Doux News: February 28, 2016

This week: Shipping on The Walking Dead -- Shipping on The X-Files -- Shipping on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, this article might be about shipping

[Please note that there are spoilers for The Walking Dead, the original X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer below.]

Shipping. (1) transporting an item through the mail; (2) a number of ships, especially merchant ships, taken as a whole; tonnage. (3) rooting for fictional romance to happen, short for "relationshipping".

Before I begin, I must explain how non-shippy I am. (No, I'm not being defensive, why do you ask?) As a lifelong science fiction fan, I am accustomed to watching a lengthy television series where very attractive characters living on starships almost never have sex, after all.

Okay, I ship. I admit it. Don't all TV fans ship someone? Television is the perfect medium for shipping. We spend years involved with these characters and sometimes we can't help caring about who they love.

The term "shipping" was originally coined by fans of The X-Files. I watched all of The X-Files when it aired, and while I wasn't obsessed with the show, I was definitely into Mulder and Scully as a couple. (Looking back, it's possible that I was more into the hotness of David Duchovny. He was pretty darned hot.)

For many fans, The X-Files was all about the ship. The show was about a man and a woman who worked together and were in constant danger, played by two actors with exceptional chemistry who could generate sexual heat during a dry exchange about autopsies. Back in the nineties, producers never gave the fans what they wanted. You could ship until the cows came home (and then you could beat up the cows), but rarely would that couple actually get together.

But eventually, even the suits had to admit that Mulder and Scully belonged together, and it happened. Except by that time, it was too little, too late. Anticlimactic, as it were. And sometimes it's true that when you finally put a massively shipped couple together, all of the zest and drama goes out of the relationship, like Sam and Diane on Cheers.

For me, when it came to ships, it wasn't The X-Files. It was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was absolutely banana cakes about that show, totally obsessed, and it is still my favorite show ever. I taped the episodes (ah, VHS tapes, I don't miss you) simply to watch the episodes a second time, but wound up saving them and rewatching repeatedly. BtVS was the first show I reviewed, because I simply had to write about it. I can even see my progression as a writer in my Buffy reviews. My early reviews were too brief and superficial, but as the show progressed, I really got into it.

Like many Buffy fans, I was deeply into Buffy and Angel -- at first. There was something so wonderfully "first love" and tragic about Bangel; it dripped with star-crossed emotion, especially after Angel's shocking turn during the last half of season two. But for me, Bangel paled next to the huge, sexy mess that was Buffy's relationship with Spike.

Spike was introduced as a bad guy vampire in Buffy's second season, and the acting chemistry between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Gellar was immediately obvious, even when their feelings for each other were homicidal. When they formed an alliance at the end of season two, it was beyond adorable and bristled with romantic chemistry. I have absolutely no idea why the otherwise marvelous third season had practically no Spike, but bringing him back as a cast member in season four was such an obvious move for the producers to make after Angel left Buffy to star in his own show.

As shippable as they were, I'm certain the Buffy writers never even considered the possibility of Buffy and Spike as lovers until they had to. Buffy was our hero and began the series as a virgin, and unlike Angel, Spike had no soul. He was so evil in season two, even though his love for Drusilla made him softer and more relatable. ("I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.") The progression of Spike as a big bad in season two to Buffy's love slave in season six was sort of amazing. When the two of them finally did it (in "Smashed"), their angry passion for each other literally brought down a house. At the time, I was utterly astonished that they went there. Thrilled, too. It was delicious.

Was it the Spuffy fandom that made them go there? It had to be. I doubt that it would have happened if there was no internet (God forbid. I love the internet). I was so into it that I hung around the Buffy boards for months and read posts arguing the Spuffy/Bangel pros and cons ad nauseum. Unfortunately, after the house came down, the Buffy writers did pretty much everything they could to sink Spuffy. Whether they succeeded or not is one for the presidential debates.

How's this for a segue? While I was ruminating about ships and shipping this week, I realized that the Spuffy ship sailed in Buffy's sixth season, right after what many consider to be their best episode ("Once More With Feeling"). Coincidentally, my Walking Dead ship just sailed in this week's episode, "The Next World", also in their sixth season, and also right after an episode that might be their best ("No Way Out").

