I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, much less a blog on soaps. This isn’t exactly a Days post since I’ve pretty much quit watching the show, but upon the news that Darin Brooks is leaving so closely behind Rachel Melvin, of course now the show is going to dare to give the most unnecessary couple in Salem a “happy ending” where departing veteran couples didn’t qualify. Today, I’ve decided to just go ahead and attempt to write what I’ve been meaning to write, my history with past couples that were given ungraceful and usually damaging endings to their story. I’ve watched soap operas on and off for twenty years, and when it comes to remembering couples that didn’t get their happy ending (much like Nick and Chelsea), I can think of three:
Joey/Kelly OLTL (Nathan Fillion/Gina Tognoni)
I started with them because, overall, I hold the least bitterness for their outcome. What is tough about them, honestly, is no clips of media or caps exists to document their history. This is possibly due to the fact Joey/Kelly never overcame the earlier relationship Joey had with Dorian (Kelly’s aunt). I want to make it clear, I was never EVER a Joey/Dorian fan and while now that I’m older and can appreciate older women/younger men pairings, I still think Robin Strasser looks outrageously older than Joey and the jokes of Grandma sex we had for Chan could almost come into reality here. I’m also upset that while I can find numerous pictures of Nathan out there, I was quite limited to find anything of this particular couple except for the attached. I suppose it means no extremist fans exist that saved their tapes since the late 90s and would digitize them for us and place them online and thus I’ll have to learn to live my life not being able to download clips of Joey/Kelly. I shall persevere but if anyone would like to direct me to an archive, I would appreciate it.
Many of you know my fetish for geeky guys/bad girl pairings, and this could be seen as the initial foray into that category. Technically, Joey was never seen as any “geek”, however, he was a literal boy scout and though being burned after Dorian dumped him, he refused to let that change his overall Pollyanna outlook on life. He was more on guard though and when Kelly Cramer showed up as Dorian’s bratty niece who had plenty of attitude, they were more like reluctant friends at first. Kelly had a vision on what she wanted in life. An older man who was sophisticated, hot and hopefully rich. She found that in local con man David Vickers but she needed to be more experienced in “getting her secret guy”. She talked Joey into helping her with that, and soon they were both crushing on each other. Kelly kept screwing up and getting herself into trouble but Joey would do his best not to just help her but try to teach her about life and learn a lesson (moral compass anyone?).
So basically the story was actually fine. I’m not saying there wasn’t moments I cringed nor was I ever happy to see Dorian reintroduced to make a type of sick triangle, however for Joey to move on, he had to close the book on that relationship and luckily that aspect was short-lived. My problem is that NF actually decided to leave the show and they were pretending to write Joey/Kelly off for a happy ending. But they didn’t really do that. Joey and Kelly did have a love scene and he was taking her to Paris but he went ahead of her but since GT was staying, they had Joey’s character write her a Dear Jane letter, which of course sent Kelly into a tailspin (literally) when she went and drove her car getting into a car crash.
In My Mind
Since GT left OLTL fairly soon, and other actors have played the characters of Joey and Kelly, it’s easy for me to pretend they did get their happy ending after all. Joey never sent that letter and Kelly met him in Paris where they lived happily ever after. I occasionally tune into OLTL but with all the recasts sometimes I feel like I’m watching a different show, which is probably why I never really cared to go full time with the soap no matter how much good press it gets.
Stefan/Katherine GH (Stephen Nichols/Mary Beth Evans)
Ok first, I want to make something very clear. Anytime this couple is brought up, you will inevitably hear that the failure to make a success is because soaps shouldn’t attempt to repeat the same pairings on other soaps. That is not true. Stefan and Katherine were hot. The problem (other then the revolving door of HWs kept changing their minds about whether to go forward) is that another soap shouldn’t attempt to COPY the story from another soap. Especially if these new characters are established to be something completely different. So many reasons Stefan and Katherine failed but it wasn’t because there was no chemistry. If I dare say it, I think to some extent Stefan and Katherine were hotter than Steve and Kayla. Why? Because the dynamic of this couple allowed for them to interact early on in ways Steve and Kayla could not. On Days, it would be have been out of character for Kayla to even consider sleeping with Steve in the beginning and Steve had such self loathing he wouldn’t have allowed it. Granted, once Kayla realized Steve was the one for her, she did try to move things along faster, but by then it was about love, not sex, and that was the primary difference with them on GH. This was a perfect coupling to showcase two hot people getting it on, who have used seduction to get what they want but have never met their match…until now. But did the show go that way? Noooo.
It’s really difficult for me to recap this because it’s screwed up from the beginning. Stefan meets Katherine by accidentally shooting her. Yes, I said he shot her. Of course she gets that soap opera amnesia where she can’t remember who the shooter was and in the typical melodramatic way, Stefan keeps visiting Katherine out of guilt. I probably could have accepted this if they hadn’t decided to Kaylafy the woman all of a sudden. When Katherine Bell came to town, she was all gold-digging to scheme and seduce to get her hands on any man with money. That didn’t mean she didn’t have the capacity to love but a woman like her getting burned once was enough for her to not attempt it again. (Which already happened with Ned). That said, Stefan was not exactly evil incarnate himself, but close. Cassadines are Port Charles’ version of the Dimeras, so you just know everything he does has some sinister intentions behind it. But that drive disappeared too and while he was married to Bobbie Jones, he began having a hot affair with Katherine. At this point I sort of lost interest, I do know at one time Alex was thwarting them by tricking Stefan into believing Katherine was his real life missing sister. I don’t know why soaps think incest is something you should attempt to bring into a story because nothing turns me more off. And I tuned out.
