If you ever watched the television show Numbers, then you’re familiar with the notion that everything has a mathematical explanation or formula. If you read romance, then you know that relationships between characters can be boiled down to chemistr ... r science. Television shows, literature, bad pick up lines, interstate traffic flow, taxes: they’re all based on formulas.
My husband can calculate complex algorithms in his head, but he can’t grasp the simple chemistry between two characters that make romance stories so compelling to me. On the contrary, I’d rather pull out my eyeteeth than spend the afternoon decrypting a Caesar cypher, which holds him enthrall like a new Linda Howard book does for me. But guess what: at the end of the day, we both benefit from science…in the chemistry that holds us together like Forrest and Ginnay…like peas and carrots.
Over the holidays, my husband noticed a formula with the show Sleepy Hollow, drawing a correlation to the old Beauty and the Beast series that starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman—a sappier, more hairy version of Ron Perlman that we both prefer in the Sons of Anarchy. But that’s for another conversation. The mister speculated that the same type of viewer who watched Beauty and the Beast most likely LOVES Sleepy Hollow. The dark sets, brooding heroes, strong damsels in distress—it's like catnip for the romance group, the steampunk group the X-Files group, and the like. Who knew … Sleepy Hollow seems to bridge together a wide swath of viewers.
Initially we started watching Sleepy Hollow because it’s filmed just down the road from us, in the lovely town of Wilmington, NC. Then reality set in, and we found the storylines to be just too silly to maintain.
In trying to figure out if we were going to keep watching it, we decided to make a list of pros and cons over dinner. It’s not much more scientific than picking petals off a daisy, but it was a fun experiment to do. When we mentioned it to my mother, she mentioned something about Fabio, and I knew we had the parameters set.
Let me precede this by saying I’m a writer, not an adder, so while my math might not be up to par, my powers of observation are usually right on target.
Let’s take the Transitivity axiom of Euclid’s Elements: If x = y and y = z, then x = z. Another way to think about it is the first of his Common Notions: things which equal the same thing also equal one another. I’m going to call this formula the Romance Transitivity Axiom:
If Beauty and the Beast = Fabio, and Fabio = Sleepy Hollow,
then Beauty and the Beast = Sleepy Hollow.
Let’s break it down to the men of X, Y and Z. This is romance, after all …
Beauty and the Beast
Official description: The adventures and romance of a sensitive and cultured lion-man and a crusading assistant district attorney in Manhattan, New York City.
Pros: long flowing hair; long flappy jacket; scruffy face; big hands; leather pants; otherworldly; outdoorsy.
Cons: Cro-Magnon forehead; lion fangs; lion claws; lion DNA; drama queen.
Official description: Ichabod Crane is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers.
Pros: long flowing hair; long flappy jacket; scruffy face; big hands; leather pants; otherworldly; outdoorsy; British accent; civilized.
Cons: dead witch wife; pursued by one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; skinny legs.
Official description: Roguish ladies’ man Ryder Remington unexpectedly loses his heart to a beautiful heiress, who is posing as barmaid in order to find her aunt, who has mysteriously vanished. (BTW: I chose the most Fabio-esque cover possible, which turns out to be a book Fabio actually wrote.)
Pros: long flowing hair; big hands; long sword; leather pants; big belt buckle; outdoorsy; pirate getup; lives in paradise; sense of humor.
Cons: goose-magnet face; hairless chest; ridiculous open shirt.
If you put these guys in a Venn diagram, they would overlap on pros with long flowing hair, big hands, leather pants, and outdoorsy. The cons for each stand alone, based entirely on the representative cover images. So will we keep watching it? No. We decided that our time was better spent with Red on The Blacklist.
What about you? Do you agree with the equations? Are you a Sleepy Hollow fan? Did you watch Beauty and the Beast?
Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and this year her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.