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February 12 2010

Top ten tragic geek love stories, or, geek tragedies. A list of Geekdom's top tragic Love Affairs. Two obvious Whedon couples make the list.

I think Willow and Tara could've been on it, Wash and Zoe as well.

Fred and Wesley. Epically.
Willow/Tara affected me the most.
Riley saying "but she doesn't love me" to Xander always struck me as one of the more tragic love stories on Buffy.
Xander leaving Anya at the altar was pretty tragic, especially considering the reason and his attempts to reconcile later.
Fred and Wesley, definitely.
*cough* Buffy and Spike
Angel and Cordelia, they never even had a chance.
Riley saying "but she doesn't love me" to Xander always struck me as one of the more tragic love stories on Buffy.

Word Simon. Your heart breaks for the guy when he says that, one of the best "big speech" prickings to appear on Buffy IMO (especially since it's his own "big speech" he pricks).

Wash and Zoe wasn't really a tragic love story IMO. It wasn't unrequited and it wasn't epic, it was just sad because he died. In fact, what made Wash and Zoe such a great love story is that very normalcy IMO - a day to day relationship between two people who just loved each other to bits, fair weather or foul. No sturm, no drang, just life.

Willow/Tara veered towards the tragic as did Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike. Wesley/Fred had a house there then built an extension then a double garage and finally a granny annexe in the back garden.

Of the list, personally I preferred to see Apollo and Starbuck as platonic, not enough of that on TV and to me the idea that men and women can care about and respect each other (even be willing to die for each other) without necessarily wanting to jump each others' bones is a very worthwhile message. The rest make sense to varying degrees (Kirk/Edith and The Doctor/Joan particularly), except Anakin/Padme - from the cheesy teenage lovers' dialogue through to dying of a "broken heart" (but luckily not before naming the twins), that never convinced me on any level.
This list was interesting, mostly since it seemed like most of them could have been just as reasonably "one or more of the listed characters and someone else." Just like the Kirk one.
Heck, there could have been a list wholly populated from Whedon-works. Or The Doctor for that matter (as one offs go, The Doctor and Madame de Pompadour for the win!).

Willow and Tara I don't think constitute as tragic in any sense since they were generally on good terms for most of it and then were doomed totally incidentally from any actions on their part. Plus at least they got to make up...
I have to third Fred and Wesley. That was the one that left me sobbing heartbrokenly. My husband even cried. Then, in the finale, when Wesley dies in Fred's/Illyria's arms, we both cried again.
Fred and Wesley, and Topher and Bennet. I actually read this as being about geek *characters* who were in love, not love stories aimed at geeks, but I think these fit into both categories. Well, so do Billy and Penny. I was thinking, if the next "Dr. Horrible" is a prequel, would it be "Billy Buddy, Horribleness Master's Degree"?
I too thought of Fred/Wesley immediately. Easily the couple I would characterize as most tragic (and most geek) of Whedon shows.
*cough* Buffy and Spike
fivebyfivefaith | February 12, 22:18 CET

Second that.

Riley saying "but she doesn't love me" to Xander always struck me as one of the more tragic love stories on Buffy.
Simon | February 12, 21:24 CET

Second that as well. That one beautifully written and played little speech opened up a whole well of sympathy for Riley that I didn't even realize I had.

And definitely Fred & Wesley.

Loved the inclusion of Lee and Kara, hopeless shipper that I was until the very end. I still feel certain they were together in another version of "this has all happened before and it will all happen again".
Fred/Wesley was very very sad and emotional, but it wasn't tragic in the classical sense (in which the hero's mistake or flaw leads to the tragedy). If it was Wesley, not Gunn, who had cleared the sarcophagus, then it would have been classic tragedy.
Wait, so Fred wasn't a hero who's tragic flaw of curiosity killed her? I guess that was always my read. I think the whole thing was played as "everyone's fault" in the context of the show.

And technically Fred and Wes accepted the deal with Wolfram and Hart, which throws a little bit of naivete in the charecters as well. But you can definitely make the case that both Fred and Wes had a hand in their ultimate fate. It was certainly not deux ex machina.
I think the classic definiton of tragedy, while still valuable, doesn't reflect the current use of the word. And I can't quite see Angel and buffy as tragic. They both know enough to walk away, which rules the word out for me.
I have to agree on Wesley-Fred in the mroe modern sense,a nd if you use the even broader sense of "gut-wrenching without being too obviously staged" Willow-Tara is also included. Of course I'm prejudiced. (Intersting that one of the principal actors in each pairing are married off-screen, but I'm not enough of either a critic or a metaphysician to explore it.)
Adding to Wesley-Fred is that, with the Buffy raising, Joss has said there is an afterlife of some kind in the Buffyverse. But Fred wasn't, couldn't have been, waiting there for Wesley. Oh, well, Buffy magazine liked my idea for TV-movie about that.
Wait, so Fred wasn't a hero who's tragic flaw of curiosity killed her?

Dude, in what world is curiosity a tragic flaw (I need to know so I can never, ever move there ;) ? New way of looking at it though, hadn't occurred to me before. To me the tragic flaw that killed Fred was greed maybe or vanity or ambition (and they weren't her flaws).

(I feel like we've had a pretty terrible run when it comes to agreeing recently BTW azzers, nothing personal ;)
Hmm, I have to disagree with the Buffy and Spike thing. Their relationship was a lot of things but tragic wasn't one. For one thing she didn't actually love him, at least not in the way that a tragi love story requires.

And if we're talking about tragic flaws and Willow/Tara, um hi there FDW.
Yes, but constant agreement would be tiring. So I think we're just trying to keep things interesting. That's how I view it.

There is the idea that you can be too curious, or possibly a better way to look at it reckless. I think in every culture we look at curiosity as a good thing. However, when it's not tempered by anything, it is dangerous. That is why I say it's specifically her curiosity that is at fault. I can't promise you that Fred could have protected herself (the writers always win) but she could have been more careful rather than how she handled the sarcophagus. Then again, she may have been and the writers just didn't show it. But that's why I think the way I do anyway.
So I think we're just trying to keep things interesting. That's how I view it.

Cool, that's exactly how I see it too (I don't disagree if I don't actually disagree - unless I explicitly state i'm playing Devil's advocate - but i'm more likely to say if I disagree. Threads that're just a long list of "I agree" are pretty dull to me. Interesting discussion comes from differences).

Yeah, reckless I can buy as a flaw (even levelled against Fred since, y'know, the thing might contain normal bacteria etc. which could kill you, nevermind the essence of an eons old dark power. How about some kind of containment or even just a mask ? In her defence though, she was a physicist, not a biologist). Curiosity not so much and more than that, I kind of hope that wasn't the idea because that might seem like the old cliche that "Some lines should never be crossed ! *ominous music* Some things are just not meant to be known ! *even more ominous music*". As if knowledge in and of itself is dangerous (rather than just what we do with it).

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