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I am aware that Kings has its ridiculous side. Viewed from a certain perspective, the whole thing could easily turn into complete hilarity. But that's what makes it good. Because all the best stuff out there has a certain element of absurd, "I can't believe I'm watching this" cheese. If it doesn't, it's usually because the story you're watching is boring, and unoriginal, because the people who made it were too afraid to go for what they wanted or too unimaginative to think about it. If there's nothing to make fun of even a little bit, no one will care at all.

And nothing is perfect. I may mock Gossip Girl for their bizarre view of time and space but the kiss of death for me, for a show, is when I can't even bother criticizing it. Notice there haven't been any Glee or SPN posts from me in a while...




1) Where the FRACK is Gilboa? Is it fake!Israel? Is it fake!America? Is it New York City and if so, is Gath, New Jersey? At least if you're from Manhattan, New Jersey people are the modern definition of Philistines*.

Imagine the characters facing down hordes of orange, pointy haired people draped in gold chains and leopard prints.

The New Jersians girded themselves with Shirts Under Their Shirts and Much Heavy Makeup. And the people of Manhattan trembled as they heard the strange, terrifying battle cry of GTL! GTL!

“Lo,” Abner said. “The Bridge and Tunnel shall surely be upon us.”


But Gath is actually north of Gilboa, which would make it Vermont or Canada. Or possibly Massachusetts. If this is a post apocalyptic North America, which we're not even sure it is.


2) A lot of fans seemed to feel that David's actor (Chris Egan) wasn't up to the level he needed to be, especially when acting against McShane. He definitely did come across as less capable. It's only later when he starts to get more interesting, as he learns the rules of the game and becomes a more ruthless, experienced and *angry* warrior. But definitely, he was the weak link. And it's not just that he was a less experienced actor, the way he was written didn't help. Whatever reservations people might've had about this version of Jonathan, his actor took that portrayal and ran with it. I don't think anyone who saw him on Gossip Girl would believe he could hold his own against Ian McShane, but he managed it and it's probably gotten him a lot of his other jobs (Political Animals where he's nearly the same guy, Captain America, Once Upon a Time, etc). It helps that the character is written with a certain amount of fire and delightful insanity that's just missing with David. And that his character is actually written as someone who can't stand up to Silas, as opposed to David, who is supposed to be an unstoppable rival.Seriously, that scene on the steps where Silas yells at him and Jack just stands there and cries and it is heartbreaking and who wouldn't fold like a cheap suit in that situation- but we're supposed to see David as a threat to Silas.

People casting David always seem to go for the face over the talent. But if David is supposed to be the main character, you've gotta pick someone we believe in, who can play a multifaceted, complicated guy, who can carry a production and stand up to whatever Shakespearean actors you picked for Saul and Samuel. I read some rumors about a planned theatrical version of David and Goliath (a straight up treatment of the Biblical text) that would star Taylor Lautner... Who might be an okay traditional!Jonathan but couldn't carry the movie.


2) When David and Jack first meet officially,(when Jack is supposed to give him a tour and shows up an hour late and hung over), he offers to lend David a tux for the party. David says “you're a little taller than me”. If ever there was a stupid line that should've been cut it's one that asks us to ignore the evidence of our own eyes. I see where they were coming from, Jonathan is traditionally portrayed as tall, and David as height challenged (Saul is also described outright as tall, and Ian McShane is *not*). But on this show, we could all clearly see that there's little difference in height between Chris Egan and Sebastian Stan.I looked it up, Stan is five foot eleven at best, Egan is like five foot ten and a half, so they are both just under average and nearly the same height. This is obvious in a later episode when they're standing side by side with their backs to the camera, but this scene, it's actually shot in a way that makes Jack look shorter. And while his being shorter would work out fine for this interpretation of the character (as someone who is told by the older men in his life that he is not and will not be allowed to be, a real grownup man), it doesn't work if you're insisting out loud that he's taller.

3) Michelle's kind of an idiot. Was doing what they did to her character really the only way they could think of to avoid her traditionally negative portrayal? "Michelle and David are boring together because they're both too dull and naive" was a common complaint. But then they keep having other characters describe her as frigid ('ice doesn't melt in her mouth") and moody and closed off, all of which we rarely ever see her actually being. Like the way Jack is "taller" than David.

