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Season 7 as Post-Modernism (Explains Anya/Giles and others) -- s'kat (for morgain), 18:48:07 07/02/03 Wed

Hi, all - found this on B C & S and was intriqued. It's the first post-modern critique I've seen of Season 7. I reposted it in a new thread for fear it would get lost in KdS thread and I'm not sure it really fits the topic of female empowerment expressed in the KdS thread below. With any luck Voy won't gobble it up. It certainly made see the Anya/Xander characters from a new angle.

Date Posted: 11:20:20 07/02/03 Wed
Author: morgain
Author Host/IP:

One of the things that most bothered me about season 7 was the meta-perspective that seemed to infuse the entire storyline and character development... the zeitgeist of the entire narrative. And it niggled at me all season, and it was not clear what the issue was until I read an article by Kearney called "The narrative imagination."

In one sentence, it was, in my opinion, the cynicism of the postmodern perspective that marred the flow; in this season, solid storytelling was replaced by technology and simulation.

This season was one that has contained the most special effects and "tricks" that I can remember. Their use seemed, for the most part, to be for their own sake-- to be flashy and impressive. Two of the most sterling examples were the seal and the finale with the Ubervamps. In both cases, the effects were interesting, but in what way did they act as vehicles for the story arc, the emotional arc, or the character development? Only in the case of Andrew in Storyteller did the seal further these elements. Spike and Xander were used to open the seal, but what did it tell us about them? WRT Spike, why did only a few drops of his blood open the seal? For Xander, it was an opportunity to "simulate" a previous storyline: Xander as demon magnet [more on simulation later].

One of the strengths, for me, of BtVS has been the core character interaction. During the finale I found myself wondering why they were wasting so much time with the battle sequence. From interviews, it seemed the general feeling was 'Ooo, special effects...cool!' I knew from BOTN that fighting the Ubervamps would be difficult, and I didn't need it confirmed for long sequences. What I needed to see from that scene was the initial power of the new slayers, the turning of the tide and the final dusting of all of the Turok-Han, as well as the character bravery. I did not need to see a miniversion of the assault on Helm's Deep from TTT. The use of technology and special effects this season was like using too much cayenne pepper when cooking: all subtlety was lost, it no longer acted like a nice zippy accent, but overwhelmed the flavour of the entire dish.

The second element of postmodernism was the most bothersome to me. The postmodern cult of the imagination is based on a culture of simulation where the role of the imagination is reduced more and more to surface imitation and repetition [regressing characters and retreads of old plots] devoid of reference to historical reality [the characters' growth and development throughout 6 seasons]. Postmodernists claims that 'poetics has priority over ethics' [Kearney], and this is why the ultimate message of female empowerment got lost, diluted, and perverted I might say, because female empowerment is not just about young fated women, but all women, men and children.

Season 7 of BtVS then lapsed into a terminal crisis of self-parody. The imagination fueling the narrative circulated aimlessly in an endless play of simulation: this is why so much of your critique rightfully mentions the failure to acknowledge character growth, and a return to the state of being of characters in previous seasons. This is most aptly seen with Anya, but is also evident in Andrew, if one sees Andrew as the stand-in for early Xander. This is one of the reasons why I think Xander had little to do. If one is going to 'go back to the beginning' [the first clue that a postmodern perspective is at work] and if his role is now taken by Andrew, what else is there for him?

Images and characters were no longer authentic expressions of who they had become; they merely served as imitations of previous themes and character quirks. Characters were constructed as 'desiring machines' [Kearney] as a way to represent the postmodern crisis of identity. This accounts for Anya's preoccupation with sex, the sexual encounters between Xander and Anya that had no effect on their emotional closeness, and for the most part, the lack of emotional connection between characters. Only in KIM do we see an emotional connection between Willow and Kennedy and in Touched we see a sexless yet intimate and emotional encounter that is between Spike and Buffy, but in the midst of sexual yet emotionally sterile encounters [except for Willow and Kennedy-- I think that an emotional subtext was clearly intimate, but not realized between the actresses].

The parodies then created a lack of depth, since the predominant preoccupation became simulation of previous seasons. This was true of characters [Anya and Giles-- I saw him more like the Giles of early season 1 in his remoteness from the group once he returned to Sunnydale] but also in terms of plot [ Him / BBB is the most blatant example] and running jokes [for example the sign of Sunnydale falling into the pit-- it could have been an opportunity for a statement about Spike, but wasn't... just a running gag]. This reduced the overall arc to a game of spectacle and simulation, making it impossible to identify with the characters for the most part, since they lacked emotional resonance.

We tend to want meaning in our lives, and not to want to live 'simulated' existences. We may play at simulation, but when we mark those events that are full of impact on our lives, playing Tomb Raider rarely makes the list.

And we have come to expect much more than just simulation from ME.

by morgain (new to our wonderful board)

[> Spoilers to Btvs Chosen -- s'kat, 18:49:15 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> Preserving thread from Voy demon!! -- sk, 18:50:16 07/02/03 Wed

[> Re: Season 7 as Post-Modernism (Explains Anya/Giles and others) -- manwitch, 19:15:17 07/02/03 Wed

I'm going to disagree strongly with this in a little while. Have to briefly reread Baudrillard.

[> [> Re: Season 7 as Post-Modernism (Explains Anya/Giles and others) -- s'kat, 19:26:38 07/02/03 Wed

Okay...but disagree nicely (not that you wouldn't manwitch - have yet to see you be anything but polite) - don't want to scare poor morgain away.;-)

Actually would love anyone to pitch in - my understanding of post-modernism has always been woefully below par.
(Admitting I'm dumb when it comes to post-modernism but
intrigued by others who bring it up...where's Grant and slain?? I think Grant was our post-modernist on the board?)

[> [> [> Re: Season 7 as Post-Modernism (Explains Anya/Giles and others) -- manwitch, 19:28:48 07/02/03 Wed

Grant was our anti-postmodernist. Which is a valid lifestyle choice.

[> to me postmodernism has a different flavor -- manwitch, 22:04:57 07/02/03 Wed

Its late. So my response will be lame.

Morgain has tackled some interesting subjects, but I don't quite connect the dots the way she does. I also recognize some difficulties with season 7, but I wouldn't associate those with postmodernism.

I think postmodernism uses the idea of simulation in a very specific way that has to do with a sociological critique of capitalism. I'm not sure it transfers to interpretations of art and literature. So while characters in season 7 might not seem to relate back to the historical reality (fictional) of the previous 6 seasons, the characters, as symbols and images in a work of art do relate to real if intangible qualities that are relevant to the story being told. "Simulation" in postmodern terms means that signs have no signifieds whatever. The reality to which they point simply isn't there, or to put it better, its immaterial. I'm not sure that is appropriate to what you are saying about Buffy.

Also, postmodernism, as I understand it, does not advocate technology as a replacement for anything. As part of the postmodern critique of our culture, postmodernism argues that technology tends to crowd out other criteria for experience. So if technology was used in the way you describe, postmodernists might point to that as indicative of a problem of the culture. It wouldn't be an indication of the "cynicism" of postmodernism.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with your points about special effects. I am unconvinced at this point that Season 7 was particularly unusual in this regard, or that the final battle in Chosen was any more superfluous to the message of the story than the battles in Becoming or Graduation Day.

I don't see the "back to the beginning" motif as necessarily equal to the postmodern "nostalgia." I think there are some very valid meaningful reasons why season 7 makes reference to season 1. Again, it has, in my view, a very specific purpose in terms of Buffy's spiritual journey. In season one she overcame her childish ego to embark on a journey of spiritual development. In Season 7, she had again to overcome her ego, but this time it was the very ego that she embraced in Season one. Her task is in some ways the same in season 7 as it was in season 1. Overcome yourself. In season one, she was a child, resistant to her destiny, and needed to overcome that. In season 7, she was the sole hero of that spiritual destiny, and needed to overcome that. References to season one help to illuminate what is happening in season 7. they are not indicative of abandoning the creative process in favor of cynicism and special effects.

Finally, I'm not sure the message of Buffy is female empowerment. Its empowering of the feminine. While it is significant that our spiritual experience (of which Buffy is a metaphor) is gendered feminine, it is not of great significance that Buffy is sexed female. While it is completely great that we have a show that shows powerful women, that is a delightful byproduct of the show's core message, which is about how to be the fullest human being possible under all circumstances. In and of itself, that is neither specifically postmodern, nor specifically in contrast to it.

I don't mean any of this in a stompingly offensive way, and I would eagerly read any further elaboration you had on the points you make. When I see references to "simulation" and "desiring machines" I go straight to Baudrillard. But even within postmodernism he's considered radical. Anyways, I've been out of the game for a long time now, and you very likely are coming from somewhere else. I would be interested in some further bibliographical information on the essay you cite.

