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November 06 2003

Enraged "Buffy" and "Angel" fans fight back in regards to yesterday's now infamous Salon.com article.

Interesting that the Angel fans writing in have to put down Buffy in order to prove their points.
Am I reading the wrong letters? Who's putting down "Buffy"? Most of the letters appear to actually praise both shows.
Interesting that Salon can grab a few emails and call it "Premium Content."
I'm not about to pay for Salon, so I can only read the first email by Terinna M. I'm talking about the first paragraph. As far as I know, the rest of the letters aren't like that, but I wouldn't know.
I agree, I found it awfully annoying that the first letter has to put down Buffy to make its points about Angel. Praise one show yet stab the other in the back? Good thinking.
I wasn't about to subscribe to read the rest of the letters either but the "putting down Buffy" trend to praise Angel is something I have noticed some Angel fans do. I like to frequent the WBs Angel site and read the postings there and there are a lot who do this. Fortunately, there are a lot who also defend Buffy. To be fair I also think there are a lot of people who tear apart Angel and compare it to Buffy. I've always felt both shows were great and both can stand on their own. I never understood the desire to tear apart the sister shows considering they are both from the same creator and both have excellent stories. As for the title in the lead paragraph about Spike being an "abused sex toy" - well that just p*ssed me off. Spike willingly pursued Buffy and she repeatedly tried to stay away from him, she was going through a horrible time emotionally, he knew it and he used it to his advantage. This need to make Spike be the victim is ridiculous and interviews that James Marsters has given and Marti Noxon have given said this was not the intent. There was an awful lot of Buffy bashing the last couple of seasons and I truly didn't understand why. The character was ripped from Heaven and had a lot to deal with and both characters of Buffy and Spike drastically grew in the last couple of seasons. I personally really enjoyed the last few seasons of Buffy and I also have thought the last few seasons of Angel have been great too. But the shows are definitely their own shows and have their own stories to tell with the occasional common ground theme. Wesley has been my favorite character and I hope we do see a return of the darker side of Wesley soon because I felt he was the most compelling character on Angel. I suspect we will see something soon with Angel's slip up of "the father will kill the son" comment to Wesley the other night. I also feel it is way too early to be judging Gunn. I don't think Gunn has lost his roots. Gunn was always a character that did first if he thought it would be for the greater good and dealt with the consequences later. Remember the deal to sell his soul so he could get the great truck to help his gang? Well, now he's become super lawyer to help his team. Let's give the season a chance and see where it goes. Fred is no Willow either. We don't know what Fred was like before she was sucked into a Hell dimension, we only saw the results. The only thing that Willow and Fred have in common is that they are both extremely intelligent.
Here on a drive-by, I am a Salon premium member so just to let those know who aren't (and don't feel like paying for a letter page)that the first page is basically two very long letters about Spike being abused & mistreated by Buffy. You know, typical stuff from the 'Poor Spike'Club. My favorite of these is a letter that claims Buffy is more interested in shooping for shoes then her friends dying which is a great bizarro world viewpoint on the events in "Chosen". The other letters mostly deal with Gunn & the Oreo question. A lot of the e-mailers didn't read too carefully because the go on about Ms. Miller stating Gunn is an Oreo (am getting hungry) because he's a lawyer now when it's pretty clear that she thinks he's always been an Oreo (now, I really got to go get some cookies). IMO, I wouldn't go as far as to say Gunn's an Oreo (a term I would never use on someone in reality but I am fine with for a fictional character) but I certainly see her point about Gunn never being a fully realised character.

[ edited by unitas on 2003-11-06 20:35 ]
It's really funny that Laura Miller was torn apart for the "Oreo" comment. It was completely off base.
As near as I can tell, only one of the eleven letters badmouths "Buffy". And only by saying that its quality and consistency faltered after Season 5, which is something that plenty of "Buffy" fans have said themselves.

And you don't have to subscribe to get Salon's premium content. You just have to sit through a short advertisement. Most days, you can just let it play in the background for half a minute and ignore it. Click the AOL 9.0 ad in the top right corner of the page.

On preview: bodamander, she called Gunn an "Oreo" for, one can only suppose, not "representin' from da hood". He may not be a perfect character, but he is a three-dimensional one, and to claim that his intelligence, sophistication, abilities, and newfound knowledge of the law are somehow "white" is, as many have rightly pointed out, insulting.
Okay, so I guess the letters warranted their own post after all. ;-)
unreality - As I pointed out above, Ms. Miller in no way states that Gunn is an Oreo because he has "newfound knowledge of the law" but because he is an african-american character, and one who is conceived a champion of his people (my 'his' there is very deliberate), who has no seeming connection to the people he once championed and appparently has no feelings about that. I think Ms. Miller's statement is a little much but it's true that ME has never really dealt with this issue for Gunn (and one epside in S3 doesn't count), an issue that could really take the character to some very interesting places. Picking out Gunn as a character that has not been particulary well-served by ME in the past is not that much of a stretch since Whedon & Co. themselves have said as much.
Okay here's the issue.

