BLUE SUN ROOM

Controversial Mal characterization

POSTED BY: SPACEANJL
UPDATED: Friday, January 2, 2009 20:12
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Thursday, August 23, 2007 3:02 AM

SPACEANJL


I know Mal is probably short for 'maladjusted' rather than Malcolm, but could we maybe see a way forward for him that doesn't end in misery and angst? (Yeah, I know it's Joss - puppy sandwiches all round.)

I'm not advocating instant bounceback from the trauma of war. I'm not in favour of any fic that sweeps every human reaction under the carpet in favour of fluffy bunnies. But could there possibly be a glimmer of hope for these people? That maybe this little group could put the 'fun' back in dysfunctional, and have something approaching a normal existance, emotionally speaking. And no, I am not advocating spacespawn and wedding bells. This is me.

Maybe I'm just trying to find a balance between drama and humour that feels like real people to me. I just think more could be made of NF's gift for comic timing - I know Joss hoped to take advantage of it. And any guy that will let it all hang out ('Trash') deserves some laughs.

So, a Mal who doesn't end up married to Inara and knee-deep in brats, but equally doesn't end up eating his pistol on some lonely asteroid? Any takers?


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Thursday, August 23, 2007 3:23 AM

CHRISISALL


Mal seemed pretty hopeful at the end of Serenity...

Just sayin' Chrisisall

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 3:31 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


I'd prefer to see an old Mal as the Uncle Jesse of space!

Still findin' ways to run shine and stick it to the man, if only his crazy ass nephews would stop blowin up the outhouse with the old exploding arrowhead gag!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

http://manwithpez.livejournal.com

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 3:41 AM

JONGSSTRAW


At some point after the war Mal made a decision that doing crime is ok and justifyable. I'm not sure when that occured. In Out Of Gas when he's showing the ship to Zoe he talks about being free of the Alliance, taking jobs as they come, living like normal people etc...doesn't really refer to doing crime to pay for that lifestyle.

I'd like to know what Mal did between the end of the war and buying Serenity...that would help explain his acceptance of being a thief.

In Serenity, during the pre-Mule boarding exchange with River he says..." This is what I do darlin', this is what I do." His facial expressions clearly indicate he is terribly conflicted about what he has become, his voice quivers a bit, and his eyes dance around....I really feel for him at that moment, as if he's saying THIS is what the Alliance has forced free-thinking men to do.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:43 AM

WYTCHCROFT


a lot of interesting thoughts here... and they illustrate why Mal is such a magnetic character to us fans!

(Jongsstraw - you are on my wave length... im considering trying a gap filling one shot to explore the shift in himself and his career - and why Zoe went along with it.

manwithpez - this too! Mal can be a broad comic foil and FUN gorram it! i decided to write an up coming piece with saffron in to explore this element.)

ok, nuff of that - some thoughts on Mal outside of his personality.
i'm becoming quite interested in Mal as a symbol of the Paternal. River refers to him as a Dad. and the crew of Serenity are very much a family unit.. part of the show's appeal. cool. BUT
this kind of paternalism can have a dark shadow.

(The kind whedon explored in Family - Buffy5 for one thing)

on one hand paternal characters and authorities are very protective - we look to our own, etc.
but this can implode into prejudice about 'others' seen as threatening.

(i see Mal's protection of Nandi and her girls in two lights: a daddy protecting the girls, maybe... or possibly a sort of growth to take on a cause he has no stake in, from Serenity will not truly gain. Given this, the writers make sure that growth comes at a cost - nandi's death and the pain it causes.)

Or just into a genial belief that 'Daddy knows best' which can result in the kind of benevelant empire you see in Star Trek's Federation, (the ambiguities of which were not explored untill Inserruction and Deep Space 9.)

similarly Han Solo

(- whose relationship to the 'Kid' Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia is not far removed from the Mal - Simon/River dynamic -)

became a less intersting character when his own latent paternalism was subsumed within that of th e well intentioned rebel alliance. a rebel alliance whose effects have not been explored on screen - post Jedi. when the Empire falls - what do you get replacing it?

star wars is a fairy tale - and fairy tale sdo not go further than endings - which is one reason why people are wary of simliar situations in real life - the fall of saigon, the ussr, iraq ad nauseum, all much more 'difficult', morally ambivalent and interesting.

(As noted elsewhere on the board what happens post-BDM will have to touch on this)

Is Mal aware of any of this - i am making any sense?? - scattered thoughts as always...

post on!

make someone a browncoat today - don't drive nobody away

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:46 AM

PLATONIST


Actually, this makes more sense to me before Mal commits to a wife, babies etc...Grown-ups need to come to terms with who they are and what they want before successful relationships are established, not in spite of or because of them.

And IMHO that is where Joss left us at the end of the movie.

Mal has some pretty big issues, though. It will be a painful process. Have you read any Tamsibling?, she does wonders with the crew's inner conflicts and relations.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:46 AM

CHANNAIN

i DO aim to misbehave


I'm working on it, but fan fic doesn't flow fast for me. It didn't before I was in school. These days? It's slower than snail's pace.

I could see him hooking up with Inara, but not getting married, then sticking together when she gets pregnant. Then of course, Inara dies when their daughter is like five or something. Y'know, your typical bittersweet *koff*English*koff* ending.

