ext_21:   (Thoughtful)
[identity profile] zvi-likes-tv.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] the_comfy_chair
Chasing Sheppard by [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy
Teamwork by [livejournal.com profile] methaya and [livejournal.com profile] magus_minor

I have a really long fic to read list. I put things that have an interesting [livejournal.com profile] sga_noticeboard write up or get recommended by someone I know on it, either c&p the write-up/rec or summarize what I think is potentially interesting, and stick it on the list.

Which is the long way round of saying I just read these stories today, instead of in November and October, when they were each posted.

They are both AUs, in very different ways, and I think Sheppard is largely unsuccessful (as SGA fanfiction, not as writing), but Teamwork is a darn fine piece of work as fanfiction, and I'd like to, you know, talk about that a bit.

So, Chasing Sheppard is a rewrite of Chasing Amy, where Carson (straight) & Rodney (gay) write a superpopular comic book, Liz is their token dyke friend, and John is this cute straight guy who tends bar at a gay club that Liz introduces Carson and Rodney to. Rodney and John get along really great, even though people tell Rodney that John has a gigantic dick and was a giant slut in highschool (and, yeah, so much sex in so many strange combinations that he crosses the line from stud to slut, even though he's a guy.) And, you know, I'm reading this story, cruising along fine, Carson is kind of a whiner (check), Rodney's a bit obnoxious (check), John's devil may care (check), but there's no moments where I'm seeing how the characterization on the show is crystallized and refined into this very different context. And the speech about the $100 and the crossroads and the Easter Bunny doesn't really work coming from Beckett. But I don't care, because, dude, I dig Chasing Amy. A. Lot. And Rodney tells John he's in love, and John's like, "OMGWTFBBQ," stalks off in the rain, then stalks back and says, "OK, yeah, I love you too, I was just freaked for a second."

Which, totally like the movie, I'm good with this, enjoying their happy funness of young straight/homo love, when Liz calls and it casually comes up that, weeks, maybe even months before John Sheppard had any idea Rodney McKay had ever been born, he slept with Liz that one time cause they were drunk and it seemed like fun, which, totally, it was, but Liz is like really gay a lot {and this is the point at which I realize Liz is Elizabeth Weir and hit myself up the head for being a doofus} and Rodney freaks out and I say, "OMG, that's completely retarded, why would he care?" Because, in the movie Chasing Amy, I can buy that Ben Affleck is the sort of SNAG who has passive-aggressive ownership issues and would totally get tripped up on the double-banging of his lesbian girlfriend. But Rodney McKay isn't really that guy in canon, and this AU hasn't really explained to me what about ChasingSheppard!McKay would turn him into a crazy dickhead, especially since he's, you know, gay, and I sort of expect gay men to understand why someone would enjoy slutting it up, even if they themselves don't enjoy that sort of thing. Unless they're the sort of gay men who are Log Cabin Republicans, which, well, this Rodney hasn't been explicitly made out to be. But I mutter, "Chasing Amy. It's the plot of Chasing Amy," and move on.

And I run smackdab into Teyla and Ronon in that fucking diner. Now, Ronon Dex as Silent Bob can kinda work for me. He's a man who doesn't have anything to say until he's got something to say, right? Right. Teyla Emmagen as 'Tey', the stoner who talks like a refugee from an Offspring video, doesn't work for me. Teyla's not a hood rat (i.e. an ignorant person from the poverty stricken, abandoned commercial centers of her planet); she doesn't use a lot of jargon; she doesn't use drugs recreationally or sell them for same; she's the leader of her people, not the dregs of her society; she's just not Jay of Jay and Silent Bob, by a long shot, and trying to force his template on her character doesn't work. Also, frankly, I'm a bit offended, because Jay and Silent Bob aren't from the hood, so trying to write off Tey and Silent Dex as being from the hood doesn't work in the context of Chasing Sheppard or Chasing Amy. And I'm thinking, wow, this is totally because Rachel Luttrell is black and it's dumb. A lot.

But I'm going to let it go when I realize that the whole story is like that. It's a decent rewrite of Chasing Amy, but it's actually pretty bad SGA fanfiction. Because where is the Stargate Atlantis-ness of it? And I don't just mean the absence of spacevampires (there actually are space vampires…in the comic), but where's the characterization? I'm happy with a wide range of characterizations for SGA characters. Carson the evil mad scientist or Carson the worry wart or Carson the nurse maid; Rodney the megalomaniac or Rodney misunderstood genius or Rodney misunderstood woobie or Rodney perfectly understood asshole. I'm game for Liz the kickass diplomat or Liz apparently raised by wolves and unable to communicate, facilitate, or administer to save her life or the lives of those responsible for her. John Sheppard, flyboy, secret math genius, abused/neglected by parents, can't take orders, has learned to take orders with a bit of snark, emotionally distant because he's deep like a teaspoon, emotionally distant because he cares too much. Really, I'm game for lots and lots of different versions of the people I see on SGA, but I feel like the bits of character work most consistent with the show are: Carson has a Scottish accent and Rodney is Canadian.

So then I read Teamwork, and, dude. Dude. It's Texas, it's like a whole other country. It's an Alternate Reality, where Rodney ends up a Mountie and John ends up a mathematician and Carson is not the CMO on Atlantis. And it's so good. John has obedience issues which I can see from the character on the show, and where, if he hadn't had to go through the enforced obedience of the air force, he could end up crazy like he is in this story. And Rodney, Rodney's nice and he's good with people, but he learned that, he studied people as hard as he could for a really long time trying to find out how people should be. And if Rodney McKay, genius, put his studying into people instead of physics, yeah, man, he would totally be excellent with people and dedicated to what was right and just. And Beckett is just a lot like he is on the show, and so is Cadman (smart, a little pushy, flirty, hot), and there's a really nice integration of canon events with this story, it's beautiful and I love it and I want to have its little babies.

So, I don't have any big overreaching conclusion, I'm just sort of wondering if other people see the same difference I see, where one story is a pretty good story, but just doesn't cut it at as good SGA fanfiction (pretty good Chasing Amy fanfiction, if you wanted to write, "So what if Alyssa were a guy?"), and the other as, well, as Alternate Reality Done Right.
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