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Living Loz
Got to be more careful... 
14th-Mar-2010 03:01 am
Life on Mars (Sam & Gene shoot you 2)
My tinhat, let me show you it.



So, here's the thing. Every time I think I've made my peace with the existence of A2A, I discover this isn't the case. They keep saying we're going to find out what happened to Sam, which I think bodes ominously, and the honest to God truth is that I know a) that Sam isn't real, b) that nothing that happens in A2A has to affect LoM, because they can and shall be viewed as separate canons by many people, and c) seriously --- neither Sam nor Gene are real.

But I've sort of lived with them in my head for four years now, and even though I say I view LoM and A2A as separate canons, I really don't, or I wouldn't have been as angry as I was about how the writers handled Sam in A2A in the first place. And if you thought I had issues with the ending of LoM, well I do, but they're nothing compared to the issues I have with the idea that Sam is dead in his fictional world as well as his real one.

The thing is --- the thing is, I know I'm a little bit odd about how emotional I get over this. Of all of the things to worry, be angry, or sad about in the world --- this? Is not important. Yet I can't seem to stop it meaning something to me. And that something is not anything akin to joy.

I really love Sam and Gene's partnership. It was what drew me into Life on Mars in the first place. You can tell me that the reason I connect with it is that it's archetypal --- the buddy cop, odd couple, straight man/comedian trope, that you see it all the time in fiction, this is one partnership in a long line of partnerships, and I'll nod my head along and say 'sure, that's true. It's also more.'

These days, when I imagine them, I imagine them together, happy in each other's presence, because they love each other. I went through a long, long period of not seeing that; of doom and gloom and no solid future, where small acknowledgement was enough because it had to be, but that disappeared over a year ago. Now? It's rainbows. There may be conflict along the way, but in the end, it's going to be a happy ending, because --- I don't know, I'm more of a romantic than I thought I was, maybe. Or I'm getting sentimental in my advanced years (actually, I've always been fairly sentimental.) Because A2A stormed in and said Sam and Gene didn't get their happy ending, and someone has to give it to them, it may as well be me.

The thing is, I don't want to know what happened to Sam, unless the answer is he was reunited with Gene and they drove off into the sunset together, bickering. That was always my ending, regardless of the multiple wide-ranging issues I had. Sam and Gene, influencing each other in good and bad ways, the give and take, and the frustrated affection --- forever.

I suspect that A2A S3 won't give me that, for many reasons.

So, here's the thing. I have a tinhat and it's very shiny, and as silly as I know it makes me look, I sort of love it. My rational, logical side tells me I shouldn't, because fashioning aluminium into headgear is generally a good way to get people to stare at you oddly and think you're a screw loose, but I do.

And as magnanimous as I am going to try and be, and despite the fact I wholeheartedly enjoyed series two and thought it wasn't entirely horrible television, there's every chance I shall never make peace with the existence of A2A.

But to bring something akin to joy into my life, I'll console myself with my own imagination.

Of a long day out on the street, and Sam further loosening Gene's tie in order to give him a deep massage using a technique that he learnt from an ex ---

"Admit it, Sammy-boy, you're just trying to get me to drop trou."

"No, really, Gene, this massage does not warrant nakedness of any kind. I didn't wanna tempt myself with throttling you, that's all."

"I'll try not to be too disappointed. What are you doing with that oil?"


Of a bust gone wrong and Sam feeling the weight of the world in guilt ---

"It didn't have to go like this."

"Of course it didn't. There were hundreds of other ways it could have blown up in our faces."

"I can't be held responsible."

"No. Not at all. It wasn't like you were the lead in the case, was it? Oh, right. You were."

"I couldn't've known."

"Must be the first time you've ever said that."

"Don't look at me like that, Guv, like it was my fault."

"God, Sam. It doesn't matter how I look at you, you're always gonna think it was, aren't you? Accept it, stop haranguing me, and move on."

"And if I can't?"

"I'll give you a shove in the right direction."


