The Firefly Love
Monday, February 11, 2008

Today, on the IMDb Boards, I saw peeps were asking about what is so special about Firefly. Well, I resolved to be bold, and told em. :) I gathered several parts of some earlier posts I made here and compiled the total package. Since it's pretty much a re-run, far as this community is concerned, it seemed inappropriate to just pester folks with it on a regular thread. But I figured, for my own blog, it might actually be a cute idea to have it spelled out once, all put together, why I love Firefly so much. I reckon it never hurts to shine the Firefly Light as far and wide as civilization will take it. :)

Okay, it's all air through the engine now, as the show is over, but since peeps asked, I will try and explain why Firefly is so great.

Everything, in the narrow sense, revolves around saving River; and, in the broader sense, about folks who do for each other and ain't always looking for the advantage. Set against a juxtapositioned Alliance, Serenity and crew, in a manner of speaking, are their own little flying micro-kosmos, Man's last best hope for, erm, hope.

Firefly is probably the greatest love story ever told! Recall with me, if you will, Hamlet's feigned love for Ophelia at her funeral: "I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum." No; then take Simon Tam! The boy spent his entire fortune developing the contacts to infiltrate a secret military facility to free his beloved "mei-mei" (a Chinese term of endearment; it means "little sister"). Gave up a brilliant future in medicine as well.

"Have you looked at this scan carefully, Doctor? At his face. It's love, in point of fact."

To me, the whole River persona, and her innocence, and a whole crew recognizing that innocence, and willing to protect it, is a huge part of why I love Firefly so much. Let's say, for the limited scope of this post, that there are only two loves: love, and the stuff surrounding making love. I think the magic which is Firefly is seated in being the opposite of pretty much everything else in Hollywood: it's about love, and not the making love. The former is about having deep, tender, ineffable feelings of affection for people, and letting those feelings be real enough to do right by your teenage crew member, even if you don't figure the percentage. Or even if it costs you. Haven. Mal, mostly to himself,

"I had an out. Hell, I had every reason in the 'Verse to leave her lay and haul anchor."

Upon which Book utters the truest words ever offered a human soul in this crap-hill 'Verse:

"It's not your way, Mal."

Mal chooses not to abandon River. Jayne's question was most poignant: "In earnest, Mal, why'd you bring her back on?" A man learns all the details of a situation like River's, well then he has a choice. But Mal would say, "I don't believe he does." That's Firefly.

The Firefly love is a most elusive and precious quality, though. So elusive even, I've argued on occasion, that it escapes many. Seriously. I've personally witnessed folks who were totally awestruck by Firefly, yet unable to express why. The essence of real love, captured so brilliantly in Firefly, is so rare, that while it may vibrantly resonate with the core of people's soul, often, on a more conscious level, the WHY of their excitement eludes them. They just know they love it. And want more! The opposite is true, too: if you don't 'get' the Firefly love, it will probably just look like a silly "cowboys in space" thingy to you. Your loss.

So, you ask, is it all about sacrifice then? Only on a very superficial level, I'd say. River:

"You gave up everything to find me, and you found me broken. It's hard for you. You gave up everything you had."

Beautiful, for sure. But Simon has glanced at Love Bare! His answer is as perplexing as it awesome:

"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here."

Tell me you didn't cry! This is why I fell in love with Firefly: because of the story arc between Simon and River (and all the expanse in-between, so effortlessly covered by selfless love). That is what Firefly does to me. It electrifies my humanity. It makes me want to give love; it makes me want to be Simon, and reach out, all across the universe, to my beloved River -- and all she stands for. FireFly's whole premisse touches me deep within, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, as (the) Book would say. In identifying with Simon, to paraphrase another well-known book, I can pile upon River the sum of all the general love and hope felt by my whole race from Adam down! That, in a nutshell, is why I am in love with Firefly!


Monday, February 11, 2008 3:39 PM


I agree with most everything you said, but it might have more weight if all of your quotes were from the series instead of so many from the BDM.

Monday, February 11, 2008 10:24 AM


Very well put. I agree, Firefly is unlike anything I have seen on TV before or since. Nothing has stuck with me the way it did.


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