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March 06 2008

(SPOILER) Media coverage of Buffy #12 continues. ABCNews.com speaks to Joss and comic book experts about that aspect of the story. And MTV.com has a word with the writer himself Mr. Drew Goddard.

"...industry insiders still aren't convinced that the latest plot twist isn't anything more than a marketing ploy."

And there it is, really.

In 254 episodes and 16 issues of canon Buffyverse, I've never heard this question even seriously *raised*, not even about Willow. Willow was hailed as ground-breaking, Joss challenging the mainstream to accept her character. The first kiss with Tara, the least ostentatious "first" in TV history.

Buffy/Satsu hit wide enough of the mark that, for the first time, people are looking at Joss' work and asking if he just did something for the kitsch value, as if he was producing Temptation Island 3 and not Season 8 of Buffy.

I've said on the other threads, the major problems of this tryst for me are Buffy's clear abuse of her position and of Satsu's feelings, with the sexuality being an incidental thing. But that's from a fan who looks at the story in the context of the story. Clearly, while I wasn't looking, this story shook off a chunk of its credibility with the audience like a dog shakes off water, and that makes me sad -- I've been pushing hard everywhere I post to basically force Buffy fans to cope with the canon reality of the story.
As someone who started writing a Buffy/Satsu fic as soon as reading issue 11, I think that shows where I fall.

But I'm just gonna say this: aren't stunts supposed to get people to read, watch, buy more of something when it's failing to make a profit? The comics clearly haven't had that problem.

Seems to me this is something that could hurt sales, not increase them. And Joss had to know that he was taking that risk. So why would he? For the *story*. Like it or not.

ETA: In response to the other thread about if Buffy was going to experiment, why didn't she do so in college--she did. With socially acceptable, safe..."normal." And Riley didn't work out so well either.

It makes sense to me that after her failed relationships with her men, Buffy would open to other possibilities. I think, if you want to label her, she's bisexual. Not Willow's "Gay Now."

And on a personal level, I haven't read the issue yet, but she's been nothing but open and honest with Satsu. I don't know from abuse of feelings or power, honesty and communication is a healthy thing.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2008-03-06 14:54 ]
I'm not a forensic accountant or anything, but I don't think this will hurt or really impact Dark Horse's sales in a meaningful way. But, I would be willing to bet that an analyst would come up with the conclusion that it has devalued the Buffyverse franchise as a whole -- it's commercial viability on TV or in film, for instance.

I've seen more fanart with Buffy ski-jumping over a shark in the past day... oy. There should have been no pomp, no interviews with the Times. Had this been done with all the lack of pretense that Willow and Tara kissing had been, it would probably be a "win", or at least a tie. Which is, as they say, just like... kissing your sister (Slayer?).

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-03-06 14:47 ]
I think that this latest storyline is rather funny, especially Xander's reaction followed by Andrew's lack of one.

Sure, it's getting attention, and I imagine that the writers here were thinking about the attention the story would get, but that doesn't make it a bad story.
Sitcom?!

I think I pretty much agree with you on this one, KingofCretins. Even if the point wasn't to titillate, I think that how it was done (and drawn) has given that impression. I noted in the other thread the preponderance of "I'll be in my bunk" reactions which tend to support that theory. When did anyone ever say that about Willow and Tara?

I wasn't a fan yet when S6 was airing. Was that the general reaction when Buffy got together with Spike? It certainly didn't seem very titillate-y in the context of what she was going through at that time.
When did anyone ever say that about Willow and Tara?


Usually during that bedroom scene in OMWF.
"When did anyone ever say that about Willow and Tara?"

Pretty much just in "Restless", where it was A) already a dream, and B) shot so artistically, with this silent study of Xander's face studying them kissing and not them actually kissing.

I think this would have been a complete debacle without the range of reactions by the gang. Especially Xander copping to having had dreams about Renee, Buffy, Satsu, and Willow all at once, and his remark about the alarm. I also thought having the three panels of Xander, Renee, and Andrew was brilliant, especially Andrew cocking his head to stare at them like they were modern art.
I've seen more fanart with Buffy ski-jumping over a shark in the past day... oy.


But our fandom has heard the constant cry "Buffy jumped the shark" pretty much since season 2. So really nothing new here. The show has always had fans criticising it. Whilst the fan wars of season 6 and 7 are still pretty much fresh in our minds, the fandom wasn't exactly a peaceful and tranquil during Buffy's Sunnydale High years.
Heh - I'd forgotten about the OMWF scene. :)

I agree with you again, KingofCretins. Seeing the reaction of the gang definitely accustomed me more to what was going on, and I liked how that was handled. And I /still/ might like where this goes, if it gets touched on more in the rest of the arc and beyond.
Well fantastic, Perez Hilton has even voiced his say on it...
I don't know who that is. And I don't think I care to. (I feel like Temperance Brennan.)
You're better off not caring, pat. But, yeah, Buffy's become a punchline, at least for this news cycle. I wonder if this will be on Drudge and/or make the rounds on the national radio talk or cable news circuits...
Sitcom? Sitcom!? SITCOM!?!!?
Three excellent points, Pat. I went from stunned to okay with this it fascinated by it, to unhappy with it because of the power issues, to now outright disappointed. It really sucks to see people talking about Buffy this way.

It's like this single story found a way to synthesize the worst (valid or invalid) arguments against Buffy/Spike (valid, she's using him, it makes her look selfish and low) and Willow/Tara (invalid, that it's just there to titillate and/or pander) and turn them into one spectacular disaster.

Really, wouldn't it have been better for Buffy to just slowly give into a feeling and kiss Satsu in the infirmary in 8.11? Wouldn't it have felt more emotionally legitimate for her character? Instead of us going cold, smash-cut from Buffy telling Satsu she's flattered but 'no', to Buffy and Satsu curled up in bed together without any explanation to even infer why she changed her mind about it?

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-03-06 15:15 ]
Seems like the tempest has spilled over one tea-cup, which puts us in the saucer I reckon ;).

Instead of us going cold, smash-cut from Buffy telling Satsu she's flattered but 'no', to Buffy and Satsu curled up in bed together ...

That works better as comedy though KingofCretins (even if it's a bit of a cliché - y'know the whole "No way will I ever get in that thing !", CUT TO: them in that thing).

May try and get off work a bit early to see if I can pick it up tonight.
Honestly, KoC? I read "A Beautiful Sunset" again and again, and Jeanty's pictures really said as much as the words. And I read a lot into that last scene in the hospital bed.

Buffy's smile, her, "I'll heal. We'll heal," and her holding Satsu's hand...it had me totally dismissing Buffy's earlier, "flattered but no." And even during the graveyard scene...telling someone you're letting down easy that they smell good? There was interest there.

So to me, it's not a cold, smash-cut. I imagined that there was something there. That they may have even kissed right after the panel in the hospital stopped, I just never imagined Joss would go there.

And now I wanna see more, so that's why I hope interest doesn't waver. I need to read this story.

ETA: And I said "there" a lot back there. Must be my word of the day.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2008-03-06 15:31 ]
I don't let others define how I feel about a subject, especially "journalists" and "industry experts." Blah! They don't get Buffy anyway.

I think Joss and Drew made the right call. Buffy was lonely, and Satsu presented a welcome respite from that loneliness. Buffy has never been anti-homosexual (her best friend is a lesbian), so why not take comfort? At least she could say she's been there, even if there isn't where her preferred and usual sexual choice leads.

How many of us could say the same? How many of us are secure enough in our own sexuality to have a tryst with someone of the same sex and still feel like they were the same person?

[ edited by quantumac on 2008-03-06 15:30 ]
I'm not entirely sure thats secure in your sexuality rather than cruising down a river in Egypt :) Just saying that you aren't completely the same person as you have a new experience to integrate and that may require you to take inventory and see what pieces change and fall into place for you, if any. While you may be the same person, you may not be 100% the same person and I think being secure in yourself, as a person and not just as a sexual being, allows you to take a step back and reassess.
You don't need to be "anti-" anything to simply be heterosexual. You don't need to sleep with someone of the same sex to prove your sexual identity.

But regardless, for me personally, Buffy's sexuality or ambiguity about the same is irrelevant. That's pretty far down the list of problems I have about this (Buffy's position of authority over Satsu, who was afraid Buffy was going to *kick her out*, Buffy knowing she's not in love with her, and just 'experimenting' as Joss said). But it's the sexuality that's made this a spectacle and, apparently, made it comedy in the public square.

