GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Confession from an old FF fan (reasonably old, at any rate)...

POSTED BY: CHRISISALL
UPDATED: Sunday, December 25, 2011 06:29
SHORT URL: http://bit.ly/sVts8d
VIEWED: 2025
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Monday, December 19, 2011 7:59 PM

CHRISISALL


I never did hold with Inara's trade. I was more in line with Mal's 'whoring' take on it. Especially after the Atherton incident where Mal whupped his entitled butt.
That aspect of the series, while interesting from a male perspective (I'll be in my bunk), was my least favourite of the show (as was the 'socialator' thing in Galactica).
No wonder that the movie that dropped that whole (arguably) misogynist, fanciful irrelevancy in favour of the action, character & SF story is more dear to me.
I love the series so much, however, the movie skipped this flaw (as I perceive it), and cut to the core of the meaning of what it was trying to epically & ultimately convey. Expertly.

Sling your arrows at will.
But I ain't Will...




The laughing Chrisisall



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Monday, December 19, 2011 8:24 PM

WISHIMAY

There will be fire and brimstone and Earth will be destroyed!... in several billion years!----------------------------------------- "Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry


The movie didn't give time for much of anything.
I whole heartedly agree with the idea of companioning. It wasn't always about sex, but they didn't have time to get to that either. She said washing clients feet was a specialty, and I'm pretty sure there were male divisions of the trade and they would also provide different services as well... Some people are much more comfortable with the idea of buying whatever they need then waiting around forever or trying to find someone who is amenable to the sitch. Prostitution as we know it today should be ended, as it is harmful to everyone concerned. It should be a job, with all the rights and entitlement thereov since it will always be around-no matter what. It follows that there would be a natural evolution of the job description when one is paid to give varied services.

What is the specific problem you have with the companioning thing? Her dressing nicely and getting treated decently?? I think that is what Joss was mainly trying to convey, people that provide sex don't HAVE to be treated like scum, even if you don't agree with what they are doing, they are still human beings...

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Monday, December 19, 2011 8:40 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Wishimay:

What is the specific problem you have with the companioning thing? Her dressing nicely and getting treated decently?? I think that is what Joss was mainly trying to convey, people that provide sex don't HAVE to be treated like scum, even if you don't agree with what they are doing, they are still human beings...


Darling, a Companion would have solved many of my boyhood problems for sure, it's just that it's a fantasy. I guess it's just my own thing. Human beings for GORRAM sure, else there is no fun or spiritual connection.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Monday, December 19, 2011 9:12 PM

RIONAEIRE

Beir bua agus beannacht


I don't approve of companioning, but it was a unique concept in the show and it was well thought out. It took me a long time to learn to trust Inara though, she's always wearing her companion mask with her clients, how do I know if she's telling the truth to me? I had to really get to know her before I could trust her, but I trust her now.

"A completely coherant River means writers don't deliver" KatTaya

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Monday, December 19, 2011 11:07 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Interesting Big C. Interesting.

I must admit when I found out Joss & Co were going down that whole route I did think it a little 'obvious'. But these are the ingredients necessary to allow conflict on a TV show. They do tend to be extreme. I mean a priest and a prostitute on the same ship? The contrivance is a little like whack on the head with leg of ham. However, thereafter it becomes a thing of how well they utilize the contrivance.

Joss probably threw that in to challenge himself and the shows writers to see where they could take it; much as they tried with Dollhouse and maybe hadn't much of an idea themselves where it may lead....

However due to the cancellation they probably didn't have the time to really explore the idea;beyond the obvious 'lesbian' 'twist' with that governess lady. Though that lead to one of the shows great lines :D

I was just so so with it really. Inara's beauty I must confess probably won me over more often than not to her way of thinking though, and I'd regard Mal's perspective as a little antiquated. Like you though I was glad it was sort of brushed aside for the film.

