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-   -   EpDis: GROPOS (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=8089)

Estelyn June 6th 10 07:28

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
One question I have first: Is "ground pounders" an existing term in military usage today, or did JMS make that up?

I thought that there was a good deal of interesting interpersonal action in this episode. The troubled relationship between Franklin Sr. and Jr. was excellently portrayed. Even after they'd talked, at least some, there was still the "Yessir!" reaction, even in a private conversation. What a contrast in their feelings about other races - Sr. is quite frankly very prejudiced, even to the point of xenophobism.

I also liked the dialogue between Ivanova and Dr. Franklin - they rarely interact privately, and this situation gave them an opportunity. I do like the fact that Ivanova is portrayed as relating neutrally to her fellow officers, without any romantic overtones. That makes her believable as a female military officer.

Much has already been posted on the Garibaldi/Dodger relationship, so I won't add to it. I did find her words on her motivation in seeking something to remind her that she's alive thought-provoking.

The death of the three protagonists (yes, and even of the "bad guy" who attacks Delenn) at the end is a very sad moment, both in the reactions of the people on B5 and in actually seeing them lying there. Yes, that does make B5 distinctive - people die. It may be a victory, and many rejoice, but the viewer is not a part of that at the end.

KoshFan June 6th 10 15:18

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Estelyn (Post 362150)
One question I have first: Is "ground pounders" an existing term in military usage today, or did JMS make that up?

It's a common enough term, but not, I think, in the military.

Jan June 6th 10 15:42

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 362160)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Estelyn (Post 362150)
One question I have first: Is "ground pounders" an existing term in military usage today, or did JMS make that up?

It's a common enough term, but not, I think, in the military.

Larry DiTillio, not JMS.

Larry DiTillio wrote in his introduction the the episode in the Other Voices 3 script book that GROPOS is "a futuristic deconstructin of ground poiunders, John Copeland's favorite term for infantry soldiers."

The part of Franklin's father being military was taken from real life as Rick Biggs' father was a Colonel in the Vietnam War. The 'terrible waiting' was something Rick had experienced himself.

Jan

Wicket January 20th 11 20:47

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
This is one of my favorite episodes. I especially like the ending. Another big plus is Ken Foree.

Some funny thing: I worked in a Hostel. The US Army sent 100 guys one day and another 100 the following day. These guys were sent to Iraq the following week. I did the night shift on the second night. These guys were exactly like the Earth Fore Marines. They even had a big fight.

Alioth March 23rd 11 02:03

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 217581)
They can, it's just annoying.

I was of course exaggerating when I said my "respect" for Garibaldi went down. After Sheridan, he's my favorite human character on the show. He just had moment of idiocy. Happens, no big deal.

Yeah, this is something that, if a guy's male friends found out about it, he'd never hear the end of the razzing. "No man card for you!" But hey, if you're uncomfortable doing the deed, don't.

Having been a ground pounder himself though, you'd think he'd know that all she was looking for was a fun romp in the hay while on liberty in port--just like any soldier or sailor who gets a break from duty in a strange town or port. Guys and gals in uniform, those unattached anyway, probably both sought this commonly in those breaks from the demanding and sometimes terrible days they face for the most part. You'd think early on that he'd know or suspect that's what she was after, and nipped it in the bud if he didn't want to oblige--none of the heavy kissing, or even bringing her to his quarters.

I also wondered about fraternization issues. In present times, in the US military anyway, it is forbidden for an officer (and I think that includes CWOs as they have commissions) and enlisted to have sexual relations, and I think that's even if they aren't in the same command. Officers theoretically have enough pull to influence (through relations with other officers) things for even enlisted personnel under other commands, so the whole thing is frowned upon, with violators subject to the UCMJ and possibly court-martial. Apparently this wasn't as much of an issue with Earthforce.

Quote:

Cute, ass-kicking fiesty red-head. Amongst the top three hottest chick characters to guest star on B5 (along with Number One and Franklin's singer).
Oh hell yes. I'd have forgotten all the other bullshit and had my fun too, if I were him. It was kind of painful to watch his hesitation and agonizing....

Quote:

Here's something that I don't like about the episode: the battle had no significance to the overall story. I must have seen the entire series half a dozen times and I don't even remember what they were fighting about.
They were aiding an alien government against rebels on its planet in a civil war, to gain military concessions from that government in their sector.

It kind of gave us a look at what Earth was doing foreign-policy wise--courting powers to gain advantages from them and expand their interests. We don't know the circumstances of their civil war, but we might suspect that we weren't aiding "the good guys" therein--they could have had the same kinds of grievances that the rebels from Earth's colonies had, and their government might have been just as brutal or corrupt. Anyway, we know Earth isn't slinking back to isolationism (as much of the emerging party line is implying), but still poking its nose militarily where it sees advantage.

