Romance or Friendship: Relationship Entertainment

Every time I watch a TV series, there are always comments from people saying that two characters should become a couple, even though they are portrayed as just friends. I personally don’t have a problem with romance, but it seems like that’s all everyone talks about when it comes to television. There are even characters that are searching for romance.

In real life, love is not something you feel just because you want to, and while it is fun to ship people once in a while, I find that there are very few who understand the idea of friendship.

What is it about romance that makes such good entertainment? Why can’t two people just be friends and be happy with that?

  • It may also be a good idea to talk about the best way to execute a romance, and what the circumstances should be. – enizzari 8 years ago
  • Difficult to engender narrative energy from just a friendship. Maybe because the power dynamics are too steady, too symmetrical. Generally, dramatic intensity comes from romantic/erotic love/lust, as well as more vertical relationships, ie parent-child, mentor-protege, master-servant. Any number of psychological/psychoanalytic reasons that might be, if you want to go into that. – TKing 8 years ago
  • Considering how much emphasis is put on romantic love in Western society, making characters have a romantic relationship rather than a platonic one raises the stakes of any obstacles that might jeopardize that relationship. Romantic love is often positioned as the ultimate goal of life, so people will go to further extremes to achieve and maintain it. – chrischan 8 years ago
  • I think the purpose is to create sexual tension. In the past once the onscreen couple did get together, it ended the show because there was no longer any interest on the part of the audience. This as called the Moonlighting Effect named after the show Moonlighting, a show that was cancelled after the two protagonists got together. The Moonlighting Effect also had an impact on Superman: The Adventures of Lois and Clark. With Friends the writers were worried about Chandler and Monica getting together and how it would affect ratings. I think a way to develop this topic would be to examine how the idea of friendship and love has changed. Shows don't end anymore once a couple gets together. I think Friends broke the Moonlighting curse. – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • Of Confucius' five relationships, four - ruler to subject, father to son, husband to wife, elder to younger - are based on the tension between inequality and difficulty in severing the bond, while the other relationship - friendship - is based on equality and a more easily dissolved bond. The unknottable blood ties of family, it seems, might make the best heavy dramas, while friendships, requiring a more positive, public face might best lend themselves to lighter dramas and comedies. – Tigey 8 years ago
  • Honestly, I think it's totally possible for two people to be just friends without it developing into a relationship. Take Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, for example. They were incredible friends, leaned on each other through thick and thin, and neither of them ever thought of the other as anything more than a best friend. I just think we've become accustomed to stories having at least a little bit to do with some kind of romantic relationship. And since that's engrained in people's brains, that's what they write about. – Jenae 8 years ago

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