In my last post, I wrote about how the “romance” between Woody and Bo in Toy Story 4 warmed my heart. That inspired me to think about other ace pairs that I have loved over the years.
When I think about “ace pairings”, I’m not necessary thinking about pairings between asexual people. In my post about Woody and Bo, I did argue that toys are asexual. They feel love (romantic and otherwise) for each other, but they are not driven by biological urges to procreate, so they’re probably not having sex. However, in this post, I will make no such argument.
The pairing I bring up here is Marlin and Dory. I want to be clear that I do not view them as a romantic couple. I view them more like a companionate couple. I make no claims about what the filmmakers intended, but fans interpret things however they like. I’m sure Marlin/Dory fanfics exist. That being said, let me describe this pairing. (Spoilers only for Finding Nemo, but best not to read if you don’t want to be spoiled for either movie.)
The relationship between Marlin and Dory was a major focus in Finding Nemo, but not so much in Finding Dory. In Finding Nemo, they had a “buddy roadtrip” dynamic, but Dory was more of an instrument for Marlin’s character growth rather than a character in her own right. Overprotective Marlin has lost his son and is desperately trying to find him and somehow a fish with short-term memory loss tags along. Dory’s presence is a source of anxiety for Marlin because she is somebody with a huge disadvantage who is nevertheless taking big risks. Marlin’s instinct is to protect and shield her, but the ocean is vast and he cannot protect her from everything. Dory’s optimism gives Marlin the push he needed to let go and learn to trust more. And this growth was vital for him after his reunion with his son. I thought they had a great friendship, but didn’t really think of them as a favorite pair.
In Finding Dory, their relationship is not the focus at all, but we get to see how their relationship has developed. You could call them best friends. You could call them partners. You could call them companions. They are a pair who greatly care for each other and would support each other like family would. And I thought the ending, especially the ending shot, was rather curious: Marlin and Dory enjoying the view in companionate silence even though the movie was not about their relationship at all. What I take away from this is that Marlin and Dory are like family. They may not be a sexual pair, but they play the companion role in each other’s lives.
This ending shot left me with a very positive impression of the movie because I would love to have a relationship like the one between Marlin and Dory. I don’t mean that I don’t want a romantic relationship, but just that it doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship. Kind of like how you can interpret Marlin and Dory’s relationship to be romantic if you want, but it isn’t established as one. What I would really love is have someone who could be family the way Dory and Marlin are. I also don’t mean I don’t have any relationships that are like this (or close to it). It just so happens that all of my friends-who-are-like-family live in different cities, different states, different countries, and even different continents.
To be perfectly honest, Finding Dory was just okay, and no part of the movie hits me in the feels the way Finding Nemo does. But the love the ending, because I love that Marlin and Dory have each other in addition to their other actual blood-related family.