Steve and Kayla are sometimes called (by their detractors) “the Blonde Bope,” and there’s no doubt that Days was inspired by its success with Bo and Hope to try to duplicate its winning formula. Those of us who love Steve and Kayla tend to react defensively to the comparison, because naturally we love our couple and think they are unique. I always say that Bo was more of a rebellious teen than a true bad boy, and Hope was more the spoiled princess than a good girl. Also, the Bo and Hope story wasn’t wedded to a redemption story.
Regardless, most of us acknowledge the basic similarity. Good girl/bad boy. Two different worlds. Conflict laced with attraction.
What’s less remembered is how shamelessly Days used this basic premise over, and over, and over, again. (Or its variation, good boy/bad girl.) Take Jennifer for example. When she first showed up in town it was as a rebellious teen, kicked out of boarding school and sent to live with her grandparents. She quickly reformed and found love with the star quarterback, Glenn, in an abbreviated good boy/bad girl story. Then she became the good girl to Frankie’s bad boy, and then again the good girl to Emilio’s bad boy. Then Emilio was reformed and transformed into the “safe choice” for yet another good girl/bad boy storyline for Jennifer (a much more successful one), with Jack.
Lest anyone throw stones at me, of course these weren’t carbon copies of one other. But the show had a way of eagerly acknowledging the similarity, by having members of established couples offer guidance and advice to the next round. This could occasionally be galling. Not Chan = Bope galling, but galling nonetheless. Even though I liked Jack and Jennifer, I found it annoying to have Steve cast in the role of cheerleader and advice-giver to a moody, self-hating Jack. But, I’m sure Bo and Hope fans probably felt the same when Hope was the cheerleader and advice-giver to Kayla and Steve.
I’m more philosophical now. During the time period I’m watching now in my DVDs (December 1988/January 1989), Steve is serving as the sage advice-giver to both Emilio and to Nick Corelli. In Emilio’s case, the constant parallels in the dialogue about how Emilio is “just like Steve used to be” (even Kayla isn’t immune from having to say this) only serve to emphasize how NOT like Steve Emilio is.
They had a little better luck with Nick. In this case they were able to show Steve’s identification with Nick in a way that created some interesting drama for Steve and Kayla, as well as Nick and Eve. Here’s the background: Nick is presumed dead in a car crash, but naturally he isn’t dead. Steve finds him, severely burned, and is hiding him in his old basement apartment. Seeing how traumatized Nick is at his disfigurement makes Steve relive how he felt right after he lost his eye. Here is a wonderful scene where he tells Kayla about it:
You Tube link: Steve talks to Kayla about losing his eye
I love how when Steve points out that Nick doesn’t have anybody (he doesn’t know about Eve yet), Kayla says that he has Steve and Steve has her. Stephen Nichols plays his response perfectly: because Steve is reliving how he lost his eye, he is freshly reminded of how lucky he is to have Kayla. Kayla’s comment that it’s what’s on the inside that counts is a tad Pollyanna-ish, but Steve’s response makes it worth it. I love that he points out that everyone says that, but she’s the only one who really means it.
And, of course, Kayla points out what all we viewers already knew: the patch is sexy. But the scene ends on a lovely, melancholy note, with Kayla on the couch and Steve playing a mournful tune by the window. This is far cry from cheerleading, and it works beautifully.