Sunday, April 14, 2013

Criminal Minds: Fans voice their anguish

By Nick Grant

Last Monday's episode of Criminal Minds caused an uproar after it played in the US in January. When Dr Spencer Reid's first meeting with long-distance girlfriend Maeve ended with him being forced to watch her murder, the show's fans took to cyberspace to share their anguish and rage at the latest injustice suffered by their favourite character.

"Why isn't Reid allowed to be happy?" was typical of the thousands of responses, as were "It absolutely left me sobbing and emotionally destroyed", and "I am super pissed about this."

"We have a joke here on the show that we broke the internet with that episode," laughs Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays Reid.

For more The New Zealand Herald


  1. Reid fans act like he's the ONLY character on the show that isn't allowed to be happy. Honestly, I thought the whole telephone girlfriend thing was absurd and felt nothing when she died. I also think it's absurd that he's struggling so much with the loss of someone he'd never even met. Hotch lost the love of his life and the mother of his child, someone he'd actually known, loved and had a physical relationship with and didn't carry on to the extent that Reid has been.

  2. To the above poster, you have to remember that Reid is not like the others. It isn't easy for him to find love and he finally did. He has also had a very difficult childhood. His father abandoned him and he was left to care for his schizophrenic mother. He was always a lot younger than his peers in school and was bullied. He's been kidnapped and tortured and became a drug addict.

    I agree that it was very sad when Hailey died but this was very sad as well. A lot of people were upset that Maeve died and they wouldn't be if they didn't buy the story.

  3. If the show has a joke that they "broke the internet" with that show, then I guess the show had a huge impact on a lot of fans and the show was able to measure internet response through various tracking means. It's done all the time.

    And Reid grieving does not take away from your hero suffering. Let's just say Hotch had it worse when Haley died and be done with it.

  4. I don't think any of the characters had an ideal childhood did they? Morgan was molested, Hotch was abused, JJ had a sibling commit suicide, Garcia lost both her parents at a young age. Reid isn't special in that regard. Reid is special because he's got some disorder that makes him socially retarded. I've always found that endearing. I love Reid. I've just grown weary of the Reid fan-girls who seem to think he's the only character on the show whose ever had to deal with any kind of hardship and how if he doesn't monopolize every single episode he's being ignored or shafted. If you aren't a viewer who is in love with MGG/Reid, the telephone girlfriend arc didn't have an impact emotionally. It wasn't a relationship viewers were given time to care about or invest in or see how important that relationship was to Reid as it progressed over several seasons. It was a few episodes of "odd" and then it was over. Had something awful like that happened to Reid's mother I would've been sobbing right along with the MGG fans because that is a relationship the writers (back when the writing was good) took the time to make me care about and actually feel how much his mother means to him. There have been a couple of episodes involving his mother that actually put a big lump in my throat. That is the difference between something the audience can connect to and care about and something tossed out there to appease a fan base.

  5. "Socially retarded?" There is nothing mentally wrong with Reid. He doesn't have any disorders.

    Maeve was only on for a limited time but it was enough to sketch it out over a few episodes and turn them into a few months. When Maeve said, "Love you.." in that offhand manner at the phone booth to Reid and he reacted so strongly because he'd never been told that by a person with that type of meaning before that he walked in the wrong direction I thought it was an amazingly strong scene. This is a guy whose father abandoned him and whose mother loved him deeply but sometimes didn't even remember his name. A guy who's never been able to have the same social interactions and relationships a normal guy would be able to enjoy and who has never in thirty years found himself in love before. Reid is quirky and so was his relationship. And the end was heartbreaking. IMO he really ran the gambit from the thrill of a new romance, to the excitement of being in love, to the heartbreak and pain of it's brutal ending all in the course of 8 months. It was different and I enjoyed it.

    And yeah, even though you didn't care or feel anything for Reid and his loss, a ton of people did, thus the breaking the internet comment :) The show knew they got a visceral reaction out of a lot of people.

    Reid has been shafted in the past just like Hotch is being shafted this season. The way it makes you feel is the way Reid fans fans felt in season 7. I sympathize. But this season Reid is on a roll and this Reid fan girl is loving all of it very much.

  6. I'm confused by one of the posts above. So you're saying that the only reason Reid was given a dramatic story line was to appease his fans? Interesting. I guess that's the reason we're being given The Brother's Hotchner this season - to appease all the Hotch fan girls complaining that he's been ignored in season 8. And it's probably the reason they gave Hotch a girlfriend, Beth, because the fans wanted some Hotch loving.

    Seriously, I think it's because they are both characters on the show and deserve story lines, but whatever.

