OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

Rewriting Shindig

POSTED BY: DMI
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 02:25
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 7873
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Monday, January 26, 2009 9:07 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


I want to start out by saying that I love Firefly and Serenity and I'm a huge Browncoat. I don't want it to seem as though I'm nit-picking simply because we've only got a few episodes and I know I tend to watch them over and over again. If anything I think that attests to the quality of this show. However, with that said, I have always felt a little weird about the episode "Shindig." I like it well enough and even though it is different from other episodes what with the ball and the sword fight and all, something never sat right with me.

As a watched it with my girlfriend recently, both of us are creative writing majors at FSU and, we started talking about it and I think I figured it out. The problems, no offense to Espenson whose obviously made it farther in the industry than I have, are in the writing.

I typed this all up and it was way too long so this is me condensing it.

Problems with Shindig:
1)Subplot between Capt and Kaylee isn't sufficiently resolved with him buying her a dress and afterward is just dropped
2)Sir Warrick and the old man who comes to Kaylee's rescue are very similar characters that crowd the set
3)The two above reasons along with a scattering of scenes about what the crew is doing back home make the plot seem scattered
4)(This one is just a minor hole) The Captain wouldn't walk away from making a deal with Warrick to dance with Inara and piss off her date. The job always comes first with him.

I think I have a solution that would make the entire episode flow better, tightening the narrative and strengthen the Kaylee subplot.
1) The capt insults Kaylee in a way that not only implies she can't dress up fancy but that her job is only as a mechanic and isn't a real part of the business.
2)Combine Sir Warrick and the old man into one character. They blend together a little already because they both have a mild distaste for the snooty super-rich around them, but the old man is more likable because he saves Kaylee and has better lines. This way Kaylee is the one who actually makes the contact for the deal and is playing a crucial role in the business while Mal is off goofing around with Inara. Plus (and Espenson couldn't have known this) the old man just came off as a stronger and better character than the fat guy with the sash. This would also plug the plot hole of number four listed above because Mal wouldn't be abandoning his work.

I think this would do it without having to cut any of the great scenes back at Firefly, particularly River interacting with Badger and the post-sex scene between Wash and Zoey. Thats all great classic stuff and if something had to be cut or shortened, I'd vote for the poker game.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Monday, January 26, 2009 9:38 AM

AGENTROUKA


I dunno. If I were to rewrite that episode, my first concern would be Cardboard!Ath. Now that was some unimaginative writing.

Instead of making him plain stupid-bad, I'd let him stay charming, intelligent and sort of interesting. His conflict with Mal could be more involved, instead of Ath insulting Inara, maybe he guesses that Mal doesn't really belong at that party, Mal insults Ath because he's rich and Alliance, Ath insults the Independents because he lost family in the war, Mal hits him, Inara is in the middle of the mess and - tadaa, duel without a cardboard character.

If Ath isn't a completely moronic villain during the duel, it would give additional depth to Inara distracting him to save Mal. And instead of hurling insults at Inara, Ath could prophesy that a browncoat like Mal would only end up hurting her - a foreshadowing to HOG.

Just... something better than they gave us there.

Quote:

1) The capt insults Kaylee in a way that not only implies she can't dress up fancy but that her job is only as a mechanic and isn't a real part of the business.


But her being the mechanic is her part of the business. Where is the separation and how would it be an insult? Kaylee isn't really involved in the shady dealings aspect, she keeps Serenity running or assists with technical things.
And it would be strange to make Kaylee the contact for the job with Warrick, when they are only at the party because Badger thinks Mal would blend in there.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 9:50 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Yea, Ath was a lame villian but I blame that in part on the guys acting. My point with Kaylee being the contact is that it sort of happens on accident. The old guy still comes to her rescue it just so happens he's the guy they're there to meet. What I was trying to do with that was cut unnecessary characters. As for Kaylee only being a mechanic, it seems to me that one of the points of the first season was that slowly everyone gets more involved in the business. Simon impersonates a buyer when they get to Canton, Inara helps dupe Yosafbrig in "Trash" and wants to help sell the stolen goods later on and even gets the crew a job in HOG, Book helps with the cattle and to bust out Mal from Niska and by the movie River is helping out with jobs.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:03 AM

JOSSISAGOD


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
The old guy still comes to her rescue it just so happens he's the guy they're there to meet.



I REALLY hate to point this out, but, the guy that saves kaylee from Banning, isn't Harrow, Harrow's rounder, the older gentleman that saves kaylee looks like he's a sack of skin filled with bones.

no reponse required,

Fe'nos Tol
JOSSIS(Most Definitely)AGOD
Self appointed Forsaken! Been on the list for a while now!
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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:10 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by jossisagod:
Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
The old guy still comes to her rescue it just so happens he's the guy they're there to meet.



I REALLY hate to point this out, but, the guy that saves kaylee from Banning, isn't Harrow, Harrow's rounder, the older gentleman that saves kaylee looks like he's a sack of skin filled with bones.




You are so brilliant I could cry.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:23 AM

BYTEMITE


*Cough*

I think that was kind of DMI's point, there doesn't need to be two gentlemen.

And I agree, somewhat, combining them would make a stronger minor character and make it easier to follow, rather than the two things happening at the same time... Although one of the "aw, adorable!" parts of the episode is Kaylee with all the boys gathered around her to hear her mechanical know-how. And I'm not sure how the duel challenge punching business could occur with her stealing the scene that way. I would choose to keep both in the episode, which kind of necessitates two gentlemen. Unless you were to somehow work everything in to one conversation.

But I do definitely agree with Mal going off to dance with Inara and snubbing both Atherton and Harrow. The dance should probably happen before he makes the contact. Then when Inara and Atherton go to greet Harrow, and Mal's there, it's social obligation (and possibly spite on Atherton's part) until civility jumps out the window.

And Atherton IS kind of one-dimensional...

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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:56 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Thanks bytemite.

I think you could keep Kaylee talking to the boys in the episode and still have everything work out. Mal asks Inara to dance and pisses off Ath while Kaylee interacts with the old man and the boys and when Mal punches Ath out and interrupts the party, Kaylee and the old guy come over and ta-da! I think its do able.

As for Ath, they can't all be winners. I'll have to think a little more about how to make him a better character.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:58 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
As for Kaylee only being a mechanic, it seems to me that one of the points of the first season was that slowly everyone gets more involved in the business. Simon impersonates a buyer when they get to Canton, Inara helps dupe Yosafbrig in "Trash" and wants to help sell the stolen goods later on and even gets the crew a job in HOG, Book helps with the cattle and to bust out Mal from Niska and by the movie River is helping out with jobs.
-e



But the thing is, River, Simon, Book and Inara are outsiders of a sort. The first three because they only arrive in the pilot eppy, Inara because she is a paying passenger. They do not have defined jobs on the ship, aside from Simon's. Simon and River help out with the "business" because they have special skills and because there is only so much doctoring Simon can do. Book is merely accompanying Mal on the cattle job, so he is never actually part of a heist. He just watches, or assists in an emergency. And Inara's little stint was hardly the beginning of a habit and more likely something personal - because it was Saffron.

