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What fresh hells are these? -- anonn., 20:15:08 10/15/03 Wed

I've seen some people on other boards complain about the inconsistancy of the nature of hell and heaven dimesnsions in the Buffyverse are they punishment or reward are they just places, both types seem to exist independently

-the hell that Angel was sent to in the summer between season two and three was a hell by human standards, a paradise by demon standards just a place that you could physically be sucked into, fine for Angelus maybe, but hellish for Angel; similar to but probably not the same as the place in "Anne"

-Lorne's home, more like an alien world but most likely not of our universe because of the extreme dualism (Lorne said everything was black and white no grey Angel was human half the time demon the other never vampire)unpleasent for humans but just a demon dimension (not very agressively anti-human demons, have potential for either good and evil unlike vamps and such) not a morally dictated hell, even though Lorne refers to it as a hell but this seems to be based on his own bad expirience

-Glory's home,its not known if it was inhabited by native demons, damned human souls or what, perhaps a physical version of Glory and her victims insanity, or at least a third of it might of been

-Buffy's heaven a place heroes (and possibly other good people)go after death with no clear imagery or geographic info given by buffy perhaps a pleasent nothingness

-Cordelia's heaven a place where you can go while living no clear prefernce for the morally upright dead not even all that great an experience apparently

-Quortoth supposedly the worst demon demension but Angel seemed alot more beaten up from his expirience than human,eventually elderly, Holtz and Connor who was taken as an infant and left to fend for himself for long periods of time when he was only a child

-Jasmine's abandoned project, a physical dimension,fairly desolate inhabited only by native demons/preying mantises

-Spike's hell, no concrete info yet he seems to beleive its a morally determined afterlife

anyone agree, disagree, want to add anything?


[> Re: What fresh hells are these? -- Corwin of Amber, 20:37:56 10/15/03 Wed

Just wanted to comment that this is not inconsistant with concepts like Dante's nine circles of hell. Also, some types of demon seem to be simply alien beings, while others are what really fit the concept of a demon.

[> Re: What fresh hells are these? (angel season 5 spoilers) -- Mackenzie, 06:52:08 10/16/03 Thu

I like how you have each listed. That way you can look at each really see the differences between each. I don't see that there are any inconsistencies because we have only seen the Heaven that Buffy went to as a result of death. The others seem to be just other dimensions. Spike's may be a hell dimension that he went to after death but we just don't even know if he "died". Didn't someone explain in season 5 (Anya?) that there are millions of other dimensions, heaven and hell. I don't really think that we have enough proof to say that any of those are places human souls go as a result of their behavior during life.

[> [> Heavens! -- MaeveRigan, 07:21:43 10/16/03 Thu

we have only seen the Heaven that Buffy went to as a result of death??

Um--I don't think so. She only described it in the vaguest terms:

"I was happy. Wherever I ... was ... I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time ... didn't mean anything ... nothing had form ... but I was still me, you know? And I was warm ... and I was loved ... and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about theology or dimensions, or ... any of it, really ... but I think I was in heaven" ("After Life").

We were never shown Buffy there at at all. I wouldn't even call this a "heaven for heroes," not if one is thinking of the traditional "Valhalla"-style rewards.

The only "heavenly" dimension a Jossverse show has shown is HigherBeing!Cordy's location...and we're not completely sure about that, considering how bored she was and the consequent events! Because for my money, "bored now" is definitely not a component of heavenly bliss ;-)

[> [> maybe you're thinking of... -- anom, 08:52:41 10/16/03 Thu

"Didn't someone explain in season 5 (Anya?) that there are millions of other dimensions, heaven and hell."

...Tara's saying in the 1st scene of Tabula Rasa, when the Scoobies are discussing what they can do for Buffy in light of her revelation that she'd been in heaven, "But it could have been any one of a zillion heavenly dimensions. All we know is that ... it was a good place and she was happy there." But can we assume Tara actually knows there are "a zillion heavenly dimensions"? Maybe she's just speculating.

As for Spike's impending hell, I don't think there's any evidence that he went there. It looks like for him, no time passes between burning up under Sunnydale & appearing in Angel's office. Good point that we "don't even know if he 'died.'" He's not exactly a ghost, according to both Fred & Hainsley. It sure looked like his body was destroyed in Chosen, which would usually imply that he'd died, but there's nothing "usual" about what happened to Spike.

[> [> [> Heaven and Hell or heaven and hell -- Malandanza, 09:37:39 10/16/03 Thu

When Darla is brought back, she has no memory of any events from her staking to her resurrection. She even asks Angel if this means there is no Hell, to which he replies that he's been to one. This could mean that Angel was merely in one of "a zillion" hell dimensions (as he was transported there bodily).

Spike's hell and Buffy's heaven seem to be Hell and Heaven rather than just one of a zillion hell dimensions or heavenly dimensions that any dimensional traveler can reach with right chant (or equations). Reachable only by death -- and fairly exclusive -- it seems that human Darla (the prostitute) was neither evil enough to warrant eternal damnation nor good enough to deserve a blissful afterlife.

When we see the ghost of Darla (assuming it really is Darla and not some trick by the PTB or Connor's unbalanced mind) she is the human part of Darla -- which is odd considering it was Connor's soul that made her human after her second vamping -- presumably her soul had gone on its merry way since the "demon gets your body but it doesn't get your soul" -- so she shouldn't have remembered Connor. In any event, the vampire part of her is gone. Not so for Spike, we saw him vamp out when he attacked Angel. The vampire spirit and human soul are still together, bound in some way to the amulet -- which makes me wonder how Rufus' theory about the curse being an infection holds up in the latest season of Angel -- is it a metaphysical infection? An infection of the soul? If so, how does "restoring" a soul change Angelus into Angel? Does he have, in effect, two souls -- one infected and one pure? And if so, what would keep the new soul from becoming infected?

But back to Hell and Spike -- perhaps the amulet keeps Spike from sinking into Hell just as it prevents him from leaving LA -- a spiritual leash which yanks him back to W&H whenever he strays too far. But perhaps it is because his vampire and human essences are bound together that he feels himself pulled into Hell -- maybe the demon goes there after dusting and W&H fixed it so the soul would go along for the ride.

Also, about being bored in Heaven: the worst demon dimensions we've seen have very different streams of time -- time flies by, so Angel is tortured for a hundred years when a few months pass in the Buffyverse, Connor grows to adulthood over the course of a summer -- perhaps in the heavenly dimensions time flow the other way -- like the old stories of the faery lands, where the heroes spend a night drinking and dancing, only to return to find their grandchildren have grown old during their absence. Buffy seem to understand how much time had passed since her return -- she was safe and happy while in Heaven, but not bored (as we would expect her to be had she been safe and happy for several months).

[> [> [> [> good distinction... -- anom, 15:03:32 10/16/03 Thu

...btwn. the capitalized & lower-case versions of H/heaven & H/hell.

"When we see the ghost of Darla (assuming it really is Darla and not some trick by the PTB or Connor's unbalanced mind) she is the human part of Darla -- which is odd considering it was Connor's soul that made her human after her second vamping -- presumably her soul had gone on its merry way since the 'demon gets your body but it doesn't get your soul' -- so she shouldn't have remembered Connor. In any event, the vampire part of her is gone."

It could be something else. Maybe sharing Connor's soul w/him while she was pregnant left some imprint on that soul. Rather than being a "trick by...Connor's unbalanced mind," maybe his mind holds an accurate, intimate knowledge of the mother he never knew otherwise. Ironic as it is that Darla should be her son's conscience, or at least speak for it to him, her manifestation at that point may reflect some deep knowledge left in his soul that she loved him, & even some understanding of right & wrong that she had at a time when he was too young to have it, that survived no matter how deeply it was buried by his twisted upbringing by Holtz. That would explain her "remembering" him--it's not really her, but some vestige of her in Connor's mind.

I don't know that we can say Connor's soul made Darla human--my understanding is that she was in effect a(nother) souled vampire while Connor & his soul remained within her. And I don't know that we can say that "the vampire part of her is gone." We did see her vamp out while she was pregnant (Offspring), & the reason she staked herself was that she knew, or at least believed, she'd revert to her full vampire nature once he left her body.

"But back to Hell and Spike -- perhaps the amulet keeps Spike from sinking into Hell just as it prevents him from leaving LA -- a spiritual leash which yanks him back to W&H whenever he strays too far. But perhaps it is because his vampire and human essences are bound together that he feels himself pulled into Hell -- maybe the demon goes there after dusting and W&H fixed it so the soul would go along for the ride."

This is a really interesting idea! I'm not sure I can add anything, other than what the implications might be in light of Angel & Wesley's conversation about the possibility that W&H expected Angel to wear the amulet at the Hellmouth...& bear the consequences. There but for the grace of the writers....

[> [> [> [> [> Clarification -- Malandanza, 00:07:27 10/17/03 Fri

"I don't know that we can say Connor's soul made Darla human--my understanding is that she was in effect a(nother) souled vampire while Connor & his soul remained within her. And I don't know that we can say that "the vampire part of her is gone." We did see her vamp out while she was pregnant (Offspring), & the reason she staked herself was that she knew, or at least believed, she'd revert to her full vampire nature once he left her body."

Actually, I was referring to Ghostly Darla, who was not the least bit vampiric. A contrast to Not-Ghostly Spike, who is.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Clarification -- anonn, 19:11:25 10/17/03 Fri

Actually, I was referring to Ghostly Darla, who was not the least bit vampiric

we don't really know for sure what she was, she even hinted that she might not be the "real" Darla, her explanation was eerily similar to the First Evil's position on whether or nor he was "really" the Mayor

A big episode for Angel (no spoilers) -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:11:47 10/15/03 Wed

On this very night, Angel appeared in more episodes than any ME character ever has.

In Season 1 of "Buffy", he was in 7 episodes. After that, he appeared in every ep Seasons 2 and 3, and has, of course, appeared in every episode of his own show. He has also made six guest appearances on Buffy ("Pangs", "Yokom Factor", "Fool For Love", "Forever", "End of Days", and "Chosen"). This means that Angel has been in a grand total of 148 episodes. This beats out the reigning champion, Willow, who had 147 eps under her belt (all 144 eps of "Buffy" and three appearances on "Angel"). So, when looked at from a certain standpoint, this means that Angel is the most popular character ME has ever created (keep in mind, that's from a certain standpoint; many other popularity measurements would probably say otherwise).

So, for Angel the character, tonight was a big episode.

Note: I'm not counting clips from previous episodes as appearances, which means that, while Buffy technically appeared in "City of . . .", "Bachelor Party", and "Just Rewards", those don't count towards her total, meaning she was only in 146 episodes. I'm also not counting her voice over in "City of . . .", even though it wouldn't make a difference regarding Angel.


[> Strange Coincidence -- CW, 05:57:33 10/16/03 Thu

I wasn't thinking of the number of episodes, but last night when the standard opening clip ran last night it did suddenly enter my head that Angel has the most seniority of the regulars still on the show and that counting his semi-regular status in season one, he's the longest running Buffyverse major character in terms of seasons. Harmony has been around just as long, but this will be the first year she can even claim to be semi-regular rather than reoccuring. Not earthshaking, but strange that I should really think about it on the night he became number one in eps.

Not too bad for a character Joss was only planning to use for an ep or two and then be rid of.

[> AHA! You are incorrect! -- skyMatrix, 11:28:39 10/16/03 Thu

I am actually a more powerful nerd than you, because I keep a record of how often the recurring characters have appeared, and Angel did not appear in every episode of Season 2; he was not in "Inca Mummy Girl," although he was in the opening credits. Other instances of BtVS regulars missing an episode include Cordelia for "Teacher's Pet" and "I, Robot - You Jane," Oz for "Consequences," Spike for "The Body," Xander for "Conversations with Dead People" and Anya for "Help," "Conversations with Dead People," and "Dirty Girls."

Ha ha ha! I hope that scared someone. So anyway, Angel will not reach this goal until next week! Sorry. ;)

[> [> Dagnabit! -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:24:09 10/16/03 Thu

However, Cordelia was in "Teacher's Pet". Don't you remember, she saw the decapitated teacher's body and remarked how it did wonders for losing weight?

[> [> [> Curses! -- skyMatrix, 17:47:35 10/16/03 Thu

Yes I do remember that scene, in fact I remembered it while I was typing that post. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm pretty sure she only missed two episodes that year, although there were episodes like "Angel" where she barely had an entire scene. I read somewhere that her agent had to talk to ME because she didn't realize how infrequent her appearances would be at the outset!

Of werewolves and Pit bulls: Angel spoils 5.3 -- neaux, 07:49:20 10/16/03 Thu

Of werewolves and Pit bulls: Angel 5.3

This was a very interesting episode to me, watching an episode devoted to werewolves the same night after my dog was severely mauled by my neighbor's pit bull. I could go into the details and the horror about how my dog was almost killed by my neighbor's pit bull yesterday morning but I'll write that below my initial post.

But what was interesting to me about werewolves (in the world according to Joss), Nina Ash is an unexpected victim of a werewolf attack and once she is bitten, she of course becomes one. She becomes a Killer.. or since she hasn't killed yet, she has the KILLER INSTINCT. She sees gashes in the girl she is babysitting. She tells Angel that she wanted to kill the girl. So we see from her perspective what it feels like to have that urge to kill in her. Have we seen this with OZ in human form?? I cant recall off hand.. but in an episode that throws the term MONSTER around loosely I'm wondering if MONSTER = KILLER (or potential Killer)?

To relate this to Pit Bulls - so when werewolves reproduce more werewolves.. this urge to kill is in the bloodlines? I've been talking to some people at work about pit bulls and many are saying that pit bulls attack because it is in their bloodlines. While I'd like to think its more of the dog being a product of its environment and how it was raised.. I'm not so sure anymore. This episode of Angel has put weird thoughts in my head.

I don't have much to add.. but I really would like someone to expand on this issue of Killer Instinct and the use of MONSTER in the show.. to make my post make more sense.

And for those who are interested HERE is my initial post I wrote yesterday to some friends about my poor dog.

Pit Bulls almost killed my dog -written at 10 am Oct 15th.

my neighbor has/had a pitbull. This morning as I was taking my dog out to potty & their pitbull got loose and attacked my dog.

I could not get the pitbull off of my dog (my dog is a lab mix but on the small size about 30 lbs).

This was the worst experience I've been through in recent years. I kept pulling the pit bull back trying to get it off my dog but the pit would not let its teeth loose of my dog's neck. I have bruises and scrapes from fighting a pit bull that was KILLing my dog.

As I somehow managed to drag the pit bull loose, I grabbed it up and shoved it into MY fenced in back yard so my defenseless dog could escape. As I turned to find my dog.. the pit bull musthave climbed my fence because it was loose again and grabbed my dog's neck. This time in my neighbor's yard across the street. I was screaming for help because every blow I hit the pit bull with did not phaze that dog. Luckily my neighbor came out with a baseball bat and was able to beat the pitbull away.

So now its 10 am and finally at home from being at the vet. My dog is ok but has major lacerations to its neck. The pit bull is gone. Animal Control cant find it. I hope its dead.. it almost killed my dog.


[> Re: Of werewolves and Pit bulls: Angel spoils 5.3 -- deeva, 09:32:38 10/16/03 Thu

Firstly, I''m very sorry to hear about your poor dog being attacked. I've been there and empathize. I'm not an expert and iving in the house with 2 pit bulls does not make me one but more on that later.

I'm trying to remember if ME really went into much length with Oz feeling the killer instinct within him when he was in himan form. And I don't recall that much being done on it. The only thing that comes to mind is the rage he felt at scenting Willow on Tara's being. But that would seem to be more of a reaction and not an instinct. It certainly has been implied that werewolves would hurt the population at large but it has never been said exactly what they do. I'm not going to say that because of that that we can all imagine that werewolves just frolick about and check out all the neighborhood trees and root through the garbage like stray dogs. I'm sure that there's plenty of livestock and pets that are missing.

But there is a reason that Oz chooses to sequester himself out of the way of harming others when the moon is full.

