July 3rd, marked the week that fans of ATWT will remember for the rest of their lives. Jennifer Munsonís sudden catch of pneumonia was a little weird, but with everything sheís gone through lately, you would know she was bound to catch something. The writers had the tough task of deciding to recast the character with a new actress or milk all of the drama they could by killing Jennifer. Thank god the writers went with the latter because it was so well worth it.
The build up was perfect. Jennifer tries to hide how sheís truly feeling form her family, she ends up getting worse and finds out her condition is terminal. Knowing that her time is up, she wants to marry her love Dusty and spend her last moments with her family. With Hal, Kim, Bob, Barbara, Paul, Will, Gwen and Meg in tow, Dusty and Jennifer get married
What was so heart breaking? Ferrinís ability to lure you in made me (I donít know about you) feel as if I were right there with her. Her painfully realistic portrayal of a woman dying was just phenomenal. Jennifer created a video for her son to view when he gets older, a video that will guide him through life. Watching her come to terms with her inevitable death was very heart wrenching. As I watched her say goodbye to all of those important to her aunt and uncle, brother, father, mother, other brother and finally her husband, I was justÖ.bawling. Seriously. I donít think Iíve ever cried though damn near an entire episode of the show but happened two days in a row!! All of my roommates and friends felt as if we were there watching her die. That is serious projection by all of the actors involved in the scene.
Jennifer Ferrin wasnít the only shining star; all of those who contributed to the scenes were amazing as well. Colleen Zenk Pinterís portrayal of a mother trying to maintain her composure while her baby girl was dying was amazing. The held back tears, quivering lips and apologies for not being a better mother were so realistic that it hurt my heart. Willís [Jesse Soffer) breakdown was even harder to watch. This young man, trying to be strong for his sister was so overcome with emotion that all he could do was cry. Then on top of that you had Jenniferís amazing scenes with the late Benjamin Hendrickson (Hal). That made it even harder to watch. I had to rewind the scenes b/c my vision was so blurry from the tears.
Knowing exactly how Jennifer
was going to die had both good and bad consequences.
The good was that I knew what was going to happen so
I was able to prepare myself. I purposely left out
how she died because it was something that should
have been watched and not read about. What was the
bad part? I knew how she was going to die. But I am
proud to say that knowing in advance did not lessen
the impact of the scenes. Not in the least bit.
Knowing that Jen was going to die in the most romantic and emotionally ridden way was too much for me and my housemates. We had to stop watching for a while because it was affecting us that much. Once my housemates and I regained our composures, we watched the final scenes. My friend Ashlee muttered the words ďOh my god!Ē right before she broke down. Afterwards, all we could do was clap and be happy to know that once again we were entertained by the amazing actors and writers at As the World Turns. All of our tears were well worth it, and I hope itís worth it for all who participated in the storyline. Though I may regret this later, I hope everyone who was involved this past week gets nominated for Emmyís and sweep all of the categories. Their performances were all what winning an Emmy should be about. It should be about the talent, and not the popularity of the actor or character.
CBS has a new slogan for their daytime which says ďThe days belong to CBSĒ. Damn are they right. This week belonged to As the World Turns and Jennifer Ferrin. All of the actors in the scenes had the performances that had me hooked. No other show on CBS could have done it better than As the World Turns. Kudos to them all and I hope they all get nominated for this, get the golden star in the newest CBS Soaps In Depth and get recognized for their performances in Soap Opera Digest.-Ryan Chandler - The Chandler Zone
From the magazines:
Jen's Last Dance
Everyone had said their good-byes and left Dusty alone with Jennifer during her final moments. Near death, Jen could barely breathe but asked her new husband for a dance on their wedding day. As she was too weak to move. Dusty simply held her close, as he described their every movement, an ethereal vision of the couple appeared at the side of the bed, bringing his words to life even as Jennifer died in his arms. When he finished, Dusty saw she had gone and gently kissed her forehead. As news spread of Jennifer's passing, a series of wordless scenes presented the grief of her family and friends as Oakdale mourned the death of a beloved heroine. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. CBS Soaps in Depth - August 22, 2006 - Standout Scenes - These moments really caught us by surprise!
Unspeakable Grief, AS the World Turns
It was a heartbreaking week for ATWT fans, for obvious reasons. Not to acknowledge that feels wrong, but to gush about tragic - though fictional - events in Oakdale seems trivial at best, crassly macabre at worst. One thing had absolutely nothing to do with the other, still it was a painfully ironic week for viewers, in which a favorite soap, for once, offered no escape. But even without the bitter poignancy of real-life events that made Jennifer's death almost unbearable to watch, this story was devastating enough on its own. The show goes on, as the clichť says and we hope you'll take this as a loving tribute, if anything, to one who has suffered an aching loss and to those who grieved in their own way at home. So, with deepest respect, we'll get to the story.
The circumstances of Jennifer's terminal illness were both rushed and, to be frank, puzzling, but that didn't lessen the impact as her family gathered around in her final hours. From her tearful hospital wedding to the impromptu video meant to guide her infant son through the milestones into adulthood, Jennifer faced her death with grace. She was definitely afraid )and that admission was the most realistically chilling), but her last acts were about making peace and she wanted nothing more than to encourage that in those she loved.........(Entire Article) - Soap Opera Digest - August 8, 2006 - Editors' Choice - Digest Salutes the Best in Daytime!
It's Only My Opinion
Once in awhile, soaps and real life intersect in a way that reminds us that life is fragile, friends and family meant everything, and death is forever. Such was the case with Jennifer's death on AS THE WORLD TURNS.
She died in the hospital in the arms of the lover she had just married (Dusty) while still in her wedding dress, after saying heartfelt good-byes to her family and friends. "I will always be here and I will always love him (the baby) because he's a part of you>" said Hal mournfully. Dusty wouldn't leave Jen's dead body, and wouldn't listen to Hal or Barbara, but Paul got him out of there by calling him selfish and telling him that Jennifer's son needed him. The news spread through Oakdale via phone calls set to music as everyone reacted and hugged each other.......(Entire Article) - Carolyn Hinsey - Soap Opera Digest - August 8, 2006
Jennifer dies and ATWT lives on
The only certainties in life are death and taxes, but on daytime, no one pays taxes and few people stay dead. Still, one thing is certain: Poignant passings like Jennifer's on As the World Turns make for devastatingly good drama.
Most soaps trot out a rarely seen character for these episodes before offing them and boo-hooing (cough...Bold and Beautiful). But ATWT not only had the guts to kill a major character who was on every day, they allowed their cast, and their fans to mourn.
Every moment of Jennifer's demise was crafted with painstaking care - emphasis on pain. Jennifer Ferrin gave Jen the best deathbed scenes since Tony Jones on General Hospital, whether she was plucklily telling Paul to "just straighten up," cradling Will as he sobbed like a baby, or thanking Hal for loving her when she wasn't even his daughter.
Her entire family got to speak; everyone from Kim to Emily put their loss into words. But it was the silences that were the most poignant. Who didn't sob when Casey wordlessly walked into Barbara's suite and gathered Will, Gwen and Johnny in a hug? And when Paul, ever the smooth talker, stammered his way through a formal apology to his sister and then broke down in Meg's arms. It was the first wobbly step on his character's road to redemption.
While viewers seldom see all five stages of grief play out on a soapm it is also rare to see true-life petty rivalries of mourning. New husband/widower Dusty refused to accept Jen's fate and sat a morbid vigil by her corpse, prompting Barbara to lash out at his selfish display. "He was married to her for less than a day." she cried. "I'm her mother!" Hal gently reminded her, "We've just got more miles."
As for Hal, real-life circumstances made his scenes doubly heartfelt. At Jen's memorial, fans were forced to bid farewell to Benjamin Hendrickson.
