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Old 12-01-2004, 02:59 AM
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Does Drama Have To Equal Breakups and Conflict?

Hi everyone! As a veteran of watching Dawson’s Creek, one thing that always disappointed me was that writers and producers seemed to think that “drama” meant breakups and conflict. No couple was allowed to stay together and happy for very long, and I could write volumes about how Dawson and Joey’s relationship was pretty much destroyed before it was even given a chance. In Season Two of Dawson’s Creek, almost as soon as Dawson and Joey had gotten together romantically, Joey set off to “find her something,” and broke Dawson’s heart, and over the seasons, Dawson and Joey spent more time apart and estranged than they did together and happy, and as a fan that loved both their friendship and their romantic relationship, I always felt cheated.

I think what infuriated me most was that we were led to believe throughout Season One that Joey Potter really loved Dawson Leery, and it seemed incomprehensible to me that after getting the boy of her dreams, she would basically toss his love for her aside and break his heart, because I truly felt that Dawson and Joey shared a deep and lasting love, one that had its basis in a close friendship, and I looked forward to seeing them have a relationship that would transcend friendship and romance, but as we all know, Dawson and Joey’s relationship became something very negative, and it was eclipsed by Pacey and Joey’s relationship, and in time, I gave up on Dawson and Joey and grew to accept Pacey and Joey’s relationship, and I was happy that they ended up together on the show, but deep down in my heart, I’ll always consider myself to be a “disappointed D/Jer.”

There was an episode of Season Two in Dawson’s Creek called Crossroads, where Dawson read Joey’s diary and violated her trust, and in some ways, things were never the same between them, and I remember how disappointed I felt that Dawson would do that to Joey, and not long after that incident, they broke up, and they only reunited briefly before parting romantically for good. Dawson and Joey were my dream couple, and I was so sad that they never got to fulfill the potential that I saw in them, and looking back, two words will always sum up Dawson and Joey’s relationship to me: Wasted Potential.

Now we come to Everwood, and it seems like the writers and producers also seem to think that “drama” means breakups and conflict. Over the last three years, I’ve come to love the friendship and the romantic relationship of Ephram Brown and Amy Abbott, and I felt like I’ve come to “know” these characters, and I had no doubt of the deep love they had for each other, especially on Ephram’s part for Amy. As some of you may know, though, I was reluctant to commit myself to shipping this couple, because I had been burned so badly by what happened to Dawson and Joey, but after the end of last season and the beginning of this season, I couldn’t help but fall in love with them, and the scenes between them in the The Reflex was the sweetest and most tender example of true love between two young people that I’ve ever seen. Ephram was so thoughtful and caring in that episode, and he was so considerate of Amy’s feelings of vulnerability concerning the step that they were taking together, and when they finally made love, it was breathtakingly romantic and moving.

So what do the writers and producers of Everwood do to follow up that incredibly heartfelt and poignant episode? They ruin everything by having Ephram not only lie to Amy and violate her trust, but they made him go against everything we had come to know and love about him, and they presented him as a selfish and deceptive jerk who would have the audacity to break his date with the girl of his dreams on the phone with her while he was right in front of the club where he thought his ex-girlfriend was playing, and then later only tell her the truth because he thought that he had already been caught in his lie. Would the Ephram we know and love do that? Would the Ephram that we know loves Amy do that? I think not. At the end of Season One, one of the voiceovers had said that Ephram loved Amy and could deny her nothing, and I never ever doubted that statement. I remember Ephram talking to Nina last season, and two words summed up the love he held for her: “It’s Amy.” Right from the very first episode on, I never doubted that Ephram loved Amy with all his heart, and I never dreamed that he would do anything to hurt her.

Therefore, I once again feel cheated that at this juncture at least, I’m being denied the chance to see “my couple” together and happy, and I hope that the writers and producers of Everwood don’t do the same thing to Ephram and Amy that the writers and producers of Dawson’s Creek did to Dawson and Joey.

Drama doesn’t always have to mean breakups and conflict, and I would hope that Greg Berlanti would have learned his Dawson’s Creek lessons, because in my humble opinion, a couple that’s together, happy, and supportive of one another can be much more compelling than a couple that’s fighting and estranged. I’ve really enjoyed watching the loving support that Ephram and Amy have given each other this season, and although I like watching drama, I really love seeing the people that I’ve grown to know and love on a show together and happy. I’m not saying that I’d want Ephram and Amy to be all lovey-dovey in every episode, but why not let them face normal problems, instead of creating the scenario that we saw in the last episode, where Ephram did something completely out of character to create the “conflict” that The Powers That Be seem to think constitutes “drama?”

