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Dubious Buffybot




There's a nice topic in Slay Alive, which basically starts with way and ask this particular question.
Okay, everybody here knows that I'm a Buffy-girl. I didn't fell in love with her immediately, when I was younger (I watched my first BtVS episode when I was fourteen) but now she's the female character I love the most. I adore her. <3
And, whatever, I just realized two things among the others - and, you know, I think that this is the greatest BtVS' streight, rewatching the episodes you change your point of view and see other things. At least, that's what happens to me.

1) I can't bare Riley's man-pain big drama in Season Five.
You know, I actually think that Riley becomes more interesting as character in S5, because he faces this life crysis and he feels alone and without a mission in this world. But. I don't like his scenes in the first half of S5. And I ADORE S5. Really, it's maybe my favourite Season because it's the right combo between drama and light moments. Because Buffy has the greatest hair ever and she's generally so strong and brave, even when she faces something horrible and terrifying like her mother illness. Because we have a right amound of Spike (We should always have the right amound of Spike! Spike is pretty and interesting.) And we have all the gang and Anya is her amazing self. In two words: LOVE S5.
But, you know, S5 is also incredibly dramatic, especially in the second half. And as much as I love sad moments on Buffy, I also love happy moments. I think that S4 is underrated and I like to see the characters happy and satisfied with their lives. S5 takes a really dramatic road after the death of Joyce and the first half is supposed to be more funny, but we have to watch Riley big man-pain and, oh God! I love you so much, Buffy, but your an indipendent woman and I'm so teutonic and my little ego is so wounded
I would love to simply enjoy the light moments as, for example, Buffy fighting with Dracula (I think he was cool) and Xander facing his other half and all the funny things is the first episodes, but I have to watch the jealousy and the drama.
Fuck you, Riley Finn. I don't think you're a bad person and broken heart is painful, but really? My first happy half! You're ruining it!
Also, I like my girl to be without a boyfriend. She doesn't need a man to make her complete. So you can go. Really.


2) The "Angel is a more mature show than Buffy".
Seriously? Are you kiddin' me? And, I don't want to be disrespectful of any Angel's fans. I also like the show and I think it's great almost as BtVS (I prefer BtVS, but AtS is nice) But, really, I've heard this thing over and over in some Italians forum and I'm like: huh?!
Why, exactly, AtS is more mature? Just because the first three seasons of BtVS are in high-school?
I think that BtVS is an amazingly mature show. It deals with adolescence (Something everyone faces) and consequences. Pain and courage. Right and wrong. I think that BtVS really is about the journey of life and the self-discovery and we don't stop to just learn because we are in our 30 or 40. Life is a continue challange. The hardest thing in this world is to living in it That's really, really wise.
And, also, really, when exactly Angel is more mature and realistic than Buffy?
Angel treats depression and sense of guilt like something romantic. Living a century eating rat. This is cute and totally unrealistic and doesn't tell anything about what it is to suffer from depression or any other mental illness. You just can't go away and spend your eternal life waiting for a guy to show you a girl. In fact, you don't have an eternal life.
Angel is a romantic character. He isn't supposed to be realistic or truly understandable. (How can anyone here can understand a thousand year old demon with the habit of blood and the dark past?) I mean, it's exaggerated, of course, everyone can understand pain and loneliness and dark impulses. But I don't think that anyone can really know what it is to be like Angel. He's not human and his pain is romanticized.
For Buffy is really different. Buffy is the slayer but she's a girl. And she has a very specific characterization, very human, and she faces abandonement issues and problems with the bills and depression as it really happens. There's nothing romanticized about S6. It's one of the most adult and realistic things I've ever seen, even if there are demons and witches.
So, I really like AtS and respect the fans, but just stop with this thing

Comments

( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
mcjulie
Feb. 5th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
I never really warmed up to Riley as a Buffy boyfriend, but the episode I really really really hate is Into the Woods. That retroactively poisons all Riley for me.

I like Angel just fine, but seriously, anybody claiming it's better than BTVS or more mature or whatever, is simply incorrect.

