May 2002 posts

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Angel & Cordelia (not really shippery) -- yabyumpan, 07:04:21 05/29/02 Wed

I'm not really a shipper of any sort although I must confess to liking the C/A pairing from a "romantic" perspective. The thing that really interests me about it though is the Champion/Seer connection. The bond seems so strong: she can't rest in her head until the vision has been resolved (Dead End), well pre demonisation anyway; the visions come addressed to him (Somnambulist).

The reason for this posting is I'm wondering if there is any precedent in any Mythology for this sort of Seer/Champion synergistic relationship. I have had a lookie around the web but there's just so much info I didn't know where to start so I thought I'd pick the collective wonderful brains on this board.
Any clues or can you point me in the direction of the best place to look.

Thanks :-)

[> Re: Angel & Cordelia (not really shippery) -- SingedCat, 08:43:56 05/29/02 Wed

Hmm-- this isn't a case of not being able to find examples, but of there being too many of certain kinds. According to Campbell, the hero's journey is invariably connected to a shaman/witch/wildman/woman who aids the hero, from an association of years of training, or a brief encounter in which the hero learns something about himself or his past that only the shaman can tell him. In all cases, it is the seer who holds the information that sets the hero on his path. So as you can see, this role is played by several people in the Angelverse, by Lorne, who sees the hero himself, by Cordy, who sees his quests, and even by Wesley, who explores the prophecies of his ultimate fate. Again, it is often more than one seer who helps the hero, depending on the length of his myth cycle.

Cecily/Halfrek forshaddowing -- Morgane, 08:48:06 05/29/02 Wed

I don't know if this has been mentionned before because I didn't had much time to read posts lately (finale exams you know!) but here I go.

I think it has been obvious for a long time now that Buffy show is fullfiled of forshaddowing, even if most of the time I get them after.
When Halfrek and Spike saw each other for the first time in Older and Far Away, they react but didn't say anything about it. It was obvious that Halfrek was, in fact, Cecily but I never understood why the writers choose her as Halfrek but didn't use it later in any scene. Their must be a reason. Why not simply forshaddowing? The souling Spike thing in Grave let me think that her presence could have announce the return of William. So it would be quite normal that Spike and her didn't chat at all, he was still the demon. In fact, she's only a ghost from his past, of his bloody awful poetry, pathetic and violence free days.

[> Re: Cecily/Halfrek forshaddowing -- clg0107, 09:01:27 05/29/02 Wed

I'm pretty sure that, as they have many times before, they re- employed an actor for an appearance as another minor character after a previous bit part.

I think they were just calling attention to it, as an inside joke, in OaFA.

Cecily did not go on to become a vengance demon. The actress just got work from them again...


[> [> "Grave" spoiler in first post. -- JCC, 10:45:01 05/29/02 Wed

[> [> Re: Cecily/Halfrek forshaddowing -- Deeva, 10:46:36 05/29/02 Wed

And in BtVS magazine had asked that question to Marti Noxon and she replied that they had only intended to have Kali Rocha play Halfrek and not Cecily/Halfrek but something changed somewhere between the script and shooting.

[> [> [> Re: Cecily/Halfrek forshaddowing -- Dochawk, 11:20:02 05/29/02 Wed

Actually, MN said they didn't plan on it, they liked the actress, but then the script called for her to be without makeup. Once that happened they felt they had to acknowledge it. But it does lead to interesting possibilities for Spike's jounrey.

[> Re: Cecily/Halfrek forshaddowing -- Nos, 12:50:03 05/29/02 Wed

I think Fool for Love speaks volumes of the fact that Spike's human past means something to him. Not just a memory. His breakdown at Buffy using those same words "Your beneath me." shows that, yes, the past does matter to him.

[> Re: Cecily/Halfrek forshaddowing -- redcat, 13:56:10 05/29/02 Wed

It was never odd to me that Spike and Halfrek acknowledged each other in the rather strained way they did in OaFA. I knew immediately that Halfrek was Cecily and assumed she would have some later part to play in the story. Cecily becoming a vengence demon is explained by understanding that even minor characters tend to get their come-uppance in the JossVerse. A woman who turns down a "good man" (especially a suitor who's a writer of romantic verse - see image of Joss doing Numfar's Dance of Joy here) because he is "beneath" her is likely to be turned down on similar grounds herself, perhaps by one of the upper-class toffs at her party (?). In this off-canon scenario, once scorned, Cecily does what Anya had done a thousand years before to Olaf, she curses her lover and is then offered a job by d'Hoffrin, hence the vein-y immortality and extra-gooey rich plot possibilities.

What IS curious to me, however, is the studied indifference between Spike and Halfrek at the Magic Box during the scene in Entropy when Spike comes to Anya for a spell. The only acknowledgment the two characters seem to give each other is the sort one gives a stranger in a public place. Cecily and Spike clearly see each other, she even waves goodbye to both Anya and Spike as she leaves. But there is no personal acknowledgement of any kind.

Since ME now has to make a silk purse out of a poorly-thought- through casting decisiojn, any one have any brilliant ideas about how they're going to reconcile the two scenes?

[> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek -- SpikeMom, 14:35:40 05/29/02 Wed

Here's one possible explanation of the route from Cecily to Halfrek:

Cecily is madly in love with her sensitive, poet beau. Unfortunately William has no "prospects", as they were called during the Victorian era, and her parents are ademently opposed to the match. As an Upper Class Victorian daughter she could plead and cry and protest but her future and marriage are still pretty much controlled by her parents, especially her father.

As the (eventually) dutiful daughter, Cecily tries to discourage/end William's courting using the "rip the band-aid off all at once approach". She knows him well enough to konow what will best do the job. She tells him there is no hope, he is beneath her. Her heart is breaking but she is hiding behind the storied British stiff upper lip.

William departs the house party - angry that Cecily has caved-in to her parents, frustrated with the unfairness of social boundaries, and heartbroken that his love has been rejected. He ends up in Vampire Alley with Dru.

The next day Cecily receives word that William has been murdered. She realizes to her horror that if she had not rejected him he would never have ended up in the alley. She rages at her parents for what has happened to her gentle poet. She extracts exquisite vengence on her parents and their social circle by inviting in the newly vamped William at the next big house party. VampWilliam repays his humiliations by obliging the party guests with actual railroad spikes instead of a poetry reading. Why Cecily doesn't get killed/vamped I haven't figured out.

Perhaps D'Hoffryn hears her anguish and approves of this ameteur vengence gig, pulling her into his dimension to offer her a permanent job before Spike can get to her. With her sweetheart, family, and friends all dead, Cecily agrees to become Halfrek. Halfrek the Vengence(Justice) demon who has a thing for bad parents and *CoughDaddyissuesCough*.

For all we know, Halfrek and William have crossed paths in the last 120 years and made peace with each other. Spike would have to be at least a little impressed with her actions after his death/vamping.

Anyway that's one theory...

[> [> [> Ooohh, I like your back story much better than mine! -- redcat, 15:09:11 05/29/02 Wed

... right up until the moment Spike doesn't kill her and d'Hoffryn appears, but hey, minor quibbles and I'm sure ME could fix the holes.

Still doesn't explain why they practically ignore each other in the Magic Shop just weeks after reacting to each other so dramatically in OaFA, though...

[> [> [> [> Re: I am a humbled newbie poster...Doing the Snoopy dance... -- SpikeMom, 15:17:18 05/29/02 Wed

so glad you enjoyed the scenario. I enjoy your postings and essays immensely.

Had to find some way in the plotting to explain why Cecily was still "alive"...thus D'Hoffryn pulling her out.

I'll leave the Ignoring in the Magic Box problem to Joss or the imaginations of our other wonderful posters/writers/philosophers.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I am a humbled newbie poster...Doing the Snoopy dance... -- Rob, 10:13:37 05/30/02 Thu

I have to second that "great backstory" thingy. You made a very interesting little spec there that also makes sense. I especially like your explanation for how Halley became a veangance demon for scorned children.

About them ignoring each other in the Magic Box, I've rewatched it, and I think that, basically, Spike is so preoccupied with his Buffy problems at the moment that he couldn't really care less about Cecily/Halfrek being there. Maybe had his mood been different they would have talked, but both he and Anya were so preoccupied with their own problems, I think that's why no words were spoken between them.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I am a humbled newbie poster...Doing the Snoopy dance... -- Ronia, 10:51:21 05/30/02 Thu

My thought was that at the party Cecily was already a vengeance demon and actively on the job. That would explain why she considerred him beneath her. She said very clearly, that she does "see" him, and that's the problem...because he doesn't know she is an immortal he assumes it is him personally. Anya engaged in normal social situations to get the job done..why shouldn't Halfreck? I don't recall any mention of them growing up together, and it explains the lack of feeling between them now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Now doing the Pylean Dance of Joy... -- SpikeMom, 17:03:36 05/30/02 Thu

and I swear I will get back to my Architectural Theory term paper that is due first thing tomorrow. (This is so much more fun!)

[> [> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek -- leslie, 13:11:01 05/30/02 Thu

Hmmm, I have a similar scenario, but a few significant differences. I think Cecily rejected William because at that point, she completely bought into a parental insistence on marrying for money and/or status. After William's death, she ends up married to a high-status man who psychologically abuses her (not an unusual situation at the time) and she comes to realize what a mistake this whole social status thing is and blames her parents for it--perhaps she ends up married to a man who is "just like daddy" and realizes that she's been victimized all along.

You know, I really don't think that William/Spike would have gone after Cecily once he was vamped--given his overall patterns of behavior even as a vamp, I think he would go after the people he blamed for making her *think* he was beneath her in the vain belief that that would make her come to her senses and realize that he was the love of her life. A Victorian Yoko Factor, with blood.

[> [> [> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek -- SpikeMom, 17:07:56 05/30/02 Thu

If they ever do another backstory episode for William/Spike like FFL or one for Cecily/Halfrek, this subject certainly still has a lot of mileage left in it.

[> [> [> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek -- shadowkat, 18:32:59 05/30/02 Thu

Yup, leslie, that was my scenerio. I think he tortured the aristocrats at the party with railroad spikes - hence his
name. But left Cecily and her family alone just as he leaves
Buffy and her's alone in Fool for Love. He couldn't hurt
Buffy and I doubt he could hurt Cecily. They pretty much
tell us that much.

For awhile I thought Cecily was a vengeance demon before she met him, but I've watched it closely and doesn't track.
Had to be afterwards. And I think she became one either
due to her father forcing her into an arranged marriage or
her father abandoning her in some way.

One final point - sort of OT - did anyone else notice
that the peom William wrote Cecily was a haiku? Re-watching
Fool for love last night, I realized it. (yup was a bloody awful poet myself in my twenties..over thank god!) Three lines, with
same short rhyme scheme. Not a great one but definitely
haiku - which btw are very hard. Sort of interesting since
in Tough Love, Buffy mentions that she really likes haiku
poetry. Another interesting tid-bit, Buffy dated Owen back
in Never kill a guy on first date partly b/c he was into
poetry. May not be important...but is an interesting trend.

[> [> [> [> [> topic (potential spoilery) -- Ishkabibble, 09:41:33 05/31/02 Fri

This is a follow up to your statement "Sort of interesting since in Tough Love, Buffy mentions that she really likes haiku poetry. Another interesting tid-bit, Buffy dated Owen back in Never kill a guy on first date partly b/c he was into poetry. May not be important...but is an interesting trend."

I’ve posted similar thoughts on this coincidence…if it really is a coincidence. I’m inclined to be suspicious of ME, so it makes me sit up and take notice when:

Buffy has to withdraw from college, and the only instructor we see her speak to about this is the poetry teacher, Mr. (or Dr.) Lillian. She expresses disappointment in having to withdraw; the instructor says he hopes she can return when things are better for her. Of all Buffy’s classes and instructors, why would ME write a scene with this particular teacher and class but no other?

Buffy, as you noted, refers to having enjoyed the class, particularly the poetry that reminds her of a sneeze (haiku sounds a little like someone sneezing). Spike formerly was a poet, though not a particularly good one. He wrote haiku, and his name was William. There is a similarity in the spellings for Lillian and William.

In season 6 we see Buffy reading a letter from the university that says her re-enrollment has been denied because it was received after the deadline. So, evidently, Buffy attempted to go back to college.

When season 7 starts, it will be the beginning of a new school session. So, it would be an opportune time for Buffy to re-enroll on a timely basis. (I’ve expected Joss to do something about Buffy’s need to further her education, since it would be so empowering for her to get a degree and Joss is a feminist.)

When Spike returns from Africa, I’d expect him to do something legitimate to earn money, since he now posses a soul. I could envision him teaching poetry…those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. (Gawd I hate to type a statement that is so demeaning to teachers, truly I do.) Or, as someone else suggested, maybe working in a bookstore.

Such a scenario would put Buffy and Spike in proximity to one another in an unthreatening environment and outside of their adversarial roles. It could prove interesting to see them interact as regular people (sans slayer or demon responsibilities).

So, like you, I’m wondering about these supposed coincidences. Also, the name Liam is a shortened version of William. Ergo the difference between Liam and William is Will. Will could be a noun or a verb. Could ME be saying that the difference between Angel (post Liam) and Spike (post William), is that Spike has more will (Will)?

Any thoughts?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: topic (potential spoilery) -- shadowkat, 15:14:46 05/31/02 Fri

"When Spike returns from Africa, I’d expect him to do something legitimate to earn money, since he now posses a soul. I could envision him teaching poetry…those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. (Gawd I hate to type a statement that is so demeaning to teachers, truly I do.) Or, as someone else suggested, maybe working in a bookstore.

Such a scenario would put Buffy and Spike in proximity to one another in an unthreatening environment and outside of their adversarial roles. It could prove interesting to see them interact as regular people (sans slayer or demon responsibilities). "

I've speculated something similar. To the point I wrote
him tutoring Dawn in my head and interacting with Willow,
Buffy not getting in until second semester. But it would
be nice if it was sooner. I do see them following through
on the poetry. Although some of us bad poets actually take
up novels and go into law instead - ach, Spike the lawyer,
frightening thought! I also had him in an out-of-print
used book store.

"So, like you, I’m wondering about these supposed coincidences. Also, the name Liam is a shortened version of William. Ergo the difference between Liam and William is Will. Will could be a noun or a verb. Could ME be saying that the difference between Angel (post Liam) and Spike (post William), is that Spike has more will (Will)?"

I vote for Will - has a nice adult sound.

[> [> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek (spoilers, spec) -- verdantheart, 07:22:48 05/31/02 Fri

You know, I had thought of a very similar scenario. It's hard to believe that ME hired the same actress for the part without any thought to a Cecily/Spike connection, though I suppose it's possible. However, it looks suspiciously like groundwork for a possible (Spike + William = Spilliam?) Spilliam/Buffy/Cecily triangle for S7. It works for the synchronicity of the Buffyverse that Spike's vamping and Cecily's demonizing are somehow connected.

I agree with (I think it was) Rob, who mentioned that he thought Spike didn't recognize Cecily in the Magic Box because of his preoccupation with his pain. Remember, the pain was intense! Even Halfrek seems to shake off her moment of recognition, perhaps chalking it up to a mere resemblance to her former suitor. After all, going by demeanor, Spike and William are quite different. Spike asks "Do I know you?" with a hint that there is a bit of can't-place-you recognition. After all, neither had the expectation of seeing the other again.

I always had the impression that when William became Spike, he felt that he was an entirely different person, so his past no longer mattered to him and he felt no need to "show" anyone anything, therefore, he felt no need to hunt down his former love or any partygoers. The railroad spike thing may have simply been irony. (Sidebar: It's since been revealed that Spike isn't really into torture. Revisionist, perhaps, but perhaps we could say that something was exaggerated along the line. That certainly isn't beyond Spike's personality.) But maybe he did go back and torture some folks just for fun ...

[> [> [> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek (spoilers, spec) -- ravenhair, 16:00:05 05/31/02 Fri

I think Halfrek's reaction at the Summers home was rebuffed by Spike's inability to recognize her (I think Spike finds her familiar, just can't place her). She is a haughty demon after all, as we witnessed her jealousy of Anya in Hells Bells. Halfrek/Cecily's pride may have been hurt because William obviously remains on her mind after a century, yet the gentleman who used to have puppy dog eyes for her doesn't remember her.

I agree that Spike was too preoccupied with his pain to notice Halfrek/Cecily at the Magic Box. I'm not even sure he realized the lady in the Magic Box was the same demon who granted Dawn her wish in OaFA. I did take note of Spike staring admiringly after Halfrek/Cecily as she left the shop, though. Interesting that Halfrek was the one to clue Anya in on the idea men have the same need for vengeance as women.

[> [> [> [> [> Cecily/Halfrek (spoilers, spec) Like the "men need vengence too" connection, good catch! -- SpikeMom, 16:44:18 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Re: possible scenario Cecily/Halfrek (spoilers, spec) -- John Burwood, 12:39:59 06/01/02 Sat

With you entirely on the interpretations of the OAFA and Magic Box meetings of Halfrek & Spike.
My strongest single bet for S7 is that the 'men need a little vengeance, too' was a typical Jossian foreshadowing of Halfrek granting her old beau William a revenge wish against Buffy - with or without him realizing it. What odds nothing happened this year because the grand plan had not included Halfrek & Cecily being the same - but what a chance for a new plot twist? Just the sort of thing Joss would pounce on.
How about 'I wish she would fall in love with some guy who would treat her like she treated me - like dirt'?
What possibilities!

[> [> [> [> [> [> no, more like -- Kitt, 06:27:14 06/02/02 Sun

"I wish she would just listen to me."
Thing about it - all Buffy can do is listen to Spike, and here comes the bad guys... much more ME's style.
Of course, another interesting one would be
"I wish she could just walk a mile in my shoes" or something to that effect and have Buffy and Spike do a body switch!

Crossover Wish List (Spoilers for AtS S3 and BtVS S6) -- SableHart, 10:24:39 05/29/02 Wed

The two Whedonverses now being almost permanently on separate networks, I thought I’d let my imagination run loose on some encounters that we’ll never see, but wish we could.
1. Dawn and Connor. I can see the bad ‘shipper fan fiction already. It would be any soap opera’s dream come true.
2. Cordelia and Xander. With Cordy’s new ‘wisdom’ she could use a reality check from her ex-boyfriend turned selfless saviour.
3. Halfrek and Connor. If anyone has a need for a vengeance demon specializing in bad parents, it would be Connor.
4. Justine and Buffy. Someone needs to teach this wannabe a lesson, and maybe a real Slayer would finally get the message through.
5. Spike and Angel. This is an obvious choice, but somehow I don’t see them getting along, no matter what happened at the end of “Grave.”
Of course, this list is ignoring some of the more obvious pairings, like Giles and Wes, or Buffy and Angel. Does anyone else have any ideas for a crossover wish list?

[> Re: Crossover Wish List (Spoilers for AtS S3 and BtVS S6) -- Kitt, 10:31:12 05/29/02 Wed

actually, a thought comes to mind...
how's this for nightmares - newly remodeled Magic Shop, Anya at the counter, door opens and in walks...
Lilah from Wolfram and Hart!

[> [> Re: Crossover Wish List (let it all hang out...) -- pr10n, 10:44:51 05/29/02 Wed

What if Lilah started dating Ethan Rayne?

What if Willow and Fred... researched together?

Also, Lorne and Sweet could do a number.

[Blech. From the Titanic/Lusitania 'shipper files.]

[> Re: Crossover Wish List (Spoilers for AtS S3 and BtVS S6) -- Susan, 10:34:57 05/29/02 Wed

Those cross-over ideas are all great.

I'd personally love to see a Willow/Cordy scene. You know, Willow is summoned to the Powers that Be to answer for her behavior--and Cordy just happens to be their designated representitive. There probably would be no worse punishement for Willow than to be chastised by St. Cordy...

[> Re: Crossover Wish List (Spoilers for AtS S3 and BtVS S6) -- Dead Soul, 11:16:56 05/29/02 Wed

The Fanged Four back together again, ravaging LA. Although we'd have to resurrect Darla again and de-soul both Angel and Spike. Then the battle royal between them and the Scoobs.

Dead (what can I say, I like 'em evil) Soul

[> [> Here, here! -- Doriander, 21:09:11 05/30/02 Thu

I like em evil too! I would've wanted to see all four of them having a grand evil time together. We never saw that, only antagonism between Angelus and Spike (coalmine scene). The reunion during the Boxer Rebellion is undermined by Angel already having a soul. Perhaps the only instance in which we're actually shown all members, well surviving members, of this twisted family rejoicing and united in their goal is Act I of "Innocence", when Angelus announced he's back. And even that was short lived. We saw little to warrant Spike calling Angelus his "yoda" (I'm really hung up on that one, more than the sire issue).

Anyway, here's my wish. Since S5, around the time of IWMTLY and "Epiphany," I've wanted sooo much for Spike to move to Los Angeles, and bump into Lindsey. So much potential for tag team there, both being Anti-Angel and prone to falling into old patterns despite long ago swearing they'd never be stepped on again dammit! ahem. Spike could work the demon bars, low life dives, Lindsey could work the corporate world.

I picture them starting a support group for guys suffering from I'm-in-love-with-a-woman-with-Angel-issues syndrome. Groo could join. Xander slips in occasionally. Riley will be invited as honorary guest speaker, being the only one that recovered, or so he thinks. This summer, Lilah, ever the feminist, becomes the first female member, and right away demands for a name change. She thinks "woman" is too exclusive, and proposes replacing it with "bitch". Spike concurs. They meet MWF, after sunset, at Caritas' secret VIP room, its existence Lorne wisely never disclosed to the AI crew. TThS, a similar support group gathers here for an infliction of a similar nature, the I'm-in-love-with-a-man-hung-up- on-Buffy. Harmony and Dru, bonding after that incident in the crypt, are founding members. Anya is treasurer. Sam Finn, ever the covert special agent, attends under the false name "Mary Sue".

Fic writers? Four months is a long time.

[> [> [> ROFLMAO!!! -- redcat, 21:24:01 05/30/02 Thu

[> [> [> double ROFLAMAO -- ponygirl, 13:09:09 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> Re: Hear! hear! (even) -- Dead Soul, 13:56:50 05/31/02 Fri

I need to check out that TThsS group....

Dead (an ashamed, but brazening it out, Spikeho) Soul

[> Is defense of Justine -- Masq, 11:28:42 05/29/02 Wed

O.K., I've seen enough of these flip comments about putting Justine in her place that I feel I need to speak up. Not picking on you personally.

Justine: Sure, she made some bad choices as a result of her pain over her sisters' death. But everyone seems to want to pick on her NOT for being Holtz' toady, but for "thinking she's a slayer".

It's as if no one wants a kick-ass woman who isn't supernatural. It's too threatening to have a normal woman who can fight.

These shows are supposed to be about female empowerment, and yet so many fans wants to diss the very ordinary human Justine for taking a few blood-suckers out of the world and training others to do so.

I believe that if fans don't like Justine, they should pick on her personality, or her choices, but they shouldn't pick on her choice to be strong and fight. This is one of the main reasons BtVS and AtS exist.

[> [> Re: Is defense of Justine -- Brian, 11:55:35 05/29/02 Wed

And wasn't Justine's sister her twin? I imagine it would be like have your soul ripped out of your body to loose a twin.
And who's to say that they weren't connected with some type of twin bonding, so poor Justine actually felt the pain of her sister's death. No wonder she was so determined to revenge herself on the vamps of the world, and allowed herself to be so used by Holtz.

[> [> [> I think her relationship with Holtz is the problem. -- cjl, 12:08:01 05/29/02 Wed

Rather than a strong, independent woman who learns to fight and vanquish the bloodsuckers of L.A., fans see a vulnerable, weak- willed woman who submits to a creepy, one-sided (and that side would be hers) relationship with a man who (if we're nice) can accurately be described as a cult leader. Buffy eventually told the Watchers Council to sod off. If Justine eventually throws off the ghost of Holtz, comes clean with Connor, and truly becomes her own woman, I think Buffy/Angel fandom's opinion will improve.

[> [> [> [> Re: I think her relationship with Holtz is the problem. - - shygirl, 10:52:26 05/30/02 Thu

Boy do I agree with you. Holtz started out good perhaps, but I think he became so enamoured of his own "righteousness" that he yielded to hate and pulled a very weaked willed Justine into his schemes. Who, as we know, is continuing the warping of Conner. I hate to think what will happen to her at Conner's hands when he either finds out what she has done or she tells him..

[> [> Re: Yay you Masq -- yabyumpan, 12:04:21 05/29/02 Wed

I totally agree. She is not the most likable character but I think she is also one of the most damaged individuals we've seen on either show. From loosing her twin to Vampires to the terrible abuse and manipulation that Holtz put her through. One of the parts I really liked in Forgiving (a stella episode anyway), was when she was fighting with Gunn and he told her to stay down and she said No.
I don't like her, I don't like what she's done to Connor and Angel but I do feel for her and it was her treatment by Holtz that made me loose all sympathy for him.

[> [> Maybe some people find some of her physical abilities... -- Ixchel, 16:09:39 05/29/02 Wed

To be out of the range for a human? That she seems to have greater strength (or whatever) than should be possible? I admit to having thought this sometimes. Usually both shows are fairly consistent with this type of thing (in that you have a fairly clear distinction between the abilities of the superhuman and the human), so I just dismissed it as my faulty perception. Of course, if this is bothering some, it's not a reason to dislike her (well, not a very good reason anyway).

I hope I didn't offend, I just thought I'd offer this as a possible explanation.


[> [> [> Re: Maybe some people find some of her physical abilities... -- Masq, 17:47:58 05/29/02 Wed

"Maybe some people find some of her physical abilities...To be out of the range for a human?"

That doesn't really clear things up for me. If a fan has an issue with Justine being too strong for a "normal woman" (she does fight almost as well as Gunn), they should take it up with the writers. Aalthough I'd argue that said fan just doesn't have a very wide acquaintance among the females of the species.

They shouldn't take it out on the character. Statements I've heard that I'll summarize as "She thinks she's a slayer, let's take her down a peg" smack of sexism to me.

I think the real problem people have with Justine is not her strength and fighting skills, but what she chose to do with them (at least I hope that's their real problem).

Of course, I'll admit to being a little soft on Justine 'cause I'm a Laurel Holloman fan : )

[> [> [> [> Well, no doubt, she trains constantly and that would suggest... -- Ixchel, 18:59:45 05/29/02 Wed

An optimum physical condition. But, it's seemed to me sometimes, that she is actually stronger than Gunn. No question, there are many women stronger and tougher than a large portion of men, but this would seem unlikely to apply in this case. Of course, this could be a flawed perception on my part (I can't even recall what episodes made me think this). As to the writers, I think they do their best (it must be difficult to maintain a perceptual difference between different levels of strength). You're correct, though, that this would be a problem with the writing and (I suppose) the fight staging, not the character.

It's unfortunate if it's sexism and not just a dislike of the character or her actions (which would be valid after the finale), though. Did people react negatively to Cordelia training? Because I thought that was extremely sensible on her part.

Nothing wrong with being soft on Justine because you like the actor. She portrays her very well. Besides, we all have our favorite villains, almost-villains, conflicted-villains or pseudo- villains (not really sure which one Justine is). :)


[> [> [> [> [> Gunn beats her in a fight... (Spoilers) -- Scroll, 19:57:44 05/29/02 Wed

In "Forgiving", Justine dukes it out with Gunn and while he eventually takes her down, it takes a while and she's definitely strong and determined. She's physically stronger than Cordelia (and certainly Fred), but not a match for Gunn or even Wesley.

I wonder if Justine might have been one of those girls ear-marked to become a slayer, but was by-passed. As far as I can make out Slayer lore, there are actually several young girls who all have the potential to become Slayers, and the Watchers Council finds them and trains them before they're even activated. Kendra was trained pre-Chosen, but Buffy and Faith weren't. If Justine had the natural abilities already present in her, but was never found by the Watchers and never activated, she would still retain some of her potential slayer strength. Now this is all just speculation, I'm drawing from the comic books and possibly fanon for my theory here. Feel free to set me straight if I'm wrong!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Gunn beats her in a fight... (Spoilers) -- JM, 20:27:32 05/29/02 Wed

Actually, I think the writers don't do all that bad. You're right Gunn took down her down pretty decisively, though it took a few blows. Wes looked like he could subdue her too, though that was partly a very fast move. Makes sense, both men train as hard and have more fighting experience than she, both have a few inches and a couple of pounds on her. Gunn and Wes often fight side by side but Wes is more often seen loosing the upper hand and needing a hand from Gunn. Makes sense, Gunn is the burlier of the two. Cordy might be a match for Justine, if she was using a weapon she had trained with. Fred can usually get in a few well aimed blows, but she fights like the slightest of them should. Connor, Angel, and Groo don't have strictly human abilities.

The question is whether any of the humans should prevail against vampires. I think the issue is not just brute strength but also skill. The humans of AI probably have many more moves than the majority of vampires, who don't usually prey on the strong.

There of course have been inconsistancies for drama's sake but not horrible ones.

PS I have to admit I love Justine. I find her horrifying but I still love the character. I completely bought her deception of Wes in "Sleep Tight." The slayer parallels are deliberate. I think I first grasped Holtz''s depravity in "Dad." The scene in the graveyard seemed to be a direct allusion to Buffy and Merrick in the movie. And it was obvious that instead of train of champion, he was going to lead someone into darkness. Brrr. . . .

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks, Scroll. I feel a little foolish now. I don't know why... -- Ixchel, 20:50:54 05/29/02 Wed

I had that impression. Maybe I was doing some complicated comparison in my head of Justine fighting vampires vs. Gunn fighting vampires (and didn't even remember them fighting each other).

It makes sense that there would be a "pool" of potential Slayers at any given time, as the present one could die at any time. If a girl was part of Buffy's (Kendra's and Faith's) "pool", then she would be past the age of being "chosen" by now (presumably). (I would imagine that, if Faith died, a new Slayer would be activated from a present "pool" of teenagers.) So Justine could have passed through the correct age period without being activated (I guess she would have been part of an earlier "pool" than Buffy, though). But I don't think (JMHO) that pre-activation the girls have Slayer strength (or skill). If they did, why would the CoW wait for one to be activated? Why not put them all "in the field"? I believe the CoW trains potential Slayers for two reasons. The first being that having some skills before the Slayer attributes manifest can only help the Slayer. And second (and much more important to the CoW), if they have control over the potential Slayer since childhood they would have a better chance of maintaining that control (having a more compliant "instrument"). This, of course, is JMHO gleaned from various discussions.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Slayers (Spoilers for Fray) -- Darby, 21:18:23 05/29/02 Wed

I was avoiding chiming in, since this hits on one of my pet theories and I don't want to be tiresome, but I don't think that it's a coincidence that shortly after Fray established that Slayers are born with their abilities (physical and psychic), and these abilities can be split between twins, we get Justine with her Slayerish physical abilities and a mysterious (twin?) sister. In Fray, the twin with the psychic connection to former Slayers knew how to react when attacked by a vamp so as to be turned (he bit his attacker and drew blood)...could it be that we will eventually meet Justine's sister?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Slayers (Spoilers for Fray) - Not likely -- Dochawk, 21:59:07 05/29/02 Wed

Her twin be dead. So unless she was vamped we aren't likely to meet her sister.

Jusstine being one of the potential slayers is just a bit much of a coincidence. Holtz doesn't know about slayers, so I even more doubt it. And Buffy really didn't have much in the way of athletic ability in the movie prior to Merrick showing up. But she did figure skate. Always wondered why she wasn't an Olympic champion if she had special abilities before she was called. Kendra was isolated early, so she was already training at a young age.

And why do we hate Justine, because she has never lost to a vamp. Even Buffy has. They make her too good. I think it cheapens the power of the slayer. I'm all for powerful women, but they shouldn't even look like they can match the slayer.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Slayers (Spoilers for Fray) - Not likely -- JM, 04:14:14 05/30/02 Thu

I'm sure if she was ever in a fight against a real slayer she wouldn't last very long. Let put it this way. Buffy can take Angel, Angel can take Gunn, Gunn can take Justine. Thus, ipso facto, Buffy can take Justine.

Justine hasn't lost yet to a vampire, but the night in the graveyard with Holtz she came very close. If Holtz hadn't stepped in she would be dead. If she hadn't met Holtz she would probably be dead by now. I'm sure that is part of her regard for him. After she met Holtz and possibly still after he left she hunted with others to watch her back. And her MO seemed to be cemetaries. The newly risen aren't always the smartest of the pack.

Buffy has lost twice I think. Once to Spike, who is very good at his game, and once in an encounter that shocked even her, apparently a complete fluke.

There is some question about whether the writers have been consistent about human strength vs. vampire strength but not so much so that the man/woman upper-body strength issue should be considered a deciding line. And although Justine is not a large woman she's definitely not a tiny slip of a teenager either.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy losing -- Dochawk, 08:40:39 05/30/02 Thu

Buffy lost to Spike and a gaggle of other vampires in school hard (and then Joyce threatened to knock his block off). In a mano to mano Spike hasn't proved to be very good in recent years ("I prefer the advantage of numbers"). I don't know how much better Spike is than the average vampire, though he does have two slayers on his resume. The Chinese slayer seems to be a poor fighter and we still have no idea what happened with Nicki. Buffy reminds us several times that she keeps saving his life by fighting on his behalf.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The chinese slayer rocked! -- Traveler, 11:30:55 05/30/02 Thu

The actor who was playing her had obviously had martial arts and swords training. Spike barely beat her because she was thrown off balance by an explosion outside.

When has Buffy saved Spike by fighting on his behalf? Pushing him out of the way of a thrown stake when the loan shark attacked doesn't count, because he handled himself pretty well once he was aware of the danger. Pushing him out of the way of Xander certainly doesn't count. Rescuing him from Glory doesn't count because,well, Glory was a god for crying out loud. Buffy herself lost several times to Glory.

Spike has always been shown to be a good fighter. For example, we have seen that he is able to take out small groups of other vampires and/or demons. However, the only times he has been able to beat Buffy or Angel is when he had some kind of edge. I will note however, that he seems to be at his best when he is hopelessly outmatched, as shown by his fights with the two slayers and the flaming hand demon more recently. So, he is definitely strong and skilled enough to be dangerous, even to Buffy.

As for Justine, she was beaten by Gunn and would have been killed by a group of vamps if it hadn't been for Angel. Holtz also saved her life from a vamp once. Angel himself tooled her in under five seconds. So, obviously she isn't the Slayer, just a slayer, the same as Holtz. She can take out vamps all right if she has friends guarding her back, but she can't kill them en mass, and she does lose to them fairly often.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy losing -- Forsaken, 14:00:25 05/30/02 Thu

Buffy and Spike went one on one in School Hard, and he took her down. In Out of My Mind, Spike had his fangs basically in Buffy's throat before the chip activated. In Tabula Rasa Spike took on a whole crowd of vamps that were beating Buffy to death. He's saved her life plenty of times, not just her saving him. And I still wanna see Buffy take on a Ghora demon the way he did.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Question about Fray... -- Ixchel, 21:22:10 05/30/02 Thu

I've never read Fray, but I thought someone mentioned here that the Slayer in Fray was "called" in utero because of some special circumstances (maybe there weren't any other potential Slayers available?). And this was why she had her Slayer abilities from birth. Is this incorrect?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question about Fray... (more spoilers) -- Darby, 08:09:23 05/31/02 Fri

I've seen that theory, but it's unsupported by the text.

According to Fray, after a Slayer who might be Buffy expels all the demons and magics from the Buffyverse, Slayers continue to be born but not called. We know that being a Slayer is not hereditary (at least not by typical family patterns), so what makes a born Slayer? There are implications:

- when Fray is born, potential Slayers exist to be Called - as the story tells it, they "continue to be born but not Called" - making her Calling at an atypical age unnecessary. However, it is firmly established that Fray's physical gifts (and her twin's psychic links-to-previous Slayers-through-dreams gifts), both implied as aspects of a "born" Slayer, manifest from an early age. She is visited by a Watcher in her teens - has he been looking for her since birth? It seems like the Watchers, even the nutjob future Watchers, can quickly find a Called Slayer. Of course, this just muddies up what the heck the Calling actually is, but it wouldn't be the Jossverse if it wasn't confusing one issue while it clarified another.

- pre-Called Slayers can be detected (Kendra for sure, Faith maybe) but not reliably. How are they found? How did Kendra's parents know? The Slayer abilities, even in the possibly nascent levels of pre-pubescence (remember, sexuality is a huge part of the whole mythos), could be detectable by a good network of alert agents. You could even make a case for Buffy's emotionally turbulent home life keeping hers more dormant - we've seen, again and again, how such turmoil makes her weaker even now. I personally think that Faith's high-profile use of her abilities got her hooked up with her Watcher before Buffy's death. It fits the back-story: Faith was devastated by the loss of her Watcher (what, after just a couple of months with a haughty authority figure?), who I think had come along years before and given her a reason for her gifts' existence and a purpose for her life (a purpose diluted by being around Buffy the uber-Slayer).

- we have Joss, who has for 3 years now paralleled the stories between the 2 tv shows. Do we not expect him to tie in a little with his own comics series (which got to this mythological "add- on" just about when Justine and her sister were introduced)?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Interesting, thank you for the information, Darby. -- Ixchel, 15:43:27 05/31/02 Fri

As you've read Fray and I haven't, I probably shouldn't comment (as I'm completely ignorant about it), but I thought I'd offer these (admittedly weak) explanations.

The only defense (of the theory I mentioned) I could imagine for your first point would be that the Slayer powers being divided between two people (which should be a malfunction of sorts as well, I suppose) caused some sort of malfunction in the "Calling" (which I just imagined was an activation of sorts, like flipping a switch).

I also vaguely thought that the way the CoW found Slayers (and potential Slayers) wasn't through any act by the girl, but the Slayerness (and potential Slayerness) gave off some sort of supernatural signal. This would act like a tracer that could be perceived (most of the time) through magic, etc. And maybe among people more attuned to and accepting of the supernatural (say in Trinidad, though I'm not sure where Kendra was supposed to be from) it could be perceived by more mundane people (Kendra's parents?). This is just my idle speculation, of course.

One thing about Faith, she seemed to latch onto Gwendolyn Post fairly quickly (an example of her neediness?). So even if she had only known her Watcher a couple months, I can imagine her forming a strong attachment to (maybe) the first person who ever told her she was worthwhile, important and that her life had meaning (JMHO).

I have to say that JW seems to be operating in the tradition of mythology, in that his is confusing and sometimes (perhaps) contradictory. I don't have a problem with this though, all ancient mythologies are this way too.

Thanks again for the information.


[> [> [> [> Well, it took a few posts.. -- redcat, 20:57:26 05/29/02 Wed

but you've convinced me, Masq. I do see what you're saying about the impled sexism of the standards being applied to Justine in some posts. Gunn also took it upon himself to become a "vampire slayer" (and a pretty good one at that), but I don't remember anyone arguing that he needed to be "taken down a notch." There are many reasons to "dislike" the actions of the character Justine, but to diss her because she is a strong, resilient, focused warrior smacks of discrimination. I don't usually play the like/dislike game (I'm either interested in a character's story or I'm not, but that's not the same as "liking" or "disliking" them), but it seems to me that there's enough reason to dislike Justine -- because she lies, manipulates those around her and seeks abuse -- without having to dislike her because she's a competent warrior.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, it took a few posts..Spoilers for Angel finale -- alcibiades, 11:55:14 05/30/02 Thu

Frankly, I like Justine.

She may be baaadddd, but she is compelling.

Can't wait to see what she does with Connor next year.

And what Connor does with her once he finds out.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, it took a few posts..Spoilers for Angel finale -- leslie, 12:51:37 05/30/02 Thu

I like Justine too, and I've never seen her as "too strong" a fighter. I've always figured that her strength is powered by her rage--training has allowed her to focus the rage, but she is essentially operating out of the same place that created Darth Rosenberg, she just expresses it physically rather than magically.

One of the things I like the most about her is her deep longing for family--Holz has corrupted her partly by playing on her desire for revenge, but also by dangling before her the vision of the two of them and Connor going away and forming an idyllic family unit in the country. She regards herself as Connor's surrogate mother. That is an unusual representation of a "strong woman"--usually you get to be macho or you get to be mom, those are the two cultural stereotypes available. And I wonder if the dislike of her is based on her contravention of those conventions. Not that I'm saying she wouldn't be the Mother from Hell, intentionally or unintentionally (if she were a biological mother, she would probably be a good candidate for the "you have to get a license to drive, but any idiot is allowed to be a parent" argument). Nonetheless, her family orientation makes an interesting parallel to Gunn.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, it took a few posts..Spoilers for Angel finale -- shadowkat, 18:23:06 05/30/02 Thu

Justine is one of my favorite characters on Ats. I actually
started watching it closely again because of her and Holtz.
I see Justine as the anti-Buffy. And Holtz as the anti-Giles. Course I like my characters deeply conflicted.

I agree with leslie and alcibades. Justine is interesting - she clearly has lots of suppressed rage. I believe vampires
killed her sister? So like Holtz she lost her family to vampires. Through Justine and Holtz we explore the wrong
reasons to kill demons and vampires. Apparently it is okay
to do it with detached emotion in order to keep the peace like Buffy does. But to do it out of rage or pain or vengeance is wrong. Because the rage blinds you to good demons and vampires. Interesting moral dilemma. Explored
beautifully by the comparison.

Dang thing is threatening to disconnect me again - so will
send this out quickly...ugh.

[> [> Gee, I didn't have that problem with Justine ... -- vh, 06:57:10 05/31/02 Fri

[> off-screen crossover wish -- Kitt, 08:19:32 05/31/02 Fri

Been contemplating, and y'know, the perfect off-screen crossover (like this season when Buffy met Angel) would have to be an encounter between the 2 soul-having vamps. Spike could be all apologetic and advice asking, Angel could brood about his Shansu being maybe not his after all, and with it all happening off- screen, we get to watch the after-effects.

[> Re: Crossover Wish List (Spoilers for AtS S3 and BtVS S6) -- Talia, 09:21:56 06/01/02 Sat

Spike and Willow form a support group called Big Bads Anonymous to talk about their past evil deeds and plans for reform. Willow decides that Angel should join. They go to LA to seek him out, but surprise! he can't be found anywhere. They're dissappointed, but hold an open meeting in LA to see who shows up. Connor ends up coming in and confessing. Angel is dredged up and they all sit around and brood together. Oh, Faith becomes a correspondence member.

Random Thoughts on re- viewing Barginning Part 1 (Spoilers through The Grave) -- Brian, 11:20:25 05/29/02 Wed

I'm just blown away by how many connectors there are that link the whole season together, even from the very first moments of the new season:

Xander's overeating as a nervous outlet for his doubts about marrying Anya - Takes a whole pile of sandwiches from the Buffybot.

When Willow sacrifices the innocent fawn, she sacrifices her own innocence. Symbolized by the switch from a white dress to a red shirt in the next scene. Is this her price that is paid for raising the dead?

During the ceramony, the 3 red lines in blood that Willow puts on her face will be echoed by the black veins in the finale.

Willow keeps saying "We'll be OK" but none of the Scoobies are ok through out the whole season. Another part of the price to be paid?

The two scenes with the Buffybot and Dawn. In the first, the Buffybot hugs Dawn saying "You're my sister," and Dawn looks uncomfortable, and later, Dawn crawls into bed with Buffybot, just to be close to someone. Later when Buffy returns, she, too, keeps saying to Dawn, "You're my sister," but treats her like a robot throughout the season, action without feeling.

[> Re: Random Thoughts on re-viewing Barginning Part 1 (Spoilers through The Grave) -- clg0107, 11:48:18 05/29/02 Wed

Great observations, Brian!

I saw some whole other things -- when Willow collapses at the end of the foreshortened ceremony, and the other girls take off, who's there cradling Willow? Xander -- mirroring our last sight of them from Grave. VERY nice bookend!

I also appreciated the consistency reflected in Giles' decision to leave coming out of his conversation with the 'bot in the training room. It's in that same place that he sings in OMWF about how he needs to leave to let Buffy grow, and also there where he puts in perspective everything that's happened since, in TTG, where he and Buffy go to talk...and, in the end, laugh!

It was very cool to watch it again, knowing what I know now.


[> [> Another Random Thought.... -- Nos, 12:16:53 05/29/02 Wed

I thought this was neat...Though I have no idea what it means...

Spike's the first person we see this season. He's also the last.

[> [> [> Re: Another Random Thought.... -- clg0107, 11:40:15 05/30/02 Thu

Very cool...I missed that entirely.

I also remembered noticing how when Anya hugged Giles good-bye at the airport, she hugged him like she meant it, for all her wishing he'd hurry up and decamp. And, I was, of course, more attuned to it because of her sweet and plaintive "hug me, too" stuff from Grave.


[> Re: Random Thoughts on re-viewing Barginning Part 1 (Spoilers for Fray) -- Vickie, 12:23:58 05/29/02 Wed

In a recent issue of Fray (the slayer comic), Melaka's nasty twin brother Harth is collecting objects for a ritual to bring in the demons. One is a person vomiting a huge snake, just as Willow does as part of the resurrection ritual.


[> Plus - Dawn's kleptomania is prefigured... -- Jon, 14:11:14 05/29/02 Wed the way she borrows Willow's clogs and then denies it. It sure feels like the details were worked out from the get go.

[> [> Re: Dawn's kleptomania ... (minor old spoilers) -- Robert, 14:40:16 05/29/02 Wed

Dawn had already begun her kleptomania back in season 5 as early as "Intervention", when she pocketed a pair of Anya's ear rings. See for details.

I don't recall any earlier instances of Dawn's indiscretion. The timeline is correct, however, in that "Intervention" immediately follows "Forever", where Dawn first showed her feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness.

I believe that Mutant Enemy had season 6 well mapped out long before they completed production of season 5, and I'm confident that season 7 is already well mapped out.

[> [> [> Didn't Buffy catch Dawn... -- Masq, 15:19:57 05/29/02 Wed

Going through Joyce's purse or something else at the tail end of "Buffy vs. Dracula" when Dawn first appeared? It might have been buffy's purse, or something else that belongs to her (since I don't think Buffy carries a purse)

Buffy says first "who are you" and then says "what are you doing?"

[> [> [> [> Re: Didn't Buffy catch Dawn... -- mundusmundi, 18:31:28 05/29/02 Wed

It was one of Buffy's boxes, presumably for college. Buffy didn't say "Who are you?" (that would've been a little too on the nose), but she does say, "What are you doing in here?"

[> [> [> [> Re: Didn't Buffy catch Dawn... -- Robert, 15:19:18 05/30/02 Thu

I verified on the shooting script that Buffy only asked, "What are you doing in here?" The shooting script doesn't support the hypothesis that Dawn was attempting to steal from Buffy at this time. I believe that Mutant Enemy intended for Dawn's kleptomania to begin as a result of losing her mother and the widening distance between Dawn and her sister. The shooting script only says that Dawn from rifling through Buffy's stuff, which I could well believe of a 14 year old kid sister.

I want Input on Character Parallels (Spoilers of Season 6) -- neaux, 12:57:39 05/29/02 Wed

For those who have seen all of Season 6, I have a few questions that I hope you guys can answer.. concerning characters and the theme of growing up.. and all stuff.

Ok.. Lets say that the purpose of the Troika was to represent the Scoobies' former selves. The "high school" scoobies. And this was my attempt at bad algebra.

Warren = Buffy's High School self.

Dead Warren = Grown up Buffy, loss of Buffy's former self

After Warren's death, Buffy was willing to work together with Dawn. She seemed like she grew up instantly.

ok.. with this as a work in progress theory..

Question #1

Andrew = Xander's high school self
Jonathan = Willow's high school self

or does Andrew = Willow's high school self
and JOnathan = Xander's high school self.

I would like to say that Andrew's crush on Warren was similar to Xander's crush on Buffy. and Andrew's movie referencing is also similar Xander's comic book referencing.

You could also say that Willow and Jonathan share a flare for magic.. and Willow's battle with Buffy reflected Jonathan's tempted betrayal of Warren.

But I know there is a Xander/Jonathan parallel as well.. if anyone else would care to elaborate..

regardless...Question #2

If Andrew and Johnathan still exist, does that mean that Xander and Willow will not truly grow up as long as Andrew and Johnathan live?

or does The fact that they ran away equate to a grown up Xander and Willow?

someone please respond.. please?

[> Re: I want Input on Character Parallels (Spoilers of Season 6) -- Dochawk, 13:19:35 05/29/02 Wed

I like that analysis of Warren - Buffy. I have been a strong proponent that Jonathan is Willow who is not accepted by Buffy. I just think all those feelings he expressed in Earshot would have been what Willow was saying without Buffy' friendship. Alsoisn't Willow's finale rampage the antithesis of what Jonathan did in Superstar?

I don't find the Andrew parallels with anyone nearly as compelling. partly because we don;'t know what he was before.

[> [> Re: I want Input on Character Parallels (Spoilers of Season 6) -- Vickie, 13:43:57 05/29/02 Wed

I'm not convinced yet of these parallels. However, Andrew's disavowed homosexual tendencies nicely parallel Xander's homophobia during high school.

[> Re: I want Input on Character Parallels (Spoilers of Season 6) -- redcat, 15:01:11 05/29/02 Wed

I, too, am not yet convinced there are discrete and absolute parallels between the SG and the Troika, although I've been trying to work them out
in my head for weeks now, but I still see Xander as being far more linked to Jonathan than Andrew. At the most fundamental levels of myth and
allegory, both Xander and Jonathan represent "heart" in their respective triads. Willow and Andrew represent "spirit." Indeed, each time we
see Andrew call forth a demon, he primarily uses his breath, further linking him to the traditional pagan resonance between spirit/breath.

I do agree that there are some interesting links between Willow/Jonathan and Xander/Andrew, as several posters above and elsewhere have
noted, but I look to the structural relationships rather than surface characteristics in understanding the show. In this sense, the fact that Andrew
is gay is not relevant to Willow being gay, but the fact that Andrew is closeted is extremely significant and resonates with a central issue in
Willow's character, i.e., her fear of being un-masked and revealed for the weak "sideman" she is. (side note: I think it's interesting that Willow
doesn't call herself a "sidekick," perhaps the more common American usage and one less gender-defined. Don't have ANY idea about that
fact's significance, or if it even has one, I just find it interesting...). And Jonathan is the one of the Troika who seems to feel the types of
emotions linked to a heart gone wrong, i.e., remorse, guilt, etc. He is the one who tries to bring a moral point of view to the Troika at the end.
In this sense, Jonathan is not a failed Willow, IMHO, but a failed Xander. Andrew never does "get" the message that Jonathan tries to give him
and, in that sense, he winds up being an even more failed [horrible grammar there - sorry about that] version of Willow, for at the end, she does
get Heart’s message of unconditional love.

I know others have posted much more elegant defenses of the Xander/Jonathan link, while many others have pointed out quite interesting
parallels on the Willow/Jonathan side. But if we think about Heart, Spirit, Hand (Warren/Buffy) and Mind, perhaps one can argue that the
Troika could never grow up because they were missing the vital fourth element - "Mind," or the rational, wise, adult, mature voice represented in
the SG by Giles (and, to an extent, by Tara after his departure). All three "boys" seem to have had either no active, positive parenting or very
deficient parenting (Andrew's aunt is out of town, Jonathan's parents don't seem to know he is suicidal, and Warren's mother is so unobservant
that she lets a vampire who looks like a punk mobster into her house and then directs him to her son's room (!). This does not excuse them for
their bad behavior. I'm speaking only about the structural level of the story here and trying to place characters in resonance with each other.
From that perspective, it is important that they are a trio, not a foursome. In geometry as in astrology and Tarot, the triangle is overly-fixed,
stable, but resistant to change or growth. The square, while full of potential for conflict, is an important site of creativity and the process of
manifesting solutions. When Giles returns, the four primary SG are reunited and, even if the fight is with one of their own, they can only defeat
the Big Bad together. Giles uses his mind, his rationality to think things through beforehand. He prepares a “dosed” transfer of power to
Willow, in case his original plan to bind her doesn’t hold. He is Mind - he has a plan and important information. He also gives Xander (through
Anya - I mean. Let’s talk structure here) the critical piece of information - that Willow cannot be defeated by supernatural forces. Both the dose
and data are critical to allowing Willow to connect to her humanity, and Xander/Heart to reach her and thus help save her and the world.

I just wonder if Jonathan will ever get through to Andrew and if Andrew will ever be able to come out of all of his closets?

[> [> wonderful post -- Ete, 15:19:35 05/29/02 Wed

What happens when vampires "die?" (long and boring) -- Apophis, 15:34:46 05/29/02 Wed

This may have been covered before, but I've been away for a while and felt the need to justify my continued existence. I've been wondering about the disposition of a vampire's... whatever after he/she/it dies (yes, vampires are immortal; despite this, I seriously doubt that any vampire will survive the death of the entire universe). The first hurdle is, of course, deciphering what's left after a vampire bites its own dust. It is accepted that the "soul" in Joss's cosmology is the conscience and that vampires lack this ethical aspect to their being. It has also been established that there is some sort of afterlife; ergo, something must survive the physical death. Is the complete soul package (conscience, psyche, and animus) necessary for post-mortem existence or is it something completely different that moves on?
Second question: Where, exactly, does a vampire spend eternity if he is entitled to an afterlife? Are all vampires predisposed to some backwater hell dimension? Taking a cue from all the recent redemption discussions, can vampires enter the Judeo-Christian heaven if they manage to overcome their lack of conscience and lead a good unlife? Islam teaches that any being (even demons) can be saved through submission to Allah; the question, then, is whether or not a vampire would do this (keeping in mind that you can't trick someone who's omniscient). From the Hindu perspective, a vampire could conceivably be reincarnated; but, would a vamp's atman (the aspect of all things that connects them to Brahman) be the same after the subtraction of the conscience? Would a vampire get a new "soul" when reborn or would its atman be permanantly altered? Buddhism doesn't pose much of a problem; in traditional Buddhism, there is no "immortal soul" per say. Rather, certain memories and aspects of one's personality are recycled into a new being who's station and biological complexity are determined by karma (this is what my Eastern Religion professor told me; tell me if we're wrong). Ergo, a vampire would simply be setback on the wheel of life for a turn, but would not be denied enlightenment.
So, if you've read this far, please offer any information you may have.

[> Re: What happens when vampires "die?" (long and boring) -- LeeAnn, 16:27:50 05/29/02 Wed

Vampires seem pretty blase about death. Like the demon inside knnows where it is going once dusted. Or is too stupid to care.

Where does the demon soul go? And do vampires KNOW what happens to them once they die? Does Spike? Is this why they are so fearless, why they make such good cannon fodder?

Or maybe they only think they know, like some religious zealot who thinks being killed in battle will send him/her
straight to paradise.

[> Re: What happens when vampires "die?" (long and boring) -- O'Cailleagh, 16:56:33 05/29/02 Wed

First off, let me say what a great post that was, not boring in the slightest.

Ok, so I'm a Pagan, and believe in reincarnation/Karma, albeit in a different way to how you have described. My belief ( and I thought this was the norm in reincarnation theory, I could be wrong though) is that it is the soul that reincarnates, not the personality, which is as much a shell as the physical body.

Vampires, in my interpretation of the Buffyverse, are dead humans possessed by/infected with a demon-soul. The human soul is evicted by the demon-soul and is trapped/contained within the Ether. When a vampire dies, I believe the human soul is released from the Ether to the Summerland (a kind of waiting room where one evaluates their previous life and decides upon their next incarnation) and back into the Karmic cycle. I am undecided on whether their time as a vampire affects their Karma (although since the human soul is not present, I doubt that it would).

As to the demon-soul, upon the death of the 'host' vampire it would return either to the demon dimension it came from, or the VampDemon group soul (another theory, I think its still on the board in the canon thread), to be reincarnated as a vampire (without retaining memory of previous incarnations/infestations), perhaps after a period of contemplation as in the Summerland.

If this is so, and the demon-souls of vampires can evolve as human souls do, then maybe they evolve enough to reincarnate as a higher form of demon, a pure-bred type. I have no idea how Karma might come into play here though.

[> [> I've always assumed that.... (very VERY slight spoilers for S6 finale) -- AngelVSAngelus, 22:46:13 05/29/02 Wed

When a vamp is dusted, the demon essence itself is simply destroyed, not going anywhere but ceasing to exist. This seems to coincide with the fact that they're walking corpses. A soul is required for natural human animation, its apparent life force, and the thing that continues to exist after leaving the body.
I've always thought of the remnants of the person in the body, the traits and characteristics that make a vampire take on the personality of the corpse they inhabit, as ghosts or shadows of the actual essence that's gone.
So if/when Angel dies, his soul, Liam as the case may be, would continue to exist whereever it is that they go to.
and inversely, if/when Spike dies (before the recent development of the season 6 finale, anyway) he'd simply cease to exist. William's already somewhere anyway.

[> Neither long (for this board) or boring! -- redcat, 17:53:55 05/29/02 Wed

Your questions are interesting, although I, like you, am not sure that they haven’t been discussed previously on the board. If they have, could
someone point us both to the thread - thanks. If not, I’d like to offer an historical observation for the board’s consideration, inspired by these
questions as they relate to two scenarios: the pious but insane Drusilla preparing to take her vows just moments before Angelus turns her, and
the (future) moment when she will join her grand-dame in dustville.

