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Redefining the Super Couple

carolynnew55.gifBy Carolyn Aspenson

One Great Love.  Or Not.

Is the age of the super couple dead or just redefined?

Many say ABC has had one true super couple, the infamous Luke and Laura.  Others have tried but none have succeeded at reaching the level of coupledom met by these characters.  Could it be the strength of the story?  The intensity of the actor’s chemistry?  Perhaps it was the state of romance in our lives at the time?  For me, Luke and Laura started in junior high, a time when hormones and drama were tops in my life.  Nothing could make me swoon more than Luke professing his love for Laura or Laura running through some catastrophic event into the arms of her man.  I lived it.  I breathed it and I absolutely wanted that kind of love when I grew up.  Minus the rape, running from the cops and Frank Smith, of course.

Fast forward several years and here we are.  Luke and Laura are no more and handfuls of other couples have attempted to capture that ‘thing’ Luke and Laura had only to ride high for a bit and fall flat, moving on to bigger and better.   Some might say the concept of the super couple has disappeared but I’m not so sure. 

TV, be it prime time or day time, has always created chemistry between two people, made us want them together, appealed to our romantic side and then viciously torn them apart, leaving us frustrated and breathless.  Consider Alex Keaton and Ellen Reed from Family Ties.  The writers built them up, drowning our emotions in their chemistry and gave them an intense but brief love affair only to pull the rug out from under us and break them apart, while we picked our hearts up off the floor.  How many of us ‘old timers’ hear the song “At This Moment” by Billy Vera and the Beaters and remember the episode where Ellen left Alex?  Sure, they got back together toward the end of the series but nothing beats the emotional lock they put on our hearts when they first said goodbye. 

But what would happen if the Family Ties writers actually kept Alex and Ellen together, married them, gave them some kids and subjected us to their everyday life?  B-O-R-I-N-G.  Remember when Luke and Laura decided to grow roots in Port Charles, bought the house and hung out in the family room?  The super couple became a super snoozer.   Writer’s have to keep the characters interesting and let’s face it, everyday life ain’t all that interesting folks.

Couples have to have drama, energy and chemistry to keep us interested otherwise they become monotonous and fall flat.  So what does this say about a super couple?  Does this mean there truly is no such thing or does it mean the definition of the term needs to change?

Think of how many fan clubs there are for certain couples.  Liz and Jason from GH have such a strong fan base they could probably pick up Mount Rushmore and move it with their bare hands.  No one wants this couple together more than them.   So what do the writers do?  Piddle around with the couple, throwing a few bones our way only to pull them back right before we can grab a hold of them.  Do we like it?  No.  It’s frustrating and even maddening at times, which is exactly what the writers are trying to accomplish.  Keep the couple alive by not really keeping the together.  Really, who wants to see Jason coming home to Liz after a hard day at the mob to eat a bowl of chili and watch “Two and a Half Men”?  Not me. 

We need the drama, the turmoil and the gut-wrenching frustration of their unrequited love.  It’s the very essence of their coupledom.  The writer’s goal is to keep us wanting something more, while giving us just a tiny bit of it to keep us watching. 

Greenlee and Leo are a great example of a super couple, redefined.  They loved, they lost.  Their love ‘ended’ tragically but the love itself didn’t die.  The death of Leo saddened and frustrated the fans but left them with the thought that these two were meant to be together.  Isn’t that better than keeping them together with boring everyday life?  Do we really want to see that?  Carly and Sonny bored me to tears living in that house and dealing with their silly problems but Carly and Sonny apart, struggling with their separate lives and clearly still connected emotionally and by situation, is so much more appealing to me.

A super couple shouldn’t be designed to be a couple that beats the odds and sticks it out no matter what.  We’re left with nothing on those terms.  Instead, try redefining a super couple by the intensity of their love, their loss and their ability to move on without their other half.  It leaves us frustrated, heartbroken and yearning for more.   To me, that is the definition of a super couple. 

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