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Demonic Angelus, Wicked Spike--reply to a just-archived post *Spoilers S2* -- Haecceity, 23:04:53 11/08/02 Fri

See, as a new poster I've got to learn to reply to things faster!!
Here's my response to the Evil Angelus/Evil Spike post now in Archive One:

Demonic Angelus, Wicked Spike

I’m in the midst of Terry Eagleton’s study of Tragic Narrative conventions, “Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic”, which contains a chapter called Demons that certainly speaks to the relative “evil” attitudes of our favourite vamps.

***small disclaimer***I’m rather new to the Buffyverse and have only started watching Angel this season, so I may not have the specifics to prop up this little “hunch”.

First, a few quotes from the text:

“The demonic are those lost souls who can find release from the anguish of non-being only by destroying others, but who in doing so deplete themselves even further…The fact that they find pleasure in this self-destruction is what keeps them just this side of death. …[it] is the condition of those who cling stubbornly to their despair and spit in the world’s face for bringing them to this pass, those who refuse to be saved since it would relieve them of their delight in their rebellious rejection of the world. The demonic is thus a kind of cosmic sulking. Comfort would be the undoing of such despairers who wax most furious at the thought that eternity may have the insolence to deprive them of their misery. Such men and women are in rebellion against existence as such. They detest the sheer fact of existence because it reminds them of their own unbearable non-being… For the demonic, value is just a sham, which is why it seeks to demolish it. What it finds offensive is not this or that value, but the whole farcical business of value as such…the demonic derives its frisson precisely from showing up value as purely conventional, not from a defiant belief in the reality of evil. Evil is the last thing it believes in, since this would be granting credence to good. To be wicked is to share the same terms as the virtuous, whereas the demonic is infuriated by the delusion that anything could actually matter, good or bad.”

How does this translate to Angelus and Pre-Chip Spike?

Angelus---From my (admittedly rather limited) understanding of the Liam/Angelus/ Angel character, the human was a self- destructive fellow, bent on flouting the conventions of his father’s place in society by, essentially, wasting himself. As a vampire/demon we see a being whose delight lies in destroying the values of his victims—the sanctity of family (with the slaughter of his own), Drusilla’s faith, Giles’ belief in Good, Buffy’s love, etc. With the “curse” of ensoulment, the demon seems to have been squashed down, incapable of action, but note hybrid Angel’s notorious brooding, his determination to destroy his past by vigorous application of (again, self-) sacrifice. All culminating with the reappearance of Angelus, now hell-bent (hee, hee) on destroying the entire world with the waking of Acathla.

Spike--- Begins his journey as “a bad poet, but a good man”, a believer in the sanctity and power of Beauty, Love, Truth. What sets him on the path to vamphood is not self- destruction but rejection—by society and the woman he loves. We see in Fool for Love, though, that Spike replaced the values of the society that rejected his romantic human self with an equally stringent structure of “evil” values--- blood, brawl and brutal honesty---within a close-knit family of vampires. Spike finds the acceptance William longed for only by becoming inhuman. Note how important it is to Spike to be labeled Evil, to be the big bad---how much he believes in the conventions of being evil. But it’s Spike who helps Buffy save the world from Apocalypse Angelus, Spike who wants to keep the world a place to make merry evil in.

Okay, probably long enough. Please, those who have a better feel for the Angelus arc, is this a fair take?


[> Nice. Apparantly Derrida is a demon. I always suspected as much. -- Rochefort, 23:18:24 11/08/02 Fri

[> [> Re: Indeed, we've "turned our monsters into pets" -- Haecceity, 23:42:23 11/08/02 Fri

At least our vampires:)

And if "monsters cannot be announced", they can be analyzed into teeny fear demons. Around here, at any rate.

[> [> [> Re: Indeed, we've "turned our monsters into pets" -- aliera, 22:52:40 11/09/02 Sat

They are us (in a sense), Haecceity.

And well come...enjoyed your post.

[> Re: Demonic Angelus, Wicked Spike--reply to a just- archived post *Spoilers S2* -- Rufus, 04:43:09 11/09/02 Sat

One trait that both characters share in is the rejection of someone that they value. Liam was rejected by his father who wanted to form him into someone he thought would be acceptable. Instead of standing up for himself or leaving, Liam does the only thing left to him which is force his father into the ultimate rejection of casting him out of the home. Liams antics were at the very least beer sodden and petty....things that could have turned him either way...into a crook or someone who grows up and moves on into and adult life....but Darla happens to covet the nicely formed fellow and makes him her own. The result of this conversion is that all the repressed feelings of wanting to be artistic, all the things his father put little value into were directed in wiping out the lives of people who reminded him of what he felt was holding him back, mainly family and love.

William is born many years later and when he was rejected in love, he was found by someone who seemed to see him as being glorious. That was Dru, and what she set free was Williams repressed feelings of wanting attention and respect.

Both vampires started their unlife just after an act of rejection, and both spend most of their unlife getting even with the symbols of their weakness, anything that would have tied them to the, religion, love in the purest form.

Angel and Spike both go through a transformation...Angelus by a gypsy curse, Spike through technology....both with unexpected results. Angel ends up fighting for right after many falls back into evil...Spike reaches for a soul when for whatever reason he is able to see the monster in the man and become repulsed. Both vampires have souls, both have had their lives further transformed by their interactions with Buffy.

To be wicked is to share the same terms as the virtuous, whereas the demonic is infuriated by the delusion that anything could actually matter, good or bad.”

We know for a fact that Angel has had an epiphany....he has had a few of the suckers, but in the end he has ended up back on the road for a redemption of sorts. Spike is the unknown....he may have a soul, but what are the consequences of being able to care about what he has done for so long? Will he become again a monster because captive to a still existing demon part of himself, Spike may only know one way to be....the monster something that has saturated both parts of this demon hybrid. Or, will Spike slowly reclaim his need to help Buffy and the Scoobies because being good does matter to him?

[> Re: Demonic Angelus, Wicked Spike--reply to a just- archived post *Spoilers S2* -- gingerbob, 06:48:22 11/09/02 Sat

Excellent post! And a very interesting insight in the section you quote on demons- not a point of view I had considered, and it deals with that whole paradox of evil being the rejection, but thereby a "recognition" of good.


[> [> Re: Demonic Angelus, Wicked Spike--reply to a just-archived post *Spoilers S2* -- Slain, 15:10:25 11/09/02 Sat

This idea of evil recognising good interests me. It seems to contradict with things the Master, Spike and perhaps others have said or implied; that they aren't evil, but that evil and good are only relative human terms. That strikes me as an important thread in the Buffyverse; evil and good are human words to define the relationship between demons and humans. The words imply that demons are a part of the human world, and that their existence is defined in terms to their relationship with humanity (good). But many demons disagree, that "Evil is the last thing it believes in, since this would be granting credence to good". With some demons, they might be right in believing this, as their values are only evil because they're defined in this way by humanity; they don't seek to do evil, but their existence with humanity inevitably draws them to it. Vampires seem different, to me, as they are part human, and have human values instilled in them.

Sad news from Wales -- oboemaboe, 00:01:25 11/09/02 Sat

A disagreement over Buffy led to murder:

[> Re: Sad news from Wales -- 110v3w1110w, 00:09:17 11/09/02 Sat

i live in swansea its a terrible place to live and the fact that he lives in swansea alone can drive a man to murder. it is that bad a place to live. although i wouldn't do anything if someone criticised willow although i would they were clearly mad or at best have very bad taste.

[> Re: Sad news from Wales -- Darby, 05:22:29 11/09/02 Sat

Am I nuts for immediately wondering which character it was?

I'm assuming it was Willow from 110's post, but I still feel guilty for how my mind was leapfrogging past the tragedy to my Buffy obsession.

But I wasn't totally alone, was I?

- Darby, slinking away for the day (going to a fencing tournament, actually).

[> [> No, Darby, You're not alone. -- Isabel, 10:52:34 11/09/02 Sat

I was thinking Spike, myself. It all depends on which eps have aired in Wales.

[> [> [> vampires and Wales -- leslie, 12:14:49 11/09/02 Sat

What is it with vampires and Wales? Wasn't it only a month or so ago that there was a trial up in Anglesey of a teenage vampire-wannabee who killed an elderly lady in Llanfair P.G.? There the inciting factor was alleged to be, not BtVS, but Bizarre magazine.

[> [> [> [> Re: vampires and Wales -- KdS, 12:42:40 11/09/02 Sat

From personal experience, I can say that it's probably to do with the weather. It's so cloudy and wet that most of the year you can walk around 24/7 without combusting :-)

Oh, and Bizarre could provoke just about anything.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: vampires and Wales -- leslie, 12:46:35 11/09/02 Sat

Well, I lived in Wales for a year and encountered no vampires whatsoever. Now, those chaos demons with the fungus growing all over their horns, those I could definitely see, especially if there's a subspecies that has mildew instead of fungus.

[> [> [> [> [> [> No even Leanan Sidhe ? -- Etrangere, 14:06:15 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Leanan Sidhe is Scottish! -- leslie, 16:03:44 11/09/02 Sat

[> What's sad about this is ... -- Kitkat, 07:12:06 11/09/02 Sat

...that it actually has little or nothing to do with 'Buffy'. This man was evidently unbalanced, because you don't rape and murder someone over a small disagreement like which character you like/dislike. The incident could easily have been over a different show, or a type of food, or something equally trivial. Yet the way it is reported implies that the fact that they were watching Buffy has something to do with it, and the BBC website has added sections on occult murders as 'related stories'.

Sorry, the supposition that a show like Buffy somehow incites murder is a media thing which pushes my buttons.

[> [> Yes, was it really necessary to even mention which show it was? -- Rob, 09:05:24 11/09/02 Sat

Because this post is too damn good to miss...."Him" Themes -- Rufus reposting vblackheart's work, 05:09:43 11/09/02 Sat

"Him" themes (warning: long)

--- In the_stakehouse@y..., "vblackheart" wrote:

> Even without WtP saying it, it seems to me that "Him" is not a throw

> away ep. Personally, I found six themes interesting:


Theme 1: The old rules no longer apply

The issue at hand in "Him" was not that that women were all under a love spell that seduced them into doing "wacky things." The point is that the jacket affected people who fell back on old habits that earned them success in the past. Those that learned from past experiences, but didn't fall back on old habits, were able to solve the riddle and save the day.

Think about this. In the B/D/A/W argument in the Summers entrance hall, all four women scramble to find a way to "prove" their love to R.J. They all use their talents and skills to get what they want. The problem is, even if they succeed at their tasks, they still won't win the object of their affection.

Buffy vows to kill the principal because she's a Slayer and she knows about violence. Violence and forceful action has almost always carried the day and brought her victory. However, she's already been shown that falling back on the tried-and-true does not always get her the prize. In "Grave," acting as the Slayer when she faced off against DarkWillow only got her enmeshed in a side fight and kept her peripheral to the real action on Kingman's Bluff; in "Lessons," she

was once again entangled in a peripheral fight against the zombies while the real source of her problems was located one floor above; in "Help," all her Slayer tactics and actions didn't buy Cassie so much as one extra second of life; in "Selfless" she swings into "kill Anyanka" mode while both Xander and Willow work to find another way to successfully resolve the situation. "Him" is just another variation on the same theme.

Willow falls back on magic to transmogrify the boy into a woman. Using magic to smooth over the bumps in the road of life, as well as changing her lovers to better suit herself (think Tara in S6) has been Willow's modus operandi in the past. While it ultimately lead to her downfall in "Grave," by and large magic was responsible for giving Willow the good life: good grades in college, victory in battle, meeting Tara, smoothing over arguments, creating parties out

of thin air, etc. Willow conveniently forgets those times when magic resulted in some pretty horrific consequences: "Dopplegangland" and "Something Blue" are just two examples.

She also has a habit of performing magic on others without their permission to get what she wants. She tried to cast a de-lusting spell on herself and Xander without Xander's knowledge or consent; she was willing to cast a spell on Oz and Veruca out of jealousy and revenge; "Something Blue" was all about Willow (unintentionally) making "her will be done" on people who are simply not responsible for her deep funk; her actions in making Tara forget fights is just one example in S6 of Willow forcing her magical will on someone else. In "Him" we see that Willow is up to her old tricks: she almost succeeds in turning R.J. into a girl without his knowledge or permission, believing that she'll get what she wants.

Anya robs banks. This is a perfect combination of Anya/Anyanka. As Anyanka, use of horrific violence that is out of proportion to the "crimes" of men breaking hearts was basically the vengeance demon's raison d'etre. As Anya, she learns (ironically enough from Xander) that in the game of Life (TM Milton Bradley), lots of money means you're winning. In "Something Blue," Xander once again teaches Anya that if he earns lots of money, buys Anya pretty things, he'll make Anya happy, and she'll love him (or make love to him) because of it. Anya has basically internalized this lesson and associates money with safety and happiness.

In "Him," Anya 2.0 perfectly unites the two. Robbing a bank to get money (thereby buying R.J. pretty things and making R.J. happy so he'll fall in love with her) is an out-of- proportion solution to her problem. The human touch is that she doesn't need to conduct violence to get it, unless you count destruction and theft of property violent. Anya succeeds in getting money, but fails to win R.J.'s heart. What's especially interesting in "Him" is that Anya still doesn't get it. She clearly has opted to keep the money, justifying herself that she was under a love spell and can't be held responsible for her actions. When news of the robberies hit the radio, she quickly buys the Scoobs' attention (and their love, if we follow Anya logic) by offering to buy ice cream for everyone.

Dawn becomes a damsel in distress/offering to die is the best way to prove your love. Prior to S7, the joke was that if Dawn needs to be rescued, it must be Tuesday. Being rescued has always brought her attention and sympathy from the Scoobs for her plight. While she's moving away from that behavior this year, it's a new growth. When the chips are down, she's willing to become the "damsel" again and wait for someone to save her.

This point is especially clear in "Him" since, of all the ways Dawn can think of to die, she lays down on the train tracks as if she were bound and gagged and waits for the train to run her over. You could almost picture R.J. in the shadows twirling his big, black, fake mustache. One thing Dawn has not grown out of, and this is partially Buffy's fault, is that true love means you are willing to die for a person. She's partially right: if you're willing to die doing something proactive, say to push someone out of the way of a speeding car, then, yes, it can be construed as a sign of love. However, being willing to commit suicide is not. To quote Xander, Dawn may know the story about Buffy jumping from the Glory's Tower to close the portal and save the world, but she missed the point: sometimes the best way to prove your love is to live.

What's interesting is that it's the two characters, Xander and Spike, who are willing to break old habits that crack the case. Xander hates Spike and would be happier if Spike disappeared, preferably in a puff of dust, from Sunnydale. Spike hates Xander equally as much. Yet, at the beginning of the ep, Xander and Spike wind up being roomies (again). Yes, they were roomies temporarily in S4, but the relationship between the two characters is more solidified into a solid loathing and both men are more dangerous than they were in S4. However, both Xander and Spike are willing to overlook their mutual disdain to share living quarters again (at Buffy's instigation).

Even more startling than the roommate situation is Xander's and Spike's willingness to work together to solve the problem. It's that teamwork that uncovers the jacket as the source of their problems (something Xander actually hit on earlier: more on that later) and foil the three most dangerous and deadly plans: Willow's spell, Buffy's bazooka attack, and Dawn's suicide attempt. Without Xander, Spike would not have been able to get to all three women in time.

With Spike, Xander would've never been able to stop Buffy who was, in turn, able to stop Dawn. Anya's plan would not result in loss of life or limbs, so stopping her was not a priority.

What's interesting, though, is that while Xander broke with old habits, he was at the same time relying on past experience to hone in on the problem. Early in the ep, Xander speculates that Dawn's in love with R.J. because of the letterman jacket because when he was in high school, jocks got all the girls. He deduces pretty quickly that Buffy and Dawn are under a love spell because of his experiences in "BBB." He relies on his familiarity with R.J.'s brother to gain entrance to R.J.'s home and ask questions.

This theme is literally underscored when Xander and Spike show up at R.J.'s house. R.J.'s brother, who had everything handed to him in high school courtesy of an enchanted football jacked, is unable to battle and defeat life's smaller slings and arrows. The end result, he never got beyond his high school experience. He is literally living in the world Xander occupied in S4. Xander, on the other hand, who had to earn everything he got, is a successful adult.

