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Team Peeta or Team Gale? How dare you ask!

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- To celebrate the opening of "The Hunger Games" on Friday, we here at the gazz thought it would be fun to conduct a light-hearted poll. We posted around Facebook -- on the Gazette, the gazz and FlipSide pages and some of our personal ones -- asking folks if they were Team Peeta or Team Gale, referring to the two boys in the love triangle (with heroine Katniss) that's part of the story.

The results were surprising. Not so much because of who people chose but because of the contempt we received for even bringing up the topic.

"How about Team 'This isn't crappy Twilight about some whiny emo teen that can't bare to live without her boyfriend'?" wrote Eric Shinn. "Katniss is twice the character as that moron, and Hunger Games is ten times the novel."

"Team Neither because the series isn't about romance," declared Nicholas Ransbottom. "Collins uses the romance to sell the books and blatantly states she's doing so by having Katniss comment on how easy it is to manipulate an audience by throwing a cheesy romance story at them. Saying Team Peeta or Gale is just completely missing the point of the series and its messages."

"Team neither," seconded Nathan Thomas. "The series is not based around the relationship, and trying to take a team stance degrades the series from what it really is."

We weren't the only people to discover this. Associated Press reviewer Christy Lemire touched on the same contempt in her review for the film.

"Recently, I made the mistake of joking on Twitter about the possibility of a Team Peeta vs. Team Gale dynamic, referring to the two young men who hold special places in the heart of Katniss Everdeen, the 16-year-old heroine of 'The Hunger Games,'" she wrote.

"Some people played along but many were appalled at the very idea of something as clichéd and flimsy as a love triangle defining the young woman they've come to admire so fiercely from Suzanne Collins' best-selling trio of novels, the first adaptation of which makes its way to the screen this weekend amid great fervor and expectation.

"I learned very quickly: These people do not mess around when it comes to Katniss."

Some of our friends expressed disappointment with the question, but played along, too.

"Ew, re: this whole concept," wrote Heather Dooley, "but since you asked, I'm on Team Peta. He always makes the best decision and has the best temperament. Important qualities in a significant other."

Mandy Flora said she is Team Gale, "although I am sad this is the movie's focus since it didn't seem so 'twilightish' in the book.

"I like Gale better because he wasn't so mushy about his feelings," she said. "They just were what they were."

Flora was the only one who fully supported Gale, though. Mark Hall wrote, "I was definitely on Team Gale in the first book but by the end [. . . ] I like Team Peeta."

Among other respondents favoring Peeta were Tasha Jemerison and Allison Lewis.

"Peeta!" Jemerison said. "He has a different way of viewing and handling things. Sometimes we need different to balance. Plus sooo sweet!"

"Peeta, baby!" Lewis exclaimed. "Any guy who can bake bread, decorate a cake, AND kill with his bare hands? Please. Not even a comparison."

Sharon Lyn Stackpoole weighed in on behalf of her son. "My son says Team Peeta. He also says it's a complicated backstory, but Team Peeta is just good. Period."

Breanne Kiser couldn't decide -- "Team Both? Because its too hard to choose," she said -- while Jessica Whitt Exline chose neither.

"Team Haymitch?" Exline wrote. "Gale is a jerk who somewhat feels entitled to Katniss, and Peta gets way too whiney at times for me. At least with Haymitch, you know what you're getting."

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4881.


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