Frak meeeeee!
December 28, 2009 7:27 AM   Subscribe

 
Well, I liked it.
posted by not that girl at 7:33 AM on December 28, 2009


Huh, I never knew YouTube audio was actually stereo.
posted by cavalier at 7:44 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, Muppets... is there anything you can't inspire?
posted by hippybear at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2009


Marylin Monrobot ... Baby Boomer dies ... fantastic!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2009


Oh, Muppets... is there anything you can't inspire?

So inspirational it transcended the time barriers to inspire something that was put up four months before it was posted...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:03 AM on December 28, 2009


Wait a minute - Dualla is referenced as a "ho"? WTF?
posted by cavalier at 8:07 AM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


So inspirational it transcended the time barriers to inspire something that was put up four months before it was posted...

I know, right? I mean, that's how utterly totally cool the Muppets are!
posted by hippybear at 8:13 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute - Dualla is referenced as a "ho"? WTF?

A friend of mine still hasn't forgiven her for making eyes at Lee while still going out with Billy.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:29 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


That would have been substantially better if anyone involved with it could actually sing.
posted by Lokheed at 8:29 AM on December 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


tldw;
posted by mr. strange at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2009


That would have been substantially better if anyone involved with it could actually sing.


I disagree. Its cheerful, unselfconscious badness was a feature for me.
posted by not that girl at 8:47 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate that I liked that so much.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on December 28, 2009


You really should warn us before hitting us with that much awesome so early in the morning.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2009


Hey, look, a buncha high school kids done gone and put on a play! My roundabout way of going 'ow.'
posted by MikeHarris at 9:08 AM on December 28, 2009


Man, I miss BSG so much. When the frack is Caprica going to start?
posted by angrycat at 9:22 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I still haven't seen season 4.5 so I had to stop it before the end, but even so, that was all too enjoyable (except for the fucked up Dee=ho thing, which sucked, but, was consistant with BSGs consistantly problematic issues around race: naked Eight doing Tai Chi anyone?)
posted by serazin at 9:23 AM on December 28, 2009


Marilyyyyyn Monroooobot...

This. This will be the thing that causes me spontaneous laughter for the rest of the day. Possibly even week. Thanks.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2009


Dualla was a ho. So was pretty much every other person on that ship. And Baltar was king of the whores. Oh how I miss Baltar. Such a glorious mess.
posted by Babblesort at 9:27 AM on December 28, 2009


(Then why didn't they say 'ho' about Baltar? Because that would fail to play into a facil racial stereotype - that's why. ):
posted by serazin at 9:29 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Uh, facile)
posted by serazin at 9:29 AM on December 28, 2009


Man, I miss BSG so much. When the frack is Caprica going to start?
posted by angrycat


I watched the premier episode of Caprica a few months ago. Don't expect a substitute for BSG. It's TweeSG. Shiny and teeny and Frank Caprica-esque. Not terrible but it doesn't reach high enough to shave Adama's chin. The relentless grit and hopelessness of BSG aren't there.
posted by Babblesort at 9:43 AM on December 28, 2009


Plus all the Space-Italians giving them Space-Deals they can't Space-Refuse.
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on December 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


I realize now that The Plan was just to entertain me, not make any sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine still hasn't forgiven her for making eyes at Lee while still going out with Billy.

That's weird, you live in Texas and I've never met you but I guess we are friends!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was prepared to "meh" this. Instead I watched it all the way through and even laughed out loud at a couple parts. Years of watching cute kitteh videos haven't inured me to well-done fun humor after all, phew. Didn't like the Dualla "ho" part either, though. That rang false in otherwise great lyrics.

