Week of Geek: Will they or won’t they? WHO CARES?!

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Hello once again Geeklings!  How’s everything going during this rainy April?  You know what they say about April Showers?  Just hold onto that during this rough weather.

Anyhoo, today I’d like to talk about a common trope in fiction.  It’s in books, movies, TV shows, comics, pretty much everywhere.  It’s typically known as ‘Will they or won’t they?‘.  You may be familiar.  And, spoiler alert, I’m not a huge fan.

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I just started a new show called Instinct.  It’s a crime drama based on the book Murder Games by James Patterson (yep, that James Patterson).  It’s main character is Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a professor of abnormal behavior, an author and a former CIA agent who’s drawn into the world of the NYPD by detective Lizzie Needham as a consultant on certain criminal cases.

I started watching because I love a good mystery and because it stars Alan Cumming, who I’ve been a fan of for years (since back in high school), and so far I’m really enjoying it.  But one of the biggest things I’m digging about this show is that it seems like there will absolutely, positively be no ‘will they or won’t they?’ drama between the male and female leads, and that is so ridiculously refreshing to me that I can barely stand it.  Why?  Because Dylan is gay.  And married.  In fact, this is the first American network TV drama to feature a gay character in the lead, so it’s groundbreaking.  He and Lizzie can just headline the show without any ‘unresolved romantic tension’.  Yes please!

Yeah, I’ve never been a fan of that trope, putting a male and female lead in a show and then spending several seasons trying to decide if they should be romantically attached or not.  It shows up over and over and over again in TV and other places.  I think for me, the distaste started with The X-Files (once again, yes, I’m old).  I was 11 or 12 when that show debuted, and I watched agents Mulder and Scully go from colleagues to friends and, inevitably, to romantic interests.  I didn’t like that plot then and I’m not a fan of it now.

The reason?  I think I just find it lazy.  It’s like ‘Oh, a man and a woman?  Clearly, based on that dynamic alone, they MUST be secretly in love with each other.  I mean, what else can we expect?’  Even as a teen in the 90s, watching Mulder and Scully the main thing I kept thinking was ‘Can’t a man and a woman just be friends?  Why the heck are they being written to be with each other, and why is everyone around me expecting and rooting for it, just because one’s a man and one’s a woman?  All that’s going to do is cause drama and plot points that don’t need to be there.  Just give me my freaky aliens, monsters and government conspiracies, dang it!’  I feel that the trope is manipulative, tedious, unrealistic, kind of hurtful and done solely as an easy plot point.

Now, granted, I’m not saying we should do away with romance entirely, and there are some programs where we should absolutely expect it.  Nobody goes into a show like Shadowhunters and hopes that Clary doesn’t have a love triangle.  I just think it shouldn’t be the default, and I think if it is done it should be much more organic and respectful.  But it looks like things are changing, along with more representation in our favorite media, so that’s something to root for.

What do you guys think?  Am I way off the mark?  Do some of you LIVE for ‘Will they or won’t they?’  Or are some of you sick of it as well?  Post in the comments or spill your thoughts on WriteIt.

Stay dry Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

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