Episode Number: 85
Episode Title: Stargate (1994) (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hi friends, I’m Renay.
Ana: And I’m Ana.
Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Hour.
[Music: B-3 by Boxcat Games]
Renay: Today we’re here to do one of the first extremely overdue Patreon-sponsored Vault episodes! If you’re not already supporting us on Patreon, you can do that anytime! It’s great! Because you can vote on things like this: old media that we can then discuss and we’re gonna do this every single month.
Ana: To unpredictable results.
Renay: Who knows how it’s gonna end up when we have to talk about The Blue Lagoon, which I feel like it’s coming. It’s on the poll.
Ana: It’s definitely coming. I can feel it in my nuggets.
Renay: Today’s episode is about Stargate, the 1994 space adventure movie starring Kurt Russell and James Spader. We departed on our feelings about this film. Remember how I felt about Ghostbusters II, and then remember how Ana felt about Ghostbusters I.
Ana: You are being very generous there.
Renay: You hate this movie —
Renay: — more than you hate Ghostbusters?
Ana: I plead the fifth…?
Renay: You can’t plead the fifth, you’re not an American! It’s okay to hate this movie more than Ghostbusters.
Ana: I think I might.
Renay: But how?! Ghostbusters is so bad!
Ana: I really didn’t like this movie. The more I think about it the less I like it. This movie doesn’t have Bill Murray so I guess it’s a plus.
Renay: That’s true, and if it did have Bill Murray he’d be one of the bad aliens so he would have died.
Ana: Or maybe not, because Hollywood really likes Bill Murray.
Renay: Not in 1994 they didn’t.
Ana: That’s true. What was he doing 1994?
Renay: I have no idea, I… Am going to say honestly that I have never followed Bill Murray’s career. But don’t worry, Ana’s gonna google it and find out.
Ana: In 1994 Bill Murray was doing Ed Wood.
Renay: What’s that?
Ana: It’s that movie by Tim Burton based on the filmmaker Ed Wood. So he was not a main character in that he was supporting cast. Did you never watch Ed Wood?
Ana: Do you know who Ed Wood was?
Renay: I have no idea. Was he a golfer?
Ana: No, that’s Tiger Woods.
Ana: [laughter] Ed Wood was one of the old Hollywood directors. He made sexploitation movies and pulp horror and at one point he was very famous for how bad his movies were.
Renay: So basically Bill Murray was the perfect casting for that particular role.
Ana: No. Because it was Johnny Depp. But that also is a good cast.
Renay: It works both ways.
Ana: Which says a lot about these two guys.
Renay: So this is not a podcast about Ed Wood. This is a podcast about Stargate so I promise we will not talk about this random movie from 1994. We’ll talk about Stargate which is NOT a random movie from 1994. It’s an excellent from 1994 in my humble opinion, as Ana grits her teeth angrily.
Ana: Not angrily; amusingly. Because it’s okay to have difference of opinions.
Renay: I forced Ana basically to watch this film because we didn’t actually vote on this one, it just became our first special Vault topic, so this was not voted on by patrons. I chose this. Poor Ana suffered through this movie.
Ana: That was a good experience, watching it. Because I never did watch it when it first came out so this was my first time watching it. It’s interesting because I was thinking about what I was doing in 1994 that I did not watch this movie. And either it didn’t show in Brazil or I wasn’t that much into science fiction at that particular time in 1994.
I was just finished with high school and I was dating this really high-brow guy and at that point I used to sneer at populist fiction. Yeah. I know. I just heard what I said, too. It sounds ridiculous. Even though I would have loved the Egyptian thing because I was super into ancient Egypt, so I can’t really tell you. It’s probably the combination of all of those things. And then now that I watched it, it was an interesting look at a 1994 blockbuster and what it looked like then.
Renay: So this is where I get really confused because you talked about once like being super into theories by Erich Von Daniken and all that, and I was just like, “How have you not seen Stargate if you like that kind of stuff?” Because he wrote that book called Chariots of the Gods?
