Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bad Romance

I hate Romeo and Juliet. I always have. I read it for the first time in my freshman English class in high school. I hated. I saw it that year at Chicago Shakespeare. I wanted to punch Juliet in the face. I've tried to sit though Romeo (plus sign) Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. It makes me so angry. I don't know why they think it's a good idea to use this play to introduce Shakespeare to high school students. I guess it's because it's a pretty straight forward story and a very recognizable story. But still. It's horrible. Maybe that was just high school me. Not older, cultured, theatre major me. Well, I've read it again in college. I still hate it.

I hate that people point to Romeo and Juliet as being a great love story (Taylor Swift, I'm looking at you). Today, in my Shakespeare class, someone brought up Romeo and Juliet in discussion of Othello. They said that Othello and Desdemona did not have a strong love like Romeo and Juliet. Are you kidding? Romeo and Juliet met one night. Decided to get married the next. Got married. He was banished later that day. She faked her death the next day. He came back, thought she was dead, killed himself. She wakes up, sees he is dead and kills herself. Yeah. That's a strong love. They spent about fifteen minutes together. Three days ago, he was head over heels for Rosaline.

It's not romantic. It's not really tragic. If anything, it's melodrama. Their love is so simplified. They just love each other. They see each other and just are in love. The only conversations they ever had were about how they loved each other. I don't buy it. This may be because I have a heart made of pure ice, but I'd like to believe that it's what Shakespeare intended. Friar Lawrence is the only one who has any sense. In Act 2 when Romeo is all like "Friar Lawrence, marry me and Juliet. We are totally in love and need to be married like now" (I may be paraphrasing slightly). Friar Lawrence tells Romeo, "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast." If I considered this a tragedy, that would be the tragic flaw. Haste. Everything is about doing it now. I mean, if Romeo just waited twenty seconds before killing himself, everything would have been fine.

Okay, I'm going on a full fledged love tirade.

I've already complained about the Romeo and Juliet-like romance between Padme and Anakin. But can I ever really complain enough about that? Again, two people look at each other and are in love. Their romance doesn't move as quick as Romeo and Juliet's does but that doesn't matter because Anakin is a psychopath. Padme does not come off as a strong woman for standing by her man, she comes off as an idiot. Oh wait, I guess I'm forgetting that famous saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough lose the will to live."

Once upon a time, soap operas used to spend time to build up a supercouple. Really show them falling in love. Now, they throw two characters together and expect me to care about them. I don't. You really need to work to make me care. You know, like have two people actually go on more than one date. Or maybe wait a year before having them get married. For instance, on Days of Our Lives, Phillip and Melanie just got married on Valentine's Day (don't even get me started on that one). The thing about that is Phillip and Melanie dated for like a month before deciding to get married and then got married a couple months later. Also Phillip had been engaged to Stephanie like six months earlier. Also, Stephanie was the maid of honor at Melanie and Phillip's wedding. None of this is realistic at all. Also note that I watched Passions for six years and Charity being possessed by the devil never bothered me but this does.

I believe that love can be portrayed in a way that doesn't make me want to vomit. When Harry Met Sally... is probably the greatest romantic comedy. Why could that be? Maybe because we can see Harry and Sally fall in love. They have conversations that have more depth than "I'm only beautiful because I love you."

I guess since I complain about Padme and Anakin, I should say that I adore the Han and Leia relationship. If my ice heart ever melts and I say to someone, "I love you" and they reply with "I know," I would marry them right then and there. Padme and Anakin are like Romeo and Juliet and therefore are also kinda like Claudio and Hero from Much Ado About Nothing. Claudio and Hero are the horrible romance in Much Ado. The good romance is Beatrice and Benedick. Han and Leia are like Beatrice and Benedick who appear to hate each other and snark back and forth at each other until they realize that they are in love. These romances work for me.

Okay, I think this tirade is over. And yes, I will be alone forever. I'm not really a cat person.

So, Alone by Heart just came on the radio as I finished writing that last sentence. It makes me wonder if there is hope for me yet. Probably not.

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