I remember absolute fury from both fans online (Usenet) and critics. It was a shock bc so much time had been built up with Jason and Carly.
I had no loyalty to Sonny/Brenda bc I had never liked Brenda much back then, lol. It took me a long time to appreciate her beyond the overexposure. I did find Carly fascinating though, even when I hated her for what she did to Robin, and I thought she was one of the most compelling characters on daytime. SJB's longing for Jason was so visceral, for so long, that I think it shook people hard, even me and I was angry she'd helped drive Robin out of town and away from Jason. But I recovered very quickly with her and Sonny lol. And yes, I believe they were named Best Couple for 2000, which they were. But that was later.
I was very angry that they intended to kill Carly, no matter who it was in the role when Tamara took over. I do think she came into her own with the Guza material; her presumed death, etc.
Goutman also mentioned going on those "inconsistent remotes" because they couldn't afford to "rent a tree".
"Dark Shadows" was never BIG-BUDGET, but they had a zillion "trees" in their studio, most of them being branches glued to music stands or something. Those little kids on Dark Shadows could get lost in the "woods" and wander around all night, without ever leaving the studio. It didn't look spectacular (obviously) but it set the atmosphere in a somewhat believable manner. I was hoping Goutman would expand a bit more on the cost of "renting a tree" versus going on a remote, and if they simply didn't have the backstage personnel to figure out how to improvise with the props they already had.