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Friday, May 2, 2014

Boinking and the Moonlighting Curse

With every good romance novel, there are absolutes. First, you must have MCs who are likeable, bondable. Humor in the right place helps also. A bit of slapstick applied with a light touch.

Second, there must be conflict. Tension. Not the Game of Thrones kind with death and destruction in every Freakin’ Sentence. Nope. All good books need is a different kind of conflict.

Segue now to the TV program, Moonlighting:
Maddie Hayes is a high-maintenance, classy lady who happens to own a failing detective agency. By coincidence, David Addison is also facing bankruptcy at the agency he owns. 
Together they can make a go at it. But personality-wise, they are as different as an elegant gazelle and Bugs Bunny. David isn’t just from the wrong side of town; he’s from a whole other planet.
Watch the video to get an idea of how cool they are.

I had point. *patting pockets*. Ah yes, here it is:

Conflict isn’t about swords and dragons. Well, yeah sometimes but not today. It’s about arguing over a broken nail, spilling a cup of coffee on important documents, the dog barking and not knowing why. It’s a phone call in the middle of night and a click at the end. A facial expression, furrowed brow, a tense cheek. All of the above.

And yes, the sexual aspect. As in when are they going to get together? Which leads me to:

The Curse. Whether it’s right or wrong, the above TV program is famous for the Moonlighting Curse. There are several reasons why the show was so popular. Great writing, actors with chemistry, script, and, oh yes, sexual tension. 

But after they finally did the horizontal mambo, everything changed. The writing went downhill. Scripts changed. A skiing injury. An actress taking time off to have twins. All were a part of why the show was cancelled. 

But one of the big reasons was the lack of that ‘when-are-they-gonna-do-it’ thing. For many people, there was nothing of interest afterwards.

Summary. If you have a single-title book and the resolution is in sight, the ending should give the readers what they want. But if you are writing a series, after the romance is consummated, you must find conflict that has the same heat level to replace it.

Or they might wander off when a squirrel or shiny object crosses their path.

Watch a few episodes of Moonlighting for examples of snappy dialogue and tension. Their personality clashes are epic.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Yah, I've actually noticed that flaw in several shows when the two MCs do have sex and god forbid, a relationship. It's as if there is nothing else to write about. Say what? I call it lack of imagination. Good points though!

Sia McKye Over Coffee

D.G. Hudson said...

I didn't like the show, mainly because I didn't like the female lead. A model turned actress isn't the best choice for a tv show.

PS - didn't know that term 'boinking' before, but it fits. Especially in the way they used it. . .

Bruce Willis on the other hand was obnoxious and many could identify with him. I think the show dived into the tank due to the casting. It needed a woman who could act. So, if Bruce is still going strong and no one remembers the woman's name, you could guess why.

Huntress said...

Tastes are different, that's for sure.
Nope, it was one of my favorites. Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis were great together in my opinion. The script was amazing.

Acting well doesn't seem to have much to do with whether a TV program is dropped or not. Almost Human was barely given a chance, IMHO.

All the opinions for its cancellation are mine, btw.

Robin said...

This is one of my all-time favorite shows. Bruce and Cybil were MAGIC together. And you are right that the writers did not know what to do with the story after they got these two together. It just nosedived.

Another great example of a TV show that did this sort of thing and OVERCAME the get-together is Bones on Fox. Booth and Bones spent the first five(?) seasons circling around each other. After they got together, there is/was still good tension because they are very different people. It keeps things interesting. And the show is still going strong on season 10 (I think).

Misha Gericke said...

I agree with Robin on Bones.

The thing is, people abuse sexual tension, I think, because it's an easy thing to use to hook readers/watchers. But it can only be used for so long before things go tawdry, and then no thought was put into what creates tension afterwards.

In my opinion, there should be something more driving the tension unless it's a romance. An excellent example of this is The Mentalist. I'm behind (season 4 at the moment), but at the moment I'm waiting for Jane and Lisbon to get together. Thing is, even if they do, it won't matter, because the story's tension driven by Jane's quest for justice and his need for redemption (neither of which will really have a finite end - not even when he does catch his foe).

Misha Gericke said...

*is driven...