I thought the shaky singing added to its appeal too, which is a rare and difficult feat to pull off.
posted by fraula at 10:46 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"now she's in a latte trouble today?"

sure thing, fellas.
posted by shmegegge at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2009


Oi.
This slides past Geek Humor into Nerd Humor.
That is not a very good place to be at all, I'm afraid.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2009


Wait, "The Plan" was already released? Ha ha ha, ha ha, I missed it, yay, I missed it, I don't have to see it, ha ha, no angels for me!!
posted by cavalier at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2009


That scene where some human is freefalling with an old-school cylon and shooting each other-when did that happen? I don't remember that at all.
posted by Tacodog at 11:44 AM on December 28, 2009


Also, people that say "Frak" in real-life conversation are just as bad as the ones that say things like "let's hug it out, bitch" and stuff like that. Wit by way of Spencer's Gifts always leaves a lame aftertaste.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:47 AM on December 28, 2009


The freefall thing was in one of the Razor web episodes.
posted by aerotive at 11:55 AM on December 28, 2009


Dualla was a ho. So was pretty much every other person on that ship.

Dualla was one of the only characters on the show that wasn't a "ho" in any way. I know that we're never gonna really get rid of lazy racial stereotyping, and this one scores pretty low on my outrage-o-meter, but I'll never understand why people jump to defend or explain it away.

I actually just watched the entire series for the first time over the past week. I liked it a lot.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:11 PM on December 28, 2009


Also, people that say "Frak" in real-life conversation are just as bad as the ones that say things like "let's hug it out, bitch" and stuff like that. Wit by way of Spencer's Gifts always leaves a lame aftertaste.
posted by Senor Cardgage

But it's nerdly homage! Homage! (and who says "let's hug it out, bitch?" and why? and Spencer's gifts??)
posted by angrycat at 1:25 PM on December 28, 2009


Thank you for making me hate the internet more today.

Years ago, this sort of shit was considered "filk" and it was to be loathed by its very nature. The people creating it didn't care, as long as they got a room somewhere and some water service, they hardly noticed how shunned they were. (I know this because I chaired a sci-fi con once.) What's next? "Banned from Argo" with Star Trek clips? Oh crap, it existed already. Well frak me.
posted by Catblack at 1:50 PM on December 28, 2009


This was cool for about a minute and then it just went for the cheap laughs and IT WASN'T THE WHOLE DAMNED SERIES ANYWAY!!! IT WAS JUST SEASONS 1.0 AND 4.5 SO FRAK YOU!! FRAK YOU!!! BATTLESTAR RHAPSODY PEOPLE!! FRACK YOU!!!
posted by Skygazer at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2009


Dude, it totally had Seasons 2 & 3! Mustache Adama! (The terrible) fat suited Lee! Xena, Cylon princess!
posted by serazin at 3:23 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll watch this later, but I've got to agree, Dualla would fall very low on the BSG "ho" meter compared to others.
posted by Atreides at 3:36 PM on December 28, 2009


This is totally peripheral to this video, but the stupid "ho" thing has got me on a tear and I just must get this off my chest right this second. Thank you for indulging me.

The way race is addressed, or rather, not addressed on BSG is so problematic. Why problematic? Well, I'm glad you asked.

First we must contextualize BSG by acknowledging that it is one of the most explicitly feminist shows in television history. Ron Moore has stated in numerous venues that he set out to do something different with the female characters in the show, and consistently put women in roles of authority, strength, autonomy, etc. Further, this is generally an explicitly political show that deals with a range of complex social issues including civil liberties, occupation and colonization, torture and war. Class is addressed explicitly. (Economic, social and political hierarchy based on nationality is dealt with, but only from a Marxist perspective where economics is the exclusive lens through which this issue is analyzed.)

In contrast to such overt explorations of other complex political and social issues, race is never addressed on the show. We get the sense that this is a post-racial universe, or perhaps one where race has never been an "issue". But by ignoring race, the writers and directors expose some of their own possibly unexplored stereotypes or biases. First, we find that for a large, ensemble cast, this one is remarkably white. The creators must be commended for putting a man of color at the top of the cast, but of the top 10 cast members, only he and two other characters are portrayed by actors of color. In general, there is also a sort of "one of each" phenomenon with the actors of color (with the exception of two Asian actors and the possible exception of the second-tier black characters who I'll come back to shortly). There are no romantic or sexual pairings on the show involving two actors of the same ethnic background, except for the white actors – you never see a black actor getting it on with another black actor on the Battlestar. (As I mentioned, there are several second-tier and minor characters portrayed by black actors, but at the peak of black performers on the show – Season Two – a problematic theme emerges where a disproportionate number of them seem to be highly spiritual. We have Elosha the priest, the soldier who frees Roslin from jail, the Gemonon representative on the high counsel – we get the sense in Season Two that Gemonon is the black people planet where everyone is really into worshiping the Lords of Kobal, although in fairness, this theme dissipates by season end.) The promising "Bulldog" gets a great Viper pilot role, but one that is only a guest star position, never to be seen again.

If we examine each individual actor of color on this show, the portrayals are mixed; some quite positive representations, some disappointing.

Adama – this is an exemplary case. Olmos, famous on and off screen for activism and advocacy around issues impacting Latinos and Chicanos, portrays a rich and complex character who does not play into stereotypes at all. Germaine to this discussion, Olmos himself vocally rejects the concept of race; I'm curious to know if he valued or critiqued the post-racial universe presented here.)
Dualla – we are introduced to this character as an Uhura equivalent: she is simply the ship's receptionist, patching through calls, delivering paperwork. It should go without saying that this is a re-hash of an already problematic cliché. Later Dualla is promoted, but to what? We're never clear and we never see her in a supervisory role. (Romantically she starts strong, running circles around adorable Billy, with whom she has great chemistry. Later she becomes the flat, jealous wife to white lead Lee Adama in a role that is unusual in the context of the show's otherwise assertive female characters.)
Eight – Boomer starts off as a powerfully new character for an Asian American actor: she is a fighter pilot, completely flipping on their heads stereotypes about submissive Asian women, without becoming a caricature: unlike Starbuck, Boomer shows vulnerability while at the same time displaying her skills. I feel this character declines with time though. Her cylon persona is annoyingly malleable, and there is that unforgivable scene of her doing Tai Chi naked on the cylon ship. What the hell kind of essentialist (not to mention sexist) shit is that?!
Four – Why is the black cylon the one we never frakking see? There's even an all-cylon scene where we have Team Cylon debating what to do about the Eye of Jupiter, but Simon is mysteriously not part of the conversation. The producers couldn't even be bothered to pay Rick Worthy for that episode and instead hired a bald, black extra to stand in the background futzing with the computers. One small but meaty scene shows Simon aboard the Battlestar, but this is one of the most astoundingly clueless moments in white-produced SciFi history. Did the writer and director not know that an image of a black man in a metal neck restraint would have problematic connotations to the viewing public? Or was this a ham-fisted and ill-conceived analogy for African slavery? We'll never know.
Gaeta – The ship's nerd is portrayed by an actor who is half-Chinese, which certainly plays into stereotypes about Asians and Asian Americans, but one could argue that the audience is largely unaware of this actor's ethnic identity and therefore his character is not reinforcing the stereotype (but reinforcing invisibility? Discuss.)
Helo – I view this as a positive portrayal. Although he is perhaps less complex than other characters on the show (he is the only straightforward "hero", acting always on his principals), he gets a lot of screen time and is not given Hollywood's stereotyping "Indian" traits. One could argue that his identity as a First Nations person is obscured or even hidden on the show, again, under/in-visibility is a complex point requiring a more in-depth discussion.
Tory – Tory doesn't particularly hem to South Asian stereotypes, except perhaps Hottness. I appreciated the rare opportunity to see an actor of South Asian ancestry on screen and I think her performances were good. (Although the comparison to Hilary Clinton's former "body woman" – Huma Abadin – is perhaps unavoidable.)

Let me conclude by saying that overall, this is a wonderful show, brave in its commitment to upending gender stereotypes (and mostly successful - with exceptions. As Mary McDonnell has suggested in interviews, the show fails the Bechdel Test because the female characters rarely interact with each other) and wise in its consistency in portraying people (of all ethnic backgrounds) as complex rather than simply good or evil. I only wish they could have taken it to the next logical step. (And don't get me started about the heterosexism).
posted by serazin at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


I always thought Dualla's ...ending was a point where they story could have gone in a new direction, but then went straight up it's ass.

also

*SERAZIN SLOW CLAP*
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]



A friend of mine still hasn't forgiven her for making eyes at Lee while still going out with Billy.

I still haven't forgiven the show's creators for that last half an hour of the series.
posted by Zinger at 6:00 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, yah, I kept thinking Simon was being set up to be a big character and then ...nothing. It's very telling in the free-rolling, improv-heavy nature of the series that Simon is a scary doctor who is part of this big scary impregnation-fertility stealing farm, is never seen again. Which feels like a huge misstep to me. The whole biology-fertility- egg harvesting-camp horror was ignored when it should have been much more central. If you wanted a civil war within the Cylons, you have it right there, Cavil and his robotics, Simon and his biology research - but Simon just vanished and I wonder how much that was intended and how much was not being able to get the actor (when they're all copies this is a problem, D'Anna stays on "Earth" because they couldn't afford Lucy's rates and she had other commitments) and how much is text. Again, given how improv the series was this mostly shows a lack of imagination.

Gaeta – The ship's nerd is portrayed by an actor who is half-Chinese, which certainly plays into stereotypes about Asians and Asian Americans, but one could argue that the audience is largely unaware of this actor's ethnic identity and therefore his character is not reinforcing the stereotype (but reinforcing invisibility? Discuss.)

I was mostly annoyed that Gaeta only gets a romantic interest in the web episodes, and I'm annoyed from a story standpoint. Hoshi falls for him HARD while Gaeta remains cool. It open the door for many more interesting plot developments than we had, particularly the late-weakly mutiny.
posted by The Whelk at 6:11 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Serazin, i have to slightly disagree with some of your analysis, based purely on the idea that the primary focus of the show was humanity, and each of the main characters portrayed universal human traits. There were plenty of themes and plot points that I saw as being direct, if not completely ham-fisted comments about race. However, the concepts of otherness, bigotry, stereotypes and race were seen primarily through the cylon/human duality, and not the races of the characters themselves.

I didn't find any real fault with the main characters in that regard. I did have a problem with the overall picture painted through secondary characters and the "world" as a whole inhabited in the show. There was definitely some eye-rolling at the stock "magic negro" priestess character, and as much as I love Bill Duke, casting him as the Gangster was lazy and regrettable. The pitiful human stew of the fleet as a whole would have been more believable with a bit more diversity.

Within the context of the punishment visited on the rest of the cast I didn't see the "black man in chains" as problematic in the least.

I would argue that the show only had one truly second-class citizen, and that was Callie. Everytime she was on screen I would wince in anticipation of what horrible thing was about to happen to her.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:39 PM on December 28, 2009


I would argue that the show only had one truly second-class citizen, and that was Callie. Everytime she was on screen I would wince in anticipation of what horrible thing was about to happen to her.

But Callie was ...a bad person. I liked this idea - Callie, for all her cuteness and demureness- is fundamentally a bad person, mean and petty and spiteful, so I liked her course of events, so to speak. I liked that someone so set up to be sympathetic and an audience stand-in would turn out to be just awful. If the whole arc of the series was Empathy, then Callie fails. She was always undercutting people for her own ends.
posted by The Whelk at 6:47 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


billyfleetwood - I can see your perspective. I think the creators have actually been pretty up-front that at least in the original inception, the cylons were allegorical at least in part for Al Qaeda (with the whole Chickens Coming Home to Roost thing being played heavily). In that sense I can agree that it was intentionally at least partially a race/culture analogy. I suppose it's also a central assumption about SciFi that alien/human relations represent racial misunderstandings - or the potential for unity. So generally, I would imagine that what you're saying about universal human traits and us vs. other dynamics is pretty much what the creators of the show intended. I do think their execution was not always effective though.

And oh shit - I totally forgot about (blocked out) the Bill Duke episode. My roommate and I were literally yelling at the TV at that point.
posted by serazin at 7:04 PM on December 28, 2009


*SPOILERS BEWARE*

Dude, it totally had Seasons 2 & 3! Mustache Adama! (The terrible) fat suited Lee! Xena, Cylon princess!
posted by serazin 3 ¼ hours ago [+]


The "stache" and the fat Apollo and you're satisfied??!

W.

T.

F

(FDL drive)

err... dude.

ALso the actor who played Apollo, actually put on the weight, that wasn't a fatso suit.

Another problem with that song is that , they did NOT include BattleStar Galactica unleashed on the Cylone colony, in that last episode as a giant penis in spaceship space colony coitus.

