Alert Nerd: Our Scott and Jeans

Alert Nerd: Our Scott and Jeans

Mar 30

And now…the Alert Nerdians reveal their geek sacred cows, their “Scott and Jeans.”

scottandjean

Sarah: Diehard Niner

Scott and Jean are my original Scott and Jean. I’ve written about them before. I’ve also Tweeted about them incessantly and irrationally, gotten into fights about them in ways both constructive and not (okay, usually not), and inserted a mouth-foamy conversation about them (that is in fact based on an actual conversation I had with my husband) into a work of fiction.

So today, I’m going to talk about something else.

One thing about the actual Scott and Jean: there’s a lot of support for them out there. But sometimes, you have a symbolic Scott and Jean that runs in opposition to the established and accepted geek opinion. Then things get a little lonelier. There’s no guarantee that a chorus of nerdly-nasal voices will rise up with you, all “right on” or “peldor joi” or whatever.

So here’s my less popular Scott and Jean: the first two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I love these seasons the most. I will defend these seasons to the death. I will declare episodes within them to be the best things Star Trek has ever done. So emotionally connected am I to this pair of seasons, I can’t discuss them with most people, because most people will tell me I’m wrong and the show didn’t really get good until they got Worf and an actual ship, man.

Bullshit.

ds9

The moment Benjamin Sisko takes command of Terok Nor, the show is already diving headfirst into deep, dark issues of religion, politics, bigotry, revenge, and love. The characters resonate as soon as they arrive onscreen — Kira, the seething force of nature; Odo, the grouchy lost soul; Dax, the empathetic wise woman. Over the course of the first season, the show takes them places — we don’t re-set as soon as an episode ends. It grows the initially militant Kira in such a way that once the first-rate bottle show “Duet” rolls around, she’s seeing shades of gray that didn’t exist for her before.

Season two builds on this, opening up with a jaw-droppingly ambitious Bajoran-heavy trilogy that remains one of my favorite things Trek has ever done. It has twisty political intrigue, unabashedly swoony romance, and a truly legendary scene wherein two kick-ass ladies (Kira and Dax) fly into battle together. It also has a top-notch bit of comedy, courtesy of the very funny sequence that has Kira preparing to leave the station. Said scene involves quite a few of our regulars, and it snaps and crackles because we know these people, fully.

The Bajoran arc continues throughout season two, culminating in the big “who will be Kai, OMG?!” episode “The Collaborator.” The key thing that I think makes this arc — and this ep, in particular — such awesome storytelling is this: it takes a hefty, big-canvas storyline and makes it personal. We experience everything with Kira, and it makes the outcome all the more wrenching.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy the show’s entire run very much, particularly the gigantic, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink arc that closes out the series. And I don’t object to the additions of Worf and the Defiant — I just don’t find either particularly necessary.

It’s just…I remember moments and lines and looks from those first two seasons like they’ve been tattooed onto my brain. Like the climactic moment in season one’s “Dax,” wherein Enina Tandro gently touches Jadzia’s face and tells her to live a long, fresh and wonderful life. Or the shattering final shot in season two’s “Necessary Evil,” which leaves us in a grayer, more morally ambiguous place than most Treks have dared to. Or the part where Sisko punches Q.

It’s all there in these first two years, the greatness of this show. And when someone tries to tell me otherwise or dismisses DS9‘s early seasons as mere build-up or starts up with the ranty “blah blah I <3 Worf blah blah," I shut off and shut down. I don't deal because I can't. It's my (other) Scott and Jean. --Sarah Kuhn

Jeff: Wolverenix 4-Ever

There’s a (small-“r”) romantic buried in me somewhere, one that responds to really tragic, really passionate, really melodramatic love. I’m also, and this is probably owing to that same love of melodrama, a lifelong X-Men fan. At the intersection of these two facts lies my Scott and Jean…

Jean and Logan.

I’m more up front about my love of Wolverine than most erudite comic geeks, but it’s not the grim, murderous Wolverine with all his hardass, quippy dialogue and the claws and the snikting that I love. My Wolverine — the character at his best — is an incredibly flawed man who is inexplicably, undisputedly in love with Jean Grey.

