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September 24 2003

(SPOILER) Code of the Whedonverse - Elect and the Damned? An excellent essay by Lisa over on the BAPS site...

I love this essay, and I agree with everything that she says. But in reference to this quote...

"For Spike never to have any happiness, recognition, or acceptance feels as though the Whedonverse only favors those who are the elect."

...I should think that it would be obvious by now that the Whedonverse most DEFINITELY favors the elect over the "unchosen". The whole "one girl in all the world" and "she is the Chosen One" motif seems to make that abundantly clear. The Scooby Gang have ALWAYS (at least after S3) been about insulting or marginalizing anyone that wasn't part of the core group. Xander in particular began as the series progressed to feel more and more comfortable with ridiculing those social fringe dwellers (such as geeks)... despite the fact that he himself used to be a geek, and he himself should know full well what it's like to be put down like that.

But I digress... Great essay, Lisa.

Sorry--can't agree. The essay seems to gloss over a great deal, ignoring ways in which other characters did suffer, experience consequences, separation, discipline or punishment, or express remorse for their "crimes." Xander didn't have to "go to hell, go directly to hell" for invoking the "musical demon," but he didn't get his happy ending, either, did he? Willow's "summer in Bath" wasn't a carefree vacation, it was a period of personal recrimination, discipline and training (although kinder than she had expected) and her return to her friends and to love was delayed by her own fears and regrets, and others' fears of her as well.

Yes, BtVS is a show about "the Chosen One"--to insist that that chosen one must be "Spike the Vampire" instead of Buffy is to beat one's head against a brick wall. However, a case can be made that the end of season seven, "Chosen," moves in that direction. Buffy and Faith finally find a way to share the Slayer power with all potential slayers, and Buffy acknowledges Spike as the Champion who made the ultimate cleansing of Sunnydale possible. He seemed pretty happy about that, from what I saw.

At this point, making sweeping statements about his role on Angel is pointless.

[ edited by Maeve on 2003-09-24 19:01 ]
Maeve - That was excellent. I don't think I can really add anything that you didn't already comment upon except to throw even more examples out there of how the author ignores or dismisses important parts of the story in order to buck up her point,. It's just another 'Poor Spike' essay (of which I've read quite a few this summer) which makes it just the flip side of the 'Kick Spike' essays. Sadly, it seems that a good deal of Buffy fandom has broken down into these two catagories (the atpobtvs board basically splintered over it) with Spike fans hating Angel and Angel fans hating Spike. So strange.

[ edited by unitas on 2003-09-24 19:36 ]
Oddly enough, I'm a HUGE Spike fan (actually met and fell in love with my wife via our mutual Spike fandom) and I don't hate Angel at all. And I didn't get even a hint of Angel hatred, or even Angel dislike out of Lisa's essay.

My personal take is that BtVS/AtS fandom has broken down into FOUR categories...

1. Those who love Spike to the exclusion of all others.
2. Those who HATE Spike and feel he is the worst character in the history of the series, usually blaming any dissatisfaction they feel towards the series on his very existence.
3. Those fans that are convinced that only categories 1 and 2 exist and so feel that any essay, article or opinion poll showing support of Spike (or I suppose to be fair I should say support of or outright disgust with him) is simply the ranting of some adle-brained fanboy/girl and wholly without merit.
4. Those of us who base our feelings on the show on more than just a love or hate of any one single character, whether it's Spike OR Angel (or Buffy or Willow or Xander, etc...).
I'm a Spike fan, but in spite of that I'm kinda staring to think it would have been better had he died a long time ago. He's become to scapegoat for the entire series and defending him has become exhausting for those of us brave enough to do it. It's just seems like no one can be objective when talking about him. I know very few fans who are ambivalent on the subject of the blonde vamp, most either love or hate him.

It is a cool essay though.
So you're saying that, although you're glad Spike didn't die long ago, you think he should have died so that people would stop complaining that he didn't?

My brain hurts.
I like Spike and I like Angel, is that wrong?
If it is wrong, you're in good company. With me. ;)
I have to say that I see if not Angel hate, then certainly Angel dismissal in the article. It never talks about what Angel's lost (love of his love, closest friends, his son) in his quest for redemption but works the "poor" Spike vibe about everything that happened to the character. I mean she uses the word 'apartheid' to describe the treatment of the characters which is one of those wild over-statements that you only see in net articles. You are right that it isn't an anti-Angel rant (like several others I've read) but that doesn't disguise it's imbalance when looking at all the characters.

By the way, Spike is my favorite character in the Buffyverse but that doesn't mean that I am going to side with any article that seeks to elevate him at the expense of the other characters which is what the vast majority of the fan writing about him seeks to do. I'd love to read a really thoughtful essay about Spike but everything I've read of late is too interested in either tearing the character down or building the character up (usually at the expense of others) instead of just dealing with the character.

