lordyellowtail: (Default)
Me:  I'm starting a new handwritten journal in honor of my 35th Birthday! (And I'll actually keep this one going, for real this time.) Yay! 

Also Me: +gets distracted while breaking the spine, forgets to turn back to page 1, and just starts writing Entry 1 on the first blank page, which is in the middle of the book, and doesn't notice for 6 pages+

Still Me: +Minor, but absolutely legit OMG-this is now Out of Order and the World Will Die freakout+ Okay. Be cool. We can work with this. Just keep going and finish this, the First Entry in the 35th Birthday Journal of 2019. We will get through this.

I Contain Multitudes, Apparently: Wow! That went really well. My handwriting is out of practice and I can't feel my fingers anymore, but I actually made sure I will remember important stuff about my life. And also something about Charter Spectrum cable service. Whatever. Elite. I think starting in the middle actually helped, because I totally avoided any First Page Intimidation. I did that on purpose. Absolutely. Totes.
lordyellowtail: (Don't Drink Soap)
Hello, everyone, and thank you for coming to my TED Talk, A Safe and Effective Method for Discovering Small Cuts and Abrasions In the Human Hand Using Only Fresh Bacon (Or: The Perils of Grabbing Greasy Things, Part VIII).

We've got some extra time today, so I will also be including a bonus module on Wilbur's Revenge: How to Stab Yourself and Others (But Mostly Yourself, Let's Be Real) with Extra Crispy Bacon.
lordyellowtail: (Default)
Randomly wandering around on YouTube, I found this fun interview with Brent Spiner on whether he'd like a part on the new Star Trek, and his thoughts on if he'd ever come back to play Data (physically, no, but voiceover, absolutely). An absolutely charming movie, and Mr. Spiner's choice for who should play Lt. Commander Data in a reboot. She is an amazing choice that never occurred to me until he said it.

Watch the video, or , if spoilers are your thing, look at how I've tagged this post.

As usual, Mr Spiner is absolutely charming.

Read more... )
lordyellowtail: (Alia (Nerdy Chicks Rule))
I've watched exactly one episode of CBS's Supergirl--the one where she meets the Flash from The Flash (CW)--and fell in love with her and her show. It's so ... fun. And yet at the same time it couldn't exist without its deep character relationships and badass heroes of all shapes and sizes and power levels. I love it.

I've been binging fanfic. It reminds me a lot of the peak of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman fandom, in terms of enthusiasm and writing skill/plot maturity. I haven't been watching the show due to time. Once all the episodes are on Netflix I can binge Season 1. And given that I was first introduced to the fandom by the AO3 archive, I think it was inevitable that I'd become a Cat/Kara shipper. OMG, they're lovely. Canon, of course, is giving us Kara/Jimmy Olsen, which is giving me an unpleasant Smallville vibe most of the time. (And I'm not just in it for the femmeslash. I'd also prefer Kara/Barry Allen. Or Kara/Anyone Not Jimmy, come to that.)

(There's also a characterization issue w/r/t Kara keeping her secret from Cat via use of Martian shapeshifting mind-screw that's a real thing, but I won't get into that here. [personal profile] ilyena_sylph and I have discussed it at length though. She and I have deep feelings on the matter. As someone who read the Young Justice comic books and remembers Greta Hayes, I'll also never be comfortable with Supergirl or anyone else working so closely with any incarnation of the DEO, but I digress.)

So, yeah. After reading so much fanfic, and given my own background with the comics, I've been getting ideas. I know I'll almost surely never have time to work on them anytime soon, so I'm archiving them here. Tumblr prompt posts are huge in this fandom, and I'm not really sure how those work, but by all means please feel free to run with one of these if you like.

If anyone takes one, please let me know and send a link so I can read it. :) I've included my brainstorming and details, but you certainly don't have to use them all/any of them. it's more the basic idea I'm throwing out there. I'd love to see multiple people's take on the same thing.

The list for this round:

1. Extended Stay:
 For whatever reason, Barry can't get back home at the end of the crossover ep, and is stuck on Kara's Earth (Earth-3? Earth-CBS?). Maybe the tachyon chest device he was wearing got smashed. So he's stuck there until he can get fast enough on his own to breach the dimensional barrier and get back to Earth-1. As far as Earth-1 is concerned, he's only gone for a few seconds (just as in canon). But for Barry, weeks/months/years pass--anywhere up to 10 years, so at most he'd be in his mid-30s at the peak of his powers when he went home). So he's a dimensional refugee and has to make a new life for himself as both Barry Allen and the Flash, all the while afraid that Zoom is destroying his home (since he doesn't know about the time differential).
  • How does he grow?
  • How does Kara grow given how much they obviously cared about each other and influenced each other even as friends--and Barry's Older Brother Mentor vibe with her.
  • Does Barry keep trusting the DEO the way she does? Barry's interactions with Earth-1 General Eiling and ARGUS have been not-so-great, but not terrible, yet, either. (Eiling was presented as a one-off bigoted nutcase, but Amanda Waller's ARGUS is horrifying, even if Barry didn't have any direct contact with it.)
  • Does Kara/Barry happen?
  • Does Kara end up with someone else and Barry find someone else or spend a decade pining after Iris (I hope not)?
  • How will Team Flash react to an older, more confident and powerful Barry reappearing after being gone for just a second or two?
  • Does Kara come back with him to make Zoom's downfall that much more awesome and entertaining? (Because after months/years, I can't imagine Kara just letting Barry go by himself if the last thing he says is that he has to go fight a nightmarish, world-conquering speed demon from hell.)
  • There are so many directions you could go with this.
2. The Fugitive from Krypton: So, in the comics, the DEO was perfectly happy to treat metahuman children as things to be dehumanized, experimented on like lab rats, and weaponized. The ones that couldn't be controlled were hauled off to something called the WABE, where they were presumably killed/dissected for evil science. They were not nice people. The comic incarnation of Young Justice forms almost solely to protect Greta Hayes, one of their escapees and one of the world's most powerful metahumans, from getting recaptured by people who refer to her consistently as "it" and other even more unpleasant things while they torture her. So I was incredibly thrown when I watched Supergirl to be presented with a "nice" DEO who were Kara's allies/trainers/support team. Until it was revealed that the Supergirl-verse DEO was just as evil and twisted as the comics mainline version until J'onn replaced and masqueraded as Hank Henshaw to take it over. It's a huge deal in the show when J'onn is outed as an alien and has to flee, and General Lane--his usual xenophobic, horrifying self, who waterboards Kryptonians with kryptonite injection torture--is going to put one his allies in control. Especially horrifying since he's of the mind that Kara is just as bad as the evil aliens she fights, and humanity would be best served by her being ... contained, at best. In canon, J'onn uses his mind powers to make sure that doesn't happen, by persuading the top brass to appoint Lucy Lane, who is not a xenophobic bigot nutcase, to command the DEO.
  • Now, let's assume for whatever reason, that doesn't happen. Kara, not being down for being treated like an it, or a living weapon, or otherwise being forced into the DEO's servitude ("Here's a list of people we want killed. Get on it, alien.") lest she be imprisoned forever or killed or turned into a lab experiment, flees.
  • It's entirely likely the DEO uses its influence to frame Kara for some sort of horribad act so the world thinks she's a villain and understands why "the good guys" with the guns and black helicopters are hunting her.
  • This places, at minimum, Cat Grant, Carter Grant, and Jimmy and Winn in huge danger, as the DEO knows they're her chief allies and the first place she'll go for help.
  • At minimum, Cat and Carter end up on the run with Kara, mostly because she has to rescue them from the DEO and its not safe for them to go anywhere else. Given how much they both care about Kara, I think their upset at having to be on the run would be tempered to some degree by outrage/fear at how she's being targeted, but still, this is not a recipe for happy times.
  • Cat/Kara pre-shipping/ship launching would be very interesting under these conditions, but if platonic Supercat is your thing, that would also be magnificent. Carter struggling with what's going on around him and trying to reconcile the DEO chasing Kara with Kara being his hero would also be very interesting.
  • The usual question that comes up with a lot of my Supergirl plot-bunnies and meta about the series: where the hell is Clark?
3. Studies in Xeno-Oncology: This one is more my reaction to the incredible, hair-pulling out stupidity of the DEO using constant Kryptonite exposure to make it possible for their human agents to train Kara. Put aside for a second that the best person in the world to train Kara to use her powers to the greatest extent is Clark Kent, and his buddy Bruce Wayne would be happy to teach her how to fight like a human for when she needs to do that (and hey, if Diana's around ... ). The DEO surely loves this also because it teaches Kara that she's no real match for humans determined to hurt her, if they have the right tools. The government hates uppity aliens. The show seems to think Kryptonite is merely an off-switch for Kryptonian powers, but that's not correct. It's radioactive. It doesn't strip Kryptonians of their powers so much as instantly and viciously painfully give them radiation poison that puts them in too much pain and causes enough instant cellular damage that the solar-absorption processes that enable their powers can't work correctly. So, consider what the DEO is doing in their training rooms:
  • (a) Constantly bombarding Kara with Kryptonite radiation to damage her cells enough that her superpowers cannot fully manifest, but not so much that she can't still function;
  • (b) Putting her in training simulations where her body takes varying degrees of non-lethal damage;
  • (c) While her irradiated body tries to heal itself via normal, Kryptonian yellow-sun-accelerated healing processes:
  • (d) which include (now irradiated) cells attempting to multiply themselves at a prodigious, superhuman rate to repair the damage
  • (e) Kara seems fine, and they apparently do this to her daily, at least
    • BUT: we know from real world science that when radiation poisoning happens, it causes cellular mutations in cells spawned after the poisoning occurs, and this is happening to Kara over and over and over and over and with her superhuman healing compromised
    • IN CONCLUSION: Cellular mutations left unchecked, even when they're just happening at little bit at a time, are how cancer happens
  • In sum:
    • The DEO's preoccupation with poisoning Kara (just a little bit) so they can regularly beat her up while she is in "my cells are on fire" pain, which must be great for her mental health,  do training, without any consideration to the realities of radiation poisoning, gives Kara cancer, likely either already spread throughout her body or in  position that it's likely to spread quickly once it's found given how rapidly her accelerated immune system/healing reproduces cells even when not pressed by physical damage.
    • Chemo and radiation and most other human means of curing cancer will not work on Kara's invulnerable body, not without the application of more Kryptonite, which given that it's already given her cancer, is not on.
  • The big questions:
    • What do?
    • More importantly, how do the people that love Kara deal with this, and how does it change their attitudes about the DEO, which they've been trusting to safely train Kara all this time? I'm sure people like General Lane will actually be pretty thrilled with the news.
  • I like to imagine that Cat is the one who figures out Kara is sick first, because she has experience of seeing someone developing cancer or something similar and she's Cat Grant, investigative reporter/Queen of All Media/Badass, and this messes with her head a great deal and scares the hell out of her, because of course Cat knows Kara is Supergirl, and Supergirl isn't supposed to get cancer or be mortal and sick. And she'll have fun explaining this to Carter.
    • Feels everywhere!
    • Platonic/shippy Supercat to taste.
  • And also: Where the hell is Clark? (Given the number of terrible things that happen to Kara in this show without an appearance from Clark, this is kind of constant refrain in most of my plot bunnies.)
4. The Au Pair from Krypton (Superman Returns/Supergirl Fusion): Crossover AU. Superman leaves Earth after Superman II for the five year trip to go see if Krypton survived, just as in canon. Lois finds out she's pregnant, just as in canon. But before she meets and begins courting Richard White, and even before she writes her "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" editorial, Kara Zor-El escapes from the Phantom Zone and arrives on Earth, looking for Kal-El. She goes to the Fortress of Solitude and manages to track down the only Kryptonian life sign on earth--which is presently gestating inside a human woman. Kara is 13 and of average intelligence by Kryptonian standards (which would make her a genius on Earth), and still hurting from the realization she failed to protect her cousin, who grew up without her. It doesn't take her long to realize the baby must be Kal-El's. Kal-El is missing, and the last heir of the House of El is unprotected. That's totally not on.
  • Kara's already a 13 year old, with most of the education Kal-El got in Superman (1978) during his 12 years in the Fortress' tutoring program. It wouldn't take Kara nearly as long to work with Jor-El's hologram to get caught up on Earth culture. Probably less than a year, just doing it at night.
    • Kara would identify herself to Lois as Kal-El's cousin before she knew a thing about who Clark Kent was. So Lois has a traumatized, teenage alien girl determined to be her body-guard/live in babysitter, and wondering what the hell happened to her idiot baby cousin and why he went off to go find a planet Kara saw explode before her eyes. This whole situation kind of blows Lois' seething resentment of Kal-El (that led her to write "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman") to pieces.
    • Lois is too paranoid about such things to ever let the DEO or any other government branch anywhere near Kara, and Kara wouldn't let them anywhere near the baby.
    • Lois and Kara figure out together that Clark is Kal-El, and end up talking things out with Martha Kent while Lois is still pregnant. Martha would be thrilled she's going to be a grandmother; ready to strangle Clark for getting a woman pregnant out of wedlock and then disappearing like a moron, and perfectly happy to go along with the Jor-El AI's plan to set up a "Kara Kent" identity that would make Kara legally Clark's cousin.
    • Lois still writes "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman," but it's not nearly so much of a hit-piece as it was implied to be in canon, and more a self-examination of herself and society for being overly-dependent on someone who everyone sort of forgot had his own emotional wants and needs, so they were totally unprepared when he needed to leave to take care of himself. (This is the article I actually wanted to see her write, and one I think would've been award-worthy. Much more so than the "The Reason You Suck" article she seemed to actually do in canon.
    • By the time she's 16-17, Luthor/Zod/Non/Evil Lincoln is back and escalates things to the point that Kara realizes the world needs SOMEONE with an S on their chest. Perhaps Luthor targets baby Jason somehow, realizing he must be Kal-El's son? Enter Supergirl.
  • Richard White: I suppose it's possible Lois still ends up with him, if she's angry enough with Clark/feels like he's not ever coming back, but I think it's much less likely he's with her here. But I'd hope he's still around. I loved his character.
  • Superman Returns: and is greeted with joy by the people of Earth. And ends up hearing about his cousin first from the press corps covering the space shuttle/plane rescue. Awkward/wut-filled family reunion fun for everyone.
  • Cat and Kara: Cat is always shown as being Lois' rival, so trying to set up a platonic or romantic relationship with Kara in this AU would be tricker, but I'd love to see it still done. Cat and Kara are such a key part of this incarnation of Supergirl. You could dial things back a bit with the timeline, so when Kara is about 15-16, Lois is about 26-28 (how old I think she must've been in the Superman II era), Cat is an intern/Perry's assistant/junior gossip columnist at about 18-19. Still squickly until Kara's a bit older if you're gonna ship it, but feasible. Plus, I kinda love AU stories where Cat and Kara are close in age and younger, because it means Kara tends to be there when Cat has baby Carter.
So, there's some plotunnies, and the overthought reasoning behind them. And now they're off my chest and will hopefully stop whispering to me when I'm trying to do other things, like make money to feed/clothe myself and keep the water and electricity on.
lordyellowtail: (Zero (My Most of Me))
After years of resisting, I'm finally going to admit the truth: most of the fandoms I'm currently in exist primarily now on Tumblr--which I kind of despise as a platform on both a technical and philosophical level.

