God Grant Me the Serena-ty

Details and thoughts on a new character arriving in Salem soon… hidden behind the cut for the spoiler-phobic.

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According to TV Guide, Melissa Archer (formerly of One Life to Live) debuts December 5th as a new character named Serena Mason, a medical journalist who previously had a relationship with Eric and is coincidentally, because this is Salem, Melanie’s pal from Europe. (She will probably also turn out to be Victor’s long-lost daughter or Clyde’s ex-wife or something insane down the road, obviously.) It sounds like they’re positioning her and Nicole as rivals over Eric, which I like in concept because it gives Nicole something to do, though I worry that they’ll paint Serena as the good girl and Nicole as some jealous psycho.

There was a lot of speculation when Archer was cast that she’d be playing Maggie’s daughter, Sarah Horton, and I’m not sure why they didn’t go that direction. She could still have the career, the (familial!) bond with Melanie, and she’d be a viable non-blood-relative love interest for Eric. I guess they like the insta-backstory for the two of them, but I’m really dubious about this regime’s success rates with bringing in totally new characters. Jordan’s a dud, Paige is a dud, Ben is a(n inoffensive) dud. Meanwhile, they brought on Eric, Theresa, JJ, and Eve, all with new faces and fairly wide-open backstories, and those characters were much easier to accept. Some of the descriptions of Serena make me think of Madison James, who was FIERY! and RANDOMLY KNEW A BUNCH OF PEOPLE! and wound up being a disaster, even though she was played by a great actress. Fingers crossed that this turns out differently.

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15 Comments on “God Grant Me the Serena-ty”

  1. Andie Says:

    Melissa Archer should be cast in Patene commercials all of her head shots look like a shampoo ad…I’ve already expressed my distain over the writers choice for her off-screen back story. 😡 I don’t believe for a second she lived in Africa unless she covered her porcelain skin head to toe.
    I totally agree with your list of “duds and studs.” I think the new or returning characters who are the most accepted by us fans are part of the core families: Horton, Brady, Kirakus, or Dimera (by blood, adoption, or marriage). If not, they have “earned” my respect by being entertaining and have (or be a part of) the most compelling story lines such as Nicole and Anne.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Her hair and boobs are always so noticeable! Lol. I like her, and I think her energy will fit well on Days, but I really would rather she were Sarah or Cassie or Stephanie.

      • Dan Says:

        With Serena clearly intended Eric, cousin Stephanie or sister Cassie might be mildly inappropriate. Then again, when in Salem…

        It bothers me less that Serena knows both Eric and Melanie than if it would have been that Sarah and Eric had been lovers during his time away from Salem and never mentioned it to anyone. This show doesn’t seem as committed to Maggie, and I suspect that has more to do with Meng/DeCazotte than it does with Whitsell/Tomlin. I think the biggest problem right now is that the show doesn’t gel because of really poor production decisions that don’t support the writing.

        What I’m hopeful for is that as a medical journalist that should keep her involved with University Hospital, which should be a focal point, and with the publishing/news division at Titan which should include Nicole, Serena, and Will. Now if this was Sarah Horton, I think people would complain that Sarah would be working for Victor since most think that Maggie’s children should be against the relationship.

        I concur on the concern about less shading in the Serena/Nicole rivalry. What keeps me hopeful is that Tomlin was EP and Whitsell was headwriting when Archer arrived at OLTL. I hope they remember that Archer can play both good and bad well and keep her on even keel with AZ’s Nicole, who excels best when she is in a similar vein. If done right, Nicole / Serena could be as entertaining, if not moreso, than Nicole / Sami. My fear is the lack of support for certain characters at the EP level.

        I think the failure of Paige and Ben is ultimately linked to the aborted music storyline. According to the audition script, Ben and J.J. were going to be involved in a music partnership while Ben also may or may not have been involved in the drug scene. Considering Eve’s musical ties, it would seem likely that the original plan was to have Eve enter Ben and J.J.’s orbit as either a mentor/manager/music executive. This would have heightened the J.J. / Eve relationship and give some real movement for when they eventually did fall into bed together. Instead, we were stuck with a rather lame duck young love story between Paige and J.J.

        Jordan was too isolated for too long and not really given enough of a personality. Her and Kate should still be going at it over Clyde and Chad, but I think it’s clear that they are just going to move past Jordan and build around someone else (Serena?).

      • mykleraus Says:

        I feel like the value they get out of Eric/Serena having an offscreen backstory could be quickly made up by having Eric/Sarah bond in Salem. And they wouldn’t have to be TOTAL strangers — I’d buy that they had met before, maybe even ran into each other abroad at one point, so they could hit the ground running when she arrived in Salem. (And yes, good points about her having been cast as a love interest for Eric, so she couldn’t be any of the Brady girls.)

        With Serena being a journalist, I’d really love for them to have Jennifer take over the Spectator again. They could fold in Will, Nicole, and Serena. With that many characters working someplace, they could even put up a lobby set — God knows I’m desperate for more public places where people could cross.

        I had forgotten about the music angle with the original Ben, but yeah, something clearly changed. When they recast Ben, they totally lost that (though they gained the ability to walk and speak English at the same time, which I guess was a plus). I don’t for a second believe that the Paige Larsen who was introduced was meant to be Eve Donovan’s daughter — I think that was a (smart) retcon that came after her introduction. They never, ever played Paige and Theresa as relatives who didn’t recognize each other, and you know how this show likes to hit us over the head with stuff like that. So something clearly shifted.

