July 2002 posts

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Doing the Right Thing: Absolute Truths or True Love of Buffy? -- K-Dizzy, 13:04:52 07/12/02 Fri

Heya! Was reading a post on another board that made an interesting reference to Proserpexa (and I agree 100%), and she made a fascinating comment about Spike doing good because it is “the right thing” and not for personal gain or approval. This is an extremely common argument with regard to Spike’s redemption. On one hand, this suggests that love of a mate/partner is a decent, but not sufficiently consistent moral compass. But don’t people love their children, beloved leaders of a cause, a country, and take actions- positive or negative- for their sakes? When one begins to break things down, isn’t “the right thing” a relative concept? How many absolute truths ARE there in this world?

For example, in the real world, some people are 100% convinced that for love of their families, countrymen, the concept of freedom and religious salvation itself, it is absolutely “the right thing” to strap explosives onto their bodies, wade into crowds, detonate said bombs and kill people. A majority of the world does not agree and condemns such actions. We identify such actions as completely evil, and we frame them accordingly, giving them labels with negative connotations.

In the fictional world, we can reference Angel’s actions. He is a Champion, and has elected to fight the good fight, and in doing so, he’s left lawyers/humans to die (wine cellar), killed the good demon protector of a prophesy baby, killed two noble guardians of the key to a hell dimension, etc. etc. But we take out the scorecard and enter “Well, his intentions were good, greater good and all that. No penalty.”

Funny, but I recall a STNG episode (“The Hunted”) where the crew is asked to help hunt down an escaped “criminal.” Turns out that this man was a war hero- he’d been subjected to extreme physical and psychological conditioning (a la Riley) and made a superior warrior, which he was. But having so used their soldiers, his government was afraid these men were too violent to be re-integrated back into normal society, and so forcefully “resettled” them. When the Enterprise crew asks this government if they tried to deprogram their soldiers, they were told, “It probably wouldn’t work… And besides, we might need them again.” Hence, the idea being that having trained killers loyal to a cause/people- not the hazier absolute of doing the “the right thing” – was the better, if not necessary option for this society.

In "Buffy" we see such choices played out when in “the Gift” Buffy insists that Dawn not be harmed. The absolute “right thing” is to sacrifice her, and this is the choice Giles makes. But for the love of her “child” Buffy refuses to do so, and turns to Spike. And Spike promises to protect Dawn at the cost of his own unlife, until the end of the world. His sense of “right” is fundamentally centered on Buffy’s judgment. And maybe her judgment is intellectually or emotionally weak. This is certainly the core of the argument re: Xander’s sin of omission (about Willow's intent to resoul Angel) in Becoming. Which truth is better? Buffy always goes with her own.

So no, I don’t think that Spike’s romantic love for Buffy- hoping to gain her love or seeking her approval, makes his contributions any less significant. In fact, I think they are a precious gift. Recall the lesson of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”… when societal institutions (government, church, military) are decayed and corrupt, the only “right thing” is the honest and true love in a person’s heart, even if they’re a monster in some people’s eyes. On Buffy we’ve seen decay and corruption in the school and government (Snyder/the Mayor), the Watcher’s Council, and in the military Initiative. So, you know, I’m happy Buffy has a warrior in her life who loves her dearly, and has made her causes his raison d’etre…. For Spike, "the mission" is Buffy's happiness, and that's a truth as golden as any other.

[> Wow...triple Kaboom! -- shygirl, 13:28:38 07/12/02 Fri

[> I agree completely (NT) -- Doug the Bloody, 14:16:22 07/12/02 Fri

[> [> Oops! Ignore above post. -- Doug_the Bloody, 14:19:24 07/12/02 Fri

[> I agree completely, wonderful post (NT) -- Doug the Bloody, 14:16:33 07/12/02 Fri

[> Re: Doing the Right Thing: Absolute Truths or True Love of Buffy? -- JBone, 19:53:14 07/12/02 Fri

From the season 5 episode Crush

Tara: No, see, it can't, it can't end like that, 'cause all of Quasimodo's actions were selfishly motivated. He had no moral compass, no understanding of right. Everything he did, he did out of love for a woman who would never be able to love him back. (They come to a vending machine and stop walking. Tara digs in her purse. Willow looks in hers as well) Also, you can tell it's not gonna have a happy ending when the main guy's all bumpy.

[> [> Re: Doing the Right Thing: Absolute Truths or True Love of Buffy? -- AngelVSAngelus, 21:43:36 07/12/02 Fri

First off, defense of my boy Angel:
Your list of instances of Angel's transgressions omit a few important details. You make it sound like Angel murdered that Buddhist demon protector, and I got the impression from his battling the protectors of the dimensional key pieces that he finished the battle by knocking them unconscious, not killing them. I would have thought that Wesley and Gunn would object alot more had that been the case.
Yeah, we all know about the wine cellar, and condemn it. But, his transgression there was motivated by the same thing that I feel does make Spike's artifice of morality insufficient: selfish feelings and ties. His obsession with Darla and Dru, his girls.
The ideas of the right and wrong thing are in fact relative in the real world, but in a world that was originally conceived to contain absolutes, there IS a set path, a righteous way and an evil one.

[> I'll be controversial and disagree -- Caesar Augustus, 22:24:12 07/12/02 Fri

This may seem weird given that I am a Spike fan and do think that his contributions are MAJORLY sifnificant. But the problem I see with your logic is that the only 2 options you present are: absolute truth ; or relative truth. There is in fact a gradation.

In the real world, there are no absolute truths. But some moral viewpoints are nonetheless MORE absolute than others. Murder = bad is more absolute than, say, eating unkosher food = bad. What you're really saying without realising it is that Spike's good actions, if only dependent on love for Buffy, are on the same level of morality as Arab suicide bombers. They are based on blind faith rather than one's own personal morals. They are both based on relative truth.

But it's pretty clear to me that Spike's actions are not comparable to suicide bombers.

When Buffy chose to kill Angel to save the world, was that choosing an absolute truth? Willow claims that the true way to save the world from its pain is to end it. If Buffy had chosen to sacrifice Dawn, (which I believe she would have actually done in the end if there was no other option) it would have still been a relative truth, but one which is simply higher up on the scale of 'absolutism'. The fact that Spike's actions are based on Buffy's love DO make them less significant than if they were based on his own moral compass, simply because it is MORE of a relative truth. But the real question is: how significant are they nonetheless?

[> [> Spike loves Buffy, but I don't think they share the same cause. -- Erica24, 00:52:53 07/14/02 Sun

I am a big Spike fan and I certainly don't think that his love for Buffy takes away from his actions on her behalf.

However, I think that Spike's good deeds are somewhat tainted by his love. Buffy's mission in life is to save the world. Her friends partake in that mission. Spike's mission is to love Buffy. Even if Buffy were to let the world fall into hell, as she was prepared to do rather than kill Dawn, Spike would follow her. Contrast that to Giles' confrontation of Buffy at the Magic Shop in The Gift and I think the difference becomes clear. At the point where Buffy was willing to betray her own mission, Giles and the Gang called her on it. I don't think Spike would have understood the greater importance of stopping someone you love from making a huge mistake. I think that's where his demon moral compass is off. It seems to lack an objectiveness that human moral compasses have. For Spike "good" is always selfish, subjective or absolutely relative to what he as an individual wants or needs. Buffy's morality is based on what is good for humanity. Spike doesn't understand that kind of selflessness without reward, or the benefit of it. IMO, Spike's inability to see outside his own wants and desires didn't allow him to be "good" in the Classic Buffyverse "we need to save the world" way.

Just like Buffy killed Angel in the end of Becoming 2, I think she would have sacrificed Dawn, if necessary. If that's true, I don't think that Spike's attempts to save Dawn no matter what would have ultimately been what Buffy wanted, no matter what she said. I think Giles realized that, but Spike was unable to. If a soul does provide him with an objective moral compass, I hope that he'll be able to finally understand this.



[> I agree: if nothing else, it's a good start! -- Juliette, 11:06:24 07/13/02 Sat

Funny Buffy Reference -- Majin Gojira, 06:30:44 07/13/02 Sat

On the most recent Episode of "Farscape" John Criton says the line:

"Kryptonite?...Silver Bullet?...Buffy?...What does it take to keep you in the ground?"

I burst out in laughter when he said it.

Sorry, don't want to spoil the situation he's in when he says it.

[> Re: Funny Buffy Reference -- MaeveRigan, 06:47:21 07/13/02 Sat

Omigod! I must have blinked because I totally missed it! What a hoot!

Thanks for posting this one!

[> [> actually, that's not the first Buffy reference there... -- Direwolf, 08:45:04 07/13/02 Sat

in the second season there was an episode where Crichon said something along the lines of:

"When I'll get home, everybody I know will be dead: my Dad, my friends, Cameron Diaz, Buffy the vampire slayer..."

Haven't seen this one yet, but looking forward to it.

[> [> [> It was last night's ep, "Promises," and MG, you beat me to posting it! -- Rob, 09:12:51 07/13/02 Sat

...although, of course, he has to be referring to the time she died in "Prophecy Girl," cause he's been in space for the past 4 years and wouldn't have seen "The Gift." Too bad! ;o)

And any "Farscape" fans here, last night's ep was amazing, on top of the Buffy reference. So try to catch it in reruns!


[> [> [> [> Farscape timeline? -- MaeveRigan, 12:27:08 07/13/02 Sat

Are we sure Crichton's timeline & the realverse timeline are synchronous? Just because Farscape started 4 years ago, does it necessarily follow that Crichton left Earth in 1998? I don't think so.

It seems like a fairly general reference--Buffy's killed a lot of vampires--but it's still as likely to be to "Prophecy Girl," as to any specific ep., I guess.

And I could be wrong--I admit I'm not totally geeked out on Farscape, though I like it a lot. If there's a definite reference to prove that John got sucked into the wormhole in 1998, I concede, smiling and murmuring, "Never mind!"

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Farscape timeline? -- Rob, 13:03:48 07/13/02 Sat

Interesting, I never thought of that. Actually, I don' t think they ever said what year it was. It wasn't supposed to be too far into the future, if it was at all. The only evidence we have that it is playing in "real time" basically, is that his pop cultural references usually aren't as current as this "Buffy" one. Most of them are about early 90's-and-earlier things, like, for example, the "Pulp Fiction" reference in this ep, and the Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner, Roger Rabbit, etc references in "Revenging Angel" (the animated ep). So it's possible...but I just wonder why he hasn't made that may current references before this, which would lead me to assume that he's referring to the "Prophecy Girl" death, but ya never know...

Any other "Farscape" fans here that might remember any other references Crichton might have made to things that he couldn't have known, had he been sucked into the wormhole in 1997, his time?


[> [> [> [> Umm, if he's referring to people who were dead when he left . . . -- d'Herblay, 23:37:31 07/13/02 Sat

. . . have I missed Cameron Diaz on the obit pages?

[> [> [> [> [> I guess he had to have been referring to... -- Rob, 08:26:29 07/14/02 Sun

...Buffy's death in "The Gift," then...since, I think, that Cameron Diaz thing was a reference to the movie, "Vanilla Sky," which also came out too recently for him to have seen it, if the show didn't take place a few years into the future.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I guess he had to have been referring to... -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:08:17 07/14/02 Sun

I haven't watched the show, but from the comment it sounds like he's worried that by the time he gets home all those people will be dead, implying they weren't dead when he left.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes. It sounds like the classic heartbreak of time dilation to me -- d'Herblay, 09:58:30 07/14/02 Sun

Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- meritaten, 13:10:47 07/13/02 Sat

I've only just discovered this website, so please forgive me if this is addressed elsewhere....

I was recently telling a non-watcher about the Buffy series. I was describing the curse on Angel, and how he lost his soul when he slept with Buffy. She asked if this was related to their age difference. This got me thinking. Is there a deeper message there? I remember Buffy learning (although perhaps not remembering when Parker came along) that rushing into sex was not wise. ...but I don't remember any judgement against Angel for sleeping with a 17 year-old girl. I mean, legally, that would technically be rape. I'm not condeming Angel here. It was obvious that his love was genuine. However, does this justify his actions in sleeping with a minor? I'm not clear on his exact age, but he must have been in his early to mid-twenties when he became a vampire. Even if you consider that as his "age", it doesn't seem right for him to sleep with a minor. I've always been so catch up in the tragedy of their love, that I never considered the age difference. Was Angel wrong? Was his curse also a punishment for this action?

Any thoughts?

[> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- Vickie, 13:29:48 07/13/02 Sat

I don't think so. In this world, Angel would have been wrong. But in the Jossverse, the only disapproval of their relationship on the basis of age was from Joyce. And her disapproval was based on his apparent age (twenty- something). Even Giles said no word on the subject.

[> [> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:02:14 07/13/02 Sat

Legally, it's wrong.

However, Angel, being a vampire, is not subject to human law. Therefore the issue is really a moral one for those concerned. Since both of them were willing, it obviously wasn't morally wrong for them.

[> [> [> agree on the legalitites -- Vickie, 14:20:43 07/13/02 Sat

But legal sanction seldom seems enough in the Jossverse to make our characters avoid an action. (I'm excepting murder here, which seems to be in a different category.) Buffy and Angel's night of passion may have been statutory rape, but the show has never criticised the characters' behavior on that ground.

[> [> [> [> Sorry, but I dis-agree on the legalitites -- redcat, 15:04:54 07/13/02 Sat

Correct me if I'm wrong, (where is Sophist when we need him?) but in California, 17 is above the age for statutory rape. I always assumed Joss made the characters wait until exactly that first moment when the sex would NOT be statutory rape, Buffy's 17th birthday, for exactly this reason. I guess I just assumed neither ME nor the WB wanted to open that can of worms. "Smart" plotting has myriad components, one of which is not lighting fires you can't put out...

Any lawyers out there who are NOT gone for the weekend and can put this to rest (and hopefully do so without mixing their metaphors)?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Sorry, but I dis-agree on the legalitites -- meritaten, 15:28:07 07/13/02 Sat

I didn't know that the age was 17 in CA. It is 18 where I'm from.

I'd never thought about this until my friend - who has never watched the show - asked if the age difference was a part of the curse in some way. I had never picked up on any criticism of Angel's actions in the show. I was wondering if I'd missed it.

I didn't mean to put an emphasis on the legal aspect, either. It is just - I'm assuming he is about 25 years old, physically if not actually. Once I started thinking about it, I can't help but question the wisdom of Angel's action. His love and sincerity aren't in question. Maybe I'm just realizing for the first time that it pretty much breaks a taboo in US culture. Angel was an adult, but Buffy was not really an adult yet.

In Season 3, Joyce asked Angel to break it off with Buffy because it wasn't fair to her. Buffy was a teenager, with teen age thoughts, perceptions, and aspirations. Angel decided she was right. Buffy was planning a future with Angel, but was not yet emotionally prepared to truly understand all of the future implications. Even though she was the Slayer, she was still a teenager. Maybe this explains my question a bit better.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Age of consent in California is 18 -- Vickie, 15:33:31 07/13/02 Sat

I still do not think the age taboo figures into the story. Certainly, Joyce's concern had something to do with the age discrepancy. But even she never said anything like "you were wrong to sleep with her, it was technically rape."

I agree that Angel was unfair. I think it's a measure of his immaturity. Emotionally they were pretty much age-mates, if Buffy wasn't more mature.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Age of consent in California is 18 -- meritaten, 15:45:45 07/13/02 Sat

Interesting point. He isn't the most emotionally stable or mature person around.

Still, Buffy and Angel both suffered as a result of a poor decision. When I say this, I mean a poor decision on both sides. Essentially, Buffy watched people suffer and die as a result of her actions. It was pretty clear that she felt this. What about Angel?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The B/A Breakup -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:22:33 07/13/02 Sat

One problem with their relationship is that they could never have sex because of Angel's curse. And it's possible that he could reach the moment of happiness to lose his soul just by being around Buffy too much.

But maturity isn't a problem since Buffy will grow older and continue to mature, while Angel shall remain the same. And, if someone's thinking about what happens as Buffy gets too old for Angel, remember that she probably has at most a few more years before some vampire or demon gets lucky and kills her. This does raise the problem that it's unfair to expect Buffy to remain celibate until she dies. That's why the relationship with Angel couldn't work.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Age of consent...OT -- Drizzt, 20:50:39 07/16/02 Tue

The age of constent in Hawaii is sixteen; it was 14 about five years ago. Hawaii is one of several states where it is legal for an adult to marry a fourteen year old, but it does require parental consent for the minor. There is also emancipation for minors; I think that the minor must be at least fifteen for that. Emancipation=full legal rights and responsibilities of an adult.

I am in Hawaii currently. One week after I got here I met a girl who at fourteen has a modelling contract. She is very obsesssed with her appearance, and my mom commented that she "radiates sexuality" She said she is a virgin. Her dad had a bizzar midlife crisis; he spent his entire 40 grand retirement account in three months, was a serious drunk, & worst of all he was hitting on his own daughter...I saw him fondle her but & also some sexual comments to her;(

Poor girl; went from a nice middle class life, and her dad said he would bring her to Hawaii for vacation...but when she got here he told her she would never go home.

I cannot finish this story; someone is waiting for the computer I am using.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Age of consent...OT -- Drizzt, 21:44:05 07/16/02 Tue

I am back on the internet.

My second part of this story did not post?

I do not have time to try again;(

This girl looks like a Philipino version of the woman from Legaly Blond, she says her personality is similar also. My impression is that her natural personality is to be just as perky and cute as the Buffybot; she is simply adorable. She is now back in her middle class and normal life:)

Happy ending for her after lots of weirdness here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Consent or Majority? -- auroramama, 12:44:24 07/14/02 Sun

Usually the age of consent is lower than the age of majority (voting rights, for example.) In fact, I didn't know there was any state that had the age of consent higher than 16. If I remember correctly, a few states have age-difference contingencies (how much older the guy is), or don't charge minors with statutory rape.

Other Californians -- if the age of consent is 18, you might see cases where parents charge their 17-year-old's 18-year- old boyfriend with statutory rape. Has anyone heard of this?

I believe most states allow minors 16 or older to marry, sometimes with parental permission required.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> California Penal Code -- J, 15:59:40 07/14/02 Sun

Pursuant to California Penal Code Section 261.5, "[u]nlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator, if the person is a minor. For the purposes of this section, a "minor" is a person under the age of 18 years and an "adult" is a person who is at least 18 years of age." The penalties change in relation to the age discrepancy of the parties, but the crime is always "either a misdmeanor or a felony" if there is at least a three-year age difference between the parties (note--I know that doesn't seem to make any sense; I'm an Ohio lawyer, and it sounds nonsensical to me!). At any rate, it seems fairly clear that the sex between Angel and Buffy violated California law--unless Angel is not a "person" as described in the statute, that is!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: California Penal Code -- auroramama, 16:50:56 07/14/02 Sun

Wow. It really is 18. Well, at least now there's something -- breaking the law -- that can be pointed at as "reckless" or "a bad choice". That had always bugged me -- how long was Buffy supposed to wait? Would 18 have been OK? How about 21?

It's a pretty weird idea that 17 is too young to fool around but old enough to get married, though. Imagine Buffy making that choice! Come to think of it, imagine anyone doing it.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: California Penal Code -- meritaten, 17:45:59 07/14/02 Sun

My concern was not whether or not Buffy should have been sexually active. My concern was in regard to Angel, either 25-ish or 240-ish, engaging in sexual intercourse with a 17 year-old girl. I've no doubt that his INTENTIONS were honorable, that he truly loved her, etc.. However, why did we see buffy acknowledge that she had been rash (conversation with joyce and in constant feelings of guilt and responsibility), when Angel was never reproached? Angel was criticised for his actions when souless, but not for the way in which his soul was lost.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: California Penal Code -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:39:21 07/14/02 Sun

One of this culture's excepted philosophies is that women can and are expected to control their sexual urges, while men, if presented with the opportunity, can't help but obey their hormones. I don't agree with this, but it's a widespread belief (though many won't admit it).

[> [> [> [> [> Age of consent -- Sophist, 09:26:39 07/15/02 Mon

Just got back and am catching up.

The age of consent in CA is 18. However, if the other person is no more than 3 years older than the minor, the offense is only a misdemeanor.

Obviously, if we count Angel's vamp years, this point is irrelevant. If we count his age at vamping, however, the "offense" may have been a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, the shows are inconsistent about Angel's age. He seems to have been about 20 and may qualify.

I can also say that the offense is rarely prosecuted in CA relative to its occurrence (snicker). Every so often some ridiculous case comes along that generates calls to amend the statute, but there is no current prospect of amendment.

The fact that the age is lower in many other states may have made the issue less significant for the WB (which likely cared more than JW). BTW, the TV division of the WB is headquartered in GA. I don't know the age of consent there, but if it's less than 18, they may not have realized the issue.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Age of consent - Waaay OT (or maybe not...) -- redcat, 11:37:17 07/15/02 Mon

Just to add a touch of perspective and some support for what Sophist said above, I think it’s
important to remember that notions about the appropriate age for sexual consent vary widely
by culture and society. I would urge caution in clothing the choice of any particular age or
perspective on the issue with the cloak of absolute moral authority.

Last year (and importantly before the Catholic Church sex scandals broke into the dominant
media’s consciousness), Hawai’i’s governor and state legislature duked it out over the issue of
raising the age of both sexual consent and consent for marriage from 14 to either 16 or 18. A
lobby group of (mostly) recent haole (white foreigner) Republican transplants from the US
mainland had raised a very public stink about what were, to them, the pedophilac implications
of the current state statutes, which had been on the books since the early plantation-era days
of statehood in 1959. They convinced the conservative minority in both the state Senate and
House to bring bills aimed at raising the age of consent (some on the original committee
wanted it to be 20 - they settled for 16). Their rhetoric cast anyone who opposed them as
supporting pedophilia and child molestation. Heavily supported by funds from conservative
and fundamentalist Christian groups outside Hawai’i, they mounted a massive and ultimately
quite effective television, radio and print advertising campaign, using many of the same tactics
they had used five years earlier to defeat the same-sex marriage ballot proposition.

The governor, echoing the sentiments of at least a *very* large portion of the state’s populace
(and perhaps the majority - we never got a chance to vote on it), dismissed their arguments as
an attempt to impose conservative, white-American, fundamentalist Protestant values on a
mixed-ethnicity, mostly-non-Protestant and mostly-non- conservative local population. The
governor, BTW, is the son of Filipino immigrants, among whom, in Hawai’i during the
generation in which the governor grew up, cultural traditions based on more than a century of
capitalism-imposed plantation labor and immigration practices sanctified the marriages of
young women (14 or so) to much older men (typically in their 30s). Contemporary Hawai’i-
Filipino culture readily accepts teen-age marriages and has elaborate cultural structures for
helping to care for children born of them. The governor was also heavily supported in his
opposition to the bills by many Native Hawaiian cultural activists, a large majority of whom are
Protestant, but within whose cultural norms teen-age sexual unions and marriages are also
quite readily accepted, and who also have elaborate internal family structures for caring for the
children of teen parents. They were joined by some groups of South-East Asians, for similar
reasons, and what appeared to be a fairly large proportion of kama’aina haole (long-term white
residents, mostly originally from the US mainland, but generally thought of as having
established “local” roots), who are historically pretty far to the left of the American mainstream
political spectrum. The governor’s stance was opposed by several groups who chose not to
join the original proposers of the bill (mostly due to their perceived bad manners and overly-
negative political style), but who sincerely believed that a 14-year-old should not be allowed to
make such a life-changing decision as marriage without parental consent.