Demonn March 23rd 11 08:35

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
I always respected Garabaldi for that decision... he did the right thing. Sex isn't just sex for most/some people.

hypatia March 24th 11 00:30

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
You may be talking to the wrong crowd here, Demon. ;)

But yes, B5 was always a bit more realistic than many sci-fi shows. This is no exception. I admired JMS quite a bit for making that decision about the character. But Garibaldi, for all his bluster, was rather fragile at that point in his life. And he was trying to make more responsible decisions.

Demonn March 24th 11 10:52

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hypatia (Post 368703)
You may be talking to the wrong crowd here, Demon. ;)

Meh... it happens.

Your side...
My side...
Your side...
My side...
Your side...
My side...


Couldn't resist a Farscape moment. :p

Alioth March 25th 11 02:15

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Yeah, awkward social misstep on the part of Garibaldi toward his "date", but those happen. My trouble isn't his saying "no", but not understanding what she wanted (just a one-night stand) enough to either decide to go for it or steer her away while the night was still young. But again, we all make those kinds of misreads and mistakes, sometimes--God knows I have, lots of times.

I think a lot of guys have trouble with the idea that a gal can be just as much of a horndog as the best of them. They think women are more fragile and easily hurt by casual sex--some, lots, of them can be, but not all. She seemed put off that Garibaldi seemed to think she was. She certainly ain't no frail damsel who gets the vapors, and she makes sure every guy she comes around knows that too.

rjb March 25th 11 11:49

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Be very interesting to know if your comment is written from a male or a female perspective.

hypatia March 25th 11 12:52

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Definitely from the female perspective. :) And we are in the extreme minority around here.

GKarsEye March 25th 11 14:51

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Well FWIW, one of my big life lessons has been to dispel the myth I was brought up with that women are delicate, emotionally and even physically frail or weak or needy. I know it's obvious to say that people are individuals but I kinda had to figure that out a little bit for myself.

Alioth March 26th 11 00:35

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rjb (Post 368757)
Be very interesting to know if your comment is written from a male or a female perspective.

Male, who has known a few females like Dodger. Plus knowing that a lot of the feminist movement of the last several decades was an assertion that females were just as much sexual beings as males, and sometimes seek sex, like males sometimes, just for the sake of it. Before that time, this was largely denied, and females were placed on an almost-impossible pedestal of "womanly virtue" (and punished horribly by society when they wouldn't stand on that pedestal).

I don't want to get into any more trouble than I might already be here, just saying that it is still somewhat common to think of females as the more passive of the species sexually, when clearly at least some are not.

Edit: and the post immediately above, what he said. :)

vacantlook March 26th 11 01:57

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
As much as there are plenty of women who want sex for the sake of sex proving women aren't uniformly the stereotype of a virtuous maiden, there are conversely men that aren't always sex for the sake of sex. As such, I don't find it unrealistic that Garibaldi would make the choice he did in the episode. And just because he made such a choice in this instance does not mean he wouldn't choose differently at different points in his life.

fisheggs March 26th 11 05:01

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hypatia (Post 368761)
Definitely from the female perspective. :)

:devil::angel: OOPS.:lol:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alioth (Post 368776)
Quote:

Originally Posted by rjb (Post 368757)
Be very interesting to know if your comment is written from a male or a female perspective.

Male, who has known a few females like Dodger. Plus knowing that a lot of the feminist movement of the last several decades was an assertion that females were just as much sexual beings as males, and sometimes seek sex, like males sometimes, just for the sake of it. Before that time, this was largely denied, and females were placed on an almost-impossible pedestal of "womanly virtue" (and punished horribly by society when they wouldn't stand on that pedestal).

I don't want to get into any more trouble than I might already be here, just saying that it is still somewhat common to think of females as the more passive of the species sexually, when clearly at least some are not.

Edit: and the post immediately above, what he said. :)


Welcome aboard and don't worry, you're not in trouble. Amazing how we can still disect a relatively small plotline from 2 episodes 3 years apart, and find new insights.:thumbsup: B5 RULES!!!!:devil: If women were "passive" there would be no lesbians: as several neighbors and lots of friends of mine can attest: That aint the case.:devil: Substitute "passion" for "sex": how does that change the equation? Not only are men and women different, so are different men and women.:cool: As the oldest son of a widow with 6 kids (Dad died when I was 16) I became a practical feminist at a young age.




Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 368782)
As much as there are plenty of women who want sex for the sake of sex proving women aren't uniformly the stereotype of a virtuous maiden, there are conversely men that aren't always sex for the sake of sex. As such, I don't find it unrealistic that Garibaldi would make the choice he did in the episode. And just because he made such a choice in this instance does not mean he wouldn't choose differently at different points in his life.



Garibaldi was an Italian Catholic dedicated to food and family.:thumbsup: His arc starts and ends with Lise, wife. He was infatuated with Talia (real life married, and divorced) but she turned out to be ... different. :devil: I cant recall any intimate relations Garibaldi had, or even implied. Lise divorced him: He never divorced her. She got a fortune.:devil: In the end it all worked out. End of morality play.:cool:

Jade Jaguar April 6th 11 03:16

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alioth (Post 368753)
Yeah, awkward social misstep on the part of Garibaldi toward his "date", but those happen. My trouble isn't his saying "no", but not understanding what she wanted (just a one-night stand) enough to either decide to go for it or steer her away while the night was still young. But again, we all make those kinds of misreads and mistakes, sometimes--God knows I have, lots of times.

I think a lot of guys have trouble with the idea that a gal can be just as much of a horndog as the best of them. They think women are more fragile and easily hurt by casual sex--some, lots, of them can be, but not all. She seemed put off that Garibaldi seemed to think she was. She certainly ain't no frail damsel who gets the vapors, and she makes sure every guy she comes around knows that too.

While I agree with you, I had a different take on this encounter. In WWII films, it was fairly common to hint that the guy going off to war got a one night stand from a girl, or even a quick marriage, like it was her duty. Of course, this was conveyed subtly in those days. Here we have a role reversal, with Dodger being a woman soldier, going of to quite possibly die, and wanting a fling before she goes. But Garibaldi is too self absorbed to realize it.

Lennier's Tears September 12th 18 22:25

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Sooo, I return after three years to continue posting to episode threads and when I get to the first one I haven't yet posted in, it turns out it's ten pages long :p

To jump right into the most-discussed topic (which made me a little uncomfortable!), I don't think Garibaldi was leading anyone on! People absolutely should be able to change their minds at ANY point during a sexual encounter, without being labeled a "tease" or anything along those lines. Sure, if I were Dodger, I too would be annoyed. I mean, here she is thinking it's super obvious she's only there for a very short while, doesn't know where she's going to be tomorrow, clearly looking for something quick, no-strings-attached, and this guy starts talking about relationships and stuff. Take WHAT slowly? There is nothing TO take slowly! But, if that was never explicitly stated, there's no way for the other person to really know that. It would be a really good idea to have that kind of conversation beforehand, and maybe the "hey, let's slow down here for a second" was Garibaldi kind of trying to have that conversation, but tempers flared and it got cut short.

Also, I don't think Garibaldi is any less of a man / heterosexual man for not wanting casual sex. I'm assuming no one here actually believes that, but I feel like I should explicitly point it out because ... Yikes.

This discussion did make me realize that this episode showed something quite progressive, considering it aired in the mid-nineties. Nowadays you might occasionally see a female TV character who unapologetically asks for/enjoys casual sex (Gillian Anderson's character on The Fall comes to mind), but back then? I don't think so. Sure, Dodger is not a main character, and really only exists to explore Garibaldi's issue, but still. She's there, doing her thing. How has this never occurred to me before? :p

Other stuff:

- "Everyone on B5 has dad issues" is an exaggeration, but this is definitely a recurring theme. Aside from the Sofie/Susan Ivanova relationship, which is quite important to the story, we don't really "meet" anyone's mother. Lots of fathers, though! Those relationships aren't all problematic, but there's a few that definitely are. This particular problematic father/son relationship between General and Doctor Franklin sure is an interesting one .... General Franklin calls out Steven's lack of respect, but he speaks to him in a rather disrespectful way himself. This situation is of course complicated by the fact that he actually is his son's commanding officer as well, but I get the impression that he's so used to being in command that that's just his natural state. I image that's kind of how Steven grew up. Dad's certainly got some xenophobia going on .. and I get that it's played up because we're only seeing this character in this one episode, so it's not like it could be subtly suggested over time, but still this makes me kind of amazed that they sort of "make up" at the end of the episode, because it seems their views are so diametrically opposed. But then, I guess we all tend to accept a lot more from family than we would strangers.

- I don't know anything about present-day military, so I can't comment on all the things people have noted are "wrong." Then again, it's the 23rd century, maybe it's not wrong then! (I realize it's a lot easier to accept that sort of thing when it's not one's own particular field of expertise that is being portrayed ... And yes, a LOT of things in the B5 universe are suspiciously similar to the late 20th century US, so there's a good chance those military things would, too!)

