The only redeeming quality of my leaning tower of laundry is the opportunity to binge-watch television during my toddler’s naptime. This month I’ve been catching up on "Suits," mainly because it’s wedding season, both on and off-screen for America's and the U.K.'s new sweetheart Meghan Markle (make room Julia, Reese and Meg).
Off set, Markle is preparing for her May 19 wedding to Britain’s Prince Harry. We royalty fans are counting the days and liking all the photographic evidence of the wedding plans in our social media feeds. We can’t get enough of her bright smile and their head over heels romance. She's relatable — whip smart and beautiful with a knack for charity work and a thing for red heads. All eyes are on Markle this season, and it's clear that she knows it, relishing in her new role, impressing her new audience. Markle is not only saying yes to the dress but she is also agreeing to a royal life and saying goodbye to most everything about her current one — including her ongoing role as Rachel Zane in USA Network’s hit show "Suits."
In a charming bit of fiction mirroring fact, Rachel (and Markle) will finish her run on "Suits," which resumes this week, by marrying Mike Ross (played by Patrick J. Adams). But, seemingly, that is where the marriage similarities end. Rachel's television fiancé is a habitual liar and recently released from prison. So what if he had to use a loophole to become a legitimate lawyer? But questionable dealings aside, there is something likable about the guy, and viewers have rooted for Mike and Rachel along the way, watching them survive and thrive despite the rough life of their NYC law firm.
Rachel is like that friend who is dating a very shady character you hope is just a box to check during her bad boy phase. She keeps insisting his heart of gold is worth waiting for, and in television land, he's the misunderstood romantic lead-type we can't help but root for — a risk-taking Robin Hood with a passion for helping the less fortunate. Rachel loves Mike’s loyalty, integrity and perfect mix of street smarts and book smarts, and her love motivates him in the right direction.
In reality, however, friends don’t let friends fall for the Mike Ross-types. Perhaps if I knew their full backstory and the reason for their troubled past, I might warm up to the idea, but often, I make judgement toward those who seem like heartbreakers before understanding their habits or give them a chance to reform.
In popular TV shows, these rough characters don a harsh exterior to protect their sensitive side, rarely shown in public. The writers love to give them hardships that people usually don't fully recover from. In “Suits,” Mike lost his parents to a drunk driver when he was young, a tragedy that shaped his TV narrative. But Mike isn't the only person — fictional and real — in Markle's life to have their story shaped by tragedy. Everyone who was alive in 1997 remembers the terrible accident that claimed the life of Princess Diana, Markle's real-life fiancé's mother.
In knowing Prince Harry’s backstory, we empathetically appreciate the hand he’s been dealt: the grief of growing up without a mother, the pressures of conforming to long-standing royal traditions and the stress of finding a trustworthy mate. We can't help but hope for a fairytale ending for Diana's two sons. But like Markle's fictional fiancé, Prince Harry has had his own spree of questionable behavior: partying in Vegas, that insensitive costume choice — he's even admitted that he while in school, he wanted to be the bad boy. But also like Mike on "Suits," watching Harry's story unfold in real-time softened his image so that now, as he prepares to get married, popular opinion is behind him. Both in televised drama and in life, we find that even the roughest of characters can succeed with the proper motivation, especially if we know the story.Comment on this story
Anticipation is high for the make-believe television wedding. It is sure to be posh and perfectly executed, and I’ll be watching for hidden Easter eggs from the "Suits" production staff. We royalty-obsessed deserve a few hidden gems woven into Markle's final six episodes. Perhaps a red head in the crowd of guests as a wink to Prince Harry? This season concludes on April 25, so we'll likely have to wait for the wedding, making Markle's and Rachel's weddings practically back-to-back. I can't wait to watch either one — especially since I'm a fan of both fiancés, bad boys that they may have been. I guess all they — and I — needed was a little understanding.