“In the Bullpen” with @phillydi – CBS magic formula

Hello NCISLAfamilia and welcome to In the Bullpen, my new column for NCIS Los Angeles FAN blog! Special thanks go out to sindee for allowing me the opportunity to talk about different subjects relating to our favorite show and having some fun in the process. Hope you will leave your comments and join in the discussion.

We all know that NCISLA shot out the gate in its first and second season as the second-highest rated scripted series on television right behind the mother ship NCIS. Due to highly inventive script writing and the superlative acting chops of some of the finest actors in the business, both series have been able to balance the undercover work and technical aspects with the sentimental development of characters that we have all grown to love and care about over the years.

This week Huffpost TV printed a thought provoking article by Evan Shapiro who stated the reason CBS has so much success with these types of crime dramas has to do with Unresolved Sexual Tension! He even has a mathematical formula for it all:

If you are wondering what it all stands for…here’s the translation: WillTheyWon’tThey (WTWT), LikeBrotherAndSister (LBaS) and We’reJustFriends (WJF) and PlatonicLifePartners (PLP) and UnresolvedSexualTension (UST) sitting on top of Procedural Crime Drama Format (PCDF). Now doesn’t that just take you back to high school algebra??? His theory is that the best shows on TV, including the NCIS franchise work because of all the unresolved sexual tension infiltrating each story line. According to Shapiro, the average age of people who watch these self contained crime dramas is 57 which to me was surprising. But CBS pulls ahead of all the shows in sheer numbers because they draw a larger total audience by at least 30%. And that means a whole lot of different age groups are watching NCIS(LA) across the boards and not just people in their 50’s (which seems to be the case with the mix of fans I’ve met on social media sites).

Ok, but his theory about the unresolved sexual tension really intrigued me. Is that the real reason I hang on every week…just to see if Kensi and Deeks will ever take that first kiss? Seriously? Does the will-they-won’t-they plot lines created for these characters have me salivating every week for more? Maybe. According to the article, this unresolved sexual tension is the 2000 pound elephant in our living room every week, and it will never take center stage and it will never be resolved if the show’s creators want to avoid the drama series graveyard. We all know what happen to Moonlighting when Maddie and Dave finally decided to give into all the witty banter and crime solving and just become a couple. Over…caput!

Will Tony and Ziva, and Deeks and Kensi just continue to pine unknowingly and indefinitely for each other as the crime investigations swirl around them week after week?

Having watched both shows since their inception, I have to say I never really watched NCIS for possible Tiva shipping. Actually, I didn’t even really feel a real romantic connection there until just recently during the current season. (I know some of my NCIS friends out there are shaking their heads!) But it proves my point, because if they finally resolve their sexual tension, it won’t be the reason I keep watching or stray away from the show completely.

Same goes for NCISLA. Even before there was a Deeks and Kensi, I loved the show for the characters and the unique story lines. Of course I will admit that the Densi partnership has made the show all the more interesting for me but if they both decide to quit NCIS now, get married and go off and have little Densi babies, it won’t make me stop watching the show. I will continue to want to know more about Callen, Sam and the other folks that make this series tick.

But I will say that I am not willing to continue to watch the unresolved sexual tension go on forever. It’s fun to be teased and pulled in different directions for a few seasons but he makes one important point and I quote: “This hormonal brew allows each show to be shallow enough to appeal to a broad audience yet engaging enough to keep them coming back week after week.” I’m afraid I won’t be part of that audience. There’s got to be some kind of resolution to the will-they-or-won’t-they. And I’m ok if they don’t. Because I really can’t see me wanting to watch Deeks and Kensi in their 70’s still pining for each other. Ok, I exaggerate, but you get my point. There is no reason why this unresolved sexual tension can’t be resolved eventually so we can to on to other characters and new creative story lines.

I guess I have to agree with his overall premise that the unresolved sexual tension has made many of these shows a lot more fun to watch and has extended many a show’s tenure on the air waves….but everything has a shelf life and I for one would rather see Deeks and Kensi walk into the sunset one day holding hands or walking off in opposite directions than sticking around and pulling down the quality of the show because of a once successful TV formula. That would be boring and doesn’t do the characters justice. I don’t believe the creators/writers of NCIS(LA) think their viewers are robots. They know we have hearts and souls and truly love the characters they created as much as they do. And we don’t want them to become mere shells of their former selves either. So as long as there are great story lines and engaging characters to watch every week, I know I’ll be coming back for more.

If you are interested in reading the complete article, here’s the web site: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evan-shapiro/unresolved-sexual-tension_b_1277287.html

Do you have a view on his theory? Join in the discussion and let me know.

Next time I’m going to explore the world of NCISLA fan fiction and interview some of the best fanfic writers out there. I’ll find out what makes them tick and why thousands of fans flock to fiction web sites to continue to read the story of these beloved characters.

See you next time In the Bullpen!

source: About the author…

One thought on ““In the Bullpen” with @phillydi – CBS magic formula

  1. Cashkend

    Congrats @phillydi !
    I agree with you, if it was only about sexual tension, we would not have loved S1 as much as we did.
    I think Daniela Ruah is right when she said that both Kensi and Deeks know that if “they do” they'll get many problems, firstly with their work…
    And IMO the writers show how both characters have issues with romantic relations. They need to journey first in their past and in their life before beeing “free” for a real love…

Comments are closed.