In celebration of today’s occasion here’s five of my favourite dads who are not real, in no particular order:
If you’ve only ever seen the Spider-Man movies you may not know that Harry Osborn is a Dad, but he very much is. He has two sons, Normie and Stanley. Normie is named after Norman (Harry doesn’t seem to have ever gotten a chance to rethink that, oh well) and Stanley is… possibly named after Stan Lee? Who knows. Stanley is also never drawn as mixed race even though his mother is black, sigh.
Yeah you can probably tell I don’t really do comics anymore but I love Harry in almost all his forms and he deserves more recognition of the fact that he managed to be a pretty good dad when his own childhood was abusive as hell.
Rory is more on this list for what was, sigh, his eventually almost completely untapped Dad Potential. We knew he’d be a good dad. Amy knew he’d be a good dad. Then he BECOMES a dad and nothing. He gets one scene with a baby and barely gets more than a couple scenes with his magic time-travel now-adult daughter. It’s so terribly unfair, why? God season six of Doctor Who was a MESS.
Thankfully the showrunners did at least release one canon story of Rory being a dad, this from the Doctor Who Lockdown project. Arthur Darvill came back and everything. That’s something. But gah.
I shall ignore the BBC’s Les Mis adaptation, as you should, and focus instead on the JVJ/Cosette relationship as portrayed in the book and musical. It is probably not exactly HEALTHY but it is good. It is also of course very, very Miserable.
“And remember, the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God…”
EVERY DAY I FEEL SORRY FOR SIMON PETRIKOV! He had SO MUCH bad stuff happen to him, not least the actual apocalypse, and yet he was still a good adoptive father to Marceline for as long as he was able. Please watch Adventure Time if you want to see one of the most tragic character arcs to ever exist in cartoon form.
(There are many people who think that Simon’s condition is a metaphor for Alzhemier’s or dementia and I’m among them. Sadly the real thing can’t be taken away the way it was in the show. :( )
Ah, Yondu. Forever my problematic fave. He is not remotely deserving of a World’s Best Dad mug but hey, he knew that, and he did his best to apologize to Peter before the end, and basically just oh my god his death scene I can’t even now I just dissolve into a puddle of tears.
(There is so much meta about Yondu and his arc all over this blog, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.)
Bonus round! All the Star Wars dads. I can’t really choose between them because since Star Wars is basically a story about fatherhood they all have their roles to play. So a little shout-out to Anakin (the other problematic fave), Han Solo, Bail Organa, Qui-Gon Jinn (read Jedi Apprentice ok?), Jango Fett, Galen Erso, Lando Calrissian, Owen Lars, and so many more I forgot.
So I just realised I never posted my BBC Les Mis episode-by-episode reviews on here! Let’s rectify that:
Les Mis episode one. Apparently writer Andrew Davies hates the musical, so I have an instant distrust of him, I’m sorry. I also have an instant distrust of a man who claims to be “saving Hugo from himself.” Victor Hugo was a womanising fiend who once sent a live bat to his fiancee via post, the old asshole would die laughing at the notion he needed “saving.”
Anyway. It wasn’t bad! Perfectly cast so far. Johnny Flynn looks EXACTLY like the Felix Tholomyes in my head. It was nice
to see Fantine’s friends, too, even though they’re down to two from the
novel’s three. I always wondered if they met kinder fates than her.
It was good to see the Petit Gervais scene. I understand 100% why it
gets omitted from the musical but of all the scenes Not In The Musical
it’s probably one of the more important ones. Also Dominic West makes a
very good closer-to-the-book Valjean. Hugh Jackman is lovely but he can
never hide his loveliness even when playing a hardened violent criminal.
This is a good Fantine. One thing I do agree with
Andrew Davies on, Fantine is silly and soppy and easily led. She’s not a
strong female character. You should care about her anyway.
Les Mis episode two. The writers seem to have given Fantine a last name, which I’m actually quite pleased about. (I wonder if they’ll also give Javert a first one.) However, that’s the only thing I’m pleased with. NO Valjean doesn’t and shouldn’t have anything to do with how Fantine ends up on the streets! In the book he has no idea she’s been fired. His only crime, if it could be said to be one, is trusting that his factory workers will treat their employees well. So yeah, why, whyyyyy throw that in for no reason? Why make it Valjean’s fault when it was *society’s* fault? You know….?
