My brother Tod has a weekly feature on his blog in which he skewers the "fucktards" who write Letters to Parade seeking answers from the fictional Walter Scott. Well, Tod could probably do the same with some of the people who write to TV Guide.
Take Susan A. Davis of Newport, Vermont for example.
She’s peeved about the season finale of CSI, which showed Grissom and Sara in bed together in the closing moments of the episode. TV Guide called it a shocking season finale. But since I only watched two episodes of CSI this season, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be shocked. I just figured the two characters were doing the nasty monkey together now. I wasn’t shocked. In fact, I didn’t care. But let’s get back to Susan A. Davis of Newport, Vermont. She wrote:
The writers ought to sit in a corner with their faces to the wall and chant the following: Don’t mess with canon. Don’t mess with canon. Don’t mess with canon.
"Canon" is a term that fanfic writers like to use to refer to the backstory established in the TV shows, movies, books and comics that they are ripping off. So what makes Susan A. Davis of Newport, Vermont a raging fucktard is that she doesn’t seem to grasp that she was watching the actual, original, CSI tv show…not reading CSI fanfic or CSI/X-Files cross-over fic or CSI slash fic or even the William Petersen Real Person Slash Fic that she probably loves. Because if she did comprehend that she was watching the actual, original, CSI tv show, then she’d know that canon is whatever the creators of CSI say it is. The writer/producers decide who the characters are and what they are going to do…they create the canon.
You may not like what the writer/producers come up with, you may think they’ve jumped the shark and fucked it, too… but it’s what’s happening on the actual, original, CSI tv show, which is still written and produced by the same folks who did the pilot, and that, Susan A. Davis of Newport Vermont, makes whatever they do "canon."
So, I submit that Susan A. Davis of Newport, Vermont, should sit in a corner with her face to the wall and chant "I am a fucktard, I am a fucktard, I am a fucktard…"
20 thoughts on “You Just Know This Idiot Loves FanFic…”
I do think it’s absolutely possible for creators of books/shows/movies to contradict their own canon.
If you let DM’s elderly doctor suddenly sport a mohawk and learn roller blading without giving the readers/viewers a hint why and what for and how he came to do this, they won’t understand and feel that you’re now leaving the original canon which has established his character in a way that makes them think he wouldn’t do this (I’m making this up as I go, I don’t know DM – perhaps he even *has* a mohawk? – although he doesn’t look like it on the book covers – But you understand what I mean.)
Obviously this viewer you mention did not understand how these two CSI characters could end up in bed with each other as she thought from former episodes they were not interested/disliked(hated each other (again, making this up, haven’t seen any CSI except the very first four/five eps). This makes her someone who cannot understand the development of this series (which could be the fault of the creators as they perhaps have missed to give a proper explanation and backstory for this development), it does not make her a “fucktard” as you so charmingly say.
I don’t watch CSI enough to know why Grissham and Sara wouldn’t sleep together, but I do get annoyed when TV shows “forget” previous facts.
Of course, it is the writer’s right to do that, and mine to change the TV channel.
Once again, Kete the defender of child pornographers, is talking about something she knows nothing about. Grissom and Sara have been making goo-goo eyes at each other for years.
Julia, I have a news bulletin for you that’s going to change your life. There are no FACTS in a TV series, Julia. It’s all FICTION.
I totally agree that this person is clearly a little foolish to make the statement that she made about not “messing with canon”. I’m not up to date with CSI, but as far back as second season, there was some pretty heavy hinting at the “shocker” you described.
But at the risk of being a pedantic prick, she’s not necessarily showing a love of fanfic by using the term “canon”.
The most specifically relevant definition of the word I could find was on Dictionary.com: “An established principle: the canons of polite society.”
Also, kinda, but not quite: “The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic: the entire Shakespeare canon.”
The first time I ever heard it in this context was in reference to the old licensed Marvel “Star Wars” comics: Apparently, there was only one element in there that George Lucas would describe as not being “canon” (for the record, a 6 foot, cigar chomping, wise-cracking rabbit called Jaxxon, that he dismissed as being too ridiculous… this, of course, predates the special editions and prequels…)
Susan A Davis has a problem in failing to accept a plot element that she didn’t agree with, and is using a term out of place to prove her point… but it’s not actually unheard of for a writer on a collaborative effort like a TV show to fuck with canon… it happens whenever one of them drops the ball and conflicts with previously established fact… that’s why something like The Simpsons works so beautifully… they just don’t give a fuck about canon, changing the Simpson’s address constantly, and even mocking the fact that week on week, things get reset back to normal.
It’s not important in some shows… but in a show like Lost, for example, where the success of it requires story-buy-in and examination from it’s audience, fucking with canon could be disastrous. It happened in The X Files all the time as well, and it wasn’t a good thing when it did.
