sexual tension is one of the most common tropes television writers use to keep
viewers interested and tuning in. However, when a show goes too many seasons without its characters getting together, the writers risk alienating their
entire audience by trying to appeal to both the fans who want the characters to
get together and the fans who don’t by keeping the leads in an unbelievable
stasis where it is clear to the audience that they are in love, but are
unwilling to do anything about it.
is why Fox’s Bones, a show that follows a forensic pathologist and her
FBI partner as they solve murders, is unwatchable now.
had fairly high hopes that Castle, a similar show that follows a writer who tails a detective as she solves murders, would do something different and get
its leads together fairly early. Sadly, it seems to be going the way of Bones.
One and Two of Castle are two of my favorite seasons of television to
exist. What made them special, at least
for me, was that Castle, unlike other crime shows that are on the air
today, focuses less on the crimes being solved and more on the characters: Rick Castle, the writer, and Kate Beckett, the detective he shadows. The dynamic between the characters was the foreground of the show and the murders being solved were a way for the audience to experience this dynamic. The crimes in those seasons were interesting
and easy to follow.
those seasons, it made sense that the characters weren’t together, because they
were still getting to know each other and fighting all the time. That was what made the show fun to watch.
they gotten together at some time in Season Three, which is when they mostly
stopped sparring constantly, the show could have maintained the dynamic that
made it so great by subbing in the tension created by this sparring with
tension that manifests naturally from two people in a relationship. Instead, the writers chose to have
the characters actually admit to each other that they are in love in Season Three, but
postpone being in a relationship until a particular case (involving Beckett’s
mother’s murder) is solved. Therefore,
characters who were once able to interact normally are kept doing a very
unrealistic dance where they never discuss anything of substance. The
writers have to devote more and more screentime to making the cases, which have become overly complicated and unenjoyable for the viewer (much like the show itself), the focal
point of the show.
Somehow, current television has forgone the (slightly) more believable instances of unresolved sexual tension that was kept from fruition under the guise of professionalism—for example, The X-Files—and replaced it with a much less believable alternative where the characters claim to be too scared to be in a relationship. Hopefully, future developers of the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic will explore other, more realistic, options.