metatxt: (voy: longing)
[personal profile] metatxt
[personal profile] mammothluv asked me "Favorite tropes (character, fanfic, relationship, show, etc.)"

AWESOME PROMPT. Let me preface by saying: I love a LOT of tropes. This subject WILL get revisited again and again throughout the meme. Because I love a LOT of tropes. A LOT. But for today:



1. I may be married to the job, overwhelmed by past trauma, or both, but you make me feel vulnerable and squishy inside. See: Bering and Wells, Janeway/Seven, Bo/Lauren, Bo/Tamsin, Bo/Kenzi, Emma/Snow, Eli Gold/Natalie Flores (the Good Wife)*... the list goes on and on and on.

DEEP FEELS. Character thinks, "I mostly accept that I will feel or be forever alone because of the unique nature of (my work, my trauma, or both *cough* Lost Girl)" and then connection with special person whose presence directly disrupts the isolating nature of work or trauma forces the character to reevaluate their desire for a romantic relationship. Once they see it's possible, they WANT IT, they WANT the person who makes them feel like they aren't alone, even though deep down they are still SUPER fucking scared that it's fleeting.

It also often a trope that moves both directions! Myka Bering had all this trauma with her character-device-ex who died, then took a job she could never disclose to anyone not in Artifact Club, and then Helena G. Wells shows up. Meanwhile, Helena "imprisoned for decades with only her thoughts" Wells thinks her original trauma is evidence that existence is a failed experiment, but Myka talks her off that cliff (or geyser) and just... *flails* When the vulnerabilities cut both ways like that, it pretty much makes me fall off the couch with longing and feels and pain and oh gods please just make out right now and everything will be right in the world.

Edit to note: I am NOT into it when the trauma just completely disappears because ~love~ or when trauma is a plot-device obstacle to the romance. But I do like it when one character can reach another despite the walls up from their trauma. If that makes more sense?

*still rarely want to read fic about canon-het even when I ship it.


2. As [personal profile] chaila astutely noted...Robot/Human is my sci-fi otp binary. For ship examples, see: Laura/Tory, Janeway/Seven, Sarah/Cameron, Sarah/Weaver... is that it? we've been missing out on cyborg femslash tv for some time.

Human thinks they're going to teach Robot/Cyborg about humanity, while the Robot/Cyborg actually teaches the human. It's a narrative tension built by learning across significant differences (haha. school). The ultimate lesson for the human is that human-centrism is bullshit: first, the lie of human exceptionalism, the importance of dignity and respect for sentient non-humans (non-sentient beings, ecosystems, relationships not involving humans, etc.), and generally how that human-centric ideology limits the human's engagement and stunts the human morally.

If you dig a bit, usually the concept of "humanity" that the human is so invested in sharing is really a type of racist supremacist colonialism...or in more sanitized terms, neo-liberalism. Unfortunately, if I think about that too much I start to dislike my human characters and get turned off by the idea that the Robots/Cyborg is responsible for the moral education of humans, let alone that the Robot/Cyborg's first choice of love partner should be their remedial social-justice project. Also, the human is usually teaching the Robot/Cyborg about passing, which is supposed to be entertaining. Often it IS entertaining because the writers will employ a reversal where the Robot/Cyborg fails at passing but their culturally-specific approach garners greater rewards than anticipated. So the cyborg still pwns, even on the human's terms. OK moving on.

In the land of Id, where we sometimes selectively and temporarily ignores social justice implications, this is all a fantastic pretense for how the human just doesn't SEE the robot/cyborg and how the robot/cyborg is so super hurt that the human can't see them because robot/cyborg is frustratingly in love with human and wants to be loved in return, just as they are. ... *random thought* Is human/robot actually Pride and Prejudice? not precisely of course, but sort of? kind of?

This often takes place in the context of larger political struggles that force our characters to question their allegiances. Seven of Nine has to choose between (Mommy) Janeway or (Mommy) Borg Queen. Or in the case of Sarah, Cameron and Weaver, they all must assess whether their political purposes align or conflict, over and over again, because they have different goals, different goal priorities, or different strategies for reaching the same goal. In effect, they must constantly choose each other or be emotionally-wounded by their separation. Sarah Connor's stoicism hides all sorts of deep feelings about robot ladies, I am certain.

There is also the tragic case of Laura Roslin and Tory Foster. Let's revisit how we were teased and denied the natural progression of their human/cylon relationship: Laura fucking Tory across her desk many, many times when Laura thought Tory was human, Tory servicing Laura under her desk, Tory stealing babies and elections for Laura because Laura asked her to do those things (sometimes implicitly), Laura pretending Tory didn't do any of this out of everlasting love and devotion, Laura making Tory play honeytrap and go fuck Baltar for information (then report back to Laura with details about their sex), Laura horsewhipping Tory for not telling Laura *every detail* about sexspying on Baltar -- when Laura KNOWS Tory is so good at taking minutes during the Quorum meetings, and then Laura finds out Tory is a cylon and refuses to complete their epic journey towards OTP perfection. By this time, Tory already resents Laura for Laura's cylon bigotry so she'd rather fight against Laura than for her. It should be noted that Laura/Tory fit in this category, but their trajectory is also a good example of:


3. Morally-gray Alpha and Alpha Jr. See: Patty/Ellen, Alicia/Kalinda, Diane/Alicia, Regina/Snow... It looks like this: sometimes we are at outright war, but sometimes we cautiously trust each other and if that trust ever lasted long-enough we may actually canon-fuck. Usually, there is a power differential that is structurally imposed (if temporary), but when it comes to power of manipulation and skill they are more evenly matched. Often one party is more aware of their own capacity for strategic deceit, while another is in denial it is part of their nature. (See how this is also Laura/Tory?! They are amazeballs)

4. Mommy/girl or Daddy/girl: Bo/Kenzi, Michelle/Sasha, Snow/Emma, and Xena/Gabrielle. Xena was totally Gabrielle's Daddy for like... 3 seasons. I want to talk about ageplay ships quite a bit more, but I think that probably deserves an entire post of its own. Also I'm outta time for today.

