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JW's response about Cordelia's future on Angel -- curious, 06:01:22 05/27/03 Tue

Here's the link to the TV guide snippet:

[> Full TV Guide interview -- curious, 06:08:40 05/27/03 Tue

Angel Mystery: Will Cordy Wake Up?
by Michael Ausiello

Now that Angelus and Co. have assumed control of Wolfram & Hart on Angel, we suggest they use their new seat of power to solve the show's biggest mystery: What the heck happened to Charisma Carpenter and her alter ego Cordelia? Carpenter - a former Buffy cast member who, like David Boreanaz, has been with the show since its inception - went off to have a baby last season and hasn't been heard from since. (Cordy remains in a coma on the show.) Making matters more murky, a new Angel cast list makes no mention of the actress. The WB and 20th Century Fox have been cagey about the omission, and numerous attempts to make contact with Carpenter's agent have proven unsuccessful. So, what's a journalist to do? Go straight to the big boss himself, Joss Whedon.

TV Guide Online: Why was Charisma's name removed from next season's cast list?
Joss Whedon: Mainly because we felt like we had taken that story - just like Buffy for seven years - about as far as it could go. The Angel/Cordelia [love story] had gone pretty much as far as we wanted to take it. Their romance was definitely not a popular move on our part, and I think with most fans. It just seemed like it was time because we were revamping the show, and then paring it down... it just seemed like a good time for certain people to move on. Not completely, obviously. I'm hoping that we'll get Charisma to do some episodes as Cordelia sometime during the year. She's a new mother, so, like Sarah [Michelle Gellar], I'm waiting to hear what her schedule is like. But it just seemed creatively like... I once said that I finally got to tell the story of Buffy that I tried to tell in the movie, and I did it with Cordelia. Which was the story of someone who was completely ditzy and self-involved becoming kind of heroic. But the way the series was different from the movie was that I didn't know where you go from there. So, I felt like we spent seven years playing that very arc, and it had played. Like Buffy itself, it's time to look at something new.

TVGO: Isn't that a disservice to fans who invested all those years in the character and her redemption? It seems an odd thing to do to the show's leading lady.
Whedon: That's a fluctuating concept, the leading lady thing. And it is a little odd. Some choices are ultimately kind of controversial about who stays and who goes and who we focus on. But obviously, we had to have her out of a bunch of episodes toward the end of the year because she was having a baby... so what we had [leading] up to it wasn't a dynamic I wanted to play out that much. The fact is, this is not the end - unless Charisma herself says, "You know what? I don't feel like doing any recurring episodes." But when you have an increasingly large ensemble week-by-week, and you come in in your [fifth] year kind of having to revamp the show and trim the budget and also think creatively, "How am I going to service all of these people?," sometimes the people who have been around the longest, you've done the most with them.

TVGO: Some are speculating that she was a casualty of James Marsters's cross over as Spike next season. Like, there wasn't enough money in the budget to pay for them both, so she got the boot.
Whedon: That's a hell of a thing to lay on James. It was a creative decision that we made before Spike came over to the show, and like I said, I don't intend to leave Cordelia in a coma for the rest of the Buffyverse. But the creative decision to have the character step down happened long before negotiations with James [started]. It should not be laid at his feet.

TVGO: Were things left on good terms with Charisma?
Whedon: Yeah, but that's also stuff between us and not stuff that I would talk about in an interview.

[> [> ReVAMP the show? Thought they were just Spiking it. -- mamcu, 06:20:10 05/27/03 Tue

[> Re: JW's response about Cordelia's future on Angel -- Rob, 06:20:12 05/27/03 Tue

" Now that Angelus and Co. have assumed control of Wolfram & Hart on Angel, we suggest they use their new seat of power to solve the show's biggest mystery: What the heck happened to Charisma Carpenter and her alter ego Cordelia? Carpenter - a former Buffy cast member who, like David Boreanaz, has been with the show since its inception - went off to have a baby last season and hasn't been heard from since. (Cordy remains in a coma on the show.) Making matters more murky, a new Angel cast list makes no mention of the actress. The WB and 20th Century Fox have been cagey about the omission, and numerous attempts to make contact with Carpenter's agent have proven unsuccessful. So, what's a journalist to do? Go straight to the big boss himself, Joss Whedon.

TV Guide Online: Why was Charisma's name removed from next season's cast list?
Joss Whedon: Mainly because we felt like we had taken that story - just like Buffy for seven years - about as far as it could go. The Angel/Cordelia [love story] had gone pretty much as far as we wanted to take it. Their romance was definitely not a popular move on our part, and I think with most fans. It just seemed like it was time because we were revamping the show, and then paring it down... it just seemed like a good time for certain people to move on. Not completely, obviously. I'm hoping that we'll get Charisma to do some episodes as Cordelia sometime during the year. She's a new mother, so, like Sarah [Michelle Gellar], I'm waiting to hear what her schedule is like. But it just seemed creatively like... I once said that I finally got to tell the story of Buffy that I tried to tell in the movie, and I did it with Cordelia. Which was the story of someone who was completely ditzy and self-involved becoming kind of heroic. But the way the series was different from the movie was that I didn't know where you go from there. So, I felt like we spent seven years playing that very arc, and it had played. Like Buffy itself, it's time to look at something new.

TVGO: Isn't that a disservice to fans who invested all those years in the character and her redemption? It seems an odd thing to do to the show's leading lady.
Whedon: That's a fluctuating concept, the leading lady thing. And it is a little odd. Some choices are ultimately kind of controversial about who stays and who goes and who we focus on. But obviously, we had to have her out of a bunch of episodes toward the end of the year because she was having a baby... so what we had [leading] up to it wasn't a dynamic I wanted to play out that much. The fact is, this is not the end - unless Charisma herself says, "You know what? I don't feel like doing any recurring episodes." But when you have an increasingly large ensemble week-by-week, and you come in in your [fifth] year kind of having to revamp the show and trim the budget and also think creatively, "How am I going to service all of these people?," sometimes the people who have been around the longest, you've done the most with them.

TVGO: Some are speculating that she was a casualty of James Marsters's cross over as Spike next season. Like, there wasn't enough money in the budget to pay for them both, so she got the boot.
Whedon: That's a hell of a thing to lay on James. It was a creative decision that we made before Spike came over to the show, and like I said, I don't intend to leave Cordelia in a coma for the rest of the Buffyverse. But the creative decision to have the character step down happened long before negotiations with James [started]. It should not be laid at his feet.

TVGO: Were things left on good terms with Charisma?
Whedon: Yeah, but that's also stuff between us and not stuff that I would talk about in an interview."

I love Joss, but there definitely is something fishy here. The most important line seems to be the last. I will believe that James did not affect Charisma's leaving, but it seems very hard to believe that this was truly a creative decision for what was best for the story and not based on the production angle. Because honestly, Cordy's arc isn't taken as far as it could. It's basically left completely in flux. Yes, she became heroic, but she was also conned into being taken to a "higher dimension," where she came back all evil. And we haven't seen the real, un-Jasminey her all year. The one we did see at the start of the season was confused, scared, and depressed. There is absolutely no closure for her character. And then it seems like Angel and Cordy's love is just being swept under the rug. I know it wasn't a popular creative decision, but still it doesn't seem like it ended very organically. The scene at the end of "Chosen" played up the "Angel-really-only-truly-loves-Buffy" angle, but I don't think there was a satisfying wrap-up on "Angel" of the love between them or of Cordy's character. They gambled with Cordy the last 1 and 1/2 seasons, doing some of the weirdest things any show has done to any character, and for all of that to work, it required a pay-off, and I don't think we really got that. I really hope Charisma comes back at least once or twice next year to straighten this all out. Of course that may not happen, because of the problems the production team and CC seem to have with each other. And that stinks.


[> [> Amen. -- AurraSing, 07:24:48 05/27/03 Tue

I began watching "Angel" for Cordelia at the beginning,because I was *so* not an Angel fan. And until this past season,she was still a very viable part of the show and a joy to watch.
And since when has Joss ever really listened to the fans,other than in increasing JM's screen time??

Yes,this stinks. It's so pungent that I'm thinking of changing channels when AtS starts up again next year or maybe just reading a book. Anything to avoid that bad smell.

[> [> Re: JW's response about Cordelia's future on Angel -- CW, 07:29:40 05/27/03 Tue

Joss is making excuses. What he's saying doesn't even make sense. But, what else can he do? Obviously, he wants Cordelia back, and wants to stay on good terms with Charisma. But, he also has to stay on good terms with Twenieth Century Fox, and even the rest of the people in his own production company. All that'e clear is that people are mad at each other. Which people, toward whom, and if the feeling is mutual, we don't know. Since nobody on the inside is talking, speculation on the part of the fans can only make things worse.

[> [> Thank you Rob -- yabyumpan, 07:48:02 05/27/03 Tue

I'm not going to say much about this (I feel to angry and there are other places I can go to really vent) except to say that if the 'creative genius' that is JW really can't come up with a viable story line for Cordelia next season, after all that she's been through in S4, then he really needs to take a nice long holiday and step back from AtS next season.

The camel that has been getting more and more straws piled on to it's back through this season and with the casting news about next season and the new look, has just had another straw added. Whether it's the final one remains to be seen but that camel's legs are looking very shaky at the moment and it's back very bowed....

[> [> [> Re: To me, JW's responses to TVG seemed very Suitish -- Desperado, 07:59:42 05/27/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> It sounds like suitish situation -- ponygirl, 09:06:54 05/27/03 Tue

I think JW is being very careful in laying blame on the story and not on the people. AtS is in a very precarious position - renewed at the last minute and obviously with a number of strings attached. If JW says the loss of CC is because of the budget or the WB execs he runs the risk of alienating the show further from the network. It could also make CC's future contract negotiations - something that JW actually has little say in - very difficult. If he suggests that CC's departure is her fault then he pretty much closes the door on having her character ever return and angers her fans. So he's trying to make it seem like a creative decision, and say this is the result of the story. Obviously a lot of people are going to argue that point, but until the dust settles I think that's all we're going to get. As JW makes clear in the last line of the interview, the personal aspects aren't going to be discussed. A fairly classy position to take, IMHO.

[> [> [> [> [> Totally agree! -- curious, 10:37:59 05/27/03 Tue

A fairly classy position to take, IMHO

I wish I had said this. I think he did a fine job of walking a difficult line. He needed to say something publically but not alienate anyone.

[> [> [> [> [> [> oops! publically=publicly. -- curious, 10:41:07 05/27/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Completely agree! -- s'kat, 13:59:36 05/27/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> Re: To me, JW's responses to TVG seemed very Suitish -- lcolford, 03:02:41 05/28/03 Wed

Don't think Joss is dissembling here, but toeing a very delicate line among all the players. My personal feeling is Joss has taken a few hard knocks from the suits this past year and is trying to salvage his projects.
A Firefly movie is in the works which puts incredible pressure to create a successful film from a cancelled TV show. (If Gene Roddenberry did it for Star Trek, Joss can too) AtS was iffy with WB to the end, ultimately evading cancellation, but loading another heap 'o stress for ME to produce another year.

[> [> exactly, rob--& i'm disappointed tvg didn't ask about that aspect -- anom, 12:35:46 05/27/03 Tue

[> [> [> Re: exactly, rob--& i'm disappointed tvg didn't ask about that aspect -- Dandy, 15:58:51 05/27/03 Tue

I do not think Joss should have said there were problems between CC and ME. This kind of thing can really hurt an actor's career. It seemd unfair in light of the fact that she took on a major story arc for them during a pregnancy.

[> Doesn't anyone think this is CC's fault? -- The Shadow, 08:53:03 05/27/03 Tue

Think about it, she was fired. Think of what someone has to do at your office to get fired? If Money had truly been the issue than Fox would have said the same thing they did with the Practice, that firing four stars was the only way the show could survive.

ME tried to get rid of CC last year, but she still had a contract. So Joss came up with a year long storyline, Cordy would go truly evil, except that CC got pregnant so they had to change the storyline. The pregnancy doesn't matter btw. In February, Joss gave an interview where he talked about how nice it was that the entire Firefly crew got along, he hadn't worked on a set that worked that way. Why have you never heard any Buffy or Angel actor defend CC for the entire 7 year run? Yet, CC took opportunities to insult BtVS (we've moved passed them"). Even now you don't hear Angel crew defend her, the best you've seen is the very lukewarm response from Amy Acker. of course Joss is going to sound like a suit, he doesn't want to say anything negatively publicly.

I really didn't want to post anything on this, but when you start trashing Joss and Fox unfairly, someone had to defend them.

[> [> Trashing Joss? Wha---? -- Rob, 09:44:54 05/27/03 Tue

"I really didn't want to post anything on this, but when you start trashing Joss and Fox unfairly, someone had to defend them."

I don't think anyone here is trashing Joss. I have full respect for how Joss handled the situation. FOX, not so much, or not at all. There have been reports throughout the years about FOX being a major problem when it comes to negotiations. Emma Caulfield, for example, although she has nothing about good words for Joss and the "Buffy" cast and crew vowed to never appear again on "Buffy" or "Angel" after this season because of FOX.

But either way, we cannot presume to know what is really going on here. Joss didn't clarify for a reason. At best, we have little threads that we can try to stitch together to figure out what's going on. But your claim that it was just as simple as she was just fired doesn't gel well with Joss' words that he'd like her to return for a few episodes next year. Also, in attempting to clear Joss, you're implicating CC rather harshly. Personally, I don't give a flying fudge about how CC is on the set, or the whispers and rumors that she's difficult, a bitch, etc (same things have been said about SMG, and I care even less about those rumors). I care about the show running smoothly, and the story being told the way it should be.

"ME tried to get rid of CC last year, but she still had a contract. So Joss came up with a year long storyline, Cordy would go truly evil, except that CC got pregnant so they had to change the storyline."

Umm...again, you're making assumptions that unless you're in on the storywriting meetings, you just can't make. I don't believe for one second that Joss made Cordy evil to punish Charisma. And I truly don't believe that he wanted her story to end the way it did. No storywriter would. She is left in a coma, in total flux, without a satisfying wrap-up to her character. Cordy was conned into being possessed, basically, for the past season and a half and... that's it? Also, none of us knows how the year would have turned out had CC not been pregnant. It seemed to me like the Jasmine thing was pretty well planned out. I'm sure it would have turned out similar; instead of being pregnant, Cordy could have summoned Jasmine some other way.

And, I have no real way to wrap this up. Just wanted to clarify that there's no way to make judgments about any side of this issue. We just have to deal with the consequences.



[> [> [> Re: Trashing Joss? Wha---? -- The Shadow, 09:55:22 05/27/03 Tue

Ohhh, sorry didn't mean to imply that Joss was making her evil as a punishment, was just saying he came up with a story line for her. The fact is that you are implicating Fox, when they had nothing to do with the decision (as Joss said in his interview), because they treated Emma Caufield badly (though I have never seen this in an interview with her and would love to see it). Joss fired CC - whether for creative reasons, as he claims; or for personality reasons, which make alot more sense. We'll see if she ever appears on Angel again.
Regarding the rumors from the set, there are certainly some about SMG - but they never imply she did anything to hurt production, in fact, even in the worst statements she is always called the consummate professional.

[> [> [> Cordy & Jasmine -- skyMatrix, 12:53:33 05/27/03 Tue

I don't know about the rest of it, Rob (I haven't read CC diss ME, I did read her complain about her S5 plotline however), but Minear and/or Fury, in their Succubus Club interview, did say that they originally intended to have a big face-off with Cordelia for the last five or so eps, but CC was too pregnant to do that, so they came up with the Jasmine character. In which case, we were probably better off with her being pregnant b/c I think Jasmine worked a lot better as a villain!

As for character assassination, so to speak, I always have a lot of trouble believing that any storylines are generated out of behind-the-scenes ill will towards actors (although some people seem to assume this immediately when they don't like a direction in the plot). Of course, The Shadow said that he wasn't suggesting that either in the post below. That said, I've read several people saying that they once loved Cordy, but after this season they don't really care if she comes back. So, intentionally or not, they've made it a lot easier for many of us to have Cordy dropped because of what they did to her this year. And the second half of last year, I guess. I'm not really trying to draw any conclusions

I just hope someone can find a way to get CC back on to wrap up her story for 2-4 eps before AtS ends. After all, they got ED back on both shows which I thought would never happen!

[> [> Even if true - totally irrelevant -- curious, 10:35:02 05/27/03 Tue

I am hoping some knowledgeable people chime in here. Clearly, something went wrong with the money negotiations. And those will probably stay fairly private for legal reasons. GOOD. The behind the scenes personality rumors are irrelevant and subjective. Even obnoxious stars are catered to if they have what the show/movie needs.

As for the artistic reasons, I do think that the pregnancy did change season 4 significantly. Minear and Fury were pretty clear about that in the Succubus Club interviews. I also don't think the C/A thing ever worked or made much sense. Even DB was not thrilled with it. I think a lot of fans (certainly not all, but some including me) may have like CC as the snappy Girl Friday / best friend who called Angel on his stuff - but I really have not thought that CC was an actress who could pull off the character growth - and character regression would have been a ridiculous thing to do. (just an opinion - please don't scream at me). The whole Conner/Cordelia/Angel triangle was a disaster too. I can see how starting fresh with Conner and Cordelia as fond memories who make small appearances makes sense in terms of the story. Where would old snippy Cordy or new glowy Cordy fit in the new paradigm? (whatever that might be?) as the office manager of a multi-million dollar organization? as Angel's girlfriend keeping the home fires burning? How do you explain away all the stuff that happened in Season 4? some sort of cheesy amnesia storyline? I do think that Cordy played her part and Angel will move on. If anything, I could see more reason to bring back Connor - better actor and more unexplored territory.

It is too bad that some fans will lose a beloved character but it may have been the only way to keep Angel on the air. I don't think that adding one of Buffyverse's best and most popular actors who has an unmined backstory with Angel himself while diminishing or cutting the role of a less skilled actor whose storyline was going to problematic at best was such a bad decision - business-wise and artistically.

Otherwise, the behind the scenes stuff is none of our business. If the WB insisted on making JM a regular in order for the show to be renewed - something had to go - both in terms of money and storyline.

I think it is extraordinary and SMART of Joss to be so careful not to trash anyone. People who are upset with CC's exit or diminished recurring role are either going to get over it or stop watching the show. That's a risk they must have decided was acceptable. I guess I have to agree.

[> [> [> Re: To clarify -- Desperado, 11:08:35 05/27/03 Tue

Joss da Man! His words seemed off to me. But the several postings certainly clarify the situation with a strong positive viewpoint that I will take to heart.

[> [> And, in defense of JM . . . -- sassette, 11:28:01 05/27/03 Tue

While I don't think it's really relevant what CC may or may not have done to warrant the casting decision, I do think Joss is completely right about it being unfair to lay the blame on JM.

Even if ME did pick JM over CC, I don't see what the problem is. It's not like they brought it an outsider just to boost ratings; JM has been with the company for six years. And, I have never heard anyone involved with the show have anything but praise for JM, and he has had a lot of great things to say about the show and ME. Clearly he enjoys working for ME and they enjoying working wtih him, and I see no reason why ME shouldn't have the right to reward an actor who they have a mutually satisfying professional relationship with by bringing him over to a different show when his old show ends.

I'm not saying I won't miss Cordy, or that I think CC "deserves" to be off the show. But, I do think it is ridiculous that anyone should find JM being brought over to AtS a "betrayal" of CC, which is how I've seen a lot of people react.

[> [> [> Agree. Bad form to blame innocent parties -- s'kat, 15:54:23 05/27/03 Tue

While I don't think it's really relevant what CC may or may not have done to warrant the casting decision, I do think Joss is completely right about it being unfair to lay the blame on JM.

Completely and utterly agree about it being unfair to lay the blame at another actor's feet. It's ludricrous.
JM had nothing to do with CC's contract negotiations which I have seen from numerous articles on slayage and other boards, took place prior to JM's. Rumor had it from inside sources that CC wasn't going to renew as early as December (something I didn't post on since it was rumor), this was before SMG announced there wouldn't be another season of Buffy for her, and before ED nixed the Faith spin-off - both of which would have included JM. The decision to include JM was not made until the end of April. More than one person makes it clear that CC not being on Angel next year has absolutely nothing to do with JM. NOTHING.

People will of course believe whatever makes them happy.
But accusing another actor who had nothing to do with it and trying to get him off the show as punishment, makes me wonder about certain fans' sanity. When one's obsession for a tv show gets to the stage of hate mail or this insanity (ie. hurting others for their own obsession), then perhaps it is time that person turned off the television set and read a book.

[> [> [> [> What page are you on, cause we already got there -- Rook, 17:53:16 05/27/03 Tue

>>When one's obsession for a tv show gets to the stage of >>hate mail or this insanity (ie. hurting others for their
>>own obsession), then perhaps it is time that person
>>turned off the television set and read a book.

After witnessing the train wreck that was last summer's SR fallout (Trying to get the show cancelled, hate mail, etc.), nothing fans do surprises me anymore.

[> [> [> [> [> yeah, yeah...but I keep hoping -- sk, 23:55:18 05/27/03 Tue

that some insane person will hear me and stop the madness.
I know that in of itself is insane. I should just give up and not read these posts. sigh. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Probably for the best, s'kat. I personally only read these.. -- Random, 10:56:30 05/28/03 Wed find out if Cordelia was really off the show, cause I'm interested in what to expect for S5 (at least in the most general sense, being a rabid anti-spoiler person.) But I have little, or, rather, no, interest in the behind-the-scenes stuff, especially when they regard the actors and actresses. I'm dubious about bringing JM over cause, well, the latter-day Spike bores me to tears and I personally (personally, people!) found his storyline to be both poorly executed and too much at the expense of the rest of the Scoobies, whom I'd have much preferred to see. But anyone whose mindset is so warped as to take personal offense at casting decisions, or even creative decisions should be taken aside, handed a plush StuffedSpike and told to just squeeze that a few thousand times to decompress before emerging into the real world again. We can all disagree with casting and/or creative decisions -- but we should also be able to understand that said disagreement should manifest itself as either turning off the TV set or writing lengthy explications of the effects on the the narrative. The people here, with few exceptions, demonstrate intelligence, rationality and insight...but when fans go insane, it's time to re-think the "every perspective is valid and worthy" axiom that so many people seem to buy into.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Exactly... -- s'kat, 13:25:57 05/28/03 Wed

I think it's worth remembering that for every character that bores one fan to tears - obsesses another fan. I would not have ever written a single essay on Btvs if it weren't for the character of Spike in S5-7. You can blame that character for every post I've ever written online and for ever coming online period. Something about that character's journey, which was so unpredictable and ambiguous, thrilled me in a way no other tv character ever has - and it thrilled me enough to get excited about the other characters and see the show again through new eyes and with new appreciation. If it weren't for Spike? I doubt I'd have met anyone here. Odd, but true.

Cordelia on the other hand? Well she bores me to tears.
Always has, always will. Hence the reason I've seldom posted on the character. Also stopped watching Ats for a while because of her. Not my favorite. I care whether she re-appears to the extent to see how in the heck they wrap up her storyline, but that's about it.

At any rate this is a long round about way of saying I agree with everything but the Spike comments (hey if you liked any of my posts - you can thank the character for that, if you hated them? something else to pile on his poor widdle head...poor guy):

But anyone whose mindset is so warped as to take personal offense at casting decisions, or even creative decisions should be taken aside, handed a plush StuffedSpike and told to just squeeze that a few thousand times to decompress before emerging into the real world again. We can all disagree with casting and/or creative decisions -- but we should also be able to understand that said disagreement should manifest itself as either turning off the TV set or writing lengthy explications of the effects on the the narrative. The people here, with few exceptions, demonstrate intelligence, rationality and insight...but when fans go insane, it's time to re-think the "every perspective is valid and worthy" axiom that so many people seem to buy into.

Something we all should remember while writing essays and frolicking online. Also it's good to keep in mind that most of the world out there thinks we're nuts for watching let alone writing on these programs. After all American Idol was on opposite Btvs and got maybe 20 ratings share to Buffy's 4.9... ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh...right there with you with regards to... -- Random, 15:13:19 05/28/03 Wed

the dictum that I think it's worth remembering that for every character that bores one fan to tears - obsesses another fan. I actually liked Spike at one point -- he was my favorite ancillary character through most of the 2nd - 5th seasons...and I think I found that I didn't buy into the character development of latter-day Spike. (Course, I was also didn't much care for the Buffy-as-bitch paradigm of S6, as per the posts about JM below in the "There Ought to Be a Play" thread. But that's another issue.) So I dislike the character out of my own sense of how he was developed. As I dislike Kennedy and never really cared for BroodyAngel. But if I became rabid in my hatred/love of either Spike or JM or both to the point that I become irrational about them, I cross a line in my mental stability that indicates I shouldn't be allowed on-line, much less near a TV set.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! -- s'kat, 15:44:32 05/28/03 Wed

Course, I was also didn't much care for the Buffy-as-bitch paradigm of S6, as per the posts about JM below in the "There Ought to Be a Play" thread. But that's another issue.) So I dislike the character out of my own sense of how he was developed. As I dislike Kennedy and never really cared for BroodyAngel. But if I became rabid in my hatred/love of either Spike or JM or both to the point that I become irrational about them, I cross a line in my mental stability that indicates I shouldn't be allowed on-line, much less near a TV set.

On this we agree. As leslie points out below in the whole writers are responsible thread - the development of Buffy in S6-7 was the problem. I disliked the Buffy as bitch paradigm as well. It's really odd, but I find I prefer Buffy's boyfriends when they aren't with Buffy. I love Angel more on Angel the Series away from Buffy than I ever did with her. I prefer Spike when he's away from her and am looking forward to seeing him interact with people outside Buffy again (like he did up until S6 and S7). And Riley?
God, Riley's best scenes were with Willow, Xander, Spike
and Forrest. I actually loved Riley - just not in scenes with Buffy. Very odd. I actually like Buffy fine. But for some reason - you get a guy in a romantic relationship with her and it becomes well all about her...and he seems to be
secondary somehow. Maybe it's just me. I change my mind about these things all the time.

Yeah, been thinking about it and you know, I think I'd watch Ats next year regardless of who came back or who didn't join it - the writing of the series riveted me this year. And I probably would have continued watching Buffy even if Spike had been staked...well I think I would have;-)
Every time I think I'm in danger of being overly obsessed?
I just wander on to a few other boards.. and realize, nope you're sane. LOL! You would not, wait, maybe you would, the things that happen on other boards.

So yup...there is obsession (ie. writing essays, fanfic and posts on stuff) and then there is obsession...sending hate mail to writers and ranting and railing publicly online;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: LOL! -- yabyumpan, 18:20:00 05/28/03 Wed

I'm glad you're sane s'kat and you would probably have been equally as sane if JM had been dropped from the cast list at the end of S6, with JW putting out a statement that he'd felt he'd taken Spike's story as far as he could go. I envy your ability to write long, well thought out, rational essays and I'm sure that if Spike had been dropped at the end of S6 and JM fired then you would have graced us with a sane and rational essay about honouring JW's vision and trusting the writers.

Unfortunatly, many of us, when faced with what we believe to be an irrational statement - that after being possesed for a season and a half, her body used to commit murder, the entity inside her responsable to massive death and destruction in L.A., not to mention sleeping with her best friend's son - that Cordelia's story was finished, tend to respond in what might be seen as an insane and irrational manner. It's unfortunate but that's the nature of fandom. People tend to get invested in a particular character and expect that that character's story line will follow through in a way that makes sense and not just dropped and the actor sacked. (although JW did leave the door open for CC to humiliate herself after he's fired her and come back for a few eps to finish off the arc. So if we don't get a satisfying conclusion to all that went on last season it will be CC's fault for not finding room in her schedule)

Insane really ;o)

Slayer Lineage and 'Chosen' Shooting Script -- sassette, 11:22:01 05/27/03 Tue

I was confused for a lot of S7 as to why the SG and Buffy suddenly seemed to think that Buffy's death would activate the new Slayer. After all, if they thought she was now the one the Slayer line ran through, why weren't they out looking for a new Slayer after her death in "The Gift"?

And then, in the "Chosen" shooting script, there's a line where Buffy tells the potentials that she thinks that she and Faith would both have to die for one of them to be activated. But, why would she think that?

My only guess is that, in merging with the powers of all of the Slayers in "Primeval," Buffy somehow made herself part of the Slayer line once again; the line ran through her again. But, maybe it didn't transfer to her, but just ran through her in addition to Faith?

I actually think the idea that both she and Faith would have to die for a new Slayer to be called makes sense in terms of the vulnerability of the line the FE was banking on. After all, it's a lot easier to get rid of all of the potentials if a new Slayer can only be called once two Slayers are killed, particularly if both Slayers are in different cities. If Buffy were killed, there's be no one to protect the Hellmouth until Faith was also killed (assuming Faith was in prison, which I'm guessing the FE was assuming). But, I'm still not at all sure why Buffy would get the idea that the line ran through both of them from.

[> Don't understand that, either. -- yez, 12:29:30 05/27/03 Tue

Also been wondering what activating all the potentials at once does to the line. Are all potentials activated on birth forevermore? If only the living potentials were activated, do all of them have to die before another slayer can be activated? Or is there one of them that's the last domino standing, so to speak -- and only she has to die so the next one is activated?


[> Re: Slayer Lineage and 'Chosen' Shooting Script -- shambleau, 12:42:18 05/27/03 Tue

Well, since it wasn't aired, it's a moot point. As to why Buffy thought all through the season that her death was required to activate a potential, I can fanwank it psychologically and even story wise.

Buffy's feeling of separateness came from her notion that she was special and isolated. Her feeling of superiority rested on that. If the line ran through Faith, both her singularity and her isolation would be reduced, which would seem to be what she wanted. But actually, until the rebellion, she was clinging to her superiority, cold comfort that it was. Evidence, all those generalissima speeches and cutting herself off from the SITs. When the rebellion left her more isolated than even she could handle, she started on the process which would lead to sharing her power and ending her isolation.

In terms of the story, it might have seemed to the writers that making Faith the FEs ultimate target just shouldn't be the way to end the series. So, why not make Buffy believe that the FE was after her primarily and leave the matter unresolved. Only the more "obssessive" fans would get upset, but the general audience would let it slide. As an obssessive myself, it bothered me, but didn't feel like a huge flaw. YobsessivenessMV.

[> [> Re: Slayer Lineage and 'Chosen' Shooting Script -- yez, 13:22:34 05/27/03 Tue

I'm not sure that she *needed* to feel singular as much as felt that way because of the circumstances -- and this is my own fanwank version. For years, Buffy's been doing the job, even though the line ran through Faith. (Even Cordelia got that, way back when, so I think it's a safe assumption that Buffy and all the Scoobs did, too.) But IMHO because Buffy was the acting Slayer -- the "Slayer-In-Charge" -- for all this time, I think she and everyone else just kind of forgot about Faith.

They might've even assumed, stupidly, that since the FE was expending all this energy in Sunnydale and with the people closest to Buffy, that it either had no interest in Faith or was somehow unaware of Faith's role. Or that Faith was "safe" behind bars. Doesn't Willow say something lame to the effect of it didn't occur to them to warn Faith what was going on?

It's like the "mutiny" scene where it takes the outsiders (Kennedy, Rona) to point out that all the insiders have been working on an assumption that maybe should be questioned -- that Buffy is the leader. No one who'd been around all these years would've thought to do that because Buffy was right -- she'd been doing the job of the Chosen One all this time.

As far as the ultimate target, I kind of think that the FE really did see Buffy as the final target, and for good reason. Buffy was the biggest threat because of the two slayers, she's the one who was most likely to hurt the FE's plans. She lives/works near the Hellmouth, she's had a long history of foiling apocalyses, she's more of a leader than Faith is, etc.


[> [> [> It could just be that Buffy wanted to give that impression, not wanting to get into the particulars -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:30:53 05/27/03 Tue

To the best of my recollection, the idea that Buffy's death would call a new Slayer was brought up only once, in "Potential", during her training session with the potential slayers. Could be that, for simplicity's or rousingness's sake, she decided to give the incorrect but simplified version of the Calling process. After all, in "Bring on the Night", Buffy recognized Faith's importance for another Slayer to be called.

