Shelly and Holling.jpg

Shelly Marie Tambo-Vincoeur is played by Cynthia Geary. The role of Shelly was originally slated to be of Native American descent until Geary auditioned for the role, after which they changed it.[1]

Shelly is introduced as the young girlfriend of sexagenarian Holling Vincoeur.[2] The two live and work together in his bar, "The Brick", in the center of the town of Cicely, Alaska.

Backstory[edit | edit source]

Shelly is a high school beauty queen from Saskatoon, Canada, who was brought to Cicely by Holling's best friend, local millionaire and former astronaut Maurice Minnifield.[2] Flashbacks show Holling, Maurice, and Shelly's conflicting memories of how she fell in love with Holling, when Holling takes a picture of Maurice that he believes is unflattering and the old wounds reopen;[3] the subplot of Maurice's jealousy over losing Shelly to Holling continues into later seasons.

Family[edit | edit source]

Shelly's father, Gorman Tambo, only appears once when he is age 38.[4] He has been married four times, and he was only sporadically involved in her raising (but her Uncle Bart and Aunt Louise are mentioned, implying they could not come with her father because they had to stay at the cannery since it was the middle of a salmon run). Shelly left home at 14.

Shelly's mother, Tammy Tambo, comes to visit her once.[5] Tammy is close enough in age to Shelly that she at times pretended to be her sister, and in Shelly's adulthood she even claimed to be her "little sister". Shelly's feelings on this are somewhat mixed. Her mother's relative youth and immaturity made her "a cool mom" to Shelly, but it also made her unable to provide much guidance or "mom stuff".

Relationship with Holling[edit | edit source]

In spite of their age difference, she maintains a loving relationship with Holling based on mutual respect and the discovery of love in the midst of their unlikely union. Early in season 1, which takes place within a year or two after moving in with Holling, Shelly believes she is pregnant and nearly marries Holling. He stands her up at the altar the first time, fearing that the longevity of his family will cause him to outlive her despite his being 44 years older than her[4] (the second time, he talks her out of going through with the ceremony). Two episodes later, Shelly learns that she merely had a hysterical pregnancy. In the same episode, Holling is shocked to learn that Shelly is still married to a former schoolmate named Wayne Jones, when he comes to Cicely to ask for a divorce. Her motivation to marry Wayne is explained as having been simply to make him stop asking.[6]

She is excited when Holling stands up to a drunken bar patron, and almost pushes him into getting circumcised as another way to prove his manliness.[7] When the townsfolk act irrationally due to the onset of spring, Shelly's aberration is an obsessive interest in reading D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow even though she cannot understand it.[8] Shelly becomes jealous at Holling's old friendship with a woman his own age because they appear to share more in common, but is then comforted when Holling tells her that he is only interested in Shelly's body, not her mind.[9] Shelly finally divorces Wayne over the radio with Cicely DJ Chris Stevens officiating.[10] Holling is plagued by a mid-life crisis after the death of his uncle, and goes into seclusion in his private still in the woods. When he becomes violent and volatile with customers upon a return to The Brick, Shelly fears for him; as a way to bring him back to his life in the present and appreciate what he has, she puts on a puppet show that tells the story of his life from his days as a well known hunter until Shelly arrived in Cicely.[11]

Shelly does eventually marry Holling in season 4, prompted by recurring visions of dancers, but she insists it is only a nominal marriage.[12] While the need for a marriage certificate was nominal for both Shelly and Holling, their devotion to one another is made abundantly clear in numerous scenes. Holling rides into the remote wilderness, with Maurice to bury a friend, and turns down an offer from the friend's attractive wife, though it is clear that Shelly would never have found out.[13] Later, Shelly tells the young runaway Brad that "Holling owns the key to my pants — and my heart".[14]

Shelly becomes pregnant towards the end of season 4.[15] While pregnant, Shelly briefly finds herself compelled to sing rather than speak.[16] Holling and Shelly later have a daughter, Miranda 'Randi' Bliss, but not before Shelly has a hallucination where she meets her daughter as a child and pre-teen (who reveals that Shelly will have a boy later named Jared).[17]

Traits[edit | edit source]

Shelly is portrayed as sweet, freespirited, and kind-hearted with a slightly ditzy and "surfer dude" attitude. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian.[18]

Shelly wears various novelty earrings which are often coordinated with the themes or events of each episode.

Shelly is Roman Catholic by upbringing, which she finds difficult to practice in Cicely, as Chris (who was ordained after answering an ad in the back of Rolling Stone) is the only local clergy. Chris is tapped to perform her wedding to Holling,[4] and he improvises a confessional for her when she becomes addicted to television and home shopping.[19] Shelly longs for a traditional Christmas Mass in season 3, and Holling grants her wish by making the church look Catholic with an altar, prayer bench, and singing "Ave Maria" as she worships.[20]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cynthia Geary interview by Nikita Fleischman, Cicely Online, 23 October 2005
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pilot (1-1)
  3. "Only You" (3-2)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Dreams, Schemes and Putting Greens" (1-4)
  5. "My Mother, My Sister" (3-18)
  6. "Sex, Lies and Ed's Tape" (1-6)
  7. "All is Vanity" (2-3)
  8. "Spring Break" (2-5)
  9. "Slow Dance" (2-7)
  10. "Oy Wilderness" (3-3)
  11. "Things Become Extinct" (3-13)
  12. "Family Feud" (4-10)
  13. "Three Amigos" (3-16)
  14. "Survival of the Species" (4-11)
  15. "Mud and Blood" (4-23)
  16. "Old Tree" (4-25)
  17. "Hello, I Love You" (5-15)
  18. "Una Volta in L'Inverno" (5-17)
  19. "Goodbye to All That" (2-1)
  20. "Seoul Mates" (3-10)
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