Goliath and Elisa
22 March 2010 4 Comments
So I was going through fellow Gargoyles-fan Greg Bishansky’s blog when I came across this old post of his about the tendency of some fans to hope for easy solutions to the obstacles fictional characters face out of “too much” love for them–even at the cost of interesting stories.
I used to read a lot of “Gargoyles” fanfiction, and I still mingle with a lot of the fans on various forums. But whenever we get into a serious discussion on what should happen next, I am honestly surprised whenever someone suggests something good, or even credible. Because almost all the time, fans throw up wish lists that would completely rob the series of its teeth.
Take Goliath and Elisa’s love story, for example. It took them sixty-five episodes to even kiss, and almost as long for Elisa to acknowledge her feelings for him. When Elisa briefly got cold feet in “Invitation Only,” a good portion of the fandom revolted. Weisman was accused of violating the integrity of the characters, people were angry, and accused Elisa of acting out of character. To which I ask, did any of you ever watch the sixty-five episodes of the series? Ever? This isn’t just an interracial relationship, this is interspecies, and it has a lot of very real consequences.
What do most fans want? For Goliath and Elisa to quickly get married and have lots of babies together. As for the former, Weisman has said a commitment ceremony is coming eventually. As for the latter, gargoyles and humans cannot procreate together. May I add that the notion upsets a lot of fans?
While I don’t read a lot of fan-fiction (I really don’t have the time, even if I were to go directly with the cream of the crop–although I did read Bishanky’s excellent “Rhapsody“), I can largely agree with the sentiment.
That said, there’s a part of his post I have to raise objections to.
When Elisa briefly got cold feet in “Invitation Only,” a good portion of the fandom revolted. Weisman was accused of violating the integrity of the characters, people were angry, and accused Elisa of acting out of character. To which I ask, did any of you ever watch the sixty-five episodes of the series? Ever?
As I expressed once the initial issue came out, I do feel that that particular plot was bad writing, and that Elisa was being out of character. However, it’s not for the reason Greg states here–the opposite, actually.
If you believe that Elisa has been in love with Goliath since at least “Sanctuary“, then she has had months to ruminate on the potential consequences of beginning a relationship with him. The moment when she kisses him in “Hunter’s Moon” would seem to indicate that she has indeed accepted those consequences.
At the point in the story where “Invitation Only” takes place, it’s been less than a week since the events of “Hunter’s Moon”. The one event of note she has faced so far was a Quarrymen attack which happened to take place on her appartment–no worse or different than any of the dozens of other attacks on her person she has faced since meeting Goliath.
But what’s this? Elisa, after taking the initiative in taking her relationship with Goliath to another level, no longer feels the confidence she’d felt four days ago. She decides to break things up with Goliath, claiming that she wants a normal life which Goliath cannot give her (including kids, which, while natural enough, she’d never mentioned before). So what’s brought about this sea-change in Elisa’s thinking? It’s never really explained, and in a couple of issues, after she sees Goliath in mortal danger, she changes her mind again.
Am I saying that it’s unnatural for Elisa to doubt herself? Not at all–choosing to pursue a romance with a gargoyles is a momentous decision which will affect her life forever, and Elisa is, after all, human. However, I feel the timing is wrong. Having her change her mind now, after she’s had months to make her decision but has faced none of the consequences that come from it (is anybody even aware of the kiss?), makes her seem, in my opinion, cowardly*, which Elisa has proven time and time again that she isn’t. Why not have this moment later, after they’d actually tried to have a relationship, and faced the challenges that come with being a closetted Gargoyle-lover**? Not only would it have given the reader the pleasure of actually seeing Elisa & Goliath as a couple and witnessing how that changes things for them, it would have felt like a natural step in their relationship.
On broader terms, I disliked this moment because I’ve grown to hate the tendency for writers to immediately try to separate a couple soon after they’ve gotten together, because it seems to indicate that being in a relationship is easy and therefore uninteresting. Like Greg says, there are plenty of challenges Goliath and Elisa face in embarking on their newest adventure; why not face them together, instead of folding at the first sight of a pebble in their path?
Now, there’s all sort of subtext here, for whomever wishes to look for it. Who’s to say that Elisa was actually sure in “Hunter’s Moon”? Who’s to say that the reasons she gave are her true ones? One might even get some interesting stories out of that. However, given how space was at a premium, those are not the stories I was (or are) interested in.
* Not to mention, terribly unfair to Goliath.
** A personal favorite possibility would have been if Elisa got cold feet after she’d tried to explain her relationship to her parents. After all, knowing and accepting the existence of Gargoyles is one thing; having their daughter date one is another. Having the Mazas asking the obvious questions, when they are played as sympathetic characters who respect both people in the pair, would have make for great drama (it still can), and would have done a lot to make Elisa’s attempted break-up ring true.