|The couple Janice Harrison and Mark McCormick|
It is a very curious couple that is presented to us at the beginning of 1986. An unexpected couple because, until they met, nothing suggested that these two persons knew each other. An unexpected couple because, at first sight, no center of interest, no common passion is guessed between the serious and classic Dr. Mark McCormick and the cheerful and sexy Janice Harrison. Moreover, since his arrival in town, Mark seems to be interested only in his childhood friend whom he has just found, young nurse Mary DuVall. As for Janice, since her recent break-up with Dylan Hartley, she focuses on her own development (and on her rediscovered freedom, as we can assume in view of Mark's character), and on her friendly relationship with Mason Capwell. And yet...
However, it is by the greatest chance that under the Santa Barbara sun, the road of these two persons will cross again. It is by chance that Janice decides to enter a photography contest. Mark stumbles upon the USA Centerfold magazine, in which Janice's photo makes the headlines. From then on, chance will no longer have its place and the couple Mark/ Janice will be revealed in broad daylight.
Once past the shock and the surprise of the discovery of the magazine front page, Mark McCormick leaves the Capwell villa to go to the new model, Janice Harrison. He comes to her door under a false name to force her to open to him. He invites himself to her home while she opens the door to him and greets Mrs. Mark McCormick. Janice's surprise is total ! For the first time in two years, they are facing each other.
Mark shows up a few days later at Janice's with the divorce papers. We then discover the story not of Mark and Janice, but of Mark and Wendy, the real name of the young woman. The couple will have lived only a short time together because, very quickly, certainly after their wedding, Wendy had to face Mark's true character.
Mark and Wendy were married in the early 1980s. None of their rare face-to-face will give us any information about their encounter and the birth of their feelings. We can only assume that Wendy was a reserved young girl, who very quickly felt full of admiration for this young and charming doctor. Mark had everything for himself, and above all a charisma and confidence that could be lacking in Wendy. Mark felt flattered to have on his arm a beautiful, sensual young woman who could arouse the admiration and jealousy of his fellow doctors.
But one day, the scene cracks and releases Mark's true personality. Mark makes a medical mistake. His patient dies. And instead of acknowledging his wrongs, Mark is willing to do anything to maintain the illusion of his perfect life, to retain the esteem of his colleagues. He forces Wendy to lie for him during the trial. For that, he does not hesitate to beat her repeatedly. This is the end of innocence for Wendy. And the chrysalis transforms... into Janice Harrison.
Wendy leaves Mark. Wendy moves. Wendy changes her name. Wendy changes her life. Janice is born !
Janice is a completely different woman. A woman who accepts and takes responsibility. So, when Mark comes to present the divorce papers, she challenges him and reminds him of everything she did for him : she lied, she kept silent to protect him. During their discussion, Mark dares to ask Janice to leave the city, always with the sole purpose of preserving the image of the perfect doctor, of a perfect life... with the hope that he can build this life with Mary DuVall. But Janice is not Wendy. Janice is not Wendy anymore. If Janice signs the divorce papers, she won't agree to leave to satisfy Mark. She doesn't want to do anything for him anymore. Janice intends to live her life well. And her life is in Santa Barbara.
The couple finds themselves together again, while Janice is harassed by the man Mark would be responsible for his wife's death. But this time, it is just the two of them. The truth about their strange couple will be revealed : Mason and Mary learn that they are husband and wife. Mark assures Mary that they will divorce, besides she has already signed the divorce papers. And later, Janice asks Mason to take charge of her divorce.
All ties in the couple are broken. But before leaving Mark's life definitively, Janice takes the step - she can no longer remain silent - and alerts Mary about Mark's behavior. He is not the man he claims to be, an "other" dozes in him, ready to wake up when real life does not correspond to the life he imagines. Janice must remember the blows received by Mark to force her to shut up years earlier. Mary does not listen to Janice's warnings, how could she, as she sees only the surface of Mark's personality. Unfortunately, the rest of the events will prove Janice was right...
Wendy and Mark, a cliché couple. Mark and Wendy, a stereotyped couple... Many adjectives could characterize this couple consisting of a sexy blonde and a tidy man. And, if this television couple seems to be a cliché couple, still today, more than 30 years after the broadcast of the show, it is because unfortunately, it remains still and still topical. Neither Mark nor Wendy are stereotypes, they just represent a part of our society...
Text written for this site by Lilian