As a romance author, you might say couples are my thing. I don’t mean that I sit around plotting about how to get a couple together (well, actually I do). I don’t mean that I sit and analyze what issues a couple has (well, actually I do that too). What I do mean is that I love to watch the journey of the couple as they go through their ups and downs, their communication issues, their misunderstandings, their passionate clinches and those profound moments when they click. I’m a fan of the whole enchilada in a relationship.
The almosts or near misses.
I’m a relationship fan.
But relationship fans are brutal.
The Parity of Coupling
In novels, particularly romance novels, we know that the hero and heroine will have their struggles, but they will overcome. They will have their moment in the sun. They will live happily ever after.
But in an ongoing series whether it’s novels, television or films, you don’t have that guarantee. Case in points:
But that’s okay, you see in all but one of these cases, there’s hope for the characters. Maybe. See, I belong to the camp that says the ship sailed for Booth and Brennan last season when Sweets strong-armed that emotional confession out of Booth and sent him on a collision course with Brennan’s fear. Sweets is the single worst thing to happen to the Booth/Brennan relationship, not Hannah.
As a writer, you know there are moments in the story, moments that you force or moments that happen organically, but you have choices. You take advantage of the moment, or you let it go. If you let it go, you run the risk of that moment never occurring again. This happens in life, so that’s okay that it happens in fiction.
Look at Clark and Chloe on Smallville. These two had great chemistry and a real shot, way back in the first season, but the moment passed. And while it took Chloe a long time to admit it to herself, she did and she let go of that “romantic” leaning towards Clark and just focused on being his friend. They are amazing friends. A lot like Booth and Brennan.
But they had to see their moment had passed.
A lot of fans of that pairing have ended up hating the show because they missed that opportunity. There is a lot of teasing on the writers parts that we will see them actually make it work. But honestly, I don’t care. Because it “feels” forced now – why? Because they missed that opportunity. Sure, it might come around again, but not if the series is shoe-horned to appease the very brutal (and honestly) disappointed relationship fans.
Playing the Long Game
On television, particularly, couples have to be played out in the long game. For some reason, television producers don’t think audiences will stick around if the romantic tension doesn’t exist or the will they or won’t they isn’t always hanging in the balance. (For those television producers out there struggling with this, please go read J.D. Robb’s In Death series. 33 books and the main couple is together, in love and working out relationship issues in and around the story).
Castle and Beckett on Castle are the definition of the long-game. These are two very dynamic individuals, very different and very smart. Despite Rick’s constant flirting, he isn’t a “serious” relationship kind of guy. Why? Look at his romantic history, short term flings and heartbreak are there. The writers have taken their time to show us that.
Now look at Beckett. She’s a one and done, by the book kind of woman. She obviously adored Castle’s book series and likely the author himself until she got to know him. He’s interfered, pushed into her career and later into her life. She’s had a big adjustment curve, particularly where her mom’s case was concerned.
You say the fascination play out in the first season. The journey towards mutual respect and friendship in the second, with a hint of potential romance that flopped when Beckett and Castle were on different pages.
The third season has provided revelations for the characters. Castle isn’t just there for the research and Beckett really is trusting him like her partner. Castle’s awareness of his feelings toward Beckett have him behaving particularly where her relationship with Josh is concerned. He won’t intervene or make the choice for her, but he is watching, aware and wants her to be happy.
It’s a beautiful maturation of the relationship game between these characters and I am more than happy to be along for the ride.
Do they have to get together? If it happens organically, I am totally on board. If they remain true partners and friends, I’m cool with that.
But I’ve heard rumblings from more than a few fans that they want Castle and Beckett together or else …
The Relationship Journey
Relationship fans are brutal. They want what they want because they fall in love with the characters. I freely admit that I am a Damon and Elena shipper where The Vampire Diaries is concerned, but then, their journey has been fraught from the beginning, fraught with tension, with passion, with hate, with fear and with pain. They are no where near ready to just be passionate lovers, but they are on their way.
As for Tohr and Wellsie, that’s a very long game. Wellsie and Tohr were together when we met them, together, happy and balanced. Then we lost Wellsie and Tohr went more than a little crazy. Now Tohr is on his long journey back to sanity and I for one am definitely there for the ride.
For me it’s all about the journey. I need the little moments. The small payoffs. If I get those, if I see the growth, then I’m good and I can wait, watch and enjoy.
What about you? Are you brutal when it comes to the relationships you love on television or in books?