SK, I hope this 2nd draft is bearable. I trashed the first one. I am always interested in people's views on postmodernism, or postmodern thought applied to Buffy. I just see postmodernism as optimistic rather than cynical.

[> [> Feminine Empowerment -- Caroline, 08:09:48 07/03/03 Thu

Finally, I'm not sure the message of Buffy is female empowerment. Its empowering of the feminine. While it is significant that our spiritual experience (of which Buffy is a metaphor) is gendered feminine, it is not of great significance that Buffy is sexed female.


[> [> [> Kinda OT (to Caroline) -- Rahael, 09:04:45 07/03/03 Thu

I missed your concluding post to the Feminism femininity/masculinity thread. I thought it was a pretty gracious end to the discussion, which I have to say I made me think a lot.

Hope I didn't seem to imply you were not a feminist. I am well aware of the huge variety of thought that exists in the feminist movement!

And you were right, I think we were just using such different world views - I mean, I can see what you are Manwitch are trying to say about the feminine and masculine, but it's almost as if they were words that I don't 'understand' or don't exist in my vocabulary.

I can see that it's different from the essentialism I was trying to grapple with. I actually think that Joss was indeed trying to talk about integrating the masculine and feminine within us - I just didn't agree about the values he seemed to ascribe to these energies, as you put it. Perhaps whether the values I think I saw are arguable - though I am reasonably convinced at the moment.

[> [> [> [> not being caroline, i hope you don't mind my answering here -- anom, 12:37:22 07/04/03 Fri

"I can see what you are Manwitch are trying to say about the feminine and masculine, but it's almost as if they were words that I don't 'understand' or don't exist in my vocabulary."

I have a lot of trouble w/these words too. They seem to be used prescriptively more often than descriptively, in terms of what's "supposed" to be characteristic of women or men. If each sex has both "masculine" & "feminine" traits, how is it decided which traits are feminine & which are masculine? Of course, it's based not on what's inherent in each sex (which, given the complexity of the "nature/nurture" interaction, we may never know for sure) but on what society has historically assigned to each gender.

I have a pretty good idea of which characteristics the society I grew up in considers feminine & masculine. I'm mostly not interested in conforming to those ideas. At least, I don't want to be, but there's still this part of me that thinks I "should"--& this other part that rebels against that. This is not how I want to make my decisions about who & how I am, but it's hard to free my thinking from it.

manwitch said, "While it is significant that our spiritual experience (of which Buffy is a metaphor) is gendered feminine, it is not of great significance that Buffy is sexed female." I think I understand this (I'm not entirely sure--why is there any need for spiritual experience to be gendered at all?), but could the show have worked w/a male hero? If the one-per-generation Slayer were male, he'd have been equally alone, but his Slayer-ness would have been perceived as consistent w/his sex, not in conflict w/it. Would anyone ever have said to him, "But...you're just a boy/a man," or even "just human"? Could spiritual experience gendered as feminine have been effectively represented by a character who was male--would viewers have been able to identify a "feminine" spirituality w/a character represented as male?

Then there's the whole question of how male & female/masculine & feminine are valued. Leaving earning power aside, there's still a widespread (I'm not saying universal) tendency to see the male/masculine as "better" than the female/feminine (can't help picturing Caleb here!). It's accepted for women to wear pants but not for men to wear skirts. It's OK for a girl to ride a boy's bike, but a boy wouldn't be caught dead riding a girl's bike. So is it really not significant that Buffy is female, when it's not a question of Buffy's sex per se but of how it's seen in the context both of the show & of the society (I know, there's not just 1) its audience belongs to?

[> [> [> [> [> Then use different words -- lunasea, 17:40:06 07/04/03 Fri

Yin/Yang, active/receptive. It really doesn't matter. Both sides of the equation need to exist, in the individual and in society. This is not an easy thing to do, so society "assigned" (for lack of a better word) part to one gender and part to another. This allows society as a whole to function. When society values one over the other and doesn't treat each properly, that society becomes unstable and it requires a lot of energy to maintain it. Eventually, that society will not be able to do this and change will occur.

Same thing happens on an individual level. When society starts labeling things feminine and masculine, individuals buy into it. This causes tremendous imbalance in the individual and fuels the spiritual journey that Manwitch writes so eloquently about.

(I'm not entirely sure--why is there any need for spiritual experience to be gendered at all?)

Because the journey which Joss is writing about is the sharing of power, not the forceful exercising of it. That is yin, receptive, feminine. Whatever word you want to use. It is just a frame of reference that people tend to have in common.

could the show have worked w/a male hero?

Angel seems to be working quite well. The stories to Jesus and Buddha are both spirtual experiences that would be gendered feminine. So are pretty much any story in the Communion of Saints. It doesn't get much more feminine than the Prayer of St Francis (if you are unaware of what this is, it was the lyrics to the song at the end of "Grave").

Don't get caught up on the sex/genitalia/XY Chromosomes. Gender doesn't have to refer to that. When we start talking about abstract concepts, it is a more abstract term that is just piggy backing its physical cousin in order to be understood. If this piggy backing is not helping, then separate them. Many words have more than one meaning. Feminine and Masculine are two such words.

[> [> A concurring opinion -- Sophist, 08:22:32 07/03/03 Thu

I dissent from the second sentence, but concur with the rest of manwitch's post. Let me add 2 points about post-modernism.

First, I think it's a mistake to refer to "postmodernism" as if it were a unified doctrine. We all do this, of course. I have done it myself many times with the equally diffuse concept of existentialism. But a great part of postmodernism is its resolutely anti-doctrinal stance; it's much too anarchical for us to say "postmodernists think X". Some do, some don't. And if some do, those who don't will subvert those who do; postmoderns tend to be corruscatingly skeptical. (The last sentence was intentionally ironic. Unless you think it wasn't.)

Characterizing postmodernism as a unified set of beliefs or doctrines tends to be a precursor to blaming it for the perceived ills of the modern world. I never bought such explanations when applied to Catholics or Jews or homosexuals, and I don't see that shoe fitting postmodernism either. Maybe the Republican party.

signs have no signifieds whatever

My understanding is slightly different. Not that signs have no signifieds, but that they have no universally agreed signifieds. That is, words can and do mean different things to different people.

I should add that I do not identify myself as a postmodernist. I'm still stuck in the Enlightenment, though mostly in what some would call the Radical Enlightenment. You should therefore exhibit a healthy skepticism of everything I said above. Except my first sentence.

[> [> [> a clarificaton -- manwtich, 10:14:00 07/03/03 Thu

My understanding is slightly different. Not that signs have no signifieds, but that they have no universally agreed signifieds. That is, words can and do mean different things to different people.

Ah yes. This is correct in terms of the general relativistic stance of postmodernism, which, as you correctly point out, is not a coherent or universal theory.

My point about the sign having no signified was in relation to the specific term of "simulation." Simulation takes this idea to the extreme and argues that not only is the signified indeterminate, but that it is irrelevant and does not need to exist. For example, a product is advertised. The important thing is not the product itself, but the signs that circulate around it. The meanings that are attched to it. In fact, it is only the meaning that exists. The signified referred to is completely immaterial. When you consume the thing advertised you are transferring those signs to yourself, not consuming a real object or its use value. The referent of the signs is completely non-existant. Only meaning in the signs themselves matters. The signs and messages that used to be attached to the thing are now attached to you as the consumer of the thing. But there is no thing in itself.

So "simulation" suggests that sign production has become so advanced that signifieds are no longer required to produce the appropriate response in the viewer/victim. Again, I don't think even Baudrillard argues for simulation. I believe he simply observes it. He suggests that the response is passivity. To be impervious to manipulation by signs. To simply absorb without response.

I think he offers some interesting critical tools, but I never got quite comfortable with that idea. I can see it has a place, but it just isn't quite for me. Like I said, he is, or was at anyrate, considered radical even in postmodernism.

But I don't think this postmodern idea of simulation is transferrable to what morgain described in Season 7.

[> [> [> [> Thanks. -- Sophist, 10:52:53 07/03/03 Thu

I hadn't seen the concept taken to that extreme. I see the point, but would not agree with anyone arguing it. Nor do I think that "simulation" as you explain it would apply to S7. However, others have commented that JW occasionally will sacrifice plot and logic to achieve a simile, and that may be similar to "simulation".

[> [> Worked for me. Good post. -- s'kat, 09:50:20 07/03/03 Thu

SK, I hope this 2nd draft is bearable. I trashed the first one. I am always interested in people's views on postmodernism, or postmodern thought applied to Buffy. I just see postmodernism as optimistic rather than cynical.

