Jonas: I disagree with you (although I have read books or seen movies or TV shows where I liked different characters better and wanted relationships myself that didn't happen). I'm not always happy with the Penny-Leonard relationship from week to week (and I do agree the writers fall back on clichés too often for the comedy, like Leonard is a no-confidence wuss and Penny's a shallow slut/drunk); however, the original premise of the show, which was what interested me right from the start was the unlikely friendship and love and eventual sex between a wallflower nerd and a shallow fox, which (but not all the time and not enough) changes both of them, but especially the hot chick who (sometimes is actually in love but) can't go back to slutting around with dumb body builder types. That is, Penny is only even friends with any of the others because of how Leonard turned over her world and (the premise is still valid) won her love.
I don't like Mycroft at all. He seems to be a criminal to me -- and, the kindest view I can take is that the show's driving force believes all rich people are evil criminals, perhaps, and so Mycroft and his father just happen to be partners with criminals as normal to doing business. Don't know, but boy is Watson naive when it comes to Mycroft, who obviously would even go so far as killing her to get whatever it is he wants (or has been instructed to arrange regarding his brother).
I wanted to mention too the best moment was Espo sliding off the car!!
In the episode Jane and Lisbon helicoptered into that bio-research site ... When Jane lied about the virus being released, Lisbon punched him in the nose. Of course, to me that's more something a cop-partner would do than a love-interest.
Since politics-all-the-time in Hollywood is a sore spot with me, maybe I'm seeing something that isn't there, admittedly -- however, I took Fischer's comment as a dig on conservatives, her saying the system worked as being what imagined evil Republicans think, that everybody should be executed for littering or anything and too bad if innocent people die. That is, it sure seems to me that they gratuitously stuck an indefensible opposing viewpoint in -- and my suspicion is that it was politics.
I really didn't take Jane's comments to Lisbon as Jane being jealous. Lisbon would be awkward about personal matters around Jane just because they'd been partners, which is less than marriage but tighter than friends or classmates or something, and so Jane could make comment or ask questions of the most personal nature which Lisbon would be obligated to answer (if Jane pushed, so, I thought, she was constantly ducking her head and kept moving so he wouldn't).
Is it possible they threw in the line shrugging off Jane and Lisbon hooking up as a message to the shippers that it's way far off from anything likely to happen? I wonder about the Crawford-Stanwyck difference. I was thinking the possible difference was that Stanwyck plays warmer characters and Crawford, to me, seems so cold and aloof, tossing off lines to peasants -- but, yeah, I can picture a lot of snappy lines from Stanwyck.
I've never seen what the shippers were interpreting either. Jane and Lisbon were partners, which in life or death situations and the trust implied is a pretty tight relationship, but it's not romantic. Right now, with Fischer taking up space and the working situation in the FBI office not formed even after so many episodes, Jane and Lisbon now remind me of ex-partners Bosco and Lisbon with that level of repartee only. I miss their being partners and hope for better if Fischer is resolved. A big if ...
I think that there was conflict with her early on, but now she just enters from off stage and says, "We've got a case," and takes Jane out into the field somewhere and then seems to have nothing more to do with the case. If/when she complains about him abandoning her someplace, she's cut off before she can even complete the sentence and the plot moves on with her back on the sidelines. The little she does, Lisbon could do instead (that Fischer gets screen time that could be Lisbon's is the conflict, and that's not in the story, but in the fans). My opinion is she's not a hate character anymore.
Ratings and the demographics of the ratings are all that count. Where negative opinions come in is if there's a groundswell that changes the ratings. Keep in mind that half of Howard Stern's listeners only listened because they couldn't stand him and wanted to hear what &%@*# thing he said next. What the networks want is high numbers to raise the price of advertizing (and, since there are always replacement shows in the works, they don't care how loyal fans are if their numbers aren't big enough). I don't think fans complaining about certain characters hurts in any way (look at the years long fan debate on Ziva or how Tony has been portrayed on NCIS - it didn't effect the ratings, so no one cares but us fans).
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