From last night's episode I also got the distinct feeling that even though, AtS is from and in the Buffyverse, that ME will take liberties with what we know to be "true". It's not from any one clear event, more like an overall vibe that I get from watching the last 3 episodes. I can just see the debates on that happening.

I've been talking to some people at work about pit bulls and many are saying that pit bulls attack because it is in their bloodlines. While I'd like to think its more of the dog being a product of its environment and how it was raised.. I'm not so sure anymore.

It's a little of both. And circumstance. I'm not saying that you or your dog did anything to specifically trigger this dog to attack. Some dogs have a trigger that is unknown and mysterious to most.

At my mom's house, thre are 2 pit bulls, or were actually. My brothers all live with my mom. My brother got the first one, Kari, through a reputable breeder and she has papers. Beautiful, smart and funny. A year and a half later my brother expressed an interest in getting another pit bull from the same breeder. But before that could happen, his friends got him one as a birthday gift. He was a cute little bugger, Kay. But he was one jacked up dog, First, I think that he was actually too young to be given away yet. He was a runt. His hind quarters were weak. And he was deaf. The deck was stacked against that dog. Much later, I come to find out that my brother's friends got Kay off of someone who was selling puppies in the bad side of town. I can only imagine what that person really did with the parents. Anyway, my point is, 2 dogs same classification but 2 very different temperments and backgrounds. No matter how much love and care we gave Kay he was never a very trusting dog and it really broke my heart to tell my brother that I could see trouble brewing with this one. He tried several trainers but it didn't really change anything. Then one day Kay attacked Kari. We don't know what happened but he just snapped. Kay and Kari were each others shadows, you didn't find one without the other and they got along very well. But somehow a trigger went off in Kay and poor Kari ended up with a serious cut just above her eye that required 10 stitches (according to the vet, she could have been blinded) and some very bad gashes on her neck and back. That same day, my brother took Kay to the animal control facility in our city and never looked back. He realized that he had done everything he could and that it was possible thatt he next incident could be a person and not a dog.

Was Kay bred for killing? In all likelihood, probably. His killer instinct was far stronger than Kari's, whose lineage was not based strictly on fighting performance, just physical conformity.

I hope that you are recovering from the attack and that something like this doesn't happen again to your dog.

[> Re: Of werewolves and Pit bulls: Angel spoils 5.3 -- sdev, 09:54:17 10/16/03 Thu

First I'm really sorry about your dog and glad it's going to be ok. You probably need a tetanus shot yourself. (I've been bitten by my neighbor's dog, a Jack Russell).

"I'm trying to remember if ME really went into much length with Oz feeling the killer instinct within him when he was in himan form. And I don't recall that much being done on it."

I thought the whole point of why he went away after the incident with Veruca was to explore the idea she first opened his mind to-- that the wolf is always there in him.

I'm not clear on why werewolves attack people. Is it just to kill, the hunt, or to feed? Has this ever been shown? Do they seek people out or just attack when they collide? I do vaguely recall from the beginning when Oz first became one, that werewolves are attracted to pheremones.
OT on Pits

Breeding in dogs is very important. Many pit bulls have been bred to fight other dogs. It is considered by some 'a sport' although it is disgustingly cruel and illegal. Because some have been bred for that, they can be very dog aggresive, and they are trained to do it to the death. As a breed they are powerful, unusually insensitive to pain and incredibly tenacious, all considered valuable traits in a dog fight.

Contrary to what many people think, they are not bred to be people aggressive. In fact to fight them, their owners must be able to handle them. But they are trained by people sometimes to be attack dogs. Attack is not the same as guard. Unlike certain breeds with inherently good guard dog judgment (ie: German Shepherds), and also years of breeding for those traits, Pits make really lousy guard dogs. They have no judgement for it. They can be trained to indiscriminately attack on command but not to make the more complex independent decisions of good guard dogs. But people use them inappropriately for this purpose anyway becase of the same reasons they fight them, power, tenacity and insensitivity to pain. Pound for pound they are probably the strongest breed out there.

I am an owner so I have my biases but also know a lot about the breed (I show mine in obedience competitions). My rescued pit is very people and dog friendly. Believe it or not, insensitivity to pain makes pits very good with children but caution and watchfulness is always advisable with kids and dogs.

[> From one dog lover to another -- Mackenzie, 10:02:17 10/16/03 Thu

I am so sorry to hear about your poor dog. Your story broght me to tears. Pit bulls can really be the worst of the worst. I try to think that all dogs can be good if brought up in the right environment but I just don't know about that breed. I am expecting my first baby in 4 weeks and I am even a little afraid of how my dogs (lab and english mastiff) will react. I wonder if they always carry a little part of that bloodlust. I can tell you that I would never own a pitbull or even a Rottie because they just show that side a little too often.
I will keep your dog in my thoughts and hope for a speedy recovery.

[> [> Advice for Mackenzie & neaux -- RichardX1, 14:15:59 10/16/03 Thu

First off: neaux, I assume your dog has had its shots. You should probably get yourself a rabies inoculation ASAP.

And to Mackenzie: Find someone knowledgeable about dogs (preferably someone with certifications); they can help you to help your dogs prepare for the new arrival.

[> Thanks Guys.. Deeva, Sdev and Mckenzie -- neaux, 10:54:01 10/16/03 Thu

Thanks for responding to my posts.. and I'm glad I got some perspectives from some Pit owners.

But trust me I do know a thing or two about dogs, my dad has bred AKC German Shephards for over 25 years. So I know some about genes/lineage and I know some about the backlash against certain breeds.

And I'm happy to say that I've never seen a German Shephard properly raised cause harm. Yet my Dad has the German tapes to show how aggressive a German Shephard can be trained to be. But I have never seen a dog attack so upclose and personal as yesterday especially when it was against my baby dog. It was amazing and disgusting. I almost vomited as I tried to beat this Pit bull off my dog. I also tried to think of every command to get this Pit to release and it would not.

but the thing is this.. this neighbor's pit bull was brought into the neighborhood as a full grown pit. So we dont know HOW it was raised or by who. @_@ It could have been trained to kill or fight with NO command to stop fighting. :(

anyway.. you guys are great at providing good information, support advice and criticism and I'm glad you post to this board!

Anyone else fooled by Spike? [Spoiler AtS 5.03] -- Ames, 11:10:41 10/16/03 Thu

I was completely taken in when Spike started going on about his run-in with Wesley as a young Watcher. I was waiting to hear all about it. How did Fred know he was having her on?


[> Re: Anyone else fooled by Spike? [Spoiler AtS 5.03] -- skyMatrix, 11:16:59 10/16/03 Thu

I was kinda fooled too but the wheels were turning at the same time, and I was thinking "this doesn't make sense." The reason I was inclined to believe it is that I didn't feel that his insistence on not talking to Wesley about it made enough sense (whereas I can understand why he won't tell Angel). However, I was also thinking "Wesley fought Spike as a young watcher? Before he came to Sunnydale, he barely seemed as if he could fight Xander!"

So how did Fred know? Well she knows what Wesley was like when younger thanks to "Spin the Bottle." And in general, she seemed to be deflating him a lot this episode, such as the "Angel killed him with a pen" comment. (I personally enjoyed seeing his dark, lurking prouncements (?) of doom contradicted on a more regular basis than they ever were on BtVS, btw). I don't know if Fred is supposed to have always had a good BS detector (any thoughts on this?), or if she's just been able to get a read on Spike quickly since he keeps coming to her.

[> [> I fell for it because.... -- Nino, 11:37:58 10/16/03 Thu

I was still harping on the Wes-knew-who-Spike-was-even-though-they've-never-met thing in "Conviction." I was really excited, and thought we were gonna get some cool backstory that even lead to one of Spike's awesome flashbacks....god, i love flashbacks! But alas, it is not to be...its cool though, cuz I absolutly loved Fred in this ep, and her catching him was great....

...I also liked that on those occasions mentioned, Spike was made to look dumb. He's been in Sunnydale for so long and now he's in the Big City, and he isn't quite as impressive to the Fang Gang as he was to,say, Dawn season 5 or Andrew season 7....just a thought :)

[> [> [> Character Regression -- Claudia, 11:41:46 10/16/03 Thu

Why did they make Spike lie like that? To get Fred to help him? What for? He had already made a genuine plead for her help in "Just Rewards". What was the point in making him do this? I felt as if I was watching a character being regressed.

[> [> [> [> Yeah, I do wonder... -- Gyrus, 11:54:46 10/16/03 Thu

...why Spike is so desperate for Fred's help but won't accept any from Wesley or the others. A few theories:

-Spike is too ashamed to ask more than one person for help because he doesn't want to look weak, especially in front of Angel.
-Spike has secrets that he is afraid might be revealed if Wesley approaches the problem from a mystical angle.
-Spike isn't actually fading away at all, and his disappearances are just a ruse to mess with the group (especially Fred) for some reason. (This one seems unlikely in light of the previews for next week's ep.)

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Yeah, I do wonder... -- Dlgood, 13:43:56 10/16/03 Thu

...why Spike is so desperate for Fred's help but won't accept any from Wesley or the others. A few theories:
I think it's very much in character for Spike.

When in social situations, he's seemed to have a pattern of relying upon a chosen female as his as filter for his interaction with the group. His mother, Cecily, Drusilla, Buffy. We haven't ever really seen Spike establish solid relationships with men.

As a human, he was mocked by the men of his social circles. As a vampire, he had the contentious relationship with Angelus and the host of minions. And when he joined up with the Scoobies, he rejected Giles' overtures to be a contributory member of the group, lived with Xander for months at a time without trying to build a friendship, and ultimately relied completely on Buffy as bridge and advocate to the group.

Rather than working to convince the group of his merits, I suspect he'll continue to rely upon Fred as his sole advocate, unmindful of the difficult position that might put her in.

Aside from the more sinister motivations, I think Spike simply doesn't trust other men enough to make himself vulnerable around them.

[> [> [> [> [> Also... -- Mackenzie, 14:16:44 10/16/03 Thu

Who else has acted like they gave 2 cents. Fred has shown interest that no one else really has.

[> [> [> Re: I fell for it because.... -- skyMatrix, 12:00:11 10/16/03 Thu

Hey you're right Nino, I was thinking of that too. Maybe they even thought afterwards, "hey, I wonder if the fans will agonize over why Wes should recognize Spike? Let's make it easier to fool them by giving the impression that we're going to give this big intricate backstory behind that recognition... and then pull the rug out under them!" Of course they hadn't had time yet to actually see that reaction, but they've been dealing with online feedback for so long that I'm sure they can predict some of this stuff after a while. Oh, and I was kinda expecting a flashback too! Haha.

[> [> [> [> LOL....damn tricky writers! -- Nino, 12:37:28 10/16/03 Thu

If Nina were a man... (spoilers for ANGEL 5.3) -- Gyrus, 11:46:55 10/16/03 Thu

Fred called Angel an "equal opportunity rescuer" or something like that, but I really have to wonder: would Angel have gone all out to help Nina if she were a man? (Or a brunette, for that matter?) Or is rescuing women meant to be his way of dealing his frustrated sexual urges? I couldn't help but feel that there was a certain amount of male protectiveness in his efforts to help Nina.

I'm trying to think of episodes in which Angel went out of his way to help a male in distress (other than the ones he knows personally, like Connor and Gunn), and I can't really come up with any. Thoughts?


[> Helping the (male) hopeless (and Faith vs. Lindsey!) -- oceloty, 00:21:30 10/19/03 Sun

A partial list of men Angel has gone out of his way to help (at least in season 1):

- Kate Lockley's father in The Prodigal (OK, so Angel didn't actually save him, but the effort was there)
- The Ethros-possessed kid in IGYUMS (still cute and helpless looking, but not actually female)
- Marquez (gang guy) in Five by Five
- Gunn in Warzone (they didn't know each other at the time)

As for the Faith vs. Lindsey question: I think Angel did go to greater lengths to help Faith, but he had good reasons.

First, the way Lindsey's situation is presented to Angel (and to the audience) in Blind Date, it doesn't seem like Lindsey is really after redemption at that point. He asks Angel et al for help saving the kids, but he doesn't show any sign of actually leaving Wolfram & Hart. He doesn't want the kids to die, but he doesn't really want to give up his gig with W&H, either. With Faith in Five by Five, things are more clear cut in that she's definitely asking Angel for help. (Granted, she's "asking" by trying to get her to kill him, but we see that Angel has figured this out.) While, Faith wasn't specifically asking for help with redemption, from her breakdown it was clear that she could not go on as she was. She couldn't go back to being evil so wanted to die; Angel gave her another option. The fact that Lindsey chooses to go back to W&H at the end of Blind Date makes me believe that he wasn't as committed to change as Faith (or, actually, committed at all). Maybe Angel could have done more to push Lindsey to change, but what's the value in that, if the desire for change doesn't come from Lindsey himself?

Second, I think Angel is more invested in helping Faith because understands Faith and her situation, but he doesn't really understand Lindsey (at least in season 1). Five by Five in particular is built around the parallels because Angel dealing with his newly restored soul and Faith dealing with her reemerging conscience. Angel and Faith are both presented as flawed people struggling against their darker urges and nearly crushed by the burden of guilt. In Five by Five and even back in Consequences (S3 Buffy), Angel seems to know what's driving her and to understand what she's going through. (On a side note, in S2 Angel identifies with Darla's situation in the same way, to disastrous effect.) To Angel, her breakdown is like Angel getting his soul back for the first time. Angel didn't have anyone to help, so it's especially important to him that Faith have someone there for her.

With Lindsey -- well, I think Angel just didn't see where Lindsey was coming from in season 1. Their reasons for being evil were very different. For Angel(us), was a mission as much as helping the helpless was Angel's mission. Angelus was very much dedicated to evil as an ideal; he was into creative and artistic heights of death and destruction, or destroying the world. Lindsey's pursuit of evil operated on a somewhat smaller scale, he wasn't thinking about advancing an (evil) cause so much as looking after his own self-interest, regardless of scruples. He wanted advancement, personal power, and maybe a little revenge. For Angel, evil was a terrible all-consuming passion, so I don't think he ever understood how Lindsey could just choose it out of convenience. And if he didn't understand why Lindsey wanted W&H, and Lindsey didn't want to go, where could Angel even start to extract Lindsey from their clutches?

(Of course, things change after Lindsey falls in love with Darla. Ill-fated love that brings nothing but trouble? Finally, Angel can relate.)

Overall, I do think Angel has a soft spot and protective streak when in comes to women, but "equal opportunity saver" is a fair assessment. In "Unleashed," I don't think it's a question of saving a male vs. female, but of killing a werewolf or letting its victim die. (Basically, what yabyumpan said, with more words.) With Spike -- I think it's partly similar to the Lindsey situation -- Spike doesn't really want to change, and Angel just doesn't get Spike (to the point of annoyance). And I think Angel & Co. would probably devote more effort to Spike's problems (among the other matters on their plate) if Spike actually told them it was an emergent situation instead of just dumping the news on poor Fred.

[> [> Agreeing with you here. Good points. -- jane, 01:08:29 10/19/03 Sun

[> If the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria walked into a bar (spoilers for ANGEL 5.3) -- fresne, 12:12:59 10/16/03 Thu

Well, I must admit that one of the causes of my S2 annoyance with the show was..(get ready for a really long sentence) that the tour de force episodes of Angel dedicated to Faith's redemption (insert list of Faith's crimes, blah, blah, she tortured Wesley) was immediately followed with an episode where he did not (at least to me) give the same level of support to Lindsey's redemption (insert list of Lindsey's crimes, blah, blah, he long distance tortured Cordelia). Now this had a long term result that Faith was helpful to Angel and Lindsey went evil hand and rode off into the sunset.

However, how can I put this without being in any way incendiary, it felt as if only certain people were worth Angel's effort to save them.

