Aaron and Robert: Good for Each Other?

The boys are in hell. Broken by their current situations and missing each other it hurts us, the viewers as well.  In this time off the fandom has more time to analyze Aaron and Robert and where they stand with each other. The questions I’ve seen come up on Tumblr and Twitter are:

Is Aaron better off without Robert?

Is Aaron happier without Robert?

Is Robert worthy of Aaron?

Will Robert always be a villain?

I’ve seen many answers, and I had to add my two cents to the pile of pennies. I analyze both Aaron and Robert’s lives before they met and who they are as people.  Then my own personal feelings on the biggest question of all.

Should Aaron and Robert be together?

Aaron Dingle

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Aaron has never had an easy life.  Born to Chas Dingle and Gordon Livesy in 1992 and being left to live with his father and stepmother.  As he grows up he and Chas didn’t have the best relationship. He regularly clashed with her whenever he visited. Chas felt guilty she left Aaron behind while Aaron felt angry that his mother didn’t seem to want him.  Aaron comes back in 2008, Chas learning Aaron is a drug dealer for the McFarlane’s and kicked out of Gordons house after hitting Sandra, his stepmother.  The Dingles get him out of the problem and Gordon won’t take him back. He ends up moving to Emmerdale for good. After getting into numerous scrapes, stealing and selling animal drugs from Paddy and stealing a van and setting Belle up for it, Lisa gets him a job as a mechanic. He dated two girls, Victoria and Holly, only to have his true feelings revealed when he kisses Adam.  Scared to death Adam would reveal his secret he convinces him it was nothing.  He meets Jackson and flirts with the idea of kissing him almost being caught by Paddy and Marlon. Jackson tries to touch Aarons arm and he punches him. Aaron tries to commit suicide once his secret is out being saved by Adam and Cain. He goes out with Jackson who moves the relationship too fast and ends up having to help him with his decision to kill himself, good and sweet Ed is next who he runs off with and abandons in France and then he is home for good after finding that going on the run doesn’t work. We learn later that Gordon had been raping Aaron as a child which explains his moods but doesn’t excuse his actions.  He is guarded and doesn’t have time for more than one-night stands, until Robert Sugden appears in his life.

Aaron is a Dingle through and through. He is someone who hits first and asks questions later.  Anytime Aaron doesn’t want to deal with his emotions. The audience tends to excuse Aarons choices in life because of how his father raped him, and Chas left him behind. Which, can be detrimental to his character.  The walls around his heart were built by Gordon, Chas and the people who have let him down for good. Aaron doesn’t trust easily even when the people he loves shows they love him. He doesn’t take to flaws well even though he is full of them.  He is grumpy and keeps to himself, not daring himself to love at all.

Robert Sugden

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Robert never had an easy life.  Born to Pat and Jack Sugden in 1986 he lost his mother at four months old leaving him to be raised by Jack and his grandmother Annie Sugden.  As time went on Jack met and married Sarah, the woman who would become his mother figure. He then got a little sister named Victoria. He made a friend in Andy and got him adopted by his family.  That is when it started. Like the first pancake, he was pushed aside for the new brother by Jack. After Andy kills Sarah in a barn fire (the one person who was always on his side and loved him like her own), Andy and Robert become friendly enemies.  Between fighting for Jacks attention, Katie’s attention and ultimately who belongs in the village.  Robert dated/slept with a lot of women (sometimes drunk) which included Nicola, Charity, and Sadie.  We found out later that there was more going on there. Robert interested in the family farm hand, kissing him and getting caught by Jack. Getting beaten for this Robert has hidden that side away.  Until his return in 2014 when the man who put up a wall of charm and revenge comes home and meets Aaron Dingle.