R.J.'s brother, like the four female Scoobs, is also trapped by past habits that brought him success even though it clearly is not working any more. He even goes so far as to make reference to Xander's looser/geek status by remarking that his brother was involved with the model UN and read comic books (a slap at Xander who doesn't bother to take offense) and wrote poetry (a slap at Spike who merely rolls his eyes in response).

Theme 2: No, they really weren't "good times"

I think I've figured out why ME is doing it's "back to the beginning" theme. It's a reflection of the increasingly gray world now occupied by the Scoobs. When they were "children" the world was in cotton candy primary colors. Things were clear cut. Very little, unless you were Buffy, had serious long-lasting consequences. This started to change in S3 when Faith went "bad." It's been increasingly true in each successive season. This season, there are real, hard consequences for failure. Each action has an opposite and equally forceful reaction.

In addition, the Scoobs are now looking at similar situations they faced in high school through the eyes of adults. The end result is that each situation has a slightly more sinister twist. Let's look at a few:

We have on our hands a Souled Vampire. In the Buffy-Angel day, the line was clearly drawn: soul meant "good" which means that Angel was good (Xander's suspicions of Angel notwithstanding). Lacking a soul meant evil, which meant that Angelus was evil and Angel was not responsible for Angelus's actions. Ironically enough, ME has been clearly telling us from the beginning that it really isn't that simple. Angel wasn't always upright and really did live in a world of grays, something that none of the Scoobs really saw (again, Xander being the exception here), but Angel clearly understood. In "Amends" he held himself responsible for Angelus's actions, in "Dopplegangland" Angel was stopped by Buffy when he tried to comment that the vampire version of someone and the human version are more closely related than the Scoobs were lead to believe. We are now post-Angel and post-Angelus and the Scoobs are once again faced with a souled vampire. Experience has shown them that a soul does not automatically equal good. The end result? They are simply not sure what Spike having a soul really means in the grand scheme of things.

Invisible Girl/Fear, Itself/Same Time, Same Place. In the world of Buffy, invisibility equals bad. In "Invisible Girl," Marcy uses her powers to exact revenge on her tormentors, but she doesn't actually kill anyone (at least in the episode, although her enrollment in the special government school at the end of the ep suggests that state of affairs will change). In "Fear, Itself," Xander is rendered invisible as a reflection of his low self-esteem, the feeling that all of his friends are leaving him behind, and that he'll ultimately be abandoned and alone. When he becomes visible again, the first thing we hear out of his mouth is a rant that no one listens to him when he has something to say. However, in "Same Time, Same Place," Willow's invisibility nearly cost her life at the hands of the Gnarl demon and made her a murder suspect in the eyes of Buffy.

Reptile Boy/Lie to Me/Help. The comparisons between "Reptile Boy" and "Help" are fairly obvious. Rich, spoiled, fraternity-type dudes are willing to sell their souls for money and power. To make the spell complete, they need a female sacrifice (or a "pure" female sacrifice in the case of "Reptile Boy") to seal the bargain. The twist on "Lie to Me" is less obvious: Buffy's old friend is dying of a brain cancer, a monster that Buffy can't fight. To save his own life, he is willing to sell his soul (to Spike, interestingly enough) to make sure he doesn't die. Buffy is able to foil the snake demon in "Reptile Boy" and Spike in "Lie to Me." However, she cannot spare her friend from brain cancer or evil ways and ultimately leaves him to his fate at the hands of Spike. In "Help," Buffy believes she's faced with a similar situation and acts accordingly to save Cassie's life. However, Cassie has a fatal heart condition, which is the thing that actually kills her. It's something Buffy can't fight and can't defeat. She ultimately wins the battle (stopping the spell and the demon), but loses the war.

The Wish/Selfless. Yes, there is a connection between the two and it somewhat ties into my first point. "Selfless" is twist on Anya's previous actions as a vengeance demon. In "The Wish," Anyanka cheerfully grants Cordelia's wish and is excited by the end result. All of the Scoobs are ultimately murdered (by each other) as the alternate universe plays itself out. She ultimately looses because Giles smashes her pendant against her will, rendering her human. It's interesting to note that not one Scoob is even aware of the alternate reality until "Dopplegangland." Even more interesting, there are no long-lasting repercussions from "The Wish" (unless you count Anya's sudden humanity). Even Cordelia, the cause of the problem, escaped the fallout. In "Selfless," Anyanka once again causes mayhem that results in death, this time Anya is horrified by the blood and violence. This time she chooses to reverse the wish and reverse back to her human self. Don't believe for one second that we're done seeing the fallout from "Selfless." In "Him," Anya already is ducking D'Hoffryn's vengeance.

BBB/Him. This is the most blatant and startling example of a dark twist on what many fans consider to be a light-hearted, funny romp from S2. Xander originally blackmails Amy into casting a love spell simply so he can break Cordelia's heart. Not the best of intentions, no. However, he clearly isn't thinking of having sex with Cordelia while she's under the influence, so to speak. The spell goes wrong and Xander twigs to the problem fairly quickly. The end result is that he goes out of his way not to take advantage of the situation, even at the near-cost of his life, and admits his stupid mistake to Giles in hopes that the Watcher can fix it.

In "Him," we see what could have happened if Xander were coming from a slightly less moral place. While it's unclear that R.J. is aware of the jacket's powers, he knows that he can manipulate girls and women to get what he wants and uses it to his full advantage. The end result is the "eeewwwww" scene with Buffy about to commit statutory rape and the four Scoob women resorting to violent or illegal means to win R.J.'s attention.

The most interesting part about BBB vs. "Him" is that "Him" has a far darker sexual undertone than BBB. In BBB, the focus was on emotion, what the women were feeling. Yes there were some sexual situations in the S2 ep: Buffy in a raincoat, Willow wearing nothing but a flannel shirt, Joyce and Jenny hitting on Xander, etc. However, through Xander's more innocent and virgin eyes, the scenes are somewhat played for laughs. We know that Xander won't take any of them up on it. In "Him," we're far less certain about the clearly less innocent and less virgin R.J., so it's no surprise that Xander views the jacket as something extremely sinister (he even calls it at the end of the episode an old and dangerous curse). This darker sexuality and the Scoobs' darker view of the spell is highlighted by the scene in the Bronze. Willow and Xander lust after the sensually undulating young body pressing itself against R.J. When they realize that it's Dawn, they both are horrified by Dawn's actions and the fact they found it sexually stimulating.

Theme 3: There is no I in team

It has been said over and over that Buffy's strongest assets are her friends, family, and assorted allies. They are what keep her tied to the moral realm (literally in the aftermath of S5) and contribute to her mission. Angel, Riley, and later Spike all provide necessary muscle and/or knowledge of demons. Giles provides/-ed guidance, education, and knowledge. Willow contributes more than just magic, but an emotional connection. Xander has filled different roles as Buffy needed them: strategist, comfortador, truth-teller (even when Buffy doesn't want to hear it), refuge to hide herself or allies (think S4), and fire to go out and fight the good fight. Auxiliary Scoobs such as Tara, Oz, and Anya also bring valuable knowledge and skills to the table. Her inner circle, time and again, have proven that they can rise to the challenge, something that was spelled out in both "Primeval" and "OMWF." Buffy and the Scoobs are more than the sum of their parts.

The problem is, a Slayer with Friends is just not the way it's done. The First Slayer is somewhat offended by Buffy's use of her friends "Restless." Giles is none-too-pleased by Willow and Xander insistence that they help in WttH, although he gets over his distaste when both Willow and Xander turn out to be useful allies. The Council is simply unsure what to make of the Scoob structure in "Checkpoint" and calls Buffy on dragging "civilians" into the fight. Spike comments on it and uses it more than once in the series: in "School Hard" he complains that a Slayer with Friends are not in the program; in "The Yoko Factor" he tries to soften Buffy up for Adam by breaking up the Scoobs; in "FFL," he states outright that Buffy's friends are her strength; through most of S6, Spike tries to manipulate Buffy into cutting off her friends so she can reside in the dark "with him" alone.

While Buffy understands that her friends are her strength and that their presence has saved her life on more than once occasion, she really doesn't know the meaning of "team player." She has finally internalized the lesson that "the Slayer stands alone," the problem is that Buffy the Slayer does not. She can and should make the final call, but she cannot afford to cavalierly dismiss her friends, their objections, or their advice. Nor should she take them for granted. She also has not taken any action to form them into a cohesive fighting unit nor do the Scoobs undergo any regular training (as far as we can see) to keep them in top fighting form.

We are beginning to see Buffy slowly break out that pattern, although she really hasn't made the conscious decision to do so yet. She has given Dawn enough training to protect herself and good advice (run away) if something big and bad comes after her. She is pulling Anya and Spike into the fold, partially to protect them, but partially to make use of their unusual skills and knowledge. In "Him," she expresses her empathy with R.J. that being the leader is tough, but it's easier if you have a good team behind you. She also acknowledges that the "team" needs to train hard if they are going to play the game and win. Bespelled Buffy got it right. Right Mind Buffy needs to catch up.

Theme 4: Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one

Yet another theme this season, but one that was humorously highlighted in "Him." In almost every single episode (with the exception of "Help," where there are no right answers), it's the simple solution that saves the day. To illustrate:

In "Lessons," Buffy and Dawn are menaced by nearly impossible-to-defeat zombie-ghost-thingies. Buffy, and to a lesser extent Dawn, are embroiled in a fight for their lives in the basement Yet, the solution is fairly simple: get Xander to break the talisman that gives the monsters life.

In "Beneath You," the solution to solving Nancy's problem and stopping Ronnie is to simply ask Anya to reverse the wish. Once again, Xander manages to make the right arguments to make it so.

In "Same Time, Same Place," Buffy realizes that the Gnarl demon and Invisible!Willow are two separate problems. The Gnarl demon is easily defeated by the Slayer, but the real problem is Willow's invisibility. The problem has a simple cause: Willow wished herself that way. The problem has a simple solution: Willow was willing to face her friends.

In "Selfless," D'Hoffryn hit the nail on the head: everyone assumed certain things about Anya, but no one bothered to ask her what she really wanted. When Anya was finally asked (instead of subjected to confrontations by Willow, Buffy, and to a lesser extent, Xander), she wished her vengeance reversed. It was, at the price of Hallie's life. But it was still done with a snap of D'Hoffryn's fingers.

Now we come to "Help," and episode where Wiley Coyote and Acme spring to mind. All of the women resort to complicated schemes to win R.J.'s love (see the first point to refresh your memory). Willow and Anya begin research to counteract the love spell, but are unsuccessful.

This twisting confusion is spelled out with Willow's "anti- anti-anti-love spell spell" comment.

Of all the characters, Xander sticks with simple actions and simple solutions, rather than resorting to complex schemes or over-thinking the problem. He instigates research on R.J. and questions R.J.'s brother to get a handle on the problem. He interrupts Willow's spell

my merely covering her mouth; he shuttles Spike over to the high school so the vampire can stop Buffy by simply tackling her and taking the bazooka away; he gets Willow and Buffy to focus on saving Dawn.

However, his final solution to the problem is elegant in its simplicity: to stop the spell and R.J. once and for all, he and Spike resort to petty street crime. They tackle R.J. in the street, rip the coat off his body, and then burn it for good measure.

Theme 5: What's up with Xander again?

I could get into how S7 is turning into the season of "Weird Xander," but I'd have to write another book-length post. I will reduce it to something simple: Xander-as-convenient- plot-point. It's something, I suspect, that is being done on purpose.

It appears that Xander has almost consistently been in the right place at the right time since the events of "Grave." What I find especially interesting is that, when you really think about it, Xander has always served this role ("Grave" being the exception). If you think about all the times through the years where Xander "happens" to stumble across something or someone that results in certain actions being taken, you know it's true. This pattern is laid down right from the beginning in WttH when Xander overhears Giles and Buffy discussing her calling as a Slayer.

The difference is that this year there is a lot of onscreen things going on that seem to highlight Xander role as the convenient plot point that moves characters from point A to point B or, in some cases, moves the plot to a final conclusion. In addition, this season marks the first time we Xander actively and purposely fulfilling this role whenever we see him redirect people's attention from distractions to the immediate problems that need to solved (Buffy gets distracted by Spike in "Beneath You," Xander reminds her that Nancy needs saving; Willow and Buffy fight over R.J. and Xander points out that Dawn needs saving). It's an additional element that simply wasn't there before.

"Him" all but jumps up and down and screams, "Look at Xander!"

Almost every major Xander scene in this episode begins with the character's sudden appearance or the character talking in mid-sentence. Interestingly enough, the exception is when Xander is with a "crowd." In the Bronze scene, Xander is snuggly sitting in between Willow and Buffy, nothing strange about that. The group scenes at the Summers home are also rather natural with Xander already firmly encircled in the midst of others. In the scenes where Spike, Xander, Willow, and later Buffy tear around town in Xander's car, his is also surrounded by people.

Yet, when Xander is acting alone or in the presence of only one other person, we see "sudden appearance" Xander:

We literally start at the beginning. When "Him" begins, Xander is in mid-rant about what Spike can and can't do in his apartment. This odd cut lead some viewers to believe that they missed the first minute or so of the episode.

In Xander's next major scene, he suddenly appears from around a corner while Buffy attempts to console Dawn through a closed bathroom door.

When Dawn flees the high school and sits outside, Xander's shoes suddenly appear in frame. We pan up to see that Xander is the owner of those shoes and he stops to talk to Dawn, yet there clearly is no construction going on in the immediate vicinity.

When we are introduced to the investigatory team of Xander and Spike outside the brother's house, Xander is in the middle of explaining to Spike about R.J.'s brother and his suspicions about the love spell affecting Buffy and Dawn.

The Xander-Spike-Willow scene is literally introduced by Xander slapping his hand over Willow's mouth. We don't see the owner until the camera pulls back.

When Xander and Spike prepare to steal R.J.'s coat, Xander literally cuts his way into the frame with Spike following close behind. Certainly R.J. considered Xander and Spike bearing down on him a "sudden appearance."

What I found most interesting is that in two instances, Xander's sudden appearance is introduced in a somewhat menacing way. Outside the high school with Dawn, we see his shoes first, without knowing who the owner of the shoes are until the camera reveals the friendly face of Xander. The same thing with Willow. Xander is introduced by simply slapping her hand over Willow's mouth. Both actions are horror show clichés that practically shout "there's a bad guy over here" or "the serial killer whose about to chop you up."

Another odd "look at Xander" moment happens in "Him" when Xander hits on the cause of Dawn's problems right away: it's the jacket. He rambles on that it was always like that in high school, but as he says it, he's relatively calm body language suddenly becomes twitchy and "soothing voice Xander" returns to his babbling ways. Yes, he could be making an observation, but the transition from Suave Xander to Jumpy Xander was too sudden to ignore. When it emerges during Xander's and Spike's visit to R.J.'s older brother that Xander hit the nail on the head, Xander looks somewhat disturbed.

The whole paragraph above could be nothing. But then, given convenient plot point Xander anvils being thrown at our heads, I think it might be something.

Another underlying thing in "Him" is that at no time to you get the impression that Xander is in over his head. He seems actually fairly confident and in control. In point of fact, he's just about the only person with any sort of control over himself or the situation.

Theme 6: You really don't know what true love is

Warning ahead: I am not a `shipper. It's not that I hate ships, but `shippers tend to drive me around the bend. IMHO and personal experience, shipperness tends to blind one to the bigger themes that may be brewing in an otherwise well- crafted television show or book. As a professional writer and editor, I have a firm belief that all relationships between fictional characters should be part of a story, not the end result of it. While I hated Spuffy with the heat of a thousand suns, I understood what ME was trying to say, so I tolerated it. (Although I cannot express how disappointed I will be if ME decides to hook Buffy up with her attempted rapist.) I cannot get worked up for or against B/X, W/X, A/X, A/S, A/W, S/W, or even (help me please) S/X. If any pairing comes to pass, I want to see something believable and reflects the themes of BtVS's larger story. I personally am relieved to see the show moving away from the shippiness that was S6. That is all. Warning and rant ended.

Yes, in a sense, "Him" took a lot of minor swats at the Buffy-Angel relationship. Buffy's "soulmate affair" happened when she was Dawn's age, complete with Dawn's histronics, over-the-top proclamations, and breast beating. That first experience has literally colored and overshadowed all of Buffy's romantic relationships since then, something she somewhat acknowledges in "Selfless." Her love for Angel was an all-consuming passion and guiding light in her life. She viewed Angel as the one bright spot in her difficult existence as the Slayer, despite the trauma of Angelus. She learned to associate passion and pain with deep, long lasting, abiding love.

It's that kind of baggage she dumped on Riley when she got involved with him. While I'm not saying Riley was "the one," he certainly didn't stand a chance with Buffy (or viewers) after the opera that was the Angel relationship. Riley knew there was something missing in his relationship with Buffy and descended into the world of Vamp Whores in an effort to understand her better and ease the pain of real and imagined tiny rejections. In a sense Xander called it: Riley was the rebound guy.

Buffy's relationship with Spike was her attempt to shut down. She was reaching back in time for fire and passion, but had no interest or desire to get emotionally involved, failing to understand that "emotion" was the key to her relationship with Angel. Spike (co-dependent vampire that he is) was at first willing to take what he could get. When that proved not enough, he tried to take more through manipulation and eventually an attempted rape.

Buffy, right now, doesn't actually know what love should mean to her. However, you know that her sense of what love means is evolving. It started with "Seeing Red." Spike appeals to Buffy's earlier belief that love should be all fire, pain, and passion. Buffy counters that love needs to include emotion, respect, comfort, and trust. Her sentiment is dismissed by Spike as something that's "for old marrieds."

Until Buffy figures out what love does mean for her and what she needs out of a loving relationship, she cannot and will not get romantically involved with someone else. It's interesting that she is now taking comfort in familial love with Dawn and a completely non-sexualized, non-threatening agape love with Xander. The big storm clouds on her horizon is that Angel is still casting his shadow over her heart four years later.

To a larger extent, Dawn's statement certainly applies to the rest of the Scoobs.

Xander associates sex with "an emotional connection." (A mistake similar to the one Buffy makes with one-night-stand Parker.) His one experience with Faith erroneously lead him to believe he could reason with her. It nearly cost him his life. His relationship with Anya literally started with sex, but evolved into something more. However, the relationship clearly suited neither party and both Xander and Anya suffered for that.

In addition, Xander does have some relatively minor control issues, thanks to emotional baggage left over from an alcoholic household. For him, the key is too look normal and look happy, even if you make yourself and everyone around you miserable doing it. It also doesn't seem to matter if the life you lead can hardly be called "normal." Anther Xander failing is that he transmits all his personal important issues and information through the use of quips, snark, and sarcasm. Until the events of "Seeing Red," there were times when Xander seemed incapable of holding a serious discussion about his feelings or problems.

Since the disastrous end of his relationship with Anya, Xander is simply unable to romantically connect with women, a situation that seems unlikely to change if he doesn't resign his Scooby membership. Like Buffy, Xander is taking comfort in other kinds of love: his unconditional love of friend Willow; his big brother familial love with Dawn; his non-sexualized, non-threatening agape love of Buffy. He is also putting out friendly feelers to Anya, but is clearly not pursuing anything more than a friendly vibe.

Willow tends to view love as a relationship where she is the dominant partner. Oz, while cool in his own right, tended to follow Willow's lead ("where Willow goes, so goes my nation"). When we first meet Tara, she is somewhat pliable and willing to mold herself to fit into Willow's Scooby life. When she begins to grow a backbone and disagree with Willow, most noticeably over the use of magic, Willow "fixes things" so Tara is compliant once more. She does see the error of her ways when Tara leaves her, but she missed the point: it wasn't about magic, it was about control. This need for control is probably a key factor in the failure of a Xander-Willow romantic hook-up. Xander knows her too well to let her get away with trying to change him too much. It's difficult to say whether Willow is actually taking any comfort from her friends. In fact, in "Same Time, Same Place" she doesn't have enough trust in their feelings for her to face them.

In "Selfless," Xander's Lie was unveiled to her, putting a "distrust worthy" mark against his name.

Anya and Spike are the other side of Willow's coin. The both are willing to alter themselves to fit into the lives of the people they love. Anya's issues were spelled out in 10-foot high letters in "Selfless," so I won't get into it here.

Pre-soul Spike was a bit co-dependent, molding mold himself to suit the desires of his lover and waiting on her every whim. When he was thwarted in his desires, he resorted to extreme measures. William won't get Cessily? He gives up his soul to Dru instead. Losing Dru?

I'll knock her unconscious and drag her away from Angelus/get Willow to cast a love spell/chain her up and torture her until she loves me again. Buffy won't love me? Well, I'll stalk her, steal her things to make a shrine, and give her a choice of admitting she loves me or I'll kill her. Am I not getting enough out of my relationship with Buffy's? I need to isolate her so I'll have her all to myself. Did Buffy dump me? Well, I'll get a soul to prove my love for her.

This is not a hash on Spike. These are things he actually did. It doesn't negate the good he did do, but this is looking at Spike's actions in love.

Souled Spike is a question mark. Clearly he is not ready to deal with romantic love and, in fact, seems not terribly interested in it. What he wants from Buffy now is comfort, acceptance, and forgiveness. What he'll get seems to be entirely a different matter.

Hokay, ducking flames now…

[> I just have to say a quick AMEN!!!!! to blackhearts views on ships. -- Rufus, 05:14:24 11/09/02 Sat

The preoccupation with ships does blind people to the other characters on the show unfairly demonizing some and elevating others to a god-like state. This also goes on with the writers, if they write what a shipper doesn't like it's out of character, or done to hurt the shippers feelings. So, we all have to remember....the show is about a character called Buffy and there are other characters that serve more of a purpose than to hold up scenery. I just love some of the above stated points made about Xander.

[> [> Re: I just have to say a quick AMEN!!!!! to blackhearts views on ships. -- shadowkat, 21:33:03 11/09/02 Sat

blackheart is a little, what's the word, ranty? harsh? on ships. But I agree with his overall points. (Although unlike Blackheart I actually liked Spuffy and wouldn't mind B/S getting back together, but then my view of the AR scene is probably different than Blackheart's. Don't worry - I seriously doubt B/S is going to get back together sexually at any point this season. The best that I can imagine is probably some sort of friendship, which may be all that Spike wants at this point.)

What we tend to forget about the show is BTVS and ATS are not "romances". "Romances" are a genre where the love relationship between two or several characters is central to the story. The whole point of the story is to get the two characters together. Most soap operas really don't work in this way - since the point seems to be to get them together then break them apart. The "romance" genre doesn't really work well in serialized form - let's face it once X and Y are together - we're bored. Banter is gone. Conflict is gone. And the writers have to break them apart again.
It gets tedious fast. So most long-lasting dramas and comedies do not use "romance" as a central plot point or story structure.

BTvs and Ats use romance in a way that I personally prefer which is to further develop and change the characters, as well as explore their emotional and mental states. Whether the characters stay together or break apart has more to do with much broader themes and how each characters traits have changed and evolved over time than it has to do with getting them together. Romance is actually not that important in and of itself.

Now if you are in the "horror" genre - expect to see horrific results. Not happy romances and couples moving off into the sunset. Since the horror genre tends to explore darker themes and wants to look at the dark side of romance, love, death, life, etc.

I find focusing or investing on ships in shows like Btvs and Ats to be painfully masochistic and can often blind viewers to the overall story arc and development of the characters. It is much better to not worry about ships and try to see the story as whole. (Because Whedon - as I realized watching this week's firefly is far more interested in the family relationship (not biological family, more the existential view - the creation of your own family) than he is passionate romance.)

The same problem exists for those viewers who focus primarily on one character and let's face it we all have our blindspots. I try really hard to overcome mine when posting, (don't always succeed, but someone undoubtly calls me on it when I don't.) Because I think overidentifying or focusing too much on one character (or worse focusing on our fantasy image of said character) can blinds us to what may actually be going on.

[> [> [> Re: I just have to say a quick AMEN!!!!! to blackhearts views on ships. -- Wisewoman, 16:37:02 11/10/02 Sun

Relationships are an integral part of the lives of the characters we're watching, whether they're friendly, passionate, or violently oppositional. They're part of the story, and they contribute to the movement of the plot. For the most part the characters are human, and humans intrinsically engage in relationships. How individual viewers react to the various on-screen relationships, up to and including total obsession, is a reflection of what's going on in their own lives, IMO.

BtVS is not a romance, granted, although it has at times contained elements of romance to good effect. It's not really horror either, or sci-fi, comedy or drama, although it has elements of all of these, and I think even Joss has said he has difficulty in classifying it.

I'm currently struggling against the looming revelation that BtVS is ultimately a tragedy; even, perhaps, a romantic tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. What we've been shown over and over again is not only that love hurts, but that it never, never lasts. Things happen, the world wags on, and love changes, dies, or is killed. Is the point here that love isn't what's really important, or that it's the only thing that is important? Perhaps that romantic love is ultimately unimportant, compared to familial love? C'mon, that's a gigantic leap to expect a group of 20-somethings caught in the throes of hormones tuned to the biological imperative to make. (Not even gonna mention a 16-year- old.)

I'd think it would be an equally difficult leap for 20- something fans as well. I'm not taking veiled cracks at the maturity level of younger fans, particularly our younger posters; their maturity continually amazes me. And believe me, I can hear the howls of protest at the cliche now, but hey, maybe when you're my age, you'll understand what I'm talking about. There is no "maturity" available to young people that can take the place of the effect of aging hormones on the human brain. You just see things differently. I'm not talking older and wiser here, just older and different.

I postulate that for a truly tragic denouement we will require the demise of nearly all the characters, but at the very least Buffy and Spike. If we end up with only Willow and Xander still standing then the romantic 'ship potential within the Scooby Gang has effectively been ended.

It might not happen this season, but if SMG doesn't sign on for another year then I predict yet another Death of Buffy season ender, preceded tragically-romantically by Death of Spike in an attempt to prevent Death of Buffy.

Great post, BTW, but somehow it's made me very cynical...

;o) dub

[> [> [> [> Actually I think I like your post better -- shadowkat, 19:34:58 11/10/02 Sun

I think I prefer your response to mine, and I certainly prefer it to what blackheart wrote regarding ships which annoyed me for reasons I could not quite figure out until I read your response.

1. "Relationships are an integral part of the lives of the characters we're watching, whether they're friendly, passionate, or violently oppositional. They're part of the story, and they contribute to the movement of the plot. For the most part the characters are human, and humans intrinsically engage in relationships. How individual viewers react to the various on-screen relationships, up to and including total obsession, is a reflection of what's going on in their own lives, IMO."

I think this is very true. Whether you are a shipper or not, I think the way we re-act to the show says more about us than we are willing sometimes to admit. I remember one of the writers commenting on how intrigued they were by the opposing reactions they got to the Buffy-Spike relationship. I'm equally intrigued. Since coming online I've seen people blast each other over this one relationship more than any other - going so far as to attack individual posters on a personal level.

2."BtVS is not a romance, granted, although it has at times contained elements of romance to good effect. It's not really horror either, or sci-fi, comedy or drama, although it has elements of all of these, and I think even Joss has said he has difficulty in classifying it."

Thank you for calling me on something that bugged me after I wrote it. And doing it in such a polite manner. You're absolutely right the brillance of the show is that it defies a specific genre classification. Whedon is doing somewhat the same thing with Firefly - by combining elements of the Western with the space opera with the action adventure with the ensemble drama. Some of us have a need to classify (for myself? probably comes from working in an indexing library reference company for too many years ), but truth is? Most things aren't so easy to classify. The novel I recently completed and am trying to figure out how to sell to publishers is an excellent example - it's not exactly horror, it's not exactly a mystery, it's not exactly a fantasy yet has elements of each - how in the heck do I sell it??? I'm sure Whedon had somewhat the same problem pitching Buffy.

3. "I'm currently struggling against the looming revelation that BtVS is ultimately a tragedy; even, perhaps, a romantic tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. What we've been shown over and over again is not only that love hurts, but that it never, never lasts. Things happen, the world wags on, and love changes, dies, or is killed. Is the point here that love isn't what's really important, or that it's the only thing that is important? Perhaps that romantic love is ultimately unimportant, compared to familial love? C'mon, that's a gigantic leap to expect a group of 20-somethings caught in the throes of hormones tuned to the biological imperative to make. (Not even gonna mention a 16-year- old.)"

Uhm me too. Struggling with the same problem - regarding Shakespearen proportions. I think it is too some extent a tragedy. Which worries me a little b/c a part of me yearns for the happy ending.

But like you? I postulate either a Spike sacrificing himself for Buffy, Buffy dying anyway and for his trouble as she dies, he shanshues and becomes human, left alone to see after her sister and be a watcher to the next slayer.
Or something to that effect.

So I guess we're both far too cynical for our own good.

And once again I find your online name quite fitting.
Thank you for such a wise response, dub. SK

[> [> [> [> [> Hey! Thank you, Sweetie! -- dubdub, 20:01:11 11/10/02 Sun

I'm glad you responded to my post, because after I approved it and it went up I thought, "Sheesh, what a miserable old bat you're getting to be!" (Me, that is, not you.) I was writing from the perspective of agreeing with you, BTW.

It's reassuring that it wasn't just too grumpy to be ignored completely, LOL!

And hey, if you ever need a beta-reader for the novel, you know where to find me!


[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks I might take you up on that. -- shadowkat, 20:27:12 11/10/02 Sun

And your post wasn't grumpy at all. Although it's reassuring to know I'm not the only one who worries over how my words are being interpreted. The English Language can be so limiting. Makes me wish I was better at learning languages - so I could use another one. But alas...not my skill.

Right now I'm trying to get up the guts to send out query letters to literary agents to convince them to look at it and possibly solicit publishers to publish my poor novel. Unfortunately most publishers will only look at a novel if you have an agent. Dang thing has five years worth of work on it. And it does not help that I can't figure out how to accurately describe it to people. LOL! Last agent mistakingly thought it was a mystery about art forgeries and was quite horrified to discover it was about occult rituals, celtic artifacts, and supernatural stuff along with art forgeries. (a la Elizabeth Hand's Waking the Moon and Donna Tartt's Secret History with a touch of Rosemary's Baby and Ann Rice's Queen of the Damned...see hard to describe.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hard to describe, perhaps... -- dub, 20:49:43 11/10/02 Sun

But all of those did very well, as I recall. (I liked them, anyway!) I find the generic words "Blockbuster" and "Thriller" work well. And then you can always accessorize with adjectives, a la "Supernatural Blockbuster," or "Occult Thriller." The market is definitely there, it's the breaking in that sucks. (Not that I'm speaking from experience. I've never finished anything to the point where I could try to market it.)

But if I can be of any help, don't hesitate to e-mail.


[> [> [> [> Re: I just have to say a quick AMEN!!!!! to blackhearts views on ships. -- Rufus, 01:02:15 11/11/02 Mon

I am not a `shipper. It's not that I hate ships, but `shippers tend to drive me around the bend. IMHO and personal experience, shipperness tends to blind one to the bigger themes that may be brewing in an otherwise well- crafted television show or book. As a professional writer and editor, I have a firm belief that all relationships between fictional characters should be part of a story, not the end result of it.

I reposted what blackheart said because I do agree with part of his/her sentiments. It has to be frustrating for the writers to be bashed because they haven't kept everyone happy...which is an impossible task. I think that "some" and only "some" fans take shippiness to a point of forgetting that there are other characters on the show. I think I can use Spike as a good example (some of what I say pertains to Angel and Anya as well)...Spike has gone through a transition that would have been considered impossible a few seasons ago. For me it's more believable because it has been visibly evident in the actors portrayal. Buffy is right when she is hesitant to embrace a character that has spent so much time doing evil things. Angel was an exception because she loved him before she actually witnessed his evil potential. With Spike, everything he has done goes against what Buffy held to be true about demons. And there is a reason that she has to revisit this situation again as an older person. We are seeing the phase of ensoulment that we missed with Angel, the early part where one has to wonder if someone has been dark for so long they can never go back. Spike now can feel the consequences of his actions, and to me it's no surprise he doesn't have much to say. He is getting used to feeling not only his love for Buffy, but understanding that all the things he though he was had been perverted after his soul left the body. The actor has done such a wonderful job of indicating what a trauma it is to realize that you have done horrible things that you can't take back. Not only that, he now is being haunted by his past and now what may be an illusion in the form of whatever is in the basement and appeared to him in "Lessons". One thing to remember is that the entity considered Spike to be similar to Buffy in that he wants to do the right thing. If we only see Spike in an idealized way his current struggle is only seen as a tedious, boring, display. If you are a shipper only, this season of Buffy just may be more painful than the last as Spike has seen fit to take a backseat to even Xander, but I feel there will be a payoff, that many were too busy bitching about how the writers have treated Spike, missed.

