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Did anyone else think Seeing Red was really well written? Spoilers, NO RANTS -- dream of the consortium, 08:59:07 05/09/02 Thu

I fear I may be the only one. But I was amazed at how perfectly this episode was put together. My thoughts aren’t really coherent, but here they are:

Subjective Nature of Reality – As shadowcat pointed out in her marvelous essay (go to the archives and find it if you missed it), one of the overarching themes of this season has been the subjective nature of reality – how the actors in a situation create reality by interpreting it – or misinterpreting it. The various mind-bending acts of the Troika have played out this theme (Normal Again, Gone), but we have also seen how the abstract idea plays out in interpersonal relationships. Xander fears becoming his father and hurting Anya, and allows his fears to cause him to hurt Anya. And he has definitely been becoming his father. The drinking has been heavy. The comment about Spike - “But I never forgot what he is” – shocked me, it sounded so much like a racist, or a classist. Work with one of those, but don’t forget they are below us. And never, never, mix the races. Which leads, of course, to the other major example of characters creating a reality – Spike. Last season, when he would occasionally get some respect from the Scoobies, he became capable of more good acts. (I am going to avoid saying he became more “good”, because I can’t bear another breakout of the spike-is-evil-no-he’s-not debate). His time with the Scoobies socially conditioned him, if you will, into new, positive behaviors, to the point that in The Gift, he tells Buffy, “I know that I’m a monster. But you treat me like a man. And that’s..” Well, we aren’t told what that is. That’s changing me? That’s enough for me? It doesn’t matter. We see the results. The demon faces death to protect his former enemy’s sister. All summer he remains, in Buffy’s absence, connected with the Scoobies. They seem to expect him to work with them, and he does so. But, after Buffy comes back, things change. Buffy’s relationship with Spike is underground, secretive, shame-filled. The Scoobies, particularly Xander, go back to treating Spike like a monster. And so he again becomes one. I believe that is why the line from The Gift is explicitly referenced in last night’s show – to emphasize the point that we make our realities. That is NOT to say that Spike is not responsible for the horror of what he has done. He is, of course, completely responsible – he makes his own decisions. But he is influenced by those around him, by how they see him.

Social Connectedness - One of the great, all-time themes of Buffy is the importance of social connectedness. It is what gives Buffy her edge as a slayer – she has friends, family. The importance of her connections to people have been emphasized over and over – she defeats Adam, Glory and so on be dependence on her friends. So it wasn’t surprising to see this point made again in Seeing Red with Xander. They reconcile; they mention how many mistakes they’ve made; they say how much they need each other and Willow. Oh right, Willow. Problem is, Willow isn’t there. She’s inside. And Buffy still hasn’t talked to her about Spike. In fact, Buffy is still hiding things from her (the bruise on her thigh). Willow isn’t connected to Buffy like she used to be – she doesn’t pick up, for example, that Buffy slept with Spike just by looking at her face, like Dawn could. (Remember how quickly she realized that Xander had slept with Faith?) She’s been cut off from everyone – and now Tara is being taken away. (I didn’t mind, by the way, the over-the-top lovely-doveys last night. I remember getting back together with a college boyfriend after several months of being broken up. Reuniting is like the giddiness of first falling in love without the nervousness of not knowing the person.) I don’t think it bodes well for Willow that her separation from the group is being emphasized at a point when she’s going all black-eyed. As for Spike, he has clearly been removed from the human social group in a big way. That just links right back into the “creating reality” theme – if lack of social connectedness creates anti-social behavior, then socially ostracizing those who are guilty of wrong-doing will only encourage their descent into darkness. It was a nice touch to have Dawn be the impetus to his actions. It reminded us of how little we have seen of them together this year – was Spike reverting to old form, or was Buffy trying to keep her two lives (and selves) separated? Was it her comments to the effect that Buffy cared enough to be hurt by him that made him decide to visit her? And was it her implied condemnation – Dawn, the one he has actually never harmed in any way, the one he has always connected to and protected – that convinced him (in part) that he needed to find a way back into pure, unremorseful evil. (A path I don’t believe will be successful – see the discussion above about the leather jacket being left behind) The visit from Clem was interesting, too – I think a way to remind us that Spike doesn’t get off the hook with this line of thinking. After all, he does have at least one good friend in the demon world. It was also terribly nice to see Clem again, Clem the peacemaker, Clem whose name means mercy. His comment about things changing was a shaft of pure light in an episode filled with darkness.

Warren is of course disconnected from everyone. He doesn’t care about anybody, has no attachments, to the point that Jonathon just rolls his eyes at Andrew’s naïve belief that he might possibly take the slightest interest in their welfare. And Warren is by far the creepiest villain we’ve seen on Buffy, in my opinion.

Rape - The three rapists descend into darkness. Of course, there aren’t three rapists, there are two attempted rapists and one arguably successful rapist (yes, I’m talking about Willow). The degree of horror reserved for each one’s actions could be debated endlessly (and is, I think, elsewhere on the board – at least in one case), but there’s no doubt that these three attacked/manipulated a woman for the purposes of/ resulting in sex. And they are the three heading deepest into the darkness at the end of the episode. There’s something more going on here that I can’t quite work out, beyond the obvious. Maybe if I watched the episode (or the season) again. Rape has been used in plots before on Buffy, particularly in relationship to abuse of power. But I am not quite certain of why this season seems to be about rape in some way. There’s also been a lot of castration imagery – the “orbs” last night being right over the top, but there have been others mentioned along the way. How does castration as a running theme relate to rape as a theme? Does anyone have any ideas?

Other small thoughts – Dawn has really made strides in the last few episodes, and I have finally enjoyed watching her. Anya’s scene in the bar was quite funny and gave us great hope for her. Xander’s drinking I mentioned above, but Spike was drinking a lot, too. The Buffyverse women always seem to suffer horribly for their very rare drinking and learn their lesson, while the men seem to run to the bottle in times of crisis. Just once I would like to see a (preferably female) character on Buffy who poured herself a good stiff drink and enjoyed it properly, without any indication that she was suffering miserably and going to make terrible judgments as a results. But then again, I live in Boston, a pretty drinking-happy town, and tend to get irritated with too much Puritanism. And I thought the jet-packs, and Buffy’s reaction to them, were really funny.

[> "Clem whose name means mercy" - well, unless you're a kitten... -- redcat, 10:02:29 05/09/02 Thu

[> Re: Did anyone else think Seeing Red was really well written? Spoilers, NO RANTS -- alcibiades, 10:02:46 05/09/02 Thu

I thought it was a great episode. Agree with everything you say.

Just one other point.
Here's an interesting little juxtaposition I noticed.

Warren to Buffy before he jets off in Seeing Red: " I swear to God...I'm going to take you down."

Buffy to Spike in Wrecked after their interlude: "I swear to God...if you tell anyone about last night, I will kill you."

I don't think that the repetition of the syntax is coincidental. Buffy has just taken Warren down in Seeing Red. And Buffy thinks that Spike has taken her down to, in Wrecked. Into the dirt with him.

[> YES! (and still with the spoilers) -- Bob Sikkel, 10:30:50 05/09/02 Thu

Made me ache for a while after, but yes.

Very interesting observations, and you were thinking in a direction that I hadn't been.

I'm surprised that living in "a drink oriented town" makes you irritated at Puritanism, and not at drunks! (Oops, getting personal- sorry.)

You also touched on something that I HAD been thinking about: Xander's attitude about Spike. Although I might still almost be willing to concede that he has a point, I think his condemnation of "what he is" reveals an over- simplistic attitude (which is indeed a something-ism).

As Buffy points out, he has seen a "good" side of Spike, to the point that he has entrusted Dawn's care to him, yet when he comes right down to it he "remembers what he is"- obviously implying "Evil Fiend". What he is not catching, though, is that right now the greater evil is being done (as is painfully brought home later) by fellow humans. Odd, considering that he was afraid not of the ex-demon he was supposed to marry, but of the "demon" that might exist inside himself.

For that matter, Buffy has stubbornly refused to take her "nemesises" seriously- again, I think, making the mistake of assuming that because they are human (not to mention geeks) they aren't really that much of a threat.

Well, with maturity comes the realisation that in life, as in the Buffyverse, everything is a shade of grey.


"My philosophy, like color TV,
Is all there in black and white."
-Raymond Scum

[> [> Re: YES! (and still with the spoilers) -- maddog, 10:38:36 05/09/02 Thu

Are we all JUST coming to the realization that Xander hates vampires of all sorts? He's been like this since day 1. And the fact that the one good one ended up going bad and killing Jenny didn't help either. Then there's the fact that the two that became "good", ie Angel and Spike, both ended up with Buffy at one point(which was always Xander's wishful place). So it's a combination of hatred and jealousy.

[> [> [> Re: YES! (and still with the spoilers) -- DEN, 11:06:07 05/09/02 Thu

Another point about SR is its forwarding the process of pair- splitting. Among the defining features of s4 and 5 were Willow's and Xander's involvement in relationships so stable as to be de facto marriages--and counterpoints to Buffy's crash-and-burn conections. Now X/A and T/W are closed down. Barring major plot shifts, it seems as if the original scoobs will begin next year where they started as high school sophomores: as singles. X/B in SR, the X/W spoilers for the later eps, and Joss' hints for next season, also suggest renewed bonding patterns among the three. Who knows? Maybe a menage a scoob---but I'll stop there!

[> [> [> [> Re: still with the spoilers - note one of those is a future spoiler. -- Dyna, 11:33:55 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> Are these future spoilers? -- Traveler, 15:52:59 05/09/02 Thu

Because if so, I am really really ticked.

[> [> [> [> [> (It mentions "rumors" but it's very vague-- didn't mean to upset you, Trav.) -- Dyna, 16:29:57 05/09/02 Thu

[> I agree--a couple of other notes. -- Dyna, 11:00:32 05/09/02 Thu

I didn't care for the direction of the bathroom scene, but the writing throughout was outstanding. There were so many great scenes of conversation between characters--Tara and Willow, Dawn and Spike, Buffy and Xander, Anya and the jilted girl, Spike and Clem, the LoD. Beautifully acted all around, also.

One thing that struck me was the way that characters repeatedly answered questions with "it's complicated." If there was a theme to the non-action (emotional? interpersonal?) threads of the plot, "it's complicated" about sums it up. Even the bathroom scene, which inspired so much anticipatory angst, wasn't a clear-cut "return to evil" for Spike, nor did it seem to have the effect of reengaging Buffy's outrage, pushing her back into (to quote Riley) a "black-and-white space." Ambiguity, emotional confusion, blurring of boundaries are still surprisingly in evidence.

This episode is so rich in emotion it can be a little hard to watch, but thinking back over it I'm amazed at how much was accomplished in 44 minutes, without seeming rushed. Another tough job for Steve DeKnight, pulled off remarkably well.

[> Re: Did anyone else think Seeing Red was the result of a season of good writing? -- pr10n, 12:01:13 05/09/02 Thu

>Rape - The three rapists descend into darkness. Of course,
>there aren’t three rapists, there are two attempted
>rapists and one arguably successful rapist (yes, I’m
>talking about Willow).

I read the debates re: rape and intent and degrees of culpability with interest -- a lot of posters have a great legal understanding of what rape can be.

[dons the Holocaust Suit of Newbie Flame Fear]

What if we look at "that scene" as the only rape this season, going with a strict physical violence definition.

Then in degrees of hooror moving away from Buffy's bathroom we have Warren and Katrina, and Willow and Tara -- and then we leave the "sex" of rape behind and we get: War/And and Jonathan and the meat suit, Amy and her "present" for Willow, (and maybe more I haven't thought of yet), Xander summons a demon to make things work, and then Willow and Buffy torn from heaven, and the whole season starts with CONTROL and forcing one's will on another.

Just thinking that maybe deceitful, forceful control has been building all season long and just clim-- culminated in that scene.

[> [> ACK! Did I mention the *spoilers S6 * (NT) -- pr10n, 12:24:56 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> Re: Did anyone else think Seeing Red was the result of a season of good writing? -- ravenhairgrl, 18:36:00 05/09/02 Thu

Seeing Red was an amazing episode!
Excellent post, dream of the consortium!

Agreeing with pr10n that Control has been an ongoing theme this season, beginning with Willow's inability to accept Buffy's death at the risk of her own life and the life of her friends(Bargaining).

Enjoying Season 6 very much :)

[> I think it might be 1 of the best plotted, dialogued, directed, & acted eps in the show's history. -- Rob, 12:42:38 05/09/02 Thu

I love Season Six. :o)


[> Re: Did anyone else think Seeing Red was really well written? Spoilers, NO RANTS -- mundusmundi, 13:18:48 05/09/02 Thu

Having been an anti-season-sixer for most of the year, I watched "Seeing Red" again to see if maybe it merely looked better in comparison to what's come before (though I have to say both "Normal Again" and "Entropy" were also recent winners). A couple quibbles aside, I agree that it's just about perfect. Some more highlights:

1. Jonathan, who's been feeling like a monster since "Dead Things," has to don the skin of one when he retrieves the orbs. Perhaps the eppy's most evocative metaphor, showing rather than telling.

2. Spike's surprised little smile and comment to Dawn, "So the birds are flying again," when he hears about Tara and Willow's reunion. Perhaps it's this in part that spurs his own desparate hopes for a reconciliation with Buffy.

3. Xander and Warren. Anyone else think they look remarkably alike? I did a doubletake during the scene when Xander walks down the street to the Magic Box -- for a moment I thought it was Warren. The duality struck me again during their confrontation in the bar scene.

4. Xander's gentle turn-down of the girl at the bar. As he drives home to Warren before he gets pummelled, the difference between them is he can find someone, however he may eventually lose them. I really enjoyed his monologue about being half-fish. (A wink back to "Go Fish," perhaps?)

5. The scene between Spike and Dawn (finally!) and Xander and Buffy's first scene. Angry words are spoken, but restrained. No overemoting, which makes them more effective.

6. Andrew's declaration of love for Warren. As I believe Rob has said, that little moment did so much to humanize that character and provide some motivation for why he acts the way he does. The entire Troika, whom I've despised, were exceptionally strong this week.

7. Spike dropping the cigarette. Symbolism anybody? I've no clue what it may mean, but I liked it.

8. The more disturbing sequences notwithstanding, this was by and large a fun episode. I loved the buzzsaws. Andrew's jetpack blunder may be one of the funniest sightgags ever on the show. I liked Tara's line early on: "So, nerds, how are them--they?" What I've missed most this season have been the tingles, moments of pure pleasure such as these. "Seeing Red" left me all tingly.

[> [> Re: Did anyone else think Seeing Red was really well written? Spoilers, NO RANTS -- dream of the consortium, 13:36:59 05/09/02 Thu

I am in agreement entirely, 1-8.

I was pretty anti-season six myself, but I've come around. I was disappointed in the opening (hated the biker vamps) and wasn't particularly happy up through Wrecked. But I thought Dead Things, Hell's Bells, Gone, Normal Again, Life Serial, and Seeing Red were all excellent. And that adds up to quite a few episodes. I didn't dislike Older and Far Away either. Overall, I've found that the further the season progresses, the more the elements are hanging together coherently as a whole - themes are appearing and reappearing, and so on. I have a feeling that watching the whole thing at the end will be quite satisfying.

Though nothing could make me like Doublemeat Palace. Nothing.

[> [> [> Re: Did anyone else think Seeing Red was really well written? Spoilers, NO RANTS -- clg0107, 14:21:55 05/09/02 Thu

But, as the more patient types cautioned earlier on, we're you have to judge the whole book, not individual chapters. It sounds like a some are deciding that perhaps the creative team wasn't utterly lame, but perhaps that they as viewers weren't giving the whole novel an opportunity to work together and speak for itself.


[> [> [> [> Absolutely....but I've liked season six -- Rufus, 14:45:57 05/09/02 Thu

This season has been hard because it seemed to take so long to get to this point. There has been a gradual buildup to this point and I feel the rest of the season may be just what the doctor ordered.

[> SR Spoilers, The Body Seeing Red -- Cleanthes, 14:12:06 05/09/02 Thu

Monsters don't kill people - natural causes and guns kill people.

I went into `Seeing Red` pretty much unspoiled, but I had seen a screen shot of Willow all pale & black veined, dressed in black, beckoning chthonic forces. I guessed the one thing that might send her back to full witch mode. (the preview hinted it would happen this episode). Still, the episode went by and no black outfit. The sudden death by gun caught me completely by surprise.

