@blazichu
Death by Grammar

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"GIMME A TOASTER, OR GIMME DEATH."

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2020-07-13 21:08:04

    Also nothing will ever be funnier than the whole Leverage crew spending the first episode whining about how they work alone and this is a one-time thing ONLY and they DON’T work in a team EVER and then like two days later Nate tries to get rid of them and every single one of them is like “why are you trying to tear this family apart :(”

    Hang on the season 2 premiere might have it beat

    <>Nate: Why the fuck are you all in my house?

    <>The entire rest of the crew: Our house :)

    This isn’t even an exaggeration, they straight up just break into his house and start remodeling

    Just a note for those who are getting into Leverage or rewatching: the intended order for season 1 is not the order the episodes were aired in (blame network meddling for that), and streaming services tend to go by the airing order and not the DVD order.

    On the DVDs for S1, the order is: 1.) The Nigerian Job 2.) The Homecoming Job 3.) The Wedding Job 4.) The Snow Job 5.) The Mile High Job 6.) The Miracle Job 7.) The Two Horse Job 8.) The Bank Shot Job 9.) The Stork Job 10.) The Juror #6 Job 11.) The 12 Step Job 12.) The First David Job 13.) The Second David Job 

    This is confirmed by John Rogers as the intended order.

    You don’t have to skip around to watch it in that order if you’re streaming it. It’s still a good show if you watch the episodes in the order they aired, but I feel like the intended order makes for much better and smoother character development, and provides a bit more context for events as they happen.

    Man I forgot how quickly Leverage decided to not fuck around. The first episode is like “we’re gonna fight a corrupt CEO!” and the second episode is like “The US government is corrupt as hell, easily bought, and is complicit in war profiteering to pump billions into the military-industrial complex at the expense of average soldiers who they can’t even be bothered to take care of afterwards”

    And this is why it’s coming back…

    Rogers and Devlin reached a critical mass of rage so potent it brought Leverage back from the dead

    This is the moment I truly fell in love with Sophie Devereaux. Her instinctive reaction to Parker (whom she hardly knew at this point) saying she was sick was to check on her, to offer a caring touch that Parker may not have felt in a very long time. I was surprised. I mean, femme fatales I know. Maternal figures, I know them, too.  But a femme fatale with a motherly side? I sat up and took notice.

    That’s how Leverage got me. It took all these tropes, shook them all up, added a pinch of this and that, and somehow gave us complex human beings we’d want to get to know and understand. So we got a femme fatale who mothers everyone, an emotionally intelligent tough guy, a charming and outgoing geek, a mastermind whose own life is out of control, and a childlike innocent who is perhaps the most dangerous member of the crew. And by the time the show’s over, not one of them has remained the exact same person we met in the first season—they’ve all changed and grown, as a family and as individuals, they’ve let their edges melt and overlap into each other while settling more comfortably into themselves. And we saw it happen.

    What a joy to have seen it happen.

    Ok, ALSO.  ALSO ALSO.  Parker is just the sort of character that someone else would have saying things like, “I don’t like other girls” or “I’m different than other girls” and have Parker NOT liking the other two more feminine women (Sophie and Maggie).  

    BUT NOT ON LEVERAGE.  On Leverage one of the most interesting things has been seeing Sophie and Parker become friendly and develop this deep friendship and also Parker LOVES Maggie and rather than thinking her not being a criminal makes her less than thinks that Maggie needs hugs and an emergency bag and okokok.

    ALL MY PARKER FEELINGS.

    secretallie

    Reblogging because awesome comment is awesome. And also true. Either Parker or Sophie could’ve been written as disdainful or dismissive of each other for having a different kind of femininity, but they weren’t. Instead of Parker disliking Sophie for being “too girly,” and Sophie disliking Parker for not being girly enough, we see them settle into a mutually affirming, accepting, supportive relationship.