Not, mind you, that they should ever be together. He simultaneously wants to be better for her and knows that he can never be good enough, knows it so well that when Jean goes to Logan and does her best to seduce him, all he can do is send her back to Scott.

And there’s the rub. I love the romance between the two, but they can never be together. They don’t even have a will they/won’t they vibe to their relationship. They are doomed to not work out, but that doesn’t stop Jean from selflessly saving his life when he has his skeleton torn out of his body by Magneto. That doesn’t stop her from going to Logan first when she is resurrected by the Shi’ar in Phoenix: Endsong. That doesn’t stop them both from doing this when they meet during Inferno after literally years, what with Logan thinking Jean had died:

loganjean

That’s why I can’t stand any of the new/old love interests that writers and editors blithely toss into Wolverine’s path: to me, it just dilutes his relationship with Jean. Especially if they’re a redhead. Heather Hudson, I’ll give you. That two-dimensional Rose chick from Origin, fine. But there’s an endless parade of random redheads and supervillains who Wolvy’s either marrying or hooking up with or falling in love with. Mind you, I don’t insist that these plot threads “nevar happened,” but they do annoy the hell out of me.

Jeff Stolarcyk

Matt: Nothing Sacred

One of my good friends — let’s call him “Schmave” — thinks I have absolutely shitty taste in everything.

He may be right; I do know all the words to most songs on the Chess concept album, after all. (I used to even know the variant lyrics and songs from the US Broadway cast recording, but time has killed those brain cells. They’re not missed, surprisingly.)

It’s not so much his opinion of my opinions as how he reacts that always gets my blood boiling. I’ll confess that I enjoyed something or other on some message board thread at one of our shared online haunts, and he’s up in my virtual grill within seconds.

“What the fuck is your problem?” he writes. “You actually LIKE that festering pile of shit? You are a fucking moron, you scumsucking pig!”

aw_jeez_not_this_shit_again21

In response to moments like these, I tend to shut down, or tread carefully away, else I’m sucked into a near-endless cycle of snark, vitriol, and being heavily moderated by board overlords.

It’s not so much Schmave’s specific response that makes me so angry; it’s the IDEA behind Schmave’s response, that there’s an opinion so disgusting to him (or to anyone) that the mere mention of it sends one into fits of rage.

That’s why my “Scott and Jean” is having no “Scott and Jean.”

I say that with great love and affection for my fellow geek bloggers, all of whom I know I will enjoy reading as they dissect their own personal sacred nerd cows. But to me, the only sacred nerd cow is that there is no unslaughterable bovine in the geekverse. Nothing is off the table; everything’s always up for grabs, and that’s good…as long as it’s good.

In other words, I can’t imagine any storytelling decision or filmmaking choice or characterization that I unequivocably hate, because if that decision/choice/characterization was handled well, then I’m on board. Break the pieces, pull de strings, shit in the toybox — I honestly do not care. If it’s good (or maybe, more precisely, if I like it) then there’s nothing so sacred to me that I won’t sacrifice it.

Maybe it’s cause my therapist says I’m a pleaser, and I want to make everyone happy by letting them have their Scott and Jeans while I quietly claim none. Or maybe it’s cause I’ve been in too many stupid internet scrapes to ever react as virulently as Schmave does (although the great thing about having a friend who overreacts all the time is that it’s impossible to take him seriously).

Whatever it is, I stand firm. You ask for my Scott and Jean; I say I have none. Scott and Jean themselves could be transformed into flesh-eating zombie trolls trapped in L. Frank Baum’s Oz and speaking only in rhyming couplets; if it’s entertaining, I’m there, history and characterization be damned.

Just don’t ask Schmave what he thinks. You seriously don’t want to know.

Matt Springer

Chris: Busting. ALL OF IT! Makes me feel good.

ghost_art

I loved Extreme Ghostbusters.

Don’t get me wrong, adding “extreme” to the title was such a throwaway idea on the part of Sony marketing –- yes, by adding “extreme” you didn’t have to call it “the real,” but it still smacked of one, last gasp at pandering to the dying 90s. They might as well have called it Cyber Ghostbusters –- it would have tasted just as stupid.

