Big Brother

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: UST

Since the interactions between Jack and Jen are increasingly being played with a lot of comedy, it’s easy to forget sometimes about evil Jack. That’s why I love it when the show reminds us occasionally. This is a very short, cute scene where big brother Mike notices how close Jack and Jen seem to be getting, and he doesn’t like what he sees:

Mike disapproves

All Jack and Jen are doing is having a conversation about work, but the way they are talking over each other and making little jabs at each other clearly marks their intimacy. Mike just stands there listening, with his expression growing more and more forbidding. When he breaks in on them, saying hello to Jen, she naturally invites him into their banter, saying that Mike needs to make sure Jack gets a cab after his appointment. When he says deliberately that he thinks Jack is a grown man and can handle getting a cab by himself, she still doesn’t notice, and just gives a little scoff that I find very cute.

Then when Mike says, “Since when are you his mommy?” it finally breaks through to her what Mike is thinking. Then she suddenly seems very young—a little shamefaced, a little defiant, like a teen caught sneaking out. Mike says he’ll see Jack in his office and (with meaning) that he’ll see Jen later. Jen says “I’ll call you,” and then mutters, “Don’t call me.” We don’t ever see that later conversation, but it’s clear that Jen isn’t going to be easily talked out of her friendship with Jack.

This is just a small, incidental scene that does a lot. It’s important to have these reminders of Jack’s reputation, because it reminds us of how unusual this friendship is, and raises the stakes for Jack and Jen.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: A Teeny Tiny Nugget

12 thoughts on “Big Brother

  1. This is another great example of how the old Days used to slyly incorporate history into scenes in ways that lent themselves to more subtle meanings.

    For example, it is important to remind folks that Mike was one of the people who encouraged Kayla to marry Jack in order to give him the will to live. Mike even served as best man at their wedding! He also encouraged Jack to take Steve’s kidney, then for Steve and Kayla to work out their differences with Jack when it seemed like his body was rejecting the kidney. Much as I loved MTW’s Mike, his propping of Jack was infuriating, though portrayed understandably as a doctor whose only concern was for saving his patient. In those days, Mike was portrayed as somewhat unconventional, but obsessed with saving people, especially cancer patients (due to the earlier cancer death of his wife, Margo, the whole reason he became a doctor).

    Of course, all of Mike’s Jack-propping came before the public reveal about Kayla’s rape. I can’t recall if it was ever addressed, but I’m sure he would have felt some guilt over his propping in light of how things turned out. Then his little sister seems to be falling for Jack!?! What bad karma! Mike was always a protective big brother, and I’m sure after his mistakes about Jack in the past he was extra cautious.

    While I’m talking about MTW’s Mike, I always felt it was a shame that such a great character never found an ideal romantic match (neither Robin nor April lived up to their potential, IMO). It seemed TPTB could never find a female whose charisma matched that of MTW.

  2. I absolutely loved Michael T. Weiss and I still love him when I see him in clips. I think he could have been in a real supercouple pairing if they had found the right partner for him. I’ve said before that I think he and Julie Pinson’s Billie would have been perfect.

    It’s true that Mike was involved with Jack’s treatment and I know he was the one who said Steve and Kayla should go to Jack and work out their problems when Jack fell off the roof. I’ve got to stand up for him a little bit, though, because he was the only one who gave Kayla good advice during the time when she was debating marrying Jack. This scene shows him seeing both sides—understanding why she would be contemplating it but pointing out that her happiness matters too.

    I always liked Mike and Kayla’s friendship. I think maybe Mike could have been a good pairing for Kayla after Steve died, if MTW had stuck around. “Mayla” would have been better than Shayla!

    But there’s no doubt he was involved in the Kayla/Steve/Jack triangle, in a secondary role—and now his sister is involved with Jack! Your point about karma still stands.

  3. I’ve got to echo MP’s defense of Mike when it comes to Kayla deciding to marry Jack. He was the only person that I recall who actually listened to her and pointed out that marrying Jack just to give him hope might not be the best idea ever. Everybody else either seemed to be pushing her into it (Harper, Anjelica, Steve, Jo), berating her for giving up on Steve (Adrienne), or refusing to get involved too much because they were covering for Steve’s undercover work (Kim, Shane, Roman).

    I always felt that Mike was a good friend to Kayla in this time period. And, like MP, I really wish he would have been around after Steve died. I think Mike and Kayla could have been a very fun and interesting pairing (if we had to go that direction and clearly we did).

  4. That is a good scene of Mike and Kayla. I had forgotten about that one. However, there is also an earlier one, before the proposal, in which he pushes her to make Jack think there is hope for a future together. It’s somewhere on the OLAB site, right after Steve broke up with Kayla, when Jack is in the hospital. Mike was usually a good friend, but I still think in this case, when you take all the propping scenes together, he was too blinded by his desire to save Jack’s life to see how he was contributing to Kayla’s pain. When you look back at these old scenes, the girl WAS under a lot of pressure from all sides. No wonder she jumped into the rebound marriage! Mike tried to be a little more balanced than some people, but he still contributed to the problem.