Of Manchester alleyways and inebriated coppers ---

"You have no idea how difficult you make my life, Tyler."

"No? Is it half as difficult as you make mine? 'cause if so, I'd say it's pretty damn hard."

"Do you use those double entendres to confuse me or make me speak French?"

"A bit of both. C'mon Gene, how hard do I make it for you?"

"I'm not dignifying that with an answer."

"Good use of the word 'dignifying' there. Sounded almost indignant."

"And if I were to mention I'm indefatigable?"

"I'd say you can't spell."



Comments 
13th-Mar-2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Of all of the things to worry, be angry, or sad about in the world --- this? Is not important. Yet I can't seem to stop it meaning something to me.

*raises hand* Me neither. (Me too? Er. Ditto! *g*) In my case, my emotional attachment and deep need to cherish my OTP meant I couldn't even take a look at A2A. Not even idly, as an AU or something. I not only didn't make peace with its existence, but I really just had to deny that existence altogether, so I wiped it off my mental map.

I do firmly believe that the content creators are Not The Bosses Of Us, and we can give characters the endings we want. But nevertheless, the creators have a lot of power and a big megaphone, to get their vision all up in my safe space. And sometimes my emotions are so deep that it's hard to have the creators yammering on (especially about killing characters, and/or completely splitting a pair of them), and I can't blithely expose myself to their take on things.

So... I guess I enlarged my tin hat into a tin hut. (Just with the change of a vowel! :D )
14th-Mar-2010 11:24 am (UTC)
I have to confess, I wish I'd been able to do that. But, as much as I like to talk about Death of the Author and They're Not the Boss of Me... it turns out I don't believe in that at all. If Matthew Graham says one thing, chances are, part of me is always going to believe in that one thing, because he's the writer, it's his vision. Bah, humbug.

13th-Mar-2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
The thing is, I don't want to know what happened to Sam, unless the answer is he was reunited with Gene and they drove off into the sunset together, bickering. That was always my ending, regardless of the multiple wide-ranging issues I had. Sam and Gene, influencing each other in good and bad ways, the give and take, and the frustrated affection --- forever.

I feel the exact same way!!!

I am only partway through A2A and I am not sure if I will ever finish it. I prefer to think of it as not being canon, for all the sense that makes!
14th-Mar-2010 11:26 am (UTC)
I knew I wasn't the only one, but it's good to have confirmation. ♥

I actually liked A2A from about 1.04 onwards, and positively looked forward to it during S2, because the standard of the writing in regards to dialogue picked up, Gene became more recognisable, and I do love the actors and writers involved so much. But I liked it within an overarching view of thinking it's a bit shit, you know? "This is utter twaddle, but, hey, this scene is hilarious."
14th-Mar-2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
But I liked it within an overarching view of thinking it's a bit shit, you know? "This is utter twaddle, but, hey, this scene is hilarious."

Yes, I feel the same way, more or less. I started to enjoy it after 1x04 too. I still can't watch 1x02, I think that ep is just appallingly bad.

It's weird I don't usually judge anyone when it comes to fandom and I definitely don't knock anyone for liking A2A but I am really puzzled that there are people who actually prefer it to LoM! That? Makes no sense to me! They are just so very different in terms of the level of quality and in the care in how the story unfolds. But everyone has varying takes on things. I will never understand how one can like A2A more, though.
13th-Mar-2010 08:53 pm (UTC)

I tried to watch A2A but I couldn't even recognize Gene so I gave up... *is happy in the land of denial*
14th-Mar-2010 11:27 am (UTC)
As I am sure I have told you multiple times, he actually does get back to being more like Gene in S2, but it's a bit late then, isn't it?
14th-Mar-2010 02:10 pm (UTC)

