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Time to ramble about Buffy

Despite Saturday attendance at LJ being historically low, I feel like posting a Buffy ramble. Been too long, right?

I'm rewatching the series slowly, and just saw "Enemies" from Season 3. Though it's an excellent episode, I think it has some of those typical Joss "please ignore that illogical bit" plot points. The mayor hires the blue-shrouded demon with glowing eyes to steal Angel's soul, but at the end we find out blue guy was actually in Giles's employ and thus on "our" side. Fine, and of course I love the line, "I introduced him to his wife," but how did they ensure that the mayor call that particular demon? Was it just luck? Oh, well. Ignore that detail and it's fine.

Of course, a similarly illogical detail hangs at the very crux of one of the best plotlines in the series: Angel becoming Angelus in Season 2. As probably ten million other fans have figured out, Angel's curse makes no sense. Having his soul reinstated so he can suffer forever remembering all the mayhem he committed as a vampire--sure, that makes sense; that's a good curse. But having his soul taken away again is no punishment whatsoever. The second he becomes Angelus, he loves being Angelus. As Angel, he loathes the possibility of this happening, but until it really does happen, he doesn't know it will happen because the gypsies never told him about that Moment Of Perfect Happiness clause.

The curse would have worked a lot better if they had, since then he'd carry around double torture: "I'm doomed to remember all the terrible things I once did, plus I can never be truly happy or I'll turn into a monster again." As it is, he doesn't even realize the second half of that sentence until after Season 2. It's almost like the gypsies planned for him to 1) find out by trial and error, and 2) get his soul reinstated by someone, somehow, so that 3) he could then live in the full torture they intended, with some nice new regrets about how he treated his new friends.

Yeah. No sense. But dang, it sure was a compelling story to watch.

Moving to the "Angel" series for a moment, let's take a minute of silence for poor Andy Hallett. He, as Lorne, and Glenn Quinn as Doyle, played two of the most lovable characters on that series, and now both actors are dead. If I were Amy Acker I'd be worried, since Fred was the only other lovable one. (I rate the rest of the cast as highly likable and/or interesting, but only those three as lovable.)

And then a note on the Buffyverse as a whole:
naill_renfro and I have been discussing the shows in email, and he points out that Joss's characters have some serious father problems. As Naill puts it:

"There's Buffy and her absentee deadbeat dad, Angel and his verbally/physically abusive father (who, as Angel later says, "tasted like chicken!"), Wesley and his abusive father, Kate Lockley and her emotionally paralyzed, criminal father, Xander and his horrible father, the demon father Doyle never met and whom he wishes had never existed, Giles' rejection of and attempt to escape the destiny his father imposed on him... I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but there seems to be a pattern emerging here."

Good point. Add to the list the long-drawn-out Series of Dysfunctional Events between Angel and Connor. We also mustn't forget John Ritter as the disastrous robot suitor of Joyce's, who sure didn't give stepfathers any better a name. We never see Willow's dad to my recollection, and Spike's father was, what, dead his whole life or something? Spike might view Angelus as a father figure early in his vampire career. That's not healthy. And though Giles makes an admirable father figure for Buffy and the gang, it sometimes feels a little un-familial and almost romantic. (Or am I just projecting? Hmm. Moving on...) In all, the Mayor of Sunnydale comes off as the nicest dad figure, in his interactions with Faith, and that whole relationship is, of course, demonic parody.

In fact, aside from Joyce, mothers don't turn out much better. In all the above cases of abuse by fathers, the mothers don't seem to be of any help. We only see Willow's mom once if I recall, and it's when she and the other moms try to burn the town's daughters at the stake in "Gingerbread." Spike's sweet mum had to be staked before she did something really icky to her son. Principal Wood teaches us that Slayers don't make good moms either. Lorne's mother gives him a memorably discouraging (though hilarious) greeting when he returns home. And Darla--well, yeah. At least she was merciful enough to remove herself early from the picture.

Fred's parents may be the only sweethearts in the series, come to think of it.