    And the Sophie and Maggie dynamic–that could’ve been a catfight, but amazingly, wonderfully, thankfully, it wasn’t. And Tara, can we talk about Tara? The team distrusted and struggled to accept her at first, because they missed Sophie too much for different reasons, but not because she was overtly sexy and assertive. And honestly it feels kinda weird to have to be thankful for portrayals of women showing basic decency towards each other, because tbh this is just how the girls I’ve known in the real world interact, but in the twisted Hollywood fantasy land shaped by white male writers who write what they imagine women are like, Leverage feels like a window into reality, something refreshingly recognizable and real.

    The Power of Leverage

    Hey, so many of you are familiar with fix-it fanfiction, the superglue which holds together the hearts canon has shattered, right? Well, I have a point to make. As of right now (1-28-2020), there are 6,659 fanfictions in the Leverage category on AO3. You know how many of those are fix-it fics? 25. A measly 0.38% of Leverage fanfiction is tagged as fix-it. For comparison, 2.20% of MCU fanfiction and 1.25% of Supernatural fanfiction are fix-its.

    So yeah, Leverage is so amazing that hardly anything needs to be fixed. But we already knew that. No, it gets better. Of those 25 fix-it fanfictions, 16 (64%) of them are actually fix-its for OTHER fandoms. Leverage has been used in fix-its for White Collar, The Walking Dead, Coupling (UK), The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Kings, Person of Interest, Pacific Rim, Once Upon a Time, The Losers, Merlin, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the actual 2016 US election (yeah, that).

    The point here, being, not only is Leverage’s own canon one of the most perfect to grace television, it is so brilliant that it can literally bust in and fix everyone else’s canon as well.

    The bit about fixing other fandoms literally made me laugh out loud. Maybe more of a cackle. I love this show so much

    Parker: *to the heartbroken or otherwise traumatised characters of other franchises* You are suffering under a tremendous weight. We provide… leverage.

    LEVERAGE

    Ep13, S1

    Don’t spy on your ex wife with the spy camera she remembers, Nate. She’ll pull shit like this on you. 

    This was an amazing scene and is probably one of my favorites from my very favorite show. For many reasons. Mostly because it demonstrates why I love this show, despite it having one of those straight white super smart male leads. Nate here is being ridiculed, humiliated. Everyone is staring at him, embarrassed on his behalf. He does not come back from this moment, call his ex-wife a bitch or a liar, or try and humiliate her in turn. His embarrassment remains and lasts. He is our protagonist, our lead, but he is not untouchable, he is not perfect, and he is not always right. 

    It’s nuance like that, among so many other wonderful things, that makes me love Leverage so much. It is my very favorite show. 

    The exact moment I fell madly in love with Maggie.

    If you look carefully, right before this scene you can see her quickly glance towards Eliot’s hidden camera (it was so subtle, it took me like my third rewatch to notice). Like, she noticed that shit within 0.2 seconds of seeing Eliot.

    I love how Hardison takes this information in stride. Fortune cookie breakfast? Okay cool, how does that work exactly? He wants to know everything about her. What she does and why she does it.

    Meanwhile Eliot’s face is the face of a man who is slowly realizing that the people he cares about are going to die of poor life choices without him to mom them into submission.

    leverage is the best piece of televison:

  • follows a case of the week format which is so underrated now
  • the seasonal Big Bads don’t take up multiple episodes just for them
  • maybe there’s a few minutes every couple episodes, and maybe the cases they work relate to getting closer to the big bad, but we don’t spend half the season focused on this one guy
  • consequently, except for the few two-parters and season finales, episodes can be picked up and watched in any season without needing a lot of explanation
  • i’ve dropped so many shows because they get to a point where a whole season is devoted to one case and even the ‘regular’ episodes are half them talking about it
  • stuck to its premise and didn’t lose quality over time!
  • i legitimately can’t think of an episode that i dislike but even more than that i can’t think of an episode that i’m even just apathetic towards
  • robin hood but with fun heist music!
  • the people they take down are generally all disgustingly wealthy, mostly white, mostly men and all taking advantage of marginalized and disadvantaged folk
  • speed run found family
  • literally eliot’s old gf called them a family in the third fucking episode
  • fun and interesting recurring characters!
  • tara, chaos, quinn, archie, maggie, sterling, hurley, peggy, bonanno they’re all unique and amazing
  • romantic relationships develop naturally and you really care about them
  • hilarious recurring bits
  • arguing about what a particular con is called“no that’s the vegas wake up call” “you need a hooker for that” “no that’s the—”
  • the old nate painting following them to each new headquarters
  • “it’s a very distinctive —”
  • do you have a competency kink? because you will
  • and literally a million other things god it’s so good

