Now that Hogan hath joined together what JER put asunder, we’re left with the problem of what to do with these people. Supercouple fanbases are fanatical. They’re devoted, but they’re exacting. Give my couple lots of airtime, give them their own storyline (not just helping their children, for example), but don’t break them up. In the 80’s, the 70’s couples were ruthlessly pushed aside in favor of the new couples. Mickey and Maggie and Doug and Julie, major players in the 70’s, were both stable couples dispensing advice throughout the 80’s. Many fanbases, particularly those of Jarlena and Bope, are worried that this is now happening to the 80’s supercouples. I think it’s too soon to draw that conclusion, but let’s take a look at our options here.
The storylines available to existing couples (excluding all “propping” storylines) fall into a few main categories:
1) problems with children, problems with in-laws and parents
2) triangles: ex-spouses returning from the dead (a Days favorite), an evil third party scheming to split them up
3) amnesia, usually combined with a return from the dead
4) (the fan favorite) adventure stories. Shades of The Thin Man series, where a happy, bantery couple works together to bring down bad guys
5) forced by circumstance to pretend to be apart, but secretly working together (often part of an adventure, or possibly a triangle) . This is a personal favorite of mine.
6) disease, alcoholism, mental problems, brainwashing (hee)
But not all couples, super or otherwise, are created equal; they have different strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at our existing (and potential) couples.
Bo and Hope, John and Marlena. Because these two couples have been on the show so long, they have pretty much run through all of the above storylines, some of them more than once (some of them waaaaay more than once). On the plus side, both couples are very appealing together, and they seem to be good candidates for #4, the adventure story. I have my doubts as to how many adventures the writers can come up with for them, certainly not to sustain years and years, but a nice umbrella story with EJ and the Dimeras, and these two couples working together, would be ideal for May sweeps.
Steve and Kayla. Since I love them, I’m inclined to like them whatever they do. But I think of all the couples on the show, these two are the most defined by their falling-in-love story. In my opinion, no one is better at being apart but longing for each other. In other words, these two can be very effective broken up—in the right storyline. But how do you break them up believably? I am enjoying the current storyline quite a bit—especially now that Kayla has been given something meaningful to do—because it plays to this strength for angst and longing. And it could easily be incorporated into the umbrella story with the Dimeras I suggested above, with Steve being on the wrong side, and Kayla trying to help him.
Sami and Lucas. These two seem, from my limited knowledge of them, to be best when they’re sparring a little. Instead of having Sami suffer and keep a secret from Lucas, as she’s doing now, I’d be much happier watching them bicker. But whatever they do with this couple, they need to get away from “Lucas judges Sami,” which plays to their worst aspects—Sami’s insecurity, Lucas’s hypocrisy. This couple is probably the best candidate for my #5 scenario above, because a broken-up-but-secretly-working-together Sami and Lucas could be very instrumental in bringing down EJ—given the baby and how EJ feels about Sami. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to have Lucas and Sami secretly switch the paternity test results—griping at each other the whole time—so that EJ appears to be the father?
On to the potential couples. Nick and Chelsea. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I love them. Being teens, though, they can’t carry the show and be the central love story.
The writers (well, Ken Corday, anyway) want Shawn and Belle to be that central love story, but they can’t do it either. And the main reason is they don’t have character distance. Their supercoupledom is based on the slender foundation of the chemistry of two teenage actors two recasts ago, and the idea that the children of supercouples would be an ideal inheritor of the supercouple crown. But even though I think they have decent chemistry and they’re both decent actors, they are a second-tier couple, because they have no character-based obstacles to overcome in order to be together. But either one could potentially be a supercouple with someone else. I say, put them together to give the Shelle fans their payoff, then after a decent interval move on.
Max and Abby. They have the same problem—not enough character distance. Abby already has a crush on him, and now it seems Max returns those feelings (to which I say, WTF?). If they turned Max into a true player, and had him set out to deflower the virgin and then fall in love despite himself, it could be an interesting story. It’s too late for that, however. Max is already established as a “good guy,” though little else seems to define him, and he is already friends with Abby.
Max and Abby are both a bit bland, is part of the problem. I could see Abby being a potential Kayla character, because she’s pretty and sweet but something of a busybody. If she teamed up with a bad boy, it could interesting. This week (2/22) Abby met a boy at a coffee shop and chewed him out. I wasn’t impressed with the actor, but at least there was some conflict there. What about Conner? I liked him.
Who’s left? Phillip and Willow. Nothing romantic there yet, but I must admit I am enjoying them insulting each other. Phillip is a prime candidate for a redemption story later, but for now a bad-guys-who-screw-each-other relationship is just fine with me. Again, though, they can’t be the central love story.
If Days could come up with a real, honest-to-God rootable couple among the twenty-something set, I honestly think it could make or break the show. But that magic can’t be forced. My only advice is keep your options open. Plan for couples, not supercouples—keeping in mind that as far as TV romances go, opposites attract. Proceed with care, and when lightning strikes, pounce.