Date: 2013-12-17 11:11 am (UTC)
beccatoria: (tory's got so. much. love)
From: [personal profile] beccatoria
Human/Robot! ♥ - the true place our narrative kinks collide in awesomeness. I'm now having really interesting thoughts about whether Sarah Connor actually fits into the pattern you describe about colonalism and racism with regards to her relationship to robots. Like she does, clearly - I mean the anger and distrust is right there and not hidden under any pretence, but in some ways, by hanging a lantern on it, it makes it about something else. It's about Sarah's understanding that human exceptionalism is a lie, that there is nothing special about them, and a bitter fight for survival anyway. And then there's Ellison too and his cautious attempts to teach John Henry ethics. Here, too, it's based on a fundamental belief that the human way is "right" and "best", but even for a man of faith, who must actually believe in a divine moral structure in some form, his decision seems much more motivated by an engineering solution - by a need to ensure humans are protected from John Henry's cool practicality. OH TSCC WHY SO CANCELLED. D:

Date: 2013-12-18 12:34 am (UTC)
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (tscc - ellison(/sarah))
From: [personal profile] chaila
Now I feel sort of weird that I do not have the human/robot narrative kink, or at least have it to a lesser extent, and instead seem to be drawn to the human/human struggle over how to interpret and respond to the robots and the metaphysical/technology/political clashes involved there. Which...seems kind of boring, SIGH.

Though I do agree that TSCC's approach doesn't neatly map onto the colonialism/racism metaphors, if only partly because TSCC's robots are so...robotic, and yet also superior in many ways. BSG's robots are meant to evoke the colonialism metaphor in important ways? Like the biggest fear in BSG was that they couldn't tell the difference (and so then the question is, why maintain the false distinction, if there is no difference, other than fear). Whereas in TSCC, the fear--the linchpin of the whole universe--is that they are in fact better than us, that they'll replace us. Which...isn't the same sort of fear. (I fail at other robot media, so I can't extent it any further than BSG and TSCC). I've run out of brain now, so that probably makes no sense!

Date: 2013-12-18 02:27 am (UTC)
runawaynun: (Patty)
From: [personal profile] runawaynun
There is also the tragic case of Laura Roslin and Tory Foster. Let's revisit how we were teased and denied the natural progression of their human/cylon relationship:

WOE. SO MUCH WOE.

Often one party is more aware of their own capacity for strategic deceit, while another is in denial it is part of their nature.

THIS IS WHY I LOVED TORY/LAURA SO MUCH. That and the theology porn. And Rekha's faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.

Date: 2013-12-19 03:02 pm (UTC)
mammothluv: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mammothluv
1. Oh, number one is one of my absolute favorites as well! There's just something about the idea that almost nothing can breach those walls except that one person. I especially love when there's a distinct contrast where the character A is still an distant from/an asshole to/whatever everyone else but the very next scene you see them being very caring with character B. (I love even more if character A still expresses their affection in a non-comformative way but character B ~understands~ and appreciates it all the more.) I dig this not in just romantic ships but friendships (though let's be honest, if they're two ladies, I'm gonna ship that shit) or when character a has a kid (either their own or someone they've adopted officially or unofficially and perhaps even unwillingly at first) who is their one soft spot.

I'm with you, though, that I hate when love magically fixes everything! It's so much more interesting to see the characters continue to struggle and realistically work through their personality conflicts, emotions, and trauma and still successfully love and support one another. Like I adored Brennan on Bones in the early seasons but then they put her in a romance with Booth and changed her character so much basically implying that everything I had loved about her and made her a unique character had been things that needed to be corrected or fixed and ~opening herself to love~ made her this new better person. And fuck that. Let her accept herself as she is. Let the person who loves her accept her as she is. Let them find ways to navigate that and have a successful relationship.

2. I have not often been drawn to human/robot as a ship (though I generally dig the storylines) but I am fascinated by your analysis of it.

3. Yesssssss. The cautious trust evolving into something more is another favorite! I love the "forced to work together and discovering commonalities they never new existed" trope so much! It brings out such interesting reactions and feelings in people and I love how it can lead to one person finding out something they saw as a negative in the other person can sometimes be a positive or at least necessary. (Like when they were stuck in Neverland and Snow came to see that sometimes Regina's use of magic and her ruthlessness turned out to be necessary in the course of saving Henry. Emma was quicker to be okay with that but I think Snow came to see it by the end and I loved that got her to the point where she acknowledged they wouldn't have made it back without Regina.)

4. I want this post. I WANT IT BAD.

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