Golden Globes Article Hits a Nerve with Outlander Fans

Vogue published an article that set off Outlander fans who’ve been vocal on Social Media. Today is the Golden Globes, and Outlander has one nomination this year: Caitriona Balfe.

In my opinion, Cait TOTALLY deserves this nomination for Season 2. The first half of Episode 201 alone, is sheer genius in every way: the writing, acting, directing, cinematography, music, etc. Tobias is incredible, and Cait is right there with him, matching his years of experience every step of the way. Episode 207, Faith, is another stand out performance by Caitriona. Her portrayal of Claire’s loss and grief in 207 is stunning.

With the release of the Season 2 DVD and Blu-ray, we got to see extended and deleted scenes. Probably the most controversial was from Episode 207, (CLICK HERE to see it ) where we see Jamie express his grief about the loss of Faith, and we witness Jamie and Claire finding a way back to each other.  People didn’t understand the rationale for excluding these important scenes from the episode.

Metin Hüseyin, who directed 207, had this to say…

I wrote a piece about it (CLICK HERE to see it) at the time, and I’ve been mulling it over since. Seeing people’s response to the Vogue article, contributes to my thoughts. 

Here are some excerpts from the article:

This Sunday, Caitriona Balfe Would Like You to Ask Her About Something Other Than Her Dress

“When you’re modeling, you’re there to elaborate the clothes, you can’t forget, the clothes are the story. But as an actress, the clothes are there to elaborate you,” she says, “It’s been an interesting adjustment, learning to express ‘me.'” Now, Balfe says, she’s also taking red carpet cues from her Globe-nominated Outlander role, and channeling the outspoken Claire in her approach. “It’s insane,” Balfe says, “that all we actresses seem to get asked about is what we’re wearing. Those interviews go out all over the world—and we’re in a moment now where, as citizens, we should be seizing that opportunity to speak up, speak our minds about the things we see happening around us. There’s plenty more to talk about than clothes.”

Speaking of things that are silly: When you’re on the red carpet, do you ever get sick of answering the question “what are you wearing?”? I’ve been privy to that experience, and it seems like you ladies get asked that like, a zillion times.
Oh my gosh. It’s surreal. Here you are, at a celebration of your craft, and all people want to know is what you’re wearing. Again and again. And not just that, but even down to—talk about your nail polish! You don’t want to be rude, but. . . . [sighs] I mean, I do appreciate, it’s a great marriage between entertainment and fashion, and I love that I get to borrow these incredible dresses, and designers—especially lesser-known ones, who I do like to support—get great PR out of it. But I do wish I had more opportunity to talk about the work. And not just that. I mean, one of the things that’s inspiring about playing Claire is that she’s this strong woman, standing up against chauvinism, and that’s really made me consider my own responsibilities, as someone who has a platform. I realize some people object to the idea of actors expressing their political opinions, but we’re human beings living in this world, responding to what’s going on, and why shouldn’t we be able to take a stand on what we see as injustice?

Okay, so if you were going to take a stand on something, what would it be?
Well, you know, if you watch Outlander you see stories about rape, about unwanted pregnancy, about women taking matters into their own hands, to provide a solution. To provide a choice. And in the meantime, you see bills like the one just passed in Ohio, where access to abortion services has been rolled back, and there’s no exception for rape or incest. And Planned Parenthood, which provides women crucial medical services aside from abortion, is under attack, and it just seems, at times, like all the rights our mothers and grandmothers fought for are being chipped away.

The thing that’s so odd to me about what’s happening in America, is that it goes against what we’re seeing in other places. I mean, I’m Irish, and in Ireland right now there’s a big movement to make it possible for women to get abortions in instances where their life is in danger—the laws there are so strict, even that’s not a given. There are women fighting for [greater] access to abortion in Poland. Do the women in America really want to go back to that? See the full article here

Maril Davis proudly posted the article on Twitter,

which kicked off a host of comments and some heated debate about the show not being a platform for a feminist agenda.

Here are my thoughts:

There’s this illusion in our culture right now and it’s pervasive, a mentality in everyone, as far as I can see, perhaps to a greater or lesser degree, but it’s there: to elevate, we must relegate.

I see examples everywhere- in myself, in others, in politics, in art. This idea that for one person or group to be raised up, another must be oppressed or diminished. 

For America to be great again, one group has to be walled out, for one spouse to excel, the other must be less than, for the school administration to appear correct, the kids must be ignored, for one child in the family to shine, another must be vilified, for Claire to be a strong female character, Jamie must be watered down.

