snowystingray: (white heat)
[personal profile] snowystingray
Okay, the Sons of Anarchy post I MEANT to make last night...

...well, it's basically the post I DID make last night, only more with the picspam and the spoilers.


My greatest fear with this show -- and the reason why I had to take a couple weeks off from watching it -- was that they would develop Irreconcilable Differences, or Gemma would join Jax in his ideological make-over, driving a further wedge in the group -- AND YET NONE OF THAT HAPPENED. IN FACT, THE EXACT OPPOSITE HAPPENED. (Errr, kind of.) Anyway, wow, I'm so invested in the family dynamics of the Teller-Morrows, and I was so certain that Gemma/Clay <-----> Jax was going to gravitate into Clay <----> Gemma & Jax AND IT SO DIDN'T. "BALM" WAS BASICALLY MY PERFECT EPISODE. (Well, okay, there are certainly issues with Gemma's rape being painted as a way to bring families together, isn't it swell -- but then it also works in a lot of regards as such a "newsflash: SHIT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU AND YOUR MANPAIN" moment for these two men who have been using their clashing ego trips to pull everybody with them on a downward spiral for the better part of a season.) I'll be honest, I sat up and clutched my face and cried, "NOOOOooooOOOOoooo YOU DON'T MEAN IT" when Clay told Jax that he wanted him to leave. BUT BUT BUT B'AWWWW NOW THEY'RE A FAMILY AGAIN. Ugh, seriously, close upon my love of Gemma/Clay comes my love of Clay/Jax (in a family sense, not in a shippy sense -- kind of the same way I ship Shawn/Henry? Is there a word for that? I familyship them; that will be their official designation. I want them to hug and have potluck dinners and go to baseball games together) and so much of their interaction has been hugely distressing to me on that front... but I love that it's been getting more complicated as they have these huge ideological differences, and yet these inextricable family ties -- I really worried that the latter would be sacrificed to the former, and yet NOT. SO NOT. THANK YOU. FAMILY ISSUES ARE MY FAVORITE.


CLAY MORROW IS HOLDING A BABY: YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID. But no, seriously, everything about this entire dynamic is so immensely satisfying. Tara! I haven't even talked about Tara yet. I used to hate Jax's face for... ummm... basically until the day before yesterday, if we're being honest? And I loved Tara, but felt pretty weird about where I wanted their relationship to go... I don't know. I have been super into Tara/Gemma since day one, though, and WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS how thrilled I am with their development together. But, anyway, I like Jax finally, and I fell for Tara/Jax good and hard when she gave him her whole "I need commitment" wordvomit and UGGGGHHHH I LOVE THEM.


Now that I have flailed about families, I guess it would be appropriate to address the way the episode ended? With babynapping, and Gemma gone? I would be distressed about it, and yet I was so very impressed with the way those dynamics have been handled this season that I'm pretty okay with seeing where things go. I mean, I love that their last meeting was Gemma giving Clay the whole, "Come back to me!" wife-on-the-home-front speech, and yet she's the one who ends up on the run for murder. And I kind of love Gemma/Unser, too! It's cute, in its own weird chaste, one-sided pining way! It was great to see some Tara/Hale show up again at the end as a parallel to that, too, because theirs was a relationship I enjoyed in S1 so I'm glad they brought it back.

I'm sure there are things to say about other characters, buuut. I'll be honest. I don't care about them as much WHOOOPS. Half Sack? I was spoiled for his death (THANKS SISTER) so it wasn't as horrid as it might otherwise have been. I do sort of wish we had a chance to see a storyline develop with him getting patched in, but... whatever. Mostly I just wanted Cherry to come back which NEVER HAPPENED B'AWWW. Juice, who ISN'T dead, could also use more storylines. Ummm... okay, I do kind of care about Tig in a character sense if only because he's such a gigantic piece of shit that it's hard not to watch -- so I'd been chanting to myself all season that, oh god, I want Opie to NEVER EVER NEVER find out about what happened to Donna (I know, what a horrible thing to think -- hey, guys, let's keep murderous secrets from each other! -- but I just hated the thought of him finding out, and knowing that Jax knew, and auuuuggghhhh), and, yyyyyeah. Did I say that "Balm" made me cry? Because I think "Service" probably made me cry just as much. (I think this is why I'm in a general state of contentment about the finale, too -- after the three-part sucker punch that was 2.10-2.12, it felt oddly calm. With, you know, multiple murders and babynapping and what have you.) (I'm basically over Piney, though. Does that make me a bad person? Well, whatever.)

Anyway, yeah... I do still have that ongoing feeling of weirdness with the show, where it's astoundingly well-written and well-acted, and truthful to the parts of life that I recognize from it -- but at the same time I do feel uncomfortable sometimes watching it, just because TV doesn't exist in a vacuum? I think it walks an extremely fine line between glamorizing and demonizing certain behaviors and lifestyles, but for the most part I think it balances those issues quite adroitly and, frankly, quite bravely, because there are so many times when I watch it and almost jump out of my seat with "oh holy shit I basically did not ever need to see that once in my life" and yet in a way I did, just to be confronted with the reality of it? I don't know, obviously a lot of it is exaggerated/heightened for extra melodrama, but I think there is a lot of emotional truth to it, and a lot of disturbing realities. Then it does become complicated, though, in terms of representation, especially with things like race/gender/sexuality; is it enough to just say, "Well, that's the way that things are, and I'm making a TV show about this subset of America"; or how do you approach that critically, while still making the criticism believable/organic within the context of the narrative? I tend to have a great special love for my shows that break the fourth wall, but sometimes I need shows that really really don't ever, and it would kill it for the characters to develop self-awareness about how they stand in the world. Ummm, let's guess which one Sons of Anarchy comes under. So, yeah, for the most part I think the writing can be extremely smart and subtle in that regard, and hands the audience some responsibility to look beyond the characters' words to draw conclusions and judgments about what is being presented -- but, even though I love TV that GO FIGURE RESPECTS THE INTELLECT OF ITS AUDIENCE, it's also a fact that things are often spelled out for a reason, because otherwise it is completely lost on people... Ummm, okay, now I think I'm subtextually talking about my issues with Mad Men, haha. It's a good comparison, though, in that they're both pretty intense cable shows about highly glamorized but internally grotesque worlds -- and yet there's still an aura of, "oooh, wouldn't it be cool...?" about it. I don't think it's as bad for SoA because it is SO UNFLINCHINGLY HORRIFYING that I'm sure it has to be hard to 100% ignore it? Whereas it seems like people have an easier time watching Mad Men and coming away with a sense that, well, being a 60s housewife must be a bit of a snooze but OMGZ THINK OF THE SHOES AND DRESSES!!!1!1!!! And, actually, this is going to seem contradictory, but I think it works better for SoA because, in addition to all of those truly-deeply-worst-of-humanity scenes, there are also plenty of quiet moments of triumph for love, family, and community. I... hmm. I'm sure those scenes exist on Mad Men, and yet I'm honestly having a hard time coming up with any of them. AT ALL. I'm guessing that the end of 3.13 was intended to be that scene, but all I could focus on was how much I hated every fucking person in that room (well, maybe not Peggy. Sometimes not Trudy. Sometimes not Pete, either, even though I hate him, but I'm fascinated by him, but I still hate him, but I'm still not over "Souvenir" UGGGGHHHH FUCKING MAD MEN, WHY DO I WATCH THIS DAMN SHOW).

This is officially a super-long ramble that nobody will ever read (not me, even, because I don't even feel like rereading it to proofread. Apologies for the fact that I probably used the word "love" like fifty times in this post. WHATEVER, IDGAF, I WOULD BE THE FILLING OF A RON PERLMAN/KATEY SAGAL SANDWICH ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.)

(So, hey, what the heck ever happened to Wendy? Is she ever coming back? Was this addressed in S1? I don't rememberrrr.)