- "The galaxy is changing and Babylon 5 must change with it. Earth must keep pace." This is one of those episodes that is mostly non-main storyline character stuff. But the main storyline is always there in the details, anyway. So it is here. This military operation is typical Earth Gov stuff. It fits exactly with everything else that is going on.

- That guy Kliest is super creepy and scary. What exactly would he and his buddies have done to Delenn if Dodger hadn't intervened? (And good on Dodger for doing that!). Why is this not made into a bigger deal than it is? That dude is dangerous! It's like his squad mates just sort of accept that about him "oh yea, that's just Kliest, he's an asshole," meanwhile dude is assaulting and possibly murdering people left and right. And why is station security not making it an issue?

- Speaking of which, it creeps me out how the crew is laughing about "a dancer missing from the Dark Star." I guess it's funny because they're assuming she voluntarily left, but uhhhhh ... maybe like, look into it? There's all these strange dudes sexually harassing women in plain view, it'd be nice if you maybe cared about their safety?

- As someone else said, why can't the troops stay on their own ship(s)?? "They can't sit on the transports the whole time" Why not? I mean, that's where they live otherwise, isn't it? It takes a while to get between places, so there must be enough room for them to sleep/bathe/hang out on those ships.

- Had to laugh at Ivanova trying not to laugh when General Franklin says "so much for genetics" to Garibaldi.

- Why didn't anyone tell Keffer there were other people staying in his quarters??? What a shock that would be. Also LOL at those giant key cards. Saw them in "A Race Through Dark Places" also.

Karajorma September 13th 18 00:12

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lennier's Tears (Post 461260)
This discussion did make me realize that this episode showed something quite progressive, considering it aired in the mid-nineties. Nowadays you might occasionally see a female TV character who unapologetically asks for/enjoys casual sex (Gillian Anderson's character on The Fall comes to mind), but back then? I don't think so. Sure, Dodger is not a main character, and really only exists to explore Garibaldi's issue, but still. She's there, doing her thing. How has this never occurred to me before? :p


The show was pretty progressive when it came to feminism in general. The relationship between Talia and Ivanova is about as far as they could go in those days. They even mention a female pope at one point. What's nice is that they show Dodger as liking casual sex and it doesn't have any repercussions. It doesn't get her in trouble in any way. That's actually very progressive.

Jan September 13th 18 00:35

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lennier's Tears (Post 461260)
- As someone else said, why can't the troops stay on their own ship(s)?? "They can't sit on the transports the whole time" Why not? I mean, that's where they live otherwise, isn't it? It takes a while to get between places, so there must be enough room for them to sleep/bathe/hang out on those ships.

Never been in the military but methinks that when the opportunity for R&R arrises, you don't deny that to your troops. Especially just before they're going into combat. So the choice was to either move them onto B5 or to keep shuttles going back and forth to all the troop-ships constantly after allowing a very few hours of R&R to each GROPO. I think General Franklin made the right choice.

Looney September 13th 18 02:06

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Something to consider is that the troops sitting on the transports would be sitting in zero gravity. So seeing as they are GROUND POUNDERS prolonged zero gravity exposure might be a problem when they are expected to go into a gravity situation fighting. I've often wished they'd done a little more exposition on how people got along on zero gravity ship assignments for long periods of time.

And personally I think JMS blew a HUGE opportunity for General Franklin to be Doctor Franklin's Mommy issue. :lol: But seriously I think it was a missed opportunity not having that character be a woman. It would have been a good way to get another mom involved in one of the main character's back stories. ;)

Jan September 13th 18 10:27

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 461263)
And personally I think JMS blew a HUGE opportunity for General Franklin to be Doctor Franklin's Mommy issue. :lol: But seriously I think it was a missed opportunity not having that character be a woman. It would have been a good way to get another mom involved in one of the main character's back stories. ;)

It was Larry DiTillio's episode, though. As for the why of it, here's a passage from DiTillio's intro to the episode from the script books:

Quote:

There are two sensibilities in “Gropos,” my own and that of Richard Biggs
who played Dr. Stephen Franklin. It’s in fact as much Rick’s story as it is mine. [...] At one of these lunches the talk turned to family backgrounds and I learned Rick’s father was a full bird colonel in Vietnam. He talked about his family watching war news on television and spoke of the “terrible waiting” whenever it mentioned a battle his father was engaged in.

