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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Why couldn't you be dealing drugs like normal people."
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November 23 2011

James Marsters plays Angel. James Marsters was at the recent Alamo Drafthouse Buffy Singalong and agreed to play a scene, as Angel, with an audience member. This amusing write up comes complete with a video memorializing the performance.

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Forever Young Adult for the write up and fun videos. And Happy Thanksgiving to the U.S. members of Whedonesque.

I'll never understand all the Dawn hate. Michelle gave us some truly amazing performances.
Right there with you.

But JM landed Angel's voice pretty well.
I dunno - pretty serious scene - doesn't really lend itself to a jokey lip dub. Marsters seems like a very cool guy and a great sport, though.
Yeah, that scene was such an odd choice. I didn't feel like laughing at all when Buffy was so hurt.
I hate to in any way comment negatively on a good-humored blog written by fans ('forever young adults' like myself, no less) and spoil the fun for 'everybody' that hates Dawn, but the Dawn hate totally spoils the fun for me. I will not go to a OMWF sing-along until this is no longer considered normal behavior and part of the 'instructions', jokingly or not.
I think it's unpleasant too. We have enough problems in this fandom with hate directed towards characters without having it reinforced at communal events for fans.

Also (and this is the biggy) it makes people feel uncomfortable when they go to such things. I've never understood the attitude that this is somehow acceptable, and that they should toughen up and be part of the joke.
The yelling at Dawn never made me uncomfortable at all. It's funny. I don't hate Dawn, and I've never shouted at her from my seat at the singalongs that I've been to, but for those that do, it's meant as fun. Dawn was a bratty kid on the show, and now people are getting the chance to get back at her a bit. ;)

As for the scene they chose for Buffyoke, well Buffy's over it and so am I. So I can laugh at people doing voice-overs for it.
I've not been to a sing along and probably never will (just not my kind of thing,) but even that clip of the Dawn hating was off putting enough.

I don't think you can compare that kind of crowd participation to Rocky Horror, where the characters are only surface deep and designed in many ways for that kind of reaction.

We saw Dawn grow for three years and has become an identifiable character for many viewers. She certainly was never meant to be a hated figure. The taunts at these events are not just aimed at Dawn, but also Michelle Trachtenberg, the writers and anyone that does connect to her. I'm sure that isn't the intention those that shout out, but it definitely comes across like that.
The taunts have nothing to do with any RL person, actors, writers, etc. They are reactions to a bratty TV character.

The singalong at DragonCon this year was so full that not everyone that wanted to, got in. This one at the Drafthouse was sold out soon after the tickets went on sale. So there are a lot of fans out there who find this entertaining. Those who don't, well they're leaving more space for those who do. ;)
I definitely experienced the Dawn hate at the OMWF sing-along at ECCC this year. I will never do that again. I suggest that everyone who feels the way I do contact the organizer and express your feelings. He addressed this issue at the start of the event I attended but said it was up to the audience whether they wanted to participate. Which, if one person decides to yell Dawn hate at the screen, everyone else is forced to listen whether they want to participate or not. Totally ruined the experience and it disappoints me that Buffy fans can be so ugly and mean.

I don't remember the OMWF Sing-Along organizer's name. Can anyone share him contact info so we can give him our feedback? He might not even realize how many of the anti-Dawn haters there are.
Another thing I want to mention about the Sing-Along Dawn Hate. It isn't just that people are expressing their hatred for a character - they are also interrupting the show and its difficult to hear all the dialogue. It's distracting and takes you out of the story, and that's not fun.

At the event I went to, the Dawn Hate escalated so that any time Dawn even appeared on screen people shouted "Shut up, Dawn!" I may have made it worse by trying to shush people for doing it. I think some of the extra Shut up, Dawn's might have been in reaction to that.

I was with someone who felt the same way I did. It was extremely unpleasant for both of us, and I think I noticed a few other people who weren't happy either. It was nasty and in terrible taste. I think I even remember Joss, after attending one in L.A. expressing hurt feelings about it. OMWF Sing-Along Dawn Hate hurts Joss' feelings. People should think about that.