And both sides of the argument are trapped in this same mentality- Bernie Sanders wants to elevate the poor by stripping the rich. In media everywhere, especially kids’ shows, it’s popular now to make females the intelligent problem solvers (but still sexy!) while the guys are made to look like idiots.

This is the current response to feminism- the next swing in the pendulum, and it’s the one Jamie and Claire are caught in IMO. The arguments around the show reflect this same mentality- there’s too much Frank- he’s subverting Jamie.

What makes the Outlander books extraordinary, among other things, is the balance of the characters. Jamie is an unapologetic self actualized male. He’s a leader with clear values from which he does not stray. He dominates Claire sometimes, and you know what?

She likes it.

In the books.

Screen Claire has met the same fate as screen Every Woman today- she is the brains behind the operation, the leader, the one whose emotions count the most. And so, we have a lopsided Jamie and Claire, and IMO it has nothing to do with Frank, or giving tertiary characters or side stories more play. It has to do with our collective belief that there’s not enough to go around. The black and white swing of the pendulum. Responding to the past, which is gone, by the way, by mucking up the present.

Can we just erase the chalk board? Can we please not use Jamie to pay the social debt of centuries of elevating men and relegating women? Can we just start fresh and let him be Kick Ass Jamie?

The confusion extends to real life, as people respond to the Vogue article. Instead of celebrating Cait’s efforts to elevate Red Carpet discussion- which is a very good thing- the response is a reaction to the overweighting of Claire’s character on the show (mixed with some political dissent), and the perception that the absence of award nominations for Sam correlates to that.

Tick tock tick tock.

It’s my opinion that no one would have a problem with kick ass Claire, if kick ass Jamie showed up too. What we have is relegated Jamie so we can have elevated Claire. But the idea that they can’t both be elevated is a fantasy in my opinion. It’s an illusion.

If I have one appeal to the Season 3 writers, producers, directors, actors- please please let this character shine in all his glory. Jamie will not eclipse Claire, in fact his light will reflect on her and only make her brighter.

It’s a journey, and the people producing this show are on their own paths and living in this culture, discovering as they go. I support them wholeheartedly. AND I hope to see Kick Ass Jamie in Season 3.

For now, I wish KICK ASS Caitriona ALL the best tonight at the Golden Globes!! I look forward to a Red Carpet interview which reaches beyond the superficial.

May everyone shine, without apology.

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60 comments on “Golden Globes Article Hits a Nerve with Outlander Fans

  1. Excellent post! You hit the nail right on its head! Jamie doesn’t need to be made less so Claire can appear to be more! There’s enough Kick-ass to go around for both of them to shine. And you’re right, that’s how Diana wrote them. Thanks!

  2. Excellent points and very well put. As a long time reader of the books and a serious fan of the Starz series, I think you have really hit the nail on the head. Claire and Jamie are right for each other, and willing to go through hell and back for each other, precisely BECAUSE they are so evenly matched. Both are tough, strong, smart, passionate, stubborn. I’d bet many of us have speculated that if Diana Gabaldon has created this fictional marriage to honor a likelyl similar strong, passionate relationship between herself and her own real life husband. From her books and interviews she clearly is both very smart and very passionate, but she’s also very warm and caring and clearly respects men who have all these strengths as well. She’s not looking to come out on top, and neither is Claire. She’s looking for someone who can MATCH her wits, passion and intelligence, and Book Jamie does. Your comments on the evolution of the producers, writers and directors empathizes with their challenge – to really hear and understand why we love both books and series, and why we so very much want the series to really fulfill the promise of the books. What an amazing, one of a kind, push the envelope feat that would be! I remember reading that the costume designer threw her shoe at the producer showrunner early on when he just was not getting why an iconic line from the book should be included, and he listened and left it in. Let’s hope they all keep on listening, to each other, and to us.

    • Great comment Piper! Yes! I am so I interested to see S3. I really hope they stretch their wings regarding this. I think that’s what I loved about episode 109- the scene by the ruins when J&C really get into it. Passion and strength-both of them. More of that! Thank you

  3. Your view of what is happening between the characters of Jamie and Claire is astute and right on. The books are from Claire’s point of view, but Jamie is the driving force. The writers and producers have chosen to change Claire to the driving force.

    • That’s a good way to put it. When Diana was writing the book, she named the files “Jamie-1,2,3,” etc. The books really are about Jamie, told from Claire’s point of view. The show seems more about Claire to me.

