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December 05 2008

Art We've Resisted. The AV Club writers cop to "art they've willingly avoided".

Two writers admit to avoiding Buffy. Shame on them.

I only saw one writer who hasn't seen it and since he now had Season One, he was about to fix that. Lucky man.
Why would I want to read articles written by two writers who willingly, perhaps even stubbornly, avoid the very best television ever made? Is there some advantage to snubbing Buffy?

For some reason I'm reminded of an ancient "Green Acres" episode. This snooty, haughty character was asked if she'd seen a recent TV show. With her nose held high, she replied, "Oh, I don't own a television machine." Cracks me up every time I recall it.
Can't say that I EVER avoided BtVS.

I remember when the movie came out and he had me at the title. Man, that was the movie for me. And there was enough there in it, despite obvious flaws, that I fell in love with what I now know to be the writing of Joss Whedon.

"Pike, let me in. I'm hungry"
"You're floating!"

(Or something like that. Gets me every time.)

I bought the VHS when it came out. There was just something...
And when I saw there was going to be a series, I was so excited!

That said, I never got into AtS. I tried. Really. But it just wasn't MY story somehow. I only ended up watching S5 because I wanted some Spike closure. And man the writing was good! *smacks head* Duh! I laughed, I cried, I agonized. But still...

I did add AtS to linger about somewhere in my mental queue of "I really ought to get to that some day." But I don't know that I actually care one way or the other.

An artist has many different stories/pictures/points of view(?) to share and they are just not all going to reverberate with everyone. Other wise we'd be them. The artist. (And then I'd know about all those delightful character and plot twists that are going to be torturing us in Dollhouse already. ;))

Whatever was being offered in AtS was just not part of my story. It wasn't what I needed.

So that's my guilty secret, the bit of art I've been avoiding. I haven't seen AtS. And I don't know that I ever will. Ever.
I only saw one writer who hasn't seen it and since he now had Season One, he was about to fix that. Lucky man.

There is a second page. That said, I'm not sure this needs a front page link, although I do find it interesting.
I can't imagine high school without a few shows including Buffy and the constant Billy Madison quotes by everyone I knew, to the point of great irritation.
I posted it, because I was once an avid Buffy avoider. Thankfully, due to my wife's amazing taste, I came around. Are there any other Whedonites out there who will own up to having once avoided the show?
I was avoiding Buffy in between liking it superficially as a young child, and liking it now for all it's clever writing and great characters.

After liking it superficially as a child, I grew to a point where I couldn't like shows for those reasons anymore, but I couldn't yet grasp the brilliance in many of the shows I love today.

So there was a year or two or three, where I thought Buffy was just a really cheesy, awful romance-y show for thirteen year old girls.

Yeah, I was a bit of a moron.
I avoided it all through high school. (I can remember the ads on the radio when I was a sophomore for "all-new crossover episodes with Angel," which would probably peg it to Seasons 4/1, and I remember thinking how on earth something as stupid and moronic as as show called Buffy could possibly have had a spin-off.

Then, in my first week at college, my new friends from across the hall duct-taped me to a chair and made me watch "Once More With Feeling." This left me massively spoiled, of course, but did lead me to watch most of Season 1 over the next few days.

I'm still working on Angel, though. It never sang to me in quite the same way either, but now I'm watching both in parallel, and having finished Seasons 6/3 I'm very intrigued for Season 4. I'm still massively spoiled, having seen some Faith-relevant snippets and part of Orpheus, not to mention the last ten minutes of Not Fade Away, but I am enjoying it.

Also I've never seen a James Bond movie.
The guy on the second page is Nathan Rabin, who wrote the excellent My Year of Flops column. Seems a shame he hasn't seen it...

I watched Buffy once went it was on originally, seemed OK but not for me. Although at the time pretty much the only thing on television I actually watched was The Simpsons.

Loads of people I know refuse to watch Buffy, because it's 'just a crappy kung-fu show'. Makes me sad.
I avoided Buffy, and the more my friends and kids pushed, the harder I dug in. "But she KILLS vampires. I LIKE vampires."

BTW, quantumac, wasn't that quote from The Dick Van Dyke Show?

