When a Protagonist Never End Up With Anyone
Wherever a cartoon presents romance, they will always have the protagonist ending up with someone
Luz and Amity
Catra and Adora
Star and Marco
Kim and Ron
Phineas and Isabella and many, many more
However, there are only two cartoons where they have their protagonists not ending up with a major character that they formed a very close bond with, but never form a romantic relationship and or had dated but ended up breaking up and they don’t even get back together, and they are
Finn Mertern from Adventure Time
Mordecai from Regualr Show
Those shows took more of a realistic approach to romance by having it be more complicated than two people loving each other. It didn’t shy away from being messy and showing the audience that love isn’t simple, it requires a lot of work and that’s something you don’t see a lot in cartoons, especially in kid cartoons. Throughout the whole series, they were chasing after a girl for a long time, trying their hardest to be with them but failed, leading them heartbroken.
Although they were heartbroken for not getting the girl they wanted, they have their best friends to cheer them up
Jake searches a new love interest for Finn for Princess Bubblegum is way too old for him
After Margret declines on becoming Mordecai boyfriend and leaves for univserity, Mordecai becomes depress, but his friends help him get out of that funk and actually did cheer him up.
They did at one point had a love interest before, but they messed it up.
Mordecai couldn’t decide to either be with Margret or C.J, so he decided to confess and break up with C.J during his friend’s wedding.
Finn manipulates Flame Princess by using her to fight Ice King for his own weird satisfying dream. When he told her the truth, they broke up
Thankfully, after a long time thinking of what they have done, they decided to make up with them
Mordecai and Margaret decided to stay as just friends
Finn finally realizes what he did was wrong and finally reconciles to Flame Princess, and her response was he grew up. They didn’t go back together but stayed as friends.
And then the boldest moves I’ve seen is they both ended with other people
While it would’ve been nice to have the characters ending up with their first-ever romantic relationship, but it shows them they finally moved on and had matured.
Regular Show and Adventure Time did what cartoons won’t do and is that having their protagonist not ending up with any other major character. It’s a good message to tell children, teens, and even adults that you’ll never end up with the person you share a close connection or having a romantic relationship doesn’t guarantee will last forever and that’s fine. It’s important to tell the viewers that and it’s something that I hope cartoons will do more in the future.
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Korra and Asami only held hands because Nickelodeon wouldn’t let them do more. Nick infamously cancelled Korra and put out the rest of season 4 as a webseries only.
Marceline and Princess Bubblegum only kiss in the very final episode because Cartoon Network wouldn’t let them do more. There are a ton of interviews with Pendelton and with the voice actresses where they talk about the CN censorship.
Steven Universe got as far as it did because Rebecca Sugar fought tooth and nail, and risked the show getting cancelled (which it did in many countries, if not heavily censored), because Cartoon Network wouldn’t let her. Ruby was often dubbed over with a male voice, and Pearl/Rose interactions were completely cut.
She-Ra managed to do it largely because it was specifically on Netflix only, and even then, Noelle has said they had to build 4 seasons of storyline very subtly around it so they had enough ammo to convince the execs that Catradora was the only logical conclusion to this show they had already aired. She didn’t just go in on Day 1 and make it gay; she had to plan many years in advance for how to set up her argument. Her argument, y’all.
And now we have The Owl House. Which is an absolutely wonderful show. And it’s so amazing that we actually get to see queer characters get the kind of representation that so many straight characters get. And it’s amazing we get to see the romance build up, instead of just a quick peck in the series finale!
Let’s not forget that in the US, it was illegal for gay people to get married until 2015. Korra aired in 2012. In Texas, it was a punishable felony to even be gay until 2003. No, literally. Just being gay was an arrestable offense here in Texas until 2003. We have come a really long way in 20 years!
But don’t fucking dare disrespect any of these other shows by saying they didn’t try, or that their representation didn’t matter. The Owl House is standing on the shoulders of giants. Lumity is only where it is because Korrasami and Bubbline helped get them there.
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