Why TV needs more platonic relationships

The notion that men and women can’t be friends has always annoyed me. One of the reasons is because it’s not true and also because that mindset has carried over into television.

I can count on one hand how many TV shows have a man and a woman who are strictly friends and when I say strictly, I mean without the “Will they/Won’t they” trope attached. Leslie and Ron, Liz and Jack, and Turk and Elliot are all great examples, but relationships like those feel more like the exceptions instead of the norm.

Like I’ve said in numerous posts before, I don’t have a problem with romance, I have a problem with stale and predictable writing. If a romance/relationship is done right, I’m always appreciative because romance storylines can become awful fast and also a chore to watch. 

Hold the romance: TV’s 10 best platonic relationships

Me wanting more platonic relationships isn’t just for my personal preference, I believe it will benefit the shows as well. Having a male and female character be legitimate friends without a possible romance being insinuated will keep the show from being predictable and formulaic. Television series constantly make the (in my opinion) mistake of letting the audience know too early who’s going to be dating who. In some cases, this can be done right, but a lot of times it just comes off as lazy writing.

One of the shows that handled a romantic relationship well was Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Jake and Amy. The show has handled this relationship well by establishing Jake and Amy’s friendship first. Even if you kind of knew that they would eventually get together, the show made sure you saw the two characters as actual friends before anything else.

While we’re on the subject of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, they have numerous relationships on the show between men and women that have no chance of romance at all. Take Boyle and Rosa, for example, the show actually did the opposite of how most shows handle romantic feelings between two characters. Throughout season 1, Boyle was in love with Rosa and even though she didn’t feel the same, their relationship was still somewhat based on romance. It wasn’t until later on in the season that Boyle’s feelings for Rosa changed and they have since become really good friends on the show. An inferior show would have dragged on Boyle’s crush for numerous seasons before him getting over it or Rosa beginning to feel the same way. The fact that they didn’t take that route is refreshing and I will always applaud writing like that.

The reason I feel so strongly about this topic is that Television today is a very influential medium. Whether it’s children, millennials, or whoever, lots of people apply the values they see on TV into their everyday lives. And because of that, I don’t want people believing that a man and woman being solely friends is unbelievable.


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