Character potential in Engaged to the Unidentified versus Silver Spoon

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Engaged to the Unidentified is a decent show. It’s watchable. It doesn’t have much of a plot; it exists to sell episodes, so it is definitely in no hurry to resolve its conflicts. The “Status Quo Is God” stereotype prevents it from building up any grand meaning.

Its final episode of the season seemed more than a little contrived. The first half built up some angst, but it wasn’t convincing. The characters are pretty flat. I haven’t seen Twilight, but I hear it is about a typical girl who is made wonderful by the fact that an awe-inspiring man loves her. That would be a fair summary of Engaged to the Unidentified.

By the final episode, there was a little tiny bit of character growth for the heroine, and her relationship with her love interest got a tiny bit more intimate, but obviously the story does its best to change at the slowest possible pace. It’s very easy to tell the basic two-virgins-fall-in-love-for-the-first-time story. However, as in Twilight, the audience is fascinated by the virginity of the characters rather than the personalities. Once a virgin-story ends with the consummation in marriage, the characters stop being interesting.

By contrast, Silver Spoon showed the higher quality of its writing by a better climactic episode.

I haven’t seen an episode of Game of Thrones in a long time, but I recall an excellent line of dialogue. Brienne says something like, “This is a world where people lose things that are important to them.”

That kind of harsh loss, when written badly, comes across as sledgehammer angst. Game of Thrones has so much action and spectacle that I don’t care if the emotions are crude, but most stories can’t take that approach.

Silver Spoon is emotionally powerful because it can combine a light touch of humor with a lot of pervasive emotional tension.

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Silver Spoon is a show where people can lose things that are important to them. It has very little spectacle. And yet, in some ways, it impresses me more than Game of Thrones does.

Certainly, when one compares Silver Spoon to Engaged to the Unidentified, the difference in subtlety is obvious. Silver Spoon has a definite arc of character growth. That fictional world can change, perhaps for the better, but perhaps for the worse. Its characters can lose things that are important to them. However, the characters are more interesting than icons of virginal purity. In all probability, Silver Spoon will end long before its main characters marry and consummate their love. As with Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the story will probably focus on virgins of nearly unlimited potential.

In a way, this is too bad. It would be great to see a character-driven drama that deals with how people change when they start out as virgins and grow together in a committed relationship. Although there are various soap operas and allegedly romantic stories that deal with various love affairs, I don’t think I have ever been impressed by any such story. Perhaps fiction writers don’t have a lot of truthful wisdom to share about such matters.

Obviously, most fiction writers go through the experiences of love affairs. Many fiction writers pen tales of love and the loss of virginity. Very few fiction writers discuss the love that develops many years after virginity has been lost. Perhaps their experiences of love have not led them to wisdom.

With a story about virgins, there is always a lot of room for hope. Perhaps, for whatever reason, it is hard for audiences to feel hopeful about non-virgins. I can only think of one mainstream exception – Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman who had a large number of sex partners and still got a fairy-tale ending.

There are quite a few stories with promiscuous characters who are supposed to be sympathetic :

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MyGirlIsASlut

But a lot of these don’t lead to happy endings, and a lot of them are Author Tracts rather than popular fantasies. Huge crowds will buy tickets to Twilight in order to reinforce the Madonna-Whore Complex.

It’s easy for a writer to hang out with a bohemian crowd and write Author Tracts preaching that sex is an absolute moral good, and that the Madonna-Whore Complex is evil incarnate.

However, most fiction consumers are probably in different circumstances. Perhaps they are closer to reality, and perhaps reality is biased in favor of the Madonna-Whore Complex. The era between 1918 and 1969 had a lot of covert promiscuity; the era from 1969 to now has overt promiscuity and a lot of sexually transmitted diseases.

Time will tell whether promiscuity will be indefinitely sustainable. At the moment, it shows no signs of slowing down.

http://unvis.it/www.salon.com/2014/03/12/cdc_the_rise_of_antibiotic_resistant_gonorrhea_appears_imminent/

The CDC has reached out to clarify that ceftriaxone, a type of the antibiotic cephalosporin, is currently the only recommended treatment for gonorrhea, and that resistance to it has yet to emerge in the U.S.: “While our manuscript touched on the possible future emergence of resistance to this last-remaining treatment, it is critical to note that there have not been any instances in the U.S. of patients who have failed treatment with ceftriaxone.” …
Penicillin and various tetracyclines are already ineffective against most of the prevalent strains. …

And one of those few remaining treatment options, the antibiotic cephalosporin, is probably on its way out as well.

Maybe audiences enjoy stories about virgins because we have been having too much meaningless sex with non-virgins.

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