i've talked about this with another shipper in detail, and we both came to the conclusion that having a 'hunk' play pete might have made it all worse. let's say that pete was played by paul gross (from due south - http://www.galleryofcelebrities.com/gross.htm
). i could have understood sam turning the other cheek at the end of chimera. man, ddl is not
a dog!, but he's just not dreamy and hot like jack is for me (or for some, paul gross too).
let's say, for the sake of this discussion, that sam met a paul (gave him another name) shanahan at her gym. he was just another member of that gym, and the two of them had met before grace came along. but after grace, sam's looking for companionship, so she takes paul up on his offer of a date. like with chimera, sam's totally into giving this side of her life a try. what paul does for a living is unimportant, as is sam's career is to paul. they just go out and enjoy each others company. so for the last half of season 7 and almost all of season 8, sam's dating paul. it's easy-going, non threatening, and the ONLY reason sam starts getting uncomfortable with him is that he wants to make things more serious. and the getting serious happens when threads takes place. instead of sam fretting on an upcoming marriage, it could have been that paul wanted to move in with sam. sam calls off the relationship because her dad's dying, jack's got a girlfriend, and sam knows she's really in love with jack. how much more 'gentle' this would have been on sam's character if pete would have been played/written like paul???
but to get back to why pete being a hunk might have made it worse is that 'then' we might have seen the real passion there instead of the tame stuff. okay, to be fair, some fans didn't find the sam/pete stuff tame or boring, but for me, i just couldn't get into pete because i wasn't attracted to pete/ddl. but would i have gotten into pete more (written the same way) if paul gross had played him? honestly, yes, i think i would have. and then that would have given me *major* conflicted feelings!