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April 24 2015

James Marsters reveals two good Joss Whedon secrets. The Buffy writers' story is really interesting.

"“For Joss, evil is not cool. Evil is not three-dimensional. You’re not supposed to feel bad for evil people."

Gotta disagree with James there. Joss has created/written some great three-dimensional villains.
Yeah, I'm not buying that either. Joss actually put a face on evil, made it relatable.
Agree - not buying it.
iirc, Spike was only supposed to show up once, so it seems possible that Joss did ask for a more purely-evil presence than what James provided.

For me, there is (or should be) a difference between soulless evil (most vamps not named Angel) and souled evil (the Mayor and many others). Perhaps Joss wrote Spike as the former and James is saying he chose to act the latter -- and I guess it worked because he turned into a recurring character.

That said, I never thought of Spike as being soulful as a soulless vamp... I perceived a perverse sense of whimsy but I don't think that is necessarily soulful.
Spike was written to challenge or contradict the 'predictable' 2D image of evil as part of his character from the get-go. It was illustrated in the shift out of gameface for Dru in School Hard and Buffy was able to read his priorities as not being 'typical' when she used his devotion to Dru to her benefit in Lie To Me. It was there in the characterisation scripting from the start. JM no doubt played a huge part in why Spike was such a great character, but it was what Joss was creating imo. JM has very successfully managed to extend the perks/attention of having got that role for a considerable time now.

Two things that always surprise me about JM 1) that he doesn't get bored saying the same things over and over again in interviews, and 2) he seems pretty smart but... how much he fails to understand some aspects of Spike's story S6/7. ;D

[ edited by Stoney on 2015-04-24 16:04 ]
Spike was definitely supposed to be a short-term character. I remember some commentary or other where Joss said that if Spike had been intended to stick around for long, he wouldn't have been set up as the epitome of cool (which, come to think of it, really explains "Fool for Love" and the neutering -- I mean, the chip). So perhaps that's what Marsters is riffing on: that Spike was written to be two-dimensional, with the exception of his affection for Dru, and then be gone. But I've long felt that Marsters won himself a recurring role with the very first Spike/Buffy scenes; his chemistry with Gellar was electric from the start.

As for the writer's room story: makes sense. That's basically what Joss does, isn't it? But I didn't realize he was farming all the pain he could lay his hands on...
Hmmm, I do think JM was instrumental in creating Spike, I'm not trying to play that down, I think he is a great actor. Most know that Spike wasn't supposed to be around a long time and another actor may not have 'sold' him to the writing team and audience anywhere near as well (personally I'm sure of it). But how much of that was the character coming to be 'more' in collaboration between the actor/writers or JM's cunning plan to make him 'more' I don't know. Spike's jealousy, insecurities and affectionate reactions around Angel were there pre the supposed cut off for the character of WML too, so I do see it as a clear collaboration rather than 'changing' the way Spike was written personally.
Yeah... I think Marsters is taking a one-off here (the original Spike was meant to be just a metaphor; soulless, evil, and two-dimensional) and expanding it as "Joss thinks all evil people should be that way".

Which is bizarre, considering all the multi-dimensional villains in Joss' work, many of whom Marsters worked with. The Trio, anybody?
Marsters has told these stories so often to people I don't think they're secrets anymore lol
For some reason I'm reading this as it being the vampires specifically who were supposed to remain purely evil - with Angel as the obvious and only exception. I don't think Joss ever thought there would be a second vampire with a soul. But writers' intentions change. You can see Buffy getting morally greyer pretty clearly as it goes on. I also find it interesting how much blurrier the lines get between demons and people in Angel, and how that feeds back into Buffy as it goes on.
I buy it.

Here's the thing, Joss is a very smart guy but very early Buffy was not overly nuanced in terms of good/evil although it had its moments. There's no doubt in my mind that it wasn't accidental. It's why Angel and Angelus were originally portrayed as distinctly not the same person. The audience really wasn't supposed to get into confused arguments over agency questions. We were supposed to see how different the the person we met repenting and who he had been were.

A lot of later season arguments really tend to stem from early Buffy where it's quite obvious black and white existed and the more late season/Angel style which honestly still tried desperately hard to keep the two separate but also tried for Fireflyish shades of grey. And that's one of the reasons I think people over time got into deeper and deeper arguments over plotline in the Buffyverse.

There were really two different ways it appeared to be written and it may very well have had to do with how Joss conceptualized the shows early vs. late. It really explains why fandom tended to splinter in terms of perspective as different groups of smart people were exposed to different mores and different plot at different times. A lot of people tried to shift the Buffyverse back to their preferred box.

[ edited by azzers on 2015-04-25 00:03 ]
>> @ManEnoughToAdmitIt
>> That's basically what Joss does, isn't it?
>> But I didn't realize he was farming all the pain he could lay his hands on...

"I like the Pain,
I need the Pain,
give me your Pain."
-- Katya from "Melinda"

Some things just never change.
>> @ManEnoughToAdmitIt
>> That's basically what Joss does, isn't it?
>> But I didn't realize he was farming all the pain he could lay his hands on...

"I like the Pain,
I need the Pain,
give me your Pain."
-- Katya from "Melinda"

Some things just never change.



This may be my favorite post this week!
Someone better send in the cavalier!

Joss has never pulled any punches with that. His characters are human and they make lifelike mistakes and bad decisions. I've always liked that they were "grey hats" in being human.
Send in the caviar?
Homer: "Mmmmm . . . , fish jelly."
Send in the capillary!
Hmm. Perhaps I should of said "Send in the catfish!"
You wouldn't know any difference. Sad.
Captain, convey the courageous, curvaceous, catastrophic, cathayan combatant in cataphractes to coral and compel the cowardly, conniving cabal of curs to capitulate completely.
Well said, RobynH, but did you mean "coral" or "corral"? (I'm going to have to go look up "cataphractes" now.)
Just looked up "cataphractes." According to wikipedia, it is a "genus of moths." ..... Ah ha! If you take out the "e," it refers to a type of armor worn by cavalry in Ye Olden Days, so now it all makes sense. Good ol' wiki!

[ edited by Jocelyn on 2015-04-26 15:35 ]

[ edited by Jocelyn on 2015-04-26 15:36 ]
>> Hmm. Perhaps I should of said "Send in the catfish!"

Send in the catfight?
>> "genus of moths."
Thanks for the Dadaism, I feel much more abstract now.

Darn keyboard always putting in what I type instead of what i mean.
RobynH: I feel your pain. And yes, that was rather Dadaesque.
Well, that was a nifty bit of alliteration, even if you probably meant "corral" instead of "coral". I keep asking, if these blinkin' computers are so smart, how come they don't know what I meant to write??

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