Not that I'm TV obsessed or anything.
Are there any other Whedonites out there who will own up to having once avoided the show?

oh, I was a big time Buffy snubber. I only came around about a year ago, during a particulary harsh OMG-Firefly-is-over-forever depression phase ;) (I go through one of those everytime I rewatch the show and Objects in space is coming to a close). Up until then, I didn't think I could like it, I sort of imagined it as a Beverly Hills 90210 with vampires... The "I quit" speech in Prophecy Girl was the first moment I felt I had to take the show seriously and after Innocence I was hooked and hopelessly in love with it. I enjoy Angel, too, but not at the same level. Buffy has a special kind of magic.

[ edited by nyrk on 2008-12-05 17:15 ]
Tsk-tsk To quote Dolly Parton, but in a different tone of voice, "Joshua, Joshua...."
I have a long list of "things I should watch because everyone says they're great but I can't seem to get around to them." In my case, the avoidance is usually caused by my thinking the show/movie is going to be too serious or depressing. It takes me forever to get around to war movies, no matter how good people say they are, and I just started watching "The Wire" a few weeks ago. I like having my heart ripped out as much as the next person--I just want to laugh while I'm at it.
I avoided Buffy like the plague for the longest time, solely because everyone in the world seemed to be into it.


I was still bummed about Xena going off the air -- another show I was dragged into almost despite myself before hurling myself in whole heartedly. Dark Angel was okay, not great, but okay; went downhill in the second season, but I was still resentful to learn it was being cancelled. And for what? "Some space western from that Buffy guy."

I'd seen "Beer Bad" recently -- the only Buffy episode I'd seen more than a few minutes of -- and enjoyed it. But it wasn't enough to suck me in, until a rerun of "Fool For Love". And that did it. I went out and got every single episode, sat down, and caught up on them in the space of a few weeks -- just in time to start watching the currently airing episodes, which happened to be right as Willow went off the deep end ("Seeing Red").

And AtS was the same way. After we finished season 3 of Buffy, my SO and I were reluctant to approach Angel's own series, but we figured we'd at least give the first episode a shot. I liked it enough to continue, but it was Spike's opening monologue for "In The Dark" that cemented it.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson after being made fun of in high school for liking Duran Duran. But RIO is one of the best albums ever.

So when the trailer for Serenity came out, I realized it was time to grab the Firefly DVD's so I could catch up on that before seeing the movie.

And in all three cases, I have not been disappointed.

Thank you, Joss and company, for creating something truly magic in a medium renowned for mediocrity. Thank you for the drama, the horror, and the tears -- because the whole way through, you never stopped making me laugh.
I avoided Buffy initially, because i couldn't believe they had made a series based on a somewhat silly movie. I liked the film, but was puzzled as to why it should become a TV Series. I didn't catch it until Season Three, and got hooked. "Hush" was the episode that chilled me to the marrow, and I was a solid fan after that.

I admit to avoiding Angel; Guilty as charged. It has a different feel, and I just don't enjoy it as much. Firefly and Serenity are what brought me to Whedonesque, and it's the main reason I stay, and the main reason I post... usually. :)
redeem147: not sure about the quote. Thought it was "Green Acres". Might have been Dick Van Dyke. It's been too many years, back before the world came in colors. :)

The Buffyverse is so top notch. I can't sing enough praises. And yet when it came to "awards time," Buffy was constantly overlooked. That's kinda frustrating, especially when I saw lesser shows winning awards for superficial stories and less engaged acting. Perhaps some people can't take Buffy seriously because they can't get past the whimsical title, or its fantastical roots.

Critics viewed Buffy as simply a "teen show." It's so much more. Buffy spoke to people of all ages about joy, loss, suffering, sexuality, grief, struggle and sacrifice. Joss and company didn't limit themselves to shallow teenage angst. They delved into these characters, to the point where sometimes we have a hard time thinking of them as simply fiction and not real people.

That's good writing and good acting.

As for Buffy's future, I'll echo her. "More prezzies, please. Gimme, gimme!"

[ edited by quantumac on 2008-12-05 18:35 ]
I wouldn't say I "avoided" Buffy, but I had very little interest in it. I didn't have cable growing up (when I'm home from school for summers and such I still don't have it), so I likely couldn't have watched it even if I wanted to, to be fair. My only experience with the show was in my eighth grade drama class, when for some reason one of my partners wanted to use the characters of the show for some sort of assignment. So from that I learned that the title character had a friend named Willow who was played by the Flute Girl and also was dating a vampire named Angel. And for...five or six years that's all I knew.