Ana: The first time we talked about this book I didn’t realize we were talking about something that I knew because in Brazil the title of that was back-translated into English: Were The Gods Astronauts, Eram os Deuses Astronautas? And it was billed as astronauts. I was super into those. That was when I was fifteen, sixteen. When I was seventeen then I entered that relationship and my life took a turn.
Renay: A turn away from conspiracy theories.
Ana: And into more literary fiction and then watching really serious movies which is okay of course, but not my real passions.
Renay: I really love this movie. I can’t divorce my feelings about this film from my feelings about the Stargate franchise as a whole. So much of what I love about Stargate comes from the other shows, and it comes back because this is the origin story for the franchise. Stargate SG-1 picks up I think a year or so after this film? And then it goes for ten years. And I watched all of it. Some of it multiple times. Partway through SG-1, and I can’t remember the exact year, they do a spin-off, Stargate Atlantis, and then they did Stargate Universe which was okay if you like grimdark.
So I have a lot of trouble pulling these apart, to be able to like, assess the movie as its own thing because I’m coming to it with all this other franchise baggage on top of it, and like how they developed the characters that we see, and — and in a lot of ways there’s some like cognitive dissonance in this movie for me? Because Kurt Russell plays Jack O’Neil, and James Spader plays Daniel Jackson, but in my head when I watch this film I’m just like, “This is all wrong.” The tone of these characters is all wrong. It just doesn’t work for me because it’s not Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks. So watching the movie is just kind of strange? But then… I still love it a whole lot.
Ana: That’s really interesting because of course then I don’t that framing, I never watched any of the TV shows. I had no idea. I thought this was actually Starman? I think I saw Starman, but when we told me to watch Stargate I thought we were watching Starman. But it wasn’t! It’s a different thing. I really did not watch Stargate before. I had no idea what it was going to be about. So what is this movie about, Renay?
Renay: It is about a girl whose father finds this object in the Egyptian desert, and spends her whole life trying to solve the mystery. And eventually she brings in Daniel Jackson, who believes that the pyramids were built by aliens and who is a crackpot and who’s losing everything to solved the mystery of the symbols on this big object. And he solves it, yay! And they go to an alien planet, where all the people are being subjugated by evil alien gods.
Ana: Yes, that’s the premise.
Renay: That’s it. That’s the basic premise of this film. It sounds terrible.
Ana: Well no, actually, your summary makes it sounds a lot better than it actually is. Because together with this guy who goes to these planets, there is a team of soldiers that are sent there for protection and to help with expedition. But one of them is played Kurt Russell whose son died in an accident with a gun inside his house and he’s heartbroken. He has nothing to lose, basically, is the whole framing of this character. And of course he has a different mission than the one that is officially told to Daniel the main character. His mission is he’s carrying basically a nuclear bomb that will effectively destroy the gate to avoid the alien civilizations to come and invade Earth.
What they don’t know and come to realize is that that had happened before, because the alien overlord who is playing at being a god actually did go to Ancient Egypt and captured a bunch of people and brought them back to this planet to be his slaves. And these people have been enslaved for the past four thousand years?
Renay: A long-ass time.
Ana: Then this team arrives and they all work together to kill the alien dude and free the slaves.
Renay: So one of my favorite parts about this film is that the god bans reading and writing. The only person that the film shows breaking that rule is a girl, the daughter of the leader of these enslaved people, who learns to read and write and helps Daniel Jackson solve the big mystery of how to get home. And when I was a kid, I really liked that because, you know, when you’re a kid, you’re looking for representation any place you can find it, especially if you’re not seeing yourself represented well. And in like quote-unquote “adult” films, like there was some that I was watching but I because of the way that I watch films, controlled largely by television and my parents, and the type of films I was watching, I just wasn’t seeing a lot of women being cool. I know that a lot of my fondness for this film comes from the fact that the rebellion in this film that happens at the very end where the enslaved people rise up against Ra because Daniel Jackson learns how to get home because Sha’uri, the woman, learned to read and write against the rules. That’s a big deal for me.
