?

Log in

 
 
28 November 2005 @ 09:58 am
Emotional cowardice and the SV on Australian TV viewing experience  
OK, so I have a confession. Despite my elation at Smallville returning to Australian television sets and my rapturous enjoyment of the advertising campaign, I chickened out of watching all of the opening double: Rush and Prodigal.

Firstly, Channel 10 let me down in doing a really ham-fisted job of the 'previously on Smallville' introduction. I didn't feel anyone new to the show would have the faintest idea what was going on or be interested. They should be aiming higher than just recruiting Smallville's old audience - they need to gain new viewers!

More significantly, I hadn't factored on how challenging watching young!Clark and young!Lex would be after watching Season 5. They broke my heart in minutes. I have rewatched before, but only in the company of new first-time viewers, whose bubbling enthusiasm and interesting responses to the show buoyed me along. This time, I only had supacat on the phone with me and after initial squeeing, we settled into some uncomfortable silences punctuated by 'oh my god, Clark's smile! he's so innocent!' and 'oh, Lex, you break my heart, you're trying SO HARD' and so on. By the second ad break a heavy dark cloud had settled around my heart and we both agreed that we wouldn't make it through the scene where RedK!Clark shoves Lex out of the way in the barn. I turned off and spent the rest of the night surfing for happy fic.

So, my question is: what's going on here? I love Season 5. I love sexyevil!Lex and I love angsty!Clark. But what I can't bear is the bittersweet future echoes of Season 1 and 2... they break my heart! They were just *babies*. So young and with no idea of what's to come. Now when I watch vids that have early footage, I cry! Those looks, those hugs, those grins from Clark and that hopeful face from Lex! Ugh! Help! I'm drowning in sorrow!

I realise many people in fandom have the reverse reaction: an inability to watch Clark be an asshat to Lex and Lex embrace his dark side. I can understand that response, but it's not my own. Why? I don't know. Maybe because despite the tragedy of the rift, they are each developing internal strength, and so that both fascinates me and alleviates the pain. Also, I'm there for the journey. I need to see the full story and I enjoy deconstructing what's going on. But what I'm dreading is the final rewatch - going back to Season 1 and watching all the way through knowing how it ends. And one day I will do that.

But not yet. Today I've got the Clex-heartbreak and I'm all cowardly. Anyone want to help me find the Happy?!
 
 
Current Mood: gloomygloomy
 
 
 
supacatsupacat on November 28th, 2005 01:48 am (UTC)
What IS going on? Why is our reaction the opposite of that of so much of fandom?! It's not just that I want to see the full story . . . I *love* watching S5, the ups, the downs, they're all squee-ful. But S1, 2 & 3, it's like, GUH THE ANGST, MY HEART IS BREAKING. I remember S3 being wonderfully angstfully difficult to watch even the first time around, but not S1 and 2! Like, this was *Rush*. Clark was doing one of his furrow-browed "I'm doing some low-level deductive reasoning" stares and I was all, "God, this is SO SAD". What?!?!

I rang Steph after we hung up, and she was watching cheerfully and fell about laughing hysterically when I said, "Like knives! Cutting into my soul!" or whatever melodramatic thing I said. I agree with you that it's actually us who are reacting counter-intuitively-- as you said, it's human nature to cling to happy memories, childhood etc. So what crazy thing is up with us?

Hey, I'm online! Off to beta.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Pirates puppy eyesbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 03:22 am (UTC)
So what crazy thing is up with us?
Dude! I don't know! We're just weird. I couldn't bear Lex's straightforward approach with Clark in the caves and the familiar way he pulled his textbook out of his backpack! I couldn't bear the scene with ChickenSkatchGuy... not because it was ChickenSkatchGuy but because Lex was so Baby-Evil! Clark sitting cheerily in the Kent kitchen drinking OJ and sharing his problems with his parents?It was UNBEARABLE.

Knives! Soul! Cutting!

Woobie!

Happiness makes me weep... what's WITH that?

