[identity profile] alison-swift.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
 Posting early, because I'll be busy that day, hope it's no trouble. :D

Title: Midnight Cowboys and Roman Generals.
Author: Alison_Swift
Fandom: Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum 2: Battle at the Smithsonian
Pairing: Jedediah/Octavius
Spoilers: Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum 2.
Disclaimer: The characters in this manifesto belong to 20th Century Fox, not me.


In 2006, a movie was released that took the box office by storm and actually made kids want to go to a museum. The movie follows struggling divorcee Larry Daley trying to prove to his son that he can hold a job longer than a few days, but he gets more than he bargained for when the entire museum is revealed to come to life at night. 'Night at the Museum' took in 42.2 million dollars opening weekend, and maintained a #1 position until it's third week. Many fell for the character of Ahkmenrah and Larry Daley, but a select few of us brought our attention to two of the... smaller roles.

Jedediah and Octavius. The feuding historical figurines from the Diorama room brough plenty of squealing fangirls to fall head over heels for either of the pair. But perhaps it was the Brokeback Mountain reference that truly brought the fangirls to their knees.

In the immortal words of my friend Liz; 'Oh my God they are so Gay.'

But it wasn't until 'Night at the Museum 2: Battle at the Smithsonian' arrived in 2009 that the shippers became truly active. Really, it was as if the code word had been spoken and the many silent shippers suddenly started screaming.

The Players
"It's OCTAVIUS, Mary."
"Name's JEDEDIAH."




The leader of the Western exhibit, Jedediah is a true cowboy. Even full-knowing he's part of an exhibit, he attempts to spurn his crew of railroad workers to blow a hole in the mountain of their exhibit, claiming he cannot fight manifest destiny. In the first film, he is rivals with Octavius, frequently engaging in all-out warfare with the General's Roman army, even when Larry gives them full reign to roam the museum at their leisure. He's a fiery personality, outgoing and free-willed. His living counterpart, Jedediah Smith, was a hunter, trapper, fur-trader, trailblazer, and explorer in the Rocky Mountains in the early 1800s. He is portrayed by Owen Wilson.


The Roman General of the Rome Exhibit, Octavius is noble, arrogant, and a bit of a kiss ass. He too attempts to make his empire grow, and rivals with Jedediah in the first film with many battles which engage both groups of Westerners and Romans. He is extremely proud of his Roman heretage, often making comments about how the Romans are the best, and how they 'work alone'. He does however, prove to be smething of a suck-up, often calling Larry 'my liege' after he asserts his role as the caretaker of the Museum. His living counterpart was Gaius Octavius, or, Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome. He is portrayed by Steve Coogan.

"Manifest Destiny, you
can't fight it, neither can I!"


The first film introduces these two as heavy rivals, they hate each other, fight constantly, refuse to work together. But by the end of the film, they mesh as best friends. When Larry asks the two of them to take care of Cecil's van, the two work very well together. They stab the tire, and the air rushing out is so strong for the miniatures, that three of them are blown clear away, leaving only Jedediah and Octavius holding the spear, and striking the following exchange.

Octavius:Save yourself!
I ain't quittin' you!
*Octavius looks at him oddly*

Exsqueeze me? Was that a 'Brokeback Mountain' reference in my kid's movie? By the end of the movie, these two are such close friends, they've taken their hats and helmets off in each other's presence and are driving a remote controlled car around the museum together. But still, it isn't until the second movie where things really come into play.

Larry has left the museum after two years to follow his career as an inventor, as the head of his company Daley Devices, he doesn't have time to visit the museum anymore, and on his most recent visit, he discovers that most of the museum is being packed up and sent into storage in Washington. (Jed and Octavious share a crate.)

But, the little Capuchin Monkey Dexter steals the Tablet which brings them all to life, and it is accidentally sent to the massive storage basement beneath the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Larry gets a call from Jedediah, and rushes to Washington to see what all the trouble is about.

Turns out, Kahmunrah, Ahkmenrah's elder brother, wants the tablet to unleash his hellish army and take over the world as Pharoah, bringing the greatest villains from history under his command; Al Capone, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Ivan the Terrible.