Super-Evil Quickie: AtS 'Players' -- Honorificus (The Electrifying One), 12:41:44 05/27/03 Tue

I don't really have much time here, but allow me to enlighten you all in a Reader's Digest kind of way:

So, everyone knows Cordy's all knocked up by Connor, who's doing his usual of moping with a side of whipped. Cordelia, incidentally, is wearing the most hideous version of Ar'N'By ceremonial gear, like she wants people to figure out she's evil. That girl has fallen so far. Used to be, she realized clothes made the girl. Even if she had some fashion missteps along the way, at least she was trying. Nowadays? She can't even figure out how to play down a demon pregnancy. Gadzooks.

All the researching/strategizing/brooding/bad-joke-cracking is interrupted by the well-heeled entrance of Gwen the Electric Chick. Now, there's a girl who knows how to wear clothes! Certainly, they push the envelope, but when you're a lightning-attracting catburgling electrified virgin, you can pull off these things. Speaking of which, she wants Gunn. To help her rescue a poor widdle kidnapped girl. Aww. Gunn, being a total sap, falls for it.

So, anyway, Lorne comes up with a spell to restore his empathic abilities, Gunn and Gwen go to a fancy party (with Gwen in the most fabulous kimono and Gunn in a truly fashion-forward suit), Wesley makes a muddle of explaining Lilah to Fred, and Cordy wraps Connor more tightly around her fingers. She also seems to strongly disapprove of Lorne's spell.

Of course, Gwen was kind of, how do I put it, lying about the kidnapped girl, who turns out to be a rich little brat. No, Gwen's actually after some Army thing that'll make her touchable. Gunn lets off some steam beating up thugs, Gwen lets off some sparks, and then the two of them go back to Gwen's place for a duet.

Meanwhile, Lorne sings a solo. Cordelia isn't a fan. In fact, she's going to kill him for it. But no! The lights come up, and it looks like the jig's up for Evil!Cordy. Ooh. What will happen?

What we have here is a bit of a dilemma. To wit: will Gunn actually become a better dresser if he and Gwen get together? If so, then I say "yeah". However, there's also the possibility that Mr. Low-Rent Boy Scout will drag our marvelously amoral Gwen into the land of the Good Guys, and that would be simply tragic. She might stop dressing in leather.

As for Cordy, I really have to admire the work she's done with young Connor. Naive as the boy is, he really didn't stand a chance, but he was still getting suspicious. But she manages to deflect his suspicions in really a diabolical manner. Truly chilling. What else will he be willing to do for her, one wonders?

And finally, the best part of the episode: Wesley with a shotgun! Shiver me timbers! Or better yet, his.

[> Reviving this thread -- Masq, 14:05:03 05/28/03 Wed

I cheated. I still can't bring back archived threads the way I used to.

This sucks!! (not your post, this new Voynak evil...)

[> [> You are truly a wise woman. Slay the evil (but not in a good way) Voynak! -- Honorificus (She Who Will Ultimately Triumph), 16:34:06 05/28/03 Wed

[> Re: Super-Evil Quickie: AtS 'Players' -- RobAndMurder, 13:23:31 05/27/03 Tue

"Cordelia, incidentally, is wearing the most hideous version of Ar'N'By ceremonial gear, like she wants people to figure out she's evil."

THANK YOU!!! I don't know if you've ever been to a "Hot Topic" store, but it's this clothing store that sells only dark, goth type things. The first thing I thought when I saw her get-up was that she must have gotten her maternity wear from that store. Is is it a black death/vampire cape? Is it an evening gown? Is it a nightgown? Well, kiddies, it's all that and more!

"As for Cordy, I really have to admire the work she's done with young Connor. Naive as the boy is, he really didn't stand a chance, but he was still getting suspicious. But she manages to deflect his suspicions in really a diabolical manner. Truly chilling. What else will he be willing to do for her, one wonders?"

Absolutely agree. Also truly chilling is that off-kilter evil lullaby music that accompanies all of Cordy's most nefarious deeds with Connor. Bloody brilliant!


[> [> Cordy's evilness and the music -- Laura, 17:14:13 05/28/03 Wed

Yes, another example of the brilliance of television composers. It enfices how twisted that scene is. This is the point Connor feels like he has everything he ever wanted: a family (at this point it include the Angel gang still), people he can protect, as well as the girl he had his first crush on.

'Tact is just not saying true stuff' or Something's fishy in Cordy-ville -- Nino, 15:59:27 05/27/03 Tue

As I've read a bunch of different justifications for C.C.'s abrupt dismissal, only one thought comes to mind...its all a bunch of bologna!

In the seven years I've been watchin' Whedon, I don't think I have once heard him say he was getting rid of a character because he had nowhere else to go with him/her (please, correct me if I am wrong.) Rather, his take has consistently been the opposite. From Jenny to Tara, he has stated that killing or getting rid of characters is done when the character is awesome, and has much to contribute...death is about cutting life short and missing out on all of someone's potential growth...never has a character been killed because he has become boring or "complete" becasue as Joss has said, growing up is something that is never complete.

My conclusion based on the way Joss has always treated his characters and his fans is that he told us a bolf-face lie. Granted, if there are legal issues at hand, it cannot all be discussed with the public, but the TV Guide interview sounded like a pod-person had taken over Joss and forced him to spout off lies. He was trying to sound tactful, but he came off sounding insensitive.

I do not think, as Joss said, that the Cordelia/Angel "romance" was ridiculously unpopular with fans. It was definitly not less popular then the Spuffy fiasco (not that I hated either...)I think that it was a general consensus of the fans that as long as the romance did not come to fruitation, and as long as Cordy wasn't any real competition for Buffy, it was no big deal one way or the other...maybe I'm wrong, but C/A potential was the least of my worries this season. And this is certainly not grounds to get rid of Cordy.

I am also of the opinion that Cordy has always been the "other-half" of "Angel." I think that we saw a similar progression on "Buffy" with Willow. She became that character that HAD to be on the show. I think the writer's realized this when they gave Ally the coveted final spot on the opening credits. No matter what Joss' interview suggests, I believe that many fans think of Cordy as the leading lady. She was the reason that I kept watching "Angel" when it was shaky from time to time.

I don't feel the character or Charisma have been given the respect they deserve for what they have brought to the show. Honestly, before this season, she WAS the show. You had Gunn who was bland as can be. You had Lorne who's main role seemed to be getting knocked unconscience. You had post-Pylea Fred...shoot me in the face she was so damn annoying. Granted, all of these characters have since evolved and I now like them all a lot, but how on earth can you diminish the Angel-Cordy-Wesley "we are family" bond that gelled in "To Shansu in L.A."? To say there is nothing left to do with this fabulous character (and I disagree that she is a bad actress) when last we truly saw our heroine she was being swooped into the heavens in "Tomorrow" is amazingly hurtful. After a year of being possesed, cut-off from the group and being the main pawn in a world-domination plan, you expect me to believe there is nowhere left for Miss Cordy to go? No more issues for her character to deal with?

If you wanna kill her, fine, kill her and let her go out in a blaze of glory with some closure for her character. Don't feed me crap about being at an artistic stand-still with one of the top three characters "Angel" has ever seen. What's next? Wesley decides to go back to England because all is quiet on the LA front?

Hopefully Joss will be able to salvage what is left of Cordelia if he uses her as a recurring character. (Although if I were Charisma, I'd be too insulted to come back at all.) We all know that Joss has worked wonders when outside dillemna's have spoiled his storytelling plans. (See Seth Green's unexpected departure, which led to an amazing performace from Ally and the W/T relationship.) I hope it's not to late to pick up the pieces here and not destroy seven years of a wonderful character.

I'm sorry, but nothing here is adding up. You have a rich character who is vital to the storyline being discarded and a creator who we all know to be a genius saying he's just plum out of ideas for her. Give me a break.

[> The Fang Gang 5.0 -- skyMatrix, 16:39:46 05/27/03 Tue

I'm not gonna respond to most of this, as I would like to see Cordy return, but I will contest that the entire supporting cast (not including Wesley) is not worth tuning in. The final arc, not to mention the finale itself, really sold me on the new group dynamic (Wesley, Gunn, Fred, & Lorne), because it was basically them doing the fighting and making the hard decisions, alongside Angel of course. Maybe it was easy for me to be sold because I've always liked those three characters, and while I fully admit that characterization has been scarce at times (especially Charles "Why did he join AI anyway?" Gunn), I still like these "people" and the fact that they've been murky at times only makes me interested to see what will happen with them next year, as the potential now exists for them to be developed further (what's to come of Fred gleefully waving that weapon around? of Gunn and the panther?).

I know BtVS has gotten a lot of flack for losing focus on the "core four," so I think in some ways the AtS solution is not bloody have a core! With the imminent demise of Doyle planned from the outset (although perhaps triggered earier than intended), Joss & Co. wanted to tell you that there is no sacred core or group or cast or whatever. I understand if the current lineup might not appeal to you, but, while I will miss the opportunity to more fully explore what happened to Cordy, I look forward to seeing the current incarnation of the gang at work. (I won't address Spike, as I'm taking a "wait-and-see" approach as preferable to a "doom-and-gloom" approach to the sometime scene-stealer's addition.)

[> [> I concur... -- Nino, 17:18:24 05/27/03 Tue

I totally see your point, and I too am thrilled to see how this new swtup is going to pass out... personally I cannot wait to see some Spike/Angel one-on-one's...but (and i don't mean to sound repetitive) i will still feel cheated if Cordy is just dumped for some half-baked new-fangled setup....

[> [> [> wow, that was full of typos -- Nino, 17:21:05 05/27/03 Tue "swtup" i meant setup and by "Pass out" i meant "pan out" i suck

How do you see Angel? -- lunasea, 17:23:48 05/27/03 Tue

Let's talk about Angel

I really didn't want my thread about Spike to turn into a thread about Angel. The poor guy really needs to get out of Angel's shadow and I hope they use him as more than Angel's foil. If they do use him just as Angel's foil, I hope they find a way to keep him from stealing the show. Buffy's story was wrapping up, but Angel's is still midstream.

Instead I have seen a lot of good things said about Angel's general character that I would love people to expand on. The comparisons to Batman are interesting and I would love for people to expand on them. Since Buffy is over and now we are left with only Angel, how do you see this character? The following is my contribution.

Angel is modeled after the recovering alcoholic. He is a very powerful metaphor for addiction/recovery. After Angel gets his soul, he doesn't go straight to the road to redemption. He doesn't even make it to the onramp. He goes straight to denial. I love when the show flips redemption. In "Crush" Drusilla tries to redeem Spike back to evil. In "Five by Five" we see a similar thing when Angel realizes he has a problem and can't feed, though Darla isn't quite as compassionate as her grand daughter. Angel hits bottom then, but it is bottom for an evil creature, not what we normally think of when we think of recovery.

Angel tries to deal with his "problem" by feeding off of bad people. It would be interesting if they explored this a bit more, but that is what fan fiction is for. Before Angel can be redeemed to good, he has to realize that redemption back to evil is impossible. He has a failed road to recovery back to evil before his actual road starts. We get more of a glimpse of this in "Darla."

The baby that Angel saves shows the key to Angel's conscience, the key to his heart, the key to getting him on the road to recovery. Angel was able to still feed on what he considered guilty, what he considered worth eating. He saved the missionary family from Darla and he couldn't eat the baby, even though doing so would put him back in Darla's good graces and give him back the whirlwind. From that Angel realizes that there is something inside of him that prevents this, that he just can't any more.

He goes from the road to redemption to evil back to denial. He realizes that he can't be evil any more, but he still thinks he can handle his problem. He still isn't trying to be good. He is just trying to live. In "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..." we see Angel come across a situation that needs his help. He isn't out looking for someone to help, but when such a person crosses his path, he tries. When the people he is trying to help turn on him, he lets the Thesulac demon have them.

(An aside, besides being tired of the set, there is a very important reason for the show to abandon the hotel. The hotel was symbolic of Angel. As Wesley says, "Angel, surely you more than anyone must appreciate, how for the better part of the last century this place has been host not only to a malevolent demonic presence, but the very worst faces of humanity! - This is a house of evil." Angel's response "Not anymore." Angel redeems the place by using it for something non-evil. It is representative of his trying to redeem his past. It is even from his past. This season he moved beyond that, so he needs a new locale. Can't wait to see what the penthouse looks like. I want it to have a huge bed and kitchen.)

Angel fed off of criminals and saved the missionary family and baby. Our conscience kicks in for things we feel are worth it. Angel's view of humanity goes through an evolution. As Liam, he is into the pleasure principle and sees those that aren't as hypocrites (his father and the Church). It is amusing that Buffy's first "boyfriend" after Angel is Parker, who Willow refers to as "Id boy." Parker is what Liam was. (I'm going to ignore the underlying strength and potential shown in Liam by Liam standing up to and walking out on his father) The only thing that Liam shows any kindness to is his sister. Liam probably suffers from what is known as a Madonna-whore complex. He sees women in two frames, either they are sweet and innocent, like his sister or they are whores underneath that want to be seduced (to contrast with Caleb, who thinks they are whores that should be cleansed). It is fitting that this man is seduced by a former prostitute. (as opposed to Spike who puts women on a pedestal and is therefore seduced by someone who just wants to be pure in His sight)

As Angelus, he is removed from Humanity. He sees them as inferior. They are food and toys. He really has no desire to see them as anything else. In "Orpheus" Angelus tells Angel, "Always so concerned about the human condition. It's no big mystery. They suffer, they die. That's what they're there for."

As Angel, that won't cut it. Without seeing humanity as something, his bloodlust has no check. We are just animals to feed on. This is why it is so important for Angel to connect with humans. In "Consequences" he tells Faith, "Time was, I thought humans existed just to hurt each other." If humans do that to each other, why shouldn't he?

He continues telling Faith, "But then I came here. And I found out that there are other types of people. People who genuinely wanted to do right. And they make mistakes. And they fall down. You know, but they keep caring. Keep trying." In that, Angel finds the motivation to get on and stay on the road to recovery.

But how did he get there? Same way he was able to see that he couldn't be evil, innocence. It is hard to imagine womanizing Liam as innocent, but compared to the world that Darla showed him, he was. When she bites him, his eyes pop open to symbolize his lost innocence. Angel wasn't looking for redemption. He just wanted to live his life. Then Whistler showed him something, a young innocent girl sucking on a lollipop by the name of Buffy Anne Summers that was about to be thrown into something that she could barely handle. That was something Angel could identify with, especially since what she was being thrown into was the same world that claimed his innocence.

Angel tells Whistler "I want ...wanna become someone." There are various ways to interpret that statement. He can be helping Buffy in order to become someone, which tends to be a very common interpretation. Angel sees his chance to finally become a man. Before Angel says this, however, he says "I wanna help her." That is Angel's primary motivation. He does become someone because he helps Buffy, which is incredibly ironic considering his last words in "The Harvest."

Buffy isn't Angel's conscience. He has a rather strong one of his own. When this conscience saw Buffy, it caused Angel to act. Angelus had to use his own blood in order to be worthy to awaken Acathla. In order to really help Buffy, Angel had to be willing to give her his heart. He might have broken it into a thousand pieces, but because of Angel she still had a heart to break.

Because his conscience is stirred by this innocent girl, he comes to Sunnydale. In "Angel" when Buffy won't kill Angel, she shows him the best of humanity. Even when Angel can't be around Buffy, he still works with Giles and Giles becomes another important example of what humanity can be, thus why Angelus lashes out viciously at Giles. Xander forces Angel to help him save Buffy and becomes yet another example of humanity caring for each other. Willow is a fourth example. Buffy is no longer an innocent anomaly. The Madonna-whore complex gives way and eventually it is "We can't just arbitrarily decide whose soul is worth saving and whose isn't." (Sanctuary)

Once Angel starts to see humanity as something worth saving, he can start his real road to recovery. He hits rock bottom in "Amends." He has been trying to keep his addiction under control. The machinations of the First convince him that he just isn't strong enough to handle them. In the line that launched the spin-off "It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man." Angel realizes that he is powerless over his addiction. The First Step in the famous Twelve Steps is taken. Up to this point, Angel has been portrayed as the alcoholic when trying to write him, who isn't just afraid that he will fall off the wagon, but will take it and use it to run over his friends. There isn't a whole lot done with his recovery though. Take him to his own show and this is the focal point.

