Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oh, my, how convenient!

Seriously, stupid conveniences bother me in reading and in television/movie viewing.

I was watching a tv show the other day.  I won't say which so as to not overtly spoil anything.  But there was a character whose estranged spouse conveniently showed up just to make this character's life more miserable/complicated and to complicate and effect the character's relationships with other characters.


I feel like this is a trope seen a lot and I'm a little tired of it.  I'm tired of the characters just having up and left their lives without resolution on that past.  There are so many ways the past can complicate the presence that we don't need a character who everyone thinks is single and then all of the sudden we find out they're really not.

Perhaps it's a symptom of the popularity through the years of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.  Perhaps.  It also may just be a symptom of the lax views of marriage and family that are running rampant in today's world.  In a world where divorce is easy to obtain and more and more seems to be the first answer rather than a last resort after a couple has tried all they can to repair the marriage, picking up and leaving may seem like the common answer to make a character relatable.

I don't know if it's true, but I do know that relationships can be so complicated without this easy answer for character development.


  1. I totally agree. I hate it when a character gets into a new relationship and all of a sudden you find out he/she is married. Grrrrr!!!! Like you said, there are so many other ways to complicate things! Okay. Vent over. :)

  2. It's terrible. I think people just look for anything that can create conflict with no thought for morals. :(

  3. It is a total plot contrivance and lazy writing. However, in some instances, it can be done. Case in point: Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy. This plot point was ridiculous and only used as a season-ending cliffhanger. (Who's estranged from J.R.?) But what saved it was the estranged wife who returned was a well-rounded, interesting character. She turned out to be my favorite character on the show. She was so well-liked that she got her own show! So I think if people are going to use plot contrivances, then they need well developed characters to help pull it off.

  4. I agree. So many other things can be done to complicate someone's life. And it doesn't have to be relationships that are the complicated part. It's been my own personal experience that if you complicate a seemingly unrelated aspect, like a job, and it will have spill-over to the relationship. That's a well developed character life.


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