But beyond that, I did and still do revel in it. And I was in my mid to late 20s when it came out. Every morning it would be on YTV (kind of Canada’s poor cousin to Nickelodeon) at 6AM, because YTV didn’t split its broadcast for East and West, and Toronto got first dibs on scheduling. So, while kids in Ontario got to watch it at 9AM, I’d stumble out to the living room with the sun barely coming up, hit record, and go back to bed. I loved it, but I love sleep more than anything. That’s what VHS was invented for. DUH!

Imagine my surprise then to find that a lot of Ghostbuster fans would outright hate the show. They hated the new equipment (even though the new traps did make a lot of sense, design-wise), they hated a young team (even though university students wasn’t exactly a stupid idea), they hated the diversification of the team (even though they were unable to explain why adding a guy in a wheelchair, a girl, and a Hispanic was a legitimate complaint and not, say, discriminatory hate), and they hated that the original team was mostly gone.

I have some perspective on this though, and I’ve found a simple, cascading rule regarding Ghostbusters fandom:

If you saw the original in theaters, you hated the sequel. If you were introduced to the franchise via the sequel or the first cartoon series, you hated Extreme Ghostbusters. And I’m sure if and when they make the third (2010? Who knows?) or when the “hardcores” play the video game, they’ll hate that too.

Well, let me tell you something about Extreme Ghostbusters –- clocking in at a few dozen episodes, each one was more like the darker episodes of the original cartoon. Let’s face it, the original cartoon had some amazing shit in it, like Cthulhu, vampires, werewolves, dragons, you name it. It also had some amazingly slapstick episodes too, where the ghosts are less creature and more individual.

Every episode of Extreme Ghostbusters had them dealing with monsters –- outright, alien, monsters. They fought a golem, actually formed by a frustrated rabbinical student! WHEN ARE YOU EVER GOING TO SEE THAT?

Here’s the deal –- you can’t be hardcore if you’re not going to embrace it all. You don’t have to like it, but hating it is a slap at something you supposedly love. Somewhere out there is a fan that likes the same stuff as you AND they love a few things you don’t. And you love stuff they don’t. So, what, it’s time to fight? How is that a) ever going to be resolved and b) how is that fun? It’s supposed to be fun. If it’s fun to tear something apart, even only some of it, then you’re not here for the same reason as I am.

You don’t have to tell me that Ghostbusters 2 is a plot carbon copy of the first movie –- I know that. Adding Slimer is pandering to the kids, Janine macking on Louis is meant to be non-threatening to the main Peter/Dana reconciliation, and the painting at the end is goofy. But c’mon! Ghost train! Slime! Spirit photography!

Someone once asked me, what if the new Ghostbusters video game sucks? I said as long as I get to pick up a proton pack and fire it, they can have my $60. I don’t need a story. I might not even need to see a ghost. Just let me fire a proton pack at a wall and I’m happy.

I look at it like this –- your fandom, your true fandom, is like your family. You might not like parts of it. You may even hate parts of it. But if someone else starts to talk shit, even about the stuff you don’t personally like, you’ll fight for it. I’ll fight for Egon’s ponytail. Because Ghostbusters –- all of it –- is my Scott and Jean.

Chris Stewart

18 comments

  1. Nice ones! And I’m totally with Jeff on “stop throwing random redheads and/or true loves at Wolverine! Jean is Jean!”

  2. I only caught a couple episodes of Extreme Ghostbusters and I really didn’t care much for it. The reason why I didn’t care for it is because it seemed too marketed and pandering; however, if it’s a lot more like how TRGB started out and less like Slimer! and TRGB, I’d be willing to give it a try.

    I have to say though, 100% in agreement with you about the game, $60 bucks to wrangle some ghosts is a steal! Plus you can’t go wrong with the original cast doing the voice work.

  3. Sarah: Oooh, you know, I’d actually forgotten about those first two years of Deep Space Nine and how simply great they were. I need to watch them again, thanks to you.