I said in many discussions about "A Beautiful Sunset" that Buffy gave Satsu mixed signals, but I still didn't come away from the infirmary scene thinking Buffy had reversed anything she'd said on patrol. "We'll heal" seemed to have a lot to do with the psychological damage both took during Twilight's uber-pwnage of them and with Buffy's pathos about relationships and with Satsu's awkward, unrequited feelings. It's a long walk from "we'll heal" and holding her hand to panting between the sheets, and it's a walk we deserved to see so that this didn't feel like a complete abuse of Satsu's feelings by Buffy.
Some arguments provoke thought and some just stifle it. How many times have you heard a politician or pundit dismiss authors by saying that they wrote something just to sell books/newspapers/magazines/etc.? It's a way of not dealing with what the author wrote. It plays to an easy cynicism.

The emergence of the Satsu subplot is not analogous to the emergence of super-pets. (That was a fun sentence to write.) Joss doesn't need to boost comic book sales because (1) his comic books are selling and (2) he doesn't make much money when they sell. He clearly needs to write comic books because he has stories he needs to tell.

I don't have the time to write the 8th or 9th installment of my ongoing series of essays on the theme of Season 8 being "Love v. Domination," but the Satsu thing fits right in. Buffy's sexual fantasies involve domination and the denial of domination (chaining up Spike and Angel while wearing the nurturing garb of a nurse, silencing dream Xander with a kiss that beheads him, giving orders to multiple Christian Bales), so it makes sense for her to find herself in a sexual something-or-other (relationship? encounter? dalliance? Buffy doesn't know and doesn't want to think about it or deal) with someone who is someone who is happy just to serve her. It's perfect, from a story standpoint, that this someone is a slayer, because one of the important ways that the Love v. Domination theme is playing out is in Buffy's relationship with the Slayer Army. Is she their boss or their empower-er or some imperfect combination of the two?

The Season 8 moral universe (uh-oh, this does sound like an essay) is one in which actions that are intended to do good and in practice do some good (empowering every potential in the world, for example) can have bad consequences (empowering every bad potential in the world, loosening Buffy's morals about robbing banks). Buffy did set out to protect Satsu from Satsu's love for Buffy -- she's not threatening Satsu's place in the Slayer Army, she warned her of the perils of loving Buffy, she's not pretending that Satsu means more to her than she does -- but somehow found Satsu's love at least momentarily compelling. Buffy may be in the process of discovering more about her sexual preferences than whether they can include lesbian sex.

The reason this unexpected twist makes perfect sense is that Buffy has great power over Satsu. The groundwork has been laid for just this sort of thing all season long.

It's a development that raises an uncomfortable and important question about the relationship between sex and power in a way that is true to, and revealing of, character. That's the opposite of a stunt. That's serious art. Funny and sexy, but serious. Which is how I love my Buffy.
[I]ndustry insiders still aren't convinced that the latest plot twist isn't anything more than a marketing ploy.

Marketing ploy? As if writing about a girl/girl plot twist ISN'T, on some level, an attempt to lure more eyeballs to this ABC News web page? And what's wrong with a little publicity for a commercial product? I see nothing cheap or exploitative or sensationalistic here. I think it makes sense for Dark Horse/Joss to publicize this plot twist, but I don't for a minute think Joss would be so crass as to insert the plot twist just to publicize it. Joss has always shown respect for, as he says in this ABC piece, "artistic validity." The Buffy/Satsu scene is perfectly valid within the story -- and beautifully integrated.
Well, as Joss says, "Bring Your Own Subtext," KoC. ;-)
While I agree that Buffy's "using" Satsu (if that turns out to be what is happening) is problematic, that doesn't make it bad storytelling. If the writers don't elide the significance of the sex act (and come on...would they?), then what is the problem with letting Buffy do something that we don't like? We've certainly been there before.

For the record...I like. I am SO ready for casual queer experimentation to be mainstream fodder for lead character storylines. Maybe LOST writers will follow suit and finally acknowledge what the homosocial triangle between Jack, Kate and Sawyer is really about!
KingofCretins has a valid point about the potential for Buffy's sleeping with Satsu creating all sorts of problems in terms of the power relations between them and Buffy's relationships with the other slayers. Question: What about Willow's serious relationship with Kennedy? Same set of problems or different?

As for me, the more interesting aspect of Buffy's decision is the way it dramatizes her deep need to connect to the slayers. We saw that again in the final few panels of 8.11. From Buffy's perspective, why should she always make all the sacrifices? Everyone who loves her ends up in a bad way, so she must sacrifice all loving relationships? She's the leader of the slayer army, but she doesn't get to connect with them the way they do with each other? Plus, as she said earlier, it's been a slooow year (or more). Lots of complications. All good drama.
I said in many discussions about "A Beautiful Sunset" that Buffy gave Satsu mixed signals, but I still didn't come away from the infirmary scene thinking Buffy had reversed anything she'd said on patrol. "We'll heal" seemed to have a lot to do with the psychological damage both took during Twilight's uber-pwnage of them and with Buffy's pathos about relationships and with Satsu's awkward, unrequited feelings. It's a long walk from "we'll heal" and holding her hand to panting between the sheets, and it's a walk we deserved to see so that this didn't feel like a complete abuse of Satsu's feelings by Buffy.

I need to make a macro that just spews the text 'I agree with you again, KingofCretins.' :)

I was just thinking.. man, Willow is going to be mad. The genuinely in love Satsu is thrown a crumb by the dabbling straight girl.
The Season 8 moral universe (uh-oh, this does sound like an essay) is one in which actions that are intended to do good and in practice do some good (empowering every potential in the world, for example) can have bad consequences (empowering every bad potential in the world, loosening Buffy's morals about robbing banks). Buffy did set out to protect Satsu from Satsu's love for Buffy -- she's not threatening Satsu's place in the Slayer Army, she warned her of the perils of loving Buffy, she's not pretending that Satsu means more to her than she does -- but somehow found Satsu's love at least momentarily compelling.

I think this is an interesting take on it, Pointy. I'm going to try to withhold my judgment until I see what happens with it ultimately.

I guess my main issue is that I don't have a problem with it /happening/, just /how/ it happened, if that makes sense. Perhaps throughout the rest of the arc we'll get some of that stuff we missed? Or enough development that we won't actually be surly to've missed it?
I don't think Willow and Kennedy create those problems, for two reasons

-- Willow and Kennedy were both in Sunnydale, so Kennedy is probably the same sort of quasi-celebrity the others appear to be.
-- Kennedy is clearly not part of this Slayer cosa nostra, per Willow and Buffy's conversation in "Anywhere But Here"; I got the impression that, if she's even still in the business, she's running her own game.

That's not a problem in the way that Buffy/Satsu and Xander/Renee are.

And, yeah, I think Willow is going to be mad. I think she's going to be taking one half of the "Kissing Jessica Stein" dilemma in which she is equally pissed that Buffy is just 'dabbling', remembering what Tara was afraid of Willow was doing, and maybe mad at Satsu for playing along with it. I mean, Satsu looked more hurt than anyone by Willow's "nothing makes sense to me tonight" comment.

I mean, the immediate aftermath already goes a good way to showing that there is badness here. Not only does Satsu look and act like she feels like a martian, notice how she stands one step behind and below Buffy on the dais in their command center? Like she doesn't know where she belongs now, up there with "them", off to the side with Leah and Rowena, the other 'elite' Slayers in the place, or what? And the way she's staring, obviously at Buffy, in the panel where Leah and Rowena talk... she looks so much like Season 5 Riley or Season 6 Spike already :(

She was sitting there, naked and humiliated and embarrassed in Buffy's bed when she heard Buffy switch from wanting to keep it a secret "for now" to "it's not what it looks like".
You know, I'd never actually considered that Xander/Renee are in practically the same sort of situation, authority wise.

That, to me, just lends more credence to Pointy's ideas that this is all about love, dominance, and power. The fact that he chooses /this/ issue to ask her out cannot be thematically inconsequential. And, knowing that, actually helps me to take this a little bit better. :)
Because they're both out of line? I guess I could see that. Xander/Renee is still a bit more legit, because there's not the *emotional* inequality between them, and it's all proceeding A) very slowly, and B) very publicly. Renee's crush is well known, and Buffy at least knew of Xander's reciprocation. But I disapprove in either instance.

