Writing

What I’ve learned about romantic tension from television.

Note: this post will contain spoilers for Beauty and the Beast and Grey’s Anatomy.

I really like TV. If a show catches my eye, I’ll give it a chance, although it doesn’t take much to make me stop watching, either. (Exhibit A: Revolution – annoying main character. Exhibit B: Arrow – too much emphasis on abs, not enough focus on other things. Yes, I know. I’m surprised I turned down abs, too.)

One show I was super into until around mid-season was the CW’s Beauty and the Beast. My favorite part was watching the tension between Vincent and Cat, especially because I’m a huge fan of forbidden love. And since Vincent was supposed to be dead…well, it doesn’t get more forbidden than that, does it?

Then they got together. And suddenly I was bored.

beauty-and-the-beast-the-cw-kristin-kreukPart of it was the cutesy soundtrack that played every time they made out, which was basically every scene they were in together. But mostly it was that the tension that was there was gone. They got together, and suddenly all of their problems (except for Vincent still being “dead,” I guess) went away. Maybe this changed after a few episodes, but it wasn’t like I was going to wait around and find out – I’m less forgiving with TV shows than books in this sense.

Since I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, I’m going to talk about a show that does romantic tension right: Grey’s Anatomy.

Remember when these two happened? Alex has to find love someday, right?
Remember when these two happened? Alex has to find love someday, right?

I’ve occasionally said I hate when 90% of TV couples get together, and the other 10% are Grey’s Anatomy. This is because I don’t get bored. For example, I totally cheered when April and Avery got together, because it was totally obvious they were Meant To Be. But that lasted, like, two seconds, because then they spent this season trying to define what they were, not to mention how April was freaking out because of the clash between her religious convictions and what she wanted, and this had a huge impact on their relationship. It wasn’t all mushy soundtracks and sunsets and sweet nothings – these characters had a lot of stuff to figure out in the wake of their happening.

My point is this: These characters had to work through a lot of things to get together. Now they have to work through a lot of things to stay that way.

 

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8 thoughts on “What I’ve learned about romantic tension from television.”

  1. Wow! That’s the same reason Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite TV show too. It mirrors real life. I also loved Desperate Housewives back in those days (especially Susan’s part) because nothing could be predicted. Just like in real life.

  2. Well said, lady! I need to start watching Grey’s Anatomy again because you’re right — the couples and their issues are always awesomely done. I kind of fell off the storyline just before the whole plane crash finale a season or two ago. But I do miss Avery…

  3. I totally agree with you about Beauty and the Beast. It also has more plot holes than a piece of Swiss cheese. Plus, the characters tend to do things that just don’t make sense. Even so, I have to admit I watched it to the end of the season. My husband and I have way too much fun picking it apart and laughing at the melodrama. And well, I enjoy ogling Jay Ryan. What can I say? 🙂

  4. You make a great point about the struggles that should happen when a couple gets together. It’s completely unrealistic to have the romantic leads “arrive” as soon as they start necking, you know? It puts them in this endless honeymoon stage, and the cuteness factor only lasts a short while. But I’ll admit that I dislike it when authors create romantic tension by creating love triangles. I think that’s what was so refreshing to me about Divergent/Insurgent…the relationship struggles felt realistic, and it didn’t necessarily require a third party/add’l love interest to create them.

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