Jeffe Kennedy Blog
RITA ® Award-Winning Author of Fantasy Romance
I disagree that happy equals uninteresting, I think it’s a sign of writers taking the easy out.
We’ve talked before about this in films/movies and how often times the romantic arcs can be less than satisfying when they are the focus in shows because people view happiness through this lens. In the 70s/80s there were often lead characters happily married on TV and not only inept sit-com parents. I’m not sure when the will they/won’t they mindset took over (with Moonlighting possibly), but it seems most shows and movies now don’t allow characters to be happily in love because they equate that with boring. So if they momentarily allow them to happy they will then kill off the wife/girlfriend or have her attacked (and it’s almost always the woman) to give the male character ‘reasons to do things.’ It’s easier to resort to outside forces causing death or trauma in order to get an audience reaction than it is to actually develop fully three-dimensional characters who deal with things as a team.
All stories need conflict, but it gets tiring that so many songs, shows, books, etc handle romantic relationships in the same way: pain and apart = good, intereresting, happy and together = bad, dull. I love to watch/read the beginning of romantic relationships, but I also love to watch/read about the characters making their relationship work. Because happily ever after doesn’t mean they are literally happy every moment of their lives, it means they are committed to facing those outside forces and dealing with conflicts together. And that can be the more interesting story.
Excellent points! I hate the woman-in-the-refrigerator trope, which is what you’re describing here. I’d love to see more long-term relationship stories out there!
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