Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I'm Agro Today: Sitcom Vacations...

Why was it that on all sitcoms of the nineties, especially and perhaps even surprisingly, TGIF sitcoms, whenever the characters would go on vacation, at least one of them would fall head over heels for some tanned, toned, bleached-teeth beach hunk and after only half an hour (or a week in sitcom-time) decide he or she wants to get married to the person? In Saved By The Bell, Zack fell for the single mom Rena Sofer in the Hawaiian Vacation special; in Step By Step, Dana was proposed to by Jessie Spano's step-brother (who just happened to be self-made millionaire); and in Full House, Joey (of all people!) was practically stalked by some mysterious island woman! At least when Monica and Chandler hooked up in London on Friends, they didn't jump too far into anything...but then again, they came together during a drunken wedding reception, not a tropical beach paradise! Still, it set up an unrealistic expectation that never once paid off for me!

Maybe it had something to do with the location (Hawaii appeared to be the go-to vacation setting back then; perhaps they were offering tax incentives on productions), but I, in my finite eight and ten year old wisdom, could not see that and would spend every trip my mother and I took (usually to Disney World, the other go-to for any ABC show, at least) scanning the hotel pool or the line for Haunted Mansion for adorable boys who my be able to sweep me off my little feet for a whirlwind week and a half. I never found what I was looking for.

Even when I finally got myself to Hawaii, first for Christmas with a friend's family and then spring break with two of my closest friends from college, the only guy who ever caught my eye was the old gentleman who walked up and down one of the smaller, semi-private, pointing out to all of the tourists which famous people owned which vacation house. Once again, I was tricked into believing things could be simple and sweet based on scripts I saw play out on screen, and the worst part was I didn't realize it had seeped so deeply into my subconscious until just recently, when trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger in an airport terminal. That didn't go so well either: I kept glancing over at him, trying to be nonchalant, but he kept noticing me glancing and probably thought I was trying to figure out if I had seen him in a soap or something. At one point he actually got up and switched to a different hard-backed plastic chair, I'm convinced just to be out of my eye-line!

I don’t know what happened. I have prided myself on the fact that I have always been able to separate fact from fiction or just romanticizing (and sometimes to a fault), yet this one somehow managed to slip through. And suddenly I was forced, once again, to take a look at all I believed could be based on something that never was but which I clung to. It appears I have a lot more work to do...and I hate having to work!


Jaime said...

It's not just you. I think TV and movies have effectively influenced all of my romantic idealizations, usually in a negative way. I keep expecting everything to turn out all sweet like every romantic comedy I've ever seen, when in reality my love life tends to be more Laura Linney in Love, Actually or Kate Winslet in The Holiday than anything else I've seen on screen.

danielletbd said...

Hence the thesis of my book :)