I've loved the character of Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, since she was introduced at the beginning of season three. Gurira is such an outstanding actress that she can convey depths of emotion with a micro expression, and Michonne the warrior woman might arguably be the most bad ass character on a show that features several extraordinary bad asses. I don't remember exactly when I started shipping Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), the lead character on The Walking Dead, with Michonne, but it's been going on for a couple of years.

Rick has had a rough time with his love interests. When The Walking Dead began six seasons ago, Rick's best friend Shane had left him for dead and had run off with Rick's wife Lori and son Carl. After Lori's terrible demise, Rick was so damaged that it took a couple more seasons before he even looked at another woman -- and when he finally did look at Jessie last season, she was a damsel in distress, a battered woman with a husband so important to the community of Alexandria (he was their only doctor) that everyone was averting their gaze and allowing the battering to continue.

Although the Rick/Jessie relationship covered some ground that I considered thought-provoking (what do you do with a man who beats his wife during an apocalypse when prison and therapy aren't options?), Rick's attraction to Jessie was frustrating. I kept thinking, why Jessie? Can't he see that the perfect woman for him is right in front of his eyes, and even living in his house? Michonne has been Rick's friend and equal for such a long time, she has a strong, beautiful relationship with Rick's son Carl and helps them take care of baby Judith. I kept wondering if they weren't going there because of race. If Rick had been black or Michonne white, I would have assumed that the writers intended to put them together.

There have been so many lovely Rick/Michonne moments. Last season, when Rick decided that his people would not join the gated community of Alexandria, Michonne simply overrode his decision, and he let her, because he trusted her judgment. Two weeks ago, in the blow-out episode "No Way Out", Michonne quietly backed Rick up and was simply there for him. She killed someone for him, too. I thought it was touching how she removed his bloody sheet while he was sitting next to his son Carl, completely devastated by what had just happened. She was also the first one to follow him outside to fight, a move that was marginally suicidal.

When Rick and Michonne came together at the end of "The Next World", last Sunday's episode, it didn't feel forced or manufactured. It felt earned. Now that they're together, it doesn't feel like they'll either be (1) artificially pried apart for the sake of drama, or (2) one of them will die. Yes, cast members die all the time on The Walking Dead, but Michonne is one of the most popular characters, and Rick is the lead. The Walking Dead doesn't do the romantic tension thing or the artificial-break-up-for-drama thing. Rick and Michonne as a couple feel right, like a permanent change in the story. (And if I'm wrong and one of them dies at the end of the season, I'm going to be seriously pissed. But I don't think that will happen.)

I spent way too much time reading #Richonne articles on the internet this week. Here are the ones I enjoyed most:

-- Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple's explanation on why he decided to go there with Rick and Michonne

-- Vanity Fair article on The Walking Dead becoming one of the most socially progressive shows on television

-- Adorable interview with Andrew Lincoln about his and Danai Gurira's reaction when they read the script. (Lincoln also said on Talking Dead last week that even his mother shipped Rick and Michonne)

-- About how the actors pushed for the "nude scene with weapons" that followed the love scene

-- A Vulture article with adorable Richonne gifs

-- Twitter went nuts, thankfully in a positive way.

As I said, I've been shipping Rick and Michonne for a couple of years, and the delightful shock of having it actually happen brought back memories of all of that Buffy and Spike intensity. The only other ship I was into in the past few years that even came close was Damon and Elena on The Vampire Diaries, which only got heavier when the actors that played them became a couple. I sure wish that one had ended better, in real life and on screen. For some reason, when Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev broke up, my ship dissolved. Sigh.

Honorable shipping mention:

-- Willow and Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
-- MacLeod and Methos, Highlander (as friends, not lovers)
-- Michael and Nikita, the original La Femme Nikita
-- Ichabod and Abbie, Sleepy Hollow
-- Sierra and Victor, Dollhouse
-- Sawyer and Juliet, Lost
-- Sookie and Eric Northman, True Blood (although that was mostly in the books)
-- Logan and Veronica, Veronica Mars (they had the best portmanteau name, LoVe)

It's your turn. Who do you ship? What was your favorite ship? Post a comment! Doux Reviews contributor Juliette came up with a fun shipping questionnaire, if you like:

Favorite ship, current:
Favorite ship of all time:
Favorite canon ship:
Favorite non-canon ship:
Favorite sunken ship:
A couple you ship but just as friends:
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together:

Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction. She also loves cats. Okay, and chocolate.


mazephoenix said...