In "Amends," Buffy starts the second step: "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." The show isn't about surrendering to some higher power, as in deity. On the shows, the higher power is humanity itself. Buffy gives Angel something to focus on, making amends. Doyle takes this one step further and really shows Angel what power greater than himself can restore him to sanity. That to me is the message of the show and what Joss and Company have been exploring.

There are two very powerful moments when Angel takes the third step and turns his will and unlife over to the cause. The first is the end of "In the Dark" when Angel gives up the day in order to help those that needs his help most. The second is having time turned back in "I Will Remember You" to give up both Buffy and being human in order to still be able to fight the good fight.

The series has pretty much been Angel's fearless moral inventory (step 4) and admitting this to another human being (step 5), that human being mainly being Cordelia. He isn't doing this as a conscious path to recovery. Instead it comes up as cases come up. Each vision the PTB send Cordelia is another way for Angel to do this. Angel saves souls and in the process saves his own.

This has led Angel to step 6, were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. We get to this point in "Deep Down" when Angel is blaming himself for everything turning to ashes. The key scene for his arc is on the boat talking to the Lorne hallucination. He comes to a point where he really is ready to move beyond everything, this time motivated by his love for Connor. There is no God for Angel to do step 7 with, so he does it with himself in "Orpheus," when he is actually ready to fight his alter-ego, thus removing his shortcomings.

This season, Angel has started to make amends for things, such as patching things up with Wesley. He has made direct amends to Connor. With WKCS and his various girlfriends making possible appearances, we will have to see what more amends Angel will make. Angel's road to redemption is so hard because he really can't make amends for what he has done. The remaining steps are just maintenance.

The addiction metaphor is starting to wind down though. I wouldn't be surprised if the writers got rid of the curse somehow (if Willow actually cursed him and didn't just do a spell). It isn't needed to keep Buffy and Angel apart (cookie dough does that now) and they seem to be taking Angel into another area. His story isn't necessarily one about addiction and recovery, but maybe more about post-recovery and corruption. A seduceable Angel may be a more corruptable Angel.

Another way to look at the show is a series of repeated trips through the 12 steps, culminating each time in a new epiphany. Sometimes this happens in the course of a single episode, sometimes it is a mini arc and sometimes an entire season. The Mandelbroit nature of the series is great. Each time he gets a bit further, but as he tells Faith, he makes mistakes. And he falls down. You know, but he keeps caring. Keeps trying.

There are loads of Batman/Spiderman references throughout the show, but there are also a lot of alcoholic ones. The first time we see Angel he is in a bar pretending to be drunk. When Angelus comes back this season, the first place he heads after getting a bite to eat is a bar, showing how he fell off the wagon. Not sure how much the addiction theme plays with Batman, but it is central to Angel. Angel is probably a combination of the moral ambiguity of Batman and the story of addiction/recovery that is symbolized by Angel's struggle for redemption. This addiction makes it more than the traditional hero's journey of Buffy.

It has been a great 7 year arc and I look forward to seeing the corruption story played out. I'm sure it will tie into the difficulties of recovery and the final 3 steps of the Twelve Steps.

[> minor spoilers for Home and Chosen -- lunasea, 17:25:19 05/27/03 Tue

[> Re: How do you see Angel? (spoilers for Amends, Disharmony, DoppelgSngland, Loyalty) -- VampRiley, 19:27:31 05/27/03 Tue

I see him as being a deluded masochist.

Amongst all the other things that he is, the first ones that come to mind when I think of Angel are "deluded" and "masochist"

Deluded because eventhough he was raised a certain way, he did get a better look at the way people are and who they can be as a vampire, yet he's all ready to make that line int he sand so deep between what is good and bad in vampires and humans, and even in himself.

In Amends, he views Liam as being worse than Angelus. He'll divoreces himself from the actions of "Angelus" when he says it wasn't "him", yet he'll willfully accept the actions of Angelus as something "he" did.

In DoppelgSngland, he's about to say that vamps and their human predecessors are similar, but gets cut off by Buffy. Yet, in Loyalty, he said "When somebody becomes a vampire there is no turning back. No matter how much you want to believe there is some part of him you can save, all that's left is an evil thing."

I don't care which side he choses at the moment, but just be bloody consistent about it.

As far as masochism, he may have had his more joyful moments with Manilow and such, but loves to dwell on his feels of sorry about "all the horrible things he's done in the past" [grabs chest in mock pain]. It really gets ya. I think he's never wanted to move on because, as much as he thinks of himself as a good guy, he loves to torture himself emotionally. Now, that's masochism.

Has he ever tried to get rid of the curse since he found out it's existence? He's stated mroe than once that he would like to not be a vampire anymore, but would he really get rid of the curse and remain a vampire? The writers give us the indication that he never has tried to get it removed. Maybe the curse gives him another excuse to beat up on himself.


[> [> I actually wondered about that... -- dub, 20:05:35 05/27/03 Tue

How come when Willow travelled to LA this past season to restore Angel's soul (for the second time) she didn't try something different and restore it without the gypsy curse?

Seeing what she was capable of doing in Chosen leads me to believe she'd have the power to pull something like that off.

Sure would cut into Angel's quality brood time, though.


[> [> [> Don't be so sure she did curse him -- lunasea, 05:53:21 05/28/03 Wed

She wasn't possessed this time around and they made a point of showing that. The end of the spell is cut with Faith saying that she is getting back in the game and Angel saying that he needs her to fight.

I forsee a scene or even a full episode this season where Angel is tired of the curse, the final thing he needs to kill to really move beyond his past, and wonders exactly how they planned on resouling him. He goes to the Shaman and finds out that he can be resouled without the curse, but he would have to lose his soul again. We get another perfect day fantasy that we maybe don't see, but is obviously about Buffy, thus forever killing Cordy/Angel shippiness. (if they can't get SMG, they could alway intercut it with scenes from his actual perfect day IWRY or even from Innocence or Amends, maybe all three) When he wakes up, he still has his soul. It didn't work.

Angel, always one to look gift horses in the mouth, wants to know what is going on. Wesley says he was there when Willow did the curse and she did in fact curse him, so he is at a loss for words (which of course gets funny looks from the Fang Gang). Angel is not too comfortable relying on the assets of Wolfram and Hart to find out what is going on and wants Wesley to figure it out. They can try to contact Willow and thus we get a bit about what the Scoobies are up to now.

Willow or Wesley rememebers the "Tirer la Couture" that Buffy did in "No Place Like Home." A vengeance spell/curse would leave a very distinct trace. Either Willow or Wesley could do the Trance, or if Angel does it, he can see the demon in the mirror, which might be an interesting effect. With the various mystical forces surrounding Angel, we get some neat CGI, maybe even a bit of foreshadowing. The various points that are affected when Angel is resouled in "Orpheus" show no signs of vengeance. Instead whatever the person sees, makes them feel good to see. We might even get something like the glowy light that used to surround Cordy up in the higher realms.

Whoever it is comes out of the trance and reports what they saw to the others. They aren't quite sure what is going on, but they decide that Angel definitely isn't cursed any more, which means no happiness clause. Angel is still a bit nervous about the whole thing though and doesn't trust it and doesn't want anyone to know about it.

Wesley studies the spell and sees that there is nothing in it about happiness or vengeance. It is the intent of the caster that makes it this way. The first time Willow did it, she wasn't strong enough to do it alone. The second time, Willow was the one that did the spell and she has no malevolence towards Angel, no anger, no hatred, no vengeance. She gave him back his soul out of friendship. As his friend, she wants him to be happy. No bad intent, no curse.

Last shot of the show is Angel finding out this, with a big smile (similar to To Shanshu in LA) and a plate of cookies being involved somehow for foreshadowing.

[> tune in the wb wednesdays at 9, & there he is! (sorry) -- anom-the-literal, 21:52:12 05/27/03 Tue

[> Kita's Angel -- lakrids, 08:55:29 05/28/03 Wed

I have lifeted the text, from Kita ( a very good fanfic writer ) livejournal, it is about her view about Angel

My Angel- Spoilers thru EOD & Home

My Angel:

Knows the name of every ancient battle sword in Wesley's catalogues.

And a few not listed.

Knows all the Psalms and most of the Catholic liturgies by heart.

Had Drusilla's rosary.

Lost it when W&H blew up his old office.

Along with movie stubs from a date with Buffy, Doyle's old address book, and a sketch of his home in Ireland from memory.

Wanted desperately to baptize Connor.

Hasn't done Tai Chi since Connor was kidnapped.

Loved the way Connor fought.

Hated the way Connor fought.

Has nightmares about killing his son.

Would do it again.

Keeps a quart of mint fudge cookie dough in his freezer.

Never eats it.

Still loves Buffy.

Could have loved Cordelia.

Never quite got around to it.

Regrets that.


Loves the memory of Darla.

Feels guilty for not burying her remains.

Respected Oz.

Disliked Xander.

Felt protective toward Willow.

Kind of wishes he'd killed Riley.

Kept far away from all the female Scoobies in order to avoid knowing when their time of the month was.

Knew Buffy's anyway.

Still keeps track of when Cordelia's would be.

Wishes Wes still wore his glasses.

Is confused by Gunn's goatee.

Is glad Fred is less crazy now, because she reminded him too much of Dru.

Will never acknowledge how much Wes reminds him of William.

Refuses to admit that he recreates the same family pattern wherever he goes.

Wishes he could remember the color of his mother's eyes.

Wishes he could forget the color of his sister's.

Has kept in touch with Willow via email since Buffy returned from the dead.

Has pointedly avoided asking any specific questions.

Retains some memories of Sunnydale that do not include Dawn.

Does not know why that is.

Is turned on by girls who can kick his ass.

And boys who can't.

Is a top.

Would bottom occasionally, but never sub.

Except possibly to Buffy.

Had to have his knees broken by Darla before he would kneel in front of the Master.

Deflowered your Spike.

Gets off *hard* on the memory of killing.

Wishes desperately he didn't.

Still can't bear to look at Giles.

Still gets off on the memory of breaking his hands.

Still prays the rosary, just without the beads.

Wishes he could taste pizza when he eats it, could sweat after he runs, and could pee after a few beers.

Actively avoids cursing and wearing light colored shirts, so his friends don't worry he's gone evil.

Works very hard to be the precise opposite of Angelus.

Resents having to.

Didn't lie about listening in on Fred & Gunn when he was Angelus.

Loves the small of women's backs.

Felt lust when he looked at Doyle.

Finds the following attractive: Lilah's legs and teeth, Faith's breasts and right hook, Gwen's eyes and mouth, and Wes' now absent stammer.

Can no longer stand the scent of baby powder or night blooming Jasmine.

Believes LA really is his city.

Believes, on occasion, he really is the center of the universe.

Refuses to feel arrogant about it considering his history.

Feels guilty about it nonetheless.

Often wishes he had never been born.

Feels less this way around the AI team.

Used to be willing to die for anyone.

Has lately narrowed it down to a handful.

Would still die if it would redeem Drusilla.

Still considers her his greatest sin.

Sometimes still misses her.

Does not believe he will actually ever be human.

Would have asked to make his soul permanent in trade for taking over W&H, but then saw Connor on television and knew what he was supposed to ask for instead.

Worries that Connor was only really born in order to be his Achille's heel, so that he would be forced to take the W&H deal.

Remembers every moment of Hell.

Has never talked about it with anyone, even Wesley, who is the only one who has ever asked.

Knew Spike was standing behind him when he kissed Buffy.

Kinda got off on it.

Could smell Spike on Buffy.

Will not admit his feelings about that to anyone.

Hates the word Champion.

Believes Buffy is one anyway.

Dreams of just one night with a family who loves him, and no monsters at his door.

Does not believe he deserves it.

Buffy withdrawal! I've got the DTs! -- HonorH (not accepting the end), 22:01:45 05/27/03 Tue

Bunnies . . . bunnies everywhere!

[> I'm sure it's best not to stew... -- cougar ;o`, 22:21:50 05/27/03 Tue

[> [> Re: I'm sure it's best not to stew... (Spoilers for Chosen) -- Arethusa, 08:08:39 05/28/03 Wed

because Honor H will end up with Hassenpfeffer.

Notice how in OMWF Anya sings that there's nothing we can't face except for bunnies, and in Chosen she dies picturing floppy, hoppy bunnies. She finally faced them.

[> [> Stew? Coney stew? Heh, wonder what Anya would have thought of that idea. -- Random, 10:59:23 05/28/03 Wed

[> [> although pickling might be nice -- the masked punster, 11:11:39 05/28/03 Wed

Jasmine vs. Caleb -- skeeve, 08:37:21 05/28/03 Wed

Any thoughts on whether Jasmine could have enthralled Caleb?

[> Maybe. But then Caleb would have pulled rank and ordered her back to Serenity. -- cjl, 10:07:57 05/28/03 Wed

[> Re: Jasmine vs. Caleb -- Jenny's Love, 10:09:29 05/28/03 Wed

Naw because Nathan Fillion was Gina Torres' superior on Firefly. haha. j/k, but seriously, that's a good point. Another question would be who would win in a fight. Watching Jasmine smack Angel over the bridge and hurl cars at him, I said, "wow, if she hated herself for being a woman and had a southern accent, she'd be Caleb." As for her putting him under her thrall, well we have all wondered about the Scoobies not being affected by Jasmine's presence on television. It's valid to wonder how Caleb worshipping Jasmine like everyone else would affect the First's plans. I really do wish they would tie the two stories together SOMEHOW. How would Jasmine have dealt with the army of Turok Han overruning Earth--if Angel hadn't stopped world peace, then the legions of vamps and the First surely would have made life on Earth a tad less perfect than Jasmine's blissful world.

3strike review of season 6 and 7 ( It's all about Buffy ) part1 -- lakrids, 11:36:42 05/28/03 Wed

I 3strike has written a review of seasons 6 and 7 that has already been posted on the Crawford Street Mansion. It's funny, ranty (word?) and insightful. Remember it's all about Buffy.

The Path of the Righteous Reviewer is beset on all sides by the Inequities of Lemmings, and the Tyranny of Evil Pollyannas. Yea, Blessed is He, who in the name of Snark and Veracity, shepherds his Review through the Dark Valley of the BC&S, for he is truly the Golden Years's Keeper and the Defender of Lost Arcs. And I will Strike down on Season 6 and 7 with Great Vengeance and Furious Anger, those who attempt to Slander and Villify my Review, and you will know my name is 3Strikes when I layeth the Smack Down upon Thee. : )

How shall we proceed ?
Shall we start by acknowledging that for all its flaws, this season gave us many exceptional moments ?
Be it in Lessons, with Willow's heart rending admission of guilt and repentance, or the FE's chilling Morphing through the great Evils that plagued Buffy's journey throughout the years, Beneath You, with Anya and Spike's struggles with what they had become, Same Time Same Place, and Buffy gently lending Willow of her strength, Help, showing the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful fight to save Cassie's life, the Brilliant Selfless, which in many ways gave Anya her greatest opportunity to shine while allowing the spotlight to rest if too briefly on Xander, Buffy and Willow, Conversation with Dead People, and its sharp dialogue and character analysis (even if it wasn't paid off properly), or Never Leave Me, with its blend of surprises (Adios Watchers! Hello Noodle!), humor ("The weasel wants to sing...he just needs a tune") and intense characterization, the first 9 episodes set up what could have been the basis for an exceptional season. Even the catastrophic collapse that started with Bring On The Night,
putting the lie to the promise of the first run, can't obscure the quality of some of the ulterior scenes: the conversation between Dawn and Xander in Potential, Get it Done as a whole, the humor of Storyteller and *technical* merits of Lies (substance is another matter), Caleb and his shocking actions in Dirty Girls, Xander's speech in the same episode, and Willow and Xander's interaction In Empty Places ranks among the best scenes/moments in the show's run...
Alas they are as Pearls in the Muck, shiny jewels amidst a morass of mediocrity, well written and executed exceptions to a generally poorly conceived endeavor. Because a Season can not be reduced to the sum of its parts. It must be judged as a whole, as a project executed following a blueprint. In so doing, Plan and Intent, Process, Method and Execution must receive as much scrutiny as the Finished Product.