With all the rape talk, I feel odd mentioning how awful death by gunfire really is. How dare they show it on TV?
Yeah, yeah, there's a ton of it, most of it less well- written than what ME gives us.

In this episode, I found myself thinking exactly of cases from my own real life and I did so entirely because when real things happen on Buffy, they do so with the background of fantasy & vampires casting the REAL into high contrast.

Three people well-known to me have been shot. As Tara said, it's always sudden.

Well, my point, I guess, is comparing The Body to Seeing Red. In both cases, Buffy found herself unable to deal with ordinary causes of death.

[> SR was painful to watch, but I loved it anyway -- Traveler, 15:50:09 05/09/02 Thu

Spuffy and trust (Seeing Red and other S6 spoilers) -- yez, 13:44:15 05/09/02 Thu

Sorry, don't have the time to flesh this out as much as I should, but wanted to put it out there in case others were further along in their figuring out of this issue and wanted to share their thoughts/insights.

Lots of people have been talking about trust, that being Buffy's main reason, self-reported, for never being able to love Spike -- she doesn't trust him enough. I've been wondering about how/why exactly Buffy doesn't trust Spike "enough."

At first, I was thinking that chip-related issues were at the heart of the trust matter. But now I'm thinking that Buffy isn't capable of trusting or loving anyone right now.

In Seeing Red, when Xander begins berating Buffy for sleeping with Spike, we see her echo some of what viewers have said in her own (and Spike's) defense -- "but you let him take care of Dawn, you fought together." And Xander's response is that it's just because of the "leash" Spike has built in his head.

In other words, you can only trust him so far. And maybe even "It's OK to use him if you need to, but never trust him because he's evil, he'll always be evil, and just when you least expect it, he'll go all evil on your ass"?

But we know that Buffy hasn't just used Spike for sex -- she *has* trusted him. She's entrusted the things she values most to Spike's care -- the life of her sister and the protection of the Key (one and the same). We know that Buffy trusts Spike with her own life and that of her friends' -- she allows/relies on him to fight at their sides, and when Riley discovers them together, she's sleeping at Spike's side.

So she trusts Spike's loyalty and his ferocity in defending the things/people he cares about. Before the Scoobies, he was doing this for Dru, too. And she trusts Spike enough to be at her most physically vulnerable with him. She's naked around him, she can even sleep around him. And if the wrist- rubbing implication is accurate when she first talks to Tara about the spell, she's even let him handcuff her.

And Buffy knows that Spike is not evil toward her even though he isn't constrained by the chip with her. In fact, it's only after Spike's "leash" is let out and they both discover that he can hurt her that they start having a sexual relationship. She rebuffed him before that, when she could've been having "safer sex" with Spike.

So, what aspects of trust are lacking? She doesn't trust him to always try to do the right thing?

Her friends and family have clearly demonstrated this season that this is a challenge for them, too, yet she loves them. Of course, they don't have quite the major not-right-thing- doingness history that Spike has had in the past -- and they aren't vampires. And this is one of the things we hear her say in that alley -- Spike doesn't and can't understand her need to do the right thing (turn herself in) -- though she weakens her point a little, IMHO, by uttering this between the pounding of her fists on an unresisting Spike's face.

But I think the root of Buffy's mistrust is not the chip or Spike's being a vampire -- it's actually her fears of abandonment, of feeling the pain that comes with losing a lover. She's having a hard enough time "just being here" in this world without also being here heartbroken. And you can't blame her for having major abandonment/trust issues with her history (all her lovers, her father and mother, Giles).

I think it's her emotional self that she doesn't trust him with. And I'm just not sure she's even capable of trusting anyone with that right now. She doesn't even trust her best friends enough to talk about the relationship she's having with Spike. In fact, aside from Tara, Spike has been the only one she's really confided in all season, and she only confided in Tara out of desperation.

Others have talked about this, and I agree: I think we're going to see an exploration of chip-related trust issues in future eps. At least, I hope we will. And what I hope we see is that it's not her fears of his Big Badness that are at the root of her trust issues -- it's her fear of emotional pain, of taking another chance on love. And that comes back to her struggle to really commit to life again, IMHO.


[> Re: Spuffy and trust (Seeing Red and other S6 spoilers) -- luminesce, 14:17:17 05/09/02 Thu

(First attempt at this post got eaten. Here's a second try.)

When Buffy speaks to Spike or about Spike she's often really speaking to or about herself. (Think of the scene in Dead Things where, terrified by her own emotional deadness, she pummels him brutally and accuses him of being dead inside.)

It seems entirely possible that her inability to trust Spike is as much about her inability to trust herself--and she's got some very good, very damaging reasons not to trust herself, really.

Certainly, she doesn't trust herself enough to trust her instinct to trust Spike.

[> [> Yes, good point. -- yez, 20:11:51 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> He can hurt me -- Artemis, 21:36:44 05/09/02 Thu

Great post . It's something I've thought for some time. That her trust or lack of had to do with her fear of getting her heartbroken . I always thought it interesting that she said to Tara in Dead Things," Spike can hurt me" Not Spike can "HIT" me . She says it again to Tara at the end "Why can Spike Hurt me . I don't think the use of this word "Hurt" was arbitrary. JMHO

[> [> [> Re: He can hurt me -- Sarah, 23:53:58 05/09/02 Thu

I agree. I noticed the word choice right away as well. It's especially interesting when you contrast it with this exchange in Smashed.

I wasn't planning on hurting you...much.

You haven't even come close to hurting me.

Afraid to give me the chance. Afraid I'm gonna...

[> [> [> [> Yeah, thanks for pointing the word choice out, good catch. -- yez, 05:57:08 05/10/02 Fri

[> [> Re: Wow - great catch on the word choice -- Valhalla, 21:53:14 05/09/02 Thu

[> Great analysis! -- Dyna, 14:53:09 05/09/02 Thu

[> Trust and risk -- Anne, 16:49:14 05/09/02 Thu

I think maybe one of Buffy's problem is that she actually misunderstands the nature of trust. It's easy to think of trust as involving some kind of comfortable certainty: we trust the people that we know for sure won't hurt us; we feel that we have some kind of absolute proof or basis for not having to be afraid of them.

But of course, in the real world, to trust is to risk. There is no certainty, ever, that others won't hurt one -- something that has become clear, and will no doubt become clearer, in Season 7. Trust is a decision, one of the scariest decision of all, not a rational conclusion on the base of proof positive.

I think it's important here to recall the words of the spirit guide in "Intervention" when talking about love -- "Love. Give. Forgive ... Risk the pain". And I also find it interesting that the images used by that guide are uncomfortably close to the ones used by Spike in the bathroom:

"You love with all
of your soul. It's brighter than the fire, blinding. That's why you pull away from it."

and Spike's words:

"It's wild and passionate and dangerous. It burns and consumes"

So either Spike is not as far off here as he might seem, or ME isn't very consistent.

[> [> Re: Trust and risk -- yez, 20:10:22 05/09/02 Thu

I haven't seen that ep. yet -- thanks for pointing out that parallel. It's very interesting. It's hard to believe it would be a coincidence (well, not too hard, since the writers are the same, but...).


When heroes don't act like heroes (SR spoilers, of course) -- SingedCat, 14:03:30 05/09/02 Thu

This is a new post, but also in reponse to someone's quote in the 'rape' discussion further down the board:

...I'm pretty damn sure if I had superhero powers and great pain tolerance, I would not be begging and crying to someone trying to rape me. The only crying I might be doing would be over their corpse.

That was what is so horrible about ME using this scene and in making so realistic that real rape victims are disturbed. Buffy doesn't live in the Real World and her rape would not be like a real rape. It is evil of them to portray it that way.

Well, I don't know.

"They say that when it comes to choosing heroes
It's best to choose the ones who aren't around
If you choose among the living, you tend to have misgivings
when your hero lets you down
They might have had a bad night in your town."

ME has done this before-- broken with the traditionlly symbolic portrayal of death & pain in the show to show you something so real, so personal, that the event is transformed, becomes different in kind as well as in degree. I think we all know what I'm talking about here.

I find Buffy's reaction completely believeable, for reasons I don't see stated anywhere else, so I'll state them here.

"So I will not name my heroes
And I'll keep my distance when I can
But if time should bend or break them, I hope I won't forsake them
If by chance they need a friend
And need to walk on ordinary ground."

I don't think people usually consider what a huge role physical and mental preparedness have in the creation of heroic acts. Soldiers in battle, cops in the field, and Buffy (and the gang)out fighting evil are in a heightened state of physical awareness and emotional protection which is not maintained by anyone forever. It's not always perfect, and it gets breached occasionally, but the protection is still there. That was her state of mind fighting her vampire that kicked her into the gravestone.

Look at the significance of having the scene in the bathroom. As a room, it is a symbol of privacy and vulnerability; Buffy has shed her clothing, her Slayer persona, we see a 22 year old woman coming home from a double job: tired, sore, in need of (and about to experience) the comfort and healing of the womb in the form of a hot bath.

"God knows it must be tough to be a hero,
To wake up in a hero state of mind
It's hard to be heroic, it's easier to blow it
Somebody's watching all the time
And you're dancing on the thin edge of a dime."

Enter Spike, a fairly unwelcome interloper into this intimate comfort zone, but the fact that she allows him to stay and talk even here shows the level of trust that has built up (however uneasily) between them. Unfortunately, neither of them are aware just how desperate Spike has grown until that desperation unhinges his reason and he forces himself on her in an attempt to reawaken her desire. Ironically enough, it is a fall in the shower during the attack that makes her suddenly more incapacitated, physically and emotionally, than she has been since she was betrayed and assaulted in "Helpless".

It has been protested that it wasn't characteristic for Buffy to plead and cry in this scene. Physically, I've only had the kind of pain she had for a few seconds, but I'm sure others can testify to its intensity, which can kee people unable to move for days. Add to this the incapacitating distress she must feel as the one thing that she has turned to again and again for comfort-- Spike's love for her-- is turned inside out and, literally, thrust upon her. She must find it as much a manifestation of her own guilt as of Spike's distress.

Those who want further exposition on this point can read below (or skip if you're on that page already):

Starting from the time that she returned from the grave, Buffy has taken Spike into her confidence, unconsciously trusting the love that he has for her, as manifested by his desire to be her confidant, and not to hurt her.

She moves into a wild sexual relationship with him, wherein she makes her trust of his affection as clear as her MIStrust of Spike himself, using her judgement of him(and possibly herself) as a non-person to rationalize getting what she needs from him, while simultaneously trusting his desire not to hurt her. As the season has gone on, the line between those two things has burred for her(AYW). When this dichotomy finally dissolves (via Tara's revelation), the stage is set for her final dissolution of their relationship, and everything that comes after.

"If ever I'm mistaken for a hero
I only hope it's after I am gone
Some of us are heroes, some of us are zeroes,
One of those who never were 'the one'...

"Ah, but who is who when all is said and done?"

Heroes, by John Gorka (after Yesterday)

[> Very well done. But I have a very serious question for you and others. -- Sophist, 15:37:43 05/09/02 Thu

I didn't like "that scene" when I first saw it, and said so here. However, several very thoughtful posts have suggested that it is best seen as a situation which did not begin as an intended rape, but rather began as one similar to previous encounters between B/S in which (a) "no" sometimes meant "yes"; and (b) lots of rough sex occurred.

My question is this. If it did not begin as rape, when was that line crossed? By this I mean, at what specific point in the scene should Spike have realized that, this time, "no" really meant "no"?

[> [> Re: Very well done. But I have a very serious question for you and others. -- pr10n, 16:01:30 05/09/02 Thu

My 2 cents: "the line" is too wide for Spike to describe rationally.

I expressed a similar idea (but so minimalized compared to Buffy's horror) to my 14-year old son: "I understand you didn't mean to hit your sister in the eye with the Nerf dart, and it was accidental. When did the 'accident' happen -- when you decided to play with the Nerf gun? When you loaded the gun? When you pointed it at your sister's head? blahblah."

My goal is to reinforce the idea that actions often have unpredictable consequences, but _some_ consequences are more predictable than others and the root causes should be avoided.

When the blood makes us hard and hot, it's too late to think of consequences. What could we do instead of going to Buffy's house when she's asked us to stay away?

p.s. My son blows off my wordy diatribes, so I am prepared for such reactions. :)

[> [> Re: Very well done. But I have a very serious question for you and others. -- Ishkabibble, 16:57:32 05/09/02 Thu

I believe the fact that the question is being asked shows how skillfully the writers and actors portrayed the scene.

If you asked 10 or 50 or 100 people, I bet you would get 10 or 50 or 100 answers. Why? Because each of us has had different past experiences, have a different notion of where the boundary line lies, a different level of sensitivity to such actions, ergo a different point of view.

So, there is no "real" answer to the question, IMHO. And that is why men and women involved in date rape often don't understand how the other could possibly have interpreted the act so differently. Even I interpret the scene differently depending on whether I imagine my daughter in Buffy's position or imagine my son in Spike's position.

I think the asking of the question is more the point, than all of us agreeing on the what the "real" answer is.

[> [> [> Amazing post and great questions -- shadowkat, 17:49:05 05/09/02 Thu

First this is one of the better posts I've seen on this topic, thank you. And I agree with you..we have a tendency
to forget that at heart Buffy is an overworked, lonely
21 year old girl. Just as we and Buffy forget that Spike is at heart a demon who struggles to keep raging conflicted
emotions in check on a daily basis. He is going insane.

Sophist's question - when should he have stopped? Being
a lawyer myself with a background in domestic abuse
and violent crimes...I can honestly say that's a difficult

The problem with this type of act is how complicated it is.
And in some cases so difficult for the victim to prove. Often she is blamed for letting him in, for not drawing the line sooner, for encouraging him. I remember someone telling me once - that if you get him riled, he can't stop.
The truth is - he can.

The line? Is it the same for vampires as men? Don't know.

Where? If he was a man and not a vampire - I'd say it was the moment she told him to leave.

For both? The moment she pleaded and said it hurts. Something she never said to him before. But he couldn't hear her...

As I said in a prior post - the essay about Reality, most
violent acts are a struggle to regain control, reassert
control over our reality and are usually acts of desperate
people filled with pain and self-loathing.

just ramblings...not sure if they make sense. But thanks for
making me think. Wonderful posts.

[> [> [> All you can do... -- SingedCat, 11:05:49 05/10/02 Fri to pay attention to the other person's desires. Spike never did that. Not out of willfulness, but just plain blindness. Or maybe wilful blindness. The problem wasn't with the moment, it was all the moments before it.

It's like nuclear war. The only way to win is not to play.

[> [> Re: Very well done. But I have a very serious question for you and others. -- gabby, 19:49:56 05/09/02 Thu

Considering she broke it off with him way before this episode it can not be considered like the other encounters. It was an attempted rape at the point, no if ands or butts about it.

[> [> Spike didn't cross the line. He crossed a road. (SR spoilers) -- Traveler, 20:48:19 05/09/02 Thu

It is hard to pick one arbitrary moment and say "this is it. This is the moment he should have known." However, there were a LOT of clues there for him to pick up on. The point isn't that there was one clue that should have stopped him, but rather that he ignored ALL of the clues.

[> [> [> So it's "why did the vampire cross the road", many type answers ? :) -- Ete, sorry..., 09:27:20 05/10/02 Fri

[> Great Post, beautiful -- Ete, 16:17:48 05/09/02 Thu

[> Yes, lovely! -- Dyna, 18:01:47 05/09/02 Thu

[> And again, wonderful... -- yuri, 19:42:55 05/09/02 Thu

I love your point about the bathroom being a place where one takes off the armor... People have already pointed out that Buffy's physical strength has a direct correlation to her mental state. Here she was at odds in her emotional life so she was already weak, but even more so at that moment because she was expecting to be alone with herself. When I am dealing with something diffucult, I don't keep it on the surface all day long. When I am in a place that I feel safe I start to draw it up and immerse myself in it, to look at it and deal with it on my own time. Had Spike approached her in her kitchen, I do not think she would have had such a diffucult time in fighting him off.

Is anyone else as disgusted as I am with the level of hate & bitterness out there in FANland today? -- Liq, 14:48:30 05/09/02 Thu

Not mentioning any particular boards, but Holy Gosh Batman.... it is nasty out there....

[> Surprised....No.....Disgusted...YES! -- Rufus, 14:53:56 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> Re: Surprised....No.....Disgusted...YES! -- Cleanthes, 15:11:02 05/09/02 Thu

I'm a Xena fan; I read enough X-files internet boards to know what happened there.

