I am fascinated by yesterday’s comment thread. We were discussing chemistry, and the variety of the responses were so intriguing! Some people said they liked the idea of Andie from Pretty in Pink ending up with Duckie, but others thought Duckie was merely annoying and couldn’t picture it. Some people loved the idea of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Spike, or hated the idea of her with Riley. One commenter takes issue with the fact that I’m just not into Mick St. John from Moonlight (though I’d happily take a dozen Josefs, or Logans, or oh, just give me some Jason Dohring, and I’m a happy camper!) I especially loved Maureen’s comment that her perceived lack of chemistry between Kristen Bell and Teddy Dunn actually led her to draw conclusions about the plot line.
This just goes to show that chemistry is very subjective. Our taste in human beings varies, as does our preference for human interaction. I know some people get all hot and bothered by the alpha male and the damsel in distress roles. They are drawn to romantic stories that feature these types of characters playing out these types of roles. Others prefer different types of relationships — something more offbeat, or more role-reversal, or what-have-you. One person’s “McDreamy” is another person’s “When did he change his name from Dempsey?”
I think when you have a character like Veronica, or, more particularly, like Buffy, who is able to have several long-term, very intense and passionate relationships with different partners, you can drawn your own conclusions as to which “type” best complements her character, and what each partner can bring to the hero. It’s like that scene from Pulp Fiction, where Mia Wallace claims she knows all she needs to about a man from the answer to: “Betty or Veronica?”
On one hand, we can talk about archetype ’til the cows come home. But there’s a lot more to character than archetype, and you can see characters going for the same “type” over and over again and having very different relationships (::cough::Buffy::cough). But the folks who are going to be drawn to the doomed star-crossed whatnot of Buffy and Angel may not find the sado-masochistic thingamajiggy going on with Buffy and Spike all that appealing.
And maybe what you never thought you’d find appealing may hit you right, if the right chemistry exists.
Actually, Dohring is an especially interesting case there. I have never, EVER been into the bad boy. Ever. And when I first saw Dohring in the role of Logan, I didn’t find him especially attractive. But somehow, over the course of the season…. gah. By the time we got to “Weapons of Class Destruction,” I was a complete goner.* And now I’ll watch that dude read the phone book. I watch Moonlight to get the occasional glimpse of him. On a mental level, I don’t know if those two characters are good together. But the chemistry between the actors is so undeniable that it sells the story beautifully.
I’m not quite sure how or if this translates to books, though. I do know that I’ve written things or plotted things that didn’t translate in the text. Is that the equivalent? Are they even comparable?
* Okay, so I gradded out my V. Mars DVDs, and Logan actually apes James Spaders’ blocking in several scenes — I knew I’d seen that somewhere recently! There’s this scene where Steph talks to Blaine, then points at the bell right before it goes off. Logan does the same thing to Veronica in the episode “Hot Dogs,” in their first conversation after The Kiss.