We've all seen books and movies where a romance seemed thin or stale. Where romance seemed to be grafted onto a story or jammed in where it didn't belong. You can almost picture the planners sitting around a table, writing out a formula. "We need a Love Interest to plug in here." *Shudder.*
I love romantic story lines, but not every single time. The end of the TV series 30 Rock
(and its ongoing life in syndication) reminded me how much I appreciate
this aspect of the show: the male and female leads had no romance. They
had a long and intense relationship, full of conflict and mutual
support, but they had no sexual chemistry and never forced that. In
fact, some of my favorite moments were when the characters joked about their lack of that very heat.
Because Jack and Liz were not
(usually) opponents but allies in their working world, the show also
could not rely on a typical nemesis relationship to create tension.
Usually, the characters dealt with separate problems, but their problems
impinged on one another. They gave each other bad advice, good advice,
"tough" friendship. They interfered too much with each other; they
stepped back; they interfered again.
It's a good example of how male and female characters can have a non-familial, non-romantic bond.