I would love to see Xander (since this is really his sort of issue) become a little more conflicted over exactly what "their thing" is in that place -- are they army, are they family, are they just still the Scooby gang but with a lot more of them? I thought this would be part of his arc since 8.01, him insisting not to be called Mr. Harris (and Willow likewise in 8.06), and his insisting to Buffy that he's not a Watcher. That gave me the impression that Xander wishes there was a way to keep this dynamic where it used to be when it was just the bunch of them, but is forced to run it like a business (which he knows how), or like an army (which he also sort of knows how).
Yeah, both out of line in different degrees. But the inclusion of the date invite also shows this was planned more thoughtfully than I'd originally given it credit for.

I agree that Xander wants this to have a family kind of vibe. I'm sure he doesn't think he's wrong, but maybe Buffy's actions will convince him that he really /oughtn't/ pursue anything with Renee. If it'd be a threat to slayer discipline, bring up notions of favoritism, all those nasty complications.

[ edited by swanjun on 2008-03-06 16:42 ]
The three best friends and their mentor now each have their own Slayer. Strange how that crept up on us.
Is it just me, or does it really feel like the entire collective media establishment is sitting next to me on a bench like Eric Idle, going "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean? Say no more, say no more!"
Oh dear, Simon. If the next issue has Giles waking up in bed with Faith, I think I'm going to hurl it across the room. :)
The three best friends and their mentor now each have their own Slayer. Strange how that crept up on us.

Huh. That is odd.

Ugh. That ABC News article is horrible.

Is Buffy using Satsu, the way she used Spike when she knew that he loved her and she just wanted to feel something, anything? Could this be another manipulation, or is it something more? How does this compare?

"Less biting?" --Goddard


Heh.
Giles and Faith 4 Evah !

(Fupert ? Gilhane ?)
Giles and Faith 4 Evah !

Only if Season 9 ends like an Austen novel.
Only if Season 9 ends like an Austen novel.
Ha ha. I'm just reading "Emma" for the first time, and some imminent pairings are already entirely obvious. "A young lady, when introduced in Act I for seemingly no apparent reason, is destined for the random visitor who arrives in Act II."

Or so I predict, anyhow.
I didn't mean it as a diss. Austen is good stuff. She was working with different standards of closure and in a social context where a good marriage was *the* accomplishment for a woman and usually an economic necessity. She did novel of manners very well, but it's very different from Whedony drama. By modern standards the pairings do seem rather forced.

I was thinking specifically of Maryanne and the Colonel in Sense and Sensibility, which was kind of always a "huh?" moment at the end. Giles and Faith would be like that.
Oh, I didn't take it as a diss at all. I still love her very much, but that does seem the ultimate achievement in those novels of hers I've read.

I see what you mean about S&S. There was a bit in the text about Maryanne eventually being more fond of him than she'd ever been of Willoughby, but she clearly only esteemed him as a friend to start out with.
The worst outcome to these problems from a storytelling perspective would be if Joss decides they'll just ignore the power disparity/emotional disparity issues and just declare by fiat that no Slayers have a problem with Satsu or Renee sleeping with the bosses, and that Satsu is honestly cool with playing house with Buffy while she figures out if she wants to do more than just occasionally fool around with her.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-03-06 17:29 ]
I dunno, "It was all a dream" would be pretty bad too ;-).
Pointy , the love and power analysis is awesome. I think that's what a lot of this season has been brewing. (I do also wonder if we are going to have some pride/hero material a la Beowulf (the original, not the film)...Buffy has done the impossible and the heroic deeds she will be remembered for, but now is getting older, weary and things are no longer as simple.

(I also wonder if sleeping with Satsu is also metaphorical for trying to hold on to youth and idealism, which does not mean at all that Satsu is just a metaphor--she's Satsu. I also wonder how much Satsu has been set apart from the beginning as special, as like the successor (also, this brings up Buffy's referencing of the "Restless" dream with Satsu, saying that Satsu reminds her of her in a dream she once had--interesting.) This does also have a fascinating dynastic feel to it. Plus, lots and lots of power issues as many have said.)
I don't remember what thread it was in, but I am also intrigued by the Faith/Buffy blurring that this creates, that one reader said that Faith was always assumed to be bi, but Buffy now is. So, there's a lot of complexity going on here, I think.

I also agree that the ABC News article was astonishingly sleazy..."dripping with sweat"? I mean, they looked like they had just had sex, but it really did not have that kind of "Dear Penthouse, I'm a barely legal Slayer in a Scottish castle and I can't believe this happened to me!" quality...instead it was sweet and unfamiliar and raised lots of questions.
Yes, I want to see what happens next. I think this is going to make things very, very interesting.

[ edited by JessicaMelusine on 2008-03-06 17:35 ]
I still think we should get to see some version of Xander's Buffy/Satsu/Renee/Willow/Xander dream in an upcoming issue. I mean, if you've decided you don't care about the accusations of fanboy pandering... then don't care. Bring in J. Scott Campbell to guest pencil it.
(Files?)
Pointy, essay away. Always interesting to read what you have to say, and I like your take on this one, too.
I'm not sure how rigid the power structure is among the slayers, KingofCretins. They're army-like, and have leaders, but they're not an actual army. Normally I'm pretty sensitive to things like teachers sleeping with students on tv and the power imbalance and ethical issues not being even mentioned. But Buffy and Satsu didn't strike me as being so problematic in that respect. I think Satsu has no illusions about what's going on, and I also think Buffy's being fairly honest with her, even though Buffy does seem a bit unsure about what exactly it is she wants with Satsu.
You made me think, Swanjun, that the reason Xander took Renee on the Dracula assignment was to protect her from idolizing him the way that Satsu idolizes Buffy -- to introduce her to his inner, currently under control but never fully gone, butt monkey. To lessen the power advantage and strengthen the intimacy.

This is best for him as well as her. Only if she knows his weaknesses as well as his strengths -- his capacity for idolizing as well as his newfound power to embody eyepatched, Fury-ous, well- drawn idolizability -- can she love him and his monkey.

Quit making me think. Gotta work.
"But I'm just gonna say this: aren't stunts supposed to get people to read, watch, buy more of something when it's failing to make a profit? The comics clearly haven't had that problem."

However many copies they sell there's always the desire to sell more and last I saw the recent issues haven't sold quite as well as the first few did so maybe they're trying to drum up some more media buzz to boost numbers again. I have to say this sounds exactly like a publicity stunt to me and it feels more so because of all the hype that surrounded it before it was released. I mean did the New York Times go and seek out Joss for comment off their own bat or were they sent a nice press release telling them about the 'huge controversy' that was going to break?
I guess its a positive thing to have any article

I really don't think Joss is capable of pulling "a stunt" to increase sales. Its not his style.

Think about the many, many opportunities he's had over his career to create a publicity stunt aimed at increasing viewers or public awareness. So now that he's proudly flying his fan-boy flag, writing comic books, embracing the fans at comic shows, "the industry expert" thinks THIS is the moment Joss sells out and goes for the quick money with this news catching stunt. What a putz.
"...industry insiders still aren't convinced that the latest plot twist isn't anything more than a marketing ploy."

And there it is, really.


I suppose what bugs me the most about this argument is that it suggests we still live in a world where two women can't sleep together in media without it being called a marketing ploy.

I think that's an indictment of our culture rather than an indictment of the comic.
Let's remember to play the ball, not the man, as Simon says. Ergo, "this idea is ludicrous" rather than "this guy is a putz".
They don't have to have a very formalized power structure for this to be an issue. Buffy is in a position where she might have to send Satsu *or* Leah to their near-certain death. Or Renee, if you want to *really* ramp up the fun. How can she possibly do that with any credibility from Leah's side of it, or any other Slayer watching? It's lose-lose -- if Leah gets the assignment, it's because Satsu is being sheltered from danger, if Satsu gets it, it's because she's Buffy's favorite, the one she trusts in a real emergency.

This also operates for Xander/Renee -- he ordered Slayers back into battle against at-the-time unkillable zombies. There were injuries. There may have even been losses. How can he, now, on what had previously been his own authority, send Satsu into that situation, without now having to worry about what Buffy would say? How can he send or not send Renee without sending the message to the others that they are either less competent or more expendable?