Ultimately their story ended with Stefan doing a type of “Rebecca” trick on her and trying to remake Katherine into the image of his beloved Laura, you know, the one that got away and became infamously connected to a guy named Luke. Once Katherine found out, she first set out, no wait. She first fell off a balcony or something similar and was presumed dead. She then returned from the dead and set out to seduce Stefan’s nephew who then was believed to be his son. (And she did). If this wasn’t enough to make you wonder if the show had a “screw the fans” policy, they even added in a good line from Stefan to Laura stating how he never believed he actually loved Katherine. Ever. Nice.
In My Mind
Well, let’s just say I take this whole thing and throw it away to start over. If there was any couple perfect to do a “marriage of convenience” story, this would be it. Katherine certainly would see the formal Stefan as stiff and someone she could easily target for that money. Stefan would no doubt go down the inevitable “I need an heir” road and would want Katherine for that. They decide to get married where both are believing they are screwing the other one. What neither suspects is the sex isn’t just hot, it’s molten and Stefan’s spying on Katherine (you know he would) would allow him to see something in her he didn’t expect, vulnerability, which then allows him to show different sides to her. Of course, you get the next estrangement coming up once they found out about what the other is doing, but then I would write them both out to live on that Cassadine island and live happily ever after. By trying to make everyone else miserable.
Jake/Paulina AW (Tom Eplin/Judi Evans)
So, this couple, ending the way it did, taught me all about how shows can screw their fans. It’s probably more disheartening because I was with this couple from beginning to end, never giving up. I was always drawn to love/hate relationships and they perfectly embodied that. He blackmailed her because of her heritage which pushed her to shoot him which pushed him to blackmail her again into marriage so she could pay him out of her trustfund. Perfectly soap opery. Initially, Cali Timmons was the first Paulina, but once Judi Evans took over the role, I was 100% there. I loved her as Adrienne on Days, but her character usually was a complete pushover and constant victim. JE now got to play a character who could at least stand up for herself.
Jake and Paulina’s marriage was a complete con but the show did a fairly good job of figuring ways to force them into confined quarters (Rachel insisting they live in the Cory Mansion). They had already been lovers (under CT) but Jake was never himself around her, he was conning her to get her secrets, still holding a torch for his estranged wife Marley Hudson who he did wind up raping. Of course, redeeming rapists is nothing new on daytime, but I do think AW did a really good job of never letting us forget his past. Years later Jake still discussed how he went to therapy sessions and how it had to come up with he dated women which I thought was a nice touch the show could have chosen not to do. Anyway though, what he had on Paulina before the shooting, was he knew there was a possibility that she wasn’t deceased Mac Cory’s illegitimate daughter. Of course she really was, but it was too late since now he had the goods she had shot him and was letting Marley go to prison for it. By the time Jake awakened, Paulina had fallen in love with Senator Grant Harrison but Jake forced her to break that up.
Eventually, Paulina could no longer live a lie and by this time Jake was in love with her and didn’t want her to suffer so after she admitted the truth to ever one, he refused to press charges and took the blame to her family. Paulina wasn’t aware how much she did care for Jake and thought she wanted the Senator back which she got, it wasn’t long before they realized they were meant for each other (as corny as that sounds).
Jake and Paulina went on for years. It followed a pattern for awhile, Jake would do something underhanded to upset Paulina so she would break up with him. If it even looked like Jake was going to move on with someone else, suddenly there was Paulina jealous. Eventually, Tom Eplin decided to leave the show. Jake and Paulina at the time were in the middle of some dangerous jewel/diamond smuggling ring or something. They pledged their love for each other (and meant it) but Jake had to do this ONE LAST THING of returning the diamonds before they could be together. On the way to the car, a smuggler put his gun on Jake and forced him to drive away from Bay City. Jake purposely crashed the car and was thrown. It engulfed in flames and Jake with amnesia walked away. He was presumed dead as no one checked the body but everyone kept telling Paulina that he was stealing the diamonds and running away. She didn’t believe it. Enter her next new love interest, “Joe” who was close to Jett from Days in muscles and brains. He was a private eye who she hired to prove what she knew, that Jake wasn’t trying to leave her. Now, I didn’t like the pairing but I figured since it was clear he was madly in love with her from the getgo, Joe would be torn upon telling her the truth about this guy she still carries a torch for, or lie and pretend he was leaving town so she could fall into his arms.
Instead, they made Joe just stupid, and he honestly believed Jake was leaving her. They wound up in love, but shortly thereafter, Tom Eplin returned to the show. I was ecstatic as I was sure this would end the horrific Joe/Paulina pairing but AW was never known for reuniting signature couples (such as Cass and Katherine). Paulina was tempted to go back to Jake, but she chose Joe and no more triangle ever. The show closed the book forever on that and there was no discussion. At all.
In My Mind
Sadly, I never rewrote their story. I kept watching AW and liked Jake and Vicki enough to hope he got his happy ending there. The soap in general was going downhill fast and Paulina might have remained on the show, but we barely saw her. I suppose when I think of them, I concentrate on their early years and try to forget about the rest, the endless breakups, his amnesia and Joe. But that doesn’t work too well. There are some episodes of them on Hulu which is interesting and much further then Soapnet go. I need to go back and watch.
So…that’s the blog I’ve been wanting to write for over a year now. I was hoping it would help dispel my continuing disappointment that any ship I attach myself to lately (Nick/Chelsea, Nick/Melanie, Daniel/Charlotte on Lost) is bound for ultimate ruin. I still like Hodges and Wendy on CSI, and since Dena isn’t writing them there is hope. But they also wrote Grissom/Sara, and the contempt I hold for Dena, I doubt even she’s THAT sick.