  7. That breaking the internet comment is a bit exaggerated. My internet didn't break. I had no trouble accessing any of my favorite websites after that episode. The guy's personal twitter feed becoming active is hardly "breaking the internet". The night the final episode of LOST aired is a good example of "breaking the internet". Websites were crashing and/or timing out everywhere.

    Why is this suddenly about Hotch? How has he been shafted? Where do fans get this idea that any of the characters have been shafted? If you take a season as a whole, all of the characters seem to get their fair share of face time except in the minds of the delusional who want the show to be all about their favorite character all of the time. I would completely agree though that the Hotch fans whine almost as badly as the Reid fans do. If they turned this into the Hotch and Reid show I'm guessing the fan bases would get all competitive and whine and complain if either character ever got a minute or two more screen time than the other.

    Yes, I believe the only reason Reid was given this dopey (calling it dramatic is too big of stretch for me) story line was to make his fans stop whining. Reid was already interesting and dramatic enough without that silly, unbelievable telephone romance. I'd rather focus on what we already know about Reid and build on that, same with Hotch, but at least this thing with Beth is an attempt at a natural continuation of his life outside of the BAU and moving past the trauma. It wasn't just some quickie arc so Hotch could get laid to appease his fans. I don't like or dislike Beth, but that going on in the background isn't any more odd or disruptive than his life with Haley was, it's just kind of there, part of who he is and it would've been nice if they had done the same for Reid.

    I could've gotten on board with the telephone girl thing if they had just let it continue on and let us watch Reid stumble and bumble his way through falling in love over a few seasons. But instead they turned it into some quick little arc that had to have a gratuitous tragic ending so we could watch Reid grieve and made the whole thing stupid and completely unbelievable, but hey it did what it was supposed to do, it settled the Reid fan base down and gave them something else to whine about.

  8. You don't like the Maeve story line. I get it! The person who made this all about Hotch was the very first poster in this thread!

    Your internet didn't break but a lot of fans were affected by Maeve's death to the point of the show realizing and discussing the impact. That's pretty cool I think. I also think it's cool that they continued it throughout the season and that Breen said that they were already planning a direction for Reid next season! Yeah!-

    In my opinion Hotch and Beth are bland. She stalked him, she giggled, he asked her out, she moved to NY. The only way this can resolve itself IMO is if Hotch leaves the BAU and takes a job in the NY office. That or it really seems like a getting laid on weekend situation. Opinions on this stuff always vary.

    I have seen Hotch fans complaining all over Twitter, Tumblr, fan boards and chats that Hotch is not getting enough air time. They are the same as the Reid fans were last season. No one expected Reid to have such a great season but it would have been nice if other fans could be gracious. I think a lot of people of all fan groups need some Preparation H.

  9. I didn't like how the Maeve storyline played out. It felt too rushed and I think it would have been better if they had let him keep the girlfriend and try to have a relationship. I was disappointed that they chose to kill the character because I liked the actress in the role. Even without looking at one another, Reid and Maeve had more chemistry than Hotch and Beth had while kissing.

    I guess I was sort of offended that they threw this Beth character at us and she was poorly written with bad dialog and has no chemistry with Hotch and the writers wanted to use her more but the actress was busy. They claimed they needed this Mary Sue to give Hotch a reason to smile. I wish they had come up with a better story for Hotch that didn't involve a Mary Sue. He could find other reasons to smile and feel happy.

    Likewise with Reid, there are other stories I wish they had told instead. It is very sad that not only did Maeve have more chemistry with Reid, but that the actress was available since her show got cancelled.

    I wish they had explained what had happened with Reid's mother. They drag up some Morgan stories that I felt had already had closure and didn't need to be brought up again, yet they leave us hanging about Reid's headaches (never satisfactorily dealt with) and his mother. I get they claim they couldn't get the actress, but they could have thrown us a line to explain what "issues" Reid was dealing with involving her back in season 7. What ever happened with Reid's dad? Are they still estranged? Did his father's role in the murder cover-up ruin him?

    I wish they had come up with something new for Morgan-- something involving the bomb squad or showing his expertise.

    I also wish they had shown us more about Hotch's childhood or more of his days as a prosecutor.

    The writers used to be able to balance the focus on the characters better. They showed less of the villains and more of the team solving the crimes. When an episode had something important for one character, the other characters were not usually pushed to the side too much. They got to contribute. Now if they focus on one they seem to not have room to focus on the others as much-- mostly because it seems they are too busy showing us the villains.

    I do feel that Hotch got shoved into the background and not used as the team leader in the first half of this season. I don't think he's really had any good meaty episodes since about season 5. I did think they shortchanged the fans on Hotch's grieving-- but I think that was because the show used to not focus so much on the team's emotional issues and spent more time on the cases. Hotch is a very private and controlled person so he's not going to be weeping in the bullpen. He's got a kid so he has to tough it out and not let himself fall apart.

