Saturday, May 3, 2014

De-emphasizing Romance: Warehouse 13 and the Important of Other Kinds of Love

Warehouse 13 is a show about FBI secret agents trekking around the world trying to collect and neutralize supernatural artifacts that are, as Artie Nielsen would put it: "trying to ruin the world's day," but this show has so much more to offer its fans than its compelling premise. A unique feature to the show is its lack of a central romantic plot line. The creators and writers of the show chose to focus more on the family and platonic dynamics of the show rather than the romantic relationships. This allows the show to portray to its audience the importance of other types of love and how they can be just as important as romance. Warehouse 13's emphasis on other forms of love and relationships beyond romance displays to its audience how forms of love other than romance can be just as strong, deep, important, and meaningful as romantic and sexual love.

The main two agents of the show are Pete and Myka who have a strong platonic, often described by the cast, fans, and writers as brotherly, sisterly love. They lack the normative romantic plot line. In a large portion of television shows airing today the main male and female characters often have either a romantic relationship or heavy sexual undertones that creates the "will they, won't they" feel to the dynamic throughout the series. This is something that Pete and Myka lack. Instead, the show and the actors prefer to emphasize and explore a deep platonic relationship between the characters. In an interview with TV Guide Eddie McClintock, the actor for Pete, states: "Pete and Myka are not together because they don't want to be! It would be like kissing your sister" (Jeffery). Joanne Kelly who plays Myka, is surprised by the suggestions of Pete and Myka becoming romanic. She feels and portrays the relationship as friendship. They don't need romance because their bond is just as strong as any romantic couple's could be. In the episode "Secret Service" Pete tells Myka that she is the most important person in his life. This line points out that romance does not have to be the ultimate in someone's life. A platonic relationship can be the most important relationship for a person. We see this in Pete and Myka's relationship with each other as they banter back and forth, pick on each other, and rely on each other for emotional support. When Myka discovered she had ovarian cancer in season four she did not tell anyone except Pete. When he found out he played the part of concerned brother by urging her to go to the doctor and providing the emotional support she needed during such a scary time. He displayed his love and concern for her in this instance, but it didn't need to be because they were in love that he cared for her. They are friends, and that is why he cares. These two characters are the world to each other, and the show emphasizes the fact that this doesn't mean they have to be romantic. They can have a platonic relationship and still love each other as strongly as a romantic couple would.

Platonic love is one important type of love for the show, but familial love also plays a large role in the show, epecially for the character Claudia who is introduced in her debut episode trying to save the life of her brother. Right off the bat, before the audience knows anything about the character she is portrayed as a young woman who would go to any lengths necessary to save her brother's life even if that included going to prison or losing her own life. She kidnapped Artie in order to get his help in freeing her brother from the alternate dimension he'd been stuck in. At each attempt she would get weaker and weaker, closer to death, but she refused to give up even after Artie's excessive cautioning. She spent ten years trying to figure out how to save her brother. She never gave up on him. Other shows on television today do emphasize how strong family bonds can be, but by spring-boarding Claudia's character off of this strong and unbreakable love for her brother the show explores just what it means to love your family. It offers to the audience the suggestion that you can love your family as deeply as you would your lover. This
instance is not the only time Claudia is willing to risk her life for someone she loves. In season four she takes the risk with a dangerous artifact in order to bring her best friend back to life after he's murdered by one of the warehouse villains. Despite the many warnings and the resistance she faced from many of the other characters Claudia refuses to give up, and brings Jinks back at the danger of her own life. We see through Claudia that love can compel you to do whatever it takes for the people you care about, and they don't have to be romantic interests for you to care strongly enough about them to do anything to help them. Claudia is the character who shows to the audience how deeply familial and platonic love can go. She is the perfect example that you can love your family and your friends so deeply that you would put your own life on the line for them.