Has anyone started calling Whedon's mother the whore of Babylon yet? If not, BtVS "fans" have nothing on Xena "fans". How about rumors that Whedon & (insert poor defamed star's name) had a contretemps of some sexual nature? If these haven't surfaced yet, they will, based on what I've seen with regard to the other shows.

[> [> [> I'm hoping we have better manners here.... -- Rufus, 16:11:23 05/09/02 Thu

I was never on the Xena boards but what I've seen in my travels for spoilers has ticked me off. I don't comment on those boards cause I'm not a regular, but here I have to say that I hope we have better manners and understand to keep a civil board to call a writer a bitch, or make nasty comments about a character is not the way to go here. If people have nothing to write other than their personal hate list about a writer/character/or show in general they could at least choose their words wisely, or better find a board that puts up with that crap.

Of course you are not of that temperment Cleanthes, I'm venting a bit to those who are.

[> [> [> [> Re: I'm hoping we have better manners here.... -- Cleanthes, 19:08:15 05/09/02 Thu

I hope you're right.

Honestly, if there's anywhere in cyberspace where people can be, well, philosophical about things, I surmise that it's here.

[> You're not the only one, gives me tummy rumblins -- celticross, 14:55:43 05/09/02 Thu

[> In a word, yes. -- Aquitaine, 14:58:32 05/09/02 Thu

[> Yes! Please let's stop the personal attacks on Joss, MN and the writers! -- Caroline, 15:16:18 05/09/02 Thu

We're supposed to be polite here - in my book that means analyse the show, not attack those who create it.

[> Everyone KNOWS I wasn't talking about US here, right? -- Liq, 15:28:08 05/09/02 Thu

[> At least none of it is pointed at JM -- LeeAnn, 15:28:16 05/09/02 Thu

[> Absolutely. You can barely avoid it. Tough day to try and be on the up & up. -- Deeva, 15:34:44 05/09/02 Thu

[> Which boards? I only ever read this one. -- Traveler, 15:40:20 05/09/02 Thu

[> In defense of some of those boards -- Raccoon, 15:43:44 05/09/02 Thu

Some of the fan reaction can be explained by a writer deciding to make a public appearance to comment on an episode. Since SR was a landmark in BtVS history, a lot of fans, particularly W/T shippers - had great hopes for the interview. Steven DeKnight was, after all, the writer who said Tara would leave "over his dead body". That, and earlier statements on how BtVS would never go with the Celluloid Closet cliché, have a lot of fans very upset right now. Yes, the level of vitriol out there is upsetting. But by going public the writers have in some way invited it. Steven DeKnight *did* make light of a death that devastated many, and when he makes distasteful remarks on keeping an unedited tape of the W/T bed scenes in SR for himself I can see why people are angry. I've been a fan of the show since S1, but I'm also a bisexual and a victim of attempted rape who is very disturbed at the direction the show is currently taking.

As for fan reactions, I'm horrified at the amount of fans on some boards who are willing to condone Spike's attempt at rape.

[> [> Re: In defense of some of those boards -- Liq, 16:00:04 05/09/02 Thu

Raccoon, I appreciate your defense of the other board, but there is simply no excuse for what I have read today.

Steve DeKnight is a jokester as well as an exceptionally gifted writer. Seeing Red was one of the best episodes of this series and that is saying something. Yes it was painful, powerful and imperative for the story that Joss wants to tell. He knew he was walking into a volatile situation and decided to handle it with humor. Maybe misguided on his part, but hardly an excuse for the threats and abuse he has been subject to today.

I stand by my comments and distaste of the behaviour exhibited and condoned by the moderators of that particular faction of the fandom these past couple of days.

We don't know how lucky we have it here that we can discuss our opinions opening. This thread would have already been deleted on the other board.

[> [> [> Re: In defense of some of those boards -- Dochawk, 16:09:31 05/09/02 Thu

There is nothing wrong with criticizing mr. Deknight (who I agree wrote a brilliant episode) for the amazing lack of compassion he has shown to the fans that are paying him his salary. It is the same right we have to criticize a baseball player or a politician for their actions. But, comments about his/her inheritance or death threats etc are unnecessary and downplay legitimate complaints people may have. I wish someone would post the succubus club interview cause that seems to have added fuel to the fire and I would like to read it for myself (I read the parts about Spike posted below).

[> [> [> [> here it is... minus most of the Spike bits (comments are the transcribers - not mine) -- Liq, 16:14:59 05/09/02 Thu

Succubus Club Broadcast Transcript

S=Steven DeKnight

K: Hi everyone, it's Kitty from the Succubus Club, just want to let you know we will be on in 5 minutes with um, Steven DeKnight.
We're just getting things set up, so stick around and stay tuned.

K: Let's try this one, it's not hooked up I don't think. You're listening to the Succubus club on your truly underground radio station.

*Music, opening theme BtVS

C: Try it... now.
K: Ok, it's not working. Producer Ethan is going to work diligently to make sure the third mic is working.
C: That would be lovely.
K: It would be lovely.
C: Evening everybody and welcome to another edition of The Succubus Club, your weekly dose of Buffy news, music and trivia.
That's Kitty over there.
K: And that's Candy and that's producer Ethan working on um getting the third mic to work.
C: He's spanking it now.
K: He's spanking the third mic. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this evening. We um will be having writer of last night's episode of Buffy, Steven DeKnight, in shortly. We're waiting for him to walk through the door. Ya know the thing is that Candy and I laughed about the fact that we always said we just want this to go smoothly.
C: That's all, that's all.
K: But of course, the joke is, could any Succubus Club...
C: When a VIP is involved, can it, is it even possible for it to go smoothly and the answer is ...Oh I hear it. There we go.
K: There it goes. I only hear it in one ear though.
C: That's ok. Does it ever go smoothly?
K: No.
C: No.
K: It never goes smoothly.
C: If it did, I would worry.
K: Exactly so I think that the fact that it doesn't go smoothly is a good thing.
C: Cause usually the show ends up ...*laughs.
K: Steven's here.
C: Right there...Hiiii.
K: Does this one work? This is only coming out of one ear though.
C: Only half the people will be able to hear you then. That's your mic right there.
S: Hey, hey, hey.
C: We're getting you headphones in just a minute.
S: Sweeet.
C: We just got on the air. Hi, how ya doing.
K: Hi.
C: Hi. Have a seat. Are you ok there Kitty? (laughs)
K: You see Steven, you see how I give you the good mic.
S: I really appreciate that. I notice no food and drink allowed in the building, but please excuse my...
C: Oh we have water for you.
S: Oh great. Thank you, thank you.
C: We're all about following the rules here. Here pull that a little closer to you, so we can hear you chew.
S: (chewing) Everybody getting that.
C: Yeah. You got headphones? We have no headphones? Kitty you can get them... cause our guest is here.
K: I only hear out of one ear is that gonna be ok?
S: Is it the good ear?
K: No. So it's ok, they can still hear me?
C: Ok.
K: It's not like anyone wants to hear me.
C: I know. Well, welcome Steven.
K: Welcome back to the show.
S: (elvis voice) Well thank you very much.
K: Did you have any trouble finding the place?
S: No, not at all. It was actually much easier to find than the last place.
C: Really? See I thought it would be more difficult, but I guess it's not. Well cool, welcome to the show again.
S: Well thank you for having me.
C: You're welcome.
K: Well this is... he's just a plethora of controversy.
C: Well let's, let's. We have a couple of extra things to talk about. Before we get into last nights episode and uh and this novel here of questions.
S: Ahhhhh yes, yes, yes.
C: Which ya know about a third of them are pretty much the same question.
S: Really? Why do you suck so much?
C: Yeah pretty much, something very similar.
K: Yeah you die now.
S: Why are you such a big fat liar. I see that one a lot.
C: Yeah, there's that.
S: I think my friends can tell you the answer to that question.
K: That you're always a big fat liar?
S: Oh absolutely.
C: Ok, just a couple things before we get into it. Um we do have confirmation, we got it before the show that next week live here in the studio we will have David Fury. So...
S: David Fury.
K: You know him don't you?
S: I do indeed know David Fury.
C: You've run into him a few times.
K: So now, is he a big fat liar?
S: Oh yes. He's a gigantic fat liar.
C: Um so he will be here live in the studio, next week uh so...
K: And as far as any other guests, we don't know yet. But keep listening because um we'll, keep listening, go to our website, and we will let you know as soon as we know. But for sure next week David Fury...I'll be here too.
C: We seem to have all these writers that just have to come in the last few weeks of the season.
S: That's when we actually have time.
C: True, I know that's true.
K: So Kitty will be here next week and Fenric and David Fury.
C: Right. Thank you. Um ok, so that is announced. So if you have questions for Mr. Fury... I just have a request and that is unlike most of the questions we got this week for our guest, Mr DeKnight. I do ask that your questions for Mr. Fury be done so in a respectful manner. Um...
S: Hey wait a minute.
C: No, I asked for you too. But they didn't listen.
S: They didn't listen.
C: No.
S: Don't start them with jackass?
C: Yeah exactly. Like don't threaten to hurt them or don't, don't ask them personal questions that no one really cares about. Just do so please in a respectful manner, otherwise they will not get asked. And um, because these writers come in on their own free time, to do this, for you. So the least you can do is show them a little bit of respect.
K: It's not that we don't want to ask them the hard hitting questions.
C: (laughing) Yeah.
K: Cause we're all about that. Oh um also should we give a few disclaimers before we start the show?
C: Disclaimers would be great.
K: Ok, here's a few disclaimers. Disclaimer number one, don't call during the show. If you call and want to talk to Steven, um you know what, we're sorry but it's not gonna happen.
C: (laughing)
S: I'm a very busy man.
K: He's so busy I swear, we have to book his time.
C: He's playing with wrapper right now, what are you talking about.
S: Uh you guys have a trashcan?
C: Here I'll take care of it. It's a full service station. Um... (laughing)
K: I'm just saying don't call and expect to talk... we have so many questions we're gonna try and get to Steven. I'm just saying, please don't call, we don't want to disappoint you and you go oh I want to talk to Steven. So um we have the musical requests for this evening, we've got Bush, we've got ... a microphone not working. We Chibi Amano, we have Michelle Branch, we have Curb and other stuff so um...we do have music. We have lots of questions for Steven. So I'm just asking you not to call during the show. Um, let's see unless we specifically ask you to.
C: Ok
K: You call now.
C: Which we're not going to ask you to do so.
K: But producer Ethan will answer the phone.
C: One last thing. Ayayiyi...
K: One last thing,
C: It's just another Tara question.
S: Hmm. Are you gonna let me see these...
K: What's the other thing you were going to say?
S: Ahhh...
C: We'll get to that. We'll get to that.
S: Yes... yessss
S: Ah ya know there's a story behind that. I was actually going to bring you something, but I got tied up in a meeting.
C&K: Ohhhhh...
S: So I will have to send it to you.
C: It was the meeting to plot next year's big surprising death.
S: I was almost late.
K: Steven's all about controversy.
S: I really am.
C: Ok let's get to what everybody really wants to hear. The reason you're here...ahhh...ohhh
C: Last night's episode, Seeing Red umm....
C: Last night's episode was Seeing Red, episode 19 of this season of Buffy. I will personally say thank you, it was an awesome episode. It was...
S: Well you're very welcome.
C: It's along with OMWF and NA, it's like one of my favorite episodes of the entire season so far.
S: Well thank you very much.
K: It was awesome.
C: We're not just kissing your ass, seriously we would say this even if you weren't here.
S: Ummm I am sure many happy Willow and Tara fans share your opinion.
C: Oh and we'll get to that.
K: We'll get to that. Because thing is, that for us, it was so well done and so well written, despite the fact that we may have been upset by certain things that happened. But isn't that what good writing is? Isn't that what's supposed to happen.
C: Isn't it supposed to evoke strong feelings.
S: I say yes.
C: And that's what I say too.
S: And I agree with you.
C: (laughing) We like that, we like that.
K: Always agree with the host.
S: So I see a stack of questions, I think I emailed you guys...but don't hold back. Trust me, trust me my friends have called me a lot worse.
K: Yes I think you said bring it on.
S: Bring it on, I will give you the straight dope.
C: Let's get to the most often asked question, I suppose, and you touched on this earlier, the whole you're a big fat liar thing.
S: I am a huge gigantic liar and...
K: And he's relishing in it, he's glowing in it.
C: You should see the smile on his face.
K: People are hating you right now.
S: (laughing)
C: That's ok though.
S: Ya know what really surprises me is that I though by now that on the boards, people would have realized what a huge gigantic liar I am. I mean I never visit without lying about everything. And of course when people...
C: People believe what they want to believe, though.
S: People started hearing rumors and they um asked me point blank Tara gonna die. And uhh and well what did they expect me to say.
C: What did they expect you to say?
S: Ehh, of course not.
C: That's exactly, we've discussed this because let's give a little background to those of you and I don't imagine anybody listening doesn't know already. Basically, on the Bronze one day, you came on and somebody asked, is Tara going to die?, or whatever.
And you said over my dead body. So people have been sending you questions and have been asking you if you're ok. If you're ill, if you're dead.
S: (chuckling)
C: Ya know basically because you lied to them. It's one thing to maybe not answer the question but it was in a whole other to flat out lie and get their hopes up and and then...
S: Well ya know the hardest thing is at ME, since I do talk to the fans, is I kinda feel a semi responsibility to throw up a little smoke now and then.
C: Right. And my point I think, last week when we started getting these questions, was umm I think the writers and correct me if I am wrong. I think the writers have almost been forced to lie, at this point. Because so many people are out there getting spoilers and finding out things about future episodes and everybody almost knows everything that is gonna happen from here to the end of the season.
S: Yeah there really is, there's huge giant leeks that we have yet been able to pinpoint. To the point where with Seeing Red, in the script um Tara getting shot and killed wasn't in the shooting draft. It was a separate page.
C: Really. You stuck it in at the last minute kinda thing.
S: Yeah, so um when we were sending it out to all the departments that was not in the script.
C: Right.
S: But um of course by the time we started filming um, Marti had already written the next episode, which makes reference to it.
C: No way you can get around it.
S: And people got a hold of that and so we really only delayed it for about a week.
C: Um ok let's get to some more of the specific questions. So basically you're saying people shouldn't believe anything you say at this point.
S: I think I've told people not to believe anything I say.
C: Right.
S: And um the caveat there is that I always sprinkle in some truth here and there just to throw you off.
C: I think, you see when I had heard that you had done that, because I don't visit the Bronze regularly. When I had heard that you had done that, honestly I laughed. I just thought it was the funniest thing.
K: Ya know the thing is that, no disrespect to anybody out there, who really really is hurt by whatever...I laughed. I thought it was hilarious.
C: Not the death, but the fact that he said this.
K: The fact that he lied, it just reminded me of South Park, when they lied about Cartman... I just thought it was funny. Now everyone hates me.
C: No, it's ok. The fact is that they have been almost forced to do this and what I told people is that if your favorite character is happy or your couple is's not going to last. It's just how it is and by now, by now Season 6, people should know this by now.
S: Yep if you're happy it doesn't look good.
C: Right. So it's best if your couple is miserable. You have a better chance that way.
K: You should never invest too much time in any character...couple, or a character for that matter.
C: So I just that not only you but other writers, producers have been forced to say things that later have found out to be false.
S: Yes um with the exception that people keep quoting a Doug Petrie (?) quote...
C: Yes I've got plenty of those.
S: Um...
C: It's all about this lesbian cliche' thing.
S: Yeah umm, well the Doug Petrie quote that happened way before we knew that Tara was gonna get it.
C: That brings up the question.
S: I think it happened before we...
C: People want to know, when was it decided that Tara was going to die.
S: Um I actually kinda fuzzy on that, it was either at the end of last season or... right as we started this season. So we've know for...
C: A while.
S: Absolutely. From the beginning of this season.
C: What it something that Joss came in, was it Joss' decision, was it a group decision?
S: Oh, it's a Joss decision.
C: How did you feel when you heard that she was gonna die.
S: Well Joss came in and he described the scene. Originally it was gonna be outdoors uhhh uhhh Willow and Tara were going to be having coffee. And uh Warren was going to be like several blocks away and the shot was going to go off and cut to her and he explained it exactly the way it was shot. That Willow gets splattered with the blood. You go to Tara and she's been shot and she says "Your shirt" and keels over. So he knew that at the beginning of the season.
C: Interesting. Ok. That should answer some questions that it wasn't something that happened recently.
S: No, no this had been planned. The entire season.
C: That's obviously the biggest issue. Between that and the whole Buffy Spike bathroom scene...ummm (chuckles) That's pretty much all of our questions.
S: Ah yes the Spike Buffy bathroom scene. Now I'm sure there are people out there that after my least episode Dead Things and now this one...are sure that I absolutely hate women. Cause I keep killing innocent women.
C: It's not just that but if I were to look at your last two episodes I think you have quite an understanding, at least for Spike. I think you write Spike incredibly well.
K: I agree.
C: It's in these last two episodes that I really enjoyed and let me get to a couple questions on the Buffy Spike thing. We will get back to the Tara Willow stuff, don't worry everybody that you sent in questions we will get to as many as possible.
K: Back to the Steven is evil.
S: He's totally evil. Never trusted that guy.
C: I have actually a really good question, this kind of ties into the whole Buffy Spike thing because it deals with your responsibility as a show, to your viewers.
K: Oh my god.
C: Relax.
S: Let me have it. Let me have it!
C: You don't have to answer it.
K: Oh good. I hate being responsible.
C: In regards to the bathroom scene between Buffy and Spike, I know that everyone associated with this show has been saying that Buffy is not aimed at kids, but the reality is that kids do watch the show. As proven with Sarah's Kid Choice Award win and kids are going to keep watching. I'm reading messages on fan forums from 12 year olds who are affected that their favorite character was portrayed in a not so favorable light and are making statements like if I was ever sexually assaulted it would be ok and well since Buffy said no before, than it's ok. It's because they so want to be ok about the whole Buffy Spike scene, they want to reassure themselves that it's ok to love Spike and to root for Buffy and Spike. Are you worried about the message it would send to these people, should Buffy and Spike continue as be a romantic couple in any form. I am not saying it's the show's job to be the moral guide for children, that's why they have parents, but I am just curious.
K: He likes um give me that again.
C: No I thought it was important to read it as a whole.
K: It's an interesting question.
S: I just have to run out to the car for just a second, I'll be right back...
K: No I'm holding him, I'm holding him.
S: Well ya know it's the whole Luke and Laura dilemma of course. Um ya know there's a lot to that question that I can't answer because it involves stuff that's coming up.
C: Really.
S: Yes.
C: Ok, well can discuss in general your responsibility to viewers, to young viewers and how do you deal with that in room when you're talking about stuff. Is it an issue?
S: Ummm, well the issue is usually telling the story.
C: Right.
S: It's not so much uhhh is this right for 14 year old viewers.
C: Does it concern you at all though?
S: Sometimes. Sometimes, ya know I uh would prefer the show was on at nine, a little later.
C: Especially this season, this season has been a lot darker.
S: This season has been much much darker, sexual and violent. Which is the story we decided we wanted to tell. Buffy comes back to life our whole point was not to cheapen that. To make it really hard for her. That it wasn't gonna be your just standard tv, she's back, its ok, it's fine. And she feels like she can't talk to her friends. Because one, deep down, you know they don't want to hear it because they brought her back.
C: Oh yeah, they don't want to hear that what they did was wrong.
S: Yeah um I mean the bathroom rape scene was harsh. It was intended to be harsh and ugly and real. Uhhh if you look back at it you will notice there is no music until after it's over. Because we wanted it to be stark. It was very hard to film too.
C: Were you there that day?
S: Yes I was.
C: Someone else wrote in about the significance of him leaving his coat there any?
K: Yeah people are going to read into everything.
S:'s a little something we are planning for season 8...that I think will pay off. NO. Ya know, basically two reasons. Going to his state of mind that when he left.
C: It was off when he came in though.
S: Uh yes, yes because he hung it over the...
K: He left it on the..and walked up stairs.
C: Ok, keep going I have a comment after that. You said there were a couple reasons.
S: I didn't actually see last nights episode...I just wanted you to know. Well originally in the script, um I believe the first draft he had his coat on and there was a scene where Xander is coming up the street and he actually see's Spike leave. And that's how Xander knows he's there and we had to cut that out for time and expense. So we had a slight problem of how did Xander know he was there. So it was kind of a dual thing, Spikes state of mind and needing to have Xander know he had been there.
C: Ok I kinda want to leave Spike and Buffy behind for now.
C: Facing the Bronzer community can be quite a daunting task, especially after last night's episode. Now most of us sane people realize there wasn't any grand (chuckling) anti anything statement being made...but...
S: Oh the grand anti lesbian uhh...
C: Yes because ya'll hate em' ... apparently.
S: (sarcastic) Oh yeah because that was the reason for the what, two and a half seasons of a beautiful lesbian relationship... because I can tell you this... if Willow were still dating Oz, he would be dead right now.
C: Ya know what and this, Kitty and I were talking about this, because a lot of our emails were the very same thing. And I suggested, so this is just a little note to everybody out there...if you have a group of you that have the same question. All thirty of you don't have to send in the same question. I get it the first time. The thing is a lot of them are calling this a lesbian cliche'. A lot of them use this terminology.
K: We don't get that.
C: I don't understand, how is it a cliché' that a lesbian dies and the other one gets all crazy and...
K: And the thing is if if, Willow and Tara never had any love, never had any relationship. People would say that, (deep) why aren't you get giving the lesbians any relationships. Or any good and I just don't think of it that way.
C: I don't even think of them as lesbians.
K: It was like Tara died, I was like oh my god that's so sad for Willow and sad for her friends and I was sad that they cannot be happy now but to me...
C: That's what it was, the happy couple got screwed, instead of the lesbian couple.
K: And even my friend Jen when she found Tara was gonna die, was all I knew it. I knew they were too happy. And it has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.
S: Absolutely.
K: I really didn't think that at all and I swear it wasn't even something that ran into my brain and when people started saying that, I was like huhhh?
S: I think it's actually the opposite. We treated the two of them as just two characters on the show.
C: I think it's pretty obvious that's what occurred.
S: Yes and if we had really focused on the fact that it was a lesbian character, uh we might have said, oh jeez, we can't do that it's a lesbian character. We can't kill her ... and that is totally wrong. Uh pretty much on the show everybody but the major principles that are under contract until uh 2012...
C: (laughs)
S: Look out they could get it. And we can still kill a major character, err, we might have to bring her back.
K: A couple times.
S: A coupla times...make her a robot or something. But we always, when we wrote them, we treated them like just two characters that both happened to be women.
C: I mean that's the best way you could have done it. The most respectful way you could have done it. I don't...ok, I'm not even gonna say it...but Amber Benson in the credits last night.
S: Yes.
C: Talk about that, who's decision, why.
S: Uh, that was the man's decision.
C: Ok, a lot of people say A) it was um a way of getting peoples hopes up yet again, thinking they can't kill off a person in the main credits. And to that I say, season one dvd where Joss specifically stated that he wanted to put the Jesse guy in the opening credits....
S: Yesss.
C: In the first episode just to throw people off. He wanted to do that to screw with everybody. And he wanted to do it but they didn't have the budget then. But they have the budget now, their getting a lot of money.
S: Yes. So we can do that now.
C: Yes some people say it was like a tribute, saying thank you to Amber.
S: It was. It was a thank you to Amber and I would uh be lying if I say there was probably a little impishness in that, of course.
C: Kinda mean.
S: Well you know it's not that were ever mean... but um, we thought it would be really cool. It was really cool to put her in the opening credits especially as a going away kinda thing.
C: It was nice to see her.
*Unable to determine if they are on the air, as their headphones are not functioning
S: I suspect it was the lesbians.
C: It's all their fault.
S: I'm pretty sure.
S: And dead vampires, lesbians.
C: Steve, having been a Tara - Amber fan for a while now I have to say I admire the way you wrote the final Willow Tara scene. Look it's a fan.
S: Yes, finally. I rockkk.
C: From what I have seen , actually I wanted talk about that because the episode got out about a week early.
S: Bastards.
C: We'll talk about that in a minute.
S: Those Canadian bastards.
C: Sad for the fans but in many ways it was powerfully done, my question was it difficult to write this episode at all, or that scene.
S: Yeah it was a hard episode to write, not because of the scenes but sometimes when you are writing, sometimes you are on and sometimes you're a little off. And this one I had to actually work which I am totally against.
C: Well sometimes it comes to you really easily right.
S: Sometimes it comes fast and easy and this one just really just took a while for me to click into. But um you know but no, not that hard to write. I think probably the subject matter in Dead Things was a little harder. Cause there was a lot harsher stuff.
C: Are you worried that the writers are sending out the message that sex is bad. Or Buffy shouldn't be having sex. It looks like Buffy is always punished or made to feel guilty that she had great sex.
S: Um, well uh, gee uhh hmmm uhhh no. I am going to come out firmly noooo. And I'll tell you why. You know you've gotta look at the whole show, if every single person were having very bad sex and guilty sex, then I would probably say we're sending a message. But Buffy is extremely messed up, where she is in her life.
C: They all are, aren't they.
S: They all are. Willow and Tara, great wonderful sex.
C: Great sex. Then she dies. Do you see how this goes though, they have great sex and then something bad happens.
S: Ya know I don't think it's because they have great sex that something bad happens. It's, oh it's love and (sarcastic) well that's trouble. Just don't fall in love, that's all I'm saying. That's when you get it.
C: That's actually a really interesting point and we can joke about to say that any time somebody's happy, something bad's gonna happen, but it gets depressing after a while. It's gets depressing when everything bad happens to these people and very little good happens. Especially this season. And I personally love this season, speaking for myself. But speaking for those who have had a hard time with this season, a lot of people have tuned out because it's too dark, it's too depressing. What do you guys say to that. Do you even care?
S: Well um you know, of course we care but this is the dark depressing story we wanted to tell this season. Next season may be different. But this time around it felt like that was right and again we didn't want Buffy to come back and two episodes later be all joke-y, everything is beautiful.
C: That would have been very unrealistic.
S: It would have been.
K: Well it's interesting that there are people that are saying you are losing us as viewers, because the season's too dark. Because now, of this whole controversial thing between Willow and Tara...and people are saying they are not going to watch the show
C: One question we had was, do you realize that there will be viewers boycotting the show now, after what happened.
S: Uhhh I did not now their boycotting because the Tara getting it, that's the boycott? I'm with them, I'm not watching anymore. I never liked that show anyways.
*Discussion of Spike and a sarcastic turn on the Spuffers eventually turns into why Warren uses a gun
S: Well Warren finally smartended up there. And it goes back to that there were elements of this episode we wanted to be starkly realistic. The rape scene, the gun. We wanted that stuff to really resonate.
C: How aware are you and how much does it matter what the fans say and think, I mean in general.
S: Well I mean um you know, if you read stuff on the boards, man you suck, you can't write, you're a hack. You know I could do better than that...of course it affects you.
C: In what way, tell us.
S: Umm you know everybody's... a critic, no. Everybody has feelings, I am not immune.
*Talk about stories are a group effort and Joss is in on them.
K: He gives you the storyline he tells you Tara is gonna die this episode...
S: Yeah and then it's like figure out how to make that work. Figure out what the hook did we alienate some people? Yeah probably but if we just tried not to alieanate anybody would I not wanna watch that show.
C: Exactly.
S: We do care about what the fans think, but at the end of the day it's what we think is the story.
*Question about the Wanda Joss interview with the "give them what they need quote", comments about the how fans complain about every seasons sucking.