Now that I'm a little less invested in, "Hey, save Lindsey" (although I'm hoping that Spike is Angel's chance to do it over and save someone that he actively a) dislikes b)has a slashy sub-text with.) it's easier for me to see this as an aspect of Angel being a human being and therefore flawed. Still pondering the possible psychological why of it though. Especially given Lindsey's role in S2 as Angel's shadow self and Faith's historical role as Buffy's shadow self.

Given the werechick's resemblance to both Kate (sunset gone), Darla (staked herself) and Buffy (baking in Europe), well, I say hmmmmm...

[> [> I am with you! (spoilers/questions 5.3) -- Nino, 12:35:24 10/16/03 Thu

And what was up with letting that one dude potentially get eaten? Did I hear a line at the end that said he was rescued? If not, why on earth was his life less valuable then Nina's? That REALLY upset me, and also got me to thinking...why does Angel only save beautiful women? Not only is this unfair and horribly offensive...but also, what does it say about feminism in the Angelverse? Cuz on Buffy, beautiful women could kick some serious ass...I mean, yeah, Slayers, but also: Willow, Anya, Cordy and Dawn (season 7) could defend themselves just fine...I don't know...and ME, it wouldn't hurt to hire a non-Barbie doll as the damsel in distress...how bout a (don't know that there is a word for male damsel in distress?) once in a while!

[> [> [> It's a TV show. When's the last time an ugly woman (strong or weak) was on it? -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:40:05 10/16/03 Thu

Also, I got the impression he did what he did with the scientist guy because he was a party to torture/cannibalization.

[> [> [> A damson? -- auroramama, 12:40:47 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> I like it... Quick! Send for Angel! That plum is in danger! -- CW, 14:18:46 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> LOL. CW, you're a peach! -- TCH, 14:23:47 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> but nina may be the apple of his eye... -- anom, 15:07:26 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Okay, somebody's got to say it... -- Dead (in a gratuitously wet t-shirt) Soul, 20:57:58 10/16/03 Thu

but nina may be the apple of his eye...

Nah. His eye was on the melons.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> ooooh...really good bad one.... -- anom, 22:33:15 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes, it was berry good -- LittleBit, 22:48:52 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> good? it was grape! -- anom, 23:11:44 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> at least you didn't blow raspberries at me -- Dead (ah, Rudy) Soul, 23:22:10 10/16/03 Thu

So do I have persimmon to kum quat by you in the Pun Fu Hall of Fame?

Quatting, you know, because I don't have chair-y - Marascino or Bing.

I saw that look.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Is it possible to die from excessive eye rolling and groaning? -- Sheri, who's in mortal danger from exposure to puns :), 08:49:48 10/17/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> No, my dear Cherry. Or have you already fig-ured that out? But roll your eyes -- olive you anyway. -- Random, 10:27:49 10/17/03 Fri

[> [> [> Re: I am with you! (spoilers/questions 5.3) -- leslie, 13:49:24 10/16/03 Thu

Perhaps I am being too optomistic, but it seems to me that they are really setting something up for Angel's perceptions of who is "worth" saving. He's making too many arbitrary and personally useful decisions. Yeah, save the blonde werechick, abandon the weakly evil scientist who has as much as admitted that he succumbed to evil because the evil was scarier than (good) Angel. How much of that is pure evil and how much is pure scaredy-catness? It smack an awful lot of leaving a bunch of evil lawyers locked up in a wine cellar with two vampires, and we all remember how well that turned out. Then the whole subtext of "sorry Spike, you're not as important as this other blondie-bear, just take a seat and the doctor will be with you shortly." Yes, Spike was being over-dramatic and nagging, but it also seems that he is in pretty permanent trouble, whereas Nina's problem, though ongoing, is also sporadic. Unless ME has decided to change its entire moral philosophy over the summer, these all have the marks of "here comes the thing that's gonna bite you on your ass."

[> [> [> And the Nina said, "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye." -- fresne, 14:08:19 10/16/03 Thu

Well, as I said, at the time it annoyed me more in S1-2. Given enough time, it's the patterns of light and shadow that attract my starling eye.

I'm now more intrigued by what the repetition of blonds in the alley of the shadow death says about Angel. His initial statement that Buffy seems so young. The moment of his own death in an alley at the hands of a "helpless" blond.

It's not the offense against feminism (where are the helpless bohunks in the alley!), but that there is a pattern of behavior. Why wasn't he interested in saving his Lindsey shadow self? That repetition in the course of two episodes that Spike, who takes on the role of Angel's shadow, should be plagued by guilt. Whether or not Spike should or shouldn't being irrelevant. That Angel says more than once that he wants to see it. Angel, who wears his sins upon his bleeding breast. A is for Angel. Blood washes away sin. Tears clean the windows to the soul. Brooding does something for gestating eggs.

Given that at any moment in the big city, a whole lot of people are helpless, why is Angel drawn to this particular kind of helpless? What crucial emotional thing is he fulfilling by this course of action? What is the significance of this season's Punisher attitude? Is Angel's soul coarsening like coconut fibers or like Miss Harriet Vane, is he merely trying to stem the tide.

Pay some attention to the man behind the curtain. When Angel speaks to the beast within, note he doesn't preach mysticism, Tibet, but self control.

We start the episode with the characters sniping at each other in the dark, cold night. We end with the night kept at bay with walls and with view.

Brains cells whirring as it seems we kerlump in some sort of direction.

[> [> [> [> Why should Angel save Spike? (mild spoilers 5.03) -- Lunasea, 15:30:19 10/16/03 Thu

He doesn't even know Spike needs saving.

And why doesn't he know this? Because Spike won't let Fred tell Angel or Wesley or any guy.

Why does Angel save pretty women? It's a way to increase the estrogen quotient on the show. Pretty simple formula with a cast of almost all men, yet another male wouldn't make sense.

Angel did try to help Lindsey, eventually after he realized not helping him was a mistake (in Epiphany). In probably one of the funniest scenes in the history of the series, in "Dead Things" Angel tries to reach out to Lindsey.

The blonds that Angel tends to help are mentally helpless, but I wouldn't say a telekinetic that can smoosh men with a dumpster or a werewolf are "helpless" in the blond in an alley sense. If anything ME subverts their own formula, by taking women with physical power and rendering them needing Angel's help because of their mental state. Kate was mean ass cop when she wanted to be. Gwen was electro-woman.

He helped a whole bunch of ugly male demons in "In the Ring." Ryan was a boy in "I've Got You Under My Skin." In "Happy Anniversary," I don't remember a blond female. That is off of the top of my head. Perhaps it is just the blonds that stand out the most. Typically Angel is rescuing the main cast.

[> [> [> [> [> That's "Dead End" not "Dead Things" ;) -- skyMatrix, 15:57:07 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> I'm allowed to make mistakes, once in a while, I think -- Lunasea, 15:59:16 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Of course you are! I didn't mean any offense by the correction (hence the smiley) -- skyMatrix, 17:43:06 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Guess I should have put a smilie too ;-) -- Lunasea, 19:07:03 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Nope. Never. Sorry. ...And what is this 'think'? -- The First Naughty Virtue, 18:49:24 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Which was a reaching out of a different kind. ;)) -- Arethusa, 16:12:31 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> And the Santa Maria said, "Oy, that's not a stick it's a spar." (spoilers 5.3) -- fresne, 17:06:53 10/16/03 Thu

That brings up a good question as to what is funniest scene in the history of the series.

I tend to go for the Spike does John Wayne MST3King Angel is the funniest because..ah yes, memories. This was back when I watched the show with a group of people and we were watching on tape because of scheduling problems, so we could all be there. And we were all laughing so hard that we couldn't hear the dialog and we had to rewind. Like three times. Afterwards, we all went out for yogurt, which fortunately wasn't cursed. But it came with free toppings. Which fortunately were also not cursed. And given that this was Berkeley, the toppings were probably also not made of Sodium Benzoate. Away we scampered, to the Angel mobile/my Honda.

Anyway, as to the central question, Angel should "save" Spike for several reasons. Contrarily, because it's easy to be nice to people you like. The harder thing is to be kind, generous, and socially responsible towards those that you don't like. Errr..not that I manage to pull that off, I just like demanding impossible things from heroes. At least three before breakfast. I'm evil that way.

Primarily, what I was vaguing at is that he should save Spike, because if Spike has stepped into the role of shadow self, Angel will be indicating that he finds himself worthy of being saved. At this point it would seem, Angel doesn't know that he needs to be saved, but it must be hard rolling that rock up that hill over and over. For all that his shoulders are broad, that's quite a weight to bear. The rejection of the Other, the demon within, Lindsey, Wesley's turn as Judas, Spike, along with the incredible efforts to help Buffy (yeah, yeah, don't logic me with love, I'm on a mossy roll), Faith, Kate, Darla, and so on. It's just so, evocative.

He may save others, and types. Iseult la brun, as well as Iseult la blonde, and possibly even king Mark, but it is the points of repetition in the pattern that catch the eye. The recreation of the family unit. The salvation of the girl. The grappling with the Other (hey, I don't mean in a slashy way).

Perhaps, it's wrong of me to see anything that Angel says about Spike at the moment as in a way about himself. Well, except my prescription, astigmatism, blood red sun glasses in John Lennon style are my own. Angel is carrying a weight. I wonder if he feels that he deserves all these things, this penthouse, this life, or if it's just an anchor of responsibility. Okay, what I want is the return of Connor, so I can get some issues out there. I want Wesley to figure out the memory wipe because it's all so mentally succulent.

I was referring to the episode Blind Date, which I now realize was S1, before Cordelia was tortured, hmmm, and actually it was two episodes after the Faith episodes, it's been a while. Anyway, at the time having Angel seem (it's my perception and I'm perfectly willing to admit others may not have felt that way) brush Lindsey off directly after an episode where he went out of his way to help Faith bothered me. With the repetition of that motif with Darla and again with the were-girl, who so resembles Darla, who like Connor Angel did and did not save. Once again, not quite in time.

I realize that primarily it's a he's the male hero thing, but that dosn't give me much to play with, so I ignore it. Hey, I said that this fresne was set to evil.

As to Dead Ending Things, mostly I remember Lindsey singing and you know, "Evil Hand," okay and Lindsey in that shirt and the argument the board had about that shirt and since it's come up recently, Lindsey's quote about not playing W&H's game and this site's entry on the episode, which is quite interesting and I think relevant.

So, the hero went to the top of the mountain and took the devil's offer and now rules as far as the eye can see. And knows that when you make deals with the devil that you should count the fingers on the hand that shook the deal. And Wesley wonders, why did he sell his soul out for a pen with his name on it?

I'm just waiting for John Cussack to show up and say anything. Look in the mirror and say, "This is me breathing." But he might be busy at a little cafZ in Europe eating ziti.

[> [> [> [> [> [> A big E-zactly to you and leslie! -- Ponygirl, 19:29:41 10/16/03 Thu

I keep thinking of Angel's line in Amends - and not the everybody's favourite monster/man killing one - his question of whether "am I a man worth saving?" He got a big snowy yes to that question but now there are some serious wonderings as to who let those flakes fly.

So now this season we have OldTestament!Angel with all of the eye for an eye type punishments he's been handing out. With Spike along as Angel's barometer - the puppet when Angel thinks he's in control; a disconnected wisp when Angel lashes out at his friends. And the damned soul trying to trick his way out of hell. But who is the one sending him there? Who is sitting in judgement?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Ah fresne, you put all my probs with Ang so well. Thanks! -- s'kat, 15:23:09 10/17/03 Fri

Yes, I was wondering exactly the same thing you were.
What was wrong with the poor male werewolf that he killed with a pen? And we knew more about? Or Spike - whom he seems to enjoy watching whoosh off to parts unknown? Or Lindsey, for that matter? Particularly after he's so keen on saving Darla or Faith or the cute werewolf girl that wanted to eat her niece?

This hit me full throttle during Fred's interminable speech in the car to Nina - Fred goes on about how Angel is an equal opportunity hero...and I'm thinking, really? Fred mentions how he saved her from Pylea, and I'm thinking actually the people who got you out of Pylea where Wes, and Gunn, and Groo and Cordy...but whatever. He did save you from the butcher's block, but then you happened to be a sweet little girl in distress. So I'm wondering are we supposed to look at this ironically? Maybe leslie is right?
Because, there was something almost too picture perfect and Seventh Heaveny about that house (which ironically used to house evil Ryan from Under Your Skin) to really be part of ATS. Is ME playing with the light theme? Not sure. Trying to be optimistic here.

At any rate completely agree with fresne and leslie on this one.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Why should Angel save Spike? (mild spoilers 5.03) -- skeeve, 13:12:31 10/17/03 Fri

Once he discovers that Spike needs saving, he should save Spike because that is what champions do and because Buffy would want him to.
Given Angel's education, saving Spike probably consists of saying "Wes, help Fred. Get Willow and Giles if you have to."

[> [> [> Bag Lady. Slime Monster. -- monsieurxander, 18:25:27 10/16/03 Thu

Just citing one example of non-Barbie female save-age. I think it was near the end of season 1? Somehow involved Kate.

[> [> my first thought... -- celticross, 12:45:00 10/16/03 Thu

Nina's Darla with Kate's hair!

As a brunette, I feel seriously under-represented. If they make Fred go blonde (ish), I'll scream. *tongue partially in cheek*

[> [> [> Right there with ya, celticross! -- LadyStarlight, 16:44:43 10/16/03 Thu

Brunettes of the world, unite!

[> [> [> [> Can spurious redheads join? -- Red, er, Dead Soul, 21:06:34 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Can spurious redheads join? -- celticross, 23:21:42 10/16/03 Thu

Weeeelll...according to the stereotypes, you redheads are all firey and wild, while we brunettes are repressed and dull. But seeing as there's been no love for redheads on AtS at all, absolutely!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hairism in the Angelverse -- Dead (and out of things to put in these parentheses) Soul, 23:38:07 10/16/03 Thu

Hush yo mouth! Brunettes are all sultry and smoldering - even on AtS. See Lilah and pre-demon-lobotomy Cordy and Faith. Whereas, the only redheads I can recall are spoiled, wussy Virginia and the jailbait telekinetic, Bethany. Now those are some gals with some Daddy issues!

This may mean something, probably means nothing, but during the couple of flashbacks with the gypsy girl, in the first one she was dark-haired, but in the later one on AtS (sorry, I'm blanking on ep names tonight)when they showed Angelus chomping down on her thigh, she was blonde.

I'm hesitating to mention Drusilla, since it would tend to invalidate, or at least call into question, our position on the status, or lack thereof, hair color is indicative of in the Angelverse. Or maybe she can just be the exception that proves the rule. Yeah. That's the ticket.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hairism in the Angelverse (Spoiler AtS 5.3) -- sdev, 01:35:47 10/17/03 Fri

But Drusilla was crazy thus validating your premise of hairism, the persecution of us brunettes.

Of course the new style/breed of werewolf featured in Ep 3 solved the prior bias agianst hirsutism.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hairism in the Angelverse -- celticross, 08:14:21 10/17/03 Fri

"pre-demon-lobotomy Cordy"

Ah, but that was also pre-wonky sorta romance with Angel. The minute they get sorta romance-y, she gets blonde streaks. Coindence? I think not.

As for Faith, it's always been my contention (at least since Sanctuary) that Angel was mooning after the wrong Slayer.

[> Re: If Nina were a man... (spoilers for ANGEL 5.3) -- yabyumpan, 23:16:34 10/16/03 Thu

Do people really believe that Angel A) only grabbed Wesley's pen and went to save Nina from the werewolf because he sensed that she was a 'pretty, petit blond? and B) that if he'd just sensed the werewolf and then discovered that he'd saved a guy that he wouldn't have continued to help him as he helped Nina? Do people really think that if it had been a guy that Angel would have just left him to fend for himself in regards to becoming a werewolf? Were Gunn and Wesley helping just because it was a woman? Was Fred?

With regards to Lindsey, Angel did offer to help him and gave him enough trust to hatch a plan with him to break into W&H (where he could have easily been falling into a trap), but can you really blame him for wanting Lindsey to really prove his commitment to change when the guy had tried to have him assasinated only a few episodes before? 'Poor' Lindsey was given a chance to change and chose not to. The responsability lies with him not Angel.