Of course I'd get skewered - virtually here, and physically once the MNIndys found out - if I killed Inara, so I won't be writing that anytime soon.

Mal is on a journey and journies take time. There's lots on the to-do list - make peace with God, find a way to get past the war, figure out how to get Inara to give up whoring - not necessarily in that order either. So if a happily-ever-after is to be found for Mal, it likely won't be anytime soon.


Doing the impossible makes us mighty
Minnesota Browncoats
http://www.mnfirefly.com/portal/html/index.php

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:48 AM

WYTCHCROFT


TamSibling?

yeh! she's a gorram miracle worker on that score!

I hope she realises...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 5:47 AM

MAL4PREZ


Good topic SA. And by the way, may I just say that as much as I come off strong with my opinions about fic stuff, I'm so glad that people disagree because these discussions are the funnest way to avoid work LOL! Keep it coming!

So... it's entirely possible that Mal could end up happy as can be, and if he were a real person I'd be all for that as soon as possible. Thing is - he's a fictional character, and any happy ending for him is... an ending. It is for me, because what happens after is just less interesting.

It's like what Frodo and Sam talk about on the stairs of Cirith Ungol: the stories that are the worst for the people in them are often the best to hear. Happy stories get dull. And it's not just me - sexual tension pulls in more viewers/readers than what comes after the couple gives in... anyone remember the show Moonlighting in the 80s? As soon as Cybil Shepard and Bruce Willis got together, the show sucked.

I see Firefly as being about Mal's struggle through his issues. It's not that I want him to go down the toilet, but I want to see all that happens before he gets his happy on. And having a woman (or man, let's include all our slashy friends LOL!) hand him his healing on a plate... well, I've said too much about that already.

SA: of the extremes you present - wedded bliss versus bullet eating, I like neither. But I tend to openly criticize the former much more. I've yet to see a fic where Mal completely fails, but I've seen plenty that gives him that unrealistic instant bounce to happy-joy-joy land.

As for humor/darkness balance - if only we could all do it half so well as Joss!

Quote:

I'd like to know what Mal did between the end of the war and buying Serenity...that would help explain his acceptance of being a thief.
My newest, if I ever get the damned thing done, addresses this...

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 6:11 AM

SAFEAT2ND


I dunno that Mal made a 'shift' per say to crime, my take on it is that his grand shceme of living free of the Alliance, fell way short. As a result, and in order to keep flying, he had to do what was necessary. And that included the odd petty crime.

BUT if you'll notice, most of their heists go against the Alliance which he sees as bad, so that justifies the crime in his mind. Doesn't make it right mind you...

I see him more as a Robin Hood persona. Isn't that, after all, what the Browncoats/Independants were all about? Standing up against the Alliance for the little guys?

Now I may be WAY off base but...

_______________________________________________________________
"Got a headful of lightning
And a heart full of rain
And I know that I said
I'd never do it again
Oh and I love you sweet baby but I always take the long way home."


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Thursday, August 23, 2007 7:28 AM

WYTCHCROFT


well i hear pretty much agree here -
but what is interesting is speculating on the moments of choice

(something we know joss is keen on emphasising)

when did the lines first get blurred etc etc -
who or what influenced him...

lotta plot potential!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 7:42 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I know Mal is probably short for 'maladjusted' rather than Malcolm, but could we maybe see a way forward for him that doesn't end in misery and angst? (Yeah, I know it's Joss - puppy sandwiches all round.)

I'm not advocating instant bounceback from the trauma of war. I'm not in favour of any fic that sweeps every human reaction under the carpet in favour of fluffy bunnies. But could there possibly be a glimmer of hope for these people? That maybe this little group could put the 'fun' back in dysfunctional, and have something approaching a normal existance, emotionally speaking. And no, I am not advocating spacespawn and wedding bells. This is me.

Maybe I'm just trying to find a balance between drama and humour that feels like real people to me. I just think more could be made of NF's gift for comic timing - I know Joss hoped to take advantage of it. And any guy that will let it all hang out ('Trash') deserves some laughs.

So, a Mal who doesn't end up married to Inara and knee-deep in brats, but equally doesn't end up eating his pistol on some lonely asteroid? Any takers?




Now that is interesting. I actually regard Mal as very hopefull character. I certainly couldn't imagine him eating a bullet. He thrives off the misery too much. But it'll never get the better of him.
I sort of regard Mal as a similar character to Humphrey Bogart's character Rick Blaine in Casablanca... Always fighting for the losing side, but remains defiant in spite of it.

www.cirqus.com

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 7:49 AM

NVGHOSTRIDER


For me Platonist really summed up the point about grown folk having to adjust and be happy for themselves before any Marry-making or child rearing should occur. But there are always reversions to the former self on occasion. It isn't interesting entertainment. It is human nature to go back to the familiar.

And the fact that I cannot see Mal simlpy dropping a bunch of puppies with Inara or chewin' on a bullet out in the black should be pretty appearant. I see the wit and humor of so much in him that IMHO is the hope springing forth from him that we all want to see. The humor is his contribution to the world, no matter how strange or dry or twisted (the whole "Kaylee's dead" thing to Simon broke me in two).

