Taken from Great Moments in Framing. Read the article, if you don’t think the picture justifies my title.
Also see a very interesting post by Scott Aaronson, from where I got the link in the first place:
Consider the following template, which (with small variations) might describe a third of the world’s movies and novels:
- Girl, the protagonist, is set to marry the well-off, educated Dependable Guy, who does something insufferable for a living such as working. Girl’s parents strongly favor this union.
- Girl meets (or re-meets) Dashing Artist Guy, who steals her heart away. In the closing scene, Girl and DAG walk happily into the sunset; Dependable Guy is not shown.
[…](The writers stack the odds)
in Dashing Artist Guy’s favor by making Dependable Guy some combination of mean, old, lecherous, ugly, humorless, or vengeful, or by making Girl’s marriage to him a forced one. (Think of Cal in Titanic or Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof.) In the more interesting variants, Dependable Guy might have none of the negative qualities, and Girl might be shown agonizing over a genuine choice—but she still always goes for DAG in the end.
Interestingly, the writers invariably stack the deck further by portraying DAG as 100% committed to Girl—even though a realistic assessment might find that if DAG stole one heart, then he can and will steal plenty of others as well, and thus the notion of Girl and DAG living together happily ever after may simply represent audience members’ wish-fulfillment fantasy. Indeed, skepticism about DAG’s long-term motives might be the reason Girl’s parents favor Dependable Guy.
I find it a little ironic that I’m supporting something that holds up what is a de-facto arranged marriage as a more sensible alternative, but I console myself by thinking that people who know me (or regular readers here, for that matter) will understand the nuances of the situation.