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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Battlestar Galactica’s Last Episode: The Final “Frak You”

Filed under: Fun, Personal

Hi Everyone!

Today is a momentous day in Dorkville, as Battlestar Galactica, the Sci-Fi Network’s brilliantly brutal and deliciously dark space opera about human beings living in a futuristic alternate reality and the sexy, stealthy, sneaky Cylon robot counterparts who love them (except when they want to kill them) calls it quits after four breathtakingly rollicking seasons.

In this now-famous “Last Supper” press photo for the start of the fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica, the impossibly attractive main players of humans and Cylons share a table before one last, big, “frak you” moment.

Two of my work BFFs, Hillary Braubitz (ASI’s senior editorial designer who lays out our magazines) and Jeremy Young (one of ASI’s tech engineers) and I rented a hotel room last week so we could all watch the second-to-the-last episode together. We wanted to watch together because Hillary, who is in Europe at the moment and will be missing tonight’s final show, is the one who turned me on to the frakking fabulousness that is BSG. She’s also allergic to cats (removing watching the show at my house, where my kittens Monkey and Mouse live with me, from the equation), which is why we got a hotel room where we could all hunker down, drink ourselves silly and bask in the brilliance of the show.

Here are my partners-in-dorkiness, Hillary Braubitz, ASI’s senior editorial designer (she lays out all our magazines) and the person who first clued me into the brilliance of BSG, and Jeremy Young, one of the uber-Geeks who handles ASI’s technology infrastructure. Despite the stricken look on her face — which bears more than a passing resemblance to Patty Hearst’s after she spent a day or two with the Symbionese Liberation Army — Hillary really isn’t unnerved by Jeremy, nor is Jeremy nearly as cheesy as he looks in this photo. Why he appears to be posing for a cognac ad escapes me. All he’s missing is a red silk robe, a matching ascot and a pipe.

Here, Jeremy says something clearly jaw-dropping to Hillary. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s just sucked down his second tumbler of 18-year-old Scotch or that he’s proudly wearing a Han Solo Star Wars T-shirt. I’ll say this about Jeremy: He does fly his dork flag proudly…

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about my love for BSG, or my coming out of the closet as a full-fledged sci-fi/fantasy fan. [Click here for previous blog] However, it bears repeating because this show may be one of the best we’ll come across in a generation. Like some other ground-breaking shows — The Sopranos, Mad Men, Rescue Me, LostBSG was never afraid to address messy issues and had to guts to let them play out as they would in real life, in all its nasty, gritty, gory glory. No one on BSG is an angel (well, one of them may be, but her behavior is far from angelic), which is what makes the show all that more compelling — there is no pure good or evil. Everything about this show (including its lighting) exists in troubling shades of gray. Not since Blade Runner has science fiction shot for the screen been so morally ambiguous.

So, without further delay, are the top 4 reasons why BSG may be the best show in decades:  

1. Though it never won a major Golden Globe or Emmy award, BSG received critical acclaim, the devotion of legions of fans and was presented with the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in television. Which, by the way, if we’re comparing that to the Emmys, would be like being given a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne as opposed to a mason jar full of Champipple. So esteemed is this show that a special screening of select episodes was held this week at the United Nations, followed by a discussion among U.N. representatives, cast members and the show’s creators on topics such as human rights, children and armed conflicts, terrorism and different cultures and faiths. When the blond pop tarts on The Girls Next Door are invited to such a gathering, I’ll turn in my membership to the nerd herd and begin touting the benefits of reality TV to society.

2. In creating such a vivid, complex and at times frustrating view of an alternate society, the brains behind BSG have given us such gems as a cranky, cantankerous doctor, ironically named “Coddle,” who chain-smokes in front of critically ill patients and barks at grieving family members, “just try not to unplug anything — or anybody.” So fully-formed and unique are the characters that populate the BSG world that it’s them you’re ultimately drawn to — not the dazzling (and they are) special effects. You also have to give kudos to a show that installed a woman as president (the always-awesome Mary McDonnell) and gave her the backbone to make impossibly difficult decisions with the wisdom, grace and definitiveness you wish existed in the men who’ve held the office of U.S. president.

3. FRAK! One of my favorite aspects of BSG is the way it commandeered its own bad, four-letter “F-word” that’s not only part of the lexicon in the BSG world, but has seeped into ours as well. Want to know who’s a BSG fan? Start hurling the word “frak” around and they’ll give themselves away with the knowing glint in their eyes. I like it because it allows me to curse even more loudly and liberally than usual, but without the usual annoying tisk-tisk, finger-wagging repercussions. I can’t tell you the joy I derive from telling Joe Haley, ASI’s managing editor and star of The Joe Show, “Frak you, my little motherfrakker!” (He responds in kind by calling me “a total dork who is justifiably single.”)

4. Because the creators of the show, Ronald Moore and David Eick, took the character of Starbuck — played in the cheesy ’70s original by Dirk Benedict as the epitome of a testosterone-driven, swashbuckling rogue — and did the unthinkable. They re-imagined the character as a blond, tattooed girl. Kara Thrace (played by Katee Sackoff) is an ace fighter pilot with a mouth like a sailor on shore leave. The only thing more mind-numbing than her use of profanity is her cavalier, chew-’em-up-and-spit-’em-out attitude towards sex and her ability to drink copious amounts of liquor. Of course, I love her. I’d want to drink with her, but am sure she’d kick my ass, as she does everyone else’s. In this new, enlightened BSG world, Starbuck is a little bad-ass blond who can eat your entrails for lunch, and wash them down with a shot.

Because I am such a devotee of BSG, and because today is the show’s last hurrah, please do post a comment below if you’re a BSG fan. If you do, it will be my pleasure to send you your very own “Frak” mug — one of which I have on my desk, as do my BFF dorks Hillary and Jeremy. After all, everyone deserves a good frak. So say we all!

Cheers, and more next week!

— Michele Actual