Death is never easy, but Jennifer's cathartic demise exacted a sad toll that ATWT and its fans can live with. MB - Soap Opera Weekly August 8, 2006
From the fans via CBS.com Letter Rip:
Todayís episode (07/03) between Jennifer and Gwen was really touching. Both Jennifer Ferrin and Jennifer Landon are great actresses. Can you do one loyal viewer a favor, can you please let Jennifer stay on my television screen. Don't let her die. I can't believe how great Dusty is being. And Dusty and Jennifer have great chemistry together... I don't want Dusty to live with out Jennifer. - Amber B Ontario, Canada
Today's show was amazing!!! All the actors were unbelievable and were so convincing in their characters portrayals. I especially loved the Will and Gwen scene when Will told Gwen that Jenn was dying. When Will broke down, and Gwen comforted him it was amazing, they have such an amazing connection!! Jesse Soffer broke my heart, what an amazing performance today and so true to his character. Also, the scenes between Jenn and Gwen were great and so true to their past and characters. This is the show I grew to love, today was a show that stayed true to the shows past and stayed true to the characters. Please keep telling stories like this, which are character driven and believable and not stories that rewrite history.
Everyone involved in Jennifer's story is doing a great job and I'm happy that we have seen so much of Kim, Bob and Barbara lately, but shouldn't someone call Adam and Nikki to tell them that their sister is dying.
You brought me to tears on July fourth's show when Jennifer was doing a video of herself. I really hate that she is dying. She has finally found true love with dusty. I believe dusty loves Jennifer with all his heart. Dusty has always been there for Jennifer. Dusty just adopted Johnny as his own. I'm hoping that Bob is wrong and that they would find a cure.
I am not sure why the actress is leaving the show but I feel that you handling the death of Jennifer with great dignity and class. It was a wonderful touch to have all the characters that were intertwined in Jen's life to be at the wedding of Dusty and Jen. - A fan in Michigan
I'm so happy that Jennifer Ferrin
is moving on to new adventures in her career, but my
heart is breaking that we are losing Jennifer Munson
Donovan. I know it's only a television soap opera
but this character has been through so much heart
ache and to have her leave this way is so, so sad.
Just when I thought she and Dusty would have some
happiness, the worst happens. What a beautiful
couple they make and now she's leaving Dusty to
raise Johnny alone. I don't know if I can watch the
rest of the week. In any event, thank you so much
for the many years of ATWT. I've watched it since it
first aired. Keep up the good work.
My name is Danielle Albright. I just wanted to tell you thank you. The new situation with Jennifer has made me do a reality check in my life again. Two and half years ago (December, 2003) I had my little daughter that was 6 weeks earlier. A month later I ended up in the hospital and had to have an emergency heart surgery. This was the second one I had. I had two more after that. I was very close to dying and would have been doing the exact thing Jennifer did on yesterday's show and telling my daughter things on a tape. To make a long story short. I related to it. I was only 24 and my daughter was only a month old and I kicked it and fought back my life because of my daughter and I knew she needed me. So after the show yesterday I decided to make some changes to my life because things haven't been going well for me for quite some time. I realized I had been through too much to live the rest of it out unhappy. So I just wanted to say thanks. I know that it is just a soap opera but I related and it made me think. Thank you. - Danielle Albright
Iím currently watching today Thursday July 6 episode and I just have to tell you that I haven't cried this much since the death of my own grandmother a few years ago. When As the World Turns would break into a commercial I would stop crying and as soon as the tears stopped Jen was back on and I started again. Before the first commercial I was choked and then after that I was streaming tears and when Will had his moment with Jen I was balling my eyes out. Jenís moments with Hal and Paul are what sent me over the edge. Iím really hoping that Jen makes it through but Iím not expecting it. Iím really gonna miss her she was the only truly kind and genuine person on the show. Thank you CBS for leaving me red and puffy eyed.
