My Friend Made a Web Series!!!

And you can watch the promo here!!!   Yes, my friend has jumped onto that bandwagon, and created a web series.  We are all hoping it'll be successful, AND, it's all comic book parody-ish awesome fun!!!!  Watch it, the link compels you!!!!

There's Something About Merlin: Spoilers through 3x04

OK, so I have just joined the ranks of the Merlin fandom.  I must admit that I originally watched it as a drinking game, but after the characters turned out to be absolutely adorable, I kept on, and I gotta say there are some AMAZING episodes.  ...And then there are all the other episodes...

So, I have this to say about this show.  First of all, because I've yet to find this observation anywhere else on the internet, I have to say this.  I also have to make a quick disclaimer that this is my friend's observation, because apparently she is some kind of genius to have pointed this out.  And the observation is this:


And I don't mean this in a "it isn't accurate to canon" or a "but the commentary on arthurian legend is stupid" or "This isn't the point of Arthurian legend" or anything.  All of that has been said, possibly often.  I mean this in an incredibly literal way.  The two things just simply aren't related.  They have nothing to do with each other.  Merlin changes pretty much anything about Arthurian legend except for who is good and who is evil and all of their changes aren't a commentary on Arthurian legend either, and they aren't just bad changes so typical of adaptations.  They just aren't the same thing. It'd be like if you changed all the names of the characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the same as the names in Lord of the Rings (Buffy is Aragorn, Willow is Frodo, Xander is Samwise Gamgee, vampires are ring wraiths, etc...) and called it an adaptation of Lord of the Rings.  It wouldn't be.  The two just would not be related things.  

I'm confident that If you were to go through any given script of Merlin and Change All the Names, the show would have no more to do with Arthurian Legend than Any Other Fantasy Story.

You've gotta remember, MOST fantasy shows/books/stories, etc... have some influence from Arthurian Legend in much the same way all rock music today is influenced by The Beatles.  So, you can make a few arguments for things like "but wouldn't people recognize the all powerful sword made just for the future King?"  Well, no!  Especially since it isn't in a stone.  Lots of fantasy stories have awesome swords meant solely for one sovereign. 

Now, why does this bother me?  Well, it really doesn't.  Except on one level: This show would be so much better if they just forgot it was called Merlin.  This show has it's best episodes when it isn't trying to stick to Arthurian Legend.  Some of the worst show decisions they've made have been because they felt they needed to adhere to the original myth.  Like making Morgana evil as early as they did or having Freya be the Lady in the Lake.  If they just forgot the show was named Merlin, we'd get a lot more episodes like the one with Balinor or the episode where Merlin poisoned Morgana.  Those episodes where awesome.  Also, had NOTHING to do with Arthurian legend.

I mean, even the whole destiny thing can exist without it being called Merlin.  I don't need Arthur to be THAT Arthur to really want to watch that character become King.  Bradley James does a fine job all on his own.

I just feel that this show would benefit from focusing more of it's energy on the interesting things that they already have set up, like the ban on magic, this universe that manages to not be racist and only a little sexist but REALLY classist, and an awesome slashin' Destiny Dragon that offers convenient prophecies but whose advice and future telling abilities may be based on his desire to fulfill his own agenda, etc...
The show could just explore so much more of this if they weren't so busy bringing in the famous knights from Arthurian Legend or the Lady of the Lake.  Characters, who, by the way, have nothing to do with Arthurian legend other than in name.  I mean, really?  What the hell makes Lancelot any different from any other knight character the show could have brought in?  That he's an awesome knight?  That he falls for Guinevere?

Here, let's change the names for a second, and here's the plot we get:

A peasant who has always wanted to be a knight journies to the city of Rieman where the Royal Family resides.  Upon his arrival, he encounters a beast attacking a young man in the woods.  Because he is a skilled and brave fighter, he rescues the young man from the beast, although he does not kill it.  The peasant and the young man journey the rest of the way to Rieman, where the young man gives him a bed and shelter for the night.  The peasant tells the young man about his ambitions to become a knight.  It turns out, the young man, Tim, just so happens to be the manservant to Prince Dax.  But, upon speaking to the Prince, Tim discovers that his peasant friend, Geoffry, cannot become a knight because you must be a Nobleman to become a knight, it is the first code of Rieman.  However, Tim uses his secret magical powers to create a seal that claims Geoffry is of noble birth.  However, the King knows the father of the nobleman, and discovers Geoffry is a fake.  He is found out, and sent to the dungeon before he can fight the beast attacking Rieman.  However, the Prince releases him and he uses this pardon to go out and fight the beast.  With the help of Tim's secret magic enchanting his lance, Geoffry defeats the beast.  However, because of the conflict he has created between the Prince and the King, he leaves Rieman.  His departure brings much sadness for the Prince who prized his abilities as a knight as well as for a young servant girl named Margaret who he fancied and who fancied him, and also for Tim who he'd befriended. 

The End.

OK, really?  Does it matter that it's Lancelot?  I mean, I'm not mad that the show called him Lancelot, but it just doesn't matter.  The fact that this peasant is named Lancelot has no barring on the story whatsoever, not plot wise, not character wise, and I as an audience member am not more emotionally affected knowing this is Lancelot.  And the thing is, if it wasn't Lancelot, the show wouldn't have been so keen to bring him in.  And maybe we could've gotten another episode about the magic ban and what all that means in this universe.  Or maybe the episode could've been focused on the dragon and his deal, or maybe it could've been a story about a knight but with more of a focus on Merlin as opposed to his relationship with Gwen, that I just don't care about because they only resemble the Arthurian characters in name, and I often forget that they are THAT Gwen. 

Yeah.  It's kind of hard to explain, but hopefully what I said made sense.

OK, So THIS is Awesome

So, I usually use this LJ for fanfic and talking about fandoms, but I my friend showed me THIS,  the part of me that loves music and loves daily show/colbert, and is not happy with American politics just came out full force and I had to post it to my LJ.  Enjoy it.  It's a band called Silhavey.  Watch, enjoy, and pass on to all your friends!


A Woman's Intuition Ch.2

A/n: So the nurse in this story is female, which may be a historical inaccuracy.  women as nurses would've been just starting to happen when Holmes went to school.  But, well I didn't feel like correcting all my "she's" to "he's", and honestly, i like Holmes talking to someone who could be a nurturing figure in this chapter.  so, yeah.

Holmes laid down inside the infirmary, a lump of ice wrapped in a cloth pressed to his nose.  It hurt.  Everything hurt, really.  Spencer had beaten him rather badly, although rather sloppily.  All the same, Holmes had been quite inefficient at protecting himself from the attack. 

The nurse walked in, his Latin instructor accompanying her.  "How are we feeling,Mister Holmes?"  She inquired.

"It hurts a bit still, sir, but better, sir."  He answered to the Latin teacher despite the fact the nurse had put the question to him.  His Latin instructor's look seemed to demand response, whereas the nurse's question seemed but a pleasantry.

"Well, that should teach you from spreading gossip, Mister Holmes.  It's petty and unbecoming of a gentlemen. Leave the gossip to the women, and you focus on your studies."