Buffy Seasons 5+ may have lacked consistancy, and yes, many fans themselves talk about it. That's not the point.

The point is that this article continues to rate Angel by comparing it to Buffy, when we all know that Angel has defined itself as a quality television show all on it's own.

However, when writing in to complain about the article, protesting fans continue to rate Angel by comparing it to Buffy. This is counterproductive and will do one of two things (or possibly both) (1) Force people who like Buffy more than Angel to get pissed off...possibly at Angel the show. This will decrease ratings, which is bad. (2) It will continue to perpetuate this comparing-Angel-to-Buffy trend that we hate.
Aye sorry about that keever, I didn't see you had posted this in the other thread.
One more litle thing, does anyone realise how crazy this letter sections makes Buffy/Angel fans sound? Remember, this is an article that praises Angel but the letters (and other comments) make the article sound like a blistering critique of the show. The whole letter section reads like a parody of disaffected geeks.
Well, if it's praise, it's not high praise, by any stretch. Miller's basic argument seems to be that the chief appeal of "Angel" is that it's almost "Buffy", sort of a "Buffy"-lite. Not anywhere as good -- and she goes on to delineate what she thinks are its flaws -- but something to bide you over until something better comes along. Or, rather, something to help wean you off of the Buffyverse altogether and make those withdrawls for the real thing easier. (After all, nobody's supposed to stay on methadone forever.)

While Miller concedes that this season is better ("reinvigorated no doubt by an undiluted injection of Whedon's attention"), that's perhaps only because she finds the earlier seasons so wanting, a "second-banana series". Some fans took issue with that, which they're perfectly entitled to do. I don't think any of them come across as particularly disaffected or geeky. They're people who care about the television they watch and want to defend it against its critics (especially when they think those critics are wrong).

Me, I think Miller is perfectly entitled to her opinion. While I very much like both "Buffy" and "Angel", I'm not about to claim one is better than the other or without their own respective flaws. It's mostly the whole "Oreo" thing that bothered me. Gunn could be better developed, as could his ties to his old community, but he hasn't been abandoned by the writers. He hasn't become "white" or a "token" or anything like that just because he's become a different character.

[ edited by unreality on 2003-11-06 22:20 ]
I agree with ringworm. Let's stop comparing the shows. I've always appreciated both. Yes Angel had a slow start in the first half of season one, but really so did Buffy. BtVS didn't really get going until S2 in my book. Most shows need to find their tone first. And once it did, the best of Angel can stand next the the best of Buffy any day of the week. They're both great shows, set in the same 'verse' with slightly different tones and themes.

I'm also surprised to see the 'ihatespike' and the 'ilovespikesomuch' camps are STILL going at it! Angel, Buffy and Spike have all done crap to each other. And they've all suffered. And they've all done good stuff. And they're all characters that have proven interesting and continually developing. And sure, we all have our own favorites. So what? Can't we leave it at that? Stop ripping characters apart just because you don't like them and stop defending your own like they're saints! Let's just follow the story.

And really let's not give Salon the satisfaction of writing in. I really think that's why they had that article up in the first place.
Thanks, EdDantes. I agree, I'm sick to death of the various nitpicking and segregation that pro-Spike/anti-Spike and/or pro-Angel/anti-Angel fans are so hot for. I'm doubtless closer to the (derogatory) 'ilovespikesomuch' camp that you mention above, and I fully admit he is the primary character I watch EITHER series for. He's far and away my favorite Mutant Enema character... with Wesley a very close second. But there is no rule anywhere that says I can't like all of the characters, or both shows, simply because I like Spike.

Frankly, I'm very intimidated every time I come to this site. I really enjoy reading much of what is posted here, and I think I would love to get more involved in discussions with some of the more frequent contributors. But there is, in my oppinion at least, a decided lean towards treating Spike-fans like rabid dogs. Being a passionate fan of any one character does not make me a pariah, nor does it invalidate my views on the Whedonverse. I wish I felt more comfortable posting my thoughts here... but as it stands the frequent references that some of the "Senior Partners" hereabouts make to Spike fans as "The Poor Spike Club" keep me from joining in most times.

That said, *I* was one of those "disaffected" geeks that felt the need to send Ms. Miller a response, and it was for precisely the reason that unreality mentioned -- AtS is a "second-banana series", something that's alright till something better comes along, but certainly not up to the standards of it's parent series. It bothers me to hear a show that I love being given such back-handed compliments by someone who, IMHO, doesn't "get" the show in the first place. She praised the show by pointing out it's "flaws" and insulting it's characters. Bad form...
Why not throw my two cents in as well?

