Friday, August 5, 2011

It's All In The Writing

As I've wrapped up the 1st round of edits on my historical romance 'We'll Meet Again' I've been enjoying catching up on one of my favorite new shows The Borgias and checking out that fandom which seems to be all about the illicit yet not yet (if ever) sexual relationship between brother and sister Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Though the posters certainly don't leave any real doubt. Kinda surprised the US censors would allow the poster considering how tight assed they seem to be about sexual matters of any kind.

Based on the story of the infamous papal family, The Borgias was the inspiration for Mario Puzo's The Godfather and you can definitely see hints of Michael Corleone in the conflicted Cesare.

Now as I read comments from a serious minority of folks who find that even hinting at a sexual relationship between Cesare and Lucezia to be 'gross' and 'disgusting' it occurred to me that the main reason I don't is because the writing and of course performances by Francois Arnaud and Holliday Graigner are just too damn good. They sell it. The writing sells it and that's the beauty of not just a good show, but a good book.

Set in this day and age, yeah, Cesare and Lucrezia might be a little too off kilter for many but we're talking about the 15th century, we're talking about a power hungry corrupt family whose loyalty is mostly to each other and no other. History is full of sex, power and yes, incest too. I doubt the US or Canada will ever have the balls to really go there with Cesare and Lucrezia. They have no trouble showing us people getting mutilated six ways to Sunday to but anything sexually kinky? Oh hell no. The writing is so good that even a hint of it is latched on to by the majority of viewers and they love it. I admit, it's twisted, but romantic as hell to watch these two in scenes together with that under current of restrained sexuality.

And really, they're hardly the first 'couple' who we shouldn't want to see together but the writing just makes these couples so damn compelling!

Take soaps for example.

On General Hospital you had Luke and Laura who could NOT have had a bigger derailment to their budding romance: He rapes her. A drunken night, a volatile man and emotions neither can control and you have the beginnings of what will become the most famous couple in soap history.

How? The writing was so brilliant that the viewer was pulled through what could have been the point of no return in a less capable writing team's hands.

On Days you have Ej and Sami. They started off all flirty passion and romance and then came a hell of a ballsy twist, Ej turns out to be the son of Sami's family's nemesis. It's Romeo and Juliet with two leads who are nobody's fools. They scheme, they lie, they cheat and the viewers love them. For some, they jumped ship when Ej blackmailed Sami into sleeping with him to save her fiancee at the time. That took some massive balls on head writer Hogan Shaeffer's part and for the most part it paid off because for the majority of us that snowy night in December, we saw more than others did, or more than others were willing too. These were two volatile characters who were crashing against each other. Sami knew Ej adored her and would not have harmed her if she left that car. She gave in because she wanted Ej too but he was the enemy, he was a DiMera and she was a Brady and this has been the push pull of their relationship for the past five years. But Hogan Shaeffer is gone and this couple lost their magic under the writing team that replaced his team. If you follow me on twitter, you know of my utter disdain for soap writer Dena Higley for what she has done to what should have been the next biggest supercouple in soap history. A Brady/DiMera love story? It should have been a no brainer, right? Any romance author worth her salt would have been all over this pair, but alas, the 'brain' part of the equation seems to be missing from Dena's process and the show has suffered for it. Well, she's gone now and the new team is set to take the reigns this Sept. One can only hope this new writing team isn't afraid to explore this gold mine sitting right there for them. That whole debacle with Dena just proved to me how VITAL good writing is. Couples she put together simply don't work because the writing doesn't work. Yes, the performances matter, but in the end it all comes to the writing.

In theory, certain topics are considered by some to be taboo; BDSM, incest, and any other manner of kink you can think of, but if you tell a damn good story the viewers and the readers will follow you anywhere.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Good writing can overcome any obstacle. And ITA, chemistry and performance are important but if the writing is not there, as was the case with EJ and Sami on Days, I don't care how talented or how much heat an actor and actress generate together, they will be doomed for failure. Days never tried writing-wise with EJ and Sami. Not once did they make an effort to give them a chance at a real romantic relationship. An opportunity lost. It's a shame.

E. Jamie said...

You're so right, it is a damn shame they were never really given a chance. Hopefully with this new writing team they will be and the show will regain it's former glory all around! I'm cautiously optimistic for the end of September. (fingers crossed)