Problematically, as a buzzword, the term “canon” is probably mostly, and “over”used by those pesky, and quite ridiculous, fan-ficcers… but it’s a concept that has been quite important in comic and genre fiction for quite a while. I’d hate to see the talent-defunct end up totally claiming it.
By the way, I love your blog, and take your point of a few posts back that this is just your playground between serious work-things, so apologise for my over exploration of something that was probably pretty off the cuff… I just find this shit incredibly interesting…
I should also say, after that already hideously long comment, that CSI is one of those shows that has a fairly shallow canon, that is, that the established rules of the characters and situations are fairly light…
I love CSI, but it’s not like they try to make the characters much more than cool ciphers, and as such, it’s pretty difficult to do something totally out of character for them, I mean, really… we’re not talking Vic Mackey or Al Swearengen here…
“fucking with canon could be disastrous. It happened in The X Files all the time as well, and it wasn’t a good thing when it did.”
Oh yeah, it really hurt the X-FILES. The show only ran nine years, only sparked a hugely successful feature film, and has only earned tens of millions of dollars in DVD sales. Yeah, a real big fucking disaster. That will teach them to mess with canon!!
I stopped watching The X-Files at the start of Season Four, when I figured out that the show’s canon wasn’t even loaded.
“Oh yeah, it really hurt the X-FILES. The show only ran nine years, only sparked a hugely successful feature film, and has only earned tens of millions of dollars in DVD sales.”
Oh, yes, what a wonderfully well formed and totally necessarily sarcastic response Anon gave, there, not at all missing my point.
In a world where shows like Deadwood and Carnivale can’t make it unfettered to their most natural conclusion, and Futurama and Family Guy get killed off before their prime, it’s obvious that the only way to measure the worth of an entertainment object is by how much fucking money it makes. Tut.
(As far as the movie goes, I think that you really need to define what you mean by “hugely successful”.
It didn’t seem successful enough to guarantee that an ongoing movie franchise be born, which I thought was the real hope, there.
And as the movie came in at around season 5, meaning it was in the offing while the show was still riding high on it’s earlier feverish success, I don’t think you really disprove anything I’ve said.)
Also, I don’t think I really said that it ruined the X-Files, so much as it wasn’t a good thing when it happened. Bit of a distinction, there.
In response to Chadwick H. Saxelid… I don’t know of MANY people who watched past season four… I know I didn’t make much effort. And frankly, if the fact that people who were pretty hardline fans of the show in the first few years gave up after four, as did, it appears from a cursory view of the show after that point, most of the creative people involved, I’d say my point is more than made.
I’m willing to admit to being wrong about the X-Files, by the way… Chadwick’s line is actually a very valid point, that really, The X-Files only ever really gave the illusion of having any deeper arc to it than the monster-of-the-week…
But really, I think the message here is that, if you’re going to respond aggressively without elaborating in a worthwhile manner, it helps if, like Mr Saxelid, you are actually witty and intelligent, and not just a flame-monkey.
I stopped watching the X-Files TV show about the same time the movie came out and was horrified later when watching old reruns on TNT late night to discover how REALLY badly the show had fallen apart in the final season(s?). I am glad that i stopped watching when I did…
By the way, on the subject of fan-fic… I had to explain to my father what “Slash” was the other day…. he didn’t believe me until I gave him a string to search with on google…. strange, I figured of all people he would know 😉
//Once again, Kete the defender of child pornographers//
I must have missed this one, mishima…can you explain? I have some friends who are very interested in meeting child pornographers…..
Here’s the thing — TV shows make changes all the time. Let’s use DIAGNOSIS MURDER as an example. In the pilot, Dr. Mark Sloan was a widower with no kids. His sidekicks Dr. Amanda Bentley was white and Dr. Jack Stewart was black. In the TV movies, Dr. Mark Sloan had a son on the police force — and both Amanda and Jack were white. In the TV series, Amanda was black and Jack was white. In all three incarnations, different actors played Amanda and Jack. All three incarnations were also shot in different cities, so the hospital and the city never looked the same. And in season four, Mark revealed he had a daughter that was never so much as mentioned before. Guess what? No one cared. It’s a TV show. It’s not real. TV shows are not set in stone. They are glorified stage plays andtheir continued production is impacted by a lot of outside forces. Things change for lots of reasons — actors come and go, budgets get slashed, the production is moved to a different city, networks demand conceptual alterations, etc. (How many different versions are there of how Felix & Oscar and Rob & Laura met?). To scream that the CSI producers violated their own “canon” by deciding to have two characters become lovers is just inane.