I just finished watching today's show and it was so sad. I think it was so nice for Jen to be able to tell her family how much she loved them and that she forgave Paul and Barbara and how much she loved her dad and Will. My husband died from cardiomyopothy and passed away in his sleep. Although my kids knew how much he loved them it would have been nice if he could have had that one last chance to give them something to hold on to, to remember him and be able to say they loved him too. - Debbie
Jen's goodbyes were heartbreaking. Every moment of it was so touching and heartbreaking, I was sobbing the whole show. I loved her goodbye to Will, it was so sad the way he just broke down in tears and couldn't say a word. Her goodbye to Hal was CHILLING. When he promised to love her FOREVER, I was crying for BH. "Iím scared" and he said, "I know". OMG. My favorite was the long waited Paul and Jen goodbye and it didn't disappoint. Roger and Jennifer are simply magic together. Paul was so overwhelmed. I loved that he FINALLY apologized for what he did and asked for her forgiveness. I loved that she told him she ALWAYS forgave him and she loved him. Paul was SO relief to hear her say it even though he knew he didn't do much to deserve it. My fave part was when she told him to forgive everybody and love everybody, ESPECIALLY himself. It was so heartbreaking to hear because it shows how well she knows him. It was beautifully written, well acted and so very sad. It was worth the wait. Kudos to JF, RH, JS, CZP and BH.
So very upset over Jennifer
leaving the show. I thought I would never stop
crying today. She was the one bright spot in that
dysfunctional family of hers. I will miss her so
much. Upset in New England
Today was the episode that I think each of us were waiting for, and dreading to happen at the same time. That being said, I have to add that today as we all knew Jennifer was going to pass away, that each performance by every actor was breathtaking. Not only did it bring me to tears, but it also inspired me! What a beautiful, heartbreaking show. Every actor and actress made me believe that they were really there, in that situation. I am sad to see Jennifer go, but you could not have made a more believable episode of ATWT. Keep them coming!
You guys did it!!! When Dusty
described how he and Jennifer were dancing at their
wedding! Oh man....the waterworks were
gushing...wow! I've never cried so hard in any show
or any movie...wow!!! I'm still mourning over
Jennifer being gone forever...her dying in Dusty's
arms was the most beautiful, heart wrenching scene I
have EVER seen. Thank you for keeping it real.
I have been watching As the World Turns for over 30 years and I have always felt it is by far the best written soap opera there is, but with Jennifer Munson's death week, you really outdid yourself. The writing and acting were outstanding. Keep up the good work, although you will have to go far to top that.
Today's episode (7/12) was very sad. I work all the time & I had no idea that Jen was dying. The last time I watched Jen was entertaining the idea from Emily to help her baby. At that time I had no idea that she was ill and dying. I'm in shock because I loved Jen, and she was so happy with Dusty. I had no idea they had married either. The episode today was very touching & I was in tears.
That was truly the most romantic and heartbreaking storyline I have ever seen the week of Jennifer's death. I cried everyday and it really made me think about death. I could actually feel what it must feel like to be on your death bed. Everyone's emotions were so real. Great story.
Thank you for a beautiful memorial service for the character of Jennifer!
From the fans via the soap magazines:
The writing, acting, directing and every nuance and scene were outstanding during the final days of Jennifer on AS THE WORLD TURNS. Exquisite writing covered all the fine details, from having Jennifer say her good-byes and words of advice to each person who meant something to her, to Lisa reminding us where Jennifer got her name and similar personality, and Parker telling his parents that he was mad at God for not listening to his prayers. And not nearly enough can be said about the acting. Grayson McCouch's [Dusty] stare and sobs told us all we needed to know. Jennifer Ferrin's Jennifer died with dignity and not over-dramatized schmaltz. Not one performance has been melodramatic, but so real that this fan of 25 years continues to reach for the tissues even are the funeral is over. All this over a character I never reacted strongly to when she was around, yet I am now starting to miss since she's been gone. Kudos to ATWT! - pilkeyst, via the internet - Soap Opera Digest - August 8, 2006