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January 22 2009

David Fury - "Well, it IS all about me". Buffyfest interviews our Mustard Man. Buffyfest asks David Fury questions and he answers with David Fury-like stuff. Hilarious.

Another great interview. Nice job, Buffyfest.

As for the content in the interview: Ha! Oh, "don't-call-me-Mr." Fury. He's really funny and he touched on so many interesting topics. I particularly enjoyed reading his response to what the best character moments were for Buffy and Angel:

Anytime Buffy and Angel looked passed their personal pains and issues, and embraced their heroic destinies, either through action or sacrifice, were always great and powerful.


I think those would be the 'Cue the music' moments. :)
He sounds gay.
I couldn't get past the passed.
Septimus, how does a gay sound like?
I couldn't get the passed parsed.
Rikardo, it doth protest a lot. :)

(The passed isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even passed.)
I would love to tell you of my other big plans and upcoming projects as I was certain I'd be moving on from 24 at this time... But, instead, I am in the process of renewing my contract as an executive producer of 24 for two more seasons.


So... I'm guessing this means no episodes by Fury when Dollhouse gets picked up for its second season.
The musical episode strays from the medium of non-musical tv drama. I'm sorry Mr. Mustard Man, but you're just not canonical.
Right two things.

For the benefit of the people who read the comments first (why!) and the interview second, Septimus was referring to Fury's comments in the interview.

Secondly, the spelling mistakes in interviews. We've done this death to here. Let's move on. There's plenty of stuff here to debate. I haven't read a Fury interview in ages and this will ignite cause raging controversy spark interest in the fandom.
I'm sorry Mr. Mustard Man, but you're just not canonical.

I never really believed they got the mustard out anyway, not in my own mind.
Loves me some Fury! And I always go passed past the article in favor of the comments. I have a lot more interest in my fellow Whedonesquers than I do in that other stuff... ;-)
Great interview! I love that we finally have the writer's explanation for the Awakening ending, and I love what that explanation is. I find myself nodding to a good chunk of his comments on the other Angel episodes and the Buffy comics and Locke's character development. And I simply adore his sense of humor. Fury FTW. :)

[ edited by Enisy on 2009-01-23 00:09 ]
Really? Past? Canon? You guys aren't serious. Buffyfest has had some good stuff and Fury is rad. I can't believe that's the nitpick.
It's remotely possible that some of the comments in this thread are not entirely serious.

Sorry. I don't want to shock anyone or anything.
No, I wasn't serious.
ha...yeah I guess I hadn't taken that possibility into consideration this go around ;)

Anyway, Fury rocks!
Great interview and I so agree with his views on season 8.
Wonderful interview and I have to say that as far as S8 goes, I've pretty much come to agree with Fury's statement as well.
(recently) Whedon disses Fury's show 24!
(this one) Fury claims Whedon's season eight non-canon!

You know what this means: cage match! There could be oil of some kind involved. (Of course, Fury's not gay, so....)

I agree with Fury's comments on Locke, as well. (And I disagree with him on S8 and ATF, but certainly understand his point.)
I think one of the things that always strikes me in interviews with the writers (other than Joss himself) is how much less deeply invested they are in the minutiae of the show than rabid and unhealthily obsessed fans such as you can find on, er, certain websites I might mention.

I mean, to have written that moment when Angel says "Buffy" as he's dream-boinking Cordy and then to have just not ever really thought about it again and to not really have a strong take on what it meant...I don't think there's any fan of the show that would be able to get their heads into that space.

