The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ponderings On a Special Snowflake


Ever since "Agents of SHIELD" started, I believed that something was incredibly wrong with the show. The problems centered around Chloe Bennet's character. Skye aka Mary Sue Poots aka Daisy Johnson aka Quake aka Special Snowflake. From Day One the character didn't work. Chloe Bennet never once displayed the acting chops to carry the show. And yet, despite all the negative feedback, and not just from me, but from the press. Despite it all, the character wasn't killed off, or downplayed. She was pushed to the forefront. Somebody there must have really liked her.

The other day, she made the following statement at Wizard World Des Moines:

"I don’t know. People who make movies for Marvel, why don’t you acknowledge what happens on our show? Why don’t you guys go ask them that? Cause they don’t seem to care!"

And then she didn't stop, she kept on going.

"The Marvel Cinematic Universe loves to pretend that everything is connected, but then they don’t acknowledge our show at all. So, I would love to do that, but they don’t seem to keen on that idea."

She sounds angry, doesn't she? Maybe she's sticking up for her co-workers; but I don't think this is the case. I think she's realized that Marvel Studios isn't going to make her a movie star. Now, this is all conjecture on my part. But if you'll allow me.

Ike Perlmutter is the CEO of Marvel Entertainment. Up until about a year ago, when Kevin Feige split Marvel Studios from Marvel Entertainment, Perlmutter had a lot of control over the movie division. If Disney wanted Perlmutter gone, it would probably involve a pay out of at least a couple billion dollars. What kind of problems did Perlmutter cause? Well, he's the reason there was no Black Widow movie for such a long time, and why she had little to no merchandise. He was the reason Joss Whedon left (and now Whedon has expressed interest in returning). He's the one that told Marvel Comics to downplay mutants in favor of Inhumans due to their pissing contest with Fox. But, most interesting, he was the one that pushed for that Inhumans movie that Feige recently took off the slate indefinitely.

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/09/marvel-studios-ike-perlmutter-kevin-feige

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Why-Marvel-Pushed-Inhumans-Out-Its-Phase-Three-Plan-130817.html

Now, how much of that is Hollywood politics and how much isn't we can't really know. But the enmity between Feige and Perlmutter is not a secret. Beyond that, the worst kept secret in Hollywood is that Marvel Studios doesn't care for AoS at all. Joss Whedon has slammed it. The Russo Brothers have slammed it. Feige has never been particularly kind to it... he's praised the Netflix shows, but was always very conspicuously silent about AoS.

And even more recently, AoS was renewed for a fourth season while Agent Carter has been cancelled, and the "Marvel's Most Wanted" AoS spin-off starring Mockingbird has been scrapped. It was also announced that amid record low ratings, AoS was moving to a new time-slot at 10 pm. That's a death slot. It's obvious to me that ABC has no further interest in programming based on Marvel. It's also obvious to me that ABC plans to bleed off whatever episode order they have for AoS, and then at four seasons, they have enough episodes to sell the re-runs into syndication... this is a pretty common practice. Usually if you make it to three seasons, a fourth is all but guaranteed because there is money to make in syndication. But after the fourth season, the show is done.

I think Ike Perlmutter and Chloe Bennet hoped the show would run for seven seasons. By the time it ended, it would have been just in time for that scheduled "Inhumans" movie to begin production. I think Perlmutter told Chloe Bennet that he would make her a movie star. Sort of like when "Star Trek: The Next Generation" ran for seven seasons before becoming a movie series. She wouldn't have been the main character in "Inhumans" because Ike doesn't like women-led superhero movies, but she'd have likely been a very key player.

Chloe Bennet just bit the hand that fed her, because she probably realizes that her dreams of becoming a movie star are now over. Or, at least, not going to happen at Marvel. Her resume is already very thin. I suppose her career could one day surge, but given that she doesn't seem to possess much in the way of talent, it's not likely. She's already a failed pop star.

Long story short. I think Ike Perlmutter was the one that liked her. Ike Perlmutter wanted this "Inhumans" movie. I think Ike Perlmutter said he would make Chloe a movie star. I think Chloe Bennet really wanted to become a movie star. I think Chloe Bennet sees AoS as her paying her dues, and the path to movie stardom. I don't think any of this is happening anymore. But, ultimately, I think this is why this Skye character was shoved at us.

But this is all just a theory, I could be wrong.

16 comments:

  1. Chloe Bennett's as tactful as she is talented, which is to say she's very lacking. That said, I do feel immense pity for her - the poor kid had aspirations to be something that she just doesn't seem cut out for, was manipulated and jerked around by a Hollywood sleaze working at Marvel who'd tried to make her dreams a reality solely to benefit his agenda and make his dreams a reality, and it's all come crashing down on them.

    Fuck Ike Perlmutter - if he ever gets the boot, I will not be missing him.

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    1. I just can't feel pity for her. I just refuse to believe Chloe Bennet didn't get every break possible. The show was BUILT around her and she couldn't convey falling if you pushed her off a cliff.

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    2. That's sort of WHY I feel pity for her, though - she thought she could be a "star" at something that required talent she simply does not possess. It's almost like Antonio Salieri Syndrome - trying to achieve greatness in spite of her mediocrity and now speaking out against her higher ups because she's bitter over the fact that she didn't get her way.

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  2. So Perlmutter is the Michael Bay of this story and Chloe Bennett is the Megan Fox?

