So, I love Dharma and Greg. I like That 70s Show. I like them for many reasons, but one of the reasons I keep watching them is because of the way relationships are portrayed.
I like the Spiderman movies, but find one thing about them to be horrendously annoying. The relationship between Spidey and his woman. I had to ask Wally what her name was, it’s MJ. At the end of the first movie, he decides he cannot pursue a relationship with her because of who he is. By the end of the second movie, she knows who he is and decides to have a relationship with him anyway. She goes into that relationship with her eyes open about who he is. And the third movie largely centers on her being a bitch about him being 1) a man and 2) spiderman. I’ll give them that Spidey was being a bit of a jerk, as well, but many of the things she’s mad about are just normal Peter Parker/Spidey stuff. He had a hot female lab partner he didn’t tell her about. He keeps the police scanner on. It’s so annoying that she’s annoyed by him being HIM.
On the other hand, let’s take That 70s Show, which I never thought was a show I’d like. But Donna and Eric’s relationship is not a bad one. (I find it interesting that I like certain writers for that show better than others, too.) They accept each other at face value. They have their problems, but in the end, they want what is best for each other – not themselves. They are not so self-focused. They’re sensible and reasonable. There’s give and take. Even though I wouldn’t say that they have a super strong commitment, they do show, throughout the show, a willingness and a desire to make it work.
Dharma and Greg is much the same way. Dharma and Greg have problems, certainly, but at the heart of it, they have decided to make it work. So it does work. Because they decided. Greg’s parents and Dharma’s parents have relationships that are soooo different from each other, but at their heart, they also share a deep affection and a commitment to each other.
Wally was watching spiderman 3 while I worked today and I got to thinking about this. One of the things that annoys me about relationships is people who get mad at someone else for being who they are. (NOTE: This annoys me in me, too. I’m not stupid enough to think I don’t do this.) I reached a point with my mom where I just accepted her for who she was. She still annoyed the piss out of me, but once I started expecting her to be HER instead of That Mother I Wish I Had, it was much better. I haven’t listened to Dr. Laura for a while, but one of the things she’s always yelling at women for is being mad at their husbands for being men, or expecting them to be women. My husband is not a woman. When I’m having a problem, I expect him to be a man in his response, not a woman. If I want only a sympathetic ear and nothing else, I have to tell him that first, or I just have to call a girl.
It would be pointless for me to be mad at him for trying to fix it for me because he is a man, and that is what men do.
Similarly, when we first got married, Randy was a huge Bulls fan. (Now that all the players we liked are gone, he doesn’t actually watch any more.) That meant lots of Bulls watching. I could have been resentful at his hogging the TV during basketball season, but how dishonest would that have been? he was a Bulls fan when we were dating, and it would have been unreasonable of me to expect him to quit watching just because I was in the room.
Anyway. I found it interesting to realize my taste in tv is colored by my beliefs about relationships.