“I wish I could meet a guy like Christian Grey to take me away”
“I would love to have a relationship like Chuck and Blair”
“Olivia and Fitz’s relationship on Scandal is everything”
In an age where the media is constantly dominating our society, it’s not surprising to encounter some of these comments. It’s also not surprising to see how invested we tend to be in these made-up relationships. We do it because it’s fun. But rooting for an on-screen couple is far more different than fantasizing about their relationship.
To fantasize about a relationship involves wanting it for yourself. You are no longer just watching. You are actively yearning for it. And in a sense, idolizing it.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself in the fantastical idea of you and Jon Snow from Game of Thrones riding off into the sunset to defend The Wall. That’s not the problem here. The problem, is that we romanticize some of these on-screen relationships that are either unrealistic or more importantly, unhealthy.
Romanticizing how dysfunctional on-screen couples are is problematic. It isn’t something that we would truly want in actuality. We sometimes get so caught up in the Hollywood magic and the beautiful actors, that we tend to ignore how “not okay” these relationships would be if they were translated in real life. Let’s take a moment to reflect on this with a few, popular, Hollywood-made, fictional couples.
Everyone can appreciate how fierce Olivia Pope is. She’s the best “fixer” in Washington… Except when it comes to relationships. The show is called Scandal for a reason. Olivia and her relationship with the President, Fitz, is dysfunction at its best. Not only are they participating in adultery together, but their cat and mouse chase has caused them to act in violation of the federal law and sometimes alcoholism. Olivia is one of the strongest female characters on today’s TV. But we can’t justify her relationship choices because of that. Bottom line, Olivia’s not someone you want relationship advice from.
Yes, this is a movie couple but we have to touch base with it. Especially if we’re talking about problematic relationships. 50 Shades of Grey…You all knew this couple was coming. Anastasia Steele, the innocent 21 year old, fresh out of college and Christian Grey, the rich CEO on the lookout for a submissive. Not only does this relationship contain hints of stalking, and flat out control and possessiveness, but it practices many violations of the BDSM culture. The overall praise that this movie has gotten from women all over is alarming. Sure Christian Grey is rich. And sure, he’s pretty decent looking. But should the mistreatment of his significant other be overlooked because of his riches, looks, and charm?
Not only did Chuck and Blair start out as frenemies in season one of Gossip Girl, but they continued to be frenemies when they finally got together. This couple is infamous for their cat and mouse game too, but also for their habitual scheming. Scheming that has been used multiple times to take down each other. Not to mention their sleeping around with different people during their on and off again relationship. They eventually get married and live happily ever after; but how many times did they have to tear each other down and build each other up again with grand, expensive, gestures of apologizing? One too many.
Even in a classic, throwback show like Friends, we have a relationship that gets praise and adoration for its unruliness. Ross and Rachel were the original cat and mouse chase couple on TV, before it became cool. Over the span of ten years, Ross and Rachel have managed to break up and get back together 3 different times. Ross himself was married and divorced 3 times, one of the divorcees being Rachel. They had a baby together while not in a relationship at the time and they weren’t planning on getting back together for the sake of the child. You can argue all you want that Friends is one of the best shows of all time, but you can’t argue that Ross and Rachel weren’t dysfunctional.
If we were friends with any of these people, we wouldn’t approve of any part of their relationship. Point blank. So why are we praising and romanticizing them? By doing this, are we condoning this type of relationship behavior?
The idolization of these TV relationships isn’t the only problem. We are internally letting these pseudo relationships affect us and set guidelines for our real life relationships. Or in other words, we tend to sometimes try and model our relationships after the ones we see on TV. We want everything to be more exciting or more romantic because that’s what’s portrayed in the media.
But we shouldn’t let Hollywood’s idea of a relationship dictate us. It’s okay to not have a Valentine’s Day with a dozen roses and a 12-foot tall teddy bear. It’s okay to not have the perfect date night. And it’s okay to even not be in a relationship at all. Let’s start romanticizing real-life, everyday relationships we encounter in our daily lives and not just some on-screen romance.
The only thing that anyone should really be fantasizing about Anastasia Steele’s life is the fact that she was able to get a job right out of college.
Feature Image By: Mikey Draine