Simon and Kaylee
Thursday, February 11, 2010

So in Aliasse's recent story, the question was brought up about just how compatible Simon and Kaylee really are. Aside from being on Serenity, and Kaylee having a crush on Simon, and Simon apparently being fairly comfortable as the recipient of that crush (with occasional, mostly unsuccessful attempts to encourage her after Jaynestown), they don't have much in common.

Specifically, it was asked, if they were to have a life together, what could they DO together, like in the sense of work? He's a doctor, and she's a mechanic. It could be argued that their roles ARE their lives, and those lives, and what dreams they have associated with them, are incompatible.

But as ever, I'm game for a good thought puzzle. So here's some stuff I came up with.

1) If everyone stays on Serenity forever, there's no problem with their jobs not keeping them together because their jobs tie them to the ship.

If they don't stay on the ship:

2) We could go the route that Mal4Prez hints at, where Simon and Kaylee work together fixing up medical machines (maybe Kaylee could design artificial limbs for amputees) and maybe start a clinic.

3) Kaylee could decide to pursue mechanics more as a hobby, and be nurse to Simon's doctor. Of all the crew, Kaylee seems to be least bound by her job. She loves mechanics, she knows a lot about it, but she has no formal training, so she's not cornered into JUST being a mechanic. And she potentially could love a lot of other jobs, I mean, look at how much she likes people in general. She'd like helping them, and helping Simon help them I think.

4) What's to say their differences have to keep them apart? I know plenty of couples who have no common interests. The wife works one job, the husband works another. So long as they can respect each other when they get home and there's still affection between them, they stay together. Who doesn't love Kaylee? It's impossible to stay mad at her! And Simon is her dream romance, the classy Core guy who sweeps her off her feet that she's always talking with Inara about. Affection isn't a problem. And they're both smart, in their own ways, Kaylee is the engineer and Simon is the scientist, so there's a basis of respect. And they get along well and can carry on a conversation, it's not like there are glaring obstacles there. So they may end up with separate work lives, but they still have plenty they can share.

Really, ultimately, the biggest issue they might have is River. For a relationship with Simon to work, Kaylee has to be able to make a permanent space for River in her life, and even possibly take up some of the care-giving duties.


Saturday, February 13, 2010 9:13 PM


P.S. I do want to say, for a take on the Simon/Kaylee relationship, I recommend Tara LJC O'Shea's fic. I think it starts with "That Old Yeh Shen Story", it's on this site somewhere or if not on the site, but I've been following her since her "Gargoyles" day and characterization is really her strength. And she's a S/K shipper, so...

Saturday, February 13, 2010 7:12 PM


LOL the man likes his bunk. I really think that's where he was headed btw. Not his bunk, I mean the religious life. and I bet Adam would have been all over that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 6:54 PM


But he'll join one of the orders that are a bit looser on the rules of, you know, being in his bunk.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 6:49 PM


Haha I didn't mean to get things so off track, I was just speaking relatively...based on how the characters interact, I could more easily buy Mal or Jayne swinging the other way in some circumstances then I could Simon - some people say they see an attraction, btwn both Simon/Mal and Simon/Jayne, but those interactions always stuck me as pretty one-sided, with Simon as the object rather than the instigator - assuming you can even read that into it (turn head sideways and squint). I know there's a Mal/Jayne shipper contingent out there, but I don't see that at all.

I think in general, it's just some actors are great at building chemistry of any kind with other actors, and we got spades of that in Firefly.

Either way, I think everyone can relax because I don't see Joss ever going there. Not with a primary male character, anyway. This is going to remain a Kaylee/Simon, Mal/Inara issue. And Jayne will become a shepherd and die alone ;)

Saturday, February 13, 2010 2:06 PM


Well, it could be argued that Jayne was checking out Simon's *ss, from above, while Simon was mending Kaylee in the pilot.

But, Mal, no, I don't buy it, not sure why, maybe because, he's got the whole deep longing for Inara thing going.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 2:02 PM


Ah, love. When bullet wounds, stabbing, black eyes, and split lips becomes tactical nuclear warfare.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 1:52 PM


ok, so mal and jayne have homosexual tendencies in general, or just homo erotic tension as they struggle to determine who bottoms? i'm not sure.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 1:44 PM


I imagine it's the Foe Yay, though I think Simon and Mal have a lot less of it than Simon and Jayne. Adam once wondered if maybe Joss was trying to make subtext between the two of them.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 1:31 PM


wow, this post has metastasized, hasn't it?

re simon's sexuality: vests do not make one gay, only well dressed and tasteful. and i agree that because simon is a tinhorn, people are more inclined to characterize him as a fancy lad, than say, Jayne (but what a bear Jayne would make!). not that there's anything wrong with that. but i'm not sure where you're coming from with the mal-might-be-bisexual vibe.

i could imagine kaylee quesitoning simon's sexuality, though, as she tries to come to grips with the way he treats her...

Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:53 PM


Granted I'm sure the vests don't help.

