Actress Out?

The casting news that we all expected to come with a new writing regime continues…

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Daytime Confidential is reporting that Melissa Archer, who plays insufferable Dumbo fanatic Serena Mason, has been let go. No big surprise there! Interestingly, though…

According to my sources, the decision to cut Archer came before the installment of a new creative regime at DAYS; so no need to blame Dena Higley and Josh Griffith for the popular One Life to Live veteran’s upcoming exit.

First of all, I wouldn’t blame them so much as thank them, but it does give me a little faith in Corday or “TomSell” or whomever that they recognized this was not working. And it’s no fault of the actress — the writing has not been there for this character. They shoved her onscreen, had everyone tell us how awesome she was, separated a well-liked pairing for her, and then had her skulking around on this ridiculous elephant statue hunt for what feels like months on end. Even the perspective for the character was skewed; it isn’t clear whether she actually loves Eric or was using him to complete her mission. Archer deserves combat pay or at least a nice parting gift. Just please don’t have it be a statue. As for Serena: see you never, girl!

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15 Comments on “Actress Out?”

  1. kathy Says:

    They should have taken our advice and made her Sarah Horton.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I still maintain that would’ve helped. It wouldn’t have fixed this elephant nonsense, but at least she’d have SOMETHING else to latch onto.

    • Dan Says:

      I think making her Sarah Horton would have only made things worse for the character. By changing her name, we have done nothing more than appease a small majority of fans who refuse to accept a character who’s name isn’t Brady, Horton, Dimera, or Kiriakis. That is a bigger problem than just one character. If she was Sarah Horton, Melissa Archer would ultimately go the way of Trevor Donovan’s Jeremy Horton.

      Ultimately, the problem with Serena was that they rushed through six months of story in three weeks while vilifying a popular long term mainstay in the process. For a Serena / Nicole rivalry to have been successful, we should have known fairly early on that Serena was no good and that she was going to cause problems. Instead, they made it look like Nicole was the bitch.

      Also, Serena had other connections in Salem. She was friends with Melanie, worked at University Hospital, was a reporter, and knew a bunch of the Bradys from an offscreen trip to New York circa 2009. By keeping her limited to just Eric, Nicole, and Daniel in a mainly romantic sense her chance to grow was limited.

      Given that Tomsell is now out, I would say Serena was a victim of too many cooks in the end. This show reeks of pre-Higley/Tomsell. I think Corday has been involved a lot more in what we’ve been seeing since Sami’s departure.

      If this is true, it’s a shame because I wouldn’t even have mind Serena becoming a complete psychopath under Higley to get three to six months of story out of this mess.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I agree and disagree. You’re right that this same story with someone named “Sarah Horton” slapped into it would’ve been just as big a debacle, PLUS made a mess of a potentially useful legacy character. I do think it would or could have helped to have other things to play with Archer’s character, though: getting to know her brother Daniel and niece Melanie (I really want Sarah to be resentful of one or both of them), reacting to her mother’s remarriage, etc. It wouldn’t have saved THIS tripe, but the focus wouldn’t have been so single-mindedly stuck on “Serena good, Nicole bad!” as it was for that interminable stretch.

        But yeah, the real problem was that she was shoved into the show and (I guess they thought they were being clever?) made Nicole look terrible, which was just frustrating from a viewer’s perspective. It certainly didn’t make me LIKE Serena more.

        I really wouldn’t have minded seeing her go nuts. Archer could definitely play that and have fun with it, which she has not been able to do at all in this role. Seeing Nicole go up against a true psycho would be great, too.

      • mykleraus Says:

        Also, Dan, I keep meaning to share this thought: have you ever wondered if they were eyeing Archer as a possible Melanie recast? The way she and Burnett showed up at nearly the same time, and she’s another redhead (she’s older than Molly and reads older, but I’m not sure the show would’ve cared), made me wonder if they were planning to make her Melanie if Burnett wouldn’t come back, but once they signed MB, they decided to create a character for Serena. Could explain why her story has been so slapdash and isolated?

      • Dan Says:

        I think we agree that Archer needed to be spread out more among the canvas and not solely focused on her story wit Eric and this elephant non-sense. I just think she had enough ties as Serena to make her placement in the canvas work. With a show with such an incestuous canvas, Serena should have been a breath of fresh air instead of the lingering aroma of death from a decaying show.

        For Serena, I would have focused more on her research project. Was she investigating the mystery drug that reversed John’s coma? Or how about Kristen’s priest raping medicine? There were some interesting angles to explore without playing this constant “I love your elephant” malarkey.

        Because of the clear age difference, I couldn’t even possibly imagine Archer as Melanie. Based on Burnett’s story, I don’t think the show had real plans to bring back Melanie. Melanie’s story seems even more slapdash than Serena’s, which is pretty impressive. A lot of the Melanie/Serena hijinks plays like low budget love on the run / action-adventure nonsense that the show tried to do throughout the early 2000s. It feels very Tom Langan.

        When Sweeney considered leaving last time, we got Taylor. I think Archer was this year’s version of how do we incorporate Nicole back into a leading role, but the writing was just so nasty. There was a casting call for Serena so I think some thought was put into her. I just think this has Corday all over it. A rushed start and a quick dump when she fails to thrive.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I love your idea of having Serena dig into either of the magical DiMera potions. That would have gone a long way toward tying her in to relevant stuff.

