So today I was inspired to talk about a great controversy in this world, one that can ignite such a heated debate that one would think a life is at risk. That controversy is…argueing about signature couples on TV and how likable they really are. For this blog, I am focusing on two shows: CSI and Days of our Lives. The latter is a soap opera where one would expect to see devotion to a couple featured, but the former is a show that used to be “all about the cases” and were never meant go too deep into the character’s lives. I’m going to focus specifically on two couples I don’t get, and don’t support: Sara and Grissom on CSI, and John and Marlena on Days.
First, I want to start with CSI. For those of you who are hear to read about Days, please be patient, I think what I say about Sara/Grissom can make some impact in what I say about John/Marlena, in some ways they are both related. So here we go.
Before I can into all my reasons why I not just dislike Sara/Grissom but loathe with all my being, I must give you a brief history of how I began watching this show. I didn’t start when it premiered. I started at the very beginning of Season Three. I love crime shows and mysteries and back then the CSI approach was a new spin which amazed me I hadn’t tuned in earlier. The episode I first watched was Revenge is Best Served Cold, about a gambler who drops dead at the poker table. This episode stood out to me immediately because of a couple scenes between two characters, Sara and Greg, which got my attention. Young, geeky lab tech Greg openly flirts with Sara who already is in a relationship with a guy named Hank (which is obviously doomed since he is only a recurring character). Watching their exchange, I instantly note their chemistry and how cute they are. I’m also peeked because my mind quickly goes down the list of known couples on TV and hardly any similar type pairings stand out…ie younger guy with crush on older, sadder female.
Now before all of you roll your eyes at me, bringing up Nick Fallon on Days and stating of course I would become instantly attracted to young Greg, Eric Szmanda, let me remind you that he was my first geek love on screen. At this time I simply thought him cute and thought the relationship had potential, I wasn’t going about from here and making wallpapers while writing fanfiction or anything. Greg Sanders was a goofy, non important character on the show and there was no reason for me to believe that ES was setting me up for a whole new guy type I would love, including but not limited to Tom on Studio 60, Chuck on Chuck, Nick on Days, Ian on Survivor, etc.
So from this point on I did go out online to look up information on the show and for any fanfiction on this couple which got my attention. To say I was shocked and disheartened was an understatement. Not only did I not find one LINK about Greg and Sara together, but it seemed everyone was pairing her up with Gil Grissom on the show. I was shocked. Though I had only seen one episode, there was no evidence whatsoever that there was anything between this couple at all.
But it’s not like I wrote them off then. The show was in it’s third year and I was beginning to watch episode after episode. A few episodes into CSI, I still was unable to see anything, ANYTHING, between Gil and Sara. No little looks, no conversations or touches, nothing to indicate this was a couple I should take seriously. I eventually got the first two seasons on DVD and began watching those, and finally found a few episodes where it was a tad clearer that Sara and Grissom might have one time been more than friends. I still didn’t see anything overwhelming at all about this couple. They appeared barely average in the chemistry level, and God knows we had too many of this particular pairing (older male boss, younger female subordinate) in TV today.
So I continue to watch new episodes and though there is certainly more cute moments between Greg and Sara, I manage to lock up any excitement I receive for this couple away. They obviously aren’t going anywhere with it, Greg simply has a crush and Sara tends to look at Greg more as a boy than a possible interest. That’s fine, but Sara continues to hold a torch for Grissom, a man who not only holds her at arm’s length, but actually prefers bugs to people. Bugs. I liked Grissom initially, he was a quirky guy whose issues with human contact made him difficult in socializing but made him a genius in his job. By the end of season three, where Greg basically gets blown up by an accident in the lab (thanks Catherine), Sara decides it’s time to put all her cards on the table and make Grissom realize it’s time they should start dating, so she basically asks him out. I watch the interchange and this is how it goes:
Upon watching this scene, I smiled. Why? Because I thought, “There goes the end of Grissom/Sara”. Because Grissom’s response of “I don’t know what to do about this” should surely turn Sara off. If Grissom wants to tell Sara “No, I am not interested in going out with you,” this would be the very way he probably would do it. Grissom isn’t comfortable with people and given Sara’s approach to him, as she is his employee, puts him in a very uncomfortable position and that’s just the type of way I would expect him to subtly blow her off. OTOH, if Grissom didn’t mean for it to be interpreted by Sara that way, it still should end her pursuit of him because his inability to figure out how to handle a relationship with her, should be a big turn off to her. What woman wants that? I was sure by season four we would have Sara moving on and Grissom/Sara (ie GSR) behind us.
