July 2003 posts

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Winter's Tale Melee Check In -- Sara, struggling on page 95, 12:29:41 07/04/03 Fri

Boy is this a biiig book. How are people doing out there? I'm afraid that it's going a bit slow for me, though I'm starting to find it more interesting and have no plans to give up. My question to melee-er's out there is this - are we on track for a week from Monday (July 14th I believe)?
If not we have a couple of options -

1. Break the Winter's Tale melee into either 2 or 3 parts. Discussing part one on July 14th, and either part 2 only, or parts 2 and 3, two weeks after that (July 28th?). Doing either part 3 or moving to the next book two weeks after that.

2. Doing the Tale in one melee, but inserting another short book in front of it. So we would put Winter's Tale off until July 28th, and do something else the 14th - short and hopefully something many people who are reading Tale currently may have already read.

Or we could stick to the current schedule and late the posts fall as they will. What does everybody think?

- Sara who was really enjoying pages 90 to 95, until she started to snooze...zzz...zzz...zzzz

[> I admit. I can't read it so I'm sitting this one out. -- WickedShortAttentionSpanBuffy, 12:31:24 07/04/03 Fri

... but what's the next book?

I'll get started on that one!

[> Have to sit this one out too. Sorry. -- s'kat, 12:41:57 07/04/03 Fri

[> Two-thirds in and I'm not giving up, dammit! -- ponygirl, 13:07:09 07/04/03 Fri

But I totally understand if we want to postpone it a bit. I confess I haven't picked it up again since my Harry Potter break.

[> If... -- Rob, 13:08:07 07/04/03 Fri

...the length of the book really is this problematic, maybe we should drop it? Just that I've heard a lot of complaints from a bunch of people, and I don't think it'll be fun if I'm the only one posting. Unless the breaking-it-up-into-parts thing works. Don't worry. I won't be offended. ;o)


[> Page 75 and going to continue.... -- LadyStarlight, 14:56:19 07/04/03 Fri

It's not the length of the book (goodness knows, I knocked Order of the Phoenix off in 4 hours), but it's just not grabbing me. I'll give it a bit longer, but honestly, at this point, I could put it down and never miss it.

But I'll give it the old college try.

[> Stalled Out on 529, But Too Damn Stubborn To Quit -- Haecceity, 15:45:30 07/04/03 Fri

Hey all,

Am completely out of the loop, as the gods of "Man, my job sucks this summer" have had me into and out of enough airports, hotels, and weird-smelling taxis this last month to qualify me as the 13th Amazing Racer!

I've missed out on both Stars and Screwtape, so I'm kind of hoping we don't scrap Tale, but...

This book is rather...er...screwy. At first I was enjoying the dreaminess (abrupt time/locale/POV transitions, etc.), but now...not so much.

It's definitely one of those A/B/C/D storyline books, to which I'm responding as I usually do--reading the lines I like best and sort of skimming the others. Trust me, if it weren't for a rather hideous layover in Atlanta I wouldn't be this far.

On the other hand, I'm 529 pages into a 673 book. There's no going back now. Although, there *are* all those posts on Stars and Screwtape to read, and the new Harry Potter is sitting on the shelf all shiny and new...

maybe we need to give this one a week more?


[> [> So, what's the name of that damn drink? -- dub ;o), 17:57:00 07/04/03 Fri

I'm sure it's in Winter's Tale, they all go skating on a frozen lake, Lake of the Coheeries (?) and they have a hot drink called something like a ???? Flinders? It's my major memory from my first read of the book, so it must have made quite an impression, LOL!

dub ;o)

[> [> [> Re: So, what's the name of that damn drink? -- Haecceity, 00:44:01 07/05/03 Sat

It's funny, dub, since you mentioned it so enthusiastically I was keeping an eye peeled for it! I've come across a couple of mentions of some sort of hot drink, but they were mere throwaway lines, nothing like a description and if there was a name I've lost it (mind like a sieve, me).

Maybe this is a case of attraction addition--something sparked your imagination and your idea of it is much more real and sensational than the actual wording. At least I hope so, 'cause otherwise it means I'm not processing much of this book:) And I know the Lake sections are ones I read in detail!

Did anyone else catch a name?

Back from SF Bay Fireworks which are lots of fun from a boat! Could've used some of that mysterious hot drink, though. Brrrr!

[> Break it up or give us more time -- Vickie, 16:34:02 07/04/03 Fri

But please don't put another book in the middle. I'll read the middle book, and leave this one on the couch again--where's it's been for over a week. See, P.C. Hodgell's third book came out, and being as it's been a few years I had to reread the first two, and Order of the Phoenix was really good and...

Don't use me as a bellwether. I don't know if I'll ever pick this one back up. But thanks, Rob and Sara, for encouraging me to.

[> Got a little further, liking it a little better -- Sara, with a new suggestion, 17:07:39 07/04/03 Fri

I don't want to drop the book, but since people are so far unenthused we probably don't want to have two sessions either. So, how about we give ourselves one extra week. Our melee next week could be a new voting session on the 5th choice, and we can talk Winter's Tale on July 21st. Does that sound good?

[> [> Sounds okay to me -- dub ;o), 17:53:38 07/04/03 Fri

I must admit I'm currently taking three on-line writing classes, one on-line Paint Shop Pro 7 Class (which is kicking my ass), and reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, while my brand new copy of Winter's Tale just sits there. However, I did read it years ago and loved it, but like Rob I'm not offended that people didn't.

I'm okay to engage in discussion on it on July 21st, but we don't have to discuss it at all, necessarily.

BTW, how about HPatOotP for book melee 5? And just for a hoot, pronounce that acronym!

dub ;o)

[> [> [> Harry Potter 5 for book melee 5 - I love that idea! -- Sara, still needs a copy, but where there's a will..., 19:04:29 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Uhm.... not to be disagreeable -- s'kat, 21:08:44 07/04/03 Fri

But Can't anyone find a book that is less than $17 and
not over 500 pages??? (This is the reason I couldn't get Winter's Tale or Harry Potter recently. On a budget here.)

Let's see, I'll check my library of unread books ...There's Dorothy Dunnette's The Game of Kings, nope sorry whomping 543.

H. G. Wells The Time MAchine at 103 pp. and 4.95 US.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Maltese Falcon by Dasheille Hammette
Stranger's on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo (might be a bit long too)
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Being Dead by Jim Crace
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson
Don't Mess With Jenny Lee (only available on www.1stbooks.com and by William Lloyd - not sure how good it is, except uhm it's by my father...;-) shameless plug right there. And probably more than 12$, although I think you can get it on Amazon.com)

And read books:
The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman (very gothic book, takes place in 1831 Sunderland, England - about grave-robbing
and the cholera epidemic)

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Kindred by Octavia Butler
The Lovely Bones by Anne Sebold (not loving it myself, but others may - very poetic)
Bellweather by Connie Willis
Obsiddian Butterfly by Laurel K. Hamilton
MArriage of Sticks by Jonathan Carrol
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (also has a movie with Kirsten Dunst)

Just a few ideas..but hey I also owned Stars and never got into it, so don't go by me. ;-)

sk (who can't afford any more books right now, and is too lazy to go to the library and check them out.)

[> [> [> [> [> Out of those, "Dracula" sounds like a good idea. -- Rob, 22:15:08 07/04/03 Fri

Here's another suggestion, a book that shouldn't cost too much, that I've heard is brilliant.

"Was" by Geoff Ryman (365 pages.)

Description from the back of the book: "This haunting, magical, wildly original novel explores the lives of several characters entwined by The Wizard of Oz--both the novel written by L. Frank Baum and the iconic, strangely resonant 1939 film. It is the story of the "real" Dorothy Gael, an orphan living a hardscrabble life with abusive relatives on a Kansas frontier settlement, and of the kindly substitute teacher who decides to write the story of the life she ought to have had. Was is also the story of Judy Garland and her unhappy fame. It's about Jonathan, an actor now dying of AIDS, whose intense attachment to Oz dates back to his troubled childhood. And it's the story of Jonathan's therapist, whose work at an asylum also unwittingly intersects the path of the Yellow Brick Road.

From the Great Plains to glittering Hollywood, Was traverses the American landxcape to reveal the whirling funnel cloud at the core of our personal and cultural fantasies. It is a powerful, moving story about survival, and about the power of human imagination to transcend the bleakest circumstances.

'A startling, stimulating book, filled with angels and scarecrows, gargoyles and garlands, vaudeville and violence. Pynchon goes Munchkin, you might say.'--The Washington Post Book World

'Cylconic! A swirling collage of reality and fantasy...In a way, it is Oz!'--Los Angeles Times"


[> [> [> [> [> Totally understand -- ponygirl, 07:33:51 07/05/03 Sat

As a rule I don't let myself buy hardcovers - a rule I just broke for Harry Potter and Lovely Bones (would be interested to hear what you think of it sk, I really liked it though with several big "but's" tacked on).

Howl's Moving Castle would be fun, and Dracula would be interesting, I haven't read it since high school. I'd also like to make a pitch for Jeanette Winterson's The Passion. Only 160 pages and chockful of poetic imagery, romance and the supernatural. And a bit of cross-dressing. It's about a Napoleonic soldier in love with a Venetian woman who's in love with someone else. It's a lovely book and actually quite funny in places amidst the angst. I haven't read it in years, but it used to be my favouritest book, especially when I wanted a good wallowing in doomed love. I'm kind of interested to see if my opinion has changed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Jeanette Winterson -- Rob, 07:42:04 07/05/03 Sat

My cousin has been telling me to read her books for ages, and I haven't gotten a chance yet. This may be a good opportunity.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Jeanette Winterson -- ponygirl, 07:54:21 07/05/03 Sat

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Passion are truly amazing books. Her later stuff gets a bit, well let's say a lot, self-indulgent, IMHO. She is definitely a talented writer though, I keep hoping that she'll return to earlier form.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I read "The Passion" years ago... -- Random, 09:32:07 07/05/03 Sat

And I recall that, while I didn't find it anything special plotwise (it was okay), it was very lyrical and well-written. Plus, you gotta love a book that starts out with a discussion of Napoleon's passion for chicken. And Venetian scenes are always a plus.

[> Funny how we all respond to things differently. -- Rob, 19:51:15 07/04/03 Fri

"Winter's Tale," which so far doesn't seem extremely popular here whether it be due to length or story not grabbing the readers enough, is my very favorite book I ever read. As I told Sara in chat, it's the book that inspired me to want to write. I can plow through it in less than a week. Meanwhile, "The Stars My Destination," which is about 1/3rd of the length, took me forever to get through, and I mean forever. I would read 20 pages, put it down for 2 days, force myself to read 40 pages, put it down for 3 days, force myself to go back. "Winter's Tale," a far longer book, is a breeze for me to read.


[> As usual I'm way behind -- MsGiles, 05:04:42 07/05/03 Sat

I spent my holiday looking for Screwtape, as I would sure they would have it in Ireland, him being Irish (I visited CS Lewises childhood home in Belfast, couldn't actually go in as it's lived in, luckily I've got a literate friend who knew it was there) but didn't find it. Bookshop in Dublin was a bit embarrassed he wasn't in the (big) Irish writers section. I suppose he did go rather Cambridge don in later life.

Got The Stars when I got back, too late to join in, but it sounds good anyway. But not Wintered up yet. So a bit longer sounds good. When you said the Winter's Tale I thought at first you meant the Shakespeare play, but I take it that's not it?

BTW, is there a list of titles and dates anywhere, online or back in the archives, that I could check, and try and get myself up to speed?

I'd be really interested in discussing book/film conversions eg read the book, watch the video, pick out what changed and why and how it changed it, but that might just tie things in even more knots from a logistics point of view. And time. Anyway, see what comes up, I guess. If I can get to read the book in time to understand the discussion, that would be a start!

[> [> Nope, not Shakespeare. This is "Winter's Tale" by Mark Helprin. -- Rob, 07:36:56 07/05/03 Sat

Buffy's Sexuality on a Leash -- B. S. Fabulist, 15:08:19 07/04/03 Fri

Buffy's preoccupation with incessantly impaling others has always been a flagrant expression of her subconscious and denied sexual urges. Textbooks and historians have written countless dissertations on Buffy as the archetypical mode of expressing submerged sexuality via impalement.

"Impaling is similar to boring, piercing, penetrating, etc., and is closely related to the instrument employed, pike, arrow, sword, spit, or dagger, in any case, something pointed, sharp and penetrating." Complex Archetype Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung, J. Jacobi

But the phallic significance, though large, is only one of several translations. Yes, the phallicism Buffy continually handles suggests " a number of acts of fecundation, to the penetrating intensity of libido or psychic energy, to blind instinct, unbridled desire, and similar phenomena." "Symbols of Transformation, pp.64f

Simply put, Buffy was emotionally and physically frigid. Her sexual activities support the theory of a woman who was sexually neutral, yet clearly exhibited her sublimated deeper urges through her chosen path.

This begs the question, not to be answered in this essay, regarding how Slayers are chosen. Is the "power" attracted only to those with potential or actual sexual dysfunctions? Is that the deciding factor in choosing The Chosen One? Kendra, of no experience, holds this theory up. Buffy and her impaling expertise support it as well. Faith, though very sexually active, hides behind it to shelter her and to feed her ego.

Only a more thorough search through the Watchers Diaries will prove if this theory holds up or not.

In further support of Buffys sublimation and denial of physical urges, we look at the symbols surrounding her that support the idea that slaying is a substitute for sex, and also a way to keep her innate sexual proclivities hidden. From herself and from others.

Her closest friend(boy) while she became Slayer was "Pike". A pike is defined as a long spear with a sharp point. She left town without any obvious sexual activity with him besides kissing. The majority of their time was spent impaling vampires. Sublimation of sex but its energy acted out.

(note: a "pike" can also be defined as a mid-air position in sports and sex in which the athlete bends to touch the feet or grab the calves or back of the thighs while keeping the legs straight. Satirical comment by the writers, obviously.)

A one night stand with a schoolmate who was obviously very unimpressed with her prowess in bed. He dropped her immediately. This created the legendary dysfunctional push-pull effect in that the less he cared, the more she wanted him.

A close, unrealistically romantic entanglement with another sexually unattainable man, this time the well-groomed vampire, Angel. Another one-night stand and the ensuing drama goes on eternally.

A seemingly solid relationship with the mental eunuch, Riley. Safe and predictable, the only time the two had anything close to real sex wasn't even truly them. They were simply lust marionette acting out the hormonal libido of a houseful of teenage partygoers and ghostly magnified sex magic. As soon as the sorcery was broken, they resumed their vapid relationship.

(note: Riley and the Slayer, Faith did have active relations once. From Riley's reaction, it was easy to see that what he had previously assumed was just a dull waste of time with Buffy, was actually supposed to be an incredibly breathtaking and sweaty interaction.)

