buffy at pylduck.com

(Spoilers inevitable in posts. Be warned.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Posted by shadowy duck.
Oh, and anyone interested in writing papers on Buffy for a conference should check out this Call For Papers I just got: [Blood, Text and Fears: Reading around Buffy the Vampire Slayer].


Posted by shadowy duck.
Ok, that ending (before the Spike part) was disappointing. Why is Joss Whedon so obsessed with Xander? I guess he really meant it when he said that of all the characters, he was probably most like Xander. The episodes were good until the point when Xander says that he's not the hero of the story (which inevitably translated into his being the hero of the story). Sure, love can save us all, blah blah blah, but did it have to be done so heavy-handedly and with Xander?

When Giles came in, I whooped for joy. Yay librarian kicking ass! I like how Willow totally read everyone (like Spike does), especially Buffy as the goody-two-shoes Slayer. Always a warrior, she must always come to the rescue. She's such a flat character, even though the writers tried to fill her with angst and confusion this past season. In the beginning, before she was so self-assuredly the SLAYER, she was much more interesting as a character. She didn't brandish her goodness in front of everyone like she is somehow the paragon of excellence.

I loved how active Anya was in the finale. Teleporting rocks. Plus, chanting the spell that put a damper on Willow was very cool. She kept getting beat down, though. She should get some powers beyond the ability to grant any vengeance wish.

Is there any doubt that Spike will be a major player next season? Muhahahaha.... But what a twist -- did I hear correctly that the demon restored Spike's soul. Oooo....

Yeah, so Willow was really cool and evil in the episode. Zot zot. She did the dark force electricity zapping thing.

So let me get this straight: true magic comes from the goodness of humanity. But somehow Willow taps into this awesome magic of grief and anger. Is this false magic? You know, I think all fantasy stories boil down to this core spark of humanity, often undefinable, but just as often defined as love. And I'm sorry, but that's just not enough for me. While I can appreciate that the love Willow feels from and for Xander might be strong, it needs to be evoked more viscerally than through Xander's paltry recallings of young Willow things (the yellow crayon). I mean please. If that's all that it takes to stop an anger-driven Willow, why couldn't any of her other friends come close to slowing her down? Don't tell me that next season Willow and Xander are going to get (back) together or something.

Rob was saying that it would be a much more interesting ending if Willow had killed Xander at the Satanic temple, and then that event was the trigger to her suppressed humanity. Sure, she would've killed her closest friend and all that, but it would've made a much more convincing moment of realization than Xander making the jokes.

Even though the ending was kinda eh, this viewing experience of Buffy was one of the best ever because of Rob. :)


Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Posted by shadowy duck.
Woo! Willow kicks ass!

I hate how my friend tells me what's going to happen in Buffy a year ahead of time. I knew about Tara and Willow sometime last year, or at least knew of the rumors, which amounts to the same thing.

But that scene where Willow soaks up the books on the Dark Arts? YAY! I loved how the words, like tattoos, raced up her arms and into her hair. How cool is that? The darkness of the text becomes the darkness of her dyed hair representing the assumption of the dark side. Oooo....

Is it just me, or does Buffy's insistent proclamations of goodness ring less and less true, less and less believable, as each season passes? Whereas before her virtues and suffering seemed genuine, now they seem more and more like a performance of her self, of her Slayer-ness. Interesting shift... And who is she to talk, as Rob pointed out, about not killing humans when she tried to kill Faith a few years ago? Deskinning Warren was really creepy. "Bored now." Whoosh!

I also find it incredibly fascinating how the show has been so insistent on the divide between the mystical and the ordinary, between magic and science. It's definitely one reason why I like the show so much. As much as it is a fantastical world with demons and magic and all, it has such a particular (practical?) relationship to our everyday world. One could easily map the mystical to a psychological space of a "normal" human being (hence the incredible genius of suggesting the whole series and world is the delusion of a mentally unstable Buffy in L.A.). But this is also where ideas of magic become particularly interesting. Magic, especially through spells, works through the ability to make things happen simply by thinking them or saying them. Repeated incantations will bring about things. Calling out to demons will make them come. It's a fascinating literalization of performative utterances, an Austin-ian understanding taken to the n-th degree, the realm where science studies would go if it could (words = reality?).


Wednesday, May 08, 2002
Posted by shadowy duck.
Xander sucks to high heaven. I can't believe they shot Tara, though of course it makes sense in the Buffy-verse of pain and suffering and the impossibility of continual fulfillment in love. And of course, what better way to push Willow over the edge than through her heart? Previews for next week make me squirm with excitement. Willow kicks ass!

The whole Spike rape thing was very upsetting. Of course it was upsetting to see Buffy getting almost-raped. But it was also upsetting to see Spike force himself on her. If anyone's looking for social commentary in Buffy, this is a prime moment for thinking about date rape and rape within relationships.

The show seems to be delving very much into a "male" psyche these days, with the focus on Xander's thoughts and reactions to his desertion of Anya (he deserves all his pain) and Spike's confusion with Buffy (damn her, poor Spikey).

It's obvious I have certain biases in evaluating characters.

I'm glad the show finally has returned to thinking about Spike's chip as soul-like (or not). It's so interesting how souls and sex work in the show. Joss Whedon clearly has issues with sexuality, love, romance, and all that. Sex is destructive, soul-wrenching (and removing, in a very literal way at times). But the soul also seems to function more like a conscience, like the ego (or is it the superego?) controlling the id of the body. I think it's fascinating how the show has revealed Spike to be an extremely altruistic being as well, someone who though incredibly self-involved, narcissistic, and caught up in passionate Romantic ideals of love that demand fullness of SELF still can think of another so fiercely.

Why don't the evil people on the show just shoot Buffy? The demons and whatnot always try to beat her up with sticks and axes and other things that require them to get within striking distance of her. But she's not invincible. Bullets can hurt her very easily. Weird how someone as smart as Warren would try all these outlandish schemes to deal with Buffy, but only finally resorting to a gun which seems the most effective at throwing her world out of whack (though unintentionally killing Tara).


Wednesday, May 01, 2002
Posted by shadowy duck.
I love Buffy. But I also am troubled by the insistent pulls toward normative definitions of gender, sexual relationships, and such. What's great is that given the context of the show, the world populated by demons (long understood as metaphors for what normative society tries to cast out as undesirable) provides many examples of non-normative or queer lives.

Spike is my favorite now because he simultaneously evokes a sappy, romantic view of love and a sexuality disarticulated from necessary attachments to "one love." This last episode, "Entropy," seems so conventional in plot. The broken-up couples (Xander/Anya and Buffy/Spike) explode when the pairing of Anya and Spike in shared despair triggers Xander's homicidal (literally in the ax-murderer sense) attack on Spike. I hated how he described Spike as a thing, something unlovable, undeserving of any person's care and attention. It is a logic premised on exclusion -- that which is not alive, that which is not deserving, that which is not of his world (the Scoobies, etc.). And Buffy with her inability to pronounce her relations with Spike, her insistence (rationalization?) that she is simply using Spike, that there is nothing "there" between them. But clearly there is some connection between them, some spark or other, whether or not it is love or romance.


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