Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When Jenna... Did Something

I have little say about Jenna 2.0. Carrie Dobro has never impressed me as an actress, especially given the poor quality of the scripts she was given - quite frankly I doubt anyone could deal with the crap characterization of Jenna 2.0 and pull a winner. Maybe Carey Mulligan, since she's won awards for a character with NO characterization (hey-ohhhhhhhhhhh!) but still...

Anyway, when it comes to Jenna Stannis, here are some of the most ridiculous and retarded things I've read about her in fan fic....

- She was a preschool teacher between smuggling trips
- She hates Welsh rarebit (no idea what this is - cheese on toast?)
- She was a sleeper agent for the Federation
- Post-Star One, she betrayed Blake to the Federation as part of a ridiculously complicated scheme to dump him without hurting his feelings and letting her become the madam of a brothel
- She is, in fact, Orac's mother, after that one-night stand with Zen in Cygnus Alpha (ORAC is in fact an acronym for... well, let's just say Jenna needed quite a few stitches after the birth...)
- She doesn't dye her hair, it's just some freaky side effect of space travel
- She slept with everyone except Gan (though since he was a famous transvestite, she always turned to him for fashion advice)
- She has a distinctive birthmark on her right nipple which no clones can posses
- Avon killed her and Blake at the very start of Aftermath - yeah, that makes a LOT of sense of everything

The Dust Run

"I'm just finding it a bit sweaty. And I'm not wearing any support. Try not to picture me hot... sweaty... I bet you're getting sweaty too... deep down... it'll be an education for you, about time too, a boy of your age..."

And we're off again. It starts with thrill-a-second audio of some dudes beating the shit out of Jenna on camera for her refusal to stick to the script (presumably a faked confession of some kind), but it's just Jenna gasping/sobbing in pain/distress and unable to think of much to say beyond "Go to hell!" Pah, Jenna 1.0 knew much nastier language than that, judging by Space Fall. Finally she cracks and gives her name and social security number - before the bad guys pull out the big guns in the shape of that bloody theme music!

Under such torture, Jenna very understandably spills the beans about her relationship with some guy or other, who she knew as a kid on the planet Vega (home of those centaur-dudes from Monster of Peladon, but oddly enough several fan fics connect Jenna with Vega - no idea why, it's never mentioned in the TV show...). Mmm, you know while quiverring with fear and sadness, Jenna 2.0 sounds quite a lot like Peri. Which goes to show how many people want to make Peri cry - AND YES, JOE LIDSTER, I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU!!!

Anyway, Jenna's childhood was rather lonely and miserable: being a "spacer", she was a kind of gypsy, never in one place long enough to go to schools or make friends or get used to natural gravity, so much of her youth was spent hanging around deserted spaceports trying to avoid getting belted by grown-ups. One of the few spacer kids she knew was Max Townsend (a disturbingly familiar sounding name for some reason, and definitely not the sort you find in the B7verse, is it?) and they delighted in games of kiss-chase requiring ridiculous amounts of technobbable. Hey, Maxxy, here's a tip: you might catch up with the girl if you weren't wasting your oxygen on shouting about increasing your velocity! No wonder she always beat the idiot.

...and now he's tickling her. I think. Actually I hope so. The alternatives are probably illegal. If it was on TV, those noises Lil' Jenna makes probably wouldn't be so inappropriate-sounding.

In this post-coital/tickle doze, the youngsters discuss their future. Maxxy wants to become a newsreader for Federation propaganda, not that he's interested in truth, he just wants to be a media favorite and get his face on the Rolling Stone webpage. Unsurprisingly, this is a bit of a turn-off for Jenna, especially as them being spacers means their parents can be disappeared by the state so easily - it's like finding out your significant other wants to be a skinhead when they grow up and firebomb infant schools. Kills the passion stone dead. Hopefully.

OYMHGOD!! Now they are DEFINITELY making out!

Jenna, he just said he wouldn't give a rats arse if you got dragged off by the fascist pigs and you're riding him like a biker! Goddamn, that is either a textbook example of sexual frustration overriding coherent thought or Jenna 2.0 is as big a moron as the mainstream releases! In comparison, the fact they're both underage pales into significance - right, Blake? Oh great, and now Jenna is recalling that the spacer kids reacted to their isolation and boredom by shagging each other for the sheer hell of it, not cause of any kind of affection or anything. But she only snogged Maxxy, didn't go the whole way, just to make him feel bad. Is this some kind of longterm plan to rehabilitate Dayna and Justin getting it on? I mean, at least they SEEMED to like each other...