"I-" Holmes began, but the teacher shot him such a look he thought twice about the wisdom of his action and changed his reply to "Yes, sir."

"There's a good lad."  And with that his Latin teacher turned on his heel and left the room.

As soon as the instructor had departed, Holmes spoke up. 

"It wasn't gossip."  He said to the nurse, who just looked at him with disbelieving but patient eyes.

"It was not!  I was merely playing The Game with Erikson."

"The Game?"  The nurse asked, curiousity overriding disbelief.

"Oh yes, the game is wonderful.  Erikson isn't very good at the game.  I'm very good at the game.  Well, not as good as Mycroft, but no one is good as Mycroft."

"And is this game gossip, mister Holmes?"  The nurse said, sensing a child trying to get out of trouble.

"Oh no!  Gossip is the spread of unverified statements.  I would never.  The Game is what my father calls deduction."

"Oh, is it,and how is deduction different from gossip?"

"Deduction is the systematic and logical approach to discovery.  It is what allows men to discover what women know intuitively." 

"And do women know intuitively all the scandals that occur in a school yard?"  The nurse asked, sensing perhaps the child had been a victim of his parents justifying their own questionable ways.

"Well of course.  Women have intuition. They know almost everything about a person at a glance.  Men have logic.  It's what let's us keep up with women.  And, of course, since logic is more objective, more self aware, and more thorough, it is more fair. That's why men are in charge of everything."

"Is that so?  So why did you say such things about Mister Spencer?"  The nurse replied, placing the conversation back on track.

"Oh, well, I was merely deducing with Erikson that Spencer's mum was being cut out of a large portion of her allowance because she'd had an affair and her husband did not want to deal with the scandal of divorce."

"Why, Mister Holmes, if that isn't gossip, I don't know what is!"

"It isn't gossip!  It's true.  I deduced it."

"Well, that may be, Mister Holmes, but did you ever think of how Mister Spencer would feel about you saying such things, true or no?"

"Well."  Holmes said, looking down at his feet.

"Yes, mister holmes?"

"Well, Erikson really wasn't supposed to say anything.  At home, we always play the game with strangers.  And I forget sometimes.  It's only meant to be an exercise.  I don't mean any harm in it, honest.  But, I cannot seem to stop myself from playing.  I despise being in a room full of information and not allowed to examine any of it.  And people are just walking around with information all over them."  Holmes said, his speech gaining in passion, so much so that he ignored the pain and had sat up by the end of it.

"And?"  Replied the nurse, expectantly.

"And what?"  Holmes asked, confused.

"And why else do you suppose you must play this game, Mister Holmes?"  The nurse had such a look of knowledge and expectation about her.  Holmes thought very, very hard.

"I...It's fun?"  He ventured.

"Well, yes, I'm sure you do find it fun, Mister Holmes.  And while I would hate to discourage a young mind such as yours, you don't suppose the surprised looks of disbelief on your classmates faces isn't also an incentive?  Do you not enjoy those such as Erikson praising your abilities?"  The nurse asked.

"I...well, how did you deduce that?"

"As you said, Mister Holmes, we women have intuition."

"I, well fine, I enjoy a bit of the applause, but I am out for the truth of things.  And, besides, Erikson really is entertained by it.  And Erikson is so often bored.  And I do not blame him.  The other children can be dreadfully boring,ma'am."  Holmes stated, defending himself.

The nurse merely sighed.  "Alright Mister Holmes, if you insist.  now, lie back down.  And try not to get too excited about your own cleverness.  It could get you into trouble someday.  Remember people hate being reminded of the truth of their personal lives.  And it is really none of your business."  She said, as gently but as firmly as she could, hoping to drive the lesson home.

"Erikson really was supposed to keep his mouth closed."  Holmes mumbled.

"Lie down, Mister Holmes."  The nurse repeated.

Holmes lied back down, but he took the nurse's words to heart.  Did The Game really offend people so very much?  It was merely an academic exercise.  Although, he supposed if it were his mum that had been spoken of-  Alright, so perhaps he should exercise a bit more cautious.  Just a bit, no need to sacrifice truth.  But it could get him into bigger trouble if he was not cautious when he played it outside of his family or even the school.  Spencer really only could do so much.  Yes, he must protect himself.  He must learn to defend himself.  Perhaps boxing?

A Woman's Intuition

a/n OK, so this was for a kink meme prompt.  ...Yeah.  My first one.  So, Sherlock Holmes is a HARD fandom to write for.  So, i'm really worried this sucks.  It's also my first fic in this fandom.  I...yeah, just read it.  And review to either validate or relieve my insecurities.  Constructive criticism only though, flames make me kill kittens.  Oh, and if anyone wants to beta, let me know.  Also, it's a young sherlock...that's why he's called sherlock not holmes, they didn't call kids by their last name till they went to school.  And i have sherlock at like 5 here.  Or rather, i tried to make him like 5. .  Oh, and please, I did not double check book canon.  I think Mycroft is 7 years Sherlock's Sr, but please correct me if I'm wrong.  And finally, I totally made the stuff up about papers for a dowry.  It's all a lie.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.  now read the story!  yay!

The carriage was bumpy and uncomfortable, and Sherlock was far too crowded by Mycroft to feel at all free in the small space.  He kicked his legs in restlessness and leaned his head against the window to sleep.  He made a small whine when his head simply bounced off the window.  His mother across the carriage looked at him with a slightly sympathetic glance, his father looking adoringly at his wife merely flicked his gaze at the boy when her attention was turned.  He resumed his observations when he saw the boy was OK.  Sherlock fidgeted a bit, when Mycroft took him by the hand and guided his head to his shoulder.  Sherlock resisted the gesture, but in the end, his exhaustion overtook him. 

When he woke, the land outside his window was still the same rolling hills as the rest of England, but this was different.  The air was different.  It was not the same as where they had come from. 

The carriage, however, was still uncomfortable.

"We're almost in Brighton, dear." His mother's voice lilted over to him.  His father smiled.  Mycroft readjusted himself, moving his head off of Sherlock's, having fallen asleep on his brother just as easily as Sherlock had on him.  Sherlock looked outside the window and saw a few people walking through the streets.  So, they were already in town then.

The restlessness was worse than before, now that they were in town.  He was just aching to be outside, amongst the world.  The carriage seemed so small now that there were people to see, buildings to explore.  Even though they were closer, almost there, there was a man outside his window, there were people to talk to.  Who were they?  What did they want?  Where were they going?  If he asked, would they tell him, or would he have to hide in alleys to find out their deepest secrets?

His mother, of course, saw all the questions going through the very young boy's mind. 

"do you see that young lady, Sherlock?"

Sherlock peered outside the window.  "Yes."

"She's just lost her father yesterday to a flu."

Ah yes, the game.  Sherlock loved the game.  He stared at the girl intently and excited.  Focused and ready to play.

"she's wearing all black."  Mycroft answered first.  Mycroft always answered first.

"Well,fine, Mycroft, if you want to be obvious."  Sherlock retorted.  Mycroft, seven years his senior, just looked amused as opposed to put out as sherlock had been hoping he would.  He sighed, slightly upset that his jab did not have the intended effect on his brother.