LOL, maybe Simon's asexual, and Kaylee's polysexual and this is the real root of their problems;)

Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:40 PM


Steal away, Byte! And yes, I could also see Kaylee and Zoe talking some of these things over.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:25 PM


I think the confusion people have with simom re:sexuality is that he doesn't portray the rompy-stompy-wisecracking macho man stereotype, ergo he must be gay. It's a myopic view of masculinity but one that our culture, broadly speaking, is unfortunately mired in (at the moment). But then British and European men (particularly upper-class) often get accused of being gay by some folks as well, and I saw Simon as being sort of being from that background. Or the asian equivalent.

Granted I'm sure the vests don't help.

But based on their behavior towards him, I always got a stronger "swings both ways" vibes off of Mal and Jayne, ironically.

On the plus side, re: thread size, I'm starting to notice a pattern of consensus coming out about Kaylee and Simon. She's high-maintenance, attention-wise (again, at the moment), and Simon is a man with pre-existing priorities.
I guess that's their biggest challenge. Either Kaylee can mature into someone who doesn't require a lot of validation (and who knows, maybe understanding Simon's affection for her could give her that inner-confidence boost to get there) or maybe at some point, Simon will make her his top priority, in which case with all that laser-focus of his directed on her, she'll either be getting all the attention she craves or she might discover it's too much of a good thing and run screaming into the night.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:14 PM


GillianRose: Yeah, that's pretty much it. And I really don't get the I'm-actually-just-more-interested-in-guys vibe off of Simon. More "I'm a little distracted making sure my sister's brain is fixed and that we don't end up incarcerated and tortured by Feds (or Jayne)." That's quite a bit on the plate to start with.

Speaking of Wash and Kaylee, you've reminded me of another very interesting relationship line. It happens in Heart of Gold:

KAYLEE (sighing): Everybody's got somebody but me... (turns to Wash) Wash, tell me I'm pretty...

WASH: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.

KAYLEE: 'Cause I'm pretty?

WASH (reassuring): 'Cause your pretty.

I think Kaylee, in addition to being addicted to sex (as I said on Aliasse's fic) is plain addicted to attention, which is pretty clear in-scene. Wash appears (to me) to be at a loss but doing his best.
So I wonder, once again, about Kaylee's backstory.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 11:40 AM


Just so you know, I'm so stealing Wash wisdom. Some of it doesn't involve reenactment via dinosaurs. It's pretty clear in the comic books that Wash takes on this role a LOT. To Kaylee, and sometimes to Mal, though Mal is less than interested in listening.

Zoe actually might have some insights as she works through her grief, too.

Also an amazing idea about Simon wanting to keep trying just because he's so nice and not wanting to let Kaylee down, which he does, just because by nature his attention is always split.

Holy beagles, this post is getting HUGE. o.o Maybe I shoulda made a thread.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 10:49 AM


I wonder if the relationship, and its problems, might not have worked as a way for Kaylee to realize some things about herself, on the way to growing up. Things like, romance, while exhilirating, doesn't have the same substance or value as an actual relationship; that someone else's mission, or gift, isn't less worthwhile when it's inconvenient or when it causes her disappointment. Simon's devotion to River might ultimately cause Kaylee to reflect on the values she grew up with, if indeed she had the benefit of a stable and loving family. This might also help her figure out what part friendship has in a serious relationship. I could see Simon wanting to continue to *try* with her, because of his love and affection for her, and because he's already lost, had to walk away from, so much. Maybe it would be Kaylee that ultimately decides that having to try, ALL the time, means something is not working. I'm not saying that is where Kaylee is now, but maybe she could get there. If there were ever to be a big damned sequel, it might be nice to see her reflecting on past conversations with Wash - a potential source of relationship wisdom for Kaylee, and a way to get Alan in the second movie.

I ultimately see them coming to the same place that Willow and Oz came to, or Xander and Anya - eventually getting past the anger and the fault-finding, realizing that love is still there but it is not enough.

As for Simon being gay, I know Television Without Pity was convinced of it, but I'm not. I thought he made the same kind of decision Mal did - going after a future where keeping away from the Alliance was going to be enough, and everything else - including love relationships - were something he might well have to sacrifice for what he needed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 8:07 AM


he does reciprocate with Kaylee

It's reluctantly, though, and I've worked with many biological gay parents whose off spring weren't conceived by artificial means. Sometimes trying the other side confirms what you already know about yourself. And, Inara isn't necessary bi, she "services", both men and women, but she prefers men, romantically, big difference.

but if not Kaylee, I don't see any other prospects he might be interested in.

Well, that's where the quiet desperation plays in.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 7:26 AM


Well, he does reciprocate with Kaylee, and I don't see any reason for him to try to hide it. People in the future seem more accepting.

Maybe his parents tried to encourage him to be straight because of family bloodlines or some other upper class whatsit, and it's become ingrained for him to try to deny it. But I don't really see him being attracted to any of the other guys on the ship. Except maybe immediately after Ariel, when he got a man crush on Jayne. But that's JAYNE, the man crush wouldn't have lasted long even IF Simon hadn't found out about Jayne's treachery.

I guess he could be bi (hi Inara!) but if not Kaylee, I don't see any other prospects he might be interested in.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 7:05 AM


So yeah. Quiet desperation, lowered expectations, and inertia.

