wren_kt7oz: (w_Wren)
[personal profile] wren_kt7oz
These are just some random thoughts going through my mind. No idea if anyone is still reading this stuff, but if you are and care to comment I'd be happy to host a discussion.

I've read two fics in the last couple of weeks where Brian decided to cut ties with Justin while he was in LA and both authors took the stance that Brian was totally unjustified and that his decision "destroyed" Justin.

Not saying that Brian isn't at times a complete asshole, but at that particular point in time, I think Justin was actually a worse one.

Let's think about what it would have been like if the situation had been reversed.

What if it had been Justin who had been diagnosed with cancer, had fought through the initial treatments but was still a long way from getting any medical all clear. Meanwhile Brian gets a career opportunity in New York say. He goes off to explore it and decides, without apparently a moment's consideration for Justin's precarious medical situation, any thought that his partner might face a recurrence of a life-threatening illness, to take the opportunity which will mean that he's away from Pittsburgh for at least six months. He doesn't even call Justin to tell him about it. In fact, he goes back to Pittsburgh and at least two days later he still hasn't told him that he's leaving.

Can you imagine how everyone - both in the show and in the fandom - would have reacted?

And that is exactly what Justin did.

It's not just that he took the job with Keller without discussing it with his partner (and if he were my partner I'd feel entitled to be pissed about that under any circumstances) but he gave no thought at all to the possibility that Brian's cancer treatment might not have been effective. And what that would mean. None. It's not like Brian had a bone spur removed. This was a life-threatening illness, and it didn't even figure in Justin's consideration.

Personally, I think if I were Brian, I would definitely feel like I'd been given a pretty clear idea of where I came in my "partner's" priorities list, and it wouldn't give me a great deal of confidence in what choices he'd make if the Hollywood opportunities kept coming.

I've never understood why Brian was selfish and inconsiderate and all that shit to consider the job in NY in S1, but it was okay for Justin to take off to LA the way he did at the time he did at the end of S4.

If it's okay for Justin to put his career first, then Brian was equally justified in doing that in S1. If Brian's priorities were wrong then, then Justin's, IMO were even more wrong when he went to LA.

Just my thoughts.

Interested to know yours.

Date: 26/1/17 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuivresdesaxe.livejournal.com
I though Brian was perfectly entitled to accept the NY job offer in season 1. And even though heartbroken, Justin accepted his decision.
As for the LA job, I'm not shocked with the way Justin acts, because:
1, their communication is awful: Brian doesn't tell Justin about selling the loft to settle his debt, hides his cancer, lies about training for and joining the Liberty Ride. Justin doesn't say he's carrying a gun and most probably doesn't recount the Hobbes incident.
2, they're not living together, have zero projects together, and neither implies the other in important decisions: Brian doesn't consult Justin when searching for Kinnetik's offices, Justin joins the Pink Posse without consulting Brian.
3. Justin has nothing. No school, no diploma, no job, no money.
So being in such a place after 4 years of relationship (that cannot be named thus), I really don't see why Justin should discuss accepting Brett's offer with Brian. And for the cancer if Brian's strong enough to ride on a bike from Toronto to Pittsburgh, I think it's fair to consider he's cured.

Date: 26/1/17 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
I agree that their communication generally is awful.

But there's a difference between discussing things like which building to purchase for his business and moving clear across the country for months. One has little effect on their relationship, the other has major implications for it. Plus this was at the end of S4, after all the cancer drama and the "we have a commitment and I'm sticking by it" speech from Justin.

As for being "cured". No ... cancer doesn't work that way. It would be months after the end of the radiation treatment before the doctors would give even a provisional "all clear". Brian might have been recovering from the effects of the radiation (although given the state of him at the end of the ride he might even have suffered a set back with that), but he's a long way from being in the clear with the cancer itself.

Like I said ... just imagine if Brian had behaved this way at this stage of their relationship and think about what everyone's reaction would have been.

I'm not saying Justin was wrong to go to LA. In fact Brian would have shoved him off some damned cliff to get him on the plane, but the fact that he took the job so thoughtlessly ... that didn't sit well with me. Nor did the fact that he didn't tell Brian as soon as he got back.

Date: 27/1/17 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaedhal.livejournal.com
With cancer you are never considered "cured" until you've been clear
for five years. And even then…

Date: 28/1/17 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
Yes. Sadly I know that only too well. Lost my Mum to breast cancer and my Dad to leukaemia.

Date: 26/1/17 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mikaila86.livejournal.com
I completely agree with you! I will never forgive CowLip for the mess they made of Season 4 and 5. They should have stopped at Season 3. At the end of Season 3, our boys were stable and secure as a couple. They understood each other and were there for each other.

