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26 December 2010 @ 07:43 pm
Festive facepalming, and Farscape Season 2  
Hope everyone had a safe and relaxing Christmas. Mine was... painful. I underestimated several things:
1. My (decreased!) eating stamina
2. The consequences of eating with a family who eat the whole Christmas meal in 2 hours as opposed to spreading eating it over the whole day (as my mother and I have been in the habit of doing for the last ten years or so)
3. The familial pressure that comes from having to taste everyone's 'specialty'. I distinctly remember staring at that last rum ball that was thrust in front of me with a 'this is my special recipe' blurb, and thinking 'I'm going to live to regret this...'

And oh, yes, I did. I don't think food has ever caused me quite so much physical pain without actually having food POISONING before. :-/ I spent from about 5pm onwards in bed, clutching my stomach and moaning.

Meanwhile, downstairs, my dog, left alone without dinner, decided to forage by breaking into the parcels of mince pies I'd made up for the neighbors... I came down to find the tattered remnants of tissue paper, but not a crumb of the pies left. I think it's karmically terribly unfair that he appears to have suffered NO ill effects whatsoever.

I opted for a quiet day today, as I have to go back to work sooner than most people (tomorrow) though I'm then off the following day for my birthday. Anyway, I was in a hiding-from-the-world mood so I've been mainlining Farscape. Yeah, apologies in advance to long-time fans of the show. I know how weird it is to read the opinions of people who mainline a series late. They always have a really different take on the show, and it can be irritating so I hope I do not annoy. I am very much enjoying the series... just maybe in a different way from other people. :)

It's really weird watching a show that I'm so familiar with from vids and also from just having absorbed it through ads when it was back on television and having seen the odd episode. Everything feels very deja vu ... it's particularly the case (unfortunately?) with jokes. I swear not a single big joke line comes along without me reacting with 'ohhh, *that's* where that comes from'. It means I don't really find anything funny (since I was never going to find jokes about bodily functions funny that rules out the lesser lines). I don't think the lack of humour is proving detrimental to my viewing but it does change it, I guess. I think Crichton suffers a bit because I lose out on finding his lines (and therefore him) amusing. I do find it kind of charming to revisit that 90s humour though, all those old references to Buffy and Melrose and so on. Aww.

So, I am definitely very charmed by the show and I am finding I want to keep watching, but John is driving me NUTS. Like, I want to smack him, kind of nuts. I thought I'd warmed up to him after the glorious 'Can't Go Home Again' episode, but I've just watched the whole marries-a-princess-and-gets-turned-into-a-statue arc, and I just... aaaarrrrggggghhh, why is he so annoying, why can't he leave Aeryn alone and stop giving the girl such a hard time, why is he so smug and supercilious and full of himself?! :( I am hoping he becomes less annoying over time because I was shipping them for a while (they DO have chemistry) but I've now gone OUT of doing so because he's so damn irritating. I still don't really buy that he likes her more than he likes any of the other women he gets it on with, and he's so ... I want to say patronising? ... towards Aeryn and her struggle to express her feelings. Why SHOULD she have to express them? Lord. It's embarrassing. I kind of feel awful for her liking this guy so so very much and he's just sitting back thinking smugly 'yeah, you like me, I'm great, I'm just waiting for you to develop emotionally some more and I'm going to be an ass to you until you do'.


(Just to cap off my irritation with John they had to write him having a daughter and give him that AWFUL line about a child deserving two parents. What a load of crap! That's worth turning yourself into a statue for, is it, John? I wish Aeryn had been there to a) kick you in the jaw (bitchslapping not enough) and b) see how easily you leave her for some ridiculous quest to be 'heroic' and 'manly'. She deserves to know the truth about you. Ugh. And don't give me any emo crap about missing your daughter--she wasn't real to you, she was just a concept, stop being a wanker!)

Ok, ok, I'm done ranting, I just had to get that out of my system.

Thankfully you dont have to be crazy about Crichton to like the show, it seems. :D The characters I like (in order) are:

Aeryn <--no brainer

Moya and PIlot <--I can't really separate them but I do love the individually as well as together. I am particularly interested in their plots and the journey with Moya's offspring, and also their relationships with other crew members, particularly Aeryn but also Zhaan

Zhaan, Chiana and D'Argo <-- probably on an equal level, hard to separate them. Individually I don't think any of them would have the power to make me watch for them alone, but together they make for interesting dynamics to be set up. I like D'Argo a lot more than I would have expected based on what I knew of him before watching (I think I thought he was just a Klingon lite), Chiana I find ok in small doses but I get a bit tired of all that wide-eyed flirtation when an episode focuses on her, Zhaan is probably the most interesting but I don't find her sympathetic--I think that's good though, it keeps me watching.