    Jeff: Your Scott and Jean makes me happy. I agree, I love the futility of the way he loves her and that he doesn’t tend to delude himself about it. It’s tragic and driving and really fascinating to find in a guy like Wolverine. And oh, the way he thinks about her . . . <3. Utter love. Well done.

    Matt: You’re unholy. 😉 Nothing? Seriously?

    “Scott and Jean themselves could be transformed into flesh-eating zombie trolls trapped in L. Frank Baum’s Oz and speaking only in rhyming couplets; if it’s entertaining, I’m there, history and characterization be damned.”

    Hahahahaha. You’re a dangerous man, Matt.

    Chris: I love that the Scott and Jeans are making me think of awesome things I haven’t for a while now–I need to sit the kids down with Ghostbusters. I also want to make you an ‘I’ll fight for Egon’s ponytail’ t-shirt now. If I ever actually get the machine for it, expect one.

    And thanks again you guys for hosting this mega-blog awesomeness. It was lots of fun!

  4. Dan

    @Sarah DS9 is my favorite of the TREK series. TNG is the one that introduced me to the idea of STAR TREK (and I still love me some Data), but DS9 was just so much better. I loved all the characters. I loved that shit sometimes just wouldn’t work. Personally, I prefer the seasons with the Dominion War, not because of Worf or anything like that, but just because we got to see a little more of Avery Brooks’ bad-ass Hawk persona. When Dukat walks into Sisko’s office and sees the baseball on the desk and says “It’s a message. He’s saying he’ll be back”? Chills!

    @Jeff I’m more of a big “R”. I don’t want tragic love. I want happy love with puppies and kittens and…and…scones. I see where you’re coming from, though. Happy can be boring…so, call me boring.

    @Matt I am, about 99% “Scott & Jean”-free. I can divorce myself from almost anything long enough to enjoy a different take on something–good god, I even loved Bay’s TRANSFORMERS. It’s really the only way to keep from getting too stabby about certain things.

    @Chris I never really got behind EGB. Part of it was probably the over-saturation of the word “Extreme” in the late-90s. But, it was mostly, like you said, the noticeable lack of Venkman.

  5. Jeff

    @Dan, Big-R Romantic is living deliberately and being self-reliant.

    @Kristina and @Caroline Thank you both. I was waiting to get piled on.

    @Matt I think that, as a Star Wars fan, you learn hard lessons about nothing being sacred very quickly. I’m with you most of the time, but there are a few things I’m still adamant on.

  6. Matt

    First I want to say that every “Scott and Jean” I’ve read has been fantastic, and so thanks for sharing all the great writing–work is kicking my ass otherwise I’d be out there commenting all over the place (I still may, if I get bored/fed up this afternoon).

    Jeff, these are sage words: “I think that, as a Star Wars fan, you learn hard lessons about nothing being sacred very quickly.” Tombstone-worthy.

    And while I loved all of the SnJs, I encourage every Lost fan who hasn’t yet to check out the piece by the Book Smugglers which has some VERY hilarious and spot-on illustrations. Jacksus lives!

  7. Sarah

    Whew! I finally finished reading everyone’s Scott and Jeans. Awesome work…just awesome.

    Chris: I love that you love Extreme Ghostbusters and that you are willing to fight for ALL Ghostbusters. I think we’ve discussed this before, but I also totally dig Ghostbusters II. It’s got funny Peter/Dana stuff! And Egon sort of admitting he did naughty stuff with the slime!

    Jeff: Even I can admit there is something beautiful about Jean and Logan.

    Matt: Doesn’t everyone have a Schmave-like friend? Truly, it makes you never want to express an opinion about *anything.*

    Kristina: Whoo! 😉

    Dan: That is a GREAT moment, with the baseball. I enjoy the Dominion War stuff, but part of it also is that Kira is my favorite and she was so, so prominent those first two years. Feel like she got pushed to the side a bit in the later seasons.

  8. Great answers, all!

    Sarah — I’ve only seen two episodes of DS9, but my favorite professor in college was obsessed with it. I’ve always meant to check out more — the only Trek I know well is Voyager.

