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14 July 2008

Comments

LiaStarLight

I totally agree with you. Whedon ROCKS! And Buffy is the best of the best.

I preached a sermon on Buffy one time in a moderately conservative church and had at least 15 people of different ages (many past 60) tell me that they love Buffy.

It was just after the finale. Oh! Best sermon ever! Best show ever!

Michael from Texas

The Whedonverse is going to be on stage at this year's Comic Con in San Diego. I'm sure you'll be able to watch the panels on the innertubes.

There are going to be a Whedon panel, Dr. Horrible on the big screen, spotlight on Dollhouse, and then to close out the convention, Once More with Feeling gets the Rocky Horror treatment.

Rona

Oh man.

Oh MAN!

Neil Patrick Harris AND Nathan Fillon and great swathes of silliness and joy.

That made my morning.

Cyrano Q

I was going to say, "I think this post's mostly filler" ... but then I thought better of it.

The thing about Buffy is that when you mention you're a fan, the uninitiated look at you as if you're a bit ... sad. Especially if you're a middle-aged man. I think they think one is just lusting after SM-G. But if you can get them to watch, especially to the end of S2 - as I did to someone close, recently - they're hooked.

As you say, it's all in the writing.

Lorraine

I love this because I love Buffy (although not so much Buffy, more the other characters. Except for Xander *shudder*)

badinfluencegirl

i have had a crush on spike since about five minutes after he rolled into town... in real time yet because i started watching around episode three or four and watched all the rest of them as they came to a tv near me.

i wish joss would get a little more mellow on the sex stuff but otherwise i too must agree with your love of all things buffy. there is something a little extra magical about that show that i've never seen before or since...

and it's all of the things you mentioned but yet something more besides that i've never successfully put into words.

norby

People who don't understand the allure of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly have never spent time watching them and really hearing the language and seeing the interactions between the characters.

Nathan Fillion is in something new online? Oh my...

J.J.

See now, I've never been a big Buffy fan. Maybe I suffered from the fad-averse reaction that kept me from watching much Seinfeld, Friends, Felicity, and other popular shows -- I certainly have enjoyed Seinfeld and Friends in syndication. And it's not ALL the superhot fads that turn me off, but the ones that seem to be more bubblegum-y. I mean, West Wing? Loved it. Boston Legal? Love it. 30 Rock? LOVE it.

I think I'm going to need to borrow someone's Buffy DVD set. If it's got a CG thumbs-up, it's definitely worth another look. :)

frau schnitzel

Chelsea,

I've been lurking (which always sounds so sinisterly threatening and perversity-peppered, as though I've been breathing foggy gusts of obsessive fervor on your window and boiling your proverbial bunnies) and compulsively back-reading for about a week. A delicious antidote to the smoking I probably stupidly gave up at around the time I started reading, your writing's scrummily lovely amalgam of the sublime and the satirical is giving me both a splendid uberdose on kink/think horn (or as I've taken to calling it, Lexicographic Smutwittery; "(c)literary" doesn't work so well when actually spoken), and an awesome conduit for thesis procrastination. Each size-queening anal-lauding paragraph seems to evoke the precise elegant symmetry of a well-earned post-coital cigarette, and I fucking love it. Danke.

I'm plucking up the fangirlish chutzpah now (breathing James Spaderishly on your window has become a little pedestrian at this point, frankly) to comment regarding your suggestion that sex in the Whedonverse always seems to end in some sort of epic doom or dastardly return of the repressed. ...Oh, yes - do pardon the psychoanalytic blather and the hideously ostentatious academic wank; it's beyond my control, as a wig-wielding spiffy Malkovich once drawled. Pardon also the ranting - the ungodly combination of thesis procrastination and copious Xanax administration seems to summon up a glut of involuntarily splurted adverbs. This thus undoubtedly looks like a rather disturbing "I wish to father your babies whilst pensively sparring over Kristeva" email (replete with a phonecam shot of an abstractly enlarged teste) rather than a er comment... :P

Buffy and sex... I concur in part.

Buffy ostensibly occupies a certain generic cinematic space which can be fairly loosely termed 'teen narrativity', which in some ways rekindles and pays homage to the cheesy heavy-handed Freudism of the 80s generation of slasher/stalker horror: an equally surreal, pheronome-scented landscape where those who get laid (and do drugs, and generally embrace standard pubescent faux-Bacchanalia) are inevitably punished for these supposed transgressions against the dominant patriarchal ideology, and only the pristine/untainted - she whom Carol Clover brands "the final girl", who is troped from the beginning as somehow sexually unavailable/ambiguous or androgynous - is able to conquer Big Bads.

Buffy, relentlessly intertextual and pomo to boot, is hyper-aware of its own contextual framework in that sort of teen fantasy canon, and plays and pastiches it up with camp glee. It also inverts and perverts it. But in a rather more earnest manner, it also hammers out a similar patina as the 80s cautioning "don't fuck or you'll be flayed by a dermatologically disfigured kiddy-fiddler in your dreeeaaams" parlour game, which is somewhat problematic in itself, and is rendered a good deal more complex, ambiguous and, well, dynamic, through Whedon's ongoing rather Catholic interplay with sex and suffering, sex and self-punishment, sex and repression, ad nauseum, as you've pointed out with far more brevity.