As usual, Buffy showed little emotion until Riley was leaving. Though it outwardly appeared she would actually break her push-pull pattern and consummate the relationship with passion, subconsciously she slowed her super-running powers down just a bit, unnoticeably, so she reached the meeting point moments too late.

Again, her relationship with Riley consisted mostly of impaling things other than Riley himself.

As it ultimately had to happen, Buffys last seen relationship was with the vampire aptly nicknamed "Spike".

Though it appeared to be sexual, the emphasis was more on violence. Any attempts Spike made to soften the physical aspects were met with disdain from Buffy.* Whenever Spike pulled away from Buffy, she wanted him. Whenever he wanted her, she pulled away.

Again, Buffy's psychodrama replayed itself tirelessly. Even as Spike saved the world, ordering her to leave as he was consumed in flames, Buffy, in character, wanted him. Even an apocalypse couldn't jar her from the emotional and sexual strings that kept her a repetitive psychological puppet.

Buffys self denial and lack of self-examination kept her captive to the last smile. Her deepest look inward was only able to produce a metaphor more suited to a hungry pack of 6 year olds than a mentally and physically enhanced superwoman.

*It's interesting to note that when Warren created the BuffyBot for Spike, he did not include Buffy's carnal compulsion in its psychological makeup. Spike was able to show a complete array of feelings, vulnerabilities and sensual subtleties possible in a physically mature relationship.

The BuffyBot reacted incredibly more healthily humanlike than Buffy herself was ever able to do.

Did Warren purposefully delete that from it's programming or was it simply his assumption that Buffy would react normally. Or did Spike specifically order Warren to leave those particular behaviors out?


[> Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar -- lunasea, 17:46:21 07/04/03 Fri

Buffy doesn't seem denied in "I Will Remember You." Nor was she emotionally or physically frigid.

[> [> hmmm ... remind me how that episode ended for Buffy? }:> -- B.S. Fabulist, 20:04:30 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> Didn't Clinton pull a "cigar" trick on an intern? But it wasn't a "cigar"? -- Pat Paulson, 20:11:16 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> haha--didn't notice the name till now! -- anom, humming the "smothers brothers" theme, 20:29:08 07/07/03 Mon

I miss Pat & his perennial parodic presidential campaigns. Somehow, I don't think he'd have had sex w/an intern, cigar or no cigar. And I'd've loved to see his take on the last election.

[> LOL ! great read ^:p -- Etrangere, 19:20:03 07/04/03 Fri

[> Oooh fun...subtextual sex issues (Spoilers Chosen/Ats S4) -- s'kat, 20:38:43 07/04/03 Fri

This reminds me a little of some of the essays Age wrote on phallicism and Slayers some time ago. You might want to check the archives to see what s/he had to say on the topic.

While I don't believe ME or Joss ever intended a lot of what you state above, at least not consciously ;-), I think there is a subtext, whether intentional or unintentional as the case might be. We do know that Whedon had a background in both gender and women studies and was schooled in Freudian analysis of film - from ICNFM interview - which leads me to believe that it's more than possible some of that may have subconsciously found its way into his text.

So regarding the sexual deviant subtext? What can we point to in the show itself that suggests this?

1. Angel - Buffy's relationship with Angel is actually incredibly disturbing, if you look at it in light of some of the flashback sequences in Becoming.

When Angel first sees Buffy - Angel is a 240 year old vampire, turned at the ripe old age of 26. So even if you
rationalize that Angel arrested at 26 - he is still at the very least 10 years Buffy's senior (no big if when he meets her she's 26 and he's 36, but he meets her when she's 15).
But just in case we don't get the age difference - Buffy is wearing pig-tails, a short skirt and sucking on a lolli-pop.
She looks like Lolita from Kubrick's version of the flick.
(A film-maker that Whedon mentions emulating in Restless commentary). Angel basically stalks Buffy for two years, following her to Sunnydale, and not showing himself or outwardly helping...for a while. Finally he begins to, they banter.

In the episode Angel - the writers make a point of describing Angel as much older than Buffy. Joyce clearly sees him as either College or beyond. Mid-twenties.
In Angel - Angel himself notes their age difference as the first problem, the vampire bit is second. Perhaps as this stage the vampire bit is a metaphor for that age difference.

Then later, we get the Dru/Spike incestuous relationship, filled with taboo sex, and villainy. This is continuously shown in direct contrast to Buffy/Angel - possibly even as a warning to where she could end up if she follows through on the relationship? When Surprise/Innocence happens, they sleep together as the aftermath to the near escape from Dru/Spike - Angel loses his soul and goes to Spike and Dru, becoming the Daddy figure in that grouping or leader of the pack. Interesting subtext there, don't you think?

Going all the way back to S1 again - we have Xander - a far more appropriate boyfriend for Buffy (in that he is her age and has assisted her without asking for anything in return, also her equal in age and maturity.) But Buffy can only see the unattainable and dangerous Angel, which Xander points out on more than one occassion - especially the Pack, where Xander states - "You only like dark men, well guess who just got dark" and he tries to sexually assault her. (PErhaps forshadowing to Surprise/Innocence??)

Buffy/Angel after Angel returns - is more platonic. It also has an odd father/daughter feel to it. She goes to him for comfort, for advice, for protection. He saves her. When her mother dies - we see Angel at the graveside at night discussing what she should do next instead of Hank. And they don't dare have sex or seek comfort in each other - b/c he loses his soul. Also in The Prom - it is Joyce who informs Angel that he is holding her back - it subtextually feels almost parental - particularly when we consider
that earlier in Choices - Angel is advising Buffy to
go to College. It's subtle but it's there - the feeling that Buffy is hunting the replacement father as lover.
A decidedly Freudian subtext as well as a disturbing one which has caused more than one viewer to find B/A to be as squicky as many (not all) people found Cordelia/Connor.
(Btw the age difference between Cordelia and Connor was pretty much the same as Angel/Buffy - Cordelia is 22 (same age as Buffy is in S7) and Connor is 17. Also Cordelia's relationship with Connor as a mother figure is not all that different from Angel's as a father figure to Buffy.

In What's My Line, Buffy has Angel take her ice-skating, just like her father used to do. And even states it.
Later in Helpless in S3, Angel gives Buffy a poetry book
she doesn't quite get - older stuff and shows jealousy that she is going to the ice show with her "father". The writers do break from the subtext slightly by not having Buffy ask Angel to take her. So perhaps it is more unintentional then intentional? In Angel the Series - the intent is clearly the Oedipal triangle. BUT that said, Minear does draw a line to the subtext in the B/A relationship half-jokingly in his Succubus Club interview - a joke he quickly backs away from when fans email him in anger over it. (Wonder if these same fans had problems with C/C??) Btw - in the US
Angel would be up on statutory rape charges for sleeping with Buffy in Surprise. Age of consent is 18. HE slept with her at 17. Just as Cordelia would be up for staturtory rape charges. Buffy/Connor = 17, Cordelia/Angel= 22/26 (Age on Angel in actual human years confirmed in Prodigal S1, 240
years confirmed in Angel City of...and in Becoming).

2. Moving on to Riley. Riley is also an older man - he's a teaching assistant, a graduate teaching assistant and probably at least 26 when she meets him. She is 18 year old Freshman. Same with PArker who is most likely a senior.
So ME's odd subtext is continuing here.

(Oh side-note - Buffy is dressed in push-up bras and short skirts and big hair in early years when she's 15-17, when she turns 20, she starts wearing less revealing clothing, the push-up bra is gone, she wears pants, leather jackets and while still fashionable is no longer dressed in sexy clothes. A friend commented that young teens dress sexier than college women. LOL! Nope. I went to high school and college and I live in NYC now, I can tell you it's the opposite, you don't start wearing push-up bras and sexually revealing clothes until the 20s or at the very least 18.
For numerous reasons - parents being just one of them. The question is - was Whedon going for the slasher pic/teen cliche theme here? In all those films, the girl is dressed in this manner. So That's my guess.)

Back to Riley. Both Parker and Riley are described as older.
Parker even relates to Riley as equal age or a peer and describes Buffy as another bubble-headed Freshman. Young and niave. Riley relates to Buffy in S4 as a freshman for a while, it's not until he gets to know her that he treats her as an equal, but that said there's still an air of patronization going on. Riley also has a thing with Professor Walsh. Again according to commentary - ME planned on doing an Oedipal thing with Riley and Walsh, even begun to set it up with Walsh watching videotapes of Riley and Buffy making love. Also the whole Adam and Riley being brothers thing. Walsh feeling the need to implant a behavorial chip in Riley's chest and to kill Riley's lover. So once again we got the incest subtext going on. Is it intentional??

3.Moving on to Spike. The Spike relationship is interesting.
Particularly with Giles and how Whedon sees Spike and Giles as flip sides of each other. Watch Band Candy sometime and compare Ripper/Joyce to Buffy/Spike in S6...interesting subtext there. Also in both Restless and Tabula Rasa - we have Spike referred to as Giles' son. In Smashed - Buffy even states - I'm only kissing you because of Giles, which Spike responds to with:"Oh I always wondered about you two" and Buffy : "eww, gross spike", yet the subtext remains.
Then in Dead Things - compare the Bronze Beta scene to the scene in Welcome to the Hellmouth. Joss Whedon pitched that balcony scene in DT according to Deknight and Noxon (SFX interview, Succubus Club, etc for the nit-pickers out there and no I can't track it down for you right now, so don't ask. I did transcribe the Noxon bit for the board in March though - so if you hunt the archives you'll probably find something.) At any rate - the choreagraphy of the two scenes is disturbingly similar. Giles leans over Buffy's shoulder as she's watching others dance - telling her she's apart from everyone, he is very close behind her. Spike leans over Buffy's shoulder as she's watching others dance -telling her she's apart from everyone, and penetrates her.
In Fool For Love - when Giles can't help Buffy figure out what killed the other slayers - she goes to Spike, who oddly enough plays a dark watcher in this episode, complete with Lessons - LEsson the First, Lesson the Second. The sexual tension between B/S is heightened as they fight but don't fight. Then in LMPTM - we get Giles and Buffy in the grave-yard and Giles saying you need to learn - lessons again. The girl fighting a male vampire while Giles lounges on a tomb being "teacher". MEanwhile we have Spike remembering his mother coming on to him sexually - until he stakes her - this is literally intertwined with the Giles/Buffy scenes. More Freudian subtext?

The other oddity in the B/S relationship is Dawn who acts as a psuedo younger sister/daughter to Spike. According to people who've seen the S6 commentary on Bargaining - the writers separated Dawn and Spike when they noticed chemistry between the two - a deliberate step back from the subtext - hinting that the others were deliberate??
When B/S do get together - the relationship is kept on an equal basis, if anything she appears to be the dominant mature party - so we veer away from the Freudian subtext.

The B/S relationship instead becomes an examination of bad boyfriend/ bad girlfriend relationships. NEither of these people would be someone I'd want to be in a relationship with or would want anyone I knew in one with. However, what is the subtext? Is it brother/sister like Spike/Dru were?
Not really. Is phallic? Possibily - both are very phallic
characters - Buffy with her dreams of staking Spike while having sex with him (ie - he penetrates her while she penetrates him - except when she penetrates him - he ceases to exist.) Then we get the parallel to Katrina who Warren is only able to penetrate mentally - note Katrina first gets whapped by the magic ball and becomes Warren's sex slave, then she gets hit on the head and dies of a head injury - Warren apparently can only penetrate others cereberally not physically until he gets a gun and uses that to penetrate two women's hearts - killing or mortally wounding them, not obtaining power over them. Just as Buffy's phallic spear kills does not obtain power over them or necessarily free her. Oddly enough - she obtain more power over Spike by releasing him - not penetrating him.
His attempt to penetrate her - she fights off, causing him to search for and become penetrated by a soul. The scythe - penetrates women as opposed to vampires - by the soul of the slayer - or power. So we shift from the phallic image of the spear - penetration equals death to the more womblike/vaginal image of the scythe/hellmouth where you are encompassed by the light of both life/as well as destruction. Spike is encompassed by light as are the potentials. Instead of becoming dust or becoming connected to the mouth of hell - the are cleansed by womblike light and spit out?

Anyways...not sure how much of that is well silly overanalysis and how much is valid and how much is unintentional subtext...but it is fun to play with.

Fun post, BS.


[> [> he might be a vampire, but it's OK, he's not a paedophile -- MsGiles, 09:22:19 07/07/03 Mon

Ah, I never picked up on Riley/Walsh, but yes, it makes sense. And there's the Oedipal bit with Adam and Walsh as well, not just in the way he kills her, but in the way he resurrects her. It's like a repeat of the dead girlfriend theme from SAR (and reminiscent of the two 'bots'. (also, both the originals of the bots (Buffy and Katrina) were doomed to die)

Dead girlfriend themes - I'm thinking Jenny could come in on that one, too. Although she never really comes back as herself, only as a mask (for Dru and The First).

Dawn: I fully expected Dawn to come on to Spike in S6, it seemed almost inevitable (though perhaps in a rather soapy way), and I was surprised it wasn't even hinted at, or somehow dealt with, made over and dismissed even. Dawn was maturing, and had her first kiss with a vamp. She was getting into minor crime and rulebreaking. Spike was getting very frustrated in his pursuit of Buffy. Dawn quite obviously hero-worshipped Spike, and visited his crypt alone, giving ample opportunity for illicit thoughts to occur. And being Spike, soul-less amoral guy, thoughts would have occurred. But maybe the writers felt they had enough relationship-dysfunction strands going, and Dawnie was just too young. Paedophilia might have put Spike right off the map.

I like Buffy's dream in DT. I like all the dreams in Buffy: they seem to me to have the right mix of surrealist imagery and the associative rather than narrative logic. They're obvious and yet not immediately obvious. Katrina and Spike are linked in Buffy's mind, and killing is linked to sex, that's very clearly stated. When she goes to the police, it's not just the unknown girl she's so upset about, it's also killing Spike. Katrina is muddled up with Spike in her mind, in her dream, and in the time-dislocated fight. She believes she accidentally killed a girl, but it could have been Spike: she hit him and drew blood. She wants to hit him, stake him. That's partly why she's going to turn herself in, and that's what he doesn't realise when he tries to stop her. He's probably lucky he doesn't get actually staked, instead of just beaten up: the potential is there.

B/S and the appeal of the forbidden. Spike is forbidden to Buffy because he's her job, perhaps. I'm thinking of Bladerunner now - Rachel: 'I *am* the business'. (I'm reminded of your noir/gothic discussion, s'kat, gothic shading into noir as the Angel theme is taken up and the Bufverse noticeably greys, if I remember right(ish)?) It's the same reason Angel was forbidden fruit, but more so, as Angel's soul made him a special case.

Interestingly, Angelus didn't try to seduce Buffy, rather than fight her, so we never found out how much she was attracted to Angelus. But then Spike comes along.