The pro-change group aggressively and rapidly pushed their bills through the state legislature,
the governor threatening all the while to veto the bill if it came across his desk. The group
ramped up both its level of invective, publishing “case studies” of violent child molestation and
serial child murderers in the daily papers, and its threats of political fall-out for the gov if he
vetoed. With extraordinary pressure being put on centrist and liberal legislators, the bills
passed by a very slim majority, and the governor vetoed as promised. He went on TV that
night on all three major local news stations, arguing that Hawai’i already had what were among
the nation’s most stringent laws against actual sexual assault, and had earned the FBI’s
highest ratings for successfully and vigorously prosecuting sexual assault crimes. He noted
that under the law he had just vetoed, an 18-year-old high- school senior would be permanently
branded as a “sex crimes felon” for having sex with his 15- year-old girlfriend. Within days of
the veto, millions of US-mainland dollars had poured into the coffers of the bill’s supporters,
who used it to exert even more pressure on the legislators, who were themselves at that
particular point also fighting with the governor about several other critical issues (education
money, the state budget, etc.). About two weeks later, and for the first time
in Hawai’i state history, the state legislature over-turned a sitting governor’s veto and the bill
became law, under which we now live. The state attorney general’s office has announced that
while they will not break the new law, they will continue to most vigorously prosecute crimes of
sexual assault and sexual violence, and will get around to prosecuting non-violent
transgressions of consent laws when the legislature gives them the manpower and money to
do so.

All of this was to raise the age of consent just to 16. Regardless of what other morals this
political tale may offer, may I suggest that one important lesson is that if there are any non-
culturally-bounded moral absolutes, the age of consent is not one of them. Our reactions to
violent sexual crimes may well be one such absolute, however, and IMVHO it would behoove us to remember the

[> [> [> [> [> [> Liam died at age 26 -- Masq, 16:37:18 07/15/02 Mon

According to his grave stone in "The Prodigal"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks. Does that match with the chronology in Angel and Becoming? -- Sophist, 17:22:29 07/15/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Thanks. Does that match with the chronology in Angel and Becoming? -- Masq, 18:49:28 07/15/02 Mon

The Prodigal shows the events leading up to the death in the alley "Becoming" and both have the date of Liam's death at 1753. Liam I think was born in 1727 (I get that date and thus his age from his tombstone), but Angel, like Spike, counts his age from the year he died, not the year he was born as human.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ME needs better arithmetic -- Sophist, 08:58:52 07/16/02 Tue

In Angel, Angel is described as 240 (b. 1757). This is reinforced in Halloween when Buffy sees the noble lady in the watcher diaries -- the picture is dated 1775 and Buffy comments that Angel was 18 at the time. These dates seem inconsistent with Prodigal even if we start counting from the vamping rather than human years.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The dates are also inconsistent with "Becoming", which puts his vamp birth at 1753 -- Masq, 09:01:58 07/16/02 Tue

To quote Joss on the issue, "I suck at math"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ME also changed Spike's age 3 times -- Masq, 09:03:59 07/16/02 Tue

Originally, he's almost 200, then he's "126" in Season 4, then he's vamped in 1880 which means he was 126 in 1996, not 2000.

[> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- Rahael, 14:02:22 07/13/02 Sat

You might want to look at this post by Shadowkat, which has been archived now, on the similarities to Lolita.


[> [> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- meritaten, 15:36:20 07/13/02 Sat

Thank you!!!!

Those were the very issues that were bothering me. Do you think that in any way the PTB were punishing angel for his romance with Buffy (either the curse or his time in the hell dimension)?

[> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- Darby, 16:09:38 07/13/02 Sat

You certainly could read the age difference into the metaphors of the show, but there doesn't seem to be much support from Joss on it. The curse was a way to show how guys can change once they've gotten sex, but I've never seen the age difference brought up by ME people (not even in the DVD commentary, where you'd expect to hear it) in that context, although they do acknowledge the difference from time to time.

The hidden message you mention is disturbing, though, I agree, but the show can't very well allude to Angel the Child Molester. Well, they could, but I doubt they'd want to.

And, by the way, welcome!

[> [> Lolita was just 14, not 16 -- Dariel, 17:00:05 07/13/02 Sat

And she was Humbert's stepdaughter. (Ick!) So I agree; ME was not trying to parallel Nabokov's story in any real sense.

Also, I think Joyce's appeal to Angel's being older was about maturity. She's not suggesting Angel should leave Buffy because of the age difference; it's because he's a vampire who can't give her a normal life.

[> [> [> Normal Life -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:43:30 07/13/02 Sat

Buffy's never gonna have a normal life. Do the titles "Chosen One", "Vampire Slayer", "And Girl With Low Life Expectency" lend their bearer to having a normal life?

[> [> [> [> Re: Normal Life -- KKC, 20:53:12 07/13/02 Sat

Could an argument be made that Buffy's life is no less 'normal' than anybody else's? Whether they realize it or not, many people all over the world suffer the same burdens... They rebel against authority, struggle with change, have great responsibility thrust upon them before they think they're ready for it, and keep terrible secrets.

From a thousand feet up, Buffy's life doesn't appear to be that different from anybody else's. The show is supposed to be a metaphor for certain common life experiences, after all. Except perhaps for the magical hair stylist and fashion coordinator who appear and disappear as needed. :)

-KKC, who attained this level of enlightenment through meditation and tomato juice.

[> [> [> [> [> Exactly! Couldn't agree more -- Rahael, 04:42:44 07/14/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> 1000 feet up may be too far away -- auroramama, 13:03:36 07/14/02 Sun

I used to read a mailing list for a friend of mine who wanted selected information but got too depressed if she read it herself. It was a list for people with metastatic cancer. There was a thread once that discussed the things friends and family say, meaning to be helpful, and someone brought up the comment, "I could get hit by a bus tomorrow myself." I don't recall specific arguments, but the general feeling on the list was that this was taking *too* broad a view of the situation.

Of course, it's possible for the people most concerned to take too personal a view. For example, most countries don't permit the family of a victim of violent crime to determine the sentence, even though they and the victim might seem to have the greatest right to do so, because criminals might be punished even more severely than they deserve ("Muggers deserve to be eaten" would probably sound reasonable to me if they'd frightened someone I love.)

But it doesn't hurt anyone if we allow people with short life expectancies to determine how they wish to view their situation. Some may prefer to think of themselves as just like the rest of us; some are annoyed by being referred to that way. For me, when Buffy complains of her lot, it's not time for the rest of us to point out that we are all mortal, and there's a chance we may predecease her. I'd respect her view of the situation, whatever my own thoughts.


[> [> [> [> [> [> The hardest thing -- Rahael, 15:23:26 07/14/02 Sun

What I thought KKC was saying (feel free to correct me!) was that Buffy isn't meant to be seen as someone 'other' from us, someone who isn't an 'everyman' figure, someone whose problems are so different and so special, that we cannot identify with them.

She is meant to be a person we can identify it. If her problems feel like the end of the world, its because *our* problems often do feel that way. If Buffy feels that some days she has no one to understand her, and faces the dark alone, that's because it's a common, human perception.

Buffy wants a 'normal' life, regrets that "everyone who isn't currently Buffy" is able to enjoy things. But how many of us has not felt this way with regard to particular situations? Our unique responsibilites, our own fears - those feel to us as weighty as Buffy's.

And the final component is that Buffy feels that she might just be a monster, separate from everyone else. Abnormal. Wrong inside. And those are feelings that others have shared. The point is, Buffy is normal. We are normal. These feelings can result simply from living, because the hardest thing in life is not to be a superhero, but just to live it. To survive it, to be the best person you can be. That's our story.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The hardest thing -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:44:24 07/14/02 Sun

The prime difference is that for Buffy that stakes are raised. When our problems feel like the end of world, and things go wrong, we often find ourselves surprised that life goes on. Buffy is different in that she can't afford to fail. Messing up at the critical moment will get her killed, and maybe everybody else on the planet.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, it works as a metaphor, as many things on Buffy does. -- Rahael, 15:50:29 07/14/02 Sun

There are many layers.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> oh, I can't be that brief! -- Rahael, 15:57:38 07/14/02 Sun

it's against some personal law or something.

Life will go on, despite disasters. Life goes on, inexplicably after Joyce dies. After Buffy dies, after Tara dies, after Willow saves the world. I thought that was one of the most powerful messages of BtVS.

When Buffy fails to stop Joyce dying, when she fails to stop the ritual starting in the Gift, when she fails to finish University, when she fails.......oh, at so many things. Her world goes on. And part of her is eternally bemused.......why aren't I dead? why do I have to keep on living?

dH reminds me that I haven't quoted any poetry in my above response. As Dorothy Parker once said:

"for tomorrow we may die
but alas, we never do"

(the flaw in paganism)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: oh, I can't be that brief! -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:18:46 07/14/02 Sun

Unless she failed to kill the Master or Angel, the world would have ended. And on other cases.

What's with the "flaw of paganism" thing?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> It's the name of the poem quoted -- Rahael, 16:21:31 07/14/02 Sun

Not believing in Vampires and such myself, I can't take the whole "world is ending" (again!) that seriously. The Body is far more affecting, and a beautiful dramatisation of how a world can end emotionally.

I always thought that's what the show had been talking about.

[> [> [> [> Re: Normal Life -- Dariel, 18:55:28 07/14/02 Sun

I should have put "normal life" in quotes. Joyce, being a mother, believed her daughter was entitled to a normal life. And, being a mother, it's not surprising that she maintained some level of denial about the realities of slayerhood.

[> [> [> Lolita was 12, not 14 (ickier and ickier) -- Valhalla, 22:28:56 07/14/02 Sun

[> [> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- meritaten, 12:57:58 07/14/02 Sun

Thank you!

I hadn't seen a hidden message, but then I started watching the show during season 3 , while I've now seen most of the early episodes, there are still episodes I haven't been able to see.

I do remember Buffy dealing with, and acknowledging, that she had made a mistake in sleeping with Angel. Was that simply a message to impressionable young viewers?

Also, that mistake didn't make Buffy a slut. Acknowledging that Angel had exercised poor judgement would not make him a child molester. ...but I agree that it would be a rather grey line.

[> Just a point - Spike is only about 30 years younger than Angel!!! -- Rahael, 05:17:33 07/14/02 Sun

[> [> Re: Just a point - Spike is only about 30 years younger than Angel!!! -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:06:48 07/14/02 Sun

Actually, Angel was sired in either 1753 or sometime in the 1770's (part of Joss's "suck at math" thing). Spike was sired in 1880. So he's at least a hundred years younger.

[> [> [> Angel is at least 245 and Spike 129 = 116 age diff. -- shadowkat, 10:12:25 07/15/02 Mon

According to the Initiative - Spike was 126, that was 1999,
so he's 129 now. According to an episode of Ats, earlier
this year and the episode Angel = Angel is 245.

Therefore - Angel is 116 years older than Spike. Makes Angel
old enough to be Spike's ancestor.

Oh and Buffy was 21 before she and Spike slept together.
She's barely 17 with Angel which is statutory rape in Kansas, I think. One of the points of the whole Angel/Angelus was that they had pulled an Lolita.
Older father figure sleeps with fetching girl and grows dangerously obsessed and tries to destroy her. They did it
well, made my jaw drop the way they did it. The Spike/Buffy
relationship was about something else...I think possibly
the bad boy - you're attracted to but can't be with theme.

[> [> Re: Just a point - Spike is only about 30 years younger than Angel!!! -- meritaten, 13:05:13 07/14/02 Sun

Yes, but by the time that Buffy and Spike get together, Buffy has crossed that invisible, but crucial, line into adulthood.

[> [> [> Age of consent in Britain is 16 -- Rahael, 15:10:42 07/14/02 Sun

and Buffy seemed to me years and years more mature than most people at 20, so I never had problems on that score. Indeed, I went to school with girls who were in sexual relationships at the age of 12/13.

If we are talking about the ick factor of teenager with a centuries old adult, well, that's a different matter.....not to mention, undead centuries old adult. I think what Shadowkat's post points out is that the writers were aware of this, and did a couple of knowing winks. We aren't meant to think of Angel as Humbert Humbert, but as potentially being seen that way. At the end of the day, they did B/A, and S/B because, to invoke Slain's principle, 'it was cool'.

[> [> [> [> Re: Age of consent in Britain is 16 -- shadowkat, 10:19:46 07/15/02 Mon

"I think what Shadowkat's post points out is that the writers were aware of this, and did a couple of knowing winks. We aren't meant to think of Angel as Humbert Humbert, but as potentially being seen that way. At the end of the day, they did B/A, and S/B because, to invoke Slain's principle, 'it was cool'."

Yep. That's exactly it. They did use the metaphor though.
In a big way in IOHEFY - with the teacher and student.
But they were very careful about it...it was clever, b/c
all these teenage girls had the hots for DB who was
close to 30 and the writers did a storyline showing exactly what would happen if they got that much older guy. And just to make sure you got the point - they did clever little episodes like Reptile Boy, IOHEFY, Surprise/Innocence,
School Hard. I don't think it was literally Lolita,
but the metaphor is definitely there. That said, I too thought B/A was cool still do. My jaw dropped when they did it.

B/S isn't about that. It's another metaphor. They've purposely made Spike less fatherly, less adult than Angel.

[> [> [> [> [> Buffy is also an "adult" in B/S -- meritaten, 14:08:58 07/15/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> Re: Age of consent in Britain is 16 -- Miss Edith, 10:58:03 07/15/02 Mon

I am also from Britain and sadly there are indeed plenty of 12 and 13 year olds boasting about their sexual exploits. One 12 year old girl was dating a man in his early 30s which we all agreed was icky at the time and now that I am an adult it revolts me. She is 20 now and they are living together so he is still attracted to her*shrug*. Young girls having sex usually get away with it. Prosecution only happens if there is a pregnancy and the parents often go to the police wanting the male charged.
When considering 15 year old Dawn dating Xander or Spike it also gives me the creeps and most viewers would dismiss the idea of Dawn having a serious romance with an older guy. But as Sarah was 19 when the series began she never looked like a 16 year old like Dawn does.
As a sophomore Buffy had presumedly only turned 16 very recently and Buffy did come across as a pretty regular teen to me and I would not agree that she seemed more mature than Willow for instance. I remember in The Witch when she was desiring to be a cheerleader and we saw her skipping around, sassing Giles and commenting on how the grown-up Giles should get a girlfriend "if he wasn't so old".
Therefore I had a problem with the B/A romance in season 1. But in season 2 when Buffy slept with Angel it was more acceptable to me as she did seem pretty mature at that point (and again the actress looked older than 17).
I guess my only real problem was why Angel was ever interested in such a young girl in the first place. Remember when Xander was upset that Dawn no longer had a crush on him but preferred Spike. We laughed because the idea of Dawn dating an adult seemed absurd. She actually complimente Spike on treating her as an equal rather than a child as others did. Spike's brothely relationship with Dawn was very sweetly handled.
But seeing Angel lurking in a darkened car like some old tramp peering at Buffy does remind me of a passage in the Lolita book where Humbert is lurking outside a school. And I found it disturbing when Angel tells Buffy in Helpless he fell in love with her at first sight because he could see she had a big heart and he wanted to protect her. That strikes me as shallow at best. Buffy was skipping down the steps sucking a lollipop and babbling about being over a guy and when she met her watcher she was confused and begun talking about how she never really meant to shoplift a lipstick. Hardly the mature Chosen One. She was just beginning to grow up in that instant.What was Angel's attraction?
And often the couple had little to talk about. For instance in Helpless Angel is reading some French philosophy book and gives Buffy a present that is clearly inappropriate and of little interest to her (a book I think? And it's out of Buffy's reading range?). That is why I never brought the romance with the large age gap. I couldn't see what they had in common. About the only time I was sold on the romance was in I Will Remember You when Buffy was a college student and on more equal footing. Just my perspective.

[> [> [> [> [> How did you feel -- Sophist, 12:20:22 07/15/02 Mon

about Xander/Faith (looking at it either way)? What about Willow/Oz?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How did you feel -- Rosie, 12:58:24 07/15/02 Mon

Sorry if I am not getting your point but are you addressing the age gaps? I presume that's what you mean but wasn't Oz only a year older than Willow? Therefore they were both high schoolers with roughly the same life experience so an attraction was to me more natural than Angel liking Buffy. The idea of B/A being soulmates was simply presented to us as a fact rather than showing us what drew them together. In Angel (the episode) Xander was not the only one reacting in disbelief when Buffy indicated she was in love with Angel after the two of them had shared just one kiss. Buffy was a young girl at the time and had a crush on Owen just recently. Therefore I was sceptical when the idea of the great love was presented. Perhaps it's just a lack of imagination on my part but I did simply find B/A shallow. Yes the kiss at the end was romantic but I couldn't see the depth behind it. The two of them hardly knew each other and it came across as all flash and no substance.
The way Buffy didn't address Angel's past until she had to again indicated immaturity to me. In Halloween Buffy looks throught the watchers diaries but happily skips over any parts detailing the savegery of Angel's part and is instead concerned with the type of girls he was interested in.
In Amends she makes the astounishing claim "I know everything that you did because you did it to me". Angel had raped and destroyed entire families. We are reminded of the cold artistry of his kills by the grieving father who found his children dead in bed. Dru was tortured and driven insane. Yes Buffy suffered at Angel's hands and he was certainly more than just an unpleasant ex as he did kill Jenny leaving Buffy with unbearable guilt. But I still can't reconcile that with Buffy dismissing Angel's past crimes and forgiving him on behalf of his victims.
There were plenty of melodramatic speeches and angst but I don't recall them sharing many regualr conversations or having much in common and I just don't understand what Angel's attraction was to Buffy. It seemed to be the case that Buffy was a nubile young girl attracted to the handsome older man and I personally didn't feel the show ever took them much beyond that.
I am just the type of person who cannot take things at face value and would have prefered the connection between the characters to be explored and expanded on. In Surprise Buffy moves from kissing to sex? Surely heavy petting comes first for a vigin in high scool? We see that she is emarrassed when Angel approaches her when she has taken her top off. But afterwards we are told Angel achieved true happiness and it is implied the night was perfect for them both. Again we are shown a flashy sequence showing the perfect night with an expression of ectascy on Buffy's face. And this is getting a bit O/T but I am just trying to explain why the age gap did bother me and I couldn't accept the relationship based on what we were shown.
Xander/Faith didn't have much of an age gap did they? I know Eliza was in her teens and Nicky was about 30 but in the show Xander was 17 and Faith wasn't meant to be much younger than Buffy surely?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re Ooops sorry this is Miss Edith -- Miss Edith, 13:02:25 07/15/02 Mon

Rosie is my actual name but I decided having the nickname Miss Edith would be slightly cooler (big Dru fan). Sorry if I confused you but both posts are from me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sorry, didn't make my question clear -- Sophist, 17:38:22 07/15/02 Mon

What I was trying to do was sort out among several possibilities that occurred to me on reading your original post:

1. You just didn't care for the B/A ship.

2. You were bothered by the age gap between the two.

3. It was the fact that Buffy was 17 which alone gave you a problem.

It was to cover the last point that I raised the issue of Xander, Faith, and Willow. The ages of all three are unclear, but they could well have been under 18 at the time of "first contact". It seems like those scenes themselves didn't bother you, so it must be the apparent age gap which was the problem (and, you just didn't like B/A anyway). If I've jumped to a conclusion here, let me know.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sorry, didn't make my question clear -- Miss Edith, 05:41:30 07/16/02 Tue

The B/A relationship just didn't have much depth to it in my eyes. The first time Angel spies Buffy in Helpless is an example of this as we are supposed to accept his attraction to Buffy was natural love at first sight because they are soulmates and meant to be together. I am just the kind of boring person who starts wondering hang on what was the attraction. He was looking at a girl he didn't know and we are supposed to accept cosmic forces of fate are pulling them together or something? I didn't have a problem with Willow and Oz having a relationship and sleeping together or Xander losing his virginity to Faith. I just questioned B/A from the beginning really. But in seasons 2 and 3 I accepted they looked good together and the age gap didn't jump out at me as much. It was only in season 1 that I really felt Angel's interest in such a young girl was questionable. It wasn't just the age gap that troubled me, I just couldn't see the appeal beteen them. It seemed like we were only ever told they were soulmates and had to accept that premise and carry on from there. I would have liked to have been told why they were soulmates in order to relate to the relationship more. Just my perspective.
So basically I wasn't entirely comfortable with the age gap and didn't feel the relationship was convincingly presented so that I could overcome that. And I know B/A are supposed to be the big love affair in Bts so sorry if my views offend anyone. I'm not saying B/A were necesserily bad or the most unconvincing couple ever. I just wasn't able to get emotionally invested in the romance.

[> [> [> [> [> Consequences -- meritaten, 14:16:47 07/15/02 Mon

So, I've heard only one opinion on why Buffy was depicted as bearing the guilt over the consequences of her night with Angel - in our culture, men will always want sex and it the is female's responsibility to say no.

Any other thoughts on this? (I'm not dismissing this interpretation, just trying to gather other readings as well.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Consequences -- Sophist, 17:26:29 07/15/02 Mon

At the relevant time, Angelus wasn't inclined to feel any regret. By the time Angel returned for good, it seemed a little late for regrets (if they were necessary). Besides, he'd just spent hundreds of years being tortured (punishment enough, I'd say). Whether regret over Buffy was part of his angst in Amends is hard to say.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Consequences to Meritaten -- aliera, 09:02:49 07/16/02 Tue

I am still catching up on Season 3, so take this with the appropriately sized grain of salt.

Which of us has not make a remark or taken an action that led to unforseen consequences or even pain for someone we care about because we did not have all of the possible information? (And how rarely do we have all the right information to make the best choices LOL.) This too is part of growing up. Knowing that we make the best choices we can given the information we have and understanding that our partner shares in this.

But at 17 years, would this have been my viewpoint? I doubt that very much. I too felt much guilt from the fallout of some of my choices that were made while I was young...and even today, if someone is hurt because of my words or actions, even if unintentional, I would be saddened.

I do understand I think, your point about saying "no". I have been very lucky to have known men (not necessarily in the biblical sense) who do not fit into these sterotypes. As a young woman, it is a very difficult situation. I see many young girls, much younger than Buffy, having to address this issue and other difficult issues in the area where I live. In days ago parents were perhaps more involved and protective, not so today in our neighborhood. And I have to say that it worries me. To ahve to make choices that may alter your life for many years at the age of twelve? And to think that in many ways our culture has come so far, and yet has so far to go.

I am grateful though, that we have shows like this. To make us think and question and hopefully work for a better place for all people. :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Consequences to Meritaten -- meritaten, 12:49:51 07/16/02 Tue

So, your position is that Buffy's feelings of guilt were really about growing up, not about the consequences of early sex?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Positions -- aliera, 14:34:57 07/16/02 Tue

I rarely have a position (many positions, yes) since I like to hear others views not caring so much about the winning of debates.

