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Screentime Discussions for Smallville

I'm just going to put this out there. Consider it, more-or-less, a public service announcement, rather then a vent or rant. LOL


Look, I'm very vocal about how I feel about the focus on Clark on SV, and what I think it should be, and how it should be in relation to other characters. I do not now, nor have I ever, thought this show was an ensemble in the true sense of the word. I've always felt it was Clark Kent as our star, main character, and central figure, with other characters supporting him, and in orbit around him. That is they way the show works best for me, and its what I prefer to see, and its not been the case for a long time now (I'd say it was from S1- mid-S5).

Now, I don't ask that everyone has to agree with me. But really, if my "whining" is an issue for anyone, then I ask you to, please, consider not reading my reviews, my totals, or my thoughts. Please, do yourself a favor and save yourself the agony and aggravation. Defriend me at will. I'll be OK with it. I certainly would be less offended by that then having snide comments written about me. One day, someone is going to have to explain to me why anyone would want to read the journal of someone whose thoughts bug them so much.

Oh, and for the record....this type of conversation in regards to screentime and focus has been happening for seasons. It is not just now an issue with the increased focus on Lois. No one is in a better position to know this then me. On this topic, I know of what I speak. There was lots of debate and outrage over the focus on Chloe/Chlavis last season. There's always been shit directed at Lana for her prominence on the show. In S6, there was lots of outrage over Lana having more screentime then Lex, even when she missed an episode. And S6's focus on Oliver in the first half was a huge topic of debate. Trust me. I've been through all of those debates, and my position remains unchanged.

Just as no one should be accused of whining because they wanted more Lois in the past, or they want more focus on Chloe, or because they aren't seeing enough Tess/Zod, no one should be accused of whining if they aren't exactly 100% thrilled with the current trend of Lois seeming more prominent in the episodes then Clark. Its OK to disagree on that point, but if it pains you to address that arguement, and discuss it politely amongst friends, then my journal is probably not the place you want to visit. Because it won't be changing anytime soon.

I like everyone on my flist, and you wouldn't be on my flist if I felt differently. And I also respect the myriad of opinions held by my flisties, even if they don't happen to be mine. All I ask from all of you is the same in return. And that seems reasonable. At least to me.

Comments

( 46 comments )
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(Anonymous)
Nov. 15th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
It boggles my mind that you even have to defend yourself with your viewpoints because all of your thoughts about Smallville can be found with a simple search and I know for a fact that you have been very consistent with your thoughts about this show. I might not have agreed with everything that you have said, but my god, to say that you are not consistent with your thoughts about this show is downright absurd. Keep on whining, complaining, venting or any other word that you want to use because I love it.

-M
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
I don't think I've been accused of inconsistency. At least not that I know of. But my point is that I am who I am, and my POV on SV is very clear. If someone finds the opinion I hold to be offensive, or annoying, thats their right. But then its probably not a great idea to read my journal.

I do intend to keep on giving my opinion. But I'm thinking I might want to keep it here, or TWU.
starry_dawn
Nov. 15th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
I hope it's nothing I said! *worried*
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
You? No Way! You're a doll. ::hugs::
(Anonymous)
Nov. 16th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
Smallville was never an ensemble show until the 4th season when the focus shift from Clark to someone else. It's been going on since then.
The 9th season started off on the wrong foot and has continued since then. Last night's episode is a good indication of this.
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Actually, I don't even see the 4th season as an ensemble, even though there was a secondary story to Clark's with the Lana/Jason stuff. But really, when I went back and reviewed S4 for the screentime numbers, its actually amazing how prominent Clark is in that season. And his POV is quite clearly illuminated. I don't think there are very many times in S4 when you don't know what Clark is thinking, or where he's coming from.
(no subject) - svfan01 - Nov. 17th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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jlvsclrk
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
I love your consistent advocacy of Clark time! I do love most of the season so far, but you've made me realize that even the best of the episodes (Metallo and Saviour) could have been so much better with just a few more Clark scenes. I don't mind the Lois scenes so much as the extra Ollie time, since the Lois stuff at least reflects well on Clark which is a lot more than I can say about Ollie for the first six episodes. The writers wasted an awful lot of screentime setting up a potential triangle, but after Ollie spent all last year pursuing Tess that was never going to fly. And the only real payoff was Clark's jealousy in Crossfire, which could just as easily have been achieved with a hot blind date - the male equivalent of Catherine. Such strange choices the writers make!
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
Thanks for saying that, because it has been consistent advocacy, and I've never hidden that. Its always been right out, front and center, and I'm not one to hold back how I feel.