4) The Port Prosperity riots did, as many people have pointed out, bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the Israeli settlers being forcibly evicted from their homes after Israel gave up some land for the new Palestinian state. On the other hand, is there any way to do this story without reminding people of Israelis and Palestinians (when their brains are going to go there anyway no matter what) yet without accidentally reminding people of some other equally complicated conflict that is happening or recently did? See, I keep rewriting this part because I feel like I can't even discuss it without somehow making it worse.

5) Brought in Wes Studi, Leslie Bibb and Macaulay Culkin and then didn't use them enough. Studi and Bibb get killed off, even though Studi's character in the text lasts a lot longer. Bibb is murdered off screen. By her fiance's mother, which is referenced in a throwaway conversation and never brought up again. Jack shows up at his own engagement party with a new bride to be as if Bibb's character was never a part of his life. Yeah, he was only getting married because Bibb's character was blackmailing him but I would've liked to see all of this addressed a bit more. It's implied that David's been on "diplomatic training" for weeks, maybe months, so there's time for the characters to adjust to Katrina's "car accident" and find Jack a new girl, but the problem is, we don't see any of that so it comes out of left field.

6) They.never.said.what Creepy Andrew did to get exiled. This is going to bug all the fans for eternity. Considering what the other characters get up to...OMG, what did he do?

7) Michelle's “vow” didn't make a lot of sense anyway. But a lot of Jewish fans pointed out that vows of eternal chastity aren't really common in Judaism. I didn't know that but I'm not surprised. Mainstream Judaism's current attitude towards sex is slightly healthier than Christianity's. This is not hard, considering it was once acceptable in Christianity to mutilate your genitals as a way to show how devoted you were to God. Christianity has an entire global industry of people who are chaste professionally in order to dedicate their lives to prayer and helping others, which is totally fine except that everyone else is taught that these people are automatically better and more pure than anyone else. Refraining from sex is THE highest achievement in Christianity*, while in Judaism, being cut off from any chance of marriage and children is like a living death.
Take it away, Quinn

David does point out to her that God didn't save her life so she could live like a dead person, but he's trying to get in her pants so...

8) Are we supposed to applaud Jack's punishment? I got the feeling Thomasina was fine with seeing him in that situation (hard to tell), yet David seems angry at Silas for choosing not to forgive his son. Are we supposed to be happy or horrified? Do the writers, like the Once Upon a Time guys, not realize what sort of situation they put him in and what that says about the other characters ? Thomasina claims Lucinda will be "glad to play" her part and there's no doubt that Lucinda wants Jack and he is on the verge of a panic attack at the thought**, but Lucinda doesn't realize she'll be locked in with him for at least as long as this takes. She won't be as consenting when she realizes she's not allowed to leave. Ever. Sure, she wants sex with Jack and she had every reason to expect some sort of wedding night but she's also a nice (very slow witted) girl who isn't into hurting people and doesn't understand what's going on. She's still their victim too, since she wasn't even involved in Jack's coup, which he points out to Thomasina, who just does not care at this point. They're making her the face of their disproportionate retribution despite the fact that she has never, and never planned to, hurt anyone, just so they can teach their son a lesson about trying to defy them.

Or is it a deliberate illustration of just how far off the deep end Silas has gone? Unfortunately, Jack turned out to be an Ensemble Dark Horse, with most fans coming to love him in spite of his difficult personality and lack of similarity to the Biblical Jonathan (but still, he's Jonathan. You do not mess with the Jonathan fangirls). So the majority of fans were very upset at his fate and every post canon fic has tried to deal gently and sensitively with the Unfortunate Implications of his sentence. And boy are thoseImplications Unfortunate(scroll down to the comments).