    Reid is younger and didn't learn the same techniques in dealing with his emotions so he may come off as more emotional-- although if you compare him to Gideon he's very mature. Gideon used to have sulks and mope around and wouldn't even try to do his job when he got emotional.

    The in-fighting between fans is sad. Too much us vs them attitude.

    The writers claimed this story was for character development for Reid, but I'm seeing hints that they plan to regress him back to "goofy Einstein" again before the end of the season. So much for character development. I think they wasted this opportunity.

    Mind you, I didn't want to see him moping or spending too much time grieving, but it would be interesting to see if something about him changed in response to this other than him getting sad for awhile and then being happy again.

  10. You have to remember there're people who love Beth and love Hotch/Beth storyline and think they have great chemistry (even they are not vocal like who hate her). Beth's presence and their storyline is consistent in Hotch's narrative from the Pilot. And that is very important. Sorry, I just feel need to put the opinion other than negative ones about Beth.

  11. Yes, I know some people like Beth. I would be fine with her if she were better written. When Bellamy got to ad-lib the wedding toast for last year's finale, I liked her and thought she was very genuine and good. But they seem to give her this childish dialog and she rubs me (and quite a few others) the wrong way.

    Plus, I just couldn't help but get the feeling that it was more vicarious wish fulfillment from the writers and that they couldn't think of any other storyline other than to give him a girlfriend. In some ways, I felt it became more about Beth than about Hotch. They had some interesting threads that they didn't pursue-- such as the fact that her father had just died and they never had anything else said about that. It went to giggly scenes and then the gagworthy ones with Jack.

    I may be in the minority here, but I do not like Jack. I know the actor is a child, but he's not very good. I cringe whenever they have him on screen.

    As to the story for Beth, I don't like the way she was introduced because I felt they had to stretch a lot of things and that they didn't use common sense.

    There were so many things wrong with that plot. Mind you, the whole plot for Maeve was not good either, but the dialog and such was done well enough that I could believe Reid was in love with her.

    If I really wanted to nitpick the Maeve/Reid thing I could point out that he likely would have had no reason to go to a neurogeneticist for his headaches unless it was somehow related to his mother's or father's health but even then its iffy. She wouldn't be able to tell a lot from an MRI (and I have that assurance from an actual neurogeneticist). Reid going to a different payphone every Sunday wouldn't work out because he would have run out of payphones. Then they had him actually use a cellphone to call her but then went back to payphones.

    No need to apologize. If you like something that is good. :-) Different tastes and all. I love pumpkin pie but have friends who hate it. It's all a matter of preference.

  12. I just realized that last paragraph was a grammatical nightmare. I meant to say that it is good that you like the story.

  13. I loved this storyline. It was so sad but that's what made it so good. I just hope they explore the aftermath of it more. I want to see some clear changes in his character.

    Oh and btw..he said it was a "joke" about breaking the internet. They haven't had so many vocal fans about a storyline the last couple of seasons. People had some pretty strong reactions to the episode...both negative and positive. Bottom line, MOST fans cared enough to have a reaction. Obviously there will be some fans who just don't care but I'm speaking of the majority which can be tracked by social media.

  14. The only instance we've had of Reid returning to "goofy Einstein" is through an offhand comment by Shemar. As a Reid fan I'm pretty happy with the attention he's received this season as well as the character development he's had as a result of the storyline - compared to last season where he was a walking Google, and season 6 where his episodes where a disjointed mess. Also before his twitter was hacked Breen Frasier hinted at a development in the works for Reid next season in a responding tweet to a fan. So I'm gonna stay hopeful. It's better than I ever expected for Reid when the season started. :)

    I realize that Hotch might not have had a juicy storyline since season 5 but Reid fans can take that back one further to season 4! LOL. A big part of Hotch's job as team leader is to delegate to his team members and I think he's been doing a good job of that this season. I think maybe a lot of fans want him to be front and center on the action all the time and this season, at least in the first half, he's seen more in a delegating role. I'm sure that's going to change with Brother's Hotchner.

    I can understand some fans not being happy with the amount of screen time or story-lines their favorite is receiving. Last season when Reid disappeared half way through the second half of most episodes I wasn't thrilled at all. The show is an ensemble cast and I think that since they are one Profiler too heavy it's been difficult for the writers to find enough to go around.

    Also, like the Maeve storyline or hate it the horror or what happened to her and Reid in Zugzwang resonated with so many fans in the US and worldwide that the show took note of the social media explosion. And I think that's pretty amazing!

  15. It just sucks. I refused to watch it again.


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