Kaylee is a part of every job already through her care for Serenity and technical details. I don't see the "only the mechanic" angle you are going for. Do you think her job means less than the contact with clients and other criminals? Mal, Zoe and Jayne do the business. Everyone else is support or passenger.

Trying to pull Kaylee into the business angle doesn't really make much sense because she has a job already. And she's not really a tough and scary person. If there is a job where her expertise would help, I'm sure they would bring her along.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 12:05 PM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Its not an angle I believe. I think Kaylee has an obvious role in the ship's business, but Mal might mention it when he is mad at her to heighten the tension between them. Maybe it isn't needed and insulting her appearance and lower class status is all that is needed, but I do think that Wash experiences this need to be a greater part of the business in the pilot Serenity when Jayne insults "the risky sittin'" he did and in War Stories when he insists on going on the deal with Mal. I think Mal could say as little as "...you'd be like a sheep walking on its hind legs. You keep to the engine room, that's what I pay you for."

I really hope I didn't offend you. I wasn't trying to imply that Kaylee doesn't do enough in the show.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Monday, January 26, 2009 12:14 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


DMI.

Interesting points. I never really felt Shindig had those problems you mention, but now you've highlighted them I see how it can be bothersome to folk. My only gripe with Shindig is that there is not nearly enough interaction between Mal and Inara, especailly as they are alone at one point, and without the crew to pry aswell! Missed opportunity. I'd have settled for another couple of scenes between them easy!

Y'know looking back on it - they should have kissed in this episode.


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Monday, January 26, 2009 12:25 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
Its not an angle I believe. I think Kaylee has an obvious role in the ship's business, but Mal might mention it when he is mad at her to heighten the tension between them.



I just think it would be out of character for Mal to attack her on such a level. An impatient rebuff of her fashion-ambitions fits logically into his complicated relationship with The Wealthy. There is no logical basis for Mal to pretend that Kaylee's job isn't extremely important to his business.

In other words, there is no motivation for him to belittle her professionally.

Quote:


Maybe it isn't needed and insulting her appearance and lower class status is all that is needed, but I do think that Wash experiences this need to be a greater part of the business in the pilot Serenity when Jayne insults "the risky sittin'" he did and in War Stories when he insists on going on the deal with Mal.



Wash's case is different, some of it is rooted in his relationship with Zoe, some in it just being true: Wash is as legally culpable as Mal and Zoe, and Jayne was belittling the risk Wash takes, even though it's as high as Jayne's.

Quote:

I think Mal could say as little as "...you'd be like a sheep walking on its hind legs. You keep to the engine room, that's what I pay you for."



But it doesn't fit into the context of the conversation there. Kaylee is going on about the pretty dresses and Inara's world. That has nothing to do with business, either way.

If Mal said it like that, it'd sound more like he's telling her that she can't have a private life outside slaving for him, which is even farther from the truth.

The only way you could connect that line to business would be if Kaylee somehow insisted on coming along on a job (But why would she?) and Mal telling her to forget it. And he would have every right to, because the engine work IS what he pays her for.



And don't think you were offending me! How could you have? I just love discussing the show and enjoy the opportunity here!

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Monday, January 26, 2009 7:01 PM

HOPERULES


Guess I'm boring. I really like Shindig that way it is.

May have been on the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 7:15 PM

WYTCHCROFT


it's interesting on the dvd com (for War stories? Train Job?) and in interviews Joss has talked about interference with the 'villains' to make them more 'villain-ey'.

True or not i see where folks are coming from re Ath - coz it's the same with Rance Burgess too. But i think Shindig is actually subtle in some ways - there are checks and balances and twists, with the minor characters, that HOG lacks for example.

As for the plot and structure - well it could be tighter but there are a lot of Austenpuns going on, and that's always the rule - give it up for the gag.

It's kind've a Trek ep too!

It's MAL that says (a lot) "The job comes first" but them's hidey words and he knows it too.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 8:30 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
I want to start out by saying that I love Firefly and Serenity and I'm a huge Browncoat. I don't want it to seem as though I'm nit-picking simply because we've only got a few episodes and I know I tend to watch them over and over again. If anything I think that attests to the quality of this show. However, with that said, I have always felt a little weird about the episode "Shindig." I like it well enough and even though it is different from other episodes what with the ball and the sword fight and all, something never sat right with me.

As a watched it with my girlfriend recently, both of us are creative writing majors at FSU and, we started talking about it and I think I figured it out. The problems, no offense to Espenson whose obviously made it farther in the industry than I have, are in the writing.

I typed this all up and it was way too long so this is me condensing it.

Problems with Shindig:
1)Subplot between Capt and Kaylee isn't sufficiently resolved with him buying her a dress and afterward is just dropped
2)Sir Warrick and the old man who comes to Kaylee's rescue are very similar characters that crowd the set
3)The two above reasons along with a scattering of scenes about what the crew is doing back home make the plot seem scattered
4)(This one is just a minor hole) The Captain wouldn't walk away from making a deal with Warrick to dance with Inara and piss off her date. The job always comes first with him.

I think I have a solution that would make the entire episode flow better, tightening the narrative and strengthen the Kaylee subplot.
1) The capt insults Kaylee in a way that not only implies she can't dress up fancy but that her job is only as a mechanic and isn't a real part of the business.
2)Combine Sir Warrick and the old man into one character. They blend together a little already because they both have a mild distaste for the snooty super-rich around them, but the old man is more likable because he saves Kaylee and has better lines. This way Kaylee is the one who actually makes the contact for the deal and is playing a crucial role in the business while Mal is off goofing around with Inara. Plus (and Espenson couldn't have known this) the old man just came off as a stronger and better character than the fat guy with the sash. This would also plug the plot hole of number four listed above because Mal wouldn't be abandoning his work.

I think this would do it without having to cut any of the great scenes back at Firefly, particularly River interacting with Badger and the post-sex scene between Wash and Zoey. Thats all great classic stuff and if something had to be cut or shortened, I'd vote for the poker game.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx



I disagree.
Your problem #1. Badger needs Mal specifically because of Mal's pretentious standing in society, which was the reason Badger was uppity in Pilot Serenity. Mal needs Kaylee for the fact that she will happily wear the frilly dress (available on short notice, opposed to Zoe's slinky type dress), and not cause a fight at the ball. Mal needs her, and she wins, therefore it is dropped. Mal admits in this way that Kaylee is inteed needed in exactly the way Mal had mistakenly said she would not be needed (wearing a dress like that). This means much more than mere words from Mal - he could not make it more plain or clear that he was very wrong. It would be rude of Kaylee to not accept it.
problem #2. No, they are different. The guy who saves Kaylee (formerly Dash Riprock) is not impressed with Banning, but Harrow fairl;y revels in his nobility and title, just is not impressed with Atherton. Harrow would not go to somebody's rescue. He only second's Mal because Mal messed up Atherton's makeup.
your problem #4. Mal di not walk away. The deal was not happening. Mal and Harrow were seeing eye level regarding lowlife sociopaths, but Atherton's interruption was blocking the progress of negotiations. Mal's dance with Inara was not solely to ittitate Ath, but to do so to gain value in Harrow's eyes, and to lure Ath away friom Harrow - all towards the goal of The Job. Irritating Ath (and maybe Inara) was just gravy.

