In a twist that would rival even the juiciest telenovelas, Happyland builds its first major plot arc around characters that are from opposite sides of the tracks, have crackling sexual chemistry, and just happen to possibly be siblings.
Rose-Holt takes great effort to repeatedly let us know that incest is "gross," protesting perhaps too much. I wonder what some people might say about her love life?
I compiled a list of the top five most interesting, cringe-inducing relative romances that we [mostly] got over for the sake of the drama.Oh really now? First up is one you just knew would be in the list: Jaime and Cersei from Game of Thrones. In case you're not clued in, that's a brother and a sister, who is cheating or her husband.
(If you click on the image, you'll go to a YouTube video.)
Next up is Chris and Cathy from the 2014 Flowers in the Attic, then Norma and Norman from Bates Motel, then Jenna and Toby from Pretty Little Liars, then, finally, Maeby and George Michael from Arrested Development. I think this last relationship is the only one Sundi explains, noting that they're cousins.
So other than with Arrested Development, Rose-Holt does not bother to explain the relationships, having instead filled the space with disapproving phrasing. I think Chris and Catchy are blood siblings, Norma and Norman are mother and son. I have no idea how Jenna and Toby are related. Are they stepsiblings? I mean, if she's including cousins as "incest" then I could understand why she would include stepsiblings, if that's what they are. Or are they cousins, too? The short survey of "incest" doesn't say.
Our stories have always included incest (see: Greek mythology, the Bible) whether we're talking about assault or we're talking about consanguinamory, because these things have always been a part of life. We should stop attacking people for being consanguinamorous and put that energy into preventing assaults.
I so badly want to see a television series have an unflinching, on-the-nose sex-positive portrayal of consanguinamory, perhaps between siblings, that doesn't involve the actually-blood-related lovers cheating, being deranged, or more or less forced into the situation by abuse or confinement. There are real people in such relationships. How about a sensitive and sympathetic portrayal in fictional television?
Until then, I can re-read these books.
If you watch Happyland, or have seen any of the other productions mentioned, leave a comment about what you think.