ANYWAY, FANDOM NAOW.
Day 08 - A Ship You Know All The History To
The reason for this is that, basically, I made most of that history up myself. :P
Jonathan and Maddy from Jonathan Creek.
I'll let Eni get the flailing out of her system before we start. *waits for calm* Okay, done? Good. Here we go.
It's true, actually. I did make up most of their history myself, or at the very least a lot of it is based on suppositions which I've spent several years thinking about, and they're so ingrained into my consciousness now that I practically take them as canon. The series actually gave us very little to go on in terms of the characters and their backgrounds, just a few glimpses here and there; we still know more, comparatively, about Maddy than we do about Jonathan. David Renwick gave the viewers a basic skeleton of a history, which I have subsequently fleshed out.
Actually, it does seem like he made a few vain attempts to give the characters more depth, before backing away again. For example, he gave us the back-story about Maddy's mother committing suicide, and the relevance of Gordon Hill, but never anything more. During the episode Maddy is talking to a therapist, so perhaps the point is that she's worked through her issues. In reality, that's rubbish. If she's been sitting on all that angst for 16+ years, a few hours of counselling and Jonathan's timing is not going to change her outlook miraculously. That internal chaos spills over into her lifestyle - the transience, the untidy and disorganised living space, her disastrous cooking attempts, and her complete inability to commit to any relationship for more than a month. (I don't know how long she'd been with Trevor when we met him in the pilot, but they break up halfway through the episode.)
We are given even less about Jonathan. His mother, we are told, is a doctor (her friend is Ingrid Strange from "House of Monkeys", who has been asked to keep an eye on his health every now and then), and the apparent one love of his life was Charlotte Carney. We don't know about his father, but his parents live in America. That's all we get. The rest is in the subplots and the scenery - his obsession with Victoriana and Ancient Egypt (he has a SARCOPHAGUS in his BEDROOM - also you need to look closely at his headboard and the general decor. :P), his hypochondria and obsessive-compulsive tidiness.
It annoys me a bit. Before discovering Jonathan Creek I had only really watched epic US series like X-Files, which are quite big on character canon - even Friends stuck to its histories. I found myself getting incredibly frustrated, because with JC all the character stuff was never expanded upon, and the episodes have no sense of proper canon. Or, well, they don't on first viewing, and it took at least five re-watches before I figured out what the bloody hell was going on in series 3.
In that sense, it makes this pairing a bit more rewarding. You really feel like you've worked at it. In terms of actual shippiness, the characters' interactions seem to go in reverse; in series 1 things are much more blatant (pandering to what they anticipated impatient audiences wanted, I presume - writers never quite understand why people keep watching... :P), then in series 2 they've fallen into a tentative friendship (albeit a snarky one). "Black Canary" (the Christmas special between series 2 and 3) develops things a bit further, bringing all the hidden anxieties and frustrations to a head, and then leading into series 3's bizarre dynamic, which I finally figured out was supposed to indicate that they were trying to take things further and kept getting distracted or interrupted. That realisation was a complete "eureka" moment for me, as until then, as much as I'd enjoyed the random groping in the first episode, it made absolutely no sense in terms of their relationship.
I was always quite irritated that the apparently long-awaited not!dithering in the penultimate episode was apparently brushed over in "The Three Gamblers" (and actually I've always hated the way they executed it anyway, as it felt a bit... I don't want to use the word 'anti-climactic', but... yeah, that.) Except it's definitely there in the subtext, in the way they look at each other and in Maddy's demeanour - at the end of that series there is so much potential for more. I mentioned this before when I was doing my last re-watch: how they're both trying to change for the better. Jonathan is attempting to understand her crazy, overblown reactions to things, and Maddy is trying to stop being so bloody predictable, when that's precisely what he's relying on at the time. :) The fact that she apologises for overreacting about him sitting in a car with a strange woman says so much, as does the fact that she can't quite bring herself to do so face-to-face.
Maddy's sudden departure by the time we get to "Satan's Chimney" has always stung. We were never given a proper in-character explanation. It says a lot that viewing figures tapered off once Caroline Quentin left the show - that she had three series to Julia Sawalha's one - and the Jonathan/Carla dynamic feels horribly forced in series 4. I'm really glad that Joey is not so annoying, and that the Jonathan/Joey dynamic is a refreshing non-romantic change, which has progressed naturally instead of being the proverbial flogged dead horse.