It is my understanding that, in general in the Jossverse, a human cannot be turned into a vampire without some measure of their own consent.
They must agree to drink the blood of the vampire who would become their sire; they consent to the exchange of blood. (Granted, for the sake
of argument, there may be a way to trick or force a human drained almost to the point of death to do this, but we have no examples of that in the
show’s canon so I’m going to toe the overt-text line here.) There has been much discussion of vampirism as “infection,” which is the earliest
metaphor identified in the show for becoming a demon. But recently, because of Willow's story arc, there has also been some very interesting
discussion of the notion of the “possession” of a human by a demon. But the lines are fuzzy. I’ve seen the word used to both to describe the
way the vampire “takes over” a human and the way Evil Magicks take over Sweet Willow and turn her into Darth Rosenberg. Please note here
that I would simply like to add into the discussion some sense of the historical complexity of the meaning of the word “possession” as it relates
to traditional Euro-American cultural conceptions and their effects on historical events. [....this means the post is, like most of mine, REALLY
long and boring.... - read at your own peril - you’ve been warned]

In the critical late 17thC moment when western culture shifted towards modernity, Renaissance-based notions of the Witch and the Devil still
held sway in the minds of most people. “Possession” was not understood as most Euro-Americans do today. I think our contemporary notions
are built as much from bad Hollywood movies as from more traditional cultural sources such as religion and legal theory. However, in the late
17thC, in colonial New England, (primarily) young women who were identified as being “possessed” were understood to be undergoing an
enormous internal “battle” with the Devil for their soul. They were resisting the Devil’s (or his minions, the Witches’) wily seduction. This
seduction was both sexualized and included material gifts (clothes, food, ease of living). The “possessed” girls of Boston and later Salem were
believed when they accused older women of being Witches precisely because they were possessed, and thus were obviously (to the judges
and the ministers, at any rate) fighting a battle against the Devil that the Witches had already lost. In this view, Witches were those people
(some men, but predominantly women) who had given in to the Devil and accepted his control over them, who served their Dark Lord by helping
him seduce others. In the grand battle between Good and Evil, God and the Devil, the souls of the possessed were a major battleground.
Possessed girls were warriors, but only at the end of the battle would one know which side had won, depending on whether the girl “gave in”
and became a Witch or defeated the Devil by reaffirming her identity as Christian, usually by praying or reading a portion of the Bible. This
understanding of possession, held by most of the important players during the Salem trials of 1692/3, was shared across much of 15th- 17thC
Europe (although there is so much regional variation that one needs to be careful with grand unifying statements like that – the Russian
conception was completely different, as were some writings from early Italian demonologists – oh oh, don’t even go there, redcat, get back to

The advent of modernity and scientific rationalism shifted western culture’s concept of possession so radically that the event, with all it’s
culturally-coded graphic writhing, sexual posturing and speaking in tongues, nearly disappeared by the mid-Victorian age (only to be
resurrected, sadly and mostly badly, by Hollywood a century later). Remnants of the traditional concept remained in Catholicism, however,
which is important not only for all those bad Hollywood movies, but for Drusilla. However, those remnants had shape-shifted during their
journey across the centuries. Possession had lost many of the connotations of being an internal battle, and had come to be seen instead -- by
those few who still believed it was possible at all -- as the complete taking over of one’s body and mind by a rapacious, devouring demon,
generally without the host’s consent. Thus, by the 20thC, it is typically the formal adult male warrior of God - the priest/minister – who battles
the Devil for the soul of the possessed host, which soul stands off to one side awaiting the outcome (anxiously, one assumes).

Although we learn Drusilla’s history sporadically and non- chronologically over a series of episodes, what we finally come to “know” about her as
a human prior to her being turned by Angelus is that she was both psychic and extremely religious. She was to take her vows as a novice nun
on the day she became a vampire. I think we can assume that, her internal shame and guilt over her visions aside, Drusilla was a “good”
person and would have, in the normal course of events, gone to the traditional Christian Heaven at her death. The course of events in the
Jossverse is rarely normal, so, after emotionally and psychically torturing her past the point of madness, Angelus is able to capture her and turn
her just before she takes her vows. I contend that this could have happened ONLY with Drusilla’s consent. However, she presents us with a
theologically complex case. If her consent to being turned may be excused by her mental state, then the soul of the pre-Angelus Drusilla, the
soul of the pre-insane good girl who sought only a life of religious devotion, and which was then cast out/covered up/buried/incapacitated
(mechanics unexplained in the canon) when she was turned, remains innocent of that choice. If this is the case, then at the moment of her
body’s death (when vamp-Drusilla eventually gets dusted, as all vampires seem eventually to do), and if her Christian God is just, her still-
innocent soul will be admitted to her proper place in Heaven at His side. If, however, she is held accountable for drinking Angelus’ blood even
though she was insane at the time of her turning, and if she is (by logical extension) then also held responsible for the subsequent centuries of
evil wackiness that ensued from that consent, then her soul would probably be cast into whatever terrible hell God or Dante can devise,
probably one without beautiful dresses OR the beautiful girls who go in them.

To go one step further, “possession” in its modern sense is something that happens TO you, like an infection. (The Exorcist comes to mind
here -- an innocent young child in the grips of horrific demonic possession but who is ultimately not responsible for that possession). If this is an appropriate
description of vampirism, then we have a problem. The human- Drusilla’s state of piety prior to her becoming Angelus’ obsession would have
pretty much guaranteed her entrance past the pearly gates, and if becoming a vampire was something that was done TO her without her
consent, then post-Angelus, post-vamping, post-compatriot-of-the- Scourge-of- Europe Drusilla will also wind up in Heaven. Now THAT would
be a theological conundrum (!!) and is why I do not subscribe to the modern branch of the possession theory. If, OTOH, we see possession in
the older, 17thC way, then Drusilla may be said to have been possessed -- that is Battling the Devil Angelus for her soul (and in her case, her
sanity) – right up to the moment when she lost the battle and chose to drank his blood, thus accepting her future as his “most impious,
murderous” child. She is therefore no longer Possessed, but is Lost, and her soul with her. At her vampire death, at the moment that her body
turns to dust, Drusilla’s human soul will go directly to her God’s hell.

I'm sure that I have not answered any of your questions, Apophis, and, further, am not sure how I actually feel about the notion of Dru going to either Heaven or Hell. As for so many of the characters on BtVS and AtS, I feel quite conflicted about the ramifications of the theology laid out above as it operates within the context of the show's historiography. Mostly, I just feel sorry for Dru, poor dear, as I always have. And no matter where she winds up, I just hope Miss Edith gets to go along...

[> Re: What happens when vampires "die?" (long and boring) -- change, 18:05:43 05/29/02 Wed

Wolfram and Hart were able to bring Darla back, and she eventually regained her personality and her memory both of her life as a human and as a vampire. So a vampire's memory and personality do survive dusting in some form that can be recovered. However, Darla appeared to be quite traumatized when she was first brought back. So it seems she was in a rather unpleasant place. So, I think your suggestion about vampires going to some back water hell dimension is supported by the series canon.

[> [> The Fanged Foursome (warning: may contain spoilers!) -- O'Cailleagh, 19:17:04 05/29/02 Wed

Redcat and Change bring up some points that I forgot to address with my original reply so I thought I'd do it now.
I also forgot to say that as part of my beliefs regarding the afterlife, the initial stages, after passing through the veils/gates/whatever, the soul will go to the afterlife that they believed that they would go to when human. After a period of adjustment, the soul then moves on to the 'waiting room.'
Redcat, as well as discussing Drusilla, reminded me of the consent issue, something which I had not thought about in my theorising. I think that will take a little thought before I can work it in!

Dru was indeed insane when turned by Angelus. How this affects the consent issue, and therefore the 'primary afterlife scenario', is difficult to say....I'll get back to that another time...maybe!

When Darla sired Angelus she drove his human soul into the Ether. The curse by the Kalderash (and later by Willow and who/whatever was 'helping' her) pulled his (Liam's) soul from the Ether and restored it to its body. SoulLiam would now seem to be intertwined with Angelus, or more correctly the demon-soul (since Angelus is the product of Liam's personality, sub-conscious and memories plus the demon). This raises interesting questions concerning Angel's death, if indeed he dies as a vampire as opposed to dying when/if he becomes human. As the two souls are together, maybe enjoined, would they travel together upon his death? Upon reincarnation, would he be born a vampire? Of course, this may be irrelevant as Angel was, until recently, the most likely winner of the Shanshu of the year award...or something! Until, that is, the recent adventures of...

William, presumably a good Victorian type Christian, was going straight to heaven. Til Cecily turned him down and Drusilla turned him on! Enter Spike, the textbook case chip-off-the-old-grandsire. Nasty, evil, bad ass, Slayer slaying mo fo. Apart from the loving Dru of course. And the liking the world (and its happy meals on legs).And the falling in love with Buffy. What does this say for the Demon-soul within Spike? On the way to evolution into a higher demon? Who knows? Things don't get easier with the apparent ensouling of Spike. This creates much the same questions as it does for Angel, with the addition of muddying up the Shanshu thing...tricky things prophecies....

Should either of them ever Shanshu, and become human, I imagine that the demon soul will either return to its dimension/group soul, or possibly go to the Ether, as human souls do on being vamped. Now, if anyone is still with me....

Back when Angel staked her in that early Buffy ep (name escapes me), the demon soul returned to its dimension. The human soul was released from the Ether and apparently ended up in a Christian type Hell dimension (due, I feel, to Darla's actions in life). When she was resurrected by Wolfram and Hart, she was human. Her soul had been returned to this plane and placed in a newly created body. This body was seemingly created from the same etheric blueprint so this explains why Darla had the same appearance and 'retained' her memories (memories, according to Holistic theory, are stored within the body and etheric blueprint). If she had died then, her soul would have gone where she believed it would- presumably back to hell. Once she was re-vamped by Dru however, it went back to the Ether. Where it is now is anyone's guess!

[> [> [> Shanshu question -- shadowkat, 18:43:49 05/30/02 Thu

Okay feeling really stupid here but I have to ask...could someone please
explain the shanshu prophecy? I think I missed the episode
of Angel or Btvs where it was explained. Or could you
refer me to it and I'll grab it from Psyche Transcripts?
You don't have to do it here - since everyone else appears
to know and I'd hate to take up board can
email it to me if you wish.

Thanks ever so.

[> [> [> [> I believe the episode is To Shanshu In L.A., AtS, S1. :) -- Ixchel, 22:20:45 05/30/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Psst--liked your last response to our ongoing discussion, Ixchel! -- Exegy *wanting to give credit where credit is due*, 09:47:46 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks, Exegy. I didn't expect our thread to archive so soon. :( -- Ixchel, 10:51:16 05/31/02 Fri

[> Ideas, no real answers -- Tar, 19:57:58 05/29/02 Wed

According to Giles in 'The Harvest', demons once ruled the earth, but gradually lost their purchase on this reality which allowed the humans to take over. During this mass exodus, a demon was able to mix with a human, creating the first vampire and ever since vampires feed on humans and wait for the return of the old ones.

For the old ones to return, they have to be staying somewhere in the meantime. This suggest that the demons that left the earth never died; they just moved to an alternate reality, perhaps similar to the one from 'The Wish'. When a vampire dies, the body turns to dust since it's only a corpse animated by the demon. The demon is pulled from this world, like the old ones were, to this alternate reality.

Since the old ones, in theory at least, want to return to this world, it must represent a form of heaven to them. That implies the alternate reality is a hell of some form, but what would a demon consider a hellish reality?

Further, where do the demons come from when new vampires are created. Are all vampires animated by the same demon that infected the first human. Is Buffy killing the same demon over and over or are there demons hanging out in the alternate reality til they are called into this world?

Do vampires ever really die?

[> [> re: Demonic creation upon vampiric inception -- AngelVSAngelus, 22:51:36 05/29/02 Wed

Isn't that a mouthful?

I think of vampiric creation as I do the splitting of a unicellular organism like amoeba. Vamp bites victim, mixes the blood, and that 'demon soul' spontaneously generates another one.

[> [> [> Re: re: Demonic creation upon vampiric inception -- Cactus Watcher, 04:56:31 05/30/02 Thu

Interesting explanation. The idea of a 'demonic soul' or an 'anti- soul' could be very fertile for a cycle of vampire stories. It's probably too late in the game for 'Buffy' or even 'Angel' to take full advantage of that kind of detail.

[> [> Re: Ideas, no real answers -- Ronia, 10:31:52 05/30/02 Thu

It would help if they told us by what means the demons lost their purchase on this reality. They had to leave, but I'm less concerned with where as I am with why? Presumably they are stronger than the humans...look at what it took to defeat even one newly ascended demon. From a Christian perspective I guess they would have lost their hold on this world at the death/ressurrection of Jesus...are there any vampires older than that? 2000 and change? Still this show isn't remotely Christian in it's assertions, so trying to decide whether a vamped persons soul would go to a Christian heaven or hell is really a stretch (imo) Still makes for good conversation though :0)

Does fire kill vampires? -- Lozz, 21:03:29 05/29/02 Wed

In the second series of Buffy, in the episode where the vamps are trying to bring the master back to life, she kills a vampire by setting him on fire. Yet in the second series of Angel, he sets darla and drewsilla on fire and they don't die - so whats the real deal?

[> Re: Does fire kill vampires? -- Darby, 21:09:21 05/29/02 Wed

Vampires differ in how vulnerable they are to the various vampire- killing effects, depending on how quickly they need to be dispatched in the script (or maybe it's a real part of the mythology). Anyway, some vamps are much more flammable than others (sometimes, but not always, you could attribute it to poor fashion choices), just as some are quicker to react to sunlight.

[> Yes, but older stronger vampires... -- Scroll, 21:12:03 05/29/02 Wed

Fire does kill vampires, but it isn't necessarily instant immolation. And it also depends on the particular vampire. The fledglings on 'Buffy' and 'Angel' seem to burn up a good deal quicker than Angel, Spike, Darla, and Drusilla (all who have, at one time or another, been set on fire). In the S1 "In the Dark", Spike's hair catches on fire from sunlight, but the fire goes out as soon as Spike steps out of the sun. Later in that ep, Angel jumps out of Oz's van into direct sunlight (he's on a pier at the beach), and he totally goes up in flame. But he lands in water and puts out the fire. I think the older and stronger a vampire is, the more resilient he or she is, and our Fanged Foursome are definitely a cut above your run-of-the-mill vamp.

[> first, it takes a while... -- anom, 23:31:40 05/29/02 Wed

...& 2nd, Darla & Drusilla got to a fire hydrant before it was too late.

[> The amount seems to be a factor as well. -- VampRiley, 12:15:16 05/30/02 Thu

Angel may have burst into flames after jumping out of Oz's van, but in the Wishverse, VampWillow and VampXander were toturing Angel by throwing lit matches onto his chest. They would burn him and fizzle out, but he wouldn't be dusted.


Okay, I feel stupid... (Link to AD interview) -- Darby, 09:25:37 05/30/02 Thu

So I'm reading an interview with Alexis Denisof here and the references to accents made me check...

Am I the only one who didn't know that he was not British??? (Born in Maryland, raised in Seattle!) I mean, I knew about James Marsters but I'd never heard anything about this. Jeez, just when you start to feel reasonably well- informed...

Anyway, the interview's interesting...I don't think that it's got spoilers in it, but what do I know?

[> So where's the interview? -- Masq, 09:28:33 05/30/02 Thu

I just see a short short bio.

[> [> OOPS! Cut-and-pasted the wrong address... -- Darby, 09:34:39 05/30/02 Thu

Try this.

The other's where I looked the info up...

[> I didn't at first. -- VampRiley, 12:19:02 05/30/02 Thu

But I found AD's official site maybe a few months or a years ago or something like that, (I can't remember) and found out. He has like russian immigrant parents or something.


[> Realistic accent... -- Scroll, 13:14:13 05/30/02 Thu

I didn't know AD was American until a few weeks ago when I started to read up on his bio. But apparently he's lived in England, specifically London, for half his life so his accent is drawn from real life. I think it's pretty authentic. He says he tries for an upper class Cambridge accent, perfect for Wesley the over-educated Watcher.

[> Just read the chat interview w/him & JAR-- check out the 'desk' story..HAHAHA! -- SingedCat, 19:00:33 05/30/02 Thu

This site is unique, because when they think about telling the 'desk story' and decide not to, the webmaster gives you a link to a related story told by Amy Acker, which is almost certainly it...

I'll never watch season 3 the same way again.. :D

It's a good interview-it's obvious how well the cast gets along with each other. Read it here:

(I really wish I knew how to make links & italics & stuff...)

[> PS-- And thanks, Dub, for transcribing it! -- SingedCat, 19:01:56 05/30/02 Thu

S7 opener - Spoiler Spec w/no basis & frivolous wishful thinking (longish; spoilers S6) -- LittleBit, 11:12:17 05/30/02 Thu

What I'd like to see...

Giles (Voiceover): Previously not seen on Buffy

Buffy and Dawn heading home from the cemetery join with Xander and Willow also heading for Buffy's house.

Willow: Buffy…Dawn…I…
Dawn: You tried to kill me.
Willow: Dawnie…please…(reaching out)
Dawn: (flinching away) Don't touch me.
Xander: It wasn't really her. It was the magic.
Buffy: Willow, how did you stop?

Giles and Anya approach unnoticed.

Willow: Xander stopped me. He told me…he loves me…
Xander: …no matter what.
Willow: He wouldn't stop telling me…said to take him first if I was going to destroy the world…I…I couldn't.

Anya's hurt is readily visible.

Giles: You were ridiculously lucky. You came very close to killing us all.

Everyone turns and sees Giles and Anya. Anya is looking only at Xander with tears in her eyes.

Buffy: Let's get inside.

Cut to interior Buffy's house. The gang is sitting in the living room.

Willow: I'm so sorry. I just couldn't…couldn't…stop. Not after Tara…

Willow suddenly stops talking and looks at her others, then runs upstairs. She runs back down.

Willow: Oh my god…Tara. Where is she? What's happened to her?!
Buffy:We called the coroner. They came for her.
Giles: You realize they'll notify the police, don't you? Anya told me what happened. They won’t ignore a murder.
Xander: And we tell them what? That Warren shot Tara while trying to kill Buffy but no need to worry, he's gone now?
Buffy: We can't tell them what happened to Warren.
Xander: They'd never believe us anyway.
Dawn: Why can't we?
Xander: Dawn, Willow didn’t know what she was doing, she wasn't herself.
Dawn: She tried to kill me. She wanted to take the Key energy.
Willow: Dawnie, you know I love you. I would never knowingly hurt you. You know that don’t you?
Xander: Dawn, Willow's okay now.
Giles: No. Dawn is right to be concerned, even afraid.

They all look at Giles

Giles: Willow killed with her magic, out of rage. The police aren't equipped to handle this. From what Anya told me there's nothing left of Warren.
Anya: Nothing at all. Not even cinders. Just whoosh…gone.

The others nod their agreement

Giles: Then there's no real evidence for them to act on. And we know the truth will either be disbelieved, laughed at or, at worst, everyone would be considered blithering lunatics. However, what you did (looks at Willow, she looks away) was inconceivably stupid and reckless. We've talked about this before. You have no concept of the risks you take, or the possible outcomes of spells that aren't fully thought out and controlled.
Willow: I know that now. I understand. I'll stop. Xander and Buffy can help me.
Dawn: I don't want you living here. I don't trust you.
Xander: But you'd trust Spike.
Buffy: (glaring at Xander) It'll be okay, Dawn. We'll work something out.
Giles: That won’t be necessary. Willow is going to England with me.

Everyone stares at Giles in disbelief.

Willow: Giles…what…
Giles: The coven that sent me here will undertake your training. Your magic will be constrained by them until you demonstrate your understanding of the use of magic. If you do not prove yourself capable, they will put permanent restraints on your ability to access the magic.
Willow: But…
Buffy: I think this is the best thing, Will.
Xander: Listen, it wasn't all Willow's fault. Warren deserved to be punished.
Buffy: Punished, yes. I haven't forgotten he shot and nearly killed me.
Xander: He did kill you. Willow saved your life.
Buffy: And I am very grateful to you (smiles at Willow, who smiles tentatively back). But Warren was human and there are laws for punishing human crimes. Andrew and Jonathan would both be spending time in prison if we hadn't had to protect them.
Giles: Yes. And since there is no adequate legal punishment for your actions, Willow, those who do have authority in the areas of magic have determined that they must take a hand in this. Your actions resonated around the world.
Willow: I'll do whatever is required. But not until after Tara's…
Buffy:…funeral. No, not until then.

Cut to the Magic Shop. Everyone is gathered following Tara's funeral.

Anya: That was very nice.
Dawn: I can't believe her family wouldn't come.
Giles: When I spoke to Mr. Maclay he just said they weren't her family anymore and to do whatever we wanted.
Willow: I'm her family…I mean…we're her family.
Buffy: How're you holding up, Will?
Willow: Not so very.
Xander: Anything we can do, you name it…
Willow: (looking at Giles) I think maybe a change of scene would be good.
Giles: Perhaps so.
Anya: I liked Tara a lot. I miss her.

Silence falls over the group, each thinking their own thoughts.
Cut to the airport. Giles and Willow are preparing to board the plane. Xander, Buffy, Dawn and Anya are there to see them off.

Willow: I'll call and let you know how I am, okay.
Xander: You better. Or else I'll have to come after you.

They smile. The public address system calls final boarding.

Giles: That's us.
Buffy: Don’t stay away so long.
Giles: I won't. And you can call, you know.
Willow: And there's e-mail too.

They get on the plane. Everyone waits until it leaves the gate.

Buffy: Come on Dawn. Let's go home. (They smile at each other).
Xander: (to Anya) Where are you headed?
Anya: To work.
Xander: I'll drive you.
Anya: (hesitates) Okay.

Cut to Magic Shop.

Xander: Anya, we need to talk.
Anya: About what?
Xander: Us. You. The demon thing.
Anya: You made yourself quite clear. Many times.
Xander: This is now.
Anya: It doesn't matter. I know now you don't love me the way I love you.
Xander: What are you talking about? I love you. You know that.
Anya: You love Willow no matter what she is or what she does. You don't love me enough to marry me.
Xander: That's ridiculous! It has nothing to do with us!
Anya: Maybe we shouldn't see each other.
Xander: Ahn…you don't really mean that. (Pauses). Do you?
Anya: Come back when you figure out what I'm talking about.
Xander: (Plaintive) Ahn…
Anya: I have to work now.

Cut to Africa. Nighttime.

Spike: What the bloody hell?!!!
Lurky: I have granted your request.
Spike: Like hell you did! What kind of crazy bugger do you take me for?!
Lurky: Your quest was successful. Your request is granted. All else is of no concern to me.

He vanishes, leaving Spike alone in the cave. Spike leaves the cave, muttering to himself about a stupid git of a demon with their bloody asinine sense of humor. As he's walking through the encampment he stops abruptly.

Spike: (clearly focused inwardly) Giles.

Opening theme plays

Cut to four months later.

[...and yes, I'm keeping my day job. ;)]

[> Brava LittleBit! -- SpikeMom, 11:41:45 05/30/02 Thu

If we keep posting our S7 Opener speculations we might just get through til October!

Good writing and dialogue, sounds just like the characters. I'm not so sure it would work to remove Willow from Sunnydale, then we've seen that no one is immune from departure.

Of course the first words out of Spike's mouth are going to be "Bloody Hell", I mean what else would he do? He never really manages to get exactly what he's aiming for. He's the portrait of eternal frustration.

Again, gooey speculatory goodness. Ew, that sounds ... ew.

[> Re: S7 opener - Spoiler Spec w/no basis & frivolous wishful thinking (longish; spoilers S6) -- sanjerine, 12:50:08 05/30/02 Thu

Heh. I like this a lot. The Willow plot development (I came to the same conclusions) looks like the fan fiction I'm currently writing -- jinx, I owe you a Coke....

[> [> LOL! My favorite! -- LittleBit, 15:19:33 05/30/02 Thu

[> One additional scene...Cut to: Devonshire -- cjl, 13:23:03 05/30/02 Thu

Willow, Giles, and a dozen members of the Devon coven are meditating in a circle amidst the great stones of an ancient Druid temple. There's magical power crackling in the air; it looks awe- inspiring, a little scary and very...runic.

GILES: Willow, you're trying too hard. This place is a natural focal point for the ley lines of Earth's magic. Relax. Attune yourself to the natural world all around you.
WILLOW (voice trembling): Kinda hard to relax with the wind howling, and the dust swirling, a-and, y'know, the audience. GILES: The coven is here to make sure there are no intrusions on the mystical plane. (Willow turns and looks to a spot off-camera, right. Giles grabs her by the chin, yanks her head back to face him, and gives her a Ripper-ish glare.) You are not going to learn control by making excuses, or by using others, no matter how well-intentioned, as a crutch. I will not--
COVEN LEADER: Rupert, aren't you being a little hard on the girl?

(The coven leader is female, 75 years old, with long grey hair and a warm, enveloping smile. She is beautiful, wise, and infinitely kind.)

GILES: Emmaline, with all due respect...
EMMALINE: Honestly. We're here to help Willow. If she feels more comfortable with familiar company, I don't see how it could hurt. (Willow smiles.)
GILES: But he-- (Sighs.) Oh, all right.

(Emmaline turns and looks in the same direction Willow looked to before.)

EMMALINE: Mr. Harris?

(Cut to: Xander, sitting in a lawn chair in the shadow of one the great stones, with a bag full of fish 'n' chips in his lap.)

EMMALINE: Mr. Harris, would you care to join us?
XANDER: What? You and the circle and the chanting and the magic? Uhh, I don't think that's a good idea. Bad track record when it comes to magic. It could get all Wicker Man around here.
WILLOW: Xander...please? (Pleading with her eyes.)
XANDER (puts down the chips and heads for the circle): Okay. Couldn't ever say no to that. (Takes his place to Willow's left. Giles is on her right.) Giles, are you sure I'm not going to screw things up here?
GILES (smiles): Well, fortunately, there's no Latin involved.
EMMALINE: Willow, are you ready?

(WILLOW takes Xander and Giles' hands. All is right with the world.)

WILLOW: Ready.

[> [> LOL! Fish n' chips... I can totally see that happening! - - Scroll, 13:32:29 05/30/02 Thu

[> [> No no no no!! No druids!! -- leslie, 16:27:02 05/30/02 Thu

Please please please--druids have nothing to do with megaliths (well, not until the twentieth century). The megalithic monuments of Britain predate the druids by somewhere between 2000 and 3000 years! Actually, druids have nothing to do with Wicca, either-- completely different religions, completely different attitudes toward magic. (You want the long story, if you happen to see a History Channel In Search of History program called "The Enduring Enigma of Stonehenge," you will be able to see me expounding at length on this subject.)

On the other hand, it is a little-known fact that the famous Neolithic skeleton of the Red Man of Paviland (actually a woman) was discovered in close conjunction to a fossilized battered cod and a very, very, very old bottle of vinegar. ;)

[> [> [> Re: No no no no!! No druids!!--correction -- leslie, 16:50:42 05/30/02 Thu

Sorry, that's the Red Lady of Paviland, who is actually male, and Upper Paleolithic (c. 24,000 BCE) rather than Neolithic. Too much writing this week! My brain is meeeeellllllltiiiiiiinnnnngggg!

[> [> [> Re: No no no no!! No druids!! -- shadowkat, 18:12:13 05/30/02 Thu

Leslie is absolutely correct. Wicca and druidism are completely different. Wicca is actually several years
younger than druidism. Druidism is far older. And before
that there's another religion which is vaguely referred to.
But never quite given a name...unless someone out there
knows it?

[> [> [> [> Re: No no no no!! No druids!! -- leslie, 18:33:49 05/30/02 Thu

I'd also like to point out that actually, practicing in a megalithic circle would make *more* sense in many ways for Wicca than druidism. Just don't call it a druid circle! (Recommended: _The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles_, _The Rise and Fall of Merry England_, _Stations of the Sun_, and _The Triumph of the Moon_ by Ronald Hutton.)

[> [> [> [> [> OT: Druidism, Wicca -- Corwin of Amber, 20:23:53 05/30/02 Thu

As a Christian who wouldn't know a Druid if one bit him on the toe, could somebody give a brief explanation of the difference between it and Wicca and maybe point me to a good website?

[> [> [> [> [> [> No religious offense intended. Just thought it worked given the situation. -- cjl, 21:11:01 05/30/02 Thu

You know...England, nature, magic.

I stand corrected.

