A Fond Farewell . . . Minus the "Fond"
So the other night I was supposed to meet friends out after work. I got all dressed in my cute jeans, a boobie shirt (my friend AC coined this phrase about 10 years ago when, being a guy's guy, he couldn't remember what a bustier was called, and I now use it to describe anything cleavage-y, because I'm way classy like that), and sky-high pointy-toed black stilettos that are, if I do say so myself, fierce. I pumped up my makeup from day to night, put my hair in an updo that was hopefully super cute without looking like there was any effort involved. I. Was. Ready. So I grabbed a cab, woohoo, on my way to party! Then I spent the next 35 minutes going less than two blocks, because of some incident that closed a six-square-block section of downtown and required what appeared to be every fire truck and ambulance in the city.
Patience is not my thing, so rather than have an anxiety attack while the cab spent another hour going seven feet, I hopped out and headed to the subway. Despite the below-freezing weather, I was so peppy, if I'd had a hat I would have twirled and thrown it in the air all Mary Tyler Moore style. Then I got to the subway, to find massive amounts of people rushing out of the station -- in a business area on a Friday night. Not good. Through eavesdropping on a couple of conversations (never let it be said that rudeness isn't productive), I found out that the line was shut down until further notice because of some incident -- the same incident causing the traffic jam? Who knows. Still excited to see my friends, I figured I would walk a couple more blocks, get past the traffic jam, and grab a cab for the rest of the way. I'm sure you can see where this is going, and that is that there was no end to the traffic jam, and I ended up walking 15 long city blocks in my fierce heels in the freezing cold. By the time I got to my friends, I could not feel my hands or nose. But oh, could I feel my feet, particularly the two giant blisters on the ball of each one. Plus, my eyes had teared from the cold, taking away most of my eye makeup, and my formerly fabulous hair had fallen and looked pretty much like I'd just come from the gym. Awesome. Despite being a hot mess, I stayed and hit a couple of bars with my friends. Nothing of note happened.
Hey, you know what would have made that boring story even worse? If it ended with me paraplegic, shipped off to Switzerland.
Also, it is worth noting that my retelling of that story about a traffic jam and blisters required far more thought and planning than the crapfest that masqueraded as John and Marlena's big farewell on Friday.
There are times when Mallory and I worry that we are being too hypercritical. I mean, honestly, does nothing make us happy? I am sometimes concerned that we are soap opera malcontents, and not even in an endearing, curmudgeonly old-man-neighbor kind of way. More in a just plain bitchy way. Among other things, despite being long time Days viewers, we were not unhappy about the show letting Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn go. We find John and Marlena uber-annoying, at least in recent years. I used to like them in the 80s and early 90s, but since Mal is practically still in diapers, she doesn't even have those good ol' days to look back on fondly.
So you must know that for me to think John and Marlena got a bullshit send-off, it must have been really bad. And it was -- really, really bad. No matter how overly picky I may be on a regular basis, I'm reasonably certain that even my harshest critic (wherefore art thou, katie f?) will agree that even if Days' powers-that-be had been making a conscious effort to create as boring and shitty a way to have John and Marlena exit the canvas, they could not have topped what ended up on our screens.
Dena Higley and her crew had, like, two months' notice that they were going to have to write off this supercouple that, no matter what you think of them, have been a huge part of this show for more than 20 years. So what great arc did they develop to send off this duo in style?
- John got attacked with horse tranquilizers by a heavily Botoxed Amanda Cory.
- He nearly died but Marlena saved him, and he conveniently woke up with all his memories restored. ("I remember all of it, Doc" may have been touching, but it was no "I remember everything.")
- Unfortunately John was paralyzed from the neck down, but there is a clinic in Switzerland that may be able to help him, so he and Marlena decided to move there.
- Stefano saluted paralyzed John from the hallway.
- Marlena decided her daughter (currently in witness protection with a professional hitman plotting her murder) will be just fine without her and, apparently, a postcard from Geneva should be a sufficient goodbye. (No word on how the invisible children are doing. Since Eric can't manage to find his way out of the state of Colorado under even the most dire circumstances, I worry about him in particular.)
- Marlena and John got remarried.
Oh, and all but the crazy syringe-wielding psychiatrist part happened over the span of a single episode. Super sudsy build-up and payoff, right? Can you get over the soapiness of it all?
I mean really, can you believe that these were the last scenes of an iconic Days supercouple?
Seriously, that's it. They're gone. I emailed Mal over the weekend because I couldn't believe that Friday was really their last episode, but it was! (She checked TV Guide, which has no record of leading me astray, unless it is still in any way encouraging tuning in to Grey's Anatomy.) If you can't even make a hater like me roll my eyes at the OTT sentimentality and melodrama associated with the departure of two core characters, you are doing something seriously wrong. Good lord, no wonder this genre is dying, if the people in charge of Days are among its caretakers.
On the plus side, Drake Hogestyn busted out The Eyebrow one last time, and Nicole carried a pretty fabulous huge silver handbag. So I guess things all even out in the end. And anyway, there are so many great storylines for Salemites right now that I'm sure I will get engrossed in them and quickly forget how much John and Marlena's exit sucked and . . .
. . . oh, crap. Kill me now.