Well, Simon may already be feeling this, starting a serious relationship with Kaylee would add another layer to his discontent. And, yes, Kaylee is pretty, sweet and talented, but they have vastly different needs to sustain a long term relationship. Simon's life work of medicine is far too important to him to be constantly having to reassure Kaylee of her worth. It's not anything he seems that interesting in doing. He doesn’t have the time or energy for it and no one could blame him. Kaylee is high maintenance for a Doctor who likes doctoring and research by the looks of it in Better Days.

And Kaylee would continue to demand attention and reassurance. She loves having a boyfriend, the attention that it brings with it and the sex. She'll want to move too fast, he'll want to move OUT, a disaster in the making.

They are best served by Kaylee finding someone else, who’s willing to meet her emotional needs, and Simon doing his work, which he loves, to help Inara and River.

Hmm...this could have been interesting to watch unfold instead of them married with twin babies.

Does anyone else think Simon may have been the token gay character?

Friday, February 12, 2010 10:28 PM


mb - WOW, that's like those distilled Shakespeare plays! (Shakespeare again, sorry)

I think someone needs to just blow up the ship and then see how the pieces settle *enjoys moment of author self-importance*

Friday, February 12, 2010 9:43 PM


Or, as he says in Better Days, he actually starts to like the ship.

But probably only when times don't suck.

Still, you've got a point. Without outside intervention or character development, that probably is the direction their relationship would go. Even if Simon starts to like his new life, and the ship, there remains a possibility that he and Kaylee might become tired of each other, or bored. They're young, Kaylee doesn't seem like the type for commitment, and it's possible Simon's own upbringing will have him wanting to look for someone that he has more in common with.

Friday, February 12, 2010 8:43 PM


How’s this for one way they work as a couple:

They had something that passes for chemistry. They looked like they ought to be a couple; neither one was hard to look at. He’s like something out of a fairy tale, or adolescent wet dream. She’s a ray of sunshine. And she might as well be the only girl in the universe, in the limited circles he moves in these days, she is the only available girl.

He held himself apart, whether out of natural shyness, or unwillingness to give, she never knew. Maybe it was reluctance to link his future to hers? Was it the captain looking over their shoulder? She might not have been good enough, either.

They got together after facing death, and stole kisses while piecing their lives back together. And they were glad.

For a while.

They still had something that passed for chemistry, still looked like a couple. But he felt trapped in the relationship, and the ship, and his feelings weren’t lost on her.

Drifting in the middle of space, he had no space, and no way to ask for it. He grew reticent, sharp. She wasn’t dumb. She felt him checking out, drifting away. She got clingy, and then angry, and then tried to figure out way to make him jealous.

And they drifted in the black.

So yeah. Quiet desperation, lowered expectations, and inertia.

Friday, February 12, 2010 7:52 PM


There's SO many comments since mine I don't think I can talk at 'em all...which is interesting, because I want to.

Anyway, I think they do have (limited) chemistry. It IS "ahttp://www...cute!" inducing, even for me--I am cynical about fictional relationships and that one scene in OiS made me go "awhttp://www..."; inside because Simon was finally relaxing. But think of it another way--that could just make it more of a slap in the face when inner-emotion Simon "says" to River "And I could be (back) there, right now." Ouch. Hurts lots more, for all the characters, because you just got really attached to all three characters in their tableau.
You wanted it so bad and then it was Jossed.

However, I think this chemistry is, besides my "situational" standpoint, definitely about degree of "baking":

I'm not talking about "maturity" in the "things you gotta learn by growing up and being in the world" sense--that may be the difference between Mal and Kaylee. Simon and Kaylee, on the other hand, are different in definition of values. As I said before, Kaylee, whatever her upbringing--which most on here seem to think (for lack of backstory) was poor yet loving--has just been drifting. Her horizons have expanded while not drastically shifting her outlook or ability to perceive herself, while Simon's whole life has been altered (and shrunk, in his current opinion). They're just not at the same place.

I think Kaylee finishing Simon's sentence there is more about showing the half-bakedness. Simon's life just keeps shifting into crazy talk and he's running to catch up. If your death is imminent, your thoughts might shift to what are normally for him end-result things (like sex) a lot quicker.

One of the reasons I believe Kaylee can keep such a cheerful (if not even) keel is she (again, without backstory) ain't lost people yet, been denied her true passion, been persecuted or put in a fix she can't get her own self out of.
I just think she ain't been tried yet.

Friday, February 12, 2010 5:16 PM


yeah, but no engine parts (or lousy tools) means ship goes "boom", as we've already seen. may be a case of conflicting priorities

Friday, February 12, 2010 5:13 PM


Well, I base my Kaylee comments on Kaylee always asking Mal for engine parts when Mal is clearly strapped for cash. Yeah, Kaylee, we know you need them, but there's thing thing called MONEY, and we don't got it...

