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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Because the status is not quo."
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May 03 2007

(SPOILER) SawKat = Spuffy? Entertainment Weekly's latest review of Lost (briefly) compares the romance between Sawyer and Kate to that of Buffy and Spike in Buffy season 6. Contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Lost.

This is the comparison that causes fans to pull their hair out in frustration for some reason. Usually because it spurs a shipper debate which isn't allowed on this site. I won't go far into the discussion, I'll just say that I understand and acknowledge the comparisons and then back out slowly.
I have only recently started watching "Lost" with my family but pretty much ever since I started watching I have been saying that Sawyer reminds me so much of Spike. And last night I told them that the Kate and Sawyer relationship was starting to seem similar to the Spike and Buffy relationship in Season 6. I'm just glad I wasn't the only person who was thinking those things, because I was accused of having too much Buffy on the brain, but ha!!
Aaah, shippers! Or 'When Good TV Show Fans Go Bad!' Next on Fox! ;)

Honestly, this one of the elements of being a fan of any particular television show that has always escaped me. Buffy with Angel or Buffy with Spike? Kate with Jack or Kate with Sawyer? Miss Piggy with Kermit or Miss Piggy with Gonzo? What? You never heard of Ponzo shippers?

Does any of it really matter as long as the stories that the relationships lead to are worth watching? Is it more important to have your favourite two characters together or for the show to be telling an interesting story? I know which option I prefer.
This entirely thread appears to be made of kindling. Walk softly shippers, you are being watched ;)
Heh ... I worried about that when posting it, but a reference to Buffy in EW seemed worthy of a post, shipper-bait or no. :)
Okay, a little bit off topic and admittedly I've not been around Whedonesque for a week or so but when did you go all yellowy, zeitgeist? Is this some unknown side effect of married life that I was previously unaware of? ;)

Congrats on that, by the way! :)
Thanks :) It was last week and :D re: it being a side-effect.
Wow, hand't even thought of that, but now it seems almost eerie. Maybe the people who make Lost have seen some buffy?

Well, duh.
Maybe some of the people who write for Lost have written for Buffy ;) ;) ;)
I don't think I have ever agreed with a Whedonesque post more than I agree with Broken Soul's thoughtful, articulate and entertaining entry written above. I too have never understood a fan placing more importance on the shipping of two characters than on the overall artistic integrity of the show.

Does any of it really matter as long as the stories that the relationships lead to are worth watching? Is it more important to have your favourite two characters together or for the show to be telling an interesting story? I know which option I prefer.


Amen to that. I'm with you, Soulie.

[ edited by bobtaylor on 2007-05-03 23:55 ]
Definitely right there with the sentiment of "the overall artistic integrity of the show" being of primary importance. That being said, I think that the passionate "shipper" debate is, in the case of BtS, a direct result of such excellent writing and characterization that otherwise relatively sane people become so deeply invested in the relationships portrayed, they go a little crazy.
Deep and complex characters, story lines and metaphors speak to something in our subconscious that transcends rational thought. And different people relate to different aspects of characterization and relationship dynamics, in different ways. The one common denominator is that these things speak to us on a gut level, ergo the passionate attachments and debates.
No offense to Lost fans and I love Drew Goddard more than pancakes, but IMO the characters in Lost have so little of the above mentioned depth and complexity that I fail to see how anyone with any real BtS knowledge could compare any relationship on that show to the stuff of epic myth that is Buffy and Spike. And for that matter (to avoid being chastised by anyone yellow :), the Buffy/Angel relationship. The epic scale, the element of myth and metaphor, just aren't there. Imo the only show that has come close, to date, is Battlestar Galactia.
GSR! Okay, that's it for my shipping. :-)

As to Lost, it's lost. I really don't see the parallels between Spuffy and "SawKat." (Ick, what a name). The only link, really, is that they are both bad boys, but Kate ain't nowhere a Buffy.
I don't see the parallels. For one thing, Sawyer hasn't tried to rape Kate, but maybe they're saving that for Lost Season 6.
Some people might see that as anti-Spuffy, Saturn Girl, so be mindful, please.
This is not at all a shipper comment, but, as any good Lost fanboy knows, it is NOT SawKat, ffs. Sawyer + Kate = Skate, and Jack + Kate = Jate. Seriously, dude. That's the correct nicks. I'm just sayin'. ;-)

So, for Nathan fans, what would Kevin and Kate be (besides more drugs in the iced tea for the Captain)? ;-)
I think I just became a Ponzo shipper. Seriously, I'm making shirts.
I'm not a 'shipper, zeitgeist, so no worries about being anti-anyone here.