I have a mean theory about that. My mean theory is that the Angel-preferers are misogynists who like Joss Whedon's sensibilities for entertainment -- the way he mixes humor and action and melodrama -- but really, when it comes down to it, prefer a show with a male protagonist.

My less mean theory is that taste is taste.

Thematically, though, BTVS is very consistent over its 7 years -- it's a bildungsroman the whole time. Angel is kind of a different series every season. To me the plot developments have always had a kind of random feel, like, it's interesting, but it's not ultimately going anywhere.
kikimay
Feb. 5th, 2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm kinda pissed when people argue that AtS is more mature than BtVS, but I know that taste is taste and being emotionally involved with a series is something that happens. I respect AtS fans as much as I respect any other fans of any other show, but I think that BtVS is pretty mature and much more consistent.
Into the Woods ruins Riley (and my happy half season) but As you Were is the final blow.
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
*growls at ITW/AYW* Actually it's the writers I reserve my ire for, but anyway - could they not find a way to make him interesting WITHOUT turning it into a Buffybashfest?

My mean theory is that the Angel-preferers are misogynists

Um, sweetie...

I have to go with rahirah on this one - there's a difference between "there are aspects of this show I personally find to be misogynistic" and "people who believe or think this other thing are (nuts/bad/wrong/misogynists/etc)". (I've recently seen people insist that I HAD to see things their way or else I was wrong and stupid - just, NO.) And I've probably been guilty of that, inadvertently myself, so I'm not trying to claim perfection on that account. (In fact I'm sure I have been when it comes to shipping preferences; I'm trying to watch that and say "this is what I like or don't like" instead.)

Pinning a misogynist label on an entire group of people - AtS fans - just brings down the level of discourse.

But I still love you anyway (the way I still love Xander and Buffy and Giles despite their flaws.) Have a cookie?
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
It's kinda the point. I've just been told so many times "AtS is much mature" that it's like ---> you love BtVS, you're childish!
I mean, I really do agree on Barb's opinion. I think that in both cases you're making assuptions about other people you know absolutely nothing! It's really just a matter of tast and, on a analytic level, I can say that BtVS handles depression better than Angel but still talking about the show. Not the people who watch it, you know?
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
Not the people who watch it, you know?

And that's always and forever the important thing. (As in Barb's recent meta about "Principles".) There will always be people unfortunately who confuse subjective opinion with objective fact. (I remember the year before last when a film blog I used to hang out with became a battleground for a Meryl Streep fans vs Viola Davis fans and dear god o' mighty it was ugly.)

One of the best things I learned in college was how to give constructive criticism of a work (in the context of reading fiction) and one of the most important things is to address the work and NOT indulge in personal attacks on the author - or in this case, other viewers/readers.

On the other hand, don't just say to me "this is better/worse" as though we all agree that it's so - tell me what you think/feel and then tell me WHY; but don't assume I'm in agreement with you. No one else can speak for me or represent me without my express consent.
mcjulie
Feb. 7th, 2013 10:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I did say it was my mean theory...

(Also, I specifically mentioned Angel-preferers, not Angel fans, although what I actually meant was Angel-is-way-betterers)

kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
And yes, you said it!
red_satin_doll
Feb. 8th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
BTW - it occured to me this morning (as such things usually do) that you were speaking tongue-in-cheek? If so, I apologize - I got caught up in THE ARGUMENT without taking into account the person on the other side of the keyboard.

If you weren't speaking tongue-in-cheek, then the slap on the wrist remains in effect, but you still get a cookie afterwards. I try to be fair. (And I actually did bake two batches of spiced cocoa snickerdoodles last night - I wish I could give them out to y'all.)
kikimay
Feb. 8th, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC)
Can I ask you something? What does it mean "tongue in cheek?"
I don't understand. >O<
red_satin_doll
Feb. 8th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
It means "ironically or facetiously; humorously, not to be taken at face value. "Take what I am saying with a grain of salt". Some people use it interchangeably with "joking" or "kidding" ; I tend to think of it as "humorous irony" . Also "cleverly bantering in tone" - i.e. both parties are in on the joke, and there's often a level of shared understanding or sophistication.

