Goodbye to all that: 'Days of our Lives' dumps John and Marlena

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MarlenajohnThis is not a good time to be a soap star. The genre hasbeen on a slow march toward inevitable death for more than a decade, theratings blow, and the cost of mounting and producing a series that airs morethan 250 episodes per year is unreasonable in this lousy economy. And if youwant proof that nobody is safe, just look at Friday’s episode of Days of ourLives. Just two days after the series aired its 11,000th episode,stars Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn appeared for the last time.

John and Marlena’s saga spanned two decades and epitomizedthe supercouple phenomenon that helped soaps soar throughout the ‘80s. Aclassy, upstanding psychiatrist who had a knack for falling into the clutchesof madmen (hello, Stefano DiMera!), Marlena fell for the enigmatic John Blackwhen he first arrived in Salem wrapped in bandages, his memory all but erased.For the past 22 years, we’ve watched these two fight off every obstacleimaginable—hell, they even beat back the Devil himself: Days’ memorably campydemonic-possession storyline, which played out over the winter of 1995, remainsa watershed moment for soaps; it grabbed mainstream attention, and Hall’s steady,wink-wink performance—for which she memorably campaigned for a Daytime Emmy nod (she didn’t get it)—was a hitwith fans who’d never known her as anything but the mild-mannered, pragmatic “Doc.”(You can see a great clip of MarDevil in action right here.)

I could spend all day regaling you with my favorite John andMarlena moments, but if you were ever a Days fan, I’d rather hear about yours.Suffice it to say that the Days canvas—and daytime as a whole—will be a littleless dazzling when we tune in on Monday. Soaps aren’t likely to create genresuperstars like Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn anymore—for starters, I dare youto name one current soap actor whose life story would inspire a TV-movie! Days’sendoff for the pair was a rush job, a pathetic train wreck that all but wrappedup a year-long storyline in about 20 minutes, but I can’t say I was surprised.The series has always treated its departing cast members with astonishingflippancy, and we longtime fans have come to expect this sort of masochisticabuse each and every time. I’m especially peeved that the Days brass couldn’teven figure out a way to give Hall and costar Alison Sweeney—who has arguablybeen Hall’s strongest, most effective scene partner since her arrival in 1993—onefinal scene. What a disgrace.

If I sound resigned, well…soap fans will understand: Sayinggoodbye to characters who have been a part of your day-to-day life for morethan 20 years is, yeah, like saying goodbye to friends. The fact that thishappened to two of Days’ most pivotal, beloved characters and actors makes itfeel even worse—in essence, longtime fans like me are being robbed of a dynamiccoupling that’s a huge part of what has made Days endure for so long. I’veposted a shot of John and Marlena’s final scene below, but trust me—this is farfrom their best work. There are clips all over YouTube that give you a bettersense of their glory days. I encourage you to look them up.

In the meantime, do any of you Days fans have a favoriteJohn and Marlena memory? Will you still watch the show without them? And hey,what should Hall and Hogestyn do next?

Comments (340 total) Add your comment
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  • Cory

    They definitely were the highlight of the show for me, and I’ll miss them. I guess it’s up to Alison Sweeney to carry the show, since she’s only reason I’ll continue watching.

  • jones

    They will be missed. I was obsessed with Days in the 90’s when I was in high school and they were a big part of it. I actually met Drake at a fan event when I was 13 and he was so nice and down to earth. I wish them luck in their next endeavors.

  • Heather

    I had to tune in last night, even though I don’t watch anymore. Wow, what a gyp for these two actors. They could have filled a week with flashbacks and closure for these two, but instead, there was maybe 30 seconds of flashbacks and goodbye scenes plugged in between other ongoing stories? And the only people they could get to show up for their wedding were Kayla, Roman and some young guy I don’t know? It’s too bad Deirdre and Drake couldn’t have said to the producers “you know what? You don’t have time for us, we don’t want to take these crumbs from you.” It was criminal! One good thing – gotta love John doing his trademark eyebrow raise when Stefano waved goodbye. That made me smile.

  • Laura

    I have been watching DOOL since I was 9 years old and remember John Black coming on the scene quite well~ As the post states, it is a shame that Allison Sweeney wasn’t able to tape with them in the last scene, it’s actually quite shocking. They were a classy on-screen couple and I will miss watching them on my t.v..

  • Shannon

    Hogestyn is the WORST actor ever. I laughed when I found out they were booting him. Hall isn’t as bad. Honestly, I don’t care for soaps, and what I have seen of DOOL has been awful. I hope he finds a career in anything but acting.

