Hard Knocks

Katee Sackhoff is perfectly cast. Starbuck is so crazy, and I think she’s carrying around a lot of pain (about Zack, her childhood, the Farm, the whole Cylon war and occupation). She’s so wonderful and so terrible,sometimes in the same moment. What gets me is the look on her face the morning she marries Anders. Lee walks past, and she has that grimace that is so characteristic of her chaotic life.

Starbuck just depletes the men around her, uses them and takes off on her next adventure. We don’t get a lot of women characters quite like this in modern film and t.v., and I think the shift from an original male character helped make it happen. I wonder if we (I) look for reasoning behind Starbuck’s actions more because she is a woman, rather than just blowing her off as a selfish player, as we might if she were a guy (or Baltar).

At least Lee and Starbuck have gotten to the point where they can’t deny it entirely anymore. As Dualla said on the sidelines when it was mentioned that Lee and Starbuck looked like they were trying to kill each other: “That’s one perspective.” Poor Dee. Billy would’ve never done you that way.

47 Responses to "Hard Knocks"
  1. Browncoat Bryan says:

    Starbuck’s awesome, but I’m loving Kat as well (I know I’m in the minority). Frankly though, I don’t really mind her behavior much. She’s so bohemian.

  2. Tanu says:

    browncoat, you are not alone, i like Kat too. She’s a Starbuck in the making – but only as far as that she’s a hotshot and good in the cockpit. don’t know about all the emotional bunk Starbuck’s got goin on.

  3. Pike says:

    I dunno. Kat was real quick to turn to stims. And since this IS the BSG ‘verse, I imagine she has a whole set of issues. Which would be a good way to do the now-extinguished Tigh/Starbuck too much alike to coexist feud.

  4. Martha says:

    I love that Kara is so flawed. She feels guilt, but transfers the self-hate from herself to those she’s wronged, as a last-ditch measure of self-preservation. This doesn’t mean I don’t cringe inwardly whenever she completely screws someone over….but it’s so fascinating to watch.

  5. Pike says:

    I have to think they’re going to go back to Scar, with Kat fraking with Starbuck, and then Starbuck fraking with Kat in a completely different way.

  6. Dan, the Lord of Kobol says:

    I just finished watching “Unfinished Business”, and I’ve got to say, I am -not- liking Starbuck at the moment.

    On the Starbuck-Anders separation and her “Don’t forget your boots on the way out, Sammy” comment: Anders was *in love* with this woman and made no attempt at covering that up, and that’s how she repays him? Doesn’t exactly give her reputation a push in the right direction in my books…

    That was just one example, but I think I’ve identified her flaw. Kara’s just a selfish and careless person; her ability to pursue whatever she wants on a whim with utter disregard for those the actions affect makes me dislike her more everytime I see her. For the record, I recognize she’s *always* been under a pretty large amount of emotional stress like Audra said, but that doesn’t excuse her behaviour. It’s under stress that your true character is shown…

    I think that the only reason why the audience, and myself, feel any compassion or attachment for her is because she’s a main character. Honestly, how many people would give a damn about Starbuck’s hijinks if she was just some recurring background character? I wouldn’t. But hey, that’s just me.

    And that’s my two cubits…

  7. Arktis says:

    Yeah. I hate her.

    She purposely forces her problems onto other people to make herself feel better and empowered. No matter what’s been done to a person, there’s no excuse for that. When you value others so little that you’re willing to harm them in order to elevate yourself in some cheap meaningless way, you’re basicly in deep violation of the social contract that holds everyone together. I’d put her in jail. Seriously, she’s a danger to the fleet. She’s a crazy sociopath or at least as close to one as a person can get without being completely batshit insane.

    As for Lee…. he’s a big sissy. I don’t care how well he fights. Emotionally, he’s a little whiny baby boy. Somneone should tell him to grow up.

  8. Tanu says:

    I see what you guys are saying but I don’t think that liking a character is the same as condoning or validating what the character is doing. Personally, i can’t explain why i love the character but would lothe her if she were a real person.