  4. I was surprised that Caitriona has taken that position for the Golden Globes. I’m of an age where I’ve seen these things back fire on celebrities, starting with Marlon Brando and Richard Gere. Regardless of one’s political or social view, the awards shows are not meant to be a platform for performers to state their individual opinions. If she’s clever on her feet, which she is, she should talk about Claire’s character and its resonance with contemporary feminism. It’s OK if a show wins because of a particular “message,” then it’s important and appropriate for the producers to reinforce the meaning of the show when accepting the award. Caitriona has Twitter and her other causes that she is active in that should provide her with the platform that she seeks.

  5. Very interesting take on the matter. Thank you for writing it. I join you in hoping for Kick Ass Jamie in season 3. That would brighten the spotlight on both Claire & Jamie.

  6. Your comments should be kept to The Outlander series, not political. Obviously I am not the only person to comment on this subject.

  7. Let’s not forget this is a make believe fantasy story and they’re trying to stick close to the books. You really can’t make the characters into what you want to see. Maybe Jamie did not “shine” for you but he did for thousands of fans. They are both restricted to what’s written in the books and I think they both did a great job.

    The books are written, for the most part, through Claire’s eyes. She is the person telling the story.

  8. I don’t know why they felt the need to delete that scene. It was remarkable. I cried just watching the scene.i wish they could fix it and find some way to include it . I can’t get enough òf the Outlander,..Jaime and Claire are breath taking

    • I think it is what it is. As an artist, I respect Ron’s right to shape the episodes how he sees fit. It felt complete to him and it’s done. My hope is that he’s more aware for future – thanks for your comment ?

  9. You are SO right. Jaime doesn’t need to be less so that Claire can be more. That is the strength of the books. Claire and Jamie shine equally.

    • Are you saying that you don’t think the platform is appropriate? Why not? We have a right here in our country to speak out when we see injustice. The topic was related to the program because women’s health was addressed.

  10. You expressed my feelings exactly. I want to see both Kick-Ass Claire AND Kick-Ass Jamie! They make a good team! Thanks for speaking out!

  11. You have a beautiful voice Caitroin! USE IT IN ANY WAY YOU CHOSE.
    IT IS YOUR VOICE! I am disappointed that you did not win tonight at the Golden Globes!
    Still my favorite along with Sam! 🙂

  12. encouraging to hear so many support your article, it was truly, exceptionally well put. we don’t need a watered down Jaimie or fade to black Jaimie, for Claire to shine. I saw a very funny recent meme photo with Diana looking at RDM and me ming, yeah just keep grinning producer boy, coz u wont be when the fans come at you with fire and brimstone…or something like made me chuckle.

    • This article has had more views than any I’ve ever produced, which is interesting.

      I do support Ron though- I think he’s done a great job, but he’s not immune to the cultural undertones that shape us all. Thank you, Tracey

  13. Caitriona is simply brilliant and endowed with such a mind that she has no choice but to contemplate how she wants to be perceived on the red carpet or anywhere else in this world. She is a strong woman who is not just talking the talk when it comes to taking a stand and working to help those who suffer. I prefer my celebrities to be people with something to say. We have enough plastic, attention seeking air-heads out there soaking up the lime-light. I applaud her desire to have intelligent discourse in both her personal and professional views. Why are we still so afraid of strong, intelligent women?
    As far as Sam is concerned, if anyone has bothered to read the books and know the story, they already know that Jamie’s story comes fully to life in Voyager. He is alone for 20 years! There will be no-one to share the stage with for the first half of season 3. The man will have his chance to shine. He is about to step into his own and it will be brilliant. Can we all just appreciate and enjoy the gift of these books and the wonderful job that Starz and the Outlander team are serving up? They are the best thing on TV now and they make me smile…Awards are nice but I think our Sam and Cait rely on us to let them know the true value of what they do. Please stop criticizing these people. They are real and work really hard and ask nothing from us except to respect and support them. If you can’t do that, you are not a true fan. If you are not a fan then please just leave our Outlander family alone…

  14. I agree with you (and Cat) 100%. Yes the clothes are beautiful but less talk about the work, not what they are wearing.

    Season 2 is hard for me to watch because I feel like the show missed the mark in the Jamie and Claire dynamic. In the BOOKS, they are partners in every way. In the series–at least in Season 2–they are not. I hope they stick closer to the books in Season 3. I cannot WAIT.

  15. I think Caitrion’s comments were great! She was asked about “what she thinks about them constantly taking about what designer made her dress” and she just stated their are more relevant issues to talk about. Actors talking about politics on some levels is important, they are in a position to make people aware! Meryl Streep did it eloquently!