I hope that things improve in future episodes, and I hope that I won’t also have to sum up Ephram and Amy’s relationship with the words Wasted Potential.
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Old 12-01-2004, 04:34 AM
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It never made any sense to me Dawson and Joey's mid season breakup in season 2. As Stupin said on the season 2 DVD set '' We spent so much time in that first season showing how much she wanted to be with him and to have her breakup with him for an odd reason looking back I don't think id do the same thing''. He is right for once it was a total mistake I mean ok the end of season breakup I can understand but the mid season? pointless. Sadly though on shows like this they do like to breakup couples for drama. I mean I have scene it on every teen show pretty much. Everwood I have a feeling is gonna be the same but let's just hope it's not something that is repeated over and over.
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Old 12-01-2004, 05:08 AM
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JERRY D:
If you've read any of my posts from this week, you'll know that I agree with you one hundred percent. I find Ephram and Amy together and happy far more compelling than Ephram and Amy fighting, or worse yet, apart. People who have viewed the show from the beginning had to go through almost two years of watching the E/A relationship progress through all the stages before reaching its culmination last week. Then we are rewarded be having trouble come again the very next episode, with ominous foreshadowings that this pattern will continue.
Not only do I find this annoying (I though Everwood was above this), but to me it is beginning to indicate that this will become just another show. Which would be a shame. I'm trying to keep the faith, and I do enjoy most of the other characters, but to me the E/A relationship is the heart of the show. If we aren't allowed to believe they will finally be able to attain, and MAINTAIN, happiness over a period of time, why watch?
Plot devices aside, I'm particularly disturbed by the way the writers have their characters acting so uncharacteristically. Ephram suddenly a self-destructive thrill-seeker? E/A with no passion visible, so soon after the cabin? Bright suddenly Ephram's wing man and romantic advisor? Bright giving Ephram advice that would risk hurting Amy? Andy jumping into romance with Amanda just after lecturing Ephram on the difference between thinking and doing? Even Dr. Abbott as Mr. Holiday? None of it makes sense. Thank God for Delia and the sweet Amy/Hannah happenings.
This is the type of writing (and the types of plot manipulations) that makes shows mediocre. If this happened to Everwood, it would be too bad.

Last edited by MAKRO; 12-01-2004 at 05:24 AM
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:45 PM
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Great post, MAKRO, and I completely agree with you. There was so much about the last episode that didn’t make sense, and I also think it forebodes problems in the future, and I’m afraid that we’ll only get to have fleeting moments of Ephram and Amy together and happy. I hope that I’m wrong though. By the way, I read all your posts, and they’re always a great read.

COOLCAT, I’m right with you about the Mid Season Two breakup of Dawson and Joey. It made no sense, and it made Joey into a hypocrite and a liar, because right after she told Dawson that she needed to find her something, alone, she started dating Jack, and she only went back to Dawson after Jack revealed that he was gay, and I never felt the same about Joey after that first breakup. I stayed loyal to Dawson and Joey for years after Season Two, but as the seasons wore on, I realized that the writers and producers were simply “playing” us D/Jers, and I got off the Merry-Go-Round and gave up on them. I really, really hope that Berlanti and Co. don’t do the same thing to us with Ephram and Amy.
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:50 PM
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Jerry.. Wonderful topic. I agree with you every word. I am very apprehensive right now, that Evewood is starting to go in the Creek's direction. The last episode was simply a shocker for me. I never expected Ephram to act so OOC and break the heart of the girl that he has loved and cherished since practically day 1 of meeting her. This is so disappointing to me because I know it was a cheap way of creating drama for a cliffhanger before hiatus, and yet, to create this insane cliffhanger, they had to turn Ephram into someone that he is not, as well as poke holes and take stabs at the history of the E/A relationship. I can't tell you how disappointed I am with this.