And to examine Season 7 on the sole merits of Process, Method and Execution would be to condemn the work to the death of a thousand cuts. A facile and unworthy execution.
What would be the point of listing the innumerable flaws of logic, continuity and characterization ?
Why ask where the First Evil was throughout Season 6 and how it can be manifested without chanting Bringers ?
Why it attacked the Slayer line thus revealing its return ?
What its interest and plans for Spike were ?
Why ridicule plans and methods that would shame the three stooges ? The convenient unearthing of the Scythe ?
Why pick apart the failure by the writers to make the FE remotely threatening, while claiming as often as possible that it constituted the ultimate threat ?
Why scoff at the laughable depiction of the Uber Vampires, scourge of Slayers in Bring on the Night, fodder for pen knives in the Finale ?
Why question the wisdom of using recycled material from the failed animated series (Him), or cannibalizing concepts from a Buffy Novel (the SITS)?
Why criticize the introduction of hordes of useless characters at the expense of the regulars in the foolish hope that these parasites would generate enough interest or loyalty for a spin off ?
Why wonder at the consistent failure to provide dramatic material for the vast majority of the regulars (Giles, Xander, Anya, Dawn, and in a lesser measure Willow) when these characters have been the very life and blood of the show for the past seven years?
Indeed why bemoan the broken promises of the show's creator regarding the role of Anya and the level of participation of Emma Caulfield ? Or the shabby treatment of the character throughout the season, transforming her life altering epiphany in Selfless into nothing more than the prelude to months of meaningless sex jokes and wishy washy reconciliation attempts with her ex-fiance ?
Why deplore the gross mischaracterization of Rupert Giles, and the scandalous misuse of the talents of Anthony Stuart Head? Why deride the pod-Giles mini-arc, or the mockery that was made of the character in Lies My Parents Told Me ?
Why regret Xander being reduced to endlessly fixing windows, or his physical mutilation only serving as means to an end, and not as a way to explore dramatic avenues for the character ?
Why weep while the resolution to Willow's journey is reduced to a forced pairing with a goose stepping Cardboard Platypus that understands nothing of the pain Willow has undergone, nothing of her fears, and nothing of her power or history ? Why laugh when Willow's final moments on the show are summarized by the ridiculously melodramatic "You're a Goddess...You're a Slayer"
Why lament the forced, fake, chemistryless, and time and story wasting pairings of Platypus and Willow, Buffy and Wood, Spike and Faith, and Wood and Faith, when none of these characters have any history or commonality together?
Why ridicule the introduction of not one but 2 Dei ex Machina (3 if you count the arrival of Angel in the sweeps of time) in a single episode to resolve the mess created by the aimlessness of the arc ?


To answer these questions would be to end the contest before it has begun. An indictement on this basis far too easily proven (and already accomplished by many worthies in many different threads on many different boards, with far better arguments than my poor questions)...I seek tougher game by far. Nothing less than bearding the Whedon in his den will do. To tilt the lists at full speed in a brutal frontal assault and show that the very basis for the past 2 seasons is both unworthy, and terminally flawed...worse yet, that the Story chosen by the author is one that should not have been told, and that because of it, Buffy as a character, and the the Buffyverse itself are poorer today than they were 2 years ago, is the gauntlet I choose to pick up. A risky, even foolhardy proposition, given the quality of the opposition on this board, but a vaincre sans peril, on triomphe sans gloire.

What then, shall be the basis for this critique ? The flaws of Process and Execution having been detailed in the preceding paragraphs, an examination of the ends (Plan and Intent) and means (Method) will serve to further the indictment.

At the most basic, primary of levels, Joss Whedon and ME are telling the story of Buffy Summers and friends. Interpretations vary, but according to interviews, the last 2 seasons have been built around 2 central themes.

The first defining theme is the metaphor for the Genius's alienation from the run of common mortals (Interview by Marti Noxon), the Star's alienation from the Ensemble (Joss Whedon in the NY times: "Buffy also became a little bit closed off from the other characters, in the same way that a star is kind of separated from an ensemble, so we dealt with the idea of the isolation of the Slayer, of the person who has to lead"), and more generally a metaphor for the general malaise, lack of direction and travails that surround early adulthood. This thematic is most clearly spelled out in Conversation with Dead People. Buffy feels alienated from her friends because they simply do not understand the burdens she must bear as the result of her calling. Her journey the past 2 years takes place in an essentially absurdist/existentialist universe (senseless/meaningless death of Tara, OAFA= No Exit/Huis Clos) where meaning is almost SOLELY derived from the main protagonist's (Buffy's, ie "it's all about Buffy") point
of view. I will revisit this particular dynamic (absurdist existentialism, alienation as a metaphor for early adulthood) in detail in my Show review, but this succint summary should be sufficient for purposes of analysis.
The second defining theme can simply be summed up as female empowerment.

So how and where did the show fail ?
Was it a failure of depiction ? Surely not. Never have I seen such a collection of purposeless, alienated characters parade before our very eyes. A drab, insipid, shallow, claustrophobic, 2 dimensional universe...causeless, meaningless, absurd happenstances whose tragic dimensions are ruthlessly gutted or minimized to make room for the shallow and egotistical self-examinations of the protagonist...

Was it a failure of ambition ? No indeed. I truly believe that, thematically wise, what was shown was exactly what Joss Whedon intended all along. And he achieved exactly the effect desired. This *artistic success* (pardon the sarcasm) should not be confused with the commercial failure of ME's spin off efforts, which indeed fell very short.

No. For all the post-finale obfuscation ("The show is not perceived as the ensemble show it is by anybody except the die-hard fans," Joss Whedon, MSN Entertainment), the failure is one of Scope and Scale.

The refrain of "It's all about Buffy," which to my shame I heartily embraced not knowing where it would lead, and which has been amply demonstrated for the past 2 seasons, has terrible consequences. Namely, that almost all dramatic and character development, must be routed through the prism of Buffy's perception, and serve HER journey. In Existentialist terms, the Engagement of each and every single one of the characters as part of the larger arc MUST GO and HAS GONE through Buffy. Buffy is no longer the most important part of the Story...she *IS* the Story. I'll revisit this catastrophic shift in my Show Review.

At this point, I know some of you must be scratching your heads in confusion, so I'll deliver the accusation in concrete terms by reviewing succintly what happened to the characters for the past 2 seasons.

Giles. Giles returned to England so that Buffy could grow up. Never mind that this bizarre, and Un-Giles like development deprived the Slayer of her Watcher. A Watcher isn't just a mentor to the young slayer. Beyond this initial relationship, he/she's also an advisor, a sounding board, and typically the only person who knows/understand the truth of his/her charge. This is especially true in Buffy and Giles's case. The Buffy-Giles dynamic was always that of Arthur and Merlin, leader and advisor. But to cast Buffy adrift into the Existential Void, Giles had to go. The Giles arc in Season 6 is terminated (to be fair the roots of this can be laid in S3-4, as we'll see in the Show Review), and he basically ceases to exist as a character (no mention of him whatsoever til 2 to Go) until the end. His role in S7 consists of reconnecting Willow to Buffy's journey (Lessons, BY), provide fodder for the inane FE-Giles speculation, and as straw man for the Lies Rigmarole. Giles is one of 3 characters whose
journey was brought to a complete halt by Buffy Reductionism.
Anya's journey can be reduced to 3 stages: the Wedding period, the Vengeance Demon Period, and Becoming Human. Of all the characters, she's the one whose growth/journey least depended on Buffy...and yet how little she escaped the curse of Buffy Reductionism: The wedding, that shed so much light on her growth as a character, was reduced in the larger sense to the "train at the end of the tunnel," and a prelude to Spankya, itself the prelude to the AR, and hence the soul quest so that "Buffy could get what she deserved." The Vengeance Period, which culminated in Selfless, served as much to highlight Anya's evolution, and resolution to find herself, as it set the stage for Miss Hacks a lot's "I am the Law" problem. And Anya's resolution to find herself (Becoming Human) was completely gutted, her journey for the next few months, reduced to the telling of inane sex jokes, complaining about double standards, and finally exposing the truth of Buffy's inner psychological dynamics in EP. Gone the arc promised by
Joss Whedon. Gone the vengeance promised by D'Hoffryn. Mistake me not! In terms of growth, Anya is the one who evolved most independently from Buffy. But in the end, like all the others, Anya was made to serve Buffy's journey while her own was grossly stunted. (see further comments in Xander section)
Season 6 was Dawn's Acting Out period. What did it say about her, except that she craved the attention of her sole surviving *relative* (Hank Summers having been long since written out). The thievery didn't serve Dawn's informed Buffy's role as Parent (Gone with Social services, OAFA) and mentor (fake Grave epiphany). In S7, the totality of Dawn's growth can be summarized as a desperate attempt to connect to Buffy through Slayerhood (Lessons through Potential), followed by resignation (Potential), acceptance that she ranks low on the totem of Buffy's priorities, and resolution to keep helping...*Buffy*'s fight (Miss Junior Watcher). Any and all opportunities to develop Dawn as a character (Lessons, Help, Him, importance of her Keyness, Joyce) are quashed.

Xander is the second character whose journey was brought to a stand still by the change in perspective. In Season 6, the wedding brought his issues to the fore...unfortunately these issues remained unexplored. It is deeply telling that in the entire run of the show, these issues were often alluded to (as early as S1, S3 Amends, S4 Restless, S5 The Replacement), but NOT ONCE fully addressed. And while Xander served a pivotal role in stopping Willow in Grave, none of the events that transpired shined any new light on the character (He loves Willow a lot), or challenged his core identity in any measurable way. S7 saw the (temporary) rise of professional Xander, and an initial willingness to challenge Buffy (BY, Help, Selfless, Sleeper), which indeed would have constituted an interesting development. Alas post-Selfless (which should have been a watershed event in his perception of right and wrong), Xander's role is reduced to the meaningless task of fixing windows for months on end, and clear up the
aftermath of his failed wedding to Anya. Even his mutilation in Dirty Girls has no great Story just serves as the means to destroy his loyalty to Buffy so that the events of Touched can take place. And the dynamic with Anya, which dragged for the entire season, receives the same amount of authorial attention ME dedicated to the death of Tara. Don't believe me ? From TV Guide (about the death of Anya): "No one seemed to be too broken up about it."
Joss Whedon: "I had a lot to wrap up, so I let Xander (Nicholas Brendon) have a moment of closure about her, just enough to get him to the point where he could rejoin the group for a moment of, well, "We won." You have to get yourself to a good place if you want the show to go out on an uplifting moment, which I did. So I used shorthand."
Shorthand. All you need to know about Xander and Anya.
The devolution of Willow's journey is in many ways the most infuriating of all because it had by far the most potential. It too fell prey to both Buffy reductionism, and to the Existentialist tarring perpetrated in S6-7. The Dark Magic Willow arc should serve as a cautionary tale to what happens when Dogma replaces Story. Prior to Season 6, Insecurity and Perfectionism had always been portrayed as the wellsprings of Willow's magical ascendency. Willow craved magic to do good. She stayed with Buffy in Sunnydale with Buffy to do Good. She basked in the approbation that fighting the good fight garnered her, and felt intense shame when she abused those powers (Doppelgangland, Something Blue). And the more power she gathered, the more she justified them in terms of the good she was doing (Flooded). Comes Wrecked and the destruction of a 5 years build up (all the way back to Ted). Instead of the Affirmative Quest for Power set down from the very beginning of the show, Willow's Journey becomes the Passive
Journey of the Addict, and Magics devolves from the currency of Power to Crack. The Actor becomes the Victim. Why ? Two reasons. The first is that the writers proved utterly gutless, believing that the logical continuation of Willow's rightful arc would take her to a place they couldn't retrieve her from. Guess they didn't watch Beige Angel and what happened in the Cellar. The second is that, in the Existentialist Universe Whedon created for Season 6 and 7, the kind of Affirmative action (ie Engagement) required by Willow's Power corruption Arc is impossible. Errors of Existentialism are not judged in terms of morality, of Right or Wrong, but in terms of Engagement Actions ARE, and action is the sole basis for evaluation)...Non-Engagement/passivity (paralysis brought on by inner psychological turmoil/flaws) and the failure of self-examination are the cardinal sins. Willow on a quest for Power automatically dictates Engagement...she would have had to make an affirmative statement (ie "I am a
better Slayer than The Slayer" would have been the cause, not the result of the arc) which is a huge No-No in Whedon's vision of early adulthood as a time of PASSIVE confusion and aimless morass. Whedon wants a victim...strike that...VICTIMS (all of them)...with the result that Willow became a spectator in the play of her own life. Of course, once this course was set, Tara was dead meat. Willow could not go bad on her own. She had to be pushed. And she had to be pushed to further Buffy's journey, to give her the fake Villains (Justice) and Grave ("Show you the world") epiphanies. Willow's victimhood then continued right into S7, with her unwillingness to use magic (whose nature was switched back again) and guilt becoming the basis for her season long inner struggle. But again, this existentialist struggle was made to serve *Buffy*'s journey. As shown in Bring on the Night, Willow became one of Buffy's charges, and Willow's demons, one more Cross for Buffy to bear. And the final resolution to Willow's
journey comes because of Buffy's decision to *share* the Power, which forces Willow to overcome all her (fake and contrived) inner demons. She is now a fully Engaged Empowered Goddess. *Snicker*. Even her relationship with Platypus is directly tied into Buffy (Kennedy is a mirror for Buffy, the slayer substitute in the Buffy-Willow relationship). Willow's journey wasn't as much gutted, as it was twisted and mutated into a parody wholly incompatible with Seasons 1 to 5.
In many ways, Faith's arc was completed over on Angel. Her return to BTVS and forced pairing with Wood, right on the heels of the attempted pairing with Spike with the spin off in mind, her new Jive talking (which she did NOT exhibit on ATS), almost negated the growth she experienced in LA. Faith wasn't brought back for her own sake, but to set up the leadership struggle with Buffy.

Tara is the third character whose journey was brought to a complete halt. This time literally. Tara's role can be boiled down to being the trigger needed to push Willow over the order to set up the Willow-Buffy smack down. Of all the regulars (save Riley), she's the one who received the least characterization.

And finally Spike. Even Spike, which received the most characterization after Buffy and Willow, is not immune to the travesty that took place in S6-7. Every single one of the steps the character took was tied directly to Buffy or Buffy's journey. Spankya, The AR, the Soul Quest, Resisting the FE, even his actions in Get It Done, Lies and Touched in the end served Buffy and Buffy's journey alone.
Don't believe me ?
From the Horse's I mean, the horse's mouth itself:
Joss Whedon in TVGuide, about Spike: " I think he feels that he was ready to sacrifice himself for her, and it was a beautiful thing, but... it wasn't like he's cured of loving Buffy any more than Angel is."
And how exactly is this different from what Spike was ready to do in Season 5 ? The answer: it's not. Spike doesn't sacrifice himself for the greater good. He sacrifices himself for Buffy, and Buffy alone. That is the extent of his development/growth for Season 6-7. It certainly isn't compassion (see Lies), altruism or empathy beyond Buffy (Touched). Gone is his interaction with Dawn, or for that matter with any of the other characters. Not that I really care, but like the others, Spike was made a Slave to Buffy's story and the Existentialist rewriting of the Buffyverse. And for what ?

AND FOR WHAT ? The question that makes or breaks the last 2 seasons.

What is the ultimate pay off for Buffy's neglect of Dawn in S6 ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Xander and Anya's broken marriage ?
What is the pay off for Anya's return to vengeance ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Willow's Dark Magic Arc ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Spike's soul ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Touched ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Tara's death ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Giles's leaving in Season 6 ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Giles's character assassination in Lies ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Xander endlessly fixing windows ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Xander's Mutilation ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Buffy and Faith leadership struggle ?
What is the ultimate pay off for Faith's return to the Buffyverse ?
What is the ultimate pay off for all the characters being turned into meat puppets, into victims, for the Buffyverse being turned into a Cartoonish Existentialist Limbo ?
What is the ultimate pay off for their arcs being gutted or twisted beyond any recognition ?

