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Part One of this Background discussion is at http://jwsel.livejournal.com/23229.html

Part Two of this Background discussion is at http://jwsel.livejournal.com/24054.html

Thank you for hanging in there, dear readers.  I know this has been long and, for that reason, it probably will be awhile before I do another background post.  Hopefully, you have enjoyed this different perspective on  the Shayla pairing.  In this final part, I will provide a summary of how the Shane/Kayla relationship ended, offer some additional thoughts on things that I thought were good and bad about the storyline, and will then revisit those preconceptions I listed at the beginning of part 1.

How Did Shayla End?

The end came for the Shane and Kayla relationship after Shane was paralyzed in an explosion at the Salem art museum < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miB16Wh_wX4 >. 

Here is a quick summary of what happened.  The museum was bombed during a party Shane and the ISA set up to make contacts with people connected to gangster Rafi Torres.  Torres had kidnapped Bo and had forced Roman (the real Roman, not JoRoman) to leave Salem by threatening Marlena and the kids.  A few days before the party, Shane and Roman were involved in a sting operation in which Rafi Torres' brother was killed.  It is unclear from the clips I've seen whether the museum party was bombed because Torres knew what the ISA intended or if Shane may have been targeted.  Whatever the reason, at the party, John Black spotted a warning light indicating that a door was open and the people connected to Torres started leaving.  Shane investigated the open door, found one of Torres' men outside, and learned there as a bomb inside.  Shane rushed back into the museum and was trying to get everyone evacuated when the bomb went off.  Besides a waiter who was killed, Shane was the most seriously injured.  His heart stopped twice, he was briefly in a coma, and, when he woke, Shane discovered he was paralyzed from the waist down.

This led to a severe strain in the Shane/Kayla relationship.  Shane sank into a depression, frustrated and angry about his condition.  He also was placed on the ISA's inactive list, taking away one of the most important elements of his life.  Also, he could not get a clear answer about whether the paralysis was temporary or permanent.  At first, he tried to put on a front for Kayla, but more and more she became the focus of his anger and resentment, as Shane accused her of hovering and pitying him.  (This gets a bit repetitive, with Shane snapping at Kayla and then apologizing, but here is an example, along with a nice John/Shane scene < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er1xQPXMdpc >.)

Beyond feeling helpless, the other big issue during the paralysis for Shane is the impact of the paralysis on his and Kayla's sex life.  It is almost amusing the lengths the show goes to avoid using the word "impotent."  (By contrast, on today's show, they would probably use the storyline for a product placement for Viagra or Cialis.  Can't you just see Shane or Kayla listing side-effects and warning about "erections lasting longer than three hours"?)  Anyway, due to his own sense of inadequacy, Shane continues to push Kayla away.

There nonetheless are some very good scenes during this storyline.  Here is one clip where Kayla tries to break through Shane's walls, but he pushes her away < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAKVw-oeE5o > (I also like Kayla's conversation with Lisanne Gardner, the attorney suing the hospital over the death of the waiter, because it summarizes Shane's feelings, something that is not in his own nature to reveal).  Another sequence of scenes occur when Shane comes to the hospital to be with Kayla on her last day after being fired, but then expresses his frustration about the paralysis, claiming he "does not have a life" but "only a chair" < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ITiHsdCk7U >.  Finally, there is a back-and-forth involving Kayla trying to convince Shane to attend John and Isabella's wedding.  Though he eventually attends, he initially refuses because he feels going with Kayla will make a statement about their future that he is not willing to make < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsTuU11V7Gk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFJCG6OAe5k >.  The sequence of scenes in that last clip beginning at 1:56 in the second of those clips basically sums up Shane's thoughts, with him declaring that he is not willing to give her less than 100% and Kayla trying to convince him that she only wants to be with him, no matter his condition.