Friday, February 12, 2010 4:42 PM


Ha, see now we're going somewhere positive with them! I agree! and yeah, i can see Simon being an airhead about some things - "The difference between the rich and the poor is that if you have money, you never have to think about it" that's paraphrased, but sums up what I'm guessing Simon's attitude towards money is...or at least has been. Sort of a Paris Hilton "wtf, I never read my phone bill. who pay's it? I dunno, one of my daddy's people". Kaylee OTOH I could see being pretty savvy with money. I could also see her being an impulse shopper though ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010 4:38 PM


Hmm, actually, I take that back. Mal, mind bogglingly, somehow ISN'T a pessimist. I think it's the streak of idiot hero in him, but he for some reason always expects his plans to work, despite the way the universe seems to love screwing with him.

But my other point about Simon being a pessimist stands.

Friday, February 12, 2010 4:33 PM


You know what else they are? Kaylee is the optimist, and Simon is the pessimist. Not to the extent that Mal is a pessimist, but still quite pessimistic.

"Simon's measuring out morphine overdoses."
"Cheerful fellow."

So here is another way they complement each other. Simon can help keep Kaylee a little grounded, and Kaylee can help Simon see the bright side of things. He actually HAS admired her for that, so it seems to be something he values.

Though they're both still pretty airy in their own way. I doubt either of them has a lick of money sense to share between them.

Friday, February 12, 2010 4:29 PM


I'm going to go with "permanent lust object" and "Kaylee feels special/oh so pretty." Well, assuming Simon ever gets it together and manages to COMPLIMENT her.

I'm sure a compliment from someone, in Kaylee's view, to be so lofty and out of reach would have her floating on air for days. I mean, take usual Kaylee cheerfulness. Now add flattery on top of it.

Simon choosing to be with her (not just because she's the only one available, but because he wanted to be with her) would help Kaylee self esteem issues even more.

Friday, February 12, 2010 3:30 PM


I think Simon and Kaylee have a lot of chemistry, actually, in particular when Simon's relaxed. Which maybe goes to if they fulfill any kind of "need" for each the short term, anyway, Kaylee does seem to have relaxing effect on Simon, helps him lighten up and indulge in his sweet side, which he only ever really shows to River for the most part. Other than providing a very pretty distraction and company for Kaylee though and teh sex, of course), what does Simon provide? A good example?

Friday, February 12, 2010 3:06 PM


Wait, what? Cookies?

(I think you've pegged it, GR)

Friday, February 12, 2010 3:00 PM


There are so many really well-thought out points here, it makes for great reading. When I think about Kaylee and Simon, I keep going back to what Buffy told Angel at the end - she's not done baking yet. And that's ok. Kaylee's really young, this is her first experience away from home, and we see her making the transition from girl to woman (not without missteps, in canon and in most excellent fanfic). She and Simon may or may not be compatible - even if they are, this might not be the right time in either of their lives to act on that.

Sigh - now I want cookies.

Friday, February 12, 2010 1:42 PM


Bizarrely, despite Kaylee seeming to just want Simon for sex, they do have a kind of sweetness between them. And remember in Objects in Space, when they're talking on the couch, or in Jaynestown? When Simon actually RELAXES, apparently they have chemistry. It's sort of like whenever Mal and Inara aren't fighting, like when they're sharing engine-wine above a cargo hold of cattle.

Maybe the intention really IS to show a reflection of the Mal/Inara relationship, complete with fighting, only Simon/Kaylee fights are over minor superficial things that they both make out to be big deals, and Mal/Inara fights cover really deep problems that they cover with superficial arguments.

But mutual needs and shared expectations? Hmmmm.

Friday, February 12, 2010 1:26 PM


clio: interesting, kaylee wanting more than simon can offer. makes me think that simon wants much less than kaylee can offer. as mentioned earlier, simon may be the core dandy that kaylee dreamed of sweeping her off her feet when she was a girl. but simon, at this point in his life, doesn't really need a kaylee. maybe he needs a Companion? a warm body with a few sympathetic words to help him build his life back up? agreed, their break up could be all kinds of fun.

do simon and kaylee have any chemistry, shared expectations, or mutual needs? the more i think about it, the less convinced i am that they do.

Friday, February 12, 2010 1:06 PM


MB: I never really knew what to do with Simon & Kaylee, so all their interactions ended up being a bit tortured and awkward – Simon continually disappointing her and being able to offer her less than she wanted. Which is why the first fifteen chapters' love triangle seemed so believable, I guess. Nonetheless, in the unwritten future of that story, I imagine they break up fairly quickly. In the words of Ricky Ricardo, he's got an awful lot of 'splainin' to do, after all. I think that last half-hearted hand-holding scene was kind of a last gasp at that relationship.... (Though at the same time I have at least two scenes in which Inara tries to convince Kaylee that Simon might feel something for her. I wonder why I wrote that? Inara would certainly know, wouldn't she? Hmm. Call it an inconsistency.)

I agree with all your comments about class – as well as about Mal's sophistication, Aliasse. I think he probably has a very rich background that we don't see – it's more than just the war, and it's more than just age. He has an understanding about life and its depths that Kaylee doesn't have.