[> [> [> [> [> Is this normal? Every season? -- LeeAnn, 16:49:42 05/09/02 Thu

comments about the how fans complain about every seasons sucking.

Is this amount of vitriol normal? Have people ever vented this much before?

[> [> [> [> [> 2nd hour -- Liq, 18:47:34 05/09/02 Thu

Succubus Club Broadcast Transcript - 2nd Hour

S=Steven DeKnight

K: Well the controversy is just flying.
C: Hey, hey, hey Kitty, we have our very own haters now.
K: People hate us. It's so fun.
C: We've arrived.
K: We've arrived. I dunno why people hate us, we're just delivering the questions and Steven's answering them as honestly as he can.
C: Well maybe we aren't asking the right questions.
K: We have so many questions and many of them are very similar to one another.
C: Dawn rocked last night.
K: Dawn was great. Anya was great in the bar scene and Xander. We had a lot of great scenes between Buffy and Xander at the end.
C: Ya know what, no Xander fans write questions. No Anya fans write questions.
K: The thing is we are not going to be able to talk about everything.
S: Give me the hardballs.
K: The hardballs.
C: Well talk to these people, talk to these Willow and Tara fans who are so mad at you.
K: They hate you and now they hate us.
S: What do they hate me for? What...
K: You killed Tara, you killed her.
S: It was an accident. It was a stray shot. I didn't know it was gonna turn out that way, I swear. I was as shocked as you were when I saw the episode.
K: Oh my goddd, do you know...
S: C'mon, cmon cmon, Tara had to goooo.
K: C'mon.
S: Had to gooo.
C: Let's be serious about this.
K: Let's be serious.
C: Because, this this...
K: People do feel very close to these characters. I do too.
C: Yes. We got emails of people breaking down and sobbing, of of of various things like that. So take them very seriously.
K: Ya know I almost cried too, it's not like I didn't have any emotion. Tara is... I love Tara, I've always liked Tara. She was always one of my favorite newer characters that came along. So I always thought she was a guide for Buffy and the for thegroup.
C: I didn't.
K: I know you didn't. But I knew she was gonna die, I was very moved and touched. But it doesn't mean that I didn't think it was necessarily that it was the wrong thing to do. I was very very sad by it and I am very sad for Willow and for all the people that loved Tara.
C: Ok, but they want to hear from Steve.
S: I I I totally understand, you know I go back to I often do, when Gary died. Cried my eyes out. And of course that was before that new innerweb invention. So I had no idea what was coming... it was powerful powerful stuff.
C: And it's supposed to be.
S: Yes and again I did not kill her because she was a lesbian. Um we killed because that was the story we wanted to tell.
C: Ok, and maybe you can't tell us more, because I'm curious what this story is that you wanted to tell. Is this what we are going to see for the rest of the season, can you at least say that much.
S: Yeee yesss...and into next season.
C: And into next season. Ok.
S: Yes.
C: So it was the best way to get this story across, was to kill her.
S: Yes.
C: There was no other way?
S: The story focuses on WIllow, not Tara.
C: Well, ok yes.
K: Well a lot of people keep asking is Tara gonna come back... I dunno, seems kinda strange that...
S: Yeah she'll be back next week, it was a flesh wound.
K: Just a flesh wound.
S: Ya know... I think she'll pull through.
C: Well Amber Benson is much loved at ...
S: Yes, we love Amber.
C: It's unfortunate that because everybody loves her.
S: Amber is wonderful to work with and it's always hard to kill of somebody that you love to work with, that's pleasant...
K: And the fans love.
S: And the fans love. But Joss thought it was necessary and I agree. I thought it was a great move, I mean they killed off Joyce, I thought that was great too.
C: It was sad but great. Poor dead people.
K: Get to more of those Willow Tara questions.
C: I'm trying...because they all really just want to know why.
K: Right.
C: And and and...
S: Well you know there was the whole lesbian against god thing, cause we just had too...
K: Oh stop.
S: Cause you know we are a very religious show...
C: You're really killing yourself aren't you.
S: Joss is very Christian.
K: My God you are making this a lot harder for yourself.
S: Ya know a lot of things to talk about, ya know the homophobia the anti lesbian stuff and the show is [/i]soo[/i] not that. And I think we've proven it's not that and we ... killed her... because we thought it would be emotionally powerful and a progressive story that we were telling.
K: And like you said it's going to Willow's story because next week we see Willow really going over to the dark side. You see she is very angry and I'm interested to see whats going to happen next week. Obviously this is where they story wanted to go, that it's about Willow.
S: Yes this is, I mean this story has been building since the beginning of season five. I believe it was season five, when Willow is on the beach starting a fire and...
C: Yeah.
S: and blows up out of grill I specifically
K: Wait wasn't that the movie the Craft.
C: They only rip off from the best.
S: That was before I was on the show. So I mean not specifically killing Tara but this whole Willow arc has been planned for like two and a half years.
K: Ok
C: Ok, The other day I heard a dispondant gay teenage girl who was in desperate pain to begin with say that Willow and Tara are the only bright light in her world. They give her hope for herself and her life, sad and painful, so please answer this question for her. How do you think that she will feel after the end of Seeing Red and when she hears all the other Buffy fans who couldn't care less about Willow and Tara, um meaning her, applauding about Tara's death and big bad vengeful Willow storyline. What will you do, well what do you think we should tell her about the ending of your show.
S: Well uhhh let me start on the people who are applauding Tara's death... that's crass, that's just wrongggg.
C: I don't think people are applauding the death, I think they are applauding a well written, at least for I am.
S: Alright then that's ok.
C: You know what I mean.
K: I agree.
S: I was on the board and there were people who were happy she got shot because...
C: People who didn't like Tara?
S: ...they didn't like Tara. They didn't like the character, they didn't like acting, you know whatever that's for, ya know pipe down. Nobody needs that, I am not even that crass. But you know you can't really think about storylines in that way when you are trying to tell a big grand seasonal story. Anybody, like I said, anybody can die. And anybody can get it, anybody can be destroyed or broken down and it's whatever serves the story.
C: Ya know we hear that a lot, serves the story.
K: Yes we do. We do hear that a lot.
C: When Greenberg came in.
K: Is that just lip service, is that just like the way to appease us.
S: Ya know, not at all. Not at all. Ya know Joss is all about telling the story and I am sure everyone's noticed by now that he's all about he likes to make his people suffer. He finds suffering interesting, happy people not so much.
C: Well you know there has always been this saying going around probably since I think Angel died as the end of season two. Which was, is that Joss is evil. That's this statement that has gone around, for years now. And unforetunately I think people tend to not take it seriously. I am saying take it seriously.
K: It's so true.
C: The man is evil. He will hurt you, don't trust him.
S: Ya know he's the tradgedy man.
C: He is.
K: Yes he's like the huge Shakesphere fan.
C: Were you worried at all about the impact of Tara's death, at all? I mean either on the Gay communtity or her fans, were you even, did you even talk about it.
S: Well sure, sure... we brought it up about...yeah can we really kill off the ah the great lesbian character, who's having a wonderful relationship.
C: Tell us about that conversation please.
S: This was basically conversations with me and Petrie and Espenson and ultimately we you know we came to the conclusion that we have treated her as a person, on the show, and uh if that means she gets killed than she gets killed. No special treatment for anybody.
C: Fair enough, that's all I can ask for. Um.
K: Ummm.
S: It certainly wasn't a malicious act, like oh, let's kill the lesbian.
K: Or let's kill Tara.
C: And I don't know how many different ways you can say that to explain that to people. Nothing was done to hurt a certain faction of fans.
S: Absolutely not and again she had never turned gay or realized that she was gay uh her boyfriend would have gotten killed.
C: It's about Willow.
S: It's about Willow.
K: It just happened to be that Tara was the one she was with.
S: And to be completely honest it worked better as a story that the one good, sweet, level-headed person on the show gets it.
C: Ya know and it's really sad too, Kitty's mentioned all season long too how she's been the only really grounded one, all season long. Everyone else has been all flying off everywhere, she was the one taking care of Dawn. She was the one taking care of the house, you know she did all that.
K: She was the one that Buffy could confide in. She was the one that...
C: Right.
S: Right.
K: She was the one there when Buffy's mother died, Buffy considers her a very good friend and she's a great character.
C: And with Giles gone she filled and with Joyce gone she filled in very motherly, a parental role in a way. So to have all that gone does that fill into the growing up theme of this season. Did that play a part at all?
S: The death of a loved one is definetly part of it. There are so many issues with the growing up theme. But yeah, the death of a loved one is definetly a huge part, I mean it's definetly a thing that can separate you and your younger years from your later years.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: 2nd hour, Thanks Liq and welcome back -- Dochawk, 19:33:10 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Questions about succubus club -- yuri, 20:16:32 05/09/02 Thu