Joss Whedon oscillates between comedy and tragedy never staying in one element all the time. I think dub is right that in the end there is every chance that the series end of Buffy will have much tragedy, but as in real life there will be some who do live on.

[> Thanks Rufus!! -- ponygirl, 07:35:01 11/09/02 Sat

They should film this post and play it before every repeat of Him! ;)

It also serves as an excellent summation of where we stand at the end of the "set-up" part of season 7. Strange how the back to the beginning theme has turned out to be an illustration of exactly how you can't go back. People have changed, perspectives have changed, and experience shadows everything... yet Giles tells us that the true self remains. Perhaps the lessons learned through experience allow one to look past limiting doubts and insecurities, to see costumes for what they are, and to understand the larger picture. As vblackheart points out, in Him only Xander seems to be at this stage. I'm not sure if blackheart is implying a more ominous tone to Xander's s7 behaviour -- Xander as far back as s2, when he figured out how to stop the Judge, has shown a lot more inspiration and insight than he or the others give him credit for -- Xander seems to me to be finally coming into his own. Of course in the Buffyverse coming into your own is usually the setup for something horrible so we'll see.

The amount of heart related imagery this season, which others, especially shadowkat have detailed, and now Him's demonstration that the Scoobies have very skewed ideas about love, seems in contrast to the confidence and assurance of Xander, the "heart" of the Scoobies. Of course this time last year Willow was riding pretty high. There seems to be more evidence for shadowkat's theory that last season was about spirit and this one is about heart. Of course there's still the pesky matter of soul and what exactly it means, but that's something else entirely!

[> Oh, like, wow! *Ahem* I mean, very interesting and insightful perspective -- Random, 07:42:20 11/09/02 Sat

Insightful much. Some lack of depth, but more tha enough breadth and width to make this one helluva interesting read of S7 in general and "Him" in particular. Gonna have to go back and re-watch "Him." Didn't much care for it the first time around (seemed a little too farcial and campy for me in contrast to BBB, which did it much better. But the points made about the greater complexity and ambiguity of "Him" -- and S7 in general -- are quite sufficient to make me want to give it a second go-around.) Thanks, Rufus, for the re-post. Oh, and a quadruple amen to the observation about "shippers." I do have my likes and dislikes -- more the latter than the former -- but the strength of the show lies in the writing, not the soap opera- ish cliques. Overly-ardent "shippers" tend to do grave disservice to the show's strengths by focusing on the peripheral aspects of the storyline rather than the package as a whole. Plus they have an annoyingly dogmatic view of the themes and issues of the show.

[> Re: Because this post is too damn good to miss...."Him" Themes -- Alvin, 08:36:21 11/09/02 Sat

Great post. I just want to add that when I saw Him I was struck by how much Xander plays the "father". The scene where Dawn is crying on the bed has Buffy and Xander standing together supporting each other and looking almost like Dawn's parents. It's also evident from this scene that he's a regular part of the household. Also, Xander talks about how Dawn used to have a crush on him, and that he misses it. It made me think of a father realizing that he's no longer the man in his little girl's life; that his little girl is growing up. Plus there's the Bronze scene where he and Willow are attracted to RJ's dance partner. He could have made a comment like "Hello slutty goodnes" but instead it's "hmmm, Daddy likes".
I had also noticed how except for the "Nimrod" comment at the beginning, he didn't insult Spike. He complained about the towels, but there was no vicious undertone to it.
And I think this was the first time Spike restrained from mocking Xander. It's amazing how different the Spike/Xander interaction is in Him compared to Triangle or when they went to see Doc.

[> [> Spike/Xander interaction (Spoilers for Season 7.1-7.6) -- shadowkat, 16:01:35 11/09/02 Sat

The more I think about it, the more the Spike/Xander interaction intrigues me. It's almost as if they are working as a well-oiled machine in this epsiode or like a pair of long-term detective buddies.

They say very little, Xander actually has the most lines and exchange lots of meaningful looks.

Watch this episode in contrast with:
S6: Normal Again, Bargaining Part I, Afterlife,
S5: Intervention, Triangle, Spiral, WoTW, The Gift,
S4: Pangs, Hush, Something Blue, Doomed, Where the Wild Things Are, Yoko Factor,

What do you see that's different?
Is it Xander? Or is it Spike? Or is it both?

Spike says nothing in response to Xander's Nimrod quip.
But he does say - "I don't want your sodding food." Which is followed by Nimrod. After that Spike does not respond with smart alec remarks or quips.

Compare to STSP, Beneathe You, - Xander makes a few quips, spike sort of reponds. But barely. "I'm insane, what's his excuse?" or "Slayer and her boy."

This is largely understated in comparision to prior episodes.

Now in HIM - we get Xander saying : "Watch him see if he's twitchy." Spike nods. Xander comments on his fears of how charming the guy is. They see Lance - and both look at each other like god, what were we worried about, who is this dork? Not a word is said. In the house - they work as a team, Xander asks the questions while Spike checks out the stuff sitting around for clues. Spike says one line here: "Are you wearing your brother's jacket?"
This is it. The rest of the interaction between Xander and Spike is through glances and rolled eyes. They appear to be bonding over the waste of space that is Lance and the basement world neither wants to return to.

The rest of the episode is handled in a similar manner.
Of the characters in this episode, the only two who don't bicker or fight are Xander and Spike. The only two who seem to figure out how to solve the problem - Xander and Spike.

Also I agree with some of the points in bheart's post - mentioning how Spike couldn't save the women in time without Xander getting him there and Xander couldn't have gotten the bazooka away from Buffy without Spike.

This episode showed how important Xander and Spike are to the SG, what they give to the group, and how if either were to suddenly disappear from it? Things might not be so good.

Another interesting thing - this is by no means the only episode we've seen this year where Xander and/or Spike help save the day.

Lessons: Spike determines the cause ("Spirits raised by a tailsman") Xander destroys it.
Beneath You: Xander determines the cause, Spike figures out what creature is and stops it saving Buffy, Xander solves it by convincing Anya to reverse wish.
STSP: Spike finds the cave, Xander assists - both know Willow didn't do it. (Neither saves day here..)
Help: Spike helps save Cassie
Selfless: Xander helps save Anya
Him: Xander/Spike save day

There appears to be a parallel going with the two male characters this season. Both saved the spirit with their hearts last year. Xander saved Willow and brought her humanity back with his love. Spike's love for Buffy reclaimed his soul.

Last year it was Willow and Buffy being paralleled - Willow and Buffy saved the world in the gift with their spirits.
And Willow was on top while Buffy was disconnected and floundering.

Now it feels as if Xander is on top and Spike is disconnected and floundering.

Yeah - I know the show is all about Buffy - but often we learn more about Buffy - through the other characters paths and how she views them and how it affects her own.

[> [> [> Breakfast: It's not just for Buffy anymore... -- ZachsMind, 16:40:41 11/09/02 Sat

The show used to be "all about Buffy." I don't think we can say that anymore. It's an ensemble piece. The core four and their relationships with supporting roles. When Giles isn't around, the more recent seasons (perhaps since season four) are as much about Xander & Willow as they are about Buffy.

Buffy is the central figure. NO doubt there, but Willow & Xander still play a key part in the core balance.

[> [> [> [> Re: Breakfast and other things: They're not just for Buffy anymore... -- aliera, 19:13:11 11/09/02 Sat

I agree. I can't find the quote but I could swear that Spike (the often insightful one) told us as much in Normal Again. But perhaps I'm confusing it with a JM interview...the downside of too much reading. ;-)

[> [> [> Re: Spike/Xander interaction (Spoilers for Season 7.1-7.6) -- alcibiades, 18:20:59 11/09/02 Sat

Sure the interaction is working, but that is because Spike has repressed his entire personality so that Xander can lead.

Xander thinks Spike is so dumb that he needs to repeat what the plan is about the jacket.

This is Spike, who effortlessly backed Buffy up on numerous occasions without condescending instructions told in great detail, because he got the score immediately. And Xander has witnessed that on plenty of occasions.

Buffy put Spike in his place in Xander's apartment -- the proverbial closet and -- after that he didn't think he had standing to say a word. All he did was follow orders. That's not Spike. He acted like the shell of who he is.

I don't think Xander would have been able to tolerate it for a minute if Spike had actually been Spike as opposed to the semblance of a minion on his team he could order around.

It is also very soothing for Xander's ego, because he gets to be the boss guy with the golden cap.

There were times in Season 6 and in Bargaining that these two tolerated each other when Spike actually had a full fledged personality that was a pleasure to watch. But allowing Spike to have a personality doesn't seem de rigueur these days.

I don't think it was a well oiled machine. It was Spike following Xander's command.

Maybe it is what Xander needs to keep his ego in place and to tolerate Spike, and maybe he'll actually learn from it and begin to open his mind a tiny crack about Spike, but if Spike had opened his mouth and exerted his personality during Him, I'm pretty sure Xander would have snapped and lost it completely.

[> [> [> [> An alternative: Spike becoming 'a kind of man' -- Tchaikovsky, 16:39:21 11/10/02 Sun

As a UK person, I haven't seen any of Season Seven, which is perhaps to balance out the egregious number of DVD's to which I have access. But just reading a number of posts above made me consider something about the Spike/Xander relationship.

Xander and Spike have never got on well. The lowest point for me is in 'Forever'. Xander has now doubt that Spike's sympathies are entirely cynical. In return, Spike's dismissal and world- weariness to Xander is huge if not disproportionate.

But now, they're both trying to escape the basement. And Xander has the head-start. Xander has made an attempt, (be it successful or hollow) to become a grown-up. To forge meaningful, loving but not lover's relationships with the Scooby Gang. To deal with being a modern man. No-one else in the Gang, (apart from absent Giles), has had to do that.

So to hit the main point- maybe Spike is beginning to see Xander as a role model. Xander has left his basement, and now Spike sets out on leaving his by moving into Xander's house. Spike quits the Old Vampire Quips, and in replacement attempts to be helpful and silent tio Xander. To learn from Xander.

It would be a neat irony if the character Spike most despised, and the character who most despised him, became his new Yoda. Xander never much liked the original Yoda either. Score one for the Heart


[> [> Spoilery comments on Nimrod/Spike and Xander -- Rufus, 17:11:40 11/09/02 Sat

I was reading Regeneration through Violence by Slotkin and found the following about "Nimrod"

It is striking that the American Myth of the hunter so closely resembles the creation myths of the Indians. This resemblance becomes even more stiking when on notes that is represents a distinct departure from the European mythology of huntsmen and sacred beasts. There the hunter, at least in the Christian era and in several pre-Christian cultures, has traditionally been regarded as an accursed being. His pursuit of beasts makes him bestial - a figure of lust, rapacity, and materialism. Esau, Nimrod, and Ishmael were proscribed in the Bible as "hunters". One of Dionysos' names was Zegreus ("Great Hunter"), which was interpreted by early Christian scholars as symbolizing "insatiable incontinence." The Norse mytholgy and the Arthurian legends deal frequently with the figure of the "accursed hunter"; the Greeks' Orion and Actaeon also come to mind. Most significant is the Christian tradition in which the hunter is regarded as deserting the central, spiritual quest in order to pursue ephemera on "the endlessly turning periphery of the wheel of phenomena." This was precisely the light in which Puritans of the seventeenth century and Europeans of the eighteenth century regarded the colonists' pursuit of life in America.

As I see both Buffy and Spike as hunter types I found this quote interesting in that Spike could be considered an "accursed hunter" and Buffy certainly feels like she lives out a curse instead of a life. Another quote came to mind when I think of Buffy and her situation....

If man could be a semidivine hero, wielding perfect power in the universe, then man was alone in his freedom and power, without the sustaining prop of an external divine authority. Such lonliness was insuportable: what evils might man not do if left totally to his own devices?

The Buffyverse is like a new frontieer where man has overcome the power of the old ones and taken over the purchase of this reality, but along with that there is a price and that price is payed by the solitary Slayer, the scapegoat that makes life as the Buffyverse knows it possible. But as times change so has the slayer, and the prey the slayer eternally hunts. Now we have a time in history where a great conflict is bound to go up a rung in tension, the results at this point unknown.

Back to Xander...he regards Spike as a beast, one that must be tamed or controlled. But Xander is also capable of great compassion and that has allowed him to open his home to "Nimrod"/ what will happen to both as a result of their interactions?

[> This is excellent -- Jay, 09:11:25 11/09/02 Sat

What's up with Xander again?

I've been wondering about this myself. I'll agree that the "sudden appearances" (gotta think of another word(s) for this) would normally suggest something sinister is before our eyes. But I think in this case - unspoiled spec - it isn't anything nefarious, not in "Him" anyway. At the most, it is probably foreshadowing for some ME plot twist later on. I've posted my specs before, but since I don't have any confidence in them, I won't bother digging them up again. Suffice it to say, Xander has been suspiciously helpful and central to what's been happening this year. That can't be good. For him, anyway.

[> [> Re: This is excellent -- aliera, 20:25:03 11/09/02 Sat

Wellll...perhaps not in the Jossian sense; but personally, I 've been waiting for another "Xander Story". ;-)

[> Brilliant! -- Rob, 09:30:38 11/09/02 Sat

I just have one tiny, minor nitpick about something I disagree with, and it's this:

"in "Help," all her Slayer tactics and actions didn't buy Cassie so much as one extra second of life."

I think that this misses a key point. No, Buffy was not able to help save her life, but what Buffy failed to acknowledge is that, had she been there, Cassie would have died a horrific, gory death. Instead, Buffy gave her the ability to slip away peacefully, and (it seems) non-painfully. Although Buffy's intention was not, of course, to just help Cassie's death be easier, she did accomplish that. So, while I understand your point that this is another case this year of Buffy's slayer abilities not saving the day, I think that this episode was meant to be an exception, in a manner of speaking. I think it was meant not only to reinforce the message to Buffy that she can't win every time, but to show her that even when her skills seem to have been used for nought, that she may have done more good than she had realized. I think it was meant as a clue to her that she can allow her human and Slayer sides to both be used to her advantage...she doesn't always have to distance herself...a message that she doesn't seem to have picked up on. Dawn said it best when she told Buffy that if it weren't for her, she never would have been friends with Cassie. Dawn didn't selfishly feel upset for allowing Buffy to talk her into making friends with a girl who ended up dying only a day or so later. Instead, she thanked Buffy for giving her even a short time to know this girl. Buffy did make a difference; I just wish she could realize it herself.

Other than that sentence, I loved the essay. Thanks to the author, if s/he reads it on this board, and thanks, Rufus, for posting it! It, along with some other gretas posts here this week, have opened up whole new levels of meaning into an episode I thought had only one.


[> [> Huh? "Gretas posts"?!? I meant "great". D'oh! -- Rob, 12:00:29 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> Thanks -- Rufus, 17:32:40 11/09/02 Sat

I was wondering if you had changed my name or something. Now you know what I'm up to most of the time. I'm usually lurking to find new goodies for everyone, and trying to keep that step ahead in the spoilers. Any post I've done is typed up as I sit with little time for grammar or spelling corrections cause I'm usually off to do something else. Everytime I find a new and great article it's like finding treasure. I've e-mailed the person who wrote this post and invited him/her to visit us.

[> [> [> Thanks -- aliera, 20:31:40 11/09/02 Sat

Very much appreciated Rufus...I only have time to skim and I'm sure there's many others in a like many thanks.

[> Wow. Excellent analysis. -- HonorH, 10:39:17 11/09/02 Sat

I like how even-handed you are with the characters. No demonizing, no sanctifying. You're looking at their actions with clear eyes and a clear mind and coming up with theories that I, personally, cannot find fault with.

With Buffy: I have to agree that she is trapped somewhat between states. The problem is, there are so many contradictions in her nature. She's the Slayer, which dictates that she must be a soldier, a policewoman. But she's also a mother-figure to Dawn. The Slayer, so tradition goes, stands alone. But Buffy's never done it that way, even though Slayer instinct and tradition say she must. I get the feeling that Buffy's actions are pretty much unprecedented in the history of Slayers, and unsurprisingly, she herself is ambivalent. There's a lot of tension there between what has been and what is, and even Buffy herself cannot answer the question of what must be.

[> Anya's actions and TV Guide spoilers for next week -- neaux, 14:36:42 11/09/02 Sat

Great post.. but as I watched Anya resort to robbing banks.. the first thought that popped in my mind was "The Troika."


