The Outlander Ensemble

Jamie and Claire – Claire and Jamie. The whole story – passionate love – middle-age sex [must have more] it’s all about THEM doncha know.

NOT IMO

It has gotten to a point where I am so sick of hearing about Jamie/Sam and Claire/Caitriona it’s hard to follow some of the groups anymore. Don’t get me wrong – Jamie and Claire ARE the heart and soul of the Outlander story. Sam and Cait have done a magnificent job of portraying these characters (even though they really don’t look like them and have terrible wigs and really aren’t written correctly [NOTE SARCASM] ) – it’s just that there is so much of “it’s ALL about THEM” to the point of dissing other characters/actors that it really rather turns my stomach some days.

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Does Caitriona deserve the recognition and noms she’s getting – absolutely. Should Sam be getting some of that? I think so – but then Hollywood is a mucked up place that has its favorites and cliques and if you aren’t “IN” well then dahling that is just too bad for you. Personally I’m far more excited by all the other projects Sam has going and not that bothered he isn’t having to waste time on red carpets. But that’s just me.

I have never quite understood the ‘readers’ (or the ‘viewers’ now) who say they get so bored with the subplots and other characters. They skim through to get to the good parts that are Jamie and Claire – because, after all, that is what the story is all about.

It is – and it isn’t – IMHO.

As I said above, yes, Jamie and Claire’s love/relationship/journey IS the core of the Outlander story. However, J & C aren’t who and what they are ONLY from their interaction with each other. Those other people in their lives shape them. Who they touch – who touches them; those experiences and situations outside their own little bubble of each other. For me, in order to really grasp how these other characters affect J & C, you have to understand them a bit – THEIR stories and how J&C affect each of them. It’s a very give/take deal – just like in real life.

This last episode – #Providence – had very little J&C in it – which really seemed to annoy some people. Richard Rankin absolutely owned this episode and he deserved every bit of praise that was being heaped on him. Yet, I saw a load of J&C memes and comments as if to drown out the kudos Richard was being given on TW and FB. Why?! Roger’s story – along with Brianna and Lord John – are HUGELY important. These three have tremendous impact on J&C both individually and as a couple. Tests of fire, pressure, pain, loyalty and love. These events shape J&C as individuals and as a couple going forward. J&C have a similar effect on those around them in this time of trial and crisis.

Just because Richard/Sophie/David got to really shine in this episode in no way diminishes what Sam and Caitriona bring to the table – if anything, it enhances it. I am so jazzed that we have so many awesome, talented performers in this ensemble to bring Diana’s story to life! I know, I know – it’s not exactly like the books. Stuff gets changed, moved around, done completely different (next blog) but I don’t care! I am – overall – loving the show.

Fergus and Masali also have impact in this episode and I so wish there was more time to see them on screen. These two are smart and dedicated to each other and have their own trials coming up. They are the next generation of love and have been shaped by observation and interaction with J&C from the time they were kids. The other characters – to me – tell J&C’s story almost as much as they themselves do.

All the other players and situations can give insight into the character and depth of who Jamie and Claire are – beyond the passionate, still having great sex in middle age, kick-ass characters we love to lose ourselves with. All these things are wonderful, but they aren’t ALL the story. (P.S. – People keep saying “Outlander isn’t some bodice ripper romance novel” and the show isn’t meant to be ‘soft porn’….yet all the complaints about not enough sex scenes seem to contradict that sentiment. You can’t have it both ways kiddos.)

I simply can’t understand why people would want to cast aside the ensemble that is Outlander and lose so much of, what are supposedly, the main characters.

As always, these are just MY Random Thoughts – discuss, disagree, share or ignore as you will.

Outlander: The Series

The last blog gave readers a chance to find out a little bit about me and my background. The idea was to let people in my head a bit for why I say some of the stuff I do. Of course, there is a lot more to it all – how I was raised, by whom, when, life experiences. All this figures in to how every person views things, makes decisions about them, likes them or not. What I like, others might not and that is ok. That is great in fact because, if we all liked the same things it would be a very boring place.

Anything I write – like any other writer out there – comes from a compound of all we do and know. Taking all the bits we’ve learned from infancy to now; school, reading, meeting people, listening to the news, deeper research into something that is of more keen interest and, in more recent years, surfing the web. No one dictates to me what I do or don’t like – including my life-mate. I don’t want to be (but likely will be) called a kiss ass, suck up, puppet or anything else suggesting my opinion is not my own. I also don’t want to be called bad names if I point out something I don’t like. My opinion is my own, not dictated to me by someone else to be regurgitated. I think for myself and write what I think. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it……………………though reading differing opinions can stimulate interesting discussion.

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With that thought in mind, this is what I think of the series Outlander adapted from the books by Diana Gabaldon.

 Bloody brilliant!!!!!!!!

 I could stop there – but just a short explanation.

Ronald D. Moore, the writers, Maril and the other producers, the entire crew (Jon Gary Steele and his team, Terry D and her team, set dressers, animal handlers, the people that have to schlep gear all over the Scottish countryside, and all those I’m missing)…henceforth known as “THE TEAM” – these people are taking a huge, many layered, rich, profound story of history, love, intrigue, politics plus much more and trying to cram it into being a television show. TV – generally speaking – isn’t all that deep. There are some great stories out there, and things that are fun to watch, but television is entertainment first and foremost. There is no way to cram thirty nine hours of book (audio book time is 39 hours 6 minutes for DiA) into just under twelve hours of television and make everyone happy.

