Whilst apparently many visitors to those, and other, sites are far too dense for their own good, Page 47 has been created in order to provide a central, easy to comprehend, no nonsense presentation of the "evidence", with appropriate rebuttals and no mocking sarcasm.
Well, okay, maybe a little mocking sarcasm. No one said I had to be nice.
MVCampaign.com and assorted other websites, affiliated or not, are using information contained in the following article as the primary basis for their various and sundry efforts to ensure Michael Vartan (and by extension, Michael Vaughn) does not leave Alias. If you have not already read the article, I highly recommend doing so, rather than relying on the overly emotional rhetoric being spouted elsewhere.
http://www.eonline.com/Gossip/Kristin/Archive2005/050729.html (will open in a new window - and it does contain a minor spoiler... but if you're here already, don't be too concerned. It's not big.)
If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, you don't need to. Selected sections are quoted below, with commentary.
Kristin Veitch writes:
Someone is leaving Alias. A main, integral character.
It's happening early in the season. And many of you will be devastated.
Now, I'm sure some of you will hate me for this, but I'm not going to name this person.
(Trimmed some contents - see link for the rest)
Whatever salacious spin these mags may put on this person's exit, the truth is, this AWOL Alias star is leaving of his/her own will.
That handful of sentences really gets down to the crux of the matter. MVCampaign and their flock of sheep have come to the following conclusions, based on those comments:
- Someone, other than the "confirmed" Greg Grunberg, is definitely leaving the show this season
- That person is definitely Michael Vartan
- Michael Vartan has been forced to leave the show, or fired.
There. It's been said. Stripped of all the emotional language and jingoistic catchphrases like "proactive rather than reactive", it looks kind of ridiculous, right? Ms. Veitch does not specify a name, she will not even go so far as to identify the gender of the actor that is leaving. The idea that it is most definitely Vartan that is leaving has been wholly and completely invented by fanatics. There is no valid argument to deny this point.
On MVCampaign's own forums, one of their members received a reply from a publicity person at ABC, which very clearly states that Michael Vartan is still currently working on the show. She quite deliberately neither confirms nor denies the rumour. Read it closely.
Done? Good. Now we can examine what possible reason there could be for that cleverly written piece of email.
First, unlike the Vartan loving fanatics, we're not going to blindly assume Ms Veitch knows of what she speaks.
Let us first assume that Ms Veitch was actually wrong in asserting that a character, other than Weiss, is leaving the show. This is a not an unreasonable assumption. Gossip columnists regularly get things wrong, attempting to make up the average by "predicting" as many things as possible, based on whatever they hear from "sources".
And it's not exactly unheard of for a gossip columnist to completely make things up.
If we start at that assumption, what possible reason could there be for the ABC Rep. to neither confirm nor deny?
Someone's life is going to be put in mortal peril. Probably in a more extreme fashion than ever before.
The reason for keeping their fate a secret should become fairly apparent now - if you already know an actor is leaving a show after the 4th episode, when they're shot in the 4th episode you're not going to be on the edge of your seat wondering if they're going to make it.
As many of you would be aware, Alias has not been doing fantastic in the ratings department. What better way to ensure more folk want to tune in than the potential for a long-standing character to actually die and not come back.
Now, to be fair, it is of course possible that Ms Veitch was right on the money. Someone, again other than Grunberg, may indeed be leaving the show.
But why does that have to mean Vaughn?
The MVCampaign folk (and again, their sheep) would have you believe that it must be Vaughn, for one of two reasons: 1) No one would be "devastated" by the exit of an actor such as Victor Garber (which I know to be untrue) or 2) he'd be pushed aside because Jennifer Garner is no longer dating him.
The second point will be addressed first, as it is the easy one - Garner and Vartan broke up before the end of Season Four. If this was the reason for wanting him gone, why bother having him back for Season Five at all? Just have him die after the events of the finale for S4, or have him "disappear" in the period between Seasons Four & Five. Or they could even have bumped him off before the end of Season Four.
To assume that he has been forced to leave due to a relationship breakup is to assume that everyone involved in Alias lacks the professionalism to do their jobs. And that includes Vartan himself.
The first reason above actually has a little more validity about it. There's no argument that a lot of fans would be devastated at the loss of Vartan from the show. Regardless of your opinion of how integral to Alias he really is, he has been there since the beginning.
But the fanatics have, at best, a shaky grip on reality as it is. They seem completely unable to break their mind away from their own obsession with Vartan/Vaughn long enough to consider that maybe, just maybe, people other than themselves might be devastated more by the loss of someone else.
Like, say, Jennifer Garner? While you can make arguments until you're blue in the face about how integral Vaughn is to the show, you'll have a hard time convincing any rational person that he is more important than Ms Bristow.
And if you think on it some more, you'll see that Garner has more reason to leave - the biggest reason is, of course, her pregnancy. As Vartan himself has said, working on Alias can be extremely hard work. From what he has said, fourteen hour days are not uncommon.
To be completely honest, your humble writer has never actually been pregnant. But from what I understand, it is not always the most fun in the world? How much harder do you suppose it will be if you're also being expected to put in long hours at work, under hot studio lights, possibly with wigs and costume changes... you've seen the show. You know the kind of things Garner is required to do as a matter of course.
Would you truly be terribly shocked if she wanted at least some time off?
Can you honestly say that fewer people would be devastated at her leaving the show, than there would be if Vartan left.
Of course you can't.
And I haven't even needed to touch on how many fans of other characters there are - no one can seriously expect the Marshall Flinkman fans to be happy if he is the one leaving, can they?
To be fair, we'll now assume for the sake of making this argument complete, that Vartan is the one leaving and that yes, he is being fired or otherwise forced to leave.
This would, of course, be fairly sad.
But have a look at it from the point of view of the people who actually work on the show. Do you really think that J.J. Abrams would fire anyone on a whim? There'd have to be a reason. A good one, too.
Which implies there's been trouble, or general awkwardness on set. And they're the ones that have to deal with the situation, day in and day out.
Who do you choose to get rid of, if the situation has become untenable? The main star of the show, and imminent mother? Or the lesser star?
There's no getting around the fact that it would be an unpleasant decision, but ultimately if the unease is going to affect the working environment too much, something has to be done.
And all the campaigning in the world cannot change that. You may think the decision to fire Vartan is wrong, but it is not your decision. Threatening the very show that brought him to your attention in the first place is truly obnoxious.
Pre-judging the future of the series based on wholly unsubstantiated rumour and innuendo is equally foolish.
And no amount of attempts at silencing people who would openly say so will ever change the facts.
In the interests of providing a constructive alternative, I have a suggestion for the many fans of Michael Vartan - rather than attempting to sabotage a show that a multitude of people enjoy, because your favourite character is/might-be leaving, how about you direct your efforts towards supporting any of Vartan's future endeavours? If he truly is leaving Alias no amount of chest thumping, wailing and gnashing of teeth is likely to change that decision.
If he'll no longer be devoting so much of his time to the show, he is very likely to take on more movie roles. Go out and see them in the cinema. Multiple times, if you can afford it. Buy the DVDs of movies he is in. Show your support of the man in a constructive fashion, rather than a destructive one. Vartan himself has never shown any malice towards Alias - he has often raved about it. Clearly he doesn't regret his time on the show, whether it is coming to an end or not.
Take heed of your own words - Support Michael Vartan.
Don't try and destroy a show that has given him so much.