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 8:53 AM

OLDGUY

What Would Mal do ?


you kids are gettin close to it...and dancing around all the same... a guy like Mal has already met his highest point. He stood his ground and with all he had he looked into the face of the enenmy and lost. He lost so much that he has no desire to exist in the world of "normal society".
He lost, among other things, that little line in the sand that most folks will not step across..mainly because we live in fear of loosing something.. our freedom, our finances, our public image...
Mal said it himself..."he has no rudder" and likewise, no anchor. He will make a decision for the moment of survival and to keep himself powered in the direction..whatever direction it is...that he is going. He won't always like it, but he will do it. However, this doesn't mean he won't take up action for a cause. He is not taking up the cause, but the action required at the moment. He'll fight for the whore house, he'll pick up an unconcious River from a bar floor. Not because he has a goal, or a financial strategy for lasting wealth and power, or some duty to a community or government. in Firefly and Serenity we are able to look at the most basic element of man with his strengths and weaknesses, his cunning and stupidity. We can relate when he comes up short or takes a bad turn, and we cheer when he gets it right..and smile deep inside when he makes that last little turn, after starting out wrong, messing up, falling deep into the pile, and yet at the last moment, right after the last commercial (grin), he pulls it out with the help of those he cares for, or has tried to do right by, or just because some higher power might have decided that tommorrow might be a better place if Mal is allowed to live, and fight, and love again.

Old Guy

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 9:17 AM

NVGHOSTRIDER


That is pretty much what I said but I seem to lack the motivation to put alot down today. That and I have been posting waay too much on the whole Mal characterization thing and haven't posted one bit of Mal fic. Seems I might have to now. What's the saying? Put up or shut up? I guess I better man up or quit debating on the fine points of our shiny captain.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:01 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by Oldguy:
you kids are gettin close to it...and dancing around all the same... a guy like Mal has already met his highest point. He stood his ground and with all he had he looked into the face of the enenmy and lost.

Old Guy



yeah... but - are you taking the BDM of Serenity into account? Firefly the show is about the aftermath of defeat... anything post-BDM has to show the aftermath of 'victory'. Both personal and social. this is why i see links with Buffy 8 where joss has to follow the big victory of Chosen...

this is what drew to me try a post BDM fic - else i would not have put my toe in such deep waters!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 11:46 AM

NBZ


Ok, my thoughts. Not really specific to one side or the other.

Firefly is no fairy tale. The equivalent of happily ever after is living to the next day/crisis/whatever. Just like in reality. But with spaceships. And Reavers. Even if you win, you still have to live, and that always has its pitfalls, even if they are small.

If you want a pretty positive fic series, you can try the sushi_fic community over at livejournal. They have a single multi author tale where things after the BDM fall into place in a good manner (You will need to find a page listing them in the right order, as they are written out of order). While not boring, I found it depressing. It was just too hunky dory. (Or the fact that it went too far into the future. I dislike that as well.)

One thing to avoid though is over analysing the situation/character. Mal is not miserable by any standards.

(However this is something that can be explored by a writer. get a situation where he becomes miserable. Finds the ship as a prison, no longer freedom. Should be easy as one thing that he finds incredibly grating is the loss of authority, or people questioning his orders. Which do happen regularly.)

I think we have seen Mal happy on a few occasions. Like at the end of Serenity, the Pilot. He says it's enough, and is pretty relaxed. (At the BDM he is relaxed too, but that is not the same IMO.)

There are a few of these (End of Trash), and it's these small times that probably make it all worth it.

I don't think he needs to confront his issues before being "ready for commitment". he has and hasn't already. There is only so much that can be fixed. I would assume he is pretty well adjusted for what he has gone through.

As a comparison - Zoe. Yes, she got married. But apart from that she has moved on a lot less than Mal has. She still sees herself as a soldier. In an army that was dismantled over seven years ago.

And why does someone need to be in a relationship to be considered happy? While Zoe may be happy to put her arm round Simon in The Message as gesture of camaraderie, Mal more or less freezes both times it happens to him ( Wash in OMR puts his hand on Mals shoulder and the deal guy in Jaynestown grips his arm).

Happyness != relationship.
Mysery != no relationship.

(Also, while the BDM can be taken as a victory, I doubt it is one. The main thing it changes is that the crew are probably no longer anonymous to some segments of the Alliance, making it a lot harder to hide. Though there was nothing in the shown segment of the broadwave connecting the crew to it, so to the ordinary person there is no connection.)

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 12:34 PM

JETFLAIR


I don't neccessarily see the portrayal of Mal as happy as unrealistic. I find a *stable* Mal unrealistic, but at least in Firefly, I don't think Mal is unhappy with his life.

He has enough baggage to fill a cargo ship, but he seems content enough. As with any life, his is filled with upsets and hurts and problems, but also joy and his own version of love.

He's chosen a life he can live with. I think that given said baggage, he needs both constant challanges and the task of leading other people to keep him sane, keep his mind off the past and keep him from brooding about himself. Mal, financially secure on a peaceful little homestead somewhere farming tomatoes, would probably go insane.

If as fic writers we want to write Mal as happy (and please do so - I love the man and enjoy reading realistic scenarios where he experiences joy in life), we need to keep in mind that what makes Mal happy may well not be what makes the average person happy. Mal may not enjoy parts of it, but he *likes* his rabble-rousing life.

So finding the things within Mal that bring him joy, and writing a story focused on that, or with that outcome? Not controversial at all, to me. In fact, if well done, it would be a joy to behold.

The problem arises when an author takes a steriotypical, average-person view on what constitutes a happy story or a happy ending for him. That's where we get Mal, Inara, 2.5 kids, and a ranch.




