Best and brightest

I haven’t been keeping up on my clip watching, since the current show has been giving me so much good stuff to talk about. This is what is known as “a good problem to have.”

But I got into a Twitter discussion about Shayla yesterday, which has inspired me to dust off my DVDs. I have actually long been looking forward to posting about this scene, one of my favorites from this storyline. Shawn asks Kayla to give up Shane for Kim’s sake:

(Kim is actually with Lawrence because she is working with the ISA — and Shane — to try to bring Lawrence down. Neither Kayla nor Shawn is aware of this.)

I love that Shawn has come over in the first place to make peace with Kayla. They fought last time they saw each other (about Kayla’s relationship with Shane), and Shawn is trying to make things right. But then they see Kim on television defending Lawrence, and that all goes to hell. Kayla must give up Shane so Kim will leave Lawrence.

My favorite part of this scene is when Kayla asks Shawn directly if her happiness matters at all. Or is it only Kimberly’s? She explains with such pain in her voice that she thought she lost everything after Steve died, and Shane helped her, he brought her back to life. Is he asking her to give that up? And even in the face of Kayla’s pain, Kayla’s plea for equal consideration to Kim, Shawn says yes.

I’m actually surprised Shawn doesn’t even play lip service to the idea that Kayla’s happiness matters. But I kind of love that the show risks making Shawn this unsympathetic. Frank Parker plays it perfectly, that Shawn just doesn’t get it. He clearly feels that Kayla talking about her own happiness is bringing up something totally irrelevant (“I wasn’t talking about that at all.”)

Then Kayla tells him she is sick of ruining her chance at happiness to win his approval. That line is clearly ripped from old wounds, old family dynamics. I can readily imagine this scene playing out when Kim and Kayla were kids. Kim being in the wrong about something but throwing a fit about it, and Shawn asking Kayla to give way. “Just give her the toy, Kayla, Kimmy wants it so much.” Shawn feeling it’s for the sake of keeping the peace, Kayla feeling pushed aside in favor of his “best and brightest.”

And now, she’s expected to do it when Kim is being callous to her by getting involved with the man who killed Steve – in fact, she expected to do it partly because of that, to save Kim from herself. And what makes this so bittersweet is that Kayla said the same thing to Shane, earlier, that Shawn is saying now. I talked about that scene here.

As angry as I am with Shawn in this scene, I can see his point of view. He genuinely fears for Kim’s life, and the shock of seeing Kim on TV defending Lawrence makes him feel that desperate times call for desperate measures. When Shane arrives, we see what Shawn sees: Kayla with Kim’s husband and Kim’s kids. It’s like Kim is being eliminated from her own family.

I also like Shawn’s attack on Shane. Shane very reasonably points out that it was Kim who left him, but that doesn’t register with Shawn at all. I love that Kayla comes back in just in time to hear Shane declare that he loves her. To have Kim’s ex-husband telling her father — who always favored Kim — that he now prefers Kayla, is probably satisfying on some primal level.  And I like that Kayla isn’t immune to that. She’s not a saint.

She’s also very stubborn. After Shawn leaves, Kayla says she’s not going to let Shawn come between them. I love that Shawn’s “request” has had exactly the reverse effect of what he wanted. It also shows she and Shawn have something in common, which is a nice ironic touch considering what just happened.



12 thoughts on “Best and brightest

  1. Lawrence Alamain. The man we all KNEW had taken Steve, and at this time we thought he was dead at Lawrence’s hands. All of Salem certainly thought he was dead.

    I’ve seen a couple of clips of this time period. Kim’s with Lawrence. I mean, she really is. When she’s sleeping with him, she doesn’t look at all hesitant or like it’s distasteful to her the way she did years earlier when she was sleeping with Victor to protect Shane. We knew she didn’t want to be with Victor at all. It was very clear in her attitude and facial expressions when Victor wasn’t watching her. But the Lawrence/Kim scenes weren’t the same. Even when Lawrence wasn’t looking, Kim was fine with being with him.

    I know Kayla was no angel during this period. She said some tough things to Kimberly for sure. I used to wince sometimes. However, watching that Kim/Lawrence clip…I had some sympathy for Kayla because it would devastate her to see Kimberly involved with the man who’d killed Steve. Yes, it was some kind of investigation… but it wasn’t ALL an investigation. It started out that way, but after awhile, Kimberly really got involved with that man, and I thought he was SUCH a snake. So I was kind of mad at Kim and Kayla both.

