moonspinner (moonspinner) wrote,

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Smallville Meta: Deconstructing Chloe (Part 1)

Subtitled: How To Make a Chloe Sue:
After weeks of arguing about this on TWOP and the Smallville LJ community, I decided to just distill all my thoughts in one place. This is not as coherent or as organized as I would like and is very much a work-in-progress but I think I’ll keep this here and refer the Chloe fans to it rather than repeat the same points over and over again. 

Non-Smallville flist, you’ve been warned – this is long. Smallville flist, you’ve been warned – this is very long. :p

1.        The first thing you do is make her a canon character in everything but name. Teenage Clark Kent had a female buddy in high school who was co-reporter and had an unrequited crush on him. Her name was Lana Lang. Surprised? Don't be. The first sign of a Mary Sue is that she could almost be in canon – a long-lost love (to Jimmy Olsen) or cousin (to Lois Lane) or daughter (to Wonder Woman).  That Chloe Sullivan is all three is a testimony to the devotion of her own creators. 
2.        Make her do the job of the other canon characters but only, make her do it better –
1.        Pete Ross starts out as Clark's best friend who knows his secret. But he bitches about it ad nauseum and finally leaves Smallville because of the pressure. When CS steps into Pete's shoes as Best Friend Who Knows Clark's Secret, she becomes a major asset to him, taking on the role of his late father, JK and going on to become an honourable member of the Justice League of America. (more on that later).
2.        JK dies just in time and she takes taken on his role as Martha and Clark's confidant, effectively becoming a member of the Kent family.
3.        Lois Lane, Clark's fearsome reporting partner, turns up on Smallville as the no-future-ambition army brat who couldn't care less about journalism and gets arrested in college. When she finally gets on the journalism path, it's via a tabloid magazine. A far cry from CS who was born with reporting in her blood and is the youngest reporter in the history of journalism to have a column in a national daily.  Season 7 spoilers state that Lois will finally get a leg into the Daily Planet but only because of her looks, as opposed to Chloe who gets it through hard work. 
3.        Make her the most beloved/revered character on the show.
1.        Pete – Nothing much to argue here because it's all self-evident. He loves her so much, he'd rather she find happiness with Clark than pursue her himself.
2.        Clark – Where to begin. Stalking is a crime in most cultures but when the stalker is enabled there’s very little case, is there? Clark goes from telling CS (justifiably) that she looks at him as if he’s cheating on her whenever he sees her with Lana, to telling her that she’s the most important thing in his life. Clark blows up on his 'best friends' - Pete and Lex - for bad mistakes they make that have nothing to do with him (Velocity and that one where Lex is stalked by an ex-lover) but when Chloe betrays him personally over and over in Seasons 1-4, he forgives her, even saying at a time that 'there's nothing she can never use up her store of apologies for him). Of course in 'Transference, she returns the favour by telling him that he's used up his. 
3.        Lana Lang - Lana was the one who pursued friendship with Chloe, finally 'earning' it when she wins the Torch back for her single-handedly. She's the peacemaker on the rare occasions that Chloe and Clark quarrel, and invariably takes Chloe's side all the time. For someone who's painfully aware that she and Chloe have a crush on the same guy, that's practically saint-like. And when Lana and Clark finally start dating, they make a whole big deal of 'Needing to tell Chloe' (because she's like their mother or guardian or benefactor - that's me being sarcastic again) and when Chloe goes around the bend because of the fact that Clark's finally dating a girl he's been in love with since he was 5 and Lana's finally moved on after Whitney, the two of them actually apologize to Chloe over and over again - for liking each other. And in exchange, what do we get? A best friend who's in love with your on-again/off-again boyfriend and would date him as soon as he so much as blinks at her (which in most cultures is a big no-no but somehow I don't see Chloe fans having a problem with that). A best friend who agrees to play bridesmaid on your wedding to a man she thinks is a monster. 
4.        Lois Lane – Once again, nothing much to argue here. She’s Chloe’s cousin and biggest fan. The whole ‘reason’ for her appearance on Smallville was to wreck vengeance on the people who killed Chloe. 
5.        The Kents – See 2.2