Ana: And that’s an interesting take, um, because I am removed a lot from the movie and also in age, I’m watching this now and I feel like that – that isn’t enough?
Renay: No, it’s definitely not enough, at all. And I know we would probably also disagree about Catherine at the very beginning, the woman whose father found the stargate. She is on this team, and she’s a historian and she’s been working her entire life to solve the mystery of this. And I argue that the film makes it clear that in the beginning they bring Daniel Jackson in to solve – quote-unquote solve this mystery and he does, but it’s a test for Daniel Jackson. It’s not judgement on Catherine not figuring it out. Like we see this whole big scene at the very beginning where he has to come into a big room of officials and explain what he thinks the markings are. Because these little symbols that they think are a language turn out to be star charts that the Stargate uses to plot wormholes.
And so he gives this big presentation like he’s a smart man to quote-unquote solve the problem, but it’s a test. They already know what the start charts are. Like they already know that they’re the stars, they already understand what the gate does. He doesn’t actually solve the problem. Her and her team with the help of the military did. And I don’t know now looking back, like, am I just reading the film that way because I wanna read the film that way?
Ana: I really didn’t read the film that way at all because there was this whole scene when they all seem so surprised that he broke that and figured it out. I also think that the movie’s rather bittersweet, in that she never gets to go with them. And the more I think about that the sadder I get because if she were a man I guarantee she would have gone. How many movies have we seen with the same set-up and elderly scientist gets to go to together.
Renay: But childhood me did not realize all this.
Ana: No, of course not.
Renay: Childhood me was starving for like, awesome ladies in cool roles.
Ana: And that movie does have that. I’ll grant you that one.
Renay: And when I stopped to compare this film with films that happen today—I’m trying to think of a – like a recent science fiction film, that’s not Mad Max: Fury Road that puts older women in a speaking role like that. And I was having a lot of trouble. I still have not come up with anything except for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Ana: Maybe Wonder Woman?
Renay: Yeah, but that’s really recent. I’m talking about the last few years.
Renay: Space bees, if you have any suggestions I’m ready to hear them because science fiction and fantasy is so dude-heavy.
Ana: And when you get the woman is the only one and think about Arrival for example, which is also about aliens and and knowledge and finding out connections. And it has a female character, but she’s young.
Renay: And so the reason that I think that Daniel Jackson doesn’t solve this big mystery, that he’s not as important, is because immediately after he like comes into this meeting and solves the thing, they like show him this big set-up. So they were already aware of what the Stargate did, of what the symbols meant, but they didn’t know how to put the pieces together. And this is why I get really upset at this film, because in a lot of places it puts holes, and I’m also bringing all of my knowledge about the TV show’s Daniel Jackson to this film where he’s very much—very collaborative, very open to other people having knowledge that he can learn, being very compassionate and patient and open and welcoming. It’s just very strange to have the movie like be so confused about whether he’s like, solving all the problems or actually joining a group. The movie’s not sure which it wants: does it want to show him as like a successful collaborator because he’s been so isolated and alone? Or is it showing him as like the sole savior of this program. And the movie does not know which it wants to do.
Ana: I think it’s more to the second.
Renay: Yeah, like it leans there because they can’t seem to make a decision, like they were – it’s like they were torn on how to present it. But all science is collaborative.
Ana: It’s a trope, right? There is a trope of the Lonely Genius.
Renay: Yes and it’s tiring because that’s not the type of character that Daniel becomes later, so it’s really hard for me to like, kind of take that presentation of this movie seriously.
Ana: In the TV show, is he still married to the…
Renay: That’s a spoiler. His whole storyline gets really complicated. I’m gonna make you watch the show.
Ana: Oh man.
