Asta 2

Dragon Con Post the First: Yes, Mary McDonnell is Frakking Awesome

I'm back from DragonCon. I've been back almost 24 hours, but this the first time today I felt like I could sit at the computer and post. I don't think I've developed a full blown illness, but I was sick both Friday and Monday at the con and have felt exhausted all day. So while I feel better at the moment, I thought I would attempt making a post.

As with every DC I attend, there were highs, there were lows, and there was various success in getting to see people. I hung out most of the weekend with danceswithwords, thmoasina75, molly_may, 50mm, and sugargroupie. I did manage to have a lovely conversation with frolicndetour as well as catch up with nicole_anell, sebaceanbabe, greycoupon and rebelliousrose. And I got to meet emmiere, cujoy, and nnaylime as well as a friend of Nnaylime whose LJ name escapes me. Sadly, I missed meeting up with wisteria_, though I caught glimpses of her at the BSG panels and callmeonetrack.

I've been thinking about how to do posts this year. Do to illness and other things I did practically no posting after the last two dragon cons. It an era of YouTube it seems silly to spend hours typing up detailed recaps when the panels will soon be online. (The Nimoy/Shatner panel and one Stargate panel are already posted in their entirety.) Plus, after seeing four BSG panels, the information starts blurring together. So, I'm opting to do a series of shorter 'highlight' posts. I'll also post some photos, after I download and edit them, since I feel I got some good shots.

Today's post I think may be the most popular and led frolicndetour to say, "You are posting this to LJ, right?" ;)

Friday's Battlestar Galactica panel included Kevin Grazier, Michael Hogan, Michael Trucco, Kate Vernon, Mary McDonnell, Luciana Carro, Alessandro Juliani and a "surprise" appearance by Aaron Douglas. (And by "surprise" I mean it was no surprise to anyone I know and considering the moderator had a question prepared for Aaron it would seem it was no surprise to him either.)

Before I get to what was the low light of the panel that led to a highlight of the con for me, as I was listening to excerpts of an audio recording I made to jog my memory, I came across a question and answers that may be of interest. The cast was asked what their favorite line to say or moment was on the series.

Luciana: "My cup runneth dry."

Kate: "I have my ways."

Mary: "I'm coming for all of you! Do you hear me?!" (For the record, Mary's enthusiasm for the line seemed to come from the words themselves and had nothing to do with Adama. ;)

Alessandro: "If you drink enough ambrosia, it doesn't hurt." (And he pulled down the collar of his shirt as he did in 'The Final Cut'.)

Michael H: "It's in the frakking ship!"

Aaron talks about his ad libs.

Trucco: "Lighten up, it's only the end of the world."

Trucco, earlier in the panel, also mentioned his love of his final line, "See you on the other side", and how he believed it beautifully summarized Sam's relationship with Kara. (Check out frolicndetour for a much better recap of Trucco's thoughts.)

The moderator recapped what Tyrol had gone through in Season 4 - being demoted, allowing Boomer to seduce him again, killing Tory with his bare hands (which elicited applause) - then asked Aaron what his favorite 4.5 moment. Aaron answered, "Killing Tory with my bare hands." There was even bigger applause and screams of approval. Aaron went on to explain he told the writers Chief had to find out Tory killed Cally and he had to kill her. In his scenario, Tyrol would take Tory into a hug, pretend it's OK, and "then snap her neck". The writers thought that was great, but the plan was for Tory to get bumped and fall over the railing to her death. (OK, I have to say that does sound rather lame.) Aaron said, "No, no, no, the chief has to kill her." And thought snapping her neck was very cool. :/

As Aaron told his story and a large segment of the audience applauded, I happened to look over at Mary and Kate. Both women had their arms crossed in front of them and were rigid in their seats. They were staring out at the audience and had expressions that were a combination of displeased and pissed off, seemingly a reaction to both the audience's and Aaron's exuberance. If you want to get a really good idea of how they looked think of the look Laura gave Lee after Baltar's not guilty verdict in 'Croosrpoads' and think of how Ellen looked as she confronted Saul in 'Deadlock' about his love for Bill. (Side note for the Trucco fans: While I wasn't as focused on him, he was sitting next to Kate and Mary, and he didn't seem happy with what had been said and how people were reacting either.)

For the rest of the panel and after the panel, I couldn't forget how Mary and Kate looked. Generally, I try and get autographs Saturday morning when the Walk of Fame is relatively empty thanks to everyone being at the parade. This year, with the BSG panel being at 11:30am, I had to get in line around 9:30 that morning. While I was disappointed I'd have to stand in line to get Mary's autograph, seeing her later in the day, after the panel, afforded me the opportunity to ask her about what I thought I saw.

Before I get to the part of my discussion with Mary relative to the panel, a personal note. Two years ago, when Jamie was at DC, I had done a drawing for him to autograph. I had the idea, three days before the con this year, to attempt to do a drawing of Mary. While I didn't feel I had completely finished the drawing, I did feel it was good enough shape to present it to her for signing. When I handed the drawing to her, I did go a bit fan girl and explained I had done a drawing for Jamie to sign two years ago and wanted to have her sign one as well since Lee and Laura were my favorite characters and, by extension, she and Jamie were my favorite actors. She said something about it being very nice to hear and appreciated my comment. (And, for the record, while there were two Adama/Roslin photos on her table, there was also a Lee/Laura photo!)

I don't want to sound as if I'm bragging (and I hope I don't!), but she was extremely enthusiastic about the drawing. Much more so than Jamie who I'll cut him some slack and say it's a guy thing. ;) I won't go into everything she said because some it was personal, but she truly seemed impressed and stated it was the best drawing she had ever seen of herself. It meant a lot to me and I was quite touched when she didn't want to sign the drawing and "ruin it".

I also must add she has a great memory. At first she thought I had used one of the photos at her table for a reference, but quickly realized I hadn't. As she was trying to place the image she said, "Kara was in this photo!" I told her she was correct; I had cropped Kara out.

So as she thanked me/I thanked her and she shook my hand, I said, "I don't want to hold up the line, but I had a quick question." She smiled and told me to go ahead. (Another side note: I have to say, while Mary had lines all weekend - no where near Shatner, Nimoy, or Stewart, but, still - she seemed to really make an effort to take as much time as she could with people.) So, I proceeded to say maybe I was reading too much into it, but while Aaron was talking about snapping Tory's neck I happened to look over at she and Kate and both of them didn't look happy. Her smile gave way to a look similar to the one she had at the panel and she stated they were very unhappy with what had happened. She didn't go into detail, but I took her words to mean she was both unhappy with what Aaron had said and the audience reaction. I said something along the lines of, "So, I wasn't reading anything into what I saw."

Around this time, Mary leaped out of her chair to look me straight in the eye, which was very cool, and I stated the audience reaction made myself and others very uncomfortable. And while I had no problem with Tory dying (Mary agreed with me on this), it was the way she died that was problematic. Mary said that she felt Tory's death was one of the few times the series crossed a line and was actually hateful toward women. I said I felt it was misogynistic.

When I added I knew from reading reaction online there were a lot of people who didn't like what happened, and didn't feel as a large segment of the audience did, she asked, "Did people write letters?" I said I didn't know about that, but there was a lot of discussion online and I wasn't sure how much of it may have gotten back to people. She said she had been very tempted to speak up at the panel, but refrained because she was dealing with a lot of other issues and didn't want to add to that. I have no idea what she may have been referring to. Mary has always struck me as very diplomatic and it may simply be a case of not wanting to hurt people she genuinely likes or just not wanting to get involved with fandom wank.

I wrapped things up by saying I just wanted to let her know that, yes, people felt as she did. She said she was very happy I picked up on her and Kate's reactions, that I shared what I did with her, and she would make sure to tell Kate what I had said.

Phew! I think that is everything! :)

Tomorrow's DC Post: 'Why I Now Hate Paul Campbell'
  • Current Mood: pleased pleased
"Lighten up, it's only the end of the world." was Sam's line that Trucco picked. :)

Your Mary McDonnell story was one of the things that MADE MY DRAGON CON, I hope you know. I'm so, so glad you mentioned that to her. I really wish she HAD said something at the panel, but I understand it could've made things more uncomfortable, especially if it was their impression that most of the audience agreed with Aaron.

(And now I can add the "actively hateful toward women" line when I repeat this to people, lol. I was going to ask you about that because I wasn't sure when frolicndetour told me the story whether she used that phrase or you did.)
I appreciate the clarification and I've edited the post. My audio recording is not great and it was hard to hear parts of the panel and that makes more sense!

I wish she had said something at the panel too, but I get how it could have changed the mood on the panel and in the room and could have dampened people's enthusiasm so I understand why she chose to not say anything. Maybe since she now knows others feel as she does she'll say something in an interview some day? ::hopes::

I posted "actually hateful toward women", though I could have used actively when I first recounted the story. My memory is starting to get hazy, but I'm positive about the rest. :)
I'm so sorry I missed you! Allie told me a little about the Mary story and I'm glad to hear the whole thing. The overwhelming cheers at the bloodthirstiness exhibited was incredibly distasteful and disappointing (and also further depressing because it was rather unsurprising too. Sigh.)

It was a panel packed schedule for me this year with five of my fandoms having awesome representation. I didn't have nearly as much time as I would have liked to hang out with people.

I agree with everything you said about the cheering. And not that this really makes it any better, but part of me thinks that at least some of the people cheered because they thought they should/that's what Aaron wanted to hear. I hope a clip makes it on YouTube where you can see the cast reaction. While it was Mary and Kate that got my attention, I don't recall seeing anyone enthusiastic on the stage about the response. And as her costars, maybe they feel Rehka deserved better.
Maybe they should have planned for Chief to fall over the damn railing

I said this almost verbatim in a conversation with rebelliousrose. We missed the panel, but heard all about it from others.
Thank You very much !!
and ohhh that things with Aron and all about that - I don't like that scene and I don't understand that reaction of people on DC and I agree with Mary and I'm disappointed Aron's and audience's reaction, really :/
ohh I just wana to say that I love Mary very much and I'm happy for You, I'm jealous ofcourse because meeting with Mary is my dream but I'm realy happy for You :) and congrats !!!
*hugs* and sorry for my english ;P
I would never criticize your English because I only speak and write one language! ;)

I never thought I'd get to meet Mary and I've done so twice so you may get your chance some day. :) Overall, I liked the finale, but there were a few moments that did not sit well with me and Tory's death was one of them. She was a murderer and deserved to be punished, but her death seemed excessively violent.
I read very few con posts and I'm not even sure how I ended up here, but I'm very glad I did because I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Oh Mary!!! As I mentioned over at frolicndetour's, I'd been disappointed with some of her comments about A/R in 4.5 and about the end generally because they just seemed like such a departure from the way she'd been talking about the show and the character all along. This, however, along with the fact that she was apparently not so amused by the corpse bride thing, feels much more consistent with everything I always loved about her insights into Laura and the show in the earlier seasons, and I'm heartened. I'm SO glad you thought to ask her about that, and thank you for representing those of us who were displeased by the manner of Tory's death (and particularly by the idea that people whooped and hollered at that story). I know it doesn't really matter, but sometimes I get annoyed when the loudest fans are the ones I don't particularly want representing me.

Anyway, awesome story!!! Thanks so much for sharing!
I know it doesn't really matter, but sometimes I get annoyed when the loudest fans are the ones I don't particularly want representing me.

And this was what really convinced me to ask her about it because I felt that, if I was reading her expression right, she and Kate believed this is how we all felt and NO. Mary doesn't strike me as the type to read the boards or blogs so I do feel she was pleased to learn that other people had the same issues as she did with Tory's death.
It was great seeing you again and thanks for posting about this. I missed the panel entirely, but had heard about it, and now I know some of the details. Chief being bloodthirsty about it, I can understand, but Aaron and the audience just reveling in it? Epic fail, there.
I do get why Chief would feel like snapping her neck, but having the impulse and acting on it (especially when it meant ending the truce with Cavil) are two different things. I think I might have even been OK had he grabbed someone's sidearm and shot her, but the way her death was filmed was very disturbing to me.
As usual, your con writings are such a terrific read. And you are so right to go with your gut and just publish stories about highlights that were important to you, rather than straight up "reports" on the panels. This is the kind of thing that the rest of us love to read about.

While I hadn't heard any of this online discussion you are referring to RE the misogyny of Tory's murder, I can tell you that when I was at the cast & crew screening in LA of the season 4.5 opening episode, that audience seemed to enjoy hating on Tory as much as the rest of the fans. She's a fascinating grey-area bad guy during the final season -- much like Leoben she is both utterly sympathetic and completely revolting. It was great that Tyrol was the one to kill her, naturally. I did not have a bad reaction to her death -- but it is very interesting to hear all this and sense that some of the cast had some strong feelings.

As for Mary's comment about "dealing with other issues" - I have to assume she means issues amongst the BSG cast and crew. Politics, friendships, tact and whatnot. Something Mary understands well I assume...

Anyhow, thanks again for the great post. Looking forward to the rest!
Awesome story. How great that you were able to share with Mary a different fannish perspective. I hope somehow she gets to communicate to Ron that not everyone was comfortable with the treatment of women throughout the series.

And thanks for the con recap(s)! I haven't read so many this year, dunno if there were fewer congoers on my flist or they were just quieter. :)
The first time I met Mary I got to discuss Lee/Laura with her. This time I got to discuss misogyny on the show with her. I'm on a roll! :)

I haven't come across a lot of recaps either. I think with the rise rise of cheap cameras and YouTube, people are posting less reports figuring people would just assume watch the panels for themselves. I feel that way to a large extent, but I'm still going to try and post about as many moments as I can recall. I have gotten a little sidetracked thanks to extreme exhaustion. But I'm opting for rest in the hopes of avoiding con crude. ;)
You are my personal hero. <3 Seriously, thank you thank you thank you for speaking up about this and thank you for letting us know. I feel so...relieved to know that someone whose opinion I respect so much agrees with me on Tory's death.

Cus, I'm okay with Chief killing her in vengeance. I'm EVEN okay with him flipping out and strangling her to death in a gross fashion because, dude, it's not like he hasn't done that about eight million times before! Flipping out and brutally assaulting someone is like what Chief does.

HOWEVER, if they were gonna do that, then they'd need to call it out for what it was, which they didn't. And so, as a result of the approval he gets from the Tighs, the way no one really reacts or tries to stop him, and yes, absolutely something undefinable about the way they shot it, the camera so intimately with Chief, almost cinematographically egging him on, made it a deeply disturbing piece of misogyny. And I'm so, so, so glad you managed to convey to Mary (and Kate) that there are plenty of us who feel this is Not Okay cus dude, I can't blame her for her expression if she thought that was the majority fan opinion.

Just yes and thank you for sharing.

Obviously I'm also curious as to what the other times she thought the show stepped over the line were. Although she may just have been using it as a turn of phrase. As you know, I mostly fall in with you on this one - it wasn't until 4.5 that I had a problem with it. So maybe I ought to just assume she means having her corpse marry a drunken asshole for my own piece of mind. :p

In news NOT about this (though really, I <3 you FOREVER, man!) thanks for the rest of the report - finding out about the favourite lines is nice; I agree - Mary wouldn't have picked that line if she was so thrilled about it being All About Bill. Not only because that's at odds with her previous interviews and statements but just because...well, then she would have picked a line that WAS all about Bill rather than just all about him through implicit background implication, or whatever. I'm just gonna assume she was enjoying raining down destruction. BIG THUMBS UP, MS MCDONNELL.

I'm also oddly taken with Hogan's favourite line. I mean of course it makes sense - what a pivotal moment for his character, but it reminds me of all the things I loved about him during that show-era. Confused, actually insane yet more sober than he'd ever been. *snuffle*

Final moment of snark: the moderator talking about all the stuff Tyrol had been through? Well yes, Tyrol went through a lot, but frankly I'd put stuff like, "dealing with being a cylon," and "discovering his son's not his," at the top of the list. The list as you give it sounds astoundlingly...self-centred. OH POOR BABY, he had to throw a temper tantrum to deliberately get himself demoted. How HARD it was for him to let himself get seduced and tricked into murdering an unarmed woman. How HARD for him to strangle yet another unarmed woman in order to destroy a truce between two civilisations on the verge of mutual extinction. WHY, WHY IS IT SO HARD TO BE GALEN TYROL?! Ahem. I could, of course, be projecting my raging Aaron Douglas anger right now. But either way, it made me grin snarkily to myself. :p

Tomorrow's DC Post: 'Why I Now Hate Paul Campbell'

Flipping out and brutally assaulting someone is like what Chief does.

So, so true. And because of that I can understand Chief acting as he did. If he had lunged at her, she fought back, and they both fell over the railing to their deaths I would be OK with it because, imho, both of their stories had run their course.

Another problem is Chief attacked Cally and was forgiven. And Chief killed the Eight and was forgiven. I'm starting to sound like Lee in 'Crossroads', but nearly all of them had killed or done equally reprehensible things and had been forgiven. But Tory had to die brutally for what she did? Yes, she murdered Cally to save her own ass, but she never was given the opportunity to tell her side of the story. She certainly rationalized for herself why she did what she did so I could see her arguing why it was necessary for all of their sakes.

And no one gives a damn she'd dead. And Chief gets to choose to isolate himself because *he's* had it with people???

I agree her 'one of the few times' may have been just a turn of phrase. I know I use the phrase myself when talking about a specific moment or plot point and I'd really have to think about the other times though I'm sure there were other times. Because while we can come with instances where the writers failed the female characters could we say those moments were hateful toward them? Caprica's pregnancy storyline may have been epic fail and the lack of twu luv causing her miscarriage idiotic, but was it hateful? No.

Mary wouldn't have picked that line if she was so thrilled about it being All About Bill. Not only because that's at odds with her previous interviews and statements but just because...well, then she would have picked a line that WAS all about Bill rather than just all about him through implicit background implication, or whatever. I'm just gonna assume she was enjoying raining down destruction.

Yes, Yes, Yes! Exactly! You said it better than I and I was there! ;p I think she just REALLY enjoyed going all bad ass for a moment and scaring the living hell out of the mutineers. I remember seeing the her say those lines in the promos without context and assuming it was ALL ABOUT HER and her drive to take back the fleet because it's HER fleet. And given the ribbing Mary was enjoying with Richard Hatch I think Laura's actions also had something to do with Laura giving Zarek his comeuppance. ;)

Aaron's question I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote it himself.

OT, I'm going to try and email you this weekend. A couple things came up during the con I wanted to run by you. frolicndetour actually knows something about the fic you don't!
That's an excellent story; I'm glad on meeting Mary you found her as cool as she has always seemed.
Thus far, I haven't been disappointed by any of the actors I've talked to at length. Phew!
Thanks for posting the full recap -- I heard about your encounter via Allie, and I'm really glad to get the whole story. You represented our position very well. :)
Allie was pretty adorable when I was telling her the story. :) And, selfishly, I'm glad Mary got angry at the panel, otherwise I didn't know what I was going to say!
I can't tell you how happy I was to hear this story. Seriously. Thanks for being our representative to let her know about those of us not cheering.

Lovely to meet you and I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your highlights. :)

Edited at 2009-09-10 04:55 am (UTC)
As happy as we are to hear she saw the scene as many of us did, I think she was equally happy to hear we saw it as she did. And I think because, in a way, it was a smaller moment on the series (it wasn't Kara's destiny or Hera's destiny or the Opera House) Tory's death hasn't been discussed very much in the mainstream media so Mary and others involved with the show aren't aware of the fan anger. Now she has an idea. :)
I found a link to this post in zinke's journal, and I'm SO glad I did, because I absolutely picked up on Mary and Kate's reactions at the panel and was quite pleased by how upset they looked. I know that most of the audience has a great deal of hate for Tory but the absolute relish in which they - and Aaron - celebrated her death took me by surprise and was really disgusting. Thanks so much for sharing what Mary said, and especially for letting her know that not all fans are as disturbingly thrilled with what happened to Tory in the finale.
You saw it too! I don't know if it was luck looking in their direction at the right moment or that we didn't have our heads buried in our hands. ;)

I was never a Tory fan, though I wouldn't go so far as to say I hated her. And I'm fine with her dying. Personally, I don't believe in an eye for an eye, but I can see why Ron (and others) would want Tory to die for Cally's murder. As you put it, it was the celebration of her death, both on the show and by the audience in the ballroom that is so disturbing.