Title: “Tomorrow’s Sexual Tension…Today”
Fandom: Early Edition
Spoilers: The Entire Series (1995-2000)
Notes: A massive thanks to serrico for all of her input. She was the one who welcomed me into the online fandom all the way back in 2002 (<sings>”Memories…all alone…”</sings>) and has been a constant source of input and support on my many fannish endeavors. (Oh, yeah, and she also got me into Smallville fandom. I don’t know whether to thank her, or….*heh*) Consider this a co-writing credit on this essay as she really helped to clarify my points and added in elements I’d forgotten.
Email: clannadlvr at yahoo dot com
Ah, welcome to one of the most deliciously unrequited textual relationships in modern television! During the show’s four year run, the PTB at Early Edition paired the main protagonist, Gary Hobson, with various females, resulting in varying degrees of fan reaction. *cough*Erica*cough*. However, most fans will agree that the antagonistic relationship between the beleaguered guy who gets tomorrow’s paper today and the tough cop who is suspicious of his actions is one of the most delightful on the show.
A quick background
on Early Edition:
The show centers on Gary Hobson, a stockbroker in his early
thirties who, after getting thrown out of the house by his wife on their
wedding anniversary, starts receiving an odd newspaper every day. Why is it odd? He finds it on his hotel
room’s welcome mat every morning, replete with a seemingly magical orange
Throughout the series, Gary constantly struggles with the
demands the paper puts on his life and the inability he has to break with his
duties- as he’s often reminded, using the paper to help others is his
choice. Yet his moral makeup, including the
demands of his conscience, overrule his desire to quit.
Smart, attractive, and occasionally acerbic, Detective
Brigatti at first seems to be the stereotypical female TV cop; she’s tough as nails because she has to be, a
woman in a man’s world doing a man’s job.
Yet her interactions with
In one of the most poignant episodes of the show, the
two-parter “Fatal Edition,” Gary is arrested for murder, but soon escapes
police custody in order to find the real culprit. In one scene, Brigatti finds
(Another quick note on Brigatti’s character: serrico pointed out that the EE fandom almost never refers to her by her first name, Toni. So much of this is based on the fact that Gary and Toni refer to each other as Hobson and Brigatti during most of their interaction. This nomenclature was absorbed by the fandom as a way of describing their unique relationship. I’ll try to use both during this essay in an effort to highlight their outward/interactive characters, Hobson/Brigatti, and their inner selves, Gary/Toni.)
Gary/Brigatti: Canon Evidence
Well, as this is an established canon un-relationship since Gary and Brigatti never really get together during the run of the show, though they do agree to go on a date in 'Occasionally Amber,' the evidence for this pairing is still relatively strong. First off, here are some key events during their relationship on screen, by episode:
“In Gary We Trust”: In their first episode together, Gary Hobson
and Federal Marshall Brigatti quickly establish
a biting, tension filled repartee that has been absent from almost every other
relationship Gary has had with other female characters. While most of Gary’s past relationships-
Marcia, Emma, Renee, and of course, the mostly-despised-by-fans-Erica- have
always had a certain amount of tension due to his secret keeping, the immediate
electricity between Gary and Brigatti makes this relationship relatively unique
from the get-go. (As serrico reminds me,
his relationship with Meredith Carson, a reporter in season one, is relatively
snarky as well, and, Pre-Brigatti, is
“Crumb Again”: The snark continues in this episode as
Federal Agent Brigatti becomes a detective with the Chicago PD. Of course, this is wonderful in that we get
to see Gary and Toni interact a great deal more, especially since she’ll now
“The Iceman Taketh”-
bwhahah!!! Oh, yes. It’s THAT episode. The one with the kiss. And (huge kudos
here to serrico for reminding me of incidents during the episode that I’d since
forgotten) so much more. Gary and
Brigatti’s relationship reaches a new level of exasperation and flirtation as
the two are forced to pose as husband and wife to stop a jewel thief. Brilliant exchanges like the following cement
the irascible nature of their “courtship”:
Brigatti: Oh, and another thing. If I was married to you and you acted like that, I'd shoot ya.