        I do think some version of this elephant thing would have worked. It’s very 80s. They’d have to embrace the throwback nature of it and really dig to see what made stories like the prisms and the disk work — it wasn’t just one person huffing and puffing while receiving mysterious phone calls for weeks on end.

      • Dan Says:

        The problem with the elephant stuff is it is completely plot driven. There is no emotional weight to the story. Serena is obsessed with the statue, but we don’t know why. On Friday, it seemed like she was delighted to find her missing Mancala pieces, but we still don’t know why.

        For the story to work, we should have known early on why Serena wanted the elephant. The story should have been about her keeping her secret and endangering her friends and loved ones due to the danger of what was inside the statue. Imagine if Serena realizes she had to turn to Nicole to keep Daniel, Melanie, and Eric safe, and, later, have Serena sacrifice Nicole when everything blew up in her face. Let the audience root for Nicole to take Serena down as she plans to marry Eric because Nicole learns Serena has come to write a story on Eric’s rape drug and is looking for the inside scoop. Then, Serena cannot help but fight her feelings for Eric and decides to abandon the story.

        Also, I would have revealed early on that Serena owed a large sum of money to dangerous people. And this would be the reason why Melanie decided to scam the casino and run off to the States. When Melanie tells Serena the truth, Serena claims she was able to pay her debts while the ominous music in the background tells us otherwise.

        Because of Serena’s need for money, I would have had her buddy up to both Eric and Brady, which would have complicated the Eric / Brady dynamic and given Melanie / Brady a bit more emotional weight. Also, allow Serena to feel guilty about using Brady for his access to the Kiriakis fortune. Then, shift gears and have someone try to steal the statues hurting Melanie in the process. Let us play the casino element again and wander if Melanie isn’t lying again. Then, have Serena confront the person who she owes, who reveals the Mancala pieces are in the elephant.

        Now, Serena is frightened and afraid, but has lied about her situation in Salem. Allow Eric to continue to counsel Serena against becoming romantically involved with Brady because he does have such a past. Have Serena accuse Eric of wanting Serena for himself, while knowing that this is ultimately what she wants. Play the Eric / Serena tension while not forcing Eric and Serena together.

        Of course, I would play Nicole’s insecurity around Serena; she has become friendly with all the men in her life from Brady to Eric to Daniel (by extension from Melanie). I would even allow Rafe to call her on this and for Daniel to grow tired of it very early on. Daniel’s belief that Nicole is targeting Serena because of her own insecurities would drive the rift between Nicole and Daniel, but I wouldn’t have Nicole beg for Daniel back. Nicole would call it a day and only be drawn in when Melanie was attacked.

        Also, I would play Jennifer more in the story. If Serena was researching the mystery drugs, I’d have Jennifer become suspicious and confide her suspicions in Daniel, who would dismiss them but mention that Nicole shared them. I would then team Jennifer and Nicole up to figure more out about what happened. Of course, Anne Milbauer would catch on and rat them out to Serena, who would attempt to manipulate Jennifer by using Nicole / Jennifer’s history to convince Jennifer that Nicole is evil.

        And this way Jennifer is still used outside her family, but in a supporting capacity so she can still share scenes with others.

      • mykleraus Says:

        That’s… pretty much brilliant. My big complaint with this story, elephant jokes aside, is that there’s no weight to it. Eric is a complete bystander; I have no idea if Serena actually wants to be with him; Nicole is just sort of wandering into it by chance over and over; etc. There isn’t a sense of danger or real stakes. Your ideas are great. They make it more complex, add tangible stakes, and give the characters we know legitimate roles instead of just having them be bystanders while Serena skulks. It’s really interesting.

      • Dan Says:

        Thanks for the kind words. It’s still never I story I would want to see told, but there were ways to make it tolerable. What I enjoyed the most about Higley/Tomlin was that the stories tended to be emotionally driven and about the evolving relationships between characters. Higley would build up a platonic relationship (i.e. Sami / Nicole after Grace’s death) just to have a stronger emotional impact when the shit hit the fan. It’s really a structure I believe in and find enjoyable. Also, it’s doable in today’s cost effective soap world.

      • mykleraus Says:

        That’s when I enjoy present-day Days most, too: when it’s just character stuff and it doesn’t matter what shitty set they’re on or what action has been rendered poorly. They need to continue modeling stories on the Sami/Nicole baby switch and Chloe’s “who’s the daddy?” tale, because those were both the right style. Each was based on one terrible action/mistake that required lies to cover up, and those lies spun into a web that got bigger and messier.

        Again, there’s nothing in the POV of this Serena story that I care about at *all* besides seeing people stop treating Nicole like shit, and it’s taking way too long to get there. If it were Nicole who needed to get some item, and Serena were doing research on Chyka and his drug as you suggested… there’s something there, at least.

  2. fluffysmom Says:

    I feel bad for the actress. This storyline completely sucks. Unfortunately due to the taping schedule who knows how much longer the elephant saga will drag on.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I’m just hoping it’s all offscreen before the 50th anniversary. And yeah, I feel bad for Archer, too. She would’ve fit in well on this show if she had a more appealing character to play.

  3. underyourwing Says:

    that must be quite an older pic of her…..


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