The thing about the internet of course is that there is no "tone of voice" to judge intent, hence the use of blasted smilies, caps lock, *lolz* or whatnot.
kikimay
Feb. 8th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I've read this expression once or twice. It's nice to know the meaning! :D
mcjulie
Feb. 8th, 2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
Hah, sorry, yes, I was being tongue-in-cheek. It's sometimes hard to signal that online.

Still, I'll take the cookie. I assume imaginary cookies don't mess up my blood sugar.
red_satin_doll
Feb. 8th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
I kind of hate smilies and *lol* and all that because they feel childish, but it's still necessary (and plenty of times I forgot to use them because I assume "everyone knows how I mean this, right?" No, not so.)

*passes plate of cookies* Are you diabetic btw?

The first batch I made last night had very little sugar (it's supposed to have 3/4 cup maple syrup and 1 cup white sugar, so I left off the white sugar and...I got not-very-sweet and VERY dry cookies that crumble too easily. Turns out the sugar serves a function besides just sweetness after all. Who knew?)
rahirah
Feb. 5th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Well... the minute the writers got bored with Buffy's bills and depression, the waved their magic wands and Buffy was suddenly fine after fighting some dirt monsters in a hole in the ground, and her bills are never mentioned again. I wouldn't exactly call that realistic.

I think it's just a matter of what atmosphere people prefer. AtS is very much a noir universe, and BtVS isn't. Both went to equally dark places, but AtS seemed to me to be more willing to play out the consequences of that darkness - on AtS, lives were ruined and friendships destroyed and people died (Fred) because of the characters' bad choices, and we don't really see that happen as much on BtVS. (Spike getting a soul and dying for his sins is a major exception, but even he doesn't stay dead.)

(And can I just say I am SO TIRED of people justifying their personal preferences in shows, characters, ships, etc. by saying that anyone who doesn't agree with them is homophobic or misogynist or racist or whatever? Newsflash, people like different things. It doesn't make them evil. Grump.)

Edited at 2013-02-05 03:30 pm (UTC)
kikimay
Feb. 5th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
But, you know, I can understand if somebody said to me: "I like much more Angel because I think that Angel is much darker and noir and whatever" But what I dislike it's the absolute statement "AtS is more mature than BtVS." Like when?
I don't think that Fred/Wes/Gunn romance was mature: people at their 17 has the same kind of relationship and the big incest thingy Connor and Cordelia?
I mean, you can prefer the dark and loner hero to the valley girl and that's fine, but there are, I guess, just two different shows with different streights and weaknesses. It's just a matter of choice.
frelling_tralk
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC)
and her bills are never mentioned again

It was implied that she would be able to pay her bills after Giles gave her a massive cheque in All The Way, and then later she did have to take on the job at DMP to cover any future money worries, so expenses were still an issue for her throughout season 6. Honestly I thought Bts season 6 made more of a stab of realism than Angel just happening to have to have all of these old things collected and money put aside, it seemed a bit convenient when he was supposed to have spend years living on the streets with nothing

Edited at 2013-02-07 02:35 pm (UTC)
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
I agree. I'm also not interest in absolute realism in fiction, I like my fantastic tales to be ... fantastic. Said that, I also think that Buffy deals with some issues in a more realistic way than Angel.
frelling_tralk
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
I felt like Angel was presented more as the slightly overblown fantasy hero, while Buffy was more meant to come across as a relatable girl who had this destiny handed to her that she never asked for and was doing the best with it she could. It was kind of hard to relate to Angel in the same way when he had such an extensive backstory and so many issues with his soul etc
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
I agree. Angel could be easily a romantic hero from the Victorian period. He's so beautiful and mysterious and everything, but not really realistic.
rahirah
Feb. 7th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but as someone who's had to try to keep a cranky old house working on next to minimum wage (and we had the advantage of TWO minimum wage jobs in the household, and not having to support half a dozen apparently freeloading friends) they way it was handled on BtVS didn't really convince me that the writers were seriously interested in a story about how Buffy supports herself as the Slayer. They just wanted to pile angst on her head, and money woes were convenient. When they ceased to be convenient, they were handwaved away. It just didn't work for me. Not that AtS worked any better, but I honestly don't see either show as a beacon of realism when it comes to financial matters.
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
On that front I agree. I mean, the whole financial problem to me was just for making Buffy more miserable (And I never understand I thing: like Willow and Tara ... you think that they pay bills? The live in Buffy's house, so I guess they should)
Instead the depression thing was handled good. I mean, I don't really want Buffy to be realisticly depressed or affected by any other mental illness (It gets boring and it's a long process!) but the way it was described ... it wasn't just another pile of angst. It was a honest look inside that particular experience.

