Asta 2

Oh, Joy, Lee Adama Meta ;)

Many moons ago someone on my FList linked a post entitled "What Kind of (insert fave character) Fan Are you?" by daybreak777 . Daybreak talked about her favorite character, Kara Thrace, and defined herself as the "warm, squishy, will love my-character-forgive-them-everything-complete-with-virtual-hugs-till-character-death-do-us-part fan." Since not everyone loves their favorite character in the same way she posed the question, "Why is your favorite character your favorite character?" This led me to think about my current favorite character, Lee Adama, and why I love him. As I pondered that I ended up thinking a lot about how I came to the series and when I fell for him. Ultimately, this turned out to be as much about those things as the why. And since I am finally posting this on More Joy Day I decided to add visuals.



Once I love a character, once they become a favorite, they’re pretty much stuck with me. My favorite characters tend to be male. Though I've also been known to have no favorite character (Star Trek: The Next Generation), have it be the female lead (Dead Like Me), or even a muppet (Farscape). An actor's attractiveness will play a role in my interest in a male character, but there are many pretty faces on TV and if the person can’t act they won’t hold my interest beyond a few minutes. Of course, if in addition to looks and talent I find out the guy is smart, funny, down-to-earth and a decent human being there is a good chance I become the somewhat obsessive, in-it-for-the-long-haul girl. ;)

All of which brings me back to Lee Adama.

I have to start at a point before I even saw the mini series. I confess, I was one of those people, the ones who had no interest in watching a re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica. I was a devoted viewer of the original series when it premiered, at age six, and watched repeats in the years that followed. It wasn’t sacred to me, but through the eyes of a child it did seem pretty cool. I loved the Cylons. They may have looked clumsy in those silver plastic suits, but when they uttered, "By your command", suddenly they seemed rather menacing. I wanted to see Baltar get his just desserts (some things don’t change). And I was a Starbuck fan, before we learned what an ass Dirk Benedict is. So when I read about the changes - Starbuck was not a girl and the Cylons do not look like us - they seemed very wrong to me.

I refused to watch the mini series and I wasn’t going to watch the series either. A friend told me, repeatedly, how much she thought I would enjoy it and kept after me until I finally relented. I watched a three hour cut of the mini on NBC the Sunday before the Friday premiere of Season 1. Digging out the email I sent to my friend shortly after watching, here were my very first thoughts on Lee:

Unlike the original series, I think I have the hots for Apollo. ;) I really enjoyed the tension between he and Adama. Plus, he followed the chain of command by taking orders from the President rather than his father and, no, it wasn’t to piss him off, but because it was the right thing to do.

Two things strike me about those three year old remarks. First, I swear, I don’t recall being that attracted to Lee/Jamie in the mini. ;) Secondly, "because it was the right thing to do."

It was clear, to me, from the outset that Lee Adama wasn’t going to be the standard television hero. Our first shot of Lee is not the hot shot viper pilot jumping out of his ship, excited to be aboard for the decommissioning ceremony. Instead, Lee Adama removes his helmet and is clearly not happy to be there. He sits in his ship for a moment, his expression not too far removed from his blank stare in ‘Resurrection Ship Pt 2’, lets out a deep sigh, and practically has to will himself to move.





I’m not going to delve into Lee's ‘pissy little bastard’ confrontation with his father. It's an important aspect of his character, but his attitude and resentment there have been discussed at length. What I don’t see people comment on as much is the moment just after he finishes blasting Adama on his responsibility for Zak’s death. With his back to Lee, Adama is unable to see that Lee takes no pleasure in the pain he is causing. I’d even say there is regret on his part.





It should be a cathartic moment for Lee, two years of anger and resentment that he’s kept buried inside finally released, but it’s not. It’s probably the moment where my spark of affection began. Lee had been an ass up to that point, but suddenly I also saw him as a deeply flawed and troubled person. It's the first time we see that when Lee Adama is hurting, he will hurt others. The truth is he acts as so many of us might. He bottles his pain up until he can’t keep it in anymore, then lashes out. It’s not blind rage though, Lee is good at sussing out other’s weaknesses and knowing where to strike. It's probably why he makes such an awesome viper pilot as well. He's all about precision. But his expertise may also be because he is too well acquainted with his perceived failings. While I don’t believe his actions are totally unconscious on his part, I don’t feel they're planned either. Too much experience leads to it becoming instinct, just knowing where and how to strike when the opportunity presents itself.

Set forth from the mini series is that Lee Adama is a flawed character. He can be moody. He can be judgmental. He’s unforgiving, as much of himself as others. He can be self-righteous. While the discomfort after the confrontation certainly softened Lee a bit for me, what really saves him from that label of "ass" is one brief moment in the mini:

"The lady’s in charge."