Bix, we've seen two women sleep together in the Jossverse without it feeling like a stunt, more than once. People are allowed to make the distinction about when it does and when it doesn't. Willow/Tara didn't. Inara/Counselor felt a *little* gratuitous, since the Counselor's storyline was cut. This feels like "HEY, BUY OUR COMIC! BUFFY HAS SEX WITH A GIRL!" It doesn't really matter if that's Joss shouting it or Dark Horse. That's the message a lot of people are taking from it.

Oddly enough, I predicted that something 'shippy would be the "big deal" and that a lot of people would be disappointed that it wasn't some huge story-arc thing, like Twilight's identity or the betrayal. 'Shippy should be about the least important thing to drive sales in a season that's been so flawlessly built so far.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-03-06 17:48 ]
I suppose what bugs me the most about this argument is that it suggests we still live in a world where two women can't sleep together in media without it being called a marketing ploy.

Yeah.

They don't have to have a very formalized power structure for this to be an issue. Buffy is in a position where she might have to send Satsu *or* Leah to their near-certain death.

Zoe was in the same position-- she's second in command. When Mal's off-ship, she's acting captain. Mal doesn't like that she's married to the pilot for that very reason, and it causes some friction, especially when Wash doesn't like Mal and Zoe's decisions, but there it is.
I suppose what bugs me the most about this argument is that it suggests we still live in a world where two women can't sleep together in media without it being called a marketing ploy.

I think that's an indictment of our culture rather than an indictment of the comic.


True. Nonetheless, the media attention makes the point moot, clearly we do still live in that world.
Not to mention, Buffy dated her actual, real-world context, fires-her-later, boss in S7. True, the date lasted about 5 minutes before it became Slayer-meets-demon fighter, but still. Was this issue raised when that happened? I was surprised the writers did that-- it's the most problematic dating situation in the entire series in respect to authority, in my opinion. She accepted the invitation and no one ever said "Buffy, he's your boss! WRONG!"

Why is Buffy/Satsu different?
That was just her day job though.

(outside of the school, Buffy was his boss)
Sunfire, it *did* cause problems aboard Serenity -- which I think makes my point for me. And that was amongst a relatively small group of grown men and women in the context of a marriage, not just a relationship that could dissolve on a whim.

And, even in "War Stories", "Firefly" never explored Zoe having to put Wash on the line instead of someone else, which is the worst case scenario for these things.

Dating Wood was inappropriate, too. You're not going to find me inconsistent on this. Dating Riley when he was her TA was inappropriate. But all much *more* inappropriate when the command relationship is about life and death.
If the next issue has Giles waking up in bed with Faith, I think I'm going to hurl it across the room.

Well, when it's two people against the world... I don't really see it, but Faith/Giles would have a lot less incest taboo connotations to it. Even though Buffy is ~24 now, Giles has worked with her since she was 15, a virgin, and fatherless--there's no such baggage with Faith, although other past history might make Giles' hypothetical attraction need some serious explanation besides "he was lonely and isolated."

As far as B/S vs. X/R, two things: 1) Xander doesn't have as much relative positional power as Buffy. He's *Buffy's* subordinate in pretty much every way. 2) Renee has a ton more physical power than Xander. He's a semi-trained, semi-buff, semi-blind adult male, and she's a *slayer*. In terms of sheer physical prowess, Renee can break Xander in half at will.

The sexual relationship with the subordinate has been an issue going back to the Hebrew scriptures--farther if you count pairings that involve mythological deities. Really, with Buffy and the Slayers all being female, is there any way to write Buffy into this story with an heterosexual relationship? Nothing comes to mind.

ETA: KingofCretins, Riley/Buffy and (potentially) Wood/Buffy had Buffy in the subordinate part of the relationship. For us to truly explore the moral issues with Our Heroine, she's got to be the one in charge. Otherwise, it's quite hard to differentiate any abuse of power from any other challenge she's faced and overcome. When she's in charge, the issue comes from within.

[ edited by jclemens on 2008-03-06 18:08 ]
Thank you Pointy! This is why I wade through the endless posts here at Whedonesque, because occasionally someone says something that really has insight. Just as Joss said (in commentary) that Buffy's most important relationship in Season 5 was with her sister, I think that in Season 8 her most important relationship is with the new slayers. I don't think that Buffy wants to see herself as the new head of some kind of watchers' council, I think she does want to be among equals (it was always about sharing the power). Some of these girls are going to emerge as smarter and stronger than Buffy, right now she has the experience, but soon they will have all gained that.

And I really agree about the point (by Saje?) that Joss is doing this because he needs to tell stories, not because he wants to sell a few more comics. I am always confident that he has a point, and it is always worth my time.

I do have to add that Jane Austen explains about Marianne (in the book, the movies never go into this depth), that she is not one to love by halves. Naturally she will give herself to Colonial Brandon heart and soul after his steadfast kindness to herself and her family. It is in her nature.
theonetruebix wrote:

I suppose what bugs me the most about this argument is that it suggests we still live in a world where two women can't sleep together in media without it being called a marketing ploy.


However, it's also unfair to intimate we're unable to call two people sleeping together a marketing ploy simply because the two individuals involved happen to be women.
And I really agree about the point (by Saje?)...

Nope, I was busy contributing to all that wading ;-).
Really scrutinizing Season 8 so far, even the prologue summaries, I comprehend Buffy and Xander as essentially equal in this thing, or at least mutually so far clear of anyone else that parallax makes their authority look equal. Xander makes the decisions about when, if, and who Andrew sends where. Xander is the point of contact for the other groups. Xander is the one that tours the infirmary in 8.03. Xander is the one who appears to "run" the rescue mission for Willow (the shared look between he and Buffy on the "bring me back a witch" 'order' is wonderful). In 8.11, it's they who discuss, in private, the ramifications of Simone going rogue. And, most visually, in 8.12, it's Buffy and Xander who are *standing* on the dais in their command center. Willow is seated, nursing her head, and Satsu is (significantly) standing a step below, caught between Buffy and the other Slayers now.

Even the prologue summary refers to Buffy and Xander establishing a headquarters, where *they* train Slayers and prepare *their* defenses.

Basically, I think that Xander has been established as the administrative head of the organization -- the communications, the personnel, etc -- where Buffy is the tactical head of the organization -- the policy maker, which battles are fought and when, and who fights besides her, and also in charge of the training.

Point being, they have identical crises of command and professional ethics in these relationships. That actually also answers the question of whether there is a heterosexual dating option for Buffy -- he's where he's always been, at her shoulder. I still can't help but think that that dream in 8.02 will at least reveal *something* plot-related later on (either them getting together, or a reveal that the "gentle this time" line does mean that they already gave it a shot, although I'd prefer the former -- I won't pretend I don't 'ship them).

I don't think this is something to "explore" morally -- it's a per se improper way of relating if you still plan to show authority over that person and others.
Gotta disagree that Buffy and Xander are functionally equal. As a mental exercise, kill Xander and who's in charge? Buffy, obviously. Turn it around: kill Buffy and who's in charge? Not Xander--at least, not unquestionably.
jclemens, I couldn't disagree more. We already saw this put to the test, 8.02. When Buffy was down for the count, not only did the Slayers automatically defer to Xander being in charge, the villain did as well!

Had Willow or Faith or someone else with capital P Power been an everyday presence in the BHC, that might be the case, I'll admit. But Xander's got experience, and he's a natural leader. It makes sense that, having been part of it from the beginning with Buffy, both the beginning beginning, and at the BHC, he would have grown to that stature with her.
Y'know... it's easy to talk about issues of inconsistent sexuality or using someone or sleeping with a subordinate in an intellectual manner and use it to poke holes in a fictional character and call them unsympathetic or unheroic or whatever. But I know real-live people who've done those things (myself included), and they're still good people (myself included).

To paraphrase Stephen King, even the most well-developed, nuanced fictional character is just a bag of bones compared to a real person. Something that surprises you about a character and falls outside your still pretty one-dimensional idea of them shouldn't be considered out of character, it should just add one more layer to them.
I have to agree with KingofCretins on that one, yep.
Thanks for pulling me back into a happy place Zeitgeist! I meant to say...the "industry expert" has some ludicrous (and seemingly uninformed) ideas about Joss' motivations.

btw--I love the idea of Giles and Faith, as Faith would say, getting sweaty...that mental picture creates so many innuendo opportunities my brain is reeling...but in an effort to maintain decorum, I'll keep the jokes to myself!
People do all kinds of things they shouldn't do without becoming 'bad people'. Good on you that it worked out, perhaps, but it doesn't make it okay just because you or I or others did it. And Buffy shouldn't be doing this. Neither should Xander.