Oh and I meant to say my least favourite part of the show was probably the Doc and how constantly bewildered he appeared to be throughout.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 1:42 AM

JONGSSTRAW


Inara's life and spiritual essence as companion are critical to the harmony and sustainability of Firefly. She beings a positive outlook on life and a powerful emotional element that helps keep the otherwise criminal mob together. The situations she's involved in bring a human tone to the saga, so everything doesn't have to be fights and chases.


As to socialators, I feel that Cassie was more natural, more believeable, and a lot more fun as one, rather than the clean-cut med-tech they transformed her into for the series.









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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 4:27 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

She said washing clients feet was a specialty


She was being sarcastic.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:13 AM

BYTEMITE


I hold that everything in Firefly had it's purpose. The Companion thing was a challenge to both traditional mindsets and to certain kinds of feminists, and so it's role in the series was intelligent and a good source of drama (and obviously fanservice).

It's true that if Inara hadn't been a companion, the writers would have found something else for her and Mal to fight about to cover her whole secret thing. But by being a companion, her profession alone establishes her character as a strong, independent woman, while at the same time she has her vulnerabilities. Would it have been so believable for Inara to stand up to Mal and demand he respect her and her business needs if she had been anything BUT a companion? And if not, would she have been near so interesting a character?

And also, I think in every instance I can think of, it's a lot more about Inara saving Mal's bacon than the other way around. Mal didn't whup Atherton's pampered entitled "ath" and save Inara from the pursuit of an unwanted suitor. Rather, Inara made a choice to save Mal, distracting Atherton at a crucial moment, and would have sacrificed her own welfare to do so (because that guy was really a total psycho).

But that's not to say that Mal doesn't have a few points, in that Inara does use her profession as a mask and a shield, and that her clients do mostly mistreat her. It's the controversy of the profession that makes it work.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 4:15 PM

FLORALBUNNY


testing - - ate my post - -
crap. carefully thought out and just gone.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:55 PM

WISHIMAY

There will be fire and brimstone and Earth will be destroyed!... in several billion years!----------------------------------------- "Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
She was being sarcastic.



No, she weren't. I just watched it again (3 times) to make sure. Her voice was soft and low and earnest, if she were sarcastic she most likely would have pursed her lips first, or given him the evil eye. There was no sign of that. She did make a sarcastic remark right after that, and you might be confusing them.

Inara wasn't just a prostitute, she had education and training in many things and in the training aspect more functionally Geisha-like. There are a great many fetishes and I'm sure she was brought up to speed on all of them, and sincerely had specialties in things like washing feet.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:58 PM

WISHIMAY

There will be fire and brimstone and Earth will be destroyed!... in several billion years!----------------------------------------- "Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry


Quote:

Originally posted by FloralBunny:
testing - - ate my post - -
crap. carefully thought out and just gone.



I sympathize, daily.
I've gotten pretty good at the two line rephrase.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 6:04 PM

TRAVELER


You think those barmaids in the Longbranch Saloon run by Kitty were innocent? Marshal Dillon, unlike Nathan, had no problem with it. I got the impression they decorated Inara's shuttle to match Kitty's bedroom.


http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=28764731
Traveler

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 6:18 PM

CHRISISALL


Nobody remembers Gunsmoke, Traveler.
Oh, when Martial Dillon got that bullet near his heart I was mortified!


The laughing Chrisisall


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:15 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

No, she weren't. I just watched it again (3 times) to make sure. Her voice was soft and low and earnest, if she were sarcastic she most likely would have pursed her lips first, or given him the evil eye. There was no sign of that. She did make a sarcastic remark right after that, and you might be confusing them.

Inara wasn't just a prostitute, she had education and training in many things and in the training aspect more functionally Geisha-like. There are a great many fetishes and I'm sure she was brought up to speed on all of them, and sincerely had specialties in things like washing feet.



Script says she was sarcastic.

