Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Clark & Lorry: A Retake on Lois & Clark

When I was younger, one of my favorite writing or story exercises was to take all the characters in a fairy tale, such as Cinderella, and change all the male characters to female and all the female characters to male. How would it change the story? Since gender and gender roles influence behavior and choices, especially historically, what would the writer need to do to make the ending come out the same?

I'm a huge fan of Dean Cain/Teri Hatcher's Lois & Clark. I recently decided to change (only) Lois to Lawrence (Lorry). By default, the sexual orientation of Clark would also change.

Lawrence (Lorry) Lane is a young gay reporter working at The Daily Planet. Clark is a young, pansexual (since Kryptonian sexuality is frankly quite fluid) reporter working at The Daily Planet.

How does that change the story? Especially if nothing else changes?

I'll tackle the non-changes first:

The first non-change is the personality of Lawrence (Lois). A snarky, supposedly cynical, defensive yet vulnerable personality is fairly genderless. In my version, he becomes a kind of Jane character from The Mentalist, and I actually used a younger version of Simon Baker for the picture.

Clark's theme of "I'm not the guy in the suit; I'm me but who is me if not the guy in the suit?" receives an extra charge. He is hiding on multiple levels, including from his parents whom he doesn't want to freak out since Clark thinks they are already sacrificing to raise a super-powered alien. (Instant internal conflict!)

He hides that he is gay or bisexual (as well as Superman) from Lorry, who will later prove utterly non-thrilled at Clark's in-the-closet deception. And boy, does that metaphor pay off here! Ultimately, of course, he hides from the public, who have very specific ideas about superheroes. Is Clark hiding his orientation as Superman cowardly or a way to keep his secret identity intact or a way to remain diplomatically helpful to the greatest number of people or simply an acknowledgement of how irrelevant it should be? (More internal conflict!)

Lex Luthor doesn't have to change at all. Really. It's not difficult in the slightest to present John Shea's version of Lex as a power-hungry guy who sleeps with men and women to gain whatever edge he can, yet finds Lorry's cavalier indifference to his charms too annoying to handle with his usual sophistication.

I've been through all four seasons again (great excuse!) and will post a few highlights from each season.

Season 1
Good mother Martha designed Clark's costume.

The first issue I tackled was Clark's parents. K Callan and Eddie Jones portray Martha and Jonathan as possibly the best parents in all of existence--the most friendly, the most understanding, the most laid-back, the most accepting, the most logical, the most generous...

I decided that Clark has not yet come out to them when he leaves for Metropolis. When he arrives in Metropolis and meets Lorry, he begins to talk about him--"Lorry"--on the phone to his parents, who initially assume that "Lorry" is "Laurie." (Hey, got to throw in some gender-bender material.)

Right up until Clark brings Lorry for a visit in "The Green, Green Glow of Home." They are bemused but keep their own counsel. Martha, for one, makes the leap (she finds Lorry's "everybody in the country is a hick" assumptions--followed by his embarrassed apologies--amusing anyway). It will take Jonathan a little longer.

To Be Continued . . .