More importantly, fandom friends I've had for more than 10-15 years are still here on Dreamwidth. So, I'm not leaving.

But I do want to interact with my Tumblr-heavy fandoms, so I've set up a cross posting recipe to copy this and all future posts to Tumblr. There's a great tutorial put up last year that uses IFTTT and Dreamwidth's RSS feed.

Let's see how this goes.

Press the button, Frank.

lordyellowtail: (Secret (Young Justice))
So, the last couple weeks, I rediscovered how much I love ER as a show (though I have continuously dabbled in Kerry/Kim shipping on and off the last several years, when I remember they exist and can find AU stories for them that don't depress the hell out of me).

Key to getting back into ER fandom has been admitting that as much as I enjoy some of the latter stuff, I'm one of those people who just prefers to stop at the end of Season 8, and aside from a handful of miscellaneous bits, just ignore Seasons 9-15. They could be great, but the tone and cast turnover just made it a completely different show, and there were too many storyline decisions I couldn't stomach. (That, and I'm not a huge fan of Abby Lockhart and her Queen of Gloom sex symbol status, however the hell that is supposed to actually work.)

So I'm gonna re-watch the first 8 seasons when I get a chance.

At the same time, Xena has been popping up in conversation on the internets since she and Gabrielle are getting a reboot, and since the particulars of the Xena series finale have relevance to the current awareness campaign and intense fandom discussions about the decades long ubiquity of the Kill Your Gays trope in television, especially as applied to lesbians, that was set off by Commander Lexa's murder on The 100. I didn't even know about how the series ended and how Xena got fridged until the Lexa event, as I had stopped watching mid-series because my real life went crazy and I pretty much abandoned most TV and fandom while trying to finish high school and start college.

As [personal profile] ilyena_sylph can attest from being witness to my angry, heartbroken rantings on the subject (and more to the point, putting up with said ranting (thanks!)), finding out how Xena ended really upset me. I was angry-weepy for a day or two whenever I thought about it, because I get tired of things I loved in my childhood getting stabbed/shot/burned or otherwise murdered to death when I'm not looking--or twisted beyond recognition. Given how adorkable and happy together Xena and Gabrielle were when they weren't stabbing and bludgeoning Evil and generally being epic, I was pretty broken up about this, even if I'm 20 years late finding out. 

So, yeah, Xena is also on Netflix, and I've resolved to watch the first three seasons again, and ignore everything after that when the Train of Suck and Misery starts picking up steam, because this whole thing has reminded me how much I miss these characters and how much fun they were.

The Point (There is One!):

So, the problem with fandom binging two fandoms at once is that your brain sometimes plays tricks on you. I was looking at ER stuff and Xena stuff at the same time and by Evening Four had convinced myself that I once read a really funny, enjoyable crossover fic wherein Kerry Weaver and Kim Legaspi used the power of (or had used on them the power of) Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Whimey to meet Xena and Gabrielle and they had adorkable, heartwarming shenanigans, possibly including Kerry Weaver beaning Kevin Smith's Ares with her crutch, all while Kerry dealt with her fear of coming out of the closet at work by comparing her situation to Xena's. (Because Kerry and Xena are so totally alike, amirite? < /not-completely-joking-why-brain-why >)

So many details of this existed in my head and I had such good memories of having read it, so I searched for it.

Except: it doesn't exist. Nowhere. Anywhere. I looked. A lot.

My brain, on a nostalgia overload, invented a bizarro crossover plot bunny and tried to cover how embarrassingly weird and off the wall it is by convincing my conscious mind someone else had written it.

That has to be a new level of dorktastic.

At least I'm totally not thinking about writing it myself. At all.
Maybe a one-shot someday.

lordyellowtail: (Captain Picard Squee)
Continuing with the theme from SVS 006 of ordinary people's relationships being a wonderful treat in an otherwise unordinary setting, let us travel back to the halcyon days of 1990s family television programming that we both love forever and are now almost uniformly too embarrassed by to admit we like in public.

ABC's TGIF Friday night family sitcom lineup spent over a decade codifying the family-friendly, (usually healthy) aesop-heavy, generally-harmless, sometimes groan-inducing style of programming that defined 1990s domestic comedy.