Your resolution #1. Worng. Kaylee figures out the save in Bushwhacked. Kaylee figures out the solution in Trash. Kaylee works the thrilling heroics hoist in Train Job. Kaylee is integral to the Jobs, Mal knows it. Mal cannot afford to intentionally alienate Kaylee, and he knows it. Also this would require intentional meanness by Mal, which he would not do, not only to Kaylee, but not even to Jayne except for when Jayne specifically calls for it. He is already about as mean as he can get towards Kaylee, and it's done before he fully realizes it - mostly understanding when Zoe gives him the look.
resolution #2. Number of problems, but we do need to know Kaylee is desireable in this verse, and in this setting, among the snooty rich young studs - so she must be asked to dance, and Murphy must still be there to fend off the courters so she can continue her telling of stories (and Murphy liekly suspects she doesn't know the dances steps, thus saving her the embarrassment).

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Monday, January 26, 2009 10:52 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:

your problem #4. Mal di not walk away. The deal was not happening. Mal and Harrow were seeing eye level regarding lowlife sociopaths, but Atherton's interruption was blocking the progress of negotiations. Mal's dance with Inara was not solely to ittitate Ath, but to do so to gain value in Harrow's eyes, and to lure Ath away friom Harrow - all towards the goal of The Job. Irritating Ath (and maybe Inara) was just gravy.



I'll disagree with that one a little. A considerabl part of Mal's reason for the dance likely had to do with the way Ath was gripping Inara's arm. We visibly see Mal reacting to that and coupled with his punch after the dance, I think we can safely conclude that Mal has some emotional stakes there that would inspire him to act a little irrational.



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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:03 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:
But i think Shindig is actually subtle in some ways - there are checks and balances and twists, with the minor characters, that HOG lacks for example.



Very true! I love that small glimpse at Banning's character when the old geezer says "'Course your daddy tells me it takes the space of
a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again." Now that's a loving father. Try imagine your father gossiping about you like that. What kind of emotionally abusive relationship is behind that? It certainly topples the old geezers heroic image for me that he would say that to Banning, no matter how bratty she was behaving. It's not all black and white, there. Which makes Atherton's portrayel all the more disappointing.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 1:25 AM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


Kaylee's a simple girl, with simple wants and desires. She likes strawberries, sex and engines. It's not a knock on our dear mechanic, the girl just can't help it. Buying her the dress was indeed all the Captain needed to do. Nothing buys byegones like cash, as Jayne says. Or in this case, frilly dance hall dresses. And also, Cap knows a good mechanic is worth a lot out in the black, maybe more than a good pilot. That was made clear when he fired Bester and hired Kaylee, on the spot. He'd never insult Kaylee by implying she was ONLY a mechanic.

As for the Captain dancing w/ Inara, I got no problem w/ that either. He likely feels the job is in hand, as all he really had to do was find Sir Warrick and establish who he was. Badger had already done most of the heavy lifting, so to say. Mal's obviously jealous of Inara's 'date', and wants to tweak the guy ( and Inara ) by running a little interference into their evening. It's classic Mal.



It is not those who use the term "Islamo-Fascism" who are sullying the name of Islam; it is the Islamo-Fascists. - Dennis Prager


" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:58 AM

GWEK


While I appreciate your desire to fix the "flaws" in SHINDIG, I'm not sure that they're all, y'know, flaws.

Quote:

1)Subplot between Capt and Kaylee isn't sufficiently resolved with him buying her a dress and afterward is just dropped


Arguably true, but this conflict is, at best, the C-story of the episode. It essentially serves to inject a little character drama early in the episode (which it does successfully). It also provides us with some entertaining scenes and illustrates character for both Kaylee and Mal (in this case, the fact that Mal can be thoughtless and abrasive but is still not a bad guy is pivotal to the plot).

Quote:

I'd argue that the Mal/Kaylee stuff may not necessarily BE a sub-plot requiring an arc of its own, with a solid conclusion.

2)Sir Warrick and the old man who comes to Kaylee's rescue are very similar characters that crowd the set



Mark Twain, as I like to call him, serves a number of important functions that he couldn't necessarily serve if he were Harrow, or if he didn't exist at all. Consider:

1) Kaylee talking to the handsome boys is a very different angle than Kaylee talking to a mix of handsome boys and an old man (and treating them all equally--this goes back to her interactions with Book from the pilot on).

2) If Harrow comes to her rescue, he becomes "chivalrous," which gives him and Mal a common bond that Esponson probably didn't want. It also clutters the relationship between Mal and Harrow with needless baggage.

3) Too much coincidence? Really, wouldn't some folk in the audience almost say "Is there anyone at this party who's NOT Harrow?"

4) Kaylee is never intended to be part of the negotiation. She's Mal's way through the door, and that's it. To have her more strongly involved complicates that storyline needlessly.

While I agree on the one hand that the character landscape is a bit cluttered (something Whedon and Co never shy away from), I think combining the characters would needlessly clutter the character and plot business and might make thing seem too "forced coincidental."

Quote:

3)The two above reasons along with a scattering of scenes about what the crew is doing back home make the plot seem scattered


You say too scattered; I say "not contrived." Different strokes.

Quote:

4)(This one is just a minor hole) The Captain wouldn't walk away from making a deal with Warrick to dance with Inara and piss off her date.

The job always comes first with him.



Except when it doesn't.

Which is surprisingly often, when you look at the series closely. Remember, Mal often says he never runs away from a fight. :)

Seriously, though, Mal is a character, which means he simulates humanity and is going to be somewhat inconstant. More to the point: he often does stupid things, especially when Inara is involved.

And, to some extent, isn't the fact that a bit of his focus is on Inara when it SHOULD be on the job part of the point of the episode?

On Atherton as a weak villain: I wouldn't call him a poor villain so much as a banal one... and that's right in keeping with Whedon's vision of the 'Verse. If you examine the series, most of the "bad guys" aren't The Operative or Niska. They're people who are marginally more corrupt or marginally less moral than our heroes.

What bother me about Ath is that his banality is portrayed as so glaring that it seems odd for Inara not to have noticed it before.


www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 5:26 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Also this would require intentional meanness by Mal, which he would not do, not only to Kaylee, but not even to Jayne except for when Jayne specifically calls for it.



