What do ER fans have against sex?

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I keep seeing so many people against the idea of Carter and Abby being romantically involved in the future. So many ER fans seem to only want to see all the characters being "just friends." I like to see the characters being friendly, but it's almost like some fans feel threatened by the idea of characters having a romantic/sexual relationship. I do not want to see all the characters hopping in and out of each other's beds constantly, but being "just friends" can be tame and boring, too. I think Noah Wyle and Maura Tierney definitely have chemistry as performers and certainly the time is right in Carter's life for him to finally have a serious, committed, honest relationship. Apparently it's OK for Carter to bed-hop with an endless succession of come-and-go blondes, but why the resistance to him having a romantic relationship with a fully fleshed-out character like Abby? So what if she works at the hospital? Anyhow I think it is clear that TPTB are slowly putting Abby and Carter together as a couple and they will be together by the end of the season. I am not sure why it would be preferable for them to just be G- or PG-rated "friends" all the time. It's like people who watch the show don't like sex or are afraid of it or assume it automatically screws up an honesty open relationship. Anyhow, I hope Carter and Abby get together eventually (not right away) - friends be damned. Am I the only fan of romance left watching this show?

-- Beth (beekster@aol.com), November 17, 2000


First off, sex does not equal romance. It can be romantic, but I think of them as two different concepts. It is also possible, yes, even in this day and age, to be romantically involved without being sexually involved. I think the basic opinion of the "anti-sex" people is that it is so very rare to have a platonic male/female relationship on TV anymore. Everything must be overflowing with sexual tension or the possibility of it. It overemphasizes sex and can give impressionable people the idea that having a male/female relationship without sex is worthless. Yes, people can still be friends and sexual partners, but you cannot deny it changes the very nature of the relationship. Part of the reason that ER has been accused of being a night time soap opera is the lack of non-sexual relationships. Most of us here know that ER has more substance than a soap, and we would like to see that substance through deeper, more difficult relationships. Sex is too easy to predict, it's almost a cop-out. ER should be above that, and keep its reputation as a serious drama. It's going to be hard enough with this season and last season's pregnancies (I know they had to write them in), so that's all the more reason to keep sex out of Carter and Abby's relationship. Platonic love does exist in the real world, so why can't it exist on ER without being "boring?" Some might argue it is more exciting even then sexual love, and if the writers are good, they can show us that.

-- Becky (pattonrd@muohio.edu), November 17, 2000.

Well said Becky. My sentiments exactly! I enjoyed the awkwardness of Abby and Luka this week. How many of you have had one of those moments with someone you spent the night with. Raise you hands so I can see them! Luka is still battling some pretty big demons lately. I didn't get the feeling like he was blowing her off, but rather he was deeply preoccupied with his day. Please let that man have a good day soon!

-- Lisa (lisayas@yahoo.com), November 17, 2000.

I'm not against romantic relationships (with sex being part of that relationship), but as others have said platonic relationships between men and women did exist and I'd prefer to see more of those than romantic relationships. Just because you work with people doesn't mean that you get romantically involved with them. It's not that have anything against Carter having a relationship with another central character, but it just seems to much. Afterall this season we have Mark and Lizzie, Benton and Cleo, and finally Luka and Abby (at least for the time being). I think that if there were fewer couples and more platonic friendships I might feel differently.

-- Emma (webbef@hotmail.com), November 17, 2000.

Yes, but the assumption seems to be that the minute Carter and Abby experienced sexual attraction, that the "friendship" parts of their relationship would somehow be null and void. Why keep romantic attraction out of it? I mean, this is how people fall in love in real life. They enjoy each other's company, can rely on each other and have a mutual sexual attraction and a romantic relationship (in some cases). But people are acting like that sort of nice relationship would be "ruined" if two characters became romantically involved. I don't get it either. I think what people want to see are romantic relationships that are more satisfying and fulfilling. I sympathize with that, but you CAN have a romantic involvement on a show that has the best of what's in a platonic relationship. I think it would be a terrible shame if TPTB didn't explore the possibility of a Carter-Abby friendship turning into a romance. It's as if people think that "Platonic" relationships are somehow more "pure and good" than just plain romantic ones.

-- Tracy (bankybooda@aol.com), November 17, 2000.

I could go either way here. I love to see comeraderie and I love the friendship between Carter and Abby. I think that Luka and Abby totally lack communication, which is strange because I didn't think Luka would be like this. I'm also dissapointed because awhile ago, maybe during the summer, I remembered reading that they were going to go easy on the Luka angst and maybe let him have some fun. I guess not. I suppose once Luka gets over all of this him and Abby could make a much better couple, but if there were to be a pairing, I would think it should be carter and Abby. There is much more there. If they were to get them together I would not want some kind of jealous triangle. I would rather they got them together over a long period of time...maybe give them some sexual tension. The reason I, and most others I think, saw so much in the Doug/Carol relationship was because there was a lot of meaning behind it and a lot to build up to. People enjoying seeing people attracted to each other and dealing with it more than them actually being together.

As for romantic relationships in the workplace...it may seem soapish, but once people that age are out of school, the majority of your social life is your coworkers.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), November 17, 2000.

very interesting input from everyone! I think that emotionally A & C have a better connection than with Luka but I think that it would be over-the-top with Carter's current problems and now Abby's recent ones (Maggie) to add a romance. I like that they will support each other but I think it would be more realistic to postpone any romance with them for now.

-- diane (dstopczynski@hotmail.com), November 17, 2000.

I don't have a problem with either Carter or Luka or Abby having a romantic/sexual relationship, but please, let's do it with an off screen character. Someone who doesn't work at the hospital. Remember Walter, Jennifer, Carl, Al, Jeannie's new husband, Lydia's husband, and all of Doug's g/friends? They put in an occasional appearance to support their mate and remind us that these are characters that have a life outside of work and how that life may at times affect their work.

-- AmyE (roamyn@aol.com), November 17, 2000.

No. Carter has had ENOUGH, E-N-O-U-G-H relationships with characters who have only been around for ten episodes. I for one don't wish to see him dallying with an Abby Keaton or a Roxanne or an Elaine again. He's been there, done that. If anyone should get an outside love interest, it's Luka.

-- Tracy (bankybooda@aol.com), November 17, 2000.

There is nothing wrong with Carter and Abby getting together. I would much rather it be them than she and Luka. The writers need to get Luka a woman outside the hospital; he and Abby just don't seem to have the right chemistry. And did anyone else notice who was there for Abby when her crazy mother came around. I'll give you a hint, it wasn't Luka.

-- Mallory B. (mallory_1523@yahoo.com), November 17, 2000.

When ER started, Crichton wanted to show that doctors are not all about playing golf and earning millions. He wanted to show that health workers have a very difficult job and are humans, not 100% Gods and not 100% SOBs. Just humans with virtues and flaws, like anyone else. The problem is that they have show to many relationships among the personnel. SOme of the people whose work is related to health care and post in this forum are very concern because relationships with work colleagues look unprofessional to them, thats all. The original thread īs title is awful.

-- jules (jules@operamail.com), November 18, 2000.

There's also the not-so-slight issue of Abby being Carter's AA sponsor... "13th-stepping" (having a relationship with a fellow AA member) is generally considered to be a Really Bad Idea. Sex may not harm a healthy friendship as a rule, but it certainly adds a dimension to it; I'm not sure Carter and Abby are ready for another complication in their lives.

-- Julia (dauphine01@yahoo.com), November 19, 2000.

Well, this health care worker isn't particularly concerned about the "unprofessional" look of at-work relationships. (After all, he does have one.) He is, however, concerned with the fact that if ER is to be believed, he should be sleeping with more of his glamorous co-workers, and isn't so much concerned as he is jealous.

Humor aside, I have a couple problems with constant coupling on the show:

First, I sometimes think I'm watching Dawson's Creek or some other equally banal WB/UPN show where everybody sleeps with everyone else for no particularly good reason. I don't need to see people being paired off with each other all of the time; I'm perfectly content to watch normal, healthy, single people on TV (or -- and I know this is a radical thought -- watch people have a relationship outside the framework of the main setting of the show).

Second, I think an emphasis on two characters hopping into bed with each other is pandering and doing the audience a disservice. It's essentially saying that we can't spot a relationship or romance without watching people writhe around under the sheets. I'm surprised more people aren't insulted by this; I certainly can appreciate a good romance and from my perspective it's better to draw it out and tease than to get it over with in a small fit of orgasmic fun. (Then again, I was raised Buddhist, so maybe I have a different perspective on desire and want.)

Third, good relationships need set up time, and that's what people are after. They want a friendship first, and they want backplot, so that when X and Y do hop into bed, it doesn't seem arbitrary and random. In other words, they want to see what normal people do when they meet and fall in love -- they want to see the gradual process of growing closer and closer, they want to see the development of emotional intimacy before the windowshades get drawn. Much as I'm enjoying the relationship now, this is essentially why I had problems with Corday and Greene initially: no set up.

More generally, I'm tired of seeing sex being treated so casually. A person treating sex casually is what killed my last relationship. (No, it wasn't me, so you can stop composing that mail.) Within a relationship, certainly the sex can be casual and it doesn't have to be a serious, solemn thing (I'm not arguing that), but with new partnerships, people have to be careful and owe it to themselves to think hard about what they're doing, because it is a big deal, and I don't think people should enter into it lightly. Tossing people into bed with each other on short notice is a symbol of this, and not one most folks want to see. (Let's face it: Unless you're a slut or otherwise incredibly easy, you have to work hard to get any, and it's infurating to watch people put 1/64th of the effort you did into getting laid. But then again, maybe I'm reverting to my Angry Lonely Nerd state right now. Ahem.)

And, for the record, I think sex does screw up good friendships. You cannot be friends and have sex, no matter how many TV shows, movies, and books say you can. Inevitably, you either end up as lovers (which is OK), or you end up resenting each other, because someone's always going to be less into the whole thing than the other one (otherwise, you'd be lovers already). With all friendships a decision has to be made at some point whether the relationship should move into the bedroom, and once the line has been crossed, it cannot be un-crossed. You've done It, and there's no going back.