    What i can say is that the reason everyone has such strong feelings towards this character (whether positive or negative) is that each of us probably know someone who is similiar, I know a couple of users like her; but because with this character we get to see what is going on in her head versus just what we see in the actions of this type of person we may know in real life is that it shows that there is perhaps a reason for this type of behavior. it isn’t just that she’s a bad person, but there may be something that causes her to act this way. its easy to write someone off as a bad person but this type of character in a fictional story shows that noone is just a bad person, there is always a story, always an explanation (though usually no excuse).

    and that’s my two cubits.

  9. Jaz says:

    I agree with Tanu about Starbuck. I totally love Starbuck and I’m totally disgusted with her at the same time. Her character is such a complex mix of good and bad…she’s riveting. And let’s not forget she’s a professional soldier. Her personality traits, loathsome as they are, are perfect for what she does. She’s tops in her profession, just not as person. But for the record, I’d really like to slap her for letting Anders go. What a catch and she just wants what she can’t have…until she CAN have him, then he’ll bore her.

    On a slightly different subject, something has been bothering me for a while and I wonder if anyone else has any comments on this: in Exodus Part II, where was Anders while Kara was doing the whole “I-love-you-is-it-what-thought-it-would-be” thing with Leoben? Anders had just found her, then she went back after Kacey, then she has this 10 minute scene with Leoben as if Anders had not been RIGHT BEHIND HER IN THE HALLWAY. What’s up with that???

  10. Arktis says:

    I dunno about the actor, but I hate the character. I suppose that’s a testament to the abilities of the actor, Katie – at least I hope so. I’d hate to think it was just because that’s the type of person she really is. The idea that there could be someone out there even remotely like Starbuck is disturbing.

  11. Armando says:

    I think Starbuck’s childhood abuse by her mother (something I was recently reminded of while watching “Flesh and Bone” from season one on DVD) and the belief she tried to instill in her that deprivation and violence make a person stronger (or something like that. I can’t remember how Leoben puts it) explains a whole hell of a lot about this character. Of course she doesn’t want to settle with Lee OR Anders. These are men who care for her unconditionally (although how Lee is not bothered by the fact that he has the hots for his dead brother’s fiancee, which seemed to be such a big deal early in the show, is beyond me) and this scares her to death, so she does everything she can to sabotage the situation. It’s really very sad.

    However, Lee is not exactly the noble one either. Artkis is right: he IS a ninny and a sissy and needs to grow up. He also seems incapable of giving himself to someone who loves him unconditionally (say what you will about Dee, Audra, but what did SHE do to deserve being stuck in the middle of the huge emotional mess that are Lee and Kara?) and continues to be hung up on a woman who is too self absorbed and too scared to take the chance at love with him when it was offered. Frankly, I feel bad for poor Dee (and Anders). Seeing as how they’re not main characters, though, we probably won’t have to deal with their heartbreak (or maybe we will. Secondary characters do tend to get some interesting stories in this show too) on screen.

  12. Martha says:

    *firm nod* at Jaz and Tanu. Appreciating (or even loving) a character doesn’t necessarily mean one condones the actions of that character. Kara is a fuckup in absolutely every aspect of her life, including the warrior part. (Remember when she arsed up the hostage situation because she was rash?) That doesn’t make her any less interesting to watch, as Sackhoff does a great job portraying a deeply flawed person.

  13. eric-michael says:

    I hate to post this twice, but there’s a lot of dissing on my girl Starbuck, and I have to step in and defend her … if only a little. Note the line in the last episode where she says “try to frack another man’s woman.” Then think back to the folded picture of Lee, Starbuck and Zach. You think we got the backstory on this whole Lee/Starbuck thing, but we only got this story, the entire backstory obviously has to do with the triangle formed by Lee, Zach and Starbuck. It seems to be that Lee fell for Starbuck back then, and he made a move … this frack on N.C. did nothing but remind Starbuck that Lee is Zach’s brother and they just fracked all over his memory, and thus running to Anders to “clean” herself off. I mean screaming out loud how much they loved each other? I think if I were Starbuck I’d run to Anders as well … he’s a safe love for Starbuck … and he’s clean of her past and her mistakes. It’s funny how you can end the world, and your past still has a way of catching up with you … Lee, Starbuck, Adama, Roslin … everyone but Baltar … no one yet has pinned him to the destruction of their colonies.