One thing that I think comes across in these scenes is that Shane and Kayla do love each other.  I think that also is clear in the goodbye scene I discussed in the "Grab a Little Happiness" section < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy0RLRHeVQ8 >.   This occurs when they say goodbye for the final time as Kayla leaves Salem for Los Angeles and returns an emerald ring Shane gave her.  I think it difficult to watch those sequences and not accept that Shane and Kayla have some type of love for each other.  Ultimately, it is Shane's stubborn pride and sense of inadequacy that ultimately destroys their relationship as he believes he needs to nobly sacrifice any chance with Kayla for her own good.
   
In a bit of irony, Shane recovers from the paralysis only a few months later, shortly before he leaves Salem for good.


What Else Is Good About Shane/Kayla?

A few additional things that I enjoy in the Shane/Kayla storyline:

    Kayla's development.  I'll admit that I was never a big fan of Kayla and Steve.  (Sorry SteveandKaylaFan.)  Perhaps some of that was due to the natural jealousy that tends to arise when one couple is supplanted with another.  During 1987-1988 I thought that the writers were bolstering Steve and Kayla as a supercouple, while saddling Shane and Kim with some weaker storylines (Gillian, Eve, Gabrielle, etc.).  In addition, I found Steve to be rather over-the-top emotionally -- loud and obnoxious when he was angry and excessively weepy when he had to be sensitive. (That opinion has lessened a bit as I've watched Steve more recently.) 

But one of the real issues for me is that I always felt Kayla was a bit of a cipher.  Unlike Kim and Shane, who each had their own baggage, Kayla seemed like a good girl who mainly existed to react to Steve. 

With Steve's death, however, Kayla developed a lot.  We saw her standing up to her father and questioning her role as the member of the Brady family who subjugated her own needs to play peacemaker.  For certain periods of the Shane/Kayla relationship, I enjoyed these developments.  (In the "what's not good" section below, I do think Kayla was ill-served by the writers for part of the relationship.)

    Shane's return to the cold, emotionless character in the wake of Kim's leaving.  I've discussed this side of Shane above, but it is nice to see some consistency in Shane's character.  From early in his history, we know this is how he reacted to witnessing his first wife's "death."  It logically follows that this side of Shane would reemerge following the collapse of his marriage to Kim.  That is also how I picture much of his life after he left Salem, following the collapse of his relationship with Kayla, the paralysis, and Kim's engagement to Phillip Collier.

    Julie Williams as meddler and confidante.  In the friendships post, I commented on how certain characters served as confidants to Shane during his time in Salem.  At the time Kim left, Hope had "died," Miss Peach was used sparingly, and nobody had really taken their place.  For a few brief scenes, however, Julie Williams got to have fun pushing Shane to admit he was falling for Kayla < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceWVBp3rVYk and  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sWKz5A3_R8 >.  You have to love Julie's quip that meddling in love lives is a "Horton-family tradition."  It would have been nice if Julie were used more.

    Charles Shaughnessy's and Mary Beth Evans' acting.  There are some great scenes between the two of them, especially in the lead-up to their break-up and Kayla leaving Salem.  I won't relink the scenes, but I've mentioned a number of standouts above, including the two scenes in the mountains, the scenes I linked from the paralysis storyline, and the final Shane/Kayla scene.


What Else Is Bad About Shayne/Kayla?

You might think after this lengthy discourse, I would not have many negative things to say, but there is still a lot to criticize about the storyline.  Here are just a few things I greatly dislike (not necessarily in order of importance):

    Shane and Kayla are pretty boring.  As much as I can defend the Shane/Kayla relationship as a reasonable outgrowth of their past relationships, they just are not a very exciting couple.  Shane and Kayla were the more stable members of their supercouple relationships, and their only significant early conflict is Kayla's reluctance to get involved with Shane because of her feelings for Steve and Kim.  After that, you are left with two relatively stable people who have some semblance of love for one another.  They spend a lot of time kissing, but little else because they are "moving slowly."  That does not make great drama.

