Last week, I wrote about how much I hate when people over promise things they can’t possibly deliver in stories. It got me thinking about a few of my other trope pet peeves, so I figured I might as well dedicate another post or two to them and see whether anyone else agrees with me!
I’ve been slowly making my way through the series Castle… slowly because it’s not on Netflix so I have to content myself with finding affordable DVD sets. I’m only up to season four. It’s not easy.
While certainly not the only example of the trope I want to talk about today, it’s a very obvious one. To what trope am I referring?
The will-they-won’t-they relationship.
I mean, I get it. Relationship drama drives viewership on a lot of these shows. And yeah, getting into a relationship can be a complicated dance, and it can be scary. I’ve been there. But–when you have an attractive grown male paired with an attractive grown female, spending much of their time together, rife with obvious chemistry and a hidden attraction that for whatever reason they can’t/won’t give into for years at a time…
I’m sorry. I just find it annoying.
It’s not that this never happens in real life. I know there are cases where for whatever reason the pair can’t get together or one loves another from afar and unreciprocated. It happens. But I don’t think it happens proportionately as much as it happens on TV. On TV it happens all. the. time. Whether it’s Castle or Psych or Friends or House or Chuck or The Office or Cheers or Frasier or Lost or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Downton Abbey… well, you get the idea. It happens a lot.
I honestly just get tired of it. I get tired of the often contrived drama. I get tired of watching things be dragged out past what feels like it should have been a natural breaking point leading either to “they will” or “they won’t.” But most of all, I get tired of seeing the gods of television be afraid to explore the actual drama of committed relationships.
The drama doesn’t stop after happily ever after. Sure it’s a different kind of drama, but I’ve seen it done well often enough to know that it can be done. How about the numerous sitcoms where the couple starts off married and still manages to be interesting? How about Andy and April from Parks and Recreation, or really any of that show’s couples?
It’s possible to grow and struggle and develop as a married couple. In fact, in real life, a couple is likely to grow and develop more after commitment. You are forced to become a different person, to wrestle through a daily need to put someone else before yourself. It’s an adventure unlike any other.
So come on, TV writers. Be brave. Let your people commit–or let them move on to someone who will.