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TV Tropes: Love 'em or Loathe 'em

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11 minutes ago, kiddo82 said:

I guess this isn't really a trope but I hate it when network shows sanitize phrases that otherwise wouldn't fly on basic TV. Like when a character says "Bull crap" instead of "Bull shit."  It just sounds weird.  Have them just say "Bull".  I'm sure there are other examples I could cite but that's the one that always stands out to me.

I hate when characters day “Shut the front door” to replace “Shut the fuck up”

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39 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

I hate when characters day “Shut the front door” to replace “Shut the fuck up”

Agree.  As a caveat, I don't mind if the character is actively trying to censor themselves (maybe if a child is in the room or catching themselves before they spout off in a professional situation) but I don't know any adult in real life who actually says "Shut the front door" when they really mean "Shut the fuck up."  Either they'll actually say "shut the fuck up" or just not use a euphemism for it.  

Friends actually got around this rather cleverly with Ross' "salute."  When he was a kid he invented a way to give the finger without actually giving it so his parents wouldn't notice.  The friends would then occasionally do it to each other in a playful/mocking way.  I think that works because it is something a kid would invent as opposed to an adult, who, if they wanted to flip you off would flip you off.

https://images.app.goo.gl/qVCDmqPHF1hGTuV27

Another caveat would be a character like Phil on Modern Family saying things like "oh cheese and crackers" because that's just who he is and it's organic to the character.  Claire or Jay on the other hand...

Edited by kiddo82
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2 hours ago, Broken Ox said:

The one that stands out to me is ass(bleep). Because "hole" is the offensive part.

Which just goes to changing standards. In my life time you could not say "ass" but "a-hole" was fine for a while before "ass" became okay.

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OMG, The Take released a video about "The Nice Guy" trope... and it takes Ross, Xander, Ted, and that twerp from Dead Poets Society to task! And genuine nice guys like Chidi from The Good Place are celebrated! Happy Belated Birthday to me!!!

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

OMG, The Take released a video about "The Nice Guy" trope... and it takes Ross, Xander, Ted, and that twerp from Dead Poets Society to task! And genuine nice guys like Chidi from The Good Place are celebrated! Happy Belated Birthday to me!!!

 

 

 

Ah ya beat me to it! But it's a great video that sums it up just beautifully. My only complaint is that I wish they'd gone into more specifics with Xander, but hell, you'd need a whole separate video to do justice to how much he sucks. Make it happen, The Take! 

Edited by Spartan Girl
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On 2/22/2020 at 8:50 AM, Broken Ox said:

The one that stands out to me is ass(bleep). Because "hole" is the offensive part.

I guess because "ass" is technically a donkey?

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On 2/22/2020 at 1:15 PM, Spartan Girl said:

Ah ya beat me to it! But it's a great video that sums it up just beautifully. My only complaint is that I wish they'd gone into more specifics with Xander, but hell, you'd need a whole separate video to do justice to how much he sucks. Make it happen, The Take! 

I once wrote a Criminal Minds fanfic where the UnSub was a "Nice Guy"...because the "Nice Guy" really isn't that far from a serial killer anyway.

A few thoughts on The Take: On Nice Guys:

  • It completely ignores the origin of the Entitled Nice Guy (ENG). The ENG trope is rooted in the classic "hero" storytelling that says when someone does something "heroic" they "deserve a reward". Now, we are also taught that a "real" hero doesn't expect a reward for "doing the right thing" but the hero story ingrains in us a basic expectation that if we do something "heroic" (which could even be something as simple as a "nice gesture") we should "expect" some kind of thing that benefits us in return. Straight renderings of the story say that if the hero accomplishes his task, he gets what he wants- the princess, the throne, lots of money, fame, etc. Subversions of the story would still reward the hero but they won't give him exactly what he wants- for example, he wants the princess but he doesn't get the princess- but he does get a whole lot of gold and becomes the kingdom's most famous person (which the king would usually view as a threat if we're being realistic, but that's another discussion).
    • ENG stories are really just another version of this story. If you think about it, the ENG story plays a lot like an "epic quest", because often the ENG story involves the ENG having to "prove his worth" to the object of his affection. Oftentimes- like in Wedding Crashers or Encino Man- this involves the ENG having to show the woman that he's actually a better romantic option than the "jerk" the woman is dating at the beginning of the movie. More often than not, this is done by the ENG taking the woman's objections to going out with him as merely "obstacles" that the ENG must overcome, and they invariably do because that's how they "complete their quest". Usually these stories are set up so that we're led to believe that the ENG is "right" for the object of his desire because he's the only one in the story that actually "meets her needs", which is why the woman eventually "sees the light" and decides to go out with him.
  • A lot of ENG stories suffer from poor framing and characterization, as more often than not the only character that winds up actually doing anything and the only character whose thoughts and emotions we're privy to is the ENG character himself. The rest of the characters in a ENG story- including the object of his desire- are mere stock characters who simply exist to tell parts of the story. They are often never fleshed out characters in their own right. So, more often than not, the woman is passive in these stories and could even come across as a "pushover" towards the ENG (because she eventually capitulates to him) because the writer of the story never bothered to think about how she would feel about the ENG and whether or not she would actually want him in the first place. Which is not to say that I support this kind of storytelling- I'm merely saying that we need to recognize it for what it is and that this is bad writing.
  • I'm sure a lot of ENG stories are "fantasies" of the writers who tell those stories and, more often than not, these writers let their imagination get the better of them. It's bad enough when they tell a simple story of a ENG being "rewarded" with the woman simply because he brought her flowers after her mother died, and it's worse still when that ENG breaks up the woman's initial relationship even though she was going out with "a bad dude". It gets really bad when the ENG breaks up an engagement (Wedding Crashers), a marriage or a family simply to "get what he wants", or the writer contrives the story so badly that the woman's marriage falls apart just so she can become "available" to the ENG (How I Met Your Mother).
  • I don't necessarily think stories where the protagonist ends up with the woman simply because he's a "true nice guy" (TNG) are any better than the ENG stories before them. Just because you have a story where the TNG doesn't stalk, pressure, control or do anything else to genuinely disrespect the woman doesn't make the TNG "better"- as long as you still have a story where the woman has no agency and where the TNG overcomes "obstacles" that put him in between the woman he's desiring, you still have a story about an ENG- you just don't get the overt "entitled" part of it. This is because the story message is still the same- if the hero "proves his worth" then he "gets his reward".

