Chlana. Oh, Chlana. First, let's discuss name smushing, because really? Sometimes appropriate, and sometimes not. And with Chlana, I can't really decide whether I feel like it sounds like some strange STD ("She totally got Chlana from the guy she was sleeping with last month, but they've given her a creme, and hopefully it'll clear up.") or I find it to be an acceptable name smush. These are things that preoccupy me sometimes.
Okay. Now. The pairing. Let me start all this by saying that I'm operating on having seen like, none of this season, so this is going to be a study in generalities. And, also, potentially a rant on biases against female slash at some point, but probably not because I'm not feeling like rocking a revolution into my ham-handed attempts to sell one of my favorite pairings.
I mean, come on, who hasn't wanted to read the story where Clark, who has been manfully repressing all of his homosexual desires toward Lex for years in a somewhat weird and self-hating kind of way, walking in on Chloe and Lana and fainting? I know I would find it kind of funny, but I've been known to be a bit mean, myself.
And yes, they are one of my favorite pairings. I remember one of the very first episodes of SV I ever saw I was watching with a gay friend of mine, and I think it was Red, and Chloe and Lana were just hanging out and talking about Clark etc. and how they wanted to be friends, and my friend rolled her eyes, and pointed to Lana and said "Butch" and Chloe and said "Femme."
This may have inordinately shaped how I view them, but I don't think so, actually.
What's striking about this pairing, is how it's all about these complicated inversions of expectation. Chloe is more extroverted, but she's not as assertive as Lana. Right off the bat, you'd be more apt (and by you, I definitely mean me) to guess that Chloe isn't going to take anybody's grief, yadda yadda yadda, just because she's blunt and inquisitive. But really, Chloe is the kind of person who folds into herself piece by piece for the people she loves. She bottles things up a lot, and doesn't take care of herself. She'll go a thousand miles for someone else, but she herself doesn't want to be a burden, and so she's not really going to be able to say things like "I need you to stop jerking me around" or "Please listen to me" in terms of emotional issues.
Lana, on the other hand, does take care of herself. For the most part. And she takes care of people she's involved with, witness Whitney, and her tearing into Clark every now and again for not supporting Whitney or whatever. Lana demands what she needs, and makes sure that she gets it. (I mean, let's not go overboard with that, there are no absolutes in terms of SV characterizations because, well, SV does a fun little meringue of no continuity.)
Chloe really needs a Lana. She needs somebody who's going to stick up for her, and make sure she takes care of herself. And, I really love the mental image of Lana barging into Clark's loft and being like "What is your damage? Why do you keep treating Chloe like she's stupid?" Because she would do that, and it's something that desperately needs saying.
They make each other smile. Chloe brightens Lana's tendency toward being somewhat over-serious, and Lana shocks Chloe sometimes with whimsy.
And then, we have the compatability of their abandonment issues. Chloe's got enough of those for five people, but oh, surprise, Lana has 'em, too. Now, this is going to make Lana feel like she's got to talk everything out, ad nauseum so that there's no worry about Chloe pulling a Clark-type runner, and once Chloe gets drawn out, is able to talk, that's going to give Chloe security, too. The need they have to be *sure* of one another is going to give this pairing a foundation. They'll put down roots fast with one another, because both of them so intensely desire that.
This pairing is not buddyslash. This pairing is also not antagonist slash. This pairing is nothing like Clex whatsoever, which is part of the joy of it. You can only take so much unrelieved dark -- and no matter how the show started out, we knew that they were going to end up hating one another in a murder kind of way, so Clex will always be dark -- and this pairing is not about dark. It's not all lightness either, naturally -- I mean, you have that many neuroses about abandonment coupled with communication issues, of course it's not all light. These two could just as easily kind of implode into themselves as flourish, there's that risk there.
What this pairing is is filled with possibility. They're a fresh breeze, and what's more, what's so attractive about this pairing (you know, beyond Allison Mack and Kristin Kreuk) is that they've got chemistry, and they've got some friendship, but they're delicate. They're -- and I hesitate to use this word for anything in this anvilly show -- realistic, because they're not buddy-buddy, and they don't rely upon the 'hate each other because really they're sublimating want to fuck' trope. They're just people, pulled toward one another in a fragile orbit.
It could shatter. They could collide, and be utterly fractured, or they could rotate around each other, become part of one another's gravity. It could fade, mellow, and they could progress on their seperate paths calmly. There's not a lot here that *couldn't* happen.
Which is really what I think is so fascinating about it.
SV is not particularly attentive to the women around, and this pairing -- well, naturally you get to know two of the major female characters better, and there's something about the big ol' FU of being like 'Forget your patriarchal crap, AlMiles, I'ma write about the ladies' that I find appealing. But there's some truth to the fact that I find it appealing to write this pairing, to a degree, because while it's still SV, it's an inverse of SV. It's a female-centric world, rather than the MANMANMANMANFATHERMAN bullshit that permeates so much of SV.
Chloe's a spark, and Lana's a glow. They're not the same, but they're not entirely different. They've got overlap, but there are also gaps between them. Writing this pairing is about bridging these gaps, and doing so knowing that you're writing two girls who are afraid of being alone, left behind, not chosen. It's tricky, but when it works? It *works*, and in some ways, Chloe/Lana is a really wonderful antidote to all the vitriol that gets thrown around when one considers Clex.
The connection these two have is as delicate as any budding high school lesbian relationship, made more so by the Clark complication (Is Chloe just settling for Lana? Is Lana just settling for Chloe? If Clark changes his mind and goes after one of them, what happens then?). It's a tender thing, like new grass, and there's something about that I find really beautiful. To make it work, they need to nurture it, but I think they can do that. I think that both of them are too afraid of being alone, frankly, to let it whither if somethings springs up between them.