Ron Moore, thankfully, decided to balance all of Lee Adama's faults by showing us he was also a deeply honorable man. That it will always come down to, “because it was the right thing to do.” We would come to learn that Lee has the ability to quickly access a situation and decide how to proceed. Give him too much time to think and he’ll dwell on his perceived short comings and wallow in self doubt, but, time and again, he shows he can make the snap decision. As Dorel leads Lee to Laura Roslin, he hope's to influence Lee, manipulate his decision making. But Lee needs only a minute, if that, to see Laura, under the worst possible conditions, already has a viable plan of action, providing them with the best hope of surviving.

And I love this moment between the two:






Not just because it looks as if he's checking out her legs ;), but because he just knows what she is about to face without her telling him. And he stands by her side, literally and figuratively, through the rest of the mini. Lee Adama shows himself to be stalwart, he'll be there for you no matter the circumstance or the consequence to himself, if you just allow him in.

As much as I found Lee intriguing in the mini series, I can’t say I had yet fallen hard for the guy. Not even ‘33’ or ‘Water’ where we were presented with the CAG, a leader, dealing with so much insecurity and regret. It would be ‘Bastille Day’ and four key moments that would be the turning points for me in terms of Lee, the show, and a ship. ;)

Point the first, I still recall saying to danceswithwords on IM, "He’s not really going to take on twenty prisoners is he?"





As foolish as it was for Lee to fight a fight he couldn't possibly win (and one that may have gotten him killed), the action said a lot about him as a person. No matter the odds, he would not give up. Yes, later in the series he was willing to give up, but it was on himself. For a belief or a cause, he’ll fight to the bitter end.





When Lee pointed the gun at Zarek’s head I didn’t believe he’d pull the trigger. Heroes don’t murder people. (No one bring up ‘Black Market’, Lee gets a get-out-of-jail-free card for killing a murderer and pedophile.) It did, however, show a hint of a darker side to Lee Adama. As Ron said in the podcast, they saw a “scary” Lee, a more dangerous Lee. If you push him in the wrong direction, you may not like what you get.

Which leads me to point the second. While I wasn’t shocked when Lee promised Zarek the opportunity for freedom and elections in six months, it was the moment that I realized, when confronted by a choice between his military duty or doing what he believes is right, his conscience will win out. Lee chose to break away from the role of, not just Captain, but son, by refusing to back down before his father or the president on his decision. He took a stand and showed the man he is. He makes neither happy, almost makes an enemy of his father, but he refuses to budge.

The final two moments that made me realize I loved Lee and was a Lee/Laura shipper come in the finale scene. Lee has this adorable awkwardness at seeing Laura in her quarters, in her robe.





He tries to alleviate the tension (that only he seems to feel) by attempting to be funny, not realizing Laura is about to confess she is dying.





And then as I was looking through screencaps, it struck me just how quickly Lee's emotions and expressions can change (and reinforcing what a great actor Jamie is).





What I just adore about the scene is watching Lee struggle just trying to be Lee. He's so uneasy just trying to be himself, trying to let his guard down. At the same time, when he can fall back to his ideals, he can be so confidant, so passionate. To quote from an old post of mine:

I like the fact that Lee doesn’t come to apologize to Laura for his actions, but to reiterate why he did what he did - that he was simply upholding the law as they all should. I also like that she’s not expecting an apology because, unlike Adama, she understands that he did what his conscience guided him to do and that based on sound reasoning there was only one right course of action. There was nothing personal about his position - Laura gets it, Adama doesn't.

Which leads to...."Of course you will, you’re Captain Apollo."






I don’t like Lee all the time. He pisses me off and he frustrates me, mostly because he dwells far too much on his weaknesses and ignores his strengths. The infidelity, or near infidelity depending on how you want to look at it, was a nadir for me with Lee. I hate rationalizing or making excuses for a character, particularly one I like. But then comes a moment like the one in ‘Unfinished Business’ when Adama informs Lee of Kara’s marriage. That look of utter devastation on his face just guts me, as much as seeing a civilian ship destroyed, and suddenly whatever anger I felt towards him fades and only the pain of his pain remains.

I can be like Lee Adama in some ways. Selfish and judgmental. Moody. Holding people to too high a standard. I’ve seen bop_radar and brokenmnemonic talk about Lee being their ‘hook’ into the series. Strangely, I had never thought about Lee in that way, but the truth is I do see events through Lee, his eyes and his conscience. I can’t recall a time, barring the affair, that I’ve disagreed with his choices and actions. I get him in ways I can’t always get the other characters. It also helps to explain why Laura Roslin is my second favorite character for nine times out of ten I will see her point.

Why do I love Lee Adama? Because he's hot. Because he can be an ass, a hero, and humanity's conscience all in the same scene. Because, for better and worse, I see myself in him. Because while Adama, Laura, and Kara may have the flashier, better developed plot lines, I can't image Battlestar Galactica without him.

