So it Begins

Hello, Jack and Jennifer fans! I have been watching their story and blogging about it since this very first post. I thought people might enjoy the chance to read this analysis in order. I’ve linked all my Jack and Jennifer posts together, starting with this one. At the end of each post, just click the link to the next post. I know some of the videos are dead links – my YouTube channel was deleted. I am slowly reuploading all the clips to my Google+ account. It’s private, but I’m happy to add you to my circle. Just click over there to my channel and leave a comment there, and I’ll add you!)

After Steve and Kayla, Jack and Jennifer are the couple I like most. I am looking forward to revisiting their love story, for two reasons. One is that I missed a lot of it the first time around, because I wasn’t watching Days regularly. And the other is—as I’ve mentioned before—I had some “couple envy” resentment the first time around that colored my reaction to them. Let’s hope I’m more mature now.

I’m no expert on Jack and Jennifer, but I always hear that they were not a planned couple. I think you can see that clearly from their first meeting, when Jennifer, the young journalism student, comes to pitch a story to Diana and runs into Jack instead. This could be a chemistry test, but I am inclined to think it was standard cast mixing:

Jack and Jennifer first scene

First of all, Jennifer is very young. Days didn’t have much of a teen set back then, but Jennifer was definitely a part of it. She graduated from high school in 1988, and this scene is from early 1989. At this point in history they were testing her out with Emilio—who was in high school himself—in a story that was just getting going. More than that, Jennifer just seems like a kid in this scene, compared to Jack. (Insert inevitable Chan comparison here.)

And let’s not forget how truly Jack was the villain at this time. He was a corrupt politician and a toxic waste dumper, a blackmailer and an arrogant jerk. And a rapist. Given his history, his suggestive remark about “anything blonde and under 30” is extraordinarily creepy, and it casts a pall over the rest of the scene. I think the way Melissa Reeves plays Jennifer’s discomfort is meant to call the rape to mind. Knowing they will be a supercouple later makes it easy to miss that.

(I wouldn’t blame shippers for not seeing it. After all, I know for a fact that some Steve and Kayla shippers think “their love was obvious from the start.” Um, yeah. Nothing says love like stalking.)

At the same time, though, the chemistry really is there, right away. Melissa Reeves, nothing special before, really upped her game opposite Matt Ashford, and you can see that here even in this first scene. I love the way she stands up to his condescension about human interest stories like this one, and in the end she gets him to admit that sentimentality sells. The famous J&J banter is there, too, when she mentions “Journalism 101” and then he throws it back at her later. Matt Ashford had a way of showing, with a half smile or just a slight glimmer in his eye, Jack’s respect for anyone who stood up to him. He did it occasionally when Steve outsmarted him (before the truth about his identity came out), and he does it with Diana when they wrangle over the paper. And he does it here.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Redemption 101

10 thoughts on “So it Begins

  1. Back when the Jack/Jennifer/Emilio triangle was going on, I was so puzzled by why Emilio was even in contention, I asked a group of teenage girls who were Days fans who they wanted for Jennifer. I thought maybe I was missing some hidden attraction he had for the younger set. They unhesitantly replied “Jack”. Emilio never had much appeal to me.

    As for Britta, I started watching Days around the time Steve and Kayla were kidnapped and handcuffed together, so Britta just seemed like an intererence to me. However, in light of your fanship for Steve/Britta, I have tried to be more open to that relationship as I’ve been watching old episodes and I can see it. You were probably already a Steve fan and you wanted him to have a story. Sometimes you have to adapt yourself to circumstance.

  2. This is my first time posting, but I have been reading your wonderful blog for some time. I loved Jack and Jennifer more than words can say. Steve and Kayla were my first love, but I was very young when their story was being developed and “grew up”, so to speak, with Jack and Jennifer. I really enjoyed the early part of their courtship- the banter, the wit, the humor- and I liked that Jennifer was a little afraid of Jack because I think most of the audience was at that time as well. We were all wondering what in the world was he going to do to this young, innocent, well-loved girl? Jack had the upper hand early on, but later Jennifer lost her fear of him and, in that action, I think I lost a little of my respect for Jack. I still love the character, but liked the dangerous, unpredictable, and sometimes downright nasty side of him. The later writers really turned him into a caricature, and it only worked because of Matt Ashford’s amazing range and his chemistry with Missy Reeves. I wish the writers of yesterday (and today) could have learned the valuable lesson that characters do not have to lose their edge to make a love story work (and that goes for Steve and Kayla, too).

  3. Thank you, domina89!

    I think it’s a shame what happened to Jack after he lost his edge. Days always has a problem with over-redemption (Steve didn’t escape it), but Days went way over the top for Jack with the buffoonery and the multiple deaths.

    I think the age/maturity difference between Jack and Jennifer will be interesting to watch this time around, along with Jack’s redemption. I will definitely keep posting about J&J as I go through the DVDs.

    Flaco, thanks for attempting to understand my liking for Steve/Britta.🙂 You’re right that I was a Steve fan first, and I’ve always loved the angst. Steve and Britta had an angstful, twisted connection when Kayla and Steve were still just getting started, and I liked that. (Heh, maybe I should do a whole blog post on why I liked Steve/Britta. Could be cathartic.) But of course it doesn’t compare to the awesome, awesome angst that S&K had when it was their turn. It helped that MBE could hold up her end better than Amy Stock ever could.

  4. Maryp I look forward to you re-watching all of this. I have most of Jack/Jenn sitting on my computer waiting to be watched too. I was going to do it straight after my Steve/Kayla re-watch a couple of years back but got caught up in the blogging thing instead.

    Maybe I’ll try and take the journey with you. Jack/Jenn was one of those organic and interesting couplings that just don’t exist any more and I loved almost every minute of it.

    Oh, and Tripp, I am totally making fun of you for your Jenn/Emilio shipper status!

  5. I’d love it if you would watch along with me as I go along, Zara! I’m really enjoying blogging about this time period. Jack and Jenn were the last couple to get that supercouple falling in love story, and a lot of it will be new to me. And I love the Steve/Kayla/Jack stuff from this time period as well.

  6. Back off! I’m Jennifer/Emilio’s #1 fan! (sorry, been reading posts by Terry, LOL).

    I got over my loss of Jennifer/Emilio but was upset when they completely deballed Jack and made him a bumbling idiot.

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