Mal is absolutely intentionally mean to everyone on the crew and a lot of people off. He may have regretted what he said to Kaylee but that doesn't mean he wasn't being intentional. He knows what he said and its his way of keeping everyone at arm's length.

It's a pleasure to see all the discussion this little imaginative jaunt has engendered. Stay shiny folks.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 5:42 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:


Very true! I love that small glimpse at Banning's character when the old geezer says "'Course your daddy tells me it takes the space of
a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again." Now that's a loving father. Try imagine your father gossiping about you like that. What kind of emotionally abusive relationship is behind that? It certainly topples the old geezers heroic image for me that he would say that to Banning, no matter how bratty she was behaving. It's not all black and white, there. Which makes Atherton's portrayel all the more disappointing.



Huh? He was supposed to be her father? I didn't get that impression at all, only that he knows her father, and that she's spoiled rotten, and maybe deserves to be set down a little in her pride.

GWEK: a good point on how part of the episode is about where Mal's focus should be when it's on Inara.

But I still agree that he shouldn't have walked away in the middle of trying to make a deal. Or rather, that there should have been consequences from Harrow's side for having done that. I really do think someone of Harrow's social standing would have taken that as a snub. Not allowing yourself to become distracted when you're talking to someone is business etiquette, which I think Mal is aware of. We're never given any indication that Mal doesn't know how to sell himself or his ship when he wants to; quite the opposite, in fact.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 5:52 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
On Atherton as a weak villain: I wouldn't call him a poor villain so much as a banal one... and that's right in keeping with Whedon's vision of the 'Verse. If you examine the series, most of the "bad guys" aren't The Operative or Niska. They're people who are marginally more corrupt or marginally less moral than our heroes.

What bother me about Ath is that his banality is portrayed as so glaring that it seems odd for Inara not to have noticed it before.




Yes, that latter part is what chaves about it. His obvious unpleasantness contradicts Inara's good judgment. He's so over the top that the fight should be Inara's, but she ends up being so passive about it and her conversation with Mal on the subject is pushed to the background. If Atherton had a bit more depth or charm, her hesitancy would be more understandable. Or change the shuttle scene, to remove the implication that Inara actually likes Atherton and make it a matter of professional pride for her. But take away the contradiction!! (Dammit!)

Rance Burgess is similarly bad, but at least he has an egde of cruelty and real danger about him. Ath is a foregone conclusion and only the examination of the Mal/Inara conflict redeems his use at all.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:04 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:


Very true! I love that small glimpse at Banning's character when the old geezer says "'Course your daddy tells me it takes the space of
a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again." Now that's a loving father. Try imagine your father gossiping about you like that. What kind of emotionally abusive relationship is behind that? It certainly topples the old geezers heroic image for me that he would say that to Banning, no matter how bratty she was behaving. It's not all black and white, there. Which makes Atherton's portrayel all the more disappointing.



Huh? He was supposed to be her father? I didn't get that impression at all, only that he knows her father, and that she's spoiled rotten, and maybe deserves to be set down a little in her pride.



I never said he was her father. He references her father, implying that her father said such a thing about her, which leads me to the conclusion that Bannings father is one hell of a bad example.

She's not spoiled rotten, she's an unloved child (turned young adult) lashing out. Likely how she learned it at home.

The old geezer wasn't just telling her to back off, he was hitting her where it really hurts, which is kind of cruel.

Quote:


But I still agree that he shouldn't have walked away in the middle of trying to make a deal. Or rather, that there should have been consequences from Harrow's side for having done that. I really do think someone of Harrow's social standing would have taken that as a snub. Not allowing yourself to become distracted when you're talking to someone is business etiquette, which I think Mal is aware of. We're never given any indication that Mal doesn't know how to sell himself or his ship when he wants to; quite the opposite, in fact.



At that point, Harrow was far from convinced and Mal didn't have much by the way of arguments left. Taking a break at that point doesn't hurt him, much less so when he leaves Ath and Harrow to watch him dance with Inara - a hugely respectable person.

Following his impulse to separate Inara and Ath doesn't actually work against him, professionally, and I think he knows it.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:06 AM

GWEK


Quote:

GWEK: a good point on how part of the episode is about where Mal's focus should be when it's on Inara.

But I still agree that he shouldn't have walked away in the middle of trying to make a deal. Or rather, that there should have been consequences from Harrow's side for having done that. I really do think someone of Harrow's social standing would have taken that as a snub. Not allowing yourself to become distracted when you're talking to someone is business etiquette, which I think Mal is aware of. We're never given any indication that Mal doesn't know how to sell himself or his ship when he wants to; quite the opposite, in fact.



I don't entirely disagree, although I'm not sure exactly how seriously Harrow takes anything. He seems like he's bored and wants to be entertained. It's quite possible he WOULD have felt snubbed by Mal if Mal hadn't "entertained" him.

And Mal, after all, is a graduate of the Han Solo School of Action Without Thought.

My point, I guess, is that I can see your point, but don't think it's a particularly glaring moment nonetheless.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:09 AM

GWEK


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
On Atherton as a weak villain: I wouldn't call him a poor villain so much as a banal one... and that's right in keeping with Whedon's vision of the 'Verse. If you examine the series, most of the "bad guys" aren't The Operative or Niska. They're people who are marginally more corrupt or marginally less moral than our heroes.

What bother me about Ath is that his banality is portrayed as so glaring that it seems odd for Inara not to have noticed it before.




Yes, that latter part is what chaves about it. His obvious unpleasantness contradicts Inara's good judgment. He's so over the top that the fight should be Inara's, but she ends up being so passive about it and her conversation with Mal on the subject is pushed to the background. If Atherton had a bit more depth or charm, her hesitancy would be more understandable. Or change the shuttle scene, to remove the implication that Inara actually likes Atherton and make it a matter of professional pride for her. But take away the contradiction!! (Dammit!)

Rance Burgess is similarly bad, but at least he has an egde of cruelty and real danger about him. Ath is a foregone conclusion and only the examination of the Mal/Inara conflict redeems his use at all.



The Atherton issue could have been fixed fairly easily, by implying that maybe they haven't seen each other for a year or something. A year can change someone fairly significantly, depending on the events. Maybe even "I'm sorry I haven't been able to see you since your father died" or something (and imply that now the weight of the family business is on his shoulders).

While I agree this is probably the most troubling aspect of the episode, it could have been fixed with maybe 5 lines if dialogue.

*****

Not to thread-jack, but we explored Atherton a little over at www.stillflying.net, during our second season. Check out episodes 2x08 and 2x09.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:18 AM

GWEK


By the way, to DMI: I really don't mean to say that you shouldn't re-write the ep, or that you shouldn't re-write to your specs, but keep this in mind: when an experienced writer appears to make "rookiee mistakes" there are often reasons (and sometimes, it's just that something didn't work, or that the director mucked with things), so worth exploring WHY those "failings" might have occurred.

