When I was in grade five, I wanted to be an FBI agent when I grew up. More specifically, I wanted to be Dana Scully.
She was my hero of heroes. Smart, witty, gorgeous, with the enviable talent of being able to chase down bad guys, or aliens, or fat sucking monsters wearing five inch high heels, traversing through the darkest parts, of the scariest nights, with nothing but the aid of an industrial strength flash light powered by what, if I had to wager a guess, was probably a car battery.
The lady was not to be trifled with.
In my memory, The X-Files was the show to end all shows. Episodes varied on a scale from creepy to downright terrifying (with a few comedic gems thrown in to keep viewers on their toes); it had great writing and fab acting; the cast was chock-a-block full of beautiful people, and the main characters exuded enough sexual tension that it was all you could do not to shout out “JUST DO IT ALREADY!” at your TV.
(Full disclosure: I wasn’t doing that when I was eleven years old. That came after years of watching Mulder and Scully cast smouldering glances from a distance, and you know – puberty.)
Now the show is available on Netflix and I find myself watching old episodes. It’s funny, remembering how hugely invested I was in the lives of the characters, how freaked out I would be when I went to bed on those Sunday evenings, post-show, and how I desperately wanted Mulder and Scully to hook up.
Seriously. I really, really wanted them to get together. I desperately wanted them admit how much they loved each other, and, ahem, get it on.
In the parlance of our times, I “shipped” them, as a couple.
Unsure of the definition of “shipping?” An excellent definition can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipping_%28fandom%29
I read a really hilarious article on the blog Jezebel about a week ago about television show “shippers” – and I found myself reminiscing about little old high school me – so content to pine away for the fictional love of two fictional people.
It’s a pretty common, not to mention wide-spread phenomenon; individuals ship pairings that range from the conventional, to the downright erm-we-should-probably-be-calling-the-men-in-the-white-coats-now-that-we’ve-crossed-this-line.
Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz I guess – but some of the crap out there is downright BIZARRE.
My first memory of shipping a couple is from the hilariously cheesy kids show Ghost Writer that aired on the Knowledge Network (here in Canada) from 1992-1995.
The plot revolved around a close-knit group of friends that lived in Brooklyn, NY. These young detectives solved crimes with the help of an invisible ghost that would give them clues by re-arranging letters on posters, or notebooks, or menus (or whatever.) The premise was beyond hokey, which for us darned kids meant it was epic in the extreme.
Dana Scully may have made me want to become an FBI agent (crushing blow that it was to find out that there would be a snowball’s chance in hell, what with me being Canadian) but this show (along with Penny from Inspector Gadget, Nancy Drew, and Harriet the Spy) definitely planted the crime solving seed.
I’m also pretty sure that the ridiculously chaste kiss shared between Alex and Tina was the first public display of affection I witnessed on the old boob tube, and I LOVED them as a couple.
After ye old implosion of quality X-Files programming post-fifth season (circa 1998 – coinciding with the series’ move to LA) I continued to watch for a while but eventually lost interest, in both the plot and the relationship between the two main characters.
For many moons I didn’t yearn for the development of a TV relationship. I didn’t watch much television for pretty much the next decade (M and I were on a pretty strict movie-only diet in terms of watching things on screens.)
I was ship-less and fancy free.
It wasn’t until a friend of M’s and I gave us the first three seasons of Battlestar Gallactica that it began again (and in earnest at that.)
P.S. Box sets are pretty much the greatest gift you could ever give to someone trying to finish their first semester as a grad student! (Between BSG and entirety of The Wire Mr. M ordered over Amazon, it’s a bloody miracle I finished all of my term papers, let alone made it to any of my classes.)
Anywho, the couple that I am about to admit to shipping (and shipping like a madwoman at that) always made (and still makes) me feel a little weird, or at least gives me pause.
The slow-developed (and ultimately heartbreaking) relationship between William Adama and Laura Roslin nearly well did me in during the year or so I spent watching that show.
I felt like I was going crazy at certain parts of the show’s run, what with how badly I wanted them to get married and live happily ever after. (A lot of this probably had to do with the fact that I couldn’t stand the majority of the characters on the show, wasn’t all that connected to the plot line, and didn’t really care whether or not the cylons wiped out the entirety of the human race, and crowned Lucy Lawless the Warrior Queen of the galaxy.)
I watched the show, because I really, really loved the connection between the Admiral and the President. And I also wanted them to, ahem, get it on.
(I’m not a pervert I swear.)
Plus I have this weird thing for Edward James Olmos, despite the fact that he’s about six hundred and ninety two. (Still not a pervert, I promise you.)
He’s just got such an awesome voice.
Currently, the couple that puts a giant, stupid smile on my face is Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation. This is (in my opinion) the best show on TV at the moment, and these two characters are both bloody hilarious, but also honest, sincere, and adorable in terms of their love for, and commitment to one another.
Also, TREAT YO SELF.
So why do we ship? Why do I ship? I think it depends on what was going on with me during that time of my life when I found myself attracted to the (thought of) these relationships.
I think a part of it stems from something – whether it is a characteristic, or a situation – that I identify with; something about the relationship is representative of me, or my relationships, in some way: be it something I yearn for, have, take strength from, or heck, maybe even shy away from.
So what about you, my lovely readers?
Are there any couples that you love, or that you tear your hair out wishing they would get together?
And if you do, what is it about that relationship that speaks to you?
Besides of course, watching them, ahem, get it on.