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The Comic Con Swan Queen kerfuffle

Here’s another thing.

I agree that what OUAT should have done was to have queer characters from the get go.  They could have been original characters, or they could have been non-proprietary fairytale characters, like beanstalk Jack, whom the show did make into a woman.  For actualizing the much-ballyhooed “modern twist,” the showrunners could have done leagues better in terms of LGBTQ diversity, as well as racial diversity (and the intersections between these), from the first episodes of the first season.

They didn’t.  If it wasn’t clear before, then Adam Horowitz’s comments at Comic Con and his Twitter responses afterward have made it crystal clear that they did not start off envisioning an epic same-sex love story akin to Snow/Charming or Rumple/Belle.

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Xena and Gabrielle

                        Xena and Gabrielle - the ones that started it all

Oh, femslash fandom, I wish I could quit you.  Well, not exactly, but the thing about hanging around for as long as I have – and I’m talking about watching Xena: Warrior Princess when it first aired – is that certain unresolved debates have a frustrating tendency to recur.  Right now many of these are raging around the concept of queer-baiting, or more generally, the relationship between, on the one hand, what TPTB (the powers that be, i.e. show-runners, actors, network promotion departments) do to court LGBTQ interest, and what the show canonically delivers.

In this regard, I’ve been thinking about four of the biggest femslash pairings right now on North American television, which I list from most to least canonical: Bo/Lauren (Doccubus) on Lost Girl; H.G./Myka (Bering and Wells) on Warehouse 13; and, essentially in a tie for third place, Emma and Regina (Swan Queen) on Once Upon a Time and Jane/Maura (Rizzles) on Rizzoli & Isles.  But the ease of deciding whether there’s queer-baiting going on doesn’t follow in the same order.

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Some Musings on Sasha Alexander

WARNING: Long preamble. If you just want to get to the Sasha is Awesome parts, skip to the gigantic OKAY.

You know how you can go your whole life without realizing either that something exists or how fabulous it is? That’s how I was about cheese for about 18 years. Until then, I’d only had Kraft singles, and had no idea that that’s about the least interesting example of cheese – if you can call it that – you can get. So when patient housemates introduced me to the delights of cheese soft (mmmm, Camembert) and hard (Gruyère!), it was like stepping into a fantastic kingdom that had all along been just across the road, not even particularly well hidden by rose briars or whatever. How could I have missed it for so long??

So it has been for me with Sasha Alexander (incidentally, an avowed cheese lover herself). Even though I lived with someone who was mildly obsessed with Dawson’s Creek, I didn’t watch it myself and had no idea SA played Pacey’s sister. I knew of NCIS as a CBS ratings stalwart, but it wasn’t my cup of tea, so I was oblivious to Kate Todd’s illustrious presence for two seasons and her exceptionally shocking death). It wasn’t till Rizzoli & Isles that I first encountered Sasha’s Awesomeness as an actor, and that turned out to be a springboard to appreciating some of her other dimensions (out of the gutter, people, it’s only the second paragraph!).

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Okay, now I'm basically just doing this for amusement :-).  I found a German review of the Rizzoli & Isles pilot, and put it through both Google Translate and Reverso.net.  The translations are even worse than for the French review I posted a couple of days ago, but the hilarity factor is proportionately higher!  However, if any real German speakers want to provide better renditions, please feel free.   As we know by now, what's important is that the subtext comes through in multiple languages ...

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I came across a French review of Rizzoli & Isles, and Google Translate gives me gems like "Jane Rizzoli, emeritus at Boston cop, is not the type to let him walk on his feet."  I tried another online translation site, and have come up with a kind of composite, self-edited translation, but can a real French speaker enlighten me/us as to the proper translation for the puzzling parts?  Thanks!

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If you're not on Twitter, you may not have seen the winners for the 2010 Women's Image Network Awards presented on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.  The WIN website says the organization aims to "shape positive public opinion about the value of women and girls by celebrating outstanding film and television that fosters powerful and dimensional female media images."

SA at WIN Awards, Jan 18, 2011

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A few (okay, more than a few) years ago, when I lived in a land far, far away, I remember a controversy in the U.S. sparked by a talk show host saying that African-Americans were better at basketball/sports because slavery had bred better physical prowess into them compared to whites. At that time, I was fairly clueless about (i) structural racism; (ii) the shaky grounds of social biology; and most importantly, (iii) the crucialness of context for giving meaning to what individuals say. (I asked my friend why the talk show host’s remarks couldn’t be seen as a compliment or, at least, some sort of “neutral” commentary. Yes, sadly, I was that clueless.)


This post is now closed for comments.  Thank you for reading and discussing.


(1) I was probably naive in thinking that this discussion would be confined to the microworld of LJ R&I fandom, but I did not expect that someone would tweet this entry to Angie Harmon directly. While it would have been fabulous if reading the post had resulted in a greater understanding of a part of her fanbase (and no, I'm not asserting that that is her responsibility), it seems like it basically just hurt Angie's feelings, which is a pity.

(2) I have changed the permissions for commenting to registered LJ users only.  Although I can tell  anonymous commenters apart by their IP addresses, other readers can't.  If you want to comment, please register on Livejournal.

(3) I will be locking this post for comments soon, probably in the next couple of days.  I'm very pleased that the discussion has
generally been quite civil, but we're starting to go around in circles a bit on a key and valid point of contention, which is what it was/is reasonable to expect from Angie Harmon on Twitter.  People with different perspectives have made good arguments, but I doubt we'll reach a consensus.