Date: 26/1/17 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
Yes. There were some good takeways from S4 and S5 - the "mon amour" scene, the friendship between Ted and Brian, the little welcome kiss Emmett gives Brian in the bar in Toronto, the relationship between Brian and Jenn. But they were few and far between.

Date: 26/1/17 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eileen-donovan.livejournal.com
This is one of many reasons why my personal QAF had its finale at the end of season 3, not to mention I wrote very little fanfic set in S4. This particular move by Justin was one of many things that happened that I disagreed with. Most of S4 seemed to be a repudiation of the end of S3 when Brian and Justin seemed to come together, once more united after the events of late S2. I guess CowLip couldn't let it be, because they seemed to spend a lot of the next season tearing them apart. Even though S5 hadn't come out on DVD by the time I finished S4, I never had any inclination to buy it thanks to everything that went down!

Date: 26/1/17 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
That's a really interesting comment - about not even buying S5.

I think one of the many problems with the writing for S4 and S5 was that the writers didn't seem to know what else to do with BJ except break them up and get them together again.

Even the way they dealt with Brian's cancer was focused around that, rather than around the impact of that illness on his business, and on all his relationships. (I could totally see Lindsay pulling away from a version of Brian that threatened her sense of security and of who he is in her personal iconography.)

But then there were so many things that they could have explored - like having Hunter be the one that died of AIDS rather than Vic, which would really have driven home the point that the damned disease really is still a threat to the Gay community and not just to the old guys who caught it way back when.

Or having Michael die in the Babylon bombing. Why not? They knew there wasn't going to be a season 6, and that would have had real emotional impact.

So much of S4 and S5 was wasted in ridiculous story lines like the "fairy" rubbish and Ted's plastic surgery (if they wanted to address the issue of how physical attractiveness is such a dominant consideration in the gay community they needed to do way better than this effort - and that is no reflection on Scott - but the writers treated it as if it's some kind of joke that so many guys feel what Ted was feeling and it's a long way from being funny).

Oh, and the whole Rosie thing. Especially when Deb pulled out that baseball bat. I felt sick. Really.

And don't start me on the Pink Posse.

Oh, I should never have started thinking about this stuff again.

Date: 27/1/17 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eileen-donovan.livejournal.com
Let's face it, the Pink Posse was the poster child for season 4, lol! It's rare that I come across anyone who loved it, although there are people like that. And it could've also been done in a way that explored Justin's rage/trauma, just as you're saying with the other scenarios.

I think exploring Brian's cancer could've been epic and if they'd gone into more detail, it would've been a great story, just as Hunter or Michael dying had the potential to be. It does look like the writers had just checked out, which is weird given the mountains of fanfic all the QAF writers have produced. But we liked the characters and I'm guessing the writers didn't!

What a shame. They could've done so much and, instead, they did so little.

Date: 27/1/17 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
They could've done so much and, instead, they did so little.

Yes. Exactly.

As for the Pink Posse ... it was just a stupid arc. I don't mean that Justin coming face to face with his PTSD was stupid ... that as you say could have been really powerful. But turning it into a kind of sick psycho-sexual relationship between Justin and Cody pretty much invalidated any real value to the story arc - either the vigilante aspect or Justin's PTSD.

I don't think the writers had checked out, exactly. I think C/L had a kind of checklist of "relevant" issues that they wanted to include and they kind of didn't give enough thought to how they were going to address them.

Date: 26/1/17 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kinwad.livejournal.com
"It's not just that he took the job with Keller without discussing it with his partner (and if he were my partner I'd feel entitled to be pissed about that under any circumstances)"

"I've never understood why Brian was selfish and inconsiderate and all that shit to consider the job in NY in S1, but it was okay for Justin to take off to LA the way he did at the time he did at the end of S4."

I'm so with you on both of these points. In Ep.121, even though Brian was developing feelings for Justin, they weren't in a "relationship." At that point in time, not only didn't he owe Justin an explanation for his decision, he was being who he always was: Brian.

By S4, they HAD progressed to "relationship" status. And that changed everything (or should have). IMHO, the Keller/L.A. arc showcased one important facet of their involvement: Brian needed Justin more than Justin needed Brian.

Thanks for the post, Wren! Always good to rehash the episodes!

Date: 26/1/17 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
Yes, what I hated most about the canon writing was that Brian always wound up being the consolation prize. Ethan cheated? back to Brian. Film fell through? Back to Brian.

No wonder Brian didn't have enough confidence in their relationship to let himself be vulnerable about the cancer, or to be sure Justin was coming back from LA.

