A Paen to two FF Relationships
Sunday, May 3, 2009

This is an ode to two unusual relationships: the married Wash + Zoe and the not-exactly-anything (cough), um and Mal. Yeah, if you say so. ehem.

So as I was saying...

Wash: "Not everybody gets me and Zoe at first."

I love that somebody actually showed a loving marriage relationship. On TV. No saccharine, no absurd fits over tiny things.(then again, they live on a spaceship). Joss and co. make characters humanized, not diminished. We're using archetypes here--sometimes I want to aspire to qualities of these characters, not feel better about myself because they're so pathetic. I'll leave that for those "lawyer shows".

And the adultery question is dealt with involving a severed ear and a mock proposition that even blows Jayne's mind. Nice.

The contrasts in their personalities are played up without seeming oddcoupleish.

They just seem so real. Or at the least, very pleasant. I know too pleasant, but hey it's a nice change. And it doesn't seem fakey when he puts an arm around her, or she puts her head on his shoulder.
That's a big plus with most all of the characters--very little fakey allowed. Refreshing.


Inara: "You want me.On your ship."

Firstly, their interactions have so much audience gag to them. The audience is in on the detail of how their attraction is both impossible and inevitable.

It's played with elsewhere(other, inferior shows:)), but it's only shallowly funny there because there's not enough material to keep it going realistically for such a long time. Elsewhere, the ones involved aren't highly complicated people who are kept together and apart for MULTIPLE (and conflicting) reasons: pride, intimacy issues, propriety, custom, culture, stress, upbringing, privacy, physicality, opinionation...

So anyway, we've got such a weird mix of love-hate-restraint-yearing happening that it's quite difficult to know where to stand (or fall over, if you just hit your head like Wash :D). From Mal's perspective, you even have a little of the Petrarchan love conventions thrown in...the cruel mistress without the objectification. But don't tell Mal. He doesn't know. From Inara's standpoint, Mal is so beneath her, but unconciously his qualms get to her as well. Neither of them volunteered to get stuck in space with another volunteer. :)

Actually, I could go on about the other character nice.


Monday, November 16, 2009 1:01 PM


Ah ha! Sneak comment!

Actually, despite my initial joking around there, I agree with you. I only said I hoped Mal wasn't an example of petrarchan conventions because it makes their relationship even more impossible, and because those romances don't usually tend to end well.

Belief in the elevation of unreciprocated love as the truest... Unfortunately, he does seem to agree with that ideal.

Except it's not unreciprocated, Captain Oblivious! Reach out and catch her before you lose her!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:51 PM


I have a sneaking feeling that the draw to Mal+Inara is the same as Romeo+ Juliet--not in the teenage angst sense. I mean the forces decreeing why they should be together and the forces keeping them apart are destined to be in an unresolved struggle. Thus I believe Inara's secret factors in nicely.

Thursday, May 7, 2009 1:05 PM


Thanks, nobc, I'll check into that.

byte: I never got R + J either. But definitely W+Z ftw in writing, anyway.

Monday, May 4, 2009 8:38 PM


Something other fans have commented on: When Wash is doing a tricky bit of flying, Zoe always seems to be there, right behind his chair, supporting him in the most concrete way. A nice bit of Director's choice by Joss-- I doubt if it was obvious enough to have been written in the scripts.

Sunday, May 3, 2009 1:14 PM


Oh, I HOPE Mal isn't petrarchan. I can get my stock of THAT by reading Romeo pining over Rosaline and then utterly fouling up his marriage with Juliet through suicide. Good story, but characters = come ON!

I'm just glad Mal and Inara are both a little more sensible (sometimes) and a little more independent.

Wash and Zoe, I think really the draw is in their contrasts. I think what we're seeing is them actually complementing each other. Very hard sort of relationship to write, I think.


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