I think what I was trying to say earlier is that part of the guilt was from what ended up happening to Angel, not the having sex. Of course, the eps are most often considered to be a metaphor for the "morning after realization-he was so nice *before* but now he's a monster" combined with Joss's admission that it was in part a plot device. His intent being to bring them together and then immediately break them apart. Sorry, if it was confusing.

[> [> [> [> [> That's not really the way I looked at it -- Rahael, 05:53:37 07/16/02 Tue

My tendency is to strongly stay away from other people's choices in the bedroom. If I thought a friend of mine was being exploited, I'd have said something, but as far I was concerned, it was their relationship, their business, and perhaps their parents. As far as I figured, if I could make the choice to say no, they had a right to say yes.

I remember a friend who had an extremely prolific sex life. I used to get quite angry when other people sneered at her (the only reason why so many men wanted to go out with her, some girls said, was because they knew she would put out). Wheras I saw a beautiful, charming and intelligent girl who made the choice to behave just as boys her age did (this was around the ages 14/15/16). Two years younger than me, she is now very happily married, a career as a model and fashion photographer and with children on the way. I always respected her choices, and am glad that she has confounded her doubters.

As for partners, I always hope that they'd give me books out of my reading range. Is that ever an inappropriate present? Good taste in Buffy, I always said. Though I did fall for Angel when I saw him reading La Nausee. (Which I read when I was younger than Buffy. I think Buffy's pretty smart. She's just learnt to hide it). I always thought that Buffy was a hundred miles more mature than Angel, always. I haven't seen the movie, but it looks like she did a hell of a lot of growing up between the time Angel first saw her, and the start of Season 1.

I think redcat made a very important point - let's not confuse legalities with real maturity. I mean for years, the gay age of consent in Britain was 21!

[> [> [> [> [> [> O/T rant -- Arethusa, 06:34:19 07/16/02 Tue

I used to teach 13 and 14-year olds. Many of them were just becoming sexually active-they talked about it sometimes in class because they couldn't at home. Very, very few of them were sophisticated enough to make informed, healthy choices about their sex lives. Many of the girls seemed to base their notions of what a sexual relationship was like on the movie "Pretty Woman." (Gary Marshall is the devil.) Their sexual choices included getting pregnant and dropping out to marry, being caught by the police prostituting themselves with old men who most definitely were not Richard Gere, and worrying themselves sick that they'll get AIDS because they have unprotected sex. There are plenty of people who are mature and sophisticated enough as teenagers to make informed decisions about their sexuality, but I've only seen a few out of hundreds, and the rest just aren't ready.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: O/T rant -- Rahael, 07:21:45 07/16/02 Tue

I think I went to an unusually mature school - we certainly discussed issues regarding HIV, protection, pregnancy etc during our lunchbreaks. In fact, of all the times we did discuss sex, it was only in this light. That's all the perspective I have on this.

One thing I do know - we certainly did not romanticise relationships! In fact, my conversations with girls at school made me make up my mind definitely the other way. Either way, I had the highest respect for their judgement and intelligence. To go slightly OT, all this talk of high school as hell - High school (or the British equivalent) was the first place I ever found understanding, sympathy and kindness. The girls allowed me be the person I was, and I reciprocated. University on the other hand - I found bitchiness, duplicity, shallowness and bullying aplenty. Conformity was the rule. I found far more respect for my intelligence, and more of a peer pressure to do the best I could do at my state comp.

I remember with fondness the one person I really did not get on with slipping me cheery, pep up notes during our 48 hour art exam, because I was ready to just give up and not bother completing. At University I met girls who coolly had dinner with the guy who had only the week before raped a good friend of theirs. Just because he was in the 'in' crowd and it wouldn't do to piss him off. At my school, that would never have happened, we would never have allowed that to happen. If one of our classmates was deciding to have an inappropriate relationship with a man far too old or predatory, we'd have advised her don't even go there, that's just nasty. There was a strong sense of our self respect, and our dignity - we definitely saw ourselves, and our work as worth more than any boy.

I certainly remember them cautioning me when I related how I'd gotten this crush on a 24 year old man (he seemed so grown up!). But at the end of the day, they wouldn't have looked down on me if I'd set their advise aside - not that I did.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Pretty woman, and other thoughts -- Rahael, 07:46:08 07/16/02 Tue

Okay, Pretty Woman is the most confusing movie I'd ever seen. It was hugely popular in Britain when I first arrived, and I just never quite got why a relationship between a prostitute and a man who employed her services could in any way be romantic at all.

What's even more surprising is that older women, not just young girls seem to think of this movie as such.

As to the sexual maturity of young girls, this is really difficult, a hugely difficult question for me. My class (single sex school) with whom I stayed with for 6 years, were composed largely of middle class white girls, black girls from strict backgrounds, and Asian Muslim girls. We were fed a steady drip drip drip, by our teachers that we should work hard, because as girls, as black women, as Asian women, British society was not going to be all that fair. Some parents bought their daughters very liberal sex education books, which they brought into class to share (lol, I don't think the Muslim parents who sent their girls to nice single sex schools knew what they were getting!). I'd have no hesitation in saying that most of us had very strong opinions on feminism, sex, and the double standards that operated between men and women.

Personally I think 16 is quite the right age, for British society. And so much of the sexual, and indeed emotional immaturity of some young people rests with parents who just don't care, or don't pay attention to the needs of their children.

Buffy? she was mature enough. Dawn? no. Not because of the actual age of the actresses, but contrast "get out get out get out" with Buffy who in WTTH decides to take up the mantle of responsiblity she seems to be hiding from. Either way, it is our responsibility, as parents, as relatives, as members of society to ensure that young people are both mature, and make good decisions, because the "just say no" campaign doesn't work (going on my experience of the colourful sex lives of some of the Asian girls I knew).

My cousin, now age 14, always had always been informed. She's strictly forbidden to date, by her parents (she's been ignoring that rule for years). But I, and my sister (and her peers) tried to infuse into her what we had learnt at school. And she dumped the boy who tried to pressure her into sex.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Pretty woman, and other thoughts -- Arethusa, 08:57:49 07/16/02 Tue

The girls I taught were seldom encouraged in any way. Texas has very high rates of teen pregnancy, children in poverty, and drop-out rates. But hey-we have lots of tax-payer funded, very expensive sports stadiums.

My perceptions of teen sexuality are, of course, based on my experiences as a teen and secondary teacher in Texas, and are quite negative. I realize these experiences are not representitive of all, or even most teens, and certainly not of fictional teens! But...
Remember Buffy saying "Was it me? Was I not good? after Angelus taunted her? And her words to her mother, when Joyce asked what she did on her birthday-"I got older."
Buffy matured very quickly after she slept with Angel, but it was a difficult initiation. Look at her behavior with Parker-not too mature. Cordelia had more of a mature, matter-of-fact attitude towards sex, I think-based on a stronger sense of self.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "You still look the same" -- Rahael, 10:01:03 07/16/02 Tue

I think Innocence was a very complex episode. I thought Joyce was a very uncaring mother not to notice that Buffy had gone through this enormous sea change. But watching the commentary track by Joss made me see that conversation in a totally different light.

He reiterated that he did not want to promote the message that sex was bad. But that he had to punish each character, emotionally for every decision they had made, good or bad. When Joyce says "you still look the same", Joss said he wanted Buffy to know that she was still "innocent", and that despite Angel's attempts to degrade, she had not been degraded. Angel treated her terribly, but he would have not changed his behaviour if she had been older. And when Buffy was older, she slept with Parker, and he reacted the same way. In both instances, the person who reacted with maturity, was Buffy, not Angel or Parker. (on a side note re the Buffy/Angelus talk in Innocence - Joss said that he couldn't believe that he could write those words, that he felt sickened).

Cordelia's first experience of sex was equally bad, actually, even though she waited longer - she had the mysterious pregnancy thing happening. We are led to believe that that was her first experience of full intercourse, though its never made clear.

I think we are basically in agreement - it is essential for young teenagers/ young women to be properly educated and given choices. The terrible thing is when they are left alone, and then demonized/pilloried (pun intended) for the choices they do make.

Btw, my cousin's comment to me when she said that she had dumped her boyfriend was : "what pleasure would I have got out of it anyway, at this age? It's better to wait". That's the reaction I hope all young teenage girls have! But in the Buffyverse, whatever age seems to be the wrong one!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "You still look the same" -- redcat, 10:13:46 07/16/02 Tue

Rah & Arethusa,
This is a really fascinating conversation. It brings to mind some recent research on American
education that has been quite startling to some feminist scholars while confirming the gut
feelings of many others. Studies done on teen-age girls in same-sex educational institutions
**conclusively** demonstrate that girls enrolled in girls- only schools, and *especially* girls who
begin such schools in their early teens (12-13), have:

significantly higher levels of self-esteem and self- confidence, better feelings about their own
bodies, express less of a desire for plastic surgery, and have fewer incidents of incidental
suicide from advanced anorexia/bulimia;

generally do better by about 20% on standardized tests than girls from similar socio-economic
strata in mixed-gender schools, much of that increase in math/science;

have lower rates of teen pregnancy, suicide and serious drug/alcohol abuse/overdose,
although their use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana is “about the same” as girls in mixed-
gender schools (I’ve not seen any research that specifically compares serious drug use
[heroin/cocaine/methamphetamine] among both sets of female teens, only death from
overdosing, so don’t know the stats on actual use for those drugs);

on the whole report being very comfortable with competition and in leadership roles, and
actually DO better in competition with boys (all sorts of competition, from science fairs to
debate club contests) than girls from mixed-gender schools;

graduate at rates significantly higher than girls in mixed- gender schools;

and enter college at rates even higher than that (although some of the research on this last
fact comes from the private schools themselves and is a bit self-promotional, so take with a
grain of salt).

Early interpretations of this evidence suggested that it was the “protected”atmosphere of
same-sex schools that produced these differences. Further investigations, especially those in
which the researchers actually went to the schools and interviewed both students and
teachers, indicate instead that the girls themselves attributed their strengths and successes to
the proto-feminist attitudes common among their peers and especially their teachers (even
those teachers who were nuns! - the female religious of the Catholic Church have been
undergoing a mini-feminist revolution in the last 20 years and it shows up most assertively in
their educational efforts with young girls). The students’ perceptions that such schools
encouraged them to flourish and pushed them to express their best personal levels of
achievement were supported in interviews with both female and male faculty/administration
across a wide range of types of girls’ schools. Many faculty report they chose to teach in all-
girl schools because they deeply believe in fostering the total range of young girls’ abilities,
understand the potential gender-specific obstacles that will be in their way as adults, and see
themselves as mentors/guides who can specifically help the girls overcome those gender-
based obstacles.

Thus it is not surprising that sexual exploration and experimentation, for these girls, occurs
within a context of self-positive social and peer values that 1) assumes a level of self-
responsibility and self-directedness unfamiliar to many girls in mainstream American public
schools, and 2) often conflicts, as Rahael notes, with parental, familial and/or cultural values
about female sexuality, a tension that certainly leads to some quite serious problems for some
girls and their families. Perhaps not surprisingly, while these girls are often more “successful”
in high school than their mainstreamed peers, they often hit a huge wall once they begin
attending mixed-gender colleges and some statistics indicate that they actually see a greater
fall in their initial (first semester) GPA than girls from mixed-gender schools do. Their dismay
at the “real” world may account for the high transfer rate into women’s colleges of female
students who have some experience in mixed-gender college settings.

Arethusa, your experience with the Texas public school system is, unfortunately, statistically
not uncommon in American public education. While I’m not sure that the research suggests
that *all* girls will do better in single-sex institutions, it does perhaps help explain a small part
of Rah’s very different set of experiences/attitudes. One difference not accounted for by the
research, however, is the issue of parental involvement in teen’s lives. I think one has to
assume that at least a high proportion of parents who bother to pay for their daughters to go to
private high-quality schools are also very involved in their daughters’ lives. One cannot,
however, assume that parents of public-school students are not as involved, but a common
complaint among American teachers is that their students report an enormous sense of
alienation from their parents. Personally, having taught college for a dozen years, I find a
great deal *less* alienation from their parents among my students than I felt at their age, and in
general I’m always a bit suspicious of the “it’s all the parent’s fault” strain of analysis. But what
the research may indicate is that girls who receive a positive view of themselves from both
parents and teachers - who are told *and shown* that they matter - make better, more mature
and more “self-true” choices for themselves at earlier ages than do girls who don’t get such
encouragement. While being strong may initially make their lives harder once they have to
deal with the realities of mixed-gender adult life, hopefully they will be strong enough to make
their world that much better!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "You still look the same" -- Arethusa, 10:54:39 07/16/02 Tue

We do agree. I just see sexuality through a glass, darkly- my bad.

Re Cordelia: I'll point this out because your opinion seems to be the consensus, and I disagree: (quotes by psyche)

From "Phases"
Cordelia: Excuse me? We didn't come here to talk about Willow. We came
here to do things I can never tell my father about because he still
thinks I'm a... good girl.

I think Cordy substituted "good girl" for "virgin," although she could have meant heavy petting.
But...from "Bad Eggs":

Mr. Whitmore: ...through your bodies, compelling you to action, it's
often difficult to remember that there *are* negative consequences to,
uh, having sex. Would anyone care to offer one such consequence?

Cordelia raises her hand, and Mr. Whitmore indicates to her, giving her
the floor.

Cordelia: Well, that depends. Are you talking about sex *in* the car or
*out* of the car? (Mr. Whitmore looks confused) Because I have a friend,
not me, that was in a Miata at, parked at the top of the hill, and then
she kicked the gearshift, and, and...

And thanks for the info, redcat. Some school districts in the US are starting to talk about single-sex, public schools.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes, I'm never sure about Cordy -- Rahael, 11:00:40 07/16/02 Tue

they seem to have left it up in the air - that comment in the classroom could just have been to annoy Xander. And, Cordy may have a broad definition of 'sex'!

redcat, thanks that's fascinating - it's a pattern repeated in the UK, too. I can remember that we had a debate about this at an English lesson (of course we were strongly in favour, though with the qualification that we wanted to go mixed at Sixth Form - we weren't about to put off boys forever! just for a little while!).

Research here also indicates that boys do significantly better at mixed schools, rather than single sex ones.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cordy & Same Sex Schools -- Brian, 11:19:59 07/16/02 Tue

I always thought that Cordelia was "everyone's next one," assuming that "everyone" was rich, goodlooking, had a cool car, and money to spend (on her). My assumption for the Xander exception was that Xander may have been thinking about sex all the time, but he had a deep respect for Cordelia and wouldn't allow their relationship to go that far.

I taught at a single sex girl's school for 9 years. The students certainly were more independent, more confident, more willing to express their intellectual opinion, more in tune with themselves and their peers. However, about boys? They were clueless. It was frightening what they thought boys were like or what they did or said. In artifical social situations with boys (dances, etc), there was a lot of reckless behavior. I always imagined that when they got to college they were in for a rough time trying to understand boys as boys who were now in classes with them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cordy & Same Sex Schools -- rc, 12:01:10 07/16/02 Tue

I have such great respect for all teachers, especially! for middle and high school teachers like you and Arethusa, Brian. I've only ever taught kids once they're out of high school, which is a different ball of wax entirely. But I have witnessed the often-times HUGE drop that happens during the first and sometimes second semester for girls from private single-sex schools when they hit college. Their grades drop, they can get caught in unhealthy relationships, and they seem especially vulnerable during what's called the "Red Zone" period, the first seven weeks of the fall semester, when date rapes and other sexual assaults against 1st and 2nd-year female students peak on most American college campuses.

However, I've also witnessed the phenomonon in many, many of those same young female students that the skills and self- reliance they've learned stand them in good stead in the long run. Life continues, they pick themselves up and go on, wiser and sadder, perhaps, but generally not "made weak" by their struggle and often they do so as well as or better than their public-school peers.

Adult life hits all kids hard, as our beloved characters have been finding out for themselves this past year. It hits kis from different circumstances hard in different ways. Each kid, male and female, will hit some wall some day, they'll have to fight through some set of preconceptions or some range of interlocked social expectations of them that don't match what they know of themselves. What skills and strengths they bring to that challenge, and what they take away fom it, are at least as important as the nature of the challenge itself, which they cannot control. As parents and teachers, we cannot control the nature of the challenges our students will meet, either. We can only work to help them find their own best way through, which is, I think, what drives all of us teachers to keep on doing what we do. For modern American girls, same- sex schools are certainly not some fantasy ideal, and they have many problems, as you rightly point out. But they are perhaps better at providing some essential parts of the educational spectrum than mixed-gender schools currently are, among which is a broader sense of the internal tools that one can use to go about the business of surviving adult life.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cordy & Same Sex Schools -- aliera, 15:01:47 07/16/02 Tue

Agreeing; but, thinking any school solutions are only part of the answer. Much of what I see goes on away from school and starts when they are very young...we have some societal issues that our schools are not going to be able to address, nor necessarily should they.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Yes, I'm never sure about Cordy -- redcat, 11:30:52 07/16/02 Tue

Thanks, both! And LOL, Cordy is listed on my poster's bio as "my favorite philosopher." She always says the things I wish I had the guts to say!

BTW, the evidence for American boys is somewhat different than in the UK, because such a huge percentage of US private all-boy schools (by enrollment) are of only two types: military and Catholic, and a larger portion of the latter are the pre-seminary type than in previous generations. Secular "academics-only" boys schools are actually fairly uncommon here; most integrated (and liberalized, BTW) in the mid-70s during a wave of "progressive" attitudes that swept Am. education. Research shows that boys do better in them than in single-gender institutions, just as Arethusa says. Girls-only schools, however, are increasing in both number and total enrollment nationwide, in part because of the research I noted. This is also one of the reasons that some feminists who might otherwise be opposed to school vouchers support them, because in areas that do have such schools, they allow lower-income parents to send their daughters to private girls' schools, where they tend to get a better education than in local public schools. It's a complicated issue. I just wish we could find a way to support ALL girls and boys equally in all schools, then they might be able to create a society in which both women and men can live richer, fuller and less squashed lives than their teachers have.

As an aside, I do think things are getting better. I cannot count how many times growing up I heard the mantra, "The only reason women go to college is to get an M-r-s degree." (No wonder I didn't get my doctorate till I was 42.) But I've never met a single student, either male or female, in any college classe I taught from 1990 to the present, who could make heads or tails out of that sentence without me having to explain it to them. And that's a very good thing, I think.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "You still look the same" -- Miss Edith, 13:21:10 07/16/02 Tue

Well there isn't any proof that Cordy was talking about herself. Maybe she really did mean a friend. It could have been Harmony and Cordy was just passing on the tale and covering up for her friend. I find that more plausible than the idea that Cordy had sex freely until she dated Xander at which point she didn't sleep with him for a year. All her talk of possibly being in love with Xander suggests that she was a virgen and nervous about sleeping with a boy for the first time even though she was in a serious relationship.
Anyway Cordy's car wasn't a miata was it?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "You still look the same" -- Arethusa, 13:41:58 07/16/02 Tue

Like Horton the Elephant, Cordy says what she means and means what she says-remember "Earshot"? And I think the not- having-sex-with-Xander was a contrivance, because ME wanted Xander to lose his virginity under the worst possible circumstances. "The Zeppo" takes place about a year after Xander dates Cordelia, but we know ME plans at least a year ahead, based on what the writers have said in interviews.
Not that it really matters....

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "You still look the same" -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:37:31 07/16/02 Tue

Were we ever told that Xander was a virgin up to that point? Yes, he seemed surprised that he had had sex, but he's not exactly the kind of guy that has an extremely hot girl he's never had a relationship with pounce on him. I'm thinking that he was more surprised that it had happened at that moment, in that way, with that person.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "You still look the same" -- Arethusa, 15:25:36 07/16/02 Tue

The Evidence:

Teacher's Pet (S1.4)

Willow: I'm really glad you're okay. It's so unfair how she only went
after virgins.

Xander laughs and looks back and forth between the girls.

Xander: (to Willow) What?

Willow: I mean, here you guys are, doing the right thing, the smart
thing, when a lot of other boys your age...

Blayne: Flag down on that play, babe. I am *not*...

Giles: (interrupts) Well, you see, that's the She-Mantis' modus
operandi. Uh, she only preys on the pure.

Xander: Well, isn't this a perfect ending to a wonderful day!

Blayne: My dad's a lawyer. Anyone repeats this to anybody, they're
gonna find themselves facing a lawsuit.

Xander: Blayne! Shut up!

Willow: I don't think it's bad, I think it's really...

Xander holds up the machete.

Willow: ...sweet! It's certainly nothing I'll ever bring up again.

The Zeppo (S3.13)

Xander: I can't believe I had sex.

The Verdict

It's clear that he was a virgin in Season 1. Two years later, who knows? I'm beginning to realize that unless ME spells something out specifically, the audience will interpret it a hundred different ways, depending on their experiences, perceptions, and biases. And ME would rather be subtle and metaphorical than spell things out. I think it's clear they did have sex, based on Xander new self- assurance afterwards, but that's based on my own perceptions.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Above quotes by psyche -- Arethusa, 15:32:16 07/16/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, rats. I suddenly remembered -- Arethusa, 16:02:15 07/16/02 Tue

Faith: (smiles sexily) You up for it?

She runs her other hand down the back of his neck.

Xander: (nods) Oh, I'm up.

She smiles at him and gets closer. She stops rubbing his chest and
lowers her hand to his crotch.

Xander: I'm suddenly *very* up. It's just, um... (grins sheepishly)
I've never been up with people before.

Faith grabs his jaw and kisses him full on the lips with plenty of

Faith: Just relax... And take your pants off.

Virgin it is. Quote by psyche.

[> Re: Age difference between Angel and Buffy -- Arethusa, 11:49:48 07/15/02 Mon

When Dangerous Liaisons was filmed twice in the late 80s, the teenager seduced by Valmont was played by 19-year-old Uma Thurman, and 15-year-old Fairuza Balk. Our local paper's review expressed disgust as seeing Balk seduced by a much older man, but not Thurman, even though the girl's age did not change (IIRC). Why? People are creeped out by the idea of 16-year-old Dawn having sex with an adult man, but not 16 + one day-year-old Buffy-her affair was seen as deeply romantic to some. Why? Is it because when we see MT's young face we can't fool ourselves that a 16-year-old is old enough to have a sexual relationship with an adult?

[> [> What I find interesting in this -- Sophist, 12:32:29 07/15/02 Mon

is that, so far, all the discussion has focused on teenage girls; what the age of consent should be, whether having a relationship with an older man is "icky". No mention yet of teenage boys.

Under current law, wrongly decided IMHO, it does not violate the equal protection clause to define only underage girls as the "victims" of statutory rape. If we had to apply the same standard to boys and girls, would we still wonder about Buffy and Dawn?

It's also interesting that 2 posts have mentioned the apparent age of the actresses, as judged by their facial appearance. This is interesting psychologically, but should it be legally?

[> [> [> Re: What I find interesting in this -- Arethusa, 13:00:41 07/15/02 Mon

There's no question that sexually active teenage boys are seen very differently than sexually active teenage girls. Many boys, preteen and older, are "seduced" by adult women, according to a criminal lawyer I know. The women are almost never charged, since the boys seldom tell any adults until they are adults themselves. I don't know if anyone has bothered to find out how such boys are affected.

"It's also interesting that 2 posts have mentioned the apparent age of the actresses, as judged by their facial appearance. This is interesting psychologically, but should it be legally?"


