Friday, August 7, 2015

Top 5 OTPs Fom Tragically Cancelled Shows [Contributor: Maddie Shook]

We’ve all been there. After weeks of anxiety of whether your on-the-bubble television favorite will survive the network executive’s swinging of the axe in May, the fatal blow occurs -- your show has been cancelled. You probably react a bit like this:

And thus, you have to say goodbye to your favorite characters now that they will no longer grace your television screen each week. This cruel separation is even harder when shipping is involved. These are the beautiful pairings that you have become so invested in after either a short period of time or a number of years. They have swoon-worthy moments that make your heart squeal in delight, angst that drove you straight to eating a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked, and scenes crackling with chemistry from start to finish. No matter how perfect the ship, the merciless cancellation cannon blasts apart critical darlings and hot messes alike. However, even when the show is admittedly a hot mess, your OTP is still your OTP and the pain is there, my friends. All melodrama aside, the greatest outrage that occurs when a perfect pairing’s show gets cancelled is all of the wasted potential.

The cruelty is not just in no longer seeing your OTP each week, but also never getting that kiss or love confession you were waiting for. You have invested in a love story that will forever remain unfinished. You’ve gone through all the stages of grief: shock and denial, anger, bargaining with petitions and hashtags, depression, and fanfiction; but the lack of resolution is something you may never actually get over. And that is precisely why I've created this post. Now, the list of such tragically unresolved pairings goes on and on, so I know that there will certainly be pairings you love missing from this list. But without further ado, here’s my list of top 5 OTPs from cancelled shows that I am still not quite over.

 5. Bridget Kelly and Andrew Martin (Ringer)

Why they were perfect: In a show that was all about the over-the-top drama, Bridget and Andrew’s love story was genuine and subtle. First, I love both of these actors so much. Ioan Gruffudd is the epitome of the swoon-worthy Brit and Sarah Michelle Gellar is simply amazing in everything she does. Seeing them interact was incredible. They kept this crazy show grounded in real emotion. Bridget is a woman who has lived a hard life and gets swept up in this bananas world of wealth, lies, and danger. Andrew becomes her something real. He feels like his wife is a completely different person (because she is) and is falling in love with her. She has a warmth and so much love to give. Together, their penthouse becomes a home and they become a family again. They stick together and learn to love and trust each other through missing best friends, Machiavellian ex-wives, parenting a rebellious teenager, and temptation to be unfaithful. That is why it’s all the more heartbreaking when a hurt Andrew lashes out at Bridget in the season finale.

Why I’m still not over it: This show has a very familiar problem with many canceled shows. It starts off amazing, loses steam and, subsequently, quality in the middle, and the final few episodes are so incredible that you once again get attached just enough to the series for its cancellation to really hurt. The season finale was brilliant. There were so many cliffhangers and set-ups for juicy drama to occur in season two that we will never get to see. But the storyline without resolution that still hurts is Bridget and Andrew’s love story. In their final scene, Andrew finally learns that he has not fallen in love with his wife all over again, but actually fallen for her twin sister who is a former drug-addicted prostitute. Yes, I realize how incredibly soap-y that last sentence was. Bridget is honest and vulnerable with him as she lays everything bare. She is who she is and she has done awful things, but her feelings are real and she doesn’t regret them. She loves him more than she ever thought was possible. He admits that he loves her too but he doesn’t know what’s real anymore and asks her to leave. Amidst all the soap opera drama, this moment is very real and very heartbreaking in a way only actors of this caliber can portray, causing the audience to long for these two to find their way back to each other once again.