I think for that final episode they had a half a dozen different endings, including the battlestar Galactic having huge space ship sex in the middle of a meteor storm or whatever and that would've been perfect as an ending!! But then you had the whole thing with the Opera house and Deam Stockwell Cylon with a gun and then the Chief fucking up and killing the Indian cyclon chick who punched out Callie and got her sucked out into space and then blah blah blah.

I think they the two guys in skits after the credits, just said frak it, and decided to thrown in every ending they had...and then some. At a certain point on the new earth, I was like STOP!! STOP!!! PLEASE GOD MAKE IT END!!

But other than than, I loved that frakin show.....and Tricia Helfer. Whoa, Tricia Helfer.

Also what was up with that goofy robot footage at the end? Hmmm...I wonder what they were trying to say?? I wonder....

Also, it seems Starbuck was the Holy Spirit (remember the pigeon that gets caught in Lee's room the night he and Starbuck get smashed and almost get it on.)

So yeah, Adama was the Father, Lee/Starbuck was the son and Kara Thrace/Starbuck was the Holy Spirit.

And I guess Baltar was the devil? And No.6 was a hot HAWT angel/demon!!
posted by Skygazer at 7:06 PM on December 28, 2009


The Welk - isn't it such a cop-out that Gaeta's romance is only in the webisodes? Frakkers. And thanks for the slow clap. I'm picturing you as Adama directing the rag tag crew to applaud me. It's extremely gratifying.
posted by serazin at 7:06 PM on December 28, 2009


* I guess I should add that images of a pigeons or dove (same) were the symbol for the Holy Spirit in the bible and ancient times.
posted by Skygazer at 7:13 PM on December 28, 2009


(Jamie Bamer has said in various interviews that he wore belly and face prosthetics for "fat Lee". There are reams of criticism to be made about how utterly lazy, fatphobic, cheap and implausible the fat suit Lee plot point was, but I shot my wad on the race monologue so I'll stop now.)
posted by serazin at 7:20 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I watched the premier episode of Caprica a few months ago. Don't expect a substitute for BSG. It's TweeSG. Shiny and teeny and Frank Caprica-esque. Not terrible but it doesn't reach high enough to shave Adama's chin. The relentless grit and hopelessness of BSG aren't there.

You talk about all those things as if they are a detriment to Caprica. For me, they are strengths. I don't want it to have the grit and hopelessness of BSG. I want it to be different. I don't want to watch another series so full of despair.

And I really, really don't understand you calling it Capra-esque. Despite it not being as sombre as BSG, it's hardly lightheared and feel-good.

By the way, the series begins on January 22. I look forward to it.
posted by crossoverman at 7:33 PM on December 28, 2009


There are reams of criticism to be made about how utterly lazy, fatphobic, cheap and implausible the fat suit Lee plot point was

The actor who played Apollo said he'd have to remind the writers that the character was still fat and were they going to do anything about it. Which rather neatly explains the final season.

Serazin, I'm disturbed by your searing look at the characters, based solely on their race. Except for the awkward scenes with Simon's in chains, where I got the sense the writers were trying to rise above the obvious (however clumsily), the show really wasn't much about race. You can lambast it for not being so, I suppose, but it seems odd to be to complain about it not being about race when it so clearly wasn't and didn't portray all minorities in a negative light. It's like complaining about a pizza with no onions on it when the pizza was clearly made without onions. You got a point on one hand, but seem to missing one on the other.

Odd too that this is the second recent scifi related thread on Mefi that I've noticed complaining about heterosexual pairings.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2009


I'm less concerned about strict race/hertosexualist pairings then I am about wasted story points. Simon was presented was being a cool, seductive, yet deadly force, and then totaly forgotten about. Gaeta was always kinda of unstable-yet-loyal-yet and having a seduced point for his rebellion would have made sense, if they actually did anything with it. Ditto Dualla. I think a lot of this is due to how the show was made, the improv-heavy nature and the non-standing scoring and writing and somewhat random production schedule . Listening to the podcasts makes it sound like just barely containg a huge fire, which explains a bit, but doesn't explain a lot of other things. Like everyone else in existence said, everything after New Caprica seemed rushed and unthoughtout. I'm less concerned with the poor play toward race and more concerned with the poor play toward narrative conclusion. Lots of guns on the wall and holes in the ship.
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 PM on December 28, 2009


Also Fat Apollo left me with a bad taste cause *really?*
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 PM on December 28, 2009


Yes, yes, there has been quite few nerd threads lately with the invariable nerd-rages, nerd-seizures, nerd-gasms and nerd-panties-in-a-twist scenes that come with it . I was trying to pull one off a little nerd-heart attack upthread, because I think they're so funny, but it fell pretty flat. I don't think I picked quite a good enough reason to justify the spazzi-ness of it. I guess you just can't fake that stuff.
posted by Skygazer at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2009


Tacodog: That scene where some human is freefalling with an old-school cylon and shooting each other-when did that happen? I don't remember that at all.

Yeah, me too, although I had faint memory of it and then I realized there were no cylons in the most recent Star Trek movie.
posted by Skygazer at 10:29 PM on December 28, 2009


That was a fat suit?? I could've sworn he talked about how hard it was to put on the weight, eating all the time, on one of the extra features interviews with the cast. Perhaps he needed the fat suit to keep his weight looking consistent, all the fun that could've been had writing some weird bulimic space space virus that caused Apollo to blimp up and slim down rather unpredictably would've been pretty funny.

Oh, and of course not to mention a very good commentary on the way people who're overweight are generally not treated as nicely as slender people, and Dualla could've broken up with him when he was fat and gotten back together with him when he slimmed down, of course his getting in and out of a viper would've been problematic as a fat guy too....

But perhaps Chief could've built him a special fat guy viper...with special fat guy weapons...

Ha ha fat guy weapons...

Gaeta, was half-Asian? I thought Gaeta was Italian.

Turns out he had a beautiful singing voice after he got his leg amputated.

They really should've had a special Fat-guy viper for Lee Adama. That would've been so badass!! Hey Cylons, here's our fat guy viper, punks and he's got a plan...to fuck you up!!!

posted by Skygazer at 10:59 PM on December 28, 2009


After watching it finally, somewhat disappointed. It seemed to miss any of those things that the show was about and substituted a few random drop plot twists integrated with somewhat brief summaries of characters.

Serazin, you start off by acknowledging that BSG is apparently a post-racial setting, but you then seem to imply for some of your points that it should have conformed to our pre-racial society expectations. Doesn't that defeat the point somewhat of the show's setting?

I also agree with billyfleetwood, in that even if not originally, the cylons came to take on the role of the racial other. This goes a long with the treatment of the Six and Boomer (or was it Athena?) by the military personnel on the Pegasus. They thought of nothing of using sexual violence against either because they were seen as "less than human."

Also, you left out Luciana Carro's character in your evaluation of the ethnic cast members.
posted by Atreides at 7:07 AM on December 29, 2009


Luciano's Italian-Canadian, right?

Not sure if I was unclear about my other points. Basically what I'm saying is that the choice to create a post-racial/race-free universe is odd when you compare it with how the creators had such a clear agenda about gender (and other controversial political and social issues). They weren't content to let a mostly male cast fill in for all human (including female) characteristics, and instead purposefully put women in new roles. Race then stands out in contrast because they do seem content to allow white actors to fill in for "all human experience". (That's not entirely fair, because it is a multi-racial cast, but if this was truly a world where race didn't matter, it would be much more so - at least assuming an ethnic break-down similar to Earth's). My next complaint is that what follows from this post-racial conceit is an environment where subtle (or unsubtle) biases held by the writers and directors are expressed accidentally through the characters of color on the show. (And actually, I hope its clear that I'm not looking for the show to conform to our present racial assumptions - but the opposite - I wish that like with women, they showed more actors of color, that those actors had more opportunities to interact with each other - and that they weren't put into contexts that reinforce racial stereotypes. If this were truly a post-racial world, not only would we see more people of color, but we wouldn't see anyone fitting into any one racialism "type" [and again, I aknowledged that they did this right in many cases - but there are some problems]).

I do think the points about Cylons in part representing the racial other makes sense though.
posted by serazin at 8:32 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


racialized - not racialism
posted by serazin at 8:35 AM on December 29, 2009


serazin, if you haven't seen "The Plan", you might want to watch it when it comes round on TV next. Simon gets a rather larger role in it than he did in most of the main series run, and... well, just watch it and see for yourself :)
posted by ubernostrum at 8:41 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, I didn't know Gaeta or Helo were (respectively) half-Chinese or Native American until serazin pointed it out.

Of course, I also didn't really realize Olmos was Hispanic until I saw that episode of the West Wing where he plays a nominee for Supreme Court justice whose name is Rodriguez or something. So... yeah.

Frankly, considering how fucked up most ALL of the Caucasian characters are in BG, I don't really see how you can legitimately complain about non-Caucasian characters being "stereotyped".

In fact, throughout the whole series I think the only characters who didn't have some massive issues were Billy and (until the end) Dualla. And that's probably because they're two of the least-developed characters.

Anyway, on-topic; this wasn't bad, but it really could've done with some decent singers.
posted by Target Practice at 10:43 AM on December 29, 2009


I could-- and did-- forgive much on BSG. In fact, I forgave them practically everything-- the weirdo Starbuck and Lee beat each other up strange ritual thing, for one-- and I even cheered the All Along the Watchtower motif and Starbuck's foray into the afterlife and the opera house/bridge of Galactica and so on. But I could not, and still cannot, get past the final scene where a bunch of older white guys observe the African savages (they don't have language yet, apparently) through binoculars and talk about how they can "breed" with them and bring them knowledge and so on and so forth and then they abandon their technology and wander off in different directions so that they would all be dead of exposure and starvation in 6 months. Fie. But the ride up until then was pretty awesome and had enough jaw-dropping moments to keep me happy during the weeks earlier this year when I worked my way through the series.
posted by jokeefe at 12:51 PM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Exactly my thoughts, jokeefe.
posted by Zinger at 2:06 PM on December 29, 2009


One of the things that struck me about Galactica was the way Our Heroes were living a life of drunken luxury while almost everyone else was trapped in utter deprivation. I'm guessing that was a deliberate social statement.

The whole organization seemed to me to be riddled with bad management, from the top down. The only group that was halfway competent was Galen's deck crew. You could make a whole management seminar out of the series, using nearly every command decision as an example of what not to do.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:43 PM on December 29, 2009


However, the concepts of otherness, bigotry, stereotypes and race were seen primarily through the cylon/human duality, and not the races of the characters themselves.

IMHO, the resolution to the Cylon-as-racial-other plot was an even bigger failure. Oh, what do you know, it turns out those silly toasters underestimated the Power Of Humanity after all! Well, I guess they'll just have to surrender their entire culture and forget about being machines, because Machines Are Bad And Isn't Humanity Great. And, uh, we also had God Himself show up and slaughter all the robot-power Cylons in a conveniently off-screen genocide, but that's OK because they're evil. Or something.

Remember, the Cylons were supposed to have been the second-generation descendants of slaves. Thus, the story of BSG is the story of a slave-race which deliberately destroyed everything unique about themselves and then adopted the culture of their innately-superior, divine-destiny-equipped former masters... only to be entirely forgotten by their descendants, who we are then told "were given the best of us" (which is, of course, not the Cylon part). Even the Centurions, the only ones allowed to keep their own culture, are waved off with a paranoid note of "but what if they come back and eat us all!"

If you draw a line between the initial portrayal of the Cylons and the finale, what you get is essentially the idea that other cultures are fooling themselves, if not outright evil, and would be way better off if they were all vaguely-humanist Americans who attend the Nondenominational Church Of Space Jesus. The show tried desperately to cover up this fundamental moral shift by blaming everything on Cavil rather than the Cylons as a whole, but it was much too-little-too-late, especially since the moral ambiguity of the first two and a half seasons makes an unintentional mockery of the entire retcon.

If the last episode of BSG isn't the biggest dose of smug, lazy bullshit on television since the 80s, I don't know what is. And don't even get me started on the show's deep disdain for atheism and science, which is even less subtle...
posted by vorfeed at 3:11 PM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I could not, and still cannot, get past the final scene where a bunch of older white guys observe the African savages (they don't have language yet, apparently) through binoculars...

