Leverage

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Name: Leverage
Abbreviation(s): none
Creator: John Rogers & Chris Downey
Date(s): 2008-2012
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB,[1] Leverage at TV.com,[2] Official series page on TNT,[3] Official fan wiki,[4] Leverage Fandom wikia[5]
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Leverage is a series follows a team of thieves, hackers, and grifters who act as modern-day Robin Hoods, taking revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others.[6]

Leverage stars Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator whose life was thrown into turmoil when his own employer refused to fund his dying son's treatment. In the first episode, he takes a job offer from a stranger in a bar and agrees to supervise a team of his former adversaries: Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is a computer expert and hacker; Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is a thief with a fondness for explosives; Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) is a "retrieval specialist" who doesn't like guns, but has a way with violence. They're joined on their first job by Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), a grifter and part-time actress.

During the second season, a new character joined the cast temporarily: Tara Cole, a grifter who was filling in for Sophie while Sophie was off finding herself. Tara was played by Jeri Ryan.

TPTB and the fans

The show runner, John Rogers, has a long-running blog, Kung Fu Monkey.[7] He's been talking about Leverage on his blog since before he cast the show, so some fans have been following along since long before the show hit the air. He does an open thread for questions after each show airs, and answers most of the questions. He's been open about mistakes made, and of network interference. He's a long-time web person, and prefaces posts on episodes with comments like, "this one is going to get lots of fanfic written." He's also a gamer, comic-book writer, and huge Doctor Who/Torchwood fan -- references to all of these have already appeared in the show.

Rogers has also, in a post on his blog,[8] expressed broadly positive sentiments about fanworks (albeit tarred with some inaccuracies), saying he thinks that "fanfic is the sign of a healthy show". He also was extremely active on Twitter, answering questions about the show, for example:

@khenry001 oh, sorry. Actually, yeah, there's some intention there. We built the long game around a five year plan.— John Rogers (@jonrog1) December 30, 2012[9]

Support of the fandom was also expressed in the first official Leverage convention, CONcon,[10] held March 19-21, 2010 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The hotel is where some scenes in the show were filmed. The event was a co-production of TNT, Dean Devlin, Electric Entertainment, and MBL Entertainment. Dean Devlin floated the idea for a convention on Twitter and was overwhelmed with positive response from fans.[11] The name of the convention came from multiple fan suggestions.

In December 2012, Ruth Alderson tweeted the question with the hashtag #Leverage: "Um. Did John Rogers just use his series finale to make the OT3 basically canon?", to which she received a tweet from Rogers that said: "You're welcome."[12]

Criticism of the Series

Some fans of Leverage find various elements of the series deeply problematic. Issues relating to race and the representation of countries other than the U.S. are troubling to certain viewers: "Its well-meaning white liberal niceness is so far away from the kind of political awareness I demand from anything I am expected to give intellectual acknowledgement to, that I resent it for falling so short."[13][Dead link]

Because of the premise of the show revolving around conning others, and the cast pretending to be people they aren't, stereotypical and joking portrayals of minorities troublingly reoccur. For example, Leverage has used Jewishness (and transness) as props and jokes:

Most episodes are like "The Boiler Room Job," where Jewish references are tossed in with little if any relationship to the central plot. For example, computer hacker Alec Hardison (played by African American actor Aldis Hodge), identifies himself as Jewish several times to distract villains or stall for time. [...] In "The Cross My Heart Job" (2011), accusation of anti-semitism combines with transphobia in an attempt to flummox airport employees who have noticed that Hardison possesses the (stolen) identification badge of a Black female employee. The humor in this and similar moments works through surprise in the unexpected juxtaposition of Blackness and Jewishness. The complex racial history of Black-Jewish relations—from Jewish slave owners and Blackface minstrelsy to Tin Pan Alley and Jewish support for the Civil Rights Movement—is reduced to the flawed presumption that Blacks are never Jewish (and Jews are never Black).--"Yiddishkeit", "Jewissance," and Double-Coding in "Leverage" by Elyce Rae Helford[14]

Leverage Fandom

Leverage fandom got off the ground almost as soon as the show premiered, and with the show's largely ensemble cast of five characters to choose from, there is wide interest in het, slash, and femslash pairings. The team caper format, where one job is followed from beginning to end in each episode, also attracts a lot of gen fans.

In early Leverage fandom, there was no one pairing that took the fandom by storm. However, Eliot appeared to be the fandom's BSO.[15] Some of Eliot's popularity with fans is a result of the existing fanbase for Christian Kane, due in part to the actor's role as Lindsey McDonald on Angel: The Series and his inclusion in many CWRPS and other RPF fanworks. At both Escapade 2010 and bitchin'party 2010, it was noted in discussion of the show that many fanworks feature OT3 or multiple pairings.

Timothy Hutton, who played Archie Goodwin on Nero Wolfe, also had an existing fanbase.

At the first official convention for Leverage Fans, Con-Con, a vote was taken and the term "Grifters" was adopted as the official name for Leverage fans.[16]

Fanfiction

Most fanfiction tends to be short works, although a Leverage Big Bang, thebigbangjob[17] ran in 2009-2014, and several long, multi-chaptered works have been posted to communities as WIPs.