Diana Gabaldon has woven so many enchanting, laugh inducing, tear spilling scenes into her books that are wonderful to read and enrich the story – but aren’t necessarily fundamental to the plot. These very scenes are often fan favorites that would be great to see, but there simply isn’t time to have them all.

For instance: the scene of Jamie avoiding some nasty guys intent to do him harm where he grabs a rather large, hard sausage as a weapon and ends up ducking into a brothel to avoid detection. Sam would have made this an absolute treat to watch and I would have loved seeing it – but I totally understand why it wasn’t in the show. The scene simply did not advance the story in any meaningful way and so the space was given to other things that did.

There are fans that say some of the scenes don’t have anything to do with the books and why are they there…they are a waste of time! This other ‘junk’ is taking away from Jamie & Claire and their ‘relationship’ (a note on that in a minute). It may not have anything to do with the BOOKS, but it may have a great deal to do with the STORY that is being told on screen that we as viewers don’t KNOW yet. Have patience. Have a little faith.

There have been many complaints about J & C not getting enough screen time for their ‘relationship’ (SEX). I disagree. I see a much deeper connection between them now than when they were burning up the screen. The intimacy is definitely there and sex isn’t necessary to drive the overall story right now – there are other things that need to be seen. I enjoy a good sex scene as  much as the next person, and while Sam & Caitriona are beautiful people that have explosive chemistry on screen making such scenes a joy to watch, I think it would have been distracting given the complexity and gravity of the time and place they find themselves and how compacted the storyline needs to be to get through the entire book. It’s obvious they ARE intimate – every look, touch, interaction lets you see that. It isn’t necessary to play it out on the screen. Of course – that is just MY opinion and I doubt it will be a popular one.

Overall, I love what THE TEAM is doing and will continue to watch and support the series however I can. Does this mean I totally agree with EVERY decision they make? Nope. But I trust that they are making a great television show based on some favorite novels. I like the differences, the points of view contrasting my own to give me new and broader perspective on the story as a whole. What would be the point of keeping it exactly the same? If I wanted exactly the same story, I’d turn off the TV and curl back up with the books.

Please share with all involved doing the show as I know I’ll miss people when I do my tweet! THANKS!!!

Cheers!

Kindness: Let it be the coin of the realm

A question popped up on an OL FB page today that, again, got me to thinking. It was a question that has been asked and answered many times and some opinions won’t change no matter what. Some people who answered were obviously frustrated and got a little snippy. This particular issue, and several others, can be huge points of contention within certain factions of the fandom. That is too bad but not really what I wanted to address.

The person that asked the question was new to the fandom and had no idea the hornets’ nest that particular question can bring on. While many of the ‘book people’ have been around for 20+ years, and many ‘series people’ have been around for a couple of years – many more may be brand new and don’t know all the idiosyncrasies of this particular fandom. Impossible you say? Not so much.

Everyday someone new gets cable and maybe splurges on the premium channels so now has access to STARZ. They stumble upon Outlander, watch it and are hooked on the show without ever knowing before that moment it existed. They go hunting for other fans to share their glee with on social media.

A current die-hard fan finally convinces (pick any possible relationship) to give the show and/or books a try. Brand new fan. No idea the politics the fandom has going.

We all just came off a MAJOR award weekend. While it was disappointing that OL didn’t win any of the awards nominated for, but it was a huge boost in visibility. Caitriona, Sam and Tobias were SEEN and recognized. The show was talked about and promoted. I saw comment after comment on twitter the day after the awards saying ‘oh I hadn’t heard of that show (mostly Mozart in the Jungle?), I must check it out!’….so doesn’t it stand to reason people will be saying the same thing of Outlander?

All of us have to admit that there has been some pretty – harsh stuff – going around the fandom at various times. We are all unique people with our own visions and ideas – which means we aren’t all going to agree on things all the time. Discussion about differences in the show compared to the book compared to our own ideas of how we envisioned them is wonderful! Various facets of the same thing. What I am really hoping for as we prepare for S2 is that we can discuss these ideas without getting nasty with each other. No bigger turn-off to a new fan than infighting.

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I keep repeating it – Courtesy and Common Sense. I repeat it for myself as much as anyone else because I too get frustrated and angry and say things I shouldn’t. Please let’s be kind to each other! Let’s respect each other and differing points of view. We don’t have to agree with each other to respect each other, we just have to be willing to listen to other POV’s. We don’t have to agree with them, but if each of us expects our POV to be listened to and acknowledged, then each of us needs to do the same in return.

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I know for a fact we have lost at least a few ‘fans’ over infighting and nastiness. I myself have dumped out of groups and walked away from SM for a time, and I wasn’t even around the really bad nastiness.

If a quote from a cute rabbit won’t make you think twice:

“If you can’t say something nice – don’t say nuthin’ at all”

How about a request from a truly gracious lady and our living Lady of Lallybroch:

Kindness from Cait