    Jeff — My opinions on Logan and Jean are almost a Scott and Jean in themselves, but you make really good points. Their dynamic is always, always interesting, even if I really don’t want them together.

    Matt — I would read that “zombie Scott and Jean in Oz story.”

    Chris — Maybe I need to give Extreme Ghostbusters a chance. Is that Egon in the picture? Was he still there? Because that might be enough for me.

  9. Jeff, great post. I’ve got to admit, I’m torn about wanting Logan and Jean together. On one hand, those kind of relationships do work well when they’re unrequited. There’s something deliciously painful about knowing that two people who would be great together can never actually be together.

    On the other hand, there’s a Romantic (yes, big R) inside of me who would give her eyeteeth to read a well-written Logan/Jean relationship in canon, to hold that comic book in my hands and dance with glee, heh.

  10. Chris

    Jennifer – that is Egon, on the Left. And in a later two-parter, the other three OGBs come back as well. It got a lot of shit and turned a lot of people off because of the name, but the episodes were pretty sweet.

  11. Thrillho

    I will happily watch any and every part of the DS9 series, with the exception of a few episodes right around the time Odo lost his powers and the writers had no idea what they were doing. Um, anyway. If people don’t enjoy the first two seasons of DS9 enough, it’s because they are so damn painful, mission-wise: in so many episodes, the people of Bajor seem to be so irreparably damaged, one sits there and says “Jesus, why does the Federation even bother with these idiots?” Of course there’s a point to all of it, but episode after episode of it can bring a person down.

    Season 4 was the best overall. Episodes with General Martok are reliably good, there’s no getting around it. Martok is the Al Bundy of Klingons; just watch the episodes where he’s bellyaching about bureaucracy or some other new indignity, and imagine him sitting on the couch with his hand down his pants.

    And of course, the Defiant is the finest ship yet seen in any series, with the possible exception of those beautiful Bajoran sailboats.

  12. Ana

    I loved this event and finding about new blogs I did not know!
    Great idea – we should do more! ; )

  13. Matt

    Sarah: I’m like Jennifer, in that my DS9 awareness is SO woefully behind. I borrowed VHS tapes (!!!) from a friend like seven years ago when I lived in Chicago and watched like part of season one…isn’t that “Duet” episode in season one? How can anyone think a season with that amazing hour of television is bad?

    (that’s the one where Kira interrogates the prisoner, right?)

  14. Anika

    Sarah: Haha, you sound like me and Voyager. But as I actually think I have seen more of the first seasons of DS9 than the later ‘critically acclaimed’ ones I think I agree with you.

    And Jeff: YES. Yes one hundred times. Thank you.

  15. Sarah

    Anika and Jennifer: You know, Voy gets so much shit, but I still maintain it had probably the best pilot ep Trek has ever done. From a personal standpoint, I prefer the DS9 premiere, but speaking objectively, the Voy one is really, really well done. Also love Kate Mulgrew — she’s the best convention guest this side of Shatner.

    Matt: Yeah, “Duet.” Amazing episode. And one of those “bottle shows” they did because they were low on budget that week (I think).

    Ana: So happy to have found your blog!

  16. Jeff

    I’m gratified to see all the Wolverinex love in these comments.

    And it’s been awesome to find a bunch of new blogs to add to the feed reader.

  17. Steve

    I liked DS9 more than the other Trek series… it had continuity to it. One episode led to the next… kept me wanting to come back for more. The other Treks… each episode (two parter) was not really related to the previous.

    Also, Dukat made a great villian, one who at times you might find yourself rooting for… and Jadzia… just HOT!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Scott and Jean: The Master List | alert nerd. - [...] Alert Nerd: Our Scott and Jeans Phoning It In: “Trust Me!” [...]
  2. Alert Nerd: Our Scott and Jeans | Interesting Facts for Kids | Facts: Interesting - [...] Read the original post [...]
  3. My Scott, Your Jean: Jeff Takes A Quick Look at His Sacred Cows. | Savage Critics - [...] I follow several of the Alert Nerd people on Twitter, I had the head’s up about their “what’s your…

Leave a Reply