Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two random thoughts about Lee Adama

We've gotten through the much-disliked third season story arc on Battlestar Galactica, with the quadrangle of marital disharmony, and I was left with a few notions about Apollo, who's never been, I'll admit, my fave character.

1. The only other thing the two women who are in love with Lee have in common is that they both worship his father. I wonder if he's ever noticed that, and if so, does it contribute to his angst? It may not be in either Dee's "I want to marry you" way, or Kara's "I want to get freaky with you" way, but I can't help thinking both of them are really, deep down, in love with the Old Man. I suspect that when Lee's being a dick, they think to themselves, "Well, but maybe he'll still turn out like the Admiral yet." (Not that Kara isn't a dick too, because she obviously is).

2. Speaking of the Admiral: even when they're getting along, it seems like Lee is continually trying to prove his worthiness to his father. The irony is that, by and large, Adama really loves the screw-ups best. I mean, apart from Laura, a relationship that's really one of a kind, the people he loves and trusts the most in the world are Tigh and Kara, who've pretty much made careers out of being screw-ups, with some abusive drinking on the side. Then there's the Cylon Sharon, who's the next most trusted friend on the horizon.

So it seems like either Lee is completely misinterpreting what it takes to win his father's esteem, or else the values the Admiral promoted as a father are not necessarily the values he has as a man in the world. Either or both are common enough family failings, and are both pretty sad. As is their whole relationship...


a ppcc representative said...

I am in love with the Old Man. BIG TIME. Lee is a loser.

Let's talk more BSG!

Anarchivist said...

My theory may be unduly influenced by the fact that I also find the Old Man awesome on all levels, while Lee is, as you say, a loser.

There was a point in the middle of a tense action scene where I suddenly erupted, apropos of nothing but the two guys in the frame: "Please, Sam isn't just nicer, he's cuter! He's sexier! What is wrong with her?"

Fortunately, my husband is used to that sort of thing.

ajnabi said...

Here's the thing about Lee Adama: he makes perfect sense to me. He was raised by an abusive alcoholic. He had to find sense and consistency where there was none, so he became (in Jacob's words) Little Miss Rules and Regs--typical for any oldest child of an alcoholic.

And it's not so much that his dad loves the screw-ups, it's that his dad loves the rebels. The very thing in which Lee found his salvation is the one thing his dad can't abide--slavish adherence to rules. So he's trying to be the perfect...EVERYTHING, but he falls for this other abusive alcoholic (again, totally typical) and can't seem to wash her out of his hair even though he marries Dualla, the girl who the rules say he should love, should honor, because she is everything good. She's the girl who tells his father the truth all the time even when the admiral doesn't want to hear it, even when it'll make him mad at her, and makes no excuses for his wrong behavior, ever. She's the person Lee wishes he could be. Kara's the person he fears he is, deep on the inside, the person he can't stop alternately fighting and embracing. He wants to be good--no, he wants to be perfect--and Dualla is perfect--not for him, but just as she is.

But really, he's pretty sure he's bad--he couldn't save his mother, he couldn't save Zach, he couldn't save all those people and he can't even save himself, most of the time, someone has to come looking for him while he's breathlessly waiting for the oxygen to run out because he's just not sure he's worth all that struggle--and Kara is so good at being all bad, she doesn't hide any of it, she's practically made it into an art form, and it's wrong, bad to love her more than the perfect woman but if he's bad himself then why fight it?

(Poor Sam. He just wanted a good lay and a good fight, not necessarily in that order. He's the only one who comes out of this with no black marks, and that's mostly because he's so darned clueless.)

So yeah. Hi, this is me, your resident Lee Adama apologist. I think the Old Man's an emotionally constipated asshole with commitment issues toward HIS OWN SON, you don't get to have commitment issues toward YOUR OWN OFFSPRING, ASS, and I think that while Lee Adama is very often a dick he usually has valid reasons for acting that way. His collateral damage has no excuse but his internal workings have a lot of good reasons behind them.

a ppcc representative said...


Madam Ajnabi, I am reeling - REELING - from your shameless attack on the elder Adama (Emodama! Dama Queen! and my beloved) and your completely biased (though admittedly somewhat convincing) defense of the young L. I can only assume that by "abusive alcoholic" you are talking about the Ex-Missus/Evil Mother Adama (She-Dama).

Your speculations on the perfection fetishism of Lee and Dee are ace! So true, eh?

But your slings and arrows on my beloved Husker?! My King of Meltdown, my Stoic-sometimes Melodramatist-othertimes?! I LOVES HIM! I am still getting my breath back from such hefty strikes!

ajnabi said...

Okay, well, don't get me wrong. There are many things I love *about* him. Adama's a good admiral, and I love him with Laura (even though I also have problems loving Laura, so I guess they're a good pair that way). And he's a great dad to his surrogate daughters, all 127 of them. It's that his own dad is JUST LIKE freaking Lee, only without the balls to even pull a trigger in a virtual GAME, and I can see why their personalities don't mesh real well, but still. You don't get to love other people better than you love your son. And you definitely don't get to do it in front of him.

And really, I know that I'm the only one who feels this way. Which tells me that I'm probably wrong about everything. :-)

Yeah, the "abusive alcoholic" thing is taken from S3E15, when Bill says, "Your mother gave you and your brother a home. Stability." And Lee answers, "Things changed after you left. I mean, there were times when she lost control... She would start drinking... And then all of her good intentions would just go out the frakkin'...And then one day, finally the apologies even stopped." That combined with her acidic bitterness even in Bill's memories makes me think what I think.

Anarchivist said...

Hmmm...much very interesting food for thought here! Which I will have to ponder at unnecessary length. We actually haven't gotten to that episode yet that talks about Lee's mother, so there may be re-evaluating on the horizon.

Part of my problem is that I just can't empathize with Lee. Like he's got an emotional wall up, and that wall is even between us. Dee, Kara, Sam, the Old Man ... I can relate to them and identify with them. I see them as flawed, sometimes terribly flawed, but human beings that I can get some sense where they're coming from. So even when they're making mistakes, being jerks, I feel like I understand why. With Lee it's more an intellectual "oh, that's why he's that way." But in the moment when he's being a jerk, I don't have that same sense of connection.

It's like with people I know. Some of them can be jerks, but if I know them and understand them, it's okay. But other people can be jerks, and I just feel like they're jerks. It's mainly because for some reason, those people and I can't seem to get to know each other very well. Same thing with the people I'm friendly with, but we just can't seem to really become friends. Now that I think about it, that's kind of weird, but probably not uncommon. So Lee and I, we just don't connect, and that makes me frustrated with him.

Thinking about the Admiral as a father -- I don't really judge him harshly, because I see him pretty much like I do most of the men of my dad's generation, and older. My dad has talked about what how in his day, it was just an assumption that the dad was supposed to leave the parenting to the wife. The man's job was to earn the living. He says even when my mom was having the babies, the doctors acted like it was nothing to do with him, like: go home! Don't concern yourself!

The contemporary idea of dads being more hands-on, more involved with their kids, he thinks that's a great change in society.

And of course, I knew HIS dad, and OMG. So while I think my dad could seem stern and emotionally distant to people, I know how much he overcame to be as involved a dad as he was.

I've seen a lot of these guys my dad's age, when they get older, realize they could have been closer to their kids, and they eventually develop better relationships. But sometimes the distance is too ingrained, and they can't overcome it.

So that's the kind of thing I think about when the two Adamas are having their failures to communicate.

Wow, BSG really is complex, to cause all this introspection...