Very well written. I hope morgain had a chance to read it and is checking the board - never can tell. Because I like the points you raised and would like to see s/he argue them.
I'm afraid I can't add much myself, having not read Kearney
or Baudillard or being overly familar with the philosophy.
But I'm enjoying reading what others have to say on the topic.

From what you've stated above? I would tend to agree - I think the story really is about Buffy's spiritual journey.
My difficulties with Season 7, I've begun to realize, aren't with the nature of theme so much as how it was executed.

Someone, 3Strikes, on another board mentioned this. He said that the way the story was executed the writers may have ended up with a inersion of the theme they intended. Interesting idea. While I did have difficulties with the execution - I'm not sure I'd go so far as to state it was inverted. (ie. Potentials enslaved instead of released.)

[> [> Word and labels -- lunasea, 07:11:46 07/04/03 Fri

I agree with your assessment of the series. The aspect of the series that I enjoy and the reason that I watch it is this spiritual journey. I would love to know how much of it was consciously written and how much was Joss' transcendent function. I would venture that the conscious story that Joss wanted to tell was underwritten by this spiritual journey unconsciously.

It is this spiritual journey that causes me to be so reluctant to post lately. Many of the posts seem to be an attempt to give form to the formless. That is almost sacreligious to me (at the very least it is incredibly un or counter-productive). Now that Buffy's journey has concluded this turn of the wheel, to say that is was X or Y or any other word seems to me to miss the whole point.

In Buddhism we have lots of words (mostly in Sanskrit/Pali or Japanese), tons of stories (the sutras make the Bible look like Cliff Notes), and a plethora of fun koans. There is something that is misunderstood, koans. They aren't designed to get us to think or figure out some deep complexity. The whole purpose of working the koans is to reach a state where you go "I really just don't know."

Scary place, especially to modern man who has to know everything. Interesting place for Joss to open with for the dream sequences of "Restless."

I like the coats the vampires wear. It reminds me of one of the multitude of sayings we have in Buddhism that try to explain the process and goal. Ego is like a coat. We don't try to destroy it, but merely discard it when we don't need it any more. Spike still needs his. We will have to see how Angel dresses next season, but I have a feeling he will just trade one for another. As vampires they really have no physical need for it, though.

At one point all those words, stories, metaphors, etc form the raft to get us across the stream. Joss took us across that stream. To continue to carrry the raft is counter-productive. At some point, they have to be discarded.

Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?

I was thinking about looking back on the last 7 years of my life and seeing what it all meant was not her response.

[> Simulation in S7 -- Valheru, 01:49:46 07/03/03 Thu

While I certainly see some post-modernist ideas throughout S7, I don't believe that simulation was something that was intentional on the part of the writers. I see it more as a series of dropped ideas.

Each season, BtVS starts out with a redefinition of its characters, establishing the "base" of each character from where all explorations will stem. As with previous seasons, S7 did a great job of setting everything up in the early episodes, in anticipation of the midseason crisis-point. Every season, it's like, "Okay, this is S2 Willow. See S2 Willow? These are the good things. These are the bad things. Got all that? Oh, episode 13...now let's put S2 Willow to the test." Except...S7 never really did this. Lots of things were established early, but then there was no big exploration of the themes.

Take Xander, for example. Early on, we see Responsible Xander acting as Father Scooby. That's the good part. But with Anya, we see him sort of sidestepping all of their relationship issues. So there's the setup: is Xander going to be Father Scooby or Baby Scooby? So enter Andrew to be Xander's dark mirror, to tempt him toward irresponsibility and juvenillity (is that even a word?) and to contrast any adult-leaning actions on Xander's part.

The problem with Andrew (in relation to Xander) is that he never really became the dark mirror. Instead, he became his own character with his own growth. Well, if the mirror character grows, the other must shrink or else the comparison falls apart. In this case, the comparison fell apart, leaving Xander with an almost non-existant arc.

IMO, S7 started out setting up a bunch of golf balls on easy tees. The story and characters walked up to the tees, addressed the balls with their clubs, and then they decided to play football instead. By the time they got back to playing golf, the balls had already rolled off.

I don't think the simulations were set up for their own amusement, but rather to serve actual purposes. But then they were never actually used for those purposes (or at least, they weren't used well), so they just seemed empty. What should have been self-parody for construction instead became self-parody for exhibition.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Due to extreme sleepiness and hand-crampiness, this post has been condensed from the unabriged version in my head. Any confusion is that solely of the author, so readers should take care not to look too deeply for hidden meaning in the ill musings (unless there are hidden meanings, in which case I take all the cr><). And no, reading this post backwards is not a cure for night-blindness (I already tried it). Please direct any further complaints to: Voy N. Ack, Wolfram & Hart Customer Service, 666 S. 666th Street, Los Angeles, Jasminifornia 31417 or e-mail at: imgonnaeatyourpost@voy.com ]

[> [> LOL -- Sophist, 08:04:34 07/03/03 Thu

[> [> LMAO!! Agreed.... -- s'kat, 09:37:09 07/03/03 Thu

Whether intended or not - I love the idea that they intended to play golf - and went off to play football instead, then when they returned to play golf, all the golf balls rolled off the course - this seems to fit the writers interviews to a "t".

Also explains my general grumpiness with the season (in case no one noticed ;-) ).

LOL! Great post.

[> Post-Modernism and Season 7 -- Darby, 08:36:06 07/03/03 Thu

I think that one of the problems is that post-modernism has taken to mean many different things to many different groups (which is really ironic), and as manwitch pointed out, doesn't cross-pollinate well.

In science, post-modernism basically says that the product is always hugely influenced by the producer, even in cold, supposedly impartial research. It has a big part of my introductory lectures, as I think it helps to humanize science as a creative pursuit that has unexpected pitfalls. One tries to recognize their own personal biases and remark on them, even if you can't completely overcome them. Joss sort of does this, but like many scientists he seems to focus on the obvious ones and rationalize away many of the others. Sometimes it's the classic, "I meant to do that," or, "I didn't mean to do that, so it doesn't matter, and it's mean for you to point it out to me!"

From that standpoint, the post-modern aspects of season 7 are many: too much time addressing concerns from the internet crowd, making Giles not touch things for episode after episode because they thought it was "cool," backing off the core characters because they felt that they had run out of things to say with them, avoiding a real Buffy vs. First-Buffy because they feared the message it might carry, making Caleb a caricature, doing a slam-bang CGI finale, squeezing the finale into one hour, bringing Angel back even though there really was no way to comfortably wedge him into the plot, etc, etc, etc... (Many of these are based upon creator interviews, including the recent one with Joss).

I'm really not sure how this all relates to the Post-Modernism of the essay.

[> [> Re: Post-Modernism and Season 7 -- Yellow Bear, 11:52:26 07/03/03 Thu

Would you care to elaborate on 'too much time addressing concerns from the internet crowd'? Curious as to what you mean by this exactly?

[> [> [> Re: Post-Modernism and Season 7 -- Miss 12:14:03 07/03/03 Thu

Andrew say "Jonathon/The First" which was an inside joke for internet fans directly lifted from an internet posting board from what I heard. Andrew often seemed to be the voice of the audience when commenting on events. I liked Andrew, but I did feel the writers tended to get self-indulgent with him. There was a tendency to take us out of the story so that Andrew could make a witty comment about what we were supposed to be emotionally invested in. I found that a problem in season 7, the writers were striving a little too hard to appear in the voice of the character Andrew. He was such a fanboy, and I believe most ME writers acknowledged that a lot of the nerds discussion in season 6 was based on conversations lifted from the writers room.

[> [> [> Re: Post-Modernism and Season 7 -- Darby, 13:06:10 07/03/03 Thu

I'm having trouble pulling too many examples (I know that, for a while, they were weekly and sometimes multiple) out of my head, but the red herring about Dawn being a Potential comes to mind (or whether there are aspects of Faith in Dawn), and the "is Giles the First?" seemed too juicy for them to let go of, despite it covering what, over a month of realworld time and a decent chunk of Buffyverse time? Many of the plots and asides seemed aimed at the speculators at boards like this ones - questions too esoteric to be important to the viewers-at-large and too specific to concern the ME staff, who don't really care all that much about the minutiae.

The opening sequence of the articulate-at-emergence vampire, something never seen before, is straight out of a series of threads (most notably one by cjl) from last summer, and it seemed that many of the gray areas endlessly debated here kept getting addressed in very familiar ways during the season.

But maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist...

