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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where is the romance?

  Okay, I’m on my soapbox, revisiting a topic that is always simmering near the surface for me—the belief of television producers that there can be no happy romance in their shows.. Call me  crazy but where has the romance gone in today's shows? The good feeling? The “Oh, I love this show” feeling? I don’t know about everyone else but when I watch a television series and a couple has really great chemistry I want them together and I want them happy. I want to feel the love!!!  
In an ensemble series with a large cast and the story line basically about the lives of the people involved, I want one couple that’s the anchor. One couple that is sold despite everything. That you can always depend on no matter what.
I’m a romance writer right? So I want the romance! However small it might be.
Yet television seems to have this wild notion that if you don’t constantly break people up you’re not creating “conflict.” Maybe that’s because they don’t know how to write “conflict.” Or maybe it’s because they think the only way to keep the viewers coming back is to give them a weekly dose of angst.
Ahem: check out Castle. They are doing it very very well.
Now I’m not saying every show has to have a romance. Some, like the police procedurals, aren’t even built around romance. But if they introduce couples and their private lives are only peripheral to the show, then why can’t they be happy? In love?
Oh, yeah, I know, I know,  couples fight in real life and they deal with problems. That’s okay if it’s not too intrusive. But if you want to watch “real life” then tune into lone of he gazillion reality shows. Or take a look at life around you. Lord knows there’s enough angst and “conflict” to go around.
When I watch television I want escapist entertainment. I want to feel good. I want a break from the trash I deal with every day.
And what’s the argument when shows get complaints about splitting up key couples or not putting them together when the chemistry between them is son strong is about ignites the screen? The Moonlighting Curse. When David and Maddie got together the show tanked. Jumped the shark. Well, hell. Moonlighting was a long, long time ago and I’d like to think writers have learned a lot since then about how to do it right. How to make it work.
I must have every book written by the Dell Shannon, the queen of police procedurals. The story of the crime and the police department was primary but she skillfully wove in the personal stories of the detectives. And guess what? They didn’t break up, or if they did it was instantly resolved. They didn’t do things to hurt each other. Although I’m sure she didn’t think of it this way, her books had “strong romantic elements”.
Just like many of today’s shows, like Grey’s Anatomy. I watch shows like Flashpoint, where poor Ed has to decide between his job and his family. Why? It’s not even close to being primary to the show. Or Hawaii 5-0, where Danny and Rachel are finally getting back together and she’s pregnant with his child and he ditches her at the airport. Why? It’s not germane to the story line.
So if this bothers you like it bothers me, let me know. Let the producers know. Maybe they’ll take pity on me.
Meanwhile check out my latest releases at Amazon and Barnes&Noble and come visit me at and


Cara Marsi said...

Desiree, I agree with you. I want the romance too in my TV shows. I love Hawaii 5-0 but that whole thing where Danny and Rachel don't get together was a huge disappointment. I don't watch Castle, but I do watch Bones. This is another one where the show remains strong after the two main characters have a baby and move in together. Although, I thought the season finale where Booth tells Bones he no longer wants to get married was a letdown.

Paris said...

It's been such a dry spell when it comes to romance done well on television. Castle comes about the closest while serving up well-conceived stories. I'm just catching up with Bones and HW5-0 coincides with something else I watch but it doesn't sound too promising.

At the moment, I'm consoling myself with The Big Bang Theory because a comedy with a nerd romance factor tickles my funnybone:)

Melissa Keir said...

I believe that is why people love some of the soaps. They have a solid couple (all be it older) that are happy in love who help the younger crowd figure it out.

I've given up on watching TV shows for just this reason. I don't need conflict in my life... I have enough of it. TV is my chance to enjoy an escape!

jean hart stewart said...

You explained why I watch so little television...What's the use in some of the shows, even though they're not violent. I like romance!!!!

Desiree Holt said...

Ladies, you have hit all the nails on the head. Someone needs to do workshops for TV writers and producers.

Desiree Holt said...

Ladies, you have hit all the nails on the head. Someone needs to do workshops for TV writers and producers.

Sandy said...

Desiree, I agree, but have you noticed that not only the reality shows have taken over, but the court shows have. For instance, the Jodi Arias trial has been going on for months and now O.J. is back in the news with a new appeal. People do like real life. The only reason I can explain it is that maybe they like that someone else's life is worse than their's.

For the romance, I love Bones, Castle, Covert Affairs, and several others that have romance. Bones has been exceptional in the way they've handled the two couple who have gotten together.

This is a great topic, Desiree.

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