Sometimes, being an adult sucks. I don’t just mean having lots of responsibilities and having creaky bones. I also mean the increased cognitive abilities. But Kelsey, you ask, isn’t that a good thing? You don’t think your nose disappears when someone takes it anymore! Well, yes, but it also means that you can think more deeply about things, even when you don’t want to. Many websites make a habit of “discussing things that you didn’t notice in insert media meant for children here”, but that usually focuses on pervy or dark stuff. No, there’s some downright sad stuff going on here.
I think the beauty of the tragedy of these situations is that you have to think about them to get it. As a writer, I typically only aim for this kind of thing with my poetry, because poetry can be a pretty abstract art form and you can get away with that sort of thing. Poetry is rarely, if ever, straightforward. Fiction, on the other hand, is expected to be.
I think that’s why this episode’s example is especially sad. I don’t think it was intentional at all. In fact, it’s from the original Transformers cartoon, so I know it’s not.
Starscream (aka: Decepticon second in command and Megatron’s punching bag) and Jetfire/Skyfire were best friends and fellow scientists before the war on Cybertron broke out. During an exploration mission on prehistoric earth, Jetfire crashed and was lost. Starscream was devastated. Flash forward blabbity blah years later, and they find Jetfire when the conflict spreads to earth! Hurray! Except Jetfire sees the Decepticon’s war crimes and what a monster his former best friend has become and joins the Autobots. This is pretty much the same story in Dreamwave Comics Transformers series.
I know this development is probably because 80’s cartoon writing was attempting to coordinate two languages and a bucket of cocaine, but this relationship was never acknowledged again. Starscream and Jetfire never spoke to each other again. And, while this was probably unintentional, it makes the whole situation sadder because it shows how far these two fell apart. The realism in this is also sad. I think everyone has friends who just became so different from them the relationship couldn’t continue, with or without the shouting match at the very end.
What can a writer learn from this? Well, that you should be careful how you chose to introduce and end relationships, because it can lead to readers jumping to conclusions that you weren’t intending. I think the main message of Starscream and Jetfire is that your character’s relationships don’t have to come to violent, screaming ends to be dramatic, heart-renching, and powerful.
Just some thoughts.
Want to be on youtube? Leave me a comment, and I’ll stick it in the video version of this episode!