Robert is a legacy. Born to the Sugdens, the fans who were there from his birth have seen him grow up in front of their eyes.  They feel a connection to him as they watched him grow up in Emmerdale.  He was open and wide eyed until Andy came about and things started to change. He was fighting for the approval of his dad, the one person in his life that has been there always. The one he thought would protect him. Instead, Jack hit him, belittled him and ultimately sent him away from the village. So, it is no wonder that when he comes home, he is bitterly charming towards the family left behind. In his time away, surviving on his own, his heart had a wall around it, a wall built by Jack. He still had that wide-eyed child in there, but it was drowned out by all the trauma his time in Emmerdale and beyond inflicted on him.

Should They Be Together?

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Robert and Aaron have daddy issues. Fathers who didn’t do their jobs of protecting their sons and raising them to be the best people they can be.  Not giving them a real chance at leading a semi-normal life in the slightest.  They both have/had mothers who loved them but left them in different ways. Aaron and Robert both hid who they truly were (Gay and Bi) and tried to over compensate for that through drinking, fighting and causing general mayhem. Aaron uses his fists to get out of problems. Robert uses his mind.  Both had first experiences that tainted their views of living a gay and bi lifestyle in the future. They both get into trouble easily, especially when protecting their own.

They even each other out. Where one fails, the other picks up the slack. They are both highly aware of what is it is like to be left behind. That pain that comes from the heart when one is left behind used and abused and kicked out of the family way too soon.  They both have a lot of love to share but don’t know how to share it. They can’t stay away from each other for long because they are like magnets.  They know and understand each other’s good and bad sides and still want to love each other with all their heart.

So. Should they be together after all?

They are good for each other. They are. They both have similar demons that need to be handled, and they will handle them once they learn to communicate with each other.  Learn that Aaron uses his fists when he is scared and doesn’t know his way out. Robert uses his mind and alcohol when he is scared and doesn’t know a way out. They are each other’s families.  Yes, they have their blood (The Dingles/The Sugdens), but those families have failed them.  They want to create a family with each other. A family of their love and the arrival of Liv strengthen that feeling between them.

Aaron and Robert understand each other in a way that other people cannot. Sometimes all they have to do is look at each other and they know what is going on in their mind.  They know each other’s triggers.  They figured them out quickly over the course of the affair.  This is something that would be harder to convey to someone who hasn’t been through a rough life. They just get each other in a way that no one else could. Rebecca thinks she knows Robert. She knows the Robert with the walls. Aaron not only knew Robert with the walls, but he knew how to take those walls down with one conversation.  He sees all of Roberts sides and not just the charming, revenge minded, and sarcastic one either. Robert knows Aarons walls and knew how deep and intense those walls are; one would say they are still coming down.  Robert knew Aaron was hurting himself before everything came out about Gordon because Aaron couldn’t fight his way out of his emotions. So, he fought himself by running obsessively and hurting himself.  Robert was the only one to see Aaron and what he was going through.  These two can read each other like a book, even with the walls way up.

Robert and Aaron are more similar than different. They will have huge highs and scary lows, but that doesn’t make them wrong for each other. Not in the slightest.

That makes them a classic super couple. A couple we can get behind and root for regardless of what happens to them in the future.

Conclusion

People question if Aaron and Robert should be together. Looking at their histories and how they balance each other out, of course, they should be together. Aaron isn’t happier without Robert. Robert is worthy of Aarons love. Aaron is worthy of Roberts. They just don’t realize they are worthy of each other. So, fans out there should stay true and support this couple while they are at their lowest of lows because soon, they will be building to the highest of highs. I know I want to be there when it happens, will you?

Tell me what you think below or tweet me @AmandaJ718. Until next time, keep reminding yourself it isn’t a competition and Robron are worth supporting after all.

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Guess Who’s Back? Back Again. Protecting Robert! Tell a Friend!

Ah. Every time I write something the show likes to mess with me and my thoughts. So, the spoilers were fast and furious today.  Bring about a fandom meltdown that happens every other day.  Mostly on Twitter. Sure. It is confusing. This storyline is confusing. People are confused and angry. I’m getting bored writing this every other day just as you all are bored having to read it (not that I don’t appreciate the people who do!).