Crichton <-- for reasons discussed above, To be fair, it's not all his fault. I almost NEVER like main protagonists/heroes. At least Crichton has a lot of crazy stuff happen to him... I just wish it was having more of an impact and making more of a dent in his ego than it is. ;)

Rygel <--I actually do find Rygel amusing sometimes and I like that he is totally who he is and his characterisation is so solid. I felt sorry for him when he talked about no one listening to him at the end of the bodyswap episode. However, most of the time he IS very annoying.

Aeryn is far and away the closest thing to a point of view character I have on the show, largely because she's practical and is irritated with John nearly as often as I am, and is frustrated with herself when she likes him. She's often irritated with the others the same way I am as well. Aeryn definitely IS reason enough to watch the show. I loved her vicious snark at that ridiculous casanova dude that stalked her on the Princess planet and then got them both battered on rocks when they went climbing. Basically she is fabulous and I love her to bits and am keen on her character journey.

But I'm a bit worried that I may have missed the shipper 'boat'? Is it too late for me if I am not into them yet? Or rather I was into them but Crichton threw me out again? Will this deter my enjoyment? I've always kind of gathered that liking Aeryn/Crichton was important to overall liking of the show... but I could be wrong! Should I go back to the beginning and try to see this liking-of-Aeryn-from-the-beginning that other people see in John that I missed? Sell me on him! I want to ship! I just need him to level up a bit! (whereas the show is evidently running with the idea that it's Aeryn that needs to change)

This entry was originally posted at http://bop-radar.dreamwidth.org/231707.html. comment count unavailable comments Comment here or there, as you will.
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
amathela on December 26th, 2010 10:09 am (UTC)
1) I don't think shipping John/Aeryn is necessary to enjoy the show (though I do, hardcore; I know a few people for whom it's mostly background noise, but not a lot who actually hate the ship, so I don't know?). Not liking John is probably a bigger barrier, but he does grow and change a lot throughout the series.

2) I don't think it's too late if you do want to ship them (and I totally understand that! I always get frustrated when a ship just doesn't work for me, especially if it impacts my enjoyment of a show). You could try going back to the beginning, but I'd maybe suggest continuing on - their dynamic is fairly different in each season, so if the season one/two dynamic doesn't work for you, it's possible that season three or four might.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee concentratingbop_radar on December 26th, 2010 11:12 am (UTC)
Oh, that's reassuring! I figure liking Aeryn is probably the most important thing, right? :)

I've had my moments with John where I've liked him, so it could change again. Here's hoping. I do tend to find it hard to ship when the one with stronger feelings in a het couple is the woman--for all Aeryn's strong exterior it's clear who has the strongest feelings and the most to lose. If Crichton stood to lose something himself, if something was at stake for him in the relationship, I would probably be more into it. Or, hee, knowing me, if Aeryn was just *less into him*, that would probably work too. *facepalm*
amathela on December 26th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
Liking Aeryn is definitely the most important thing!

I do tend to find it hard to ship when the one with stronger feelings in a het couple is the woman

Me too! I always read John as being pretty strongly into Aeryn, and that's definitely the case as the series goes on - by the end of the series, they're both *very* much into each other, though I did find season four problematic in parts.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee smilebop_radar on December 26th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
Oh good. I could use John getting more into her. I think I'm frustrated because I thought he HAD had his lightbulb moment with her and then he went and whored around on that planet, so apparently not. :(( Less whoring, more Aeryn-worshipping, please John!!
laurashapiro on December 27th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
::butting in::
I read John as madly in love with Aeryn almost from the first moment. But I don't have a problem with him having sex with wossname in Look at the Princess at all.