One of the fundamental aspects of the great couples of that time period is that they had to overcome significant odds and were able to do that because of their strong love for one another.  Shane and Kayla never really got any storylines that put their love to the test.  In order, their storylines after Steve's death were: (1) going to Alamainia; (2) teaming up to start the lab to find the cure for the virus that was killing ISA agents; (3) dealing with Kim's return the instant they first kissed; (4) dealing with the continuing mission against Lawrence and Kim's part in the ISA mission; (5) Cal Winters' return to Salem in which he kidnapped Kayla and, later, Kim; and (6) Shane's paralysis.  From the time Shane and Kayla first kissed (between 2 and 3, most of those plots heavily involved Kim, so Shane/Kayla never got a chance to get off the ground on their own).  I actually think the paralysis storyline might have provided a "love conquers all" plot and might have made Shane/Kayla a rootable couple for viewers, but Mary Beth Evans chose not to renew her contract and the paralysis storyline instead lead to the end of the Shane/Kayla relationship.

    The contrivances to make Kim an obstacle.  From the time Kim first arrives back in Salem, it seems like there is a magnet that draws her to Shane and Kayla every time they kiss or have any display of affection.  Kim even jokes about it becoming a "pattern."  Then Kim becomes Shane's partner in the mission to catch Lawrence, leading to her demand that Kayla be fired from the lab, her repeatedly coming into conflict with Shane, her having to go away with Shane for ISA training; and her having to move into Shane's house after she receives some threatening letters and gifts  believed to be from Lawrence (they actually are from Cal).  Rather than create an organic conflict to provide drama for Shane and Kayla, the writers just shove Kim into the middle of everything and create artificial reasons for Shane and Kayla to be apart, even though there really did not appear to be any chance that Shane would return to Kim.

Kim also is used repeatedly to delay Shane and Kayla making love.  For instance, the first time Kayla wants Shane to make love to her, he can't because he has to sneak into Lawrence's to catch him in the act of trying to kill Kim < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytoTtHocRqo >.  (That scene also involves the absurd scenario that Shane would spend the evening drinking wine with Kayla, knowing he has to be at Lawrence's later to protect Kim.) 

Another time, when Kim is living in Shane's house and plans to seduce Shane (sorry, but I don't buy her dressing up and setting up a candlelight meal to be anything else), Kayla tricks Shane to come out to the middle of a lake during a storm by sending him a note claiming to have a tip about a case, and then takes him to an island fishing shack. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrtWyGDbvZo and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPbnqygq1IA (there is some overlap between these clips) >.  They are about to make love when the police arrive, having been called by Kim who fears Shane is in danger (the police arrival is not in any of the online clips).  When they get back, Shane and Kayla lash out at Kim, even though her concern probably was justified as the note was written in a way that it easily could have been a trap < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzO4Zm9frDg (beginning at 7:35) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOf7cfCopq8 >.  Shane does have a decent point that Kim should never have read the note in the first place, but for the most part these scenes make Kim the victim of their unfair accusations.  While Kim is living in Shane's house, Kayla repeatedly accuses her of using the situation to get close to Shane and interfere in the Shane/Kayla relationship.  This, too, makes Kim a victim, but Kayla's concern also may be true.  The clip where Kim dresses up and sets up the dinner suggests Kim's interest in Shane goes beyond business.

This all plays out in a lot of false drama.  If Shane and Kayla are at the stage of their relationship where they want to become lovers, it makes no sense that Kimberly would be stopping them.  In the scene where Shane gives Kayla the ring in the next paragraph, why don't they sleep together at that point?  It just is silly delay for drama.  The only thing that the delay does seem to indicate is that Shane and Kayla are not as intentionally cruel as many people think; if they were, they would have just had sex at Shane's house regardless of whether Kim was living there.  Ultimately, this is just more of a contrivance that  does not lead anywhere and makes the characters look silly.  This could have been avoided with some storylines that let Kim move on with her life and leave Shane and Kayla to develop their relationship without Kim's interference.