Don't know if you're aware, but there was originally a completely different teaser for the episode (it involved Mal and Inara in a park or forest; I think he shoots a raccoon). Might be worth tracking down the script for that to see if the change had impact on the rest of the episode.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:19 AM

BYTEMITE


Ah. I see what you mean now. I never really thought about it that way. Usually when someone's spoiled, it's because their parents indulge them too much, and because she was acting snobbish that's what I assumed she was, despite the insult.

Of course, it could be the old man is exaggerating what her father has said about her, or twisting it, but that has less evidence.

Mal makes a number of social faux pas in the scene when Atherton and Inara approach. You may be right, but I don't think the way he reacts to Atherton and steps between the two would do much to further convince Harrow that he's respectable.

Except that, perhaps, Atherton's personality is well known to the community, and maybe taking an irrational dislike to him is considered a sign of good character?

Of course, that's not something Mal would be aware of, so the question is, is it in-character for him to risk the job on account of Inara?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:22 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:

While I agree this is probably the most troubling aspect of the episode, it could have been fixed with maybe 5 lines if dialogue.





So true, so painfully true.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:23 AM

ZZETTA13


What’s worst than being an asshole? Being an asshole that’s right ( as to say about Malcolm Reynolds).

I see your opinions for arguments sake DMI but Malcolm Reynolds is a captain that knows his opinions and commands won’t always be the popular ones. Does that make him an Ahole? Who of us haven’t had a boss that’s been one of those now and then? Even when talking off the top of his head doesn’t mean that what Malcolm says will be viewed with favor by every crewmember.

The truth about captain Reynolds bite is that his crew forgive him for it anyway, hence I don’t have a problem with Kaylee just forgiving Mal about his rude remark about walking around dressed like a sheep in the engine room. He did say in the pilot episode that he was a “Mean old man.”

With the exception of Zoe most everyone on Serenity has felt the sting of the captains tongue. They may be aggravated momentarily then get on with what they are supposed to do.

Also I don’t have a problem with Sir Warrick and the older gentleman that comes to Kaylee’s rescue at the party. They are just filler characters and they complete their purpose.

The only thing that I am in a bit of a spot with in the SHINDIG episode was where Atherton Wing, having Mal at blades end gets distracted by Inara. The captain seizes this distraction and turns the tide on his opponent. I don’t see that as a fair duel. Malcolm is clearly beaten and if it weren’t for the persuasion of the companion would have been run through the heart.

Just a minor detail, one that bothered me for a while but still a great episode!

Z

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:34 AM

BYTEMITE


Oh, I'm sure Zoe's felt it too, and she's probably decked him for it.

Yeah, the duel! The way it ends bothers me too, because it makes Inara submissive and turns her into one of those damsels willing to sacrifice herself and her freedom to stop her evil love interest.

I'd like to be clear that I never had any problem with the Kaylee and Mal storyline in this episode... This episode is actually one that I really like, and I've surprised myself with agreeing how many flaws there are.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:36 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Ah. I see what you mean now. I never really thought about it that way. Usually when someone's spoiled, it's because their parents indulge them too much, and because she was acting snobbish that's what I assumed she was, despite the insult.



I don't think children usually lash out at others because they are indulged too much, usually that indulgence is a direct accomplice of neglect, lack of communication or insecurity in the parents. Is my theory from watching some "spoiled" children. They're usually deeply unhappy.

Quote:


Of course, it could be the old man is exaggerating what her father has said about her, or twisting it, but that has less evidence.



Could be, but if he was twisting the words and Bannings father is actually totally happy about his daughter's busy sex life, she wouldn't walk off like that. He could also just have used "people" instead of "your daddy". It seems like a very deliberate jibe, the way he says it.

Think about it, if your relationship with your father is fine the insult "You daddy says you're a slut" wouldn't make you walk off like that. "People say you're a slut" might be more effective to humiliate you, but that's not the angle Harrow chooses.

Quote:


Mal makes a number of social faux pas in the scene when Atherton and Inara approach. You may be right, but I don't think the way he reacts to Atherton and steps between the two would do much to further convince Harrow that he's respectable.



Mal doesn't step between them until he has outside motivation (Ath's hand tightening on Inara's arm) but his faux-ingratiating manner before that ("I-nara!") may be Mal's idea of friendly small-talk - irritate Inara while implying they're good acquaintences to Harrow. He welcomes the respectability-enhancer, until he interrupts his own negotiations for the dance to get Inara away from Ath.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:54 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:

Don't know if you're aware, but there was originally a completely different teaser for the episode (it involved Mal and Inara in a park or forest; I think he shoots a raccoon). Might be worth tracking down the script for that to see if the change had impact on the rest of the episode.



That sounds really interesting. I'll have to track it down. I really like the teaser at the beginning of this episode, but it's fairly interchangeable and could start just about any episode.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:03 AM

BYTEMITE


And I thought her walking away was just snooty upper-class indignance at such an appallingly base and lewd (in their relative experience) insult. Her friends walk away in a huff too.

I like your interpretation too, not sure which is more likely. And you're right, the possibility does steal some of the happy from that scene. :(

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:06 AM

ZZETTA13


Bytemite, now that you’ve mentioned it ( and I’ve thought about it more) I can think of 2 different occasions where Mal voices a strong opinion opposite Zoey‘s. One being in the BDM when she ask him why they didn’t pick up the man after the bank heist & two in the Serenity series pilot when she mentions to him that they don’t have to deal with Patience, He says “ ……Yes we do!”. This after knocking something off of the bridge’s control counter.


The captain is in a position where tough choices can set a person on edge. That doesn’t mean that his crew don’t respect him or won’t follow orders, it only means that they may not like what they are being told.

Another thing, I do feel it is quite believable that Mal would walk off and dance with Inara while in the middle of making a deal with Warrick. Wouldn’t the best way to have someone become more interested in a proposition is to show that you are less interested in it? Sorry if that sounds confusing but I do think that it makes sense. Acting too interested in Sir Warrick’s illegal goings on may make the gentleman more suspicious me thinks. Best to show that it’s not a big deal. Besides why wouldn’t Mal jump at the chance to dance with Inara, he does love her you know…….(smile)

Z

PS: DMI just to let you know, great post for discussion. I really enjoy post like yours.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:53 AM

BYTEMITE


And that's just the thing. Not only is he captain, but he takes being captain VERY seriously. I don't think that's there's anything that matters more to him than the welfare of his crew.

While sometimes thier lives may be put in jeopardy because of some of the jobs he chooses to take or decisions he makes, he takes those jobs and makes those decisions in order to keep his crew together, alive, and/or paid.