There were a lot of them, and with a few exceptions that explicitly embraced the supernatural (hello, Sabrina and Teen Angel), they all purported to be aggressively rooted in the real world. (Admittedly, Family Matters got overtaken by Steve Urkel's descent into zany super-science, but if you cut that out the show was really about the relationships between Steve and various members of the Winslow family.)

The problem emerged within the first few episodes of all these shows, though--if not the pilot episode itself. Watching aggressively normal people do aggressively normal stuff is aggressively boring. And these shows needed to be funny and entertaining enough to keep people coming back for enough years to wrack up sufficient episodes for lucrative first-run syndication deals. So invariably you took your aggressively normal people, wrapped them in Plot Armor and Made of Iron tropes usually reserved for shonen and shojo anime protagonists, and subjected them to the sort of bizarre, reality-is-unrealistic comedies of errors and random, I-can't-believe-that-didn't-kill-you coincidences and accidents that might happen to one of us in the real world maybe once in our entire lives.

And you did that weekly, and we loved to watch it.

Looking at the situation from a meta perspective years later, one can only conclude the people in all these shows were subject to living on an earth that, while appearing to be Pleasantville, was actually the playground of some mad god who was treating them like his own personal game of The Sims and trying to see how far he could push them before they broke. That some of them (like Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World) descended into a functional sort of actual insanity indicates that they figured out what was going on and went a bit mad from the revelation.

Then there was the actually horrifying stuff, like one of Frank Lambert's sons actually disappearing from Step by Step and no-one mentioning him or acknowledging he existed ever again, or the habit of babies to age up to approximately age six in less than a single calendar year. Likely because the mad Sims-playing god adjusted the age slider because infants make somewhat useless toys.

But I seriously digress.

The point being, for all their supposed normality, these shows were deeply and fundamentally bizarre. Re-watching them post-puberty, with an awareness of how romance is supposed to work, leads me to think that, just like in Xena, there is value in celebrating the normality of healthy, loving relationships in these sorts of universes. It's telling that on a lot of the TGIF shows, the most interesting romantic relationships belonged to the stable, happily married parent-couples that stood a few degrees removed from the zany hellscape that so infected their children's romantic entanglements. While JT Lambert idiotically tried to use his baby sister to pretend to be a single father to pick up chicks in a mall (a number of boys tried this on various shows), Frank and Carol Lambert sat at home and held hands and hugged while looking at their finances and realizing they can actually barely afford their newest kid, Lily. Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence take a break from their neurotic college romance, and Eric Matthews shook off his crazy, when they are pulled back into the orbit of Cory and Eric's parents Alan and Amy, whose new baby is premature and ill and may not make it out of the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital.

So, watching the kids' romantic arcs, the most interesting thing to me is seeing them grow and mature and gradually move out of the zaniness and towards the normality and stability of their parents' relationships. Some of them are better at this than others, and some never quite get there. even by the time of their series finale, and viewers are left holding the bag and cringing and thinking, "well, they're better off than when they started."

And some of them don't just get there but cross the finish line on a jetpack, and when these are the ones you wrote off as gag couples, that's even sweeter.

Dana Foster and Rich Halke are probably at the top of the stack in terms of TGIF teen-couples. It starts off fairly cliched: Dana is a highly motivated, intelligent, career- and goal-driven nerd (though she would never be called that because she was also beautiful and it would be another 15 to 20 years before TV really started to admit that beautiful nerds were a thing that existed) who was socially conscious and politically active and had no patience for those she viewed as beneath her (this was in fact her biggest character flaw at the start: it made her hard to watch because she came off as genuinely hurtful more than once). Watching her grow out of that last thing while still maintaining everything that made her great was a real joy. (Now that I think about it, Dana's character arc is not that dissimilar from Daria Morgendorffer's.)

Rich started out as one of JT's friends, which meant he was very much like JT: a shallow, girl-crazy, insensitive jock who came across as a complete idiot, but good-hearted and loyal and even brave when it actually counted. Though while JT got no justification for his constant academic failure and lack of common sense until the show runners tried a saving throw and diagnosed him with dyslexia (which was sadly played for laughs and never really explored beyond a few lines of dialogue), Rich was quite clearly shown to be lazy. His idea of tutoring is to hire someone to write a paper for him while he played basketball, and he was even self-aware enough to request that the papers not be too good so as not to draw attention.

And he's apparently been getting away with this for so long that he doesn't think a thing about it when he accidentally hires Dana to be his tutor, and tries to order a paper from her. Needless to say, that lasts about 30 seconds (which is 25 seconds longer than I thought it would) before she makes him do the work himself (or tries to), and one thing leads to another and in one moment of what she quite accurately and hilariously calls "demented passion," they're making out in the kitchen.

And on most shows that would be the end of it. Maybe you'd get one disastrous joke date (with a 50 percent chance of ending in a food-fight), but that would be the end of the gag and neither character would really change, but instead go on comfortable and secure in the knowledge that they are correct and "demented passion" or not, the other character is wrong and lame and Status Quo is God and no one is allowed to grow up.

That didn't happen, this time. Dana tried; she had terrible luck with dating up till that point because most guys were intimidated by/jealous of her intelligence and independence and so she was primed to assume the worst about everyone interested in her--which is disturbingly realistic for young women in Dana's position. But Rich wasn't willing to let it go and we got to see a new side of him: he was still an academic slacker and not the sharpest tool in the shed, but when he decided to be honest with her it turned out there was a whole actual person underneath all the 1990s dudebro cliches he was wrapped in, and he managed to get her to keep going out with him in a respectful, yet hilarious way. She was never a nerd he was taking pity on or something he won or brought down to his level. She was Dana and he was thrilled and honored that she wanted to share herself with him; it's implied that one of the reasons he was initially dismissive and combative of her was that he was convinced she was the sort of person who was completely beyond him, so he got defensive from the beginning. And Dana grew at the same time: Rich was the kind of person she started the series thinking was much beneath her boot soles, and a good part of her early courtship is admitting to herself that she has been overly-judgmental and that there is actually someone underneath the moron jock facade that she is deeply attracted to.

It's a horrible thing in real life and writing when a person tries to remake themselves and sacrifice their core values to appease a romantic partner, and most sitcom gag couples end when they try to do this, with the obvious aesop. The Step by Step writers acknowledge and deliberately avert this. Both Rich and Dana have characteristics and habits the one one doesn't care for, but the solution is not to excise those bits out, but to engage in realistic self-improvement that's not about changing your identity, but about how you engage with the people you care about. Dana, in essence, has to learn that real people are complicated, and in a relationship you have to take all of them. You can't just cherry-pick the parts you like. Rich has to learn how to stop using his slacker persona as a shield from forming the sort of deep and genuine bonds real romantic relationships require (because that shield is keeping Dana out), without sacrificing the fun-loving, joyful part of his personality. In other words, he has to learn balance if he wants this relationship to work.

And they both acknowledge these things, and work on them together, and in the middle of the laugh tracks and everything-but-Godzilla-showing-up insanity, they succeed. In fact, aside from Frank and Carol, by series' end they have the most developed, stable, healthy and realistic relationship of all the "child" characters, and have personally undergone some of the most comprehensive growth arcs.

This was most striking as a viewer upon seeing the thing that almost broke them up. It wasn't some zany mistaken-for-cheating plot (though they went through one of those, but it was resolved in 5 minutes), or a harrowing set of circumstances like one of their parents moving several states away and physically separating them, or any of the normal Pleasantville-Hellscape cliches generally reserved for a show's "kid couples." They were college age at that point, or nearly so, and Dana became so overwhelmed by the idea of planning for the future in the midst of their presently dim financial prospects and career uncertainties and other such things that, well, are quite familiar concerns to almost every real world adult couple everywhere.

And Rich, instead of freaking out and doing something that blows it like he would've before they first started dating and he was consumed with flippant laziness and shallow inability to commit, fully understands where she's coming from and why she's afraid (because he's not exactly not worrying about this stuff either). But he'll never be a genius like Dana and knows he doesn't have the words in him to get his message through to her.

So he thinks hard about it, takes out his heart and tacks it on his sleeve, and risks humiliating himself in a way he never would have dared upon his introduction. He invokes TGIF's most adorkable, heartwarming music number ever (according to me, tenured Professor of Dorkdom at I Can't Believe You're Writing So Many Words About This University), and proceeds to get her back with a hand held karaoke machine and the power of Sonny and Cher, who had the right words decades ago. In public, with dozens if not hundreds of witnesses.

And it works, because what he's really saying is "yes, there are uncertainties, and yes, they are frightening, but it doesn't matter because I would be facing them with you, and you would be facing them with me, and we'd figure it out and make it work because that's what love gives you the strength to do."

It's presented with the usual goofy, nearly-impossible-to-believe-that-worked circumstances common to most TGIF kids' romantic scenes, but when you stop and think about it you realize it only works and they only stay together because of how much both of them have grown and are able to think and function in a relationship like young adults, not kids. Rich and Dana look and function most like Frank and Carol in this moment.

I think one of the things I like best about it is all the initially annoyed/confused adult couples in the room getting into it and starting to dance as he sings. It's tacit approval.

And it's still cheesy and goofy and still kind of beautiful just for that.

The actual song is about 2 minutes long. Stick around for the after credits scene where they cosplay as Sonny and Cher. It's hilarious and adorable, but doesn't have the magic of the in-character performance.

lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
Warning: There are seriously huge spoilers for the finale of Xena: Warrior Princess in this post.

I realize I usually use this space for a mini shipping manifesto and fan music video, but I'm going to do something a bit different for this one. I'd like to get a bit meta about how I got back into this ship, as it's been consuming my fannish thoughts a lot this week.

So, reading about the upcoming Xena reboot made me realize (with a great wave of fannish guilt, I assure you) just how much I love and adore and miss this series. I've taken a deep dive back into the fandom over the last 10 days or so and fallen in love all over again. (Oddly enough, at the same time I've also been getting back into ER fandom, which is a very strange combination that has led to a number of odd crossover ideas.)

