It was about this time last year when I came home from work one Friday evening to find my husband Ben watching an episode of
Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
“The Clone Wars? Really?” I asked thinking ooooh good gaaaaaawd, not this stupid show.
“What? It’s surprisingly good,” he replied. “You should check it out. I think you’d like it.”
Yeeeeah. Just like I’d like un-anesthetized dental work.
I remained pretty aloof about the whole thing for a few months but happily indulged my husband in his new found fandom. Pretty soon a small army of clone figures began to take shape in his game room and I bought him his first Kotobukiya ArtFX clone. I assumed he liked the clones so much because of his 9 years in the army (where everyone dresses the same and buzzes their hair the same and is conditioned to obey orders etc…) and I can respect that. It was actually pretty awesome to see him this excited and into something. But me? Nah, I’ll pass. And there were plenty of reasons for me to pass.
First and foremost Star Wars is a hard core fandom. The die hard fans totally blow my love of Megaman out of the water and while I am impressed by their dedication I am also kind of scared by their intensity.
When was the last time you saw an army of Robot Masters marching down the street? Never? I rest my case.
Also, I never cared much for the prequels. I thought they were just no fun over all and being as how this takes place between episode 2 and 3 I just figured it was more of the same CSPAN-esque politics peppered with bits of Anakin whining and topped off with a spunky kid side kick and (ugh) Gungans.
Then one day shortly after Christmas Ben sat me down and we watched an episode called “Rookies”. I had to admit I was pleasantly surprised. The episode was fun and smart and kind of grim. And I couldn’t help but love Rex and his badassery. (If ‘badassery’ wasn’t a word before it is now because it so perfectly describes everything Rex does.) So I watched more and more and more until I had watched the entire first 3 seasons.
And you know what? I love this show. I love it.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit the the episodes are really hit or miss and the series does a lot of shameless pandering like giving Chewbacca a cameo and having an arc that featured Kid Boba Fett. Heck, this season they’re bringing back Darth Maul. But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here for clones. That’s it. Well, clones and that one episode where Anakin stabs a guy and is all “What? He was gonna blow up the ship.” But mostly clones.
I love the clones. Given my interest in ethics, equal rights and all that kind of thing I’m not really surprised at this. Think about it, this is an entire army that was bred to be cannon fodder. True story. Look it up. They keep getting killed and Kamino just keeps cranking them out. If they were droids it would be different but they’re not. They’re men. Like real deal flesh and blood men. They have names (well, most of them) and likes and dislikes—hell they even strive for individuality in their appearance. Who can blame them, really? Being a twin is one thing, even a triplet or an octuplet, but imagine having thousands of brothers who not only look like you but also sound like you and dress like you. On top of that, imagine seeing someone with your face being shot and killed. That’s rough. So bearing that in mind, I can forgive Gree for his atrocious hair.
Just not a good look for you, bro.
But I understand. Not everybody can look as awesome as Kix.
*sigh* Gree, I love you man and I’m sorry you got stuck with the bad hair and then beheaded in Revenge of the Sith. *pours a 40 on the curb*
They’re fascinating to me… the whole idea of the Clone Army is actually. From the outside looking in one can plainly see that breeding men for slaughter is totally unethical (and if this wasn’t Magical Fiction Land, it would also be totally illegal but this is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away and their human rights laws are a little lax).
The clones are basically birthed into military school and then sent into battle. In the mean time they are mentally conditioned to put any and all missions first and to accept that they are expendable. Case in point: in an early episode 2 clones are trapped in a jettisoned escape pod with failing life support. When one tries to boost morale by saying the Jedi will come for them the other refutes it by saying “No they won’t. We’re just clones. We’re expendable.”
I’m sorry, but that’s grim.
But every now and again a clone realizes he’s been left with a shit sandwich and rather than eat it and smile like his brothers he decides to take matters into his own hands. Cut decided to flee after his transport ship crashed and all his brothers were killed off and Slick decided to make a deal with Asajj Ventress in that if he acted as a spy for her she’d see to it he got his freedom. Cut made out pretty well. He married a hot pink chick who’s not fond of wearing bras.
Good on ya, mate! Jesse, eyes up top, buddy.
Slick, however, got busted by Rex and Cody who turned him over to the Jedi. But before he’s taken away he says: It’s the Jedi who keep my brothers enslaved. We do your bidding. We serve at your whim. I just wanted something more.
Now when he says this I’m thinking, “ABSOLUTELY! Rex, Cody, pay attention. This guy’s on to something.” But of course I’m not there. I’m in my living room ending everything Obi-wan says with “He said douchily.” So, though it sucks, it doesn’t surprise me when Rex is all “Whatever, prick. The Jedi are the good guys, I’m ashamed of you… something something something… it’s our duty… something something something… Besides, I like being shot at. How ‘bout you Cody?” And Cody’s all “Totes.” See, just look at him up there in the corner. He is definitely like “Totes.”
Even though the exchange wasn’t exactly like that, suffice it to say Rex and Cody don’t get it and that’s frustrating as hell. Especially when Rex is my favorite character. And it’s that frustration combined with this simultaneous admiration and the looming mystery of what’s going to become of him and Ahsoka (they’re not in Ep III) that has me so addicted to this show. And given all this complex subtext topped with lots of action and great characters (A lot of whom the writers aren’t afraid to kill off) it becomes one of those few animated shows that’s made for everyone. It doesn’t talk down to its audience and assumes, no matter what age is watching, that they smart and can handle tough stuff like that. In a sense it sort of reminds me of of Batman The Animated Series— It’s not afraid to challenge you and make you think.
So yes, when you tell me Ahsoka is annoying as hell, I’ll agree with you (though she’s gotten much better and I’ll even admit that I like her now). And when you tell me they ruined Boba Fett by giving him a story arc as a punk kid with daddy issues I will once again agree. It’s not perfect but it’s fun and you could do a whole lot worse when you’re looking for something to watch at 8PM on a Friday.