What if you loved a character that most people don't, and those people held screenings of an episode that character is in, and in those screenings they proceeded to bash that character? That wouldn't feel too good, would it?

There are people who love Dawn? Why are we going to exclude a certain population of the fan base, no matter how small? This behavior seems petty and cruel.
I'm going to stand up and say I loved Dawn as a character. The issue I have with this, however, is not the hate directed at Dawn herself (she is, after all, fictional :)), but the fact this makes other people uncomfortable.

These fan-events should feel safe to attend for other fans. Already genre fans get ridiculed much to often for things they like - coming together with other fans should feel like coming home. Having to tip-toe around the fact you're uncomfortable with a practice many other people consider fun - no matter how harmless - doesn't fit into that picture.

I also remember the report of people hackling the girl who expressed the fact she wasn't comfortable with the dawn hate at one of these screenings. I think that got posted here a few months back. Also, if people, like esq mentioned, start shouting even more because someone tries to shush them, that's not fun. I think introducing this negative outpouring of hate - even if it's just directed at a character - is partly to blame for these reactions. These screenings, to me, should be a getting together of fans, singing along together to something everyone there loves - and nothing else.
I love Dawn and I still instinctively tell the TV that, no, nobody notices or cares. I didn't at the time. I love Buffy, but I agreed with (Dark)Willow that she was at a point where she really did need every square inch of her ass kicked.

Mocking Dawn in that scene is sort of the design of the scene -- we're given just enough of what promises to be a gratingly poignant song about a C plot that wasn't exactly the most exciting thing going on and it's interrupted by a good news/bad news act break of her being kidnapped instead. So to me, finding the song and even the character annoying right there is Working As Intended. I don't think there's some sort of irrationally unpleasant character hate going on at these things unless people are, I dunno, booing and caterwauling through Michelle's awesome dance sequence, or her bookending "The Gift".
I don't think rationality comes into it. It's seems to be a very circumstantial thing. Some people take every moment of their show seriously, others have the ability to mock it. I think it's the level of awareness people have for something, and having a lot or not doesn't equate to being a smarter or naive person; it's just a difference. They can love the show equally, and react to it in completely opposite ways.

Anyway, for me, Vandelay hit the nail on the head. Dawn was a character that we knew for 66 hours of television. It's a significant difference to the 2 put into a comedy rock musical.
Although by now this post has almost disappeared and could be considered 'old news', I keep coming back to it; both literally and in heart & mind.

Personally, I find the whole Dawn-bashing disgusting, and it kind of scares me. So much hatred.
But the part I really want to comment on is this:

The taunts have nothing to do with any RL person, actors, writers, etc. They are reactions to a bratty TV character.

Of course the taunting does have to do with actors and writers: exactly because Dawn is a TV-character.

In a sense, for me personally, it would be better tolerable if she would be, say, a contestant in a real life show. Then the bashing would be only aimed at that one person.
In this case, however, a group of artist created the character. Put their-selves in it, their time, energy, creativity, you-name-it.
And in thanks, their creation gets dissed.

By disapproving of the character Dawn, in a way, part of some-ones work is disapproved of.
And that's very personal.
I wasn't going to say anything since it's been brought up over and over here and discussed, but I will comment because of exactly what Puck quoted, and say that Joss doesn't like it, it hurt Michelle's feelings when this phenomenon came into full swing and she became aware of it. It is not realistic to think people at these events are just jeering at a TV character. A young woman played that role and any rationalization is just unthinkable, if even out of respect for Michelle and Joss. I think James was a good sport to do an Angel VO, but really, laughing at Buffy's pain is not my idea of a good time. I'll leave this gladiatorial TV blood sport to those who think they're doing nothing wrong, but I won't be sad when these "get-togethers" die out.
I agree, Dawn was problematic at times, but she certainly doesn't deserve this (and Michelle as well).

That aside, I would love to see OMWF on a big screen some day.

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