From the Visual Companion:

Quote:

MAL: Do you ever, um, wash your client's feet?

INARA: (no) It's my specialty.



I think you misread her. I saw disgust in her reaction, fluttering her eyelashes and her voice low, mocking seduction to put Mal ill at ease. She finds it demeaning and the fact that Mal is asking her, with her not knowing why, it reflects poorly on Mal and feeds into her whole opinion about his marriage with Saffron being unequal and exploitative.

It's the context of the situation and where the conversation is going. She has no reason to be earnest with Mal because she thinks he's a total jerk at that time.

She is a companion. It's not supposed to be a degrading profession, though I'll admit that what Inara wants it to be and what it is aren't always the same.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:22 PM

EBFIDDLER


Quote:

Originally posted by Wishimay:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
She was being sarcastic.



No, she weren't.



Actually, it's in the script. (and I do quote)

Mal: Do you ever, um, wash your client's feet?
Inara: (no) It's my specialty.

That's what Joss intended her answer to mean; however, Morena's delivery may have convinced you otherwise, and the fact that Joss chose that particular take may also have significance.

Joss is good at taking cliches and turning them on their ear. So of course there's a preacher and a whore in his space western, but the characters have twists to them and quite a lot of depth. I wasn't sure how much I *liked* Inara's being a Companion when I first watched the show, but as a writer of fanfic, the fact that she is one is an incredibly rich vein to mine. That she hides her true self behind layers of masks, and that she has a fundamental conflict with Mal--wouldn't want to give up these rich (and useful) sources of conflict and story development.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:28 PM

TRAVELER


Matt was shoot so many times in the shoulders and the arms they would have been ground beef.
I only saw Kitty kiss Matt once on the cheek. Quit a change from the sex scenes they show today.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:06 PM

RIONAEIRE

Beir bua agus beannacht


I always perceived Inara's answer to the question of whether she washes feet to be sarcasm, but that didn't mean that she hasn't washed feet before. If a client wants it then I don't see why she wouldn't give it a go.

"A completely coherant River means writers don't deliver" KatTaya

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:02 AM

WISHIMAY

There will be fire and brimstone and Earth will be destroyed!... in several billion years!----------------------------------------- "Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry


Quote:

Originally posted by ebfiddler:

... and the fact that Joss chose that particular take may also have significance.




That's what I'm going with. I think at the last second he thought there are people even today who fill those kinds of specialties. Cutting that service aspect off would basically make her a sex-bot. I see her more as a sexual therapist.
I'm sure people either see her as one or the other...

Damn Fox...

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:48 AM

EBFIDDLER


I believe Inara when she says Companioning is not just about sex. (Although I agree that she insists upon this point a little too strenuously. Particularly when Mal is around.) What she offers is companionship (in the lower-case sense of the word), caring, and human comfort. We know from Nandi's talk in HoG that Companions are trained in music, and that they are skilled at reading people and social situations. It's also implied that the Companion Guild has some political power that's independent of both local governments and the Alliance central government. I can imagine Inara being hired by a client to facilitate social/business interactions. (In one of my fanfics, a client hires Inara to "work the room" for him at a business social gathering.) I can also imagine that Companions (or perhaps retired Companions) might run political salons, where they act as political hostesses or hosts (I do think there are male Companions as well) and help broker deals. I imagine that the sex fantasy that they are able to provide is just one of their tools.

And getting back to an earlier question in this thread--what I found more uncomfortable than Companions and their trade, was Reavers. (This is personal discomfort--I'm not a big fan of horror--but I don't argue with having Reavers or something like them, as a means of propelling the story. Having something scary lurking in the darkness is another incredibly useful device.)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7:25 AM

HKCAVALIER


Man, Chris,

The way you can revere that dang dumbed-down, buffy-fied, paint-by-numbers version of Firefly continues to astound. Are you being prudish? Are you upset that prostitution continues to exist after the Earth is destroyed? Or that in Joss's future, sex work is so respected? How is telling the story of a companion "misogynist?" Are you saying you don't buy that Inara was an empowered person? Sex work is a reality of human civilization. I think I gotta side with Inara on this one. Deal with it, Mal.