I'm with you on the Lollie stuff. Not sure I understand why that was dredged up because it felt pretty satisfyingly concluded.
tasabian
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
I do not now, nor have I ever, thought this show was an ensemble in the true sense of the word. I've always felt it was Clark Kent as our star, main character, and central figure, with other characters supporting him, and in orbit around him. That is they way the show works best for me, and its what I prefer to see, and its not been the case for a long time now (I'd say it was from S1- mid-S5).
Totally agree that the show shifted in mid S5. What I love about the early seasons is that Clark's plotline was almost always the central one and the other other characters had offshoots of his plot. So structurally, we'd follow Clark through the plot - scene with Lana, scene with Lex, scenes with Chloe and/or Lois, scene with parents - and get glimpses of all aspects of his life: farm, friends, family relationships, through his POV.

I think this structure changed partly because of Lexana - once they were paired up, they had to have their own ongoing plotline. But Tom wanting a less punishing schedule (understandably) may have been a factor too.

Missing the old format of the show doesn't make me or you a Lois-critic. Lois was there before the format changed anyway! Similarly, someone who loves S8 or 9 isn't a Lex-hater or a Lana-critic, it's just preferring a different style.

There was lots of debate and outrage over the focus on Chloe/Chlavis last season. There's always been shit directed at Lana for her prominence on the show. In S6, there was lots of outrage over Lana having more screentime then Lex, even when she missed an episode. And S6's focus on Oliver in the first half was a huge topic of debate. Trust me. I've been through all of those debates, and my position remains unchanged.
I think the writers need to work harder to convey Clark's POV and all these instances are examples of this. One strong example of POV from S8: Clark and Tess on the plane in "Turburlence." We see through his eyes - how much does she know, what information does she have about me, how do I deal with this? It's one of Tom's best S8 scenes. From S9, Clark coping with zombie!Lois is another strong usage of his POV. But we don't see through his eyes enough for my taste.

I think you're about as 'ship neutral & consistent as a SV fan can be & I always enjoy your reviews & screen time totals. ♥
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
For me, the shift has always felt like it happened post-Reckoning. There are exceptions, of course. But thats when I felt a change. And then S6 came along, and it was totally off the chain. Again, there are exceptions.

I think there are probably lots of reasons. Continuing such intense focus on Clark makes it harder to stall the show. Lexana. The introduction of the Green Arrow, and how they used that (because it wasn't the introduction itself that was the problem). Keeping Clark's feelings ambigious to string along ships. And probably the most obvious, the writers ambivalence towards Clark as a character.

I think the writers need to work harder to convey Clark's POV

EXACTLY!! And you can't get Clark's POV from someone else just talking about Clark. So, pardon me while I don't buy that. I can't know whats going on in Clark's head, and heart, by hearing Lois, or anyone, just talking about him. I need Clark's POV, and I need him on screen to get it. As much as people like to pretend screentime doesn't matter, it actually does matter. Have we ever got as much insight into Lois as we got this season? And why is that? Because she is ON SCREEN, giving us her POV. It matters.

And as someone who has advocated for Lois getting more prominence in the story, and defended the character many times, and constantly has something favorable to say about ED, it just really pisses me off when I get accused of "blaming" Lois, or not being fair to her, or whatever. Hello??!! My posting history is pretty clear to see. And wanting more Clark, and thinking there should be more Clark, is in no way saying that Lois shouldn't get focus or screentime. Jeez, where have I ever said that? Where?

I think you're about as 'ship neutral & consistent as a SV fan can be

Thank you. It means a lot to hear you say that...or, type that. LOL
(no subject) - svfan01 - Nov. 17th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Nov. 17th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
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jude_judith82
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Umm yeah it's your journal you can say whatever you want. I can't believe any one is accusing you of whining. Ugh. Sorry about that.
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Thanks. Really, I may have made this sound more personal, but in fact, its more of a general thing. But since there seems to be some level of annoyance with people, like me, not being happy with the screentime conversation, then I felt it was probably best just to put this out there.

And yeah, I guess as the person that keeps the totals, its hard for it not to feel personal on some level.

gildinwen
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
Huh??? How can anyone say you've been whining? Saying that you think Clark deserves more screen time isn't whining it's a valid criticism of the show. Clark SHOULD have more screen time regardless of whether the Lois or Tess/Zod storyline is all about him. We need to see his POV WRT Lois and starting a relationship with her and WE.AREN'T.GETTING.IT.

How anyone can complain about you is beyond me..... *izconfuzzled*
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC)
I think its more the implication that being unhappy with the screentime distribution is whining, in general. I'm not saying it was directed at me personally, but I expect it probably was. Not hard to figure that.

We need to see his POV WRT Lois and starting a relationship with her and WE.AREN'T.GETTING.IT.


