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Oh, Grow up Buffy! Rites of Passage in BtVS parts I & II -- Cactus Watcher, 10:02:16 06/13/03 Fri

One thing that separates a successful well-formed story from a series of random events is structure. Structures of stories can be varied, but basically come in two types, linear and circular. In linear stories one event leads to the next. The outcome maybe predictable or not, but the focus is on a change from the beginning of the story to the end. Circular structures may encompass the entire story, as in a single round trip journey, or may be looping, as in more than one journey. In either case the circular story brings the participants back over similar ground they covered earlier in the story, whether it be the same physical landscape, the same social confrontations, same moral issues or whatever type of issues. In circular stories there may or may not be any change in the end. The characters may develop and look at the original problems differently or they may find themselves in the same situation they began in, ready to do exactly the same things, and in either case, it may be a good or a bad thing. The focus of the circular story is not so much a change from beginning to end, but the processes and choices, that either make a change in the end or confirm the original approaches to the problems as being good or bad, productive or fruitless.

Whatever the structure, a story should have definable points at which events happen or decisions are made that, at least temporarily, keep things from being totally random, or repetitious. In a story about a natural disaster for instance, it could be a series of inescapable events, which force people to make good or bad choices. In a story more about social interaction or human wisdom and folly, the choices themselves can be what drives the story forward. The television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is largely about growing up and about changing perspectives of duty and responsibility. It's the story of Buffy and her closest friends, their development and how their development ends up changing and shaping their world. The arrival and defeat of each monster, is one sort of series of definable events. Another is the portrayal of those important moments in life which aren't supernatural, that affect not just the fictional characters of BtVS, but are related to the personal experience of many if not most of the show's viewers. They could be called many things or defined many ways, but here, I will consider them as rites of passage.

In its most narrow definition, a rite of passage is a formal event, a prom or graduation for example, that everyone acknowledges as a moment in their lives when a person has grown and matured and is no longer the child or youth they once were. In a broader sense, rites of passage, include all of those moments of decision which, as we learn as we mature, are not unique to our personal experience, but are common to our society, and sometimes beyond. Not everyone goes through the same rites of passage. Not everyone graduates from high school. Not everyone goes to the prom. But, the accumulation of those we do pass through shapes what kind of people we are.

Rather than try to make any sweeping statements about the way rites of passage are used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have tried to show the broad variety of instances, and of how they are used to create movement in stories. I invite you to dwell on how the moments of decision and formal rites of passage in the series, relate to the lives you know. If your interest lies in writing fiction I invite you to consider these as examples of how to move a story forward.

The first rite of passage Buffy encounters in the series is moving to a new school. Whether a child does it often or almost never, it's a dreaded time. Suddenly, all the old friendships, all of the knowledge about those who weren't friendly, all the old familiarity with the system is stripped away. The child is forced to form new relationships or hide in the background hoping the wrong people won't notice them. For Buffy it's a particularly traumatic time, because she's lost her old school ties partly due to the breakup of her parents and partly due to the damage she caused in protecting the people of her old school. Her world has fallen apart, not just because of her parents' divorce, but partly because of who she is.

The way she approaches her new situation is important. For most children moving to a new school is simply a matter of finding a place to fit it. For Buffy we soon learn its a matter of life and death for many. Buffy isn't trapped into picking one particular path as she begins school at Sunnydale. She instantly impresses Xander as very desirable. Cordelia gives her a quick look and decides she is worthy of joining her elite circle. Giles expects her to immediately take up her duties as slayer again, but she proves she does have her own ideas about whether that's something she must do. Perhaps the key event of the entire series is when Cordelia terrorizes and belittles Willow at the water fountain. We soon see Willow is perfectly willing to accept Buffy as an unapproachable social superior. It's Buffy who decides that Willow is someone worth knowing, even if at first it's just to get help catching up with school work. Once this connection is made everything begins to fall into place for Buffy. Almost immediately Cordelia begins to believe Buffy isn't really worthy of her friendship, and Xander, Willow's best friend, just as quickly becomes a permanent fixture in Buffy's life.

How momentous is this space of a few days in Buffy's life? We don't find out until "The Wish" in the third season. As the events unfold originally, Buffy blames herself for encouraging Willow to expose herself to danger and partly blames herself for Jesse's death. But, from the events in "The Wish," we can see that if Buffy does not show up in Sunnydale and become a part of things at that moment, the Master rises with the Harvest, and Sunnydale is lost to darkness. Jesse dies anyway. Willow perhaps dies that night, and Xander not long after. If Buffy is late coming to Sunnydale, even if she could somehow defeat the Master after failing to stop the Harvest, the very friends who will literally keep Buffy alive for the next seven years would be gone.

If Buffy chooses to stick with Cordelia's crowd, she chooses to ignore Willow and her friends. Buffy may find herself ignoring them at the wrong time and too late to save any of them. She may still stop the Harvest, but she will never survive the events of "Prophecy Girl."

We see Buffy changing schools again in "The Freshman." This time Buffy has all her friends still in place. But, the change to college life itself becomes too much for Buffy. She's lost and let's Sunday, who preys on the weakest of the incoming freshmen, intimidate her. This time it's not her friends who are in trouble. Buffy has to adjust for her own good. Xander only has to give her a little encouragement, and Buffy is ready to fight Sunday. With a campus slaying under her belt she feels at home again and ready to face school.. It is interesting that Buffy makes only one important new friend starting school this time, Riley. As in high school, she will make no other long term normal friends, who Xander or Willow don't bring into the mix.

It's often small events that add up to what Buffy becomes. In "Teacher's Pet" as happens to many people one particular teacher decides to make a difference in Buffy's life and to tell her he believes she is capable of better things. The teacher doesn't live long enough to become a major influence on Buffy. Would anything have been different if he had?

Another minor event in Buffy's life is "performing in front of the group" at school. In "The Puppet Show" we find out Buffy has no desire to be in show business. With her friends, she'd rather avoid being in the talent show. In the epilogue we see Buffy isn't particularly afraid of performing, but she finds the reading they chose boring. She literally clomps through her way through her part as if it's a bother not torture.

It's different for her friends. Xander has a normally embarrassing attack of stage-fright and forgetfulness. But, Willow is simply out of her mind with fear. She is the one who this event is important for. In the next episode, "Nightmares," Xander has the typical nightmare of suddenly being undressed and laughed at in front of the group, but he's just walked in the classroom door. It isn't about performing. Willow on the other hand finds herself thrust into a costume and pushed on stage into a duet. She doesn't know the words, and she can't sing. The audience hates her and her duet companion is fuming. Xander gets a tiny taste of his embarrassment again in "Reptile Boy," when the fraternity brothers catch him crashing, and force him to dress up like a woman. But, he's not so much embarrassed as he is mad and determined to help Buffy. Willow's fears seem to come to a head in college. She decides to do something about her fear and signs up for an acting course. Before she actually has the course she has one last nightmare in "Restless." It starts again with being in a show she knows nothing about, but it turns into something else. Suddenly Willow is in front of the class, and her fear is revealed to be being exposed as the awkward, talentless, friendless girl she was before Buffy arrived. It will be the fear of being seen as talentless, and her fear of letting her friends see her as her normal self that will help drive her into abuse of magic.

The tryout is another minor moment of passage in Buffy's life. She once was a cheerleader at Hemery High, but she finds that Sunnydale has a very much higher standard for cheerleaders. She takes her failure philosophically, in "The Witch," a story about a mother who takes being popular and a cheerleader all too seriously. Dawn also tries out for cheerleader, in Buffy's old uniform no less. Her interest has nothing to do with cheerleading itself, but rather she just wants to impress a particular boy on the team. It makes her very frustrated that she does so badly, but it's simply a part of the feeling inferior to her slayer sister.

A more serious moment for Buffy is running for homecoming queen. Running for class office or queen/king of the dance isn't something that interests everyone. But, everyone in high school knows someone who does think it's important for them. Buffy has just discovered she won't even have a normal senior picture in the yearbook. She's competed in no sports and been in no clubs or plays. All she wants is some proof to show later in life that she was a part of school. Since Buffy's circle of friends is small, homecoming queen is a nearly hopeless goal from the beginning. It's made worse when she finds out her closest friends have committed to giving tangible support, if not their votes, to Cordelia. In the end probably Cordelia is correct in believing that all Buffy accomplishes in the election is to ruin Cordy's very good chances. But, perhaps the recognition Buffy gains from running at all, may have influenced her classmates toward giving her the much more appropriate honor of "Class Protector" she receives on the night of the prom.

The prom itself is another night of work for Buffy. She almost isn't interested in going because Angel, the person with whom she wanted to go the prom has told her when the final fight of the year is over, he's leaving for good. With so many young people going away to college all over the country after high school, the prom can be the beginning of the end for many couples. But, in one of the few times ME lets Buffy live out her fantasies. Angel does meet her at the prom and she gets recognition from her class that she did make a difference..

Graduation is the final formal rite of passage of Buffy's high school life. Her graduation may be interrupted by the Mayor ascending, but the sequence of events isn't that much different from anyone else's. First there is much anticipation and trepidation about getting the last details of finishing school out of the way. There is, at least as many of us experience, that dead time when final exams are over, and graduation is certain, but there are still a few classes left to be attended. There is the distribution of the caps and gowns, which always come in a color some people look bad in. There is the procession into the ceremony, a grand moment for parents, which at least in the US usually includes an number of kids with their mortarboards on wrong, gum chewing, gaps in the procession and just plain showing off, all of which tend to spoil the solemnity of the moment. Often as at Buffy's graduation there are final warnings from the principal for the students to behave themselves, underlining the fact how many kids really aren't yet mature enough for the event. Then there are the speeches which while well intentioned and often very insightful, no one really wants to listen to. Buffy missed the walk across the stage, the handshake and the flipping of the tassel to the other side of her mortarboard, but as her parents weren't there anyway, it wasn't such a loss. After the ceremony when everyone leaves the hall or the field, then comes that stunned, foggy moment when we realize it's over and that some of our closest friendships, or even love affairs may have just ended in an instant. Then finally afterward, sometimes long afterward, there is a calm moment of reflection that we have indeed accomplished a goal that occupied years of our lives.

Part II

The first part of the essay dealt with the formal rites of passage in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For the bulk of the essay, I'll discuss informal rites of passage. These rites may not be part of a formal process, but they are common enough to be recognized as a common part of growing up. For the purpose of organization, I've divided the discussion into five parts; moments concerning family, moments concerning work and relations with others besides friends, moments concerning romantic relationships, moments which define ones responsibilities to others, and finally moments which define who a person is.

Season five spent a good deal of air time exploring exactly what defines a family. In this case it was the most unusual of circumstances. It was of course an extension of the problems of adoption for the natural children of the family and for the adoptive child. But the story line which emphasized family blood ties muddied this issue to the point of making it confusing at best. Nevertheless, there were a number definable moments in the series which defined a character's relationship to his or her family.

There comes a time in many of our lives when our families' dirty laundry comes to the attention of our friends. Beside the case of Connor's unshakable hatred of Angel, his father, of the ME families probably the worst belongs to Xander Harris. We heard about it many times. At two points we see it make a difference in his life. In "The Replacement" Xander's family comes home and disturbs a quiet get-together. It's the last straw for Xander living in his parent's basement. The rest of the episode is about the transition of goofy clumsy Xander to responsible confident Xander, which has been happening all along. The meetings with the real estate agent, and the boss on the job prove that Xander, the whole Xander, has developed noticeable work skills and social charm, that his goofy side doesn't negate. In "Hell's Bell's" Anya's close friends are presented to Xander's family as circus folk. If Anya had more sense, perhaps they'd embarrass her, but she accepts them as being demons just as she once was. It's Xander's family, particularly his father, that causes problems. This time it's a rite of passage Xander can't get through. Xander's fear of becoming exactly like his father ruins the formal rite of passage, the wedding and destroys his relationship with Anya. Another example of embarrassing relatives and family secrets is in the episode "Family." Tara's relationship with Willow did much to change her in a short period of time. But, Tara had been able to hide her worst fears about herself from Willow. Then, on her birthday, her family suddenly shows up, not only embarrassing her, but insisting that she leave everything, give up everything that has allowed her to grow as an individual, to take care of the men in her family. The excuse is that she is part demon, but it's her family that's made her so insecure about everything in life. Fortunately, the Scoobies come through for her at the right time. They give her the chance to give up on her real family. She takes it and never looks back. Even when she and Willow have problems the next year, Tara has enough self-confidence to go on with or without Willow.

Buffy's most commonplace family rite of passage isn't even one she shares with her mother. Of all holidays in North America, Thanksgiving is the one most devoted to a pleasant, even reflective time spent with family and friends. The first Thanksgiving feast one prepares can be very traumatic. At times it's been almost considered a true test of mature womanhood to be able to successfully plan and prepare Thanksgiving for a sizable group. In "Pangs" Buffy's cooking and organizing are flawless, but nothing ever goes entirely smoothly. Willow chooses the occasion to voice her newly-found moral indignation over Anglo-Saxon imperialism. On top of that, she decides the time has come to challenge Giles' intellectual authority over the group, starting a grand argument. The full repercussions of this challenge aren't felt until season six, when Willow's hubris turns ugly. In season seven a similar argument over moral leadership will arise between Buffy and Giles. But, for the evening all Buffy wants is peace. Another distressing development is that one of the guests, Xander falls ill and comes anyway. Spike arrives not only as an uninvited guest, but one who quibbles about the selection of food offered. As usual, Anya is ever ready to launch into discourse unfit for the dinner table. But, after an interlude, typical of Buffy's life, to fight off the monsters, the dinner was a grand triumph and everyone was at peace. It's only Xander's slip of the tongue in the afterglow, that Angel has been around town without wanting to actually face Buffy, that probably spoils the rest of the evening for Buffy herself. However, as a hostess she was an unqualified success.

Buffy is faced with a different dilemma in "Ted." No matter whether the parent is widowed or divorced, it can be a rough time for a child when a parent starts dating again. When it happens for Buffy, she and her friends are at the stage when they can scarcely comprehend romance between older adults, let alone new romances for parents. It's not unusual for a child to take an instant disliking for the parent's new flame. Buffy finds herself in the common position, that everyone around her seems to think her mother's new boyfriend is a wonderful person. But, she can't stand him. Even before Ted starts acting strangely, Buffy wants no part of getting to know him and wants no part of his bribes of cookies, pizza and miniature golf. At the end of the episode we see when she accidentally barges in on Giles and Jenny that she's still not really comfortable with romance between older adults. It doesn't take long before she's gotten used to Giles and Jenny. But a couple years after Jenny dies, Buffy has trouble with Giles being romantic with Olivia. A season later she's matured somewhant and before her mother's death, Buffy is encouraging her to date.

At the end of season two, Buffy goes through a staggering series of crises, not the least of which is that her mother, warns her the if she insists on going out she shouldn't come back home. It's the kind of argument that often occurs between parents and teens. With the parents' physical superiority waning, there is sometimes very little other than such threats or similar implied .threats to keep teens from doing many foolish and self-destructive things. It's one of the few times we ever hear Joyce lay down the law, and in this case it's not only inappropriate, it's way too late. Buffy has been living a life apart from what her mother understands too long to simply obey her, or even waste time arguing about it. If her mother's threat had been the only problem of the moment, doubtless the anger would have blown over quickly. The rite of passage I'm thinking of is not the argument itself, but the making up after the hateful things have been said. In Buffy's case, she's run away, for reasons that only partly have anything to do with her mother. When she returns home, there is relief on both sides that all is not ruined. But, .all is not well. Joyce had decided to blame Mr.Giles for influencing Buffy to be someone she can't understand. No parent can keep a constant watch on their teenagers, but Joyce has been particularly lax about observing and understanding what her daughter has become. When Buffy returned home there was an uneasiness between her and her mother and between her and her friends. She doesn't discuss what happened with her mother. Willow tries to avoid her. Finally the problems are brought to a head when her mother tries to give her a dinner for her friends to welcome her home. Willow purposely misinterprets the invitation to mean an open teen party so she can go on avoiding getting close to Buffy. Emotionally lost and being avoided in her own home, Buffy starts to run away again. When the confrontation comes, it's Xander who says most of the hard words, but her mother and Willow are asking the same question, 'Why did you abandon us?' Another fight against the monsters interrupts the argument. Peace is restored. But, the uneasiness remains until the episode "Faith, Hope and Trick," in which Buffy reveals to Giles, with Willow present, the full extent of the calamity she suffered in "Becoming part II." We don't actually see what happens between Buffy and her mother after "Dead Man's Party," but at least we know Joyce has worked hard to get Buffy back in school, and seems firmly on her daughter's side again.