[> [> [> [> Re: Post-Modernism and Season 7 -- Yellow Bear, 13:35:43 07/03/03 Thu

I actually think the Giles-as-First plotline played better with people not plugged into the fan community as this group (even excluding spoiler people) would probably disect it to death. I suspect that the power of BTVS internet community is overrated, certainly the power this community seems ot think it has over Whedon. On average, BTVS has four million (American) viewers per episode and if ever 10% of that group is in chat rooms or reading spoiler sites weekly, I'd be surprised. Also, I think taking the viewpoint of this community as gospel on the show is dangerous. The fans here tend to far more obsessive & Fannish (to specific characters) than a traditional viewer and as such, the tend to see alot of things in the text & out side of it that others do not.

[> [> [> [> [> Darby's right about the fanboards influence -- s'kat, 14:45:42 07/03/03 Thu

In the Official Buffy Magazine Issue #8, pp.14-15, the writers reveal a few things. The article is called Writer Revelations and no, I'm not going to transcribe all of it for you, so don't ask. ;-)

"Sometimes a phrase from the BronzeBeta - for example, Andrew calling an apparition 'Jonathan-slash-The-First' will turn up in an episode. "This isn't just synchronicity, Mere Smith says: "That's us paying attention and it's also a sort of a shout-out, an appreciation of the fans and their perspective."

"Then again sometimes the writers can't resist teasing. If you were worried that Giles was really the First when he didn't touch anything for several episodes, you may wonder if this was calculated to drive you crazy. 'Pretty much,'
Drew Greenberg confirms with a grin."

Whedon states in other interviews (can't remember which ones - but check slayage archives for 2002) that he has always checked the internet for fan response, he ignores the ratings. The writers of these shows are "geeks" they are into the internet. They have websites. David Fury has gotten into posting battles with people on boards. Minear posts on Angel's Soul. Check the VIP Board on Bronze Beta.
So - while the general audience may not care, ME (like it or not) does. I used to think they didn't - but you don't go to the Posting Board Party held by Bronze Beta every year and you don't post online - if you don't care.

They care and yes, it found it's way into the shows this year and last year.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Darby's right about the fanboards influence -- Yellow bear, 20:57:01 07/03/03 Thu

Actually, I have that magazine & have read that interview so you don't have to worry about:). I tend to believe that they oversell this aspect of the show in interviews. They know who are reading these interviews, and it's flattering to the community that ME pays attention to them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Darby's right about the fanboards influence -- Yellow Bear, 21:46:11 07/03/03 Thu

I really wanted to clarify what I mean by the influence that fan boards have on Whedon & Co. First, Whedon & Co. clearly read the boards and often have shout-outs to the posters through dialogue on the shows (Mere Smith has confirmed this several times as have other writers). Also, Whedon & Co. read the boards to take the tempature of the audience in regards to plotlines & characters. If something isn't working, Whedon & Co. may tweak it or create a sequence to get the audience where the want them to be (the Oz speech in 'Innocence' being the classic example).

Now, I don't belive that Whedon & Co. are reading the boards and trying to craft a narrative that's going to mirror the audience. To use some examples from above, I thougth Spike's relationship with his mother would be much like we saw in LMPTM (based on FFL, primarily). I never read or posted anything on a board about it. It seems to be an example of a creative team being in sync with their audience. I don't believe that 'Potential' was created to tweak audience speculation about Dawn. This may play a part in the episode but this speculation went way beyond the boaards and was popping up in reviews & articles about the show for the last year.'Potential' is the natural illustration of Dawn's emotional reaction to both the potentials & to her desire to please/be Buffy.

As for my statement abut Giles-as-first being enjoyed by non-plugged in fans, this is based primarily by talking to several friends who do nothing but watch the show on Tuesday night. They had a great time with the plot and didn't let it become the burr under the saddle that so many on-line did (although most found the explanation was lame, they let it go and moved on).

Obviously, Whedon & Co. pay attention to these boards (as artist, how could you not with the instant feedback that they give you). I just think that the fan community has a tendency to overinflate it's importance and that Whedon encourages it because he knows that it's good for business. Whedon has to try to please a much wider audience than is on these boards as well as satisfy his own artistic impulses. It's a huge order especially with a community this possesive of the text.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm gonna say it right here... -- Rob, 08:32:16 07/04/03 Fri

I liked the Giles-as-First tease. I liked the mystery, I liked the set-up, and I thought the anti-climactic explanation ("his shoe squeaked") was very funny because of its mundane-ness, kind of a parody of the other anti-climactic explanations the show has given to mysteries, like when the revelation about Tara was that she wasn't a demon and when the revelation about Buffy was that she didn't come back wrong. Part of me was a bit disappointed (even though I love Giles) that he wasn't The First or some other kind of spirit, because when I saw the ax come down, I was shocked, horrified, but also loved how many risks the show was taking, in literally dismantling its own mythology in the final season. Killing characters we didn't think would die, destroying the institution that has always been lurking in the background...this show has balls! So, yes, I did feel a bit of anticlimax with the explanation, and wasn't happy that not much more explanation was given as to Giles' behavior this year. Yes, I think it was because of a mixture of depression and shock as he sees his whole world and everything he's believed in or fought for crashing down around him. But I wish they actually addressed it on the show. Either way, though, I had fun with the Giles-as-First plot. It kept me suspicious for a few months, and had a very funny pay-off both when the Scoobies all jumped Giles and when Spike did the next episode. I may be just easy to please, and I do definitely think that S7 had problems. It's just that I think that some of the other problems were far more important than this red herring.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm gonna say it right here... -- Yellow Bear, 10:25:46 07/04/03 Fri

I agree, Rob. I went with the storyline and had fun with it. Mostly though, I don't really think it's that big a deal in the long run but people have really seized on to it as a key problem in S7. I retrospect (the best kind of spect), I do wish they had dropped this little gambit if it allowed them some more time to explore Giles emotions which were, sadly, underdramatized last season.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed. In the best kind of 'spect... -- Rob, 11:02:32 07/04/03 Fri

I could have lived without it for the sake of more Giles character explanation. The problem I think was that the writers got so psyched about the fake-out that they forgot to later explain just why Giles had behaved weirdly in the first place. Then it would have worked on two levels the second time we watched it: why we think Giles is The First, and why Giles really was behaving the way he was. Instead, we really only had the first part explained.

I don't begrudge the writers their fun. I had some fun without it too. But people wouldn't be so annoyed by this if they had followed through better.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Darby's right about the fanboards influence -- s'kat, 13:12:13 07/04/03 Fri

Actually most of the people I know who watch the show and aren't into the internet boards? Hated that sub-plot. While several people who are into the internet boards? Loved it.
So there's really no formula. It comes down to just another generalization being made based on the circle of people you or I know. (shrug)Not a good barometer. Unless you are claiming to have over a hundred friends who watch the show and never come to the internet? I know I don't. ;-) Four or five doesn't make a good sampling.

I wasn't stating that Whedon and ME write the show based on what the boards think. Heck if they did? We wouldn't have had S6 or S7. Tara wouldn't have died. Spike would not have gotten a soul. And Buffy and Angel would have a kid by now. ;-) But like all tv shows they do use ratings and fan reactions as a sort of barometer to see what is working and what isn't working. It's the nature of the beast so to speak. The same thing is true about books in the publishing industry. I would not be the least bit surprised if Charles Dickens didn't tweak certain characters based on his audiences responses to the segments he released in magazines. (Dickens novels were released in chapters in journals at the time - not in complete form - sort of like an on-going print serial.) In the documentary I saw on comics - they admitted that they changed things based on comic book sales. And fan reactions. Wonder Woman was literally changed based on fan reactions.

So how do you gauge the audience's reaction to your show?
What barometer do you use?

Obviously they can't read your mind and unless your friends are tv critics, own a Neilsen box, or post on Bronze Beta,
chances are ME has no clue they exist or even watch BTVS. They don't register on ME's barometer. (This is the source of Whedon's comments in his interview about having just 48 fans - he's only really aware of the fans that he has barometer for...while he may assume there are others - he can't worry about them, since there's no way of judging them. I wasn't on the internet until 2002, so he didn't know or cared I existed. (probably still doesn't).And my brother, his girlfriend, my friend, mother, brothers friends, never went on the internet or have Neilsen's etc on this. They just watch. But ME can't figure out why or what's working with that bunch.

So what they use is:

1. The Network and Kuzuis and Fox - look at Neilsen Ratings and demographic ratings: these are taken from randomly selected people across the country who agree to keep a journal and have a box that tracks what they watch on a weekly/monthly basis - data is grabbed during sweeps months.
I know a little about this because my Grandmother was selected to do it.

2. Television Critics - salon, tv guide, slayage, E! Online, Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, City of Angels, Dreamwatch, TV Zone, the list is endless.