[> [> Re: If Nina were a man... (spoilers for ANGEL 5.3) -- Gyrus, 08:42:47 10/20/03 Mon

Do people really believe that Angel A) only grabbed Wesley's pen and went to save Nina from the werewolf because he sensed that she was a 'pretty, petit blond?

No, he would have done that for anyone.

and B) that if he'd just sensed the werewolf and then discovered that he'd saved a guy that he wouldn't have continued to help him as he helped Nina? Do people really think that if it had been a guy that Angel would have just left him to fend for himself in regards to becoming a werewolf?

I think he would have made less of an effort, yes. He would have been more focused on keeping Nino (our hypothetical male werewolf) from killing anyone than on helping Nino adjust to his new condition.

With regards to Lindsey, Angel did offer to help him and gave him enough trust to hatch a plan with him to break into W&H (where he could have easily been falling into a trap), but can you really blame him for wanting Lindsey to really prove his commitment to change when the guy had tried to have him assasinated only a few episodes before?

Faith did quite a lot of horrible stuff, but Angel didn't make her do anything to prove her commitment. Lindsey, on the other hand, had just helped Angel save some children from an assassin, at considerable personal risk. So it's not as though Lindsey just showed up out of the blue to ask for Angel's help. Nonetheless, Angel treated Lindsey like dirt and, IMO, made going back to W&H more appealing to Lindsey than it otherwise would have been.

[> [> Re: If Nina were a man... (spoilers for ANGEL 5.3) -- jane, 15:03:33 10/17/03 Fri

I agree, it wouldn't make any difference to Angel if the victim was a man or woman. He went to the rescue because someone needed rescuing, not because the person had a specific hair colour or gender. He may have a weakness for blondes, but that doesn't mean he's going to let brunettes, redheads or bald people get bitten if he can prevent it!
As Yabyumpin points out, Lindsey made his own bed, and he had to lie in it.

[> Re: If Nina were a man... (spoilers for ANGEL 5.3) -- nobody, 16:15:39 10/17/03 Fri

He'd be El Nino, lets see Angel keep that contained overnight!

[> [> LOL! (spraying coffee on my computerscreen).. -- jane, 21:42:57 10/17/03 Fri

Wes and Fred - WHY?? -- Claudia, 12:13:34 10/16/03 Thu

Judging from Wes's reaction to Knox and a spoiler from a future episode, it seems they are contemplating a relationship between him and Fred. My question is . . . why?

As a romantic couple, they don't seem as if they would be interesting together. In many ways, they're too alike. Like Buffy and Angel. Couldn't they have found another more interesting partner for Wes?


[> Future *Spoiler* Above -- Arethusa, 12:22:06 10/16/03 Thu

[> re: vague "SPOILER from a future episode" above -- skyMatrix, 12:22:09 10/16/03 Thu

Please don't refer in any way whatsoever to "a spoiler from a future episode" without saying something about it in the subject. You may respond by saying that you didn't really reveal the spoiler, but to me what you referred to in mentioning you read a spoiler gives me some idea of what plots might be on the horizon. And I, like many here, am happier having no idea whatsoever! Just remember, there is a wide variety of fan behavior, from those who snap up every tidbit as it is released to those of us who cover our eyes at the previews! We must all respect each other's unique way of watching. Thanks.

[> [> Re: re: vague "SPOILER from a future episode" above -- Claudia, 12:23:25 10/16/03 Thu

Again, sorry if I'm in a bad mood, but . . . blow me.

[> [> [> Re: re: vague "SPOILER from a future episode" above -- LittleBit, 13:07:50 10/16/03 Thu

I really don't think I need to tell you that was simply unnecessary and uncalled for. When you're in that kind of mood, not responding might be the better approach. Sky was just letting you know nicely why we like the spoiler warning to be in the subject.

I'm sorry to hear about your bad mood. We all have 'em.

[> [> [> Gee, Claudia -- Random, 13:12:15 10/16/03 Thu

That was a well-thought-out retort to an extremely reasonable request and observation. Knowing that you must have spent a considerable amount of time on it makes me loathe to critique it, but might I offer one suggestion? Perhaps you could deconstruct your intended meaning more carefully. What part of you do you wish him to "blow"? Is this like balloon-blowing? Do you wish him to make funny balloon animals from you (I'm partial to balloon Great Auks, but that's just me.) Or are we talking in a sexual sense, because the implication that you are therefore male ("blowing" can be done to females, I'm sure, but not nearly as dramatically -- a pity that our culture rarely recognizes how worthy and interesting a past-time this is. Sexism, I suppose.) Or perhaps it's more of a "blow-the-man-down" sense. Because I'd recommend you avoid high places until sky has fulfilled your request. So many ways for that phrase to be interpreted leaves room for too much doubt. Can he blow you as a whole, or just one part at a time? Does he need to brush his teeth first? Or maybe practice until he can blow on par with the great Dizzy Gillespie himself? It would be nice of him if he was willing to put in that effort...but perhaps he has other demands on his time.

You understand that my criticism comes from a place of warm, goopy love. I want only the best for you, and maybe sky too. Please don't take this the wrong way. My heart would be in pieces and I would be disconsolate if I thought you were unhappy with me.

Yours truly and magnificently,


[> [> [> [> Warning: Adult content in the above post -- Lunasea, 13:25:57 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Adult? Random's an adult?!?! -- The First Naughty Virtue, 13:27:38 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Mazel Tov, Random! -- Sheri, 15:38:38 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> There should be cake, right? Shouldn't there be cake involved? -- LadyStarlight, 16:42:05 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you all, thank you all... -- Random, 10:39:50 10/17/03 Fri

Including Arethusa, who counted the ways. But I've put off being an adult for 30 years now, so I think I can manage a few more. True story, which a couple people here have already heard. When I was 17, my parents were talking to me about something involving responsibility, but fun responsibility -- I don't recall what it was exactly, but I think it had to do with spending the week alone with a girlfriend at her cabin in the mountains. They told me that they trusted me and would treat me like an adult. To this day, I don't know why I did it, but I immediately replied, "If I wanted to be treated like an adult, I'd act like one, dammit!" They were...nonplussed, to say the least. But they knew me, and eventually decided that I was just having fun with them, so I got treated like an adult anyway. Sigh....

[> [> [> [> Lets us count the ways. -- Arethusa, 14:25:20 10/16/03 Thu

The Cambridge Dictionaries On-Line have many more helpful idioms:

blow it
a blow job
cushion/soften the blow
strike a blow for sth/sb
blow a fuse/gasket
blow your stack/top
a body blow
blow sb's brains out
blow away the cobwebs
blow sb's cover
a death blow
blow up/explode in sb's face
blow the gaff
blow a hole in sth
blow hot and cold
Joe Blow
blow your mind
blow your own trumpet
blow sth out of (all) proportion
blow a raspberry
blow sth sky-high
blow smoke
let off steam
blow sth/sb out of the water
blow the whistle on sb/sth
blow sth wide open

[> [> [> Random said it best but since I am not so funny I must say -- Mackenzie, 14:02:50 10/16/03 Thu

I find your "blow me" response crass and callous and ask that you find it in yourself to be a little more adult on this board. We come here to rationally debate and discuss the many aspects of BtVS and Ats under understanding that there are certain rules we must follow. You have no right to break those rules and possibly damage future viewing enjoyment for others here who choose to stay un-spoiled. I have begun to realize that maybe you aren't here for the same reasons. If that is the case, please find a way to at least be considerate to others. I realize the best way to keep you from continuing to offend or bait board members is just to ignore you, I have to ask you to grow up a little.

[> [> [> [> I must concur... -- Nino, 13:34:10 10/17/03 Fri

Sometimes I feel like you want to make people mad...you bring up some good points, but you take it personally when people go against you....too much negative energy

[> [> [> Would it be crass to quote Bart Simpson here... -- Rob, 17:46:23 10/16/03 Thu

...and say that your post "both sucks and blows at the same time"?


[> Spoilers for 5.3 Above -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:22:19 10/16/03 Thu

i have a weird theory about Spike (spoiler.spec) -- Neil, 14:49:54 10/16/03 Thu

what if thats not really Spike?

what it its the First?


[> Re: i have a weird theory about Spike (spoiler.spec) -- skeeve, 15:38:45 10/16/03 Thu

Would the First have brain wave activity?

[> [> Re: i have a weird theory about Spike (spoiler.spec) -- deathdeer, 06:48:47 10/17/03 Fri

Spoilers Through 5.3 and spec for future eps.

I came to the same conclusion after watching Unleashed, specifically the final scene between Spike and Fred where he was almost completely transparent and then once he got a solid "I'll help you at all costs" from Fred, he immediately became opaque. If he is the First it would explain who returned the amulet. It would also provide the season with a Big Bad.

I'm not 100% sold on the idea, because next week's ep appears very Spike-centric. But that could be the point. Making not just the characters on Angel care for Spike and then be betrayed but also the fans. It would be very cool.

[> [> [> Re: i have a weird theory about Spike (spoiler.spec) -- Neil, 08:05:30 10/17/03 Fri

i'm dont think its the First myself, to tell the truth, but maybe...could the First join with Spike, like it did with Caleb?

[> [> [> Re: i have a weird theory about Spike (spoiler.spec) -- skeeve, 15:13:43 10/17/03 Fri

I'll bite. Who mailed the amulet?
What did the First do with the necromancer?

New Marc Blucas Movie -- LL, 15:27:42 10/16/03 Thu

Marc Blucas (aka Riley Finn) will be appearing in a new film called "Pray For Rock and Roll", which is about a female rock band. The movie stars Gina Gershon and Lori Petty. Marc will be playing one of Gina's love interests - a 27 year-old ex-con and murderer, just out of prison.


[> Re: Perhaps a role where he can finally demonstrate his acting chops -- Brian, 15:31:54 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> It's already been here (Seattle) and gone. -- shambleau, 15:44:29 10/16/03 Thu

It got crap reviews and no mention of MB.

He wasn't bad in "I Capture the Castle" though.

[> Re: New Marc Blucas Movie -- Rabel Dusk, 17:25:53 10/16/03 Thu

You will be able to see Marc Blucas later this year in "The Alamo"

TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Intro: "The Celluloid Closet") - note to RJA -- Scroll, 16:35:44 10/16/03 Thu

In Claudia's Wesley thread below, KdS cites The Brat Queen's dead, gay stereotype essay for insight into Wesley's character. RJA brings up the good point that "[one] problem with the essay, though, was not so much what it said about Wesley, but the linking between homosexuality and 'sissyness'."

RJA, to respond to your post in Claudia's thread -- I have to agree that the link is an unfortunate one, though not one TBQ makes herself, IMO. She is merely observing the cultural phenomenon of 'sissy' = 'gay', not saying that such equation is true. RJA says: "Having 'sissy' characteristics is no necessary indication of a gay subtext other than the fact that popular culture has led us to believe that gay = sissy. A trap I think the essay fell into." I'd like to say that I very much agree with RJA here, and that the point of TBQ's essay is to show the "trap" we as fans, and Joss/Mutant Enemy, sometimes fall for or play into without realising it.

I received permission to copy over TBQ's essay a while ago, but kept forgetting to put it up. Since we have the Wesley thread up, I figure now would be a good time to bring up these essays.

Intro: This post gives some background on "The Celluloid Closet". Basically, lots of quoting from the book/film.
Essay 1: Willow, Tara, and gay stereotypes.
Essay 2: Wesley, AtS, and gay stereotypes.

Please post your comments here on the board, and not over on TBQ's LJ. I don't want to flood her private journal with a bunch of strangers! Thanks : )

* * *

The Brat Queen wrote,
@ 2003-01-28 23:48:00

The dead, gay stereotype

A recent discussion about an episode of Smallville brought up the "dead!evil!gay stereotype" and what, exactly, it was (Fans of Buffy may remember similar discussions from when Tara died and Willow went evil).

The discussion prompted me to check The Celluloid Closet out of the library. I'd seen the documentary many times before but I'd never had the chance to read the book.

And let me stop right here and say that if you are a fan of slash, the book and movie should be on your required reading/viewing list. They chronicle the history of gays in the movies and, amongst other things, point out that we slash fans are not insane. The subtext is there on purpose. Read the book and watch the documentary (often shown on Bravo) both. Reason being, they were done about a decade apart, so the documentary covers movies that weren't out when the book was written, but on the flip side the book goes into greater depth on some topics than the movie could manage.

Anyway, as I promised in the thread I tried to find some good examples of the dead/evil gay/lesbian stereotype and honestly it was hard. Not because of a lack of examples, but because there were too many. I can't isolate a single quote - or even two - as the definititve statement on the subject.

First off, you may want to read Roger Ebert's review of the documentary, which highlights why the movie should be a must-view for every slash fan, but also contains the following quote:

"The Celluloid Closet" is inspired by a 1981 book by Vito Russo, who wrote as a gay man who found he had to look in the shadows and subtexts of movies to find the homosexual characters who were surely there. His book was a compendium of visible and concealed gays in the movies, and now this documentary, which shows the scenes he could only describe, makes it clear Hollywood wanted it both ways: It benefitted from the richness that gays added to films, but didn't want to acknowledge their sexuality. In those few films that were frankly about gays, their lives almost always ended in madness or death (there is a montage of gays dying onscreen, of which my favorite from a Freudian point of view is Sandy Dennis as a lesbian in "The Fox," crushed by a falling tree). (Emphasis mine)

From the book:

Twice before, plays of [Tennessee] Williams had been brought to the screen with significant homosexual references deleted. [...] In 1951 the "problem" that Blanche DuBois encountered with her husband was obscured for the screen version of A Streetcar Named Desire; in 1958 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was shorn of the homosexual implications in the relationshp between Bric (Paul Newman) and the dead Skipper. [...] Then, in 1959, [...] Suddenly Last Summer dealt with the subject as the kind of psychosexual freak show that the Fifties almost demanded. Treated like a dread disease, the homosexuality of Sebastian Venable, William's doomed poet, could be 'inferred but not shown' - by special permission of the Breen Office. [...] The Legion of Decency, after seeing that the necessary cuts were made, gave the film a special classification: "Since the film illustrates the horrors of such a lifestyle, it can be considered moral in theme even though it deals with sexual perversion." [...] Williams' tortured view of a failed homosexual artist and the people he victimizes with his abnormal desires is a classic horror story. Having used first his mother, in this case literally his mad creator, and then his cousin (Elizabeth Taylor) as bait for his affairs, the creature is finally destroyed by an angry mob ov street urchins in a climax not much different from that of James Whale's Frankenstein, in which the peasants pursue the monster to the top of a hill, where fire engulfs him.

[TBQ's note: in case my cutting here doesn't make it clear, the book's point is that Williams had blatent homosexuality in many of his plays, but the only time that homosexuality was allowed to make it to the screen was the one play which kills off the gay character in a horrible fashion.]


[After the new Code created in 1962]

For most people, homosexuality was inextricably bound to the idea of men acting like women - and that was bad, even dangerous, for heroes. Although, under the new Code, villainous homosexuals sometimes wanted the hero sexually, their homosexuality served as an illustration of their pathology and thus illuminated their villainy. In Peter Ustinov's Billy Budd (1062), the fatal attraction of Claggart (Robert Ryan) to the beauteous innocence of Billy (Terence Stamp) is both his problem and his eventual retribution.


[re: The Children's Hour, starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine]

But tin the character of Martha Dobie (Shirley MacLaine) Hellman created the sudden revelation that comes to a woman who discovers the truth of her own lesbianism by means of a child's stupid lie. That self-revelation costs Martha Dobie her life - the first in a long series of suicides of homosexual screen characters.


Advise and Consent (1962) - Contains one of the first shots of a gay bar in a film. The character of Senator Brig Anderson (Don Murray) has a homosexual encounter in his army past with a fellow soldier anmed Ray (John Granger). ray blackmails Anderson and, after a confrontation, "Anderson speeds back to Washington, locks himself in his oak-paneled Senate office and slits his throat with a straight razor."


