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"The Spirit of Competition"—How to do Love Trianlges Right
Okay, I hate the tropes Love Triangle and Love Dodecahedron. I just do. I'm not a romance fan, and most of them are very clumsily executed and become blights on non-romance oriented shows. As well as the fact that they are easy Wangst sources and usually abused for that (and sometimes Face Heel Turn fodder).

This was how you do it right. This was "two people involved with others have a moment, but realize that it hurts others". Mako feels guilt for cheating on Asami, and Korra feels bad for upsetting Bolin. It wasn't the usual "it's okay for this couple to cheat" that you see with Romantic Comedy protagonists, where their other love interests, no matter how close, are nothing and usually unsympathetic so the audience doesn't care. From what we know right now , Asami is a sweet girl, and Bolin is a sweet guy, and we know that what Korra and Mako did was not kind to them. I think that's a good message for a kid's show to point out.

Also, I think this was Bryke's Take That to the rabid Die For Our Ship their fans sometimes reach. Mako and Korra were pounced on by many, including old Zutara fans who took them as a next-best-thing, people who liked the idea of it before the show started or had full character descriptions, and then the most sane—those who liked how they interacted in-show. I think it was Bryke being a pair of literal, annoyed, and smart creators who were willing to say "fine, you want that—here's what it is" and more importantly "here are it's consequences". I have never seen a cartoon love triangle that had this kind of thing—usually one side is revealed to be evil or lets go instantly to the point of it being unrealistic.

So kudos to Bryke for being willing to go there, willing to do this and show us that, hey we are going overboard with the shipping (like MLP's Hearts and Hooves Day did) and maybe we should focus on the show itself and not go too overboard in the subplots.
Nailed my thoughts right there.

If anything, it was a big deconstruction to the "Go for your love even if he's with someone else" Romantic comedy scenario. To quote my DA journey entry regarding the episode "What ship tease displayed is less important than how the Gang feels about it and, most importantly, learn from the genuine culpability of their actions. When Mako reciprocates some of his feelings to Korra, it is barely a moment to celebrate for someone else's feelings are broken"
comment #14350 CarolC 17th May 12
I agree. I like how it sets up an realistic senerio that viewers can relate to. It's nice to see a love triangle taken seriously without becoming annoying or unsympathetic. Also, I was amused that Bryke did a Take That to their rabid shippers; those people are seriously the bane of the fandom.
comment #14555 MsBeauty 1st Jun 12
I loved this episode for all the above. I'm a little disappointed the same "and here are the consequences" attitude hasn't played out as much for more recent developments, but maybe the second season will address it.
comment #15090 StarryEyed 26th Jun 12
To be honest, I hated this episode. I hated that an entire episode was spent on sports and romance, two things I don't care about. I don't mind snippets of the two, but this was the only episode of this season that I disliked, and I absolutely hated it. I was waiting for something, anything else to happen, and it didn't. To me, it felt like a total waste of an episode.
comment #15100 BonsaiForest 27th Jun 12
I loved that episode. I love Pro-Bending in general and was really annoyed that it didn't get more screen time than it did.
comment #15102 Kajin 27th Jun 12
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