This was also when Vivian and Ivan spent most of their time dressed in humiliating costumes and also trying to con "Jonesy" (Robert Mandan) out of his fortune. I think Vivian also dressed as Elvis around this time. I think a third of the cast dressed as Elvis around this time. Vivian or Ivan were also dressed as french fries. I believe Louise Sorel panned this material when she was interviewed in the late '90s.
It was sneaky but it was there. When they were in the jungle getting Roman's cure John was delirious and making out with Hope thinking it was Marlena and I was like, nope, nope this seems like trouble. Good thing they didn't try to make that work for several years lol. And it would have been more scandalous if it was Kristen he was making out with, but I just remember Kristen standing in the corner mad about it. They really just wasted Eileen for her last 6 months, but they gave her a good workout for the entire previous year so whatever.
I did like some of the 97/98 stuff because I felt the show was finally opening up a bit more after years of the show feeling somewhat insular. The major storylines of the Reilly era finally had payoff and there were some new character combinations to look forward to. Sami/Franco was an interesting pairing and Nicole was also interesting as basically the first majorly successful post-Reilly character.
Unfortunately the rest of 98 dragged on and on. Being a few years behind in NZ (a fact that I probably don't mention enough) meant that I knew what was coming and I wasn't interested in sitting through a year of Hope as Princess Gina. The Salem High gang didn't pique my interest all that much either so I never really came back to the show until the Salem Stalker era (but had watched here and there). And then the show was yanked off the airwaves during Melaswen, by which time I had lost interest again anyway.
This was Hope and John on an island adventure to find a rare orchid to cure Roman. Kristen insisted she knew the cure and was trying to barter her freedom or something, I think...? I remember reading about a scene where John and Hope come across one of Stefano's shrines to Marlena and are very disturbed. If anyone has that scene I'd be curious to see it.
MB/LW truly do lack romantic chemistry, but at the same time I feel like Carson still makes sense? Sonny/Carly have both had so many pairings that it's easy for them to come together. I don't think they are each others great loves, but I don't know where you go at this point with them. I don't want to see MB in another failed romance and the show has really doubled down on them over the years. Although it seems like they might be trying to shake them up now. I honestly would not care if they broke up tomorrow, but I would hope the show had a clear idea where they were headed because if not they will just default back to them again.