There are crossovers with many fandoms. Supernatural, Angel, and White Collar are the most common. There are AUs, and caper stories, and a large amount of gen fiction. A common trope is to mimic the episode title style of The Something Witty Job for story titles.

Popular Pairings

By 2019, the most popular overall pairing is Alec Hardison/Parker/Eliot Spencer, overtaking both slash and het ships, as well as gen fic.[18]

In April 2009, the most popular slash pairing was Eliot/Nate, with Alec/Eliot a close second.[19][20] However, by February 2019, Eliot/Nate has become a relatively minor ship, with Alec/Eliot overtaking it with more than twice as many works tagged on Ao3.[21]

Due to Nate/Sophie and Alec/Parker becoming canon, these two are the most popular het pairings on the show. Eliot/Parker was popular at the beginning of the show because of a great chemistry between the actors, but now, with canon pairings firmly established, Eliot/Parker doesn't appear to be growing.[citation needed]

There is a reasonable amount of femslash, mostly featuring Parker/Sophie, with some Sophie/Tara and Parker/Tara happening after Tara was introduced. Maggie, Nate's ex-wife, is also sometimes paired with Sophie, Tara, or Parker; and Parker is occasionally paired with her friend Peggy. One of TPTB said in a DVD commentary that he believes Sophie and Maggie have hooked up.[22]

There are other threesomes/moresomes written aside from Hardison/Parker/Eliot,[citation needed] but that is the main OT3 of the fandom, and fairly popular with cross-fandom threesome fans. It is so ubiquitous it is usually simply referred to as "the Leverage OT3".[23][24][25][26][27]

Representative Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Vids

Meta

Fanart

Communities

Livejournal

Dreamwidth

Mailing Lists

Archives

Challenges

References

  1. IMDB archived link
  2. TV.com archived link
  3. Official series page archived link
  4. Leverage wiki archived link
  5. Leverage Fandom wikia archived link
  6. Official TNT Leverage page, archived link. (Accessed January 27, 2009)
  7. Kung Fu Monkey Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  8. John Rogers, LEVERAGE #205 "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" Post-game. Archived link. (Accessed September 25, 2009)
  9. Archived tweet about five year plan
  10. WELCOME TO CON-con. Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  11. Dean Devlin On ‘Leverage’, The Con-Con And Shooting In Portland, Popculture Zoo. Archived link. (Accessed March 31, 2010)
  12. Archived tweet about OT3
  13. Leverage Season 3 Ep 1 and 2. (Accessed June 30, 2010).
  14. Helford, Elyce Rae. "Yiddishkeit", "Jewissance," and Double-Coding in "Leverage". Studies in Popular Culture 36, no. 2 (2014): 109-124. Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  15. cofax7, Lies, damn lies, and statistics (Leverage fanfic demographics). Archived link. (Accessed May 1, 2009)
  16. iF Magazine Con-con News: 'LEVERAGE' FANS - YOU HAVE A NAME!. General ifmagazine.com archived link, with 'grifters' mentioned. (Accessed April 27, 2010)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Archived link
  18. Leverage works on Ao3. (Accessed 22 February 2019)
  19. facetofcathy, Leverage on Delicious as at Monday, April 13, 2009 - Pairing Charts. (Accessed May 1, 2009). NOTE: DEAD LINK.
  20. Get Even, Get Fiction comm, the most active Leverage fic community on Livejournal in February 2009. Compare 238 works tagged Nate/Eliot to 205 works tagged Eliot/Alec. Archived link. (Originally Accessed February 3, 2009)
  21. Nathan Ford/Eliot Spencer at Ao3 and Alec Hardison/Eliot Spencer at Ao3. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  22. And in Leverage femslash news... Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  23. ao3-feed-leverage-ot3 tumblr. A tumblr feed for Hardison/Parker/Eliot fic called "ao3-feed-leverage-ot3". Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  24. whitepawns, an lj comm explicitly subtitled "Leverage OT3", for works featuring Hardison, Parker, and Eliot. Archived link.Second archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  25. twitter search. Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  26. Leverage OT3 (pre-relationship) the AO3 tag "Leverage OT3 (pre-relationship)", which is synonymous with "Alec Hardison/Parker/Eliot Spencer". Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  27. leverage ot3 tag on tumblr. The Tumblr tag for "Leverage OT3", which features Hardison/Parker/Eliot content. Archived link. (Accessed February 22, 2019)
  28. Imma Be archived link
  29. Good Idea At The Time archived link
  30. newbieguide archived link
  31. leverage_on_tnt archived link. Second archived link.
  32. leveragenews archived link
  33. provideleverage archived link. Second archived link
  34. geteven_getfic archived link
  35. leverage_fic archived link
  36. leverage dreamwidth archived link. Second archived link
  37. thefemslashjob archived link
  38. Leverage Fanfic archived link
  39. Older Leverage Fans archived link
  40. Leverage Kink archived link