Edited at 2013-02-07 07:05 pm (UTC)
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
they way it was handled on BtVS didn't really convince me that the writers were seriously interested in a story about how Buffy supports herself as the Slayer.

I was just ranting about this elsewhere but that was one aspect (economics) that the show really dropped the ball on from the get-go; I've had a single (divorced) mom and I kept waiting for SOME acknowledgement of financial issues that come with that, etc. from S1. In fact I had rec'd the Barbverse in that convo because you tackle that very issue.

I can appreciate that they took a stab at it in S6 but they hadn't laid the ground-work beforehand, so the failure was that much more apparent. I would think that amoung a roomful of writers at least one of them would have had knowledge of trying to keep afloat financially but perhaps not? Points for intention, demerits for execution.

Not that AtS worked any better, but I honestly don't see either show as a beacon of realism when it comes to financial matters.

Of course American tv or movies very rarely have been, sadly, unless that's explicitly a theme of the show. How many apartments and houses have we seen onscreen that are MUCH bigger than the incomes of that the characters would be able to support with their supposed careers? I don't know how much if at all that might have changed from when I watched a lot of tv (70's-80's) to now, when I watch very little.
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
Well... the minute the writers got bored with Buffy's bills and depression, the waved their magic wands and Buffy was suddenly fine after fighting some dirt monsters in a hole in the ground,/i>

Which is probably why the end of S6 is my least favorite season wrap-up; the chance for Xander to step up front and center is great but it means sidelining Buffy in her own story so she can learn that the most important thing in the whole wide world is the need to be a "mommy" to Dawn. *yawn* that's probably simplifying it, though. As you know I connect very deeply to S6's depression arc (and understand why some people don't), and I appreciated that Buffy didn't come back from Heaven and in two episodes was "ok, all better now!" But it did bother me on another level because I know that clinical depression doesn't go away in 22 episodes (or weeks, or whatever) either, and it's not just a matter of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

Oddly enough (or not so oddly?) I watched SMG in the movie "Veronika Decides to Die" and that message is very much there as well, only explicitly so:
**BIG OLD MESS O' SPOILERS W/A SIDE O' RANT** a person with severe depression who attempts suicide only need "get over themselves" by caring about something/someone other than yourself (in this case, the therapist who runs the hospital manipulates Veronika in order to make her fall in love with another patient and thus heal them both. NO NO NO NO. That to me just verges on immoral or amoral, never mind unethical. "Falling in love" just replaces one drug for another (hormones) and what happens when that drug wears off? **END SPOILERS AND CRAZY-LADY RANT**

Sorry about that. *Scurries away*
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
The movie is based on a Paulo Coelho's story and it's really innacurate to say the least. Still, SMG was great in the movie.
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Oh she was VERY good, that was never my problem. (Ok, there's a certain scene with a piano where I thought "you HAVE GOT to be kidding me"...) I thought she portrayed depression very well - that it's not about big dramatic moments but mostly about feeling you're lost in some grey fog, or wrapped in cotton-wool that keeps you separated from the rest of the world; fits of passionate emotion alternating with numbness. I've read one person say that "SMG doesn't do glum well" (in context of S6) and I have to say, really? She sure could have fooled me because I know these emotions and when it's off (in a movie or tv show performance) I know it immediately. (The icon here is a cap from the movie.) There's also a scene in her movie "Possession" that captures how grief/depression feels in just three short shots that's probably the best part of the movie.

Have you read the book btw and how true is the movie to the book, especially in it's conclusion?
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
Pretty true. Basically, Coelho believes that love cures depression and things like that. Whatever. :/
Yes, I also think she's very, very good. She manages to express this sort of glum and be so emotionally intense. She's really good (That why I want her on a tv show. Please Sarah, come back!!) Are you refering to the masturbation scene? XDDD
But I have a big crush for Sarah, so. *////*
red_satin_doll
Feb. 8th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
Basically, Coelho believes that love cures depression and things like that.

