BSG: There’s Something About Lee Adama
With Season Four of Battlestar Galactica set to premiere tonight on the SciFi channel, my mind should be focused on big questions: Who is the final Cylon? Is Starbuck really back from the dead? How the hell do the characters keep such perfect complexions with all that space dust flying around their pores? Sadly, I’m not thinking about these questions nor am I debating story plots on the SciFi message board with my fellow fanboys as part of my premier ritual.
I’d just like to point out that I think like a gay man before a sci-fi nerd. You can tell me I’m pulling a Benedict Arnold, but right now the one thing I’m looking forward to most this season is more shots of Jamie Bamber’s Lee “Apollo” Adama shirtless. Apollo is the hunkiest piece of meat on television, and I’ll throw down with anyone who wants to mention Dr. McSteamy or any other generic piece of hotness.
When the show first aired, I was convinced Apollo was in the closet. He had the impossible look that only a gay man can achieve after a devastating nuclear attack—styled hair, gym body, and extra-tight shirts. Of course, as the series continued it became clear that Lt. Felix Gaeta, who had some sort of feelings for Gaius Baltar, is the show’s closet case. But there was still something about Apollo I couldn’t shake off. I admit it, he isn’t gay. There has never been any implication that’s he is anything but straight on the series. This post isn’t some kind of fiction so I can go back to my gay comic club and plot for the gay agenda to overtake television. I’m not Britney, I know when something is lost cause. However, the interesting thing about Apollo is that he isn’t the typical macho lead that is seen in most sci-fi shows. In terms of legacy, I think sci-fi fans will remember him as more of a Princess Leia instead of Han Solo. In fact, his character seems to be built upon stereotypical female traits and cinematic techniques that are exclusively reserved for female leads.
Instead of displaying his barbaric male strength or post-Matrix fighting skills, Apollo is first shown in the series removing his helmet. The camera zooms onto Apollo as all the action on screen fades away and the camera focuses on his masculine beauty—chiseled face, light eyes, and delicate skin. From the second he is introduced, the audience has no choice but to objectify his beauty. Think of Lord of the Rings when Liv Tyler’s Arwen enters the movie. You don’t see a strong or heroic female lead. You see a hot babe engulfed by a heavenly light coming to heterosexualify Elijah Wood. Her fighting skills don’t matter at first, it’s all about how hard she can get the men.
Likewise in season two’s famous “Towel scene.” The action on stage again slows down when Apollo’s tiny towel malfunctions, exposing the lower half of gladiatorial body. Ladies and Gentleman, this is the gay nerd’s equivalent to Princess Leia in the Gold Bikini. No one cares about what’s going on in the scene. All we care about is that juicy piece of thigh that just became visible. The funny part is that he’s trying to be a leader in the scene, commanding people around but instead becomes a sex object. This camera technique is what robs Apollo of his role as the valiant hero and makes him the object of our “alone time.”
For those of you who didn’t see my point last week on how he and Starbuck are gender-benders, this is what I meant. The camera does not make any of the female characters on the Galactica sex objects. The number Eights, who have a tendency to hang around nude, do not have the camera stop to objectify their bodies and the same goes with Six. Even when Six is semi-nude in Baltar’s thoughts, the story doesn’t focus on the fact she is naked, it focuses on her dialogue or what revelations she is trying to bring. There is a reason for her nudity, it’s not just about her body.
But what made me think Apollo was an Armani-Christina-lovin’ diva was when he is shown on scene with Starbuck. There is a lighting difference between their gender roles and I cannot help see Apollo was the girl in their relationship. In the season three episode Rapture, Apollo becomes watery eye when saying he is willing to leave his wife and take a gamble with Starbuck’s love. On the other hand, she just wants to bend the rules of marriage, have a good time, and not be troubled with divorce. Likewise, in the season two episode Home part 2, when Starbuck returns from the Caprica mission, Lee runs up to his heroine and gives her the welcome home kiss. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it traditionally the man who comes back from the dangerous mission to the arms of his girlfriend?
Of course, I love all of this. Galactica has always been about social science fiction, showing us a society that is right at our fingertips. We could arguably be this society if there wasn’t such an emphasis on the gay issue or how much power females should be allowed. It suppresses our expression and we are bound to these constricting roles that make unfair judgments towards people like the “Pregnant Man.” Apollo is an anarchist against the male stereotypes who have held female characters—and male characters for that matter—hostage from any real depth. Galactica writers are showing the different shades of masculinity and just how beautiful and sensitive it can be. This is where the true value of Apollo’s character lies; the fact that he is the show’s young stallion who the male audience is suppose to identify with and yet, he holds the most feminine character traits out of all the female leads.
Season Four of Battlestar Galactica premieres tonight at 10pm on the SciFi channel. Image courtesy SciFi.