"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 12:59 PM

NBZ


Quote:

Originally posted by jetflair:
He has enough baggage to fill a cargo ship, but he seems content enough. As with any life, his is filled with upsets and hurts and problems, but also joy and his own version of love.



I agree (with all your post).

One thing about firefly is that it does not always accept notions from our 'verse.

Maybe he is happiest when he is screaming across his ship to get hold of Kaylee instead of using the Comms like any sane captain would.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 1:49 PM

ZONER


"i really agree with these last two posts.

i don't understand the need to brush issues or dilemnas under the carpet - on the other hand too much wallowing and you lose the flavour of Firefly

which thrived onquirky juxtapositions and mood swings...
(did i say thrived? i meant cancelled.)

...and risk inventing basically 'new' characters. as a writer i wanna explore all avenues - as a reader? hell, i just want more FireFly!" wytchcroft

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 1:52 PM

WYTCHCROFT


curses! i had to get zoner to help me post that! this FRACKING P.C.!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:30 PM

SPACEANJL


Quote:

Originally posted by jetflair:


He's chosen a life he can live with. I think that given said baggage, he needs both constant challanges and the task of leading other people to keep him sane, keep his mind off the past and keep him from brooding about himself. Mal, financially secure on a peaceful little homestead somewhere farming tomatoes, would probably go insane.

we need to keep in mind that what makes Mal happy may well not be what makes the average person happy. Mal may not enjoy parts of it, but he *likes* his rabble-rousing life.


The problem arises when an author takes a steriotypical, average-person view on what constitutes a happy story or a happy ending for him. That's where we get Mal, Inara, 2.5 kids, and a ranch.
B]



Quite. I have an issue with the whole 'happy ending' concept, because life doesn't end neatly. After the party, the big shoot-out, the final battle...someone has to do the washing-up, patch up the wounded, or sit in an Alliance prison camp awaiting war crime charges. 'Firefly' tried to show that - small people who got rolled over by history picking themselves up and looking for the next job.

I also have an issue with the 'normal' concept of happy ever after. For the record, I am happily married myself, but only recently, and I'm in Mal's age bracket. Maybe because of this, I get rather weirded out by the 'mean old man' scenarios. It is possible to get to your mid-thirties or so with a minimum of possessions, and a quantity of emotional baggage, but without being so bent out of shape that you are not open to any new possibilities. It is also possible that the idea of settling down to a 'normal' job and popping out kids makes you come out in a cold sweat.

Just my personal take on it. I tried living the normal life, being the good little cog in a busy world. Recipe for disaster. Some people are not meant to wear a suit, sit in a workplace and be nice to folk all day. They would rather live with a little financial uncertainty, but find themselves able to look in the mirror...Just had a mental image of Mal in a call-centre, in some Alliance Retraining scheme after the war. I may have to go and write this.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:54 PM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


You know..it might do to wait for the "Better Days" comic to come out. By all descriptions, it's supposed to be about how the crew reacts to both a job well done, and the rewards that come with it. Granted, Firefly didn't show Mal having much success in anything...Inara, money, crew loyalty, etc. They get a huge take from robbing St. Lucy's, but lose the money soon after to Niska. They steal a priceless artifact (the Lassiter), but can't sell it anywhere. Even in the pilot, they ended up "selling" the goods to Patience at a huge markdown (presumably) from what was going to come from Badger. It would seem that post series, there was success somewhere (I'm guessing the sale of the Lassiter). Elseways, how do you explain the new mule? And "Those Left Behind" shows how jobs have been drying up left and right for Serenity's crew. Things are extraordinarily bad for this group most of the time. It might do to wait and see Joss's interpretation of "success".

I mean, in regards to writing about Mal's future.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

http://manwithpez.livejournal.com

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 11:19 PM

SPACEANJL


I'm sure there is a mention somewhere that the new mule was bought from the proceeds of the Lassiter sale.

I'm always more amused by the everyday in the ff 'Verse; one of my favourite scenes is that beginning of 'Bushwhacked'. I know it goes against the grain a bit, but the whole McGuffin that is River's central importance to the Alliance actually twitches me a bit. Far more interesting to have people who are not central to every plot and machination at the very highest level negotiating their way through the world.

But...back on topic. Mal. I prefer the Mal of the series to the one of the BDM. A lot of subtlety was lost in the drive to get FF on the big screen. But maybe because I am aware of the darkness and despair in the past, I would just like to see people draw out of that a little, and have those small moments of happiness and/or normality. A life where 'success' is having some fresh food on the table, and happiness is measured by looking into the starfield and choosing where to fly.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 11:42 PM

WYTCHCROFT


i love this thread! S.A. you rule!
my response to this thread is a
new fic called (ho ho) MALIFIC. just posted.

let me know what you thnk!

forgot to add:

one think i'm interested in TRYING to do (it's gorram hard!) is take a post-BDM Mal and gradually create a balance in the character half way between the F.F show and the movie. which'll mean i can do a FUN fic next time! - a big relief -

make someone a browncoat today - don't turn nobody away

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Friday, August 24, 2007 3:35 AM

OLDGUY

What Would Mal do ?


