Thursday, December 30, 2010

Greg Weisman is the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived

Okay, that’s a joke obviously.  The greatest man who ever lived, as we all know, is either Charlemagne or Neil Patrick Harris.
Pictured: Proof that France is cool
Last month I caught the pilot two part episode of the new Young Justice cartoon and shared some of my initial thoughts with you.  If you recall I didn't love it and one of my major problems with it was the fact that there wasn't a whole lot of female characters doing, well, anything.  Miss Martian was the only female member of the principal cast to make an appearance and only then it was at the very end where she played no part in the episode’s plot.  It made me unnerved that the show was basically a boys club.  Well a couple of days ago I was doing…something (Likely I was on TV Tropes) and I came across Greg Weisman’s Q&A feature on a fan website.
Some background: Greg Weisman, who seems to be one of the main folk involved with Young Justice, once worked on a cartoon called Gargoyles.  And it was awesome.  Like, basket full of candy and stuffed pandas level of awesome.  It kind of assumes the audience has a working knowledge of Shakespeare, but aside from that it was great.  For two seasons everything was okay but by Season Three Disney, the men behind the show, apparently wanted to retool some things and Weisman ended up leaving the series after only one episode which resulted in the remainder of the show’s run being something of a train wreck.  Fans now like to pretend that last season never happened.  Weisman agrees and in the wake of his departure he tended to tell anyone who would listen or ask how the show would have gone had he remained onboard in amazingly nerdy details.   A very involved fan base eventually formed on the internet and in short order a blog was set up where he answered various questions about the show and has been doing it the past eleven years (He also wrote  continuation comic).  This is something only a few creators do with their fans and those who do are BELOVED for it (See Also: Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith).
Elisa: Remember that time our evil clones turned to stone forever?
Goliath: No, and neither should you!
Anywho like I said I happened to come across the site that hosts the Q&A and noticed that someone recently posted the very concern I had about Young Justice (No girls, and whatnot) and was given a very detailed answer by Greg.
You can find the piece here, but if it’s somehow moved try searching for it on the site using the date it was answered (12/21/10).   If you don’t feel like reading all the text on that site the basic gist is this: the way the episode was structured they couldn’t justify the cash to spend on voice actors to read a few superfluous lines, so characters like Wonder Woman and Black Canary ended up having to sit in the background twiddling their thumbs since, script-wise and story progression-wise, they didn’t have anything to add (Red Tornado and tons of other males do the same thing for the same reason).  As for Miss Martian it seems they were worried about having to introduce and characterize five characters over the course of the two episodes and at the end of the day it’s just easier to concentrate on a smaller cast (Of course Not-Superboy was pretty hard to watch and I’m not certain that ended up being time well spent).  The reasoning behind not replacing one of the three principal characters (Robin, BlAqualad or, bleh, Kid Flash) was that those characters along with Speedy are the four traditional teen sidekicks and that they didn’t want to leave any of them out, which is of course the mindset only an old comic nerd would have (As opposed to young comic nerds like me who believe Wally West and Kyle Rayner are the real Flash and Green Lantern, God help us) and he admits to that himself.
So does this reasoning appease me?  Well yes and no.  I certainly understand where he’s coming from.  As fans we have to understand that the magical world of entertainment is fraught with compromises.  No show will ever achieve the level of perfection that we, or the creators, truly want and it’s really just best if we enjoy what we have rather than bitch about what we don’t.  That’s all good on paper, of course, not so great in practice but hey, we can try at least.  So yeah, I understand that they did what they felt they needed to get something they thought would be good out.  On the other hand I still wish they had written an episode that included more women and there’s little that can change that opinion.  Weisman promises that the next episode and the series in general will not have that problem and I’m willing to give it a chance.  I’m not the type of asshole that condemns a show after only watching one episode, after all.
Well, usually I'm not
The point I really want to make is that I am enamored with Weisman for being so accessible to his fans.  In addition to ten years worth of answering questions I think it’s awesome that he would listen to the concerns of his fans about his new show and calmly and thoroughly explain his position even if I myself don’t necessarily like what he had say.  Hell the site wasn't even about Young Justice and he’d probably be in the right for just ignoring it.  That’s what they call “class”, folks.  Let’s all thank Mr. Weisman by watching Young Justice every week when it officially debuts January 7th 2011 on Cartoon Network.
Check out the fan site where Ask Greg is featured here

No comments:

Post a Comment