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October 11 2008

Would you rather have been a Scooby or The Big Bad? Comic book writer and artist Ted Naifeh answers that all important Buffy question.

Why the hell would Will & Tara want to have a threesome with Jonathan?
MrGordo, the only way I could see that happening is with magic. Superstar-style.
I don't think this is a very knowledgeable BtS fan. Jonathon was not a Scooby and there were many Big Bads, over the years.

As for "it stopped being fun, in the end", anyone who was only watching for the "fun" parts, was missing out on so much of the totality of what the series was all about. Which is fine, one of the things that makes it a truly great show is that it can be appreciated on so many different levels.
But it seems to me that dismissing all the depth and complexity and sub-text and metaphor and especially, the courage involved in taking the show down the really dark paths it explored, is a bit of a disservice to Joss's creation.
Okay, shielding eyes. I didn't see that. Nope, not looking.

Always fall under the Giles umbrella. Guess it's my age and experience with life in general. Yes, Caleb, know you have an advantage on me there. :)
Shey- To be fair, the writer didn't say that Jonathan was a Scooby, or imply that there was only one big bad.
I think the writer is a Jonathan fan who has seen Restless.
Threesome with Willow and Tara? Quite improbable. They aren't the sharing kind (as Willow says in the "WannaBlessedBe" comic, "I think there's magic in TWO.") Also, even if they were open to the idea, he'd have to... um... make some alterations.

[ edited by quantumac on 2008-10-11 15:40 ]
I think the tragedy of Jonathan is that he should have become a Scooby -- knowing what he knew, and perhaps as repayment for all the times Buffy & Co. saved his butt -- but instead he fell in with the wrong crowd. Then, when he was making a real bid for redemption, he gets stabbed. By Andrew. And it doesn't even work.
Threesome with Willow and Tara? Quite improbable.

Speak for yourself, some fantansies are golden.
Good answer from someone that knows the show well enough to spark heated discourse here at hell-mouth-central. In that spirit, of course I have to disagree that season 7 was no fun. Many great episodes...just Xander's dream sequence alone is worth the price of admission. Season 7 is my 5th favorite season!

And Shey--I think he was changing the question mid-answer. He didnt want to be a big bad or a scoobie, rather, he preferred the idea of being a fringe character versus a main character. At least thats what I took from his comment. (and btw, if you can have a world without shrimp, you can totally have a willow/tara/jonathan ménage à trois, imo)
Okay, I'm still alive and hoping for another 3 or 4 decades plus a bit, so how the 7734 is this guy channeling me?

(I mean, emotionaly and cognitively if not physically I identify with Jonathan, Tara is my fave character, and I consider Amber 1 of the 4 best looking and Aly on of the 5 second-best lookign actresses on the show, so this guy scares me thatw ay.)

Seriouslym, however Willow might feel Tara isn't "bi enough" for that, if no other reason,a nd there are, there are many others.
I think that Jonathan's story was partly a cautionary tale, perhaps a tragedy but one that he partially deserved. Yes, he was a vulnerable and sympathetic character to begin with (particular from Earshot onwards), and even Superstar didn't turn him into a villain because you could understand his motivation for performing the spell, and he learnt that it wasn't fair for him to manipulate other people, much as Willow later did.

I think, however, his involvement with the Trio took his character on a much darker path. Yes, he deserves credit for beginning to challenge Warren's darker impulses, and feeling guilty about them. Certainly he was stronger and more likeable than Andrew, who went along with Warren until the very end. I think that if either Jonathan or Andrew had to be redeemed and the other killed off to pay for their crimes, Jonathan was more deserving of redemption and Andrew more deserving of death, but perhaps that would have been just a little too neat. But I just can't forgive him entirely for going along with Warren brain-washing and killing Katrina, however reluctantly, and running away in Grave when Xander, Buffy and Dawn (who had been trying to protect him) could have all been seriously injured. I think his death was sad because he probably could have been an ally, but made a lot of bad decisions so I can't entirely excuse him.

As for the show itself forgetting about its sense of humour, I have to disagree. Even though the general tone of season six, with its intense personal tragedies and ambiguity of the heroes, and season with, with the idea of a mystical global war, were much darker than early seasons, I think the added complexity only added to the show's mythos. And of course the fact that the show always, always had moments of humour even in the darkest of episodes, and still had comedy centred episodes right up to the last season.
Sugarcoated anyway you like, but they were following "wrong" and they both knew it. Death took Jonathan as a prize, but it could of been Andrew as well. Now that I think of it, was this why Spike was so harsh to him in "Angel"? Nevermind.
Now that I think of it, was this why Spike was so harsh to him in "Angel"?

