UPDATED: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 06:49
VIEWED: 1164
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Tuesday, December 23, 2003 7:52 AM


why do we all seem to like the character of river so much? what are your thoughts?

river: "he looks better in red!" to jayne (as santa clause?) merry x-mas to all!


Tuesday, December 23, 2003 7:43 PM


Hmm.. To be honest I can't say that I like River more or less than any of the other characters. I like all nine of the main characters pretty much equally I think. I may understand one of the reasons why so many seem to respond to River. It's a similar reason why so many respond favorably to the mutant characters in the Marvel X-Men franchise. We can empathize with her. Everybody feels they see the world in a way differently from the rest of humanity -- and we do. Each of us look at things from a different vantage point, because I'm the only one who can use my eyes and you're the only one who can use your eyes. So even though the River character's plight is more extreme, we feel we can understand where she's coming from. Also, most everyone understands what it's like to be done wrong by some nameless, faceless entity. Be it a corporation or a government agency or parents or just life in general, it's a common theme.

River triggers in us that sense of being on the outside looking in. Wanting to belong and not understanding why ya can't. Joss Whedon knows about these triggers. He's used it before. We like River for a way similar to why many liked Cassie Newton in the seventh season of Buffy. An outsider wanting to make a difference but feeling helpless.

But Whedon takes things a step farther with River. The writers could have just made River a little crazy and dangerous without any real insight and left it at that, but we can see in episodes like Safe, War Stories and Objects In Space, that River's madness has a method to it. She was being conditioned, redesigned and reprogrammed by the Blue Sun guys. For what purpose is left open to debate, but the odds on favorite is that she's meant to be a weapon of some kind. Probably an assassin. But she's just this little girl.

She's metaphorically a gun that's been left on the floor with the safety off. It's why Blue Sun is so adamant about getting her back. She's not done yet, and in the condition she's in she's unmanageable. But she's also just this little girl. Kaylee says to the group in Objects In Space that the way she shot those people in War Stories was not something normal people can do. Simon asks does this mean River's not a person? Of course it doesn't. But it does mean she's special in a way that they don't fully understand. Or maybe, they understand that she's special but they don't comprehend how she's special.

So she's this dangerous thing, but she's also just a little girl. Maybe that more than anything is why so many respond favorably to her. Ya just wanna reach out and hug the stuffin's outta her. Hug the craziness out.

(sarcasm) Or maybe we all say we like River, because if River finds out we don't like her, she can kill us with her brain. (/sarcasm)

"Always thought you needed a bit more evidence to convict a man than the color of his coat."


Tuesday, December 23, 2003 10:18 PM


i wonder how joss "knows" these characters so well. perhaps personal experience has played a role in character development, collaboration with other writers, etc. i definitely think the empathy/sympathy over river's plight, having been violated with invasive medical procedures, abandoned by her parents, and left in a semi-sane mental state, has helped to river to endear herself to the audience as the prodigal victim. i also think that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! by which i mean that there will be a reckoning once river gets herself straightened out. this is something i'm definitely looking forward to! payback IS a bitch! i think it's likely that the blue gloves are going to recapture the tams to complete the procedure on river, obviously she can only keep taking drugs for so long before building up a tolerance to them. a more permanent solution is probable. i myself think she reflects a part most people have experienced at one time or another, that of being an outsider or of just not fitting into the bounds of normal society. as an aside, i wonder how much research joss did for summer glau's part. she's completely believable in the context of a mentally deranged person! kudos!

as always, a loyal browncoat. (p.s.:zachsmind, i think you're right on target, thanks for you're insight!)


Wednesday, December 24, 2003 4:06 AM


humble- for how Joss knows his characters so well, a thought-

I write a little, so the writer "knows" the characters very well, inside and out. Sometimes they are based on people (That's where handy-dandy disclaimers come in), and sometimes they're just formulated in the brain. For me, I hardly write things down, so each day I add something to the character. That's probably how Joss knows his characters inside and out.

On another note, Zachsmmind is right. We have empathy for her. Most likely teenagers more because they feel like they don't belong, or an outcast. And, as Zach mentioned, that's why X-men is popular, because people have this feeling of alienation.

That's all, Keep flyin', Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

"Freedom is the Freedom to say that 2+2 makes 4. If that is granted, all else follws"-Winston, 1984
Keep flyin', and remember, THEY can't take the sky from US!


Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:49 AM


thanx for your input and perspective on the thread teelabrown.

merry x-mas to all browncoats!






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