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)

7) abductions

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.

8 thoughts on “Superdupercouples

  1. Wow, we agree on so much. I’ll refrain from just adding to S&K goodness because I really probably go on and on about them way too much.

    The Mabby couple thing is really odd to me as Max is probably the most boringest “hunk” on this show I have ever seen. You are right there is no tension other than Max being a bit of a player. I would really prefer that Hogan writes this off to Abby being the one with the crush and moving on because girls her age have lots of crushes which never live to see the light of day. If they want to revisit them way down the road a bit, that might work but not now.

    You are right that the times for Shelle has come and gone. I honestly find Belle has more chemistry with Phillip which I can’t believe I am saying that. Hogan hasn’t done them any favors by writing them to look like complete idiots through this whole ordeal as well.

    I do think at this point that Chick is my favorite couple after S&K and my real worry is this is going to get so screwed up, because it’s Days and they haven’t been able to write a proper falling in love story since Molly and Tanner.

    As for Lumi, I adore Sami and sometimes I like Lucas too. I really am intrigued by your idea of them pretending to be broken up. Not just from the EJ perspective but to see Lucas grit his teeth with his mother who will no doubt badmouth Sami to the hilt.

    Sorry for the length!

  2. No worries re: length. I always enjoy reading your comments.

    Now that you’ve mentioned Belle and Phillip, I’m remembering that scene at the shelter where they basically had it out about everything. Other than JKJ being a tad too screamy, that was a great scene (the dialogue, the lighting), and I think I too detected a hint of chemistry. I’d like to see them interact more—see what they’re like when they’re calm. It could be an interesting storyline, having them hate each other but then fall in love again.

  3. Yes, with Phillip Belle showed more emotion and strength than I have seen in anything with her parents or Shawn. Ultimately I think Belle has been written as a character who is so extremely passive she simply reacts to what is going on and looks to others to how to act. The only emotion she seems to own on her own is crying/whining or getting angry (the latter rarely happening). She even went to whine to her comatose father when she needed a lawyer. How old is she supposed to be? She is a mother and been a wife and she can’t seem to handle much of anything on her own. Now even on the run Shawn is doing the work while she reacts and holding Claire. LOL; I mean, when Shawn got “arrested” all I could think about is how GLAD I was that Chelsea and Nick arrived to take care of her and Claire.

  4. Another excellent blog. I wonder if writing new stuff for J&M and B&H is difficult simply because they have sooo much history on the show. There really isn’t anything that hasn’t happened to them both at least once. If you are a new writer and are trying to come up with good ideas for these couples and look at their past history, I could imagine a bad case of writer’s block setting in.

    On the other hand, a couple like Steve and Kayla have the history and connections to the canvas, but the advantage of having a relatively short history on the show. It has to be easier to come up with new stories in that situation.

    I have to say that I like Sami with EJ far more than I like Sami with Lucas. There’s just a natural spark there that I think could have been great. But, given where they took that storyline, I can’t imagine then reworking it into a romantic pairing. For whatever reason, Lucas just gets on my nerves and Sami with Lucas seems far weaker than Sami should be.

  5. That’s the trouble with the supercouple legacy—you have these hugely popular couples that are unbreakupable and yet people want them front and center. And I’m not suggesting sidelining them, certainly not now.

    However, if it weren’t for the Corday/JER/Langan reign of terror, there would be a bunch of strong twenty-and thirty-somethings who would probably have already taken over the main storylines on the show. As it is now, other than B/H, S/K, J/M, the most dynamic characters on the show are all either new (EJ, Nick, Willow—if you like her) or majorly tweaked by Hogan (Chelsea, Phillip). Then there’s Sami, who is a complex character purely through AS’s force of will. There’s an essential flatness to Belle, Shawn, Max, and Abby which hasn’t been corrected and maybe never can be. The actors are all nice to look at and are mostly decent in the acting department, but the characters aren’t pulling their weight. I had hopes for Belle last fall, but you’re right, Tripp, she’s still a passive, reactive character.

  6. Wonderful post…I agree with a lot of it. I can even like Lucas/Sami if they were written that way. I used to love them in the beginning when they were such close friends, and then later when they hated each other and bickered back and forth.

    You’re absolutely right that J/M, B/H, and S/K, along with Sami, are essentially the only dynamic characters we have. I think a big reason it’s so difficult to write for B/H and J/M is because tptb insist on writing for them as couples instead of individuals, and the big stories have to be about their relationships. Those SLs have been done to death with those couples. Why not keep their relationships stable and give them something else to do? John’s owns and runs(?) his own corporation; Marlena is still a psychiatrist; Bo is a cop; Hope can be a cop again or even a PI. Why not build big, front-burner SLs based those things, with some romance thrown in to keep things fun?

  7. I really actually feel for any headwriter at Days. Because the minute any storyline about any couple becomes deep or dark or goes in a direction that might be challenging, the complaining reaches the heights. And then when the couple isn’t doing much of anything at all, the complaining reaches the heights.

    I could live with the idea of rotating stories frontburner and backburner so sometimes a couple is front and center as a couple, and sometimes they’re doing other things as individuals. It’s so unrealistic to only expect them to be acting “as a couple” and not to have lives with other interests and connections. It impoverishes the canvas, the writing, and the acting. The original supercouple pairings worked b/c the characters had rich individual lives, with interests, passions, and backgrounds. Shawn and Belle might be more interesting if some of those were developed.

  8. lascuba, julianscat, you may have something there. When Steve first came back to town I thought he and Hope should open a PI business. It would make good use of the friend-chemistry they have, and they could take on the cases the police force couldn’t handle … which is everything.

    They could hire Abby (who’s related to both of them) as their secretary/assistant, and she could try to stick her nose into their cases.

    I remember when Days used to make good use of the hospital sets (because a number of people worked there—not just Lexie), the Emergency Center sets with Steve visiting Kayla at work, and the Spectator. The Spectator storylines were particularly effective, I thought.

    julianscat, I can’t go to fanbase boards anymore, people get so crazy!

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