In short, writing a good story where two people fall in love with each other is a lot more difficult than writers seem to think. You often get writers who treat a love story like it's a detective story- put the puzzle together and *boom*, you get your relationship. Real life is never like that. In real life, you can be "the best guy" towards the woman and actually be everything she would look for in a man- but she's still not interested in you, and it's not because she's a B-word or "deluded" or "selfish" or "doesn't see your worth" or whatever crappy excuse you want to provide. She's just not that into you- the same way that there are women that you are not into, for whatever reason (and yes I know women can fall victim to this kind of thinking- it's just that when it comes to Hollywood, women in love stories don't tend to get to think for themselves like the men do).

I understand, more often than not, why Hollywood goes back to the ENG and TNG stories (including the few variants where the woman takes centre stage), because who really wants to watch a love story where the two leads don't end up together? It may be realistic, but it still doesn't mean that audiences would like it to end that way, especially if they fell in love with the movie's leads and actually rooted for them to get together. So, if you're a Hollywood writer, you're left with a double-edged sword- you can write a "realistic" story where the two leads don't end up together via settling for other people or just simply acknowledging their prospective relationship wasn't going to work...or you can write your "fantasy" where you weave your tale of "star-crossed lovers" whose love "overcomes all these obstacles" allowing them to marry and live a happy life together at the end of it.

It's pretty easy, if you're a producer, what kind of a story would get a better reception, no matter how "savvy" the audience may appear to be. We all love a good love story and for those of us who have happy relationships and marriages (I'm not there yet myself, to be honest), we can look back at the development of those relationships and conclude that those relationships often did play out like a Hollywood fairy tale. No relationship is ever perfect from start to finish- there are hills and valleys, which is more than enough fodder for a good Hollywood script- so there's a lot of people who can relate to the struggles of the ENG and the TNG stories because, well, we've actually been there, in some form or another.

It's only when those stories are badly written is when they become problematic, and that's the key aspect to the criticism of Hollywood's "Nice Guys" that The Take misses completely.

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7 minutes ago, Danielg342 said:

.(and yes I know women can fall victim to this kind of thinking- it's just that when it comes to Hollywood, women in love stories don't tend to get to think for themselves like the men do).

That, and generally, in the cases where a woman is seen intensely pursuing a guy who's not into her, she's often treated as a crazy stalker who's desperate for love, and is mocked for not getting that the guy's not interested. Quite a drastic contrast to the reverse, indeed. 

(If there have been stories of a woman heavily pursuing a man who's not interested, only for her to wear him down and ultimately get together, I either haven't seen them or am blanking on them. But I imagine there aren't many examples.)

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9 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

(If there have been stories of a woman heavily pursuing a man who's not interested, only for her to wear him down and ultimately get together, I either haven't seen them or am blanking on them. But I imagine there aren't many examples.)

Best I can think of is in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Blake Lively's character, Bridget, fell for one of the coaches on the soccer team she was trying out for, and she was really aggressive with him (one time, the players and the coaches were jogging and Bridget caught up to the coach she had her eye on. She tells him, "I play forward" and he replies, "I noticed"). The two of them actually wind up having sex...but she regrets it because it wasn't as fulfilling as she thought it would be. She breaks things off with the coach and doesn't see him again until the very end of the movie where the coach finds her and it's implied that two agreed that they'll try their relationship again in the future.

So it's not exactly a straight gender-flipped version of the Nice Guy story...but it's close.

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Dawson Leery was definitely one of the worst Nice Guys, but Joey was an Entitled Nice Girl if there ever was one. She'd get snotty whenever Dawson was with another girl, and later when Dawson didn't want to get back together with her, she'd play the victim for rejecting her when she "offered herself" to him. Like seriously? Dawson, asshole though he was, had every right to turn her down after she dumped him TWICE. 

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6 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

 

In short, writing a good story where two people fall in love with each other is a lot more difficult than writers seem to think. You often get writers who treat a love story like it's a detective story- put the puzzle together and *boom*, you get your relationship. Real life is never like that. In real life, you can be "the best guy" towards the woman and actually be everything she would look for in a man- but she's still not interested in you, and it's not because she's a B-word or "deluded" or "selfish" or "doesn't see your worth" or whatever crappy excuse you want to provide. She's just not that into you- the same way that there are women that you are not into, for whatever reason (and yes I know women can fall victim to this kind of thinking- it's just that when it comes to Hollywood, women in love stories don't tend to get to think for themselves like the men do).

I understand, more often than not, why Hollywood goes back to the ENG and TNG stories (including the few variants where the woman takes centre stage), because who really wants to watch a love story where the two leads don't end up together? It may be realistic, but it still doesn't mean that audiences would like it to end that way, especially if they fell in love with the movie's leads and actually rooted for them to get together. So, if you're a Hollywood writer, you're left with a double-edged sword- you can write a "realistic" story where the two leads don't end up together via settling for other people or just simply acknowledging their prospective relationship wasn't going to work...or you can write your "fantasy" where you weave your tale of "star-crossed lovers" whose love "overcomes all these obstacles" allowing them to marry and live a happy life together at the end of it.

It's pretty easy, if you're a producer, what kind of a story would get a better reception, no matter how "savvy" the audience may appear to be. We all love a good love story and for those of us who have happy relationships and marriages (I'm not there yet myself, to be honest), we can look back at the development of those relationships and conclude that those relationships often did play out like a Hollywood fairy tale. No relationship is ever perfect from start to finish- there are hills and valleys, which is more than enough fodder for a good Hollywood script- so there's a lot of people who can relate to the struggles of the ENG and the TNG stories because, well, we've actually been there, in some form or another.