David Oyelowo is a great actor but Javert hasn’t been given anything to
do so far except stand around and be menacing. (And all his dialogue is
so clunky.) But also… Book Javert is just cold and aloof. *This*
Javert is outright mean and nasty, calling Fantine terrible things and
just generally being awful. Again whyyyyy? What’s the point? We’re
supposed to feel sorry for him, that he’s given up his identity to an
establishment that doesn’t care. This Javert *is* the Establishment, and
oooh, that’s getting on my nerves.
Actually yeah, I kind of feel
that’s the problem with this whole adaptation. Everything that’s
happened in it has been A Person’s fault, not People’s fault, you know?
Fantine can’t suffer and die because of a whole community being
compassionless and cruel, it has to be primarily the doing of Valjean
for some reason.
Sigh. I am at least looking forward to meeting
Eponine and Les Amis, who I love with all my heart. (Also I only found
out today that the actress who’ll play Eponine also played my favourite
character in the Star Wars Han Solo movie. Noice.) Oooh, and I am very
glad to see Eponine’s little sister, Azelma, around. She’s actually one
of my faves in the book because god, she suffers SO MUCH and I want to
protect her poor soul. But anyway, this complete misunderstanding of the
story is really rattling me. As you can probably tell.
So far I rate this production 0/2 candlesticks.
Les Mis episode two OH GOD I HAVE MORE I’M SO SORRY. I love Olivia Colman a lot but there’s not a terrible amount of depth to Mme Thenardier so far. I find her more interesting than her horrible husband so I wish there was.
(Side note: Oh, when The Crown airs with
Colman and Helena Bonham-Carter this year, two Mme Thenardiers will be
sharing the screen, how fabulous a tidbit that is to NO-ONE BUT ME)
Another irritating thing: Sister Simplice. She’s an interesting minor character
in the novel and here’s the thing: she LIKES Fantine! Simplice is a nun
and Fantine is a “fallen woman” and yet she cares for her health
completely and is kind to her. It’s not what you would expect and is a
great departure from the cliche, so OF COURSE she’s only in the
adaptation so Valjean can yell at her for calling Fantine ‘the
Please somebody make me stop talking
Les Mis episode three. I liked it a bit more than the last. LOVE the fabulously morbid detail of Cosette’s first doll possibly being where her dead mother’s hair ended up.
The writers have compressed a
lot of stuff down for this episode. No Fachevelent, and Sister Simplice
and the Mother Superior are sort of both composite characters of each
other, if that makes sense. Between this show and Call the Midwife it
was a good night for Benevolent Nuns.
It’s good to see Gavroche so
early (the musical never bothered mentioning he was a Thenadier) and ah
look he’s being mistreated by his parents even as a very young kid
because they’re literally the worst people on the planet.
I saw someone on Twitter point out that it’s kinda disconcerting how Les Mis seems to have been cast colour-blind and yet two of the main antagonists, one of whom PIMPS OUT A CHILD (ugh) are also two of the few characters of colour. So I kinda agree with that I think. Javert still seems to have been written meaner and crueler than he is in the book.
thing! Despite the protestations of Andrew Davies this production seems
to borrow an awful lot from the movie musical. Even Georgie Glenn has
been reused. (She was a nun in the movie and a Mother Superior in this.)
Obviously there’s only so much you can do when both are based on the
same source material but it’s a wee bit surprising how many shots look
One big departure I forgot about and LOVED: Little
Cosette swearing! I mean, of course she bloody would, wouldn’t she,
considering the environment she was in. It was nice to see her have a
bit of bite.
Les Mis episode four. Too much sex. Too much not-in-the-book sex. It’s very silly and totally unnecessary.
Les Amis! Enjolras looks nothing like anyone ever imagined him (where
are his ridiculous angelic blonde locks?) but Grantaire is bang-on
They did pay a TINY bit of lip service to
Enjolras/Grantaire but so far even less than the movie-musical did.