That said, due to medical issues (and the complications of trying to graduate high school while going through extensive, years-long physical rehab), I fell out of the fandom after the first few seasons.

I only found out about the gut-punchingly cruel way Xena died (and the way the show made sure to use it as a means to torture Gabrielle) a few days ago, and I've been pretty upset about it most of this week. It's just so egregiously traumatizing for the characters and the fanbase and, in light of mainstream TV's history of killing off LGBT characters (and the recent fandom outcry and protest that happened when they did it to Lexa on The 100, which has been loud and coordinated enough to make mainstream news), pretty damn offensive.

So how did I find out that she died (and the means of her death)? Looking for shipping videos for this post. I feel like their relationship is best served by 1990s and early 2000s power love ballads, and the top hits on YouTube for those Xena/Gabrielle videos are set around the series finale. DEATH EVERYWHERE.

So, yeah. There's gonna be a delay while I find something I like that's not set at the series finale and doesn't depress the hell out of me.

In the meantime, I will say this about why I ship them. I didn't at first, mostly because I hadn't really hit puberty when the series started and I started watching it (because I loved Kevin Sorbo's Hercules), so I didn't really have the awareness or emotional intelligence to detect the subtext. But I was old enough within just a couple of years, and it was immediately obvious why the LGBT community loved Xena, because they were absolutely perfect for each other, and it wasn't a matter of will they/won't they. They did, almost from the first day.

And once I was old enough, I couldn't believe people could watch the show and not see they were a couple in all the emotional ways that actually matter.

The showrunners now say they were constrained by the executives, but even with those constraints, the subtext between Xena and Gabrielle was basically text. They weren't allowed to come right out and state in universe that they were a gay couple, but they pushed that boundary to the breaking point, and more importantly, they didn't really need to make it explicit. I'd even go so far as to argue the writers had to explore the depth of their emotional connection even more thoroughly and artfully because they couldn't fall back on the stock physical cliches of heteronormative storytelling, and the relationship was better written for it.

Love is love. Sexual orientation doesn't matter; when you love someone you love them, and if you know how to recognize love in other people, it's impossible to miss. The writers on XWP realized they couldn't regularly give us explicit dates, regular physical intimacy, etc.--all the hallmarks of a standard TV dating plot. They couldn't even imply it or have the characters talk about it as though it happened off screen.

So they tore out all the window dressing and garnish, and gave us two people who were partners and best friends and loved and lived first and foremost for each other. They were each other's world, floating through a universe of other people who came and went but were never more important than each other. They fought gods and demons and armies of men, and did extraordinary feats reserved for demigods and warriors of legend, but their relationship with each other was the most down to earth and human thing about them. The legendary Warrior Princess and her Bard-Who-Would-Be-Amazon-Queen were identities they grew to wear like masks, like Clark Kent in the Superman suit.

When they stopped to eat or trade for supplies or mend their clothes or talk and bicker about anything not having to do with their wandering adventures, or at night curled up together by the fire, they were really no different from Rob and Laura Petrie or Jill and Tim Taylor or Andy and Connie on NYPD Blue and so many others. They led extraordinary lives, but when all that fell away they were just two ordinary people.

Without ever saying the words we associate with courtship, we saw them meet and date and utterly devote themselves to each other for eternity over the course of the series, and it was beautiful until the end.

And I think that's what makes them so wonderful and adorable and enduring for fans. They fought gods and monsters and despots, but when they were alone, they were a happy, content, utterly devoted married couple who shared the same emotions, thoughts, and relationship struggles we all do here in the post-magical real world. Their relationship was pure and wonderful and stuck out like a beacon thanks to its normality and reliability in an otherwise high-fantasy, sometimes narm-tastic setting.

There are some characters that you think could never survive outside their own canon because they're so specialized and adapted to their own world they can't really exist anywhere else. (e.g.: What would Josh Lyman and Donna Moss, two 20th century US political operatives, do with themselves if you dropped them into Star Trek's universe and a post-scarcity, near-utopian political system unlike anything they know? They are defined not just by themselves or their relationship, but what they do.)

Just as in the ideal marriage, Xena and Gabrielle have their own likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams, but as for defining who they are? They can't do that without first inextricably tying themselves to each other. They share their strengths and weaknesses and are each stronger for it. Each of them admits several times in the series they are only what they are because the other one is in their life, for better or worse. They would have no trouble anywhere or anywhen because what they are--before anything else--is each other's, always and forever. Their relationship is immutable and independent of the setting, which is what real true love is suppose to be.

That wouldn't change even if they were the weirdly affectionate "roommates" who moved into the house next door to Rob and Laura Petrie in the 1950s and lived completely peaceful lives and only showed up as drop-in characters on The Dick Van Dyke Show when Rob and Laura needed a babysitter. It wouldn't change if Xena spent her days fixing hot rods with Tim Taylor while Gabrielle wrote best-selling novels and griped affectionately with Jill about their partners' lack of appreciation for things like opera and high art while Xena and Tim tried to make sense of Wilson's life advice. It wouldn't change if they were an experienced and rookie detective pair just partnered together by Lt. Fancy, ready to patrol the mean streets of New York City.

They don't need extraordinary lives to justify or energize their relationship, because what makes their lives extraordinary is each other.

So, I kind of went off on a mini-ship manifesto anyway, I guess. As to the video that I decided to use for this, there's a compilation of canon clips from an episode that chronicles what they do when they're not being legends. That they operate as demigod heroes in a high-fantasy setting and the most important part of their personalities and relationship with each other is utterly rooted in something so completely normal and pure as mundane human companionship fills me with squee. It's the only thing about their lives that isn't rooted in the supernatural and myth and legend and the eternal battle between good and evil.

And most of the time that normality translated into them being utterly adorable goofballs that we all identified with and loved to watch.

In conclusion, the series finale never happened. Because I'm not ever going to accept that something this adorable and lovely and pure could end like that.

lordyellowtail: (Harry/Hermione (Pirate Ships))
I've been talking to [personal profile] ilyena_sylph for a while today, and while we were speaking I had a brainwave I wanted to preserve here.

When the whole Justice League is running out to go do good in the last scene in the Justice League Unlimited series finale, they’re all grouped up into, shall we say, super friend groups.

Except Question is one of the first ones out and he’s running alone. There are people in front of him and behind him but not next to him.

Because Helena isn’t a member of the League anymore and that’s her spot.

(I am a dork.)

I actually noticed this while we were talking about how we miss JLU Bruce and Clark. I was inspired to go look up the finale scene and watch it again. So, I'm glad [personal profile] ilyena_sylph let me babble long enough that I saw it. Behold:

lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
 Yes, I fell off the wagon in a big way on these, but I'm back now. This one is going to be short and sweet. There's not a lot to say except that it is very possible this (and Naru (Molly)/Nephrite) pairing is the first thing I ever consciously shipped. They're an adorable, beautiful, deeply in love couple who are incredible heroes and parents and loyal friends. They're presented as royalty of forgotten, long ago kingdoms, and their love is indeed majestic and wonderful.

I think all of us who watched them, at one point or another, wanted that kind of partnership. I think some of us probably still do.

For all that the early 1990s DiC dub did poorly, or over-censored, or however else you want to put it (and there was a lot of that), one thing DiC arguably did better than the original Japanese version was some of the Season 1 music. Some of it is hopelessly cheesy weirdness that is just embarrassing to listen to, and the Japanese original is far superior. And some of it is hopelessly cheesy wierdness infused with all the power of the best 1980s hair rock love ballads, and is knock-you-out-of-your-shoes incredible. Some of it still makes me tear up with genuine emotion, because I remember the things that were happening when these songs played, and I loved these characters and even when I was too young to shave, I loved them and cheered them on and cried for them when they hurt.

(Nephrite and Naru, even in the dub you had me bawling. I still wish he could've lived. Their love was so wonderful and transformative for both of them. He turned his back on a murderous evil empire and promises of eternal power because he loved someone who could offer him no riches or power or anything but the deepest love of her heart, and he died for it. And, really, she was never the same again. She fell in love with another, but it was clear the wound on her heart was still there.)

If I had to deeply examine my shipping philosophy and figure out why I just don't like a lot of modern canon shipping in fantasy and sci-fi, I think I could make the argument that I'm comparing so many of these couples subconsciously to Mamoru and Usagi, and in comparison most of them fail. Usagi and Mamoru at their best were equally consumed by their love for each other and their daughter, but it didn't distract them from the real work of saving the world. It made them inseparable partners that no evil the universe could tear apart for long. And it made them invincible. They exemplify what the Power of Love is supposed to be. It's not heroic suicide, no matter what Harry Potter wants you to think. It doesn't mean infinite forgiveness of your enemies, either, Harry (Usagi herself had no trouble telling her enemies when she wasn't ever going to forgive them their evil, and it was awesome). And it is most certainly not the currently in-vogue model of unequal partnership, where one character does most of the heavy lifting of battling evil while the other one wades around in feels, man and exists more as a goal or aspiration for the Active Partner than a fully realized character who is also equally strong and in love.

The Power of Love as Sailor Moon presents it, and as I honestly believe it is meant to bein fiction, is what gives you the sort of Heroic Willpower that can't be found anywhere else: pure, depthless and unconquerable even if it costs you your life. Usagi and Mamoru had it in spades. Alone, either was formidable. United, their partnership, their devotion to each other and their loved ones gave them such determination and resolve and bravery that when they moved together, the whole universe stopped and took notice, and either yielded or got out of the way ... or didn't survive the encounter.

Even the anime, which watered Mamoru down from the manga, and the English DiC dub, which made everything and everyone watered down versions of themselves, couldn't take that away.

Which is probably why one of the greatest moments in the dub is the scene where, as Mamoru (Darien) lay apparently dying after he and Usagi (Serena) have just gotten their memories of their 1000 year old love back and finally come together as a couple once more is both one of the most movingly gratifying and soul-crushingly traumatic scenes in the entire DiC run, if not the most.