I always think that shows like this--with long, complex mythologies--ought to hire some geeky fans as script supervisors to make sure that the writers don't screw up on these kinds of details (after all, who among us wouldn't do it for free?). I know that part of my disenchantment with Buffy S7 was that they kept forgetting important details about the Buffyverse (like when The First tortures Spike by sticking his head under water [and this just after Angel's spent the entire summer undersea], or when we keep hearing that for one of the Potentials to become the Slayer Buffy will have to die [helloooo--anyone remember Faith?], or when they start talking about the Slayer as "the guardian of the Hellmouth" [Giles wasn't even sure there was a Hellmouth at the beginning of S1--and we know that there's never been a Sunnydale Slayer before, and that there's at least one other Hellmouth, and that Slayers don't traditionally guard a Hellmouth] etc. etc.).
Snot Monster: it's a job, and they need to get a project done, come up with something new and keep going in order to get their next paycheck. Simple as that. Continuing to dwell on the details five years later over something they can't edit and/or continue anymore isn't going to give them anything but a complex (says, uh, the chronic perfectionist in the room ;) .
unhealthily obsessed fans such as you can find on, er, certain websites I might mention.

Damn that whedonverse.com!
Great interview, I really love David Fury's honesty in interviews

"I love that we finally have the writer's explanation for the Awakening ending"

But do we? It's his recollection 'fifty years' after the event and he readily admits he doesn't remember. Maybe I'm a bit resistant because I always thought that Angel imagining it was Buffy was a cooler interpretation

"The musical episode strays from the medium of non-musical tv drama. I'm sorry Mr. Mustard Man, but you're just not canonical."

Heh, funny. (Although TV is the medium and it's still that medium regardless of whether it's a drama, comedy, musical, documentary or anything else).
snot monster from outer space wrote:

I think one of the things that always strikes me in interviews with the writers (other than Joss himself) is how much less deeply invested they are in the minutiae of the show than rabid and unhealthily obsessed fans such as you can find on, er, certain websites I might mention.


I can think of at least one example of Joss having to maneuver himself out of something like that (the "Warren was legally dead for a second."-incident), but there are certainly more.

I always think that shows like this--with long, complex mythologies--ought to hire some geeky fans as script supervisors to make sure that the writers don't screw up on these kinds of details (after all, who among us wouldn't do it for free?). I know that part of my disenchantment with Buffy S7 was that they kept forgetting important details about the Buffyverse (like when The First tortures Spike by sticking his head under water [and this just after Angel's spent the entire summer undersea], or when we keep hearing that for one of the Potentials to become the Slayer Buffy will have to die [helloooo--anyone remember Faith?], or when they start talking about the Slayer as "the guardian of the Hellmouth" [Giles wasn't even sure there was a Hellmouth at the beginning of S1--and we know that there's never been a Sunnydale Slayer before, and that there's at least one other Hellmouth, and that Slayers don't traditionally guard a Hellmouth] etc. etc.).


I think Joss has mentioned that by S7 he was more inclined to go with emotional resonance than with strong, fandom-y continuity. And the way I saw S7, as someone who was religiously outraged by all the stupid discontinuities of Star Trek, I was totally with him on that perspective. What mattered after seven years was what was happening to Spike. Not whether or not vampires can breathe.

Don't get me wrong, in the beginning stages of a show such things are important, and maybe, if there's no character development or emotional resonance to begin with, they can be pretty much the only thing to cling to (but then again - who would watch such a show? ;). But once I fall for these people, they matter more than the rules of the universe they inhabit (which, fittingly, is also one of the messages of S7). Of course it would have been great/better, if they kept track of it. But I hold no grudge that they didn't, since I didn't notice. Because I was on the edge of my seat because of the other stuff that was happening on screen. So the "somewhat convenient" plotholes basically mirror my somewhat convenient willingness to ignore/overlook them. :)

(Come to think of it, I don't think season 7 was the only season with somewhat convenient discontinuities. I think you can find them all over the place. But sometimes you notice, sometimes you don't, depending on how... distracted you are. Maybe you were more angry with the actual plot of S7 than with the holes in it? Like with cheese. [Or, I could just take your "part of my disenchantment"-part more seriously, and stop repeating redundant stuff.])
Thing is, this is his job. He can't recall all the details, he has to work on enw stuff the next day. I once asked Vincent Price about one of his Broadway appearances and he gave me an answer about his movies instead. Fury probably knows plenty of details about whatever he "geeks for;" we just happen to do it for writing in which he played a part.

And I still have "tribble" picturing him without Mustard Guy's manly beard.