Don’t mess with canon? I’ve been wondering all along when those two would get together. There’s been a distinct buildup to this. But maybe I don’t know everything there is to this. I only get the show in reruns on a satellite channel.
Fans who maintain a character “wouldn’t do that” are missing the point. People are unpredictable animals, and will suddenly do things they “wouldn’t do.” If Dr. Sloan takes to slugging down a fifth of JD before delicate operations, that’s not necessarily violating “canon,” or bad writing. If he suddenly does it without any explanation ever given, that’s likely bad writing. If there’s a compelling reason why he’s hit the bottle and is flirting with malpractice, it might be compelling character development.
I must be missing something. It was a shock, because one of the plot points running since the start was that Sara wanted Gris, but had never got anywhere. So it is in the Canon that something would happen between them.
I already have hopes for a re-apperance of Lady Heather. What a way for the rest of the cast to find out, but some one gets murdered when Sara is giving Gris his birthday present.
This season of CSI (with a few ups – the brother and sister who confess to the same crime being the best) has been rubbish. If anything CSI NY, has been the one to watch.
The only off Canon thing this year was the whole Starbuck as assasin in BG. Made no sense at all.
Not having read the original letter, I’m forced to ask: is it possible that Ms. Davis used the wrong word?
Assuming that she’s not in the TV industry, I think it’s possible that, instead of “canon”, what she meant was “franchise”. I think this is particularly likely given the fact that C.S.I. is one of the most heavily plot-driven procedurals on TV, which means it rarely delves into the personal lives of the characters.
Another factor to consider: the Grissom/Sara sexual tension has been going on long enough so that it might be considered part of the franchise, much like Sam and Diane on Cheers, or Maddie and David Addison on Moonlighting. And I think most of us know how difficult it can be to sustain a series after the characters in question finally hook up.
So maybe that was her objection – Mark
In the season one finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel couldn’t revive a drowned Buffy with CPR because he was a vampire and thus had “no breath”. In the season two finale, Spike managed to knock out his girlfriend, Druscilla who was also a vampire by crushing her windpipe and cutting off her oxygen. That has never stopped bothering me.
But I love the show so much, I’m willing to let it go. If a show’s good enough, a couple of slip-ups here and there shouldn’t matter, even if it does bother me every time I think about that episode.
Not that this counts as a slip-up. It’s abotu damn time Gill and Sarah got together. Geeze.
“//Once again, Kete the defender of child pornographers//
I must have missed this one, mishima…can you explain? I have some friends who are very interested in meeting child pornographers…..”
This was when Lee, who’s always delighted to shed some light on the aspects of fandom his prudish little mind thinks “dirty”, quoted some fanfic writer who asked the question on some community of “how to teach slash-writing fourteen year olds to write believeable sex scenes” (presuming that they have no actual experience with such as yet).
Of course Lee found that outrageous. I’m not in favour of children writing pornography, but when they do it anyway – whether you and I and Lee’s parrot like it or not – I prefer them to do so orthographically and grammatically correct. Yes.
Also I think it more harmless and probably safer to try and test sex out textually than practically. But that might just be me.
That’s why I’m the big defender of child pornographers. Happy to be so.
While I agree that she’s heading into ‘fucktard’ territory at high speed, I do have to point out the misuse of the word ‘canon’. The terminology actually pre-dates the fan fic freaks.
For example, in Star Trek, what is on the screen in terms of live action is canon, but with two exceptions, none of the books are, and neither is the Animated series. This is according to published dictates from Gene Roddenberry. Of course, this played havok when they decided to screw with established Trek ‘history’ in Enterprise. Maybe he’s rolling in his grave. I know I was squirming in my chair.
For example, when the Human race encountered Klingons is changed with Enterprise. And since everything on screen is canon, that would be an example of fucking with canon, so to speak. Maybe if the show hadn’t been cancelled, what was screwed with would have been put back to the previously established timeline, depending on who won that lame ‘temporal war’.
The Baker Street Irregulars referred to the Conan Doyle stories as “The Canon” when arguing fine points of Holmes history. The Society dates to 1934, was founded by Christopher Morley, and has had many distinguished (and published) members, including Rex Stout and Isaac Asimov.
*laughs* For once, I agree with you. At least for the most part anyway.
“Canon” is what the actual show says it is, no matter how stupid it is in the opinion of the viewer. Arguments over “canon” in fandom can be totally stupid.
You’re definately right that story lines and characters develop and change and the issue is that many fans just can’t accept that.
However, there is a way in which original writers can “mess with canon” – and that’s when they write the character in a way that is completely different to the way they’ve been throughout the series, but offer no explanation for it. It’s also called “being lazy” or maybe “having no talent what so ever”. I’m sure you would have come across a few who fit that description.