[> [> [> [> Re: What I find interesting in this -- Miss Edith, 13:09:17 07/15/02 Mon

Of course the age of the actors or actresses doesn't make a difference legally but it does regarding audience acceptance. For instance Dawn and Spike would as I said in my post be largely frowned upon. Because Sarah Michelle Geller doesn't look 16 the writers could get away with presenting the romance with Angel which is the idyllic relationship to many young teenage girls without to many people mentioning the ethics of the relationship.

Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- OnM, 21:47:46 07/13/02 Sat


Beware the fury of a patient man.

............ John Dryden


Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.

............ Joseph Joubert


Patience and time do more than strength or passion.

............ Jean de la Fontaine


I’d like to start off the column this week by first making the rather modest suggestion that people should
stop picking on Britney Spears. I think it’s only fair, really, for several very good reasons, which I shall
now duly enumerate.

One, she’s still very young yet, something which I tend to think people forget, largely because of her
somewhat assertively sexualized behavior. It’s very rare for someone her age to have any really developed
talent or artistry. People often compare her to Madonna, but Maddie was in her mid 20’s when she first
came to the world’s attention, and those extra years count. La Diva Ciccone was 31 when she
released Like A Prayer, the first album she had ever created that ‘serious critics’ took seriously, and
seemed genuinely shocked to even have to do so.

Two, there is obviously a place for what she does, as evidenced by her legions of fans. The fact that I’m
not one of those fans is irrelevant, I’m also not a fan of a lot of other people. Not everyone’s musical tastes
run to people like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd (the vintage stuff anyway), Kate Bush, Bruce
Cockburn, Sandy Denny, Stan Rogers, Jackson Browne, REM, Leo Kottke, Suzanne Vega, Leonard
Cohen, The Doors, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Joan Armatrading, Ralph McTell and all those other kinda
complex/quirky or just plain ol’ unique kinda individuals. Each to their own, ya know?

Three, people seem inclined to diss her because she’s making money. Huh? What the hell is more American
than making tons of money? It’s practically our national anthem. It’s be in the Pledge of Alligence if God
hadn’t got there first. You know, now that I think about it, Madonna started this whole trend too, so I
reckon it’s her fault, the greedy slut. Women with money, what next... the fall of the empire can’t be far

So do I think Britney is just misunderstood? Possibly, it’s too soon to tell. What I do know is that people
like to jump to conclusions that sometimes turn out to be unwarranted, and that often has the side effect of
keeping other people away from interacting with some artistic variance that they might actually enjoy. Take
Buffy Season 6, for example. Many fans deeply admire and respect what ME attempted to achieve this last
year, myself among them. Just as many others loathe and despise it with a passion. Neither camp is
necessarily ‘right’, because when you are dealing with an interpretation of art, you cannot seperate the
objective and the subjective completely. A computer can’t successfully ‘interpret’ a Van Gogh painting; not
because it couldn’t be programmed to analyse shadow, light, form, texture, all that stuff, but because it
lacks sentience, and the subjectivity that comes along with that characteristic.

Reviews of this week’s pick for ‘Classic’ status fell along divided lines also. What I found absorbing as I
read through them was not whether the review was positive or negative overall, but the reasons
that were sited for the praise or pan respectively. The positive factors cited by the opposable-digits-upward
crowd as to why they liked the film seemed to be the exact same determinants cited by the digits-down
bunch as to why they didn’t. A matter of expectations? Or just a personality clash?

The director of this week’s Classic Movie recommendation, Legends of the Fall, is a
fellow named Edward Zwick, who is probably best known for his work on the TV series
Thirtysomething from a few years back. Right away, this provides a clue as to where some critics
will be coming from, because Thirtysomething was one of the most beloved/reviled TV series that I
can think of in recent memory. The primary attitudes aimed at Zwick’s detailed examination of the lives of
his generational contemporaries seemed to be divided along mostly political boundaries, at least from my
own observations. The right wing saw it as “a colossal Yuppie whinefest”, savaging the protagionists for
being so g**damn introspective and self-involved that they didn’t pay just and proper fealty to the need to
get out there in the ‘real world’ and support the real captains of humanity’s destiny, namely the military
and big industry. The left wing, on the other hand, saw it as “a colossal Yuppie whinefest”, and excoriated
the protagionists for being so f**king introspective and self-involved that they didn’t pay just and proper
fealty to the need to get out there in the ‘real world’ and support those pathetic working-class masses at
the bottom of the social ladder who were ever yearning to breathe free.

The remaining portion of the viewing audience was either bored or enraptured, for reasons that hinge on
the correct interpretation of the phrase, ‘go figure’. Taking all this into account, Legends of the Fall
will probably continue Zwick’s artistic/political legacy.

Being an anarchist myself, I have the fortunate ability (yay, me!) to just enjoy a good story without the
need to always weight it down with political baggage, and this, dear readers, is a wonderful story,
wonderfully told and presented in glorious cinematic form. It is true that there are some melodramatic
aspects to the presentation, but they are very unapologetic, and deserve to be-- this is a big, sweep-you-up
in the moment kind of movie, and despite running somewhat over two hours in length, the film never drags
or bogs down as the story moves forward.

If you go by ‘seniority’, the movie stars Anthony Hopkins as Col. William Ludlow, who served in the U.S.
army, but eventually left in disgust over the shabby to horrific treatment of the Indians that he openly
admires and respects. William is the patriarch of a family of three sons; Alfred (Aidan Quinn), the oldest
and most ‘responsible’; Tristan (Brad Pitt), the middle child who seems to share a spirit more akin to those
same Native Americans, and Samuel (Henry Thomas), the youngest and most naive/idealistic. All of the
roles of the brothers are very well acted, but it is Tristan who serves as one of the central figures around
which most of the plot points of the story unfurl, and Pitt is superb throughout.

The other central figure has somewhat less screen time than the brothers, but has a profound effect on all
of their lives. Susannah Fincannon, played by (at the time) film newcomer Julia Ormond, arrives on a train
with Samuel, whose intention is to marry her. Susannah is intelligent, cultured, forward-thinking and
strikingly beautiful, and in the space of mere days manages to impress and enchant every member of the
Ludlow household.

Besides the Ludlows, the household is home to the Colonel’s most trusted friend, an Indian guide and
warrior named ‘One Stab’ (Gordon Tootoosis). One Stab is the first voice to appear in the film, serving as
a narrator over the events that take place over the span of most of a century. He speaks English only
during the narrations, the remainder of the time either speaking his native language or most commonly not
saying anything at all.

One of the many engrossing aspects of Legends is the counterpoint of sound and silence. The
musical score, among the most engaging and beautiful ones I’ve heard in my movie-going experience,
works in conjunction with a great deal of verbal restraint from the screenwriters and director. It is not
unusual for several minutes to pass by without a single word of dialog being spoken, leaving the actors to
carry the scene with facial expressions and body language, which they do with aplomb.

The other, perhaps most expressive actor in the film is the photography. Legends was one of the
very first film titles to be released in the DVD medium, and quickly became one of the staples for
demonstrating high-end home theater systems to potential purchasers, at least among dealers with an
appreciation for more than incessant loud bangs and crashes. While the action scenes where the Ludlow
brothers join the conflict in World War I will certainly give your speakers a good workout, the stunning
depth and detail of both outdoor shots in the western countryside and indoor sequences in the realistically
reconstructed sets and buildings serves as a reminder of just how effective striking visuals can be in
conjuring powerful and primal emotions. Costume design, makeup and art direction are rendered with
equal craftmanship and care, and all the production elements work synergistically to make it effortless to
sink into the fantasy and live it out along with the cast.

Getting back for a moment to my previous semi-satirical natterings about why people did or didn’t care for
Edward Zwick and his miserable boomer generation, I must admit quite frankly that I am at a loss to see
why anyone would not enjoy and admire this film. Have ‘typical’ film viewers today become so
cynical that they can no longer see the appeal of a grandiose, old-style ‘operatic’ Western such as this one?
Is it just that Brad Pitt is so damn good looking that no one expects him to be able to really act, and so
they stay away? Are they afraid that the gorgeous cinematography is likewise a cover for the lack of
something else, and wish to avoid the possible tainting of their delicate critical capacities with the horror of
high-fructose ‘eye candy’?

Whatever the reason, if you have previously avoided Legends of the Fall, then please give it a
chance. Don’t go with the prospect of intellectual over- analysis, go with your heart and soul open to a
grand experience, and you will be rewarded. They don’t make films like this very often anymore, and so
you need to remind yourself of why that’s a damn shame.

And one last thing... let’s stop picking on Britney until she’s at least thirtysomething, OK? Opie eventually
turned into Ron Howard, you know, and Madonna eventually turned out Ray of Light.

Go figure.

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technically not here to sell Pepsi (not that there's anything wrong with that!):

Legends of the Fall is available on DVD, and in fact there was a brand new edition re-released
within the last year that adds a number of worthwhile extras, including two (count ‘em, 2!) commentary
tracks, one by Ed Zwick and Brad Pitt, the other by cinematographer John Toll and production designer
Lilly Kilvert. The film was released in 1994 and run time is 2 hours and 13 minutes. The original cinematic
aspect ratio is 1.85:1, not so wide that it will get lost when letterboxed on a smaller TV, and don’t even
think about getting a pan’n’scan version of this movie! (The ghost of cinematographers past,
present and future will surely rattle their scroogely chains at you in the midst of some dark and gloomy
night if you crop this sucker, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-)

The film was produced by Edward Zwick, Bill Wittliff, and Marshall Herskovitz. Writing credits go to Jim
Harrison for the novella the movie was based on, and Susan Shilliday and William D. Wittliff for the
screenplay. Cinematography (as already mentioned) was by John Toll, with film editing by Steven
Rosenblum. Production Design was by Lilly Kilvert, with art direction by Andrew Precht and Rick
Roberts. Set decoration was by Dorree Cooper, and costume design by Deborah Lynn Scott. Original
music was by James Horner (and mighty mighty fine it is). In addition to the great musical score, I want to
mention that all the Foley work (sound effects) is absolutely incredible on this soundtrack, and adds
significantly to the suspension of disbelief in it’s realism. The original theatrical sound mix was Dolby
and/or SDDS, with Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version.

Cast overview:

Brad Pitt .... Tristan Ludlow
Anthony Hopkins .... Colonel William Ludlow
Aidan Quinn .... Alfred Ludlow
Julia Ormond .... Susannah Fincannon Ludlow
Henry Thomas .... Samuel Ludlow
Karina Lombard .... Isabel Decker Ludlow (a.k.a. Isabel Two)
Gordon Tootoosis .... One Stab
Christina Pickles .... Isabel Ludlow
Paul Desmond .... Decker
Tantoo Cardinal .... Pet
Robert Wisden .... John T. O'Banion
John Novak .... James O'Banion
Kenneth Welsh .... Sheriff Tynert
Bill Dow .... Longley
Sam Sarkar .... Rodriguez



Julia Ormond has not been overly prolific so far as a film actress, but she has done some work since
Legends. A film that I might not grant ‘classic’ status to yet, but that I still found very enjoyable
overall and visually enchanting in particular would be director Jerry Zucker’s 1995 production, First
. Ormond plays Guinevere, and does it very well. Also, check out some of the other acting clout
in the partial cast list below:

Sean Connery .... King Arthur
Richard Gere .... Lancelot
Julia Ormond .... Guinevere
Ben Cross .... Prince Malagant
John Gielgud .... Oswald

I mean, Connery as Arthur. How can you go wrong? (OK, you could, but it doesn’t. This is another
generally critically dissed film, and I think unfairly. Go root for the underdog, and rent this one also!)


OK, now this is just plain freaky.

You have been warned!



The Question of the Week:

What is the most visually beautiful film you can ever recall seeing? Did you see it in a theater or at home on
TV? Did you enjoy the film otherwise, or was it just ‘pretty’ and (mostly/entirely) nothing else?

All for this time around, so until next Saturday night, post ‘em in fashion grand or non, and take care!


[> Interesting you brought up "First Knight"...(some spoilers for CMotW) -- Rob, 21:54:36 07/13/02 Sat

...since I took a college class that analyzed "Legends of the Fall" (the movie and short story it's based on) as a modern reinterpretation of the Arthurian myth of Tristan and Isolde, also with shades of Arthur and Guinevere. I'll try to find my notes to fill in on the details...but I do remember that, with this interpretation "Legends of the FALL" refers to the fall of Camelot. Also the business of two best friends in love with the same woman (in this case, two brothers...actually three brothers...but later in the movie, on the two, one of whom was married to the woman, like Arthur was to Guinevere).

They even mention the myth of Tristan and Isolde in a scene where the family is at dinner, somewhere around the earlier section of the movie.


[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- Rob, 22:04:00 07/13/02 Sat

I think that the most visually beautiful piece of filmwork I have ever seen would probably be the fantasy/dream sequences of Sam in Terry Gilliams' Brazil. Absolutely breathtaking, especially the early ones when he is flying with the mechnical wings, seeing his fantasy woman, with blonde hair, being captured by the villain.


[> "Lawrence of Arabia." I refuse to watch it on TV. Meaty film too. Britney ROOLZ! -- d'Herblay, 23:34:55 07/13/02 Sat

[> [> Dr. Zhivago -- Arethusa, 11:21:10 07/14/02 Sun

Didn't like any of the characters in the movie, but oh, it was beautiful.

[> [> Re: "Lawrence of Arabia." -- ponygirl, 08:44:49 07/16/02 Tue

I saw Lawrence of Arabia for the first time in a newly re- furbished Art Deco movie palace, when the restored version of the film was released. The ushers all dressed up like sheiks (tacky but fun) and the popcorn was in old school boxes. Utterly life-altering experience about what movies could do and say.

I'd also like to throw in Snow Falling On Cedars for most visually stunning. A lot of people didn't like the movie, but for me it was some of the purest visual poetry around. Some of the shots had me gasping.

[> [> Seven Pillars of Wisdom -- fresne, 11:22:39 07/16/02 Tue

And in a related way, let me put in a plug for Lawrence's autobiography upon which the movie is (at certain points somewhat loosely) based, The Seven Pillar's of Wisdom.

It's an incredibly complex book, in part because of Lawrence's deceptively transparent authorial voice. He had such an incredible personal voice that you actually feel like you're stumbling around in his head. And yet, well, he was a complex person, with complex motivations. History merges into adventures segues into introspection as the war ground on, grinding Lawrence with it.

The Lawrence that comes through the book is somewhat different than the one in the movie, if possible he seems more messed up. And you know, shorter and not so good looking. However, the same magnetism twines its way off the page.

And if anyone finds the size of the book off putting, at least check out the photos. Anthony Quinn was a dead ringer for Auda.

[> [> [> Lawrence -- Rahael, 11:29:46 07/16/02 Tue

I've been quoting Robert Graves here v. frequently of late. An interesting thing about Graves is that he knew Lawrence of Arabia, and was friends with him - Graves wrote an excellent and evocative biog, which is pretty famous "Goodbye to all that" (1929).

I like Goodbye, and his poems far more than the Claudias novels (v. enjoyable, though) and "The White Goddess" (too mystical for my tastes)

[> [> [> [> Re: Lawrence -- fresne, 15:51:34 07/16/02 Tue

Which really ought to be the point where I respond with an amusing vignette on how Graves and Lawrence met, but I can't quite remember it. Something about Lawrence acting typically eccentric, Oxford housing, and everyone being hopelessly over educated. Perhaps, it's only amusing in vague memory.

It's in Lawrence by his Friends (and I'm guessing the bio, so, perhaps you know it.), which is a series of essay/vignettes gathered from just about everyone who knew him (or so it seemed) after his death. The guy who bunked next to Lawrence/Ross in India, Churchill, flight mechanics, Syrian archeologists, Graves, his mother, B. Shaw, etc.

What's interesting (in relation to the earlier discussion of identity and perception) is that not all of the essays present the same Lawrence/Ross. The pictures painted in words often vary widely based on background, education, personal bias, and who Lawrence was being at that point in time.

Oddly enough, since I've read both bios and some Graves, I've never read the Graves bio on Lawrence. However, if it's both excellent and evocative, well then, light summer reading.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Lawrence -- Rahael, 16:03:13 07/16/02 Tue

Oh! I should make just one thing clear, it's an autobiography by Graves.

It's a great picture of society just before the first world war, boarding school life (confirms all my prejudices) and Graves' eccentric life in Oxford, where he meets Lawrence.

It's a classic in the autobiography field. Graves writes extremely well.

[> Days of Heaven -- MaeveRigan, 04:25:45 07/14/02 Sun

Too bad you'll have to see it on video now. "Days of Heaven" is amazing, dir. by Terence Malick. One of Richard Gere's first films. Also stars Sam Shepard and Brooke Adams. As a tragic love triangle, it's got "First Knight" beat all hollow.

By the time he appeared in "First Knight," 20 or so years later, Gere either felt like an idiot in the armor, or maybe he had bad direction, or maybe he just thought he was God's gift to cinema and didn't have to act any more. Connery's Arthur is fine, but Gere's Lancelot is just a pretty face.

Many people who already know anything about the Arthurian legend and/or medieval times diss "First Knight" because it alters the story in ways they find unacceptable (can't say how without spoiling it) and because of the endless supply of period anachronisms. Personally, I love anachronisms if I'm clearly not expected to take them seriously--"A Knight's Tale" was a lot of fun; "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is one of the greatest movies ever made--but in "First Knight" (for example) we're supposed to seriously believe that *everyone*, even the commoners, turns up for a trial in color-coordinated outfits? Very pretty visually; completely mind-boggling historically. This is only one example; others would spoil the story too much.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- LadyStarlight, 06:32:37 07/14/02 Sun

Far and Away is right up there on my list of eye candy films. The last 15 minutes still give me chills, so there must have been something else going on there.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- Cactus Watcher, 07:03:20 07/14/02 Sun

I'd have to say Gone with the Wind. I really don't like heavy soap opera, so the story is a total bust for me. But, the artwork, costuming and cinematography make it worth watching. Before I saw GwtW I would have told you those three things could never be enough reason for me to watch a movie again. There are better looking movies, but it's certainly the one that the beauty alone makes the biggest difference in my reaction to it.

Being a charter member of IBE (I bash everybody) I stand on my constitutional rights to laugh at Britney. She's pleasant enough to look at. She's certainly not the first or the last woman to throw her body around for profit. Her singing isn't really an issue. Like most pop singers it's more about hype and fan frenzy than talent. Let her make her bucks. Let the record company make its bucks. I haven't spent a dime on popular music in 25+ years. So, I say live and let live. But, sit and watch her act? Ho, ho, ho! You've got to be joking!

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- matching mole, 08:43:21 07/14/02 Sun

General Comments - Haven't seen Legends of the Fall but did see First Knight. I liked it well enough but like MR thought that Richard Gere's performance was a major detriment to the movie.

Most visually beautiful - The film that struck me as the most beautiful at the time I saw it was 'Nostalgia' by some Russian director (Tartovsky I think his name was) that I saw at a campus film series (so 'sort of' in a theatre) in the mid-80s. I actually found the film way too slow moving and I even fell asleep briefly at one point. But it was filmed in an ancient Italian village and the film looks like a series of impressionist paintings (not really but that is the closest approximation I can think of).

And finally Britney - I think your points are well taken OnM re her age and her audience. However I don't recall any other pop musician selling their image as enthusiastically as she has. Using your artistic image (not just your name) to sell a product that has nothing to do with you, that no one really needs, is actually bad for the people consuming it, and for which you are paid vast sums that you don't really need may not be the most reprehensible act in the world. However I don't think it should really be viewed as a positive step in anyone's artistic career.

stubbornly idealistic mole who is still horrified by the idea of commercials as entertainment.

[> Re: Article on new Kathryn Bigelow film from today's Phila. Inquirer -- OnM, 10:10:35 07/14/02 Sun

Here's the link, think you might find it interesting:


[> [> Re: Article on new Kathryn Bigelow film from today's Phila. Inquirer -- aliera, 11:44:06 07/14/02 Sun

Hmmm...Probably not why you cited it; but, I liked this...

"In the post-Sept. 11 world, Bigelow feels the film has particular relevance because it illustrates something that has become all too clear: that small groups, even individuals, possess the power to cause or prevent incredible destruction."


"This is a story about how people step up and become heroes. "

Certainly been on my mind. Thank-you kind sir for the link.

[> Legends/Britney/Julia -- tomfool, 10:43:43 07/14/02 Sun

Thanks for the wide-ranging review. I remember when watching Legends having a very split view of it, largely along the lines you describe. Part of me loved that beautiful cinematography and epic story, and part was repulsed by the obvious melodrama. I think you perfectly captured the dicotomous nature of a Zwick production.

As someone who was never really a fan, but over the years gained a grudging respect for Madonna, I don't think young Britney will ever have the stuff to fill out her elder's pointy-missle bra. Say what you will about Madonna, but I think she's brilliant. Very few preformers can effectively read the cultural climate and morph so many times, while still keeping it interesting (artistic, even?) and commercially viable. The only time I've ever liked a BS song is over at the Headtilt site, where they used BS's 'Sometimes' for a video with scenes of the Buffybot. Why? 'Because it's the Buffybot's favorite song.' It's strangely affecting. (Go to http://www.headtilt.com/ and look under videos by Cap). While you're there, check out 'Everybody Went Low.'

One Julia Ormond gem that many may have missed was her starring role in 'Smilla's Sense of Snow.' As this was one of my all time favorite novels, I was extremely sceptical about this casting choice. But I was pleasantly surprised by how well she pulled off this very complex role. I thought it was one of the better movie/novel conversions I've ever seen.

Thanks for the review.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- Wisewoman, 11:48:24 07/14/02 Sun

Okay, I'm inexplicably ashamed to admit this, but visually I just adore Legend (I'm pretty sure that's the name of it; Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, unicorns?).

I've only ever seen it on the small screen, so that might affect my perception. I recognize the glory of Lawrence, Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter, those sorts of epics, but Legend has a special place in my heart.


[> [> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- Brian, 12:40:17 07/14/02 Sun

Bergman's Smiles for a Summer Night - It may be in black and white, but the cinematography is luminous.

[> Tous les matins du monde -- Akita, 17:59:04 07/14/02 Sun

Of course, I see about 2 movies, or less, per year. So I do not have a large universe to draw from.

[> *groan* -- Solitude1056, 09:47:57 07/15/02 Mon

Sorry, but gotta weigh in... the movie came across as a boatload of bombast and "aren't-we-making-an-epic" a la Sergio Leone's self-conconcious "this-is-an-epic-you- pinheaded-audience-so-pay-attention" Once Upon A Time In the West, or whatever it was. Ormond was supposed to carry a lot of the film - despite her lesser screen time - by virtue of being the catharsis that drives so much of the film. But she was script-schizophrenic, swinging from disruptively anachronistic (read: hyperfeminist) to ultra- period-appropriate (read: spineless). And beyond that, it grated on my nerves that no one blinked an eye at the fact that the fiancee would stick around at her future father-in- law's house after her fiance heads off to war - as if she had nowhere else to go! Sorry, her wardrobe was way too nice to be someone who didn't have a home.

Frankly, when we saw it in the movie theater, our first (and final) impression was that Montana should've gotten star billing. Seemed like to us that everytime the director was at a loss (which seemed to be often), he just focused on the scenery. "Here, look at this, maybe you'll forget the pathetic acting and forget about the complete unliklihood of something like this *ever* happening."