(Besides, I just wanted to write the scene with Xander in the lawn chair, eating fish and chips under the megalith. It's one of those absurd images that you can't get out of your head until you put it down on paper...or on screen.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: No religious offense intended. Just thought it worked given the situation. -- O'Cailleagh, 06:49:30 05/31/02 Fri

No offense taken at all, I quite enjoyed your scriptlet. As to the Wiccan/Druid thing...Wicca is a modern tradition (circa mid 20th century) of Witchcraft. It was created by Gerald Gardner (Gardnerian Wicca) and based on a blend of different Pagan traditions (eg Celtic, Druidic, Germanic, Italian) and elemnts of Ceremonial Magick. Wicca has evolved in many ways since then and now has many sub-traditions of its own.

Druidry is an ancient Pagan religion/philosophy which is Celtic (Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Cornish, French, Spanish) in origin. It is found today in one of three forms (usually). As a Pagan religion, as a Christian religion (since Victorian revivalists), and as a folklorists gathering type thing. The Druids were not responsible for the construction of most megaliths although they did use them for their rituals and still do.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: OT: Druidism, Wicca -- Wicca-in-Training, 21:14:34 05/30/02 Thu

Okay, I'm still fairly new to Wicca, and I don't know much about Druid's, but here is the best answer to your question that I can do. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Druids believe mainly in the spirits of the earth. Everything that grows, or is created by nature has a spirit, and that wisdom can be gleamed by those spirits. Each spirit is completely different, yet live together in harmony.

In Wicca, there is really one spirit, with many, MANY faces and personalities. Most commonly referred to as the Lord and Lady. The Lord and Lady both have 3 main faces, (Maiden, Mother, and Crown for the Lady, Lad, Lover, Lord for the Lord)

I hope this helps, and I hope I didn't put my foot in my mouth


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Crone not Crown :) -- Ete, 03:54:58 05/31/02 Fri

[> Re: S7 opener - Spoiler Spec w/no basis & frivolous wishful thinking (longish; spoilers S6) -- Rikki, 16:59:47 05/30/02 Thu

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this. I for one would not be too disappointed if the opener panned out anywhere near this - well done!

And if you want to give up your day job - you go right ahead - you have talent and passion and I'm sure it could take you far. Good Luck!

My Review of Attack of the Clones - O/T -- Dedalus, 16:31:22 05/30/02 Thu

Hi guys. I haven't had much of a chance to contribute to the discussions here, but I have been reading them for the past week. Awesome, as always. Anyway, my new article is up at, so head on over if you feel so inclined. "When All the Galaxy Was Young."

I hope I can chat next week.

[> I liked it A LOT! -- MayaPapaya9, 19:37:16 05/30/02 Thu

Okay, the first thing I'm doing after finals is reading Joseph Campbell :) Nice work Dedalus!

[> I'm glad I read this before I saw it... -- Dichotomy, 20:09:39 05/30/02 Thu

It'll give me a different perspective when I go. I tend to think too literally, so I always appreciate an analysis that goes deeper than the literal. Thanks, D!

[> I went over and had a read -- Rufus, 03:09:20 05/31/02 Fri

I posted both May articles over at ConverseBuffyverse and left you a message where I read "When all the Galaxy was Young".....I had to combine my names to become the yin yang of both poster identities...;)

[> [> Re: Favorite Lucas quote of all time -- Dedalus, 12:41:43 05/31/02 Fri

Thanks all! I really had to hustle to say what I was trying to say. That was more a set-up than anything, but hopefully it worked pretty well.

Ruf, I have yet to get into ConverseBuffyverse. Sigh. Just one thing after another, and damn it, Yahoo will not cooperate. But I so totally appreciate you posting links everywhere, you have no idea how much.

BTW, I think this is my favorite Lucas quote of alllll time, right out of the SW Insider -

"I stay away from critics. I just don't find them valid in any way. If criticism were the kind of analysis it was meant to be in the first place - as it is in other arts, where you have literate, sophisticated people, who are knowledgeable - then it would be worthwhile to listen to it. But I haven't discovered anybody who knows anything about film. To have them rant and rave about their personal feelings is a waste of my time."

I really love that.

[> [> [> Re: Favorite Lucas quote of all time -- Rufus, 17:27:31 05/31/02 Fri

I opened the Converse Buffyverse site to the public you only have to join to if you go it should show all the archived stuff...

ConverseB uffyverse

Loved the Lucas quote, I agree with him....but I wonder how much he enjoys good reviews from critics or does he just go by the fan response?

[> [> [> [> Re: Favorite Lucas quote of all time -- Dedalus, 11:41:51 06/01/02 Sat

From what he says, Ruf, he goes by reaction from the audiences themselves. Not to mention, Lucasfilm of course does exit polls.

I can see the group now. Thank you.

[> [> [> [> [> Good, I opened it to the public -- Rufus, 19:09:09 06/01/02 Sat

Cause people couldn't join or had problems posting....hope that helped with those glitches.

[> All I can say is Wow -- Majin Gojira, 10:31:08 06/01/02 Sat

Evil is organized then why isn't good? -- zander, 20:09:04 05/30/02 Thu

I mean Evil has all these sources like funding and other things while the good guys are spread out and unorganized. Why don't the guys come together and fight as a resistance.

[> Re: Evil is organized then why isn't good? -- Wolfhowl3, 21:01:57 05/30/02 Thu

Mainly I think because Good can not see most of Evil. Evil works in the Shadows, building it's power slowly until it is ready. Good only get's a chance to react to what ever comes at it.

That is why the Sith stayed alive for a thousand years, right under the Jedi's noses.

I'm Sorry to bring up Star Wars, I just thought it showed my point well.

To Quote Dark Helmit "Evil with always win, because Good is Dumb!"

Darth Wolfie :) lol

[> Re: Evil is organized then why isn't good? SPOILERS for BtVS through Grave and AtS S3 -- Dichotomy, 21:40:35 05/30/02 Thu

Okay, I know I'm not going to state this as eloquently or coherently as I'd like, but maybe it's this: Evil has no consience so it's easier to organize like-minded evildoers into a cohesive unit . Evil, by its nature, isn't concerned about the fallout from its wrongdoing. Using an example from Angel, Wolfram and Hart has tried specifically to mess with Angel in many ways and in doing so, innocents and even their own colleagues have been killed. The extra casualities are of no concern to them--they're evil.

On the other hand, good is more subjective. What is a good and just act to one "good" person may be questionable to another. Both individuals can be good, but not in agreement. The Scoobies and AI are examples of a "good" group of individuals who often find themselves questioning the actions of their own members: Should Warren be killed for his actions? Was Wesley justified in taking Connor away from Angel? Members in both groups often disagree, or partially agree or even flipflop in their views of how a situation should be handled. And you'll see further evidence on this board when topics like this are discussed--there isn't one truly right answer for everyone.

Now extrapolate this division to a larger group. It seems to me that the more good people you try to organize, the more complex it becomes. That's not to say that the complexity is bad, it just makes it harder to unite all the good guys all the time.

If you're truly evil, you just don't care, unless it messes with your plans. When things don't go as planned at W&H, they get mightily pissed, but seem to lose little sleep at the thought of dead colleagues. They can continue the business of evil, fully funded, without handwringing or questioning the ethics of decisions made.

That's just my gut feeling though.I'm sure there's another way to explain it. Anyone?

[> [> Re: Good has organized… -- LittleBit, 05:20:38 05/31/02 Fri

I agree that there are too many interpretations of what is good and how should it be applied for the forces of good to effectively organize in the way evil has.

We've seen three examples (at least, there may be more but right now only these come to mind) of organization of the forces of good on BtVS on a large scale and two on a small scale.

To address the large scale organizations first:

The first was the Initiative, an organization whose purpose was to capture the 'bad' creatures (vampires, demons, werewolves, and so on) and attempt to render them harmless to human society. Unfortunately, in order to do this value judgments were not possible, there was no allowance for the possibility that anything (not anyone) non-human could be other than an animal, and therefore human standards governing interaction could be discarded. Orders and regulations were necessary to maintain discipline within the Initiative. Questions regarding the purpose behind the organization were discouraged quite firmly as was independent thinking, and information was disseminated on a need- to-know basis only. The Initiative had vast scientific and military resources at its disposal but these were applied only within the framework of its prime objective. The Initiative ultimately failed because it's own structure prevented growth, prevented the flexibility needed to deal with its own mistakes (Adam) and it was destroyed by those mistakes.

The other example that comes to mind are the Knights of Byzantium. Again we have an organization that has devoted itself to a 'good purpose', that of destroying the key that could allow the Beast (Glory) to open the portals of all dimensions, demon or otherwise, into our own. However, as we see, the singlemindedness of this purpose places it in direct opposition to good as defined by Buffy, who is equally adamant about protecting the key (a purpose shared by the monks who created Dawn, another organized and extinct group for good) and defeating Glory instead. It seemed that the KoB in its encounters with the Beast had determined that defeating the Beast was beyond its reach, and so they concentrated on containing and confining her to this dimension in her weakened state. They, like the Initiative, had vast resources available, in this case spiritual/religious power, to draw on in destroying the key. But when they located their objective and concentrated their forces, they were held at bay by a small flexible force. Again though, by the concentration of their forces against the key, they provided the opportunity for the Beast to kill them all, effectively rendering the Knights useless.

The third group is the Council of Watchers. They have long ago established the purpose of the Slayer, the regimen with which she is to be trained, the rules under which she is to function. The Slayer is their tool in the battle against evil as defined by the Council. When their tool rebels, they withhold their resources. They refuse to provide information to save Angel because their purpose is to kill vampires, not save them. They threaten to withhold critical information regarding Glory unless the Slayer returns dutifully to the fold. They adjust to changed status only when their entire purpose is threatened in return. Whether they are able to re-establish their hierarchies remains to be seen. It is possible that the current Slayer has altered things beyond repair for the CoW.

In these examples the problem with organizing the forces of good is demonstrated: to do so unyielding definitions of 'good' and 'evil' must be generated and rules created to regulate how evil is fought. Ultimately, though, the 'evil' steps outside the rules and the organization fails because it will be unable to respond to, or possibly recognize, the changed definition.

The two small scale organized groups for good are the Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations. They remain generally successful in their goals because they remain small, flexible and creative. Dissension and disagreement within the group is allowed, even encouraged, and the approach to the evil they battle is tailored to the aspect of evil being faced at the time, not based on predefined rules of engagement. Both groups have a unique composition. The Scooby Gang includes a Slayer, Witches, Vampire, Watcher, Ex-demon, Watcher, Key, Everyman, at one time a Werewolf. AI has a Vampire with a soul, Demons, Demon hunter, Seer, Scientist, ex-Watcher. The very composition of the two groups helps to assure that the thinking within the group will remain dynamic, that the definitions of good and evil will evolve with the growth of the members of the group. These groups have resources, but they are generally personal resources rather than outside ones.

So, good has organized in the BuffyVerse, but has only remained successful in the long term when the size of the organization lends itself to flexibility and growth.

[> [> [> Watchers Trust Fund, Star Wars II spoiler -- FriarTed, 10:13:07 05/31/02 Fri

Granted, B isn't exactly working for the CoW, & thus perhaps her money woes, but even if she were, I could still see her having to sling the Doublemeat because the Watchers can dole out the orders & the responsibility but keep a pretty tight fist on the bucks. Giles seemed to manage comfortably while in retirement & even had some cash for Buffy, but shouldn't Slayers just not have to worry about funds?

Same with the Jedi, couldn't they have just bought Anakin's Mom, granted her freedom & saved him from that anxiety? But NOOOOOO- he's gotta overcome (ie repress) all emotional attachments- and now what are the Jedi gonna get- Darth Vader. The bloody tight- asses deserve it. *L*

ASH interview (spoilers for season 6) -- JBone, 20:20:38 05/30/02 Thu

pick it apart...

Anthony Stewart Head

He gave a interview at

[> Re: ASH interview (spoilers for season 6) -- Wolfhowl3, 20:56:32 05/30/02 Thu

a very interesting Interview, but one thing I don't understand, was is done before or after "Grave"? What I mean is, Was ASH hinting at his part in "Grave", or about future spots in Season 7.

Still hoping to see Giles have some tea with William/Souled Spike. Would be great!


Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- Lonesome Sundown, 20:33:30 05/30/02 Thu

Go here

There are many people who are angry with ME because they feel that the storyline with Tara's death and Willow's rampage reinforces the "evil/dead lesbian cliche" of (I quote from a response)

"... television lesbians dying, turning evil, and never knowing true happiness."

There's a long FAQ at the kitten board here explaining the cliche in detail. I just skimmed over it (plan to go back to it again), but it makes some very good points about how the events of "Seeing Red" perpetuate the cliche.

I guess I have two questions.

One, if people here think that the storyline actually perpetuates the cliche.

Two, if so, why ME chose to do so. It's not as if ME was unaware of the cliche. There are various quotes by Joss and other writers in the FAQ to the effect that they would avoid playing out the cliche. Besides "Buffy" has been very aware of its feminist and gay-friendly message and Joss and ME have been very consistent in their portrayal of these messages over the years.

Maybe ME decided that they won't be bound by conventional ideas of how a gay-friendly show should portray its gay characters? After all, Joss and co. have turned conventional stereotypes upside down and inside out. Maybe they need this plot stratagem after they wrote themselves into a corner with Willow's "magic addiction"? (I know the handling of the addiction issue has left many people unsatisifed).

I am sorry if this issue has been discussed already. I tried searching the archives and nothing similar to this showed up.


[> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- Rob, 22:06:42 05/30/02 Thu

Check out Masq's analysis of "Seeing Red" here for quotes from Joss and Steven DeKnight on the issue.

I forget where I read this next thing...but another writer brought up a good point, that if Willow was being punished for being a lesbian, Tara would not have been on the show as long. She would have died much sooner. It would have been a 3 episode story arc, tops, and at the end, Willow would have learned her lesson and become straight again. Instead, Tara was on the show for three years, three years of great character development. She was not a character brought on to teach Willow the evils of lesbianism. Willow's love for Tara transcended gender boundaries, and, it is not the fact that Tara was a lesbian that turned Willow evil. In fact, Tara had left her earlier this year for what basically amounts to mind-rape. If Willow was being punished at all, it was for her mis-use of magic. Tara was in the unfortunate position of being the thing Willow loved more than anything in the world...and thus had to die to bring Willow to the darkest place in her life.

Also, according to DeKnight, Willow will continue to be a lesbian, so this is obviously not meant to teach people of the evils of lesbianism. (If it was, Willow would stop being a lesbian! BUT SHE CAN'T!!!)

Like Joss, I find a reading such as that as being remarkably one- dimensional. While you shouldn't kill a character because she is a lesbian, you should also not refrain from killing her if the sole reason is that she is a lesbian.

I adore Tara. Willow and Tara were without a doubt my favorite couple on the show. But the story is always the most important thing, and the storytellers felt that Tara should die. And I back up that decision completely, for it is part of what is, in my opinion, the most compelling storyline BtVS has ever done.


[> [> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- Dochawk, 23:14:58 05/30/02 Thu

I agree for where the story to go where they wanted it to go, Tara had to die, nothing else would have worked. And the writer gets to decide where the story goes. But once they put it out there, it is the viewer who interpets it. Since the rumor of Tara dying had been out there since the beginning of the season there were plenty of people out there who had expressed concern over the cliche. ME and Joss are being haughty when they claim they didn't mean it that way, therefore it isn't. They made a major mistake in having it appear that Tara was killed immediately after having lesbian sex (whether this is true of not, it appeared that way to many and thats what matters). DeKnight in his interview basically said as much. This is the most glaring example of art's great debate: is the message that matters the one the artist intended or is it the one that the viewer sees. My view is that they could have had Tara murdered and gotten the story they wanted and still avoided the obvious cliche.

[> [> [> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- Rufus, 23:51:56 05/30/02 Thu

It's all in perception. I didn't think of the epsiode Seeing Red as being the lesbian cliche, but I can understand because of the timing of the actual death there may be a perception with some viewers of the lesbian cliche as being used. I don't think this was intentional, I don't think they intended to say that being a lesbian is something to be punished for. Sometimes all there has to be is a perception of something, in this case the timing of the death of Tara for people to take that death to be the total end result of the writers stance on lesbians. I don't think that is what we have been shown in the past few years that Tara has been on the show. Tara is a beloved character to many people gay and straight. I saw the relationship as the same as any love relationship. Tara's death to me wasn't a punishment for lesbians as much as an illustration of just how random and pointless death can be. If I had been shown Tara and Willow to be a couple that were "wrong" because their sexuality I would have said that the lesbian cliche was indeed used, but we didn't see that, we saw a random killing of a beloved character who just happened to be gay.

[> [> [> [> Agree...(Spoilers for Two to Go) -- shadowkat, 17:02:14 05/31/02 Fri

I saw it as just a random death as well. Of course I knew
she was going to die for quite some time. Apparently Joss
initially wanted her to get shot at the coffee shop, but
they changed it - maybe for dramatic impact? But I certainly didn't perceive her being shot as punishment for
sex - still don't see that. That's like saying finding
Jenny dead in Giles bed in Season 2's Passion was punishment for Gile's romantic relationship with Jenny.

The only time I think ME used the sex as bad metaphor was
in Surprise/Innocence and they hit us over the proverbial
head with it. They didn't do it here. First of all both
actress' were fully clothed. They'd been seen having sex
much earlier and getting clothed afterwards and being fine.
Also we see them in bed together as early as Bargaining.
If that was the message - they would have killed Tara the moment she slept with Willow - just as they made Angel lose his soul the moment he slept with adolescent Buffy.

It was clear as early as Season 3 - that whoever ended up
with Willow was dead - why? To demonstrate Willow's dependency issues. Willow's an addictive personality and
can't handle the loss of loved one, she has no self outside of them, she says as much in Two to Go.

WILLOW: Let me tell you something aboutWillow: she's a loser. And shealways has been. Everyone pickedon Willow in junior high, highschool, up until college with herstupid mousy ways and now - Willow's a junkie.

BUFFY: I can help.

WILLOW: The only thing Willow was evergood for...(She starts to come down, just a fraction...)

WILLOW (cont'd)- the only thing going for me -were those moments - justmoments - when Tara would look atme and I was wonderful.(beat)And that will never happen again.

(From the shooting script, Psyche Transcripts)

That's why they killed Tara - it is sooo obvious, they hit us over the head with it repeatedly.

So I have one question - would it have been better if they never created the gay relationship? Instead just found another guy to put Willow with and killed him? Personally,
I don't think so - I loved Tara and Willow - they were
great together and their relationship stretched the boundaries a little more. They took a risk and I applaud them for it.

[> [> [> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- KSJ, 11:34:56 06/03/02 Mon

This is the most glaring example of art's great debate: is the message that matters the one the artist intended or is it the one that the viewer sees.

In my opinion, it's only the artists intent that counts. The artist can't control what the audience infers. Do you honestly believe that if Tara had been shot having coffee with Willow (as the story was originally envisioned by Joss Whedon) rather than in their bedroom, that some faction of the Willow/Tara fans wouldn't STILL have made it about the fact that these were gay characters?

Or lets use another example: some viewers infer from Sesame Street that Bert and Ernie are gay characters and have chosen to take offense. The only way the creators of Sesame Street could have avoided this was not to depict two male characters sharing a living space. The viewers obviously inferred a subtext that was never intended. Should that inferrence, which clearly comes straight from the imagination of those select viewers, carry more weight than the artists' original intention?


[> [> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- Lonesome Sundown, 06:56:35 05/31/02 Fri

Thanks a lot everybody for some wonderful posts! It's great to see different perspectives on this isssue.

Traveler: Excellent post!

Rob and Rufus: None of the criticism of ME that I have seen thinks Tara was killed because she was lesbian. People acknowledge "Buffy"'s gay-friendly stance, but feel that ultimately the story reinforced the stereotype. After reading the posts in this thread I can see that this view is not necessarily true.

Dochawk: [...] is the message that matters the one the artist intended or is it the one that the viewer sees [...]
I think any interpretation is equally valid as far as it is consistent with the story.

OnM: [...] there are still millions of Buffy fans out there to whom Tara's death (or Jenny's, or Buffy's) came as a complete surprise because all they do is watch the show from week to week, they don't read boards or other fan sites, and they certainly aren't spoiled in advance of actual broadcast airings.

That's so true! In my own case, this board is the only one I frequent, and I keep away from all posts with future spoilers marked. As for Tara's death, I had no idea it was coming, till I read a post with unmarked spoilers. I read a few fics in which Tara was dead, but simply assumed it was an AU created by the authors.

[> [> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- AgnosticSorcerer, 05:34:43 06/01/02 Sat

I feel that, as a homosexual, the argument that Tara should not have died because of their sexuality and because they fell into some pre-existing cliche is completely absurd.

After all, if Willow was still with Oz--it would have been him who died.

[> I invite everybody to please flame me. (long and snarky) -- Traveler, 01:56:41 05/31/02 Fri

I really had more sympathy for the kitten's viewpoint before I read this article by Willowlicious. I have a lot of problems with it that I will address in detail. I am straight, however I would first like to mention that of my two best friends, one is a bisexual woman and the other is a man with some bisexual leanings. This doesn't mean that I have a complete, or even good, understanding of "gay issues," but it should at least suggest that I am not a total bigot, so please respond to my comments without attacking me personally. Also, I tried to write my comments in third person (referencing "the poster"), but some of her arguments were so emotional, that they demanded a personal response.

"The "Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché" is a version of the basic "dead/evil minority cliché" in which minority characters - gay people in general, all people of color - are introduced into a storyline in order to be killed or play the villain."

Tara was not introduced simply to be killed off. She has been Willow's girlfriend for quite some time now.

That's a very frustrating and insulting argument.

Speaking of insulting, there are a lot of views about "mainstream america" posted here which I consider quite repugnant and insulting. Also, for all your talk about racism, you still really only champion your pet crusade, homosexual rights. I'd be more impressed if you had concentrated your essay on the fact that Kendra (a black woman) was killed almost immediately after being introduced, whereas Faith is still alive. Also, there are no black cast members at all, even in re-occuring roles. If you are going to bark up a tree, at least make it the right one.

"Until very recently, gays and lesbians were portrayed in film, television, literature and theater to be evil and miserable."

You give a bunch of examples of films in the 50's and 60's. Sorry, I don't care. I've never even heard of most of these films and probably will never see them. Furthermore, I doubt they accurately reflect American culture today.

"Basic Instinct (1992), in which Sharon Stone's character is a murderer and her girlfriend is crazy, jealous and ends up dead."

And were any of the characters in Basic Instinct intended to be role models? Just curious. I don't know, maybe you're right and this movie is a good example of prejudice against homosexuals. You follow with a bunch of examples from movies that I haven't seen, so I can't address them. Let's look at the rest of your examples.

"Mulholland Drive (2001) ends with a lesbian having her ex- girlfriend murdered then turning a gun on herself."

If you think that Mulholland Drive was an anti-lesbian cliche, you have NO idea what that movie was about. There are essentially two alternate realities in the movie. During the first half, the protagonists are happy lesbians moving in a positive direction with their lives. The bad guys are on the fringes and everything is great. During the second half of the movie, the bad guys have taken over, corrupted one of the lesbians, and the other shot herself out of despair. This is in no way presented as a healthy or wholesome ending. If anything, this movie is actively pro lesbians.

"As for television, recent examples of lesbians dying horribly or being evil have appeared in literally hundreds of TV episodes. Just a few of the shows that have perpetuated this discouraging cliché are: 24, All My Children, Babylon 5, Dark Angel, ER, Law & Order, Millennium, Northern Exposure, NYPD Blue, The Practice, Quantum Leap, Xena: Warrior Princess, and, now, very sadly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Who keeps track of this stuff? Did you really personally watch all of these hundreds of shows to catch anti-lesbian propaganda? The only one of these shows that I've watched regularly other than Buffy is Babylon 5. I have seen every single episode of the series in order, so I'm pretty sure I can guess what you is talking about here. There is a woman named Talia who may have had homosexual leanings. She goes "crazy" and betrays her friend Ivonova, who later confesses to her captain "I think I loved her." It is a real stretch to make this fit the "punishment" cliche that you find so pervasive. I should add that Quantum Leap (from what I've seen of it) has a strong feminist, anti-macho message. One time the main character (a man) wore a dress at a beauty pagent so that the woman he was "impersonating" would become a life-saving doctor one day, as history intended. I would be very suprised if anyone could give solid examples illustrating an anti-lesbian theme in the show.

"There are no happy endings. This is the image that has been driven into the psyche of gay people. There is no hope for you. You cannot be happy. "

I'm sorry if this is true, but how you react to stigma defines you as a person. I have been called a nerd and a geek all my life. Eventually, I just learned to take it as a compliment, and I am much saner for it. I know that bigotry against homsexuals runs deeper, but not everybody is a bigot, and if you lash out at people at the slightest provication, you won't get to know a lot of the cool people you might have otherwise. I tend to spend the most time with other "nerds," but I also have made friends among jocks, skinheads, rednecks, and goths. I'm planning on breaking into the raver scene next.

"One of the most overused features of the lesbian cliché is that the death is generally directly associated with the act of lesbian sex. Usually it occurs soon after a real or implied sex scene in order to cement the connection."

The writers said in interviews that they didn't mean to suggest any such association, and they admitted that they should have been a little more careful how they arranged the death scene. However, Willow and Tara had been having expclicit lesbian sex for quite a while without either of them dying or turning evil, so a parallel between lesbian sex and death/evil is really hard to draw here.

"This has been done over and over again in film and TV with devastating results,"

More of these "hundreds of shows," I guess.

Compare this to the deaths of straight characters in BtVS - such as Jenny, Angel, Joyce, and Buffy (both times). Not a single one occurs after a real or implied sexual act.

Wow, Jeni was killed before she could have sex with Giles. The writers must really hate straight people, since they at least let the lesbians have sex first. Angel was killed just after getting his soul back. Do you think Joss is saying that having a soul is bad? Is there soul discrimination going on, here?

"In the cases where sex is even mentioned in passing much earlier in the episode, as with Jenny (who was looking forward to her reconciliation with Giles) and Joyce (who was finally dating again), there is no consummation; the deaths therefore cannot possibly be viscerally felt as punishments for acts performed. "

No, I'm telling you, Giles was prevented from comitting a heinous sin that would have destroyed his character. Why did I never see this before?

"A closer cousin to the post-sex fates of Willow and Tara might be what happened to Angel, who turned evil immediately after sex."

Yeah, the writers obviously think that straight sex is evil. The evidence is mounting.

It's interesting to note that in that case, the writers explicitly said that they were doing that deliberately in order to make a point about men who seem to change for the worse after sex.

The writers have also specifically stated that Tara getting killed was not a punishment for being a Lesbian.

"Worse, after two and a half years of metaphorical sex, Willow's descent immediately follows the first material, non- metaphorical sex scenes Willow and Tara have been allowed.

Give me a break. OMWF was NOT metaphore sex. Maybe Tara was levitating while Willow was performing oral sex on her, but it was pretty obvious what was going on. Also, what is the obsession with the sex act itself? Willow and Tara have had many, very sexual scenes with each other in addition to the implied sex, and it was shown to be good and natural. Dawn (an underage girl) was thrilled that Willow and Tara were getting back together, and she was devistated when Tara died. Furthermore, Tara and Willow's relationship, before and after Willow had her magic problem, was shown to be the healthiest relationship on the show.

"Willow's love for Tara so extreme, unhealthy and twisted as to cause her to try to destroy everything and everyone?"

Why do you assume that strong=unhealthy? Just because Willow did something bad in response to Tara's death, it doesn't mean that her love for Tara was somehow impure.

"Thank god Xander is there to talk Willow down with anecdotes about yellow crayons, or where would we be? A man saves the world from the crazy lesbian. What year is this again? Just checking."

I can't believe you just took one of the most beautiful scenes of any television show and spewed bile all over it. That was about two people who love each other, not a lesbian and a straight guy. Xander may have helped Willow come to terms with her pain (a feminine role), but it was Willow who ultimately saved the world by choosing not to destroy it. Xander was just there to support her, whatever her decision.

"A cliché becomes a cliché when the weight of hundreds and hundreds of previous examples make any given example another piece in the pile. "

Oh, so not just hundreds of examples, but hundreds and hundreds of examples. Please list just 10 of them in the same detail I have given above for Babylon 5 or quantom leap. Please don't include any movies or shows that were made before I was born (1976).

"We are grateful. We are SO grateful. And we've said so every chance we've gotten. We've written letters to Mutant Enemy and Fox praising and thanking the show..."

So why don't you trust Joss more? Because you didn't like what happened in one three episode arc? Your gratitude is short lived.

"Willow and Tara have indeed provided a role model which was nearly unique in prime-time television."

Willow is still a lesbian. She wasn't as positive a role model this season, but then, none of the character were. Deal with it.