And lest we not forget – I don't think anyone's mentioned it – what does Simon tell Kaylee in BDM? Does he regret never telling her that he loved her, or never kissing her, or never holding her? No. Well, perhaps that's unfair, because Kaylee jumps the fun and finishes his sentence in a bizarrely immature way – but it seems he agrees. He regrets never having had sex with her. Kind of fits with the not-married-family-or-professional comment, no?

This indeed has turned into a pretty great thread, BM. Sorry about that cat on the keyboard thing. Mine does it ALL THE TIME.

Friday, February 12, 2010 12:57 PM


Mincingbeast: I can see what you mean in regards to Kaylee, she's cute, but she's actually not a character who really interests me much. I think it's because she's so NORMAL, which in real life would be a positive, but in a show there's just not much drama going on with her.

I'm mostly talking this out because I'm trying to figure out how Simon and Kaylee could (if possible) work.

Haha, break up. Yup. Can you IMAGINE what Serenity would be like? Kaylee throwing fits everywhere, Simon with cold irritability until he explodes at someone (maybe his sister! Ouch!). Mal might kick them off in a shuttle planet side until either they go back to sexing or resolve their problems and decide to remain friends.

It's strange that Simon seems to come across as distant to everyone, though. Judging by River, he certainly seems capable of affection and giving people he cares about attention.

Friday, February 12, 2010 12:50 PM


Grr, kitty-caused interruption and deletion of part of previous comment. I was typing something to AnotherSky. Go away cat! I'll pet you later!

Anyway, like I was saying, AnotherSky, that's just how I see Kaylee. Simon has had a bit of hardship but did not have a hard life prior to it. Kaylee is the other way around.

I'm still not sure if their world view is the obstacle... Care to elaborate?

Friday, February 12, 2010 12:45 PM



Hmm. Mal is sophisticated... I think there's nuances here and it's going to sound like I'm contradicting myself. He's worldly, so in some respects he's sophisticated, but I think Simon and Inara have a sort of upper class sophistication as well. I think it comes down to which "circle" they're moving in at the time. In Inara and Simon's world, Mal and Kaylee are fish out of water. On the Rim among folk (and in Mal's case, criminals), Simon and Inara don't fit in well. But because they've been spending more time out on the Rim, I see both Simon and Inara as having become more comfortable with it, and so the neutral territory where the two respective couples can meet is expanding.

Definitely, for some reason, Mal and Kaylee are pretty immature. Simon is probably immature too, though he hides it better. Inara is a strange mix of wisdom and idealism, and reverts to childishness when her temper is up (See: Wobbly headed doll argument).

Friday, February 12, 2010 12:04 PM


Yay, great thread!

mincingbeast: I know someone who's like Kaylee in real life and I consider her to be more than slightly unwell. ;)

It's a shame there isn't a real Simon/Kaylee shipper arguing their case here. The only thing I can really think of - and this is prompted by AnotherSky's comment about Simon having been to hell and back - is that Kaylee can bring him into her sunny verse when he's with her (which might not actually be that soothing, see my comment about unwellness above. Whoops, I was supposed to be advocating for the ship...)

Byte - just checking, did you get that I was saying that MAL (not Simon) is more sophisticated?

Friday, February 12, 2010 11:32 AM


First, please allow me to disclose my bias. I don't like Kaylee. I know that makes me sound like an ogre, and granted, it is refreshing to have someone on the ship that is all smiles and sunshine. Regardless, Kaylee bores me.

AnotherSky: "situational attraction" is perfect description of Simon and Kaylee, or at least the way I read them. Kaylee has had nothing twixt her nethers in a while; Simon is on the run. Neither has many romantic options. Compatability is less a point than availability. Could they be happy together on Serenity? Perhaps. Can you imagine them happy elsewhere? I can't, but I confess my imagination is limited.

The only thing that interests me about them is their inevitable break up--plenty of narrative potential in that, and it would be a neato foil for Inara and Mal's relationship (assuming they're still courting while refusing to acknowledge it).

clio has my favorite portrayal of Simon and Kaylee so far. for a while, it seemed Simon wasn't nearly as invested in being kissy as Kaylee, and maybe Kaylee was aware of it. of course, she gave in to the temptation of letting them hold hands at the end--but the detail with Simon staring off into space if already working on the next problem says a lot about their relationship. simon is on the ship in body--who knows where his mind is?

Friday, February 12, 2010 10:43 AM


I agree with what's been said.

Also said some stuff on aliasse's fic "Split".

I think on a very fundamental level they don't currently "get" each other.
It's not necessarily his awkwardness or her inferiority complexes in the way, I think--it's just that they're so different in worldview and what's important to them.

I'm not saying this couldn't change, I'm pointing out it currently exists.

Simon knows a lot of his own mind. He's had to make a lot of value decisions--who and what exactly, when it comes down to the excruciating wire, are important to him. That's why all the parallels to Mal work--because Simon has (despite "Fauntleroy" appearances)been to a very personal kind of hell and back. While there seems to still be extreme longing for his old life, it's clear that two things now matter the most to him: protecting his true family (River) and acting in accordance with the physician's code. It's just we're not used to seeing someone who goes through that and still "acts fancy"--it's harder to accept for most of us than our favorite techy browncoat.