Where is it broadcast? Can you get it over the internet? How often is it on? Is it usually a decent show or more like an audio version of the Bronze?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Link inside........David Fury is next weeks guest - - Rufus, 21:27:02 05/09/02 Thu

The Succubus Club

It can get a little silly at times but is great when they manage to get a writer to come on the show.

[> [> [> [> Re: In defense of some of those boards -- Rufus, 16:21:41 05/09/02 Thu

But, comments about his/her inheritance or death threats etc are unnecessary and downplay legitimate complaints people may have.

I agree, as soon as people get that personal no one is much interested in their opinion anymore, I know I'm not. I can understand why Steve DeKnight may have been a bit on the defensive, even Kitty and Candy noted that they now have a segment of people that hate them now. All this over fictional characters and a storyline that hasn't wrapped up yet.

[> [> [> You're right. -- Raccoon, 16:23:20 05/09/02 Thu

I agree with you that the debate has reached a level of verbal abuse that is unacceptable. It's the personal pain expressed between the lines of many of these posts that gets to me.

I don't condone it either; I meant to show understanding, not acceptance as such. I didn't mean to sound spiteful in my post, and I hope I didn't offend this board, which is a true haven.

[> [> [> [> You were not in the least bit spiteful nor offensive -- Liq, 16:27:43 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Re: You were not in the least bit spiteful nor offensive -- Rufus, 16:32:40 05/09/02 Thu

What she said (Liq), and you brought up a legitimate point without becoming insulting to anyone. My feelings about Tara's death are mixed, I love the character, but I understand that in the Buffyverse innocents die. I didn't see Tara's death as something that condones homophobia, and I thought they had written both Willow and Tara in a way that made many forget the gender issues. I know it doesn't make anyone feel any better, but I think it is wonderful that this year the most healthy and loving relationship was Willow and Tara. I will miss Tara.

[> [> Liq, your last comment on Spike is dead on, I feel the same. -- gabby, 19:45:22 05/09/02 Thu

[> Perhaps ME made an error... -- LeeAnn, 15:48:28 05/09/02 Thu having their most popular character do something most people, even fervent Spike fans, consider unforgivable?

[> [> ME doesn't care, all they care about this season is creating big time drama to win an Emmy. -- JMC, 16:11:27 05/09/02 Thu

They don't care about ratings because they have a solid 2 year contract with UPN, and unless their ratings go to 3 million an episode they can do whatever the hell they want.

That is the way I see it, there really is no other reason. They have destoyed every popular character on the show, and killed off the only one who hasn't done something horrible.

[> [> [> How about they actually think the drama makes for a good show? -- Charlemagne, 17:13:33 05/09/02 Thu

Let's see...

Buffy has survived as one of the most popular shows on television with the following plotlines....

Season 1

* Killed one of the likeable gang in the first episode

* Had an episode where Buffy knows she's going to die and does for a time

Season 2

* Killed a popular character romance by having woman taken over by old demon

* Revealed woman actually betrayed people to gypsys

* Took most popular character on show (Angel) and made him pure evil

* Killed romance even more old fashionedly by leaving her DEAD in Giles's bedroom

* Dumped most popular characte in show into Hell

Season 3

* Had two popular characters cheat on their spouses

* Had popular character turn to the Dark side of the Force

* Had Giles betray Buffy unto a serial killer

* Killed three popular recurring characters in the end

Season 4

* Dumped callously like sack of old potatos popular recurring character

* Had liberated main character have sex with boy and dumped like a sack of potatos the next day

* Had main character send monsters after friends

* Had new character take up popular old character's position in a week

* Had popular old character try and kill new character for no reason

* Had new boyfriend sleep with Faith

Season 5

* Offscreen: Buffy is beaten by her soulmate Angel for hiding faith

* Has main character lead cheat on Buffy with whore

* Has main character threaten to kill all her friends over ficitional magical creation

* Lead Is dumped by boyfriend for not being demure chickey

Season 6

* Do I need to say?

[> I agree. It sucks. I've liked this season very much. -- VampRiley, 17:11:58 05/09/02 Thu

[> Surprised no...annoyed very... -- shadowkat, 17:18:09 05/09/02 Thu

And I have considered leaving the fan boards because of it.
This board has actually been very good and sane.

Now let me back up and tell you a little about myself. I
am a frustrated writer who has three novels in the works
and is almost done revising my first - an extreemly dark
story with characters who do nasty things to each other with clear themes. I find the dark side of human emotion fascinating - I like to explore why we do horrible things to try and understand it better.

Writers tell stories that are inside them - that is good story telling. They do not tell stories to entertain fans - that is pandering. People will either like it or they won't, but if you have something to say and you know how to say it well - maybe who knows they will. It's a risk putting yourself out there - but writers do it...because we know no other way. And the really good ones - like to unsettle people just a bit.

As a writer - my characters speak to me and sometimes they take over, sometimes I rule and usually what I'm trying to get across is something deep in me that I want others to see. Writing is my means of communicating a portion of my soul of trying to communicate what worries me and to try and make people think about things. Joss Whedon, MArti and the others are writers for the same reasons. They are trying to get you to think about things in an entertaining interesting way without preaching or telling you what you should think. They are showing you things that they have learned and discovered and are honestly sharing them through complex sometimes dark characters in the best way they know how, taking tons of risks along the way. We should honor them for that, not condemn them because they hurt a fictional character that they created for a purpose - to tell a story in their heads. As joss put it in an FX blurb - the viewers who don't like what I have to say - won't watch - and I don't want them anyway. Joss likes to unsettle viewers - he likes to make us think. I applaud his
writers for that and him for it. That's what William Shakespear did in his day. It's what the greats do. That's art!

What bothers me about this rage - is the fans think they write the stories - they control them. They think they know the characters better than the writers do. No you don't. Thank God. Because if the fans did - I wouldn't be watching this show. I stopped watching most of the other shows on TV because I realised the writers were pandering to the fans, letting them dictate what should or should not happen. It horrified me as a writer. That's pulp. Meaningless. And not
worth an hour of my time.

If you don't like the story and hate the writing. Don't

Just my humble opinion. ;-)

[> [> Here here! -- Rufus, 17:31:38 05/09/02 Thu

What bothers me about this rage - is the fans think they write the stories - they control them. They think they know the characters better than the writers do. No you don't. Thank God. Because if the fans did - I wouldn't be watching this show. I stopped watching most of the other shows on TV because I realised the writers were pandering to the fans, letting them dictate what should or should not happen. It horrified me as a writer. That's pulp. Meaningless. And not
worth an hour of my time.

I want the writers to tell their story, if they checked in with every fan, nothing would ever hit the screen. I can make guesses about characters, but they are only guesses. It's impossible to like everything about the show, but I think they have done well keeping me happy.

[> [> Arts and politics -- Raccoon, 17:43:32 05/09/02 Thu

Probably two words I shouldn't be mixing at all. But I will.

I think a lot of the fans' reactions right now has to do not so much with the story itself as with the possible interpretations of that story. Is SR good drama? Yes, it's possibly one of the greatest episodes of the season. Is the tragic ending of W/T good drama? Absolutely. However, ME has always stated that they want the show to mean something more than just an hour of television entertainment. And when they make that sort of statement, they allow fans to criticize them when the messages seem double-edged.

For the record: I don't think ME is anti-gay. I don't believe they intended SR to pander to homophobic people. But when the storyline ends up making sending a potentially homophobic message - be a happy lesbian having sex and you will die because of it - it upsets me. There's an infamous JW quote, "I give the fans what they need, not what they want". In this case, I'm wondering if I "need" for people who have bashed me for my sexual choices to get the kind of storytelling they want.

BtVS is a show directed at a teen demographic. Anyone who watches it knows that it's actually a very adult show. But young kids do watch it, and in that case I feel that ME might have to be careful about the kind of messages they send. I've read some very disturbing posts by teenagers on other boards about what ME is interpreted as saying regarding men, women and sex. Right now, what I'm taking away from the Spuffy storyline is that girls shouldn't really want or enjoy sex, so they should always say no, and if they are assaulted they must consider whether it's partly their fault.

The writers at ME are incredibly talented, and they have created a truly compelling story. Intention and impact are certainly two very different things. I just think there are instances when attention could and should be paid to the latter.

[> [> [> Spoilers for SR in the above. -- Raccoon, 17:46:24 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> [> Re: Arts and politics (SPOILERS for SR) -- shadowkat, 18:09:41 05/09/02 Thu

"But young kids do watch it, and in that case I feel that ME might have to be careful about the kind of messages they send. I've read some very disturbing posts by teenagers on other boards about what ME is interpreted as saying regarding men, women and sex. Right now, what I'm taking away from the Spuffy storyline is that girls shouldn't really want or enjoy sex, so they should always say no, and if they are assaulted they must consider whether it's partly their fault."

First - I was spoiled. I knew about both scenes way ahead of time. The B C & S board had the spoilers in the subject
lines way back in March. And the thought that went through my head was fear - that they wouldn't handle it well. That
the sexual assault would be handled lightly or that it would give the message to youngsters that this behavior was okay. In fact I warned several people with young children and teenagers to monitor this epsiode closely and at least watch it with their kids. The show has always been dark - so this subject matter isn't new, but the violence has never been this stark.

When I saw SR I was oddly relieved. The scene was handled with the same amount of emotional maturity as the Body. They also made Spike upset about it, looking guilty. He did NOT get off on it. He looked pained and more hurt than I've seen him. Very conflicted. Buffy looked worn out, fragile
and in pain. I did not read the scene as it's bad to have
sex or that doing what she did caused it. I read it as
a horrible situation that two people got caught in.

I think we have to take responsibility for how we interpret our reality, how we interpret and give meaning to the events
and items we see. To blame the writers for our interpretations - is not taking responsibility for our own interpretations. Part of this season's theme is about actively participating in the interpretation of reality.
All the writers have done is present us with a story.
How we choose to interpret that presentation is up to us.
It is not the fault of the writers.

I did not interpret Tara's death as anti-gay statement. I figured they were going to kill Willow's lover way back in Season 4 - so they could flip Willow to the dark side. I thought it was going to happen sooner. If it had been OZ - he would have been dead. If people wish to intepret it differently - then that is up to them, it is not the fault of the art, because I certainly didn't see any of that in the scene and lots of people I've spoken with didn't either.
It bothers me when we hold artists responsible for our acts,
our interpretations, or our feelings relating to their art.
What we see is what we choose to see not always what they chose to show us. Just as how we choose to react is up to us.

[> [> [> [> Shadowkat, -- Raccoon, 18:20:34 05/09/02 Thu

I'm a writer myself. ITA with you that a writer must be true to his/her story and characters.

Let me backtrack a little here: What I'm mainly reacting to in my post is that ME have stated that they want their work to reflect certain messages, and that they want readers to interpret their work as reflecting these messages. They want Buffy to be a show about female empowerment. They want the Willow/Tara love story to eschew the usual clichés gay relationships are victim to. When they make that sort of announcements, their audience is entitled to call them on it. If they hadn't, I wouldn't have felt justified in making the sort of cricism that I currently am.

[> [> [> [> [> In that case.. -- shadowkat, 18:30:44 05/09/02 Thu

They are walking on difficult territory...I doubt that they realized it would be taken this way. And from how it was done did attempt to veer away from the message you are picking up by doing several interesting things.

1. Tara was hit by a stray bullet. It was not directed at her, it was directed at Buffy. If Tara hadn't been standing near the window, she would have been fine.

2. Both women were fully clothed. They had them get back together, but they did not have Tara shot while in bed or

3. They demonstrated there was a gay relationship between Andrew and Warren...possibly to show that it was not the intent to show that cliche?

I think they wanted to show us that anyone can get hurt or shot. Even a hero. Again - I didn't see what you saw in the scene. I never saw it as homophobic or anti-gay. Would it have been better not to go the Tara route and get a guy instead to be her lover way back when they scripted the idea in season 4?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In that case.. -- mundusmundi, 18:41:11 05/09/02 Thu

They demonstrated there was a gay relationship between Andrew and Warren...possibly to show that it was not the intent to show that cliche?

My interpretation is that the "relationship" is all in Andrew's head, but regardless his revelation made for a touching moment. All your other points I agree with.

Great comments above and below on the writing process, BTW. When the dust settles and all is said and done, I think "Seeing Red" will rank as one of the BtVS greats.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Andrew...spoilers -- LeeAnn, 08:13:10 05/10/02 Fri

It is so non PC to have a gay villian but I think that would make it interesting if Andrew came back next season trying to avenge Warren like Willow is supposed to avenge Tara.

That would keep Willow from getting a Get Out of Jail Free Card for what she's about to do and would show us that vengence is a cycle that rebounds on everyone who takes it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In that case.. -- Rufus, 18:41:47 05/09/02 Thu

I have to agree, I didn't see it as anti-gay or homophobic, for one Warren didn't intend to kill anyone than the woman who made him feel impotent. It doesn't make Tara being gone feel any better, but I do think the couple was written well, and were the happiest in this season, even when they broke up they never stopped loving each other. Innocent people get killed, it's too bad that this time it was Tara. Last night on the interview with DeKnight he said that if Willow was with Oz he would have been the one who they have considered this option for a long while. We also got a taste of what can happen with Willow last year when she went to the Dark Magic books at the Magic Box(in Tough Love)to find a way to get revenge on Glory for hurting Tara. I wonder if Glory were less powerful would we have paid more critical attention to what Willow did?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Actually, that's kind of my point -- Raccoon, 18:47:08 05/09/02 Thu

I don't think at all that the writers intended this to be anti-gay. They might even have overlooked entirely the possibility that people would interpret it that way. I think you're right; they were intending to show that death can strike innocents in a random and senseless manner.

My beef with this arc is mainly that ME have accepted so much praise for harboring one of the strongest lesbian relationships on network television. Because of that, they might have been a little more careful when they decided to end it. As it is, it reads like a footnote to The Celluloid Closet. You can probably tell that I'm quite passionate about this on a personal level, so this is JMHO, as always.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I just got a copy of the book... -- Rufus, 18:56:54 05/09/02 Thu

Give me time to read it. I do agree that ME thought they were not being cliche, but in the end it is how many people are seeing it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Actually, ME gave the Willow/Tara pairing the respect deserving of a relationship... -- Caroline, 07:18:17 05/10/02 Fri

not a LESBIAN relationship - they went out of their way to show it as a normal thing. To me, that's a good thing.

[> [> OK, now I can't believe that I found the lyrics for this hopelessly obsure folk song, but... -- OnM, 20:47:22 05/09/02 Thu

... it do speaketh some version of the truth, methinks.


Railroad Bill

Lyrics and Music by Andy Breckman ( ©1990 Andy Breckman )

Now Railroad Bill was a hard-livin' man.
He used to take his whiskey two at a time.
And everyone agreed he was the baddest engineer
That ever drove for the Santa Fe Line.

His name was known from the folks back home
To the tippy-top of Telegraph Hill.
And all the little boys when they were sneaking cigarettes,
They used to dream about Railroad Bill.

Now one fine day Bill was walking along,
When he saw a kitten stuck in a tree.
When he saw what was the matter, he ran to get a ladder
To set that kitty cat free.

And Bill said, "No. I ain't gonna do it.
I ain't gonna climb up no tree!
This is a stupid stupid song, and no folk singer
Is gonna make a fool out of me."

I said, one fine day Bill was walking along
When he saw a kitten stuck in a tree.
When he saw what was the matter, he ran to get a ladder
To set that kitty cat free.

Bill said, "No, I ain't gonna do it.
I ain't gonna do what you said.
This is a stupid stupid song, and as far as I'm concerned,
That cat can stay there 'till it's dead."

I said, "Wait a minute, Bill, you can't argue with me.
For God's sake, I just made you up!
I got the pen in my hand. I want you up in that tree,
And I want that cat unstuck!"

And Bill said, "No! I hate cats!
I ain't gonna climb for no cat!
Why don't you have me save some beautiful girl
Who's been tied down on the railroad track?"

I said, "Well, maybe there'll be room in the 8th or 9th verse,
But right not I want you up in that tree.
I'm the writer, goddamn; I got the pen in my hand,
And you're supposed to listen to me."

"Listen to you? Why should I listen to you?
You should be listening to me instead.
I'm a railroad man, and if I was real,
I'd separate your face from your head!"

"Why, you ungrateful brute!" I said, "You've pushed me too far!
I'll show you I can do as I please."
Just then an earthquake came and shook the whole terrain
And brought Railroad Bill to his knees.

And then a tidal wave broke and everything got soaked,
And Bill was almost completely washed away.
And then a big green monster from the planet Neptune landed
And bit Railroad Bill on the leg.

I got the pen in my hand. I can do what I want.
I'm a bright new young talent on the rise.
So get your ass up that tree, or I swear you ain't gonna
Get out of my folk song alive.

He said, "You don't scare me.
You may be funny, but you don't scare me.
And if you don't leave me alone, I'm gonna tell everybody
Where you stole this melody."

But before he could speak, his tongue fell out,
And he could not make a sound.
And then he jumped on top of me and he grabbed me by the throat
And he pulled me to the ground.

And then he punched me in the stomach and punched me in the face real hard
And I think he almost broke my nose.
Just then a lightning bolt came out of nowhere and hit him right between the eyes
And killed him instantly.

Well, the cat came down from the tree,
Had a bowl of warm milk, and went to sleep for the night.
Railroad Bill is survived by a wife and three small children.
Dear God, I love to write.

[> [> [> Lol. that was a treat. -- yuri, 23:59:08 05/09/02 Thu

[> [> Re: Surprised no...annoyed very... -- Akita, 07:41:00 05/10/02 Fri

Shadowcat wrote: "Writers tell stories that are inside them - that is good story telling. They do not tell stories to entertain fans - that is pandering. People will either like it or they won't, but if you have something to say and you know how to say it well - maybe who knows they will. It's a risk putting yourself out there - but writers do it...because we know no other way. And the really good ones - like to unsettle people just a bit."

I disagree to the following extent.

Joss et al. knew quite well they were going to push some sociopolitical and cultural hot buttons in this episode, as well as inflict much emotional pain on those fans who love certain characters. Moreover, this show would not exist without an exceedingly loyal fanbase, which is, I think, largely driven by love of the characters.

I think they owe those fans some respect -- i.e., at least an honest acknowledgment that they knew the pain that would result, particularly for the W/T fans, and that that pain is legitimate, but that it was essential to the story they are telling. I think it is quite possible to do that without "catering" to the whims of the fans, which trap they seem to fear above all things. Given the subject matter they have chosen to tackle I think it is disingenuous in the extreme to figuratively throw their hands up and say "hey, it's just a story.What's your problem?!"

But then I have never been part of the "Joss is God" club. I do not put any TV in the same class as great literature or theatre. TV to me is mostly an extension of the timeless tradition of oral storytelling. And storytelling is always a two-way street. For without an audience there is no story to be told.

Respect is a two-way street too. And I may have lost a lot of respect for ME in recent days. Not for the story they are telling but for the way they are handling the fallout (so far).


[> A little fandom humor, courtesy of the Onion. -- Dyna, 17:20:31 05/09/02 Thu

Whenever my friend and I are tempted to argue about Buffyverse issues, we remind each other of this article.

Smash: "Dyna, when you're ready to have a serious conversation about the impossibility of Spike's redemption, you have my email address."

Dyna: "Smash, when you're ready to have a serious conversation about how much a Buffy/Angel reunion is never going to happen, my number's on your speed dial."

It's surprisingly effective for taking the piss out of fannish disputes. Highly recommended!

[> Yes, it's disappointing -- ravenhair, 18:57:41 05/09/02 Thu

I was hoping for cooler heads after the uproar over MN's E! interview a few months ago. But alas...

I still defend this season as an amazing year for BtVS.

[> I'm glad I don't go anywhere but here. -- yuri, 19:58:33 05/09/02 Thu

[> I think people lose a little focus... -- Tillow, 20:44:23 05/09/02 Thu

...regarding the fact that a drama is supposed to take us to great depths.

I'm getting a little finicky about all the attacks on the writers, myself. Particularly Marti. This is a team effort with one captain. Joss. If the writers were truly terrible, then this board wouldn't exist... no one would care one way or the other.

So, YES, it's disturbing... Gives me the wiggins. :)

A long analysis of spike and the incident *spoilers* -- Charlemagne, 15:53:44 05/09/02 Thu

I'd like to take a moment to give my opinion of why I believe it was in character for Spike to "attack" Buffy last night. Now everyone whose a Spuffy I don't want you to think that this is a attack on your peaceful culture and in fact I hope will give a balanced opinion on a very hot issue. I must admit I have been shocked at the sheer volume of women on this board (and horrofied and moved) who have suffered attacks and as a would be-fiance to a woman who was a victem of it I will treat the point with exceptional dignity. I myself when I read the spoilers didn't suspect for an instant that Spike would do something along those lines and wondered where the writers pulled it from. In retrospect it should have been seen as a possibilty from the beginning.

The first thing to note about Spike is he is a Romantic poet and for the Victorian times this is not a classical gentlemen but the equivalent of a modern rock star like Van Halen, people who were incredibly open to their feelings and rebels against the existing establishment. Lord Byron is Spike's spiritual brother as William. Even as they adored the concept of love and honor they also mocked the people who made claims to higher ideals as being complete fools in the process for hypocrisy.

As a Vampire Angelus was a man who was repressed by his father's expectations and continued to make war against everything that his father loved from respectability, institutions, the church, and marriage. Spike on the other hand had a very different motive from what we can tell and that was to make war on a society that treated what he believed in like garbage. Drucilla was his goddess and Angelus was his mentor in the fine art of proving humanity was less than his worth along with the majority of vampires around him.

It's likely why he didn't notice or care about Angelus's relationship with dru before, he was overwhelmed by his father-figure.

I'd like to give my opinions on what a Vampire is right now and both confirm and debase the "soul myth". On Angel we see that human beings can be born without a soul which means they more or less are sociopathic. A thing about sociopaths is that while they don't feel consciences they can in fact feel quite a few other things and follow rules out of other obligations. Joss has furthermore said that demons are drawn to darkness as humans are to light yet we see on occasion humans rebel against this as well as demons. Thus upfront Spike can be good as a being but he is rebelling against his very fundemental nature under god...what spike does best.

Still Vampires are a hungry creature and it has been hinted at that blood for them and all passions is like alchohal to a 12 stepper. Angel when he kissed Buffy was forced back into Vampire-face and I have no doubt in my mind that Spike feels all these urges ever so keenly even when he is conditioned to have his animal nature controlled by an electronic device.

I think we should accept upfront that Spike is a murderer and probably a rapist in the past. Certainly we know Angel commited acts of sexual assault from the shades of his victems and Holtz. Spike in my mind is just as likely to show contempt for the world as a whole by the ultimate act of debasement to those who truly offend him and while he was going to bite her, his attack on Willow in the very episode he escaped from the Iniative in Season 4 had uncomfortable rape text that in my mind on UPN would have been openly Spike planning to leave her violated after the process or during it.

Not very good thus far I admit but onto Season 5 we see that Spike comes to idealize Buffy in a way that is much like Spike's spiritual brother in Xander (odd comparison I know) who also draws strength from her. Spike likes Dawn and together they form a new pack for the inherently social creature of a Vampire while giving an outlet for his needs of violence. Still there is an unrequited passion for the woman who represents his dark angel in his mind. What Celicy was to William, Buffy added the edge to for Spike like Dru in a perverse parody of a Victorian woman almost did.

Spike as a lover to Buffy though is something we should note inexperienced. Sexually he is obviously an incredible lover as he's been practicing fairly reguraly with Dru (probably a few other women like Darla for all we know or even Angel but aint going there) but I believe it's safe to say William was a virgin in heart before knowing the Dark Kiss. All of Spike's relationships have thus been unhealthy and when Buffy comes to spike she comes in a way just like him....a woman who has crawled from the Earth buried alive and seperated from God.

Spike's seperating Buffy from her friends is not so bad a thing as people think because he'd personally like Buffy and him to join together like he and Dru. If he could I'm sure he'd make her a vampire if he wasn't sure that would destroy what he loved about her the Good with edge. Her friends hate him after all and they don't relate to the isolation and loneliness that is a person that has been dead and severed from natural life cycles let alone common morality.

However sexuality and killing vampires is not what Buffy wants, that was Faith's way and the way of being a vampire. At heart Buffy is not a rebel but wants still to fit in and even when she built her own niche that she did fit into (the Scoobys) she when severed from it went back to it. Spike is thus unable to fit in and while a confident and incredible lover is not where she wants to go....Spike doesn't want to furthermore fit in with the Scoobies. He tried and ultimately Xander is a moralist, Willow and Tara are too compassionate, and only Dawn he cares for to any great deal is a flower budding in her youth.

The attack was thus Spike's demon and passion overwhelming his common sense with probably a lot of resentment built up for a person that he wanted to be his guide for the rest of eternity. Spike differentiates himself from the world by what he idolizes and the morals he steps on that he holds as the tools of hypocrisy.

With Buffy he knows that he is very close to becomming what he once hated with all of his might yet is that a bad thing? Last night was a turning point brought on by the animal side of a beast that wasn't thinking, especially with a previous relationship and the fact Buffy since leaving Spike has since regressed back to a very poor mindset.

I believe it was n character, just not a nice period to look upon.


[> One small quibble -- Traveler, 16:43:12 05/09/02 Thu

"The attack was thus Spike's demon . . . "

If it was his demon nature asserting itself, why didn't he go into vamp face?

[> [> In part because the hunger was for sexuality not blood -- Charlemagne, 18:31:04 05/09/02 Thu

Spike is after all a Vampire who is in a situation where his entire instinct set has been blown out of the water and rebuilt in an oddly jigsawed way. He's like a man whose been "normal" and reprogrammed in a cult in some way except in reverse. He can still be driven by demonic urges and needs like his need for destruction (that doesn't put him in Vamp face necessarily) but still have it be for entirely human desires.

Remember all we know is that Vampires transform when the Hunger is upon them, yet while they are not without vamp face it doesn't mean that they necessarily any less dominated by their natures

[> [> [> Yes, but... (SR, Angel spoilers) -- Traveler, 19:10:04 05/09/02 Thu

"yet while they are not without vamp face it doesn't mean that they necessarily any less dominated by their natures"

Almost every time we ever see a vampire other than Angel or Spike comitt violence, they are wearing their game face. I think that is to show their demon soul coming to the surface. I could be wrong, but it seems to be a logical conclusion. Someone posted that Spike's attempt at rape was not the crime of a vampire, but the crime of a man.

I rather prefer that idea, because it makes the scene even more poignant and meaningful. Angel didn't try to kill Wesley as a vampire, but as an enraged father. Spike didn't try to rape Buffy as a vampire, but as a desperate lover. Thus, even this evil act makes him more human.

[> [> [> [> Re: Yes, but... (SR, Angel spoilers) -- Rufus, 19:21:34 05/09/02 Thu

I rather prefer that idea, because it makes the scene even more poignant and meaningful. Angel didn't try to kill Wesley as a vampire, but as an enraged father. Spike didn't try to rape Buffy as a vampire, but as a desperate lover. Thus, even this evil act makes him more human.

Violence isn't just a demon thing and in both shows that can be forgotten. They were very specific in making sure that the situation with Buffy and Spike was a human one. Buffy normally could have killed Spike, he could have decided to bite her, but he wanted Buffy to feel the same way he does, and became desperate when he could see she couldn't or wouldn't. It was an upsetting scene but would have been worse if he had walked into her house intent on raping her. His words to Clem show how conflicted he is, can this person/monster ever be just a monster again? He is stuck between worlds, stuck in shadows when he longs for light. He may have blamed the chip for his feelings but we know the chip is a collar and leash, it may stop him from acting out, but his feelings for Buffy and the things he now feels for others are all his own. So what does a vampire do when he isn't allowed to be a monster, but can't be a man? He did say things were going to change.

Out of character, double standards, character bashing, and Spike (warning, rant, spoliery) -- Earl Allison, 16:29:53 05/09/02 Thu

Like many others, I have been arguing over the ramifications of and events in "Seeing Red."

I've been seeing a trend with some posters, not just here, but in other places as well.

Words like "out of character" have been tossed around, and some people have out-and-out refused to accept that Spike would behave in the manner he clearly did.

I guess the problem is, since the writers decide who the characters are from day-to-day, IS there such a thing as out of character? I mean, they WRITE the characters -- and whatever they write is canon.

A LOT of pro-Spike fans have been saying how out of character this latest action is, how it's outrageous, wrong, out of context, and largely an attack on the character.

Where were they when such things were "done," or perceived to be done, to other characters?

I see several posters using Xander (mostly), Willow (some), or Buffy (lots) and their actions as either mitigating factors (tearing them down to make Spike better or more acceptable), or to point out that, since THEY made mistakes and weren't punished, how dare anyone suggest punishment or think poorly of Spike.

Where were the cries of "OOC!" or "this is wrong!" when the following happened?

Xander walked out on Anya. There were some who did question this when it first aired, sure, but it's pretty much settled into a "Xander was a b@stard, and should be punished! How dare he play holier-than-thou with Spike!"