    I’m not sure I can see Mike and Kayla as a couple (though you’re right, “Mayla” does sound more appealing than the Relationship that Must Not be Named). MTW’s Mike seems more her type after someone like Steve. And yes, I could TOTALLY see him with Julie Pinson’s Billie. Sigh, another lost opportunity . . .

  5. Hearkening back to the original post, it’s those little scenes that gave a story line depth without really changing anything that I really loved in the past. I think of Steve helping out Kayla at the Emergency center after Christmas — just pure fun.

    I liked Mike but he drives my daughter nuts while we’re watching the DVDs together. She hates his goofy clothes and his goofy behavior. I also agree that they never found a good match for him. Robin just bored me. She was way too serious and righteous. Then I read somewhere on some blog or another all these people raving about her, so I thought I’d give her a chance as I watched again. Nope, still boring.

    I don’t really know why April didn’t work. She was certainly a sparky actress, but it just didn’t work for me either. Mike and Kayla were very cute together, but since we all know now that Steve wasn’t really dead, perhaps it’s just as well they didn’t try that combination.

    Was MTW gone by the time they did the Carrie and Mike storyline? I had bailed by that time. It sounds too dreadful for words.

  6. Yeah, MTW was gone long before that storyline. He was actually gone from the show by the time Steve “died”, mores the pity. They de-SORASed the character when they brought back Mike in the form of Roark Critchlow.

    And because I failed to say it the first time I posted, I do love this scene for all the reasons mentioned. I love that Jack’s history isn’t forgotten and not just by Steve and Kayla. The majority of Salem society has no problem expressing their lack of fondness for Jack and that’s the best way to give him a good redemption — make him earn it.

  7. To add even more history into the mix, I seem to remember a few scenes of Mike counseling his cousin Melissa when she started to get involved with Jack, too. It’s a very nice (if accidental) build up to his view on the Jack and Jennifer relationship.

    Mayla would have been wonderful. (Much better than Karcus.)

  8. Karcus – bwah! ha! ha! I agree.

    Much as I loved Marcus, I’m glad TPTB backed off from that possibility (though I think it was partly because they were too chicken to try pushing an interracial supercoupling at that point). Marcus was too much like a brother to Steve, which is how Kayla viewed him as well. After her experiences with Steve’s biological brother, I think it was best that she stayed away from his soul brother. Also another reason why making a play for her brother-in-law and sister’s true love was a bone-headed move by the writers, but don’t get me started on that.

  9. Melaurus, we’ll get to talk all about Shayla when I get there on my DVDs—something to look forward to! Hee.

    MTW was so good at showing interesting reactions to what the other actors in the scene were doing. There’s a scene during Kayla and Jack’s early marriage when he comes upon Steve and Kayla after he’s come to see Jack. They have been sparring a little and are staring at each other a little too intensely. He makes a little small talk with them, complimenting Kayla on being “some kind of medicine” for Jack, and then gives a little look back and forth at the two of them, obviously noticing their intensity and wondering about it. Just a nice touch.

  10. I thought Shayla was something we never admit really happened.

    Since I mostly catch MTW in passing on my S&K DVDs, he’s usually not the main player and I’m mostly seeing his reactions. I hadn’t thought about it, MP, but you’re right — he was good at seeming to read the undercurrent in a scene. I remember a scene early in S&K’s story. Steve had been all prickly and stand-offish with Kayla, then he comes on Mike and Kayla laughing and talking at the hospital. Of course, Steve starts being a total idiot, Kayla is even more frustrated and Mike is shooting glances back and forth between them with a world of comprehension on his face. Of course, he was in the middle of his forbidden love for Robin story, so he was probably sensitive to those kinds of vibes. Another nice thing about Mike and Kayla scene is that they actually did seem like friends.

    That’s another thing MTW was good at — motivated interest in other characters. When Diana first appeared, my daughter assumed that she was Mike’s new love interest and she wondered what happened to Robin. She was really amazed when I told her Mike and Diana weren’t the couple. And I don’t think they were chemistry testing at that point. Days just used to have much more complex relationships and story lines that took a while to play out. There were moments I thought Steve was taking undue interest in Diana. Then, a minute later, he’d be enraged because she was putting Kayla in danger. That was when Jack #1 was around and seemed like a realistic possibility for Kayla. Things weren’t all — you’re male, I’m female, let’s jump in bed and say we’re in love — as they are today.

  11. Flaco, good point about the portrayal of male-female friendships on old Days. There were many great examples of this. With Mike, it even seemed like he had more female pals than male and they all felt very real. He was the type of guy that women felt comfortable with without any UST. I think part of it was the combination of his goofiness and total dedication to his very serious job [a combination quite refreshing in the character]. He put women at ease, yet few could ever see themselves involved with him romantically. He was EVERY female’s big brother.
    On today’s shows, there never seems to be any genuine male-female friendships unless it is leading up to or following a sexual relationship.

  12. I loved the friendships on Days. I loved watching them develop and change over time. They were never the focus like the romantic relationships, but they were often interesting and unique. Hope and Steve are a good example, as well as Kayla and Mike. Jack and Isabella, Mike and Diana. Steve and Marcus, for a same-sex example. They were all different and felt very real.

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