His wants are second in priority to the needs (and within reason, wants) of his crew. And they tend to always be needing money. Whenever something goes wrong, he tends to blame himself, thinks he's failed them. Example: Those Left Behind, after Ott's crew gets the jump on them. They get back on the ship Kaylee asks him how it went, and he just walks away because he can't face any of them.

So his doing anything deliberately or negligently that might screw up a job or opportunity doesn't seem in character to me.

But, I think I'll go rewatch the episode this thread in mind. See if thinking of Mal's conversation and offer to dance in the terms of her giving him some respectability makes that scene feel any different to me.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:53 AM

GWEK


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
That sounds really interesting. I'll have to track it down. I really like the teaser at the beginning of this episode, but it's fairly interchangeable and could start just about any episode.



Let's not be too quick to judge... While the teaser IS somewhat generic, Espenson knew what she was doing when she wrote it.

There are a few things about the teaser that make it uniquely suited to SHINDIG. For example, we get to see Inara in Mal's World (while most of the episode will be the opposite). Mal is established as a criminal with a conscience (doesn't like slavers) who behaves recklessly (stealing the money is a needless danger).

We further see that Inara is comfortable in Mal's world to a degree, which helps establish their relationship and the dramatic tension within this episode specifically.

While it SEEMS like a generic intro, most of the themes of the episode are already set by the time the teaser ends.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 2:51 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


This has really always been one of my least favorite episodes, mostly because of the way Inara acts for most of it. She's seen Atherton before, but didn't figure out he was a jerk? Even if he hid it well enough and she didn't think he was a jerk, he'd made the 'full time Companion' request that clearly made her uncomfortable every time it came up. Okay, so maybe being a little uncomfortable isn't enough to keep her from contracting with him again, even though I'd say it's a clear sign he's possessive as hell, and wanting a full time Companion in the first place would seem to imply he has trouble getting a woman he's not paying for as much as a fondness for Inara. I think there was a red flag in her head from the start, and she clearly had more than one option on Persephone...
...Where was I? Yes, maybe that wouldn't be enough to keep her from contracting with him initially, but to continue to be mostly meek and submissive irked me. Atherton insulted her long before Mal pushed him into it, saying that half the men wished she was on their arm, but all wished they were in her bed. She was clearly offended, tried to change the subject, and seemed to almost be getting angry...until he said she was extraordinary and all was smiles again. Well and good, I can kind of see that working, once. Then he insulted her again, in conflict with Mal (who she genuinely cares for, even if she's not sure how to deal with those feelings) and yelled at her to come along, as though she were a dog, and she went with him. She could talk tough to Mal about it being her choice and not his all she wants, but 'her choice' was a degrading one. She was clearly unhappy about the situation, but she didn't break off the contract. Yes, it could be argued that contracts shouldn't be broken, they're legally binding, but I'm sure there's something in guild rules to allow a Companion to break contract if they're being abused or mistreated in any way. If they have a black mark system they clearly don't want their girls to be with anyone who won't treat them well. When Atherton finally went all out and verbally spat on Inara's face, she gave him black mark status, but that was the first real backbone she showed the whole episode.
And that whole exchange of "get ready to starve, I'll make sure you never work again" and "that's not how it works, no Companion will contract with you ever again" was just awkward. It was a foolish threat for Atherton to make, and a 'never again' retort to a 'never again' threat was...gah. In a show full of good dialogue being delivered well, that bit was like a sore tooth for me.
I think it was mostly written as an excuse to have a fancy ball and a swordfight. The commentary even said something along the lines "I wanted to have a fancy ball and swordfight, something really old-fashioned in a future setting." It's an interesting idea, but I think ultimately it didn't work because that's not enough. It made much of the plot kind of shallow in order to make the ball, and especially the swordfight, happen.
If I rewrote this, it would probably come out to be a completely different episode in almost all respects. The only thing I'd make an effort to keep would be the exchange between Badger and River, because that was awesome.

[/sig]

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:45 PM

PLATONIST


Productive rant, PheonixRose, and I completely agree.

All Shindig does for me is convince me that Joss had no idea where he was going with Inara's character. It was written mainly to create a platform for Mal to espouse his views on the misgivings of legalized prostitution in a Western context. It fails on so many levels, but especially in what we need to believe about the nature of Companioning. Begging the question: what are Companions? Are they Geisha, high class prostitutes, therapists, or courtesans that want long term relationships? Could it be that even with legitimacy, fame and fortune it still reduces people to objects? Joss can’t decide and neither can we.

All Inara's client "choices" are illogical except for the awkward virgin in Jaynestown. And even that’s not a necessity, but a privilege of the wealthy. The rest of them are narcissistic self indulgent egotistical misfits, including the newest one in the comics, Sanda, who beats the shit out of Mal. Why would an educated beautiful woman want to touch any of these people unless she’s desperate for money like most RL hookers or supporting a drug habit with three kids at home? It makes no sense and that’s why Joss turned her into a teacher. Trust me, that is REAL prostitution, right there! He finally got it right.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 5:50 PM

BYTEMITE


Mmm, after watching it again, I'm just not feeling the dancing to increase respectability angle. Maybe the what's meant to be implied, but it just seems too abrupt for it to be something he was considering from when she came over. The request feels like it has an entirely emotional basis.

But that's just how I see it.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:21 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:


Very true! I love that small glimpse at Banning's character when the old geezer says "'Course your daddy tells me it takes the space of
a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again." Now that's a loving father. Try imagine your father gossiping about you like that. What kind of emotionally abusive relationship is behind that? It certainly topples the old geezers heroic image for me that he would say that to Banning, no matter how bratty she was behaving. It's not all black and white, there. Which makes Atherton's portrayel all the more disappointing.



Huh? He was supposed to be her father? I didn't get that impression at all, only that he knows her father, and that she's spoiled rotten, and maybe deserves to be set down a little in her pride.



I never said he was her father. He references her father, implying that her father said such a thing about her, which leads me to the conclusion that Bannings father is one hell of a bad example.

She's not spoiled rotten, she's an unloved child (turned young adult) lashing out. Likely how she learned it at home.

The old geezer wasn't just telling her to back off, he was hitting her where it really hurts, which is kind of cruel.


This is Murphy talking to Banning, after Banning is working over Kaylee (who Murphy views as a newcomer, who should be made to feel welcome, not ostracized), and showing off for her friends, while they also work on Kaylee with Banning's support and colusion. This may be seen as cruel, but this is Banning getting her own medicien, which may well be the best form of medicine she could get at this point in her life. She's already erred beyond reason by abusing Kaylee, she now gets comupance, embarrassment in front of her friends, and at the same time Murphy makes it clear that Kaylee should consider herself welcome to the social event of the season regardless of rude people like Banning. murphy made exactly the correct call. Anything less may have not hit Banning where it hurt, but also would have had not chance of teaching Banning a lesson - don't do it again, and this is what it feels like to be on the recieving end.
Quote:


Quote:


But I still agree that he shouldn't have walked away in the middle of trying to make a deal. Or rather, that there should have been consequences from Harrow's side for having done that. I really do think someone of Harrow's social standing would have taken that as a snub. Not allowing yourself to become distracted when you're talking to someone is business etiquette, which I think Mal is aware of. We're never given any indication that Mal doesn't know how to sell himself or his ship when he wants to; quite the opposite, in fact.



