By Samantha Allan
“Wouldn’t those two characters make the best couple?”
This question is something we often ask ourselves and each other when watching a favorite television show or movie. While the initial idea can be fun, why do we wish for a perfectly formed friendship to end?
In my latest weekend of binge-watching and homework, I have begun to notice how often Hollywood morphs friendships into romantic relationships. While I do not think this is always a bad scenario, it seems to be a pressing theme throughout many recent television shows.
Sometimes I catch myself wishing the two main characters would keep their friendship and seek out other people for romance. Maintaining strong friendships is an important part of life, and many of the dramatized characters seem to forget this. Platonic relationships are the type of relationships not involving any romantic feelings, just love.
Pure friendships are as important as romance and can bring out the best in people. While friendship is often depicted in relationships between members of the same sex, opposite sex friendships rarely exist for any length of time. It can be quite disheartening to see two people on screen automatically begin dating because they enjoy each other’s company. A great plot involving a strong friendship frequently takes second place.
A perfect example can be seen in one of my favorite NBC shows, “Law & Order: SVU.” Avid fans of the show can attest to the fact the main character, Olivia Benson, has been involved in numerous relationships throughout the show. After hundreds of episodes, her personal life seems to follow the same basic pattern. Olivia and her male partner, friend or co-worker will interact as friends for years, and then eventually end with romantic feelings.
In each example so far, the romantic side spoils quickly, and then any type of relationship is done for good. (Usually the actor is completely removed from the show as well.) After the conclusion of the relationship, the cycle soon starts up again.
Many other television shows depict the same type of scenario, and can make fans feel either satisfied or extremely frustrated. What kind of message does this send to the general public? Through my eyes, the storylines are saying romantic relationships are more important than friendship.
The writers are pressing upon us a real friendship cannot be present with someone you might normally be attracted to. Romance can be great for a storyline, but it is not a requirement.
Platonic love is an important part of the human experience and should be depicted as such. My hope for the new year is a steady rise in supportive friendships between characters. With so many different types of love, Hollywood undoubtedly needs to try something different.