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February 17 2010

Forbidden Love: five TV hook-ups that left fans fuming. Willow and Tara top the list. Spoilers for last week's Chuck.

That seems a bit misleading.... the fuming seems to have arisen from Tara's horribly sudden death, not her relationship with Willow! Of course, they also mention the fact that Kennedy's appearance caused people's heads to explode :>
You might want to add a warning for the Chuck info.
When the pairing was first officialized in a New Moon Rising, there was a certain amount of backlash for it. But the loud yells of the fans outraged at the writers for making Willow gay, sometime later become a lower noise, when a lot of people fell in love with the pairing.
But there were lot's of other outrages caused by couple pairings, and that's one of the main reason why Caroline dictated no shipping discussions in Whedonesque, those always get out of hand easily.
People hated Oz when he came on the show, because Willow was "supposed to be" with Xander. So Joss wrote a scene to make us fall in love with him, and we did.

People hated Tara when she came on the show, because Willow was "supposed to be" with Oz. So Joss wrote her some of the most touching love dialogue, not to mention "Family," and we fell in love with her, too. (Can you believe that I've seen comments saying, "If they're going to make Willow gay, can't they get someone pretty for her love interest?" Yeah, that didn't last long.)

People hated Kennedy when she came on the show, because Willow was "supposed to be" with Tara. So Joss... well, he didn't have time to make us love Kennedy, so most people still hate her.
For my part, it wasn't just that they killed Tara off; it was the way they did it. It was those wonderful, happy scenes at the beginning of the episode that angered me the most later. It was the happiness on Dawn's face when she saw Tara.

I never thought Joss was homophobic or that her death had anything to do with her sexuality. I simply thought that he made a very poor choice when he killed Tara off; Seeing Red was the worst Btvs episode ever for more than one reason. Tara's death was only one of them.
I think Seeing Red is a fantastic episode and one of the best Buffy episodes ever. Whether it's one of my favourite ever episodes is a completely different kettle of fish.
You do? ... Why? (if you don't mind me asking?)
A bit OOT but I've read comments from fans that Joss should've just maimed Tara; he didn't have to kill kill her. When Mag got shot on the legs in DH, I couldn't help but think of Tara and those fan suggestions.
You do? ... Why? (if you don't mind me asking?)

The drama and the acting. Willow and Tara getting back together and then the joy getting ripped away from the viewer. The strangeness of the gun appearing in a supernatural show. It's a very powerful episode. And I'll also add that Adam Busch may get overshadowed by other Buffy actors but he is a great actor. His portrayal of Warren in Seeing Red was heartbreaking and chilling at the same time.
Hmm. I can't argue with any of that. It was a powerful episode. But it's one I heartily loathe and one I'll never re-watch. Viewing it the once left me physically ill; that was enough.
I agree with Simon. Seeing Red was an incredibly brave and powerful episode, with some of the best acting in the entire series, from virtually everyone in the cast. And as a total Spuffy shipper, it was painful to me for more than Tara's death. (I think that's allowable, considering the context - if not, snip away). My point being, I may have hated some of what happened in the ep, but over the course of the rest of the series, I can't fault the plotting.

I'm glad I wasn't in this fandom during the original BtS run. Second guessing and judging the story decisions made by Joss and the ME team, drives me insane, much less accusing him of being homophobic because of killing Tara. Which makes as much sense as accusing him of being anti-feminist for making Buffy such a flawed character - so missing the whole equality point.

I'm not saying that there aren't a couple of decisions that I disagreed with, but only the very few (as in one or two) that I felt were made to placate a certain element of the fandom. And more I cannot say. :)

I'm not advocating unquestioning Joss worship, just saying that the creative team deserves better than "they should have done so-and-so rather than such-and such" or "how dare they ...." (fill in the blank).