Aeryn has basically said "fuck off" repeatedly throughout LATP at that point, and no matter how much he wants her, he's taking her at her word: no means no. So why not have sex with someone else? I don't see the problem.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on December 28th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
Re: ::butting in::
Yeah, wow, that's so interesting, because I do read it so incredibly differently--it's like you're describing a completely different relationship. To me, Aeryn was clearly the one madly in love with John from the word go. John was physically attracted but emotionally indifferent and has continually been equally attracted to other women as well. I don't begrudge him that--that's fine--but then he and Aeryn got together and he acted like they were a couple, he pushed her to tell him she was in love with him even though he's known that since day 1, and yet he hasn't even stated his own feelings overtly! Then he acts like he's got a chip on his shoulder about Aeryn not doing so--that didn't seem fair to me. And if you want someone to commit to you, sleeping with other people is not typically a great way to achieve it... yet he was prepared to taunt her with 'isn't there something that should be said' when he was going to get married. I guess I just think John sees Aeryn as a sure thing, she's on his ship, she's attractive, ergo it would be convenient if she'd sleep with him regularly. He's shown he's equally interested in Chiana, just she's with D'Argo. So basically I view John as an opportunist. And that's fine, but I just think Aeryn is very different--she's a lot more emotionally committed to one person and I think she knows that's leaving her very vulnerable and so I see her doing what she can to protect herself, which is not go too far with John because she could lose herself/her control completely.

I guess I don't think John should have it both ways in terms of 'no means no'. Despite Aeryn's protestations he's insisted she feels something for him when he wants to be with her... yet he also uses it as an excuse to sleep with other people? Seems a bit two-faced. Human, yes, but frustrating.

I do really wish I saw things your way though. :( It sounds so different! And much more enjoyable!!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on December 28th, 2010 06:50 am (UTC)
Re: ::butting in::
PS. I do think part of my frustration is just extreme protectiveness of Aeryn and wanting the best for her, and thinking about the impact his behaviour will have on her. I've been waiting to see John get more interested, but evidently it's meant to be there from the beginning, I'm just not picking up on it.
laurashapiro on December 28th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Re: ::butting in::
No wonder you don't like John, seeing him that way! Your reading is so completely dissimilar to mine that I'm actually having a little cognitive dissonance here. :O

I am amazed, for example, that you see him as being equally interested in Chiana. I see some attraction, but mostly from the other direction -- Chiana is attracted to John. But it's more of a crush than anything, I think. As the series goes on their relationship is much more big brother-little sister. At this point in the story I think he feels that she's sexy but he's not at all romantically attracted to her -- not anything like what he feels for Aeryn.

John sees Aeryn as a sure thing??? I boggle.

Oh well, no law says we've gotta see it the same way. (:
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee concentratingbop_radar on December 28th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Re: ::butting in::
Yes, I have massive cognitive dissonance when you or others describe the relationship. I don't know... no, I don't mind having a different reading, but in my case, my reading is LESS FUN! :p Clearly I'm in the minority too... my best guess is that I:
a) don't read whatever it is John does to show romantic interest in someone as romantic interest, its nuances wherever they are must be invisible to me
b) maybe the me not getting the humour thing is working against him? I read a lot of his lines as cocky and egocentric and therefore I almost never feel he's emotionally vulnerable in conversation with Aeryn. He seems more like he's messing with her deliberately. But maybe if I read him as using humour to cover up some (unseen to me) vulnerability I'd feel differently?

I'm clutching at straws!
laurashapiro on December 28th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Re: ::butting in::
I guess there's something about Ben Browder's acting that you're not picking up on, yeah. Because some of his vulnerability is conveyed in the dialogue, but most of it is in his body language, facial expressions, and voice. I'd argue his actions are a big indicator of what he feels, too.

I want to watch the episodes *with* you so I can point stuff out!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois runbop_radar on December 29th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Re: ::butting in::
Yes, that would be helpful!! I shall have to imagine you at my shoulder pointing things out. I just watched the episode where they aged randomly in the mist cloud, and it was very sweet but once again I felt like Aeryn got the short straw... John says he knows she carries his image around and she looks him in the eye and tells him it's the image of the love of her life and invites him to open it. But he only says 'I love you' once she dies. Ouch! I have to hope he told her that while she was alive too. It's very easy for me to see Aeryn's love pouring out of her and has been from day 1, so maybe it's hard for me to understand how John can't see it (as you suggest?), especially when even dialogue like that about the locket ('you know what I think? I don't think it's your husband, I think it's me') suggests he does know very well.

