**WARNING…. this post will have spoilers inside. If you follow “Once Upon a Time,” “Fringe” and “Eureka” and are a bit behind, you may want to stop reading here.***
Yesterday I went on a bit of a tele-binge. You know, when you plop down and resolve to get through the programs that you have DVR’d for the past few weeks. During the day, I caught up on the last few weeks of “Once Upon a Time” and after the girls were in bed, the hubs and I finished off “Fringe” and caught up with “Eureka.”
Now, unless you are cut off from all media, or been living under a rock, you know that last week, President Obama came out in support of same sex marriage (SSM.) This announcement was met with cheers and jeers, depending on which side you fall on. For cynics like me, this was seen more as just a political stunt than anything else, but that’s just me. (I am not sure when I became disenchanted with our government, I mean I’m a military kid! I joined ROTC for 2 years, and decided it wasn’t for me. Honestly, mostly it’s with Congress, you know, the folks who “speak” for the people? I’m still down with the SCOTUS, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Anyway, marriage and the right to marriage has been pushed to the forefront of American discussions and you will hear opinions all over the place, and I wonder if it’s because the institution of Marriage just doesn’t carry the same weight that it used to. You figure, people first started marrying to unite property first and the joining of families, having kids was secondary. Then as cultures and civilizations became more modern, marriage was seen as a stable way to continue the growth of the people. Tax incentives and breaks then followed to encourage the marrying of couples and we all lived happily ever after.
Or did we?
If you take a look at marriage in the media… it’s all over the place and at the same time, nowhere. Places where you will find “traditional” views of happy marriages are usually in sitcoms, typically with the husband playing the role of the bumbling or pudgy or unattractive fool and the wife being svelte, gorgeous and smart. Other popular comedies feature unmarried couples living together, sleeping together and playing the field. If there is a marriage or wedding, it’s usually treated as the butt of jokes.
Dramas on the other hand seem to really shy away from marriage.
On the season finale of “Fringe,” two of our main characters saved the day and (last season they finally declared their love for each other) it looked like they were going to get their happily ever after. So, final scene and our male lead brings in a… newspaper? With a house circled? I guess that makes sense, if you love someone, you buy a house with them! But then our female lead dropped a bombshell… she was expecting! And fin. Will we see a “Fringe” wedding?
On “Eureka” there is a similar vein. Our male and female leads have been missing romantic opportunities for the longest time and finally they are together. She moves in with him into his “smart home” with her two children and they live happily ever after, or as much as they can on “Eureka.”
Other programs where characters are married are also usually filled with adultery: “Mad Men,” and Soap Operas come to mind as well as dating “Reality” TV shows like “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” “Once Upon a Time” to me was a bit of a bright spot, until Snow White and Prince Charming were caught up in an adulterous affair!
Real-life Hollywood marriages that have lasted are rarely in the media (Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Kevin Bacon and Kira Sedgwick) but Brangelina, and a Kardashian Cacophony are front page news. (And I guess, Brangelina are officially engaged to be married… at least they were 4 weeks ago.)
So my question is this:
Why are we so quick to defend the Institution of Marriage from those who want to change or re-define it, but we are OK with media portraying marriage as a sham, a joke or something that is not needed?
Maybe this is all moot, after all, the best marriage to emulate is the marriage of your parents… but if you are like me, the child of divorced parents, or your parents’ marriage was abusive or otherwise toxic, where else would you get an idea of marriage but through the media?