[ edited by unitas on 2003-09-24 23:25 ]
I like Spike, I think he's an interesting character, and I think James Marsters is incredibly talented. I really don't care if he ends up with Buffy or not, and honestly, I think they're be better off as friends. All of my friends and I are pretty much neutral about the whole Spike thing. I don't think he's a saint or anything, but I don't want him killed off. What I hate is those Spike fangirls (mostly girls) who go on and on about how wonderful Spike is, and how Buffy is a bitch for treating him that way, and that she deserves to get raped, how the writers are horribly mistreating him, etc, etc. I think most of the anti-Spike resentment was just the backlash to all of that. I mean, I don't remember any Spike haters in Season 2 or 3.
samara1 - I think you are partly right about where the Spike backlash comes form. I also think a lot of fans resent Spike's increased presence in S7 for what they percieve as taking time away from the core Scobbies. Either way, I find the whole thing kinda silly.

Alos, I am sure there are people who just don't like the character.
At least Angel's callous act of leaving the lawyers to die was acknowledged and referred to later on in the series as a "bad thing". As the champion of the show, even if his faults are not explicitly punished, they should be pointed out. (Karmic repercussions are a bonus).

The gloss-over which bothers me the most is Buffy's attempt to kill her friends in "Normal Again". Obviously, she was a bit out of her mind, but the demon poisoning could at the very least be equated with the black magic poisoning that Willow had when she completely lost it. If Willow were counted as "going bad", then Buffy certainly did too.

But TPTB completely forgot about it: her friends hated her "zero much", and she never received (as far as I can remember, please correct me if I am wrong), any sort of verbal or karmic repercussions. Apparently, Whedon's female champion can get away with attempted murder if she is "in a bad place".
Yeah, but Buffy didn't choose to be poisoned by that demon in Normal Again, Willow chose magic, even after she promised Tara she wouldn't use magic. And Buffy didn't exactly kill anyone, and she was only "bad" for one episode, so I don't think there was any need for them to reference it later on. Sort of like when Xander was possessed in The Pack.
The 'choice' is a big component of the difference between the two storylines. Buffy is attacked and is thus under the influence of a mind-altering narcotic againist her will. Willow chooses to take a mind-altering narcotic (for very understandable reasons) and I would like to point out that the Scooby Gang at no point seeks to punish Willow, merely to stop here. Willow then has to deal with the fact that the power that nearly consumed the world is still very much a part of her which is another key difference in that after Buffy takes the antidote, she is no longer a threat to anyone so harping on what she did would seem rather callous of all those involved.

My day for the typo yesterday. Sorry.

[ edited by unitas on 2003-09-25 16:53 ]
"which is one of those wild over-statements that you only see in net articles"

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Sorry. Read that again. And again. And see the little babushka dolls.
Yeah, I meant to write fan articles. Oops!
Well, that doesn't make me go ha ha ha any less.

I'll spell it out. It's a sweeping statement. By a fan. On the net.
Spike and Angel have always both been my favorite characters. I have never understood the hatred between the two fan-camps. And I must say the people who don't like Spike are often a lot nastier and more fanatical.

I didn't think this article was too anti-Angel though. And I think people forget something in terms of 'punishment'. I mean, Xander's happiness didn't fail BECAUSE of his OMWF spell did it? I think this article meant more in terms of fan reaction and how other characters treat the 'wrongdoers'. Not how the writers 'punish' the characters in unrelated events.

But yes, some characters are forgiven easier than others. And some are under influence of 'outside dark forces' when they transgress, like Buffy trying to kill her friends and sister under the influence of demonic venom. (or something)or Xander trying to rape Buffy in S1. ('The Pack') He was under that Hyena spell.

Yep, under influence of dark magic. But what do you think being a soulless vampire is? I see NO difference between Xander's attempted rape or Spike's. Except Spike was hardly aware of what he was doing and felt bad afterwards (while still under the same 'influence') where Xander had a big ole grin on his face, and was certainly not sorry while still under the spell.
And once normal, Xander was instantly forgiven whereas Spike once souled, is still never trusted again by anyone except Buffy. (even apart from the First's brainwashing)

And then there's things like the "Willow said kick his ass" thing which Xander had NO supernatural excuse for. Just sheer pettiness. And he's never even sorry for it. (see his behavior to Buffy in S3) and never has to face Buffy for it. (Just 'almost' in S7, which was just annoying. Either go into it or don't.)

And that irks me especially when it's Xander who never cuts anyone outside his little circle any slack.

So I do agree with the article that some characters just get off a lot easier than others.
I think you are right that some characters are forgiven for their actions easier than other characters but that is is a lot like life itself. We grant special staus to those we love and forgive them things that we may not in others. We can't blame the show for being emotionally honest. Also, every situation cannot be treated the exact same way or else the show becomes rote. Sometimes we forgive the people we love when maybe we shouldn't. Sometimes we hold grudges longer than we should. Sometimes even the best of us can be petty & insular. That's what makes the Scoobies great characters instead of cartoons.

[ edited by unitas on 2003-09-26 06:14 ]
No I agree with all that. I wasn't saying it was a bad thing of the show. It did make it more realistic. I just meant that I think that was the gist of the article this thread is about. I think that was her main point.

She may not agree at all of course, heh.
I do agree with unitas with regards to her point about how we forgive those we love easier than others. With that said...I will never forgive Xander for the "Willow said kick his ass" statement.
I don't see why not, Coll. Considering that Angelus killed Jenny, tried to kill Willow, Buffy, Xander and tortured Giles. Why would Xander have said "oh, uh... Willow's trying to return Angel's soul... so take it easy on him."?

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