I can be pretty dense reading some guys! I have the same problem often with Smallville's Clark and his feelings for Lois. I don't see what apparently is there for others. I'll just keep reminding myself that there's an invisible-to-me current going on as well.
Becka: john & aerynbeccatoria on December 26th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
Aeryn was definitely always my point of view character and I rolled my eyes so hard at the Jenavian thing. I have a vague memory that his Kirking it up with her might actually have been something they added due to network pressure, or certainly at the last minute, but it's been years now and that might just be me wishing that were so. It's kind of hard to explain exactly what's going on with John without spoilers right now (though you probably have a general idea from fannish osmosis), and doesn't actually effect the eyerolly sleeping with the woman in these episodes in any way, but does, retrospectively, throw some interesting light on parts of his characterisation during this point in time.

Basically the general trajectory of that ship is John getting more and more amazed by/obsessed with/codependent on Aeryn, which works in various ways at various points. My memories of the show (which aren't 100% fresh and are also skewed by my take on the show which is slightly different to yours) are that you'll probably appreciate the direction the relationship takes more in S3, and then I...have no idea about S4 because it splits fandom down the middle. Personally I hated it at the time then got to the halfway reveal point and went OMFG THAT ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE, but I've heard good arguments on the other side that it doesn't actually make sense, and (in my opinion not so good) arguments about how it made sense before the twist at all. Bascially S4 is a bit of a weird one. Good luck with it... ;)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Matt/Aleshabop_radar on December 26th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I did not like the Kirking, no. :((

the general trajectory of that ship is John getting more and more amazed by/obsessed with/codependent on Aeryn,
OH GOOD, THANK GOD. Because in my eyes he's got a long way to go in that regard. I hope Aeryn doesn't suffer too badly along the way, I really felt sad for her in the last few eps.
devohoneybeedevohoneybee on December 26th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
I would say the show is a HUGE roller coaster ride with twists and turns that most def put the characters through changes. In other words, just keep on at this point. I didn't actually fall in love with the series until probably the 3rd season, then went back and re-watched 1 and 2.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Batgirlbop_radar on December 26th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Perhaps I'll fall in love with John in season 3! I am definitely in love with the show already, or at least very fond of it.
(no subject) - amnisias on December 26th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on December 26th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yes! I am into John as a CONCEPT! It is definitely amusing to see his US/human arrogance play itself out. I found I had MASSIVE sympathy for him in the 'can't go home again' episode but I think I sort of expected to see his behaviour change more after that arc? And then it didn't really. Especially in the last few episodes he's just acted like a school kid on an outing. I can see what you mean though about how his presumptions of superiority can be endearing when they're so totally off base... he and Rygel are two of a kind there :p. Come to think of it I'm fine with John on his own. I just find his superiority offensive vis a vis Aeryn.

I'm kind of glad to hear you didn't view it as completely OTP-ish until season 3. I don't mind them larking around like puppies and not being that serious at this stage, I was more worried by John pushing Aeryn to be more committed / express her feelings and then whoring around himself.

And yeah, I'm really into the OTHER stuff. Basically anything with Moya and Pilot and/or Aeryn pleases me greatly.
Becka: john blood farscapebeccatoria on December 26th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
Especially in the last few episodes he's just acted like a school kid on an outing.

Interesting way of looking at it. I can't remember if I ever shared your take on him, but basically you're...pretty much exactly right except that I think the reason he's acting that way is that, well, he does change after that. He realises he can't ever go home again and begins doing things like dressing in PK uniforms and being more aggressive and carrying a gun and shooting things and acting crazy a lot of the time. Which on the one hand is macho, jerkish bullshit. On the other it's the psychological crutch he's using not to totally fall apart, which I'd agree is an interpretation that's generous without textual support, but as the series continues, the text starts supporting this reading in massive, explicit ways?

Basically I'll be interested to hear what you make of his behaviour after episode...I think it's 2x15 or 16? It's called "Won't Get Fooled Again," and is to S2 as "A Human Reaction" is to S1.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Damen bearbop_radar on December 27th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, he's already dressing in PK uniforms and being a dick. :p I did think a couple of episodes ago that he was actually losing his mind. I would be ok with him doing so, as I think that would be massively fun to watch. But I'm just not SO sure I want Aeryn to be in love with a madman. ;)
Becka: john blood farscapebeccatoria on December 27th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, the uniform thing was something that initially passed me right by, because John changes massively from the start of the series to the end. I saw you were concerned about John not changing, and only Aeryn changing, so, while it's not always framed as changing for Aeryn (although there is an entire episode basically about how what he wants for his life with her is never going to happen the white-picket-fence way he wants it), he really does change a lot, it's just the show has this tendency not to hang lanterns on things it does until later, and then I'm suddenly left going WAIT THAT WAS ON PURPOSE OH. And the "cooler" look and gun-toting tendencies of S2 is an example of that, I think.

