Things Nobody Does in Real Life Pt III (Love and Friendship)

I love t.v. but sometimes it is so far removed from reality, I have trouble equating the characters to actual functioning humans, vampire or rainicorn status notwithstanding. Here are some more tropes that would be classified as completely unreasonable or insane behaviour if they happened in real life.

Sometimes, casts need to change. Actors move on, plots get tired, someone says in an interview that they make up their own lines… So, characters have to go. If they haven’t been killed off, they need a good reason to leave. Enter the out-of-town dream job, university acceptance or long-distance-relationship-gone-good.

One of our remaining cast throws a plot-heavy going away party with plenty of last-minute reveals and a freeze-frame group shot if we’re lucky, they all bid a tearful goodbye and then LITERALLY NEVER SPEAK TO THEM AGAIN.

I mean, I get it. They’re not paying the actor anymore. It would probably be far too much admin to get them back just to say hi. But, story-wise, it seriously calls into question the legitimacy of the friendship in the first place. Everyone was so sad to see them go but now they don’t call, they don’t write, they don’t come back for major holidays or even for the wedding!

There is always a wedding.

In most cases, the abandonee is never even mentioned again. His or her only chance to exist again is if they were a love interest of the protagonist. In that case, they had better hope for a pivotal moment in the protagonist’s new romance – that is their only chance to return. And fuck. Shit. Up. That might just get them invited to the wedding.

One of the laziest ways to poke at sexual or romantic tension between two characters is the old “not my boyfriend/girlfriend” interaction. You know the one.

Character 1: Something something your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Character 2: He/she is not my boyfriend/girlfriend.

The ACTUAL significant other of a character would never be referred to as such because they have names. The whole bf/gf schtick is used as a way to create tension between two characters with romantic potential. It’s the lazy writers saying “Hey! Look at these two characters! They’re not a couple, but don’t you wish they were? Don’t THEY wish they were?!”

The reason that this is nonsense is not only that it’s clichéd beyond belief but because CHARACTER 1 SHOULD HAVE MORE GODDAMN SENSE! Nobody in their right mind would refer to someone as someone else’s significant other unless they were absolutely sure. If you are talking to people you don’t know, like in a customer service position – this one is a classic, how many t.v. waiters have made the bf/gf mistake? – you wouldn’t refer to a person in terms of the other person because you don’t give a shit if they’re romantically involved, related, employer/employee or if one had saved the other from drowning and they’re taking them out for ice cream or whatever to say thank you. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.

If you’re talking to people you do know, obviously you have the complete rundown of the present relationship status. There is no excuse for calling someone by the incorrect moniker if your friend has already told you they are just friends. Unless you are just a dick. That can’t be ruled out, I suppose.

Perhaps one of the most ridiculous and dangerous tropes afflicting modern television is the magical problem-solving proposal. Of course, I became almost numb to it while watching How I Met Your Mother. I’m no expert myself, but this plot point makes me question if any of the writers have ever been in a relationship.

So, the protagonist and their significant other of the moment have some sort of major argument, highlighting the underlying flaws that make them incompatible in a relationship. Another character says something like “maybe you’re not meant to be” or “good riddance to bad rubbish” and suddenly the protagonist realises that the only way to solve all their problems is… to get married! Or, at least to get engaged. For some reason, television writers rarely equate engagements to The Intention to Wed.

Two scenes after the I Hate You speech, someone is down on one knee in the rain. It’s spontaneous and romantic so they’ve never discussed their future together and there’s no ring or anything because one of them literally just decided that marriage was the right choice because we’re at that point in the season I mean life and the other one says yes. So now they’re spending the rest of their lives together.

The magical problem-solving proposal rarely leads to a happy marriage, though it sometimes leads to someone getting left at the altar, so that’s pretty good for ratings.

I would not base life choices on what people do on tv. It leads to broken marriages and terrible friendships. Always watch responsibly.

 

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