all those Lamaze lessons -- and a nerve-wracking delivery in
the woods -- Jack and Jennifer Deveraux have finally brought
their bundle home. The RESCUE 911 antics may be over, but the
real fun is just beginning.
There's trouble ahead when Jenn has to leave
"Dear Abby" in the care of the world's clumsiest
nanny -- Jack!
By Jason Bonderoff and Roberta Caploe
Even if they weren't busy tripping over diaper pails and rubber
duckies, the Deveraux would still be living in a mess. The old
house they just moved in to (a present from Jenn's dad, Dr.
Bill Horton) badly needs a face-lift. Add the couple's cash
flow problems to the mix, and there's bound to be calamity.
With ratings at a low point, DAYS OF OUR LIVES is hoping that
Jack and Jenn's return to the forefront will work magic. So
during the next few weeks, mess plus money will
suddenly add up to an even juicier "M" word -- mystery.
"Jack and Jenn will find themselves embroiled in a mystery
story with surprising revelations," says DAYS Headwriter
Sheri Anderson. But don't expect things to get too maudlin.
Anderson aims to give the couple strong emotional conflicts
without sacrificing their love-and-war lightheartedness.
While DAYS won't reveal too much, we do know the Deveraux won't
be hiring a nanny from hell, à la The Hand That Rocks
the Cradle, and that baby Abigail won't be displaying any
psychic powers or a fondness for wolf's head rings. But secret
sources report that Julie (Jenn's first cousin) will tangle
in this web of suspense in a big way. Part of the action hinge
on Jack embarking on his most ambitious get-rich-quick scheme
There'll be turmoil in the nursery, too. That's something Matthew
Ashford (Jack) and Melissa Reeves
(Jenn) can easily identify with
-- both stars became first-time parents last June. Ashford and
wife Christina named their daughter Grace' Reeves and husband
Scoot Reeves (Ryan, Y&R) called
their little girl Emily.
Despite their popularity, Ashford and Reeves have spent much
of this year on the sidelines. Most of their script work has
been comic shtick, like Jack's buffoonish bout with a "fatal"
illness (it turned out to be just a clerical error, folks) or
Jenn's quantum leap into snappy TV talk-hosting. When viewers
complained about the duo's lackluster storylines, the show pointed
to Reeves's real-life pregnancy, which supposedly made it impossible
to create a high-tension, long-term story. Both actors find
that excuse odd. According to Reeves, DAYS's plans for Jenn
to get pregnant actually preceded her own. In fact, the show
encouraged her to think mother-to-be. "That's why it was
so surprising when Missy actually got pregnant," says Ashford,
"and they started saying, `Well, Missy, if you weren't
"`....we'd have a really big story for you,'" Reeves
continues. "I was practically told to get pregnant, and
then they couldn't come up with a story, so they sort of blamed
me." (Setsiders offer another reason for Jack and Jenn's
fade-out: DAYS switched headwriters and faced the loser of several
major stars. With so much upheaval, practically all storylines
Now, though, DAYS intends to use the super couple to the max.
What develops during the next few months is a real Mr. Mom
scenario. Since Jenn can earn more money as a TV talk personality
than Jack can as a newspaper reporter, she opts for a career
while he finds himself drowning in bath toys and burping towels.
He's trying to write feature stories at home and is ready to
strangle his word processor. It's a real conflict for the 1990s.
Like working moms everywhere, Jenn has to deal with guilt and
separation anxiety. (What if she's not home when Abby crawls
for the first time?) Meanwhile, for an insecure guy like Ace
Deveraux, wearing an apron instead of a three-piece suit is
bound to rattle his ego. "Jack goes through a number of
stages trying to tend the nursery," says Anderson. "First,
he's terrible at it, then too good, then bored with the
whole routine. It's an important story to tell. So many women
today are the chief breadwinners in the family. I know many
situations where the woman earns a very high salary and there's
no way the man can compete."
"What that writers are trying to bring up," explains
Ashford, "is how difficult an [earning gap] can be on both
of them. As much as we'd like to act like that's okay, there's
a lot of age-old stereotyping in relationships." Ashford
hopes the Mr. Mom set-up won't just dwindle into
let's-play-nursery-nerd. "There are some very real things
that you go through if you haven't had a child before,"
he says. "It's not all fun and games. People have to grow
up and expand their lives. It's not always pretty."
Reeves hopes the writers don't sacrifice passion for punchlines.
"That's the part of our relationship that's completely
gone, and I think that's what people liked about us," she
says. "The writers have picked up on this funny stuff and
said, `Well, let's just make them the funny couple.' That's
not what we want to do. Having a baby is a very emotional time,
and it's very hard."
Reeves cites two aspects of new-mother stress that she feels
shouldn't be overlooked: sleep deprivation and mood swings.
postpartum symptoms are classic, yet soap moms never suffer
from them. "You're so tired, the baby is screaming, and
you're thinking, "I;m never going to be a good mother,'"
says Reeves. "There I am in tears, and poor Scott is trying
to help me out. One day, soon after Emily was born, I was just
staring at the refrigerator. I opened it up, looked inside and
"Crying is just one part of it," adds Ashford. "It's
the range of emotions, realizing that your life will never be
the same and trying to make it be the same. It can be sort of
cataclysmic. [With a baby] you can't just say, `Okay, I'm going
out to the gym now, or I'm going to read a book.'" Chimes
in Reeves, "At the same time, you have this baby that you
love more than life."
"I hope they'll allow us to redefine what good parents
are," says Ashford. Apparently, that's just what Anderson
has in mind for future scripts. She believes Jack and Jenn are
the perfect do to redefine parenthood in today's terms, because
of their own dysfunctional childhoods. "These characters
are both so rich emotionally," she says. "They've
been through so much. We can draw on all that." As a child,
Jenn was separated from her mother, Laura, who attempted suicide
and then languished in a mental hospital. Jack was raised by
a high-powered, often absentee adoptive father, Harper Deveraux.
"[Jack and Jenn] both had such strange upbringings,"
says Anderson. "Jennifer doesn't have a mother around who
can put that baby in her arms and teach her what to do. And
Jack had such an unconventional upbringing. That's why they'll
want to raise Abigail as conventionally as they can. But because
of the times we live in, they can't. You know, we're getting
back to family values. What are families? I think Jack, Jenn
and Abby are going to be a [1990s] family."