Then in my second year of university, I found Firefly. It was in a spur of boredom and knowing that some friends of mine were fans, coupled with the fact that I tend to like sci-fi and had gone through a huge Western faze a few years before. So it is a familiar story, boy watches show, boy falls in love with show, show only has 14 episodes available to be watched, boy is heartbroken.

At around the same time I turned the TV on one day to find an episode of Buffy on (on a channel that as far as I know has never before shown an episode, and hasn't since). It was "Intervention" and had already started, and I was throughly confused. Who was this wise-cracking duo that seemed to be main characters? Who's that bleach-blonde guy, he's having sex with the main character, is he Angel? Why is everyone so freaked out by the fact they are together? Why is Harriet the Spy there? I don't think I ended up watching the end of the episode, but it certainly wasn't why I decided to start watching the show.

That happened over the summer, when being bored and alone in my house for three months I was looking for something to kill time in between job hunting and doing distance ed. work for school. I was still obsessed with Firefly (I'm sure that will go away any day now...) and was looking for something to placate the cravings. Since I had already constructed an alter to honour the creator of the show, I figured looking at his other work might be a good idea. So I started Buffy from the beginning.

I can't pinpoint exactly when it was that the show clicked for me. I was watching it because it was something to do, but at some point it changed to watching it because I couldn't not. I think I made the realization that I really loved the show in Season Four, when Oz left and then came back. The sadness and elation at those moments, the desperate fact that I went to straight to wikipedia after he left to see when and if he returned, I think that was when I could be classified as a die-hard fan.

Anyway, after finishing the series, Angel followed from there.

This was a really long post.
jcs, I recently forced myself to watch all of The Wire on DVD because of all the hype, even though nothing about the premise of the show appealed to me. FANTASTIC.

When BTVS the movie came out I was all over it because of the great title, but it was kinda meh. When the TV show came out my husband tried to get me to watch it but I refused because of the mediocrity of the movie. My husband never gave up, and eventually rented season one when it came out on DVD and made me watch. I could not get enough. And this was the less-than-perfect first season!

While I was devouring Buffy I happened upon a broadcast episode of Angel on TV. I recognized Angel, of course, and Cordy, but, but, there was this ridiculous green guy with horns, and, and, they were hanging around what looked like a hotel lobby or something...blech. But I later watched Angel from the beginning and fell in love. I love that show even more than Buffy.
I was a Buffy snubber for years, and would go out of my way to make fun of my co-workers about the silly show they're addicted to. On and on they'd go about how great it is, even singing OMWF out in the theater lobby (I used to work in a movie theater). I just couldn't understand how a show called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" would be anything that I'd be interested in.

Finally, one day, I cracked. Curiosity got the better of me, and I HAD to know what was so awesome. They lent me Season 1. I watched it, as if I were doing homework. When it was over, I thought "Not too bad. It was entertaining. I'll give it another shot." Along came Season 2. Now, while most people think about the Angel/Buffy/Angelus part of the show, that's not what hooked me. I was more interested in her friends. It ended, and still thought "well, it's better than studying for mid-terms".

When Season 3 came along, I was hooked. To me, it had finally hit its stride. I became more of a fan than those who got me addicted to it. I finished Buffy that winter & all 5 seasons of Angel during Spring Break (~10 days; believe me, I didn't leave the house!).

Didn't know about Firefly until a year later. My "other" friends from Jersey really enjoyed it because they love space shows. Recommended it. Tried it. Loved it.

So, I understand the resistance to it. But one those who are still resisting crack, that's it. Welcome to WHEDONesque. :)
quantumac: "For some reason I'm reminded of an ancient 'Green Acres' episode. This snooty, haughty character was asked if she'd seen a recent TV show. With her nose held high, she replied, "Oh, I don't own a television machine." Cracks me up every time I recall it."

I remember that exact same line from an episode of "Dick Van Dyke." For many years I used that line, because in my case it was true.

But then I got one and Mystery Science Theatre and then BtVS came along, and now I curse - with love - the inventor of that dem'd machine.

