Gus' fate...

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oldfashionedgirl
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Post by oldfashionedgirl » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:20 am

Aha! So, someone here is older than me! :lol:
~ "Oh, Look at that! She doin' a play!" ~ Gus Pike

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Post by Wild Roses » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:15 pm

Hee. Older than me too!

I have mixed feelingsa about what is being critiqued. On one hand, I agree. Especially where Gus is concerned. On the other hand, I'm relieved that the series tried to maintain a level of the mundane, the ordinary. Too often by the end of a tv series (Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Dawson's Creek, etc) the characters are all Wunderkinds doing something extraordinary stuff. I feel RTA did a good job of keeping this in perspective. Whenever the characters and their storylines threatened to get out hand and turn the characters into Larger Than Life beings of perfection, I think the RTA writers successfully managed to find ways to keep in perspective.

By season 5, the King family owned or had stocks in: White Sands, the Cannery, the newspaper. They had further influence by helping start up the volunteer fire unit. They also had political and social influence elsewhere (Hetty taught, Janet advocated women's and workers' rights, Olivia worked at the newspaper, etc.)

All of that I consider to be quite the Wunderkind Touch. I think the writers mocked it or shot it down by: burning down the cannery, mocking or questioning what is celebrity (the infamous a Royal is coming to Avonlea episode, shooting down Hetty's pulp fiction novel writing, etc).

The discussion about Gus and Felicity and his going off to sea reminds me a tad about Wentworth and Anne in PERSUASION. One of the reasons why Anne was told to reject Wentworth was because he was a poor sailor and that was a hard, dangerous life. I do think it is reasonable to believe Alec and Janet might have put some pressure on Gus to give up his vegabond/sailor life if he wanted to be with Felicity. (We all saw how utterly devastated she was when she thought he was dead.)

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Post by Shelly » Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:04 pm

Better late than never. ;)
Elizabeth wrote:Does it bother anyone what RTA did with Gus' character? Was i really necessary to stick him in a busboy suit and then take away his eyesight? I always felt that Gus' blindness took away from the show, rather than added to it. And he was so intelligent- he should have gone to college!
Ultimately, the only thing Gus's being blind did was keep him away from the warfront in HCMK/AAC, IMO.

As for him working at the White Sands, I have to say I kinda thought it was a bit necessary. Gus wanted to take care of Felicity himself. Steady employment would've assured that better, I think (although his heart was at sea).

The one thing I wish they didn't take away from him was his fiddle.
Elizabeth also wrote:Also, I always felt that they completely turned around Hetty's character. I find it absurd that her straight-laced character would have been writing best-selling romantic novels!
I agree; that was just wrong. She would've spit upon that sort of thing. It's a good thing she came to her senses and decided to write about Avonlea and PEI. ;)
Elizabeth also wrote:The same goes with Jasper- the old Jasper would never have left Avonlea for England without Olivia (see "Love many be Blind... but the Neighbors Ain't."
I'm not so sure I agree with that. I kinda think Jasper needed to leave, to learn to be assertive on his own without Olivia, to figure out his other true calling. (And teaching science isn't all that too far-fetched in regards to Jasper.)
Timothy wrote:Wouldn't it have been a great scene in 'Return to Me' if Hetty handed a blind and dejected Gus his fiddle to play?
YES! That would've been brilliant. Gah. Why must we have to endure characters we don't know or care about in those sorts of situations?!
Wild Roses wrote:The discussion about Gus and Felicity and his going off to sea reminds me a tad about Wentworth and Anne in PERSUASION. One of the reasons why Anne was told to reject Wentworth was because he was a poor sailor and that was a hard, dangerous life. I do think it is reasonable to believe Alec and Janet might have put some pressure on Gus to give up his vegabond/sailor life if he wanted to be with Felicity. (We all saw how utterly devastated she was when she thought he was dead.)
That could be. But I also think Gus had his own hand in starting work at the hotel. He himself wanted some security; a steady, consistent job would've provided that, not only for himself, but for Felicity, too. Plus, he was willing to do whatever it took to win her.