If ie ver get a chance to have my artifact made and get a chance for him to sign it, I must remember he doesn't like to be called "Mr."

"It's Cutter, just Cutter; first names and the title 'Mister' are for real people."


smfos, weisengrund: Yes, vampires don't breath. Having one's head held under water probably still doesn't feel all that "wonderful, wonderful, oh, how wonderful, my love."

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-01-23 02:07 ]
I completely disagree with Fury's take on Season 8. As well as his take on "canon" (places hand grenade in can of worms and pulls pin...)
Just to clarify: I didn't say I resented David Fury for not being an obsessed fan. I quite understand why he wouldn't remember (or care) about the details in the way that obsessed fans do. That's why I was saying that shows like this should hire a couple of obsessed fans to catch such things.

I'm not, actually, the kind of person who picks up on incredibly subtle goofs, but I think it's one of the important things for any genre of writing to create a world in which we understand the rules. In, say, an action show I need to understand who it is who is trying to attack our hero, what it is that our hero needs to accomplish, what skills our hero has, and what constraints s/he is operating under. In a romance I have to understand why it is that our lovers can't immediately get together, I have to understand what problems face them and understand what would constitute solutions to those problems. Bad action films are films where the filmakers seem to think that as long as there are things blowing up, I don't care that there's no reason for them to blow up, or that the hero didn't really have any way to make them blow up. Bad romances are ones where the entire premise for keeping the leads apart would fold if they'd just phone each other up for ten seconds etc.

Of course in some sense it doesn't matter that they simply forget that vampires don't need to breathe (so actually, DaddyCatALSO, being held under water should be a nice refreshing break for Spike in the torture scenes)--you could just hold up a sign saying "Spike gets tortured here." But on the other hand, if we're in a world where vampires do need to breathe at one moment and don't need to breathe at another moment, or where the Turok'Han is a practically unkillable monster at one moment who expressly cannot die by being staked and then is somewhat more feeble than the average newbie vamp the next moment and can die by being staked, I, at least, lose the ability to suspend my disbelief in the world. I feel that there aren't really any rules. If there are no real rules in the world, then there's no reason to believe that the challenges facing my heros are particularly real either. They're just the arbitrary impediments that the writers are throwing in their way so as to have some kind of story to fill the 44 minutes with.
*throws body onto grenade*

Let's not do the whole canon discussion again, K? Why not focus instead on Fury's analogy of a movie adaptation, which is one I'd not heard before, or his thoughts about limits making for better storytelling . . .

ET clarify: posted simultaneously with snot monster's comment, but referring to Rowan's comment preceding that . . .
Er...are you referring to my argument when you say the "canon discussion"? I'd have thought that what I'm saying is directly relevant to the point about limits making for better storytelling.
SNT, grumblekilljoygrumble Okay. I have heard both of those points before, and I will grant that there is some validity to both, but they are not necessarily truths set in stone.

In the first place, the Season 8 comic is not, strictly speaking, an adaptation of the story, as the "Origin" comic was; it's a continuation of the story, by the same creator, and in some cases, the same writers. That, I think, makes it distinct from an "adaptation", as, for instance, the film version of "Wizard of Oz" compared to the novel. I'm not sure what anyone gains to focus on the media in preference to the story.

In the second place, while it may be true that a lack of resources can force writers to "live within their means", so to speak, that doesn't guarantee that the writer will put their efforts into storytelling instead of special effects - any number of grade-D films will prove that. Nor does it necessarily mean that having greater resources automatically results in a writer giving up the story in favor of effects. It is possible to have both.
Limits make for better art. Period. That is assuming the artist is up to the challenge. Mastery of skill set and materials a must. Also...something to say.

(Does anyone else now have a picture in their head of SNT falling on the grenade and the rest of us blowing up a la Top Secret?)
BreathesStory:
Limits make for better art. Period. That is assuming the artist is up to the challenge. Mastery of skill set and materials a must. Also...something to say.

