Tell me how you really feel

I’ve been watching the show very carefully, trying to figure out when TPTB started to lay the groundwork to put Kayla and Shane together.  And despite the fact that they spend nearly every minute together in Alamania, and there may well have been some chem testing going on, I don’t get the sense that anything in particular was in the works.

Here, though, at the very end of their stay in Lawrence’s country, is the first scene where I felt the strings starting to be pulled:


Personally, I find it very awkward.  Carly’s comment about Kayla being a comfort to Shane sounds forced, especially when she tries to take it back, saying, “I’m sorry, I know he’s married to your sister, I just thought …”  I mean, who says that?

The point of these “call someone on their feelings” scenes is usually to show that there is some truth to them, even as the person denies it.  But Mary Beth Evans doesn’t play it that way.  She shows confusion, certainly, but Kayla comes across to me as feeling uncertain about the state of her friendship with Shane.  She was recently blaming him quite strongly about his role in not preventing Steve’s death, and has accused him of coldly working on his “case” without regard to the feelings of the people involved.  I think that Mary Beth plays Kayla as being quite sincere in what she says here, and she’s not saying it to cover up deeper feelings.  She always thought she and Shane were friends, but never really knew him that well.  Their recent conflicts have called that friendship into question, but at the same time she’s gotten to know him better and might start a friendship on a new basis.

Carly’s response, lavishly complimenting Shane and telling Kayla not to turn her back on him, is again soap boilerplate for setting up a new couple.  The coda to the scene could also be read this way:  Kayla calls Marcus, and stresses to Shane (who comes up in time to overhear the end of their conversation) that she was talking to her “friend” and talking about how she can’t wait to see him.  It’s begging to be read that Kayla, in denial of her feelings for Shane, is latching onto Marcus.  (A few months from now, this will indeed be the case.)  The scene calls for a final awkward exchange of glances between Shane and Kayla, Shane registering a bit of jealousy, Kayla a bit of pique (with a hint of uncertainty underneath).  But Mary Beth and Charles again play against it.  Kayla plays her line pretty straight, and Shane merely smiles, seemingly happy for Kayla that she has a good friend in Marcus.

I’m not implying that Mary Beth and Charles were against the pairing of their characters.  Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t.  I’ve heard mixed things about that.  But here, at least, I think both felt, quite rightly, that it was too soon for this kind of signal to be sent, and played the scene accordingly.


14 thoughts on “Tell me how you really feel

  1. I started reading your take on the scene and then watched. I wholeheartedly agree with your interpretation of what is happening. Especially the idea of Days starting to lay the ground work for Kayla and Shane. Over the years, from what I have read, I sense Days PTB didn’t know what to do with the two halves of major super couples, so they decided to throw them together and see what would happen. Perhaps, this scene was a test to get viewer reaction. I really appreciate the way MBE and Charlie played the scene. They seemed so much more in touch with what their characters needed and how they would react, than the writers. I think they also understood their fan bases better than TPTB. Maybe the writers pushed this SL too fast, maybe it would have worked eventually if Kayla and Kim hadn’t been sisters…I don’t know. However, both Shane and Kim/Steve and Kayla had powerfully supportive fan bases and I have always thought this relationship was taken by many fans as, Shane and Kayla somehow betraying Kim and Steve. Perhaps if there had been a real attempt at a Marcus/Kayla relationship and maybe an attempt at another relationship for Shane, then when/if those relationships failed, Kayla and Shane could have found each other. Either way, for me it was just too rushed, after Steve’s death. It wound up changing the basic characters of the Shane and Kayla that I had grown to love.