Apparently not though. In season four, it seems Sara becomes more obsessed with Grissom, and takes his rejection of her into making herself a very moody woman. Sometimes I notice Greg can get her to smile but most of the time she appears to be unhappy with occasional hangovers. I begin to dislike Sara now, she’s getting on my nerves. One episode does happen, and this is one where GSRers (or GSRazies as I call them) love to bring up proof that Gil Grissom loves Sara. It’s titled is Butterflied (which of course, GSRazies seem to take the insect into the bug symbol for this couple. I’m always amused at this, since it wasn’t Sara who liked them but this dead woman) and basically Grissom becomes obsessed with a case involving the victim who looks a great deal like Sara. Now never mind that if any CSI was given a case where the victim looked like their co-worker, they could easily become a bit too attached, it seems Grissom’s long term speech at the end really is a monologue of his feelings for Sara and why he had never been with her.
Grissom: Sad, isn’t it, doc? Guys like us. A couple of middle-aged men who have allowed their work to consume their lives. The only time we ever touch other people is when we’re wearing our latex gloves. We wake up day and realize that for 50 years we haven’t really lived at all. Then all of a sudden, we get a second chance. Somebody young and beautiful shows up, somebody we could care about. She offers us a new life with her. But we have a big decision to make, right. Because we have to risk everything we’ve worked for to have her. I couldn’t do it. But you did. You risked it all. And she showed you a wonderful life, didn’t she? But then she took it away and gave it to somebody else, and you were lost. So you took her life. You killed them both and now you have nothing.
Now this monologue is all said to the actual killer of the victim. While in the interrogation room Grissom apparently opens up his heart to this complete stranger who has killed someone. The scene folds with panning back and Sara was watching him the whole time and IMO looks pissed at hell that the object of her affections is more comfortable opening himself up to a confessed killer rather than to her, but apparently I was wrong on that too. Still, I just don’t get the romance in this couple.
So by the fifth season we have Greg making his presence known in the show more. Not just the lab, but he’s getting his dream job, becoming a CSI. With the team split happening, Greg and Sara are placed on Grissom’s team and Sara apparently is taking Greg under her wing and mentoring him. Honestly, by now I had forgotten about my earlier Greg/Sara fetish. I still haven’t forgiven Sara’s weird mood swings in season four and though she seems to be becoming more and more like her old self, I’m not trusting that yet. However, fate sort of intervenes.
I go to bed and have a dream about CSI where Greg and Sara are dating. When I wake up, I’m shocked at this, mainly because I really hadn’t thought of Greg and Sara as a couple in a long time. I wonder if maybe there is any fanfiction out there that can satisfy my curiosity of this couple. I find a few stories, many which aren’t good. But I do stumble upon one story, the first in what was a three part then. It’s title is Happy Enough and was a story from Greg’s POV. If you have time, please read. It is Greg/Sara central but the mysteries and story are really super and Slynn has basically become one of my best online friends.
So this story didn’t just feed my appetite for Greg/Sara, it made it grow until I became obsessed with the show. The moments between Grissom/Sara had all but disappeared through the first half of this season so I felt the show was on it’s way to at least allowing Sara to prove she shouldn’t be all about her man. If Gil Grissom was really in love with Sara, what the hell was keeping from him dating her, since apparently he never brought up any concerns about inter office dating being what held them up? I figured Grissom didn’t love Sara but was just flattered she was interested.
Obviously my obsession with this show ran out as it became evident Greg/Sara wasn’t going anywhere. Season five was it’s peak (and let me add to my defense, both TV Guide, and online articles had interviews with Jorja Fox and Eric Szmanda stating that Sara was finding Greg very attractive and could be interested in him.) and eventually GSR became forefront again by season seven, where it was revealed they had been dating. Since no specific info was given on how this came about, all we are left with assuming that Grissom decided he was ready to date Sara, and he “allowed” the relationship to proceed. I’ve never seen a more dysfunctional courtship than this, but they have a huge presence on the Internet and obviously the show eventually catered too.
So I bring this all up because I suppose I’m in the minority for not “getting” Grissom and Sara, CSI’s signature couple (though not anymore, since JF left). I could blame a lot of this on timing, I never saw the first two seasons and hearing about a relationship out of context biased me into really judging it fairly. I could also cite the unoriginality of the relationship, Grissom is in his mid-fifties while Sara was in her mid-thirties; Grissom was her boss, she was his employee; he was her teacher, she was his student. But my biggest gripe is how absolutely wrong they are for each other. Their similarities are actually their weaknesses, while their strengths conflict with each other. It’s just a relationship that would never work in real life and having them basically rape Sara’s character to get to this point, seemed unnecessary and pandering to an audience who think a guy in a Hawaiian shirt who plays with bugs is sexy.
