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Marvin Martian Manhunter: writes...

Hey Greg love your show, and the characters. There's only one thing that's really bothered me in this series. What is it that Artemis sees in Wally that would make her be interested in him?

I haven't seen her do anything that suggests she's interested romantically. Again, that isn't to say that I see no relationship between them - just I see it as more of a surrogate sibling relationship thus far.

In order for this to be a romantic relationship, Artemis would have to enjoy Wally's company, and she doesn't. They rarely interact between missions besides when she's being a bossy surrogate sister to him. She doesn't like his sense of humor and I don't think she thinks very highly of him, either. If most of this interaction has happened in that comic book then that's different. Unless Artemis is poking Wally about him saying something dumb or seeing a chance to deflate him a bit (for his own good, in the end), she doesn't talk to him at all.

People have noted that Artemis got jealous of Megan in "BEREFT" when Wally mentioned knowing her, but they forget one crucial detail - up until that point, Wally gave Artemis his undivided attention. Being attracted to someone, and being attracted to their attention are two very different things. Besides, the problem with "BEREFT" being the biggest anchor to their "romantic" relationship is it relies on an AMNESIA, and the benefit of that plot trope is to have characters act differently than they usually do due to ignorance
I KNOW that Wally & Artemis are supposed to be a couple. My issue is that I see it as a case of the show TELLING me something rather than being effective at showing me. After all, "TSSM" didn't need amnesia or Dr. FATE to get across the notion that Peter and Gwen were kismet. And that lessens my enjoyment and appreciation of that subplot, where I feel it doesn't work without blunt signposts directed by the plot itself.

For equal time, Wally did spend much of his time beyond "BEREFT" flirting with Megan incessantly, until "COLDHEARTED" obviously. It was mostly his fault that they started off on a wrong foot, since he was upset that Artemis was replacing Speedy. Yes, he stopped referring to Artemis as "beautiful" after the amnesia beam was undone, but we still see he cares because at least twice he's reacted very strongly when Artemis was either hurt or "killed" in subsequent episodes. Of course, this reaction is similar to that of Conner - screaming her name and going on a rampage - although unlike Conner, Wally can't back it up. I've seen Artemis show as much concern for Kaldur during a rough mission as she has for Wally, which doesn't quite equalize it. I can at least rationalize that Wally likes Artemis because he finds her hot. I can't think of a single thing Artemis likes about Wally, at least romantically (or even in general). Which is why I interpret their relationship as more of a surrogate sibling quality, even as the show hammers that into a different shaped peg.

Greg responds...

Well, believe it or not, I think she found him physically attractive from moment one. And vice versa. I also think she admires his scientific brain. Wally can be a goofball, but there's no denying that he's brilliant. And she's interested in the same science he's interested in. I also think that she admires his heart; Wally never gives up. And I even think she admires his normality, which is something she never had. I think she likes the way he holds his own with her, gives almost as good as he gets, which she respects.

Basically, I think there are a lot of reasons she's attracted to him - even if she doesn't want to admit it to herself. Now, whether we've succeeded in showing this is a fair question and clearly, as far as you're concerned, we haven't. But for other fans, we clearly have. And I feel pretty good about it, myself. So... <shrug>.

Anyway, the thing I don't think you're really taking into account - or at least you're letting this surface fact overwhelm your interpretation of the relationship - is that both Artemis and Wally are (or were at the beginning of Season One) two very insecure people who cover their insecurities in different ways. Artemis plays the tough girl, and rarely lets her armor down. Wally plays the blustering wiseacre, and rarely admits to his true feelings either.

You say they hardly interact between missions, but we rarely SHOW you any time between missions. And she pokes him BECAUSE she likes him. And vice versa. It's a cliché, but it's one based on the very real way people - especially teens - sometimes behave.

I also disagree with your interpretation of "Bereft". You dismiss it based on tropes like "amnesia" and having characters act differently. But the whole point of Bereft was the clean slate. Artemis didn't have some kind of all-encompassing amnesia and neither did Wally. They ONLY lost six months, which happened to include their mess of an introduction to each other. But neither were behaving out of character for even a second. We tried to show that if they had met under different circumstances, the attraction to each other would have been immediate and reciprocal, and neither would have had to go through all the baloney that their true first meeting caused. The amnesia didn't create an artificial situation. It was their bad first intro that created that.

Now, you may have a point about "Denial". Perhaps we did "tell" too much in that. But I think we ALSO showed. I see chemistry between them in that episode, which Kent NOTICES and comments on. You don't see it, so it feels to you like it's being shoved down your throat artificially. But we'll have to agree to disagree there. I see the chemistry first. The messed-up interaction (and other characters reaction to both) second.

Oh, and by the way, I don't think Wally was ever really upset that Artemis was replacing Speedy. I think that was just an excuse. Shallow as it sounds, I think he was WAY more upset that he tripped and looked like a fool in front of a pretty girl, who then (due to her own insecurity) made fun of him. He reacted badly to that. And she reacted badly to his bad reaction. If Red Arrow hadn't been an issue, Wally would have just found a different peg on which to hang his insecurities.

Response recorded on July 24, 2012