  14. Browncoat Bryan says:

    I think Starbuck needs to see a good shrink. And therein lies the problem. Who’s she gonna see? Doc Cottle, the BSG version of Dr. Phil?

    As for Lee. Lee, Lee, Lee. He’s such a punk. I think either Sean or Chuck said it on the podcast, he’s such a whiner. He needed to have Kat’s attitude when he found out that Kara got married to “Sammy”.

    My version of the script.
    (Lee walking back from the Starbuck/Apollo love nest.)
    Adama: Hey, son. You missed the excitement. Did you hear? Kara got married.
    Lee: Huh?
    Adama: Yeah, they got married. About an hour ago.
    Lee: But, I… we…
    Adama: By the way, have you seen Laura? She said she was gonna get me some more of that weed….
    (Adama walks off, whistling a Celtic tune… Lee storms off in the other direction. He sees Kara and Anders and approaches them.)
    Anders: Dude, we got married, man. Can you believe it?
    (Lee throws up the hand in Anders face.)
    Lee: Yo, Starbuck. Why are you playin’ me like that? What’s up with what we did last night?
    Anders: Huh?
    Lee: Shut up, man. I’m talking to your wifey over here. So, what’s up, Star-BUCK?
    Kara: Lee, I just wanted a quick lay.
    Anders: Uh, I guess you guys want some alone time, huh?
    (Anders walks off.)
    Lee: Woman, you ain’t nothing but a frakkin’ [insert name for garden tool here].
    (Kara cocks her arm to throw a punch, but Lee throws a couple of cubits at her.)
    Lee: Here’s your payment. And I want my change. It wasn’t that great. Now, where’s my dad. I wanna try some of that New Caprica weed.

    See? Now that’s how Lee should have handled it. No whining. No whimpering. Just straight up boo-yah.

  15. Schattenläufer says:

    At least we know why Lee became that fat.

  16. Tanu says:

    “she said she was gonna get me some more of that weed”

    HAHAHAHAAHAH! Thats awesome!

  17. The 13th Cylon says:

    Starbuck is a professor at the School of Hard Knocks.

  18. Oliver says:

    I just love all the characters, they are all so incredibly real, a testament to the amazing writing and acting, you can see each of their situations and i feel that you can never really truly hate them.

    but dee, ouch, i just wanna run up and hug her, the whole billy thing makes it even more awful for her as well.

  19. Pike says:

    No feeling sorry for Dee!

    That is all.

  20. Dan, the Lord of Kobol says:

    Right on, Pike!

    I feel as much for pity for Dee as I do for a squished mosquito.

  21. ShinyFab says:

    I love that Starbuck is so messed up. You can see the self-damaging patterns she has. Apollo and Starbuck are two messed up people colliding. They really can’t get away from each other. Lee could have left Kara alone on NC, but he didn’t. Kara could have avoided Lee in personal situations, but she couldn’t just leave it be and Lee can’t tell her off. Shagging, fighting, avoiding real communication, unable to really stop interacting with each other — in an incredibly FRAKKED up way, they’re family. Honestly, I don’t know if they would be so amazing to watch if they weren’t colliding with brilliant ferocity. You can’t have Kara and Anders live happily ever after. There aren’t bright shiny futures to have for Kara or Lee. And as much as I think they realize this is a messed up situation, they keep doing it. If Dee didn’t have a clue she had her eyes closed and her fingers in her ears while humming to herself. No pity for Dee. Sorry girl.

    Kara is a magnification of so many terrible self-destructing things we do to ourselves all rolled in one. Come on people, you know you have a flaw somewhere. She’s awful. But at the same time I can see how she’s being pushed. No, not an excuse. Just reasons. Really I must admit, I love the fact she hits so hard. I get a sick thrill out of it. I played contact sports and there is nothing more satisfying than the oomph someone makes when you run into them.

    Disclaimer: I said sick thrill remember?

