luxken27: (GH - Maxie fierce)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2010-08-26 10:10 pm

Days of Our Lives/General Hospital | Reinvent Me

Title: Reinvent Me
Fandom: Days of Our Lives/General Hospital
Universe: Canon crossover
Genre: Angst/Romance
Rating: T
Summary: Because sometimes even destiny requires do-overs. A classic Shelle/M&M remix.

Link: | DW

Inspiration:Better Days” © 2006 John Rzeznik [Goo Goo Dolls]

This piece is several experiments rolled into one: it's in the style of [ profile] 5_times, it's written completely in present tense, and it's a total remix of scenes that -actually- occurred in canon. Think of it as the textual equivalent of a fanvid, aheh. It was a different sort of challenge to meet, but definitely a fun one.

Okay, confession time: I'm a soap opera fan. I'm not terribly obsessive, and I can't usually sustain interest in the shows for an extended period of time, but they certainly had (have?) their place in my life. Soaps are an interesting concept in and of themselves, and were the topic of a paper I wrote for my Adolescent Psychology class in college ~ so not only do I enjoy the form in the abstract, I'm a fan of the stories told within - to a point.

My mom's soap was always Days of Our Lives, so that's what I "grew up" watching. I remember fondly the Carrie/Austin/Sami triangle, and then along came the new 'teen' set ~ just as I was graduating from high school, LOL. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this new cast of characters, especially the destined-for-future-supercouple-stardom star-crossed almost-cousins Shawn Brady and Belle Black. Most of my enjoyment was derived from the actors' portrayals of these characters, and their own personal chemistry, moreso than any particular storyline. (And there were some real doozies *shakes head*). I was quite saddened to learn that Kirsten Storms had left the show in 2004, because to me, she'd always be Belle.

By that point, I was at college, and watching General Hospital because that's what my friends at school watched. I enjoyed it because GH was so different from Days - instead of taking themselves so bloody seriously, no matter how outrageous the plot, on GH they had the audacity to *laugh* at themselves and their ridiculous situations. This isn't to say GH isn't painful to watch sometimes - I cringe just thinking about the whole "text message killer" storyline *shudder* - but its a bit easier to swallow, so far as escapist fare goes.

I drifted out of the habit of watching GH after college, and spent most of my time interested in tennis (and then Inuyasha). But I knew Kirsten Storms had ended up there, so I made it a point to watch it when I could, just to see her. She's truly a phenomenal actress, able to work with just about any material handed to her :)

While I've been on this nostalgia trip through my childhood, I revisited my old Days 'ship, and stumbled into the fact that Jason Cook (who played Shawn) had also landed on GH - so of course I had to seek out his character! And this is where the absolute awesomeness of soap opera fans truly comes into play. Even though they are scattered on disparate message boards on the interwebs, they are diligent about clipping episodes for their particular character/ship, so even though this was a soap and they never air reruns, I was able to find the vast majority of the storyline (from two years ago!) that reunited these actors for the first time...

...and thus, the idea for this project was born.

Then I saw this on one of those websites (Together Again, an awesome Shelle/M&M/Jason & Kirsten fansite):

and decided it was kismet, LOL.

I wanted to explore the 'classic Shelle' ship from Days and see if it could be linked to the M&M ship that's currently sailing over on GH. The characters are wildly different (Kirsten Storms once described her Days gig as one where "I had to go in and cry every day"), and the situations are as well - neither Maxie Jones nor Matt Hunter are the darlings of the GH core cast the way Shawn Brady and Belle Black are for Days. So I went out and pulled five of the most important clips from Days, and then the infamous (recreated) meeting on GH, and set about stringing them together into a coherent storyline.

I was a little surprised by the result, but in a good way =) Here's the breakdown, piece by piece. I tried to pick clips where the dialogue carried the story, and could explain the context of what was going on with little narrative intervention.

Part I

The newly SORAS-ed Shawn-Douglas Brady returns to Days in October 1999, and he 'rediscovers' his childhood friend, Belle Black. Context: he ran away from boarding school (a school he begged to go to), only to come back and find his family in tatters.

Shawn-D was always referred to by that nickname until this teenaged version appears, and then he becomes simply 'Shawn'.

You can see the chemistry from the very first day these two worked together :)

Part II

Shawn gives Belle his class ring [embedding disabled, boo! =( ]

Christmas Eve 2001, about six months after these two finally get together (after two years of tap-dancing around the subject). This is probably the most romantic scene I've ever seen on a soap opera, and I think the strength of it comes from the writing and the acting. The symbolism of the ring and its exchange is pretty well explained, and the snowman and its pinned note become a running theme for the Shelle ship. The actors really shone in a scene that could've been incredibly awkward, considering its borderline cheesiness, what with the perfectly-timed falling snow and all :P

Part III

Shawn and Belle break up, part 1 [embedding disabled, boo! =( ]

This was March 2002. Hands down, this is one of my favorite sequences for this ship ever. I remember watching it when it happened (and being pissed at the dumb as fuck storyline that brought it on), and I remember just being blown away at Kirsten's acting. She really knocked it out of the park as the disgruntled and rejected soon-to-be ex-girlfriend.

