Jul. 13th, 2013 12:49 pm
magibrain: There ARE no tunes. It's TALK RADIO, Torg! ALL TALKING! (Verbal battle!)
[personal profile] magibrain
Okay, at this point I think everyone who reads this and cares about White Collar spoilers has watched up through 3x11 Checkmate, but just in case, I'm cutting this. ([personal profile] squeemu, this may potentially be of interest to you? In a what-I'm-getting-you-into sort of way? And also an I-will-complain-about-this-in-your-general-direction-forever sort of way.)

[personal profile] magibrain: …man, I had an awesome idea for a White Collar fic but it requires knowledge of an episode I don't think you've seen yet.
[personal profile] yetregressing: oh man. WRITE IT ANYWAY and I'll read it after I hit the episode?
[personal profile] yetregressing: is it from season 3?
[personal profile] yetregressing: (the episode)
[personal profile] magibrain: Yep.
[personal profile] yetregressing: which one?
[personal profile] magibrain: …one of those damn ones that starts with C. Checkmate?
[personal profile] magibrain: THE ONE WITH THE GUY
[personal profile] yetregressing: AND THE THING?
[personal profile] yetregressing: yeah, not there yet. Only 3 more episodes to get there, though.
[personal profile] magibrain: THE BAD GUY. AND THE STUFF!
[personal profile] yetregressing: OH NO
[personal profile] yetregressing: I just read the episode description
[personal profile] magibrain: And Tim DeKay's awesome and slightly terrifying acting.
[personal profile] magibrain: Why would you read that. Why would you do such a thing.
[personal profile] yetregressing: it's just the like 2 sentence thing that Netflix gives you
[personal profile] yetregressing: not the entire thing
[personal profile] yetregressing: okay I am about to make lunch and since I've pounded out like nearly 1400 words of head injury fic for my other show, I deserve a couple episodes of White Collar so I will get closer
[personal profile] magibrain: XD ALL THE HEAD INJURIES
[personal profile] yetregressing: IT WENT FROM "let's give the main character a head injury because he gets flipped over in a road and just walks away from it!" to "OOPS IN DOING THIS I CHANGED THE COURSE OF THE ENTIRE EPISODE AND THEREFORE PROBABLY THE WHOLE ARC OF THIS SEASON THAT HASN'T EVEN RESOLVED YET GODDAMMIT"
[personal profile] magibrain: Man, I had that with Misfire.
[personal profile] magibrain: "Let's have something horrible happen from Neal's mishandling of this stolen gun! WHOOPS TOTALLY REWROTE THE END OF SEASON 2."
[personal profile] yetregressing: it's literally the worst. and because the show is still airing this season, I don't even know how far it'll deviate and I DIDN'T SIGN UP TO WRITE AN AU OF THE ENTIRE SEASON
[personal profile] yetregressing: I just wanted a head injury
[personal profile] yetregressing: (but with head injuries come headaches)
[personal profile] magibrain: I feel your pain. I feel so much of your pain.
[personal profile] magibrain: But yeah. I kinda want, after Checkmate, for there to be a series of vignettes or something where Elizabeth asks Diana to take her out to a shooting range and train her in how to use a gun, because it's a psychological security thing, and she doesn't want to ask Peter because Peter would get all protective and worried and guilty and awkward.
[personal profile] yetregressing: oh kids <3
[personal profile] yetregressing: DIANA AND EL??? I APPROVE