all too typical sequel material.. opening scene finds the Zo girl out kickin some backside someplace..lost in herself...still the soldier, still suffering the loss of her love..but she's on her own...save for a couple unknowns that have taken to running with her..interesting characters..could be important to the plot, or short term distractions. Where's Mal?..trying his best to settle down somewhere distant..war's long done..and he and his whore are attempting to make house...he's now the less willing. The Doc and sis are also back in civilization and the rest of our crew are scattered to the wind.
Into the plot walks some new faces...looks like Mal was not the only freelancer/privateer in the verse..and maybe a character from the Reav side of things..a realization that they are not all totally crazed..that there is some method behind some of the madness, that in fact, the teraform injection isn't what set them to the most extreme...that it was some corrupt local leaders on miranda that spawned a drug lord campaign..to build their version of an army capable of waging the confusion of war against the alliance, allowing them to do business under cover...and to this end, we find that our "assasin" and his belief were not so unfounded..and now Zo must seek him out with the help of her new found "non-Mal-contents". Ultimately the crew. or some of them can be pulled into the story line as much or as little as you want..but the saga can continue in a much more open frame.

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Friday, August 24, 2007 6:21 AM

DATALESS


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I know Mal is probably short for 'maladjusted' rather than Malcolm



I think that it is just as River said "Mal means bad in the Latin."

Maladjusted actually means badly or unsatisfactorily adjusted, esp. in relationship to one's social circumstances, environment.
Malcontent works too. As in...
1. not satisfied or content with currently prevailing conditions or circumstances.
2. dissatisfied with the existing government, administration, system, etc.
–noun

3. a malcontent person, esp. one who is chronically discontented or dissatisfied.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/malcontent

I'm sure their are a few other mal words that work just a s well.

Though malodorous doesn't so much work for Mal but is probably better for Jayne.

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Friday, August 24, 2007 6:44 AM

JETFLAIR


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:

But...back on topic. Mal. I prefer the Mal of the series to the one of the BDM. A lot of subtlety was lost in the drive to get FF on the big screen. But maybe because I am aware of the darkness and despair in the past, I would just like to see people draw out of that a little, and have those small moments of happiness and/or normality.



Me too. I felt that Mal's character arc was driven several steps backwards by the movie, so it could be replaced by a movie character arc. Maybe he did re-take that ground over the course of the movie, but it still felt artificial to me.

Perhaps the Mal in the movie was the darker Mal that Joss wanted all along, but after seeing a whole series of him being one person I grew to love and understand, the movie felt like a betrayal of that character. Like they changed the rules.

Sure, it can be explained. Not even that hard to explain it. But I, personally, do not choose to accept it 100%, and when I examine Mal's character I rarely include his actions in the movie. Some of those actions and moments I accept. Others I don't. Maybe that makes me hypocritical or something, but that's the way it is.




"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Friday, August 24, 2007 8:17 AM

SAFEAT2ND


Thank-you Jetflair!!

That's exactly how I feel too. But when I tried to explain it, it always came out too wordy and too preachy.

Plus I don't subscribe to the whole "That's Joss's way" thinking. Maybe it's because I'm not a Buffy fan.

I think Mal has come to terms with his lot in life. Some else said he has a lot of baggage that he carries around and that is bound to affect anyone. I totally agree. Also that he is happiest when he's running down the corridor hollering at Kaylee is also spot on.

But then there I go maybe reading TOO much into a fictional spawn of someone elses imagination.

P.S. Mal4prez and Wytchcroft, I like your takes on Mal. Keep it up.

_______________________________________________________________
"Got a headful of lightning
And a heart full of rain
And I know that I said
I'd never do it again
Oh and I love you sweet baby but I always take the long way home."


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Friday, August 24, 2007 8:30 AM

JETFLAIR


Quote:

Originally posted by safeat2nd:
But then there I go maybe reading TOO much into a fictional spawn of someone elses imagination.



LOL! If any non-Firefly fan read my posts about Mal, examining his mental makeup as though he were a completely real person....there would probably be enough there to have me committed! I can see myself writing on a blackboard: "Mal is not real. Mal is fictional. Mal was invented by someone else. Mal does not exist. I do not love Mal. Mal is a movie character."

Talk about characters coming alive on screen......

Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:


Quite. I have an issue with the whole 'happy ending' concept, because life doesn't end neatly. After the party, the big shoot-out, the final battle...someone has to do the washing-up, patch up the wounded, or sit in an Alliance prison camp awaiting war crime charges. 'Firefly' tried to show that - small people who got rolled over by history picking themselves up and looking for the next job.

I also have an issue with the 'normal' concept of happy ever after. For the record, I am happily married myself, but only recently, and I'm in Mal's age bracket. Maybe because of this, I get rather weirded out by the 'mean old man' scenarios. It is possible to get to your mid-thirties or so with a minimum of possessions, and a quantity of emotional baggage, but without being so bent out of shape that you are not open to any new possibilities. It is also possible that the idea of settling down to a 'normal' job and popping out kids makes you come out in a cold sweat.

Just my personal take on it. I tried living the normal life, being the good little cog in a busy world. Recipe for disaster. Some people are not meant to wear a suit, sit in a workplace and be nice to folk all day. They would rather live with a little financial uncertainty, but find themselves able to look in the mirror...Just had a mental image of Mal in a call-centre, in some Alliance Retraining scheme after the war. I may have to go and write this.