Willow's mind-wipe of Tara. This was, IMHO (and I admit to being favorably inclined towards Willow, so caveat), majorly OOC, and a major corruption of what we knew of her -- she risks all to fight Glory for the brain-suck, and then plays with mind-wipes not once, but twice? Where was the outrage, not that Willow was behaving badly, but that she SHOULDN'T act that way? That this WASN'T our Willow? And if you think it was, why is it so hard a logical progression to think that Spike could behave as HE did? Where, aside from the double standard, is that hidden?

I guess I'm getting sick of hearing how poor Spike was used and abused by the writers, and how this is clearly OOC and therefore wrong.

It happened, and like the fans of the other characters, it's time for Spike to take some lumps, like it or not. Tara and Willow fans are in for a rough ride, Buffy fans have been smarting all season, and it hasn't been a good year for Xander, either -- it was just Spike's turn.

Protest, certainly, but not at the expense of other characters -- it doesn't (IMHO) mitigate Spike any. He at best assaulted Buffy when she said no -- and quite frankly, it was wrong the first time he had sex with her, and it was wrong in the bathroom scene -- worst case, he did try to rape her, to have sex with her without her consent.

Dragging other characters through the mud doesn't change that.

Okay, I'm done. I'm sorry if anyone takes personal offense to this rant, I'm not consciously singling anyone out -- just tired of the excuses, and wanted to say my piece.

Feel free to disembowel me now.

Take it and run.

[> It was wrong the first time Buffy and Spike had sex?? Are you one of those religious moralists? -- JMC, 16:37:48 05/09/02 Thu

Sex is not evil, and I don't care what you say.

[> [> Please re-read -- It was wrong the first time she said "no." -- Earl Allison, 16:49:17 05/09/02 Thu

I don't care whether the girl's panties are around her ankles when she says it, no is no. Not maybe, not sure, but NO -- until and unless you have enough of a relationship to realize that her no IS a yes.

Buffy is partly to blame, yes, but Spike moreso.

I'm glad you don't care about what I say -- and maybe I wasn't 100% clear, but there were far more tactful and polite ways to express your views, or at least to use personal qualifiers like IMHO.

I TRIED not to offend, I get the feeling you don't care if you do or not, and that's a shame.

Take it and run

[> [> [> I thought you meant something different.... -- JMC, 16:53:01 05/09/02 Thu

I thought you meant Spike and Buffy having sex was wrong. Sorry, if I was in error.

[> [> [> [> B/S was wasn't wrong just not healthy, it was a sick relationship. -- gabby, 19:41:10 05/09/02 Thu

[> that what I'm supposed to take and run with, cause Ewww -- Rufus, 18:19:54 05/09/02 Thu

It happened, and like the fans of the other characters, it's time for Spike to take some lumps, like it or not. Tara and Willow fans are in for a rough ride, Buffy fans have been smarting all season, and it hasn't been a good year for Xander, either -- it was just Spike's turn.

I think some of us have forgotten the first rule of Joss regarding lumps everyone gets their turn.

[> Oh, grow up! (About us relating to Angel and Buffy) (spoilers for SE) -- Cactus Watcher, 19:07:07 05/09/02 Thu

This is kind of an extention of what Earl was saying, so I've put it here.

My first reaction while watching 'Seeing Red' was that the love scene between Tara and Willow was much different than the ones we've seen before. Before, there was always something sweet and magical about what we saw. This time it was like watching two real personal friends of mine about to have sex. The fact they were the same sex made no difference, to me at least. They were two people doing something perfectly normal, but something that should be private, and I felt uncomfortable watching it. Then it dawned on me. "Oh, my God! ME is going to catch hell for this!" And that turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. We can expect a whole new round of anti-gay and anti-violence-on-TV articles directed at ME over the episode.

Indeed one of our brightest young posters is already a victim of the fall-out over this episode. I can't imagine that her parents would have been any happier if they had missed everything with Tara and Willow in bed and seen the rest. Now we have a young person deciding whether or not to defy her parents and go on watching Buffy. The only thing I can say to Mayapapaya is that this is an important decision and not to take it lightly. Sooner or later you will have to make decisions for yourself. But, you should know that defying your parents carries all kinds of risks. That's part of being grown up, understanding that there are consequences for the risks you take.

Why did ME take the risks it took in airing 'Seeing Red?' Now and forever more, whatever they do in the future, there are going to be unreasonable people who will point to 'Seeing Red' and say that ME is part of what's wrong with TV, and what's wrong with society. Frankly, I think ME took those risks for us, it's most loyal viewers. In particular, I think the attack scene was written as part of a season long lesson for those viewers with special attachments to particular characters.

Since 'The Gift' one by one we have seen our favorite characters torn down. Each time we've seen a storm of protests from the partisans of the particular character. Last summer, we had a flood of support for Buffy. Each time anyone suggested that there might have been less than noble aspects about Buffy's death there were swarms of angry posts. One poster, who wrote one of the best argued essays of the summer, expressed the desire to throw things at people who wanted to talk about the gray areas of Buffy's actions. This season ME has emphasized that Buffy has had some mental instability, and now people are willing to talk about Buffy perhaps being clinically depressed. This season we've seen Willow supporters aghast that "sweet" Willow could do wrong. It's taken months for some of them to listen to other's arguments, that Willow's problems are fundamentally with herself and not with magic. Last week we saw some pretty strong and unpleasant confrontations over whether Xander or Anya was right. It's too soon for the supporters of Xander and those of Anya (or just the supporters of the male side or female side of the argument) to notice that nobody's completely right or wrong in this. This week some Spike supporters are in disbelief that Spike could attack Buffy or for that matter, do anything evil at all anymore. The rest of us just shake our heads and mutter, "Hello? Vampire!"

It isn't just on Buffy. Last season Angel took a beating. Wesley's actions and the reactions of the rest of the group on Angel to them have been distressing.

I think ME has purposely been attacking our favorites. They want us to care about the characters. But, they do not want us to worship them. If nothing else this year, ME wants us to realize that hero worship is a mistake, and that it almost always leads to disappointments. Buffy and Angel are fine stories whether or not the characters always act like we wish they would. I don't expect everyone to get it. But, at least ME has tried.

Mayapapaya, growing up is a life-long process.

To steal a line from Earl - Take it and run.

[> [> Re: Oh, grow up! (About us relating to Angel and Buffy) (spoilers for SE) -- Arethusa, 12:48:07 05/10/02 Fri

>>I think ME has purposely been attacking our favorites. They want us to care about the characters. But, they do not want us to worship them. If nothing else this year, ME wants us to realize that hero worship is a mistake, and that it almost always leads to disappointments.

Go back and re-watch "Waiting in the Wings." It's as much about us fans as it is about Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Fred, and Gunn.

[> Sure, a writer can write out-of-character for his/her own creation. -- yez, 20:20:34 05/09/02 Thu

In theory. It's called bad writing. Contriving, forcing an agenda for the sake of the agenda and losing site of what's come before, etc. It happens. The characters we love or love to hate are the ones that seem real -- whether we can explain it or just sense it intuitively.

Personally, I *don't* feel that the bathroom scene was out of character for Spike, but I have to admit that's really dependent on the long term spin it gets on the show.


[> [> Agree, but he raises another interesting point SR spoilers -- Anne, 03:50:16 05/10/02 Fri

Earl raises three completely separate questions:

1. is it possible to write out-of-character, and is it legitimate to criticize writers who do;

2. Was Spike out of character in the attempted rape scene;

3. and, was Spike any more out of character in the rape scene than many other ME characters have been in many other scenes.

The answer to (1) as you say is clearly yes, and is one of the things one pays attention to when engaging in literary or dramatic criticism. I don't feel like flogging the answer to (2) right now, partly because I really can't decide what the answer is yet.

I actually think number (3) is extremely interesting, however. In a way, ME has almost a habit of having characters behave 'out of character', and it has to do with the fact that they have their characters grow and change so much more than is typical in other TV shows. Sometimes the change portrayed is done in a compelling fashion, whether or not it seems strictly speaking "realistic", and sometims less so. I personally, for instance, have found the transformation of Cordy into St. Cordelia a little trying, but many other people are obviously right in there with her.

By and large, I will say that in restrospect the character changes they portray are worth going with, whether or not they are entirely believable in a photographic realism sense. So I'm willing to wait and see what they do with Spike, though I have my reservations.

[> [> [> Re: Agree, but he raises another interesting point SR spoilers -- yez, 06:08:43 05/10/02 Fri

I agree on #3, and I think that feeds right back into #1.

Growth and change are part of realistic human behavior, realistic character development. So it goes back to, are you able to take your character through a change in a believable way or not? And that's about being a good "student" of human nature and a good writer. The best characters -- the most believable -- are those that really seem alive and that grow and change in ways we can make sense of.

I forgot to mention earlier that it's possible for a character to do something so radically out of character that it gives you pause. And that's just like real life, too. Every once in a while, someone will undertake radical change, and you as a friend/family member/ acquaintance have to try to make sense of it and figure out if the relationship can still stand -- if you still like that person or whatever. And the path to that is understanding, explanation. Because I think most all human behavior, when broken down into smaller steps, is something that others can understand, whether or not we agree with those choices or like the behavior -- we can understand how a person got from here to there.

And that's the same for characters, too. For example, if, in 3 episodes, Spike had gone from actively trying to kill Buffy to regretful that he'd almost hurt her, I think most people would be right to scream "This writing sucks!" Writing and all that entails. But we've been shown how he's gotten from pt. A to pt. B, and while it's VERY different than pt. A, we can follow that and believe it, whether or not we like the writer's choice -- we can see how it's a legitimate choice for that character because it's essentially been supported by plenty of everyday evidence that makes it make sense.


[> [> [> [> Continuity and interpretation (mild spoilers for SR) -- Sophist, 08:47:06 05/10/02 Fri

Very good points by both yez and Anne above.

I first read EA's post last night and have been thinking about it since. I think there's a lot to this issue. Since I aspire to logical and structured posts (just ask Ian), I'm going to try to do this in outline form.

As I see it, the issue of continuity is closely tied to the issue of interpretation. That is, when we watch a show we try (a) to interpret it in a way that is meaningful to ourselves; and (b) to understand what the writer intends. When a scene disrupts our personal sense of continuity, what we are really saying is that either we can't interpret the scene in light of our previous understanding, or that we can't follow the writer's intent.

There are at least 3 types of continuity problems that I can think of:

1. Cases where the characters make a reference to previous events on the show, but misstate that internal "past". This appears to me a clear example of bad writing, and fully justifies criticism. There was an example of this in SR (quoting from memory):

X: "Why didn't you tell me?"
B: "My personal life is none of your business."
X: "It always used to be."

Xander's last comment is manifestly and categorically false. Buffy has never brought Xander into her personal life. Xander has intruded into it on many occasions, but Buffy does not consult Xander about her boyfriends and never has.

When I, the viewer, hear Xander's words, the flow of the dialogue is affected. I can't make sense of the literal words, so I search for some hidden meaning. Am I supposed to think the writers made a mistake here? That Xander was being obnoxious? What?

2. Cases where the writers introduce something new about a character. For example here, there are Andrew's comments about Warren. In this case, we, the viewers, have to be patient and let characters develop, as yez says. At the same time, we are free to question why this point was not made earlier and what is meant by making it now.

3. Cases in which a character seems to act in a way totally inconsistent with previous behavior. Again, we have to allow for development, but the development must have a discernable logic to it or our ability to interpret the scene is affected. When posters complain about the bathroom scene, I think that's what they are saying: I can't place this in my previous interpretive context, and I can't understand what the writer is saying. Whether that's the writer's fault of the viewer's fault depends mostly on how widespread the disconnect is.

[> [> [> [> [> Really? The Xander line bothered you? -- dream of the consortium, 13:26:05 05/10/02 Fri

I actually thought it stood out as a GREAT piece of writing. Because it is both true and not true. One point that Xander is trying to make is objectively true, and Buffy and the audience know it - Buffy never used to hide things from Xander. Also, she used to take his advice seriously - think of the episode when Riley leaves. But, he doesn't say that, exactly, he's says that "it used to be [my business]." And you're right, her personal life never was his business, of course, not in the sense that he had any right to control it or judge it. But he always seemed to think it was. So in a moment of reconciliation, there is still this little indication that Xander still has a somewhat paternalistic view of Buffy that is inappropriate. And I think that's excellent writing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Really? The Xander line bothered you? -- Sophist, 14:08:35 05/10/02 Fri

I am inclined to agree with you on the main point.

That conversation was the first one, and they didn't reconcile at all; Xander walked out. If we see Xander's comment the way you suggest, then I agree with your conclusion about his attitude and about the writing. It's similar to my own suggestion that Xander was just being obnoxious. The problem I had was that there was no response to this blatantly untrue statement, so the interpretation remains in doubt (are we supposed to take this statement at face value and see Buffy as the one who is wrong here?).

I do think Buffy has kept things from Xander in the past (the best example being the return of Angel in S3). She has not made any secret of the identity of her boyfriend, though, so maybe this is different.

That scene in ItW has always bothered me also. I have no doubt that Xander believed Riley was the one for Buffy. I just don't believe we or Buffy thought so; her reaction as though she had lost "the one" is, for me, one of the weakest moments in the whole show.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Continuity and interpretation (mild spoilers for SR) -- ravenhair, 18:27:22 05/10/02 Fri

"Cases where the characters make a reference to previous events on the show, but misstate that internal past."

I asked this question in a thread below but I think it's appropriate here as well and maybe someone can provide some insight. Spike placed so much importance on trust in the episode Dead Things, the same writer for Seeing Red. In the bathroom scene of SR, Spike dismisses the need for trust in a relationship. Why the change of heart? Because he no longer has Buffy as a moral compass, is Spike drawing his own assessments regarding love and relationships? Does he feel differently because the relationship failed and so he rejects everything he strived for previously?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Continuity and interpretation (mild spoilers for SR) -- Sophist, 20:29:35 05/10/02 Fri

I don't know. I'm really struggling with this issue.

I'm in the camp that says it is OOC (in the sense of inconsistent with the portrayal of the last 2 1/2 seasons) for Spike to attempt rape. I was about ready to adopt the interpretation that the scene was a tragic miscommunication resulting from too many times when "no" meant "yes" and the sex was rough. Doesn't condone Spike, but doesn't make it attempted rape either -- legally, at least, attempted rape requires that he must have intended to have sex knowing that she did not consent. If consent was confused because of previous behavior, no attempted rape.

Then I read DeKnight's interview (quoted by Rufus) in which he refers to the scene as a "rape scene". Now, clearly there was no actual rape, but does he mean attempted rape? Is he telling us that this is the way we were supposed to perceive it? And now I'm back to the OOC issue.

The point you bring up presents the same problems. In fact, in the first scene with Xander he asks Buffy how she can trust Spike and she lists some of the times they all have done so. Then, in the bathroom, she says she can't trust him. About what?

Color me confused. Is that red?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> She says she can't trust him. About what? -- alcibiades, 10:54:17 05/11/02 Sat

The turning point in S/B's relationship came in AYW when Buffy found Spike hording the yet totally unexplained Demon Eggs. (And if that lose end is not explained SOON, I'm really going to be mad) So I think trust in this instance means she can't trust him to do the right thing in matters of morality in the world.

The new trust he violates in the BathR scene is that now, contrary to what she believed and he believed, she can't trust him to do the right thing with her either.

Since Angel's betrayal and then later abandonment of her, trust has been the major relationship hurdle for Buffy. She stopped trusting Riley and committing to their relationship after he slept with Faith, thinking it was her. And admittedly, that he couldn't know it wasn't Buffy in their most intimate act together is appalling.

That is something I believe Spike would know now that he is her lover. Spike knows her, her body, her being. But she can't trust him to be moral in matters that don't relate to her and Dawn. And if he lost the chip.. she's not even sure about Dawn.

The problem is of course is that from the preview it doesn't look like she'll be able to trust Willow soon either. So that limits that people she can depend on to Xander. She is going to learn how to trust people again in Season 7. I imagine, otherwise her life will become very narrow and focused. She has got to learn to risk the pain -- something she did not do with Spike at all and that she shut down with Riley once Faith reappeared on the scene.

BTW, I thought that interchange Spike between Xander and Buffy was telling. Xander telling Buffy Spike is evil and Buffy telling Xander back, you fought with him all summer, you left Dawn with him. Xander is holding a mirror back up to Buffy of what she has been telling Spike about himself since Smashed and I think that though she is still confused about how she feels about him, but she also doesn't like how Xander is reflecting her back at her.

