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Nov. 1st, 2008

Tired, cranky, headache. Don't want another family birthday. Even if it's my niece's. ::whine::


Since I never seem to have the time to actually sit/lie down and really read anything recently, I haven't much more than browsed through Russell T. Davis's book (although I have started at the beginning now, and it's rather fascinating. Also his frustration with TW 2.1, which I was going to say maybe was the reason why KKBB never completely worked for me, but apparently it got dumped on Chris Chibnall eventually...), reading a couple of pages here and there (so he wasn't completely happy with the Rose/Doctor.2 ending, either), but leafing through the pages I stumbled across this.

Put a man and a woman of roughly the same age on screen and you're telling a story. That's a love story. (Storytelling is very heterosexual in that sense. But that's why gay storytelling is exciting, because the images are still new.) The choice to put those two characters together on screen, in a story, is the crucial thing. Everything else is just detail. And luck. That's what makes you care. The archetypes. They run deep. [...] Man, woman, on screen = love story. Very little work necessary. (p 123)

Which I kind of agree with and kind of disagree, because while it's undoubtedly true, this (and I've said that before) is what for me makes so many of the heterosexual relationship on screen essentially uninteresting. Maybe/probably my brain is simply wired wrong, but if too much of the subsequent story relies just on this, and only this, I'll yawn and and switch off — or start slashing, depending on how interesting the rest of the show and the other characters are. It may be a love story, but it's also often (to me, at any rate) a boring love story. Now I'm not saying that I've never followed or enjoyed one of the will-they-or-won't-they-get-together storylines, but on the whole they don't make for the best storytelling, because once that question is resolved most of the time a) the show is over, b) they're heading towards break-up, or, special bullet point for Joss Whedon, c) someone gets killed.

So generally speaking putting a bit more work and character development into it is not actually a bad thing. The IMO still perfect example of Doing It Right are Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon 5, my OTPest OTP for something like a decade. It's hard to attempt looking at a show one has watched & rewatched with a fresh eye, but was there ever even the suspense of whether they'd get together? I don't think so, or at any rate one was rather more worried about them winning the war and saving the universe. Having a plot that encompasses and mingles action and romance rather than dividing it in two separate storylines, and upsetting a lot of tv gender clichés in the process is what made it so epic and unique. Thank you, MJS. :)

Now Joss Whedon frankly sucks at writing relationships, especially happy relationships, because as a rule he only sets them up to end them in the most painful way possible, but Buffy and Spike, in their own messed up way were a bit like that; even when it always was pretty clear they wouldn't have a happily ever after, they both learned something about themselves and each other in the process, which changed them for the better, it was plotty and not boring to watch. OTOH most of the male/female relationships on Angel were completely uninteresting; Cordelia/Angel as well as the Wesley/Fred/Gunn triangle, because they're indeed little more than man, woman, on screen = love story, and barely that, maybe partly because they never needed to work as relationships for the plot to go forward. I don't think saying that canonically Angel and Wesley had the most complex, if completely fucked up, relationship on that show has anything to do with slash googles, and one day I'm really going to write that essay. Or, Smallville, when I was still watching; Clark/Lex vs. Clark/Lana.

On a similar note, to be perfectly honest, Jack/Ianto would never have caught my interest, and certainly not got me writing all those endless rambling meta posts, if it hadn't come after Cyberwoman with the Fragments backstory and all the... if not exactly canonical, then at least canonically implied complexity and ambiguities resulting from that. So granted, once again a bit messed up, and maybe unhealthily codependent and whatnot, and apparently I've got a faible for that kind of thing, but take that away, and the banter-innuendo-coffee thing would be really kind of boring.

Well, in my opinion. It's pretty obvious that 90+% of fandom differs. Cf. above, brain wired wrong, and all that...

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
un_crayon_rouge
Nov. 1st, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
I think I want to rewatch Babylon 5. My only doubt is if I should start with season 1, which has a few fundamental, albeit hard to watch (because of the emotional content) episodes, but also a lot of crap - or should I start with season 2? I'd like that better, but it would be *cheating*, wouldn't it...
solitary_summer
Nov. 1st, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
Start with S1 and skip the non-essential/crap episodes? Or start with S2, if you feel like it... I get those 'it would be cheating, must do it in order' qualms, too, but after all, who's judging... :)
(Deleted comment)
solitary_summer
Nov. 1st, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
Romance, gay or straight, het or slash, is just so much more interesting with plot and character development and some motivation beyond or beside oh, pretty!, but when I look at fandom *plenty* of people seem to be perfectly happy with that... Strange.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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