  22. Arktis says:

    I’d feel sorry for Dee if it got me some nice rebound action.

  23. Pike says:

    Arktis–well, if you only pretended to feel sorry for her, and then dumped her afterwards, I’d be OK with that.

  24. chris says:

    It seems that its 50-50 with regards to Starbuck.

    For my part my two favorite characters–and storylines–are Starbuck’s and Tigh’s. Each of their stories seems to be the most ‘real’. One should remember that the human race has all but been annihilated. (As a tangental nod its nice to see the lack of food issue become real with regards to the storyline. Really, how can food be produced in such great quantities when your being chased through space?) 40000 people are on the run from murderous cylons and the majority of the characters are trying to impose a semblance of normality on the remnants of a destroyed culture. Adama and Madame President quickly move to restrcuture a destroyed culture by imposing laws quickly after the war–for example. The president all but states that humanities only responsibility is to procreate. Starbuck and Tigh seem to be the two characters rebelling against this call to normality. By deposing the ideas of marriage, faith, duty and honor it seems these characters were set up to offer the writers a way to re-write the human condition. Flawed characters are the most interesting and the most adept at destroying the tidy little envelope of normalcy. Its interesting to see who gets swept up into this chaotic wake as Tigh and Starbuck careen through the surf.

    I vote in favor of Starbuck and her dementia!

  25. Chucksax says:

    How GREAT is this show, where the character who is the most intriguing is also the most morally reprehensible and disgusting? I’m sickened by her behavior on a regular basis, but she’s a great character, portrayed wonderfully by Ms. Sackhoff. Starbuck is NUTS and more-or-less completely psychotic; but fascinating to watch. Where will this trainwreck go next, and whom will she take with her?

  26. Cair says:

    I loved what Starbuck said in the last episode, about how “flying will suck now anyways. The war’s over… so is all the good stuff.” The look on her face totally captured the essence of her character.

  27. Leon Kensington says:

    You know, as I think about it Starbuck isn’t the marriage problem started and ender (of the marraige that is) but it is Apollo.

    Really, would Starbuck have left Anders if it were not for Lee?
    Would Dee have left Lee if it was not for his crazy nights? (At least we think that she has left Lee)

    I doubt it.

  28. Pike says:

    Completely off topic (now you know how Sean feels) I’m expecting an “Audra sings BSG” medley. I will be very disappointed if it doesn’t show up in time for Christmas….

    Hell, they’re not going to show episodes, so what else are you going to do?

  29. The 13th Cylon says:

    Agreed, Pike. I will become a bitter and angry Cylon model if we don’t get more songs from Audra for the holiday season. Wookiees have Life Day, us Cylonz have Death and Destruction Day. Death and Destruction Day is the most important holiday for us Cylonz other than Arbor Day.

  30. The 13th Cylon says:

    Oh man!!! I forgot my great little song! There’s this song I keep hearing on the radio that goes something like “Suddenly I see, I see this is what I want to be…” and anyway I sing along with it but as “CIC, this is where I want to be…” It’s kind of a song Tigh might sing when he’s really drunk on Ambrosia but just before he starts hunting for Ellen in the ship.

  31. Pike says:

    Google is our friend: http://myspace.com/kttunstall

    Trying to think of others. James Brown’s “Sex Machine” comes to mind.

  32. Pike says:

    To go off-off-topic: Has anyone else started using “frak” for real? I caught myself using it at work a little while ago.

  33. NY Spinny says:

    Kara Thrace desperately wants to be loved, and utterly terrified at the thought of being as vulnerable as that would require, and Starbuck is her defense against that vulnerability. She can’t ever be loved until she can love herself, and the superhuman who could stand in the face of the firestorm she delivers to anyone dangerous enough to get in even a little bit has yet to be born. I can’t find it in my soul to hate her; I’ve got too much first-hand experience with abuse survivors and the little girl that looks out from Katee Sackhoff’s eyes every time she nails the character perfectly just claws at my guts.

    Lee’s gotten in farther than anyone else, and that’s his misfortune. The dance of pain was on hiatus for a year or so; it resumed in a bloody fight ring, and that was the easiest blood they’re going to spill.

