Similar to preparing for a marathon, you need to be in the right mind-set in the build-up to a wedding. While it’s going to take something very extreme to make you change your mind, ditch your bride-to-be and start a new life in Mexico, you might want to avoid anything that will stress you out and possibly be a portent for your big day.
Featuring a killer soundtrack and possibly the greatest delivery of a two-word sentence – “Gordon’s alive?” (wedding trivia fans take note, the original line was “Gordon’s a bride”, referring to an earlier version of the script where Flash disguised himself as Dale Arden to stop Ming. It was changed during rewrites).
Any wedding that includes vows such as “Do you promise to use her as you will?” and “Not to blast her into space?… until such time as you grow weary of her”, and ends with the groom being skewered with a rocket ship is probably to be avoided. There is a happy ending though, with planet Earth being saved from destruction and Flash getting the girl of his dreams (that he only met two days earlier). Still waiting for the sequel though…
For things to avoid on the printed page, we look to the Bard himself. Although not strictly a wedding, MacBeth ends quite badly for the married couple, making it the Eastenders of Shakespeare’s work. Sparking off a pigeonholing moniker for strong women everywhere, Lady MacBeth is pushed towards suicide by apparitions of blood on her hands, after she forces her husband to commit murder in order to become King of Scotland.
While this may have been frowned upon four hundred years ago, manipulation and climbing the corporate ladder in this fashion would be seen as ambition today. Her husband doesn’t fair much better, the play finishes off with him being beheaded for his crimes. If MacBeth is Eastenders, then surely Romeo & Juliet is Hollyoaks – young beautiful people constantly lumbering towards tragedy. The star-crossed lovers unable to be together due to family differences commit suicide. Their actions do make their respective families realise that the blood feud they have been fighting isn’t worth it. Every cloud and all that.
If we must complete the soap analogy, A Midsummers’ Night Dream, full of swapping couples, comedy characters and a silly happy ending, can only be Coronation Street. However, it has no place here because the couples end up with who they’re supposed to end up with. What about Emmerdale, I hear you ask? Who cares?
For jilted lovers and doomed affairs, look no further than the medium of folk music. A simple rule of thumb in a good folk song that involves a couple is that if one or both doesn’t get lost at sea, get involved with cousins who have incestuous leanings or simply die of one of those pesky plagues that seem to be going around, then the listener should feel shortchanged.
While often beautiful and haunting in the same breath, if you want to remain upbeat about impending nuptials then perhaps stay away from songs such as William Taylor (sung by Jim Moray) where the eponymous hero goes to war leaving his lover Sarah behind. She doesn’t take too kindly to this and follows him into the army, disguising herself as a man. Sarah is eventually exposed and upon learning that her beloved William has taken up with a “rich young lady”, she shoots him dead with a pistol.
Or perhaps Anachie Gordon (sung by Nic Jones) in which Jeannie is to be married off to a married man but is actually in love with Anachie. She bravely resists until her father practically helps her unwanted husband get her into bed. As is the case in most of these songs, Jeannie dies of a broken heart, followed soon after by Mr. Gordon.
A lot of comic book heroes are rooted in tragedy – Batman having his parents shot in front of him, Spiderman inadvertently being responsible for his uncle’s death and Superman’s entire planet exploding. Tough breaks all round. But for true marital misfortune The Punisher is your one-stop shop.
Happily married Frank Castle’s life is turned upside down when his wife and kids are brutally murdered by the mafia after they witness a gangland hit. Poor Frank decides the best way to get over this is to set up a charitable organisation and teach inner-city children their self-worth… No wait, actually, he goes on a brutal killing spree taking out anyone involved and waging a one-man war on crime.
Of all of the mainstream comic book characters, The Punisher is one of the darkest – he has no qualms about torture, wielding a gun and the ultimate taboo, murder. If there is a positive to be taken from this series, you can show it to your prospective wife and tell her that you’d do the same for her.
Don’t watch Gavin and Stacey. Not because it has an unhappy ending to a wedding or marriage. Because it’s just not funny.