    The emerald ring.  I mentioned the ring above, but I hate it with a passion.  The main reason is that it cheapens the cameo that Shane gave Kim early in their relationship.  According to Shane, the cameo was given to his mother by his father and was very special to her (and to Shane).  His mother wanted her to give it to woman he loved.  And the cameo recurs throughout the relationship -- Emma steals it, Eve steals it, Kim returns it to Shane after she leaves, etc.  The cameo is the ultimate symbol of their relationship.

Suddenly, however, there is a new family heirloom -- the emerald ring.  According to Shane's explanation < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l-VpnAo5qA >, his father gave it to his mother in Ireland on the day he realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her (I think in a later scene, Kim adds that Shane's mother wore it every day for the rest of her life).  This backstory is extremely romantic (the cameo had no such backstory) and, obviously, a huge emerald ring is more valuable than the cameo.  So it begs a tremendous question -- why didn't Shane give the emerald ring to his true love, Kimberly, during their six years together?  Are we supposed to believe that he was just holding on to it in case he had to give away another family heirloom to a woman he loved?  It really is ridiculous when you think about it.  (Another question I have is how Shane even has the emerald ring.  He tells Kayla that his mother wore it every day, but his mother and father died in a boating accident and their bodies were never recovered.  Did she just not wear the ring that day?)

Another thing I dislike about the ring is that the story about Shane's parents, for all intents and purposes, suggests it is an engagement ring.  And it looks like one.  Given the state of Shane and Kayla's relationship when he gives it to her, that seems very premature.  A different item would have worked better.

There are two good I see about the ring.  First, it meant Shane could give Kayla a meaningful, personal gift other than the cameo.  I can't imagine the viewer outrage if that had happened.  Second, the ring serves as a prompt for the final scene between Shane and Kayla, when she returns it to him.  Of course, both of those good things could have been done with a different item.

    The cheapening of the Kim/Shane relationship.  I've already discussed how the emerald ring cheapens the symbol of the Kim/Shane relationship, the cameo, but Shane also makes some statements to Kayla that are unduly dismissive of his past with Kim.

The first is the utterly indefensible statement that he is with "the right Brady."  I've heard people say that he said "the right Brady sister," but I couldn't hear the word "sister" when I watched the scene, but that word does not change the meaning.  Regardless, the statement is inexcusable, especially when Shane has been acknowledging the importance of his relationship with Kim throughout the storyline.  I guess we could consider it a slip of the tongue or presume he was just trying to help Kayla deal with her insecurities.  Otherwise, there is no way to defend the statement -- and I won't really try.

Shane also makes some statements along the way that echo things he said to Kim.  The one that stands out to me is when he tells Kayla at the fishing shack that he wants to make love to her and has never wanted anything more in his entire life.  Seriously?  Shane used that line with Kim several times, so it hurts Shane and Kim fans familiar with their romance.  I guess it is possible to say that is just Shane falling back on a tried-and-true line, but it does undermine the sincerity of his previous statements to Kim.

    The return of Cal Winters.  This is by far my least favorite storyline during the entire Shane and Kim run on the show.  It fails for numerous reasons.

First, returning Cal is batshit crazy.  When Cal appeared on the show originally, he was a former POW who struggled with returning to society.  Initially, he attempted to get back together with his former wife, who was then-engaged to JoRoman, and, after that, set his sights on Kim during Shane's disappearance and subsequent "death."  The Cal Winters of that period was troubled, but wormed his way into Kim's life by being a supportive friend.  There was nothing overtly crazy about him.  Yet on his return -- played by a different actor -- Cal Winters is a total loon.  He dresses in costumes, has crazy rants, and speaks primarily in pop-culture by randomly quoting movies and song lyrics.

The problem with this new Cal is that he is a cartoon.  More importantly, watching him, you have to wonder how Kim ever got involved with him in the first place.  Cal is so absurd that he just fails as an interesting villain.