Spike's chip makes him a special case too, but not as much of a one, so screwing him is naughty. But possible. It may be that Spike is partly representing Angel, and that the issues are therefore Angel issues re-examined in the light of adulthood. The Lolita issues, the wish to devolve responsibility to an older partner, to be a child, expressing needs, being greedy, irrational, bad-tempered. But also the 'sleeping with the enemy' aspect, archetypally Romeo and Juliet, I suppose. That 'forbidden' aspect was what made the B/S tension build all through S5, and gave the coupling its S6 momentum.

[> [> [> Some interesting thoughts here... -- s'kat, 19:36:07 07/07/03 Mon

B/S and the appeal of the forbidden. Spike is forbidden to Buffy because he's her job, perhaps. I'm thinking of Bladerunner now - Rachel: 'I *am* the business'. (I'm reminded of your noir/gothic discussion, s'kat, gothic shading into noir as the Angel theme is taken up and the Bufverse noticeably greys, if I remember right(ish)?) It's the same reason Angel was forbidden fruit, but more so, as Angel's soul made him a special case.

Interestingly, Angelus didn't try to seduce Buffy, rather than fight her, so we never found out how much she was attracted to Angelus. But then Spike comes along.

Spike's chip makes him a special case too, but not as much of a one, so screwing him is naughty. But possible. It may be that Spike is partly representing Angel, and that the issues are therefore Angel issues re-examined in the light of adulthood. The Lolita issues, the wish to devolve responsibility to an older partner, to be a child, expressing needs, being greedy, irrational, bad-tempered. But also the 'sleeping with the enemy' aspect, archetypally Romeo and Juliet, I suppose. That 'forbidden' aspect was what made the B/S tension build all through S5, and gave the coupling its S6 momentum.

I think a good argument can be made for Spike taking the place of Angel in S5-S7. It wasn't really until S5 that Whedon figured out where to go with Spike. And I think when it occurred to them that they still need to explore Buffy's dark relationship issues and could go a more noirish route that the character exploded for them (in a good way).

If Angel had still been in the show, I think they may have done some of the same things - maybe not in the same way, but close enough. Angel is still a morally ambiguous character even with a soul and I wouldn't put it past ME to have removed the soul again at some point.

At any rate - I think part of the B/S sexuality was the whole "forbidden fruit" idea for both Spike and Buffy, just as it was partly for Angle and Buffy. The difference is while B/A was pretty much an adolescent's take - very romantic, very melodramatic, and very gothic seen through almost rose colored glasses and Lolita as opposed to the Prof's or the mother's perspective, B/S is an adult perspective - very sexy, very gritty, very dark, and very noire, seen through the eyes of a much older Lolita and possibly her mother. Spike also is much less mature character than Angel, and far less romanticized. Angel is placed on a pedestal in a way by Buffy, Spike never is - if anything Spike is beneath her. Angel is considered the adult in the B/A relationship, while Spike oddly enough is almost the child in the B/S one. It's not until Spike gets his soul - that he becomes an adult. Apparently soulless vampires in Btvs are amongst other things metaphors for arrested adolescence or the bad-boy hoods who never seen to grow-up and appear to stay in those biker gangs around your high-school forever. (We see these gangs referred to in loads of 1950s movies). The James Dean character who died before he could pass 21. The naughty tone is that Spike is the one who doesn't know any better, but Buffy does.
This is referenced oddly enough by a self-righteous/hypocritical Xander in Seeing Red - not so secure in his self-righteousness as he believes considering he's basically been doing the same thing with Anya and for far longer. Xander appears to have forgotten what Anya is, just as Buffy has forgotten what Spike is. The reference of playing with fire is made throughout the season - Xander in summoning the evil Sweet, Buffy in placing her hand through the flames but not being burned. The SG have been through so many apocalypses by S6, they feel invinceable,
and super-powered - as if they've earned the right to play with fire, not considering the consequences.

I think noirish aspects of the B/S relationship came out when it was clear neither character was really the good guy here or the villain. In B/A by contrast - Buffy was clearly the hero and Angelus clearly the villain, the metaphor of him losing his soul by sleeping with her and the subtext were so subtle in some ways, that we blamed Angel over Buffy, since Angel was clearly the mature adult who should have known better. In B/S - it's clear that Spike, soulless and immature does not know better and cannot make these distinctions so ironically the audience is put in an odd position of seeing Buffy as more responsible than Spike.
(Well a portion of the audience at any rate. ;-) ) Since Buffy with a soul has the knowledge and compass necessary to know the difference. While she does take steps to break it off with him - she also in her own immaturity strings him along - all of this is noirish in theme and very grey.
Making the B/S relationship incredibly intense and far more
gut-wrenching in some ways than the earlier B/A. But then adult relationships often are. I think ME did a good job of putting an adult spin on the slayer/vampire relationship - showing why it couldn't work and why Buffy went there both times.

It's interesting they didn't attempt it with Dawn/Spike and when they felt the audience might inadvertently go there, they took steps to keep the two characters far apart. What's interesting about it is a Dawn/Spike relationship in S7 would not have been that different from the Buffy/Angel one. (I say S7 since it's when he got a soul). A Dawn/Spike relationship in S6 would have to be different since Spike had no soul. It would also raise difficult questions about Angel - that might be counter-productive to the show's (as well as Angel the Series) continued success. You don't want to hint too strongly that the hero of your spin-off series was a pedophile or like the anti-hero/protagonist of Lolita.
You can wink at it...but don't make it clear. Doing Dawn/Spike - I think would. Actually I think Cordy/Connor probably also did that to a certain extent. But D/S definitely. Also how would Buffy deal with seeing the B/A relationship through her mother's eyes?? Or the viewer for that matter?? Yet, in a way they did sort of play with that with All the Way and with B/S - forcing Buffy to look at the whole high school love of her life from a more adult perspective...I'm not sure if they could have pursued it further if the network let them, Angel the series wasn't around, or if Angel himself had been in the Spike slot.
Maybe not. It's hard to tell with ME.

At any rate, thanks for yours and Anneth's comments, Ms. Giles, I found them interesting and agree.


[> [> [> Re: he might be a vampire, but it's OK, he's not a paedophile -- sdev, 23:18:42 07/07/03 Mon

"When she goes to the police, it's not just the unknown girl she's so upset about, it's also killing Spike. Katrina is muddled up with Spike in her mind, in her dream, and in the time-dislocated fight. She believes she accidentally killed a girl, but it could have been Spike: she hit him and drew blood. She wants to hit him, stake him. That's partly why she's going to turn herself in, and that's what he doesn't realise when he tries to stop her. He's probably lucky he doesn't get actually staked, instead of just beaten up: the potential is there"

Are you saying that her guilt at almost killing, maybe wanting to stake Spike, cause her to want to turn herself in?

I don't see that. I think she is turning herself into the police for what she later expresses to Tara- I came back wrong. Because of her overwhelming sense of guilt and self-hatred she is seeking punishment. She doesn't feel guilty for wanting to stake or hurt Spike she feels guilty for what she has become - someone who sleeps with a soulless being and uses them without love. The killing of Katrina is all inter-woven with sexual scenes with Spike. She equates the killing of an innocent human, a betrayal of her slayerhood, with sleeping with Spike, another betrayal of who she is. Her lack of remorse for hurting Spike are evident in the next episode.

At the end she cries to Tara - "Please don't forgive me." I found her attitude about turning herself in very strange and contradictory without the undercurrent of her need for punishment. It was an accident which she knew the police would never understand. It is a case of displaced guilt and remorse. Willow's deliberate crimes are treated differently. Faith is never turned in to the police for the accidental killing of the Mayor's assistant.

I found it tied in nicely with her earlier cry in the cemetary for some distraction to avert her being pulled toward Spike in his crypt. And the distraction was forthcoming- Katrina. She also asked Tara- Why can't I stop? Katrina's death prolonged the distraction. Her subsequent attempt to turn herself in would have provided indefinite restraint on her ability to seek out Spike and punishment as well.

[> [> [> [> Killing Spike -- MsGiles, 04:05:11 07/08/03 Tue

I don't disagree with any of what you say, but when i looked at the dream again, it struck me that Buffy does stake Spike, who then becomes Katrina. That made me think that perhaps this is yet another element of the mix - that Buffy does partly want to (and feels that maybe she should) kill Spike.

The issue comes up regularly, from the start of Tabula Rasa, when she says it would simple things up so much if she stopped saving his life, through to the end of AYW, when Riley offers to 'take him out'. Buffy declines the offer.

She then goes to Spike, and almost apologises to him. Although he's nearly killed them all, she doesn't shout or hit him, or storm out. She is actually really nice to him. She clearly does feel bad about what she has been doing, for his sake as well as hers. That's why she calls him 'William' - she recognises there is something there, more than an evil soul-less monster, and that her sleeping with him has been wrong because it uses him as well as destroys her.

This is why she *hasn't* killed him. It's not as simple as it was, say with Angelus, who Buffy was quite prepared to kill. Spike is soul-less, like Angelus, but he is not completely bad in the same way. Through the chip, and his fixation on Buffy, a change has started to come about. Even after the 'Doctor' debacle, she feels it would be wrong to kill him. But part of her still wants to. It would simple things up.

In the dream, she stakes Spike, but it is Katrina who is dead. When they fight in the woods, it's all mixed up. She hits Katrina by accident, in exactly the same way that she hit Spike, a moment before, but Katrina is dead, and Spike isn't. Some small small part of her must wish that that had been the other way round. No-one would blame her for killing Spike. But she knows, deep down, it would be wrong.

I think this is why she reacts so strongly, so irrationally to Katrina's death, these mixed feelings, in which Spike is all tangled up. Going to the police is as near as Buffy ever gets to being suicidal.

The following episode, OaFA, is much lighter in tone. Clearly the intensity of the feelings has subsided, though Spike still has a black eye. They seem pretty much as before. Spike backs Buffy up against the demon and flirts with her. In the next one, AYW, Buffy finally seems strengthened enough by Riley's support to disentangle herself from Spike without killing him, either actively (with a stake) or passively (by letting Riley do it). In the end, this course of action is vindicated. Spike doesn't fulfil Xanders worst expectations by getting the chip removed and following his vampiric urges.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Killing Spike-agree -- sdev, 05:08:38 07/08/03 Tue

She then goes to Spike, and almost apologises to him. "Although he's nearly killed them all, she doesn't shout or hit him, or storm out. She is actually really nice to him. She clearly does feel bad about what she has been doing, for his sake as well as hers. That's why she calls him 'William' - she recognises there is something there, more than an evil soul-less monster, and that her sleeping with him has been wrong because it uses him as well as destroys her."

Absolutely agree, but AYW is a later episode. By that point she does regret her treatment of Spike for his sake. I agree her use of his name "William" is that acknowledgement.

Maybe she had to get past her blaming of her phantom 'coming back wrong', her denial of responsibility for her own actions, to be able to come to terms with their effect beyond herself on Spike. Her coming back wrong is a classic case of denial, an excuse that puts the cause of her actions conveniently beyond her control.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy hiding out in denial. -- WickedBuffy, 11:01:41 07/08/03 Tue

" Her coming back wrong is a classic case of denial, an excuse that puts the cause of her actions conveniently beyond her control."

I always thought that too - which, if any of the Scoobies had been therapists (or whatever), would have sent up a BIG red flag about Buffys stability. Here she was responsible for saving the entire world and she was being totally irresponsible about accepting who she was. And hiding behind the "not my fault, I came back wrong" mantra.

Reminds me of people who drink too much the night before and then blame the alcohol for some heinious behaviour they did. "It wasn't me, it was the bitters."

And to bring it back to the BtVS sex metaphor -

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy hiding out in denial. -- Just George, 19:17:05 07/08/03 Tue

Of course the first one to decide that Buffy "came back wrong" and the one who reinforces the mantra is...


Because if Buffy came back "wrong" she is closer to his level. She is finally approachable.

Buffy was sailing that river in Egypt, but she had plenty of help and support getting there.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I agree, J.G.! Starting that boat trip is near impossible without a lil "push". -- WickedBuffy, 19:52:23 07/08/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Actually Spike had reason to think that... -- s'kat, 20:02:32 07/08/03 Tue

Spike didn't immediately jump to this conclusion - he first assumed something was wrong with him.

Think of it from Spike's pov. You have a chip that prevents you from harming humans or living things. The Slayer has been soundly beating you up for a year or two now and if you try to hit her, whammo, massive head ache, probably something akin to a migraine times five. Then one day, when you're completely fed up - you decide to hit back, thinking brain spasm is worth it. And nope, no pain. Odd. Why no pain? You think for a minute...no you've been avoiding hitting humans for quite some time and last time you hit Xander - quite a bit of pain but that was well over six months ago and so not worth it. So guess the chip ain't working and you go out to be evil thing. But the first girl you try to bite? Massive pain. Pain times 3. Weird.

So it has to be one of two things: 1) Something is wrong with the chip or 2) Something is wrong with how the slayer
came back.

To give Spike credit he jumped to option 1 and asked amateur scientist and brain Warren, he couldn't ask Buffy off the bat - she'd stake him
or the SG for that matter. He's not stupid. (Although I'm beginning to wonder about Buffy). Warren however has the ability to construct an incredibly life-like robot and has the added bonus of not knowing what the chip does.
So, Spike wisely goes to him to figure it out. Warren performs a serious of tests, and yep, the chip is working fine. No problems.

So Spike, a pragmaticist, who tends to think about these things more concretely than abstractly - goes logically to option 2 - there must be something up with Buffy. And he's right there is - Buffy did come back different or different enough for the chip to be confused.

Spike is not a witch like Tara and was not in on the spell, remember. The SG refused to tell him much about it and from what Buffy's told him and his own knowledge of magic not to mention his experience raising people from the dead - it's not so far-fetched for him to logically come to the conclusion that Buffy came back wrong or like his mother did in LMPTM. Subconsciously makes sense. HE doesn't lie to her about it. He honestly believed it. Why would he think otherwise? It's pretty logical he would come up with that.
And instead of lying to Buffy about it - he comes out and tells her, again straight-forward (far more straight forward, I'd add than Buffy is with him, herself or anyone else in S6) - guess what I can hurt you now, but no one else. Wonder why that is? Must be something wrong with you.
Buffy, being the bright little girl she is - goes to ask Tara to research it,(but not immediately...she waits until she hits rock bottom first) and finds out sure enough she did come back a "little" different, ie with a celluar tan which makes Spike's chip not operate against her. Personally? If Spike was such an evil fiend...he'd have kept it from her and used the first opportunity to drain her blood and sire her. That's what I'd do if I was a soulless evil vampire. Took a great risk telling her - I mean, she could have just staked him. He can kill her now, after all. No longer harmless. And how's she know he's telling the truth??