(BTW, I think Bobby (alecking) is older than most of us here. ;))
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Post by oldfashionedgirl » Sun Mar 09, 2008 5:24 am

I've had so much fun the last couple weeks. I'm been filling in the missing episodes from each season. Some things are starting to make more sense now! :lol:

Aunt Hetty's transformation still doesn't seem that strange to me but maybe I need to see all the episodes first. Or maybe it's because I have gone through so many changes myself... Sometimes we bury our true selves and it takes us a while to let it out of the box. Maybe Hetty's true self got buried all those years while caring for her aging parents and teaching school...
~ "Oh, Look at that! She doin' a play!" ~ Gus Pike

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Post by hannikan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:29 pm

I actually really liked what they did with Gus's character. Except for the absence of the fiddle!! That was just wrong. You can't be swashbuckling forever. In fact if he had he probably would have died young! I respectfully disagree with MM although I can understand his frustration as an actor. I think he was a little bored with the storylines Gus got in the middle of the series. I think a young man in Gus's situation would have taken any job he could get. And if he couldn't make enough with one job, he'd take another. He was a very hard-working young man and valued his education as much as he loved the sea. That is one reason why he and Felicity were soul mates. They both prized education. They were role models to the younger Avonlea kids. Family was very important to them both, as well. Gus really falls in love with the whole King family. He's the son Hetty never had, just as Sara is the daughter she never gave birth to.

I liked the decision to have Gus become blind. Well, I was saddened by it of course, but it was a good storyline to me. I thought it was very well done. It explained why Gus had not wanted to contact Felicity. He was ashamed and probably even felt guilty. This is very realistic! And it shows that Gus is a real person, he's not perfect either. I think he felt responsible for his own disability since it happened when he'd left Avonlea to have another adventure. He didn't "want to wreck Felicity's life." Of course it really happened because of his selfless nature, trying to save others. One thing that the blinding did is it prevented Felicity from being vain in the future. Gus could not longer see her beauty, he could only remember it. She would need to continue to develop her inner beauty to maintain his love. And her devotion to him is also inspirational. It made me want more Gus and Felicity! I wanted to see them as newlyweds in HCMK.
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Post by hannikan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:35 pm

I wanted to add that I don't know that they did the blindness to prevent Gus from being on the warfront. Had they planned that script yet? Seems unlikely to me. I think if anything, it gave Felix the opportunity to rise as the swashbuckler in the war.

My favorite lines from So Dear to my Heart:
"Ah don't know, Miss Kang. Sometimes ah person looses heart."
"Yes, but you're not one of those persons, are you Gus Pike?"

Cry, cry. So inspirational to me.
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Post by hannikan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:43 pm

"I do think it is reasonable to believe Alec and Janet might have put some pressure on Gus to give up his vagabond/sailor life if he wanted to be with Felicity."

That's a good point. I think Alec would have been conflicted about this because his father tried to stop him from living his dream when he was young (Alec mentions in Fathers and Sons that he wanted to work on building the railroad). But I think the Kings (Hetty, too) would have been concerned about Gus continuing to lead the sea-faring life. They would have probably said "He's done that and now it's time to settle down to something less risky." In fact Hetty should have made her concern knwon after Gus went off to sea in Otherwise Engaged.

"I feel RTA did a good job of keeping this in perspective. Whenever the characters and their storylines threatened to get out hand and turn the characters into Larger Than Life beings of perfection, I think the RTA writers successfully managed to find ways to keep in perspective."

Also agree with you here!!
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Post by Shelly » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:58 pm

hannikan wrote:I wanted to add that I don't know that they did the blindness to prevent Gus from being on the warfront. Had they planned that script yet?
I don't think they planned it, really. At the time (1995, when the final season would've been in production), I doubt the writers were thinking ahead to making a reunion film, particularly one set in WW1. I probably should've clarified it was more of a theory than fact. My bad!
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Post by hannikan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:21 pm

Gotcha, Shelly! It's true that that was the result.
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Re: Gus' fate...