If you want a primer on how Gary and Toni interact, one that
shows you how/why they are a general fandom OTP, this is the episode to
watch. During their fake-marriage, the
two pepper their conversations with nastily tossed endearments and saccharine
looks. Brigatti calls
Another great element of this episode are the moments in
which Gary and Toni aren’t play
acting, per se. For example, as they
have to share a room together for their cover story, the sexual tension is
palpable in close quarters.
But the highpoint in this episode for the characters is
when, in a scene where they must act like a married couple in order to cement
their cover stories, the two are “forced” to kiss. The tentative/awkward embrace quickly turns
passionate, with Toni and Gary turning heads by their aggressive tonsil
hockey. Of course, they both deny that
there is anything else to that kiss other than acting, yet the audience knows
better. In the ending scene of the
episode, when Brigatti comes to
“Fatal Edition, Parts
1&2”: Again, I have to point to
the aforementioned scene where Brigatti has
“Occasionally Amber”: This is the last episode in which Brigatti
appears and, though sadly the relationship is not completely resolved, it still
gives us ample examples of their sexual tension. We see Brigatti’s rampant jealousy once
more, which causes even more bickering between Toni and Gary. Though no huge declarations are made…we get a
prize all the same at the end of the episode.
Why Gary/Brigatti?- Interpretations:
It would be easy to say that the popularity of G/B within
the fandom, to the exclusion of all other
Let me back up by first saying that in order to understand
Gary/Brigatti, you have to look at the relationships
Next, there’s Meredith, a newspaper reporter who at first
seems to want a relationship with
So how does this affect Gary/Brigatti? To put it simply, all of these “not meant to
be” situations put into relief the undeniable attraction between our paperboy
and cop. In each of the above
Yet what’s most interesting about G/B is that it’s their
similarities that make them so compatible.
Both are trying to do good, to make the world a better place. Their different perspectives cause conflict,
but can’t eliminate the underlying mission that they share. Even more interesting is the fact that both
characters have to deal with duality on a daily basis. Brigatti seems to fight a battle between being
a cop and a person throughout her
time on the show, her duties often getting in the way of her desire to form
Now, of course, latent understanding, even if they don’t
realize it, can’t completely explain why this pairing has become an OTP. So much of it is based on the way that Kyle
Chandler and Constance Marie play the roles, infusing each of their scenes
together with enough electricity to power all of
Other Ship Elements:
Throughout the six episodes, there exist many other textual
clues to their increasing connection.
Though Brigatti’s allergies to The Cat can be interpreted at first as an
anti-ship element by the writers- Brigatti first appears during the Erica/Gary
era- it quickly develops into yet another element of their UST. Also,
As serrico so rightly points out, Gary/Toni works on a sort
of continuum, with both characters moving toward the same eventual goal, yet
changing their perceptions of the other at different moments. To put it simply, each has a “turning point”
when they begin to realize that their feelings for each other run much deeper
than initially perceived. For
Bottom line, the constant banter between Gary and Brigatti makes them entertaining, the sexual tension makes them hot, and their capacity to connect on a deeper level makes them irresistible. If only EE had lasted beyond its 4th season, maybe we may have been given a complete resolution to this fantastic pairing!
How I got into the
pairing and why you should too!:
I have to say that this is one of the few shows that made me a fan of a particular ship without fannish help. From the moment I started watching EE and saw their characters interact, I was hooked. Constance Marie does a brilliant job with the character of Brigatti, infusing her with just the right amounts of sass and uncertainty.
And, seriously, you’d have to be dead not to have your heart
race a bit at the sight of Kyle Chandler/the antics of Gary Hobson. (w00t!
Check KC out in the new “King Kong” movie- he’s playing a 1930’s B movie
actor. *swoons*) Ok, hormones aside, Gary Hobson is one of the
most interesting characters who’s appeared on the small screen in the past
decade. Many of you may be shaking your
heads right now, saying, “clannadlvr!
