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06 August 2005 @ 10:25 pm
SGA: "Duet"  

Hopped up on ginger cookies, I finally get around to having something to say.

I liked a lot of "Duet." Maybe two-thirds.

David Hewlett can alter emotional facets on a dime. He can do shtick and slapstick; he can do angst. I wish they wouldn't write him so broadly, because he can be incredibly, beautifully subtle and hilarious at the same time. But that kind of shticky characterization is a consistent issue I have with both SG shows. It could also be him, at some times, acting up and over the top through sheer enthusiasm--he's probably a great stage actor, very physical. As a medium, TV makes the most of his facial facility though, and that's also a good thing.

Some people have mentioned the exaggerated female impersonation. As miriam_heddy said: "Dear David: I love you, really, but a woman isn't the same thing as a gay man camping it up." I'm trying to fanwank it by telling myself that Cadman wasn't used to running a guy from the inside. It was kind of like a take on "Victor/Victoria"--a woman pretending to be a man but trying to act like a woman. Maybe she kept slipping into theatricality because she was existentially anxious and trying to maintain herself as a distinct person, and not a male one. She keeps wanting to say, "I'm in here!" It was probably eating at her even before she became aware of slipping away. It may also be why she kept acting out obnoxiously. She needed a foothold. She seemed reckless with Rodney, but there might have been underlying desperation we didn't see.

Obviously I'm trying very hard here.

I squirmed through most of the date, though the moment when Rodney trails off and says "I forgot what I was going to say"--that was the best thing ever. So cute.

Someone else commented on how vicious he was at some points during the ep, and I saw that too. It was startling. Cautiously, right now, I like it, but the extremes they are willing to take his character to don't balance out right now. One scene he's a clown, and then he's suddenly like a possessed Jack Torrance from "The Shining." There was a sharp edge of something like misogyny in him at times, which wasn't attractive. It might be explained by insecurity about sexual orientation. I'm not even putting on slash goggles to get that--I think it's a credible read if you're looking for a subtext to explain his extreme reactions. His outburst just prior to his seizure was scary; so were the early scenes when everyone half-suspected he was going mad.

I did like that suspected madness didn't become a huge subplot--you've got a transporter accident and a brilliant scientist known for his reliability. How long are you going to diddle around and doubt him? Not long.

Or Ronan. Googling to determine which is right just leaves me confused. He continues to be hot and I continue to imagine him with Rodney. I'm a disturbed person. His voice is guh-worthy and he is just beautiful. His apparent unfamiliarity with utensils was intensely stupid though. He clearly has a background that's technological and civilized. Even if he's been roughing it for seven years, what are the odds he doesn't recognize cutlery?

Dude. I have never seen such a blatant man-crush. Is Ronon his new Christmas puppy or his new fuckbuddy? It was pretty adorable. And just look at these screencaps from thegrrrl2002. Gay. Gay. Gay. Even if only for thirty seconds while he's checking out Ronon's ass.

That conversation with Ronon was lame. Why did she interrupt his work-out and talk to him in front of military personnel? She should have invited him for coffee. It's probably not that she was short on time, but that the writers were. Even at its best TV is full of absurd plot shortcuts. And yet, how hard would it have been to just put that quick scene in the cafeteria or her office? It could even have been funnier if she'd invited him in and her attempts at conversation had so utterly failed that he left ninety seconds later.

She didn't have a lot to do, and like everyone else I'm all WTF? when it comes to Ronon walking in on her. What if she'd been having some solitary fun? Maybe she just does that in the shower. Maybe given her background, she's used to a more communal environment where people run in and out of each other's space and there are no locked doors. It was interesting that they left the door open and just sat there talking with the guards watching as if her room was a public lounge.

The only way the door opening like that makes sense, though, is if she'd forgotten to set some kind of lock and it was primed to open for visitors, or if Ronon has the ATA gene and it reacted to his will.

ETA: I forgot to add one thing that really bugged me, which was the set for the dinner date. I'm guessing that was supposed to be Katie's quarters. So, aren't they supposed to be in another galaxy, with very limited supplies? Or is that fanon? I need to go back and double-check, but I'm pretty sure that there's, like, a dinner table there, and candles and other furnishings, and she's making salads and stuff. And it worries me, as a trend--it's as if the set designers get bored and are quick to abandon any attempt at realism in favor of bright, comfy, generically pleasing sets. It's a very Trekkish thing to do. Meh.

spikedluv always transcribes great quotes from SG-1 and SGA. Spoilers inherent in that, of course. I haven't seen last night's SG-1 yet, but the quotes tickle me.
Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha: Doeelethe on August 7th, 2005 07:49 am (UTC)
They are in contact with earth now - so more supplies. She is also a botanist and so likely to know how to grow her own vegetables.
jessant on August 7th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
yeah, the whole contact with earth thing is really starting to bug me, where's the tension of living with barely what you need to survive...i think i just like angst though! and (Spoiler for SG1) Landry said that they were devoting more time and money to the Atlantis mission than to SG1, so i think they'll probably be more comfortable now.

zvi LikesTV: television criticzvi_likes_tv on August 7th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC)
re: Ronan and utensils
I prefer to think that he just didn't know there were utensils wrapped up inside the napkin, and he was only going to use the napkin to wipe his hand after he finished eating. That's my fanwank and I'm sticking to it.

