February 14, 2010

My Two-Cents on 'Shippers

So, the Week of the Chuck-pocalypse is over, but I'm sure the hub bub isn't going to die down anytime soon.  With it being Valentine's Day, I've decided to go in to more depth about my thoughts on the phenomena of "ships" and "shippers".

For those not hip to the lingo "ships" is short for "relationships" which usually involve two main characters.  For the most part, I see 'ships as a crutch and an excuse for lazy storytelling.  Every show nowadays needs two attractive leads that have chemistry and sexual tension because most viewers insist on having that element for whatever reason. Maybe I'm dead inside, but "will they/won't they" story lines are rarely appealing to me, and in a lot of instances they take me out of a show.  I stopped watching CSI the second they put Grissom and Sara together, and I was out the door once House kissed Cuddy.

The reason I tend to not like these kind of 'ships is because they're merely distractions that take away from main core of the show, but some fans latch on to these relationships so tightly that they bring in pretty good ratings.

The term "shippers" refers to a subgroup of fans of a TV show, piece of fiction, or other creative work that is very emotionally invested in the relationship between two characters that any deviation from the happy couple leads to very visceral reactions, which was demonstrated this week when the creators of Chuck decided to give the two main leads romantic interests that were not each other.  The Internets exploded with people voicing their displeasure, how betrayed they felt, and some even decided to organize a boycott which would essentially cancel their beloved show rather than right the ship.  See, visceral.  While it's easy to take shots at shippers, I've done my fair share, I do have to cut the Suck (shippers love to combine names such, as Sarah + Chuck = Suck) shippers a break because I've been known to ship myself.

One relationship that I got too emotionally invested in was Angel and Cordelia, which really hit its stride during season 3 of Angel.  It was so cool watching Angel fall for someone other than Buffy, and who could blame him; Cordelia was smoking hot, funny, and she could hold her own in a fight.  Most of season 3 was dedicated to Angel and Cordy realizing their feelings for one another, but of course some roadblocks had to be placed in their way in the forms of old flames (Darla and Groosalugg). During the S3 finale, the two were so close to admitting their feelings for one another but Angel gets sent to the bottom of the ocean while Cordy becomes a higher being. WTF? Shippers had another shot to see Angel and Cordelia together once and for all, but then she gets possessed by a god and gets knocked up by Angel's son. That pretty much ruined the show for a lot of fans, me included, but we did get somewhat of a payoff during the season 5 episode "You're Welcome". I really, really, really wanted to see these two get together, but Joss Whedon is the master of pissing off shippers (Mal and Inara from Firefly is another example of his sadism), so it was not to be. The whole relationship was obviously not the core of the show, but it was a fun little aside that was easy to get caught up in, and I'm still a little miffed about how it ended up.

Another 'ship that I've seen myself care way too much about is Ted and Robin on How I Met Your Mother. While, I'm not delusional enough to argue that Robin is actually the mother, that theory was shattered at the end of the pilot, but I still believe that they're going to end up together at the end of the series. People think that's crazy since Future Ted always refers to Robin as "Aunt Robin", but that doesn't mean that he will not reveal that they're getting together at the very end of the series. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm still holding on to some hope because I've always thought they made sense because they balance one another out, something that cannot be said about Robin and Barney, and I think the creators think so too. Every season we get little hints that they still care for one another, and sometimes these hints are swerves, but I can't help but fall for them. Regardless, I'm going to believe that Ted and Robin are destined for one another until HIMYM shatters my hopes and dreams, which is totally possible.

Besides the ones I mentioned, there are some other 'ships that I'm somewhat interested in, like Castle/Beckett and to a lesser extent Booth/Brennan, but not enough to get all pissy if the couples don't end up together because a TV show should not be just about the whole "will they, won't they" cliche, but about telling a good story. If that story dictates that the two leads should not be together, I'm usually going to be OK with that...unless one of them gets impregnated by the son of the other. That's where I draw the line.

P.S. - According to the EW's Michael Ausiello, Caskett and B&B shippers may be revolting like the Suck shippers did based on some inside information.


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