Why the Moonlighting Affect is Crap

We have heard it all before. When the two main characters in Moonlighting finally got together it completely ruined the show. Subsequently, we hear: “Yeah, yeah, but the actors hated each other and nobody believes in the curse anymore!” It’s a vicious cycle that never seems to end. The minute someone says that the curse is long forgotten is the minute a showrunner cites the Moonlighting Affect and a fairy loses it’s wings. 

The reason I bring it up now is that NCIS is on summer hiatus and after ten seasons it finally feels like there will be the perfect opportunity for Tony and Ziva to get their collective acts together. I refuse, however, to fall for their trickery once again. I can think of hundreds of ways for the showrunners to avoid getting those two together and I can’t allow myself to believe for one second that they won’t gleefully destroy my happiness. 

The thing is that it has been TEN SEASONS. TEN. Technically Ziva’s only been on the show for seven of them but you get the idea. They are walking a tight rope here at this point. You can’t string along sexual tension for too long without alienating the audience. There comes a point to which the audience sees too many of the opportunities slip by and the one they finally take becomes anticlimactic. Too little too late. It would genuinely suck to see that happen on NCIS.

I may be a bit touchy because I am still bitter about Bones. I am a devoted and loyal viewer of the shows I love. I show up and participate to support the shows I care about until the bitter end (Stargate SG-1, I am looking at you!) but when you have a show outright betray you the way that Bones did that avid support turns into a dark and twisted malice.

Bones waited too long. They warped their characters into trite ghosts of their former selves and they gave up putting any thought into the cases the characters were supposed to be solving. The put all their eggs in the Bones/Booth basket, dragged it out into a field like a dead horse and beat it with a stick. Then they had the audacity to expect me to stick around for it.

When Bones started it was an amazing show. The pilot is still one of my favorite episodes of television. After the writer’s strike the show just kept snowballing out of control. They stopped thinking about the show as a whole and turned it into the Bones/Booth show. What bothered me the most was that they took these strong, dynamic female characters and turned them into these clichés of women. As an artist, the way they changed Angela’s character became insulting, but that’s a story for another time. Hart Hanson changed his focus from writing a good show to writing everything that FOX thought would please the audience. That’s when I quit. I quit outright. I haven’t watched an episode of Bones since the end of season four. 

What NCIS has going for it that Bones did not is that the show doesn’t hinge on the relationship. Hell, the show doesn’t need romantic relationships at all. The ensemble cast is great, the family dynamic is solid and the cases and plot arcs are wonderful. The relationship is just the bonus. In this case, saying that getting these two characters together will ruin the show is categorically untrue. In many ways it won’t affect the show at all. 

There are also plenty of examples of shows in which it worked. Castle, Chuck, New Girl, Psych, The West Wing, all of these have a romantic subplot between the main leads and the shows are still wonderful. Even better still, they didn’t wait seven seasons to hook up the main characters (except West Wing but they succumbed in season 7). 

I guess what I’m saying is that I am tired of being jerked around. I watch TV as an escape. NCIS, while one of my favorite shows, is not exactly the cinematic masterpieces of HBO or Showtime. It is a funny, intriguing and beautifully endearing escape. It’s not real life! Things are allowed to resolve happily. THAT’S WHY WE WATCH TELEVISION.

I’m not putting down an ultimatum like I did with Bones. No matter what I will continue to enjoy the characters and the cases but I would just like to have the reward of TIVA. Please stop putting it off and messing with the audience. You’ve had your fun CBS, now let me have mine. 

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