    I remember, I kind of used to feel like apologizing for Kayla, whom I adore. She was with Shane, and Shane was the guy her sister loved. But years pass, and over time it didn’t bother me anymore. Perhaps Kayla shouldn’t have made that choice, but Kim and Shane WERE divorced. Kimberly was the one who left, and she’s the one who sent divorce papers to Shane in the mail. So, yeah…not a move Kayla should have made, but she wasn’t the only one who did things wrong in that story…Kim did, too.

    Best and brightest…I always resented Shawn calling Kimberly that. He made no bones about it. Did it in front of the other kids. It’s hurtful to those not favored…and he was always showing favoritism. He was basically a good man, but I’m not so sure he was a great father in some ways. To make your children feel slighted…uncool.

    Still, I love Shawn, Sr. though I did spend time being angry with him. I will never forgive the character of Ava Vitali for causing his death. And she’s coming back!!!

    Boo. Hiss.

    • Excellent points, Kris.

      Yes, Kim starts to fall for Lawrence. The show has to press really hard to make it believable/justifiable, though, and I’m not sure they quite succeed. I can sort of squint my eyes and believe she thinks Shane and Kayla are just mistaken about Lawrence’s role in Steve’s death. (They never actually sit down and go over the evidence that points to him.) But with Jennifer’s rape, she has to believe that Jennifer is flat out lying. Not cool, Kim.

      I can understand feeling like you have to apologize for Kayla in this storyline, especially if you’ve ever talked about it online with any Kim fans.😉 But I think her actions are pretty understandable. Kim left, divorced Shane through the mail, and then comes back to town and acts like the wounded party. Kayla tries to push Shane away at first (when she realizes Kim still loves Shane), but Shane keeps telling her that even if they aren’t together, he’s not going to be with Kim. So what is she supposed to do?

      At the same time, Kim is waltzing around town with Lawrence, the man who killed Steve. Kayla doesn’t know she’s working undercover (and even after she finds out, that’s when Kim starts to fall for Lawrence for real). Why should she go out of her way to spare Kim’s feelings when Kim doesn’t seem to have any respect for hers?

      I am naturally disposed to favor Kayla, I suppose, so I kind of fall down on her side of the conflict here. But I do think that the show does a good job not demonizing anyone, just exploring the natural conflicts that arise.

  2. Hi, Kris!

    I love how you guys find some decent human drama to analyze out of some of what I’ve always considered such bad story telling. I just can’t with Shane and Kayla, but I must acknowledge that there was some good drama in it.

    • I think part of the reason I like the Shayla storyline is a reaction to how much it is demonized. When people say it is “the worst storyline of all time,” which I often hear — that is ridiculous in my opinion. Melaswen?

      I do think they have chemistry, though nothing like Kim/Shane or (of course) Steve/Kayla. And I admit that I sometimes have to look away during kissing scenes. So there’s that. LOL.

  3. It’s amazing that the Brady kids were as well adjusted as they were. We had Shawn Sr clearly favoring Kim and Caroline clearly favoring Bo. We used to have a lot of rivalry between Roman and Bo early on but that faded with age and possibly with the reveal of Bo paternity. I know Kimberly had her issues after being molested, becoming a prostitute, developing some sort of hysterical blindness and a multiple personality disorder. It’s amazing Kayla didn’t become an ax murderer or something. It always bothered me that both parents had such clear favorites…and we were seeing it when their children were adults…I can only imagine what it was like when they were kids. I always rationalized some of Shawn favoritism to Kim that maybe it was because Kim was not as strong as Kayla and he worried about her more. I never saw any sign that Kim actually deserved the “best and brightest” crown.

    I always found it strange that Roman named his son Eric after his uncle that had molested Kimberly but I guess the twins were born before Kimberly remembered the abuse?

    I have blocked a lot of Shayla out of my memory. I have vague recollections of some things and this scene between Kayla and Shawn is one I do remember. I can appreciate that the Shayla pairing gave Days some great family drama and angst but other than that I have always felt it was just a huge mistake. I never felt like there was any chemistry between them….even the “friendship” chemistry felt forced. If there had been a more natural chemistry between them I think I might have accepted it a bit easier. I know there was never going to be another Steve and Kayla so no matter who they tried to pair Kayla with it wasn’t going to be a great romance in my opinion but I thought she had more chemistry with Marcus than with Shane. I have been known to joke about how appropriate it would have been if we had gotten a Karcus romance after Steve died.

