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100 TV Shows-#35-White Collar

White Collar

All my White Collar Fic.

I will also re-visit some points I've previous expressed in this journey through my television past, including my preference for gay themes as subtext with a dirty, underground vibe, rather than spoon-fed slash and fanservice.

If I had to pick a single moment when the House MD Fandom became a bad thing for House MD the show, it would be that absolutely excruciating incident when the question was asked of Hugh Laurie on Inside The Actor's Studio by a nearly perfectly stereotypical slash fangirl that raised the issue of canon H/W along with H/Cameron and H/Cuddy. All I could think was STFU, YOU STUPID TWAT! Hugh was clearly embarrassed by the question, although he handled it as well and charmingly as he could. This was around the same time that it started getting leaked that certain writers on the House MD staff were "H/W shippers" who actively supported H/W and were somehow slipping the subtext into the scripts, apparently not truly understanding what subtext actually is.

Again, all I wanted to say to these morons was STFU. (Especially since House was a classic example where all the ship-teasing, fanservice and planted subtext was never going to amount to anything in the end but NO HOMO!)

Which brings us to White Collar...

I came to this show "pre-slashed" as it were. I'd seen the USA promos and heard the premise and my basic reaction was "Meh!" because it sounded like a rehash of It Takes A Thief, and who the hell could be cooler in that dynamic than Robert Wagner and Malachi Throne, so why bother?

Then of course there was the fandom SQUEEEEEEEE explosion and everyone being all OMG, YOU'VE GOT TO SEE THIS THING, IT'S SOOOOOOOO SLASHY. Not so good, mind you. Eventually, I was told it was witty, well-written and the acting was good, but in the initial flurry, no one really cared about any of that, did they? It was all white-cock (although I only picked up that SJW-ish phrase later on) and fanservicey, planted subtext.

Since House was already in its 6th and 7th seasons with their miserably vomitous death throes, the lovely hllangel, once again served as my enabler and provided the discs.

It was totally a rip off It Takes a Thief, but slick and well done. The boys were pretty. The acting was serviceable. It took me awhile to even realize that Tim DeKay had been on Carnivale, because he did a great job of being SUCH a different character. Yay for giving Diahann Carroll a good role. Yay for a strong female lead and a cute dog. Yay for the "We're the FBI, we don't ask, we don't care." line.

I just can't help thinking I would have like the show so much more if I'd come to it on my own, or at least less "OMG, THE SLASH!!!!!!" Because yeah, obviously it was kind of there....but it was also obviously too much there and too deliberately there and still never going to REALLY be there and this time around it wasn't just some fan-thing and a few leaks from the writing staff.

It was TPTB tweeting fan-service. It was the actors clearly being far too knowing in their interviews. It was the writing going places that were one step over what felt in character AND YET of course it's all just ship teasing. Cause you know what tin-hats? It ain't gonna happen.

I reallyreally hate being told what to ship BY THE FUCKING PRODUCERS, who KNOW they're playing the fandom. The longer this has gone on the sicker it's made me to the point that even while they were doing really good episodes with great stars like John Laroquette, I've been feeling more and more revolted by the whole phenomena. Hence I ship Neal/Mozzie (preferably with marginally non-con Fagin-esque back-story). Neal/Keller. Neal/Adler. Neal/Alex. Neal/Kate. Peter/Kate in that one LOOK when they were teasing us that Peter MIGHT be a baddie was the hottest thing ever. Peter/Kramer back-story to explain why Kramer is acting like a jealous bunny-boiler. Hell at this point, I'm tempted to write fic where Diana and Neal actually did have to do it to fake out the bad guys at the whore house. (If this has been written, point me there.)

Obviously I SEE the Peter/Neal, but I would have been so much happier if I'd been able to find it on my own. EVEN with the fannish squeeeee, there could have been some coyness on Jeff Eastin's part.

I genuinely blame Eastin and his minions for this, and obviously I'm conflicted. I like the show, at least when it's doing what it does best, rather than creating bogus conflict, and OH GOD if they really are going ahead with their woobiefication plans for poor, wittle, abused Neal then we have absolutely nothing to say to each other.

