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June 22 2009

Is it Joss' fault vampires are weak now? Interesting read on the link between the vampires in Joss' work and more recent vampire-centric fiction.

Although I think I agree more with some of the comments on the article than the article itself.

I don't agree with a thing he says. The vid on the other hand is done quite well, but it has already been deleted a couple of times now and all in all I wouldn't say the added piece makes the link that much more worthwhile, just my opinion ofcourse.

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2009-06-22 22:34 ]
Well, there's one person I don't agree with, who apparently never watched Dark Shadows or Forever Knight.
Having just watched Buffy Season One I will state for the record that Angel did not "stalk" Buffy in Season One. When he shows up he does so to share information or to help her fight off, you know, vampires. Sometimes he skulks but that is because he hasn't really been around humans much for the last few decades and he doesn't trust himself entirely. All this has been thoroughly explained within the continuity of the show.

Poor, Angel. Dude gets a bad wrap. Don't worry, fictional character, I got your imaginary back.
Meh, I blame vampire romance novels. When the subtext became the text, it all started to go wrong (typing that, I'm sure it's a Whedonverse quotation, but I can't place it).

Anyway, Buffy had angst, but it was justified angst, which I think is the key difference between Buffy and other modern vampire fiction.

ETA: On another note, Stalker-Angel is only very superficially comparable to Stalker-Edward. The former was creepy as hell (I'm thinking about Angel leering over Buffy in Passion) compared to the latter which was presented as... well, romantic.

I'm also glad the "Buffy v. Edward" video finally got a link here. I think it's worth watching, because even though I support the mods' decision to delete it (there's no point stirring up resentment between fanbases) there's no denying it's well made, and quite fun as long as you don't take it too seriously.

Finally, since we get a load of io9 links here these days, perhaps we could start giving credit to the actual authors of the blog posts, rather than io9 itself?

[ edited by MattK on 2009-06-22 23:17 ]
I can't even get into the many ways I disagree with this article without having an "I can't go to bed, someone is WRONG on the internet!" moment.
Ugh, seriously MattK I am with you on that. Joss worked with subtlety or humor filled subtlety, which apparently was completely lost on some people. Where as other vampire works believe that where less is more, just image how much more will be and proceed to beat me over the head with the themes that I enjoy inferring rather than being told. As said in the former series finale of Futurama, "You can't have your characters announcing how they feel! That makes me feel angry!"
I'm kind of pissed that this guy has a piece of the Buffy set piece in his house, but so clearly misunderstands Spike's role on the show (as far as I'm concerned, there never was a Buffy-Spike romance, so how could it be ill-conceived?). Also, Spike does not watch will joyful glee while "his fellow vampires" destoy Sunnydale after Buffy died. Those were chaos demons. Can I get a piece of the Buffy set please?
Well, I thought some aspects of Spike's arc were poorly handled . . . but the comparison to Twilight doesn't make a lot of sense, to me. I mean, Spike and Angel actually had reasons to be tortured: they weren't just perpetually angsty teenagers. And Angel's "stalking" was nowhere near as creepy as Edward's . . . mostly because we all knew Buffy could take him. (Which is, IMO, the more relevant point when comparing the franchises: there may be some superficial similarities between Angel and Edward, but Bella's the AntiBuffy in pretty much every way possible.)
The quote (paraphrase really) is from the Buffy episode "Ted." Giles says something like "The subtext here is rapidly becoming the text."
Hey, Eli is no emo vamp, but the real thing, and not a stalker of anyone, even Oskar. Eli would tear Edward Cullen's head off in a second. Just saying.
For someone who loves BtVS so much he sure did get his facts wrong. Spike got the chip in his head in season FOUR and in season Six Spike found out he could HURT Buffy not bite her.

I thought Spike's character was fabulous post soul. I loved the fact that he was evil but could feel love. He was there enemy but still fought on the of the Scoobies. When Spike got his soul I thought they castrated his character. I did not find him interesting on Angel, he was only useful in how he made Angel think about the Shan-Shu profecy. Emo, tortured vamps are boring (Angel first part of Season 2 on BtVS, Spike with a soul, Edward, Bill from True Blood ect). Fun vamps who embrace they vampiness, good television and film.
Thanks barboo for the source! There was that weird moment of "oh, I know just the phrase! look how eloquent I can be!" and then the realisation that you're just quoting someone else. ^_^