Renay: And I’m really curious at if you’ll like the show. Like it’s very much less serious, but we’ve talked about flavors of Stargate before. So you have this Stargate, Stargate 1994, which is like grunge Stargate. And then you have Stargate SG-1, which is the campy…like I don’t even know if it has a theme, like it’s just original flavor Stargate for me even though it’s not the original Stargate. I don’t know how to explain that. Stargate Atlantis has uh, space vampires. Stargate Universe is the grimdark version and then apparently there’s like Stargate Infinity which is a cartoon? Very weird. I don’t know what that’s about. So the tone of this films feels very different to the tone of the show even though the characters are the same. The show’s much happier. Even when it’s dark the show is so much happier.
Ana: I mean, I thought the movie ended pretty happy.
Renay: Yeah, it did. But the show is happier.
Ana: Is it funnier?
Renay: Yes, it’s much funnier because Richard Dean Anderson is a much, much better Jack O’Neil than Kurt Russell. Sorry, Kurt Russell.
Ana: I wonder if one of the reasons—it just occured to me, this— one of the reasons I didn’t like as much is because there isn’t a sense of humor. Maybe it took itself too seriously.
Renay: It was very, very all-in on this serious expedition to a far-away planet and the parts that are humorous are often not the good parts. The parts that are humorous often sit in on the racism and sexism of the world and so when that’s the humor that’s a problem.
Ana: Exactly. It’s played for laughs, for example, when Daniel first arrives and then the father gives her to him as a wedding present.
Ana: And that’s played for laughs because Daniel doesn’t understand at first what’s happening and then everybody’s laughing and then he tries to get away from it. And it’s supposed to be a humorous thing whereas actually it’s not at all.
Renay: In some ways, the movie’s like aware of what it’s doing. Because you know it has Daniel be like, “Uh, no, I’m not going to sleep with you just because they gave you to me like a thing. I’m not gonna do that.” Great, movie! I’m glad you’re aware that that’s messed up, but you’re not really following through on it very well!
Ana: No, because eventually he does sleep with her and very, very soon, too.
Renay: Yes, it’s true. They got married, and he stays on the planet. That’s how it ends. Like a lot of the humor, for the native people on the planet—
Ana: It’s kind of like the naive natives, right, against the savvy Europeans who just arrived and it’s like, “Here, have this feather in exchange for this gold.”
Renay: Yeah, that’s their humor and that’s why I think that’s where it messes up cause all its humor is rooted in racist, sexist, colonialist places.
Ana: Yes. And for me also there is the question of the problematic visuals, with the fact that you have all of these white people arriving on a planet that is populated by people of color and then it’s that that prompts the revolution. It doesn’t mean that the revolution wasn’t already brewing, but I didn’t get that strong sense of it. And it just feels very much like their liberation and revolution was only because the white men arrived. But you don’t have a feeling that there is an underground movement—
Renay: The only underground movement we see is Sha’uri who learns to read and write. That’s pretty much it and I really wish they had used her more to like connect to an actual underground rebellion that sees it as an opportunity that they take. It is not given to them—they take it. But the movie doesn’t do that, which is a totally missed opportunity.
Ana: That’s my biggest problem with it that made me so uncomfortable watching and therefore that then made me not entirely happy with it.
Renay: The show doesn’t do that much better. The show also often screws it up just as much. But on the plus side in this show you get Teal’c, who I love. He’s played by Christopher Judge. I love that character so much.
In the show you get more backstory for the gods. For example, they don’t really dig into the rejuvenation thing, machine, that the gods have. They don’t dig into how the gods get their power. In the show the gods get their power because they’re inhabited by these little wormy parasites and you get all sorts of backstory and that’s why I think you might like this show more. Cause it really goes in on the whole Chariots of the Gods thing. This whole race—Ra is just one of many like many quote-unquote gods, and we get to see all of them. So you get to see a lot of that which is why I think you’ll like this show much better, because it really digs into that whole trope. I mean, I find the whole conspiracy ridiculous because white people: brown people were smarter than you. I’m really sorry. Deal with it.