"And she's carrying a man's pocket watch."  Mycroft added.

Darn.  He'd have to catch up.  His mother laughed.  His father smiled incredibly proudly, and said in a voice just slightly too happy to truly be stern, ""Mycroft, let your brother have a turn, come now, you have an unfair advantage in age."

He stared harder, trying hard to think faster.

He looked at the girl.  She seemed normal enough.  He took in the black clothes and pocket watch Mycroft had mentioned.  That told you she was grieving for a man.  What suggested father?  He looked as his father had suggested at first the cuffs of her dress, then the elbows, the skirt, and the shoes.

The shoes.  They were filthy.  And the pocket watch Mycroft had pointed out was far too expensive to be the watch of someone poor or even middle class.

"She's a proper lady!"  He shouted out.  And his mind worked so quickly from there that he blurted, "Buried, cemetery, dad was in a cemetery."

It wasn't until Mycroft laughed  that he realized his sentence had not expressed what he'd intended it to.

"Sherlock" his father started kindly, "What do you mean by that?  Of course her dad was in a cemetery if he's dead.  What about the cemetery are you trying to say?"  His father instructed.

Sherlock stopped for a moment, letting his thoughts gather.  "Well, " he began, "The watch is rather expensive looking.  So she must be upper class.  And her boots are far dirtier than ladies of that class allow their boots to be.  There are only so many places she would have likely gone to gain such dirty boots.  One of the few likely places is a cemetery."

"And the clothes and the pocket watch told us she was grieving a male relative.  The dirty boots tell us it was a recent loss, and the lack of wedding or engagement ring tell us it was most likely her father or brother."  Mycroft said, summing up the mystery thus far.

Oh no.  The ring, or lack their of.  Sherlcok had forgotten the ring, having been so excited about the boots.  He never answered his own question.  What suggested father?  He thought as quickly as he could, reviewing the image of the lady in his head.  Wait, no, not the young lady.  Oh, what a fool he'd been!  He had looked far too narrowly to have deduced the answer. 

"And the young-" Mycroft began. 

"And the young man who was consoling her-" Holmes jumped in, "tells us that it was most likely her father that died and she was with her brother!"

"Yes, dear boy, but you've skipped a step.  The young man reached for the pocket watch as though it were his.  The pocket watch was passed to him.  That is how you know it was her father and not another brother."  Mycroft corrected.

"Oh."  Sherlock said.  Hanging his head slightly, processing the logic Mycroft presented.

"Wait.  It could've been an elder brother passing on their father's pocket watch!"  Sherlock said triumphantly.

His parents' smiles could not get any brighter.

"Except that the brother also held a piece of paper in his hand.  It was the kind of paper used to pass on things such as property,and more specifically dowries into the hands of their successor.  And while it is possible for the deceased to have been an elder brother who had been in charge of the previously deceased father's possessions and securities, the age of the young lady and her brother make it far more likely that the elder brother would have been too young to be in charge of the lady's dowry at the time of their father's death, and her dowry would have passed into a secure account to be released upon her marriage as opposed to the young, inexperienced hands of a young boy.  Therefore, it is more likely their father that has died."  Mycroft said.

"Oh."  Sherlock said again, trying to keep his chin up, "Of course." 

"Well, we still don't know how we can deduce the father died of the flu."  His father said, maybe amused, maybe angrily, but Sherlock knew it was all a part of the game.  He concentrated again.

"The chapped lips."  Mycroft answered.

Mycroft first, again, as usual. 

"What about the chapped lips?"  Their Father guided.

"Handkerchiefs!"  Sherlock shouted far too loudly for the size of the carriage.  His brother chuckled, and his parents laughed at his outburst. 

"What about them, Sherlock?"  Mycroft asked, maybe prodded a bit.

"Their father was sick, so he would've had a handkerchief."

"Chapping the children's lips?"  His father asked.

Sherlock thought carefully,  He did not know.  "I...I can't seem to connect the chain." He said, sadly.

"Allow me, dear boy.  You are right, it is handkerchiefs.  That is how we know the father died of illness. The children covered their mouths to prevent getting sick when they visited their father, and there has been a recent bout of the flu around Brighton, so it is most likely the flu the father had."

"Good!"  His mother exclaimed,then,  "Oh, Sherlock don't look so down.  You did very well, and I honestly don't know how you boys do it!"

"I am older, dear boy."  Mycroft said aside to him quietly, as though it were an apology. 

"I know."  Sherlock pouted back, then tried his hardest to put on a brave face. 

His father gently cupped his mother's cheek, "How we do it, darling?  You are the one who spotted the truth of the young lady."

"Oh, yes.  But that's a woman's intuition."  His mother said, lightly kissing his father and smiling at him and his brother.

"Oh, Sherlock, I really do truly think you did quite well."  His mother said.

Sherlock looked up sharply.  How had she known he was disappointed in himself?  He thought he had put on a brave face after his exchange with Mycroft. 

"I know, mother."  He said in his most reassuring voice possible.

"now dear, both you boys are very good at what you do."

"Yes, Sherlock.  Just think if we had been outside!  You would have gone right up to that young lady without her even knowing, and you would have known the contents of her purse before she would have time to register that she'd come face to face with an innocent looking boy who had a thousand questions.  And she would have answered all of them, Sherlock.  She would have.  And you would have known everything about her, far more than I could ever deduce merely by observing, dear boy."  Mycroft assured him.

"You are the tenacious one."  His father said, patting him on the shoulder from across the carriage.

"Come now, Sherlock.  We're here!  When we get inside, we can play the violin together.  And your father and Mycroft will gladly listen, won't you? "

His father and Mycroft nodded their consent. 

"And your cousins always do love when you play, dear."  His mother said, closing the matter with a smile and a wink.

Excited, Sherlock bolted out the door the second the man opened it.  His violin in hand, he couldn't help but rush to the door, the thought of his appreciative audience chasing away the thoughts of his previous failure.  But, as he ran, he couldn't quite help himself from thinking, "grass green, untouched, no one has walked on this grass or it is newly grown, is it spring?  I think Mycroft would tell me the season is important.  And father would tell me to separate the useful information from the useless information.  Is the season useful?  Well, it IS spring, so what does that tell me about the grass?"

I'm Pretty SureThat According to the Holmes Fandom What I'm About to Do Is Blashphemy

OK, I can assure you this post is much less angry than my last one!  This isn't an angry rant, it's a sheepish rant.

WARNING: This discusses, critically (although I do try to remain fair-and not like fox news fair- but like actual fair) the TV version/performance of Jeremy Brett.  Basically, if you don't ever want to have a conversation about Jeremy Brett or the Granada version of Sherlock Holmes that isn't "Hey, isn't Jeremy Brett awesome?"   "Hells yes, he's the best Holmes ever"  or something like that, then don't read this.  (And if you don't that's fine, a lot of people grew up watching him as kids, there's plenty of stuff I don't enjoy having critical conversations about)   Or if you DO read this, please don't comment being like "F*ck you, Brett is the best Holmes ever!"  If you are, however, willing to read/discuss the pros and cons of Brett's performance and the Granada version, please, read on and comment away!!!  I love discussion/debate!

