Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Rad Bromance: Pop Culture's Platonic Pairs

In general, I'm a pretty big fan of romance. I read romance novels, I get giggly over chick flicks and have several "ships" that make me feel all gooshy inside.

But sometimes, it's just nice when there are pairs who are completely platonic. Not every show has to have a romantic element, after all, and there is something very special about a close relationship that is different from a romantic relationship.

I'm loving the fact that there are several platonic "couples" on TV shows I'm watching right now, and despite the fact that there are shippers out there who want some of them to get together, I'm hoping that these pairs stay "just friends."

One of my absolute favorite platonic couples on TV right now is Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson on "Elementary." They are absolutely hilarious and wonderful together, but their relationship would lose something if they ended up in a romantic relationship. Besides, they just aren't the type of people who should end up together. They would make each other absolutely miserable if they fell in love. Sherlock is too quirky and jerky, and Joan would absolutely not put up with Sherlock's bullshit in a romantic relationship. Both of them are too self-centered (in a mostly good way) and would want to take the lead in a romantic relationship. They would hate each other in about five minutes. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of love between the two of them and their relationship is touching, but it's not romantic in the least, and it would be a disaster if they ended up dating. In fact, Kel told me she would stop watching the show immediately if they ended up together.

(My dislike for a Holmes/Watson relationship does not extend to "Sherlock." Their dynamic is very different and I would squeal like a schoolgirl if the two of them got together, even though I very much doubt it is going to happen. What can I say? I have some embarrassing fangirl tendencies.)

Another fantastic platonic couple is Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills on "Sleepy Hollow."* OH MY GOSH, I love their relationship so much. (The episode "The Sin Eater" just confirmed how incredibly special their relationship is.) Again, there's two people who are super awesome and who clearly genuinely love and respect each other, but don't want to date each other. I could see their relationship eventually growing into a romantic relationship, possibly, after Abbie gets over her jerky ex-boyfriend and Ichabod's wife moves on from purgatory and, oh yeah, THEY STOP THE APOCALYPSE, but I definitely don't think it's necessary. I like the idea of the show having the two of them having wacky, creepy, weird adventures together.

Another TV show that I'm absolutely loving with a good pairing that isn't romantic is "The Blacklist."* I LOVE every. single. interaction. between Elizabeth and Red, and there is a lot of tension there, but it is not romantic. I don't know what their connection is (it's one of the show's mysteries), but there is a great mix of non-romantic love, hatred and respect there that makes them one of the most compelling and interesting pairs on TV. "The Blacklist" has quickly become one of my favorite new shows on TV, and the chemistry between the two of them, paired with some pretty darn interesting plotlines, is why it's become one of my favorite shows on television.

I also have some high hopes for some bromantic pairings on "Agents of SHIELD." Although I doubt it would happen, I would actually be perfectly happy if there were no romance between members of the team. If they do pair off, I desperately hope that there's no FitzSimmons coupling, or Skye & Ward. TOO obvious. If we HAVE to have some romance, let's make it Simmons (or Fitz!) and Ward. FitzSimmons would be too cutesy (they ALREADY have a gag-worthy couple name!) and Skye & Ward would both want to take the lead (see Sherlock & Joan above). But really, no romance would be OK with me, too! They are pretty busy saving the world, after all ...

There are several other fantastic non-romantic relationships that I love on TV, too. "How I Met Your Mother," for all of its flaws, has some great friendships, between pretty much everybody who hasn't been in a romantic relationship with another member of the gang. I especially love Lilly & Ted, who have a fantastic strong friendship, and Marshal & Robin, who completely crack me up when they get to bond over goofy things, like being from insanely cold, snowy places. There are also some great friendships on "The Big Bang Theory." The guys and the girls are two great groups of friends, but I love some of the "crossover relationships," like Penny and Sheldon.

So why am I drawn to these relationships? It's partially because it's something sort of novel. There are a lot of shows that thrive on romantic tension between all of its characters (I've been rewatching episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and that's one of the big things about that show - at some point, almost every possible pairing is, at least, discussed), but that makes it kind of refreshing when that kind of thing doesn't happen.

It's also because I have friendships like that. I have lots of friendships with people of both genders, and there is no romantic tension there. I've had those types of friendships for a long time, even before I was married, and I think it's important to show those relationships on TV. Those can be some of the most fulfilling relationships a person can have, and it's fun and rewarding to watch. There's something special about close platonic friendships, and that emotional intimacy that people can have is beautiful and fun to watch.

And, it's also healthy to have friendships like that. Love and romance is fun, but it's vital to have deep, connected relationships outside of your true love! The world is full of stories of people in romantic relationships, and people, especially impressionable children and teens, need to see that there's more than one kind of love, and that a close platonic love is important and desirable.

In conclusion: More bromance, please!!!

*Note: I haven't watched Monday night's episodes of these particular shows yet, so bear in mind that my opinions are only pulled from the previous weeks' episodes of these shows. 

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