Romance: It’s All About Execution

Share on Tumblr

Yes, I’m still on a romance kick. I’m afraid I’ve been giving the impression that I’m anti-romance, when that’s not true. I’m against forced romance, romance placed in a story simply because someone, somewhere deemed it “necessary” even if it doesn’t fit.

There are cases of romance I really quite enjoy. For example, on NCIS, they have started introducing, very slowly and casually, a romantic relationship for one of their leads. Tony’s a playboy – up until this point, the interactions he has with women have been overtly sexual and flirty and completely not serious. It’s been a facet of his character that’s not particularly endearing, and it has enhanced his general immaturity.

Enter this new woman. The first time we saw her, they were on a dinner date. It was apparent immediately that this was different from how Tony usually behaves around women. He was serious and focused. And sincere. In subsequent viewings of this relationship (which are very few, and very small), the differences in Tony continue. He’s gone out with this woman for a month and hasn’t slept with her yet. He’s nervous about it.

It’s SO nice to see romance in this case because it gives Tony added depth, where before he was just a player. It doesn’t overpower the storyline-of-the-week. It isn’t the focus, it’s just a part.

Contrast this romance with last year’s bombarding flashbacks of Tony’s boss with the NCIS director steaming it up in Paris, and it’s a very welcome change indeed. Last year, they shoved it at us to the point of nausea. This year, subtlety is the word.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    I agree that sounds a lot more interesting than what you describe from last season. I do hope, though, that the reason they’re being more subtle with the more serious relationship isn’t just that they think illicit or tacky sex deserves lots of screentime while more healthy relationships are dull and should be kept to a minimum.

    Not that I’m trying to be negative! Hopefully, they’ve learned from last season that people don’t always want sex on every show.

  2. sbg says

    I don’t think so. I never quite figured out the flashback thing from last year, partially because I found it so off-putting. I know there was probably a point beyond titillation, but all it made me do was really hate the new female director. They flashed back EVERY time she interacted with her new subordinate (who didn’t treat her as a superior, but as someone he’d once slept with and therefore couldn’t quite respect). I also started to hate the lead male character (her subordinate).

    It was just gross, all around.

    I’m hoping they’re not setting this new romance up as a way to create a triangular tension between Tony and his female coworker, who’s kind of figured out something’s going on and she doesn’t look like she likes it.

    There has been one thing I don’t like about the new romance – Tony went up to the director’s office to ask her advice about the woman he’s dating. That scene seemed forced and silly.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    There has been one thing I don’t like about the new romance – Tony went up to the director’s office to ask her advice about the woman he’s dating. That scene seemed forced and silly.

    Oh, that’s just lovely. Reminds me of the Stargate ep where Sam asks Jack if she should accept Pete’s proposal, with strong undertones of “you know, unless YOU’D like to have me, sir, in which case I’d wait faithfully until you’re finally bored with the 3,000 things you’ve obviously put ahead of the imaginary relationship we have.” :D

  4. scarlett says

    This is one of the things I love about two of the relationships in Grey’s Anatomy, a feeling that it happened naturally and it’s a small part of the story, as well as helping flesh out characters by demonstrating how they act to particular situations when they have to think of someone else. I agree with sbg, I’m not ANTI ship or romance, I quite like it, but I think too much of it is forced and put front-and-center.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’m the same way. I don’t like anything that feels like it’s been thrown into a story – to me, you might as well throw in some dancing bears and a trapeze artist. If it’s irrelevant and pointless, it’s not going to work.

    OTOH, quite a few writers manage to do it well, or at least not offensively, even when they’re dealing with the most vapid “Oh, and throw in a wedding while you’re at it” notes from the network.

  6. sbg says

    Oh, that’s just lovely. Reminds me of the Stargate ep where Sam asks Jack if she should accept Pete’s proposal, with strong undertones of “you know, unless YOU’D like to have me, sir, in which case I’d wait faithfully until you’re finally bored with the 3,000 things you’ve obviously put ahead of the imaginary relationship we have.”

    Oh, no, no. Madame Director isn’t the potential third party female. MD was the woman involved in the flashbacks with the other guy, last year.

    The worrisome (but not terribly much so) third angle is Ziva Sue, the Israeli wonder woman who can do everything.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    I didn’t mean the storyline sounded similar… I just meant to compare the sheer pointlessness of the two scenes. My bad for not being clearer.

  8. MaggieCat says

    I’m hoping they’re not setting this new romance up as a way to create a triangular tension between Tony and his female coworker, who’s kind of figured out something’s going on and she doesn’t look like she likes it.

    God I hope this isn’t what they’re doing. Wasn’t there something in the season premier about Ziva having been seen at Tony’s apartment? (I’m thinking of the the setting-her-up-to-look-like-a-terrorist guys?) Granted that could be perfectly innocent, but I don’t like the way it’s looking. This is why I’m afraid to get attached to new, slightly more mature Tony, or the new girlfriend- I’m convinced that both will go the way of the dodo after Ziva decides that she’s interested in him. And of course he’ll pick Ziva because she’s so darn perfect. I’ve just seen it happen so many times, and the lack of subtlety last season that you mentioned just makes it seem so much more likely.

    There has been one thing I don’t like about the new romance – Tony went up to the director’s office to ask her advice about the woman he’s dating. That scene seemed forced and silly.

    I don’t remember this scene, but in theory I don’t particularly mind it. Appropriateness could be in question, but Tony’s always gotten along with Director Sheppard pretty well, and since he took over the team after Gibbs’ impermanent retirement they would have gotten to know each other pretty well. Considering his history with women I’m guessing he doesn’t have a lot of female friends other than co-workers, and Ziva’s out because of the possible triangle and Abby should not be used as a baseline for normalcy. But since I don’t remember the actual scene there’s plenty of room for them to have screwed up the dialogue or something else.

  9. sbg says

    God I hope this isn’t what they’re doing. Wasn’t there something in the season premier about Ziva having been seen at Tony’s apartment? (I’m thinking of the the setting-her-up-to-look-like-a-terrorist guys?) Granted that could be perfectly innocent, but I don’t like the way it’s looking. This is why I’m afraid to get attached to new, slightly more mature Tony, or the new girlfriend- I’m convinced that both will go the way of the dodo after Ziva decides that she’s interested in him. And of course he’ll pick Ziva because she’s so darn perfect. I’ve just seen it happen so many times, and the lack of subtlety last season that you mentioned just makes it seem so much more likely.

    Yeah. I cringed when they gave away that tidbit. You’re right – NCIS’s PTB aren’t exactly ones for subtlety, which probably means I’m kidding myself with this maturing of Tony. I’ve always known there was more to him than the player facade and it’s been so damn nice to see that playing out on the screen for a change.

    As for the convo with Madame Director, I’ll confess that was probably me projecting my serious dislike of the character. She’s not as terrible this year as last, but there’s still something about her I just do not like.

  10. Lex says

    Oh, I assumed this was all part of Tony’s undercover work – the mission that’s been referred to on and off. It never crossed my mind this was actually a real relationship due to the fact that Tony keeps wandering off in the middle of the day and lying about it, that he has a second mobile phone for those particular calls, etc. Tony’s great at undercover, and the conversation with Madam Director read to me as Tony asking if it was okay for him to sleep with someone for the job.

    If they do put in some actual romance to the show I’d be interested to see how they do it, but I don’t for a moment imagine this is it.

  11. sbg says

    Mission? *blink, blink*

    Seriously, I must not watch closely enough. I’ve missed those references.

    Well now I feel stupid, because I really was enjoying both their interaction and Tony’s maturity level increase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.