Have a look for yourselves:
In the beginning, it seemed that Shane was the one intent on seeing Norman and Rita get together, but as time progressed, Oliver seemed to get on board as well.
In a lot of ways, Rita and Norman are an unencumbered reflection of Shane and Oliver's relationship. Norman and Rita are what Shane and Oliver could be if not for all of the elements that made their relationship complicated from the very beginning, most prominently Oliver's marriage to Holly.
So, as Shane and Oliver worked through that challenge, they rooted Rita and Norman on by finding ways to put them together, get them talking, interacting, and even dancing. Why did they have such a vested interest in Norman and Rita's happiness? Well, besides loving them to pieces and wanting to see them happy, I also believe it was a way for Shane and Oliver to cope with the artificial distance and lack of resolution in their own relationship.
As is well known about Shane and Oliver, they have a very distinct and intricate way of communicating around, or even past, each other about their feelings---whether for each other, or otherwise--- even as recently as the porch swing scene in From Paris with Love. The way Shane and Oliver talk about Rita and Norman often has double meaning that reflects back onto them, sometimes leading Shane and Oliver get real with each other.
I think you can see that even from the first scene of the video. Think about these quotes from the Pilot for a second:
"You know she has a terrible crush on him, right?"
"That's very insightful, considering she absolutely terrifies him."
Couldn't you imagine the same being said of Shane and Oliver's relationship from the outset? Though the conversation begins over Rita and Norman, moments later Oliver tells Shane about his wandering wife, which leads to Shane telling Oliver about her dad leaving her as a little girl. One honest conversation leads to another.
Norman and Rita are very close to both Shane and Oliver's hearts, so while the circumstances prevented Shane and Oliver's hearts from connecting directly, they found a way to do so through their mutual love for Rita and Norman, opening the opportunity for Shane to share her heart about her regret over the consequences of looking up Holly in the first place, and for Oliver to honestly ask whether or not Shane had read the letter.
For the longest time, Shane wholeheartedly placed the onus for jump-starting Norman and Rita's relationship on Rita. As you saw in the video, she pushed most explicitly in For Christmas. Not surprisingly, and perhaps most comprehensively discussed in her house rule, Shane was the driving force in pursuing Oliver, in all the complex manners that entailed. So it should be no surprise that she encouraged Rita to engage in similar behavior, especially since both were free to pursue each other, unlike Shane and Oliver.
Interestingly, by the time we make it to From Paris with Love, two things occur. The first is Oliver issuing Norman both a warning and encouragement with how to proceed with Rita. The second is Shane's perspective flip, which finds her non-verbally placing the responsibility on Norman to make sure "nothing" doesn't happen to he and Rita. From the abundance of both Shane and Oliver's hearts, they spoke truths to Rita and Norman that reflected pieces of themselves and their state of minds at the time.
Oliver's advice to Norman is a result of his reflection on his marriage to Holly, which yielded his comments about the swagger and heroics that only last so long. By imparting this wisdom on Norman, Oliver reaffirmed his own beliefs about courtship and the key to a lasting relationship, while also reassuring Norman that he was still in the race for Rita's heart.
Shane's change in perspective can be traced back to her house rule. As you'll remember, Shane's decision to step back opened the opportunity for Oliver to turn around and pursue her. At the time, it appeared that Oliver has made a decision to no longer do so. Placing the onus on Norman to take the next step with Rita was Shane's way of creating the closure it appeared would no longer be possible for she and Oliver.
#NoRita Gets Together, #ShOliver Finds Hope
I find it so interesting that just as Norman and Rita are finally able to profess their feelings, Shane and Oliver finally find a little bit of hope in their relationship with one another.
While the conversation between Rita and Norman was decidedly more open and honest on the subject, Shane and Oliver's continued in their tradition of talking around one another, discussing Shane's "position" and Oliver's "department."
Even as they failed to directly address the situation for most of their conversation, particularly when it came to discussing their future explicitly, it was perhaps the most telling conversation Shane and Oliver ever had, eliminating the distance between them and creating a kind of resolution they had never encountered before. And, above all, hope for their future.
With their major obstacle seemingly gone, Shane and Oliver are now where Norman and Rita were in the pilot. Now all they need to do is get together! Could you imagine Rita and Norman becoming relationship mentors to Shane and Oliver in the meantime?! Cue the GIF-able moments!
Certified & Registered Shipper of Both #NoRita & #ShOliver,