Ana: I know, right? It’s basically a racist theory, right? Because you get this theory that aliens built what, pyramids but ancient civilizations of Babylon and Sumeria. And of course these are all not white people. So it’s easier to believe that aliens came in then to believe that those ancient civilizations aren’t as evolved as they were. Which is bullshit because the pyramids because the pyramids were being built way before white people were like doing anything worthwhile in Europe. And I’m sorry, sticking one rock on top of the other at Stonehenge does not count. I’m sorry. It does count a little bit. It is a great achievement, guys. Well done, Stone Age. But while you’re doing this, the pyramids already exist and an civilization in Egypt.
Renay: Poor Stonehenge just getting dragged.
Ana: I mean, it’s just a bunch of rocks. It’s impressive! it’s impressive!
Renay: But you saw a crop circle.
Ana: I saw a crop circle but the crop circle was like, just next door farmers doing that, isn’t it? It’s not a real thing.
Renay: I wish aliens were real. That’d be cool. But like, since I can’t have real aliens, I really like the aliens of this show. Eventually you get to see different enemies. The Goa’uld stay the enemies for a while. The Goa’uld are Ra’s “people” and we get to meet other civilizations. Like, there are actually little grey aliens who show up. The Ancients, which later spins off into Stargate Atlantis.
I love Stargate Atlantis so much but thinking back to it, I’m pretty sure the reason I love Stargate Atlantis so much is because the fandom was amazing. Of course, now I get really confused because the biggest ship in the Stargate Atlantis fandom was Sheppard and McKay, and the character was named John Shepard. So now when I’m thinking about Mass Effect I’m like, Commander Shepard? And I’m just like, “Wait, am I talking about Mass Effect or Stargate Atlantis, I’m so confused!” Cause the character has same name.” The shepherd metaphor! I get it, but come on.
Ana: I have no idea what just happened.
Renay: The last name of the hero being Shepard. Shepherding people.
Ana: That’s the same name of the guy from Lost, too. Jack Shephard. And he was the leader.
Renay: Uh-huh, you see.
Ana: Yeah, I used to call him Jacksus. So annoying. I hated him so much. Anyway, we do not wanna go down that route.
Renay: We don’t wanna watch Lost? Now everybody’s gonna want us to watch Lost and talk about it.
Ana: We want to watch Lost, we would love to watch Lost. We should watch Lost.
Renay: It’s going to be a Patreon level eventually. Watching a whole first season and talking about each episode. Yeah.
Ana: Guys, give us some money so I have an excuse to watch Lost with Renay? Can you imagine? Can you imagine?!
Renay: What if we don’t ship the same thing?
Ana: Listen, I’m okay with anything, as long as you don’t like Jack Shepherd.
Renay: I don’t remember how I feel about Jack Shepherd.
Ana: You have no idea how much I hated that character. There were epic, epic, fandom fights between us who hated him and those who loved him. That was my one and only fandom by the way.
Renay: Ana got into some fandom wank over Lost.
Ana: Oh my god, so much.
Renay: Well, back to Stargate. I think in closing, I still love this movie but I really now can assess its flaws much better, and take away from it what I liked as a kid, while also going, “Well you’re not good enough and I think I like SG-1 more anyway.”
Ana: In closing my feelings are the opposite. I really don’t like this movie, but I can assess its merits because Renay made me see the light.
Renay: The other alien movie with evil aliens that I love is Independence Day.
Ana: Ah yes, I love that movie, too.
Renay: Which has some pretty problematic similarities in regards to white American exceptionalism, but I still love it even though I can see those problems.
Ana: I think I like a lot of alien movies. I could think of…of course Alien. Prometheus, which is part of the Alien franchise. But it’s interesting because in Prometheus, the aliens also had been to Earth before, so there is I think a similar comparison that could be made between Prometheus and Stargate.
My favorite one I’m gonna leave for the recommendations. There is also The Day After Tomorrow which I really like, with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. I never watched War of the Worlds and I feel like I should have. Have you watched that one? Also with Tom Cruise.