So now I want to turn my attention from one signature couple of a show to another, namely John and Marlena. If you watch Days, then you must realize John Black is back, so he appeared he wasn’t really dead but just Dimera dead. Letting my issues with that go, I could say their story right now has some potential at being a really great plot driven story, with definite moments of romance to expect. However, it’s something I don’t expect to happen, because I can’t get past that this story will never be really taken seriously as long as Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall play their characters.
I missed out on the Roman/Marlena story back in the 80s. Now I’ve seen clips of course, some with her and WN and others with DHe. I have to admit, unlike WP and JR on CSI, back then both DH’s had chemistry. They even had chemistry when DHer made her return in 1991. What confused me is they brought back WN with her, and though I never saw him in his original run as Roman, I figured given how popular Roman and Marlena were in the early days and how popular Drake was with Isabelle, we wouldn’t really have to worry about Marlena eventually leaving John after they got everything worked out.
Boy was I wrong. Now, I wish to God they had never let John stop being Roman. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate WN’s return or his much better acting, but Drake Hogestyn isn’t really that good of an actor. In the 80s and early 90s, he could do a decent job if he had talent around him to support him. Acting as Roman Brady, he had a huge amount of people to help in that department including Patsy Pease, Mary Beth Evans, and Peter Reckell. He not only had great sibling chemistry with them, but his acting was really decent back then. Don’t believe me? Below is an example (Warning: this is during the time when Kayla was sleeping with Shane and that apparently makes all Brady women go nuts and act crazy.)
Now Drake’s reaction to Kayla’s insistence if she slept around like Kimberly was really decent. It wasn’t great, but it was a reaction that wasn’t overacted (like he does now). Not sure what’s became of Drake since then, other than hamming it up with DHer, a lot of ridiculous plots from Rielly, as well as believing the whole show should revolve around him has quickly downsized his acting.
This is just…bad. Some of it is writing of course, as well as propping themselves up like they are still in their
twenties, thirties, forties. But now I think DHer and DHe just can’t act together anymore, they are so much better apart. And I feel like sometimes I’m the only one who feels this way, other than my friends at TWoP. Something else I can’t understand is what happened to DHer, she was really good in the 80s and even in the 90s she still had it. One of my favorite scenes is when Roman finds out about Marlena’s affair with John:
Dee is gaspy some but for the scene it makes sense. I wish she was like this now. Of course, another reason I love this scene is because I couldn’t believe the show would let Marlena leave her husband she knew for years for a man she knew for barely a year. I can imagine there is a sense of attraction, Drake is a very good looking guy, but this story smacks of style over substance, and how John/Marlena became the winning couple while WN was Roman, I will never know.
Of course, now I loathe JT as Roman. He’s simply a shell of the great character he used to be. The relationship that used to be Roman/Marlena is barely a footnote, Marlena seems to disregard Roman’s complete feelings whenever she talks about the great love she had/has with John, and I can never get past it. Unlike GSR, I can’t get into John/Marlena not just because I missed out on their prime years in the 90s, but because the acting leaves something to be desired. It really hurts me to try to enjoy the show right now with John and Marlena are on EVERYDAY and my favorites (like Steve/Kayla, Nick/Chelsea, Bo/Hope) are pushed to the sidelines for it.
Another problem with John and Marlena, is how Marlena is all about John. I mean, 100% about John. It doesn’t matter if one daughter is kidnapped, held hostage, in hospital, or wedding shows, she’s got to be there for John. That goes for anyone else in Salem too. So many times has she told Bo, Roman, and Abe not to include John in their dangerous missions because it could put John at risk. Never mind what danger that happens on Bo, Roman, and Abe w/o John, it’s only John whom she thinks about. This current story with John returning played up to the “twu luv” factor that Marlena and John have for each other, a quality that is by far the most ridiculous with this couple who have had either been married or engaged half a dozen times to other people between them. It would be like AMC‘s Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marrick Marrick choosing one of her ex-husbands and making him her great love.
So I leave this blog now, I had to get this off my chest. CSI is pretty watchable now, given Sara is gone and Grissom can only make one liners about how his great love has left him. Days’ watchable tends to be on a month by month basis. It has been getting really good, but this past week with the emphasis on Shelle, Phillip agonizing over Belle and John/Marlena, it was pretty watchable.