The final family rite of passage, I'll discuss is the grieving over the loss of a family member.. Nothing can ever prepare anyone for it. But, we can be sure that if we have a family and we live long enough it will happens to each of us. Buffy's friends react more like family members than just friends, but they are indicative of what the grieving and those close to the grieving go through. Willow's great concern is that she won't be supportive enough for Buffy and Dawn, that somehow her clothes might offend them. Indeed, it's a turning point in the show when Willow's wardrobe really begins to change. She no longer feels that what she had been wearing is appropriate for a serious, thoughtful adult. Xander is aimlessly angry. Anya voices many of the unanswerable questions everyone has. Dawn is fixated on seeing her mother's body. Spike only wishes to pay his respects to Joyce. Tara is the least close to Buffy of them all, but her words to Buffy at the hospital are the most insightful, and no doubt the most helpful Left alone with Tara, Buffy tells her the simple fact that while everyone has been offering help, she's so lost in her own emotions she doesn't even know how to react to such offers. Tara says about her own mother's death, "There's things... thoughts and reactions I had, that I couldn't understand or even explain to anyone else; thoughts that made me feel like I was losing it, or like I was some kind of horrible person. I know it's different for you, because it's always different, but if you ever need..." For that instant yet another offer of help seems out of place, and the women turn uneasily away from each other. But, quickly Buffy, turns back toward Tara and to ask about Tara's mother's death. When Dawn begins to sneak her way into the morgue to see her mother, in the background Tara is talking still alone with Buffy, no doubt giving the most important emotional support she's had that day.

Grieving is not something that's over and done at any particular moment. In "Forever" Dawn finally gets through to Buffy that she needs her sister to grieve with her. Buffy admits that she'd kept herself constantly busy, so the reality of their mother's death would not seem so final. Then it's Dawn turn to go through a rite of passage toward adulthood. After each of them succumbs to the desire to have Joyce back at any price, Dawn makes the choice to be brave for her older sister, and not to bring her mother back. The two young women, are finally able to share their grief. In "Lies My Parents Told Me" after many years of bitterness both Spike and Wood need the conflict with each other to understand that their mothers were never exactly as they've been picturing them. Spike had made the mistake of believing turning his mother into a vampire would keep their relationship going forever. But, just as Spike was more bold than William ever was, the demon that took the form of his mother, was not the same as his mother had been. No matter how much truth there was in the hateful things the demon mother told Spike, what was even more true was that the living mother had loved her living son. Wood, on the other hand, was forced to face the fact that it wasn't simply Spike who took his mother from him. She had grievous responsibilities beyond him and his childhood needs, that she simply could not ignore. That just as much as Spike took his mother from him.

[> Oh, Grow up Buffy! Rites of Passage in BtVS parts III & IV -- Cactus Watcher, 10:05:44 06/13/03 Fri

Part III

Both in school and later in work we find ourselves dealing with people who will always be acquaintances rather than friends. Dealing with them requires a different mind set than dealing with friends and family. A job also requires a different mind set from school. The rewards for doing well at work are more tangible in terms of getting paid and the price of doing poorly is more harsh than at high school.

Getting a job is a major turning point in most peoples' lives. Both Buffy and Xander have a hard time finding a good job. For Xander it's a long process of elimination starting with graduation and ending during "The Replacement" when his skills end up surprising him and getting him a promotion. Before then he scraped by with what he could earn from odd jobs. Afterward he seems happy at doing a job he's good at, and seems to be making a good living. Buffy isn't so lucky. Barely out of the grave, in "Flooded" Buffy is suddenly presented with a mound of debt.. After a short interlude in which she to discovers that unless you scarcely need it, it's difficult to obtain a first loan, Giles agrees to help her out financially. But instead of addressing her financial problems, she makes a side trip first to visit Angel. It's not only a minor sign of immaturity that she doesn't ask him to meet her in Sunnydale so she can begin a job search immediately. It's also the first sign, of her need for a physically relationship, with or without love that will plague her most of the rest of the season. It's in the next episode that she actually tries to get a job. In "Life Serial" the three Buffoons set out to make Buffy's life miserable, but the dilemmas they create, reflect actual problems one might encounter. When she attempts to return to college Buffy finds herself as bewildered by Willow's class as by the time tricks. When she tries to work at Xander's job site she's as much handicapped by the jealousy of her coworkers as she is by the demons sent to fight her. At the Magic Box she attempts to be a salesperson. But, with or without the Trio's interference, she finds herself going round in circles trying to please a demanding customer. Whether or not she could have actually made a go of any of the things she tried doing in "Life Serial" is a mater of debate. But, I think it's fair to say that at that point, still feeling like she's under Giles' protection, she's not serious enough, not mature enough, to make any job work. It's finally in "Doublemeat Palace," when she hitting bottom again, that she bites the bullet and actually commits to a job, albeit a very bad one at a hamburger joint. We know that when she lands a better job at the high school the next year, it's actually a set up, so that Principal Wood can keep in contact with her. But, at least Buffy's prepared at that point to take a job seriously, and do it despite the minor headaches.

We know Buffy's true profession is saving the world. Within that profession, even she finds that her work is occasionally judged for its quality. In most jobs peer review isn't much of a problem, but there are fields like academia in which it's critical to continuing employment. Buffy undergoes the rite of peer review at least three times. The first time, in "Helpless," Buffy isn't even supposed to know what she's being asked to do. It's a trial by fire, peer review and initiation with hazing all rolled into one. The rite of Cruciamentum, nearly costs Buffy her soul, and shatters her absolute trust of Giles. Travers is pleased that Buffy passed the test, but scarcely understands anything of what Buffy went through. It is ironic that Travers' reasons for his compassionless firing of Giles, are what begins to build a new and different kind of trust between Giles and Buffy. She also learns that acting like a father involves far more than simply meeting a young girl's expectations. The second time Buffy is tested, it is by Maggie Walsh and the Initiative. Buffy passes the Initiative's field test in "The I in Team" with flying colors. But, Maggie soon finds Buffy's independence from her direct orders unsettling, and Buffy's questions about missions threatening to her authority. What Walsh fails to understand is that in the field of demon hunting Buffy is the professional not her. Buffy tells the same thing to Colonel McNamara in "Primeval," "This is not your business. It's mine." Buffy's annoying questions are actually professional and to the point, and it's the Initiative that's wasting time by not paying attention to her. Maggie's anger turns into jealousy, and she decides to destroy Buffy. Even after failing she totally underestimates Buffy's experience in fighting for her life. It's shortly after expressing to herself the foolish idea, that Buffy doesn't understand who she's dealing with that Maggie dies. The final time Buffy undergoes peer review is in "Checkpoint." It's Travers again, and he's making threats about sending Giles away permanently to get Buffy to cooperate. But this time Buffy is on the verge of a break through. With a few hints from Glory and the Knights of Byzantium, Buffy comes to understand her place in the scheme of things. Basically she tells Travers she's beyond the stage where they have any business judging her. She knows she's everything they ever could hope for as a warrior for their side, and either they can assist her or they can go home and admit they are useless. It's a moment most people would love to see for themselves, a time when after passing through much struggle they can turn to their doubters and say, 'You're beneath me now. Don't try to pretend you aren't, and we'll get along fine."

One's relationships with most people certainly cannot be so confrontational. Away from the pressures of a truly competitive job, mostly people just want to get along. One common rite of passage that tried Buffy's patience the most was the bad roommate. Even before she turned out to be a soul sucking demon Kathy was driving Buffy crazy. Before Buffy's soul was mostly gone she too was an awful new roommate, borrowing her roommate's food without asking, and leaving her used chewing gum all over. By the time they're squabbling over whether the window over Buffy's bed should be open or closed for the night, they are enemies forever. Buffy may or may not have really made it through the bad roommate stage. With Willow, she gets along largely by being away most of the time, but as many of us learn that's an acceptable way for a roommate to be.

After Kathy, the next person Buffy meets at college is Parker, who may not be a demon, but is no prize as an acquaintance. Buffy trusts him, falls for his line of baloney, and becomes just another of his conquests. It takes her a few more episodes to realize that he was simply one of those people who uses other people without remorse. Little more is made of this incident, but there is an echo of it again in season six when Buffy tries to end things with Spike by honestly telling him she's been using him.

In the process of growing up, Buffy and her friends sometimes try to change the direction of their lives suddenly; like Willow seizing the day in "Welcome to the Hellmouth," or Xander's butt-monkey speech in "Buffy vs Dracula" or even Dawn's insane pursuit of the charismatic guy-in-the-jacket in "Him." I wouldn't exactly call any of these rites of passage. Each of them is an attempt to change the characters image, the result of a desire to play a more important or happier role in life. Related to trying out another role in life is the idea of 'walking in someone else's shoes. As presented during the series this type of role playing does sometimes seem to fit the pattern of a rite of passage, an event that changes one's life in a way that can't be undone. In 'Potential" Dawn believes she has the capability of becoming a Slayer like her sister. She's learned the techniques and theory Buffy has tried to pass on to the potentials. So when the locator spell seems to indicate Dawn is also a potential, all she wants is to prove herself. But, in the process of fighting the vampire in the classroom, she discovers something isn't right. She doesn't have the strength and coordination of a potential. When the bringers attack Amanda it only takes her an instant to realize the truth. A dream she's no doubt harbored since she was created has ended. She'll never be a slayer. But, just as she passed the weapon to Amanda, Dawn understood with Xander's help that there was a role for her in the slayer story, even if it would not be an easy, or glorious one.

Twice in Buffy's life, she walked in Faith's shoes. The first time in "Bad Girls," Buffy just wants to taste the carefree sensuous life Faith leads. Buffy tries acting like Faith does, and at first it seems grand, no worries, just power and feeling good. But, the consequences are almost immediate. Faith isn't simply carefree. She's both careless and reckless. Much of her boldness and devil-may-care attitude is just an act to give her an edge over Buffy, who has the approval of others that Faith so desperately craves. Things go wrong from the beginning of Buffy's attempt to be like Faith. Buffy wants to talk about it with Willow. But she can't help telling Willow, she just wouldn't understand. She alienates her with her words, and also with her actions when she boldly climbs out a window during a test to go fighting beside Faith. Following Faith's lead she steals from the sporting goods store, because Faith believes, after all, they ought to be above the law because they save people. Even when they get caught, Buffy still doesn't understand the selfishness of Faith's whole attitude. It's only when Faith accidentally kills the Mayor's aide, that Buffy pulls back and refuses to go any further down the same path with Faith. She never quite understands that Faith puts up a brave and detached front after the accident, mostly to impress Buffy and others with her strength of character. But, Buffy does understand that Faith is turning down a very dark path. Buffy passed this trial of character. Faith did not.

In the episode "Who are You?" Both Faith and Buffy get a taste of what it's like to be the other. Faith-as-Buffy is at times overwhelmed, at times even repelled by the support and love Buffy gets in her life. Buffy-as-Faith learns something of the sheer terror Faith must feel being hunted for her crimes, and the despair from the absolute distrust everyone now has toward Faith. When it's over, Buffy is sickened by what Faith has done in her body, and refuses to forgive her. But, for Faith the switch changes her life. She's had a taste of what it would have been like with everything she could have had if she'd taken a different path. She loathes everything she's become, which leads her to try to force Angel end her life in the Angel episode "Five by Five,." and to her turning herself in to the police in the next episode "Sanctuary,." as a first step toward inner peace. This time Buffy can't pass her test, of understanding Faith, because Faith has hurt her again, But Faith does pass her test by regaining control of herself and control of the direction her life will take.

The final rites of passage in this category of relating to people in general, also deal with the darker side of life. In the episode "Beer Bad," nothing horrible happens to any of the drinkers of Black Frost. In the end no one dies and none of them is seriously injured. There is property damage, but it's not about an earthshaking event. It's not even about anything as serious as driving drunk, but it is about an event that could certainly change one's life. It's about making a fool out of yourself. It's a time honored tradition for college students, particularly younger ones, to drink themselves into a stupor for amusement. Most people don't become alcoholics. Most people don't suffer any worse effects of alcohol poisoning than a hangover. But, drinking yourself stupid, is a rite of passage especially when you begin to realize, how moronically you behaved the night before, how moronically others even more drunk than you behaved, and when you decide that feeling euphoria isn't worth how idiotic you appear to others when you keep drinking far beyond the point of being a little lightheaded..

Much more seriously the episodes "Tabula Rasa," "Smashed" and "Wrecked" also deal with behavior that can have serious immediate as well as long term effects. It's interesting that so many people assumed that Willow's problem must be a drug abuse metaphor. But, there is no reason it can't just as well stand for all manner of a compulsive and destructive behaviors, anything from alcoholism to eating disorders, from compulsive gambling to compulsive shopping. It represents anything where early in the addiction, the abuser claims not to see any problem with their behavior, but yet feels compelled to hide the behavior from others. As in "Tabula Rasa" the abuser may try mind games to hide the seriousness of problem. As shown in "Smashed" the abuser is sometimes quite happy with what they are doing. As shown in "Wrecked" when the abusers come crashing down it may be difficult for those around them to find any sympathy for them. It's not the kind of thing that quickly resolves itself. Willow is under the shadow of her abuse for the rest of the series. Fortunately it's not typical to actually go through this kind of torturing rite of passage, but unfortunately its not so uncommon to be close to someone who has and to feel the fall out from it.

Part IV

Next we move on to events common to more personal relationships. Early in season one, we see Buffy's first date in Sunnydale. Slightly later in season six we see Dawn's first real date. In both instances, neither girl thinks very seriously about the consequences beforehand, and why should they? These are first dates after all. But, Sunnydale even more than the rest of the world tends to make things momentous. In "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date," Buffy initially worries about Cordelia stealing Owen before she has a chance. When duty calls at the beginning of the date she immediately starts worrying about Owen finding out, what's she's into at night in the graveyards. Then when Owen follows her and gets knocked out, she's afraid that knowing about her has ruined their budding relationship. In the end she finds out, Owen isn't who she thought he was. She has to dump him, and for his own safety. In "All the Way" Dawn first worries mostly about Buffy finding out she's snuck off to go necking with older boys. By this point in the series, it's almost cliché that the boys turn out to be vampires. But, Dawn's first date is still more satisfying than Buffy's because she seems to make a genuine connection with the guy even though his hours are numbered as soon as he gets in the car with Dawn. Except for "Him" we don't get to see much of Dawn's social life with boys, but you have to believe that Dawn is more ready for a healthy relationship with a normal boy than Buffy has been ever since she became a slayer.

The most momentous event of Buffy's social life was having sex for the first time. Even in a society that normally makes a big deal of a girl having sex for the first time, in Buffy's case it was a big deal. To say for Buffy this rite of passage was calamitous isn't an exaggeration. She woke up alone, an ominous sign that would be repeated when she first slept with Parker. Not only had Angel left, but she can't get in touch with him. When she does find him he starts out cold and distant, and just gets more rude from there. Parker at least tried to keep up some semblance of civility, when Buffy was around. There is no relief whatsoever for Buffy when she learns Angel has turned evil, because even if she didn't know the exact risks, she understood that getting that close with a vampire did have a dangerous quality about it, anyway. At least Angelus' insults stopped cutting so deeply, because Buffy knew the demon wasn't the person she had slept with. Her guilt over releasing that demon and her reluctance to deal with what she'd brought forth, were of course the main arc of the rest of season two.

Things don't always go well in love affairs. Xander and Cordy have a painful breakup in more ways than one. Oz and Willow get sidetracked when Oz runs into Veruca, a woman with whom he shares much more than he does with Willow. Though Oz rejects Veruca's outlook on lycanthropy, he discovers he needs to explore those parts of his life he doesn't share with Willow, before, he would feel comfortable being her regular boyfriend again. Riley and Buffy don't work out, because Buffy won't let him in on her most personal feelings until those feelings have passed. She starts out season five, sneaking out of Riley's bed to get the extra rush of the hunt. Their affair ends when Riley gets caught sneaking out of her bed, looking for an extra rush of his own. None of these involves what I'd call a rite of passage, but one character's abrupt rejection does. When William is courting Cecily, he is so wrapped up in his own feelings, he has no concept of what she is thinking of him. When one person develops feelings for another before even causal dating starts between them, there is always a particularly awkward period, when the enamored person works up the courage to let the other person know. There were more conventions to follow in the Victorian Age which may have eased the process a little, or may not have depending on how the young man felt about speaking with the girl's parents first. But still there is always that moment in which the person must say something or miss the chance anything will ever come of it. In "Fool for Love" William reaches that moment when Cecily confronts him about his poetry. Within moments of the scene opening we learn William was little more than an ineffectual fop. But, William has poured a good deal of his genuine feeling into his poetry, as bad as it might be. William is even willing to accept the possibility that Cecily won't like his poetry, as long as she sees his sentiments as genuine. Unable to proclaim his love through the carefully chosen words in his poetry as he wishes, William is forced to stammer out his boyish admission that he loves her. Unfortunately, Cecily is as embarrassed by William's attentions as she is by the poetry itself. She bluntly makes it clear, he has no hope of attracting her. Single men go through this sort of torture all the time, and as "Him" demonstrates more and more women are exposing themselves to this kind of risk which promises instant bliss if all goes well, and instant hell if it doesn't. For William failure at love is more devastating than he can bear. He's not only failed at love, he's failed at life. Dru takes advantage of his weakness and turns him, and as we learn later, this leads to him destroying his mother who he'd sworn to protect both in life and after. It's no wonder Spike soon becomes the classic rebel-without-a-clue.

