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It has been awhile since I've posted a background essay, and I will admit this is one that has been rather hard to write (and is rather long).  However, some of the upcoming scenes deal with Shane's and Kim's break-up and offer various thoughts about the reasons for the break-up, so I probably need to go into the history of their relationship problems before I post those scenes.

In the Days of Our Lives thread on Television Without Pity, a poster once commented on the fact that Stefano DiMera (Days of Our Lives' big bad guy) never directed his energy toward Shane and Kim to the extent that he hurt the other supercouples (e.g., killing/holding/brainwashing Roman, Marlena, John, Hope and Steve).  The poster joked that Stefano's hands-off approach was probably because there was nothing Stefano could do to Shane and Kim that was worse than what they did to each other. 


Unfortunately, there is a kernel of truth to that statement.  There was something profoundly messy about Shane's and Kim's relationship.  They were two adults who came together already carrying enough emotional baggage to fill the cargo hold of a 747, and when problems arose, they tended to make things even worse by keeping secrets, pushing the other away, or lashing out at one another in the most hurtful ways.  As Kim tells Jeannie in the fic, Kim and Shane knew each other so well that they could hurt one another in the worst possible ways and could be particularly vicious in doing so.

Let's begin with an early example.  In February 1985, Shane quit the ISA (he would have been fired) after he threw one of the sought-after prisms into the Atlantic Ocean.  Soon after, Shane received an offer to take a job in Stockholm.  He tells Kim about it here < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oDPj8GF1Fk beginning around the 4:30 mark> in a scene that says a lot about Shane and his pattern of avoiding attachments.  Yet it also says a lot about Kim that, after confronting him about how he runs away instead of getting close to people, and despite  but despite what seems obvious -- that Shane wants her to ask him to stay -- she tells him that it's his business and kicks him out of her apartment.  Then he comes to see Kim again, on the day he is supposed to leave, and asks directly if she is going to tell him he should stay for her, but again she says no < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1hXi8pCjy8 >.  In that scene, when Kim appears ready to fight for Shane after a misunderstanding at her apartment, it is Shane's turn to push Kim away.

Now jumping forward in time, we come to 1986, when Kim is pregnant with Andrew.  I've mentioned before how Kim did not know if the baby's father would be Shane or Victor, and she kept it secret.  This was the first of Kim's significant lies to Shane, and led to two major confrontations.

The first occurred when, fearing that she was Victor's daughter (and possibly pregnant by her biological father), Kim decided to have an abortion, only to have a car accident on the way to the clinic.  Returning from Stockholm, Shane initially runs to her side to comfort her, but later finds the pamphlets from the clinic < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxylnDQ9hsg >, returns to the hospital to question Kim and finds out that she did plan on having the abortion < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIfjNqOmW2c >.  In typical Shane fashion, he just clams up and leaves.  And later, when Kim gets out of the hospital, he treats her very coldly < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frj0LkluTxc beginning at 5:11> before he lets loose with his anger < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff2t3o9kQD8&p=F2F4501DB7A8151A at 3:09 >.  And in typical Kim fashion, instead of telling Shane about Victor, Kim stays silent.

That is just the prelude to the big explosion, which occurs when Shane overhears Kim and Victor together and he finds out that she slept with Victor.  Kim also reveals that she intends to keep Shane in the dark about the baby's paternity so that he will never know the truth < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Yvw5kMTJw >.  The scene where Shane confronts Kim over her lies is very ugly, with both Shane and Kim lashing out at one another, with Shane calling Kim out for lying and then questioning whether he wants to work out their relationship < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8rWJqIo4Ko >.

With Andrew's birth, Shane and Kim began to reconcile, with Shane insisting that he felt that Andrew was his son regardless of biology.  Yet Kim pushed Shane away again and moved out of Shane's guest house (where Kim had been living before Andrew was born).  Here < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lp9zigdSzM >, as she is about to move out, he complains that Kim seems to have no faith in him, i.e., that he can accept the situation.  Interestingly, she tries to persuade Shane that she does indeed have faith in him, but later tells Roman (who will become John Black) that she does not think Shane can handle the situation, in effect, proving Shane right.

