From shipping NoRita, to getting shipped themselves by Papa O'Toole, these two are on a whole new level. And then there's all those times on the porch, and that one in the DLO. Yep, these two are all our relationship goals.
I don't think it was any surprise that Rita would seek Shane out to debrief on her kiss with Norman. The real surprise was Norman taking advantage of his time with Oliver to do the same. In both instances, Shane and Oliver dispensed advice that reflected a shift in their own relationship.
Let's take the fact that both Shane and Oliver asked #NoRita, "How was it?" referring to their kiss. We might have expected this of Shane, who had been pushing for a lip-lock on multiple occasion, most notably in For Christmas. But when Oliver asked, and sighed when Norman mistook the question to refer to the pizza, you couldn't help but chuckle a bit. Oliver is starting to let another side of himself show.
As each conversation progressed, it became clear that Shane and Oliver were using their discussions with Norman and Rita to evaluate their own relationship. Shane deciding that while Oliver might not be ready to take their relationship public, a porch swing was a step in that direction. Meanwhile, Oliver weighed whether or not it was truly too early to be buying furniture.
I also found it interesting that Oliver remembered, and suggested Norman go back and read, Renita Hayweather: Frontier Duchess. Oliver suggesting Norman read Rita's book was another hint at Oliver's current long-game strategy. Up until this point, he has done everything he can to not learn anything about Shane, yet it seems his plan is to begin to do so. I think the porch swing is Oliver's way of acknowledging those parts of Shane about which he's learned so far, while creating a space where he could potentially learn more spending time with her going forward.
Which brings me to another point regarding the swing and NoRita. Many a Postable has questioned why Shane repeatedly failed to tell Rita about Oliver giving her the porch swing. After all, she either directly, or indirectly, alluded to it several times during her conversation with Rita. Similarly, Oliver had ample opportunity to tell Norman about what he'd done for Shane.
That Porch Swing
The porch swing played several roles in Truth Be Told for ShOliver. One of those roles was a safe space for Oliver to come and get support from Shane. As we know, Oliver has trouble asking for things of others unless it's to leave him be. When he needs support, he would rather suffer in restrained silence than reach out.
In Truth Be Told, Oliver uses working on the porch swing as a way of coming to Shane for support, which she offers freely, without him ever asking for it. He was free to talk, or not, about the situation with his father. In fact, he plays off his need to talk as him satisfying Shane's curiosity.
In this installment, Shane's porch, and that swing, became a way for Oliver to see how Shane handles him in a time of crisis, and a place where she can speak directly to his heart. She does so successfully, and even entertainingly, on multiple occasions throughout the film (cell phone & voicemail, anyone?).
The role the porch swing played from Shane's end was as her way of advancing her long game strategy. Though she hoped to get Oliver over to her house in the evening, she probably couldn't have asked for a better outcome given all she learned about Oliver, the women from his past, and her ability to declare her intent to stay in the future. Which, as you'll remember, I identified previously as one of the keys to moving ShOliver to the next level. Oliver needed to know she would be a permanent fixture in his life in order to encourage him to open up and be vulnerable. Mission accomplished, as we'll see tomorrow.