Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Relationship therapy for the cost of a cable bill

Romance is a tricky business.

Everyone knows that. People fall in and out of love every day. Romance fizzles. Passions fade, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find great role models to imitate on the quest for true and lasting love. Young men and women look everywhere for tips and hints on how to find that perfect someone and, more importantly, how to keep them.

In this fast-paced and complicated world, establishing a deep connection can be almost impossible. Thousands of people turn to friends, family members and licensed professionals for help in the pursuit of happily-ever-after.


Others simply turn on the television.

It may not be the most accurate source for love advice, but TV is cheap and easily accessible. There are countless pointers a viewer can acquire about the joys and pitfalls of a relationship while sitting in front of that big, square box.

Since its very first shows, television has provided a model of how love should be for the rest of us. In the beginning, the most popular shows like “I Love Lucy” told us that love was providing, serving and sleeping in separate beds. In the world of television, men were gentlemen and women were angels.

Today, TV tells a very different story. Women certainly aren’t angels. They go after what they want. As for men — well, they sure try.

Men used to be confident and debonair. Today, their attempts at romance turn them into bumbling idiots most of the time. But the women don’t mind, because they are more than ready to make the first move.

In “Friends,” when Chandler goofed up the proposal, it was Monica who took action to make it happen. The girls of “Sex and the City” refuse to wait for love. They search for it endlessly and often in all the wrong places.

Granted, the made-up tales of fictional characters should never be one’s only model for a successful relationship. People can fall into the trap of manipulating their lives to look like the ones on television.

Let’s be realistic. We don’t have a team of writers steering the course to avoid fatal collisions. We don’t have a staff of make-up and hair artists ensuring we are so beautiful it doesn’t matter if we say and do all the wrong things.

But when used responsibly and in moderation, the sitcoms and dramas that draw in millions of viewers every week can be a valuable source of advice and inspiration.

Following are some rules of the television-romance trade. Visible in almost any show throughout television history, they are often mimicked by the real world in an attempt to hold on to some of that small-screen glamour. This is a country of romantics. Television has, in part, taught us to be that way.

1) Childhood sweethearts are always meant to be.

Remember Winnie and Kevin in “The Wonder Years?” How about Ally and Billy from “Ally McBeal?” And of course, there is always Dawson and Joey. All are proof that young love never dies.

2) Friendship is the beginning to the best relationships.

The gang from “Friends,” “Dawson Creek,” even the long-gone “90210,” all prove that the best love grows from a solid friendship.

3) Hanging up a dozen times before actually going through with a phone call ensures a successful conversation.

We have all done it. We have all seen it. Dialing the phone is one of the scariest risks in a relationship, but it always turns out okay if you just relax.

4) The nice guy wins in the end.

Niles Crane (“Frasier”). Ed Stevens (“Ed”). Kevin Arnold (“The Wonder Years”). Girls may discard them for the thrill of the sexy bad boy, but they always come back in the end.

5) Opposites attract.

If womanizing, rebellious Dr. Doug Ross and down-to-earth, no-nonsense Carol Hathaway can make it work, anyone can.

6) The cheater will eventually become the cheated.

Remember when Kelly broke Zack’s heart on “Saved by the Bell” by falling for her manager? Well, she got hers.

7) Men who are a little insecure and dorky make the best boyfriends.

Our favorite “friends” Ross and Chandler are proof that charisma and cockiness don’t always make the girls swoon. Sometimes being sweet is all it takes.

8) Women with a great smile and a good sense of humor make the best girlfriends.

Rory Gilmore. Rachel Green. WB angels Felicity and Joey. They are all (disgustingly) beautiful, but it’s really their smiles that seal the deal. (At least, I like to think so.)

9) Goodbye never really means goodbye.

Dawson had to follow Joey to college. Jess had to return from New York and come back to Rory. Carol had to leave the ER to be with Doug. True love will lead the way home.

10) Love is hard work, but there is always a happy ending waiting somewhere.

Jason and Maggie Seaver. Paul and Jamie Buchman. Marge and Homer Simpson. A few of TV history’s favorite couples that made it last with a lot of work.

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