6.        The Luthors – Lex felt responsible for Chloe for testifying against his father because ---- she sold out her best friend for a plushy job in the Daily Planet! That's also the same Lex who tells her Wonder Woman mother that he has a lot of 'admiration' for her daughter. Lionel never tried to kill Chloe despite the fact that it’s her testimony that sends him to prison. Few people cross Lionel Luthor and escape. He’s murdered mob bosses, powerful women, and redshirts. In vengeance for sending him to prison, Lionel goes to Smallville High … and makes a pass at Chloe. 
7.        The Justice League Society of America – Chloe becomes a member of the JLA after Oliver Queen, Cyborg and Aquaman, all superheroes with secret identity crisis that have caused them loved ones and family, fall in trust with her within moments of making her acquaintance.   Flash has been in love with her for the past 3 years.
8.        Jimmy Olsen – another canon character who like Pete Ross, is willing to enable her crush on Clark as long as he’s ‘her guy’.
4.        Make her the underdog.
1.        For 6 years, Chloe’s been the losing side of the Chloe/Clark/Lana love triangle – the ‘nerd’ girl who is looked over for the cheerleader. Of course, Chloe is far from a nerd girl with her self-confidence and her All American beauty and that’s part of the ‘tragedy’ of her unrequited love. 
2.        The hard worker who never gets the breaks – Unlike Lois Lane, she’s portrayed as having journalism in her blood and knowing what she wants (the top office on the Daily Planet) from the get-go. The tragedy has already been set in motion because we know that she’s not the one who becomes the Pulitzer Prize writer. That honour goes to Lois Lane, who got into journalism on a fluke and supposedly lands her Daily Planet job because the editor has the hots for her. (Of course, the average Chloe fan tends to ignore that Chloe only got her Daily Planet job because she was willing to sell out her best-friend but that’s semantics).
5.        Side-step her flaws
1.        Betrayal – See 3.2 Despite the fact that Chloe betrays him all through out the course of the seasons – first by investigating his adoption, then breaking her promise not to continue (and almost costing Lex his life), then by selling him out to Lionel, then by using a Truth serum to force the truth from his parents, he always forgives her, sometimes under the prompting of Lana or Pete or his parents. 
2.        Zero character development – Chloe’s obsession with Clark Kent is a sickness that she’s never been able to conquer. Chloe starts out Season 3 investigating Clark for Lionel then ends Season 3, using a Truth serum to find out about the Kents for Lionel. The only thing that 'changed' her in Season 4 is that she finally finds out Clark's secret from Alicia. Otherwise, it would only be a matter of time before she had another nervous breakdown about how she cannot stand that her best friend is lying to her all the time. In essence, she still remains the same - instead of investigating Clark to find out his secret so she can be oh-so-close-to-him, she now starts dropping hints left and right to him that she knows his secret and he can trust her so that she can be oh-so-close-to-him. She's obsessed about the same person for over a decade. Heck, even Jimmy called her on that (but in typical Mary Sue fashion, Chloe won him back without having to be honest about his question).
6.        Give her super-powers
1.        Unkillable – Chloe’s survived numerous attempts on her life ranging from an exploding house to being buried alive.
2.        Other People’s Powers – Clark Kent is a fitting journalist partner to Lois Lane but it’s hard to see how that happens
3.        Meta human – In Season 6, we discover that Chloe is a meteor freak with Lazarus tears that restore life to the dying – a discovery that officially tags her as Super-Chloe.
4.        Wonder Woman mother – Nothing much to argue there. The writers started by giving Chloe a believable (and reasonable) cause of her obsessive compulsiveness by making her the child of a run away mother.   They then retconned it by explaining that her mother did not abandon her ‘by choice’ but was committed into a mental institution. However, that was inappropriate for Chloe and her mother finally evolved into a Super Meteor Freak (a fact that is canonically impossible as Chloe’s family did not move into Smallville until after her mother had left but then again….) whose character was played by the actress best known for being Wonder Woman.
5.        Member of the Justice League of America – Within moments of meeting Green Arrow and his colleagues, she becomes their ‘Oracle’.

To be continued…
Tags: meta, tv: smallville
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