Oh give me a f'ing break. I have so much contempt for that notion I don't know where to begin. Substituting one drug for another is NOT the answer. There is NO magic bullet (or cure, rather) when it comes to "depression" which is really a catch-all phrase IMO.

That why I want her on a tv show.

Hopefully better than the Ringer. Left to her own devices her taste in projects seem a little, um "lowbrow"? Not that that's a bad thing on it's own, but Ringer could have been smarter, better, much more savvy. I liked the moral ambiguity, though, which I understand was very intentional: a likeable protagonist who does some horrible things and is able to justify everything in her own head, and an antagonist who I found myself feeling slightly sorry for at the end and uncomfortable that I did except that innocents were now dragged into it. (in other words, put the two twins together and you've got one whole person, ie Buffy.)

Are you refering to the masturbation scene?

One of these days, folks are going to tell the two of us to take all our smutty squee elsewhere. :) (That btw is an example of "tongue in cheek".) And yes, that scene. *ahem*

There are some things Sarah does really really well as an actor, and portraying sexuality and sensuality (desire) is one of them. And it's really rare to see desire and sexuality explored from a feminine perspective; that's one of the things BtVS falls down on IMO (sex = badness). *SPOILERY SPOILERS* Sarah could make love to an inanimate object and make it sexy and I'm not talking about a vibrator (or Marc Blucas); her co-star in "Veronika" is catatonic for most of the movie and almost qualifies as an inanimate object. (i.e. the "love scene" and her orgasm late in the film.)

Which is the problem with the piano scene in that movie - she's never talked with this boy because he doesn't talk, the interaction has been pretty one-sided on her part (meaningful glances and attempts to open up his self-imposed shelf); and then all of the sudden she's telling him she loves him after pleasuring herself in front of him? What the holy fuck??? That is EXACTLY the sort of nonsense that I think BtVS excelled in puncturing and exposing for what it is.
kikimay
Feb. 8th, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
LOLOLOL XD
Oh, but because in the book there is an explanation of the scene. It's like something she does just for herself. Basically she reflects that all her sexual intercourses where, like, to please the male partner. And this time she's all about: yay, I'm going to have an orgasm and I don't even care!
And he's a good-looking guy and I guess that she thinks that is exciting the whole scenario so she does ... all of that.
And believe me when I say: I DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT THE SENSE.
This woman! Uuuughh.
And yes, Coelho is kinda stupid when it comes to mental problems, you know? I read his books and he basically tells the same tale over and over. I liked "By the river Piedra I sat down and wept" but the others are pretty much mediocre.

About Ringer: agreed.
I just wish she'd pick a decent project. I don't mean another Buffy but just ... I decent thing, you know? Ringer was kinda trashy.
rahirah
Feb. 7th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
That's my problem with stripping away the metaphors in S6. If they'd gone with Buffy having some magical problem due to her resurrection, and then in the final episode they fixed that problem and she wasn't depressed any longer, then the season would be a great metaphor for depression, and there'd be a reason that it just magically stopped. As it is, Buffy's really actually depressed, and it just magically stops. Which doesn't work very well for me.
kikimay
Feb. 8th, 2013 10:27 am (UTC)
Gabrielleabelle's explanation of Season Six was amazing and it really gave me peace about the whole arc, like how Buffy felt gradually better (Normal Again and then the final episodes) and I also appreciate very much that Buffy wasn't a killing machine in the final episodes of S6. I tend to consider in a positive way all the depression arc because the good things are much more than the mistakes.
rahirah
Feb. 8th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
I have issues with Gab's analysis, mainly because she claims that in S6 Spike is only a metaphor for Buffy's depression, so she's not really responsible for treating him badly. But somehow when Spike is treating Buffy badly, he's suddenly a real character again and not a metaphor, and so he is fully responsible for his actions.