Say it with me: C.O.O.K.I.E D.O.U.G.H

[> 3strike review of season 6 and 7 ( It's all about Buffy ) part 2 -- lakrids, 11:39:29 05/28/03 Wed

It is said that all roads lead to Rome...but for the past 2 seasons, all the storylines, dramatic and character non-development, all the gutted arcs have lead to Buffy's Cookie Dough Speech, the first of Whedon's Magical Statements (there are 3 of them).
Don't believe me ?
Seek and Ye shall find!
Joss Whedon in TVGuide, talking about Buffy: "She wants to go and find herself spend some time becoming a grown-up and finding out who she is, and then she can stop to find out who fits with that. That was the point of the whole cookie dough speech. Her internal search isn't for a boyfriend, it's for herself."

Yes folks, this is what we had all been waiting for! The profound answer to all the questions I asked above. Why the pain, the dragging out, the whining, the gutted arcs and character assassinations ? For Buffy's Cookie Dough.
This! This indeed is the justification, the raison d'etre (pardon my french) for the last 2 seasons. inquire...doesn't this seems strangely familiar?
Indeed Grasshopper! Verily, you are the most clever of GrassHoppers!

From S5, I was made to Love You:
"XANDER: Robots are the strangest people.
BUFFY: No ... people are the strangest people. (she looks down as
Xander continues working) I mean, look at me obsessing about being
with someone. It's like ... I don't need a guy right now. I need
me. I need to get comfortable being alone with Buffy."

Why, if it isn't word for word what both Whedon (the article) and Buffy (Cookie Dough) stated! Now! Now! Stop this rowdiness, Dung Beetle! Aren't you grateful Whedon saw fit to recycle such a marvelous statement ?
What! You don't think the last 2 seasons should be paid off by such an *extraordinary* culmination ? You think this CANNIBALISTIC PLAGIARISM is a further insult to the death of Tara, to fans of Xander, Giles, Anya, Dawn, Willow, Faith and Spike ? You find it beyond TRITE and PEDESTRIAN ? You think the last 2 Seasons should be renamed EPIPHANY INTERRUPTED ?
Why, you ungrateful cloddish lout! You hater of all things *artistic*! You have no understanding whatever of the burdens under which Joss Whedon, thrice blessed be his name, must labor, or the delicate intricacies and nuances contained in this masterful Opus he calls Seasons 6 and 7.
I shudder at what you will think of the other two Statements.

"Statements," you ask ? Why yes, Water Bug. Sit back down, put away your flame thrower and I'll explain. No matter how profound, you seriously didn't think the Master would be content to end the show with a Culinary metaphor, did you ? Nay! He had better still in store!

Punning, for starters, the intellectual currency of Gods. Listen closely.
The First Evil isn't just a Cardboard Cereal Box Big Bad. If you look closely beyond the primary textual meaning (The Big Bad! Muahahaha!), it is quite obvious the First Evil is *THE* Existentialist Villain par excellence. It is the Metaphor for Fear, Doubt, and Guilt. It sows Paralysis and Confusion. These are the demons that the Actor in the Existentialist Struggle must confront and overcome to become fully Engaged. These, if I do not misinterpret Whedon's vision, are also the demons that plague early adulthood. So when Buffy scrunches her face like she's bitten a really, really sour lemon and barks: "GET OUT OF MY FACE," you should look beyond the Primary and Secondary level meanings, to the Tertiary level. You're confused GrassHopper ? Let me explain.
At the Primary level, when Buffy snaps: "Get out of My Face," she means:
"Out of my Way. Stop bothering me while dispatch your Noodles"
At the Secondary Level, Buffy is making a Pun about the FE looking like her. "Get out of my Face" then becomes: "Stop looking like me, you stylishly handicapped monstrosity."
But at the Tertiary Level, Buffy (really Joss Whedon holding Buffy the Sock Puppet) is making a STATEMENT! Yes! Another one! I know you're beyond delighted! And this statement goes as follows: when Buffy hectors First Evil-Buffy, which symbolizes all her fears, her doubts, her guilt, and her pain, and wears her face, with "Get out of My face," she is stating: "I am no longer defined by my fear, my guilt, my doubts and my pain. They look like me but are not me." Buffy becomes fully engaged and empowered...she rises in slo mo, and by the Power of Empowerment sends the Noodles, creatures of the Existentialist First Evil, flying back into the bowels of the Cave (a metaphor for the sub-conscious...I know Ramses will love that one) from which they sprung. They hold no power over her. Lovely and Profound, ain't it ?...


Uh-oh! What the hell is that sound ? That terrible, profoundly disagreeable sound ? Oh Lord! The GrassHopper is grinding her teeth! Wait! No! Now she's started chewing the furniture! No! No! For the Love of all that's Holy and not Existentialist, GrassHopper, Not the GrandFather Clock! Calm down! What's the matter ? You think the Second Statement is cleverly crafted and amusing, but TRITE and UNWORTHY ? How so ?

*****Indistinct Mumbling******

I see. So you think that if the First Evil metaphorically symbolizes the sum of Buffy's fears, her doubts, guilt, and sundry complexes, then Buffy is the EPITOME OF SHALLOWNESS...that if the ineptitude of the First Evil is the yardstick by which we should measure the depth of Buffy's struggle, that surely she would have had more trouble fighting out of a wet paper bag ? That's mighty ungenerous of you GrassHopper! Did you not appreciate the grandiosity of the First Evil's Plans ? Did you miss any of its terrifying speeches ? Did you fail to appreciate the THREAT he posed to the scoobies ? No ? You think the generic Noodles were kind of cute, that the Bringers were a hoot, and Caleb, barrels of fun ? That the final message wasn't helped by the blatant rip off of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings ?
You are a rube, Dung Beetle. You simply do not have the intellect to comprehend the Master's Vision! The First Evil was always meant to be talky and incompetent: it represents the Opponent in the Existentialist Inner Dialogue, the Fears, Doubt, Guilt and various complexes that plague the Psyche and prevent Engagement. Its main weapon MUST be paralysis and confusion. The threat can in no way take an *external* shape. And in Jossy's Existentialist Vision, those Fears, Guilt, Doubts, and sundry complexes are only as powerful as Buffy and the characters allow them to be. So when Buffy yells: "Get out of my Face," she literally deprives the FE of Power, by claiming it for her own.

Sniff, sniff...What's that disturbing smell ? Oh, look! Look at what the Grasshopper has unearthed! What a lovable scamp! Why if it isn't the mouldering script for Fear Itself!
There's something you want to show us Grasshopper ? Yes ? The description for Gakhnar, and the way the Scoobies got rid of him ? I'm not sure I like the gleam in your eye.
Good lord! Stop screeching! I heard you just fine the first time. It simply can not be the case. You don't think the Grand Poobah would have the gall to use a Season Long Gakhnar as the Opposition, do you ? Gakhnar was great and amusing as a one shot metaphor for the nature of Fear and the inner struggle it precipitates, a sharp commentary on the Scoobies's internal dynamics...but surely the Master would realize that using First Gakhnar to deliver endless speeches, followed by more endless speeches would get BORING real quick ? Surely he would realize that the SCOPE and SCALE of the Struggle are defined by the qualities of the Opponent ? That if the First Evil is nothing more than a Gakhnar wannabe, Buffy's entire journey becomes TRIVIAL, her Epiphanies TRITE and PEDESTRIAN ? How could he fail to comprehend that every time the First Evil Blusters, every time it uses the 3 stooges as a template for its plans, every time it makes a mockery of good drama, it renders Buffy's journey that much less
meaningful ? Surely Joss Whedon did not intend BTVS to become a farce ? He did produce HIM, you say ? That's a low blow, Dung Beetle. Everybody is entitled to Camp once in a while. Even Animated Series Recycled Camp.
And you've missed the point. As I said above, the First Evil was meant to be portrayed as it was. Its inherent smallness is designed to symbolize the relative importance of Buffy's fears, doubts, guilt and hang ups. They only have as much Importance, as much Power as she's willing to give them. That's the message. That's the statement.
What ? You have a message for Buffy you wish to share?

****GrassHopper unfurls Giant Banner****

You are one rude, mean spirited Dung Beetle! I just don't think "THANKS FOR WASTING OUR TIME WITH YOUR BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL HANG UPS, YOU STUPID COW. POP SOME PROZAC, BITCH, AND GROW THE HELL UP" is an acceptable message. What ? You say you've received more profound wisdom from Fortune Cookies ? Silly Tadpole! Now you're just being snarky! Your mood seems to have improved (GrassHopper is cracking her knuckles, and sharpening her set of Ginsu Knives). I think it's time to talk about Whedon's final message, the one everybody has been waiting for. The message of Female Empowerment. And do you know what the Great Secret to Female Empowerment is, GrassHopper ?

*****Rolling Drum rolls******

...The secret to Female Empowerment is...THE MAN (pronounced ZEE MAAHN)

3Strikes: Do you believe in THE MAN, GrassHopper?
GrassHopper: No.
3Strikes: Why not?
GrassHopper: Because I don't like the idea that THE MAN is in control of my life.
3Strikes: I know exactly what you mean. It took the WORD of Joss Whedon the PROPHET to reveal THE TRUTH. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you suspect something. You feel it. You've felt THE MAN your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what THE MAN is, but it's there, like a Giant 800 pound Gorilla, jumping up and down on your head, driving you mad. It is this headache that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

GrassHopper: No. THE MAN?

3Strikes: Now we're getting somewhere! Do you want to know what THE MAN is? THE MAN is everywhere. HE is all around us, even now in this very Review. You can see HIM when you look out your window or when you eat a delicious yet politically correct Veggie Burger. You can feel HIM when you pork out on Bonbons, when you go to the Mall, when you file your nails. THE MAN is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from Joss Whedon's TRUTH.
GrassHopper: What truth?
3Strikes: That you are a slave to THE MAN, GrassHopper. Like everyone else you were born into bondage to THE MAN, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch, a prison built by THE MAN's expectations, by THE MAN'S rules, a Prison controlled by THE MAN's POWER. A prison for your mind....Unfortunately, no one can be told what THE MAN looks like (PG-13 review. Sorry). You have to see HIM for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You put on the Polly Beer Goggles, the Review ends, you wake up, put on some nice pumps and go shopping at Nordstrom. You put on the Cool Shades of Cynicism, you stay in this Review, and I show you how deep the Villainy of THE MAN goes... Remember, all I'm offering is Joss Whedon's own TRUTH, nothing more...

****GrassHopper snaps on the Cool Shades*****

All right then. Buckle your seat belt, GrassHopper, 'cause Kansas is
waving bye-bye. What are Power and Female Empowerment in the Jossyverse ? If I may borrow Whedon's own Culinary Puns, Female Empowerment is first and foremost defined by Pureed Balls and Scrotum Julienne. Be it Willow tasting Rack's *Strawberries* in 2 to Go, Buffy crushing Warren's Balls in Seeing Red, Breaking the Shaman's big Penis, I mean Big Staff in Get it Done, or going Ginsu on Caleb's Scrotum in Chosen, Female Empowerment as characterized by Whedon is a negative, the taking or breaking of Perceived Male Power, or Power, Male in origin.

No, GrassHopper, it's not Marti working out her issues. We're talking about Whedon's own TRUTH here. I don't think adjectives like Ham-handed or Cartoonish apply to TRUTH. Now be quiet as we delve deeper into the nature of Power and Female Empowerment. Strangely enough, throughout its 7 years run, the show has overwhelmingly depicted Power and the quest for Power as EVIL and WRONG. Be it The Master who feasted on the Goodliness of Buffy's Female Power (THE MAN! IT'S THE MAN!), Angelus who used the Power of his own Blood to try and end the world (MAN!), The Mayor who abused the Political Powers granted by a system created by THE MAN to remake himself into a Giant Snake (GIANT PENIS!), Maggie Walsh attempting to co-opt the Powers of Nature to create a MANLY green Frankenstein (Bitch was *clearly* working for THE MAN), the Magnificent Glorificus, made to share the body of A smelly MAN (The indignity!), abusing her powers to get home, or Willow becoming addicted to Magical Power (Clearly Rack, A MAN, was at
fault), and Warren attempting to find himself a bigger Pair of Balls to gain more Power, the dynamic established throughout 7 seasons is that Power is extraordinarily dangerous, extraordinarily corrosive, and by and large that it will be used for EVIL, even by those motivated by the best of intentions...For 7 years, Buffy has resented her Power. But by the Power of Joss Whedon's Extraordinary Vision, Season 7 has rewritten this well established and fully textualized construct! It's NO LONGER about RIGHT or WRONG (you simplistic moralistic Nincompoop), see...It's about Power!! Power is its own justification! Brilliant! Genius! Astounding! Power is A GOOD in itself. So when Buffy shares the Power with all the Potentials, she is accomplishing the GREATEST OF GOODS. Isn't she special ? What's not to love with the following ?
From Chosen:
BUFFY: "What if you could have that power? Now. All of you. In every generation one Slayer is born because a bunch of GUYS that died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful MEN. (points to Willow) This WOMAN is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rules. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow Willow will use the essence of this scythe, that contains the energy and history of so many Slayers, to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Who can stand up, will stand up. Every one of you, and girls we've never known, and generations to come...they will have strength they never dreamed of, and more than that, they will have each other. Slayers. Every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"

What's that your mumbling, GrassHopper ? You have objections ? Speak up!
You say that I have truncated the quotation, and papered over some notable flaws in Buffy's argument. You quote the following:

Buffy: "I hate that there's evil, that it's growing, and I hate that I was chosen to fight it. I wish, a whole lot of the time, that I hadn't been."

If Buffy HATES being chosen, how dare she make the choice for all the girls not present in the room ("From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power"), you ask.
If Buffy was so sure the Power was a good thing, why didn't she accept a massive infusion of such in Get it Done, you wonder.
Silly Tadpole! Because it was THE MAN in Shaman's clothing of course. And she dares because Willow is MORE POWERFUL. Remember Power is its own justification! Surely, if Willow is MORE POWERFUL than THESE MEN, then all her actions are justified. No need to wonder if creating armies of mentorless slayers is a good thing. No need to worry that many of them, especially the younger ones, will be corrupted by the Power of Slayerhood (Remember the new mantra! Power=Good), and become even worse than Season 3 Faith. No need to fear that Buffy has created a self replicating and unextinguishable menace to the general citizenry.
You have more ?
You question the morality of her decision, and the veracity of her speech ? You point out that for Good and Evil, the Shamans (THE MAN!) didn't just make the rule, that they actually used *their* power to endow a girl with yet *greater* powers so that she could defend Humanity. Thus creating the Original Slayer, and the Slayer line. You state that having done so for the Greater Good, they actually assumed responsability for their actions and set about watching and controlling (THE MAN! THE MAN!) their creation so that she wouldn't misuse her powers and her harm her charges? You contrast it with Willow's use of her Powers last year, when she tried to end the World ? And demand to know exactly under which ethical system, the fact that she is MORE POWERFUL than the original shamans entitles her or Buffy to enslave these girls and loose an unchecked tide of Slayers upon the world ? Dung Beetle...Dung Beetle...Didn't we just have this conversation ? Get with the New Paradigm! Power Good! Questions bad!
Morality questions irrelevant, or VERY BAD! Trust Joss Whedon for he knows THE TRUTH! "It isn't about Right or Wrong...its's about Power!"
Will there be no end to your insolence ? What now ? You seriously question Buffy's season long quasi-mystical devotion to Strength and Specialness ? To being Chosen ? You compare her choice of expressions to the rethoric found in Mein Kampf, and her vision of Strength and the Slayer Sisterhood to the Nazi Cult of Strength, the Hitler Jugend and Stalin's Young
Pioneers ? Truly you have no shame. Do not make me smack you down with Godwin's law, Dung Beetle. Surely when Buffy exalts Strength and Specialness, she does so against the power of THE MAN. Trust Joss Whedon for he knows THE TRUTH.

Listen, just because Buffy refused the Power in Get it Done, only to foist it and the Slayer calling not 7 episodes later on unsuspecting and unwilling young girls doesn't entitle you to call her a MONSTROUS LITTLE HYPOCRITE. No, and not DISGUSTING BRAINLESS COWARD either. Sure these girls might die young, leave their families behind or turn into criminals. But on the other hand, they become Cool Chicks with SUPER POWERS! No, I know what it looks like, but it's not one of Petrie's wet dreams.