It's only when those stories are badly written is when they become problematic, and that's the key aspect to the criticism of Hollywood's "Nice Guys" that The Take misses completely.

For me the main issue about Nice Guys is they are written by men without any female input.  If we look at other forms of storytelling like books, romance sells and it sells well.  These books are mostly written by women for women.  The stereotypical Nice Guy is never the hero of these books.  They show up in the books, but never get the girl because women do not want them.  It is not that difficult to write a good love story if you take into account the female half of the equation.  These Nice Guys are created by male writers and producers without any input from their female counterparts.  They are badly written because they are male fantasies.    These male writers and showrunners never bother to find out what women really want in a romantic lead.  I do realize not all men applies here, but every example of the toxic Nice Guy listed in that video was created by a man.  

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On 2/22/2020 at 5:48 AM, kiddo82 said:

I guess this isn't really a trope but I hate it when network shows sanitize phrases that otherwise wouldn't fly on basic TV. Like when a character says "Bull crap" instead of "Bull shit."  It just sounds weird.  Have them just say "Bull".  I'm sure there are other examples I could cite but that's the one that always stands out to me.

I've only ever heard people on TV call someone a "hump."  (I actually have heard people say "shut the front door.")

 

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15 hours ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

It is not that difficult to write a good love story if you take into account the female half of the equation.

Well...I'd say that writing a good story in any genre isn't easy to do. I also believe many tropes can be good if they are written well- some, like the "Nice Guy", generally are not.

I'd also point out a lot of female-driven work can fall victim to spouting the worst of "rah-rah feminist" fantasies that can be just as unrealistic as the "Entitled Nice Guy" fantasies.

One other thing about The Take that it got wrong- in Pretty In Pink, audiences didn't reject the original ending because they thought Ducky was a problematic character. They rejected the original ending since it suggested that "dating shouldn't cross class lines", as the poor Andie originally rejected the rich Blane to get with the also poor Ducky. Furthermore, Ducky, despite his issues, does not "end up with the girl", although the reasons for that don't have much to do with Andie rejecting his behaviour.

As for romances in general- my experiences with them are rather limited, but from what I do know, a lot of them fall into some pretty bad cliches. First, your protagonist is some "milquetoast" woman who doesn't think she's pretty enough, has a job she doesn't like (or has a job where she doesn't quite make the money she hopes for), is bad at dating and has friends who all have far more successful lives than she does. If the story has her going on dates before meeting "the final dude", those dates will be one dimensional caricatures whose only role is to show just how bad the protagonist is at dating. Once she does meet "the final dude", she realizes he's "perfect" but there's an issue they have to resolve before they can actually be together (like, for example, he may be an out of towner and the protagonist has to convince him to stay- which he invariably does).

Alternatively, you can have the protagonist meet the love of her life earlier in the story, with the love interest being this really flawed dude whose flaws the protagonist has to "work through" in order for them to be together. Another variation of this story would have the protagonist meet a guy early in the story, establish a friendship with him but then decide to date another guy she meets a bit later on in the story, only for her to realize that her friend- who may or may not have hinted at it- was actually better for her than the other guy, so she breaks up with the other guy for the friend she cast aside.

Then, of course, there's the "mean girls" storyline where the protagonist has to fight off other romantic rivals for the love of another guy, with this guy being written as well as the "trophy princess" of folklore.

This isn't to say those kinds of stories are inherently bad- they can be good stories if they're told properly. In bad hands, you can get some pretty problematic characters and characterizations.

Romance is full of "Prince Charmings" who tell the protagonist that all of their issues can be solved with the right relationship.

Romance can create unrealistic expectations where people think their prospective relationship needs to be "perfect" in order to continue with it. Having fights and disagreements isn't something that can happen, apparently.

Romance loves peddling "the one true love" idea, which drives home the idea that being in a relationship is better than not being in one. This can also be the place where stories force one party (or both) to give up their personal happiness (like having to leave the city they grew up in) just so they can preserve their triue love"- never mind their new reality won't likely be as happy as they think.

Lastly, romance is home of the "bad boy" the protagonist has to "fix", because the guy "really isn't that bad- he's just misunderstood!" You can get some real pieces of work, the kind of people for whom you would tell your friends "stay well away from them!", but yet the protagonist falls for them anyway because they have (unrealistically) "fixed" them. "One true love", I guess.

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7 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

As for romances in general- my experiences with them are rather limited, but from what I do know, a lot of them fall into some pretty bad cliches. First, your protagonist is some "milquetoast" woman who doesn't think she's pretty enough, has a job she doesn't like (or has a job where she doesn't quite make the money she hopes for), is bad at dating and has friends who all have far more successful lives than she does. If the story has her going on dates before meeting "the final dude", those dates will be one dimensional caricatures whose only role is to show just how bad the protagonist is at dating. Once she does meet "the final dude", she realizes he's "perfect" but there's an issue they have to resolve before they can actually be together (like, for example, he may be an out of towner and the protagonist has to convince him to stay- which he invariably does).

This is The Hallmark Channel version of romance.  Formulaic and sanitized into a pre-burped version of a romance that is palatable to a really conservative sensibility.  Or a Reality show.

Written romance, as in the romance genre that generates billions of dollars in publishing, is so far from this (and the rest of your example) is isn't even funny.  The breadth of the genre would be exhausting to even list.  TV/Movie romance written by screenwriters and serving up tv tropes are a very different animal that what you get when reading a book.  Even adaptations of good romance novels get bent and twisted to tv/movie norms when they are put on screen.

I have always felt that screenwriters, if they were interested in writing a good complex romance for their characters, would do themselves a favor and familiarize themselves with the genre and incorporate some of the themes/conventions in their relationship construction.  Even though the ending is foregone conclusion,  until you get there the author has to create a believable conflict that not only keeps them somewhat apart for the lion's share of the book, but generate some believable suspense about the relationship thus keeping the reader on the hook, while also serving up a good external plot.  And there are so many different romances/romance novelists who have done this is myriad creative ways.

