So what's with all the Archer hate?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by jibrilmudo, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Scott Bakula isn't a bad actor... after all, he had earned himself a Golden Globe for Best Actor win, two additional Golden Globe nominations as well as four Emmy nominations for his role in Quantum Leap. Recently, he was also nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra.

    But the writing and his characterization on ENT was just terrible. During the first two seasons he was mostly depicted as incompetent and imprudent. And for Season 3 he was suddenly retooled into a cross between George W. Bush and Jack Bauer.
     
  2. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well I for one am not saying he is a "bad actor". He did fine in the roles you mention. He was just ill suited to play Archer. A better actor (in the role) might have overcome some of the weaker writing. As I have written, better acting overcomes bad writing all the time.

    The problem was, Scott had to have good writing in order to shine as Archer and couldn't rise above when he didn't get it. The same writers who wrote Archer also wrote Trip and Phloxx (and everyone else). But we saw Trinneer and Billingsley defeat bad characterizations with their natural, relaxed, and charismatic performances.

    This is the reason Scott had all those meetings with TPTB (think it was after season 2). Just because your character is written as a jackass does not mean the role cannot be payed in a way that causes the audience to like or respect the character despite it being obvious the character is a jackass. Scott couldn't do that with Archer.

    BTW, I believe that both the Quantum Leap and Candelabra roles were right in Scott's wheelwell. When he is given the "perfect" role (for him), he does fine. But give him somthing that is a bit outside of his normal "shooting range", and he "bricks it" (to use some basketball analogies) -- Archer.
     
  3. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Neither Trip nor Phlox were mouthpieces the way that Archer was. They only needed to attend to their work and express their quirks. Archer was designed to be more than that, expressing the ambitions of humanity as well as the ideals that would emerge in TOS and the 24th century series.
     
  4. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So your point is that it was easier to write Trip and Phlox than Archer and therfore the Trip and Phlox roles were easier to act? My position is that the two actors made their roles look easier because of their abilities to create an maintain their characters' credibility no matter the scene.

    But with regard to Scott, I maintain that his inability to establish Archer's dignity and/or charm, both staples of Trek captains, is what sank Archer's popularity. And the often heard, "Archer was written inconsistently", that always gets brought up, to me, is a crock. It shouldn't matter to an actor if one week his character is angry and the next, he is as happy as a clam.

    You play the part you're given to the best of your abilities. This is I'm sure what he did, it just wasn't enough.

    Imagine Nathan Fillion as Archer. He could have pulled off the boneheaded and undignified stuff Archer was asked to do in a way that would have left everyone still liking the character while acknowledging his shortcomings. This is where Scott failed.
     
  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    My position is that playing Trip required proving that the character loved catfish, his sister, warp engines, and upon occasion, T'Pol. Every now and then, he needed to nod along with the suspicion of Vulcans. Playing Archer required expressing the frustration of humanity, being doctrinaire, making speeches about policy and diplomacy, feeling inadequacy, striking a heroic pose, being angry that his agency is constantly usurped by people from the future, and do everything in a way that suggested some great future was ahead without sounding too much like Kirk or Picard. It's a complicated role that another actor may have proven better at, and I recognize that Bakula has his limits. However, Archer and Trip aren't comparable roles.
     
  6. cylkoth

    cylkoth Commodore Commodore

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    Fillion would've rocked the gazelle speech. :techman: :rommie:
     
  7. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Fillion and Gazelle Speech = ADORABLE
     
  8. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This kind of illustrates the point I've been making. Lets assume for the sake of this discussion that what you write above really is an accurate description of the Trip character. Connor Trinneer took this bare bones, simple character and using his natural charisma and other acting skills turned Trip into THE most popular and respected character on the show.

    Scott, working with Archer, a character who by your assessment, is much more complex, succeeded in making him into one of the least respected and least liked Trek captain characters in all of Trek.

    Unlike Trinneer (and Billinglea), who was handed a pile of sticks and used them to build a mansion, Scott was handed a similar pile of sticks and built a "stick" figure home which lacked depth and any symblance of mystery, or complexity.

    Considering your description of Trip and what Trinneer did with the character, maybe Connor should have played Archer.
     
  9. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Bakula is completely lacking in subtlety. You never hear anything unspoken in his voice or see it in his face.
     
  10. Yanks

    Yanks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it's the responsibility of the writers to write for the actors they have. They knew what they had, and Scott in his element is very good I think.

    Like I said in my post earlier, Scott doesn't play mad or angry very well. So I think if you want them to excel you write to their strengths.
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Many people (including myself) think that Bakula's best Trek performance was as the mirror Archer, playing a character who was completely surface level and "lacking in subtlety." Bakula was perfect in that episode.

    Better still, have the character of Trip be the Captain of the Enterprise from day one. Instead of Connor playing the part of Archer.


