I had huge reservations from the moment I heard Days of Our Lives was bringing back the iconic character of Eve without Charlotte Ross in the role. I grew up watching the Betty vs. Veronica antics of virginal goody-goody Jennifer Rose Horton (Melissa Reeves) and teen tart Eve Donovan.
As Eve grew into womanhood—complete with a prostitution arc that saw her fall in love with her pimp—she became one of the most beloved characters on the soap, the quintessential hooker with a heart of gold. I worried it would be hard for a new actress to capture the combination of pin-up doll temptress and fragile child-woman Ross created so effortless.
To succeed Ross, the DAYS brass tapped soap opera legend Kassie DePaiva, a woman who is no stranger to tricky recasts. She more than made the character of Blair Cramer her own on One Life to Live and the first actress to play that part was Asian!
With DePaiva inhabiting the role, Eve returned to Salem in classic troublemaker form. Thanks to a slight historical retcon, Eve was entitled to half of any book royalties from tomes written by the late Jack Deveraux (Matthew Ashford). It just so happened the roving reporter, whom Eve married in order to get her hands on the inheritance pimp boyfriend Nick Corelli (George Jenesky) left her, had published a book about his time in Afghanistan. This reignited Jennifer and Eve's feud for a new generation. The fact that Jennifer and Jack's son JJ (Casey Moss) had fallen hard for Eve's daughter Paige (True O'Brien) should have set up quite the solid multi-generational conflict. Only something was off.
During their early 90's marriage of convenience, Jack and Eve were snarky frenemies. He needed cash to save his newspaper, The Spectator, and Nick's will stipulated Eve had to be married before she could touch the millions he left her. It was a win-win situation. Sure, Eve loved rubbing Jennifer's nose in the marriage but it was all treated as light romantic comedy hi-jinks.
Flash forward to 2014. Eve returned to Salem dangerously bitter over a failed singing career and having to raise Paige as a single mom. When she wasn't desperately throwing herself at every man in town, she was hissing about how vile JJ Deveraux was. "He's just like his FATHER!" she screamed often to anyone who would listen. The problem was, Eve was always fond of Jack.
Life not turning out the way we want can definitely cause bitterness and resentment, but Eve's venomous reaction to the memory of Jack Deveraux was way off base. None of this was DePaiva's fault. She played what was written and played it damn well. Her Eve came off as a rode-hard woman who was sick and tired of being crapped on by the men in her life.
Things began to look up story-wise once Eve noticed how smoking hot her frigid daughter's strapping, hairy, teen buck of a boyfriend was. Eve's raunchy, desperate, searching affair with JJ was one of DAYS' hottest storylines of the past few years. Then it ended. Paige found out and JJ went all 21 Jump Street in order to go undercover for the D.E.A. Huh?
DePaiva was left twisting in the wind as the new regime began telling a serial killer storyline to clean house before the soap's upcoming 50th anniversary. Then she was let go.
Despite all of this, the actress continued to give every scene her all — especially in sequences exploring Eve's devastation over her daughter's brutal death. Meanwhile, DePaiva continues to champion DAYS on social media. No bitter meltdowns or passive aggressive swipes at the writers, past or present, from this trooper. We need more of DePaiva's level of class, decorum and professionalism restored to daytime. Maybe she can teach a class?