Post by Miss Lewis » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:12 am

hannikan wrote:I actually really liked what they did with Gus's character. Except for the absence of the fiddle!! That was just wrong. You can't be swashbuckling forever. In fact if he had he probably would have died young!
I always liked the “swashbuckling adventurer” Gus Pike. It just seems that if writers had to keep Gus Pike on the island, they could have given him a more adventurous job then folding Landry. Gus Pike would enjoy a job that took him outdoors more-- like being a Constables Assistant or Delivering mail or goods around town. Waiting tables doesn’t quite fit the Gus character we were first introduced to in season 2. After Season 2, He lost some of the "Spark" that I enjoyed seeing.
hannikan wrote:He's the son Hetty never had, just as Sara is the daughter she never gave birth to.
I had forgotten that but you are right. So I guess that would make Gus and Sara siblings---well sort of. And taking that line of reason, Hetty King would NEVER have a seafaring son. Her son would be a respectable young man who held a steady job. I always assumed Gus took the hotel job to win Felicity over but maybe Gus takes the hotel job and settles into “normal life" because Hetty’s influence on him. Hetty King had a bigger influence on Gus's life then Alec or Janet had.

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Re: Gus' fate...

Post by Timothy » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:43 am

I think Gus was put in the hotel role because the writers/producers wanted to make the White Sands Hotel a central setting. This way, it would be easier to develop the story lines if the characters had some role in the same location. This is why Gus was stripped of his adventurous/mysterious persona and turned into an unexciting bellhop. That's also why Hetty, one of the most inhospitable characters, was uncharacteristically thrust into the role of co-proprietor.

The central setting of the White Sands also established a hub where the Avonlea characters could interact and ridiculously cater to the incoming surge of guest stars (Polenska, Blaines, etc.). In some cases, these interactions made the Avonlea characters appear foolish (i.e., What A Tangled Web We Weave, A Dark and Stormy Night).

In my opinion, it was more respectable for Gus to work in the fishing/shipping industry, one of the biggest industries next to agriculture on PEI, than as a "fumbling" bellhop, catering to the demands of the pampered Disney guest stars.

As Mahonen said:

"I felt that Gus Pike had started out as such a wonderful free spirit... He smoked a pipe, played a fiddle, was very genuine, very earnest, and a little mysterious. Then in the next season, for some reason, he was put into a tuxedo in a hotel restaurant as a bus-boy... In one episode in particular, Gus was written as a total fumbling idiot who couldn't understand even the most basic of ideas or concepts, which is untrue."

I think it's important to note that the reason Gus only shows up a handful of times near the end of the series (three episodes in seasons 6-7) is, in part, because Mahonen disagreed with the way Gus was depicted and felt the need to protect his portrayal from writers that didn't understand the character. In an interview for the winter 95/96 edition of the Avonlea Traditions Chronicle, Mahonen remarked that it was best that the character only return for occasional episodes. "I think that's ideal because there is a mystery about Gus Pike that needs to be maintained for the integrity of the character."

Many of us have criticized the absence of Gus Pike near the end of the series, probably contributing to the inclusion of fan-loathed Davey episodes and the lackluster Stuart McRae as filler. We have criticized the rushed ending in 'So Dear to My Heart' because Mahonen was not available to contribute more air time to the development of this crucial final season story line. In my opinion, many of these problems related to Gus's absence are deeply rooted in the decision made in season 3 to have the White Sands become a central location and the development of Gus as a bellhop.

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Re: Gus' fate...

Post by hannikan » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:41 pm

Well, MM said at AvCon a few weeks ago that he and the main two writers of the Gus character (Heather Conkie and Marlene Matthews) worked together often. Sometimes they agreed about places they wanted to take Gus, sometimes they did not. Sometimes these writers would make changes based on things MM suggested, sometimes they did not. So I'm not sure he was as overwhelmingly unhappy with Gus's character after the 2nd season as you're suggesting Timothy. Some of the things he mentioned disliking were imposed from outside. Disney imposed the ban on smoking the pipe (which also meant Jasper didn't smoke anymore). He also expressed disappointment that the storyline with Captain Crane was dropped (which I think we all are). I'm sure that had mostly to do with the fact that Michael York wasn't available. I do think they could have worked the fiddle in more than they did.

I'm not unhappy with Gus being in fewer episodes in the later seasons because I think the way things developed made sense for his character. I think MM was right that it helped keep his character mysterious. But I think it would have been rather dull for the audience if he hadn't changed somewhat from the way he was in the beginning. While MM might have wanted to play Gus somewhat more the way he was when he came to Avonlea, Gus the character would have wanted to change his situation. That's the thing the writers need to keep in mind first. And in Avonlea he had the opportunity to do that because from the beginning Hetty, and to a lesser extent Alec and Janet, wanted to help him.

