I haven't seen this stuff since the Soapnet repeat but I probably got a few details wrong. The story was terrible, for the reasons you mention, and also because they lacked any chemistry and Philece Sampler was so badly miscast. The only moment I remember enjoying was when at one point she tore into "Mother Hudson" and poor Clara keeled over. It was like something from Soap.
Thanks. I probably discount all of the longing panting "summer ... is ... so ... hot" Donna and John got up to because I was so disgusted by the handling of the question of whether or not he had raped her when she was a teenager.