This is probably lighter on analysis then I had intended, yet you wouldn't believe how much time I've spent on it. At some point it became a writing exercise for me as well. I tend to have wordiness issues, just ask my beta ;), and I really was trying for a streamlined approach to getting across me thoughts. All of which is in prep for getting back to the fic writing.

Also, I'm cutting posting really close. Only one more hour of Joy in the eastern time zone! ;)
  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Tags:
I look back now, after I don't know how many viewings of the mini, and wonder why I didn't love Lee immediately. I have to think it was a combination of me going into it with a negative mind set and Lee being such an ass when we first meet him. And his hair was kind of funny. ;)
I don't remember the exact moment or scene that did me in. Starbuck was probably my gateway drug (actually it's hard to separate one character from other elements that pulled me in. I think it was a combo that built up and built up; I was casually watching until ep.4 and then it hit me big time. Btw, I hadn't seen Bastille Day until after ep.4). My interest in Lee sort of brewed for a long time. I didn't fall for him right away, in fact he made me squirm a little. I'm not sure I saw events through his eyes, but I definitely identified with a lot of his features (not so much with Kara).

It’s probably the moment where my spark of affection began. Lee had been an ass up to that point, but suddenly I also saw him as a deeply flawed and troubled person.

Yes! And this:
Not just because it looks as if he's checking out her legs ;), but because he just knows what she is about to face without her telling him. And he stands by her side, literally and figuratively, through the rest of the mini. Lee Adama shows himself to be stalwart, he'll be there for you no matter the circumstance or the consequence to himself, if you just allow him in.

Exactly!

Of course it didn't hurt that Jamie is a terrific actor ;-)

Great post, Asta.
Until 'Bastille Day' I didn't click with any one character. I found them all interesting and, something that is unusual for me, I didn't dislike any character. Even Six, who you knew was the 'bad guy', I didn't hate or wish to see dead. Snapping a baby's neck you would think would turn you against someone. ;) But Tricia's performance, choosing to show that Six felt something after doing what she did, humanized her, for lack of a better word, for me. So, yeah, in the beginning I was watching all these people and only as time went on did I find myself drawn more to some than others. I still can't say I hate anyone, but by the end of S3 I did find myself no longer caring about Adama.

And thanks! :)
This is so interesting--I'm glad you posted it! I will readily admit that Lee has been among my least-favorite characters on the series from pretty much the beginning; I continue to be not-a-Lee-fan, but two things have helped with that a bit: seeing how cool Jamie Bamber is at D*C, and getting to know you and seeing someone's honest and considered enthusiasm for a character who doesn't do much for me. I don't think at this point I'm ever likely to change my mind that much about Lee, but I do love to read why other people think he's great--and I'm glad that people do think he's great!

I suppose for me his flaws (and the self-righteousness above all) have been the kinds of flaws that I find most unattractive, and his nobility has also been the wrong kind to push my buttons. And yeah, I think he's whiny. (I'm not sure there's a single character on BSG that I really like, at least very much of the time. But the ones who most fascinate me are the ones like Laura and Saul who will go out there and sacrifice their ideals and their souls and everything they've ever loved in pursuit of a particular goal. I think the Adamas, who are always concerned with the cost of the sacrifice, are a necessary balance in the equation, but they grab me less--and Lee less than Bill, though I think Bill is absolutely an arrogant, self-righteous SOB.)

I do miss the relationship that Laura and Lee had at the beginning of the series. I never shipped them, and I can't fault the writers' decisions to develop the characters in ways that send them apart in the ways they did, but I do think back on that time with a fond nostalgia and a bit of grief for what was lost when that relationship died.

Anyway, I'll stop babbling at you. But thanks for posting this! It's always nice to see a character through another set of eyes! :)
What's been so great about LJ, at least for me (perhaps because I have such an intelligent and sane Flist ;), is that you do get exposed to all these different views of characters, ships, and story developments. I'd hazard to guess I have as many, if not more, Kara fans on my Flist than Lee fans. And for those who ship, the majority are L/K shippers. Sure, sometimes it makes it hard to join in the fun, but I appreciate being able to read why people love this character or this relationship and while others views are unlikely to completely change my opinion it definitely deepens my understanding and appreciation of the show.