Spike also provides the best example of a related rite of passage, begging for one more chance. In real life some folks are lucky enough to never need or want to do it. Some folks are just too proud to do it no matter what their feelings for the other person. But, when it happens, it regularly fails. In "Crush" Spike goes to all kinds of extremes to get Buffy to give him a chance, everything from buying her chocolates to chaining her up and offering to kill his old love Dru in front of her eyes. As with Cecily, Spike hasn't the faintest idea what Buffy might be attracted to. In "Once More with Feeling," when she does become attracted to him, it's because he's given her 'something to sing about," without asking anything in return. He doesn't learn anything from his experience. When his relations with Buffy go from wild to awkward and on to ugly, he can't conceive that it's over. So he decides to go off, regain his soul, and whether he realizes it or not to return to beg Buffy for one more chance. Between regaining his soul and the interference of the First Evil that moment of begging her again, never comes.

Another rite of passage in the arena of love and relationships that occurs in the series is what might be called, 'fancy meeting you here.' There are things every person would just as soon keep from their significant other, but the simple fact of living together, nearby or just dealing with each other on a regular basis can make keeping such secrets impossible. One such instance in the episode "Angel" comes when Buffy and Angel kiss for the first time. We get the feeling both before that episode and in later episodes flashing back to what Angel knew about Buffy, that Angel intended to keep his attraction to Buffy to himself. But, when Buffy responded to him, we can hardly blame him for letting her. The secret he absolutely did not want her to discover was that he was a vampire, and that was revealed with the emotions of their first kiss. Both Riley and Buffy kept their demon hunting secret from each other. But, if you're both hunting demons in the same small town sooner or later you're going to bump into each other. Buffy and Riley do in the clock tower in "Hush." Pressing business keeps them from asking each other what the heck they are doing there, right away. At the end of the episode when the threat is conquered, they decide that, indeed, they must talk about it. It was an excellent use of real time over air-time that the ensuing silence lasted all the way into the next episode. We can easily understand that for Buffy and Riley, it must have felt like a week went by before anyone said anything.

That kind of irreversible event is fairly common in stories. A few similar, but somewhat less dramatic and less romantic examples on BtVS are Buffy discovering RoboBuffy in "Intervention;" Dawn's wish for attention which leads to everyone being trapped in the Summers house and to Anya finding Dawn's stolen jewelry in "Older and Far Away;" and Willow accidentally releasing the very Troll Anya created before becoming a vengeance demon in 'Triangle."

Another rite of passage is what happens when an old flame returns. Sometimes one of the people has changed. Sometimes it's both. Usually, it's clear things can't go back the way they once were. In "New Moon Rising" Oz returns a changed person hoping to pickup where he left off with Willow. In "As You Were," it's clear Buffy would like to start things again with Riley. In both cases, the other person has moved on. But, Willow and Riley are far from having forgotten what the person who gets left out once meant to them. Fortunately for everyone's emotional health, both Oz and Riley leave town again.

I've already talked about Parker toying with Buffy, but Riley's return mentioned above, again calls attention to why he left. I would say that another rite of passage is the unexpected realization that you've been the one, who has playing games. "Into the Woods" moves quickly from Buffy having contentment with getting her mother back healthy and having Riley at her side, to anger at discovering he's 'cheated on her' and at his demand she make a gesture to keep the relationship going, to utter shock when she finds she's waited a minute too long and lost Riley.

The final rite of passage dealing with relationships I'll mention here is marital disaster. We get a hint of what it was like for Buffy when her parents were arguing over her during their breakup, but we get the full force of the pain in "Hell's Bells" when Xander's self-doubt ruins the wedding. No matter how it happens the breakup of marriage leads to recriminations and anger. Sometimes, as with Xander and Anya the hatred eventually gets tinged with regret over problems which might have been solved, quarrels that might have been settled otherwise.

[> Oh, Grow up Buffy! Rites of Passage in BtVS parts V & VI -- Cactus Watcher, 10:08:24 06/13/03 Fri

Part V

If growing up is a major theme, what sorts of qualities indicate that someone has grown up in the broadest sense, rather than just matured phyisically? One of them obviously is a sense of responsibility, and not merely the sense, but the conviction to act according to that sense of responsibility. The episode "Band Candy" emphasizes the difference between kids and adults. The adults we know best in the show go through some interesting changes. Joyce simply becomes a milk-toast groupie for Giles. There is a lot more of Xander in her than there is of Buffy. Giles becomes the kind of irresponsible tough-guy troublemaker that Snyder thinks Buffy is. Snyder for all his suspicions of the Scoobies, immediately tries to make himself part of the gang, when he turns teenager. It's clear part of his feelings about them as their principal is envy.

From the beginning in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" Buffy shows responsibility when the situation demands it. But in between she avoids it as much as possible in the early years. Even as late as season six, Buffy expects Giles to talk to Dawn in her place when she sneaks off and gets herself in danger. When she does accept total responsibility for the potentials in season seven, complaints about her leadership mount and end up forcing her out of her own house. But, she shows her emotional maturity by not abandoning them, and returning to them when she believes she has a better plan.

Emergencies bring out the best in Buffy. When Spike and his pals invade the school on Parent-Teacher night in "School Hard." Buffy passes one of the most difficult tests any young person can be confronted with. What do you do when the adult who is always in charge, the principal, the teacher, coach, or what have you obviously knows less about the situation than you do? As in the military, a lot of adults in such situations would rather the kid just shut up and obey orders. Why? Because too often some kid who doesn't know what he's doing is just as likely to speak up as one who does. But, what if, like all good future ATPo'ers, you're a heck of a lot smarter than average, and you genuinely know more about this situation than the adult? Can you speak up and correct the teacher? Can you take charge of the situation if you have to? In Buffy's case Snyder might haven taken credit for more than he deserved, but at least Joyce realized at the end of the evening her daughter was a lot more than the irresponsible troublemaker, Snyder tried to tell her Buffy was.

Doing the responsible thing isn't always as easy as just speaking up at the right time. In "Prophecy Girl," faced with a direct prophecy of her death, Buffy chooses to try to run away to avoid her fate if she can. There is little Giles or Angel could say to change her mind. But, Willow's terror over the vampire attack in the TV room at school, changes her mind. She chooses to do what she thinks is the right and responsible thing. The Master tells her that prophecy is a tricky business, that her coming to him is exactly what will release him from his underground prison. In the end through facing the Master and being rescued herself, Buffy gains the strength to defeat the Master. The prophecy was tricky business again. It correctly foresaw her death, but it didn't mention she wouldn't stay dead.

There were rites of passage concerning responsibility that do not turn out so well. In "Passion" Buffy learns the hard way that there isn't always time to make up after an argument. By putting off dealing with Angel she was indirectly responsible for Jenny's death She had reason to be angry with Jenny, however even though she chose to continue to make Miss Calendar feel miserable about what happened, Buffy did have enough compassion to understand that she was very important to Giles. In "Wrecked" Willow selfishly ignores her responsibility to look out for Dawn while Buffy was away. She nearly gets Dawn killed and comes dangerously close to losing Buffy as a friend. In "Bad Girls" Buffy runs into Faith's philosophy that slayers should be able to do whatever they want, because on balance they always come out on the good side of the good-bad scale. Unfortunately, thinking like that can tip behavior deep into to the bad side of the scale, as it does with Faith. In "Consequences," Buffy learns that keeping secrets sometimes doesn't pay. Xander and the others discover that Angel is back and that Buffy has been hiding him. She ends up being verbally attacked by all her friends. She knows there is nothing wrong with what she's done for Angel. She's told herself that she was sparing Giles more anguish over Jenny's death by not saying anything to them sooner. But, in the end hiding it just made the revelation that more painful.

In "Lie to Me" Buffy has a painful decision to make in an instant. She chooses not to attempt to save Ford. She learns something about cutting her losses, a lesson not everyone learns in life. Ford's behavior has made the decision easier. But, its still a matter of choosing not to take a great risk to her life for the chance of saving someone. Most people never have such a serious a decision to make about life and death. But being asked to take great financial risks to help out a friend or relative isn't uncommon;. nor is it unheard of to be asked to help out with someone with severe legal problems; nor is being asked to help someone with extreme alcohol or drug related problems. There is no absolute in any of these cases. Sometimes help will work sometimes it will not. Many people may find that they must cut off a friend who is a bad risk, or have their own lives dragged into ruin.

At one point in season six, Buffy decides to give up on responsibility altogether. In "Gone" the Trio accidentally turns Buffy invisible and the results are strange indeed. Instead of using her invisibility to add to her other skills, Buffy forgets about her duty, pretending she really isn't there at all. She turns mischief maker and torments her sister. When Buffy overhears Xander saying, she must be made visible again or die, Buffy barely seems to care which will happen as far as we can tell. But, when the Trio captures Willow at least she cares enough to stop them.. Exactly what she learns from all this isn't clear, but it is the next episode that she decides she must get a job.

Part VI

Who are you? It's what we spend most of our lives learning. Some of the most important rites of passage involve choices which shape where we'll head in life, who we'll associate with, and who we'll become.

The question of who a person really is, is addressed directly in "The Replacement" which I've already discussed in the section on family. But, I will say here that the two Xander's are as much about perception as they are reality. Oafish Xander sees himself as oafish. Suave Xander sees himself as confident and capable. When they're together for awhile they see how much they have in common; the same interests, the same sense of humor.

In the teen years it is generally considered more important to have an idea who you will become, than to know who you are at the moment. One rite of passage that addresses this, is the career day at school as in "What's My Line?'. The students usually take a preference test at some point in high school. The results mean nothing serious, but it does give some hints about what people in certain jobs are going to share the same kinds of interests. The number of people who have no one to talk about BtVS with at work tends to show the problems with this approach. People are too diverse to be well defined by such a test. But, on the other hand it does give the student a starting point to begin thinking about what sort of work might really interest them. Buffy's and Xander's results are more humorous than indicative of anything. Oz's results show that the results can be seriously misleading. Laid-back Oz is certainly not the kind of hard-driving, self-motivating, goal- oriented, workaholic most software concerns would really like to hire.

Sometimes it's not what you are that's important for the moment, but what you think you can pass yourself off as. Twice we see one of the Summer's girl's go off with a girlfriend for a good time with 'older' guys. In both "Reptile Boy" and "All the Way" the girls are intended as a meal rather than as dates. The symbolism may be painfully transparent, but it is true very young girls going out with older guys, may well find the guys have no interest in their personalities, their interests, their feelings or anything else that distinguishes them as caring human beings. In the "Real Me" Harmony tries to change the way people perceive her, with a make over of her personality. She does seem to have learned some new fighting skills from the time she had a hair-pulling contest with Xander in "The Initiative," the year before. But, she is still the same hopeless air-head, who happens to have picked up a few loser vampires as 'minions.' The minions don't last long against Buffy, and at least Harmony has the good sense to run away. One clever and much more successful bit of puffery occurs in "Checkpoint." When asked by the Council representative if they are registered, and thus presumably legal, magic practitioners, Willow and Tara bluff and say, yes. When the examiner asks what level they are at, Willow is wavering, but Tara boldly proclaims "Five!" No one including the examiner seems interested in exploring what that might mean.

Sometimes it's just impossible to hide the truth and everything changes. Buffy knew it was best no one knew where she'd been when the Scoobies brought her back from the dead. In fact she'd lied about it to ease their minds. But, time has a way of making secrets reveal themselves. The summoning of Sweet was more a catalyst than a cause for the revelation of all sorts of secrets that had been on the Scoobies' minds. Tara, for instance. found out for herself that Willow had played with her memory. Giles revealed his secret in front of Buffy, but she wasn't paying the least attention. Buffy however was the center of attention when her secret came out. Willow was not yet aware of her problems with Tara, but the revelation she'd ripped her friend out of heaven appalled her and had her trying to back way. She did not learn her lesson, for in her grief in "Two to Go" the first thing she thought of was to bring Tara back from the dead, again giving no thought to whether Tara was at peace where she was.

Two sides of this coin of secrecy and learning secrets could be seen in "No Place Like Home" and "Blood Ties" Buffy, trying hard to find what may have been harming her mother, discovers that Dawn shouldn't be there at all. She's not only ready to expose Dawn, she's prepared to kill her if need be. But, when she learns that Dawn is totally innocent and doesn't not know herself that her memories are false, Buffy immediately decides Dawn is too fragile to know the truth. But, Joyce accidentally figures it out as well, and Dawn keeps hearing hurtful hints of the truth. Still Buffy doesn't let Dawn know. When Dawn gets tired of the whispering behind her back, she goes out and finds the truth for herself in Giles' diary. It's the shock of suddenly being told one is adopted. Where she does belong? What is she? Does anyone actually love her? Buffy quickly must ease Dawn's fears by explaining that the monks made her to be part of the family, and that her blood was Summers' blood.

Another painful process is learning to forgive yourself. In "I Only Have Eyes for You" when Buffy learns the bare facts about the shooting of Miss Newman, all she can think of is how James should suffer for destroying her life. Cordelia's comment about her attitude, "Over-identify much?" is all too true. Buffy can't forgive herself for unleashing Angelus, nor for Miss Calendar's death. James' ghost forces her to walk in his shoes. But, this time it's not really to learn about James, but to learn that given the chance, Miss Newman would forgive him. After it's over she still must tell Giles she doesn't understand why Miss Newman would think he deserved to be forgiven. Giles tells her that we forgive people because they need it, not because they deserve it. I think it's fair to say that this plays a significant role in Buffy's relations with Spike in season seven.

Reduced to her or his most basic level a person is whatever is left when you take away everyone and everything else. How do you deal with problems when there is no one to rely on? That is very much the issue in "Becoming Part II" when after Xander escapes with Giles and Spike bodily removes Dru. Buffy appears to be losing to Angelus and he taunts her about having been deserted. Buffy tried to go it alone in "When She was Bad." She tried to protect her friends by cutting them out of her life. But, that only made it easy for evil to attack them. Where are her friends at this moment in "Becoming," when Buffy could use all the help she could get? Giles is out of commission. Willow is weak and bedridden, but trying to work the spell to re- ensoul Angel. Cordelia and Oz are with Willow stumbling their way through reading Latin incantations. Xander is busy with Giles and besides, he's just betrayed Buffy by lying to her about the message Willow wanted to send her. So as far as she knows, Buffy is totally alone. But, its enough to defeat Angelus. First she proves she's strong enough physically, by overcoming Angelus and preparing to kill him. Then she proves she is morally and emotionally strong enough, by sending the re- ensouled Angel to Hell. There was no other way at that moment to defeat Angelus' plan.

But, Buffy certainly pays the price for being alone. Her courage is spent and after calm is restored she can't face her friends because of what she's done. It seems she can't face her mother after defying her either. So she runs away. She had no one and next to nothing in LA. But, she did learn she couldn't run away from evil. In "Dead Man's Party" and again in "Consequences" her friends are very vocal about not paying enough attention to other people's problems and feelings.
The end of season three is about togetherness and strength in numbers. So is "Primeval," the next season. But, season four actually ends with Restless in which the First Slayer attempts to divide and conqueror the Scoobies in their dreams. It ends with Buffy demanding her friends back, but it's Buffy, absolutely alone and unarmed, who wins the day. In fact when the First Slayer tries to use a stake against her, it just seems ridiculous to Buffy. In "The Gift " Buffy is alone again, even if Dawn is beside her at the end.. Death is her choice as well as her gift. In "Grave" Dawn is beside her again, but this time they're not choosing who must die, but rather they fight back to back and begin to put together the closeness of family they'd lost. In "Chosen" it's an oddly mixed ending. With so many new slayers, Buffy will never truly be fighting alone against evil again. But, this turn of events allows Buffy for the first time to stop thinking about everyone else in the world first anymore. She'll have time to figure out who she is really is. And I'm sure she'll find there is more to herself than cookie dough.

