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« Kendall Hart Is Having The Worst Year Ever | Main | Our Column In The 2/3 Issue of Soap Opera Digest »

January 26, 2009

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.


I don't watch Days, so no comment there. Welcome back Becca. Mallory has been holding down the fort admirably.

So it's not that I am particularly sad that they are leaving...but they are Soap Veterans. Really, the writers couldn't show them a little bit more respect than this? Also, not that the writers are known for their attention to detail, but if a person is paralized from the neck down can they usually move their neck? Plus, if that was what I was thinking about while watching your clip you know the scene was bad....I really thought they might get some kind of "okay" send off because of their years of loyalty to the show. I was horribly wrong.

Pretty much sucked, I agree, although I did chuckle when Marlena told Stefano he couldn't hurt them anymore. As if she was envisioning Dena Higley and Ken Corday instead...

Well at least now I don't feel bad about missing it...

No No No. They got it all wrong. Everyone knows that a truly paralyzed Soap Hero is required to suffer alone while nobly pushing away his true love so that she won't be burdened by him. Only a faker uses paralysis to get closer to his romatic interest. Geez this exit is wrong on so many levels. And I'm not even a Marlena and John fan.

I thought TPTB might put some effort into getting this memory loss story right with J&M since they botched it so horribly the first time with S&K.
Maybe they can do betterin a year or two when they recycle the plot with EJ and Sami. Nah. No way this show can last that long.

The whole show felt rushed and the story forced. I'm also not a John and Marlena fan but this story line was not well organized for a final farwell for Days.

The other aspect of the show suggesting Nicole was getting the idea to switch babies with Sami just goes to show how uncreative the team of Days writers have become. I predicted this one two months ago. I've been watching for over 20 years so some things are to obvious with the direction its going. Just once I would like to be surprised. So.... we will wait and see how long it takes for this to blow up and Nicole is caught.

What's with the Godfather music that plays when Stefano comes on screen?

Wait, there were no flashbacks?


So what the hell was going on with Stephano? He's suddenly worried about John and happy he's remarrying Marlena? No explanation, no build up, no follow up. Just randomly thrown in. Huh?

It makes me sad that such a crap ass rushed throw away story wsa written to end the tenure of the two linch pins of the show for the past 2 decades - 3 in D. Hall's case. Regardless of what you thought about J&M on a day to day basis - and yes they could often be a cheese fest - they were the central figure / family of the show. The Hortons had been shuffled to the back years ago. The Bradys had been mostly absent expect for Bo and Hope until the resurgance of Max - WHO is that guy stupping? I'm sure Darrin Brooks is a nice guy but come on - carry a story? I don't think so.

So the Evans / Black / Alamain /Brady / DiMera family is now gone too. Sure NuBrady is hanging around and Sami is isolated somewhere, but it's gone.

I have always liked Sami - IN A STORY, not alone with strangers saying the same lines over and over. So what Allison Sweeney needs maternity leave. This is the show that created the best maternity leave storyline EVER when she was replaced by a MAN - who looked amazingly like her by the way! And this time we get this? Does anyone even know or care why a killer is after her?

I truly believe the horrible writing is on purpose. NBC wants out of the soap business. Badly. But instead of just pulling the plug and saying we can't afford it and letting a grand dame of television history go out with dignity, the powers that be are trying to kill the show so they can blame the lack of viewers as the reason for cancellation. Drive us away so no one cares when they cancel it.

Well they've succeeded. There is not one story I care about on Days. Nothing. In fact I have outright animosity towards 2/3rds of the show - Daniel, Chloe, the guy from Passions, Melanie, Max, Chelsea, Stephanie, Sami.

EJ and Stephano and Kayla and Steve and Victor are all being wased. Bo and Hope are limping along.

Nicole is back in the position of having the same scene over and over. She's doing great work, but who can slog through the show to get to her?

Sadly I'm done. After 30+ years. I'm deleting it from the Tivo. RIP Days.

Yep, it takes talent to be able to write off a couple I hate in a way that thoroughly wipes out any enjoyment I could have had. Dena Higley is clearly an evil genius. There's no other explanation for her ability to screw over every single watcher of the show. For fans that liked J&M, she gives them insta-memory and paralysis. Congrats, Marlena, you have a life of changing John's diapers ahead of you! For the haters (me), she has me feeling bad for them that they were written off so horribly. How do you do that? How do you ruin it for everyone???

And why was Stefano upset about John? Was he mad that he wasn't the one who paralyzed him? That I could relate to, but no, it was written and played like he cared. Another character ruined at the hands of Higley.

AND!!! as a way to remind me of why I hated Marlena in the first place, when John mentions Sami, Marlena has the audacity to say, "She'll survive" or whatever. Nice mothering as usual Dr. Evans. Your kid is actually being hunted by a killer, but no bigs! It's all about John like always. HATE HER. And I can't even celebrate her leaving. Ugh.

Anyway, spot on as usual gals, just had to rant a bit!

Well Amy- Your right! I hate to see you call it quites but I can't blame you. I'm going to stick it out a little longer. If you find something good to replace Days with, let us know.

I would love to see Sami catch Nicole in the act of switching babies and the whole plot with EJ and covering up the miscarriage explode. At the same time Bo catches the killer before he "ices" Rafe, then we can start a whole new direction for the show. But I'm day-dreaming.

I am a John and Marlena fan and I'm here to say it was a horrible last two weeks. The writers and producers at Days out did themselves in their underwhelming product. I'm no Sami fan, so I didn't care that Marlena didn't say good-bye to her. I'm just happy I can finally give up Days for good.

I don't watch Days anymore, but I watched that clip, and I almost jumped out of my skin when the credits rolled and "written by Dena Higley" popped up. As a OLTL viewer, seeing that is like seeing the mark of the devil. I feel a need to go rock back and forth in the corner saying "she's gone now, it's OK...she's gone now, it's OK..." over and over until the burning stops.

Great post - I couldn't agree more with everything you said. Well...except for liking that God awful silver handbag. Blech!

Seriously - I loved Jarlena in their hey day (not so much the past several years) but I was appalled that they literally ignored them for weeks leading up to their final airing and then went from zero to sixty in no time flat. I mean, the episode starts with a still memory less John at death's door and by the end they are married and heading off to Switzerland? And...ummm...if you are paralyzed from the neck down shouldn't it be impossible to squeeze someone's hand? Just sayin'...

But I shouldn't be surprised. I mean...the fact that this show has managed to make the hotness that was James Scott virtually disappear and be replaced with a vapid, greasy haired a typical soap guy is nothing short of astonishing. And criminal. I mean...I didn't like Austin much when he was on the last time - so why did they need to turn EJ in to him? grrrr

I must agree with everything you said, Becca. I'm not much of a J&M fan and wasn't terribly upset at the news of their leaving.

But that? That was no send-off. That was a half-assed, how-fast-can-you-clear-out kick out the door.

Oh, and I am sort of concerned that I didn't even need to click on the link to the "I remember everything" scene to know what that was from. I remember every word of that scene. Oh, Pacey, how I miss you ...

As much as I dislike J&M, that ending sucked but it couldn't happen to a better group of fans.

I find Marlena irritates me the past year or two, but I have loved John for ages and it won't go away.

This was the worst-I agree with everyone.

This was an insult to fans and non-fans!

I feel a need to go rock back and forth in the corner.

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