"People placed their trust in the Willow/Tara relationship, and came to regard it as a rare safe place where they could return to renew their hopes... "

This is where you went wrong. Never place your trust in Jossian relationships. They rarely go well.

"They said they understood where we were coming from and that they knew how important the Willow/Tara storyline was in social context. "

Those bastards!

"Here are some ME quotes regarding Tara's future on the show:"

I'm sorry, did you expect them to tell you that Tara would die? All they said was that they loved Tara and Willow together and didn't want to see that change. I have news for you; they really didn't want to kill Tara. Joss said that he felt physically ill, but it was the right thing to do artistically. Also, it's not as though Willow is going to forget about Tara next season. She will still be dealing with Tara's death for some time, I think.

Although your post is intelligent and well worded, your examples and rationale leave me wholly unconvinced. I can see some merit in your complaint that minorities are too often "the redshirts"/evil, and I can even agree with some application of that argument to Buffy, just not in regards to lesbians. You fling around a lot of vague numbers, but you don't support them with independant studies or personal experience. Some of your examples are patently ludicrous, and I suspect that you didn't watch those shows yourself and are merely repeating things that other people have said to you. If I'm wrong, don't just list examples, but explain how each one supports your point. If anybody wants to dispute my examples, please feel free.

Now I would like to just step back and let the flaming begin.

[> [> Re: I invite everybody to please flame me. (long and snarky) -- *, 02:07:17 05/31/02 Fri

However, Willow and Tara had been having expclicit lesbian sex for quite a while without either of them dying or turning evil, so a parallel between lesbian sex and death/evil is really hard to draw here.

they have never had an explicit sex scene. Ever.

[> [> [> What exactly do you consider "explicit?" -- Traveler, 02:17:33 05/31/02 Fri

OMWF was at least as explicit as any of the sex scenes for other characters, including Smashed. Obviously, the network isn't going to show Willow face down in Tara's lap, but the appropriate body motions and expressions were there. Also, if you are arguing that NONE of the Willow/Tara sex scenes were explicit, then you invalidate the "lesbian cliche" criticism altogether.

[> [> [> [> Re: What exactly do you consider "explicit?" -- *, 02:20:42 05/31/02 Fri

no,I understand what you are saying, their love scenes in SR were explicit, but I don't agree that Tara's death accured after explicit lesbian sex. It happened after implied lesbian sex.

[> [> [> Re: I invite everybody to please flame me. (long and snarky) -- *, 02:19:04 05/31/02 Fri

just wanted to add, it might have been because of censors or whatever, but they haven't had a sex scene, we never saw their first kiss, the first time they had sex, unlike every other couple on the show, so it's ridiculous to say they were treated like every other couple. I don't agree with everything in the Lesbian Cliche FAQ, but I can understand where they are coming from.

Also, your interpretation of Mulholland Drive isn't right either. It's really anyone's guess, but the most common interpretation is that most of the movie is a dream (or a masturbatory fantasy) made by Diane. She was an actress who went to Hollywood, didn't make it, hooked up with a woman who did make it, who eventually left her for the director. She gets a man to kill her lover and he says when he does she'll find the blue key. She finds the blue key and masturbates, her fantasy is the first half of the movie, that things happen differently between her and Camille (her name was Camille right?). Anyway, I think that interpretation makes a lot of sense. It doesn't seem pro or anti lesbian to me, but I can see how one could think it portrayed Diane as an obsessive, mentally unsound lesbian.

[> [> [> [> About muhollond drive -- Traveler, 02:45:11 05/31/02 Fri

"the most common interpretation is that most of the movie is a dream (or a masturbatory fantasy) made by Diane."

Interesting, but how does this theory explain the cowboy?
Why was the director forced to choose one particular star?
Why did the transition occur because of the choice he made?
Why did Diane fantasize about finding her own rotting corpse?

There are too many common threads between the fantasy and the reality that have nothing to do with Diane.

My take on the movie was that the first half was the Hollywood fantasy, the things that everybody dreams about when they try to break into the business. The second half was closer to the gritty reality. Same characters, different script.

Regardless, if an entire movie is this open to intrepretation, it can hardly be regarded as a cliche of any type.

"we never saw their first kiss, the first time they had sex"

I'm not sure about this, so tell me if you know the answer. Did we see Xander/Cordy's first kiss? How about Xander/Anya? Giles/Jenny? Willow/Oz? When did they first have sex? We know every detail of Buffy's sex life, but the other characters get a bit more privacy. Besides which, why is that important? We know it happened, and Willow/Tara have had plenty of screen time for kisses and so on. Compare with Willow/Oz or even Xander/Anya. Of course, Buffy gets the most kiss time of all the characters. Guess it pays to be the star.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: About muhollond drive -- *, 03:37:24 05/31/02 Fri

Interesting, but how does this theory explain the cowboy?
Why was the director forced to choose one particular star?
Why did the transition occur because of the choice he made?
Why did Diane fantasize about finding her own rotting corpse?

From what I read, the cowboy is just someone she saw at the party where the director and Camilla are about to announce their engagement, Diane incorporates him into her dream. In her dream he represents the dark, threatening side of Hollywood she percieved in her real life as a failed actress.

About the director forced to choose one actress-again, the dark side of Hollywood, Diane explains away her own failure to be cast in a lead role by imagining that she had no chance because it was all set up.

I don't know why the transition occured, that just kind of confused me.

I don't remember reading anything explaining the scene in which Betty finds Diane's corpse, but my guess was that it was her desire to obliterate her real self and live in her fantasy world.

About seeing the first kisses etc of the scoobies--I'm pretty sure we see Cordelia and Xander's first kiss, we see the first time he and Anya have sex, We saw Oz and Willow's first time sleeping together. But you're right, it doesn't really matter, because it's made clear that W & T are a couple. From what I've read on messageboards though, a lot of people think their first kiss ever is in the Body (and not just their first onscreen kiss) . Also, I think there is confirmation from Joss that the first time they have sex is that scene in Who Are You, when they do the flamey netherworld spell.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: About muhollond drive -- rattletrap, 07:49:47 05/31/02 Fri

I still haven't been able to see Mulholland Drive yet, so I can't weigh in on that part of the discussion.

It is true that the physical side of Willow and Tara's relationship was handled much more privately (for the first year or so) than have been any of the show's heterosexual relationships. I suspect, however, this has less to do with Joss and more to do with the Standards and Practices department at the WB and with some double standards in the TV rating system. Most of the mainstream, non-cable TV networks are much more reluctant to depict homosexual relationships than they are heterosexual ones. I'm not sure if this is a function of the network execs, the audiences, or the FCC rules (or, most likely, some combination of all those things). The W/T 'ship on BtVS pushed the envelope more than most series have been able to.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Just can't let the muholland drive analysis go. -- Traveler, 14:04:15 05/31/02 Fri

"From what I read, the cowboy is just someone she saw at the party where the director and Camilla are about to announce their engagement,"

Chronologically speaking, the fantasy scenes would have to come before the engagement party, since in the real world scenes Diane kills herself. But, let's assume that she saw the cowboy at some event before the movie started. Still, we have Diane predicting the future, since the cowboy tells the director in her fantasy, "you will see me twice if you do the right thing," and indeed he does show up twice. Speaking of which, why the hell is a guy in a cowboy outfit showing up at a director's swanky party, either in real life or in fantasy?

Also, why is Diane's fantasy so complicated, involving long scene's that don't even include her? If her fantasy is so complete and consuming, what causes her to so suddenly snap out of it?

"I don't remember reading anything explaining the scene in which Betty finds Diane's corpse, but my guess was that it was her desire to obliterate her real self and live in her fantasy world."

I still don't see why she would incorporate her own dead body into her fantasy. It seems to me the best way to obliterate her real self would be to completely ignore it. Also, the pose that the body was found in were exactly identical in the dream and in real life. She didn't pose herself before comitting suicide, so that's pretty remarkable, another example of her "seeing the future."

"About the director forced to choose one actress-again, the dark side of Hollywood, Diane explains away her own failure to be cast in a lead role by imagining that she had no chance because it was all set up."

In the fantasy, Diane is offered an acting job, even if she didn't get the other part because of the cowboy. Her fantasy didn't explain why she couldn't fall back on the first position, so I don't see how the cowboy can be interpreted as an "excuse" for her failed acting carear.

[> [> [> [> [> Sex in the Buffyverse -- Sophist, 09:01:37 05/31/02 Fri

I haven't read the Salon article, but I do read the Kitten Board regularly. I think the argument about the sex scenes was a little different than this (different people probably make different points).

First, I have to say that in all the heterosexual cases you mentioned, we did see the first kiss and the first sex scene (when there was sex; C/X never had sex). In contrast, W/T was handled as metaphor and offscreen in S4 and S5. This was a clear double standard, more likely due to the Standards and Practices people than to ME, as 'trap says.

In S6, we saw W/T have explicit sex in OMWF only after W did something evil by using the forget spell. Tara was then gone for months, she returns, they again have explicit sex, and Tara is murdered. In both cases, lesbian sex occurred in a context of evil/tragedy. Since this came after 2 years of double standard treatment, it is possible to see the cliche.

That being said, I don't think it was intended by ME even if the interpretation is plausible. On this show, sex (actually, love expressed sexually) frequently leads to tragedy. It certainly did with B/A, B/P, and B/S. In fact, it annoys me how often characters "pay" for engaging in a perfectly healthy activity, one that should be encouraged rather than discouraged. But that's ME, and that's the context in which I saw W/T. The fact that they were lesbian was no more relevant (to me) than the fact that B/A were hetero.

Whether it's fair for others to find a different message is hard for me to say. I think minority groups are sensitive to perceived slights in a way that's hard for non-members to understand. I also think that TV shows need to try hard to avoid such cliches. We certainly would criticize a show that used African-American actors for laughs in the way common in 1930s films, even if the writers had no evil intent. The social context requires more sensitivity than it might where the historical treatment is more tolerant.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sex in the Buffyverse -- Malandanza, 06:06:28 06/03/02 Mon

"On this show, sex (actually, love expressed sexually) frequently leads to tragedy. It certainly did with B/A, B/P, and B/S. In fact, it annoys me how often characters 'pay' for engaging in a perfectly healthy activity, one that should be encouraged rather than discouraged. But that's ME, and that's the context in which I saw W/T. The fact that they were lesbian was no more relevant (to me) than the fact that B/A were hetero."

Joss is being criticized for treating W/T just as badly as he has any of the heterosexual couples. Considering that Willow began her relationship with Tara the same night she broke things off permanently with Oz (who had spent the last year searching for a way he could be with her) the Willow/Tara relationship managed to evolve into something less unhealthy than one would expect.

Comparing W/T to X/A, how many sex scenes have we seen between Xander and Anya? We saw Anya naked before sex with Xander and dressing afterwards in Season Four, we saw them getting dressed after sex in Season Five and we saw them getting out of bed together in OMWF. We haven't seen any groping or passionate kisses like we have for W/T. All the sex takes place off screen for the Buffyverse's most sexually active couple -- so we just have to take Anya's word for it that Xander is a "Viking in the sack." Xander's most explicit sex scene occurred with Faith, and Anya's with Spike. The same is true with the Willow/Oz relationship -- we know they had sex (because Willow says so) but we don't see it. In fact, if there is a double standard, I'd say it's more likely to have been applied to W/T's benefit -- they have gotten more screen time because they are lesbians (actually, I think it was more to do with Tara being slated for death than being a lesbian -- if Anya was going die, we would likely have seen some touching scene between her and Xander).

As for sex being "a perfectly healthy activity" -- I think that many of the sexual relationships were very unhealthy. In spite of the mind control, W/T was still healthier than most of Buffy's past liaisons. And remember:

CORDELIA: And I learned something, too. I, uh, I learned that... men are evil -- oh wait. I knew that. I learned that L.A.'s full of self serving phonies - nope, had that one down, too. Sex is bad?

ANGEL: We all knew that.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: About muhollond drive -- Ruth, 14:07:23 05/31/02 Fri

Xander and Cordy first kissed in Whats My Line when trapped in Buffy's basement. When arguing about the kiss at the end of the episdoe they ended up in each others arms again and it continued from there. They argued about whether they were an official couple in Surprise and came out in Innocence when Willow discovered them kissing in the library. They never had sex as Xander's first time was with Faith.
Xander and Anya's first date was in The Prom and I don't think they had a first kiss? Anya asked in Graduation Day aren't we going to kiss but they parted on bad terms. Whne they met again in THLOD I think Xander just took her straight to bed after she stripped for him.
Giles and Jenny first kissed in The Dark Age when Jenny returns the book and teases him about being a fuddy duddy. They are seen kissing again at the end of the episode and their first date was also discussed on screen in Some Assembly Required as Giles was feeling awkward about asking Jenny to the football game (although it later turns out he did date in the past when we meet Olivia.)
Willow and Oz's first date was in Surprise when Willow asked him to the party and she asked him if he wanted to kiss her in Innocence. Their actual first kiss was initiated by Willow in Phases. They first slept together in Graduation Day after Oz had previously turned Willow down in Amends for having something to prove.
The other characters do have their dating focused on especially the scoobies. W/T were treated unequally as I couldn't tell you the first time they kissed or made love. I always thought the spell in WAY was meant to be a metaphour for the audience, rather than implying the two were having sex when trying to help Buffy get her body back.

[> [> [> [> Re: I invite everybody to please flame me. (long and snarky) -- sanjerine, 09:21:26 05/31/02 Fri

> just wanted to add, it might have been because of
> censors or whatever, but they haven't had a sex
> scene, we never saw their first kiss, the first
> time they had sex, unlike every other couple on
> the show, so it's ridiculous to say they were treated
> like every other couple.

Gah. This whole debate has me strung out, because I *am* a pagan dyke and I just -- don't have a problem at all with the portrayal. Maybe I'm just a shameless ME apologist, but the fact that Tara's death made me feel so robbed and angry and cheated made it, for me, better *drama* -- Will also felt robbed and angry and cheated.

Anyway, it is true, I think, that the WB's Standards and Practices people (for their shame) wouldn't allow explicit gay kissage in the 8pm "family hour." So we missed these milestones in Tara and Willow's relationship, and as such I think it took us a longer time to accept her as a partner.

I do give props to Joss & Co. for making that weakness into a strength, however. Since we can't see Willow's new relationship, it becomes something she wants to keep secret for a while, something that separates her from Buffy and the Scoobs -- a major arc in S4.

By the time Buffy knows, we're in on the joke, so we see her reaction from Willow's POV -- we all get to see how cutely funny (and painfully weird) straight friends can be when you come out to them. ("That's just great, Will. I'm so happy for you, Will....") And by "Family," again, it's funny -- because we don't really know what to get Tara, either -- she already has a Willow, and that's all we know she likes. But we learn pretty quickly there's a lot more to her; Giles serves as a mouthpiece when he calls us (through Buffy and Xander)"profoundly stupid."

Similarly, Alyson Hannigan's regrettable singing voice became a strength in OMWF -- because it meant Willow didn't have anything to say; she wasn't analyzing her deep feelings, because they were too far buried for her to access. It became part of the shadow of darkness that was already hovering over Willow's fate. It's because everything was locked away so tightly that her descent was so devastating.

[> [> [> [> [> I like the way you read W/T's development very much(NT) - - Jon, 13:47:35 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> Spoilers for Season 6 above. -- Traveler, 02:20:01 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> Loved your point about Joss...... -- Rufus, 02:31:11 05/31/02 Fri

So why don't you trust Joss more? Because you didn't like what happened in one three episode arc? Your gratitude is short lived.

The story is far from over, Willow is still alive, still lesbian, and still someone who I want to see. Also, there have been hints that the actress who plays Tara may be back in some form. The three episode arc is only part of an overall story that will continue next year, possibly with the return of AB in some role. Just because some may not like where this arc went doesn't mean there won't be a resolution to the Willow story that may surprise us all. I'm dismayed at how soon everything Joss has done to show a loving lesbian relationship was forgotten because the relationship didn't last for the run of the series.

[> [> Not flaming here - great post, Traveler! -- Marie, 02:42:15 05/31/02 Fri

I'd just like to add that the timing of Tara's death just didn't occur to me as "off" in the way that some posters are postulating, i.e. after having sex with Willow. I saw it as two loving, beautiful characters who had been very unhappy, getting back together, and celebrating that by making love with each other, being wrapped up in each other. Very naturally, I thought. And suddenly, tragedy.

I didn't see them "killing the lesbian", I saw them killing Tara.


[> [> Re: I invite everybody to please flame me. -- OnM, 04:23:59 05/31/02 Fri

Rufus: *** Tara's death to me wasn't a punishment for lesbians as much as an illustration of just how random and pointless death can be. ***

Traveler: *** This is where you went wrong. Never place your trust in Jossian relationships. They rarely go well. ***

Rarely go well? Hah! Understatement, much?

No flaming from me on any account. This is another unresolvable issue, unfortunately. I read the kitten board commentary several days ago, and many of the points are completely valid when viewed from a gay perspective, or even from a neutral perspective.

As Traveler just detailed above, it is also perfectly possible to defend ME on this issue. So, my only question would be that, given that Willow's lover had to die to further the desired story line, is there any way to do so that wouldn't offend gay persons, or produce the 'cliche'?

I don't think so.

The one point I would like to comment on would be when the KB posters accused the ME writers of lying when they stated that they were not going to kill Tara. This is obviously true, but what else could they do? The poster stated that the writer(s) in question could have simply answered 'no comment'. Yes, they could have, but isn't that the same as answering yes? 'No comment' is a classic way of being evasive, for whatever reason, and most people assume the worst upon hearing it uttered, usually with good reason.

Sometime in future, I am thinking of doing an essay on the effect of internet fandom on film or television programming. I thought of this because after reading the KB post currently under discussion, it occurred to me that there are still millions of Buffy fans out there to whom Tara's death (or Jenny's, or Buffy's) came as a complete surprise because all they do is watch the show from week to week, they don't read boards or other fan sites, and they certainly aren't spoiled in advance of actual broadcast airings.

It's an unpleasant thought, but what else could the writers do but lie, given the circumstances? Suppose you were writing a book, and every chapter somehow got published (unintentionally) on the internet and thousands of people e-mailed to complain about how you were handling this or that issue of a work still in progress, with final intent possibly unclear?

Again, there is no solution. The net is a fact of modern life, but if I were a writer or other creative person working the TV or film genres, I might feel inhibited as much as I felt supported, depending on the circumstances.

Final comment: Willow will love again. It might be a while, perhaps quite a while, but she will. And it will probably be another woman, and neither of them will end up either dead or crazy.

[> [> causality and the cliche -- tim, 10:26:07 05/31/02 Fri

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Plus, I love the word snarky. Three things you didn't mention:

Add to your argument the fact that the comments she/they make about the damaging effect of this cliche on the Lesbian community are, well, kind of silly. I've actually done a little research in this area (how TV affects what we think) and the consensus of the (admittedly few) studies performed with any degree of methodological rigor is that people aren't that dumb. (It's refreshing, really.) Every study I've seen or heard about that claims to find some link between attitudes and television has significant causality issues that get conveniently ignored. To wit: one researcher claimed that African-Americans who watched Malcolm X became more strongly pro-black. However, he never accounted for the possibility that it was precisely those blacks who were the most "militant" in their views that would be attracted to the movie in the first place.

To be fair, I can't speak to the long-term implications of repeated exposure to a message like this one; as far as I know, no one has collected such data, simply because it would be so difficult and expensive to generate. Still, even such powerful messages as the one contained in The Day After (a miniseries about the aftermath of a US-Soviet nuclear conflict) produced surprisingly little attitude change, even among people who watched the entire week of it. For the most part, it seems, people watch shows that already conform to their views and filter out anything they happen onto that they disagree with.

Furthermore, what little data on long-term exposure does exist suggests it is precisely the things we don't notice that are most likely to affect us. People who watch a great deal of television, for instance, are more likely to be worried about crime than those who do not, even after controlling for a whole host of other factors. The argument goes that there is a grossly disproportionate amount of crime on television, so people who watch TV get a skewed sense of reality. (Even here, there are causality issues, but I'll skip that.) The key point, though, is that when people watch crime on television they generally don't think about the message they're receiving about the prevalence of crime in society. If you think about it, you can counterargue it; if you counterargue it, you can ignore it and move on with your attitudes intact. As this whole imbroglio has shown, this was most definitely a noticeable event among those most concerned about it, so arguing great pain will come from it is misguided, at best.

It is also notable that whenever one hears worry about the effect of TV on society, the worrier is never concerned about the effect it has on him or her. It's always someone else that's in danger. (For instance, I seriously doubt--though of course I can't know-- that Willowicious is worried that her love life will never work out because she watched Tara die. As always, it's some unspecified other who is truly in danger.) If this is always the case, one has to wonder where the people are we're actually trying to protect.

This is all to the good. After all, we'd have to be worried about our society if its citizens had no better judgment than to take their attitudinal cues from fictional characters.

2) In the first draft, I had a long paragraph here about being punished for happiness, rather than homosexuality, but that's been amply covered by others. Instead, let me just point out that four seasons before any of this brouhaha occurred, when Jenny Calendar died, Giles went crazy with grief and tried to kill Angelus. Granted, he didn't try to end the world, but the idea that grief can make one do vengeful, stupid things has shown up before. Just thought it was worth noting.

3) I'd like to know how that scene could have played out any differently and retained its dramatic potency. Joss wants to hurt his characters when they're happiest. In what scenario could they possibly be happier than the warm afterglow of a marathon session of sexual and emotional gratification, especially after a long period of separation? With the possible exception of an intense religious experience, I can't think of a more perfectly happy moment anywhere in this life. And as to the idea of Tara being greatly wounded but recovering, it works neither thematically nor plot-wise. Thematically, it would undermine the idea that in the Jossverse, unlike other shows, things don't neatly work out to the advantage of every good character. Bad things happen to good people, and it's an integral part of the show. As a matter of plot, Buffy, also, was terribly wounded; saving her while leaving Tara to dangle would make no sense.

Here endeth the sermon. Comments, as always, are eagerly awaited.


[> [> [> Re: causality and the cliche -- Sophist, 12:17:46 05/31/02 Fri

Lots of good points here. The one comment I would make is that the association of lesbian sex and evil/tragedy which the author criticizes is something she identifies as a cliche. A cliche is, in this sense, a stereotype played out to accord with "normal" expectations. That means that Tara's death, and the overall circumstances of the lesbian sex on the show, might fall exactly in that category of "unnoticed messages" that you mentioned. I'm curious whether you agree and how you might see the portrayal differently if you do.

[> [> [> [> Causality and "The Cliche" (suddenly, we're pretty far OT) -- tim, 17:46:09 05/31/02 Fri


I first read your post several hours ago; I've been chewing it over since then. It's an excellent argument that I hadn't considered from that angle. I will concede that if causality proves not to be a problem here (a big if), then there certainly exists a possibility for some small subset of people to be marginally affected. (I believe I remember you mentioning previously that you are a lawyer. If so, then you know that everything in social science is about marginal effects.)

First, I should say something about the causality issue that I skipped over in the previous post. The problem is similar to the Malcolm X example. It could be that, as Dr. Gerbner argued, people are seeing crime shows and becoming more concerned about crime. It could also be that TV execs, wanting to make money and being no fools, play to their audience, and that audience is made up primarily of people concerned about crime. We know that TV viewing is skewed towards the elderly and the low income. Who better to worry about crime than those living in run-down neighborhoods who lack the strength to defend themselves?

My suspicion, though, is that it's some of each. Causal relationships are rarely as orderly as the pencil falling when we drop it. Most of the time, discovering where the feedback is and how multiple causes lead to multiple effects which lead back to the "causes" (and so on, ad nauseum) is quite the messy proposition. (Sorry for the didactic. I teach this stuff for a living.)

But I promised a concession. As I was writing my initial post, I was considering only people in the author's position, firm in their knowledge of their sexuality, and filled with, shall we say, "Lesbian consciousness." (When you lack any better phrase, always steal from Marx. :) ) I then commented that it is some unspecified other she is worried about anyway, rather than herself. In retrospect, this was, well, kind of silly. The truth is, she does specify an other, or at least a group of others: sexually confused teenagers trying to work out their identities.

And for this group, I see a small possibility that a repeated message might have some impact. These are not people who are likely to already know about the cliche, so they can't discount it when they see it. Furthermore, as children (the other possible term is "pre-adults," which is just too stupid for words), they're more likely to lack the life experience that firms up attitudes and makes us less susceptible to outside persuasion of any kind.

Why only a small possibility then? Because there's a huge difference in degree of exposure here. Crime is a constant occurrence on television. Plenty of shows are devoted to it entirely, and in plenty more it plays a significant role. It's hard to watch TV without exposure to crime, either fictionalized (Third Watch, 24, CSI, the Law and Order group) or sensationalized true life stories (Cops, Dateline, Primetime Live, anything on Court TV). Gay characters often die, it's true, but the difference in the number of times this happens in a given television season (even if one manages to see every instance of gay death, which seems unlikely), when placed next to the number of crimes in the same season, is miniscule in proportion. We're not talking about huge effects anyway, so the grossly limited exposure would seem to (and I should make it perfectly clear this is all speculation) moderate an already marginal effect.

Furthermore, while knowledge of the cliche inoculates one against its effects, it also predisposes one to see it where it may or may not exist. Tara's death is an example of this. I think it's fair to say that while Willowicious simply presumed it was another case of the cliche, the recent debate has shown that it's not nearly that cut and dried. 24 also makes her list. It's true that a male prostitute on that show died shortly after doing what male prostitutes do, but she manages not to notice this was a death of self-sacrifice, throwing himself in the way of the true baddies so that the hero's daughter can get away. Those unfamiliar with the cliche (as I was when I saw this scene) might even interpret this as a pro-gay message--the one gay character was willing to give up his life, Christ-like, for a total stranger. (Which is exactly how I interpreted it when I saw it last fall.)

Laying all of that aside, though, it just doesn't make sense to me that of all the reasons a teenager in that situation has to be worried about the future, the message from the TV gods is going to be high on the list. As I've never been in the situation myself, I can't speak definitively to what it's like to go through, but I imagine that the fears are about rejection by family, friends, and place of worship. Likewise, any feelings of wrong-ness about what one is feling is more likely rooted in religion and socialization by family and peer group. As I mentioned before, people appear to have the sense to treat TV for what it is: background noise. While teens might pay more attention than adults, even they are likely to have more sense than to believe that the lessons learned on TV are reliably useful in real life.

Thus, even for sexually confused teenagers, I wouldn't a priori expect a demonstrable effect. On the other hand, given your comment, I'm willing to leave open the possibility. If there's one thing graduate school has taught me, it's that shutting the door on a possibility too early is the hallmark of arrogance. Thanks for the brain broccoli.


PS: I'd like to compliment you on your posts to this board. Whether I agree with you or not, your thoughts are always well- reasoned and well-articulated, and reading what you have to say is always a positive experience. Thanks for that.

[> [> [> [> [> That is a very well thought out response. -- Sophist, 19:41:56 05/31/02 Fri


I see 2 groups at risk of undue influence: the troubled teen you mentioned, and the average viewer with perhaps slightly negative views of gay relationships (it is getting better). I completely agree with your views on causality. I basically agree with your assessment of the first group. The only point I would add is that if the number of gay relationships on TV is small, there could be a disproportionate impact if all of them reinforce a cliche. Since I doubt that is true -- and you gave a good example -- the risk is small.

The other group presents a little more of a problem. The evil of a stereotype, after all, is that there is a perceived kernel of truth to it. A scene that plays to a stereotype is precisely the kind of scene that can be accepted uncritically by a viewer as a reinforcement of a pre-existing attitude. In such a case, the counter examples you mentioned tend to be, as you said, ignored.

I do not believe ME deliberately played to such a stereotype (and I therefore reject much of the criticism directed at it from the Kitten Board). However, as I suggested in another post below, it is worthwhile to expose stereotypes just so that the writers can be aware of them and work around them.

And thanks very much for the compliment. Your own posts are very well expressed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: That is a very well thought out response. -- tim, 10:34:46 06/02/02 Sun

Thanks for your kind words. This is the last thing I'll post on this, I swear. :)

You bring up an interesting possibility by saying that it might reinforce the bigoted views of the stereotypers in the audience. While I certainly agree that TV has the power to reinforce our beliefs (as my father says, it's easy to believe something you already agree with), it seems unlikely to me in the case of this particular cliche. Were the cliche simply that all gays are evil, and Glory were portrayed as a Lesbian, I would be inclined to agree that this situation could reinforce bad habits. It's a pretty linear path: "The Lesbian exists solely to destroy the world; it just goes to show how untrustworthy 'those people' are."