It's almost as though the series' recurring emphasis on the more metaphoric/symbolic choreography of sex - the paroxymsic bump and grind of slaying and battling and bloodletting; the excesses of the body; the heavily stylised, almost pornographically fluid violence; the petite mort of perpetual apocalyptic doom; the absolute centrality of the somatic which punctuates Whedon's screenscape like a corporeal language - seems to render the comparatively quotidian act of literal sex unnecessary or superfluous.

But in regards to lesbians having perhaps more successful sex for Whedon (that sounded a lot less dubious in my head)... Nonono.

It always seemed to me that they were punished rather more cruelly. This is what really bugged me about Whedon's configuration of the Tara/Willow dynamic, apart from the fact that it was perpetually framed as so erotically chaste and mincingly girly-girly, with only pristine pecks and snuggly-wuggly spooning for every sadomasochistic Spike/Buffy rear-entry sequence and Buffy/Riley athletic bout of aerobic schtupping. This seemed a blatant attempt to code the Willow/Tara thing as 'healthy' and 'loving', and as a blatant attempt to eschew 'negative' representations of lesbianism, but to me, it often came off as twee and sophomoric.

Tara and Willow appear to only be exempt from the punishment/reintegration fate of those who engage in oh so wild acts of hetero rumpy pumpy, because their relationship - and specifically, the Sapphic semiotic thereof - is so very very schoolgirlishly sweet and soft and comparatively proprietous and, well, innocent, and very much bound up in the romantic rather than the carnal. As in, the most innocuous and achingly tender of 'special Victorian friendships' rather than, say, Katherine Moennig wielding an indignant-looking strap-on and an upturned scowl. There's nothing terribly deviant or dark about their liaisons, entirely unsurprising whole chthonic Wiccan lezzy fetishisation motif aside. When they do move into more blatantly erotic territory, they are punished with the kind of defilement that only Hitchcock could enact upon an icy blonde.

Before the proverbial Lesbian Death Scene, if I recall, Whedon only ever frames their sexual relationship as decidedly explicit in the hilarious allusion to oral sex in One More Time With Feeling ("Spread beneath my [W]illow tree" inbloodydeed), or rather, supernaturally elevated carpet-munching, and I'm not sure if this counts. The musical itself has always sanctified marginality and otherness through its rather unique function as a self-contained utopian sphere for fantasy and wish-fulfilment, which allows for all kinds of subversive and queer acts that would be risque and even scandalous outside it. And fooking hell, I really need to stop it with the poxy theory.

After willow tree spreading and the resounding wails of "You make me cum-pleeete!", Willow and Tara's only other gratuitous sex scene, another which more explicitly mimes oral sex, is very quickly offset by - no, almost responded with - Tara being shot and killed. A most direct and literalist punishment. And then dark avenging flaying veiny Willow immediately embodies that time-honoured cinematic epithet of the gutted, predatory, eviscerating, monstrous feminine, the castrating gatecrasher.

The Xanax is taking its toll, so consider this glib parataxis: Joss Whedon has issues with sex; at least he tends to punish everyone for having it.

So it seems I wrote you a bloody essay. Realllly smooth way of de-fangirling myself. :P

jdw

I am not one to comment on a blog, but I am friends with a writer who has intimate details about Buffy, Firefly. Check out Tara DiLullo and/or Tara DiLullo Bennett. Look up "articles" because her books are mostly about the show 24. She also wrote all of the language for the boxes for the Buffy toys and has done work on just about every other one of your favorite culty tv shows and movies. Enjoy.

Mrs. Hall

Alright!!! Thats it!!! I will take it upon my self to watch the buffy for the first time. In fact,I may have viewing parties at the house. Heck- Mr. Hall can make the foundue.

:)

Mrs. Hall

Lemur

Yes. Yes yes yes! Thank you for this post. I agree. I'm still known to say "it gives me a wiggins" and I'm totally in love with Buffy-language (and with Faith, but that's a whole other topic).
I say I love Buffy and I get those "o...kay?" looks. But I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets its sexy intellectualism.
And frau schnitzel (who wrote the essay-comment, lol), I do agree with you about cutesy lesbians. I'm so happy to see lesbians on mainstream TV at all that I totally missed that when I watched Buffy.
But thank you! This post gave me a happy!

Curvaceous Dee

You know, I practically could have written this post - but you saved me the bother, and I appreciate it (I was busy re-watching some S1 Buffy anyhow).

Isn't Dr Horrible fantastic??

xx Dee

marianne

For various reasons, I've been avoiding watching Buffy, even though I loved Firefly. You've convinced me, though. I'm going to give it a try. Good review.

Girl

Yes. That's it, just yes. Also: I need to obtain Buffy on DVD. Oh, and Dr Horrible made my day, today: I really needed that smile.

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