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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Mixing of Happiness

Unless you are a monk somewhere, or live in a third world country, or had really really strange parents, you have heard of TV. it’s probably even likely that you've watched a couple (or more) shows in your time, and for that, I congratulate you on being human. But until recently, I didn't think TV mattered that much. I thought it was mild entertainment that moved with the times to pacify the people and put time into staring at a screen. But today, I actually learned something.

Most of the shows I like get cancelled. Sad but true I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to TV, and most of the shows I appreciate are quirky and maybe a bit off the beaten path. That’s not to say they’re weird, but more they don't appeal to the general population in the long run. Yeah, I guess, normally they're pretty weird...that or really, really bad.

ABC this year premiered several new shows for their spring line up. Among those was a show called Mixology, a show set in a hip New York bar where ten initial strangers struggle to find what might be love by last call. There were all sorts of couple combinations; the pushover and the emotional commitment phobe; the bearded red head and the sexy mother from Newark; the slightly self absorbed waitress and the over zealous, commitment freak black guy. The couple I rooted for most however were Ron and Liv, the sexy blond Brit who just lost everything by bankrupting his start-up and the “whatever’s fine” Indian woman who almost settled with a boring marriage. The impression given in the episode before the season finale (spoiler alert) was that the two were going to do what Liv had always wanted to do: travel to India to ride an elephant... together. The finale, however, has Liv calling another main character and best friend, Maya, to tell her that she and Ron are on their way to JFK and that Ron has taken care of all the details. In their short phone conversation the two friends talk mostly about Maya’s inability to commit, but Maya also reminds Liv of why she wanted to go to India; to find herself after finding out she didn’t really know what she wanted in life. The finale has Liv leaving Ron in the taxi to fly, that same night, to India to discover who she really is.

To be honest, it sounds a bit better on paper, but trust me, in the show, you as a viewer are rooting for this couple to be together; they have great chemistry, they make each other happy, and they saved the other from making mistakes they would have regretted the rest of their lives. You root for them because you want them to be happy; to fall in love and live happily ever after because that is what you think is best for them; to be together.

The big reveal to this whole narrative is that while I was thinking after the show, I was tempted to rewrite (for my own satisfaction) the ending to that particular story, so that in the end they would both be happy. I realized that wouldn’t have worked, because even if I delved halfway back through the show I would have never addressed the issue that Liv needed to find out who she was on her own and that she could never have done that while romantically involved with Ron, or her ex fiance Jim. I realized that I just wanted the characters to be happy...But why can’t Liv be happy? Who’s to say she won’t have a great time in India and find herself and find faith and freedom in a country she’s from but never been to. Why does she need Ron to make her happy, when clearly her story is far from over and she’s about to start on this incredible journey through life. She was 28 and didn’t even know what kind of drink she wanted at the bar, or if she preferred an aisle or window seat.Yes, those are both first world preferences, but it doesn’t disqualify them as choices she needed to make. I realized while watching that show that just because the night is over and the guy who you thought you might like you’re not so into anymore, doesn’t mean that tomorrow you can’t look in the mirror and know you made the right choice by choosing to be by yourself, finding yourself. The show, which is now officially over, will serve as a very needed wake up call and reminder that you do not need a guy to make you happy. If you’re Liv, you need  a bunch of tequila and a ticket to India. If you’re the rest of us, the only thing you really need is the journey.