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So I googled "Rizzoli Isles script" to see if any others beside the pilot one were available, and it turns out a kind soul recently uploaded a pdf file of the August 27, 2009 version of the pilot script.  That version is dated one week later than the one I discussed in earlier posts (1. Introduction to Maura, 2. Jane and Maura meet Dean, 3. Jane goes to stay with Maura, 4. Jane and Dean at her apartment, 5. Who broke Jane's heart first?, 6. Jane finds out about Dean, and 7. After Jane and Hoyt's confrontation).  Having two drafts gives me a few things to comment on, of course!

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Rizzoli & Isles has been mentioned in a few year-end TV lists, so I thought it would be useful to compile a list. But when it got down to it, I could only track down three year-end mentions, so I’m also including three articles that came out around the time of the pilot for their advocacy of Jane and Maura to get it on :-).

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This extract from the August 20, 2009 draft of the pilot script (here are Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) covers the final scenes.  They play out pretty differently in lots of interesting respects, and there are several things that Jane/Maura shippers should find pleasing, including physical contact!

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Another extract from the August 20, 2009 draft of the pilot script (here are Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).  Doesn't offer the subtext overload of the last extract, but there are some interesting insights into both Jane and Maura and their relationship. 

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FIC: Three Questions (holiday micro-fic)

Title: Three Questions
Author: reversatility
Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles
Pairing: Jane/Maura
Disclaimer: Jane and Maura belong to Tess Gerritsen and the producers of Rizzoli & Isles.
Spoilers: None
Rating: PG13
Words: 153
Author’s notes: I haven’t forgotten that I owe you Chapter 4 of The Things We Don’t Give Up, it’s just not quite ready yet, sorry. I hope this little holiday drabble will help tide you over. I originally wanted to see if I could write it in 100 words (in the style of redwingx’s outstanding works), but I ended up going with my favorite number instead: 153. To channel Maura Isles for a second, it has many interesting properties, not the least of which is (1 cubed)+(5 cubed)+(3 cubed) = 153 (and who knew numbers had their own Wikipedia entries?).
Also, a priest is mentioned, but I haven’t read the Gerritsen books, so this piece no doubt fails to follow the book canon!
Geez, the notes are going to be longer than the story. Stopping now except to make ...
Dedications: To sunsetwriter, author of many excellent Alex/Olivia (Law and Order: SVU) holiday pieces, and fewthistle, author of (among other things) an amazing Helena/Myka (Warehouse 13) series, and who just wrote me a lovely Helena/Myka ficlet.

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Continuing the series of extracts from the August 20, 2009 draft of the pilot script (here are Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4), this is my favorite extract, from the beginning of Act 4, and includes a couple of scenes that were never aired.  The second one is just between Jane and Maura, and it's a beauty. 

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More in the series of extracts from the August 20, 2009 draft of the pilot script (here are Parts 1, 2, and 3).  As a comparison with the scenes between Jane and Maura at Maura's apartment I posted last, you can see how Jane and Dean's interactions in Jane's apartment were written.  The chemistry is scripted, but for many of us, it translated pretty poorly on-screen.

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Okay, folks, here it is!  Continuing the series of extracts from the August 20, 2009 draft of the pilot script (here are Parts 1 and 2), this extract has the scenes from when Jane leaves her apartment to go to Maura's, till when she wakes up and, well, sneaks out. 

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Here's another extract from a draft of the pilot script of Rizzoli & Isles dated August 20, 2009 (you can find a link to the first extract here).  Not the bed scene, but that'll be next!

One thing in general that's different in this draft of the pilot is the extent to which Jane and Maura are initially "fighting" over Dean. I know in the aired pilot both of them expressed interest, but I feel like the aired version suggested that Dean was primarily interested in Jane, and that Maura was, by and large, yielding him to her because she wasn't that interested herself. 

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Okay, taking a quick break from writing The Things We Don't Give Up to bring you extracts from a draft of the pilot script of Rizzoli & Isles dated August 20, 2009, when it was still just called Rizzoli.  There are some interesting tidbits and divergences from the aired pilot.  I plan on posting several more extracts as I get to them, including the famous "bed scene," as well as a scene that never made it to air where Jane tells Maura about the first person (and yes, I use "person" deliberately!) who broke her heart.

This first extract introduces Maura, and then there's the scene with Jane, Maura, and Korsak examining the first body.

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Title: Over the Line (4/4)
Author: reversatility
Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles
Pairing: Jane/Maura
Disclaimer: All characters you recognize belong to Tess Gerritsen and/or the producers of Rizzoli & Isles.
Summary: As I promised, Jane is back. Now what for our two heroines?
Spoilers: 1.05 Money for Nothing
Rating: R
Words: 2,032
Author’s notes: Set midway through Season 1. And this used to be called Cracking, but given the way the story went, I think Over the Line fits much better.

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New user icon, courtesy of sunlitdays

Thanks to sunlitdays for my user icon!
Title: Over the Line (3/4)
Author: reversatility
Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles
Pairing: Jane/Maura
Disclaimer: All characters you recognize belong to Tess Gerritsen and/or the producers of Rizzoli & Isles.
Summary: All I kept coming up with were various glib versions of “It was a dark and stormy night.”  So let’s just say that it’s Maura-centric, but I promise Jane will be back.
Spoilers: 1.05 Money for Nothing
Rating: R to be safe.
Words: 1,458
Author’s notes: Set midway through Season 1.  Oh, and I changed the fic title to "Over the Line."

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