Well as I received my TV GUIDE last week, I wanted to read a little more about next week's upcoming episode and I was spoiled. More spoiled than the trailer suggests.


Turns out that Johnathan and Andrew return from Mexico. Now before I get attacked for revealing this spoil, the point I'm trying to make is that I believe the whole Anya bit was just a foreshadowing of Johnathon and Andrew's return.. and I do believe this action will affect all 3. Anya, Johnathan and Andrew and to who takes the blame.

[> Re: Because this post is too damn good to miss...."Him" Themes -- Slain, 14:51:14 11/09/02 Sat

I said somewhere else that it's often the less popular episodes which generate the best responses, and here's an exmaple of that; I'm very impressed with this post - I agree with HonorH in that it's very even-handed - but, more importantly, even-handedly critical, which I think is a harder balance to achieve.

There was one thing I wanted comment on. It's usually taken as rote that Spike moulds himself to fit his loves, contrasting with Willow or Buffy who change (or don't change) mostly of their own accord. But I think Spike, in Season 6 in particular, has tried to mould Buffy to suit him; as I mentioned in a post below, he claims to see into her soul and understand her, but invariably this apparent understanding is based on how he wants her to be, much as Dracula tried to convince her that she was a creature of the darkness. In Season 6, Spike tried to to pursuade Buffy that his lifestyle was what she really wanted; however Buffy clearly isn't maleable in this way, and in the end made up her own mind.

But clearly Spike's more usual mode is to try to change himself; I think his mental confusion in Season 7 is in no small part a result of his inability to understand what Buffy wants him to be.

[> [> Agree on the even-handed criticism. -- HonorH, 15:25:32 11/09/02 Sat

All too often, reviewers (and I do not except myself) tend to justify their favorite characters while leaving less favored ones to twist in the wind. To be able to set aside one's inherent prejudices--and everyone has them--and point out both the strengths and the weaknesses of all, is a hard thing. Kudos to the author for being one of the rare few.

[> [> Re: Because this post is too damn good to miss...."Him" Themes -- aliera, 20:58:05 11/09/02 Sat

"But I think Spike, in Season 6 in particular, has tried to mould Buffy to suit him; as I mentioned in a post below, he claims to see into her soul and understand her, but invariably this apparent understanding is based on how he wants her to be, much as Dracula tried to convince her that she was a creature of the darkness."

Spike was at crtain points utilized very intentially for the that purpose...allowing the audience to see into Buffy's soul. I think his attempted drawing of her into the Dark came after...after, the failure of Spike to move into her world. The reaching for the cross in an early ep(foreshadowing much? and here I thought he was just reaching for the Light!) and his attempts to move about in daylight(shadow) early season 6 were our physical clues/symbols.

And re: Dracula...well, as they say...always bear in mind the source (and if he did truly understand the slayer heritage, maybe he felt he had a lever).

"But clearly Spike's more usual mode is to try to change himself; I think his mental confusion in Season 7 is in no small part a result of his inability to understand what Buffy wants him to be." is. So as disturbing as it was for the viewers, this was perhaps a necessary step for Spike (and as a corallary necessary for Buffy, as the fruit of her labours...something to face and assimilate/overcome...she chose to overcome, naturally, LOL).

I agree that he sought change. And perhaps, in part, for this reason...but, I am seeing Buffy as the catalyst for Spike's realization more than the sole reason. And I am seeing much more than this in what he is facing (lest we forget moulty demon, amongst other things...William predates Spike and is in there somewhere)...and yet, you are quite correct, it is a important part (the heart bleeds sometimes too)and no doubt a very horrific part. Not a simple show, thank goodness.

Salon article about the recent conference -- alcibiades, 07:02:06 11/09/02 Sat nce/index.html

[> Did Maeve Rigan write a report about it for the board? -- Rahael, 07:08:53 11/09/02 Sat

I saw Masq asking whether she could, but I may have missed Maeve's reply.

(Salon premium, grr argh)

[> [> Re: Did Maeve Rigan write a report about it for the board? -- Doriander, 07:24:24 11/09/02 Sat

Click on the Mercedes Benz banner and you'll have a sponsored access to Premium for a day.

[> [> [> Thanks! -- Rahael, 07:26:24 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> Salon premium -- ac, 07:34:57 11/09/02 Sat

If you scroll through 4 Mercedes ads you can see the entire article -- that is how I did it anyway.

This offer may be other places, but I found it here. _np.html

And then I somehow got taken right to the Buffy article.

[> [> Yes. Now it's Leslie's turn -- MaeveRigan, 17:00:06 11/09/02 Sat

My report was archived almost immediately, but I don't think Leslie has given us her version yet, so...

[> [> [> Your report will be in the ATPo archives as soon as they're done -- Masq, 20:11:49 11/09/02 Sat

The ones linked to at under "ATPo Archives" at the top of the page.

[> [> [> Re: Yes. Now it's Leslie's turn -- leslie (turning), 10:12:56 11/10/02 Sun

There were two interesting things about the conference: 1) that it was all about BtVS, and 2) that it was in England. The conferences I usually attend are Celtic Studies, folklore, and one or two popular culture conferences, and the thing is, in those, the overall topic is pretty general and the papers are about all different things--I mean, at a Celtic conference, people are talking about Gaulish linguistics, Welsh history, Irish folktales, Scottish archaeology, with a time frame stretching from about 700 BCE to the present. Here, everyone was talking about basically one television show (there was some attention to Angel, but not a whole lot), and even within that show, I would say a good 65% of the attention was given to Spike and Willow. Someone commented that it was weird that there were actually no papers specifically and solely about Buffy.

But the Englishness... I went to a number of papers dealing with "Englishness" in the series, and as Stephanie Zacharek pointed out in her Salon article, there was something kind of odd in the English take on Englishness in the series. For one thing, they were all quite adamant that "Englishness" (and they rightly pointed out that "Englishness" in the Buffyverse is invariably southern Englishness) was marked as being different while Americanness was just taken for granted, and this was somehow implied to be the standard American mindset--yes, George Bush and his minions all think that the American way is the greatest and we'll make the rest of the world go along with us or we'll bomb them all into oblivion, and all American cultural products fall right in with the party line, seemed to be the implication. Now, first of all, the oft-repeated rhetorical question of "What are all these Brits doing in Southern California" reveals that none of these people have ever been to Santa Monica, which is overrun with expat Brits. But more importantly, for all this implied cultural blindness on the part of Americans, it seems to me that there is some English cultural blindness here, too: the very presence of people with "other," non-native accents makes the contrasting Americanness "marked." It's only when everyone speaks exactly the same that you can take accent--all accent--for granted. Another thing that struck me was that while much appeared to be made of the mutual incomprehension between the teenage Scoobie's So Cal patois and Giles's stuffy Britspeak, no-one commented on the fact that none of the characters have any trouble understanding Spike. You would think that, on the incomprehension scale, culture-blind Americans would have the most trouble understanding a foreign (and often outdated) slang rather than standard, albeit multisyllablic, English. If the point is that Americans don't understand anything outside their own world, that we are so culturally dominant that we don't have to bother learning anyone else's "langauge," how come no-one has ever stopped Spike and asked, "What is this 'shagging' you're always talking about? Do you Brits have some kind of obsession with 1970's carpet and hair styles?" Finally, while many of the English academics were all too happy to go on about the relative cultural weight of Englishness versus Americanness, I found it interesting that no-one would touch with a ten-foot pole any question of what it means, within this American-English dynamic, that Angel is Irish--not only Irish, but that he appears to acquire an American accent pretty rapidly upon his aquisition of a soul.

[> [> [> [> Re: oh, and another thing -- leslie (completely flipping over), 10:43:59 11/10/02 Sun

One of the most interesting papers I heard was on "the dangerous power of speech acts" in BtVS, especially the act of wishing, by Jane Hodson. She was talking about the acts of wishing, promising, invoking, confessing, and inviting, and their consequences, but this has been making me think a lot more about the role of prophecy in both BtVS and AtS. I think there is part of me that is still astonished that Wesley believed everything that Burger-Legba told him (here connecting up with the whole Trickster thing--another really good paper, which was given in the same session as mine). But... it seems to me that there are two kinds of prophecy in the Buffyverse: written and visual. Written prophecies are almost always not what they appear to be, from the very beginning of the series: yes, the Master does kill Buffy, but the prophecy has nothing to say about the possibility of her being resuscitated. Written prophecies are about the dangers of reading into the text what you hope or fear to find there. The prophecies that do come true are dreams (Buffy's) and visions (Dru's), both of which are things *seen* which do not translate easily into words--Buffy's dreams are surreal, as dreams always are, and while they give her a heads up as to danger coming, they are not particularly useful for information on how to fight it, and the fractured nature of Dru's visions are reflected in her insane speech--or is her speech insane because she is constantly having visions? Again, interesting that Spike begins both seeing things and talking like Dru when he is "insane" in the basement, and his speech in the "from beneath you it devours" mode in Beneath You in the alleyway has an incredibly prophectic--and Dru-ish--ring to it, but what the hell does it mean? How does this inchoherent yet prophetic and "true" speech compare to spells that go awry? Especially Willow's spells in Something Blue--where it is her unconscious rather than her conscious intent that is magically implemented--and Tabula Rasa--where everyone's "true" nature surfaces when their conscious memories are erased? Not sure where this is going, but I have a feeling it's going to turn into a paper sooner or later.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: oh, and another thing -- Isabel, 12:16:20 11/10/02 Sun

It sounds like you had a great time.

Re: the Spoken/vision prophecies being more accurate than written. (Cordelia's visions are also very accurate.) Perhaps this has been mentioned, but one thing that has occured to me about Willow's Something Blue 'Will be done' spell is it may still effect the group.

Willow said "You don't see at all!" to Giles, which then blinded him slowly over the next couple of hours. Giles now lives in England where he can't see them unless he comes back to visit and it did take him a while to move there.

Willow called Xander a "Demon magnet" and all the nearby demons were drawn to him. Now every single girl/woman that Xander was really attracted to or dated has had or gotten a demonic aspect. Inca Mummy Girl, Preying Mantis Lady, Faith AND Buffy (the slayer may be part demonic,) Anya, of course, and Cordelia chose to become part demon to keep her visions. Plus the Xan-Man is now doing the Odd Couple thing with a vampire roommate.

Willow commented that Buffy and Spike 'should just get married' and they spent the rest of the episode planning their ideal wedding, and making out when they could.

*Note: During this love spell, Buffy said she 'loved' Spike* I'm not sure if that means anything in comparison to the Love Jacket in Him. Perhaps Willow's spell was stronger or maybe Buffy was still willing to admit to 'love.' Don't know.

Currently, Buffy and Spike have a sexual history, he's in love with her, she admits she has some feelings for him, although she's not sure what they are... yadda, yadda, yadda, we all know this. Last season could have taken care of their effects from the spell. Maybe. I think it could be a funny ending to the show if Mr. & Mrs. Randy Bigpilodust left Sunnydale for their honeymoon.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: oh, and another thing -- LadyStarlight, 13:11:08 11/10/02 Sun

One of the things I've always found a little off about the spell and its effects was that with everyone else, what Willow said happened. (blindness, demons, yada yada)

With Buffy, all Willow said was 'why doesn't she just marry Spike, then?' (imperfect quote, toddler has control of the VCR at the moment)

To me, that statement says nothing about love and certainly nothing about Spike loving Buffy. Had we suddenly cut to a shot of Buffy hauling a protesting Spike in front of a minister*, I think it would have made much more sense.

*Imagined dialogue:

B: I know, I know, this is ridiculous. I don't even like you! But I have to marry you now!

S: Bugger off and leave me alone! HEY, watch the jacket. (Spike is struggling in Buffy's grasp as she drags him into a church)

B: Hi, I'm Buffy, and I called about the wedding?

M: Certainly. If you and, uh ...?

S: Spike. And there is no fragging way I'm getting marr -- URK! (Buffy has just put him in a 'friendly' armlock)

B: (with a perky smile) He's just a little nervous. (she looks around the church) Oh, good. You got witnesses for us. Look, Spike, other people are here too.

S: Fucking wonderful. (he digs in his duster pocket & pulls out his cigarettes)
off Buffy's look) What!

B: Spike, dear, you can't smoke in church.

S: Why not? The Good Lord above going to turn me into a big pile o'dust?

B: No, but I might. (gestures to her jacket pocket) Then me & Mr. Big Pile O'Dust can get married. It'll make the honeymoon so much easier if I just have to take a Dustbuster.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: oh, and another thing ... LOL!! -- Isabel, 13:43:30 11/10/02 Sun

I love the dialogue. ;-)

Good point. The only thing I can rebut with is they're both romantics and in this day and age, you cannot get married without both parties' full consent. No minister would perform the ceremony if Spike was obviously unwilling.

Plus the gang's reactions were so much more funny. "Can I be blind too?"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: oh, and another thing ... LOL!! -- leslie, 14:10:53 11/10/02 Sun

And the scene in front of the dress shop was the only time, as far as I remember, that Riley was actually funny.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> really? -- Vickie, 16:27:59 11/10/02 Sun

I thought Ri's introduction was pretty funny. "I've forgotten my manners in all the concussion."

[> Link to article..... -- Rufus, 16:35:17 11/09/02 Sat

Deconstructing Buffy

Modern and mythical sexuality in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

[> [> Re: Link to article..... -- frisby, 15:53:57 11/10/02 Sun

Thanks Rufus! I wasn't able to read these before your urls.

Question re: OOS, OOM annotations... -- Rob, 12:08:17 11/09/02 Sat

Hey, guys...I'm working on the OOS, OOM annotation pages at the moment, and I came across the note about Buffy and Willow discussing that Marcie played the flute in band, just like Allyson Hannigan's character, Michelle, later did in "American Pie." I seem to recall in an early season 1 ep that there was another reference to band being a geeky extracurricular activity. And I think I even made a note about it. But I cannot for the life of me remember what ep it was in. Am I just crazy?


[> Re: Question re: OOS, OOM annotations... -- SpikeMom, 13:00:24 11/09/02 Sat

Just off the top of my head, I think Beauty and the Beasts had a scene at the beginning where Buffy, Scott, Debbie and her boyfriend are talking about the school's jazz band or marching jazz band.

[> Re: Question re: OOS, OOM annotations... -- Isabel, 16:04:11 11/09/02 Sat

The only thing I could think of was in the Puppet Show when Buffy was talking to the tuba(baritone?)-playing girl about Emily, the dancer who had her heart cut out. The girl mentioned that she wasn't close to Emily "'Cause of the whole band-Dancer rivalry."

"The Story of Season Five" - Buffy cast and writers commentary -- Rahael (Please read and justify the effort put in!), 12:15:24 11/09/02 Sat

The story of Season Five

[Clip of Buffy meeting Count Dracula]

Marti Noxon: The way we thought about Dracula was like if a rock star came to your town, like in the Vampire universe Dracula is David Bowie.

[Clip of the Scooby gang in Giles’ house, telling talking about Dracula]

[Dracula telling Buffy that he yearned for her]

Marti Noxon: Thematically, what we were going for was that Dracula represents a kind of dark side that Buffy feels she has in her.

[clip of Buffy meeting the First Slayer]

We approached it with the primitive in Season Four.

[Clip of Buffy of Buffy feeding on Dracula]

The scene in which Dracula makes Buffy bite him continues to explore the theme we had explored in season four

[clip of Buffy stabbing Faith]

which was how much of her power comes from inside her that is a killer. And we went as far as to have her actually take blood from Dracula because, in a way, we were saying it’s already there.

[Clip of Dracula saying: Find it. The darkness. Find your true nature]

This is the side of the Slayer she has to make peace with. Either she’s gonna go all the way and embrace the darkness or she’s going to find a way to live with it.

[Dracula says: Always Alone]

Those are constant themes in our show, which is about how you deal with power, and how you deal with your own darker impulses without becoming self-destructive or destructive to other people.

[Clip of Dawn writing in her diary]

David Fury: Real Me is told from Dawn’s perspective because we thought it was an interesting way to introduce her character, to get into her head and to see how the other characters appear to an outside observer.

[clip of Dawn and the Mad man – “curds and whey”]

A seemingly homeless man who’d recognise that Dawn did not belong in this universe. This was something we knew we needed to do, because the fans were going to go “why is this character suddenly here?”. We’d never explained her, and we kept that going five episodes, as Joss’ intention was. And at the same time I wanted to connect the references to Dawn to the mythology of the series, so I made the reference to “curds and whey”.