HKCavalier

Hey, hey, hey, don't be mean. We don't have to be mean, because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7:57 AM

BYTEMITE


I'm a prude, and yet I'm fine with the idea of companions. I think in a lot of ways that would probably work. Some people are always going to need stuff like that, some people are even going to go so far as to pay for it - whether we're talking sex or even simple human company and conversation, maybe over a cup of tea or other shared interest.

It's the illegality of their prostitution that pushes it into impoverished areas nowadays, and it is poverty that creates most of the dangers of the profession. So if the profession weren't illegal, it's conceivable we'd see a prosperous variation. And if we see that, why WOULDN'T prostitutes reject pimps and unionize if they had the means to do so?

Makes sense to me. That the guild created for itself an interesting spiritual internal culture is also not surprising - All it would require is a few particularly spiritual members bringing their personal spiritualism into their work, and the practice evolving from there into an almost sort of brand identity. There's hints I can see even short as Firefly was that the Guild drew on some heavily new age philosophies.

It's a bit unfortunate how the show chose to show Inara's profession, because I think the strength and independence is a true element of her character, but the show often undermined that by showing her clients mistreating or using her. There were only two positive experiences shown where Inara wasn't hurt: the one with Fess Higgins, but they both kind of used each other; and the one with the lady Councilor, which the episode implies the Councilor mistreated her later and the script really gets into that. Kid in pilot? Mistreats her. Atherton? Mistreats her. Special Ops guy in the comics? Mistreats her.

But, perhaps that's just reality. Some mindsets will be more tolerant and some more judgmental, that will continue to persist as long as humans are both tolerant and judgmental. The judgmental types do make Inara's job difficult, and there seems to be more judgmental types on the less liberally/classically educated rim.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 8:47 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by HKCavalier:
Man, Chris,

The way you can revere that dang dumbed-down, buffy-fied, paint-by-numbers version of Firefly continues to astound.

Some people find me astounding, I'll admit...
Quote:

Are you being prudish? Are you upset that prostitution continues to exist after the Earth is destroyed? Or that in Joss's future, sex work is so respected? How is telling the story of a companion "misogynist?"
I think the post above this one states it better than I can. If it were depicted more respectfully, instead being used as an easy plot device to rile Mal and give him an opportunity to 'save' Inara on occasion, I'd feel differently.
And sorry, Serenity is STILL my favourite movie of all time. Wash's accident notwithstanding.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:04 PM

FLORALBUNNY


WishIMay:
>>I've gotten pretty good at the two line rephrase.

Yeah, can usually do that, but this was more, drew upon geisha tradition/ extensive training vs. prostitution, Heart of Gold "they're whores" and all that blah-de-blah.
Welp, it's been pretty well covered by now, anyway.

bun

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 2:49 PM

CHRISISALL


Good one Bun.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 3:29 PM

FLORALBUNNY


Uhhh, where's the comma go in that?
ROFL1/2MAO


bun

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Saturday, December 24, 2011 7:44 AM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I never did hold with Inara's trade. I was more in line with Mal's 'whoring' take on it
...snip...
No wonder that the movie that dropped that whole (arguably) misogynist, fanciful irrelevancy in favour of the action, character & SF story is more dear to me
I love the series so much, however, the movie skipped this flaw (as I perceive it), and cut to the core of the meaning of what it was trying to epically & ultimately convey. Expertly.

Sling your arrows at will.
But I ain't Will...