I have read comments that crazy Cal is designed to be meta, i.e., that he is intentionally absurd to make fun of the absurdity of the Kim-Shane-Kayla pseudo-triangle.  Unfortunately, the rest of the storyline and the aftermath is played so seriously that it is hard to accept that interpretation.  Further, none of the main characters in the storyline has ever been used in a slapstick fashion, so forcing them to play off crazy Cal strikes a discordant note.  If the intention was to play this entire storyline for laughs, it doesn't work.

The second failure is the hostage situation where Kim and Kayla are jointly held hostage.  Originally, Cal kidnaps Kayla by accident.  However, when another character discovers Cal's location, the character calls Shane but the call is received by Kim.  So what does Kim do?  She doesn't call Shane or any of the numerous police officers in her family.  Instead, she rushes to the location on her own and is captured by Cal.   It's just gross stupidity to create an artificial situation in which Kim fears that Shane is willing to deliver baby Jeannie to Cal in exchange for Kayla.  Like anyone really believed he would risk Jeannie's life just because he believed he was not her biological father?  This whole situation is far too contrived and comes across as ridiculous.

Third, there is Shane.  Given the hostage set-up, he actually gets a chance to be a hero again.  Yet he basically manages to do almost nothing to save Kim and Kayla.  Yes he tricks Cal into letting him into the room by bringing a recording of a crying baby wrapped in a blanket, but then is unable to subdue Cal in a fight.  This is the superspy character who managed to survive repeated attempts on his life by Victor Kiriakis, outwitted the KGB twice, and organized the plan that led to Stefano's apparent downfall.  Yet he can't take care of crazy Cal Winters?  Instead, Shane gets knocked out, leaving Kim to save the day by shooting Cal before he can kill Shane.  Honestly, this story made Shane impotent long before Rafi Torres' bomb.

Now this story could have been vastly improved.  This was an opportunity for Shane to prove how much he was willing to sacrifice for Kayla which, as discussed above, could have strengthened them as a couple.   Make Kayla the lone hostage and have Shane actually do something.  Make Cal dangerous, intent on revenge against Shane, and create a tense, dangerous situation.  Instead, Cal is little more than a cartoon character and everyone has to play off his lunacy, resulting in a pitiful storyline that ill-serves the characters involved.

    Kayla's insecurities.  This actually relates to the Cal Winters storyline, but it starts even earlier.  In the middle of the entire storyline with Kim's return, Kayla suddenly starts being insecure about her relationship with Shane.  I think it starts with her accusing Kim of wanting both Shane and Lawrence after Lawrence is arrested for attempting to kill Kim, but gets off by having an underling take the blame.  From that point on, Kayla becomes totally a shell of her former self (until Kim leaves and she and Shane move into the paralysis storyline).

But the biggest problem with insincere Kayla is that it creates another artificial drama -- will Kayla tell Shane that Jeannie is his daughter or not.  This is supposedly some huge secret Kayla learns from Cal, and holds off telling Shane, because she fears she will lose him to Kim if he learns the truth about Jeannie.

First, let's talk about this fear.  Why is she afraid?  I have no clue.  Shane has just spent the better part of a year professing his love to her and showing no inclination to return to Kim.  He also has never contemplating reuniting with Kim for Andrew's sake.  (In fact, he actually tells Kayla that it would be unfair to Andrew if he got back with Kim just for the sake of appeasing everyone.)  In short, there is no reason for Kayla to worry about telling Shane.

Second, how long does Kayla keep this secret?  I think it lasts for about a week.  Compared to the secrets Kim and Shane kept, that is almost a negligible time period.

Finally, there is a big problem with the way the revelation of the secret plays out.  All Cal did was refer to Jeannie as "his baby" when ranting about Shane.  He immediately corrected himself and said it was a slip of the tongue and Jeannie was his (i.e., Cal's) baby.  So what did Kayla really know?  Yet when she finally confesses her secret to Shane, she basically tells him Jeannie is his daughter, leading to Shane and Kim to be angry at her.  More realistically, she could have said, "Hey, Shane, I've been thinking about something that happened when I was being held by Cal last week.  He was going on and on about Jeannie and, at one point, referred to her as your baby.  He immediately corrected himself, but, you know, maybe that slip was the truth.  Maybe Jeannie really is yours."  That was far more in line with what Kayla actually knew and would not have resulted in the silly drama over Kayla not telling the truth.  Further proving this is whole issue is silly, Shane forgives Kayla after a day or two.