Although if Buffy had ever had sex with Principal Snyder next to a dumpster, I think I would be anti-Snuffy. Those two I just could not see ever working out.
Saturn Girl, I'm not a mod so no doubt out of line, but you are really pushing it, especially your disingenius "I'm not a shipper" post, after having been warned once.
My reply to your first post would be that Sawyer has shown no inclination toward being hero enough to sacrifice his life saving the world, for love of Kate.
And I'll take my lumps for crossing a line as well, if need be, but both of your posts were totally over the top.
I'm not "disingenius," Shey - I don't engage in 'shipper debates. I just find the comparison between the Buffy characters and the Lost characters pretty darn silly, so said something equally ridiculous.
Oh brother. I don't watch Lost but you can't tell me you weren't trying to irk the Spike fans Saturn Girl.

Good job. Consider me irked.
Saturn Girl ... bullshit. Fully expecting to have my post deleted but I hate having my intelligence insulted so much that it will be well worth it. You actually think anyone would believe that two posts, one mentioning the AR scene and the other "sex next to a dumpster" would be interpreted as anything other than very thinly and yes, disingeniusly" veiled anti-Spuffy statements? End of my comments, deleted or not.
Spike DID try to rape Buffy. Spike and Buffy DID have sex next to a dumpster. So how does merely referencing those events -- in the context of some silly post, no less -- come across as anti-anything? I'm confused ...
Here we go ....
I show up yesterday and run into thinly veiled threats aimed at Joss and today I get Spike bashing. I need to take a break.
Sorry, zeitgeist!! Sometimes I forget how passionate people get when it comes to this show. I'll stay away from the thread and stick to talking about the awesomeness of Runaways.
Because, Bobtaylor, the Spike/Buffy relationship was a complex and moving relationship with many, many aspects to it, which may or may not be similar to Sawyer/Kate, I don't know, not a Lost watcher.
To reduce the entire character of Spike to one moment, and the Spuffy relationship to one incident, is MEANT to aggravate and diminish Spike fans, and fans of the Spike/Buffy relationship.
I'm loving Lost this year, it's the best TV I've seen since Buffy went off the air. Imo, this season is as good as the first one. Could it be a coinkydink that ME writers are involved in these seasons but not with the second season?

I don't ship anyone on Lost, though I do enjoy the Sawyer/Kate dynamic (I didn't know they were called Skate; I think of them as Sate). I've only shipped one fictional couple in my life and that's Spuffy. And I will never get emotionally involved again in a TV romance because falling in love with the Buffy/Spike story *did* interefere with my ability to appreciate the series as a whole. It's much better to retain some distance from a show, not to get to attached to any character or arc, That way you can enjoy the ride without experiencing deep disappointment. I prefer turning off the TV after watching an epi feeling excited and intrigued, to enjoy discussing the show without an emotional stake in any outcome. At this point in time I'm so glad I did experience the insanity of shipping, I still love Spuffy with all my heart. But, I don't ever want to do it again!
See what happens when I walk away for a while? That's why I warned of it. People are uber sensitive about this stuff and cleaning up the inevitable mess gets a bit tiresome. I'm not a shipper either, but that comment is very easy to see as inflammatory. In other news, Runaways is AWESOME :) Let's keep a lid on the shipping.
Amen zeigeist, for both shipping sensitivity and awesomeness.
SawKat???

I thought the nick was Skate (as its referred to on maaany forums).

Anywho, I for one refuse to get involved in these ugly shipper battles.
Wow, I'm thinking this particular discussion has died down and will soon be off the front page, but I just wanted to throw out there that I did not realize that small comparison between Kate and Sawyer and Spike and Buffy would spark a "shipper" debate.

I thought it was neat that someone else had noticed what I had been seeing too. I have been saying that Sawyer is the Spike of "Lost", just certain traits that I see in Sawyer are reminiscent of Spike for me, and then on the latest episode there was a scene with Sawyer and Kate that solidified in my mind that Sawyer was a bit like Spike and that moment between the two reminded me of Spike and Buffy in Season 6.

I was certainly not trying to be a part of a shipper debate, just pleased to see I was not crazy for thinking I saw those similarites.

Furthermore, while I am 100% all for people expressing their opinions, I certainly do not appreciate my "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" knowledge being called into question or "not real" simply because I happened to see some similarities in characters from another television show.

I was not comparing the epic nature of the Spike and Buffy reationship to the relationship between Sawyer and Kate, I do not know the "Lost" characters well enough to begin to do things like that, but I do know Buffy. I have Buffy knowledge and Buffy love coming out of my pores, I won't go into the extent to which I love the show, but suffice it to say my love is deep and my knowledge extensive.