As for Kaylee, she strikes me as someone who yes, never had much (materially maybe), but has never had to give up much either. While Simon appears the awkward, immature one(though actually he is in some other ways), I don't think they're in the same place developmentally, either personally or in the relationship.

The line about Kaylee not being a relative, married, or a professional:
It was a tactless misstep to say it, but basically, it was the flat truth.
And I think Simon might feel some strong guilt in that-- having the physical and situational attraction whereas, as Kaylee fears, he might not look twice at her otherwise.

Yes, they might be so sickeningly sweet that they work, but I'd have forseen at least a few seasons of ridiculous confusion first.

So, on-show I don't think they'd have worked out for reasons of the relationship alone. Other factors (ie 'yay we all stay on the ship' etc.) may have kept them together.

Friday, February 12, 2010 9:12 AM


Sophisticated? As far as we know, Simon hasn't ever been off Osirius before now. Kaylee definitely seems to be more worldly than him, and knowledgable, even if relationship wise she's still immature. Or at least, she is within the circles THEY'VE been moving in, which are completely foreign to Simon.

And Kaylee is sophisticated in a good way, the sum of her traveling experience has had no negative impact on her world view. And considering what the crew DOES, I think is a credit to how much Mal tries to protect everyone, of course that means HE'S the one taking up all that negativity.

Friday, February 12, 2010 6:23 AM


Maybe there's some sexism there (hope not) - a woman couldn't have the qualities that would enable her to overcome obstacles of class and education. If that is the case, I think the problem lies with the way that Mal and Kaylee are depicted: Mal is undoubtedly more sophisticated than Kaylee, due to his experiences. I also see him as being maybe as much as a decade older than Inara, which also gives him the confidence to hold his own with her. Another thing is the fact that he is 'captain': for what this is worth, when it's of a ship with Serenity's fortunes, it still gives him authority. These factors give his relationship with Inara a different starting point and dynamic than the relationship between Kaylee and Simon. IMO ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010 5:51 AM


This is where I draw the obvious parallels between Simon/Kaylee and class and Mal/Inara. A lot of us for some reason think one is going to work in spite of class, and the other isn't. Why's that? Simon acts like a snob (but I don't think he is, I think he's just uncomfortable and trying to adjust to a new life), Inara acts like a snob (to Mal, though she's not at all condescending to anyone else). Kaylee's immature, Mal is pretty damn immature. Parallels. If one is insurmountable, the other should be too.

Simon clearly expresses that he dislikes some aspects of the Core upper class, for example, it seems to me that he finds the regular dinner parties and social events tedious and irrelevant, especially in light of the fact he thinks his sister is in trouble. But in that one line, Simon neatly skewers the Victorian England culture it appears core high society is based on. He may want to go home, because everything out on the Rim is strange and unfamiliar, but I'm not convinced he really LIKED it at home once his parents expected him to participate in all that. I thought that's what Safe is about, Serenity and it's crew are actually more family and home than the REAL family he'd known.

I agree on your other points, but as with point 4), I'm not sure it precludes them having a relationship.

Friday, February 12, 2010 5:03 AM


I agree with everything Aliasse just said (very well put) EXCEPT for one thing - Joss said...somewhere...that by the BDM, Simon and Kaylee were actually in love with each other...I think Joss was trying to go for the "love in spite of everything Aliasse said - but is love enough" route

Friday, February 12, 2010 12:21 AM


I hope I'm not joining this when it's over (had an unfeasibly early night).

Being Bridish I have to admit to maybe seeing the ugly issue of class and education more starkly than others who aren't (maybe - I don't know). People have certainly brought it up here already, but it's the one obstacle I see as insurmountable. It's not that complicated for me: Kaylee IS a make-do option for Simon. He responds in the end to her persistence in crushing on him, and takes comfort/pleasure with her at the end of the BDM as is understandable after what they've been through. His declaration when they're facing the Reavers doesn't add up to much: I would have done things differently and it would have included sex. Imagine the woman that Simon would have ended up with in the Core and compare her with Kaylee - of course they'd have things in common in the sense that all people do, but she would be of the same background and education, that's for sure. Simon's not a natural rebel - there's no evidence of his being one on a social level - and has only found himself outside of society because of River. His first motivation will always be River's well-being, and yes, Kaylee and everything else including medicine will always come second to the choices he makes because of that.

And Kaylee? - the way she was ready to jump ship to Tracey (sp?) in The Message was mentioned on the other thread. What does it say about her feelings for Simon? Either Platonist or GR already said that what she wants is 'attention'. The guy who gives her attention, who is available for her in the way she wants, is the one she's going to stay with. And her immaturity - isn't it a feature of immaturity to hanker after things you can't have? To build people into something you want (the Core-bred gent who sweeps her off her feet). And though she's pretty persistent about it, she doesn't have it in her to really really invest in it, she lacks the passion for that. She probably would have fallen for another passenger in just the same way, one who was very different from Simon. Her latching on to Simon could be seen as Kaylee making the best of things, as ever.

Just sayin'. ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010 8:53 PM


Job envy! Interesting take, adds a little more drama and trouble between them.