    Kim's wishy-washy behavior.  I already discussed how hard it is to tell what Kim intends or wants.  I suspect this is due to a combination of factors.  First, I suspect the writers did not know where they eventually wanted to go, so Kim's intentions are unclear.  Second -- and this is not intended as an insult -- I think Patsy Pease is almost too good an actress here.  She can play almost any scene convincingly, so she comes across equally sincere when she looks at Shane and her expression makes you think she is pining for him, as opposed to when she tells Kayla that she and Shane are through.  Likewise, she is persuasive when the tells Shane she is with Lawrence only for the mission and when she seems to be falling for him.  The result is that Kim sounds equally persuasive when saying diametrically opposing things.  I know a lot of people criticize the writing for Shane and Kayla during this period, but I think Kim suffers as much from the writing and lack of direction as anyone.  Had the writers said that, yes, Kim is falling in love with Lawrence or, no, it's all an act, I think that Patsy Pease would have made that much more clear in her expressions and given the audience a clearer sense of what Kim wanted.

    Where are Shane's friends during the paralysis storyline?  We briefly get John visiting Shane in the hospital and Marlena visits too, though mainly to ask about Roman who has remained in hiding.  But when the Rafi Torres drama is over and Shane and Kayla are dealing with the ramifications of his paralysis, we don't see those friends much.  There are two brief scenes involving John and Roman interacting with Kayla.  She talks to John right after he announces the date of his wedding to Isabella and he tells Kayla not to give up fighting for Shane.  At the wedding, Roman offers a hug to Kayla after Shane leaves the wedding early, and she tells Roman that Shane is pushing her away. 

What I don't understand is why John or Roman (or Bo or Marlena for that matter) never confronts Shane about his behavior and gives him the kick in the pants he needs.  John acts like he can't do anything, but a year earlier, when the real Roman appeared, John called Shane his "best friend."  Well, in 1992, John's best friend is paralyzed, depressed, and pushing away the woman he loves.  Isn't that a situation where a best friend might be able to help?  And shortly after Kayla leaves Salem, Roman gets on Shane's case about how he is feeling sorry for himself and tries to get Shane to help out at the Salem police academy.  Why couldn't Roman have intervened a few weeks earlier to help Shane realize that he had a good thing in Kayla?  It is quite frustrating to think that the outcome might have been different if one of these friends had spoken to Shane and made him see how unreasonable he was acting.

In the early background post on friendships, I talked about the importance of these relationships to creating the sense of community in Salem.  The role of friendship really diminished over time and this is one storyline that really suffers as a result.

    Shane's pissing matches with Marcus.  I won't load clips of this, but some of the prior clips from the beginning of the Shane/Kayla relationship hint at a different possible triangle, with Marcus Hunter, Steve's best friend, pursuing Kayla.  She never seems to consider him to be more than a friend, but this leads to a number of scenes where Marcus and Shane engage in posturing, including one where Shane comes off as a complete jerk for refusing to let Marcus know where Kayla is during a brief visit she makes to Los Angeles.  (Why Marcus asked Shane instead of Shawn, Caroline, Roman, or Bo is a mystery to me.)  It all is just silly, though it leads up to Shane and Kayla's first kiss, which comes after Marcus kisses Kayla < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BGJRXXKbz0 >.

    Silly Shane.  I mentioned above how the writers pretty much neutered Shane the action hero.  Well they also kept placing Shane in ridiculously awkward situations.  Kayla takes him roller skating and he crashes into the ice cream cart and then spends several scenes covered in ice cream.  (Can't he take of his jacket and wipe the ice cream out of his hair?)  He also gets paint splattered over him at both Kayla's and Kim's apartments.  And there is one truly embarrassing scene where he tries to prove he can dance to modern music.  (I think that scene is not online and thank god for that.)  For viewers who had watched Shane for years and were accustomed to the suave "gentleman spy," these scenes are beyond cringe-inducing.

There also are awkward scenes where the show seems to want to emphasize an "opposites attract" aspect of the Shane and Kayla relationship, including his taking her to a private wine tasting with a stereotypical snooty sommelier and them walk along the dock where he describes things he wants to do with Kayla, all of which are things she doesn't like.  I understand that the writers were trying to create a bit of conflict in the characters insofar as they have different interests and desires, but they never went beyond those few scenes, so it just creates some momentary discomfort and silliness that never bears fruit. 

Certainly there were opportunities to deal with Kayla's possible discomfort about playing lady of the manor, a role Kim seems to fit pretty well.  Kayla was always more of a blue-collar character than Kim, who, despite being a prostitute, seemed to be quite cultured.  Kim was often portrayed as Shane's intellectual and cultural equal as they spouted off poetry or recited lines from Shakespeare.  Instead we get more slapstick, which doesn't fit Shane Donovan very well.


So What About Those Preconceptions?

At the beginning of this essay, I listed seven preconceptions that I had about this storyline before I watched it in detail and with an open mind.  Those preconceptions were: (1) Shane began pursuing Kayla immediately after Steve died; (2) Shane used Kayla to get back at Kim because he was angry, was passive/aggressive toward her, and acted completely out-of-character; (3) Kayla turned into a mass of insecurity; (4) Kim was the victim of Shane's and Kayla's actions; (5) Shane and Kayla didn't really love each other, but were just using one another; (6) ultimately, Kayla got some of her own medicine when Shane cruelly rejected her; and (7) all of the above occurred because of terrible writing that made the characters act very out-of-character.  Some of my views on those preconceptions are probably clear from the above discussion, but I'll run through them quickly.

1)  As the time-line I provided in the first post shows, Shane and Kayla actually moved much more slowly than other soap couples.  I just don't see any sign of Shane's pursuit of Kayla until 3-4 months after Steve dies.

2)  I don't see any evidence that Shane used Kayla to get back at Kim.  As discussed earlier, I think the Shane/Kayla relationship was an outgrowth of and framed by their past relationships, but I don't think there is anything overt in Shane's behavior. 

I will concede that Shane's subconscious might have played a role, however.  If Shane was so severely wounded by Kim leaving him, his actions might have been affected by a subconscious desire to foreclose any possible future with Kim.  As I say in the story, just as Kim's lying about Jeannie's paternity was probably the worst thing she could have done to push Shane away, Shane sleeping with Kim's sister probably was the worst thing he could have done to Kim and would ensure no possibility of a reconciliation (at least for the foreseeable future).  As I also said earlier, I can't believe that Shane's actions were fueled by any intent to hurt Kim, because that would make him a cruel jerk and raise questions about why anyone would want Shane and Kim to ever get back together..

3)  For a time, it is true that Kayla became insecure.  I don't see her early struggles about moving on after Steve's death being a sign of insecurity.  Nor do I see any sign of insecurity after Kim leaves.  That insecurity appears in the middle of the Kim-Shane-Kayla triangle, seems out-of-character for Kayla, and mainly designed to manufacture artificial drama.

4) This is probably where I depart the most from the prevailing viewpoint.  I just cannot see Kim as the victim.  Except for a couple scenes where Shane and Kayla overreact to Kim, where is the victimization?  Kim is given the option of having a free path to Shane, but declines and then repeatedly pushes Kayla toward Shane.  How is she the victim when they do what she tells them to do and then get frustrated when she later seems ambivalent about letting Shane go? 

