Perception has nothing to do with age. I know some exceptionally astute children, and some exceptionally dense adults. In retrospect, it's amazing what I picked up on during The Show's original run, considering I wasn't even old enough to drive yet.
Case in point: Individually, RS and TDH are good actors. Together, they're amazing. So amazing that when you watch them, you start to forget that it's not real.
Or is it?
Sure, you've noticed little things while watching The Show, like the looks that pass between them, or the natural way they touch each other, or how incredibly good they look together. But you don't want to even think about allowing yourself to think about the fact that your heroes could be toppling themselves (and each other, apparently) so you chalk it up to method acting. Damn good method acting.
But what happens when the cameras stop rolling is a little harder to justify.
In the days before the Internet put celebrity gossip at our fingertips, entertainment shows were the best method of finding out what was going down in Tinseltown. And it took all of one interview in the spring of 1995 to notice that the great on-screen chemistry RS and TDH shared translated to real life. Quite well, in fact. They clearly had a great time together - flirting and touching and making each other laugh, like all great couples do.
But that's the thing: They weren't a couple. She was married. Sure, her bit-part bastard husband was decidedly less tall, less dark and less handsome than her co-star, but taken is taken. As in for richer, for poorer, in contracts, in adultery, and the whole nine yards. So surely, with BPB waiting at home, the flirting between RS and TDH was just for ratings. Turn up the heat and the viewers come running with margaritas and sunblock.
But back then, we didn't realize that the only thing keeping RS warm at night was her contract for The Show. At least not at first.
And then she went on national TV and basically said BPB had deserted her on her birthday, and therefore, she was looking for a surrogate husband to help her celebrate. (Ironically, she really didn't need to look too far.) It was the straw that broke the camel's back, and, incidentally, landed her on her back with someone other than the second man in the door after the villain.
Now, I may have been young and naive, but I certainly wasn't blind - or immune to the steam radiating off my TV screen in the dead of winter, a mere week after RS blew out her 31 candles all alone. While promoting that weekend's episode on the one of the entertainment shows, RS and TDH also promoted the fact that they may have had an interest in practicing kissing scenes somewhere other than the soundstage. But I could have been wrong. Maybe unbuttoning your co-worker's shirt and trailing kisses down his neck is common practice at some companies.
In what I will call the "mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be wordsmiths," flashback, I remember wandering into the kitchen and asking, "What does interruptus mean?" My mother eventually picked her jaw up off the floor, mumbled something about stopping in the middle of sex, and then demanded to know why her innocent little daughter, who had not too long ago been playing with Barbies, was asking. Damn you, TDH. Even so, it got me thinking - especially when the actual episode didn't get the characters far enough for there to be interruptus.
Now, admittedly, I didn't outright think they were having an affair, because, hell, I was 13, and still believed in truth, justice, etc. I figured that some if it was probably wishful thinking because I was so mesmerized by the love story between RS and TDH's characters. But I did comprehend the significance of buying body oil and wearing it to work because your sexy-as-hell co-worker likes the scent. Like I said, perception, perception, perception.
By the time The Show's third-season finale was in production, it seemed I wasn't the only one contemplating the allure of salad-scented bath products, because the camera crews were on their way back to Burbank. But this time, they were taping TDH, RS and BPB, who had landed a guest-starring role (playing a smarmy ass, no less). And they sure as hell weren't there to talk about The Show - they wanted to know if there was any truth to the rumors that RS and BPB were on the outs because TDH and RS were having rehearsals à deux.
By this point, Even BPB seemed to have resigned himself to the fact that his marriage was about as shaky as TDH after a weekend in Vegas, because when asked about it, he shot back, "Why would anyone want to know?" As for TDH and RS, they went out of their way to allay the rumors - that is, when they weren't teasing each other and pretending to make out. You know, the kind of stuff that friends do.
Wishful thinking? You be the judge.