GREAT post! And you're spot on with the call-center. I have something very similar planned for both Wash and Mal when they get out of prison. It's on a grander scale for Wash, he gets to pilot an upscale luxury cruiser, but finds that he chafes against being used as an employee and having almost as little freedom to be himself as he did in the prison.

For Mal, I have it not a forced "retraining" scheme, but a job the Alliance sets him up with as a sort of benevolent "giving him a new start" sort of thing. Menial office work, probably customer service. Surrounded by happy people who dream of nothing more, and want Mal to join them at the company picnic and help design employee incentive programs.

You might get some idea of how that will end by listening to the Firefly theme....."Tell 'em I ain't coming back......."

"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Friday, August 24, 2007 9:19 AM

MAL4PREZ


(Thank you safeat2nd!!)

I'm with you jetflair, about the movie. Hey, I like it, but so many things were different - had to be different - that I prefer to stick with the series as canon. Of course, I think there's plenty of dark Mal in the series, enough for me to build off in my own way...

As for the new mule - wasn't that stolen in the comic book? They certainly did drive around in a yellow hovercraft, and that can't be a coincidence.

Oh - I also have some forced retraining sort of thing happening for Mal after the war, though in a very different way than we're talking here. But I looove the idea of Mal being forced to telemarket. oh my gawd, the fun that could be had with that...

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Friday, August 24, 2007 10:10 AM

JETFLAIR


Quote:


I'm
Oh - I also have some forced retraining sort of thing happening for Mal after the war, though in a very different way than we're talking here. But I looove the idea of Mal being forced to telemarket. oh my gawd, the fun that could be had with that...



I can't wait to read your take, as I'm sure there will be angst involved ;)

Mal being forced to telemarket.....oh, it is fun indeed. So hilarious that I've already written parts, when I just want a good laugh. I haven't decided on his actual job yet....but it will be something like that. I'm thinking customer service - because I can actully see Mal being able to sell staplers, but can you even imagine him in customer service? :snickers just thinking about it:

My particular favorites right now are when Mal gets invited to the company picnic to benefit Alliance war orphans, and a scene where Mal's manager decides to write him up for his "bad attitude." Just thinking about his reactions makes me want to start laughing out loud. Mal's take on employee recognition programs plans to be entertaining too ;)




"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Friday, August 24, 2007 10:18 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by jetflair:
My particular favorites right now are when Mal gets invited to the company picnic to benefit Alliance war orphans, and a scene where Mal's manager decides to write him up for his "bad attitude."

OK - you're making me think of Dead Like Me - a surly grim reaper trapped in cubicle hell LOL! Happy Time!

Mal in this situation will be priceless. I can't wait to see it, jetflair!


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Friday, August 24, 2007 10:34 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


I was under the impression that the hovercraft was the new mule. It would seem to me to be the kind of thing that they could never have afforded during the series, and Malcolm is starting to worry about keeping the crew fed, let alone Serenity in the air in the movie. Those Left Behind gives no mention of it.

I don't think.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

http://manwithpez.livejournal.com

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Friday, August 24, 2007 4:23 PM

KATESFRIEND


I agree with Jetflair's view of Mal in the movie, and for this reason I'm a little nervous of Joss's enchantment with the darkness of Battlestar Galactica. I love the Character of Mal in Firefly, and want to see more of THAT character if any. The world already can be a pretty dark place, we don't need to deliberately make it darker. What we could use is an example of how someone who's been through hell pulls his humanity back together again when he's had every reason to lose faith in life and love. That's the show I want to see. That's the show the world could use right now, not one that just shows how screwed up people are capable of becoming. We already know that.

Even the most successful and decorated heroes from WWI and WWII complained of nightly nightmares for the rest of their lives. I grew up with combat veterans of WWII and knew instinctively there were missing pieces to them. Then in the 1980's and 1990's I watched as homeless people appeared from thin air and then learned that 70% of all the homeless people then were Viet Nam vets. Now with the current conflict in the Mideast we will have another generation of people with damaged minds and spirits. Firefly, as with any good scifi, lets us look at the same old problems from new angles. And Mal and Firefly would have been a brilliant example of survival in the face of overwhelming odds. The necessary anti-hero for the times.

Could Mal ever be happy? I hope that's one of the reason Joss cast Nathan for the role. Can you imagine a more consistently optimistic, upbeat person? I certainly hope Joss was planning a recovery for Mal - slowly and painfully but realistically - before he killed him off. Could the Mal that was evident in the first few minutes of the pilot ever return? In some form, that's what I'm waiting for. Remember him hugging Kaylee so joyfully in Ariel? He's still in there - somewhere.

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Friday, August 24, 2007 8:24 PM

PLATONIST


Whew! Great posts guys!

Just a quick comment. The Mal in the movie may not be the one we came to know and love in the series, but it is a much more realistic portrayal of an antihero that is living on the edge with not a whole lot to live for.

I think Joss explains it best by saying that Mal is pulling him self apart. Shit happens; Inara leaves (romantic dream shattered), Book moves on (loss of a friend/confident), life with the Tams (need I say more), loyal crew questioning (Zoe and Kaylee). Life has taken a turn, Mal reacts and goes into survival mode.

The Mal of the film is not the weekly serial wise-cracking hero of TV, where issues like life and death are resolved between commercial breaks. This is a much grittier and realistic look at how this character would react under these kinds of circumstances, living this kind of existence.

