The Icebergs of Shipping: The Shipping Report
by Adrea Scheidler
And now I introduce you to the Icebergs of Shipping. These are the things that will destroy, damage, or just annoy your ship, no matter how strong it seems.
It’s on a TV show: Ships on television are subject to so many more variables than books or movies. While that means the most possible anticipation because a ship can legitimately take years to mature enough to sail, it also means that the trip is more dangerous because actors want to spread their wings, writers are constantly moving on to new things, and ratings are king. In years past, you could basically set your watch to your show being canceled as soon as your will they/won’t they pairing get together; but thanks to shows like The Closer, Parks and Recreation, The Office and Castle, things are slowly starting to loosen up in this area. The best possible thing that has happened for TV shippers is streaming content. Shows like The Mindy Project can live on (at least for an extra season) without bowing to old gimmicks desperately trying to appease network standards. So Mindy/Danny shippers don’t have to live in constant fear that some executive has given an ultimatum “Split them up or we cancel you.” Has this ever happened to a show? I don’t know – us Shippers also tend to be conspiracy theorists about “executives” and “showrunners” and the mysterious motives for why our ship was scuttled.
Someone is in a relationship: Oops! Just as you thought your ship was getting close enough for something to happen between them an old flame comes out of nowhere and makes a bid for one of the players. It’s the old “I’ve come to the door to finally profess my feelings but your lover opens the door while you’re in the shower” game. This is not really an iceberg. If anything, this is often a sign that your ship is gathering steam. If one of your pairing suddenly starts dating someone else that just means the powers that be have just greenlit all sorts of reaction plots for the other part of the pairing: thoughtful looks, recognizing the other person’s worth, and, finally jealousy. You have to think of side relationship characters as the redshirts of Shipping. They are there purely to further the main pairing via envy or sympathy when the side relationship invariably ends.
The Real World: That stinking REAL WORLD messing things up all the time. Real world problems that can sink ships?
- A substance abuse issue that makes you impossible to work with (I have heard that Ally McBeal would have ended with a happily ever after with Robert Downey Jr a season earlier if RDJ hadn’t been struggling at the time).
- An accident or medical condition that injures or kills someone from your pairing (Kate Jackson was undergoing cancer treatment the last season of Scarecrow & Mrs. King – props to her for how strong she had to be to make it thru but it made for a limping, rather sad finish).
- Personality conflicts so bad the actors simply get kicked off the show (Isaiah Washington from Grey’s Anatomy).
- Pregnancy – I’m all for babies! I love babies! But in real life, mommies don’t always want to come back to work right away after their precious little person arrives and there’s just not much that can be done in the shipping world. Sometimes this ends up like a Side Relationship gambit in that the lady’s absence is felt strongly by the other half – so, don’t get too judgmental when one half of your ship actually wants a real life.
|She looks like she is having a great time|
Genre: This is true with the written word as well as television and movies – if part of the basic genre of the story is that life is hopeless and romance is for children… your ship is probably going to end up a rusted, leaking dinghy that makes you question if your real life marriage is a sham like this genre seems to say all marriages are (I’m not a fan of this genre). STILL, I got hooked against my better judgment on a relationship on The Walking Dead. I knew it wasn’t going to end well. Considering Daryl’s general bad assery I knew Beth was destined to be eaten alive by zombies in front of him – the only question was how far the show would let their relationship get before that happened. Answer? Not far. My feeling on it? Fine if she had died in any way that made any sense – even just walking down the road “Oops, killed by Zombie” would have been better than what they did. Worst death ever…(on a happy note – oh baby, the scenes of Daryl’s reaction to Beth’s death? Almost worth it. WOULD have been worth it if the death hadn’t been brought on by the stupidest, most totally contrived stupid death… I don’t want to talk about it). The point is, I shipped in a genre that I knew the whole point was to mock hope and so, that’s on me.