  34. The 13th Cylon says:

    To answer Pike, yes. But mainly as “frakin’ moron” or “what a frakin’ moron” for when someone does something stupid on the road. I don’t say it front of other people though. Luckily the RDM and David didn’t go with the other fould word of the original show, felgercarb. I shudder to think of them using that word… ever!

  35. Pike says:

    There was also “pogees” as in “They’re blowing the pogees out of it.”

  36. Chucksax says:

    Pike –

    I’ve found myself using “frak” >>far

  37. Browncoat Bryan says:

    I’ve started using the term myself. I also fancy cussing in Firefly Chinese. “That’s a bunch of frakking go se.”

  38. Pike says:

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who ever said “fraking go se”. However, I was always very concious of it, and usually only used it humourously. What I meant here was that I now find “frak” slipping out as a genuine expletive, completely outside of any BSG context.

  39. Audra says:

    Frak is a great word. I’ve started using it here and there for fun, but not yet spontaneously.

    13th Cylon – That’s great! I’ve heard that song and now everytime I do I think of your line. Lol!


  40. The 13th Cylon says:

    Oh my! Know you know what it’s like to have The Cylon Bunch song stuck (or even sticking…?) in other people’s heads. The tables have turned (or if it’s in the case of Tigh, they’ve been knocked over in a fit of rage over losing a card game).

  41. Carol says:

    Katee is amazing. Her face is SO expressive. I couldn’t possibly hate
    Kara. She’s such a complex character. She may make self(and other)
    destructive decisions regularly, but there are so many times that she
    doesn’t, as well. She’s put in impossible situations, and the steel in her
    spine allows her to gut through, time after time. I really felt for her when
    Adama put her in the position of possibly offing the Admiral on Pegasus.
    She finally had a female role-model that she was starting to look up to and
    admire, and he puts her in that position? For shame. He should have
    asked someone else.

  42. Arktis says:

    Yeah, but what’s so great about that? Seriously. She’s messed up, selfish, maniacal, aggressive, abusive, etc etc. It’s a laundry list of horrible traits and yet somehow people are in love with the whole idea of it. What exactly does all that advance which is so marvelous and worthy of appreciation?

    This is a serious question.

    Personally, I think some people just like it for the same reasons they’d be likely to rubberneck an automobile accident. It clearly places one in a relatively superior position and is a safe glimpse at something that would normally cost a great deal to experience. And then I think there are others who like it because it allows them to reinforce/excuse their own selfish messed-up ways.

    I don’t like it. Not at all.

  43. Arktis says:

    I forgot option 3, which is what I think is the most likely: People secretly want to be Starbuck. Think about that one. I’m being really honest and serious.

  44. Pike says:

    Arktis, “Men want her, women want to be her?” I like it.

  45. Carol says:

    Heck, what’s not appealing (to a viewer) about a flawed character who
    still is loved? I love that pretty much ALL the characters are shades of
    gray. If Kara’s not a character that you can love, that’s ok, I’m sure
    there are others that are. Not all characters have to appeal to everyone.
    My favorites are Kara and Chief. I distinctly dislike Kat. Others like
    Kat. Something for everyone.

  46. Arktis says:

    Actually, there are several characters I do personally identify with, even though I see the definite flaws of each one… the flaws are what I understand the most.

    Gaeta, Lee, and… Baltar. That last one… yikes.

    I agree with you on Kat. Tigh I will note that I don’t identify with, but understand. Maybe I understand because I do identify but don’t want to admit.

    I think there’s a definite tie-in here with what RDM said about the skinjob Cylon models being all of the archetypal humans as understood by Cylons in that the Galactica’s main characters are probably also archetypal in similar sense… so I guess there’s some validity to what I think you are sort-of touching upon, Carol.

  47. Arktis says:

    Oh and I also feel unusually sympathetic with a certain ex-terrorist leader, though I SERIOUSLY doubt anyone could pin down exactly how and why! Mwahahahaha.

    Pike, I like the way you paraphrased me. Spot on.

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