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I worship at the television altar
Smallville: Death of a Shipper
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laurelnola From: laurelnola Date: January 20th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup, your Smallville story exactly mirrors mine. You have, more eloquently than I could, demonstrated the strange path my own shipper tendencies have taken during Smallville. The only exception is that I stopped watching mid-season 6, because when Superman starts chasing a married pregnant woman, I will be jumping over the rails and taking my lifeboat with me.

But, because I am a Superman and Clark fan, I kept ficwanking with the best of them, trying to explain his behavior. I'd say my biggest piece of ficwank was my "Fix You" series, which, as the title suggests, was my desperate attempt to give noble meaning to Clark's despicable actions on the show. But eventually, even I couldn't wank his behavior anymore. Clark looked more and more like a coward no matter what way you sliced it.

Then I remembered Ollie and how we'd come so close to getting Chlollie on the show. I thought it was very interesting that TPTB backed off of that pairing, and realized it was because the two would have looked too good compared to Clana. Thus, I decided to take a vacation from Chlark and explore Chlollie simply because 1) I was sick of Clark, and 2) I knew it would be more fun, because it had no chance of happening on the show. Much like you, I realized that shipping on SV doesn't pay. In fact, I realized that it doesn't matter whom you ship, because the ONLY ship that will ever matter on the show is this one:

Each individual character + Lana.

That's it. And if you don't love Lana the way the producers do, it makes watching the show very frustrating, I think.

I probably could have watched the show to the bad, bitter end, IF it hadn't been about Superman. Roswell was my first foray into shipper heaven (Michael and Maria) and into fanfiction, as well. I was devastated when the show started out so promising and deteriorated like a cheap suit. The characterizations went kaplooey, the storyline was unfathomably bad, and I kept thinking "but they made the early seasons so good! Surely it's got to pick up at the end! Surely it'll all be worth it by the end!" But it didn't and it wasn't. The end came and went, and we fans limped across the finish line with a horse that had died mid-way through the race. It was a truly sad and unsatisfying way to end a relationship with a series. Because of Roswell, I am a wiser shipper and television-viewer.

I learned that sometimes TV shows can't recover once they've dug themselves into a hole, no matter how much you wish for them to achieve their early greatness. Sometimes, when they're drowning, all they can do is flounder until someone tells them they can give up the ghost and they sink quietly under the water.

I'm not making the same mistake with Smallville. They haven't shown me AT ALL that they've learned from their mistakes- it just keeps getting worse, as Lana becomes more and more integral to the mythology. It doesn't matter to them if they tear down the iconic figures of Clark and Lex to do it, either. And that's something I can't watch. I can tolerate a lot of crappy things on my TV, but screwing with Superman isn't one of them.

I suppose I'm only a shipper depending on the show. Sometimes I care about pairings, sometimes not. I didn't care with X-files or Buffy or Angel or Lost or Heroes and enjoyed those shows just for the story. I think it happens when I fall in love with BOTH the characters of the ship. I loved Clark just because he was Superman, and Chloe made me fall in love with her, too. But now that I've lost my admiration for both of them as individual characters, not caring what happens to their ship makes it a lot easier to digest.

But I can say that when I DO ship, I only have a limited amount of patience to wait before we're delivered the goods. I give up on the show once I feel like fans are being toyed with for too long. I'm not down with contempt for the audience that keeps you in business! That probably makes me a viewer that producers don't want anyway, but oh well! :-)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 20th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
As I've already told you, it was your Chlollie cruise that was the final piece in the puzzle, because it made me realize that letting go of my one ship only freed me up to enjoy all others. Smallville the show is one universe, and the one that means the most to me, but fanfic provides me with countless others when I want them.

I know well all the frustrations with the show you describe, but I still find lots to love. I adore TW, and just love to watch him act. The same goes for MR, and this year for him is much better than the last. And so I go on. I have the proof positive; I enjoyed Gemini tremendously, and I didn't care one bit when it looked like Chloe might be softening towards Jimmy. It was a wonderful relief, and it allowed me to focus on the parts of the episode I loved. Going shipless works for me.

I bought Roswell on DVD when Amazon recently put it on sale for less than $20 a season, but I haven't watched it yet. I won't expect much after the first season, I guess. :)
laurelnola From: laurelnola Date: January 20th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that the Chlollie cruise helped to bring you shipper-freedom! In a very real sense, writing Chlollie not only freed me from needing a Chlark outcome, but also from needing to be invested in the outcome of Smallville, WHATEVER they decide to do.

Even though I do admire TW, MR is really the one who holds my heart. I love him because he is talent made flesh. And I love that he's a fanboy of the comics and cares about the characters. TW has so many wonderful qualities as a man, but I have a hard time completely melting over him for the ridiculous reason of him looking too much like my ex-husband. I know that's not TW's fault, but the resemblance is just too eerie, and weirds me out sometimes! I know, silly me, but what can you do? *rolls eyes at self*

I think you'll like the first half of the season of Roswell. It was highly addictive, and Michael and Maria were EXPLOSIVE with chemistry. Thank God Brendan Fehr (*fans self*) doesn't look like anyone I know! hee. Alas, it kind of went downhill from the ending of the first season, and never managed to recover, in my opinion. However, TWoP had some of the funniest recaps ever written on any show in any universe, EVER. I highly recommend you checking them out in the archives, because they alone made the show worth watching!

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 20th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally agree about MR! I just watched Onyx again the other day, and his performance was so amazing in that episode. It was a MR tour de force! And even when they give him crap to say, he gives it his all. I honestly can't imagine the show without him, but he vows this is his last season.

If your ex looked like TW, I applaud your good sense in realizing you needed to get out of that relationship. I probably would have stayed for the pretty alone. *is weak*

I figured I would have to like Roswell because I'm such a sci fi geek, and the hot teenagers would be a bonus! Thanks for telling me about the TWoP recaps, they make bad shows bearable and good shows better.
laurelnola From: laurelnola Date: January 20th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I found an excerpt from a Roswell recap for you (I got so enthused I went back and started reading them, and have been choking on my tea for the last hour as I crack up). This is from one of the last episodes:

"(Character X) tacks on that that's why (Character Y) wasn't wanted on Planet Arium, and why (they had) to come back to Earth. That makes sense for exactly negative twelve billion reasons. No one in the cast can understand that knotty plot point either.... Oh, and nice alien back-up system. No wonder you cross-breeds keep crashing your ships into rocks. Try turning the helmet forward next time you get behind the wheel of one of those. Jesus. I'm just saying."

*snerk* Yep, that pretty much sums up Roswell, right there. :-)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 20th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL! Now I can't wait to get to the "bad" episodes! That sounds hilarious.
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