By Heather O.
When I was a kid, I had a friend whose big sister taped “Days of Our Lives”. I have a random, distinct memory of them blathering on about Roman and Marlena, and sitting through the fast forwarded version of Roman and Marlena’s wedding where they have a clip montage thingie set to music. There was a clip where Marlena was crying, looking at a picture of Roman, and my friend started jumping up and down on the couch and said, “Watch her mouth! You can tell she says, ‘It’s Roman!’” (Yes, the part of the memory that sticks out to me is the lip-reading part. I also used to lie down on my back and try to get an ice-cube to slide down my throat without swallowing. Even as a kid, I was a speech geek.)
That was my introduction to “Days”, as we called it, and when I moved to Utah, shortly thereafter, we had half day Fridays, which would get me home from school just in time to watch my soap. My sister, who is 3 years older and therefore got home from school earlier, would catch me up on what had happened during the week, and I would stay riveted to the screen for the next hour (which is kind of appalling to think about, actually. For the record, I don’t think soaps are made for 12 year olds).
One of my favorite characters was Jen, mostly because she was also the prettiest (although I also loved Kayla, because, you know, she had Patch, and they got to dance to the song “Lady in Red”, and it pretty much doesn’t get any cooler than that for a tween. Shockingly, my husband shot me down when I suggested we name Little Sister “Kayla”. Also, my brother mocked me mercilessly for my “Lady in Red” obsession. Bet I still know all the words.). Jen also had this odd love/hate relationship with Jack, and it fascinated me. Also, with no warning, they switched out the actor who played Jack. One day he was one dude, the next day, there was a completely new actor there. And boy, the NEW actor–wow. Hot, cool, acerbic, biting, he added a whole new level to the character of Jack. He looked better as a couple with Jen, too. Dramatic perfection.
I stayed with Days for about 3 years, until I lost interest and any idle free time in high school. And of course, college was a fairly TV free zone, with the exception of Thursday Night Friends/Seinfeld/ER parties we would have in our apartment. While I worked for Rick, I got mildly interested in The Bold and the Beautiful, but that was mostly because he was addicted to it, and insisted we watch it every time I was there.
All in all, it’s been well over 20 years since I’ve watched Days of Our Lives.
So, imagine my surprise when, as is my habit, I was perusing the headlines of the tabloids (What? How ELSE am I supposed to keep up with the Kardashians? Don’t judge me) as I emptied my groceries onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store, I saw this:
Is that—-oh my gosh it IS! It’s Jack and Jen! And their relationship is in CRISIS!
And, um, they also look EXACTLY the same as they did when I was 12. I mean, I’m pretty sure *I* have aged. Or at least, the bags under my eyes seem to send me that message every morning. Plus, I have a layer of skin around my middle that I suspect will never go away, due to the fact that in the intervening years between 6th grade and the present, I have GIVEN BIRTH to 2 children. Because, you know, 6th grade was TWENTY FOUR YEARS AGO.
How is it that these people look the same? And how is it that they are using the same plotlines that they used TWENTY FOUR YEARS AGO? Did they sell their souls to the devil? Did somebody cast a spell on them, like some sort of fairy time stop where nobody ages? And the writers–do they not bother to watch their own show, and just spontaneously say stuff like, “Hmm, what should we do this week? I know–let’s have Jack and Jen’s relationship be in CRISIS! Have we ever done that?” And somebody else at the the writer’s table says, “How should we know? You think we WATCH this crap?”
Oh, and Bo and Hope are getting married. Pretty sure I’ve seen their wedding a couple of times. But heck, maybe this time these two crazy kids have a chance. Fingers crossed! I’ll check back twenty four years from now, just to be sure.
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