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Why does it take TV flirts so long to hook up?

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 4th 2006 7:53PM
West Wing's Josh and DonnaYesterday, Slate posted a great article by Kate Arthur about how poorly TV shows treat sexual tension between characters. In the article, Arthur mentions every major TV couple that's teased us with their constant "will they or won't they?" games over the last thrity years, from Sam and Diane to Mulder and Scully.

The jump-off point for the article is the recent West Wing episode where longtime flirts Josh and Donna first kissed, then had sex. Twice. Took 'em long enough, right? I mean, the show's been on for seven years, for Pete's sake. But they're willful teenagers compared to some of the other couples that Arthur examines in the article. She even includes couples that do hook up, like Luke and Lorelai of Gilmore Girls, giving the added twist that they are being kept at arm's length from each other this year because Lauren Graham's and Scott Patterson's physical chemistry with each other is so poor (I've heard that the two don't get along, but I don't see that tension on screen at all).

Of course, she cites the grandaddy of all TV hookups, when Maddie and Dave slept together on Moonlighting, as the big reason why TV flirts never get together anymore.

Damn you, Moonlighting! If it weren't for you, we would have never had to endure the words, "We were on a break!" for eight years.

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Ummm, hello. X-Files? Like waaaaaay too long. And did they actually hook up? Or not. I've watched that show so many times and I still don't quite get it. But yeah, they danced around it for many a year and then made an alien baby together :D

I think it comes down to risking possibly ruining the show (*cough*Rachel&Ross*cough*) with hooking up two main characters. I much rather have flirting than actually see the end result because the end result is never good. It just brings out more drama and I much rather have it unresolved than effed up by the writers.

April 05 2006 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seems to me a lot of times the writers are better at the tension than the actual relationship. How many times do we see a couple get together and the writers seem to have no idea what to do with the couple now that they're happy and in love? It's only a matter of time until they break-up or something happens to maybe be a speed bump.

But every once in a while, a show gets it absolutely right. Such as Buffy and Angel or Buffy and Spike on Buffy.

April 05 2006 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yea I don't think that Jim and Pam from the Office will even make a move on each other for a few seasons

April 04 2006 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Lauren Graham/Scott Patterson not liking each other thing isn't true, it comes from Kristen from E! who said Graham didn't get on with one of her co-stars, it turns out the co-star was the dog she got this season..! So it's just another case of the E!,ET,usWeekly types trying to make a story out of nothing

April 04 2006 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The reason that Josh and Donna didn't hook up in the past was a directly result of a decision by Aaron Sorkin when he was writing the show. I believe he was once asked why the two never hooked up and he said that as long as he was not happy, he wouldn't let Josh be happy. Since Sorkin left the show, that rule was broken.

It's actually a bit disappointing; just one more nail in the coffin of this once great show.

April 04 2006 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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