|Photo credit: Mirror Images by Rina|
So anyway, I got really behind on the Buffy season 9* comics once the kid moved in last year and I'm only starting to catch up right now. I bought the two most recently-released compilations which still leaves me way behind, but I'm catching up.
*The comics are now being treated as new seasons of the TV show.
I'm pissed off because when I left off it looked like Buffy and Spike might be getting together. You know, so we could all move on with our lives, stop retreading the same ground about how a woman who's prevented six apocalypses somehow wants and deserves a "normal" relationship (as if that wouldn't bore her to tears), and they could have some happiness while saving the world. There was some lovely progress made in their relationship in the last few episodes of the TV series and then he died heroically only to be resurrected on Angel. So the characters never really got a chance to see how things might go with that healthy-ish relationship they were heading towards. And we've had over a season of the comic, and still nope.
Am I really annoyed because a comic book I've fallen behind on reading didn't go the way I expected? Not really. But I think this reflects a larger problem in pop culture. Writers, producers, whoever seem to think that happily ever after is boring. That after a couple gets together, there's nothing left to say from a narrative perspective unless they start thinking about splitting up.
The last year of my life proves that dramatic stuff can happen to happily married people. Not that parenting traumatized children would make for entertainment, because there's a lot of fucked up shit going down. But that's just a fr'instance.
Just off the top of my head:
- Nick & Nora did a splendid job of solving mysteries in The Thin Man movies and they were happily married.
- Amy & Rory Pond joined The Doctor on many adventures.
- The later Star Trek series could've featured loads of married couples since they allowed families on ships. I can only think of the O'Briens and oh, yes, Worf and Dax got married at some point.
- That couple on Green Acres got into lots of wacky adventures
- Wash & Zoe on Firefly
But how many more shows fizzled once Will They Or Won't They turned into They Did? Moonlighting did it most spectacularly, though Cheers managed to course-correct after letting couples get together. How have Castle and Bones fared? I don't watch them, so if you do, let me know in the comments.
And how many shows, etc. totally pissed off their viewers by drawing out the romantic tension for. fucking. ever? I'm looking at you, How I Met Your Mother.
It's this fetishization of riding off into the sunset together. Once you've found your soulmate, nothing interesting could possibly happen to you except for the possibility of losing that person. Not only is this total bullshit, but it feels steeped in sexism. Like it's a holdover from the days when women quit their job the second they got married and become full time homemakers and made it their mission to keep their home as peaceful and drama-free as possible for their man who went out into the world doing big, important things every day. But the husband's life is boring as shit too because he has a family to think of, so he's unlikely to take bold career risks or have a dangerous job (like spying).
Do I think that Buffy & Spike are totes made for each other? Eh, maybe. Would I like to see what some (non-fan fiction) writers can do with two characters with super powers who fight evil and get on each other's nerves while sharing strong chemistry and affection? Sure, that would be interesting. Am I sick of seeing happily paired off characters being stuck as boring supporting characters at best? Hells yes. Have I had it with fictional characters staying unattached because writers don't know what to do if they can't include a romantic subplot? Fuck yeah.
Definitely something to think about as I work on my own fiction.
What are your thoughts? If you can think of any TV shows, books, movies, etc. that feature married or paired off characters whose relationship isn't the main source of drama, please let me know.