Farewellanie (Har Har)

I’m just gonna say it outright: I love Melanie.

I know she’s been kind of a controversial character — people feel that she’s taken over the show, or that Molly Burnett mugs too much — but I feel like both Melanie and her portrayer have been assets to Days over the past four years. I’m sad to see both of them go.

I wasn’t watching much when Melanie was introduced in 2008, and I was kind of appalled to hear how Nick, a well liked member of the Horton family played by an interesting and talented young actor, seemed to have been thrown under the bus for her. But when I started paying more attention as the Sami/Nicole baby switch ramped up, I found myself drawn to both Melanie and Burnett. There was something appealing about her in a way that not many young Days heroines have been in a long time; aside from early Chloe and semi-reformed Chelsea, I don’t think a younger female lead on this show has really worked since Sami was introduced. I liked that Melanie was feisty but could soften with people she cared about; I liked that she had a backstory that influenced her more than “she’s pretty and nice”; I liked that Burnett had a Lucille Ball-esque zaniness to her that made Mel seem like someone I might actually enjoy hanging out with. (Think about that and then think about the possibility of hanging out with, like, Belle Black. Apples and oranges.)

She’s had very uneven story, but I’ve enjoyed so much of what she has been involved in. What’s perhaps most interesting is that while she’s had several high-profile romances — with Philip, Nathan, Dario, Chad — her really moving relationships have been platonic ones. Her bonds with Brady, Carly, Daniel, and most of all Maggie have been entertaining and touching. She actually became a vital member of the Salem community, not just some pretty young thing stringing along two or three boys at once.

I was actually a little disappointed in her goodbye with Maggie because I felt it focused too much on their grandmother/granddaughter relationship, a bond they’ve known about for less than a year. Their bond has never been a generic “We share genetics and I have always loved you” one. It was about two people who were lost in very different ways — Melanie untethered from everything she’d known, spinning out of control, and Maggie finding her place as a matriarch even as she lost her beloved husband. I wanted to hear Melanie say, “You saved my life,” and I wanted Maggie to say it back to her. I still think it was a huge mistake to make Daniel Maggie’s son — yes, because the egg story was stupid and not even a story, but more so because it trivialized the powerful relationship that Maggie and Melanie had already built.

I think this girl has a big future in sitcoms, and I don’t see any point in recasting. The writing is wishy-washy enough that I fear Melanie would just become another generic “hot girl,” without the heart that has made her compelling despite some very iffy storytelling. But I hope Burnett would be open to doing a cameo for the next big anniversary or the series finale or whatever. I’d love to see her again at some point in the future. In the meantime, I’ll miss both Melanie and Molly Burnett.

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10 Comments on “Farewellanie (Har Har)”

  1. Alana Says:

    “aside from early Chloe and semi-reformed Chelsea, I don’t think a younger female lead on this show has really worked since Sami was introduced”

    TRUTH! Are we character-preference soul mates? I am sad I never got to see Melanie and Nicole go toe to toe over Brady. I was waiting for that one. I agree Molly B. has a future outside of Salem, and I’m happy for her, but I’m going to miss her. Melanie is one of the few truth tellers on the show- she has a special skill for keeping it real. Now I guess we have to settle for watching Chad DiMera-cize himself.

    • mykleraus Says:

      At least I might be vaguely interested in Chad then. This character has done almost nothing of any substance for like three years.

      • Dan Says:

        I agree they haven’t done a whole lot with Chad. The story with Madeline / Kate / Stefano / Chad / Will had such potential. I really wanted them to have Chad and Will as friendly rivals who could fight for the same woman or job, but still have a strong connection like Phillip & Rick or Dennis & Jamie. In the end, “Days” failed to develop its younger set, which is a shame.

        I have to wonder why they’ll even bother with Chad. I doubt Deidrick will renew his contract, what person under 25 has in the last decade? And since the show refuses to recast an actor when they leave, there really isn’t much sense in committing to Chad. Let Diedrick ride out his contract, while building up the viable parts of the canvas.

      • mykleraus Says:

        That’s how I feel. He’s not that interesting anyway, and he won’t be around past 2013, so who can bother caring? Deidrick is fine, but I think he’s more comfortable in the younger type of storylines than in the super-heightened DiMera stuff. I actually think the best thing they could do for the character is give him a Nick Fallon-esque exit. Then, if they want to recast or if CD actually comes back in a few years, you have a mid-20s DiMera who’s been hardened by prison OR made a sharp turn for the reformed. Either way, he’d be better defined than the current character.

  2. Joanna Says:

    You just said a bunch of really lovely, insightful things about Mel/Molly. Don’t know if she reads press or fan postings, but I hope someone shows her this!

  3. Stevie Says:

    Agreed on all points. I’m not sure if it was more that she grew into the role, or she was given better material, or maybe a bit of both, but she became one of my favorite characters on the show, even though at first I didn’t think she was much of a standout. I also hope that they don’t recast, because I think Burnett pretty much owns the character at this point.

    I’m glad that they left the door open for her to return, but I was disappointed that they didn’t have her saying goodbye to Abigail, particularly since they’re supposed to be “best friends.” But her goodbye scenes with Daniel, Brady, & Maggie were all well done.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think some of it was the role breaking out of the “bitchy hellraiser” stereotype as Melanie put down roots in Salem. Her bond with Maggie definitely changed things.

      I thought it was very strange how they didn’t give her a goodbye with Abigail, either. Then they had to contrive that whole “Abby lost her phone” thing. Weird.

      • Dan Says:

        I returned to Salem just as Burnett was being introduced. The first time I was really impressed with her was her involvement in the Titan / alternative fuel arc. There was a scene in Titan’s lobby (did they use this at all during the Mad W / Countess W storyline) where Melanie is clearly in over her head. She is trying to deal with six things at once and someone calls her out on it (I think it was Stephanie). Burnett’s reaction was a mix of frustration, anger, and disappointment. I was incredibly impressed. She could have gone for snark, but she played to Melanie’s humanity. Melanie was typically her own worst enemy, but the relationship with Maggie was beautiful.

        I hated the eggbaby story because it was so unneccessary. It dismissed the beauty of the Melanie / Maggie relationship and continued the prevailing pre-Higley philosphy that the only connections in Salem that mattered were Horton or Brady.

      • mykleraus Says:

        You know what? I remember first taking note of her during scenes on that exact same set — which, no, they haven’t used at all since summer 2009. I remember it looking like they were setting up a Philip/Melanie/Brady triangle back then, right before Nathan came onboard.

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