It's interesting to read that Lee's flaws and his nobility, which I will admit can be a positive and a negative and make me appreciate him more, are the same things that make him a least-favorite. I also get that. I admire that in the face of everything he, personally, and the fleet, as a whole, have faced that he is still able to hold onto and fight for his ideals. But I can also see how it comes off as stubbornness and self-righteousness and an inability to see the other side. 'Resurrection Ship' is a good example of this, especially since you mention Laura's willingness to sacrifice her ideals and soul in pursuit of a particular goal. Lee was gutted, to the point of giving up on life, after he discovered Laura had ordered the assassination of Cain and that his father was going along with it. Lee was still holding on to his view of right and wrong and what they would all be turning into if they followed through with this plan. I'm not saying he was wrong to despair, his speech in 'Crossroads' addressed many things they all need to think about, but I'm not sure Laura was wrong either. I can't believe Laura Roslin came to the decision to assassinate another human being easily. I do think it took a bit of her soul. But she had to consider, if Cain lived what would have happened to the fleet and the survival of the human race? I think they would have pretty much been doomed. So Laura made the only choice she felt she had, kill one person to save thousands.

I got a little off track there. ;) I think my point is that I can agree that Lee does, at times, fail to see both sides and the big picture and that can be frustrating to viewers. Things are not always as clear cut as he hopes them to be.

though I think Bill is absolutely an arrogant, self-righteous SOB.)

TOTALLY 100% agree with you here! :)

I really appreciate your comments. It made me think even more about Lee and his role on the show. And may have even contributed to that fic I need to get working on. ;)
Like pellucid, I've never been a huge fan of Lee. He's definitely had his moments (the realization that he was suddenly, unexpectedly commanding Pegasus in a firefight against cylon basestars in The Captain's Hand was one such moment, as was his testimony in Baltar's trial), but over the course of the series I'd have to say that I was never drawn to watch because of Lee. Because I'm an unabashed fanboy, I think my love for Starbuck is a moral imperative, and my I-wish-I-could-ever-be-that-much-of-a-bad-ass respect for Tigh knows no bounds (S4 might be a little rough for me).

But I appreciate that, except for a stretch during S2, Lee may be the best written (read: realistic) character on BSG, which makes me ever eager to read posts like this. There's just so much to say about him, and reading about Lee (and through him, different viewpoints on other characters) always helps remind me of the things I love about the show.
and reading about Lee (and through him, different viewpoints on other characters) always helps remind me of the things I love about the show.

Heh. I just made a very similar comment in responding to Pellucid. I'm certain I wouldn't understand and appreciate all the characters and facets of the show if not for the people on my Flist who adore Kara or admire Laura or dissect Baltar's complexities or like the Cylons more than the humans or worry for Tigh. And I think I decided to do this post because we're still on hiatus and Ron didn't make Lee do something stupid and I felt no need to defend my favorite character. It was just a good opportunity for me to get some things straight in my own mind and, for anyone who wondered why, list why I love Lee. I probably should go back and thank Daybreak for the inspiration. ;)

But I appreciate that, except for a stretch during S2, Lee may be the best written (read: realistic) character on BSG

Lee does feel very real to me, perhaps because I do identify with him in some ways. But, I have to say, all the characters are very realistic to me even when some plot lines ring a false note. The only other show on TV that I watch regularly that even compares in characterization would be Friday Night Lights. Perhaps Lee is the most realistic because, and I obviously don't mean this in a negative way, there is nothing special about him. He's not a Cylon (I'm assuming ;). He hasn't had cancer magically cured. He doesn't have a girl in his head. He doesn't have a destiny or has returned from the dead. He's just a guy struggling with his conscience and struggling to survive.
Unlike the original series, I think I have the hots for Apollo.

I love the understatement in this. You think. Heh.

And you already know I'm with you on pretty much all of this, but it's good to be reminded. Lovely post! And *ouch* sad!Lee during the cancer reveal still gets me, every time. Might actually be time for a rewatch...
Hey! That was like a four year old quote! And I had just seen him for the first time...or so I thought. Apparently, Archie lakes less of an impression than Lee.

After thinking about all this and going through screencaps I had thoughts about rewatching the mini too. :)
Lovely post *g*

I'm always fascinated by how some people can pinpoint the exact moment that they fell in love with a character. I guess as someone who is most often drawn to strong ensembles and rarely has a favourite character (BSG is a grand departure for me in that respect) I get a kick out of being allowed to see the process behind one of fandom's stronger characteristics.
Thanks. :)

I have very strong memories of when I first fell in love with a character or a show or a ship and I enjoy zeroing in on that moment and asking myself why this and why now? Because it is very rare for me to fall in love with a show from the pilot. For example, with The X-Files it was the episode 'Ice' and Mulder and Scully pointing guns at each other that hooked me. With Farscape it was 'DNA Mad Scientist' and John fighting so hard for Aeryn's life when she had given up any hope and thinking he had killed her when he had just saved her. I just adore those moments when suddenly everything clicks for me and I know I'm the show's bitch. ;)
First of all, can I say how much I love you for saying how much you love Lee's flaws? I know this is ridiculous, and almost certainly not the case, but so often the Lee-meta I read seems to fall along the lines of 'I love him because he's so...idealistic, and democratic, and has such integrity, and is... SO MUCH BETTER than EVERYONE.'