While the group from the Natural History Museum is captured inside a travelling crate and guarded by Al Capone's thugs, it is Jedediah and Octavius who slip through a hole in the box and escape. Before they leave, however, Octavius requests that they 'chest bump', and they do so. They aren't afraid to be physical, plus, can you imagine if they chest bumped shirtless?

Ahem... During their escape, Al Capone's flunkies see them, and Jedediah sacrifices himself to buy time for Octavius to escape, though Octavius is reluctant to leave his friend's side. When Octavius sees Kahmunrah has Jedediah held captive, and is using him as a hostage to make Larry help him work the Tablet, Octavius claims that he will rescue Jed, and 'will not fail him'. Octavius tears off across the lawn of the White House, hoping to gain the aid of the Presidant, but is stopped in his efforts by a Squirrel.

Yes, you heard me correctly. But our Octavius is not to be stopped by the ever mighty Squirrel. He takes on the beast and rides it to the Lincoln memorial, and recruits the Abe Lincoln statue into helping him save Jedediah, resulting in one of the most historically bizarre battles in movie history.

During this, Jedediah has been places in an hour glass, and while we're pretty sure if he had died in the sand, he would have come back the following day, we're not going to let that get in the way of what led up to the closest thing to a love scene these two have ever had together. Mid-battle, the hourglass containing Jedediah is knocked over across the floor and lands with the sand crushing Jed; Octavius comes to his rescue.

Octavius: Jedediah, they need us!
Jedediah: Ain't gonna make it. This midnight cowboy's done his last hoedown. Octavius, remember me as I was, wild and free! And-
Octavius: No need for final words!
*places hand against glass, looking helpless*
Jedediah: Whoa whoa I'm not finished yet.
Octavius: Oh.
Jedediah: I wanna get to the story of our relationship, the evolution from enemy to friend.
Octavius: No.
Jedediah: It'll make you cry.
No! Because you are going to live!
*pulls helmet off, smashes the glass, freeing Jedediah*

Before I continue, let me explain another reference to effectively, a 'gay cowboy movie'. Jedediah references 'Midnight Cowboy', in which Jon Voight plays a guy trying to become a 'stud', and has sex with both men and women in the film. Jon Stewart joked that 'Midnight Cowboy', being thirty-five years before 'Brokeback Mountain', was a new genre of cinema: gay westerns!

Something tells me that the writers didn't just toss around ideas and say; 'Hey, how about he calls himself a midnight cowboy? That sounds westerny.'In Conclusion...

"So, really, why the hell should
we listen to your thoughts?"

So I have presented my case, dear readers. Now, I shall express my beliefs on the relationship.

Jed and Octavius really don't make a sappy-dappy lovey couple. They don't cuddle and tell each other 'I love youuu.' We all know the Romans were pretty uncaring to homosexuality, hell, most of 'em were banging their young wards or their generals. So we know Octavius probably wouldn't be entirely opposed to a sexual relationship with a man, but Jedediah is from a period in time when homosexuality is met with violence and seclusion. There's nothing to say that he would be comfortable with any sort of public display of affection.

So we can say this for them; they love each other on a friend basis, they're there for each other, they've got each other's backs, and they aren't going to give up on each other. But that's not to say they couldn't be something more. I could go on about the little nuances in the film that point towards 'They have buttsex when nobody's looking', but that's not their relationship. There's is the kind of relationship where they'll play cards and booze with the guys, laugh and talk and joke around; but the second nobody's around, they're making out and fighting for who's gonna be on top.

I like to say that they're merely friends who makeout.

So yes, they were born hundreds of years apart, and yes they're small plastic miniatures that only come to life at night, and yes everything about them is illogical and impossible.

But then again, isn't that love?

Sappy Ending Line be Damned,
here be Stuff from us Fans.


Chest_Bump is the only Jed/Oct community out there, tons of fic, art, icons, and stuff is posted here.

Recommended Reading  


One of my favorite ficlets, by amycoolz, delightfully awkward and amusing. PG-13.