Just like I explained how the story is structured to not have Rebecca be a  factor now I will explain how the Robert and Aaron both got themselves into this mess, Robert being pushed around in the story, what is missing from Robrons story structure, and what could be happening in the future.  If you are interested in learning more continue reading.

Both Play A Part

As a joke, I like to blame Andy for all that has happened. It is a silly joke because Robert and Aaron have no one to blame but themselves. That’s right. It is easy to blame others (Robert and Aaron are actually good at doing that), but these two only have themselves to blame.  Hear me out.

Aaron is a complete character. We, as an audience has seen him at his worst and at his best.  We know him and how much he has grown as a character. He went from a troubled teenager that had no problem hurting others to a sweet soft soul who still has that edge but is learning to handle that.  So, how did Aaron play his part in this screwed up storyline? After Robert had told him he can’t make him happy, Aaron went off to get drunk and beat up a person for Finn that wasn’t even worth the time or effort.  We all know it wasn’t because of Finn or what he was going through. He was letting all his anger at himself and Robert out by beating up an innocent person. Then he deiced to go backward and act like his teenage self.  Acting like he was alone and had to deal with this event alone. He snaps out of it and realizes he has a family and he has Robert, but it’s too late. He is off to jail where he gets into drugs, Gordon mentions and bullies who are homophobic.

Robert is a complete character. He is a legacy character. Born on the screen to the Sugden family that was the family to show up first in the pilot episode of Emmerdale Farm (as it was known back then) the audience watched him grow up.  He gained a brother and a sister. Lost a mother by the hand of a brother. Saw his father reject him and kick him out of the village for good.  Robert returns angry, darker and hiding a big part of himself.  A part that Aaron brings out in him.  We as the audience know him and understand him.  What was his part in this storyline? Aaron didn’t force Robert to get drunk after he rejected him at the jail.  Nor did he make Robert text Rebecca (this is where things get shady, but that has been covered so many places. We all know).  Aaron didn’t make Robert sleep with Rebecca. That is his part in this story.  His consequences he has to deal with is a baby that wasn’t made from lust or love but from sadness and hazy drunkenness.

Not one character is to blame for what is happening right now.  All we have is Aaron and Robert to blame for where they are right now.

Speaking of which, lately, people have forgotten this fact. In fact, lots of people seem to believe that Robert has caused all of this drama. I’m here to show you that he has not.

The Good Robert Has Done

With the new spoilers coming out people on Twitter (sometimes Tumblr) forgets that Robert isn’t all to blame. In fact, Robert has tried very hard to make the best of a bad situation.  In fact, Robert blames himself for a lot of what has happened. That is for the next section though.  I’m here in this section to remind people of the good that Robert has tried to do in this storyline. I shall start listing it now:

  • Tried to stay positive for Aaron before the sentencing
  • Married him to give him a stable environment to come home to
  • Took care of Liv and paid for her tutoring
  • Took care of Noah when Charity had to go out of town randomly
  • Took care of Two Businesses
  • Paid for The Mill Renovations
  • Ran The Mill Renovations with Adam and Ronnie
  • Paid for Liv and Chas trip to see Liv’s Sick Mother
  • Saw Aaron in Jail every chance he could
  • Took full responsibility for everything that happened while Aaron was away (cough takes two to tango cough)

(More Listed HERE)

Robert has tried so hard to keep it together. Randomly seen wandering around aimlessly in scenes before everything exploded. Why don’t lots of people remember this? Why don’t they let Robert have his say in the story? His voice is just as important to structure this Robron story.

What is Missing From the Story (For Me)

The reason why people seem to forget Robert or even blame him for everything that is happening is that Robert’s point of view is missing. It is. We complain about Rebecca being a plot device with no agency, but we still have a slight idea of what is going on in her head with her conversations with Victoria and Chrissie (for three episodes or so).  We have a very good idea of where Aaron is headed by the induvial scenes he gets with people in the village when Robert is brought up.  Some feelings being talked about with Adam.

