Friday, May 15, 2009

Mystery Man

Remember when the Mystery Man was the hero? Zorro? The Lone Ranger? They would swoop in, rescue the heroine and then ride off into the sunset.

Wait a minute. Ride off into the sunset? What about the Happy Ever After ending?

I suppose it was a simpler time then, but the rescue was the HEA. There have been similar television shows in more recent times. After all once the hero falls in love and settles down to have little heroes, there isn't much of a show left, is there?

I believe we really don't want to go past that HEA. The few TV shows that finally married off their characters didn't last another season. There's something about striving for that HEA that we enjoy. But once it's reached, we don't want the reality of what comes afterward.

That's why Zorro and The Lone Ranger worked. They allowed us to dream that we might be the one to finally touch the lonely heart of the Mystery Man. We might rescue them from their life of fighting outlaws and settle down with them somewhere in peace.

The reality is once they gave up their crime-fighting lives they would no longer be nearly as fascinating. And we surely find them fascinating even in this day and age. Now they're SEALS and Rangers and firemen and soldiers. But we're still as fascinated with them now--we still weave fantasies around them--we still dream about them long after they walk into the sunset.



  1. Oh this is so interesting. NO we want to imagine the hero maintaining those yummy hard pecs and abs into his golden years and the heroine never sagging as she goes through childbirth and then menopause. It's a complete buzz-kill.

    And what IS it about men in masks anyway? Think I'm going to do something involving a man with a mask.

  2. I like to believe the hero is the everyman who steps up - no matter what he looks like - when he sees a problem - and the mask? Because a hero does it without needing fanfare and walking off into the sunset is just part of that - that's romantic

  3. Isn't that the truth. But while that tension and longing is going on you so badly want them to get together and live happily every after.

  4. There are a few cases where the HEA has worked. JD Robb's Eve Dallas series still (mostly) holds my interest. The Thin Man movies managed it for a while. But usually? Once the tension is gone, the fun is over for the reader or viewer. Though I do love seeing sneak peeks at them through other books in a series.

  5. Ah, yes. The reality of what happens after the HEA! I'll stick with the illusion of a HEA. LOL