Yes you have. *g* The problem is I'm a bit of a (cynical)romantic myself and while Gene in LoM wasn't always likeable (understatement) his flaws just conspired somehow to make him an even better man in that he did learn and grow just like Sam did. That's where the brilliance of their relationship/romance lies for me and A2A was in danger of killing that for me by pushing him over the edge in to a full-blown stereotype, like Sam had no impact on the man Gene had become. I didn't trust them not to ruin Gene for me and LoM is one of my favourite things, EVER. After seeing what they did to Gene I *know* I don't want to hear their take on Sam. Nope.
14th-Mar-2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
The thing that annoyed me most about Gene's characterisation in A2A (but that had crept into S2 of LoM too), was that they glorified him so much. I don't know how far you got into that first series, but there were some ludicrously overblown scenes of him being a Big Damn Hero that didn't ring true, at all. I think, mostly, the reason he seems like more of a stereotype is that he doesn't get called on his behaviour much --- is, in fact, now shown as being the Protagonist whose opinion we're meant to relate to. (There's some grey there, it isn't exactly like that, but this is definitely a lingering impression.) And I don't agree with most of Gene's views most of the time.

My Gene was always the insightful, intelligent, loyal and protective one who'd come into view during those quiet introspective scenes with Sam. Yes, he needfully encompasses all of his other aspects, because that brings his virtues into sharper relief, and, you know, I derive a certain amount of humour from ironically enjoying his awfulness. But I was never that "oh, he's such a bad man!" fan. I'm too politically correct for that. We may still get to see his protectiveness, but in A2A it's couched as him being The Saviour as opposed to it being another facet of his character. And Gene Hunt is a magnificent bastard, dammit, not a cherished specimen of the human race. If he's a hero, it's a flawed, Shakespearean one, not the kind we should all aspire to be.

And yeah, it does come down to that thing that I said when the press release for A2A first came out --- a Gene without a Sam is an imperfect whole. One half of a coin. Alex doesn't balance him out like Sam did --- she doesn't call him on his behaviour enough, she doesn't seem to believe he can grow. In the first series, she doesn't seem to think much of him at all.

I constantly find it a source of 'what the fuck' that writers who could get so much right with Life on Mars could balls it up so spectacularly in other endeavours.
14th-Mar-2010 02:59 pm (UTC)

You didn't have to watch much of A2A to see that... I was WTF-ing loudly from the moment the heroic music struck up every time he set foot on screen to say nothing of the way they filmed him.

But enough of talking about this imaginary show that so many people seem to think they've seen. *sings la la la*
13th-Mar-2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
Sgt. Chamekke of Queen Alexandra's Tin Hat Brigade reporting for duty, sir!

Seriously, where do I join up? There's a queue forming behind me, you know... I hope your recruitment centre has a cafeteria! Because you do speak for quite a few of us.

For me, thinking about Sam's post-LoM existence according to A2A is like having a sore tooth with a bit of the filling missing... you keep going back to it against your better judgment, morbidly probing it with your tongue, even though you know you'll have much more peace of mind, not to mention comfort, if you just leave it be until the dentist, er...

Maybe I'd better abandon that metaphor. (For one thing, I'm not sure what that makes your rainbowfic. Periodontics?)

But it is SO aggravating that the show's creators are saying that this will be a wrapping-up of Sam's story as well as A2A's. If the A2A story turns out to exist entirely and solely in Alex's injured cranium, well and good. Her story can exist independently of the real Sam's story without conflict, in that case. But I doubt that it's going to fetch up that way. And NOTHING short of Sam's return to the fold (even if offscreen) is going to satisfy me. 'Cause as you said: "And if you thought I had issues with the ending of LoM, well I do, but they're nothing compared to the issues I have with the idea that Sam is dead in his fictional world as well as his real one."

At least the headgear is cheerful. See how the tin hat reflects the sun's rays :-P
14th-Mar-2010 11:30 am (UTC)
At least the headgear is cheerful. See how the tin hat reflects the sun's rays :-P

And bounces radio waves ;) I can currently hear Queen - Radio Gaga.

But it is SO aggravating that the show's creators are saying that this will be a wrapping-up of Sam's story as well as A2A's.

