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July 10 2006

The National Review on Firefly. Actually it's an article ostensibly about Steven King's "The End of the Whole Mess" but the writer spends more time talking about the politics of Firefly, Serenity, and Dark Angel. It's a positive review of the show, despite the condescending attitude towards many of the characters.

"I’ve never been sympathetic to the fluoridated-water-is-a-Commie-plot crowd in real life, but in science fiction it can be a useful shortcut for exploring tensions between individual freedom and the greater good."

There's also a detail mentioned I hadn't heard, from when this writer toured the Firefly set: "The books piled in the spaceship lounge included old Judith Krantz novels." Somehow that fits...

On the small screen, for instance, ship's engineer Kaylee was almost as intolerable as Fred in Angel and Buffy’s awful Tara.

Have to take issue with this, but I've encountered this antipathy towards these characters before. One of our (DC) meet-up participants is especially disdainful of Fred, which, to most of us, is rather mystifying.
Kaylee was very chirpy, if I had someone like that working around me all the time I might find her intolerable too. I want miserable people goddammit.
Well, sometimes Tara was maybe a little bit too meek, IMO. Though she was clearly willing to stand when she needed to (in defence of Willow for instance) I just wish we'd seen her do it a bit more often. Fred was meant to be fragile though. After what she'd been through most people would be psychotic, gibbering wrecks. I always wanted to know a bit more about pre-Pylea Fred, see if she was the same sort of person (she seemed similar in 'Spin the Bottle' but it was a bit too short to really tell).

Kind of agree with Simon about the chirpyness of Kaylee. In real life that'd be pretty tough to take all the time, especially if she was like it in the morning too (reckon there may have been a duct-tape/mouth/hold interface scenario before too long ;) though I had no problems watching it.

And I liked the "That's my girl. That's my good girl" line. How many times have we seen male engineers respond in similar ways to their ships ? So what's the problem with Kaylee doing the same ?
Have to disagree about Fred's fragility...you don't survive 5 years in Pylea by being fragile...she's tough as all hell, which is why her surface softness is so appealing...to me, at least.
Well, I kind of agree hence my wanting to see her before she went to Pylea. To me, it was like just surviving that experience kind of used up whatever tough she had in her (and that must've been plenty since it would've done most people in).
Wow. Someone actually liked Dark Angel? Finding Jessica Alba nice to look at is very understandable. Finding the idea of Dark Angel interesting is also understandable. But its execution, especially the woeful second series with dog boy, was just awful. Cardboard characters, terrible dialogue, bad acting, and don't even get me started on when Max finds she has some cat in her and goes into heat.

[ edited by dzr on 2006-07-10 15:57 ]
I'm not sure what the point of that article was. Is she a political writer or a t.v. critic?
In real life that'd be pretty tough to take all the time, especially if she was like it in the morning too (reckon there may have been a duct-tape/mouth/hold interface scenario before too long ;)


And can you imagine working with the rest of them?

Book: He'd get the work done but would be so damn mysteriously smug about it.

Inara: Too busy filing her nails and reading Heat magazine.

River: The mad woman of the office. You wouldn't go near her plus she'd probably wear tweed and talk about her cats all the time.

Zoe: Would terrify the hell out of me.

Wash: Too much of a joker, I'd have to leave the office just not to listen to his wacky fun.

Jayne: He'd be forever telling his co-workers what he got up to at the weekend i.e. starting fights in pubs and telling people in enormous detail about the women he pulls.

Simon: Too indecisive to make about a decision about anything. "Should I order these paper clips? Should I?".

Mal: The sexy one. People would just come into the office to gaze at him. Would distract people from working.
Why can't she be both? :)

And here's a funny -- I liked Dark Angel despite its flaws, so much so that when it got axed in favor of some show called Firefly, I didn't give Firefly even a single chance. It took finally getting hooked on Buffy, watching every single Buffy and Angel *and* seeing the Serenity movie trailer, before I finally gave in and got the Firefly DVD's. And now, of course, my coat is rather a brownish color.
This being the second Firefly shoutout I've seen posted here (recently) from the National Review - it reminded me of a panel The Smithsonian did on comic books in DC - which was supposed to have Frank Miller - but he got a "cold" that day ( right before Sin City opened, hmmm...)- anyways, someone in the audience was from a conservative think tank and he started talking about how they were looking for ways to co-opt the comic book crowd and get more libertarian themes across and influence the (primarily) male audience at a young age.

Seeing this made me wonder what kind of consensus conservative think tanks have come to on co-opting, pursuing this crowd and if these shout-outs to Firefly/Serenity in a publication like the National Review are truly random or part of something bigger.

Mods, if that's too political mea culpa - I was kind of fascinated by that and well, as a sci-fi geek I love my conspiracy theories.
in the movie, unlike the TV show, weird psychic genius River is no longer traumatized from having her brother haul her around the galaxy, naked and cryonically frozen, in a big see-through box. She’s still traumatized, but not because of that.

River's trauma in Firefly had the same cause as in Serenity; we're just shown the cause more graphically in Serenity and her recovery at a different, earlier stage in Firefly. Attention must be paid.
I thought the cat thing in Dark Angel was rather amusing. I loved the first season...and then they screwed it all up the second season. Cataclysmically.
Agreed Maeve. Plus, box not see-through. Can't help thinking their whole adventure would've been much shorter (and ended less favourably) if it was.

Never really watched 'Dark Angel' in sequence or regularly though there's no doubt Ms Alba's very easy on the eyes. Too much unconvincing wire work and too many over-the-top villains put me off. I don't know if i've seen any from the second season though I do remember wondering what the guy from 'Beauty and the Beast' was doing on it so if he was only in S2 then I must've.

(and the guy that went on to play DiNozzo on NCIS was the best actor on there from what I saw)
in the movie, unlike the TV show, weird psychic genius River is no longer traumatized from having her brother haul her around the galaxy, naked and cryonically frozen, in a big see-through box. She’s still traumatized, but not because of that.

What a weird thing to say. It was very clear in the TV series that she was traumatised by having her brain messed with, not because she was put in a box. This person missed that? I do get that she was affected a little differently in the movie (to serve the story), but the cause was never any different, just as Maeve pointed out.
Saje, truth be told Ms. Alba's easiness-on-the-eyes was the only reason I ever watched Dark Angel. I completely agree about the wire work and the villains (and would add most of the other characters too). The second season is where the show did indeed go all Beauty and the Beast, and as Charmuse said it really went down the drain then. But in all honesty I thought the first season was pretty bad. I honestly don't understand what others saw in it.
I find myself once again hard pressed to pay attention to an author's point due to being distracted by them getting rather basic plot (see the above River question) or even, in this case, PROP (see the above River's cryo-box question) elements completely wrong.
Kaylee was very chirpy, if I had someone like that working around me all the time I might find her intolerable too. I want miserable people goddammit.

Kaylee: Aye, aye, Captain Tightpants.

She may chirp, but she's also the only one who really can get all up in Mal's grill and get away with it. ;-)

But, LOL at your descriptions of "being in The Office with the Firefly crew," Simon. Don't you just know Jayne would name his stapler, and always be whinging about salaries, too. ;-)
Axe-grinding is very involved work that doesnt always leave a lot of attention to spare for prop and plot details. :)
Any article that calls Tara awful ain't one I plan on finishing. And I can even probably guess why- gay, earth mothery, all the things NR cannot stand. And Tara had ethics, to boot. :-)
And can you imagine working with the rest of them?

Book: He'd get the work done but would be so damn mysteriously smug about it.

Inara: Too busy filing her nails and reading Heat magazine.

River: The mad woman of the office. You wouldn't go near her plus she'd probably wear tweed and talk about her cats all the time.

Zoe: Would terrify the hell out of me.

Wash: Too much of a joker, I'd have to leave the office just not to listen to his wacky fun.

Jayne: He'd be forever telling his co-workers what he got up to at the weekend i.e. starting fights in pubs and telling people in enormous detail about the women he pulls.

Simon: Too indecisive to make about a decision about anything. "Should I order these paper clips? Should I?".

Mal: The sexy one. People would just come into the office to gaze at him. Would distract people from working.
Simon | July 10, 16:42 CET


Which is why, though I get along with my co-workers, I'm glad I have an office.
With a door.
That locks.
Actually, there's no one in the Firefly crew that I wouldn't like working with. Even Jayne. People like that you just have to know how to deal with each of them. Or not. There could be torture. Whatever.

By the way, Simon, why would Zoe terrify you? Is it the the "Angry Black Woman" thing? (Actually, I take that back. She's not "angry". She just doesn't put up with bullshite, our Zoe.) Some guys find that terribly appealing.
; )

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-07-10 22:14 ]

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-07-10 22:16 ]
She has a look. Which scares me.
Allrighty, then, Cathy Seipp's none-too-well-researched-or-reasoned National Review writing has kicked up some dust in here again (see The WB is Her Crack from whedonesque post Oct. 28th, 2004 and The Wonderful World of WB: My addiction from NRO Oct. 28th, 2004. That article mostly consisted of a pean to the (now-cancelled) show Jack & Bobby, much railing against The West Wing and a brief praising of Buffy and Angel ("... never used to miss an episode of Angel or Buffy the Vampire Slayer...") and a remark about her need to tape Angel when it aired.

It did kick off a dust storm in here, mostly because of her fairly condescending attitude about liberals and California's Spanish-speaking population, as well as her (minimal) critical faculties. The conversation in here was good -- much better than her writing deserves -- but good stuff can come out of the most trivial of sources.

And she is is a shallow writer in many ways -- not terribly surprising in one who made her name passing on, for the most part, what is essentially gossip about the media.

For a "richer" understanding of this source, check out her blog "Cathy's blog" and lukeford.net profiles Cathy Seipp. Be prepared for a healthy dose of annoyance, whatever your political leanings.

"When you question things and you have a logical frame of mind [you leave liberalism]." -- Cathy Siepp, lukeford.net's 12/11/02 profile

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-07-11 01:46 ]
Ouch. The first comment thread linked by QuoterGal was a sorry reminder of my more belligerent days. And talk about unnecessary ad hominem attacks. It's a good thing that zeitgeist and I buried the hatchet long ago, right mate? ;)
SoddingNancyTribe, please don't be ashamed. You and the folks that participated in that earlier Seipp-inspired thread (marmoset, zeitgeist, Chris inVirginia, Angeles, acp and the many others) were remarkably civilised, and it was, as someone in there mentioned, refreshing to see the different political viewpoints that can all agree on their love of the works of Joss Whedon.

I merely brought up that earlier stuff to point out that we have been here before, and that Seipp's stuff tends to kick off this reaction -- something I think that this poor man's Ann Coulter (who is the poor man's someone else, can't quite decide who) would no doubt enjoy. And in my opinion, her writing is just not good enough to spend much energy on.

I enjoyed reading that whole thread, though, and got quite an interesting idea of who you all are -- which is probably quite wrong.

"Yeah. I would say about the movie [Serenity] that it is very political, but it's not partisan. And I think the curse, right now, of the politics of our nation is that a line has been drawn down the middle of our country -- and that's not actually how the human mind works." -- Joss Whedon, The CulturePulp Q&A with Joss Whedon, 9/24/05

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