    Women supporting each other without jealousy or backstabbing! Men being soft and emotional with each other! An autistic character (as confirmed by the creators in one of the commentaries) who is treated like a competent adult (there are several ableist lines about her in the first episode before they all get to know each other, but I think that’s it) and who the other characters learn to interact with on her terms.

    Leverage’s brilliant storytelling

    How brilliant is the storytelling of Leverage, though? Bloody brilliant of course (like EVERYTHING about Leverage).

    What I love most about Leverage’s way of character-oriented storytelling is how little time we spend in the past, establishing the big five’s (or anyone’s) background by explicitly showing it.

    I am really not a fan of excessive flashbacks or “backstory episodes”, primarily because 9 out of 10 times they feel like lazy storytelling to me and alienate me from the characters.

    Leverage never falls into that trap. Yes, we get bits from the past - most notably of course the death of Nate’s son. But nearly all of it is build around that one scene in the hospital that we see (yes, we also have a couple more scenes, all great ones, but the all important one is the moment of Sam’s death and Nate’s heartbreaking reaction to it). Why? We don’t NEED to see more. That scene tells us all we need to know about Nate Ford and who he is and why.

    And what I LOVE about the show is that they trust that scene (okay, and Tim Hutton’s acting) to be sufficient AND IT IS.

    It’s the same with the rest of the team. We often don’t even get flashbacks, we get hints, often in the form of seemingly throw-away-remarks or bits merely surfacing because the plot of the episode requires it:

    Sophie’s mysterious ties to British royalty play a big part in why The King George Job works.

    The Inside Job is much too fast-paced to dwell for too long on Archie’s and Parker’s backstory, but the way he talks to her, Parker’s warehouse, the laser training flashback, and the rest of the team’s (particularly Nate’s) reactions are quite enough.

    Hardison reveals his foster care background in The Stork Job not for the sake of character exposition but because he wants to comfort Parker, someone whom he has pretty much just met.

    What Eliot says to Hardison and Parker about his dad in The Low Low Price Job serves a similar purpose. It is proof that Eliot allows himself to trust the two of them enough to share this.

    I don’t need anything more, in fact, I don’t WANT anything more.

    What Leverage is interested in is the here and now and the future, it’s about accepting who you are. For that, yes, you have to acknowledge what made you this way, but not by dwelling on it or even disrespecting the privacy of others by pushing them to reveal more about their pasts (“Don’t ask me that, Parker. Because if you ask, I’m gonna tell you. So please don’t ask me.”). The show is about dealing with who you are and what you want to make of yourself and trusting your friends to do the same while offering support when wanted/needed. Thus it’s through the choices that the characters make in the here and now, not in the past, that we learn who they are and what they are capable of; more than that - and that’s the beauty of it - the characters themselves learn it over the course of the show’s five seasons.

    And all that is so brilliantly reflected in how Leverage firmly sticks to the present while reserving most of the flashback scenes for characterisation through comic relief (“This is not the room you’re looking for”) and generous offerings of shared experiences in form of the shortest of summaries (“It was a shipwreck. And you know how I know that? Cause I was in the wreck.”).

    That truly is absolutely bloody brilliant pacing and actual show-don’t-tell storytelling.

    Seriously, Leverage’s narrative structure? Competence porn. 

    5 things I love about Leverage that isn’t The Team

    Look. Everything about Leverage is brilliant. I think we can all agree on that. EVERYTHING. However, instead of talking about a random episode and the 10.000 things I love about it, and instead of writing yet another love declaration to the team, let me just do it a little differently in this post and write a love declaration to Leverage that does not feature the characters (well, mostly it doesn’t).