That said, since I consider it nearly impossible that my thinking on this will prevail, let alone upon Joss, I'll just have to hope that whatever they get into works out for the best for them, but I don't have to pretend to be happy that they are doing it.
Good point, but I'd wonder how long that emergency authority would really last. Just because Xander is a great XO (hmm... acronymical synergy), doesn't mean he'd be chosen as the next CO if Buffy was permanently out of the picture. I think you help make my point for me--Willow or Faith would be a more logical permanent replacement than Xander.

Don't get me wrong, KingofCretins, in general I love the points you're making on the evolution of this situation. I just disagree on this one point. Cheers!
You made me think, Swanjun, that the reason Xander took Renee on the Dracula assignment was to protect her from idolizing him the way that Satsu idolizes Buffy -- to introduce her to his inner, currently under control but never fully gone, butt monkey. To lessen the power advantage and strengthen the intimacy.

This is best for him as well as her. Only if she knows his weaknesses as well as his strengths -- his capacity for idolizing as well as his newfound power to embody eyepatched, Fury-ous, well- drawn idolizability -- can she love him and his monkey.

Oooooh. I'm happy to've inspired such a thoughtful thought! :)
Thanks for pulling me back into a happy place Zeitgeist! I meant to say...the "industry expert" has some ludicrous (and seemingly uninformed) ideas about Joss' motivations.


>:D

ETA: Re-reading my post I have this reference in the back of my head: "Of course it's company policy never to imply ownership... always use the indefinite article "a...", never "your..."."
It's a development very rich in story potential, not just for Buffy and Satsu but for the entire cast. And I daresay that Whedon's record is pretty clear on whether something like this would just be a "stunt."

I also think that a het lead character having a bi experiment is a very brave and worthy topic. While it's becoming more "okay" to address gay issues (and that's excellent news and I think Willow has been a very genuine contributor to that), it's still senselessly taboo to explore the question of just how "100% straight" most straight people are, even though it's probably a question that resonates with a huge portion of this or any audience.

So: I have nothing but applause.
Rereading pointy's bit about Xander's "well-drawn idolizability" brings to mind a completely random observation:

I love that the artists maintain Xander's use of dual-handed finger guns while he talks. :) He used them with Renee, and it was such a perfect echo of a Nicky Brendon mannerism, it made me smile.

[ edited by swanjun on 2008-03-06 19:23 ]
I liked seeing Xander's familiar gestures, too. Georges Jeanty should also be commended for making Renee and Satsu, who both need to resonate emotionally, as expressive as he does. I love how Renee reacts besides Xander. I love *how* (not that) Satsu holds her head, pulls the sheets up to her chin, lowers her face when Willow embarrasses her.

About the storyline in general? Joss was right on the "Chosen" commentary, you know? Parker is Buffy's perfect man.

Contemplate this series of quotes, all two person conversations, all with the speakers' names removed.

"It was fun, didn't you have fun? Watch out how you answer that. My ego is fragile."

"You had fun? Was that all it was?"

"What else was it supposed to be?

"It seemed like you liked me.

"I do. But I'm starting to feel like you felt what? Some kind of commitment? Are you sure that's what you want right now?"

"People shouldn't have to preface casual sex with “just so you
know I'll never grow any older with you.” It takes the fire out of it."

"...I don't regret what happened. Or what we did."

"Trust me. You didn’t do anything wrong."

"But I didn’t do enough things! You did more things than me!"

"And you let me. You were amazing."

"I can live with amazing. What was your question again?"

"What do we do about tomorrow?"

"You mean the whole “we slept together” thing?"

"For starters."

"I don’t know. It’s like… I had a wonderful night. And… it’s been a while since I said that. So… tomorrow, I’m gonna think about what we did. And I’m gonna blush. And then I’m gonna smile. But I’m not sure it goes any further than that."

"I get it."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. We’ll leave it at “we had a wonderful night."


Isn't it alarming, isn't it a big time warning sign, that this makes an almost seamless conversation between two people? And, that's just by taking excerpts and putting them in order. I actually realized this can be edited down into a completely seamless single conversation.
Well said ,Pointy. It is all about the power. More or less all the time. And all relationships have some power inequality, larger or smaller, or shifting from one person to the other. Some situations are so classically ripe for exploitation of the power that they are at times, presumed to involve exploitataion (teacher-student, mature-immature, boss-employee, etc.)- and rules, or even laws are made in an attempt to prevent that likely exploitation.

But in all significant human relationships, romantic and otherwise, the imbalance, and potential for abuse of power, exists. And it will always be interesting to see how it plays out, especially where no one intends to do wrong.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this situation develops, I feel sure that Joss is raising these questions on purpose, and will be dealing with them.

[ edited by toast on 2008-03-06 21:13 ]
I somehow missed the media hurricane until I actually got to read the issue. So, I was genuinely floored when I saw the naked "Wow"ing. And I came down on the fence a bit. I sat there uncomfortably thinking about it.

I'm pleased to say, the furor has helped me to decide, I'm pro one night stand. I'm not SUPER pro, but pro, nonetheless. I think it's a fair turn. And someone mentioned in one of the 3 threads (no idea who), that Buffy and Satsu had more going on with facial expressions, etc. than one would have otherwise thought. And now that they mentioned it (and I subsequently referenced it) I remember thinking in Buffy #11 "So... what? Is she a lesbian, now? What's up?", so I also think that this is less sudden than everyone seems to think.

SPOILER:

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-03-06 20:18 ]
Oh yeah, sorry.
I would mourn if that happened, leafblown. She had me at Jeanty-drawn-reflection-of-self-doubt-in-katana.
Accept the one-nighter, that is, not the completely fictionalized death.
I finally read the issue. Hey it's really good, and the bedroom scene? More sensitively portrayed than most of the bed scenes on network telly. Ok I can see why people think the publicity for the issue might be a bit iffy but I have no complaints about the actual story. Well done to Drew.
/agree with Simon. When the publicity hit it gave me pause, but the story itself was beautifully done.
Oh, I knew what you meant, leafblown. I agree with you. I just meant that the fictionalized death made me sad to think about it.

And, that's just by taking excerpts and putting them in order.

And taking them entirely out of their separate contexts, which removes the meaning. Satsu understood that Buffy wasn't looking for a deeper relationship. Buffy did not understand that about Parker. The two are not the same.

What Simon said. That was more sensitive than what we usually see.
KingofCretins, the dialog you spliced together between Parker and Buffy and Buffy and Satsu only looks seamless ... if you know nothing about Parker, Buffy, and Satsu. The dialog leaves out the situations and the character behaviors. Parker was dishonest with Buffy and said what he needed to say to bed her. Buffy always treated Satsu with respect. She is genuinely concerned for Satsu's feelings, and shows none of Parker's disgusting selfishness. And Satsu and Buffy had sex without deception or pretenses or confusion. The only uncertainty was ... what did it mean? That's why Satsu immediately asks about "tomorrow," given that she knows Buffy didn't "turn gay" all of a sudden. That illustrates they are both clear on the complications. Parker was deliberately misrepresenting himself, and then acted surprised when Buffy called him on it.
I haven't read the comic book yet. I'd rather wait until I get all four issues of the current arc, but as for that "marketing ploy", it just proves how some people don't have a sense of history. For one thing, the comic book is selling like gangbusters. It doesn't need a marketing ploy, and it wasn't revealed until just before the issue was released...except for internet rumours I didn't bother to look at.
Second, this new development would be familiar to anyone who has seen "Sex and the City". Remember Samantha Jones' bicurious stage with Sonia Braga? Anyone call that a "marketing ploy"? It was shown as a stage in one of the character's lives, nothing more. What's happening now with Buffy is a new stage in her life, and we'll see how it affects the future, and how people will see her. Period.
After all, her real problem is dealing with forces who think she'll declare war Poor Defenseless Mankind.
Parker wasn't just "young and experimenting"?