Disclaimer: Um, don't own anything.  Also, I haven't watched ALL of the Granada version.  So, please, if I've made an error (like "they NEVER do this in the Granada version!) please feel free to let me know.  I will try to avoid extremes like "never" and "always".  Also, RIP Jeremy Brett, none of this is meant to be disrespectful to the dead. But, well, criticize f tons of authors that I had to read in English class (including but not limited to Fitzgerald and Dickens) who are dead, and I feel pretty safe saying that while Brett's death IS quite recent, I feel I'm past the "too soon" mark and that any actors performance at any time is subject to criticism.  (see Heath Ledger)

AAAAnnnndddd On with the Discussion!

OK, So, as I'm sure you can tell from the warning that this whole thing is about something that I have come to feel is considered blasphemous in the Sherlock Holmes Fandom.  And that is that I am here to tell you that I DO NOT LIKE THE JEREMY BRETT VERSION.  That's right, I don't like the Granada version.  But that doesn't mean that it's all bad.  There are certainly pros and cons to it, and that's what I'd like to discuss.  And no, I'm not particularly angry about the Granada version (other than the fact that ppl keep dissing the downey Jr. version solely based on the Granada version as prior rant discusses.)  I'm really just here to come out of the proverbial closet.  To let others know that it's safe to not be obsessed/love the Brett version but still be a faithful Holmes fan.  (and yes, that was intentionally melodramatic). 

So, why don't I like the Granada version you might ask?  And also, do I personally just not like it OR do I think it is objectively bad?

Well, while,  Yes, I do think that objectively speaking there is much problematic with the Granada version, these reasons are actually separate from why I don't like it, or rather aren't the primary reasons of why I don't like it.

Why I don't like the Granada Version

1) Slow pacing

2) Stiff, slightly over-rehearsed acting- very "my line, your line, my reaction, your reaction"  Also, can border on melodramatic stylistically.

3) Interpretation of Holmes and Watson makes them seem to me like bitchy queens much of the time, and I'm not quite sure why or if they're friends.
4) Some Changes to the mysteries done for time may or may not make sense

5) Holmes' character is modified to fit what Holmes and Watson say about Holmes in the Doyle version to be exactly true to the letter despite the many discrepancies between what the characters say about Holmes and what Holmes actually does and the discrepancies between what they say about themselves.  (there are some exceptions to this.)

6) The exceptions to rule #5 seem arbitrary.  (although I may find more of a pattern if i watched all the episodes)

7) It feels arbitrary what the show does and does not decide needs to stick super accurately close to canon.

8) It's a bad Adaptation, much like the first two Harry Potter movies.

9) I personally find it BORING.

Why I Sort of Like the Granada Version, AKA, Why I kept watching it in the first place.

1) It's the actual stories, and sometimes, you know, I just want that visual of Holmes faking his own death.

2) The Watson has the "hurt puppy" Watson look down.

3) The Actors Match the Physical Description of the Characters

4) The Structure of the Stories Match Doyle's structure for the most part.

5) Jude Law in a dress.

What Are the Pros of the Granada Version

1) It's Well Researched (ok, so that's meta, but whatever)

2) The Physical appearance of the characters is accurate to canon (Watson gets two physical depictions, so what ya gonna do?)

3) The Structure of the Stories matches Doyle's structure

What Are the Cons of the Granada Version

1) Lack of Consistency with the Canon

2) Is Too Much of a Reproduction And Not an Adaptation

Slow/ Bad Pacing

I find the pacing of the Granada version to be pretty slow.  Granted, I understand that this can be attributed to how a lot of 80's TV functioned, and I'm not expecting the show to be "super fast paced, cuts and action packed!" or anything, but I do find the show's slow pacing problematic.

Often times, the pacing of the show makes these cases lack any kind of urgency.  Yes, sure, many of the mysteries in Doyle were relatively low stakes, but Holmes is usually so very invested in these cases-as is Watson- that whatever the objective stakes of the case my be (catching the guy who tricked your daughter in law vs. keeping Bohemia out of war), the stakes were always high that Holmes solve it because Holmes hates to fail and Watson loves to see him succeed.  The pacing of the Granada version just doesn't allow any of these stakes to really exist.  Sure, they show that Holmes hates to succeed and that Watson is impressed by Holmes, but I rarely ever felt like Holmes was at risk of NOT solving the case, or I was never anxious as to how he might solve it.   In the books, while you are pretty sure Holmes will solve it (cause usually Watson tells you before hand if he doesn't) you're still worried about all the players.  Will he solve it in time for this dude to survive the mystery?  Or rather, the books give you this feeling that even tho you know Holmes is going to solve it, you have no idea HOW.  It's like "what clue is it going to be this story?"  It's like when you re-watch Aladdin.  It doesn't matter how many times you've seen that movie, when Jafar turns himself into a giant snake and Jasmine is trapped in an hour glass with sand pouring in, you worry like crazy for the characters.  I've often had the experience of "OK, I KNOW these guys make it out of this, but for the life of me I can't remember how, and things are looking pretty bad right now."  

But with the Granada version, no such concern exists.  It's paced in such a way that draaags out the mystery solving.  I mean, I think this may be a part of what happens when you take 20 or less page short stories and turn them into an HOUR LONG episode.  The pacing is such that everything must be explained slowly and clearly so that either Watson or the audience can understand.  No one seems to be in any terrible hurry and the pacing does not allow for any sense of urgency.

I mean, even something like the Final Problem where the opening are three attempts on Holmes' life seems blaze.  The show just simply takes too much time with EVERYTHING.  There is no variety to the pacing, I feel like I could time a metronome to the show.

The Acting

Yes, I have a problem with the acting.  As a Theater/Psych Student, I feel like I have a more than educated opinion on the matter.  Again, to be fair, a lot of the acting style is very likely the fault of 80's TV and Stella Adler.  It is a style of acting that doesn't really showcase in the moment actions, multiple tactic changes, or connection with your scene partner.  The performances given by Jeremy Brett, Watson, and Mrs. Hudson are all very rehearsed and very planned out.  They often lack any subtext (surprising for brits...) and are really predictable performances.  I'm sorry, but Holmes should not be predictable in his behaviors.  There's nothing more annoying for me than to watch Jeremy Brett be "spontaneous" as Holmes.  That is the most planned spontaneaty I've ever seen.  I can think of that shot with him throwing papers.  It isn't random or manic at all, it's just Jeremy Brett throwing papers, knowing exactly what he's doing and I'm expected to believe that Holmes is being random?   It seems very clear to me from the performances that the actors were like "OK, here I'm going to be sad, and here I'm going to be surprised and I'm going to show that to the audience by making my face look like this and by standing like that"    These actors seem much more concerned with "showing" the audience that they are sad, happy, excited, etc... than with being in the moment and letting the audience figure out what's going on. 

Also, there is a very distinct flavor to the acting of this show where the actors sit and wait.  They wait for their next line, they wait for their next reaction, and then when neither of those are happening, it's like they are just waiting. 

And it makes them seem bored.  When they aren't reacting to something someone else says or does or speaking the characters are supposedly "listening", but that's not what the actors are doing.  They are waiting for their next cue.  And it makes them seem bored.  And if they are bored, I'm bored, and If I'm bored, I'm certainly not invested in anything that happens to the characters.

