June 2003 posts
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
[> Cut paste print...Much
reading to do later today! ;o) -- Rob, 13:02:55 06/13/03
[> 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
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...
[> 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
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)
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
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
[> 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.
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
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."
[> [> 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
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,
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
[> 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
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
to the Hellmouth" Revisited -- Darby, 11:51:28 06/13/03
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
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
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,
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
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
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
[> 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
[> [> [> Actually
no...... but scythe does -- Dochawk, 18:00:46 06/13/03
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
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
[> Re: "Welcome to
the Hellmouth" Revisited -- CW, 17:51:15 06/13/03
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
[> [> 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
[> [> [> 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
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
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
...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
[> 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
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.
of Anya (as told by Andrew) -- HonorH, 12:28:50 06/13/03
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
[> 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
Red"/"Dead Things" -- Rina, 13:01:29 06/13/03
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
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
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
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
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
[> [> [> [> [>
volitional vs. unintentional... -- sdev, 22:27:01 06/13/03
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
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
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
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
that most people feel. The concept of real altruism didn't exist
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
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
[> [> [> [> [>
[> [> [> [> 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
Here's where I think Buffy worked to change her behavior after
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
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
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
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
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
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
[> 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
[> [> [> Interesting.
Never heard of that before. -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:10:09
[> [> 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
[> 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
"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
She - Angel and Wesley 'dance' (not with each other).
Judgment - Angel sings 'Mandy'.
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.
-- 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Buffy (of course!)
Doyle on Angel (hey, that was even the name of the ep!)
early Mulder and Scully
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.
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
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
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
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
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
1. The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore of course)
3. Sergent Preston of the Yukon (On, King!)
4. The Cisco Kid/ Pancho
5. Jim Rockford
6. Paladin (from Have Gun Will Travel)
8. Bionic Woman
9. Captain Kirk (Yeah, I know he's a womanizing S.O.B., but still!)
10. Matt Dillion (Gunsmoke)
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
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
Man, I can't believe Bester from Babylon 5 hasn't been mentioned.
[> Re: Totally O/T: Television's
Top 100 Heroes and Villains -- Wizard, 02:55:39 06/15/03
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
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
[> [> [> [> 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!
"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
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."
[> [> [> [> [>
My Top Heros And Villains -- 110v3w1110w, 11:44:58 06/16/03
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
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
ARVIN SLOANE ("Alias")
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN ("X-Files")
VILLAINOUS HEROES, HEROIC VILLAINS (OR JUST NAUGHTY BOYS)
2. BARNABAS COLLINS
3. BLACK ADDER
4. MAVERICK (Garner again!)
5. J.R. EWING
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.
| More June 2003