Thirteen years later, in Max Baer's Ode to Billy Joe (1976), [...] Billy Joe McAllister (Robby Benson) suffers a similar fate [...] When Billy Joe jumps off the Tallahatchie Bridge because he had "been with a man - a sin against God and nature," his secret dies with him.


[Regarding Walk on the Wild Side (1962), starring Barbara Stanwyck)]

Stanwyck's Jo was the opposite of MacLaine's Martha, a villain, not a victim. Jo's acceptance of her own lesbianism is part of her villainy. Any decent woman would kill herself, as Martha and Brig did [...]


When gays became real, they became threatening. The new sissies departed radically from their gentle ancestors; the dykes became predatory and dangerous. Lesbians were still creatures to be conquered or defeated, but now viciously so, as though they were other men. [...] the comic stereotype became a useful tool for putting homosexuality back in its place. As object lessons, officially defined as the opposite of normal, sissies and dykes throughout the 1960s were a nasty lot even when they were funny. They exhibited an abundance of the "meanness" [...]

Popular sex farces and James Bond spy thrillers used sissies and dykes to prove the virility of cartoon heroes an to stress the sterility of homosexuality. Crowther, reviewing Goldfinger for the New York Times, identified the super-masculine post of James Bond as "what we're now calling homosexual sarcasm." There was plenty of froom for sarcasm. In From Russia with Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964), cartoon dykes are alternately killed and cured in the grand tradition of hererosexual solutions. In the former, Lotte Lenya's Colonel Roasa Kelb is old, snakelike, dangerous; a killer spy who makes cobra eyes at a young blonde agent [...] Bond's castration is prevented when Klebb is shot to death by the pretty young thing she had tried to seduce. In Goldfinger, Bond conqueres the beautiful Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), a lesbian doll who comes to life complete with a coterie of beautiful Amazons. [...]

Lesbians who were of use in the service of male sexuality were those beautiful young women who could be variously defined to serve the fantasies of make conquest. Old crows like Rosa Klebb were messily dispatched, along with homosexual men and any other challenge to a James Bond hero. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Kidd (Putter Smith), two gay lovers who are not to be found in the novel Diamonds Are Forever, appear in the 1971 film version as gleeful killers. The pair even get to walk hand in hand into the sunset after they have blown up a helicopter. In the end, though, they are set aflame and toasted like the two marshmallows they really are.


Gays dropped like flies in the Sixties, and for as many reasons as there were tragedies. Sometimes the sexuality of lesbians or crazed gay men victimized others, threatening the status quo; sometimes it caused self-hatred enough to make them suicidal. Either way, the fray was thick with dead bodies and few escaped to the relative safety of the closet. The question, as it applied to the portrayal of gays at the end of the 1960s, became one of visibility. Overt, active or predatory gays - including some particularly nasty sissies who would have been harmless thirty years before - were killed off. The repressed, tormented types usually committed suicide, and the scattered cases were "cured" by sufficient attention from the oposite sex. Obvious cartoons were spared when they happened to be passing through only to provide color or to present a strong contrast to a sexy hero. Pathetic, lonely old lesbians were preserved if they were not wearing spiked shoes. Survivial was an option only for nontheratening characters, and almost all homosexuals threatened the heterosexual status quo by their very existence.


And at this point yours truly is starting to go cross-eyed from reading and typing, but lemme just quote these before I stop (and note these aren't the last mentioned in the book by a long shot, just the last ones I'm quoting):

In Freebie and the Bean (1974), a transvestite killer (Christopher Morley) is cornered by James Caan in a ladies room for a fight to the finish. After getting in a few licks, he gets splattered against the walls - as much for assuming male agression as for assuming female attire.

In The Eiger Sanction (1975), Jack Cassicy plays a killer fairy who can "change a nine dollar bill in threes" and has a despicable little dog named Faggot. Cassidy is left to die in the desert, though the pooch is saved (lest the film be accused of cruelty to animals).

In Theatre of Blood (1973), Robert Morley plays a homosexual theater critc who dies when he is forced to eat his two poodles, who have been baked in a pie in the same fashion that a Roman empress's two sons were served to her in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. In Play It as it Lays, despondant film producer Tony Perkins dies in star Lady Tuesday Weld's arms after swallowing a handful of sleeping pills. She understands. Other gays died violent deaths in The Day of the Jackal (1973), Swashbuckler (1976), The Laughing Policeman (1973), Busting (1974), Drum (1976) and The Betsy (1978)

And, finally, because I thought this might be of interest to Bonibaru who asked about gays as villains vs modern movies that use Brits as villians:

In 1968, Time speculated that Hollywood was "using" homosexuality more and more as a subject because it had "run out of conventional bad guys" and the evidence bears this out.

Whew. Okay, now that I've got that typed out, I'll get started on a few essays re: do Willow and Tara bear out the dead!evil!gay stereotype, and how does Wes factor in to all this. =)

End of Intro

* * *

Essay 1 to follow...


[> TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Essay 1: Willow and Tara) - note to Masq -- Scroll, 16:47:26 10/16/03 Thu

(Hey Masq? I'm so, so sorry! I have no idea what is up with my two attempts above. They looked fine when I was approving them. I'm gonna try to post this one more time, and if it doesn't take... well, I'll try this again some other day.)

* * *

Essay 1

The Brat Queen wrote,
@ 2003-01-29 17:45:00

Willow and Tara and gay stereotypes

Okay, as promised, here's a discussion of gay cliches and Buffy and Angel.

Before I get into it, I want to say this: THESE ARE JUST INTERPRETATIONS. I'm not saying they are my interpretations. I'm not writing this to revive the "Tara's death was the worst homophobic act on TV EVER!!!!!" debate or anything like that. I'm writing it because I was refamiliarizing myself with The Celluloid Closet and while I was reading I couldn't help but draw some comparisons to Buffy and Angel. These are some of the comparisons. You're welcome (nay, encouraged) to draw your own. =)

That being said, let's get started:

Part 1: Willow, gay in reality, not so happy symbolically

Was season 6 really the start?

The Willow/Tara arc of season 6 is, I think everybody can agree, the thing which caused the biggest hue and cry about homophobia in the Jossverse. In season 6, the two gay characters either died (Tara) or turned evil (Willow). This caused many to protest, saying that Joss had sold the girls out to the Evil!Dead!Gay stereotype (link goes to Essay 1) instead of allowing them simply to be healthy, happy lesbian lovers.

Now naturally this raises the question of whether anyone on Buffy is ever allowed to be "healthy" or, for that matter, "happy" (didn't Angel teach us our lesson there? ;) ), so honestly it can be said (and I agree) that forming some kind of protective bubble around Willow and Tara which kept their relationship from all harm would have been singling them out for special treatment because of their gay status. After all, it's not like Xander and Anya were in raptures over their broken marriage-to-be, or like Buffy and Spike thought that their relationship, such as it was, was perfect happiness for either of them. (And let's note that heterosexual Anya also went evil in response to her relationship problems.) So, IMO, Willow/Tara simply fit into the grand scheme of things, which is that that nobody on the show is allowed to be happy for long.

However, this isn't to say that those who had a problem with the way Willow and Tara were treated are totally making things up either. Because while they arguably were as unhappy as the heterosexual couples, the manner in which they were unhappy - and even the manner in which they were happy - is where the problem lies.

The other cliches

That Willow and Tara can now be added to the statistics of evil!dead!gay characters everywhere is indusputible. Tara was gay and died. Willow was gay and went evil. We can't argue that. They now add to the numbers of evil!dead!gay characters in the same way that Buffy adds to the number of strong heterosexual female characters, Angelus adds to the number of charismatic, handsome evil male characters and so on. Whether or not Joss & co did this on purpose is the thing that's up for debate.

Personally I vote no. I don't think that they purposefully killed Tara because she was gay, or made Willow evil because she was gay. I think they killed Tara and they turned Willow. But, at the same time, I think they were - or at least I hope they were - painfully unaware of the symbolism involved that they themselves used - symbolism that goes beyond the evil!dead!gay stereotype.

Culturally speaking (and here we're talking about US culture), there are certain cliches and stereotypes that surround gay characters and have surrounded them for almost all of Hollywood history. The evil!dead!gay stereotype is one of them, and saw its heyday in the 1960s and 70s.

There are, however, other cliches, and these cliches are in evidence with Willow and Tara's characters. Most notably of which is the cliche that the gay character can't be, simply, a character who happens to be gay. Intstead, the character's sexuality completely defines them and rules every moment that they are on the screen.

What did Tara contribute to the Scoobies, other than being Willow's girlfriend? Any resemblance of a personality outside of Willow was woefully hidden until season 6 when Tara, as so many doomed Buffy characters before her, suddenly became sympathetic and interesting merely because she was going to be killed off in the end.

The show itself acknowledged this in the episode about Tara's birthday - none of the Scoobies knew anything about her, other than the fact that she was Willow's girlfriend and into magic. It's worth noting, too, that the birthday episode was a rare episode that featured Tara prominently (I want to say the only episode that focused entirely on her for a main plotline but as I'm not the queen of Buffy canon I bow to someone else who can correct me) but in a storyline that was nothing but a metaphor about, again, her sexuality. (And we'll talk about those metaphors in a sec)

And what about Willow? She became gay and was suddenly cursed with Lesbian Tourette's syndrome - helplessly spouting sentences related to breasts in the most inappropriate moments because, of course, all lesbians speak like that. We could argue that this was only done to help the audience recognize that Willow's sexuality had changed now, but wouldn't the constant presense of her girlfriend, the Scoobies repeated mentions of it, and "gay now" have also done the job? Any attempts to try to gloss over Willow's new "gay" dialogue with some meta explanation are also pretty much shot to Hell by Kennedy, who apparently suffers from the same illness (although in her case it's with the word "wood" and not various forms of "breasts" but then again the season is still young).

And what about Kennedy? What is her personality? We know facts - she's a SiT, her Watcher died, she's older than the others, she comes from money. These are facts, they're not a personality. The only thing that's been done to give Kennedy any non-Big Bad related depth was to make her gay. Yes, arguably the fact that she's taking something of a leadership role with the younger SiTs adds to the depth. If more of this is shown then good. But so far it's been snippets of her leading surrounded either by her spouting off facts about herself or her doing "gay" things. What are her likes? Dislikes? Favorite hobbies? What makes her laugh? What attracts her to Willow? What, in short, defines her as a person other than "SiT who is gay and attracted to Willow" just as for years Tara was defined as "Witch who is gay and attracted to Willow". In short, nothing. Kennedy and Tara fall into the same cliche Hollywood has used for years - gay characters who are defined by being gay. And Willow, a main character, has stumbled along with them. When she turned into a lesbian Willow turned into a character who was also defined by her sexuality. Except, of course, for when she was defined by her magic.

And there's those pesky metaphors. Watch the cliches surrounding Willow now turn into a mobeius strip.

Magic as Metaphor

Back on the WB Joss was not allowed to show Willow and Tara actually doing gay things. It wasn't until season 5 that a wisely unhyped kiss was allowed to sneak in. Until then, they were stuck with metaphor, a grand Buffyverse tradition. The metaphor chosen? Magic.

Okay fine. It makes sense, right? Willow and Tara "do spells" together - wink, wink, nudge, nudge. We all get what that means, right? Hell, even Xander got what it meant. And as a metaphor it worked - their relationship was magical, they were more powerful together than apart, sparks fly when ever they're near each other - and so on and so forth. Metaphorically it's fine. The metaphor even worked well in Tara's birthday episode, when magic and demon heritage substituted for homosexuality in Tara's dealings with her family. So far so good.

Then came season 6.

Season 6, the season that caused the hue and cry about Willow and Tara turning into homophobic cliches. The season in which not only did Tara die but Willow turned evil - because of her magic.

The lack of Standards and Practices on UPN gave way to a new world of hot Buffy on Spike and Willow on Tara action. Our favorite witches were allowed to nest together and to be as blatent sexually (albeit not as frequently) as Buffy and Spike did. No more magic metaphor was needed. The girls were just gay. And, in theory, this is okay too.

In practice though I think the folks at ME didn't step out of the meta-level enough to realize what they were doing. Or, again I hope that's what happened. I think ME realized that they didn't need magic for the old metaphor anymore and therefore retrofitted it into a new one. I don't think they realized that in spite of the channel change, the two metaphors were actually still connected. They couldn't ask their audience to read between the lines on the WB and then act all surprised when the audience kept reading there on UPN.

Especially since the magic as gay love metaphor was still there.

Right up until "Once More With Feeling", a UPN episode, the old metaphor is still with us. Tara sings of her love for Willow with "I'm Under Your Spell". Which on a superficial level shows us simply that - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - the metaphor hasn't gone anywhere. But on a deeper level is actually kind of disturbing.

Because "I'm Under Your Spell" - prettily sung though it was - is actually not that healthy a song. Tara is singing about her co-dependance on Willow. She has no definition outside of what Willow gives her - a romantic concept in the "Two can become one" ideal of couples, but a troubling one for a character who, accurately enough, has no definition outside of Willow. It's also a song of foreshadowing - Tara is, in fact, under Willow's spell - a spell of forgetting, which is the only reason why they're together for the song.

So, much though a quick scan suggests that this is a happy, romantic song, actually it's not and not on any possible angle for the Willow/Tara relationship. This then strikes the first blow against the magic as happy gay love metaphor. Joss himself uses the metaphor to show us that their relationship isn't happy, nor is it healthy, although we can all still agree that it's gay.

From this blow, we plunge headlong (with a "Tabula Rasa" break) into magic's new metaphor - drug addiction. Gone is the happy gay metaphor. Now there's a new metaphor, and a not exactly hidden one either. Willow's use of magic is inappropriate, it's unhealthy, she uses magic to escape her responsibilities, her use of magic puts a minor in danger.

Which, as a metaphor for drug addiction, is at least in the neighborhood of apt. But the metaphor for gay love was only two episodes prior. Was "Tabula Rasa" supposed to symbolically cue us in that we were supposed to abandon the old metaphor for the new? Did ME think enough of its audience was actually aware that UPN had no S&P division to make the connection on their own?

Can we really say that those who felt betrayed by Willow's season 6 arc as a slap in the face to gay fans were that off in their interpretations? Especially when Willow's use of magic was the thing that ultimately brought her to the dark side? Yes, her darkest moments were with the good goal of helping her friends (attacking Glory, bringing Buffy back from the dead, getting revenge for Tara, etc) but honestly does it contradict the theory when the thing that kick-started Willow on the black-eyed Eeeeeevil magic was Glory's attack on Tara, her girlfriend? And when Willow's ultimate descent into Eeeeeevil, period, was in response to Tara's death?

What to say, then, to the show's contention that the only way Willow can be "healthy" or trustworthy is if she completely and totally abandons magic? Again - as drug metaphor, fine. But that spector of the old metaphor is still there.

Now, granted, Tara herself managed to keep using magic in a healthy manner and managed to, other than the bullet through her chest, be a lesbian in a healthy manner as well. I'm not saying otherwise. But the show itself never really explained how magic was bad and horrible for Willow yet good for Tara. Even in the intended metaphor of magic as addiction this never really made sense. Were they trying to show Tara as the responsible, social drinker and Willow as the addict? Were they attempting something else? It's never explained on the show - at least, not in season 6.

In season 7 we suddenly get explanations all over the place which contradict what we were told before - magic isn't an addiction, it's not a matter of Willow going cold turkey. She can use magic, just "good" magic. Thus we finally understand why Willow's s6 magic was bad while Tara's was good. Okay - but this is after the fact. This is after the backlash against the s6 storyline. And, notably, this is during the same season in which Joss and Marti were entertaining the idea of giving Willow a new boyfriend - a fine nod to those who maintain that Willow is actually bisexual, but a disturbing move symbolically considering that thanks to the dead lesbian and the evil lesbian, the only goal left in this cliche hat trick was the cured lesbian - one who goes back to men again. So Kennedy, much though she has no personality outside of being gay and interested in Willow, is at least a step in the right symbolic direction. S7, at least, starts to show that ME finally picked up on the messages they were sending - however inadvertently - and started to correct them.