Interpretation of Holmes and Watson


Sherlock Holmes 2009 Movie

OK, I had to put this somewhere because it's ending up as really long comments on other people's journals, and that just isn't fair.  So, here it is.  I am getting really sick of people who are so automatically dismissing the 2009 Sherlock Holmes Movie.

Let me make myself perfectly clear, I say this as a huge fan of the books/stories PRIOR to the new movie.  While I'd only read a handful of the short stories, I have read Hounds of Baskerville with great love and have quite worn my copy of the collection containing The Speckled Band, The Final Problem, and The Empty House.  After the film, my love for these stories was reignited and I have been reading them like crazy since.  And they are still as awesome as they've always been.

So, please, don't tell me that I like the movie because I saw them before I read the books.  That's simply not true.

That being said (and sorry if this post has such a defensive tone, but that's probably because I'm feeling-perhaps irrationally- a bit defensive at the moment.) I loved the movie.

I thought it was plenty to cannon, I thought that anything it changed was for a good reason, I thought the characters were accurate to the books, and I think that it was just general good story telling.  I think Doyle would be pleased-you know, once you got him used to the concept of a movie.  I also think that Doyle Constantly changed his own canon and having practically been coerced into writing the majority of the Holmes stories (he was sick of him after The Final Problem...that's why it's The FInAL Problem) he wouldn't have minded the adaptation a bit.  

Yes, it is made to be more palatable to the modern audience, but why not?  I don't think the movie lost any integrity to the characters or stories by doing as such, and now there is a new generation of people who love Holmes.  How is this bad?

In my mind, those who dislike this movie just based on the trailer and the very idea of it are just as bad as everyone who thinks Shakespeare needs to be done super classically or "it's just wrong".  Shakespeare is Your Kindly Uncle Shakespeare.  He wrote dick and fart jokes and then some brilliant soliloquies on life and death and everything in between.  But Shakespeare certainly wrote his stuff to entertain, and if it isn't doing that, it isn't proper Shakespeare.  no need to put it on a pedastol.

Same thing with Doyle.  And I have a theory about this, that those who are really against the new movie haven't really actually read DOYLE.  They've watched the old shows.  And that comes from the fact that a lot of the complaints (which are certainly not ALL of the complaints, I have not read everyone's opinion on the internet about this) that I personally have run into seem to be about things that are actually only true of TV cannon.  Like someone wondered how you could bring up Holmes/Irene w/o mentioning her singing-well, Doyle managed pretty well, as while she is an actress and an opera singer, Holmes never hears her singing, because...Guess what?  Those TV shows changed all kinds of things from Doyle.  Watson did not become a police surgeon after Holmes died.  and while I love the Russian version (seriously, i was surprised at how awesome that was) and appreciate the Brett Version, I always did find the Brett version a little off of how I envisioned the characters.  But it's a fine interpretation, even if I'm not the hugest fan of it.

And that's just it.  This movie is an INTERPRETATION OF THE BOOKS, it is not a remake of any of the old TV Shows or Radio Plays.  And That's OK, because those interpretations strayed a bit form the books.  But this movie is an equally valid interpretation as much as the old tv shows or radio plays.

now, don't get me wrong.  You are allowed to like the movie.  I'm not trying to be uber bitch here or anything.  I have total respect for those who dislike the film who've actually seen it.  I mean, I think it's brilliant, but if you dislike it, we can talk.  I love talking and exchanging ideas.  

But do not tell me that the movie isn't "to canon" or that "this just isn't Sherlock Holmes".  The movie is absolutely within the realm of a possible interpretation from the books.  Honestly, I see the movie as Sherlock Holmes as it "really is", that is if you go ahead and remove Watson's bias.  And I know, I know, the books are from Watson's POV, but guess what?  The books are also pretty clearly from Watson's bias.  I mean, there are all kinds of discrepancies.  Watson starts with a list of Holmes's vices, and Holmes even lists his own, and somehow that list gets narrowed down to "self-poisoner" without much change from Holmes.  Watson often describes him as an automon or a calculating machine, but also mentions his fits of depression....I mean, come on.  There is room to see these characters as to canon without them being exactly as Watson describes, with taking into account the discrepancies between Watson's descriptions and the actual events, and taking into account Watson is exceedingly aware that he is PUBLISHING these stories. 

And I think that's exactly what the movie does.  nothing the characters do, IMO, isn't anything they wouldn't do according to the books.

Maybe not according to the TV Shows or Radio Plays, but Doyle didn't write that, so please don't judge it on those standards.

if you don't like the movie, you don't like the movie.  That's fine.  But don't tell me that it isn't to canon.  Cause that's just not true.

OK.  I'm done.  I apologize if that seemed a bit abrasive.  I do want to be polite about the whole thing.  I'm just angry, and hell, what else are livejournals for?


Canon and Fanon What's the Deal?

OK, so, this is an issue that has been plaguing me since I first started to read fanfic.  I would like to start this whole article off with saying that I'm not trying to judge anybody here.  I'm just trying to add some definition and, accuracy I guess, to my life.  And this does seem to be a topic that others care about at least a little, so I figured I'd post it.

That being said, this is currently one of the most unedited things I've ever written.  I'm editing as I go.  One day it will be edited completely and this sentence will be erased from this post.  But if you're reading this sentence, just know that the rest of what you're about to read is me basically typing as I think.  So, keep that in mind.

Also, I would like to say that there a lot of fandoms, I've used my fandoms, your fandom may differ.  If so, PLEASE, leave a comment!  More data is always good!

OK, time for actual substance.

So, basically, we have this wonderful thing we like to call Canon when it comes to movies, TV, books, or TV shows that get turned into movies and books, vice versa, etc...   And all of us fans write a lot of fanfiction, spend a lot of time discussing things on forums, etc...  And when we do those things, this "canon" repeatedly pops up into our vocabulary.  But, what is it, really?  How is it people watching the same show, reading the same book, watching the same movie, etc.... can come out with two radically different ideas of what the canon of their show is?  How is it two Supernatural fans can watch and re-watch with equal amounts of rigor and one of them conclude that Sam clearly stopped caring about Dean when he joined forces with Ruby and the other conclude that Sam joined with Ruby BE CAUSE of his grief/caring for Dean and not in spite of it?  Often in forums, you see people quoting the same passages but arguing totally different view points.  Is Lex from Smallville evil?  What did that line in Blank mean?  But what about that time he spied on Clark?  How creepy is Lex's COCK? (Chamber of Clark Kent.)

Often, the answer to the questions I've posed is that it will vary depending on your interpretation.  I disagree.  I don't think it's a matter of interpretation. I am often frustrated that the common school of thought on media and entertainment is that it's all up to your interpretation, that no objective exists, it's all just your opinion, and opinions will differ.

There IS a place for opinion, let me make that perfectly clear.  But, I think that where opinion actually exists and where people think opinion exists are two different places.  Interpretation is not opinion.  It has an objective basis.  There is text (both written and visual) to base said opinions off of, and using that text, certain things can be argued, proven, and disproven.  