I've avoided Lost, Fringe, The Wire and a slew of other apparently-worthy shows - well, mainly because time appears to be finite and I don't intend to give up reading altogether.
Dark Angel was okay, not great, but okay; went downhill in the second season, but I was still resentful to learn it was being cancelled. And for what? "Some space western from that Buffy guy."

Just want to take the opportunity to point out that Dark Angel was cancelled before Firefly was picked up since I hear the above quote stated as fact so often. Much like the "DVD sales got Serenity greenlit". Not true, but a pretty lie.
*raises hand as another who avoided Buffy for a long time* A long time.

When I first heard about the show, I dismissed it because it had Kendall and the guy from those obnoxious commercials. Yeah, sure, Kendall had gotten a Daytime Emmy and all, but man, how she annoyed me. And, geez, I can't tell you how many times I rolled my eyes at those coffee commercials.

In college, I had roommates who watched the show, but I was usually just getting home when it was on, so the only thing I saw was that the red-headed people ended up as a couple. It still had Kendall, even if she was a blonde.

Later, as I spent more time in online fandom things, I started seeing more Buffy things (LiveJournal icons, mostly), and I knew people who really loved the show. But, I wasn't really interested. That is, until my brother, who'd recently given in and watched the show, was talking the show up. He thought I'd like the show, and, since he was right about "Babylon 5" (and "Firefly" and "Battlestar Galactica"), and because online friends who have good taste in shows absolutely love Buffy, I decided to watch. I think I made it through all of BtVS and Angel in under three months; ah, the joys of DVD.

As it turned out, I really ended up liking Kendall, who was quite awesome and not annoying, and, strangely enough, the guy from those stupid coffee commercials was my favorite. :)
Are there any other Whedonites out there who will own up to having once avoided the show?

Absatively. I actually avoided all three shows in turn (I know, shame!), each for a different reason.

When Buffy was on TV, a girl I absolutely hated loved it, especially Spike's invisible sex. I would have happily torn my eyes out before sharing an interest with her, therefore, no Buffy for me. Stupid? Yes, but it seemed vitally important when I was thirteen.

At the same time, many of my friends watched Angel. I asked them why. The only answer I ever got was, "Oh my God, David Boreanaz is sooooooooooo hot." Absolutely no offense meant to David, but I've always felt that watching a show solely in the hopes of seeing some guy with his shirt off is a dead waste of an hour. I did eventually cave, though, and wound up watching the fourth season simply because it was too scary to stop. (Which is why my dad banned me from watching the fifth season, which is a shame.)

Then about a year and a half ago, I was on my way home from a rehearsal during which the entire cast had been bawled out for nothing, and I had a sudden strong urge to watch a blond girl kick someone. So I rented Buffy...and fell in love.

I watched all of Buffy, and then all of Angel...and avoided Firefly because Nathan Fillion had scared me so much as Caleb, and I just couldn't believe he would be able to make me forget that as Mal. Then I watched Firefly, and got over it in about three seconds.

For me, the moment I fell in love with Buffy was the scene in the nightmare episode when her father dumps her, and the moment I knew I couldn't live without this show was the bedroom scene in Innocence. And for Firefly it was the dinosaurs. Obviously. Angel I'm less sure about, but it probably had something to do with lawyers:)
zeitgeist: Point taken, I should have stated that clearer -- just meant to say that DA was cancelled, then Firefly brought in to replace it after the fact, not necessarily that they planned that all along. I do, however, find a great deal of glee in post-9/11 Fox first neutering, then washing their hands of an "anarchist" show like Dark Angel, only to replace it with something even more subversive.
I avoided Buffy because she was a blonde cheerleader named Buffy (which was important to a goth teen, see), and I'd seen the movie and didn't like it all that much... except for Reubens' death scene, anyway. Years upon years later, I saw OMWF on the first airing because I'd heard it was going to be fantastic, and I'm a fan of musical episodes. It was great, but it wasn't enough to make me watch every season. After both Buffy and Angel were over, I finally decided to play a little catch-up, if only so I could understand all the damn in-jokes some of my friends had. Season one was okay, season two was better, and season three had me hooked. Don't get me started with season four, though. I intentionally stopped in the middle of that season and I refuse to go any farther for various reasons I'd prefer not to get into. Still, Buffy ain't bad. Haven't gotten into Angel and I don't think I will considering I'd originally wanted to watch it the way everyone else got to when it first aired -- as in, concurrent with the Buffy seasons. D'oh.