3. Internet posting boards: bronze beta, Buffy Cross and Stake, Angel's Soul Board, Succubus Club, Television Without Pity, UPN posting board, WB posting board

4. Fan mail

These are their barometers. This is how they know what works and what doesn't work. And how they keep the show from getting cancelled. Most of it is just gut reaction, to be honest, they really aren't that scientific. The science is to justify the millions of dollars they spend on these series and to convince advertisers to invest money in the series by putting ads with them.

So yep, ME is trying to get general audience - but they have to some way of knowing/judging what that audience likes. And yes, they cater to that audience - because that's
the audience that keeps them on air. At the same time, they are more than willing to take risks with the audience - b/c they realize this audience expects the risks. (Although some of those risks have back-fired. Example Tara's death.)

That was all I was trying to point out. Hopefully this makes it a little clearer.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Darby's right about the fanboards influence -- Yellow Bear, 15:52:31 07/04/03 Fri

You are right about my generalization on the Giles situation. Until Rob, I had read no one on this board (or any other) who had a positive thing to say about the Giles red herring which was not the general perception of the (or to be precise, my) outside world.

For the most part, I agree with what you've posted above. In the end, we may just be splitting hairs on this issue. My main point was that clearly Whedon is not just trying to mirror the fan desires with his storylines (was going to use many of the same examples you use to validate my point). As I said in my post, it would be nearly impossible for an artist not to use the internet for feedback about his work.

The Dickens comparision is intriguing because I was thinking just the other day that the method used to publish his works may be the closest model we have to modern TV production & the internet in terms of a mass audience judging not a completed work but pieces of it. However, I doubt Dickens could get the anywhere near the amount of specific (I saw someone here review 'Chosen' pretty much line-by-line) that Whedon has. In the end, I remain very conflicted about how good or bad this might be for the nature of the storytelling.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I think, to a certain extent, they're also able to predict fan reactions -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:21:14 07/04/03 Fri

For instance, after "End of Days" aired, lots of people were comparing Buffy, Spike, and Angel to "Dawson's Creek" and saying the writers were falling into that cliche. But, in "Chosen", Buffy actually references Dawson when describing how Angel is reacting to Spike. "Chosen" was written and filmed long before they could have gotten a fan reaction to "End of Days", so, at least in one case, the writers predicted how fans would react to a particular story developement.

Though, it doesn't always work. ME knew they were gonna get fan backlash for killing Tara, but underestimated the degree.

[> [> [> [> Re: Post-Modernism and Season 7 -- Alison, 13:37:49 07/03/03 Thu

and..Spike's "mommy issues"- often discussed online, and they played out on the show just as most of the internet spec had...which was a bit of a disapointment. So, if this means I'm a conspiracy theorist too, well...call me paranoid.

Completely off-topic, but Willow likes Google -- lunasea, 08:22:47 07/03/03 Thu

Do the following.

1. Go to google.

2. Type in weapons of mass destruction

3. Hit "I Feel Lucky"

4. Read

5. Laugh

[> Heheheh...that's great! Thanks, lunasea. -- Random, 08:47:52 07/03/03 Thu

[> [> Oh, if you click on the about link at the bottom, it leads to a page where... -- Random, 08:56:20 07/03/03 Thu

You can access this page: http://www.coxar.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/blair.html

[> [> [> Ditto on the thanks for posting. That was hilarious!! -- Rob, 10:03:24 07/03/03 Thu

And if you click on "Bomb," you get to Amazon, to buy a copy of Dr. Strangelove! LOL!


[> OT to Lunasea -- Rahael, 08:58:09 07/03/03 Thu

Lunasea, missed replying to your very kind post about S7. Actually, your post did make me think. And, why should Joss Whedon stop me enjoying a season? I'll just have to work a little extra harder! Maybe I'll succeed when the DVDs get released.

Anyway, I appreciated it!

[> [> You're so welcome -- lunasea, 09:56:52 07/03/03 Thu

There have been several posts lately by various posters who I really respect that have said things about such and such being depowering or similar statements. It really caused me to stop responding to things for a while.

A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The message is at the END, usually refered to as a moral. The beginning and the middle are just steps to this end. Joss creates his own universe, but if it doesn't relate to the real world, it loses its relevancy. The real world sucks. Patriarch rules and women are raped. What would be a more powerful story, a utopian world where such things don't happen or a world where they do and the heroes rise above this? In order to rise above this, they have to happen in the story.

I'm sure that you will enjoy season 7 better upon reviewing. It is much better when seen back-to-back. Just keep the theme in mind and all the negative stuff will appear as just that, negative, what Joss will ultimately speak out against.

[> [> Another O/T to Rahael-Spoilers for Home -- Arethusa, 12:01:57 07/03/03 Thu

Darn that Voy. Now I feel like I'm hunting you down to reply to your posts, as well as interrupting lunasea.

I did exactly the same thing your describe-I gave up my power. And it took a very long time to realize what I had done, and the effect it had on me. Very similar to effect it had on you. Which is why I wanted to respond, even though I have little to add. I'm learning to use my power to connect, instead of protect myself from the world.

Do you remember Chief Seattle's assessment of Angel in Spin the Bottle? He said Angel still saw himself as a victim, despite the hundred of years that had passed since his mistreatment. It was keeping him from taking control over his actions, instead of being controlled by fate. (No wonder I identify with Angel.) And now next year he'll be the one in control, with no one else to blame for his actions. I wonder how he'll handle it.

[> [> [> Yes! - Angel, his soul, and Jasmine (Spoilers, S4) -- Rahael, 09:49:20 07/04/03 Fri

Good point about Angel. I was also thinking once again about Jasmine as metaphor. Here is the person who promises Bliss, happiness, and Angel rejects it. Is it in one sense another playing out of his 'soul/perfect happiness/Angelus' storyline? Angel clearly signals that life is complex, it is screwing up, it is living without 'perfect happiness'. The perfect happiness which releases his soul this season is fake, not real, a fantasy.

He also speaks for humanity's right to make the wrong choice and makes it.

Everything darkens in Home. The Soul metaphor just got more complex.

(Oh, and once again you make me feel not-alone, Arethusa. It is amazing how many times you have made the odd, strange, alien part of me feel human and un-odd and un-strange. What it is to feel understood!)

last bit for Rob (sneaking round Voy very quietly) -- MsGiles, 08:48:45 07/03/03 Thu

These are a bit jumbled, so sorry about that.
Still getting over being an 'annotaty celebrity' btw!

Trick: Kill the Slayer, yeah. Still, big picture...
A bit of a teaser .. we don't yet know that Buffy is not the Slayer in question, this time.

Clucking continued (I keep thinking about clucking, now)
Another contemporary scenario when clucking might be heard: picture a group of middle-aged English people, at a bus-stop, say. Over the road, a group of teenagers start doing something socially unacceptable, like vandalising a phone box. The people turn to each other. As each catches the others eye, they cluck. A brief spate of clucking establishes a disapproving consensus, then everyone goes back to waiting for the bus..

It's funny when you suddenly realise that some behaviour you take for granted may in fact be really weird.. now I'm cluck watching!

Buffy: Giles, contain yourself. Yes, I'm back in school, but you know how it embarrasses me when you gush so.
Buffy hasn't spotted that Giles is deliberately overplaying his diffidence here, because he's trying to gently trick her into talking about what went on when Acathla came back, and why it upset her so much.

Willow: (sounding hurt) Oh! Who's more sensitive than me?
'Sensitive' Willow hasn't picked up on Giles' ruse either - tellingly, she's far to eager to be involved in another spell.

They see Buffy just inside the park. She has laid out a blanket in the shade of a palm tree by a bench, and is setting out serving plates of food and bottles of drinks. The group begins to walk toward her.
The picnic theme, introduced here, is picked up much later on in S4. Buffy and Riley's first date is a picnic, and then Faith, in a coma, dreams of picnicking with the Mayor in what is (as has been pointed out elsewhere) a very Garden of Eden-esque scene.
Picnics in themselves seem to symbolise a partial return to nature, perhaps to Eden, perhaps to a Rousseau-like state of innocence. There is a well-known C19 Impressionist painting, 'le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe' (Manet 1863)(see it at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/manet/dejeuner/) in which two clothed French gentlemen converse with a naked female bather over a picnic lunch. The picture caused an outcry when first exhibited, not because of the female nudity (common in art) but because of the way this was represented in a contemporary, outdoor setting, without the normal guise of a classical metaphor.
Another impressionist, Monet, repeated the picnic theme, but without any naked people, in 1866 (http://www.abcgallery.com/M/monet/monet7.html), contrasting the natural setting with the elaborate clothing of a Parisian group of socialites.
Buffy, in laying out a picnic for her friends, is perhaps demonstrating her wish to return to a state of innocence, to make a fresh start. She is also offering a shared meal, to re-unite the group after her rejection of it over the summer, and perhaps by way of apology for that rejection.