        The Eve/JJ hookup didn’t quite work for me as it was played — honestly, he looks like a (hot) boy, and she’s an older woman who I don’t think would be attracted to him. I like both performers, but they don’t jive for me as a sexual pairing. I could have both her sleeping with, say, the actor who plays Ben, or maybe Chad. I’m hoping that this is one of those Higley/Tomlin-style jumps we’re just going to have to make in order to set up a worthwhile storyline (like Chloe and Philip’s forced one-night stand, which at least had chemistry and history to back it up, or the Will/Gabi hookup that gave us great story centered on baby Ari), because there’s lots of potential built in. JJ/Paige as the rooting couple doesn’t work for me at all, though.

      • Dan Says:

        You mean you would enjoy seeing Eric and Sarah bump into each other at the hospital, at the Town Square, at the Park, etc. I kid, sort of. I don’t think a Sarah / Eric pairing would bring any natural conflict to the table, and I feel if Sarah is painted with too many dark strokes, the rabid online fanbase would be foaming how this isn’t really Sarah Horton.

        I will say I’m torn over Eric/Nicole. I enjoy their chemistry, I enjoyed their angst, but I’m concerned about the longterm. At her best, Nicole needs to come out a loser because that motivates her and drives story. Tomsell know that and that’s why Nicole lost her second baby. When Nicole wins, she is boring so she needs someone like Serena to keep her on her toes.

        My fear is Serena is going to be nice and perfect to evil Nicole. Nicole works well when she has an enemy on equal footing as her. If Serena is as ambitious and driven as Nicole, this could be an interesting triangle. Honestly, that’s why I enjoyed Higley’s DAYS because she tended to allow the women in triangles (Melanie / Stephanie and Sami / Nicole) make terrible mistakes while not completely allowing the other party to come out looking like the white knight.

        Regarding Jen and the Spectator, I get why she is at the hospital. The practical reason is the limited number of sets, but I’ve enjoyed the onscreen reasons. Hortons are important to University Hospital. Given how few are around, I don’t mind having a couple roaming the halls of the hospital. Also, there was a solid scene during the Joe Bernardi storyline where Jen was actually working (a shock, I know) and I got why she was there. Jennifer knows how to spin a story so PR works for her. It’s more logical than some of the jumps this show has us take.

        After reading your comments, it dawned on me why the J.J. / Eve story doesn’t work. The investment in the reveal is on Paige. We are suppose to care about her reaction to her mother sleeping with her boyfriend, and we don’t. I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel and Chloe sneaking behind everyone’s backs not because I thought Daniel and Chloe were great characters, but because I was invested in Kate, Lucas, and Maggie’s reactions to what this meant. Paige doesn’t elicit that sort of sympathy from me.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I don’t mind Jen at the hospital in the P.R. role, and I get that it’s useful for interactions and such. I just love the idea of centering some of the show around a journalistic setting. We’re getting a bit of it with Will’s stupid cover articles anyway.

        You’re completely right about the Paige thing. That’s exactly why Daniel/Chloe and Chloe/Philip’s flings worked — there was interesting ripple effect to be had. But like, so what now? Paige will STILL think JJ is a screw-up, and she’ll also hate her mom, and then… what happens? It’s a really shaky setup.

        You’re right about the Eric/Sarah pairing not having much inherent conflict, but I suspect we’re supposed to view Nicole as their conflict anyway. I like her in scrappy mode, but I’m also just troubled that she’s going to be chasing after some guy who treated her so badly. He’s done nothing but scream how much he hates her for several months, even while deigning to act civil around his RAPIST. It’s so weird.

  2. Andie Says:

    I read a bio of Sarena Mason with some more info. She’s coming to Salem on a work assignment. (I guess it’s not Ebola my first guess). We know she dated Eric in Africa while he was a photographer; he broke up with her when he got his “calling” into the priesthood. Sarena is good friends with Melanie, they met in Europe. Also, Sarena knows Marlena and John. She will take an instant disliking to Nicole, of course. Poor Nicole, every female in Salem hates her; her only true friends are Daniel, Rafe, and (non-blotto, sometimes) Brady.

    • Andie Says:

      PS I wonder if Sarena or Melaine know anything about Bo’s status/whereabouts? Europe seems to be “smaller” in Soapland.

    • mykleraus Says:

      It honestly sounds like a decent setup (as opposed to Jordan, who had nothing besides “sexual tension with Rafe” and “mysterious past” and also “glasses”). I’m trying to be optimistic.

      • Andie Says:

        Boredan is like a “dead fish” in more ways than one. 🐡😵 Quite frankly, her story lines and character development are a lot like cooking a well done salamon–they take way too long and most of all they stink.
        I hate to say this but, I’m sure I will have good laugh when Jordan and Chad have their love scenes. I’m sure Ben (or someone) will walk in on them; nobody locks their door(s) in Salem and Chad won’t put a tie on the door (he never wears one).

      • mykleraus Says:

        Where are they going to have sex? On that loveseat in the weird DiMera study where Chad now spends all his time receiving visitors?


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