Final thoughts

So what do we get out of all this? We get that for all that Buffy had multiple canonical gay characters, and for all the "I'm not sleeping with Spike, but I'm starting to suspect that you are" type slash-friendly jokes, the show itself ironically - and, again I strongly suspect, inadvertently - made use of homophobic stereotypes and cliches that, in s6 especially, undermined all the gay-positive things they were trying to do, thus resulting in fans who felt that they - and Willow and Tara - had been betrayed. In s7, though, we see hints that ME may have clued in to what they were doing, and are now trying to rectify it.

Would fans have felt as betrayed if not for the abuse of the magic metaphor? Or if Willow and Tara had been defined outside of their sexuality (literally or metaphorically)? Or if the only other canonical gay character, Larry, hadn't been summarized in the two bullet points of 1) Gay and 2) Dead?

Basically what I'm saying is that while I don't think ME meant to destroy their gay characters because they were gay, I do think they managed to do it using the same exact tools as those who did destroy gay characters simply for being homosexual. Hence, I'm thinking, why there was such a fuss. "Seeing Red", with the actual death and turn to evil, was merely the straw that - appropriately enough - broke the "metaphor" camel's back.

Of course the interesting flip side to this is that for all that Buffy, the show with the gay characters, tears them down, Angel, the show without them, actually supports them, and does so by flying in the face of the same cliches (or at least the same school of cliches) that Buffy bought into.

But I'll get into that in another essay. =)

End of Essay 1

* * *

Essay 2 to follow...

[> [> TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Essay 2: Wesley and AtS) -- Scroll, 16:59:22 10/16/03 Thu

Essay 2

The Brat Queen wrote,
@ 2003-02-12 13:17:00

Wesley, AtS and gay stereotypes

A few weeks ago I did an essay on Willow and Tara and gay stereotypes, wherein I said that though I didn't believe ME ever meant to be homophobic, they inadvertently acted that way through some of the symbolism and cliches they employed.

At the time I promised the flip side of this, which was a discussion of how, if Buffy screwed up with the gay symbolism, Angel actually did great. I finally had some free time to do this so here we are. And, once again, please remember that this is merely an interpretation. I'm not saying it's the interpretation or even my interpretation. It's simply food for thought. =)

Part 2: Wesley, not canonically gay, but a hell of a symbol

Cultural background

As The Celluloid Closet (TCC) explains, for decades Hollywood was forbidden to show homosexual characters onscreen. This resulted in, for one thing the evil/dead gay stereotype, but it also resulted in what became known as the "sissy" character; that is to say a character who was never acknowledged to be gay, but was strongly implied to be gay. As TCC puts it "When, under tremendous pressure from the Catholic Church and other civic and religious groups, the Code was strengthened in 1934, borderline gay characters fell into well-worn innuendo and reliable sissy credentials, but said the same things."

In the early days of Hollywood, "The sissy was used onscreen and off, as both scapegoat and weapon, to expose a mistrust of brightness or wit in men who were not also pushy or agressive." In other words, they allowed for society's homophobia to be shown without actually putting gays on the screen.

TCC goes on to say "Onscreen this kind of hostility was stated hardly more delicately, but since homosexuality did not officially exist, the trust of such basically homophobic sentiment was directed elsewhere. Symbols of masculinity were defended by the use of symbols for homosexuality. The fact that most early movie sissies were homosexual only if one chose to see them as being homosexual was simply a reflection of the fact that the existence of homosexuals in society was acknowledged only when society chose to do so." (Slash fans, take note)

It should be noted, though, that "Because they were only symbols for failed masculinity and therefore did not represent the threat of actual homosexuals, most sissies during the reign of the Code were not demeaned, nor were they used in cruel or offensive ways. It was not the sissy but what he stood for that was offensive."

And, of course, it's worth it to remember that "To characterize such behavior as homosexual simply because it is stereotypical is of course a mistake." TCC is not trying to say that all sissy characters were closeted gays, merely that it's a Venn diagram with some overlap.

There were also characters who, though not flat-out sissies, were still homosexual and only referred to as such through hints and symbolism. Case in point, the character of Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon (1941) who is referred to as a homosexual in the book, but in the film version is turned into a perfumed fop. Hinting at homosexuality by stating a male character's preference for lavendar and/or pansies also became common.

The subtext of homosexuality began to put Hollywood in a quandry, however. Because they shoved their gay characters into symbolic closets, the audience's ability to look for and read that symbolism grew, thus creating subtext where it wasn't always wanted. This, then, gave rise to need for more symbolism, to show where the homosexuality began and ended.

Buddy pictures in particular had a need for this since, "The expendability of women in buddy films was one reason for [the fear of the male buddies being taken for gay]. Heterosexual romance was often just a standard plot ingredient, thrown in at regular intervals because it had to be there, and lacking the emotional commitment that the filmmaker failed to give it. The real emotions in the movies, as well as in the movie industry, have always taken place between men. Men have been the important forces at work, both as instigators of all the action in the pictures and as instigators of the films themselves, by deciding what movies should be made and how. Subtexts presented themselves constantly but were left unresolved, just as the women waited around while the boys recreated their adolscent fantasies, unemcumbered by an emotional commitment to anything but each other and a good time." (Yet again, slash fans take note.)

The subtext-that's-text of buddy films covers everything from the canonical gay backstory of Ben Hur (granted, not your usual buddy pic ;) ) to Glenn Ford's comment that he and George Macready "knew we were supposed to be playing homosexuals" in Gilda (1946) which was disputed by Charles Vidor, the film's director.

But of course, Hollywood cannot simply have gay characters as the heros, so a solution was needed. During the late Sixties, when buddy films started to become popular again, the sissy once again served a purpose. He worked as the touchstone character, proving to the audience that the buddies of the picture were not gay because he was. Midnight Cowboy (1969), for instance, deflected suspicion of any homosexuality between Joe and Ratso by making their contempt for faggots clear whenever they encounter gay characters. (It's interesting to note that Dustin Hoffman said in a later interview that he felt that, given their backgrounds, the characters should be racist, and in one scene a black man should come in, to which Joe and Ratso would move away muttering "scum bags" or "niggers". This was shot down as it would "lose every liberal in the audience" and the scene was done with a Times Square queen which Ratso calls a "faggot".)

The use of sissies as touchstone characters continues to this very day. Case in point, a scene in Rush Hour 2 when Lee and Carter go shopping and encounter a sissy sales clerk who gushes all over them - much to Carter's discomfort. Carter's reaction shows that both trends of the touchstone sissy character have stayed in place over the years, that is to say that it's not enough to simply have the sissy there but the buddy characters must somehow make fun of or show dislike of him as well, thus proving their heterosexuality.

(I find it interesting to note that Shanghai Noon, another Jackie Chan buddy movie, had no such sissy character, leading me to wonder who in the process of making Rush Hour 2 felt the need to put one in.)

Tea and Sympathy

Then there are movies where the symbolism overshadows the true meaning of the film. Case in point Tea and Sympathy (1956), a movie which has "become so symbolic of the classic cure for homosexuality...that people forget it is the story of a shy heterosexual."

If you've never seen Tea and Sympathy, you've probably heard of it through the oft-quoted "Years from now... when you talk about this... and you will... be kind." It is the story of Tom Lee who is falsely accused of homosexuality because he does not enjoy typical "male" activities such as sports. Instead he'd rather spend his time listening to classical music, or sewing.

He is "falsely acused of homosexuality by men whose sporting activities provide the most homoerotic action on the screen. In buddy relationships well established by the fellow students, Tom fits in as a scapegoat sissy. The film pleads tolerance, therefore, not for sexual deviation but for unfortunate heterosexuals who happen to be less than 'masculine'. At no time is homosexuality seen as a valid option for a real man. The message is that one cannot assume that a young man is homosexual just because he doesn't knock himself out playing touch football."

Tom is eventually "saved", however, by sleeping with Laura, the housemaster's wife, with whom he is in love.

"When Laura finally sleeps with Tom Lee, she is saving him not from a life of sissyhood, but from his own fear that his fellow students might be right about his sexuality - at thought that has already driven him to attempt suicide. 'To me, it was never a play about homosexuality,' Anderson [the writer] says. 'When Leif Erickson hounds Tom Lee, he's really persecuting what he fears in himself.' Thus Tea and Sympathy is the ultimate sissy film; it confirms what the creators and portrayers of sissies have always sought to deny, that the iconography for sissies and for sexual deviates is the same and that the one has come to mean the other."

This, then, set the stage for another cliche, however inadvertently. It became okay to show a sissy character, acknowledged to be gay or not, so long as the character was "cured" through the love of a woman, much as it was okay to make Pussy Galore a lesbian, since she was "cured" by sleeping with James Bond. And the "cure" for sissies is obvious: become more stereotypically manly, more sexual with women and less intellectual and weak. Only then can you be considered "good".

Enter Wesley

The character of Wesley has never, of course, been acknowledged to be gay, but he is, however, a sissy in the truest Tea and Sympathy sense. Created as a counterpart to Giles, Wesley, as the show's creators agree, was intended to be an example of someone who had put too much faith in book learning (being an intellectual) than in actual field experience. He also exhibits classical sissy traits: he's prissy, weak, gives up easily during a fight (and ideally before, if it keeps his kneecaps attached), is knocked down easily and whines over the tiniest wounds.

Like his counterpart in Tea and Sympathy, Wesley has his eye on a girl, but the kiss of non-passion between him and Cordelia was so absurdly awful for a man of his age that many felt the subtext of his homosexuality became, in that moment, text. Particularly considering his earlier comments in "The Prom" about his days in an all-boy prep school where the upperclassmen made the lowerclassmen dress up as girls and, well, dip's tasty, isn't it?

Wesley also serves his role as the touchstone sissy. Though of course Giles's sexuality was not in doubt (at least considering that Ethan wasn't onscreen ;) ) but his suitability was. During the course of their time together it's made clear that Giles can barely tolerate Wesley and all he stands for, even though Wesley himself is only a copy of the type of person that Giles was back in Buffy season 1. By drawing the contrast between the two, the audience is expected to roll its eyes right along with Giles at the ridiculous thought that a foolish twit like Wes could ever prove useful to the Scooby gang.

And the Scooby gang is right there with us. Other than Cordelia, who thanks to her breakup with Xander was barely still a member herself, it's made clear that the Scoobies can't stand Wesley. They all, in some form or another, roll their eyes at him, ignore him, and make fun of him.

However, how they make fun of him, much like how Willow and Tara's arc played out, intentional or not, once again becomes key. Because Wes, while on Buffy, is not just made fun of for being a stuffy intellectual, he's made fun of because he's not manly enough. He's called "Princess Margaret" by Faith and Buffy dismisses him as someone who only knows how to "scream like a girl". (Ironic that the two making fun of him for not being manly enough are the two strongest women on the show.) Thus Wesley's identity as a sissy character is complete - he's not manly enough to be admired, and the other characters make fun of him for it. Wes is a sissy, and because of that the Scoobies, and us by extension, are not supposed to like him.

Enter Angel

It's only when Wesley hops over to Angel that suddenly all of the gay cliches are broken. Or, rather, the cliches are still there, but rather than using them as Buffy did with Wes-the-sissy and gay/evil/dead Willow/Tara, it defies them.

For starters, at no point does Angel, the show or the character, feel a need to distance itself from the subtext. Even before Wesley arrives we have Doyle, who flat-out admits he has a crush on Angel. Sure, Spike jokes around with "I understand, I have a nephew who's gay" but at no time is it implied that even Spike thinks that being gay is a bad thing. Instead the joke implies that really, would Angel just admit it?

Over the course of what is now 4 seasons, there are more jokes about Angel's homosexuality than can easily be counted, but at no time is Angel bothered by this. Angel, who quickly snaps at anyone who insults his hair or dares to suggest that maybe he looks older than 25, is never once flustered by anyone assuming that he's gay. The one time he is bothered by the potential assumption is in "Couplet" where it's not so much the implied homosexuality but the implication that he's with Groo of all people that bothers him. Multiple assumptions that he and Wesley are a couple never phase him, nor is he bothered or worried enough to correct it when Cordy, the girl he's in love with, questions his sexuality as well.

This is not to say that Angel is therefore gay. Nor is that to say that he isn't (although with Buffy and Cordy, I think we'd at least have to argue the boy to bi). It's only to say that unlike male heros who have come before him, Angel feels no need to make himself look more masculine by distancing himself from those who are stereotypically less masculine.

Which leads us to Wesley. Unlike Buffy, both the character and the show, Angel the character and the show embraces Wes's sissy nature. True, Cordy makes fun of Wesley, but no more or less than she does anyone else she comes across, and her frequent jibes about Angel's homosexual tendencies shows that this is not a trait she necessarily associates with weak and so-called womanly characters.

And Wesley when he shows up is just as "womanly" as ever. He continues to bumble about, proclaims himself Angel's "humble servant" and expresses a devotion to Angel so strong that once again the subtext threatens to become text. Like his Tea and Sympathy counterpart, he also hints at an interest in womanly hobbies (in Wes's case, knitting and botany).

But still, Angel himself is never once bothered by it. He accepts Wesley as both a friend and as a surrogate family member. More importantly, unlike the gang on Buffy, he feels no need to encourage Wesley away from his sissy tendencies. When the two of them fight, it is over issues of leadership or judgement calls, not over Wesley not being manly enough. (More on this in a moment)

The Angel/Wesley relationship of season 1 started to become so textual that in season 2 we have something to counteract it. Remember, though, that the classic defense against subtextual buddies was a sissy - someone so flamboyantly gay and detested by the buddies that it was obvious that the buddies themselves were straight.

Who is the first new character introduced in season 2? The Host, who makes it clear in his very first episode ("Judgement") that his sexuality is ambiguous at best. But for all that the Host is the new sissy on the block he is not used as a touchstone character. Angel and Wesley consider him a friend. Once again Angel is not bothered by a male character flirting with him. At no point does Angel cheapen itself by mocking the sissy. Instead the subtext is deflected by giving Wesley a girlfriend - a disappointing action to those who liked the subtext, but by no means is it an insulting one.

Wesley's "cure"

If we take the attraction to Cordelia and Virginia at face value, we can see that Wesley is still a sissy in the Tea and Sympathy style: not gay, merely not masculine. However that only applies to Wesley from season 3 of Buffy to the end of season 2 on Angel. Once we hit season 3 of Angel Wesley starts to leave his sissy nature behind him. There are few that would look upon Wesley of season 4 who could, without knowing of his past, even begin to guess that there had been a sissy inside of him. He's rugged, stronger, tougher in a fight and incredibly attached to two women: Lilah and Fred. By all rights he's "cured".

So, Wes once again fulfills the cliche - sissy turned tough guy. Except for one thing: none of his friends agree this is a good thing.

The actual "cured sissy" cliche celebrates the cure. After all, don't we want more so-called manly men? But Angel rejects this part of the stereotype. Yes, Wes is "cured" but the process by which he became so is not a good one, nor is it approved of.

Which isn't to say Wesley isn't allowed to be strong. His friends don't mind him using his strengths in the slightest. When Angel fires the gang in season 2, Wesley takes charge with Cordy and Gunn's, and later Angel's approval. There are some quarrels about how that leadership should be carried out, but never on the level of Wesley's qualifications so much as Gunn and Angel both feel more comfortable doing things in their own way. It's not a challenge to Wes's masculinity.

The real death of sissy Wes, though, starts to come in Pylea in which Wes sheds his glasses, grows some stubble, and then uses his leadership to send men to die.

At the start of season 3 we see, I think, the "real" Wes. He's not so uptight as to be his former prissy self, but he's not so "cured" that he can't sit there waxing poetic about, appropriately enough, freshly brewed tea. If Wesley had a baseline, I suspect this is it.