After Andrew's kidnapping in June 1986, Shane and Kim again tear each other apart.  There are some early conflicts over Shane's desire to have the police involved, but the arguments get particularly vicious when Shane returns to work for the ISA and Kim lashes out at him for giving up on Andrew < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmxC5xJ4H8I >.  This leads to Kim going with Victor to chase down a false lead, which Shane had already investigated < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niRQTPn680Y >.  This scene brings up some of the recurring themes, such as Shane feeling Kim does not have faith in him and Shane bringing up Kim's past ("I know your work"), though he claims he means something else.  There is another great scene, a  follow-up confrontation at Kim's apartment when she returns < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85cdNSDKaKs >.  A few days later, they have another argument in the church before Roman's and Marlena's wedding, leading to them officially breaking up and Kim returning the engagement ring < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P3tu1vBYE0 >.  I love Kim's summation of their relationship: "Isn't that typical of us?  We're always just a little bit off."

In the second of the clips I linked in the prior paragraph, Shane throws Kim sleeping with Victor in her face.  This happens a number of times in their arguments and I've heard different opinions of that.  Some people think that is proof that Shane cannot get past Kim's past as a prostitute, something Kim accuses Shane of doing in this extremely brutal argument during the Andrew kidnapping storyline < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkpJFvFJPio >.  I'm not as convinced of that.  I cannot recall a time when Shane actually brings up Kim's prostitution directly (the comment about I know your work is about as close as he comes).  Generally, however, he mentions Victor by name or, later, refers to Cal Winters, with whom Kim slept when Shane was believed dead in 1989.  I've always thought that Victor represented an amalgam of issues.  Because of the way the issue was revealed Shane never got the chance to deal with Kim sleeping with Victor separate from her lying about Andrew's paternity.  From Shane's perspective, Victor also represents a failure, insofar as Kim slept with Victor to save Shane's life.  There are a lot of different issues wrapped up in the situation with Victor and they will recur during the relationship, and, in my opinion, play a key role in the eventual collapse of the relationship. 

One example of that is after Kim loses a baby in 1988.  Kim lost the baby because she went to rescue Shane's teenage daughter Eve, whose existence he only learned of in 1987.  Eve was a prostitute and threatened by a John.  Kim went to her rescue because Shane and his partner Gabrielle (who is revealed to be Eve's mother) were in Washington, D.C.  In this scene < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAPjoly5XYw >, Shane explains why they did not tell Kim about Gabrielle, Kim tries to freeze out Shane, and, finally, Kim confronts Shane about the loss of the baby, telling him for the first time that she blames him for not being in Salem at the time.  (In a way, this is a bit of role-reversal, similar to what happened when Shane froze out Kim when he found out about her intended abortion.)  And even though they seem to come to an understanding at the end of that scene, a few days later, Kim walks out on Shane < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnzONK2EVAs >.

When she returns a few months later -- just in time to see Shane kissing another woman (Gabrielle) -- Kim admits that she expected things to return to the way they were before she left, which is impossible unless Gabrielle moves out. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoWwEBtUEAw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7XnIzpoE7A >.  Kim later gives Shane an ultimatum that Gabrielle move out of the house or she will seek a legal separation, and Shane angrily lashes out at Kim for walking out on him and tells her that she cannot expect to run away and then come back later and have everyone adjust to her < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KG4Tpq3NSk >.  (Shane and Kim will later reconcile as they work together to catch the killer, and will renew their vows.)

I know I've gone on way too long, but I wanted to go through these early incidents, because many of these events recur at the end of Shane's and Kim's marriage after Kim's relationship with Cal Winters during the period when Shane was thought dead. 