Simply put, I saw aspects of the two "Lost" characters and their relationship that were for me reminiscent of Spike and the Spike and Buffy relationship and was excited because it connected me to the "Lost" story a little bit more.

I also don't appreciate the comparison about the two different relationships or my agreeing with said comparison being deemed "silly". I thought we were supposed to be respectful of all opinions and thoughts and to me, "silly" just seemed harsh.

I'm sorry if I have annoyed or upset anyone, I just really took exception to those few things and had to make my feelings known. Now, I'm off to read Issues #1, 2, and 3 of Season 8 for the 12th, 15th, and 6th times respectively.

[ edited by Entropy on 2007-05-04 11:23 ]
Where would it be appropriate to discuss,not ships, but the idea of ships? I find it immensely interesting to see how shipper wars begin and progress. Here, I was one who (and I hope courteously) noted that I did not see a parallel between skate and spuffy save for the fact that in both cases you have a troubled man; however, Kate has none of the heroic qualities of Buffy, so that it where the parallel falls apart. But then, I also don't much like Lost, so am not invested in it. On the other hand, ships in part drive our viewing pelasure. Right now, on CSI, there is a true and growing worry about the potential death of Sara Sidle in the episode in 2 weeks- you can't believe what people are saying on ytdaw, nor about what the GSR shippers are saying about the reappearance next week of Lady Heather. Tome, this indicates a level of identification with the ship relation that has something to do with the very core of the person who identifies with the ship. I say this knowing that I have two ships I love- Willow and Tara (Tillow) and Grissom and Sara (GSR). And I know that Buffy was never the same for me after Tara died, and I worry about whether or not I will continue to enjoy CSI without Sara should Jorja Fox not re-sign for next year and they kill her off. But is anyone aware of any academic treatises on shipping beyond the one I have read on slayage?
Dana5140 ..... see my post way up at the top, it's about the 12th one down. (I'd bring it down if i could figure out the quote function). I think I touched on what you're talking about when you say "this indicates a level of identification with the ship that has something to do with the very core of the person who identifies with the ship". That's very similar to the point I was making about how these relationships reach us on a gut level.

Have you read Rhonda Wilcox' "Why Buffy Matters: The Art Of Buffy the Vampire Slayer"? There were some excerpts online (Slayage Online) but the entire book is priceless. And it has separate chapters that delve deeply into Buffy's relationships with both Angel and Spike. I also seem to remember a number of references to Willow/Tara, although not in a chapter of their own.
Arrrrrg .... edited for double posting. All apologies.

[ edited by Shey on 2007-05-04 13:20 ]
WAY too many sites have self imploded due to rabid shipping debates. I beg of you- please don't let THIS one go the same way.

I'm not even going to begin to compare any parts of 'Lost' to 'Buffy'. To me, the two shows are apples and oranges- different genres, ensembles, plots, limitations and network expectations.

I'd hate to cheapen either show by grasping for similarities.
Where would it be appropriate to discuss,not ships, but the idea of ships?


The idea of ships could certainly be discussed on flickr -I was going to say whedonesque.org, though we don't really have a free-for-all/ot forum at the moment. If there is enough want of one, I can make it so, but if it can't stay civil it will go the way of the dodo.
I think it would be great to be able to discuss the concept of shipping, as opposed to particular ships. The problem is, the discussion always seems to get value-laden immediately, and I think it may be inherently so. Everyone feels judged, no matter how neutrally remarks are phrased. It's a shame, cause it's so interesting, but maybe it's just a topic better suited to an essay or article, where the writer can get a whole theory out without interruption, which theory can then be responded to with a similar treatment. Academics do have something to offer with the journal format. Helps keep them from, you know, hitting each other and stuff.
shey: I do have Rhonda's book, which I thouroughly enjoyed. And there are some papers on Slayage specific to Buffy. And I did appreciate the nature of your comments.

I think the idea of shipping gives insight into the shipper,for sure. I've seen threads where people ship virtually everyone in Buffy, from Cheese Man/Buffy to Snyder/Snake mayor, but I tend to look for the more meaningful ships. In Buffy, this might include Spuffy, Bangel, Fuffy, Tillow, Ozwillow, Xanya, Xandelia, Fander, etc.

I mentioned CSI. I was just over at ytdaw again (yourtaxdollarsatwork.com), and with Lady Heather set to appear next week, all hell is breaking loose. Here is a sample comment: "I literally felt nauseous watching the promo. I hope we get a good GSR scene in this one to make up for Lady what's her face showing up AGAIN! God I can't stand that woman. Seriously, I think she's ruined tea drinking for me forever." And this is one of the nice ones. This tells me a lot about the person making the statmeent, but it also helps to understand, for example, the outcry over the loss of Tara, which is my own area of interest- people get invested in ways we cannot imagine, and they react in ways we cannot predict.