Renay: No, I have never seen it. I actually liked Oblivion – which is also a Tom Cruise movie. Goddammit are you everywhere, Tom Cruise?! Have you seen Oblivion?
Ana: No, is it good?
Renay: Do you like – I can’t, it’s a spoiler. I think you should watch it.
Ana: All right.
Renay: I don’t mind evil aliens. I don’t think Stargate compares to Independence Day at all. Because Independence Day has much better humor and it doesn’t attach the humor all the time to like really problematic shit. And I also like Independence Day more because it hits more of the things I’m interested in, which is really interesting relationships between women. Stargate didn’t have that at all.
Ana: Oh my god, no.
Renay: But Independence Day had a little of it, and Independence Day also had a much more dynamic and interesting main duo, with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. Perfect, perfect.
Ana: Ah, Jeff Goldblum is awesome.
Renay: And so otherwise I was trying of evil alien movies I like. I like the Alien franchise, I did not like Prometheus, that can go die in a fire.
Ana: I loved Prometheus. I loved Prometheus more than the other Alien movies.
Renay: What?! Ana.
Ana: Oh oh! Controversial opinion!
Renay: Ana, that’s terrible! My favorite Alien movie, that was the one with Wynona Ryder. I forget what that’s called.
Ana: I don’t think I watched that one.
Renay: What? Oh my god, that’s my favorite. So yeah, I like happy alien movies where the aliens are pals. Like Arrival. I also like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Ana: Of course, E.T.
Renay: I liked E.T. a lot when I was a kid. I watched the tape to death.
Ana: Did you ever watch Contact?
Renay: I did, yeah.
Ana: I don’t remember it that well but it does have good aliens.
Renay: We need to rewatch Contact. I rewatch Contact so much. Oh my god.
Ana: I think I only watched it once.
Renay: What?! I have watched Contact like eight zillion times. Mostly I think I like Contact because I first saw it when I was going through my process of like leaving religion forever. Goodbye religion, see you later, I’m out. It like, gave me a lot to think about. It’s not really about the aliens so much in that movie, although yes, there are aliens and they are nice. Well. One alien. And they’re nice.
Renay: You’d think that I would know more alien movies.
Ana: Men in Black, I guess?
Renay: There are nice aliens in Men in Black. I liked Men in Black II.
Ana: Alf, did you ever watch Alf, the TV show?
Renay: God, yeah.
Ana: That was on TV when I was a child. Dubbed. I used to love it.
Renay: I was busy developing a humiliation trigger, so a lot of the sitcoms I was unable to watch. Out of the evil alien movies that I’ve seen, I mean, Independence Day is always gonna win? The Fifth Element is up there but they have nice aliens too. It has both.
Ana: Jupiter Ascending is an alien movie.
Renay: It is, yes! But no, the—the other alien movie that I loved was Coneheads.
Renay: Oh – oh my god I love that stupid movie so much!
Ana: What was the other one that I really loved? That had aliens, it was based on…
Renay: Galaxy Quest.
Ana: Yes, Galaxy Quest. I love Galaxy Quest so much. I actually watched it the other day and it really did stand the test of time.
Renay: Starship Troopers had evil aliens?
Ana: Ugh. It’s a Heinlein novel.
Renay: I liked the film, although I think I missed the point of it the first time I watched it? Cause I was like, “What’s going on?” Apparently there’s some satire happening and I was too young to get the satire? But I watched it later when I was an adult and was like, “Oh, I get it! Okay.” I don’t have a clue what the book was about but apparently people who love the book think the movie is garbage. I don’t know. I really liked the movie.
Ana: Do you know what would make good movies? The John Scalzi series.
Renay: Oh my god I know!
Ana: There’s a bookish recommendation for aliens, too.
Renay: Dear Hollywood, I need you to call John Scalzi’s agent right now. Right now.
Ana: I’m pretty sure that rights to – to movies have been sold. I can’t imagine that Macmillan would have dropped the ball.
Renay: I need them to make it. I need them to make all of them. Think about seeing Zoe’s Tale on the big screen.
Ana: Oh my god. I know.
Renay: Meanwhile, they’re trying to find new franchises and they make some shitty Tom Cruise Mummy rip-off. What’s that about?
Ana: Well I hear it’s really bad.
Renay: Exactly, why are they making that instead instead of making John Scalzi’s books into movies. What is happening with Hollywood? Like come on guys.
Ana: I dunno, I know that Transformers: A Billion’s out now too, and that’s also an alien movie.
Renay: I like Bumblebee.
Ana: I quite like the first Transformers.
Renay: Yeah, it was – it was okay, it was a fun movie.
Ana: I like special effects.
Renay: I like my robot pals a little more… me-sized.
Ana: Aww! But then he could pick you up!
Renay: And he could also step on me by accident.
Ana: He wouldn’t do that. Bumblebee is so nice. He would never do that.
Renay: So Stargate: we’ve compared to other movies, we’ve discussed it, what do we think we should give it in some space bees? The moment of truth.
Ana: I would give it a two.
Renay: After discussing it, and thinking about it, I will probably give it a three.
Ana: Fair enough.
Renay: It doesn’t get a four or a five, just for nostalgia’s sake. It’s gonna get a three. Sorry, Stargate.
Ana: But you still love it and that’s fine.
Renay: This episode was brought to you by our patrons.
Ana: Thank you!
Renay: They are super nice. If you wanna become one, visit us at patreon.com/fangirlhappyhour and earn the right to nominate things to go on our polls for our Vault episodes.
Ana: Basically you get to tell us what to do. Imagine the possibilities.
Renay: Somebody’s gonna make me watch Blue Lagoon! Even though I’ve seen Blue Lagoon. But they’re gonna make me watch it again! Which I never planned to do, for any reason.
Ana: Oh man, that would be awesome. And also very scary.
[Music: Joy by Chuki Beats]
Renay: Let’s recommend some stuff. What you got?
Ana: So based off this and our discussion, I will recommend another nineties movie that I loved. It’s a 1996 movie, Mars Attacks. It’s a Tim Burton movie, too. My recollection is that it’s hilarious. The biggest scene I can remember is the very last scene when the few humans who survive come out of their cave, to find Tom Jones singing, “It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone, duh-duh-duuuh…” and that was the greatest thing I have ever seen in my life. Have you watched it?
Renay: Yes, but it’s been a long time.
Ana: I know, right? I’m recommending it but I don’t even know if it stands the test of time. If it doesn’t…
Renay: Nobody is allowed to ruin your nostalgia goggles.
Ana: Well, they can.
Renay: If they want to.
Ana: It’s fine. I ruined Stargate for you.
Renay: You didn’t ruin Stargate for me.
Ana: [laughter] Anyway, what is your rec?
Renay: I have two. I brought fanfic.
Ana: This is becoming a pattern, this thing where you recommend two things.
Renay: It is, but they’re great.
Ana: I could have recommended two movies.
Renay: You could have. I don’t know why you didn’t.
Ana: Because I’m following the rules.
Renay: I’m a rulebreaker.
I’m going to recommend two pieces of fanfic, both from Stargate Atlantis. Strangely enough I didn’t read a lot of Stargate SG-1 fic. I think that I didn’t really ship anything in that fandom? I could’ve, but I didn’t. But in Stargate Atlantis fandom, I did. I was a big fan of Sheppard and McKay, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, god it was such a weird ship, thinking back to it? It’s like, “Yeah, these forty-year-old dudes, let’s do this!” Ah, but it was so good, Ana, people were so talented and they’re so—talented!
Ana: Were they a canon couple?
Renay: No, they were not at all. Not even a little bit. They were super antagonistic toward each other.
Ana: Oh, right, okay, so it’s that kind, okay.