Back in the past, Maxxy is deeply offended that Jenna and another girl (Minka) have been doing the mummy-and-mummy dance - although the Federation doesn't OFFICIALLY prohibit homosexuality, they definitely don't approve of the common folk frightening the horses and crack down on alternative lifestyles. Then again, maybe its only frowned upon coz THEY'RE ALL ONLY FOURTEEN!!!


Jenna accuses Maxxy of fancying her girlfriend, which he denies (she "tastes all oily" apparently... I think I'm going to be sick...) and seduces Jenna using propaganda cliches. Yes, saying things aren't "economically viable" will get you into the space vixen's underwear quicker than a ferret and whipped cream! Alas, a busy space port full of service robots and cranes is an awkward place to get lucky and Jenna runs off, leaving Maxxy in a compromised position.



In the future, the interrogated Jenna realizes she and Minka weren't REALLY shagging, they were just friends (no doubt Minka was ALSO left naked behind a packing crate in a cargo hold while Jenna skipped away laughing). And Minka was 100% heterosexual, albeit incredibly unlucky since all her boyfriends got disappeared before she could get to fourth base. Jenna reveals she was only REALLY interested in Maxxy, but he took that last prank badly and she didn't see him again for years, and when she did, he had joined the Federation military. Wow. She must have really done a number on his sense of self.

OK, so this bit of flashback is four years before Jenna's interrogation and also the time of the Election (and with references to "poster boy Blake", this makes it What Jenna Was Doing That Night, along with What Vila/Gan/Travis/Avon Were Doing As Well - and if you're interested that goes hiding/hiding/hiding/hanging round an intensive care ward). Jenna and Maxxy discuss spaceships like a particularly tedious installment of Top Gear while Maxxy intends to become a space pilot so he can finally get off Vega, despite what his clingy mother wants. They then discuss Minka who has "gotten big" after spending her time "bent over dadda" (...I'm worried this is all about incest for some reason). No, wait, it's "bent over data". Stupid American pronunciation. Minka joined the IT Crowd and stacked on weight. And isn't it nice to know that her former shags mock her for being an overweight computer geek rather than anything like personality or moral fibre? And now Jenna's bigging herself as the biggest slut since Captain Jack and jeering at Max for being, it seems, the one person on the planet she hasn't bonked! GROW THE HELL UP, JEN!

When Maxxy retorts Jenna is most likely still a virgin and just talking absolute bollocks, it might at first glance appear to be a very subtle bit of psychological deduction... but merely turns out to be a Verkoffian excuse to suggest he and Jenna become groin buddies PROPERLY at last. Jenna, fancying a more metaphorical sex session, suggests she and Maxxy do "the dust run" in separate spaceships to prove which is the better pilot. She offers her virginity to Maxxy as a prize - not that she intends to give it up, of course - while Maxxy meekly offers his late father's priceless warfare medals. Jenna isn't impressed, as she can't automatically find a way to have sex with such objects, but, give her time...

As Maxxy is an apprentice pilot for a Federation warship and Jenna occasionally drives when her mum is too drunk, the odds are that they're BOTH complete crap. But since Jenna is established as a lying, cheating, sadistic bitch with no social skills... she'll probably win. I mean, it's her story, right?

Sadly. Still, only Zen, Servalan and Blake to go.

Using a Colin Salmon impersonation and his late dad's password (in the 23rd century, no one is intelligent enough to tell security robots when authorized personnel have been dead for twenty years...), Maxxy is able to nick two shuttles while, in a typical display of poor characterization, Jenna 2.0 is immediately changing her mind about whether or not this is a good idea. Shoulda thought of that before you started betting the keys to your chastity belt then, shouldn't you?!

Of course, once they're in the ships and the navigational computers are all switched off, she's already sledging the opposition by "suddenly" noticing she's forgotten to put on any underwear today and all her salty goodness is ready and waiting for Maxxy when he wins the game. Unfortunately, Maxxy is not so easily distracted (all those public humiliations have made a man out of him!) and instead he just takes off. Rather ruining Jenna's incredibly unsubtle plan.

In her interrogation, Jenna actually explains what the hell the "dust run" is - basically a roller-coaster ride through the rings of Vega, made all the more exciting and potentially lethal by switching off all the computers specifically designed to stop you getting smashed to pieces by all the loose rocks and dust. From the quiver in her voice, Jenna's insistence that "it's supposed to be safe" suggest that the race did not go as well as planned.