And I must have missed them criticising Eli, but yeah I agree, there's no way she's an emo vamp. She's creepy/scary/someone-you-really-want-as-a-friend, but definitely not emo.
erendis. I like your point. The more relevant argument is the comparison of heroines. Buffy, can take care of herself and kill her lover if it saves the world. Bella would rather kill herself than loss her lover. Angel stalked Buffy, but he was never a real threat...well, maybe sometimes. Edward stalked Bella and she thought it was romantic. Ewwie.
The mods deleted the Buffy vs Edward???? Finally, an answer! I thought I was going crazy, I clicked on it, watched it, then came back to Whedonesque to comment and poof! gone. I understand but I wish they would have mentioned it, althought that might have defeated the purpose.
luv4whedon, sorry for being a pedant, but the author of the article was female, not male (darn English and it's lack of a gender-neutral third person pronoun). This is why I think it's worth putting the author's name as well as/instead of the blog name in the post description... Also, you might be interested in this page -- it explains why certain posts are deleted on whedonesque.

Since the last time I commented on a thread like this, I have actually *gasp* read the entire Twilight series. Oddly enough, it's left me with a little bit of a soft spot for it, in that I now appreciate it a little (I don't think anyone can read that much about the same characters and not get attached to them in some way). That said, I stand by all my previous criticisms now more than ever. Bella is an atrocious role model, and I couldn't agree more with the above posts... "Ewwie" indeed.

[ edited by MattK on 2009-06-23 00:44 ]
Sorry about the gender misstep.
MattK, I feel somewhat endeared to SOME of the Twilight characters too; I've tried not to, but I can't help. I like what you said about how about you can spend that much time with them and not get attached.
I'm sure I'm going to catch hell for this, but the devil may care. To an extent, the person whom wrote the original essay is partially correct; it is the case that 'vampires' have been watered down, at least from their 19th century depictions as metaphors for dangerous foreigners in English trash novels. Stoker's Dracula, the exemplar for English-speaking audiences, acted metaphorically for anti-aristocratic, anti-Eastern European sentiments in lower middle class England, and served to fuel anti-Balkan feelings that came to head with the outbreak of the First World War.
Well, someone who responded to the article says it's really Frank Langella's fault when he made Dracula sexy on Broadway and the movies. That makes a lot more sense to me.
Peanut Noir. No hell from me. I think there are actually two vampire genres. The romantic, tortured vamp who is part of society and the horrific monster who prey on humans. Joss blends them very well.
Eli would tear Angel's head off as well. :-)
I blame Mary Shelley. She made a gothic monster and science fiction very scary and very human at the same time.
I'm not even going to read the article. But weak?! Have they seen True Blood? Hardly weak.
You've got that right, Dana5140. Eli is for sure scarier and more brutal than any of the other mentioned vamps, Angelus not exempted- and simultaneously heart-breaking, which is pretty amazing.

For the most part, (with some exceptions, like, say, the Gentlemen), the Buffyverse is not really particularly scary in that way, IMO. It is more about other stuff, really.
Blame Anne Rice (is she Canadian?)!

Naw, I love her first two books in the Vampire Chronicles madly, deeply. Will always adore Lestat, Louis, and Claudia. But isn't that when the big vamp lovefest really got huge?

Louis could be kind of a pussy at times, even though he was a good guy deep down. ;)
I thought the author dismissed Anne Rice, possibly because it didn't support their theory. Angel could take brooding lessons from Louis.
I got bored halfway through the article, maybe because I'm a huge Buffy fan but not otherwise particularly interested in vampires. But I did think the Buffy / Edward mash-up was funny, even without having seen / read Twilight. But project bitsy (great name!) made me laugh more with this:

Poor, Angel. Dude gets a bad wrap. Don't worry, fictional character, I got your imaginary back.

Hee. Also, when did Sunfire turn blue? Hi, blue-Sunfire! Are you famous now?
He's a mod, baby!

Vampires are weak now? The main thesis for the topic seems to be all about Twilight, which I have no interest in at all. 30 Days of Night had vampires so feral and devoid of human qualities it was wonderful and horrible to watch at the same time. They were more like zombies in their mindlessness to simply kill and maim. True Blood had a shocking end to S2, Episode 1, and beginning of Episode 2. If that doesn't jolt you out of your Vampires are romantic, ineffectual creatures of the night stupor (should you be in one), nothing will.

I still remember the lyrics to Rest in Peace, probably my favorite song in OMWF, and like to sing it straight through once in awhile.
My English prof met Anne Rice at a convention and didn't have really nice things to say about her. I've only read one of her novels but it was a little over angsty for me.
He's a mod, baby!