I also think the White Sands became a hub so that Felix and Gus would have developed a closer relationship. That was a very important relationship and I'm not sure how they would have developed that if they hadn't had them both work there. It allowed Gus to be a mentor to Felix in a believable way. I suppose Felix could have worked in the fishing industry with Gus but that wouldn't have taken Felix in the same direction he went either. I don't really like the idea of Gus staying and working at the cannery under McCorkadale because McCorkadale was such a jerk to him. Simon Tremayne was much more gracious to Gus than McCorkadale was. Gus wasn't really bumbling as a hotel employee except at the very beginning and even then it was usually brought on by someone else jumping up and knocking stuff out of his hands. Or Felix being a klutz. Of course, ultimately Gus realizes that he doesn't want to be a hotel manager or work in a hotel forever. But when he started working there, at 17, he wouldn't have been thinking of what he wanted to do forever. He would have been thinking of how to put food on the table and save up for things he needed/wanted. He would have been thinking of his immediate needs and desires, not long term.
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Re: Gus' fate...

Post by Timothy » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:55 am

Mahonen: "Gus was written as a total fumbling idiot who couldn't understand even the most basic of ideas or concepts, which is untrue"

It's clear by this statement that Mahonen disagreed and was not happy with the direction that his character was taking in the third season. By this time, there was an increasing number of new writers joining Conkie and Matthews. The episode I think Mahonen is referring to in my earlier post... "The one episode in particular," was 'A Dark and Stormy Night.' This episode was not written by Conkie or Matthews, but by Hart Hanson, who has gone on to be the writer for the series 'Bones.'

I think it's important for characters to develop and grow throughout the series; but some character development goes against the nature of the character and I think this was the case with Gus working at the White Sands. Felix's character benefited from working at the hotel. The character had business aspirations and could come up with schemes like turning the King farm house into a lodge in Total Eclipse. Felix's character was suited for this, while I think Gus Pike's character was at a disadvantage. I got the impression that it just wasn't him.

On a realistic level, the White Sands was a nice job at the time with a good boss and clean working environment. But for dramatic television, I would rather see a rebellious Gus fighting against the corrupt greedy bossman McCorkndale.

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Re: Gus' fate...

Post by Shelly » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:07 pm

Timothy wrote:In my opinion, it was more respectable for Gus to work in the fishing/shipping industry, one of the biggest industries next to agriculture on PEI, than as a "fumbling" bellhop, catering to the demands of the pampered Disney guest stars.
You may recall that, before taking on a position at the White Sands, Gus's first "proper" job was at the cannery; and he temporarily went back there after the Dales took it over. (At the start of Season 5, he was working at both locations.) Perhaps he should've stayed there?
Tim also wrote:Mahonen: "Gus was written as a total fumbling idiot who couldn't understand even the most basic of ideas or concepts, which is untrue"

It's clear by this statement that Mahonen disagreed and was not happy with the direction that his character was taking in the third season. By this time, there was an increasing number of new writers joining Conkie and Matthews. The episode I think Mahonen is referring to in my earlier post... "The one episode in particular," was 'A Dark and Stormy Night.' This episode was not written by Conkie or Matthews, but by Hart Hanson, who has gone on to be the writer for the series 'Bones.'
I think it had to be "A Dark and Stormy Night". The main reason I loathe that episode is because I thought Gus was acting very out-of-character. He may've been male with raging hormones; but there's no way in Halifax he'd let someone like Amanda Stone pull the wool over his eyes.
hannikan wrote:I'm not unhappy with Gus being in fewer episodes in the later seasons because I think the way things developed made sense for his character. I think MM was right that it helped keep his character mysterious. But I think it would have been rather dull for the audience if he hadn't changed somewhat from the way he was in the beginning. While MM might have wanted to play Gus somewhat more the way he was when he came to Avonlea, Gus the character would have wanted to change his situation. That's the thing the writers need to keep in mind first. And in Avonlea he had the opportunity to do that because from the beginning Hetty, and to a lesser extent Alec and Janet, wanted to help him.
Exactly.