Now, it's possible that nothing actually happens between Jack and Lucinda in that room, it's not a guarantee that, when told to hurt each other that way, they really do it. But his parents certainly expected that, so it doesn't let Silas (and possibly Rose as well) off the hook. It's not just that his parents are forcing him to have sex he doesn't want, with someone he doesn't want. They're forcing him to make a child with this person, and then they're going to take that child away because he's not fit to raise it. Even though his father is insane and both his parents are murderers. And anyone can survive one incident of being locked in a room and forced to procreate. But imagine, this isn't going to end, Jack and Lucinda are trapped in that room for the foreseeable future, a situation that would make two people who had the best, most sexually voracious relationship ever, end up trying to kill each other.

9) The military tactics aren't that good. I'm not very knowledgeable about that, so I'll take their word for it. And I totally understand the difficulty of writing a story that comes with a lot of military related plots when you're more interested in the interpersonal stuff because I have the same problem. However, it's a common trope, especially with THIS story, that we're constantly told these characters are great warriors and then they're shown repeatedly screwing up basic stuff.

10) Since the show *was* filmed on location in New York City, actual New York viewers were able to recognize several real life locations and couldn't always suspend disbelief. You really would have to be an actual New Yorker for this to be a problem (not being one, it wasn't for me).

11) Too much flip flopping for certain characters. I know they were trying to go for "this whole thing hangs on Jack's choice of loyalties" but it just ended up looking like he changed his mind every five minutes.Ii mean, what was that with threatening to have his sister shot when just the day before he was claiming he didn't want bloodshed? Why does Rose, who has killed people in the past to ensure that Jack would get the throne, suddenly do everything in her power to stop his coronation?

12) Starting to move in a direction that would involve a gay romance between two of the male leads, then pulling back, then moving forward on it, then pulling back... in 2009, they couldn't have just come out and done what it's clear they so badly wanted to do. It's too bad that the scope of how gay people are treated on tv has changed so drastically in four years that they could've totally gone there if it was airing in 2013.

13) Jack is not always the victim of abuse. He dishes it out too. Even though he admits he treated Joseph badly and hates himself for it ("I destroyed him") his abusive treatment of the guy is very hard to watch. Did you see that, during the blackout when Jack first approaches him on the street, Joseph backs up quickly and blurts out "I don't want any trouble!" Joseph is some kind of saint to put up with him at all. Jack is also pretty awful to Lucinda. Although, everyone kind of is, Lucinda is the puppy *every* Benjamin kicks. While we're on the subject, I know Jack and Michelle's relationship was purposely portrayed as a bit damaged, it might've been nice to see them acting more like twins.

14) Does Artificial Insemination not exist in their world? Because they could've had Jack get Lucinda pregnant without having to even be in the same room but still be able to establish clear proof that the child was his via close observation of the procedure and DNA testing. The reason this wasn't previously common with historical royalty is because these solutions were not available until the very late 20th century.

They have all, or most, of the other technology available in 2009, right? So it comes off as if Rose and Silas could've gone another way but are doing this to Jack to punish and control. Even though at the engagement party, Silas insisted that wasn't his intent, it's clear he associates "being a grownup man" with "making a baby with a woman".

Or maybe this should've gone under Fridge Brilliance, because how many times in real life have we all encountered/heard of adults forcing kids to do stuff that is inefficient, nonsensical and traumatic just to teach them that obedience to the authority figure is paramount?

Notes:
** New Jersey is also home to Princeton, but people usually gloss over that. The stereotypes are not necessarily true for all people in all parts of Jersey, it's only the popular perception of non Jersey residents toward the place. This is lampshaded on “The Neighbors” when Debbie Weaver wants to go out to eat with some of her old friends from New Jersey. Another character, who is from another planet, feels left out, and tries to transform herself into a “real housewife of New Jersey” by watching the reality show of the same name. All of Debbie's friends are horrified and offended by her behavior.

**While Jack's predicament obviously meets the definition, I doubt he'd actually refer to it that way. It's unlikely Jack as we know him in canon would be familiar with the vocabulary that would allow him to name it out loud, not in their world. I mean, come on, there are fans in this world who thought it was funny because of preconceived notions of masculinity and consent (which was part of the inspiration for the Rule 63!fic- would you find any of that scenario funny if he was a she? No, you would name it for what it is). So...should fic name it out loud?

**There are sects and factions of sects, that do not feel this way, of course. It's complicated and is a subject for another time.

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