If you have to put qualifiers on it, then they don't make for better art "period". They make for better art sometimes - just like I said they do. And even given those qualifiers, there's no "period" there. Tolkien's publisher could have given him a hundred pages maximum, and we might have gotten a good story - but we wouldn't have "Lord of the Rings".
Funny, I never really thought about it, and I was always assuring myself that S8 feels "pretty much" like the show in terms of characterization and storytelling. Now I realize there's a lot of stuff going on that actually is pretty much unthinkable on a TV show (with Buffy's budget). Some of it seems to be very cool and/or funny gimmick ("Church me.", Mecha Dawn, etc. ), some seems to have some very emotional weight too (Destruction of Slayer HQ, Giant Dawn, Haddyn,...).

But I guess that's a normal process a long story always goes through. Joss was happy that by S3 the CGI got good enough to do a Big Bad that was totally CGI. And I don't see S3 as worse art at all. It was just expending the possibilities, just like S8 does now. As long as they don't go all Watergate on it, I'm cool.
Aah, but it depends on what you mean by limits now doesn't it? True, length is a limit, as is money, time and almost anything else you can name. I'm not claiming that limits in all dimensions all the time are inspiring. Not at all. That's when suffocation ensues.

Limits are created by choices; sometimes they are yours and sometimes they are imposed by outside conglomerate forces. : ) Each choice is a new limit and changes the challenge. And if you don't have the chops then you won't be able to meet the challenge.

Now not being a Tolkien expert by any measure, (I've mostly read the books and seen the movies - I'm just not a milieu story sort of person) I know that he had some limits, if only the ones he gave himself in terms of what he wanted to portray (ex. cultures vs. characters for the most part, the Hobbits being the exception). But I can't really debate on the basis of Tolkien.

I don't think of being able to put to good use one's medium and having a point of view as 'qualifiers.' To me they are just the absolute minimum requirements.

So, does this topic qualify for "ignite/cause raging controversy/spark interest in the fandom?"
Aah, but it depends on what you mean by limits now doesn't it? True, length is a limit, as is money, time and almost anything else you can name.

Yes, and for any one of those resources you can find examples where the lack thereof forced the artist to tighten his or her work and arguably improve it. Problem is, you can also find examples where the lack of that resource was detrimental to the work or where having that resource allowed the artist to realize the vision. Bottom line, there are lots of variables, and much depends on the artist; lots of movies today would be improved if the producers worried less about special effects and more about the screenplay, but taking away their SFX budget is no guarantee that they'd actually divert that attention to the screenplay.

And Tolkien was just an example, as was length of the work; I might just as easily have said, "Tolkien's publisher could have told him he couldn't use elves and talking trees"...
All I get from that is that Fury isn't that much into comics, which I already knew. You can find out a lot about the writers from listening to the commentaries on the Buffy and Angel and Firefly DVDs.

ETA: I meant just on that part that seemed to be harped upon. Great, funny interview.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2009-01-23 05:06 ]
Sure, limits can force a writer to challenge themselves, and find new, more innovative ways to do things, rather than just go with their first instinct and do things the easy way. But, I don't think that external limitations are the only reason writers think about alternate ways to do things and choose the method that's best, rather than easiest. I mean, if they actually think about it, decide on the best method, and then, because of the limit, can't go through with it... well, then the limit's hurting the story, isn't it?

It's kinda funny, at the moment, some of us are arguing for limits on a creator's vision. On the other hand, aren't some of these limits the things we regularly complain about: executive meddling, softening the show's content, dumbing down to make it more accessible, making everything fit the mold?

Also, on the topic of comics being less limited... I don't think they are. They just have different limits to tv. Sure, you have an unlimited special effects budget, but you don't have the same sense of movement, the actor's voice to say the words and give them tone, or even the amount of space and time and dialogue that 42 minutes of tv gives you. So it's not like their a limit free medium that doesn't challenge the writer. They just give different challenges.
Also no music as a short-cut to an emotional response from the viewer
I've never called him 'Mr', but I can say David had no objection to being called 'Uncle Fury' when he came to Australia a few years ago! He was a real pleasure to meet and I think his personality shines through in interviews such as this one.
I'm intrigued by David's attitude to the comics, but given the events of ATF and Joss's assertion that he would lose S8 in a heartbeat if needed, I'm not surprised.