However, we're talking about something much more subtle here. Drawing the path between being gay and dying (or turning evil, as Willow did), unless there's something inherently self-destructive played in the relationship itself (that is, the character dies or acts evilly overtly because she is a Lesbian), is a pretty sophisticated line of thinking. Without explicit cues, you're asking a lot of people who turn on the TV seeking entertainment to connect the dots, even if it informs their own prejudices.

And let's not forget that most people who think this way are utterly convinced that everyone in Hollywood is a wooly-headed liberal out to subvert the natural family order. In that light, I think it far more likely that they see the inclusion of a gay character in ANY capacity as an attack on their value systems. Even if s/he exists only to be killed off, it seems more probable that it would elicit complaints about the lack of family values than appreciation for the message of "God's punishment."

JMHO. This has been a true pleasure in an otherwise icky weekend. (Grading term papers- eew!)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I think you're right. Thanks. -- Sophist, 13:44:21 06/02/02 Sun

[> [> What I think of the Author -- vampire hunter D, 13:56:27 05/31/02 Fri

I think this was written by some dyke who was a major W/T shipper and is pissed over them killing Tara (as are most of the kittens, it seems). This essay is just full of attacks on ME, for no reason it seems than they killed off her favorite character. Also, there are several attacks on men in general, which makes it sound like she doesn't like males at all.

Something that really shocks me about this, not one of the kitten replys I saw disagreed with her. They all muyst hate us.

Also, at no point in her list of examples does she ever consider why teh weriters chose to kill or get rid of the lesbian in question. ON Babylon 5, the actress playing Talia wanted to leave the show to do other projects. So they had to remove her (they had no choice). And there they left themselves a safty that could have let them bring her back if the actress changed hder mind.

ANd as for Xena, the show was ending, and usually hero tales only end with the final death of the hero. So Xena had to die at the end. (Also, the show had gotten so dumb towards the end I wanted to leap in there and kill her myself just ot put her out of my misery)

And with Tara, Joss had been planning this since S3, that whoever Willow was with at teh end of S6 (and at teh time he expected it to be Oz) would die. And Willow didn't just suddenly go evil, she's been building up to this for 3 years. God, bitch, PAY ATTENTION.

hey, if anyone posts on the kitten board, could you tell that dumb dyke what I think of her and her examples. Maybe it'll smack some sense into her.

And btw, I have nothing against lesbians. Most of you who know me already know that no one likes lesbians more than me (except maybe other Lesbians and Howard Stern). Just wanted to make that point.

Or in the words of a great philosopher:
"Lesbians, Lesbians, I love Lesbians!"
-Howard Stern

[> [> [> excuse me, but... no. -- heathergalaxy, 14:23:28 05/31/02 Fri

It is one thing if you disagree with someone's idea.
It is another thing to completely disrespect someone with your language.

If you are not yourself a dyke, you have no business throwing that word around, especially in such a derogatory fashion.

I disagree with many on the kitten board about this issue, but there are people over there in serious grief. Many who have not seen any validations of themselves in their entire lives. W/T were/are very important to them, and to dismiss that is really cruel.

And btw... saying something like "btw, I have nothing against lesbians" is not a phrase that suggests that your language is excusable. On the contrary, it suggests that you know that you were being disrespectful.

[> [> [> [> That was the point -- vampire hunter D, 14:56:52 05/31/02 Fri

Also, Willowliscious' post was very disrespectful itself. ANd to accuse the ME team of the stuff she accused them of just because she likes the one character that died is uncalled for, no matter what her reasons for attaching herself sdo much to the character are.

the bitch needs to get a life and learn some openmindedness.

[> [> [> [> [> Sorry D, but heathergalaxy is right. -- OnM, 19:39:46 05/31/02 Fri

As I mentioned in my post from this morning, the kitten board material is perfectly reasonable from a gay perspective. You can disagree with many of the points (and I did) but ultimately it's not resolvable-- personal perspective can't be filtered out of the logic when the issue is discrimination.

And actually, what Howard likes is what most heterosexual males (myself included) like-- the idea of bisexual women. My understanding is that 'real' lesbians, pretty much by definition, do not respond sexually to males in any significant way, and so aren't interested in 'performing' for them in what amounts to a real or fantasized 'three-way' scenario. (Most het males are safely behind the 'fourth wall' when fantasizing about gay or bi women).

(BTW, any gay women in the board readership, please feel free to correct me on this if I'm mistaken.)

Howard can get away with this sort of thing because he pretty much discriminates against everybody equally, and it's also generally understood that it's part of his 'schtick' as a humorist. You and I (and most het men) don't have that luxury.

[> [> [> Word, heathergalaxy. -- Dyna, 14:30:14 05/31/02 Fri

Kudos for putting that so civilly, also.

[> [> [> Some dyke? Bitch? Like, puh-lease... -- O'Cailleagh, 01:12:42 06/01/02 Sat

I see what you were trying to do here VhD, but instead you came across as offensive and bigoted. That kind of reponse is not what most people seem to come here for. Okay, so the kittens angered you a little, well they have also been upset. They have also gone overboard, and you have not helped the situation with your comments.

[> [> [> [> Re: Some dyke? Bitch? Like, puh-lease... -- AgnosticSorcerer, 06:06:25 06/01/02 Sat

"As I mentioned in my post from this morning, the kitten board material is perfectly reasonable from a gay perspective."

-- Hypersensitivity is not a reason.

[> [> [> Another point re: Xena -- Rob, 08:17:22 06/01/02 Sat

Although there were many lesbian fans of the show who took it up as a sort of cause that Xena and Gabrielle were gay, it was never expressly said on the show. It was always ambiguous, draw your own conclusions, etc...and a lot of lesbian fans were offended by that. Well, how about the fans who think it's offensive that just because two women are very close, they have to be gay?!? So, saying Xena died because she's a lesbian was very odd, b/c it was never said that she was one!


[> [> Agree no flaming. Great post Traveler! -- shadowkat, 17:43:19 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> Great Snark! I'm chiming in a little late but had to give it two thumbs up. -- SpikeMom, 16:52:04 06/02/02 Sun

[> Punished for happiness, maybe (spoilerish) -- cjc36, 05:36:18 05/31/02 Fri

If any cliché is in effect, it's characters being punished right after a perfect moment of happiness. B/A consummate, and Angel is suddenly Angelus and we're careening toward Becoming pt II.

Tara was a beloved character. I'm a hetero male in my 30s, and I never got why a lot of fans didn't like her. "Too dull, too one- dimensional." My take was this: if I lived at a Hellmouth, she'd be the one I'd want as a friend, solely because she rarely ever got selfish or petty. If she had one fault, it was living too much in Willow's shadow. But leaving Willow due to the magick addiction/mind rape was really Tara's moment to shine. She made a decision to leave the light of her life. Her helping Buffy with the Spike revelation/post resurrection status also worked.

But in order to get Willow to where they wanted her at the season finale, the moment of loss had to have the twist of the knife in it-- Tara senselessly getting killed right after their re consummation. This point is a mitigating factor in Willow's post- magick spree recovery. She was out of her mind with grief and rage and seized on the only weapon she had at her disposal--magick.

I can only hope to understand the grief the gay community feels over Tara's death. But again, I am sure the event wasn't meant as the cliché they so dread. It was usual ME hyper-tragedy.

[> [> That was my feeling... -- Rob, 07:58:46 05/31/02 Fri

While some may take it the wrong way that Tara died soon after having (implied) lesbian sex, I see it that Willow lost Tara right at the moment that everything was coming back together for her again. That it occurred right after sex reinforces how complete Willow felt once again. She was at a moment of complete happiness and rapture, and like what happens to Angel when he reaches such a moment, bad things happen.

And for those people who brought up the fact that ME has been seemingly more against straight sex than gay sex, that is a great point!


[> [> [> What seems to be missing here... (spoilers) -- Darby, 08:41:11 05/31/02 Fri

I thought the Kitten Board post was extremely convincing, but cliches are a tree event and everybody seems to be discussing the leaves.

Sex = bad. How do we know this? Sexually active girls are the "bad" girls (I could stretch that to evil, but I'm not going to), and bad things happen to them. That cliche exists almost as far back as you care to go - as society has gotten more comfortable with depictions of sex, it's moved the boundary line from vague implications, past fairly explicit heterosexual sex, into homosexual sex, where it sits in the neighborhood of explicit. If you're shown having gay frolics, watch out! The writers are gonna kill you, or show you to be the "bad girl"!

Did ME, in its typical fashion, subvert this cliche, twist it, show it for the nasty thing it hides? No. Could they have? Absolutely. Should they have? Yes, for the elimination of all the classic and unimaginative hidden messages they fed into with the scene as written.

I would add another problem I have. Repeatedly, ME responds to criticism with something to the effect that, no one on the shows can be happy for long. What is this, an acknowledgement that playing slavishly to cliche is okay as long as it's your own established cliche? That is becoming the weakness of the show, as often happens to long-running shows - it has set certain formulas that it's unwilling to break. How ironic is that?

One more thing and I'll slink away. I thought that the Kitten Board made a great point of Tara of a symbol, and a valuable one - yeah, she was gay, but she was also shy, stuttered, willing to live in her lover's shadow (until she wasn't), and a very untypically-shaped Hollywood actress. Eliminating Tara takes away all of that value from the show, making her a poor choice for removal, all to advance a storyline that never worked well (the KB point that magic went from a clear gay metaphor to a drug metaphor is, well, disturbingly well-made) and gave Willow much too clear a motivational "out" to fall off the wagon and trip over to the Dark Side. We know from the Glory arc that Tara didn't need to die for Willow to go nuts, and how more clearly could it be shown that magic is about power and control (not addiction per se) than to have Tara at the brink of death and have Vengeance Willow still flay Warren? I believe that, had the argument from Giles not been "What would Tara think?" but "What will Tara think when she recovers?" we could still have seen some very evil Willow moments (couldn't the Xander scene have occured with him between Willow and the 2 remaining nerds?) that would have underlined that she's never really cared what Tara thought.

[> [> [> [> Extremely well said. -- Sophist, 09:07:27 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> Excellent point about ME's own cliches! -- Dyna, 10:40:21 05/31/02 Fri

"I would add another problem I have. Repeatedly, ME responds to criticism with something to the effect that, no one on the shows can be happy for long. What is this, an acknowledgement that playing slavishly to cliche is okay as long as it's your own established cliche? That is becoming the weakness of the show, as often happens to long-running shows - it has set certain formulas that it's unwilling to break. How ironic is that?"

Wow! I've never thought about that, but it's so true! Whenever I hear the writers say that no one is happy for long, I wonder, "Why not?" In real life, people are sometimes happy, and things do sometimes work out well. It's sad to be invested in a show and be continually told that good things that happen will never last. In its way it's no less of a cliche than the happy-happy ending.

[> [> [> [> [> Too much happiness can lead to boring drama. (n/t) -- cjc36, 10:48:41 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> Happy couples lack drama? -- Darby, 10:55:02 05/31/02 Fri

My experience doesn't support that too well.

And isn't a good writer supposed to show commonplace things in new and interesting ways? "Sorry, can't handle showing a stable relationship - don't know how to keep you interested" seems a pretty lame assertion.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> The only stable couples on TV are in comedies. -- Traveler, 15:17:27 05/31/02 Fri

Name a drama that has an on screen couple which has remained stable for more than two years. (By on screen, I mean that both people are regulars on the show).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> John Sheridan and Delenn (B5 spoilers) -- Maroon Lagoon, 16:18:50 05/31/02 Fri

If I remember correctly, their attraction begins in S2, they start to date in S3, and remain a happy couple throughout S5 (the end of the series), though they don't marry until the end of S4. The final episode occurs 20 years later and they are still together.

Though you are right in general, since this is the only example I can think of.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh. I was just waiting for someone to use that example. -- Traveler, 17:15:19 05/31/02 Fri

Now name another on screen romance on Babylon 5, period. If there is one, I can't remember. Lyta and Zak? No. Talia and Ivonova? No. Do any of the rangers ever get laid? Probably not. Um... I think Gerabaldi eventually got a girlfriend, but we hardly ever see her. Babylon 5 doesn't have unstable romantic relationships because it doesn't have many such on screen relationships period. The writing is focused more on the story than on individual characters and their lives. Also, there is a much larger cast of characters to spread the conflict between.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> not quite true -- Vickie, 19:19:04 05/31/02 Fri

Garibaldi married his lady (darn, can't remember her name) BEFORE he left the station and several episodes before the end of the show.

The final episode showed them still married 20 years later, with a teenage daughter.

IMHO, the Garibaldi romance was a fascinating story.

On the "unstable" side, you have Delenn and Lennier....

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well I stand corrected :) -- Traveler, 20:08:22 05/31/02 Fri

I guess Babylon 5 really does have a lot of positive family elements in it. And btw, I'm amazed at how many fans of that show frequent this board. I wish we could have had more seasons!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Lise Hampton-Edgars -- Maroon Lagoon, 21:35:15 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> Re: What seems to be missing here... (spoilers) -- cjc36, 10:45:47 05/31/02 Fri

No matter what one believes regarding the cliché nature of Tara's senseless death, shouldn't a storyteller be free to tell their story their own way, even if the way he or she chooses seems, well, senseless? Couldn't one argue that for a writer to keep or replace certain story aspects due to external reasons -- popularity with one group, etc, is no better than selling out for commercial reasons? Is it Joss's responsibility to keep or change his story solely because a group has latched itself onto a certain aspect of his storyline? Is he in the symbol business or storytelling business? If the answer is symbol business, then how does Joss decide which group to listen to? What symbols does he highlight over others? Does he count heads? And when the majority has ruled, what then? If he follows this path, has he sold is own artistic soul? Doesn’t a writer have the freedom to follow his own heart, even if it leads to bad decisions?

I believe more viewers were angered at the inclusion of a gay relationship on the show, but Joss stuck to his vision and kept it clean, without any of the usual network hype. It was portrayed as real people in a real relationship. Sadly, it ended.

I personally wish Tara was still alive and Amber Benson still able to play her (at least in current story time). For me the story worked, providing motivation for Willow's decent.

And on the notion that Xander, being a man, represented something anti-gay by being the person who reached her, I say the love of friendship, like the love of relationship, should know no boundaries.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: What seems to be missing here... (spoilers) -- matching mole, 11:09:24 05/31/02 Fri

I agree that writers have the right to tell their stories. However I think that Darby was arguing that by using their own cliche of 'happiness leads to death' and the more universal cliche of 'sex leads to death' ME were creating a less effective story than they might have done otherwise. At least that's how I interpreted it.

[> [> [> [> [> The responsibility of storytellers -- Sophist, 12:30:12 05/31/02 Fri

I completely agree that storytellers have to be free to tell their own stories. But I, the audience, have to remain free to criticize the message they send.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The responsibility of storytellers -- Q, 21:12:56 05/31/02 Fri

Exact phrase I was going to say!

THe writers have the freedom to take the story wherever they want- -but if it is not effective, we have the right to criticize, which is what many (legitimately) are doing.

I think the writers painted themselves in a corner with the whole Willow story, and had to have a less than stellar ending no matter what they did. If there was ever a cliche that was bad because it caused the show to be less original it was Willow going bad in the first place. It seems like the writers have a bad habit, when they need a shot in the arm, they make a bad character good, or a good character bad. When Angel went bad, I was fine with it. When Faith did, I thought "well, a little cliched, but it's coming from a different, more complex standpoint--so I'll live with it" Now they have both Wesley AND Willow going bad (not to mention Jonathan), and it is BEYOND cliche. Many people are saying that Tara HAD to die to complete the Willow goes evil story. I say the Willow goes bad story wasn't very compelling or original in the first place. If that hadn't been pursued, the writers wouldn't have been painted in a corner, and a lot "easy ways out" wouldn't have had to been dealt with, and the cliche arguments wouldn't be so prevalent.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm inclined to agree with you -- Sophist, 09:00:41 06/01/02 Sat

I personally find Willow's descent to the dark side fairly implausible, though they built it up well in S6. I never saw any evidence of it in S1-5. My own choice for this, if they had to have one, would have been Xander. I think the writers chose Willow for reasons extraneous to the actual characters (JMHO; nothing but speculation on my part). In any case, as Darby pointed out, if you turn the same trick too often, that trick itself becomes a cliche.

[> [> [> [> [> I tried the symbol business, but couldn't handle the hi- hats -- smartass JBone, 18:50:43 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> :-) -- cjc36, 03:31:57 06/02/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> Excellent points Darby and Sophist (in your post below) - - matching mole, 10:47:30 05/31/02 Fri

I've been troubled some time by the oft repeated sentiment that no one can stay happy for long in the Jossverse and the very similar statement that characters get cut down when they are happiest. This may be true but what does it mean? What should we make of it?

There would appear to be two reasons for dealing out death and grief to your main characters. One is to maintain dramatic tension. If Angel hadn't been cursed and Jenny Calender had survived and Willow and Xander hadn't had their little fling and Oz hadn't turned out to be a werewolf then the Scoobies might have stagnated in season 2 forever. I thought season 2 was great but I wouldn't want the series to consist of the first half of it endless repeating itself with minor variations.

The second reason is to make some sort of point. Actions have consequences. Angel losing his soul after sex is a metaphor for the perils of sex among the emotionally immature. Death can be random and undeserved.

ME is certainly not alone in using tragic events for these reasons. However I think there is a problem with overusing them within the context of a television series or any other open ended piece of fiction. As Darby says what was dramatic becomes a cliche. If bad things happen to happy characters and worse things to really happy characters then the dramatic impact of these events fades with repetition.

The other problem is that the events can, completely unintentionally, send the wrong message. As Sophist says it seems like ME is saying that sex is bad at times. I doubt they really mean it but it sure does feel that way. Also the random tragedy of death begins to seem like an active malevolence on the part of the universe. BtVS and AtS are not built around a single relationship (or really even a single character) apiece. Certainly it would be possible for some characters to have a certain amount of long term happiness (not meaning they would lead blissful trouble free existences just not continuously star- crossed ones) to place ME 'messages' into perspective?

On a slightly different note I agree with a lot of what Darby said about Tara, at least the S4 and S5. As a shy, stuttering person myself I thought she was a great character, very different but with a great mixture of heroism and insecurity. However in S6 I think she basically stopped being a character and became a symbol and a plot device. She was the well adjusted character who served as a contrast to reveal the other characters' flaws. That's fine except that she didn't seem to be anything other than well- adjusted. She was also the character that was manipulated to get Willow to turn evil. Her decision to return to Willow, as crucial to the season as her death, was really not explained at all. What was her motivation? How had she been feeling all this time?

[> [> [> [> [> I meant Sophist's post above not below -- matching mole, 10:53:08 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Excellent points Darby and Sophist (in your post below) -- Traveler, 14:56:14 05/31/02 Fri

"As Sophist says it seems like ME is saying that sex is bad at times."

Sex is bad at times. Don't you agree?

"However in S6 I think she basically stopped being a character and became a symbol and a plot device."

I think it's amazing that a beloved character shows how mature and responsible she has become, and you accuse the writers of using her as nothing more than a plot device. Tara just found some self confidence and independance while she was seperated Willow. What's wrong with that? Furthermore, all of the characters are plot devices. She was obviously more than just a plot device to you, because otherwise you wouldn't care what happened to her.

"Her decision to return to Willow, as crucial to the season as her death, was really not explained at all."

Are you crazy? Tara returned to Willow because she never stopped loving her. Since Willow seemed to have recovered from her magic abuse, there were no barriers between them anymore.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Sorry, don't agree -- Sophist, 16:37:54 05/31/02 Fri

Sex is bad at times. Don't you agree?

No. Sex itself is neutral in moral terms. It may be unwise, but it's not "bad". I agree with mole that the show frequently shows sex ending in disaster. If it really wants to subvert expectations, it should show sex -- any sex -- as a good thing. "Bad" is just a cliche.

Tara returned to Willow because she never stopped loving her. Since Willow seemed to have recovered from her magic abuse, there were no barriers between them anymore.

There has been lots of debate here about Tara's decision to return. The basic issue -- Willow's abuse of power, not the silly magic/drugs stuff -- had not been even addressed, much less resolved to the point where there were no barriers between them. In fact, Tara herself says that trust can't be rebuilt just like that. In retrospect, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that they needed Tara to return in order to set up her death. That's not very convincing a reason to return.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> That's okay. I forgive you :P -- Traveler, 17:34:19 05/31/02 Fri

"No. Sex itself is neutral in moral terms. It may be unwise, but it's not "bad". I agree with mole that the show frequently shows sex ending in disaster."

"Bad" is a vague negative descrption that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with morality. But fine, let us say "unwise." Sometimes sex is unwise and leads to disaster. This is still true to life.

"If it really wants to subvert expectations, it should show sex -- any sex -- as a good thing. "Bad" is just a cliche."

Buffy/Riley sex was often shown to be good, in the sense that it looked enjoyable and fulfilling, and it wasn't punished in any way. The same thing applies to Tara/Willow sex, be it metaphore or not. Even when Tara was shot, the sex itself wasn't presented in any way as being evil or wrong. There is no cause and effect here. Tara didn't die because she had sex. She had sex. She died. Two totally seperate events. Just because they happened during the same day doesn't make them related.

"The basic issue -- Willow's abuse of power,silly magic/drugs stuff -- had not been even addressed, much less resolved to the point where there were no barriers between them. In fact, Tara herself says that trust can't be rebuilt just like that. "

Niether Willow nor Tara knew at that time that Willow had power issues. Tara honestly believed that Willow's actions were caused by magic addiction, so there really were no barriers between them, so far as she knew. Also, Tara didn't say, "I don't trust you." She said, "if we were doing this the proper way, we would take more time to rebuild our relationship, but I love you and I don't want to wait." That is a perfectly human and believable reaction.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: That's okay. I forgive you :P -- Sophist, 19:54:49 05/31/02 Fri

Just a few quick points:

Tara did know Willow had power issues. She said exactly that in TR (dining room scene where Xander and Anya left).

Tara did say, in Entropy, that trust was involved. Her words were something like "trust has to be re-built".

I agree that Tara's death was unrelated to sex. I'm willing to admit, though, that other perspectives on this are valid even if not convincing to me.

You're right, there are some sex scenes on BtVS that go unpunished (not many for poor Buffy though). The ones that have been punished have been dramatic, hit you in the face moments (Surprise, HLOD, WTWTA, Smashed, Gone). Given the usual cliches about sex on TV, I'd prefer that the good aspects be dramatic and the bad played down. JMHO.

Forgiveness is always appreciated.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Some (not so) quick responses. (spoilers season 6) -- Traveler, 20:30:42 05/31/02 Fri

"Tara did know Willow had power issues. She said exactly that in TR (dining room scene where Xander and Anya left)."

I know the scene you're talking about. Here it is:

But you don't get to decide what's
better for us, Willow. We're in a
relationship; we're supposed to
decide together.

A beat as Willow takes this in. Then-

Okay. I realize, I did it wrong-

You did it the way you're doing
everything, Will. When things get
rough, you don't even consider your
options - you just do a spell. It's
not good for you - and it's not what
magic is for."
-From Psyche's shooting scripts.

I don't think that Tara sees this as a power struggle. Rather, she sees that Willow is relying on magic to solve all her problems without considering the consequences to other people. This is still consistant with a purely "addiction oriented" storyline. After substituting the word "drug" for "magic," Tara's speech could be taken word for word and applied to someone who is abusing drugs. It is understandable that Tara wouldn't see Willow's lack of confidence and self-esteem, and just notice the total reliance on magic. After all, Tara has always looked up to Willow as being the confident one, the one who has friends and a purpose.

"Tara did say, in Entropy, that trust was involved. Her words were something like "trust has to be re-built"."

Yes, but if you look at the entire speech, she was saying, "I know what the responsible thing for us to do would be, but..." Tara essentially gave Willow her trust without making her do anything (other than quitting magic) to earn it. Tara did this because she loved Willow and didn't want to stay apart any longer. You can argue about whether or not this was a good idea, but it was perfectly in character.

"Given the usual cliches about sex on TV, I'd prefer that the good aspects be dramatic and the bad played down. JMHO."

Err... what would be a dramatic example of sex going right? By sleeping with Spike, Buffy saves the world? Is there any way you can work that without making it cheesy or downright bizzare?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Some (not so) quick responses. (spoilers season 6) -- Sophist, 09:20:18 06/01/02 Sat

Tara began the TR scene by reminding Willow about what Glory had done to her. In that context, the words that follow (which you quoted) appear to me to be a criticism of abuse of power.

I took Tara's speech in Entropy to mean that she realized that all the issues remained unresolved, but was willing to take a chance on her personal safety and work them out together instead of apart. This was not out of character; neither would it have been if she had stayed away. If she had stayed away, her death in a coffee shop (apparently Joss's original plan) would have avoided the implications that led to the criticisms of "cliche". Clearly, the writers chose to have Tara come back to increase the dramatic impact of her death on both Willow and the audience. That is, they did exploit the emotional impact of the reconciliation and thus left themselves open to criticism. Again, as long as they realized what they were doing and made a conscious artistic decision, I acknowledge their right to do so even if I might have done it differently.

I've amused myself trying to come up with examples in which wild sex saves the day. Decided to spare you and the Board the products of my imagination. More seriously, they don't need to go quite as far as you suggest. All they need to do is show Buffy engaging in wild activities with Spike that make her happy instead of unhappy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Why Spike? (spoilers season 6) -- Traveler, 10:42:50 06/01/02 Sat

I'm a huge Buffy/Spike shipper, but even I have to ask, why is good Buffy/Spike sex necessary to show a positive message about sex? We have seen good sexual relationships Between Buffy/Riley, Will/Tara, and Xander/Anya. Why focus on the one relationship that wasn't completely healthy?

"This was not out of character; neither would it have been if she had stayed away. If she had stayed away, her death in a coffee shop (apparently Joss's original plan) would have avoided the implications that led to the criticisms of "cliche". Clearly, the writers chose to have Tara come back to increase the dramatic impact of her death on both Willow and the audience."

I understand what you are saying, but I personally would rather have a cliched scene with high emotional impact than a non-cliched scene with less impact. Also, I don't think that writers should be a slave to the "cliche police." Sometimes cliches happen in real life too, and it is kind of silly to avoid them at the expense of the story you are telling. The thing that makes cliches bad is that they are generally boring and predictable. Tara's death was niether.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Why Spike? (spoilers season 6) -- Sophist, 11:05:29 06/01/02 Sat

I don't mean Buffy has to have sex with Spike portrayed as good. It could be anyone else (though I'd prefer Spike). So far, we have: B/A sex = disaster; B/P sex = deceit and pain; B/S sex = he's eeeevil.

I'm not so sure about your other examples. X/A, yes. But their sex scenes are few even though they both seem to enjoy them (yay!). I'd say the same about W/O, which you didn't mention. As for W/T, we never saw them having sex until S6 because of the double standard. The 2 times we did see it, disaster followed. Even if there was no intended connection between sex and disaster, the message was there for some to read it.

As for Riley, well. I always felt that the more positive aspects of this relationship (sexual or otherwise) were shoved down our throats in order to make us like a guy who was obviously wrong for Buffy. In any case, even here there were plenty of examples in which sex between them was portrayed as a dubious thing: WTWTA, B v. D, WAY, ITW, just to name some off the top of my head.

What I would really like to see is a show about a female hero who, oh by the way, enjoys a wild and satisfying sex life. Now that would subvert cliches.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy/Riley -- Dochawk, 07:40:55 06/03/02 Mon

Unless I missed something (which happens frequently) Where the Wild Things Are was all about the "bad" consequences of Buffy/Riley sex. Their one night of sexual obsession with each other (was that really the first time they had sex in the frat house?) resulted in mayhem and injury to alot of people.

And it shouldn't. Buffy needs a relationship where the sex and love are healthy. They don't have to be forever, butBuffy deserves it and her audience deserves it. Joss' arguement that nothing ever ends well in teh Jossverse may be true, but not much of a message of female empowerment if everything turns out bad (why not be a bitch like cordy, have a few visions and be a better person for a few months, the PTB will elevate you to a higher being.... ah thats a different rant)

[> [> [> [> [> [> sex, Tara, etc. -- matching mole, 20:14:05 05/31/02 Fri

My statement about sex and ME was badly phrased. What I meant to say was that at times ME seems to be implying that sex is generally bad (i.e. the statement by ME was made sometimes rather than a statement that sex itself is bad/unwise sometimes which I can certainly agree with). I'd certainly agree that sex has been shown in a positive light on the show but that in general there has been a negative emphasis on sexuality.

As for Tara what I saw in season 6 was a really good and believable dynamic between Tara and Willow right through Tabula Rasa. After that, because our main avenue for finding out about her inner state was her interactions with Willow, Tara's feelings and motivations vanish from the story. Her actions after that are all about other people not about herself. You say she never stopped loving Willow but other than Tara's statement we don't see any evidence of this. Willow did terrible harm to Tara and I found Tara's sudden return out of character with the person she was becoming in the early part of the season.

