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April 11 2007

The "March" Issue of Slayage is up. There are four new articles -one translated from the Italian. The one on "The Wish" is particularly fun, I think.

Lots to read.I wonder when we will have the first scholarly journal article on the Season 8 comics?

[ edited by toast on 2007-04-11 13:29 ]

I skimmed the one on Cordelia as "The Angel In Angel's House". While I do agree with some of their points, I think it slights Cordy's character in some ways. Her being a supporting character is unavoidable; the name of the show's "Angel", not "Cordelia", after all. However, by being a supporting character, I don't think she necessarily sacrificed the aspects of her personality that made her independent and self-assured. And while self-sacrifice is a stereotypical trait of women, I think here it is one of Cordy's greatest strengths. So yes, while the treatment of female characters in Angel did leave something to be desired at times, I think that some of the author's statements try to invalidate the good that Cordelia (as well as other female characters) accomplished.

On another note, I think it will be awhile before any articles come out on Season 8. Still a lot of development left to do, and it reamains to be seen what impact the comics will have on the story as well as the fans.
Yeah it's way too early to tell where season 8's going IMO, if I were a paper writer i'd probably want 3-4 arcs in the bank before hazarding an analysis (though I guess there's no reason why someone can't take a crack at each arc as it completes).

Re: the Cordelia essay, I didn't really see her being weakened on Angel, more just growing up. Can't help thinking if she hadn't changed we'd be reading essays about how she was forced to conform to the bitchy stereotype of independent women without any chance at development or growth.

in this case, argues Jennifer Crusie, Cordelia’s “lack of depth becomes a strength”

And in 'Earshot' I always saw Cordelia's 'lack of depth' as more just complete honesty and no small amount of 'social courage'. She, quite literally, says what she thinks.

Even in "You're Welcome", Cordelia was the character that never failed to call Angel on his bullshit, whether it was self-deluding or self-pitying, and prod him back on mission whenever he wavered.

And i'm also not convinced about Wesley dying in 'active combat'. Sure he dies in a fight but he can hardly be said to have acquitted himself well except in so far as he dies with honour, on mission. Like everything else he does his saving grace is that he does it for the right reasons and dares to risk failure again and again (no matter how many times that's how things go for him). We see Fred fight her own fight with her own tools when she dies and to me she was engaged in her own version of 'active combat' too (Gunn also goes down exactly the way Gunn would, physically scrapping to the very end) so to me it's more that each character goes out in an appropriate way for them.

Interesting essay but I do feel (as I do with most of these essays) that the author cherry picks evidence a bit to prove their initial thesis. It's a fair point that Cordy probably died because the writers ran out of ideas for her though (I think the same's true of Fred).
I haven't read any of the articles yet (but I will relish doing so when I have some free time), but I agree that Cordelia was a hugely important part of Angel and I think that her character development was largely successful. There were a few misfires along the way but I think by her final appearance in "You're Welcome" it's a celebration of the character and her importance to the show.

No-one could ever have guessed that the spoilt, bitchy Cordelia from "Welcome to the Hellmouth" would have ended up as such a heroic, selfless figure, and I think that one of the most important themes of Joss' work is to show how people can rise to the challenge of becoming heroes. And the brilliant thing is that she hasn't changed so much to become unrecognisable- there is still the blunt honesty and the quick wit that we have always loved.

I think the only time the writers almost lost the way with Cordelia was the latter end of the third season when she was becoming a little too much of a martyr and seeminlgy perfect and she had lost a bit of her edge. However that seemed to be remedied in season four even if it wasn't really Cordelia. I think the whole Jasmine arc upset a lot of people, but personally I would have been okay with it if only it hadn't basically killed the character off. To me the most upsetting thing about "You're Welcome" is that we finally see the return of such a beloved character and see that the writers have regained a strong grip on who she is and her role, only to kill her off. It was a beautiful swansong, but I just really missed her in the fifth season. And we never really got to see how she was affected by what happened to her in season four- Cordelia was forced to betray her friends, murder people, become romantically involved with both Conor and The Beast, and give birth- possibly watching all of this happening but powerless to do anything about it because Jasmine was in control.

I can understand the idea that the writers had run out of ideas for certain characters, and I can definitely see that with Cordelia, Gunn and Fred. But I think sometimes they took a lazier option rather than come up with more original arcs for the characters. Fred, for example, was a brilliant character and well played by Amy Acker, but the writers seemed increasingly determined to define her only by her romantic relationships and love triangles- first with Wesley and Gunn, then with Wesley and Knox. I don't think Cordelia seemed to suffer to quite the same extent but I can see where the writer is coming from.

However I'm sure had the writers decided to put the same focus on those characters as they did on Angel or Wesley, and the energy to come up with new and interesting arcs for them, then they could have done a lot more with them rather than simply killing them off. I think Illyria was a step in the right direction- we now know that Fred would have reappeared if the sixth season had gone ahead, which would have given Mutant Enemy the chance to give the character some real storylines to deal with rather than another romantic triangle.
I thought Cordelia was an especially fine treatment of a character developing radically and positively, while still remaining very recognizably the same person she was when we first saw her. Really essentially the same strengths and weaknesses, not watered down, but evolved..and that's so cool. And she could be sooo funny. Anyhow, just because something's a traditionally feminine attribute doesn't make it a sign of weakness.

Less importantly, the multiple monstrous pregnancies were kind of off-putting.

[ edited by toast on 2007-04-12 02:37 ]
toast:
"Anyhow, just because something's a traditionally feminine attribute doesn't make it a sign of weakness."

And that, my friend, is the number one most ignored aspect of feminism. Thanks for pointing it out.
Great point, toast. And thanks for posting these articles; I always enjoy reading them.

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