Thursday, April 15, 2010

TV TOPIC: Unsatisfying Break-ups & Reconciliations: Booth & Brennan, Blair & Chuck, Chuck & Sarah, and many more

Break-ups are hard to go through, but they're even harder to write. Without the proper reasoning or setup, it can seem unwarranted and out-of-the-blue. Last week, I saw the long-awaited "Bones" episode, where both Brennan and Booth admitted to having feelings for each other. Not only did it seem abrupt, but it also felt anti-climactic. Brennan explained-away any possibility for a relationship in exactly 3 minutes:

Her reasoning was that she is not prepared to open her heart to anyone. Her parents abandoning her as a child has destroyed any possibility of her trusting someone with her heart. While that is completely logical and I totally get her "I'm a scientist" mentality, Booth has never let her down. Never. Therefore, with scientific reasoning, he's the safest person to love. With this sudden development, we are left with a new phase in their relationship. One where Booth will start dating again and they will have awkward conversations about it, Brennan will start to feel jealous and not know what to do with her emotions, and Booth will probably get super close with another woman, right before Brennan realizes her mistake. Is that what we're resorting to? She's a genius. She doesn't see that coming? And what was with her "I can't change" mantra? As a scientist, she should know that people evolve and adapt, both biologically and emotionally. Crap. Pure crap. If I weren't excited to see Brennan develop the ability to be jealous like an A.I. robot learning how to love, then I'd be uber pissed.

Of course, there are a few break-ups and almost-beginnings that I applaud: Thank you Betty & Daniel for not hooking up in the last five minutes of the "Ugly Betty" series finale, and leaving your dinner date open to interpretation. Thank you Olivia & Peter ("Fringe") for logically postponing your relationship until Peter knows the truth and has his inevitable breakdown. Thank you Rachel & Finn ("Glee") for creating a love triangle worth tuning in for, complete with soundtrack. Thank you Grayson & Sara ("Cougar Town") for bringing your relationship to an end, so that he can inch back towards Jules. Thank you Annie & Jasper ("90210") for ending the longest and most annoyingly creepy relationship I have ever witnessed. Thank you Jeremy for revealing the real reason you were interested in Ana on "Vampire Diaries," and doing so before she turned you into an eternally whiny teenager. Thank you Betty for gracefully kicking Don to the curb on "Mad Men." And lastly, thank you Jackie & Eddie ("Nurse Jackie"), Marshall & Jason ("United States of Tara"), and Casey & Cappie ("Greek") for your emotionally explosive breakups.

Now for those who have failed miserably:

Blair & Chuck 
("Gossip Girl")
*sigh* Chuck was doing so well. So well. I was sincerely bored with him. He had his dream job, his dream girl, and he even got to meet his mom. Then he whored out his girlfriend and she willingly attempted to sleep with his sleazy uncle in order to get back his hotel. Ok, so sleeping with someone else behind your boyfriend's back, even if it's for his own good, counts as cheating. But, lending out your girlfriend so that you can get a company back is shameful. I agree that Blair should've dumped him. But I was surprised by why she dumped him. She wants real love now? Now? You've been a conniving bitch for three years and now you're going to say that your relationship with Chuck has changed you? Into what? Someone who is willing to do anything for the man they love? That's actually a step-up. Last year, she would've drugged Jack, photographed him in a compromising position, blackmailed him, and then destroyed Chuck's existence. At least this year she's showing some restraint. Is this the beginning of a new era? I saw her playing nice with Dan. I think aside from Chuck and Serena hooking up, that's the only pairing left...and it's making me gag. I understand. She wants to evolve. But denying who you are isn't the solution.

Penny & Leonard ("Big Bang Theory")
This relationship seemed doomed from the start. Super nerd and the dumb blonde have barely anything in common and appear to be dating because of convenient proximity. Because let's be honest, if Leonard lived somewhere else, even just two blocks away, Penny would've never fallen for him. And if you don't believe that, then you have to at least agree that if, say, the funny, adorable, and athletic Ryan Reynolds lived next door, Leonard would be invisible. But breaking up because Penny couldn't say "I love you" and Leonard couldn't wait any longer for her to say it, is ridiculous. First of all, Leonard would wait. He'd wait forever if he had to. He'd even wait till after the third child if that's what it took. Secondly, why is Penny with a guy who she doesn't even seem to entertain the idea of loving? It's like Sheldon's nemesis said: She's stringing him along. How didn't she realize this would become a problem? He's the one who is socially and emotionally inept, not her.