Favorite ship, current: Ichabod/Abbie or Will/Hannibal (can't choose)
Favorite ship of all time: Mulder/Scully
Favorite canon ship: Buffy/Spike
Favorite non-canon ship: Charles Xavier/Erik Lensherr(Magneto)
Favorite sunken ship: Spike/Drusilla
A couple you ship but just as friends: Pete/Myka, Warehouse 13
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: Buffy/Riley

Heather said...

I love this article you wrote, Billie. It's really fun, too! I'm a shipper at heart. Mulder and Scully win for all time for me but I had deep love for Michael and Nikita in LFN. Agree about Eric and Sookie and Logan and Veronica. Rooted those two ships on like there was no tomorrow. Finally, I've been happy hearing about Richonne. Even though I don't watch TWD anymore, I smile for lots of reasons over that union! (Most of which you listed.)

mazephoenix: thank you for putting Hannibal and Will in your current slot. Bless.

Billie Doux said...

mazephoenix, I have so many of the same choices that you do.

Heather, thanks so much. Sigh, Michael and Nikita.

I just realized that the photo I chose, the TWD sixth season promo photo at the top, shows Michonne and Rick at the top of a cliff. That is hilarious.

Mark Greig said...

Favorite ship, current: it's a tie between Oliver/Felicity and Root/Shaw
Favorite ship of all time: Xena/Gabrielle
Favorite canon ship: Same as above, but the Doctor and River run a close second
Favorite non-canon ship: Bering and Wells
Favorite sunken ship: Jeff and Annie :(
A couple you ship but just as friends: Clarke and Bellamy
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: Fitz and Simmons.

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is my first time commenting. I'm usually a silent reader, but I always look at your site for good reviews on many of my favourite shows and I couldn't help commenting on this article. I do love shipping. ^_^

Just like you, I was pleasantly surprised by Richonne. When I was watching the beginning of the episode I was sure something had happened between them, my brother disagreed because he didn't think the writers would actually go there and then I was right! (Big "I told you so" there lol). Anyway, without further ado, here's my list:

Favorite ship, current: Bellarke (Bellamy/Clarke) - I mean, the name itself means "beautiful ship"!
Favorite ship of all time: Buffy/ Spike & Joey/Pacey & Piper/Leo - My first ships that will forever hold my heart
Favorite canon ship: Haylijah (Hayley/Elijah) - does it count even though they are not together right now?
Favorite non-canon ship: Carrie/Quinn & Ruby/Dr.Whale - both pretty improbable since one character is probably dead and the other two have almost disappeared from the show lol
Favorite sunken ship: Dair (Dan / Blair) & Mash (Mary/ Bash) & Rory/Jess - I will forever be bitter about how they ended things between Dan/Blair on GG; I'm starting to think I imagined Mary/Bash because they never interact anymore and hopefully the 4 part special will fix the last couple. Fingers crossed!
A couple you ship but just as friends: Hayley/Klaus & Alex/Meredith & Vanessa/Dr. Frankenstein - I just love when these couples have scenes together!
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: Rory/Logan & Rachel/Joey & Spencer/Caleb - I never could stand Logan and hated Rory when she was with him; I wish I could forget the second one ever existed; and while I don't follow Pretty Little Liars assiduously anymore (mostly read reviews or recaps and then watch the finales), when I heard about this pair I was horrified. Does Spencer have to sleep with everyone's boyfriends?!

Honorable mentions: Logan/Veronica & Eric/Sookie

P.S. Sorry if I wrote a lot. Guess the shipper in me got carried away. lol

Billie Doux said...

Don't apologize for getting carried away, Anonymous. Loved your comment. I really like Hayley and Klaus as friends, too, especially since they share a child.

sunbunny said...

