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22 December 2007 @ 12:03 am
Previous Ship Discussion  
Just for the record, my ship discussion from the other day concerned viewer intent. I wasn't really talking about fanfic or shipper wars or ship vs slash. I believe fandom is a realm of possibility where anything goes. So I apologize for the confusion.

My basic question/interest is why fans (myself included as I have done this in the past) take a romantic subplot and give it so much importance that it becomes THE end goal. Again, I am talking about viewer intent and not what we like to play with in fandom.

I would expect a romance to have a romance ending. I would expect a horror to have a horror ending. Whatever the main theme/genre of the story is should be consistent to the end. There could be subplots, including romance unless the main story is a romance, and those subplots support the main theme of the story.

Example - feeling that LOTR is the story of the romance of of Aragorn and Arwen without really factoring the rest of the story. An aspect of LOTR (Aragorn and Arwen) becomes the main goal/theme whereas many would argue that central theme in LOTR is not this romance.

Everyone gravitates to different aspects of a story. I just get curious over the psychology of why this happens. I can't help it. :)
betacandybetacandy on December 22nd, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
I thought you were clear. Or maybe I'm not understanding.

The few times I've blown the romance out of proportion to the rest of the story was when something about the romance or the characters engaged in it grabbed me. Say, I connected with one of the characters and really liked the idea of him or her being with the other; or something about HOW they relate and why they work (IMO) grabbed me. It's always a feeling of impending revelation - like something would make sense to me if I could just see this pairing through.

I hope that makes sense. I don't do it often, so my reasons may not match those of people who do. Also, I can get this way about other relationships* or other aspects of a story, which again might make me different from some people.

*I got so deeply engrossed in what Vader being Luke's father meant after ESB came out that when Jedi came out, despite its many flaws, I was wholly satisfied because the way their relationship resolved gave me that sense of revelation. It was only after I got past that feeling - years later, actually - that I could see the annoying Ewoks, the weary acting, the bad direction, etc., LOL.
Grimorie: Reesegrimorie on December 22nd, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
I missed the discussion last time... well for me what draws me to a story is the characters and their interaction with each other. Plot only plays second fiddle to my interests.

I love stories with characters who are basically broken people, who *try* to be better, who enjoy the wonders of the universe/time/job. I love watching two characters who are supposedly different to each other become partners or part of the team and watch their interactions. I particularly love it if one of the characters was cranky, cynical and jaded and the other half of the team was a bouncy (sort of) naive person, shake and then see what happens.
shimmeringstar1shimmeringstar1 on December 22nd, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
*stops in via gunhilda's f-list*

Do you think perhaps it is because we (as fans) don't want to think that all there is to life (or to a character's emotional life) is a romance-less existence? No validation of other's desire for us/them? I don't know, perhaps because there is nothing new under the sun and those other plots/subplots (some postive, some negative, some with no emotional actions/reactions to them) are all we get bombarded with by the media, that perhaps we may at times gravitate primarily towards the romantic subplot because if it's not a reality for us personally, or in our community of family and friends, or in our culture, that we like to think that the characters that we like and enjoy in movies, tv, and books will instead enjoy it? Escapism at its most simple?

I know I enjoy romantic subplots equally as well as the rest of the other arcs. It if becomes the overriding goal, well, it may not be as enjoyable because there's no balance. And if there's balance, it makes the romance all the more satisfying. *thinks a bit more* Perhaps it has to do with where we are at a given point in our lives?

LOL! Sorry for the ramble and the questions. But I understand your curiosity. :)
Foxy11814foxy11814 on December 22nd, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
1st Part (had to break it up. I'm long winded)
I didn't participate in the last discussion, yet, but I do intend to go through it. I just wanted to say that in the end, you watch television shows that interest you. With every show that you watch, there is something that attracted you to watch it in the first place. Sure, while watching the show a better interest might come along, but in the end, we all focus on what we want to in television shows.

With Smallville, I started watching it because it was about Superman. Then, I really got into it for the relationships, and I'm not talking about romantic relationships. I loved it for the family dynamics. I loved the relationship between Jonathan and Clark. I loved the wholesome family values that were taught and the love that was clearly visible with the Kent family members. (Of course, some people thought Jonathan was holier than thou, but that's another discussion all together.) Now that Jonathan is dead, I'm back to watching it because it's about Superman. I am a Lois and Clark shipper, but that's not why I watch the show. Why? Well, I've always been a Lois and Clark shipper before Smallville was even made, but with the knowledge that she wasn't in it at the time, I had no intention of getting interested in a ship. So, that ship doesn't really bother me on the show. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE it when they make reference to their future relationship, but it's not why I watch the show. I will admit I have much hate for Lana, but it's not because Clark dated her. I always knew he did in the comics and what not. I just hate how the writers of Smallville did it and for how long. Lanaville, anyone? But again, that's not why I watch the show, either. With other people, who possibly didn't know or like Superman beforehand, they tuned in to "another television show" to see if they could find something in it that they liked. And, for those, it was probably one or all of the ships that the show has. We're human, and even though we try to deny it, we are interested in the personal lives of people, not just action. After all, look at all the tabloids and news channels of what star ends up with who.

