The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic


When I tell people I have never seen a full episode of Firefly, many of them look at me as if I have just said that I like to kick puppies for fun. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in it. I just had not gotten around to watching it yet. I’ve only been even vaguely interested in anything related to sci-fi since I started college (I thank Fringe for helping me cross over into the genre). Firefly premiered in 2002, so I was in 7th grade at the time. At the time, unless it was on The WB or was CSI, I probably did not watch it. While I have always enjoyed television, I did not really begin to view myself as a connoisseur of it until high school. Although I heard of Firefly much earlier than now, it stayed on my “couldn’t be less interested” list through most of high school, in favor of shows like Gilmore Girls and The OC. By the time I decided I wanted to actually sit down and watch it, I was in college and bogged down with lots of other things. I decided that it was more important to me to catch up on currently-airing shows, so that I would be able to participate in conversations about it.

Obviously, this has been unacceptable to many people around me (*coughmyfianceecough*). As an Arby’s drive-through worker told John today, we obviously can’t get married until I a) watch all of Firefly and b) enjoy it. So, after a slow start to our marathon this morning, we are up to episode 5 of 14. I’m still getting characters straight (even though I pretty much knew every actor that is on it) and trying to figure out exactly what I think of it. Rest assured, friends and Whedon fanatics, I do like it and understand why people are such devoted fans. I just do not yet know if I will end up as one of those devoted fans.

I know how hard it is to hear that someone is just a casual fan of or does not like something that you hold dear. It is exactly how I feel when someone tries to tell me that they like Harry Potter, but could take it or leave it. When someone crosses the line from fan to fanatic, it becomes hard to hear that someone else does not consider it the way of life that you do. There are some things, most particularly Harry Potter, that are the closest I have to a true religion. Whenever I say that, many people call that blasphemous or sacrilegious. However, Harry Potter is what I look to when things are tough and has been there for me through many dark times. I am not a person that seeks solace in traditional religion. Instead, I look to various forms of entertainment, particularly rereading Harry Potter.

So, I know what it is like to be such a devoted fan of something that you cannot possibly understand how anyone could feel differently about it. So far, I definitely am enjoying the show. It has the standard Whedon witty repartee. The characters are intriguing. There are some strong female characters. At this point, I think my favorite character is Kaylee. I love that she comes across as a flighty girly-girl who gushes over pretty dresses, but then turns around and fixes anything that is wrong with the ship and gives older men advice on what different models of ship to buy.

I like Inara’s character, but do get irritated by a lot of the slut-shaming that comes from others, especially Mal. Although she is a strong, independent businesswoman, I would like to think that 500 years from now, no one will care what a woman does with her vagina. I like Zoe and her marriage with Wash. They seem to have a very egalitarian relationship and have fantastic chemistry. Shepherd is also interesting, but I don’t yet feel one way or the other about him.

I enjoy Mal, mainly because Nathan Fillion is awesome. He still has certain characteristics that annoy me, though. He is extremely judgmental and comes across as chauvinistic in some ways.

I love Jayne, though after watching “Chuck,” Adam Baldwin feels like a very one-dimensional actor. Summer Glau and the River Tam storyline very much intrigues me. I normally hate seeing women portrayed as insane or weak and helpless, but I just feel like there has been significant trauma in her life and she is actually exceptionally strong. I like River’s relationship with Simon and think it is always interesting to see a male character in a caretaker role.

After five episodes, I like it, but don’t yet love it. I am remaining open to the possibility of loving it, but also accept that I might not think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I just hope the hordes of angry Firefly fanatics will let me live if I don’t join them in their enthusiasm.

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