I wonder, outside of Buffy, what the current big ships are- Lost has skate and jate, and I am sure that Grey's Anatomy has something, and CSI has GSR as well as YoBling, snickers, grillows and so on, but what else is there?
Grey's Anatomy simply has one letter for each character crammed together into alphabet soup. The ship for that show these days may as well be written as abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzn or more simply: [a-z]n(inclusive).
What strikes me as odd about the phenomenon of shipping is that it seems completely antithetical to the creation of riveting drama. You may be someone who loved seeing Buffy and Angel being together, but the interesting thing to do storywise there was to tear them apart. And that pretty much goes for any two characters from any show. Once a fictional couple finds happiness and peace together, their story is going to grow stale fast.

Let's look at CSI for a minute. Do people who live and breathe Grissom and Sara really not understand the dramatic value of bringing in Lady Heather from time to time? Apparently, they don't. And CSI is only a procedural, for crying out loud! People sure take their TV couples awful seriously, and the entire concept of shipping -- why people do it, how it starts, why shippers are so touchy about it -- is beginning to fascinate me.
Food for thought, bobtaylor, but happiness does not equal boring. Look at the Eric and Tami Taylor on (the incredibly under-rated) Friday Night Lights. Happy? Yes. Boring? NO! While bringing others into the mix can be the interesting thing to do dramatically, it can also be the lazy thing to do. Its a crutch, IMO.
Hmm ... you may be right, zeitgeist, about bringing others into the mix being the easy thing to do. But I insist enduring, uninterrupted happiness for characters WILL grow old. (Give Friday Night Lights time. It's only been on one season. Actually ... better ask NBC to give Friday Night Lights time.)
You can interrupt the happiness without using other characters to do so. Not all drama revolves around people cheating on one another or the possibility of it (I mean, don't ask Shonda Rimes about that, cause she'd obviously disagree).
And of course endless unhappiness can get boring, too. (Look at Clark & Lana!)

I like Dana's idea of discussing the phenomenon of shipping vs. particular ships. Now I'm wondering where it started.
bobtaylor, you ask: "Let's look at CSI for a minute. Do people who live and breathe Grissom and Sara really not understand the dramatic value of bringing in Lady Heather from time to time? Apparently, they don't." Oh lord, they really don't. I mean, they REALLY don't. Pop over to ytdaw and click on "On teh Board" and then on "7x23 The Good The Bad and the Dominatrix, and read the comments.

But bt, you are creating a trap. You are assuming that the only interesting thing you can do to a happy couple is split them apart. That's tremendously limiting and boilerplate writing. It has taken, for example, 7 years to get to the relation between Grissom and Sara. 7 years. Not 7 episodes, like Willow and Tara. So for those people who invested early on, the danger from Lady Heather is fairly high. Now, I am not defending them; some of the comments are pretty out there. But still. Having created that relation over such a long period, having drawn people in for years now, I am not sure that breaking that relation is wise, good writing or anything else.You need to allow people to savor this. And further, on CSI, which as you note is a procedural, the relations are a small part of the show. We usually get 1-2 minuts of GSR per episode and not always (www.grissomsararomance has all the necessary clips for nayone wanting to get up to speed). But anyway, this is sort of your bias on how good show writing proceeds. I don't agree- did not, for sure, with the decision to kill Tara, for example. But I admit to be invested in these two ships. Ships are a part of good drama, not antithetical to them. No ships, no investment. But my long-time argument has always been that we like shows for the reasons we like them, and it is wonderful that there are so many reasons why we do.
I must admit here that having to spear your boyfriend with a big, pointy sword to save humanity is a much more entertaining way to doom a relationship than cheating on him with some cute new doctor.

Still, it seems as if some shippers will go nuclear if their fave couple experiences ANY prolonged difficulties ... not just of the third-party variety. In this very thread, people got angry just because a dark moment from a particular fictional couple's past was referenced without counterbalancing that reference with a quick note about happier times to follow. Shippers get quite protective.

By the way, I personally wouldn't ask Shonda Rhimes for ANY tips on assembling a coherent, realistic, resonating dramatic storyline. Ain't gonna happen.
It has taken, for example, 7 years to get to the relation between Grissom and Sara ... Having created that relation over such a long period, having drawn people in for years now, I am not sure that breaking that relation is wise, good writing or anything else.You need to allow people to savor this.


That's an excellent point. Sadly, it sounds like contract negotiations are going to doom that relationship. Interesting story on that here.

Again, what I'm MOST in favor of is writers being given the chance to take their characters wherever they want to go with them.
I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if someone else - aside from Mal in the platonic sense - had been brought into or disrupted the ZoŽ and Wash relationship. I fail miserably - plus the idea just pisses me off, so maybe I have more in common with shippers than I knew...

Their relationship - though clearly not without conflict, as how could it be - was relatively happy and yet not boring, in my opinion, so I don't think there is something inherently ho-hum about a working fictional relationship. I think it may have more to do with story arcs and resolutions we witness in the course of the action - ZoŽ and Wash were together when we met them, and their union did not write paid to some suspenseful storyline. There is just something anti-climactic about having any storyline resolved, regardless of its nature.

I find most TV writers and viewers in general guilty of limited imaginations in terms of what can constitute a validly interesting story arc - it ain't just the outcomes of romance and relationships that keep me riveted. I am just as involved - maybe moreso - in a storyline about whether someone will allow themselves to be corrupted, or whether a character will find a new power or aspect of themselves in the course of the story. I think that's why I find the whole shipping phenomenon itself a little boring - I don't see most viewers getting all het up about the million other fascinating character aspects - just the romantic relationships.

It's just one part of the story - if at all - and the shipping focus seems to be a little reductive and depleted... just as most of us are so much more personally or individually than solely our romantic relationships...
I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if someone else - aside from Mal in the platonic sense - had been brought into or disrupted the ZoŽ and Wash relationship.


Umm ... you do know that Wash got dead, right?

:)

:: runs and hides ::

Seriously, I agree with most of your post, QuoterGal.
bobtaylor: "Umm ... you do know that Wash got dead, right?"


No. No, I didn't. That was just... cruel. :>

Um, I think you're supposed to first say, "Wash is on the roof..."
Fantastic post, QG! Lots of food for thought contained therein. Not just saying that because I happen to /agree :)
bobtaylor- take it from one who knows, there is nothing true in that tvsquad report. But it sure has gotten legs. Jorja has not yet signed on for S8, so they are still in discussion. But nothing in the report even makes sense. If they wanted to kill her, they would; if she refused to show up for work, they could fire her, but they have not. If at the end of 7x24 in 2 weeks Sara Sidle still lives, she'll be back next year. End of story. And as to teh comment that she is not liked, where did they get that. The GSR is the only relation ever allowed to exist on the series. No one else has a meaningful relation; Nick has hit on two prostitutes; Warrick has a rotten marriage with a wife we never see; Catherine sleeps around way too much; Greg has no one ever; Sophia had a thing for Grissom but he ended it fast (And why she is called Spork I do not know), SuperDave is married, and Doc Robbins has a great marraige but again he's a bit player. Oh, and Brass is never seen with any woman. :-)

ANyway, I did LOL at the BT, QG exchange about Wash...

And QG is both right and wrong, I think, in her analysis. For many people the relation is what draws them , and the relation is tied up with the other issues QG mentions. I'll say more but wife just got home...
zeitgeist, your comments about the hysterically incestous Grey's Anatomy goings on gave me a good chuckle, although I do love the show, in a very guilty pleasure sort of way.

Dana5140, I agree with your comments about both agreeing and disagreeing with Quoter Gal. (Yeah, that's what I said ... I think). The shipping phenomena in general seems to me to be an extension of the viewer's connection to *all* the relationships on a given show, not just the romantic ones. It's just that the romantic relationships seem to be the most compelling, to most everyone.
And I think that how deeply one becomes invested in a given relationship is first off, in direct proportion to how well the characters are written and acted, and how compelling the storyline. From there on, you get into personal taste, personal identification, personal experience and personal demons (no Jossverse pun intended).
For instance, using my Grey's anatomy example. I love this show and I do have preferences about who I would like to see end up with whom .... that is, when I can keep up with who is or isn't or hasn't already been with whom, at any given time :) But I'm not really that emotionally invested in any particular relationship, I'm just munching popcorn & watching the circus.

