UST - Is it the secret to good TV?

Hi all

As I am supposed to be revising for exams, I have taken to doing everything but including dissecting television. In particular I have been addicted to Hollyoaks for the past month or so due to a love story which the underlying basis of is not new to our screens.

UST or unresolved sexual tension to give it its full name is what I am talking about and I think it is the key to the success of many things including books, films and TV. I'm not sure if the principle applies to guys and I am sure you lads out their reading this can leave comments to let me know, but us girls are suckers for it.

UST - the spark between two characters and the possibility that at some point they are going to cave and give in to their sexual lust for each other! Usually the characters are a mis-match, either have a love hate relationship or a professional relationship which prevents them from giving in to animal passion.

Take my Hollyoaks example: Kris, a bisexual transvestite, and Jess, a posh well spoken 'lady'. This is the classic love hate relationship with constant sniping but the underlying sexual energy that keeps the viewers glued to the screen with the 'will they, won't they' story. The kiss pictured comes from a angry exchange. A classic as you finally get the satisfaction of seeing two people who clearly belong together, no matter what their differences, making the step across the line from enemies/friends to lovers. This story line is far from over and as they say the path of true love never did run smooth and this one has more roadworks that the M25! (photo from the Official Hollyoaks Website)

But this is just one of many. The most memerable for my generation has to be Ross and Rachel in Friends. Again a bit of a mis-match to begin with - Intelligent Doctor and waitress. It took 10 series for this will that won't they saga to finally come to an end. It only took until series 2 for us to witness the first kiss, but a further 8 series until they finally got together for the final time. I know I was hooked by their love story and also the less obvious one of Monica and Chandler which was there but not as obvious as Ross and Rachel. (Photo from Google Images)

And there are plenty more! Sonia and Martin in Eastenders, Kate and Jake in Lost, etc, etc.

And it happens in books too. My favourite series of books are the Wire in the Blood ones for those of you who have seen the TV series. Throughout the 4 books Val McDermid has written so far the UST between the two lead characters Tony Hill and Carol Jackson has kept me hooked and wanting more.

Films are just as prominently filled with UST as TV programmes. How many films have you watched where the bloke gets the girl at the start of the film? For me the best example of UST in films has to be 007 himself - James Bond. He often has the love hate relationship with his sexual interests or a professional relationship which prevents them getting together earlier on in the film. And lets face it, if he got the girl at the start of the film he wouldn't have to do all the heroic stuff to get her at the end.

So, I am convinced that UST is the key to good TV, Film and Books. And that is the media studies student coming out in me! Check out Hollyoaks when you can as they are excelling at the moment with gritty story lines (some slightly surreal) but it is going to be interesting to see how it all turns out!

And yes I am sad and I am definitely looking for as many excuses as possible for not looking at my property and civil law books!


  1. My favourite example of UST was between Tim and Dawn in The Office. I wanted them to be together more than any other on-screen couple.

    I don't watch Hollyoaks, but I caught a bit where the transvestite bloke was in bed with a girl and it looked really fake and awkward, but maybe that's because I hadn't seen any of the UST build up.

  2. I so forgot about that!! A perfect example!! The Christmas special was brilliant!!

    I think watching the build up helps. I don't think they will be making a permenant couple though as Evil Will changed Kris' medical records to say he had HIV and it has all been kicking off this week!

    It so wouldn't happen in real life but it helps me escape my revision hell hole!


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