To answer you question.. Absolutely NOT, does drama have to equal breakups and conflict. For me, this is poor and lazy writing. Look at how brilliant they wrote E/A in season 1 and 2? Sure they were never technically "together" romantically until the end of season 2, but they wrote them in a way where you could tell that they were always somewhere in between more than friends but not completely a couple. And most importantly, they kept them close and united for the most part, in both seasons. And now that they are together romantically, even though I am very happy with what we have gotten in season 3 with their romantic relationship, excluding this past episode, they certainly should still have many, many more ways to keep them romantically together, but still insert drama here and there. I absolutely don't expect E/A to stay together for the rest of the series. That is asking a little too much. I was thinking that once college starts, or maybe a year into it, they will break them up for a while so they both can spread their wings and date around a bit just to make sure that they are "IT" for each other. I have absolutely no problem with that. It almost would be the healthy thing to do. But, what I would hate to see before this time, is to see the writers break them up for a very cheap and contrived reason JUST to make drama.

We know that there are major bombs coming up for E/A. The Madison pregnancy as well as Princetongate. What I would like to see happen, and quite frankly, what I think we deserve to see happen, is for E/A to only get stronger during these trials. It will only demonstrate how strong their love is for each other and how deep and true they really are to each other. Only time will tell how the writers are going to play this out. I would hope that they would take a look at the history of this couple and come up with the conclusion that the ONLY route to go would be to keep them together during these trials. Their love is strong enough to maintain it. And if we see anything less, we will know that it was contrived and lazy writing.

Getting back to E/A eventually breaking up... What I would love to see is maybe around the end of their first year of college, they both decide, MUTUALLY, to break up for a while, to live life apart and spread their wings and follow their dreams individually. My predication is Eprham will be doing his piano thing and Amy will be busy in pre-med. I see them as dating around a bit and then eventually, they reunite for good and get the happy ending. But the key to their break up for me, is that they break up ON THEIR OWN TERMS, and it wasn't a break up created for drama and going against what E/A stand for. And during their break up, that they remain close and still communicate, as we know that would be the "E/A way." But like I said, after they do the healthy and apart thing, they reunite for good and we know an an ultimate way, how permanent and everlasting their love will be.

Last edited by Auror; 12-01-2004 at 01:27 PM
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:59 PM
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Great post, Michelle, and I love the scenario that you’re describing for Ephram and Amy, but we want as fans for our favorite couples and characters and what we get are often two different things. Oh well.
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Old 12-01-2004, 01:35 PM
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You're right on, Jerry.

The one thing I love is that we have seen a lot of comparisons between E/A and Harold/Rose. Two that come to mind is in "Shoot The Moon," whenever Rose told Harold that he gave up Princeton to be with her as Amy wants to be near Ephram in college. Another would be in "The Reflex," whenever it was pretty clear that both couples slept together, and Rose, again, made a comparison that Harold and Rose slept together for the first time, only two years later than E/A. I do think this can only be good for E/A fans, that they are making some comparisons between E/A and Harold/Rose. Harold and Rose met very young and fell in love, just like E/A, and have been together ever since. I feel like the writers are making us well aware of some similarities between both lovestorys and that can only be a good thing for E/A fans as we know how Harold and Rose turned out.

One thing I wanted to note is that people have said that in the original script of "The Reflex," Rose did have a line where she tells Harold that Ephram could very well become their son-in-law, but that was deleted in the final draft for time constraints. Man, I wish that one would have be in there.
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Old 12-01-2004, 02:12 PM
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To answer the question, YES drama has to qual breakups and conflict where Television is involved.

I've always thought that Everwood is a real trail blazer in some areas, but I have this theory that The WB wants it to be more soap and dramatic, hence we got the Madison pregnancy and the lying to Amy for the "cliffhanger". Last season, The WB sent out memos saying that they wanted all their shows to have cliffhangers to ensure viewers tune in this year, I'm pretty sure it's a basic thing to do this before winter hiatus and while I was really thinking the Madison bomb would drop, we instead got an Ephram/Amy scene that would normally go in the middle of an episode and be resolved in ten minutes, instead, we have to wait until January to see them make up.

I have no doubt in my mind that this will be resolved and that they will be happy until Madison-Gate is revealed. I don't really see Princeton-Gate being a huge ordeal, the Madison thing will be more than enough drama for this couple to endure and I won't be surprised if in the end, Amy does the standard "I choose myself" thing and strikes out on her own and leaving Ephram with the father drama.