Yay Sunfire! But I thought mods were orange? Is Sunfire the sad mod?
... Who is Eli?
@Willowy- was that said in an Austin Powers sort of accent? :)
Admins are yellow (or orange on my screen). Mods are blue. Thanks, and I'm a she. Something clever rhyming with oo.

Of Anne Rice's stuff I've only read Interview With The Vampire, and Louis stood out as a pretty compelling character. It's true he does get a bit too emo for me at times. I like my vampires with emotions and human conflicts.
Eli is the 12-year-old vampire that is at the heart of the movie Let the Right One In, which is one of the great movies of the past few years. Eli is unlike nearly any vamp you have ever seen, but s/he embodies qualities we know from vamps. In fact, one of the great scenes from the movie, which is also very moving, is to see what happens when a vamp enters a room without being invited. It is not funny at all. Eli needs blood, and she has a familiar that helps her get it, until he screws up, and we see what Eli has to do to get blood on her own. The ending can be taken in two radically different ways, as well. It is a GREAT movie, one I will sing the praises of. There is nothing at all romantic or gothic about Eli; she just is.
I second that Sunfire.
So, Dana, do you have an opinion on the ending of Let the Right One In? I agree that it can be taken two -or more- ways, but when I suggested to the friend I saw it with that maybe he was her new familiar...she didn't just disagree- she thought the idea was completely off the wall!
I think Spike answers this whole essay's charge in School Hard. "Do people still fall for that Anne Rice routine?" So Joss may have pushed it further, but it's her fault.

That said, Angel could get creepy... and that probably reflects the fact that he's a demon with a thin human overlay. He admits he's a touch stalkerish himself, I think in What's My Line: "I lurk." The show at least poked fun at it in Lie to Me, with the vampire-loving cult that has it all wrong about ordinary vamps... but isn't actually that far off about Angel, at least in his fashion sense.

Some people feel Spike's journey of redemption destroyed his character; I simply can't agree. I thought it was the best character development ever, until I saw the rest of Wesley's arc... and say what you will, Spike was always a bit more fun to watch. What this essay misses is that even at his most emo moments, Spike was the truth-teller: he unfailingly points out what everyone else is tiptoeing around, even while completely crazy: "Well, yeah; where have you been all night?"

[ edited by ManEnoughToAdmitIt on 2009-06-23 03:55 ]
Okay -- yes, I have seen "Let the Right One In"and although I do like the film I was not amazed by it as many others apparently have been (was disappointed mostly because I was expecting a horror film and instead found a supernatural drama).

However... you all do know that Eli is not a "she," right? One particular fleeting image in the film as well as the novel explain for those who are not in-the-know.
It was indeed a great movie, Dana--loved the scene you mention, and the ending. (Not so much the pool scene as the train scene.) toast, my initial take on the ending, and the one I think most compelling, was the same as yours, I think:

(edited in an effort to fix invisitext . . .)

[ edited by erendis on 2009-06-23 04:10 ]
Yes, that's what I thought, too, erendis.
... Again, you all know Eli is not a "she," right?
im just sounding off for Spike
the idea that Spike ruined Buffy is just ridiculous, he did not remain a modern "fonze" or whatever the heck that guy was trying to say, the character got pulled and pushed and transformed, hes both predictable and surprising and when you have had your fill of whedons dramatic metaphors hes quite simply the funniest character ive ever seen in television, so yay for Spike and happy birthday you sodding nancy tribal leader!
J Linc, I realize that Eli is Like I said, though, I haven't read the book, so this is my interpretation of the character as portrayed in the movie.
Spike did not ruin Buffy but I just can't get on board with his wonderful story arc. I have never gotten over the fact that he tried to rape Buffy, sorry. That was it for me. THEN she forgives him and essentially starts dating/making googly eyes at him? This is one of the few times Joss has lost me. Spike getting his soul back does NOT forgive attempted rape. Now, I am aware that Angel got his soul back and Buffy forgave him for the horrible things he did; it's my own biased stance with rape that hinders my ability to see past this flaw of Spike's.
What a terrible written article with a lot of mistakes in it.
Only maybe agree on one point and not for the same reasons which is that Buffy/Angel felt too fixed, i didn't get why Buffy fell for Angel outside of the cliche tall,dark and mysterious.
Spike/Buffy i liked better, mostly because it took such a long time to develop. While the beginning was rocky, which is understandable. How do you get an infamous evil vampire to fight on the side of good?
Love was always Spike's achillies heel and he had to fall in love with the person that represented the most good,purity,hero and that was Buffy.
The soul was needed, if it hadn't happend then he would have probaly still gotten it down the line. And Spike is never Angel, the fact that in the first year he had a soul he saved world makes that more then clear.
This is one of the few times Joss has lost me. Spike getting his soul back does NOT forgive attempted rape. Now, I am aware that Angel got his soul back and Buffy forgave him for the horrible things he did; it's my own biased stance with rape that hinders my ability to see past this flaw of Spike's.