Favorite ship, current: OLICITY
Favorite ship of all time: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy :D
Favorite canon ship: Bangel or maybe Tillow?
Favorite non-canon ship: definitely Destiel
Favorite sunken ship: Paul and Sarah on Orphan Black or maybe Whouffaldi (Clara Oswald and the Doctor on Doctor Who)
A couple you ship but just as friends: how about Mal and Zoe on Firefly? I love their platonic sarcastic spouses thing
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: gonna go with Buffy/Riley

Jenna said...

Ships, yay! I simply must add mine, too :)

Favorite ship, current: probably Rick and Michonne, too. Also Jamie and Claire on Outlander. And Destiel, even though it's non-canon.
Favorite ship of all time: Buffy/Spike, The Doctor (both 9th & 10th)/Rose, Damon/Elena, Destiel
Favorite canon ship: Jamie/Claire on Outlander, Roslin/Adama on Battlestar Galactica
Favorite non-canon ship: The Doctor/Rose, Dean/Castiel, Jaime/Brienne on Game of Thrones
Favorite sunken ship: Daryl/Carol. Sadly, this one sunk before even leaving the harbor :( Also Klaus/Caroline on The Vampire Diaries.
A couple you ship but just as friends: 10th Doctor/Donna, 12th Doctor/Clara
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: 11th Doctor/River. I've warmed up to them with Capaldi's Doctor, but I just can't stand Matt Smith & Alex Kingston together. I think it might be the age difference which bugs me the most - or just the fact that I've never really liked Matt Smith...

Mallena said...

Fave current: Oliver/Felicity. I've only watched to season 3, though.
Fave all time: Used to be Scully/Mulder. Mad at them now after lame season 10.
Canon: Peter/Olivia
Non Canon: Don't go there
Sunken ship: Being literal---Titanic. I loved how Jack did everything he could to save Rose.
Friend ship: Echo/Paul
Worst ship EVER: Angel/Cordelia

Jonathan said...

Fun little game! I'll join in...

Favorite ship, current: Patrick & Richie, from Looking (I know, I know, no-one is watching that show. But they should! And as far as shipping goes: I have never felt so many television-butterflies as in THAT romantic first-season-episode that centered solely on Patrick and Richie, at the start of their relationship. Gorgeous television!)

Favorite ship of all time: Marshall & Lilly from HIMYM. Weirdly, I don't think HIMYM is such a great show. But I love how that couple was portrayed. They felt right: they belonged together, they knew eachother trough and trough, and the couple dynamic was as it should be. They reminded me of some very good friends of mine. I loved how those characters just 'worked' as a couple.

Favorite canon ship: Pfft, so many... Logan and Veronica, Sydney and Vaughn (damn you, Lauren Reed), Sookie and Eric, Kurt and Blaine, Dexter and Rita, Lorelai and Luke, Jamie and Claire from Outlander... Ooooooh, no, I know: Adama and Roslin, from Battlestar! Yes, they're my favourites :-)

Favorite non-canon ship: Eric Northman and Jason Stackhouse - that dream sequence should have been the start of a spin-off :-p

Favorite sunken ship: Can't think of any right now...

A couple you ship but just as friends: FitzSimmons on Agents of SHIELD. I so loved that duo in the beginning of the show! I want that back!

A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: Clara Oswald and Orson Pink. Those two where NOT good for eachother...

Jonathan said...

After I posted my answers above, I remembered a good favourite sunken ship: Jack and Ianto! (Yes, I know, a lot of gay couples in my answers. What can I say: you ship what you know...)

J.D. Balthazar said...

Favorite ship, current: Hayley and Elijah (The Originals). I don't currently have a ton of ships I'm into, and I tend to consider them past when the potential couple get together (Rick/Michonne were near the top for me as well).
Favorite ship of all time: John Crichton/Aeryn Sun (Farscape)
Favorite canon ship: Buffy and Spike (Buffy TVS)
Favorite non-canon ship: Clarke/Raven (The 100), Poe/Finn (Star Wars: TFA, this one amuses me more than I actually ship it. And I've heard a rumor there will be a LGBT character in upcoming SW content so this is a possibility).
Favorite sunken ship: Tara and Willow (although to be fair they did get back together for one night - damn you Joss).
A couple you ship but just as friends: Rick and Daryl (TWD)
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: Clarke and Bellamy (The 100, I know she ends up with him in the book that bares almost no resemblance to the show, but I just don't see them together as a couple. It just doesn't work for me).