    I think you're totally right about them wanting to get to the magical syndication episode number. As it was said in MacBeth about how it's better to go forward then go back: "I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

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    1. I feel pity for Megan Fox too. Granted there are a ton of things about her as a person that I flat out do not agree with, but I still feel bad for her and the direction she drove her life in.

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    2. Yep, the storytelling itself was as shoddy as Bennet's acting. Really, it's the perfect storm of suck for creating who was supposed to, ostensibly, be the show's main character.

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  3. True or not, I don't think Perlmutter was the only one who liked her. Look at a photo of Whedon's little brother and sister-in-law. Now look back to Skye, and now back to the sister-in-law. Kind of funny to me how much of a resemblance there is, and one of the biggest tenants of a true Mary Sue is being a self-insert character.


    Of course, like you I could easily be wrong as well.

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  4. "I think Ike Perlmutter was the one that liked her. "

    Wrong. Joss Whedon was the one who liked her. A quick Google search can confirm it.

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    1. Well like I said, just a theory. Also Whedon's involvement ended after pilot for all intents and purposes. It was after that when the character began getting more and more obnoxious, pushed harder and harder. Then the Inhumans were brought in, the movie was announced, then the Feige-Perlmutter split.

      So I do still believe Perlmutter liked her and promised to make her a star, even if Whedon was the one that hired her. The rest of it just fits too well...

      ... still, just a theory.

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    2. The sad thing is that the secret warrior comics are actually pretty entertaining. Daisy Johnson is actually a compelling character and the plots are real spy espionage. Some of the things Agents of Shield did have potential; I mean come on, the agents assassinating hydra leaders godfather style? What's not to love

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    3. "Some of the things Agents of Shield did have potential"

      No.

      "What's not to love"

      What's not to loath? Prior to Lucifer on Fox, this was the single worst TV series I had ever seen.

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    4. I was partially talking about the secret warrior comics (which the show is loosely based on). The comics actually had some interesting well rounded characters, a more defined plot line.

      I think that on paper ideas like Hydra leaders getting assassinated godfather style is kinda awesome.

      What the show SHOULD have done (besides getting better actors and fleshing out characters better) would be to have them as a black ops team taking out threats.....then it turns out that they've been manipulated into doing hydra's dirty work at the same time (the first half would be the agents on another mission against threats like weapons dealers and terrorists)...than in the final six episodes we find that the team has been manipulated into taking out Hydra's competitors (say once the team assassinated a drug lord someone whose a hydra stooge takes over the dead man's trade). It would allow some semblance of a plot (we see the characters bond over the various assissinations, thefts etc)....than it comes crashing down when we find out that they've been unintentionally working for the bad guys all along. That could have been a compelling story.

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  5. Ike Perlmutter is an...interesting figure. And by "interesting", I mean he is probably bat crap crazy, but because he's a billionaire he's merely "eccentric" and his philosophy and opinions are taken seriously. That picture you have of him is the only photograph he's allowed to be released publicly in over 20 years. He supposedly wears disguises when/if he appears for a premiere to a Marvel related film. The Beat has also ran a bunch of stories about how he's an almost cartoon-ish cheapskate with running Marvel Entertainment. According to them, their Manhattan HQ only has one staff bathroom, and their entire HR department consists of one person. He also encourages staffers to use scrap paper rather than "waste money" on office supplies like notepads. Keep in mind Perlmutter's been in charge of Marvel since the late 90's and is a billionaire. I imagine a lot of the difficulty over actor salaries in the MCU was due to him, which is one of (I imagine) many reasons why Kevin Feige wanted him removed from influencing their film division - especially since it's easily the most profitable arm of Marvel Entertainment. I sometimes wonder if Disney would have been wiser had they tossed in another few billion in 2009 to try to "buy" him out back then. Nowadays, Ike would (justifiably) demand more than he would have then. I just find it funny that a company that has so many "eccentric tycoons" as villains arguably has one running their entire enterprise. Examine his tactics and suddenly the idea that a tycoon like him could easily become a super villain with a dose of power enhancing/sanity sapping gas hardly seems far fetched at all.

    Your theory is a sound one. Marvel has been trying to get an "Inhumans" movie made for a long time; Wizard magazine was reporting on that kind of stuff during the early 2000's when X-Men ruled the roost. I imagine once the Disney deal became finalized in 2010 and it became clear soon after that the X-universe would likely never be free from Fox's grips anytime soon (since it is easily their most profitable Marvel license), the plan was to sell the Inhumans as a substitute. I can imagine "corporate synergy" suggested it was a good idea because they're like mutants, only can trace their origins to space (Kree experimentation in pre-history), which is hot right now. Unfortunately, the Inhumans just never had the same appeal, and the comics' attempt to shoehorn them into that position has been more crude than a gorilla trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. The comics have been selling like diddly and obviously the attempt to make them "hot" with a network TV show hasn't worked out. I can imagine that Chloe Bennett was caught up in a maelstrom of corporate maneuvers which aren't panning out well. Still, considering her thin resume, 4 seasons on a network show is hardly a bad thing for her career, and her acting like she's been screwed publicly won't do her any favors. Directors/producers usually have a short list of people who are "trouble" and usually you only get away with it if you're a big shot (and sometimes not even then).

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  6. Every time I hear the name "Chloe Bennett", I keep thinking of Claire Bennett from Hereos. Then I think of Jeph Loeb (one of Heroes writers) and it all comes full circle. Ugh.

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  7. One thing I will say; Hive at least died with dignity. He accepts his fate and even has a nice chat with his killer just before the nuke consumes

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    1. Don't care.

      Now, the death of Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones? Beautiful.

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