Wow,well then you really shouldn't like either Angel or Spike, both probaly raped when they were soulles, Angelus especially was a big fan of this type of torture, he makes several references to it.
But then again you yourself realize that your stance is biased.
Yes, I realize I am biased.
JLinc, I saw the Eli character as "not a girl" because she saw herself as other than human, as well as because she was sexually ambiguous. SPOILERY LINK AHEAD: The author of the book refers to Eli as "she". I haven't read the book yet, so I didn't know the backstory, which does make sense with the gender ambiguity. Reading the linked article, I think I like the choices made in the movie to let a number of other points remain ambiguous as well- adds to the horrror/spookiness/sadness.

[ edited by toast on 2009-06-23 11:20 ]
Thanks everyone for the information on Eli's gender. Somehow that went right over my head in the film (I remember the line, "I am not a girl", but assumed it meant "I am not a girl [I'm a vampire]"). It's very interesting to know anyway.
The book is very clear about what happenend to Eli. I made a comment about this in a different thread, about how Ebert very specifically writes in his review of the movie about the iron rod scene- which is only in the book, not the movie! One of the wonders of the film is that so much can be read more than one way: Eli's comment that s/he is not a girl is one such moment. Another is the very ending: we already know Oskar has been bullied for much of his life, that he was ready to strike out at his bullies but felt for so long that he could not (so he took to collecting information about serial killers and to sticking a knife into a tree as a surrogate for those who abused Oskar, making him a next potential Columbine killer), so that the ending can be seen as Oskar replacing the last familiar, but sad also that Oskar will age, while Eli will not... I do not know the codes for invisitexting, and if I say too much here, could a mod make the change?

Oskar does not really care what sex Eli is, because Eli is the only one to befriend him and he is too young anyway.

But here is the point RE: this thread. Eli is getting a lot of text here because Eli is not some fey sort of vamp, all tragic and gothic, like in Anne Rice. Eli is a true force of nature, and plays the vampire role like few people we have seen in the movies. Eli is anything but weak, as she demonstrates near the end. I understand that scene took 2 weeks to film properly.
I stopped reading anything on Salon when I say the "How Spike Ruined Buffy" article, so that states how strongly I feel on that issue.

Someone else said it so well, I'll just quote. ;)

Some people feel Spike's journey of redemption destroyed his character; I simply can't agree. I thought it was the best character development ever, until I saw the rest of Wesley's arc... and say what you will, Spike was always a bit more fun to watch. What this essay misses is that even at his most emo moments, Spike was the truth-teller: he unfailingly points out what everyone else is tiptoeing around, even while completely crazy: "Well, yeah; where have you been all night?"
ManEnoughToAdmitIt | June 23, 03:53 CET

The article sucked, she so missed the point about Joss's vampires, Angel as well as Spike.

Loved the video, though. ;)
Another quote cause I have to type less and should be in bed. ;)

I like my vampires with emotions and human conflicts.
Sunfire | June 23, 03:36 CET

Well said. Congtars on turning blue, Sunfire :)
FYI, Eli is pronounced "ell-ee," not "ee-lie."
Eli is a force of nature, but also tragic, IMO. The character is a real child of twelve or so, and living the life of an actual, brutal vampire, in a real world setting, which life is unbelievably ugly, horrible, brutal, and also bizarrely mundane in some ways. I think the film is brilliant.
I totally agree. As is my usual wont, once I invested in the character, I just fell in love with the film. I find it one of the best and most compelling films I have seen in years. I think the last movie to move me this much was Ponette, or maybe Au Hasard Balthazar, but neither of them deal with vampires (though zombies get a brief mention in Ponette).
I totally thought that fleeting glimpse of Eli's private area showed...I dunno, just what it might look like on a dead, dried-up, no longer regularly functioning (with monthly cycles and all) girl. Didn't realize we were meant to see that Eli was originally a boy. If so, why was everything cut off ? Did the movie imply a reason ? Whether Eli did it to herself, or it was done to her pre-vamping ? Keeping things mysterious was maybe part of the film's allure, but there're hundreds of questions concerning origin and all that. BTW, pretty sure "castrated" is the incorrect word in this case. When you castrate a male animal or human, you're taking their balls usually, not their penis. What was done to Eli, if indeed s/he was originally a boy, looks like a full-on sex-change operation or butchery.

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