[> Cut paste print...Much reading to do later today! ;o) -- Rob, 13:02:55 06/13/03 Fri

[> A little exercise in preservation -- CW, 13:55:06 06/13/03 Fri

[> And some more preservation -- fresne, 14:17:08 06/13/03 Fri

Very interesting and well, this is the beauty of the closed text.

I'm afraid that I don't have much to say in response. Other than hmmmwell thought out.

Although, it's funny I was just talking with a friend of mine about maturity. And given that we are cartoon watching, costume wearing thirty-ishes, what does it mean to be an adult.

To be baked. Centered. And the reverse. I think the term gravitas came up. And how different people have different perceptions of maturity and what is mature.

There was an article a month or so ago, it may have been mentioned here about American perceptions as to when you become an adult. The average age ­ 27, i.e., when people these days have children. Part of the whole elongation of the perception of adolescence.

[> [> Re: And some more preservation -- aliera, 18:12:21 06/13/03 Fri

There was an article a month or so ago, it may have been mentioned here about American perceptions as to when you become an adult. The average age ­ 27, i.e., when people these days have children. Part of the whole elongation of the perception of adolescence.

It is and the being ready or perhaps even feeling the need for roots and other things. But it's been my perception that gathering the wherewithal to be able to support others can take longer too? Perhaps the combo of student loans and differences in the living wage. I don't mean this as a criticism necessarily of our society for in many ways we're are very fortunate, and I also remember my grandfather working three jobs after he sold the farm and my grandmother who waited to marry until she was in her mid twenties and she and her brother had helped pay off their parents mortgage. So the expections of the late baby boomers were based in more recent history than all of history. One of the things I laughed at last season though was the thought of Buffy actually being able to support a family working at the Chicken palace. There's some real magic!

I know people talk of responsibility and this is definitely a part of it. But a while back I worked in a high school and what I found disconcerting was the maturity of young people compared to how I remember myself at their age. And with the knowledge a certain sense of disallusionment and worry. Maybe it also takes that long to work up the nerve to take a leap of faith. And sometimes that's the point at which we become aware of time passing. And sometimes the leap is seemingly forced upon us.

In Buffy's case that seems to have been the way of it and I thought ME did a pretty good job of illustrating the conflicting feelings that a teenager might feel and a young adult. Even with Connor, I had that feeling.

To be baked. Centered. And the reverse. I think the term gravitas came up.

Yes! Alive and quite lively. Play. There's something nice in the time we live :-) and the piece I whole heartedly loved about the Ending Beginning of Buffy.

[> Damn, that was good! -- dub ;o), 14:42:43 06/13/03 Fri

We've spent so much time in the past discussing Buffy's linear "hero's journey" it's really a revelation to see all the passages revealed at one time, and to detect the circular nature of some of the lessons the gang seems to need to learn more than once.

I want to do a bit more research before I go into this in more detail, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this, and how timely it is for me in particular. As I'm not working at all now until at least the end of August I've enrolled in a number of on-line writing classes in an attempt to move forward with the novel I'm been working on for the past year. One of the classes is "Mythic Structure" which draws on Vogler's "The Writer's Journey," an explication of Campbell's "Hero's Journey" for writers of fiction. I'm enjoying it and I think it's going to prove valuable to me in a number of areas, specifically things like archetypal characterizations...but the linearity of the journey itself can become a trap that leads to repetitive, predictable structure. I'd like to try to avoid that, if possible.

I also have a copy of "The Heroine's Journey," by Maureen Murdock. I haven't gone far into it but it starts with "Separation from the Mother," which I recall from (I think) Carol Gilligan's "In A Different Voice" as being one of the primary differences in the journeys of women and men toward individuation. I seem to recall the female journey as being characterized by the spiral, rather than the straight line.

Then I also want to look at Gail Sheehy's "Passages" again to see how Buffy's growth reflects "the predictable crises of mid- life."

Gaaaack! TTMQ-Warning!! Red alert! Red Alert!

What I really wanted to say was thanks for this, and more later...

dub ;o)

[> Re: Oh, wow, CW! -- aliera, 17:36:01 06/13/03 Fri

Thanks! Boy, with all the great (and prolific) writing in this group, I'm going to have to get a new bookshelf just for all the printed Buffy essays I'm saving!

[> Love this--already saved and printed -- mamcu, 18:21:29 06/13/03 Fri

[> You are on the Trollop board as well.........link inside -- Rufus, 20:14:03 06/13/03 Fri

Oh, Grow up Buffy! Rites of Passage in BtVS

I bet you feel like goin out and buying a pair of fish net stockings.....;)

[> [> Thanks, Rufus! -- CW, 21:06:25 06/13/03 Fri

Now that Buffy's over, and since I'm sort of wishy washy on AtS, I guess I don't care one way or the other about spoilers anymore. But, fish net stockings just aren't my style. Besides if you bump into a cactus with 'em on they'd just get ripped to shreds. ;o)

I presume you saw the picture I sent dub, at the meet, and that you are resting peacefully in the knowledge, that the buttons dub said you and I were as cute as, are quite dissimliar. ;o)

Personal theory on S6-7 -- KdS, 10:31:24 06/13/03 Fri

I would at this point, discuss my detailed disappointment with S7 as a whole, despite the fact that it contains, in my opinion, three episodes worthy of Top Twenty status (Selfless, Conversations With Dead People, Storyteller) and a great many creditable episodes. The problems of plot inconsistency and illogic, characterisation, and lack of conceptual ambition, which I might have discussed, have been discussed in this essay, whose opinions I am in almost perfect agreement with (I do not hold Spike responsible for eclipsing other characters, and I think he's too hard on Willow/Tara versus Willow/Kennedy) and whose elegance I probably could not match:


Freed of the need to go into the my narrow problems with S7, I can develop a wider theory about what went wrong. A little while ago, I found myself developing a new theory on why Seasons Six and Seven have attracted such negative comment in some quarters. In particular, I'd like to address the claims of humourlessness, depression, and lack of plot movement. I suspect that many of these complaints can be derived from pacing issues which first developed in Season Five, which attracted very positive responses and possibly got ME into a conscious or subconscious habit.

Ignoring Season One, which consisted of only twelve episodes, I'd like to describe the pacing of the early seasons of BtVS. Season Two is extremely episodic. Buffy's apparent key opponents, Spike and Dru, are introduced in the third episode of the Season, but their activities appear fairly undirected for the first half of the season, although the careful fan can see the gradual build-up to Dru's revitalisation in School Hard and Lie to Me. There is a very significant turning point when Angel is desouled in Surprise, and subsequently the conflict involving Buffy, Angelus, Spike and Dru is developed in a far more continuous manner through the second half of the season. However, while this plotline is deeply tragic, it is balanced by injections of triumph over more minor allegorical demons, in the standalones Phases, Bewitched, Killed By Death and Go Fish (which was so light in tone in comparison with the episodes around it that it was viewed by many as a misjudgement). The pain of the Buffy/Angel(us) relationship in the second half of the season is also balanced by the optimism and romance of the early stages of the Xander/Cordelia and Willow/Oz ships.

Season Three similarly had a major plot which only seriously began to motor in the second half of the season. While the audience is aware of Richard Wilkins's evil from early on, the Scooby Gang only begin to suspect his activities in Consequences, which coincides with the major turning point of Faith's explicit turn to evil. While Wilkins's evil is a direct physical threat to the SG, their mutual emotional involvement and venom is much less significant than that between the SG and Angelus, and the emotional pain in the season is largely based around Buffy and Angel's frozen relationship and the strain of the Cordelia/Xander/Willow/Oz rectangle. However, the audience's response to this emotional angst is stilled by the adolescent nature of these emotions ­ the pains of the Buffy/Angel relationship after his return to Sunnydale and sanity are so mystical in nature that the viewer is unlikely to be threatened by similarities to his/her personal life, and the C/X/W/O material, while painful to the participants, is a largely naturalistic representation of the low-stakes pain of adolescent romance, experienced by adult viewers with varying degrees of nostalgia and tolerance. Moreover, the dark-toned final third of the season is interrupted by two extremely warm and optimistic standalones in Earshot and The Prom.

Season Four is chiefly remarkable for the low intensity of the main plot, which may be the result of miscalculation or casting difficulties depending on who you believe. The emotional arc of the Scoobies' gradual growing apart in college is similarly low in intensity until the eruption in Yoko Factor, and the most angsty material lies in the break-up of Willow and Oz, and the subsequent Willow/Oz./Tara triangle, which is balanced by the growth of Buffy/Riley and Xander/Anya. Given the low intensity of the Initiative/Adam plotline (it is hard for most audiences to care about a group of mad scientists and militarists who bring most of their problems on themselves), much of the emotional weight lies in the standalones, and at this point in BtVS's development the vast majority of standalones were still rounded off with a more or less happy and triumphant ending. I personally remember S4 as the most generally light and optimistic season, and I wouldn't be surprised if many people agreed with me.

Season Five had probably the most continuous and simple core arc since S1, and was probably the darkest season yet. The central Glory/Buffy conflict was introduced in the fifth episode, and while the revelation of Ben and Glory's connection came as usual in mid-season, it did not change the whole shape of the plot in the same way as previous mid-season events. The darkness of the SG's increasing inability to see any means of dealing with Glory's threat was intensified by Joyce's illness and death and the collapse of Buffy and Riley's relationship. However, these plotlines were thematically but not mechanically connected, and acted in many ways as a relay team, with Riley's departure coming after Joyce's recovery and Joyce's sudden death placing the Glory plot on hold, hence preserving the darkness of the mood while maintaining plot motion. A notable innovation in the second half of the season, however, was the use of standalones as restatements of the season concept rather than relief from it, not to mention standalones such as I Was Made To Love You and Crush without the traditional happy ending. Season Five received a very positive response from fans and critics, and it appears to me that this positive response led ME to believe that the season's trajectory of increasingly intense darkness until a final burst of positivity in the final episodes was a cause of that popularity.

Season Six and Season Seven can be discussed jointly, as they both contained many excellent episodes and concepts, but were in many ways a gruelling experience to watch. This, IMHO, is because they are modelled on Season Five with an important exception. Both Season Six and Seven featured a single core plotline, the SG's slide into depression and the SG's conflict with the First Evil, which was continued throughout the season in a mode of increasing despair with a final eucatastrophe. However, However, while Season Five derived its darkness from three clearly differentiated and mechanically unconnected storylines, Seasons Six and Seven simply drove one storyline in the direction of increasing grimness, with a certain degree of stasis, in particular in the second half of the season. Both were also notable for standalone episodes which did not provide relief from the core concept of the season, but instead simply restated it, such as, for example, Doublemeat Palace, Normal Again, and First Date. The effect of thematically unconnected standalones in lightening the mood of earlier seasons has, IMHO, not been previously credited to the extent that it deserves.

The lack of plot motion in the second halves of S6 and S7 is, again IMHO, the cause of the feeling expressed in both cases that the final eucatastrophe was arbitrary and inadequately prepared for. To take a natural metaphor, the sun does not rise from the horizon to the centre of the sky within five minutes at daybreak, but instead dawn is a process. By maintaining the darkness at full measure to close to the very end, S6 and S7 change the mood with excessive abruptness.

[> Totally agree! -- Sara, agreeing so much I've got nothing else to say, 17:39:20 06/13/03 Fri

[> I liked Season 6 -- Ray, 02:01:57 06/14/03 Sat

I thought it was one of the best years. The Big Bad was a joke and the character development was rich. The idea of Buffy being yanked from heaven and brought to back Earth reminds me of what Holland Manners said to Angel in Reprise.
Overall, I'd say it was an interesting year.

Hated year 7. Some good episodes, but the bulk of it felt like they were spinning their wheels.

Definitely agree with you on the earlier seasons. Very well written.

[> A recommendation -- KdS, 11:43:07 06/14/03 Sat

If, like me, you were expecting something more theological/spiritual and less violent to develop from the FE storyline this season and were disappointed, hack your DVD player to region II, get your credit card out and go here.

http://www.playserver2.com/play247.asp?page=title&r=R2&title=11 2047

You will not be disappointed

[> Could you elaborate on this just a bit? -- OnM, 14:54:06 06/14/03 Sat

*** (it is hard for most audiences to care about a group of mad scientists and militarists who bring most of their problems on themselves) ***

I want to be careful here not to drag out a series of politically based arguments, since they are typically going to make people testy, but I can't help but comment on the above statement.

As I've been wandering my way through the S4 DVD set, I've reached the episode where Maggie Walsh betrays Buffy, and by doing so, loses the respect of Riley. This betrayal causes Riley to begin to question authority in general, something previously completly foreign to his nature.

As I newly re-watched the events of this episode unfold, I could not help but see clear parallels to what is happening right now in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular. I recall at the time this season originally aired, there were many complaints among fans that Joss was guilty of dragging out the old, hoary, stereotypical 'evil military/government' plot device, and then there were the usual additional whines about 'aren't the 60's over yet???

To me, the metaphors then were dead on, and looking at the state of the world today and the U.S. role in it, not one damn thing has changed, and in fact things seem worse than ever. Mad scientists and militarists? It would be a great thing if they only did bring their problems on themselves, but that hardly ever happens-- it's the rest of us who suffer.

[> [> That was really all I meant -- KdS, 15:08:43 06/14/03 Sat

That the Initiative personnel at worst were experimenting with black magic in order to create sentient weapons, and at best were career miltary personal who signed up to face danger.

[> [> [> OK, thanks! -- OnM, 19:44:58 06/14/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Re: OK, thanks! -- Marginal Drifter, 15:35:05 06/15/03 Sun

Series 5 is my favourite, though very dark and depressing. Though depressing themes don't make for fun viewing, they don't make art more or less commendable, and I wouldn't blame them for the reduced quality of either the sixth or seventh series (I like series six, just don't think it's as good as the others, and series seven...didn't find it good but might grow on me in the re-viewing). It's not about the themes but how they are applied. It wouldn't have mattered if they had had Buffy fighting undead clowns in the land of chocolate, the quality of the series(ses?) wouldn't have been any better.

[> Re: Personal theory on S6-7-Agree -- sdev, 22:28:51 06/14/03 Sat

"The effect of thematically unconnected standalones in lightening the mood of earlier seasons has, IMHO, not been previously credited to the extent that it deserves."

Excellent point.

[> [> A perfect example -- RadiusRS, 14:28:24 06/15/03 Sun

is the episode Superstar from the end of the fourth season. It did one thing that a lot of stand alone eps do, which is that in one (sometimes two scenes) they further the overall plot of the season and the series(Jonathan being the one to identify Adam's power source, Adam showing how he was so self aware Jonathan's spell didn't work on him, setting up Jonathan for Season 6 and the Trio). I liked the fact that most of these eps just seemed to fit in with the rhythym of the show so well (like Players, which came after such revelations as that Cordy was the Big Bad and she was pregnant with something and the gang didn't quite know it yet; I remember being extremely anxious for the story to move along, and yet Players is one of my favorite episodes of the season as is Inside Out which follows, despite being one of the arc-heaviest episodes of any Buffyverse show ever). I think part of the allure of Joss' shows is that you never know when they're going to hit you over the head in a major way, or when you'll get a standalone character ep (i.e. Selfless and Storyteller, etc.) or a totally random ep.

[> Re: Personal theory on S6-7 - Disagree -- Rina, 07:51:04 06/16/03 Mon

I disagree, but it's just my opinion.

Re N.C. meet and such things (sigh...Voynak is being a beast) -- Random, 10:53:20 06/13/03 Fri

Original message:

Another N.C. meet sounds great. Sometime soon, in fact. Humidity shouldn't be a factor: we'll just hold it indoors. I mean, I'll be disappointed that my first choice -- the greenhouses at N.C. State -- is out, but I'm willing to sacrifice a little. If we're talking Raleigh, I'd vote somewhere like Mitch's (homey and Guiness on the tap)or The Flying Saucer (if you want a wide selection of beer -- but it's very noisy sometimes) or the Rockford. But anywhere that's not actively immersed in lava works for me. IHOP, anyone?

None-Triangle area posters are more-than-welcome to come as well. And neaux? You best show up -- we need a pic this time around.

~Random, who actually is headed up to Ohio to meet with Rah and d'H and whoever else comes. Been looking forward to this since me and Rah first talked about it back in February, heheh.

You just want us to let you know, neaux? No problem. And mamcu: this weekend might be a little sudden. I mean, getting things together would take some effort. I could probably make it, but getting everyone else on board might be problematic. The 27th or 28th work for me, as far as I know. Or we could wait till July if that's better for everyone.

MaeveRigan? Others in the general N.C. and surrounding states area?

[> Fighting Voynak...KdS's threads are even devouring KdS's threads...how ironic is that? -- Random, 10:57:53 06/13/03 Fri

[> [> Talking of which... -- Tchaikovsky, 11:12:53 06/13/03 Fri

Someone bring back CW's thread immediately! It's long and wonderful and got archived in about an hour which is farcial.