Living on Serenity, not so fun anymore because life settles in and stays for a long visit.

So...same character, we just see more of his darker side.


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Friday, August 24, 2007 9:11 PM

WYTCHCROFT


yeah i agree on this -

except just to note in general
that a lot of fans seems to play down the darker elements of Mal's character as seen in FireFly
even as others downplay the humour in Serenity (BDM).

i don't see a WHOLE acre of difference -
just a subtle shift - something closer to what Joss probably intended pre-Fox meddling..

but it plays for me as harmoniously as a second season vision
(what does everyone make of the comic and its version of Mal?)

just like the shifts in characters in BTVS or Angel - never exactly the same from season to season... and i'll stop there before i just repeat what you've already said.

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Friday, August 24, 2007 11:19 PM

SPACEANJL


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by jetflair:
My particular favorites right now are when Mal gets invited to the company picnic to benefit Alliance war orphans, and a scene where Mal's manager decides to write him up for his "bad attitude."

OK - you're making me think of Dead Like Me - a surly grim reaper trapped in cubicle hell LOL! Happy Time!

Mal in this situation will be priceless. I can't wait to see it, jetflair!




*snickers* Guess I'm not the only one with a very sick mind, then. I'm now thinking of Kevin Spacey in 'American Beauty'...can I join in, too? I have a whole raft of madness dammed up.

Alt. scene - can you imagine Mal (or Zoe!) forced to flip burgers at Mooby's? (I just have this vision that that was the fry-cook opportunity Wash got fired from - he'd fit in so well with Randall and Dante...)

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Saturday, August 25, 2007 1:53 AM

PACHELBEL


Isn't the next comic set called "Serenity: Better Days " ?

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Saturday, August 25, 2007 11:37 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by jetflair:
Quote:


I'm
Oh - I also have some forced retraining sort of thing happening for Mal after the war, though in a very different way than we're talking here. But I looove the idea of Mal being forced to telemarket. oh my gawd, the fun that could be had with that...



I can't wait to read your take, as I'm sure there will be angst involved ;)

Mal being forced to telemarket.....oh, it is fun indeed. So hilarious that I've already written parts, when I just want a good laugh. I haven't decided on his actual job yet....but it will be something like that. I'm thinking customer service - because I can actully see Mal being able to sell staplers, but can you even imagine him in customer service? :snickers just thinking about it:

My particular favorites right now are when Mal gets invited to the company picnic to benefit Alliance war orphans, and a scene where Mal's manager decides to write him up for his "bad attitude." Just thinking about his reactions makes me want to start laughing out loud. Mal's take on employee recognition programs plans to be entertaining too ;)




"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!



Jetflair,

Snicker, then laughs out loud. I'm thinking Mal would be more than a bit like the character of Peter Gibbons in OFFICE SPACE, just fed up with the whole thing and plotting revenge on Bill Laumbaugh(the boss) by hijacking the year 2560 computer virus to line his own account. I can't wait to read this.

Oh, and being forced to wear 37 pieces of flair.

I was incredibly bored at work Friday and quickly wrote a few paragraphs of "Mal Happily After". Nice soft bed, waking to sunshine every morning to a very willing and sweet Inara, 2.5 kids, prosperous ranch. The worst thing in his life is the 4 year old running screaming into the bedroom just when he wants to have morning sex with Inara.

It was just so sickingly fluffy and sweet that it put me into a sugar high. I don't think it'll see the light of a computer screen again.



http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/









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Saturday, August 25, 2007 4:22 PM

JETFLAIR


NC, you're right on with Office Space....can you imagine some plump, cheerful little person asking Mal if he's having problems with his TPS reports? And like Peter, Mal doesn't give a darn....but throw in a wicked sense of humor, a major case of PTSD, and the outsider's ability to see how blindingly stupid the corporate world is.......oh, yes. Fun.


"What's this?" asked Mal.

Betty grinned, giving a cheerful bounce. "RSVP for the company picnic, silly. There's going to be a barbecue, and balloons, and a dunk tank. It's all going to raise money for Allied war orphans."

"Sounds like – all my worst nightmares come to life," said Mal.

She giggled. "Oh, you're so silly." She grabbed his head and smooched him on the cheek. "Always joking around. I'll put you down for two tickets, I just know Ashley's dying for you to ask her to come with you."

Mal shuddered and scrubbed his cheek. "Forget it. I ain't comin.'"

"Such a tease," she said with a smile, moving to slap him playfully on the arm.

Mal blocked the blow with a sharp move and stood, his face grim. "I ain't teasing. And I ain't fond of being slapped around, play or no. Take it elsewhere."

Tears started streaming almost instantly down her face, and she cast an accusing look at Mal before turning and hurrying away with a sob. Mal stood, blinking.

"I'm almost afraid to ask, but – what did you do this time?" asked Peter, poking his head up from the adjoining cube.

"I told her not to hit me!"





"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007 2:51 AM

SPACEANJL


This better lead to a Big Damn Fic.

I still can't get the image of Zoe out of my head. A little explanation for why she doesn't like to cook...The one employee nobody ever asks to wear the perky mascot suit.

Is 'Office Space' the US version of 'The Office'? Because if I attempt to put David Brent and Mal in the same headspace, something will break.