NC-17, 'A Little Swim', links to previous chapters are on the link, very kinky and in-character.


xTheAuthoressx is doing a fanfic100 on the pairing, those she has can be found there. They vary from NSFW to pretty G.Art

-NC-17, the first official porn of these two. NSFW.



-NSFW, but awesome. Yoshikimos is probably my favorite Octediah artist.

-Very cute, Humon has several other bits of art.


Date: 2009-08-10 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 1angelette.livejournal.com
Here I was thinking I was TOTALLY CRAZY for briefly slashing Jed/Octavius when rewatching NATM1. But I'm not! <333 Pretty cool essay.

Date: 2009-08-11 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] comp-lady.livejournal.com
Um I think at some point Steve Coogan said this in an interview:

"There was a certain kind of subtext, what those of a discerning view might read as a subtle homoerotic subtext. If those people read that into it I certainly wouldn't argue with it, I think that's a very subtle observation"
"Yes, Octavius has a certain fascination with Jedediah because, of course, he wouldn't meet people as irreverent as that in the world of the Roman Empire, I think people were a bit more formal in their behavior, so that slightly gauche, throwaway attitude that goes with being a cowboy fascinates Octavius, and he finds it quite alluring"

Needless to say this interview needs to be found.

Date: 2009-10-26 12:52 am (UTC)
ext_386190: little bird (pic#)
From: [identity profile] hey-feygele.livejournal.com
SEVERAL MONTHS LATER, but yes, here it is (http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/cinemas/steve-coogan-interview-feature-3000.html).

Date: 2009-10-27 03:54 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-08-11 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mistyeyedreamer.livejournal.com
I remember watching the first movie (I haven't seen the second) and totally thinking "Oh my god, why is there so much Ho Yay between them?" Didn't stop me from liking it, or shipping it for that matter xD

Date: 2009-08-11 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verito295.livejournal.com
So, totally agree with nearly everything and love Jed/Octavius. I liked the way you talked about their relationship and friendship but my geekness cannot let the fact that Alexander the Great really, not only lived 300 years before Octavius Augustus but he also was nowhere near Roman. Otherwise, great job :)

Date: 2009-08-11 03:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verito295.livejournal.com
Yup, sorry, Alexander was born in 336BC and Octavius Augustus in 27BC. Even though, I've been thinking if they really mean Octavius to be Octavius Augustus because he was a Caesar, an Emperor. I mean ok, he was a great general but it seems a little odd.
OK I correct myself, at least in IMBD they list him as the same character as Octavius Augustus.. and now I have flashes of Jed hearing about it :D

Date: 2009-08-11 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verito295.livejournal.com
*cough* If you ever feel like feeding the bunnies *cough* I mean doing research :D
There's this awesome book.. ok after fishing in my bookcases make that books...
So, if you're interested in Alexander (very nice subject to be interested in btw) you can read The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. It's fiction and the lover is Bagoas, a persian boy who is actually an historical figure and unfortunately not Hephaestion, his beloved general.
Bisexuality in the Ancient World by Eva Cantarella is great too but damn dangerous, the bunnies it produces are scarily ravenous ;)
And just to include this one as well (because the look the cashier gave me when I presented it together with my son's Thomas the Tank Engine book was bloody priceless), Homosexuality & Civilization by Louis Crompton is great because it covers pretty much anything from Ancient Greece to contemporary times.
Urgh, sorry, I didn't mean to be a pain but I can't help myself when it comes to books, even worse when they are about ancient history and slash :D Hope you don't mind.
Edited Date: 2009-08-11 04:09 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-08-14 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] demonichate.livejournal.com
Thanks for that, I'm interested in gay research books, so I added some of those to my list of "Books-To-Buy". Thank you!

Date: 2009-08-14 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verito295.livejournal.com
No problem, proud the spread the love :D

Date: 2009-08-11 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slythwolf.livejournal.com
Honey, ILU, but Alexander the Great was not Roman.

Date: 2009-08-11 04:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nataku-kun.livejournal.com
I remember trying to find stuff on these two straight after watching the first film... that was when my slash-senses were a bit out of control though, hah hah but seeing this manifesto really lifts up my spirits, especially during exam period XD

Date: 2009-08-11 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amycoolz.livejournal.com
Yay! You mentioned my fic!

