What amazes me is that when I tweeted out that we were writing an article about Malec, the Twitter universe responded saying that we had issues because they were a gay couple on TV. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fans became really defensive, stating that they never asked for the article (we don’t wait for people to ask about things, we write what we want to), some wished us ill will, and a lot of people used curse words.
We have no issues with the portrayal – Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr are great. The truth is, when it comes to this show, we’ve never had a problem with the actors. We can’t be mad when you know that there are good actors just doing their jobs. But you can be mad when they are given shitty content to bring to life.
Our issue with Malec is that we’re supposed to believe in this epic love story, but we’re not shown it. We’re just told that this happened and that happened. The problem with Malec – well it comes down to three things.
- Telling vs. Showing
- There is no angst
- The completely shitty dialogue
Now, I get where you are going to go. We’ve not been so nice to the show. I know that. Hell, at Wondercon Ed flat out told us that, but I stand behind everything that we’ve ever said. Why? We don’t settle for mediocre. We don’t settle for the characters that we love being half assed.
The first season of any show is about building the world. Yes, I know, we’ve read the books, so what world do we need to build? Well, with this show we need to build one because it’s not the world of the books. This show is such a departure, but if we’re all going to be honest with each other, that’s a problem. You can say it’s not, but the ratings reflected that it is.
But I digress.
Malec definitely took the spotlight this season and we understand why. As crappy as they were written, they were the most interesting couple. But as interesting as they were, there were some issues. Starting with the “telling and not showing.”
I know what you are going to say, that kiss. But stop to think for a second – what the hell did they show us that led to that kiss? Really think about it. What moments led to Alec willing to sacrifice everything for Magnus?
“Emotions are never black and white, they’re more like symptoms,” Magnus explains. “You lose your breath every time they enter a room, your heart beats faster when they walk by, your skin tingles when they stand close enough to feel your breath.”
Okay, valid point Magnus. But here’s the thing about romance: we want to see it build. WE WANT TO FEEL THE SYMPTOMS. For instance, the night that Alec spent at Magnus’ apartment. We heard about it, but we didn’t see it. It was a missed opportunity to see their relationship start to build. Seeing that vulnerable part of Alec, the part where he was willing to let down his walls, where he was willing to be open with someone. Who wouldn’t have done anything to see that?
Where the fuck was the angst? Where the hell was the build up to that kiss? Sorry, a few stolen glances and looks of lust does not a relationship make. They could have cut some of the hundreds of times that the characters said, “I’m a Shadowhunter” (we all understood that, didn’t need to hear it 5,000 times) and actually showed these characters building their relationship.
So yes, the problem with Malec is that they didn’t get enough air time. They didn’t get enough time to build their relationship. Instead we’re fed bits and pieces. There was no angst. There was just a lot of telling us that they were attracted to each other.
And though I know that Alec said that he wasn’t in love with Magnus, the rush of their relationship – (we timed it and they spent less than 15 minutes together – alone – over the course of the series on screen. Though it was implied that they spent more time together, we didn’t get to see it) – the “insta love” of it all. It was a missed opportunity to give us more. There’s no angst, no build up, no passion (except in that kiss). There is a lot of confusion, which makes us miss the evolution of Malec.
The reason that we become so invested in ships is that we see their evolution – we see them meet, evolve, an inevitable road block, find their way to each other, break up, and then just maybe after a repeat of it all, they find their way back to each other.
I get it – you get the road block in Alec’s wedding. BUT AGAIN what moments led to Magnus and Alec feeling so connected that Magnus is going to interrupt the wedding? What moments did they actually show us?
I want them to stop telling me everything. The writing in this show has talked down to the viewer – treated us like we were incapable of beginning to understand what is going on. Truth is we all understand what is going on – more than the actual writers of this show. They don’t understand the world, the concepts, and they have proven that they don’t understand the complexity of the characters.
Show us who they are, what they want and how they all bond. Make us all invested. The writers need to wrap their mind around the art of the slow burn. Because they don’t know it. We all would have waited for the end game – Malec, Sizzy, and Clace. The writers should have respected that and given us the stories that we all deserve.