Moreover, I think there is something lost during Kim's return.  Kim repeatedly talks about having not gotten over Shane or having difficulty accepting the divorce (though she also says the exact opposite plenty of times).  At times, I want to say "But you asked for the divorce.  You walked out on Shane.  In fact, you tried to sneak out of town and leave him with a 'John Doe' letter."  I just find it hard to be sympathetic to Kim's inability to deal with the divorce given that history, and that makes it even harder for me to see her as the poor victim of her cruel ex-husband and sister.

5)  As I said in the discussion of the collapse of the Shane/Kayla relationship, after watching the paralysis storyline and their final farewell, I have to accept that Shane and Kayla did love each other.  Comfort and security, a little bit of happiness -- those can all be the basis for love.  That love is very different from the "true love" they each had previously. 

As for whether they "used each other," I guess that depends on your perspective.  I don't think they used each other in a hurtful way.  They did use their relationship to "grab happiness" and relied on each other's past experience for understanding, but that is understandable given the events leading up to their relationship.  And they parted on good terms, with each wishing the other future happiness and probably a bit wiser as they moved forward.  (I'll also add another clip that I think is worth viewing, because it is where Kayla admits she is falling in love with Shane < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFZXW9ZxB8w >.)

6)  I'm not sure that the paralysis storyline gave Kayla a dose of her own medicine or that Shane cruelly rejected her.  I'm not even sure what her own medicine would be.  Undoubtedly, Shane pushed her away and it was painful, but I don't see any evidence that there was revenge or some form of karma at work.  Shane's paralysis was a cruel twist of fate and his decision to let Kayla go instead of tying her to his wheelchair was intended as a noble sacrifice so she could have a good life.  (There's a clip I did not link above, but I think it highlights Shane's thinking.  At John and Isabella's wedding, when Isabella goes into labor, Shane notes Kayla's excitement about the baby and asks her if she wants children.  She says she does, Shane says he understands that someone like her would want a lot of children, and then sadly tells her he may not be able to give them to her.)  I don't think Shane was ever intentionally cruel; he was just caught up in a terrible situation with an uncertain future.  I also think Kayla fully understood that.  I don't see how they could have parted so sweetly if Shane was cruel to her or there was any misunderstanding about what drove them apart.  Their ending is remarkably bittersweet given Shane's supposed cruelty toward Kayla in the preceding months.

7)  Certainly there was some bad writing.  The Cal Winters' storyline is the absolute nadir.  However, I don't think "bad writing" explains everything and can't be the basis to dismiss nearly 1.5 years of these characters' lives.  There also are some very good scenes for which the writers deserve credit.

So there it is.  A deconstruction of the Shane/Kayla relationship.  Long, I know.  Hopefully informative.  And even more hopefully, a chance for people to look at this reviled relationship with an open mind and consider things a bit differently than what they might have read or heard about the pairing.  For those who managed to read all the way through, thank you for bearing with me.  And, as always, I would love to hear opposing views and have an open discussion in the comment section below.


I just want to add one final point for readers who are just discovering this site.  These posts on "Shayla" are only a couple of the background posts I've done about Shane and Kim.  Most address specific topics -- the development of their relationship, the history with Victor Kiriakis (which plays a big part of this story), their friendships, their love and romance, their problems, etc.  In each, I've offered my thoughts and provided YouTube clips to illustrate them.  For fans of other couples, especially Steve and Kayla, I urge you to take a look at them and watch some of the clips.  Just as I've grown to appreciate Steve and Kayla (especially Kayla) more by watching clips, I hope to make others appreciate Kim and Shane more with those posts.  (To find the background posts, just click on the "background" tag on the left side of the page.)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 6th, 2010 09:41 am (UTC)
I have thoroughly enjoyed your very detailed analysis of the whole Shayla storyline. A superb job and it made me rethink many points of their story.
Well done and a very entertaining read.
Thank you and well done.
jwsel
Dec. 6th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much. It was definitely my intention with the essay to get people to look at it with a different perspective. I'm certainly not saying I'm absolutely right and I think there are a lot of things on which viewers can disagree, but I was very surprised on viewing to realize just how different it was from my preconceptions.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )