I’m kind of at a loss for interesting things to say about the current air shows, so I thought it might be fun to take a stroll down Memory Lane, which in Salem is probably a ten-foot-long dirt path in the middle of Murder Park. Anyway…
We all know that the endgame for romances on this show tends to be marriage. Regardless of whether the couple has only actually been on three dates or have each been married 10 times before, marriage is almost always the point of “true love” for Salemites, logic and history be damned. Yet there are some couples — big couples, in the grand scheme of the show’s history — who actually never made it to the altar, let alone married. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m not including couples whose marriages turned out to be invalid (like, say, Victor/Kate on account of Vivian, or Roman/Marlena thanks to that horrible Alex North retcon) or who were engaged but didn’t actually get through a wedding ceremony (like Brady and basically every woman he’s been paired with post-Chloe). And away we go:
Carrie and Mike: This was a surprisingly big love story at the tail end of the 90s. James E. Reilly spent years upon years building up Carrie and Austin as a huge couple, with Sami and Lucas as their major spoilers. But in the lead-up to what would become the Carrie/Austin wedding, Reilly threw an unexpected wrench into the works: Mike Horton. Despite some SORASing weirdness that meant Mike was a married man at the time Carrie was born (offscreen), they appeared to be within a decade of one another’s ages in the late 90s, and Mike developed feelings for Carrie while she was still set firmly upon Austin. Then JER left the show (who knows what his original plan was?), and the subsequent regime ran with the electric chemistry between Carrie and Mike — which was, honestly, a stark contrast to Carrie and Austin, who came across mostly as the secondary players in Sami’s story. After an affair, Carrie actually divorced Austin and left town with Mike — on a white horse, literally. It was implied shortly thereafter that they might have married, thanks to a throwaway moment in which Carrie had an ornament on the Horton Christmas tree, but when Carrie returned in 2005 (and when she and Mike met again onscreen in 2010), there was zero mention of a marriage.
Bo and Carly: There was a time when it might’ve seemed impossible, but when Hope was killed off in 1990, the show managed to create another popular romance for Bo — with the brand-new character of Carly Manning, a.k.a. Katerina von Leuschner. Although they exchanged “spiritual vows” (among Mayan ruins, as one does), they didn’t actually marry during Carly’s first run on the show; after the epic buried-alive storyline, she left town with Lawrence Alamain, while Bo was shifted into a romance with newcomer Billie Reed. The ensuring Billie/Bo/undead Hope triangle played for about 15 years, on and off, and it seemed Bo/Carly would be relegated to the annals of history… until Carly’s 2009 return, which reignited the pairing. Strangely, though Bo and Carly got back together, they spent most of their time in separate storylines, and Bo broke things off with Carly before marriage was ever on the table again.
Jennifer and Daniel: So… full disclosure: I actually didn’t mind “Dannifer” in the beginning. Melissa Reeves was a welcome breath of fresh air when she returned in 2010 for Alice’s funeral and then on contract a few months later, and as sucky as it was that they’d had her and Jack split offscreen again, I was still happy to have her. And it’s tough to remember a time when I’d say this, but Daniel wasn’t unbearable yet. He was still half a year away from being crowned Maggie’s son, and he was just coming off the devastation of his wife, Chloe, having a baby by another man (for a while, anyway). So when Jen and Daniel crossed paths, there was something comfortable, age-appropriate, and welcome about it. Sure, it wasn’t going to be the major love of Jen’s life, but I could see it being a pleasant new chapter. They were fine until the following fall, when Jack returned, a triangle from hell was born and then dropped, Daniel’s connection to Maggie was
unveiled created, and then Jack was killed off again so the show could race back to a Jen/Daniel pairing. By that point, we were being told every hour, on the hour, how important it was that they be together, while a veritable League of Villains (Nicole, Chloe, JJ, Anne, Theresa) worked to dismantle this “great love” that consisted of two middle-aged people unable to have a reasonable conversation long enough to sort out whatever ridiculous, contrived misunderstanding had gotten in their way that week. The nadir of the whole thing was when everyone threw a damn pizza party to celebrate them actually working their shit out — which lasted about five episodes before it all went to hell again. Oddly, they then became a casualty of the destruction of the Eric/Nicole pairing, with Daniel being shifted in Nicole’s direction and Jennifer being backburnered for months. For a couple that got this much of a forced push, it’s a miracle that the subject of getting engaged — let alone a wedding that loved ones from far and wide would’ve sent last-minute texts saying they were snowed in wherever they live — never came up.
Chloe and Philip: I don’t know if there’s another couple whose connection spawns so many years and so many eras of the show like this one does without ever culminating in marriage. Back in 1999, Philip was the bratty, popular kid at Salem High, and Chloe was “Ghoul Girl,” the quiet outsider. Philip lost a bet and had to ask Chloe to the Last Blast Dance, where she stunned everyone by… putting on something other than a cape and not wearing glasses. Shocker: beautiful girl is beautiful! Anyway, they had a tortured young romance for a few years, which transitioned into a triangle that eventually left Chloe with Brady and a recast Philip in a hellacious, paint-by-numbers James E. Reilly triangle with Belle and Shawn. In 2007, Nadia Bjorlin returned as Chloe, and Jay Kenneth Johnson was once again portraying Philip. They had another fling (weirdly, I believe that was the first time the characters actually had sex), were shifted into other storylines — including one in which Chloe married Philip’s brother, Lucas — and then had a steamy one-night stand while Chloe was married to Daniel. For a time, baby Parker was even thought to be Philip’s before being handed over to Daniel the Great, and although Philip and Chloe remained friends, both left the show in 2011 without their relationship receiving much focus. Chloe’s subsequent returns focused primarily on Daniel, a la everything in Salem at the time, but when she showed up again in 2016, who was there to share story with her besides… Philip, now in the form of John Paul Lavoisier? Bizarrely, this was right around the time he started to click in the role, but they chose to write him out, so the nearly two-decade-long saga of Chloe and Philip is once again on hold.
Victor and Caroline: Talk about deep history. As far as I know, these two were never actually a couple, but because of an affair they had while Caroline was married to Shawn Brady, they share a son, Bo — a fact that only came out once Bo was an adult. The show has moved Victor and Caroline in and out of one another’s orbits at various points over the years. In 2004, they were both presumed dead and held captive on “Melaswen,” and it seemed as if they might be paired romantically, but once they returned to Salem, nothing came of it. After Shawn died in a plane crash in 2008, there was again the inkling that Caroline and Victor might get together, but the show later moved in the surprising direction of putting Victor with Maggie. Since their marriage, Caroline has periodically been played as a potential spoiler, but the teases have never amounted to anything more. With Caroline now offscreen, presumably due to Peggy McCay’s health, and Victor still married to Maggie, it seems that this connection, which has spanned more than five decades in the story, might very well never become anything more.
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