Robert, on the other hand, is just there. He is riding the waves of whatever Aaron is feeling.  He literally left it up to Aaron as to how their relationship should proceed. He does talk about his feelings in the famous “Reveal” episode, but that was pre-baby reveal. That was all smashed to bits, and we are back to Robert’s point of view being pushed aside for others.  Even if their points of views aren’t as fleshed out, we are aware of them.  Robert has been left out of the story structure.  That is why things feel off to me.  As I said earlier, Aaron and Robert both got themselves into this mess.  Aaron is about to face his consequences for real with Jason showing up at The Mill and all the scenes after that.  Soon Aaron will learn how to handle his self-harm and drug use. He might even laugh.

All of Roberts choices seem to be based on other people. We need his feelings. We need to know where he stands. He deserves that as a legacy and fully realized character. Without that people, can project whatever they want onto Robert.  Since people don’t want to blame Aaron, they blame Robert because it is easier.  I know a few people will balk at that but it’s true. Especially lately. Aaron can’t do any wrong while Robert is the ultimate screw up. Yes, Robert is the ultimate screw up. He is an asshole. However, Aaron has screwed up a ton too.  He can be an asshole.  He hurts others all the time.  When people start realizing that both of their points of views are needed to complete the Robron story structure.

We All Love Them Both (Don’t make us split up our love!)

I love both Aaron and Robert. So much. They complete each other.  Yeah, there is a lot of bad qualities there, but there are good ones too. A relationship on a soap is boring when they always get along. You want a relationship that is fiery, always moving and always changing for either the better or, the worse.  Sometimes always jumping between the two.  That is where Robron lives.  They are so complicated on their own that coming together they are complicated and crazy and they just complement each other so well. They can’t really run off with anyone else. It wouldn’t work. They both would be so bored and end up having another affair some point.  (I’m sure that story will show up in a few years).

For their current story to keep working they both need to recognize that they both screwed up big time. They both have to face their consequences. They both aren’t terrible people.  They are just full of issues they both have to work on together and separately.  This story is structured to cover all their issues and how they can’t sweep them under the rug anymore. The reason why this isn’t working is that Robert’s point of view is missing, the plot points are off, and we seem to be concentrating more on other people that ultimately don’t affect Robrons final story outcome in their story structure.

Conclusion

So, these spoilers are good for Aaron and Robert.  Aaron will start to face his consequences from jail.  Robert will begin to accept that he has a child on the way and he should make a decision about that.  I feel Aaron will get a full explanation on how he faces and conquerors his issues.  Robert on the other hand, I’m afraid his viewpoint will be forced by others making us wonder what he wants for real.  It also gives people a reason to force their anger onto him, even if he doesn’t deserve it (he doesn’t by the way).

One last thing, the magazines are being truly crazy lately.  Not only was it total click bait (I know what it means Duncan) but Robert finally standing up and attempting to face consequences isn’t a betrayal. The fact magazines frame it that way makes it even easier for audiences to think Robert is the only bad person in this story structure.  While some are good at ignoring crazy soap magazine spoiler’s others aren’t and take it at face value. Which makes it quite hard for the story to continue and make sense.  So, take everything you read with a grain of salt.  Just wait for the episodes to air before making any true judgments. Sometimes Danny isn’t sending secret signs. He might have been told to set a certain tone. Certain things are embargoed, and sometimes things just don’t go to plan.

So, this the Robron story structure that is trying really hard to be told but so many elements are missing.  Hopefully, those elements will be filled in soon.

State of the Robron Fandom (As I See It)

I was raised on the American soap opera. Mostly CBS soap operas. That means I grew up watching The Young and the Restless, As the World Turns, Guiding Light and The Bold and the Beautiful. I had a slight flirtation of General Hospital in college, watching for three years before taking a break never to return but I keep up. I loved and hated all the characters that ran through the television screen and into my life.  I enjoyed reading the soap magazines to hear what others were thinking about my favorite and hated storylines.

As I grew up, those magazines remained (most of the soaps did not) but added to that was social media.  It started out on message boards, moved to fanfiction.net, then LiveJournal then Twitter, Tumblr, and Achieve of Ours.  Since then soaps have changed, well the American ones at least. The ratings fell, and so did its existence.

Since then, I have moved on.  British soap operas are catching my eye. Emmerdale, in particular.  Well, Robert and Aaron are what caught my eye.  The rest of my love for the show came with time. Anyway, with that came a new fandom. An intense fandom is full of different personalities and opinions.  Full of talented and smart people A fandom that is loud and very proud of those different views and talents.  Which is great. When things are going well.  This is what I’ve seen in the Robron fandom and where I stand on it.

Echo Chamber of the Freak Out

Ah. Social media is great to meet like-minded people. Get those opinions out, so it does not sit there in your brain taking away space you need (I know that is not how the mind works, it just feels that way sometimes).  It can be a lot of fun to be part of a television fandom.  Getting other viewpoints on a scene or character.  What is even more fun? Talking speculation and spoilers….until it is not.

Social media has a tendency to make one person’s worry or anger echo.  All it takes is one popular account to get upset or overexcited, and the effect is heard from Twitter to the most primitive of message boards. The echo chamber is quite strong in the Robron fandom.  This is not a new phenomenon but can be trying when people get upset about every little thing every day.

Stop the Hate

With the echo chamber comes the echoed opinions.  Different opinions are needed.  That is what makes a fandom interesting.  However, fandom is not fun when people are attacking each other or attacking the actors or workers on a show. Why am I beating around the bush here? I have seen it more and more with Emmerdale lately.  Not on Tumblr, this is showing up on Twitter.  That echo chamber causes people to lash out more because they feel they have some backing if someone challenges them.  I have fallen into that trap before. It is not pretty especially when you look back after the anger has passed.

Spoilers and You

Spoilers are a must in the soap world.  It keeps us aware of what is coming, what to get excited about and what to prepare for. Let’s just say that on spoiler days, things get crazy. People freak, get excited or go back to their fanfiction they were reading.

Spoilers are not new. I remember waiting excitedly for my Soap Opera Digest to arrive so I could know if Michelle and Danny were getting back together that week! (Look it up, kids). It was fun to think about what would happen.  Now? It is like a battlefield. Spoilers come out from numerous sources trying to get our attention. So, they click bait, they scare, they embellish, and that gets everyone upset. It becomes less of a report of what is to come and more of a death march to freak out land.

Where I Stand

I feel like the fandom is feeling torn.  Some are offended by the current storyline. Offended enough to stop watching. Some are offended over how it got started. The fact the show will not cover consent, how quickly we went from a big high to a major low and the abuse Robert and Aaron have gone through.  People are getting letters from Leon the intern, people are arguing with each other over tiny differences of opinion and people are threatening the official social media account.

Here is where I stand. This story sucks. It does. It feels like we are in the pit after being at the highest of highs. There are pacing, writing and general lack of communication problems.  However, things aren’t that bad.  Seriously. Let me explain.

The framework of this story is classic soap.  What is interesting and changes the game are the players in the story.  Not only are they not following the standard script they are changing up the game.  Robert is growing. Not only did he have to get drunk, thought he was broken up with Aaron and have no contact with him for the cheating to happen, he immediately regretted it, told Chas and even told Aaron because he knew he should not because someone pressured him into it. Aaron still has to grow, but I see it coming with this individual story.  Rebecca…sigh…I am sorry to say was screwed over.  I cannot stand her. I do not like her. I do not have to like her. Not liking her does not make me anti-women. It does not make me a terrible person. She is a poorly written character. I can only judge her based on what we have seen from her not what we wish we seen from her as a character. That is where the fandom divides. I know what people wanted to see from her, but it’s not there. Stop pretending it is. Take her at face value. That is what the writers do. They only take her at face value to push the Robert and Aaron story forward. That is where this classic soap story goes off course. Rebecca is not a factor. Robert will not magically fall for her because she is carrying his child. She is a mistake, and that mistake has consequences that are going to stick. Like we have been told by so many people in the past year, Robert always gets away unscathed. Now, he is has been struck.  He loves Aaron with all his heart, and that will not change anytime soon.