And it would never have been so epic without "My Only Love," which as far as I'm concerned is still the single best image song for this couple ever. It's sincere, and full of 1980s power love ballad goodness, and if it sounds cheesy, it feels like it's because real people have real emotions and when they pour them out it can be messy, but that doesn't make those emotions any less real.

And what got me thinking about all this is this incredible instrumental piano version that I just found on the internet yesterday. Behold:

Even without the words or the images, this ... brought everything about Usagi and Mamoru that I love back and made me wonder why I drifted away from Sailor Moon, which gets love right, and constantly torture myself with all this modern stuff that I adore but that just doesn't fundamentally get what I want to see in heroic relationships.

(I'd love to post the scene where this plays in the DiC dub, but it's past midnight and I can't find it on YouTube.)

lordyellowtail: (Harry/Hermione (Pirate Ships))
Well, after a December so crazy I didn't have time to write and not feeling the slightest bit coherently creative in any real way for most of January (if you're wondering why, see my previous post), I'm very happy to have written 783 words of my next installment of the When Not Distracted by Kittens and Rubies series.

It's not the most earth-shatteringly wonderful thing in the world, but it's great to be writing something again, and especially to be unplugging at least part of my brain from the less than pleasant start of 2016.

Stand by for something to be posted hopefully by the end of the week.
lordyellowtail: (Secret (Young Justice))
Anyone who's been following this blog or speaking with me via IM/PM knows I tend to stick pretty much to fandom-stuff when I'm pretending to be a super-intelligent talking squirrel with bad impulse control when it comes to creative projects. So I'm not going to give a lot of detail, because honestly I'm exhausted after a week of dealing with this, but I felt like I needed to write something here for anyone wondering why I seemed to disappear for the last week.

I live in North Texas. On December 26, we were dealing with tornadoes until late evening. I went to bed after that was over, sad for those that had died in the storm, but thinking I didn't have anything I needed to worry about because my family was all safe, especially my sister who lived right next to someone whose house got demolished but whose own house didn't get a scratch on it.

About 2 AM, I woke up to someone in my house answering the phone and then screaming, and found out my oldest living cousin died in a car crash sometime late on December 26. I know I was awake on Sunday, December 27, and moving around, but I couldn't tell you anything about it. I've been in East Texas since Monday. The visitation was on Tuesday and the funeral was on Wednesday, and I got home today.

I feel like I've been gone for a month, and while I doubt I'll be cheering at midnight, I'm more than ready to bid 2015 adieu. Since I lost my grandmother in November 2014, part of me is honestly just about completely done with holidays in general, too, but I'm trying to fight past that.

So, everyone reading this, stay safe, be alert, drive carefully, and be sure and tell those you love that you do. And if you can get your hands on them, give them a hug for me.

I know I'm a weird disembodied presence on your screen that talks way too much and far too lengthily about over-thought headcanons in half-dead fandoms and whatever else pops into my head, but I treasure you all even if I don't respond to your own posts often enough (sorry), and I'm glad you're spinning around the sun with me.

Later days.
lordyellowtail: (Captain Picard Squee)
Okay. I think it's safe to say watching the modern, pre-Mysteries Inc Scooby Doo movies while writing tons of X-Men Evolution fanfic (which means having several tabs open to the appropriate wiki and trying to fight Chrome's desire to crash all the time while browsing Wikia) does strange things to my brain.

I found myself staring at Thorn (Sally McKnight), because the idea that she looks exactly like Evo!Wanda Maximoff would not leave me alone. Along the way, Dusk (the middle one with the X-shaped necklace (because the writers and designers are deliberately encouraging my insanity, obviously)) began to look a lot like Kitty Pryde in a blonde wig with pigtails. Trying to match a character to Luna (the redhead on the left) was much harder, but eventually I decided she looked enough like X-23 in a red wig and having gone to smiling school that my madness was satisfied, for a time.

Not so long that I haven't managed to invent a plot arc for my When Distracted by Kittens and Rubies fanfic series. Because I've totally done that. It wasn't even that hard: obviously, Wanda, Kitty, and X-23 (who is in fact an expert in stealth and infiltration and disguises and all those other related things you want to teach your underage brainwashed Hydra murder-person) need to go undercover as a band for ... for ... MUTANT SUPERHERO CRIMEFIGHTING reasons THAT I WILL FIGURE OUT THE DETAILS OF LATER. Much hilarity and surprise musical talent and even more surprising international stardom ensue.

Does it count as a midlife crisis if you wait till your early 30s to come up with your first I'm-totally-serious-about-this band AU?

This would be more of a fusion since I'd be abandoning the Hex Girls' canon personalities and backgrounds in lieu of the X-Men's. Logan and Ororo would tag along as (disturbingly effective and into it) manager and music instructor, and also because I love putting them in awkward and bizarre situations together when I ship them. But I'm totally including this in the Kittens and Rubies timeline, with the initial undercover op happening some significant time before they become actual rock stars and meet Mysteries, Inc.

Also, I decided Scooby is either a mutant dog or a HYDRA experiment, hence the talking and human-level intelligence. Either way, my brain is led in surprisingly angsty directions.

Seriously, send help.

PS.: I made this image macro comparing the Hex Girls to Wanda, Kitty, and X-23 because the voices in my head my plot bunny demanded it.

I made this image macro comparing the Hex Girls to Wanda, Kitty, and X-23 because my plot bunny demanded it. )
lordyellowtail: (Captain Picard Santa)
Reposting a message from [personal profile] sharpest_asp 's journal, found here:

Zoë's and Diana's UK Trip Fundraiser.

That is it. That's all I am asking for this year. Signal boosts, five dollar donations, anything to try and get my girls on their way.
Thanks for reading. :)
lordyellowtail: (Let's Talk Crack Pairings (Snape/Roker O)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! In celebration, I bring you the next story in this series. Plot arcs are still happening, and I'm still weirded out by that. I also need to find a more relevant icon, or rather, a more fitting one.

Please check the AO3 series page for the current AU timeline order. I'm jumping around a bit, so this is going to be a thing.

I'm pleased to be getting back to more Rogue/Kurt-centered stories, as I promised, as well as with the shorter length on this one. It's set about 5 years after X-Men Evolution Season 1. Rogue and Kurt are 21 years old.

Enjoy. As usual, thanks to [personal profile] sharpest_asp and everyone else who has liked and reviewed these.

An AU wherein Kurt gives up his crush on Kitty much sooner, and is drawn to Rogue instead. She appreciates that he's not completely oblivious to her own feelings, and the two recluses stumble around each other with all the shared flustered, fumbling lack of social experience they can muster.
Somehow they meet in the middle, and by the time they find out they were supposed to be related, it’s far too late…for Mystique’s plans, at least.

Title: Endearments, Enduring (1574 words)
Fandoms: X-Men: Evolution (Season 1 AU Divergence); Excalibur (Marvel Comics)
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kurt Wagner/Rogue (Anna Marie Moss)
Characters: Rogue; Kurt Wagner
Additional Tags: Crack; Crack Treated Seriously; Alternate Universe; Sleepy Cuddles; Cuddling & Snuggling

Story Summary:
Anna-Marie Moss, Rogue of Excalibur and the X-Men, never called Kurt a Fuzzy Elf, not once since their first meeting. Friends and enemies alike noticed, and while they all had their theories, no one came anywhere close to the truth.
(They don’t need terms of endearment, but there is one she’s more than willing to use.)

lordyellowtail: (Juicy Tropical Goodness)
None of you sent help. It's too late for me. And also for you. Plot arcs are totally a thing now.
This one fought with me for about ... nine days, I guess? Nonetheless, here's fic number 3 in this series.
Well, chronologically, it's number 2 as of this moment. Please check the AO3 series page for the current AU timeline order. I'm jumping around a bit, so this is going to be a thing.
I like my AUs to have a political infrastructure. In any version of the Marvel Universe, especially where mutants are featured, I feel like it's especially important. Even if I think some of the policy positions and moralizing could be hamfisted and even elitist, The West Wing is still the best version of an (idealized) functional White House filled with genuine real people we've been given in television. So I'm incorporating that universe, using the post-series Santos Administration.
This story is designed to give one possible answer to the question of who Rogue's real parents are, and how Mystique and Destiny got a hold of her. It also sets up a situation where the political dynamics of the existence of mutants have the potential to be much different than in Evolution canon.
Enjoy. As usual, thanks to [personal profile] sharpest_asp for giving me the pebble-sized bit of encouragement that got the, ahem, avalanche rolling. After this, it's back to more Rogue and Kurt centered stories for a bit.
An AU wherein Kurt gives up his crush on Kitty much sooner, and is drawn to Rogue instead. She appreciates that he's not completely oblivious to her own feelings, and the two recluses stumble around each other with all the shared flustered, fumbling lack of social experience they can muster.

Somehow they meet in the middle, and by the time they find out they were supposed to be related, it’s far too late…for Mystique’s plans, at least.
Title: Hallowed Eve, Nightmare Night (3568 words)
Fandoms: X-Men: Evolution (Season 1 AU Divergence); Iron Man (Movies); The West Wing (Post Season 7, Pre-Series and Season 6 AU)
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Raven Darkholme (Mystique)/Irene Adler (Destiny); Josh Lyman/Donna Moss
Characters: Donna Moss, Helen Santos, Irene Adler (Destiny); Raven Darkholme (Mystique); Rogue
Additional Tags: Rogue's Real Parents; Teen Pregnancy; Crack; Crack Treated Seriously; Crack Crossover; Adult Fear; Villains are the Heroes of Their Own Stories; Draco Wears No Leather Pants Here

Everyone knows Chief of Staff to the First Lady of the United States, Donna Moss, hates Halloween.
Or at least, Donna lets them think so. It’s better than everyone knowing the truth.
Still, Donna wishes the First Lady weren't so oblivious.
Set in the third year of Matt Santos' first term as President. Knowledge of *The West Wing* not required, but will fill in some unnecessary background information.
Mini Meta on Chosing a Political Infrastructure for this AU and Choosing Rogue's Mother )
lordyellowtail: (Default)
I've gotten more writing done in the last week by focusing on this pairing and the universe that surrounds it than I have in the last year, so I present this next story without nearly so much shame as I probably should. I have plot arcs developing OMGHALP.

