Valentine’s Day is approaching and we would like to celebrate it in pure geeky style! It goes without saying that love & feels are the backbone of every fandom; and so is the idea that we’ve moved past a constricting definition of what kind of love we should celebrate. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy a good old-fashioned rom-com or an Austenian tale, with all the misunderstandings and the overdramatic swooning. I have been blessed twice just in 2020, with South-Korean international sensation Crash Landing on You or the true gem that’s Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Emma.
And then again, fandom and geeky spaces are populated by the most unique and heart-warming relationships: if you haven’t cried over a human pilot saying goodbye to their Gundam robot, what are you doing with your life?
With so many tropes (and tags) out there, I have decided to share the highlights of my recent fangirling career, otherwise known as the tropes I think about when I think about love and where you can catch them being brought to life.
‘Friends to enemies to lovers’ – Adora & Catra
Let’s put aside for a second the obvious bias I have towards She-Ra and the Princesses of Power – if you have watched it, you probably know how well-deserved my obsession is. I cannot think of a more perfect example of this dynamic (slightly more complex than other binary combinations, such as ‘enemy to lovers’ or ‘friends to lovers’). Here, it is not simply well-executed, it is also an organic and fundamental part of the plot. What is so precious about Adora and Catra’s relationship is that their ship carries both a sense of familiarity, of belonging and the theme of change. The idea that someone might be with you your entire life – sometimes on your side, sometimes not – and that you will see each other growing and becoming your own persons until you reunite again at the end of the line is the epitome of epic and unapologetically romantic.
‘Found family’ – Mando & The Child (but pretty much everyone in Star Wars)
In our favorite galaxy far far away, the concept of ‘family’ is virtually infinite – how appropriate. Be it an entire platoon of Clones adopting their Jedi (in this house, we stan Commander Cody) or a bunch of volunteer rebels going off on a suicide mission, Star Wars always delivers some pretty damn great found family content. We all know where this is going, so I will keep it short: there are a few things as cute as everyone’s favorite space dad Din Djarin bonding with our intergalactic treasure Baby Yod- pardon, Grogu. At least, I have been told there are some other things that can reach their level of cuteness, but I haven’t been able to find any so far, and I have had my fair share of fictional galaxies. In the unlikely event, you aren’t busy with your third rewatch and you have no idea what I am talking about, you can catch them on the tv show The Mandalorian on Disney+.
‘Soulmates’ – Alex, Michael, and Maria
Hopefully, I should have eliminated all evidence of my original reaction to Roswell, New Mexico, a reboot of the 90s teen classic Roswell – said reaction being mild shock and a reasonable amount of concern. And yet, Roswell, New Mexico proved me so wrong. Have I mentioned that the most iconic ship from the original show – Michael and Maria – has been turned into every fangirl’s dream? First, add a sprinkle of bisexuality, then make it a little bit gay on the side, but never take labels for granted; and then, when you are this close to having a triangle, forget about the triangle and focus on what matters. Michael, Maria, and Alex have a complex romantic relationship (often influenced by forces beyond their control) that plays a big role but never defines the love they feel for each other. They grew up together in a claustrophobic community that hates on everyone who is perceived as different; and, just as they shared their pain as teenagers, they are now sharing the same battlefield as adults. Chances are the show will pick one couple to be endgame (a tiny part of my heart still can’t help but root for a polyamorous relationship), and yet, I hope that will not change the way that protects and hold each other, physically and emotionally, because soulmates might a be cliché, but they’re my cliché.
What about yours?
Written By Alex Cenni