with Lynne and Leslie

TV wedding ditchers: Free spirits or fools?

by SweetMidlife

Be a free spirt all you want. But I'ma need my deposit back...

And you...I really need that gift back.

I have always been annoyed by rom-coms where some dithering commitment-phobe ditches his or her wedding either at the altar, or right before, because of their new incredible love for some other person, a person who should take note of the ditherer’s track record. Because running out on someone at the last possible moment is not only a waste of every one’s time, heart and money, but it doesn’t bode too well for their future commitment. To you.

Two ABC programs recently featured that scenario in two unsavory, wavering flavors: the patented “I just can’t do this” wedding day flee to uncharted and more glamorous waters (“Pan-Am”) and the “No traditional wedding for us, no matter that we wasted the time and money of everyone who’s sitting at the church RIGHT NOW” deal (“General Hospital.”)

In both cases, what was supposed to be, respectively, a sheltered young woman’s desperate attempt to escape a conventional future and two non-traditional characters rejecting the harsh and overbearing confines of society’s oppressive blah blah blah, came off more like immature people whose doubts all along should have urged them never to agree to these shenanigans in the first place.

Be as non-traditional as you want. But at least stand up and be an adult about it.

On “Pan Am,” a sweet, almost too-perfect looking upper middle-class living doll named Laura (Margot Robbie) has a hyperventalating freak-out right before her pretty 1960s society wedding, escaping in her parents’ convertible with her Pan Am stewardess sister. Yeah, I know she’s a plot device, shiny shorthand for women whose individuality was suppressed by societal and class expectations. And I know that in 1962 or whatever, this girl might not have thought she had a choice besides marrying some hand-picked dweeb and living the life her mom designated for her, especially because her sister Kate (Kelli Garner) is apparently the family disappointment.

Still, she bugs, maybe because I’ve planned a wedding and know how frigging pricey they are, and because I got plenty annoyed when other people seemed so too casual about the money I was spending (ie. not showing up and not calling. thus wasting my non-refundable money. Like buttheads.) And yes, the only reason she probably bolted – changing the trajectory of her life and of this show – was because her sister witnessed her freakout and recognized from her own experiences how damaging it would be if she stayed. I get that.

And it’s a generational thing, and to ignore that would be to place 2011 standards of equality on the early ’60s, which is what I apparently do when people yell at me about not loving “The Help”  (Hi, Daddy!)

And I also have to admit that as a middle-class 40-year-old who paid for my own wedding, I kept looking at all the prettiness surrounding that would-be wedding, like the dress and the hair and the  gifts and decorations, and it all seems like giant spoiled princess waste of someone else’s money and time. I know that all the money in the world won’t replace the time and heart spent on a bad marriage. But don’t accept the ring, then. Phooey cakes.

Pretty little Laura’s fleeing can be chalked up to youth, but the not-wedding of longtime sweethearts Jason the mob hitman (Steve Burton) and Sam the P.I/former seafaring con woman (Kelly Monaco) just seems like careless idiots who don’t so much know their own style as know how to avoid the responsibility of the wedding you let someone else plan. See, Sam, an iconoclast who never needed conventions like marriage (or dating someone who wasn’t a criminal) let herself be talked into this huge wedding that wasn’t at all her because of the expectations of her mom, young excited sisters and friend Maxie (Kirsten Storms), a meddling, annoying chatterbox who pulled a similar non-wedding stunt at her own nuptials.

So these two criminals free spirits have an 11th-hour realization, after half-heartedly agreeing to this spectacle that was clearly never for them, that they just can’t be tamped down by the evil boot of the Bridal Brigade and their sinister arch ways and floral arrangements and such. So they run to some previously unseen part of town where they keep the wise Chinese  stereotypes people and their delightful ethnic ways that are helpful to white people, and get married by the convienient liscensed minister in the family, in their T-shirts and jeans.

And then, Sam has the nerve to wake up and thrill that they’re miles away from (and I’m paraphrasing) “that awful wedding that Maxie planned.” Well, hold on a second, Boobs McGee. You’re not some oppressed ’60s princess being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want by her family. You’re a 35-year-old woman, marrying a 41-year-old man, who has lived your life freely and flautingly up till now, and NOW you’re a victim of the wedding pressure of a woman who weighs about seven pounds and could be distracted by bright shiny objects?You could literally pick her up and sit her somewhere until she calmed the heck down. No sympathy from me.

That doesn’t make you a free spirit. It makes you kind of a wimp. A selfish, ungrateful And yeah, yeah, Jason and Sam showed up at the church and explained, and then had the reception at the Chinese restaurant with the nice stereotypes family who obviously have nothing else to do on a busy Saturday night than host impromptu weddings for strangers.

Yeah, there was some lame explanation that the food for the planned reception had been in an accident, and the dress was wrong (actually stolen by a serial killer played by slumming movie star James Franco, which you can not make me explain). But still, I’m thinking that they wasted everyone’s time, and that their last-minute evasion isn’t becoming to people who supposedly know their own minds. And are older than 12.

(Note: ABC did something similar two years ago with Meredith and Derek’s Post-It cop-out wedding, something that seemed organic to Meredith’s patented dithery, navel-gazing personality, and basically confirmed that she wasn’t a grown-up.)


One Response to “TV wedding ditchers: Free spirits or fools?”

  1. sapollak@gmail.com' Suzie says:

    I FULLY AGREE!! As a 35 year old who just planned my own wedding over the past 2 and a half weeks, I am appalled at yes reponses that are no-shows. I am even MORE appalled at this plot device and was livid at the one wedding I attended where the bride DID ditch pre-alter. For this reason, I no longer ship gifts in advance. (I never got mine back from said bride.) And the idea that her parents- who paid for this idiot’s lavish embarrassment- invited us all to stay, “and enjoy the spread”, made me sick. Her mom’s tear-stained face and dad’s grief stricken expression only caused my stomach to turn so bad the idea of eating further infuriated me.

    I’m even considering post-dating wedding checks for those that do go through with it but divorce within a year of the wedding. Don’t do it if you don’t mean it!
    PS- Got your response card and look forward to seeing you both Sunday!! : )

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