    In my little imagination, I have always seen Shane as being so hurt and desperate over breaking up with Kim then maybe guilty over not doing more to prevent Steve’s death that when he tries to rescue Kayla he just mistakes his feeling for more than they are or is just willing to settle for a less volatile version of Kim. As for Kayla, I have always maintained, she went through a mini breakdown after Steve died. She tried so hard to be strong for everyone, as she promised Steve on his deathbed, that she never gave herself a chance to properly grieve. She jumped into the adventure of bringing Alamane to justice, then moved onto Shane. Her personality even changed, the Kayla I grew to care about wouldn’t have gone after her sister’s ex. Kayla eventually came out of it and then went to LA.

    Frankly, I have no memory of ever seeing this SL unfold. It has been so long, but I believe I was so sad that Steve died and that Kayla and Steve were done, that it was too sad for me to watch Days. (I was overly invested in Steve and Kayla) So I just stopped watching Days. What really surprised me was that watching this little clip, was difficult for me. After all these years, it still made me uncomfortable, sad and vexed at what was being suggested. It must attest to the acting and writing talents that made me originally love Steve and Kayla.

    Thanks Mary…..good conversation!

    • Aw, I’m sorry, blpmich. I know this stuff might be hard to watch. I appreciate you giving it the old college try. I wasn’t watching this at all back then but I imagine I would have reacted similarly if I had. It’s hard to say.

      From my current perspective, it’s actually a bit harder to watch Kayla be so broken, as she is after Steve’s death. MBE conveys the anguish so well, it just breaks me up. So there is a certain relief in seeing her start to heal. Plus, since I already know ahead of time that Shayla is going to happen it takes away the element of surprise.

  2. I agree that Carly’s comment is forced, but I also agree that Charlie and Mary Beth play the scene appropriately for where things are at in their relationship. That’s one of the things I give them both a lot of credit for. The writers might be giving signals and, particularly in hindsight, the audience might know where this is going, but for the most part, Charlie and Mary Beth don’t play those moments with any kind of foreshadowing.

    However, I don’t agree with blpmich that Kayla’s personality changed. I think her life is fundamentally changed and in some ways destroyed by Steve’s death. And I think she would be less than human if all that she has been through didn’t have some impact on the woman she is now. Also, she didn’t “go after” her sister’s ex. I’m sure MP will be discussing those scenes later, but Kayla never chased Shane. In fact, she kept running until other events, including Kim’s own actions, gave her no reason to keep running.

    But then I’ve long acknowledged I hold a very unpopular opinion about this storyline, so I guess there’s that. 🙂

  3. Erica, for me it is all about point of view. I do agree that Kayla was fundamentally changed after Steve’s death, however, decisions and choices that are made during a time of grief are sometimes not ones we would normally make. Those decisions and too many times are regretted later. Since, IMO, she was never allowed to properly grieve this accounted for some of those decisions. Such as becoming involved with Shane, something that deeply hurt her sister and it was much too soon after Steve’s death. But some of that is soap opera timing, sadly though Kayla was given a very small window to grieve. You are correct that the term “going after her sister’s husband isn’t accurate”, she didn’t, originally pursue Shane. Perhaps, since I don’t remember the changes that I did see in Kayla fondly, this will be a good opportunity to watch it again and see if I feel the same way.
    It doesn’t really mater if your opinion is popular or not, for you it is valid, from your point of view.

  4. I get that people have different perspectives, but I do think Kayla was given time to grieve. And even after things start with Shane she is still grieving and Shane understands and acknowledges that. Steve is very much a part of Kayla and this story in many ways. But that’s probably best left for further down the road. 🙂

    I also understand not liking the things Kayla does. But, for me, it just makes her more real, more human when she has a few flaws and makes decisions that aren’t about making sure everybody else is happy first. Maybe this Kayla isn’t as likeable for some, but I find her more complex and layered and I like that.

    • That’s what I’m liking about this, Erica. I think the show actually does a good job showing the POV of all three characters (Kim, Kayla, Shane) in a way that retains sympathy for each one. I haven’t seen anything yet that screams “out of character” for Kayla. Her choices seem understandable to me.

      I’ll be curious, blpmich, how you see it going forward!