I just really hated the way the last few episodes played out...because by the time Peter is sending psychic messages to his boy-toy to keep him away from the old queen so that he can have him for himself and the boy-toy has to give in to his old queen to escape and the music is telling me it's the worst tragedy since the end of Wuthering Heights, we're no longer have a fun procedural with "characters welcome" and a smidge of sub-text.

Yes, I'm being crude and vulgar, but that's exactly how the last episode felt coded to me...even though it's still all a tease.

The one dynamic I do think they've subtexted the RIGHT way is NOT so much Neal/Peter but Neal's complete outsiderness in the Peter/El marriage. (And the Mozzie jealousy. That works as a purely angsty slash theme...naturally though that's NOT the one they're selling the fangirls, is it? Hmmmm, I wonder why not.)

Yes, I'm full of feelings and some of them are really ugly. Again, I blame Jeff Eastin 100% for this. All he had to do was STFU. Or answer the question the way the Great Bird used to when people would ask him about Kirk/Spock, which was NOT to use whatever technology was available at the time to say "wink wink nudge nudge, say no more, say no more."

Hahahahah....I was about to say that the new season was starting and I wasn't sure I wasn't going to watch...but apparently it has and I haven't. I guess they lost me. Too bad. There was so much potential.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
You may want to reconsider what you wrote about House. That is, the apostrophe in "it's 6th and 7th season" :). That show really hurt you badly, hon (pats affectionately on the back).

Otoh, it's good to read the whole of your take on White Collar.
Jul. 16th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Bless you! The angrier I get, the worse the disconnect between my fingers and my grammar-savvy brain.
Jul. 16th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
That's interesting - I never see slashy subtext in White Collar because Peter and El are so damned SOLID that I wouldn't even think Peter would step out on her.

That's one of the things I love about the show, how much Peter and El obviously love each other and want to work things out when there's conflict and just work together on things. They both care for Neal but it doesn't cross the creepy threesome boundary for me either.

Maybe if Peter was single, but definitely not while his marriage to El is rock solid.
Jul. 16th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
That's the story I might comfortable with. Neal wants Peter or Peter AND EL (which kills Mozzie) but is completely LOCKED OUT by the Peter/El bond. BUT he does keep dropping the longing looks and the bromance in there, and not letting the things that should break them apart do so for more than five minutes. I KNEW that All THE LIES would be forgiven the minute they had to band together to save El. There was one episode with a hug that totally squicked me out. NOT because I have anything against Male Hugs, but simply because it was so obviously there as fan titillation.
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
Your explanation of the last episode is pure gold and sums up why I'm very disappointed in the show and I'll probably only watch this season because some of my closest friends are really into it.

I couldn't make myself watch the first ep last week so I'll wait and watch 1 and 2 together this week...

Also I still ship Mozzie/Neal <3
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
Mozzie/Neal OTP! I'm sorry you've gotten to this point, because I know you were really invested in the show and the characters. (That icon was the inspiration for my first ever Neal/Mozzie drabble, written before I'd even ever seen an episode.) SIGH! I think it's a double whammy that while they're happy to play the fans with their now you see it, now you don't slash, the REAL subtext story about Mozzie losing HIS boy to the suit could be a genuinely painful and intense one, but of course that's not going to get a bunch of squeeeee from the least common denominator crowd.

You didn't think my version of the last episode was too harsh? Good. In some ways it was almost as bad was what the did with the last episode of House, although that had a longer path to destruction.
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
I watched the last episode and screamed at the tV the whole time then said I wasn't going to watch more XD LOL

so no that's not too harsh :)

I want to support Matt too because i still LOVE Matt and Simon <3 and Willie and everyone <3 so that's a motivator too. I am glad to see Matt's career really starting to take off and him get more roles :)
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
I know Burn Notice has been going awhile, but these USA "gimmick" shows don't really seem built for endurance, so maybe Matt can get a movie where he uses some part of his talent besides his body, Tim can get a good procedural on CBS that ISN'T quite so lightweight and they'll pull the plug on the travesty this has become. (Yeah, I'm an optimist all right.)
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
I think The Normal Heart will be a great role for Matt and he's doing something else film related soon too but it's not announced what project yet.