Why are you bringing up Willow's spell against Tara ? There was nothing wrong with that Spell. If it wasn't for that stupid cloddish Dawn, Willow and Tara would still be together. Willow had the Power (A GOOD THING!) and she fixed Tara. Sure Tara didn't give her consent...but she didn't refuse either, did she ? And wasn't she the better for it ? Wasn't she happier ? Exact same deal with the Potentials. Sure, they didn't give their consent...but aren't they the better for it now that they've been fixed ? Water Bug, I don't quite like the way you're looking at me.

I don't see how you can maintain that Buffy broke out of her Chains by collaring generations of Potentials to the Yoke. It would be outrageous to call her a SLAVER. After all, aren't they all Sisters ? Who wouldn't be happy to be part of such a Sisterhood ? Aren't Buffy and Faith the tightest of Pals ? Aren't Buffy and Kennedy the bestest of bosom buddies (Not that kind of bosom buddies : ) )? Surely you're not comparing her to the Shamans (THE MAN!). The poor fools with their paltry Power only created ONE Slayer. How disappointing. If the spell is generational, Buffy and Willow have created literally thousands upon thousands of Slayers. UNWILLING SLAVES, you scream. Calm down Grasshopper. Remember Power is a GOOD THING now...Trust Joss Whedon for he knows the TRU...


...Some time later...

It is my sad duty to inform you that this Reviewer has been viciously attacked by the benighted Grasshopper. I've got the teeth mark to prove it! Knocked me out cold and ran away. Can't quite remember why. Could be it has something to do with the preceding paragraphs. Anyhoo, now that we've discussed Whedon's last message, it's time to wrap it all up.

As shown in Part I, the last 2 seasons, and especially Season 7, have been a compendium of dropped arcs, clumsy execution, terrible misjudgements (death of Tara, the Attempted Rape) and poor planning. But that is by far the lesser Evil. No. The greatest Atrocity is that each and every single one of the characters and their journey have been sacrificed on the Altar of Buffy's Cookie Dough, in the Existentialist Abattoir of Joss Whedon's *Vision*, under the Knife of his laughable conception of Female Empowerment. Some characters completely (Tara, Xander, Giles), others to a lesser extent (Dawn, Willow, Anya, Faith and Spike). They have been sacrificed for a vision of Life and the Universe as a morass of mediocrity, pettiness, small ideals, and people of little worth or consequence.

For this *Story* (pardon the sarcasm) and the bleeding Dogma it is built upon:

Giles fans have been cheated.
Anya fans have been cheated.
Dawn fans have been cheated.
Xander fans have been cheated.
Tara fans have been cheated.
Willow fans have been cheated.
Faith fans have been cheated.
Spike fans have cheated.
And fans of Pre-S6 Buffy have been cheated.

It's no surprise then that for the past 2 seasons, the most touching moments are those which have nothing or little to do with Existentialist Buffy, and have no direct impact on her journey of self-examination/discovery.
Anya speech in Hell's Bells.
Willow and Xander in Hell's Bells.
Willow and Tara's reconciliation in Entropy/SR
Willow and Giles in Lessons
Anya in Selfless, Anya and Xander in Selfless
Dawn and Xander in Potential
Willow and Xander in Empty Places.

If Whedon were Rodin, the last 2 years of BTVS could be likened to The Thinker..if it were sculpted out of the Stinkiest of Elephant Dung. Crafted with purpose, pretty to look at from a distance, and appreciate on a purely noetic level, excellent fodder for ivory tower discussions...but unbearable on close inspection unless you're wearing a military grade gas mask, wholly lacking in emotional resonance, murderous to the journey of all save Buffy, deficient in Scope and Scale, unbelievably trite and pedestrian in their resolution, whacky and hypocritical in their portrayal of female empowerment, Season 6 and 7 have ultimately been rejected by an increasing proportion of the show's primary audience (the numbers speak for themselves). Whedon did such a good job depicting Disengagement, he actually suceeded in disengaging his audience. Now, THAT is a Tour de Force. Almost as great a Tour de Force in fact, as turning Buffy from a flawed Human Hero, generous and brave, into a shallow, callous dogma spewing
Slaver. That too was a sight to behold. Exactly like watching an accident in slo mo.

Allow me to finally conclude this review by giving the Show's Creator something he may not want, but definitely needs... A piece of this fan's mind...

For Seasons 6 and 7, and what you've done to the characters I love...

...F#$% You Joss Whedon, you and the Existentialist French Donkey you rode in on.

PS: The last statement only applies to Seasons 6 and 7. I'm still bullish on the show, even if to do so, I have to disregard and cut out the gangrenous final 2 years.

[> [> Wooof! Response -- KdS, 14:53:10 05/28/03 Wed

Agree on S6-7 being All About Buffy to the detriment of other characters, although less forcibly.

Remarks on Buffy's actions in Chosen are total bollocks. Will explain why in a few weeks after seeing Chosen.

[> [> egads, don't choke on that stuff! -- rowena, 15:17:40 05/28/03 Wed

[> [> I will look forward to other reviews here, and often -- solo SPinout, 17:52:47 05/28/03 Wed

Yet 3 strikes nails why Willow's Magic was equated to Crack so surprisingly fast in Season six. If Willow was going to be corrupted on any kind of Magic, and truely hurt people, as she did, The Power she was using in prior seasons has major links to the Power she used to tranfer Slayer Power to those who were just standing around.

It is interesting that there are no signs of Sits in Restless, not one hint, BUt Caleb was there, as was Dawn as a Slayer. So I think JW and MN, in becoming parents, wanted to teach nothing but anvils. Of course, this ruined the Dream Buffy was living since something BLue.

[> [> [> Caleb in Restless? -- heywhynot, 18:38:37 05/28/03 Wed

I have a question where was Caleb in Restless? So much going on, did not catch it. Where did it have Dawn as a Slayer as well? Thanks.

[> [> [> [> Gee, Restless not understood here? -- solo spin out, 19:02:12 05/28/03 Wed

Forgive me, I usually visit this board very rarely. Shakespeare used JW's Cheeseman and called him VICE, a figure, usually an Actor, who ran about the GLobe theatre patrons, and actors, presenting the plot.

Sidney Philips called his VICE the Subtle Shift.

The VICE sometimes made for the laughter, and in Drama, was sometimes violent.

In Restless you see the Cheeseman/VICE make room for the plot as he tells WIllow (who is really SPike in the Greek Tragedy that Restless is). That is why you saw this particular cheeseman in Storyteller.

Later you see the same VICE/Cheeseman/Plot telling Xander that the Plot won't protect him (btw: Xander's arch is traceable, as he was punished by Aschelus's(sp) concept of time as an agent of justice...also a Greek Tragedy thingie)

The Cheeseman comes along in what seems like GIles dream, but it is really SPike again, and JW's Vice/Cheeseman, and Plot, says something like *I wear the cheese, it does not wear me*, and in return ASH says *you meet the most disgusting people* (aka Caleb)

and the final time you see Caleb/cheeseman/Vice is when He offers two slices of cheese to SMG/Buffy. Just as Caleb did to Buffy in the last episodes, several times, choices, one time in Empty Places rings a bell, in her office. Yet I think there was one more time.

Dawn is a little simpler to see. IN the sand Box, SMG is Dawn. She hints Xander is not what he seems to be, as Xander says *oh there you are*, SMG/Dawn's reply points to her suspicion. When Dawn is about to be cloraformed, MT says *everyone is on guard around you*

Xander's arc was looped back into the story....he was a spy.

With JM and ASH swinging over Dawn, she was in Restless, to be a slayer. JW never wrote well enough to make it happen. Just a plan

And because the cheeseman is so obvious, I hope no one ever believes JW in any of his DVD commentaries. HE is a JERK

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Gee, Restless not understood here? -- heywhynot, 19:13:27 05/28/03 Wed

I hope you are joking, because well that is reading too much into it. There is alot of forshadowing of Dawn's arrival but nothing really points to Dawn as a Slayer. And the Caleb, I still don't see it at all.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Ok, btw the correct spelling is Aeschylus..... -- solo, 19:37:49 05/28/03 Wed

JW keeps secrets well from folks who do not go as deep as he does.

He really does write this deep, and he is clever. You will find out that Gunn in ANgel will be shot, likely in the first five episodes, and likely by accident.

All one has to do is read James Joyce.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm probably someone who can't tell his Aeschylus from his elbow... -- Tchaikovsky, 05:32:12 05/29/03 Thu

...But all this is way over my head. Could you explain the reference to James Joyce for me? Ulysees? Finnegan's Wake?


[> [> Ah say A-MEN! (sorry) -- L, 18:29:11 05/28/03 Wed

Ok that was a little too snarky for me, but I've been hating season 6&7 since "Wrecked." There's certainly been great moments, but overall it seemed all off. I have yet to completely put my finger on why, and this was yet another clue--or at least moral support from one of the few people who agree.

Now Buffy has been the center of things, and when Buffy suffers, everybody else tends to suffer as well in a parallel sort of way (stated explicity in commentary to "Innocence", and you can kind of see it). Yet they still had their own lives. They still their own rich characters.

In a way, "Normal Again" becomes more plausible in the course of Season 6 & 7. Because Buffy's world truly does become solipsistic. It seemed different in 1-5. I know that 5 was lacking the humor of the previous four, and it was a darker season. Yet it was so well written.. there was some greatness to it that were gone in 6 and 7.

The idea of forcing the world and the gang into existential angst, regardless of whether it makes sense, was a good insight.

dub Recognition Primer -- dub ;o), 12:26:30 05/28/03 Wed

Okay, the Gathering is getting closer and closer, and dub is getting more and more excited! She's even started referring to herself in the third person!! That can't be good!!!

**deep breath**

Ahem. In preparation for the upcoming Gathering I have prepared a brief, yet colourful, Primer for those who will be in attendance. My intent is to make dub-recognition simple and immediate, and thereby avoid any confusion. The illustrations are of previous dub-incarnations, and the version in attendance may not be exactly as those shown, but overall appearance should be similar enough to make recognition possible, indeed, unavoidable.

Hurry along and check out the DUB RECOGNITION PRIMER, here.

As I am currently on medical leave for three months and have oodles of time (if not energy) at my disposal, I would like to offer this patented recognition service to any of the other participants who wish to avoid the inevitable confusion and do not subscribe to the wearing of carnations or carrying of cumbersome binders. Just drop me a line, send along some choice pix, and I'll set up a similar recognition primer for anyone who wants one!

Woo-hoo! It's almost here--my dream come true!

dub ;o)

[> Um...don't antlers signify a Chaos Demon ?!? -- cougar :o), 14:03:55 05/28/03 Wed

[> [> Oops! Heh-heh-heh... -- dub ;o), 14:19:25 05/28/03 Wed

[> [> [> otherwise the do's quite fetching... -- cougar, 14:40:06 05/28/03 Wed

[> Re: dub Recognition Primer -- CW, 20:56:57 05/28/03 Wed

It's worth bringing back.

[> [> I'm not able to go but, -- CW, 21:01:22 05/28/03 Wed

How about a rogues' gallery of those of us who will be there only in spirit? I can probably find a photo to send somewhere.

[> [> [> Oh, what a great idea!! -- dub ;o), 21:53:47 05/28/03 Wed

We can have the images of you there with us. I'm hoping we'll be able to arrange for a live chat from the hotel, as well, so we could be looking at people's pictures as we chat with them.

So, okay, thanks for renewing the thread CW, and anyone who wants to can send me a picture via e-mail, whether you'll be there or not.

C'mon brave...we'll still love you, no matter what you look like!

dub ;o)

[> [> [> [> i like it! -- anom, 22:07:49 05/28/03 Wed

Chat from the hotel! Will we take turns, or will lots of folks have laptops?

[> [> [> [> Hmmm...I think LadyS. or Bit can supply one for me -- Random, 22:10:43 05/28/03 Wed

[> [> [> Well, here's how no-shows are still in the group pictures! -- WickedBuffy (very, very simple to do), 11:17:31 05/29/03 Thu

It's very simple!

even though they are only there in spirit, they can be in all the pictures! Like this:

1) Print their picture off the web, select just the head, and enlarge it to lifesize.

2) Cut the head out and glue/staple it to a paper plate.

3) Attach paperplate head to a long ruler or some kind of thin, sturdy stick.

4) In group photos, have someone inobtrusively holding up the paperplate head so it looks like it's in the back row.

5) Presto You are in all the group pics! Use your imagination with it!

ps I always thought there was a Rogues Gallery of all the posters hidden away someplace online, behind those scenes or somewhere.

[> Re: thanks!.... -- aliera, 04:55:58 05/29/03 Thu

...not able to attend; but, always nice to have a visual (and I admit to a small degree of curiosity.) :-)

[> Yikes! Wrong e-mail!! Use this one instead... -- dumbdub :o\, 12:30:08 05/28/03 Wed

A little to my left: Xander's role during the Angelus episodes -- lunasea, 13:34:32 05/28/03 Wed

I started this to see how Xander transformed from the sometimes cruel boy he was S1-3 to the man that keeps the house together. The writers have gone out of their way to put in references to Xander rebuilding the house and keeping it together. This how they see Xander's function. It took something incredibly drastic and when he turned on Buffy, the house came tumbling down.

But the road that got him there is interesting. I have done Xander until Angel losing his soul (I can repost if anyone wants). When this happens, things get kicked up a few notches. Xander and Angel are very important in relation to each other. Prior to this, Angel really helps Buffy try to deal with being Slayer and Xander gives voice to a lot of things she cannot in order to deal. It takes both of them to save her. When Angel loses his soul, Buffy loses that sort of support and is only left with Xander.

In "Innocence" we first see Xander after he has returned from the bus depot looking for pieces of the Judge. He wants to go to the factory to save Buffy. When this is Xander's attitude, Willow is in agreement with him. Xander and Willow's dynamic is another interesting one to look at, when they are in agreement and when they aren't. It tends to boil down to one thing, when they are both looking out for Buffy, they are in agreement. When Xander goes for the bigger picture, they aren't. (more on this when I get to what happened in "Empty Places.")

Buffy comes back and the Xander/Angel dynamic is set up. Xander is the one that wanted to save Buffy. "We were just going to rescue you." It is Angel that actually gets her out. Xander is quiet during the conversation that follows, something he doesn't tend to do, in which Buffy expresses her concern for Angel. Xander doesn't even insult Angel for disappearing or cast doubt on what he may be doing. He offers to come back and do research, something he really doesn't like. He has to be useful somehow.

I'm going to leave Xander/Cordelia out of this, since that has little to do with Xander's function as "Perspective Guy." It is yet another facet to this wonderful character. Same thing with most of his interactions with Willow, except how they relate to Buffy. Wonderful parallels are drawn using him, but if I go into all of that, I will never finish.

When Angelus appears at the school, it is to Xander and Willow. Xander is the first to acknowledge him. Angelus sends Xander off to get the others, so that he can have Willow all to himself. Xander didn't get to save Buffy, Angel did, but Xander does get to save Willow from Angel. At this point, it is Xander who is concerned about Buffy and asks if she is ok. It is Xander who figures out how to beat the Judge and gives Buffy her "birthday present" of a rocket launcher. The dynamic has changed.

Angel's job was to get Buffy to be able to deal with things. Now that will become Xander's role, but he isn't giving up his other role, giving voice to things she can't. Season 2 is so hard on Buffy because dealing with things means things she really can't voice. Season 1, these things were doubts that she had to overlook in order to have some semblance of confidence. Season 2 they have serious ramifications in what she has to do. Xander's bluntness which can be at times cruel is now the way to get Buffy to see what she has to, not just what she doesn't want to.

Giles takes over Angel's role of support. Xander is blunt in getting her to see things, but Giles is the one that comforts her professionally. Willow comforts her personally. This split between Giles and Xander is illustrated in "Phases." Xander says, "So then I'm guessing your standard silver bullets are in order here?" Giles corrects him and says that "it's still a human being, who may be completely unaware of his or her condition." Xander will be the one that sees Angel as a monster and wants him dealt with accordingly, whereas Giles still sees him as the man that Buffy loves and deals with Buffy accordingly.