*sigh* Sorry to rant. I suppose it doesn't help that I was predisposed to dislike the movie when I saw the previews - the music in the previews, after all, was lifted wholesale from Last of the Mohicans - a movie where everyone runs the whole time but the cinematography outstrips Legends of the Fall by seventeen miles. I mean, really. The studio was so broke it just stole someone else's easily recognizable theme song for its previews, because it couldn't afford to pay Trevor Jones to come up with something new?

[> Barry Lyndon. Cinematography was about all it had, though. -- Sophist, 10:56:33 07/16/02 Tue

[> not that kind of film, but still... -- anom, 22:43:35 07/16/02 Tue

...that is, not a standard plot-&-actors kind of film. It was "To Fly," about the history of, yes, flying--the 1st film shown on the Smithsonian Institution's Imax screen. It started w/hot-air balloon flight, & from the moment the balloon rose from its moorings, I was sitting forward (like to watch "Buffy"!), fully involved in it. It was the 1st time I ever cried for the sheer beauty of something. Sitting right in the middle of the theater let the picture take up almost my whole visual field, so I really felt like I was in the balloon &, later, the planes. The only point where they lost me was in the loop-the-loop during the barnstorming sequence!

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - July 13th 2002 -- Purple Tulip, 10:36:17 07/17/02 Wed

First of all---why are we talking about Britney here? I can deffinately say that I am NOT her biggest fan, or a fan at all for that matter. I have nothing against her making all of the money that she can---good for her---I would be too if I had the chance. What I don't like about her is pretty much everything else. I don't think she's really all that talented, accept as a dancer. She really can't sing at all, and all of her songs have this awful digitalized nazal sound to them---this is most likely why she doesn't sing live at her concerts. I'm sorry, but if I'm gonna pay upwards of $50 to see a concert, I don't care how well the person can dance, I wanna hear them sing. I think she's all show and no substance and I really have no respect for her at all- and I think she's a horrible role model for young girls.

That being said, I have recently seen one of the most visually beautiful movies I have ever seen. "Deeply" starring Kirsten Dunst, Lynn Redgrave, and Alberta Watson (Madeline from La Femme Nikita---which made me very happy cause I love that show), is one of the best movies I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot. It's such a beautiful story, and unlike any Hollywood production I have ever seen. I would reccomend this movie to anyone who wants a good cry or to watch a beautiful and tragic lovestory unfold, and another one come to rest.

Renewed attack on season 6. Why was it off? -- Caesar Augustus, 05:58:09 07/14/02 Sun

Because there was simply no-one to root for. For 5 years we have come to love the characters for their endearing qualities: Buffy's good, Xander's bravery and loyalty, Willow's shyness and cuteness, Spike's cool insight, Anya's delicious "forthrightness", and Dawn's ummm ... well she's a kid, let's give her a break. What season 6 does is break down every endearing quality and deliver quantities of evil from each character.

Buffy ignores her friends, escapes to Spike but lands up beating him horrendously in DT, then goes back to her friends only to try kill them in NA. Xander, who should know better, raises Sweet rather pointlessly, shows no interest in his friends' lives, and then destroys Anya, only to wander about aimlessly afterwards feeling sorry for himself instead of Anya. Willow - oh boy - messing with people's minds, arrogance, almost killing Dawn, trying to destroy the world ... Spike may love Buffy but what he does to her in DT shocks even me, he's back to evil ways in AYW, he has sex with Anya, then stoops to AR in SR. Anya cares only about the wedding, turns back into a demon, and cheats on Xander for good measure. Her actions are probably least offensive, given she has good reason, but where is her trademark literalism? Dawn's klepto behaviour deems her unable to enter any shop in a twenty-mile radius, her whining continues, she irresponsibly wishes the gang into trouble, and of course to her, Buffy working to support her = Buffy avoiding her. Riiight ...

Let's face it. The most endearing character of the season was Tara. She was above it all, and was willing to forgive and forget in Entropy, only to be killed off an episode later. The arrival of Giles in 22G was a godsend not because we really cared about saving the SG, but simply because we needed someone to hug, someone to turn to who hadn't destroyed our faith. Our 5-season-love-affair with the SG was torn apart.

Well, the season theme was the darkness within, right? Does that justify it all? I have to say no. You watch a show because you love the characters in it, not hate them. The problem is not just that the darkness within was revealed. The real problem was that the endearing qualities of the SG were absent too. Those qualities could co-exist with the darkness. Instead the endearing qualities disappeared, and, let's face it, when Willow threatened to destroy the world, we weren't so much rooting for the SG to survive as much as simply wanting the world to continue so that s7 might be better.

There was plenty of hope given in the last few eps of season 6. A ray of light. When Buffy climbs out of her grave in Grave, reminiscent of Bargaining, the rebirth is full of powerful hope. The realisation shared with Dawn assures us that Dawn's power as the Key is on the way to being realised. Spike gets a soul. Anya seems set on staying good. Xander saves the world, hopefully easing his long-held feelings of inadequacy. Willow, well, she doesn't destroy the world. That's a start. But all these points (thankfully) point the way for a much brighter season 7, which I believe will be a great season. But it simply couldn't redeem 22 episodes that smashed and wrecked our love for the SG until it was all but gone.

[> Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- Etrangere, 06:46:06 07/14/02 Sun

Oh my God ! the SG has flaws ! How can I love them anymore ?
Wait a minute... that's why I love them !

For 5 seasons I used to have absolutly no caring for Buffy. In S6 I discovered someone who at last I could identify in her depression. Someone who was human, and thus likable.

[> [> Hear, hear! Vive le Season Six! -- Rob, 08:24:34 07/14/02 Sun

I don't agree on the not-liking-Buffy-before part, but the rest, definitely!

Yes, Season 6 was different, but that was kind of the point. And I would never begrudge ME some experimentation. Did it all work? Maybe not all of it, but I think that's probably because watching someone be depressed for a whole season is not a normal thing. I re-watched the whole season in a period of three days, and all the minor complaints I had about it disappeared. There' s something very fresh and risky going on about this season, and I love that.

For five seasons, the characters have been attacked by outward threats, each year; it was high time they examined the inner threats, within themselves. And I loved the Evil Troika the whole way through, also. This season, unlike the others, did not focus on the fighting or plot as much as it did on character development, and I thought that was wonderful.

And if you look back on old episodes (as I'm doing for my annotated site) it's amazing to see how amazing the continuity has been, character-wise, from the first season to now. Character flaws from the first season are still there now, some dangly threads are, well, still dangly...I commend ME for this season. It took what could have been a one-episode-dealie (resurrecting the hero) and truly took it seriously. Yes, a whole year of a depressed Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Anya is not the most fun thing in the world, per se, but I prefer that much over Buffy's death and resurrection having had no significance. Most sci-fi shows paint it as a great, rosy, peachy thing when the hero is brought back to life, and there are rarely any consequences, and certainly not by the next episode (the only other, recently, is "Farscape," when the resurrection of one character brought about the death of another, but on a psychological level, for the resurrected one, it was not handled as emotionally trying as it was for Buffy), when everything is back to normal.

IMO, this season was not only brilliant, but one of the most important (if not the most important) in the show's history.

Vive le Season Six!


[> [> [> With that said... -- Rob, 08:35:41 07/14/02 Sun

I'm not a glutton for punishment. I definitely want to see better things for all the characters next year. To end the show on a note like this would be depressing in the extreme...Even with the "no-happy-endings" clause, "Buffy" should, at least, end next year (or hopefully the year after) on a positive, life-affirming note.

And, to respond to Darby, from a few posts down, I agree with you about Giles. That was a huge void this year, and the show finally felt completely right again when he returned. It's funny how you take characters for granted, but I never realized how truly vital and important he is to the show until he returned and fixed everything by laughing at Buffy's list of all the mess-ups of the year. I love Giles!


[> [> I shall expend : why dark is good -- Ete, 09:14:38 07/14/02 Sun

There's many things to like in BtVS, and since the beginning it is the humour and the darkness, the contrast & melding between the two that I particulary like. Grim humour, how I love thee.
Some would say there were not enough comicals qualities in this season, but I disagree. If the humour were seldom of the laugh out loud kind, there were a very nice irony and sarcastic one, of that kind that makes you laugh yellow (do you use that expression in english ?) or just grin.
The way the show was making fun of itself and his audience(via the Troika, Normal Again etc.) was very enjoyable. The horror parody of episodes like Doublemeat Palace was a nice come back to the S1 themes of the show.

And they brough their characters in very interresting places. Another thing I like in Buffy is the way it asks us the moral questions and make us ponder about the nature of good and evil. This season explored this issues like nike never before (apart maybe the Gift). The darkness there is in everyone, the question of responsability, of self- rightousness, the question of justice vs vengeance vs forgiveness etc. I could go on longer. There were some issues adressed that make it all the more deep, all the more interresting.
So... is it nice to see the good guys beat the bad guys ? certainly, that's entertainment, it makes you feel better. But when you've got to see how you can come to become a "bad guy", how's people's psyche work for them to do terrible acts, it's another kind of enjoyment. One that makes you feel more enlightened.
I guess it's nice when you can root for the good guys to win, but, isn't it nice, healthier, when you ask yourself why exactly you root for this people ? It's so easy to agree blindly with people we admire and then to forget to use your own mind and moral conscience to ask what is good and bad.
Besides, catharsis, anyone ? For some people, going through this dark journey with Buffy, was a help in the situations they were going through. It's knowing we're not alone in the feeling of loneliness. It's getting something from the show so much better than a brief relief of entertainment.

Did S6 had flaws ? certainly. But they were more flaws of storytelling (*cough*Willow's arc*cough*) than because of the darkness within themes. The themes were excellent, it's the plots that weren't.
But for me S6 is still one of the best season, probably second best after S5 and just above S3.

[> [> [> Re: I shall expend : why dark is good -- redcat, 10:30:59 07/14/02 Sun

"So... is it nice to see the good guys beat the bad guys ? certainly, that's entertainment, it makes you feel better. But when you've got to see how you can come to become a "bad guy", how's people's psyche work for them to do terrible acts, it's another kind of enjoyment. One that makes you feel more enlightened."

This is very wisely said, Ete. A fair portion of our discussions on the board since the finale have concerned whether the characters, and Willow in particular, were written to act in ways that were "out of character" based on what we have been shown of them in previous seasons. While I freely admit that I'm firmly in the camp of those who not only saw Willow's behavior as comfortably "within character," but who also revel in the sense of naughty deliciousness that comes with actually *liking* DarkWillow (hey, Rah's club president, how could I not have signed my membership card?), I think your comment above points to what, for me, is one of the great strengths of S6.

We saw each of the principal SG characters act out their own worst fears about themselves. Buffy often could *not* save her sister or her friends (much less the world) from their real problems even before the finale and, in fact, became one of the greatest threats to their safety. Xander *was* weak and ineffectual for most of the season, and he hurt and was hurt by the people he loves the most. Giles *did* abandon his charges at exactly the wrong moment, he did hide behind his "sightlessness" and almost let his Slayer (and the world with her) get killed again. And Willow, the sweetest of all, the one on whom everyone thought they could always depend to be good, to do the right thing (Giles in Flooded: "You were the one I trusted the most," or Buffy in NA: "You never stop coming through") -- well, Willow finally proved that she was, in fact, capable of being as big and bad a BigBad as just about anyone we've ever seen.

And, in my mind at least (this said with complete respect for those who don't see the characters' seasonal developmentin the same light), each characters' descent into their own bad behavior demonstrated just how far a "good" person, driven by their own fears, pain and bad judgement under stress, can go towards the dark side of their own personality. As you note, for some of us who have been going through our own dark times, watching Buffy this season (and during the second half of S5, as well) has been cathartic. And for me, at least a part of that catharsis has come through considering the murky questions the show raises about the nature of good and evil, and about the nature of "human nature" itself. I suppose that I was relatively less concerned, in the long run, with possible plotholes or singular instances of bad writing, or even with characterizations that didn't quite confirm my expectations. What continued to draw me to the show throughout this season was that the characters' speech and behaviors often surprised me at exactly the same moments that I felt a "click" of recognition for what they were doing, not only because I could rcognize and understand how the things they were going through had brought them to that point, but because I have such a strong sense of my own attraction to the dark edge. My own struggle to "grow up" has been the work of acknowledging, accepting, integrating and learning to make "good" use of those parts of me I had been brought up to believe were "wrong." The list of what constitutes "inappropriate" aspects may surprise some of you here, because they are not the same things that would be on your own lists, probably due to different cultural and/or gendered expectations. But for me, bringing into balance my capacities for aggression, competition, my drive to dominate, my intellect, strength and passion, has been and continues to be difficult, humiliating and often very painful. It has also been absolutely necessary. Season 6 "works" for me on a very gut level because my heart opens to these young characters as they discover that their own growing process is just as difficult, humiliating and painful as mine has been. Even with the admitted lack of humor this year, I wish I could had been *half* as witty as they've been; under similar circumstances, I just tend to become very dumb.

Plus, you gotta love a season where Buffy has a whole string of bad hair days in a row - now that's REALLY just like real life!

[> [> [> [> I'm a little late to join the defence, but very well said Ete & redcat! -- ponygirl, 10:33:01 07/16/02 Tue

[> [> Joining the Defense! -- shadowkat, 12:34:40 07/14/02 Sun

"For 5 seasons I used to have absolutly no caring for Buffy. In S6 I discovered someone who at last I could identify in her depression. Someone who was human, and thus likable."

Yep me too! Prior to Season 6, I half watched this show.
Had moments of brillance. Nightmares, The Pack.
The Gift. Fool For Love. Crush. But didn't think it was
all that much to pay attention to.

Season 6 riveted me. It was challenging. It was thought- provoking. It gave me characters I could identify with. I felt their pain.

And oh btw - I know of at least 100 people who didn't become Buffy fans or even watched Buffy until Season 6, they tried it...but it didn't capture their attention.
In Season 6 it did.

(so tired of people bemoaning my favorite season)

[> [> [> Re: Joining the Defense! -- shygirl, 16:49:05 07/14/02 Sun

(so tired of people bemoaning my favorite season)

Me too...
(I also was not a dedicated fan until this year!)

[> [> [> [> Totally OT: Sharks and Jets -- ponygirl, 10:46:01 07/16/02 Tue

Hey shygirl, do you ever think you and I should get together with purplegrrl and form a 'girl gang? We could take on the '(k)cats! (Except of course I love the '(k)cats and everything they write!)

Sorry having a random moment ;)

[> [> [> [> [> That could be interesting....we could protect us from Trolls! -- shygirl, 12:20:26 07/16/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Totally OT: Sharks and Jets -- Dead Soul, 13:52:29 07/16/02 Tue

I feel left out - the only person who would be eligible to be in my gang would be Dedalus and can you imagine the chaos at the club meetings? ;)

Dead Soul

[> [> [> [> [> [> You'd have to take away his light saber! LOL -- shygirl, 15:36:05 07/16/02 Tue

He does tend to get a little rambunctious! But it's kinda cute. What I want to know is what would ded (sic) people sit around and talk about???

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: You'd have to take away his light saber! LOL -- Dead Soul, 00:37:59 07/17/02 Wed

Chess ;)

De(a)d Soul

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And I'm not going to touch that one with a 10 foot pole! LOL -- shygirl, 15:14:30 07/17/02 Wed

[> [> [> Not trying to offend... -- AngelVSAngelus, 23:05:03 07/14/02 Sun

Just expressing an opinion here. I know some are tired of the bemoaning of S6, and I promise you my post is not meant to aggrivate, but I did have problems.
I'm not going to go into my usual too-much-gray-is-not- okay morality/consistency diatribe. So no need to mention Spike.
I'm not even certain I can place a definite finger on what it is about Season Six that bothers me. I do know that far less eps being written by Joss Whedon and subsequently more by the staff writers (notably Marti Noxon) resulted in a heavy, cumbersome feel that Joss-ian scripts don't have. Again, its hard for me to articulate what I mean, its just that Whedon's scripts have this overall feeling of "lightness" or perhaps efficient fluidity, the way everything flows so well together, despite containing so much content and depth. This season Angel got the benefit of an episode like that with Waiting In The Wings, and when I was watching it I missed his writing on Buffy alot.
Its not the concept or theme that bothered me at all. Darkness in theme is certainly not something bothers me, as exemplified by my affinity for S3. Buffy's resurrection, her pain from returning to this harsh reality, Xander and Anya's marriage, Willow and Tara's tribulations, I was all for all of those concepts, just not their execution.
The Willow arc is an example. I was actually a defender of it prior to 2toGo/Grave, believing myself that they weren't trying to play it as a magic = drug metaphor, but rather that power = corruption. The line in 2toGo/Grave from Dawn's mouth kind of killed that rationalization for me though.
"You're back on the magicks!"
on the magicks? Not you're USING magick or you're PRACTICING magick again? For me, that arc was crushed.
Xander's summoning of Sweet seemed REALLY odd to me, and the irresponsibility of his actions there isn't really out of character, but the irresponsibility of his hiding it from everyone after finding out it caused deaths was to me. There wasn't even the slightest indication that he was hiding anything until he raised his hand in Sweet's lair, when everyone thought it'd be Willow.
As You Were? I... won't go there. And I, contrary to most don't even hate Riley.
I'll put it like this:
I'm not trying to sound like I absolutely hated this season, because I didn't. There were several moments I enjoyed, Normal Again and OMWF for example. But, Buffy in its entirety is reminding me of Minority Report. When you set a precedent by introducing something really intrigueing and thought provoking, that just makes the criticism even harsher when you don't deliver a resolution that maintains that high bar. Contrary to Minority Report, Buffy hasn't ended on that non delivery, and I do have high hope that next season I'll be seeing the show I've grown to love since the very beginning, despite my reservations for the Spike/Soul rehash.

[> [> [> [> Re: Not trying to offend... -- shadowkat, 13:09:33 07/16/02 Tue

Actually surprising as it might sound, I do agree with you and some of the other season 6 naysayers. But to be honest, I see similar problems in other seasons and in other shows.
So I forgave them. I also forgave them b/c what they were trying to pull off seemed so ambitious and impossible for a tv fantasy show to attempt to do. They didn't quite do it, and yeah that was disappointing but the attempt amazes me and there were things they did this year that still amaze, b/c I haven't seen anyone else get close.

What were my problems? Like you I struggled with AYW, the unresolved summoning of Sweet, the magic as drugs storyline - metaphor didn't quite work for me either, I prefer the idea that Willow chose to use magics and didn't just get overwhelmed like a druggie with them. Drug
addiction storylines have always annoyed me. I also could have done without the fatal attraction/attempted rape story line - also annoys me, seen it done. However, they did do a few twists on it, I hadn't seen done, twists with Spike's character and Buffy's that made my jaw drop. Smashed certainly did. The S & M break the envelope erotica did (best erotic sex scene I'd ever seen on TV was Smashed. Blew most of Sopranos stuff out of the water.) The DarkWillow torturing Warren blew me away with it's layers of metaphor as did her sucking the text into her. I was amazed by the layered complexity of the B/S realtionship as shown in Dead Things - so layered I couldn't decide which
character was bad or good, came up with neither.
Bargaining made me gasp in awe. As did portions of Tabula
Rasa and OMWF.

But there were plot holes the size of the ground canyon as well. In Villains - the pacing was completely off. And outside of DarkWillow and Warren, not much to applaud. Seeing Red - was viscerally painful and jaw-dropping as well. But i'm not sure I can re-watch it. They did their job too well.
AYW - had more plot holes than holely swiss cheese. Riley and Sam made no sense. And the Doctor storyline came out of nowhere - which is why half of us remain unconvinced Spike was the Doctor. (I'm pretty sure he was.) The plotting was
horribly off this year - the year was almost completely driven by characters, but that said, I felt they dropped Xanders and Anyas...we barely saw them until Hells Bells.
They had a few great scenes here and there (OMWF, OAFA), but in a lot of episodes they felt like place-setters.

I also felt that the first half of the year was better than the middle. From Wrecked through Hell's Bells - the middle
section seemed horribly weak. With the exception
of Dead Things - which was a dark ground-breaking finely
written epsoide but not for kids. (That was an R-rate epsiode).
Normal Again - Seeing Red was very good, held together,
tighter writting. Tough viewing and risky. Normal Again actually remains one of my top favorite BTvs episodes in its complexity. Villains was weak, as previously mentioned
on plot-points and pacing. Two to Go - very good, gripping,
and the best show-down ever between two female foes.
Grave slowed down again...but it ended positively and unlike others, I'm glad Spike got his soul, I know I'm in the minority here on that one. But it worked for me.

So you see...we aren't entirely in disagreement.

And for the record - I had the same feelings about Seasons 4 and 3. Strong in places, unwatchable in others. Only Season 5 and Season 2 had clear consistent Season long arcs
and even those contained some weaker episodes throughout.
But I can find stuff to praise in the weakest Buffy epsiodes such as Bad Eggs and Go Fish...and Teacher's Pet.
And I can't say that about any other television show.
Which I guess is one of the reasons I'm so obsessed with it.

[> [> [> [> [> Whattya know, s'cat -- I agree with almost everything you said. -- Sophist, 14:16:54 07/16/02 Tue

My only real disagreements are about SR and TTG. I liked Bargaining, but not enough to make my jaw drop. As for the rest, I'm with you All the Way.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Not trying to offend... -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:16:58 07/16/02 Tue

What's your opinion on Season 1?

[> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- Caesar Augustus, 17:41:28 07/14/02 Sun

For 5 seasons I used to have absolutly no caring for Buffy. In S6 I discovered someone who at last I could identify in her depression. Someone who was human, and thus likable.

Granted that Buffy trying to kill all her friends makes it easier to identify with her ... let's talk about the idea of a theme of darkness being good.

Let me start off by reminding people that I'm critising season 6 on a Buffy-scale. In other words, it's still brilliant television, still much more creative and with a lot more depth than other TV shows. But, for someone who expected the typical Buffy standard and instead was disappointed for 20 odd weeks, I'm trying to come to terms with what was missing.

The theme of darkness is very powerful. Angel's turning in season 2 was, I'm sure in many fans' opinions, one of the brilliant developments in Buffy history.

But I'll raise two questions for now ...

1. How far does one have to go?

There's darkness, and then there's selfishness. Every main character in the season showed inordinate amounts of selfishness (except for Spikey, as always devoted to one lucky gal). This is simply not the clever BtVS way we expect the theme of darkness within to be portrayed. Buffy's liasons into Spike's world of darkness is the kind of thing, but let's look at some other characters.

Xander's self-absorption, leaving Anya, then being more interested in getting back together with her for his sake than hers - these don't represent the theme of darkness within as much as simply showcasing Xander as an asshole. A lot of the actions in the season, such as the Spike/Anya trist, the wedding woes, Dawn's self-centredness, etc. - they don't portray the 'darkness within' theme. They're just actions for the sake of actions motivated by selfish ideals which we've come to expect the SG to be above.

Am I being too critical of the SG? How can I expect them to be above such human actions when they're human? Because for 5 seasons they've been above it. They've shown flaws, thank god coz else I wouldn't have watched, but going from 'good character showing some flaws' to 'selfish character showing every flaw' is a big leap, one the writers decided to take this season, and one which could have only left us reeling.

