Addicted with its own drama, sometimes to its own disadvantage (semi-rant)
I have a love/hate relationship with Bonanza. Man, this show is the meanest when it comes to love and marriage. The Cartwrights basically aren't allowed to have anybody to the day they die. When one of the main characters' ever-ill-fated romances turns into a body count, you know the writers have an axe to grind. Sure, there's a lot of pain and emotion in grief that can make a story riveting, but when you do it over and over again for fourteen seasons, it grinds on one's nerves. This show never got a proper ending mainly because it is a classic example of a show that takes too long to implement change and burns on formula alone until it's too late. I also consider this series responsible for what I like to call "the widowhood tumor" that erupted throughout most of the shows in the sixties and seventies. Seriously, most Bonanza episodes follow this formula and many shows in the genre copied it, as well as dramas:
- Troubled child who doesn't know how to mind/too na´ve to avoid trouble. Usually the designated victim.
- Bad parent who does nothing but trash their child for being a fool and may directly contribute to their tragic loss.
- Dead parent who could make it all better and their being alive would mean no drama.