I am really glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. It comes back to the fact that Life on Mars was all about questions and the beauty of it was that few of them were ever answered. It's what made the show such a success, I'd wager.
14th-Mar-2010 01:50 am (UTC)
*points up* what you said? spot on.

Sam and Gene are my OTP. I suppose my experience differed a little, in that by the time I got into the fandom and got writing for it I went straight for the happy ending (not without some trials and obstacles for them, but you know, basically together in a riding off into the brown-and-orange sunset together sort of way).

And A2A I can deal with (enjoy, even, in a limited fashion) so long as I treat is as any other fanfic AU. So the idea that the writers are going to claim that it has some bearing on LoM canon really puts me off watching the 3rd season altogether. I don't need to know what happens to Sam because I *already* know what happens to him!! (and its pretty much as you describe above, as far as I'm concerned *g*).

*polishes tin hat with sleeve*

Oh, and I meant to say: glad to hear you are back in your house again. It must be a bit of a relief after all the upheaval!
14th-Mar-2010 11:42 am (UTC)
I suppose my experience differed a little, in that by the time I got into the fandom and got writing for it I went straight for the happy ending (not without some trials and obstacles for them, but you know, basically together in a riding off into the brown-and-orange sunset together sort of way).

It took me forever to get there without feeling guilty --- and to this day, I don't really know what I ever felt guilty about. But I did! I felt like it wasn't "true" or something, I don't know. Because, despite liking a certain level of domesticity and sentimentality, I am really not a mushy love-declaration and roses kind of girl, I shied away from writing stories about them that weren't heavily restrained, or cloaked with a measure of ambiguity, or portents of an uncertain future. I didn't fully realise I could write a fic that was clearly all about their love without needing that "I love you" spoken aloud.

Then I eventually realised that Matt and Ash didn't give a shit where they took the characters, why should I angst so much about stepping outside of canon? And if I made it believable in the story, it didn't matter if it was never anything that could be on screen. Not to mention the fact that if you get enough of the particulars right, you're more than halfway there to creating something that evokes the sense that it could be on screen.

It's been a surprisingly slow journey to these realisations. It also helps that I quite clearly am getting mushier with age, so my tolerance is more broad-ranging.

I've never really liked AUs. There are a few which I am all "yes, yes!" about (there's one I keep meaning to finish about Gene as a PI, which had awesome writing, I seem to recall), but on the whole --- I never have been that way inclined. I always want more of the same, and A2A is enough of the same that I get frustrated with its lack of originality, and not enough so that I get frustrated with it not being as good as LoM.



Edited at 2010-03-14 02:38 pm (UTC)
14th-Mar-2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, I certainly think that a happy ending for Sam & Gene can be all about their love without needing that "I love you" spoken aloud - which is more in character for them, anyway (IMHO *g*).

For me, AUs are like any other fic: they can work if the characterisation works. But I know what you mean about being frustrated with A2A - Gene almost seems like a caricature of himself, and his relationship with Alex just doesn't have the same chemistry as with Sam (you know, the slow-growing grudging respect; the gruff, unspoken affection, etc). It's almost like the writers figured that as long as they put some flirting in to A2A, then they would have the magic ingredient. If only things really were that easy!

there's one I keep meaning to finish about Gene as a PI, which had awesome writing, I seem to recall - thanks ♥, but don't sweat it if AUs aren't really your thing :)
15th-Mar-2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
*pokes head in* Sorry, I was being nosey (or is it spelt nosy? Meh, it's late)...

The only way I've been able to parse it is this: Sam and Gene did get their happy ending. Seven years of it. :P I know, I know. That's not enough. I desperately want to believe in all the wonderful fic where they both live until they're old and grey and married and Gene's the one to knock Sam down in the road in 2006 to make sure they meet each other in the past. But. I think the tragedy of it is still in keeping with LoM's atmosphere, it's just that with A2A they've taken that and made it even darker.