    <>So, here are five things I LOVE about Leverage that aren’t Eliot, Hardison, Sophie, Nate, and Parker (who technically aren’t things anyway, so never mind):

    <>1 - The music. I talked about this before, but I have to do it again. Listen. The music to this show is so iconic, so perfectly LEVERAGE from the very first episode on. It would have been so easy to make this a much darker show (seriously, aside from Hardison and his braces and his Nana, who of the team has a past that does not spell DARK in capital letters). One of the main reasons why that’s not the case is the music. It tells us ‘we’re here to entertain, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we know exactly how to read and create a mood, how to change things up from one second to the next’. And that goes for the main themes used in almost every episode - aside from the opening theme, there is, for instance, the “the con unfolds” theme and the “ooh, things get tight (but not really)” theme - as well as all the little variations, always perfectly setting the mood for whichever genre persiflage the show is going for this week . And last but not least, let’s not forget that this show didn’t just give us Christian Kane singing, it made an entire episode about Christian Kane singing. AND it gave us Hardison and Eliot jammin’ in Lucille.

    <>2 - The wardrobe. Okay, I want to start this by saying that hands down the best costume is Parker’s Björk-Duck-costume (which it is). However, aside from that, one thing I so love about the show is that we once again get both: We get costumes carefully picked to fit the theme of the episode (whether that is posh Sophie in horse-riding gear in ‘The Two Horse Job’ or Nate’s horrible suits whenever he needs to be a sleazy lawyer or that time Eliot was convinced he not only had to wear a silk scarf to that fashion show but also eyeliner. And that time when Parker, Tara, and Sophie played “Charlie’s Angels” in ‘The girls night out Job’? Yeah.). And all those costumes are just such FUN because they are just slightly over the top, slightly too much, in that nudging-us-in-the-side-and-winking-at-us kind of way that always somehow reminds us that this is all make belief and not real. Aside from those con-related things, we get Nate’s hats and Hardison’s shirts, Sophie’s heels, Parker’s fondness of elastic fabrics, Eliot’s plaid. - All of them have a distinctive style, so perfectly reflecting their personalities. Just take Hardison and his combination of practical and comfy, of bright colours and blacks, of obviously expensive and whimsical, of super stylish and understated; seriously, I want to write an essay about Hardison’s SHIRTS alone. - And the best? It’s never commented on, it’s not necessary. It’s just another layer of awesomeness.

    <>3 - The locations. Can I just remind everyone that we’re dealing with a TV show here? One that wasn’t produced by HBO (who apparently shit gold bricks)? And yet we get San Lorenzo and Hardison sucking air from a chair in a basement pool, we get airports and car chases, hospitals and ski lifts, Eliot galloping down the street and beating up people in a recording booth, we get an entire show set in the 70s, one set in the 40s, we get auction houses in London, chess tournaments in the middle East, graveyards and jungles and A FUCKING MOUNTAIN - need I go on?

    <>4 - The camera work. Seriously. I watched every episode of Leverage at least 15 times (this is not an exaggeration btw. I mean that.). Two of those times? I was just watching for the camera porn. Like, I dare you. Watch ‘The Frame-Up Job’ just for that, just to see the camera fucking _dancing_ with Nate and Sophie all the time, and watch that back to back with ‘The Rundown-Job’ and its fast cuts, its close ups, its hard cuts and jump cuts. Watch Eliot coming clean to the team about his involvement with Moreau and watch it just for the camera angles. Watch how it is the camera and the cuts that make ‘The Rashomon Job’ work. Seriously, I dare you. Watch. Art, I tell you. (Also? Locked-up comedy frame.) 

    <>5 - The DVD commentary and the DVD extras. EVERY episode has one. And every episode’s commentary is worth listening to, not once but several times (believe me, I did). You learn so much about how the episodes came about, backstories alternative versions and connections to other episodes. And aside from that, they are just so entertaining and it seems like everyone had fun making them - so much fun, that repeatedly surprise guests such as sexual chocolate err Aldis come and join in, even though they clearly don’t have to. - And the DVD extras? Eliot fights a bear? The the-team-meets-the-Muppets pitch? The hand job? Beth being an entitled starlet?

    So, when I say that I love everything about Leverage? I literally mean EVERYTHING.