Chris, you are usually someone after my own heart, but not this time

"action"? fer sher ... "character"? Simon says they were too much changed ... "SF story" . . .
I, too, love an SF story -- the visuals, & sound (or lack thereof) -- but those are among the things we did not get with the movie. Instead we got swooshes, & silly aerobatic manoeuvres, in space, the non-orbits of the two armadas just off Mr Universe's planet, & the whole concept that the Alliance can't see through clouds that are otherwise transparent to the radio-wavelength signals on which Mr Universe depends. But my biggest gripe is with the promises Joss broke:
He said it was a western in space; there's more western in the opening minutes of Castle's season 3 Hallowe'en ep*
He said the story wasn't about the people who made history; the movie was
He said he could write characters scarier than anything one could put in latex (& in the pilot ep, the Reavers were just that); in the movie, they were actors in latex
When Joss said (as quoted on this website) "I took the road less traveled by, and they CANCELLED MY FRICKIN' SHOW. I TOTALLY should have taken the road that had all those other people on it", I thought he was kidding. the Movie (which eliminated physics, the western element, the frumpy look of the female mechanic, & another thing that I'm saving for last) proved he wasn't

In one of the Firefly commentaries (OiS?), Joss said he wasn't a fan of self-conscious camera shots . . .
Did you notice that the 2 hour movie ended with two climaxes? the First (some might argue) was a Firefly climax, but the second was pure Buffy, right down to that ludicrous posed Frank Frazetta shot @the end of the fight (to be fair, the first US trailer didn't promise Firefly; it said "From the creator of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer")
Did you notice that the 1.5 hour pilot ep ended with three climaxes?
Did you notice that there was a point to the title of the pilot ep? WtF was the point of the title of the movie? Only a Firefly fan would get it

Last, the movie didn't have Greg

"Expertly"? Respectfully, I disagree

Keep the Shiny Side Up,

YT

ps: *although Nathan was wearing his costume from the movie, not the series, and Molly Quinn's "five years ago" was when the movie was shown [but shot six years before], whereas the series would have been eight years previous

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Saturday, December 24, 2011 11:36 AM

FREMDFIRMA



Yanno, I never had an issue with Inaras profession as a whole, as it seemed as much courtesan and counsellor as anything else, and one of my amusements with political and religious types getting rolled by prostitutes they hired is going cheap on it - you don't pay for the sex, you pay for the SILENCE, and Inara keeps their secrets for them, which is part of the deal, thus one reason that lady political felt more comfortable with her was that she didn't have to watch her step verbally or otherwise, she could be whoever she really was and no word of it would ever get round.

The only issue I had with some aspects of it was remarkably similar to Mals, I mean other than the jealousy and oh there was jealousy a-plenty, on BOTH sides of that, Mal in a boneheaded puppylove possessive kinda way (and not a very mature one neither), and Inara jealous of Mals freedom and will to defy the supposed order of things while also feeling guilty for having kind of halfassed her own defiance (she might have moved on, but did not break ties and remained a companion) and still some small part of her sees Mals boneheadedness and wonders if maybe it's more petulance and bitterness than idealism...

As River might say - it's complicated.

By my primary issue with the whole companion thing is the game, the lie of it, people like Atherton who pretend it's something more than it is, while treating it like something less - a lack of respect in both directions which is appalling when you think about it.
Mal had cause to deck him, just not for the reasons he did - not that it really mattered cause Atherton was one of those guys who have it coming for so many things no one really cares.

Me, I'd go for Kaylee - same kinda thing, far more honest about it, and besides, imma gearhead, heh.

-Frem

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Saturday, December 24, 2011 7:24 PM

BYTEMITE


:o Nicely said Frem, in a few sentences what it would have taken me an essay to say. The problem isn't ALL on Inara's side, or all on Mal's side (who is very much a five year old in a sand box pulling pigtails). As they say, it takes two to tango... and in this case, two to tangle things up as much as they have.

Quote:

Mal had cause to deck him, just not for the reasons he did - not that it really mattered cause Atherton was one of those guys who have it coming for so many things no one really cares.