For example, "I liked that movie."  Is opinion.  "That movie is a good movie" is not.  There are, in fact objective standards for what is and is not a good movie.  Sure, these standards are not as rigid as scientific rules, but it is not completely subjective.  You can hate a good movie and love a bad movie.  I, personally, hate the movie The Piano, but I would be insane to say it isn't a gorgeous film.  I also think Indpendence Day is a terrible movie, but that doesn't stop me from having watched it so many times I practically have it memorized. 

So, this brings me back to Canon.  I don't think you can interpret canon any which way you choose.  For instance, it is completely unfounded to say that Chekov from Star Trek has three sisters is canon.  That's just not anywhere in the movie, and anything said about his siblings in the TV show is that he's an only child.  So, no, that isn't a matter of interpretation.  That's your perception, that a guy who acts like Chekov probably has three older sisters that mother him.  But you can't say it's canon.  It's not.  It's something you made up.  It's not "your interpretation" it's your perception of how people with three sisters act.  It has nothing to do with any line or visual text that you've "interpreted".  It's just how you see the universe.  and that's fine.  But it's not canon.   now, if everyone on the internet goes ahead and agrees with you, it's still not canon.  It's still something fun you made up and a bunch of people thought it was fun too.  And, personally, I don't think it's fanon either, although, there are competing definitions of what that word means.  However, if the writers catch word of this on the internet and decide it would be cool to give Chekov three sisters and then in the next movie, there's a line about his three older sisters who mother him, awesome!  It's now canon, congratulations.  That is exactly what happened with Uhura's first name and Kirk's middle name.  And it's always fun to see that kind of stuff happen.

But it isn't canon.

So, what is?

Canon, to me, is what happens on the screen, stage, or page.  Because there IS visual text to be interpreted with movies, tv, and plays.  There is a reason the director put those actors where they put them.  For instance, there is nothing in the text itself to suggest that River Song is the Doctor's wife.  Or even his lover.  She could be anything.  Hell, she could be some kind of half time lord, maybe a relation to Jenny, maybe it's Rose and clone doctor's daughter who managed to cross over from the other universe.  There are a lot of things that could be interpreted, legititmally intrepertated based on the text of that episode.  Since, all the text really gives us is that River knows the Doctor extremely well and he always comes when she calls, she knows his name, and she isn't a full Time Lord.  (she can't regenerate, only has one heart, etc...)  But, the way Alex Kingston played the role, the visual text heavily suggests that she is his wife or lover.  

I would like to pause to address the writer as "god" quickly before I continue.  no, i do not think the writer is "god".  I will discuss "apocrypha" in relation to canon later on, but I would just like to make it clear that canon can and does exist beyond what the writer intended or thinks he or she communicated. I will continue with my River Song example.  Did Steven Moffat intend for her to be his wife?  I have no idea.  I may find out, but currently, I have no clue.  Canon will hopefully clear this up.  But,sometimes, the visual text  gives an interpretation the writer never intended.  Sometimes a line a writer wrote was meant to mean one thing but came out as another.  This happens all the time.  What the writer, producer, director, actor intended has nothing to do with what actually gets communicated. 

But what does become canon is totally and completely based on something all those people put out there.  not that they have the final say, we, the audience, do.  But it needs to be something that's THERE.  And, honestly, just because it doesn't contradict what's there doesn't make it there.  It makes no sense to say that Donna noble from Doctor Who has a mild form of MS.  There is nothing in the canon to contradict that, mild MS being not a thing that can be visibly seen (my spanish teacher had it) for the time donna traveled with the Doctor, but there is certainly nothing in canon to support it.   Once again, it's just something fun someone made up.  But it's not canon.  There's nothing there in the visual or the written text of Doctor Who.

So, canon is something implied, inferred, or directly stated by visual and/or written text.

-apocrypha  Is it canon?  What do I make of movie novelazations and DVD deleted scenes?  First off, I don't think writer,actor,director interviews are canon.  They are a part of the conversation and their opinion is just slightly more valid than a fan's.  They are like experts, but they are not the final word.  Especially actors, actually.  They often make things up to give themselves something to do.  Like, Genevieve Cortese played Ruby as in love with Sam, clearly this was not the case, it was just something for the actress to do.  Also, book novelizations I don't count as canon.  They are interesting insights, but again, it's the author's interpretation of the film and is based on early scripts that may have been changed.  Movie/TV novelizations are exactly equal to any other fan.  I'll get to "fanfic" books later.  But basically, they might as well be really accurate fanfic.  Although, when we get to star wars, things get tricky, and it deserves it's own paragraph.

Of course, I think DVD extras are the trickiest.  Because, let's face it, they are a marketing design.  An awesome one, but a design.  A marketing design a lot of artists have used to better tell the story, but it can also just be a "this is what we were thinking"  (See Joss Whedon in dr. horrible musical commentary, "heart (broken)"  for further insight.  But, deleted scenes, they are tricky.  

There are some deleted scenes that totally explain things from the film, like the "two peas in a pod" deleted scene from Pirates of the Carribbean that was called back in a later undeleted scene, or the "fantastic" deleted scene from the 10th doctor's regeneration where he can't get his "new mouth" around the word, or the Doctor Who deleted scene where we find out AU Mickey (Ricky) was gay.

But then, there are deleted scenes that were clearly cut for a reason (i.e. they were boring) or that were obviously changed in the final product (Kirk's older brother Sammy in the deleted scene becomes his friend Tommy or Johnny, or whatever, in the final movie) So, when my deleted scenes get contradicted in my final product movie, what's a body to do?

Obviously, I think, that the final product supersedes anything contradicted by the deleted scene.  Of course, this isn't always as clear cut as it sounds.  How much of it is really contradicted?  Why bother putting the scene on the DVD in the first place?  I mean, if the actor who plays Sammy is also Tommy or whoever, who does it make Sammy?  Does that scene just not exist in canon?  I don't think that's the case.  

But are deleted scenes canon?  This is seriously the grayest area.  Because deleted scenes get deleted for a reason.  They weren't important to tell the story at the end of the day.  But it may be a part the writer/creator/whoever was fond of, or it may be something that the fans have shown an interest in seeing.  And a writer honestly has the write to change his or her mind.  Stories go through thousands of incarnations.  And something a writer originally thought was a good idea, later on thinks wasn't such a great idea after all.  The absolute best example, I think, comes from Old Doctor Who.  There exists, somewhere, a deleted scene where the Master has a line to the Doctor about them being brothers.  The second the actors spoke that line, the writers were like "no, we are not doing this, it is too cliche"...or something like that.  And thus, they took it out of canon forever.  now, that scene could easily have ended up on a modern DVD deleted scene segment.  But, it really, really wouldn't be canon.  Of course, we have other canon now with new Who to contradict this, but prior to that,we wouldn't have.  It would be debatable for the Master and the Doctor to canonically be brothers.