Robin & Barney ("How I Met Your Mother")
This was the best pairing since Chuck and Blair. They're both commitment-phobes. They both don't desire children or marriage. And they both go through sexual partners like Marshall goes through pancakes. So what went wrong? The fantasy was better than the reality. They stopped being themselves around each other. Robyn started expecting Barney to change, and Barney expected to stay the same. The friend versions of themselves were a lot more fun to be around than the romantic versions. Totally understandable. But with rumors that Barney and Robyn will eventually reconcile, I wonder why. What will change? Will Barney stop wanting to bag every vajayjay that walks into a bar or even a nunnery? No, because that's what's awesome about Barney. Without his pickup lines and schemes and general douchebaggery, Barney is boring. UNLESS, they come up with an equal amount of schemes that he can pull of while he's in a relationship.

Ben & Rachel ("How to Make it in America")
He's been mooning over this girl since the first episode and before she realized that her possessive boyfriend is a douche and that she needs to follow her world-travelling dreams, she sleeps with him. What happens next? Nothing. They agree that it's bad timing. She needs to go do her thing. And he's perfectly fine with it. So fine, in fact, that he told his new girl Julie that he can't wait till she comes back from her roadtrip. Really? You spent 95% of the season obsessing over your ex-girlfriend and after she sleeps with you and breaks up with her boyfriend, you do nothing? No attempt at reconciliation? No romantic gestures to plant a seed for a potential relationship when she returns? No brief but loaded conversation about the possibilities with your boy Cam? Seriously? If you ever talk about her again, I will beat you within an inch of your life.

Reconciliations can be just as mind-numbingly boring or excruciating to watch as break-ups, if done improperly or implausibly. For example:

Chuck & Sarah ("Chuck")
Yay! I'm happy Chuck can stop whining about Sarah, and he can get back to doing missions and playing with Morgan. But her overall logic for why they couldn't be together drove me nuts. She's always been unenthusiastic about Chuck becoming an agent, but once she thought he'd murdered someone, she couldn't take it anymore. She could never be in love with a murderer. Say what? You're a murderer. Why can Chuck be in love with a murderer, but you can't? How is it that Chuck is willing or is capable of looking past that one flaw, but you can't? Murder? It's self defense when people are shooting at you and, according to you, it's patriotic to kill for one's country. So where's the murder Sarah? Then, if that wasn't stupid enough, she decides to throw those standards out once Chuck admits to killing Shaw in order to save her. Seriously? So he can kill, if he's killing for her? Seriously? You have got to be kidding me.

Silver & Teddy ("90210")
First off, why do these two even associate with one another? He's all: tennis, tennis, flirty, flirty, tennis, tennis. And she's all: save the whales, vegan, vegan, horror movies, don't wear fur. If they were sitting on a bench together, people would think they were strangers or siblings, not lovers. So random. Okay, so they bonded over their mother's having cancer. That's grounds for a friendship, not a relationship. Silver is just going down the same path she did with Dixon: Dating someone she thinks is cute, instead of dating someone she actually has something in common with. (Same goes for you Naomi & Liam.)

Vanessa & Dan ("Gossip Girl")
It's like watching a brother and a sister hookup (and not the fun Cruel Intentions kind either). These two have plenty in common, but their biggest dilemma so far is spicing up their date nights. Really? What is this "7th Heaven"? Nate and Serena have sex with the refrigerator door open and the two of you go watch a retrospective. History has proven that Dan likes wild childs (i.e. Serena, Georgina, Ms. Carr, Olivia, every girl from that one Serena-less summer, etc.), so such a mellow relationship is bound to be doomed.

Owen & Cristina ("Grey's Anatomy")
It's so obvious that Owen is in love with Teddy, but he would rather be with someone who doesn't remind him of war, so he's forcing himself to love Cristina. That's a horrible idea. We've seen pre-brokenhearted Cristina. She was mean.  We've seen post-brokenhearted Cristina. She was obsessive, pushy, and mean. We don't want to see twice-brokenhearted Cristina. She will destroy anything and everything in her path. It'll be a massacre.

Have there been any break-ups or reconciliations that you've absolutely hated or loved?

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