In television, a happy couple equals a boring couple, and I really think we'll get a season's worth of Ephramy, at least until May Sweeps, but so is the way of television and most importantly, The WB. If we didn't have network involvment in storylines, I think we'd have no Madison bomb looming over our heads and Ephram/Amy would be happy and together, but alas not in this lifetime, lol.

I've always respected Berlanti for not dangling Ephram/Amy in front of our faces ala Dawson/Joey for years. I mean during the first season we had angst and drama, but every episode didn't tease us with the hope that they would get together. Season Two was largely about moving on and letting go, much like Dawson's Creek's Season Four was about for Dawson and Joey, but whereas DC kept bringing up Joey's feelings for Dawson, Everwood didn't keep pushing Ephram/Amy's feelings for one another, they were both happy in relationships outside each other and then in the end it was the right time for them, they realized what was out there and decided to be together.

I'm pretty sure the remaining season will be drama filled seeing as Sarah Lancaster's show on CBS had been canned and thus creating a way for her to return to the show and cause the big rift to begin. I can't even imagine how bad things will be by the end of the season, we'll have Madison/Ephram angst, Amy/Ephram angst, and finally Andy/Ephram angst which I hate most of all since they've worked so hard only to let one moment of weakness change them forever. Ephram just isn't going to forgive and forget that his father kept something so huge from him, be it Madison has the child or not.

So again to answer, yes it does equal drama and breakups and also, where television is concerned, there can be no happy Prom or School Dance, it's just a rule that there has to be some drama at one.
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Old 12-01-2004, 02:54 PM
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Great post Nikki, and as another veteran of WB shows, you definitely know what you’re talking about. I often thought that the WB’s heavy handed “management” of Dawson’s Creek ruined that show, and entire storylines and characters were often scrapped in accordance with the results of the latest Nielsen ratings or Internet poll, and I really hated that about the show. Like I said, what we want on a show and what we get are often two different things, and I guess I should have learned my lessons about that from watching Dawson’s Creek, but I hoped, and still naively have hope, that maybe things would be different with Everwood.

I can understand the need to have cliffhangers to keep an audience interested, but there are good cliffhangers and bad cliffhangers. A good cliffhanger was when Dawson kissed Joey at the end of Season One of Dawson’s Creek, or when we didn’t know if Colin had lived or died at the end of Season One of Everwood, but the cliffhangers we got the other night were examples of bad cliffhangers. I’m not anxiously waiting to tune in to see if Ephram and Amy break up, or if Andy and Amanda have an affair, and those two cliffhangers left me angry and disillusioned, so bad job, The WB, so I’m not happily looking forward to tuning into your next “Fresh Episode” of Everwood.

Side note: Is anyone else as sick of the term “On the next “Fresh Episode” of Everwood” as I am? What a lame concept!
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Old 12-01-2004, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry D

Side note: Is anyone else as sick of the term “On the next “Fresh Episode” of Everwood” as I am? What a lame concept!
Indeed. I am certainly sick of that.

Jerry.. I also wanted to tell you that here we go again.. Tried to PM you and I am unable to do so. What you suggested obviously is a must to try and get this PM thing worked out. You guys already have my password, right? Or would I need to get that to you somehow? Thanks.
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Old 12-01-2004, 03:14 PM
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Sadly, I do agree that most times television execs seem to think that good drama equals breakups and conflict. Hell, look at the OTH boards. People that were ripping that show all year long loved the last episode, and it had some of the most jarring examples of out of character behavior and 'tv conflict' around.

That being said, I have to fall back to my Friends example. Sure, it was a comedy, but Friends never shied away from having some good drama mixed in as well. Monica and Chandler got together, and were married, for nearly half of the show's run, and not once did we have to deal with the standard 'break them up so there's drama' crap. The drama stemmed from the others around them, and M/C were kind of the touchstone...the calm center of the storm if you will.

Everwood has the same components to set up a similar storyline. There is enough potential drama in Andy's love life to power the show for several seasons. There is the Bright situation, the Nina/Jake situation, the Irv/Edna situation....there is just an endless array of storylines that could involve them, not to mention the impending Madison thing looming on the horizon.