[personal profile] magibrain: Because the writers always want everything to go Neal's way, that's why.
[personal profile] yetregressing: but I don't
[personal profile] magibrain: This is why we fic. So much fic.
[personal profile] yetregressing: I rarely if ever like when things go Neal's way
[personal profile] yetregressing: I like when Neal gets things that make him happy
[personal profile] magibrain: I want things to go Peter's way.
[personal profile] yetregressing: but I almost never like the way that Neal wants to get the things that he wants
[personal profile] magibrain: I feel like Neal also has a somewhat warped understanding of what will actually make him happy. (Which is nothing compared to the epic distortion of Mozzie's understanding of what will make him happy.)
[personal profile] yetregressing: so. true.
[personal profile] yetregressing: But with Mozzie... idk. Mozzie tends on the whole to make me less angry.
[personal profile] yetregressing: Probably because he doesn't work with Peter except under duress
[personal profile] magibrain: I think Mozzie is also a bit more obviously screwed up.
[personal profile] magibrain: Like, the writers are more inclined to frame Mozzie's issues as… kinda pathological. Whereas with Neal, the framing is so often "Neal is so clever! Look at him being all clever and suave and pulling things over people!"
[personal profile] yetregressing: Yeah. Mozzie gets framed as (kindly) eccentric
[personal profile] yetregressing: Neal is just a genius
[personal profile] yetregressing: when really, Neal is just a fucking moron.
[personal profile] yetregressing: I just yelled at the screen. Man am I glad I'm alone at the apartment.
[personal profile] magibrain: Peter actually hangs a lantern on Neal's stupid no-consequences life in… Upper West Side Story, I think it is. Which is really gratifying, despite the fact that it doesn't actually result in Neal experiencing, wosscalled, consequences.
[personal profile] yetregressing: You know it's not good when I yell "SHOOT HIM" at Keller
[personal profile] magibrain: See, you understand why I went through so much of the series really wishing that Neal would get shot in the chest! It's not even because I dislike him. I do like Neal. I just want his life to have things that don't go his way.
[personal profile] magibrain: It's like how if you really love your kids, you'll still discipline them for doing things like cheating because they're only hurting themselves.
[personal profile] yetregressing: Exactly.
[personal profile] yetregressing: Because without consequences, he'll go back to the same fucked up behaviors that piss me off so much
[personal profile] magibrain: I want Neal to get to a point where he has a workable life with a support network that cares about him and circumstances which are not inherently poisonous! He is working against that grand plan and must be punished.
[personal profile] magibrain: Er. I mean.
[personal profile] yetregressing: THIS
[personal profile] yetregressing: I mean. :|
[personal profile] yetregressing: I just. For all his faults, I do love Neal.
[personal profile] magibrain: The writers just need to acknowledge that his faults are faults and not amazing wonderful clever little quirks of his that are all okay because he's Neal.
[personal profile] magibrain: Like, put in some narrative awareness that these things are not good, and stop twisting everything else in the show into pretzels in order to coddle him. Do these two things, and nothing about Neal's character needs to change for me to be 600% happier with it all.
[personal profile] yetregressing: exactly.
[personal profile] yetregressing: Like ALL YOU NEED TO DO is have Neal fail more.
[personal profile] yetregressing: Mozzie you are a fucking moron.
[personal profile] magibrain: Like, there's that recurring thing where Neal goes and does untrustworthy things and then seems to be genuinely hurt that people don't trust him. And I love that, as a character note. It speaks a lot to how fucked-up he is, and how much his understanding of how the world works is rooted in his skills as a con man, because it's the only thing he's found that reliably works. It's brilliant.

Except then the show goes and frames it all in a way that makes it clear that we're supposed to be on Neal's side and hurt and outraged that people don't trust Neal, and that takes all that brilliance and collapses it into sheer authorial stupid.
[personal profile] yetregressing: I want to slap Neal in the face so much.
[personal profile] yetregressing: HEY IT'S BEAU BRIDGES
[personal profile] yetregressing: But SUPPORTING WHAT YOU JUST SAID


[personal profile] yetregressing: ....Neal, you are upset because Peter is not telling you everything
[personal profile] yetregressing: LET'S SIT BACK AND EXAMINE OUR LIVES, WHY DON'T WE


[personal profile] yetregressing: fuck you Neal
[personal profile] yetregressing: fuck you
[personal profile] magibrain: Three words: parachute malfunction fic.


