Monday, February 14, 2011

Wishing you some action on Valentine's Day

Relationship in a rut? There's nothing like Valentine's Day to rekindle romantic feelings — except maybe some shared high-stakes danger. Take a lesson from the following estranged spouses as our resident couples counselor plots out plans to rescue their endangered unions.

Stormy weather
Jo and Bill have been through a lot...of tornados. The storm-chasing scientists called their mariage quits, though, when Jo's twister obsession clashed with Bill's desire to settle down.

Doctor's Orders
Jo, stall on signing the divorce papers so that Bill and his new fiancée are forced to track you down in the field. When Bill arrives, tempt him to stay awhile by unveiling the tornado maping device he designed. Bill, lead the old rag-tag team on a few more tornado chases, and make sure you're there to talk Jo down from her freaked-out personal vendetta against the storm that killed her dad. (This might be a good time to hint that you still have feelings for her, too.) If the two of you can work together to sucessfully deploy the mapping device, you should have clear skies ahead. This will be tough on Bill's fiancée, but that relationship was only motivated by the need for technical exposition, so it probably wasn't meant to last anyway.

Independence Day
Feeling alien-ated
Connie is an ambitious political strategist. David is a quirky but brilliant underachiever. When offered the chance to work for the president, Connie chose career over marriage, leaving David feeling betrayed and bitter. Luckily, David didn't lose any of his genius in the separation, so when aliens invade Earth he still has enough wits to understand the situation better than any government official.

Doctor's Orders
David, what I'm going to ask you to do sounds impossible, but you're obviously the only guy who can pull it off. Using only your Apple laptop from 1996 and your knowledge of cable television, I want you you decipher the aliens' secret plans, write a virus that can shut down their computer network, co-pilot an alien spacecraft without any previous flight experience, dock with the alien mothership, and — truly putting the "universal" in USB — connect your Mac to the ship's network and implant the virus. If saving the world doesn't convince Connie to give you another chance, perhaps the hefty check from Steve Jobs will.

The Abyss
Underwater rift
Lindsey and Bud were the perfect deep-sea duo: she designed a revolutionary underwater oil rig, and he could run it like no one else. Nowadays Lindsey keeps to dry land while Bud wallows at the bottom of the sea. Recently the military comandeered their rig in order to retrieve a sunken nuclear submarine, so the estranged couple has been forced to reunite and assist in the operation.

Doctor's Orders
Lindsey, when things are worst and you and Bud are trapped in a broken mini-sub on the sea floor, suggest a horrific survival plan: drown yourself and let Bud use the scuba gear to swim you back to the underwater base. He'll have to bring you back from the dead once he gets there, but all the mouth-to-mouth, defibrillating, and pounding on your chest are sure to stir up old feelings of the heart — literally. Later, let Bud make an equally self-sacrificial gesture by diving to record depths to defuse a nuclear bomb. Only afterwards, when he has no apparent hope of returning, will he confess his true feelings for you. Sounds grim, to be sure, but with a little luck (and extraterrestrial intervention), I think you guys may be able to salvage the nukes — and your marriage.

True Lies
Truth and consequences
Harry has been keeping a secret from his wife, Helen, for seventeen years — a BIG secret: while Helen thinks her husband is a humdrum computer salesman, he is actually a government super-spy living a life of glamorous danger. Harry's secret job takes up much of his time and attention, and consequently a neglected Helen has started looking elsewhere for excitement. To Harry's surprise, Helen has begun flirting with a used car salesman who pretends he's a spy.

Doctor's Orders
Harry, you need to give Helen something to be interested in. First, round up some of your agent buddies and storm in on Helen and her phony spy while he's trying to put the moves on her in his trailer. Abduct the two, then interrogate Helen from behind a two-way mirror to confirm that she still loves you. If you don't feel you've already strained the ties of marital honesty too much, tell her she's free to go if she cooperates on a secret mission: make her pose as a high-priced prostitute and entertain you with a humiliating striptease while you remain concealed in darkness posing as an international bad guy. If, however, you and Helen should be abducted by terrorists (it's likely), you should probably come clean about what you've been up to all these years. Letting her in to your secret life will give you more "together time," provided she forgives you for the years of lying, the staged abduction, the forced striptease, and for allowing terrorists to kidnap your daughter. Something tells me she will.

Jurassic Park III
Living in the past
Paul and Amanda haven't gotten along well since their divorce. To make matters worse, their tewlve-year-old son Eric recently went missing on an off-limits Costa Rican island swarming with cloned dinosaurs. Tensions between the parents are at an all-time high.

Doctor's Orders
I recommend a tropical getaway. First, pretend to be wealthy adventurers (lots of couples find roleplaying theraputic) and use this front to convince dinosaur expert Alan Grant to accompany you on a tour of Jurassic Park, the abandoned island theme park where genetics corporation InGen created clone dinosaurs which ultimately escaped and either ate or scared away all humans. On this island inhabited by creatures from earth's past, you'll have plenty of time to ruminate on your own — when you're not running for your lives, that is. Remembering the good times may help you envision a happy future. (Though finding Amanda's dead boyfriend decaying in a tree couldn't hurt either.)

Die Hard
Long-distance runaround
John and Holly have been in a slump ever since Holly's job promoted her all the way to California. Macho John's not about to give up his job as a New York City cop, so now the two are barely keeping things together across the miles.

Doctor's Orders
Holly, reach out to John and invite him to L.A. to attend your office Christmas party. John, when international terrorists crash the festivities, make a narrow escape, then proceed to eliminate the criminals one by one. When their leader takes your wife as his personal hostage, do some last-minute rescuing and save Holly from being pulled to her death — and from her pesky notions of having a career! You'll give Holly a "second chance" and get to feel needed and in charge again, just like the manly man you want to be.