I'm sure that isn't the intention of people who love Lee (100% sure) but, it's often seemed strange to me, because the moments when I love Lee most, are when he is at his most flawed and imperfect: when he bitches out Kara in KLG, even though my heart is breaking for Kara, because Lee gets it so completely wrong, I still kind of love Lee for being so extremely bitchy, for knowing exactly what will hurt Kara the most. Not because it's admirable (it isn't) because it speaks so amazingly of how observant he is, how much he understands Kara, even when he gets things utterly backwards. He does the same thing to Dee in Season 3, and even though I hate it, (because Lee is So Much Better than that), I love how it illustrates one of his better traits.

I suppose, Lee has occasionally tended to stray into waht I think of as 'One Stalwart Man Fighting Against The Forces of Evil and Pigheadedness and All That is Non-Democratic and other UNnice Things' which I tend not to find particularly interesting (it doesn't suit Helo either). There's nothing moving in that for me - when I love Lee (which is most of the time), it's when he proves that sometimes...sometimes genuinely, truly good and well intentioned people do awful, foolish things, mess stuff up and hurt the people they love most. It's the same reason I love Kara and Laura and Chief and Tigh and why Adama tends to annoy me (because he does it too, but the show never calls him on it).

(I'm not sure this is actually helpful, but I'll post it anyway. From one Kara-lover to a Lee-lover!)
If I made a list of all the characters I love I think it's fair to say that most, if not all, are deeply screwed up. I just find those characters so much more interesting. Granted, I may not want to spend a lot of time with them in real life, but they are fascinating to watch on screen and analyze. And, like you, I'm not much for the 'I love (insert character name) because they are awesome!' Which, sure, every character can be awesome at times and do something exceptional and make you want to cheer for them, but it's rather surface-y. And what's more interesting? Learning Kara Thrace is a hot shot viper pilot because she's a patriot who wants to serve her colony? Or that she was looking to escape a brutal childhood and was driven to be the best to prove something to herself and her mother and that on some days she even might have a death wish?

when he bitches out Kara in KLG, even though my heart is breaking for Kara, because Lee gets it so completely wrong, I still kind of love Lee for being so extremely bitchy, for knowing exactly what will hurt Kara the most. Not because it's admirable (it isn't) because it speaks so amazingly of how observant he is, how much he understands Kara, even when he gets things utterly backwards.

I love that you bring up that scene in KLG because I was so angry at Lee during that scene. He was completely out of line. He was not in a relationship with her and had no right to play at the jealous/betrayed boyfriend. But I agree that it was yet another sign of how much Lee does understand Kara, how attuned he can be to people in general, because he knew that he would be able to hurt her. It also served as a reminder, lest we forget his actions in the mini, that a Lee Adama that has been hurt will lash out in retaliation.

it's when he proves that sometimes...sometimes genuinely, truly good and well intentioned people do awful, foolish things, mess stuff up and hurt the people they love most.

Isn't that something we can all identify with? The vast majority of us want to be and try to be good people, but we all do stupid things and occasionally hurt others. And I appreciate that Lee acknowledges this, sometimes only to himself (I love how expressive Jamie's face is and you just know how he is feeling), while sometimes he'll actually decide to open up as he did to Kara in 'The Captain's Hand', sharing with her why he had all that anger and resentment towards her and that it wasn't about her, it was about him.

and why Adama tends to annoy me (because he does it too, but the show never calls him on it).

Thank you. Another person who is frustrated by the shows inability to not allow Adama to fall off his pedestal. I could do a whole post on that, but it might be too upsetting. ;)
Great post! Love your analysis and the well-chosen pictures.

With his back to Lee, Adama is unable to see that Lee takes no pleasure in the pain he is causing. I’d even say there is regret on his part.
Well said! I felt the same way too when I first saw it. Only you've said way better.

And then as I was looking through screencaps, it struck me just how quickly Lee's emotions and expressions can change (and reinforcing what a great actor Jamie is).
Hee, I've said almost exact the same thing before as I screencapped the court scene from Crossroads, II.

That look of utter devastation on his face just guts me, as much as seeing a civilian ship destroyed, and suddenly whatever anger I felt towards him fades and only the pain of his pain remains.
::sniff:: Love how you put it into words.

I hope you don't mind if I *pimp* this post to the fans at The Adama Realm, do you?