  5. I think there you are very right about how the actors respond in seeming confused, marypickford, but I also think the writing plays on that confusion as well as the relationship develops. Both Kayla and Shane (though Kayla much more than Shane) will be very confused about their feelings over time (though I won’t go into that in more detail now).

    In a way, it does makes some sense that Carly first raises the “closeness” between the pair. Carly is pretty much a stranger to both characters and might not have much of a clue about their relationship until that point. At this point, Carly had very little contact with Steve or Shane, and she probably never met Kim. So I can see her making that slightly awkward comment.

    If you don’t mind me jumping back a little in time, I want to ask what you think about how the writers put Shane in Kayla’s orbit immediately after Steve’s death. One of the things that was never really addressed directly was Shane’s involvement in Steve’s death. Kayla blames Shane briefly at the hospital, but that disappears that anger disappears by the time they get to Alamania. However, we never really get Shane’s perspective. Does he feel responsible?

    As a Shane fan, I tend to think that he does. I associate Shane’s actions following Steve’s death and his protectiveness toward Kayla with how he acted when he first came to Salem after Roman died. He had a similar determination to get the bad guy (Stefano), but he also acted very protectively toward the dead agent’s loved ones (Marlena, Bo, Kim). Whether that protectiveness is motivated by a sense of “duty” to Steve, an agent who died on his watch, or just plain old guilt is unclear, but the behavior is similar. So I try to view the first few months of Shane/Kayla through a similar lens; Shane has appointed himself Kayla’s and Stephanie’s protector. That could be why I don’t see his being injected into Kayla’s orbit as so awkward and also why I am more forgiving of the somewhat forced manner in which Kayla and Shane are suddenly together — in Alamainia and at Shane’s house.

    Would love to hear your take on that.

    • Jess, you offer a great perspective here for me on this. I have to be honest and say I hadn’t really thought deeply about Shane’s motivations. I assumed that he felt Kayla’s accusations were unfair, and was just waiting for her to realize that, which she eventually does. But what you say makes a lot of sense, that he does feel a bit responsible and that is connected to the protectiveness he feels toward her and Stephanie.

      I don’t have a problem with how much time they spend together in Alamania, or how Kayla moves into his house, because their interactions seem in character and appropriate. But, it maybe was an unfortunate choice for the show because, especially in retrospect, it makes the pairing feel more rushed than it would otherwise.

      I haven’t seen Shane’s introduction yet, but after I finish watching this part I’m cycling back to late 1983 to watch full-episode DVDs, so I will get to see it then!

  6. Useless, but fun trivia. I was recently looking for a new pair of walking shoes and found that Dansko makes a Shayla style. It is rated very highly and was on sale, but dare I get them? What if they come out with a Stayla version. How could I ever live with myself. Snicker Snicker Snicker

  7. I found some of a Kim/Shane/Kayla playlist and have been watching it. Surprisingly, quite dispassionately. What I am initially feeling is just the angst. I am not rooting for anyone, I am missing the emotional hook I felt with most of the couples, on the show. . I only feel sad remnants of wanting Shane and Kim to find their way back to each other. I think MBE and PP did a wonderful job as sisters who are both, feeling betrayed, by the other. The dynamics of the change in the Kim/Kayla relationship and how it is ripping the tight Brady family apart is the part of the storyline I can feel invested in. It is painful to watch, and I give that credit to MBE and PP who acted it so well. I just got through watching the scene when Kayla and Shane first had sex. I don’t have any snarky comments, in fact, the opposite. I will save that for when you address that issue here, in the blog.

    • Wow! So happy you decided to watch. You are ahead of me! I completely agree that what makes the story most worth watching is the work of MBE and PP as sisters and how their conflict ripples out into the Brady family at large. It’s unsettling to watch a story like this on the supercouple show, and involving characters from two supercouples, but it’s definitely interesting.

      Things should slow down for me soon at work and home, and I should be able to start blogging regularly again!

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