Thursday, April 10, 2014

Better alone

Do you ever come across these amazing female characters, and you absolutely love them? And they have a love interest, and you think they and the love interest are really cute together and you spend forever squeeing over them? And then they get together, and you squee like a lunatic. But as the relationship goes on, you realise something: deep down, you liked the character better when she was alone.

This has been happening to me a lot recently, and it's kind of an interesting phenomenon, because it's not one that I've ever run into with male characters, as far as I can recall (well, maybe with Dawson Leery, but that's because he's an awful human being who *deserves* to be alone...).

Anyway, I want to talk about some of the characters that I kind of think are better off alone. Because reasons.

Buffy Summers
It's not secret that rewatching Buffy for Snark Squad completely changed the way I felt about certain characters. Rewatching Angel for Snark Squad has made everything worse, because in season 5, we spend an awful lot of time watching Spike and Angel fight over which one of them gets Buffy. AND SHE'S NOT EVEN THERE. Her relationships with both of them were pretty fucked up, and her relationship with Riley was basically a season and a half of rebound. Even Buffy agrees at the end of season 7 that she's better off alone.

Katniss Everdeen
Much was made of the love triangle in The Hunger Games, but every time I read the books, I'm struck by how reluctant Katniss is to be involved with either Peeta or Gale. At the end of Mockingjay, she basically tells us that it took Peeta the better part of a decade to convince her that having kids was a good idea. Being a part of the Games forced her into faking a relationship with Peeta, which in turn led to Gale being all jealous and "I LOVED YOU FIRST"-y. Katniss is a hesitant participant from start to finish, and it almost seems like she ends up with Peeta just so that there's someone there in the night when she wakes up screaming.

Veronica Mars
Don't get me wrong, I adore Veronica and Logan. Piz can go jump in a lake for all I care. But I read the new Veronica Mars novel yesterday, and I thought it was really interesting that Rob Thomas chose to really limit the communication between Veronica and Logan throughout the course of the story. Yes, it's partly because he's deployed in God knows where. But when they DO communicate? The conversation is stilted and a little awkward. You can't undo nine years of separation in two weeks, so of COURSE it would be awkward between them. All of that aside, I found myself liking Book!Veronica more than I liked Couple-y!Veronica...

Natasha Romanoff
I love the IDEA of Clintasha so much it's not even funny. I squeed like a lunatic when I saw her arrow necklace. But do I want the MCU to be filled with a weepy Natasha by an injured Clint's bedside? Do I want them being all public-displays-of-affection-y before heading off on missions? Do I want a Clintasha wedding officiated by Tony Stark (who got a licence on the internet) in the ruins of whatever threat to the world they've just defeated? NOPE (except maybe that last one because it sounds kind of awesome...). I want her to stay her sassy BAMF-tastic, arse-kicking self. (Although if they want to include some anvils about #secretsexytimes, that would be fine)

Dana Scully
Much like with Clintasha, The X-Files dropped some pretty big anvils about #secretsexytimes between Mulder and Scully over the years. That said, when we did eventually get a canon relationship in the second X-Files movie, it was TERRIBLE. Much better to have Scully on her own with frequently dropped anvils than in a relationship that didn't live up to expectations.

Rory Gilmore
Rory, Rory, Rory. So incredibly smart. Such terrible taste in men... Dean turned out to be a complete douchenozzle with a side of extra-marital affair. And Logan Huntzberger was just awful from start to finish. Jess is clearly the best fit for her, but - much like Logan Echolls - he needs time away from her to deal with his problems and grow up. Thank God the show ended with her on her own, going off to take over the journalistic world.

Cristina Yang
Oof. Poor Cristina's had a rough road. Admittedly, I haven't watched the last season and a half of Grey's Anatomy - I kind of gave up a little after the plane crash, because Lexi was one of my favourites. But Cristina keeps getting paired with these characters who don't understand her or who want completely different things to her and can't see that she won't change her mind about them. And then when she's all "Um, no. You knew that before this even started...", they get all butthurt about it, and she's left to pick up the pieces of her life. Again... BLURGH.

Ellie Linton
I adored the Tomorrow, When the War Began books as a teenager. But Ellie, the gutsy incredible narrator of the series, is SO MUCH BETTER not in a relationship. She goes back to Lee time and time again, even though she hates the things that he does and the way it effects him. She has this awesome sibling relationship with Homer, and then the end of The Ellie Chronicles has a friend being all "You know Homer's in love with you, right?". Um. WHAT?!

Winifred Burkle
Oh my God. SO MUCH of Fred's character was destroyed by the writers making her the plaything at the centre of a love triangle between Gunn and Wesley. She deserved so much better than to wind up in a crappy relationship with either one of them. I don't think I'll ever be over how she was treated in seasons 4 and 5...

This doesn't mean that ALL strong female characters are better off alone - just look at Zoe Alleyne Washburne, or Rose Tyler. Pepper Potts or Willow Rosenberg (minus the Kennedy thing, because NOPE). Olivia Dunham, Elizabeth Bennet, Alexia Tarabotti, Elena Michaels, Piper Halliwell, Kate Daniels, Hermione Granger, Sydney Bristow. The list goes on and on.

Furthermore, this doesn't mean that the characters I've discussed above should be alone forever. It definitely doesn't mean that. What it DOES mean is that the writers aren't doing the characters justice. They pair them with unsuitable characters, turn their whole storyline into a relationship story, or have them fall apart where they previously would have stood up and fought. And it's infuriating...

Who would you add to this list? Are there any that you'd remove??