So, I do have to say that I never really got the whole "smug: she'll come around!" attitude you see; I always saw him as more self-deprecating and ironic in his "humans are awesome!" attitude, I do think that the way the show goes from here on out will work better for you, even if you never really come to love the guy?

Also, one day, when you've finished season two, you MUST post to tell us all so that I can make you come back and reread various parts of the comments to this post so that you can appreciate out incredible restraint in not yelling about certain things that you have yet to experience. :p
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois red umbrellabop_radar on December 27th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
Haha, ok, deal! Thanks for not spoiling, I'm definitely not a fan of spoilers. ;) Even though I do have more awareness than usual going into this show of things that may happen later (or at least visuals!).

I wish I did see John as self-deprecating, because I'd like him a whole lot more then. That's what makes me think I need to reboot my viewing and squint in a different way. I guess I can always try rebooting once I've seen it all? IDK.
(no subject) - amnisias on December 26th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Faith smugbop_radar on December 27th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
I just assume that most het relationships work on the basis that the guys think they're God's gift to women,
Hahaha, yeah they probably do, but I don't LIKE those ships! :) I'm more in the Girl is Awesome and Guy Defers to Her school of het shipping. ;)

I do at the moment get the vibe that the show condones John's attitude about Aeryn but I'll be very happy if that shifts, and it seems it might over time.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara destinybop_radar on December 27th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Oh, good! Thanks for reassurance! I do worry though since other people don't seem to read him the way I do... he has this way of looking at Aeryn that to me reads as if he's just playing a long game with her and he knows she'll love him eventually. I do not like it! :( But clearly no one else reads it that way so I don't know what is with my brain!
Naomi: Farscape Ben and Claudia post-showfrelling_tralk on December 27th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
I think the show was a little too into making John into a Captain Kirk figure at times with so many different women falling for him and flirting with him. It felt a bit ridiculous that this supposedly inferior human species is attracting so many people

In the episodes at the end of season 1 he was originally supposed to be sleeping with Gilina actually, and Ben thankfully spoke up to say yeah there's no way that's gonna happen when my character is supposed to be trying to save Aeryn! And Claudia Black has also spoken of how John generally had a lot more other flirtations than Aeryn did, and she's guessing that's because most of the writing staff were male.

Your irritation with John is similar to the way I feel about Zhann. The majority of fandom just love her, but I find her so smug and grating that her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me *g*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Dead Like Mebop_radar on December 27th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm eyerolling all over the place, and god, they wanted him to Kirk it up MORE?! Yikes! I shouldn't be surprised though... it's typical network material. It is very noticeable how many more flirtations John has than Aeryn.

The majority of fandom just love her, but I find her so smug and grating that her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me
OMG, you are kidding?!! I thought the whole point of her character was hypocrisy?! Like, the smugness was intentional. I thought we were meant to find her smug. As I said, I don't find her sympathetic but I do find her interesting--the whole thing with being a priest is quite fascinating because she seems to display the most violent emotional swings of any of them. Yet, she is sometimes the voice of reason. Basically, I find her interesting because although supposedly 'enlightened' she's as flawed and unlikeable as the others. Viewed that way, I do find her plots interesting.

Ah, fandom, never ceasing to surprise me!
The First Evil: Farscape - J&A Sweet - Captjamiewayasta77 on December 27th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
As others have said, it's very hard to comment without spoiling you. One thing the show does that can be frustrating, yet at the same time awesome, is to reveal things far down the road which will lead to numerous, "Oh, now I see!" moments. Which leads me to believe that while you may never love John, you will like him much more as the series progresses. Even his desire to be a father to a daughter-in-theory (and believing it's important for her to have a father) will be clearer.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya Raibop_radar on December 27th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
I am very appreciative of everyone's restraint. I have watched a couple more eps so I gather I wasn't far off base with one of my theories a couple of eps ago vis a vis John's mental equilibrium. ;) Not quite sure that excuses the whoring though! I do hope people are right about liking him more soon! :)