Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happily Ever After

So... I've been thinking about things. And for me thinking produces one of two things. Either a) an intense revelation which is exciting and illuminating but then quickly gets forgotten or b) a blog post. And today, it has resulted in the latter, hello internet :-)

I'm... I'm getting married in 121 days! Well, when I say that I really should say that WE are getting married, as it's not really something that I can do by myself at all. But I guess I haven't entirely talked about relationships all that much out here and so I'll just leave it as 'I' for now, and hope that you know what I mean.
Getting married is exciting. Planning a wedding is... not so exciting. Thinking about a wedding is exciting! Thinking about being a bride, about wearing the beautiful dress and having photos taken and being all sparkly and made up - now that is exciting.

Now I'm going to switch topics here, watch this. Have I spoken here before about my intense love of reality tv? Wait, don't go, I'm not talking about Big Brother or Pop Idol or ones like that, I'm talking about the transformation shows. The before/after shows. The ones like Changing Rooms; Backyard Blitz; even Extreme Makeover, which I don't agree with - because I don't really like cosmetic surgery, but I do still love seeing the before and after shots, and seeing the magic of something transformed. The reveal shot, where you've seen what something looked like before, and you know that the magic is going to have changed it into something better... and then you see the end result, and you can't believe how much it's changed, and then before anything can get messed up the credits roll and that's the end!

I remember one episode of the Australian Changing Rooms show where they went back to all the rooms several months after they'd filmed the shows. I was initially excited about seeing how it had changed the families houses and lives, how it had impacted them, what had happened next. It turned out ot be a really disapointing show for me though. The people had lived in the rooms, they'd messed them up, they'd dirtied them, changed things around, and in some cases even taken the new things out and tried to make it back like the old. The magic disappeared and I wasn't interested anymore.

You know what else I love? Happy stories and films. But especially - the Cinderella stories. The ones where it starts fine, then things get worse, and then there's a wonderful, magical ending. Pretty Woman - where she starts out as a prostitute and ends up with a rich man in love with her wanting to marry her. Sense & Sensibility - which starts with the girls losing their father and ends with a double wedding where they each marry the man of their dreams. Dirty Dancing - where Baby starts out as an awkward teenager and ends up as a sexy dancer with a gorgeous man who loves her. I'm a sucker for an amazing ending. I don't like stories which leave you wondering what happened next? were things got resolved? did they get together? did they find their answer? what was the solution? Nope, show me the magic, show me the climax, show me the fun, the sparkle, the joy. (And if it can end with a big dance number, Bollywood style, then bring it on!)

(Btw this did lead me into a bad period after I'd read 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell - I was dying, dying to know what happened to Scarlett and Rhett. I wanted to know so badly that I went out and read the sequel, which was not written by Margaret Mitchell at all. At all! Apparently (a friend told me this, and I'm not googling this for confirmation) after MM died there was a competition held to see who had a similar writing style, and the winner got her notes that she'd written on the sequel, and wrote the book from there. If you haven't read it - let me spoil it for you so you don't need to bother: it's terrible, but they do get together in the end. On, like, the last page I think. If you have read it: terrible wasn't it?)

What's interesting in the examples I've mentioned above though (and any more romcoms or Jane Austen novels you can think of), is that the exciting event, the 'happy ending' always happens at the end. Well, I mean obviously, I am talking about a happy 'ending', which by definition wouldn't happen in the middle, but I think it's interesting that it's rare for a proposal or wedding to happen in the middle of a film. It's usually presented as the end point, the conclusion. It's the wrapping up event of a story or film. "And then they got married, and they lived happily ever after." You don't usually see the happily ever after, you don't need to, as it's not all that interesting - the interesting part was the lead up, the chase, the courting, the danger that it might not work out, the tension where nobody was sure, and then the exciting climax where you found out that it would happen after all.

Think about any TV show where there are male/female lead characters who bounce off a kind of sexual tension - I'm thinking of Lois & Clark in particular. Remember that one? Everyone wanted them to get together, everyone. Who didn't want Superman to finally get the girl? And then he did, they got together, and the mystery left. The tension was gone and it wasn't interesting and the show was cancelled. We'd seen enough. They got together, and they were together - what more did we need to know?

So... now I'm getting married, and I'm starting to realise that this movie-magic is a little bit too far engrained into my thinking. I don't want the rest of my life to be summed up by those three little words, 'happily ever after'. Sure, that's a nice epitaph, but can't there be more excitment and story before we conclude things like that? Can't there be more living? More drama? More chapters? I want there to be many, many words. I want there to be so much excitement and tension and magic and joy that it can't come anywhere NEAR to being contained by 3 little words! I'm planning an amazing reveal, a huge performance, a beautiful dress, a stunning look, an amazing party - but after that... what happens? What happens when the book has finished? When the cameras stop rolling and the audience has left?

I'm asking questions like there's going to be a conclusion here... and there's not ;-) I am excited about being married (and to the most amazing man ever also!), I don't want this to sound like I'm not. Just that I'm worried that I'm such a product of all the stories that I've fed into my brain for the last 28 years that I'm not able to think beyond that.

I feel like this post needs a better ending. But, upon a few hours reflection, maybe it's not an ending I'm looking for.

Hmmm, yeah I like that. Deep.