Edited by DearEvette
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8 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Furthermore, Ducky, despite his issues, does not "end up with the girl", although the reasons for that don't have much to do with Andie rejecting his behaviour.

No, it's because he's gay af. 

I'm going to write the unromantic comedy where the female turns down dates the whole movie because she actually likes her job, has only one cat, and drinks wine in moderation. Her best friend is an unapologetic slut who only fucks Asian guys because she spanks them. They don't really go out much because they have to work. 

The audience will be on the edge of their seats waiting for her to meet The Right Man but in the end she buys a new easy chair and some fancy coffee so she can kick back and watch the champions league final. Oh, she used to play soccer so the tomboy factor will let dudes feel unthreatened being dragged to the movie by their gfs. 

I'll be printing money. 

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7 hours ago, DearEvette said:

Written romance, as in the romance genre that generates billions of dollars in publishing, is so far from this (and the rest of your example) is isn't even funny.  The breadth of the genre would be exhausting to even list.

OK. Just to be clear, I'm not here to trash an entire genre and I certainly mean no disrespect to romance fans. I'm just saying that I'm sure that romance has plenty of cliches and it's still not easy to write. That's really what I'm getting at.

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1 minute ago, Danielg342 said:

OK. Just to be clear, I'm not here to trash an entire genre and I certainly mean no disrespect to romance fans. I'm just saying that I'm sure that romance has plenty of cliches and it's still not easy to write. That's really what I'm getting at.

LOL.  No offense.  I am a fan of the genre.  And you're right, like any genre of anything it does have a lot of its own tropes.  And some can be downright silly.  But as I mentioned above, I think on screen rep of "romance" as a genre really needs to be made distinct from the publishing version of romance because tv doesn't even begin to scrape the surface of what the genre offers.  But it is the tv/movie version of "romance" that often used to represent the entire genre.

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8 minutes ago, Danielg342 said:

OK. Just to be clear, I'm not here to trash an entire genre and I certainly mean no disrespect to romance fans. I'm just saying that I'm sure that romance has plenty of cliches and it's still not easy to write. That's really what I'm getting at.

I don't think you are. I'm a fan of romance but it has some annoying tropes. Both in books, movies and TV shows have problems. Like in books if your a woman and a virgin your dumber then a rock and don't know anything. So many write mix up naïve and innocent with too dumb to live. Hey just because you've never had sex doesn't mean you don't know anything about sex or guys. Too many guys are violent or assholes in one way or another. As much people complain about Edward, Jacob and Christian there and amazing amount of other guys just like them who the heroines end up happily ever after with. Hallmark movies still have way too many women quitting their jobs and living the city to a small town and marry the guy as the happy ending. Can't they keep their jobs? Can't they stay in the city? If a woman's been living in NYC, LA or any place else for years its because she likes it and doesn't want to move back to small town. If she had wanted that she would have moved back after she finished college or never left town in the first place. In TV shows its the nice guy following after the girl waiting and wearing her down to get her. Yea! Nothing more romantic then marrying the woman who gave up or watching anyone chasing after someone for years. Or two people that have nothing in common end up together but who knows why like Penny and Leonard or have botched the couple so badly its more like they deserve each other like Carrie and Big. Or jealous every time their girlfriend/boyfriend works with the member of the opposite sex. 

Not all are like that but so many are. You know what's fun to watch? A couple falling in love. Equals. I don't care if its a man and woman or same sex. I just want a good story. Whether its working together and slowly falling in love over a period of time or meet and fall. Opposites can attract but there still needs to be something there.  Before they ruined it Castle was doing a good job. They meet Beckett doesn't like him but loves his books, they work together, Castle finds her fascinating and she begins to appreciate his input. Then had her realizing she had feelings for him at the end of season two and him for her season three. Same with Gilmore Girls with Luke and Lorelai's friendship growing and turning to each other for advice.  Leverage actually did a good job with Sophie and Nate and Hardison and Parker. Both couples actually have similar problems to over come Nate losing his son and Parker's crappy childhood in the bad kind of foster care. She realizes she likes Hardison when she keeps breaking glass at seeing him helping with a client in season three. She tries to tell him but can't and uses "pretzels" instead but he understands and at the end of season three she tells him she's ready for pretzels. They kind of date in season four but not officially until season five. Nate's problem of course he's still mourning the lost of his son, drinking and accepting that he's now a criminal after being the good guy for so long. He has to overcome those things before he and Sophie can date. Sophie would like to be together sooner but she knows those things need to happen. It takes Nate awhile to get there.  

One problem TV shows have is similar to the problem with murder mystery shows they don't plot out the relationship before hand. When are they going to get together? How do they get to that point, what keeps them from getting to that point? Give them real organic reasons why they don't get together and either skip over the break up or come up with a good organic reason for it. 

The few Hallmark movies I've liked are the ones like Best Christmas Party Ever, yes the title's dumb but the woman doesn't quit her job at the end of it. Nope, she remains a party planner from beginning to end. She's forced to work with the owner's nephew who jokes a lot but they give him depth. He moved around a lot as a kid and jokes were how he learned to fit in. They both have good ideas and bad ideas. One isn't immediately better then the other. Or Hitched for the Holidays with Joey Lawrence and Emily Hampshire where they decide to pretend to be together to get through the holidays and end up falling for each other. She's Jewish. I know a holiday movie that not only remembers that Hanukkah happens around that time period but shows some of its. Joey messes up at first he didn't bother to up any information but learns from that one. Its a little hokey. But its cute, neither one is terrible, and the woman doesn't end up quitting her job.

Elizabeth and Darcy of Pride and Prejudice is still pretty good too for the same reasons. They both have faults and have to learn to over come them. It really seems like it shouldn't be that hard. And yet it is. 