His downfall comes, though, with the development of his feelings for Fred. He's in love with her, she's in love with someone else. Unlike the sissies who came before who were made better by their contact with women, Wesley becomes worse. He's pettier than usual, jealous and bitter. He turns his attention to Angel and Connor and ends up making a decision that betrays the trust his friends had in him.

From there he gets even more entangled with a woman - Lilah. If his love for the boyish Fred didn't convince the audience that Wesley had some heterosexuality in him, his affair with the sexy bad girl certainly did.

The beginning of season 4 shows us a Wes unlike his previous self (a logical progression from his previous self, yes, but a marked contrast too). No longer quiet, bumbling, subserviant or even intellectual, Wes is now a "man's man". He wears manly clothes, he fights demons single-handed, he barks orders to his underlings and Lilah both. His intelligence is still there, yes, but it only shows itself now in his planning to do what he thinks is best and not in wistful joy over the history of the names of flowers.

And his friends don't like this. That is the key. Season 4 Wesley, though cured, is dark. He's even suspected of being evil - or so close to it that it hardly matters. Gunn can't stand to be in the same room with him. Fred, though attracted, expresses contempt for the changes Wes has made. And, perhaps most notably, in his perfect day fantasy Angel envisions a Wesley who not only says "I'm sorry" but who goes back to his bookish ways. Not all the way back to a sissy, no, but at least a step or two back from the macho asshole Wes has turned himself into. The only person who expresses total acceptance of the new Wes is Lilah, who's evil.


So we can see that for all that Angel has never really had a canonically gay character on the screen, unlike Buffy it actually handles the symbolism and cliches without a problem. Sissy characters exist, but are either allowed to remain sissies (like the Host) with no one making fun of them, or they change (like Wes) with the other characters wondering why they had to. And Angel, the hero, doesn't define himself through the mockery of anyone less manly than he is.

For me as a fan, I suspect this is why for the past few years I've been wishing Angel would have a canonically gay character. I didn't know why, but I just had a hunch that they would handle it better than Buffy did. Now I think I know why. Buffy had a canonically gay character (Willow) who's symbolism and metaphors (magic as homosexuality and magic as evil addiction) sent her down the path of turning into a horrible Big Bad. Angel, on the other hand, had a subtextually gay character (Wesley) who's journey towards masculinity and by extention greater heterosexuality wasn't considered an improvement of his character.

Of course in the end what this really goes to show is the ultimate point, which is that no character in the Buffyverse is ever going to end up in a happy place, no matter what their sexuality is.

And with that: [twack] Out to you guys. No pun intended. ;)

End of Essay 2

* * *

Scroll again. Wow, there sure were a lot of italics in that essay. Again, I apologise for the wonkiness of those Willow/Tara posts above. Hopefully this one will take.

My take on this essay? I was very glad to read it when I first came across it, and was enlightened. I think we can all safely say that Joss believes in subtext. His premise is BYOSubtext. However, I know there are Buffy and Angel fans who ignore subtext when considering what is "canon" and what is not. I've even debated with one girl who categorically "did not believe in subtext", in that she didn't think such a thing existed.

So clearly YMMV, and it's your own interpretation. If you don't rely much on subtext, this essay probably won't make much of an impact on your reading of the Buffyverse. I'm a huge fan of slash, Wesley, and Tara (okay, and Willow), so I was very happy to see someone address the why of the dead lesbian cliche, and the gay stereotypes that perpetuate TV and film, and how Joss sometimes gets it right and sometimes doesn't.

I'd love to hear what you guys think.

[> [> [> Link to the Wesley essay inside -- Scroll, 17:05:04 10/16/03 Thu

*sigh* Today is just not my day for posting. *bangs head on keyboard* Totally forgot to link to the Wesley essay in TBQ's LJ. Anyway, it's here. There's also lots of interesting comments in response to the essay in TBQ's comment section, if you want to read more.

Now I must leave the computer and go far, far away. Clearly I'm cursed.

[> [> [> [> the joy of obliviousness -- skeeve, 10:11:57 10/17/03 Fri

According to Giles, Wes wasn't evil, at least "not in the strictest sense."
Buffy and the Scoobies didn't like Wes from the get go.
Being teenagers, they just heaped on him whatever insults they thought would hurt him most.
Boys tend to not like being called girls from before they hear of homosexuals.

"Go for it, man. She's over eighteen and you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone."

Clearly Giles thought Wes liked women.
Kissing Cordelia was probably the limit of what he would do *in public*, especially in front of chaperones and people who routinely insulted him.

This one didn't get any of the innuendo/iconography/whatever mentioned in the article.
He is rather literal-minded.
Also, there wasn't socialization from his peer group.
Not only didn't he get to date in high school, he didn't know of anyone else's dates.

[> [> [> Re: TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Essay 2: Wesley and AtS) -- CW, 18:03:08 10/16/03 Thu

I think people were being very unfair about Kennedy. She never was intended to be a central character or full member of the Scoobies. Even Cordelia's character was barely two dimensional in the first couple years. We knew Cordy had feelings, but was total uninterested in the feelings of others. That's about it. So why expect a lot of depth from Kennedy? Yes, she was defined by being gay. But, what were the alternatives? Have Willow and Xander both without a significant other the last year? Have Willow get a new boyfriend? That would have gone over well, I'm sure!

Re Wesley's kiss with Cordy. If you are hopefully looking for signs of homosexuality I suppose it might qualify. But, Xander had repeatedly announced in season two that Cordy had very bad breath in high school. That's something a guy pushing thirty might have a lot more problem with than a sexually desperate 16 or 17 year old. Cordy's reaction just shows it wasn't all her breath problems.

Of course, there is always Archie Bunker's stupid judgement that being British and carrying skinny umbellas is a sure sign of homosexuality. Wesley was half-way there ;o)

[> [> [> [> Kennedy and Cordelia -- Scroll, 18:53:13 10/16/03 Thu

I agree Kennedy gets a lot of flack she probably doesn't deserve, but I think the point stands that she really wasn't as fleshed out as she could've been. Then again, none of the "significant others" of the main Scoobies ever got fleshed out as much as they should have been. Usually, it wasn't until those SOs stepped away from their partners and became characters in their own right that they became more three dimensional. Think Oz, whose development came mostly in "Fear, Itself" and "Wild at Heart", as he was leaving Willow (and the show). And Tara, as she broke up with Willow in S6. Or Cordy, once she moved over to Angel.

I'm not sure what Joss could've done with Kennedy. Flesh her out more, and fans would've complained that the core Scoobies weren't getting enough focus (which happened anyway). Don't flesh her out, and we complain about a cardboard cut-out being inserted simply to be Willow's love interest. Kennedy isn't my favourite Potential, but I don't hate her either. She was definitely flawed, but had good qualities too.

As for Cordy's bad breath... I'm inclined to take Xander's insults with a whole shaker full of salt ;) I don't think a girl as popular with the guys as Cordy could've been that bad a kisser. I do think Cordelia and Wesley had a spectacular lack of chemistry, but that could've just been them. Sometimes people just don't click, right? Still, it's a speaking moment, especially considering that once Wesley moves over to Angel, he becomes quite the social butterfly (at least beginning with S2). Of all the Angel characters, he gets the most (acknowledged) play. (Personally, I think Gunn has a girlfriend or two before Fred; we just don't seem them.)

I do realise not everyone watches Angel with slash lenses. And those of us who do sometimes seem very silly to those who watch for strict "canon". Fortunately, I don't mind being silly : ) It's fun, and pretty, and considering the "subtext" in the past three Angel eps, Joss seems to be going out of his way to win the Gayest Show Ever Award back from Smallville. Hee!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Kennedy and Cordelia -- Dlgood, 19:30:31 10/16/03 Thu

Cordelia actually had a somewhat fleshed out role in the early seasons, as the counter-point to Buffy. Namely, what Buffy might have been like if not for discovering her calling.

With Kennedy, I think the problem with her was telegraphing her as Willow's love interest. While Oz was never as fleshed out, ME took time bringing him in as the boyfriend and in establishing him at a time they knew viewers were rooting for W/X. I think, in the haste to deal with all of the other muddled storylines of S7, ME just never put the effort into establishing the W/K storyline in a satisfactory manner.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Kennedy and Cordelia -- celticross, 22:20:11 10/16/03 Thu

Exactly my problem, Dlgood. Kennedy wasn't just telegraphed as Willow's new love interest, she wore a flashing neon sign to that effect. (No doubt borrowed from Season 4 Riley)

[> [> [> [> [> Something that's been interesting me -- KdS, 04:15:40 10/17/03 Fri

As I recall, the last really overt joke about Angel's ambiguous sexuality was Marcus checking Angel's clothes in Carpe Noctem. Now suddenly, we have a whole lot more. So what happened in the interim? Connor. I can't help wondering if either consciously or subconsciously, someone realised that there was one taboo they couldn't break without getting possibly buried under outpourings of hatred - the idea that a guy of ambiguous sexual orientation could be bringing up a son.

[> [> [> [> [> [> That's a good point (spoilers for S4) -- Scroll, 09:55:22 10/17/03 Fri

Hmm, well what about the one in "Couplet" that TBQ mentions in her essay, where the bordello mistress thinks Angel and Groo are there together? Perhaps not the best example since that's the one instance in which Angel shows discomfort at the idea (though I do agree with TBQ that the discomfort is about Groo).

There's still a lot of subtext to be had from mid-S3 to S4, especially between Angel and Wes, but I think you're right that it's less overt. I even remember TBQ mentioning that she was worried Joss was toning down Lorne's flamboyance in S3, which could fit into your theory that someone was trying to keep from breaking the taboo. Especially considering Lorne was Connor's nanny and the one person, after Cordy, that Angel turned to for help in caring for the baby. Then after Connor grew up, he showed great contempt for both Angel and Lorne, because they were demons. Lorne was especially hurt by this, I remember, since he had been so devoted to Connor as an infant.

So is there a subtext working here? One that perhaps not even Joss is aware of? I don't know. Huh. Now you've got me thinking. I gotta go back to my tapes.

[> [> [> Re: TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Essay 2: Wesley and AtS) -- pen-name, 20:08:51 10/16/03 Thu

>So we can see that for all that Angel has never really had >a canonically gay character on the screen

IMO Lorne is cannonically bisexual (trisexual?, octosexual?) he has mentioned interest in Cordelia,Wesely,Angel,Orlando Bloom and Jonny Depp and Fred didn't seem to rule out the idea that "make sure fluffy gets enough love" was a rather innappropriate remark

You forgot Angel's unforunate "I'm not gay I swear" near the begining of the series, although I think he's been more than redeemed:"you pathetic little fairy", "I'm not little!"

Notice that in the more woman-centric Buffy lesbian subtext and cannon is prevelant but Wesely and even Larry, to an extent (even though he was masculine and died in a heroic manner),are simply jokes; whereas mostly male Angel features lots of slashyness, an open admission of attration of the main male sidekick for the hero (even if just a little),Wesely's role as a caretaker for Angel's son, and,well...Lorne; but Cordy and Fred only spend one season as "not-the-only-girl-in-the-Fang-Gang" before the "alpha-female-object-of-everyone's-affection" baton was officially passed from one to the other (I'm not comlaining one more character hanging around the law firm and AtS would have burst)

P.S.-I just realized how ironic this discussion is now that Alyson and Alexis are newlyweds.

[> [> [> [> Re: TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Essay 2: Wesley and AtS) -- pen-name, 20:15:40 10/16/03 Thu

whereas mostly male Angel features lots of slashyness, an open admission of attration of the main male sidekick for the hero (even if just a little),Wesely's role as a caretaker for Angel's son, and,well...Lorne;

and all the swordfighting, how could I have forgotten that ;)

[> [> [> who the Scoobies should have met -- skeeve, 14:54:58 10/17/03 Fri

the anthropologist in Beach Party

BTW what means slash?

[> [> [> [> Definition of Slash, a quick primer -- Scroll, 14:37:56 10/18/03 Sat

The generally accepted defition of "slash" is "a romantic relationship or the portrayal of a romantic/sexual relationship between male/male or female/female characters, aka homosexual relationship", usually in a TV show/movie/book/fanfic. Some fans narrow this definition even further to say that "slash" is "an unconventional relationship between male/male or female/female characters, aka not-canon relationship", which means that male/male pairings in Queer As Folk would not be slash. Same with Willow/Tara, since it's canon and not unconventional.

A few fans argue that "slash" = "unconventional", period. But since this would make, say, Willow/Angel a slash pairing, this is not a definition I'd subscribe to. This view totally undermines the original purpose of the slash designation, which was to specifically warn fanfic readers that a story contained/was about a homosexual relationship.

The term "slash" comes from the punctuation mark "/" that is used to separate character names, ie Kirk/Spock. Actually, Kirk/Spock is one of the oldest (possibly the oldest) slash pairings. K/S slashers claim they invented "slash", way back in the 60s. From all accounts, this claim is accurate, at least when considering TV/movie fandom.

Try Destina's Fan Fiction FAQ for a quick summary of what fanfic and slash are all about. I would like to point out, however, that one can be a slash fan (ie, a fan who sees homoerotic vibes between Angel and Wesley) and not be a fanfic reader/writer. Slash and fanfic are not mutually inclusive... more like a Venn diagram with some overlap.

Also, try The Fanfiction Glossary for a very comprehensive listing of fanfic and fandom terms.

Few more links, cuz I'm nice that way :) Go to The Fanfic Symposium for essays on fanfic and fandom. There are articles on slash as well. Go here to read In Defense of Slash. Here's another slash defense (ftp).

Actually, if you don't read anything else, please do try this post and its follow-up. Both were written in response to questions/arguments from that fan I mentioned before who "didn't believe in subtext".

[> [> [> Re: TBQ's Gay Stereotype Essay (Essay 2: Wesley and AtS) -- s'kat, 15:00:36 10/17/03 Fri

Haven't read the whole thread due to time issues and internet issues. My service has a habit of kicking me off every twenty minutes.

Anywho....interesting essay. It confirms some of my own suspicions and feelings on the series. Also makes me want to rent the Celluloid Closet. Of course I'm one of those people who reads the subtext.

I'd agree - Angel the Series is actually better at dealing with some themes than Buffy. At times I found BTVS to be a little too cavlier about some of the themes they addressed, from homosexuality to racism. Not that I think the writers intended us to see some of the underlying subtext that appeared. Problem with subtext is so much of it is subliminal, or sub-conscious. It's not intended to pop up by the writer, yet it does. Fury - of the writers on ME has the most disturbing subtext in my humble opinion. I find myself literally cringing at some of things he unwittingly says or alludes to in his episodes. (And I'm probably one of the few people who is not crazy about his portrayals of Angel and Spike. We'll see if I make it through a season of Angel co-produced by Fury with three Fury written episodes. Not my favorite writer.) One my least favorite Fury's was the Fruedian subtext in Lies and Helpless and the whole mother thing in both LMPTM and Helpless. The fact that the main show-runners, producers of S6 BTVS were Fury and Noxon, with Joss sort of overseeing - makes me wonder how much of Fury may have come through? There's just something beneath the surface of Fury's writing that bugs me, it may be personal thing not sure. But subtext often is - because it's the part that is beneath the text.

While the writers may have turned Willow evil if OZ had been her lover - the way they executed the Tara/Willow story and the other tales in BTVS did tend to heighten the evil lesbian cliche subtext. And it does not help that there are very few positive homosexual relationships shown anywhere on network TV in US. Oh we have Queer As Folk, but that was on cable. Will and Grace? Not quite there. I think the problem with "slash" fic (which I also enjoy) is that there really isn't enough positive normal/realistic homosexual relationships shown on-screen or in print. Unlike heterosexual relationships which we see both unrealistic and realistic versions, the homosexual relationships fall into cliche.

I remember when I was in under-grad how people categorized one another's sexuality by behavior patterns they'd learned from movies or TV. It was interesting when those same people learned that what they believed was true wasn't. The sissy boy was more often than not - heterosexual. The strong athelet or attractive singer? homosexual. It varied. You could not tell someone's sexuality by what they said or how they acted or what they looked like. Only on television or the movies could you do that. What I like about Angel the Series is they play with the fact that you can't tell who or what someone is by how they look, what they say, or their behaviors. You have to look deeper. Not many television shows have the abiltity to do that.

