Days of our Lives’ soap darling, Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Horton) is smack dab in the middle of a fictional scenario that many of us wish we should be so lucky to have … having two men head over heels in love with you at the same time! And while Jennifer is having a very tough time making a final decision over which man she should choose and ultimately be with, she has also found herself drawn into the battle lines for the Salem mayoral race due to her new job working for the Carver campaign.
On-Air On-Soaps had the opportunity to catch up with Melissa to get her thoughts on her characters latest plight, her concerns over how Jennifer is now being perceived by the viewing audience, and getting the chance to work alongside two of daytime’s best leading men, Shawn Christian (Daniel) and Matthew Ashford (Jack). And, what is up with on-screen daughter Abigail’s (played by Kate Mansi) growing obsession with Jenn’s friend, Austin Reed? Missy fills us in below!
What do you think about where things are at right now between Jennifer, Jack, and Daniel?
MELISSA: I like that there is so much story to play and I think that is fun. I think if we get comfortable and everything gets easy then there is no story. I like that it is going back and forth and back and forth.
So what is going on in Jennifer’s head? Is she really torn? Or do you think she has an inkling of who she really wants to be with?
MELISSA: I think she has an inkling of what she wants, but she is still torn! (Laughs) I think she is both!
Since Jack is dealing with his own post traumatic stress disorder situation, do you think she feels that she wants to be there for him because of that?
MELISSA: Yeah, because she does care about him and this was her husband and they have children together, and because of their past and their history. She does want to help him.
But what that really means to me is…. she wants to help him but really be somewhere else! (Laughs)
MELISSA: She is really trying to figure that out! (Laughs)
Do you think we are anywhere near Jennifer making her decision? Or do you think this is going to continually play out?
MELISSA: You know what? I have no idea, but I was so glad that we went into this story of Abe’s mayoral campaign. I think that is what Jennifer has been focused on and it has helped keep her mind off everything. She is doing Abe’s publicity, but they do end up getting in a bit of trouble. She and Abe do something they shouldn’t be doing and it’s fun because you go, “Gosh, we could never really do this in real life!” It’s fun to pretend on TV!
Abigail seems to have a hankering for Austin, and I am wondering what Jennifer would think about this, if she were to find out?
MELISSA: Jennifer doesn’t know yet, but Jennifer would be devastated that Abigail is looking for a father figure first of all. And, Jennifer would be mad at Austin too, if he engaged in that. But Abigail ends up doing something, and let’s just say, eventually, it will turn out to be a tough day for Jennifer and Abby.
Do you think because Jack has not been there for his daughter that is why Abigail is drawn to this older man?
MELISSA: Yes, definitely. She is going to blame it on that anyway, with the justification of, “Well, I didn’t have my dad around.”
Do you think Jennifer would rather see Abigail with Chad though? Chad is a DiMera!
MELISSA: That is hard one, but Jennifer would probably want to see Abigail with neither one of them. But then again, Chad hasn’t done anything to make her feel that way.
What else do you want to see Jennifer get herself into? I like that she is now being somewhat shady!
MELISSA: I know! She is trying to justify it by going, “We can’t let EJ be the mayor of Salem.” And so Abe and Jennifer decide that they need to do this to prevent him from being mayor and in the process they lose their heads a little bit.
Your husband, Scott Reeves is currently playing Steven Webber on GH! Do the two of you watch each others work on your respective soaps?
MELISSA: No. Isn’t that horrible? We never watch each other. We must just be so old that we are jaded. We do talk a little about what is going on each of our soaps, but not a ton.
Well, Scott must know you are torn between two different men on DAYS?
MELISSA: Oh, yeah, yeah, of course! He knows basic stuff, but we don’t talk about it. I know it sounds crazy!
There has been such a huge change in daytime in 2011, with the devastating losses of AMC and OLTL to the network soap lineup, and then for the two series to not wind up online as had been hoped. Being a veteran of soaps, how do you feel about the current climate for the genre? Fans are heartbroken of all the recent developments. Do you feel this is it the tail end of the soaps as we know it?
MELISSA: I hope we are not at the tail end of the soaps. I always think every network should have one. I feel like, of course, I wish it were the old days were their were fifteen of us, I really do. I think there is such a place for the soaps, but you know, it all comes down to money and obviously its cheaper to put on a talk show or reality show. Then, if people are going to watch them, then we will all be gone! We are sort of stuck.
Can you tell me a couple of words that would describe working with Shawn Christian?
MELISSA: Shawn is extremely professional and a very natural and spontaneous actor. And I never know what he is going to give me line wise or if he is going to give me something funny. We rehearse our lines and then whatever happens once we get on set is nothing that we planned, and that is kind of fun. Shawn keeps you on your toes! He is great and he works hard.
Then, how is working with Matt Ashford again? Is it like you fell right back into it almost seamlessly, because he has been your on-screen partner for decades?
MELISSA: We totally fall back into that place. There is just that rhythm from when you are working with someone for so long. It’s easy. Both Matt and Shawn make me want to be better at my job. Both guys are very seasoned actors. They have both worked years and very hard to get where they are. And with Matt, just like with Shawn, you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but I like that when I am performing a scene with them. They are not so super rehearsed that you go out there and know exactly what you are going to do! It’s nice not knowing.
So what would you say Jennifer’s New Years resolution should be?
MELISSA: I suppose to make up her mind! (Laughs) But that sounds so harsh, because in that situation how does someone not end up getting hurt.
If I was the men, I don’t know if I would go along with this whole set-up, or Jennifer dating both guys and seeing how she feels!
MELISSA: Actually, Daniel was the one who came up with this and then he decides and says to her, “I don’t think you really can pick. I don’t really think you can make a choice. So, I will make one for you and I will walk away.”
Wouldn’t it be interesting that when all is said and done, she vacillated so much and waited to long to make a decision that she loses both guys?
MELISSA: I think she kind of does! It’s good then she doesn’t have to choose, but then everyone is gone. And so it ends up three people being hurt from miscommunication and lack of decision.
What should we look forward to the most in upcoming story for Jennifer?
MELISSA: I know we are in the middle of the whole mayoral campaign and I have not worked too much with Matt or Shawn. And then I heard they scrapped some things and are re-writing some things. So, I don’t know what to say at this point. Sometimes I say to myself, “OK writers. Do you just hate the character of Jennifer?” (Laughs) I am finding it’s hard for my character to be liked!
That is the thing that is worrisome because it becomes hard to like Jennifer, and she has always been the most beloved. They need to be really careful how they write this.
MELISSA: And you know what? Fans have to be careful that they don’t take it out on the person/actor. And you want to say, “People. I don’t write it. It’s my job to just go in and do what they write. So don’t attack me!” Honestly, it kind of make you want to run and hide in a hole. But when I see that some people can’t separate real-life from a fictitious character on a show, it kind of makes me not want to read anything anymore.