4. Kat Stratford and Patrick Verona (10 Things I Hate About You)

Why they were perfect: I’ll admit when I heard that ABC Family was adapting ones of my favorite 90s rom-coms into a TV show, I was skeptical. The two leads in particular had some really big shoes to fill. Patrick Verona is Heath Ledger at his most charming and adorable. And yet, somehow, Lindsay Shaw and Ethan Peck pull the series and chemistry off. Peck was the real find, who has the same gravitas and charisma as his film legend grandfather, Gregory Peck. He is everything the character should be. He’s handsome, mysterious, charming as all get out, dry and hilarious, yet can also be vulnerable and romantic. Shaw does a great job at making a hard-to-like character endearing and very real. I feel even more than the film that this Kat Stratford is a girl you either are or have known before. I remember their chemistry together causing 16 year-old me excitement, and, after re-watching some of their best moments of YouTube, I still see that chemistry clearly. Their banter is filled with fun and UST and their first kiss still makes me fangirl. Overall, this was a pairing that was simply a lot of fun to watch each week, but also had moments that were really romantic and sweet.

Why I’m still not over it: I will never be over it because the GIF pictured above is the final moment we have of this wonderful pairing. Amidst cute pillow talk after their first time together, we get to see Kat at her most vulnerable. “Can you do me a favor? Don’t break my heart okay?” Patrick stares back at her basically with heart eyes and just as he’s about reply with something feels-inducing HER DAD WALKS INTO THE ROOM! The moment is interrupted and then it FADES TO BLACK. That’s it. There weren’t enough expletives to express my anger when I realized that is how the whole series ended. If that had been a season finale, as planned, I would have lauded this moment as a brilliant cliffhanger. Alas, it was the end of the series. ABC Family pulled the rug out from under the show and brought down the axe so they could have one last season of Secret Life of the American Teenager in order to desperately hold onto the phenomenon that was Shailene Woodley at the time. There was so much left of their story to be told and I need more of Ethan Peck and his ϋber-attractive deep voice in my life.

3. Karen Cartwright and Derek Wills (Smash)

Why they were perfect: The story may be a bit cliché but it works. From 42nd Street to Smash, everyone loves a story about the jaded director falling in love with the beautiful young ingénue and becoming a better person because of it. From their very first interaction to their last, Davenport and McPhee’s chemistry sizzled in every scene. The UST was absolutely insane in every scene they were in. Karen was at her most interesting as a character when interacting with Derek, and his scenes with her were when he was at his most likable. His dry humor and sarcastic swagger was still there but his edges were softened just the right amount when with her. She was his star and he was the one who believed in her ability to shine. I still am overcome with feelings when watching the season one finale where Derek stands behind Karen and whispers in her ear in that husky British baritone: “I do understand love.” and then gazes at her with giant heart eyes as she sings the final number. I will be the first to admit that Smash was a hot mess. However, the one element that worked above all else was Karen and Derek’s love story and it was when the writers started messing with the ship that the show really took a nosedive in quality.

Why I’m still not over it: Mainly, I am still not over it because there are so many what-ifs. What if Showtime or HBO picked up the series like the creators originally intended instead of NBC? Then, there definitely would have been more payoff from this pairing's electrifying chemistry than just one kiss. Most importantly, what if Josh Schwartz hadn’t taken over in season two?  I honestly don’t think the series would have ended the way it did if the showrunner change between seasons one and two didn’t happen. Schwartz is from a background of shows like Gossip Girl that pair characters together in every possible legal permutation before eventually putting the main pairings back together in the end. What happened with Smash is like Gossip Girl ending with Chuck still dating that French waif void of any personality and Blair staying with Prince Louis who goes back in forth between being boring and evil. I accept that Smash got cancelled and that the show was problematic, but I don’t accept how they ended the series. Karen ends up with the single worst character in television history and Derek ends up with Ivy since she got pregnant from their one night stand. I now know how Barney and Robin shippers felt after the HIMYM finale.