But since then, you know, small stuff: floating feather, fire out of ice, which next time I won't do on
the bedspread.

yet another example of Willow's magic going awry. Perhaps her biggest problem to overcome is not her mistakes, but her inability to acknowledge the potential real danger in the forces she is using: something of which Giles is much more aware (for reasons we already know).
It's interesting that Willow *expects* Giles to be mad at her here, even though he isn't that worried. it's almost as if she's beginning to test him, test the boundaries. They are all finding, as they grow older, that the restrictions on them from authority are decreasing, and they will come to find that the rules are replaced by responsibilities. Of the group, Buffy finds the rules most irksome, and easiest to leave behind, as she already carries Slaying responsibilities. Willow on the other hand clings to the safety of rules, and will be the slowest to realise the level of responsibility that her increasing power lays on her.

Cordelia: What is it with you and Slayers? (Xander jerks around to face her) Maybe I should dress up as one and put a stake to your throat.
In S5 Buffy-obsessed Spike gets Harmony to do that exact thing.

Maybe over a cup of coffee, or maybe at the Buster Keaton festival playing on State Street all this weekend.
Everyone has pretty much summed up Keaton. He was almost the Jackie Chan of the 20's cinema, with a fantastic gift for inventive acrobatic comedy, grounded in a childhood of being hurled around the vaudeville stage by his father. His early success was followed by disastrous middle years, when he fell out with MGM, his marriage to screen star Natalie Talmadge failed, and he became an alcoholic. In later life he remarried happily and enjoyed the revived popularity of his silent films. As well as the trademark stoicism, his screen persona was possessed of an intense romanticism: his plots usually had him motivated to transcend his shyness by the power of unrequited love. Suggests that Scott may be something of a romantic too.

Faith: (quickly grabs her bag) It's what I did to him, all right?
Faith's bravado now starts to unravel. It becomes clear that far from being a confident extrovert on top of her game, as she has made out, she is on the run - and in a last desperate attempt to escape her trouble, she's brought it to Buffy. What's more, she was hoping to leave Buffy to fight Kakistos, without explaining the situation.

Trick: There's a reason these vengeance crusades are out of style. It's the modern vampire who sees the big picture.
Trick and Spike share a ruthless pragmatism, as well as a liking for new technology.

[> Re: last bit for Rob (sneaking round Voy very quietly) -- Kenny, 09:01:59 07/03/03 Thu

Trick and Spike share a ruthless pragmatism, as well as a liking for new technology.

Although Spike's relationship with technology is bittersweet, to say the least.

[> [> bittersweet -- MsGiles, 14:19:32 07/03/03 Thu

Hmm.. well, when he started getting into video recorders and stuff, he couldn't have predicted quite how ..intimate.. his relationship with technology would end up becoming. That could apply to the chip and the Bot, I guess.

[> be voy-wy, voy-wy quiet--i'm pwesewving thweads -- anom, 11:34:17 07/03/03 Thu

And, heehee!--cwuck, I mean cluck watching!

"But since then, you know, small stuff: floating feather, fire out of ice, which next time I won't do on the bedspread.
yet another example of Willow's magic going awry. Perhaps her biggest problem to overcome is not her mistakes, but her inability to acknowledge the potential real danger in the forces she is using...."

But here, as in some other cases, it's not that the magic itself goes wrong (Willow's talking about the stuff she can do) but that Willow didn't think ahead to the most elementary logical consequences & take precautions. Someone once listed her spells, looking at which ones worked & which went wrong; it might be interesting to look at which went wrong because of the magic itself & which because she didn't think about what the consequences might be. I think it's safe to say that even if Willow learned the specific not-on-the-bedspread lesson, she didn't go on to apply it as a general principle.

One thing about Trick & his D.C. origins: Washington became known in the 1970s as "Chocolate City" because its population had become predominantly black--an additional contrast w/Sunnydale's "Caucasian persuasion." Hmm...I wonder if his pragmatism is at all related to his origins in the city whose primary business is the U.S. federal government?

[> [> HEY, ANOM, WHATCHA DO...umm, oops, sorry, was that too loud? -- Random, 13:02:44 07/03/03 Thu

[> [> You are a brave woman!--Rob, who laughs in the face of danger... -- ...then hides till it goes away, 22:50:18 07/03/03 Thu

[> ice from fire -- Anneth, 14:50:06 07/03/03 Thu

fire out of ice is one of the spells Willow claims to have been practicing. In the first X-men movie, two young men flirt with the novice Rouge; one, Pyro, generates a little ball of fire in his cupped hand; the other, Bobby (Iceman) extinguishes it with an icy blast. This 'ice out of fire' is an inversion of Willow's spell, and may or may not have any relation to the fact that Joss penned the original script for X-men.

[> [> fire and ice always makes me think of Dead Things/crypt scene also -- MsGiles, 02:38:31 07/04/03 Fri

Would a season of "Restless" have worked? -- Darby, 11:47:08 07/03/03 Thu

As I've stated many times, early in Season 7, when the Big Bad was obviously the First Evil, I salivated like a Pavlovian canine. Forget that the First of Amends was a bit lame - the strength of this BB was in its ability to delve into the innermost guilts of the characters, to manipulate them like the Ghost of Christmas Present to face their own Evil, and it seemed the perfect metaphor for the point in our lives when we really come to grips (or don't) with the "us" that will be gliding through the rest of our lifetimes with the idealized personae in tow. How do we see ourselves, and how well do we both accept and battle our shortcomings?

Since Joss had touted this as a "Back to the Beginning" season, I expected bouts of the core characters dealing with their considerable baggage, spaced with some interesting stand-alones. We would really get a better feel for Ripper, for the Harris family curse, for Dark Willow, leading up to Buffy's ability to deal with the Darkness inside that's just...Buffy. As Restless gave us brief glimpses into the fears of our group, this season would really force them to accept or deny their inner selves.

And we got a little of this. Selfless, Conversations With Dead People, Storyteller, Lies My Parents Told Me all fell into this thematic zone, but were mostly external to the core group. The Killer in Me came close as well, although the guilt issue about "leaving" a deceased loved one put it a bit on the fringe.

Could this not have been done without just rehashing familiar, boring ground? Was I expecting too much? Would it have been just Restless-type vignettes expanded to full episodes? Could the Conversations storylines have supported full episodes, with a new "B" storyline in each?

Yeah, yeah, we shouldn't rewrite the show with our preferences, we should deal with what we got, but am I wrong that they teased us with apparently this exact storyline and went to a more battly place? Did they have to? Would a more cerebral and less kick-in-the-noogies final season, driven more by character and less by plot, have driven even more viewers away?

[> This viewer would have been thrilled. -- dream, 12:58:00 07/03/03 Thu

[> What I hoped for too. Wish they'd done it. -- s'kat, 14:30:56 07/03/03 Thu

Since Joss had touted this as a "Back to the Beginning" season, I expected bouts of the core characters dealing with their considerable baggage, spaced with some interesting stand-alones. We would really get a better feel for Ripper, for the Harris family curse, for Dark Willow, leading up to Buffy's ability to deal with the Darkness inside that's just...Buffy. As Restless gave us brief glimpses into the fears of our group, this season would really force them to accept or deny their inner selves.

So did I. After BoTN that was my expectation from Buffy's speech about rooting out and facing their fears. I expected more episodes like CwDP, Selfless, STSP, Beneath You,
The Killer in Me, Lies...but noooo. Instead we got Caleb.
And lots of Andrew metanarration.

Forget that the First of Amends was a bit lame - the strength of this BB was in its ability to delve into the innermost guilts of the characters, to manipulate them like the Ghost of Christmas Present to face their own Evil, and it seemed the perfect metaphor for the point in our lives when we really come to grips (or don't) with the "us" that will be gliding through the rest of our lifetimes with the idealized personae in tow. How do we see ourselves, and how well do we both accept and battle our shortcomings?

I wish they'd gone this route, I think the FE had the potential of being the best of the BB's as opposed to the weakest. I don't understand why they didn't - it certainly looked like that was the direction they were going up to Dirty Girls.

Perhaps they thought it was too boring?? Don't know.
Disappointed me that they didn't.

[> [> hmmm -- Nino, 15:22:27 07/03/03 Thu

I have to say, I liked that Caleb showed up...but I am totally with you other then that...all season I was waiting for the First to really launch a psychological attack on the Scoobs, and with a few exceptions, this did not happen....

[> [> I suspect..who voices an opinion -- solo spinout, 09:44:55 07/04/03 Fri

ITA that BOTN (adding Restless) was certainly exposition. And I think UPN and FOX squared off on the plot. I have a difficult time matching up anything from Action in BOTN to future episodes.