2. Does darkness destroy the light???

As I touched on briefly in my original post, the real problem is not that all the characters displayed darkness, but that their endearing qualities were absent. Where were the thoroughly entertaining Anya-esque comments? Imagine the potential when she is planning her wedding. Instead we get next to none of her 'trademark literalism'. What happened to Xander's bravery? He should be looking to comfort Buffy, but he's nowhere to be seen. Do we see him attack a single demon in the season? I can't remember an incident off-hand. If so, it was very rare. The point is that these qualities that endear us so much to the characters can co-exist with the darkness within revealing itself, but instead just fell away. There's virtually nothing to adore Willow for this season. Watching Entropy again, I was almost prepared to smack her when she says "I'm still me" (showing off total arrogance even before the whole dark-power ascension thing).

Spike, I have to conceed, is still endearing. But nonetheless, his interaction with the SG is at a minimum, affording him very little chance to point out honest truths to them, some of which may have bloody well helped. Let me re-iterate that these endearing qualities could have continued to exist because they are PART of the characters. Darkness within is one thing. It emerges, fair enough. But it doesn't remove the light from one's character.

Season 6 will have its supporters, I realise. For the legions of devoted soap-opera fans out there, I have no doubt that Buffy will have now caught their eye. For the depressed or broody in the world, season 6's overkilled 'darkness within' theme, and Buffy's, Xander's moping around will identify with them. Still, I can't help but feel that ME let down a large number of loyal fans who don't fall into those two categories.

I'll put it this way:
It sure as well wasn't only Buffy that crawled out of a grave at the beginning of season six.

[> [> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- Amber, 23:08:32 07/14/02 Sun

"Am I being too critical of the SG? How can I expect them to be above such human actions when they're human? Because for 5 seasons they've been above it. They've shown flaws, thank god coz else I wouldn't have watched, but going from 'good character showing some flaws' to 'selfish character showing every flaw' is a big leap, one the writers decided to take this season, and one which could have only left us reeling."

I think I would argue that this is the first season where the Scoobies had time for real selfishness. In every other season there was some apopalyptic Big Bad that they new about fairly early in the season, and they knew they had to save the world from it. So aside from the daily dramas of their lives, they spent all their time researching the Big Bad, fighting it, and coming up with a way to vanquish it.

This season The Trio didn't pose a serious threat, so the Scoobies were essentially on vacation. They had time to relax, misbehave and act selfishly.

[> [> [> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- meritaten, 12:59:03 07/15/02 Mon

I always saw the pathtic trio as a part of Buffy's depression. She was frustrated by an unworty enemy. Buffy, the one who had slain the Master, the Mayor, Angelus, Adam, and Glory, was now continually frustrated by a bunch of nerds who she had previously saved from various disasters of their own making. Those that she had helped came back to torment her when she felt the most pathetic.

[> [> [> Soap Opera, Action, Metaphor, Love and all that jazz -- Rahael, 04:00:32 07/15/02 Mon

Season 6 saw Buffy descend into Soap Opera? Season 2 saw Buffy descend into Soap Opera!!!

Not my opinion, but the opinion of ME in one of the commentaries. I can't recall which one, but it sticks out in my mind. They described the long event filled arcs as a more soap operay turn for the show. It was an ME writer who talked about Soap Opera storylines. Not in a bad way. Because I think fans of a tv show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer are in a really fragile glass house to be throwing snobbish stones at 'soaps'.

Come on, what's more Soap Operaish? Dead Things? Or Innocence?

Now I have my problems with Season 6, which I’ve enumerated at length. I think Spuffy was a bad idea. I think we could have had Buffy’s descent into darkness more powerful, more stark, more magnificent if she wasn’t having it away with the local Vampire behind the DMP, cos you know, it adds that touch of ridicule (to me at least). But that is MY opinion. I don’t expect others to share it, and many posters whose opinion I value think Spuffy was the best thing about Season 6. Many posters whose opinions I value think Season 6 as a dead loss.

Personally, I loved parts of Season 6. I thought it was the logical culmination of so much that we’d seen in the past. We had the logical reprecussions of what life might be truly like for people who had to do the things we’d seen them do. It was as if ME said, “you find this entertaining? Does Buffy sobbing her heart out after Surprise constitute your evening’s viewing pleasure? Do you get a kick out of Buffy killing things? Does all the fighting make your pulse race?” And then they threw it at us, and then some. It was uncomfortable. Not all of it worked, and it’s disingenuous to claim that it ‘not working’ was part of the plot. Flaubert made a novel about boredom, a novel about a vain and silly woman absolutely compelling. Season 6 had its flaws. In my opinion, the flaws come from the very same place as ME’s best work.

It’s also pretty disingenuous to dismiss those who like Season 6 as fans of Soap Opera (cos we all know who watch Soap Opera, don’t we? Women!), and as ‘mopey and depressed’. Implicitly, it’s the ‘critical’ ‘rational’ and ‘sophisticated’ fans who didn’t like Season 6. And that is not true at all.

Not all the past seasons worked for me either. There are plenty of episodes I never watch, and I have got the complete videotapes for every season. I will have no idea what my real opinion of Season 6 is, until I get the DVDs and watch them through (not buying videos now, since DVDs are out so quickly here in Britain).

Angel vs Angelus –

I’m bemused by this dichotomy you posit between Action and Metaphor versus Love.

Season Two turned completely on the idea of Dark Love. To say that Buffy/Angel was by the by, is puzzling to me because B/A completely saturated Season 2 for me. And if it wasn’t B/A, it was C/X, W/O, and the Drusilla/Spike storyline. So much of Season 2 and 3 hinged on all the varieties of love in BtVS, filial, paternal, romantic, platonic.

And since when were Action and Metaphor so intimately linked? And Love excluded? Love, is the greatest theme, the richest metaphor that Western Culture/civilisation has played with. Spuffy was the least romantic thing I’ve ever seen on BtVS. And in the mood I was in (falling in love) while watching it, I guess it just did not click with me.

[> [> [> [> Ceasar Augustus -- Rahael, 04:46:27 07/15/02 Mon

"It’s also pretty disingenuous to dismiss those who like Season 6 as fans of Soap Opera (cos we all know who watch Soap Opera, don’t we? Women!), and as ‘mopey and depressed’. Implicitly, it’s the ‘critical’ ‘rational’ and ‘sophisticated’ fans who didn’t like Season 6. And that is not true at all. "

Just apologising in advance for the irritated tone here - I'm sure I was being unfair. You were merely commenting that this was what might attract new fans, but I still say that if you liked BtVS for soap opera, you'd be much happier with Season 2 than 6. And while certainly the theme of depression was most fully explored in Season 6, I think that people who were attracted to this theme would have liked BtVS long before.

Personally quantity of fans never means that much to me. I go for the quality of opinion and argument...Just look at the stuff which gets the best ratings. Just look at the best sellers lists. Yes, I'm an inverse snob!

[> [> [> [> Exactly! Season Six's sex was much darker than soap opera... -- Rob, 07:55:20 07/15/02 Mon

People turn on a soap opera for escape. They turn it on for the storybook romance, and passion a la Buffy Season Two, which is also the season that most fans started loving the show, and it started gaining respect in the television community. So don't knock soap operas. While I loved, season six, one could hardly call this season escapism. It was, at times, painful, brutal, gutwrenching. Soap opera darkness is never as dark as what happened this year on "Buffy," or at least, not all at the same time. There are lighter storylines to alleviate the darker ones. And that's all a moot point, since soap opera darkness does not have the depth of the darkness on "Buffy." And, like Rahael said, there may not have been as many metaphors as previous years, but there is great depth to be found. This season, if you look back on "Bargaining" was incredibly, tightly structured, with some amazing foreshadowing, and parallelling of past events. Yes, this season was different, but I'd rank it as the second in terms of storyline, just under Season Five. Now, I would not rank it as the most enjoyable, but definitely as one of the most important and psychologically stirring, in the argument for why "Buffy" is a true work of art.


[> [> [> [> [> A friendly correction! -- Rahael, 08:05:55 07/15/02 Mon

I'd say that Season 6 is one of the most metaphor filled seasons yet.

Buffy crawling out of the Grave. Willow slaughtering the deer (Willow doth murder sleep!), OMWF, with the all consuming fire, the nerds, the broken structure of Life Serial (broken like Sunnydale, broken like the Buffybot), Tabula Rasa and the pleasure of not being yourself. All those robots, the 'dancing with death', - and what about Normal Again? - the list goes on and on.

Season 6 was one long extended nightmare, all the more frightning because of it's 'realism'. Realism in art is of course, nothing resembling realism at all.

If season 6 wasn't full of metaphor, someone needs to explain to me what metaphors are. And I don't think the metaphors in Bargaining and Afterlife were unsubtle at all. It all depends on our perspective. I thought Surprise/Innocence was one huge crashing unsubtle metaphor but I still LOVED it. (Angelus drinking that hooker, and blowing out her cigarette smoke, classic post coital cigarette smoking with a macabre twist!). In fact, in many ways I thought Season 6 was the most delicate, most subtley observed yet, of the little, tiny details of life. If only the 'fantastical' can serve as a true metaphor, then we are denying most Western literature its metaphory goodness.

Like all seasons, Season 6 was layered - some stuff didn't work, other stuff did.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Nightmares -- Arethusa, 08:36:09 07/15/02 Mon

There's an essay here(not for me-can't even find time to finish the one I started last month!) on the consistancy of the nightmares of the characters throughout the series. The same things we saw in "Nightmares" and the dreams in "Restless" came to fruition in S6. For example: Willow's fear of being "on stage"-exposed, with all eyes on her- showed up in "Nightmares", where she had to sing on stage, "Restless", where she had to perform on stage, OMWF, again with the singing (We'll all stuck in some kid's wacky Broadway nightmare, like Billy in "Nightmares"), and S6, where she was finally "exposed" for what she "really" is.
Same with Buffy-facing the inner demon in "Nightmares", her dark heritage in "Restless", the dark side of her personality in S6.
Xander-this theory breaks down here, since in "Nightmares" he was chased by the clown, whom he faced and defeated. But in Restless and S6 he came face to face with his fears that he wasn't a good person-instead, he might be a whipping boy, raised by mongrels.
Giles, too-fear of obsolescence, uselessness, which could have helped him make the decision to leave Sunnydale.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Peripheral Observation -- meritaten, 13:26:34 07/15/02 Mon

I just watched Nightmares and was struck by the fact that one of Buffy's nightmares was being buried alive, as she was at the beginning of S6.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Xander's nightmare -- Vickie, 15:51:19 07/16/02 Tue

Xander also feared nudity, being exposed in front of his mates. As he definitely was in Hell's Bells.

I can't immediately connect this to Restless, though.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: A friendly correction! -- Darby, 08:53:45 07/15/02 Mon

The interesting thing is that, in the TV Academy presentation recently, Joss and Marti specifically said that they had decided to minimize metaphor in Season 6 - and, in retrospect, it might not have worked as well for the show as they had hoped.

That begs the question that, in writing fantasy, can one avoid images that are metaphorical, even if that's not the intent? Can it be done in fiction, period?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> They used a different tone -- Rahael, 09:47:27 07/15/02 Mon

Whatever they said, they didn't stop using metaphor - I mean, the deer? the resurrection? the future vision that Xander got? Unless they were meant to be taken as literally as Buffy having to get a job at the DMP.

What I think ME did this season was to make the bottom line starker, more unmistakeable, less easy to ignore. And that meant making some metaphors (Life is tough, money doesn't grow on trees, Buffy gets a job) more literal. But they were still there. Which is why I keep saying that realism in art is still not 'realism'. New Grub Street by George Gissing is unrelentingly grim and desparate, but it's still art, not real life.

I have read very few novels which didn't use metaphor - okay, I've read some trashy romances which were pretty sparely written - there was a checklist, they ticked it. Some genre fiction, the less well written kind did seem to have them, they just didn't engage my interest. At the end of the day, I'd say metaphor is in the eye of the beholder. For example I chose to see the 'Magic Mountain', as a long extended metaphor of Europe's sickness. I haven't done any work on Thomas Mann, so I might be completely wrong. Some people may have seen the Sanatorium, as just that, and as beautifully written story of one person's life......

Also, there are little metaphors, and larger ones...whatever it does Buffy cannot escape from being one long extended metaphor, at least for some viewers. I can see how others may choose to enjoy it on its own terms.

That's how I viewed it at the start, until at Becoming - I realised that it was speaking to me in a more meaningful way than just "Boy sleeps with girl, boy starts draining hookers in alleyways."

(First ep I saw was Halloween)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Minimizing metaphor and Season 6 (spoilers for SR) -- shadowkat, 09:57:54 07/15/02 Mon

"The interesting thing is that, in the TV Academy presentation recently, Joss and Marti specifically said that they had decided to minimize metaphor in Season 6 - and, in retrospect, it might not have worked as well for the show as they had hoped."

Dang it, back again when I should be working. But couldn't resist - this is an interesting idea.

They certainly tried. That's why Seeing Red was so viscerally painful. In past seasons when they did attempted rapes (and yes they did! I've seen one in every
single season of Btvs with the possible exception of
Season 5), they did it more metaphorically and subtly, so that half of us could choose not to view it as a rape. This year, the attempted rape felt so real, people screamed about it on the boards for weeks in advance and weeks afterwards.
What metaphor did they remove? Spike still wore his human face. No vamping.

Did same thing with the shooting of Tara. Nothing is more real than a bullet to the chest.

But within those moments of reality, we also had tons of metaphors gleaned from fantasy : Willow calling on the
underworld, the stripping of all color from Spike, the leaving of his jacket, the fact that Spike is a vampire (I'm sorry Marti and Joss - if you wanted that scene to truly be stripped of metaphor, it should have been between two human beings, not a vampire and a slayer..that's metaphorical in of itself. ) Also all the sexual emasculation metaphors.. This brings me to your second point.

"That begs the question that, in writing fantasy, can one avoid images that are metaphorical, even if that's not the intent? Can it be done in fiction, period?"

Not sure one can. I've written and read tons of fiction, metaphor is always used. Sometimes less apparent than others, but I've certainly analyzed metaphors in stories by Hemingway as much as Tolkien. You do tend to use it less in non-fantasy genres. That said the best fiction is packed with metaphor. Metaphor as I believe Ursulla Le Guin (sp?)
stated - is how we express things that words alone cannot
express. Words she goes on to state are metaphors themselves. Don't have the exact quote in front of me unfortunately - it's at home. But it's from the introduction to Left Hand of Darkness.

I seriously doubt you'll find many layers of metaphor in shows such as the West Wing, ER, Law and Order, their writers tend to like the up-front (and from IMHO somewhat preachy approach) - but metaphor is there all the same. In Dr. Green's farewell epsiode, he dreamed as he was dying that he was wandering through the ER. And on the way home from the funeral, Rachel Green convinced Elizabeth to stop the car so she could go retrieve a red balloon that was tied to a tree and set it free. (Pretty metaphorical, obvious, but metaphorical.) What I like about Btvs, particularly in this season, is that the metaphors aren't as obvious or clear,
the story and characters are more ambiguious like life.
The writers didn't tell us what to think or hammer a moral into our heads at the end of each episode, they left that for us to debate amongst ourselves. No other show on television did that for me...the others seemed to be pretty upfront about everything. Btvs wasn't. It was ambiguous.

Hmmm maybe I went off topic, not sure if ambiguity has much to do with metaphor.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ursula Le Guin -- Sang, 11:45:07 07/15/02 Mon

It is quite interesting that you quoted Ursula Le Guin.

When she wrote a wonderful trilogy of A wizard of Earthsea, her work was praised and compared with classics like 'Lord of the ring' or 'Narnia chronicles'. Then many years later she wrote a sequel 'Tehanu' where the wizard lost his power, no magic or fantasy the only journey is one into oneself.

Many devoted fans of original trilogy condemned this as a boring, cheap, too dark, too real for fantasy, no great villain, no magic, etc. But still there were many fans who consider the last one was deeper and better than the first trilogy. One reviewer wrote that when he was younger he hated 'Tehanu'. But when times passed and he had faced more lifes and had chance to read it again, he found out that was the best book he ever read. He couldn't explain it since he couldn't understand it, too.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Question -- Arethusa, 12:00:53 07/15/02 Mon

Which begs the question: Do the older posters favor S6, while the younger posters dislike it?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- Sang, 12:21:21 07/15/02 Mon

It depends on person. Age is just a factor of personlity. But in loose term, I think yes. I visited several boards before. But you can find more supporters in ATPOBTVS than other places where posters are much younger.

The one board which supported S6 frantically was the older slayers board. Most of posters are their late 30s to 50s. And poll in their showed most of posters think S6 was fantastic.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- yabyumpan, 12:32:35 07/15/02 Mon

Which begs the question: Do the older posters favor S6, while the younger posters dislike it?

Well I'm 43, so I guess I count as an older viewer and I didn't like it. I've given my reasons in another post on this thread but thinking more about it, I think part of the problem I had with it is that I've had a really crap year, dealing with gun shot wounds to the head (not mine) and going down hill from there so I really didn't want my favorite fantasy program shoving reality in my face, I get enough of that stepping out side my front door (which is where the shooting happened).
It will be shown on the BBC later this year, I think, and I'll probably watch the whole series again. Maybe now I'm starting to feel better I'll see it in a different light.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- shadowkat, 12:56:21 07/15/02 Mon

Interesting. I know people under twenty-five who loved this year better than any other - for precisely the reasons
that yabyumpan disliked it...because it felt real and coupled their life. I also know people like myself who are older who preferred the season because they could identify with the characters better.

I think it depends on why you watch and what you get out of it. What annoys me is when we start attacking each other over it. Or trying to influence the show to go in the direction we want. (Not saying anyone is doing that here and now..). For instance, I really disliked Season 3 & Season 4, half-watched it, just I half-watched a good portion of Season 4. (There were about six episodes in each that saved them for me at the time. But I did skip several episodes. Watched more of Angel.)
Now in retrospect those seasons seem pretty good, though some episodes continue to bore me and I can barely watch them, these are episodes that make other people's top ten list. I may despise them. Someone else may love them. To each their own.
So I respect the others's likes and don't bash them on the boards. Unless of course I can find something objectively interesting about them. I hope others will grant me the same courtesy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- matching mole, 13:41:33 07/15/02 Mon

When this thread began among the early responders were several people older than I am (I'm 40) who had at least somewhat negative views and two people about the same age as the Scoobies who had very positive views. But that pattern seemed to break down very quickly (for the sample of people who have their ages posted). I don't think there is a trend with age. And I'm highly ambivalent which doesn't affect the trend no matter what age I am.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- meritaten, 13:37:22 07/15/02 Mon

I think that is a good point. While I haven't had the problems yabyumpan has, I watched season 6 during a stressful time. I wanted to relax, take a break from life, and enjoy my favorite show. Watching Buffy deal with her inner problems was heavier than I wanted. Now, I am more relaxed, more open to exploartion of darker themes, and am able to appreciate the season much more.

With the myriad of qualities that comprise BtVS, maybe our faorite episodes and seasons reflect that which we personally appreciate or identify with the most? I love the show because it is light and humorous, with lots of action, but also has this incredible depth. The humor and the action were missing this season. The juxtaposition of light themes over deeper themes is why I love the show. The overlying lighter layer was missing in S6.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> metaphor pun button & requested spelling -- anom, 10:02:49 07/16/02 Tue

"Metaphor as I believe Ursulla Le Guin (sp?) stated - is how we express things that words alone cannot express."

One of my favorite buttons (which I think Shadowkat saw at the NY meet!) says, "A person's concepts should exceed their vocabulary, or what's a metaphor?"

As for the spelling, it's Ursula w/one "l."

(Whoa--just as I was about to hit "Send," I heard a guest on a radio program who made a film about mothers blamed for their children's autism say that in making the film, "I learned that people prefer metaphor to reality." Talk about synchronicity!)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Metaphor *is* reality... ;o) -- dubdub, 12:36:15 07/16/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: whats a meta phor -- Aliera, 14:15:43 07/16/02 Tue

that's what we're missing anom!

A phun thread....please.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> you want a p(h)un thread? -- anom, 10:48:21 07/17/02 Wed

Well, 'pun my word, I've been itchin' for a punoff with Off- Kilter since the Spider Robinson subthread! Anyone else want to get into the punning with the Master of Pun Fu? I'll give you a pun for your money, 'cause baby, we were born to pun!

Er...um...but I'll have to start the new thread later, since I'm going out soon. Unless someone wants to jump the pun & start it for me!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: you want a p(h)un thread? -- aliera, 14:27:46 07/17/02 Wed

I think off-kilter may be off cavorting and alas, the phun already started,...

OT-Been offered a potential show keeshond - I have a very dear pet kees whose six now, so I'm off to run some pedigrees and recheck genetics websites, etc. but I'll check back later...enjoy the phun, anom.

[> [> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- Arethusa, 05:51:29 07/15/02 Mon

I must admit, I can identify heavily with Buffy's depression, although I prefer "brooding" to "broody," which make me think of a hen about to lay eggs. But S6 was not just soap-operaish or depressing. It was remarkable for its attempt to show the difficulties of young adulthood. I can't think of any other show from the 90s, when most television show seemed to be about very young adults making their way in the world (Friends clones), that even tried to depict the loneliness, confusion, experimentation, failures and yes, depression of those years. Very few television shows are brave enough to show us characters who are so realistically portrayed that they actually can piss us off with their self-absorption. It wasn't always easy to watch, but it was a logical, if painful, natural progression for the characters. A happier, quippier BtVs would have lessened the impact of the difficult and realistic journey all of the characters took this season. Maybe there was a little too much realism in our fantasy, and I missed Giles terribly, but S6 was emotionally honest, and inexorable in its determination to show us how our actions affect ourselves and others, sometimes even years down the road. In the context of the entire series, S6 was necessary, and as part of the emotional development of the characters, it was very brave.

[> [> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- shadowkat, 06:40:34 07/15/02 Mon

"Season 6 will have its supporters, I realise. For the legions of devoted soap-opera fans out there, I have no doubt that Buffy will have now caught their eye. For the depressed or broody in the world, season 6's overkilled 'darkness within' theme, and Buffy's, Xander's moping around will identify with them. Still, I can't help but feel that ME let down a large number of loyal fans who don't fall into those two categories."

In Buffy's words "you are wrong", here.

I have been on three boards and know for a fact that several long term viewers, ie since Season1, are big soap fans. Not only do they love the soaps they write fan fic on them. Check out the websites. And most weren't fans of Season 6.

The people I've corresponded with OTOH hate soaps. Some pretty vocally. Several have never watched them or could get into them. And they found Season 3 and Season 2
to be way too soap operaish to watch. Season 6 captivated them. These are people who consider soap operas a waste of time.

Personally I've watched soaps. Don't any longer. They tend to repeat story lines, and don't take many risks with characters. They also pander to fans whims. Fan doesn't like something - the soaps will change a whole story line, even fire actors in response. Btvs doesn't do that.

If you don't like Season 6, fine. But don't use the soap
defense. Too many long term fans hate the season b/c it
wasn't like soaps, it didn't cater to them, it went too dark, it didn't keep their favorite ship together. And too many gravitated to Season 6 precisely because it was NOT like a soap. Including me.