2. Eliza Dooley and Henry Higgins (Selfie)

Why they were perfect: These two were perfection. Just look at that GIF of the montage devoted to their amazing chemistry. And the truth is that Karen Gillan and John Cho have spectacular chemistry together, as both a romantic pairing and a comedy duo. They were hilarious, charming and absolutely adorable. Likewise, their vulnerable moments ranged from sweet and tender to positively heartbreaking. The scene with Henry’s rejection followed by the “Chandelier” scene makes me sob every time I watch it. Even though there are such a small number of episodes, Eliza and Henry has already joined the ranks of other iconic romantic comedy series pairings like Danny and Mindy, Monica and Chandler, and Fran and Mr. Sheffield. Gillan and Cho are absolutely brilliant in this series. Cho was an amazing leading man and it was also great to have an Asian actor in a romantic lead role, free of stereotypes. Gillan was resplendent as Eliza and we really got to see another side of her as an actress that we hadn't seen in her previous roles. If there is no hope for #SaveSelfie, then I need these two to do a rom-com movie together as soon as possible for some semblance of closure.

Why I’m still not over it: ABC reallt did not give Selfie any chance to succeed. We all knew the title sucked (because ABC tends to pick up shows with horrible titles), but the network wanted to get in with those oh-so-sought-after millennials and it backfired spectacularly. The show took a few episodes to find its footing, but it actually found its footing a lot sooner than many other great shows did. Parks and Recreation takes a whole season before it gets really good. The Mindy Project took at least half a season to find its voice as well.

Unfortunately, viewers were hesitant to give Selfie a chance, since the title was cringe-inducing and there were some flaws in the pilot. ABC once gave a full season pick-up to The Neighbors (aka that horrendously unfunny Third Rock From the Sun rip-off), with their abysmal ratings. So why couldn’t they at least transition Selfie to summer? The audience is still there. Even now, the #SaveSelfie campaign is going strong. Plain and simple: ABC should have put more faith in the series and the creative minds behind it than to cancel it before the first season was even finished. My best hope would be for Hulu, which is the only way to view the series and its unaired episodes, to pick up the show.

1. Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls (Veronica Mars)

Why they were perfect: I could literally go on and on forever about these two. This is the shortest “why they were perfect” section in this list because I can only talk about these two for so long before I digress into incoherent fangirl babbles. They are the definition of epic love. Lives ruined, blood shed, all that jazz. This pairing happened organically because Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell’s chemistry was unbelievable, and every scene they have together was magic. There were ups and downs for Logan/Veronica, but these two were meant for each other. Period. End of story. Their banter was everything, and the list of perfect moments between them is endless -- every scorching kiss, every romantic confession, and every meaningful glance. Guys, their ship name is literally LoVe. Even the final bit the audience gets of these two in the show is so meaningful. Things may have been rocky for Logan and Veronica at that point, but that small smile gave fans hope. Hope beyond cancellation. Hope that led to a historic Kickstarter campaign and a movie full of glorious moments and the epic reunion fans deserved. Like I said, epic. Excuse me while I go and listen to “Prosthetic Love” by Typhoon on repeat.

Why I’m still not over it: There are certain formulas that shows adhere to that enable frequent consumers of television to recognize patterns. One of them is the push and pull of a will-they-won’t-they romance. A show can’t get a couple together in its first season and have them remain together forever, but that simply isn’t enough drama for a compelling story. There need to be obstacles. Your main couple should be apart and then find their way back to each other.

However, a brutal too-soon cancellation can put this delicate dance to a screeching halt. Such is the case with Veronica Mars. The back half of season three was another obstacle in the grander story of Logan and Veronica. We all knew they would get back together. They’re endgame and epic, remember? But, since all fans got was that smile in the series finale before The CW swung the merciless axe, their love story was left unresolved. While it helps, there is not enough fanfiction out there that can compare to canonical resolution. I’m still not over it because even though eventually LoVe shippers got everything they could have ever wanted in the movie, they still had to wait years for it to happen. There was so much more story to be told in the in-between. And there will always be what-ifs about what would happen if these two found their way back to each other sooner. Despite it all, we are still -- and always will be -- desperate for more.

So those are my top five ships from television shows cancelled much too soon. We miss them dearly, but we’ll always have fanfiction. Are any of your faves that you still lament over on this list? Which did I miss? Let me know in the comment section! :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm still crying over Eliza and Henry, but I'm still in a mess over Tommy and Lindy from Eye Candy. I did not expect to like that show at all. Even less, I didn't expect to love them as much as I did.