(I'm also skeptical of people who manage to maintain a good relationship with their former partners, but that's another rant for another day.)

-- Mike Sugimoto (phloem@fumbling.com), November 20, 2000.

Personally, what annoys me most about this whole thing is not even the fact that Abby & Luka had sex too quickly- although I believe what Mike said above is true, and although I hate it that ER seems to get more and more 'soap-operaish' on this particular issue.

However, what disturbed me most was that Abby- who seems to be a very sensitive and understanding person- did not listen to Luka when what he most obviously needed to do was talk. Instead she told him more or less 'to shut up' and jumped right into his bed. I don't know, but what was she thinking that minute? It was so obvious Luka needed help, and she just ignored it. As a nurse and a med-student she must have taken some psych class and done some rotation at one point or another, and therefore should know that Luka's facing some serious problems.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is: I didn't buy this, and I think Abby acted totally out of character.

One last personal comment: Sex DOES destroy friendships (if you don't become lovers that is)- and there's never ever a way to treat it as if it had never happened. When you take the step, then it's a final one. Abby should have been more aware of that.

-- Anne (annebercher@gmx.de), November 20, 2000.

Well, that's what I don't understand about people who don't want to see Carter and Abby become a romantic pair eventually. If that's the writers' intention is to pair them up eventually, I think they're going about it the RIGHT way. I think when people are saying "I just want them to remain friends" is really a code word for "I'd like the writers to not have them hop in bed immediately." But for some reason if you call it a potential romance, people go "Ewwwww." I agree about Mark and Elizabeth.

-- Tracy (bankybooda@aol.com), November 20, 2000.

Anne, I totally agree w/ you about Abby acting out of character. The way she handled Luka doesn't seem like her and I just thought "that's not right!" although it is pretty realistic that people do not act like they normally do when they like someone, and Abby obviously likes him. I guess the reason I see her w/ Carter is because she is SO much more natural w/ him.

As for why she didn't talk to him at the hotel, I have to defend her here even though I didn't particularly like it, because while I agree that he needed to, and Abby DID know that...she had tried to talk to him MANY times (calling him constantly, following him), but it was obvious to her that he would keep fighting her on this. So she probably sat back and figured "ok, he needs *someone*, so I'll just go over there and be there for him, and he won't get defensive if I don't make him talk." I'm a psych major and I would go into that situation knowing he needed to talk too, but sometimes you need to settle for other things, since the person would be too defiant. Either way she wanted to be there for him.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), November 20, 2000.

Not only that, Luka pulled Abby to him by the lapels of her coat in that scene. It's not like she forced herself on him. He could have stopped everything and talked it he wanted to. He obviously didn't.

-- Phyl (erfan@flash.net), November 20, 2000.

Phyl, you're certainly right about Luka not stopping Abby. (But then again, he's a guy, what reason should he have to do so? ;-) just kidding)

Seriously though, if I think of my own experience- when somebody needs to talk it does not necessarily mean that he wants to. In fact, I think most people are rather into hiding their problems than into confiding to s.b. they barely know. For Luka, Abby's offer was clearly the easy way out, a way to distract him from what he was going through that moment.

-- Anne (annebercher@gmx.de), November 21, 2000.

Another idea, I'm sure others have already thought of, but I figured I'd put it out there...having relationships among main characters is much easier and cheaper for the show (not that they're cutting costs or anything, but still...). Shows like ER constantly have to have tons of extras since the patients are a big part of the plots. I'm very happy that recurring characters stick around (the nurse, Gamma, Jackie, etc.) that do not get much air time, but I'm sure it's hard for producers to get people to stay on that long. Eventually they proabably assume that these actors will leave and then the show has to continuously break the couple up (i.e. just about ALL of Carter's girlfriends). I am hoping that a character like Carter's finally gets around to the serious relationship he needs in this or next season, and for the reasons I mentioned, it might be easier to put him w/ Abby or Deb or an actor willing to keep a bit recurring role.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), November 21, 2000.

I'm new here, but wanted to throw my 2 cents in. Firstly, for me, romance is often overrated. When it comes down to it, sex in the candlelight is nice, but it doesn't pay the bills. Romance is what soap operas are about. Secondly, romance and sex are two separate issues. Abby and Carter could go at it in the back alley one night when they'd had too much to drink and there's nothing romantic about that. Thirdly, why can't friendship be romantic? Don't the best friends make the best lovers? I see Abby and Luka as being too damaged to make it work long-term, but that doesn't mean it has to be Abby and Carter in a relationship. What if Abby and Carter fell in love with each other. I can see it because they seem to have such an easy camaraderie. They know they love each other, but for some reason it just isn't meant to go any further than that. Who knows why...Abby marries Luka, Carter is being sent to Bangladesh...but they settle into a solid friendship that is tinged by the depth of their feelings for each other. Maybe when they are old and gray they will finally marry and settle down into some sort of blissful companionship, but in the meantime, they can be Just Friends. There, being just friends sounds deliciously angst-ridden when you put it like that.

-- Sacha (sachadavis@qwest.net), November 21, 2000.

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