Bringing back Northrop was an entirely different mistake. I love him and Marlena but it just all felt weird and flat. Romar were cute and fun but it was literally chemistry on all cylinders with Dee/Drake and no one wanted to write Roman well.
I think the reaction to John and Kristen was okay, but it wasn't in JER's vision. I actually think the weird Tony stuff hurt her more than the Jarlena stuff. Because marrying your brother is straight up bizarre.
From 93 - 95, John and Kristen were outwardly written as if they were a traditional supercouple but I think that was really a giant red herring all along; the seeds for a John/Marlena reunion were always there. Notice how John never really accepts anything that Kristen tells him even if it's the truth, but trusts anything that Marlena tells him implicitly even if it's actually the MarDevil (until MarDevil threatens to keep Belle away from him, which John knows is something Marlena would never do). It's a theme that carries on during Aremid (this time with Marlena trusting John and Kristen not) and finally pays off at the Elvis wedding when John instantly knows that it is Marlena who is telling the truth, not Kristen.
Anyway, yes, outwardly the writing seems as if its pretty much John/Kristen with Marlena as the problematic ex pretty much all the way up until Marlena dies. After that it's John/Marlena but it's been seeded all along.
Oh and yes it wouldn't surprise me if NBC wanted John/Kristen but Reilly, who could play the long game like no other except for Bill Bell, just went along with it until he got his own way.
Well, Vanessa is gorgeous so nothing would look bad on her. Rena is gorgeous too but I like her with longer hair. I think it was a situation where Vanessa pushed too much as a first contract player and TPTB were mad. I don't think the show was that convinced on Brenda until she blew up with Sonny. Again I think S&B were a really happy accident.
I wonder. I always assumed they'd committed to Dee and Drake as endgame as early as the Titan boardroom because they realized the chemistry was too much to deny, and that's why they threw over poor Northrop.
I remember liking Kristen even before she was nuts and liking them together, but she may well have been unpopular as a heroine - I was too young to take stock.