Rogue and Kurt do not appear in this one directly. Rather, their relationship even existing turned out to be enough to give me a way to AU X-Men Evolution episode 2.03 ("Bada Bing Bada Boom")--one of the weakest in the series despite its excellent premise*, wherein the writers contrived a way to get supposed bad-girl Tabitha (actually a fairly accurate representation of what an emotionally and possibly physically abused teenager would look like under the circumstances, IMHO) away from the shiny, happy uncomplicatedly good-guy heroes that are the X-Men. She stayed in the series, but became first a de facto villain (living with the Brotherhood), and them a chaotic neutral. It was a light version of all the worst parts of Faith Lehane's character arc from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I don't mean that in any way complementary.

At the time of posting this is chronologically the second story in this AU, but that will change. See the AO3 series page for current story order.

AU Summary: When Not Distracted by Kittens and Rubies
An AU wherein Kurt gives up his crush on Kitty much sooner, and is drawn to Rogue instead. She appreciates that he's not completely oblivious to her own feelings, and the two recluses stumble around each other with all the shared flustered, fumbling lack of social experience they can muster.

Somehow they meet in the middle, and by the time they find out they were supposed to be related, it’s far too late…for Mystique’s plans, at least.
Title: Behind Closed Doors (2954 words) (I am so annoyed at how long this turned out to be for just, really, two guys talking.)
Fandoms: X-Men: Evolution (Season 1 AU Divergence); Daredevil (Earth-616 inspired)
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler)/Rogue; Logan/Ororo Monroe (Storm); Princess Amara Aquilla (Magma)/Tabitha Smith (Boom-Boom) 
Characters: Charles Xavier; Logan (X-Men); Matt Murdock; Others Mentioned
Summary: Charles Xavier is a good man, even a great man. But when his children are threatened in his home, he is not a particularly nice man.

Logan and Charles discuss deadbeat dads, self-counseling children, and things that probably should not be done with strawberries.

An AU fix-fic wherein Charles Xavier is as aggressively protective of his children in the early seasons as he is later on, and Kurt and Rogue's relationship has more surprising and useful ripple effects.

I'm actually very happy with the Logan and Charles friendship I seem to have developing here. I enjoy writing them and am already working on another story featuring them in a leading role in this AU.

Thanks again to [personal profile] sharpest_asp for (perhaps accidentially) convincing me this whole AU idea was so ridiculous it should be tossed over a waterfall.


* I also hated the episode where Spyke got put on a bus. I get that he wasn't very popular with a considerable segment of the fandom, but it seems like the writers couldn't write a character off the show (or off the X-Men team) without damaging them in some way/making them OOC. I'm trying manfully not to comment on the fact that the two most egregious examples of these involved a blond party girl some segments of the fandom regularly treat as what someone called "default slut," and the one black guy that was on the team as a regular cast member. Not gonna mention that at all.
lordyellowtail: (Let's Talk Crack Pairings (Snape/Roker O)
As part of the writing challenge I set myself for November 2015 (more on that later), I decided to actually run with the deranged plot bunny I got that inspired this entry on how one might take X-Men: Evolution Rogue and Nightcrawler seriously as a crack-pairing (derangement described previously, here). It's all a matter of timing, really. I'm going to say it's a tribute to all those poor, cried-out-in-terror-and-were-suddenly-jossed-as-no-one-has-been-jossed-before Luke/Leia shippers who were OTP'ing them before Return of the Jedi hit theatres. This is like that, but without the blood relationship to foul things up most traumatically.

In a sign that I will very likely be that crazy uncle who has a lot of fun with your kids but whom you can't trust them with overnight lest they end up accidentally enrolled in clown-assassin school (in Norway), I not only came up with a story fitting this plot bunny, but have a whole series exploring this universe taking shape in my head. Also, I blame [personal profile] sharpest_asp for being vaguely encouraging when I posted about this before. As the Joker once said, "madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little ... push." I'm not gonna pretend this isn't mad-crazy crackfic, even if I can't help writing it seriously.

(In all sincerity, [personal profile] sharpest_asp, thank you for encouraging me to write this. It's the first fic I've finished in at least a year, and I actually am having a lot of fun in this weird little universe.)

I'm going to link to the series page on AO3 given that the story summary doesn't really make a lot of sense without the series summary to explain how we got here. Enjoy. :)

AU Series Summary: When Not Distracted by Kittens and Rubies
An AU wherein Kurt gives up his crush on Kitty much sooner, and is drawn to Rogue instead. She appreciates that he's not completely oblivious to her own feelings, and the two recluses stumble around each other with all the shared flustered, fumbling lack of social experience they can muster.

Somehow they meet in the middle, and by the time they find out they were supposed to be related, it’s far too late…for Mystique’s plans, at least.

Inspired by Luke and Leia’s attraction in Empire Strikes Back, and the classic question of what might have happened if they never knew the truth and there was no Han.
Title: A Touch Unexpected (1340 words)
Fandom: X-Men: Evolution (Season 1 AU)
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler)/Rogue
Characters: Kurt Wagner, Rogue, Scott Summers, Toad
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence; Alternate Universe; Crack; Crack Treated Seriously; Mystique's Timing is Really Terrible When it Comes to Being Honest With Her Children
lordyellowtail: (Let's Talk Crack Pairings (Snape/Roker O)
Now, before you get the pitch-forks and torches out, I freely admit that in most versions of X-Men this would be horrifically disturbing, but Rogue and Kurt in Evo are both emotionally-damaged, attention-starved little messes that spend a very long time with no idea they're related to each other.

Further, they're not actually related to each other in any biological sense. Kurt is Mystique's son by blood-relation, and Mystique adopted Anna-Marie (Rogue) but never ever raised them together even for a moment. She didn't really even raise Rogue so much as she dumped her on Irene Adler. They never knew each other existed for the first 14-15 years of their lives. In Evo, their brother-sister relationship (while awesome and adorable and something I love) is basically a function of (1) Mystique screwing around with adoption paperwork to adopt a kid Irene's visions have told her will be useful weapon/tool later, and then dumping that kid on Irene; and (2) Kurt's superhuman ability to absorb anyone into his family and genuinely love them like they had been there the whole time.

So let's mess with that a little bit. It's not hard. Posit a couple of things:
  1. Kurt gives up his crush on Kitty a lot sooner. They still end up being best friends, but he's a lot quicker to realize she doesn't like him like that and move beyond the over-enthusiastic (almost desperate) attempts to flirt with her. I get that he mainly did this (at least in my head-canon) because he was so desperate to be accepted by normal people and Kitty seemed the most normal person available (and was a very pretty, adorable person, too boot), but having watched the entire series has convinced me there is truly nothing there. Kitty was always devoted to Lance, even when she shouldn't have been, and they actually took time to showcase her flirtation/chemistry with Colossus at one point, minor as it was. In light of the whole series, watching Kurt try to flirt with her (and her almost-violent rejections of him) in Season 1 just makes me kind of sad.*
  2. Kurt is still Kurt, and chivalrous and kind and willing to be friends even with those who are currently his enemies (at least, when he can tell they're not really evil), so without so much of his brainpower and attention focused on Kitty in Season 1 it's not hard for me to imagine him taking more notice of Rogue and interacting with her, if only to get her to leave the Brotherhood and join the X-Men.
  3. Kurt is also a wanna-be Don Juan who only avoids being a bit creepy by being incredibly sincere, so it's not at all difficult to imagine Rogue actually starting to have a crush on him while she's still with the Brotherhood. Because Kurt is (insane enough to be) completely unafraid of her, and sweet, and is trying to be her friend even in the middle of Charles Xavier and Mystique's clandestine gang war, even though they're on opposite sides. (This is kind of how I feel the conflict in Season 1 comes off, to be honest, before things start to escalate and get more serious.)
  4. Kurt, unlike Scott Summers--who is not only totally devoted to Jean Grey (even when he's in denial) but also sees the world in shades of red and probably can't even see blushing--is not completely oblivious to Rogue's interest and, amidst pleased shock and happiness, would recognize how rare and special an opportunity this is to have some sort of relationship, and gather up just enough of what little calm he possesses (when not enraged, which makes him eerily calm and dangerous) and manage to stumble forward just well enough to acknowledge her interest without scaring her off.
  5. So by the time Rogue joins the X-Men, she and Kurt would have this undefined, flirty, almost-thing which is basically them being pleasant with and getting to know each other in the midst of an unspoken agreement to be just as in to flattening each other as the rest of the Brotherhood and X-Men seem to be.
  6. Mystique is a bad mother who doesn't pay enough attention to her children for various reasons, so she is of course oblivious to any of this.
  7. So Rogue finally defects and joins the X-Men and Kurt is so thrilled that he asks her (privately, with no-one knowing) on a genuine date-style date, and given their history of ... their thing, she accepts.
  8. No one figures it out (because Rogue is an extremely private person and Kurt respects that) until they are quite solidly an item that everyone in the mansion is thrilled with (because neither Kurt nor Rogue are fun when they're being emo) and everything changes.
Xavier, of course, knew they were legally related the whole time but had no idea of their romantic entanglement, but Evo!Xavier has the bad habits of both holding back more information than he should (it's Dumbledore-esque!) and somehow not knowing crucial pieces of information about the people living with him while being the World's Most Powerful Telepath is kind of his jam, especially in the early seasons. Since they have no idea, he sees no point in wrecking their happiness and is genuinely pleased for them, even if it just makes him more piteous and aggravated at Mystique's poor parental skills.

