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Buffy on death (spoilers S5-S7) -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 18:35:47 02/02/03 Sun

All of us seem to be forgetting a key aspect of Buffy's experience -- as far as death is concerned, SHE KNOWS. What is a major part of terrifying people about death is it's uncertainty. We don't know if our existence simply ends or if there's some kind of after life. (We would like to believe the latter, but it's likely to be wishful thinking.)

Buffy doesn't have this problem. Like Lazarus and Christ, she's been dead and gotten better. She knows -- and for her death is not a bad place to be. She is, sensibly, not telling the SITs about it, as that might damage her credibility as a guide & mentor ("You've been dead and come back? Right.") It does not sound as if she would have any concerns for herself being dead -- only for those left behind and her mission. If the latter are taken care of she would have no real problems about being dead.

Of course, this adds a certain edge to her fighting ability. She can fight and not be afraid. Like Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo proved, there's no opponent more fearsome than one who does not care whether he (or she) lives or dies. Buffy now has joined this category.


[> "The big dessert at the end of the meal." -- HonorH, 20:15:30 02/02/03 Sun

That description of death alone shows that she now sees death as a positive thing, unlike her 5th season self. However, unlike her 6th season self, she now sees life as something to be lived. Hence her admonition to the protos to make up their minds to live, and her protection of the lives of others. So she's not scared of death, but also no longer afraid to live. That makes her one very dangerous person. How she'll harness that to end the First's world-destroying kick is a mystery, but I think it'll factor in.

[> Re: Buffy on death (spoilers S5-S7) -- WickedBuffy, 20:29:40 02/02/03 Sun

"... as far as death is concerned, SHE KNOWS"

She knows what? Yes, she really loved where she went when she sacrificed herself for the world and her sister. But things have changed since then. There are thoughts that she "came back wrong". Could Buffy have some doubts about where she would end up the next time she dies? Is she 100% sure of anything, anymore?

Buffy knows there are many other dimensions and realities. That everything isn't black and white, but hues of grey. How can she be so sure she'll end up exactly where she was before - feeling so perfect?

I think Buffys mood at the moment would color her attitude towards her death and wehre she'd end up. Feeling positive, then she'd probably think she was going to that nice place. But if she's feeling unsure, or rattled, or shaken as she is at times - then it might affect what she thinks will happen to her this time shen she dies. Is there more evil in her, in her mind? Has Spike convinced her she's not so different from him?

On days shes certain, though, like you pointed out, it sure would add more fearlessness to her fighting. But that's not always a good thing. A certain amount of fear keeps the adrenaline up, senses heightened, instinct for survival sharper, all things that helps a fighter. ::zinging to the other side of the table:: and that same confidence would work to the advantage of the SITs, encouraging them, instilling confidence in their own skills.

"It does not sound as if she would have any concerns for herself being dead -- only for those left behind and her mission. If the latter are taken care of she would have no real problems about being dead."

One thing Buffy mentioned about being dead was that she could feel peaceful because she felt that everyone she left behind were alright.

Mostly, to me, lately Buffy is looking burned out and abit brittle around the edges. Maybe the gamble that she could feel that peaceful again would be worth fearlessness of death. imho

For Columbia... (way OT) -- Jay, 22:14:51 02/02/03 Sun

I hope that I'm not offending anyone, but I was hoping someone else would address this first, so that I could just react to someone else's post. No such luck. I wrote this yesterday.

The sun has fallen on a beautiful day in north central Texas. As I awoke this morning, I observed the time, and recognized that there weren't any cartoons on that I wanted to watch yet. So I turned the tv on and started flipping through the news networks. I stopped on Fox News, and they were just coming out of a break to a live picture in Florida where the shuttle Columbia was scheduled to be landing in two minutes. I wasn't watching so much as listening as I stumbled through my personal morning fog. (Life would be so much easier for me if I was a morning person.) And as the voices gave way from anticipation to confusion, and then realization, I sat down for what would be a day of morbid visuals.

Probably the worst thing about one of these space program disasters, is that it really does take the away the best we have. These people are the cream of the crop of a workaholic culture, overachieving beyond their last moment. The multi-national, multi-ethnic crew represents what America aspires to. I'm probably overstating, but the space program is the purest form of progress in the history of man. But, as with all progress, there is a price of blood.

The crystal clear skies have given over to starry skies above.

[> Thank you, Jay. -- Angela, 04:42:09 02/03/03 Mon

[> Re: For Columbia... (way OT) -- Wisewoman, 05:59:55 02/03/03 Mon

I knew we had at least one regular poster in Texas, but I couldn't remember who it was. Of course, this tragedy is felt worldwide, but it must have been so much more immediate for those of you located in the area.

Your post is touching and beautiful, Jay.

[> [> Re: For Columbia... (way OT) -- ghostdog, 09:57:15 02/03/03 Mon

It's a terrible loss for a great ideal, so much much more optimistic an ideal than the rumours of war in which we're all involved; it feels so bad to be contemplating more death at this time, and so sad (from the UK)

[> Preserving this thread from the mad archiving voynok -- Masq, 09:18:55 02/03/03 Mon

[> Beautiful Jay -- Tchaikovsky, 09:43:56 02/03/03 Mon


'America awakes to wreckage falling from skies '
Guardian, 3 February 2003

Across America death falls from the skies.
Death so hard to handle, like Love and Anger
and other words with capitals. Like Sunday.

Suddenly death is real, and creating craters.
Like manna from heaven, from a random God.
A God of Pain, without a chosen people.

A helmet falls, once carrying a mind
Ennobled by the views of all that We can know
A tear-drop lost in space, just earth, just Earth.

The container of exploration, of enquiry
Becomes the shrapnel of a pall, like confetti
Birth, and Death and what else? Well,

the confetti shows us how we will react.
With loss symbolic, losing part of us,
We cling to what few fragments we can find.

Auden wrote it in a poem once. Saying
'We must love one another or die'. Hoping
To cheat death. Later he would amend

'We must love one another and die'.
No matyrdom, nor the glorious death of War
As cruel dictators march us to senseless carnage

Just love and life and living. All we need.
Each other linked by sight or just by words.
Dodging the heartfelt prayer the sky showers down.


PS Please delete this if you consider it inappropriate.

[> [> Re: Beautiful Jay and TCH -- Arethusa, 09:57:35 02/03/03 Mon

I was driving north between Houston and Dallas when the shuttle fell. Debris was only fifty miles away. The sky was slightly hazy and a thin film of dust settled over the windshield but I couldn't tell if it was highway pollution or something else. "The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas," our children sing in school pagents. In Houston, against all logic, we feel that the stars are our neighbors, because some of our neighbors have traveled amoung them. Even after the stars die, we still feel their brightness deep inside.

Do we know anything new about Slayers? -- Darby, 09:39:23 02/03/03 Mon

We've been fed a few tidbits of info this season about Slayers, and I'm wondering if, combined with facts we already know, if there's anything significant here.

First, Slayers are Chosen from a list of potentials, apparently a finite list with possibly individual expirations (Kennedy fears she may have expired as a Potential, and no others have appeared that would have been eligible during Buffy and Faith's tenures). Potentials have abilities that exceed normal humans' but do not reach the level of actual Slayer.

When the Slayer dies, a Potential is immediately Chosen and at that point becomes "the" Slayer, the only one through which the death & rebirth line can continue. The Chosen one gets a physical and psychic power boost. However, if the dead Slayer is brought back to life, they not only retain their abilities but apparently become stronger.

The Slayer power is rooted in Darkness, is probably demonic in origin, and dates back to ancient times, apparently in an unbroken succession. A spell existed (used in Primeval, although it may have been a general merging spell adapted to the circumstances) to tap into the raw power made manifest through the First Slayer, which carries more potential power when backed by knowledge and/or magical ability than when solely embodied in an adolescent girl.

Is Buffy the Slayer? Is she even a Slayer? Has the power left her? Is the power only a "jump start" of Potential and nothing more? Where is it between Choosings? Has some energy from Death replaced it? Does any of this connect to the Oracle's message or the First Evil's plans? Is it just what you get when a myth-heavy tv show goes on for 130 shows?

[> Re: Do we know anything new about Slayers? (Vague Spoilers Ahead) -- Dochawk, 12:30:58 02/03/03 Mon


First off, the only knowledge we have to date that a slayer's power is rooted in darkness comes from Dracula. Once again we take a demon who is using his verbal skills to manipulate Buffy at his word. That said, all I can tell you is be patient. The episode those of us who are into the slayer mythology are waiting for is coming (we know this for a fact).

[> [> Actually... (Spoilers for Tales of Slayer) -- Darby, 13:40:20 02/03/03 Mon

I think the First Slayer sort of confirms this, but there are many ways to read her. There's also Tales of the Slayers, by Joss and the writers, and a stray comment, I think from Jane Espenson in an interview, that the power was definitely demonic in nature. I should have cited those sources, since they are from beyond the show itself.

[> [> [> Re: Actually... (Spoilers for Tales of Slayer) -- WickedBuffy, 13:59:04 02/03/03 Mon

Do we know or have some great theories about who chose the First Slayer? Or was she "created" from something else and not just a teen pulled out of some tribe?

[> [> [> [> The semi-canonical source: -- KdS, 04:32:26 02/04/03 Tue

Verbatim quotation from Joss Whedon's comic strip Tales of the Slayers: Prologue

AFRICAN WOMAN: They say you [The First Slayer] are part demon. They say the Shadowmen made you born with demon inside and that is how you are able to fight the vampires. That's why they fear you. Why they ch-chose only one. They say that when you die, there will be another girl chosen. And then another, for always. And you will be in them and they in each other and you will never die.

Of course, the speaker wasn't personally involved in these events so this itself is already rumour and legend.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The semi-canonical source: (Obtuse Future Spoilers) -- Dochawk, 06:55:29 02/04/03 Tue

I believe this will be answered definitively on February 18.

[> [> I confusedly forget ..... -- WickedBuffy, 13:52:14 02/03/03 Mon

... or maybe I just never thought to think if I knew.

Who choses the new Slayer? I didn't think it was the Watcher Council, but who/whatever choses obviously contacts the Council to let them know so they can send her Watcher to tell her.

Soooooo, the Council or someone in the Council knows who/what the Chooser is and how it contacts the Council. Does Giles know who Choses? Did the info get blown up with the rest of the Council? Does maybe Buffy evolve into The Chooser? (And doesn't chose Dawn, just like Momghost said.)

And if it was the Watcher Council who decided, does that mean Giles gets to Chose? Giles-the-really-strange-acting-never-clothes-changing pessimist?

[> [> [> Re: I confusedly forget ..... -- George Avalos, 17:26:17 02/03/03 Mon

No, the WC might not know who or what does the choosing. The only thing one can infer is the Watchers have some sort of procedure to identify the new Slayer. That's suggested from the magic spell Willow cast in 'Potential' that located Amanda.

The powers that do the choosing could be so metaphysically advanced that they don't lend themselves to detailed analysis by mortals. It could be akin to prehistoric people who know how to use a fire and what not to do, but who have no idea about the chemical/physical/etc. properties that causes the fire to burn. They know that some things burn and others don't. They could observe that water doesn't burn and in fact puts the fire out.

But they don't know precisely how the fire operates. Just as the Watchers don't know precisely how or why a particular girl in the Slayer Pool becomes the Chosen One.


[> [> [> [> Re: I confusedly forget ..... -- WickedBuffy, 19:33:03 02/03/03 Mon

Very nice comparison with the fire and the Watchers! Thank you, George. That was a very clear explanation.

Would you surmise The First Evil came before or after these indescribable "Powers"? The creation of Buffyverse always intrigues me.

Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- Sophist, 09:43:11 02/03/03 Mon

The search engine must still be wonky, because the searches I did should have located it. Thanks for pointing it out.

You do get bonus points for prescience, especially since no one else backed you up in the discussion. However, and without meaning to detract in any way from what I admit is a score by you (well, not detract much :)), I have to mention 2 points:

1. Your argument was less about Spike per se than it was about the nature of vampires generally, the behavior of Angelus, and the metaphorical aspects of biting/sex. Having said that, you did anticipate the arguments that were used later by many others (mentioning Lover's Walk and The Initiative).

2. You seem to have backed off it in the end:

I can accept that Spike is not a rapist. His primary motivations are uncontrollable violence and unrestrained sexuality -- I don't think it's a stretch to say that at some point in his checkered past he combined his two favorite pastimes. But I don't think it's an impossibility that the only women he has known have been Dru, Harmony and Buffy -- he has an obsessive nature that might pass for constancy.

I will no longer say the dog didn't bark, but if the bark was only loud enough for one person to hear it, and for him to be uncertain, I'm not inclined to change my view that the backstory should have been supplied. As far as that goes, I read the shooting script that you mentioned. If the missing scene had been shown, I would concede the point entirely.

[> Before Seeing Red aired -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:45:22 02/03/03 Mon

Most people never bothered to ask the question of whether Spike was a rapist or not. Personally speaking, it never crossed my mind. However, if you had asked me before Seeing Red if I thought Spike ever raped anyone, I'd most likely have said yes. His personality and previous acts lend themselves to thinking that. But no one really discussed it because, pre-Seeing Red, it didn't seem important.

[> [> Re: Before Seeing Red aired -- dream of the consortium, 12:42:53 02/03/03 Mon

That's pretty much my take. I'm amazed by the fact this is still an issue. Vampire, right? Killed lots and lots of people, right? Sometimes just for the fun of it, sometimes for dinner? Enjoyed the idea of human suffering? Swaggeringly sexual? I guess I always assumed Spike was a rapist, as well as a torturer, and a killer, and lots of other evil things. The only thing that seemed special about Spike (before he got chipped and started spending time with Scoobies, thereby getting socialized away from a purely evil mindset) was that he was very devoted to Dru and would never harm her (well, except to torture her, if that's what she wanted.) In the context of the relationship he had had with Buffy all through season six, SR made sense. In the context of what we know in general about vampires and, heck, evil, it made sense. I really don't understand why we would need that part of Spike's past stated explicitly when it seems fairly obvious. I would have been far more surprised to hear that he had NEVER raped a woman. That would imply to me that pre-chipped, pre-souled Spike had had a moral code that went beyond "don't harm Drusilla" and "wreak all the havoc you can." And I don't think we've ever had evidence of that.

[> [> [> Re: Before Seeing Red aired -- Alison, 12:57:53 02/03/03 Mon

I always had the impression that he was consistantly faithful, thus ruling out rape...but then that could just be me believing what I wanted to....however, twisted as Spike was, he never struck me as the type to violate someone in that way...other ways, yes, but being a high minded victorian poet..i never thought he would abuse women in that way.

[> [> [> [> But Spike wasn't .... -- dream of the consortium, 13:24:53 02/03/03 Mon

a high minded Victorian poet. William was. William "informed" Spike, but the demon added a lot, too - all of it evil. I am sure Spike was faithful to Drusilla in that he never cared for anyone else - but I could easily imagine Spike AND Drusilla mixing rape into the torture and killing - together and separately. I can't imagine Dru would ever be jealous of a human Spike had raped. Now, if Spike were sleeping around on Dru with another vampire, she might consider that a sign of infidelity, but it's doubtful either of them would consider the rape of a human that way.

Just my opinion, of course.

[> [> [> [> Re: Before Seeing Red aired -- Peggin, 13:25:45 02/03/03 Mon

I always had the impression that he was consistantly faithful, thus ruling out rape

I don't think rape would have anything to do with being faithful to a vampire. I mean, if Spike saw some pretty girl and decided he wanted her, then maybe that would be "cheating" and I could see Dru not liking that. But if Spike was doing it just because he was a vampire and he could and he got off on hurting people? Dru wouldn't see that as unfaithful. I'd bet big money that Dru got off on it. She probably helped -- I could totally see her going out and looking for girls she could bring to Spike, and then sitting there laughing and cheering while he did the worst things he could think of to them.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Before Seeing Red aired -- Alison, 13:34:18 02/03/03 Mon

admittedly, i love spike, and have a blind spot when it comes to him...and have rape issues...
i just never saw him that way..i saw him more as some one who enjoyed violence, but because love was such a huge part of him, saw sex as loving (if somewhat twistedly loving) act, and probably wouldnt have gotten off on rape.....although, even if i did, i probably still would have adored him :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Before Seeing Red aired -- Peggin, 13:40:10 02/03/03 Mon

I get that, but I'm kind of the opposite. I've got a major thing for redemption stories. Ever since I saw the first hints that Spike could be redeemed, back in Fool for Love, I have been hoping to see the story carried through to its end. Because of that, I want Spike's past to be as brutal and vicious as possible, because the worse he was before, the more his redemption means.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Before Seeing Red aired -- Alison, 13:50:09 02/03/03 Mon

i love i good redemption story too--i love evil spike, i love conflicted spike...i love good spike, i love souled spike...and i dont mind him being evil--but rape deeply disturbs me..and i never picked up that vibe from him.

[> [> [> [> [> [> He may have seen sex as loving. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:08:31 02/03/03 Mon

But for a hundred and twenty years, his true love was the Queen of Sado-Masochists. When the person you love is aroused by pain, whether her own or someone else's, your view of a loving act is bound to be very unpleasant for the non-masochistic.

[> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- Peggin, 11:32:47 02/03/03 Mon

You still haven't even attempted to explain why it matters, even a little, if we had been shown either that Spike had a history as a rapist or if we had been shown that he didn't. As I've said before, Spike has always been shown as someone who believes he has the right to use force to take anything he wants. Why should sex with Buffy be any different? Even if he had never tried to rape anyone before, you would have to prove to me that there have been numerous women who he wanted and who rejected his sexual advances but who he didn't rape in order for me to see this action as out of character. And, besides this, how would Buffy's reaction to nearly getting raped change at all if *we* had backstory on Spike?