Did it play out to his advantage? Well yes and no. Did he use her reaction to it? Probably, he was an opportunistic evil vampire after all. And yep, he probably thought - the evidence of the chip, her sudden sexual attraction to him and willingness to kiss him, weird behavior all added up to the fact she came back wrong. Buffy confused the heck out of Spike in S6, heck she confused me. Can't blame her for thinking she came back wrong - I was wondering if she came back wrong. (Big mislead in keeping with Giles as FE in s7, is it just me or is Whedon and Co. getting a little too dependent on misleads as a writing technique?) Does that excuse any of Buffy actions? Nope.
Buffy was still the person operating with the most information and the full stack in the relationship. Spike was having a nervous breakdown/identity crisis and from the demon perspective completely nuts. She used Spike's info to explore the dark edge of herself. Instead of seeking Tara's or Willow's help immediately, she engaged in an abusive affair with Spike. So, yep, big time hiding in denial - she used Spike to do so. Did he help? Maybe, but he wasn't in denial, he honestly believed all this. Can hardly blame Spike for all of it or for taking advantage of what he believed. Again evil soulless vampire without conscience vs. good souled slayer who should know better, but is depressed.

[> [> quick note -- Anneth, 14:19:28 07/07/03 Mon

Warren apparently can only penetrate others cereberally not physically until he gets a gun and uses that to penetrate two women's hearts - killing or mortally wounding them, not obtaining power over them.

Buffy, in OMWF, complains that "nothing seems to penetrate my heart" - that she can't "feel." Her ability to feel, to connect emotionally with her surroundings, seems to return after Warren literally penetrates her heart with a bullet, in SR.

[> Why does everyone seem to assume Riley was bad in bed? -- HonorH, 23:20:43 07/04/03 Fri

I mean, really. Why? Because he was from Iowa? My brother-in-law's from Canada, and my sister's perfectly happy. Canada's got to be worse than Iowa. Is it not Iowa? Is it the apple-pie good looks? The Dudley Do-Right personality? Those aren't necessarily an indication that one is bad in bed. Or so I hear. Buffy always seemed happy with their sex life and was very physically affectionate with him. So why do so many people assume that Riley was dullsville in bed when there's absolutely not one shred of evidence that he was?

(me needs my medication)

[> [> A possible explanation -- s'kat, 00:03:52 07/05/03 Sat

I think HH the reason is that most people were bored watching him and or them. ie. It's how they were filmed.

Think about the episodes? Riley and Buffy. He lies on top of her, they go up and down for three minutes. SMG has an expression on her face that makes me wonder if her breakfast disagreed with her, he rolls off her, she says, "My Riley that was relaxing..." Riley says - "let's do another round." Buffy says: "maybe later." (That's in
OOMM - I believe.

Also we have Riley so dissatisfied with their sex life, he goes off to the vamp trulls. He tells Xander she doesn't love him. (Hmmm...)

In S4 - Where The Wild Things ARe - the sex scene consists of two people semi-nude rolling back and forth under the covers. SMG looks bored and like she's running an endurance race. Marc Blucas looks the same. The dialogue suggests they love this. The acting suggests they've done one too many takes. To the actor's credit? It's hard to do sex scenes. Personally the only actors I've seen who've convinced me that they are into it are: JAmes Marsters,
Eliza Dusku, Alyson Hannigan, and Juliet Landau. (on Ats:
Alexis Denisof and Stephanie Romanov, although J. August and
Amy Hacker seemed enthused in Supersymmetry and J. August, Alexandra Davlos seemed enthused in Players.) MArc Blucas?
Baaaad at love scenes - I saw him do one with Edie Falco in
Sunshine State and he looked bored there too. SMG? Uneven.
She needs someone to act off of - great with Boreanze,
great with Marsters, great with Ryan Phillipe and the girl in Cruel Intentions. The only time SMG looked like she
was into it with Blucas was Who Are You and guess who directed them in that one?? That's right - Whedon.
Give Blucas a decent director? We get a good love scene.

So the evidence, HH - is the visuals. People are reacting to what they perceive on screen as boring. Which is guy lying on top of prone female staring blankly. Not exactly
erotic if you get my meaning. ;-)

(I seriously doubt Whedon intended it to be boring - but it was filmed that way. Willow and Kennedy/Willow and Tara far more erotically filmed.)

While I liked Riley - and liked B/R in S4-5, I have to admit, I channel surfed during their love scenes when they first aired and now with the tapes? fast-forward. I don't do that on ANY of the other love scenes.

[> [> [> The dissatisfaction and the vamp trulls don't prove anything -- Finn Mac Cool, 00:10:40 07/05/03 Sat

They just prove Riley was dissatisfied, not that Buffy was.

Not sure how to rank the B/R sex scenes, but I really enjoyed it whenever they had post-sex talk (they seem to have had some of their best conversations that way). Also, B/R does get points for the makeout scene in "A New Man" when Riley slides his hand up the back of Buffy's shirt right before Willow barges in. I found it a surprisingly effective moment, though I'm not sure why.

[> [> Human weakness -- Finn Mac Cool, 00:05:55 07/05/03 Sat

Riley had to wear a condom when he and Buffy had sex. Aside from the one-night-stand-from-hell with Parker, Buffy's only other lovers have been vampires. Since vampires are infertile, they never had to worry about protection while having sex with Buffy. I imagine that Buffy began to take the joys of safe-yet-condom-free sex for granted, so Riley didn't seem as good in comparison.

Scary thought, though: can vampires serve as carriers for STDs? If so, Buffy's lucky she didn't get anything from Angel or Spike, what with Angelus's lurid past and Spike's coupling with Drusilla (who had tastes similar to her sire's).

[> [> [> Didn't Darla have syphilis? As a vamp, could she have passed that along? -- B.S Fabuist, 20:33:26 07/05/03 Sat

Even though it didn't start to kill her until she was human again (thanks the W&H) - before Dru revamped her.

Can that be passed along to another vamp - where they are just "carriers". Unaffected by it.

But, if the infected vampire could pass it on to a human. For example - if Angel had it, passing it on to Buffy?

EXAMPLE example sheesh

[> [> [> [> doubt it -- anom, 07:50:52 07/06/03 Sun

The disease organisms couldn't have survived in an [un]dead body. But maybe if a vampire had sex w/a human who had an STD, the organisms could survive a short time & be transmitted to someone else. I mean, if the cold virus can live on a doorknob for several hours & spread the cold to people who touch it afterwards, germs of various kinds could live on/in vampires long enough to be passed on to other people.

Of course, that next human the vamp had sex with wouldn't be likely to survive much longer...so s/he probably wouldn't come down w/the disease or pass it to anyone else.

[> [> Most obvious reason (thought Finn would be arguing this) -- KdS, 03:33:49 07/05/03 Sat

I think some people are probably assuming that Riley, as a normal human being, was incapable of kepping up with Slayer stamina. Or the possibility that Buffy was always having to restrain herself during their lovemaking for fear that she'd accidentally do him some injury.

[> [> [> Agreeing, mostly with the second part. -- OnM, 08:07:01 07/05/03 Sat

Although keep in mind that during the early parts of their relationship, Riley was still under the influence of Maggie Walsh's chemical strength enhancement program, so he was probably good endurance-wise then.

But the second item you mention, the chance that Buffy could actually hurt a normal human male if she 'let go' and gave up control is a pretty darn reasonable fear. That certainly would have to be inhibiting on her part. Spike and Angel? Mighty hard to damage them as long as she'd stay away from any wooden sex toys!


[> [> [> [> I agree. Buffy always had to "hold back" sparring with him. too. -- B.S.Fabulist, 20:36:19 07/05/03 Sat

[> [> [> This is a good thought on their relationship. -- HonorH, 10:56:43 07/05/03 Sat

And I think it goes well with why they ultimately broke up. I'm not saying, of course, that they didn't have problems or didn't quite "mesh" sexually. All I'm saying is that it's a bit presumptuous to take the problems Buffy and Riley had and then declare that he *never* showed Buffy or any girl a good time in bed. Which is exactly what fanon seems to be nowadays.

[> [> Hey! -- ponygirl, 07:11:28 07/05/03 Sat

Canada worse than Iowa? Hey! I've never been to Iowa but still - hey! All that thoughtfulness does come in handy sometimes you know.

As for B/R - we do get indications that the relationship wasn't satisfying either of them since in s5 we see both Buffy and Riley sneaking out after sexual encounters to seek satisfaction elsewhere. Whether that was all about an emotional lack or also included a sexual one who can say? However the fact that Buffy described sex with Riley as "relaxing" doesn't help either - she meant it in a good way but... Personally, I agree with s'kat that Marc Blucas did not look comfortable in many scenes, watching them I usually end up feeling bad for the guy.

[> [> I just can't imagine Riley being good in bed! -- Miss Edith, 10:45:40 07/05/03 Sat

It doesn't fit my image of the character. Now Marc Blucas is a fairly good-looking guy, but to me Riley has the sex appeal of warm milk. Not the type of guy that people will fantasise about being great in bed, and write fan fic describing Riley and Buffy's sexlife.

He just seemed so into normal missionary position. In Who Are You when Faith as Buffy tries to introduce some kink to the relationship Riley doesn't even respond. He had Buffy crawling across the bed in skintight leather pants waving her ass in his face, and he didn't even look particulary excited. He just comments something like, "I'll be Riley" and takes control of the sex making it all lovey dovey. There is nothing wrong with kisses and tenderness, but if his girlfriend is indicating she wants to try something new, it's a bit presumptious to insist on having regular sex Riley's way. At least that's how it came across to me Riley didn't even seem to be questioning why Buffy might be bored and into trying out a new style. (I'm guessing it was intended to be romantic though, didn't Doug Petrie write that episode, a huge Riley worshipper?)

In BuffyVsDracula we have Buffy leaving after the sex because she had so much pent up energy. Not exactly a great advertisement for the sex life! That just screamed that Buffy was not being satisfied in bed. And yeah someone telling you that your sexual technique is relaxing is pretty much the kiss of death. He just seemed to whitebread and boring to be inventive and lively in bed. I mean not to get too vulger, but in Intervention we see Spike going down on a robat, so the writers could have done more with B/R. Yet they never even tried to imply Riley was into any sex games, or anything but male/female, on/off.

Maybe I've just been reading too many fics talking of Spike's magic fingers and tongue, and Buffy remembering how Riley expressed horror at doing anything so dirty lol. It is quite possible that fan fic may well have warped my brain.

[> [> [> The problem with the first thing you mention-- -- HonorH, 10:53:41 07/05/03 Sat

--is that it was, canonically, only the second time they'd had sex! How could she be bored with their sex life already? I know, Riley-bashers would have a ready answer.

And yeah, I do think fanon has decided Riley was boring in bed. If I have to read one more story about how sex with Riley was never satisfying and always boring and Spike's just the Sex God, I think I'll puke. I'm just glad for the writers who actually give Riley a fair shake, bedroom-wise and all.

[> [> [> [> This brings up a question.. -- s'kat, 11:37:00 07/05/03 Sat

And yeah, I do think fanon has decided Riley was boring in bed. If I have to read one more story about how sex with Riley was never satisfying and always boring and Spike's just the Sex God, I think I'll puke.

Well, it is fanfic which means it's basically dealing with the fantasies and/or obsessions of the writer, right? Isn't fanfic a writers way of dealing with their own negative and positive feelings about characters or views?? I have yet to read any that doesn't. Fanfic is self-indulgent by nature, that's not saying anything against it. Just is.

So why read fanfic that clearly states it's B/S, if you don't like B/S? Or has a warning that it is NC17 or that
it hates Riley? There's tons of B/R and B/X fanfic out there. Also non-ship fanfics. I know I don't read fanfic with pairings that bug me. I tend to avoid Riley fanfics, b/c no one writes him well - he's either amazing or a big dope. And I'm sort of ambivalent on the character. MB just doesn't do anything for me as an actor. Personal taste. I also avoid Andrew, Warren, and Wood fics.

I just don't understand why people would wast time reading stuff they don't like? OR stuff about characters they don't like?

I mean granted I've read lots of bad-fanfic, (the whole Childe and Mate stuff gets on my ever-living nerve, along with "Cor" ...but I usually just stop and not read any more. And never try that writer again.) I guess I don't get the need to rant about it?
(Maybe it's the copyright specialist in me who knows that none of the fanfic stuff published online is legal and can legally be published outside of the net. )

So if it makes you puke, HH, why waste time reading it?

[> [> [> [> [> I don't, if I can avoid it. -- HonorH, 11:56:08 07/05/03 Sat

You're assuming I'm seeking out stories I know I won't like. I'm not. If there are warnings, I pay attention to them and keep away if I know they'll put a knot in my knickers. Unfortunately, sometimes you're halfway through an otherwise-good fic before someone pulls that out of their hat. I don't read fics that are clearly marked as basher, and I don't read most 'shipper fic unless it's by an author I know I'll enjoy.

Well, it is fanfic which means it's basically dealing with the fantasies and/or obsessions of the writer, right?

Yes and no. People write about characters they like (or bash characters they don't) according to their own personal preferences. That's a given. However, and here's where you get the OBAFU headmistress in me, it ceases to be "fan"fic if it bears no relation to the show or the characters. Characters should still be themselves, above all. I love fanfic, but I hate reading stories in which the characters have BtVS names, but none of their personalities. I also hate it when an author takes his or her preferences and projects them onto the characters. That's the whole point of most 'shipper fic, which is why I've learned to avoid it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Incidentally, good Riley-fic is here: -- HonorH, 12:01:20 07/05/03 Sat

Two pieces that neither saint nor bash him. First, Mariner's wonderful "Another Peaceful War," set in the wake of S4:

Another Peaceful War

Next, Yahtzee's deeply-Jossed, yet still stunning "The Quality of Mercy" (with some wonderful Wesley scenes to boot:

The Quality of Mercy

Just two examples of how to do it right.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> A Request for HonorH -- akanikki, 19:05:38 07/06/03 Sun

Ok, HonorH - I read your two fanfic recommendations and really enjoyed them. I've stayed away from fanfic, for a variety of reasons, but you seem to have somewhat similar tastes - do you mind recommending other stories and writers? No preferences - no ships, just like good stories. I had actually imagined a similar Angel and Riley meeting, although The Quality of Mercy was far better than my version!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'll recommend my Favorites: -- HonorH, 07:08:16 07/07/03 Mon

Here's my page at FFN. Go to my Favorites, both "stories" and "authors." You can hardly miss:

My FFN Page

Heck, you might even enjoy my stories.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank You! -- akanikki, 20:19:26 07/07/03 Mon

Thank you! It's bookmarked for when I have some time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Lemme see if I can explain this another way: -- HonorH, 13:31:35 07/05/03 Sat

And this is addressed to the board in general, btw, although I'm gonna use you as an example, s'kat, 'cause you're convenient.

Why do I get upset over bad fanfic? Why has it struck such a deep chord in me that I'm writing a whole meta-fic about it?

