I once saw this funny picture of Mario from the classic Nintendo series by the same name. It was a cartoon in which the character Toad told Mario that the princess was in another castle, which of course is the classic line from the original game that you’d be told every time, until you actually rescued Princess Peach in the last castle. The joke of the comic was that Mario told Toad that he was actually looking for him, and not the princess. The two walked off into the sunset, thus eliminating the need for Mario to continue adventuring. It was pretty funny. However, that’s not the point. The point is that Mario would actually go through eight castles to rescue this girl.
Now, it’s impossible to really tell how much the two of them knew each other. However, we can probably assume that they weren’t married. Still, Mario was one persistent dude. It’s respectable, but incredible when you think of it in the context of a normal human being. I can definitely think of married men off the top of my head that I am certain would leave their wives for dead if asked to raid castles and fight a dinosaur monster. Honestly, even if I went through the trouble of rescuing my wife from such a monster, I’d probably crap my pants right off the bat and die at the first lava pit.
But what’s most interesting is that it’s totally normal for us to see these guys (and sometimes girls) that go REALLY far out of their way to help or rescue someone that they barely know, or hardly should even care about. Is it because we know that it’s fiction that we can call it romantic rather than insane? It’s somewhat relatable to when we watch action movies and feel that we can assume what we would do in the dire situations that the characters have to face. Most of the time, we glorify the image in our head of what we would do. If in a movie we see someone do what we would probably do during a shooting, which is hide, we get upset at them even though it’s totally understandable. Is rescuing the princess the same? Do we imagine ourselves being these heroes, and expect these heroes in movies, despite the fact that most of us would have no idea what to do. People that would willingly fight through a series of treacherous obstacles in order to save random people probably don’t exist, or they are mentally disturbed.
If you look at the main character from the (awesome) children’s television show adventure time, Finn the human, the stoic and tenacious hero, we see someone else who is very intense in their pursuit of justice. Finn is a character that lives in a post-apocalyptic world that constantly has him face monsters and the other stereotypical challenges associated with the good guy growing up.
I recently saw an episode of the show in which Finn was turned down by his love interest; she coincidentally is also a princess that likes to wear pink, like Princess Peach. Anyway, the princess from Adventure Time is 18, and about five years older than the main character. It’s not really a surprise that she’s not really an option for him. It’s totally understandable that she wouldn’t want to lead him on or anything like that. You’d think that Finn would just come to terms with this rejection.
Finn decided not to give up. At the end of the episode I saw, Finn made a quick phone call to his best friend Jake while still at the princess’s castle. Jake gave him a pep talk, as all best friends are prone to do in such situations, telling Finn that he’s a great guy and that he shouldn’t let the rejection bring him down. Finn thanks Jake for the consolation, and then looks at the castle, assuring himself that he won’t give up on the princess.
Is that realistic? Hardly. If someone were to get turned down and refused to give up in real life, we’d probably label that person as a stalker that can’t get a hint. It’s admittedly a difficult situation, because caring enough about someone to not give up on them is endearing, but not giving up on someone that doesn’t want the attention is inconsiderate.
I’m not going to sit here and tell anyone that they should give up on someone their interested in, because sometimes it does work out for the best. I’m also not going to sit here and tell anyone that they should give their stalker a chance, because sometimes that REALLY doesn’t work out for the best. It’s just that sometimes it’s important to try to look at such a situation with an impartial point of view, instead of an obscured kind like television gives us. Don’t trust television. As plausible as main characters can be, they’re hardly ever authentic enough to be someone you’d actually meet.