[personal profile] yetregressing: "Whatever mess he made, he made it, and whatever comes out of it, he's going to have to clean it up." EXCEPT NO HE WON'T EL
[personal profile] yetregressing: THAT'S THE WORST PART


[personal profile] yetregressing: oh my fucking god Tim DeKay
[personal profile] yetregressing: Ellad;kfjasd;klfjsa;kfjsa El
[personal profile] yetregressing: oh god El
[personal profile] yetregressing: literally the perfect wife
[personal profile] magibrain: Tim DeKay, basically. AMAZING.
[personal profile] magibrain: El. ALSO AMAZING.
[personal profile] yetregressing: SATCHMO BEST DOG
[personal profile] yetregressing: THE BURKE FAMILY IS PERFECT
[personal profile] magibrain: YES
[personal profile] yetregressing: AND THEY HAVE FUCKING ADORABLE CUTLERY


[personal profile] yetregressing: it's almost cute how Keller is like "HEY I HAVE A TEAM OF MY OWN I LOVE WORKING THAT'S ADORABLE"
[personal profile] magibrain: XD
[personal profile] magibrain: I forget. Do you know anything about Homestuck troll romance?
[personal profile] yetregressing: "LOOK HOW CUTE WE ARE GUYS OH MAN WHERE IS EL TO TAKE OUR PROM PICTURE- oh wait"
[personal profile] yetregressing: a little bit. You can use the words and I think I'll understand what they mean.
[personal profile] magibrain: I feel like Keller really really wants to be kismesises with Neal.
[personal profile] magibrain: And then Neal is all just "But I actually do want to stay away from you." And Keller is like "BUT I REALLY LIKE YOU IN THE RUINING-YOUR-LIFE WAY."
[personal profile] yetregressing: ahahahah yes
[personal profile] magibrain: …aw, fuck, it's just occurred to me that I can probably use troll romance icons in AO3 tags, because they use card suits and those exist as HTML entities.
[personal profile] yetregressing: omg Mozzie <3
[personal profile] yetregressing: YOU ARE STILL A MORON
[personal profile] yetregressing: but I love you
[personal profile] magibrain: I could conceivably tag something as "unrequited Keller♠Neal".
[personal profile] yetregressing: do it
[personal profile] magibrain: (It is also adorable how Peter/El drags everyone into their relationship as auspictices*. I could tag things as, like, Neal♣Peter/El.)
[personal profile] magibrain: (Diana♣Peter/El.)
[personal profile] yetregressing: ahahaha <3
[personal profile] magibrain: (Mozzie♣Peter/El.)
[personal profile] magibrain: (I should probably not be allowed this power.)
[personal profile] yetregressing: (you are the author, magi. YOU HAVE THE POWER ANYWAY)

*Okay, so I can't actually remember if auspictices also auspistize between redrom pairs, but shhh. Shhhh.


[personal profile] yetregressing: WAIT THE SHOW INJURED NEAL
[personal profile] yetregressing: also holy crap if he was unconscious that long that speaks to a SERIOUS injury
[personal profile] yetregressing: which means his coordination is gonna be way off
[personal profile] magibrain: FIIIIIIIC
[personal profile] yetregressing: I just
[personal profile] yetregressing: THE SHOW ACTUALLY INJURED NEAL
[personal profile] magibrain: Yeah, this episode, not good with medical consequence. BUT YES THEY INJURED NEAL.
[personal profile] yetregressing: but no wonder they don't like to show that much blood
[personal profile] yetregressing: because it looks fake as hell
[personal profile] magibrain: Hah.
[personal profile] yetregressing: like speaking as someone who is regularly covered in their own blood
[personal profile] magibrain: You are the expert on bloodening.
[personal profile] yetregressing: it looks super orange
[personal profile] yetregressing: this is the part of the episode where Neal collapses
[personal profile] yetregressing: because tramautic brain injuries are terrifying
[personal profile] yetregressing: yes Peter good lawing
[personal profile] yetregressing: "are you sure" "do you know what that means?"
[personal profile] yetregressing: NO JUST KIDDING
[personal profile] yetregressing: the TBI part is when Neal finds out he could be free
[personal profile] yetregressing: he just COLLAPSES
[personal profile] yetregressing: and it's hilarious but really it's not hilarious at all because TBIs are terrifying
[personal profile] magibrain: FIIIIIC
[personal profile] yetregressing: I have the document. I'll need a lot more research, but.