Having been a soap opera watcher I would describe Season 3 and Season 2 as being more like a soap opera than Season 6.
But again, not a soap opera, for precisely the reasons mentioned above. Not pandering. Dark. Interesting Themes.


(want to piss me off? bring up the soap comment! ugh!)

[> [> [> [> I agree with you! -- shygirl, 16:13:38 07/15/02 Mon

[> [> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- Caesar Augustus, 07:11:28 07/15/02 Mon

Phew. I sure hit on a nerve with the soap-opera comment and would like to retract it. Obviously I phrased it badly (certainly didn't mean to attack women, or imply that only sophisticated people criticise s6) and thanks to Rahael for being tolerant about that.

Please respond to the stuff above the horizontal line, guys! That's what interests me more.

[> [> [> [> Re: Defenders of S6, à l'assaut ! -- Rahael, 07:33:50 07/15/02 Mon

Actually everything you said before, I pretty much acknowledge as a fair hit. People don't lose their lightness because they are in the dark. In fact humour, even gallows humour is what keeps people sane during such times.

However, I think Season Six, though different has been an extremely sophisticated, adventurous and thoughtful season. I am grateful they did it. One of the things that always made me lose faith in any of the tv/light entertainment stuff I enjoy is that there is so little exploration of the psychological effects of living in that much danger. Or what kind of person you might be if you had to kill things. My jaw dropped when I neared the end of Season 5, and Buffy talked about her fears of turning into stone in the inside. I knew then, if the Body hadn't convinced me, what a superior television programme I was watching.

Some of our more esoteric annotations here, literary and so on, may not be what ME were thinking of when we wrote it. But emotionally - well, that's where ME are really meaningful, and significant. It's the emotional responses they seek out everytime.

Bargaining - well Bargaining may not be to everyone's taste but it's on my list of favourite eps. I saw it, and my mouth dropped. It's the whole season in a microcosm. Season 6 doesn't appear at first glance to have the subtlety of previous seasons (I'm sure we'll find more and more, looking back) but I have every expectation that when the whole saga is over, Season 6 will have its rightful place.

[> [> [> [> [> Genres -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:01:46 07/15/02 Mon

Season 6 had a pivotal problem for me: it was practically all drama.

One of the things that makes Buffy such a great show is that it combines drama, humor, horror, action, fantasy, and even science-fiction, often within the course of an episode.

However, we then have season six. Demon/vampire butt- kicking was virtually gone, and really thrown in because it was what people expected. Certainly people must agree that the comedy level of the show was at it's lowest ever. Horror was prevelent at the start, but fizzled out quicker than any other genre. "Villains" through "Grave" were excellent fantasy, but it can scarcely be found anywhere else.

I have nothing against drama. By all means it should be a big part of BtVS, and I don't even have a problem with it taking the foreground. But when the show becomes JUST about drama, the writers have messed up bad.

[> Have to agree in part -- lele, 06:48:24 07/14/02 Sun

I really liked this season, but it definitely left me with some disillusionment with regards to the SG and spike.

"let's face it, when Willow threatened to destroy the world, we weren't so much rooting for the SG to survive as much as simply wanting the world to continue so that s7 might be better."

LOL!. I had to deal with guilt for laughing when Willow gave the Dawn the "you're worthless and whiny why don't I turn you back into a big green ball of energy" speech. By the end of the season I still loved the characters, but I was hanging on by a thread. Their actions really mucked up the line b/n good/evil and souled/unsouled. I'm sure S7 will be lighter, but I miss the atmosphere of S3 where it was often very dark, but also(even at the same time)very hilarious.

[> Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- Darby, 07:26:02 07/14/02 Sun

...but doesn't always yield good results.

Joss, et al., decided to veer from subtext to text, from metaphorically depicting life issues (except for drugs and bad boyfriends - yeesh!) to slapping the characters (and us) in the face with them, and I for one didn't find the two elements - the classic BtVS demon/Big Bad stuff and the "Buffy goes to work stuff" meshed together all that well. The eps that were old-time Buffy, like Tabula Rasa or the finale, worked better than Flooded, for instance, and I even liked Doublemeat Palace without the penis-demon as a change-of-pace. Yet something like Life Serial worked when the magic stuff was metaphorical for work (the time loop) but not otherwise (demons on a construction site).

But let me make a radical suggestion about another shortcoming: without the show's keystone, it could not hold!

We had way fewer Magic Box (nee Library / flat) scenes, the ones the writers and actors bemoaned but where we had much of the fun of previous seasons, where Giles (Giles!) tried to figure everything out and the writers had to insert banter and interaction to keep things interesting. Think about your favorite dialogue exchanges from previous seasons - how many were in those confined explanatory scenes? In Season 6, we all remember the really satisfying instances of character interaction because they were so few and far between, and a lot of them were brief substitutes for that old exposition. It's possible, too, that without 8-9 minutes of discussion every ep, the writers just couldn't fill and pace the episodes. And how often was the discussion just cursory, offhand, lacking in Whedonverse goodness?

Is it any wonder that Joss, while Two to Go was being edited, had the same reaction that most of us did to Giles' reappearance, and decided that we need more Giles in the upcoming season?

And possibly a return of the library?

[> [> Re: Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- Cactus Watcher, 07:42:00 07/14/02 Sun

Mostly agree with Darby. I'd like to see Giles back. But for me the keystone of the show is Buffy herself. Good Lord, the girl has been moping since Glory kidnapped Dawn from the gas station in season five! Give us back sweet, witty, vulnerable Buffy, and assign clinically depressed, "I 'heart' ennui" Buffy to the not so treasured past!

[> [> [> Re: Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- yabyumpan, 08:07:53 07/14/02 Sun

I haven't really commented on BtVS re: this past season because I find it pretty upsetting. For me S6 felt like a long, painful break up with some one I've loved for a long time. The season (for me) started off depressing, moved on to boring and then just made me laugh in inapropriate places (Buffy telling Tara about Spkie, Willows cold turkey, the final scene with Willow and Xander). I just don't like or care about any of the characters any more. Haven't actually liked Buffy for sometime but I found her interesting but there's only so much miserableBuffy I can take and I reached my limit in S5. Willow, the whole 'I'm a Wicca' nonsence, no you're not. If she'd actually been a practicing Wicca she would have had some grounding, respect and understanding in what she was playing with and then the whole addiction storyline lost it for me. I've spent to much time being around, working with , loving and burying addicts to be able to see addiction as entertainment, esp when it's not done well. Xander and Anya became something I never thought I would see in jossverse, a Cliche. Who didn't see that Xander was going to bail from the start of the season? Spike and Giles were the only ones I actually liked at the start of the season but then Giles left and spike allowed himself to be used as Buffy's sexbot and punchbag. I know a lot of people love Tara but she's never really appeared on my radar, to ephemeral and this year almost a mary-sue.
Still reeling from the break up, I'll probabley catch it next year, just to see what's happening. We were together for 6 years after all, but I don't really care any more.

[> [> [> [> Re: Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- Akita, 10:11:37 07/14/02 Sun

Yabyumpan wrote:

“I haven't really commented on BtVS re: this past season because I find it pretty upsetting. For me S6 felt like a long, painful break up with some one I've loved for a long time.”

Subtract the “long time” and this describes my feelings too. I came to BtVS late – it was “The Gift” that turned me into a raving lunatic, er, devoted fan, who spent far too much time for several months catching up via FX re-runs and then rewatching the tapes I made of them. Now after enduring B6 I have this feeling that I came aboard just as the ship began to list.

I love metaphor. But for metaphor to work I have to care for the characters and the story that invoke the metaphor. I entered B6 basically liking all the main characters, even though I had my favorites. Now I find that I am indifferent to Buffy, totally turned off to Willow, and actively disliking Xander. I do still care about Giles and Spike and Anya and will at least tune in long enough next season to get a sense of where their respective stories, if they have any, are going.

So, yeah, count me among those that disliked the story arc last season (particularly the Willow-Tara storyline – I hate that they did indeed effectively turn Tara into a Mary Sue). But at least I can understand why the concept had appeal to the creators and writers. What most concerns me was the poor execution of the main storylines – far too many lackluster scripts, far too much poor direction and editing, far too much sloppiness with plot detail and backstory, even cheesy special effects. Of the 22 episodes, there are only four – four! – that I will and do rewatch in their entirety for the sheer pleasure of seeing something well done. Whereas with B5 I have lost count of the number of times I have rewatched the entire final cycle from “I Was Made to Love You” through “The Gift” and am still finding things, small moments, to cherish in those episodes.

“Still reeling from the break up, I'll probabley catch it next year, just to see what's happening. We were together for 6 years after all, but I don't really care any more.”

I want to believe that B7 will soar, but deep down I have this “Humpty Dumpty” fear – that after the season-long destruction and deconstruction and general sloppiness that was B6 “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” [even Joss] won’t be able to put Buffy back together again.

[> [> [> [> [> Regarding Akita and yabyumpan... musings -- aliera, 12:02:58 07/14/02 Sun

I love metaphor. But for metaphor to work I have to care for the characters and the story that invoke the metaphor. I entered B6 basically liking all the main characters, even though I had my favorites. Now I find that I am indifferent to Buffy, totally turned off to Willow, and actively disliking Xander. I do still care about Giles and Spike and Anya and will at least tune in long enough next season to get a sense of where their respective stories, if they have any, are going.

Please do...given Joss's remarks since last spring, I suspect that the beginning of next season will be particularly directed at viewers such as yourself.

Just so you know, I share your feelings in part. And if you love metaphor...well, it's doubly understanding that you had some disappointments. Personally, I am enjoying this season much better through the eyes, subsequent thoughts, writings and debates of the viewers on this board and others than I did through my own. :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Regarding Akita and yabyumpan... musings -- meritaten, 13:22:58 07/14/02 Sun

"Personally, I am enjoying this season much better through the eyes, subsequent thoughts, writings and debates of the viewers on this board and others than I did through my own. :-)"

I feel the same way.

[> [> Re: Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- minasrevenge, 08:45:22 07/14/02 Sun

I agree with you whole heartedly. Season six had high points and low but throughout I felt there was something missing...some lack of "heart" for a better word. A lack of cohesiveness. Each character trapped within themselves without a key to breakout and reunite with the others. We all know what was missing....Giles. I started watching this show for ASH and have missed him terribly. I was all set to hate the finale after reading the wild feeds...except for one thing. The return of Giles saved the whole season for me. The "true" hero returns.

[> [> [> Re: Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- DEN, 09:36:30 07/14/02 Sun

It was a lot like the Bush administration moving into Washington a couple of years ago. In both cases we knew that, like it or not, the grownups were back in charge!

(Just a friendly Sunday snark to all my liberal and left- wing colleagues on the board. No flames necessary!)

[> [> [> [> No flames intended, just laughing along with 'ya -- redcat, 10:41:52 07/14/02 Sun

But we really do come from different political camps, DEN. My own reaction in the second case was, "Oh, no, the frat- boys are now in charge." LOL!!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: No flames intended, just laughing along with 'ya -- Malandanza, 10:47:54 07/14/02 Sun

My own reaction in the second case was, "Oh, no, the frat- boys are now in charge."

You must mean "still in charge"... right? :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> I stand corrected!! LOL -- redcat, 10:57:02 07/14/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> I only thought of this after I stopped rolling on the floor, Mal -- -- redcat, 11:14:04 07/14/02 Sun

...but the previous guys weren't actually cool enough to get into a frat. [Ack!! An administration based on the angst of having flunked rush, succeeded by one run by the guys who flunked 'em... 'ya gotta love American politics!]

[> [> Re: Experimentation is good. (vague widely-known Giles spoilers, S7) -- meritaten, 13:33:56 07/14/02 Sun

I think this season might have worked better as a shorter season. I have warmed to it after reading the discussion here, but I have to say that the season dragged for me. It wasn't that I couldn't appreciate the dark themes. I loved that fact that they dealt intelligently with the implications of resurrecting Buffy, etc. ...but the season dragged. Darby's comments on the lack of banter in the presence of giles really hit home.

The absence of Giles, the cheapening of the problems of addicts (if you faced an addiction, wouldn't you find this season offensive?), and the sheer length of the season sent many viewers packing. I'm warming to the theme, but I think too much time was spent on it.

[> [> Well-put Darby -- Caesar Augustus, 16:50:36 07/14/02 Sun

The change from metaphor-level to plot-level was another big problem I didn't mention because I wanted to stay focused on my point. But I'm reminded of my girlfriend, after I showed her a few season 6 episodes, saying "it's just a soap opera with monsters", and quite frankly I had no reply. Seasons 1- 5 could never have suffered from that criticism because they've always been focused on the ACTION (which was full of metaphorical goodness) and boyfriend-relationship issues were mainly subplot, with Buffy/Angel excepted of course. Season 6 was ALL ABOUT relationship issues, and the action became very secondary. Was there ever an interesting demon? The Geek Squad had potential, only to end lamely with Warren becoming very strong.

In defence, it's easy to say that the changes reflected the theme of darkness within. The SG had to be more selfish. The action was going on internally instead of externally.

But a theme is not an end in itself! Season 6 certainly suffered the more for it. And in the end season 6 was just a soap opera. Saying that that fits in with the theme doesn't stop it from being a soap opera. And the brilliance of BtVS has never been rooted in that kind of angst-ridden hormone-wielding nonsense. It's too easy to write soap operas. We except something better.

[> [> [> Small addendum -- Caesar Augustus, 16:53:30 07/14/02 Sun

Think of season 2 where Xander and Cordy's big kiss in WML is done in totally camp style with the dramatic music in the background. Unfortunately, s6 took that stuff seriously instead of remembering what the show's about.

[> [> [> [> But I don't think the show is about camp. If it were, I wouldn't watch it. -- Rob, 19:46:15 07/14/02 Sun

...And that fake music swell as Cordy and Xander kiss, I thought, was misfire when it happened, and I still do. Funny...but too cheesy.


[> [> [> [> [> I don't think they were saying the show was ABOUT camp... -- AngelVSAngelus, 23:18:03 07/14/02 Sun

Just that the show, at that time, knew that serious focus was better placed elsewhere, on metaphor and action, and was making fun of that particular kissing instance in a campy way subsequently.

[> [> [> [> [> [> But... -- Rob, 09:08:51 07/15/02 Mon

The Buffy/Angel kissing was always taken seriously, with the romantic "Buffy/Angel" love theme by Christophe Beck playing, and everything. Why shouldn't the Buffy/Spike?


[> Why was it off? Because the writers COULD experiment? (S6 spoliers, natch) -- Earl Allison, 08:42:25 07/14/02 Sun

I think part of the reason the season as a whole was so dark was because the writers had both the network and the viewership over a barrel, so to speak -- even more so than they did last year when Buffy died.

Think about it, UPN paid a tremendous amount of money for the Buffy series, for AT LEAST TWO seasons of it, with the additional responsibility of purchasing Angel had the WB scuttled it.

The writers couldn't lose. They could try an experiment that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to try, because UPN HAD to carry them this year. I wonder how many potential NEW viewers were put off with the darkness, the dislikable characters, and the risque factor amped up? Dark is nice, but too much dark is, like too much of anything, a bad idea.

Am I saying the stories were dark because of it? No, but I do think they went further than they might have risked had there been potential consequences in non-renewal (a la Dark Angel -- who saw that coming mid-season?).

That being said, I think that S6 was too heavy-handed and not particularly clever. Too many times this season we've had writers commenting on situations because they were presented to us so vaguely, and apparently NOT on purpose. Why did Marti Noxon have to remind us that Spike was EEEEVIL? Sure, some of us never forgot the canon -- but even so, the way he was presented, can anyone be blamed for thinking Spike might have changed, maybe a bit?

How about the soul issue? Why did Joss and June have to TELL us what happened? Could it be another (IMHO) poorly written and executed "twist" with all the charm of a HA! MADE YOU LOOK! mentality? I know, like the Spike is EEEEVIL threat, some "got it," but the fact that so many STILL feel cheated and lied to speaks volumes to the (again, IMHO) poor writing and execution of those scenes and plots.

Magic as addiction? Ugh. Don't even get me started.

Did I hate S6? No, but it was, to me, the worst season to date, and a lot of that is due to a lack of Giles (as stated already, the cornerstone) and Joss' day-to-day involvement - - which, no matter who claims what, simply COULDN'T be there if he was working on Firefly.

I have hopes for S7 -- but after this, they aren't particularly high ones.

Take it and run.

[> [> Re: Why was it off? Because the writers COULD experiment? (S6 spoliers, natch) -- DEN, 09:31:19 07/14/02 Sun

A major problem with s6 was that its development and climax was built essentially around Willow's turn to evil/darkness. That in turn depended on two highly questionable plot devices:

1. the only way the final episodes hang together at all is through an addiction metaphor that overturns too many established Buffyverse conventions--see my postings below.

2. Willow's vengeance quest depends for credibility precisely on the "lesbian cliche" that generated so much controversy. It was the "unconventional" nature of W/T, in particular the widely accepted concept that they were "soulmates," that enabled processing Willow as driven, initially, by grief beyond bearing. Let us assume Oz had remained Willow's s/o and been killed, as Josh insists he intended. Can anyone reasonably conceive of destroying the world for the sake of Seth Green?! Selling Willow as Dark Avenger required far stronger motivation.

[> [> cringing in embarrasment -- Can I be Anne?, 20:13:03 07/14/02 Sun

Around the beginning of season 6 I revealed my Buffy fanaticism to my boyfriend whom I'd met over the summer. I convinced him to watch with me and --oh, I'm cringing here-- how many times I found myself apologising. I think it started with the motorcycle gang and continued with the heavy handed themes and lack of continuity. Grave saw me realising how little I had come to care about the fate of the SG.
I'm afraid Marti Noxon's brand of writing full o' holes with frenzied backtracking isn't going to work for long. BTVS will have to increase viewership by 50% for UPN to recoup their investment.

[> why off -- no giles -- tam, 11:22:47 07/14/02 Sun

[> [> Season 6 and the 9/11 effect -- Susan, 14:47:06 07/14/02 Sun

I think that one of the reasons it was so difficult to watch the SG endure their own depressions this past year was (at least for me) the 9/11 effect.

I speak as a New Yorker--all I wanted to watch/see/read last fall and into the spring was material that was fun and light. I wanted comfort! Hijinx! Banter! So where I might normally have had an appreciation for the darker trials and travals of the SG, given the events of last fall, it was simply too much.

With that said, however, after a second look this summer, I think S6 is probably the only thing on tv that withstood the 9/11 test. Is it relevant? Damned straight. Depression, violence, themes of forgiveness and redemption--what more could anyone want?

Just my two cents...

[> [> [> relevant for me.....the only rerun I watch -- shygirl, 16:51:46 07/14/02 Sun

[> [> [> Re: Season 6 and the 9/11 effect -- Prozac, 23:49:15 07/14/02 Sun

I used to be a news junkie. It was easy to sit in front of the tube or radio and just worry and complain about the events of the world. After 9/11, my brain went into overload, there were just too many problems to comprehend. My middle class, left of centre, civil libritarian world was collapsing about my ears. I longed for a safe place to hide. Buffy became a sort of an escape. The early episodes with their focus on love and friendship in the face of evil became a shelter. The daily defeating of the demons were cathartic.
I related to season six on a very personal level; because, I've been in the same position as Buffy. I have fallen into a deep hole and couldn't get out for a very long time. It was good to see Buffy get out and hopefully the rest of us will as well.

[> Good points all... -- ZachsMind, 15:10:03 07/14/02 Sun

I take what you saw however and I see it in the opposite manner. Most tv series create a cliffhanger in the season's end where the status quo is potentially shattered by some horrific event which doesn't get resolved for finalized until the end of the summer, hence the name cliffhanger.

Buffy did exactly the opposite this time. The writers didn't put us in a cliffhanger and leave us wondering how they'll survive. We know they'll survive. We just don't know where do we go from here. It's a kind of reverse cliffhanger, and most daring and inventive as television series go. Instead of leaving on a dark note, we saw things get darker and darker as the season progressed but were given a promise that things will be better next year. It makes the story feel more like an epic. Like the biblical tale of Noah, or Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

I for one applaud such a creative approach to writing.

[> [> Interesting thoughts -- rattletrap, 16:05:24 07/14/02 Sun

Expressed much better than I could. This season ended with the best sort of cliffhanger.

I enjoyed this season; not as much as some past ones (3 and 5 come to mind) but it was quite good, with exceptionally strong beginning and ending points. There was angst overkill in some spots, but better that than complete trivialization of Buffy's resurrection. I do hope for a return of a slightly lighter tone for next year, but I feel like the show's production values are as strong as they've ever been and I'm anxiously awaiting October.

Just my $.02


[> [> [> I liked this season too .... my first complete.. -- rabbit, 16:53:27 07/14/02 Sun

[> taking a step out... -- celticross, 21:53:50 07/14/02 Sun

...and placing myself in the ranks of the Season 6 detractors. For me, S6 was a season filled with missed oppertunities and uneven pacing. It started off well (I didn't mind the demon bikers, actually), but after Tabula Rasa descended into a morass of plot problems, with occasional moments of brillance.

Buffy's anger with her friends for raising her from the dead? Never mentioned again after TR. The mess that was Buffy and Spike? A dragged out, ambiguous mess that I was apparently supposed to read as "Spike is BAAAAD for Buffy", which he was (of course she wasn't that great for him either), but I caught that pretty early on and the repeated sledge hammering of the point was just too much. Willow and the Magic Crack? I'm with Earl on this one - don't get me started. Xander and Anya? The only good I could see in that was that I could finally like Anya, because I could feel her pain. I am now a confirmed Anya/Giles shipper. And I know I'm in the minority with this opinion, but I found the season finale quite underwhelming. After moving the season arc along in halts and spurts, in the last 4 episodes, everything starts to happen. Willow goes evil and finally tells everyone what she really thinks of them (which just goes to show that even though you're friends with someone, sometimes you just have to say painful truths) and decides to destroy the world. And it's because she has "an addictive personality". Huh? Though I was glad to see Giles again, it came after half a season of silence about him.

Season 6 wasn't all bad, but there was something missing. It was not so much about the characters, but about their issues, and it's never a good sign when the writers have to give interviews to explain what we're supposed to be getting out of what we're seeing.

[> [> Re: Ain't that the truth! -- Brian, 03:40:05 07/15/02 Mon

[> [> Nice to see you posting CC! -- Rahael, 07:42:21 07/15/02 Mon

I'd agree with you about Season 6 starting well, and then descending (heh, how ironic!). I thought there was a really soggy bit in the middle. I haven't pulled out my cds to rewatch everything after Tabula Rasa, and I still haven't brought myself to watch Wrecked. Am I in denial about the magic addict storyline? Since I haven't watched any of it?! (I highly recommend this course of action btw. Watch up to TR, and start again after DTs......fill in the blanks how you want)

However, I thought after Dead Things, it really started to pick up again. There were of course, great moments.

I can remember in Season 5, all the way up to TR, when I was totally into Spuffy - but the reality was just a total turn off. Dark Willow on the other hand, I thought was the coolest thing ever.