But on a show as deep and complex and soaked to the bone with larger than life metaphor and shades of epic myths that resonate with our very molecules, such as BtS, people are bound to get passionate and attached. I don't think there was a single major relationship ever on BtS that didn't touch me deeply, on some level.
This is the only show that has *ever* made an active participant of me. As in yelling at the TV "nooo, pleasePleasePLEASE don't go there" or jumping up off the couch and yelling "Yes!! ... about damned time".
As well as coming home to indignant phone messages from my cousin in California such as (no preface, she knew I'd know what she meant) "Did you see that? They cant do that! *What* are they thinking??" Or just breaking down and sobbing, at the end of Tabula Rasa (I think that's acceptable as a specific reference, I haven't heard of anyone getting upset over Tara/Willow references.)
I don't know if shippers for couples on other shows get as passionate and testy as the BtS crowd, I've never before been obsessive about a TV show. Although I'm getting there with Battlestar Galactia. I'm glad I was living alone when I (belatedly) discovered and devoured BtS. Because there have been *many* moments that have just ripped my heart out, or made me cry with joy. No TV show has ever before effected me like that, and I suspect that no other ever will. So that is the draw for me, I'm a stimulus junkie. I want larger than life, emotional thrills and spills, & I'm a little addicted to angst. Not the shallow *soap* variety, the epic tragedy variety. I'd rather have my heart ripped out by Joss than be mildly entertained by something I forget about in an hour or a day.
The Jossverse forums are the only ones I've ever participated in, I'm a total snob :) And it took me forever to find a forum where civility was a requirement and bashing not allowed. And another one where the solution to the shipper wars is to have separate sections for discussing separate ships, in context of the story, no crossover "hit and run" bashing allowed. Which is the closest thing I've found to being able to have a civil shipperly discussion. Which is unfortunate. But I simply wouldn't participate in the free-for-all bashing/flaming that I found on most boards. So .... happy now, here at whedonesque :)
I think that it is a mis-use of the word "wrong" to say that my "analysis" is wrong -when I simply gave as my opinion what I find most compellling about fiction, and what I perceive of as depleted or limited in an emphasis on romantic relationships in TV fiction. I cannot be wrong in that. You may differ in what attracts you, but it is not a question of right or wrong.

Anopther part of the "wrong" I object to from Shey and Dana5140 is unproveable (and therefore cannot be right or wrong at this time) - it is impossible to assess how much the solely romantic relationships attract, compell and keep viewers in general, and to what extent romantic relationships can be said to symbolize all other riveting aspects of and relationships in the stories.

I think all you can safely say is that they are compelling for you and a host of other folks - including shippers, and it is clear that it is these relationships that folks are vocally passionate about. We can't possibly have numbers on what is or is not more compelling in general, nor can there really be any hard "analysis" of what aspects or relationships are "essential" to the stories.

zeitgeist and I (and I suspect others) are living proof that there are other relationships (and other) factors that grip as much or more for us. And there is simply no arguing the fact that I find the emphasis on romantic relationships that shipping represents somewhat "boring" - this is non-controversial and unarguable. I simply do.

Just to be clear...
QG- "Wrong" is not an absolute, nor does it mean that you have no right to your opinions. I would think that by now we all know that we are all offering opinions on matters that have no definitive answes, so when I say "wrong" all I am saying is that I do not agree. It's a shorthand.

As to ships, they exist in a mileau (sp?). That is, there is first a show, with characters, and then there are relations in that show. So of course what draws us to be passionate about the relations is the show the relations exist in- which is where I agree with you, QG, that there is more the show than the ship. As to romance, with regard to CSI and GSR, for example, there was no romance. Not until the final ep of last season, S6. There was a dance that had been going on, with tentative overtures that were taken wrong and mis-steps along the way, but not until the end of last season was there even a romance to consider. But there was a backstory, and a series of eps that revealed information about those characters, and it was the larger story that drive the romance. As it was for Willow and Tara, who do not exist outside the Buffyverse- their relationship occurred in that environment and as part of the overall storyline. Anyway, this is why I agree and disagree with your thoughts in your post just above your last one.

What I find distressing is that in other locales, the shipper wars continue unabated. I spend time at ytdaw because it has (had) a good spoiler section (they got in trouble two weeks ago and yanked a ton of threads where they had posted dialogue from upcoming eps), and I prefer to know in advance when bad things happen. But the level of anger, rancor and hatred spilling out over the reappearance of Lady Heather has driven me away from there, where saying you like the character gets you called names and a reasoned dicussion cannot happen. So it pains me here to be seen doing same when I am not.
Dana5140, as always, I appreciate your candour and your willingness to discuss calmly and openly, and all that - but again, despite your caution and care in discussion, I do not find "wrong" an acceptable shorthand for "we have differing opinions." "Disagree" says it much better, in my opinion, without implying judgment.
Quoter Gal .... just to clarify, I didn't use the word "wrong", I said that I agreed with Dana5140's remarks about 'both agreeing and disagreeing' with your previous post. (OK ..... confused now?:) At any rate I was generalizing and I agree that the word "wrong" has no place in this kind of discussion. I share the opinion that the word "disagree" says it much better. As in, it's far less likely to be taken as confrontational or diminishing of the other person's opinion than "wrong".
And no offense meant to Dana5140 either, simply IMO.
Wow, I am diplomatic! I am a diplomatithon!!
I hear you, Shey, and I see where you were coming from. I scan your jive, and I dig your P.O.V. I'm grooving on your vibe.

