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Monday, June 14, 2010

When tried and true gets abandoned for tired and false

This post was inspired by watching a teeny-bopper movie with my daughter yesterday, one I've seen before but never fails to get my hackles up. It's a modern-day Cinderella story, featuring a masquerade ball.

After IMing with this incredible, poetic guy from school for some time, our Cinderella arranged to meet him, dressed as her fairy tale character (him as Prince Charming) at a school dance, but it was a masked affair. So, naturally, she wore a tiny little eye mask, which allowed the viewers to identify her, but nobody else at the ball could tell who she was. Naturally. (Flashback to every soap opera ever, where there's a masquerade ball, and none of the characters can tell who the others are.) Dumb, dumb. The Prince, of course, wore no mask, so she recognized him immediately (Mr. Popularity). To make matters worse, Prince Charming's friends tried to help him find his Cinderella the next day at school (next day? a school dance on a weekday, until after midnight??), and all size and shape of girls were included in the lineup. Not only those built like the girl he danced with. Not only blondes, like the girl he danced with. Seriously? When we go out trick or treating and the kids from my kids' classes are in full costumes, we can still tell who they are. This inability to recognize a girl with her undereye area obscured becomes a full-on plot device in the movie (nobody else has a clue who she is either), and the guy never does figure out who she is, until his evil ex outs her at a pep rally. Sheesh. Most of this problem could've been solved if the costume folks would have given our princess a full mask to hold up in front of her face. Why the eye mask? Why?

It's right up there with the old soap opera car/airplane crash victims who go around with a patch of gauze on their forehead (the only visible sign of injury) for 4 months after the accident. Soaps really aren't about plots or reality though. They're about sexy guys and glamorous women and high adventure (albeit slow-progressing high adventure). Dressing up, and fighting for love, and happily ever... oh, wait. Nothing is forever on a soap, because today's HEA is next week's angst fodder.

So. Never let it be said that soap operas and romance novels are similar. In the world of novels, an unrealistic plot device is called a "wallbanger", meaning it'll cause the reader to throw the book against the wall in disgust. And I'm so glad I write romances, where I can see my characters get (and keep!) their happy ending.

Have a great Monday.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

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