Date: 2013-07-14 08:45 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (WhiteCollar-Peter Neal leather)
From: [personal profile] sholio
ahahaha, I never thought of applying troll shipping quadrants to White Collar, but YES, Keller is totally Neal's frustrated wannabe kismesis! He's getting all the signals! Why is Neal flirting and then pulling away? HOW CAN NEAL HATE HIM SO MUCH AND NOT WANT TO BE WITH HIM?!

Like, there's that recurring thing where Neal goes and does untrustworthy things and then seems to be genuinely hurt that people don't trust him. And I love that, as a character note. It speaks a lot to how fucked-up he is, and how much his understanding of how the world works is rooted in his skills as a con man, because it's the only thing he's found that reliably works. It's brilliant.

Except then the show goes and frames it all in a way that makes it clear that we're supposed to be on Neal's side and hurt and outraged that people don't trust Neal, and that takes all that brilliance and collapses it into sheer authorial stupid.

... can I just +1 all of this?

Because ... yes! One of the things that drew me to the show in the first place is its moral complexity, that Neal is a character whose greatest strengths are also his greatest weaknesses, who means well, but shoots himself in the foot half the time. He's compassionate, brave, generous, smart ... and has this huge fucking blind spot about how his own actions affect other people, this enormous gap between his fucked-up self-justifications and actual reality. It's a lovely, complicated thing ...

... and then the show goes and buys into Neal's own rationalizations and AARGH.

(In fairness, they do it with Peter too, at times. Peter has different blind spots, but he totally has them, and there are times when you kinda want to shake the writers until plot complexity falls out. One of the things I love most about the show is that it's about good people trying to do the right thing in different ways; I just wish that the writers actually got what they were writing about a little more of the time. I think it galls me less with Peter because the fandom regularly and consistently calls him on his bullshit -- except the fandom usually frames it less in terms of "Peter has had a more privileged life than he realizes and is missing the point here" and more in terms of "Peter is being mean to poor woobie Neal!" ... and aargh, again.)

Have you read Terry Pratchett's Moist von Lipwig books, by the way? I read Going Postal before seeing White Collar, but the Neal parallels immediately jumped out at me -- the difference being that Pratchett explicitly brings Moist face to face with the fact that his "I don't use a weapon, so I never hurt anybody" rationalization is actually total bullshit. White Collar kinda seemed like it was going that way in the beginning, a little, with episodes like the one where Neal saves the daughter of the guy he robbed. But then it wandered off down a path of "shiny shiny cons, expensive stuff, pretty people!" and, aargh, NO, SHOW, WRONG DIRECTION ENTIRELY.

Still, I adore all the characters, with their well-intentioned but quite often completely misguided attempts to help people (and each other). I would read the HELL out of a fic about Diana teaching El self-defense. :D

Date: 2013-07-20 06:45 am (UTC)
sholio: Diana and Christie from White Collar kissing (WhiteCollar-Diana Christie kiss)
From: [personal profile] sholio
Always meant to come back and reply to this comment. It's been sitting open in a tab for ages! ENERGY, I DOES NOT HAVE IT.

The sweet spot for getting me into a fandom seems to be right where I adore a lot about a work and think it has phenomenal potential, but there's also a bunch of stuff that pisses me off about it. Move too far to either side and there's either nothing to hook me into writing fic for it because it seems too polished and squared away, or there's nothing to make fic rewarding for me because I don't enjoy the media enough.