    .
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm all for that, as long as he was written in his underwear as much as he was as Chief Engineer :)
     
  13. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Having a character that lacked the complex backstory and purpose of Archer did not put Trinneer into a disadventageous situation. It helps an actor to have the room to put their own input into the character, to actually contribute to the process of characterization, as well as to let the character grow organically as stories evolve. That's not to say that Trip was uninteresting, but he had space to evolve and be himself. Too much was predetermined about Archer, and worse, he never was allowed to just be himself. He had to represent 100 years of disappointments that were not his own.

    Now, we've seen Bakula succeed in a roll in which he had much more leeway. On Quantum Leap, his character was forced to adapt to new situations and new personalities. He kept his moral core, but Beckett was never completely himself. That situation is much more analogous to Trip than to Archer. On the other hand, I've never seen Trinneer take on a roll as complex as Archer.

    Like Yanks writes, there are some things that Bakula doesn't do well. Archer was indignant a lot of the time. Bakula doesn't do self-centered very well--no one will mistaken him with Tom Cruise--so often he appeared petty. However, it also made no sense that this would be the constant attitude of the character. It took two and a half seasons for the writers to realize that he needs to go with the flow more? Moreover, he was often required to represent values that were yet to take shape. The core of his being was to help the Valakians: he should have opposed Phlox more directly. He shouldn't have been prefiguring the Prime Directive. Little things like that would have given Archer more of his own personality rather than being a symbolic representation of the Star Trek future.
     
  14. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No.

    No.

    Umm.....No.

    HELL NO!!!

    And, just in case I wasn't clear......No.
     
  15. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This. A huge problem of ENT was that they wanted to trade on humanity's naivete and Sensawunda at this point in Trek "history"... but had no clear idea of how to do that or what the lines should be. I think this ultimately is why ENT's human characters feel much more tepid and uninteresting than they needed to feel (it's not just a problem with Archer, there was a tentativeness and confusion in writing all of them).

    Yep. And ENT was plagued by a lot of that (although "A Night in Sickbay" was probably the most extreme example).

    There were a lot of nice ideas behind ENT, as there were initially behind VOY. Unfortunately it's the execution that really makes or breaks a show. Some believe that great actors can rise above badly-written material; I don't think that's as easy to do as is popularly imagined. It's far easier for bad writing and conception to drag down what would otherwise be fine performances.

    (Same goes for some of the Janeway criticism, I think. Yes, some of it is just sexism, and yes, obviously the character is conceived to be a competent manager put in an impossible corner and forced to Make the Tough Decisions. But if the writing doesn't really sell the circumstances or the decisions, there's only so much the actors can do.)
     
  16. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Playing the sexist card with Janeway is just petty at best and an attempt to shift the subject away from Janeway's character flaws. There's a lot of truth that more often than not the person who's pointing the finger is trying to draw attention away from something else.

    Of course by that logic, I guess I'm bigoted against all white males too since I'm critical of Archer's stupidity too. :rolleyes:
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes.
    Yes !!!!

    Okay, why not? Enterprise was on the air when I was in High School, Trip was the single most popular character with that age group, my friends in their twenties felt the same way. What demographic did Archer bring to the table?

    Trip was everything Archer wasn't, he was (usually) calm, confindent, laid back, smooth. He was comfortable in his own skin, which is somethong that Archer very obviously wasn't.

    People naturally liked Trip.

    He was a southern gentleman (with the sexy accent that went with it).

    He got the women, even the resident Vulcan chick.

    :devil:

    He played the harmonica.
     
  18. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if you're going to bring age difference into it, I was in high school when TNG started. I was 31 when ENTERPRISE started, and always found Trip to be an unlikeable jackass, who irritated the hell out of me just by being onscreen.

    Plus his loudmouth bigotry got on my nerves.

    Reed was far more likeable and was far moreeasy to relate to in my opinion. He should have been the third guy in Archer's trio. Trip should have been keep in the background.
     
  19. bluedana

    bluedana Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think there is a great deal of revisionist history going on. In the first two seasons, you would very often hear Trip being referred to as a hick (with criticisms of his attitude and his accent). As the series went on, and the writers more clearly defined his character (as opposed to generic character traits), and with the added emotional investment of the Shipper Wars, Trip eventually emerged as a fan favorite. (It's one of the reasons why TATV is so angry-making: the TATV-Trip didn't have any of the growth that Seasons-3-and-4-Trip demonstrated.) But his early incarnation was sometimes as superficially written as Archer's was, and he was not universally well-liked at the beginning of the series, either.

    Regardless of which character is your personal fave, it's natural to look back more fondly to the earlier episodes and see the missteps as part of the organic character growth, rather than as flaws in the character or performance. Some see a believable character arc for Archer, other see the same for Trip.
     
  20. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say there are a couple of flaws with that contention, one of them being that the bulk of that paragraph you're replying to is about Janeway's character flaws regardless of mentioning sexism. But I don't want to threadjack this into Janeway conversation and you can bracket out the mention of sexism if you like, it's peripheral to the main point.