By the time Mystique finds out, well...I would play the whole story completely seriously, but it's impossible for me not to imagine her getting extremely drunk and screaming at Magneto and Irene at least once. Not at the same time, of course. More seriously, when she tried to tell them she is their mother, they would probably just see it as some sort of incredibly sick and twisted plan to splinter the X-Men, and go on disbelieving her. Because as much as I like Mystique, her Evo incarnation was a terrible mother whose relationship with her children got destroyed when she got trapped in her own web of lies and rationalization. Hell, at one point she almost kills Rogue, and at another she basically feeds her to Apocalypse. Both Rogue and Kurt are arguably much better off being totally emotionally done with her in Season 1 instead of Season 4.

So that's a thing my brain came up with. Does this count as Lord King Badfic or not? I was never quite sure how that worked.

*I shipped Kurt and Kitty hard when I watched Evo, but in retrospect the show went out of its way to demonstrate just how much she was not romantically into him. She spends the whole series having what I personally consider to be an extraordinarily unhealthy relationship with Lance Alvers. I know I'll get some flack for saying that, because he changed and matured and stuff, but Season 1 still happened, and in Season 1 he tried to murder her parents once and tried to murder her and the X-Men several times. I can't really get around that no matter how much (dubious) character development you throw at him to improve his morals.
lordyellowtail: (Let's Talk Crack Pairings (Snape/Roker O)
Let me first preface all this by saying that this isn’t a longwinded way for me to justify wanting to see Liv with Peyton or any other female character (though I have read some of those fics/shipping manifestos, and they are excellent). At the moment my iZombie Shipping Goggles are treating me to an overdeveloped internal plotbunny revolving around a massively AU version of Season 1 of both iZombie and The Flash where Barry/Liv is a huge, happening thing. If I write iZombie shipping fic, it will be them. Because they both need so many hugs and ohmygod I need chocolate when I watch these shows because my heart. And Ravi and Caitlin working on the zombie cure together while Cisco tries to invent "zombie gear" and Joe and Clive try to pretend everything is normal would be just great.)

The usual disclaimer: all the spoilers, all the time.
So, bisexual Liv (twitter tag: #BiLiv, which makes no sense whatsoever if you see it without the capitalization and aren't deeply submerged in this fandom) is a thing among an apparently considerable minority of iZombie fans. It has been since pretty much the first episode, when her roommate Peyton declares Liv is her "freakin' heart," in a way not nearly as platonic as it was probably meant to be. Episode 1.02 has her eating the brains of a monogamy-challenged artiste and being attracted to and aggressively flirting with both Perpetual Purported True Love and Angst Object (need an acronym for this) Major Lilywhite and the dead artiste's rather quite attractive female lover. And a random Dudebro. And some other people. This was a busy brain.
The show's writers and actors seem to be aware of the whole #BiLiv thing: this hilarious Vine-style send-up of one of the most famous scenes from Thelma and Louise (tweeted by Peyton's actress) was part of the Season 2 viral marketing push.
 ... .... ...
Sorry. I watched it again and laughed until my sides hurt. Again. I'm back now.
(Note to The Flash writers: first, The Flash and iZombie are my two favorite series on air now, or in, like, the last 6 years; I love you guys. Second, this little clip is an example of how you playfully acknowledge and have fun with the fans who are sailing a crackship/not-likely-to-ever-be-canon ship in your fandom. The crackshippers and pirate shippers know they’re not getting canon, so it’s not too much fun to have it dangled in front of you in a semi-serious way and then taken away. iZombie is very, "yes, we know you're here, and this is never going to be canon probably, but we love you, you crazy lunatics. Fandom on." Compare with The Flash's bait-and-switch approach to Snowbarry (Barry Allen/Caitlin Snow). I know it's not The Flash writers' intention, but sometimes it can come off not so much "having fun with you, not at you" as the opposite thing. In particular I'm thinking of that time everyone got hyped up for Caitlin and Barry kissing on screen and it turned out to be a serial thief/killer/possible-sex-offender shapeshifter wearing Barry's face and grabbing Caitlin to conduct an impromptu "How to Commit Sexual Harassment/Assault in the Most Horrifying Way Possible" seminar.)
Moving on, because I have accepted I’m not getting Snowbarry and I’m okay with that. Really.
I think we can make the following suppositions about what the iZombie showrunners are actually trying to do.
  1. Liv and Major are, at present, endgame. They hit us over the head with it once every episode on average, with varying degrees of (lack of) subtlety. Lowell's relationship with her was incredibly genuine and satisfying, but his actor had to leave the show, so we'll never know what was going to happen there. It could change later, but as of right now, endgame Livjor is where we are.
  2. Peyton's "freakin' heart" line was almost certainly meant to imply a depthless platonic friendship, befitting people who have been best friends since at least 18—almost ten years. See also the similar vibes (and even phrasing) one gets from "freakin' friends" Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane. (Full disclosure: fans ship the tar out of them, and I’m one of them. They’re like the Xena and Gabrielle of animation.) I feel like iZombie is going for this vibe but never quite gets there, in part because Peyton's screen time is so limited. (Something I really hope changes in Season 2.)
  3. Liv's mental changes when she eats a brain (which I can't help but think of as a zombie version of Mega Man's Variable Weapon System, because I am a huge dork), follow a predictable pattern. She gets, generally, altered in 3 ways.
    • a. Triggered flashback "visions" of the victim's memories related to certain stimuli encountered during the investigation, used to help solve the case via actual detective work with Clive (Cagney and Pasty!).
    • b. One or two (usually one) large, noticeable-to-others personality alteration, that lasts as long as she is eating that particular brain. In one episode, she picked up a combat veteran's PTSD; in another, a confidential informant's rampant everyone-is-trying-to-kill-me paranoia; in another a new mother's (hilarious when coming from Liv and getting directed at everyone around her) parenting instincts; and so on.
    • c. A tangible skill: speaking the murder victim's native language; kung fu; l33t gamer skillz; special ops sniper training (though, tragically, not the mental conditioning that goes with it); etc. These skills, regrettably, tend to fade by the next episode. Liv doesn't get a "Become a Polyglot Free" card, or put another way, can't eat her way to being Jarod from Pretender.
    • c.(1). At least, so far. She managed to outfight a zombiefied professional hitman that had cracked Peyton over the head and was gonna eat her, while Liv wasn't on any sort of combat brain at all, so it's possible that she did retain some combat skill. Or it could have come down to her being a zombie longer (are she and Blaine Master Zombies?), or perhaps she was supercharged by The Power of Friendship, Heroic Resolve, and a mystical gift from Stabzor, Goddess of Knives. Or it's Liv/Peyton forshadowing, just like that Vine (I seriously doubt it, but that would be crazy awesome). I'm really not sure exactly what happened there, save to say Liv is badass when she's pushed to the wall, and beating up Peyton is bad for your health.
  4. Every canonical indication is that Liv is supposed to be straight. Except for when it's blamed on brains, she does not appear intended to be attracted to women at all. See 1.
  5. In episode 1.02, Liv eats the brain of a Philandering Artist who has been murdered, with the intent of solving his murder (and not starving and becoming a Romero zombie, because she is like an adorable, badass, NC-17-rated Snickers commercial with legs). Philandering Artist is known to have had sex with a lot of women. Seriously, Dwayne, a lot of women. But it is never suggested he also sleeps around with guys. He is deeply committed to cheating on women, with women. Liv gets his memories, all the skills and temperament of an artist (including the ability to paint beautiful things and an inability to describe colors in a way that can be expressed with anything less than the largest possible Crayola set) ... and the sudden need to flirt hard with several quite attractive fellows and one of the victim's female lovers, with whom she practically has hilarious, hand-holding eye-sex at one point while Clive apparently mentally questions the life-decisions that have brought him to this incredibly awkward moment.
    • (It must be pointed out just how crucial Clive's often-befuddled but unwavering acceptance of his pseudo-psychic partner's personality shifts and quirks, without ever being given any real explanation (because Liv sucks at secret identity’ing), is to Liv's continued mental health. She's likely actually clinically depressed at this point and the scripts occasionally hint at the barest suicidal ideation. But she always makes it through by sheer force of will, and I believe she couldn't do that without Clive's support. He is her island of normality and stability. Go, Clive.)
  6. In episode 1.02, Liv's attraction to women is implicitly blamed on her ingestion of Philandering Artist. In 1.07, her awesome and lovable (I shipped them and am totally not still ragey that he's gone and she’s back to pining for Major) boyfriend Lowell goes completely cold on her romantically, but is still platonically way into her. This is attributed to him eating a "gay brain" and being temporarily gay, so for an episode he's her Gay Best Friend and they continue to be adorable and perfect together, but with less kissing and more goofy dancing, for some reason. This continues until Lowell eats his next brain and begins "feeling more heterosexual already." Everything is played very effectively for laughs, and the episode ends with situation normal restored: Lowell is straight and wants Liv terribly and we never speak of this again.
The implication we're supposed to get off (6) above is that Baseline Lowell is supposed to be straight and it was totally the brains that made him attracted to men (in particular, Idris Elba, because Idris Elba).
Liv has eaten many presumably straight men's brains, but has never become a lesbian.
That's what happened and what I think the writers mean for us to take away from it, but that is not, however, where I think we actually are. Assuming the rules of zombie-ism must be internally consistent, I think the writers actually ended up setting up Liv as a closeted, unaware bisexual. Lowell, too, but that was even more of an accident because the whole point of that episode was playing the situation for laughs; they already knew Lowell was leaving the show and probably weren't thinking too hard about the long term implications.
That's okay. Overthinking the long-term implications of fiction that you're not supposed to think that hard about is kind of my jam. I'm all over that.
Here's my hangup: Philandering Artist was never suggested to be bisexual. He was Don Juan with a paintbrush, but unless you were young and nubile and a woman, you weren't on his philander-dar. The personality trait Liv is explicitly said (by Liv) to have uploaded from munching him is obeying her passions without worrying about the consequences. To get a bit Freudian and a bit nautical, her Id gets the chance to sedate her Ego and Superego and seizes the helm.