I understand that Buffy is her favorite, so she's always going to take Buffy's side, but it bugged me.
kikimay
Feb. 8th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about Buffy being responsable for Spike. But I also think about the symbolical meaning - I mean, the role he was playing being the "depression speaker" or, you know, whatever you want to define that role. I mean, I think that the two opinions are both true and valid in the context. (Buffy was really mean with Spike and, at the same time, he was the death voice so it makes all sense)
istar
Feb. 5th, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty new to the fandom (just watched through the whole series in '11) but I've always seen Buffy as a "cool peer", since I'm the same age, and some of Buffy's experiences resonated with my own coming-of-age-in-small-town-California. I found her annoying sometimes, but as I rewatched some of my favorite episodes, I started to realize that her whiny/annoying moments are a pretty realistic reaction to the pressure of holding her family and friends together while dealing with apocalypses and soul-crushing grief on a regular basis.

I was always eager to get Riley out of the way... back when BtVS was new, I wasn't watching it, but a lot of my friends were talking about it, so I already knew that Buffy would eventually end up in a relationship with the blonde vampire named Spike. So when the Riley arc happened, I was already aware he was just going to be the transitional guy. Poor Riley never had a chance.

I enjoyed AtS as well, but I don't think it was "more mature" than BtVS. Like rahirah mentioned, Angel is LA Noir, with longer story arcs and fewer monsters-of-the-week. Events have far-reaching consequences and some of the situations are more "adult" (financial stress, at least 3 mystical pregnancies, the sometimes-necessity of murdering family members) but the characters' (especially Angel's) ability to deal with these situations develops so slowly over time. It highlights the fact that even "adults" from age 18-243 aren't necessarily "mature".
kikimay
Feb. 5th, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
It highlights the fact that even "adults" from age 18-243 aren't necessarily "mature".

Quite right. :D
I didn't hate Riley back when I watched S5 for the first time. But now I'm angry with him because he ruins my funny little half of season. I want my funny stuff. It's unfair!
frelling_tralk
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
Has your view on Buffy changed as you have gotten older?

I'm rewatching Buffy now actually and, other than the obvious ways it's dated with computers and wardrobes, I still enjoy it pretty much the same. Xander is really the only character that has dated horribly for me and is way too nice guy, which is something I didn't pick up on particularly back in the 90's. And I like Cordelia now a lot more than I did back then, it's funny to pick up on how 9 times out of ten Xander was the one snarking at her first and getting insulted and angry when she fired back at him, even though she was always painted as the "mean girl" at the time so you'd expect it to be the other way around.... The only time things really changed there was in season 3 when Cordy was generally the one insulting him first, but then Xander seemed to forget all about cheating on her and breaking her heart, so I couldn't really hold that against her
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:44 pm (UTC)
I've never liked too much Xander, I think that in the first three seasons he also was mean and too slut-shaming. But interesting point!
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:10 pm (UTC)
I've become more fascinated by his arc and his journey just in the few months since I watched the show. I can't really say my views have changed since I've gotten older because I watched it less than a year ago, but some of my views haven't changed (S6 is still the one that gets to me the most emotionally, and Riley S5 makes me want to kick his ass - or at least wish Buffy would) and some have (I enjoy S7 much more on repeat than I did the first time). Where my ideas have already evolved is often to do with interpretations of themes and characters, and Xander is a great example; I don't enjoy a lot of his bad behavior, but I'm not willing to say he's always a bad, bad awful friend just to elevate another charcter, either. The complexity interests me. (I admit to not having rewatched S2-3 to parse out his relationship with Cordelia.)

lostboy_lj just left a really smart reply to my Dopplegangers(Xander) meta that got me thinking about Xander all over again, esp Xander becoming "the Hand" in S6-7, and the whole "heart/eye"distinction:
http://red-satin-doll.livejournal.com/5173.html?thread=161333#t161333

Reading fics, metas and convos have had a huge impact in processing the show and giving me new insights that I would never have reached on my own.
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'm still a bit cold about Xander. I don't bash him or hate him. He's just a guy and he makes mistakes, like everyone else. I like him in S4 and S5, but, you know, I just don't love him!
red_satin_doll
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:39 pm (UTC)
It's funny because I dislike a lot of things about him, especially the early seasons (Dude, why can't you see Willow right there in front of you? Because, as with Buffy and Spike later on, the heart wants what it wants when it wants it - or doesn't want it when it doesn't, and can't be forced either way.) And I certainly don't like the way he fails to apologize for things, but then I love him in S7, for some reason, I love his maturity that season even if his character gets sidelined. The events of the prior season especially really force him to grow up and become (more of) a man, and he becomes more of a true friend IMO.
kikimay
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
I really dislike his judgemental attitude a lot. It puts me off. But yeah, he's a normal guy and he has his flaws. It's just that I don't feel so much emotional involved with him as much as Anya, for example. I like her.
Funny things: I empathize with Xander in Hells Bells. I mean, I feel sorry for him and I understand why he screws everything.
Still, I love Anya so much more.
red_satin_doll
Feb. 8th, 2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
I empathize with Xander in Hells Bells. I mean, I feel sorry for him and I understand why he screws everything.

See that was a bigger WTF? moment for me than several other more *ahem* controversial events that season; that is, the others I could understand in the context, see them coming, or blame the writers for mishandling but understand why those events were there; HB blindsided me, perhaps because it's a mostly comedic episode? I've had to step back and read other people's meta, and think about the fact that, oh yeah, the possibility was there all along (Xander's backstory re: his parents), but I'm still not sure of the handling, it felt sort of abrupt. (And Anya's gleeful announcement of "I'm marrying my best friend!" breaks my heart. She's so blindsided by the whole thing.)

The irony though is S7 Xander is my favorite in terms of maturity - I rooted for him to hook up with Nancy in Beneath You; and I can see how he had to go through everything he did late S6 to get to that point.
kikimay
Feb. 8th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
I agree with the whole handling because in S5 Xander was all on board with a mature relationship and in S6 he's having a trauma for his parents? Like, REALLY?
I have a friend that, like Xander, is really cynical on the whole marriage thing, because his parents's break up was awful and he still has lot of rage about that. (But don't tell him that I said so!) But he would never, not in a million years, propose like that. Of course he can change opinion, but first parental issues angst then ---> proposal thingy.
It seems that Xander does the opposite.
(Anya breaks my heart when she sings "I'll be his Misses". The first time I saw that song I felt so bad for her. Poor Anya!)
red_satin_doll
Feb. 8th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
Anya breaks my heart when she sings "I'll be his Misses"

The last time the series made me cry - not tear up but SOB like an infant - was that scene: the visual cut from her singing to the sword in her chest and the single tear running down her cheek.

That said, Selfless confused me a little because in S7 we're being told that Anya had no identity outside of Xander but that somehow didn't feel right to me, if that makes sense? Her interests in sex and money-making (capitalism) definitely embarrassed the other Scoobs and didn't come from them, they were unique to herself, and she was part-owner of the Magic Box, so I never saw her as lacking a sense of self, but outside appearances can always be deceiving. Maybe I'm confusing "sense of self" with "personality" but I as wonderful as the episode is (and why didn't they use EC to dramatic effect more often? So much missed opportunity there) I didn't entirely buy what the episode was trying to sell me.

As to Xander, at the time I was watching I didn't think he'd do anything so dishonorable as leave Anya at the altar, but that meant I was forgetting a lot of previous dishonorable behavior on his part (and his dreams in Restless), so I can deal with it better in hindsight. I can imagine how something like a wedding would have that sort of effect on someone; funerals likewise bring up all sorts of old family issues. (I saw this when my significant other's mom died and old, OLD resentments among the siblings came to the surface.) S5 Xander/Anya is sort of comfortable and "safe", whereas getting married really requires stepping up to the plate.

