• Cinema
  • river tam

Subject: River Tam

So do you know who River Tam is? She’s the enigmatic stowaway on the Firefly class starship Serenity, and as trailers seem to promise, she blossoms into full kick-ass mode in the upcoming film of the same name. She’s got a past, as so many enigmatic kick-ass characters do, and that past involves long-term imprisonment in a government gulag. There, she apparently suffered through batteries of invasive and brutal tests, endless evaluations and many sub-par meals.

Firefly geeks know what I’m talking about. Firefly is, of course, the cool, short-lived show by Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon. Recently Mr. Whedon shot a series of very short pieces with Summer Glau, the elfin actress who plays River Tam that provide a glimpse into a particular encounter between Summer’s character and one of the doctors during her imprisonment. Joss himself plays the doctor (the first time he’s ever acted in front of the camera.) He asks questions. He takes notes. He provokes his subject into a violent rage and then he dies messily at her hands.

A close friend recently hands me a piece of memorablia from the shoot. he was present for the taping of the sessions and managed to get his hands on this (he gave it to me a couple months ago, but I’m only getting around to posting it now):

It’s the memo pad Dr. Joss uses during the interrogaton. It’s still sticky with blood. Note the suggested treatment: 5mg of “Pax” Is this a reference to “Paxil” or perhaps it’s just a clever way of saying maybe River Tam just needs a little Peace? she could probably benefit from a little of both.

And what the heck does “udderific” mean? Is this a sexist doctor? And what kind of doctor diagnoses an “underdeveloped Yin?” Most amusing:

UPDATE: Jeremy over at fireflymovie.com says that the videos are part of a viral marketing campaign for the movie. Check ’em out here: session416.com

SECOND UPDATE: There’s been a ton of amusing speculation over at whedonesque as to whether this is an authentic prop or not. Man, you guys are intense. The prop is from a few months ago. If I had any idea it would cause so much furor I wouldn’t have waited so long to post it. My buddy picked up the prop (as well as the script for the session, which I don’t have in hand) and then proceeded to agonize for some time about whether we should blog about it. After we gave it some time, he finally said fuck it. Post it and see what happens. It’s not really that big a deal. Keep it up, guys.

THIRD UPDATE: Not so much an update as a redirect. If you’ve come here directly, I’ve responded (out of both a sense of fun and duty) to some of the message board comments in a new post. And I also discovered some more pages in the mysterious notepad…

One Comment

  1. Ash_Crow
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm | [link]


    I hope the author of this page is still notified of comments. I am writing the French Wikipedia article about the River Tam sessions and I was wondering if you could please publish the photos above under CC-By-SA licence so they can be put on Wikimedia Commons and used on the Wikipedia article?

    Thank you,

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *