Sunday, October 01, 2006

How to Ruin A Romance Hero

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the FOX show Bones. I love the witty repartee, the sizzling sexual tension, and the heaping gobs of science – not to mention David Boreanaz. I tune in faithfully every Wednesday night, crank up the volume, hush the kids and give the dog an evil glare if he even THINKS he needs to go outside between 8:00 and 9:00 PM.

FOX regularly broadcasts a Viewer Discretion warning, which would normally turn me off of a show because I don’t like gore, excessive violence or depressing crap. This week’s episode should have included a much stronger warning. NOT because the corpse our crack investigative team had to identify was found liquefying in a bathtub full of corrosive household chemicals, but because the sexual antics of Agent Seely Booth were just nauseating.

Why do TV shows do this? Do they know NOTHING about romance? It’s more than obvious that Booth and his brainy heroine, Temperance Brennan, have the hots for each other. In fact viewers have been conked over the head with it a bit in the first season. But what did FOX choose to do now that the angst has been well established? They toss Booth in bed with his ex. [Eye roll] All right, I can put up with that if I must. Though I’ve always thought one of the cardinal rules of romance is you don’t want to see the hero in bed with a woman who is not the heroine. It just isn’t done. Okay, it has been done now and then, but it’s not the preferred way to do it. It can sour your readers [or in this case viewers] on your hero right off the bat.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, after one of their classic riffs, Tempe and Seely part company at the end of the episode and he goes off in search of the caustic new administrator Cam [added to the show this season for what purpose? Oh, yeah – there is no purpose.] Like Seely and his ex, he and Cam have a past. Now, we’ve established that Booth was a busy guy. He’s parked his SUV in a lot of different garages over the years apparently. And to drive that point home, last scene – SPOILER ALERT – and yes, it spoiled the episode for me – he’s in bed with Cam.

Pul-ease. This would just never fly in a romance novel. Establish your hero as a man-ho and you lose that connection. Your audience [female audience anyway] has torn his name out of the heroine’s little black book. [The male audience loves him and wants to be him at this point, but they don’t count.]

Why do television shows do this? I can say with almost complete certainty that if they added a romance writer to their team, things like this would not fly. I can’t guarantee their ratings would improve, but I could guarantee that the producers wouldn’t have to go around whining their usual whine: “We will never see the lead characters get together because it would ruin the show.” No, it wouldn’t ruin the show, if it was done right. Let a romance writer do it and you would be able to see a steady progression of a relationship, not this namby pamby back and forth, he loves her, he doesn’t love her, he loves her, he’s sleeping with someone else to keep the tension high crap. Viewers would be happier. The shows would be more satisfying.

I’m not saying the plot should be all hearts and flowers but for heaven’s sake, can’t they learn how to craft a good romance and let the viewers enjoy it?

That’s my rant for the day. Off to craft some romance.


Annalee Blysse said...

A man-ho... smile. Never saw that show.

I finally watched some of Firefly when they had a group of them showing back-to-back on Sci-Fi Channel a week or two back.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

I love Firefly! If you get to see all the episodes, be sure to rent the movie. Great stuff!