Interesting, I never made the "African savages" connection.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 PM on December 29, 2009


One of the things that struck me about Galactica was the way Our Heroes were living a life of drunken luxury while almost everyone else was trapped in utter deprivation.

God yes. You see the occasional scene which shows what life is like for the ordinary citizens of the fleet (or references to it, such as a throwaway news item about demonstrations that occurred when Roslyn banned abortion, for example) and it seems pretty obvious that it would have been hellish. I ended up sympathizing with the Peace movement, if only because it was evidence of a population trying to control their own fate, in absence of even the paltry amount of information the ruling class had.
posted by jokeefe at 9:03 PM on December 29, 2009


But I could not, and still cannot, get past the final scene where a bunch of older white guys observe the African savages (they don't have language yet, apparently) through binoculars

Well unless Adama was presented to be white, then that's one less older white guy looking through the binoculars. I'd say that unless you ascribe to the theory of evolution where humans popped up in various parts of the world, it had to be African "savages" to go along with the show's statement that the Colonists merged with the first humans. Africa is the cradle of humanity, so it'd only make sense. Would it be better if the savages had been light skinned?

If this were truly a post-racial world, not only would we see more people of color, but we wouldn't see anyone fitting into any one racialism "type" [and again, I aknowledged that they did this right in many cases - but there are some problems]).


Fair enough.
posted by Atreides at 7:14 AM on December 30, 2009


Atreides: I was reacting to the image, not necessarily the narrative logic. Also, I'd just watched two (three, if you count Dualla) of the main female characters die or disappear before the very end of the series, so I was feeling a little kvetchy about that. I still am, actually.
posted by jokeefe at 12:37 PM on December 30, 2009


Atreides: I was reacting to the image, not necessarily the narrative logic. Also, I'd just watched two (three, if you count Dualla) of the main female characters die or disappear before the very end of the series, so I was feeling a little kvetchy about that. I still am, actually.

Indeed. Not a single one of the non-Cylon major female characters survive to colonize Earth -- even the minor female characters (Seelix, Kat, Barolay, and Racetrack) die and/or get written off the show before the end. I think Ishay (Cottle's nurse) is the only one who was likely to have made it.

As for the "narrative logic", I still don't buy it. The finale is about as true-to-science as a two-hour session with Miss Cleo; given all the other hogwash we were asked to accept (*cough* deus-ex-machina singularity *cough* collective unconscious), the writers could easily have suggested that the natives had some degree of language and culture, especially given the "150,000 years ago" time frame. Frankly, the idea that hominids of this time frame had categorizable weapons, tools, and clothing without at least a proto-language is rather non-scientific, anyway.

I have a real problem with the suggestion that the Chariots of the Gods plotline can be excused. It "only makes sense" if you're willing to allow some abuses of science, but not others, according to a rather clear philosophical agenda. The writers didn't make the Colonists the Secret White Herbs and Spices Needed For Intelligence On Earth because it was scientific to do so -- they did it because that's the story they wanted to tell. Likewise, the flimsy mantle of science they draped over the story doesn't excuse what the story actually says about humanity.
posted by vorfeed at 2:30 PM on December 30, 2009


Better ending: The Fleet, at the last moment jumps into orbit around another planet - smashing right into the International Space Station.

Wether or not they get nuked depends on if the show is picked up.
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on December 30, 2009


Atreides: I was reacting to the image, not necessarily the narrative logic. Also, I'd just watched two (three, if you count Dualla) of the main female characters die or disappear before the very end of the series, so I was feeling a little kvetchy about that. I still am, actually.

This point had completely gone over my head until you pointed out. Thanks for doing so. Did they ever address this in a podcast or anything?
posted by Atreides at 6:28 PM on December 31, 2009


I feel it's necessary to point out once again that in the final hellish summation the great life giving venerable STD infected (the bacteria weakening the hull) Galactica it turned into a gigantic armored space penis, that was finally flown into the sun..
posted by Skygazer at 6:11 PM on January 5, 2010


« Older "How fortunate are the dead" -- Dennis Brutus dead...   |   An Alternative Version of Passion Pit's... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments