Monday, December 22, 2008

“What Is It About You, Lana?”

Clana, Lexana: Loving Lana

Ode To “Smallville”

Back in September I posted “Ode To Smallville” and I intended that to be my final post about Smallville.

Didn’t work out that way.

(I sometimes have trouble letting go of things. I see by the tabloids, however, that I’m not alone in that regard. The current issue of OK magazine announces that Jennifer Aniston is ‘Obsessed with Angie!’ Hmmm. I believe the magazine is talking about Angelina Jolie. Hmmm. Obsessed with Angie . . . [laughs] )

Anyway . . .

So, in September I thought I was done with Smallville. The show had been going downhill ever since season five. Season seven was almost unwatchable, but I watched it. Season eight, the current season, is unwatchable and although I tune in now and then I always click away sad and angry at what the show has become.

However at some point I was watching an old, season three episode of Smallville and I got to thinking about how they established this great character for Lana Lang but then never really did anything cool with her. Obviously they have to work within the established Superman mythos for Lana Lang. Clark Kent knows Lana as a kid and later as an adult, but his life partner is Lois Lane. Still, the show had found interesting ways to explore the Clark/Lex relationship. I thought they could have done much more with Lana.

So I decided to write a little about her myself.

Yeah, I know it’s lame to fixate on a TV show. I once knew a woman—a very cool woman—who wasted an unbelievable amount of time and effort writing a novel [a novel!] about Kirk and Spock. [sighs] [shakes head] I don’t think I’m going to invest too much more time and effort in Smallville. Maybe one or two more posts late this week or next week. That will be it.

Then I will put Smallville behind me.

Incidentally, the season three episode that got me thinking about Lana wasn’t “Obsession,” which I used for today’s frame-based cartoon. It was “Truth.” Here is the scene that got me hooked thinking about Lana.

In this little scene, Lana is talking to her best friend Chloe. Lana’s parents died in the meteor shower and when Lana’s aunt left Smallville, Lana was able to remain in town by moving in with Chloe. They are good friends, but as we see, Lana has secrets even from Chloe. In “Truth,” Chloe is exposed to a failed LuthorCorp experiment [do they ever work?] and discovers that everyone feels compelled to tell her the truth. At first Chloe is thrilled. She’s a proto-reporter and getting the truth from people is her dream. But she starts to experience the downside of the truth during this talk with Lana:

CHLOE: Is it just me or did I completely clear out the lunch crowd?

LANA: No, it was you. Ever since you turned the Torch into your own gossip column no one can stand being around you.

CHLOE: Well, at least you’re still talking to me, right?

LANA: For now.

CHLOE: Okay. What’s that about?

LANA: I applied to the Paris School of the Arts. They have a full-time high school program and if I get accepted I start in the summer.

CHLOE: Wow. I guess I’m out of the loop. When did you decide this?

LANA: I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Everyone has their families, you know, and I’m not sure where I fit in.

CHLOE: But I always thought we were your family.

LANA: Oh, come on, Chloe. I know what you and everyone else thinks of me. That I’m driven and self-involved. I just can’t wait to get out of here and go somewhere where people don’t judge me.

CHLOE: I never said anything like that.

LANA: You never had to.

CHLOE: Why have you never talked to me about this?

LANA: Because I couldn’t trust you.

Chloe, in tears, turns and runs out of the room.

That’s a pretty cool scene. But what struck me was Lana’s assessment of her character: Driven. Self-involved. Committed to the arts. The show always featured Lana as a complex character, but it never really explored details of why she was any of those things, and the show never really showed her being any of those things.

I wish it had. Those are pretty cool things and it would have taken the show at least part of the way toward explaining why Clark Kent should be so in love with her.


So, that’s the background to these Lana Lang posts. I’ll be doing one or two more posts about Lana Lang sometime in the future. But for the next few days I’ve got Other Stuff on the way . . .

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