The one thing about S7 Xander/Anya I was unhappy about was that they never really resolved it, or had what to me was a satisfying conversation. (I probably feel much the same way about them as Barb does about S7 Buffy, if I'm guessing correctly.) And I didn't understand why, at the end of the series, everyone got their "power" back in some way except Anya. She really didn't have a role to play anymore, and she's the one woman at the end who is not "powered" up, or reclaims her power (a la Spike and Willow in Get it Done). And the conversation with Andrew in the hospital as to why she'll stay and fight with humans did not work for me - it's very abstract, when she's been human for the better part of 3+ years already. Granted, her human "family/friends" have rejected or barely tolerate her by that point. But i still find it unsettling and I've yet to read any good meta on the subject or parse it out myself, yet.)
metanewsmods
Feb. 9th, 2013 01:48 am (UTC)
Another great post! Can we link at metanews ?
kikimay
Feb. 9th, 2013 10:28 am (UTC)
Okay! Thank you!
fray_adjacent12
Feb. 14th, 2013 01:53 pm (UTC)
Hi there! Here via metanews on DW, dropping in my $.02. Hope that's OK. I only started watching the show in my mid-late 20's (I'm the same age as Buffy) so I can't really say how growing older has changed my view of the show. But I will say that, while Riley's behavior frustrates me in S5, on the whole I find the Buffy/Riley relationship and breakup kind of fascinating, and it doesn't affect my enjoyment. Except maybe that basketball scene in "Out of My Mind." But then again, I don't of S5 as particularly happy even in the early episodes, what with the mystery of Dawn and Joyce's illness and Buffy discovering her inner darkness and knowing what's coming. To each her own, obviously. :D

I guess I can see why people would claim that Angel is a more mature show, even if I don't exactly agree. First and most obviously, the characters are a bit older, on average. The first few seasons of Buffy contain many metaphors for teenage years, while the first season of Angel's metaphors circle around issues many people face in their early 20's. The tone of Angel is, on the whole, darker than on Buffy, which many people conflate with more mature.

And the show focuses more explicitly on thematic existential questions. What is a just and moral way to live in this world? How do I know what is right and wrong when there is no greater meaning, no "sky bully" to tell me the answers? How should I fight injustice? Buffy raises these questions too, but much more obliquely, with its focus more on the organic emotional development of its characters and their relationships and less explicitly on existential themes. I'm not exactly sure why that would make the show more mature, but I feel like I've seen people say things like that before when making that claim.

Interestingly, an area where Buffy is clearly *more* mature is in the emotional development of its characters. And I don't mean that the characters on Buffy are more or better developed (though I'd argue strongly that they are) but rather that they are more *emotionally mature*. Both shows create drama and pathos through characters' inability to communicate their needs, to support each other when they need it, to make sound decisions, and to even understand what their own needs and desires *are*.

But Angel takes it to a Whole. New. Level. It actually frustrates me sometimes how often characters on that show fuck up -- sometimes destroying their own and others' lives -- simply by not talking to each other about about their concerns or problems. Characters on BtVS make those mistakes too, but on the whole they at least try, and for the most part they maintain a base level of trust and communication that never fully breaks down like it does -- repeatedly -- on Angel.
kikimay
Feb. 14th, 2013 02:02 pm (UTC)
Nice to meet you! Of course you can express your opinion.
I agree on most of the things you wrote. And for a long time I also thought that Angel was more mature - then again, I discovered the shows when I was a teenage girl, so I guess it was impressive then to look up at the adult world.
It's just that, growing up, I think that both shows are mature on their own level, but I don't see how Angel is supposed to be more mature than Buffy, because I believe that maturity it's really about resolving - or trying to resolve - your own disfunctions. In Angel that doesn't happen too much.
fray_adjacent12
Feb. 14th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
Word.

You know, I feel like I should have learned this a long time ago, but I'm coming to understand better the way this plays out in real life. The kinds of interpersonal mistakes and poor judgement and just all around bad behavior that I used to think people outgrew -- I've come to realize that an awful lot of us never really do. So I guess that's what Angel's about, in some ways, but it's nice to see people at least trying to become better people and work together and trust each other, like they do on Buffy.

I can't help but wonder if this is related to gender, that the show with a majority (or half, at times) female cast communicates and works through its dysfunctions so much better than the show with a strong majority male cast. Not that I think that real life women are always better communicators than real life men (I've got plenty of counter-examples, including, often, my own marriage) but it's not surprising that they'd be written that way?
kikimay
Feb. 14th, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
Interesting question. I really don't know how to answer, because I think that overcoming your dysfunctions and insicurities is something really about personal development - both for a female or a male. But your opinion is interesting. I guess I need to think about it.
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