But then, this isn't necessarily any psychoanalysis of Joss himself. It's just a staple of good drama, going way back to myths and fairy tales. If your parents are always around and always loving, you can't get into many interesting adventures.

Rambling concluded. Go dye some eggs or scarf some Cadbury.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
If your parents are always around and always loving, you can't get into many interesting adventures.

I beg to differ on that one - to get into interesting adventures, you need either absent parents, or parents who are around and always loving who encourage you to pursue adventures ;) *loves her adventure-supporting parents*
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:27 am (UTC)
In fiction perhaps it's that family is hard to write well, and all unhappy families may be unhappy in their own ways, but they're easier to write than the happy families. (Is it easier to write the Dursleys than the Weasleys? I suspect it is. The Weasleys are a much more complex and "real" family; all the Dursleys have to be is unpleasant.)
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
True. Plus, in fiction, more conflict is always encouraged, thus unpleasantness works better to keep readers' attention. This must explain the existence of Percy among the Weasleys. :)
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
True, supportive parents work too! But if you were fictional, we'd probably have to rewrite your parental relationship as more stormy, just to amp up the drama potential. :)
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:18 am (UTC)
Andy Hallett, RIP
"Good night, folks."
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Andy Hallett, RIP
Anyone who could seem so sweet after the hours of makeup he must have endured daily had to be a great guy.
Apr. 15th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Off topic

Just had to tell you that I received The Ghost Downstairs yesterday from Amazon and stayed up late last night to read it.
I didn't manage to read it all through. My cold and cough got the better of me at around 1:30 am.

I really like it and can't wait to get home from work so I can finish the last 50 (or so) pages. It's getting really exciting now.

Are you working on another novel now?
Apr. 16th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Re: Off topic
Oh my, thank you! You're my favorite person of the day. :D Though I'm quite sorry about the cold and the lack of sleep. I sympathize, as an occasional insomniac. Even so, that's a great compliment for any writer to hear!

I'm working on polishing up an older novel or two, and hope to find published success with those eventually, but nothing is definite yet. I'll be sure to announce it to the world when something new is in the works!

Take care and feel better!
Apr. 15th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
*high five*
Yes yes and yes!!

Definite parent issues there. You only see Willow's mom that ONE episode, Joyce is a lovable and tragic figure. (OMG "The Body" STILL gets me every single time, I can't even hear sound bites without getting teary eyed), Darla didn't win any mother of the year awards, let's not even get into Cordy! OMG

OMG .. the actor who played Doyle is dead too??? I knew that they killed off the character, had no idea the actor was gone too. Damn. Bummer.

Hmm perhaps dear Joss has some parent-issues of his own?
Apr. 18th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: *high five*
Yeah, "The Body" is brilliantly written/acted, but I couldn't list it in my favorite episodes because it's just too painful to watch. It's like a nightmare of the realistic kind.

Hah, indeed, add Cordy and her demonic pregnancies to the list! Granted, in her shoes, no one would have acted much better...

Glenn Quinn died several years ago of a drug overdose, I believe. Not quite as innocent as Andy Hallett's heart condition, but still quite sad.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 18th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Ah right! Another choice example for the list. Oy...
Apr. 26th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
Oh, the Mayor is great! The only season villain who actually manages to seem menacing, and he accomplishes it by being pure Norman Rockwell. And he does seem genuinely fond of and fatherly toward Faith...

Giles? Purely paternal toward Buffy, and grumpily avuncular toward Xander and Spike. (Although he and Spike do convince themselves pretty quickly that they're father and son... and their relationship is as dysfunctional as any of these other father/son relationships.) Definitely something more with Willow and Anya.
Apr. 26th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
I found myself loving the Mayor even more on the second viewing through season 3. He was fabulous--though of course a very serious menace.

Hah, that's right, Giles and Spike have a single episode of father/son relations too.

Giles even does the grumpy avuncular thing for Wesley. My favorite is when he snaps at him to go ahead and ask Cordelia to dance at the prom. "For God's sake, man, she's eighteen. And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about."
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )