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The Myth Of The Moonlighting Curse And Other Issues With Romance On Television


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On 11/4/2021 at 12:01 PM, Goldmoon said:

Warehouse 13 did the unspeakable with Pete and Myka in its last episode.  The two leads had ALWAYS had a brother and sister vibe with absolutely no romance throughout its five year run.  Then they suddenly "realized" they were in love with each other.  It was ridiculous and I believe it was brought on by execs who thought it was necessary without evidently watching the show.

This bothers me the most about Hollywood and romances- the idea that the only kind of relationship a man and a woman can ultimately have is a sexual one. As soon as a male character and a female character show they have any kind of chemistry, it's a 100% guarantee the writers will tease a hook up between those two and, more likely than not, eventually go through with it. The idea that a man and a woman could just simply be friends never crosses the mind of the Hollywood writer, never mind the idea that a man and a woman could even be content and happy being just friends.

Worse, this is the only kind of drama that exists in the relationship between a man and a woman on Hollywood screens, and worse still it tends to be the only character drama and/or meaningful story that a female character gets during a series. S.W.A.T. is doing this right now with Christina Alonso, who's supposed to be the "tough" woman in the series. In five seasons on the show, Alonso has had no meaningful storylines except this weird "will they or won't they?" with her teammate Jim Street. The two characters, I admit, do have chemistry together but the other main characters- all male- have had many other storylines and deeper character development than the aimless stuff that's going on with Alonso. It's not just her with that treatment- when Stephanie Sigman was on the show as Captain Jessica Cortez, her only real storyline was her being in a "forbidden love" situation with her subordinate, Hondo. Sigman left after two seasons when that storyline reached its obvious conclusion, and I have to say, I don't blame her.

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I thought this was an interesting list: 

https://ew.com/tv/100-best-tv-romances-of-all-time/

Obviously it's pretty superficial but there are several relationships you'd think would have been "me tooed" by now among other things. Others where the writers haven't chosen a couple but chosen the triangle instead which is rarely anyone's favourite part of the romance. 

Plenty of couples who only got together at the end or after 6-7 plus seasons because the writers were allegedly terrified of the "curse". 

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Most of those were shows I've never seen.  Of those I have, the only one at my monitor in protest over was Josh and Donna on The West Wing.  I think Eleanor and Chidi had precisely zero romantic or sexual chemistry on The Good Place, but they had a wonderful friendship so I don't hate the relationship, and I think Parenthood's Kristina and Adam were utterly terrible parents, but, yeah, I agree they were good spousal partners to each other. 

But, while I only hated one and agreed with several, the only couple on the list I really like is David and Patrick from Schitt's Creek.  The only TV love story I've ever gotten completely swept up in, Laura Roslin and Bill Adama on Battlestar Galactica, isn't even ranked.

Of course, my own Best TV Romances list would have maybe ten couples on it, so I'm not the target audience.

There's an error in the Maddie and David entry -- Moonlighting ran for five, not six, seasons.  I wonder if that sloppiness is evident in any other entries (since I didn't read most of them).

Edited by Bastet
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Others where the writers haven't chosen a couple but chosen the triangle instead which is rarely anyone's favourite part of the romance. 

Some triangles, if done well, can work.

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3 hours ago, Featherhat said:

Plenty of couples who only got together at the end or after 6-7 plus seasons because the writers were allegedly terrified of the "curse". 

Yeah, TV writers back in the day REALLY loved their slow burns :D. Like you said, there was a reason behind it - the fear of the "curse" - but still, it's funny to think of how long some of these ships dragged out. That's why I get a kick out of people who get frustrated nowadays when their ship isn't together by, like, season 2. They would've been tearing their hair out were they around watching TV back in the '90s or earlier :p. 

Most of the ships listed here, I haven't seen the shows they're from, either. But there are a few of my favorites in there (I smiled a bit at LIzzie/Gordo from "Lizzie McGuire" showing up - that was a cute surprise). I'm kind of surprised Niles/Daphne is midway through the list, I would've thought they'd be a little higher up. Though regarding the blurb on them, I don't recall Niles sniffing Daphne's hair when they first met. It did become a recurring thing with him, yes, but in the episode where they first properly met, Frasier introduces them, and Niles simply shakes her hand as he kinda fumbles out an awkward hello. 

I'm also surprised that Max and 99 from "Get Smart" aren't in here, given some of the other pairings from shows in the '60s and '70s that are in here. Or Morticia/Gomez. 

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57 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Yeah, TV writers back in the day REALLY loved their slow burns :D. Like you said, there was a reason behind it - the fear of the "curse" - but still, it's funny to think of how long some of these ships dragged out. That's why I get a kick out of people who get frustrated nowadays when their ship isn't together by, like, season 2. They would've been tearing their hair out were they around watching TV back in the '90s or earlier :p. 

Most of the ships listed here, I haven't seen the shows they're from, either. But there are a few of my favorites in there (I smiled a bit at LIzzie/Gordo from "Lizzie McGuire" showing up - that was a cute surprise). I'm kind of surprised Niles/Daphne is midway through the list, I would've thought they'd be a little higher up. Though regarding the blurb on them, I don't recall Niles sniffing Daphne's hair when they first met. It did become a recurring thing with him, yes, but in the episode where they first properly met, Frasier introduces them, and Niles simply shakes her hand as he kinda fumbles out an awkward hello. 

I'm also surprised that Max and 99 from "Get Smart" aren't in here, given some of the other pairings from shows in the '60s and '70s that are in here. Or Morticia/Gomez. 

Morticia and Gomez were definitely a romance for the ages, I agree.

 

 

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Funny that Eve and Villanelle are on there because their loving obsession for each other took me out of the show completely. My husband wants to watch the new season, so I'll sit through it, but I don't care.  It has nothing to do with them being two women, it has to do with one being a cop and the other being a killer.  I can understand them being infatuated with each other, but not in a romantic way.

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I think the fact most of my favorite TV couples were already couples when the show started and stayed that way throughout, with their relationship never being the primary point of the show, speaks to how badly TV writes the process of dating and falling in love.  And then there's how ridiculous the trials and tribulations are when the romantic relationship of an existing couple is the focus.  When it's a family or workplace show, and an existing marriage or similar is secondary or tertiary, then the characters and their relationship may get written realistically so I can invest in them.

Add me to the chorus that Morticia and Gomez should have been on the list.  I'm also a little surprised Jennifer and Jonathan from Hart to Hart aren't on it.

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37 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Add me to the chorus that Morticia and Gomez should have been on the list. 

Any list of great tv couples that does not include Gomez and Morticia isn't worth my time. They were one of the greatest fictional couples of all time, film, tv, books, folklore, mythology, they are the ultimate goal any couple should strive for. 

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I think the fact most of my favorite TV couples were already couples when the show started and stayed that way throughout, with their relationship never being the primary point of the show, speaks to how badly TV writes the process of dating and falling in love

It's hard to argue that they were great shows but I kind of wish we'd been able to see one of those rom-com shows fully play out. Remember that TV season with A to Z and Manhattan Love Story? I wonder if a show with a relationship as the primary focus could work without the will they/won't they.

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11 hours ago, aradia22 said:

...I wonder if a show with a relationship as the primary focus could work without the will they/won't they.

😭 *cries in Baker and the Beauty*

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14 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

It's not a well thought out list.  It's a click bait list and I hate myself for clicking.

It is indeed mostly Valentine's Day clickbait with little depth but I saw it right after reading the discussion going on in the "Characters we hate" thread about Chuck/Blair being a terrible relationship and Chuck Bass being a despicable character. Then looked at how many were involved in the "Moonlighting curse" of not being allowed to get together/stay together until the end of the show or when the writers had run out of every single other idea - by which point everyone was exhausted with it. 

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I’m disappointed that Aeryn and John from Farscape  and Becca and Jesse from Life Goes On didn’t make the list but several other couples I enjoyed made it.

John/Aeryn are in my top three TV couples but I'm not surprised they weren't included. It's hard enough to find mainstream discussion of Farscape even harder to find one that doesn't include the word "muppets" let alone it's ships. 

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There are some really strange couples on that list.   The only 2 on there that I ship are Chandler & Monica and Sam & Diane.   My current favorite couple is from a British show so I knew they wouldn't be on the list though I'd argue they're better than some of the couples on that list.

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1 hour ago, partofme said:

My current favorite couple is from a British show so I knew they wouldn't be on the list though I'd argue they're better than some of the couples on that list.

What show/couple is this? 

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22 minutes ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

But can someone confirm if Jonathan and Jennifer Hart were listed?

They weren't.  They should have been, but they weren't.  I mentioned that upthread because it surprised me a bit.  It's not as egregious as Morticia and Gomez Addams being omitted, no, but come on - a married, child-free couple who loved each other, still flirted, teased each other, and had a hobby of solving mysteries together before coming home to a drink and their dog.  Sure, they were no match for Nick and Nora, but that would be true of anyone.  Jennifer and Jonathan were fun in their own right.  Especially if you made a drinking game out of how many times they called each other "Darling".  (Note: To play this game, you must possess a very high tolerance, and possibly have a spare liver on hand.)

Edited by Bastet
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On 3/16/2022 at 6:19 PM, Mabinogia said:

Any list of great tv couples that does not include Gomez and Morticia isn't worth my time. They were one of the greatest fictional couples of all time, film, tv, books, folklore, mythology, they are the ultimate goal any couple should strive for. 

Agreed. They really are the best couple. It's really fun to watch a couple that loves and respects each other so much. 

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7 hours ago, Annber03 said:

Ah, neat. Not familiar with that show, but now you've got me curious to read up a bit on it, and this couple :D. 

Lewis/Inspector Lewis is the follow up to the long running "Inspector Morse".  "Robbie" Lewis was Morse's bright-eyed Sergeant who was happily married in Morse. In "Lewis" it turns out he'd lost his wife in a tragic accident so that he could become the next gruff, melancholy detective of UK TV. 

His main "relationship" in that series is with *his* Sergeant, Hathaway but he does have the wonderful slow burn with pathologist Laura who is also from Morse originally. 

It's never the main focus of the series but it is sweet and whilst they only get together later on in the series because it's the UK version it means it's fewer episodes than it would be for the US 22-24 ep season. 

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After the most recent episode of This is Us and its focus on Miguel, I am wondering if there’s been a show that has successfully had audiences be okay with a character falling with more than one character (where they can ship both couples)? Daytime soaps not included for obvious reasons. 

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Good question. Speaking for myself, I tend to be a multi-shipper sort much of the time, so that's never been an issue for me. I do have pairings that are particular favorites, yes, that I'd most be happy to see become canon, but I can enjoy, and have also enjoyed, other ships with those same characters. 

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39 minutes ago, memememe76 said:

I am wondering if there’s been a show that has successfully had audiences be okay with a character falling with more than one character (where they can ship both couples)?

The situation with This Is Us involves the death of one of the previous loves.  I think in that instance shipping fans are more open to shipping another partner.  Run-of-the-mill non die-hards are probably always open to it.

But I think it's tough in some cases because even with triangles where there are vocal fans on both sides, there are those who end up liking both pairings.  They're just drowned out by those with strong preferences.

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On Daria they established Daria’s crush on her best friend Jane’s brother Trent.  Later in the show Daria falls for Jane’s boyfriend Tom which was a really well done triangle.  Interestingly the episode where Daria finally let’s go of her crush on Trent is the same one where Tom is introduced.  She and Trent have a conversation about a project he flaked on helping her and Jane with and there’s this undercurrent of her realizing she and Trent aren’t compatible. I think it’s interesting that they had her move on from Trent rather than have them end up together.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Luckylyn said:

On Daria they established Daria’s crush on her best friend Jane’s brother Trent.  Later in the show Daria falls for Jane’s boyfriend Tom which was a really well done triangle.  Interestingly the episode where Daria finally let’s go of her crush on Trent is the same one where Tom is introduced.  She and Trent have a conversation about a project he flaked on helping her and Jane with and there’s this undercurrent of her realizing she and Trent aren’t compatible. I think it’s interesting that they had her move on from Trent rather than have them end up together.

 

 

Wow, that's surprising. Good for them.

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17 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

... I think it’s interesting that they had her move on from Trent rather than have them end up together.

I don't think they would have ever ended up together, though. Trent was fine as a crush, but he and Daria wouldn't have worked as an actual couple -- hence the show having her get over him to fall for someone new.

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On a nostalgia kick with watching clips from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and those writers learned the hard way not to exhaust viewers’  patience. Fans back then were NOT pleased with the fake wedding/clone/amnesia twists in season 3. I was a kid back then and even I thought it was stupid. And even after all that and the New Krypton bit was over, it STILL took them divine intervention to get them actually married.

I thought the show didn’t lose anything when they finally were married. It was fun to have them finally be on a somewhat equal basis and have a stable relationship. It’s almost a shame that the show ended before we actually got to see them raise their adopted baby from Krypton. Then again, like Bruce and Cybill, Hatcher and Cain reportedly came to detest each other, so maybe it was best that the show ended when it did.

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