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What do you think Heterosexual Life-Partners is about? Whatever your answer, many disagree with you. Some think it means "best friends, both male or both female." Like Abbott and Costello, two characters from A Clockwork Orange or Archie and Jughead. Scores, maybe hundreds of examples on the main page assume this definition. Others interpret the title ironically. They think that we call the characters heterosexuals, and they are, but they're practically a romantic couple. This latter definition actually seems to be the primary meaning, and the trope even has Bromance as a redirect. (The intentionally ambiguous laconic, "Really close same-sex friends, " offers no help at all.) As a result of the different interpretations, examples cover a spectrum of tropes. For instance, from The Simpsons, we have:
They think that we call the characters heterosexuals, and they are, but they're practically a romantic couple.I believe it's this. However, they are explicitly not a couple, and this is just as important to the trope.
Ship Tease or Homoerotic Subtext, but it may get some. "Inexplicably, Platonic Life Partners is the "opposite sex" version of this trope, according to both pages. Someone thought that "platonic" implies opposite sex while "heterosexual" implies same-sex." Not seeing the problem here. The point of Heterosexual Life-Partners is that there's a) two people, of the same sex, who are pretty much Life Partners, but b) they're both heterosexual, so there's no actual romantic/sexual relationship there. In modern pop culture, "platonic", despite the original Greek connotations, usually refers to a pair of people of opposite sexes, who might otherwise make a couple, but aren't romantically/sexually interested in each other. The names fit fine.
Two people of the same sex who are like a couple, but not a couple. If so, the trope has at least 50 percent misuse on its own main page. That's also the exact definition of Homoerotic Subtext, which was launched as an objective alternative to Ho Yay.
Homoerotic Subtext trope appropriately, that is "creators add elements that would suggest a romantic/sexual relationship if it weren't clearly established that the characters are straight, usually for comedy or fanservice", which potentially overlaps but isn't the same thing (you can have Homoerotic Subtext between characters that aren't closely attached to each other, and you can have Heterosexual Life-Partners that never get Homoerotic Subtext).
Could you mention an example that would go on Heterosexual Life-Partners but not Homoerotic Subtext?
Jeeves and Wooster, Holmes and Watson (original book version in both cases; later adaptations tend to play up the Homoerotic Subtext). Lots of others.
What defines the difference between this and "best friend"?
Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
And there's a difference between your best friend who is a confident but not closer than any romantic interest, and your Heterosexual Life Partner who is even closer than your wife or husband.
Jeeves and Wooster, original Holmes and Watson? In that case, the trope is about their closeness as people, and their being jokingly portrayed like a romantic couple is irrelevant. So the other near 50 percent of the main page is misuse.
edited 10th Jan '12 5:44:59 PM by Routerie
No, it's correct, it's just that Heterosexual Life-Partners has a high incidence of being combined with Homoerotic Subtext. Just because the two tropes intersect frequently doesn't make them the same trope. A Super Hero almost always has a Secret Identity. That doesn't mean that they're the same thing. Some tropes just tend to occur together a lot.
edited 10th Jan '12 6:13:09 PM by shimaspawn
Yes, they may be correct examples, but in adding them, people misuse the term, showing they misunderstand the definition. If the point of Heterosexual Life-Partners is the characters' close platonic relationship, not the way it's played up as romantic, then editors are wrong to add "Heck, one of the series' oldest running gags is that the two are gay for each other" to the Scrubs example. Editors are wrong to add "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" to the Seinfeld example. Editors are wrong to say this exists "some might say exclusively" in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes adaptation. It's like if our article for "superhero" were called In And Out Fighter Man, and examples read "Superman spends half his time working as a reporter" and "That playboy at Wayne Industries? He's Batman." Yeah, those are examples of superheroes, but the phrasing indicates that editors think this trope has to do with Secret Identity. And to make matters wore, Secret Identity is a redirect.
edited 10th Jan '12 6:25:29 PM by Routerie
Given the distinctive tone of Conversation in the Main Page that those have, I'd say editors would be wrong to add that regardless of the definition...
Heh, there's that too. We need a proper wick check of course, but people use often Heterosexual Life-Partners as a synonym for Ho Yay. Even though it has the word "heterosexual" in it. Perhaps because it does - they consider it sarcastic, or just pick up on the "sexual" part. And, well, if we switched the two pages' images, some might not even notice...
edited 10th Jan '12 6:32:23 PM by Routerie
All right, here we go with a wick check. Taken randomly from the trope's 2, 309 wicks.
edited 11th Jan '12 12:43:05 PM by Routerie
Homoerotic Subtext does not automatically disqualify characters from being Heterosexual Life-Partners (and neither does being a threesome rather than a couple); being Heterosexual Life-Partners is almost always going to bring on the shippers, and nowadays many creators/producers will play to that. So I'd say that, for example, the Undying Loyalty pothole is correct; Kirk and Spock are Heterosexual Life-Partners, and they also (famously) have lots and lots of Ho Yay.
Yes, Kirk and Spock are heterosexual life partners, who incidentally have homoerotic subtext, but if you pothole them to Heterosexual Life-Partners to indicate their Homoerotic Subtext, you are misusing the term.
The Big Bang Theory example is a two-part pothole for "Ersatz Homosexual Relationship"; i.e., the editor is not implying the characters are actually gay because of it. Another problem is that many of the wicks you have checked are fanfic, which is a prime vehicle for shipping and always going to be messy; the The Wario Barker Collection wick, for example, describes two women who are plausibly Heterosexual Life-Partners in Canon but often reinterpreted as lesbians in Fanon. Again, I agree that Heterosexual Life-Partners needs a cleanup, but that doesn't mean the trope itself is broken.
All right, you've convinced me that I've overstated the trope's problems. But do I have the go ahead to clean up the page and description? Explicitly saying that the trope isn't about romantic subtext (though such subtext may exist) and directing people elsewhere as necessary.
BatmanIt's fine by me, I don't think we need a crowner for some clean up.
There are no heroes left in Man.
Cleanup Is A Free Action. Go right ahead. :)
All right... but should I cut No Content Examples? That may mean cutting more examples than not.
It could do with more cleanup than I've given it, but my original point's no longer an issue, so let's close this thread.
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