Edge of Everywhere

Archive for the ‘TV and movies’ Category

America’s romance with bromance continues with the new Paul Rudd/Jason Segel comedy “I Love You, Man.” I’m still deciding whether it’s worth $12.50 to see, but I am intrigued by the plot: a man who’s engaged to his girlfriend realizes he doesn’t have anyone to be his best man, and sets out to make a male best friend. People try to make friends all the time, but it’s highly unusual to see a plot focusing specifically on this quest.

If anyone sees it, let me know what you think.

There’s a really interesting storyline right now on the TV show Private Practice that shows the tension that can arise between a person’s romantic/sexual and close non-sexual relationships. Cooper’s girlfriend Charlotte is jealous of his relationship with his best friend, Violet, with whom he is currently living because she’s pregnant and single and he wants to be there to help her. While Charlotte does not see Violet as a romantic or sexual rival, the emotional intimacy of Cooper’s relationship with Violet makes her feel hurt and left out and not knowing where she fits. She tells him that as his girlfriend, she should be his best friend.

Violet is not asexual, but I know that many asexual people (myself included) can identify with her position in this type of situation. The storyline also raises the issue of the way people in general are taught to define and compartmentalize our relationships, and the difficulties we can all face in maintaining intimate relationships (sexual or not) with multiple people, or with someone who has them with people besides us.

Yes, unfortunately, I saw the movie. Not my idea, I promise. It actually wasn’t as horrible as I expected, but there were some annoying messages. Mainly:

1. If she doesn’t sleep with you, she’s not into you. If she sleeps with you at first and then stops, she’s not into you.

Of course, we know that she might just be asexual.

2. If one partner in a mostly perfect long-term relationship wants to get married and the other doesn’t, but then the marriage-obsessed one comes to appreciate the relationship for what it is, that’s not really a happy ending. The person who doesn’t believe in marriage needs to propose anyway in order for there to be a happy ending.

This baffled me. Why should we feel happier for people who feel forced into social conventions than for people who build successful relationships outside of those conventions?

I’ve been a big fan of the TV show House since its first season, and I’ve always appreciated the fact that it doesn’t revolve around soap opera-esque relationships between the doctors the way Grey’s Anatomy does (although I eventually got hooked on that show as well). The most interesting relationship on the show has always been the one between the brilliant but misanthropic Dr. House and his best (and only) friend, the caring yet sarcastic oncologist Dr. Wilson. The end of last season left a giant question mark over the friendship in the wake of Wilson’s girlfriend’s death, which may have been House’s fault. The fate of the doctors’ relationship is a major storyline of the current season, and the subject of a recent TV Guide cover story featuring the two actors, Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard, entitled “Isn’t it Bromantic?”

The word “bromance” has been floating around a lot lately. According to UrbanDictionary, the word “describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.” I think it’s great that both House and the newfound prevalance of this word acknowledge the fact that straight male friendships are subject to many of the same ups and downs as romantic and sexual relationships, and can be equally or more important to men.

Last week, I attended a preview screening of this year’s season premiere of the ABC show Pushing Daisies. This whimsical show about a piemaker who can bring dead people and animals back to life with his touch is totally adorable, mostly due to the overwhelming cuteness of its two leads, Lee Pace (Ned) and Anna Friel (Chuck). Because of the small print of Ned’s powers, he and Chuck (the childhood sweetheart he brought back to life) can never touch, or she will die again. This makes for one of the most interesting relationships on TV.

In theory, Ned and Chuck’s relationship is not asexual, because it’s understood that they would be on each other like bunnies in two seconds if they could. However, I think the show validates asexual romantic relationships by showing that it is possible for two people to be in a romantic relationship without a sexual or even physical aspect (well, they do occasionally hold hands with gloves and kiss through plastic wrap, but their relationship is based primarily on emotional intimacy).

Their storyline is refreshing because it’s light-years away from the typical TV relationship arc of getting together/having sex/one of the people having sex with someone else/breaking up/having sex with each other anyway. It’s just too bad that the nature of their relationship is only the forced product of a magical, fairytale-like scenario.