I stand by my assessment of calling Atherton a total sociopath. He only cares about people in so far as they are objects for him to have and use, he uses his social position and stupid societal traditions as an excuse to mutilate people (apparently 11 so far). And the moment he doesn't get what he wants from Inara, the moment he's rejected, his veneer of charm and affection vanishes and he's paranoid, suspicious, irrational, hates her, wants to ruin her life.

Total sociopath. Just one who knows when it's acceptable to be violent and not, but nevertheless knows how to use a situation to manipulate a rival to a bad end and does NOT take defeat well.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011 10:04 PM

FREMDFIRMA



Well yeah, that's prettymuch Atherton in a nutshell, a lot of upperclass folk actually even in places that don't have an official nobility - seein as how mosta the time that's how they got there.

And believe me, I understand Mals clumsy style of affection since it's so close to my own rough-n-ready style, hi-larious the sandbox comment since the first thing I did when I met the ex, the moment that lead to us speaking to/noticing each other was me thinking "Oh hey, she's cute, let's MESS WITH HER!", followed soon thereafter by... *beat pause* ...pulling one of her braids.

Inara being a sophisticate, she's alternately amused and exasperated by the manner in which Mal tries to show affection since it's so crude by her standards, but so real, and she really has no idea how to handle it - can't remember the exact episode, might have been OIS, I think, Mal leans down to see if she's okay (split lip?) and so sincerely her brain just can't process this and she skitters away with this ba-da-wha-huh? look on her face that's just bloody priceless - it's hard to actually completely baffle a companion, too!

At least, outside of "I KNEW you kissed her!", Mal isn't as bad for jamming his foot down his own gullet like Simon always manages to do, I tellya, that's a fella in serious need of a close encounter with a freakin quaalude, seriously.

I think what flummoxes Inara the worst though, is that she seems to have almost no experience whatever in regards to being liked/desired outside of her official persona, being liked as Inara the person instead of Inara the companion leaves her completely out of her depth, confused and a bit guilty, and women above all things hate guilt - this one of the triggers that make her so angry at Mal when she could normally keep her cool, cause he can make her feel guilty - and if anyone cares to dispute how fast guilt can turn to anger, tell your girl "I told you so."... better duck quick though.

I think outside of Inaras professional companion training, not neither one of them has any experience with the emotional aspect of relationships, Mal never had much of a chance to develop it, and Inaras opportunities were superceded by her profession, so in regards to Mal the person liking Inara the person, they *ARE* emotionally/maturity stunted to the point of squabbling grade schoolers on the playground.
Which is what makes to so damn funny.
Tell me you can't just see em going at it with paper wads and rubber bands, ehe ?

That's one dynamic I understand far more completely than anyone'd think.

-Frem

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Sunday, December 25, 2011 6:29 AM

BYTEMITE


ALSO nicely said.

And I think it's not unreasonable to say that Inara actually probably gets a little where Mal's coming from in regards to to her profession (which prompts the guilt). Why ELSE would she have left behind the Guild House and all the high society stuff and the politics? Sure, she has some kinda secret, but that secret alone doesn't explain it.

She admitted in Shindig she really doesn't feel like she fits in there, which is a much more likely reason. Basically she's having some kind of existential crisis, not unlike Mal, really.

So any time she launches into why being a companion is so great, seeming to recite from a book or from her training, it comes off as really defensive, like she's trying to convince herself too.

Quote:

At least, outside of "I KNEW you kissed her!", Mal isn't as bad for jamming his foot down his own gullet


Well, to be fair, that was less social slip and putting foot down mouth (which requires some level of awareness of screwing up) than it was a combination of wishful thinking and being completely oblivious to the opportunity he had. He's so sure she doesn't like him that it really exacerbates the pigtail pulling reaction. And wreck of an emotional life and lost hopes and dreams aside, he is an ENORMOUS tease and a bit of a joker, and not even the war could obliterate that.

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