I've got so many problems with A2A Gene but there are times when I love him so damn much as well. I think he's been filtered: in however much detail Sam described him on his tape, he probably wasn't quite able to convey all the layers and complexities, and then you've got the added problem of Alex's mind cherry-picking all her favourite bits and creating her own version of Gene. (Which is of course going by the assumption that Gene's not real which makes me really sad, but let's face it, he didn't age at all between 73 and 81. :P)

The hero music in S1 is annoying ("You think this job's heroic? We clean out the gutters, that's what we do." ♥) but most of the time I just laugh/cringe at it and don't let it bother me too much.

S1 Alex does very little to reign Gene in/respect him and I'm so uncomfortable with 1x07 for that because it's the worst for Alex treating Gene like shit. But on the other hand it's interesting (in a really, really depressing way) to see Gene like that and I accept it as the writers rather clumsily trying to push Gene into new territory.

I'm not an Alex or an Ashes hater, in fact I've enjoyed it so much more watching it recently, and S2 works better than S1 on so many levels (but it's depressing as hell too). In the end though, A2A breaks my heart for Gene and sends me scurrying back to LoM fandom to read as much Sam/Gene fluff as possible.

As for having the answers about Sam and Alex and the whole thing wrapped up in a neat little bow? DO NOT WANT. Don't give me answers, please. I don't want answers. What I do want is:

a) Sam/Gene/Alex threesome, because I'm shallow like that.
b) Molly and the TCG as best friends.
c) Nelson and Luigi in the same room, because that would be so much AWESOME.
16th-Mar-2010 08:56 am (UTC)
Hee, not nosy! Most of my posts are public so anyone who wants to can join in the discussion.

Seven years --- you know, there was a time I would have been "and that is TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE!" But these days, this cynic has changed her tune. I just... no. :( I never, ever see them getting married, because, no. But I do see many, many years of working together, and then Sam getting his own team, but he and Gene still catching up to discuss and dispute. I think --- I think my happy ending for them is a platonic one, most of the time. Perhaps one which occasionally included friends with benefits. I don't know. But I hate the idea of Sam being dead, I just really, really do. And I'm one of his harshest critics.

I think he's been filtered: in however much detail Sam described him on his tape, he probably wasn't quite able to convey all the layers and complexities, and then you've got the added problem of Alex's mind cherry-picking all her favourite bits and creating her own version of Gene.

That's how I thought it would be too, and it may, but not in any explicit way, which annoys me. I am A-okay with the idea that this is only one version of Gene, or that Alex has reconstructed the characters (and for some reason, given Sam a backstory where he returned to '73 and lived for seven years, which I DO NOT GET, but, okay.) However, I don't think this is necessarily the path they're going to take us.

I wholeheartedly enjoyed S2 and there was fist pumping during moments, because it has some amazing scenes, stellar dialogue. It felt a lot more like LoM, which I thought was a Good Thing. But I conveniently forget all that when I think about A2A and just --- raaargh! why does it have to exist?

I knew I wasn't the only one, but I really am glad I'm not the only one who is anti-answers.

Molly and TCG as BFF = yes!
18th-Mar-2010 12:08 am (UTC)
I never got past A2A 1:04 because I found Alex just ... irritating. I didn't hate her or anything - I didn't have that much emotion invested in the character! - but after a while I got fed up with the fingernails-down-the-blackboard feeling I got every time she was on the screen. %-}

My ideal ending for Sam and Gene would be them growing old and grey together - not as lovers, but as colleagues and friends. And then when they're retired going travelling around the world together. Sam, the picky-pain, arranges all the paperwork and plans the itineries. And Gene keeps throwing a spanner in the works, disrupting all Sam's carefully planned schedules and dragging him off on little side-trips.

Sam dying after seven years in his own afterlife, well, it doesn't quite cut it for me.
19th-Mar-2010 09:44 am (UTC)
Ahah! I did wonder how far you got.

Alex improves, but I maintain that by then it's too late.

Your ideal ending is pretty much my ideal ending.
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