(Okay, have I used enough hippie-speak cliches? I have loads more...)

What I meantersay is, yeah, I get you, you weren't agreeing with the "wrong" terminology, and thanks for sayin'.)
Groovy, freeks! Oh, back in the day!

Hey, I just found something that bears on our discussion. I got the Firefly II book today and in it Joss specifically says he set out to write Zoe and Wash as a happily married couple, and fended off efforts by the suits to have them not be married so that Zoe could do the dirty with Mal. So going way back to bob's comments about how happy relations are not good writing (sort of), that would suggest at least here Joss does not agree. They remained happily married the entire series until Wash's death, and Zoe speciically took her man when she had the choice. Just sayin."
I guarantee that if Firefly would have lasted three seasons, SOMETHING would have been introduced to shake up and cast doubt upon Wash and Zoe's marriage at some point.
Easy to say, Bob, harder to prove. Though in truth I tend to agree with you, but for reasons likely different than yours. I think they'd have messed with the relation not because it represents great writing, but because that is simply what they do, because they think it is great writing, when all it is is boilerplate and a tactic Joss employs regularly. But that's a long story there... :-)
Going out on a great big limb here to say that messing with relationships is *not* boilerplate, but both an accurate representation of the reality of most relationships *and* great writing. Because great writing needs conflict, and when you're writing about relationships, what could be more boring than cozy domestic bliss? Or more unrealistic.
Think I'm just being cynical? Well over fifty percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, and anyone with reasonably acute powers of observation can see that half of the couples who stay together, do so for all the wrong reasons.
There is a reason that "doomed, tragic love" is the norm in literature from Greek myth to Shakespeare to Jane Austin, to Joss and Company. It's just more interesting and dramatic and evocative of deep, intense emotion. All things that do indeed add up to great writing.
So my being diplomatic didn't last for long, but I'm not even qualifying this with an "IMO". The examples speak for themselves, and accusing Joss and company of boilerplate tactic's as a substitute for the great writing that is in fact the *signature* of all Joss's projects, is just indefensible.
No, it's plenty defensible, it's just that you don't agree with me. I've made this argument before, it's not popular here for obvious reasons, but Joss is not perfect and he does have strategies he uses over and over, such as, for example, death. Let's be clear on a few points,so we remove the emotion from this discussion- I love Joss. He's given me more viewing pleasure than anyone in my history, I am addicted to Buffy and I study it religiously. But I do not view him as the be-all-and-end-all of perfect writing, and I do not follow him blindly wherever he may lead me. I do consider how he does what he does, and I am certain than death is one of the tools he uses on a regular basis to make certain points, most of which we are all familiar with- for example, that no one is safe. And I am also not saying that marriage is perfect and that there would not have been stress between Wash and Zoe; in fact, we saw stress between them. But that is a so-what kind of thing; all marriages have periods of ups and downs, so nothing new there. Of course it is all in the writing- if there were strains between Zoe and Wash, the good writing part of this would be in two question: what caused the strain, and what are the implications of the strain? But to have the strain just to have that strain because marriages have strains, that's boilerplate. To have a death because you want people to feel unsafe long after you've made this point, regularly and repeatedly, that's, to me, boilerplate. To have a death for some reason other than that, that could be new and creative. It is all in how it is done. In fact, it might actually be creative to allow a happy couple to remain a happy couple. Y'know,move away from TV writing 101 that says that if you have a good relation, you need to screw it up to create dramatic tension. Sometimes you don't.

But I acknowledge I am a voice in the wilderness on this issue. It's not a popular position to take, but respectfully, don't tell me it's not defensible. Disagree with me, sure.
I love Lost but I don't think Sawyer is all that similar to Spike and Kate is certainly not anything like Buffy.
I think it's natural to want to see couples get together and make it work out, lets face it, most of us do have a significant other and while it may not define who we are as a person, to have that relationship, life would be a pretty lonely place without it. Love makes the world go round and that does include romantic love.

It's also worth mentioning that fans go to a certain place because the writers take them there. Sometimes the relationship dynamic of a series IS the focus. Imagine a series with no relationships. That would be as boring as watching paint dry.
It would be like an hour everyweek of Castaway. How much of that could you take and for how long?
A great creator, like Joss, finds a balance. The relationships are vitally important, the journey is vitally important and so on. IMO, trying to ignore the importance of relationships strips away a portion of the series that was pretty damn important. The most important? I can't say. Joss's story was so tight, for so long that all the dynamics were tied together so strongly that I don't believe they were meant to be seperated.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, take away Giles and his love for Buffy and insert Quinton, remove Willow and Xander or even Joyce, forget Angel and Spike...what do you have? Wishverse Buffy who died in the span of one episode. Think that might have been a message about what happens when you DON'T have important relationships in your life? Food for thought.
OK, Dana5140, here is where you & I disagree.
You say: "To have a death because you want people to feel unsafe, long after you've made this point, regularly and repeatedly, that's to me, boilerplate."
The thing is, I don't see that *anywhere* in BtS, or Ats (leaving Firefly out of it because it didn't last long enough). What I see is that every death in these shows served the story, was a natural progression of the story arc. Never once did a death seem to me gratuitus (sp) or out of sync with the storyline. These are not ordinary people with *normal* lives, they faced the possibility of death every day. To have *not* had a number of deaths would have been unrealistic. Or to make certain that only marginally *major* characters died, as most shows do .... well *that* would be "boilerplate".

Same with the troubled relationship dynamics. These were highschoolers at the beginning of BtS and twenty-somethings at the end of AtS (except for the vampires and Anya, of course). How unrealistic would it have been for *any* of their relationships to have been smooth or permanent? Especially in Buffy's case, with her special destiny, her superpowers & her penchant for getting involved with vampires.
Which also brings up the point that this is fantasy, everything is larger than life and therefore twice as angsty. Anything else would be both boring and not believable, because the jossverse is the stuff of epic myth. And epic myth implies tragedy, it's simply part of the historical tradition of larger-than-life epic mythology/fantasy. Therefore I do find it indefensible to accuse Joss and company of "boilerplate" writing. Saying that *you*, personally, didn't like the direction taken with some of the characters, or that it didn't ring true for *you*, or just an "IMO" would have been one thing. But when I say that I find the "boilerplate" remark to be indefensible, I'm speaking in an academic sense. As in, I don't believe it's a defensible position, from the prospective of the historical tradition of writing epic myth and fantasy.

Neither do I "follow (Joss) blindly wherever he may lead me." I just happen to think that he is one of the most talented screen writers in the history of the medium, and that his unique voice, while not "perfect", is something you encounter very rarely. So if you want me to use words less inflamatory than "indefensible", try using words less inflamatory that "boilerplate".

BTW, in my earlier post, talking about the literary tradition of "doomed, tragic love", I was confusing Jane Austin with Edith Wharton (Age of Innocence). Or I think I have it right this time.
BUt even in Firefly Joss made the same comment; that at the end, when everyone was fighting off reavers, noone was safe. And anyone who actually follows Joss knows that in such scenes, that is not where you will see the death. As, say, Wash. I'm not going to get hung up on words any more, because people always read them different than I mean them, finding me inflammatory when I am not (believe me, if I wanted to be inflammatory I could do that very well, but that is not and is never my goal- my goal is to explore positions here that tend to be on the margins, which is about where I spend most of my life). So you argue that these deaths serve an end, to which I say, when did I say they did not? And even if that end fits into the epic myth, it's still the same tactic. I expect it. When we first heard that Serenity was going to get made, I asked if anyone would take any bets with me that at least one of the main characters would die. I had no takers. In fact, I predicted two deaths, and felt that Book and Wash were most likely. And look what happened. I'm not prescient; I just recognize the modus operandi. And if I ask anyone about potential deaths in Goners, ya think I'll get a taker? I know nothing about Goners at all, but I'll tell you now that someone important to the story, who seems kind and lovable, will end up dead. And if we ever see Joss' writing script for Wonder Woman, I'll bet the same. No question Joss is a great TV writer,no argument from me there. But hey, I really am an academic (27 years now- and congratulate me for just earning my master's in medical education, to go with my clinical doctorate), and part of the fun we have is in arguing all sorts of issues, defensibly- that's a risible word (okay, I said I wasn't going to go there...) but all it means to me is that you cannot defend what you are claiming. I can. You are free to disagree, or, how do they say it these days, ymmv? :-)

I do agree with your comments on the nature of young adult relations. They are mutable and subject to change. But in the case of real, adult, relations, those can be a bit more complex. Which is why I think Wash and Zoe would not have suffered like too many others have. Not operatic suffering, a la Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike or Willow/Tara. We saw some relation shenanigans in Angel, but as a more adult-oriented show, the relations were far less operatic. And in Firefly, the real relations of interest for opera were Mal/Inara and SImon/Kaylee, with Malara by far the main focus of angst. Now that relation, I would like to have seen how it would have developed.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2007-05-08 13:12 ]

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