Oh, and when I read this line, I DIED: "...plus, can you imagine if they chest bumped shirtless?" lmao

This was a really awesome essay! I know I definitely cannot write essays like this... haha

Date: 2009-08-11 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adelsial.livejournal.com
Eee! I totally shipped these guys after watching the first movie. Haven't seen the second yet, but am excited that the slashyness goes on.

There are some really good fics for them (from the first movie) on the Yuletide Archive, as I recall.

Date: 2009-08-11 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rynankh.livejournal.com
Well, you have an interesting point there, I have not seen more than friends to their relationship but they're kinda cute together ^^UU

ps: I know this is out of context but, do you know the name of the movie your default userpic is from? *.*

Date: 2009-08-13 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tampon-chan.livejournal.com
I'm sold!
I haven't seen the second one yet, but these two definitely won me over in the first movie. I can't believe I didn't think about shipping them yet. It makes so much sense, especially after reading your manifesto.
I'm gonna have to check out those fics now. Thanks for writing this! It was incredible!
And what you said about Midnight Cowboy made me laugh far harder than it should have. Now I REALLY need to see the second movie.

Date: 2009-08-14 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] demonichate.livejournal.com
Personally, when I first saw the first movie in theatres long ago with my dad I couldn't help but think "They look really cute together..." and I actually kinda liked this pairing, but never bothered to explore it. I just acknowledged that it was there and it was cute.

And I was really overjoyed when I saw this on the claims list, and your manifesto is awesome! Good job ^___^.

Date: 2009-08-14 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dahemo.livejournal.com
Yay! I love you so much for writing this. To be honest, I thought of them as a couple the whole time I was watching NATM 2. The subtext practically hits you over the head.

Date: 2009-08-20 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairest1.livejournal.com
I've shipped since Memlu recced the movie on the basis of this couple. Though what I really wonder about most of these fics is: Would the miniatures actually be anatomically correct?

Date: 2009-08-26 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] des-pudels-kern.livejournal.com
Wait, wait, wasn't there a community for them right after the first movie? Only a handful of entries, but I'm sure it was there! Haven't really checked out the 'new' comm so far, so maybe it's really the same, just with a new name.

There is also a little bit of fic over at yuletide: http://yuletidetreasure.org/archive/fandom_night_at_the_museum.html (sorry, too tired to manage a pretty link)

An extra history lesson for you... ;-)

Date: 2010-06-24 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tigris18.livejournal.com
Hey there fellow history nerd and J/O shipper!

I absolutely love this well-thought-out description you've written here about Jed and Octavius' relationship. :-D

But I did want to add something to your historical analysis, if I may: While you are totally spot-on with the Romans & homosexuality, there is something else to be said about 19th century cowboys in the Old West.

According to the book, Gay Life and Culture: A World History by Robert Aldrich, "sex between men was also an accepted fact of life in mining, logging and railroad camps on the western frontier in the United States and Canada during the 19th century." (Aldrich, 159)
The author explains that in the 19th century, two cowboys might become "partners" on the range, where they spent most of their time far from mainstream society's laws and expectations. "Even cowboys who paired off initially for protection, companionship or owing to the demands of the work found that their relationship often became deeply emotional and sexual over time." (pg. 159)

So, really, Jed and Octavius' attraction (platonic or sexual) to each other historically makes perfect sense because they both come from cultures in which strong male relationships were a part of their way of life. ^_^

I love history! <333


Date: 2013-03-27 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] fientje18
Well, I just wanted to say: I don't think they are gay, but what you say is love. Most of the people don't understand, but if you have a real friend, you love each other. It not the true love feeling or something like that. It's the feeling that you can trust each other, the feeling you would die for your friend. I know what I'm talking about, I have two very important friends and I feel that way about them. It is love, but not the love with sex or something. It is, what I call, the friendship-love. The love Jedediah and Octavius have!!
And think about it. You love or father, your mother, your brothers, your sisters and your pets too, isn't it...??


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