The Godfather


No seriously, I am very, extremely, completely, (insert adverb here), fond of the Happily Ever After. Just love it! Won’t even read or watch a movie that won’t guarantee me a HEA. Well … except for Gangster flicks. Every rule has to have an exception.

This may lead you to wonder… if Gen loves the Happily Ever After, but also loves writing about gangsters, how on earth can she reconcile the two? Well, given the theme of the Downey Trilogy is about a very moral cop who loves his gangster father, I think you should probably brace yourself for my even greater love of figuring out how two opposing ideas can live in harmony.

The truth is, it’s not about the HEA, it’s that I love a JUSTIFIED ending. And the HEA is justified in most plot lines when it’s been earned, just as the nonHEA is justified in certain endings, which in a way, if you think about it makes it a HEA ending for certain characters. If you give a HEA out when there was never any conflict to begin with isn’t it a bit anti-climactic? Likewise, making an unhappy ending for some characters while giving others one and not really explaining why just shows you have a love for the random and not necessarily a well deserved ending. See what I’m saying? No?

I know, I know … What the Hell is Gen rambling about now?

(I lobtser HATE Godfather III, but simply adore to the point of having it nearly memorized Godfather I & II, if that gives you a clue.)

Anyway, I love it when characters go through Hell. I think every author owes it to their audience to make their characters — whether these are dark characters or Mary Sue perfect characters — suffer a bit, actually quite a bit, before giving them their HEA. And similarly, I feel if you are going to write an UNhappy ending give me a damn good reason why that guy had to die alone next to a stray dog and not the OTHER ‘bad’ guy who died surrounded by his beloved tomatoes and grandchild. Bittersweet endings have their place, like the first in a series or an actual recounting of history, but not after you’ve already made the character suffer in other ways. I’m. Just. Sayin.

Similarly, I’ve always really hated Romeo and Juliet. No, it’s true. It’s not really because of the unhappy ending, it’s because of the inherent stupidity of the two main protagonists. I mean come ON! I’ve been fourteen. All passionately in luuuuurve. But faking your death, then not taking two seconds to doubt the veracity of what you’re seeing and offing yourself for real? I was never that dim-witted when I was fourteen. That’s taking hyperbole and a flair for dramatics to the extreme. No?

See, even as a teenager when first reading it I remember thinking, if I had written Romeo & Juliet it would go something like this:

Romeo gets his priest (who I think everyone realizes was on the take the whole time, right?) to secure passage out of town. Juliet sews a bunch of family jewels into their clothes to pay for the journey. If they have to do the whole over-the-top faking death thing they can stage an explosion/accident (ala Count of Monte Cristo) and they both fake out not only their families but the priest himself (no witnesses!) then they go hide out in a town in Sicily and create their own Mafia family and then decades later they come back to Verona and literally take over the town, round up their surviving ‘loved’ ones, all fuck you bitches, bet you wish you’d just let us get married now huh? See, then all the unreasonable warmongering ones got their just deserts and the ones who just wanted to get the hibbity on got to be together, but only after they worked hard for it. Not to mention your two main characters are no longer written as simpering morons but badass take charge entrepreneurs.

But … that’s probably just me.

I’m weird like that.

Romeo: Corleone’s that way, baby. I got a crib there and everything.
Juliet: Oh, Romeo, I lurve it when you strap your gangster on…

Wuuuut?! Snow White is a snitch?

So, as mentioned before, my husband and I are making our way through our summer Red Shirt programs. Last night I made it up to episode 18 of Once Upon a Time.

Oh Snow … Snow, Snow, Snow. Never rat out your friends. This turns them into Maniacal Evil Soul Crushing Bitches! It doesn’t matter your ‘pure as the driven snow’ child heart was in the right place. As they say in Chicago, “Keep your mouth shut!”.

Naw, I’m kidding.

I knew it was you, Snow!

Well, maybe not. To think all that evil heart-demolishing the Queen has done could have been prevented by the axiom of ‘Mind your own business’! I mean, as the show likes to hammer into its audience, ‘Evil is not born, it’s created.’

Which, yeah. Anthropologists all over the world nod in affirmation.

This reminds me of an argument my husband and I once had in the middle of the night as we were watching some show, I think it was Rizzoli and Isles or maybe Mobwives or perhaps I was mocking his beloved Criminal Minds, I don’t remember, but I made the comment that criminals deserve love too and their family members should never have to apologize for loving them. This devovled into an argument about whether or not sociopaths are capable of love and therefore whether they deserve the devotion of their family and friends or whether it’s the ulitmate con (his point of view).

What, doesn’t everyone have philosophical debates with their significant others in the middle of the night? No? *crickets*

True, he loves his cops shows, but he especially loves them when the cops in question dance all over the shades of grey (Damn you EL James!) as you see in The Shield or The Wire. So I was surprised he took this hard line stance. See, for me, I luuurve complicated family relations involving morality and situationally justifiable law breaking from Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo all the way to The Godfather. And I believe that no matter what side of the Thin Blue Line you are on, if you have a Code you live by … you live and die by it. But you were taught that code. It’s not a given. The issue of morality always has to be contextualized by its setting. And similarly, people are taught how and what it means to love people in their own families. Love is even more irrational than morality. So to debate whether anyone is deserving of love is specious to me.

So it should come to no one’s surprise that in response to his comment “Is this supposed to make me feel sympathetic to Regina?” I said, yes of course! She was taught her nastiness. Isn’t that the point? No one is saying it’s ok to rip a man’s heart out of his chest and pulverize it. It’s just some of us are saying if only Snow had kept her trap shut, if only the King weren’t such a douche, if only Regina’s mother weren’t an abusive controlling sociopath … and a thousand other if onlys that are actually what make the storyline compelling.

Yes, right is right and wrong is wrong (within your culturally taught emic worldview) but isn’t it simply delicious getting to know all the sides of a person?

“This was like discovering your vanilla cupcake had a chocolate fudge center.” — Tommy Gates, “First, I Love You”