How often did Blake's 7 pull this Star Wars race through space bollocks? I can only think of the start of Redemption. Why on Earth do the audios leap on such visual ideas? The reason why B7 is so good for audio is because the budget meant everything pretty much happened in two rooms! But no, let's describe a CGI chase sequence through the rings of Saturn for the audience, because they might be able to imagine it JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER SINGLE SCI-FI EVER!

God this philosophy annoys me. It's like Season 7 of Red Dwarf when Kochanski justified her presence every week by plotting courses to defeat GELF spaceships chasing them. WHY?! Space chases are boring as hell! Where are the jokes! The only time EVER before that Red Dwarf tried that, it was a ship FROM THEIR OWN SIDE suffering ACUTE DYSLEXIA!! There's a reason why the "red lightbulb" gag is more famous than the Cat suggesting they moon the opposition through a porthole.

I digress, but come on! This is just dull! Do I really care when Maxxy dies horribly? He's an asshole! Jenna's worse! And the Callys did the space accident stuff so much better! Who gives a damn? In fact, I predict that Maxxy will be blown up finding a Federation secret weapon or something in the dust, hence Jenna's immediate imprisonment and beatings. That's how utterly boring this is.

...listening to it...

OK, and Jenna's already cheating, screaming "SHIT!" at the top of her voice for no real reason, trying to sledge Maxxy with how the excitement's made her all sweaty and sticky, and then arguing with Maxxy about the urban legend that Federation military showers are unisex (they are, apparently, and this leads to slippery orgies of the totalitarian shock troopers - man, Tarrant sure missed out). All of which is accompanied, for some reason, by the theme music to Gallifrey 901210. Why? Not a man alive knows.

Alas, what with all those riots Vila and Gan are hiding from on Earth, the dust rings just became hostile territory and Jenna and Maxxy aren't authorized to be there. After escaping the equivalent of a black ops cow-mutilating helicopter, Jenna decides to tell the authorities it was all Maxxy's fault they were in a restricted area so he is taken away, black bagged and shot while she gets to live! Well, exist. Nothing has so far indicated Jenna has much of a life beyond sexually frustrating young men and being a bitch.

As Jenna babbles to herself insanely that it was "his idea, he made me" and screaming pro-Fed propaganda slogans, Maxxy decides he is sick of this shit and decides to come down hard on Stannis' lilly-white ass! Alas, he doesn't instantly shoot the bitch out of the sky but, in a sequence of Freudian imagery, starting dry-humping her spaceship with his own. I'm really not sure what to say or even think of this particular development. No idea.

Jenna immediately bursts into tears and beggs Maxxy to stop doing the bump-and-grind to her stolen spaceship and swears she wasn't doing to dob him into the cops even though she rehearsed her entire betrayal over the radio while he was listening. Um, I take it we're not MEANT to be cheering Maxxy on as he torments her for all her snide remarks, bullying ways and repeated attempts to get him aroused so she can humiliate him and prove herself better? Coz, seriously, I think I'd enjoy a Servalan solo adventure more in terms of "likable main character". At least Servie, like in Buffy or Angel would stick to her guns in a kind of "Yeah, I AM complete amoral scum! Tough!" which is a lot easier for me to respect than this Thomas Brewster style "STOP PICKING ON ME! YOU'RE MEEEEAAAAANNN!!" shit.

Jenna's ship is knackered but there is, would you believe, a simple way to get round that and for Jenna to survive. Maxxy, being a trained pilot, knows this and challenges big-shot Jenna to prove how fucking clever she is by working it out using her massive space brain and establish once and for all if she's the better pilot. Basically, Maxxy's waiting for her to die. As am I. I can't believe they'll let Jenna live but not that cute Cally twin...

Alas, she survives, since she's being interrogated about this very incident. Damn you, predeterminism! It turns out she hit the right button by accident or maybe the computer rebooted or something, she doesn't know, and returns to base where Maxxy is waiting with a high pressure hose. Well, she WAS banging on about how hot and sweaty she was with that complete lack of bra and panties, she probably needed a good wash... like Peri, any excuse for a wet T-shirt.

Maxxy is willing to call this a draw as Jenna starts screaming that, by the Ass Crack of the Infinite, SHE NEARLY DIED!! Maxxy reminds her once again she was going to sell him out to the Federation as a traitor, even though she knew it was all a pack of lies. Jenna sulks that she didn't MEAN it. Yeah. Right. Whatever. Maxxy reveals he's taken the wrap for the unauthorized race anyway which at least has the benefit of shutting Jenna up for five seconds.

Maxxy and Jenna then head to a pub where there are android waiters (, I don't remember these in ANY version of B7 ever - and why do they all talk like Zen? I don't just mean they sound like Alistair Lock, they say things like "CONFIRMED!" when you place your order.) Jenna fears that after the chaos on Earth, there will be a huge crack-down on troublemakers on Vega, but her apparent fear for Maxxy's fate are as convincing as a completely unconvincing thing in dark glasses. Maxxy insists he's too good a pilot to waste disappearing since the Federation need such people in the current emergency. With this happy ending, Jenna idly offers her body to Maxxy while making it clear she has absolutely no interest or desire to enjoy sex. Unsurprisingly, she came across as more alluring when she was covered in soot, sweat and gooey coolant after her spaceship crash. Maxxy takes a raincheck.

At her interrogation, Jenna explains she was utterly convinced Maxxy was just playing hard to get and the reason he never turned up to make love to her in a bath of adrenaline and soma was because he'd just been unavoidedly kidnapped by terrorists or something. Not because he didn't fancy her, oh no. Finally, after a week she decided to find Maxxy's mum and complain at her son's refusual to sex her all night - FOR FUCK'S SAKE, JENNA!!! THAT'S JUST WRONG!!! - and discovers that Maxxy has, in fact, disappeared. And then chubby geek Minka turns up to offer Jenna some comfort only for Jenna to drop kick her for being fat and lonely. What a wholesome character Jenna is.

Rather than learning from this experience or accepting her own massive insecurity issues lead to the death of the only person who ever found her remotely attractive after her repeated attempts to kill/betray him, Jenna decides to leave Vega and move on, forgetting all about what a complete bitch she is and how many lives she ruined in her rampant egomania. At her interrogation, Jenna blames the Federation for disappearing Maxxy, so it's all THEIR fault and she NEVER DID ANYTHING WRONG!!!!

Just then Maxxy walks in - he wasn't taken out the back and shot, but is now a high-flying Federation Officer, and he's come to act as her defense lawyer in the trial for whatever it is she's been arrested for.

Well, that shuts Jenna the hell up, so there's a happy ending.


Jesus. That was... awful! I mean, Carrie Dobro does a brilliant performance, but it's not of Jenna, it's of the freakish offspring of Ben Chatham and Katie Ryan! The acting, sound effects, the scripts, the plot, there's nothing I can point out as crap (mind you, it might have been nice to meet Minka instead get told about her gland problems) but I can only boggle at the author's insistence this story was written as a tribute to Blake's 7's strong female characters. By making the character completely horrible?! Seriously, the fact Vila is played by two different actors is a breeze compared trying to reconcile the Jenna of this story with the Jenna of the main range. I mean, she was always an incredibly annoying, cliche-vomitting moron... but she was never a soulles immoral backstabbing slut!

Can you BELIEVE she's held in higher regard than Avon? I can only think there's going to be a remake of Bounty sometime soon where Jenna really DOES betray everyone. Why else give her this borderline-cat-strangler past-retcon?!

And, seriously, I don't often say this but I think the author might need to seriously get laid. Even Avon's story where he couldn't go three paces without Anna Grant bonking him came across as more mature and wholesome than this. Christ, underage bissexual orgies and violent beatings are NOT exactly the first thing I want to hear in an audio, and by the time Maxxy admired the sight of Jenna half-naked and covered in green goo, EvilMarthaJ style, I felt like I needed a shower. Especially as the moral seems to be unless a girl gets a right royal seeing to regularly, she'll go insane, turn evil and try to betray innocent people to a fascist regime that shoots first and never asks questions later...

I feel dirty!

[Jane from "Daria"]The BAD kind of dirty![/Jane]

I might have to listen to some wholesome Kaldor City episodes to redress the balance.


Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said... first thought when reading the synopsis was "Why do 'character pieces' about women focus on sex so much more than ones about male characters."

Good to see we were on the same page from your comment at the end.

Miles said...

Who wrote this piece of audio soft-core bullpoop?

Youth of Australia said... first thought when reading the synopsis was "Why do 'character pieces' about women focus on sex so much more than ones about male characters."
I dunno. Some kind of spiteful attempt to prove women are as sex-obsessed as the male authors?

Who wrote this piece of audio soft-core bullpoop?
Simon Guerrier.