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In Defense of Tom: Clex picspam [Sep. 14th, 2008|01:49 pm]
tasabian
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jeannev has posted a summary of the "Siren" comentary, wherein Al & Miles offer a rather backhanded compliment to Tom:
Al:"...in S1, Tom was brand new to acting, and S1 was all about protecting him, and putting solid actors around him ...
Miles:"...he didn't have that many lines. People around him had lines ...
Al:...and now he's the go-to guy. He's evolved so much as an actor, it's amazing to watch ..

To Hell with 'em! I thought Tom was great in S1, particularly in Clex scenes. Sometimes Clex moments were deliberately included by the writers, but more often then not, Michael and Tom were the architects, complicit in creating the Clex dynamic, and finding ways to put a spin on some less than stellar scripts...



"Hourglass"
Yep, Michael is a natural born flirt - but Clex flirting has never been a one-way street: if Lex initiates with a smirk, Clark responds with demure, lowered lashes. None of this is scripted, it's Tom & Michael filling in the dialogue gaps and deliberately building this relationship:


Michael's seductiveness doesn't work in a void and Tom matches him, smirk for smirk:



..and open mouthed stare for open mouthed stare...



...until the climax is reached. Ooh, yeah!


"Rogue": Clark is not happy to meet Victoria and Tom demonstrates this with flinty, slightly narrowed eyes and the curtest, flattest "Hi" ever!


And thus does Tom introduce one of his greatest Clex inventions: Jealous!Clark. Victoria hasn't done anything and Clark already loathes her. "How close are you going to keep her?" Oh, meow! And look at Michael reacting...I'd love to know the genesis of jealous!Clark: did the guys plot it out together?


Clark's Lex-jealousy would re-appear throughout the show ("Heat", Helen's first appearance in "Dichotic", "Prodigal", "Delete", "Bound") But never is he more gloriously jealous than in "Shimmer." Why is Victoria still polluting the mansion with her presence? Clark doesn't approve: "She just doesn't seem like your type." Also not Lex's type in Clark's opinion? Women.


And Amy's hanging around too. Clark: "What were you doing in Lex's bedroom?" Check out Tom's eyes. That's not a friendly smile. And his tone is pure "back off my man, bitch!"


Clark makes another try at getting Victoria turfed. "You don't love her. She goes behind your back...why do you want to keep her around?"


(Er, Clark, it's because your jealousy is turning him on, sweetie!)


Here comes one of my favourite Clark lines, ever, flawlessly delivered by Tom: I guess I shouldn't even mention that Amy's got an obsession... (Clark swallows)...with you. It's the angry gulp in the middle that makes that line GENIUS!


IMO, the Clexiest scene in "Zero" actually features Clark and...Martha! After the poisoning of the cows, Clark is desperately trying to get in touch with Lex: at home, at the plant, on his cell. Martha isn't pleased that Clark has three phone numbers for Lex:


Two different agendas here: Martha wants to discuss the cows; Clark wants to absolve Lex. Martha's posture shows her mood, while Clark rockets around the kitchen, solely focussed on "LexLexLex!"


Martha: "Whatever's happening to Lex is starting to affect you-"
Clark: "What do you want me to do, Mom? Cut him out of my life?!"
Tom's delivery of the line is perfection: young and vulnerable, puppy love mixed with parental resentment mixed with "hell no, I'm not cutting Lex out of my life!"


Martha: "No, I just want you to cool it off for a while...your father and I just don't want to see you get pulled into his problems..." As played by Tom and Annette, this is perhaps the most overt acknowledgment in S1 that the Clex relationship goes far beyond a traditional friendship: this is not the way teenaged boys and their moms discuss platonic friends. (And look how resistant Clark's body language is.)


"Stray
When Lex first tells Clark he might be leaving Smallville, Clark doesn't seem to fully absorb it. But when Lex comes to the farm en route to his dinner with Lionel, all thoughts of Ryan are bumped from Clark's head. Note Tom's slightly "fixed" smile:

Lex says he hasn't decided if he's going yet but Clark isn't having it and the foil doesn't mollify him: "If you haven't made up your mind, why are you giving me a going away present?" Tom delivers this line in a wonderfully snitty way.

Lex asks about Ryan:

but Clark doesn't let him change the topic: "For what it's worth, I hope you stay."

That's really all Lex needs to hear (and big credit to Tom & Michael for playing this like a straight-out romantic parting!) But of course, Lex takes a moment to give Clark a lingering stare...

Head to toe...

Before finally getting in the car, while continuing to gaze at Clark all the while:

Clark gazes back:

With Lex gone, Clark retreats to the loft to play with his foil: thwack, thwack, thwack! Tom spins some comedy out of this and I'm sure the Freudian overtones of solitary swordplay weren't lost on him!

Chloe turns up and some interesting dialogue follows:
Chloe: "Hey Zorro, what's with the sword?"
Clark: "It's a foil."
Chloe: "I'm guessing it's a gift from our favourite millionaire playboy?"
Clark: "He's thinking of moving back to Metropolis!"
(Tom delivers this last time through gritted teeth, while violently swishing the sword. It's brilliant! "How dare he even think of leaving me?!!!!")
Chloe: "Well, I'm still here, Clark. I'm not going anywhere."
(Clark smiles politely… but Tom makes it clear he's still thinking about Lex.)


"Tempest"
Clark instantly looks on his guard when he hears his parents discussing the plant closing...


Clark (to Jonathan): "You should be happy then....it means Lex is going back to Metropolis and out of our lives!" Aw, baby! (Tom delivers this line wonderfully: all hurt face and trembling voice.)


Jonathan notes that while he would like Lex "out of our lives" (significant glance at Clark), it's not worth putting the town out of work. Clark continues to defend Lex: "Lex cares about the town; he said he had big plans." (The way Tom delivers this line, the meaning is crystal clear: "Lex cares about me!")

And check out the posture here, Tom telegraphing that Clark is not going to listen to his parents and is going to run straight to his wronged darling!


And here we are! Lex: "I got your messages…" (Note the plural: the news of the plant closure is only a few hours old and already Clark's called Lex multiple times.)

Clark asks the question that's really worrying him: "I guess this means you're going back to Metropolis, then?" (It's Lex's determination to stay (with Clark) in Smallville, post-"Stray", that has sparked this aggressive move from Lionel.) Tom lets his voice wobble a little and relaxes visibly when Lex reassures him that he's not leaving.


Next, Tom plays up Clark's innocence: why doesn't Lex just tell people that Lionel is to blame? He leans, forward, eyes shining. Why can't it be that simple?


Alas, Lex knows that it isn't that simple. A nicely awkward moment follows, with Clark saying he should let Lex get back to work (Tom makes it clear Clark doesn't actually want to leave!) while Lex sees him off with a teasing finger...


And in conclusion:
1) Piss off, Al! You didn't "make" Tom. Tom & Michael, and the rest of the cast, to varying degrees, made you.
2) S1!Clex is more beautiful than sunsets, gardenias or puppies in a basket. The End.

'caps by acampbell, oxoniensis, lisawest99 and Devoted.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: hils
2008-09-14 08:10 pm (UTC)
S1!Clex is more beautiful than sunsets, gardenias or puppies in a basket. The End.

Amen!!!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 10:37 pm (UTC)
Forever and ever!
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[User Picture]From: suzycat
2008-09-14 08:19 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I do agree that TW was not so great in S1, except where he had experienced actors to work off. Then, he really blossomed. His scenes with MR and AOT in particular. I think he is a good reactor. That's the reason S1 Clana was so stilted IMO - both he and KK were not very experienced and they had absolutely no chemistry, possibly because they were both desperately searching for something to work off. But they both improved out of all recognition.

Snarky!TW and Shitty!TW always suggested to me that RL!TW can be a bit of a smart prick when he wants to. I bet his teachers hated him in high school.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 10:49 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I do agree that TW was not so great in S1, except where he had experienced actors to work off. Then, he really blossomed. His scenes with MR and AOT in particular. I think he is a good reactor.
I agree Tom's a good reactor - and think that's a highly under-rated skill. What impresses me about his S1 performance is how he was able to employ his natural reactions towards his co-stars - respect towards JS and AOT, amusement at AM's rapid fire delivery, fascination with Michael - as a reaction to their characters. Of course, this left him stranded in regards to Lana - how do you play "she is my perfect dream-girl" & make it believable? As written for SV, it couldn't be done.