The writing is amazingly strong, IMO. Writing for a serial like this is very tricky, because your viewers have to be able to tune in at any point and figure out what's going on, so there's a tendency to repeat scenes or dialogue after each tag, but this one - as a series of clips - flows together fairly well. The extra layer of angst comes because the viewer knows Shawn didn't betray Belle, but is basically lying to her to protect the girl who has emerged as her worst enemy. Its that sort of delicious frustration that soaps crave, as it reels in the viewer for more :)

Watching this scene, it also struck me how Belle has a few of Maxie's selfish tendencies. Maybe its because I transcribed the dialogue, but she spends an awful lot of time screaming about how this effects her, and how much her life is ruined. Not without merit, mind you, but its striking, considering Belle could rival Kagome for sainthood in her canon.

The idea for this entire piece came from this line:

“ – you are Shawn Brady, and I am Belle Black, and we are supposed to be this – this perfect couple who is going to be together forever! Forever, Shawn!”

Just, awesome.

Part IV

Shawn and Belle tape their heart back together

Shawn and Belle reunited at the Last Blast 2002, and were slowly putting the pieces of their relationship back together in July of that same year, when this scene aired. I chose this, instead of the actual reunion clip, because I liked the revisited symbolism of the heart. Belle tore it to shreds after Shawn accused her of killing Jan's baby, which was definitely the breaking point of their relationship. The fact that she kept it instead of just chucking it spoke volumes to me. (What can I say? I'm such a sucker for this sort of thing.)

The context of this clip rests between two of the other Major Storylines going on for the teen set around this time ~ Chloe, Belle's best friend, is fighting leukemia (and falling in love with Belle's older brother, another couple I enjoyed), and the next truly ridiculous and outlandish plot is about to arrive in Salem: the Gemini Twins. Hence all the heavy-handed forshadowing about something celestial about to change their lives and going on an adventure and all that. This is about the time James E Reilly came back as head writer, and he'd just done his tenure over at Passions - enough. said. o.O

Part V

Shawn proposes - and Belle confesses [embedding disabled, boo! =( ]

April 2004, three months before Kirsten leaves the show. The writing had become truly excremental by this point, as Reilly's wrath was felt across the screen: jump cuts and cliffhangers galore, and tons of repeating dialogue and dragged out scenes. I'd stopped watching by this point (honestly? I stopped watching when Brady and Chloe left the show the year before), so revisiting this was kinda painful. Transcribing it was worse. (Watching it might not be so fun, either.)

The greater context of the story is just... *sigh* Somehow, paragon of virtue and formerly-possessed-by-the-devil-why-wasn't-that-enough Marlena, Belle's mother, becomes the Salem Strangler, wreaking havoc all over town by murdering its most beloved citizens...only they weren't really dead, they had merely been transported to the island of Melaswen ("new Salem" spelled backwards) to be kept as pets for the evil DiMera family.

Or something like that. It didn't make a lot of sense, and it was basically a ratings sweep to get fans to tune in to see who'd die next - and who was ultimately responsible. I remember it riled up a lot of fans, because the prominent citizens being murdered were also the elder statesmen of the cast, and you do not fuck with 40-year-veteran cast members without pissing off the base, LOL.

ANYWAY. I originally spotted this scene in a fanvideo, and had to seek it out - and when I did, I had to sit through three days' worth of this mess trying to find the best beginning and end point. This was it - even though there's another ton of scenes tucked between the first and last. It kinda feels like its coming full circle, with parallels to their first meeting and then their first breakup, and though I feel like Shawn is kinda going overboard with his possessiveness and need to make everyone happy in the face of horror, I love the ending. Belle has way more of Maxie's rambling tendencies here, and Shawn kinda regresses to his 'original' self, the macho badass loner.

Part VI

A lot of GH fans have been grousing about how bad the writing has gotten since Bob Guza took over in '07, but I dare you to watch the last Days clip, and then watch this, and not think this is a million times better. The dialogue is witty, the acting crisp, and the situations rather hilarious. (I love Damien Spinelli, and think he's about the most original, freshest character going on a soap these days, and he's a big part of the reason I still tune into GH.)

So my premise is this: Shawn leaves that night in Salem, breaking Belle's heart, and they basically part ways and find 'new' lives...and then meet again, quite unexpectedly, only to have that long-dead spark reunited. Belle maps onto Maxie a lot smoother than Shawn maps onto Matt, admittedly, but its an idea :)

I had a lot of fun writing this, not only in revisiting my former ships and squeeing with fellow fangirls over Kirsten and Jason being reunited on GH, but because I was able to try out new things. '5 Times'-style fic just seems to work better with live-action shows than with anime, for whatever reason, and I made a conscious effort to write using present tense and only pronouns in the narrative. I think its gives it a more immediate, urgent feel, and I think that works well for a medium as angsty and outrageous as soap operas. I was inspired by a few different fics I've read of late, and I've integrated those styles into my own work here, to some degree of success. I certainly anticipate writing for either one - or both - of these ships, especially as I catch up on their backstories, and I think it'll be fun.

Now here's hoping the soap opera fans don't eviscerate me, LOL :P

[identity profile] 2010-08-27 05:35 am (UTC)(link)
Shawn and Belle! Wow! That really brings back some memories. I haven't watched any soaps since that era, except for checking out "Passions" when it came out. When was that? (Ah! Looked it up and it was around that same time.) I was vaguely aware that Kirsten Storms had jumped to GH, but I didn't know Jason Cook had, too.

I will definitely have to check out your fic when I get a little reading time. ^_^
Edited 2010-08-27 05:40 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2010-08-27 01:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I had not even thought about these shows since law school. It seemed like all of girls at my law school would stop whatever they were doing to watch the romance and later wedding of Luke and Laura on General Hospital.