<3 so I have high hopes for him!! (he's at least very well connected <3 )

I am just so happy to see him and Simon all happy with their babies <3

I like Burn Notice! The show runner is a class A douche but I like the show :) i like Leverage more but I actually am excited to watch both of those this season <3
Jul. 17th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
I'm right there with you. I know a new episode aired, but I have no desire to watch it either. It gets too boring when show people try too "hard".
Jul. 17th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
High five! I feel somewhat gratified that I'm not alone in feeling this level of disappointment.
Jul. 17th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
I still love White Collar, though not particularly for the slash mind you (I actually tend to see it more as a father/son style relationship, although I know there's hints of something else). What exactly did Jeff Eastin say by the way? I don't know much of the behind-the-scenes stuff and I haven't heard any cast members/staff say anything other than that horrific word 'bromance'.

I kind of agree about the weird psychic 'run' signal in the last ep of S3 though...I'm quite sure Neal could have just gone to DC for a bit and then Peter could have got him back and none of this running was really necessary. FWIW though S4 Ep1 was good and there were some lovely Neal and Mozzie moments!

Oh and your references to the end of House always make me desperate to know what happened, but I am going to restrain myself til I have the opportunity to actually watch it myself!! :)
Jul. 17th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
Well the classic Eastin Tweet was the one where he said, "there'll be lots of slash fic after tonight's episode," which just got my hackles up on SO MANY levels. Again...it's not so much what's happened on-screen as the way the way it's been framed so with all that "wink wink nudge nudge" we know you're out there stuff. Seriously---STFU. If you know we're out here, keep it to yourself. Act completely shocked. Not disgusted mind you...just, "oh really, that's interesting."

I might eventually watch for the Neal/Mozzie. In a way, I think I have called the relationship right, but it's painful to see how much Mozzie wants to keep Neal and Neal wants to be with Peter or Peter and El.
Nov. 8th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
Massively late comment, and possibly in the wrong post, but I can't find one with a closer date to the first eps of White Collar, Season 4 (I've fallen terribly behind, so I've just finished watching them now), and I apologise so much for the temporary post hijacking, but I need to let this nitpick out or I'll explode:

Cape Verde, as they take the trouble of saying in one scene, is a former Portuguese colony, of the coast of Africa. Ie: 1) the languages they speak? Portuguese and Creole Portuguese. Many people, as with any population, might be able to speak other languages, Spanish included, but Spanish? NOT the daily life language in Cape Verde. 2) The vast majority, almost totality of the population (there is a tiny European minority) are either black* or mixed race: the races being white and black*. That American Latino look most of the actors/extras sported? Not Cape Verdian in the least. Seriously, a five second look at Wikipedia could have told them this.

*I realise the readership here is mostly US-based, so to avoid confusion in case anyone stumbles on this comment: I'm not using the word "black" in a provocative manner - here in Europe, the term "African-American" doesn't apply; "black" is the actual, proper term to describe someone of this particular ethnicity. At most, some people might use the word "Afro-Caribbean" to describe someone of Caribbean descent, but that wouldn't apply to actual African people like Cape Verdians.

I realise the plot mentioned Spanish bells and Hollywood's train of thought generally seems to be "Spanish"="Mexico"="Our Latino Community!!", and I'm sure Hispanic (in the US sense) looking, Spanish-speaking actors were easier to come by during casting. But why, then, go to the trouble of picking an actual African, Portuguese-speaking archipelago as a setting? Couldn't they have invented an extradition-free island off French Polinesia, or something? Would have saved me watching through my fingers half the time.