Crucially, while Philandering Artist is never shown pursuing men, Liv goes after men and women as convenient in 1.02.
Thoughtless obedience to passion is a flowery way of saying certain inhibitions are turned off. Sexual orientation is not under any circumstance a result of an active inhibition. Increased passion does not change who you are attracted to. It just makes it more likely you'll try to do something about it without caring about the consequences. By contrast, inhibitions—including those based on fear and self-loathing and the need to conform lest we be ostracized from our loved ones—can and do lead many people to denying their non-heteronormative sexual orientations.
 Liv's fear of and misery from being ostracized from her loved ones is a running, depressing theme in the series.
So we come to the conclusions:
  1. Liv has eaten many brains attracted solely to women and has never become a temporary lesbian. She never stops pining after Major.
  2. Liv, who makes no secret of being attracted to men, also made no secret of being attracted to women when her inhibitions were drastically suppressed, which is explicitly stated to be what the Philandering Artist brain is actually doing. During this time, her attraction to men did not appear to diminish, but arguably got stronger and more overt—more passionate, which, again, is the trait she explicitly identifies as coming from her brain food. It would have been very easy to confirm her heterosexuality by making her attracted to only men. All you would lose is the scene where she flirts with Philandering Artist's female lover, and I am confident the excellent writers could have substituted something equally hilarious.
  3. Liv is never shown developing Single Target Sexuality for the lovers of anyone else she eats. It is an extreme stretch to say that is what is happening with Philandering Artist's lover.
  4. So, final conclusion: given the facts and established rules of the iZombie universe, Liv is actually bisexual and in denial/unaware, at least partially because she's fully committed to pining after Major. She has probably convinced herself passion!brain made her attracted to women, even though no brain changed her sexual orientation before or since. In short: denial. She is very good at denial when she doesn't want to deal with a problem, and "the brains made me do it" is a plausible scapegoat.
 The big counter argument: Lowell's "gay brain."
Super short response: I don’t think that was actually a “gay brain” at all. But this is also the part where I have a lot less solid evidence of what was actually going on, so I have to rely more on persausion than fact.
First, I do think the “gay brain” thing was possibly a bit of a subtle saving throw from the writing team, assuming they had the same kind of thought process I did above that led me to my conclusion that Liv is bi. It follows that, having realized this, they came up the “gay brain” plot to muddle the issue and get everybody back on the Liv/Major love train (or, at least, the het!Liv train). The problem is, we know from Liv’s internal monologue that the Philandering Artist brain did not make her bi. Once again, it decreased her inhibitions and inflamed her passions. In other words, it altered what was already there. Up until Lowell’s “gay brain,” we had no indication at all that eating a brain could change your sexual orientation in any way.
 And really, if it were possible, we should have. Liv has eaten a lot of brains. Philandering Artist aside, they never appear to change her sexuality in any meaningful way. And again, Philandering Artist didn’t change her sexuality, according to the script.
So, let’s assume for a moment that Lowell did eat a “gay brain” that actually made him gay. It doesn’t work under scrutiny. A straight zombie eating the brains of straight humans stays straight, but becomes gay if they eat a gay brain? That does not explain Liv’s attraction to women in 1.02. It also raises the question if alteration of sexual orientation is the personality trait a zombie picks up, or if it’s in addition to some other core trait (e.g.: PTSD, paranoia, etc.). Liv is only ever shown picking up one trait, not two, and it’s always been something more overt than sexual orientation. Does a non-heterosexual zombie become heterosexual if they eat a straight brain? Does a gay person become straight? Does eating the brain of a person of the same orientation as you never have any effect, even if you are a woman and eat a straight male brain attracted to women?
This really complicates the otherwise very simple rules of how zombies react to ingesting brains, as written in Supposition 3 above. I feel like I need a flow chart to properly map out all the possible permutations of this, and I don’t really understand the rules if Lowell is right about what happened. Given that good writers (and the iZombie team are great writers) avoid overcomplicating the rules of the setting if at all possible, I just can’t believe this was intended.
Secondly, it is incredibly hard to make any conclusions about zombieism or even what is actually happening when Lowell ingests brains because he is not a deep POV character like Liv is. We understand Liv because we get to see her at all phases of her reaction to her latest meal, have Ravi on hand to analyze her, and most importantly we have her internal monologue, showing what she feels is actually happening to her. That monologue is crucial in episode 1.02 in establishing the inherited trait was increased passion/decreased inhibition in all areas of her life, and not an explicit sexual orientation change. All we have from Lowell is his spoken interpretation of what the brains are doing to him, and not only could he be unintentionally wrong, he himself admits to avoiding situations and stimuli that would cause him to have flashbacks and otherwise really get to understand the personality and quirks of the brain he ate. (This is one of the reasons, I think, his personality is so stable compared to Liv’s. Liv needs to understand the brain she ate and subject herself to flashbacks to solve murders, and does so, heavily.) So, he’s suddenly aware of a sexual attraction to men, and a severely diminished sexual attraction to women, and assumes he’s gay, and doesn’t really probe deeper into it.

Now, let’s briefly mention an important fact about human sexuality. It is not a gear shift with 3 slots (straight, gay, bi), but rather a spectrum. One can be fully attracted to the same sex, fully attracted to the opposite sex, equally attracted to everyone, or anything in between. (And yes, I realize I’m vastly oversimplifying the sexuality spectrum, but this is iZombie meta, not an article on human sexuality, and I freely admit I’m not an expert and the theory has changed substantially since I actually had any class instruction on human sexuality.)
There are a great many people who are bisexual who, while they are attracted to both men and women, are considerably more attracted to either one or the other.

It is entirely possible that Lowell has always been bisexual, but his attraction to women so overpowers his attraction to men that he’s barely even aware of the latter, until he eats a brain that, for whatever reason, impacts him in some way that shifts the balance. I don’t understand enough about how bisexual persons are attracted to other people to make any more definite suppositions than that. The same logic also explains Liv’s sudden attraction to women in 1.02: lowering her inhibitions made Liv less likely to deny attraction to women, and increasing her passions made her quite happy to express her attraction to the Philandering Artist’s lover (and Dudebro, and some other guys).
I really like explanations that explain both of their behavior without creating ambiguities or needing an overcomplicated set of rules.
I do think it’s awfully convenient that Lowell and Liv would both be bisexual. That leads me to believe Lowell was even less meant to be anything but straight than Liv is, from the writers’ POV. But as a viewer I have to work with what I’m given, and this is the conclusion I get to that obeys the rules we know, fits with Liv’s experiences in 1.02 and Lowell’s in 1.07, and creates the least amount of internal inconsistency without overcomplicating things. I think the writers weren’t really worried about he long-term implications of the whole “gay brain” thing with Lowell because they already knew he wasn’t sticking around and so it wasn’t going to be a problem for writing him: he leaves the show in 1.09. Even at the time it felt sloppy and inconsistent (but at the time I didn’t fully understand why it bothered me), but everybody laughed at their goofy dancing and we moved on. Liv is also endgame with Major, so the writers don’t have to ever really deal with her non-heteronormative sexuality again: the target of her affections is the manliest of action men, so any latent attraction to other men or women doesn’t have to come up in a serious way.
(I love Major, but you can probably tell I don’t love him with Liv. I’m trying very hard to stay neutral on that subject in this essay. Apologies if I slip up a little.)
And finally, nothing about Lowell’s “gay brain” incident changes anything about Liv’s experiences on Philandering Artist brain in 1.02. Whatever happened to Lowell, Liv’s internal dialogue explanation of what was going on in her mind is still canon and unchallenged. And that explanation in no way implies the brain made her bi. But yet she was openly bi and more aggressively flirtatious (with everyone but Ravi and Clive) while on the brain, because her inhibitions were lowered and her passions were increased. Notice all her internal concern is about how she’s dealing with her increased passions and lack of care for the consequences. Not once does she stop and go “I’m attracted to women now, wait what? This is new.”

She just sort of rolls with it and is signficantly not surprised.
And that’s all I’ve got. I do not actually think the show will revist this subject, and I have no problem with that. One of the things I love about this theory as it exists in my head is that, even if Liv ends up endgame with Major and is never shown as attracted to women again, everything I’ve said is still just as convincing (or not, depending on how much you agree with me) as it is right now. It can add another layer to the character that you can enjoy internally as a viewer, but in a nice subtle way that doesn’t require stopping the rest of the plot to acknowledge, and won’t ever contradict any romantic things Liv actually does in canon. Or you can just ignore everything I just said and nothing really changes about how much you’ll enjoy the show.
And if you can just ignore all this, why did I spend so much time talking about it? Two reasons: one, I think it is the truth of what is happening, even if it was not intended; and two, as someone who has been reading and writing fanfic for 20 years and is not a fan of the canon shipping in iZombie (at least for Liv), I’m quite pleased that I can make a strong argument for Liv being bi so I can read/write fics where she is paired with whoever I think I can justify and be able to point to canon and say, “no, she’s not just into ladies for the sake of this fanfic, there is significant canonical support for this. Now, shoo: Liv/Sailor Mercury is happening on my screen and it is adorable.*)

And that is all. Thanks for reading.

*Liv/Sailor Mercury would fill me with great d’aww. I am willing to assist with crowdfunding. I am also still plotting out my Barry Allen/Liv Moore massive AU of love and criminal punching, and not just because SpeedBrains is the similtaneously best and dumbest ship name I’ve ever come up with. Without question, "The Quick and the Dead" is the best fic title I've ever come up with.


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Lord Yellowtail

March 2019




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