SpaceAnJL. The one employee who COULD fit in the bloody suit.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007 3:49 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Office Space is a little movie from 1999 written and directed by Mike Judge. It's about a worker that just doesn't give a gorram about work. To make matters worse he finds out that his girl friend is sleeping around and 2 of his friends are fired.

He and the 2 friends decided to get back by using a planned software upgrade for the year 2000 to transfer money to their own account.

The ironic thing is that the 2 HR people that are deciding who to fire decide that the main character is the perfect worker.

It's hilarious and well worth watching.

We do have our own version of The Office and Nathan has expressed more than a desire to appear on it. And he has an in.

Joss has directed an episode and Nathan's good friends with James Gunn (he also directed Nathan in Slither and is very warped), whose wife, Jeanna Fisher, plays Pam the receptionist on The Office.

I love the whole cast of The Office and can't wait for the new season to start.



http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/









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Monday, August 27, 2007 8:21 AM

NBZ


ok, a question about Mal's speech pattern. Is it poetic?

I know it is a made up style, but to me it occasionally sound poetic. Especially in the longer monologues.

But is it only me that sees (hears) something that potentially is not there?

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Monday, August 27, 2007 8:37 AM

SPACEANJL


The poetry comes from the rhythms of the speech. Joss used a number of extant sources, including Shakespeare, and real Western documents, plus of course, excellent writers. And some really good chinese cussing.

Think of...a wide open plain. A big sky. Nothin' but freedom far as you can see. Room for a man to breathe and think and mebbe just sit on his porch and wonder at the way of it all. I conjure that's the root of it.

'Course, you got to kinda take your own brain off the hook, and just let the words come. And it's a deal more than just leavin' the ends off words and abusing the apostrophe.

It's not only Mal who has a particular rhythm. If you read a page of dialogue, you should be able to tell who is speaking without names. Particularly if it's crazy talk. (BTW, song lyrics and lines of poetry are good. So is stealing from Hunter S Thompson.) Appalling grammar and worse language usually indicate something big and mean (though not without a certain insight and some smartass remarks.) Clear diction and sarcasm indicate a top three percent, unless talking to a woman, when articulation takes a swan dive.


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Monday, August 27, 2007 8:42 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by nbz:
ok, a question about Mal's speech pattern. Is it poetic?

I know it is a made up style, but to me it occasionally sound poetic. Especially in the longer monologues.

I definitely think it's poetic, to varying degrees for the different characters. Book is the most poetic, I think - the preacher thing. The monologue he does in the BDM (was that a cut scene? I forget...) is pretty much poetry.

But any dialogue between Mal and Zoe I absolutely love because they get this rhythm going. On the train in the Train Job is one of favorite exchanges... and the shootout in the pilot ("You were right about his bein' a bad idea/Thanks for sayin', sir" Pure love LOL!!)

Some comment was made by one of the show writers about the language... that it's based on a period of time that's so interesting because the slang is rough and sloppy, but, oddly, people had much more extensive vocabularies than we do. ie Zoe and her "sanguine" comment. Kaylee and "addlepated."

Yeah... definitely poetic!


-----------------------------------------------
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Monday, August 27, 2007 1:37 PM

NBZ


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
The monologue he does in the BDM (was that a cut scene? I forget...) is pretty much poetry.




I am pretty sure that is the Bible.

(there is a longer version in 2x17 of Virtual Firefly over at stillflying.net if you want a gander)

By Dialogue in TTJ, do you mean "It don;t concern us" "It concerns me..." exchange or the "Whatever happens, remember I love you" "Sir?" "Because you're my wife" "Right. Sir. Honey"

I can't decide which exchange is better. Actually scratch that, I prefer the second. less words.

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Monday, August 27, 2007 5:47 PM

MOBBEX


My cartridge fell out of my gun...

It has a strong rhythmic quality to it, yes. And he use images aplenty. Definitely poetic in my view.

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Monday, August 27, 2007 6:23 PM

THEHEROOFWILLIAMTOWN


I don't to sound too up myself here but i'm trying to write a Fanfic novel (Like the umpteen dozens of star wars type ones floating around). It's set pretty well right after Objects in Space. I see Mal as being a realist, ideals are good for those that have the coin to back them up. He has no problem shooting people. I hope i get it right.

As for the whole character of Mal being the happy go lucky laugh a minute OR Eating a gun barrel i don't know. I'd say he's niether he wont eat a bullet but he wont pretend life is grand either.


Also the comic had it pretty good as far as the character i saw him as.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007 5:41 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by nbz:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
The monologue he does in the BDM (was that a cut scene? I forget...) is pretty much poetry.

I am pretty sure that is the Bible.

Really? OK, obviously I'm Bible ignorant, but I somehow had the idea that was Bible-like without being actual Bible. I think I just make these things up out of thin air.

Um.. but it's still poetic though. Right?


Quote:

By Dialogue in TTJ, do you mean "It don;t concern us" "It concerns me..." exchange or the "Whatever happens, remember I love you" "Sir?" "Because you're my wife" "Right. Sir. Honey"
The first. Definitely. But it's this part:

MAL - Hell, this job I would pull for free.

ZOE - Then can I have your share?

MAL - No.

ZOE - If you die can I have your share?

MAL - Yes.


lovelovelovelovelove! I want to know how much work it took Gina and Nathan to get the timing down, or if it just happened. It's flawless! Exchanges like this are why I can watch the damn series 100 times and not get tired of it.

-----------------------------------------------
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