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2 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

One problem TV shows have is similar to the problem with murder mystery shows they don't plot out the relationship before hand. When are they going to get together? How do they get to that point, what keeps them from getting to that point? Give them real organic reasons why they don't get together and either skip over the break up or come up with a good organic reason for it. 

You hit the nail on the head- and this is what derails a lot of TV shows in any genre. Which is probably why most "long runners" tend to be shows with the barest of setups- the basic police procedural, the comedy about a bunch of friends, the basic medical drama, the show about someone simply "starting over", etc.- because it's easy to just "crank out episodes" as their stories don't require too much thought or planning.

(Of course, a lot of long runners are the way they are because they at least initially had good or even great writing and/or great acting performances and episodes that inspired a large audience to tune in and keep on tuning in for the long haul)

When it comes to love stories- especially in shows that are not specifically about love- producers can get blindsided by audiences showing a liking to two characters the producers may not have planned to get together. Whether they're regulars or they're a guest star that was only supposed to appear for one episode (or arc), when producers realize a vocal portion of their audience gravitated toward the pairing more than they anticipated, they'll scramble to re-establish the pairing, even though the pairing may not make actual sense in the story.

After all, Hollywood is a business, and if there's one thing producers fear the most, it's a dramatic drop in the ratings. Look what happened to the TV series version of Lethal Weapon- they had a hit series but two co-stars that couldn't get along. After two seasons, one got fired because the studio simply had enough of him and the other co-star wound up leaving anyway. They tried a third season with a new lead but the magic was gone and the series was canceled at a point where a lot of shows don't tend to get canceled (third seasons usually guarantee a fourth because then the show becomes profitable for syndication).

I mean, it's arguable that LW wound up doing the right thing in firing Clayne Crawford, but, in doing so, they lost their TV series. "Yay, principle!" I guess, but that only goes so far when you need to put food on your table- especially if you're a writer that doesn't get Crawford's salary.

It's probably why Friends kept Ross+Rachel going even when that relationship became ridiculous, and why Castle soldiered on despite the fact their two leads couldn't stand looking at each other, let alone working together. Producers know they have to give the fans what they want- even when it might conflict with "the right thing to do"- because then they don't have a series.

It's a cruel world, entertainment is.

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2 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Look what happened to the TV series version of Lethal Weapon- they had a hit series but two co-stars that couldn't get along. After two seasons, one got fired because the studio simply had enough of him and the other co-star wound up leaving anyway. They tried a third season with a new lead but the magic was gone and the series was canceled at a point where a lot of shows don't tend to get canceled (third seasons usually guarantee a fourth because then the show becomes profitable for syndication).

The other co-star didn't leave.  Maybe he would have had their been a fourth season or maybe his talking about it was just a public negotiating tactic but he was there to the end.

I watched all three seasons.  It was cancelled in the third season but it "died" in the second.  Its ratings decreased close to 40% from season 1 to season 2.  They still shed ratings in the third season but not nearly as much and overall it was steadier.

The reason I think Season 2 was what killed it, and Season 3 actually recovered the magic, IMO, is that season 2 devolved into torture porn.  The writers fell into the trope that to maintain the balance of the show and keep Riggs troubled, they had to pile on more punishment to him or make him punish himself. 

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4 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

The other co-star didn't leave.  Maybe he would have had their been a fourth season or maybe his talking about it was just a public negotiating tactic but he was there to the end.

I watched all three seasons.  It was cancelled in the third season but it "died" in the second.  Its ratings decreased close to 40% from season 1 to season 2.  They still shed ratings in the third season but not nearly as much and overall it was steadier.

The reason I think Season 2 was what killed it, and Season 3 actually recovered the magic, IMO, is that season 2 devolved into torture porn.  The writers fell into the trope that to maintain the balance of the show and keep Riggs troubled, they had to pile on more punishment to him or make him punish himself. 

I appreciate the clarification. I had thought that Damon Wayans had also left, since in the S3 premiere his character threw his police badge into a fire. I was also relying on my memory, and, well, I'm sure a few things got lost in the shuffle. I mean, the time in between S2 and S3 was downright nuts with all the stories coming out.

Regardless, I'm sure there are a few Hollywood producers who think, "if only Wayans and Crawford could sort out their issues", or "if only Lethal Weapon had two stars that could work together". I'm sure producers say the same thing about Criminal Minds and Thomas Gibson, as well as Two and a Half Men and Charlie Sheen. Sure, both shows were already well into their declines when their stars' behaviour reached a boiling point, and, sure, both shows still continued well after their dismissal (Men went on for four more seasons if I understand correctly, and CM did either two or three more seasons, depending on your metric), but firing their stars could be seen as the proverbial "final nail in the coffin".

It's debatable how many fans actually left LW after Crawford left, just like it's debatable how many fans left Men after Sheen and CM after Gibson, but I'm sure there are those in Hollywood that took notice and made a connection with those shows ending and those shows firing their stars, even if it's an erroneous one. I still remember "No Hotch No Watch" (referring to CM) and while I don't think that boycott was as strong as the media made it out to be, I'm sure Hollywood types still took notice...and they still use it as a cautionary tale against firing a star performer, even if they could (or should) do it.

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This reminds me of another trope I hate- the "TV show that should have been a movie". You know those shows- these are the ones where the series has an "obvious" conclusion, where in order for it to even be a series the producers will have to contrive things just to keep it going.

Examples here would be Lost, Manifest, Prison Break, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, The Event, The Passage, on to perhaps even Twin Peaks, Revolution, How I Met Your Mother and maybe The Mentalist (thinking about the Red John angle).

It's so bad that I usually avoid such shows because they are rarely (if ever) done well. This is because- at least in Hollywood- the idea of a "fixed time frame series" is foreign to producers, who want their TV series to go on forever. This means if a show has a "conclusion" that seems obvious, the show will eventually get ridiculous, since it will inevitably get to a point where the show's writers will contrive the plot just to keep the series going.

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10 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Or Hitched for the Holidays with Joey Lawrence and Emily Hampshire where they decide to pretend to be together to get through the holidays and end up falling for each other.