    Back to Shayla, I find it interesting that in 2006 when Steve came back Kayla sort of glossed over her one attempt to move on and didn’t really tell him any details. In fact, they seemed to indicate she had not slept with anyone since Steve but we know she did sleep with Shane. It just feels like it just shouldn’t have happened.

    • I almost would root for Kayla and Marcus because of the couple name.🙂 Seriously, though – having just watched this, where Marcus develops feelings for Kayla, I don’t see it. I agree there is chemistry there, friendly chemistry, and there are lots of sweet scenes of them comforting each other about Steve. But what would the conflict be? And it feels like it would be too much about Steve, them using each other because they both miss Steve.

      I get why people say they prefer it, but I’m glad they didn’t go that way personally. My #1 preference would have been for them to invest in a new character for Kayla, like they did with Bo in bringing on Carly when Hope died. I admit I feel it’s a slight on the character of Kayla that they didn’t do that.

      She did tell Steve in the hot tub scene at the cabin that “there was someone … it didn’t work out.” She neglected to mention it was Shane. LOL.

      • I think if we had gotten a Karcus pairing that the conflict would have been that he was in love with her but she was just with him for companionship. Marcus wanted what Steve and Kayla had but I don’t think Kayla would have ever been able to let go of Steve especially if she was with Marcus. But I can appreciate the family drama of pairing Kayla and Shane.

        I just don’t think any pairing was going to work at that time but trying to tell me that Kayla moved on that quickly and that it was with her sister’s ex doesn’t feel true to character for me. Still I am not one of those people that rant about Shayla….I just pretend it didn’t happen…kinda like Kayla does.

  4. The best thing to come out of the pairing of Shane and Kayla is definitely the Brady family dynamics. But what I love is that it builds on what was hinted at all along. Obviously, there is Shawn always calling Kim his best and brightest, but there were these little hints about Kayla’s role all along. I mean, MBE’s first day has Kim calling her to help with Bo, showing Kayla’s role as peacemaker. When Marlena “died” we saw Kayla taking care of everybody with nobody (but Steve) really wondering how she was doing. We saw Shawn admit to his favoritism just before Kayla married Jack and while Kayla brushed it off, it clearly mad her uncomfortable. And we had Caroline talking about how Kayla was the good girl they never had to worry about just before she went on the run with Steve.

    So, those dynamics were always there. Kayla’s role as caretaker, good girl, always doing the right thing was pretty well defined. And, in this storyline, you finally see what the cost was. She now has her father asking her to sacrifice her own happiness for Kim. And not even really blinking an eye at that request – it’s just what Kayla is supposed to do. And I love that she stands up for herself. Maybe she doesn’t do that if Kim isn’t involved with the man who killed Steve, but I love that dynamic too. Kayla is expected to have so much loyalty that she’ll turn away from Shane, while Kim’s involvement with Lawrence generally creates less anger from the family than just concern. It’s “poor Kim, she can’t help herself so we have to save her.” No wonder Kayla gets pissed. And I love that while Kim may be Shawn’s favorite, Kayla is the one that is maybe most like him – at least in terms of his stubbornness – and all his yelling just pushes her farther in the other direction.

    Lastly, while not directly related to this scene, I love how these dynamics also played into the Steve and Kayla story. For all his issues, and they are legion, Steve saw Kayla as his lifeline of sorts and his whole life was focused on her. He’s the one waiting for her, to make sure she’s okay, when Marlena dies. He’s the one there for her when Caroline has her heart attack. The one who learns sign when she’s deaf. Even most of his big mistakes were out of an (often misguided) need to “protect” her. There had to be something very compelling for Kayla in finding this man who actually put her first (even if she also learned there can be a downside to that). And, like MP, I’m hoping we see this dynamic again in the current storyline.

    • Excellent points! I think it is crucial to the Steve and Kayla relationship that Steve was always All About Kayla even when he was pushing her away. I think that is key to his appeal for her, why she kept pushing so hard to break down his walls. She was never second choice, to him.

      I like the examples you bring up – especially the scenes when Kayla was the caretaker for everyone else when Marlena “died,” and then Steve was the one she could let her guard down with. I saw a little bit of this when she recently broke down in his arms about Bo, and I hope we’ll see more. Please, Steve, put Kayla first!

      ETA: Guess what, everybody? Charles Shaughnessy just retweeted my Shayla + Kim pic on Twitter! Is he a secret fan???🙂

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