Yesterday I watched the first episode of "The Walking Dead". I have always been a fan of zombies (although they are getting quite overused these days) but I'm also very wary of recent American dramas. When I watched "The Walking Dead", and suddenly found myself hurling heavy and sharp objects at my TV, screaming at the writers and cursing the series to hell, I finally realized why: It's inconceivable for any American Series, be it period-piece, modern drama, science fiction or fantasy, to be centered around ANYTHING except people cheating on their spouse.
They can't help it. It has to come to the forefront. "I am a high-ranked publicity firm director in the '50s? Of course I cheat on my wife." "Cylons everywhere? Well I'll cheat on my super hot wife and/or husband." "Zombie apocalypse? Let's blow my husband's best friend. After all, I haven't seen my husband in a few days, so fuck it." Is it even remotely possible for them to not have this as the main plot point? Is it a marketing thing? "The female demographic we try to reach needs this gossip/cheating mechanism to get hooked. You have to throw this in. Also, it has to be in the first episode. Chop! chop!".
It sucks, because if used properly, it can become a very powerful element of a well thought-out series. Captain Sheridan's wife in Babylon 5, for example. How that works out. Very mature, very human.
Now it's just part of a marketing checklist. These current-generation characters are supposed to be more real because they're flawed. But once the way flaws are inserted becomes so obvious, they become as fake as the over-the-top heroes of the golden days.
And don't get me started on how this pattern is poisonous for real life human relations. Because if all TV characters cheat on their spouse, what do you think YOUR mate is doing when he or she spends more than 5 minutes away from your sight?
Fuck it. I'll just watch Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes or Fullmetal Alchemist again.