Thanks for the beta! Will call tonight! ;)
Clari Clyde: Seraphim: Funclari_clyde on November 28th, 2005 05:31 am (UTC)
Over the summer, I went through a Veronica Mars marathon and a lot of things make more sense — especially to see so many episodes in such a short time after seeing the season finale. As for Smallville, sometimes I do wonder what what I would see — prolly a lot of missed chances between them and highlighted more.

As for your reverse reaction, hm. I might cringe when I see Clark be an asshat because I want to expect more of him because of his future but, I really enjoy seeing Lex turning to the darkside if only because it’s a fascinating example of what could have been. I especially like how as Lionel puts it, because Lex can’t change who he is, he is now trying to change how people perceive him. And I suppose Clark will be in the same boat too when he puts on the cape and glasses.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex strollingbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Usually I love rewatching shows I'm a fan of. I like discovering new layers. And there are definitely things I still want to explore in early Smallville - I am sure I will return and rewatch it all properly at some stage.

I too like watching Lex's turn to the darkside. I think I would find it a lot more painful if it hadn't involved him finding personal strength and not putting up with bullshit from people any more. He is empowered so I can live with that and I can be fascinated by the details of his journey. (Also, Lex stole my heart in Season 3 and he won't give it back! I realised that no matter how evil he got, I was always going to be his, although I try really hard not to be partisan when I review the show.)

About changing how others view you versus changing yourself... this is an interesting idea, particularly the idea that Clark will be in the same position one day. It's that sort of intriguing continual paralleling and reflection that makes me engage happily with Season 5 and it's developing plot.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex strollingbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Usually I love rewatching shows I'm a fan of. I like discovering new layers. And there are definitely things I still want to explore in early Smallville - I am sure I will return and rewatch it all properly at some stage.

I too like watching Lex's turn to the darkside. I think I would find it a lot more painful if it hadn't involved him finding personal strength and not putting up with bullshit from people any more. He is empowered so I can live with that and I can be fascinated by the details of his journey. (Also, Lex stole my heart in Season 3 and he won't give it back! I realised that no matter how evil he got, I was always going to be his, although I try really hard not to be partisan when I review the show.)

About changing how others view you versus changing yourself... this is an interesting idea, particularly the idea that Clark will be in the same position one day. It's that sort of intriguing continual paralleling and reflection that makes me engage happily with Season 5 and it's developing plot.
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on November 28th, 2005 08:28 am (UTC)
Regardless of whether it is widely shared in fandom or not, I think your reaction is the one the producers are aiming for, since the whole series arc is supposed to be a tragedy.

But I wonder if your attitude about the past episodes has to do with when you entered the fandom? I know that a perennial discussion topic on Buffy sites has to do with how people's perception of different characters is fundamentally shaped by what season they started watching the show, and I suspect it is the same for Smallville. I mean, at this point an awful lot of the people--Clex fans, anyway--who were here from the beginning have left the fandom, or are in denial that any season after 3 happened, so for them watching the first three seasons isn't tragic, it's reaffirming what they see as the true relationship between Lex & Clark. I think you have to be fully onboard with where the characters are now to have the response you're having.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark dreams dyingbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I don't think the producers were counting on having people tune out halfway through out of denial. And rewatching the early material does make me appreciate what they made - the future echoes are brilliantly crafted.

It's interesting that you bring up Buffy because although I wasn't in Buffy fandom online I was an obsessive viewer who converted a stack of friends to the show. But my opinions about the show and the characters differed a lot from the friends who started watching later. So yes, I agree that peoples' perceptions about the show are shaped by when they start watching. And I am a little uncomfortable with being in the reverse position in Smallville fandom. I remember how I resented those newbie fans and their cheery disregard for my angst about my show!

