an accomplishment in the first place). Unfortunately for me, it is next to impossible to crowbar this little jewel into normal conversations, so I never get credit for it. Actually, this might be the only time.
I do miss Days of Our Lives. I miss its rapid-aging boarding schools, plot-aloud villains, secret twins, switched babies, and amnesiacs. But I don’t miss or need the daily assaults on my confidence that leave me questioning my life choices. That’s why I have a mother and Facebook.