[> [> [> Didn't even see it fly by! Also, re NC... -- mamcu, 11:36:19 06/13/03 Fri

Also, Random, I know this weekend is not a real possibility! In fact, it just flew out the window for me too, so hope people will go for a later time that I can make, but if not, will think about you.

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" Revisited -- Darby, 11:51:28 06/13/03 Fri

Figured I'd give this a try. Using the DVD version. And I may compare to the "demo reel" truncated "pilot."

Script references come from the Season One Script Book - dunno how canonical that is, but at least it's some sort of "official"...

Maybe Darla is a Method vampire? Her timid schoolgirl act might have bled through to her reactions with Luke and the Master. She did get bolder through the season, as her position in the group improved, becoming more like the Darla we would know.

Anybody else remember the director, Charles Martin Smith's, acting career? He was the researcher in Never Cry Wolf, a surprisingly good movie about field biology. And he was in The Untouchables.

In the script, the dream involved a voiceover by the Master, who said I'll get inside you and eat my way out... Things were devouring from beneath right from the earliest scenes! As I understand it, by the time the show aired they had already shot the whole 12-episode half-season, and so could fill the dream with true "prophecy" and set up that part of Buffy's schtick.

Warning: I'm going to do the shallow thing, sort of, and comment on appearances. For instance, I feel that SMG is way prettier with her face filled out as it was back then - her eyes seemed bigger, paradoxically (yeah, I expect some of that was makeup). I very much hope that the tendency of the actresses to get thinner was a general Hollywood thing and not specific pressure from the producers and/or network.

Xander's intro, from the script: He is bright, funny, and will one day be suave and handsome. Till that day arrives, he'll do the best he can with bright and funny. Since early Xander was Joss' alter ego, can we read anything into that?

Willow: She is shy, bookish, and very possibly dressed by her mother. The intelligence in her eyes and the sweetness of her smile belie a genuine charm that is lost on the unsubtle high school mind. Pretty good casting job there - and doesn't quite fit the actress in the "pilot" demo reel.

There is no description for Buffy. Or Cordelia.

Ah, Charisma. Not the bombshell she would eventually be, but I do prefer the pre-enhancement figure...

I do prefer the Principal Flutie from the demo reel - a tad more quirky, an actor with a trifle better comic timing, and the whole "I can't remember your name, but I'm going to use it - and get it wrong - in just about every sentence" was funny.

I'm a little concerned that the cleavage and the short short skirts are a bit too much part of the sexualization of younger girls - she was supposed to just be a sophomore. I guess it was part of the Buffy persona (and Cordelia's), but it is still vaguely disturbing.

To weigh in on the SMG acting chops debate, to me the best acting is done by folks who can stay in the moment and react to what's going on around them. Buffy's whole introduction to Sunnydale High is full of those moments, and although SMG's reactions are a bit broader than they would eventually be (culminating with near-coma in Season 7...no, that's not fair, but it's in the ballpark of true), just watch her work off the other actors. The girl has chops, right from the beginning, and a way with a Whedon line.

Giles: He is British, of a middle age, with a quiet intensity.

The scene in the locker room between the Valley Girl types - interesting that we never again see quite that extreme a speaking pattern again. Were the girls supposed to be a commentary, or were more students going to speak that way until Joss heard it on film? It is pretty annoying, wearing thin before the very short scene is over.

In the demo reel, and in the script, Buffy needs to get past Flutie to see the locker room body, but not in the actual episode. It is interesting that the two versions involve different Fluties, though.

A little canon slip right off the bat (heh) - Giles asks Buffy if the boy will rise, and she uses her "no" to explain how vampires are made. But how could she tell from the body - did she peek in his mouth for blood stains? And later, there's never another indication that potential vamp corpses can be recognized by sight. Is this the first example of mythology logic sacrificed to the storytelling?

The library set was only spooky in those very early episodes - once it became home, it was much more evenly lit.

Very quickly, Buffy begins to bond with Giles - he's the only authority figure that she can actually talk to (and who really listens to her), and she needs that. It was hard to avoid the father-daughter dynamic, but for the first season they really were partners. If they had truly stayed that way, removing Giles last season would have more clearly led to Buffy's isolation these last two. Maybe.

The Master rises from a pool of blood. Is there a Seal at the bottom of that pool?

I actually find WttH Angel much more disjointed from his eventual backstory than Darla. He's too confident, too sardonic, like it's all some secret joke to him - this is not a guy pulled out of an alley and shoved to Sunnydale by Whistler. But there's a symmetry with DB having no clear idea of how to play this guy. I think the private joke is that he was just really happy to have the job. His early line delivery, to me, is distractingly similar to Milo Ventimiglia's (Jesse) on Gilmore Girls - not a good thing.

Sophist is right, the timing of Buffy's first Angel kick is way off - DB was maybe afraid of really being kicked, it looks like he's actually ducking out of the way - maybe he was supposed to be out of frame-?

Interesting that the "Slayer Sense" for vampires that Giles suggests Buffy "hone" never ever is mentioned again.

The Master: the most powerful of vampires. Born Heinrich Joseph Nest (some six hundred years ago), he wears a vaguely SS- like outfit. What he does not wear is anything resembling a human face. He is as much demon as man. Is this a suggestion that a typical vampire is just a little bit demon, then?

Y'know, I was kidding about Buffy looking for the crypt with the tv lights, but it is actually shown as being lit from within!

I love Quippy Slayer Buffy. Very few live action sources can pull off the Spider-Man fight dialogue, but Buffy can.

Buffy is obviously stronger and tougher than Darla, but not of Luke. Is that a teeny bit sexist?

Every time I hear Luke say, after being told by Darla that Buffy is strong, You are strong. I am stronger, the reading on the first line bugs me. By the time he comes back as the Judge, he seems to have a somewhat better feel for the dialogue. Or maybe the Judge's semi-cluelessness suited him better.

When Luke tosses "Buffy" onto the corner of the coffin- containing thingy (drawin' a blank on the term here), it's the first but not last instance of one of those stunts that draw me out of the narrative. Part of me is saying, "Stuntperson or not, that really had to hurt!"

What??? To Be Continued???? Wow, I didn't see that coming!

[> re: WttH revisited -- Rob, 12:02:49 06/13/03 Fri

"Buffy is obviously stronger and tougher than Darla, but not of Luke. Is that a teeny bit sexist?"

I don't really have a problem with this because, after all Luke is much bigger than Darla and, of course, is probably bigger and stronger than most vamps, male or female. The Master would only choose the strongest of vamps to be his vessel.


[> [> So what you're saying is... -- Masq, 14:17:32 06/13/03 Fri

Amongst vampires,

size matters!

[> [> [> Actually no...... but scythe does -- Dochawk, 18:00:46 06/13/03 Fri

Couldn't resist.

And now that I think about it there is some sexism among vampires. but it reflect on who they were in life.

[> [> [> [> Sexism among vampires -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:46:31 06/13/03 Fri

Like, for instance, how there seem to be a few dozen male vampires for every female one? Of course, it's all about female-empowerment and, of course, the sexual symbolism of a woman staking male demons.

Interesting thought: is it just coincidence that Willow once got to kill two female vampires in one fight scene, or did her orientation make a same sex slaying still have sexual overtones?

[> [> [> [> [> Sexism or just Sex among vampires -- Archilochian, 22:26:28 06/13/03 Fri

Possible Explanations:

1) Women vampires are doing 24 times the amount of work the male vampires does. (as usual)

2) There's simply a higher number of gay vampires turning humans.

3) 24 to 1 simply reflects the actual male/female in some parts of Alaska.

[> Re: "Welcome to the Hellmouth" Revisited -- CW, 17:51:15 06/13/03 Fri

I agree with you that SMG looks better when she was carying a few more pounds. I have to admit that during the initial run Buffy's short skirts reminded me of the good old days in college back in the late 1960's. But you're right it's ridiculus for a 'model' for teenagers to be running around school with cleavage showing and skirts that are too short already, split farther up. We used to joke you could always tell the heroine of the movie. She was the one in the smallest and most brightly colored bikini. Looks like that was one convention that Joss, the innovator, had no intention of breaking.

Angel's first appearance isn't quite so out of character, if you consider that this guy is the forerunner of Whistler and Doyle not Angel as we know him. If he'd been cast as Buffy's love interest in the beginning I'd guess the direction of these scenes would have somewhat different. I doubt Angel would now be caught... cough... dead in that shiny jacket, but Whistler or Doyle would love it.

[> [> Buffy's clothes -- Dochawk, 18:04:24 06/13/03 Fri

CW - I don't think its so much that Buffy was supposed to be a model for teenage girls (an icon yes, a role model? I dunno was that Joss' original intent? I know he wanted to show what a confident girl could do, ok maybe) but she definitely was supposed to dress and act like a typical teenage girl from California and any visit to a mall will tell ya that's what most of the girls were wearing and still wear.

[> [> [> Absolutely true. Believe me, I know. -- Sophist, 18:51:11 06/13/03 Fri

[> [> [> Re: Buffy's clothes -- Sofdog, 18:53:53 06/13/03 Fri

Hm. The kitsch of the '60s-ish wardrobe was part of what brought me to the show. The clothes that all three girls wore in the early years, specifically S1 - including promo stills - was pretty off the wall. I turned 24 the year BtVS debuted so I was still dressing comfortably from the junior's department. I didn't see any of that crap in the stores. The only stylish ensemble that Buffy wore in Season 1 was the outfit she wore to The Bronze in "WttH." I remember I'd just bought a supertight pair of pants with the slight flares (and boots) myself.

[> [> [> I disagree -- CW, 20:31:45 06/13/03 Fri

You don't make a positive heroine (as opposed to a femme fatale or an antiheroine) out of someone you don't think is something of a model for other people. That doesn't mean they can't have problems, and doesn't mean they have to be perfect in every way. But, a positive person in the center of a heroic story is the kind of person the author wants others to look up to. Buffy's not Malcolm Reynolds, she's not Angel, there is no ambiguity about whether she's good or not. Joss meant her to be a symbol of what a good modern girl, again not a perfect one, ought to be like. If he tells you any different he's a liar, believe me!

Fashion for teens is like selling any other fad. First you have to convince the person its a good idea, then you sell the goods. The girls in the malls dress the way they do because of what they see in the movies, on tv, and in videos not the other way around.

[> [> [> [> I disagree -- Sophist, 20:53:08 06/13/03 Fri

With this statement:

The girls in the malls dress the way they do because of what they see in the movies, on tv, and in videos not the other way around.

I think you have it backwards. TV shows and movies are in the business of meeting a demand. That demand arises from our culture. They reflect that culture, they don't lead it.

This seems counterintutitive if you don't live in media centers like LA or NY. Fact is, though, that cutting edge fashions appear on the streets and in the schools of those cities long before they appear on TV or in other parts of the country. TV may spread fashion, but it does not create it.

One of the attractions of BtVS to my daughters (who were 13 and 8 when the show began) was they could look on the screen and see someone who looked just like their friends. And she was kicking ass and cracking jokes. How cool was that?

[> [> [> [> [> Fsashion is not a culture, it's a business -- CW, 22:40:15 06/13/03 Fri

There is a good reason why the fashion industry uses LA as one of its guinea pigs. The fashion industry more than the entertainment industry wants to be sure that when movies and tv episodes reach the bulk of the country that the styles generally match what can be bought at the local stores. So surprise, surprise, the fashions show up on the streets of LA before they are on television. LA and NY do not some much drive a culture as they weed out the really bad apples among the product of a business trying to make a buck.

[> [> [> [> [> [> It's both -- Rook, 11:56:27 06/14/03 Sat

It's a symbiotic relationship.

People demand to see attractive, sharply dressed people on TV - TV provides that ---- People imitate the specific fashions of the people on TV ---- TV Provides more of the same ----People demand more, imitate more ----- etc., etc., etc.

People aren't tuning into shows full of unattractive, badly dressed people, and so in that sense it's based on our culture. We want to look at pretty things. But the design specifics and marketing of particular fashions in the business end of it. We send a strong general sense of what we want (Pretty people in nice clothes), and the Fasion industry tries to figure out what exact things we want to see and buy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> SMG once said... -- Sofdog, 12:02:42 06/14/03 Sat

...in an interview that it was hard to compete with so many other shows, esp. since fashion hits NYC first then filters to the West Coast, but they were trying. It was around S4 in the same interview where she said they tried to keep the makeup subtle and hoped it translated that way. At the time, I thought "have you seen how rosy your cheeks like, sister?"

[> [> [> [> Re: I disagree -- Dochawk, 16:15:23 06/14/03 Sat

The Fashion industry has long hired trend watchers whose entire job it is is to go to the clubs, the high schools and certain other places in New York City and los angeles to see the trends. And the buyer for Macy's chooses her stuff at least 6 nonths to a year in advance. TV goes and picks the stuff up from there. then they may set a bigger trend (thats what they hope). the costumers at shows like Dawson's and Buffy buy stuff off the rack, they don't have big budgets to be setting the curve. They may look like they are ahead of the curve in Arizona, but not in LA.

[> [> [> Okay, revisiting... -- Darby, 06:52:27 06/14/03 Sat

I think I've changed my mind - I've picked on a general tv issue using WttH, and I think I'm wrong.

The costuming on Buffy, while having a bit of a trendsetting impact, has been, for the most part, about the story. The Buffy that came from Hemery had been a bit of Cordelia Lite, and was looking to make an impact in the new school and slip back into the normal life she was used to. By the second season, she was still dressing well but perhaps less provocatively, as she more-and-more balanced being Student and Slayer. As the show progresses, the costumes continue to reflect that aspect of characters, mixed with various trends (and, I think, getting the feel that they could start setting some).

But the Buffy-Cordelia connection, combined with Cactus Watcher's essay and a discussion with Sara, got us wondering what arc Buffy would have followed if Cordelia hadn't been so overtly mean. Would Buffy have become more a part of Cordy's circle (tricky - they are both clearly alpha females - who else on Buffy does Cordy ever treat as an equal?...ooo, maybe Angel...), with Willow and Xander more peripheral but still friends and sidekicks? Yeah, that's not the story that had to be told, and they are fictional characters, but it's kind of an interesting course for speculation.

[> [> [> [> Re: Okay, revisiting... -- CW, 07:12:58 06/14/03 Sat

Yes, I think Cordelia's dominating rather than sharing personality is a bigger part of the scheme of things at Sunnydale High, than it seemed, when the first season first ran. My high school didn't have any noticeable Cordelia's. My school's queen bees got along well and the kinds of other girls and guys acceptable to the in-group was broadened by the personal tastes of each of the 'alpha' girls. It could have been like that at Sunnydale, if Joss wasn't interested in telling a story with alienation as a theme... Just shows a little choice here or there can make a big differenve in a story.

[> [> [> [> [> My high school was almost exactly like Sunnydale High, Cordy, Cordettes and all! -- Rob, 11:25:49 06/14/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> Mine too -- mamcu, 17:31:57 06/14/03 Sat

[> Changes in Appearance -- mamcu, 17:47:11 06/14/03 Sat

I've been noticing the difference in the late and early versions of all the characters, and I agree that SMG has changed a lot. Partly it's the weight. My own suspicion about that has to do with age (from my perspective she's still a kid, but...). I think that on camera--those who know, correct me-- the tiny changes of aging are exaggerated by the weight, so a young actress tries to keep her youthful look by losing weight as she gets older.

I also think that the whole look of the show has changed (again, viewer's perspective only). The lighting in WttHM was extremely high in contrasts, with a very dark dark in the graveyard scenes--I thought much darker than later. AH really did not benefit from that, even young as she was then. Also, the makeup was similar, perhaps also related to the whole clothes thing commented on by many of you. The much more subtle make up was really noticeable in S7, not just on the women, but Spike too seemed less garish.

Speaking of short skirts, etc., does anybody remember Ally McBeal? And she was supposedly a professional woman, not a highschooler. Let's hope she wasn't a role model, but there were some Buffy parallels.

[> Back to Angel -- mamcu (happily DVD'ing, thanks to OnM), 18:07:35 06/14/03 Sat

Now that I'm finally catching up, I'm responding to some comments in the earlier thread as well as Darby's.

Angel does seem stiff and cold. Most of us write this off as the initial concept of the character, who develops much more later on--but another thought is this:

He's fairly recently been brought out of the alleys and the rat- eating by Whistler, right? A couple of ways this could affect him:

1. A return to some of his more Angelus-like characteristics (not that WttHM had any of the great Angelus sarcasm)since he had no other model of himself as anything but a skulker or a demon.