Renay: Also, this fandom existed in a really particular point in time, so like if you go read the fic it reads differently than fic now does? And also there was a policy at that point in the US called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, where you weren’t asked if you were queer and you don’t tell anybody you’re queer, you just sort of…exist. And it was a terrible policy. It’s now gone, goodbye forever, terrible policy. But it really cast a shadow over that fandom, so reading it now it’s like going back in time.
I thought it was really interesting to think about it in that way, so one of the fics I’m gonna recommend is called Scenes From A Lesser War by amireal. It’s about John and Rodney being together and then ending the relationship because they don’t wanna get caught, it’s complicated, and then like almost immediately Don’t Ask Don’t Tell gets lifted. They have to like navigate what that means and how it’s gonna change the dynamic of the mission, because like in Stargate Atlantis they’re not on Earth, they’re on this far away planet and so they’re really far removed from quote-unquote High Command. And it’s just a really interesting fic to get like a sense how the tone worked in Stargate Atlantis fic, when it came to like being quote-unquote “out” and how the dynamic changed because of that. Cause nowadays in fic, it’s not really a big deal for characters to like date the people of the same gender or there’s lots of fic dealing with asexuality and being trans and all that stuff, like… But back then, that just didn’t, I mean it was out there but it wasn’t big and it wasn’t as explored as it is now. So yeah it’s just really interesting. I reread this fic I was just like, “Gosh, this is so strange.” It’s still good, but the tone of the story is very different than you’ll find in fanfic today.
The second story is titled Cartography By Touch by rageprufrock. It’s really easy to spoil this story, and trigger warning for like sexual assault and rape. I really loved this story. It’s beautifully written. The ship part of it doesn’t really come into it. It’s a lot more like a character study. Sometimes I almost think of this story as like a gen story. It’s not explicitly shippy, but it’s all there in the negative space.
So if you’ve seen Stargate Atlantis and you like fanfic, I highly recommend both of these stories, they are excellent.
Ana: Do you have a catalogue of all your favorite stories somewhere?
Renay: I keep a lot of them on pinboard. Ana, you still need to read the Star Trek fic.
Ana: I was just thinking that, actually.
Renay: You gotta do it, you gotta read it so we can talk about it. I’m so excited!
Ana: I know I know I know I know I know I know —!
Renay: Tell everybody what we’re gonna discuss next time.
Ana: We are definitely going to be discussing Another Castle by Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau. And that is a promise. We will do it for real this time.
[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]
Renay: It’s the end of episode eighty-five, and our very first patreon-sponsored Vault episode. Thank you very much patrons for making this possible.
Ana: We really do appreciate it.
Renay: Follow us on twitter at @fangirlpodcast because we love new followers. If you don’t like twitter we’d still love to hear from you. Our email is email@example.com. Follow us, tell a friend, support us on Patreon for that sweet, sweet cash to help us become sustainable.
Ana: Our music this week is by Boxcat Games and Chuki Beats. Our show art was made by Ira. You can find links to their work in our show notes plus information about the movies that we discussed. Susan creates our excellent transcripts, and you can read them on our website. Message her at @Spindilly on twitter with a hundred and forty bee emojis for being super great.
Renay: Drink some water, get some sleep, and remember to contact your reps so that they don’t take away my healthcare.
Ana: And if you ever cross a stargate and meet a new civilization: please, please, leave the nuclear bomb behind.
Renay: Thanks for listening, space bees.
Ana: See you next episode.
[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]
Renay: Who do you think the hottest person in this movie was? Kurt Russell or James Spader?
Ana: The nuclear bomb.
Renay: I’m not—I’m never, I’m never gonna be civil about this. This is the greatest movie of all time!
Ana: Oh my gods, no!
Ana: When you make proclamations like this it’s hard not to fight.
Renay: Alright. Here we go. Doing some… Ra-rar-rar…
Renay: What do I wanna say?
Ana: [laughter] I’m like, “What am I reading?”
Renay: I meant to write movies…