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Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Lost in Castration" is a title that will always make me laugh my ass off!

You know, it's funny, I was a huge new-series Battlestar Galactica fan for the entirety of the first season and the miniseries (my interest tends to wax and wane now) but somehow or another, I'd never seen this. (It's also available on Mr. Benedict's website here.

If you haven't seen it, it's the letter that Dirk Benedict apparently sent to the UK magazine Dreamwatch back in 2004. It's quite possibly the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

To be fair, it's a rant. And thus there's some measure of "out of context" that must be applied. I know I've looked back on a few of my own rants and realized after the fact how utterly batshit they make me sound.

At the same time, and I'm saying this as someone who adores the old Battlestar Galactica and the A-Team and shit like's absolutely moronic.

But I'm not linking it here to debate it. I think anyone who reads this blog would be damn sure where I stand on that sort of issue anyway. I'm linking it because it's hilarious.

I think my favorite part is this though:

Witness the "re-imagined" Battlestar Galactica. It's bleak, miserable, despairing, angry and confused. Which is to say, it reflects, in microcosm, the complete change in the politics and mores of today's world as opposed to the world of yesterday. The world of Lorne Greene (Adama) and Fred Astaire (Starbuck's Poppa), and Dirk Benedict (Starbuck). I would guess Lorne is glad he's in that Big Bonanza in the sky and well out of it. Starbuck, alas, has not been so lucky. He's not been left to pass quietly into that trivial world of cancelled TV characters.

Now, and I may be misreading, the impression from the whole letter that I get is that he's quite fond of the old school Battlestar Galactica as a vehicle in which male characters are very much MEN as opposed to the confused, weak and indecisive men and hyperactive no-nonsense women of the new Battlestar Galactica. But I think it's notable which characters he actually mentions from the show:

Starbuck, understandably, the subject of the rant after all.
Adama, the show's very gruff, stern, unyielding patriarch.
And Chameleon, a conman and gambler who appears in ONE EPISODE total.

They're all fairly understandable examples of traditionally masculine traits and roles. But it's kind of funny to me that he never mentions Apollo in the letter. You know. The open, idealistic, nurturing, empathetic and intuitive main character of the show.

I wouldn't say Apollo's a very effeminate character or that he doesn't have a lot of "traditionally masculine" traits, but the omission of the guy who got top billing on the damn show just strikes me as funny.

Actually though, there was one part that made me laugh harder:

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Han Solo as Han Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women `hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years, has gone round.

Emphasis is mine. Okay, I'll give you a second to get over the soda-spitting ridiculous idiocy of "women 'hand out' babies" and point you to something that is funny on a smaller scale. The "Faceman is not the same as Facewoman" part.

This is funny to me because I always saw the A-Team as a parody of the action movies/serials. I thought each of the characters corresponded to a specific type of action hero. Except Face. I always saw Face as an extremely clever parody of an action heroine.

I mean face it. Look at any action movie made before or during the time that the A-Team was on tv. What does the lead heroine tend to do?

1. Look pretty.....................Check.

They don't call him "Face" for nothing.

2. Get captured....................Check.

I think it was a toss-up really between him and Murdock as to who gets captured more often, but I'd say it applies.

3. Sneak around....................Check.

Face was often sent in ahead of the others to pick locks or otherwise peer around corners, which often led to getting captured.

4. Flirt her way out of trouble....Check.

Face was remarkably good at that.

5. Be the worst fighter............Check.

To be fair to Mr. Benedict, I think a lot of this may have had to do with the re-emergence of his illness. But still, Face tended to be the worst fighter of the group and most often was the gunner on the makeshift tank than he was actually throwing punches.

6. Whine and grouse about the hardships of the job...................So much check.

Honestly, I always figured that's why Amy and Tawnia didn't last. They were, in a sense, redundant. Faceman DEFINITELY translates to Facewoman, because that's the version we SEE in practically every action movie known to man.

Thinking about it, I'd love to see them redo the A-Team and make some of them girls. Though, not actually Face. He's the woman already so it's better to keep him a man. Subvert the stereotype. But a girl-Murdock with all his disheveled and maybe-crazy competence or even better, a girl-BA would be awesome! Or both! I would totally adore that show!

(On a side note: My mother always tends to come in when I'm watching A-Team and ask "Didn't he also play a gay guy on Battlestar Galactica?" Apparently not everyone has the same definition of "blatant heterosexual" that Mr. Benedict does...)


  • At June 22, 2008 7:10 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    To be fair to your mom, all of the original BSG cast comes off a little gay. Gay space mormons vs. Robots...

    Also, isn't their an A-Team movie in production?

  • At June 22, 2008 7:57 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I think so. Should be interesting to see what they come up with. Though I doubt they'll genderswap any. :-)

  • At June 22, 2008 8:07 AM, Blogger The Saint said…

    Apparently there was some bad blood over Benedict and Richard Hatch, cause Hatch thought he was the star - he did have top billing, after all - and then Starbuck quickly became the most popular character. This led to a big falling out, from what I've heard. So Benedict's non-mention of Apollo makes a bit more sense from that perspective :)

  • At June 22, 2008 10:28 AM, Blogger SallyP said…


  • At June 22, 2008 2:04 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Illness? (Is this the prostate cancer?)

  • At June 22, 2008 4:34 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    the saint: That doesn't really surprise me. :-) Actually, I can think of very few things were the lead character IS the most popular character anyway. Most folks tend to go for appealing and entertaining sidekick types.

    I actually prefer Apollo myself. I like them noble and mildly insane. :-) I probably would have preferred Starbuck when I was younger, but by now I've seen plenty of the loveable rogue types. (Also, honestly, I think Richard Hatch is by far the better actor of the two.)

    Sallyp: Yeah, I don't get that either. Maybe he doesn't understand surnames?

    Julian: yep. At least from what I've heard, it severely got in the way of action scenes. Not that you can really blame the guy for being sick

  • At June 23, 2008 3:27 PM, Blogger Joe said…

    The TVTropes wiki would have you believe that Face was "The Smart Guy" in the A-Team's Five Man Band lineup, but get real. We all know Face was "The Chick". ;-)


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