Date: 27/1/17 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emac66.livejournal.com
YES!! Os so agree with that comment. Justin, in my opinion, remained the "country club boy" Wasp to the end. Selfish that way. Yes, he may have loved Brian, deeply, but he quite often did things in his own best interest I found, with the idea that Brian would always be there. Don't get me wrong, I will not accept Brian with someone else, at least not permanently, adn don't read those kinds of stories, but I think Justin was the one that needed to grow up more than Brian. He seemed more selfless at 17 than he did at 20.

Date: 28/1/17 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
He seemed more selfless at 17 than he did at 20.

Yes. And certainly the 17 year old was better able to "read" Brian than S5 Justin was.

Date: 27/1/17 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emac66.livejournal.com
Amazing points from all of you. I'm on board with a lot of it. Season 4&5 did little for me. The better plot lines were left to the side, where the more redundant ones were pushed. and yes...the Pink Posse. OMG....I Hated that arc! I would've loved to have the friendship with Ted explored more. he changed so much. Grew up and became much more confident. That why I love so many of teh fanfics. Many authors do delve into that and realize that Ted had the potential to become a much better friend that Michael ever was. I never thought of Hunter being the one that dies from Aids rather than Vic. Interesting. And the cancer arc...I agree that it could've been explored more.
I have to admit here, I grew up in the same social circles as Justin did. Yup...the country club and all. While Justin had many good qualities, I found him to be pretty self motivated a lot of the time. He fought Brian all the time to communicate...to show/tell him that he cared, yet leaves out vital information himself. Info that could dramatically changed their lives. Doesn't matter what he supposes Brian would do. It was totally hypocritical of him. His explanation (to himself anyway) seems to be, "If Brian can do things without telling me, why should I tell him anything?". It's a what's good for the goose is good for the gander concept. Childish. Same with him leaving for New York. Yes...a great opportunity, but stupid in all honesty. No friends there, no support network, no job, no contacts etc. He left on a whim. I'm like many of you. Up to Season 3 is Cowlip, Season 4,5 and beyond, is up to my lovely writers. They tend to have better ideas. :)

Date: 28/1/17 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
He fought Brian all the time to communicate...to show/tell him that he cared, yet leaves out vital information himself.

Yes ... I understand that in S1 he did that because he was afraid of Brian's reaction, but by S4 that wasn't the case.

And of course I agree about New York. Justin heading off to NY to become a great artist was as idiotic as the girls heading for Toronto with no jobs, no qualifications (in Mel's case) and no support network.

Date: 27/1/17 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malanna42.livejournal.com
I couldn't agree with you more. I'm one of those who consider canon over at the end of s3. For me, my love and respect for Justin ended prior to the selfishness you're talking about. It was the scene during the Pink Posse arc where Justin gets physically violent with Brian. Say what you want about PTSD, nothing can justify that scene for me, especially given Brian's family history. That scene made me physically ill and beyond dumbfounded.

Date: 28/1/17 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
I agree. I can't watch that scene ... in fact, any of the scenes between Brian and Justin in the PP arc except the "it was love to me" one.

And what bugs me more than anything else is the hypocrisy of the writers who want us to accept that Justin is acting out of his PTSD (fair enough) in S4, but who have Brian say in S5 that he expected Justin to be unaffected by the bombing.


Date: 30/1/17 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nblanchard70.livejournal.com

Totally absolutely agree which is why your writing has ALWAYS been one of my favorites, I've always appreciated your well crafted, thoughtful and wonderful series!

Nicole. 😊

Date: 11/2/17 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it, Nicole.

Date: 1/2/17 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qafaddiction.livejournal.com
Hey Wren! Sorry I'm a little late to the comments here, but your subject line caught my attention, LOL. "BJ meanderings" sounds like a tag-line Brian might use in one of his campaigns.

It's been a while since I've read any QAF fanfic, but I tend to agree with your reasoning. But you're using LOGIC! How foolish of you. ;) Seriously, though, I think we as fans often pay much more attention to certain characterizations than even the writers do. Or maybe they just need to "shake things up" and choose a not-so-great way to do it.

I was cleaning out a cabinet of DVDs the other day and decided I need to revisit the first season.

Date: 11/2/17 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wren-kt7oz.livejournal.com
Hiya! Seeing your name pop up brought so many nice memories. Logic, ah yes. You're right. Foolish.

Where I went wrong was in assuming that there was a consistent thought process involved in the writing across the seasons. Guess I thought that was C/L's role. Silly me.

I think that by S5 especially they were just desperate for plot lines. They should have employed some of us. Because we could have seriously done better - even with the basic material.

In the hands of some of our best writers, revisiting Justin's PTSD, the Drew arc, even Ted's cosmetic surgery arc and what drove that could (and I suspect would) have been so very much better. Not to mention virtually every plot point involving BJ.


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