|Reign fandom is having a shipping-induced temper tantrum...
||[Apr. 19th, 2015|11:17 pm]
Reign fandom is losing their shit and I can’t help but roll my eyes in frustration. For the most part, it’s a bunch of Francis/Mary shippers throwing temper tantrums because their OTP is no longer together.
Things people are saying:
1. Mary is a horrible person…primarily for falling out of love with Francis/falling in love with Conde.
2. The show is promoting adultery.
3. Thus the writers have killed the characters/show.
(4. A ton of bad stuff about Conde which is either untrue, twisted/out of context, or blown out of proportion but I don’t care enough about him to spend my time on a write up for this point.)
For full disclosure: I never shipped Francis/Mary. In fact I found them overly-sappy and boring. But then again, I don’t ship Mary/Conde or much of anything on this show, except for, more-or-less, Greer/Leith and a tiny bit of Lola with Francis or Narcisse, mainly because Lola deserves to get some. (I was huge on Lola/Julian until they ruined and killed it.) At least as far as canon ships go. (Not that I have any strong non-canon loves either, though.) I consider this show a guilty pleasure. Let’s be honest: it’s a melodrama, just a step or two above a downright soap opera. What these shows thrive on is relationship drama – constantly shifting relationships, people breaking up and getting back together or getting together with other people, etc. For Mary and Francis to have stayed together forever with no “break” in the middle, at the least, was kind of an unrealistic expectation to begin with.
But that’s not the point.
Mary is not a horrible person for falling in love with Conde. She is not a horrible person for not being able to control how she feels or doesn’t feel about/for Francis. The fact that he still loves her and was willing to fight for her doesn’t mean he can make her love him. Was she being unreasonable a lot of times? Yes, and I’ll come back to this later. But the mere fact that she has fallen out of love with her husband and fell in love with someone else, given that she and Francis HAVE been having issues in their relationship, including with trust, doesn’t make her a horrible person. And it’s not unrealistic that something like this would happen – people fall in love, get married, and then it doesn’t last. I’m pretty sure the current divorce rate makes this clear. But it’s not like Mary could just get a divorce. (Also, when Francis got sick and Mary was with Conde, that’s not because she doesn’t care about Francis at all – it’s because she DIDN’T KNOW what had happened. For goodness sake, I thought that was abundantly clear.)
Secondly, the show is NOT promoting adultery. Keep in mind, it’s not like these couples could just get divorced. The best thing they could do when their marriage falls apart is to be honest with each other about what they’re doing (i.e. if they have a lover). IIRC, nothing actually happened between Mary and Conde until Francis new about Mary’s feelings. The fact that they’re still married has little to do with cheating and a lot to do with them not having a lot of choices other than to stay married.
Who else? Kenna and Bash? Kenna never actually did anything with that Prince…what was his name, I forgot? And either way, 1) Kenna and Bash were forced to marry and 2) I don’t think that was shown as a positive thing or good decision making on Kenna’s part. Who else? Greer? She’ll probably never see her husband again, he just as might be dead. I mean, it’s sad, but do we really expect her to live like a nun for the rest of her life? I’m not even gonna bother with Henry and his mistresses. That was S1 and no one was complaining about this back them. I really do think, though, that the “promoting” thing has to do with Conde and Mary which, lol. That’s not promoting adultery! Divorce maybe. But either way, it’s not like Mary and Francis could reasonably get a divorce. I suppose they could if they really wanted to, but politically that’s a crapshoot.
That’s not to say that the writers didn’t mess up though. It’s lazy writing to try and force the character/relationship development like this. They used Mary’s rape as a plot device and that cheapen the effect. The fact that their trust issues balance on Francis not telling Mary about the blackmail is shoddy writing because it does make Mary’s concerns sound unreasonable as he was doing it to protect HER. I understand her not appreciating the “for your own good” approach, but it was an honest mistake, one worth a fight but it wasn’t such a huge breach in trust. I do think people are conflating Mary’s earlier reaction of “I can’t have men around me” with her continuing “I associate Francis with the rape too much” reaction. The former, more acute one, has passed, but the latter hasn’t. That’s why she can be with Conde and not with Francis. It’s not inconsistent.
But I do feel like the development feels rushed and disjointed. The only reason for Mary to associate Francis so much with the rape is because of his actions under Narcisse’s blackmail. And I think that’s where it falls apart. Mary is too hard on Francis and she can’t seem to forgive him for things which are forgivable. The way the writers messed up is not in having Mary raped or in having her fall out of love with Francis or in love with Conde. It’s in not bothering to think up more things that could go wrong between too people. In not allowing Mary and Francis to genuinely clash in their world-views. It feels strained because it’s hard to understand why Mary doesn’t love Francis anymore, not because she’s a bad person for not staying in love with him forever.
But the writing on this show has never been 100% or even close anyway. Maybe it’s because I’m not very invested in any one relationship that I’m still able to enjoy the show at least as much as I did before. (Although, I would love more story/screentime for Lola and Bash.) And I feel like if people were able to take off their shipper goggles for a minute they would too. Basically, I feel like fandom is overreacting.