Settling for less

My favorite aspect of the Shayla relationship is the family conflict it creates. But there is another interesting facet that the show touches on but doesn’t fully explore. And that is that this is a “second choice” relationship for both Shane and Kayla. For Kayla, this is straightforward: Steve is dead, so she doesn’t have a first choice. But for Shane, his “true love” relationship is still a possibility. So why does he choose Kayla? The suggestion is that Kim has just hurt Shane too many times, and he’s not willing to go down the road with her again. A quieter relationship is just what he needs right now.

Here is a great scene where they play on the appeal, and the limits, of a quiet relationship:

Lawrence’s press conference

Kayla’s insecurity makes perfect sense, after hearing Lawrence talk snidely about their relationship and refer to Kim as “the most passionate woman he’s ever known.” I like how Kayla tells Shane that doesn’t want him to “settle for less.” I also think there is more than insecurity talking here. I think Kayla knows if Steve were to come back, there is no way she would “settle” for Shane. So how is it fair for her to expect Shane to settle for her?

I like that Shane’s reassures her that what they have is passionate. (By the way, they haven’t slept together yet.) It would probably be a little much for him to say, “I’ve had enough with getting my heart broken again and again with a grand passion. I’d rather be with someone who lets me keep my walls up.” But I do think there is some truth to that assessment, though Shane might not be fully aware of it.

This is a way to keep their options open. As I talked about here, I think the show always wanted to be able to reunite Kim and Shane down the line. Now that I’ve finished watching the whole Shayla relationship, I think there is a point where that was the plan.

Here’s what happens: Cal Winters comes back to town, fully off his rocker (and played by a really bad recast). He plans to kidnap Kim and his “daughter” Jeannie. (Who is really Shane’s daughter; Cal blackmailed the doctor … of course). Through a mistake, he nabs Kayla instead. While she is captured, Cal is ranting and raving to her and refers to Jeannie as “Shane’s daughter.” Kayla confronts him on his slip, but he denies it.

Then, after the big complicated plot has been resolved and everyone is home safe, Kayla has to tell everyone what she heard, right? Well, take a look:

Kayla and Jeannie

It’s clear what they were setting up, don’t you think? Kayla is afraid of losing Shane, so she keeps the secret of Jeannie’s paternity. Meanwhile, Kim and Shane grow closer because Kim has moved in with Shane (for safety reasons). Kayla would now be the interloper, and the reveal of her secret keeping, plus Jeannie’s true paternity, would push Kim and Shane back together.


But, that’s not what happens. Kayla keeps the secret for a couple of weeks, and then she tells the truth. Kim and Shane are mad at first, but then they get over it. Shane and Kayla stay together.

Kim leaves the show right after this, so I think it’s pretty obvious the story was changed because Patsy Pease decided to leave. And all I can about that is — whew. I would not have enjoyed watching Kayla play the bad guy in this triangle. And yet — I’m also a little intrigued. It is fascinating to hear Kayla in the clip above, in the scene with Caroline, passionately defending her right to be selfish:

“Am I supposed to stand on the sideline and be a martyr? I used to be really good at that, but I’m not anymore, Mom. Not after I had my husband taken away from me, and my whole life just ripped from underneath me. And nobody, not even you, knows what I went through. It was only Shane, because Kimberly was doing that to him. And he knew how lonely it was for me, and how empty the days were, and how endless it all seemed. I felt that I would never be happy again. And that I would never, ever in my life, find love. But I did. Shane gave me that. He gave me back my life, and I’m just not willing to give that up so easily.”

I love how she connects her grief about Steve with the right to hang onto any happiness she can find now. It shows how much Steve’s death shook her to her core. Sometimes, when you settle for less, it’s because it’s all you have.


20 thoughts on “Settling for less

  1. I love the Kayla quote you included and think whoever was writing for at that time did a great job (at least in this instance). I now can get the “why” for Kayla, but not Shane. Kim wasn’t dead. But, still, for the love of god, why did it have to be Shane? Sorry, Mary, still can’t choke it down. It surprised me a little to read that Kayla withheld the truth of the paternity, but she never claimed to be an angel. She’s not malevolent, of course, but I think that quote you included clarifies her reasoning for doing what she did and allows it to be forgivable. And, yes, she sure as heck was settling…

    • It’s never going to convince everybody, or maybe anybody, but the “why” for Shane isn’t all that complicated to me. No, Kim wasn’t dead. But Kim had hurt him badly. She lied about Jeannie’s paternity (well, she thought she was lying) after she had done the same thing with Andrew. Then she left and took his son with her. Then she sends divorce papers. I realize we have high expectations of our soap favorites, but it’s asking A LOT for Shane to just get over all of that when Kim comes back to town.

