You and the Comforting Lie of Happily Ever After
The moral case for not trying to force your happily ever after.
And they all lived happily ever after... or so we like to believe.
The idea that at the end of finding someone to love, we're finally happy and everything works out for the best is a fantasy we tell ourselves. It makes us feel better to believe in the fairy tale ending. We draw comfort from it on so many levels. So much so that we're willing to lie to ourselves in order to maintain the comfort. Of course, the reality is a lot more complicated than that. Because that comfort is better than what really ends up happening.
Truthfully, actually achieving that happy ending is incredibly difficult. It requires to us do work and be willing to change to make the other person happy. But not to change so much that we end up losing ourselves in the other person or in the comfortable lie we tell about how things really are. Reinforcing that lie will only end up creating more problem than it solves. You'll end up forcing anything that might seek to disrupt that comfort. We might even be willing to kill for it.
If we're really committed to the lie we could do it more than once. Sometimes that is just a metaphor. We will kill our dreams for someone else. Kill our relationships with other people who try to point out the problems with it. There's even a chance we completely uproot our entire lives just to get away from anyone who might destroy the lie of perfect happiness we've constructed. At least that would be preferable to either metaphorical or literal murder.
What's great about You is how it creates a more literal representation of that metaphor. Despite all the effort both Joe and Love have put into their relationship and creating this perfect fairy tale ending, they simply can't escape what's right in front of them. The relationship they have simply doesn't work. Under no circumstances does what they have end in anything other than brutality and destruction. There is no happy ending for them. No happily ever after.
Somewhat ironically, the unhappiness that Joe and Love feel in their relationship is a mirror to the people around them. Even if their neighbours seem on their surface to be perfectly happy with all their money and power and social validation from the online environment of social media they crave. Once Joe and Love get below their surface, they reveal the problems within the suburban lifestyle they've constructed. Something that both Joe and Love crave but can't ever seem to achieve.
It's not going to stop them from trying however. And with people like Joe and Love, it's everyone around them who will end up regretting being caught up in that lie. In order to make their relationship work, they will destroy anyone or anything that might get in their way. They will leave bodies in their wake and construct simple narratives about why those bodies are necessary in order to keep their perfect happiness intact. Remove anyone who shows even the slightest bit of interest in their partner. Because that person is a glaring example of what's wrong with their relationship.
Which means there's simply only one way their relationship can end. And it's not with a perfect fairy tale ending.
Make sure to check out You and its third season on Netflix.
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