We get a repeat of the lies about paternity.  (Sorry, but these scenes do not appear to be clipped on YouTube.)  Kim finds herself pregnant and, due to Cal blackmailing her doctor, is led to believe Cal is the father.  As with Victor, Kim hides the truth from Shane.  Why?  Kim claims it is because Shane would be too hurt by the revelation and seeing that Jeannie is Cal's, but wasn't Shane willing to accept Andrew when he believed the boy was Victor's?  When the lie is revealed, Shane responds like he did early on and gets cold and distant toward Kim.

We also get a repeat of Kim running away.  Even though in 1988, she told Shane that she was wrong for running away from their marriage, in 1990, Kim walks out again. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2QHzmcJGTk (Patsy Pease had left the show, and a different actress is playing the part here).  This scene mirrors both the scene in 1986 when Shane confronted Kim about Victor, in that he claims the real problem was that she lied, and also the scene in 1988 when Kim leaves.  This time, however, Shane does not try that hard to stop her and there is a sense of finality in her leaving.  In the ensuing months, Kim moves to Los Angeles, gives birth to Jeannie, refuses to see Shane when he brings Andrew to live with her, and returns the cameo that he gave her so many years earlier.  Soon after, Kim files for divorce, which Shane does not contest.

Which leads to the third repeat of the prior events.  While Kim is gone, Shane develops feelings for another woman -- Kim's sister, Kayla.  (I'll discuss that relationship in more detail in another post.)  However, as with Gabrielle, Kim returns to Salem unexpectedly in February 1991 and walks in on Shane's first kiss with the other woman < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THiP-RkCpEw >.  In a fashion somewhat similar to 1988, Kim hopes things can return to normal, but this time, Shane is pretty resolute that the marriage is over < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBiNW7mT--g >, with the key scene beginning at 5:40).  And during this period, there also are several confrontations about Kim's relationship with the evil Lawrence Alamain, where Shane compares Lawrence to Cal and Victor, including where he points out that Kim enters into self-destructive relationships when she wants to avoid pain  < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCRamnDPI8k > and where he accuses her of having feelings for Lawrence at the end of this clip < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhqpU02k1g >.

Thus, there seem to be recurring behaviors.  When Shane gets angry, he gets cold and pushes Kim away, surrounds himself with other women (though he remains faithful to Kim during their marriage), and dredges up her past.  He also may blame himself for not protecting Kim from whatever has hurt her.  Meanwhile, Kim keeps secrets, even though they invariably blow up in her face, runs away when she is vulnerable, and seems to expect Shane to be there for her.  And all of those behaviors contribute to the demise of Shane's and Kim's relationship in 1990 and 1991, so that when Kim returns in 1992, even though Shane was no longer with Kayla, he supported her marriage to fiancé Philip Collier, despite obviously still loving Kim.  (I'll also point out that Shane and Kayla broke up after Shane was paralyzed in an explosion and he pushed Kayla away so she would not be trapped with him.  Those thoughts may have still been in Shane's mind when Kim told him about her engagement to Philip and might have contributed to his decision not to fight for her.)

I will say that the bad times and the angst are part of what fascinates me about Shane and Kim, and why I am trying to explore these issues in the fic.  I think the complexity of the situation will come out in several of the following chapters, as various characters offer their perspective on why Shane's and Kim's relationship ended.  And, as you will see, I don't think there are simple answers or a "bad guy" in the break-up.  Instead, I think both Shane and Kim contributed to the demise of their relationship. 

Finally, I will admit that people have different opinions on the subject.  I have seen contrary opinions on various message boards and am happy to hear different opinions.  However, I do ask that we discuss these issues civilly and do not simply dismiss them as the product of bad writing (even if they are).  These events happened to the characters, and I do not think it helps to dismiss them so easily.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
That was an excellent summary of various break-ups and conflicts between Shane and Kim. I'm looking forward to your Shane/Kayla discussion.

BTW, that little tidbit from TWoP was me. I really was mostly kind of joking. Don't hate me. ;-)

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )