Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When bad things happen to good stories

(This blog post contains minor spoilers for Bones, Austin & Ally, and The Hunger Games. You have been warned.)

Being the perpetual 12-year-old that I am, my TV is often set on the Disney Channel. One of their newer shows I've gotten embarrassingly attached to is Austin & Ally. Maybe it's the music aspect of the show that drew me in. Maybe the characters are compelling. Or maybe it's because Ross Lynch, who plays Austin, is exactly the kind of guy I would have a crush on if only we were a little closer in age.

Your mileage may vary. (source)

The show follows Austin Moon, an internet singing sensation, and Ally Dawson, his friend and songwriting partner. Just like with most shows that feature two attractive, single members of the opposite sex, there's been romantic tension between Austin and Ally from the start. During the last few episodes of the second season (which aired around February/March of this year), the tension reached its climax.

Get your minds out of the gutter, you pervs. This is the Disney Channel we're talking about.

It starts the same way most of these plot lines do: Austin starts dating another girl, and Ally realizes she's jealous. When she starts getting attached to another guy, Austin starts to feel the same way. Slowly they gravitate toward each other instead, and end up a couple. And, just like most of these plot lines do, a wrench is thrown into their new relationship.

Some of these TV plot wrenches are rather harsh (I'll get back to that in a minute), but this one's actually pretty dull; once they become a couple, Austin and Ally suddenly feel awkward around each other and decide to go back to being friends. The last couple of episodes post breakup have the duo simply going back to their old relationship, as if nothing ever happened. Needless to say, the adult fan in me doesn't really like this new development, even if the TV watcher in me knows they'll probably end up back together eventually.

Another, more, erm, adult show that threw a wrench into one of our favorite couples is Bones. I've blogged about this show numerous times, especially the relationship between Bones and Booth. In this year's season finale, the producers threw the proverbial wrench into Bones and Booth so bad that my dad, who got me into the show in the first place, declared he may never watch it again.

Then again, maybe that will leave me to ogle David Boreanaz in peace. (source)

But once dad and I got to talking, I realized something. TV is not real life. Okay, duh, I already knew that. But people like watching TV (and reading books and going to the movies) because it's an escape from reality. If Austin and Ally don't get back together when I want them to, or if Booth doesn't tell Bones the truth about why he doesn't want to marry her, I can just stop watching the show. If I really break up with a guy, or if things aren't going right at work or home, I have to face it head on.

But at the same time, TV mirrors the struggles we face in life. The relationships between Austin and Ally and Bones and Booth aren't perfect because nobody's relationships are perfect. We want to see them in conflict because if they lived happily ever after and their lives were picnics, they would be unrelatable and boring. And that's probably the only thing worse than throwing a wrench into a fictional relationship.

And don't even get me started on Katniss and Gale. I'm still not over that one.

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