It's funny how the things we fans obsess over are just water off a duck's back to the actual writers, but I don't think any series should be opened up to fan consultation. It veers scarily close to the whole 'lunatics taking over the asylum' idea! Sometimes writers need to take a risk to keep a series fresh and new, and if they happen to make mistakes, well such is life.

What I would love to know is what the mustard man, as a character, is up to now. Perhaps he's taken up a job as one of those annoying guys on the ads. You know, the ones who accost you outside a supermarket, invade your home, throw a variety of stuff on a white dress shirt (soil! ketchup!! blood!!!) and then make you wash it in their preferred detergent...
but I don't think any series should be opened up to fan consultation

Oh, I absolutely agree if it meant consultation on story direction ("should we kill this character?" "No, no, I really LOVE her!"). I mean it simply at the level of "if I use geflurgle oil to kill this character, will that contradict any established rules of the verse" way. More like a continuity person ("hey, the cigarette just got longer") than anything.

Re the limits thing: it's an endlessly interesting question. We all want our artists to be free of censorship and meddling and so forth, but we also all know that much of the greatest art ever produced was produced under the pressure of appalling state and church repression. Shakespeare knew that if he said the wrong thing he could get his tongue nailed to a stake (and that would be the MILD punishment). The limitation of having to creep up crabwise on many of his most compelling subjects (the rights and duties of a king, for example) only make his plays richer, however. There's some kind of payoff in that obliquity that yields generality.

A similar point might be made about TV shows under the repressive eye of the FCC or the Hays office. Do films today--for all their increased explicitness--really say more or more interesting things about love and sex than films did in the 30s, 40s and 50s? I could argue versions of both a "no" and a "yes" answer to that question. On the other hand, I'd fight any attempt to return to the days of the Hays office.
I bet when Joss and David are in the same room, they spend a lot of time one-upping each other's crazy talk.
A few things: RE: S7 continuity, I always assumed the "drowning" torture was about causing an unpleasant physical sensation, not threatening death; ever aspirated water? It feels horrible, even if you know you won't drown.

Two, the question of how the Slayer line worked post first-Buffy-death was never answered on screen, to the best of my recollection. The stock answer in interviews was that it ran through Faith alone, but this was never stated on the show, and thus was unofficial. Plus, even if that is how it was, there is no reason to think that Buffy, Giles, or especially the Potentials would know or assume that, given that the that the situation was unprecedented.

RE: storytelling limits. Removing limits is not a guarantee of better story, but the incongruity between the limits of the show and the lack of limits of the comics make the comics feel too NOT like the show for me to feel them properly as a direct continuation.
Perhaps he's taken up a job as one of those annoying guys on the ads. You know, the ones who accost you outside a supermarket, invade your home, throw a variety of stuff on a white dress shirt (soil! ketchup!! blood!!!) and then make you wash it in their preferred detergent...

Nah, he's got a lot of work that's writing. If it's not entirely what we might have wanted to see from him, that's too bad for us.
It could have been some kind of dilute holy water. Or unpleasantly hot. Or yak urine. Or garlic water.

If there is some kind of liquid that vampires hate being dunked in, then I am sure the First would know about it and use that.
I always thought the annoyance with Spike being drowned as a torture was at heart an annoyance with S7 itself. If the episodes had been more compelling, people still would have noticed the problems, but wouldn't have been that bothered by them.

I don't recall any complaints about Spike choking Dru into unconsciousness in Becoming. With no breath and no beating heart to pump blood, choking her was as unlikely to do damage as the water dunking, but since people loved that episode, they ignored or fanwanked any objection. The same with newly risen Angelus blowing smoke after vamping the prostitute. Some people may have commented on it, but the coolness factor outweighed everything else for most people.

