The TV show “Castle” ends this week (at least in its present form). Last week I wrapped up my series about this fascinating show with some lessons for us drawn from its eight seasons. Here is a repost of the chapter discussing the essence of the show — the long romance culminating in a stormy marriage. It tells us something we need to know.
Summary: The TV show “Castle” shows us the mad nature of marriage in 21st C America, and suggests why we no longer work the machinery that drives our vital institutions (the alienation that social scientists warn of). We no longer believe reforming America requires understanding what’s happening and clearly seeing how we want to live. This leads to folly. Society must be built on rock, not sand.
“… a world-without-end bargain.”
— William Shakespeare describes marriage as it once was, in “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (c. 1595).
- In her marriages, Beckett is everygirl.
- In their divorces Castle is everyman, Beckett everygirl.
- A useful conclusion about marriage.
- History of marriage.
- Other posts in this series about “Castle”.
- For More Information.
- Tom Tomorrow gives us A Brief History of Marriage.
(1) In her marriages, Beckett is everygirl
We watch hit TV shows because they speak to our dreams, fears, goals, and conflicts. Romantic comedies like “Castle” focus on marriage, one of our foundational institutions. It’s a major theme of the series “Castle”, both of the main characters’ arcs and the individual episode. How people select partners, the ceremony, marriage, divorce, and post-marriage life.
Richard Castle has married twice, a conventional middle-aged American practicing serial monogamy, hoping that the third time is the charm.
Beckett has more interesting history, illustrating the several irrational elements to our social system. Married in a drunken fling while in college, she could not cope with the resulting cognitive dissonance between her logical decision to divorce and her self-image as one who marries for life (“I’m a one and done sort of girl”). In this she is everygirl.
She resolves this is an all-too-human way: she just ignores the marriage. That’s not an obvious FAIL, since there are no central records for marriages in the US (as there are in all other First World nations). The Centers for Disease Control explains why…
Information on the total numbers and rates of marriages and divorces at the national and State levels are published in the NCHS National Vital Statistics Reports. The collection of detailed data was suspended beginning in January 1996. Limitations in the information collected by the States as well as budgetary considerations necessitated this action.
A 15-year old Vegas marriage might easily remain secret. Background checks, even by the FBI, don’t query the marriage records of every State — and seldom investigate more than 10 years of history (except the basics, such as birth and education).
But Beckett points us to a deeper conflict in our system of marriage. One we all see, but consider too horrific too mention.