[clip of Buffy and Faith making the bed, from Season 3]

For those people who didn’t pick up that Faith’s reference to Little Miss Muffet was a reference to Dawn, I tried to connect it by giving him that little catch phrase.

[Buffy, Giles and Willow in the Magic Box]

The magic shop was a place to just ground all our characters, to give Giles some more meaning in his life, to make him a shopkeeper as opposed to an ex-librarian. It was a way for us to bring the Watcher and Slayer back together.

[Scene from Replacement, where real Xander bursts in on ‘evil’ Xander and Anya]

Jane Espenson: The motivation to write “The Replacement was, to some extent, Nicky has a twin brother.

Nick Brendon Having Kelly ethere was an added plus cos he’s my twin brother. He’s my best friend.

Jane Espenson How could you not take advantage of that? But it took a really long time to come up with a story that worked. We would talk about it. Joss wasn’t sparking to anything, so it would get put away. This notion came from Joss independent of thinking of something to involve Nicky’s twin.

[Giles exposition scene about the “Ferula Gemina”]

We were just thinking of the notion of “Someone else could do a better job with my life than I am.”

Nick Brendon: I play both parts on camera, but he had to know all the lines still cos of off-camera or an over-the- shoulder.

Jane Espenson We did a very strong mislead in our episode that the second Xander was evil. We gave him the flattened coin to play with because we really wanted to have that moment where Xander goes”Wait, You mean if I had dealt with my life with confidence, maybe I could make it be a better life? Maybe it doesn’t take magic to make my life better”

[Scene where ‘evil’ Xander gets a job promotion]

Nick Brendon That’s where he pulled it all together and he got the job at the construction site and hasn’t lost it yet.

[Clip of Riley telling Xander how much he loved Buffy…but she doesn’t love him]

Jane Espenson We had all been feeling this about the Buffy/Riley relationship. It had never had the fire that Buffy/Angel did. It wasn’t really meant to.

Marc Blucas We’ve all had a relationship with where you care about someone more than they do about you. Whether they’ve acknowledged it or know it themselves, there’s a difference. Two people are not at the same place and that’s where it was. I think Riley cared an awful lot about Buffy, to the point of probably it being his first love and was so head over heels, and didn’t feel he was getting that in return.

Jane Espenson Riley is the appropriate sunny college boy. I thought it was great that he knows it. And we realise in this episode that he’s known it the whole time. And to have Xander be the confidant, to have to walk through the rest of that season till they broke up with Xander knowing that this was going on.

Marc Blucas: It was a time when Riley’s friendship base was being yanked out from under him; he’s no longer in the military, all his friends have died. He needed a guy friend and Xander was the natural choice.

[Spike and Harmony at the Hospital confronting Buffy]

Rebecca Rand Kirshner: Spike is absolutely desperate. He’s going to kill the Slayer. He and Harmony are like the sort of “natural born killers”, this crazy couple. He’s not really paying atteniton to Harmony at all. His focus is always on Buffy. And you can see throughout the episode he’s obsessed, and you can see there’s another side to his obsession. And then at the end, there’s a jolt when he has a dream.

[Spike and Buffy kissing in his dream]

James Marsters: We’re reminded of what happens when Spike is truly in love, which was one of the interesting things a the start when we saw him in love with Drusilla that there really is real ove in there, and so that plays out from that moment on.

Joss Whedon: In season four he was the wacky neighbour – “Can I borrow a cup of sugar and insult you?” We were sort of feeling our way around about what to do with him. So I realised that he was madly in love with Buffy and always had been. The process by which we got to take him to that realisation was fun cos at first it’s “I’m a bad guy so it must be lust” and him actually figuring out it’s true love. And in Family there’s this tiny beat of “Oh, I want her dead, I have to save her”.

[Spike saving Buffy’s life from the invisible demon]

Which is different then “ooh, she’s a hottie”. It’s him trying to be a hero. And of course, because he’s invisible to her, she never figures out that he actually saved her. This was yet another increment of “This is more than just an infatuation with an archenemy”

[> Part Two - Includes Joss' comments on The Gift -- Rahael, 12:19:09 11/09/02 Sat

[Joyce collapses in the kitchen]

Rebecca Rand Kirshner: Joyce collapses and it’s frightening. It’s the beginning of Joyce’s larger arc where we’re revealing and revealing how serious her condition is.

David Solomon: I like that Joyce died a natural death. Her being killed by monsters or anything other than her just dying of a brain aneurysm would have cheapened the story line. I love the fact that Joyce was human and died that way. My own self, I was very sorry and miss Kristine because I love her. She’s a terrific woman, a good actress, a great mom.

Kristine Sutherland: I actually had known for a number of years. I was out of the country in season four, and when I went to tell them that I was gonna be going away, Joss was like “Well you will be back for season five cos I’m gonna kill you.”

[Riley telling Buffy he was leaving]

Marc Blucas: When Buffy doesn’t tell him first about her mom’s illness it was another thing, because it’s just one thing on top of another. It’s a slow build and it was a slow burn in Riley. He did everything he could, to the point of allowing himself to visit the dark side, to understand her.

[Glory knocking down a wall to confront a terrified monk]

Doug Petrie: This was one of the most fun introductions of a character that I can remember on the series that I had anything to do with. Having these giant doors smash open like King Kong.

Claire Kramer: Her full name is Glorificus, Glorificus, or Glory, was one of three gods that ruled in another dimension and was banished by the other two gods because she was too – quote, unquote – evil, or cruel, to rule with them anymore and was sent to Earth to live in the form of a male, which was the Ben character. And as the years went by, she learnt to manipulate his body to bring herself out at times.

Doug Petrie: When Buffy meets Glory she just gets the crap kicked out of her by Glory. Buffy is looking for answers and looking to find out what’s wrong and she not only gets more questions than answers, but when she confronts something, it’s “Give me something whose ass I can kick”, and she runs into not a monster, or a demon, or a vampire, but a girl her own dress size and age, apparently, who throws her around like a rag doll, and Buffy’s never met someone who looks like her who can beat the crap out of her. Even Faith was just as strong, but Glory’s a god. Glory can do much more than Buffy can.

[Buffy talking to near-death monk]

When the monk dies in Buffy’s arms and she learns that Dawn is the key, Buffy thinks that the attack on her mom is supernatural and she thinks that if it’s supernatural, she can handle it. And she sees that Dawn isn’t her sister and thinks “The answer is Dawn is hurting my mom. If Dawn isn’t real, she must be the problem.” and what she gets is much worse which is not only is Dawn not the problem, but Dawn is completely innocent and you still don’t know what’s wrong with your mom. It puts Buffy in a position of being greatly responsible, not just for the fate of the world, which is the Slayer’s job, but also for this person in her life, and for her mother. So Buffy really is forced to step up as the head of the household.

Joss Whedon: When she realises “Dawn is not actually my sister” and says “I don’t care, I feel a need to protect this girl” – it’s about accepting that family is part of your life, even when you think of yourself as independent, and it’s about the extraordinary love that a family can bring you. And we’d very much said Buffy’s love interest is going to be her sister for year five. We knew way back when. It actually started with a conversation I had with Doug Petrie in year three, where we said well, they’re going to college and we’ll do that crazy freedom in year four, and in year five, let’s bring it back to family.

[Scene from Family – confrontation between Scoobies and Tara’s family]

This episode was a way of saying that Tara was a member of it, stating very baldly: family are people who treat you like family, period, and not necessarily the people you are related to by blood. And in Family we say it very specifically because they talk very specifically about “you know, we don’t really understand Tara. We don’t get her. We’re not sure why Willow’s going out with her. That’s a new thing for us, but that doesn’t matter” and that’s the point of the show – these are the kind of people that even if they don’t necessarily agree with everything about a person, they have that person’s back, unconditionally.

[Scene of Ben meeting Buffy, Dawn and Willow in the hospital]

David Fury: Ben is a tragic figure, ultimately. Although eh takes a turn towards the end to become a little bit darker to save himself, ultimately, he is like Dawn. He is somebody who wasn’t meant to exist, who only exists through magic.

Doug Petrie: Ben is the counterpoint to Glory. He’s meek where she is sassy. He’s just this nebbishy guy and you think that he’s gonna be a love interest for Buffy. He’s kind of like Xander, he’s got a sense of humour, eh’s a doctor, a good guy, he’s cool.

Charlie Weber (Ben): I gave her my phone number in an episode and then she had a liberating conversation with Xander and decided she didn’t need any romantic interest, and so she blew me off. I wasn’t told that we were the same person until episode 13. We found out in episode 13. It was the first morph and it was kept a complete secret. I knew that I was related to the villain, but I had no idea we were the same person.

Stephen DeKnight: The gang almost learns that. We lear it as an audience, but then Dawn, when she’s relating the story to Buffy can’t remember what happened. She thinks Ben got away before Glory arrived. It’s all very confused. She could not legitimately remember. And we find out in a later episode that part of the hell god’s punishment of sending Glory to Earth inside this human vessel was that if she ever got out, if she ever got free for brief periods of time, no one would remember Ben equals Glory. No one human. Later on we find out that Spike, who witnesses the transformation, does remember, but nobody else does.
Why can’t she figure out Dawn’s the key? There are seevral reasons for this. One: yes she’s ahell god, but part of the reason that she’s insane is being forced to live in this vessel on our plane of existence has driven her mad.

Claire Kramer: She started feeling more as a human would. Over the season she developed feelings. She couldn’t put a name to them or pinpoint what they were. She just knew something was going on and she tried to verbalise them, at times having conversations with Dawn, at times with herself or her minions. She actually was taking on some of Ben’s feeings.

Steven DeKnight: She has very strong moments of psychosis and she has no idea what she’s looking for. She has no idea that the Key was pressed into human form. Because no matter how much she tortured the monks, they wouldn’t tell her what they did with it.

Jane Espenson: Glory can’t recognise the Key, and the interesting thing is the people who can are the people that she’s making crazy. All she would have had to do is realise that she had perfect Key trackers in her presence the whole time.

[Willow and Tara cast a spell to make Glory disappear in the hospital]

Steven DeKnight: Willow’s increasing power was very important to this story arc because it gave someone strong enough to stop Glory, or at least slow her down and we’re also setting up a lot of major issues with Willow and her power for season six. Specifically in season five we were builidng up to Willow confronting Glory after Glory brainsucks Tara

[scenes of black eyed Willow confronting Glory, and Tara getting brainsucked]

Jane Espenson: Glory has to suck brains out of people to keep herself sane. We’ve seen that she gets jittery and irrational and then she’ll put her fingers in someone’s head and suck out their brain. They go crazy, but she can keep going a little more. These are her medication. We also know it’s dangerous for her to do this as it leaves a trail of crazy people in Sunnydale.

[April meeting Anya and Willow]

The big joke of this that we had in mind form when we started breaking this episode was that we weren’t going to do what we did in Ted which is the mislead of “oh it’s a human being – no it’s a robot” This one we wanted to make clear from the beginning. This is the first time we meet Warren, who becomes a main villain in season six. This is the first time we establish him.

Adam Busch: I don’t see Warren as a villain. I don’t see him as a typically evil person, that’s what’s so great about him. I think he’s a human being. He has flaws and he has positives and he’s always given the chance for redemption and he’s always given that moment where he can do the right thing that he never ever does because he is flawed and he does have a lot of issues and an inability to communicate or talk to anyone or really explain what it is that he wants.

Jane Espenson: When Buffy’s talking with Warren about his break-up with April, she’s actually identifying with him, because she did a lot of the same stuff with Riley that he did with April.

[Spike places an order with Warren]

James Marsters: The writers devised a way to get the characters of Spike and Buffy together because there was a lot of call to get them together, but structurally it’s almost impossible. So we get the episode where the spell is cast in “Something Blue” when they almost get married and you see the Buffy-bot stuff.

[Buffybot wakes up and kisses Spike]

Jane Espenson: This is one of my favourite things I’ve seen Sarah do was how she does the Buffy bot. It’s just hilarious. The cheerfulness, the getting Giles’ name wrong which was Joss’ idea. He’s aggravated by people who claim to be fans of the show and then pronounce his name “Guyles”.

[Real Buffy pretends to be Buffybot and kisses Spike]

The kiss at the end of this episode is a huge milestone. She finds out for sure, by pretending to be the Buffybot that Spike did not betray her, that he did not tell Glory that Dawn is the Key. Buffy owes him a genuine debt of gratitude and gives him a kiss at the end of this episode, still in the guise of the Buffybot.

[Buffy tells Giles’ she’s afraid that she’s nothing more than a killer]

Buffy is afraid she’s losing it and goes on a quest in the desert and follows the mountain lion and sees the Primitive, the original Slayer.

[First Slayer tells Buffy “Death is your Gift”]

This information, “Death is your Gift” is what lets her know that throwing herself off that tower is going to be the right thing to do at the end. But at this point she takes it very badly. She does not yet understand what it means.

[Scene from Weight of the World, where Buffy tries to smother Dawn]

Doug Petrie: Buffy feels that she killed her sister, by failing, and she feels that she’s a failure as a sister and she’s a failure as a slayer. Those are the only two things she’s got. She’s got her friendships, she’s got her family, she’s got her job. And she’s not doing those well right now and she feels that she got Dawn killed. This is about as close as Buffy gets to self-destruction, I think. Her body and brain just shut down on her. She just goes catatonic.

David Solomon: Willow attempts to do a spell to go into her head and find out what’s going on. In there we meet Buffy as a young child and we see the memory Buffy has as a young girl of watching her mom and dad come home, bringing Dawn home, the baby. It was a great trip through Buffy’s mind. And when she gets older and watches herself in the library sequence where she has this moment of clarity and then she begins to have a conversation with herself and asks how she felt at the time. And Willow’s in on the conversation, and the three of them – Buffy, Buffy and Willow have a conversation about what it’s like to be the Slayer and live this life she leads and how damaging it is to be this person all the time, to be human and a slayer. And it explains a lot about Buffy and a lot about how she deals with her everyday life.

[Scene from The Gift – Buffy jumps off the tower]

Joss Whedon: I wanted to kill Buffy at the end of season five. I think originally I had thought about the idea of ending the series then, and I wanted to make that day truly different and also sum up the whole series. That’s why the Gift begins with a very generic vampire killing where she rescues a boy who’s like, “you’re just a girl”. That was the original mission statement of the show. And even in the middle of all this stuff that’s going on with Glory, I wanted to be able to say that this is what we started with, because in a way we were finishing. I knew we weren’t finishing. I knew I was gonna bring her back. And those who have watched season six have seen it’s about “I was done! Why am I back?”, and dealing with the pain of “I had closure, but life continues.” The question of what is a Slayer which we brought up in the very first episode, what does it mean, does it just mean being a killer? And answering that with “No, it means living in a world where life and death are an issue and putting your life on the line.” That’s what she learns about being a slayer, and it’s beautiful thing. Obviously, self sacrifice goes fairly deep into several mythologies. And it just felt like a way to get back to the very personal journey of this girl an the huge mythic 100th episode finale that I felt the 100th episode, which was just coincidentally the season finale, deserved.

[> [> Would also help.... -- Rahael (being shameless), 12:21:53 11/09/02 Sat

if this thing lived for a little, you know? So if you read it, let me know or something. Remember, replies keep threads alive!! (I did HTML and everything!!!)

Now I'm off to have a rest.

[> [> [> "I did HTML and everything" -- Vickie, 12:30:47 11/09/02 Sat

What are you, channeling Willow? Still, thanks again.

Read this folks! Really good stuff if you don't live in Europe (or wherever else they already have S5 DVDs).

[> [> [> Thanks very much, Rah! -- HonorH, 12:36:25 11/09/02 Sat

For those of us who don't have access to the DVDs, it's great to see what the various Powers have to say about S5. It was a great season, possibly the strongest (thus far), and I'm loving getting the inside view.

[> [> [> [> Kudos, Rahael!! -- peitho, 12:57:38 11/09/02 Sat

Season 5 was one of my favorites, and I love reading all the interesting tidbits. Many thanks!

[> [> [> [> [> Rahael!! So much great inside info! This is wonderful. -- Briar Rose, 16:34:41 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> [> Thanks! This is great! -- MaeveRigan, 17:19:43 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> [> Adding my thanks to the mix -- Cheryl, 18:10:38 11/09/02 Sat

I also liked that they did a review of the season and not just reviewed certain episodes.

