October 2003 posts
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
-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
we have only seen the Heaven that Buffy went to as a result
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"
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
"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
...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
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
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
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
[> 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
[> [> [> [> [> Also... -- Mackenzie, 14:16:44
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
(Of course, things change after Lindsey falls in love with Darla.
Ill-fated love that brings nothing but trouble? Finally, Angel
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
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
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
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
Given the werechick's resemblance to both Kate (sunset gone),
Darla (staked herself) and Buffy (baking in Europe), well, I say
[> [> I am with you! (spoilers/questions 5.3) --
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
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
[> [> [> [> 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
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
Quatting, you know, because I don't have chair-y - Marascino or
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
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [>
[> No, my dear Cherry. Or have you already fig-ured that
out? But roll your eyes -- olive you anyway. -- Random, 10:27:49
[> [> [> 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
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
[> [> [> [> [> [> I'm allowed to make mistakes,
once in a while, I think -- Lunasea, 15:59:16 10/16/03
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> 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
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> 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
[> [> [> [> [> 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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
[> Future *Spoiler* Above -- Arethusa, 12:22:06 10/16/03
[> 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
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:
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
blow your mind
blow your own trumpet
blow sth out of (all) proportion
blow a raspberry
blow sth sky-high
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
[> [> [> [> 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
[> Spoilers for 5.3 Above -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:22:19
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)
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
You will be able to see Marc Blucas later this year in "The
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
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
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'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
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
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
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.)
* * *
The Brat Queen wrote,
@ 2003-01-29 17:45:00
and Tara and gay stereotypes
Okay, as promised, here's a discussion of gay cliches and Buffy
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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".
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
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.
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.
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
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
[> [> [> [> the joy of obliviousness -- skeeve,
10:11:57 10/17/03 Fri
According to Giles, Wes wasn't evil, at least "not in the
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
"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
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
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
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.
[> [> [> [> [> 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
[> [> good stuff -- Rahael, 10:16:48 10/17/03
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
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
"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
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
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
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.
| More October 2003