Good points about Simon snobbery and Kaylee social openness. Where that really plays in is Kaylee wearing her heart on her sleeve and how sensitive she can get, possibly because she wants to make a good impression. But Simon seems impossible to please, at least to Kaylee.

Also another good issue about the stability problem. Simon and Kaylee are pretty much non-combatants, and despite River's combat training, she's so much of a wild card that I lump her in that category as well (I'm sure River doesn't really LIKE going weaponized). Serenity and Mal's luck tends to make things not very stable or secure.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 8:18 PM


To add my two cents on the matter, I think that Simon & Kaylee could work but there are definitely issues that would need exploring and overcoming first. I have to agree with the sentiment expressed that a part of the Simon-Kaylee "relationship" is the fact that Kaylee's the only non-attached or related female on board (barring Inara, but Simon probably knows enough about Companions to recognize a fellow devotee to the healing arts and be familiar with the requirement of being with a Companion on a long-term basis) and Simon's new and mysterious with his Core background and shy behaviour not screaming "I think of you as a sister!" like Wash or Mal might (dunno about Jayne...some writers will have him give off vibes of thinking she's attractive but his man-ape gone wrong routine is a stumbling block as much as Simon's Core gentleman shtick). They do have similarities in the fact they're native geniuses toward their fields and possession of a lack of the killer instinct like the jobs portion of the crew...but Simon's 2.5 decades of Core life is not something he's gonna lose overnight and he's a reluctant explorer of "Rim" society due to his fugitive status. Sadly, Simon's a unintentional one, but a snob none the less because how much honest social interaction would he have had with someone like Kaylee prior to rescuing River? Dunno how many trauma surgeons currently have a close relationship with the people to fix and operate the imaging equipment or repair heart monitors, and I can't imagine things changing a whole lot in the future.

Honestly, I gotta wonder if Joss & co. didn’t intend for Simon & Kaylee to be part of a larger thematic concept that also includes Mal & Inara and Zoe & Wash; Zoe & Wash are the one end of the scale, where both parties are generally accepting and comfortable with what their partner does on a regular basis, while Mal & Inara – straight out opposition to the other’s respective fields of work - are probably the other, leaving Simon & Kaylee in the middle, with understanding but not comprehension of their respective jobs. They both recognize the need for the other’s work, especially on Serenity, but I have to support the position that neither Kaylee nor Simon have a clear understanding of what medicine or engineering means to the other when it comes to identity…even though I think that both of them suffer from facing an inferiority complex in relation to their roles; I think it would be interesting to explore the concept of Simon being somewhat jealous of Kaylee’s aptitude toward practical maintenance and social forwardness allowing her to be useful and “wanted” on much more regular basis than when someone’s gotten injured, and Kaylee being a tad bit green-eyed toward the fact that Simon got a chance to professionally pursue what he’s talented with the accompanying educational opportunities it involves.

So…in summary, Simon & Kaylee are definitely possible and I certain ship for them, BUT I can’t ignore the fact that they have a long road toward being stable in a relationship and that River would be a major factor, especially in that Simon’s been a constant stabilizing factor since her rescue from the Academy and River’s evolution toward being a stable and well-rounded would be needed to help remove one crutch from Simon in relation to his feelings toward his current status and home. Simon’s smart and adaptable…but I get the impression he can deal with sudden shifts for LIMITED amounts of time before needing a stable environment to fall back on and regroup. Serenity? Not the place for it, really ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010 1:01 PM


To be honest...

>_> Actually, they don't interest me that much either. Separately they do, but together, the most "dynamic" they have is sweet awkward guy and the tomboy he keeps offending. *shrug* But, the relationship would probably be pure innocence, which wins it some points.

I guess I'd feel bad about just killing the relationship. Evil has some standards! Except, y'know, when it doesn't.

They don't necessarily need each other like other characters do, but that's all right too. Sometimes good friends get married, and sometimes they stay together, and sometimes they don't.

The need angle is just what makes it interesting for us. :)

Still, there's definitely ways in which Kaylee would have to become more mature, and Simon less of an ass, and there'd have to be some compromise with what River needs.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 11:43 AM


Really interesting point about need, mincingbeast. Maybe that's a different way to state this: there's something that Mal and Inara seem to fulfill for each other (and Zoe and Wash, too) that Kaylee and Simon just don't. There's no fulfillment of a preexisting need.

Also about the smooching. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010 11:32 AM



For whatever reason, I've never been very invested in the relationship between Simon and Kaylee. They just don't make sense to me as a couple.

I can see what Kaylee sees in Simon, considering how dreamy and dandy he is. But Simon's comment that Kaylee was the only woman on the boat who wasn't married, family, or a professional, was close to the bone. Beyond sharing a ship, and hormones, I just couldn't see how they'd be happy together anywhere but on the ship. Still, point 4 does a great job of making their relationship seem plausible.

I think part of my hesitation to take them seriously as a couple is that they are complete, interesting characters on their own. For example, Mal wouldn't be half so compelling without Inara, and vice versa. In that respect, Simon and Kaylee just don't seem to need each other--narratively or otherwise.