Re: Rodney and misogyny: Is that misogyny or just Rodney's continuing misanthropy? Rodney doesn't like people in the general case. He likes specific individuals. Sometimes. When they're not too stupid or annoying. Cadmon interrupted at times when it was foolish and was smugly superior about her social interaction skills, one of those areas Rodney a) knows he's weak, and b) actually wanted to use in the context.
Anna S.: sam-carter-capeliade on August 7th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Ronan and utensils
I prefer to think that he just didn't know there were utensils wrapped up inside the napkin, and he was only going to use the napkin to wipe his hand after he finished eating. That's my fanwank and I'm sticking to it.

I give you a 10 for effort. *g*

Is that misogyny or just Rodney's continuing misanthropy?

He seemed to have woman-specific issues. But it's hard to say without seeing how he might have reacted to someone else inside him. And the situation is so unusual that, really, any extreme reaction seems excusable. I'm not entirely sure of my impression. And I love Rodney! So I will tend to dismiss a few moments of faint unease (mine, I mean).
tafkarfanfic: SGA: Woobie - McKaytafkarfanfic on August 7th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Ronan and utensils
There was a sharp edge of something like misogyny in him at times, which wasn't attractive.

Well, DH has said in interviews that he thinks McKay is a misogynist.

It is fascinating to me to read what the fans think about McKay, and to read interviews with DH where he talks about what *he* thinks McKay's deal is, because I find they're sometimes at odds.
fanaddictfanaddict on August 7th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
Regarding DH's hands on the hips swish... He's such a great actor with his voice/facial expressions that I'd like to have seen him pull it off that way, because he totally could have. Having said that, as someone caring for a 4 week old infant and getting about 4 hours of interrupted sleep at night, I was kind of grateful for the OTT visual cue that every time told me who was in control. So my guess was that TPTB wanted some less than subtle cue for stupid viewers like me. It's annoying to people used to reading subtextual cues (and I'd be interested in hearing how non-fannish, non-subtext readers viewed that aspect, because I'll bet it didn't bother them as much) because it was a bright flashing neon sign and we're used to subtle lighting. Just a thought...

I didn't get a sense of misogyny from McKay particularly (though note my lack of sleep again here). I get much more a sense of just pure irritation when people are in his way, Cadman had his body and that wasn't acceptable. It was a larger reaction to him telling "Air Girl" (everyone kept saying he said "Hair Girl" but I'm pretty sure he was referring to her military aspect than hair length) to get out of his way when he wanted her computer/desktop area in the ep Intruder. That both are women is less important than that they were in his way. He treated Zalenka badly as well (although watching it after reading a couple of reviews saying he was cruel, I thought he was being bitchy because Zalenka had unintentionally stuck Cadmen in his head, and that it wasn't OOC at all - and it wasn't cruelty (which I define as an intention to hurt because it makes the person feel good) so much as irritation and displacement of his own unhappy situation. Not nice certainly, but not cruel.

I did like that suspected madness didn't become a huge subplot

I was thrilled by this. Too often the transporter incident gets played for cheap laughs as everyone thinks the main character is going nuts. Except, if they think the person is that close to losing it already, why would s/he have such an important role in the first place? Eh, that always bugs me. So I was very happy they got it out of the way immediately and moved on.

Gay. Gay. Gay. Even if only for thirty seconds while he's checking out Ronon's ass.

Have we ever seen that male torso in the practice room before? Did PdL actually add a male torso for Sheppard to hang off of provocatively while checking out the big buff new guy??
Sandysp23 on August 8th, 2005 10:39 pm (UTC)
While I think there is an element of misogyny in McKay's makeup, I think also that a large part of it is because he really doesn't know women. Sure there are plenty of women scientists, but I have a feeling that McKay is a guy that has never felt comfortable around women, has probably never really been friends with one, and uses a certain disdain around them to keep them at arm's length. I don't think he had a comfortable relationship with his mother, and I think women scare him to death. Perhaps this experience with Cadman will help rectify that somewhat. I loved the little smile he and Cadman shared at the end of the episode.

I also firmly believe that McKay is homosexual. I'm just not sure if he realizes that. :)

But I certainly think that it was understandable the way he went off on Cadman, especially when he was trying to work with Zelenka to figure a way out of the dilemma he found himself in with Cadman and she, oh so stupidly, kept interrupting. I'd have told her to shut the fuck up too. Really, her behavior wasn't above reproach either. She took over his body and then impersonated him just to finagle a date with Carson. Then she stripped him naked probably knowing that that would upset and embarrass him. They were both equally freaked and equally badly behaved.,

The dinner party was, I think, a very telling look into McKay. Sure it was played for laughs, but what kind of misfit doesn't know the first thing about social dining at the age of 37? I think he's kept himself relatively isolated, knowing everything and more about his profession, but being a total social outcast. I'm sure the Atlantis people are the first surrogate family he's ever had.

I also think a lot of his reaction was because he didn't have total control of the situation. McKay's a bit of a control freak, and he's been in situations beyond his control a lot over the past year. A little freaking out is to be expected, I think.

All in all, I really loved this episode. One of my very favorites, so far.

And please, yes Sheppard may be checking out Ronon's ass, but he still loves Rodney the best. Didn't you see the way he was freaked knowing he couldn't visit Rodney's quarters while Cadman was in residence? ;P

I now return control of your live journal to you. *g*