Besides, I've never thought that drama and conflict made a show any more interesting. My favorite episodes of any of the television shows I watch are the ones with a romantic flavor...there can be conflict, but I'd much rather see an episode grounded in the stability of a strong relationship. The only real good thing I get from 'conflict' is the inevitable reconcilliation episode.
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Old 12-01-2004, 03:21 PM
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Originally posted by Wilpen
Jerry.. I also wanted to tell you that here we go again.. Tried to PM you and I am unable to do so. What you suggested obviously is a must to try and get this PM thing worked out. You guys already have my password, right? Or would I need to get that to you somehow? Thanks.
Hi Michelle. Johnnie and I will look into this for you tonight and get back to you, and we'll do what I said that we'd do in my PM to you. Please send me an e-mail to jerry@fanforum.com so I have your current e-mail address to contact you after we're done, and I'll e-mail you back tonight after we test things.
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Old 12-01-2004, 04:37 PM
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Sounds good, Jerry. I will send you an e-mail around 3:00 PM central, whenever I get home. Does this mean that I won't be able to log on to Fan Forum until you are done?
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Old 12-01-2004, 05:00 PM
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Sounds good, Jerry. I will send you an e-mail around 3:00 PM central, whenever I get home. Does this mean that I won't be able to log on to Fan Forum until you are done?
That's correct, Michelle, but it shouldn't take long, and I'll e-mail you back as soon as we're done.
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Old 12-01-2004, 07:29 PM
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Great debate we've got going here! Keep it up!
Okay, I get that Everwood is a drama, not a comedy (Der Bingle impressions aside), so either wanting or expecting a major story line to be left drama-free is a tad unrealistic. I have no problem with that. Where I'm having a problem, lately especially, is with the dramatic choices being made and how they are being presented.
I confess to being overly-sensitive to drama relating to the E/A relationship for two reasons:
1) We've been asked to wait for a long time while rooting for these two, officially designated as "fated to be more than friends", to make it to that status. And we did wait. And, finally, we were rewarded, as were E/A. The inevitability of them being together was an accepted part of the first two seasons. And the development of their relationship was certainly not without drama! But they made it! They, and us viewers, deserve a longer time to enjoy them having gotten to this level.
2) This relationship has been crafted so carefully, with such attention to detail and such care taken to make it believable and real, that I don't consider it anything like the average teen relationship shown on TV. It transcends that status. So, the "TV rules" that make it compulsary for any young couple to experience weekly break-up threats for dramatic effect simply shouldn't apply here. It perpetuates the message that all young relationships are wrong and must be constantly threatened (especially if they dare to have SEX!).
The above said, I concede the need for a healthy amount of drama in each show, but:
1) Who says that drama has to constantly involve threatening this relationship? Why can't it be concentrated in the other characters' story lines, just for awhile? Wouldn't the dramatic affect of the ticking time bombs we know are out there be heightened if the relationship was allowed to develop more first? And if I were to concede that going several episodes further without any E/A breakup threats tossed at them (and us) would make the show boring, and I do not do so, how about investigating other types of drama for them, like; illness, an accident, one of them getting lost in the woods, Ephram's hair dilemma (hee hee), dealing with a family crisis, etc.? Things that would allow them to demonstrate their support for each other, instead of representing these constant threats to their being together.
2) The most effective dramatic moments are those which seem the most genuine (and least contrived), in that they portray the principals acting in ways true to their established characters. (In fact, you could apply that to the funny, warm, tender, and happy moments also). My main objections to Monday night's traumas is that this did not happen. Neither Ephram, Bright, Andy, or even Harold (Mr. Holliday?), acted in a manner consistent with what we have long-accepted, and expected, from their characters. The Amy and Amy/Hannah moments came off as genuinely moving because they involved emotions and behavior we could easily expect from those two. Ephram's Christmas shopping scene with Delia; the same. Andy's heartfelt talk with Ephram about the difference between thinking and doing; same thing. Each of those characters has a solid history of behavior which made those moments seem completely appropriate.
However, the way Ephram acted toward Amy; I don't think so. Bright's advice; no thanks. Andy a prick; nope. All of these elements smacked of the LEAST effective form of drama; the type that is so contrived (and stale) that it required the behavior manipulation of everyone involved to "work". This is lazy writing, or else it's writing from a staff of writers who are either fresh out of viable ideas, or who have lost touch with what has made the show great.
Good drama: fine. This type of drama: bleah!
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