When the news broke that Charles Shaughnessy and Patsy Pease were headed back to “Days of our Lives” as Shane and Kimberly, daytime fans went wild. The two halves of the show’s former supercouple haven’t been in Salem at the same time since Alice’s funeral over three years ago, so their brief return — placed right in the midst of November Sweeps — has been viewed as an early holiday present by many. But as both actors tell Soap Opera Network, their quick drop into Salem won’t exactly be merry and bright, considering their onscreen daughter’s (Theresa, Jen Lilley) drug overdose is what brings them back to town! Read on for the full storyline scoop as well as Pease and Shaughnessy’s thoughts about returning to the soap that helped make them household names!
First thing’s first: Both Shaughnessy and Pease would like to stress to viewers that while they are both thrilled to have been asked to come back to “DAYS,” their return is very short — a three day stint starting Monday, November 18 — meaning that not a lot of their history is addressed. In fact, the whirlwind visit hardly leaves time for the pair to deal with their wayward daughter! “It was like being in a speed blender,” Pease says with a laugh. “We were wrapped around so fast, and [any conversations with each other and former co-stars] were mainly in the form of running lines.”
“It was a very quick in and out,” Shaughnessy agrees. “But it was great going back and connecting with everyone and seeing Patsy. It’s like such a familiar pair of comfortable shoes, and it’s just so nice to do it. [But it’s also] a little frustrating, especially in this case, because we had some scenes and some nice work with Jen, and you kind of get those juices going again and start to reconnect with the characters… and then it’s like, you know, ‘Bye bye!’”
That being said, Shane and Kimberly’s return to town is a pivotal moment for Theresa, who’s been having a tough time as of late (and that’s putting it lightly). “We’re definitely responding to a wayward daughter who seems to be causing herself and other people a lot of trouble,” Shaughnessy describes of the onscreen situation. “And as parents [tend] to do, we fly in to try and straighten her out.”
But will the duo be successful in putting their daughter back on the straight and narrow? “The fact that we leave three days later gives you an idea that clearly, we think it’s handled, whether it is handled or not,” Shaughnessy teases.
Adds Pease with a laugh: “Charlie and I were talking about [how] Shane and Kimberly need parenting classes badly, to think that everything is all right and convince themselves that everything is all right. There’s something terribly psychologically wrong with both of them!”
Though the pair’s return was quick, both actors had ample opportunity to bond with Lilley, whom they can’t rave enough about. And in fact, Pease reached out to Lilley via Facebook prior to showing up on set to introduce herself! “I was so nervous, because I haven’t been there in years, and I’m flying in to have scenes with someone that is supposed to be my daughter, so I thought, on top of everything else, let’s not make this a mystery, ‘Who are you? Hi! I’ve never seen you before, I don’t know you, I don’t know anything about you, but let’s have an intense scene about how we love each other,’” she jokes. “I thought, you know, it’s one more stress I really don’t think is necessary, so let’s distress the situation and say, ‘Hi, my name is Patsy Pease, I’m going to be playing your mom.’”
The Facebook conversation went well, and Pease was impressed with her onscreen daughter’s knowledge of the show. “One thing that is so admirable for such a young actress is she did research,” Pease reveals. “She went back — way back — into Shane and Kim’s storyline, and she can tell you the first airdate [her character] had as a baby on ‘Days of our Lives.’ I can’t tell you that, but Jen Lilley can! She did the work, and Charlie and I come from old school, and it’s rare to see young actors do that anymore, but she did. She spent her time and energy on getting to know these characters and their relationship. So kudos to Jen Lilley.”
“She’s such a sweetheart,” Shaughnessy says in agreement. “And so good! We ran lines and got to rehearse those scenes, and that was great.”
Speaking of bonding with co-stars, both actors likened returning to “DAYS” with the camaraderie that usually takes place behind the scenes during stage productions. “It’s very different in TV now and in film,” Shaughnessy explains. “They say these kids are coming into it without the training, without that sort of stage experience, and Patsy and I both come from that stage background, and there is a camaraderie, and you really rely on each other as a unit, and that is lost on some sets, and it’s very sad.”
“That camaraderie gives you a freedom when you’re on camera,” he continues, adding that the “DAYS” cast has a special bond not typically seen in the television world. “When you’re actually on the set and it’s happening, there’s… a language you have, because you are familiar and you got together and you’ve taken the time to run lines and listen to each other and hear the rhythms both in the characters and in the people behind the characters. And what happens on camera ends up juicier and richer. There’s a kind of palpable chemistry that goes on.”
And Pease in particular is thankful that the cast is so supportive, because it was a tough adjustment for her, coming in for such a brief stint. “Something that we recaptured that I miss, when we were sitting in the makeup room, it was with Mary Beth [Evans, Kayla] and Peggy (McKay, Caroline) and I think Melissa [Reeves, Jennifer] and Jen [Lilley], and we were just kind of running lines, and we went into one of the dressing rooms, and we all did what we did in the old days: We got together and helped each other,” she says. “You get the juices going again… because you know, you’re like a rusty machine; you’re not used all year, and then in three days, you try to get back up to speed.”
“It is frustrating when it’s that quick, because you do jump back in and it’s very easy, and it does sort of get that engine turning over,” Shaughnessy adds. “It’s kind of like finding a really loved old car in the garage and you jump in and you turn it on, and within a few minutes, you’re hearing that noise again, and it’s still working, and you want to take it for a spin, and someone says, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, out you go! Wait another few years, and you’ll get to start it up again.’ And it’s like, wait a minute?! I just got the thing turning over. Really?!”