2. More likely--he's putting on a false bravado b/c he is afraid that Buffy will laugh him off. A vamp with a soul?!? Can't imagine that in the movie Buffyverse, so he's sort of at a loss until he connects with her.

The Story of Anya (as told by Andrew) -- HonorH, 12:28:50 06/13/03 Fri

Ah, Anya! She left behind so many, yet perhaps none who loved her so well as Andrew Wells, reformed supervillain and Storyteller Extraordinaire. Read on, gentle viewers, as he relates to you the tale of her epic years and tragic end:

Her Name Was Fear!

(Disclaimer: just so it's clear, I didn't write this. I only wish I did.)

[> That may be the best thing, um, ever! -- Rob, 13:00:30 06/13/03 Fri

[> A story told with honor. K'Plach! -- cjl, 13:07:53 06/13/03 Fri

[> I'm with Rob...that was the BEST! -- dub ;o), 13:37:16 06/13/03 Fri

[> So very much Andrew -- lakrids, 17:39:16 06/13/03 Fri

[> Wonderful! It is Andrew! It is Anya! -- mamcu, 18:19:45 06/13/03 Fri

[> I felt warmth in my chestal region, like soothing Mentholatum™ after a swim meet. -- pr10n, 19:11:01 06/13/03 Fri

[> [> yeah, but what about that swimmer's ear? -- anom, 22:19:16 06/14/03 Sat

[> I laughed,I cried, I laughed- - jane -- jane, 22:04:03 06/13/03 Fri

[> great pics, would make a classic poster series -- MsGiles, 04:25:43 06/14/03 Sat

[> that was good! -- frisby, 08:10:39 06/14/03 Sat

i liked that. but how do people do things like that? i want to be creative too -- maybe make a video of buffy set to music or

"Seeing Red"/"Dead Things" -- Rina, 13:01:29 06/13/03 Fri

It's interesting how so many fans ponder over the attempted rape scene in "Seeing Red", and barely talk about the beating in "Dead Things". Why is that? The acts committed in both episodes were heinous and hard to watch. In fact, I have difficulty watching both episodes.

[> Well, I don't care for either of them. But... -- Random, 13:38:45 06/13/03 Fri

When one considers that, in Dead Things, Spike tried to physically restrain Buffy from doing what she considered right -- go to the police because she killed a human being -- and then invited her to hit him...somehow, that not only doesn't really compare to attempted rape, it actually forshadows Spike's willingness to impose his will physically on Buffy. He grabs her first and tells her under no uncertain terms that he's not going to allow her to decide her own fate. After she punches him -- to get him out of the way (which is reasonable considering that he would almost certainly not have just listened to her and stepped aside) he goes into game-face and grabs her again, this time throwing her to the ground. Hard. When she fights back, he then begs her to keep hitting him -- a little different from her fighting back against his attempt to rape her. She shouldn't have done it, but he put himself in that position. Yes, it was violent. And no, it was in no way comparable to an attempt to rape Buffy.

The other point of dialogue was very telling as well: Spike argues the same point that AlmostEvilFaith argues, that Buffy should look at the balance. He really doesn't understand why she values a single life so highly, and his lack of understanding is a result of a blindness on his part. He sees only what he perceives as her benefit, and he is willing to fight her to keep her from making her own decision. Buffy believes that all lives are valuable...Spike at that point only believes her life is.

[> [> The consequences of dead things -- Sophist, 13:54:38 06/13/03 Fri

Spike argues the same point that AlmostEvilFaith argues, that Buffy should look at the balance. He really doesn't understand why she values a single life so highly, and his lack of understanding is a result of a blindness on his part.

Interesting, though, that the COW seems to have much the same attitude (from Consequences):

Giles: Buffy, this is not the first time something like this has happened.

Buffy: (confused) It's not?

Giles: The Slayer is on the front line of a nightly war. Now, it's, it's tragic, but accidents have happened.

Buffy: W-what do you do?

Giles: Well, the Council investigates, um, metes out punishment if punishment is due.

And Giles seemingly approves this. While I agree that Spike doesn't get the moral point, his actual position is harder to reject out of hand.

When she fights back, he then begs her to keep hitting him - - a little different from her fighting back against his attempt to rape her. She shouldn't have done it, but he put himself in that position.

We have 2 previous examples of similar behavior: Faith in FH&T and in WAY. In both these and in DT, I believe we were intended to see a great moral wrong. I find it hard to compare crimes except at the extremes. I doubt it's possible to call this "worse than" or "not as bad as" SR.

[> [> [> Re: The consequences of dead things-agree -- sdev, 17:18:45 06/13/03 Fri

I see it as collateral damage not murder. A possible risk in some way given the daily killing Buffy does. Faith's problem is she doesn't even show or acknowledge regret. I always suspected she had regret but never allowed herself to go there. After all, look at Faith's past- her watcher getting killed and her guilt about it. That traumatized her and she shut down.

Buffy could have felt terrible about the manslaughter,reviewed her methods and tried to change things to avoid a recurrence. But instead she turned it into a guilt fest, another way she beat herself up in Season 6. How would the police have reacted? They had no clue as to her role in the world. Her response to turn herself in was wholly inappropriate.

[> [> [> [> The Devil is in the Collateral Damage -- mamcu, 18:18:26 06/13/03 Fri

I think the whole concept of "justifiable because something big was going on" or "OK because unavoidable" killings of human beings is the point where we admit the line of reasoning that leads to lots that we hate: gang warfare, My Lai, you name it. It's the original slippery slope of rationalization, and I think that's why ME is careful with it. That's why we had the big scene of everyone abandoning the city before the end of Chosen.

OTH, I do think that Buffy's reaction to Spike is way out of line and opens the door for him to respond as he did in Seeing Red. Once you start with the games, it's hard to make a change and say--oops, no more, now it's real. On another level, she pushes the humiliation and rejection over the line. I'm not blaming the victim, but saying there are victims and there are people who set things up. Doesn't justify Spike, but does call her behavior into question.

[> [> [> [> [> volitional vs. unintentional... -- sdev, 22:27:01 06/13/03 Fri

Therein lies the difference.

Buffy in DT vs. Spike in- AR both were wrong.

[> [> [> [> [> We've seen Buffy send mixed or opposite signals, alot. But, no means no. -- Archilochian, 22:44:35 06/13/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> Keep in mind Spike didn't have a soul -- Ray, 01:47:05 06/14/03 Sat

The first time they had sex in that building, she rejected him and they fought. The same in the bathroom. The difference in the way she was acting wasn't clear to Spike. He couldn't empathize with her to realize she really meant
"no" in the bathroom.
Without a soul, it took him awhile to rerun the incident until he understood what he'd did (or almost did). I think his guilt afterwards shows a lot.
Buffy in Dead Things went too far with Spike. He wanted to stop her from making a mistake, Giles or Xander would probably have tried to stop her as well. They just wouldn't have punched her (though keep in mind that's how Buffy and Spike interacted).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Would agree, the soul distinction is very important -- s'kat, 15:48:52 06/14/03 Sat

First off - on Dead Things - I think Buffy lost it with Spike. Remember we start the sequence with her going to his crypt, then upset with herself for doing it, then hoping, praying even for something anything to distract her from her craving for him. (Have you ever gotten it in your head you want something? Like a candy bar? And no matter what you distract yourself with - eventually you give in and get it? Well that's Buffy, except in her case the candy bar can come after her and seductively murmur...you want me Buffy, yes you do...)So someone yells help - and she says, thank you god! Something to give me, a) a purpose for being here and b) distract me from Spike. Also make me feel better, hero and all that. But time goes wonky. And she's already feeling guilty for wanting someone to be in trouble to distract her. And whoopsie didn't work b/c there's Spike again! Who's comments etc are mixed in with the time wonkiness. Someone gets killed. She believes she did it.
And within her guilt and emotional turmoil - there's Spike telling her he'll cover it, he'll take control of it, which must unnerve her, b/c in the back of her mind the whole reason she was happy about the distraction was Spike. Then she has this dream about Spike telling her "it's just their little secret" and their sex games and how she'd like to kill him yet feels guilty about wanting to kill him and guilty about wanting him and guilty about killing the girl.
Her guilt about the girl is wrapped up with Spike, the sex, and their relationship. It's all one big package. So when Spike tries to stop her from turning herself in - he's basically representing that turmoil - that frustration.
It's like Faith punching the vamp or Faith punching Buffy in her body - they are hitting the representation of their guilt and frustration. Buffy - in her head wasn't hitting Spike or herself - she was hitting the guilt and frustration. When Spike's face reverts to human, she comes back to herself and is horrified at what she's done. When he says his line "you always hurt the one you love", she's even more horrified by the implications. It's an ironic scene, because by hurting him - she damns herself further, it just makes it all worse.

Moving on to the soul bit - SR is actually pretty much the same dynamic. Spike doesn't see Buffy when he attempts to force himself on her. She, Buffy, isn't there, he is reacting, much as she did in Dead Things. In this we've built up his emotional rollercoaster ride, where he's feeling guilty and desperate and confused and frustrated.
When he sees her - he ends up losing control just as she does in Dead Things. The difference is, that in Dead Things, Spike was blocking Buffy from another goal - turning herself in. Buffy is blocking Spike from having her.
Two different things. The other huge difference is the soul.
In Dead Things Buffy's soul is making her feel guilty and making her want to turn herself in, in SR, Spike's lack of soul, is making it hard for him to distinquish between the power games they've been playing and rape. He honestly is incapable of seeing the difference. To him at that point in time - there is no difference between the Bronze Beta scene or what happened in Smashed or the countless other times they did it. He is also completely motivated by frustration.
Buffy stops herself in Dead Things - she comes out of it.
Buffy has to stop Spike in Seeing Red, because soulless he can't come out of it, he can't stop. When she does throw him off her - he comes back to himself and like Buffy was in Dead Things, is completely and utterly horrified by his actions. And in both episodes, Dead Things we get Buffy tearfully confessing to Tara, traumatized and halfway blaming Spike for it and in Seeing Red we get Spike tearfully confessing to Clem, traumatized and halfway blaming Buffy for it. It takes both three episodes to do something about it. Buffy doesn't resolve her problem until AYW - by finally telling him what she's doing and breaking it off. Spike resolves his in Grave by getting the soul.
But the difference between the two is the soul. Buffy already knows she's doing wrong and understands the distinctions. Spike gets he's done something wrong, but he doesn't understand why it matters exactly, he doesn't get the distinctions.

This is what Whedon says on it: Although
Spike could feel love, it was the possessive and selfish kind of love
that most people feel. The concept of real altruism didn't exist for
him. And although he did love Buffy and was moved by her emotionally,
ultimately his desire to possess her led him to try and rape her because
he couldn't make the connection -- the difference between their
dominance games and actual rape.

With a soul comes a more adult understanding.

Granted it's a bit of a contrivance or story telling device, but it is a deliberate one and when watching or analyzing the series, we should make note of it. Spike is not a man, he is a soulless vampire when SR happens. To analyze the episode like he is a man, is acting as if we are watching Gilmore Girls and ignoring a key point and metaphor within the story. In fact when I analyze it with a friend of mine, they always try to give the Whedon quote from Amends in regards to SR: "It's the man in me who needs to be killed." Sorry, doesn't work here. Because rape - while a human crime in our society - in BTVS has been a crime that is linked metaphorically with vampires. And in Spike's case - it was clearly the demon, since the soul of the man was absent, not there. Spike may have humanity in him, more than most vamps, but that's the demon and the demon's soul infects him. IF that hadn't been the point - he would not have gotten the soul, to ignore the importance of the soul - means you miss the whole point of Spike getting one or what happens with it in later episode. You may not like that contrivance - but hey, it's part of the story, just like vampires, witches, and slayers are part of the story. The writers continuously repeat this. To argue otherwise, I believe, is imposing our own story or views of the characters on top of or in lieu of what is actually there, which while fun isn't the story on the screen, it's the story in our heads. I see this happen a lot in fandom. And I think to a degree it's why so many people over- react to the Spike and Angel storylines, the writers aren't telling the story the fans have in their heads.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Would agree, the soul distinction is very important -- ECH, 16:13:45 06/14/03 Sat

Wait a second, I never saw Buffy have real remorse over the DT beating, apologise to him, or even try to change her violent first response toward him (hitting him in AYW showed that pretty clearly). Buffy never made a consious effort to change or showed me that she even saw what she did as wrong until maybe CwDP. And, only then I think she realized that she really was abusing someone that did love her enough to get his soul back for her and wasn't just a evil demonic thing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Breaking up with him was part of a desire to change, IMHO -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:17:38 06/14/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Some answers, I hope and a little on AYW -- s'kat, 23:08:30 06/14/03 Sat

You want speechs and ME isn't into that in their writing, they like visuals.

Here's where I think Buffy worked to change her behavior after Dead Things...

1. OAFA - the attempt to have him interact with her friends and the decision not to throw him out or humilate him. She accepts him when he drops in on her party and makes it clear she's not really interested in Richard. She doesn't reveal their relationship...but she does discuss it with Tara in a more positive light.

No - no mention was made of the beating (a mistake MN notes in commentary in an interview in SFX - see the transcript I did of this interview in I believe the April 2003 archives?)
However - she does accept him and Clem as guests and does not hit him at all during the party.

2. AYW is the next episode. It's here that she falls down on the job and gives into the abusive behavior somewhat. But it's also here that their sex in his crypt is actually less violent, also she asks him to tell her he loves her.
Which while negative...is better than what we saw in Smashed through Dead Things. You almost get the feeling here that she is attempting Tara's suggestion of trying to move him into a relationship but is on the fence about it.
Then Riley shows up and shows her that Spike is deadly, amoral and opportunistic as shown by the melting and deadly demon eggs in his crypt, which metaphorically may stand for the spidery product of their relationship. Buffy, at first attempts to defend Spike, albeit poorly, then becomes humilated by the realization it may be true and discovery that it is. Spike is right when he accuses her of denial - that she's always known who and what he is. She has. But from Pangs forward, she keeps equating the chip somewhere deep inside with a soul or a difference - Dawn's views in S5 represent this subconscious pov of Buffy's. Remember we are supposed to be in Buffy's pov. (Now I admit AYW was a poorly plotted episode and the demon egg plot fell down out of the blue. I had zip problems believing Spike would do it, but I think it could have been built up better and would have added credence to Buffy's not seeing something that was there all along...instead - the fact it popped up out of nowhere confused 50% of the audience and caused the rest of us to bend over backwards fanwanking. AYW also destroyed Riley in my humble opinion - and that's the reason I hated it. An example of how AYW could have gone is the Riley/vamptrull arc in S5 that was expertly plotted and Buff knew zip about until Spike pointed it out to her - they didn't just have us discover him with the trulls when Buffy did (that would have thrown us for a loop) instead they steadily built it up, starting with Shadow. They could have done the same thing here - starting with Doublemeat Palace. The fact they didn't made the whole Spike/Buffy arc have a gaping hole in the center and caused the AR scene and lots of other crap. Bad writers!! You should know better!! Particularly when you did such a good job with it in Shadow - Into the Woods...sigh.)

Anyways, ignoring for a moment the mess they made of that plot arc - Buffy does put an end to it and she does in her way apologize. Stating she's breaking up with him b/c their relationship is unhealthy. He may not be complaining here.
But it's killing her that all she's doing is using him to make herself feel better and it has to end.

After that..she continues to try to be nice to him or change her behavior - Hells Bells, she confronts him like a mature adult and that brings out the best in him. She tells him that yes, his attempt to make her jealous worked and yes it hurts to let go, but it does not change things, this is for the best. And he thanks her for that.

Unfortunately - when she next encounters him, she's not at her best - that's in Normal Again...and we end up on the downward spiral again and this is where our pov splits and shifts. Up until Entropy we are ENTIRELY in either B/X/W
pov's or in W/A/J (Troika) with a few smidgens of Spike (smashed), Dawn (oafa) and Anya(DMP) thrown in, but not much. Entropy is when we suddenly jump into other pov's
Spike/Anya/Dawn and to a small degree Tara. When that happens, we are no longer really following Buffy. Buffy came out of her depression or hit rock bottom in Normal Again - she did the worst thing possible in that episode, she abused Spike, and tried to kill Xander, Willow, Dawn and Tara. She makes the decision in that episode to give up heaven in an asylum with her parents and live as Buffy in Sunnydale. She's on the upsweep. Xander hit rock bottom in Hell's Bells when he dumped Anya at the alter - episode before. And we think Willow hit rock bottom in Wrecked.

Okay - in Entropy we are focusing suddenly on the other three S/A/T. Tara on getting back with Willow. Anya on cursing Xander. And Spike on dealing with the pain of the break-up. We are seeing the other side or the consequences of the rock bottom W/X/B actions.

