View Poll Results: Why does romance hurt certain characters?

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  • No chemistry

    2 16.67%
  • Bad/Out of character writing

    5 41.67%
  • Hijacking story

    4 33.33%
  • Fans wanted another/no relationship

    1 8.33%
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  1. #1
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    Default Does romance lead to character derailment/assassination for certain characters?

    There have been a lot of complaints about romance in certain stories on tv and in film. One of those complaints is that the romance usually leads to the ruination of certain characters. For example, a lot of people stopped liking Felicity on Arrow after she and Oliver got together. Apparently, her character got worse with the relationship. So, can being in a romance make things worse for certain characters? If so, why?

  2. #2
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    I blame Moonlighting. That show was falling apart behind the scenes by the time they got the two main characters together, but somehow Hollywood decided the lesson was "actually moving the relationship forward is poison". So now every show has to follow the soap opera formula of tossing everything but the kitchen sink at a romantic couple to keep them from getting together. Early on there is something to be said for having a few obstacles to overcome, but it gets old when there seems to be no real relationship being shown and every episode seems to revolve around forced romantic conflicts.

    Hero keeps secret. Love interest discovers secret. Take 2 steps back. Rinse-lather-repeat ad nauseum.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member Gray Lensman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Clark View Post
    I blame Moonlighting. That show was falling apart behind the scenes by the time they got the two main characters together, but somehow Hollywood decided the lesson was "actually moving the relationship forward is poison". So now every show has to follow the soap opera formula of tossing everything but the kitchen sink at a romantic couple to keep them from getting together. Early on there is something to be said for having a few obstacles to overcome, but it gets old when there seems to be no real relationship being shown and every episode seems to revolve around forced romantic conflicts.

    Hero keeps secret. Love interest discovers secret. Take 2 steps back. Rinse-lather-repeat ad nauseum.
    Basically this - most writers don't know how to keep things interesting once a couple is actually together.
    "Theory: The Phoenix doesn't corrupt the characters, it corrupts the authors." Gambit, King of Thieves

  4. #4
    Invincible Member XPac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnFillory View Post
    There have been a lot of complaints about romance in certain stories on tv and in film. One of those complaints is that the romance usually leads to the ruination of certain characters. For example, a lot of people stopped liking Felicity on Arrow after she and Oliver got together. Apparently, her character got worse with the relationship. So, can being in a romance make things worse for certain characters? If so, why?
    I don't think you can decisively say that romance makes things worse. Like anything else, it's a matter of execution.

    I do think there's some validity to the arguement that it's more about the destination than the journey. It probably is more of a struggle to keep things interesting once a couple is together, in comparrison to the journey of them getting together in the first place. But that's speaking in generalities.

  5. #5
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    Romance is fine when used well and organically. It's really bad when it's forced and manipulative and when it doesn't serve the characters in a way that makes sense for their story.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Lensman View Post
    Basically this - most writers don't know how to keep things interesting once a couple is actually together.
    Exactly. For all the 'Moonlighting' nonsense, there *have* been shows with couples that didn't suffer from any sort of problem because two of the main characters were permanently off-limits to romantic subplots (other than with each other...). Hart to Hart was just one example of such a show, that lasted five years with the main characters being a married couple.

    Sure, if your show entirely revolves around will-they, won't-they shenanigans, and the chemistry of two leads who will never get together, then yeah, that's gonna sink your show if they ever consummate their UST. But there's no reason every character in every medium has to be stuck in this weird sexy loser who can't handle a grown-up relationship zone, just because Moonlighting's last season was bad.