Which, I guess, sometimes, we do just have to wait for further canon to solidify whether those nuggets of deleted scenes are canon.  Did nero really stay in a Klingon prison camp?  There is certainly absolutely nothing from the Star Trek movie to suggest this.  But it is in the deleted scenes.  And it doesn't contradict anything in the movie.  So did these set of deleted scenes just change the canon of the Star Trek movie?  Or do deleted scenes lack that power?  Are they only considered canon if there is also a corresponding scene in the movie that justifies those deleted scenes?  Is it audience's choice?  How can we discuss our favorite fandoms with other fans if we aren't all operating on the same canon?

There are two definitions of fanon I've come across.  One is something that isn't canon, but a good majority of the fans have decided it's true, and it shows up on every forum, every fanfic, etc...  So, for instance...

The other definition of fanon, and the one I personally like, is that it is something that isn't in canon but it is something many people have drawn from the show/movie/book.   For instance, River Song is the Doctor's wife.  That is so totally not canon.  But, it is such a popular theory and has a lot of basis in canon.  It is an unaffirmed interpretation of canon.

I like this definition better because I think the former definition happens because of the latter, and thus, I think the latter is a more useful definition.

The Mystery that is Sam Winchester Warning Spoilers up to S4 Finale Part 2

OK, I'm scrapping my previous discussion of this because I realized I've been going about it the totally wrong way.(although, it's still posted so you can read it if you're curious.)  Sam isn't a set of character traits. I  keep overlooking what I think to be the biggest part of what makes a person a person, their biggest, overall motivation.

I am basing this on the Enneagram.  While mine is a variation of what you will find when you google it, it is still the same basic principles.

There are 9 basic motivators.  1) To improve yourself and the world  2)to love and be loved 3) to be useful 4)to discover and express your identity 5)to have knowledge and truth 6) to create community and have support 7) to experience 8) to control 9) and to have and create harmony.

Your personality (according to the Enneagram) is based on which one these 9 motivators is MOST  important to you.  Obviously, all 9 are important to everyone, but it's the one that is MOST prevelant in your life.
Sam is a type 3.  Which means, his basic motivation is to be useful.

Which is why he's so hard to figure out.  Because, he's constantly adjusting himself to be who other people need him to be, or rather who he feels other people need him to be, whether or not he succeeds in that.  So, his identity is constantly fluxuating outside of the need to be useful.  That's his biggest character marker.

So, why would he give his father such a hard time if he wants to be useful?

Simple, I think it's just a question of loyalty.  His father and Dean needed different things from him, and basically, Dean won out.

See, Sam, I think, actually got pretty lucky by having Dean be the main nuturing figure in his life (his father being the protective figure) because Dean is a 6- or wants support and community.

Honestly, you see this from Dean all the time.  Despite his "fuck you attitude" that he has towards specific authority figures, community IS very important to him, except he calls it "family".  Family is the most important thing to Dean, because that is community.

So, for Dean, it was very important as a kid (and adult) that he keep his family together.  His father had charged him with taking care of Sam, and damn it, he was going to take care of Sam.
So, basically, what Dean needed from Sam was that Sam be a successful member of the family.  In other words, self-sufficient.  But, Dean also needed Sam to let himself be taken care of.  Dean needed Sam (subconsciously, obviously) to let him take the hits, let him run out and fight the monsters, get dinner, be "the man of the house" while Dad was away, etc... and not hinder him from doing that.

So, basically, from Sam's perspective, the best way he could be useful to Dean was to be self -sufficient/self reliant, but to also let Dean take care of certain things.  So, that pretty much meant Sam needed to be responsible for being a good student, having confidence in himself, duck when Dean said duck, and to actually be a little demanding aka asking Dean for help, etc...

Because that's what Dean needed from Sam. 

Whereas John, well, John needed Sam to be safe-which is not where the conflict is, Dean needed that from him too- but he also needed Sam to be strong.  He needed Sam to be able to take care of himself WITHOUT Dean around.

That's where the conflict is.

And from Sam's POV, Dean needed him more than his Dad.  Dean was the one there for him, his Dad was just the guy who came in and fixed things at the last minute.  He was the cavalry.  And you can't be useful to the calvary.  The calvary saves your ass, there isn't a damn thing you can do for the calvary.

But he could be useful to Dean much easier than his father, and I also think it was more IMPORTAnT for him to be useful to Dean than his father.

But Sam still runs away to Stanford, how did Dean need that?

Well, in a weird way, he did.  It isn't that Dean wanted it, or that Dean knew he needed it-we so rarely do- but I think that Sam was trying to give Dean what he actually needed the most when Dean was in high school, because Sam is perceptive like that.  3's usually are.  That's their thing.  They are very unconciously aware of other's emotional needs.

I think (and this is most obvious in Dream a Little Dream) that Dean's biggest problem regarding identity comes from the fact that he is just actually like his father (as far as taste and likes/dislikes,etc... are concerned) but he doesn't feel any ownership over that identity.  And he doesn't feel ownership over that identity because he nEVER REBELLED.

See, as teenagers, we rebel (and seriously, this comes from my psych minor) partly because we want to discover who we are as people.  It's like a sophisticated version of the terrible twos.  When you are two, you realize that "no"
is a word that you can say and use.  You can tell you're parents "no" and the world will not end, your mommy will not stop loving you, your daddy will not leave you in the woods to brave the elements, whatever. 

For a two year old, this is a huge discovery that you hadn't previously been privvy too.

It's much the same for teenagers.

You realize you can disagree with your parents, teachers are just human and don't have all the answers, authority figures don't have ultimate control over you, you are not your parents despite the many similarities, etc...
And this becomes a painful, awkward journey of self discovery.  And you rebel just to prove to yourself that you can disagree with your parents, that they aren't always right, and you are not them.  Just like when' you're two you say "no" all the time simply because you can.

Except that Dean didn't rebel.

And that's what makes him think he's a hammer.  That he's his father's tool.  Because he never had that phase.

But he needed that phase, and I think a part of Dean knew he needed that phase when he was a teen.  (probably a subconscious part, but it probably showed up in it's own special ways.)  You can see where he does express that need to rebel in AFter School Special.  Except, he's rebelling to confirm his acceptance of his father's lifestyle.  See the problem?  And I think that, despite how close he seems to be to his brother in After School Special, he needed that rebellion from his father that he was never going to act on at the time.

And Sam picked up on that need.

And for Sam, I think that actually translated into actually stopping giving Dean what he needed previously.

Because Dean needed Sam to let him take care of him earlier.

But that was by orders of John.

And Dean needed to know that it was of his own volition that he took care of Sam.

And Dean needed to rebel against that responsibility of taking care of Sam and of hunting.  Of heavy metal and of leather jacket wearing.

But Dean wasn't going to.

So, Sam did it for him.  I think that Sam stopped letting Dean take care of him (again, subconsciously) basically gave Dean space to seek out his identity.  Probably brought home crappy music (cause the show does indicate Sam likes some music Dean does not find acceptable) to let Dean test it.  You know, little unconscious things.  And I think that teacher gave Sam a major route to be useful.  Because Dean needed space.  And Sam needed to be useful to something.  So he decided to become useful to society.  And rebelled where Dean wouldn't, and started being self sufficient enough where Dean could "stop" taking care of him by staying out of hunting

And that's how you get Sam going to Stanford.  Because Dean needed Sam to stop being useful to him, Dean needed that independence.  And Sam just can't stop needing to be useful to something.  So, he became useful to society.