I once watched the episode Passion after reading all the complaints about lax execution and missed continuity which dogged S7. I wanted to see if the earlier seasons were really that much better. I ended up writing a long post detailing all the errors which I found. Admittedly, most were minor or debatable and could be fanwanked. But they were there. It wasn't hard to nitpick the episode to death. And since I adore Passion, none of those lapses matter to me a bit. But I don't adore S7, especially the middle episodes, which may explain why I share in the irritation with the continuity errors.
well, my personal (but I'm sure it's not really original) fanwank on the whole slayer line business is that Willow's resurrection spell in season 6 re-established it somehow through Buffy as well.

So after that the line is sort of split between her and Faith: that's where the "instability" the Beljoxa's Eye blabs about in season 7 comes from and what allows the First the opportunity to end it once and for all.
Well, as far as breathing goes, vampires can clearly inhale and exhale, otherwise they couldn't speak or smoke cigarettes; they just don't need the oxygen. Likewise, there's no reason Angel couldn't have given Buffy CPR in "Prophecy Girl"; in fact, it would have been more effective coming from him, because the air he exhales would have a higher oxygen content, not using any himself.

The sleeper hold on Dru in "Becoming" has always bothered me; it shouldn't work, and there's just no real way to fanwank it.
Also, on the topic of comics being less limited... I don't think they are. They just have different limits to tv.

Yep, exactly snowinhell, comics still have limitations and not understanding that or being able to use those limits creatively is why not all good screenwriters/novelists make good comics writers.

If the episodes had been more compelling, people still would have noticed the problems, but wouldn't have been that bothered by them.

Yep, it's generally true I think that you notice gaffes like that when there's something else wrong with what you're watching (or if they're so huge that you can't help but notice them. Then they take you out of the story and that - apart from the fun of spotting stuff which floats some boats - is the main reason they're a problem).

I always assumed the "drowning" torture was about causing an unpleasant physical sensation, not threatening death; ever aspirated water? It feels horrible, even if you know you won't drown.

Yeah but why aspirate the water at all ? Aspiration is a result of breathing in and if you don't need to breath in then, y'know, don't ;).

(Angel's case is slightly different since I suspect the pressure at that depth would force water up your nose and into your lungs which probably wouldn't be pleasant. Even then though, that torture was more about being trapped in a dark, cold, wet, soundless place with effectively no hope of rescue - Connor clearly hadn't reckoned on Wesley and his Amazing Bucket ;)
I now need to start a band called 'Wesley and his Amazing Bucket'
Heh, if only the bucket could, in any sense, be described as 'Dancing' that would be a perfect band name. Nigh perfect's pretty good too though ;).
Likewise, there's no reason Angel couldn't have given Buffy CPR in "Prophecy Girl"

This one really bothered me until I decided that there must be some mystical component - in the Buffyverse, CPR is not purely a physical process. And therefore Angel, being dead, can't give life ;)
I just ignore all the vampire not-breathing no heartbeat stuff. As soon as they started writing that in they started contradicting it.
The sleeper hold on Dru in "Becoming" has always bothered me; it shouldn't work, and there's just no real way to fanwank it.

Sure there is. Dru is batshit crazy. She passed out because she thought that's what she should do.
Actually, I adore "Becoming," but remember being bugged as hell by Spike's sleeper hold thing. I can fanwank it though, because the way he's holding her it's not clear that the only thing he's meant to be doing is preventing her from breathing. If he just had a hand over her mouth and nose it really would be a problem, but he's also forcing her head forward (IIRC). We know that vamps have nerves (they feel pain etc.), and that they can be knocked unconscious, so it's conceivable that it's possible to make a vamp pass out by applying pressure to some nerve cluster. There's nothing in the "rules" of the verse that says that that is impossible.

Similarly, when Angel says he "has no breath" to give Buffy CPR, there's no more reason to worry about that than there is to worry about the fact that Vampires don't get burned up by moonlight when we all know that moonlight is just reflected sunlight. It's metaphysics, not physics. Vampire breath doesn't give life--that's fine. All that matters is internal consistency: just don't let Angel give someone else CPR later on in the series.

Spike being waterboarded is just a silly mistake, though (as is giving us a dramatic "Oh my god, Turok'han's can't be staked" dramatic moment and then having people merrily stake them later on). We know it's not Holy Water because it would steam (and, really, someone would have to be shown pouring a bottle of Holy Water into the tub).