Okay, this story has a much happier ending. When it came to Firefly, I'd seen the commercials, and it looked exactly like some crappy real life combination Outlaw Star and Cowboy Bebop. So, liking those two, I didn't watch Firefly on principle, and I was glad it got kicked off the air, blatant rip-off that (I thought) it was. When Serenity came out in theaters, I was dragged to see it with the D&D group I'm in. It was... a real experience, I think. Especially because I could've sworn I heard people behind me singing along by the time the end credits got up to the instrumental theme song. The entire experience made me cry, which I don't do in public. Or private. Or ever. So I got the DVD set along with the Serenity DVD. It's the only complete series I own. (...And I just got my Dad into it. Yay!)

Sidenote: Joss' run on Astonishing X-Men helped get me back into comics, plus he made me respect Cyclops, which was no small feat. Thank you, Joss. <3
I always loved the whole idea of Buffy. I went to see the movie when I'd first come to LA and didn't really have enough money for food. I didn't watch the first season of the show when it first aired because I didn't have a TV then (combination of poverty and snobbery) but I read about it. It was one of the first things I checked out when I did get one, then I suddenly loved TV. Angel? I thought that show was made just for me. Firefly hit at a bad time when, in addition to the baseball pre-emptions, I was often in a place with no Fox.
But I had no resistance to the DVDs. This may sound like bragging, since people say that they're embarrassed about not catching on sooner. I don't think anybody should be the least bit embarrassed, but I'm confused about the lack of appeal.

Anybody who's resisting The Wire because they think it's not funny? It's funny.
I avoided Buffy until my sophomore year in college, when my roommate forced it upon me (thank you, Kim!) and I spent every lunch after that watching the entire series. Then I watched Angel. I'm actually a bigger fan of Angel than Buffy.

I think I unfortunately tuned into the show when they were playing the first season, when the acting wasn't amazing, and I was always convinced that the acting would bother me too much and I wouldn't be able to get into the story.

I do remember one of my best friends in middle school doing the 'Buffy roll' on her front lawn all the time, and I used to laugh at her. She would always talk about the next episode of Buffy to my other friends, and I still never wanted to see it.

Needless to say, it's much different than I thought it would be.
I too avoided Buffy. Some of my friends thought it was great but my parents were resistant and all I saw when I sneaked bits of the show was a blonde girl mooning after a studly guy and talking funny... blah (I honestly can't recall which bits these were now though, maybe it was a dream!). I used to say to my friends (aged 14) 'oh they pretend its all feminist but really they just want to see a hot girl jumping around in revealing clothes'. And so I continued with my life, seeing little bits here and there but never really getting interested...

Until late one night, about 2am actually, I was enjoying the fact that I'd just been allowed a TV in my room (age 16) by staying up late! (oops that vote of responsibility didn't pay off, sorry parents!). Channel 4 showed Five By Five (remember how badly they treated Angel?). I knew Angel was a Buffy spinoff but I was surprised and intrigued by the story of this girl and amazed by the ending. I had thought it was just going to be silly sci-fi fluff but it actually moved me. Straight away I started watching Buffy (or rather I waited for the start of S5 as I think that's how the scheduling went), again I was cautious until the end of Out Of My Mind and Spike's dream where again I was amazed by the surprise ending (with no backstory I hadn't seen it coming) - and that was the moment I was hooked. End of S5 had me rushing out to get all of the other seasons so I could be completely caught up (I also spoiled myself completely for S6 and a lot of S7 via fandom). Although Angel had pulled me in I didnít start watching that until Iíd made my way through 5 seasons of Buffy and decided to pick up Angel S1 as well, then I started watching it from S3.

I have to admit to snubbing Firefly at the start as well. I found it hard to get into and resented it for taking away Jossí focus from Buffy (a popular opinion in parts of fandom at the time and one that I found persuasive). I still watched it though but didnít get involved in fandom. After it was cancelled I grudgingly bought the DVDs and for the first time saw Serenity (episode) and really fell in love with the show, just about in time to see Serenity (film) at the cinema.

And that was my very long and boring Buffy origin story.

ETA: And I comletely avoided The Sopranos until I'd seen the first season of Mad Men and decided I'd see what all the fuss was about.

[ edited by Leaf on 2008-12-06 03:09 ]

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