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Smallville, why do you hate the character I love? - Smallville, why do you hate the character I love? - I worship at the television altar Page 2 — LiveJournal
Smallville, why do you hate the character I love?
I love Smallville beyond all reason, but sometimes this show makes my head want to explode. Kelly Souders, one of the showrunners, has been talking to TV Guide, and I'm not going to quote her because it's spoilery, but let's just say that as a Clark fan, I'm not happy. First she had THIS Q&A with Matt Mitovich, which made me uneasy, and then she was quoted in THIS blurb from the TV Guide magazine, which made me CRAZY. Again, spoilery, so don't click if you don't want to know. Anyway, this latest frustration got me to thinking, why do the people who run this show seem to hate all the characters on it?

I think everybody knows my favorite character on Smallville is Clark, but I've been a fan of every character at some point, and I still love most of them. And the show has dumped on all of them. Either they have them do something totally OOC that makes them look bad, or they make bad things happen to them to the point where they become the show's punching bag. It's a drag for the fans, it doesn't do the show any favors, and it even sets fans against each other. It's lazy writing, bad storytelling, and a slap in the face to those of us who hold these characters dear.

How about a few examples, just off the top of my head?

Clark - make EVERYTHING his fault, and punish him for it; put him in no-win situations, like in Abyss

Lex - have him fake Lana's pregnancy; routinely have characters who have benefited from his kindness and generosity call him a monster

Lana - have her kidnap and torture Lionel; have her sleep with Bizarro and like him better than Clark

Chloe - have her suggest to Clark that he needs to kill Lex; have her fall in love with a complete douche

Lois - have her sleep with her boss; have her write a news story about a superhero that she made up

Martha - have her berate her son for what he did while on Red!K, bringing him to tears; have her invite Lionel to the Kents' first Thanksgiving without Jonathan

Jonathan - make him unreasonably hateful toward Lex; make him dismissive of his son's emotional pain

Jimmy - make him pathetically jealous and insecure; also make him a complete horndog

Pete - make him jealous of his best friend; give him a huge chip on his shoulder about his lot in life

Does anyone else feel the way I do, or am I just being too picky, and paranoid? Don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of conflict in a good story. It's critical to developing characters, advancing the story, and keeping viewers engaged. But there's a difference between putting a character in a compelling conflict, and then taking us on his journey to resolve it, and just knocking a character down, and then kicking him a couple of times while he's on the ground for good measure.

We're hearing rumblings that S9 is going to be a dark one, especially for Clark, and that evidently the darkness will be of his own making. Yes, Clark, you screwed up again, and you must be punished. *headdesk* My own personal rage over what they're doing to Clark (AGAIN) aside, who in the world would want to watch THAT? This is Superman, not Batman. He's a symbol of hope to the world, not despair. And hello? He's the HERO of the story! Can't his journey be a source of inspiration and joy, rather than a depressing lesson in how he's doing it wrong? Maybe I'm being way too pessimistic, but I have a bad feeling about this.

So what do you think? Does this show crap all over your favorite character, too? Tell me the things that drive you nuts, and tell me why you think the show does this. Or maybe just tell me to get a life. :) Let's all vent a little bit, and see if it helps.

BTW, let's not turn this into a forum for character bashing, okay? I want to hear your thoughts on what the writers and producers have done to the character you love, not your justification for why you hate the character someone else loves. Let's leave the shipper wars at the door.

ETA: Spoilers in the comments, so be careful!

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jlvsclrk From: jlvsclrk Date: April 30th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if Souders has any concept of effective publicity? Do they think they'll attract viewers by having a death watch for the season finale and promising to have another dark season for Clark? Darker than S3 with the whole Metropolis / Belle Reve story line? Darker than Jonathan dying in S5? Really? You want to go there? Now? All this just gives me, a devoted fan, a pit in my stomach to think about the next few episodes and the season to come. They might make it work somehow, but they've certainly dampened my enthusiasm.