Yes, and thank you for understanding my point. You can't get this sort of thing from someone else talking about Clark, or reacting to Clark. You need Clark on screen to provide this, because he's the only one who can. It is the difference between Clark being the object as opposed to the subject. It should be the other way around.

How anyone can complain about you is beyond me..... *izconfuzzled*

Awww, thanks Hon. But I'm sure lots of people think I suck. LOL
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la_belle_isa
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that some people are hunting you down on your own journal. I totally understand your point of view. I also feel that I don't have the right to criticize anymore. I mean, it was painful enough to try to explain on K-site that wanting more Clark doesn't mean that I hate Lois. That seems to be a concept impossible to explain. The equation seems to be: you want more Clark, therefore you're a Smallville hater and a Lois hater AND you don't support Tom because he's happy with the show so you should shut up. So I got to be attacked by other supposedly Clark fans for expressing my pov as a Clark fan. How weird is that?
What's wrong with wanting more focus on our favorite character? I don't think I'm being a bad Tom fan for wanting to see more of him. Ugh!
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
Oh no, don't get me wrong. No one is attacking me here. I'm just saying that if my POV isn't to someones liking, well, here is probably not where you want to come visit. Ya know?

And just a big old DITTO to everything else you said. Co-signed, and underlined.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 16th, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)
There seems to be some misunderstanding here about the arguments being made in regards to screentime vs. POV. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that just because Lois is talking about Clark or a scene is about Clark that we are getting his POV. The argument that is actually being made is that despite lower screentime, most episodes have been Clark-centric because other characters, Lois especially, have arcs or plots that revolve around him. You're also using the term POV character incorrectly.

"The POV character is the onscreen character that reveals the story. The POV character leads the audience through the emotional story, and by interacting with the main character, enables the audience to follow the transformation of the main character. Paradoxically, the audience identifies with the main character's struggle; but in fact, the audience actually follows the struggle through another character within the story. [...] Through external conflict, this dynamic character reveals the nuances and inner conflicts of the main character for the audience in such a way that the audience understands what is going on in side the mind-set of the main character" (Kate Wright, Screenwriting is Storytelling: Creating an A-list Screenplay that Sells). Lois is being used as the POV character in episodes like Metallo and Idol to illustrate the conflict between the two sides of Clark that exist as two different people only for her. Clark can still be the main character/hero/protagonist, and episodes can still be Clark-centric, without him being the POV character.

Point of view (as in getting Clark's perspective on his life) is a separate issue altogether that has little to nothing to do with screentime. More screentime does NOT necessarily equate to more POV for a character. It just doesn’t. Clark could have spent all of his limited screentime in Roulette giving us a soliloquy about his feelings regarding Lois, Chloe, Oliver, Jor-El, etc. and he still would have had less screentime than Lois or Oliver. Lois being unconscious for a few minutes in Metallo did nothing to provide us her POV. Clark could have the most screentime in an episode with lots of action, and that wouldn't provide us quality time to learn of his thoughts or feelings either.

There just seems to be a lot of nuance that you are missing.
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Just a suggestion, but if you are going to come over to my journal, and more or less tell me how clueless I am, it would be nice if you could actually sign your name. I don't know, it just seems polite. You don't have to. Your post will stand. But still...

I can only tell you what I feel when I watch the show. If you want to dig up quotes to discredit my opinion, that is, of course, your perogative. Though again, I wonder why you are reading this journal at all.

For me, in the earlier seasons, I felt Clark was my POV character into the show. I felt as though I watched his life unfold through his eyes. I didn't have to wonder how he felt, or where he was coming from. I didn't feel like he was a character that was talked about, by someone else, and that was the way his story was told. YMMV, of course. But thats how it felt to me.

Now? I no longer feel that. I don't really want to watch Clark's storyline unfold through Lois' POV. Or anyone elses. Because I've never felt like I was doing that in earlier seasons. Why should I now?

I also suspect that writers use POV characters differently, but I don't pretend to be an expert, or a professional writer. For instance, stories told in the first person clearly have your POV character be the same as your main character. At least in my experiance.

But, lets put all that mumbo-jumbo aside Anonymous. Lets get back to everything is revolving around Clark. Really? Did Oliver's storyline revolve around Clark? I think not. Did the Oliver/Lois stuff revolve around Clark? Not so much. And how much of Clark's storyline is revolving around Lois? Quite a bit.

More screentime does NOT necessarily equate to more POV for a character.

No, of course not. But it certainly can't happen when a character isn't on screen. Thats sort of a big step, wouldn't you say?

Clark could have the most screentime in an episode with lots of action, and that wouldn't provide us quality time to learn of his thoughts or feelings either.


And BTW, I'd enjoy that too, because, ya know, he's the main character and all, and I enjoy watching him on screen, and if I thought the show should feature another character more, I probably wouldn't enjoy the show as much.