  16. I LOVE your posts. Some more than others (well, duh!) and this one gives me goosebumps because I think it is so “spot-on” and so relevant. Your insight draws me in and then out to a new and “better” place. This is a message we (and that’s the BIG WE) so need to hear right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!

  17. I completely disagree with this quote “It’s my opinion that no one would have a problem with kick ass Claire, if kick ass Jamie showed up too. What we have is relegated Jamie so we can have elevated Claire.” Wow, so did we NOT get kick ass Jamie on the show? Did people miss “La Dame Blanche”? “Untimely Resurrection”? “Best Laid Scemes”? “The Fox’s Lair”? “Je Suis Pres?” “Prestonpans”? not to mention others. YES, Faith scene shouldn’t have been cut-but it was less than 2 minutes, valuable two minutes for sure, but it doesn’t diminish his almost 400 minutes in season 2. He is a strong male lead character. I feel sorry for people that missed that.

  18. I think you’ve hit the nail square on the head. Thankfully, as actors both Sam and Caitriona I believe understand that they lift each other up and provide a unique and substantive portrayal of two strong and beloved characters. They are a model of how people should be with others. Neither is diminished by profound regard for each other.

  19. I agree with the author of the comment complaining about not letting Jamie be who he is and elevating Claire. What is so inspiring in the books is that they both shine with strength of purpose, loyalty, love, etc. Jamie is anything but a wimp. He’s a man and Claire is woman enough for him. Tell the writers to reflect them accurately in future scripts, please.

    • I think I did! Hee hee. Thank you for your comment. Yes, let them both shine and show the complexities of male and female strength and potential – hear hear

  20. Thank you! Well said. I wish everyone could read your article. We don’t have to emasculate Jamie to make Claire shine.

    • Hi Jean, for me, it was subtle and probably most visible to book readers. The things that stick out for me are – well, the deleted scene mentioned is a big one- his emotions and processing are left out, and hers are left in. Lots of scenes were changed and things became Claire’s idea vs his, like pretending she was a hostage to Lord John Grey, the scene in the church before she was given over to the English, there are others. He dominates in the book at times, with the force of his personality and defending his principles, never in the show. His objection to the red dress was muted, as was his reaction to finding the minister of finance trying to make it with his wife. The character of Jamie in the book is forceful and unwavering in his disapproval of certain things. Show Jamie has been toned down. It’s more socially acceptable to show a woman in that light than a man right now in my opinion. Thanks for visiting and leaving your comment.

  21. FRom the deleted scenes, it seems that it is Jaimies dialogue that is cut. Granted the stories are told by Claire, but whats been on screen in seasons 1 and 2 would appear to create less dialogue for Jaimie. I feel the writer of this article explained this very well. The allure of these characters is as a couple, a team. Claire healed Jaimie in the priory before they went to France in the second book..and they were very much a team when they arrived there. I didnt enjoy seeing Jaimie play second fiddle to Claire. It will be almost impossible to “relegate” him in future seasons as his character comes to the fore in failrly dramatic ways.

  22. Ironic that VOGUE, the premiere voice of women’s fashion, is taking the position that “who are you wearing?” Is a silly or even offensive question to ask an actress on the red carpet at an awards show.

    I would remind the editors at Vogue, and yes, even my beloved Caitriona, that designers clamor to dress stars for awards shows BECAUSE of that specific question.

    Next time, buy your dress off the rack and say so, proudly. Now THERE’S a statement!

  23. I’m late in replying, but here goes. I was disappointed in season 2 when Claire told Jamie who was responsible for her witch trial. In the books Jamie doesn’t know this when he marries “Leg Hair.” How will the marriage be explained by Jamie? In the book he doesn’t know this and he says he wouldn’t have married her had he known. There were other changes in season 2; Jame couldn’t touch Claire, but in the book they have a full relationship. I wonder if some of the writers for the series felt they had to one-up D.G. because of her enormous success as a writer by making changes that made no sense.

    • This is a year and a half later, haha, but I wanted to address the thing about Jamie not being able to touch Claire. They chose to show his PTSD for a longer period of time than in the book, which I think is great. They didn’t (couldn’t) show all of the emotional work Jamie went through in the end of book 1, and so he had to go through some of it in season 2. I personally think it’s great that they show that a trauma like that is difficult to move on from and that it takes TIME. PTSD isn’t explored often enough and especially not in males. I really like the way they portray how he WANTS to touch Claire, but can’t always do so. Eventually they do find their way back to each other.

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