The answer is simple: fanfic is as good a way to explore the world of the show and its philosophical conundrums as a good essay is. At its best, fanfic can explore characters and possibilities and really involve both the writer and the reader in the world of BtVS. Shadowkat--you write incredible essays. Even if I don't always agree with you, you make good points and back up what you say. You put a lot of time, thought, and care into them, and we all respect you for that. Were someone to come on this board with a half-assed theory that they put forward as if it's God's truth and back up not at all, you'd probably tear them and their theory to shreds (in a polite, sensible way, of course). Imagine then if they came back and said, "Well, that's what I think, so stfu!"

Unfortunately, that's the way people treat fanfic. They take the world of the show and its characters and warp it to fit their own prejudices. They create shallow caricatures who they label "Buffy," "Spike," "Xander," and "Willow" (if, of course, they can spell the names right) and force them into relationships that never existed in any way on the show with no explanation whatsoever. Then, if you dare criticise them, even in a nice way, they come back at you with, "Well, that's what I think, so stfu!"

Fanfic has so many possibilities. You find a good piece, it makes you think about the show and the characters in a way you never did before. Unfortunately, for every one of those, there are quite literally 100 shallow, masturbatory fantasies that never come anywhere close to the actual show.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well said! -- ponygirl, 15:42:43 07/05/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very well said, HonorH. You are my new hero! -- Random, 12:43:33 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Lemme see if I can explain this another way: -- s'kat, 13:16:51 07/06/03 Sun

The answer is simple: fanfic is as good a way to explore the world of the show and its philosophical conundrums as a good essay is. At its best, fanfic can explore characters and possibilities and really involve both the writer and the reader in the world of BtVS. Shadowkat--you write incredible essays. Even if I don't always agree with you, you make good points and back up what you say. You put a lot of time, thought, and care into them, and we all respect you for that. Were someone to come on this board with a half-assed theory that they put forward as if it's God's truth and back up not at all, you'd probably tear them and their theory to shreds (in a polite, sensible way, of course). Imagine then if they came back and said, "Well, that's what I think, so stfu!"

Thank you. I personally think my essays are okay. And I'm not great at backing up nearly as well as I should which gets me in trouble with the nit-picky crowd all the time. You should see the comments on Whedonesque on how I dared to state 24 was a tightly plotted serial, apparently it's more loosely plotted than I or Joss Whedon realized. I should have said "more" tightly plotted than most tv shows. (Nit-picking gets on my ever-living nerve. OtOH - I can be nit-picky too...so perhaps hypocrisy is just part of human nature?)

At any rate, people write horrid essays all the time, one's filled with foul language and ranting. I've left boards that are notorious for this. And I've read published literary essays who did it. Jayson Blair was actually doing it on the New York Times - didn't back up his stuff, used false references, etc. Really really bad. Has ruined the NY Times creditability and the credibility of journalists.

So I understand the need to curtail it. Actually it's one of the purposes of copyright and trademark law. When Harry Potter and Interview with a Vampire fanfic writers started playing loosey-goosey with the characters of those novels, more so Harry Potter, J.K Rowling's lawyers went after them and sent an injunction to fanfic.net to remove the stuff - one of the reasons fanfic.net no longer permits NC17 fic on it's site is that people were upset about the Harry Potter slash fic, especially Rowlings. (Actually I would have been more concerned about the Blues Clues and Teletubbies slashfic, but that's just me.) There are positions at movie companies - where someone's sole job is to read over proposed novels or anything someone wants to publish on a character trademarked by the movie company. Their job is to ensure the writer isn't abusing the character in any way. Now of course you can't trademark the names Spike, Buffy, Xander, Willow - but you can trademark the character so that someone can't willy-nilly destroy them and hurt your product. The reason these laws exist is what you state above - it's to retain those characters credibility in the marketplace. (Whedon likes the slash and even makes references to it in his shows and creates an on-going subtext for it - so that actually may not be so out of character for Btvs and Ats. )

Personally - I think most fanfic is harmless and yes, somewhat self-indulgent to analyze characters (and I wholeheartedly include myself in this btw, I'm admit my essays are the result of an obsessive preoccupation with certain elements in the shows or a desire to figure stuff out - which can be seen as very self-indulgent.) or write fanfic about them so you can explore themes and ideas that strike you in a deep personal way or you feel need further exploration. All the fanfic on the internet is created from that need. A good portion of it is written by people under the age of 20.

Are there bad essays and fanfic out there? Of course. Just as there are some really bad tv shows, novels, movies, and music released every year. Do some people really love those?
Yep. SMG is known for loving bad television for example.
Do I feel a need to do away with them? Yes and No. I'm against censorship in all means, ways, types and forms. I may suggest people don't bash characters - but I'm not going to suggest deleting their posts since that would go against my abhorrence of censorship. I may rant and rave about the bad stuff I see out there. Heck if I was queen of the world American Idol, Joe Millionaire and Survivor would never ever have made it to the airwaves. Riley would have stayed in Belize, the heroic if somewhat traumatized ex of Buffy, instead of returning as an overly smug nit I wanted to hit repeatedly in AYW. But I'm not queen of the world, aren't you glad? ;-) Personally I think Doug Petrie did a better job of destroying Riley than any fanfic writer has - and I state this as an example of how people react to things differently. You on the other hand loved Riley in AYW and did not see the overly smug *&&^$ that I did. Why? We come at things differently. I think the same can be said for writing essays or fanfic. There are essays that have appeared on this board that I have to admit I hated, they pushed my buttons, but - by the same token the writer had a right to their point of view. I may completely disagree with their pov and believe if their pov was in any way close to valid it would ruine the show for me and make it impossible for me to watch the show. But that does not mean they don't have a right to see it that way. So I just didn't respond or read it or any of their posts. As I said to Scroll ages ago - we have to remember the posts or fanfics we read do NOT affect what appears on the screen or the creators views of the characters - all it can affect is how we view it and only to the extent that we allow it to. So everyone, whether or not I happen to agree or like their views, has as much right to rant, rave, analyze or
deconstruct these characters and this story as I do. I can
post criticism to them and tear apart their essay - but I do not have the right to remove or ask anyone else to. Same with fanfic.

Now, I'm not saying you propose censoring or doing away with this fanfic you despise (at least I hope you don't)- and I do believe you have a right to criticize it and make a parody of it. But by the same token? I hope you don't mind someone doing the same to you and believe me, they probably are. IT's inevitable. I would not be surprised if there's not someone out there have a ball parodying OBAFU university. Haven't seen it yet, but then I don't read a lot of fanfic.

I guess this is a long rambling way of trying to point out to everyone - my usual mantra - whatever you believe, think, feel, or like and however passionately you feel about it? Count on the fact that there is someone out there who feels the opposite and is as right and as justified as you are. For as many people who think Riley was shown as upstanding normal boyfriend and great lover, there's a whole host of people who see him as a cowardly/somewhat smug sod, bad in bed, who needed the structure and black and white world of the military to survive. Whose right? The show is written ambiguously enough that you both can be.
That is both the brilliance and utter frustration of the show. That it can be both. Sometimes I wish it was just one or the other - it would make frolicing on line easier, but at the same time far less interesting.

As for bad fanfic writing? I'm less worried about the out-of-character eye-rolling moments (and there are several - have you ever read some of the B/S/A menage a-trois?? or the Angel and/or Spike bite Buffy and make her their mates?? ugh. And hey! I happen to enjoy the ships and the smut, thank you very much! When it's done well. (You want to read very well written ship/smut fic? Try Sunday Girl by Dead Soul, Herself's B/S fic (very lyrical writer Herself and she does a good job with both characters).)I find the further adventures of the SG stuff somewhat mundane, I'm afraid, MoTW crap didn't excite me in S1. I read fanfic when I read it - to learn more about characters I'm obsessed with, fill in story or plot gaps or deal with themes that I felt ME left ambiguously unresolved. For instance, I'm looking forward to the Rob/fresne/cjl Anya S7 fics.

No, the fanfic errors I can't abide are the following and they have been bad enough to stop me reading a really really good fic in its tracks:

Lines like:

1."the blond looked at the brunette and sighed heavily."

2. "Angel looked at his Mate and his Childe..."

Why oh why can't people just use characters' names or he and she? I just hate the whole Childe thing.

As for bashing characters in fanfic? Believe me there are just as many anti-Spike fics out there as Riley's. People get out their anger writing fics on it. One person told me instead of writing a negative review on Storyteller and Wood/Andrew - I should write fanfic and destroy them in that. Truth is? We deal with our negative and postive feelings through our writing. After AYW - Riley got ripped to shreds in fanfic - people hated him. He pushed their buttons. (I have a sneaking suspicion he was supposed to.)
Same with Spike. After Seeing Red - people ripped him to shreds or some hunted ways of handling it.

I'm curious if you've sent any comments to people who wrote the bad fic letting them know how it could be better or how it doesn't work - in addition to or as opposed to parodying it? Wouldn't the direct approach be more effective? Maybe not - since people can be awfully sensitive when it comes to their writting and lots of these people are kids. (Now I wouldn't do it - don't care enough to get in fights and hate confrontation...but am curious, if anyone else has?)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> This trick really works (confession of a basher) -- Doug, 15:56:28 07/06/03 Sun

Personally I send my player characters from Roleplaying Games after the characters that piss me off. It helps alot to purge the negative emotions towards the show and the character. I've not only massacred Riley, Sam, and their whole operation but many of the core characters of BtVS ticked me off so much in Season 6 that I had to destroy them just so I could look at them with fresh eyes in season 7. There was no way I could feel any sympathy for any of them; so rather than watch the show and want these characters to die each episode, or simply stop watching, I killed every character in the credits except for Spike and Anya. And I could then watch Season 7 with those emotions purged from my mind and empathise with the characters again. The Symbolic act of destruction alowed me to face and resolve the negative feelings I was holding towards the characters after AYW/S6.

Now, when writing this stuff it's important to keep the characters as intact as possible. All of our views of the character in question will differ, both from each other's and from the writers; however it is important to try, if for no better reason than for your symbolic act of destruction to be effective in purging negative emotion. The adavantage of using my characters from RPGs is that, while they aren't May Sues by any stretch of the imagination, (Considering that these are World of Darkness characters they are arguably as flawed as any character from the Jossverse) they are characters that I am used to putting myself in their situation, seeing through their eyes, and acting through them. This helps with the symbolic act of destruction.

Now I never post these stories, and I usually delete it immediately after writing it. Why? Because I'd probably be torn apart by other fans if I posted it. But this can really help when something on the show ignites your Righteous Fury.

Incidentally, if you look at Riley's characterization in other Petrie episodes you will notice that it lines up with the character's portrayal in AYW. Just take a look at his scenes in AYW. This is why a writer can't afford to be too much of a fan.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I actually do the opposite. -- HonorH, 16:56:46 07/06/03 Sun

I do what would probably be called "fanwanking." After AYW (which, btw, I *was* disappointed in), I wrote a story that was half from Sam Finn's pov and half from Buffy's during the episode. It gave me a different view on their characters and why they might've done the things they did. I like to think my Sam is less of a Mary Sue than the Sam from AYW, but that's *really* wanking.

That's my m.o., and, btw, I'm not trying to sound morally superior. If I wrote a basher fic, it'd probably only intensify my negative feelings. That's the way I operate. I don't purge; I hoard. So what I do is try to look through the character's eyes and understand why they behave the way they do. Even if it doesn't make me like them necessarily, it usually makes me more sympathetic and softens any negative feelings I'm harboring. That was part of the reason I wrote "That's Life," a series of post-"Grave" vignettes. It helped me work through my own feelings about S6 and everything that'd happened. The result was that I felt much more positive about S6 in general and upbeat about S7.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You see, that wouldn't work for me -- Doug, 18:00:46 07/06/03 Sun

I have at least a moderate tolerance to unlikable character traits, it takes a fair bit for me to want to put one of these people in the ground. But when a character has got to that point there is no way that taking their POV is going to do anything but make me dislike them more. Let's take Xander for example:

Think about what Xander said in "Seeing Red", he declared himself morally superior for his ability to use Spike without feeling anything for him, for his ability to despise and treat without compassion someone who saved his life, his ability to manipulate and fein friendship when necessary, then discard without remorse when the need is past. He compares Buffy unfavourably to himself, because she allowed herself to care for some "soulless thing"; and that's not even getting ito his treatment of Anya. There is no way I could enter that mind without my hatred for him deepening, trying to enter that POV will only deepen my rage. And the worst part is that he writers wrote that point of View as being Right and Just.

So Xander died; a bowie knife was driven through his gut by an Imbued Hunter. It takes a little while to die with a knife in your belly. But at the end of it I could look at Xander in Season 7 with clear eyes, and enjoy Xander in previous seasons. And you want to know something? He's not my favorite character ayway, but I can still enjoy him. I did the same thing to Buffy, Willow, and Dawn; Giles escaped with severe injuries. It was something I had to do, or else do what all my friends were doing and just stop watching.

But as you said that wouldn't work for you. Different stroke for different folks I guess. Sometimes there's fic bashing a character and there's not much point to it; but sometimes some people need to create a replica of a character, channel their anger into the replica, and destroy it, in order to continue enjoying the show.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Whoops! my memory is going -- Doug, 18:11:06 07/06/03 Sun

Dawn survived, albeit with a close shave with death and a major scare put into her.

Apologies for spelling errors.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Interesting...I do both -- s'kat, 21:27:07 07/06/03 Sun

But not in fanfic.

My essays - last year were attempts to deal with that.
I wrote Riley/Spike comparison after As You Were to attempt to deal with that episode and what Petrie did to Riley.
(And Doug is right, Petrie does write Riley oddly. Riley came off poorly in The Initiative as well.) I think Marti actually writes Riley best, which I guess goes against the being too much of a fan concept. (MArti loved the character). I wrote the Authority post to deal with Wood and Giles. The only time that I got a little too emotional was probably with the Storyteller critique, but that was intentional - I was trying an experiment - ie. to see why people like and dislike different things.

I also tend to write positively about an episode when it first airs (you should see my initial AYW post - you can find it on goggle, I did), but later after re-assessing, the fan-wanking disappears and the evil critic emerges. It did on AYW by June of last year. And with Chosen by June of this year. (Compare my initial review of Chosen in May to my S7 critique...hee hee, yep they do appear to contradict each other.) That's b/c I attempt HonorH and Rob's approach be positive - then jump to the critical approach or explode. And want to know something amusing?
I've been attacked on both. People will attack you on anything now days...you really do need the sensitivity of a toilet seat to write.

I give you credit for trying to write positively about characters you despise...it's a good writing exercise, it
keeps your writing honest and forces you to develop complex characters as opposed to two-dimensional ones. Actually that's my biggest complaint in fanfic or bad writing:

Two-dimensional characters created just to further a theme or plot. Or plots at the expense of characters.

When you take really interesting complex characters like the ones in Btvs and Ats - ME does a good job of creating complex characters and make them two-dimensional, than yes, that is a crime. And HH is right - people have done it.