Let's also consider he wanted to make a good impression on Felicity, and make himself be more desirable to her, because all she saw was "a dirt-covered boy who lives in an old lighthouse". He went to school to get an education (something he ended up valuing very much); that was a start. But I'd imagine it wouldn't have been enough. And it wasn't. He also wanted to learn to be a gentleman. I seriously doubt he could've done that if he'd stayed at the cannery. He had to be among more cultured people for that; and the White Sands was a fairly upscale establishment (certain guests getting scolded at by Hetty notwithstanding ;)).
hannikan also wrote:I also think the White Sands became a hub so that Felix and Gus would have developed a closer relationship. That was a very important relationship and I'm not sure how they would have developed that if they hadn't had them both work there. It allowed Gus to be a mentor to Felix in a believable way. I suppose Felix could have worked in the fishing industry with Gus but that wouldn't have taken Felix in the same direction he went either.
Gus and Felix were, very much, like brothers. Aside from school, having them work together gave them another chance to interact, and without Sara and Felicity's company. Also, if Felix didn't end up working at the White Sands, he also wouldn't have had Simon Tremayne as a mentor/secondary father figure, nor would he have learned he had a knack for the hospitality business.
hannikan also wrote:Of course, ultimately Gus realizes that he doesn't want to be a hotel manager or work in a hotel forever. But when he started working there, at 17, he wouldn't have been thinking of what he wanted to do forever. He would have been thinking of how to put food on the table and save up for things he needed/wanted. He would have been thinking of his immediate needs and desires, not long term.
*nods* I'd also wager that being a busboy at the White Sands was a better-paying job than a cannery worker (especially under McCorkadale...I think, if he'd been working under Olivia and Jasper, the pay would've been a little better).
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Re: Gus' fate...

Post by hannikan » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:38 pm

Timothy wrote:Mahonen: "Gus was written as a total fumbling idiot who couldn't understand even the most basic of ideas or concepts, which is untrue"
It's clear by this statement that Mahonen disagreed and was not happy with the direction that his character was taking in the third season. [/quote]I think that quote was more a criticism of that specific episode where he was a bumbling idiot. If he said that around the time of that episode he may have been concerned that the direction of his character would be too much like it was in DASN all the time. I don't think it was. I do think MM had a lot of adjusting to do going from envisioning himself as having a short term role with a very clearly defined role of a character at one point in the character's life. It would be more like performing in a play, which he was used to. To go from that to taking on the same character long term in a TV series would be a huge adjustment I think.
Timothy wrote: think it's important for characters to develop and grow throughout the series; but some character development goes against the nature of the character and I think this was the case with Gus working at the White Sands. Felix's character benefited from working at the hotel. The character had business aspirations and could come up with schemes like turning the King farm house into a lodge in Total Eclipse. Felix's character was suited for this, while I think Gus Pike's character was at a disadvantage. I got the impression that it just wasn't him.
I know we'll probably always disagree about this :wink: and that's fine (we all see elements of the show differently) but I think it made sense for Gus's character to work in a place where he would not be embarrassed of smelling like fish. It made sense both because he wanted to court Felicity who was a bit squeamish about things like that and because he wanted to impress Hetty (and by extension the whole community). I think the latter is a very important point because as early as Aunt Hetty's Ordeal Gus wanted to become a gentleman. That was really his main goal. While he could have worked his way up in the cannery/fish business under McCorkadale, he would never have been considered a gentleman working there. While we all might appreciate the hard work it takes to do that kind of work, I think Gus would have been dissatisfied continuing to work in a such a place. He would have seen it as a dead end. I always got the impression that he quit the cannery because he didn't make enough money there and had to work several jobs then (working for the pig farmer, for example).
Timothy wrote:On a realistic level, the White Sands was a nice job at the time with a good boss and clean working environment. But for dramatic television, I would rather see a rebellious Gus fighting against the corrupt greedy bossman McCorkndale.
Speaking of practicality, MM also mentioned at AvCon that he knew one reason they didn't continue doing regular scenes at the cannery (before the Dales took it over in S5) is because it was very impractical from a filming standpoint. They used real fish and stank horribly. I think he also mentioned there were concerns about it being unsanitary. I think it would have been cool to see Gus stand up to McCorkadale, too. I think that would have been an interesting addition to Aunt Janet Rebels if they had had Gus in it instead of Peter. Once the Dales took over the cannery, they could have had Gus be interested in being Jasper's assistant long term. So instead of realizing he didn't want to work in the hotel in Otherwise Engaged he would have realized it Modern Times. I think it would have been trickier because that would have loaded MT a little too much since that focused on Jasper's goals.
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