K xx


  1. I mostly agree with all of these except Veronica because I think that her and Logan need each other. Or I need them to need each other. Either way I just can't have her alone. But Buffy, Katniss, Natasha and Rory are definitely the kind of girls who should stay out of serious relationships. They just aren't built for them.

  2. I think you're right about Logan and Veronica, but at the same time, I think that him being in the Navy would actually work really well. Because things tended to go wonky for them when they were together for longer periods. So with him being deployed on a regular basis, they can be in a relationship that basically has a perpetual honeymoon phase. Which they were always much better at than the long term stuff. You know?

  3. That's exactly my thinking. Like they'll outgrow the awkwardness but they'll work so much better if they aren't always constantly together. Plus they've both grown up a lot, so it will help.

  4. It's interesting we tackled similar topic about women that should be alone and not forced into relationships albeit under different premisses.

    I so agree with your list!!! It is just so upsetting to see characters you love turning into lesser characters the moment they enter into a relationship and it doesn't HAVE to be that way either as you pointed out. There are good and strong female characters in relationships out there.

    And sometimes, hinted #secretsexytimes are much better than it actually becoming canon or worse, when the actors agree that two characters totally are in love with each other and then you get force fed a sudden different pairin. (I'm looking at you, Warehouse 13 and am still hoping that is false spoilers they are giving out there.)

  5. I totally agree. Mostly I just found it really interesting that Rob Thomas would put such a degree of separation between Logan and Veronica in the book!

  6. I kinda expected it. The movie was definitely for the fans ergo all the great Logan and Veronica moments, but I expected the book series to focus more on her and what she's choosing to do with her life and less on her romantic life. Plus Logan's on deployment so it's not like they can talk every day. I liked that she still doesn't feel totally secure in their relationship but that she does admit that her feelings for him overwhelm her. I do hope he's in the second book more.

    On a side note I was telling my sister that if they do make more movies and decide to use the books or whatever I wish they would use this one just so I could see that Veronica and Dick scene in live action because it was so freaking hilarious.

  7. Dude, I freaked out SO HARD when a bunch of promo photos came out for Captain America: TWS and they included Cap and Nat kissing. Because NO, DO NOT WANT. I was so relieved when it turned out to be a "kiss so the bad guys don't see us" thing and not a romantic relationship thing.

  8. I still have hopes that they were giving out fake psoilers or that it at least doesn't mean what I think it means. Especially if you spent 4 seasons NOT showing any romantic interest between two of the main characters, so why waste time during the last 6 episodes of a show on such a thing? DO NOT WANT!

  9. Definitely prefer Buffy, Fred, Scully, and Veronica single, though I think all their relationships (particularly Scully/Mulder) had potential, but were executed wrong. Natasha in a relationship with Hawkeye's cool, but it should be very low-key/non-traditional. Also, I want that wedding now :)

    Gotta say, I don't understand the popularity of Veronica/Logan (or, frankly, Logan as a character), nor the hate for Piz (I know you don't hate him, but Jesus the fandom at large does). I'm generally that way, though; whatever the popular ship on a show is, I'm all "Huh?"

  10. I love that you did this post. I've been thinking about it for a while and mentioned it several times on Goodreads because I was re-reading the Fever series. Mac Lane is better off alone. Then on the other side of the spectrum, I see a romance done completely right with Kate Daniels/Curran. Also, I need Veronica and Logan to be together and I'm not sure why. It's not perfect but somehow it gets me right in the feels.

    You really broke down my feelings EXACTLY when you said that we don't want these characters to be alone forever, but the writers aren't doing them justice pairing them with these people.

    BRAVO! I really enjoyed this :)

  11. Rory.... I actually liked her with Jess.

  12. Rory and Jess will forever be my favorite couple on Gilmore Girls.
    Excellent post m'dear!

  13. I know I'm in the minority, but I love Katniss and Peeta together. I totally see where people are coming from with not liking their relationship. But I felt like they were a good balance and she always cared for him but it took her a long time to come to terms with it,

  14. I'm glad she ended up with him rather than Gale, and I think ultimately she loved him. But for the majority of the series, it felt like she was being forced into something she didn't want...

  15. Thanks! Rory and Jess were definitely my favourite of the three pairings she was in during the show (Luke and Lorelai were my favourite overall), but much like Veronica and Logan, it was one of those pairings where they needed time apart to grow up before they could be together in the long term. You know?

  16. Oh, I liked her with Jess too. But their relationship was really problematic, and they both needed time apart to mature before it would work in the long term...

  17. I think seeing the romances that are done right makes the ones that are clearly wrong stand out more somehow... And I totally agree about Veronica and Logan. I think him being in the Navy is actually a perfect solution, because he always had trouble dealing with her being out on cases and getting herself in danger. This way, she gets to do what she loves and investigate Neptune's seedy underbelly without having to worry about her significant other freaking out about things. (Although given the number of times Logan saved her life, maybe it's not the best idea for him to be elsewhere..........)

  18. Seriously, I really want that wedding. Preferably with Captain America as maid of honour because LOLOLOLOLOL.


    I'm not much of a shipper, so I tend to be pretty meh about most stuff. I didn't HATE Piz, I just didn't like him with Veronica. I think my problem with Piz was that I didn't trust him. He was too nice, and in a show where every single male character has been shown to have a secret (or not so secret) dark side somewhere along the way, I spent the whole of season 3 waiting for the other shoe to drop...

  19. True, but sad they never got back together.

  20. Oh, I never was worried about a possible dark side. I probably should have been, but now that I think of it, it's kind of a relief he didn't turn out to be a former child assassin, or something.



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