Dear TV Writers: You Don’t Have To Write Love Interests The Way That You Do

ustv-veronica-mars-teddy-dunn

Duncan Kane from Veronica Mars, the All-Father of boring love interests. Truly a legend and a dark sign of things to come.

I’ve had enough TV writers. I say no more! I don’t know what is compelling you to write love interests for your main characters as the most boring people on the planet, but it needs to stop. At this point, it doesn’t just feel like a failure, it feels like a choice. You are choosing to write these people as the most bland toast imaginable every chance you get and I can’t for the life of me figure it out. What is making you do this? Why introduce someone and make a conscious effort to make them as bland and unlikable as possible? Not only are they characters on your show, but they are also people you are expecting us to believe that one of your main characters are potentially falling in love with. They should be better than the average character introduced, but instead we get these milquetoast duds who are too plain to approach anything resembling memorability.

I have a few theories as to why. The first is that you’re terrified of writing characters that even slightly upset fans of the stars you’re writing love interests for. They’ve gotta be perfectly safe in every way possible, lest you awaken the behemoth that is stan twitter. This leads you to write the most anodyne, nonthreatening characters possible, whose entire personas are swallowed up by the characters they are orbiting. They’ll be supportive and nice… and that’s it because that’s all it feels like they’re allowed to be. You poor fools don’t realize though, that there is no way to appease stan twitter, they’ll dump on you regardless. Another theory is that you’re working with guest actors whose schedules are in flux, so you’re afraid to put too much effort into a character that may never show up again. This is fair, I am deeply sympathetic to motivated laziness, but guys, it’s still lazy. If the character is good and the demand is strong, you’ll find a way to get them back. Finally, there’s the fear of characters being grating if they’re too weird or off-colour. Basically the reverse of sitcoms where characters are supposed to be as wacky as possible before being dumped in the same episode their introduced, writers think that for someone to be believably tolerable, they need to have nothing distinct about them. Don’t really have a detailed response to that, just gonna say “No”.

These are fixable problems. You don’t have to normalize everything, just explain and humanize the weirdness. Do what Jane the Virgin does, create outlandish characters that are super dramatic, and then give them a compelling and grounded reason to explain why they are the  way that they are. Also, make sure the actors have an ounce of chemistry before you cast them, which you would think is obvious, but evidently not.

And ya, this article is a “subtweet” of a few shows I’m currently watching. I won’t specify, but the fact that you can think of at least 3 off the top of your head right now sort of proves my point doesn’t it? These people are so boring, and they don’t have to be! I’ll never understand it.

Quote of the Day:

“Levon!”

– Liv Moore yelling the name of a character no one will ever care about or remember, iZombie.

I didn’t even pull from a specific memory! I just know this was something Liv yelled in a dramatic fashion at some point, about a character she ostensibly loved, that elicited nothing from the audience. This is especially tragic when one compares this to where they took Major, the living embodiment of the opposite of this trope.

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