To make all my ranting sound slightly more understandable: It's the equivalent of setting the episodes in London, having some Norman bells as the McGuffin and then having Londoners speaking French, because that's the language the Normans spoke. That would actually make more historical sense - though, of course, French isn't the national language here. I know with these things we need to switch off our brains sometimes and just go for the ride, but seriously. Wikipedia, producers. It's FREE.

I'd love to weigh in on the slashy/non-slashy possibilities to wrap up the post on a more interesting note but, so far, White Collar's been one of those shows where no potential ship really pings my gaydar/straightdar/anythingdar. Regardless of how utterly good-looking that cast is, I'm just not feeling it yet. Neil does work a great longing/smoldering/begging look, but he used it on his Glee duet, too, and he was supposed to be singing with/to his brother withough any sexual innuendo, so I'm guessing that's just Matt Bomer's default look: "Please come hither, or I'll cry, and I'll kiss you while I cry".

On a completely unrelated note, I'm so sorry I couldn't bring a costume to this year's Come As You're Not Party (I hadn't realised you were having one!! Although I really wouldn't have been able to make it either way. Real Life, etc..) I'll try to make up for it but checking out as many costumes as possible.
Nov. 8th, 2012 06:04 am (UTC)
I love your nit-picking! The show lost me at the end of the 3rd Season by (IMAO) trying to hard to play both the slash card AND the NO HOMO card at the same time, so I missed this particular outrage, but if I knew the facts and ran into something that egregious, I'd be looking for a place to vent too.

There's a small, but varied assortment of costumes on display this year, so by all means drop by and check them out.

Between the diminishing numbers on LJ, plus the election, not to mention that crazy Hurricane, it was a very intimate affair.
Nov. 10th, 2012 04:17 am (UTC)
Whilst I'm nitpicky (it's fun!), I swear I'm not that uptight. It's a big world out there, and ethnic/linguistic facts about one archipelago out of dozens won't necessarily be widely known to everyone - and most probably not to general US audiences (which I imagine are the producers' main concerns), because there's no reason why US audiences should know this bit of trivia. I'm sure I'd have sighed and moved on if they'd left it at "poor research". It was the fact that they took the time to establish a historically accurate context for Cape Verde only to completely contradict it with the actual island scenes that killed me. Someone got paid for researching the plot, casting those utterly unsuitable actors/extras and writing those lines. It's a lot of money for something to go so wrong on a professional production. The producer in me is fuming.

I'll have to rewatch the whole thing with my slash goggles firmly slapped on. I mean, I got the potential in the early episodes, but then my interest just somehow shifted entirely towards the fun heists and shenanigans and I can't really see it now. I'd have to say, perhaps being the Devil's advocate a little bit, that the producer (writer?) saying something about "lots of slash being written after the finale" didn't bother me so much. It could be a bait and switch, which it probably was, but it could have just been a genuine "Huh, look at that" kind of comment. I feel that way about some of the stuff I write, occasionally - I mean, the rare stuff that isn't outright slash. Sometimes you can only get the full measure of the readings your work will get after you're done (she says to the professional writer. How's the book, by the way? Not mistreating you too much, hopefully.).

That being said, the constant bait and switch everywhere does get annoying, to say the least. Either have the characters go there, or have them not go them yet deal with the fact that the tension/chemistry/potential interest is there - if you're building slash tension into your show (or allowing it to be there once everyone notices it), deal with it in some way other than metaphorically going "Here's your slash! Look at it! It's so shiny! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!". I suppose the upside is that they are clearly realising there IS a market for this kind of plot development. Hopefully someday soon they'll realise the market will want something more than vague hints that something might happen at one point.

Sandy's devastating effect sadly goes without saying, but I wasn't aware LJ's numbers are dwindling. I've been a bit dormant recently (I'm not greatest poster at the best of times, I've always been more of a commenter) - where are people going?! The reason I've always liked LJ is the sense of actual discussion you can get going around here, like a forum, but more intimate and (to me) more appealing. You can't get this on Tumblr. I love the comments section back-and-forth you can get going here. Woe.

(OFF the coast of Africa, self. WTF. Indignation 1 - Grammar 0.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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