I personally think fanfic is hard to write. You are writing about characters you didn't create. Tough.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> That's *so* exactly it! -- HonorH, 21:45:12 07/06/03 Sun

Fanfic-wise, I mean. My biggest problem with ficcers in general is when they write the characters to suit their story or 'ship. Case in point is a lot of B/S fic in which Buffy's written to be a total bitch, and all of her family and friends gang up on her to lecture her about how awful she treats poor Spikey-wikey, who's off in a corner crying.

(I don't exaggerate. A fic remarkably like that was what made me run screaming away from B/S over two years ago.)

That's why really thinking about the characters, looking into their motivations, is such a big part of writing for me. When I write, I want my stories to suit the characters, not the other way around.

Part of that, of course, is admitting one's weaknesses. My favorite 'ship is Buffy-Dawn. I tend to identify with Dawn to the point that I'll catch myself in the act of Sue-ing her. I've still got a huge ol' soft spot for B/A. It took me until the end of the series to even begin to warm up to B/S, due to the aforementioned trauma. I'm not comfortable writing Gunn--not because I don't like him; because I don't feel like I *know* him. And I can rationalize until the cows come home when it comes to my favorite characters rather than just say, "That was a stinky thing to do!"

We're a work in progress here.

Speak for yourself.

Go play with the mini-trolls, H.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You can write Gunn however you want for the next couple months -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:04:32 07/07/03 Mon

No one knows what the hell happened with that panther thing, so, until Season 5 airs, anything you write for Gunn can be considered in character as long as you keep the confidence we saw in "Home" in mind.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I also do the opposite, but define "opposite" differently -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:27:25 07/06/03 Sun

Quite simply, I like to kill the characters I like. In my first Buffy fic after seeing "As You Were" but not having seen the earlier parts of Season Six or a great deal of Season Five. At the time, my fave characters were Spike, Dawn, and Willow. So, what did I do? I had Dawn become a vampire, Spike be staked by Buffy, and, before I got writer's block with it, my plan was to have Dawn kill Willow. The more I like a character, the more I want to either kill, torture, or corrupt them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You'd do well at ME. ;) -- Arethusa, 21:57:18 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Are you Joss? -- HonorH, 21:57:57 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I agree with you on several points. -- HonorH, 16:48:14 07/06/03 Sun

I definitely understand what you're saying. I've no doubt there's someone out there trashing OBAFU, and honestly, I don't care. The reason I'm doing it is not to bash writers, but to hopefully get them to think about what they're doing and why they're doing it, and maybe even laugh at themselves and learn something.

I also wholeheartedly agree that there are millions of ways of looking at characters. The best fanfic I've read has challenged my personal views on various characters. What matters to me is not that a person likes a character I like (though I may try to sway them to my side), but that their characterization can be backed up in canon. Heck, one of the challenges I placed in the latest OBAFU chapter was to write a story sympathetic to the character on the show you liked least. I was happy to learn that several people have taken me up on the challenge. To date, I've seen wonderful pieces on Harmony and Snyder, and I myself did Parker.

Okay, that sounded really bad.

Anyway, it's not even really bashing that eats me up, although 99.99% of the time, bashing absolutely depends on bad characterization and thus gets the thumbs-down from me. The thing that frustrates me most is characterization that really can't be backed up in canon. Like, for instance, Riley the abusive boyfriend and Buffy the wan, submissive girlfriend. This is usually a device for the author to turn Spike into the hero who rescues Buffy. There is no good to be found here. These were not the characters we saw on the show. It totally screws up not only the characterization of Buffy, Spike, and Riley (at the very least--usually the Scoobies are ineffectual/complicit as well), it also screws up the entire theme of the show. If they want to do an abusive boyfriend story, they should find themselves some other characters to work with, because it just doesn't work with Buffy and Riley. She'd have kicked him into the next time zone if he'd tried anything like that.

Rant for another time, probably. As for your next question: yes, I do give constructive crit. I've only actually flamed once (a fic that had Buffy getting gruesomely gang-raped by vampires because the author wanted to "punish" her for being mean to Spike), but I give a great deal of constructive crit and also beta-read for those who ask me to.

For instance, I recently read the opening chapters of a story that promises to turn into an AU series ender. The author had an intriguing concept going on (bit rough on the writing style, but not bad), but the thing that distracted me was her characterization of Anya. Her Anya was an extremely shallow sex machine who no one--not even Xander--really liked. I wrote a review expressing how much I liked the fic overall, but Anya's characterization disappointed me. The author then surprised me by writing me to ask what precisely I didn't like about her Anya, and how she might be able to improve. I clarified my position and made a few suggestions. She then wrote back thanking me for my advice and asking if I'd please beta her next chapter--which I'm doing. That's about my best experience with CC.

I also agree that fanfic is no replacement for canon. It's not even a supplement. It's just a way for writers to participate in the fandom and hash out ideas. Yeah, self-indulgent, all right, and I'll join you at *that* party, BUT that's still no excuse for doing it badly.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And the biggest fanfic crime ever, according to me: -- HonorH, 17:33:31 07/06/03 Sun

Cliche! Be original! *This* is why the "Riley's so dull; Spike's a Sex God" fics now turn my stomach. One, I'd have ignored. Two, I'd have disagreed with. Scores, it's just obnoxious. What I wouldn't give for just one "Y'know, Spike's not actually that hot in bed" fic!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And the biggest fanfic crime ever, according to me: -- s'kat, 20:58:54 07/06/03 Sun

Sounds to me like you have a Riley fetish? ;-) (Perhaps I'm wrong, but you do seem to be going on about him quite a bit, granted that was the topic of the thread...so maybe I'm reading more into it than there is.) If you do and there's nothing wrong with it (Riley was an interesting character and nice guy - completely wrong for Buffy, but then so is everyone in my humble opinion), Marc Blucas has a new romantic movie out called I Capture The Castle that you might enjoy. Just showed up today.
(I doubt I'll see it, the actor just seems overly stiff to me, but to each their own. Clearly casting directors disagree with me.)

I think when you read the sex fic you have to take into account that the writer is fantasizing. They see Spike as a sex god, why? Uhm well - let's see the actor puts more into his sex scenes than anyone else does with body language, tongue movements, eyes, etc. He looks like he's actually kissing the actress as opposed to pretending. (Apparently he actually was - since according to one of his interviews, Gellar informed him that he wasn't supposed to *actually* kiss her. Hmmm...yes, Gellar, except I can tell when you're faking it on screen and when you aren't. Which is why I hate to watch sex scenes on tv - all the actors look like they are faking it, they look bored and like they'd rather be doing anything else - so why bother watching them? Oh for the good ole days when it was hinted at.) Eliza Dusku
also actually looks like she's kissing someone. (She apparently complained about DB's fangs cutting her tongue in Enemies.) The reason people think Spike is a sex god, is they watch Marsters knees bend, him kiss the girl as if she's the best thing on earth, and his eyes fixate on her with adoration...that's the visual indicators. And oh it is canon - Buffy makes it clear he was the best she ever had in Wrecked. And the shooting script says the same. Also we have Juliet Landau and Emma Caulfield state JM is the best kisser on the show. So...I honestly don't think Spike as a sex god is such a big stretch.

Riley on the other hand? Sorry see no evidence of it. Only time we see it is well when they are under a spell in WtWtA.
Sam and Riley certainly don't appear to be into sex. We see nothing. No canon evidence. We do however get plenty of ambiguous subtextual references to dissatisfaction: Buffy leaving their bed in the middle of the night to hunt. Buffy being turned on by Dracula. Buffy leaving Sunnydale for LA to help Angel when Riley is struggling and hiding for his life. Buffy distancing herself from Riley. Buffy telling her Mom she can uhm...do Bible study with Riley any time.
Didn't really seem like Riley was all that. And of course we get Riley going to the vamp trulls and feeling like Buffy doesn't love him and isn't connected. Spike points out he just doesn't have the monster to turn her on.
That - I'd say is canonical evidence that Riley wasn't the best lover in the world from Buffy's pov. But keep in mind Buffy is super-powered and was in love with a vampire.
So while Riley might be *your* dreamboat, he's probably not Buffy's. Spike - they make clear was fantastic in bed, both from Harm, Dru, Anya (who keeps hitting on him) and Buffy's perspectives - it's a theme in S6, someone who is a great lover and great sex - may not be the best person to be with.
So the theme was great sex does NOT equal love. She had great sex with Spike - so great she was addicted to it, but
she did not connect to Spike until they stopped having sex.
Before that he was just her sex slave. So see?
Spike as "sex god" is a legitimate point in fanfic and canon. You *may* not see him as attractive or sexually alluring or lust after him - heck many people don't see Wood or Angel that way - but it is clear from the scripts they are supposed to be viewed that way. Just as Lilah
is supposed to be viewed as great in the sack. In other words, I don't think this is a valid fanfic complaint - if you are going by "canon".

By the way, the difficulty with espousing "canon" regarding series and characters as ambiguously written and as loosely plotted as Btvs and Ats are - is more often than not? The writers themselves will prove you wrong. You can do it with Star Trek far easier - or you used to be able to, Roddenberry had some strict boundaries, but the new writers Berman? They've twisted some of those boundaries, outraging numerous Trek purists I'm certain. HEck look what happened with all the canon assumptions people made about the Watcher's Council, Slayers, Souls, and Spike's history.
I'm beginning to think canon is a laughable concept when it comes to these shows or any television shows, unless of course they are completely over and there is no danger that creators will play with them some more. It's not like books where the concepts are set in stone. This series is on tv and appears to be as malleable as the writers wish it to be.

That said, there are a few fics that take the characters so far out of character that even I roll my eyes. Xander raping
Willow? Sorry never happen. Riley raping anyone? Nope.
Spike turning Dawn into a vampire? Nope. Buffy asking Spike to turn Dawn into a vampire? The list goes on. And there are ships that just squick me. Wood as a character completely squicks me - hence the reason you'll never ever see me write about him - I did try once - see my authority essay on my site, not bad actually - stayed pretty neutral.
But that's as far as I can go. The character (Not the actor who I believe is hot and extreemly talented) repulsed me.
I could not watch the W/F scene in Touched. And I won't read fic with Wood in it. I also won't write it. I believe the best way to avoid bashing (AND everyone does it, whether they want to or not) is to avoid posting or writing about a character. I've seen you post very very negative things on Spike for example - and yes you have a right to your pov, JUST as people have a right to post very very negative things on other characters. (And all of it can be backed up by the show - there is NOT a character on these shows that has not done something really repulsive or cruel at some point in the story. Well with the possible exception of Sam but I'm not counting the one-shot characters, they don't have time. ;-) ) I'm just telling people that it's better not too...since it just makes everyone miserable and causes wars.

I honestly don't know if any of the above made a lick of sense. I don't mean to question what you're doing HH, I've actually been enjoying OBAFU. I guess, I'm just pointing out that there's another equally valid view?


PS: I probably shouldn't talk about fanfic, I certainly don't criticize it, because well, I'm not very good at it myself. And yes, I've read lots of bad fanfic.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Clarifying juuust a few things: -- HonorH, 21:30:15 07/06/03 Sun

Yes, Riley does indeed float my boat, and I liked him, but no, he's not my be-all and end-all. I thought he was cute and nice and any guy who uses the term "court" gets my vote. And Spike? Also floats my boat, but in a different way. Truth be told, I find Spike far sexier than Riley. My post above was facetious, and I'd certainly think any fic that went along those lines would have to be a parody. I severely doubt Spike would be boring in bed. I just think it'd be funny . . . yeah, I've got a weird sense of humor. You just picking up on this?

So why the difference in my posts? I suppose it's a bit of me being ornery. There are far more people in the anti-Riley camp than there are in the pro-Riley camp. Thus, I tend to jump to his defense. OTOH, Spike rarely needs defenders, but occasionally, someone has to point out that he's *not* a saint and never was. That's me a lot of the time, too. I think Riley's a lot more interesting than a lot of people make him out to be--and Spike, too. The reason I have such a hard time with Spike Sanctifiers is that I see them as "dumbing down" Spike's character and smoothing out his rough edges. I suppose me pointing out his flaws could be construed as being anti-Spike, but in my own way, I'm being pro-Spike.

Just out of curiosity: did that make any sense at all?

As for the canon/not-canon argument, the last thing I want to do is make people feel like I'm saying my way of seeing a character or an event should be the only way. However: JW went to a lot of trouble to give the series overall internal consistency. Yes, there were trouble spots, but the consistency was there, and much better than in most series (ST in all its incarnations comes to mind). I believe that should be respected. For instance, to name my own least-favorite 'ship, I cannot see how a writer could realistically get Spike and Xander into bed. HOWEVER: a good writer could possibly do it. If they could get the characters together in a way that doesn't ignore their prickly canon relationship, not to mention the fact that Xander, at least, has never been shown to be interested in a guy sexually, it could be good. Not that I'd read it, because that's really not my Thang, but it could be good.

Heck, Roz Kaveney pulled off a fic with the premise of, "Willow does Darla on Buffy's grave." Hell, Joss pulled off B/S, and I really, really didn't think that would work, pre-S6.

So I guess it comes down to the care a writer puts into his or her fic. If I can believe that the characters in the fic are the characters we saw onscreen, that's a good fic, IMHO. Even if that's not exactly how I saw a particular character, if the author can sell it, I'll respect it. And in my experience in the fanfic world, I'm not alone in that.

Plus, spelling and grammar and all that, y'know?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks for clarifying, it did make sense -- s'kat, 22:55:22 07/06/03 Sun

Thanks for clarifying and yes, it made a great deal of sense. Sarcasm and facestious humor doesn't always transfer well in posts, so I can't tell ;-)

OTOH, Spike rarely needs defenders,

Oh I wouldn't say that. There are lots of Spike haters on this board and others. And they do not hold back. This may be the most divisive character in fandom right now.

For instance, to name my own least-favorite 'ship, I cannot see how a writer could realistically get Spike and Xander into bed. HOWEVER: a good writer could possibly do it. If they could get the characters together in a way that doesn't ignore their prickly canon relationship, not to mention the fact that Xander, at least, has never been shown to be interested in a guy sexually, it could be good. Not that I'd read it, because that's really not my Thang, but it could be good.

Actually I've read two that did it okay - in both Spike was "evil". But it is a tough one. And no, I would not recommend them to you. You either like slash or you don't.
I know ME has either read them or knows about them - b/c
Petrie referenced it in BY. And Espenson did in First Date.
Also Whedon references it in Chosen.