Personally I'm a sucker for tragedies. I was always there for the journey. So I really wonder what it would have been like if I'd watched from the beginning. Would I still be here? I think I would be, because if I commit to a show I watch until the end (Buffy being no exception, despite the pain it gave me), but I may not have been enjoying it as much as I am now. However, it's a little different with Smallville because the endpoint was *always* clear. Personally I find the path to that endpoint fascinating, even if it is painful. And like it or not, Clark and Lex are more complicated characters now so I find that compelling. It's such a pity that others have left the fandom, but I can understand where that response comes from. It's not an easy emotional journey by any means.
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on November 28th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)
Well, I've been here from the beginning (though mostly in lurker mode), and I'm still hanging on. For me, it's the transition in the fandom, not the show, that has been more painful (I hate when authors I love go on to greener pastures!), and I have felt kind of out of step for a while, since I really didn't get the whole season 4 hate, and I'm really enjoying this season. I'm excited about the influence of new fans who love the show, though!

Becky: clex regretsadface on November 28th, 2005 08:30 am (UTC)
AHA! Welcome to my world!

They were so happy! *crie
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex strollingbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
How did it end up like this!!

I knew you'd understand! I thought 'I'm having a Becky day!'

*cries with you*

The pain! The pain!
is that a fact or a weapon: so I meet Thee with the sworddisprove on November 28th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
I started watching during season four and have the same knives-cutting-into-the-soul type of reaction as you guys. Vids like Weapon and Without You I'm Nothing leave me an absolute MESS after I watch them.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex mysterybop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
Oh YES. I am a MESS after certain vids. Running up that hill always had the power to do that to me. But now it's spreading... just about any early Clex vid gets to me now to a greater or lesser degree.

So you're another late-to-SV viewer! Glad I'm not alone!
BUT HARRY STYLES: CLEX STRANGER by duskwillowestrella30 on November 28th, 2005 11:48 am (UTC)
dude, I dont think it's just you, but I definitely think we, as people who started watching it late, are watching it *differently* than people who watched from the beginning.

But I have to tell you, the other night Heat was on tv, and I started watching it and it was cute and fun! Heat is a great episode. And as soon as it got to the part where Lex thinks Clark tried to pick up Desiree and they fight etc, I swear to god, I muted the tv and played on the computer and didnt turn the volume back on until clark was saving them in Lex's office. Dude, I have *no idea* what our deal is *g*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex weddingbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC)
Hey! Yeah! I've rewatched Heat with great enjoyment not that long ago. I love that ep. But yes, I can so understand you turning the volume down in certain bits. The pain! Ouch!

We are watching it differently... I know that. So maybe I've been a bit complacent recently. I'm all 'oh I can take this! it's not so bad! Season 5? yeah it's great!' So I walked smack bang into the Wall of Pain when I revisited Season 2 last night.

When Lex asks Clark 'you wouldn't be keeping secrets from me would you?' in Rush... oh god that hurt. Because it was just one of the first of a billion times they would have that conversation. And having now seen how it plays out makes the inevitability of the rift more real and immediate in that moment. Erk!

At some stage I will rewatch properly. And there are some eps that won't be so painful. But I think random dipping is dangerous!

So glad I'm not alone! *g*
Becky: futuresadface on November 28th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
I love to ramble about this...

Y'know, I watched it right from the start. Week in, week out. And for season 4? It was hard to keep watching. I think for me it was that I wasn't part of the fandom then, if i'd had 50 people reaffirming that it was crap over and over then I might not have stuck with it.

Season 4 was not good for him, his personality did have drastic shifts and if your watching it as it goes its practically unbearable.

It's unfortunate, because season 5 is actually shaping up pretty well and I think if people were willing to give it another shot it wouldnt be so bad.

And to ramble further...I think it helps that MR is enjoying himself again. Last season he brought virtually nothing, just coasting on.

This year he's putting something in. The Clark/Lex relationship is painful to watch, to be all dramatic? Sometimes I find it physically painful, I have to stop and pause because it breaks my heart over and over and over.

voldything has a vid, accidentally in love, which is pretty much Clark/Lex smiling at each other. It makes me wail like a child. The sad videos get me as well, but its the happy ones that really kill me.