Snarky!TW and Shitty!TW always suggested to me that RL!TW can be a bit of a smart prick when he wants to.
Heh, yeah, some of that comes through on the dvd commentaries & might explain why he & Rosenbaum were so compatible!
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[User Picture]From: gyri
2008-09-14 08:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, Bravo, Bravo! This was brilliant!

And how dare Al and Miles! Grrrrr....their heads are so big, it's amazing they can fit through doorways....

As played by Tom and Annette, this is perhaps the most overt acknowledgment in S1 that the Clex relationship goes far beyond a traditional friendship: this is not the way teenaged boys and their moms discuss platonic friends.

For surely NOT! What an astute observation!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 10:52 pm (UTC)
Grrrrr....their heads are so big, it's amazing they can fit through doorways....
Some shows are producer-led (Buffy, The Sopranos), some are writer-led (The Wire)...what Al & Miles don't seem to understand is that SV fans watch for the cast. We expect the writing will be generally pretty bad but we accept this to see Michael's Lex or Tom's Clark and so forth. Sure, Al & Miles get credit for good casting but it's the cast that have built the brand loyalty.
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[User Picture]From: myownghost
2008-09-14 08:22 pm (UTC)
what a fabulous post! they were SO in love. it makes me woozy. :)
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 10:53 pm (UTC)
they were SO in love. it makes me woozy. :)
Hee! Me, too. Beautiful smitten boys.
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[User Picture]From: herohunter
2008-09-14 08:35 pm (UTC)
I'm going to agree with you! You could tell he was a bit new to the job, but if anything, I think that HELPED, as Clark himself was new to everything that was being revealed and going on around him!

And because of the writing, I much prefer S1 Clark than the recent ones, so there!

:P

♥ for young Clex!!!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'm going to agree with you! You could tell he was a bit new to the job, but if anything, I think that HELPED, as Clark himself was new to everything that was being revealed and going on around him!
I think that's exactly it - and if a more experienced actor had been cast as Clark (say, Jensen Ackles who was the runner-up choice) there still might have been chemistry with Michael but not the wonderful innocence/experience puppy love of Tom & Michael's Clex.
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[User Picture]From: jeannev
2008-09-14 08:42 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you for this. You know where I stand with this. I think Tom is outrageously underrated now. And I think he was underrated then as well. There can be no doubt that he was inexperianced, and he didn't always nail every scene or reaction just right. But ya know what, neither did the other SV actors including the "experianced" actors. And given the amount of screentime Tom had, I think his overall average was quite excellent.

I think as the seasons have gone on, Tom has gained more confidence in his abilities and his judgement. He comes off as a far more secure actor. But I will never agree that he didn't show a considerable amount of talent in S1.

And I think Al should shut it already, and get lost. I think he's a creep.

And S1 Clex was very, very awesome.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 10:59 pm (UTC)
And S1 Clex was very, very awesome.
It impresses me that Michael and Tom knew exactly what they were doing with that relationship from the beginning. Would love to have been a fly on the wall when they were talking out their early scripts!

I think as the seasons have gone on, Tom has gained more confidence in his abilities and his judgement. He comes off as a far more secure actor. But I will never agree that he didn't show a considerable amount of talent in S1.
I think he always had a flair for comedy and was always trying to add layers to the role, when he could (like Clark's jealous side!)
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[User Picture]From: roxymissrose
2008-09-14 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thomas has always done the very best that he could--I've never felt that he was phoning in his performance, and I've defintely felt that way about the other actors occasionally but I don't mean that in a bad way. Sometimes they've been given stuff that boggles the mind it's so bad. Still, any time Thomas is on the screen with Mikey, it's pretty much excellent. I look forward to seeing how they plan to recreate that magic with someone else. It's a damn hard act to follow.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:01 pm (UTC)
Still, any time Thomas is on the screen with Mikey, it's pretty much excellent. I look forward to seeing how they plan to recreate that magic with someone else. It's a damn hard act to follow.
I don't think it can be followed. Chemistry is an elusive thing: you don't catch lightning in a bottle twice!

It would be wonderful if Tom & Michael acted again together someday...
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[User Picture]From: voldything
2008-09-14 08:57 pm (UTC)
S1!Clex is more beautiful than sunsets, gardenias or puppies in a basket

WORD.

omg i love you so much right now
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:02 pm (UTC)
*loves you back* Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: talitha78
2008-09-14 09:27 pm (UTC)
This post is a thing of beauty and joy.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (And so is your lovely icon!)

(Ps: thanks for the vid - I'm going to watch it tonight!)
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[User Picture]From: yamair
2008-09-14 09:57 pm (UTC)
Oh my, young Clex is just so pretty and sweet.

> this is not the way teenaged boys and their moms discuss platonic friends.

I know! It's so great. The scenes where Martha and Jonathan disapprove of Clark being with Lex, often only heightened the Clexiness.

One of my favourite such moments is this. (Watch in high quality for full effect.) Look at the glance Lex gives Clark after Jonathan says he doesn't like their "friendship". Clark then becomes quite fidgety, and guiltily looks away from Lex. It's like they're hiding something. Clark then steps in, all protective, to stop Jonathan's tirade.

*sigh* The Clex was so good back then.

When Smallville first aired, I thought Tom was really bad as Clark. But after recently doing a rewatch, I actually prefer his acting in those early seasons to what he does now. To me, he now sometimes seems forced in what he does. Especially in scenes with Michael.

But regardless, screw Al!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:08 pm (UTC)
I know! It's so great. The scenes where Martha and Jonathan disapprove of Clark being with Lex, often only heightened the Clexiness.
It turned Clex into Romeo & Juliet, fighting for their love against parental disapproval!

One of my favourite such moments is this. (Watch in high quality for full effect.) Look at the glance Lex gives Clark after Jonathan says he doesn't like their "friendship". Clark then becomes quite fidgety, and guiltily looks away from Lex. It's like they're hiding something. Clark then steps in, all protective, to stop Jonathan's tirade.
That's an awesome scene - Lex looks so vulnerable there. *hugs him*

I actually prefer his acting in those early seasons to what he does now. To me, he now sometimes seems forced in what he does. Especially in scenes with Michael.
I still adore them together, right up until the very last scene in "Arctic" - the chemistry transcends the writing and those boys have chemistry to burn ♥
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[User Picture]From: whimsywinx
2008-09-14 10:43 pm (UTC)
That was a thing of beauty. *applauds*
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:09 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thank you :)
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[User Picture]From: hoperoy
2008-09-14 10:52 pm (UTC)

1) Piss off, Al! You didn't "make" Tom. Tom & Michael, and the rest of the cast, to varying degrees, made you.
2) S1!Clex is more beautiful than sunsets, gardenias or puppies in a basket. The End.


Exactly. There is nothing more to say.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It is my SV mission statement :)
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[User Picture]From: rosy5000
2008-09-14 11:32 pm (UTC)
And in conclusion:
1) Piss off, Al! You didn't "make" Tom. Tom & Michael, and the rest of the cast, to varying degrees, made you.
2) S1!Clex is more beautiful than sunsets, gardenias or puppies in a basket. The End.


After all the pretty examples, all I can say is... I AGREE. :D hehe
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-14 11:37 pm (UTC)
There are so many pretty examples - hard to pick just a few!
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[User Picture]From: ladydreamer
2008-09-15 12:01 am (UTC)
Like everyone else, I agree. I mean, how do you say such shitty things about your actors and expect them to stick around?!

S1 is a real delight, and while Tom is obviously inexperienced, compare him to some of the pathetic examples in teen dramas right now, and he's an academy award winner. He always put his heart into it, and he worked so well with almost everyone in the cast (I agree it was hard for him and KK to work off of each other when they were both inexperienced). It wasn't a drawback, imho. In fact, I miss some of the qualities he brought to Clark back then.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-15 12:51 am (UTC)
He always put his heart into it, and he worked so well with almost everyone in the cast (I agree it was hard for him and KK to work off of each other when they were both inexperienced). It wasn't a drawback, imho.
Yeah, he used his relative inexperience to his advantage, channeled it into playing a character who was much younger than he was.

In fact, I miss some of the qualities he brought to Clark back then.
S1!Clark is pure sweetness - I guess he ultimately had to change, but I miss the dewy innocence Tom brought to the role, and how well it played off Lex's "experience".
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[User Picture]From: jh_july001
2008-09-15 12:17 am (UTC)
*happy sigh* I LOVE season 1 Clex!
so young and pretty and in love:D
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2008-09-15 12:47 am (UTC)
so young and pretty and in love:D
They're so gorgeous!
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