Some things that Xander says season 2 that voices things, "Y'know, I think there may be a valuable lesson for you gals here about inviting strange men into your bedrooms." (Passion) "Well, it's about time somebody did....I'm sorry, but let's not forget that I hated Angel long before you guys jumped on the bandwagon. So I think I deserve a little something for not saying 'I told you so' long before now. And if Giles wants to go after the, uh, (looks up at Buffy) fiend that murdered his girlfriend, I say, 'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!'" (Passion) "You mean Angel might. Buffy, this is not the time to challenge Angel for the
ultimate fighting championship. He's at full strength, you're only half a Slayer." (Killed By Death) "You don't know how to kill this thing." (Killed by Death) "Yikes. The quality of mercy is not Buffy."(IOHEFY) "He can't live with it, Buff. He's dead." (IOHEFY)

"Killed by Death" really states Xander/Angel's new dynamic and is the transition from Xander's concern being Buffy to it being the mission. He does this to compensate for his feelings for Buffy. "Killed By Death" is one of the more important episodes to Xander's arc.

Angelus: (pauses) Buffy's White Knight. You still love her. (leans in close) It must just eat you up that I got there first.
Xander: (fighting his nervousness) You're gonna die. And I'm gonna be there.

Xander's goal now is to see Angel dead. Before he was supporting Buffy in what she had to do. It was still about Buffy and Willow supported him. Xander is now going to focus on seeing that Angel is killed. At the beginning of the episode, Xander is the one that asks if Buffy is ok and is the one that leads the attack against Angelus when he has Buffy pinned. It could be argued that Xander is starting to see that the only way to protect Buffy is to get her to kill Angel, but in the coming episodes he loses this focus and concentrates instead on just killing Angel. Even the flow of the episode shows this. Prior to Angelus showing up, Xander is the one who is most concerned about Buffy (Willow assumes the role). After this, his focus switches to helping fight the monster. He is trying to get over his obsession about Buffy by focusing on the mission. Cordelia even calls him on his attraction to Buffy. Xander's feelings for Buffy never go away. Instead he has to find a way to deal with them. He transfers the feelings he has for Buffy to her mission. (I will deal with this more when we get to "Hells Bells")

This change in focus is what leads us to "Becoming" and what is often referred to as "The Lie." When I look back on the series, I see characters coming to one decision or another and then supporting that decision after the fact. The characters make gut decisions based on their emotions (or conscience) and then have to rationalize them. Xander makes a gut decision that Angel has to die. He accuses Giles of being "I-Cling-Onto-My-One-Lame-Idea Guy," but that is exactly what he becomes. Xander is willing to defend his one idea, even to the point of being cruel to Buffy.

The episode opens with the vamping of Liam. Cut to Buffy out on patrol trying to send Angel a message. Cut to Buffy helping Xander up. He is on patrol wanting to help Buffy, but as usual, he is more of a liability in this respect. Act 1 ends with Buffy and Willow finding the curse. (ever notice that there is just one letter separating cure and curse) Act 2 sets the motivation for what will follow. We have seen a change in Xander away from Buffy's feelings towards her mission prior to this. This culminates in Act 2 when the Scoobies discuss the option of resouling Angel.

Act 2 opens with Angel being cursed. We see how much the Gypsy man really wants vengeance and how cruel he can be. From this scene we cut to the most important scene that season when it comes to the Scoobies, the discussion to resoul Angel. The preceeding episodes have all been creating the states of minds of the various characters that play out in this pivotal scene. (this is similar to what happens season 7 with things leading up to Empty Places)

In that scene, Xander takes up the role of the gypsy man who wants Angel to really suffer for his crimes, though instead of resouling him, he wants him not to be resouled, he wants him dead. Xander is acting out of pure vengeance. He is not acting in Buffy or the mission's best interest. He doesn't care about Buffy and is downright cruel to her. Cordy even says this in a line that didn't make it to the final cut, "Wow. Even I know that was insensitive." Even Giles, the man that has the most reason to want Angel dead, is able to see more than one side to things. Xander is like the curse. He isn't trying to make Angel harmless or worried about protecting things. He wants Angel dead. He wants vengeance. He can call himself Mr. Perspective Guy, but really his is Mr. Vengeance Guy. Call it Justice if you want, but a vengeance demon by any other name is still just as evil.

After Xander turns into Mr Vengeance Guy, Willow doesn't support him. In a phone conversation with Buffy, she calls him a dirty word and Willow doesn't swear. This episode is noteworthy in terms of how Willow sticks by Buffy and becomes her Guardian and Xander actually becomes a villain of sorts. Kendra sides with Xander, which shows how little heart is really behind what he is doing. He becomes the heart and glue that keeps the Scoobies together AFTER Angel leaves. At this point, he isn't serving this role. Act three is without Xander's presence as the gang tries to figure out what to do. His perspective is neither needed or wanted. That Willow, Buffy and Giles can rise above this attitude of "Angel must die" shows how special these three characters are.

We see Xander again when they are all taking their exams and Buffy gets her immolation-o-gram. Xander is back in the fold doing research after this. After his harsh words earlier, Xander shows some concern about Buffy facing Angel again and is briefly redeemed. When the vamps attack the school, it is Xander who notices first. Xander saves Cordelia.

Willow doesn't fare so well. It is telling that Xander doesn't remember to call Oz, her boyfriend, when she is in a coma. It is also fitting that it is Oz whom Willow asks for when she wakes up from her coma. Xander's hand/wrist was broken in the fight, showing how ineffective he was. Willow prefers Oz and Buffy wants to fight Angel on her own. Xander is feeling pretty useless, again. Willow wants to do the curse and Xander even looks to Cordy for backup on this one. Willow's resolve face is the final blow to Xander's sense of effectiveness.

This all leads up to the big lie that has been debated until that horse is now glue and dog food. Here is it from the shooting script:

BUFFY: It's a present for Angel. This ends it, Xander. I'm ready.

Xander looks down, trying to decide what to do.

XANDER: Willow. . . she said to tell you. . .

BUFFY: Tell me what?

He waits, decides.

XANDER:. . . kick his ass.

It is up to each viewer to draw his or her own conclusions. Given the flow of the episode and the season, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of good wishes in that decision. I love Xander and what he has become. When it comes to Angel, he isn't the most objective or merciful individual. Xander is human, like most characters on the show, and has his faults. Even if he did make his decision out of various things, most of which are pretty negative, that doesn't mean he is rotten. Xander has grown and in season 4 holds Buffy together in the premier.

Season 2 his motivation was finding a way to be useful. This motivation never leaves him and really plays out in season 3, with him being Buffy's go-to guy in the finale. The Everyman is really trying to find his place in Buffy's world.

[> The maturing of Xander season 3: Zeppo to Key Guy -- lunasea, 19:38:37 05/28/03 Wed

This leads us into season 3. Season 3 opens with the Scoobies trying to carry on without Buffy and not doing such a good job. Xander mentions that he took Buffy's punning for granted. He took a lot about her for granted. The Cordy and Xander stuff is great, but I'm going to leave most of that out. Xander is the one that tries to get Giles to see that looking for Buffy may be a lost cause. Xander is the first Scooby that Buffy finds. He tries to use his trademarked humor to ease the tension, but when it comes down to it in "Dead Man's Party," he lets her have it with both barrels.

Xander's lie is the reason that Buffy doesn't think that anyone will understand. Xander is the one that yells at her for not talking to anyone. As in the cut line from "Becoming," Cordelia rises to Buffy's defense against Xander. (Cordelia is an interesting character. She is blunt and tells the truth, like Xander, but whereas Xander tries to get people to see harsh realities, Cordy in her own way tries to be supportive sometimes while maintaining that bluntness. This is played to great effect on Angel. This characteristic of Cordy would make a great essay) When the Zombies come in, Xander once again has Buffy's back. It is a role he is happy to play. He gets upset when she doesn't let him have her back, either in a fight or when it comes to talking. Thing is, it is Willow that Buffy talks to, not Xander. Xander wants to be Buffy's go-to guy. When he is, he is happy and supportive. When he isn't, he isn't. Xander and Buffy patch everything up by him being able to fight with her and being needed.

The Willow/Xander story was great. Last season there was a rift between Willow and Xander because of their different positions about resouling Angel. This season, the tension is created by this relationship. The Scoobies can never be at complete ease with each other. Where would the fun in that be? When Cordy was in the mix, a lot of the humor was given to her, just like it will be with Andrew Season 7. Xander tended to underscore whatever Cordy said, a sort of punch line to the punch line.

Xander's role as go-to guy or rather go-to-everyone-but guy and how he deals with that is what his arc is about season 3. The season opens with Xander trying to be useful in slaying, but Nighthawk just isn't Buffy. He does come up with the idea to use Cordy as bait. He patches things up with Buffy when she accepts his help in "Dead Man's Party." When Faith shows up, she becomes Buffy's partner and Xander is pushed to the background. In "Homecoming" Cordy is even paired up with Buffy and ends up getting Lyle to leave. When we come to "Revelations" Xander hasn't been able to help a whole lot and is getting all messed up with Willow. This sets up the motivation for what he does.

Nothing upsets Xander, like Buffy not telling him things. When he finds out about Angel being back, it hits him hard. Then he hits back hard the only way he can. "Revelation" manages to take the guilt of what Xander is doing with Willow and the feeling that Xander isn't able to really do much and collide that with Buffy keeping a major secret from him. The meeting where people confront Buffy about Angel being back echoes the discussion to resoul Angel. Willow is concerned primarily about Buffy. Xander is still in "Angel needs to die" mode and is willing to be cruel to Buffy if necessary. Cordelia is trying to support Xander. Giles is trying to see the bigger picture, but his feelings are getting in the way.

Buffy won't go along with the whole "Angel needs to die" idea and when Faith is on-board, Xander has found a way to see that Angel dies. He doesn't seek Faith out for this. That would have been going overboard and trashed his character. Instead he takes out his frustration on the pool balls and it is Faith who gets to want to kill Angel. He shows her where to get weapons and takes one himself. To keep his character too far from going over the edge, his desire to see Angel dead isn't greater than his concern for Giles. It is interesting that Xander tries to get Faith not to assume that Angel hurt Giles, but when Buffy shows up he tries to get her to believe that Angel did it. Again, Willow is at odds with Xander.

Angel saves Willow, which puts him back in her good graces. Xander still isn't sure about Angel, but he says he trusts Buffy. Cordy assumes the role that Xander had the last season as the voice of what Buffy can't voice. Then Xander, the one that can't really forgive Angel, crosses Cordy, who won't forgive him. At the end of "Amends" when everyone is reconnecting and making amends, Xander is the one that is alone. Cordy's judgment of him will propel his story all the way to "The Zeppo," another important turning point for Xander.

Up to "The Zeppo," Xander has been trying to help, but hasn't been that effective. Even in "The Wish" Vamp Xander pretty much defers to Vamp Willow. In "Amends" he tries to help Buffy and does manage to make amends for what he does in "Revelations" to her. Xander's interaction with Willie shows how much Xander's heart is in what he does, but he just doesn't have the ability to back it up. It also shows how much he craves validation. At the end of "Helpless" Buffy needs Xander to open a jar for her and he can't.

Which takes into the episode where Xander really feels useless, "The Zeppo." In it he finds out he isn't quite as ineffective as he thinks and no longer has to prove himself. He doesn't even tell the other Scoobies about what he did. In "Consequences" Xander is the one that tries to reach Faith, even though it is Angel that almost does. The change from "The Zeppo" is obvious, because this doesn't bother Xander. He has moved from HAVING to help, to just trying to help. It is at this point that Xander starts to become the heart. The talk he has with Faith is his first real attempt to reach anyone and actually help them. The change is really illustrated with Willow. Willow takes Xander's role from Becoming and asks why they should save Faith. Xander's silence speaks volumes for how much he has changed.

In "Doppelgangerland" we get a line that really does show how far he has come. He actually calls Angel "buddy." Even though it is a throw away line, it shows that Xander is starting to come around. Ask him and he'll probably tell you he still doesn't like or trust Angel. Deep inside, he isn't being so judgmental. Also, he is much more willing to really be just part of the team. He isn't expecting his suggestions to be approved and he works with Giles to kill the vampires. He still takes pleasure that in the Wishverse he is a bad assed vampire, though. Xander really steps into the role of everyman at this point, no longer trying to be anything else.

With this change, he starts to become more effective. In "Enemies" he finds the address of the demon with the books of ascension. He bribes Willie to get them, instead of trying to use force. He has accepted his limitations and works with them. This makes him more effective. When he first sees Angel and Faith he approaches them as buddies. He isn't quite over the whole Angel thing and is quick to say "I told you so." Xander takes back his former roles. He is the one that is primarily worried about what will happen to Buffy and leads the calvary to Angel's mansion. He is also the one that gives voice to what Buffy cannot, namely how much of what Angel did while acting was necessary.

In "Earshot" he really is portrayed as the everyman. He takes pleasure when the popular jock knows his name. He goes to Basketball games, like pep rallies and is super jealous of Wesley. He is the typical boy who thinks only about sex. He is also the one to find out who the murderer is, the person he joked about being it earlier. Buffy has to rescue him from the lunch lady's cleaver, but it is Xander who stumbles into who the murderer is by being the every man and stealing jello.

In "The Prom" Xander does the classy thing and finally makes amends to Cordelia and they patch things up (similar to what Angel does with her season 2. The way back to Cordelia's good graces is through clothes or rather recognizing how important they are to her).

This takes us to the actual finale "Graduation Day." Xander gets to display all of his growth, his various rolls and his faults in this Joss masterpiece. Xander does what he can to pitch in. He won't abandon his friends and leave with Anya. He plays devils advocate, asking if Buffy is ready to kill Faith and that he doesn't want to lose her. He shows how much he cares for Buffy and worries about her. The way he uses humor to cover up fear comes through wonderfully with a classic Jaws reference. Xander slams Angel for feeding off of Buffy. In Buffy's plan, he becomes key guy, with even Angel sort-of deferring to him. Xander's donut getting capabilities are turned into material gathering capabilities (also happens in Choices). Xander even tries to make Buffy feel better about Angel, saying that he made it out ok.

Season 3 was a big transition for Xander, from the helpless guy who needed to help and lashed out because he couldn't to the guy who accepted his powerlessness, found some real power by acknowledging his limitations and started to become the heart of the Scoobies that would keep them together for the next 4 seasons. It was a beautiful thing to watch and through it he didn't become too good. He still maintained his sense of humor and ability to tell the truth and even be cruel. He still remained judgmental on some levels. Watching Xander mature and grow into the man who can truly love Anya is wonderful.

[> Excellent analysis! Gives me a lot to ponder. Thank you! -- graylady, 19:39:06 05/28/03 Wed

[> [> Very good. Thanks for posting it. -- Ray, 02:58:23 05/29/03 Thu

[> A really brief addendum -- lunasea, 10:19:59 05/29/03 Thu

I will work on season 4, the transformation of Xander into the Heart of the Scoobies, later this evening.

What occured to me last night is that Joss has been doing almost the same thing with Xander that he has with Cordy and Buffy.

In a recent interview with TV Guide, in regards to Cordy, Joss said, "I once said that I finally got to tell the story of Buffy that I tried to tell in the movie, and I did it with Cordelia. Which was the story of someone who was completely ditzy and self-involved becoming kind of heroic. But the way the series was different from the movie was that I didn't know where you go from there. So, I felt like we spent seven years playing that very arc, and it had played. Like Buffy itself, it's time to look at something new."

With Xander, a lot of his development is how he relates to Buffy, but we also see him go from someone who deep down inside is Hyena-boy to the man that keeps the house together and is truly extraordinary. It has been a wonderful 7 year arc. Going back over it has really made me appreciate this wonderful character and the way he was developed. Buffy had this wonderful 7 year arc that took her from ditz to hero. Willow had this wonderful 7 year arc that took her from shy nerd to Guardian. Giles, not so much with the arcing, but he is an adult. Spike, again not with the deliberate arcing. Anya had a nice 5 year arc that took her from judgmental and uninvolved to a lover of humanity.

It was a fitting place to end all their stories.

It has been quite the ride.

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