At the start of BOTN Dru had Spike physically Raped by the super strong Uber Vamp ("we will have our way with this one".... scream/blackout). The rape theme that started in Season six continued per MN was resurfacing. UPN saw how much that did not work, and they *likely said no*
The idea suggested by Dru saying *tearing girls like pink paper* was so not happening, and soon the ubervamps became weak enough for said little girls to defeat them. Caleb being able to cut a non corpreal SMG FE thru the womb was as close as they got (and the FE healed, bouncing right up).

Also around this time the WB was switching Angel around on
nights and increasing spans in presentation dates of New eps. There can be a case made that Jasmine was intended to show up on Buffy, to counter act the Evil that was anticipated to arrive in SD on the moon per (the New Man/Prince Barvain)BOTN. In an early episode of Buffy, Buffy in white sweater reaching over to a huddling SPike, speaking of Dru, was a representation of Jasmine. I can remember a lot of board talk about just who was White Buffy...and I think it was Jasmine. Representing Caleb was JM; a rat hunting Spike, one who said it was not time yet, and who said the scoobies lack etiquette (sp), a defacto Caleb *who later told Buffy she lacked Manners in her office; just before he threw her thru a window*

I suspect that Angel needed a plot past the *made out to be dumb Beast* to show the WB that Angel could be made interesting at the end, and hold chance for being renewed.

No one will ever come forward with this. Restless, when seen as Plot, has AH see a squiggle of black Yarn among the chaos of actors in a mix of movements (chaos in story lines of season seven). No one else does. My view of Restless is that this is Spike seeing Jasmine as something to be concerned with. JW, in mho, changed AH/Spike to Fred, and took a Buffy plot over to Angel to save his season five there.

ONe great professional writer here said it best. I am sorry I can not give the exact quote.

It was like the characters in the end were showing the stress of presenting a plot that they were ill suited for, after 6 plus seasons of character developement and plots of fantasy.

Caleb was the plot planned long ago...and I can tell, imho, by seeing how the scythe is represented. In Restless it is the *props* held in your hand, In Tabula Rasa, the stake Buffy picks up from the floor, and moves back and forth (an action repeated in Chosen w/scythe), is the same *Props*; the scythe; and last in HIM, the Bazoka the extention of the weapon, as Buffy carries it on her arm. When you see JM carry the weapon across his chest, that is the Amulet (and is why, in TR, ASH has trouble hugging Randy)

The weapon was there for Caleb.........who was in the works since Restless. The Cheesesman, the subtle shift, was telling Xander in Restless that the *Plot* would not protect him. And indeed, the Sits, did not prevent Caleb from harming Xander.

This Plot, one on the surface, was always planned for, and was indeed an Anvil, again.


[> Re: Would a season of "Restless" have worked? -- Corwin of Amber, 17:42:23 07/03/03 Thu

Honestly, I think that the final scene of the season opener (Lessons?), written by the master himself, kind of set the bar too high for the rest of the season. The morph through all the big bads in reverse order got us all salivating too much for our own good.

Unfortunately, they couldn't really go that way, due to budget constraints and the facts of life in series tv. To do the big bad right, they would have needed Tara to torment Willow, either Buffy or Jesse to torment Xander, Jenny to hassle Giles , and possibly Angel or Spike to bother Buffy. (More than they already do!). But the budgets, contracts or whatever weren't there. It could have been a season where it would have been VERY hard to tell which character was which, because any of the characters who have been or are dead...Buffy...Spike...Angel...could have been used by the FE to sow dissent. The sense of desperation they tried to achieve would have been total, if the FE can show up at any time as your nominal leaders...

[> [> Actually for Tara they needed... -- lunasea, 08:15:58 07/04/03 Fri

to do what Joss wanted, to bring her back to reunite her with Willow as Willow's true love. That would have been much more powerful and tear-worthy than Willow moving onto the anti-Tara.

The First isn't about tormenting. Tormenting is a vehicle to something. That something was accomplished without the First needing to do much, so why would it torment? To get its jolies?

[> Not the story that Joss is telling -- lunasea, 08:08:57 07/04/03 Fri

What you describe is but one part of that story. Dealing with our fears does not take us to the formless. Often it just solidifies our ego. Buffy's ego was at that point at the beginning of the season. It isn't so much about the "real us" as it was how to relate to this world.

"Empty Places" really had to be earned and most of the season was dedicated to that. I might have set it in earlier in the season, but it also had to be timed with Faith and the Angelus arc over on AtS. From "Sleeper" to "Get it Done" could have been condensed to fewer episodes (though they are much better when they are seen back-to-back)

Also, how does what you say about the First fit with the theme of either "Amends" or this season? You are taking what you think is the First and saying that the season should follow along with that. Instead the Bad, big and otherwise, fits the theme of the season or episode. As we get to the series finale, that theme is going to be what the series has been working up to. Buffy dealing with her fears isn't that theme. Angel dealing with his isn't the theme to "Amends" or it would have a different title and sub-storylines.

What you describe, dealing with their inner thems, was dealt with S6. None of them particularly liked themselves and didn't want to be themselves. What more did you want? Talk about Restless-style vignettes expanded-- that's all the season was.

I'm sorry that you didn't get the season you wanted. Personally, I wish Spike had been left in the basement and Dawn and Willow had used the screen time that went to him. Or Giles. Season 5 was heart. Season 6 was spirit. Season 7 should have been more Giles since it was wisdom. I was glad that they could use AtS to develop Willow more. Then again, they are probably saving both Willow and Giles for the future. Hopefully Watcher, Jr will show up on Ripper.

I think it was a wonderful back to the beginning. Buffy didn't want to be Slayer. That season was about her accepting her calling. This is the first season where in the premier Buffy didn't have to reassert her identity as Slayer. She has accepted that. She is the only one. In "Empty Places" she gives up her place to Faith and later she shares the Scythe. At the end, she is no longer the only one. It was a wonderful revisit to the beginning.

It is about a lot more than just accepting yourself.

[> [> Don't agree with everything, but... -- Rob, 08:51:40 07/04/03 Fri

...I do agree with these parts:

"Empty Places" really had to be earned and most of the season was dedicated to that.

From "Sleeper" to "Get it Done" could have been condensed to fewer episodes (though they are much better when they are seen back-to-back)

What you describe, dealing with their inner thems, was dealt with S6. None of them particularly liked themselves and didn't want to be themselves. What more did you want? Talk about Restless-style vignettes expanded-- that's all the season was.

That's exactly how I saw the sixth season. Every nightmare from "Restless" was explored that year, to the point that many viewers complained that it was too focused on the characters, with no external dramatic force stirring things up and moving the plot along. I didn't want this season to be a season where the Scoobies confront their fears, but what it was, a year where they finally begin to become the people they are going to be.

I think it was a wonderful back to the beginning. Buffy didn't want to be Slayer. That season was about her accepting her calling. This is the first season where in the premier Buffy didn't have to reassert her identity as Slayer. She has accepted that. She is the only one. In "Empty Places" she gives up her place to Faith and later she shares the Scythe. At the end, she is no longer the only one. It was a wonderful revisit to the beginning.

More agreement.


Really cool Buffy quiz -- HonorH, 10:01:43 07/04/03 Fri

Go here: Which Buffy Archetype are You?

Me? I'm a Zeppo! Couldn't be happier.

[> awesome....Im a Witch! -- Nino, 10:21:23 07/04/03 Fri

[> And I'm a vampire! -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:39:30 07/04/03 Fri

Although, I must admit, I have no clue how these questions are relevant.

[> [> Me too! Also don't totally get why, but...woo hoo! -- Rob, with the fangs and the blood, 10:57:04 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> Finn - this quiz is internationally replacing all college admission tests. -- WickedGRE, 12:22:54 07/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> That does sound like something they would do . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 23:53:31 07/04/03 Fri

[> Another Witch here -- LadyStarlight, 10:47:50 07/04/03 Fri

[> Yet another Witch here. There was no test for white or black, though. };> -- WickedBuffy, 11:22:58 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> Re: I'm a vamp? Must be that star thing -- Brian, 11:54:21 07/04/03 Fri

[> Re: Really cool Buffy quiz -- Rendyl, 11:54:05 07/04/03 Fri

Ooookay. I don't get why the difference between Slayer and Vampire is a Jag...cough...since none of them seemed to drive...but it appears I am a Slayer.