Despite the fact that I'm still bitter about Maddy leaving the show (and David Renwick's stubborn refusal to bloody well invite Caroline back, even though she's said on several occasions that she would return if asked :P), there is enough evidence to prove that even in her absence, she - as much as the J/M relationship - is the heart of the show. She was mentioned in "Satan's Chimney", albeit only to explain where she was, and Jonathan's reluctance to discuss things was more than obvious. In "The Seer of the Sands " (a.k.a The Comma Episode) Maddy has sent him an email, signed off with three kisses - she is his "friend in America".
She is mentioned again in the Easter special, "The Grinning Man", however many years later. Jonathan is bitter about it, and even though the real reason for that is Renwick's own bitterness about Caroline's departure, it poses many questions in terms of the characters. I can understand he'd demonstrate animosity towards Carla, because she's bloody unbearable and really, the only explanation for that travesty is that she was just enough like Maddy to reel him in.
Maddy is not technically mentioned at all in "The Judas Tree", but I am still convinced that the scene between Jonathan and Joey in the pub, after the court trial, is in reference to her. It can't be in reference to Carla, nor even to Charlotte, and it makes no sense in the context of the mystery. We will probably never know for sure what the intention of that conversation was, but if it IS in relation to Maddy, then perhaps the bitterness can be explained. There was never any timescale given for her publishing junket, and I like to think there were Things Unsaid (or perhaps not unsaid) before she left, and a broken promise of a return. If I ever get my Doomfic off the ground properly, it attempts to fill in the gaps. My series 3 tags do the same thing. There is TOO MUCH missing from the actual episodes to satisfy the Inner Shipper, but it provides much in the way of writing fodder. And of course, having to work hard at a ship like this means those fleeting moments you DO get are extra specially special. :)
HERE, HAVE SOME PICTURES. Source: my DVD's. And some are different shapes because they apparently started broadcasting in widescreen in series 3 but I didn't realise that until after I'd resized half of them.
Picture explanations as per order above:-
- Pilot episode, "The Wrestler's Tomb", testing out floating chair trick. SEE HOW THEY PANDER!
- "The Reconstituted Corpse", post-first kiss. Maddy's next line is "What... in Hell... do you smell of?" as Jonathan has been rummaging in bins. :)
- "House of Monkeys", though perhaps not what you were expecting. In the next two seconds she attempts to brain him with a desk lamp.
- "The Scented Room", Gordon Hill demolition scene. <3
- "The Mother Redcap", after Jonathan saves Maddy from Certain Doom (which he was actually to blame for) by, well, tackling her to the floor. I love this scene. He's so concerned and she's so confused. Amazing.
- "BLACK CANARY" PICSPAM. For serious. All from the same scene. This is Maddy looking appropriately guilty.
- And Jonathan looking stern.
- (I did have more in between these of them looking angry at each other, but decided to get rid of them). This is after she quotes "comfy old sweatshirt" back at him. Suspicious face.
- Maddy does not like his comparison.
- But later on she falls on top of him in the hibernaculum anyway. I seriously seriously love the argument scene, and didn't realise how much until I started capping it. :D It's amazing.
- "The Omega Man" - they are SO TOTALLY DATING.
- Jonathan ushering Maddy out of the US security office with patient expression. Bless.
- "The Three Gamblers" - not!face-to-face telephone call. :)
- Post playing-card rescue. Aww.
- This is the last scene they ever have together. Plus bonus points for Jonathan looking adorably uncomfortable in his dinner jacket. *squishes him*
Grah, lengthy explanation is lengthy and epic picspam is epic. Jonathan and Maddy empower me to produce wordy ruminations every single time (as opposed to some other ships that basically reduce me to incoherent flailing - although they do their fair share of that, too :D), which is part of the reason I love them. They seem outwardly unmatched - neither would seem to be the other's type, judging by past history - but are actually quite similar in their neuroses. I love the idea that these two completely romantically-inept people might be perfect for each other, in a snarky, non-communicative kind of way, and that once Maddy understands the mechanism of Jonathan's brain, once Jonathan chips away at Maddy's barriers, once they finally bloody well acknowledge that they do actually like each other, it has a chance at longevity.
But unfortunately, we'll never know... :(
...unless by some miracle David Renwick sees sense and writes a reunion, at which point I think my brain will actually explode from the AWESOMENESS. Either that or the angst will break my heart in two. In all likelihood, it'll probably be both at once.
I think this is so far my biggest word-dump (and my biggest picspam) in this meme, though I doubt that will remain the case. ;)
I'm thinking I might move the Movies one to May (equally alliterative) to give myself some time to recover from this one. And also because the concept of trying to fit 30 meme days into 28 actual days is quite painful.
Okay, this post has taken a cumulative seven million hours to post, but at least I got it up before midnight. :D
*awaits inevitable flail and capslock abuse*