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From Cfq.com


The Firefly Episode Guide, Part III

Thursday 4 December 2003

Firefly: The Firefly Episode Guide, Part 3

Behind-the-Scenes Episode Guide with Joss Whedon & Tim Minear, by Edward Gross

“SHINDIG” Official DVD Summary: In order to secure a job transporting cargo off-planet for a client, Mal attends a social event where a dance with Inara leads to him being challenged to a swordfight in defense of her honor.


JOSS WHEDON: “Shindig” was supposed to come along a little bit later than it did, because we sort of looked at it and thought, “All of a sudden we’re into hoop skirts, people might still be wondering about horses. Have we gone too far?” Any chance to feature Mal and Inara going at each other is very important to me. Those guys are just delightful together. The thing that blew me away the most in this was Jewel in her big old dress, which was just about the cutest thing I’d seen in a long time. The way she plays it, she is just so adorable. It’s happened with all of them, but it was a moment for me when I said, “Oh, okay, she’s a star, too.” And, hey, floating chandelier - what more could you ask for?

CFQ: I love the juxtaposition of images on this show. Some time ago we had discussed that great image in “Serenity” of people on horseback racing for a starship. In “Shindig,” you’ve got a swordfight in the middle of everything else.

JOSS WHEDON: The whole point of the show is that we take our cultures with us. They mutate and meld and disintegrate, but they’re always there. If you have a world that doesn’t have roads, you’re not going to use a car, you’re going to use a horse. If you are in a civilization that is new, you’re going to take the oldest traditions because you need something to hold on to. If I ever said the show was about anything, it was about the way we create civilization in a void. What each one of us brings with us that we need, which we touch on sometimes. It gives you a chance to tell what is ultimately a big immigrant story, which is really what America was.

CFQ: So this is really your opportunity to retell our history.

JOSS WHEDON: The Civil War is what started the germ of the idea. It was based on Reconstruction as an era. The great thing is you can read about freedom fighters through history and it’s applicable. All of history gets mashed up and served out. That’s how the world works and it’s really fun to go backwards to more general things.

CFQ: It’s interesting and necessary in a show like this, because you need to know that there is some heart beneath the superficial things.

JOSS WHEDON: Anybody can make a cool spaceship but that really doesn’t cut it. It really is always in the execution. Let’s face it, the question you have to ask is whether or not there is talent and heart. You can make something like Resident Evil, which I think is quite good, or you can make Underworld, which I think is the scourge of a nation. Two nations, actually, because Kate Beckinsale is British. Filmmaking as a whole should be shut down and punished because that film got to be made. It’s not a thing a gentleman would say, but what the hell?

TIM MINEAR ON “SHINDIG” “Shindig” was the hilarious Jane Espenson. Vern Gillum directed, I think really well, I loved the dancing in that episode. Just a fun, romantic episode and it also gives you a lot of Inara/Mal banter. One of the fun things about Firefly is that we kind of got to go and do Gone With the Wind with the costumes and swordplay. And of course the return of Badger, the Cockney scoundrel from “Serenity.” It was fun to see him back. Overall, just a fun episode on a lot of levels. “SAFE” Official DVD Summary: When Simon is kidnapped by a group of villagers in need of a doctor, Serenity is forced to make contact with an Alliance ship in order to seek medical help for the critically-wounded Book.

JOSS WHEDON: This was an example of things not going the way that we wanted originally. We had a completely different bunch of flashbacks with a completely different bunch of actors. The message of the thing was very important to me, which was the idea of Simon realizing that he had found a home; that a real parent isn’t somebody who’s extremely great, but only when it’s convenient. It’s somebody, no matter how rough they might be, will never let you down. That’s sort of what Mal becomes in that episode, and that meant a lot to me. It showed a lot about why Simon was so protective of his sister. But we did the flashbacks and they were just sort of histrionic and just didn’t feel right, and we didn’t have the one with the two little kids. It started out with River already in trouble, and I said, “Let’s see the two of them together.” Then we couldn’t get the original people who had played the mother and father, because they had booked something else, so we had to cast that again. It was all very complicated and strange. And then we felt, “We’ve got our big damn heroes, we’ve got the crucible, we’ve got the witch hunters and, generally speaking, everything is coming together. But, we could really use a shot of humor.” So I said, “Lock the thing, give me 30 seconds in this act and 15 seconds in the next act and I’ll write some Jayne scenes and we’ll do them to time.”

So at the last minute, days before we were supposed to air, Adam Baldwin came in and did his going through Simon’s stuff scene, knowing that he had about 16 props he had to work with one after the other, and exactly 30 seconds to accomplish everything. That’s the time you’re very glad for professionalism. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the series. It’s hilarious and it helps thematically the idea that they might leave them behind, they’re not a part of the group, and then his thing about, “Glad you’re back.” Just hilarious. You know, sometimes we get cuts and hate it, and it’s because we haven’t communicated with the director of they haven’t captured what we’re looking for, or we structurally we were missing a piece and just didn’t get it until we saw the cut. You never know, even if you’re on set a lot, something can come out wrong. The other exciting thing about “Safe” is that it had River dancing, which is fun and was one of the first moments where we could look at her and say, “Oh, she’s not miserable all the time.”

TIM MINEAR: This was kind of a troubled episode initially. I remember we shot the episode and Joss and I hated it. We kind of blew it on the script, we weren’t crazy about the way that it was shot and there were certain wardrobe elements that we didn’t realize was going to happen until we saw it on screen, like big floppy hats and scarves. So we actually put it on hold for a while and returned to it. Later, Joss wrote a bunch of new scenes. For instance, the fans will recall where Jayne is rifling through Simon’s room after Simon has been kidnapped, and it’s a hilarious scene. That was actually added, because the show came in short after we ended up cutting all the stuff that we hated. We went back and wrote some new material and shot new scenes. By the time we put it all together, we were pretty happy with it.

Posted on Wednesday, December 03 @ 06:00:00 CST by seanjordan