(9/30/02 12:26:41 pm)
| Brief Resurrection of Old Topic: Buffy|
Alright. So I've been gone awhile, and I was rereading old posts last week to figure out what had been going on of late.
I came across several posts related to the TV show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its apparent loss of quality in the sixth season.
I'm a huge Buffy fan. I started watching the show quite by accident about two years ago, when one of my friends insisted that I see several episodes in Season Two. Since then, I've been hooked.
I have seen the objectionable sixth season. In fact, I watched it in several stages--about five episodes in the space of a night back in August, and the rest over the past two weeks. Ahh, friends who tape shows for me.
Unlike most of the people on this board, however, I didn't find it horrible or disgusting or degrading to watch. There were episodes I didn't particularly care for, but I've had those in every season. In fact, I own the first two seasons on DVD and it amazes me how much the show has matured since then.
It was darker than all the other seasons. That much I can certainly agree with. But considering the forces being toyed with by almost all the characters, I expected as much. In fact, I (and many of my friends) thought the geeks this season were, if possible, more evil than most of the other villains, because they *chose* to be evil for lack of anything better to do.
I don't excuse demons by saying it's in their nature. But this was a season about forces being thrown into opposing camps. Buffy from death to life, Spike and the geeks, humans and vampires switching back and forth from good to evil, the whole storyline with Willow...
I found it fascinating.
I also found it heartbreaking, funny, moving, and comprehensible. The same reactions I've had to any other season.
And yes, the characters were self-absorbed. But I think that only made them more realistic. Humans are, by their very nature, self-absorbed. And perhaps this is just a nineteen-year-old girl's arguably immature view of the world, but I respect Joss Whedon for having the nerve to show that these characters are, in fact, humans and not superheroes.
Well, that's my rant.
(9/30/02 2:27:33 pm)
| Torn ...|
On the one hand, I know exactly what you mean. These are characters who I'd come to know and love over the course of several years, and the opportunity to see deeper into their lives is welcome, even when I might not agree with their actions or opinions. It's not the darkness of the show, per se, that offended me; it was the lack of consistency on the part of the writers.
For example; the Trio *is* more offensive than so many of their other villains, precisely because they're so normal ... what disturbs me about the writers' treatment of them is that they didn't seem to be doing a "Evil that Lurks in the Hearts' of Men..." sort of thing to illustrate the human capacity for wrong-doing that lurks within us all. They seemed to be doing a "geeks are funny..." sort of a thing that didn't mesh at all with their previous treatment of outsiders. They also seemed somewhat oblivious to the fact that their characters were engaged in Really Wrong Things (i.e., trying to control a woman against her will ... which, admittedly, is a trope of "Black Magic" from ere and long ago, but I'd expect them to somehow *underscore* the fact that this is ugly and disgusting without working it for laughs with Jonathan and the other guy in the next room fighting over who gets to "have" her first as though the issue of rape had no deeper reprecussion than who got to play with the Star Wars toy first). (To give credit where credit is due, this line of thought is due to one of Terri's wonderfully incisive comments; it's been on my mind ever since.)
Further, even when the storylines didn't offend me, the bad writing *did* - for example, the conscientious building of the idea that Buffy had "come back wrong" over the course of nearly an entire season, was shattered in one easy moment by Tara, after the writers decided that they'd gotten as much dramatic tension out of it as they could. The idea was good enough to be explored further; instead, the whole thing reminded me of children with a new toy. They got bored with it, and decided to have Willow destroy the world instead. The pacing was off ... and the implication that Buffy had somehow damned herself by consorting with the Creature of Darkness while operating under the mistaken impression that she didn't have anything to lose anyway was offensive on many, many levels.
Which brings us to Spike ... I admit it. I think that James Marsden is a lovely, lovely man. However, his character has also displayed a frightening level of obsession and violence (i.e., the episode in which he first shares his feelings with Buffy, ties her in his crypt, and says, "Love me or I'll let my ex-girlfriend eat you." Aw, and they say that chivalry is dead ...) The idea that he could be redeemed through the Love of a Good Woman was touching (and unrealistic ... but, hey, it *is* fiction). The attempted rape scene was a betrayal of all of the work that they'd put into getting fans to place their trust in this character. It didn't fit with the development of the story, and some of the lines that he spouted in the conclusion (i.e., "Give the bitch what she deserves...") were quite, quite unpleasant ... especially now that, in this season, they're see-sawing back towards having him as a sympathetic (and pitiable) character.
I'm not even going to go into the inconsistency of having a magic-used identified with Wicca raising a Satanic temple ... or the idiocy and needless waste of killing off Tara. It's just too infuriating. I'm still a fan; I still watch the show. But, frankly, for the last year, the greatest part of the show for me has been grousing over it afterwards ... I hope that this season will change my mind. But, after an episode fill of "Mom hair" last week, and "Buffy the Guidance Counselor" to look forward to this week, I think that may faith may be flickering ...
(10/1/02 5:56:53 am)
| Buffy Season 6|
Well, there was no way I could stay out of *this* one. :-)
"Jonathan and the other guy in the next room fighting over who gets to "have" her first as though the issue of rape had no deeper reprecussion than who got to play with the Star Wars toy first)."
Is this not the point? To these children--and they *are* evil children--it's exactly the same thing. That's what makes them monsters.
"... and the implication that Buffy had somehow damned herself by consorting with the Creature of Darkness while operating under the mistaken impression that she didn't have anything to lose anyway was offensive on many, many levels."
But notice that Tara's revelation that there's nothing wrong with Buffy comes right around the same time that Tara learns about Buffy's affair with Spike--and *doesn't* judge or have a problem with it. Tara's making it clear, I think, that Buffy *hasn't* damned herself, whatever Buffy thinks. (Oooh, I just realized: and when Tara dies, suddenly Willow *is* damned!)
"However, his character has also displayed a frightening level of obsession and violence ..."
He's a vampire, and one who never stopped claiming to be evil (and demonstrating it, whenever he thought the chip was failing).
"The attempted rape scene was a betrayal of all of the work that they'd put into getting fans to place their trust in this character. It didn't fit with the development of the story, and some of the lines that he spouted in the conclusion (i.e., "Give the bitch what she deserves...") were quite, quite unpleasant ... "
I think Spike has been consistently portrayed as being, for Buffy, the personification of the Bad Obsessive Relationship. Unlike Angel, he hasn't been able to get rid of "the demon," i.e. that central trait. This is why, in my brilliant prognostication of the rest of the series, he's not only gone crazy, but will end up dying tragically, sacrificing himself to close the Hellmouth (a suicidal equivalent of the end of Season 2); without the Obsession (Love Dru, Kill Buffy, Love Buffy), there's nothing for him, and even his restored soul can't change that. (And Buffy will end up with Xander, increasingly the other responsible-adult figure, and the only other basically-normal person on the show.)
(10/1/02 10:15:00 pm)
| Re: Buffy Season 6|
My complaint isn't so much with the "darkness" they tried to explore in Season 6 (it's *always* been a dark, complex show), but what seemed to me like very poor execution of those ideas in the actual text of the scripts, including structure problems, pacing problems, inconsistencies in the "world building" of the fantasy universe, etc., from a team of writers whose work I'd formerly found astonishingly skillful. But I've learned the hard way (<grin>) that those of us who dislike Season 6 cannot change the minds of people who liked it and vice versa, so we'll have to agree to disagree -- though it's certainly perfectly fair of you all to air your ideas in support of the show on this Board since others of us aired our complaints.
Fred, if you're right about Season 7, I don't think I'll like it any better than the last one. Xander & Buffy and "daughter" Dawn is just a little too Donna Reed for me.
Edited by: Terri at: 10/1/02 10:31:14 pm
(10/4/02 11:09:12 am)
| Season Seven|
I have to agree with Terri on that one. The relationship between Buffy and Spike I'd actually seen coming for a very long time, and it worked very well with their characters (though I will say the rape scene was extremely jarring).
Buffy and Xander is...not quite right. It isn't at all consistent with their characters, and if that *is* what will end up happening in Season Seven, I'll be very disappointed.
(11/7/02 4:38:21 pm)
I heard today on Terrie Gross's Fresh Air that an interview with Joss Whedon (I'm sorry if I'm mangling the sp. of his name) will be aired soon - tomorrow on VPR. I'd check your local public radio station web site to find out when it will be aired in your area.
Edited by: Laura McCaffrey at: 11/7/02 4:39:22 pm
(11/9/02 8:55:48 pm)
| Re: Interview|
My thoughts on buffy season 6:
Warren was literally one of the most frightening characters I've seen on either show (Buffy or Angel), due to his penchant for cruelty, hatred, and disregard for women. Jonathan, due to the fact that he's always been picked on, went along with it, I think more because he didn't want to get picked on for not following along. Granted he was just as bad as the others, but that changed after the Katrina incident. The other guy, well they played up his crush on Warren, but that was all hero worship.
Buffy + Spike
I never liked that relationship. Ever. Buffy is a strong female figure and when she almost gets violated in the worst way possible, it screws with my psyche. She's so strong and then she wasn't . . . .
Tara + Willow
I read a really good article here
about the killing off of Tara that I completely agree with. Yes,
it was nice to see a lesbian couple on tv. But Tara was so wimpy!
She was more of a pity character than anything else. Let's make
her family hate her! Let's make Glory suck out her brain! Let's
make her and Willow break up! It's ridiculous.
Why is she still alive?
Anya + Xander
I always said that when someone got married the show would go downhill, but it just alienates the teen audience a little. I didn't necessarily agree with him leaving her at the alter, but I really couldn't see them married. Except now look what happened to Anya . . .
This season did however, have the oh-so-pleasant surprise of the musical episode.
(11/12/02 9:30:31 pm)
| Love on "Buffy" (spoiler alert!)|
Okay, I just saw tonight's episode, and I personally liked it very much. The scene with Buffy and the psych-major vampire managed to be both hysterical and moving, and I will admit to sniffling when Willow first thought she was communicating with Tara.
And the whole sequence at the Summers house was just plain scary.
But as to love on the show.
Yes, it's tragic. I agree wholeheartedly with the article EdensEcho posted. Love in general turns out very very badly for the characters. Sometimes it lasts awhile before exploding, other times it doesn't. Xander and Anya lasted through Seasons Four, Five, and part of six, and that's fairly impressive longevity.
As to Buffy and Spike...I thought their relationship was not at all functional, but from a narrative standpoint, it certainly caught attention. It was disturbing, and I think she summed it up beautifully when she was talking to PsychBoy in the most recent episode of Season Seven, when she described her relationship with Spike. What she had with Angel was tragic love. Pure, plain, and simple. Riley was an attempt at normalcy, and Spike was rejecting normalcy altogether, because she needed to escape from it.
Now, I could be overanalysing. Probably am. But what can you do?