Slash -- I think -- is hard to write believably. I can't read Faith/Buffy slash, doesn't work for me. Others love it.
I also can't see most Dawn ships. I like Dawn. I just can't imagine her romantically linked with any of the characters.
I like B/S fanfic- but that has to do with the on-screen chemistry I saw between the actors and ME sold it to me. But - I didn't read ANY fanfic until well after Smashed.
So they already went there on the show before I read fanfic on it. Also, I ditched the bad stuff - the fluffy spuffy that you reference. There's some very good B/S stuff out there. And some really bad. (Here's an example of REALLY bad fic: Angel convinces Buffy to sleep with Spike b/c Spike is his Childe and through Spike she can sleep with him, Angel - so Spike is basically Angel and Buffy's love/sex slave meanwhile Riley is a vile rapist. Oh and Angel never lost his soul b/c he never had the perfect moment with Buffy - as long as he has rough sex with her or sex through Spike or just bites her, he won't lose his soul and they can be happy. Now that's my definition of out-of-character fanfic. LOL!) Just as there's some really really bad A/B stuff - the above being one of them. I've never been turned off a ship by fanfic though or posts. Only the show does that. ME made me stop likeing B/A not the fanfic. ME got me into B/R and out of B/R. ME got me into B/S. I'm a good little viewer - I go where the writers lead me ;-). The internet really doesn't affect my tastes regarding the show or characters whatsoever. People can change my mind regarding intellectual things, but not emotional ones.

but occasionally, someone has to point out that he's *not* a saint and never was.

First to agree. But then are any of the characters on these shows saints? Except for maybe Sam and Cassie and possibly Tara ;-) No Tara did do that demon spell in Family, so not a saint. Actually the sanctifying of characters gets on my nerves too. There's a few not many B/S fics that sanctify Spike - I call them fluffy Spike fics - I can't read them.
It's the complexities and ambiguities in the characters that make them interesting. Saint Buffy? Boring. Saint Spike? equally boring. Also a big danger of painting a character too nicely is they end up sounding smug. Fury and Petrie run into this problem with characters they see as morally unambiguous. Petrie paints Riley as way too smug
and Fury does it to Angel. Please God, if Fury writes episodes of Ats next season have it be not on Angel centric episodes. Petrie and Fury write Spike brillaintly b/c they don't see him through rose colored glasses. Rebecca Rand Kirshner on the other hand...tends to paint him a little too nicely in her episodes, b/c she does. So it even affects ME writers.

I think Riley's a lot more interesting than a lot of people make him out to be--and Spike, too. The reason I have such a hard time with Spike Sanctifiers is that I see them as "dumbing down" Spike's character and smoothing out his rough edges.

Completely agree. My two hated posts: Spike sanctifiers and
Spike evilistras. Sigh. Extremists. I hate them in politics, I hate them in literary analysis and I hate them
in character fanfics. I swear sometimes I think all the horrors in our world can be blamed on the extremists. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> In regards to your last statement-- -- HonorH, 23:21:22 07/06/03 Sun

It's not very far from the truth, methinks.

Fascinating discussion, s'kat. We must do it again sometime!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Thanks for clarifying, it did make sense -- Miss Edith, 11:39:59 07/07/03 Mon

When it comes to shipper fic, I generally stick to B/S. And Spangel fic. I could see Angelus having had sex with Spike in the past, so those fics work for me. Of course a lot of the time I just indulge myself with porn without plot anyway *cough* Most fan fics I read are centered around Spike actually.

There are some wonderful writers of Spuffy, sometimes I've found reading fan fic really enriched what I was seeing on-screen. Now for me personally in season 6 I struggled to sympathise with Buffy after the episode OAFA, fan fic actually helped me with that, opening up the Buffy character. And there are so many Chosen fics hanging around at the moment from people dissatisifed with Joss teasing along B/A and B/S shippers. There is even one fic that describes the missing basement sceen by B/S agreeing to say "no you don't, but thanks for saying it" as their signal to express and accept love lol.

I have to say I haven't read any really bad fan fic. I generally stick to authors I already know, and places like TWoP have a section where fan fic is recommended so you get a good idea of what you might enjoy, and can avoid anything too dire.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Clarifying juuust a few things: -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:12:35 07/07/03 Mon

"I severely doubt Spike would be boring in bed."

Don't be so sure. For a long while, I would have said the thought of Faith being bad in bed was unimaginable. But then Joss gave us "Chosen", and Wood tells Faith that their night together, "didn't exactly rock my world". If Faith can fall short of the hype in canon, why not Spike in fanfic?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ah, but You're forgetting a crucial point: -- Doug, 13:20:11 07/07/03 Mon

Wood is a Pompous, egotistical, manipulative Jackass.

I hereby submit that his claim is therefore unsubstantiated.

In addition we've seen Wood having sex; he really isn't all that himself, so I imagine he was bluffing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm sorry, I haven't killed Wood or Kennedy yet and my negative emotions are building up -- Doug, 15:47:49 07/07/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ah, but You're forgetting a crucial point: -- Miss Edith, 16:06:28 07/07/03 Mon

LOL I was thinking the same thing. It could be hard for Wood to enjoy sex, when he's got his head constantly stuck up his own ass.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Completely agree! Thank you !! So glad I'm not alone. -- s'kat, 18:59:33 07/07/03 Mon

Something tells me Faith would have done better in Wood's opinion if she'd taken on the qualities of a mirror.

[> [> [> I agree with Honor -- shambleau, 11:23:19 07/05/03 Sat

And the ep was by Joss. And you left out that Fuffy seemed to have had a great, even shattering experience. She was panting, post-orgasmic in my estimation, even before Riley told her he loved her.

[> [> [> [> Re: I agree with Honor -- Miss Edith, 11:40:00 07/05/03 Sat

Of course it's fair enough if people do think Riley could have been fun in bed. To me in episodes like WAY he just seems so sensible and well boring is the word that comes to mind (sorry Riley fans!) I just can't imagine Buffy and Riley's sexual encounters being earth shattering experiences, it doesn't in my mind fit why Buffy was even attracted to Riley. He was normal and safe, the anti-Angel. Angel provided Buffy with the passion, and then left her. I always saw B/R as Buffy trying out a mature relationship, rather than being genuinely swept off her feet. Riley was the gentlemen playing Buffy compliments, and flattering her, it was never about Buffy being crazy for him IMO.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I agree with Honor -- shambleau, 11:54:38 07/05/03 Sat

I'm not that big of a Riley fan, just feel that he's treated unfairly. He wasn't the love of her life, agreed. I just don't think that rules out good sex. Earth-shattering? Probably not, but there's plenty of good to great sex left even when it's not earth-shattering. Also, I doubt their sex ever got as lousy as the sex with Spike in the alley by the dumpster, however earth-shattering it was at other times.

[> [> [> well, some people like that -- anom, 18:36:34 07/06/03 Sun

"He just seemed so into normal missionary position. In Who Are You when Faith as Buffy tries to introduce some kink to the relationship Riley doesn't even respond. He had Buffy crawling across the bed in skintight leather pants waving her ass in his face, and he didn't even look particulary excited. He just comments something like, "I'll be Riley" and takes control of the sex making it all lovey dovey. There is nothing wrong with kisses and tenderness, but if his girlfriend is indicating she wants to try something new, it's a bit presumptious to insist on having regular sex Riley's way."

I read that as Faith's thinking role-playing sex games was what it would take to get Riley interested, & his telling her it wasn't necessary. He didn't want Buffy as bad-girl-needing-punishment, he wanted the real Buffy (which, of course, was not what he got!) And y'know something? Whatever they did (& you can't assume not playing sex games means nothing but missionary position--not that there's anything wrong w/that either) apparently reached her in a way none of the less conventional sex she'd had before ever did.

And if either partner is uncomfortable w/the "something new" the other one wants to try, I would hope the other one would respect that. Individual preferences about sexual practices are very personal, & while it's fine to try to talk your partner into something you like (or think you might), if they find it icky or too weird or whatever, that's likely to make the sex not so good for either of you.

I haven't quoted any buttons in awhile. Not too long ago, there was a new one that said, "Vanilla. Monogamous. Sorry." It was quickly followed by one that said, "Vanilla. Monogamous. Not sorry."

[> [> Re: Why does everyone seem to assume Riley was bad in bed? -- shambleau, 11:08:27 07/05/03 Sat

I always assumed that their sex was pretty good and that Riley was a good lover. You could argue that it was his love-making ability that put Faith on the path to redemption. There were other factors, but his tenderness was the tipping point. And Faith looked like she'd just had an orgasm too, so it was emotion coupled with at least some sexual skill. As you noted, no complaints from Buffy. While the sex didn't reach the heights of eroticism that Buffy apparently scaled with Spike, that's not the same as saying Riley was a bad lover.

Buffy made a teasing comment to him once about there could be costumes that night if he played his cards right. He responded with "Be still my heart". That interaction to me showed playfulness and willingness to experiment were also part of their sexual repertoire, whether or not we saw that.

That's in the text. I mostly agree with Shadowkat on the influence of the visuals and the acting chemistry. They had an impact that overrode what was actually presented as text. Although they did have heat for me occasionally. The picnic scene, with Riley's talk about driving turning into a sexual metaphor, was good, as was the scene where they kiss in the street in Hush. Those were non-sexual scenes, though.

But, aside from that, there's an additional factor. I think it's an unwillingness, on the part of some fans, at least, to give any credit to Riley for anything if they can possibly avoid it. The audience for BtVS isn't the audience that watches JAG. Riley was a church-going military jock from Iowa, an unquestioning, un-hip, political and moral naif. He was earnest instead of flip. And, above all, he wasn't Angel. Those are sins against coolness. Therefore, he had to be bad in bed. No sexual satisfaction for the Buffster from THAT guy! Only cool characters we like are allowed to be good in the sack.

[> [> [> That's it -- MaeveRigan, 15:19:05 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> Riley was dull because he was holding back in bed -- Dariel, 16:24:25 07/06/03 Sun

Riley was a church-going military jock from Iowa, an unquestioning, un-hip, political and moral naif. He was earnest instead of flip. And, above all, he wasn't Angel. Those are sins against coolness. Therefore, he had to be bad in bed.

This is not the problem. Riley was repressed emotionally. For all his military jock tendencies, he was unable to express anger or any aggressive feelings when it came to Buffy. When he becomes dissatisfied with their relationship, he never confronts her about it. Never says a word. Just goes off to get vamp suck jobs.

Sex and aggression go hand in hand. And no, I don't mean knocking a woman around. I just mean, well, passion. A man who cannot openly confront his lover about problems in the relationship is not going to be good in bed, because he's always holding back his aggressive feelings. Riley was holding back--that's what made him dull.

You can't have make-up sex if you don't ever have a fight!

[> [> [> [> Actually, he was holding back in general -- Dariel, 16:41:16 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> Re: Riley was dull because he was holding back in bed -- shambleau, 09:53:57 07/07/03 Mon

Well, I said that it was the hidden, maybe even unconscious, reasoning of some fans. Even if it doesn't apply to you, it doesn't mean that it doesn't apply to anybody.

As for aggression being needed in order to be a good lover, and here I'm talking just about the physical aspect, I'd say that to reach the heights in a certain kind of love-making, yes. But how aggressive do you need to be in oral sex, for example? You can be a skilled, sensitive, considerate lover. You may never hit the deepest chords of your partner emotionally, but that doesn't make you a bad lover as far as technique goes. It just seems possible for me that Riley could give her sexual satisfaction, while leaving her dissatisfied in other ways.

As for holding back, it was Buffy as much as him. She held back emotionally, she held back when they sparred, and Riley didn't seem to be holding back his aggression there, unless you think it always has to be accompanied by anger. It was Riley who asked her to hit him, to fight, in Into The Woods, and she wouldn't.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Riley was dull because he was holding back in bed-Disagree -- sdev, 17:25:43 07/07/03 Mon

I can't believe I went away for a long weekend and half the board is talking about sex, a subject near and dear to my ...

KDS writes "I think some people are probably assuming that Riley, as a normal human being, was incapable of kepping up with Slayer stamina."

Shambleau writes "As for aggression being needed in order to be a good lover, and here I'm talking just about the physical aspect, I'd say that to reach the heights in a certain kind of love-making, yes. But how aggressive do you need to be in oral sex, for example? You can be a skilled, sensitive, considerate lover. You may never hit the deepest chords of your partner emotionally, but that doesn't make you a bad lover as far as technique goes. It just seems possible for me that Riley could give her sexual satisfaction, while leaving her dissatisfied in other ways."

I disagree.

While a few people discussed Buffy's fear of injuring Riley, which I agree was a factor, there was not much talk of the Slayer's enhanced sexual performance which I think received a lot of emphasis on BtVS. I believe it was first mentioned by Parker in The Initiative when Riley and friends question him about Buffy. He acknowledges that she was great in bed. Parker says, "the word is stamina- definitely a bunny in the sack." Actually off the topic here, Riley is at his absolutely most endearing here when he slugs Parker a moment later for his crude joke.

B/S sex was clearly about stamina and enhanced sexual performance and physicality. On many occasions this is alluded to beginning with Wrecked. Buffy asks when the building collapsed and Spike answers "between the first and the ...," leaving open to viewer imagination how many times they engaged in the sex act. The beginning of Gone also suggests less directly that they engaged in sexual marathons of substantial duration. Finally at the end of AYW, when Buffy tells Spike that sex with him provides an escape "for a little while," he corrects her and says "I don't call 5 hours a little while."

Also their sex clearly involved physical power which surpassed mere human scale. The repeated destruction of Spike's crypt suggests their physical power when they engaged in sex, not just in the violent or abusive sense, but in the natural course of two people of their strength in the physical act. In Smashed they crash through the floor clutching each other and land without letting go, not something many humans could do.

Many times we see the destruction of the premises and hear how they "missed the bed". Yet they are not injured and it does not appear to be violent towards each other. That aspect is reminiscent of the many scenes where Buffy in training hurts Xander or Giles, unintentionally, just because of her amazing strength. Also many times Buffy inadvertently injures property from her brute strength applied to objects intended for beings of lesser strength. There is a funny scene in the college cafeteria in the Initiative, when Riley first notices Buffy, and she accidentally breaks the handle off one of the machines. It is reasonable to assume that sex between B/S was enhanced by their brute strength and thus they were well matched and able to fully enjoy one another.

Also Faith's sexual endurance is mentioned quite a few times (often self-promotion, I admit). But it stands to reason that her enhanced strength added to her ability in this arena as well. She makes fun of Xander's inability to keep up with her in Who Are You. When Xander complains that he and Anya had a romantic evening planned Faith, as Buffy, says, "Well, we certainly don't want to cut into that seven minutes." Yet Anya is clearly satisfied with Xander's sexual performance so presumably the problem is Faith's preternatural ability.

The Olympics are renowned for being the epitome of things other than sports. They are sometimes referred to as the sexual Olympics for their off-court feats of accomplishment which take place between the athletes after their competitive sporting events. The pairing of athletic ability with sexual prowess is legend and part of athletic canon. Is it also part of BtVS canon? I would argue- the facts say yes.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: correction -- sdev, 17:35:18 07/07/03 Mon

oops! Forgot to correct---
"The beginning of Gone also suggests less directly that they engaged in sexual marathons."

I mean Dead Things.