As for the drama and failed relationship issue I can think of quite a few TV dramas that had long term relationships at their core. Mostly they are family based shows (The Waltons, etc.) but also programs such as the Rockford Files had a long term relationship between Jim Rockford and his girlfriend Beth. Granted this relationship was hardly the core of the show. And I am certainly not arguing that BtVS should turn into Little House on the Prairie. However I don't think that arguing that the only viable model for TV drama is a continual parade of failed relationships is very useful or reasonable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: sex, Tara, etc. -- Traveler, 21:27:22 05/31/02 Fri

"What I meant to say was that at times ME seems to be implying that sex is generally bad"

You keep saying "at times." My point is that ME is exploring sex from both angles, both as a positive and a destructive force. Perhaps it would be more satisfying to see sex as a "mostly" positive force on the show, but that wouldn't tell the stories that the writers want to tell. If Buffy and Spike had a great relationship, it would have been much harder for the writers to explore Buffy's dark side. If Xander had just gotten over his issues with no problem and married Anya, where would the story have been? If Tara hadn't died, there would have been no Dark Willow. Most of the character development this season came as a result of failing relationships. The failed relationships in past seasons also caused character development and forwarded plot. Also, Oz wanted to leave the show to do other things and Angel wanted to go to his own network, so those relationships couldn't work for reasons that had nothing to do with the storyline. In fact, Tara was an unplanned replacement for Oz. In short, ME doesn't destroy relationships for the sole purpose of creating angst. Watch Smallville if you want that. Rather, the writers do it in order to push character development or forward other plot lines. Sometimes they do it well, sometimes they don't.

"As for Tara what I saw in season 6 was a really good and believable dynamic between Tara and Willow right through Tabula Rasa. After that, because our main avenue for finding out about her inner state was her interactions with Willow, Tara's feelings and motivations vanish from the story."

Just because we don't see as much of Tara doesn't mean that she has completely vanished. We can still see that she has strong feelings for Willow from her few interactions with Willow, Buffy, and especially Dawn. Tara is always asking and worrying about Willow while she's gone. She gets emotional when she talks about Willow. She gets flustered when she is around Willow. These are all signs that someone has strong feelings, and we have absolute no indication that those feelings are hate. Also, Tara's return was not sudden at all. Willow has been seeking Tara out. We know this from the times that she met Tara after class. We know that Tara has sought Willow out, at least when she came to visit in Normal Again. Also, Tara visited during OaFA, and in hell's bells Tara and Willow were flirting with each other. I can give more examples if you would like. Finally, why do I have to prove that Tara loved Willow the whole time? You prove to me that she didn't. After all, we know that she still loved Willow when she left. Where are the indications that she stopped loving Willow?

"However I don't think that arguing that the only viable model for TV drama is a continual parade of failed relationships is very useful or reasonable."

Good grief. Buffy is hardly a continual parade of failed relationships. Most of the relationships on the show have lasted for months or even years. In real life, most people date many times before they find even one relationship that stable. Buffy has seriously dated a total of 3 guys over the course of six years. Xander has dated two people. Willow has dated two people. When you think about it, the characters have had amazing success in their relationships. The only reason that it seems as bad as it does is because they date one person long enough for us to grow an emotional attachment to them. Also, we have been seeing a lot of these relationships fail all at once, so it seems like more than it is.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> But consider this -- Darby, 22:14:05 05/31/02 Fri

Were Tara & Willow more interesting together or apart?

Were Xander & Anya more interesting together or apart?

Were Buffy & Spike more interesting together or apart?

ME's pattern is that, to realize their "vision," relationships are doomed to failure, that this will be somehow more dramatic. But I'd rather see the dynamic from the conflicts within a successful relationship than the melodramatics building toward a break-up. At least some of the time.

Tara was at her best when fighting for her place with Willow. The most telling instances of Willow's inner beast appeared in her dealings with Tara, but her failure to recognize the severity of how she violated Tara (a real measure of her capacity for ruthlessness and disregard for others) has bothered many posters here because it was never really resolved - hardly addressed, beyond the initial reactions and the repeat-gone-awry. It made Willow's beast much too black-and-white, I think. There are similar problems in Buffy's transgressions with Spike, especially from Dead Things. And I thought with Xander and Anya that they were building to a nuanced depiction of marriage between partners who have hidden issues, but we get funny wedding fights and vengeance demons.

I'm beginning to think that the writers fall short of being able to portray the complex conflicts that appear within romantic relationships (notice that they have done quite well with the ins- and-outs of friendships) as we "grow up," and that may be why this season was very uneven, delving more into the characters' inner lives. In the Buffyverse, when things are good, they're pretty damn good, but when they're get the idea.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But consider this -- Traveler, 15:30:51 06/01/02 Sat

"Were Tara & Willow more interesting together or apart?
Were Xander & Anya more interesting together or apart?
Were Buffy & Spike more interesting together or apart?"

In one word, "yes." I find all the characters interesting no matter who they are with. If I didn't, I wouldn't be watching the show.

"ME's pattern is that, to realize their "vision," relationships are doomed to failure"

This is not what they said at all. They said relationships are "doomed" to have conflict. For Pete's sake, the series isn't over yet. Just because several couples broke up this season doesn't mean they are gone for good. Season seven could end with Anya and Xander getting married, Buffy and Spike engaged, and Willow going out with the new love of her life. Not everything in BtVS is as bleak as you make it out. Trust in Joss.

[> [> [> [> Very good points, but ... (Spoilers for Season 6) -- Exegy, 12:04:27 05/31/02 Fri

... I think that the elimination of Tara (or Oz, if Seth Green had never left the show) is necessary in order to propel the Willow storyline. Why? Because Tara is the outside source through which Willow finds her validation. Willow seeks her own sense of self- worth in Tara; she fills the void in herself with Tara's love. She lives for the times that Tara just looks at her and she's wonderful.

And then that feeling gets taken away from her forever. Willow can't bring her lover back the way she brought Buffy back. Tara's dead. The source of Willow's validation is gone. There's no end to work toward anymore, no reason not to abuse the black magicks, no reason not to succumb to the terrible grief and anger.

If Tara had survived, Willow would have some positive thing in her life to keep her from descending into absolute darkness. She wouldn't be able to say, "I'm not coming back." She wouldn't be able to destroy a world with Tara in it. As long as the possibility of Tara's love remains, Willow has a reason to live and do good.

Tara's love gives Willow a goal to work toward in overcoming the magick abuse. Willow falls a long way (Wrecked), but there's always Tara's light there to guide her out of the dark of the woods. And Willow wants to be someone good for Tara, she wants her lover to think well of her. She's not entirely dismissive of Tara's opinion. She wants Tara to be proud of her when she's gone 32 days without magick. She's worried about what Tara will think of her when the safety net is uncovered (OAFA).

No, I think Willow wants Tara as her own beautiful person. She can't find solace in a mindless simulacrum (filling out Tara's clothes after the real girl has left). Willow wants true, unforced love; she wants the real Tara to come back to her and validate her struggle to become the good person again, the one who wouldn't abuse Tara et al. Someone worthy of love.

And Tara does come back. She wants to work out their problems together. And the sex between Willow and Tara is a wondrous thing. Willow feels whole again. Tara's love fills her, and she can feel that she's a loveable person. And she can forgive herself for what she's done, for the one she's wronged the most (with the possible exception of Buffy) has accepted her as she is.

The continuation of the W/T relationship is greeted with firm approval by all the heterosexual Scoobs. It's deemed a healthy and good thing by everyone. Dawn practically throws a fit in an effort to get out of the lesbians' way so that they can have healing sex. Buffy looks right at W/T kissage and clearly approves (and Buffy was really squeamish when she first learned that Willow was gay). W/T sex is portrayed in a totally positive light. Two people who love each other are rejoined. That's it.

Tara's death doesn't occur because she's a lesbian. It results from a random accident. Warren's shooting at Buffy. Tara's just an innocent bystander who stands too close to the window.

The storyline calls for Tara's death because Willow must lose the one thing that is keeping her going (if Oz had never left, it would have been Oz). That external source of validation must be removed so that Willow confronts the depths of her darkness. The woman can't rely on her lover to always provide a salve for her self-esteem. She has to realize the need for internalized validation, something she's never had (and never would have, as long as she placed her worth in the love of someone else).

So does Xander's declaration of love ruin the point? Not really. I think that Xander tells Willow that even at her worst she is loveable. She's the same good friend he has had all these years. Something in her is worth loving. And I think that Willow finally realizes this message herself. Tara in many ways has told her the same message, but Willow hasn't been able to listen. She's too busy focusing on Tara's love for her (as the determination of her own self-worth). Tara must be lost beyond hope of recovery for Willow to understand that her worth is not rooted in the other but in herself (even after she has committed some of the most horrendous deeds).

I think that Xander's intervention is only the starting point of Willow's recovery. The woman has a long way to go before she can feel love for herself. She'll need lots of help from her friends.

I think that losing the one source she placed all her worth in has finally gotten Willow to confront the real issue behind all her problems. Seeing the lack of self-esteem and self-love doesn't make these root problems go away. But it makes it easier for Willow (and others) to work on the issue.

Could Willow and Tara have been happy together as they were? Of course. But the depths of Willow's problems would never have been plumbed. Restless would never have paid off. Willow's journey would be incomplete; as long as Tara was around to love her, she'd never need to feel a love for herself. She'd just have Tara there to make her feel wonderful (and so Willow cares for Tara, but it all relates back to her, as you say).

Tara and Oz are wonderful characters in their own right, but Willow is more central to the narrative and so her journey takes precedence over their development. Tara dies in order to further the storyline the writers have been setting up for years. If Oz were here in her place, he'd be dead too (probably after getting back together with Willow in a similar scenario). The elimination of the other in whom all worth has been placed is necessary in order for Willow to really love herself for herself.

Tara's death is a terrible event, but it's also a testament to the writers' ability for getting the audience to care so much about a supporting character. They shouldn't be faulted for telling the story that they want to tell (and providing intense drama for the viewers).

I've enjoyed the story, but I realize that some opinions differ from mine. That's okay. But I do believe that Tara's death is necessary for the current storyline to take place, whether one enjoys it or not.

Thanks for reading!

[> [> [> [> [> I disagree... (Spoilers for Season 6) -- Darby, 13:00:04 05/31/02 Fri

I think it will be very hard to throw light on Willow's situation for exactly the reasons you list.

With Tara gone, Willow has an excuse for her "evil" acts. Remember, this whole arc started when she and Tara were together - wouldn't it have been more revealing to show Willow's descent into darkness despite Tara's presence?

And, to address other points elsewhere, what I'm doing is not saying that the writers couldn't do what they see fit, but it's the choices writers make that make them average or exemplary, and these were average, formulaic, short-sighted choices, I feel, and I'm criticizing them on that basis. I, and think think we all, have come to expect more from ME than the same old cliches reworked ad infinitum. And, for a staff who has built a reputation for layered meanings in their scripts, the meanings here are negative and amount to very little.

Should I mention that, in its original Jossian incarnation, Tara was supposed to buy it at the Sunnydale cafe, shot from a block away? That would have avoided many of the cliches we're discussing here. Was it just not worth the effort?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I disagree... (Spoilers for Season 6) -- Traveler, 14:46:50 05/31/02 Fri

"With Tara gone, Willow has an excuse for her "evil" acts. Remember, this whole arc started when she and Tara were together - wouldn't it have been more revealing to show Willow's descent into darkness despite Tara's presence?"

I don't think Willow has any excuse whatsoever for her actions. She was shown to be very deliberate and in control. However, the writers have to walk a fine line; they have to make Willow sympathetic enough that we don't totally write her off. She has to be able to come back from this. If Willow had "gone bad" despite Tara's presence, she would have been a lot less sympathetic. Also, the whole point is that Tara gave Willow all of her feeling of self worth. The only other way to take that away would be to have Tara categorically and forever reject Willow. Tell me, do you think that the kittens would have been happier to see that?

"Should I mention that, in its original Jossian incarnation, Tara was supposed to buy it at the Sunnydale cafe, shot from a block away? That would have avoided many of the cliches we're discussing here. Was it just not worth the effort?"

How would this be better? If you agree that the writers needed to kill Tara, why do you argue that they should do it in a way to provides less emotional punch? Willow needed privacy to stew in her grief, and the bedroom is a sort of sanctuary, so it is even more shocking to see random violence occur there.

If you don't like misery, broken relationships, and repeated patterns (aka cliches), then don't watch dramas. Heck, don't watch comedies either. Look at the history of relationships in "Friends." Conflict really is the thing that makes television interesting. If those conflicts are always external, we lose intrest. If they are internal conflicts, then they will naturally work their way into relationships.

Furthermore, while ME has shown us characters dying/turning evil after sex, we have also seen good sexual relationships that have lasted for a long time. Season six has been tough for the scoobies, but several of them have had very stable relationships for years. Xander/Anya and Willow/Tara are the best examples, although we did get a year of Buffy/Riley and Willow/Oz. Ultimately these relationship fell apart, but the story isn't over. Xander and Anya may get back together. Buffy and Spike may get back together. Willow will fall in love again. So yes, there is pain, but there is also healing. This is a lot like real life. Most people don't marry the first person they date. Or the second or third or fourth... and even when they do get married, it doesn't guarantee there won't be divorce, spousal abuse, or any number of other problems. If you want to see perfect relationships on TV, then watch the carebears. Even the smurfs have conflict sometimes.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I disagree... (Spoilers for Season 6) -- Dochawk, 07:24:02 06/03/02 Mon

Even the writers agree that they made a mistake in killing Tara after having sex (See interviews with both deKnight and Espenson). having it happen while they were out walking woul dhave helped seperate out the lesbian issue, which despite the prostatations and explanations of many of the above posts (almost all totally valid), some people interpeted it another way. Once its on the screen its the viewer who interpets the action. The writers knew what they were risking and I agree with Darby they took the easy road in all of the actions that occured. Did Tara have to die? Yup for the story they were telling, could they have made her death just as compelling, but avoided much of thelesbian cliche? Yup but they choose not too.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I disagree... (Spoilers for Season 6) -- Exegy, 15:37:40 05/31/02 Fri

We've already seen Willow's descent into darkness despite Tara's presence. It comprised almost the entire first half of the season. It's just not as obvious or spectacular as the darkness of the final episodes. And it's not as overwhelming (due to the presence of Tara as a restraining factor).

To begin with, there is the reasoning behind bringing Buffy back. Willow's sense of loss dictates her actions. She can't stop to consider what the resurrection will do to Buffy; she needs to believe that she is doing the right thing. She needs to believe that she is saving her friend from a hell dimension. And Willow convinces her other friends to do something wrong and unnatural for the "right" cause. She's a commanding and controlling presence, someone who is totally justified in "fixing" things (to her liking). She doesn't see the slippery path that she treads (but Tara begins to sense Willow's abuse of power).

So the situation progresses. Willow uses her magick to whisk away the pain. She takes the easy way out. When Tara calls her on the lack of respect for magick, Willow fixes that situation too. Magick's for making people happy, and what could be wrong with that goal? Except when Willow makes Tara forget, she takes away her lover's autonomy. If this trend continues, then there will be nothing left of the beautiful individual that is Tara. There will only be a simulacrum who responds to another's whims.

Fortunately, Tara discovers the mind control. Tara reprimands Willow for her actions, telling her that she's wrong to do this. Willow doesn't want to hear it; she can't accept that she's wrong. She keeps on abusing the magicks (continuing the process of altering others to her liking with the "Tabula Rasa" spell). Tara won't put up with it and leaves. Without Tara present as a restraining influence, Willow's spiral down accelerates. She finds another "magickal friend" and goes all-out with the magicks, constantly seeking greater "highs."

Until she's finally stopped cold on her path of self-destruction (for this course would have eventually destroyed her, too). She hurts someone she loves and has to admit that she's spun out of control.

And here the magick addiction enters. I don't mind this storyline (although I admit that it's been clumsily handled at times). I've always seen it as a hollow cover for the underlying cause of Willow's problems. Willow (and everyone else) blames the magick instead of the lack of self-esteem. Willow thinks that if she can beat her addiction she'll gain Tara's love back (and she'll feel wonderful again as a direct result). This type of thinking is just another manifestation of the central difficulty. Willow believes that she can do something and make everything right again. This time she'll stay away from the magicks and she'll gain the reward of Tara's love. Willow's still looking to an outside source for validation.

The goal of gaining back Tara keeps Willow on the right path. She has incentive to do good. It seems like she's learned from Tara that abuse of power is wrong.

But Willow hasn't internalized the lesson. Not if she's always looking toward the other for guidance (Tara the light that draws her out of the dark wood). What happens when the light's not there? When the restraining factor has been taken away?

An outright plunge into darkness. And this time Willow knows what she's getting into. She's dabbled in the darkness before. Without Tara, she doesn't care if the darkness possesses and consumes her. There's no reason to do good, no end that will give her the comfort she desires, the love she doesn't feel for herself.

Willow's actions arise out of grief and rage, but that doesn't mean they're excusable! The feelings just make them understandable. Much more understandable than if Tara were still present, giving Willow that incentive to stay alive and do good for the other's love (the incentive that helped her overcome the darkness of her "addiction" once she was forced into awareness of it).

The light of Tara has been forever taken away. And now Willow is lost in the dark woods. She acts in a way that she *knows* Tara would disapprove of; she's betraying everything Tara stood for. And she doesn't care, because the issue that fuels her is that Tara has departed, and this means that Willow can never feel Tara's love again (her incentive in overcoming her earlier troubles). She'll never be complete or loveable again because Tara's not there to say that she is, and so nothing else matters. She may as well destroy herself and end the world's suffering with her.

I don't think that Willow would have destroyed a world with Tara in it! Not as long as that fulfilling love remained. I mean, when Willow's trying to destroy Glory, she's trying to save Tara and the world. She's doing what she believes to be a good deed. And she continues to do what she believes to be good deeds up until Wrecked, when she's forced into admitting that she's been abusing her powers. She's been doing some wrong. But if she can make up with Tara, she can regain the part of herself that is good. She sees Tara's love as the only good thing about her.

So when Tara's gone, there is nothing to keep her from diving into darkness. No restraining factor (it would be the same with Oz, who was always concerned with Willow's use of magick). When there's no Tara, there's nothing good about Willow, and there's no need to do good.

So we see all the negative aspects of Willow amplified. She takes the path of self-destruction, and along the way she seeks to kill all beings associated with Tara's death. Even when she is infused with the "good magicks" that reawaken her humanity, her buried pain, she continues her destructive, negative path. There's nothing good about her, and the world reflects her sense of pain. The world must be destroyed. It doesn't have Tara in it.

This is all about Willow. Tara is important because of how Willow sees herself reflected in Tara. With Tara gone, there is nothing good about Willow.

It's not about the lesbian relationship. Willow would have felt the same way if she were still with Oz. It's all about Willow and her need to seek validation from an outside source. And so the source has to be taken away in order for Willow to realize the root of all her problems. It's not some transparent addiction. It's the lack of self-esteem that spurs the addiction in the first place. And Willow's never going to understand this unless the lover that provides her sense of worth is forever gone.

I don't think that the events of Willow's storyline support the lesbian cliche. The lesbian relationship is not the problem. Lesbian sex is not the problem. The W/T sex is good! The Scoobs all approve of it. And although Tara is now dead, I don't think that Willow's going to say, "Teaches me right for indulging in lesbian sex. Back to Boys' Town I go!" Hardly. I think that once Willow comes to terms with what she's done and learns to love herself, she'll begin a relationship with another girl.

Oh, and I think she'll make peace with her memory of Tara. (I'm expecting Amber Benson to reappear next year, but not as the living Tara.) Willow's not going to excuse herself for her actions. She knows that what she's done is wrong. She's going to have to live with what she's done (and almost done) to her friends and to the mmemory of Tara. I think she'll find the core of goodness in her heart, balance her energies, and commit to doing good (with the knowledge of how wrong one can be to abuse one's powers). It'll be a hard recovery, and Willow can never be the innocent girl of the earlier seasons, but she'll be older and wiser. And eventually ready to undertake new relationships (that will not evoke the lesbian cliche).

I don't fault the writers for going this route. It's the logical development based upon all the past Willow developments (and totally in line with her character). It's very distressing, but it's not the end to the storyline. Willow's story continues into next year, so I find it hard to pass definitive judgment on the events of this season until we see the effects on next season. I really doubt that we're going to see a lesbian cliche parallel in the future. In fact, I expect a subverted cliche, with Willow coming to terms with herself and loving a girl and living as Tara would want her to: as her own loveable person.

Now, this would make for a positive statement (intended by the ME writers all along, as I would see matters).

PS. If I in any way indicated a direct connection between sex and Tara's death, then I am sorry (I don't think that I did, but one never knows). The shooting is a fluke accident, included by the writers for the purposes of furthering Willow's journey (not to illustrate that lesbian sex is "bad"). The sex is all good. Sex pretty, shooting bad!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm willing to grant that -- Sophist, 16:58:10 05/31/02 Fri

Tara's death was necessary to push Willow off the cliff. That doesn't resolve the issue raised by the Kittens. There are at least 2 remaining concerns:

1. Why did Willow's cliff have to be the Grand Canyon? By comparison, Dawn's kleptomania and bratfests seem like the roof of my house. Buffy's sex with Spike not only didn't seem so bad, it had real fans. Couldn't Willow have had a less apocalyptic fall?

2. Why was Willow the one whose depths had to be plumbed? If you had asked me before S6 which Scoobie had the darkest hidden side, I'd have answered without hesitation that it was Xander. Clearly, Spike and Anya would qualify on this score if you expand the SG a little.

Now, I personally think that ME has answers to these points that have nothing to do with the stereotyping of lesbians on TV. But, as usual, there are other interpretations than mine. I can't say those other interpretations are without foundation, even if I disagree with them.

The other point to remember is that ME's intent is not the only factor to consider. At least as important is the audience reaction. A perfect example is provided by your "back to Boystown" quote. I have read numerous posts on other boards in which suggestions are made to hook Willow up with Xander or some other male character (my personal favorite, since I like irony, is Wesley; I swear it's true). These posters obviously did take the message of the show exactly the way some feared.

This doesn't mean ME was wrong. Some people will never get it, no matter how you tell the story. ME has to make its own artistic decisions, and viewers are personally responsible for their own misinterpretations. But I don't think it's wrong to point out the common ways that viewers impose stereotypes and to ask that shows be aware of these in order to avoid unconsciously playing to them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm willing to grant that -- Traveler, 18:19:19 05/31/02 Fri

"1) Couldn't Willow have had a less apocalyptic fall?"

No. This was what the writers wanted to show. They wanted us to see Willow totally out of control, with no mitigating circumstances. Maybe they decided it was the best way to force Willow to find her worth independant of Tara. Maybe they had other reasons that we won't learn until season 7.

"2. Why was Willow the one whose depths had to be plumbed?"

Why not Willow? Are you saying the writers can't touch her because she's a lesbian? Or is it just that they have to trash all the straight characters first? We have already seen a LOT about Spike's evil past. We also have a pretty good idea what Anya was like. This season has been more about exploring Buffy, Xander, and Willow's hidden darkness.

"I have read numerous posts on other boards in which suggestions are made to hook Willow up with Xander or some other male character (my personal favorite, since I like irony, is Wesley; I swear it's true). These posters obviously did take the message of the show exactly the way some feared."

People have been shipping Willow and Xander since season 1. You aren't talking about people who suddenly realized that lesbian relationships are evil. These are people who always wanted to see their favorite ship sail off and now see an opportunity for their fantasy to be realized. It would be more pertinent if the posters you mentioned were saying, "I always thought that Tara and Willow were perfect for each other, but now I see that it could never have worked. Really, Willow needs a man like Xander."

"But I don't think it's wrong to point out the common ways that viewers impose stereotypes and to ask that shows be aware of these in order to avoid unconsciously playing to them."

The writers were aware of the issue and seriously discussed it. However, when you are dealing with a sensitive issue, it is impossible to please everybody. The writers did what they did because it seemed the best thing to do artistically speaking, and it isn't fair to force them to cater to a small segment of their audience that has paper thin skin. You know, ME has done a lot of nerd jokes, with little attempt to show nerds in a positive light. Since I am a nerd, it would be perfectly reasonable for me to take offense at that. I choose not to, because I have developed thick skin against these kinds of insults. Also, I place them in proper context. For example, I know that the writers also consider themselves nerds, so their jokes are half directed at themselves. Also, Willow is a positive role model for nerds as well as lesbians. And so on. If the kittens are this bitterly upset by what ME has done, despite all the positive lesbian messages sent in the past, I don't know how they could survive real bigotry.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm willing to grant that -- Sophist, 20:09:30 05/31/02 Fri

I absolutely am not saying Willow was untouchable because she was a lesbian. I believe they had good reasons to choose Willow. At least, I have good reasons and I'm willing to attribute them to the writers. However, I'm willing to acknowledge that the issue is not clear cut and that other views of this can be as valid as mine.

The posters I referred to didn't explain their reasons, so I can't say if you are right or not. It is true that some have never accepted that Willow is "really" gay; they believe Tara was a phase and that Willow will "come back". Whether these are the same ones now urging a W/X pairing I can't say.

The writer's comments at the end of Grave indicated to me (perhaps they were just being politic) that they had not realized the full implications of the stereotypes under attack. If not, then the discussion serves a good purpose for the future. If they did consider all the issues and made an artistic judgment, I'm fine with that. But I miss W/T.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I miss Tara too :( -- Traveler, 20:33:37 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm fairly certain that ME was aware of the stereotype . . . ( Discussion of Season Darkness) -- Exegy, 01:26:14 06/01/02 Sat

... but the writers went on with their storyline anyway. They deliberately risked alienating a number of fan subsets. I mean, there are people as upset about the progression of the S/B relationship as the Kittens are about Tara's death. I don't intend to discount the very real emotions that this season has provoked. I'm just offering a possible explanation of why ME chose to go the way they did with the Willow storyline. I hope I don't come off as too strident. I'm just defending the story ME went with; I belong to the subset of fans Who-Are-Very-Pleased-With-ME's-Work-in- Progress.

Also, I think that the writers have been pretty fair in doling out the pain this season. All the characters have been placed in the dark of the woods. Some get off easier; I agree that Dawn's "darkness" is the least explored, but then she is the least developed character. I expect next season to be more Dawncentric. She'll probably discover more about her Key origins (a force for good or evil).

But this season, Dawn serves more as the device that reflects Buffy's negligence and unwillingness to be back on earth. Buffy is the fallen hero, the one who has temporarily forsaken her duty in despair. She reaches new lows, to the point where she doubts that she is even herself. She must be wrong, because otherwise she would not feel or act the way she does. She wouldn't take advantage of someone's love for her. She wouldn't let her best friend drown in her own problems. She wouldn't neglect the most important person in the world for her. But Buffy does all this, and she's not possessed. She's only depressed.

Buffy's season of darkness is not as spectacular as Willow's three episodes of major darkness, but I'd say that it's just as horrible for her. Different characters will suffer in different ways. Weaknesses will be explored differently. So with Willow we get the rapid downward spiral (paralleling Buffy's spiral of last year). Willow has never dealt with the pain herself; she's always sought external validation. When the source of validation gets taken away, Willow must deal with the pain. Destroying the world, making all the pain go poof, is not the answer. One must live, no matter how hard living may seem. As Buffy says, sometimes the hardest thing is to live in the world. And we see this outlook at work in our fallen hero all season. Buffy spends the entire time slowly digging herself out of her grave; only the threat of being buried once again causes her to realize that she hopes to live. For all its pain, the world can be a wonderful thing, full of joy. One just has to take the good with the bad. Buffy's mostly been focusing on the bad, because there's been a lot of it recently.

As for Xander, I think that his life becomes a wreck much more gradually than Willow's or Buffy's lives do. And so his arc seems less dramatic and intense (which makes sense, as Xander is the "normal guy" who suffers with less supernatural exaggeration). But the darkness is very real and very deep. The nightmare of Restless is coming true; Xander has lost his heart, left Anya on her big day, and failed to overcome the attitude of his father. Indeed, he's almost become his father. His self-righteous actions and judgmental approach make him very, very unsympathetic. There is little to like in the way Xander handles the whole S/A affair (although his behavior is understandable, it's not condonable). Xander has turned into that which he has been trying to run away from. He's screwed up his life as a result; he's lost his heart, his one particular strength, the part of him that makes him his own person, different from his parents. He only rediscovers his heart in the scene with Willow, when he has nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. He may as well die with his best friend. His declaration of total love for her is the best thing he does all year.

Too bad Xander didn't give some of that love to Anya when she needed it. After being jilted at the altar, Anya flips back to Vengeance Demon status. This action seems to destroy all the progress she has undergone as a human. Anya threatens to torture Xander, the man she has promised to never hurt (Triangle). If she does this, then she betrays all her human growth and truly returns to the monster that she was. But Anya doesn't hurt Xander when she has the chance, and so she escapes the total darkness that would envelop her otherwise.

The same thing happens with Spike. The SR bathroom scene represents his lowest point, the near-total destruction of his character (as near a destruction as the one visited upon Willow). Spike has betrayed everything he ever stood for: his monster and his human natures, and his pledge of love for Buffy (love being the measure of his character, the force that has driven him as both vampire and man). Spike's sunk to nothing. He needs to change. He could become the Big Bad he's always claimed he wants to be; he could destroy Buffy and his love, his human weakness. Or he could reinvent himself as someone Buffy can trust. Spike chooses the latter option and so escapes absolute darkness (not that he still won't have many issues to deal with).

So clearly Willow has not been the only one to suffer through a dark period. Her descent is undeniably more dramatic, but I expected no less. Willow wields the most power; she has the most potential to do harm. And, without a restraining factor, she has the least control over herself (she's more likely to take that final step off the deep end).

But Willow doesn't totally lose herself to darkness. Giles' good magicks reawaken her humanity, allowing Xander's message to reach her. Willow comes down to earth, and she finally accepts the pain of Tara's death. She can't take the easy way out any longer; none of the characters can (but some will probably try).

All of the characters deal with their own inner darkness in order to become more whole individuals in the end. Of course, these are journeys in progress, so it's hard to judge the story right now. I'm willing to see where ME is headed. BtVS appeals to me, but I realize that various developments of the show do not appeal to everyone. Certain segments of the audience will be offended. This is regrettable but unavoidable.

ME can't duck all the negative stereotypes. I think that the writers took the risk of evoking the lesbian cliche and the "Luke & Laura" scenario in order to get their story across. Some will find that negative messages have been sent as a result. Others will not. It's impossible to defeat either position, because both are valid. Where one sees something negative, another will see something positive. I'm trying to support the positive interpretation (perhaps not very successfully), but I'll admit that one can interpret the show in terms of negative messages.

I'm sorry if I embarked on a long and fruitless tangent, but I'm trying to show that the writers intended to go to dark places this season, risking the wrath of many fans. I have faith that they know where they're going. Out of the darkness there peeks the dawn, so hopefully next season will cast a little bit of light and perspective on recent events.

And now I go off to bed, hoping that I did not post something totally stupid in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks for reading anyway!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The comments I read indicated they were not. -- Sophist, 11:22:33 06/01/02 Sat

Having said that, I hasten to add that I do not blame ME for pandering to stereotypes. I believe that they made their decisions without even thinking about it. That itself could be ground for criticism if the storyline plays out to suit a cliche.

Your summary of the characters this year is very well done. I realize these are all subjective judgments, but I'm hard put to see the that any character fell as far this year as Willow did (maybe Spike; and note they got a similar reaction from fans). That leaves open the questions: why did they choose her, and why did she fall so far?

My personal answer to this is that they believed AH could handle the acting necessary, while a more plausible choice (NB) could not. I have no idea if it's true or not.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, I guess it depends on which writer interviews you read (spoilers) -- Exegy, 12:58:56 06/01/02 Sat

Several of the writer commentaries I read indicated that they knew they might evoke negative stereotypes, but in the end they decided that their story could hold its own. Actually, I'm looking at a copy of the Jane Espenson Succubus transcript right now, and here's what she has to say:

[About the SR bathroom scene] I was very worried about the attempted rape ... because that's not something that you play around with. That's not something ... it's very hard to come back from. And you know, you can say that Luke and Laura came back from it, but that was a different time. I think we have to be very careful that we are not saying anything about humans....

[About Tara's death] I hadn't been aware that there was a backlash. Although we did talk about it ... um we knew ... what we knew has been done with gay characters is that you introduce them just to kill them. We knew that wasn't what we were doing. Tara had been on the show a very long time, very long, not as long as Buffy but she clearly had not been brought in as cannon fodder. Because when you do that, you bring them in and kill them right away. And when you do that it's a punishment. We felt that this was clearly not a punishment for being gay, her being gay ... she wasn't gay bashed. She was shot accidentally. We did talk about it, we did talk about we're doing that thing, we're killing the lesbian. But, we don't ... it didn't feel that way to us because she wasn't the lesbian character anymore. Willow and Tara are both lesbians, Willow didn't die. Willow was our main character, if you gonna, wanted to make some horrible message about killing the lesbians, you'd kill her.

So the writers discussed the possibility of pandering to the cliches, but they decided that their story was more than that. I think they didn't expect as many viewers to disagree with their POV. But the writers know that they are not trying to send a negative message; it's hard for all in the audience to know that. The audience doesn't follow the details of ME's confidential discussions; viewers can't be expected to understand the show as the writers understand it. Viewers will take their own messages from the show. ME can't control that.

I think the writers knew that they'd offend many people with the dark storylines this season, but the backlash must have surprised them. It's one thing to expect criticism; it's another thing to actually receive the hate mail and hear about the boycotts. The writers probably wanted a better reaction to their story, and I bet some got defensive when the heavy bashing started (not that there isn't some bashing every year). But they know where they're going with the story, and they just hope that too many people don't tune out before the story is finished.

I'm sorry that a lot of people have been turned off by the show. I really believe that ME doesn't intend to send any negative messages, but once BtVS is broadcast the interpretation is up to the individual viewer, something we have all proven in this thread ;-)

This has been a great discussion. Thanks to Darby for presenting a nice argument and promping me to write in the first place. And thanks, Sophist--you always bring up good points. And I agree with you that Willow and Spike suffer the most dramatic character destruction this season. That's been my opinion all along. Willow and Spike dive headfirst into the depths of their personal darkness; other characters skim the surface (Dawn), wallow in it (Buffy), or slowly succumb to it (Xander). I think that Willow falls so abruptly because of the nature of her problem (lack of self-esteem leading into the need to hide her true self, the tendency to abuse power, and finally self-destructive tendencies). These negative traits have been built up so obviously over the seasons that anything less than an apocalyptic event would seem anticlimactic (imagine if Wrecked ended the exploration of her darkness--yeesh!).

As for Willow's descent being the most spectacular, I think that the writers are saving the best for last. I'm expecting Buffy to realize her true dark potential as a Slayer by the series' end. As with Willow's story, many hints have been dropped our way. I want to see the Slayer's demonic origins explored!

Thanks all for reading.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks for the quote from JE. The one I saw was from Petrie or Fury (can't remember) -- Sophist, 13:57:44 06/01/02 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Probably Fury -- Exegy, 14:29:32 06/02/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm willing to grant that -- rattletrap, 09:24:21 06/01/02 Sat

Why was Willow the one whose depths had to be plumbed? If you had asked me before S6 which Scoobie had the darkest hidden side, I'd have answered without hesitation that it was Xander.

Wow, I would _totally_ disagree with you on that point. Xander has his dark side, that is beyond dispute, but his is far from hidden. Xander's darkness is a very ordinary sort, and something that he wears out on his sleeve. He is rash, impulsive, stubborn, hardheaded, often judgmental, frequently immature, has definite family issues--but none of these things are really uncommon or hidden; we've known this about him since S1. This season gave us some more insight into these qualities, but didn't show us anything that we didn't already know. For all these negative qualities, he is also doggedly loyal, protective of his friends, often brave, willing to stand up for what he thinks is right (even if the stance is unpopular), and usually willing to follow instructions that he disagrees with for the good of the group (Becoming 1, for example). He is a very upfront character, not many hidden depths to plumb.

Willow's darkness is another matter. She's been the "reliable dog- geyser person" for most of the series run. We've had some hints of family problems, and a few glimpses of judgmentalism (notably toward Faith), but nothing really deep. We've seen glimpses of her dark side (VampWillow) and her power-issues, but none of these depths have really been plumbed (to return to the metaphor at hand). Season 6 demonstrated, very well IMO, the inner darkness that has lurked unexplored beyond the good-little-girl facade for the last 6 years.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> It's odd, really. -- Sophist, 11:27:23 06/01/02 Sat

I agree with your description of both W and X prior to S6. It was for exactly these reasons that I felt Xander had the darker side and was the natural person to fall the hardest in S6.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: It's odd, really. (Longish. Sorry.) -- Jane's Addiction, 07:38:25 06/02/02 Sun

You know, it's an interesting question. At what point do writers strain credibility beyond the point just to create the most intense emotional scenarios possible? How far can they go? How far should they go?

You're right, the writers have shown a good deal more darkness in Xander's soul over the past few seasons. But they've at the same time been dropping hints all along the way about something being "hidden" in Willow, from the obvious allusions in "Restless" all the way back to a season 2 episode like "Halloween" when she wore a disguise beneath a disguise.

It seems likely that the ME writers felt that the events of the last four S6 episodes were the most intensely dramatic way to deal with Willow's underlying emotional issues, from her insecurities and control issues to the poor self-image (perhaps outright self- loathing) that may be at the root of it all. If we're being honest, Willow's issues aren't that uncommon. We probably see them in people we know everyday, we may see them (or refuse to see them) in ourselves. So were the writers more interested in finding the most powerful way to make the Willow character stop and really examine these issues than they were in being completely true to the characters? Personally, I'd say yes. The writers have basically admitted that they really had to twist themselves into a knot to create the one precise situation where the Willow character would snap while maintaining some emotional realism. I think it was JE who recently commented in an interview that JW was all but physically ill when they were story-boarding out the idea of killing Tara, but he felt there was no choice if they were going to force Willow onto the path that they apparently had wanted to force her onto for some time.

Hopefully we'll learn more in S7 about exactly why they chose to force Willow onto this path. For all of the angst over one of the "Good Guys" killing a human, I tend to believe any one of the characters could do it. What if Glory last season had been a simple human psychopath and what if she had actually killed Dawn? How many people truly believe Buffy would've simply called in the SDPD to deal with her? I personally think we would've quickly seen "Buffy the Slayer" become "Buffy the Flayer." She made very clear in "The Gift" that she would kill any one of her best friends if they went near Dawn. The intent was there, the writers simply chose not to make her go there.

In any case, you can definitely debate the logic - a lot of the last three episodes appeared to come from the Jossian School of "This will be Cool" and "That would Suck." (As I believe you noted, it also appears likely that the question of which actor was better equipped to deal with the heavy-dramatic-lifting came into play.)It all raises the question - where is the line between writers telling the most dramatic story possible and writers outright abusing their characters for fun and profit? And yes, in a character-driven show like Btvs that is dangerous territory indeed.

They're JW's characters and he can do with them as he wishes, but it doesn't mean the fans will all still respect him in the morning. I believe it was Joss himself who once complained of losing respect for Chris Carter after Carter appeared to lose respect for his characters by twisting and impeding their development in order to serve his idea of "a cool story."

I personally thought the last three episodes of S6 were "a cool story" indeed. But were they more interested in finding the most intense character development humanly possible than in finding the most realistic? Absolutely.

But then, after the emotional paralysis of S6, I was largely just grateful to be rid of the tiresome Trio (no offense to the actors who played them, just couldn't abide the characters). And any episode with a line like "Oh, Buffy. You really need to have every square inch of you ass kicked" can't be all bad. I actually like the Buffy character, but one of the Scoobies has needed to say that to self-righteous girl for a long time.

Well, that's really more than I intended to write. Please forgive the long winded response.

Couldn't you guys just debate who has the best hair or who kicks the highest? Realistic character development? Feh!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Lots of very good points -- Sophist, 08:23:21 06/02/02 Sun

I agree with most of what you said.

My real problem with the Willow story arc is that I never saw all these dark secrets in her character until S6. Maybe I'm just not perceptive enough, but I caught no hint of them. They certainly showed them well enough this season, but what puzzled me was why they chose her before they made those flaws so apparent.

I never see Buffy as self-righteous. I can see how others might though.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Lots of very good points -- Jane's Addiction, 12:37:13 06/02/02 Sun

>>>My real problem with the Willow story arc is that I never saw all these dark secrets in her character until S6.<<<

The writers did seem to go far out of their way to exaggerate Willow's control issues in S6. Up until this season, her flaws had usually been shown as fairly standard, very human insecurities. Though they do seem to have become gradually more pronounced over the seasons - from accidentally spearing a tree with a pencil while talking about the importance of emotional control to nearly cursing Oz (though she stopped herself) in "Wild at Heart," then the spell to have her will done in "Something Blue" (with all the unintended consequences for her friends) and finally using dark magics to avenge Glory's attack on Tara.

So much of it seems to go back to Willow's fear of accepting her pain as an natural part of life and working through it. They certainly alluded to the depth of her emotional issues with her exchange with D'Hoffryn in "Something Blue", though they kind of covered their tracks at the time by playing it for laughs:

You have much anger and pain. Your
magic is strong, but your pain... it's like
a scream that pierces dimensional walls.

I'm sorry. I'll try for a quiet rage. Bye.

I think we'll see this issue dealt with more fully in S7. Willow may or may not be stripped of her magic, but that's really just a symptom of the more fundamental problem. It wasn't Willow's magic that really got the attention of the Headhunters with the Vengeance Demon Management Trainee Program, it was the very intensity of her psychic pain.

Again, they do appear to have exaggerated her issues in S6, partly in response the power she suddenly held after essentially becoming the SG leader following Buffy's death. And who wouldn't be tempted to go on a little power trip after raising the dead?

What I find more interesting is why she raised the dead, and why she felt she had to somehow erase her argument with Tara. She seems to have this unconscious fear - like she senses how much pain is on the other side of this door in her mind, and she fears that if it's set loose it will devour her very soul (much like in her dream in "Restless"). The irony is that it's her refusal to confront and deal with the pain that proves far more self-destructive.

There's just enough evidence to show that these issues have been at play in her subconscious all along, though they've largely been hidden from her friends and perhaps from her own conscious mind.

But the real bottom line - were there other characters who were more obvious choices if one of the core characters had to become the Big Bad? Yes. Was the Darth Rosenberg story a disingenuous move on the part of the writers? I believe Joss has commented that he figured out early on in the first season that the surest way to get to the audience was to put Willow in jeopardy, partly because AH was particularly good at playing on the character's vulnerability. So how much more would it affect the audience to put her in jeopardy of losing her soul?

I thought it was pretty powerful to take a favorite character who might be associated with some of the most positive aspects of humanity (loyalty, a fundamental sweetness of character, a need to help people) and some of the most common flaws in humanity (poor emotional control and self-image) and put her into the one exact scenario that would make her temporarily lose all touch with that humanity. But might it also have crossed a line in terms of how manipulative the writers should be? There does seem to be a valid argument that it was an artistic sucker punch.

I'm kind of going back and forth on that point myself. But I'm reserving judgment until we see more of where they're really taking the Willow character next season. I'll grant you it's easy to see it as a questionable call on the part of the writers.

>>>I never see Buffy as self-righteous. I can see how others might though.<<<

I mostly like the Buffy character. But I do perceive the self- righteousness on occasion when she's in Slayer mode, and it can be a bit off-putting. But that's just me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well said. -- Sophist, 13:48:36 06/02/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes, great posts! -- Exegy, 14:27:30 06/02/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm willing to grant that -- TRM, 03:59:15 06/02/02 Sun

Sorry in advance, since I'm trying to address various posts here, but the bulk of it will be relevant to the post replied to...

First, though, to lighten the debate a litte, an example of a television couple with a long-term relationship that was in part drama (though of course also comedy) is Mad About You. Although I've watched probably less than ten episodes, I haven't hit one that I didn't like and it has a bitersweet sort of humor that's somewhat of a subtler taste than the dark humor on Buffy.

The main thing I wanted to address though refers to Sophist statement: The other point to remember is that ME's intent is not the only factor to consider. Which I thought I'd expound on a little more. Much of the disagreement I see stems from different agents having different motives, and it's odd to note that the kittens and this board are almost uniformly agreed (notwithstanding the normal debate we have on our board) on their standpoint on Tara's death. But the kittens, the posters on this board, and Joss & ME are all coming into the show with different incentives. Just consider the nature of the kittens board and this one. Our board (through its self-selection) emphasizes a generally more literary or philosophical concern; the kitten board has to some degree an inseperable social motive behind it. Most of us take BtVS as a literary or philosophical potpurri, mining even the most minor details for some allusion or metaphor. The kittens, while perhaps enjoying many of the same things as we do, are also sensitive -- arguably oversensitive as we are arguably overanalytical -- to the social impact that the death of a lesbian character has. Ultimately, ME probably falls in a line of moderation between our two views (and certainly others -- Buffy is also fun, action-filled entertainment), balancing what might be seen as artistic and social directives.

The ME choice to kill Tara and their arguments to back it are primarily artistic. Whether they are those based on Tara as a plot device to drive Willow off the edge or whether its an artistic statement of being, in some degree, above the whole lesbian issue and killing Tara as if she was any other character and not the Lesbian Character. Consequently, it seems that ME would certainly have more support from our board.

On the other hand, the kitten board, as Sophist has noted, has a justifiable reaction of their own, and they are very concerned with social effects, ergo the influence that such a scene may have on unsure, questioning teens. Were I to argue somewhat from the kitten board viewpoint, it would not be that lesbian relationships should be forever sacred, but that in the society we live in today it is imperative to be careful -- if our concern was on social impact -- on what happens with a lesbian couple. Pretending that one can treat a lesbian as if she were just any other character fails to address the reality that many in modern society regrettably wouldn't consider a lesbian as just another person; there arises the conflict between writer and audience. A lesbian character cannot be just another character because the writers will it as the audience, our modern society, will not view her as such.

Personally, I rather respected the fact that ME went ahead and dealt with Willow as the plot seemed to dictate -- even if it meant simply throwing the W/T relationship in the happiness-wreaks- havoc cliché machine. I think society should be represented where homosexual relationships are viewed as being widely accepted. Of course, this would not be an image of today's society, but if we are concerned with impressionable youths -- be they heterosexual or homosexual -- perhaps it is preferable to give them some examples of how homosexuality is a part of normal society, whereas many of our television shows somehow emphasizes its distinctness. I can't think off the top of my head of many television characters where homosexuality does not become a major part of who the character is on the show.

Willow and Tara's relationship (despite Willows constant "Gay now" type quips) seemed to lean more towards a categorically accepted lesbian relationship. The fact that not only the adult Scoobies, but also Faith, Glory and Dawn did not question their relationship showed how consistent ME's treatment of it was. In fact, while ME may have made a point of dealing with unconventional relationships, lesbianism was never directly placed in the category. Instead, it was Willow/Oz or Buffy/Angel when Buffy was explaining it to Riley (and Riley a professed lesbian at that), or magic with Tara's family, or Buffy's "coming out" scene as the Slayer to her mother.

It would seem that ME's mix of social and artistic incentives led them to a representation of lesbian relationships that follows the "nothing-different" policy just described. Lesbianism is not represented by ME as an unconventional relationship -- their concern has largely been on acceptance. On the other hand, the kittens don't think such a representation is appropriate for our current society; as many have noted, they are concerned more with what the representation may do rather than why it was done. Lesbianism as just another relationship-type doesn't yet exist in our society and treatment as such may only serve to ignore its complexity.

[> [> [> [> One instance does not a cliche make. (more snarkiness with spoilers!) -- Traveler, 15:12:10 05/31/02 Fri

"Did ME, in its typical fashion, subvert this cliche, twist it, show it for the nasty thing it hides? No. Could they have? Absolutely. Should they have? Yes."

It's one thing to criticize a writer for what she has written. It's something else to tell her that she should have written about something entirely different. The writers did not want to subvert a cliche in order to make the lesbian community happier. They didn't want to make a statement about lesbians at all. They were trying to tell an entirely different story, one that had nothing to do with "being a lesbian." Sorry if it's not the story you would have told. Go write your own story.

"I would add another problem I have. Repeatedly, ME responds to criticism with something to the effect that, no one on the shows can be happy for long. What is this, an acknowledgement that playing slavishly to cliche is okay as long as it's your own established cliche? That is becoming the weakness of the show, as often happens to long-running shows - it has set certain formulas that it's unwilling to break. How ironic is that?"

"The lesbian always dies after having sex" is a cliche. "No relationship stays happy forever" is not a cliche. It is a philosophy, a guiding principle. You may not like it, but that doesn't make it trite or formulaic. So yes, bad things often happen in the Buffy relationships, but they do so in interesting and different ways, after varying amounts of time. Sometimes the couples get back together. Sometimes they don't. New relationships are created and old ones are redefined. Real life isn't static, and niether is good TV.

[> [> [> [> Re: What seems to be missing here... (spoilers) -- JBone, 19:38:58 05/31/02 Fri

OK, this maybe too late since there more than likely is only one more year of BtVS, excluding another spinoff that probably wouldn't have the direct involvement of SMG, Joss, or even Marti Noxon (I read somewhere that she signed her own development deal), but say ME wanted to tell the story of a long-term, happy relationship. Which one can they tell without pissing a large portion of their audience off? They can't make X/A, because the Kitten Board will scream that "SEE, they're pro-hetero and anti- gay." They could have made it Buffy and pre-soul Spike (I have no idea how this will actually play out, so I only have peanut butter covered speculation) so the redemptionists would have been happy but everyone else is left wondering about the whole "soul-thing." The safest one probably would have been W/T, but that's now impossible.

So even if ME was inclined to tell the story of long-lasting happiness, they are now surrounded by a fractionalized audience that wants their stake proven right. Or worse, proof that ME has been conspiring against them from the start.

Personally this whole debate is otherworldly to me. Fascinating, but in a book way, not something I see everyday. I apologize if someone already covered the ground I just ventured out on, but I've been reading this damn thread for hours, and have about one more hour to go. And this was just eating at me.

"Why are we fighting!?"
Mick Jagger
Oakland, CA
I forget when

[> [> Re: Punished for happiness, maybe (spoilerish) -- ponygirl, 08:36:39 05/31/02 Fri

Completely agree, the only cliche that ME seems overly fond of is always-happiest-just-before-the-senseless-tragedy one. Jenny on the road to redemption and Giles lovin, Joyce recovered and dating, Kendra was a bit of a stretch but she seemed more open to friendship than before. I get pretty nervous when things start to go well for a character. Of course in typical ME fashion they are aware of the cliche and even have incorporated it (as Rob points out above) as the no-happiness clause in Angel's curse.

I think the real problem that some people have with Tara's death (aside from missing her) is the dearth of gay characters on mainstream TV. The lack turns every character into a role model or symbol, rather than simply a character. However ME's first loyalty is to their story and I hope that all the fans will come to see that.

[> Oh yeah, that old "evil/dead lesbian" device-- how many times did Tolstoy use that? -- SingedCat, 05:40:24 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> Re: "Oh, grow up" -- Brian, 06:25:07 05/31/02 Fri

The death of Tara was another segment of the major theme of the season six arc. The death of a parent is always unexpected, but it is part of the natural cycle of life. Children usually outlive their parents. The sudden death of a lover and friend is not. All the Scoobies will have to face that harsh reality, learn from it, and move on.

[> It is Joss' m.o. to "kill" a major character at his/her happiest moment... -- cjl, 07:47:58 05/31/02 Fri

All discussions of the lesbian cliche aside...

Jenny died when she reconciled with Giles and was about to resume their romantic relationship.

Angel "died" (and Angelus was reborn) when Buffy and Angel had sex on her 17th birthday.

Doyle died when he discovered his true purpose and knew Cordelia had feelings for him.

Joyce died basking in the love of her two daughters, and happy enough in her life to start a new romantic relationship.

Tara died after reconciling with Willow and resuming their romantic relationship.

[Yes, Buffy died twice--but she's not happy yet, so Joss won't let her rest.]

It's a staple of drama to kill off a character when life is going swell or is looking up. That's what makes it tragic. If you kill off a character when life is sucking big-time, you risk telling the audience that the poor schnook really didn't have that much to live for in the first place.

I get the lesbian cliche. I think it's still done far too often in a number of guises. But this particular death fits another pattern far too well to be lumped in with the other examples....

[> [> Re: It is Joss' m.o. to "kill" a major character at his/her happiest moment... -- Rob, 08:02:25 05/31/02 Fri

If you kill off a character when life is sucking big-time, you risk telling the audience that the poor schnook really didn't have that much to live for in the first place.

ROFLMAO!!! :o)


[> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- O'Cailleagh, 07:51:31 05/31/02 Fri

I just want to say that as a gay man, I find nothing offensive about the DeadTara/EvilWillow arc at all. Okay, so they were gay...well gay people die all the time, and are quite capable of evil (we invented disco you know!), and the same is true of straight, bisexual, and transexual people...Their sexuality made no difference to the plot as far as the final three episodes went.

[> [> Yes, exactly and... -- MayaPapaya9, 16:21:57 05/31/02 Fri

...In fact I think articles like that one only serve to perpetuate the stereotype they are complaining about. If it's really true that all people are created equal then homosexuals can do stupid things just as much as straight people or black people or rich people or WHATEVER people. They're all just PEOPLE regardless of who they have sex with or what color their face is. That's real equality.

[> [> Re "evil/dead lesbian" kissing -- O'Cailleagh, 01:27:52 06/01/02 Sat

I've noticed in a lot of these posts that Willow and Tara apparently had much less kissage than the het couples...well all I can say is try watching it with a) my mother ("Well, they shouldn't be showing so much of *that* in a 'kids' show!"), or b) any heterosexual man ("Phwoar! Hardcore lesbo action!")

[> The irony of Kitten faq and similar angry reactions -- Wayne, 18:12:56 06/01/02 Sat

I think that ironically, the Kitten faq and a lot of this anger reinforce exactly the negative lesbian stereotypes so many accuse the show of perpetuating. The reaction to Tara's death--the anger, the skewed logic, the self-righteousness, the attack on the people that are supposedly respected and cherished--mirror Willow's reaction, minus the self-awareness and empathy which redeem and humanize the character.

Perfect romance never lasts in any form on BtVS, lesbian or straight. If it did, it wouldn't just conflict with the theme of the show, it would conflict with reality. The equivalent eternal hetero romance on the show--Buffy and Angel--is just as dead as that of Willow and Tara. The fact that there aren't enough lesbian fans to justify bringing Tara back to life and spinning her off into her own show isn't Joss and company's fault and there's nothing they can do about it. The anger and grief over this issue clearly stems from a deeper source, and while those feelings are understandable, taking them out on the writing staff is not.

As for the "evil" lesbian stereotype--it's sad that instead of avoiding it, a show could have the courage and depth to confront it and dispel it and still get bashed. The show takes a symbol of lesbian rage and self-righteousness and establishes it as an aspect of a fully developed character that audiences can both sympathize with and understand. In the face of the bitterness, anger and denial that surfaces over issues like the one that has inspired this argument, this season's portrait of Willow is a balm.

It's not the show that's perpetuating the stereotyping...but some of the fans are, no question about that.

[> [> Re: Perfect Romance -- Dochawk, 16:18:28 06/02/02 Sun

Wayne said 'Perfect romance never lasts in any form on BtVS, lesbian or straight. If it did, it wouldn't just conflict with the theme of the show, it would conflict with reality."

Do you really think that? That there aren't romances out in the real world that are as wonderful as that Willow and Tara had (which was no where near perfect)? If you really believe that, I feel sorry for you.

[> [> [> Re: Perfect Romance -- Wayne, 07:01:52 06/03/02 Mon

You're misinterpreting. By saying perfect romance doesn't last, I wasn't implying that relationships like Tara and Willow's don't exist in reality, I was suggesting that the state of bliss that their relationship ultimately achieved can't be sustained indefinitely.

[> [> [> [> Re: Perfect Romance -- Dochawk, 07:13:32 06/03/02 Mon

I think it can last n some relationships a very long time, but yup there are always ups and downs in a relationship.

And there are others here who will argue that love doesn't exist, I am glad you aren't one of them.

[> Re: Readers respond to Salon's review of the season finale: the "evil/dead lesbian" cliche -- Q, 23:25:08 06/01/02 Sat

I wish I could reliably quote the correct source for this, but I can't. But I read a quote some time back that said something like " Ironically, the show used to be a very feminist story being told by a man (Joss), this season it is a very sexist story told by a woman (Marti)" This was in an article arguing the point that this season had been degrading to women because of the Buffy/Spike relationship, and how Buffy had fallen so far from the self- assured, empowered, woman she once was. It was talking about how she was letting herself be degraded, and womenkind as a whole were being symbolically degraded this season. I read this article *before* the attempted rape and, of course, Tara's death. So no matter how you interpret these scenario's, they certainly give a lot more fuel to the anti-feminist perspective's fire!

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