Thursday, August 9, 2012

Great fictional couples

There are many who'll contend that these aren't the greatest but great and greatest are two different things. For this, I wanted to celebrate some couples who shed light on what relationships are really like, in their own way of course, and give us tips and hints on how to make our relationships last and last well. Even if by showing us what not to do.

For me, great couples are a rarer find than you'd expect. I'm not a fan of lust written as romance or romance degraded to simple lust. Couples in reality have to deal with far more  issues than whether or not each other's body is appealing. Also, I'm not a fan of stories ending on an "and they live happily ever after". Except in children's fiction, that is. Purely because there is no happily ever after even if you do manage to live rather happily with someone for the rest of your life. Shit happens. Its a fact. And one last gripe. I'm not a fan of grown ups acting like school kids and forever circling the issue of even going out for dinner together for their own selfish and often idiotic reasons. If they're so dysfunctional to begin with it just plain ain't going to work and you can't make me believe it will move from endless circling to happily ever after. It does not fly.

So here are some of the great couples out there, a list it seems it is hard to make it on.

Homer and Marge from The Simpsons
Although they don't always show you how it should be done they often reveal how it is done anyway. They show us that is it all about love and patience and forgiveness even if it takes a bit to engage any of these.

Eve Dallas and Roarke from J D Robb's In Death series. 
Both are thoroughly off the rails as individuals but work extremely well as a couple and the marriage proposal in the first few books is only the beginning of their story as well as their individual character developments.

Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'hara from Gone With The Wind
They show us just how is shouldn't be done and the story makes a great read for the fact that this relationship is supremely dysfunctional. They make the great couple list though as they're stupidity and blindness are a match and they actually do give it a try and manage to last a rather long time for such a dislikable pair. They show us that even if you're fearful or selfishly motivated give it a shot if you think its worth it. But otherwise, don't do what they did.

Wall-E and EVE from Wall-E
They seem childish as they're written for children but there's a great deal of learning to communicate, confusion, loyalty, forgiveness, respect and love involved in their relationship. Also, the end of Wall-E isn't the end of their story as they have a new adventure in restoring Earth, one bound to bring troubles along with it. But at the end of Wall-E you can see that they'd likely keep fighting for each other as they went along.

Gomez and Morticia Addams from The Adams Family
They are a brilliant match that blends romance, lust, love, individuality, family, family turmoil, acceptance and patience. They're loyal not only to each other but to every member of their family, whether they agree with them or not, and they fight as a team whenever required. There is much to learn from this pair and not just about being a couple. We can stand to learn a fair bit about families from them too.

Carl and Ellie Fredrickson from Up.
Although Up is more a story of the remnants of their relationship the shortened story of their life reveals a great deal about the dreams, common interests, desires, hopes and aspirations and disappointments that come along with relationships. Also, it shows us that even though we might give up  on one thing or put off our dreams for more practical needs we can and mostly do still lead fulfilling lives simply by being together and dreaming together. The adventure is in following the dream together more than it is in obtaining it.

Fred and Wilma from The Flinstones.
They're always up to mischief and the relationship isn't always stable but they do persevere anyhow and show us how to live as a family, how to love and hold onto what we've got.

Now, I'd just like to point out that there aren't any gay or lesbian couples so far. The reason for this is that I think that the writing of gay and lesbian couples has a little way to go. Most depictions are still stuck or partially stuck in the same old romantic stereotypes and characterisations that are generally used in all aspects of romance writing. But great couples are usually those that break away almost entirely from these conventions and also depict long lasting relationships. That said, there are a few notable couples that are just about there.

Tara and Willow from Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Loyalty and love is there just about to the point of obsession and there is plenty of lust to boot. Still, the couple is separated far too soon by insanity and death so the true potential of this relationship was lost.

Mr Burns and Smithers from The Simpsons.
If only Mr Burns would give in and say that he actually does depend on Smithers and care for his presence in a manner other than a shared coffin. Still, the portrayal of endless painful hope, loyalty to the point of stupidity and an earnest love for someone clearly not deserving is fairly realistic. Enough that Smithers' pain can be rather uncomfortable to watch. They are a couple that could be and generally should be but so far haven't actually achieved the label of couple despite sticking with each other through thick and thin.

Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street
Don't tell me nothing is going on behind the scenes and that they don't belong together. Even though this pair have never been officially declared they represent to all of us a long lasting, happy and monogamous relationship.

I would like to note that there are plenty of fictional stories with functional and lasting same-sex relationships about but there is yet room of improvement in main stream culture, especially with realistic depictions, lengthy relationships and variety in characterisation. But that just means we're at the beginning of a new trend in story telling, which could prove an exciting time.

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