It also has lots to do with safety and stuff, but I am talking about very basic, most likely unconscious motivations and actions based on those subconscious/unconscious motivations that you are not likely aware of.

And guess what?  Sam became extremely useful to Stanford and his friends and Jessica.  He was good.  And then the worst thing happened for someone of Sam's personality type.

He Failed.

Jessica died.

And guess what helped fix it?  Guess what the next thing he did was?

Dean gave him a way to be useful.

Dean needed him again.

He had a way to do what is important to someone like Sam to do when he fails.

He was able to both completely destroy anything that reminded him of his failure to Jessica.  (kill the demon)  And he was able to be useful again.

I think the problem is that Sam always did resent Dean a little ever since Dean was a teen for ceasing to need Sam- or rather for needing Sam to give him space.  I honestly think Sam feels super abandoned.
See, Dean was (although young) just old enough to realize that when his mother died, she didn't abandon him.  Sam, well, Sam was too young to even register the concept of death.  As a baby,I'm sorry, but  he's registering Mary's death as abandonment.  And John running around, well, I think BOTH brothers registered that as abandonment.  And Dean needing space in High school, however unconscious, Sam registered that as an abandonment too.  Especially the part where Dean tried to keep the peace, making Sam feel like he was taking John's side over his.

But Dean came back.  And Sam obviously forgave him after a fashion.

But he still felt useless.  Because Dean was over his little high school phase and on and he needed Sam the same way he needed Sam when Sam was a kid.

Dean once again needed Sam to be self sufficent, but not so much that Dean doesn't take the blows, that there isn't room for Dean to take care of him.

And Sam wants to be useful to Dean.

But he still wants to be useful to society too, especially since he's failed it.  And if there's anything Sam can't handle, it's failure.  Failing is probably Sam's biggest fear.  And of course, as you see with their ever comedic squabbling, being useful to the victim's emotional needs when they go on cases and being useful to Dean sometimes contradict. Sam complains about this VERY thing in Scarecrow.  It isn't about Dean "getting in his way" 
it's about Dean treating him "like luggage" as either Sam says or Meg rephrases it (and Sam doesn't deny it, so she wasn't lying if that's the case)  or both.  Because Sam has been through some stuff, and the best way for him to accomplish his three goals in S1-2ish is not easy.  Because his goals are 1) Destroy the things that remind him of his failure 2) Be useful to Dean. 3) Be useful to society by hunting but also to be useful to the victims' he encounters on their cases.

And Dean's needs do get in the way of goal 1 and 3.  Especially if you consider that Sam reminds himself of his own failure.  So, Sam is slightly self destructive.  Please note, that IMO, Dean's most effective speeches to turn Sam around from being sad are when Dean yells at him about Sam's moods' effect on DEAn, on how it hinders Dean.

And I think when Dean died we repeat the process.  Except, that there still is the tiniest, ittsiest, bittsiest chance that killing Lillith might get Dean back from hell.  And so destroying reminders of his failures, which in this case is PRIMARILY himself and Lilith, and being useful to Dean are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY More important than anything else in the world.  Including the human race, Bobby, whatever.Honestly, if Sam knew that killing Lilith= apocalypse while Dean was dead, I honestly think he really wouldn't care even a little.

So, Ruby gives him a way to accomplish both those things.

But when Dean comes back, it actually helps very little.

Because Sam had nothing to do with it.  Yes, that sounds selfish, but I think it was a redeeming thing for Sam, it was very important that HE get Dean out.  not some Angel.

And add to that that later Sam is totally useless in helping getting Dean over hell.  That's another blow. 

Sam is totally useless to Dean the entire 4th season.  And he's trying really, really hard to be useful to him.

BUT Dean is also actively getting in Sam's way of accomplishing his 2nd goal.

Destroying all of the things that remind him of his failures.  Which is primarily himself and Lilith.  

So, there's a lot of good reasons Dean has for getting in Sam's way on these things.  But naturally, Sam's self destructiveness, Dean wants to stop.  And naturally, Sam resents this.  Sam also has to feel a little abandoned by Dean choosing to go to hell, not welching on the deal so that Sam dies (and is useful) instead, despite knowing how much Sam was bothered by it, and having an idea of how it would hurt Sam. 

So, that basically leaves three built up resentments on Sam's part.

1) Dean changing his needs in High School making Sam slightly useless to him at the time.

2) Dean putting him in a position where he couldn't be useful to all the ppl he wanted to be in S1-2

3) Dean stopping him from being destroying reminders of his failures in S4 and not letting him be useful to Dean- or resentment is placed on Dean for Sam's own feelings of failure regarding Dean's death.

4) Dean abandoning him.

5) Dean himself being a reminder of Sam's failure.

So, honestly,  you add all those up, of course Sam is a less than stellar brother in S4, despite the fact that he really is trying to help Dean.  And I think, that honestly, Sam deserves to feel resentment at these things.  Because, being as emotionally sensitive to others' needs as Sam is, and Dean being the person he had primary loyalty to, Sam was nEVER going to be anything other than what Dean made him into.  And of course, Dean needed things subconsciously, so you know, he really can't be blamed.

Which, I think, actually leads us to the main  conflict of S4. 

Sam has every right to resent Dean.

Dean doesn't deserve Sam's resentment.

none of it is actually Dean's fault, and by that I mean, it wasn't really anything Dean Meant to do.  While Dean holds responsibilty, he doesn't hold BLAME.  Because there is a difference.  What Dean raised Sam into is his responsibility, but he was a kid, he did the best he could, and it is a simple and natural cause and effect scenario. 
So, no, Dean doesn't deserve Sam's resentment.  Yet Sam still has the right to resent Dean.  Because what happened to Sam isn't fair either.  And that anger and frustration has to go somewhere.  I think the fighting between the boys was inevitable.  They were each preventing the other from fulfilling their most basic motivations.  Sam's self destructiveness was preventing Dean from having his support system/family, and Dean's need for family was preventing Sam's need to be useful and destroy reminders of his failure.

There really is no one to blame.  This was just the boys acting on their basic needs-things that they have every right to need.  Because, yes, Sam DOES have a right to want reminders of his failures destroyed.  I mean, don't you have a right to rip up a test you failed?  Sam just failed on a much BIGGER scale.  And he doesn't deserve to destroy as much as he did by the end.  And, while ppl have a right to be suicidal, they don't have a right to go through with it due to the ppl they leave behind that it affects.

But it is also unfair to Sam that he never once gets to be useful to Dean.  And this becomes increasingly frustrating to him.  And honestly, it's partly because Dean wouldn't LET Sam be useful to him.  (Wishful Thinking) So, yeah, the fight is no one's fault.    Because they needed things they couldn't get from each other.  Or rather, they are equally to blame, the other person wasn't in a place to give.

Which of course, brings me back to the Mystery of Sam's character.

Like I said, it's so hard to figure, because his main trait is that he wants to be Useful.

And that will change and adapt to his situation and what the emotional needs of others are.

So, yeah.  That's my two cents.  I hoped it made sense and/or gave you a better understanding of Sam Winchester!