10 Tragic Love Stories in Geekdom
Ah, the season of romance. And as we all know, a great love story comes with tragedy. It’s how things balance. Also good entertainment. While you curl up with a box of chocolates and your favourite geek, make sure you have a couple of these in the mix.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Let’s get an obvious one out of the way early. Scott Pilgrim has been a huge hit for geeks in it’s comic book and big screen incarnations. It has romance tinged with tragedy and Scott must battle through Ramona’s evil Exes in order to date her. The movie doesn’t delve far into Ramona’s rocky history but it still has edge, plus it has the unrequited love of Knives to add to the heartbreak. Fortunately Scott can and will up his game so true love can win the day.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Looking for something less colourful or resolved? Hit up this indie charmer from Gondry and Kaufman. Depressed Jim Carrey and oddball Kate Winslet star as a couple who meet and feel a strange connection with each other. Then they learn that they used to be a couple who had their memories of each other erased post-break up. Can it still work between them? The movie won’t tell us…but it will remind us what love feels like even when it isn’t easy.
It’s not a geek holiday without some binge watching! Break out the box-sets for either season 2 of the reboot or the later River Song story arc. First we have Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and her unspoken feelings towards the 10th Doctor (David Tennent). For a platonic relationship these two had some serious electricity, ending with a tear-jerker of a finale. Then there’s the Doctor’s wife, River Song, who meets him before he meets her. Their backwards, time travelling relationship has been a high point of show in recent years. Mostly I’m chalking this up the Alex Kingston and her hair.
Speaking of time travelling weirdness. At first viewing the sci-fi philosophies and demon rabbits can be downright confusing. One thing is nice and clear though – Donnie was motivated by his love for Gretchen, and the only way he will let things pan out is through sacrifice. The real tragedy is that she’ll never know what she missed out on.
Although it often took a back seat to the week to week stories the running relationship between Fry and Leela formed the heart of the on again, off again animated series. Nothing seems to line up the right way for them though. Either Leela can’t let her guard down or Fry sticks his foot in his mouth. As the show went on they seemed to get closer and closer to finding happiness but it continued to elude them.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Ok, I did not intentional put two characters who get frozen in ice right next to each other on this list. Total accident. The Cap ain’t the world’s most romantic figure in the world but the dynamic between Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter is wonderful to watch. Eventually Roger’s duty to his country has to come first, but they effectively pull the heartstrings all the way into the ground. No wonder Carter got her own show.
Romeo + Juliet
Yes, yes, it’s a gimme and the works of the Bard might not be especially ‘geeky’ but this particular version still cycles through tumblr in .gif form. Young Leo may have stumbled over his lines and the hyper-stylised directing of Luhrmann overshadows the script but it’s fun as hell and remains the definitive love story.
The Princess Bride
Classic, cool and massively quotable, the family friendly The Princess Bride isn’t afraid to get a bit cheesy with it’s depiction of love. It’s a fairy tale that you’ll love whether you’re 7, 17 or 70 years old. Tragedy strikes early when farm boy Westley leaves his true love Buttercup to seek his fortune and gets murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. When, years later, Buttercup is being forced to marry the prince but is interrupted by the Dread Pirate Roberts himself who resembles her lost love. Amazing sword fights, rhyming giants and dangerous levels of wit await!
Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
also Buffy the Vampire Slayer and everything else Whedon has made.
Buffy was the first of the Whedon batch to make it onto the list with the tragic romances between Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Riley, Buffy and Spike, Spike and Drusilla, Angel and Darla, Xander and Anya, Willow and Tara, Willow and Oz…
Christ, in hindsight things were pretty depressing for that bunch. We still love it though, and it’s great for a binge watch. If you want something shorter you’ll want Doctor Horrible. Poor Billy, his life is a struggle to get noticed. Noticed by the Evil League of Evil who haven’t accepted his application for stepping up to the super villain big time. Noticed by the public who are much more interested in the heroes. Above all, noticed by the girl from the laundromat. Amid the amazingly catchy tunes, wonderful talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion and the great comedy you have a deeply tragic romance that will leave you reaching for the tissues.
Ever felt like you don’t fit in? If you’re a geek the answer may well be yes. You will never be quite as much of a misanthrope as Edward though. An artificial person created by an ageing inventor in the gothic mansion on the hill, and left unfinished. With his pale skin, gaunt frame and giant scissors in the place of hands it was looking like a lonely existence for Edward until door to door saleswoman Peg finds him and brings him to suburbia. Edward falls in love with Peg’s daughter Kim, another outsider. Amid the bright neighbourhood the rebellious Kim also feels alone and although he initially frightened her, Kim does eventually see Edward’s pure heart. It’s a wonderfully magical love story that has weathered the years and remains popular. The quirky gimmick isn’t all there is to this modern, gothic fairy tale.
And that’s my list for the year! Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and tune in tomorrow for another romantic countdown!
Sorry, what? No there’s no 500 Days of Summer on my list? Because it’s rubbish.