Still I wasn’t really expecting much.
…Weird how every other relationship in this story has been given
sexual overtones (including Valjean/Cosette, UGH) but not the only gay
relationship. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED…
I love this Eponine.
Everything about her is perfect.(I mean, apart from the pointless sex
scenes) Actually I like her better than Sam Barks’s Eponine, and I
liked her a lot.
Good to see Azelma still around. I wonder if
she’ll meet the same fate in this she does in the book (she remains
tethered to her horrible abusive father even when he goes to America and
becomes a slave trader). Which brings me to…
I think this
adaptation’s a good example of how colourblind casting (though great in
many cases) can fail. As a lot of people have pointed out on Twitter,
almost all the protagnonists are white and almost all the antagonists
are people of colour. They could’ve gotten around that pretty easily and
they didn’t. (Why not a black Valjean?) And Thernadier, considering his
position in the story and where he ends up (a SLAVE TRADER, although
most adaptions leave that out…) I kinda feel he should have been
white, you know? A few things switched here and there and it wouldn’t
feel so uncomfortable.
Um. I guess that’s it for now? Yeah I still don’t like it, you can tell.
Les Mis episode five. I guess I’ll be keeping my eye on Grantaire since he’s still my favourite fictional character of all time! They still haven’t quiiiiiite got around to stating he’s gay/bi (Victor Hugo managed it the best he could, with lots of euphemisms regarding Greeks) but his death scene was in the ‘next time’ trailer so maybe they managed to tell his story to *some* extent at least. That’d be nice.
I LOVE Erin Kellyman’s Eponine. I loved her smile when she’s finally free of her mother, I loved her final moments, it made me so sad. She better go onto be big.
Gavroche is also great, but it pisses me off they didn’t show his
reaction to his *sister* dying right there in his vicinity. Great time
to forget they’re related guys, you remembered in previous episodes.
All in all this was probably the best episode they’ve done so far,
nothing MASSIVELY out of character. Valjean and Cosette maybe but I’ve
kind of given up on the adaptation getting them right. And any
adaptation getting Marius/Cosette right. No, they didn’t actually fall
in love in that short space of time! In the book it takes ages!
Thought I posted on Twitter: I love Eponine so much, I could write
essays on her. She has no reason to ever be heroic and she fails a lot
but she’s always TRYING SO HARD to be good. Imagine what she might have
Thought I didn’t post on Twitter: I still have no idea whether Victor Hugo intended his audience to like Marius or not.
Les Mis episode six, the last one!
Okay I find it hard to
collect my thoughts, because they all go back to my overall thoughts on
the series. Mostly it’s been alright, but there are some character
things I just can’t forgive. Like Valjean being responsible for
Fantine’s downfall. And in this episode something even worse: Marius
hears directly from Thenardier that he plans to become A SLAVE TRADER
and GIVES HIM MONEY ANYWAY. SO HE CAN TRADE SLAVES. Absolutely 100%
cannot accept that one. (In the book
Thenadier just spins some yarn and Marius gives him the owed money to
“go get hanged somewhere else.) So that put a BIT of a damper on the
otherwise alright ending, shall we say. Gah.
Enjolras and Grantaire’s death scene had all of the visuals but none of
the heart. If you don’t know it’s a love story (or if it’s a love story
you can’t be arsed to tell) it loses some of its power, you know?. (I’m
still terribly suspicious that they managed to sexualise every single
relationship in the story *apart* from the gay one.) That being said,
both their actors were really good, I just wish they’d gotten to be the
tinest bit more like their book counterparts.
portrayal of Javert’s suicide better be the BAFTA clip that plays when
he wins it. MAN, that was good. Dominic West was also good. I don’t have
a single quibble about the acting in this series, it’s just those
little things here and there which made me sigh and go back to the
This series ends with two kids (the lost Thenadier
siblings?) begging in the street. It’s not a bad ending but god, imagine
how powerful it would have been if they’d flash-forwarded to the modern
day, just for those last few seconds.