[> [> Mea culpa -- Sophist, 13:48:38 02/03/03 Mon

I am going to take responsibility for the disconnect here, in two senses. One, the archived thread left a point hanging, and I just wanted to let Malandanza know that I saw the item he mentioned (and to give him my all-too-grudging acknowledgement). I didn't really intend to re-start the discussion; it's not new in any sense.

Two, I must be at fault for failing to make my point clear if 3 intelligent posters completely missed it. That's not intended to be snarky; I'm not succeeding in communicating, and I should be clearer.

Let me start by saying what is not the issue. What is not the issue is that others may well have had a mental image of Spike-as-rapist long before SR aired. I've never doubted that and am not questioning it now.

I did, however, tweak the evilistas by saying, in effect, "you are all very smart after the fact". Mal caught me on that and fair enough. However, this tweaking was an "extra", not the main argument I was making. The fact that he caught me on this point does not defeat the main argument I made in the archived thread (and have made before).

The main argument went like this (paraphrasing):

Shadowkat commented that we should expect to see backstory whenever the story line affects Buffy, but not necessarily when other characters are involved. There are good reasons why this is true, and I agree with her. I'd add that the issue involves Spike, who had been on the show for 3+ seasons before SR, so there was lots of opportunity for backstory.

SR, obviously, involved Buffy. It's probably even fair to say that it was the key episode in all of S6 and that the bathroom scene was the central scene of the entire season. Certainly it was one of the central scenes. I, and I assume shadowkat, would therefore expect backstory leading up to that scene.

My criticism is that no such backstory was given for Spike-as-rapist. This is where the communication is breaking down. Lots of people have responded, in essence, "well, I believe it and I can tell you why". They then draw inferences from previous episodes (usually Lover's Walk or perhaps the nature of vampires or their own mental image of Spike). That's not what I mean by backstory.

These explanations are all what I would call indirect. They all require inferences or logical deductions to get from point A to point B (or C or D or whatever). In the legal business, we'd call these arguments circumstantial or inferential evidence. "Direct" evidence, in contrast, should be obvious: "Yes, Your Honor, I was standing right there and saw John Doe shoot Jane Roe in broad daylight."

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with circumstantial evidence. Oftentimes it's very powerful and frequently, in the real world, it's all we've got. But there is an inherent problem with it that distinguishes science from philosophy: in logic, there are too many possible deductions.*

Sure, posters can say "My mental picture of Spike-as-rapist is very logical." The problem is, I (and others) can just as justifiably reach the opposite conclusion. The facts are all out there and we agree on them. It's the interpretation -- the process of deduction from those facts -- that causes the dispute.

When I say the backstory is missing, I mean that there needed to be direct evidence. We should have been shown some scene in which it was clear that Spike had raped in the past or was willing to. Mal pointed out that such a scene had been included in the shooting script for Smashed, and since I'm not very demanding :), I would have taken this as adequate backstory and never said a word.

The reason I say we need direct evidence is this: our imaginations are too good; logic gives us too many possibilities. If I write a lousy story filled with plot holes, it's too easy for me to say "Oh, don't complain dear reader, just use logic to fill them in on your own." Great narratives don't do this. They supply the backstory. The very best do so in unexpected ways: think about the Gypsy curse first mentioned in the episode Angel. Could anyone have foreseen how that would be used in Innocence? Hardly, but the payoff was magnificent precisely because the groundwork had been laid.

I think SR was intended to be great narrative. IMHO, it fell short because the foundation was missing.

*(Completely OT side note: science differs from philosophy because it recognizes when logic has reached an impasse and searches for additional facts. Those additional facts either provide the missing direct evidence or constrain the available logical alternatives, which can then be subjected to additional tests.)

[> [> [> Re: Mea culpa -- manwitch, 14:19:36 02/03/03 Mon

Thank you for providing the "backstory" to this thread. We seem to have a couple of noticably interesting threads on the board that are references to the archives.

I would offer just a couple of points. Are you not still asking for a backstory regarding spike, which you agree doesn't need to exist, rather than focusing on Buffy? As Peggin points out, Buffy's reaction doesn't come into question because of the existence or lack of same of Spike's backstory.

Beyond that, I would suggest that its not entirely fair for us to ask that rape be "in character." I think sometimes we require from fictional stories a degree of consistency or believability that we do not ask of real life. The whole "soul" thing is an example of that on Buffy. People want Spike's soul to be the same as Angel's soul, as though everybody has the same kind. We certainly don't believe that in the "real" world, so why do we ask it of Buffy. Likewise, in the real world, apart from serial rapists, rape is generally out of character. To commit a rape, like committing a murder, is to go outside of all bounds. We have become too accustomed to thinking of "rapist" as an identity, as though someone who rapes was destined to be that, they had the gene, its simply who they are. Yet at the same time, we want to say they could have behaved differently. I don't think that Spike needs to be "a rapist" in order to have plausibly made this terrible mistake. Leaving aside all previous suggestions about his lust and desire for Buffy, even when he was a chipless evil vampire, all we need to know for that scene to work is that Spike wants terribly, that he's hurting terribly, he's drunk, and that he has a tendency to make poor decisions.

What is special about it, is that Spike recognizes it was a poor decision. He asks both why did he do it, and why didn't he do it, which shows us that its a bizarre thing for a vampire to care about.

[> [> [> [> well said...I agree with manwitch -- shadowkat, 15:03:30 02/03/03 Mon

I agree - there are all sorts of inconsistencies in the show, the latest I realized was on vampires - apparently
Angel has certain vampire skills that Spike doesn't appear to? I mean we can go on forever on inconsistencies. As a friend mentioned recently:" methinks you and your posting friends are more brillant and well read than these writers."
Possibly true. Or we just have more free time on our hands to dissect what they give us. Sometimes I think we over dissect it.

I think the following statement of manwitch's above is what saved SR for me:
To commit a rape, like committing a murder, is to go outside of all bounds. We have become too accustomed to thinking of "rapist" as an identity, as though someone who rapes was destined to be that, they had the gene, its simply who they are. Yet at the same time, we want to say they could have behaved differently. I don't think that Spike needs to be "a rapist" in order to have plausibly made this terrible mistake. Leaving aside all previous suggestions about his lust and desire for Buffy, even when he was a chipless evil vampire, all we need to know for that scene to work is that Spike wants terribly, that he's hurting terribly, he's drunk, and that he has a tendency to make poor decisions.

What is special about it, is that Spike recognizes it was a poor decision. He asks both why did he do it, and why didn't he do it, which shows us that its a bizarre thing for a vampire to care about.

The fact that it tormented Spike, made Spike realize he was beneath her, caused Spike to leave and get a soul, and the fact Spike still does not forgive himself for it or trust himself with her physically - as seen in the number of times he backs away from being touched, is far more interesting to me than any reaction or feelings on Buffy's part. Just because Buffy's reactions were predictable, Spike's aren't. The fact he reacted the way he did made sense to me and surprised me at the same time - something that most tv shows don't accomplish.

I really could care less on whether or not he raped anyone in the past, I assume he did since he's a vampire...but it's not an issue that interests or concerns me that much.

PS: I agree with Sophist on the points he mentioned, but narrowly on the backstory idea - there are several areas in this story that I think they tripped in not introducing information on certain key characters sooner, but by the same token I think allowances need to be made for the fact that this is a television show not a novel and the scripts are written quickly and not always with clear foresight - in some ways they are far rougher than film or novel mediums. So I think we may be expecting a bit much.

[> [> [> [> Excellent points -- Sophist, 17:55:48 02/03/03 Mon

I think there are 2 reasons why the issue is important. Both, in one sense, relate to me as the viewer. The second, however, I will discuss from Buffy's perspective. I think her perspective and mine are related.

I do not expect a narrative to flow seamlessly. That's asking too much even of a novel, much less a TV show. Certain acts might nevertheless be so discordant that they distract from my willing suspension of disbelief while viewing.

Let me give an extreme but not implausible example. At the beginning of SR, Xander and Buffy had an unpleasant conversation that left both of them angry and hurt. At the end of the episode, Xander came to apologize (well, it was a Xander apology anyway).

Suppose, instead, that Xander had come back still angry and carrying a gun. He, not Warren, fired at Buffy and killed Tara. Now, I am very far from Xander's biggest supporter, but I would have reacted with a very loud "WTF!?" and I have no doubt others would have also.

Why would we have done so? The fact is, I could construct a logical, text-based rationale why Xander would have done such a thing. The evidence is available; in fact, there's at least as much evidence to support this scenario as there is to support Spike's behavior in the bathroom. But it doesn't ring true at some fundamental level. It takes the viewer so far out of the mental image of the character that it breaches our poetic faith in the show.

This is what happened to me personally during the bathroom scene. It also happened to many others. As is obvious, it didn't happen to lots of people. I can't say which view has the majority.

I can say that the writers must make constant judgments about whether they have given enough backstory so that most viewers follow the narrative without disruption. Such a judgment depends on a variety of factors, the characters involved and the importance of the story line being the most important. Given my view of those factors expressed above, I think that the level of responsibility was very high and that their judgment let them down in this case.

Buffy's perspective also provides a reason for clarity. You and Peggin are quite right that Buffy's reaction, both during the scene and afterwards, are of fundamental importance. She has to judge Spike's behavior. So do we, as viewers, so I think we share Buffy's perspective in this case. (Spike also has to judge his own behavior, so the backstory is important to him too, but I'm limiting the discussion to Buffy and, through her, us.)

At this point I need to add in some AtPOBtVS backstory that you and Peggin probably don't know. I explained this in several posts last spring and I'm going to give the short version here and ask that you take my word for it. If you want more, I'll find the posts in the archives and link them.

Legally speaking, there is a big difference between the crime of rape and the crime of attempted rape. Rape itself does not require any particular mental state. It just requires the act of penetration without consent.

Though we all tend to use the term as shorthand in these discussions, in fact, rape itself did not happen here. The issue is attempted rape. Attempted rape does require a particular mental state. The criminal must intend to rape. Therefore, Spike's mental state in the scene is critical to evaluating both the nature of his conduct and how Buffy does/should react to it.

Let's suppose that pre-soul Spike was a serial rapist. In that case, we wouldn't have much doubt that he genuinely attempted to rape Buffy. Dochawk has repeatedly posted about the dangers of a story line that assumes this background, and only those who credit the soul with enormous impact would disagree with him.

In contrast, let's suppose, as you suggest, that "all we need to know for that scene to work is that Spike wants terribly, that he's hurting terribly, he's drunk, and that he has a tendency to make poor decisions." I interpret this to mean that Spike's actions said, in essence, "Come on Buffy, you know you love me. I know you'll feel it like you did before when we had sex."

The problem is, speaking legally now, that's not attempted rape. In this hypothetical, Spike lacked the necessary mental state for the crime. He didn't intend to rape Buffy, he intended to get her to admit she loved him.

If I'm Buffy, I evaluate these 2 situations very differently. If she and we lack the backstory, I don't know how we make that evaluation.

If a viewer like Peggin sees Spike as a serial rapist, the important issue now is this: what view of Spike and of the soul canon would permit the storyline we've seen since SR (Buffy trying to leave Dawn with Spike in Villains and acting confused about her feelings for Spike at this time).

If a viewer like me sees Spike as drunk and confused in the bathroom, the important issue is: why does everyone keep saying he tried to rape her? Sure his behavior was loutish, but the soul has solved that problem -- Spuffy forever!!!

The absence of backstory means that we, and Buffy, are unable to move forward. That's why clarity is so important.(There are other issues arising from this conclusion and Shadowkat has alluded to them. Again, one of us can probably find the posts in the archives if anyone is really interested.)

[> [> [> [> [> I'm confused -- Dochawk, 18:55:07 02/03/03 Mon

I'm confused. Are you saying that from the legal point of view, that a man (and Spike isn't a man here, so not subject to human laws)who enters a woman's bathroom gets upset has little control over his actions secondary to being drunk and attempts to force himself on the woman without her consent is not attempted rape if he was not entering that bathroom with the intent to rape her? That this is a lesser charge (aggravated sexual assault????)? Just confused here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I don't blame you -- Sophist, 19:18:56 02/03/03 Mon

I was giving a short-cut explanation of a complicated subject. I'm glad you raised the point because I don't want my limited explanations to confuse anyone.

The short answer to your question is no. The longer answer is this: it does not matter when Spike formed the intent to rape. He did not need to do it when he entered the bathroom. He could have formed such intent at any time during the scene until the point where Buffy kicked him off her. But he must have formed such an intent at some time or else there is no attempted rape. BTW, even now I've simplified the legal issues a little.

In real life, we never know for sure what someone's intent is. We usually infer it from their actions. In a real world situation, a jury would probably infer that Spike's intent was rape (though a good defense lawyer would raise many of the points I've seen made here about the previous relationship).

In this case, however, I was proceeding from an assumption that he had a different intent. I was following through the reasoning based upon that assumption. Change the assumption and the result changes.

To get to your last point, yes, battery or some similar charge could well be made even if the assumption is true. By no means am I suggesting that Spike was innocent. I'm just talking about which crime, among several, he might have committed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm confused -- Peggin, 09:50:25 02/04/03 Tue

This is a total misreading of the law that seems to be based on the erroneous assumption that nothing short of premeditation with malice aforethought fits the legal definition of intent. But "intent" does not have to mean "intent to commit a crime". It can simply mean intent to commit a certain act.

For example: If you stand on a crowded street corner, you start shooting a gun, a bullet hits someone, and they are seriously injured (but not killed) you are criminally culpable for attempted murder if:

(1) you acted "purposefully" -- if your goal was to shoot the particular person who was actually hit by the bullet (note that even if your intent was simply to shoot them, but not to kill them, it would still be attempted murder);

(2) you acted "knowingly" -- if you knew good and well that there was a high probability that someone could get killed by your shooting a gun into the crowd;

(3) you acted "recklessly" -- if you gave absolutely no consideration to the possibility that someone could get killed by your shooting a gun into the crowd; or

(4) you acted "negligently" -- if you *should* have known that there was a high probability that someone could get killed by your shooting a gun into a crowd. (One way this could happen -- you intended to show your friend just how great a marksman you are -- "Look, I can shoot a gun off into this crowd and not hit anyone". Even though your actual "intention" may have been to not hurt anyone, it would still be attempted murder.)

Lack of consent is one of the key elements of rape. For it to be attempted rape, it did not have to be Spike's intent to have sex with Buffy without her consent. The only thing that has to matter is that Buffy *didn't* consent, that Spike *knew* she didn't consent, and that Spike intended to have sex with her regardless of that fact.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Excellent points -- Peggin, 08:06:10 02/04/03 Tue

Suppose, instead, that Xander had come back still angry and carrying a gun. He, not Warren, fired at Buffy and killed Tara. Now, I am very far from Xander's biggest supporter, but I would have reacted with a very loud "WTF!?" and I have no doubt others would have also.

Well, yeah, because I have no reason to think that Xander has ever deliberately hurt or killed anyone. Unless you can say the same for Spike, it's a false comparison.

In contrast, let's suppose, as you suggest, that "all we need to know for that scene to work is that Spike wants terribly, that he's hurting terribly, he's drunk, and that he has a tendency to make poor decisions." I interpret this to mean that Spike's actions said, in essence, "Come on Buffy, you know you love me. I know you'll feel it like you did before when we had sex."

The problem is, speaking legally now, that's not attempted rape. In this hypothetical, Spike lacked the necessary mental state for the crime. He didn't intend to rape Buffy, he intended to get her to admit she loved him.

Wrong. The legal term "Intent" includes a lot of things besides simply a premeditated plan. Spike intended to have sex with Buffy, and he exhibited reckless disregard for her complete lack of consent. That is the very definition of attempted rape.

If a viewer like Peggin sees Spike as a serial rapist

I never said that. I said:

(1) it is not inconsistent with what we know about Spike to assume it is possible that he has raped in the past


(2) Whether or not he had ever raped anyone doesn't matter in terms of this scene.

IMO, IF Spike has ever raped anyone before (and it is a big if -- I have no idea one way or the other) it was almost certainly with the specific intent to rape. What happened with Buffy was incredibly different, because he didn't have the specific intent to rape her, he just wanted to make love to her. But, since he had reckless disregard for the fact that she was most definitely not consenting to the sex, that is still attempted rape, even if his specific intent was not "I want to rape her".

[> [> [> [> [> [> I think we've played this scene -- Sophist, 09:36:18 02/04/03 Tue

I think we've reached an impasse here. I will only comment on the legal issues because I don't like to leave people confused.

The legal term "Intent" includes a lot of things besides simply a premeditated plan. Spike intended to have sex with Buffy, and he exhibited reckless disregard for her complete lack of consent. That is the very definition of attempted rape.

"[A]ll attempts require specific intent to commit the crime." In re Alberto S., 226 Cal. App. 3d 1459, 1464 (1991). In order to commit attempted rape, Spike must have had the specific intent to commit the crime of rape. In the hypothetical scenario, as I described it, he lacked that specific intent.

Consent is a separate and distinct issue. In rape cases, consent is a defense which may be proved by the defendant. The defendant can prove either (1) actual consent, or (2) that the victim did something which caused him to reasonably believe there was actual consent. Spike's reckless disregard for consent would tend to negate number 2. Beyond that, it has nothing to do with the issues we were discussing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I don't have access to that case... -- Peggin, 10:57:57 02/04/03 Tue

Are you telling me that the actual holding in that case is that an attempt to commit a crime requires a higher degree of culpability than the completed crime? I don't have access to that case (well, without taking a trip to one of the law schools around here, but that's a couple of hours out of my life that I don't plan to spend on this issue), and I'd really need to see the whole case in order to comment on it. One line from the case, stripped of all the relevant context, really doesn't tell me anything about California law on this issue.

In law school, I was told that an attempt requires the exact same mens rea as the underlying crime. Other than that, all that is needed are acts that, if they had been allowed to be completed, would have resulted in the commission of the crime. Of course, I went to law school in Boston, and I currently live in New Jersey, so I guess it's possible that California takes a different stand on this issue.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> California law is different -- Sophist, 13:20:51 02/04/03 Tue

Under CA law, rape is a general intent crime, but attempted rape is a specific intent crime. Under CA law, by definition, all attempts are specific intent crimes. Penal Code Sec. 21a.

Also, CA law does not recognize reckless disregard except for certain specified crimes. When it does, reckless disregard substitutes for general intent, but not specific intent.

One last potentially relevant point: voluntary intoxication can be a defense to specific intent crimes, though not to general intent crimes. Penal Code Sec. 22.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Verdict Predictions? -- Celebaelin, 17:37:34 02/04/03 Tue

It seems that there is a case to answer in some form. What I'd really like to know is what you think the outcome would be on the various charges mentioned, I'm assuming the only not guilty on all charges option disappeared with the first physical blow but perhaps evidence regarding the form the couples physicality had previously taken without ending the relationship (maybe we should consider that only we the viewers are aware of this in the process of assigning guilt if not legal responsibility) could threaten a conviction on any sexual assault/assault charge? Perhaps, perhaps not, instinctively from your descriptions I think that if Spike was sufficiently in control to act physically he was likely to have been capable of making a conscious decision not to leave, presumably in order to provoke some form of conflict that would bring about a resolution to what he regarded as an unsatisfactory arrangement. This I suspect might be his undoing on the assault charge(s).

Regarding attempted rape, if, as you seem to be saying, Buffy basically beat him up and threw him out then that would most likely hold as well I guess (subject to the above caveats on the nature of their physicality and regarding, as always, the audiences' POV as the evidence).

I assume that the reference to 'rape' as being shorthand is conceeded and that "both counsels" concur that no actual rape occurred, is that so?

So, how about some predictions on the 3 or 4 charges?

Assault (?Actual Bodily Harm? The assault charge is a bit feeble anyway isn't it? Just a lot of pushing and shoving really!)
Sexual Assault
Attempted Rape

Evidence or lack of evidence regarding sexual behaviour in other relationships should not be considered surely? Not until sentencing I would have thought. In the UK I think it would be described as being prejudicial as there would be a virtualy automatic assumption of guilt (the legal one not the emotional one!) if the accused was known to have committed the offense in question on a previous occasion or occasions.

How likely are convictions of this nature in cases where there is evidence of a sometimes violent and definitely sexual relationship existing between the accused and the victim? Emotional guilt is another matter of course, that's the kind of thing that grows inside you and acquires its' own imperative.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Tough questions -- Sophist, 09:51:08 02/05/03 Wed

I can't give any firm answers.

Let me answer the easiest question first, the one about behavior in other relationships (not B/S, but Spike's behavior towards other women).

The answer here is, perhaps surprisingly, yes it is admissible. There is actually such a case in CA (well, not one involving a vampire of course). The reason the other incidents are admissible is that they are relevant to the question of Spike's intent: did he intend to rape? If he raped previously, that would be evidence that this time he had that intent as well.

Spike's defense lawyer, if s/he were good, would probably get in 2 other key facts: that he was intoxicated; and the arguably "yes/no" history between the two. The latter would be admissible because it is a defense if the perpetrator has a reasonable and bona fide belief that the victim consented (this is different from saying she actually did consent -- she did not, and there is no evidence that she did). Spike's behavior afterward (remorse, soul) would be something that the defense would certainly try to get in; they might well.

The battery (not an assault, technically) is there, but as you note, it's not much of a real charge.

It's tough to call overall. Spike has some good points to raise in his defense. OTOH, juries today are very sensitive to sexual assault crimes. Evidence of previous rapes would certainly make the case against him. Without that, my best guess is a conviction on the battery charge as a compromise verdict, though I would not be at all surprised by a guilty verdict on the attempted rape charge.

Just to explain: I'm not being inconsistent by saying this. My comments on his lack of intent were based on an assumption about his mental state. The jury would not necessarily be making that assumption.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Excellent points -- lunasea, 10:58:01 02/04/03 Tue

Bloody hell, the writers couldn't have written Spuffy to be more detrimental to Buffy and still there are pre-soul Spuffy shippers. How many more scenes did they need to write where Spike tries to hurt and/or manipulate her?

This time it was just the big R, physical force, involved.

Poor Spikey. He is drunk and confused. He is actually a really swell guy. He is just lonely.

He is a VAMPIRE!!! Remember, bad guys of the Buffyverse. Buffy kills them without moral judgment because they are EVIL. He goes in saying it isn't about her. He was trying to force something on her. He was going to MAKE her feel it.

Emotional rape is no different than the physical act. He went in there for force her to admit something. He went in there to rape her.

The lack of clarity, now that the bugger has a soul, is the point. Buffy isn't supposed to be able to really move on yet.

People want everything spelled out for them. The point of the show is that things don't get spelled out.

[> [> [> [> [> mental state required for rape -- Helen, 03:33:25 02/05/03 Wed

Your statement that the offence of rape does not require any particualr mental state is not entirely true: almost all crimes require a mental state (except offences of strict liability). The mens rea of rape is to be reckless as to whether the victim consents to intercourse or not, or to have intercourse knowing that they do not consent.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Yes and no -- Sophist, 10:06:24 02/05/03 Wed

You are correct that there is a mental state required for rape. It's a general intent crime, and the meaning of that term is so vague I've left it out in order not to complicate matters.

General intent does not require, however, that he was reckless about her consent. First, her actual consent is not really disputed -- she clearly did not consent. Second, the prosecution does not need to prove that Spike was reckless. It just needs to prove that Buffy did not consent. Spike's recklessness is irrelevant to the prosecution. Third, Spike may raise his mental state as a defense. In CA, it is a defense if the perpetrator has a reasonable and good faith belief that the victim consented (not that she actually consented, just that he believed she had). Spike could make such an argument. If he did, the prosecution would then argue that he was reckless in his behavior, and that his recklessness shows a lack of both reasonableness and good faith.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not entirely accurate... -- Peggin, 10:54:32 02/05/03 Wed

Second, the prosecution does not need to prove that Spike was reckless. It just needs to prove that Buffy did not consent.

Unless this is another place where CA is different from the rest of the country, what matters is Spike's state of mind, not Buffy's. I mean, in SR, it was pretty damn clear that Buffy didn't consent, but it's not really her lack of consent that makes it a crime. (I'm going by New Jersey law & Black Letter Law here -- as I said, CA may be different.)

It is entirely about the man's state of mind. It is not about the woman's state of mind. I mean, it is in that if she actually consented then there is obviously no crime, but it's really not about her. It's about him. The man can't be held accountable for the woman's lack of consent unless he knew she didn't consent or unless the circumstances made it unreasonable for him to believe that she gave her consent. (This is the principle behind statutory rape -- if a woman is below the age of consent, then she is legally incapable of giving her consent, and it is therefore unreasonable to believe that she consented.)

The best example I can think of is a case where a man makes an advance on a woman at a party. The woman doesn't want to have sex with him, but, for whatever reasons of her own, she goes along with what he wants and she sleeps with him without ever actually saying no. It could easily be argued that she didn't consent to having sex with him, because she never actually said yes, but that's not enough to make it rape (in most states, anyway; CA could be weird on this issue). You have to show that the guy knew she didn't consent, or that he should have known, or that he was reckless to presume she was giving her consent.

Not that any of this applies to a situation where the girl is screaming and crying and begging the guy to stop -- in that case, I think the consent issue is pretty clear cut.

[> [> [> Re: Mea culpa -- Peggin, 14:23:44 02/03/03 Mon

When I say the backstory is missing, I mean that there needed to be direct evidence. We should have been shown some scene in which it was clear that Spike had raped in the past or was willing to.

But I still don't understand why this matters. Even if we knew for a fact that Spike had never raped anyone, how does that change what he did to Buffy? Even if the backstory was that there was no backstory, why does it matter? Every rapist who ever lived had a time in his life when he had never raped anyone, but I can't imagine that matters in the least to the first woman he rapes.

[> [> [> [> Re: Mea culpa -- Alison, 14:32:20 02/03/03 Mon

Personally, I think the idea that spike is not by nature a rapist makes his actions all the more rending and tragic..that he would be driven so far as to do something out of his nature to someone he loved.....it makes him even more of a complex, amazing character.

[> [> [> Re: Mea culpa -- lunasea, 10:41:22 02/04/03 Tue

SR, obviously, involved Buffy. It's probably even fair to say that it was the key episode in all of S6 and that the bathroom scene was the central scene of the entire season. Certainly it was one of the central scenes. I, and I assume shadowkat, would therefore expect backstory leading up to that scene.

Maybe for Spike's arc, but not for Buffy. The show revolves around Buffy.

In terms of drama that scene was high. In terms of the Dark Night Buffy was having, it was pretty irrelevant. There are plenty of more important scenes (most not including Spike), including when she cries and doesn't want Tara to forgive her and when Riley leaves.

Buffy's reaction to Spike did not further her character development. She just reiterated something she told Spike earlier.

There is a reason we don't get Spike's backstory. He is a plot device used to show things about Buffy. Screen time goes to Buffy and Willow that season. How much do we see of Spike when he isn't with Buffy, period? There are only 22 episodes with 45 minutes of screen time. The show uses that time carefully.

I am tired of all the criticisms about how they should do this with Spike or they should do that. The show isn't about Spike. In the words of Cordy and Angel "get over it."

As far as I am concerned, what Spike and Buffy did all of S6 constituted rape, mutual rape, from Smashed on. Spike was trying to force something out of Buffy that she didn't want to give from the beginning. SR seemed incredibly logical. It flowed from everything that happened S6. It wasn't about Spike's character. It was about the nature of that relationship, which showed how far Buffy had fallen. We had the backstory on that.

[> [> [> [> Really -- Rufus, 15:46:31 02/04/03 Tue

There is a reason we don't get Spike's backstory. He is a plot device used to show things about Buffy. Screen time goes to Buffy and Willow that season.

Spike is no more a plot point than any other character that interacts with Buffy...including Angel.

We didn't get much backstory with Angel til he got his own series. And don't be too sure about backstories.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Really -- lunasea, 06:14:28 02/05/03 Wed

Angel was a plot device UNTIL he got his own series (or until they decided he was getting his own series). Writing the series finales is going to be difficult because Angel is character developed on par with Buffy now. He can't just be there for her story. He can't just be positive reinforcement guy/the man behind the woman.

Heck, vampires weren't that developed until AtS. The soul was just the conscience and was just to explain why Angel was good and Angelus was so deliciously evil. A lot of Spike's development comes as ME decides more about vampires because they need to for Angel. Angel sires Spike in many ways.

We will see more of Spike's backstory this season, I have no doubt, just like we saw more of Angel's independent of Buffy's in "Amends." Have to set up the spin-off again.

[> Uhm...I didn't start posting until Feb 2002 -- shadowkat, 13:31:37 02/03/03 Mon

Since I didn't come online and post until February of 2002,
I can't be held responsible for not responding to posts made in 2001. I did however back up my statements with Lover's Walk, Initiative, etc in March - June 2002. We dueled over it three times - once after the initial airing, the second time under Misogyny thread, where I agreed with you on why ME made a mistake in doing that episode but not on the character retcon, and a third time this fall.

Let's face it, we're never going to agree on this issue.
sigh. But we have fought over it on numerous occassions prior to this one. ;-)

[> [> I remember. See my "Mea culpa" post above -- Sophist, 13:54:51 02/03/03 Mon

And I hope others read it, since I see the debate is starting all over again while I was composing that post.....

[> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- Miss Edith, 03:14:31 02/04/03 Tue

Spike and Drusilla were faithful to each other. We see Spike reacting very badly in Lover's Walk when Drusilla did stray. The relationship was not a casual one, and Dru knew that she would drive Spike away by cheating. Hence her response when he confronted her "She said we could still be friends". Drusilla was also not pleased at Spike having feelings for another women, a human Buffy. I don't see any evidence in the show that either Spike or Dru encouraged the other to engage in sexual contact with their victims. Some audience members have supposed that Dru like to watch Spike raping other women, that is not supported on screen so far.

I can accept that the vampire bite can be seen as a metaphor for rape in epiasodes such as The Iniative. What I can't accept is when I find out that in the original ending of BY before Joss rewrites Spike talks of having raped hundreds of women for kicks. Viewers can argue that Spike was evil, and they can understand vampires doing that as Angelus did. That is where I differ as just because Spike is evil does not mean he has literally raped. As I have brought up in the past rape is not something that all "evil" people do. Go into any prison and people who have tortured and killed other men will have no taste for rape, and see men who do as perverse. Spike may simply not have a taste for rape. In THLOD Harmony was annoying him "SHUT THE HELL UP" yet when she interested him sexually he begins a seductive crawl up the bed, he does not take her by force and enjoy aggressive sex. When giving my opinion recently I have beeN accused of only seeing what I want to see. I challenge anyone to point to a clear example of Spike being a habitual rapist before what I see as the retcon of season 7. And I accept metaphors for rape in episodes like The Iniative as canon, I am talking about evidence of literal rape.

[> [> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- Peggin, 07:32:02 02/04/03 Tue

The relationship was not a casual one, and Dru knew that she would drive Spike away by cheating. Hence her response when he confronted her "She said we could still be friends". Drusilla was also not pleased at Spike having feelings for another women, a human Buffy.

While I don't disagree with anything you're saying here, it's giving me the incredibly disturbing impression that you are equating rape with making love with cheating. No-one (to my knowledge) is suggesting that Spike fell in love with hundreds of women while he was in love with Dru. I have been suggesting that it is *possible* (not definite, but not inconsistent with anything we know about Spike), that he may have *raped* women. I never said he made love to them -- it has nothing to do with him having any feelings at all for those hypothetical women. It doesn't even necessarily have anything to do with sexual desire, it could just be about wanting to hurt them as much as possible.

I don't see any evidence in the show that either Spike or Dru encouraged the other to engage in sexual contact with their victims.

But you also have no evidence that they didn't.

Some audience members have supposed that Dru like to watch Spike raping other women, that is not supported on screen so far.

I completely agree. But this is missing the point. Just because I don't have proof that it happened does not mean that you have proof that it didn't.

I challenge anyone to point to a clear example of Spike being a habitual rapist before what I see as the retcon of season 7.

Yet again, you are missing the point. You're saying that, because you have no prior proof that he had raped women, new evidence that says Spike once raped people is "inconsistent" with what we already knew about Spike. But that's completely backwards. In order for it to be inconsistent with our prior knowledge about Spike, you would have to have incontravertable proof that it had *never* happened. Unless you can prove that Spike had never raped anyone in the past, then new information suggesting that he has a history of raping women would not be inconsistent with what we already know about his past.

I will agree with you that there is no proof that Spike has ever raped anyone. That's irrelevant. All that means is that, if we were now to find out that he had *never* raped anyone, it would not be inconsistent with what we know about Spike. (It's not even inconsistent with what Spike said in Never Leave Me -- Spike could have just been trying to make his history seem as bad as possible because he wanted Buffy to kill him.) The simple lack of prior evidence that Spike was a rapist doesn't make new evidence that he was a rapist inconsistent with anything.

[> [> [> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- Miss Edith, 08:02:34 02/04/03 Tue

Some posters are suggesting Spike raped women, whilst Dru happily watched. My argument is that sex with another woman, whether consentual or forced, is not something that was part of their relationship as I saw it. The relationship broke down when Spike fell for Buffy, and Drusilla strayed with random demons for one-nighters. Spike would not accept this, therefore I cannot see it as obvious that Drusilla would accept Spike raping random women.

I am not saying either Spike or Dru had to fall in love for the other to regard it as cheating. I am saying the two were focused only on each other, and sex with others was not something that Spike wanted as part of the relationship. It is implied Dru often strayed when bored with Spike, and won him back. But it certainly wasn't an ongoing thing that made either happy. Therefore I don't see it as obvious that Spike would have raped any women, when Dru wanted him to be focused on her alone. I am not comparing Spike raping to cheating on Dru. I am simply saying that the ideal for both of them was monogomy Even Dru recognised that cheating would drive Spike away. Therefore why would she be happy with him raping stray victims whenever it took his fancy?

I don't have evidence that Dru and Spike did not have sex with their victims. But until you can point me to an example that means it could be interpreted as a possibility I don't see how I can argue against it. I might as well say Spike used to cross dress as William, and challenge you to prove me wrong. You have nothing to prove wrong as I have no evidence supporting that claim, just my own opinion.

I am saying that ME did not show me on screen that Spike had raped regularly with Dru. Therefore when we have instances of souled Spike mentioning raping women perhaps inconsistency is not the correct term. I am simply saying what I understood of the character they were presenting has been retconned into a more convienient pattern for them now he has suddenly been presented as a serial rapist and Angelus the second who raped and tortured adolesent girls for weeks (mentioned in an unaired scene but still). I cannot prove it is inconsistent, all I can say is the character as ME previously choose to represent him, does not fit the new role they are suddenly attempting to mould him into.

[> [> [> [> I find this spectacularly naive. -- Jay, 18:25:38 02/04/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Thank you -- Miss Edith, 00:09:28 02/05/03 Wed

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my posts. It's good to know I don't need to feel insulted just because my opinion may differ from the norm.

[> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- Malandanza, 07:40:31 02/04/03 Tue

"1. Your argument was less about Spike per se than it was about the nature of vampires generally, the behavior of Angelus, and the metaphorical aspects of biting/sex. Having said that, you did anticipate the arguments that were used later by many others (mentioning Lover's Walk and The Initiative)."

Unfortunately, I began the discussion by saying that Angelus and his gang "raped and pillaged" their way across Europe, which is an ambiguous phrase, so I spent much of the time explaining I meant rape literally rather than figuratively (while agreeing that the metaphor has always been there). Also, I ran into a problem with Angelus -- I thought it was abundantly clear that Angelus was a rapist (which Spike as a rapist depended upon) so had to go back and try to establish Angelus' past when that assumption was challenged.

Setting aside the Season Seven confessions (which weren't specifically about rape, just suggestive of it -- he might have been bringing the "girls Dawn's age" to Dru when she was wounded -- she likes children) and the attempt in SR, I still think there are sufficient grounds for supposing Spike raped a few girls back in the bad old days.

First is what we've seen about the motivations of newly risen vampires. Liam has father issues -- he killed his father. Darla had prostitute issues -- she killed at least one prostitute and her would-be John. Penn -- more father issues. Whatever a vampire had been upset with, prevamping, continues to plague him in his new life (what we once were informs...). For William, his problems that we've seen from the backstory we've been given were with unattainable women and fitting in. Enter Angelus, Darla and Dru.

I don't think that there's anything Spike wouldn't have done to try to fit in with the gang -- and I think that Angelus and Darla would have had a pretty good time hazing him. Between the time of Spike's vamping and the Boxer Rebellion, I don't think any crime Spike committed (either at the behest of Angelus or to impress Angelus) would be out of character. In fact, I think that Spike standing up to Angelus or Darla and protesting that he's evil, but not that evil, would have been ridiculously out of character. He's still afraid to stand up to Angel/Angelus in a face to face confrontation.

From the Boxer Rebellion on, I think the arguments against Spike being a rapist work okay. Spike still wanted to be like Angelus, he still hated strong women (and as late as S6 still had a strong streak of misogyny -- just count up the times he says "bitch") but I don't think it would be out of character for him to have simply murdered them rather than raped, tortured and murdered them.

And as for more backstory, I think that since DB is on a different network, it's impossible for ME to give us flashbacks showing what happened when he was part of Angelus' gang and it would be pointless to show Spike post Boxer Rebellion since by then, his character had been shaped and the influence of Angelus was gone.

[> [> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned (General Future Spoilers) -- Dochawk, 10:18:39 02/04/03 Tue

These are other issues which we will get alot more information on. I think we will see alot of old Angelus during the Angelus arc on Angel and Episode 17 of Buffy will be giving us a whole lot new to consider on Spike's backstory.

[> [> Re: Mal, I found the thread you mentioned -- lunasea, 11:12:12 02/04/03 Tue

very good points. When Spike made the comment about how he drained just enough so they could still cry, I thought "bet he learned that trick from Angelus." It doesn't seem to be something that Spike would come up with on his own, but something that his Yoda would teach him. We know from Penn that Angelus took an active part in teaching those in his family.

Fan Fiction Fun -- ZachsMind, 10:15:35 02/03/03 Mon

Your mission, should you choose to accept it.. this message will not self-destruct in five seconds...

Been playing with this idea off and on for some time but it's only recently begun to take shape. Yet still I can't quite grasp it myself enough to actually write the short story. I thought perhaps some of y'all here might have fun playing with the concept. Think of it as a sandbox I'm offering within this thread. I've been playing in it for awhile now, and I'm now inviting others to join me. Maybe a group of us could come up with fun variables or a plot outline and then work it out as a group. I'm of firm conviction that there's enough creative brains here in this forum to explore it.

This idea of mine toys with the idea of infinite multiple realities, that every possible conceivable variant of reality has occurred and does occur somewhere in the multiverse. It's a weird fictional bastardization of quantum physics made popular in science fiction over the years. Most recently what has brought this idea into more focus for me is Drew Goddard and other recent statements made by Mutant Enemy associates about spoilage. I fancied a bit about how it'd be amusing if a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer could go back in time, and to the fictional world of Buffy, and warn the Scoobie gang about all the pitfalls and promise they're about to undergo. Would this be a good thing or a bad thing?

The basic gist of the storyline is a sorta parody/satire on what spoilage could do to ruin the fabric of BtVS as we know it. How it could make things worse, or make things better, because actually warning characters in the series changes the variables and.. well, it sounded like a good idea but it's too big for me to tackle alone. And I want to somehow correlate this to how we spoilage whores and pimps are in effect ruining some of the fun for ourselves, but that this creates all new fun in different ways. That there's pros & cons, bad & good to knowing your own future. This could also somehow coincide with the Cassie storyline. That she knew she was going to die, which kinda made the climax of the episode "Help" rather predictable. I sometimes like to think Cassie was invented by M.E. in response to us spoiler whores & pimps - sorta a critical appraisal of our folly.

Originally, I worked out a fictional character who would represent all fans, and detailed how he got to Buffy's Sunnydale California 1997 from Anytown USA 2003 in "our" reality. I worked up a dialogue similar to the following. It's undergone MANY variations and revisions. I keep getting stuck. This is similar to the latest, pretty much abandoned, draft...

[Scene - Sunnydale High School library circa 1997 identical to Welcome to the Hellmouth in every way. The actors should purposefully appear seven years older, but are wearing the same exact clothes as they wore in the original pilot. Closeup of the VAMPYR book on the counter. Giles hands clasping the sides. Cut to Buffy's face of utter amazement & shock. This scene should be similar to the opening scene in Back To The Future Part Two which was an attempt to recreate the ending scene of Back To The Future Part One but with older actors and subtle but deliberate changes in visuals & behavior.]

Buffy: That's not what I'm looking for.
Giles: Are you sure?
Buffy: I'm *way* sure.
Giles: (confused) My mistake.
[He puts the book back behind the counter. Buffy quickly leaves.]
Giles: (straightening back up) So, what is it you said...
[He sees her go out of the library. As she leaves out the double doors, a curious looking gentleman crosses the threshold and carefully avoids blocking her path as he enters the library. Giles looks off after her exeunt, and therefore is looking right at the mysterious gentleman, who walks straight from the double doors to the front counter where Giles is standing.]
TeeGee: (hikes a thumb gesture back at Buffy, but talking to Giles) Oh, don't worry. She'll be back.
Giles: (to mysterious gentleman) I'm sorry?
TeeGee: (extends his hand to shake) Mister Rupert Giles I presume? Call me TeeGee.
Giles: (befuddled. Doesn't accept TeeGee's hand.) Uh, erm.. I - Can I help you?
TeeGee: I'm hoping you can. I'm in a bit of a dilemma.
Giles: Tee Gee, is it? You appear too old to be a student.
TeeGee: Yeah. I guess you could say I'm looking for employment?
Giles: Ah! Well you need to speak with the Superintendent of schools. The principal's office can help you with that.
TeeGee: No I believe you misunderstand me--
Giles: I'm just the school's librarian see, and have no control over employment of the library.
TeeGee: I'm not-- (stops short. Regains composure) I do not wish to be a librarian's assistant.
Giles: Sorry?
TeeGee: I'm referring to your _other_ job?
Giles: Excuse me?
TeeGee: Have you the time, sir?
[Giles looks down at his watch, flustered, stuttering]
Giles: Uhm, er.. I.. don't have the slightest--
TeeGee: (talking over Giles' line) Who watches the watchers--
Giles: (talking over TeeGee) --idea what you're talking about--
TeeGee: (talking over Giles) --Ripper my dear boy?
[Giles looks up at TeeGee with a dawn of near haunted realization on his face]
Giles: You called me..?
TeeGee: Ripper. Yes.
[Giles cautiously takes a step back from the counter, eyes widened, backpedals towards his office]
Giles: I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage, sir.
TeeGee: Yes I'm afraid I do.
[Giles suddenly turns and darts towards his office. TeeGee follows after him, as if he already knows where Giles is going. Camera cuts from the counter to just outside Giles' office.]
Giles: Rayne put you up to this, eh?
TeeGee: The crossbow is in the lower cabinet behind your desk.
[Giles makes it to behind his desk and places his hand on the handle of a large cabinet against the wall in a corner. This cabinet has two main compartment doors. Giles stops himself short of opening the upper compartment door. He looks back at TeeGee, who's standing in the doorframe,]
Giles: I'm sorry?
TeeGee: (very calmly. Both gentlemen stand frozen in place, staring at one another, afraid to move a muscle) You always go for the upper cabinet first, looking for the crossbow. You placed the crossbow in the lower cabinet and for some reason at this second in time, flustered as you are, you think it's in the upper cabinet. It's not. It's in the lower cabinet.
Giles: How could you possibly--?
[Giles swings open the upper cabinet door, which has books and papers & a bottle of either vodka or holy water, but no crossbow. Giles stares at it for a beat.]
Giles: I was alone last night when I--
[Giles quickly closes the upper cabinet door, swings open the lower cabinet door, grabs the crossbow and aims it at TeeGee, who stands there smiling. He crosses his arms and stares back at Giles, who is shaking.]
TeeGee: Aren't you concerned someone might walk in here and see you aiming a weapon at defenseless little old me?
Giles: I sincerely doubt you defenseless. Who sent you? Rayne?
TeeGee: Rayne doesn't have the intelligence of a slug on a highway and we both know it.
Giles: Who sent you!
TeeGee: (strangely calm) No one sent me Giles. The Powers that Be sent me.
Giles: Not bloody likely!
TeeGee: If you calm down I can explain.
Giles: I'll shoot!
TeeGee: It's going to jam, Giles.
[Giles looks down at the crossbow then back at TeeGee, then down at the crossbow. Then he shoots. It jams. TeeGee just stands there smiling. Giles attempts to retain or regain his characteristic british composure]
Giles: How did you--?
TeeGee: I didn't. The first time you scared me, but it jammed then too.
Giles: You mean..?
TeeGee: This is not the first time I have had this conversation with you. It is however always the first time you have had this conversation with me. I tried not mentioning Ripper before, but I've learned it's the fastest way to get you into your office.
Giles: [puts the crossbow on his desk] Why do you need me in my office--?
[as if on cue, front doors to the library open revealing Amy & Jonathan wandering into the library together mumbling something about the card catalogue. Both Giles & TeeGee look over at them. TeeGee reaches for the office door.]
Giles: (calling to Jonathan & Amy) Can I help you with anything?
[Camera cuts to Amy & Jonathan who smile back at him and shake their heads as they head confidently to wherever they were going in the library.]
Giles: Well just please feel free to call upon me if you--!
[TeeGee closes the door to the office before Giles finishes his sentence. Giles looks at TeeGee incredulously.]
TeeGee: [hand still on doorknob] It works better this way, without them in the conversation.
Giles: Tee Gee was it?
TeeGee: [crosses from door to other side of desk, facing Giles] Yes. It's as good a name as any.
Giles: Strange Name.
TeeGee: Initials really. Short for "Time Goof."
Giles: Pardon?
TeeGee: You'd probably prefer the phrase "temporal anomaly" but I like "time goof" because it'd look better on a T-shirt. Can we get down to business or are you still going to try to kill me?
Giles: Perhaps you should start from the top?
TeeGee: In about an hour, Buffy Summers will walk back into the library.
Giles: Really?
TeeGee: The first words out of her mouth will be "What's the sitch?"
Giles: What's the..?
TeeGee: In 90s youth parlance that translates to "explain the situation to me so that we're on the same page." Then she'll go on to explain there's been an extreme dead guy found in the ladies gym locker room-"
Giles: Which no doubt you put there.
TeeGee: (shakes his head) Now why would I kill someone and then tell you about it? Besides it's not my M.O.
Giles: And how am I to know that?
TeeGee: Because it's daylight and I'm not on fire.
Giles: Oh dear Lord..

And this is where I get stuck. Because no matter how one slices it, anything TeeGee tells Giles at this moment either sounds too incredulous for Giles to believe, or it would cause Giles to do something that dramatically alters the events of "Welcome To The Hellmouth." And the variables start getting really weird from here on out.

I've also explored another variant. What if there is no "TeeGee" but somehow the three main characters Willow, Xander & Buffy (a goofup of a magic spell on Willow's part is the easiest plot device to cause this) are thrown back in time to 1997, but retain their knowledge of the past seven years, and everyone else including Giles are oblivious? What would Buffy, Willow & Xander do in the first episode, knowing what they know after seven years? This is extremely fun to explore, but again the temporal paradoxes & variables get so complex I can't work it out alone.

Anyone wanna play in this sandbox with me?

[> This is an interesting concept, but the TeeGee character is annoyingly omniscient. -- cjl, 10:57:08 02/03/03 Mon

Omniscient characters aren't necessarily bad. But he doesn't have the sarcastic pizzazz of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and he isn't tortured or thrilled or scared by the prospect of meddling in the lives of people he obviously cares a great deal about. Right now, he just comes off as smug.

B/X/W flashback? Oddly enough, in the paperback Tales of the Slayer, vol. 2, Jane Espenson wrote a story about Willow, Buffy, and Xander getting bumped back two years in time from 2001 to 1999 and reliving the last year of high school ("Again"). Unfortunately, other than a fascinating exchange between Buffy and "previous"-Giles, she didn't do a lot with it. So I'd rather avoid that angle...

I like the way your (Zachs)mind works, ZachsMind. I'm always into time paradoxes and Moebius loops, and I'd be more than willing to work out a storyline. But we've gotta give TG a real personality. He stays the way he is now, your readers with be throwing rotten fruit at the screen by Chapter 2...

[> [> Re: This is an interesting concept, but the TeeGee character is annoyingly omniscient. -- ZachsMind, 11:56:50 02/03/03 Mon

Well first off of course he's smug. He is like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Reliving the same events over and over until he gets it right. Who wouldn't be smug if they know everything? In the original post I purposefully tried to give as little info as possible on the outset about the 'behind the music' crap about this idea. I'm self-conscious about my rambling style, and wanted to convey in general terms a lot of info in one post so I couldn't explain everything. Just wanted to give a general rundown focusing on where I am now, but here's a bit more knowledge about where the idea started and failed past attempts.

There's a lot of notes on this idea. Much of which I must admit I've deleted in frustration, but parts are still there. Scraps of paper, notepad textfiles in my computer coupled with mental notes I've made, trying to make this kooky idea work. Originally it was just a temporal anomaly story, where a fan (any fan) of this reality finds his/her way into the fictional reality of Buffy. What would they do if they were there?

In the earliest drafts, TeeGee was visiting Giles the very first time, and every time he 'goofed' i.e., altered history irrevocably, he'd get thrown back in time to the night before. Originally he fell into Sunnydale by landing off the coast of California, then he'd meet these same four vampires by pure chance, learn he was "the Consecrated" (a prophetic plot line I've since dropped for simplicity's sake) THEN the scene cuts back to the library the next day and.. well it was just painfully involved and focused too much on TeeGee.

A good Buffy story should focus more on the primary characters of Buffy, Giles, Xander & Willow. TeeGee's a secondary, one-shot character. He is the focus of the plot, but the spotlight should remain on the main four. This is another of the many problems I have that I'm hoping others can help me address.

I've painfully had to streamline TeeGee to the equivalent of Cassie. I want to give an impression that he's more defined, but again like Cassie, he's a plot element. Cassie's basic drive through "Help" is that she knows her own death. TeeGee knows not his own fate, but the fate of those around him. PROVIDED he doesn't change things. The second a major alteration occurs (say Giles runs off to the ladies locker room and finds the dead body before Buffy does for example) suddenly TeeGee's as much in the dark as everybody.

So in the later drafts I've skipped his first several time loops because the result got really boring. Just Giles talking with TeeGee over and over again with different subtle variant changes as TeeGee experiments with different ways of going about introducing himself. Very painful and boring to read.

In the later drafts, we enter into the story about halfway through. Teegee's already looped several times, and each time he loops he returns to Giles because for some reason he believes Giles' intellect will help TeeGee get OUT of this temporal paradox loop allowing him to go "home" wherever that is.

As for a personality, from the outset I've tried to shape TeeGee as "everyman" meaning he could be you, whoever you are reading this. Male, female, I toyed with genderless descriptions of the character and that's just a nightmare so he's definitely a male but there's no intent for the character to get romantically involved with anyone and ultimately his actions became rather generic so anyone reading could read themselves into the story. So it's really hard to create a personality for a character who is supposed to be anybody. I can't even hint he likes strawberries because if a reader doesn't like strawberries then suddenly TeeGee can't be them. The result is a very vanilla character.

Am I making any sense here? I need more coffee. LOL!

[> [> [> OK, I get that. Still, if Everyfan had the chance to go to Sunnydale... -- cjl, 12:02:39 02/03/03 Mon

There would be some sense of excitement, some sense of Fanboy (Fangirl) thrill. It's something I believe we all have in common. Perhaps by imitating the Groundhog Day loop, you take the most interesting and readily identifiable personality facet out of the Everyfan character.

[> [> [> ZM, I think I've got the germ of an idea for a plot structure. E-mail me! -- cjl, 12:22:10 02/03/03 Mon

[> OK, everybody, this is how I envision the story... -- cjl (letting his imagination run with scissors), 16:28:56 02/03/03 Mon

Plot outline: "I Am Legend" or "Twice Told Tales"

Since this piece of fanfic is about the BtVS saga from the Buffy fan's point of view, I think the focus of the story should be on how the Buffy saga has affected the average fan. What have we learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What has Joss and ME tried to teach us? How have our own preconceptions and misconceptions about the series aided us (or prevented us) from receiving that message? And--here's the hook--if a Buffy fan had the chance to "rewrite" history, wouldn't those preconceptions invite disaster?

We start in 1997, maybe a few minutes before the events of Welcome to the Hellmouth. TeeGee appears on the steps of Sunnydale High. He's disoriented, not sure how he got there, not sure of anything about reality (not even his own name), but he does recognize that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a TV show--his favorite TV show--and he's somehow been plopped right in the middle of this fictional world. Unlike the Groundhog Day scenario, Teegee is puzzled, baffled, but excited (almost elated) to be there. Omigod, there's the bench where Buffy, Willow and Xander used to sit and discuss all sorts of Hellmouthy stuff! Omigod, the lockers, the ones Snyder rifled through in Gingerbread! Omigod, there's the...well, you get the idea.

TeeGee witnesses the first meeting between Buffy and Giles, but he doesn't interfere. As a confirmed sci-fi/fantasy addict, he's unsure whether its wise to "disrupt the timeline" (even of a fictional universe). So he sits back and watches Willow, Xander, and Buffy become fast friends, and he re-experiences the comradeship and relative innocence of S1 he felt from behind the TV screen in 1997. There's an irresistible urge to join in that comradeship and protect the kids from the Master and the oogly booglies of S1. So (timeline or no timeline), TeeGee joins the group, gently inserting himself into the lives of the Scoobies, and quietly steers them around the various menaces of that first season. (Could put in a Luke Perry joke about how TeeGee looks too old to be in high school...)

Unfortunately, TeeGee's gentle steering radically affects the events of Prophecy Girl; Buffy never enters The Master's subterranean cavern, and the entire town is wiped out by old Fruit Punch Bowl Mouth and his minions when he re-enters the mortal world through the machinations of the Anointed One. By trying to protect Buffy from her first death, TeeGee never gives her the chance to truly accept her calling--and effectively negates the entire purpose of S1.

TeeGee vanishes in the midst of the slaughter and re-appears just after the events of "Some Assembly Required" in Season 2. Bafflingly, none of the events of the "altered" S1 seem to have carried over. Season 2 seems to be humming along according to script. This time, TeeGee is determined not repeat the same mistake, and simply decides to follow the adventures of the SG without too much interference.

Unfortunately, Willow falls in love with him halfway through S2, and TeeGee (a devoted Willow groupie) succumbs to temptation. Yes, TeeGee has fallen into the 'shipper trap, and the coupling is an absolute disaster. A heartbroken Oz leaves town, Willow is killed by Angelus in "Innocence," Angelus beats Buffy in "Becoming,"and the world is sucked into Hell by Acathla. The lesson of S2, overcoming and channeling the sexual temptations of adolescence, is accidentally subverted.

The pattern continues through the remaining seasons. Each time TeeGee pops up, he (with the best of intentions) screws up the evolution of Buffy's story. The events changed in one season don't seem to affect the others, though, and he doesn't understand why until he meets the nerds in S6:

WARREN: So, it's a time travel thing. Cool.
JONATHAN: I don't know. None of the timelines match, so it could be sort of a personal fantasy scenario.
ANDREW: Or it could be kinda like the last episode of Next Generation...
NERDS ENSEMBLE: "All Good Things"!
JONATHAN: Right! You're bouncing from time period to time period, but the timelines aren't contiguous. There's probably a temporal anomaly where you "started" that set the whole thing in motion.
TEEGEE: So how do I get out of this?
WARREN: I guess you're going to have to ride out the loop and figure out how to close it when you get to the "beginning."
ANDREW: I dont know. I always thought that was stupid.
ANDREW: I mean, if the Enterprise opened up a rift in anti-time, how could the future version of the crew come back six hours later and see the rift? The rift gets larger as it goes back in time. Wouldn't that whole area still be empty space?
JONATHAN: Why don't you pay attention, dumbass? There was, like, this explosion when time collided with anti-time. Explosions aren't uni-directional. There was damage to the space-time continuum moving backwards and forwards in time. That's why the rift was there when the Enterprise came back.
ANDREW (ponders that for a moment): Still not buying it...

(Sigh. And so on...)

Eventually, TeeGee arrives in Season 7, and he figures out why he was sent back in time in the first place. The fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (a kind of Fandom Gestalt) refuse to let go of the series, and a typical fan (TeeGee) has been sent back to re-learn the lessons of the entire series. By replaying the series through the typical faults of fandom--the shipper, the genre geek, etc.--TeeGee comes to respect the integrity of Joss vision. Buffy may be gone after this year, but we will carry the lessons Joss has taught us long after it fades from the airwaves.


P.S. Hmm. We need a plot-specific explanation for the time loop. Who actually sent TeeGee back to Sunnydale 1997 and then forward through the seven seasons?

How about this? TeeGee writes to Masq on the ATP board an bemoans the end of BtVS. He whines that BtVS could still go on if Joss and SMG just shut up and gave the fans what they wanted. He wishes he could go back and relive the whole series all over again.

Masq responds:

"Wish granted."

[> [> I like this possibility, with one exception: -- ZachsMind, 18:20:20 02/03/03 Mon

I like this possibility, with one exception. Cjl's idea's got me thinking. Perhaps what I did wrong in the first place is starting at the beginning and trying to tell the story that way. Read everything cjl just posted, but read it *backwards*.

Story starts with TeeGee complaining to Masqerade about how the series is obviously (by his troll-like spoilery frustration) going to end. He ends his post with something pithy like, "I wish somebody'd just write ME into the story, because I'd know precisely how to make things work right."

Masq's deliciously Anya-like response (nice touch cjl) "As you wish."

BANG. He finds himself in the backyard of Buffy's house just as Warren makes the last shot. Tara's dead. Buffy's bleeding. Xander looks over at TeeGee and demands he call 911. Disoriented, TeeGee (who by the way doesn't have a name at all yet) looks around nervously unable to figure out where the door is, as Xander gets exasperated and rushes off for the kitchen door. As he leaves, TeeGee crawls over to the fallen Buffy, and as the look of shock and realization hits his face, Buffy looks up at him meekly and asks in a small voice, "do I know you?" Then she passes out.

TeeGee's upset and freaking out cuz he thinks this is a bad dream. He feels utterly helpless, and then he hears a loud dark scream (Osiris) upstairs in the house. A sudden look of raw determination stones onto his face. He rushes inside.

Xander's on the phone. TeeGee tells him that Tara is also upstairs, dying. If the paramedics take her into the hospital the same time they take Buffy, she might still have a chance. He then runs past him towards the stairs as Xander calls off after him asking who he is.

TeeGee meets Willow halfway up the stairs and grabs her by the shoulders. "If you kill Warren you become the very thing that Tara despised about you."

"Who are you? Get away from me! Let me go!"

"You can't kill Warren! You'll become evil! Get ahold of yourself now!"

"No! Warren!? WARREN DID THIS??" Her eyes go black and she grabs TeeGee back. They struggle. It looks like Willow's about to do a magic spell on TeeGee because there's all this wicked CGI swirly color flashing between them. TeeGee panicks and throws Willow off the side of the stairs. She tumbles off the stairs and falls, landing on her head. We hear a crack. She dies instantly.

Xander rushes to the foot of the stairs and looks up at TeeGee: "You. You killed her?"

TeeGee looks back at Xander apologetically. He opens his mouth and inhales as if to say something. Then he zaps out.

Then we cut to show TeeGee appear in the hideout of the Trio, somewhere in the middle of season six, cuz I thought the scene Cjl wrote about them was funny. =) And maybe with some reworking of the dialogue a little bit, talking to those three geekheads would help TeeGee get his bearings a bit and understand what's happening to him.

TeeGee then appears unceremoniously in the finale of season five. The rift hasn't opened yet and the gang is still fighting Glory. TeeGee disregards all that and rushes up the stairs.

When he gets to the top, Spike is struggling with the demon Doc. Doc throws Spike off the platform. Doc turns to Dawn and sees TeeGee.

DOC: (smiling) Woah. You're not even supposed to be here.

TeeGee grabs Dawn from behind and holds her arms back.

TEEGEE: Cut her.
DOC: Really?
TEEGEE: Cut her!
DOC: Do you really think you know what you're doing?
DAWN: Let me go!
TEEGEE: (to Dawn so Doc can hear) He has to open the rift. Your SISTER sacrifices herself to save you, but she's still needed. You want that on your conscience? You were made for a reason Dawn. You're the KEY!
DAWN: ..No!
DOC: (shrugs) okay..

Doc goes to cut Dawn. TeeGee suddenly throws Dawn behind him towards the ladder, and grabs Doc's knife hand.

TEEGEE: Heh. Figgered you'd fall for that...

TeeGee pushes Doc back, trying to knock him off the platform. Doc almost goes off, and finds himself swinging his arms back wildly as his hooves are only one inch onto the platform.

Camera cuts to show Dawn safe and looking back at Doc & Teegee.

Camera cuts back to TeeGee and Doc. Doc's barely losing his balance.

TEEGEE: ...But you really think I'd let you hurt her?

Teegee kicks Doc in the chest. Doc goes over, but Teegee loses his balance in the kick and almost falls himself. He falls and grabs the very edge of the platform, struggling for his life to get back up. Dawn crawls across the platform and reaches her hand out.

DAWN: T-t-t-t-take my hand.
TEEGEE: You can't hold my weight!
DAWN: You saved me! I can't let you die!

TeeGee loses grip of one hand. Now he's holding one by just a few fingers of one hand. He looks up at her fearfully. Then he just looks sad. He chokes up.

TEEGEE: Hardest part.. Just LIVE, Dawnie. Just live.

He lets go. Slomo of him falling to his death. However, directly beneath him, we see GLORY. She catches him in her arms like he was a basket of luggage.

GLORY: (to TeeGee in his arms) Hi! I just wanted to thank you!

TEEGEE: But! But you're supposed to be dead! Giles kills Ben!

Glory looks over offscreen and TeeGee follows her gaze. Camera cuts to show the fallen body of Doc on top of a very dead Giles.

GLORY: Fortunately, Giles broke his fall. I'm gonna go home now. Buh-bye.

She drops TeeGee to the ground and walks off screen.

Then TeeGee zaps again, and each time he goes back one season to the previous season's finale, and each time he almost makes things better, only to make them worse.

Then he gets to season one's opener. He materializes at Sunnydale High just before Xander flies by with his skateboard. Xander's supposed to flip over the stairrail, but instead he runs into TeeGee. They both fall in a heap on the ground. TeeGee gets his bearings before Xander does.

XANDER: Hey! Sorry man!

Teegee helps him up.

TEEGEE: (in pain) No problem. Don't worry about it. (he looks over at Willow) Willow!

Willow looks over at Xander & Teegee.


TEEGEE: Just the person Xander wanted to see.

TeeGee looks at a shocked Xander, defeated. He politely pushes Xander over towards Willow, with a pat on Xander's back, then TeeGee walks away in the opposite direction.

WILLOW: (to Xander) You know that guy?
XANDER: (to Willow) I thought you did. You think he's new?
WILLOW: How would he know our names?

They look back at TeeGee who's now walking down the sidewalk.

XANDER: (calling after TeeGee) Hey! You! Where you going?

TeeGee turns around.

TEEGEE: As far away from you guys as I can possibly get! Which way's the bus depot outta this town?

Willow points one way, Xander simultaneously points the exact opposite way. Camera cuts back to Teegee as he rolls his eyes, throws his hands up in the air, and turns around walking away.

[> [> [> Sounds like fun, but I feel it leaves out something crucial... -- cjl, 20:40:10 02/03/03 Mon

It's not just that TeeGee screws up the plotlines (with Doc squishing Giles and such), it's that HE MISSES THE POINT OF THE PLOTLINES. Shadowkat would no doubt point out that we're in TeeGee's POV for the entire time, and he's not exactly the most reliable narrator. You're exactly right about my take on TeeGee--he's fairly intelligent, but he's a bit of troll, and he has these blind spots about the series that represent the blind spots of collective Buffydom throughout the seven seasons. Some fans want a happy ending, some fans are 'shippers, some fans think it's All About Spike, some fans think Buffy's a bitch, etc. If any of these fans had a chance to rewrite Buffy history, it would royally screw up the storyline as Joss imagined it.

That's what I had in mind with TeeGee. He's the representative of the fan who thinks he Knows Better than Joss. In S1, when he meets the Scoobs, he's the "happy ending" fan. Doesn't want to see anything bad happen to them. Uses his knowledge of the future to shield them from badness. But the theme of S1 is stepping out of childhood, and all these horrible experiences--including Buffy's death at the hands of The Master--are necessary to move the characters forward. TeeGee, living in the moment, jazzed about hanging with his heroes, doesn't see this. He loves the drama, but misses the point of that drama. He coddles them, keeps them children, and it ends in disaster.

Season 2 is all about finding first loves, but also getting past the hormonal buzz of adolescence and directing your energies to more constructive purposes. Not letting the potent lure of sexuality chain you to your animal nature. In my scenario, TeeGee is "'shipper fan" here, and despite his vow to stay on the periphery of the Scoobies' lives, he succumbs to the lure of romance with one of his fantasies--S2 Willow. In a way, TeeGee getting involved with Willow is like Buffy sleeping with Angel--the mind and spirit are distracted by the pleasures of the body, and again, disaster strikes. TeeGee unbalances the seasonal arc, and the Scoobies never live to learn the lessons of S2.

This is how I see it going for each season, with TeeGee's interference and fanboy stubbornness undoing Joss' master plan, unraveling his themes each and every time. But the wonderful paradox about the story is that by screwing everything up so massively, by ruining everything Joss ever attempted with the series, TeeGee learns by negative example what Joss intended in the first place. By the time he arrives in S7, TeeGee has gone through the same painful lessons Buffy and the gang did. (As have we all, by turning on our TVs at 8:00 on Tuesday nights...)

Near the end of his experience, Sunnydale bleeds back into reality, and TeeGee is back on the boards with Masquerade, the way Cordy comes back to her point of origin in "The Wish." TeeGee is a bit more mellow about Buffy ending now; if BtVS doesn't have an eighth season, he's satisfied that Joss has put everything he possibly could into the series. He's come to a deeper understanding of Buffy, and is ready (if not completely willing) to let it go to TV heaven...

[> [> [> [> Re: Sounds like fun, but I feel it leaves out something crucial... -- ZachsMind, 21:37:48 02/03/03 Mon

I guess I'm just too action oriented and dialogue punchy to make this idea work. If we were to try to have TeeGee approaching each season that deeply, we'd end up writing the equivalent of a season for every season. It wouldn't be short story fanfic. It'd be the equivalent of seven novels. It would take too long to develop, and we'd have to calculate not only where TeeGee fits in every major scene of the series, but what he does "off camera" perhaps creating entirely new scenes that were not originally seen.

I was trying to encapsulate the whole idea into the equivalent of one episode, in four acts and a teaser, but I think you're right. The only way to do this right would be to decipher each season, figure out exactly what Whedon was trying to get across, and postulate how TeeGee would best ruin that message, to show not only what Whedon was saying but also how TeeGee (and by consequence some of the fan base) completely misses the point.

I really love this idea. It's just too darn big and I don't know how to make it work without all the variables just flying all higgledy-piggledy. =(

[> [> [> [> [> Don't give up, ZM! We've got something good here--we just need hellllllllp! -- cjl, 22:12:06 02/03/03 Mon

It's conceivable to do this as seven individual fanfics, each tied to a single season, with TeeGee screwing up the main themes of each season. You and I and maybe Majin Gojira would handle three seasons, and we'd send out the clarion call for the other four. You and I would edit the assembled fanfic and I guess you would write the opening and closing scenes to tie it all together.

Format would vary according to the writer. If, let's say, HonorH wanted to join in, she might do her seasonal arc as a standard short story or (ulp) novella. You and I might do an abbreviated season as a one or two-act (screen)play. As for the depth and scope of this sucker--I've SEEN fanfic the length of seven novels. It can be done! But we don't need that much space here. We just need to find the kernel of Joss' seasonal themes (manwitch's brilliant post would be a good reference point), and find the funniest, most brutal way of sabotaging them, with TeeGee as our unwitting agent of destruction.

I'm not saying it's going to be simple. I have no intention of writing anything more than "1+" parts of this behemoth. But if we can get four of five volunteers, we might be able to pull it off.

GENERAL MESSAGE TO THE BOARD: how about it, people? Pick a season, any season. This could be a wonderful way to say goodbye to our beloved series...

[> [> [> [> [> [> I wish I could help -- Majin Gojira, 07:12:59 02/04/03 Tue

But between School and the fics I'm already working on (Posessing Faith: the Rise of Doom Bagan), I just won't have the time...

Even though, I'd love to grab some of those people I mentioned below and say "How? The burden of proof is on you" and pick appart their arguments like so much...stuff that gets picked appart.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Don't give up, ZM! We've got something good here--we just need hellllllllp! -- lunasea, 09:56:50 02/04/03 Tue

I will do S6 if anyone is interested, but it won't be based on the Trio. It will be TG going through his own Dark Night because he is starting to see how much the characters he loves are in pain and he thinks there is nothing he can do to help them (after all his failed attempts to do just that and mucking things up more). It will end with what he can do (namely not change anything, just be supportive)

It would require an outline for S1-5 before I could start. Maybe we could meet in chat sometime and iron things out.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Interesting, and it might fit in with my own idea about S6... -- cjl, 10:25:43 02/04/03 Tue

That TeeGee would become the Big Bad.

A huge chunk of fandom starting transferring their hostility towards the plotline to the characters. TeeGee might fall into the same trap--maybe echoing/replacing Willow in her decision in Grave to put those poor bastards out of their misery.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Yet another possibility... -- ZachsMind, 11:21:38 02/04/03 Tue

There could be many TeeGees. Not just one. Perhaps the storyline could involve two TeeGees, both looking identical, but the "good" TeeGee is actually a little older and wiser than the "bad" TeeGee and attempts to thwart the younger TeeGees efforts to "make things better" because the older TeeGee warns the Scoobies that the newer TeeGee actually makes things worse.

However, each time they zap from one reality to the next, the damage they did in the previous reality is 'erased' from that TeeGee's perspective. Meaning, that each time TeeGee is transported from one alternate reality to another, what's happening is he's leaving the alternate timeline where he caused it to change from its original linear design, and is transported to a new, fresh, unaltered version of the timeline. It's like he's a viral infection of time, and every time he returns to an unadulterated temporal version of Buffy's world, his very presence inadvertently duplicates that reality and his meddling causes it to become tainted and insure Buffy's failure.

TeeGee later learns that every time he is zapped from one alternate timeline to another that does NOT make that previous timeline obsolete. They all exist. Every time he screws things up, those other timelines continue forward with whatever ramifications and variables that he changed continuing forward. If he somehow convinced Buffy & Giles to try to kill The Master much sooner than anticipated (like before The Master was able to escape from his confinement, when he is weak), that alternate reality exists where The Master never kills Buffy, Kendra & Faith are never called, etc.

If there's a reality in which vampy Jessie survives past The Harvest, perhaps he successfully vamps Cordelia and the two of them have a relationship that becomes an amusing parody of Spike & Dru. Whatever carnage and mayhem might ensue did ensue in that alternate reality, even after TeeGee is removed by The Powers That Be to yet another alternate reality. Maybe ultimately TeeGee discovers he's just a pawn summoned by a big bad demon who's mission is to create as many negatively enforced alternate realities as possible where Buffy ultimately fails, and TeeGee is unwittingly doing the demon's dirty work for him.

Eventually he starts being zapped into the future of these other alternate realities where he gets to see his handiwork, but is not able to tell that these nightmarish realities are his fault. We learn that the reason Anya was able to fulfill Cordy's wish, was because there was already an alternate reality in which Buffy never made it to Sunnydale. TeeGee inadvertently created that reality some time in the "new" TeeGee's future and the "old" TeeGee's past. Ultimately it's there that the two TeeGee's battle it out. One TeeGee tries to stop Buffy from ever arriving to Sunnydale, thinking that will solve everything, and the other TeeGee tries to convince her to go, thinking that will undo what's been done. They're both wrong, because this creates a paradox that threatens to destroy the whole of BuffyTime.

Okay. My head hurts. I need more coffee.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Zach, my comrade-in-Joss, don't do this to yourself... -- cjl, 11:56:34 02/04/03 Tue

You're thinking way too hard here.

Follow the ME model: think about the story you want to tell, the truths you wish to convey about the human condition, and then craft the metaphor around that story. Don't sweat the details too much. Why do you think my little playlet with TG and the Trio is funny? The nerds are always obsessing about the mechanics of time/space paradoxes and the nuts and bolts of fantasy/sci-fi--and they always miss the point of the stories. That's why TeeGee fits right in.

I think one TeeGee is enough. He can trip himself up on his own paradoxes. You don't need another version wandering through the timestream and adding further complications to the story.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Zach, my comrade-in-Joss, don't do this to yourself... -- ZachsMind, 18:29:23 02/04/03 Tue

I thought your dialogue with the Trio was funny cuz I always think the Trio's funny. I dig those guys. Especially Jonathan. I'd always hoped he'd eventually become a member of the Scooby gang.

There's more here than just examining the Mutant Enemy theme and telling a story which verifies the importance of it. There's the actual mechanics of such a storyline. It seems like it'd be an entertaining read, but it could be more trouble than it's worth.

I guess it's just that the idea is so big. As a writer, I'd want to be able to explore as many permutations as possible in the same story. However, every time TeeGee alters one little thing, the ramifications of that event could dramatically alter the following events. If TeeGee stays in that reality, the writer has to explain all the changes. If TeeGee zaps out into a future event, does he go into another reality where he never was, or do we see what ramifications his actions caused? Temporal physics is not easy to write convincingly. Perhaps if he only inadvertently changed one thing, was made aware of how terrible that was, then he'd be more careful and the story could only involve that one change. He'd minimize his meddling in the future. But what would cause him to see the error of his ways?

When he starts, he wouldn't take it seriously, because he'd be thinking he's dreaming or somebody gave him a bad mushroom or something. He wouldn't see how his presence matters. He'd perhaps be "fan" oriented. Giddy and almost juvenile when meeting each of the Scoobies for the first time.

So if we started the story right when he first becomes a temporal anomaly, his first alteration of reality would probably need to be a mistake. He obviously wouldn't have a gameplan. Then the rest of the story could be him trying to undo what he'd done, only to be altering even more events.

Like on the surface it looks like a good idea to save Jessie if one can, but maybe he was meant to die. Maybe Jessie would become a real butthead. Or maybe he'd eventually graduate and become a scientist - find the cure for cancer. The writer would have to look at the variables, ascertain the most probable outcome, and follow it through.

Sounds like a good idea to warn Giles six months ahead of time that the Hellmouth is IN the Library, and TeeGee could try to lead Buffy to the Master while he's still weak and trapped. Kill him before he can escape. But then there's no little death. There's no Kendra. There's no Faith. Maybe that's a good thing, because then there's no messup with the Slayer Line. No opportunity for the First Evil to use to its advantage. No seventh season finale.

TeeGee would know that Ben & Glory are the same person. Unless the strange spell that caused that inability to ascertain the discrepancy affected his memory prior to his temporal amorphousness. He could just walk up to Ben in a private moment at the hospital and kill him. No Glory. No season five.

Aaaaagh.. Maybe there's just no reason to tweak greatness.

[> [> [> [> Re: Sounds like fun, but I feel it leaves out something crucial... -- Majin Gojira, 21:38:26 02/03/03 Mon

"and he has these blind spots about the series that represent the blind spots of collective Buffydom throughout the seven seasons. Some fans want a happy ending, some fans are 'shippers, some fans think it's All About Spike, some fans think Buffy's a bitch, etc"

Ever notice that their also tend to be an "All of the above" of what you just stated. the All about spike, Buffy's a bitch, Happy ending, B/S Shipper. They nauseate me and cause much clutter on fanfic sites. Much like Spike tried to rape buffy, they Rape the meaning and crux of the series.

[> This isn't exactly what you're looking for, Zach, but.... -- cjc36, 06:14:31 02/04/03 Tue

To me going back to WTTH is perhaps too broad in regards to the ever-widening gulf between the origin point and the end of both, which is S7. I look at it like first and third base lines on a baseball diamond. If WTTH is home plate, with first base line being what happened and third, the altered timeline, then S7 puts both waaay outfield.

The farther along the base lines one happens to be, the greater the difference between the two event sequences.

Anyway, I'd look for a single hook or nut to hang this on...say, someone trying to stop something from happening or making something actually happen that didn't originally. Just one thing. But that's me, and I'm a wimp.

What is the goal in the WTTH/Giles scene? Just having TeeGee acting all smug and all-knowledge guy? Should TeeGee get knocked off his hig horse? Is this an indictment of insider-knowledge in general, snarky, AICN type spolier slugs? Or does TeeGee actually help out the Scoobies? Is it about the Scoobies having to face the future with the pre-knowledge and make the choice whether nor not to continue?

To me, telling the Scoobies of S1 all of what's to come would not be very dramatic. So...say TeeGee tells them...and now what? Gone would be not only some of the dangers they may face, but the chance to ever shape their friendships in the furnace of real life; they could dodge all the ups and downs.

(Come to think of it, they would have some dangers added. As the two 'baselines' split along linear time, the 'new' timeline would start to become a different event sequences than the one TeeGee came from. His predictive accuracy would start going down, eventually becoming as accurate as random chance. But getting now false sense of invulnerability from TeeGee's forecasts, they plod heedlessly into danger. )

Back to the Future, of course, had a simple hook of meeting one's parents, and the hijinks ensuing from making them not hook up.

Just a thought.

BTW: TeeGee reminds me of a Matt Frewer time traveler character in an ep of Trek:TNG ep . Frewer played a time traveler who kept his cards close to his vest, smirking at each decision Picard and Co. made and making them rather nervous having someone with pre-knowledge watching them make his history. Well, he was actually kind of a fraud....

I wish I had the time to help; best of luck on this.

[> Temporal Minefield for TeeGee... -- ZachsMind, 11:44:11 02/04/03 Tue

I've theorized whatifs to death on this. We could either start with a comepletely neophyte TeeGee who doesn't know what he is other than a fan of a show that suddenly becomes his reality (and fancies a bit about going mad, shades of Normal Life), or a veteran TeeGee who's already made mistakes and ventures to try to just stop changing anything, other than to undo what his predecessor self had done.

But from a temporal standpoint, his very presence in any Buffy temporal linear reality would alter that reality. It's like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. One cannot observe something without being in effect a part of the process, inadvertently changing it.

TeeGee walks into the room and tells Giles "Don't worry about Buffy, she'll be back." That right there could alter time. Who knows what Giles did in the interim between those scenes in the first episode. We assume whatever it was it wasn't anything major in the continuity. In TeeGee's reality, Giles spends that spare time talking to him, at least in part. In the previous reality Giles may have left the library, gone and had lunch, done something that indirectly affected events that we don't see for months or years, and returned just in time for Buffy to re-enter the room.

Or worse. TeeGee tells Giles that there's a dead body in the ladies' locker room which Buffy finds within an hour's time. Giles responds to that by rushing to the locker room, informing the principal on the way that he's learned there's a dead body. They go to investigate, find the dead body, and Giles suddenly becomes suspect number one in the principal's eyes, because how else could he have known if he didn't do it? The conversation between Giles & Buffy never happens. Giles becomes a suspect for murder and loses his job at the library, perhaps being carted off to the police station for "questioning." Buffy never sees the dead body, so she never gets convinced that her destiny is unavoidable, so she never becomes the Slayer. All because TeeGee opened his big mouth.

Perhaps TeeGee thinks his purpose is to keep Jessie from being turned into a vampire and then killed. One could extrapolate a possible scenario about how things might have occurred among the Scoobies had Jessie survived The Harvest unscathed. Would he have become a part of the Scooby gang? Would he and Xander have fought over Cordelia? If Jessie had been in the mix, would Cordy & Xander have ever become an item? Would Xander & Willow have eventually mixed it up? Or maybe it was impossible to keep Jessie from becoming a vampire, but TeeGee's presence may have inadvertently stopped Xander from accidently killing Jessie, so Jessie lives on, vamps Cordy, they go off on a mad killing spree slash shopping spree. The world becomes dramatically different from the Buffy storyline you and I take for granted.

What if TeeGee successfully stopped Tara's death? Joyce's death? what if he told Joyce about Buffy a year early? What if he played chaperone with Buffy & Angel and warned them about the gypsy curse that'd make Angel lose his soul? What if TeeGee kept Buffy from ever dying the first time? What if he tipped off the gang that Amy was really her mother much earlier on? Killed the Ampala Mummy girl while she was still in her crypt? The list goes on and on. Each one of these questinos would create an alternate reality. Each one could be a novella in and of themselves.

Scwewy, ain't it? =)

OnM and anyone else into Slayer torment -- KdS, 11:43:38 02/03/03 Mon

Did you read my post re the Cruciamentum in OnM's review thread that just got archived? Wouldn't normally be this crude but I would like to know if you think I have a point or that I'm a sick moral relativist.

[> Re: OnM and anyone else into Slayer torment -- manwitch, 12:46:51 02/03/03 Mon

I am a firm supporter of sick moral relativism. It usually means that you have a mind and that you are using it. It in no way means that you lack the capacity for kindness, generosity, compassion, or justice.

I have a couple of points where I might be confused in the post to which I believe you are referring.

1) I have never felt that the watcher's council was a catholoic institution. If it was, then aren't there some serious concerns as to whether Slayers killed in this fashion (Cruciamentum in Helpless) would go to heaven? A slayer is not, by definition, free of sin. To die in this way would have left the slayer in a state of purgatory, wouldn't it? At least as far as they would have believed had they been a catholic institution. If they are not catholic, then they are clearly outside the thinking of the day (1200 yrs ago), in which case I'm not sure how we would ever know the degree to which the thinking of the day was relevant to them. In any case, there is no legitimate reason for the council to have thought their slayer would go to heaven if killed in this ordeal.

2) Your post, as I understood it, assumed the legitimacy of the Watchers' Council. I have always thought of the Council as a bunch of bastards who saw something happening and said, hey, we should run this action. How they did it is a mystery. We are led to believe that the First Slayer had no watcher. So watchers are not the driving force here. They have inserted themselves into the equation in what I have always felt must have been a raw powerplay. They maintain their position precisely through rituals like the Cruciamentum. They may dress it up with whatever language they want, but the ritual has definite results regardless of how they explain it away or whether or not the Slayer is ever told. For example, the ritual forces the Watcher to give his allegiance to the Council and its interpretation of the Struggle at Hand, rather than to the Slayer. The Slayer is reduced to being, in Quentin's words, "an instrument." The Watcher is also forced to set himself above the Slayer, again aligning himself with the Council. He decides that the Slayer will go through this. He decides that she will have her powers taken away. He must make peace with her death at this point, with her "failure" or lack of worthiness to the cause. So the ritual seems to me to act far more on the Watcher in the Field, than on the Slayer, at least in terms of meaning. One assumes that the Watchers Council is made up of people who have administered this test, although I grant that is a groundless assumption.

But so, I guess my point would be that, while the Council's purpose seems to be to create more properly dispositioned council fellows, Buffy and Spike were attempting to get fellow soldiers. The Watchers are not on the front lines of this struggle. They pretend that it is their war, but they sit back and read books and act like they're better than the Slayer. For a Watcher who has been in the field with one of these amazing young women, some form of ritual is required to break them from their identification with the Slayer and connect them to their identity as part of the Watcher's Council. What happens to the Slayer is of no consequence, I would imagine, to the Council. If she dies, they get another one. A younger one. If she lives, well, at least they've gained a dutiful watcher.

What Buffy and Spike did to the protos was different because Buffy and Spike are on the front lines everyday, including protecting the protos themselves. They created a semi-controlled situation to bring the protos into their organization. There was not this other layer of loyalty at play.

Anyways, it seems unlikely to me that the Watchers Council has spent a lot of time trying to help Slayers. Perhaps there were a few months during the enlightment where some Watcher tried to be a decent guy before being shoved out of authority by a more Jacobin council member. But even if the Cruciamentum had the effect of creating a more self-confident slayer, a dubious assumption in itself, it seems more likely that the intention of the ritual was to act upon the Watcher, to create a Watcher whose loyalties were in the right place to perpetuate the Council itself.

[> [> Peripheral Point -- Darby, 13:47:43 02/03/03 Mon

It hadn't occurred to me before (and maybe not to ME) that, given a typical Slayer's life expectancy and probably not reusing Watchers, a large fraction of the Council could be made up of Watchers who had supervised Slayers. Think of the fanfic possibilities - young Quentin with a Slayer!

I would think that the representative that we've seen are, mostly, not actual Watchers but more administrative types, but I never thought that they were actually the Council anyway...

[> [> [> Re: Peripheral Point -- Robert, 16:35:57 02/03/03 Mon

>>> ... and probably not reusing Watchers ...

Now this is an interesting point. Are you guessing this to be true, or do you have some corroboration for it? If it is true that a watcher will never receive another slayer after his currently slayer is kill, this might to analogous to US Navy tradition that a captain doesn't get another ship, if he loses the first one under anything other than the most exemplary circumstances.

[> [> [> [> Re: Peripheral Point -- Darby, 20:19:39 02/03/03 Mon

It's a guess based upon discussions Buffy and Giles had about the Watchers' diaries and how they never finish the story, never explain how the Slayer died - it seemed like it was a 1 Slayer / 1 Watcher match. Also, whenever possible, Slayers are assigned Watchers well before they get Chosen, if they ever do - it seems like that would often be a one-to-one assignment. Beyond that, I got nothin'.

It would be interesting, if Ripper ever gets going, to have an episode where Giles is offered a new Potential to train - I would think that he would refuse, after some soul-searching, but it would be a good episode, one that would make it worth being wrong.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Peripheral Point -- tost, 21:26:13 02/03/03 Mon

I thought that Giles comment to Gwendolyn Post that Faith was her first slayer implied that other watchers might have more.

[> [> The Watchers did perform at least one very crucial function -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:00:16 02/03/03 Mon

They told each new Slayer that she was Chosen. In modern ages, very few people believe in vampires. So, while the Slayers would figure out on their own that they had super-strength, they wouldn't know that there were vampires and demons out there for them to fight. The act of informing the Slayers of their Calling makes the Watchers' Council an essential institution that needs to be replaced.

[> [> [> Re: The Watchers did perform at least one very crucial function -- WickedBuffy, 15:13:53 02/03/03 Mon

I've asked this before someplace with no answer - who informs the Watcher Council who the next Slayer is?

[> [> [> [> I don't think anyone does -- Vickie, 15:21:37 02/03/03 Mon

We haven't really been told on screen--maybe Tales of the Slayer of something has mentioned it. But I don't believe we really know how the WC discovers the new slayer.

We do know that in the film, the council tracked potential slayers by their distinctive birthmark. Buffy had had hers removed, which was how they had missed her. While this makes a kind of sense that's....not (how would they know who had the birthmark? magic? snooping in baby birth records? do the records even show such things?), the watchers seem to have tried to keep tabs on all potential slayers, then waited to see who manifested slayer powers on the death of the existing Chosen One.

When nobody they were watching got called, the WC knew that they'd missed a girl. Then they presumably used some kind of magic (maybe something like what the coven is using) to locate Buffy. It's clearly not very scientific.

[> [> [> [> Re: next slayer (SPOILERS for Fray) -- Robert, 16:26:21 02/03/03 Mon

>>> ... who informs the Watcher Council who the next Slayer is?

We are not told in the show how this is done and anything we are told in the original movie I would consider unreliable. However, Joss' comic book Fray does talk some about your question. I do not have my copy of Fray in front of me, so I will write from memory and in generalities.

It seems that after the demons left this world (or dimension or whater) some demons stayed behind and mixed their blood or essense with humans, thus creating the first vampires. In that same era, some human shamans used powerful magic (I am presuming that this was magic that is no longer available to humanity today) to create the first slayer (or turn a girl into the first slayer).

Nowhere are we told who chooses the next slayer after the current one dies. Most appear to assume that the powers-that-be are responsible for choosing the next lucky winner. Fray talks about how the "signs are clear" in regards to identifying and locating the next slayer. I presume that this means that some kind of magic is used for this purpose. Note that in this season of BtVS, the coven of witches use some kind of seer and/or magic to identify and locate the potential slayers. Maybe they can use the same magic for the actual slayers.

On the other hand, finding the slayer shouldn't normally have been a problem, since the council of watchers normally were training all the potential slayers. As soon as a potential slayer exhibited the dreams that identify that she has been installed into the line of slayers, she can tell her watcher. Thus, no problem. Buffy and Fray were both unusual cases. Buffy was called as a slayer before she had been identified and trained by the watchers. Fray was called as a slayer essentially from birth.

Back to the Fray comic book; we are given some other interesting facts as well. The council of watchers as we know it today (or at least before they were blown up) was formed from the original shamans, who created the first slayer. This would contradict Manwitch's argument that "They have inserted themselves into the equation in what I have always felt must have been a raw powerplay". Essentially, if what is said in Fray can be trusted, the council of watchers do (or did) have a legitemate role in guiding and managing the line of slayers.

As an aside, we are also told in Fray that the demons (and presumabely the vampires) are banished from the earth by a powerful slayer sometime in the 21st century. Because the threat was removed, no new slayers were called for centuries until Fray was called. The obvious speculation is that Buffy was that powerful slayer and that she won not just the big battles but also the war. It was not revealed whether the slayer outlived the event or not. No doubt Joss wanted to keep this option open, pending Geller's contract negotiations.

[> [> [> [> [> my stubborn problems with this -- manwitch, 17:55:18 02/03/03 Mon

"Back to the Fray comic book; we are given some other interesting facts as well. The council of watchers as we know it today (or at least before they were blown up) was formed from the original shamans, who created the first slayer. This would contradict Manwitch's argument that "They have inserted themselves into the equation in what I have always felt must have been a raw powerplay". Essentially, if what is said in Fray can be trusted, the council of watchers do (or did) have a legitemate role in guiding and managing the line of slayers."

A couple of things about this. I don't like to think I mind being contradicted, but I have a principled objection to needing to get my "backstory" from external sources. I don't read the comic, so I could never be privy to this piece of information. So part of me wants to say that it therefore cannot possibly be considered relevant to what happens in Buffy, which is a coherent, self-contained work of art. But then, if you start down that road, where does it end? Obviously we are expected to bring our understanding of the world and culture around us to our viewing, sometimes even expected to be familiar with very specific external references. But usually those tend to address meaning of the symbol set, not specific plot points.

Secondly, this idea contradicts the worldview that I like to impose upon Joss Whedon and on Buffy. I like to imagine slayerhood as being a natural outgrowth of powers that are properly gendered feminine: compassion for the world, love, and the introduction of life into the world of pain and suffering. I like to imagine that the Watcher's Council inserted themselves above that, to control that power and to make themselves feel still more important. So I see the WC as properly gendered masculine (which is not the same as saying they are all men), in that it is an artificial structure erected over a natural one in an effort to control and dominate. So if the shamans actually created the Slayer, while I still see some sexist implications, the feminism implied is, well, to me less positive.

It would also raise the question for me of how the slayer is activated. Apparently Buffy was activated without the Council's knowledge, which implies the activation takes place outside the council. Which again makes me wonder what they are really up to.

At any rate, it would seem that if the Council did at some point have a legitimate role in guiding and managing the line of Slayers, they had certainly lost it by the time Quentin came along. Buffy's repudiation of the Council, Giles' willingness to leave it behind in favor of his Slayer, and Quentin's acknowledgement of Buffy's critique in her terms of re-upping would bear out my attitude, if not my facts.

I barely have time to live my life. If I have to start reading Fray now, well, that's just too much.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: my stubborn problems with this (Obtuse future spoilers again plus for Fray and ToTS and origins) -- Dochawk, 18:45:20 02/03/03 Mon

Well Manwhich I can tell you that the question of the Slayer's origin is the focus of an upcoming episode, so you won't have to depend on reading Fray for it. I can't wait to see it and hear the debates after it airs, I was actually preparing a post on what we know of slayerdom (the slayer mythology is the most important point of my interest in the Buffyverse) until I read that this episode was occuring.

At this time since Joss wrote Fray to be consistent with the Buffyverse, what it tells us about slayers is pertinent. As for time it takes to read them, about an hour total for the 6 issues and well worth it (you can tell Joss wrote them). Think of it as something to do while slogging through the six weeks of reruns we are facing in March and April. Its my own opinion that Joss has delayed the final two issues because they tell us too much about how this season is going to end (I find it interesting that the last Fray will be released the day after the last episode of Buffy). This is all wild guess on my part and I have been wrong as often as I have been right about this stuff. I will add that there is anotehr scene in Fray which fascinates me. In it there is a symbol of the slayer on the floor of the destroyed CoW. (hmmmm I never noticed if they used the design on the floor in the scenes in Never Leave Me) and Fray finds an axe that matches the design, apparantly the weapon of the slayer. We've never seen that axe, but one hopes for continuity it shows up.

Finally, Tales of the Slayers and Origins are two other GN that people who are interested in slayer mythology should read. Tales of the Slayers gives a graphic description of the response of the townsfolk to discovering the first slayer. Joss wrote it. He also wrote the last episode. Origins is the graphic novel taken from Joss' original script for BtVS movie. There are alot of changes compared to the movie (the birthmark being one) and Joss would consider it more canon than the movie. Well worth your time if you have the interest.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: my stubborn problems with this -- WickedBuffy, 18:46:25 02/03/03 Mon

errr, yah! I second that emotion.

I think some discussions about this kind of stuff gets confusing depending on what sources are being used as reference. I just watch the show, period. So my discussions and questions and theories are based on that information.

Others might watch the show and read the books, but not the comics or any Joss interviews. Or a mix of this and that. So when we start theorizing and discussing, we aren't all citing ideas based on the exact same Buffyverse, though we all call it Buffyverse.

Makes it kind of challenging here on the boards, eh? No group is any more right or more wrong than the other, imho - less resources doesn't mean less rightness of the Buffyverse.

dang it sure makes discussing stuff harder when we are talking about different playgrounds! :>

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: my stubborn problems with this (Fray backstory spoilers) -- Darby, 08:27:12 02/04/03 Tue

My position is that the "outside" creations that are a product of the "inside" team (Joss and the band of ME writers) are all part of the canon, mostly because we have seen that they can barely keep their own universe straight within the show - I find it hard to believe that, over time, anyone compartmentalizes the canon into "inside" and "outside." Too much trouble. Also, the comics especially seem an outlet for stories based on canon but beyond the scope and/or budget of the show, a way to actually to reveal to we of the rabid attitudes out here things that they know but that they can't fit into the regular continuity.

As far as Fray's vaguely Buffy character in the vague history presented is concerned, that is either (a) a red herring, not Buffy at all, just a Slayer from this century (there'd likely be at least 17, so probably a blonde would be among them) or (b) a story held in reserve to "wrap up" the Buffy and Angelverse and effectively remove the playground from others who actually own the concepts. If we get enough warning that this is the upcoming end for both shows (an unfortunate possibility), it could play out in the finale, but that seems unlikely.

One potential continuity glitch if it's all wrapped up this season - in Fray, the Watchers' Council had survived the Slayer-created End Time and then had gradually fallen apart, become a cult. That is possible in the current plotline, but unlikely - they really should have time to regroup before their entire reason to exist is erased, or why bother?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: council (SPOILERS for Fray and Never Leave Me) -- Robert, 11:08:01 02/04/03 Tue

>>> That is possible in the current plotline, but unlikely - they really should have time to regroup before their entire reason to exist is erased, or why bother?

Actually, now that the headquarters for the Council was destroyed, I find this scenario more possible. The Council already had some qualities of a cult. The individual watchers were totally dedicated to the cause. They ruthlessly killed or destroyed anyone in their way. But, just because the organization was decapitated, it wasn't necessarily destroyed.

The scenario I imagine is that the remaining watchers from around the world, eventually made their way back to the destroyed headquarters and essentially re-formed the council. However, they never were able to recreate the leadership of the old council. Given no slayer and no threat, the council no longer had a purpose, and the individual council members had no other purpose in life. The council thus descended into total cult insanity.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: council (SPOILERS for Fray and Never Leave Me) -- WickedBuffy, 17:38:04 02/04/03 Tue

How about the Coven taking over? They seem anciently fresh and uncorrupted from what little's been mentioned about them. And in the Slayer loop. I don't read Fray or anything else - just talking in the TV show sense, especially if by some miracle it comes back next season I guess a spinoff could go that way, too, though. And some Watcher/Coven friction might bring up some interesting subplots.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: my less stubborn resolutions -- Robert, 10:42:20 02/04/03 Tue

Manwitch, please don't misunderstand me. I meant no attack on you or your opinions, and I was not stating wishes or opinions. In general, I do agree with your opinions here. I was however attempting to offer some facts not readily known.

>>> ... but I have a principled objection to needing to get my "backstory" from external sources.

Again, in general I would "sort of" agree with you. For any other tv show, this would certainly be true. BtVS is different in two important ways. First, BtVS is an intelligent show and Mutant Enemy expects its viewers to be intelligent. The more intelligent viewers may ask questions that weren't answered in the text of the show.

Joss, and his writers, may decide to provide "official" answers to some of these questions. The answers are provided in a number of different forums. Joss gives interviews where he makes statements, which we (the viewing community) take as fact or "canon". For example; through whom does the line of succession flow, Buffy or Faith? Joss stated in some interview (which I never saw) that the line continues through Faith. I accept this as "canon".

Joss has also written a comic book series, Fray, and a couple comic book stories, Tales of the Slayers, to answer some other questions. Joss wanted to provide even more of a backstory through an animated version of Buffy, but FOX network successfully managed to destroy that project (even faster than they destroyed Firefly).

There is no requirement that you must read or watch these resources. After all, you can get these details from fellow viewers on this posting board. Beyond that, the answers to such questions are not critical to one's enjoyment of the show. However, the fact that you may not want to read the comic books or watch the interviews does not nullify the legitimacy of such details.

>>> But then, if you start down that road, where does it end?

Well, each of us needs to draw the line for ourselves. Some viewers want to include all the novels and comic books and all the celebrity interviews in with the "canon" of BtVS. Some may accept nothing outside of the show. My operating principle is that if Joss did it, wrote it or directly and demonstrably approved it, then it is part of the canon. Why do I restrict the canon to just Joss and not the other writers and actors? Because, only Joss possesses the entire backstory and future story. Everyone else is injecting their own beliefs, opinions and desires into what the write, say and do. Even stranger, I am not sure that I accept anything from AtS these past two seasons as legitimately part of the BtVS canon.

>>> So part of me wants to say that it therefore cannot possibly be considered relevant to what happens in Buffy, which is a coherent, self-contained work of art.

But, BtVS is not a complete work of art. Joss essentially says as much. If he cannot be considered the authority, then who could?

>>> Secondly, this idea contradicts the worldview that I like to impose upon Joss Whedon and on Buffy.


>>> So if the shamans actually created the Slayer, while I still see some sexist implications, the feminism implied is, well, to me less positive.

You are providing your own beliefs, opinions and desires here. But that is perfectly all right. Besides, in Fray, it is a demon (though apparently a "good" demon) who tells Fray that the first slayer was created by the shamans. It could have been a lie.

>>> Apparently Buffy was activated without the Council's knowledge, which implies the activation takes place outside the council. Which again makes me wonder what they are really up to.

I agree! I believe that the council of watchers may have lost their legitimacy to manage the slayer line, no doubt due to prior mismanagement. Who revoked the council's legitimacy? I do not believe that we know. Even if it turns out to be the powers-that-be, we still don't know, because we know nearly nothing about the powers-that-be. However, if the details provided in Fray can be believed (and I think that they can), then the council of watchers had at one time a legitimate responsibility to the slayers and for the slayers.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Ah...finally someone who perfectly echoes my feelins on this -- shadowkat, 12:32:39 02/04/03 Tue

Like you, I don't read Fray. I purchased one issue. Didn't take to it. And can't a) afford the comic right now and b)the time to read it. Yes, yes I know Whedon wrote it, but whose to say it isn't different from the show? Or that he is going another route? He does not in any way have to follow what is written in comics, outside novels, or short stories - he only has to stay true to what appears on the screen.

I agree with your take on the Council - it is more than possible that the Council we see today has drifted 180 degrees away from the shaman council that may or may not have created the slayer.

At any rate, it would seem that if the Council did at some point have a legitimate role in guiding and managing the line of Slayers, they had certainly lost it by the time Quentin came along. Buffy's repudiation of the Council, Giles' willingness to leave it behind in favor of his Slayer, and Quentin's acknowledgement of Buffy's critique in her terms of re-upping would bear out my attitude, if not my facts.

Hmmm...really been enjoying your posts lately manwitch, glad you started posting again. This post, the Buffy yoga post and the one below on SR - all well done IMHO. SK

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ugh. feelings not feelins..yep I can't write today. -- s'kat, 12:34:06 02/04/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ah...finally someone who perfectly echoes my feelins on this -- Dochawk, 13:35:14 02/04/03 Tue

I realize that you don't want to read Fray or bother with the Buffy comics that Joss writes. But Joss considers them part of the Buffy mythology whether you want to or not. this is from an interview with Joss:

"I didn't want to write a Buffy comic, because, well, that's my day job, but at the same time, I wasn't comfortable with launching some completely new thing and start something that I wasn't sure where it would go. So when I was talking to Scott, I explained that I wanted to do something based on the mythology of the Slayer. That way I would have some grounding for the story, and I wouldn't be driven insane by looking at a page and drawing a complete blank"

And later he says "JW: Melaka Fray is the slayer and a professional thief -- a bagman for a local sort of pseudo-mobster who is a fish" (anyoen hear echos of Gwen in this btw?)

And this is from Scott Allie's, Joss approved, description of Fray (Scott Allie is the publisher of Dark Horse Comics) "an eight-issue miniseries ... the story stars a young, tough female and her world is a continuation of the mythos Whedon created for Buffy. Fray is replete with demons, supernatural weirdness, vampires, and, yes, vampire Slayers. This time around -- make that a few hundred years from the world of Buffy as we know it -- a streetwise thug of a girl living a difficult but satisfying life in a hard future inherits the mantel of Slayer centuries after the last vampires were believed to walk the planet. When the forces of darkness come calling in the world where Melaka Fray lives, this street urchin will be transformed from a blemish on the world's skin to being society's only savior."

Clearly Joss considers Fray to be a continuation of the slayer mythos. In the same way that learning about Faith's past, or Nikki's or Kendra's would help us understand the slayer Mythos, Fray does.

[> LOL. You'd accept majority rule on that???? -- Sophist, 12:53:05 02/03/03 Mon

I thought you overstated the case a little (not much) about attitudes in the 10th century. One point I'd suggest is that knighthood may serve a similar purpose, but I'm not aware of any equivalent ritual. There are, however, various forms of ordeal that might provide a good comparison.

The other point I'd make is that you may have explained the origin, but not the persistence of the Cruciamentum. That's the real moral issue for the WC.

I vote no, by the way.

[> Scanned it quickly this AM, just got to read it fully tonight. -- OnM, 20:33:10 02/03/03 Mon

Unfortunately, I will have to keep my comments very short right now, since duty calls early tomorrow, and it's late in the evening here as I write this.

Your points are well reasoned and very possible, so I certainly do not dispute them, especially the ones regarding the general level of perfectly legal cruelty that was commonplace in human society just a few centuries ago. You are right-- to most of us, it is impossible to imagine that this was real, but of course it was.

It is also true that organizations that become evil or even questionable in their contemporary actions did not necessarily start out that way.

However, my problems with the Council have more to do with it as a 20th or 21st Century organization, not with what it might have done in the past. The key issue for me is that ME appears to wish to illustrate that the Council is cruel and sexist because it is stubbornly refusing to learn to live in the present. It has taken what was considered acceptable 500 or 1000 years ago, and decided that there is no real reason to change that to adapt to a more enlightened, 'modern' view.

On a secondary level, this could also serve as a metaphor for religious organizations who dogmatically insist that 'the TRUTH is ETERNAL'.

Well, I beg to differ, and ME seems to agree, judging by the fact that the Council seems to have relied on tradition just one time too many, and now lies in rubble.

( Sorry I can't comment at greater length on this, KdS, but thanks, your post was very thought-provoking! :-)

[> Responses to manwitch and OnM -- KdS, 05:46:33 02/04/03 Tue

Thanks to OnM and manwitch in particular, and anyone else who replied. I think that I'm actually on the same page as OnM regarding the state of the Council in the 20th-21st century. As I said in my original post, you can't defend their actions in the context of 21st century Western morality.

My main reason for writing the post was because I dislike the position, implied by OnM in his initial review and argued at length by manwitch above, which denies the WC any legitimacy at any time in history. As Finn pointed out, it is a help to the Slayer to have some form of historical record and research base to allow her to unify her raw instinct with codified information (note that I say unify here, I see both as useful and important). I note Dochawk's remarks about the discussion of the origins of the WC in Fray, but I have to side with manwitch and say that IMHO it is of questionable artistic legitimacy to place significant background information in spin-offs. It hints of financially exploiting the fanbase. My personal opinion is that the WC grew out of some early Scooby Gang, a group of individuals who fought with a Slayer and after her death took it upon themselves to aid her successors. Unfortunately, over the years, the turnover of Slayers and persistence of the organisation led the Watchers to view themselves as the eternal institution and the Slayers as their servants, instead of vice-versa. (This is of course, purely a personal artistic bias. Anyone who's kept track of my previous posts here should be clear that I am much more interested in people who believe themselves justified in doing evil acts than in people who are self-awarely Evil.)

The most important issue in manwitch's post is his lengthy consideration of the effect of the Cruciamentum from the point of view of the Watcher, which I had not examined to any great degree. His analysis has persuaded me that viewed from this frame of reference, it is hard not to draw the hostile conclusions that he does. However, I feel that his assumption of the basic illegitimacy of the WC has no greater means of support than my reconstruction of their initial legitimacy. We simply have no real canonical information on the complexion of the WC for the majority of their existence. It is possible that the corruption set in early and the WC sent most of their existence sitting smugly in libraries and manipulating Slayers, but the conclusion is not inevitable. Certainly as late as 2000 the WC had a remnant of a paramilitary wing, albeit a notably unsophisticated, brutal and incompetent one. It does not seem impossible that past Slayers could call for physical back-up from their Watchers, and it certainly seems likely to me that many past field Watchers may have taken a physical role.

I think the key problem here is a difference of philosophies. In his second post replying to Robert, manwitch seems to argue that BtVS adopts a somewhat black-and-white view of gender politics. At the most fundamental level, I have serious problems with any philosophy which argues that specific virtues and vices are deterministically linked to men or women. To me, such determinism risks simply reversing the judgementalism of male-dominated society. And I also do not believe that BtVS holds such a view. The stereotypically patriarchal WC is destroyed, but codified knowledge is never simply dismissed, merely shown to be misleading without expansion by stereotypically "feminine" intuition and instinct, which it in turn provides solid reinforcement and examples for. Both the traditionally masculine virtues of combat and the stereotypically feminine virtues of nurturing, compromise and consensus-building are shown to be valid in their place, and this is stressed by the fact that at various climactic occasions the key victories are by women's practice of the "masculine" virtues (virtually all of Buffy's confrontations) and by men's practice of the stereotypically "feminine" virtues (most glaringly Giles in Helpless, Xander in Grave). This suggests to me a wholesale melting of the traditional gendering of different philosophies, not a simple reverse privileging of "feminine" positions over "masculine".

Finally, a short note on manwitch's points about Purgatory. In my admittedly shallow understanding of Catholic doctrine on the afterlife, Purgatory is a finite period of suffering intended to cleanse the soul of venial sins before entry into Heaven. While it is unpleasant, it is of a finite length and cannot be compared to infinite damnation. Moreover, the only means of avoiding at least a short period in Purgatory is to be lucky enough to drop dead as one leaves the confessional. Unless this lucky chance arises, some time in Purgatory is inevitable whatever one's manner of death. (A devoutly Catholic Slayer, like any devout Catholic in a hazardous occupation, would probably make regular confessions as close to the start of a patrol as possible, to minimise the chance of a lengthy term in Purgatory).

[> [> Re: Responses to manwitch and OnM -- manwitch, 09:13:12 02/04/03 Tue

I agree with most everything you say, and clearly OnM's response goes more to the point in any case. When, as has been foretold, the history of the Watchers Council becomes part of the Buffy story itself, I will deftly revise my positions according to new knowledge, as I once or twice have done in real life.

I, too, would disagree with manwitch if I felt my point on gender was what I seem to have communicated to you. Buffy makes great and deliberate use of gendered metaphors, including hierarchical authoritarian institutions, in a story that I have argued at length is not sex-specific. I agree with your points on the matter, and had no intention to espouse a philosophy that simply reversed the judgmentalism of male-dominated society. I don't think Buffy is attempting to reverse priveleges, but I do think it is quite consciously reorganizing them, with an awareness of both where it is suggesting we go, and where it thinks we are coming from. I think your "melting" idea is right on.

As far as the Crusciamentum acting on the Watcher, that requires no deliberate intent on anyone's part, it simply would be a result of the ritual. The Council could very well have intended it in the most positive way, but this effect on the Watcher could arguably still be an unintended consequence of the act. By which I mean only to point out that this possible effect on the Watcher has no necessary correlation to the intent of the council. Even if the effect on the Watcher is as I described, the council itself could still have been quite nice. Not my position, but just as possible. Most important consequences of institutions are unintended.

Anyways, I pretty much agree. At least I think I do. You may think I've missed the boat.

[> [> [> Thanks -- KdS, 09:42:35 02/04/03 Tue

My opinion of the Watchers' Council has already been proved very wrong once this season (I was convinced that Quentin wasn't part of the actual leadership, and that it was much bigger and more widespread than recent events imply) so I know the feeling. Glad to know I misinterpreted you on the gender thing.

No boat missing...

[> [> Re: Responses ... (WARNING irate rant) -- Robert, 11:50:28 02/04/03 Tue

>>> I note Dochawk's remarks about the discussion of the origins of the WC in Fray, but I have to side with manwitch and say that IMHO it is of questionable artistic legitimacy to place significant background information in spin-offs. It hints of financially exploiting the fanbase.

If you feel expoited by 7 or 8 comic books, how do you feel about 20 minutes times 140 episodes (total of 46 hours) of totally obnoxious advertisements?

You are not required to buy the comic books. You can borrow them from a friend or get the details through forums such as this or just not worry about the details presented. Joss' comic book works are not directly part of the story of Buffy, but they take place within the same universe. Thus, such details are only peripherally relevant to BtVS. Such details tend to be far more important to the backstory of Fray itself.

Do you consider details provided by Joss in interviews to be legitimately part of the "canon"? I rarely watch or read such interviews, so I must get the relevant details through this board. And, I might add, such details tend to be far more relevant than those provided in Fray. Many on this board do consider these details (such as the continuation of the slayer line through Faith) to be part of the "canon".

What makes the BtVS show more artistically legitimate than the comic books? Is Joss creating BtVS gratis? I don't think so. Did he write Fray with any less love and attention to detail than BtVS? Well, that would be a matter of opinion, but I don't think so.

Joss has previously stated in interviews that he always wanted to write comic books, but didn't know how to break into the business. Since he is a 3rd generation tv/movie writer, he already knew how to work that business. Additionally, Joss stated that he decided to position Fray in the same universe (though many centuries in the future) as BtVS, because he wanted to write what he knew best.

So, how does this rank as artistically illegitimate and an exploitation of the fanbase?

[> [> [> Gotta agree with Robert here. -- Rob, 13:23:48 02/04/03 Tue

If Joss had said that one could not fully understand the "Buffy" story unless these comic books were bought, yes, that might be exploiting the fan base. But he didn't. A lot of viewers don't even know about "Fray." It isn't advertised in TV commercials and on billboards and during the end credits of "Buffy." It is a quiet side project that Joss seems to love doing that very few people not int the comic book and on-line worlds know about. There is some interesting information in it that fills in some Slayer backstory. But that's all it is...backstory, and parphrasing Robert, it is more important to have seen "Buffy" to enjoy "Fray" than to read "Fray" in order to enjoy "Buffy." There's nothing wrong with Joss wanting to expand the universe he's created. In fact, I applaud him for it. I even applaud him further that a Buffyverse story he wrote, even though it is in a completely different medium, still manages to fit into the established continuity of its parent television series. And remember "Buffy" itself is a spin-off of a movie. Was Joss exploiting the television audience there by cashing in on the success of the movie? Nope. (He couldn't if he wanted to, since the movie bombed and was one of the show's major detriments in getting it on the air.) If anything, Joss is getting some people who may look down on comic books to give them a try, and some comic book fans who may have never watched "Buffy" to possibly take an interest in it. "Fray" is a labor of love more than anything else. Comic book writers do not get paid nearly as much as television exec producers.


[> [> [> [> Damnit! ;-) -- slain, 17:17:15 02/04/03 Tue

Am I the only person who wants Rob and Robert to have a collosal argument about something, just for schizophrenic comic effect? But of course they have to agree.

[> [> [> [> [> LOL! -- Rob, 22:23:53 02/04/03 Tue

Roses are red, violets are blue
I'm a schizophrenic, and so am I.


[> [> [> You didn't seem that irate -- manwitch, 13:56:47 02/04/03 Tue

I hear you.

My response would be that what happens outside of Buffy is not "artistically legitimate" in terms of Buffy. By the same token, what happens outside of Fray is not artistically legitimate conerning Fray. Buffy is not necessarily more artistically legitimate than Fray, they are artistically legitimate separately. They are each self-contained works of art, regardless of what Joss Whedon says, unfortunately.

I am not meaning to contradict you. I appreciate what you are saying, and to a degree I think you have the better situation because you have many interesting sources to draw upon and to connect, which is, I suspect, a very enjoyable enterprise in and of itself. But I do not accept what Joss Whedon says in interviews as canon. Blasphemy and sacrilege. First of all, many of the interviews and snippets are, in my opinion, as staged and scripted as the show itself, designed to create very specific climates or even at times to throw out deliberate misinformation. At best they are deliberate organized representations after the fact of the creation itself. Which in no way makes them wrong, but it makes them, for lack of a better way to put it, "once removed." My opinion, anyway.

But lets say that is wrong, and what Joss says in interviews is perfectly and honestly what he intends. I still don't accept it in relation to Buffy, because, as a simple matter of art theory, it doesn't take place within any of the bounding frames of the piece. Joss isn't really qualified to say that it isn't a self-contained piece of art. Because it simply is. It is a single thing, with bounding frames of space and time, the parts within those frames being set off from those without, and relating to each other part to part in particular harmonious and rhythmic ways. I am not a strong supporter of authorial intent to begin with, but I certainly think that for any given piece, what happens within the frame is what counts, because that's the piece. If the author, painter, sculptor, filmmaker, or whatever left important elements of the composition elsewhere, that's a miss on their part, and doesn't in my view strengthen claims to authorial intent ("but look, he says what he meant') but rather weakens it ("but he failed to put it in the work").

I'm just arguing theory here. In most specific Buffy cases, I'm not sure that it matters, and when we are given a glimpse into the history of the WC (perfect abreviation for them in my view), I expect it will more or less harmonize with Fray and what you point out Joss has said. While I agree with s'kat that there is no necessary reason why they need to harmonize, I also agree that both are based on the same universe created in the same mind, so there is ample reason to suspect a certain degree of continuity. But it still doesn't matter. For example, if Joss says the Slayer line goes through Faith, so what? Who cares what he says? He has nothing to do with it. The horrible and wonderful thing about art is that when you present your piece to the public, whatever that "public" is, it tends to run away from you. As Sartre says, its never quite what you intended, and the spectator becomes the real artist, fashioning the model in thin air. When Buffy died we got Kendra. When Kendra died we got Faith. The Mayor made pretty clear that he didn't want Buffy killed before his ascension because he didn't want another Slayer running around. They can't all turn out to be like his Faith. What does that tell us? Nothing. Except that the Mayor thought killing a slayer would get you another one. Buffy died again, and so far as we know there was no Slayer called upon her second death. That tells us something, although the appearance of a new slayer would cause us to have to say, ah, killing Buffy again created another Slayer. What Joss says in an interview is interesting, and certainly will inform us as we watch, but it is, in my view, utterly secondary to what actually happens in Buffy. What he puts in the actual show will matter more if they are ever at odds. And until they are, it doesn't really matter.

Now I said Fray and Buffy were artistically legitimate separately, and I believe that. But I certainly believe they can also be taken together by the viewer who sees them that way. The viewer is more than capable of placing a bounding frame around both of them together. But they are still also separate. Where I think the sense of exploitation would lie, would be if there was dependency of one on the other or each to each. I don't read the comic. To be honest, I didn't know it existed until very recently. If I found out that I couldn't make head or tail out of what happens on Buffy or understand the character's development because I hadn't been concurrently reading a comic book, I would be as miffed as if I had been told the backstory for Spike's character was given in the movie Bootie Call or during the commerical breaks. Which doesn't make the comic wrong and doesn't mean that the information in it doen't inform Buffy. But I would hope that the information in the comic book would not be relevant to Buffy until it appears in Buffy.

Which apparently it will, and I will revise my opinion of the WC (heh heh) accordingly.

This post should be viewed as my taking the chance to ramble about art theory while bored out of my mind recovering from a flu bug you should all do your best to avoid. I'm not claiming to know or criticize anyone else's POV.

[> [> [> [> Re: You didn't seem that irate -- Dochawk, 14:49:18 02/04/03 Tue

I disagree with you, I feel Joss has an artistic vision and expresses it different ways, that are all consistent with each other to create his mythos. You think that each entity is self-contained. There is no right or wrong here. But, I will tell you for the $20 that Fray costs, you should read it, because Joss is brilliant even in comic book form.

It was quite amusing when the medical director of my entire practice (we have 4000 partners) choose a day I was reading Fray at my desk to be the only time in 8 years that he came to where the doctors actually worked. I had quite a time justifying that it didn't reduce my effectiveness as a physician to be reading comic books in my office on company time. Nurses got quite a kick out of it (then he went upstairs and saw a partner who was wearing a Trek pin, had his beeper made up to look like a phaser and decorated all his rooms with Trek stuff. This guy actually told patients "live long and prosper" when he was finished with them. I never heard about the Fray comics again)

[> [> [> [> [> that's REALLY funny... -- manwitch, 14:54:05 02/04/03 Tue

Makes me a little less concerned to get caught on the Buffy board.

[> [> [> [> Again I agree with you. Everything you said above. -- s'kat, 15:56:55 02/04/03 Tue

Hope you feel better. Hate the flu, doing an excellent job of avoiding it...so far.

I've seen people try the same things when adapting novels to screen. The LoTR created by Peter Jackson is NOT the same as the LoTR created by Tolkien. Just as Dune by Frank Herbert is not the same as Dune by David Lynch. The same thing with X-Men the movie and X-Men the comic books - two entirely different stories. Same creator? okay. Irving who wrote Cider House Rules changed his own book when he wrote the screenplay. You can't recreate exactly what is in a book or comic format to a television screen - they change.
You can get information from both, but they are also separate works of art. They exist separately. In no way shape or form do we need or should we need to read Fray in order to understand Buffy's journey or what a slayer is.
That does not mean the reader can't draw on Fray and Buffy simulataneously to draw his or her own conclusions but it does not by the same token make yours or my conclusions any less valid or meaningful if we analyze the show without referencing or ever looking at Fray, Tales of the Slayer or any number of off-shoots from the TV series.

Not sure that made any sense whatsoever. (Spent all day wrapping my mind around the difficult task of writting a synopsis of a novel I'm trying to get published. Harder than one might think.) Refer to manwitch's better post above, that says it better. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> Good luck with the publishin', s'kat! You deserve it! :o) -- Rob, 16:15:40 02/04/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> I like how you s'aid it, s'kat! -- WickedBuffy, 17:23:23 02/04/03 Tue

especially the "You can get information from both, but they are also separate works of art." and " ... it does not by the same token make yours or my conclusions any less valid or meaningful if we analyze the show without referencing or ever looking at Fray, Tales of the Slayer or any number of off-shoots from the TV series."

It seems the largest number of people able to take part in discussions with the most common resource pool are the ones who watch the TV episodes. Just because it's the most easily acceptable for the majority of people. But might doesn't make right anymore than knowledge has ALL the power.

So, everyone is no more right or wrong than another no matter where they glean their information. The challenge is to come together and be able to discuss and theorize and comment with equal respect. Personally, I like trying to figure things out and theorize as if it's a mystery to unravel. Other people like to see the heavy symbolism in it and compare it to ancient literature. And someone else might just like kewl sword fights. ;>

Kudos to a fine post while fighting the flu and racing a deadline! Made perfect sense to me. :> imho


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