Previous Jack and Jennifer post: The guy in the suit

I’ve been wanting to update on the continuing saga of Jack and Jennifer, but there haven’t been a lot of twists and turns to talk about lately. Jack, Jennifer, and Emilio continue to be joined at the hip, but you can hardly even call it an official triangle yet. There has been no kissing, no real dating, and even any UST moments (that’s Unresolved Sexual Tension, and Days used to be the master at it). There have definitely been moments where we see Jack and Jennifer connecting, or see Jack be jealous, or Jen look after Jack with a softening expression on her face, but the connotations have not been sexual, not yet.

I have to believe this has been a choice by Matt Ashford and Missy Reeves, because there have been a few moments practically begging to be read with sexual connotations, and they haven’t gone that route. Jack gets hurt when he is attacked by some gang members on the pier, and Jen asks him to move in with her while he’s recovering, mentioning that she was a candy striper. He asks if he can see her in her uniform later, and somehow makes that not sound suggestive. Jen, too, shows no reaction to this comment, one way or the other. I think that the two actors decided, considering Jack’s past and Jen’s youth, that playing up the suggestiveness there would feel skeevy rather than sexy.

But, here, you can see first moment where Matt and Missy play a little UST between Jack and Jen. Jack is still staying at the loft and recovering from his injuries, and here he’s having a little trouble getting dressed:

Jen helps Jack get dressed

When Jen comes in, she seems to have no self-consciousness in her manner, even though she knows she’s going to help him get dressed. I love how they are both talking over each other in a characteristically high-energy Jack and Jen scene, and then he makes his remark about how in a couple of minutes he’ll be “in pants.” Then suddenly the scene slows, Jen glances down, and they just exchange a look. It’s just long enough for us to register the UST, and then the hijinks start again.

Another moment I love in this scene is after Emilio barges in when he hears Jen shrieking (Jack and Jen have fallen on the bed together while she’s trying to help him with those pants). Emilio says he thought somebody was hurt, and Jack snaps back, “I know what you thought,” and suddenly the mood totally changes again, this time to something very dark and serious. Emilio thought Jack was attacking Jen, and Jack knows it. Jen knows it too, and all three actors register their discomfort without saying anything.

Jack takes himself off to get dressed, and Emilio questions Jen about what was going on. I like Emilio in this scene because he’s genuinely concerned for Jen’s safety, and I think her accusation that he’s just jealous hurts his feelings. Jen says explicitly for the first time that she knows Jack would never hurt her, but then she goes on to say firmly that there is nothing between her and Jack. I think Jen might be in a bit of denial, but also, at this point, this is mostly true.

And I love seeing Jack’s reaction to hearing that. It hurts to hear her say it, but he’s not at all surprised. He looks more resigned than anything. I think this shows clearly that even though Jack might indulge in manipulations to try to undermine Emilio or get close to Jen, it’s not with the expectation that it’s going to go anywhere, or that he’s ever going to get the girl. It’s because he just can’t help himself.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Big Brother

13 thoughts on “UST

  1. Cute scene. You’re right about the wise acting choices in order to avoid making the relationship seem too skeevy. I must admit, I am appreciating the handling of the Jack-Jenn pairing much more looking at the scenes now.

    Was this scene after he was stabbed, went to Kayla for help, and they had a conversation about their marriage (the one in which he notes how she never even tried to love him)? It makes the timing of Emilio’s suspicions and Jenn’s reaction even more pointed.

    And can I just say that one thing Jack had going in his favor was that he seemed to be one of the few men in Salem at this time WITHOUT a mullet? Give the man points for style. With or without pants! lol

  2. These scenes are after Kayla and Jack’s conversation at the EC, but they are about six or seven months after, so it’s not really close in proximity. That was kind of the first step in Jack’s path of redemption, this is a bit further down the line.

    I enjoy this scene for the first hints of the J&J UST, but also for the oblique reference to the rape that becomes a serious moment where all three characters have to acknowledge that Emilio’s reactions aren’t unreasonable. As Jack is gradually redeemed, it makes it much easier to accept him as a good guy when his bad guy days are neither forgotten nor easily forgiven.

  3. Yes, Melaraus, this is a different time Jack gets attacked on the pier, hee! In any case, I am really appreciating the slow build to this love story. It’s what I’ve wanted to see since returning to Days (a new love story) and never got. (This isn’t exactly 100% new to me, but it’s close enough.)

    And I agree, Jack has great hair! 😀

    As Jack is gradually redeemed, it makes it much easier to accept him as a good guy when his bad guy days are neither forgotten nor easily forgiven.

    esp, that is so true. I really like how they have slowly increased sympathy for Jack by making his bad deeds come back to haunt him, by making people view him suspiciously when he’s actually not up to no good, and showing us how he feels about it all. But they don’t change him too fast either, he still has his moments of being underhanded. It’s really well done.

  4. Good grief, I never realized how much Jack rivaled early Steve in the number of times he was beaten, stabbed, etc. on the pier! Those Johnson boys just attracted trouble, didn’t they? 🙂

  5. Part of the Johnson family legacy. Though I don’t remember Adrienne getting shot or beat up all the time.

    MP, I love your characterization of Jack as a sort of serial manipulator — compelled to meddle in the lives of those around him even when he has no clear agenda or hope of gain from meddling.

  6. Yes, another way Jack is a typical Johnson. I guess it’s a good way, when you’re redeeming a character, to make him more sympathetic. Steve doesn’t get beat up nearly as often after he’s mostly a good guy.

  7. I’m watching this story line unfold on my DVDs right now, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m even finding Emilio kind if cute (the hair is still horrible.)

  8. I’m glad, Flaco—me too. I have say with regret that Emilio does start to be thrown under the bus, as the story goes on. He starts to be depicted as the slow, stupid one in contrast to quick-witted Jack. It stacks the deck in Jack’s favor, which is too bad because I don’t think it’s necessary. Jack doesn’t need the other guy to be demonized in order for us to root for him.

  9. But! But! Emilio being illiterate brings us the the beautiful Emilio/Adrienne affair! Doesn’t that make it all worth it in the end?! [/sarcasm] 🙂

  10. Hee, that storyline was something else, wasn’t it?

    That’s when Emilio was a gardener on the Kiriakis estate, I think. There’s a scene where Adrienne sees him shirtless and is sort of licking her lips.

    A few months back I was watching Sex and the City, during the time Charlotte was married to Trey (when he was impotent). They shot this “lust” moment for Charlotte for the, yes, shirtless gardener, in a (deliberately) over the top, cheesy way. It was exactly the same—only the Days cheese wasn’t deliberate.

  11. How much further along are you talking about, MP? They’re all still dealing with the Tux at the Concert incident right now.

  12. Not much further. I think the tux at the concert starts it in a way, because Emilio is stupid enough to be so trusting as to take advice from Jack. I think the next mini-arc is the one about Shakespeare in the park, though, and that’s when it really starts.

  13. I am about 7 years late to this conversation but I just found this series and am joyfully going through the posts. I just wanted to point out at 1:35 that it looks like Missy is trying to keep from laughing. I don’t know if she meant to do that as Jennifer, but I do recall reading Missy say in many interviews over the past years that Matt was always causing her to laugh in scenes with his ad-libbing and funny ways he would say his lines.

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