That is of course another tv and movie trope: two people pretend to be in a relationship and end up falling in love for real. I never watched that specific movie (or any Hallmark romance movies), but I have seen it often enough in other movies and series.

A recent example is To All The Boys I Loved Before, but if you're my age you'll remember it from Can't Buy Me Love and the trope is probably even older than that.

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11 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Look what happened to the TV series version of Lethal Weapon- they had a hit series but two co-stars that couldn't get along.

I have no patience for costars who can't suck it up and be professional and just do their jobs. William Frawley and Vivian Vance HATED each other. But they SUCKED it up and did their job playing Fred and Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy. Even Lucille and Vivian were reported to have not gotten along, but you wouldn't know it, watching the show. I read where they became friends in later years. And they did end up doing two more shows after I Love Lucy.

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6 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

This reminds me of another trope I hate- the "TV show that should have been a movie". You know those shows- these are the ones where the series has an "obvious" conclusion, where in order for it to even be a series the producers will have to contrive things just to keep it going.

Examples here would be Lost, Manifest, Prison Break, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, The Event, The Passage, on to perhaps even Twin Peaks, Revolution, How I Met Your Mother and maybe The Mentalist (thinking about the Red John angle).

It's so bad that I usually avoid such shows because they are rarely (if ever) done well. This is because- at least in Hollywood- the idea of a "fixed time frame series" is foreign to producers, who want their TV series to go on forever. This means if a show has a "conclusion" that seems obvious, the show will eventually get ridiculous, since it will inevitably get to a point where the show's writers will contrive the plot just to keep the series going.

The way Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector is titled makes me think the show is supposed to be more than just a one-off.  As of right now there are 13 other books in the series that can be adapted.  

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22 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Regardless, I'm sure there are a few Hollywood producers who think, "if only Wayans and Crawford could sort out their issues", or "if only Lethal Weapon had two stars that could work together". I'm sure producers say the same thing about Criminal Minds and Thomas Gibson, as well as Two and a Half Men and Charlie Sheen.

 

15 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

I have no patience for costars who can't suck it up and be professional and just do their jobs.

Crawford and Wayans didn't get along but according to the stories coming out, that's not why he was fired.  It seems he was quite volatile on set.  And Thomas Gibson had a physical altercation with a writer (or producer?) on set.  And Charlie....well. 

12 season is a ridiculously good run for a sitcom.  As is 15 years for a drama. If anything, Criminal Minds saved money by getting rid of Thomas Gibson.

21 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

these are the ones where the series has an "obvious" conclusion, where in order for it to even be a series the producers will have to contrive things just to keep it going.

I guess it depends on how focused a show is on its main story or how much it's willing to expand its world.  How I Met Your Mother did a great job of opening up its paths and created funny episodes and stories viewers cared about.  Going 9 seasons instead of being a movie wasn't its crime.  HIMYM's mistake was in not recognizing their original ending wasn't going to work with where their story had taken them over those seasons.  A 90 minute movie would have allowed them to tell the Ted & Robin story better, for sure--or maybe.  But it also would have meant we missed out on some of the best stuff we only got because the show was a series.

Similarly, Breaking Bad would have made for a good movie but the fact that it came in TV series form, even with an "obvious" ending, made it great.

I think the trope with The Mentalist isn't the fact that it only wanted to tell the story of Red John.  It's that it was a procedural that felt like it needed a "big bad" in order to make people interested when they probably would have been just as satisfied with the procedural episodes they did get.

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They should have ended Red John sooner than later. With Jane's life totally consumed by him, how he dealt with the fallout would have been interesting. 

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12 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

I think the trope with The Mentalist isn't the fact that it only wanted to tell the story of Red John.  It's that it was a procedural that felt like it needed a "big bad" in order to make people interested when they probably would have been just as satisfied with the procedural episodes they did get.

 

3 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

They should have ended Red John sooner than later. With Jane's life totally consumed by him, how he dealt with the fallout would have been interesting. 

Yes to both of these! I really enjoyed The Mentalist for what it was, but the Red John storyline--and its inept wrap-up--completely ruined it for me. I never particularly liked that aspect of Jane's backstory, but I was willing to see what they'd do with it. If they'd picked a better Red John, it would have been fine for me. In fact, there was one of the red herrings who was perfect. But did they choose him? Nope. And I would have forgiven that if it hadn't been so damn drawn out and pointless. 

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7 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I felt like they realized it went on too long and just ended it. Then didn't they have a copycat or something?

Was that in the final season after they revamped it? I sat through that season but didn't really pay attention to it. I was just like #NotMyMentalist by that point. 🤣

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Honestly I don't remember. This was one of the many shows I watched just for the online discussion. Five-0 is the same way.

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1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

Honestly I don't remember. This was one of the many shows I watched just for the online discussion. Five-0 is the same way.

Lol I just can't with Scott Caan's hair on H50.

For the Mentalist, I never considered it great TV, but I thought at its best, it was fun and Simon Baker was very charming. I liked a lot of the supporting cast too.

My grandpa--who can find TV shows irritating pretty easily--really liked Baker. He used to call him, "the little guy who knows you did things." 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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On 2/24/2020 at 3:45 AM, Annber03 said:

(If there have been stories of a woman heavily pursuing a man who's not interested, only for her to wear him down and ultimately get together, I either haven't seen them or am blanking on them. But I imagine there aren't many examples.)

This has really got me thinking. I KNOW I have seen this at some point, but I'm having a hard time thinking of examples. At best, I've seen a lot of stories that are trope-adjacent to this, which usually play out in one of the following ways:

1) The woman is a staple of the man's life (friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc.) and we see her quietly pining away for him while he shows no interest in her, until his big revelation at the end that she's been the one for him all along. In this case, she's not heavily pursuing him, but just acting as a constant positive presence in his life while having a hidden crush on him.

2) The woman is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl whose mission in life is to draw the sad lonely man out of his shell and enjoy life. This doesn't always start with a romantic attraction on her end, but it ends up there.