Artie is the character who displays many different kinds of love, exposing not only the suggestion that one can love as deeply platonically as one can romantically,
but also that you can have so many different types of love just in one single person. Throughout the show Artie displays platonic, romantic, familial, professional, and even love for one's enemies. The most obvious love in Artie's life is one that is displayed in almost every episode since Claudia's debut, paternal love. Ever since Claudia's character joined the show she and Artie have had a close father/ daughter relationship. He looks out for her, makes sure she is taken care of, and desires her success in everything she does. This portrayal of their character relationship is very intentional between the actors. As it's stated by Saul Rubenik and Allison Scagliotti in this clip the two of them have grown since the beginning of the show into a deep familial love for each other. Artie looks out for Claudia and tries to protect her while she is young, and as she grows up he allows her the freedom to grow and do things on her own. In the episode "Trials," Artie gives Claudia her first real mission as an official agent and allows her to go out into the field alone, meanwhile he sneaks along to watch from the sidelines as she succeeds on her mission. He plays the father to Claudia when she has no one else. Another important relationship in Artie's life is his romantic interest, Vanessa, who is established in the show early in season one. This is the longest running and strongest romantic relationship in the show, but it is not emphasized in Artie's life as the most important. It is just another way in which he is capable of loving someone. Vanessa is important to him, but she is not the only important type of love in his life. One of I think, Artie's most interesting relationships is the one he has with an old partner which is explored in season one of the series. This man, MacPherson, used to be an old colleague of Artie's, but as the time passed he became corrupt and an enemy of the warehouse.  However, despite his status as one of the villains in the show Artie does not hate him. In fact, it is clear as MacPherson lays dying on the floor at the end of season one that Artie
 still cares a great deal for him despite the fact that the two of them are supposed to be enemies. This is an exploration of forbidden love; however, it's not forbidden romantic love. They were once very close partners with the same type of relationship Pete and Myka have now; however, they were forced apart due to choices MacPherson made that Artie disagreed with. The show states through this relationship that we can even love the people that we are supposed to hate, which is a dynamic that not many shows care to explore. These are only a few examples of all the different types of love in Artie's life throughout the show. It does not include the relationships he has with his own father, his boss, or even the people they are trying to protect from artifacts. Artie is a character which shows just how many types of love a person can have within their life.

In the Syfy show Warehouse 13 both the actors and the writers frame the show to emphasize the importance of types of love beyond romantic love through their portrayals of the main characters and the types of relationships they have. In most television shows the main relationship between the lead male and female would be romantic, but in Warehouse 13 the characters of Pete and Myka have a strictly platonic relationship, which both the show and the actors make quite clear. The show displays through these two that you don't have to be in romantic love with each other in order to be the most important person for each other. Through the character of Claudia the show emphasizes just how deeply a person can care about the ones they love even if those people aren't romantic lovers. Claudia is introduced as a character who is willing to put her own life on the line to save her brother which shows how strong family love can be. She does the same thing for her best friend, Jinks. She shows how strong love can be even when it isn't romantic. The character of Artie is an example of how many types of love a single person  can have in their life. Artie not only has the longest running and strongest romantic relationship in the show, but his strongest relationship is the father/daughter relationship he has with Claudia. The show even explores through Artie the love one can have for their enemies. Without making romantic love look less important or inferior to other forms of love Warehouse 13 uses its characters and their dynamics with one another to legitimize the importance and necessity of love beyond just romantic love.

Works Cited

Jeffery, Morgan. "'Warehouse 13' Joanne Kelly Rules out Myka, Pete Romance."Digital SpyTV Guide, 13 July 20111. Web. 03 May 2014.

Mote, Brent. "Secret Services." Warehouse 13. 21 Apr. 2014. Television.

Mote, Brent. "Trials." Warehouse 13. Syfy. 18 July 20111. Television.


  1. Even though I'm not familiar with the show, I think it's interesting how you deconstruct the various types of love and relationships between characters. It seems like Artie maintains different types of love in each of his relationships, so would it be safe to say that his character is some kind of embodiment or representation of the various types of love? (familial, platonic, romantic, etc?)

  2. Your thesis/topic is very interesting and I say this because I've never really noticed or focused on the romantic side of TV. What's more intriguing is that you focus on the the sexual and romance side but platonic. That's something you really don't see in TV nowadays the only other example I can really think of is "The X-Files" which both agent Molder and Scully have sort of a platonic and familiar relationship/romance. Maybe its just Si-fi that focuses more on the action than the romance? In your blog I was hoping to see maybe a comparison in regards to another show that offers the same style of romance, just food for thought. Regardless, I thought your blog was well developed and flowed quite nicely, great job.


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