      In the meantime, there’s Kayla. At first, it’s just his natural and human inclination to comfort and protect her, but it grows into something else. And then Kim comes back and walks in the door just expecting Shane to forgive her. And he wasn’t willing to go down that road again. So, yes, he “settles” for Kayla just as she settles for him. Because something less than “true love” might not be as good, but it often hurts a hell of a lot less. A mistake on both parts? Maybe. But it was also very human and understandable, IMO.

      • Valid points Erica, very valid points and I respect why you and Mary both enjoy the s/l. Even tho I can respect the views, I’m of the same opinion as and completely agree with timeaxismedia.

        I do enjoy giving Mary a hard time about this s/l, tho… sorry Mary

    • That quote just really jumped out at me as being the ultimate summation of what Shayla was about, and why some of us like it. It was Kayla without her anchor (Steve) and having to deal with her role in the family as the good girl, the one who always came in last. And here she’s saying, “I’m not going to do that.” And I find that really fascinating.

      It’s true they don’t fully explain why Shane moves on from Kim and is so steadfast in saying it’s over. But Shane and Kim have some fights and run-ins during this time, where Shane kind of blows up at her and is bitter and emotional — and that supports this idea that Shane is still too hurt to even address his feelings for Kim. So he keeps them bottled up. That would have served as a great basis for eventual reunion story, if it had worked out that way.

  2. I love that quote you posted, MP. I really summarizes everything so well, particularly how deeply Steve’s death affected Kayla. It rocked her to her very core and really did change her. I’m one of those that doesn’t think that’s a bad thing. Something like that should have a long-lasting, fundamental impact on Kayla’s life.

    I hate that she kept the paternity secret, even for just a couple of weeks, just because I’m a Kayla fan and that’s hard to defend. But, at the same time, I think it has to be a record for shortest amount of time that type of secret was kept in Salem. I think you are right about the story changing, which is good in a lot of ways. But it also irritates slightly because it means that it really wasn’t necessary for Kayla to keep the secret at all. It has no real impact on anything, after all. But, I do agree, that’s better than a story where she keeps the secret longer and becomes the interloper and whatnot.

    Thank you for your continued exploration of this story.

    • That’s one thing I think is so interesting about the whole Shayla storyline, is how her loss of Steve is really part of the whole thing. That’s why I don’t think she moved on too quickly, despite what people say about the story. The fact that she lost Steve and how Shane helped her through it is kind of the whole basis of the relationship for her. And Shane’s side could have been explored a little more explicitly, but I think it works in subtext.

      I think if Kayla had kept the secret of Jeannie’s paternity to hold onto Shane this story would be even more unpopular than it is now — hard as that is the imagine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Like you, as a fan I hate the idea of it. So I feel like we dodged a bullet. But it’s kind of funny how it plays out where they set it up as this REALLY BIG DEAL and then the secret comes out and it’s pretty much over.

  3. I can appreciate your indepth analysis of Shayla, but S&K are a couple that is pure sole mate. I don’t know why it hasn’t felt that way with say Bo and Hope or Roman and Marlena. It does with S&K, and the storyline made me sick then, and still does! Sorry, can’t help it. There has never been a supercouple like S&K, and there never will be again. “Shayla” has no place it that whatsoever.

    Even though the first return of Nichols was a big disappointment, I’m forever glad that happened, to get rid of their separation and Shayla forever! The show and writers today, sure do act as though it never happened. Good!

    • I’m with you. I do appreciate the quote Mary posted but I can’t bring myself to watch Shayla and probably never will.

      Btw, I read many people here referring to their 2nd run as unfavorable. Curious if there are some things anyone liked about it? I’ve only watched it in parts but I’m currently doing a rewatch of the 80’s and will move on to watching all of their 2nd run.

      • It’s worth watching, though it’s not (of course) what it could have been. I liked bits and pieces of all the stories. I liked the beginning of the Steve-as-Nick story quite a bit, especially the arc where they go to Cincinnati. Steve being crazy had some really great moments, I thought — I think that story is a little underrated. The Pocket story was really cute. I wouldn’t watch Ava right now if you paid me — ask me again in a few years — but there was some good stuff in there too, with Ava kidnapping Hope thinking she’s Kayla, and then Bo and Kayla going off to rescue Steve and Hope. And the scene where Steve and Kayla bring Joey home from the hospital and finally have it out about Ava is must-see.

  4. You mentioned doing a re-watch of 80s DOOL. Where are you able to see that? I remember you, Mary saying all the DOOL vids got removed by youtube, and also that you were putting them elsewhere with a new link or something….please correct me, its a little fuzzy. I’d like to have access.

    As to the 2nd run, I just remember going what the?! Steve brainwashed into forcing Kayla to do a surgery or some dang thing? I hated all that. Two other things stick out – Steve under the spell strangling Kayla and running out of the house, Kayla hysterical in the living room crying “Coward!”. I was like this is not the couple I fell in love with.
    The the real kicker. That scene in Mexico when Steve is in the bar and has a freak out – barking and yelling like a wacko! Do you remember that? It was funny not in a good way, and embarrassing to witness.