At that point, Harrow was far from convinced and Mal didn't have much by the way of arguments left. Taking a break at that point doesn't hurt him, much less so when he leaves Ath and Harrow to watch him dance with Inara - a hugely respectable person.

Following his impulse to separate Inara and Ath doesn't actually work against him, professionally, and I think he knows it.


Bingo.

On another note: I understand the desire for some to condense characters until there are only a few. Joss does not shy away from multiple charaters. These are thieves, smugglers, avoiders from Alliance. Many of the episodes have few characters, which is right for shady dealings - the fewer the better.
This is the social event of the season. Compared to how many characters we see in other eps, I find it amazing that there are not gobs more characters in these scenes, at the dance. Imagine the multitudes of people we are ignoring here, which Inara, Mal and Kaylee are sure to be meeting merely by being present at such a vast gathering of humanity.

And regarding Kaylee's forgiveness of Mal: I suspect that Mal allowing her to interrogate the buffet table with the strawberries and cheese goes a very long way.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 9:14 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Anything less may have not hit Banning where it hurt, but also would have had not chance of teaching Banning a lesson - don't do it again, and this is what it feels like to be on the recieving end.



Chances are, Banning already knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end. You have to learn that stuff somewhere. The only lesson this will teach her is to be slightly less visible about where she lashes out and to despise Murphy. But what he does is really only one more spin in a circle of disrespect. He's not teaching her anything but to do exactly as she has been doing: use humiliation to solve a problem.

He's not much better than her in that regard, only he'd decided that Kaylee gets to receive his protection. He's nice to guests, so what. Anyone he has decided is useless is still fair game.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 9:19 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
Productive rant, PheonixRose, and I completely agree.

All Shindig does for me is convince me that Joss had no idea where he was going with Inara's character. It was written mainly to create a platform for Mal to espouse his views on the misgivings of legalized prostitution in a Western context. It fails on so many levels, but especially in what we need to believe about the nature of Companioning. Begging the question: what are Companions? Are they Geisha, high class prostitutes, therapists, or courtesans that want long term relationships? Could it be that even with legitimacy, fame and fortune it still reduces people to objects? Joss can’t decide and neither can we.

All Inara's client "choices" are illogical except for the awkward virgin in Jaynestown. And even that’s not a necessity, but a privilege of the wealthy. The rest of them are narcissistic self indulgent egotistical misfits, including the newest one in the comics, Sanda, who beats the shit out of Mal. Why would an educated beautiful woman want to touch any of these people unless she’s desperate for money like most RL hookers or supporting a drug habit with three kids at home? It makes no sense and that’s why Joss turned her into a teacher. Trust me, that is REAL prostitution, right there! He finally got it right.



Nice rants, PheonixRose and Platonist.

While I can try to explain myself that Inara's clients were compromises she had to make in the rougher, culturally different Border world, it's still... yeah. You are totally right. And do not GET me started on the teacher thing. One of my pet peeves about the movie.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:47 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Mmm, after watching it again, I'm just not feeling the dancing to increase respectability angle. Maybe the what's meant to be implied, but it just seems too abrupt for it to be something he was considering from when she came over. The request feels like it has an entirely emotional basis.

But that's just how I see it.



Haven't seen it for 4 days. But I recall that Ath came over to interrupt the deal Mal was trying to work with the reluctant Harrow. Respectability was not what Mal wnated, but to be trustworthy enough for Harrow to conduct illegal activities with. Mal wants the Ath itterruption to end -how better than to create Inara envy until Ath takes her away (at the same time leaving Harrow, who would then be available to Mal again) Mal might feel the diversion to remove Ath from Harrow could endear Harrow to Mal. Mal is also removing the likelihood that Ath will start to inquire about what Harrow and Mal were talking about, how they knew each other, how they were introduced, which Mal may have wanted to avoid, and likely Harrow did want to avoid - so this sensitivity towards maintaining Harrow's deniability may have impressed Harrow, and would have been sufficient cause for Mal to USE Inara towards this gain. Unfortunatly, Ath's treatment of Inara after Mal's dance was not part of Mal's plan, nor the unknown rules of challenge.
So, 1. Ath was interrupting Mal & Harrow.
2. Mal wanted to get the deal done.
3. Mal wanted to not expose Harrow - it would be a sign of untrustworthiness in shady dealings.
4. Mal wanted to get Ath away from Harrow.
5. Mal wanted Ath's attention on Harrow/Mal to be diverted, and was willing to make himself the scapegoat for that cause.
6. You think Mal didn't WANT it to look like he was just being emotional? Please try reviewing Bushwhacked when Mal tells Book to give peace to the Reaver victims, and Simon to handle the bodies, and Jayne to help, and Kaylee and Inara are impressed with Mal's caring and sensitivity while Zoe afixes a quizzical look. Please.
7. Mal was willing to USE Inara to distract Ath from Harrow and/or Harrow/Mal - and it worked.
8. Mla may have detected a note of distain in Harrow when Ath interrupted, and may have considered irritating Ath could increase Mal's standing with Harrow.
9. Mal may have considered that, by the grace that he knew these dance steps, and could fit in, he was dinstinguishing himself from the low life sociopath community.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:14 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I will say that Shindig is not my fave ep, yet as with most of FF far above the remaining fare on TV. I don't desire to condense characters for this ep. I am not bothered by most of the "problems" o the original post.
I am most rubbed wrong with the scene of Badger & goons brandishing guns. In public. Is this really the kind of place Persephone is? at the time of a big shindig?
The other is the duel itself. The Inara claim, and Ath's distraction. Sue, Inara offering herself will give Mal the incentive to whip Ath's behind, but it did seem contrived. Maybe the editing was mistimed. but recall that for broadcast, this was one of the early episodes and the audience may have not yet been up to speed. The editing may have been paced for those accustomed to watching baseball or grass growth. Also Inara clearly pointing out that Registered Companions and their Guild had much, much more power and prestige was needed fo the audience to understand the point.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:22 AM

ZZETTA13


Good morning browncoats.

This thread has certainly gotten a number of responses and I agree with many but at the same time there are some that I’m not sure I agree with, JMO. One thing I see is that as long as I’ve been coming to FFF.net there have been few threads that have focused on Inara, in a round-about way this one has and I like it. I really don’t have a problem with the way the episode was written or performed so here I’ve jotted down a number of things as the way I see it.

1) Inara being belittled by Atherton Wing is no different than Kaylee being belittled by Malcolm Reynolds in the episode.