There just seems to be a lot of nuance that you are missing.

Fair enough. You are certainly free to hold that opinion, and even post it here. Or, ya know, maybe I'm just not seeing it the same way as you, which is, of course, another option you might not have considered.

And differences should be OK. But my original point still stands. If my opinions on this matter are not to your liking, this is probably not a journal you want to check back in on.

Oh, whoops, just wanted to add one thing:

Through external conflict, this dynamic character reveals the nuances and inner conflicts of the main character for the audience in such a way that the audience understands what is going on in side the mind-set of the main character

But see, I don't understand what is going on inside the mind-set of the main character. Not in any depth or detail. Thats kind of my issue. So, maybe this method isn't the very best approach for the show to take. Perhaps they just lack the skills of the esteemed Kate Wright. Just a thought.

Edited at 2009-11-16 05:28 am (UTC)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Nov. 16th, 2009 05:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Nov. 16th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
kissme_myfool
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Although we may never agree 100%, I always like reading your thoughts on Clark. They are always sincere, especially in talking about where the writers have gone wrong. Also, my focus is always Chloe, so I love reading your journal for the Clark-focus point of view. After all, he is the main guy :)
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Thanks. I think it should be OK not to agree. You know where I stand, I know where you stand, and I think we respect each others worlds, ya know?
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Yummm, Red Wine. :)

And Thanks.
goodvibe
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
OK, well as usual, I have no idea what's happening around in fandom. But all I'll say is you should ::never:: have to defend yourself, of all things, in your own damn lj. If someome has a problem with your ST totals, or your defence of Clark - they can choose not to read your thoughts. In fact, please, they're welcome not to. I'm offended not only your behalf but also because, as you know when it comes to all things Clark at least, we're always in agreement. And so I can't believe anyone thinks it's ever OK to label as legitimate a POV as 'I-think-Clark-doesn't-have-enough-screentime' as somehow wrong or whining.

::hugs::
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
If someome has a problem with your ST totals, or your defence of Clark - they can choose not to read your thoughts. In fact, please, they're welcome not to.

Right. My point exactly.

You know, I've been doing this for 3 years now, in real time, and this is the first year that I've heard how pointless it is, and how it doesn't mean anything. Funny, in prior seasons, most people who commented seemed to think it meant a lot. Why the big change? Its curious to me.

But yeah, if its pointless and all, thats their opinion, and I respect that. Then, ya know, don't read them.

I can't for the life of me figure out why wanting Clark to have more screentime and POV has been twisted around to something thats bad, or whining. Thats even more curious to me. You can even hold that opinion, and LOVE this season. The two are not exclusive.
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carolandtom
Nov. 16th, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
Val, allow me to be a little emotional on this: I applaud you, bow to you, hug you... You are clever, articulate, insightful and more tolerant than I could ever expect to be. You stand up for what you believe and you have every right to do so! The fact that I wholeheartedly agree with you and with this post is just the icing on the cake. But even if I disagreed, which hardly if ever happens, I'd still admire you for all your great qualities as a viewer, poster, person, friend...

Please, don't ever change!
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
Awww Carol, you know I love you. You are forever my compatriot in Tom and Clark love.

I won't be changing anytime soon. Thats sort of the point of my post. If I piss you off now, chances are good I will continue to do so.
la_belle_isa
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
I commend your tolerance. Really. Who would have thought that Clark's screentime was to be the hot button issue of the season in the fandom?? If you didn't have a point, they wouldn't bother trying so hard to prove that you're wrong.
//frequent explanations of how Clark is feeling could come off as spoon feeding viewers information (telling, not showing) when the same could be achieved without words and in a short amount of time//
I feel that it's exactly what they've been doing with Lois (and Oliver to a lesser extent), and that they could have used a lot less time in doing so. We know how Lois feels and what she thinks in minute detail and it's NOT that interesting considering that this is Smallville, a scifi show, and not another version of Bridget Jones.
And how about having Clark driving the A plot for a change?
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Who would have thought that Clark's screentime was to be the hot button issue of the season in the fandom??

Its odd, isn't it?

I'm not quite sure why giving more insight into what Clark is thinking and feeling could be construed as a bad thing, but Lois in therapy, or having her mind read, or Oliver dealing with walking RL nightmare is all good character development.

This is one of those times that I wish I expressed myself better, because I often think I fail to convey my issues.
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Yuuummmmm, Jax.

Oh sorry, I was staring at your icon. LOL

God knows I don't expect everyone to attach the same importance to the things I do. But I think I'm entitled to my priorities, no?

I'm glad you enjoy reading my stuff. I'm always amazed so many people do. Its been pretty humbling for me.
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