As for Buffy and the slayer line--the point is not whether or not Buffy's death can bring forth another slayer. The problem in S7 is that people repeatedly say that in order for one of the potentials to become The Slayer Buffy would have to die. This, you may remember, is a shocking realization for Dawn in "Potential" (an episode I happen to really enjoy, despite that lapse). But Dawn knows perfectly well that this isn't the case. She knows perfectly well that she could be the next slayer (assuming that she is a potential) if someone killed Faith.

Now, of course, none of these things are, in themselves, devastating problems. I still think, though, that cumulatively they have the effect of eroding our ability to suspend our disbelief. If we begin to think that the "rules" of the fictional world can be suspended at will for the convenience of the story, then why should we believe in the reality of any of the threats that face our heros, or care about any of the challenges they face; after all, the writers can just magic them away if they become inconvenient.

I also think that there are far more (and far more serious) problems of this kind in S7 than in any of the previous seasons. Certainly none of the earlier problems cited so far in this thread rise to anything like the level of those I've mentioned in S7.
P.S.:

Yeah but why aspirate the water at all ?

Exactly. Angel isn't being tortured by having to "breathe" water when he's under the sea. He's being tortured by starvation (and isolation and despair, presumably). Hence the dreams about feasts where he doesn't get any food and about feeding on Cordy etc. Hence Wesley's decisions to feed him his own blood when he brings him up.
Yeah but why aspirate the water at all ?

True but whether he needed to or not the scene appeared to show that Spike did inhale, as we see him aspirating it right back up immediately afterward. So there's a simple non-metaphysical explanation for the torture, namely that Spike is dumb (or at least that Spike is dumb when he's just had the brains beaten out of him by a real vampire).
Well yes, you could also have a scene in which Buffy is tortured by being given a stick which she chooses to hit herself with. I'm not saying it wouldn't hurt her, but I'm still going to wonder why the torturers figured that she'd do something so stupid.
Fact is, breathing or not, you've got holes in your head, like nose and ears. Being upside-down in a container of water can't be that pelasant.

Likewise, vampires don't have heartbeats but their blood does circulate as we've seen . So SPike blocked off DRu's blood supply to the brain.

As for Angel and CPR, as was suggested, in the Buffyverse the supernatural bleeds into the natural. A dead thing can't restore life. Although really in that case Angel should have said soemthing like maybe "I have evil breath."

I'ven't seen the ep.s with the Turok-Han but I gather their resistance to staking is the result of natural body armor. Hit it hard enough in a right spot and the stake goes in, I guess.

Almost anything is wankable when you try.
Well, most thinks are wankable, but not all:

Fact is, breathing or not, you've got holes in your head, like nose and ears. Being upside-down in a container of water can't be that pleasant.

I'm not sure if you've ever been swimming, but as a matter of fact we know perfectly well that as long as you don't have to breathe, being under water is a rather nice experience. I guess if the water wasn't saline and Spike had had his eyes propped open that would have stung a little, but as he was able to close his eyes and didn't have to breathe, there's just nothing wankable there. Sorry.

I'ven't seen the ep.s with the Turok-Han but I gather their resistance to staking is the result of natural body armor. Hit it hard enough in a right spot and the stake goes in, I guess.

Yes, that's the explanation that fans came up with later. There's only one problem with it. We see Buffy's stake go all the way in to the first T'H, we see him pull it out--whole. There's just no wankability gap there for the "tough sternum" idea.

And there's really more to it than that. Buffy's a vampire slayer. What's the absolutely canonical way of killing a vamp? Staking. When we see her stake the T'H, and the T'H doesn't die it's a HUGE moment. Our world's are clearly meant to be rocked. "Oh my god, these guys can't be staked! What other forms of vamp death might they be invulnerable to?"

It's just bad storytelling to then say "Psych!--they are stakable after all. Actually, they're really just ugly, awkward looking vamps with no extra powers at all! Buffy just didn't push the stake in that extra millimeter!" Pah!

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