2) Inara choosing the company of Atherton over another client shows that their first meeting may not have been great but it didn’t go badly either. Besides she likely feels safer seeing someone she knows already and going to a party would sound like fun too.

3) Dealing with clients in a business attitude one must put up with things one may not like. That goes for anyone, in any business, not just the Companion trade. You do what you do to make the agreement a success. This doesn’t mean putting up with abuse but it may mean having to put up with things you don’t want to hear. Inara was just doing her job. Like in the scene in the Serenity pilot eps where she’s bored to tears with the young man but fakes being interested.

4) Atherton approaching Malcolm and Sir Warrick at the party to my feeling was something Mr. Wing was doing to impress Sir Warrick. With Inara on his arm maybe meant as a trophy prize. I know it would seem degrading but remember Mal talks down to her all the time. Inara is smarter than most men she dates and she’s just learned to be a diplomat about it. This is how the part is written I think.

5) Entering into a party such as the one on Persephone, strangers are sought out to prove themselves worthy. The party goers want to know who you are and what makes you feel that you belong there. Kaylee is an outsider and her first attempt to mingle with the first young man she meets ends with failure. The second round with the four young ladies doesn’t look much better until the older gentleman comes in to show that they are not all assholes.

6) Kaylees acceptance comes with the group of fellows when she shows that “ This pretty girl” knows her sh*t about engines too. What guy wouldn’t want the company of a girl who could talk shop?

I will end the list here but there is a lot more going on at the party and I feel it was a good episode and well written by Lady Espenson IMO.

Z

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:37 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:

7. Mal was willing to USE Inara to distract Ath from Harrow and/or Harrow/Mal - and it worked.
.



It all makes sense except that it's a bit of a stretch to deny that Ath's hand gripping Inara's arm didn't play a role in Mal's decision. You should add that to the list and then it's complete. :)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 5:35 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
6. You think Mal didn't WANT it to look like he was just being emotional? Please try reviewing Bushwhacked when Mal tells Book to give peace to the Reaver victims, and Simon to handle the bodies, and Jayne to help, and Kaylee and Inara are impressed with Mal's caring and sensitivity while Zoe afixes a quizzical look. Please.



On that one, I got right away that he was trying to keep something secret from the rest of his crew. He sends them to put the bodies to rest while he confirms his concerns about the present the Reavers left for them. In doing so, he was trying to save them from unnecessary fear in the event his worries were unfounded (and they weren't, which is just his luck).

Now, I haven't been arguing that all of these angles on Mal asking Inara to dance aren't true or even implied. Only that I, for some reason or another, haven't been picking up those implications, and so to me, his asking doesn't seem to have anything calculated in regards to the deal about it.

If there's to be a rewrite, maybe it could be a little more obvious. Like, perhaps, Mal asking Inara to dance in direct response to her asking why he's at the party or something. That would be very clear that he's trying to protect the business deal from being exposed.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 7:18 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixRose:

If I rewrote this, it would probably come out to be a completely different episode in almost all respects. The only thing I'd make an effort to keep would be the exchange between Badger and River, because that was awesome.



PR, I agree with most everything you said, but you know how stubborn and protective we browncoats can be so I tried to take it easy on the urge to rewrite the whole thing, but since you and a few other people have brought it up, Ath just isn't very interesting and this ep fails to do what an episode early in a scifi series needs to do in the way of clarifying how the world works, particularly in how Inara and companions actually work. Every time my girlfriend watches this episode it confuses her as to just how being a companion works and in future eps when people ask Inara about companion rules the only answer she ever gives is "it's complicated." How frustrating.

I don't know why, but I personally can get around the cardboard cut-out villian (maybe because the uber-cool villian Badger is in the ep) if some of these other things are fixed and as you've pointed out, perhaps we could get a little more explanation as to how companions do what they do.

I haven't had time to dig for the original script yet but if anyone knows where it is, please let me know.

Also, as a writer I love to hear criticism, comments and suggestions regarding my work so if anyone knows a way to tip Espenson off to this thread, maybe she'd be interested in sharing her own thoughts.
-e


A blog on the struggles of an unpublished writer: http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/dmi/default.aspx

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:37 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by zzetta13:
1) Inara being belittled by Atherton Wing is no different than Kaylee being belittled by Malcolm Reynolds in the episode.


I disagree. Mal was somewhat annoyed at Inara, and became more annoyed as Kaylee happily prattled about her rich clients and freedom from restriction. He lashed out about the dress, but I wouldn't say he was belittling Kaylee. It was a far from sensitive thing to say, but I don't think 'poofy fancy dress has no place in the engine room' is really a snub against Kaylee. She does spend most of her time in the engine room, not just because it's her job but because she likes it there. What I think he was really feeling was that he was unsure what place Inara and trappings such as she possessed had on his ship in general, and he was tired of hearing about it. He was being a jerk, but it didn't mean he thought badly of Kaylee. There's a difference, too, in their reactions. Kaylee left immediately and made her displeasure known to the Captain quite clearly. Her delight with the dress and the idea of a fancy party went a long way towards making her forget her annoyance, and she got to tease Mal about his tight pants. Kaylee is a much more straightforward girl than Inara. She might be freaked out in a gunfight, but she's not afraid to be clear on how she feels, and for the most part it's as easy to make her happy as it is to make her upset, probably because it's so clear what makes her happy.
I had a point. Oh yes...
Mal was less nasty than Atherton, and Kaylee showed more spine about it than Inara.

DM, I think the original opening teaser for the episode might only have been a draft and never made it further, I only heard it vaguely mentioned in the commentary as "my original thought was..."

[/sig]

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:44 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
Quote:

particularly in how Inara and companions actually work.



Much as it shocks and pains me to say this of a fine, respectable-looking woman such as Inara, I have come to suspect that she may actually be engaged in having sex with people for financial gain.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 7:26 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:

7. Mal was willing to USE Inara to distract Ath from Harrow and/or Harrow/Mal - and it worked.
.



It all makes sense except that it's a bit of a stretch to deny that Ath's hand gripping Inara's arm didn't play a role in Mal's decision. You should add that to the list and then it's complete. :)


I have no quarrel with listing the vise grip as part of the exchange. However, are we certain that this was the PRIMARY factor, or was this merely an EXCUSE for Mal to pursue this vector? Sir Warrick Harrow coud clearly see the vise grip, as surely any other observer could (and most of the room was surely watching Inara to begin with). To make the motive for the next move more obvious (or apparently so), Mal pointedly stared or glared at the vise grip, and followed up with the dance request. I can go either way, and in this early episode the feel for Mal seems to be that he is more complicated, a better "actor" in the verse, as indicated by Inara telling Book in the Pilot "because so few men are" - so Mal has not yet been written as much as being a foil, he is still a bit crafty and devious in the early eps. So I did not list the vise grip in my points, largely due to it being inconclusive for the argument I was attempting - but you may consider it a point, whether for or against.

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