7 Lessons from TV Romances of the 90s

June 5, 2012 § 6 Comments

I was a child of the 90s and a child of television, so it goes without saying that my view on real-life romances is somewhat ingrained from 90s TV.  Maybe that’s why I can’t find a girlfriend.

Because real life is not TV and movies.  The stories we watch on the breast tube are meant to be more interesting and engaging than real life because that’s why we watch them.  If they were not, we wouldn’t watch TV because we could get that same entertainment outside.  (Entertainment outside you say?  Yeah right.  Now THAT’S a tall tale, my friend!)

Television romance usually starts with anguished longing for another and so we follow.  We watch and wait and see if our hero will get the girl and inevitably they do.   The two loves are united and as viewers, we are satisfied because that’s what we were waiting for all along.  However, how many of my real life crushes became sweethearts?

I think I’m about 0-for-2,513 in that category.

Relationships don’t always bloom from a crush.  Sometimes they just happen.  Whether organic or forced, sometimes love sparks from a drunken makeout behind a dive bar or from a friend right in front of you that you had never noticed before.  And sometimes, it is from a crush.

But maybe the inherent problem with “crushes” is that they are so one-sided.  If a crush is reciprocated early on, then you should be able to spot it.  Returned flirtation should soon turn into something real and if it doesn’t, then it’s probably never meant to be.  Yet on television, romances almost always start off as unrequited love and almost always turn into the requited version.

I thought for awhile yesterday not about the crushes I had (because that would require me to think about my actual life and NO THANKS!) but on the best television romances that I grew up watching and the lessons we learned from these relationships.

What started as a crush, soon turned into these 90s TV Romances and the lessons we learned:

Ross and Rachel, Friends

Lesson: Sometimes you never get over a crush or past love.

The show may have been called “Friends” but the stage for show was set in the pilot episode when we found out in the beginning that Ross had always loved Rachel and now she had appeared back in his life, without any idea that Ross had ever felt this way.  So everybody was immediately trapped in this universe of “Is Ross going to win her over?”

Which was bullshit because Ross was never my favorite character.  A bit too whiny, know-it-all, and pretentious for my liking, the only characteristic of Ross that I could relate to was this unrequited love that he had been holding onto forever.  And clearly since Rachel was too good and too hot for him, it was almost like additional icing on the cake for every guy that had ever loved a girl that was out of his league.

On-again, off-again, will they ever?, “we were on a break,” the romance literally lasted from episode one to the series finale without ever being a sure thing.  Ross and Rachel will always be remembered as the quintessential television romance of the decade, but the writers knew what they were doing and screw you writers.

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