Apr. 7th, 2011

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[personal profile] stopitsomemore
I don't know if everyone reads Henry Jenkins's very interesting Acafan blog, but if you're at all into the academic study of fandom and fandom's infrastructure, then I think it's worth a whirl once in a while. It lives in my RSS reader under "nerd," where it dutifully produces posts about remix culture and sometimes -- like today -- Henry Jenkins's feelings about feelings!

Two things collided over the past week for me as a loyal television viewer and I want to get them off my chest. I give fair warning that this is going to be a bit of a rant. There's almost no aca here and a hell of a lot of fan.

The first is that after watching House M.D. with some great pleasure for seven seasons, I am more and more facing the grim reality that it has more or less jumped the shark this season thanks to its frustrating and ill-conceived representation of the on-again, off-again love affair between House and Cuddy.

The second is that I have been more or less inhaling Castle for the past month or so, watching several episodes a night in true "can't eat just one" spirit, having somehow failed to discover it until its third season, and much of what has fueled my passion for this series has been its sophisticated handling of the relationships (all of them in their varied forms and contexts) between the central characters.

-- Source

Now there are a couple of things that are of particular interest to me in this post:

1. Someone fannishly inclined is still watching House?
2. You really didn't see that inevitable shitshow between Cuddy and House coming?
3. Ha ha ha oh my God, Henry, you adorable shipper.

No, but seriously, his is a good question: why aren't there a lot of committed relationships in media? Of the few that he mentions, Castle, despite its flurry of other delightful relationships, doesn't really count because as my Castle Watching Friends complain constantly, they haven't bagged it or tagged it yet, and White Collar is basically a walking talking PSA for functional polyamory pretending to be a USA series about "crime" and "stolen Nazi treasure."

My guess? Beyond the fact that people in TV land don't really know how to write it, I think we like the ride better than the conclusion. I'm totally stealing a line from a Barbara Streisand movie about how love and beauty, while not skin deep, aren't going to hurt you in your quest to bag a fellow professor at Columbia which maybe I watched like 48 times during my formative years -- anyway, I am stealing a line when I say, nobody talks about the after of the happily ever after, about Cinderella compulsively cleaning the castle after getting married.

But this is where I break with Jenkins: I'm not actually sure I want TV to portray a stable relationship. I like to think we don't use TV as a Idiot's Guide to life, and people will feel out the boundaries of their own big forever loves or comfortable relationships -- what we don't get out of ordinary life for the most part is the sweeping romance and the epic drama you can get away with in television. Plus, you know, fucked up people are more fun.

Or maybe I'm just still bitter about House.

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