As for The X-Files, I gave it a chance because I love freaky stuff, simply put. While watching it, I became interested in the Mulder/Scully ship. I'm a HUGE Mulder and Scully shipper. Again, that's not the only thing that interested me in the show, but I loved the relationship, platonic and not, between the characters. That isn't to say that the only thing I cared about was getting them together. That wasn't what the show was about as a whole, but it was part of it to me. With X-Files, I cared about their lives as a whole, which included their friendship. It wouldn't have been as appealing to me if that friendship and a hint of something more wasn't there. The relationship and the plots made the show for me. The show wouldn't have been as good without one to me. But yeah, their relationship and where it went next, as friends or more, kept me wanting to tune in every week while it was on the air. And, there's nothing wrong for wishing their friendship would turn into something more.

Bottomline, yes, it is something about humans to find something in shows that interest us. However, it isn't all about ships. First, we have to develop an interest in specific characters. So, writers of shows have to do a good job making their characters round to entice us to get interested in their lives and care about who they do and don't end up with. Or, on the same hand, they have to make round characters, so that we care about what trouble they get themselves into and out of. It's all balanced in my book. Each individual person goes to a show wanting to be entertained and they take out of it what they want. If most people watch TV for ships, and a lot do, more power to them. But it isn't all that's there. Like I said, the character development and the plot had to be there for them to take an interest in the characters getting together in the first place.

-Continue below-

Edited at 2007-12-22 06:29 pm (UTC)
Foxy11814foxy11814 on December 22nd, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
2nd part (had to break up)
I feel like I'm talking in circles, LOL. It's just the way I feel. I don't believe I watch any of my favorite shows just for ships, but when I do have a favorite ship on a show, it's because the writers are doing such a dang good job of telling their story that I care enough about the characters futures or what's currently happening on the screen (given who the characters are and if they're together or not onscreen). But again, yes, in the end, we are all interested in who ends up with who, even if that isn't why we tuned in to the show, or at least the only reason. I certainly don't watch any of my shows soley for "shipper goodness," LOL. But it does help to keep me interested, if you know what I mean.

MegTDJ: Sarah Kickass Chick - dignity20meg_tdj on December 22nd, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
Hmm... for me, romance is often a cool subplot, and it can be fun to write about in fanfic, but it's never been the be-all and end-all for me when it comes to watching actual shows or movies. Unless it's a movie that's intended as a romantic comedy, but quite often I'm upset at the end of those anyway because the girl rejects the guy played by one of my fave actors. (Seriously, you would not BELIEVE how often that happens. :P)

As for TV shows, I tend to love shows more when they don't have any romance in them, despite my die-hard OTPs. I mean, my fave show is Supernatural, and I don't slash the brothers. I'd be quite happy if the two of them remained single forever (unless, of course, Sam jumps out of TV land and marries ME, but that's another story), because romance gets in the way of their actual mission. I like missions. Missions are good.

But I think most people are raised with the mentality that your main goal in life is to find a mate and procreate. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS OHMIGOSH. Must date. Must have sex. Must MARRY AND HAVE BABIEEEEEEES!!!!!!! But yeah, I wasn't raised to think like that, so... whatever. I'd rather see people blow stuff up and save the world. :P

Edited at 2007-12-22 11:08 pm (UTC)
Chibi Hoshi: Sci-Fihoshi_reed on December 25th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
I love psychoanalyzing characters. Their motivations and their over all souls. How they are attracted to potential partners, how they react to them, how they deal (intimacy phobic/always screwing up) can show they are in truth afraid to get close and hurt. Facing an enemy only shows so much. Sickness, Relationships, Love, Family - those are different from a gun/sword wielding enemy and show more about a person. Canon relationships/lack thereof speak to the mindset/essence of the character as much as the big fight/villain can (if not more so).

For instance, DC comics:
Clark may fight Lex and Bizarro and Doomsday but
Clark and Lois, Lois as a character represents Humanity. How Clark perceives and relates to her, taking in mind he is a superior/super being, is significant because he doesn't perceive her as "lower", even though he can. WHY he sees her as an equal, is the important part, and it is her traits and soul, not her looks, that (in the comics) is the key. Love isn't just there, there are foundations and reasons for it. (Which is why I dislike Smallville's "Lois" - she isn't a good representation of humanity nor does she embody the good Canon Lois traits that he fell in love with - to me, the way Smallville is headed, it is an illogical love without reason or value to the story.)

When I read fic in multi shipping fandoms, each writer/ship is a different evolution of the character. How the character is written displays how that writer sees the character, which I can agree with or not.