  • Karen Ball

    I can`t believe that they are doing this.I have watched for decades and decry the fact that the “soaps” are gearing themselves to a much younger audience.Did any one think that it is the older audience that actually has the opportunity to watch he soaps.The younger ones are in school or are working on their careers.It is also the older viewers who have the income to buy the stuff that the advertisers are hocking.Rethink your strategy,you are making a huge mistake.
    Karen Ball ,Canada

  • mscisluv

    Thank you, Shannon! I’ve watched Days my whole life (thanks, Mom), but Hogestyn is one of the worst actors I have ever seen. All he knows how to do is raise that eyebrow. He has no emotion, and every line reading is identical. Good riddance to him as an actor, but it was a shame the way the couple were sent off.

  • jamie

    I’m disgusted by the lame send-off that Days gave John and Marlena. It was a cheap shot at their fans. I get the feeling that the brass at Days really doesn’t care about their audience at all. They feel they are on the Titanic and all they are doing is re-arranging chairs until the ship sinks. They aren’t even trying anymore. I watch this show, my mother watches it, my grandmother watches it. I’m sad that they aren’t even trying to keep it together for us.

  • Bobbi

    I have been watching Days for over 40 years. I think Drake played some of his best stuff in the past year. The “other” John was hilarious and offered so much more than just the raised eyebrow. I agree that it was a travesty that Sami and other family members weren’t present to help see these two off. They couldn’t even scare up Maggie to rush to the hospital? I’ll miss them but I’m also enjoying the younger characters on the show. Just wish they’d get rid of Daniel….there are few females left that he hasn’t been in “love” with! But whatever happens, I’ll keep watching until they take it off the air. I’ve watched every NBC soap that has been on in the past 40+ except for Dark Shadows and I intend to see the genre out! :) Godspeed John & Marlena! BTW, my favorite stories of Marlena were with the original Roman and her twin sister.

  • Hillary

    While I would say that John and Marlena have ever been my favorite couple on Days, it is a travesty that they are leaving the soap opera. If this is truly their last episode, they deserved a stand alone episode (anyone remember the Bo and Hope only episode a few Christmas’s back?) I LOVE Days of Our Lives, through good times and bad– I’ve been faithful since I was in elementary school! For at least fifteen years it’s been a staple in conversations with friends and family. I hope that the genre can be saved– I know many think it’s cheesy, but to me, there is nothing like the familiarity, warmth, and fun of it.

  • Tessa

    It just WON’T BE THE SAME…..eapecially without Deidre Hall…….she is a timeless beauty….as for Drake…..that “weird voice” they made him use for the last year of so…was ANNOYING…..but all in all, I will miss him too. Change is hard for all of the die hard fans of SOAPS……GOD BLESS them both and hope to see them down the road.

  • Christine

    I’ve watched Marlena and Days since I was a young girl and have loved “Doc” every since. I thought the ending story was a travesty, however Deidre & Drake did their best to give the fans as much as they could. I won’t be watching anymore. And what should they do? Never go back to Days as they (& their fans) were treated like yesterdays news (btw, did you see the full-page ad the fans bought for them in Soap Opera Digest?). I hope they go somewhere much better, and the more I see of Deidre on screen the better! She will be missed!

  • Kat

    I thought the way Days sent off John and Marlena was a shame. Wrapping their story in one day…in between the disgusting Chloe and Daniel stuff or more of the whole Sami and Nicole baby saga? On their final day, they got maybe a little over 14 minutes of airtime. Why didn’t J/M merit more after 20 and 30 years respectively?
    I’ll keep watching for sure. There’s no way I’ll stop watching when Bo and Hope and Steve and Kayla are still around. At least I know and love those four…They’re what’ll keep Days alive for me.
    I know there will come a time when Days is canceled. It’s inevitable that all the soaps will be unless they can find another way to thrive. But I’ll always be grateful to the show that gave me Steve and Kayla, Bo and Hope, Jack and Jennifer, and John and Marlena. I have my favorite couple amongst these pairs and there’s no question that each of them gave Days something special over the years.

  • Linn

    John & Marlena have been my favourite TV or movie couple since the day I first laid eyes on them. I’m a devoted fan of Deidre Hall too. She’s just the epitome of classy – and she’s got more talent in her pinkie than any other daytime actress (excluding 1 other) or so called “starlet” of today has. I hope she goes to primetime and does a show or something there, at least a guest appearance or arc.
    DAYS just insulted it’s main fanbase, then again, we’ve been steadily disappearing for the last 5-10 years, so I don’t know if there are truly any left.
    Deidre and Drake have unmatched chemistry, and there will never be a soap or TV couple that’ll affect me the way they did. I grew up watching them, didn’t care about the teens my own age. They were it, they are magical.
    DAYS should be ashamed of itself.

  • Kimberly

    Favorite moment: the plane (1993). Totally hot. I won’t watch Days anymore. They actually fired Deidre Hall! How stupid are they?

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