Invading our dreams is after all, Joss's stated intention. Mission accomplished.
I never understood all the Seeing Red hate. Sure it was a hard episode to watch but it wasn't the first by any stretch and surely that's what's special about Buffy - it can make you feel. Joss loves to give us pain and he's very good at it but if he wasn't we'd just be watching Charmed and I'm happy to have the pain as it makes the pleasure that much sweeter.
Too too right, Simon. The performances and story were absorbing and affecting, though not necessarily what was wished for. So much so that I recall being right there a week later during "Villains" wanting Warren hoist on his own flutterbomb and appreciating Willow's slow torture of him and then... it went too far. And I had to stop for a moment in a weird emotional place because while my story-engaged, Tara-missing heart blindly felt it was the right thing because Warren was such a mephitic douchebag (which he really, really was), my gut twisted up realizing that Innocent Willow was completely gone now, and my tiny, squdgy brain thought that the forces of Josstice might take what was left of her away, too.

Fortunately, I was wrong on all counts (except for the douchebag part), although my reactively captious inner parent quickly suggested rejecting the episode and possibly the remainder of the series. Again fortunately, the rationalist in me turned its back on my inner parent for suggesting such a thing, offering opportunity for my outraged, black-eyed, veiny-faced inner BuffyGeek to skin my inner parent with the wave of a hand and leave it for dead tied between two neural dendrites.

ETA: I see you had the same struggle with a different outcome, menomegirl.

[ edited by Grotesk on 2010-02-18 12:25 ]
The fact that we all felt so strongly about Tara's death means, in my mind, that Joss earned the right to do what he did with her. It was horrible and sudden in a way that television deaths *aren't*. But, then, I was never much of a fan of Tara's character. Joss has always taken the advice to "kill your darlings" quite literally. We know this better now. I wonder if Seeing Red was aired for the first time now, after we've all become so much more familiar with Joss, that detractors would see it differently? I don't know.

I completely agree with Simon's take. That episode is the pinnacle of the season, and why I think it's one of the better episodes ever. The Trio were never really big bads until that moment. And Warren had to cheat--use a gun--to do it. And it was even partly accidental. Layers on layers, here. Brilliant writing and plotting, in my opinion.

As for the Chuck relationship stuff, I'm not actually worried. The show is doing exactly what needed to be done. It created some tension. It's not like those feelings are gone, just submerged. We'll see where it all goes, but the split seems temporary to me, and made sense given where the show was going.

[ edited by ern on 2010-02-18 12:56 ]
I am so tired of this issue always conflating two different items; that Joss is homophobic, and that Joss made a bad writing decision. I firmly believe the latter, know the former is not true. But every time the W T issue comes up as a controversy, it always focuses on the non-issue of Joss being a homophobe and even the most radical of kittens don't believe that- though I do know of at least one blogger who has such vitriolic things to say about Joss it is scary.

I'll not go any further, for you all know how I feel. I will simply say that I will never watch Seeing Red again, and I think as a storytelling device this death was stupid. And much in line with Joss's tactics, which he seems unable to break away from. Enough of the "kill your darlings." I think it is getting old and predictable.

And now, off to Florida! 4 days of sun and fun, on the beach!
ManEnoughToAdmitIt said:
"People hated Oz when he came on the show, because Willow was "supposed to be" with Xander. So Joss wrote a scene to make us fall in love with him, and we did."

People hated Oz ? Really ? I wasn't hanging out on the Bronze boards much, would occasionally lurk, but the board I was hanging out at bore him no animosity. I dunno, Season 2 did such a good job with the beginning relationships that I had no problem with any of 'em. Buffy/Angel was full of the necessary/compelling drama/angst at the time (I was sick of it by mid-Season 3 though, heh, which is why one of my favorite bits in "The Zeppo", an episode I wasn't initially on board with, involves Xander interrupting one of their teary scenes), Cordelia/Xander was funny and kinda cute, and Willow & Oz together were TV-perfect (they might still be together, if not for Oz's lycanthropy and possibly other complicating factors the writers may've dreamed up. Would love to have seen Oz's reactions to Willow's jumps in power. A mind-wiped-by-Glory Oz...lotsa possibilities. Or/plus, as Joss has said, Oz would've been dead instead of the probably-never-introduced Tara, had Seth Green not left the series. But I appreciated Tara too, she was sweet in Season 4, it was kinda nice to have someone sorta shy/quiet around after Willow matured and Oz left, and I think I grew to like her as a character when she got to stand on her own in Season 6).

Which scene made us fall in love with Oz ? Animal crackers or the "Freeze-frame:Willow kissage!"/I'm-not-gonna-kiss-you-just-so-you-can-make-Xander-jealous speech in the van in "Innocence" ? I think he was compelling from the get-go, when he was all about the girl in the "Eskimo" costume. It was just cool that he wanted something different than the average dude.

Can't get behind that whole "supposed to be with"/meant-to-be-with mentality (it's as nauseating as the notion of there being "The One", just one specific person, out there, for each of us, just waiting to be found). The reality of the world is that there are anywhere from thousands to billions of possibile people we could meet and fall for in our lives (narrower range included for those of you who're real picky), potentially pair off with permanently, or simply be with for a short or more prolonged period of seeing eachother. So the notion of "The One"/soulmates, in real life or television, is numerically and logically laughable. It might be romantic/fuzzy in the eyes of some, but to me it just seems sophomoric and limiting.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-18 13:45 ]
Some part of my brain is still always slightly surprised that one of the biggest 'issues' in this fandom - Tara's death and the backlash that got - surrounds a relationship that a big part of the original fandom didn't like at first. I know I had some trouble adjusting at first (if I ever was a shipper for anyone, which I don't think I ever was, it'd have to be Willow/Oz, which was just about the cutest nearly-literal-puppy-love ever put on screen, and their break-up was painful and dramatic).

Still, like ManEnoughToAdmitIt points out above, Joss took all these new love interests and made us love them as viewers, by giving people like Oz and Tara great scenes to shine. I know not everyone warmed to Oz at first (some probably never quite did), but that soon changed, and the same thing happened with Tara (although in that case I think the relationship itself drew in a lot of new fans - I remember an influx of (former) Xena fans, for instance, who started watching the show back then - changing the fandom dynamic on the whole).

Anyway, the show succeeded in making Willow/Tara my new favorite relationship on the show. And then that got torn away in one of the most painful, but wonderfully executed, episodes of Buffy that season. I agree with the not-hating-Seeing-Red-crowd. Making the viewer feel very strongly about what's happening, does not bad writing make. Tara's death made me very sad, but it engaged me in the story even more.

I've never actually quite gotten any of the 'this story decission makes me mad and I think it was wrong' crowd. Not in the case of Tara's death, not in the case of Wash's death, and not in any shipping sense. I certainly do not like everything Joss does; I never quite warmed to Riley, for instance, and felt (and feel) that Chipped!Spike was a lame-o-facation of a great villain (even if I do love his souled-version). But none of that makes me angry enough to stop engaging in the show. Heck, Joss has killed of my favorite characters on two of his shows (Wash on Firefly/Serenity and Fred on Angel) and has broken up relationships I engaged in left and right and while that certainly never fails to make me feel and regularly makes me sad, in the end it makes me engage in the show - populated by characters who share my pain - all the more, every single time.

I do, however, agree with Dana that by now - not back in Seeing Red, but certainly in his newer works - these Major Character Deaths and Relationship Break-ups have become a signature feature of Joss' fiction, and while sometimes still effective - Penny's death in DHSAB for instance - it's starting to fall flatter than it used to. So it might be time to shake things up a little and bring the pain in different ways :).
I (mostly) lurk at the Sepinwall blog & witnessed the really shocking blowup caused by the Chuck hijinks. Which led to Zachary Levi's twitter "Hmmm, I see. Question: did anyone think that Han would be stuck in carbonite forever at the end of Empire?" (A cutie and a nerd!)

Anyone not watching the show is advised it's pretty good--& features Adam Baldwin playing a lethal yet hilarious character who is very different from Jayne. Some episodes are available on the 'net; it resumes after the Olympics.

I've also noticed the meme that Joss had better get over his "habit" of letting characters die; it's interesting how the same phrase suddenly occurs to folks all over the 'net. People will accept vampires, demons, spaceships & mind control--but get all upset when reminded that, Sometimes, People Die.
I wonder if Seeing Red was aired for the first time now, after we've all become so much more familiar with Joss, that detractors would see it differently?

I think for starters after the makeup!sex scene at the start everyone would be expecting Tara to die by the end of the episode. ;)

Also the claim of Joss being homophobic for killing off Tara is just absolute nonsense. And not to overly pretentious but it seems like the majority of people who accused him of homophobia were doing it just because they wanted to whinge, rather than out of any sense of gay equality.
I was never a fan of the Willow/Tara relationship, but I was always a huge fan of Tara. She was probably the sweetest, most empathetic character in the Buffyverse. Her death was the most tragic for me, with the possible exception of Joyce's (though that isn't counting the Angel deaths, most of which affected me more simply because I liked that show better).
Loved Seeing Red precisely because it was well acted, dramatic, beautiful and painful. The juxtaposition of "ordinary violence" and our magical world of super-heroic white hats was quite powerful to me and a reminder that sometimes at the end of the day not everyone gets to go home and have cocoa. That she died in an accidental way and at that point in her relationship with Willow made Tara's death all the more powerful. Also, for the record, I loved Oz from the start, the scenes in question just made me love him more; I never thought Willow and Xander should be together. I don't think that it was a bad writing decision at all (as I'm sure you all know by now). I think that being held hostage to happy endings/heroic deaths is lame and being a prisoner of shipper (or other) expectations is one of the worst things that I can imagine.
Well, I wasn't around in the fandom myself at the time, but Word of Joss is that Oz initially wasn't well-received and he wrote the "freeze-frame/when I'm kissing you you're kissing me" scene to deal with that. And I know for a fact that at least some commentators weren't too impressed with Tara's first appearance.

not_Bridget, you raise a good point. After all, if the shows had gone on long enough (i.e. the entire lifetimes of the characters) everyone would have died. Well, except the vampires. But all our favorite humans, and all of us, too, 'cause dying is what humans do. And now that I think of it, bringing the dead back to life is always shown to have enormous consequences, usually bad, 'cause it's not supposed to happen that way.

As to the predictability... well, that's a good point. But maybe Joss is turning over a new leaf. We only got one death in "E2" and it was one of choice.

[ edited by ManEnoughToAdmitIt on 2010-02-18 18:10 ]
I agree, it the fact that it was a gun that killed Tara was almost worse than any magical fate that could have taken her from the show. In addition, Tara was one of the most emotionally important characters on the show at that time. She was not only Willows rock, but was consistently a refuge for Buffy, going as far back as "The Body."Arguably, nobody else's death on the show at that point (outside of the original scoobies) would have been quite as poignant and devastating as Tara's. It was sad but meaningful, and in my opinion a far cry from a bad writing decision on Joss's part.
Calling Joss homophobic? That's almost as bad as calling Russel T. Davies homophobic after Torchwood: Children of Earth.
As to the predictability... well, that's a good point. But maybe Joss is turning over a new leaf. We only got one death in "E2" and it was one of choice.

I think you're forgetting Paul.
Calling Joss homophobic? That's almost as bad as calling Russel T. Davies homophobic after Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Heh. Kinda echoes my original point though. After CoE there were a lot of screaming fans accusing RTD of being homophobic, but for the most part the noise came from annoyed fangirls who liked seeing John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd kissing rather than anyone who was actually scrutinizing gay characters on TV and RTD's use of them. I'm as disappointed as any other gay guy that there'll be no more Jack/Ianto smoochies but neither sexuality nor homophobia have anything to do with that.
I think you're forgetting Paul.

But then he got to live on as a shiny creepy version of himself inside Echo's brain!

I thought Seeing Red was amazing. Tara was one of my favorite characters and I missed her and it broke my heart, but in that good, fictional kind of way ;). I still don't entirely get the whole "Death is his Cliche" thing. There have been deaths that moved me less than others, but it doesn't seem old or tired to me that Joss' characters die.

eople hated Kennedy when she came on the show, because Willow was "supposed to be" with Tara. So Joss... well, he didn't have time to make us love Kennedy, so most people still hate her.

Ha ha! You crack me up, ManEnoughToAdmitIt :).
And, ahem, don't you have another thread to be in, GVH? ;)
I came into the fandom after the show went off the air. I love Tara as a character and was sad she got killed. What squicked me was Tara taking Willow back after Willow essentially tried to turn her into her personal doll -- twice. Hiding behind a magic "addiction" deal wasn't nearly enough to get me around to rooting for a reconciliation. Treating a loved one as an object to be mind-controlled is really deeply squicky, and it's even squickier to watch in the wake of Dollhouse.
There was also the storytelling aspect of it. The real Big Bad of S6 was "the enemy within" -- our own problems, etc. To take that to the ultimate extent, one of our heroes had to go bad. It couldn't be Giles since they'd already explored his dark side and he'd moved on to being Voice of Reason; it couldn't be Dawn or Xander because they had very specific non-dark roles on the show (Designated Victim and Audience Surrogate, respectively); it couldn't be Spike or Anya because relapsing doesn't have the same power. It couldn't be Buffy because saving the day is her job, plus she's the title character. And can you see Tara going bad? So it had to be Willow.

With that established, how could Willow go bad? Well, quite frankly, it couldn't happen at all except in Tara's absence... whereas we'd already seen Willow playing with the dark side on the two occasions that Tara was gone/unavailable.

Tara, alas, was doomed the second Joss & Co. settled on Season 6's theme.
Driving by quickly to say that my earlier statements about and my reactions to Seeing Red were not shipper-related. I have major issues with the way the episode was written and filmed.

ManEnoughToAdmitIt-It's my understanding that Tara was supposed to die and Willow to go dark much earlier than season 6.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2010-02-18 21:26 ]
I should have (and meant to sooner) come back to say that being prisoner to any expectations is one of the worst things I can imagine for any storytelling. To be limited in the direction the story can go because of fandom's attachment to a character or relationship is just that. I understand that Willow and Tara's relationship was one of a type rarely seen on television and rarely portrayed in such a "this is just normal" type of way. It was wonderful to see and I am thankful for it and when it comes right down to it, I am glad that it's unique status didn't afford it an untouchable status. It would be a disservice to the story, the actors and to its relative rarity on television to leave it suspended in a static snapshot where there is no realism and no drama. My opinion, obviously.

I love Oz and Tara and Willow and the whole gang and the rollercoaster that we went through with each of their journeys made the show and the characters, the hard won truths and the bitter regrets/disappointments/pain that much more profound and special. This was not a show that pressed the reset button every week to reward casual surface viewership; rather, this was a show that rewarded you for loving it and scrutinizing it by making you feel all of the good and bad of human experience and I wouldn't have it any other way. Every laugh and tear was a gift.

Over the top? Maybe, but I feel that, for all of its faults, it is one of the best shows that will ever come along.
It's my understanding that Tara was supposed to die and Willow to go dark much earlier than season 6.

And had that happened, menomegirl, I might have said it was bad writing. But in Season 6, it was necessary if they wanted to follow the theme they did.
I think killing off Tara was probably the show’s single greatest mis-step. Not because I’m a fan of Willow/Tara (I liked them together but I had no objections to Willow and Oz before them either) but because I thought there was a lot more that could have been done with Tara herself. Amber Benson was wonderful and I thought it a shame that Tara was mostly relegated to “Willow accesory” status. I would have preferred seeing Tara as a full-fledged member of the gang with her own separate conflicts and character arc, and I would have preferred to get to know her outside of her relationship with Willow.

I have nothing against killing characters, if the dramatic payoff is worth what you’ve sacrificed. I really do think, for example, that Angelus should have killed someone much more important than Jenny Calendar to really cement his threat--if he had killed Xander, that would have really been something. I would have thought it worth the trade-off to lose Xander, keep Jenny Calendar, and really show Angelus doing some damage. But to me it simply wasn’t worth losing Tara to tell the Dark Willow story. Tara was far too vibrant and intriguing a character, with far too many potential stories to tell, and I think her death was wasted. Apparently Joss had plans to bring her back--I believe he mentioned in an interview that he was going to give Buffy one wish and Buffy would wish for Tara to be alive again--and maybe that was why he was willing to sacrifice the character. Unfortunately, we never got her back, and to me the Dark Willow story wasn’t nearly good enough to make up for all the Tara stories we would never get to see.
I, like a lot of you, loved most of Seeing Red.

The only problem I have with it now is that Spike, an attempted rapist, is someone I'm supposed to root for later in the series. That's hard/near impossible for me to do.
I enjoyed Willow with all those she loved, and who were loved by her in turn; my sense of it has always been that each of those relationships satisfied her in differing, yet equally meaningful and fulfilling ways. I've heard it suggested that a person's soul is so complex and multifaceted that they can have many soulmates, not just one...and yet each of those soulmates is a perfect match for the person in their own unique fashion.

Willow and Oz were nigh-well the cutest couple imaginable, and in re-watching their burgeoning relationship in S2 I'm still surprised that the universe itself didn't implode from such overwhelming adorableness. :) And her and Tara, well, again those two matched each other so perfectly - a couple truly born and made, their energies just meshed together beautifully... And then, too - and I've oft-wondered if I'm alone in this assessment, but oh well - I certainly do greatly enjoy Willow and Kennedy together...yes, I truly do!

Again, she and Kennedy are wholly different in dynamic, the play of their energies between each other; Kennedy (the smartmouthed little spitfire) is quite unlike Tara (the earth-magick maiden), true, but that can very much be a good thing...Willow loved Tara with all her heart and soul in one way, yet now she had to go on with her life....move forward, and still be able to love, and so she was able to love Kennedy as well...differently than with Tara, but still truly, madly and deeply just the same. :) The human heart is far too great, vast and wonderful in its capacity to love to be limited to just one person alone, I suppose it could be said...
I won't go over my own reasons again; they're complicated, and very tied into the fact this happened in spring 2002.

I will say, the not really very good palce these folks are in in S-8, attitudinally and spiritually, underscores for me that Tara, Cordelia, and, less obviously, Anya would be better in the world than out of it.

And it's not a matter of Joss's "getting over" a "habit," making it a personal issue. It's the sheer aesthetic one of that it's become a bit of a bore.
I'll save the Seeing Red statements for everyone else, but I will say was my least favorite season when it aired and my favorite season after watching them all again.

I also think the the assessment on the Kennedy relationship is a little off base. I don't think it was that Kennedy was after Tara at all. Whether they meant to or not, Kennedy was a very unlikable character. She annoyed me before I knew she was a lesbian or interested in Willow so I can't say it has anything to do with the Willow/Kennedy pairing. They never really made her any more appealing after that. If she'd been a guy and Willow had been straight, I would have also found her extremely creepy. As it turned out, she was just annoying to me.

I do want to defend the "death is a little overdone" viewpoint though. My issue is that I now expect it. The problem with that is that I'm desensitized by it and his deaths really don't have pop. I don't feel what I felt in Seeing Red or A Hole in the World anymore. It's not a flaw in Joss' writing, it's the natural result of doing the same thing too often.

This isn't an one side is right for thinking this and the other is wrong because they disagree. I'm just saying, it is possible that by writing the stories the way he does, he's built a slightly guarded section of the fan base. And you can't be guarded if you're truly going to feel. And if there's no feeling, well it's not really effective drama. So either his writing is going to have to pierce that or his best bet might be to do a few projects that don't cling to "I have to kill a main character or you won't feel" trope. In my opinion, Mad Men is one of the best dramas I've seen in a while, and no main character has had to die yet. It's a matter of variety.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-19 03:48 ]
So you really 'feel' while watching Mad Men? Cause I, a fan of the show, rarely do. It's all so...detached. Like they're more interested in the details of the 60's being right than any sort of emotional pull.

Anyway, to keep this on topic, I love being able to not expect anything, and I feel a little sorry for the rest of you. Joss is still my hero.
{{sputters}} -- I am loving me some zeitgeist,

[ edited by Tonya J on 2010-02-19 06:07 ]
*face palm* I did not know this about some Supernatural fans. I guess I am a fan of the show, watch it all the time but I don’t ship the ‘cest - although Cas/Dean might be another story ;). Hate in shipping is distasteful but I guess we have all come to terms with it, but for it to extend to RL Hate? Get real.

I think Seeing Red being an episode that makes you recall almost every scene, every expression on the character’s face, makes it a great episode. Sometimes I forget that it has lines because, honestly, it’s so well written, directed and acted, the imagery itself are overpowering.

I loved Tara/Willow, adored Willow/Oz and seem to have a selective memory/amnesia when it comes to Willow/Kennedy. But never once thought the big purple bard a ‘phob. I think he more than proved he stands on the power of the femme --- dudes need some lovin’ too! ;)

I will not address the fact that Lana is ruining another show for me (fine, SV writers have most of the credit). Casey needs to have an accident with his gun.
And can you see Tara going bad?

Dark Tara would have been amazing. Amber would have acted the hell out of that.

And yeah, I remember hearing that Glory was meant to have killed Tara instead of mindwiping her and then Willow would have killed Glory.
Ooooh. Good point on Amber. And now I'm kinda regretting that the story never would have tolerated Evil!Tara...
The only problem with Evil Tara, was that it puts Willow in a position to kill her lover.

And does that remind anyone else of anything on Buffy?!

Still, I agree with everyone that it would have been great to see Amber do it.
She did it on the second Buffy game. There was a bit of an outcry from some fans for her taking on the role.
Mirage-I'm a fan of Supernatural too but I have little to do with its fandom. I don't read its fanfic (unless I come across a crossover with Btvs or Ats). Wincest is just plain disturbing.
Amber actually played a vampire on Supernatural a few seasons back... but even then she was a GOOD vamp that didn't eat people! Perhaps the sheer terror of the fans when faced with Evil!Amber in ANY permutation would cause the space-time continuum to fold in on itself and self-destruct O.o
I think killing off Tara was probably the show’s single greatest mis-step.

I'd say it was the best bit of writing, actually, as judged by the fact that any reference to it generates a number of well thought out and heartfelt responses. A mention of Belonging Part 2, Hush, The Body, OMWF, or The Gift will not consistently generate as much discussion.

Of course, one could argue that would then make "Jumping the Shark" a brilliant creative choice, in that it eventually became the handle by which that meme is known.
"Perhaps the sheer terror of the fans when faced with Evil!Amber in ANY permutation would cause the space-time continuum to fold in on itself and self-destruct O.o"

So that's what's been wrong since Amber played evil in an episode of The Inside (unaired in the USA). She was really evil!
Thanks, Tonya J :) I have to agree with the mention of evil Amber on The Inside - she was incredible in that role.
I don't think Joss is homophobic. Not by a long shot. But I do think killing Tara off was a mistake, albeit an amazingly written mistake. I don't know about the whole "lesbians must die and/or go insane" argument, and I don't think Joss intended Tara's death and Willow's reaction to represent that stereotype. My problem with Tara's death is that Tara was presented as a shy, stuttering girl that we later discovered had been mentally and emotionally abused by her family. Through her relationship with Willow, she was able to overcome this and find some confidence in herself. Until Glory came along and made her a victim again. Willow saved her again. Then, Willow became the victimizer, even though I don't even remotely equate what Willow did to what Tara's family and Glory did. None the less, Tara ended up leaving Willow to keep from being a victim again. Then the moment she gets back with Willow, she becomes a victim again. It would have been nice to have her NOT be a victim all the time. Plus, Joss made it very clear that Tara was Willow's soul mate or OTP or whatever. So he can't complain when we refuse to warm up to Kennedy, who never seemed to fit with Willow like Tara did.

[ edited by filmtx on 2010-02-19 15:30 ]

[ edited by filmtx on 2010-02-19 15:30 ]
.The only problem I have with it now is that Spike, an attempted rapist, is someone I'm supposed to root for later in the series. That's hard/near impossible for me to do.
guidedby | February 19, 01:23 CET

So does that mean you were never able to root for Angel when he was doing good, because of all the atrocities he committed before he was given his soul?
Or for Buffy, after her attempted murder of Faith, for purely selfish reasons?
Or for Willow, after what she did to Warren?
Just asking.
Shey: C'mon...with all due respect, are those situations really even comparable? Buffy attempted to kill, and Willow actually did kill, people who were not only murderers but quite remorseless about it. Granted, their motives were not the best, but that hardly compares to what Spike did. He attempted to rape not only an innocent, but someone for whom he claimed to feel love.