Ren - maybe I should have picked the Mustang -

[> [> I answered that car question based on environmental guilt. -- WIckedBuffy (not on what my evil part would love to drive), 12:25:37 07/04/03 Fri

[> I'm a Watcher!?! -- deeva, 11:58:49 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> Me too, Deeva...just call us Voy Voyeurs -- dub ;o), 18:00:18 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> I like that! Voy Voyeurs. It has a je n'ai sais quoi. -- deeva, 18:18:41 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> Re: Me three, I think it was the car... -- Just George, 22:38:04 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> I thought it was the history books that did me in but it might be the car. -- deeva, 09:59:31 07/05/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> It was DEFINITELY the car, LOL!! -- dub ;o), 12:07:20 07/05/03 Sat

[> [> I too would seem to like books more than people - hmmm -- fresne, 11:24:39 07/05/03 Sat

[> Zeppo too! -- Sara, with no complaints given my love for donuts, 12:31:47 07/04/03 Fri

[> I'm a Witch...strangely enough! -- O'Cailleagh, 13:07:50 07/04/03 Fri

Although how the quiz knew that, I don't know....spooky!


[> Neat........I'm a Slayer......;) -- Rufus, 13:20:19 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> I can train you, prepare you... -- manwitch, 06:37:59 07/05/03 Sat

I took it twice, because in each category there was my first response, but their was also one that I really really really wanted to anser. Each time I came out another watcher.

But interstingly enough, there seems to be only one slayer.

[> [> [> ...and torture and manipulate you because I'm an evil MAN!!!! -- KdS, 09:42:30 07/05/03 Sat

[> I'm a vampire...of course. -- Rochefort, 14:35:11 07/04/03 Fri

[> "You're a demon. Good? Evil? Or somewhere in between." could they be anymore vague? -- VR, 17:30:22 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> Or any more accurate? ;-) -- O'Cailleagh, 11:46:07 07/05/03 Sat

[> Yay...I'm a vampire- wait..does this mean drinking actual blood? -- Alison, 19:47:40 07/04/03 Fri

[> Zeppo here! amazingly true... -- jane, 21:36:10 07/04/03 Fri

[> Re: I'm a Zeppo! -- Purple Tulip, 22:41:41 07/04/03 Fri

[> A demon? A demon?!? Gotta work on my moral insurrectitude, heh -- Random, 09:36:35 07/05/03 Sat

"Villains I wish Buffy had gone up against" -- WickedBored, 12:20:03 07/04/03 Fri

The show is over. ::sigh::
But the essence of it will never die. Nor the plot ideas.

There were so many villains I would have loved to see The Scoobies go up against. How they'd handle it - what special twists and turns would make it intriguing. Her closest brush with the literary world was Dracula.

Who or where would you have loved to see Buffy and Gang in actionwith/at/whatever?

First - fighting VampBuffy would be entertaining, especially if the entire Scooby gang had Vamp dopplegangers. Though I'm not sure if that would be scary or hilarious. It'd probably turn out like a Marx Bros. movie.

Buffy fighting "Chimera" a character from an Anita Blake book that had a mutiple-personality problem complete with different monster faces for each personality.

Buffy fighting Jasmine (from Angel). Why do I believe that everyone but Giles and Anya would side with Jasmine?

The Scoobies are trapped in a series of Ed Wood movies including "Plan 9 From Outer Space", "Glen or Genda" and "Night of the Ghouls". Escaping those they land in a series of Troma movies beginning with "Toxic Avenger" and ending with "Cannibal! The Musical".

Agent Smith from The Matrix movies.

Damian from all those Damian movies - Satans son in a suit.

The Langoliers from Stephan Kings book/tv movie.

The Gang tranported to an alternate dimension exactly like George Orwell's "1984".

Dr. Hannibal Lecter teamed up with The Fluke Man from the X Files.

Locked in the reality show 'Big Brother" house with all the participants AND "Simon", that guy from American Idol.

[> Buffy vs. FOX Network Executives -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:00:28 07/04/03 Fri

[> a few -- MsGiles, 15:51:14 07/04/03 Fri

The big guys .. King Kong. Godzilla. The Beast from 200.000 Fathoms. Ebirah Terror of the Deep!

Darth Vader and the Empire .. Leia needed a bit of a hand with all those macho guys, and Yoda could have some tips to Giles passed on

Dune - they all needed to lighten up a bit in there, some giant worm jokes wouldn't have gone amiss, and I always found Paul a bit weedy. Buffy v Sting would have been much better action.

Then there's all the original inspirations of the bads in the series .. the actual monster from the black lagoon (AND Brooke Shields). Freddy Krueger. The Living Dead. The People in the Television from Poltergeist.

Anne Rice's vampires. Candles, lace and lust. Some serious frock-coat action.

[> [> Re: a few -- LadyStarlight, 16:57:19 07/04/03 Fri

Anne Rice's vampires. Candles, lace and lust. Some serious frock-coat action.

hehe, now I have this vision of Angel swirling his coat, saying "No, mine's swirlier!"

Is that what you had in mind, or is the heat getting to me?

[> [> [> Yeah! My cuffs are floppier! My embroidered waistcoat -- MsGiles, 05:24:49 07/05/03 Sat

is more embroidererier. Let me toss my hair out of my eyes so I can see to bite you ..

Angel and Spike up against an army of LeStats? I think they might be a little freaked out by the campvamp factor. (Spike has issues in this area, indicated by his frequently calling Angel a poufter). I could see the macho guys running like .. girls

Buffy I think would be puzzled but not phased.

If however we got Buffy against Xena, or perhaps Callisto ...

[> Here's one to start: Gaviel -- Doug, 19:48:24 07/04/03 Fri

I should be able to think of a lot more but this guy was the first one to leap to mind. He's a Demon: the Fallen signature character who appeared in the Trilogy of the Fallen novels as well as the anthology Lucifer's Shadow.

To get to the short story focusing on him go to this URL:

and then scroll down and click on "Devil's Sugar", or go straight to here:

Gavial is a manipulative bastard on a scale that puts any other to shame. He's a Namaru, a Devil; a honey-tounged liar who can only deceive with lies, but can (and most often does) deceive with the truth. When I read the books I found myself torn between wanting him to finally get the beating that's coming to him and loving the character for being such a slick, smart, and hilarious bastard.

His chances against the gang: Gavial doesn't have alotof brute force, but he has control over fire, ability to control the minds and acquire the loyalties of human beings (his specialty), and (after the final battle of wreckage of paradise ) he had gained some level of power over Earth. As for his mundane abilities his host Noah is a tall, fairly well muscled man without alot of combat knowledge. Gaviel/Noah is very intelligentand well-educated, and is good a getting people to do what he wants and getting them to like him even without using mystical power. In his other form he appears as a radiant Angel with wings of fire (and yes he can fly).

All in all I think this guy could cause the gang some serious trouble, poarticularly if he can Yoko Factor them.

Any thoughts on this Potential Vilain?

[> [> Oops forgot something -- Doug, 19:52:45 07/04/03 Fri

Spoiler space for "Devils Sugar"

After the events of the short stroy Gavial gains the ability to predict probable future events from his cannibalizing Edasul.

[> Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy vs. Krsity Swanson as Buffy -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:25:35 07/04/03 Fri

[> Re: "Villains I wish Buffy had gone up against" -- Sgamer82, 22:03:25 07/04/03 Fri

Well, I'd had two ideas once for possible fanfic villains. I never followed through though. One got taken in a BuffyBook and S7's story made the second idea pointless. Anyway...

1. A vampire who was once a Slayer. Vamp power on top of Slayer skill, a real force to be reckoned which. The Buffy novel "Tempted Champions" deals with this idea, though to be honest I'm not totally thrilled with how they did it. It's currently my least favorite BuffyBook.

2. A Potential Slayer who was tired of waiting for her call. I could imagine a Potential taking a shot at Buffy (possibly using some Trio-esque technology to give her an upper hand) to try and kill Buffy to get herself called. Could even have been a crossover to Angel if the "Wannabe" got the impression killing Buffy wouldn't call a new Slayer. She'd have gone to L.A. seeking Faith.

[> [> Re: least favorite BuffyBook -- Just George, 22:32:44 07/04/03 Fri

Sgamer82: "The Buffy novel "Tempted Champions" deals with this idea, though to be honest I'm not totally thrilled with how they did it. It's currently my least favorite BuffyBook."

I haven't read any of the Buffy books. Which are among your favorites?


[> OK, getting serious this time . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 00:00:06 07/05/03 Sat

1) Buffy vs. Any One of the Scoobies Turned Into a Vampire (surprisingly, this is a storyline that's never been done (unless you count Jesse), but it seems like such a clear opportunity).

2) Buffy vs. The Legions of Hell (I'd like to see the Buffster whip out that Scythe and start hacking the Old Ones to pieces).

3) Buffy vs. Batman (it's just cool; need I say more?)

4) Buffy vs. Darla (they never got to have a hand-to-hand fight; how cool would it be to have the two blondes who have most governed Angel's existence in a chick fight?)

5) Buffy vs. Cameron Diaz (*drooling at the mental image*)

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