As for crapping all over the characters, yes, absolutely. In the case of Clark, I blame it all on the Watchmen - the comic - which made anti-heros "cool", and also the success of the Batman movie franchise, which seems to have convinced people you need to have a dark hero. Hollywood just can't figure out how to write Superman, since the idea of unvarnished heroism is kind of passé. Just look at the disaster that was Superman Returns. Good lord.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 30th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am confused about who their target audience is, and I do think the success of Christian Bale's Batman is a factor in where they're going. I know I'm overreacting to a few cryptic sentences, but I don't trust Souders & Peterson, who are now completely in charge of our show, when it comes to Clark, and I'm worried.

Like AlMiles, these two have always seemed to favor Lana, and to blame Clark for anything that went wrong in her life, even the things that happened because of her own poor choices. This is the writing team that gave us Crimson, Promise, Wrath, Siren, and Veritas. With Lana gone, I wonder who will emerge as their new favorite. My money's on Chloe. They wrote Prey this season, and Chloe was very Lana-like in that episode. Obviously we just have to wait and see what happens, but I can't help but fret.
acampbell From: acampbell Date: May 2nd, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lana - have her kidnap and torture Lionel; have her sleep with Bizarro and like him better than Clark

For starters. Heh. :(

In retrospect, in addition to what you specify, I'm very disappointed with what they did with Martha. Leaving alone the fact that she never really stood up to Jonathan about the Lex thing (she SAID she spent a lot of time "defending" him, but we never saw it) in her last seasons, in addition to her relationship with Lionel (which could've been fascinating had it been a spider/fly thing to which she was succumbing against her own better judgment, rather than turkey-sharing, "you make me a Better Man," crap) she seemed very podlike to me--she was always bringing up the Lex & Lana relationship to Clark in S9 ("I know it's been hard for you since Lex and Lana got married," etc., when, if I were her, I'd just have left it alone), and what blew me away was her giving Clark, in front of Lois and Chloe, the birthday card his dead father had prepared for him. Had I been Clark, I'd have lost it. I think we discussed before, and IIRC had different reactions to, the ending scene of "Vengeance, but for me, that was much the same thing.

In the earlier seasons, from a fic perspective more than from the show perspective, I could genuinely identify with Martha, so I was sorry to lose her. :(
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 7th, 2009 11:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I miss Martha a lot, and as a Supes fan, it really bothers me that Clark's mother has been excised from his life. But I have nothing but admiration for AOT for having enough self-respect to wash her hands of Smallville once and for all. The show didn't deserve her anymore after S6.

I know how much the video in Vengeance and the birthday card bother you, and obviously you're all too familiar with the pain of losing a parent, but my own reaction is almost the opposite. In those first weeks and months after my dad's death, it was painful to unexpectedly stumble upon reminders of him, but it was comforting at the same time. I would be curious to know what other people who have lived through the same loss thought about how Martha handled those situations.
jr24tw From: jr24tw Date: May 5th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmm...well I don't watch the show anymore and the main reason for that are the characters. All of them. If the show was at least fun to watch I would have continued without tuning in even after my fave actress was gone.

I haven't watched an episode of Smallville from beginning to end in forever. Mainly because I can't stand the characters. People have strenghts and weaknesses. They also have a basic character to them. It's in their nature. But ever since S4 and onward they have made OOC behaviour and 180 turns a sport, not an occassional flute.

Ever since then they have also been unable to write strong characters (mainly the female ones) without putting down others in the process. I never understood what's up with that. Why can they only make someone be the hero or villain or be strong wihtout having to destroy another character in the process.

That point probably leads to Clark Kent never being able to be the kind of Superman we all know. That's also a thought I've had since S4. This guy can never become Superman because TPTB just don't get who Superman is.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 7th, 2009 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Everything you say is true, and I appreciate your insights, especially about how this show portrays strong female characters. Unfortunately, I think TPTB count on having lots of fans like me, because I have to admit I'm not a terribly demanding viewer. I celebrate the scenes of excellence we do get, and fanwank or ignore the rest. Years of watching this show have lowered my expectations, I'm afraid.

And I do enjoy the show, but to be honest, if Tom ever left I'd stop watching in a heartbeat. Whatever dialogue he's given, whatever crazy, impossible situation they put Clark in next, Tom's performance always captivates me. So far, he still makes the show worth watching all by himself.

But even I get fed up sometimes!
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