ME TOO. Actually, I think this is true of a lot of people; the fandoms that take off and get big (which White Collar isn't; I'm thinking more of things like Stargate, X-Files, Avengers) usually seem to be the ones where fandom is drawn to the potential as much as the actual thing, but there has to BE something there in order to draw fandom into it. If it's too well-written, there are no empty spaces to fill up with stories. But it has to be good enough to wallow in it, for lack of a better word -- rewatching episodes obsessively enough to get all the canon details, letting the characters live in your head.

And White Collar ... the best thing I can say for the show, honestly (and it really IS a compliment!) is that it does so well at avoiding many of the crime-drama/genre show tropes that sometimes make me feel kicked in the face as a female viewer. In four seasons, there's never once been a sexualized female murder victim; no rapes or even rape threats; and nary a damsel in distress who doesn't actively participate in her own rescue.

Aside from the respectful handling of the female characters, I find it really refreshingly atypical that Diana and Jones are both as solidly middle/upper-middle-class as the white characters (nary a ghetto background to be found), and that Diana, like the straight male characters, gets to romance sexy women undercover.

And that stuff matters. Not that the show is perfect -- in particular I really wish the casting department would give us more diversity of all sorts in female guest stars ("thin leggy white brunette" does not describe the entire female population); and of course there's everything with Kate. Still, watching other crime-drama shows kind of ... throws me a little, actually, because White Collar is generally so good about that stuff.

(And sure, you can address rape as a plot element, or whatever. It's not like it can't be done well. But there are other stories to be told!)

...just a little shift in how it's handled would make it such a (more) fascinating show. (And open up so many avenues for character exploration that aren't the "tension arises because for some reason Neal and Peter are unable to trust each other, despite the trust they've built over the course of (season count - 1) seasons, and thus end up working against each other" subplot which they really enjoy bringing back, again and again.

Aargh, yes, this. As the show goes along, I'm getting increasingly frustrated by the writers' insistence on adhering to same basic formula with Neal on the anklet, Peter as his keeper, and the self-contained con/sting episodes. A whole season in which Neal was on the run and we had Neal & Peter's storylines running concurrently, or a half-season of Peter being assigned to The Cave, would've opened up a lot of new story areas AND given them plenty of new things for Peter and Neal to butt heads over, that don't rely on "one step forward, two steps back" character development.

"Screwed-up people earnestly trying to do good in screwed-up ways" is a major fiction kink of mine, as is "people trying to do good in situations where there are no good options", and variations thereof. Which makes White Collar a really fun sandbox to play in.

*nodnod* I agree! I think with me, it's some combination of: conflicts between characters who are all right in their own way; and the general theme of people trying to be good people and hang onto happiness in a messed-up world. And White Collar's slightly candy-colored take on that particular trope is ... I dunno, nice for a mental break (which is what fanfic is for me, basically), as opposed to a darker canon where it's still the same trope, and maybe better written, but not nearly as much fun to take a break from the real world and wallow in it.

(...I'm in the process of fighting with a fic whose basic theme is "Neal thinks he knows how to fix Peter's relationships, Elizabeth thinks she knows how to fix Neal's relationships, Peter assumes that the two of them know better than he does, and every single one of them is wrong. Fun times!)

This sounds like a lot of fun! *wants*

The fact that they screw up and they're not perfect and they try for goodness without really knowing how to get there or being fully cognizant of the ways in which they fall short is amazing. The problem is that we're told via all the various framing devices that their flaws are not meaningful flaws, and shown repeatedly (Ruiz, Kramer, Calloway, Pratt) that the people who call them on this stuff are at best too hasty in their judgments and not as smart as Our Heroes and at worst completely evil.

Yes, this, exactly! The guy in charge of The Cave (his name escapes me at the moment) is about the closest they've come so far to a semi-sympathetic antagonist who isn't going to let Our Heroes get away with their usual shit, but isn't portrayed as stupid or evil. I really wish they'd give us more of this sort of thing.

And in conclusion, yay Diana! \o/


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