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I worship at the television altar
Smallville 9x19 - Charade
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 27th, 2010 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Awww, you're way too nice to me, but I love it. *blushes*

And I admire you so much for your unflinching honesty, and your gift for going right to the heart of the matter, pinpointing with unerring accuracy what does and doesn't work on this show.

There were a lot of things in Charade that raised questions in my mind, but I think I was completely seduced by the performances from Tom and Erica. When Clark confronted Lois on the street immediately after realizing that someone was impersonating him as the Blur, that argument was so real. They perfectly captured two people who are desperately trying to communicate with one another, and failing miserably, their frustration level ratcheting up with every word they speak.

I really can't say enough about Tom. I thought he was amazing in every single scene. I know how professional he is, but still, to see this level of concentration and commitment to a deeply emotional episode, when I know how many other things clamor for his attention on a daily basis, truly touched me. And I just know he was doing everything in his power to make Brian's directorial debut a success, because that's how generous he is. I would love for BP to do a commentary on this episode, because I'm sure some wonderful Tom stories would be told.

I keep seeing people make reference to how well this episode addressed Clark's duality, and how clear it now is why Clark can't tell Lois his secret, and why Lois doesn't want to know, and honestly? I have no idea what they're talking about. And when they start to wax poetic about the beauty, complexity, and nuance of Smallville's Tof2, they might as well be speaking a foreign language. I am definitely missing something here.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 27th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, to be fair, you've admitted that you don't like the Triangle for 2....so they probably are speaking a different language. And that's ok.
And it's not that you're missing anything either. Nor is it that the people who think the Triangle is beautiful are somehow wrong or less insightful. My husband finds certain things beautiful and fascinating that I just don't. He could explain to me for hours upon end why he loves them and I still wouldn't really understand. And vice versa. I think the Triangle for 2 is just one of those things. You either love it, tolerate it or hate it. And if you are not a fan of it....there might not be anything that someone can say about the nuances of it that will make it better.

I'm sort of in the camp of Superman fans who can find beauty in it but usually want it resolved in as short a time as possible so that all parties involved can stop suffering.

MJ :)
cbrownjc From: cbrownjc Date: April 27th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Triangle for Two - Part I

Well, I'll defend the notion that you have to like the triangle for two to have understood the "language" that was being spoken in this episode. I normally don't like the triangle for two much at all, even when I understand, on some level, why it's done, especially recently in the mythos.

The reason the triangle for two started in the first place, back in Action Comics #1 in 1938 was because Clark Kent wasn't a real person. He was a disguise for Superman. And so Lois fell for the "real" guy while he tried to get her to fall for his disguise. Now, I'm not saying the creators of Superman were setting out to make a commentary on duality when they created the original concept of the triangle for two, but that's what happened. So from that day to this, Lois always falls in love with the "real" person.

So for people who were into Superman before Smallville - especially the comics - kinda have it . . . ingrained in them . . . on what the overall meta of the triangle for two is about, and what it's saying about who Clark is and who Superman is.

What Smallville did that a lot of people are seeing, is they've changed up the standard ways this usually goes. First, they had Lois meet Clark long before Superman came on the scene. By having Lois meet Clark before he split himself into two different people, they took away the ability for Clark to come off looking like huge jerk by intentionally making her believe he was two different people for years (because - as far as the modern age at least goes and leaving out the movies - Lois and Clark know each other for a couple of years before they start dating). And they took away Lois being blinded only by a bad suit and a pair of glasses that the man she loved was two different people, which always reflected badly on her.

And then they further mixed it all up by - subconsciously - having Lois still either feeling, wishing or knowing that Clark is the Blur. Whichever it is, on some unconscious level, Lois is not separating the two deep down, which I don't think has ever been confirmed before in any version of the triangle.

But the main thing Smallville did was that they didn't simplify the duality of Clark Kent and "Superman". Again, one of the main functions of the triangle is to comment on who the "real" person between Clark and Superman is. And by having Lois have different but very real feelings for both sides states something I argue has been true since the pilot when Clark first found out her was an alien - and that is that both sides of him are real. The Blur - who will be Superman - isn't a fake person. He's the side of himself that Clark rejected and wished away for years. He's the side of Clark that Clark embraced when he declared Clark Kent to be dead at the end of last season. He's the side of Clark that has the ability to go out every night and actually make a difference - that wants to make a difference. The Blur, to actually put it simply, is Kal-El.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is to blame for many people simplifying this duality commentary over the years by declaring that "Superman is what I can do, Clark is who I am." But on Smallville, that was never the case. It may be what Clark wished was true, but it never actually was true.

So I think where some may be finding a problem here is with the idea that the Blur isn't anymore than a shadow because he's hiding in the shadows. Or maybe it has to do with having watched Clark reject the "Blur" side of himself for years, and they're just invested in the Kansas Farmboy aspect of him, and do think of the Blur as nothing more than what Clark can do.

Edited at 2010-04-27 06:51 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 29th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Triangle for Two - Part I

Thank you for explaining the Tof2 so clearly! I liked Superman from the time I was little, but I didn't love him until LnC. The concept of Clark being the "real" man captivated me, and drew me into the story like never before. So maybe you're right, and the perspective I embraced from that show is influencing how I view this one.

