Wednesday 16 November 2011


I’ve been watching this show. Yes, another one of these shows that turns me into a junky where I sit up late at night – knowing I’m going to feel like death the next morning – watching episode after episode pining to know what happens to the two of the characters who are falling in love. And of course I can’t help but think – aside from why am I so pathetic? – why do we love a ‘love story,’ so much? You look at some of the greatest movies and television shows over the years and a large majority of them had a love story in there somewhere. Even in ‘real’ life (I sound jaded, but it’s harder to find true love in real life, let’s be honest), you find articles talking about a married couple that has been married sixty years who dies within days of one another because of profound heartbreak, and you find yourself utterly moved by the story.

I suppose it comes down to the fact that we all love the idea of love. Strip it down to its core without any of the complications we humans can bring to it, and love in itself is a pretty powerful force. On the positive side, there are just so many, well, positives about love. It makes you feel good, it makes you feel young, safe, has no calories. Love is a many splendored thing, as they say, and we all like reveling in it as much as possible.

Added to this, in the fictional world, the love story can become – and retain - all those things we love about love without all the things us humans do to screw it up [Unless of course we’re talking about watching/reading a tragic love story, then hand me the Kleenex and get ready to get your heart ripped out]. You get to see the romance, the quest for the unrequited love, the grand gestures, and of course this is all done to a great soundtrack where everyone has the most poignant eloquent lines (that no one would utter in real life)!

Coupled with this, people are suckers for the love story with the happy ending that we see in most films/shows because let’s be honest, the happy ending makes us feel good and gives us a little hope and happiness when we’ve just burned dinner or changed our hundred thousandth diaper, or just found out our husband is cheating with his secretary (actually, I’m not sure a romantic comedy can fix this, but it’s better than watching something that will send you into a tailspin). There are enough unhappy endings in real life (look up the divorce rate), so it's awful nice to watch the boy get the girl on celluloid.

In short, the fictional love story is like a little happy pill and a bar of chocolate all rolled up in one existing in a vacuum that can’t be touched by the impurities of the outside world. Although I warn you, sometimes watching a ‘love story’ with your partner on television can result in you looking over at them and saying, ‘why the hell don’t you spell my name out in flowers in the middle of the park, huh?! Don’t I deserve that?!’ Well, because in the real world that would cost a fortune, and what man do you know could ever pull off a stunt like that without asking a million questions first ('Um, babe, do you know where I could buy four hundred tulips?')

Plus most love stories in the fictional world don’t focus on all the boring stuff we have to focus on out in the real world whilst maintaining a loving and enduring relationship. We get to see all the best bits and what’s more, we get to see them in a fantastical and pure way. You didn’t see them fighting over who did the dishes last in Dr. Zhivago…or Ralph Fiennes didn’t just tell Kristin Scott Thomas he loved her in the English Patient with a box of chocolates; he downright devoured her with a passion that was hotter than Georgian asphalt. Okay, fine, he then crashed a plane and left her to die in a cave, but you can’t say the man didn’t try.

So now I must happily return to my fictional world where my two young protagonists just had their first kiss…I figure it will take them a few years to start fighting over him leaving his boxers on the floor. Ah, love sweet love.
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