I have to agree with EdDantes and Haunt about the various "camps". I too am a die-hard Spike fan but I'm not so die-hard that I can't recognize a well written character or television show when I see it.

I took offense to the Oreo comment as well because it seems like we should be at a place in this world where comments like that should not be said let alone published - however, I have to really agree with Haunt about her comment, the whole tone that AtS is a "second-banana series". I will admit that I was never that interested because it did seem like "just" a spin off. I have been watching regularly since season 4 and have just purchased seasons 1 and 2. Everyone here knows that AtS is a stand alone show that isn't "methadone" for Buffy-addicts. The show is much darker and has a different focus. In point of fact, it is a different show! But one that is by no means a second banana or just one to fall back on.

But if it gets the ratings up? ...
Yeah Spike has always been my favorite character on the shows. And you know, Angel is a very close second. So I've never understood the venomous hatreds between the 'Bangels' and the 'Spuffies'.
And what has truly annoyed me is when either side starts listing REASONS to hate Spike or Angel. (Or why one of them 'doesn't deserve to be with Buffy' or 'doesn't deserve to Shanshu', etc etc.) They start listing the evil things one of them has done (Spike's attempted rape, Angel's list of horrors when he was Angelus, etc again) while completely ignoring the fact that they were BOTH soulless at the time and that BOTH have a long list of atrocities to their name.

By now I don't give a frag who winds up with Buffy, I just want both characters to be utilized to their fullest in the stories.

But's these kinds of non-sensical fan-ramblings that give Buffy/Angel fans a bad name online. (The 'rabid dogs' remarks we've all seen.) It also sadly shows that defending one aspect of the Whedonverse often goes hand in hand with ripping apart another one.

Too bad those letters to Salon fell into the same line of thinking that the article itself showed.....
It's distressing that we all united for the renewal of the fifth season of Angel and then it all started to fall apart after it was announced Spike was to be on the show. He's a great character, he's on the show and that ain't going to change. And the show is still called Angel and will still primarily focus on Angel.

And if the infighting gets to a certain point, why should Mutant Enemy bother to push for a sixth season? I want my Joss fix, I want to see what happens to the all of the main characters.

I'm not going to make some glib appeal for unity but we have stay focused and not let articles like this expose and magnify our divisions. People may want Spuffy, people may want Bangel, people may prefer BtVS, people may prefer AtS but it shouldn't get to the point of potentially damaging the future of the only Buffyverse series around.
Okay, here's my two cents worth about Spike and Angel. I think the history of the two characters is rich and they will be able to do so much with it. I love both Spike and Angel and think both characters are great. I loved Buffy with both of them and wish she could have them both but if she ends up with one or neither of them in the end it will be okay as long as the writing has been as great as in the past. I think the interesting thing about Angel and Spike is how much they are alike in the end and to say you hate one over the other or prefer one over the other makes absolutely no sense at all. Both men are fantastic actors and both characters have so much depth that bringing them together was a brilliant move just for the history of the two characters regardless of their history with Buffy. I'd love to see Buffy return but if she doesn't there is still plenty of story they can do with Spike and Angel.
I think Simon makes an important point. All this infighting is
distressing. Myself I am for all the good characters and stories that have come from Whedon & Company. I had seldom watched TV for almost 20 years until one day I was bored and had read a good review of Angel's season premeire in the paper. So I watched and was hooked. From there I expanded and started watching Buffy. While not always perfect both shows have an intelligence that is seldom seen on TV.
I agree with Simon and blwessels. I love both shows...in fact I can't imagine being a fan of BtVS and NOT watching AtS and being a fan of that as well. It just seemed the normal thing to do. I watched from the beginning of BtVS and the beginning of Ats. I, as others, am totally devoted to these shows. I've had my doubts about direction of AtS this season (i.e. W&H takeover), but other than that...I look forward to every Wednesday to see what is going to happen in this make believe world that I love to go to for an hour. Oh and for the record...I'm a huge fan of Angel...would love for Bangle to happen. Oh but wait...I'm a huge fan of Spike and cannot wait to see where his path leads...does that make me schizophrenic??? I don't think so. It just makes me a fan.

[ edited by Coll on 2003-11-07 16:25 ]
I think that the 'Oreo' comment was out of bounds because it brings up to many other negative connotations, but I do think that there is warranted criticism or at least questioning about Gunn and his lack of connection to those he used to live among and champion. That said, it's only the 5th episode of the season, and I have faith that this issue will be addressed just like I believe the issue of Gunn/Wesley/Fred will be as well.
Salon articles on Buffyverse shows just suck. I found out last May that they were shallow, but "oreo" is TOO much. I know different people send in articles there or whatever, but the people who run the place should be embarrased for putting out stupid cop-out articles like this.

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