Final question, what exactly is a meta in blogging context? Does it have the similar meaning as "metadata"?
I don't mind if you pimp at all. ;)

What is meta? I've actually been thinking about this for awhile because I am lousy at defining things. When I looked up a definition the best I found was "self-referential" which led me to think of it in terms of it being what separates us from the critics. Pick up an Entertainment Weekly and you expect to find a general summary of a film or TV show with the critic's opinion of how the film succeed or failed to develop plot and character and if the actors and director have any talent. If the critic suddenly started going on about how the film changed their life or why one character was better than another or comparing the themes to a book they read in college twenty years ago you probably would go, "Huh?" So meta I think has become our analysis sifted through a very personal filter. I'm not just talking about Lee here, but how I identify with Lee and what he means to me.

I'm not certain that meta today means what it did ten years ago. For instance, "slash" use to simply mean the pairing of two characters, but now if you say "slash" people automatically think same-sex pairing.

Did that help at all???
You rock! Thanks for taking the time to formulate, type and share.

I was you at the beginning, but I resisted all the way until they showed the complete mini for the 2nd time several months later up here in Canuckland, and then I only watched because there was NOTHING else on TV (it was a Saturday night) and I watched for 1.5 hours straight and then came out and told the dh was a stupid, foolish ass I was.

Lee is the heart of the BSG world, to me. I heart Lee Adama. Except when the writers don't know what to do with him, but for the most part they've done right by him.
Thanks! :)

Except when the writers don't know what to do with him

Heh. Sadly, we've had far too many of those moments, but after the last three episodes I'm hoping they finally have an idea where to take him.
This is a great post. I love reading about why people love their favorite characters. Someday, I would love to do a similar post, only I'm afraid mine would turn into Kara Thrace: Great Hero or the Greatest Hero? ;) So I really admire the level of objectivity you've attained here!

I agree about "the lady's in charge" being one of the great Lee moments of the series. I watched the end of season two before I saw the miniseries, so I was utterly shocked at what a whiny little, uh, "brat" Lee was compared to the character I'd first met in The Captain's Hand. I mean, he yelled at the Chief! ;) But then came that moment with Roslin. I think he - and Jamie Bamber -shone most in his scenes with her and with Kara. If I'd seen the Mini first, I think I would have shipped him with Laura, but as it was i knew he'd already be juggling Dee and Kara and that was quite enough. ;)

I'm with you too about Bastille Day. That was a ridiculously good hero episode for Lee. In fact, it annoyed me that that was the episode that kicked off all the screaming about Kara being a Mary Sue, because it struck me as a little odd though that no one complained about Apollo, who's the second best pilot, also being skilled at hand-to-hand combat, well-read, a budding political philosopher, and a compelling negotiator, not to mention looking like a GQ model - only with better arms - even after being battered and bloodied. Man. *swoons*

One of my issues with Lee has been that I think the writers have tried to complicate his characterization and make him more flawed and human, but they haven't really thought it through and done it in ways that are consistent. For example: (No one bring up ‘Black Market’, Lee gets a get-out-of-jail-free card for killing a murderer and pedophile.) And i'd be happy to give him that card if just two episodes ago he hadn't been faced with the necessity of killing Cain, whom he knew was a monster and a huge threat to the human race, and he attempted suicide. So, faced with a situation where he has to assassinate Cain, or let her in all likelihood strip the fleet again and wipe out humanity, he's driven to despair and suicide. And then, two episodes later, he commits cold-blooded murder to save a few cute kids. To me, that makes the kind of sense that doesn't. ;) At first I hoped Ron was making a point that would be followed up on, but then in the podcast he said that it was just in there to shock and now he hates it. In fact, a lot of seemingly important elements of Lee's character are later disavowed by the writers, like his abusive mother, who was also thrown in at the last minute to shock the audience. And they've also admitted that fat!Lee and Razor-Lee were mistakes, so none of these things will likely get followed up on. So while he's still a great character, for me he doesn't have that internal consistency that would allow me to latch on to him as a true "fan," if that makes sense. But I'd be interested to know what you think about moments like these.

That's a really interesting point about identifying with characters who are like you. I agree that many many people do that, and talk about instinctively "getting" a character because they're like an idealized version of themselves. It interests me because I don't really think I do that; my favorite character is Kara, who I have basically nothing in common with, and the character I have the most respect for is Roslin, even though she's the consummate pragmatist and I'm more idealistic IRL. I think it's that internal consistency that appeals to me, somehow.

(I'm not much of a shipper either, but all my Lee-icons seem to have Kara in them ;p)

Edited at 2008-01-12 06:18 am (UTC)
So I really admire the level of objectivity you've attained here!

Thanks! That is not always easy. ;)

That was a ridiculously good hero episode for Lee. In fact, it annoyed me that that was the episode that kicked off all the screaming about Kara being a Mary Sue, because it struck me as a little odd though that no one complained about Apollo, who's the second best pilot, also being skilled at hand-to-hand combat, well-read, a budding political philosopher, and a compelling negotiator, not to mention looking like a GQ model - only with better arms - even after being battered and bloodied.

That episode started Kara = Mary Sue? Really? I've never even thought of that. She is in the military and they are trained in all forms of combat. And it makes sense to me that someone who is an excellent shot in the cockpit would also be an excellent shot with a gun.

As for everything you mentioned about Lee, well, yeah, he's pretty awesome ;), yet it also makes sense to me. Lee, we would discover, had no intention of being a career military officer. His skill as a pilot and fighter are reluctantly come by. Being well read, philosophical, and a good negotiator would all be talents shown by someone who desired and received a good education and would reflect someone who wanted to be more than a military man or didn't know exactly wanted to do so attempted to gain as much knowledge about as many things as possible.

And as Ron Moore has pointed out there is some practicality at having Lee and Kara be good at so many things. You want to use the actors you have, the ones the audience knows and loves, and not bring in guest stars every week.
Very nice post, and I share a fair bit of your analysis. I fell for Lee not so much in the miniseries (although I found him fascinating, and loved the fact that he was both a hero and a pissy sonofabitch with his dad; and heavens, that chemistry with Kara, from the offset... But I found myself very drawn to him physically (dear god Jamie Bamber is hot - even if he';s a bit short of lips for my taste; but the bamceps and cheekbones totally make up for it); and intellectually, and emotionally. At the same time I totally fell for kara (because in my dreams I am a tough as nails yet vulnerable hotshot viper pilot with a bit of a penchant for booze and fistfights and a tendency to fall into bed with passing sex fiends) and for the first time found myself shipping a canon pairing HARD. (I mean, ok I have a bit in other fandoms, but not like that).

But like you I found myself more drawn to male characters (because of course they become my tvbf), and lee is my main window into the show. But not the only one. And goddammit I love the fallibility and weaknesses of our heroes caught between a rock and hard place, and juggling ethics, survival and military needs on a day to day basis.

That's why I loved Razor, too.

Cool stuff...

BSG is the first show where I haven't shipped the canon pairing. It's a very odd experience for me.

and lee is my main window into the show. But not the only one.

Laura would be my other window into the series. I get her very as well. Even Caprica Six I will fin myself empathizing with on occasion. Adama is probably the only character I am at a loss with and that only happened this last season.
Very nice, thought-provoking post.

I didn't fall for Lee until the beginning of S2 and the mutiny storyline (in big part because when I watched the mini and S1, I was still in love with another show, and I'm a serial monogamist when it comes loving characters).

In hindsight, though, I've always seen the events unfolding in BSG through Lee's eyes, and I tend to agree with most of his decisions, and feel for him more than I feel for other characters. I can even forgive the affair, because of Unfinished Business and the look on his face when he learns what Kara did.

And yes, he can be an ass, and he's judgemental, and sometimes it does look like he can't see the other side (though it's probably more that he can see it, he just doesn't allow it to distract him from what he thinks must be done). And he'll sacrifice a lot for the sake of the right thing. I think that's one of the differences between Bill and Lee; Bill will put people first (and feel deeply betrayed when his son sides against him because to him, everything is personal. And Lee refused to speak up publicly against him twice now, but I'm not sure Bill sees that...)
Lee will put his principles first, and fight for them, even if it means alienating his loved ones (and I've always thought that it can't be easy being Lee's family, knowing he's able to put his principles first even if it means losing you. Though it has to be said that there are lines he won't cross, such as speaking up against Bill.)

And he makes stupid decisions too, and he's drawn to what isn't good for him (Kara, for starters. No matter how much I like their frakked up history, and their friendship, they're also a train wreck together). That's part of what makes him complicated and human. :)

And for the record, I adore that scene in the mini when he asks Laura how far down the succession line she was (I think it's one of the moments when they realize what they're busy losing).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
(in big part because when I watched the mini and S1, I was still in love with another show, and I'm a serial monogamist when it comes loving characters)

Of course, I'm now curious. What other show? I was juggling Buffy and Farscape for a time. Thankfully, they had different schedules.

I tend to agree with most of his decisions, and feel for him more than I feel for other characters.

I've agreed with all of his military decisions and his stance on defending Baltar. I have disagreed with him on how he's handled some of his relationship, particularly with Kara and Dee, but those mistakes, some of which I referred to, just make him more real and more human and even when I get angry at him for being a jerk, I can still sympathize with him on some level. The poor boy is so screwed up emotionally.

I can even forgive the affair, because of Unfinished Business and the look on his face when he learns what Kara did.

That Look. You suddenly forgive a lot when you see someone that gutted.

Good comparison of Adama putting people first and Lee putting principles first. It's created so much friction and hurt between them because when Lee does what he believes is the right thing Adama can't see that it's not a personal betrayal. He didn't choose to defend Baltar to get back at the old man (as Romo even suspected) but because, under the law, Baltar still had a right to a fair trial.
Hi, I’ve never commented in your journal, I think. I was just randomly searching for joy and siljamus linked to your post. As one who doesn’t always understand Lee well, I’m always looking for more meta on him.

Imagine my surprise to find my character post referred to! I had such fun there, there was such love. As there is in this post. Love, I love to hear when a fan loves their character. It’s also very instructive.

Lee is good at sussing out other’s weaknesses and knowing where to strike.
This was such an interesting and surprising statement. Like you, I realized that he just sort of instinctually gets Kara (and she’s pretty transparent at times) and knows exactly where to strike with her. But it’s nice to look at that trait outside of Kara. Precision, you called it. A kind of instinctual precision. I like that characterization. Makes me think of the tyllium mission and Captain’s Hand. Lee is this reluctantly gifted hero. And interesting to think that it may not be conscious. He doesn’t always mean to strike at the weak spot and cause hurt and probably doesn’t know why he’s such a good pilot, just that he is. Hmm.

Thanks for mentioning Laura. The show finally came back to their relationship in CR2 and I was glad. Kind of sucker punched me when she said the words, “Captain Apollo.” Though Razor recently brought my favorite Lee to light, I remember in the hazy (at least hazy for me) characterization of season 2 where I finally found the Lee I liked and was looking for. Sadly on the cutting room floor in a deleted scene from Home. He says, “I’d like to think that following your heart is never a mistake.” He was talking to Laura and looked so young and idealistic and lost. What person doesn’t remember feeling young that way? That’s Lee, you know, and just that line and its delivery went a long way toward softening me toward him that season. I wish they hadn’t cut it. And while I’m on that moment, let’s just say kudos to Jamie Bamber. One can watch emotions play across Lee’s face like a moving picture screen. It can be really interesting. I sometimes can read Lee very well, but he has such control about releasing those emotions. Keeps such a tight lid on them. I understand why sometimes but other times, it’s puzzling. But intriguingly enough you seem to like to watch those internal battles he has with himself, those minute shifts in emotion. I don’t. It’s painful and I just think, just say it already, Laura knows, we all know. All these subtle things with Lee. I like subtleness but sometimes I want the character to just say it. Kara obliges me often in this desire. Lee only at times. Like these lines, “You know, how do I know that tomorrow you're not gonna pull another 180?” and ”Don't hold back just because I've got a pulse.” Heh. I like when he just says what he’s thinking and I don’t have to guess, I really do. This is fun, finding the Lee lines I like. He’s not my favorite, but I apparently do have a soft spot for the boy. :-)
Give him too much time to think and he’ll dwell on his perceived short comings and wallow in self doubt, but, time and again, he shows he can make the snap decision.
Gosh, I love when he makes the snap decision! Funny, when it comes to military matters I have never disagreed with Lee. Maybe when he turned that gun over to Tigh in KLG, but without Laura on his side, what could he do? He usually does do the right thing. He went back to NC. I agreed with him in Razor. Matters of the heart are one thing, but in military matters Lee is usually right. And the Fleet needs someone with that kind of moral compass.

Yeah, where Lee loses it for me sometimes is in matters of the heart. I’ve never disliked him intensely, but I have been very frustrated and hopelessly confused by him at times. helen_c makes a good point above. Lee will put principles above his own heart. And someone on the show needs to do that! I’d probably admire it, if I wasn’t such a shipper and didn’t love Kara so much. It’s also interesting that you love Lee because he has flaws and not despite them. While I don’t want him to be the old school Apollo hero, it can be difficult to watch a character flounder, warts and all. I feel like saying, “Pull yourself together, man!” I so love when he is together. Sigh. But as has been pointed out to me, I could say the same for Kara. Outside of flying, when is she ever together? :-) Generally on television, I like the out and out heroes. I like to see characters do the things I can’t, and not struggle so painfully with the real life issues and problems we all have. But that isn’t this show. Everyone is flawed and human on this show. And I should feel sad for Lee. The writers haven’t always been kind to him. (Like not explaining the weight gain/loss in so many words, among other things.)

I am so glad to be reminded by your post why Lee can be awesome at times. Razor finally got me to see it too. I thought he was hot and kickass and totally on point in that entire movie/episode. Really opened my eyes to who Lee can be when he is at his full potential, for me it was like pulling up a shade and letting light the Lee shine through. But that was set in the past when they were different people. Will I feel the same when he interacts with Kara in S4? As much as I look forward to the new season, I don’t want to lose sight of Lee again. You’re right. I can’t really imagine Battlestar Galactica without Apollo. Well I can, but it would be sad. They’d be lost. And so would my girl. I hope they keep his character moving forward to whatever his conclusion will be.

And it’s never too late to share character love. Never. ;-)