Sunday, January 25, 2009

What The F Is That???...

John and Marlena were far from my favorite Days of our Lives Super Couple when I had my run with the show in the late-nineties. They were hardly young even back then, and I gravitated (like most soap fans) to the relationships in which I wanted to replace the girl with myself. The first example of this was Carrie and Austin; I was desperately attracted to him, and being just a kid at the time, I couldn't look at John, who was old enough to be my father, the same way. Still, they were the heart and soul of the show; if you showed a photo of the duo to any random person on the street, they might watch the show or know their real names, but they could pick out John and Marlena from DOOL every time. They were the patriarch and matriarch for years, and those years were good to them both.

Recently, though, the show-- and the daytime industry in general-- has been making a lot of changes. Men and women just don't watch soap operas the way they used to, and times are tough. Budget cuts are being made left and right, and increasingly younger casts are being brought in. For a genre that used to rely on SORAS to bring the children of their shows up to legal age in order to give them real interaction with the older crowd, there has certainly been a reversal now! With the hopes of hooking newer, younger viewers and getting them to stick around for years, they are virtually turning their backs on their long-time, loyal viewers who were those young, energetic, optimistic kids of years past. The cornerstones of the shows, like John and Marlena on DOOL, get pushed to the far backburners, appearing mostly in holiday episodes and at weddings, funerals, and births for those new, young couples. They deserve much more, but for all of their patience and understanding, they have now only been rewarded with pink slips because younger actors also work cheaper.

Friday was John and Marlena's last episode on Days of our Lives, and their final scene just came as a slap in the face to anyone who knew the greatness that they once were and all they offered the show for the past two decades-- from beautiful, elaborate weddings, to slightly surreal reasons they were pulled apart, to kidnappings, murders, less elaborate weddings to other characters-- but most importantly to hundreds, if not thousands, of fans. And I wouldn't be surprised if the show lost as many fans not only because of John and Marlena's departure, but moreover because of their lackluster departure.

And I understand that Ali Sweeney is off on maternity leave, but they should have pre-taped something, like they have done for countless other pregnant actresses from years past, to offer the mother-daughter duo to share proper words before the final farewell. During the last decade and a half, those two have fought so hard and cried even harder, and I just can't believe they didn't get to share one last moment together.

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