Heather1 said...

Can I tweak the categories just a bit?

Favourite first ship: Nikita and Michael. I was insanely obsessed with this entire show and this ship in particular. After every episode, I would look at my TV and literally say out loud, "That is one crazy show!". It was the first show I could remember having anti heroes who really were anti (Madeleine). And all the stuff Michael and Nikita had to go through? The producers weren't afraid to give fans what they wanted... but they constantly tore them apart in the most desperate ways! Their world was so cold... and they were white hot in the centre.
Favourite enduring ship: Buffy and Spike. For all the reasons you've mentioned Billie.
Favourite unrequited ship: Mal and Inara. I went through a period where I actually cherished my Firefly DVDs. At one time, I was about to lend them to a dear friend and at the last minute, I couldn't do it. I needed my fix every night. All hail Joss Whedon!
Favourite brother ship: Of course... Sam and Dean. People are selecting non-canon Destiel, and it's true the Supernatural universe became some so so special with the introduction of Castiel, but nothing can beat the relationship between these two brothers. I can't let any subject go by without finding a way to mention the Winchesters, such is my love for them.
Favourite original ship that defined all ships: (I'm showing my age here) David Addison and Maddie Hayes from the one and only "Moonlighting".

Mallena said...

Heather1, the first ship I loved was Laura and Remington Steele. I didn't mention them because I was afraid people would say, who?? I also loved Moonlighting. Why isn't it out on bluray yet? I miss romantic comedies. You're right...Sam and Dean for best sibling ship, non slashy division. (I mention SPN in most of my posts, too) JD, I can't believe I forgot Aeryn and John Crichton. Most Epic ship EVER.

Heather1 said...

Mallena, I remember Laura Holt and Mr. Steele (early Pierce Brosnan for those who don't know it). That was a great show! Your comment about Moonlighting on Blu ray prompted me to look: you can watch it streaming.

Juliette said...

Here are mine:
Favourite ship, current: Mulder and Scully, The X-Files
Favourite ship, all time: Impossible to choose, but maybe Crichton and Aeryn on Farscape
Favourite canon ship: Crichton and Aeryn
Favourite non-canon ship: I have a serious soft spot for Destiel, Supernatural
Favourite sunken ship: Spike and Buffy, BtVS
Favourite brotp: JD and Turk on Scrubs (honourable mention for the Winchesters on Supernatural, since they're actual brothers)
Notp (current): Dean and Amara, Supernatural
Nopt (older): Joey and Rachel, Friends

These comments gave reminded me of so many others though - like Eric and Sookie, Jeff and Annie, Jaimie and Brienne (who I would count as canon, though it's a grey area), Damon and Elena...

migmit said...

Favorite ship, current: Ravi/Peyton
Favorite ship of all time: hmmm... Xander/Anya, maybe?
Favorite canon ship: Xander/Anya
Favorite non-canon ship: nothing really.
Favorite sunken ship: Buffy/Riley. I loved that pair.
A couple you ship but just as friends: again, nothing.
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: House/Cuddy, despite being canon.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

Ha - I've been waiting for this but somehow missed when it posted!

After getting halfway through the below with only Doctor Who characters, I figured I needed to do one Who-only and one excluding Who.

Favorite ship, current: The Doctor/River Song
Favorite ship of all time: Amy/Rory
Favorite canon ship: The Doctor/River Song
Favorite non-canon ship: Can't think of a good one that isn't canon in some way - what exactly makes a relationship canon, btw?
Favorite sunken ship: The Doctor/Rose
A couple you ship but just as friends: The Doctor/Clara
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: The Doctor/Missy

Non-Who TV:
Favorite ship, current: Schmidt/CeCe (New Girl)
Favorite ship of all time: Buffy/Spike
Favorite canon ship: Veronica/Logan, Marshall/Lily
Favorite non-canon ship: Matt/Karen (Daredevil, don't read the comics and don't know if this will change in season 2)
Favorite sunken ship: Wesley/Fred
A couple you ship but just as friends: Peggy Carter/Edwin Jarvis
A couple you can’t stand to even think of together: Emma Swan/Neal