  7. #7
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    In the Flash, many of Barry's motivations (at least in the first 2 seasons) are about romance that I think the character might not work quite as well without it, that said they do go overboard with it. The latest season of Supergirl was the best so far, in part, because Kara didn't have a love interest and got on with the super-heroics. In Legends it seems to work well, because it doesn't take-over the whole story like season 3 of the Flash did. It's there and enjoyable but doesn't take priority over the main story. Wonder what they'll do with Batwoman.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stargazer01 View Post
    Romance is fine when used well and organically. It's really bad when it's forced and manipulative and when it doesn't serve the characters in a way that makes sense for their story.
    This and;

    Quote Originally Posted by Bat-Meal View Post
    In the Flash, many of Barry's motivations (at least in the first 2 seasons) are about romance that I think the character might not work quite as well without it, that said they do go overboard with it. The latest season of Supergirl was the best so far, in part, because Kara didn't have a love interest and got on with the super-heroics. In Legends it seems to work well, because it doesn't take-over the whole story like season 3 of the Flash did. It's there and enjoyable but doesn't take priority over the main story. Wonder what they'll do with Batwoman.
    This. Romance CAN work for a series/film when done right. But if its just shoved in there and takes away from other parts of the story (often for drama of the stupid variety), then no.

  9. #9
    Spectacular Member Beaddle's Avatar
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    Has anyone heard of Reylo from the star wars movies. Could it BE anymore annoying?

    I think I deslike romance more now that I am older. the writers tend to drag a romance unnecessarily, they would end up bringing in irritating characters who will only last for 3-4 episodes just to derail a central romance in a TV show. what they don't realize is that it hurts the entire show.You are right to use the word HIJACK. The main characters would also do things that are out of character with no consequences in the long run.

    When I was younger I loved Ross and Rachel from Friends. Now that I am older, I don't like them as I used to. Monica and Chandler were the best romance in friends.

    What I also dislike is how many writers can try to ''romanticize'' a lot of relationships that are actually abusive, unhealthy, obsessive and toxic.

  10. #10
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaddle View Post
    Has anyone heard of Reylo from the star wars movies.
    Yep, I'm into Star Wars and hang out on a forum for it. Not a believer; was actually pretty sure going into TLJ that Rey and Finn were going to be couple by the final curtain (yeah, I read the novelization). Not so sure that's going to happen now, so I think the moral of the story is to hold onto these things loosely. IMHO, I honestly find the idea of Reylo off-putting and gross. Don't get the appeal of it, but hey, I was rooting for Cyclops and Rogue in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, so I certainly have my preferred pairings that aren't exactly mainstream to its franchise (although I'm sure that one's not gross and may have had some word of God support of being the ultimate outcome).

    Quote Originally Posted by Beaddle View Post
    Could it BE anymore annoying?
    Honestly, I find the shipping that fans get sucked into over this stuff to be the most annoying when they turn into flame wars then the idea itself. This one really has a lot of subjectivity to it; Fans of that bent found TLJ to practically canonize Reylo as the endgame, while I (who, admittedly, was not inclined to believe it), found that same movie to be incredibly anti-Reylo and the nail in the coffin of it ever happening. Lots of "fun" arguments about how the door shutting at the end symbolized that Reylo was going to happen because "doors can be opened again" and all that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beaddle View Post
    I think I deslike romance more now that I am older. the writers tend to drag a romance unnecessarily, they would end up bringing in irritating characters who will only last for 3-4 episodes just to derail a central romance in a TV show. what they don't realize is that it hurts the entire show.You are right to use the word HIJACK. The main characters would also do things that are out of character with no consequences in the long run.

    When I was younger I loved Ross and Rachel from Friends. Now that I am older, I don't like them as I used to. Monica and Chandler were the best romance in friends.

    What I also dislike is how many writers can try to ''romanticize'' a lot of relationships that are actually abusive, unhealthy, obsessive and toxic.
    For me, it's all in the writing and whether that works. Not sure if I have a favorite TV love story, although do rather like the clips from Parks and Recreation that I've seen of the show's couple April and Andy. Maybe Paris and Torres from Star Trek: Voyager or Hardison and Parker from Leverage would be it if I had to have seen the show in question.
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  11. #11
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    It also helps if the romance actually has some role in the story other than drama.

