21 August 2007

Reunited -- Does It Really Feel So Good?

Tonight, Hubby and I watched the pilot episode of the SciFi Channel's remake of Flash Gordon. On the surface it has all the elements we like in our television and literature -- speculative worldbuilding, romance, adventure, humor and, especially for him, comic book references. I'm not going to write a full-scale critique of the show, because then I'd have to watch it again to get the details straight. Nooooo thanks.

But one thing about the show did strike me as blogworthy. I realized I'd been reluctant to watch it during the weeks it sat on our TiVo, not because I'd heard it was cheesy, not because I didn't want to make time for another television show, but because I read that the romantic protagonists (Flash Gordon and Dale Arden) were previously involved in a romantic relationship.

They were, in short, reunited. But does it feel so good or just so familiar?

It's not that I won't give reunited lovers a chance when I'm selecting my stories. Even after catching a number of dubious commercials and negative reviews, I still watched Flash Gordon, didn't I? Yep, I sure did, asking my husband every five minutes if he thought it was as bad as I did. He did. He even agreed he prefers it when a show's love interests haven't been previously involved. (Either that or he was humoring me so I'd shut up and let him watch the terribleness in peace.)

I know opinions of readers and viewers are mixed on the whole "reunited" thing. Me, I’m not a fan. I don't know exactly why. Maybe it's because I'm more entertained by a depiction of that minty fresh new romance feeling, the excitement that this one, finally, will be "the one". Maybe it's a lack of ability on my part to believe two people who couldn't make it work once will be able to make it work a second time. In my experience, exes inspire revenge fantasies, not romantic fantasies! Particularly when the hero and heroine of a novel or movie were intimate during their prior relationship, there's less sexual tension and curiosity as they circle one another, deciding whether or not they're going to give this crazy thing another whirl.

They've already whirled once. They know that merry go round makes them puke!

Is the appeal of the reunion romance the chance to snag the one that got away? The opportunity to make it right with somebody you wronged? The satisfaction of somebody who wronged you falling at your feet? Is it because you wanted it to be true love the first time and the second time proves you were right? Where do you stand on shows, books or movies where the romantic protagonists are reunited instead of first time lovers?

Jody W.
A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH--Winter 2008, Samhain Publishing
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com/

PS: Since I couldn't bear to do it myself, here are some Flash Gordon reviews by other people: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33634
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