For me, it's as simple as if you're doing wrong by somebody, than that's what you're doing. I'm sure Parker was probably pretty conciliatory and unsure about his own feelings with the first girl that fell for him that he slept with... until he realized it was more efficient and less icky for him to just deceive them from the start. Whether she goes off it or not, Buffy is at the edge of that legendary slippery slope folks are always talking about.

If Satsu understood Buffy wasn't looking for a deeper relationship... why did she feel obliged to try to go back to her own room? Sure seems like it was news to her.
Okay, I'm borrowing the ish from a coworker. I can see some of what KingofCretins is concerned about, but I by no means think that this is an open and closed book. We have lines like, "I know you didn't just... turn gay all of a sudden..." from Satsu. But then, we have Buffy, "How do you know that?" Which granted is more about her own insecurities with her performance than anything else, but still. Hm... I donno.
As far as the Satsu thinking Buffy wanted a deeper relationship argument... I don't think so. I think that was more a hope. It would appear that Satsu went in knowing that she wasn't going to make Buffy a lesbian. But then her heart kept on saying, "But what if...?"
In any case, this is a knee-jerk reaction. Give the writers time to flesh this out, I say. Think about it, this is simply the third in a string of upheavals we've had this season. The Faith/Giles scandal, Buffy the bankrobber, and now the one night stand. I've enough faith in Joss to believe that he knows where he's going with this. I'll give him the chance to spell it all out.

[ edited by leafblown on 2008-03-06 21:30 ]
That's sort of where I am at the moment. After initial dislike of how it happened, I now am optimistic we'll see something good come of it. We're only 1/4 through the arc, after all.
Frankly, the fact that Satsu was so ready to go back to her own room indicates to me that she was pretty sure what it was, otherwise she'd have put that off as long as possible. Seemed to me she was more surprised to be invited to stay the night.
How does that work, Rowan? If she knew it was just sex, why ask the question instead of just gracefully excusing herself? If she already knew the answer to the question, why get upset enough to want to leave? Either way you cut it, she expected something different than what she got. No way to argue that.

And *after* Buffy talks her into staying (which I think has at least half to do with Buffy wanting another go, since her insistence on secrecy means Satsu still has to get up early and go back to her place), she throws out the "for now"...

... and then turns around and denies the whole thing despite them both still being *naked in bed* together. From the time they get interrupted to the end of the issue, poor Satsu goes from hopeful and confident and flush with romance to basically being publicly humiliated, publicly *denied*, and then privately insulted by how she takes Willow's comment. She goes from elated to completely shredded in the background of just a few pages.
If she knew it was just sex, why ask the question instead of just gracefully excusing herself? If she already knew the answer to the question, why get upset enough to want to leave? Either way you cut it, she expected something different than what she got.

I read this exchange as Satsu hoping for something different, not expecting. Seen from this angle, Satsu leaves because she's disappointed, and not because she's upset that her expectations were dashed. Satsu clearly wants to be Buffy's lover -- to paraphrase Woody Allen, the heart wants what it wants -- but she's got enough of a grip on the situation to understand the challenges, such as the big one: Buffy did not turn gay all of a sudden.
KoC, taken in order:

1) Under the circumstances that you yourself presented, it's a question that has to be asked, unless both parties really are pretty dumb. No matter how this might work out between the two of them, even if they were, against all odds, to decide they're "soulmates", it doesn't matter: there are going to be problems with the others. It's absolutely essential to co-ordinate stories if there's going to be any chance of keeping their liaison just between them. Of course, with the entire cast of "A Chorus Line" showing up, that's a lost cause now.

2. I'll go back and read again, but I didn't think she was leaving because she was upset; on the contrary, I thought she was leaving because that's pretty much what she was expecting to do.

3. I'm pretty sure that being invited to stay had lots to do with Buffy not being ready to stop yet. I'm also pretty sure, given Buffy's reaction to their previous efforts, that I don't much blame her for that. As for the other, I don't have the comic with me right now and I'm drawing a blank on that, so I'll have to wait.

4. Being caught in a compromising position like that would be bad enough if it was just one or two people walking in on them; an entire circus troupe of friends, family, and co-workers just escalates that exponentially, and I'm not too surprised that Buffy handled things badly. It was funny as hell, but I really do feel bad for both of them - Satsu because she's crushed and humiliated, and Buffy because... well, the same, actually. It wasn't bad enough that she's unsure of herself with a totally new experience and needing time to think about it privately, she gets busted her first time out - and by the whole frikkin' crew. You'd think it was her birthday or something...
No, there's no doubt she was leaving because she was upset or disappointed. It was immediately after Buffy said she wasn't sure it went further than having a good night. And what's more, Buffy *reacted* as though she was upset, reaching out to grab her, keep her from going.

I'm kinda surprised nobody has blamed Xander for something yet -- the way he enters suggests more that he enters Buffy's room uninvited as a matter of course, that it's just how they roll, and not that he's a jackass. I was kind of expecting a lot of "well, if they're upset, it's just because Xander didn't knock" and so on.
KingofCretins, I guess I'm a little confused... do you think that Buffy made a mistake or that the story made a mistake? Because those are two mutually exclusive things. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that more of the former would be less of the latter. Whether you think Buffy is exploiting her position/Stasu's emotions or not, I certainly don't see the story exploiting the characters or the tryst to boost sales. It flowed fairly naturally from the setup in previous events and is sure to bring about lots of complications for the characters. Exactly as a good plot point should.

Until Buffy Season 8 has a 60's style "In this issue: *INSERT SHOCKING PLOT POINT IN SHOCKED CAPS!*" cover that isn't meant as a parody, I'm not really going to consider any elements of the story a publicity stunt, whatever the mass media thinks.
I'm pretty sure that being invited to stay had lots to do with Buffy not being ready to stop yet.

Really? It seemed to me that Buffy was trying to indicate to Satsu that Satsu was not just some sexual plaything that she's content to be rid of the moment Buffy's needs are met. If the invite basically amounted to ... I'm not done yet ... that would be callous and very un-Buffy-like, given how sympathetic and caring she was just a second before.
KoC, I dunno, I just didn't see that. Disappointed, sure, but not unexpected or upset. And from Buffy's standpoint, they had just had "Wow" sex - it seems to me perfectly natural for Buffy to touch her rather than doing a "hands off" thing. I'm gonna have to look it over again - pity we don't have real actors so we can hear tones of voice and all that.

1starbuckstown, well, that too, but let's face it - Buffy was clearly impressed, and it's been a while.

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2008-03-06 22:34 ]

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2008-03-06 22:37 ]
No, there's no doubt she was leaving because she was upset or disappointed.


Well, certainly there's no doubt in YOUR mind. Other people's opinions vary :)

I'm pretty sure that being invited to stay had lots to do with Buffy not being ready to stop yet.


I'm with 1starbusckstown on this. It would be pretty callous if it wasn't about more about "you're not just a sex toy to me". Not saying that she wouldn't conceivably like another go, but, I think the morning-after-ness had settled in a little and she wanted to reassure Satsu that she wasn't just being used for her mad skillz.
Guys, how subjective is it really? She tried to leave immediately after getting what could only feel like bad news. After a line that confirmed that she *took* it badly. Did she suddenly remember she left the refridgerator open?