What is OOC btw?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very good points. OOC is Out of Character. Going to post more on it. -- Sophist, 11:22:41 05/11/02 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: She says she can't trust him. About what? -- DEN, 14:10:41 05/11/02 Sat

A bit OT, alcibiades--but IMO Riley has had a consistently bad rap on the B/F switch:
1. He has no idea such a thing is possible, and even if he did, no reason to assume it has taken place.
2. He never met Faith, and has no idea of her behavior patterns.
3. He and Buffy have not been intimate for very long. Riley would not be the first, the tenth, or the ten-millionth person (man or woman)to be surprised when their partner reveals an unexpected side in bed. Seems to me he handled it about right: not jumping through a door the other person might regret opening next morning, and being loving in the ways he has been.

Buffy was the one who couldn't deal--but again IMO she was being unreasonable even by her standards.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: She says she can't trust him. About what? -- Lilac, 14:31:22 05/11/02 Sat

Remember that Buffy recognized Giles when he had been turned into a big slimy demon. So, it seems that her expectation that Riley would be able to recognize that Faith was not her would be in line with what Buffy has herself been able to do in other circumstances.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: She says she can't trust him. About what? -- ravenhair, 18:18:25 05/11/02 Sat

I can accept AYW as the turning point for B/S. You're explanations regarding Buffy's perspective is very helpful. Spike must have turned his back on everything he believed would make Buffy love him, including trust, after the relationship failed.

Again, with regards to the conversation between Buffy and Xander, I noticed she didn't tell Xander the chip doesn't work on her when he brought it up. Possibly to protect Spike from being staked, but she's still keeping secrets from her friends - not a good.

I'm not too concerned about the relationship between Dawn and Spike. Actually, I was encouraged after watching Seeing Red. She may be his only friend besides Clem when he returns to Sunnydale!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Continuity and interpretation (mild spoilers for SR) -- ravenhair, 18:06:04 05/11/02 Sat

The DeKnight interview was more casual than formal, so I don't think he put too much thought into his responses or how they were phrased. I'm not under the impression the bathroom scene was an actual rape, and I don't think we're supposed to perceive it as such.

The conversation between Xander and Buffy was very interesting. I believe it was the first time she has defended Spike to her friends, albeit half-heartedly.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Continuity and interpretation (mild spoilers for SR) -- Simone, 22:34:00 05/10/02 Fri

>>When a scene disrupts our personal sense of continuity, what we are really saying is that either we can't interpret the scene in light of our previous understanding, or that we can't follow the writer's intent.<<

I don't know that I would consider this a criticism of the writing but, lately, I've found that the show works best on an allegorical level (which is a bit ironic, considering how many fans are deploring the disappearance of the metaphor. Heh). More literal interpretations still work, IMO, but seem to require copious amounts of fanwanking. Personally, the best way I've found to make sense of the characterizations is through the paradigm whereby Willow, Xander, Giles, Dawn and Spike all represent different aspects of Buffy's psyche. I've seen several posts along the same lines in the past, so I'll just give a brief overview of my specific take (and, I must warn you, there probably isn't anything terribly original about it), focusing on Xander/Buffy.

Xander was The Heart in "Primeval" (Willow was her Spirit and Giles her Mind, if I remember correctly) - he used to be the stabilizing force in her life, her moral centre, since she has always judged with her heart. But, in "Restless," Willow had her "spirit" (her "psuche," her breath or soul - which is starting to look incredibly significant in light of the end of SR) sucked out of her, Giles' injury was to his brain and Xander's to his heart. They have all been damaged to the point where they can no longer serve her adequately. She ends up having to face the First alone.

Over the last two seasons the foreshadowing has slowly come to pass - her Spirit and her Mind seem to have drifted away from her, whereas her Heart has become increasingly corrupted, if you will, by self-righteousness, intolerance and self-deception (understandable, given the traumatic experiences they have all been through and never openly, honestly dealt with). As it did so, it also began to assume rights it never had and encroach upon areas which were not previously its purview. Buffy's moral centre is starting to suffocate her. Hence all the hiding, the shame and the repression.

Unfortunately, it seems that Buffy is only now starting to realize this. So far, she has trusted Xander's judgement even when she probably shouldn't have - in ITW, she accepted his assessment of her relationship with Riley, despite the pretty obvious projecting and overidentifying going on. She constantly trusts his opinion of Spike (her "shadow"), no matter how many times he is proven wrong. She seems to be actually cowed by his disapproval. SR was the first instance I can think of in ages when she has openly questioned his judgement and bristled at his paternalistic attitude. But she is so used to relying on him unquestioningly that she's still very tentative and ambivalent about it. Is this merely the start of a trend? I hope so. They all need to re-examine their beliefs, their assumptions, acknowledge and work out their problems before they can function as a healthy unit again (which, by the looks of it, might have to wait until next year).

I also have this whole parallel between Spike and the First Slayer, who seem to represent the same things and have both been adamantly rejected by Buffy, that I'm still trying to work out. Anyway... maybe this'll help someone regain their grasp of the characters as it has me (assuming I'm not just stating the obvious here, as I am wont to do).

[> [> [> [> [> [> Very interesting. Thinking now. -- Sophist, 09:10:39 05/11/02 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> Spike and the First Slayer -- alcibiades, 11:16:44 05/11/02 Sat

Great Post, btw. That makes so much sense of Restless, which I have tried rewatching recently (but have to admit it put me to sleep a time or two. Course, late at night.).

About the first Slayer and Spike, I believe Shadowkat first mentioned the parallel of their positions on Buffy's body in Restless and Seeing Red. But instead of trying to plunge a penis into her to continue their interactions, the first slayer keeps on trying to pentrate her heart -- but her knife or stake or penis substitute is impotent -- it cannot penetrate Buffy. Buffy throws them both off, telling the FS, "You just have to get over the whole primal power thing. You're not the source of me."

Buffy's repeated refrain of "it's over," "that's enough," have finally pentrated the other.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Spike and the First Slayer -- Simone, 13:34:50 05/11/02 Sat

I don't think I read Shadowkat's post and I can't seem to find it. Which thread it was in?

My thing - and I don't know whether Shadowkat got into that as well; I hope I'm not just repeating things that have already been discussed to death, as I don't get a chance to read even half the stuff posted here - is that Spike and the First Slayer are like negative images of each other (one's black on white, the other white on black), like two sides of one coin. The coin being those primal, chaotic, irrational drives within us all which are "beyond Good and Evil." They can be good in that they are the source of our strength, our survival instinct, our passion, our individualism, etc. - that would be the First Slayer. However, uncontrolled, those forces can also turn to anarchism, nihilism and other Bad Things - that's what the whole vampire metaphor was about.

During adolescence, these forces tend to dominate our more rational impulses and must be ruthlessly fought - that's what the first 3 seasons of battling vampires and other beasties were about. But, as we grow up, things change. Those crazy hormonal voices in our heads quiet down and, as the balance shifts, we need to make adjustments for that. Spike has turned from the poster-boy for anarchy and chaos into a reluctant and then willing ally (Anya has also been used to illustrate that shift, as well as the increasing number of innocuous demons), getting closer to what the First Slayer is or should be, if only Buffy allowed it (not that he's quite there yet). This season in particular, I think that he has often been The Voice of Buffy's Subconscious (meaning, The Voice of Truth - yes, I still believe that, even after SR. ESPECIALLY after SR).

Unfortunately, Buffy and the SG (well, mainly Xander. Willow's a bit more complicated than that and one of these days I hope I have the time to rationalize her out) have been too scarred by their early battles to recognize that. They cannot see the potential good in that which they used to consider inherently evil. Fear of their most basic nature, of who they really are and what they really want, has led them to the other extreme - intolerance, denial and repression - which can be just as dangerous and just as much of a Bad Thing. As Anya pointed out in "Smashed:" things bottled up too long tend to go kaboom! You can only make them worse by rejecting and ignoring them. I think that's what we've been seeing lately.

The Initiative, in their attempt to completely control and/or eradicate the monsters, merely succeeded in creating a monster of a different kind (that Nietzsche - who seems endlessly relevant to this show - quote keeps coming to mind: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster"). In the same way, we have seen fear turn the SG's greatest strengths into their worst flaws. What used to be a beautiful friendship has become a burden and a hindrance: they are all damaged and dragging each other down, preventing each other from growing and evolving the way they need to.

Anyway, this is all somewhat of an oversimplification, really, but, right now, I have to go out and do something about that pesky thing called "a life." ;)

[> Re: Out of character (spoilers for Seeing Red) -- LittleBit, 06:01:47 05/10/02 Fri

I find it surprising that there is so much outrage that the writers have taken their characters where the story arcs dictate. And especially that a specific character should not be written in a controversial manner.

I think that having characters behave 'out of character' is a sign that the show remains dynamic, that we will no be given static characters and relationships. I'll not speak for any one else, but I will say for myself that I have had the experience of saying, "I can't believe he did that, that's not like him at all" about someone I thought I knew. Someone I thought I knew better than that. So if people in real life are able to act in an unpredicted manner, a well- written character should be allowed the same leeway.

This doesn't mean I have to like all the choices the writers make for the characters any more than I have to like all the choices the people around me make. It does mean that I respect that a well-rounded three-dimensional character is capable of moving in varied directions. Sometimes this includes 180º reversals. Especially in times of great emotional turmoil.

A character on a single-minded unidirectional track is too close to a cartoon character. To use contrasting examples from the non-core group let's look at Warren and Jonathon. Warren is one-track. He is firmly placed on the fast track to evil. He has no regard for anyone. Even Andrew and Jonathon are no more than 'minions' to him. He wanted to be a comic-book action-adventure super-villain and that is what he has become. And nothing else. We root for his demise because he has been given no dimension. We won't miss him when he gets his comeuppance, and it will happen because that is the only possible outcome for a cartoon villain. Contrast trhis with Jonathon, whom we have known tangentially for all 6 years. We know he is an outcast nerd. We know he hurts because of this. He tries to kill himself; he presented Buffy with the Class Protector award. He casts the superstar spell because he wants everyone to look up to him, but within this reality he becomes a valued ally of the Slayer doing good and slaying vampires and demons, making people feel good about themselves, and somewhat overlooked, effects the reconciliation of Buffy and Riley (the one thing that continues when the spell ends). He becomes wealthy and powerful but in a positive way. He's Bruce Wayne and Batman with better romantic luck. He apologizes when the spell is discovered and ended. He teams up with Warren and Andrew because as they put it "ummm...okay." He pulls his weight in the evil trio but as the evilness increases is more and more visibly disturbed by it. He helps the Slayer. While it is absolutely clear what behavior is out of character for Warren, what is out of character for Jonathon? Much harder to answer this question because Jonathon has been given dimension.

So if Jonathon is able to be given choices about behavior, and can move up and down the good—evil continuum, then why should we restrict the core characters? I would hope they would be given greater latitude to show the facets of their personality. All of them have moved in rather large swings along the continuum. Buffy, Willow, and Xander have shown their darker sides, Spike and Anya have shown lighter sides. All of them have been given fears not related to impending apocolypse. All of them have responded at times in ways we want to applaud, other times in ways we deplore. All of them have been out of character this season. The season is about growing up. Without the directional changes there's no growth and without growth there's no, well, interest. And BtVS is nothing if not interesting.

I vote for keeping it interesting, even if that means staying around when characters do things I don't like.

[> [> But there can surely be disagreement ... -- Anne, 06:19:58 05/10/02 Fri

about whether the story arcs really dictate the actions or not. And that, as I think both yez and I are trying to say in our above posts, is in principle a completely legitimate subject of dramatic or literary criticism.

Whether or not any one individual on these boards has made a persuasive argument that, for instance, Spike's actions are inconsistent with the story arc is a separate question. But such an argument is in principle possible, and attempts to do so should not be condemned out of hand.

[> [> Re: Out of character (spoilers for Seeing Red) -- Sulis, 09:50:49 05/10/02 Fri

While I agree completely that characters can and should act in unexpected ways, I do think it a legitimate topic of criticism whether a character has gone "out-of-character" or not. That can happen and it weakens the story when it does.

My favorite literary example of this comes from one of the greats: Jane Austen and Mansfield Park. One critic I read said that in this novel she sacrificed her characters to her plot, and that captures my feelings perfectly. In many ways I love this novel, but I can't feel the same way about it as I do for Persuasion and Emma and P&P. Because Fanny HAD to end up with Edmund for the MP plot to work, Austen made Henry Crawford run away with Maria for no apparent reason, except a mild sort of thwarted vanity. I remember quite clearly reading that section, and thinking "What?!? How could THAT happen?" It made no sense in terms of the character or the interactions he was having at that time. Austen might as well have had him abducted by space aliens; she needed him out of the way, so she just sent him off. And the ending of that particular novel has never been satisfying to me because of this.

I worry a bit about Spike in the same way, that ME will do a Henry Crawford on him, but in Seeing Red, I don't think they did--I think his actions came from the character, and in particular the interactions between him and Buffy ever since Smashed. I certainly didn't like that he did what he did, and I really wish he hadn't, but then I didn't like him chaining her up in Crush either. I do think that it's not out of character. But that's just my opinion

[> [> [> Re: Out of character (spoilers for Seeing Red) -- LittleBit, 12:08:33 05/10/02 Fri

While I agree completely that characters can and should act in unexpected ways, I do think it a legitimate topic of criticism whether a character has gone "out-of-character" or not. That can happen and it weakens the story when it does.

I agree with this completely. But I'm sure you realize that criticism about whether a character has gone "out-of- character" or not is different from stating that the action shoudn't have occurred because it was "out-of-character". If it sounded as though I was condemning disagreement out of hand, I can assure everyone that was not my intention. There have been some excellent arguments for both sides, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these, and weighing them against my own views.

What I was trying to say, and may entirely miss on again, is that if the character is moving in a direction we don't want to see simply saying it shouldn't happen because it's out of charcter and the writers don't know what they're doing or had no reason for doing it, falls short of an argument for me. Most of the characters have acted out of character this season, but when that has happened the response has taken the form of not liking the actions and why or thinking it was an interesting direction to take and why.

In Spike's case, there have been exactly those responses, but there has been a much higher percentage than usual of those that state not what the opinion is of the actions and the consequences, but that the actions should not have occurred because it wasn't in character. Why wasn't it in character? Because the writers just want to mess with us, they write badly, they don't know what they're doing and can't write because they don't understand their characters. For myself, I don't find this an 'argument' in the debate sense. If I thought they really wrote badly or didn't know their characters, I wouldn't be watching the sixth season. And maybe they do want to mess with us, jerk our emotions around — it certainly wouldn't be the first time and most likely won't be the last.

If you want to argue why it was or wasn't in character I am ready and willing to listen. I may not be persuaded (and for the record, think it was in character because of the sequence of events and past history of the couple), but I like a good presentation that may present a perspective I hadn't thought of.

But just saying it was bad writing because it was out-of- character doesn't work for me.

[> [> [> [> Re: Out of character (spoilers for Seeing Red) -- Sulis, 15:01:16 05/10/02 Fri

I think I agree with everything you said here, LittleBit!

[> [> [> Re: Out of character (spoilers for Seeing Red) -- Arethusa, 13:59:09 05/10/02 Fri

Crawford stated to his sister (if I remember correctly) that he flirted with Maria and Fanny because he was bored and they were there. He especially devoted himself to Fanny because she obviously, in her quiet way, disapproved of his behavior, and snubbed him. He later starts flirting with the married Maria again, Austen narrates, because she snubs him, and then he gets carried away and runs off with her. Fairly consistant, in that he flirts when he's bored and lets his emotions run away with him.

[> [> [> [> Re: Out of character and kinda OT -- Sulis, 15:14:09 05/10/02 Fri

I agree that he started with Fanny as a challenge, but I think we see that she becomes much more than that to him. He raves to his sister about her purity, about how he never believed such a woman could exist, how she is so worth the winning and on and on. And not just to her, he completely convinces Edmund who is no dummy that he really appreciates Fanny at her true worth. And then while off in London and in his old set, he flirts with Maria because she snubs him, yes, and I don't think that was out of character at all. But running away with her? why? There's no reason for him to do that at all; he doesn't want her, he isn't emotionally involved with her, he simply doesn't care enough to do something as extreme as that. That Maria runs away with him makes some sense in view of what we've seen of her tendency to make foolish choices. But frankly I always thought her selfishness would prevent her ruining everything that mattered most to her by wrecking her life for a man she doesn't love and that she knows doesn't love her.m

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