    Lois & Clark was largely if not entirely about both characters. The episodes focused on their work lives as much as their romantic life. You never felt like the writers were trying to come up with a way to work Lois or Clark into the episode or putting both characters in a scene just to remind you they were dating.

    Cheers original set-up had a reason for Sam and Diane to interact every week. She worked in the bar he owned and all of the action took place in that bar. Even if they were "on a break" they both still had to interact at work.

    Now look at The Flash and how they had to juggle things to give Iris a reason to be on camera. The show has very few domestic scenes- Barry is almost always in costume or at STAR Labs. So to get scenes with Barry and Iris they had to make her part of the support group at STAR even though she really has nothing to contribute. There is no organic way to give Iris a role based on their writing style. That makes her role in the episodes a bit grating and forced, so the romance seems to undercut the plot.

    Supergirl suffers from the romance having to be forced from a slightly different approach. Characters are so tied to their limited roles that any romance has to be within the small pool. They have no lives outside of the DEO- so every romantic subplot has to involve people tied to the DEO. Kara can't meet her version of Lois Lane- a regular human guy. Alex can't just hook up with a civilian she meets at a club. The budget doesn't allow for any cast member who isn't as useful to heroics as they are to romance. Heaven forbid we let Brainy date a down-to-earth person he meets online rather than with the new superheroine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Clark View Post
    I blame Moonlighting. That show was falling apart behind the scenes by the time they got the two main characters together, but somehow Hollywood decided the lesson was "actually moving the relationship forward is poison". So now every show has to follow the soap opera formula of tossing everything but the kitchen sink at a romantic couple to keep them from getting together. Early on there is something to be said for having a few obstacles to overcome, but it gets old when there seems to be no real relationship being shown and every episode seems to revolve around forced romantic conflicts.

    Hero keeps secret. Love interest discovers secret. Take 2 steps back. Rinse-lather-repeat ad nauseum.
    Someone on another site brought this up and also brought up that’s not really what happened in the actually show (they even had a link to article giving more details.) that in the show, they got the two leads together, but the immediately ‘split’ them up again, like they weren’t even in scenes together and in different storylines. So the audience didn’t even get a chance to get bored of them together. So the Moonlighting scenario isn’t really ‘true.’

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    If a given show is about a couple being together, it often works pretty well. If a given show is about a couple getting together, then they keep having to invent ways for the couple to never quite complete that journey, or the premise of the show is done.

    There are a handful of shows where they successfully transitioned from "getting together" to "being together" (Castle comes to mind), but in general there seems to be a fear to even try. They'd rather risk increasingly implausible stories that get in the way of their relationship (which Castle also did for a time). The Big Bang Theory has also managed it pretty well.
    Why yes, I AM a Mark Goodson/Bill Toddman production.

  14. #14
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    Some romances in shows are done well enough, especially if they take it real slow and don't bring too much attention to it. The CW shows are really bad at it, for instance, because they focus on the romance too much a lot of the time and it often feels contrived when they separate and that hurts the characters. There is a reason why many hate Felicity. She became the show, which was supposedly about Arrow lol.

  15. #15
    Fantastic Member TriggerWarning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Clark View Post

    Now look at The Flash and how they had to juggle things to give Iris a reason to be on camera. The show has very few domestic scenes- Barry is almost always in costume or at STAR Labs. So to get scenes with Barry and Iris they had to make her part of the support group at STAR even though she really has nothing to contribute. There is no organic way to give Iris a role based on their writing style. That makes her role in the episodes a bit grating and forced, so the romance seems to undercut the plot.
    This.

    I agree 100% about the problems with Iris. And I contrast with how Felicity was handled on Arrow. She became a useful part of team Arrow before the romance was even conceived on the show as it was apparent in the early days they were still going to try and go the Ollie / Laurel route like in the comics. Whatever problems people have with Felicity it wasn't about how she came to be on Team Arrow because she earned her spot naturally rather than being forced into the team like Iris was.

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