Looney September 13th 18 14:07

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan (Post 461264)
[

It was Larry DiTillio's episode, though. As for the why of it, here's a passage from DiTillio's intro to the episode from the script books:

Quote:

There are two sensibilities in “Gropos,” my own and that of Richard Biggs
who played Dr. Stephen Franklin. It’s in fact as much Rick’s story as it is mine. [...] At one of these lunches the talk turned to family backgrounds and I learned Rick’s father was a full bird colonel in Vietnam. He talked about his family watching war news on television and spoke of the “terrible waiting” whenever it mentioned a battle his father was engaged in.

Ah. I knew it was DiTillio's episode, but I did not know Biggs was that involved. And Biggs' angle aside, JMS could / should have told DiTillio to make General Franklin a woman. :p

Lennier's Tears September 13th 18 16:45

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
You all make some excellent points, I'm so glad I came back :D

Quote:

Ah. I knew it was DiTillio's episode, but I did not know Biggs was that involved. And Biggs' angle aside, JMS could / should have told DiTillio to make General Franklin a woman.
That WOULD have been very interesting. I wouldn't say that "dad is a hardass military officer" is a completely overdone story, but it's definitely not rare. Having it be a hardass military mom would have put a bit of a different spin on it. And, as you say, would have given us a "mommy issue" story rather than another dad one. But, I don't mind the story being the way it is.

Quote:

Never been in the military but methinks that when the opportunity for R&R arrises, you don't deny that to your troops. Especially just before they're going into combat. So the choice was to either move them onto B5 or to keep shuttles going back and forth to all the troop-ships constantly after allowing a very few hours of R&R to each GROPO. I think General Franklin made the right choice.
Quote:

Something to consider is that the troops sitting on the transports would be sitting in zero gravity. So seeing as they are GROUND POUNDERS prolonged zero gravity exposure might be a problem when they are expected to go into a gravity situation fighting. I've often wished they'd done a little more exposition on how people got along on zero gravity ship assignments for long periods of time.
These are both good points, which I totally failed to consider :p I just didn't think about the fact that big ships like that can't just dock on the station and allow the crew to come and go as they please. There would indeed have to be a lot of shuttling back and forth, which I suppose would be more difficult than just trying to bunk them all on a station where there isn't really room for them.

I definitely never considered the fact that these are zero gravity ships!

Quote:

The show was pretty progressive when it came to feminism in general. The relationship between Talia and Ivanova is about as far as they could go in those days. They even mention a female pope at one point. What's nice is that they show Dodger as liking casual sex and it doesn't have any repercussions. It doesn't get her in trouble in any way. That's actually very progressive.
I agree! Babylon 5 definitely showed human (and Minbari) women in equal numbers to men in all jobs/functions. That's not a small thing! Agree about Dodger also. That was quite well done.

Re: Talia and Ivanova's relationship. Just recently, while scrolling through one of my social media feeds, I came upon this list of female characters on current TV shows who are gay or bisexual, and there were SO MANY. They were mostly characters I'd never heard of on shows I don't watch (I don't have live TV, and I don't watch that many current/recent shows [though I LOVE The Expanse, but I'll take that to the off-topic forums :p]) but I was so struck by the difference between this TV landscape and the TV landscapes of my teen years. Back then, you had that one episode of Xena Warrior Princess where Xena and Gabrielle kissed, because ... somebody's spirit was inhabiting somebody else's body (Se. 2, ep. 13 "The Quest"). I've never actually seen this episode, but I knew SO many people who couldn't stop talking about it for years after, because it was all they had (I am vaguely aware they later kissed again in other episodes). There was also that (rather heartbreaking) episode of DS9 where Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn make out because their Trill symbionts are ex spouses (Se. 4, ep. 6 "Rejoined"). But before ALL of that, there was Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters. As we all know, they never kiss on-screen. But, unlike the other examples I just listed, they had an actual relationship that had been building since the first episode. There was no trickery with possessed bodies or symbionts so as to allow characters to kiss on screen without having to come out and officially declare them non-straight. These were honest-to-god canonically bisexual characters. It was definitely progressive!

Jan September 13th 18 16:59

Re: EpDis: GROPOS
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lennier's Tears (Post 461266)
As we all know, they never kiss on-screen. But, unlike the other examples I just listed, they had an actual relationship that had been building since the first episode. There was no trickery with possessed bodies or symbionts so as to allow characters to kiss on screen without having to come out and officially declare them non-straight. These were honest-to-god canonically bisexual characters. It was definitely progressive!

A lot of people miss the fact that when Talia wakes up and Susan's not there, she's reaching for Susan who'd been sleeping on the other side of the bed. ;)

One other point I *love* about that episode is the shot of the eclipse photo on the wall as the camera tilts down to feature Talia with an eclipsed personality. Now, *that's* attention to detail!!


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