Date: 2010-07-14 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Except I knew that Gemma wasn't going to go all guilty mad Lady Macbeth on Jax as she was already based on Queen Gertrude. So I went in a little spoiled but man! Sutter just doesn't leave you in peace does he? The story telling I feel like it's slashed at my humanity then only sewed half of it back together.

Continuing the Hamlet analogy the fact that they have their own rules and laws and territories it really brings forth the issue of arbitrary modern royalty. It's pretty disconcerting to experience this in such a realistic 21st century environment.

Breaking the fourth wall in SoA would be devastating to the whole thing but YES it really doesn't glorify its 'verse. And I am grateful.

I don't want Opie to find out too I am heartbroken. And about Tara. I wasn't sure about Tara. The whole prodigal daughter theme bugged me but yes for S2!Tara!

Date: 2010-07-14 12:56 am (UTC)
ext_30739: Benjamin Linus loves his premium channel package (white heat)
From: [identity profile]
I knew that Gemma wasn't going to go all guilty mad Lady Macbeth on Jax as she was already based on Queen Gertrude
I meant that I was expecting her to go all Gertrude-guilty toward her Claudius on behalf of her Hamlet, though, you know? "O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain"? But I love that, even though there is a giant rift between Clay and Jax, instead of just sitting down and taking it, or taking sides, she's like YOU TWO WILL SIT DOWN AND LISTEN AND STOP BEING ASSHOLES BECAUSE I LOVE YOU BOTH. Gemmaaaaaa! ♥

It's pretty disconcerting to experience this in such a realistic 21st century environment.
Truth. :/ I think that's a huge part of my discomfort while watching; that you can recognize so much of it as true, and yet it's the world we live in. I know I talked about this when I first mentioned the show, but it was unsettling to me to find that the show seemed much more heavily promoted in the UK than I ever saw it advertised here in the US -- not because I think it's only relevant to Americans, but just because... it loses a certain context? I don't know how to explain it, exactly. I guess I just mean that I don't think the point of the show is to exclusively say, "Hey, look at how fucked up this American subculture is" (it's the landscape of the show, and you can't divorce them from each other, but at the same time it does say larger things about violence/family/justice in society), but I worry that's how it might come off to people without that context. Ehhhh complicated. :/

YESSSSS, S2 TARA IS THE SHIT. Mostly because they kicked up Tara/Gemma.

Date: 2010-07-14 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ummm, okay, now I think I'm subtextually talking about my issues with Mad Men, haha

I've finally got into Mad Men because my Dad watches it, but I just never go into any discussions of it on the internet ever because they drive me insane.

Date: 2010-07-15 01:33 am (UTC)
ext_30739: Benjamin Linus loves his premium channel package (martha - doctor jones if you're nasty)
From: [identity profile]
THIS. I was actually just ranting to my sister about it today, what with all of my other summer shows making a return with Mad Men soon to follow... I just do. not. get it. And yet... I can't stop reading it (even if I don't post/comment much, because everything that would come out would just be "HATE HATE HAAAAAAAAAAAATE")? It's a personal flaw, augh. You know me -- I would probably shrivel up and die if somebody said, "Okay, you can get involved with this narrative, but you can't discuss it online!" NOOOoooOOOoooOOO then what's the point?? -- except I think I've reached the point with Mad Men where, seriously, I just need to cut it off. As it stands now, I'm really not involved with fandom at all; I usually just check a few blogs/discussion posts after the episode airs, and that's enough to drive me into seizures of rage and disgust. But anyway, yeah, long story short -- I think I might be coming to the decision that, this season, I am going to 1) watch the show and 2) NEVER READ ANYTHING ABOUT IT. EVER. ...Maybe an interview with the writers, or some of the actors (Vincent, January, Elisabeth, and...? that's it?), or costume/art direction, but but but NO, SERIOUSLY, NOTHING, I JUST NEED TO STOP IT ALREADY.


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