As for Angelus, it's a tougher line to draw...but most of his atrocities were never presented in front of the camera in the same intimate detail as Spike's attempted rape. Plus, we had the benefit of getting to know him as Angel first, and hear him explicitly acknowledge that he was trying to make up for all the evil he did. I can see why those differences might lead to differences of opinion about the two characters.

For the record, I'm not with guidedby...I never had a problem getting behind Season 7 Spike, though I recall being incredibly disgusted by him for the last three episodes of Season 6. He sought out a soul to prevent himself from being a monster -- it's hard to imagine a more serious penance and admission of guilt, which allows me to wipe the sin-slate clean for even the most heinous crimes. But I can see why someone would be unable to feel that way, and I don't think your situations really compare well once all the factors are taken into account.

[ edited by BAFfler on 2010-02-19 16:38 ]
Thanks BAFfler! You argued my case better than I could have. That's pretty much exactly it.

And I, for the most part, did come around during Season 7 because of the soul thing. I just still had that scene, always, in the back of my mind.

[ edited by guidedby on 2010-02-19 16:59 ]
It would have been nice to have her NOT be a victim all the time.

She wasn't. She was the only person who could empathize with Buffy when her mom died, the only person Buffy felt safe confessing her guilt about sex with Spike to, and the only person in a houseful of characters willing to stand up to Anya when she tried to bully Willow into using magic when she shouldn't. She was Dawn's surrogate parent in a really bad time for Dawn. She even got the axe a demon who was attacking Willow. I do wish we'd gotten to see more of that kind of thing from her, but we did get to see some of it.
sunfire I don't think Tara was the only one who empathized with Buffy when Joyce died. She was the only one who had lost a parent, so it made sense for her to be a source of comfort. I think Buffy going to Tara about Spike was more out of her needing to talk to someone who understood magic who was not Willow. But, you're right that Buffy trusted Tara enough to seek her advice regarding the magic. Had Buffy not been concerned that she "came back wrong," I don't think she would have said anything to Tara about Spike. Yes, Tara certainly could defend herself, stand up for herself and even kill a demon if need be. But we rarely saw that. I guess that's why I was upset about her being killed off. Just when Tara was starting to NOT be a victim, she gets killed.

[ edited by filmtx on 2010-02-19 18:04 ]
"Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after."

Giles said it. Per Buffy's request. But, laid out like that, she knew it was a lie....
I agree that Tara got shortchanged in terms of what seemed like great potential for an arc where she more completely comes into her own. I just disagree on her being a victim all the time. She was already pretty far along in Season 6. The scene where she tells Willow off for changing her memories is pretty remarkable. And then when Willow proves spectacularly untrustworthy after a trial period, Tara leaves. That's a refusal to be a victim and a real sign of strength.

It's a minor point but all of Buffy's friends sympathized with her mom's death but Tara was able to empathize because she had been through that kind of grief whereas the other Scoobies hadn't yet. She also mentioned she had been self-destructive for awhile afterward so I think that's why Buffy ultimately confided in her. Although the magic was the reason they were meeting to begin with.
As I see it, Tara is one of the show's best representations of a different kind of power -- not the slayer-style power or Willow's magical knowledge, but the healing power of holding people together. It's no accident at all, I think, that Buffy starts pulling herself back together after talking with Tara -- and also in "Normal Again" once Tara returns to the house.

Yes, she was often a victim, but in some ways she had strength that Buffy didn't.
But is axing a demon the only sign of strength? I say this, because often on these boards, it seems like anyone who doesn't perform this task (or it's equivalent depending on the Joss show) is often perceived as weak.

Which is strange, given the premise seems to be that these creatures are stronger than ordinary humans which is why we have a Slayer in the first place. If I could do it, who cares?

It seems to me, characters like Tara and Xander (although they are known to kill a demon from time to time) display their strength by minimizing the collateral damage without fail. It's a different kind of burden, but it is often extremely heavy.

And I think the writers always tried to make sure you knew Tara and Xander were strong, even when they weren't fighting. Willow and Buffy break down emotionally with regularity. Tara never really does, and Xander's big breakdown was probably an extremely forgivable concern played out in an unforgivable way.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-19 19:21 ]

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