Thank you Jim Harrington for a great post.
While I mostly agree with you, I have some additional thoughts.
The phenomenon of ‘love at first sight’ is a chemical reaction in the brain that turns otherwise intelligent individuals into idiots. And while it’s a plot device (mostly in romance novels) it is a real thing. It’s the new toy effect. ‘It’s amazing, it’s the best thing ever! I love love love it! I want to play with it all the time!” But then the newness wears off, reality sets in and the high from your brain chemicals subsides. It’s how nature gets humans to procreate.
I agree that people need to have that fantasy, because our reality is so goddamn boring. TV and movies hype their ‘subtle fantasy’ as ‘reality’ and some people are heavily influenced by this, turning their fantasy into unrealistic expectation. This could be why divorce rates are so high and why too many kids have single parents.
I think that’s the difference between books and movies/tv. With a book, you have to use your imagination to feel the character’s emotions, hear their voices, see what they see – you already KNOW it’s fantasy. With a visual medium, we SEE it/HEAR it/EXPERIENCE it as ‘reality’. Animation can add a layer of fantasy back in vs. live action, but you don’t have to imagine anything. It’s handed to you on a platter.
That said, a real relationship can grow from the initial inferno if both parties are willing to work at it. Typically, egos, lack of maturity and unwillingness to compromise are to blame for the death of the relationship.
[In my novel ‘Wheeler’, the female protagonist is completely swept up by the male romantic lead and the three words came pretty fast. The relationship gets a little rocky but when push comes to shove, they truly care about each other and commit. There’s no romance-ish happy ending, but stories such as this don’t actually end. I think that’s the difference between a true romance novel and the women’s fiction genre.]
I too hated Frozen. H-A-T-E-D. I wish they hadn’t based it (loosely) on HCA’s story. The singing and the dancing! The snowman and the reindeer!? The trolls? Kids only make a big deal out of it because of merchandising. The only Disney story I actually liked was Mulan. Based on a true story and Disney couldn’t shoehorn in the love story so much.
‘How I met your mother’ links back to the ‘subtle fantasy’ of visual media. It was like the end of “Lost”, wholly unsatisfying and ridiculous.
I talk a lot about writing trends and would like to go into something that has been going on for a while now…
There has been a push in more recent media circles to make fantasy and fiction more like reality…
We’ve all seen this in some way, shape, or form. Be it people who let movies raise their children crying about Disney princesses and the whole ‘Love at first sight’ mentality, to all kinds of different elements being added into fantasy universes that are inappropriate, to say the least.
Fantasy isn’t constrained by real work physics, it’s not confined to our narrow view of reality, and it never should be. Is ‘Love At First Sight’ realistic? No. Does it happen sometimes? Eh… maybe? I’ve never seen it… but whatever. It’s a story trope. It’s something writers do, mostly in movie mediums, when they are constrained by a time limit…
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