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Deep Thoughts by Catho

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by Catho6
1.20.2000

Last night, someone posted a question wondering how many of us are Luis/Sheridan fans. The response was unanimous, of course - we all are. This got me thinking - why is it that every one of us is so loopy about Luis & Sheridan and we seem to be split or just plain ambivalent toward Ethan/Gwen/Theresa. I thought a lot about it, and then my dears, I believe I had something of an epiphany.

In the case of Luis & Sheridan, we have two characters whom we have seen completely change and develop before our eyes. Moreover, we have seen many different aspects of their personalities.

We have seen Sheridan both insecure and assertive. She obviously, and with good reason, has a distrust of men and has been hesitant to let herself become involved after a series of bad relationships. We also have seen her assertive side as when she negotiated to get equal time on the basketball court for the girls. We have seen her playful side. Remember when she ordered lunch for herself, Luis & Hank? Just to creep Luis out, she told him that she got a bunch of really exotic, disgusting sounding food (snake tongues or something like that). Then, when she got the reaction she wanted, she let him in on the joke. We've seen numerous examples that she's a very compassionate person such as when she catered the youth center New Year's Eve party and when she leant her support to the Lopez-Fitzgerald family in their time of grief. We've seen her angry with Luis and disgusted with her brother. We have been witness to her capacity for devotion, guilt, and fear. The list could go on and on. I don't for a second agree with an earlier post that she is a passive character. She doesn't take any grief from anyone and calls her brother on it every time he makes a rude, cruel or insensitive remark. She defended Luis to her brother when he tried to have him fired and even threatened him in the process. Those are not characteristics of a passive personality.

We've also been shown the depth of Luis's character. Obviously, he is a very devoted family man, forsaking his own dreams to support his family. While he is happy and proud that he's been there for them, there is also evidence that he feels some bitterness that he has directed toward the Crane family. He is a dedicated cop and a seeker of truth. We have seen him feel pain and sorrow as well as guilt when he thought he let his father die. Luis also has his playful side - recall how he teased Sheridan when she saw him sans towel in the locker room. Throughout the beginning phases of their relationship, we saw his sarcastic tendencies. And don't forget his stubborn streak. But through that stubbornness shines the ability to admit when he is wrong as he did when he conceded that Sheridan is a good person and not like the rest of the Crane family.

The writers have given us more complete pictures of these two characters than any others on the show. Undoubtedly, we all recognize parts of these characters as parts of ourselves, and we love in others what we love in ourselves. We are attached to these two because we recognize them. They are dynamic in that they have grown and changed as all human beings do.

The flip side of that dynamic characterization is illustrated in the relatively static characters of Ethan, Gwen and Theresa. While we may see these three as perfectly nice people (OK - that's questionable in Gwen's case), we haven't gotten much of a glimpse of their personalities in any context other than how they relate to each other. Theresa has mostly been characterized in terms of her love for, or obsession with, Ethan. True, she did show signs of feeling sorrow & grief when she believed her father died, but once again those emotions revolved around how they related to her pursuit of Ethan. She's never shown much concern for her friend Whitney, who has some problems of her own, except when she needs help with the latest Ethan crisis.

Ethan too, has been shown in a mostly one-dimensional light. He loves Gwen & can't believe she's so determined to prove Theresa is a liar. While he does have his moments of genuine affection & concern, most notably for his aunt Sheridan, most of his existence is spent reassuring Gwen how much he loves her and how crazy she is for thinking that Theresa has a crush on him. He is easily manipulated by both ladies.

Gwen is also a one-trick-pony. Her sole concern is proving to Ethan that Theresa is in love with him. I'm not even going to go into the implausibility of her refusal to marry Ethan until Theresa admits she's in love with him.

In the same way that we are attracted to the parts of Luis & Sheridan that we recognize in ourselves, we are also repelled by the parts of ourselves we recognize but dislike in Ethan (dumb) Theresa (obsessed) and Gwen (bitchy).

In addition to the differences in character development, the development of the two plot lines also differs greatly. Luis & Sheridan have obviously come a long way and through a lot of REASONABLE situations - overcoming prejudice, overcoming class differences, etc. The Luis/Sheridan story has moved from their initial distaste of each other, to a mutual compassion and respect for each other and finally to the beginnings of an attraction to each other. The Ethan/Gwen/Theresa story is basically in the same place it was when the show started over 6 months ago. The only real difference is that now Gwen is hip to Theresa's machinations. The hurdles in this story line are mostly contrived - i.e. Gwen's ridiculous refusal to marry Ethan until she proves that Theresa is in love with him. Nobody would really do that.

I'm sure I'm not speaking for everyone, and I'm not trying to. I speak for myself, but I bet there are some out there who agree with me. Once the writers decide to pay attention to E/G/T and round out the characters and story more fully, I'm sure we'll all be just as riveted to their tale as we are to that of Luis & Sheridan. Until then, I'll keep my finger on the fast forward button.

- Cath

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