3) The man has severe issues with depression, anxiety, loneliness, or some unusual personality quirk, and the woman is there to, again, draw him out of his shell. This isn't so much about the woman pursuing a healthy relationship with an equal, but more like her treating him like a wounded animal and acting as his therapist or care-giver to help "fix" him, when no one else will be his friend.

4) The woman and man are casually dating, but the woman wants something more serious and relentlessly pursues the man to make a commitment. Usually, he only does when she backs off, often to the point of breaking up with him entirely, so he starts missing her and decides he wants to commit. So in this case, her heavily pursuing him doesn't work; she only gets him when she stops.

5) The woman heavily pursues the man and thinks she's almost won him over until, surprise! He's gay! Or a priest. Or secretly engaged to someone else. This is usually played for laughs, but I've also seen it in more tragic stories. So in this case, you get the "woman pursues man" story, without the expected pay-off of the happy ending.

As for examples, here are a few I thought of (again, they're not perfect):

- Amy and Sheldon on Big Bang Theory: this might fall under example #3, since Sheldon is portrayed as being quite atypical. Also, although she does "wear him down" in many ways, they start dating fairly soon after they meet, so it's not like he has no interest in her, he's just an extremely slow mover.

- Ygritte and Jon Snow on Games of Thrones: She constantly teased him and tried to get him to sleep with her when they first met, and became pretty possessive of him. I think he was attracted to her for most of their time together, but refused to betray his vows of celibacy. Once he did, their dynamic became more balanced, and you could see they were equally attracted to each other.

- Angela and Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life: I haven't seen this in many years, so I don't remember the details, but I do recall that Angela was always pursuing Jordan in her awkward teenage way. He reciprocated somewhat, but it definitely felt like a constant cycle of two steps forward then one step back over the run of the show. Who knows where it would have gone if it had continued.

- Felicity and Ben on Felicity: I never really watched this, but wasn't the initial premise that Felicity had an unrequited high school crush on Ben, and then followed him to college? I know they got together at some point, but I don't know how it turned out.

I'm going to try to think of more, since it's really bothering me that I can't think of that many.

ETA: I just thought of another example. The movie Bringing Up Baby from the 1930s: Katherine Hepburn aggressively pursues nerdy paleontologist Cary Grant as they search for an escaped leopard. It's a slapstick comedy, and she is a bit of a klutzy Manic Pixie, but I love how open she is about wanting to be with him, despite his initial disinterest.

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9 hours ago, Zella said:

For the Mentalist, I never considered it great TV, but I thought at its best, it was fun and Simon Baker was very charming. I liked a lot of the supporting cast too.

Actually, I think this is a great example of a show needing to know what it was. It thought it was A Show. Fundamentally, it was never about Red John but what it did to Jane. They thought the viewers were invested in Red John. The fact he was painted so thin and just fizzled out underscores the point. And you know that was the issue because of the inevitable 'TPTBs explain what you just watched.'

The leads had good chemistry. The cases were interesting, and the cast was talented and likeable. You give me that, and I'll give you 7 seasons of enjoyable television and syndication royalties. That's a record of success afaic. I suppose everyone wants to be the one that puts out A Show, but there's something to be said about reliable, watchable television, week in and week out.

I don't like to say it too much because I think the show is ridiculous, but Five-0 kind of does that. To a point. Everything with Adam is a mess otherwise. 

6 hours ago, Cherpumple said:

The woman heavily pursues the man and thinks she's almost won him over until, surprise! He's gay! Or a priest.

OR BOTH!

6 hours ago, Cherpumple said:

Angela and Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life

To be fair, they played that as real as you can be for actual teenagers. And you have to throw in Krakow at the end. 

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On 2/24/2020 at 3:45 AM, Annber03 said:

(If there have been stories of a woman heavily pursuing a man who's not interested, only for her to wear him down and ultimately get together, I either haven't seen them or am blanking on them. But I imagine there aren't many examples.)

Entire premise of Crazy Ex Girlfriend.  But I can't really think of any others

1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

Actually, I think this is a great example of a show needing to know what it was.

I think this is a lesson most shows need to learn. The shows that need to know this the most are those that have an end-game plot, i.e, the type of plot that can not sustain itself over more than a season or two.  Revenge is a good example of this, imo.  The show started out great with a great premise, a good cast and a picture with X number of people on it she needed to payback.  The show should have simply stuck with the revenge plot until she crossed off every face in the picture and then she could ride off in the sunset having avenged herself.  It lost its way when it went off in so many tangents. 

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On 2/24/2020 at 1:45 AM, Annber03 said:

If there have been stories of a woman heavily pursuing a man who's not interested, only for her to wear him down and ultimately get together, I either haven't seen them or am blanking on them. But I imagine there aren't many examples.)

Felicity.

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On 2/28/2020 at 10:45 AM, DoctorAtomic said:

Actually, I think this is a great example of a show needing to know what it was. It thought it was A Show. Fundamentally, it was never about Red John but what it did to Jane. They thought the viewers were invested in Red John. The fact he was painted so thin and just fizzled out underscores the point. And you know that was the issue because of the inevitable 'TPTBs explain what you just watched.'

The leads had good chemistry. The cases were interesting, and the cast was talented and likeable. You give me that, and I'll give you 7 seasons of enjoyable television and syndication royalties. That's a record of success afaic. I suppose everyone wants to be the one that puts out A Show, but there's something to be said about reliable, watchable television, week in and week out.

The Mentalist, Bones, the Closer, Major Crimes, etc.  There's nothing sexy about being the sturdy, enjoyable procedural but they all had runs that were nothing to sneeze at.  Plus, shows like that tend to be best in those sweet, sweet syndication deals.

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All these love tropes...where's the one about a guy and a girl who pursued each other only to realize they're just better off as friends? I doubt Hollywood has ever told that story except when one of the characters is the Love Interest of the Week.

On 2/26/2020 at 9:19 AM, Ohiopirate02 said:

The way Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector is titled makes me think the show is supposed to be more than just a one-off.  As of right now there are 13 other books in the series that can be adapted.