I know Season 3 is coming out soon on DVD (in the US), but is there a schedule for when the rest of the seasons will be out?

[> [> [> thanks Rahael -- tost, 22:24:23 11/09/02 Sat

That there are people here who care so much for BTVS that they are willing to do this is my first, best reason for coming.

[> [> Thanks so much for these! -- lachesis, 13:35:15 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> thank you, this is great ! -- Ete, 13:57:30 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> Wow! -- Isabel, 16:46:18 11/09/02 Sat

That's a LOT of work! How long did this take you? Thank you, considering I can buy Season 3 in 2 months.

[> Thank you! thank you! (enthusastic applause) -- Vickie, 12:22:03 11/09/02 Sat

Amazing, isn't it, how many minutes on screen boil down to how few pages? Another kudo to all the ME writers, for getting so much into their allotted pages.

Thanks for doing this. It was fun.

P.S. "the wacky neighbor"?

[> Great stuff. Thanks. -- Sophist, 12:27:22 11/09/02 Sat

[> Fantastic... -- KdS, 12:35:10 11/09/02 Sat

"She's such a cute little [copyright] delinquent"

[> Yay for Rahael! -- ponygirl, 12:48:02 11/09/02 Sat

You are indeed the goddess of transcription, we should take up a collection to send your tired fingers to a spa!

I quite like this idea of doing an overview for the season, it's a different perspective than the individual episode commentaries-- forest rather than the trees. I hope they do it for season 6.

[> [> Let's not forget Tchaikovsky! -- Rahael, 13:48:12 11/09/02 Sat

His/her fingers saved me from doing a whole commentary. Usually I do a couple and get really sick of doing them, but this time, I got around to doing an extra.

[> [> [> A double Yay to the both of you..... -- Rufus, 16:43:16 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> [> Wow -- Tchaikovsky, 15:46:59 11/10/02 Sun

Dedication and scary computer knowledge. You're up there with Masq and Rob; (apologies to all other people who qualify in both groups- I'm too much of a newcomer to know).

Still thinking about doing 'Real Me', but have been away from the DVD over the weekend visiting lovely, lovely parents.

And you don't know my gender yet? Excellent. I'll try to continue the sexlessness, and see if anyone finds out. (Masq has my submitted profile, so that would be cheating)


[> [> Re: Thanks, Rahael -- Brian, 04:52:31 11/10/02 Sun

[> [> Re: Yay for Rahael! -- Pilgrim, 07:58:47 11/10/02 Sun

And for Tchaikovsky too. Thanks for the hard work!

[> Great work, Rah! Thanks so much for bringing some new enlightenment on my (so far) favorite season. -- Rob, 13:24:22 11/09/02 Sat

[> Thanks so much Rah. And congrats on the HTML stuff. ;) -- LadyStarlight, 13:43:15 11/09/02 Sat

[> Thanks for the hard work-it's fascinating -- Arethusa, 14:23:20 11/09/02 Sat

[> Thank you so much for this Rah! Really appreciate it. -- shadowkat, 14:56:54 11/09/02 Sat

Was feeling down and out today and seeing this on the board cheered me up. Cool.

[> [> You too? -- Rufus, 17:24:08 11/09/02 Sat

The bad....went for session FIVE of my root canal.....I still have one more (they said that last time)....and feel rather shitty cause they have to give me enough freezing to fell a horse.

The Good.....I woke up to see this transcript...I of course saved it on my harddrive with all the others and posted it over at the Trollop Board....but everytime I see a commentary be it on tape or just the transcript I feel and must look like Giles when Willow gave him the pages from the Books of Ascention in season three.

[> [> [> yup and a little insight on writing process (spoiler STSP, 7.4) -- shadowkat, 20:42:05 11/09/02 Sat

Ugh root canal. My sympathies. For me? Just squicky stomach,
depression (ie. came down from euphoria and woke up to grim reality of unemployment) from aftermath of quitting evil workplace, and sinus headache from hell.

Came online to calm myself down. ahhh the healing power of Buffy. I printed it off. Read it. And let's just say - it's good to know my reading of the show is more or less the same as the writers.

BTW there's a slightly spoilerly article by Jane Espenson on the firefly site, can find which details the script-writing process at Btvs.

Here's a brief paraphrase of it: (for those of you who are afraid of the smallest spoiler, there's a teeny one for Nov 10th episode regarding Buffy's character arc, which I've taken out of this analysis)- According to Espenson: They start writing an episode by figuring out the idea - this Joss brings in and it always begins with the main character (which in Espenson's case) is usually Buffy. They spend a lot of time discussing her emotional state, and how they want her to change over the course of the season. Frequently this in itself will suggest a story area - they will find a story which we explore her mental state metaphorically. Example in STSP - they centered around Willow - they wanted to explore her emotional distance from the other characters - so it turned into a story in which no one could see or touch Willow and vice versa.

Once they have the central theme and understand how the main character will change during it, they start breaking the story - which is done as a group with the entire staff participating, except for whomever is writing script for previous episode. But the breaks are all written on the white board near Joss office.

What's clearly stated in the article: is the script goes through numerous drafts, starts with an outline - a detailed outline, then to script - with dialogue spelled out, then the first draft is turned in. The writer gets back a set of notes. These notes rarely result in rethinking the episode, the broken story remains the same, it's the words expressing it that may change. Then with the last draft - Joss, Marti or Tim take the script and make a quick rewriting pass of their own which produces the Shooting Draft.

For complete article? See - and Jane Espenson on Writing Process - also found on Firefly site.

[> [> [> [> I posted the essay over at the Trollop Board -- Rufus, 06:43:54 11/10/02 Sun

I just love Jane Espenson, she is just so nice....Canadian nice..... She has a voice of someone who wouldn't harm a fly. I've heard a an interview and a commentary from her and enjoyed them both.

So, sorry to hear about the sinus...yesterday in the "chair" I'd be tempted to switch with you but at least at some point in December (I hope) my ordeal will be over...sinus infections can drag on so. You have to take care of yourself...the first start was leaving the evil job...I've done that before and it was a learning experience. In the end the best thing that happened to me.

The latest transcript Rah has done was just a confirmation of what I felt about season five. Spike had done exactly what I thought he would....but the most touching story was about Buffy. I remember and Masq can confirm it (that will teach her for thinking she could wrap gifts in peace) that the Christmas break season five I wrote a simple post "Buffy is a Killer"....and the dust flew...I'm no writer but I felt such sorrow for someone who had to destroy, kill, and never asked for the job. Her fears of becoming inhuman were well founded. People joke about killing....the usual Buffy was mean to someone she deserves to die.....but if you've seen some of what I have, killing is a tragic, final solution that should never be taken lightly. Buffy worried about the fact that she had become so accomplished at what she did that she was turning to stone, becoming somewhat mechanical at what she did. This seperates her from all others in that she never gets to stop and like a gunfighter there will always be someone out looking to kill the Slayer for the repuation. Combine all this and add in Dawn and Buffy found just what a slayer could be and as Joss said it was beautiful. For those who aren't fond of Dawn I think they miss out on the fact that Buffy discovered something more than herself in season five, she found her love for her sister was something worth dying that point on that tower being the Slayer was exactly what she wanted to be and the part of her in Dawn that looks at life with joy could live on. At that moment she was no longer just a killer she was a bringer of life.

[> Yippie.......the Trollops will be very happy to see this -- Rufus, 16:38:59 11/09/02 Sat

Thank you for all the work and HTML that went into the commentary.

[> Great Job!!!!!! -- Sara, 18:18:59 11/09/02 Sat

You gave us lovely entertainment where Darby read it aloud to me while I lay on the couch in my pjs. Can you think of a nicer way to spend Saturday night? I can't! Poor Darbs has no voice now, but I was comfy and happy so he gave it up for a good cause. (And doesn't really need it, since in all fairness I should always have the last word.)

[> [> Hey, Sara, did you notice you were quoted in Masq's analysis of "Supersymmetry"?!? -- Rob, 18:42:10 11/09/02 Sat

[> [> [> Too Cool!!!!! -- Sara, who has decided that worms are just not tasty at all!, 06:10:00 11/10/02 Sun

[> Many thanks, Rahael... -- aliera, on a quick pass-through..., 19:05:57 11/09/02 Sat

[> Thanks for the effort Rah. Hope you're doing well. -- darrenK, 19:23:52 11/09/02 Sat

[> Rahael, thank you so much!! -- Dyna, 12:37:53 11/10/02 Sun

Eden Studios Press Release -- lonegunman, 13:07:08 11/09/02 Sat

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game—Director’s Screen.

Buffy: "Are you mad at me?"
Riley: "I’m plotting your death… in a happy way."
5.2 Real Me

As the Director for Eden Studio’s popular and visually stunning Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game, your job is to plot and plan exciting adventures pitting the Slayer and her friends against ever more fiendish forces of darkness. The last thing you need are those nosy do-gooders hitting the wrong books . . . yours!

With the Director’s Screen, released this week for the Buffy RPG, you get a glorious, full-color four-paneled display covered with cool Buffy images and designs. That gives your players an eyeful, while you keep the action fast and furious using the charts and tables handily printed on the other side. And the whole pretty package can be set up in front of you to keep those advantage-seeking players from your carefully plotted plots!

Included with the Screen is a handy 56-page booklet. The first section is filled with game-running and season-mastering tips and ideas to help every Director create a ratings-busting series. Whether you are a novice or a veteran roleplayer, this stuff will help you become the storymaster with the mostest in no time. The rest of the booklet presents three interrelated, ready-to-run Episodes to pit against your gang of white hats. That’s right, it’s a plug-and-play addition. Are you ready to rock!

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Director’s Screen is the first supplement for the critically acclaimed Buffy roleplaying game and is written by Paul Chapman.

For more information about the official Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game, visit

[> Is there anybody out there playing Fudge? -- ZachsMind, 13:32:21 11/09/02 Sat

Personally I prefer the mechanics of Fudge Buffy cuz 1) It's a very 'keep it simple stupid' concept of RP gameplay, focusing more on roleplay and less on dice rolls, and 2) it's cheaper - read: free. My days of spending my parents' money on a new RPG book every week are over. My pocketbook can't handle the Eden Studios addiction.

Oh, and if anyone's got any PBEM Fudge Buffy RPGing going on lemme know, cuz I've always wanted to try that but don't have the time or resources to start one from scratch on my own.

RJ in Him -- M, 18:52:12 11/09/02 Sat

I've read lot's of people say that they are unsure wether RJ knew about the jacket. I think it was pretty clear he didn't. If he did wouldn't he be slightly concerned about it's theft? And how would he know? He brother obviously didn't because he wouldn't have mentioned it to Xander if he had.

[> Counterpoint -- ZachsMind, 21:09:53 11/09/02 Sat

I got the indication he suspected. He made a point to put on his jacket when Buffy was doing her little "I'm almost a teacher" speech at him, and he just sat there. It wasn't like he was about to leave, yet. What? He suddenly got cold?

He was probably never told that it was a magic jacket. His brother was obviously clueless or else he'd STILL be wearing it and wouldn't be living with his mom. However, I think if RJ hadn't already got some clue to the cause & effect here, he was slowly starting to get it. The mental process was probably something like, "I don't wear the jacket, and women don't drool. I wear the jacket. Women drool. Women must dig the jacket. S'okay, I'll wear the stupid jacket."

The word 'magic' may not even be in his vocabulary. Certainly he could never spell 'thaumaturgy.' Still, he was using what he had and workin' it. Kinda makes ya wonder where the line's drawn. When we mere mortals dress to impress, are we just doing what comes natural, or if an individual is capable of getting more than the usual success in attracting the preferred gender, is it somehow wrong?

I mean, was RJ innocent cuz he was just going with what works? Is the fact it happened to be a magic jacket what made it wrong, or should he not have been talking women into doing his homework for him anyway? Maybe those who have the non-magical Power of Persuasion should take a page from Uncle Ben Parker's book: With great power comes great responsibility.

[> [> Re: Counterpoint -- Darby, 06:27:01 11/10/02 Sun

This is part of the metaphorical juiciness here:

The fact that it was a magic jacket made it easier to see the problem with using it to influence honeys.

But Xander, quite rightly, brought a focus to the fact that the jackets have a "magic" all their own - is the implication here that one should not use some sort of external trappings to attract the opposite sex? Is it always wrong?

It better not be - our whole societal structure revolves around such signals. If I can slide tangentially, it's an evolution thing, like a peacock's tail - they're all semi- indirect signals of some sort of advantage that really could (from an evolutionary standpoint, really should) influence mate selection. A letter jacket, a cool car, being part of a band, a set of implants (or the real items they represent), a position saving the world, a military uniform, lots of money, these all imply powers of resource acquisition that mean something down the road to a family.

- Darby, who often sees the world through two prisms: Buffy and evolution. How geeky is that???

[> [> [> Re: Counterpoint -- Copper, 10:20:03 11/10/02 Sun

There is another way to see the world? :)

[> [> [> Evolution, schmvolution -- Sara - devolving as we speak, 11:31:53 11/10/02 Sun

Yea, yea, evolution - fine to a point, but hopefully not what we base ethical behavior on. Its all very fun to be attractive, have people drooling all over you (I least I assume it is, it always looks fun on tv) but evolution doesn't give you any get of jail free cards in how you treat other people. Projecting an image that inspires people to like you is one thing, manipulating that image to inspire people to allow you to use them is another - having girls do your homework isn't cool even if you appear reproductively fitter than the guy at the next locker over.

- Sara, who's proud of her prehensile toes

[> [> [> Re: Counterpoint -- Jarrod Harmier, 04:13:47 11/11/02 Mon

Darby, it doesn't matter that "our whole societal structure revolves around such signals." It doesn't matter that many people practice it, it's still always evil. (I refuse to use the word "wrong", because I feel it sanitizes the discussion.)

Anyway, when questionnaires ask men and women to rank order what they are looking for in order a romantic partner, statistical analyses show that "kindness" is listed first for both populations.

Jarrod Harmier

Caffeine fuels my body, B/X fuels my soul.

[> [> [> [> Re: Counterpoint -- Copper, 07:04:01 11/11/02 Mon

Evil?! Much trouble with shades of gray?

The first thing anyone notices is appearance. Kindness is desirable, but that comes later, after you get to know someone, someone you've picked on the basis of appearance.

[> [> [> [> Evil? Statistics are evil! -- Darby, 07:46:43 11/11/02 Mon

Kinda underscores the old saw that anything can be supported by statistics.

It's not that I'm denigrating kindness, but I've never seen such a study where kindness was even mentioned among the top 5 attributes. One wonders what sort of meta-analysis could put it at the top.

I'm with Copper on the black-and-white thing, though. How can our biological make-up - I'd contend that "many people practice it" should read "virtually everyone practices it" - be classified as evil? Even something like self-interest, connectable to way more evil acts, can't be blanket- described that way.

[> [> [> [> [> Lies, damned lies, and statistics -- Sophist, 09:24:00 11/11/02 Mon

OTOH, lying is almost certainly "part of our biological make- up", and we don't hesitate to call that wrong or evil in many cases. The mere fact that we are biologically capable of an action doesn't constitute a moral justification.

I don't see the connection at all between moral judgments and our biological make-up. JH's description of the sending of signals as "evil" strikes me as overly moralistic (women wearing high heels or lipstick are evil??), but the challenge to that conclusion comes not from biology but from ethics. JMHO.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics -- Darby, 10:46:44 11/11/02 Mon

I don't equate the two (lying and reacting to physical signals) - deception isn't really a biological attribute, although it relates to the human ability to empathize (I can only delude you if I understand the differences between what I know and what you know). As a biological attribute, empathy has an upside and a downside, just as reacting to attractiveness signals does. I'm differentiating a capability from a prerogative (or as close as you can get to one with humans). I'm a firm believer that ethics have a firm biological underpinning (but you knew that about me, right-?), where we differentiate individual prerogatives from social / group ones.

And, of course, there are those who don't see lying as wrong, necessarily. But I figured that wasn't really the point here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL -- Sophist, 12:20:49 11/11/02 Mon

I chose lying for my example for 2 reasons: it's close to the sort of deception in mate selection that was the original example; and evolutionary psychologists argue that lying is a behavioral characteristic subject to natural selection. I thought you'd appreciate the example. Instead, you gave me a perfectly Gouldian response. Poetic justice, I suppose.