I actually could talk about this all day...
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex be with mebop_radar on November 29th, 2005 08:33 am (UTC)
I could talk for ages about it too...! *g*

I agree Season 4 was a difficult season. It helped a lot to have been warned about it. It meant I had lower expectations and also I watched it faster so it felt more consistent and I didn't have to deal with drawn-out weeks of pain.

I certainly agree that as a Lex-fan, Season 5 is a lot more fun. I know Michael was bored in season 4 and I feel for him. But I did love some of his Season 4 performances - Onyx and the piano-playing in Spell for example. Still, Season 5 is a lot better for him to be able to expend its range.

And I hear you about pausing! You should see how Cat and I watch. We have instigated the 'double viewing' rule. The first viewing we can pause whenever we want to squeal or cry or generally rant or articulate. Sometimes the actors barely get a line out before we pause again! It helps SO much with the emotional processing required ;) Generally the second time round we get a better idea of the flow and overall feeling of the ep - once the shocks are over!!

I don't know if I've seen that vid. I will have to double check. But I'll be careful about when I view it. I cried during her last one!
Enderenderwiggin24 on November 28th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
But what I can't bear is the bittersweet future echoes of Season 1 and 2... they break my heart! They were just *babies*. So young and with no idea of what's to come. Now when I watch vids that have early footage, I cry! Those looks, those hugs, those grins from Clark and that hopeful face from Lex! Ugh! Help! I'm drowning in sorrow!

I saw this, and your comment in the vids com, to Marina's vid....*cries with you*
it hurts really , really bad, seeing them SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO innocent and happy , and then later so fucked up, though I have entered fandom at a much earlier stage than you, I feel the same, strangely S5 does not hurt me much anymore, but everytime I rewatch the older clex vids, I want to weep.........

for happy fics, you can see all my recs here, Sori asked for romance fics, and I think, all those i gave are happy:
http://www.livejournal.com/community/sv_inquiry/92496.html
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex be with mebop_radar on November 28th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you so much, Ender! I was totally moping around LJ all today. Thank you for the happy fic recs - I am going to rely on them for sure! I desperately need something to help with the pain. Because I really do still enjoy watching the show and I even (in theory) like revisting how they used to be... except it's PAINFUL!

I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling this way. The innocence of those early days is just so bittersweet and tragic!
Enderenderwiggin24 on November 28th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
trust me K, somehow, reading happy fics is making me more happy and less weepy than watching happy vids :)

and I am sure, you are not alone, feeling like this, ohhhhhhhhh , bittersweet memories....
Naomi: Clex in city by __paperdreamsfrelling_tralk on November 28th, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
Do not get me started on the ending of Hug. The way Lex looks at Clark like he's the the most adorable boy ever, and says they will have the friendship of legend. Clark just looks at him with that big sappy smile *wails*
Cris: Clex - eyesduskwillow on November 28th, 2005 03:33 pm (UTC)
Oh you just had to mention *that* scene!
*takes out the tissues and dries her eyes* :(
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex be with mebop_radar on November 28th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
Waaaaahhhh!!! Why did you mention that?? The pain! Knives! Soul!

Friendship of Legend. *sobs*
complicatcomplicat on November 28th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)
I've only seen season 1 and 2 all the way through once I think - I've watched favourite scenes and bits in vids but very few (if any) whole episodes. I want to go back and watch again but I'm a little scared to. I started watching in season 3 so I was already prepared for the loss of season 1 innocence then but now we're so much further away from that, it might be too painful to watch. I might wait until it's all over before watching again from the beginning. But by then it might be even more painful...I don't know. I'm worried that I'll never be able to enjoy the season 1 happy Clex again.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex strollingbop_radar on November 28th, 2005 11:27 pm (UTC)
I've watched it all through once and then the best eps of Season 1 and 2 again. I am also scared to do a full rewatch, even though I really want to. Yes, I'm not sure the season 1 happy Clex *will* ever be the same again. I think, like you, I'll wait until it's all over. I imagine it will be a sort of grieving process... it's all worrying and heartsick-making, but there's no way out now! (at least, not for me!)