I Really Wanted to Like Smallville, Part 3: Lost Boys and Golden Girls

What’s better than a love triangle? A love dodecahedron! Lest viewers get bored with the non-relationship between Clark and Lana, Smallville has plenty of other running tales of unrequited love.

Foremost among these is one of Smallville’s original characters, and one of the few great aspects of the show: Chloe Sullivan. Chloe is the editor of Smallville High’s student paper, The Torch, and naturally carries a torch for Clark. (I apologize for the pun. It was unavoidable.) But, astonishingly, this does not define her character.

Instead, Chloe actually focuses on her journalism. She creates a “wall of weird” documenting the bizarre events that plague Smallville. She investigates the mutant-of-the-week on her own initiative on a number of occasions. She get an internship with the Daily Planet.

Best of all, she calls Clark on his crap a good half the time. When they do start dating at the end of the first season, she’s the one who calls it off when she realizes that she is essentially second prize compared to Lana in Clark’s eyes. While she still has feelings for him, she recognizes that dating him is a bad idea.

She is, in other words, smart enough that she really ought to be in another show. If she and Lex were to run off to set up their own detective agency in Gotham or Keystone City or somewhere, I would watch it in a second. They could solve mysteries and expose conspiracies and commiserate together on how difficult it is to be secretly in love with Clark.

Pete can come too, and maybe then he’ll actually get to do something.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    Man, I can just hear the frustration through the typing. :D

    It blows my mind when a show gets some of its supporting characters right and the lead characters so deeply wrong. Makes you wonder if they made the leads that way on purpose because they actually think somehow that’s what people want.

  2. scarlett says

    It blows my mind when a show gets some of its supporting characters right and the lead characters so deeply wrong. Makes you wonder if they made the leads that way on purpose because they actually think somehow that’s what people want.

    Arg, can say say ‘Gret’s Anatomy’???

  3. Blake says

    And now I want to see that Lex Luthor/Chloe Sullivan mystery show. Thanks for nothing.

    They would even be able to keep the angst, as Clark slowely went down the path of evil!

    Maybe this is the Earth 2 version (or whatever; I’m not up on my DC multiverse) of Chloe and Lex, with Clark as Ultra-Man.

  4. sbg says

    I think I might be the only one in the universe who doesn’t like Lex!

    I do, however, usually think Chloe is pretty darn cool.

  5. MaggieCat says

    I think I might be the only one in the universe who doesn’t like Lex!

    Heh. This amuses me since Lex is why I started watching the show in the first place. (And much like you with John Winchester, I spent a lot of time explaining that he was trying his best and it wasn’t his fault people kept dying. ;-) ) Of course he’s now gone so far downhill I don’t think there’s any way to save the character at this point. Proximity to Lana has a tendency to do that. It seems that only Chloe is immune, probably because Lana frequently treats her like she’s not even there.

  6. sbg says

    This amuses me since Lex is why I started watching the show in the first place. (And much like you with John Winchester, I spent a lot of time explaining that he was trying his best and it wasn’t his fault people kept dying. )

    A pretty big difference being Lex’s character had been established as the bad guy for decades before this latest incarnation arrived on the scene. Watching the will he go bad/won’t he go bad thing play out in the younger years was therefore, to me, pretty much a waste of time. We knew he was going to end up a megalomaniac. ;)

  7. MaggieCat says

    I’d argue that these writers didn’t seem all too sure about it in this case- for several seasons Lex didn’t do anything evil on purpose and was in fact trying to help people, while Clark was running around breaking laws, inadvertently killing people, and stalking the girl he had a crush on. I even remember someone suggesting (I think it was on the TWoP forums) that the only way to reconcile the character traits they had established with the original source material would be to have Lex and Clark’s personalities switch bodies so that Lex became the hero- that’s how badly Clark was handled.

    But in the superhero genre, where good and bad tend to be very clearly defined, I generally find the villains far more interesting than the good guys (who usually bore me to tears). Not everyone does. So while I find that part of the story interesting (and frequently underutilized) I can see where everyone else might not.

  8. S. A. Bonasi says

    sbg – the appeal to me [initially] with Lex wasn’t the “will he, won’t he” factor, but the journey. Unfortunately, the writers really dropped the ball there. Like MaggieCat said, they started out in an interesting place with Lex. But right around seasons four or five, I want to say, Lex’s journey into Teh Darkness got wildly inorganic and inconsistant. (I’d say it started with the episode where Lex split into Good!Lex and Bad!Lex.) And halfway through season six, Lex was lightswitched to eBiL, but makes all his decisions based on LanaLanaLana and ends up looking pathetic in the process.

  9. Patrick says

    From the 2.2 seasons that I was able to watch, Lex’s characterization was pretty good, given the changes to his history. (In the comics, Lex arranged for his parents to die in a car accident when he was a teenager.) It harkened back to the decades of Superboy comics that form the basis of Smallville’s setup while treating him as a more human character.

    As of early Season 3, I would really have an easy time believing that we were looking at Earth-3, where Clark becomes Ultraman and Lex Luthor becomes the world’s foremost superhero (mainly because Ultraman and the rest of the Crime Syndicate kill all of the others).

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