In any case, regardless of examples, I'll stick with my main point: the fact that behavior might be (or be based on) a biological attribute tells us nothing about its morality. That's a separate question altogether. Ethics are mental constructs, not things existing in the real world. Biology tells us nothing about ethics and vice versa. But you probably knew that about me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I gotta ask -- Darby, 12:49:47 11/11/02 Mon

How broad a "never the twain shall meet" between biology and ethics do you subscribe to? Are societal rules, many of which are close enough to universal to be seen (well, maybe only to me) as biological constructs, different from ethics? Are we having another of those syntax game moments?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You gotta ask, I gotta answer -- Sophist, 13:09:34 11/11/02 Mon

Broad. I don't see that biology provides any foundation for ethics. Nor that it undermines ethics. "Ethics" exist, as I said, purely in the realm of ideas. Natural selection operates purely on tangible physical things. Even if there are univeral social rules, I wouldn't agree that univerality implies a biological construct (I'm not quite sure what that term means). There are far too many easier explanations for most rules than that.

The twain can meet, but only at the most tautological level that everything we humans do is a reflection of our human biology.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> He answered tentatively... -- Darby, 13:44:06 11/11/02 Mon

Okay, not going down that road again, but "biological construct" involves some inherent (but not necessarily genetic) trait that could define a species. It's assumed, for instance, that the universality of music implies that it is the nature of the human beast, and therefore a strongly adaptive trait dating back to or before the first humans. Everyone doesn't have to be individually musical for this to work. Then the fun begins - adaptive how? I've read articles trying to answer the same questions about humor and grief, as well as one about rape that most here are aware of. But some rules of ethical conduct, if agreed upon as "universal" (that's tough, and usually involves some questionable syntax), could be considered as constructed adaptively. It maybe wasn't such a great term for it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: He answered tentatively... -- Sophist, 14:01:52 11/11/02 Mon

I can see humor, grief, and music as traits, and therefore subject to adaptation, but I don't see any particular ethical principle as a trait. "Having ethical systems" could be seen as a human trait and could well be adaptive (though how one would show that is beyond me).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: He answered tentatively... -- Darby, 15:40:04 11/11/02 Mon

I'm having trouble coming up with a universal ethical prohibition - brain's fried today, but I'm sure others can think of some. In the same way that "grief" is a subset of "emotional" and can be a specific trait in and of itself, specific ethical rules - if you stick to within a group, things like requirements for honesty and fidelity and not indiscriminately hurting others could be seen as adaptive (and so could negative variants on them, enough to keep them around but only in limited play).

I know that last part makes no sense, so let me give an example of a "dishonesty" trait that is only adaptive restrictively. Male sunfish clear and defend nesting sites. When females come by, they inspect the site and if it looks good for their offspring, they do a mating ritual "dance," during which they lay eggs to be fertilized. Some male sunfish are marked like females and "crash" the dance (the first male just figures he's attracted 2 females), fertilizing the eggs without setting up territory. For those 2nd males, individuals, it's a terrifically adaptive trait, but there's a limit to how far it can apply in a population before obvious limitations kick in - dishonesty, though prohibited, can be used by some adaptively but there is a limit to how widely it can apread before selection pressure against it reduces it again. Whether the dishonesty is abstract or literal seems irrelevant.

Okay, done now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You don't have to stop... -- Sophist, 16:36:15 11/11/02 Mon

Your example is a good one. It's an example of behavior (since, I assume, we agree that sunfish lack ethical systems and your use of the term dishonesty was anthropomorphic). I agree that "dishonest" behavior can be the subject of selection. Where I'm having the problem is the claim that a belief system emphasizing honesty in general could be subject to selection. In other words, I'm distinguishing between the behavior and the belief which led up to it. The former can be selected. The latter cannot (by nature, I mean; I'm not resurrecting our meme debate here).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Okay, taking a sunfish-like nibble... -- Darby, 20:25:19 11/11/02 Mon

I'm trying to avoid memes, but the concepts are the same - the deceptive behavior of the sunfish, inherited through a gene combination, and human deceptive behavior, a combination of genetic personality and epigenetic (passed down from parents nongenetically) inherited societal values, are to a large extent treated as adaptive and equally subject to individual variation, selection and mutation. Y'see, it's primarily this well-accepted part of biology, that epigenetic traits can be equivalent to genetic ones, that memetic theory is based upon, so I can't expound without touching on it again, but specific ethical ideas, and not just the tendency to have them, can be treated as separate heritable traits, as grief can be treated as a separable heritable emotion.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics -- Jarrod Harmier, 11:15:17 11/11/02 Mon

1) I know some would see many of my views as overly moralistic, but then I'm an moral absolutist and not a moral relativist. I gave up on moral relativism a few years ago.

And it's probably a shocker for any one to know I'm an atheist, too. (I'd probably get labeled as a "fundie" if I didn't mention that.)

2) Also, to be clear, I have in the past judged some females that I've known based on purely on attractiveness and I'm not proud of myself for it. I still do it but I try to keep it and check because I know it's wrong.

3) Sophist, your example of a woman wearing high heels or lipstick would not be evil if the woman did these things based only on the fact that she enjoyed doing them for herself.

The same thing goes for men as well. I had a friend several years ago who loved to wear suits. He wore suits just all the time. Was that evil? No. He wore suits based only on the fact that he enjoyed wearing them. (I didn't get it, though. I wear a t-shirt, shorts and a pair of tennis shoes even during the winter.)

The reason that dressing up in a certain way that is designed to attract someone is evil is because if you look at it there is an intent--which I forgot to mention in my original post (sorry)--to manipulate another person into thinking about you in a romantic sense that is governed by external qualities rather than internal qualities (kindness, humor, intelligence, etc.). Of course, it is certainly not as evil as trying to get someone drunk.

Jarrod Harmier

Caffeine fuels my body, B/X fuels my soul.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> But... -- Darby, 12:29:33 11/11/02 Mon

My original point is that the external signals are indicators of internal qualities that have definite relevance to a long-term relationship and so cannot be "wrong" in any absolute sense. There is a reason that virtually all cultures share many aspects of what passes for "beautiful" or "attractive" in women and men. What's being hinted at is health, strong genetic traits and prosperity, which are not evil things to consider. I'm not suggesting that they should be the sum total of what makes a prospective mate desirable (that is definitely misplaced absolutism, and I doubt you see yourself as absolute that way), but there's nothing inherently wrong about that being part of the process.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But... -- Jarrod Harmier, 13:24:35 11/11/02 Mon

I get what you're saying. If an external quality is an absolute reflection of some internal quality, I have no problem with it.

Jarrod Harmier

Caffeine fuels my body, B/X fuels my soul.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Appearance and evil: a "fundie" perspective -- HonorH, 12:36:03 11/11/02 Mon

Hiya, Jerrod. I'm also a moral absolutist. I'm also a fundamentalist Christian. Just FYI.

Here's where I draw the line: dressing up in hopes of attracting someone's attention isn't evil in itself. Doing it in hopes of stealing someone's spouse is, but in the case of a simple man/woman equation? No problem. Dressing up, making yourself attractive, is simply a way of getting attention. Once the attention is gained, you can go on to demonstrate your inner qualities, which, hopefully, will spur on a romance. Dressing up merely shows interest. It shows you care. The purest form of your thesis would be the man who never bathes because he believes that a woman who truly loves him will accept his stench as well, which totally ignores the fact that if he loves her, he'll take her feelings into account and clean up so she won't turn green while hugging him.

In other words, I don't think that RJ's putting on his jacket because he realizes it makes him attractive to women is evil in itself (just as I don't think Dawn making herself up to attract RJ is evil). His manipulation of those women, however, is. The fact that he uses girls to do his homework, appears to pit them against each other and his rivals, and generally goes through them like candy, is evil.

[> [> [> [> [> Statistics are the truth and the way! -- matching mole, 20:23:59 11/11/02 Mon

Being more or less serious here. Sure you can mislead with statistics; that just makes them the same as any other method of communication. The populational, probabilistic world view of statistics is the causal equivalent of the shades of grey in a morally complex world. I see the world through the lenses of frequency distributions and scatter plots and varying levels of uncertainty.

Back to the topic at hand. It seems to me that all communication is manipulation in the broadest sense of the word. The sender of the 'signal' is trying to get the receiver to do something or change in some way. Obviously this isn't always immoral but when it starts being immoral seems like a pretty fuzzy line. To use the example of dress from this thread it strikes me that you can't make a perfect distinction between dressing for yourself and dressing for others. Clothes are a big part of the self image for many people and how they dress might have a big effect on their interactions with other people. Is that dishonest?

I have known a few (thankfully only a few) people who believed that following social conventions of civil behavior was fundamentally dishonest. Not much fun to be around.

[> [> Use of costumes in HIM -- shadowkat, 12:19:23 11/10/02 Sun

Haven't seen anyone bring this up yet...but did you notice that there are two characters who use their siblings uniforms in this show but with quite opposite effects?

1. RJ who we learn is using Lance's jacket, a jacket passed down through the family, continuing the legacy so to speak.
Dad = football player, letter jacket, marries the most beautiful cheerleader type he can find - Ms. Arkansas.
Lance = football player, letter jacket, considered the king of charm in high school, now jacketless pizza manager
RJ = geek/awful poet prior to jacket, now all girls love him and football player.

2. Dawn hunts down Buffy's cheerleading costume, puts it on. She is the only person trying out in a cheerleading costume. The other kids even comment on the strangeness of it. But unlike the letter jacket, the cheerleading costume does not win the day for Dawn. She does not acquire her sister's moves, high kicks, ability to do cartwheels and somersaults, or the opposite sex's attraction to her sister.
Buffy's cheerleading costume does not contain these things, Buffy does. Unlike Lance - Buffy didn't get her slayer powers or her natural atheletic ability and charm from a costume, they are part of her and can not be traded down to her sister. Dawn has to find her own strengths. Dawn's reaction? To tear up the costume. She shreds it and when Buffy complains, she says she'll buy her a new one. She has realized it has no meaning, it can't help her.

Similarily we see the letter jacket destroyed - but not because it has no strength or power - it does but it's power and strength has been used in a destructive manner and in the long run does not do the wearer or those around him any favors.

RJ - may have gotten girls attention with the jacket, but clearly he only really wanted the one girl - the girl on crutches he keeps helping and is walking with. The girl who probably liked him regardless of the jacket. All the jacket did was doom him to follow in Lance's footsteps and we all see where Lance ended up.

[> [> [> not sure about that last part -- anom, 14:13:04 11/10/02 Sun

Good parallels. I think even the colors of the 2 "costumes" were similar, although, since I forgot to tape this ep while I watched it, I can't go back & check. Interestingly, the jacket didn't seem to have anything to do w/how well RJ played football--all it influenced was the perception of how well he did that & everything else. And only women's perception, so I'm guessing that whoever put the enchantment on it in the 1st place (or had it put on) was only interested in getting women interested in him. Xander & Spike don't see RJ as anything special, & he complains that Principal Wood is always riding him, so he (Wood) probably didn't either. (BTW, anyone else notice the frequent use of "riding"/"on my back" by RJ? I thought this was going to turn out to mean something, maybe a sexual metaphor, but nope. Only thing on his back was the jacket.) I'd say the original user of the jacket didn't take lesbianism or witchcraft into account, either. He'd probably have been shocked at Willow's plan. Magic seems to be as far off the radar screen in Sunnydale as homosexuality would have been in RJ & Lance's dad's time (or even longer ago- -we don't know how old the jacket is).

Well, I got off on a tangent, didn't I? More like several! Anyway, what I originally meant to respond to was this:

"RJ - may have gotten girls attention with the jacket, but clearly he only really wanted the one girl - the girl on crutches he keeps helping and is walking with. The girl who probably liked him regardless of the jacket."

Maybe I'm just more suspicious than you, but I wondered if she'd hurt her leg trying some outlandish stunt to impress RJ, or in a fight, possibly w/the same girl who attacked Dawn. Am I the only one who thought she got a look on her face like "wait--what's so great about this guy?" as soon as Spike & Xander got the jacket off RJ? Again, I can't check this on tape, so I may be off base, but that was my impression when I was watching it. I couldn't tell if RJ was any more interested in her than in any other girl.

[> [> [> [> Re: not sure about that last part -- shadowkat, 14:54:43 11/10/02 Sun

"Maybe I'm just more suspicious than you, but I wondered if she'd hurt her leg trying some outlandish stunt to impress RJ, or in a fight, possibly w/the same girl who attacked Dawn. Am I the only one who thought she got a look on her face like "wait--what's so great about this guy?" as soon as Spike & Xander got the jacket off RJ? Again, I can't check this on tape, so I may be off base, but that was my impression when I was watching it. I couldn't tell if RJ was any more interested in her than in any other girl."

You're probably right. I'm probably being far too lenient on good ole RJ and knowing Whedon and Company and their dislike of jocks and letter jackets? I wouldn't be at all surprised if your take is the correct one. Couldn't really tell from my viewing of it. Except that RJ offers to help the girl with the crutches the first time -saying I can carry that - when Dawn shows up and seems annoyed at the interuption. And it was odd to me that of all the girls he'd be walking with he had picked that one. The injured one.

On the other point? The colors are similar. Orange and Red.
Both sunnydale uniforms.

[> [> [> [> [> Episode Six -- Tchaikovsky, 15:55:58 11/10/02 Sun

Mentioned this before; but-

Season Six, Episode Six:

'All the Way'. Dawn is seduced by a vampire in a (numbered) jacket. She wears it while she has her first kiss. She nearly surrenders to the vampire's other kind of kiss later on, immediately before Giles finds her.

Season Seven, Episode Seven:

'Him'. Dawn is attracted by a jock with a (lettered) jacket. She wears analagous clothing, (her older sibling's schools clothes), in an attempt to seduce him. She nearly commits suicide to consummate her true love, immediately before Buffy finds her.

It's probably just pretty and coincidental that these episdoes fall at exactly the same point in the Seasons, but it acts to strengthen my point, so why not mention it?


[> [> [> [> [> [> Just for fun... - - Rook, 17:23:44 11/10/02 Sun

Season 2, episode 2 also deals with the theme of Jocks and the female attraction to them, and what happens when that goes away, in dead Darryl's case.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Jackets and Buffy and Dawn -- shadowkat, 19:58:54 11/10/02 Sun

In All The Way - Dawn makes the comment to Buffy - "You did it with a vampire" Buffy states that's different. Dawn states - it always is when it comes to you.

Buffy is referring to Angel in this scene with Dawn btw.

In HIM - Buffy tells Dawn that you shouldn't die for a man. No man is worth dying for. Yet in Season 2 and Season 3?
Buffy was more than willing to sacrifice herself for Angel.
She also considered doing it in Season 4 - in I Will Always Remember You - Ats.Season1. Yet, ironically the only person she dies for is Dawn. Turns out the love of Buffy's life wasn't Angel. Angel is NOT the person she loved more than anything. Dawn is. Question is? Has she figured that out yet? She certainly risked her life in HIM even under the influence of a spell to save her sister (a rival).
Romantic love may not be worth dying for. But a child?
A sister? To protect them?

Dawn's infatuation with jackets may go as far back as her infatuation with Spike and the black jacket. Who knows.

Except it's interesting that Spike no longer wears a jacket. In fact neither Xander nor Spike wear jackets of any sort in this episode.

[> [> [> [> Re: not sure about that last part -- Lyonors, 20:40:02 11/10/02 Sun

"Maybe I'm just more suspicious than you, but I wondered if she'd hurt her leg trying some outlandish stunt to impress RJ, or in a fight, possibly w/the same girl who attacked Dawn."

On this point, didnt the other girl make some comment about being nice to crutches girl because she hurt herself when a vending machine fell on her? Now, I know those little stickers on the coke machines say that you can tip it if you try to tilt it to get free coke, but on earth did she have a vending machine fall on her? Some RJ rival push it over on her maybe?


[> [> [> [> [> umm...yeah. -- tim, 21:02:15 11/10/02 Sun

I didn't catch it till the second time I watched the ep, but Crutch Girl gives a rather unfriendly look to Uninjured Girl when Uninjured makes the comment about the vending machine. Put it together with Uninjured's catfight later on and with RJ's comment about "what a shame it is when these things happen out of the blue" (he sounded to me like someone who'd seen enough of those situations to be able to recognize them), and I think it's pretty clearly implied that Uninjured was the one who tipped over the vending machine, in an attempt to knock Crutchy out of the picture.

But I've been wrong before.


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