Heh! Um, okay. I don’t mind, of course. But…they’re not so much to excuse it on behalf of the characters? Although there is some of that, Rana’s situation is unbelievably difficult, I think people understand in the abstract that “oh, she’s a Muslim and Pakistani so it’ll be harder than it usually is in the west” and maybe “something something loses her family”, but it’s everything that goes along with that. And that’s IF the worst doesn’t happen, you know, all the shitty stuff associated with Islam and women and gays. But we’ll assume none of that will be included here.
So at worst, we’ll assume that Rana’s family just disowns her. (And I’d like to add, even if that doesn’t happen, Rana doesn’t know that. She has to assume the worst and tbh it’s not even unlikely.) It would be such an incredible loss, it’s hard to explain. I’m sure most people have seen those posts that go by about how in a lot of non-Western cultures, people live with their families until they leave only to create their own, and they still live nearby, and the whole extended family thing is really important, and cousins are like siblings, etc, etc? (This same thing happened with Jade in TRMD too, if people watched that.)
So for Rana, that feeling of home, the safety that comes with it, that’s her family, immediate and extended. As an immigrant too, her culture and ties to her homeland, her everything is tied up into that. Who would she be able to contact back in Pakistan if her family cut her off? What would she have aside from her job and Kate, when even her friends would side with Zee? You can’t go up to a random Pakistani your own age and hang out for cultural things and not eventually be dragged into family things, Eid and weddings are all about family, from the elders down, they’d all be asking about who your family is, where they’re from, etc. Of course some people break out and become more independent, but it’s always there, something you can take for granted. Until you can’t and then the people who meant the most to you reject you and you realize their love was conditional on you not being this one thing.
I mean…That’s….not like I identify with that or anything. *clears throat*
But anyway, even though Bhavna’s mentioned doing her research and I’m sure the show has, and they’ve integrated bits of their findings quite well, they aren’t making Rana not decide because of that, it’s part of it but they’re doing it for typical soap reasons. And that’s the bigger reason why I’m fine with just shrugging it aside. This is how soaps work.
I don’t like the cheating, but I’m not meant to like it. That’s not the main part of this, where it’s an affair highlighted by forbidden love or the thrill of it. If circumstances were different, this would still be their endgame. This is different from Kate outing Rana to Luke before, because that was something specific to us where the show didn’t realize what they were doing. But soaps are experts at cheating, as are soap viewers. Cheating’s not a good thing and it’s not being presented here as some fun way to get one over Zee. It’s just another plot point for them, like Michelle robbing the bistro. It’s not meant to be a good thing, it’s just a thing to get to the next part of the story. I don’t like it, but again, like I didn’t judge Kate the character for outing Rana, I’m not going to judge Rana (or Kate) here, and not even really the writers, this is just soap bread and butter, I’ll judge the genre at most.
And because soaps are so adept at this, they’re able to separate out different kinds of cheating, because it is such a common trope. There’s the obviously bad kind with Gary cheating on his love, whereas here, increasingly it’s Zee who seems to be the outsider. Kate and Rana are quite clearly being given the actual couple treatment at this point, and I don’t think it’d be much different if they were an m/f couple, except that there might actually be less sympathy toward them, since Rana’s situation is fairly unique.
And speaking of audience sympathy, something I always try to pay attention to (I don’t like us looking bad simply for being not straight), I think they’ve done about as well as they can there. Kate is quite clearly not the predatory lesbian here, she was the one who had to be chased, and in their time on the show, they’ve both been decent people and built up enough goodwill and trust to not have this seem like some repeated pattern. They’ve both shown in various ways that this matters to them more than any previous relationship has, they’ve both admitted lots of guilt over Zee, and it’s clear now that this is the real deal and Zeedan is just another obstacle in this love story.
And I know it’s weird and perhaps hypocritical to say that the characters and storyline resonate so much in very real ways and then in the same breath say, well, it’s just fiction, I could just be writing up a whole lot to justify why I can continue to like the thing I like because I like it. And maybe I am.¯_(ツ)_/¯
I pretty much agree with this and also I think there is another element to it which is more of a narrative justification, I suppose, from the writers’ side of things. If Rana is ever to conclusively make that choice between Kate and Zeedan in the future, then she needs to know what she stands to lose – in both regards.
She already knows what she will lose if she chooses to be exclusively with Kate: her husband, the goodwill of the Nazirs, probably the support of her own family, her wider family ties, her cultural connections and so on as you mentioned. In order to know what she stands to lose if she were to not choose to be with Kate in the end, she needs to actually experience having Kate in the first place. And that doesn’t mean just the giddiness and the physical satisfaction but also the love that she feels, and the unconditional support Kate offers her, and the happiness Rana experiences when she’s with Kate. That’s why we’re being shown so much of them engaging on this illicit affair; it’s not just an affair for the sake of drama. It’s so that we – and Rana – know what the stakes are. It’s so that Rana can make as informed a decision as possible, based on experience. If she didn’t know what it felt like to be with Kate, then how could we expect her to choose Kate? And ultimately what it all boils down to is: will she choose to be happy and true to herself even with all the sacrifice that brings, or will she choose security despite how miserable it makes her?
It’s an awful situation and one I don’t envy at all. I’ve seen the occasional comment about how Rana is ‘having her cake and eating it’ and I think that’s far too simplistic an analysis of the situation. If anything, she is being teased with occasional glimpses of cake but knows that in order to have it, she must sacrifice almost everything. She has already mentioned how isolated she feels and now that she has opened up about that to Kate, Kate has sort of become the oasis in the desert. But you can’t stay at the oasis forever; eventually you have to find your way out of the desert. And now I’m really mixing my metaphors!