Perhaps I am bitter because we got to see them smooch, and not that two that matter. Alas.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:49 AM


Now, see, I think judging by the way Kaylee acts, that Serenity isn't the only good home she's ever had. Her upbeat personality and positive thinking, and yes, even her sheltered support dependent naivety tells me she had kind doting parents. For the right reasons and under the right conditions (a patch of good luck, crew all happy, Mal doing okay and things generally looking up), Kaylee could and would leave Serenity. I see her as one of the people least bound to Serenity, because I honestly think she could make her way anywhere. She's not as damaged as some of the other crew members/passengers.

But the point about the long hours of surgery is well taken, early on I was writing a story where Simon had started a sort of one-planet traveling clinic (because he felt he needed to keep moving to make himself harder to track down), and Kaylee set up shop, and spent most of the time she wasn't working on her machines pining after him and waiting for him to come back. And like I said in the other discussion, the only reason it worked was because Zoe was around to remind Kaylee to make the most of the time she had with Simon. Plus Kaylee had also maybe grown a little wiser, relationship-wise, from the experience, and had already conquered her Rim-girl inferiority complex.

But assuming Kaylee started helping Simon with his clinic stuff? That would get around the long hours.

I don't argue about River though. Like I said, Kaylee would probably have to be willing to help take care of her. And you have a point, River would have to want for Simon and Kaylee together.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:33 AM


If I can jump in here, I think it's not their professions in and of themselves that are the problem, but as Clio pointed out, what those professions represent. I think that if conditions improved, I could see Simon wanting to leave Serenity and either take up residence on the ground on a clinic somewhere, or possibly do like he said in Better Days, and become a kind of Doctor Without Borders and travel. In that instance, he could use a mechanic....but would Kaylee leave Serenity? I also never got the impression Simon was overly fond of the ship either, whatever he feels for the folks who live on it with him. I could see him getting restless, but Serenity is Kaylee's *home* and love. (Also I don't think Simon is afraid of a little dirt and grease - being a trauma surgeon, he's probably used to being covered in blood, guts, mucus, bile, and fecal matter. Little grease isn't a big deal ;) Plus I brought up Kaylee's "immaturity"...she's used to being surrounded by people who dote on her. I wonder if she could handle being away from a constant "support group", and compound that with the extremely long hours surgeons work (probably even in the future) she would never see Simon much either. Unless they both have to stay on the ship for whatever reason, I don't see them working out. And I was joking a little before, but I honestly think River would come between them in that case...not out of Kaylee's jealousy, but out of River's.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:00 AM


In Out of Gas, does he say he doesn't like Serenity? I thought specifically he said something about Serenity being vaguely funereal sounding and how he didn't want to die there. We only see Simon on Serenity when life sucks, so we may not see Simon when he likes it better.

In Better Days, Simon even talks to River about how he "always wanted to go back to the Core (but that's changed)." He says that maybe he's "just gotten used to flying."

I also think they both see the good that comes out of each other's professions. In some ways, they both keep the crew alive. I don't think they can't understand why what each other does is important to them.

In Kaylee's case, I don't think it's "why is MEDICINE more important than me," but rather a more general "why am I not important?" I also don't see any indication that she holds Simon caring for his sister against him, another application of medicine.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:53 AM


Simon definitely doesn't know what to think of mechaneering. It's all dirty, and greasy! Which is cute on her. But he doesn't really want any of that on him. He's PRISTINE.

Kaylee, though, I don't know, I think she's more open to things. I think she's impressed Simon is a doctor (and a smart one). The only time she was less then happy with Simon's profession was when he offered to perform an autopsy in The Message. But Kaylee was also kind of in a snit.

Come to think of it, so was Simon in Safe, when he gives his unflattering assessment of Serenity, so that may not be how he really feels either.

As for not understanding, like I said, I see parallels in their mindsets to the stereotypical engineer versus scientist. One is hands on, duct tape, it works cause it works, the other is logical but maybe not fully anchored to the real world. I can see how their two ways of thinking and doing could theoretically compliment each other.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:35 AM


You know, but it's not the problem that they just don't have common interests. Husband and I certainly have very different interests (ahem, Firefly, ahem), and that's fine and good to a large extent. But with them (at least Simon, I think) it's different: they're both completely devoted to something the other not only doesn't enjoy but also can't even understand. And I don't mean, "Oh, Kaylee could never understand the technicalities of medicine" but rather "Kaylee can't fully understand why medicine is so important to him, and he can't understand why Serenity (which he doesn't even like, as we know from Out of Gas) is so important to her." It's not so much that they don't do the same things but that they neither can understand and thus make room for/appreciate the thing the other is the most passionate about. (And of course, "medicine" and "mechanics" are proxies for much bigger things than professions – medicine being the Core, and a civilized life, and advancement, and progress, and training, and social integration, versus mechanics, which, alone with Kaylee's natural as opposed to trained aptitude signals more naturalistic and innate values, emotion, independence, etc.)

I could see this being resolved, but it would take character transformations in each (I haven't finished mal4prez's stories, but thus far she's transforming Kaylee's character, so I can see it working in Back Stories ultimately...).


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