Everyone loves a happy ending. OK, almost everyone. But the writers of children’s and teen fiction seem to be confusing the words “happy” and “married.” Teaching a whole generation (or two) of impressionable youths to stick a gold band on the first person they crushed on is a recipe for disaster. Thanks for contributing to the high divorce rate, pop culture.
1. Miss Piggy and Kermit
Le sigh. You guys are the best, but unfortunately you’re not together. Miss Piggy is that tough, ballsy go-getter who shoots for the stars but is weighted down by her lackadaisical, chill, “the universe will provide” boyfriend. The classy bitch who became the editor of Vogue Paris would have never been able to tolerate a life with a frog who basically wrote songs about “The Rainbow Connection” all day and cleaned up enough to be a trophy husband by night.
2. Han Solo and Leia (Movie Universe*)
THESE TWO — I shipped it before I knew what shipping was, but let’s be honest. Han was never going to settle into the penguin-suited politician by default role, and Leia was never going to give up her empire.
*They are married in the extended universe, but Han hangs back in the shadows and sometimes does Leia’s dirty work. Makes you wonder what kind of ruler Leia truly ended up being.
3. Katniss and Peeta
I think we can all agree that Mockingjay is a complete disaster, especially compared with the promise of Catching Fire. But where this book fails our heroine the most is by insinuating that someone who clearly has PTSD will be “healed” by marrying a torture victim, instead of, you know, going to therapy. That marriage was a powder keg, and honestly, Katniss never seemed like the type of person who wouldn’t follow through on a revolution that she essentially started.
4. Ginny and Harry
OK, Potterheads, time for some hard truth: Harry and Ginny aren’t going to make it. And it isn’t their age difference, or their cultural differences, or Harry’s crippling childhood trauma, or even their decided lack of on-screen chemistry. It’s just psychology and time.
What do they have in common, other than surviving Voldemort? Rowling, for all her wonderful storytelling, falls into the trap of pairing everyone up because everyone’s happy ending involves marriage — regardless of personalities or long-standing hopes and dreams — right? Having Harry “win” Ginny because he’s the main character, shoehorning them together as a high school sweetheart story, is absurd. Even more so if the audience is expected to believe everyone meets their future spouse when they’re 11.
5. Bella and Edward
Forever is a long time. It’s an especially long time if your husband designates who you can see, where you can go, and when you can go there. Once the high of the honeymoon ends, which admittedly could take a few decades, then what? Two virgins aren’t likely to discover they have the same kinks. Couple that with Edward’s disturbing controlling personality and emotional abuse clashing with Bella’s inevitable independence from him now that she is his physical equal, and this marriage is headed for a lot of calls to the cops over domestic disputes. Something tells me they won’t be able to make it work, not even for their horrifically named baby.
Plus, who wants to go to high school forever? Because let’s be honest, that sounds like hell.
6. Katara and Aang
Yes, we know that they made it work in canon (Legend of Korra), but Katara’s indecision about Aang in the series finale proves that more than anything, they both had a lot growing to do (because Aang’s 12). In reality, Katara would never be able to bear abandoning her small but fierce tribe in the long term, and Aang really needed someone neutral and not strongly tied to a particular type of bending or country to be able to rebuild the lost culture of the air nomads.
In what universe do teen-fiction writers live? When was the last time you met a healthy married couple who gushed about going through puberty together?
7. Romeo and Juliet
Reminder: The play takes place over the course of three days, and Romeo meets Juliet at party where he’s there to creep on another woman who he is love with. Also, they’re 14.
SO. MANY. RED. FLAGS.
Remember, ladies, if you can’t answer the following four questions about your husband, you may have just made a horrible mistake:
• What’s his middle name?
• How old is he?
• Where does he live?
• What’s his favorite poison?
8. Ariel and Eric
Um. She literally can never go home again because she turns into a PERSON at the end of the movie. That type of resentment festers friends. Leaving everything you’ve ever known and burning all your family bridges for a guy you met once only works out well in the minds of Disney imagineers.
DO NOT ATTEMPT.