I know it’s been over a month since my last Steve and Kayla chapter. I’ve had quite a crazy summer (though not quite as hectic as having to run from the police and the bad guys after shooting a United States senator), and it’s been hard to find time to even finish watching the clips. I’ve just gotten through the part where Kayla, Adrienne, and Justin have to pretend that Steve really did take Kayla hostage.
With the advent of Ed Scott onto the Days production staff, I’ve been thinking more about the intersection of writing, acting, directing, and producing and how they all contribute to making a quality show.
Here we have exhibit A:
(They overlap a little, but go ahead and watch the yummy love scene twice.)
There are many little details that add up to make these scenes work so well. The irate couple is an effective piece of day player casting, especially the bitchy wife (“Wire hangers,” she says disdainfully). There are an appropriate number of extras who gather around the door after the gunshots, and their murmuring panic is a nice background to the scene.
The gunshots themselves are filmed to heighten their drama. They occur at the end of the episode to give us a cliffhanger, with slow motion, dramatic music, a closeup of the bullet holes, and a scream on the soundtrack.
The good guys are smart. Steve lights a match under the sprinkler to drive away the irate couple. Later, after a gunman has shot at them and a curious crowd comes knocking at their door, Steve and Kayla pretend that they, too, only came to the cabin to trace the source of the gunfire. (Steve pretends to be blind so he can use an enormous pair of blind-man sunglasses to cover his identifying patch.) They escape from the gunman under cover of the crowd.
(Okay, okay, I admit Kayla has a dim bulb moment here. Starlight? Really, Kayla?)
The director shows us all the necessary reaction shots. Among the crowd of extras, we see Adrienne’s joy at finding Steve and Kayla at last, and we see Justin preventing her from calling out to him in her excitement. At the close of the scene there is a shot of the gunman to keep us tense and interested.
Similarly, after the initial crisis is past, there is a short scene where Steve and Kayla acknowledge that they have been interrupted yet again from having sex, which shows their regret and still-unresolved sexual tension. Adventures are nice, but the show knows that this is what really matters to us!
The costumes and makeup are appropriate and realistic. They are able to clean up at the cabin but their clothes are still grubby and baggy. Steve is unable to shave, which is a nice attention to detail. When they steal clothing from the irate couple the clothing is appropriately, especially for Steve, not in their style. Though I have to admit it’s always been distressing to me how long Stephen Nichols is stuck in those horrible pleated trousers—especially when they are later paired with that fire-engine red CULA t-shirt.
After the irate couple leaves and Steve and Kayla get drenched in the sprinkler, Steve jokingly rubs a bar of soap over Kayla’s grubby clothes. At the exact moment when this playfulness turns into desire, the incidental music kicks in with a little slow, romantic tune. (The show used this little tune quite often for kissing and eyesnogging scenes.)
The over the top red of the decor in the honeymoon cabin, along with the ubiquitous hearts, are silly and cheesy, but when Steve murmurs during the love scene, “I can’t think of better place to be doing this,” somehow it seems perfect too. This is a little bit of a honeymoon for them.
I like how Mary Beth Evans makes Kayla sexually aggressive, how she starts stripping Steve’s shirt off as soon as they start kissing, and how she opens the towel for Steve to step into. But the thing I love most, and Stephen Nichols was the master at it, is the open look of vulnerability that Steve always showed during their love scenes. Watch his expression as he steps into that towel. This is what makes their love scenes romantic, what makes them love scenes, not just hot sex scenes.
It will probably be the beginning of October before I have the next chapter up!