(ugh in the space of reading and writing this post - I've been disconnected from the internet three times.)

Thanks for posting the essays. Very interesting and informative. I find myself agreeing with much that Brat Queen stated.


[> Thanks for posting -- RJA, 17:04:06 10/16/03 Thu

Its around 1 am here, so I wont have the time to even consider anything posted here, but I thank you for posting all the essays and putting them in context.

What I read I found fascinating, and look forward to exploring and debating them further. But that will have to wait until tomorrow, since I need to catch up on some sleep.

But thanks for making a post of this, looking forward to the discussion.

[> [> You're very welcome -- Scroll, 17:08:10 10/16/03 Thu

Hopefully this thread will still be up tomorrow! I'm pretty interested in the idea of subtext, of all kinds, in Joss Whedon's three shows, but I liked how TBQ pointed out that sometimes subtext can be insidious without us realising it. Anyway, I'm looking forward to your take on it : )

[> Great Essay... will make a real comment later -- monsieurxander, 18:20:26 10/16/03 Thu

[> Responses part 1 (sorry, long!) -- RJA, 08:53:56 10/17/03 Fri

Firstly, thanks again for posting this as a thread. Its a subject that interest me greatly, and these are fascinating and well written articles that make a lot of very perceptive points. Which is why my reply is soooo long. Skip the parts that bore :-)

I'll start with my thoughts on Essay 1, the Dead Lesbian ClichZ. I think that TBQ makes some good points about how M.E inadvertently fed into elements of the aforementioned clichZ (something Fury has even recognised, although stated that it was not intentional). Certainly, there was no doubt that this gay relationship had left one dead and one insane (although there is no causal link, rather the all important subtext). However, I don't think it completely falls into this idea, since most importantly, while the characters could and have been viewed as punished for what they did, there are no lessons to be learnt from this. In the films that explicitly deal with lesbian characters, quite often the corruptive influence is punished for this by being killed, and the nominal heroine learns from her bad ways by falling into the arms of a man and repenting her sins. However, while Willow ended up in the arms of a man, this did not change the fact of her sexuality. In fact, it remained a constant in the next season, and was intended to be (Noxon has mentioned that Joss and her decided that Willow should remain gay, but I don't think such a discussion on the subject is to be taken as consideration of making her straight). So I think the really important element of the clichZ, the lesson, was something that the show managed to avoid.

Interesting points about how Tara and Kennedy are essentially defined by their 'gayness'. Its an accusation that I feel is difficult to disagree with. I think the important question is how far is Tara or Kennedy defined as 'gay' against being defined solely as Willow's lover, for these definitions are not one and the same. For instance, if a straight character was solely defined by their relation to another character, we wouldn't be focusing on their heterosexuality as something that defines them. Its just that being gay in popular culture seems to be something that is noticeable and unusual enough for it to become a focal point in itself. However, TBQ's argument holds up on the basis that there have been no straight partners of a character who have been defined solely through their relationship - Anya, Riley, Oz, Angel and so on all had something else as a character which gave them an identity outside of who they were sleeping with. The only person I can think of who doesn't would be Virginia, who is too much of a minor character for there really to be an effective comparison with Tara or Kennedy.

Magic as metaphor - probably one of the most vexing issues of the Buffyverse, and one that has never been satisfactorily explained, primarily because there has not been enough consistency in its portrayal to make one analysis that fits all. I take the point that the shift from magic as a metaphor for gay sex to that of addiction and ruin was one that was problematic, and probably caused the most grief in the eyes of the fans (whether or not they recognised the contradiction in terms of character and storyline). However, I don't think this necessarily fed into homophobic stereotypes purely because there was some connection. I think this because magic as a metaphor for gay sex was never the original metaphor. How magic was portrayed over the years on the show lacked a great deal of consistency, and by the time the gay subtext became a part of it, there has already been many different usages of it so as not to define it as solely applicable to one thing. Justg think of how magic was used in Doppelgangland, Fear Itself or Something Blue, and it can be seen that it already was being used to identify key characteristics within Willow's character that would rear their ugly head a year or two later (i.e. issues with power, control and abuse). If anything, the consistent theme with magic was the danger of not controlling it effectively. Something that was again the primary theme of seasons 6 and 7, after the relatively short break as shorthand for lesbian sex.

In fact, if I were to argue that the portrayal of magic on the show was problematic in how we could view gay relationships, then I would say that the more worrying thing was the underlying concept of what Tara meant to Willow. The idea that Tara was something that she could not live without, so it was either obsessive dependent love or magic use gives a worrying picture into the nature of their relationship. This is, I think separate from the issue of magic, but rather one that was to do with Willow's essential character, i.e. very few things were healthy for her given her state of mind. By that I mean that she often tended to define herself by whatever she was doing or was with at that given time, as an attempt to obscure her fears about what she really was. So we see we have her clinging to her cool status as the girlfriend of a rock guitarist, her many 'gay now' moments, or the way in which she defined herself as a witch. It often seemed to be not about the worth of the person she was with, but what it made her, i.e. somehow improved her own character, status or worth. Although that is quite a harsh take on Willow, and way off topic...

Getting to the point about how the use of the gay characters have in some way undermined the positive elements of the relationship is something I think is difficult to call either way, although I think TBQ is on the whole right in her assessment. I think the issue is something which is applicable to gay characters in popular culture as a whole, and as such the problems M.E have had are widespread, in the sense that the ultimate question is how do you treat a canonical gay character?

One criticism at the time was that in feeding into the Dead Lesbian ClichZ, ME were giving homophobes a neat package with which to encourage persecution and prejudice. This I think was not correct. The DLC is quite a sophisticated argument, which on the whole relies on a knowledge of subtext and history. Not something which is easy to use as an argument for prejudicial point scoring purposes. However, where I think there is an argument for it to be seen as damaging is one which is pointed out in the essay - the subtext which is reinforcing the stereotypes. That the audience doesn't have to be conscious of what is happening, but that by subtly reflecting a lot of similar events in popular culture, it confirms the general perception that gay people will have unhappy lives.

I remember reading The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy. In it, the central character slits his throat due to his fear that he will be exposed as a homosexual, which I found profoundly depressing. In many ways it can take its place in TCC's Hall of Shame. But how much is it reinforcing negative stereotypes, and how much was it reflecting a practical reality, i.e. that this was a distinct possibility for a gay man in the 1950s? This, I think, is the real problem with gay characters in popular culture. There is so much negative portrayals or stories which end up badly for all concerned, and not nearly enough where they end up happy and productive. But where so much drama and culture is based on conflict and unhappiness, how far can this go. Do we have ultimately positive gay role models where the price they pay for this is being safe and boring, or do we risk the wrath of bad things happening? I think there would be less fuss if there had been a whole host of good gay characters on TV. However, there aren't, and this is where the problem lies. How soon can it be that gay characters are essentially treated on their own terms, rather than special cases? A contradiction or question that BtVS wrestled with, and fell foul to.

[> Responses part 2 -- RJA, 08:55:38 10/17/03 Fri

I warned you this was long! But so on to Wesley and accusations of sissyness..

I like the point that TBQ makes about the Venn diagram, that there is a risk of assuming that a sissy man makes for a gay man, and the need to avoid that, and reading through the essay again, I realise that TBQ did largely avoid doing that.

I remember on first reading it, I had a problem with the assumption that because Wesley was a bad kisser, somehow a gay subtext was made text by that fact. This time I realise it wasn't the author's assumption, but that of others. I still think that it is an incorrect assumption, because it feeds into the stereotype of masculinity that to be a real man is to have great sexual prowess with women. Of course, that is a trait many would like, but this is more about insecurity of masculinity - because to be sexually inept can not necessarily be taken as an indication of some latent homosexuality (especially given the number of closeted gay men who seemingly have good heterosexual relationships in the mean time). Being a straight man is not a guarantee of good sexual technique. At any age :-)

On a Buffy related note, I wondered if anyone had ever considered Xander and how he fitted into the concept of a sissy stereotype, or rather how he was depicted in lacking key characteristics of what was desirable from a man. The Zeppo almost seems to be a walking study of it. Not so much in terms of how he acts (there is no doubt that he doesn't fall into the parody of a limp wrested effete), but that he has been shown as someone who can not use his fists well (The Initiative), lacking in sexual prowess and skill in picking up the ladies (self professed demon magnet), his discomfort around Larry and the horror he reacts with when the idea that he may also be gay is made (Phases). I'd be interested to see how far people think that these traits were something that he lost, that his journey was in some ways about reclaiming his masculinity in traditional terms. Its something I'm not too sure of, but given the fact that Joss has said he wanted to show someone who was comfortable with and turned on by strong women, and that Xander was meant to be some kind of alternative to traditional masculinity, how far he was successful and how far he reinforced negative stereotypes.

TBQ made some interesting points about how Wesley was a subversion of the sissy stereotype, that his progression towards masculinity was not something that was to be welcomed necessary, with the negative impact it had on his stability and relationship with the other characters. However, and I have made this point below, my problem is that while the characters did not react favourably to the change, Wesley's dark arc has made him more popular with the fans, and is generally considered a more interesting, exciting, complex and sexier character than he was previously. In other words, they prefer the traditionally masculine Wesley over the more feminine, 'sissyfied' Wesley. Which is problematic. Because if the fans respond positively to this, then instead of the stereotype being subverted, is it not really being reinforced in the minds of the audience?

To wrap up, I want to make a few comments on the final idea that the show handles the non-canonical, subtext-y gay characters than they do the actual ones. I think that's a good point, and perhaps an accurate one too. Although I do question the fact that by having a gay character as canon, it brings to the tables all the past stereotypes and ideas that popular culture have shown by the mere fact of homosexuality. That however hard the show strives to make the character someone who just happens to be gay, the very fact they are gay means that the audience brings with it expectations and worries, and so focuses on the homosexuality to see how far it conforms or exceeds the expectations and concerns traditionally associated with gay characters. That being gay is still has inherent controversy attached, that at all times in popular culture, it will be burdened by this heritage, and so never allowed to really just exist as a character who happens to be gay.

Which possibly goes some way to explaining why the show isn't a qualified success in its gay characters, and instead fares better with homosexuality as a subtext. The quote by Ebert in the first essay was interesting, that who wrote as a gay man who found he had to look in the shadows and subtexts of movies to find the homosexual characters who were surely there. I remember watching the show at around seasons one and two and was struck by the subtext of a character who was an outsider, that feeling of being separated from your friends and society by being essentially 'other' and having to come to terms with it. And at that point in time, I thought the show had a character that was exploring the issues of homosexuality far better than anything I had seen on TV in a long time. No prizes for guessing that character was Buffy, and by Becoming this recognition had almost become text in the explicit links between being a Slayer and being gay. But its interesting that the most effective and resonant link to being gay, was made easier when the character was gay only in subtext.

Anyway, these were fascinating essays, and apologies for the long long reply!

[> [> good stuff -- Rahael, 10:16:48 10/17/03 Fri

I read, and loved, TBQ's essay a while back. I really enjoyed reading your very thoughtful responses to it.

Especially struck by what a good reaction the traditionally masculine Wesley has had. And isn't it interesting that traditional-masculine-Wesley had a sizzlingly hot heterosexual affair with Lilah (though the hotness of course, may depend on the viewer! Having said that though, we are also shown that Lilah is standing in for someone else that Wesley cannot attain.

I was also struck by this:

I remember watching the show at around seasons one and two and was struck by the subtext of a character who was an outsider, that feeling of being separated from your friends and society by being essentially 'other' and having to come to terms with it. And at that point in time, I thought the show had a character that was exploring the issues of homosexuality far better than anything I had seen on TV in a long time.

Mostly because this is exactly how *I* saw BUffy, and why she was so powerful to me, only, the otherness that I overlaid on her was that of race. Or rather, her sense of otherness was so powerful and so affecting, that i thought her character spoke to me, a non-white viewer, very resonantly.

[> [> [> Re: good stuff -- RJA, 15:27:55 10/17/03 Fri

Thanks, and thats an interesting point about how viewers have grasped onto the 'otherness' of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - that there is a basis on which viewers can bring their own thing to the show. The theme is so universal, and that most likely explains its popularity. As Joss said, BYO subtext :-)

[> [> Re: Responses part 2 -- celticross, 15:31:15 10/17/03 Fri

"in the explicit links between being a Slayer and being gay"

Interesting point, particularly when one thinks about the parallels drawn by Buffy and Tara in Older and Far Away about Buffy being "closeted" in her relationship with Spike. In that context, the rest of Season 6 and Seeing Red take on an even uglier dimension.

[> [> [> Re: Responses part 2 -- RJA, 15:59:53 10/17/03 Fri

Thats interesting. So the undertone could be that Buffy's treatment about Spike is in some way reflecting the self hatred of a closeted gay in an abusive relationship? Or did I misunderstand...

I know I was the one to bring up the links, I disagree with its use in this context. I dont think the gay subtext extends to the relationships she has, rather in her attempts to come to terms with being a Slayer. Certainly, a lot of Buffy's attitude towards Spike in season 6 is about self-hatred. Yet Spike isnt a Slayer, and the hatred doesnt stem from this IMO. So I dont see it as an equation for the self hatred of a gay person - making it only as disturbing as it first seems :-)

[> [> [> the closet -- sdev, 22:47:41 10/17/03 Fri

I felt the element of shame and Buffy's deep-seated fear about 'coming out' with her relationship with Spike was very much metaphorically like being in the closet about a gay relationship, and all the inner destructiveness that entails.

It was confusing though because of the ease with which Willow actually came out and was accepted. Maybe ME regretted that they had not explored that concept or were afraid to do so directly with a gay relationship at that time.

[> [> [> [> I dont think it was a metaphor -- RJA, 13:38:56 10/18/03 Sat

The 'closet' isnt confined to those who are gay. Simply, the storyline could be one of self hatred, a circle of abuse and shame of a relationship. No metaphor needed, in that it could play out in the same way on a non-metaphorical TV show to very little differing result

Spuffy happens regularly with both gay and straight couples, on more or less the same set of facts. I consider it not so much a metaphor but a straightforward story.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I dont think it was a metaphor -- Scroll, 14:55:00 10/18/03 Sat

I think I agree with you that it's not a metaphor. It's definitely about coming out of the closet, but the shame is about being in an unconventional relationship that's still straight nonetheless. It was kinky though, and I think Buffy feared how her family and friends would see her since she's always been a (relatively) "good girl". She's always tried to be nothing like Faith (not saying she succeeded) and the fact that she was in a sexual relationship with a vampire she'd repeatedly claimed she despised probably brought back bad Faith-related memories.

On top of being kinky, the relationship was also (mutually) abusive. Not saying that kinky = abusive, but that Spuffy was definitely both. (Okay, some claim it wasn't really that kinky, but it wasn't vanilla either, IMO.) All reasons why Buffy felt she had to hide, which further fueled her shame and self-hatred. Poor Buffy. I'm glad Tara was there for her.

[> Interesting, a note on Tennessee Williams & translation of plays to screen -- s'kat, 14:11:30 10/17/03 Fri

Haven't read the whole thing yet - but thought I'd throw this comment in while I remember it.

Tennessee Williams is an interesting case. Williams, if memory serves, was homosexual but like Oscar Wilde and Truman Capote he struggled with that because the society he lived within did not accept it. I think, not positive, that the play The Glass Menageri is autobiographical on Williams. And like his other plays translation from play to screen differs.

Truman Capote had a similar problem. The short story Breakfast At Tiffany's is translated to the screen. The story like Glass Menageri had also been somewhat autobiographical. The narrator was Capote himself. A gay writer. Not a hustler. The movie changed the narrator, played by George Pepard from gay writer to a man who slept with women for money and wrote as a side. He became the romantic lead.

Not sure if this adds anything or not. And I believe I'm right on Williams, but as I said it's been a while.

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