Now it's Spike. Tara. and Anya's turns to hit rock bottom.
Anya hits it first by sleeping with Spike and becoming a vengeance demon again - regressing to old habits, which she regrets and leads her to help B/X/G at the end. Spike hits it second by sleeping with Anya and attempting to rape Buffy, which he regrets and leads him on a quest for a soul. Tara goes back to Willow and the SG research, only to get shot but it's not Tara whose the focus here, it's Willow who mistakenly believed her power was a drug she could go off cold turkey, it's all inside her - it's how she chooses to use it that's important. OF the three SG, Willow/Buffy/Xander - Willow is the only one who hasn't in the true sense hit rock bottom quite yet - she also doesn't realize what her problem is. The point is that the narrative pov splits and we almost entirely leave the Buffy pov, Buffy in some ways becomes a secondary character here.

We pick up on both Spike and Buffy in the next year.
Spike doesn't attempt to apologize to Buffy until BY and by that time he realizes he can't really. All he can do is show her by his actions that he regrets what he's done and atones which he does do: in Lessons, BY, STSP, HElp, Him, Selfless, Sleeper, NLM, and Buffy for her part must show him by her actions that she regrets it which she does in BY, Help, Him, CwDP (to herself), Showtime, Killer in Me, Potential, First Date, LMPTM, Touched, NLM,

Does she come out and say: Oh Spike I'm so sorry I was so mean to you last year, I was wrong. (No, but would you really want that? No one does that and it's a bit dull. And a lot like Spike's apology in the bathroom or Xander's to Anya. ) Does Spike come out and say "OH buffy I'm so sorry I tried to rape you?" (No, but we don't really need that.)

Btvs has always been more visual than preachy monologues.
(Except for Buffy's speeches of course ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Some answers, I hope and a little on AYW -- ECH, 23:18:50 06/14/03 Sat

I thought it was pretty clear that the soul itself was one massive oversized apology for the AR.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Some answers, I hope and a little on AYW -- s'kat, 23:29:30 06/14/03 Sat

Yeah well...not when the two big bads from the previous season contained souls. But hey, that's what I thought too.

By the same token, Buffy's decision to help him and stand by him in Sleeper - Chosen, could similarily be considered an apology, particularly when he is seen as a horrible danger with the trigger to everyone else.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Portrayal of wrongs -- Valheru, 01:32:55 06/15/03 Sun

I think the biggest difference between the Spike and Buffy in the Spuffy relationship is how they are portrayed. Spike, for the most part, is shown as the dominant abuser, while Buffy is the confused victim. IMO, the Spuffy-aftermath controversy among the fans comes from how ME constantly switched POVs between the two; therefore, some fans got stuck in one perspective portrayed a certain way, while others got stuck in the other.

In S5, we see the precursors to Spuffy almost entirely in Spike's POV. Only a few times (parts of Crush and most of IWMTLY) do we see Spike from Buffy's POV where he is definitely less than sympathetic. But for the most part, Spike's character is designed to make the audience think "Come on, give the poor lovesick sap a break!"

S6, starting with Tabula Rasa, suddenly shifts the relationship into Buffy's POV. We see him as the ultimate no- no for Buffy that she somehow can't repress. Spike is bad, horrible, stay away from him, what are you thinking, behind the dumpster? Buffy is the sympathetic one in Spuffy. So when Dead Things comes, we aren't supposed to feel much of anything for Spike, but instead feel bad for Buffy for what she did.

After the AR in Seeing Red, the POV splits, possibly the most difficult thing ME has ever tried to convey. In the Buffy scenes, we're supposed to be angry at Spike for what he did and feel sorry for Buffy for having been AR-ed. In the Spike scenes, we're supposed to be disappointed in Buffy for having led Spike on and abusing him and feel sorry for Spike for having had his love twisted by Spuffy sex. Is it any wonder that this is such a controversy, with all this confusion?

The difference between Dead Things and Seeing Red is that SR puts us in the POV of the victim (Buffy), showing us all the emotions of a woman who has just been raped. DT, however, doesn't put us in the POV of the victim (Spike). For all we know, it was the happiest moment in Spike's entire unlife and he went home and had a party.

The real problems arise later, when we are told that, yes, Spike was a victim. Which is fine and everything, but we never see Spike as a victim, only Spike being victimized. It's show, not tell all over again: we are shown Buffy as the emotional (rather than physical) victim, then told of Spike as an emotional victim later.

So yeah, maybe what Buffy did in Dead Things was worse than what Spike did in Seeing Red, but we don't see the characters from comparable standpoints so we'll never know.

[> [> [> [> [> [> As long as it always means no -- mamcu, 13:09:34 06/14/03 Sat

Since we saw Buffy playing games with handcuffs, the kind of games where people say "no" as part of the game, it kind of makes it more difficult for the other player to know. I do think Spike knew this was really a different situation, but I also think it was confusing. It would have been a lot different if it had happened a year or two earlier, before the games.

[> [> Re: Well, I don't care for either of them. But... -- Zakalwe, 14:02:12 06/13/03 Fri

Perhaps the other significant difference is that in the buffyverse, violence is pretty much run-of-the-mill. Buffy has been endowed with the ability to heal quickly, Spike too is capable to taking a lot of punishment without seeming to suffer any long term physical harm. It is part of the conceit of BTVS that characters can withstand pretty extreme conventional violence without long term physical or for that matter psychological damage.

Whereas the rape scene seems out of place in the buffyverse - an intrusion from the real world. Which is of course, kind of the point - this scene is meant to shock us - its meant to seem out of the ordinary. Violence is run-of-the-mill in the buffyverse - the real world rules don't apply. Whereas on the other hand, you don't see vampires trying to rape characters as a matter of course.

I'm kind of ambivalent about whether it was necessary in terms of plot development- a friend of mine who has been raped certainly thought a line was crossed in that episode that shouldn't have been crossed - I can see a case for it but it doesn't make for easy viewing.

[> There is a psychological difference -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:34:58 06/13/03 Fri

On a purely physical level, a rape and a beating are just as bad. However, there is a difference on a psychological level. You often hear about people having trauma following a rape (attempted or otherwise), but I don't think I've ever heard of someone having trauma following a beating. I've never been raped, but, going by what I've heard, it usually has consequences beyond the physical. Also, while I've never been severely injured, from what I've heard, unless it results in a coma or crippling, it doesn't really have any long term impact after the physical wounds heal.

[> [> Alot of people get severely traumatized from beatings. -- Doug, 20:56:32 06/13/03 Fri

[> [> [> Interesting. Never heard of that before. -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:10:09 06/13/03 Fri

[> [> It's true, Finn. And later there's PostTraumaticStress. Violence is violence. -- Archilochian, 22:30:30 06/13/03 Fri

[> Is it to do with who it's about? -- MsGiles, 04:22:54 06/14/03 Sat

After seeing these eps the first time, I thought, it's a 'showing both sides' scenario, a role reversal. In DT Buffy is the abuser, in SR it's Spike. After thinking again, I'm not so sure. But I do think a different character is being highlighted in each ep - Buffy in DT and Spike in SR - and the one not in the spotlight is really just playing a supporting role. To explain further:

DT is showing us some of the consequences of denial, I think - not just denial of Buffy's relationship with Spike, but denial of the larger thing that drove her into the relationship: her return to life, to her duties, to responsibilities she feels she can't, and doesn't want to, hold on to any more. The internal conflicts that result, find outlet in the violence towards Spike, and the quasi-suicidal desire to give herself up. As a character, Spike is passive here. Sure, he tries to stop her, he hits her, but his arguments and his violence are not unusual, and have cropped up in other contexts throught the show without seeming more than ambiguous. Her reaction is very unusual, and not what we would expect of Buffy in any season up to 5, though it is a logical extension of her increasingly out- of-control behaviour in S6. We are seeing Buffy hit a really low point. Maybe not her lowest .. she hits so many low points in S6! But certainly a depth of self-hate, externalised as violence, that she will have to struggle back from in the rest of the series.

In SR on the other hand, I think the focus is Spike. Since the start of the series, the character's arc has been suspended - in s5, he began to move towards the good, via a combination of the chip and a crush on Buffy, but in S6 she began to use him to escape her own issues, and that progression ceased, even reversed. In AYW Spike began to move again, and the end of S6 sees him seeking to redefine his life, possibly redefining Buffy as his muse rather than his crush. SR is the turning point for that change. Here Spike's motivations and feelings are to the fore - the way he goes to see Buffy intending to apologise, and instead, seeing her vulnerable state, finds himself giving in to a desire to control her, to attempt to kick-start her feelings for him by violence. However, through the show, Buffy has always been too strong for this kind of thing to happen, and even the pretext of a slaying accident doesn't really cause us to suspend disbelief. This means, I think, the the pathetic picture of Buffy as victim, cryiing 'No, don't' and struggling to get free, is both unconvicing and a little offensive. We have, after all, learned to trust in her inviolability as a safety net, in the many depictions of violence and threat she has experienced (including being tied up and threatened with a cattle prod by Spike in s5). This picture of the unempowered Buffy is necessary to allow Spike his lowest point, and his own, self-initiated, return from it. The chip is obviously no longer working on Buffy, but now Spike realises he's going to have to take over from it himself. She's not going to turn to the dark with him. He goes back to it on his own, or he moves on, towards her world. This is not something we really expect him to do, at this stage, so SR seems very bleak - but when Spike's movement becomes clearer, so does the rationale.

I think perhaps both episodes were deliberately made hard to watch, as well. There's a lot of difficult stuff in S6 despair, betrayal, mental illness, murder. I think think perhaps the 'Oh, grow up!' theme doesn't just refer to the characters, but to the audience. Joss, Marti, are going something like 'you're grown up? You want adult material? Well, you can have your sex scenes, and then you can have this! So face up to it! No more comfortable Big Bads to kill, just people, doing what people do.' Welcome to the hellmouth!

[> [> Re: Spike as rape-capable -- DEN, 09:00:02 06/14/03 Sat

Just to toss a white chip into the pot (pun intended), Spike shows (not tells)what he's capable of in his invasion of Willow's dorm room in s4. It has IMO a clear sexual element significantly greater than the usual vamp assault. It's correspondingly clear that he is restrained from killing/vamping/raping his victim ONLY by the chip. And while there is some humor in the impotence riff that succeeds this AV/AR, it seems to me significant that Willow's self esteem at that point is so low she questions whether she's even worth raping!

[> [> Come to think of it, there was inconsistency -- KdS, 09:31:47 06/14/03 Sat

I think what makes people see the rape scene as inconsistent is the way slayers and vampires have always been treated almost like cartoons or computer game characters in terms of physics - knocking each other across rooms and into walls hard enough to smash concrete and so forth, with no apparent injuries and little apparent pain. In the Seeing Red scene both Buffy and Spike are shown as having purely human levels of strength and endurance - it's not just Buffy - until the final moment when she kicks him off her, and it's a little jarring.

[> [> Re: Audience, Grow Up! -- Laura, 11:13:16 06/14/03 Sat

We have always know that Joss and co. like lulling us into certain and then pulling the rug out from under us.

Look what happened with Angel in season three. Joss got many of us to deny that fact that the Angel-Buffy situation wouldn't with that pesky happiness clause. (Sorry Joyce, I don't buy the sunshine and 2.5 kids reason.) Using our logic we know that it is too dangerous for them to stay together, but somehow we thought it would eventually work out. Joss pounced on our misconceptions. Shocking a good portion of us.

In season five and six, we've watched Spike become more or less one of the good guys. At the same time, we've been left clues here and that this doesn't mean he himself is good. "You know what I am. You've always known," says Spike to Buffy in AYW. This line is as much to her as it is to us. Perhaps foreshadowing? None the less, we've been lulled into thinking that this is the worst he currently is capable of.

When the attempted rape scene is played out it is both a realisation for Spike and for us. Spike honestly doesn't get why Buffy doesn't respond sexually to him. She's attracted to him so why not? In vampire society this isn't such an unusual thing. Torture and sex isn't so strange, Spike tortured Dru until she "loved" him again, and they were together again for a time. He suddenly realises he's missing something that allows himself to fully understand her: a soul. Meanwhile, we came to realise that even with a chip Spike simply can't be completely good and if given the chance can do horrible things. Also, we've seen Buffy above this type of abuse, but once again we've been delluding ourselves. She is, after all, human.

I think Joss loves killing our misconceptions.

[> [> Nice analysis. I agree. That's part of what I saw. -- s'kat, 15:10:20 06/14/03 Sat

[> Re: "Seeing Red"/"Dead Things" -- ECH, 11:01:26 06/14/03 Sat

Yes, both the AR and the DT beating were terrible acts of out of control people that weren't totally aware of what they were doing. My problem with it was the Buffy never apologised, felt sorry, or faced any reprocussions for the DT beating while Spike without a soul was horrifed and did everything in his power to keep it from happening again. Maybe, that is why I find it so hard to sympathise with Buffy. It is not the act that really made me mad it was her acting justified and rightious about it by not seeing a need to change her behavior, hell he punches him 2 eps later just because she is mad with him. I also don't at all believe the statement that the AR showed Spike was irredemably evil. There was no evil harmful intent in the AR, which is why IMHO it would have been a moronic decision if ME wanted to use it to try to say Spike was evil. But, I don't believe they were using it to try to say that, I think they were using it to turn people against B/S (have the audience finally get Marti's bad boyfriend arc) and manipulate the audience into creating sympathy for Buffy after her use and abuse of him. That is why IMHO that the scene could have happened the same if Spike had a soul or otherwise. ME based the AR on a violent, confusing, and out of control relationship and not on an evil monster trying to force himself on the weak helpless Buffy. Hell, I could even see Buffy trying to force herself on Spike like she did in Gone, and him getting pissed and telling her no, and her not taking no for an answer which forces him to beat her off him. If that female writer really wanted to show a gray AR scene, IMHO they should have had Buffy do it to Spike. I do believe that JM was right when he said that the writers didn't think hard enough about how different things would be viewed by reversing the sexes.

So both DT beating and SR attack were bad, but not planned acts of evil, but IMHO it was the reactions of the attacker in each case afterwords was what mattered. I don't mind people failing or doing something bad and seeing it and trying to improve, but I hate the fact that the writers just blew off the DT beating where Buffy was conserned.

The Grr Argh Monster -- Masq, 15:01:44 06/14/03 Sat

OK, so I'm finally getting around to watching my Season 4 DVDs this weekend, and it occurs to me that I can start looking for those alternative Grr-Argh guys now (well, I could on the Season 1-3 DVDs as well, but never did). I never bothered keeping the ending credits when I taped the show; they were always shoved aside by the evening news or local station announcements or whatever.

So can somebody tell me all the times the Grr-Argh Monster said something besides his normal "Grr-Argh"? Someone at the Vancouver meet (dub?) knew them all by heart.

Another trivia question: are there any alternative Grr-Arghs in the Angel end credits?

[> So far as I recall -- KdS, 15:12:10 06/14/03 Sat

Becoming II

"I need a hug"


Vamp wears a red and white Santa hat.

Graduation Day II

Vamp wears a gown and mortar board

Once More With Feeling

"Grr Arrgh" is sung by an operatic voice


"Grr Arrgh" replaced by a sung "We Are Gods!"


Vamp turns its head to the camera to say "Grr Arrgh"

Don't think there were any altered AtS episodes.

[> [> That's it! -- dub ;o), 15:19:08 06/14/03 Sat

KdS has all the ones we listed at the Gathering--six alternate versions. It was LadyS who knew them all by heart!


[> [> Does Angel have the Grr Arghh? -- Ray, 01:38:19 06/15/03 Sun

I remember the Greenwalt "Thank you very much" bus.

[> [> [> Yup! -- Rob, 08:58:36 06/15/03 Sun

[> [> [> Firefly had the Grr Argh too, but no special ones like Buffy -- Scroll, 12:43:05 06/15/03 Sun

[> Codas -- pellenaka, 15:26:03 06/14/03 Sat

On Angel:

She - Angel and Wesley 'dance' (not with each other).

Judgment - Angel sings 'Mandy'.

On Buffy:

Puppet Show - Buffy, Willow and Xander play a scene from Oedipus.

[> [> Re: Codas -- Dochawk, 16:36:06 06/14/03 Sat

Judgement that was it!!!

[> [> i'd also count... -- anom, 16:35:59 06/15/03 Sun

...the end of Buffy vs. Dracula, where Dracula re-forms after being staked, & Buffy immediately stakes him again...& then stops his next try by saying, "I'm standing right here!" I think that was more a joke than anything that was supposed to have really happened, although I've seen posts assuming Dracula couldn't be permanently dusted & just waited till Buffy left to either re-form on the spot or slink away in his swirly-cloud form to someplace safer.

[> Isn't there one alternate Angel credit? -- Dochawk, 16:35:03 06/14/03 Sat

I seem to remember one - Angel singing in Caritas perhaps? I think it was season 2 angel.

Complaints -- Rina, 13:07:32 06/13/03 Fri

I've noticed one thing about the complaints of many fans. They usually complain about changes in a characters or the changes in dynamics between characters.

Many complained about Spike gaining a soul and would prefer for him to achieve redemption without it. Many complain about Buffy and Spike's relationship (friendship, love or both) and go on about Buffy's previous relationship with Angel and how "they are soulmates". Many have complained about Spike and Dawn's failure to renew their friendship. Many complained about how ineffectual Giles was during Season 7 and that the dynamic between the Scooby Gang wasn't what it used to be.

If they had their way, many fans would allow the characters and their situations to remain steadily the same throughout the show's run, and without any major changes. I'm not saying that ALL FANS are like this. But judging from the posts I have read on many BUFFY forums, many are. And when they cannot deal with these changes, they chalk it up to bad writing. Maybe they're right in a few cases. But from what I've seen of the show's 7- season run, I don't really agree. People change. Situations change. If they didn't, one would not have a story to begin with.

[> Re: Complaints -- Ray, 01:36:28 06/14/03 Sat

I agree about change. I think that's the big problem with season 7, little to nothing happened. The story with the First wasn't as "big" as the Glory story, or the Mayor story, yet it dragged on for so long.
In this last year, we've lost the opportunity to see the Scoobies live their lives. Instead we got them all growing stagnant in the house with some whiny extras.

[> I must be schizophrenic -- CW, 06:01:17 06/14/03 Sat

I agree with both sides. There were both good and bad aspects of what happened in season seven. I agree with Ray that the whole show retreated to the basement a little soon. But, then I enjoyed the Potential story line, and not being sure which of the girls would make it through the next week. I think the important thing is that for ME one of the driving issues that inspired their writing of BtVS was growing up, and there just wasn't that much growing up left for Willow, Buffy and Xander to do. Maybe they could have come up up new issues to take that one's place. But, considering Joss' attention was mostly elsewhere dealing with Firefly's rocky run and with the management problems at Angel, I don't think the end product was that bad. The Potentials came and went so it was difficult to remember what their names were let alone be able to sort them out as individuals. It's also too bad that a lot of people took a distinct dislike to Kennedy, who was very much the one Potential we saw enough to relate to. I liked her. But that wasn't the key issue. Folks like Rob, liked season seven and disliked Kennedy. I liked both.

Totally O/T: Television's Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- Finn Mac Cool, 13:26:08 06/14/03 Sat

Recently, the American Film Institute did a TV special about their newly released list of the top one hundred heroes and villains from movies (fifty heroes and fifty villains were listed). This got me thinking: who are the top one hundred heroes and villains from television?

Well, what do you think? Who are your favorite TV heroes? Your favorite TV villains? And, if you are so inclined, which scenes would you pick to demonstrate their heroicness/villainousness on a TV special?

Here are some people I personally think should be on such a list, if it were ever created:


Buffy Summers - from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Angel - from "Angel"


Angelus - from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Spike - from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Faith - from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Warren Mears - from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Newman - from "Seinfeld"

Joe Devola - from "Seinfeld"

Evil Dick - from "Third Rock From the Sun"

Mr. Wick - from "The Drew Carey Show"

Sideshow Bob - from "The Simpsons"

Mr. Burns - from "The Simpsons"

[> Re: Totally O/T: Television's Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- s'kat, 22:16:17 06/16/03 Mon

Hard one.

Well...I guess for heros: (no particular order)

1. Joyce Davenport - on Hill Street Blues, the attorney.
I loved her. Gritty. Tough as nails. Her own boss.
And Frank - the Captain of the Force.

2.Captain Janeway - I'm a KAte Mulgrew fan. And the way
she foiled the Borg in the last episode of Voyager thrilled me. Feminine and tough.

3. La Femme Nikita - Peta Wilson's Nikita in the series, who ended up taking a job she hated in order to set her true love free and make the world better.

4. Buffy

5. Xena Warrior Princess

6. James Garner in Rockford Files

7. G-Car, the Narn leader in Bablyon 5 who risked torture and changed his own views to save the universe. An incredibly complex character.

8. Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Enterprise

9. Andre Braugher's character on Homicide Life on The Streets - how he struggled with morality, his own and others on a daily basis.

10. Kimba the white Lion from the classic cartoon, not the movie.


1. Angelus - on Btvs

2. Guldacat on Star Trek DS9 - both a foil and a male fatale

3. Bester on Bablyon 5

4. Q on Star Trek The NExt Generation

5. Drusilla on Btvs and Ats

6. Ares on Xena Warrior Princess - another sexy male fatal

7. JR Ewing on Dallas

8. Spike - Villain up until S5 Btvs and in The Dark on Ats

9. The Shadows on Bablyon 5

10. Khan on Star Trek

Bad Boy heros/villians

1. Spike up to S5-S7 Btvs
2. Michael on La Femme Nikita

Drawing a blank.

[> [> A hero we forgot, but would do very well in any current poll -- Dochawk, 08:30:40 06/17/03 Tue

President Bartlett - possibly even win any mainstream hero poll. Different kind of hero.

[> [> [> Re: A hero we forgot, but would do very well in any current poll -- 110v3w1110w, 12:31:46 06/17/03 Tue

i can't stand bartlett or any democrat fictional or otherwise

[> Re: Totally O/T: Television's Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- dub ;o), 14:28:05 06/14/03 Sat

Buffy (of course!)
Doyle on Angel (hey, that was even the name of the ep!)
early Mulder and Scully
Jean-Luc Picard
Vincent (Beauty and the Beast)
Robert McCall (The Equalizer)
Remington Steele (Okay, go ahead, despise me!)

Well, this is much harder because most TV series don't center around villains, so they have much less time to make an impression.

Mayor Wilkins
Rack (that Jeff guy makes my blood run cold)
Lucas Black (not sure of the name, American Gothic sheriff)
Cigarette-smoking Man on X Files
The black blobby glob that ate Tasha on ST:TNG

Hmmm...this requires more thought...


[> [> Actually, I found villains easier to think of -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:25:53 06/14/03 Sat

For instance, comedy series usually don't have anyone in a traditional hero role, but they can occasionally have villains (played largely for laughs, yes, but still villains).

And, in dramatic shows, where there can be heroic figures, the show is often centered around them, meaning that most television shows have a small number of heroes throughout their run, often only one of them. However, such shows can have far more villains. Many have a new villain every week. This means that there are far more villains out there in TV land then there are heroes. Also, as shadowkat has pointed out before, oftentimes the minor or peripheral characters (such as the bad guys) grab the audience more than the main characters do.

[> [> [> there were many tv shows before the one's you mention -- Dochawk, 16:31:50 06/14/03 Sat

My guess is that JR Ewing would win a poll of the greatest villian on a tv show, but I am forgetting many. A real poll, not just of genre fans wouldn't have many Buffy or Angel heros or villains (Buffy would probably make it, perhaps Spike). I agree that mr. burns and sideshow bob ould show up on the villian list.

Other heros: Matt Dillon(gunsmoke), Dr. Kildare, Hawkeye Pierce, MacGyver, Charlies angels

[> [> [> [> Could you fill me in on who JR Ewing is? -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:47:07 06/14/03 Sat

Also, I had forgotten about the characters of M*A*S*H*. Hawkeye definitely deserves to be on the heroes list.

Also, if someone (like, say, TV Guide) did something to find the best heroes and villains, you might get a lot of picks from genre shows, since those tend to produce more heroes and villains than other shows, giving them better odds (though cop shows and "The Sopranos" would probably waltz over most of the competition).

[> [> [> [> [> The bad boy of the Ewing family on the soap Dallas -- CW, 17:22:24 06/14/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> Problem with "Sopranos" etc -- KdS, 02:42:10 06/15/03 Sun

Is in some cases characters might get votes in both categories ;-)

[> Re: Totally O/T: Television's Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- Cactus Watcher, 17:57:23 06/14/03 Sat

Good Guys
1. The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore of course)
2. Buffy
3. Sergent Preston of the Yukon (On, King!)
4. The Cisco Kid/ Pancho
5. Jim Rockford
6. Paladin (from Have Gun Will Travel)
7. Columbo
8. Bionic Woman
9. Captain Kirk (Yeah, I know he's a womanizing S.O.B., but still!)
10. Matt Dillion (Gunsmoke)

Bad Guys
Sorry, fans of the Lone Ranger don't give a hoot about bad guys.

Amoral or semi-moral guys
1. Angel (of Rockford Files)
2. Archie Bunker
3. Spike
4. Boss Hogg (Dukes of Hazrad
5. Harriet Olson (Little House on the Prairie)

[> More heroes - John Steed and Emma Peel of *The Avengers* - Dr. Fiscus on *St. Elsewhere* -- OnM, 19:42:15 06/14/03 Sat

Dana Delany's character on China Beach (sorry, forget her name-- achh, old age sucks!)

Hill Street Blues had lotsa good guys and girls. It also had another 'evil mayor' character.

One of the all-time very best Evils IMO? Scorpius on Farscape.

[> Re: Totally O/T: Television's Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- Corwin of Amber, 20:30:06 06/14/03 Sat

Man, I can't believe Bester from Babylon 5 hasn't been mentioned. And Morden.

[> Re: Totally O/T: Television's Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- Wizard, 02:55:39 06/15/03 Sun


Add Data (ST:TNG) to that list. Don't tell me his striving for humanity isn't heroic.

I agree with most of the choices in both categories, and for the ones I haven't experienced, I'll take your words for it.

I like the amoral/semi-moral category. Spike personifies this, and the others deserve a spot there as well. I'll add Q to this list. He's one of the most profoundly amoral characters I've ever encountered on any TV show.

[> first 2 - Ilya Kuryakin and some vampire thing -- MsGiles, 15:40:21 06/15/03 Sun

Well, the first cut is the deepest..

Ilya was the blond guy who was supposed to be Russian, in 'The Man from Uncle' - a sub-Bond with humour series. Played by David McCallum. The first of many second leads I would fall in love with, the next being Mr Spock.

The vampire thing was a snatch from a film I saw when I was 7 or so; a priest defending himself from some leaping vampire gargoyle thing with a crucifix, in grainy black and white. It terrified the life out of me, and I slept with a crucifix made out of torn paper for months. After that, it was the Daleks.

[> [> misplaced comma-the priest had the crucifix.. -- MsG, 15:42:11 06/15/03 Sun

[> [> Dark shadows??? -- Dochawk, 16:52:25 06/15/03 Sun

[> [> Ms. Giles, I think we were separated at birth. -- dub ;o), 17:01:15 06/15/03 Sun

I was going to mention Ilya, who was my first love as well, but I didn't think anyone but me remembered him.

(I must also admit that I still possess a copy of Leonard Nimoy's first record album...oh, the shame!)


[> [> [> Gosh....who'd of thought Nimoy could sing?????..;) -- Rufus, 03:23:00 06/16/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> He can't. -- dub ;o), 08:21:19 06/16/03 Mon

[> [> [> Is it this one? -- MsGiles, 05:43:01 06/16/03 Mon

Sounds valuable! It hasn't got 'Bilbo Baggins', though - surely the world's most embarrassing record ever!

from http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/1931/space.html
"The original sixties classic, "Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space" is perhaps the most sought after Nimoy album. Like a piece of fine blue cheese, thirty years have added another dimension to this remarkable debut.

Under the strict creative control of Paramount, the album includes marvellously camp big-beat versions of the "Theme from Star Trek", "Beyond Antares" and of course the "Theme to Mission Impossible", all without any visible input from Mr. Nimoy. Tasteful covers such as "Music to Watch Space Girls By" add substance to the instrumental section of the album.

In lieu of a theremin or similar electronic instrument, the Star Trek instrumentals feature a screaming reverb-laden combo organ with all vibrato switches "set to stun". Musical accompaniment is provided by a Ventures style surf group with a liberal supply of amphetamine sulphate.

If "Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy" is the White Album of Star Trek recordings, this is Sargeant Pepper. Stand-out tracks include "Twinkle Twinkle Little Earth" (Spock addressing a conference of "little green men"), "Alien" (a poignant cry against prejudice on behalf of Vulcan visitors to Earth) and "Visit to a Sad Planet" (where Spock visits the Earth after a nuclear holocaust in seeming ignorance of earlier Star Trek time-travel plots).

Nimoy's hope for an afterlife on Broadway is reflected in a deliciously flat "Where is Love" from "Oliver". The album also features the historic, unconditional worst cover ever of Weill's "Lost in the Stars". (Fans of Kurt Weill broadway recordings of the 50's and 60's will appreciate what exceptionally tough competition Nimoy faces for this honor).

Worth the extortionate collectors' prices as one of the greatest party records of all time. The first reissue was from rediffussion (pictured below) and then later re-released with the original cover art on the "Raven" label. The Raven reissues are much easier to find, and quite a bit cheaper than the originals."

[> [> [> [> Unfortunately, no. LOL! -- dub ;o), 08:25:27 06/16/03 Mon

I'll have to dig it out, but it's more folky, less spacey. The cut I recall is "Billy Don't Play the Banjo Anymore."

dub ;o)

[> [> [> [> [> My Top Heros And Villains -- 110v3w1110w, 11:44:58 06/16/03 Mon

1. Buffy (had to be no other option)
2. Jack Bauer (a modern hero for these strange times)
3. Kathryn Janeway (a pillar of strength, leadership and morality)
4. Leo (piper's husband from charmed cause hes a likeable nice guy that shows you don't have to be all dark, damaged and moody to get ahead)

now for the villains:-
1. Angelus (the biggest bastard i ever saw)
2. The Borg (striping away individuality for the good of the collective also showed that if you go high enough in any of these wannabe utopian social systems you always come to one person that the system is there to serve)
3. Saddam hussain (gulf war 1&2. he was on TV i don't like him so i am putting him in)
4. Dark Willow (cause evil never looked so good)
5. Darla (and it never sounded so good as this either)
6. J.R Ewing (the man with no redeeming features)
7. Tony Soprano (I like him but lets face it hes a bad guy)

hmmm more villains than heroes thats not good

[> [> [> [> [> [> As I've said before, there are more villains on TV than heroes -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:27:51 06/16/03 Mon

After all, most TV shows are built around a small, mostly unchanging group of heroes, while many different villains can come and go.

[> My top ten TV heroes and villains -- cjl, 13:18:54 06/16/03 Mon

[Note: TV incarnations of characters made famous in other media don't count. The one exception covers a character originated in film--but nobody liked the movie, anyway. Guess who.]

HEROES (in no particular order):

BUFFY - Because. Honorary mention: Sydney Bristow ("Alias").

EMMA PEEL & JOHN STEED ("The Avengers") - Sexy/stylish and droll/debonair. British yumminess incarnate.

JIM ROCKFORD ("The Rockford Files") - James Garner. The working man's P.I. Will never win, but triumphs by just breaking even.

JAMES T. KIRK, SPOCK and DR. McCOY ("Star Trek") - The triumvirate. (Honorary mention: Picard, Data and Worf. Sorry, folks--I had only one Trek slot.)

NUMBER SIX ("The Prisoner")

XENA ("Xena, Warrior Princess") - Yes, another ass-kicking superheroine, but I see her beating out Angel for the "tortured former bad guy" slot rather than duplicating Buffy.

MAXWELL SMART & "99" ("Get Smart") - The other great spy couple. Huge Barbara Feldon crush as a teenager.

COLUMBO ("Columbo") - The great Peter Falk and some of the best mystery scripts in television history. Honorary mention: Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub).

ANDY SIPOWICZ ("NYPD Blue") - One the least likely heroes in TV history: a middle-aged, balding, borderline racist police detective one trauma away from crawling back into the bottle-- who still gets the girl. And yet, it works. Honorary mention: Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) of "Hill Street Blues."

FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY ("The X-Files") - The coolest couple in paranormal sleuthing since Fred and Daphne. (And no, Fred and Daphne aren't on this list. Cartoons would be a whole 'nother list altogether.) Honorary mention: Carl Kolchak ("The Night Stalker").











4. MAVERICK (Garner again!)


OMWF Continuity Flub -- dub ;o), 15:28:55 06/14/03 Sat

This was probably discussed at the time OMWF was first shown, but I have recently been watching the video of The Hamster Dance (almost continually--I'm obsessed!) and one of the funniest things in it is the last sequence where Buffy is dancing for Sweet until she starts to smoke. Every time the scene intercuts, the body of Sweet's henchman (who is lying in front of the stage, behind Buffy) is in a different position...it's hilarious.

dub ;o)

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