I do think Buffy, the woman, made a mistake because she's putting Satsu in a bad spot. Satsu is in love with her. Buffy isn't in love with Satsu. We have Joss and Scott both pretty much confirming that. Isn't this the woman who got loved and dissed by Parker? The one who felt like she lost her ability to love when she realized her relationships weren't working? I mean... how dare she?
Its subjective enough that it can be taken as sad, mad, disappointed, didn't expect to stay anyway, or any combination of them; In fact it probably is a combination. What isn't subjective is that Satsu was definitely hoping for more than the one night stand.
zg, I said, "lots to do with Buffy not being ready to stop yet." I didn't say that was exclusive. I agree with you and 1starbuckstown that there was more to it than that.
See? We can have our hot girl on girl action AND our character development ;)
And slapstick 60 seconds later.
That's nearly always a given ;)
sad, mad, disappointed


I had meant to cover all such eventualities by 'upset', really. And the timing makes it clear that's what's at work. And when Buffy gets her to stay, it may or may not be the case that Buffy is hoping for another round. But it's still a bit disingenuous since, again, Buffy still has to kick her out at some point if she wants to keep it secret.
I'll grant that she was disappointed, because where there is hope, there is always the chance for disappointment, but I don't think that she was leaving in a huff. I think she expected to leave, so she got ready to do so. I don't think its disingenuous for her to let her stay just because eventually she will have to go (This isn't Where the Wild Things Are ;)). It may not be the nicest thing in the world, but as far as Buffy is concerned, she's not sure where this takes her. Wanting to keep Satsu there to talk about it is hardly uber-bitchy.
No, but denying her moments later is uber-bitchy. Having Joss and Scott both confirm that this was Buffy "using" Satsu like she "used" Spike in Season 6 (that's nearly verbatim) makes it uber-bitchy. Hasn't she, y'know, grown, changed? As people do?
Agreed. And one likes to think so, but sometimes we make the same mistake several times 'til we get it right. No doubt about the fact that Buffy handled it badly when the improbable clown car full of voyeurs poured into the room. While she is using Satsu in a similar way, there are shades of variance between those relationships too numerous to mention. Does that make it less bitchy? Nope :) At least aside from the HORRIFIC handling of the situation in the immediate aftermath of the interruptus portion of the evening Buffy isn't being outright abusive in the ways she was towards Spike. We can certainly talk about whether Buffy sleeping with Satsu in the first place is an abuse of trust, power, innocence, etc., of course (the answer to all of those - *shakes a magic eightball* - signs point to yes ;)
My law school is coming out a bit, but the phrase that best suits those question about trust, power, innocence, affection is res ipsa loquitur -- the thing speaks for itself.

Buffy feels so very low right now, and it's making me more upset as a fan than I can remember. And that's sad and disappointed. There were so many other ways they could have come to this hook-up that wouldn't have felt so very off. But the bottom line is that those issues were never not going to be there, the trust, the power, the difference in their emotional investment. Buffy shouldn't be doing this. And, I feel obliged to again mention, neither should Xander. If they wanted Buffy to "experiment", then Faith or Willow are at least people on equal footing with her.
Buffy shouldn't be doing this. And, I feel obliged to again mention, neither should Xander.

Maybe that's going to be the point?
Quite so, but as you also point out, the difference in trust, power, emotional investment would've been way different for Willow/Buffy or Faith/Buffy than it would be for Satsu/Buffy, so it just wasn't going to work to get across the point they were going for/the place they are (one assumes) trying to take Buffy. Hopefully that place will give Buffy whatever she needs to stop walking this particular circle.
Very good point, zeitgeist.

I found the scenes between Buffy and Satsu to be very well-written and quite romantic. I think they show that Buffy has grown and that she showed more maturity with Satsu than she has with any of her past lovers.

I also saw her reactions after their privacy was invaded as very spontanious and unfortunate, for both her and Satsu.

And there's way more that I'd like to respond to on this post than I have time for...

KingofCretins-You make such a point of subordinate relationships in your posts and I was wondering why you've excluded Willow/Kennedy from them? Kennedy was a potential and although she was not subservient in any way, Willow was still a leadership role for Kennedy. That puts her in the same position as Xander and Buffy.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2008-03-06 23:35 ]
Interesting point, menomegirl, re: Kennedy.

I just have to say, kudos to all here at whedonesque. I don't find myself thinking, "Man, I have to go home and re-read Green Lantern, tonight." But, I'm going to be reading Buffy again. So, well done, all. Stimulating discussion.
I know I've answered this about Kennedy today, but no idea on what board :)

During Season 7 -- when Kennedy moved in on Willow, Buffy still hadn't given the speech about being an army, the dynamics still hadn't settled down. But, I didn't like Willow/Kennedy at that time, either. It was inappropriate. I also didn't care much for Kennedy after "Get It Done", until "Anywhere But Here". Wouldn't it have seemed inappropriate if Xander had brought Colleen and Caridad into bed with him for real?

In Season 8 -- Kennedy isn't in the same situation as the other Slayers. First, she's clearly not part of the organization anyway, Willow barely is. Second, she's one of the Sunnydale gang; I have little doubt that she's as much of a rock star to the new Slayers as the Scoobies are.
re: Kennedy. I think that issue was dodged--perhaps intentionally--in S7 by Kennedy's assertiveness and Willow's fragility. It was very much portratyed that Kennedy was the aggressor and Willow flustered and at a loss at first. Satsu/Buffy doesn't have that dynamic, as I see it.
The dynamics seemed pretty clear to me. Willow:Scooby, Kennedy:Potential. It was inappropriate and leaves Willow with no room to criticize Buffy.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2008-03-07 00:05 ]
Well, I don't think Willow plans to criticize the power dynamics, but more the implications for Buffy's sexuality and for Satsu individually. But, regardless, since I didn't approve of that in the first place, I don't see why it poses a problem for my position about the power issues with Buffy/Satsu and Xander/Renee.

Buffy and Xander need to have a mutual intervention and ask themselves whether Xander needing to ask out Renee really was a "true thing" and whether Buffy can have a fling with someone that has to look to them as leaders. They can still, possibly, extricate themselves from this with their credibility with the Slayers intact. Willow, I think she's going to go after Buffy for being a 'tourist' and 'experimenting' with a girl who is *in love* with her. And Willow's relationship with Kennedy is no obstacle to that.
If that's the only criteria by which you judge it, menomegirl, then that's what it is. However, I would assert that it's nuanced and more complicated than that. When does Joss ever set out to give us black and white?

Buffy and Xander need to have a mutual intervention...

Oh, that has "S6 here we go again" and "never going to happen" written all over it. :-)
Mutual intervention says Season 6? Mutual intervention implies them taking accountability for crappy ideas -- what's that got to do with Season 6?
Sorry if that was too obscure. A mutual intervention--although primarily between Buffy and Willow--was really needed throughout most of the season. But it didn't happen. Things that needed to be said, went unsaid. Things that could have been stopped before they got out of control, weren't. S6 was all about the failure to keep involved in each others' lives, to be open and honest with friends.
The Long Way Home
Part 3 - True love's kiss - cinnamon buns
Part 4 - Satsu's Lip Gloss - cinnamon
Someone's been planning ahead
karosurly said:
However, it's also unfair to intimate we're unable to call two people sleeping together a marketing ploy simply because the two individuals involved happen to be women.


I seriously doubt it would have made the NYT if it had have been a guy. I think it's totally realistic to intimate that.
jclemens-Oh, I know it was more nuanced and complex than that. (Heh. With Joss, nothing is ever that simple) I'm just saying...Willow's conduct could be called into question too.
I seriously doubt it would have made the NYT if it had have been a guy.

So, I've been thinking. I can't come up with a male equivalent of Buffy because all the male pop culture superhero-type icons that I know well are older and were first written within a context of different cultural norms. Sex was more implied than depicted, and all the ones I can think of have made the opposite journey, from comics to tv. But I'll use Batman anyway. Spiderman's probably more like Buffy in terms of icon status with younger people, but Batman and Buffy share the lonely-dark-angst.

If Batman was lonely and was clearly shown to have slept with some young male superhero he was mentoring, who had admitted to being in love with him, I think it would have gotten serious press. Yes, I know there was campy subtext back in the day, but I'm talking about something like what happened with Buffy. Something clearly sexual.

I do think the tone of the press would probably have been different if it was two men. I expect it would be less "Buffy's lesbian romp: was it for the story, or for the sexy sales?" and more "Batman has gay affair: was it for the story, or for the publicity?" I think the expectation that it was all to exploit the characters' sex appeal and also cause a stir to boost sales wouldn't be there. Instead the story would only be about the expectation that it was all to cause a stir to boost sales.

I think there may not be a precedent for this, since I find myself reaching for The Bat as my closest example. So it's hard to know what would happen. I think at best we have educated guesses to work with. I agree with the people who've said it shouldn't be such a big deal, but clearly it is.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-03-07 01:41 ]
oh lame!
yes, i see it now! obviously season 8 is clearly not selling so Joss Whedon (ya know, that man with no regards for his characters, no genuine love of the stories he's telling or respect for his very loyal fanbase) decided that Buffy should have sex with Satsu (and that was totaly out of the blue, i mean did anyone else see that coming? i was completely blindsided) just to sell more copies and make some more money.......im glad mainstream madia we're able to crack that one, coz ya know the rest of us we're too busy seeing what was actualy going on.
O M G Sunfire! If Bats had a sexual affair with Robin there would be riots.

For those less familiar with comic history, back in the 50's when red communist menace had the American public by the throat and Senator McCarthy was on television asking, "Are you or have you ever been a member of the communist party?" (btw, I think he was staying at the Hyperion), another man named Dr. Fredric Wertham had a book out called, Seduction of the Innocent. It was all about how bad comic books are for children. It actually helped rally support to create the Comics Code Authority, a self governed industry CENSOR. Most comics had their CCA stamp on the cover until about 2001. The industry placed restrictions on excessive violence (sadly this meant no more depictions of vampires) and it basically put a popular comic company out of business; EC comics thrived on things like Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror.

In Seduction of the Innocent, Wertham talks about Batman and Robin's relationship being portrayed with highly sexual undertones. It seems crazy to me that just 50 years ago, issue 12 would have LITERALLY started riots.

[ edited by alexreager on 2008-03-07 02:23 ]
They surely can only mean on the TV show. I read the Batman books obsessively for years, through the KnightFall arcs and after, and I would laugh in the face of someone trying to say that DC's comics about the character had slash overtones.
Wow, I knew some people thought Batman had sexual undertones that would have a bad influence on kids, but I hadn't known about the CCA stamps. I realize Batman's era was different and would have had a very different reception then. I'm at a loss for a current-day example though. Someone who's iconic.

The 1953 code is pretty interesting.

KingofCretins: Link.
Everything that needed to be said has pretty much already been said here, but I just gotta agree that this ABC article is sleazy and ridiculous. I wish the mainstream media hadn't gotten a hold of this and blown it way way way out of proportion.
Finally got in from work and read this thread - and I am exhausted. I haven't seen this much handing down of moral judgments since [pick your favorite Old Testament moment]. To sum up: what dingoes8 said way-upstream makes the most sense to me.
But I know real-live people who've done those things (myself included), and they're still good people (myself included).

Does anyone ever consider themselves a bad person ? It's like average intelligence - by definition a bunch of us have it (or less) but if asked, who would say so ?

It's true though that you can commit any number of horrible acts and remain a good person, even murder. We still consider murder to be a bad thing.

And if effectively nothing can be "out of character" then why have the phrase at all ? It's referring to what we've experienced of a person to date - if they do something inconsistent with that it seems perfectly sensible to say they've acted out of character. Obviously we can never really know another person, maybe what they did was actually completely in character (in fact, practically by definition, anything a person does uncoerced must strictly be in character, the act didn't spring out of nowhere after all - unless Twinkies made them do it ;) but what of it ? That's not what the phrase means in common usage.

And for me the very worst aspect of Wertham's whole anti-Batman/comics crusade was the way that, once again, male homosexuality was equated to paedophilia (even if Batman was gay, he's hardly gonna go for Robin, the boy wonder).
I'm trying to think of something ludicrous to say re: Twinkies, but its too early and it would get mixed up with another reference and then where would we be? Oh, right, topic... can't wait to see where Drew, Joss, Georges, etc. take us. Its bound to be a roller-coaster :)
Too early ? Low blood sugar more likely. Clearly lack of Twinkies made you not do it ;).
I'm off to boost my bloodsugar ;)
Interesting, that, about "out of character," Saje. You're right of course - anything a person does uncoerced cannot strictly be "out of character" - and you're also right that we still use the phrase to denote behavior that seems inconsistent to the onlooker. My own impression is that viewers/readers form overly rigid expectations of what fictional characters will or won't do, often for good reason because of poor writing, and leap to find "inconsistencies" in their subsequent actions. And, as I think you said on another thread, this particular experience may be outside the usual for some/many readers, thus making it seem even more inconsistent. To use "out of character" often tells us more about the perception/knowledge of the viewer than of the viewed (i.e. how does the viewer see this person? how well does the viewer know this person?)

Anyway, this doesn't seem inconsistent, or "out of character," to me in the slightest. Buffy is a sexual woman; Buffy is open-minded; Buffy is under pressure; Buffy tends to feel that no one else can possibly understand her; Buffy has met someone who may be like her/understand her; Buffy needs (sexual) comfort. Not trying to construct some rigid logical argument here, just trying to explain quickly - 'cos I have to leave(!) - why, to me, this was a perfectly natural, if a little unexpected, progression.
To use "out of character" often tells us more about the perception/knowledge of the viewer than of the viewed

Yeah I realised that during the other thread SNT when some folk were pointing out that sexuality lies on a spectrum and it occurred to me that I didn't really see it that way, at least not at the level of the individual (or maybe I see it more like an emission spectrum ;) but that if you did, it's much less of a leap for Buffy to have sex with Satsu and if it's less of a leap then it's gonna seem less "out of character" and more "another thing that happened".

One thing that occurs though is that Joss has mentioned trying for an "Oh My God" moment which is surely at least partly because it's a bit of a leap for her, maybe even one of the last things we'd expect ? Isn't that slightly inconsistent with it being totally consistent ?

ETA: actually, thinking about "emission" I better add that slightly disgusting pun only partly intended ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-03-07 18:17 ]
Hmm, I think it can be not inconsistent, but yet unexpected and therefore a little surprising - a wee OMG moment, as I indicated my first reaction was. As if your mate, who you know to be a man of great creativity and talent in general, suddenly tells you his band (which you didn't know about) is going to perform at a top venue or is signing a record deal. You had no inkling of his musical ability, and are a bit gobsmacked at the extent of it, but it doesn't really surprise you deep-down. In fact, it fits with, and fills in more completely, the understanding you have of him. If that makes any sense. 'Course the music scenario doesn't quite have the repercussions (ba-boom!), but maybe you can see what I'm getting at. Or maybe not.

I tend to think that if there's one single thing Joss Whedon is really good at, it's getting the emotional resonance of a character right. It's very rare that I can think of a character of his saying, or even doing, something that just seemed, you know, wrong (in the consistency sense, not the moral sense, obv.)
Yep, totally agree, he's brilliant at it. Dunno, I guess the best fiction has that quality of "surprising inevitability" and this could fall into that so it's more like "Oh my God ! ... that makes perfect sense !".

Risen from my pit a bit early (well, by weekend standards anyway ;) to go and get it so the next two hours will tell the tale ;).
I know a lot of you are going to disagree with this, but that makes me want to say it even more. I really don't see why #12 is such a shocker, I think once the ball got rolling with the "sleeping beauty" complex this end was inevitable. Especially when you also take into account the rising issues and pending foreshadowing of Buffy and Willows relationship.

Let me say here I'm not saying Willow and Buffy are going to or should become lovers. The fact is I don't think this is about being a lesbian or taking a jackhammer to the foundation of Buffy's straightness.

This is about the big L- Love and I'm not talking about the heavy petting and sweating, as Anya likes to say. I'm talking about pure enlightenment Love, the kind of Love that Buffy felt when she died at the end of season 5. This is what she has been searching for, that feeling of contentment and bliss.

It's what we are all looking for and the fact is that kind of Love has no boundaries. It doesn't have boy parts and it doesn't have girl parts, it just is.

Now I think we all know Satsu will probably not turn out to be this great Love connection for Buffy, but considering she is living in a "end of the world" daily scenario, I think she's more than allowed to take a chance on someone she trusts. Someone who works by her side day in and day out- who literally has her back sun rise to sun down. Not to mention someone who appreciates, respects and fully understands the power, history and sometime burden that comes with being a slayer. So like I was saying- she may not turn out to be this Great Love, but I also don't think she's going to be some toss away like Parker. I think she is going to be pivotal as the plot thickens, especially when it comes to Buffy and Willow's relationship.

Mostly I think those who appose should just get over it. I don't judge Buffy by her sex-capades; if that were an issue I probably would have stopped watching during the Riley Marathons. I'm just saying ur all getting worked up over a small thing and missing the big picture.
Re innappropriateness. I know that I'm handicapped on this since I live 90% of the time inside my own head and so real-world situations are always vague-ish to me, but re. Willedy, Butsu, Xanee, to me it boils down to "this thing of theirs" was not a formalized organization in S-7 and it still isn't.
So, whatever moral equivalencies there might be, it does not involve the abuse of anything that exists on paper. Thjis isn't a military unit, a police force, a publice service agency, or even a corporation. It's a medieval warband in modern dress and I just can't see a license for being that hard on them.

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