I don't think so. Besides, it's not like Spike had a leg to stand on in that arena. I think it was more general annoyance on Spike's part, at least from what I remember (it's been a while since I've seen those episodes).
Yes, Jonathan as a cautionary tale, good point. Because, quite simply, even ebfore KAtrina, choosing to get into crime showed a lack of moral compass, on a show which, at least until around that point, had always been known for requiring a certain level of moral rectitude from the characters. (Rant follows: As opposed to almost anything else on prime time since about 1973.)

And it goes back fairly far with Jonathan. Yes, what the team guys did to him during the beach cookout in "Go Fish" was a humiliation, and it was understandable he was angry about it and wanted to vent the anger somehow. But choosing as his targets Buffy and Willow when they come up and nicely offer him a towel, showed how deep his character flaws actually went.

I wonder about Jonathan's repentance at the end in "CWDP." Was it sincere enough that he qualified for a heaven-dimension, or was it still so much "all about me" that he ended up downward bound?

I do think it shows a certain discernemnt on the part of the interviewee. Choosing to fantasize about being a marginal character instead of a star. More flexibility. And less tacky, in its way. (When I decided to Mary Sue myself into my own ficverse, I kept "Jared" not only marginal to the Scoobs but sort of a Steve Urkel for them.)

As for Spike, well, annoying was a talent of his, one of the few things I can empathize with him over. Soembody like Andrew would be an easy target in many ways.

(Expalnation of my above statement about Tara not being "bi enough" when she wasn't interested in guys at all; my concept of "not enough" includes zero as well as low numbers. Of course, we don't know any details as to what she got into during her "crazy time" after Mom Maclay died... heck, maybe seh even got as far as trying it but not inhaling.)
As to the original question - Scooby or Big Bad - I don't know which I would prefer to actually BE, but I will say that one of my all-time hands-down fantastic characters was the Mayor.

He was charming, he was brilliant, he was totally OCD, he was terrifying - and oddly endearing. For the short time he was on the show, he was one of the most well-rounded characters ever. Plus: loved the wet-naps.
Scoobies lived longer, in general, than Big Bads. And got more nookie. Plus, the only Big Bad I really liked was the Mayor; the rest were very one-track. So, probably a scooby. But hey, if you were Willow you got to do both simultaneously... be a scoobie and the big bad.
I liked what Naifeh said about voice hiring accomplished professional voice actors like Billy West from Futurama (and tons of other stuff, but on that show he's Fry, the Professor, Zoidberg, and a few others) can often turn out a lot better than hiring live action "name" actors like Liam Neeson (who, yes, was kind of flat as Aslan and too recognizable in the role). Sure, sometimes you get Mike Myers creating something new and wouldn't-know-it's-him-if-his-name-wasn't-in-every-review-and-Shrek-poster, but more often than not it would make more sense to hire people who're well-trained at the mic. They cost less. I guess the upside to hiring "names" is getting to put more sell points on your posters...

Big Bad or Scooby...I'm suddenly not in a fanboyish enough mood to answer that at the moment, but you know there would be lists and a twelve paragraph long essay weighing the pros and cons or just ignoring all that for the cool factor and immortality (along with invulnerability. Immortality's not much use when you can get felled easily in a car crash or beheaded just as easily as anyone else).
Naifeh's got a Buffyverse connection: he was the artist for "The Innocent," the short story in Dark Horse's TALES OF THE SLAYERS graphic novel that was written by Amber Benson. I wonder if he brought up that Tara/Willow/Jonathan idea to her then? ;)

[ edited by Shiai on 2008-10-12 06:09 ]
Yeah, I'd take Willow, Tara, or Kennedy or any combination thereof.


What? The title of this thread isn't "Would you rather have a Scooby or The Big Bad?" Oh.

To steal from Joss -- which is all I'd ever do -- I'd pretend that I'd want to be Angel while actually being much more like Xander (only I'd prolong his brief encounter with Faith to a more reasonable amount of time... a few decades should do it) and very occasionally wish I could get into Spike's pants.
That's a kind of equal-opportunity wish fulfillment I could get behind.
and very occasionally wish I could get into Spike's pants.
ManEnoughToAdmitIt | October 12, 06:50 CET

Only occasionally ?? ;-)

I've always thought there was a lot of irony in the fact that Jonathon was considerably less evil than Andrew, but Andrew was the one who got to (kinda) be part of the gang, in the end.
And I have to say I'm glad, because no Storyteller and no Andrew in Damages, would have been a sad loss.

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