Princess Eleanor and Jasper, her very sexy yet very naughty bodyguard, are certainly shaping up to be the best part of The Royals . Sure, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Elizabeth Hurley, but her overacting (I know that's the point but still) and Liam and Ophelia's snoozefest of a relationship (didn't you guys watch the Kate Middleton and Prince Wills Lifetime movie? 'Cause it's the same thing.) are low points. All of that, plus Jasper is super hot. Actually, so is Eleanor. To give a quick recap of their situation, Jasper is Eleanor’s bodyguard: One evening after a wild night of partying, they had sex, and Jasper filmed it. Now, the two are embroiled in a quite the cat-and-mouse game, each trying to one-up the other. He demands breakfast, she vows to ruin him, and it’s all painted as very sexy and very, very strange. (It's admittedly problematic with the supposed date rape element, but I somehow can't get enough of it.)
We’ve seen this exact (nearly) relationship on television before. Come with me on a journey here. It will be okay: The Royals was created by Mark Schwan, the very same man who gave us the Scott Brothers. Yep, Schwan created One Tree Hill , so it's safe to say he knows quite a bit about drama. Even though The Royals isn't really a teen drama per se, the show shares a lot with teen dramas of Schwan's golden era, like, say, Gossip Girl? Eleanor and Jasper's pseudo-relationship is so Chuck and Blair: “I hate you, but I kind of love you, but I am going to sell you to my uncle and ruin your life,” etc.
If you can think back that far to a time when Gossip Girl was a good show and not just Penn Badgley killing time between Jeff Buckley biopics, Chuck and Blair were also all about the “game.” They had a very specific level of dysfunction that is perfectly reflected in Eleanor and Jasper, and everyone thought it was so “romantic.” Remember when Chuck literally sold Blair to his uncle to get Bass Industries? Or when, even though Blair was seeing Marcus, Chuck made the power go off so he could seduce her? And when Chuck screamed at Blair in a whole room of people to stop acting life his wife? Man, Chuck sucks. Chuck and Blair decide that a relationship together would ruin their future plans of world domination and then they get into that relationship anyway. That is not love: That is lunacy.
As of the latest episode of The Royals, Eleanor has brought Ophelia onto her team to help her find out intel on Jasper, but he does volunteer some tidbits himself. He is from Las Vegas, not Shoreditch, for starters, and he’s a grifter. He literally said the words “I am a grifter.” Duh, Jasper. We knew that. By the end of the episode, Jasper is gently comforting Eleanor after a tongue-lashing by her mom, Queen Helena. Suddenly, this is the most romantic moment on the show. A date rape and blackmail plot has, against all odds and my better judgement, moved to be the best potential romance on a scripted television series.
The best part of all of this is, literally all Eleanor has to do to end this is to tell her parents. Not only are they used to cleaning up her messes, but they are the monarchs of England, with plenty of trained hit men at their disposal. Jasper’s plan would be done and over with if Eleanor just said the word, but she, like Blair, loves this strategic dance they’re doing. Jasper and Eleanor like each other, and this is the way that they are choosing to show it: through lies, sex, and forceful manipulation. Ah, young love.
Image: Paul Blundell, Screengrab/E! Entertainment; giphy (3)