    Those are relatively small moments in the 2nd run, but they stand out for me. I would look at it again, and I never saw the whole thing – never could find it all (never saw it when it aired, only online). Maybe our illustrious Mary can post them all someday? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Haha. I asked about the things you liked about their 2nd run!

      Thanks to a very generous lady on Google + you can watch every single scene of S/K. She makes hour videos. Basically they are hour episodes of all of their scenes. They are so great!

      Her channel was deleted from YT the last time NBC had a bunch of stuff taken down so, like Mary, she’s moved over to Google +. She’s currently in the middle of uploading 1989 and re uploading from the beginning in 1986 which she had on YT but was deleted.

      Go to Google + and search for TrueXena. You simply have to request from her access to the private videos and she’ll give you access. You’ll love it!

  5. I quit watching Days when Steve “died”. I have felt that they had Kayla move too fast after losing Steve. That aside, I LOVE this quote–good to hear her not beating around the bush & telling it like it is ! I know Shane is coming back & I do hope there is a slight mention of their romance—if only for the screen shot Mary would put up of Steve’s face after hearing that — LOL !!
    As for their second run……that scene after Joey’s birth is a must-see—-fantastic all the way around. I will never forget how we got screwed out of any type of goodbye scene–Steve holding Joey, next to Kayla in the hospital bed….that’s all she wrote. Perhaps not the best way to end a mediocre run for one of daytime’s best couples (and the only one to bring you to #1 in the ratings)

    • Are you referring to the scene after Joey’s birth when Kayla confronts him about Ava that is a must see?
      Their last scene was after Joey was born in the hospital?

      Not one of daytime’s best couples. They are daytime’s couple, imo Steve/Kayla, Luke/Laura. 1 & 2

      • Their last scene was in the hospital, but it was after Hope’s hearing for shooting Kayla. The scene holding Joey in the hospital was a few weeks before that, right after Kayla’s surgery after being shot. Joey was maybe 7 or 8 months old by that time.

  6. Hey there Michelle —– you are is the scene when Kayla confronts him, after Joey is home. I think Joey was a few months old when they left–Kayla was in the hospital after being shot…they were all in there & that was it–no explanation, no fanfare — ๐Ÿ˜ฎ BTW, thanks for the heads up about Xena–was just getting into the good stuff when it was yanked off YT !! Cheers !!

  7. Heh, you are right, you did ask for stuff we LIKED about the 2nd run! Hmm, I really can’t think of anything. It was just pretty lame. However, when Steve started to remember, with one nice ep of playing darts with Bo there and a “sweetness” slipped out and he hadn’t remembered that before. But 905 of it sucked! Steve in a mental instition, being meaner than hell to Kayla, Kayla’s hysterics were not her character IMO. Under a spell to kill Bo just from looking at a card…it was ludacrous to me. So far removed from the good ol’ days like the ER, or Stockholm, or the wedding or the Jack rape… this whacky Dr. Who type sci-fi nonsense did not have a place in daytime soap – like with the robots around the time Steve died, or Marlena’s possession, right?

    I also remember (sorry, can only list dislikes) Steve being made into a bit of a goofball. Roman and Bo making fun of his parenting abilities, and one time he did this really dumb dance around some one when he was undercover….you’ll see all this when you try the 2nd run. The cool, smartass chip on this shoulder Steve is gone in the 2nd run. Hugely disappointing.

    Thanks so much for the 2 links – I will post comments and join. Speaking of the 2nd run, does either one have it, or havse plans to have it? I’m a completist nut, so I hope so. It ended so badly and incomplete, and regardless of the 3rd run’s likability, at least it fixed what we were [not] left with when they simply vanished at the end of the 2nd run.

    Really, Shane is coming back? That could be interesting – if their romance even gets mentioned.

    • I like quite a bit about the second run, even if they didn’t really have a great longterm story. Some of my favorite stretches were the fall of 2007 when they were deciding to have a baby, interspersed with other scenes like Stephanie’s pregnancy test, etc. The aftermath of the Ireland trip was great, up until Hope’s kidnapping. The month when Steve gets his memory back was fantastic. And as bad as it felt at the time, I really do enjoy the arc as they leave the show. It’s limited, but what is there is good.

      The 3rd run was better at telling a sustained story, but I think the 2nd run was better for the most part at creating episodes that worked and shorter arcs. They had more of a beginning-middle-end every day, and things seemed to move a little more, which might be good since there are a lot of complaints now that things are dragging and it’s the same conversation over and over again.

      • The second run looks better in retrospect, partly because I can compare it to the third run AND the modern show in general, rather than to their first run.

        One of these days I’m going to rewatch, I think, and blog about it. I’m sure I’ll have a different perspective now.

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