You talk about Clark having two sides, and I get that. But I don't see them as separate identities that will persist. I've always seen Clark's journey as his struggle to balance his two sides, to find a way to bring them together, and no longer feel torn between them. I don't see either Clark Kent or Superman as being fake, I just see them as the same person, presenting himself to the world in two different ways. Neither one is the complete picture, but both are real. The person who Clark truly will be, the man and the myth in one, is probably someone only Lois and Martha will know. I don't consider that an oversimplified way of viewing things, but perhaps you do. You've given me a lot to think about.

Geoff Johns said in an interview with IGN that to become Superman, Clark has to choose to step out of the shadows and into the public eye, to become the superhero who inspires others, and leads by example. But he also said that in so doing, Clark would have to make sacrifices, and that one of the most dear would be his personal connections to people. I think we're already seeing that with Chloe. Some people complain that Clark only goes to see her when he needs something these days, but the reality is that his priorities are shifting, and, as he told Lois in Charade, he feels guilty allowing himself the indulgences he sees as selfish, like hanging with Chloe as friends. The one person he can't seem to deny himself, however, is Lois.

I am quite curious to see where the show goes from here. Who will Clark be when the curtain falls on Smallville? To what extent will the writers align themselves with comics canon, and what story developments will emerge as unique to the show? I just hope TPTB have a clear vision for what lies ahead, and that the final season does right by our hero.
cbrownjc From: cbrownjc Date: April 27th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Triangle for Two - Part II

And while I will fully admit the show could have gone much more into the duality issue this season than it did (because lord knows, we didn't need another episode with Oliver fighting against his dark side or whatever) it isn't something that just came up for the first time in this episode. It was also part of what was going on with Clark and Zod's Butch & Sundance adventure last week. Notice how Clark remained dressed in his "Blur" attire during that whole Bromance adventure with Zod.

Someone more articulate than me said somewhere else that one of the overall legacies of Smallville to the Superman mythos will be that it rejected the idea that only one person - Clark or Superman - is the "real" person. Both sides are equally real and equally important, which is what this version of the triangle confirmed. But again, that comes from understanding what the meta-commentary of the triangle for two is about and what it says about this issue over the decades.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Triangle for Two - Part II

Beautifully stated and I agree with everything that you said.

You know what's funny? I know that that line from "Lois and Clark" about Clark being "who I am" and Superman "just what I can do" is pretty famous. But, personally, I always thought that was an over simplification even for THAT show. When you go back and watch the interactions between Superman and Lois, particularly in the first season, it seems fairly clear that Clark was showing a different but equally REAL side of himself to Lois when he interacted with her as Superman. A side of himself that he did not show her as Clark. In the 3rd season episode, "Ultrawoman," Clark felt like a shell of his former self after his powers were transferred to Lois. He missed being out there saving people and he felt empty without his job as Superman. Then I think about the way "Superman" became a part of their relationship. In the later seasons, Clark's duty to the world as Superman was an equal player in their marriage. I think the line worked for the show in the sense that Lnc was so heavily based on the Bryne revamp. It was supposed to be such a direct contrast to the Silver Age in making Clark the real person. But to me, that famous line isn't exactly accurate even when you are talking about that version of the myth.

The crazy thing is that Smallville, even with all the changes that it has made to the mythos, is actually much closer to where the modern comics have taken us. Superman is very much a part of Clark's identity in the modern comics and consequently his duty as Superman and his passion for Lois are very connected.

I personally love what Smallville has said about Clark's identity. It's so much more complex than what we got on LnC or the Superman films. It's the closest we've gotten to bringing Superman off the pages of the modern comics.

But I think you hit the nail on the head that everyone is going to look at this based on their perceptions of what the triangle is about and who the real person is. (And I'm not talking about this thread per se because I think most people on here have knowledge about the Superman canon and understand the changes that have been made over the years.) Some Superman fans adore the Triangle for 2. I've seen some fans say that they just love it in every incarnation no matter how it plays out...no matter who the "real" person is. Then I've seen other Superman fans say that they are really never a fan of it. So this is an issue that people seem to have strong opinions about depending on who you ask.

This is kind of random, but I remember getting into a debate with Derek over at the ShoE boards a few months back because he stated that Lois was supposed to be falling in love with Superman and not Clark. And I was like...ummm...not in the modern canon she doesn't. He was talking about the Silver Age. So we started talking and I was trying to remind him exactly what you said...that Lois falls in love with the "real" person. So, yes, that's where he was coming from with this perceptions about the Silver Age. But I reminded him that Lois falling in love with Superman and finding Clark unattractive is not the party line when it comes to Superman canon. Depending on what age and version you are talking about...you are going to get a different answer. But Smallville has thrown this all on its head by introducing us to such a COMPLEX Clark Kent who doesn't just have one REAL persona. His true persona is a combination of both his human and his alien side. He is the farmboy, the reporter, the alien, the superhero. They are all real.

Thanks for your insightful response!

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