Please! This is a situation drama
on CBS, what are you thinking?” But see,
that’s the brilliance of the way that
If you need more proof, I suggest you check out the episode
“Fate,” widely hailed as the best in the series, in which
In sum, I’d suggest this ship to anyone who loves strong characters, especially strong female characters, snark, and undeniable sexual tension!
While the fandom wasn’t the thing that got me into G/B, it definitely perpetuated my fascination with their characters. Sadly, the EE fandom has not been as active in the past few years- the show ended in 2000 and, though it was rerun on PAX for a while, is no longer on the air here in the States. However, a devoted community exists, as does a great deal of fic surrounding the series.
First off, the Yahoo group devoted to the show can be found
This group revolves around episode discussion and fan activity.
Livejournal also has a community for the show and it's fans, early_edition.
As far as fic, the main site is Tales From the Tavern. You can find information on the related fanfic list serve on this location as well. The GTA archive has additional stories by some of the fandom’s most talented authors.
Stories that I just have to rec for the pairing are as follows:
Absolutely anything by Jayne Leitch- You can find all of her work at Tales From the Tavern and the link to her site, which I've given you, but I have to especially rec “Crimes Against Criminals” and “The Reason.” The first is an awesome story that pits Gary and Brigatti against the mob, with UST and interaction to beat the band. “The Reason” happens in the future, with a pre-established Gary-Brigatti relationship and will make you shiver. Be sure to check out her work in multiple fandoms!
Scheherzade’s fabulous series, which begins with “False Starts,” is excellent as well, though I’ll warn you that the series has been left incomplete. Still, it’s worth a read as many of the stories can be read individually. Great G/B.
For “teh smut,” check out "Thrust and Parry" by Cat and Mouse. It’s a “what if” set during the episode “The
Iceman Cometh,” where Gary and Toni take sexual tension and turn it into action.
In addition to Gary/Toni stories, there are other general
series stories that are must reads and which really serve to give you deeper
interpretations of the series’ main characters.
Here’s a short list of some of the best and brightest:
by Peregrin Anna- This amazing novel length EE story takes Gary into
the past, with Marissa and Chuck working in the future to secure his
safe return. An absolutely amazing journey that will suck you in
and refuse to let you go.
"Scrambled Eggs and Burnt Potatoes"
by Peregrin Anna- Yup, another PA story. It's pitch perfect
Marissa/Gary friendship and takes place right after the events of the
episode "Run, Gary, Run."
"Racing the Sky" by Peregrin Anna- Why is this in bold, you ask? Because, this is the
story. The one that I come back to every time to find that it
just gets better and better. Tears, laughter, you'll do it
all. PA takes us inside Marissa's experience of what happens when
someone is given the gift of experiencing their dreams in waking life.
Hands down, this is my favorite story of ANY fandom.
Bottom line, check out everything by Peregrin Anna at both the GTA and "Tales from the Tavern" sites.
Bottom line, check out everything by Peregrin Anna at both the GTA and "Tales from the Tavern" sites.
"Wergild" by inkling- Angst alert!!! Loss, depression, drinking...and hope.
That's just a sampling of some of the G/B and EE
general stories out there. Scope out the archives to read some of
the other stories offered. (A quick note about Early Edition
fanfiction...many stories feature Original Characters, usually in the
form of a Gary love interest. While many are Mary Sues, don't let
that discourage you from reading some of the stories- a number avoid
the Mary Sue trap and feature well crafted original characters.)
I hope you've enjoyed this little trip down fandom
memory lane! To those of you who are devotees of the pairing, I
hope that this gets you back into the Gary/Brigatti spirit. And
for those of you who are new, welcome!
To sum up, let's have some of the immortal words of Chuck Fishman...
"We enter this world alone. We leave it pretty much the same way. And in
between, a dance we call life. Problem is it takes two to Tango. So we look
for signs; something to help us to find our perfect partners. A smile, a
wave. But we have to be careful; because while some signs can be
misinterpreted, others can be missed completely. And if you think it's any
easier for a guy who gets tomorrow's newspaper today, think again.
Some dances you sit out. Others you change partners. The important thing is
you never stop dancing."
(from the episode "Phantom of the Opera"- thanks to the monologue archive)