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In thunder, lighting, or in rain

Wow. Scrolling back through all the "ZOMG tornadoes in Chicagoland is everyone okaaaaaay?" posts on my flist, which I missed entirely on account of power going out around 7 pm and staying out for six hours. (This means we also missed The Middleman, which is poutworthy but remediable in the age of download-on-demand, w00t!)

Having spent my teens in eastern Colorado, where it wasn't a proper summer if I didn't see a funnel cloud or three by August, my response tends far more toward "OMG annoying sirens SHUT UP!!!" than "Ohgodohgod we're all going to die." A blackout is, however, apparently what it takes these days for me to actually settle in and read more than two chapters at a sitting. %-}

Which is how I ended up finishing the last third or so of Storm Front by candlelight with some truly spectacular background effects. :-D

And now that I have finished it, I have a puzzlement: What is it people find so objectionable about TV!Murphy? I ask because she seems a great deal less different to me between page and screen than any number of other elements, but she's almost always the first example raised of How The Show Got It All Wrong. (Hence Jim Butcher defending Valerie Cruz no less than three times in my hearing at Polaris -- and I didn't even go to half his programming! -- on the grounds that she was the only one on the set who'd actually read all the books and therefore "gets a pass.")

Insights for the confused person who saw the show first, and liked its Murphy just fine? What unforgivably vital ingredient is she missing? Not looking to change any minds, just curious.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
I think the main problem viewers who knew the books went in with was the heavy disconnect between tiny blonde Murphy of the book, and tall Hispanic Murphy of the show. It's hard to make the transition when the physical casting is entirely different than the picture you've had in your head for years and years (especially when the casting for Harry was so spot-on perfect). I didn't object to Valerie Cruz particularly, but it was jolting right off the bat.

And once you're already ticked off about the casting, it's easy to build up this weird block of just irrationally hating everything the actor does (see: Justin Whalen, season 2, Lois & Clark). < shrug > Fans is weird.
Aug. 5th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
And what's funny about that is, JB said Paul Blackthorne didn't look like the Harry in his head at all ("but he acted it well").

That does help explain why I kept seeing all this stuff about what a terrible actress Cruz was, I guess. I was very confused about that.
Aug. 5th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
The looks were a huge part of it. Book!Murphy is, to all appearance, a short, cute, non-threatening blonde, but in her soulgaze, she's a shining warrior with a sword of justice. It was that juxtaposition of physical cuteness with a crusader's soul that made Murph so fascinating. That aspect didn't come through in Valerie's performance, although maybe time and more eps would have cured that impression.

And then there was the fact that the show gave Murphy a kid...

Edited at 2008-08-05 04:08 pm (UTC)
Aug. 5th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
I'm coming to the conclusion I did this in the right order. Because I totally would have described TV!Murphy as "little and cute, but Do Not Mess With Her." With the book description from Harry's pov now in my head, I can see where the expectation would be for more on both counts. But without any specific expectations going in, that's exactly the conclusion I came to.

Granted, my definition of "little" has a bad tendency to be "smaller than me," which -- heightwise at least -- translates to the vast majority of women. But she also gave an impression of being little, mostly by the way she looked upupUP at Harry.

I did always wonder about the kid -- I thought it must be an element from the books that they felt they should mention but never figured out what to do with. It is weird that they invented her and never figured out what to do with her.
Aug. 5th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
I don't know. I warmed to Valerie through the course of the show. My main problem was there was just something... three degrees off center with how she played Murphy. I don't think I honestly liked her performance until the dragon episode. It's kind of like how I want to punch Robert Sean Leonard. I'm sure he's a very nice person, but. I just. PUNCH IN THE FACE. It's kind of irrational, but there's something about how Valerie plays Murphy that makes my skin itch. At least.. in the earlier episodes.

The latter ones are decent and I'm sad it's not coming back. Dunno. Just needed warming time?

(And you KNOW me! If there's a dark-haired female detective I'm all over that like white on rice! I was as weirded out by me not liking Murphy as the next person.)

Edited at 2008-08-05 04:10 pm (UTC)
Aug. 5th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
:: pats you :: And see, someone just rubbing you the wrong way I get. There's something indefinable, and you're almost always going to do that to someone in the audience. Which sucks, but there's really no way around it.

I remember seeing about 50/50 "she's written wrong" and "this person can't act." The former I knew nothing about, and the latter just flummoxed the hell out of me. You were just all "There's something...off...I dunno... FLAIL!" Which was adorable and made me wish I could fix it. *g* Totally different thing.
Aug. 5th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
I hadn't paid enough attention to how Murphy was physically described to get that disconnect; so mostly she seemed fine to me. On the other hand, I was vaguely annoyed that they gave her a kid for no reason, and never seemed to do anything with it. Also annoyed that they wrote her as knowing nothing about Harry's real life, and then had her handling it not-great with insomnia and sleeping pills. Which, let's face it, is a fairly reasonable response to first exposure to The Weird, but it's *not* what we expect of Murphy. So most of my problems were with how she was written, not at all with how she was being acted.

That said, I still liked her, and the relationship she had with Harry. The changes to Bob were a *much* bigger disconnect, but I thought that for television they worked just fine.
Aug. 5th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
The kid thing is a flum. (See above to phantomminuet.)

I didn't bat an eye at the not-dealing-well because that situation wasn't just exposure to The Weird but violation by it. Zero to possession in no time flat will frell anyone up for a while. But I had nothing to expect.

I was actually surprised to realize she was already up to speed when the book started, and immediately wondered what the backstory of how it came about was like.

The Bob objections seem to run a close second to the Murphy objections, but the former were much easier for me to grok, because he's so completely reconceptualized.
Aug. 5th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
True, having possession be the first encounter would frell with anyone very badly; and book-Murphy dealt with a similar occurrence with, yup, insomnia and sleeping pills. So, not that far off, I forgot that.

There's a vignette on the Jim Butcher website that has Murphy's first encounter with Harry and the supernatural, if you wanna check that out. :>

Yeah, re: the kid, flum. I don't know? We only got 13 eps. Maybe they had plans to deal with her in a future ep, and just never got to film/finish it? It's a shame, either way.
Aug. 5th, 2008 12:36 pm (UTC)
I couldn't help you there, given that I read the books first, but loved tv!Murphy just as much as book!Murphy. Maybe I'm the odd person out, but oh, well.
Aug. 5th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
My uncle is with you on that. :-)
Aug. 5th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
The whole blonde white woman to brunette hispanic woman threw a lot of people. But I think for me it was it was something about her attitude.

Book Murphy seemed to me to be tough as nails. Like GIJane or something. Like she'd rather break my arm and shoot someone than pet a puppy.

And TV Murphy seemed more like an average person. She seemed to me what any woman would be like after going through police training and making it to detective. Opinionated, but not a valkyrie.

Frankly, Book Murphy scares me a little.
Aug. 6th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC)
*chuckle* I think she's supposed to.
Aug. 6th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
yah, I couldn't quite get that either. heh. Of course, I saw TV!Murph *long* before I ever read any of the Dresden books [which, dude, is probably why I see Paul Blackthorn as Dresden. Not the weirdo they have on the covers. LOL] Of course, I guess by the same token, having seen the TV version first, it's hard sometimes to remember that Book!Murphy has blonde hair. LOL

Still...have to get my hands on the series so I can watch it through again, though I really don't remember anything jarring enough to make me hate TV!Murphy, I thought Valerie Cruz did a great job with the role. ^_^

Of course, I can't understand why so many of the fans LOATHE TV!Dresden anyway, so I guess I'm the wrong person to be commenting. LOL

Still...it makes me a Sad Panda that we won't see anymore TV!Dresden. **sighs**

ah well, there's still the books, right?
Aug. 6th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
Yup. He said the plan was for TWENTY books by the time he's done.
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:28 am (UTC)
Twenty, eh?

I can live with that.

Yes, oh yes, I can live with that. ^_^
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna
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