[> [> [> [> Riley was holding back in bed because he's dull. -- Katton Mouse, 22:42:23 07/07/03 Mon

Entry: dull
Function: adjective
Definition: uninteresting
Synonyms: abused, archaic, arid, big yawn, blah, boring, colorless, common, commonplace, dead, dismal, dreary, driveling, dry, familiar, flat, hackneyed, heavy, ho hum, hoary, humdrum, insipid, jejune, longwinded, monotonous, oft-repeated, ordinary, plain, pointless, prolix, prosaic, prosy, repetitious, repetitive, riley-like, routine, run-of-the-mill, senile, soporific, stale, stock, stupid, tame, tedious, tired, tiresome, trite, unimaginative, uninspiring, usual, usual thing, vapid, worn out

Rileys photo beside the definition

[> [> I never realized how much therapy there is in FanFic until this thread. -- WickedBuffy, 10:59:46 07/08/03 Tue

I've never written any fan fic unless it was a satire, but what a great way to blow off steam healthily!

::pondering how many different ways to kill Wood and early Dawn::

I don't think Marc/Riley is a good enough actor to pull this off - but it would have been fun to see an episode where Spike and Riley switch bodies.

er, wait, that's video fanfic... I can only do that in my head.

[> So, what are you saying exactly? -- manwitch, 06:31:04 07/05/03 Sat

As to objective fact (which we all know I don't believe in, but let's not get stuck there) it seems clear that Buffy and Faith were some pretty good sex.

Buffy's encounters with Angel and Spike are both clearly indicated to be the ultimate in both sexual and emotional revelation.

Parkers unimpressedness with her in the one night stand was clearly Parker's problem. He is attempting to validate a certain perception of his own power, not enjoy the nab itself.

Riley seemed to be sexually satisfied. Yes they played with the whore metaphor with him that suggest sexual frustration, but Rileys problems with the relationship seemed to be emotional. We can argue over what those problems were. I personally see it as he had trouble over not being given the primacy in the relationship that he felt was the natural balance of male/female relationship. He had his own views of how he would be supportive or how he would partner in a relationship, and those views followed scripts of male protection. It wasn't enough for him to get up in the morning after a night of great sex with this incredible woman and make her pancakes and kiss her as she went off to do whatever needed to be done and then clean her house so she wouldn't have to worry about it when she got back. He needed her to weep in his arms. He needed her to need his protection. He needed her to need what he thought was his manliness. Your point about the Riley/Faith encounter is interesting, but I always saw that as a point aimed at Faith about the power of adding emotion to a sexual encounter, not a suggestion that Riley was responding to the animalistic sex play of Faith. I thought they went out of their way to show that he didn't want that.

So we might all disagree on what was Rileys problem. But I think most of us agree that the problem was not bad sex. It was shown pretty repeatedly that the sex was amazing.

So your point, as I take it, is that Slayers, regardless of their sexual gifts and attributes, are kinda screwed up sexually. On the mental side of sexuality. You have called Buffy "emotionally and physically frigid," but also "sexually neutral." I would not equate those. But at any rate, you seem to be saying she has trouble expressing her sexuality sexually, and therefore expresses it through slaying. You seem to be saying Slaying is a substitute for sexual expression. I am not intrinsically against that argument.

Does the slaying diminish when she is having good sex? It would, right, in your theory?

You also ask a question about the selection of slaying, and does it hinge on this kind of sexual dysfunction. So, are you saying that the sexual dysfunction is innate? That the girls have it prior to puberty and the selection process siezes on it? Perhaps slayerdom itself produces the dysfunction of which you speak.

Buffy's last hand-holding with immolation spike is not a sexual desire. You seem to think it was. In either case, should it have been?

Your comment about the metaphor being suitable for six year old girls just confuses me. What metaphor are we talking about? If we are talking about the show itself and the metaphor it presents to its audience, then we should recognize in deciphering that message, that the show is not about healthy sexual function and never has been, but has used sexual images as metaphors for other powers, relationships, conlicts with the spirit. So, if we're talking metaphor, her sexual dysfunction isn't about sex anyways. Would her metaphor have been better suited to adults if she had made herself a sex-machine?

Speaking of sex machines, I like the Buffybot. But I think we should tread lightly when we say that her relationship with Spike revealed a more mature and healthy psychology than Buffy herself had. The Buffybot has no life responsibilities other than pleasing Spike. The Buffybot has no free will, it is programmed to love and want Spike. It is simply not permitted to exercise choice in the matter. The Buffybot is also programmed to express enjoyment over the encounters with Spike. But do we really believe that the Buffybot is left sexually satisfied in the "big O" sense? Why is complete submission to another's sexual and emotional needs a mature or healthy thing?

The most interesting aspect of Buffybot to add to your theory, is that even Buffybot ends up questioning herself about whether or not Spike likes her, and feels inadequate.
And oddly enough, she is inadequate for spike. But at that point it begins to undercut your theory, because spike could have hot yummy sex with the bot if he wanted it, but the reason Buffy bot is inadequate is not the sex, its because it isn't Buffy.

[> [> The cookie dough speech. The cookie dough speech. -- spamwich, 20:58:51 07/05/03 Sat

[> Buffy's a feminist icon. Everyone knows feminist icons don't get laid -- Claudia, 18:06:54 07/05/03 Sat

[> [> Getting laid ain't the problem. Having a relationship is. -- HonorH, 23:57:17 07/05/03 Sat

[> [> Re: Buffy's a feminist icon. Everyone knows feminist icons don't get laid -- sdev, 15:33:41 07/07/03 Mon


I must have missed that lecture in Feminism 101. But I guess JW did not.

[> stake =penis, vampbite=toothed vagina (don't look at me like that!) -- MsGiles, 07:33:31 07/06/03 Sun

Yeah, I like the 'impaling as sexual metaphor', whether or not it was a conscious part of the writing. I think it's interesting how vampires in fiction are so much of a .. carrier .. for sexual issues, from STDs (I suppose you could have a 'campaign for safe vamping', where they'd all have to wear little rubber tips on their fangs) to procreation without a womb. The staking/impaling/penetration link makes a certain amount of sense.

Part of the initial shock effect of the Slayer being a teenage girl could then come, subliminally, from the insinuation that she's taking a male sexual role. Rather like the 'girls and guns' theme (Jamie Lee Curtis in Bigelow's 'Blue Steel' comes to mind).Earlier vampire slayers, archetypally van Helsing in Stoker's Dracula, did tend to be male.

What about the act of vamping, looked at in the same light, though? If the Slayer, male or female, is carrying out what is essentially a male penetrative act, what about the vampire itself? The mouth has long been seen as a visual metaphor for the female sexual organs: a secondary erogenous zone made more prominent by lipstick (and collagen, and the sucking of lollipops, Magnums etc). A toothed vagina, source of nightmares as well as fantasies.

A vampire clamps its orifice onto the victim, and sucks. It's the opposite of the stake/penetration, it's the female side of the relationship, balancing the para-sexual relationship between vamp and staker. If the vampire is female, and the staker male (as, for example, in le Fanu's 'Carmilla'), then they act within their biological sexual identities. Once the vampire is male, then the sexuality of the vampiric act has an ambivalence, and a transgressive quality. Perhaps, if the act of staking replaces conventional sexual activity for Buffy, then so the act of vampirism would to replace conventional sex for vampires.

This is not a .. hard .. and fast rule though, in contemporary vampire fiction. Buffy has conventional sex, with and without vampire partners. Dracula in Coppola's film, and Jean Luc in the Anita Blake books, both want sex. There's a case for saying that vampirism only stands in for sex in Victorian literature because the sex couldn't be written about directly. The end result is that in contemporary vampire fiction there are two kinds of sex going on: the conventional kind, and the transgressive, vampiric kind.

For Buffy, sex with Riley is not transgressive. It's the nearest she comes to a normal relationship, and it seems satisfactory, up to the point when he loses his superpowers - then the dynamic is changed, whether it's because she now sees him as inferior, or whether because he just loses his sexual stamina, we don't know. Sex with the vampires is, though, and there's an extra frisson of naughtiness attached to both her affairs with Angel and Spike. With Angel, the theme is neatly curtailed as he turns bad, and further sexual contact becomes impossible. At this stage in the series, Buffy's age would have made an exploration of sexual themes inappropriate. The affair with Spike in S6, though, was able to take up some of the implications, and made it more explicit by hinting at bondage themes.

I've run out of thoughts now.

Let me leave you with some nipples.. I've just finished 'The Laughing Corpse', and I'm completely nippled out. I haven't met so many hard nipples all gathered together for a long time. Jean Claude even wears a see-thro' evening shirt, so Anita can admire his nipples. Eew!

[> [> oops! I meant Circus of the Damned, silly me -- MsG, 07:35:05 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> Re: Sounds like too many tipples to them nipples -- Brian, 11:12:01 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> ... and the AB books just keep growing more and more titillating. -- WickedBuffy, 12:11:04 07/06/03 Sun

[> [> Exactly! Ms Giles ... Everything comes down to Sex. -- B.S. Fabulist, 15:53:46 07/06/03 Sun

Unless it isn't.

I had first debated doing my dissertation based on vampires as representative of large corporations sucking us culturally, economically and psychologically dry. The only true way to survive such attacks is to join the enemy - become one yourself. Then turn and feed on those who can't. Buffy is the eternal rabble-rouser, the lone fighter who continues her fight to stick it to the corporations, poking at their weak spots, until they fall to dust. Big Business/Vampires are made of those who were once human, but are now another race. Similar, but stronger and more powerful. Able to do things an ordinary person can't. The last episode fit in beautifully as an idealistic metaphor for what a great change and upset of power could happen if it wasn't just a small band of rebels fighting for equality, but hundreds, possibly thousands standing up to pierce the veils of the wealthy with simple weapons. It was the beginning of a whole new and different world as Buffy stood smiling at the chasm that had once been money sucking corporate chains and endless malls.

But that started to bore me.

Then I started researching the connection between major universities and intellectual classism vs. "ordinary" people. Academia with its ancient languages, rigid customs and constant need for funding, Schooling a demon constantly reproducing itself, sending some out into the world and others to remain in the strongholds. Hunched over tomes of manuscripts, deciding how one can say this or write that - making rulings mere mortals were helpless to affect. Millions of these creatures teeming in underground libraries and the dank recesses of private foundations. Then something slips by them - something they did not create - something that the demons hadn't counted on. A buzzword - a Buffy - a piece of slang stuck into language, embraced by the common folk as a better way to say something. Buffy bringing down archaic grammatical structures with a swing of her speech. Pushing brain vampires out into the sun to be quickly killed by the sweep of some new word as it quickly spreads across the country. Buffy and her verbiage weakening demons wherever the nonsensical thoughts touched oozing cerebellum.

But that made no sense.

So it was back to stealing from Freud, borrowing from Jung and consuming mass quantities of sweet white Riesling. Furiously scribbling about the most basic of human mysteries - sex. And the most exquisite of human creations - BtVS.

I hope to steal many of your words, MsGiles, especially that comment about safe vamping and tiny rubber capped fangs. The toothed vagina references probably had some people squirming in their chairs - but they deserved it especially if they still haven't yet realized that fanfic will follow no scholarly laws - it belongs to everyone, stupid or gifted. Fanfic is not to be judged, but to be enjoyed, satirized or ignored. Would one debate "autobiography" or "science fiction"? It's just a form that exists. You can't make it unbe.

And I will, of course, plagerize everyone else's posts as well. Because that is the Way of Hooey University and will always be the Way. I've been turning in papers gleaned from the chaff of this board for years, now. Without it I would never have advanced so quickly from naive undergrad to tenured, highly respected professor... in such a short time.

My nuances in grammar and lack of rigid sentence structuring won me several Letters of Merit. The way I use run-on sentences, fragments and lot's of "..."'s for no reason are now the "rage" on campus.

And, finally, my charming lack of rereading what I write seems to only endear me more to the University Trustee's. (I attribute most these talents to my fathers' side of the family, who are houseflies with the attention thereof. Unfortunately, my mothers' side was usually coherent, so parts of what I say are accurate.)

I have acquired a Mephistiotelean, Bryonic fascination with each of you who posted here. I will be watching you from my tapestried chamber deep within the walls of this Voy. Watching. Writing.Perhaps even videoing the few of you I managed to stick tiny video cams on during a meeting.

[> [> [> promistakeuity -- MsGiles, 04:02:29 07/07/03 Mon

Staking = sex? You always hurt the one you love? If Buffy's really having sex with all those badly-dressed, smelly vamps .. then what can I say! Riley and vamptrull, hold your heads high! The girl's a trollop.

Not only that, but to get her jollies she kills her partner. That puts her in the Teachers Pet league, along with Mantis teachers and Black Widow Spiders. The archetypal predatory female. Ooh, remember Bilquis in 'American Gods', engulfing punters whole ..

[> [> [> Absolutely Fabulist -- MsGiles, 05:25:28 07/07/03 Mon

PS looking forward to reading your Life of Bryon

[> [> [> [> heehee! pun fun w/typos--i love it! -- anom, 09:03:43 07/07/03 Mon

"PS looking forward to reading your Life of Bryon"

I think that one's still in the em-Bryonic stage.

[> [> Sex is like pizza, -- fresne, 16:12:09 07/06/03 Sun

even bad pizza is pretty good. In a fully consensual, blah, blah, nit pick sort of way. And, there is some pretty bad pizza out there.

"For Buffy, sex with Riley is not transgressive."

As to R/B, well, yeah, I think the problem/bored now is that they weren't particularly transgressive. Preying Mantis women and vampires and demons and desire. Passion as expressed by the literal love bite. The different. The new. The other.

Do I think that Buffy and Riley had unsatisfying sex? I have no idea. They certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves in a fairly sweet kind of way. Alas, being that they were characters on BtVS, they were doomed to fall apart once this and that and the other happened.

That Buffy rises from their bed in BvD is equally balanced by Riley's fear that he is isn't enough. That he isn't transgressive enough. Other. Monster. Thus his slide into whatever he was trying to find. To be needed. Devoured. Consumed. By that which he perceives Buffy to desire.

Were B/R my favorite ship? Was it my favorite spinach, feta cheese, lamb and artichoke hearts pizza? Well, no. But so few pizzas are. For my money Wesley and Lilah were the hottest ship, sob, to set sail. But that's just me. And hey, pepperoni, it's basic, not my favorite, but chock full of fat, grease, and cheap carbohydrates, and therefore life sustaining. Which makes me think of this Vertigo comic short with Death explaining the basics of safe sex with a banana. Which she then ate. Which I don't think I'd care for on a pizza. Hmmm.

[> [> [> There's bad pizza and then there's bad pizza -- Dariel, 16:58:49 07/06/03 Sun

Like when you haven't had pizza in such a long time and have brought home your favorite on a stormy night, only to discover it's topped with anchovies and chicken livers!

[> [> [> Pizza is like sex, even bad sex is pretty good. -- Wanton Coition, 20:56:47 07/07/03 Mon

And if you're really REALLY bad, it's even better.

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