trending tv: when your ‘ship sails

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Allergy season is upon us and in my Nyquil-induced stupor, I decided to give Smallville another go. Maybe it was the medicine head, or maybe it was how absolutely dreamy Tom Welling can be, but I found myself swooning every time Clark swooned over Lana. I’d anxiously anticipate the moment when they finally get together and confess their love for one another.

Image courtesy of http://aniiimeeliiffe.tumblr.com/

Image courtesy of http://aniiimeeliiffe.tumblr.com/

And then I remembered: That doesn’t happen for about a million seasons. Because…well, that’s just what happens on TV and in books. Boy meets girl, girl swoons over boy, girl is lost to boy, boy must fight to get girl back. Standard recipe. Throw in a few curve balls (or boulders, in the case of that atrocious Lex-Lana story line) here and there, but never nail the shot until the ending.

Why is that? Why do we have to wait until the last moment for our characters to find happiness? We don’t even know who Katniss chooses until the very last chapters of The Hunger Games (#teampeeta, by the way). Even when our favorite ‘ship finally sails, it doesn’t take too long for it to sink (*coughOlicitycough*).

I know the standard answer is that keeping our favorite lovebirds apart keeps the drama nice and steady. But that’s more from a writer’s perspective. Let’s take a look at it from the reader/viewer perspective. What keeps us coming back for more when we know the couple we’re rooting for might never get together? Or never get back together?

Image courtesy of TaylorSwift.com

Image courtesy of TaylorSwift.com

When we connect with a character, we root for them. It makes sense that our cheers would follow into their love lives, but somehow the butterflies just fizzle after some time. In short, the honeymoon period ends. That high that we get when we fall in love fades away.

The tension and the chase are so much more exciting, and so are the ups and downs of a roller coaster love, even if that’s not exactly the kind of love we’d want in real life. Realistic love can be kinda boring and butterfly-free, even though it outshines any roller coaster romance on the pages or on the screen. Getting to see our favorite character couples snuggled up on the couch watching TV together might not be a page turner, but the endings we get leave their stories open for those beautiful, less-than-thrilling moments.

What do you think? Do you think love fizzles on the page when couples reach their peaks too soon? Or do you prefer to have the happy ending and leave the rest to your imagination?

One Comment on “trending tv: when your ‘ship sails”

  1. I’d rather they not dance around each other and not break up a million times. Because like being together can be boring, breaking up can be too (in the tv show context). Take for example, Alex & Ryan in Quantico. It’s just season 2 and I’m fed up with the number of times they’ve broken up. They get together, are a happy couple for 4 episodes tops and then they break up again. And the cycle continues. And I don’t like that. I’d rather be bored with a couple being together than them not being together.

    And there’s plenty of drama that can be added that doesn’t end in them breaking up. Like Naley in One Tree Hill. They were together for 9 seasons. They took a break in one season. And they almost got divorced in another. But that was the extent of it. They never actually broke up. And there was enough fodder for Naley drama in all seasons. They didn’t need to break up a million times to realise that they’re perfect for each other. They fell in love and realised that the other person meant the world to them and they fought for it. Together. That is way better than breaking up. And I like that.

    So, yes. I like people staying together.

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