Only one of the books is about The Bone Collector- the first one. The other ones feature Rhyme solving other cases.

Of course, I think this could be moot anyway- the ratings for the show are not that great. The one I really wonder about is Manifest- the ratings are good but how much longer can the writers draw out the plot?

On 2/27/2020 at 1:01 AM, Irlandesa said:

Crawford and Wayans didn't get along but according to the stories coming out, that's not why he was fired.  It seems he was quite volatile on set.  And Thomas Gibson had a physical altercation with a writer (or producer?) on set.  And Charlie....well. 

12 season is a ridiculously good run for a sitcom.  As is 15 years for a drama. If anything, Criminal Minds saved money by getting rid of Thomas Gibson.

I don't dispute that at all (and, for the record, Gibson was fired after kicking Virgil Williams, who was a writer and producer. Gibson also had an incident in 2010 where he shoved a production assistant). I'm just saying there will be those who will see a pattern (show's star(s) leaving=show collapses) even when it's not accurate.

On 2/27/2020 at 1:01 AM, Irlandesa said:

I guess it depends on how focused a show is on its main story or how much it's willing to expand its world.  How I Met Your Mother did a great job of opening up its paths and created funny episodes and stories viewers cared about.  Going 9 seasons instead of being a movie wasn't its crime.  HIMYM's mistake was in not recognizing their original ending wasn't going to work with where their story had taken them over those seasons.  A 90 minute movie would have allowed them to tell the Ted & Robin story better, for sure--or maybe.  But it also would have meant we missed out on some of the best stuff we only got because the show was a series.

Similarly, Breaking Bad would have made for a good movie but the fact that it came in TV series form, even with an "obvious" ending, made it great.

I think the trope with The Mentalist isn't the fact that it only wanted to tell the story of Red John.  It's that it was a procedural that felt like it needed a "big bad" in order to make people interested when they probably would have been just as satisfied with the procedural episodes they did get.

How I Met Your Mother was one of the few I'd say that did work (and I agreed it failed because it didn't adapt to the changes in the story they actually were telling).

Breaking Bad is one I wanted to include in my original post but then I thought that, since it's AMC (and not network television), that show's producers would be more receptive of a "limited run" series. Because there's big money in network TV they have more of an incentive to keep their moneymakers running indefinitely, while non-network TV, where expectations are much lower, they have more room to experiment. I don't know if the makers of Breaking Bad intended for the series to only go for as long as it did, but I'm sure they had more creative freedom to end it the way they wanted to do it than if Breaking Bad was on a network.

As for The Mentalist, at most Red John should have been a season long arc, though I don't think the show needed him at all. The premise behind the show- con man cons other criminals in order to catch them- was all it needed, and Simon Baker more than proved he's charismatic enough to lead a series all on his own. I believe the idea behind RJK was to have someone who was "smarter" than Patrick Jane, but as soon as they went the route where Jane was impossibly smart, there was no way RJK could have been believable. I also wonder if CBS forced RJK on The Mentalist- they may have thought that, otherwise, it was too close to Criminal Minds, which kinda has the same premise (heck, in my fanfics I had Jane join the BAU).

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5 minutes ago, Danielg342 said:

Only one of the books is about The Bone Collector- the first one. The other ones feature Rhyme solving other cases.

I think that's why they titled it Lincoln Rhyme: The Bone Collector.  If there were to be a second season, it'd probably be based on another book and it'd get a new subtitle.

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On the subject of elaborate backstories that are overdone, I recently watched all of The Rockford Files. As soon as it came up in the first episode that Jim had been framed and built time in prison, I was waiting for that to turn into a plot point: who framed Jim?! Will Jim have his revenge?!

And it was so refreshing to me that it never was explored, let alone that it didn't turn into a multi-season arc. It was never about how or why Jim ended up in prison. We just needed to know he'd been there as an explanation for some of his more  . . . interesting . . . acquaintances. 

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1 hour ago, Zella said:

On the subject of elaborate backstories that are overdone, I recently watched all of The Rockford Files. As soon as it came up in the first episode that Jim had been framed and built time in prison, I was waiting for that to turn into a plot point: who framed Jim?! Will Jim have his revenge?!

And it was so refreshing to me that it never was explored, let alone that it didn't turn into a multi-season arc. It was never about how or why Jim ended up in prison. We just needed to know he'd been there as an explanation for some of his more  . . . interesting . . . acquaintances. 

If my memory serves when the Egyptian long con with Ritchie Brockleman came up and all the players were being recruited the crime had something to do with a similar mission. But they never went into did the governor think Rockford was justified or falsely accused 

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8 minutes ago, Raja said:

If my memory serves when the Egyptian long con with Ritchie Brockleman came up and all the players were being recruited the crime had something to do with a similar mission. But they never went into did the governor think Rockford was justified or falsely accused 

I don't think it was made clear that's what he went to jail for, though? But perhaps it did.

My main memory of that episode was Angel moonlighting as an Egyptologist, based on the number of times he'd seen Mummy's Tomb. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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A couple living together either as romantic partners or just roommates.  One of them will bring in either a piece of furniture or decor that the other one despises.  They will fight over it.  Then the offending item will accidentally get broken, truly by accident, and the original owner will blame the roommate.  

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If a married couple is on the out, it's always the wife that kicks the husband out. And he ends up in some shitty apartment. 

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If a married couple has a fight, the husband usually ends up on the couch.  No one appears to have a guest bedroom.

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Which - why would you buy an uncomfortable couch for yourself? Ok, you're living in an apartment in your 20s, someone probably gifted you a couch, and you take it. 

You're buying a house. Why furnish it with garbage?

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2 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

Which - why would you buy an uncomfortable couch for yourself? Ok, you're living in an apartment in your 20s, someone probably gifted you a couch, and you take it. 

A couch that is comfortable to sit on doesn't always make for a couch that is comfortable to sleep on. It could be not long enough or not wide enough or is really warm.

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