[> [> [> Re: Nice to see you posting CC! -- Rosie, 12:23:22 07/15/02 Mon

Well I would strongly advise you not to watch Wrecked if you are not a fan of anvils and sloppy writing. It was an embarrassment from start to finish and IMHO the worst Buffy episode ever. Amy had just become human again and was addicted to magic and visiting a dealer Rack (apparrently she was addicted in Gingerbread we are told in a throw away line). She played the bad friend with a nod towards peer presure as she dragged poor little Willow into badness.
Willow was told by her dealer Rack she tastes like strawberries which according to other boards I visit is a nickname for crackwhores? Willow is violated by Rack and weeps in the shower afterwards whilst I cringe. Willow also wears slutty and revealing clothing throughout presumedly because she is a junkie and that is what junkies do. A strung-out Amy has to visit Willow's house to steal sage? Does it make her high? Why not buy it at the store? I think Marti is trying to make an analogy to addicted friends who steal heroin or some other hard drug. But why would someone need to steal sage? Buffy's confrontation with Amy makes me crack up which I presume was not the point of the scene.
Willow's magic trips are admittedly somewhat cool as we see her spinning around the ceiling in a revealing top. Problem is Amy told her to visit Rack because Willow's power was draining and Rack could recharge her. Rack was doing magic on Willow. How was that increasing Willow's power? Isn't she becoming powerless and escaping from her life, again as a drug addict does not a powerfull witch who has got hooked on the stength magic gives her.
And Willow takes Dawn to the crack house and leaves her in the dirty waiting room with strung out junkies as of course Rack wouldn't want to keep the place clean as he is a junkie too. Dawn ends up ranting at Willow afterwards who cannot walk in a straight line and is clearly high as she babbles on about everything being fine. She ends up getting in a car accident with Dawn in tow as Willow is completely out of it and the car wavers all over the roud as Willow laughs. She ends up crashing and Dawn hurts her arm and gives Willow the most limp-wristed wussy slap ever. Willow then collapses crying that she's sorry. Buffy playing the righteously angry best friend cliche tells Willow to get up and rants about how Willow screwed everything up. Willow then sniffles that she needs help. Back at the house Willow is drying out in bed for some reason sweating and shaking (perhaps Giles should have told Willow in past seasons there are side- effects if you give up magic. But oh right in past seasons magic wasn't a drug that once you take it up you couldn't stop. It had a draw on impressionable youths sure but it was in no way physically addictive.) Anyway the episode is a mess and more like a bad After-School special than the series I have come to know and love. Methinks Marti has seen a few to many bad teen movies in her time.
What I never got is are we supposed to believe that all magic is addictive and was from the start? Why is Tara not hooked as well? Or do only certain people get cravings for magic and it's the luck of the draw. Or is it just Rack's magic that's addictive and Willow got hoocked after paying two visits to him?
The addiction is handled poorly for the rest of the season. Willow struggles not to use her powers online. Therefore she is fighting laziness, not a physical addiction. That is just trivialising. And Tara forgives Willow once she quits magic for good. I suppose it was Willow's addiction rather than character flaws which caused her to mindrape Tara twice, violating her trust. Riiight.

[> [> [> thanks Rah :) -- celticross, 20:19:08 07/15/02 Mon

[> Re: Viewers responses to season 6 -- aliera, 05:22:03 07/15/02 Mon

I apologize to OnM in advance if this is a board "no, no". This is a portion of his piece below; but since it is in the movie review and yet particularly relevant to this discussion, I hope this is OK.

OnM wrote:

"Take Buffy Season 6, for example. Many fans deeply admire and respect what ME attempted to achieve this last
year, myself among them. Just as many others loathe and despise it with a passion. Neither camp is necessarily ‘right’, because when you are dealing with an interpretation of art, you cannot seperate the objective and the subjective completely. A computer can’t successfully ‘interpret’ a Van Gogh painting; notbecause it couldn’t be programmed to analyse shadow, light, form, texture, all that stuff, but because itlacks sentience, and the subjectivity that comes along with that characteristic."

While many admire the aesthetics of season six and while others enjoy the intellectual challenge of debating the ambiguities, sometimes at great length, we are each individuals and it is a natural part of our each having individual views that season six may speak to us or not, or speak to us so deeply that it is not possible to dwell in that place for too long.

That is one of the potential beauties of the boards...the opportunity to see through someone else's eyes for a moment. I feel that everytime I visit, I leave with some puzzle, some new direction or some particularly graceful or interesting piece of prose to think about.

"Stars, darkness, a lamp, a phantom, dew, a bubble;
A dream, a flash of lightening, and a cloud:
Thus we look upon the world."

Varjracchedika 31 and 32

I had a question much further down on the board regarding the perspective of the artist and the viewer. It was simply a stray thought while reading the many interesting posts that while we have many talented people on the board that the posts are written almost universally from the perspective of the viewer. I have some curiosity still about if the season achieved what it was intended to and how much of what results from Buffy viewing is subconcious.

I am also fan of Tolkien and was reading one of Michael Martinez's recent essays last night (available at suit101 if you are interested). I was particularly struck by the fact that although some of Tolkien's works were written for a particular audience, one of his pieces that was written for personal pleasure has gone on to become something of a folk myth. So again I wonder about intent and result and would be very interested if anyone had any thoughts on this.

If anyone has an ongoing interest to explore issues more deeply, I would also mention the archives here which are a wealth of interesting pieces that were written closer to the episodes intitial airings. The issues we are still discussing now in July have been constant themes throughout the season and not only is it intiguing to compare initial reactions to current; but there are some wonderful pieces that have not been reposted as we continue our discussions. It is searcheable (thank you, Masq and all for that!)

And thank you to all of you for the brain and soul food this morning. Always interesting.

[> [> Very good post, aliera -- shadowkat, 11:31:47 07/15/02 Mon

"While many admire the aesthetics of season six and while others enjoy the intellectual challenge of debating the ambiguities, sometimes at great length, we are each individuals and it is a natural part of our each having individual views that season six may speak to us or not, or speak to us so deeply that it is not possible to dwell in that place for too long.

That is one of the potential beauties of the boards...the opportunity to see through someone else's eyes for a moment. I feel that everytime I visit, I leave with some puzzle, some new direction or some particularly graceful or interesting piece of prose to think about."

I agree with this. In another post, Masq asked why we post, what you said above is one of my reasons. I've learned
quite a bit just reading and interacting with other fans on the board. While season 6 has its defractors, it also has it's pluses and diehard fans. Both have postulated their points very well.

And to be honest there have been episodes this season that
even I had trouble spackling. AYW comes to mind. Although
it has provided me with a wealth of metaphors and points to write about in essays, more actually than many episodes in past seasons. Very odd.

Viewing art is a subjective and objective experience and as OM states very well - no one is truly right or wrong.
At the time that JAmes Joyce wrote Ulyssess - many writers were quoted as stating it was "unreadable", a "massive failure", "offensive". In the US it was banned for it's language and sexual depictions. Actually the censorship of Ulysess in US was why I became so obessed with reading it in college. My mother had written a paper once on why it had been banned. Personally I think James Joyce's Ulysess is one of the best, most thought-provoking works of literature I've ever read - but I know people who can't make it past the first page. Their opinion matters of course, but it does not affect my enjoyment of the work. We read differently. I tend to think metaphorically and poetically, Joyce's writting was tailormade for my mind, but not everyones. Just as Btvs is tailor made for my mind, but I have friends who can't see past the title and much prefer West Wing or Seventh Heaven. All I ask is for the right to read Joyce and the ability to continue analyzing and viewing Buffy with others.

Boards like this one make such interaction possible.

The wonderful thing about art - is no one is holding a gun to your head to watch it or experience it. If you don't like it? You can turn away. The other wonderful thing - is we can endlessly interpret it and find new ways of incorporating it into our everyday lives.

[> [> A beautiful, terrible place: humour and sorrow in the world -- matching mole, 12:18:17 07/15/02 Mon

Excuse the rather grandiose title please. Almost two months ago Rahael asked me if I had made my mind up about season 6 and I must confess that I haven't really given it much further thought until now.

Certainly one's enjoyment and personal enrichment from viewing season 6 (or anything) depend a lot on personal preferences and predilictions. I think that my own perception of season 6 is biased by one way that it pushed my particular buttons. I see the world as a place full of wonder (that we exist or that chocolate exists) and horror (that George Bush is president (made in the spirit of DEN's original post above - there are obviously things that I find much more horrible)). And I think that art can serve to comment on both the wonder and the horror and all the mixed up stuff in between. But all too often, both in art and in life, people seem to get fixated on one or the other.

This is something that has largely baffled me about a lot of 20th C. art with its themes of alienation and despair. These things are important to talk about and maybe the Victorians were in major denial. But to ignore the beauty in everyday life and decry depictions of it as sentimental seems to be throwing the baby out with bathwater.

The same thing has always struck about the social changes I've observed throughout my own life. The lessons that most people seem to have taken from the sixties are that youthful idealism isn't practical and should be forgotten when you get down to the serious business of adulthood. A more balanced lesson, IMHO, is that changing the world is harder than it looks and that everything you try isn't always going to work out - but that doesn't mean you should stop trying.

I really admired BtVS in its early years in that it really did seem to capture the wonder and the horror of the world and never let one over-ride the other for very long. It was a show about kids who knew more about the world (or at least certains aspects of the world) than the adults did. Season 6 seemed to be (in some sense) a repudiation of that - another throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I agree with Ete that there was a lot of humour in S6 - especially the Troika who I ended thinking were probably the best part of the whole season. But the main characters weren't seeing the humour of it and the wonder that lurks in the middle of the darkest scene (Giles' 'glass half full' from season 1). I realize that this is largely the point of S6 and perhaps if I hadn't watched S1-4 I would have appreciated it more. I still think it was 'an interesting experiment' (to quote Rah again). I probably would rather that they try something like that rather than repeat S3 endlessly.

[> [> [> Seaward -- Rahael, 12:59:53 07/15/02 Mon

Great posts, Aliera, SK and Mole. Can I agree with all of you?!

The subject line is one of the most beautiful and inspiring books I've ever read, and I think it encapsulates Mole's title (see, I'm recommending yet another book to you!). Spoilers follow for Susan Cooper's 'Seaward', one of the most profound children's books I have ever read. It is, for those of you who have already enjoyed her 'Dark is Rising' series, as good as her other books, and then some.

It follows a girl who steps through a mirror, which she does in a state of sadness because her mother has just been led away by a lady to go to hospital. Half way across the world, a young boy fleeing from those who are persecuting his family, accidentally steps into the same world the girl finds herself in. They travel together through this strange and mysterious land, where the forces of good and evil battle. They fall in love, they learn about fear, self sacrifice, pawns in a battle they know nothing of - they simply travel seaward. As they near their adventure, they find out that evil, represented by a frightening and cruel woman, is simply death, and good, represented by a man, is life. They learn that the easy categories of good and evil do not fit; that the man and the woman are interdependent, and cannot survive without each other; that both can be cruel, and kind by turns when it suits them. When they reach the destination, the sea, they find great boats, carrying people away to a faraway land; the girl's mother is on the boat.

They are sent home, each to their separate countries. One day, back on earth, we know they will find each other again.

This affected me just as much as Anna Karenina, and when I passed it to my little cousin, she sat up all night reading it, and experienced the magic. It is a very slight book but pretty amazing, and very much what the very best Buffy provides.

Throughout the years, some part of each season has provided me with this. I have another advantage with Season 6. I cannot view any part of season 6 without remembering the maginficent Gift, any part of DMP without remembering Sunnydale High, any part of Dark Willow without remembering the truly sweet Willow in WTTH. Xander, despite Hell's Bell's, will always be the Xander who made me laugh with delight, and I will always remember Cordelia, who is of course my favourite character. In part, I think this was the message of Grave. While Xander tells Willow he loves her no matter what, because he knows who she is, we too know who the characters really are; we too trust that they will find their way out. We just need to keep believing in them, and their magic.

As someone who delights every day in seeing the sky each morning, whether blue or cloudly or rainy, who appreciates all the magic and the sadness, and the grandeur of the world, in all its forms, I can affirm that sometimes the most direct crash course in learning to appreciate all this is to be forced for a time to live in world without seeing any beauty, any humour, only darkness. And then you'll learn that the same person made the gentle lamb, and the terrible, awe-inspiring tyger.

[> [> [> [> 'Did he who made the lamb make thee?' -- matching mole, 13:30:18 07/15/02 Mon

I hope that's an accurate quote. Although an agnostic myself I have to say that this line of Blake's has always been enormously evocative for me. Perhaps Buffy should have sat down and read the Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell when she was brought back! Or maybe Urizen should be the big bad in season 7?

Thanks for the (second) recommendation of Seaward. I haven't been reading much lately. And a really great post. Especially the part about Cordelia's greatness.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: 'Did he who made the lamb make thee?' -- aliera, 16:35:43 07/15/02 Mon

Thank you, shadowkat, matching mole and rahael. Of course, we can feel all these things and more:

Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while,
Walking the old hills of Judea with the beautiful gentle god by my side;
Speeding through space....speeding through heaven and the stars,

Storming enjoying planning loving cautioning,
Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing,
I tread day and nights such roads.

I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times;

All this I swallow and it tastes good....I like it well and it becomes mine,
I am the man....I suffered....I was there.

The past and the present wilt....I have filled them and emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then....I contradict myself;
I am large....I contain multitudes.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

Walt, of course, "Song of Myself" :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you, that was great! -- Rahael, 05:41:05 07/16/02 Tue

I'm not that familiar with American poetry.

I keep a little book where I print out and stick in poems I like, and I carry this with me everywhere - which is why certain lines get burned into me. This is going in.

Mole - lol re Cordelia. I completely agree with you re Songs of innocence and experience. Hey, if Dante is good enough for AtS?

And, you quoted quite correctly, of course.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: that was great! -- aliera, 07:24:57 07/16/02 Tue

Very welcome...Sorry that I have no clue on how to do links but if you're interested...

A internet version of the poem (of which only a small part is above) in nice big easy-to-read typeface is at:


A short bio and bibliography is here:

http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?prmID=127&CFID=10252493 &CFTOKEN=47670877

There's a lot more out there; these are just two of the first links to come up on a search.

I believe his style, if not his vision, opened a door for poets to follow. I simply love his sensual use of language. As dark as things may be in our world, without a vision ...a possibility of something better where is hope?

And beauty, does my heart not lighten for beauty? On my desk as I type are two Abraham Darby roses that I picked this morning from my garden...their scent is rich, complex, intoxicating...it is a piece of my garden, of some small beauty that I carry out into the world.

But with a poem, a painting, Buffy we can take a piece or pieces of the show and swallow them and they become a part of us. They may challenge us or be comfort or what not; but, we do not remain unchanged. The best books, poems, postings, paintings, music make us more. :-)

[> [> [> Ka-boom! -- celticross, 20:41:12 07/15/02 Mon

*CC picks up the pieces of her head (helpfully numbered for just such an occasion)*

Mole, can I worship you? Just for a minute? You've finally articulated my single biggest problem with Season 6. I'm 22, not much older than the Scoobies, and I'm having to work on the whole place-in-this-world thing, and as I watched the continued lost fumbling of the SG, I thought, "if this is growing up, then I don't want to". I don't want to think that everything I touch I'll screw up, that my relationships (romantic and otherwise) will fall apart, that staying close to my friends won't involve covering my feelings to the point of explosion. Season 6 was a mess, but I know that feeling. I still have hope for my life, something that was drained out of the season fairly early on. It's not that I hated Season 6...it had its moments and those moments were good ones, but they couldn't balance the tone of the season which seemed to me to be darkness, and/or depression, and/or we don't know what the crap is going on.

There. :) I think that made some kind of sense.

[> Re: Renewed attack on season 6. Why was it off? -- Miss Edith, 13:29:40 07/15/02 Mon

I utterly loathed Willow's storyline following the episode Wrecked when she became an addict. I had enjoyed it up to that point and found Willow quite chilling particulary in TR or when she threatened Giles in Flooded. But I hated pretty much every minute of Wrecked and all the addiction talk for the rest of the season which was clearly filler until evil Willow was introduced.
In fact I am not a fan of season 6 as a whole. I found a B/S relationship appealing in the brginning but after the episode Wrecked in which Spike became the leering bad boyfriend for the rest of the season I wans't that interested.
On the cross and stake broad another poster summed up what I felt about this season quite nicely. It was mentioned that James Marsters said at a convention that season 6 was basically the Year Of Marti and everything she was doing was based on her life experiences. Hence the drug storyline based on a friend and Spike being based on a college boyfriend she had. A poster called monkey said and I quote:
"there's a difference between drawing on your life experiences and telling the world your life in a story...As the transmutation of personal experience into something rich and strange, something hopefully with universal resonance- not imposing the particular events of your own life on a group of characters for whom those events may not be in any way relevent or appropriate."
That is exactly how I feel and I really couldn't put it any better. Having to deal with Dawn the whiny klepto for instance brings back nightmarish memeries of my own bratty sister. The series has always taken life experiences and spun them into something new and yet still relatable. I sit and marvel at the writing in The Initiative when Spike atttacks Willow. In Seeing Red when he actually tries to rape Buffy I see a clear lack of metaphour which just doesn't draw me in.

[> [> Re: Just wanted to add... -- Miss Edith, 14:53:21 07/15/02 Mon

Living out writers angsty personal traumas is all very well but I would prefer a better balancing of humour with the angst next year. I could do with less issues being presented. JMHO.

[> I've now had the chance to read all the posts in this thread, and have definitively concluded -- Sophist, 17:19:46 07/15/02 Mon

that I agree with almost all of them. Most of the praise seems accurate, most of the criticism seems fair. The one point I would most strongly disagree with is the one that started this thread: that S6 was "too dark" (sorry, CA). I don't mind the dark. Besides, this criticism would probably torpedo Othello.

Maybe it's a mistake to try to evaluate the season as a whole. Maybe it makes more sense to see individual episodes or even scenes as well-executed or not. That way, we could say "TR is wonderful!!!!!" Or, "Bargaining was well done except for the heavy-handed scene with Razor." Or whatever.

If I had to grade S6 as a whole, I'd compare it to S4. Some great individual episodes, but disappointing in the execution of the overall story arc. JMHO.

[> [> Umm ... -- Caesar Augustus, 22:28:16 07/15/02 Mon

Don't wanna sound bitchy but please don't misquote me. It's annoying. I never ever said that s6 was "too dark". Nowhere did I even imply it. Did you even read my initial post?

[> [> [> Sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong -- d'Herblay, 00:19:55 07/16/02 Tue

Well, the season theme was the darkness within, right? Does that justify it all? I have to say no. You watch a show because you love the characters in it, not hate them. The problem is not just that the darkness within was revealed. The real problem was that the endearing qualities of the SG were absent too. Those qualities could co-exist with the darkness. Instead the endearing qualities disappeared, and, let's face it, when Willow threatened to destroy the world, we weren't so much rooting for the SG to survive as much as simply wanting the world to continue so that s7 might be better.

-- Caesar Augustus, "Renewed attack on season 6. Why was it off?"

I think that the reading of that paragraph as "Too dark!" is a fair one.

[> [> [> [> *shakes head* I give up -- Caesar Augustus, 00:34:58 07/16/02 Tue

I've had a bad day. I'm not in the mood. If you wanna misread my points, and interpret a fairly explicit comment "light and dark can co-exist and there wasn't enough light" as "too dark" then go ahead.

[> [> [> [> [> Um, seems a fair cop, applied to S6 or toast. -- Darby, 06:03:11 07/16/02 Tue

In any sort of blending of opposites, if there isn't enough of one isn't that equivalent to too much of the other?

I assume your intent was to ask for more lightness (but not less darkness), but we here are way better at misrepresenting ideas than this - just give us a chance with something complicated!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: -- aliera, 07:34:05 07/16/02 Tue

Hopefully today will be better...if you've been posting for over a month and this is the first time you feel that your post was misinterpreted, then all I can say is you've done much better than I! Hang in there ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ditto...LOL! Quite a few mininterpretations here -- shadowkat, 12:38:22 07/16/02 Tue

I've had many people misinterpret me and boy, have I been really guilty of misinterpreting others.

I echo Sophist's apology. I too read Ceasar's statement in that light. I also owe Mal an apology for the unjust misinterpretation of his response to one of my posts many
months ago. And of course I misinterpreted Rah's just a few weeks ago, I apologize again for that Rah...yep, very guilty of this.

It's easy to do with words. And quick scan reading on a computer screen. I try to print off and read it first, but often get overly excited and read it onscreen, hence the misinterpretation and often knee-jerk reaction. Sorry for that.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ditto...LOL! Quite a few mininterpretations here -- aliera, 14:48:01 07/16/02 Tue

I love it when a question gets asked...a different question gets answered and then whoops before you know it we're debating the average hat size (hood size?) of 23 year old, left handed Eskimos. :-0

[> [> [> Re: Umm ... -- Sophist, 08:48:42 07/16/02 Tue

Just wanted to reassure you that I'm capable of much better misinterpretations. Just ask Rahael or Malandanza.

Seriously, that's the way I interpreted your post. Lots of people have made the "darkness" point in the past and are making it now (at least, that's the way I read, say, celticross's post). I saw your comment in that light (pun intended). I now see the distinction you are making.

If I'm wrong about someone's meaning, I freely admit it. I have lots of practice -- my daughters are happy to let me know that I'm wrong on a daily basis.

[> [> [> [> Re: Umm ... -- Rahael, 10:52:35 07/16/02 Tue

My memory must be getting short! I cannot recollect an instance when you've misinterpreted me unjustly :)

[> [> [> [> [> Well, there was the infamous -- Sophist, 11:03:21 07/16/02 Tue

Willow character-continuity thread. I did think it right to apologize to you and Mal. Other than that, all my misinterpretations of you seem very just. :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> LOL -- Rahael, 11:09:47 07/16/02 Tue

Let's just attribute that to the natural rough and tumble of debate!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: LOL -- aliera, 14:17:13 07/16/02 Tue

perhaps tough and fumble?

[> Post-script -- Caesar Augustus, 01:25:28 07/17/02 Wed

I've read many interesting opinions on both sides. Some of the "argument" is actually "agreement" from people who are trying to stress different things. Some people defending s6 seem to assume people attacking it actually hate it and see nothing good. And they are just trying to prove that it did a lot of good things. Which it did. And then some people attacking it seem to assume that s6 defenders actually claim it to be the best season ever, so they overcompensate by attacking it too vigorously (which I myself was partly guilty of). So the debate became very much all over the place, which did make it very interesting, since I've missed out on earlier s6 debate. Still, I'd enjoy a more focused debate as well. Maybe a new post?

Perhaps a more focused post would be more specific like:
Is s6 one of the higher quality BtVS seasons?

And then we could focus on very specific issues about it. I raised some quite specific questions, which were very much glossed over (probably because my s6 attack came on too strong). Anyway, are people sick of discussing s6, or does anyone care for another discussion, perhaps a bit more focused?

Thoughts people?

[> [> Re: Post-script -- Wizardman, 21:37:35 07/17/02 Wed

I wouldn't mind a focused discussion of S6- it had its problems, but it also very definitely had its strengths. As to what they ARE, well, I'll talk about them in the thread, when it happens. I have a list for both =)

[> [> [> Re: Post-script -- shadowkat, 06:13:07 07/18/02 Thu

Actually I listed the strengths and weaknesses in my response to Angel/Angelus above. But good luck controlling
an entire posting on this. We're an unruly bunch...we like
to go off-topic, debate certain themes over others, etc.
Actually it's what I love about the board.

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