Which brings me to the baby. The baby is not really a factor. Yes, Robert will step up and try. Why? He is not a monster. Of course, he would love his baby (until that DNA test is done we can always assume something is up) and want to take care of him or her.  Doesn’t make him love Aaron any less. There is a difference between loving a kid and loving your partner or spouse. The baby causes drama that the two of them must get through. They will falter and fall but ultimately find their way back and even stronger than ever, regardless if a child is there are not.

This brings me to some fan issues.  Everyone has the right to be angry. Everyone has the right to hate what is happening.  To take it out on other fans though, I have a problem with that. I do not agree with a lot of opinions, but I do not question those opinions. I let people have them and move on with my life.  That includes some of the options on Iain MacLeod.  I personally don’t think he is bad at all. In fact, I am thankful he has shown up.  Why? He turned Robert into a well-rounded character. He let Robert make mistakes and grow from those mistakes. He let Robert start talking about his bisexuality.  He was allowed to be there for Aaron in a way that he was not during the Kate Oates era.  I think people forget that Kate had turned Robert into a one-dimensional villain that never intended for Aaron and Robert to become something bigger than an affair.  It might seem like Iain is putting Robert and Aaron through the ringer but without him, we would not even be here right now.  Both are fantastic storytellers, but Iain is the one to bring us the biggest events that made Robron what Robron is. I believe he loves them. I really do. As someone who has heard a ton of showrunners talks about couples, I have never heard the phrase “soulmates” come out of their mouths. Iain does care. People are allowed to disagree. I just think he is going through a rough patch right now.  They will right the ship soon. I believe all of these parallels and themes popping up in the show have a reason.  We will not get answers right away, but I think this will all come to a satisfying conclusion.

As for spoilers and freak outs. Its ok to be scared for what is coming. Morale is low right now, so every little thing creates drama.  Sometimes certain Twitter accounts love the attention, so they make spoilers seem bigger than they appear.  Sometimes spoilers look one way on the page and play out a different way on screen. Shall I bring up the spoiler that Aaron will ditch Robert to hang with Adam? PLEASE. Adam wanted to hang with Robert in the end. In fact, that part of the scene was great. Sometimes it is easier to read the spoilers, shrug and wait for everything to play out on screen. It is fun to speculate (I should know) but don’t take it so far that it ruins the enjoyment of the story or show.

The last point I want to cover.  The threatening of leaving the fandom.  If you are upset by the story or show just leave for a while. No one is stopping you.  When you are emotionally ready to come back, we will be here welcoming you with open arms.  You do not have to make others leave with you.  I know if I were so upset that I tell off a Twitter account run by people outside of the show every day, I would take a break.  For my own sanity. Doesn’t mean other people have the same problems or low tolerance level.

I know it is hard and this storyline sucks, but I feel like everyone is jumping to conclusions way too easily these days. I feel like we need to let this play out. Let all the players they put on the storyboard play their parts.  It is a story. When you read a novel or watch a movie, do you get all the pieces or understand the plot right away? No. You must keep going and let the story play out. Same with Emmerdale and Robron.  Just need to keep a positive attitude, keep talking things out with fellow fans if you are frustrated and just let the story play out. Have faith. Things will get worse before it gets better but I see it getting better.

If it does not? We can all blame Leon. Freaking Leon. He ruins everything.

So, take this with a grain of salt.  I am just someone who grew up watching soaps and understand what is required of a soap to keep moving forward.  The plots do not always go to plan. Fans push back. However, sometimes fans get a surprise.  The only way we can know if this story will turn out a surprise is if we keep watching and supporting the show.  Social Media has made fan panic louder than ever, but we have each other to talk to now when things get bad. Let us use those conversations on social media to be a bit more positive and supportive and we will be ok.