Road to Shelle

It’s easy to forget that I didn’t always hate Shelle. In fact, I hung onto the possibility of liking them much longer then they deserved. I sensed, even before I heard they were Ken Corday’s baby, that they were considered the Big Thing among the younger crowd. And so I was prepared to try to see what all the fuss was about.

I did not hold the embryo switch against them. I put up with watching Belle alternate between moping about her true love Shawn and self-righteously declaring that “I love Phillip!” I also didn’t hold it against her when she was both encouraging and undercutting Mimi’s relationship with Shawn. I didn’t hold Shawn’s strong judgmental streak against him. No, I generously excused it all, blamed JER, and looked forward to what a recast and a new writer could do for this couple.

And when Hogan took over, at first, I was cautiously optimistic. Martha Madison impressed me with her scenes in the hospital when Belle found out her baby had been aborted to save her life. Brandon Beemer seemed a promising Shawn at first. I had to admire how eerily he resembled his onscreen mother, Hope, even down to also being left-handed. And Madison and Beemer had a low-key chemistry that I thought boded well for the future. Yes, Willow was a plot contrivance, but I was encouraged by Belle’s talk about taking control of her own life. She seemed stronger, less whiny. Shawn seemed to be going off the deep end, but I hoped it was in the service of shading the character a little and perhaps making him less judgmental. My only reservation was that the two characters had no internal distance between them, conflict that could be mined for storyline possibilities. Still, I thought I could enjoy them on a “B” couple level.

I can only shake my head at such naive optimism. The promising chemistry I thought I saw turned out to be lukewarm at best. Belle’s nods toward independence were illusory. Shawn retained all his judgmentalism (except when it came to Princess Belle) and became dumber than a post besides. Madison continued to shine in dramatic moments, but the show seemed determined not to play to those strengths. Beemer had one expression and one tone of voice. They were two cardboard characters who yet were the fulcrum that the entire mid-20’s set revolved around.

Blah, blah, blah.


screencap courtesy NBC

Now they are gone. I still can’t quite take it in. I’m not sure what the show had in mind with the sendoff they got. Let’s go sailing around the world! Nursing school? Police Academy? Source of income? Who cares! If they were determined to make sure we had no regrets about losing them, they succeeded. Shelle as a pale imitation of Bope? Check, let’s give a cheap knockoff of Bo and Hope’s sendoff in 1987—on a boat named the Fancy Face IV, no less. Shelle as incompetent losers who can never shift a finger for themselves, while everyone else in the cast falls over themselves paving the way for them? Sure, let’s have John give them a boat. This, however, at least gave me a laugh, when Belle wanted to accept the boat and Shawn didn’t. When she said, “This isn’t about trust … ” I wanted her to say it’s about getting a huge fucking boat for free! But no, “it’s about love.” Groan.

I’ll miss Claire, though. I take back everything I said about her acting. But probably it’s best this way. With the recent reveal of John’s identity as Colleen and Santo’s love child, Clarie is now a mixture of Horton, Brady, Dimera, and Kiriakis blood. She is a genetic dead end in Salem.

Though I guess there is always Max.

7 thoughts on “Road to Shelle

  1. I’m going to miss Claire too. She really is the best child actor I’ve seen in awhile. But she has to go, someone has to sail the boat.

    I do remember back wondering what the fuss was about with Shelle when I tuned in. BrB did seem promising, I can tell you what I liked about him. He was great with the baby Claire whereas MM couldn’t even hold the child w/o the baby squirming desperately to get out of her “mother’s” arms. Looking back at the Canada trip (for my classic and favorite Chick storyline), there are a couple of moments of Brandon holding Claire and not letting her “babyness” mess up his acting. How sad is it that once you took away the baby, I realized just how weak his acting was.

  2. I’d totally forgotten that BrB didn’t seem that bad the first couple of weeks. . .his acting seemed to get worse over time, didn’t it?

    Having met MM in person, I did feel the show really didn’t know how to write for her. She displayed a wicked sense of humor in person. I wish they had let her develop that side.

  3. Based on the solid work MM did in the more dramatic storylines (the baby being aborted to save her life and John’s death), the girl clearly has acting chops. I just don’t think she was ever suited for the character of Belle, at least not the way the writers seem to insist on writing Belle.

    And BrB, for all my snarking on him, did have a few decent moments, but again, he wasn’t capable of rising above the writing and giving any kind of layers or depth to Shawn Duh.

    I’ll miss Claire, but not her parents.

  4. Do you think it is safe for Shelle to take Claire on a boat? Remember what happened last time? Maybe they should just leave her behind in Salem.

  5. I’ve been with Shelle from day one, and I have never not hated them. I’m almost sad to be losing the one constant of my Days viewing experience. Consistency can be comforting.

    I do think MM can be a good dramatic actress, but she’s all wrong for the part of Belle, and all wrong for Days. We’re talking about a show where a character is nothing without a love life, and MM just just can’t pull off romantic yearning or sexual desire.

  6. lascuba, ha! I haven’t been with them since day one, but loathing Belle was one of the reasons I quit watching the show, what I thought would be permanently. I could see that she was going to take over the show and I was not interested. I hated her no less when I returned to watching to find a different actress. The character is unlikeable and not in a fun way either, and I couldn’t figure out why one man would want either version of Belle, let alone more than one man. (Note: I’m sure the actresses are different in IRL, I’m only talking about the show–neither actress could convey sexiness, passion, desire or romance for whatever reason.)

    I did originally hold out hope for Beemer though. I thought he was attractive enough and I didn’t mind the idea of him being moody and brooding. How little did I know then that he would disappoint me over and over and over. But I’ll always have the memory of Philip slamming his head into the Brady pub bar repeatedly.

    So MM, I hope to see you in Lifetime movies soon. Beemer, well, I don’t care–I hope you’re employed and like what you do, just not on my TV screen.

  7. It’s hard to fathom now, but I once found Beemer to be promising and quite good-looking to boot. I have always had a soft spot for men with dark hair and blue eyes. It’s amazing how as my loathing for Shawn-the-character grew, Brandon Beemer seemed to grow less and less attractive. He was great with the White twins though.

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