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April 14 2004

Deadly Dilemma Of Lesbians In Entertainment "Right when Willow & Tara finally got over their issues and made up - Joss Whedon pulled a plot twist right out of cliché-land. He killed off Tara - violently. He had her murdered - and then had her lover, Willow, go quite insane over it. Willow became the evil lesbian psycho out to destroy the entire world."

In fairness to Joss, wasn't this initially going to happen to Oz? But Seth Green left the show so they gave Willow a new love interest. Being gay had nothing to do with ME deciding to kill off Tara. And frankly, no one on Buffy was having "happy endings".

Good article regardless though. I watch ER and knew they were going to kill off Sandy but I get why. They are trying to show just how difficult it is for gays to be treated as equals.

i think people overlook the fact that this is just fantasy. "buffy" needed a good plot twist so tara died, it happens all the time in shows. to say it was because she was gay (or just to say it was related somehow to lesbian relationships) is absurd. even it joss had some sort of meaning behind it, i didnt get it. its just tv, and it worked out nicely if you ask me. it gave a interesting ending to that season.

[ edited by norman on 2004-04-14 18:10 ]
"...no one on Buffy was having 'happy endings'..."

I think Spike would beg to differ.
When Sandy died--killed in a fire-rescue accident, not "murdered," per se--I said to myself, "I wonder how long before the first protest article appears?" Now I know. On the plus side, Kerrey doesn't seem likely to go insane or evil :)

Doesn't it seem that if you really want LBGT characters to be considered as equals, then they have an equal chance to die in a story. Straight love interests die all the time.
I agree. Joss had no hidden conspiracy. Characters die all the time. Heck, the show is more about death than it is life, or for that matter, lesbians. Actually, it's completely absurd. It's like saying Joss is an ageist because he killed off Jenny. I don't get it, I think sometimes people just need a target to focus their anger. Although in the case of homosexuality, I think the anger is rightly felt. Until things change, television shows like Buffy are their only way of advocating.
"Doesn't it seem that if you really want LBGT characters to be considered as equals, then they have an equal chance to die in a story. Straight love interests die all the time."

I think Sandy dying on ER made sense. She was a firefighter and they had another firefighter die too. I think the writer of that article isn't seeing the whole picture. Sandy and Kerry's story was always more in the background. They'd show little snippets here and there of them but it wasn't a prominent story. Now with Sandy's death, Kerry is going to have to fight for the right to have her child back. That is something that is a major issue in Gay Marriage rights and why they want it made legal. If they had been a normal couple, there wouldn't be this issue of whether or not it's Kerry's legal child. This is most likely going to be a very prominent storyline and I'm happy ER has taken it on.

What I always loved about the Willow & Tara love story was that it just seemed so normal. I never really even thought of them as a gay couple but just as two people very much in love. They were treated like every other couple on the show, and occaisionally, a loved one gets killed. Poor Giles, he didn't even really get to start his love story with Jenny, they were just beginning.
yeah i never really thought about willow and tara being a "gay Couple" either. it just seemed like a normal relationship which was great.............
Rather uninformed article. This was indeed meant for Oz. Joss had planned the Dark Willow thing years earlier already. The only reason it wasn't Oz was because Seth Green left (and rather abruptly at that) so Joss had to come up with different things.

So to now insinuate that Tara died 'because she was a lesbian' is not only pretty stupid, it is also insultive. Joss has created one of the few (if not only) serious lesbian relationships on American TV. And he did it so that they were just another couple on the show. Not make them the topic of the 'very special episode'. The first time they kiss was not the main thing of that ep, and not in the trailers. Joss fought for it threatening to quit when the suits balked and tried to block it. And this is how he is appreciated for it? And why? Because he didn't know lesbian characters should be immortal?

If Jenny Calendar had died as Joyce's gay love interest, she would still be lamented in these articles too. But since she was Giles' heterosexual love interest her death is a-okay? Please.

Willow's lover was supposed to die. Whoever that was and whatever gender that was. Joss saw no difference between lesbian and heterosexual characters. People like the writer of this article are the ones who keep focussing on the 'lesbian couple'. To Joss/ME and most of us fans, they were just 'a couple'. And isn't that the POINT?

Gay people and gay characters have been treated badly (and still are) in american culture, but to attack one of the few people that went against it, fought to put a good gay 'ship up there and treated lesbians just like the other characters on the show seems a rather insipid way of going about things.

The article also neatly sidesteps, or more likely, has no clue once again, about Willow ending up with Kennedy who very much lived at the end. But hey who actually wants to do some research when writing a social commentary rant?
Say it with me, everyone, "Not this shit again!" :D

It's possible that L.A. Vess quit watching BtVS after Season 6... but I think it's more likely that she(?) is simply ignoring the Willow/Kennedy relationship because it doesn't fit into the "lesbian cliché" scenario.

Which points to the biggest flaw in the whole idea: The believers in the lesbian cliché ideology have to leave out big chunks of the story and context to make their position seem valid. For example, the contention that Tara was singled out ignores the fact that BtVS takes place in a violent universe... there's been a dead sympathetic supporting character in every season. If Willow and Tara had been characters on Gilmore Girls, maybe. But BtVS? Uh-uh.

And the same could be said for ER... it's a dangerous world, L.A. Vess; deal with it.
Do you know why there are no portrayals of "happy, long-term, stable" lesbian relationships on TV? For the exact same reason there are no "happy, long-term, stable" heterosexual relationships on TV; it is BORING.

Television writers, or ANY writers, are not in the business of providing role models for people. Fictional characters are not invented to make people feel better about themselves. They're invented for the purpose of telling interesting, exciting, larger-than-life stories. And the writers are in the business of telling stories those stories. I'm sorry lesbians, but stories about "happy, normal, stable" people (of ANY sexual persuasion) are simply not interesting. Hell, I'd go so far as to say they are phenomenally boring and almost completely pointless.

If Joss Whedon made any mistakes at all in the handling of the Willow/Tara storyline it was merely that he treated them as just another couple. He gave them equality. Turns out, sadly, that equality was not what the lesbian audience wanted for their characters. They wanted immunity. Well, you know what? Nobody is immune. Not in this world, not in theirs. Whether you're lesbian, gay, bi, trans, straight, curious, black, white, yellow, pink, orange or blue. If you're on one of Joss Whedon's shows, you've gotta be ready to die if or when the story demands it.

Goddamn that Whedon for not realizing that all minorities portayed in fiction should be bulletproof!

Please...
When the whole evil/dead lesbian thing erupted a couple of years ago (No, Sam Raimi didn't do porno), the middle ground that some apologists came to was that Whedon, while he may not have done it intentionally, should have been "sensitive to the issue." I'm not exactly sure how that would be managable.

It was fairly clear to me, as a fan, that Willow was on a surefire course for trouble since early Season Four, the only questions I had were, how bad was it going to be and what will be the trigger?

Frankly, I have yet to see the evil/dead lesbian cliche (EDLC) anywhere. If it is a cliche, it's not much of one. Perhaps someone has a list of films in which it appears. My guess is that I haven't seen them.
See I think people are throwing this out of proportion. Gay/Lesbian peole are no different to anyone else, and everyone knows it. Just highlighting this issue "because it gay" could even be considered homophobic? I don't know, does anyone else think this?

Willow and Tara were in love, and I think that if Oz was still around, it would have happened the same. Willow was going to go bad. Willow needed a trigger. The Trigger was her lovers death. The fact that they were male or female had absoloutely no part in it whatsoever. Well that just the way I look at it

In the Whedonverse, people are going to die e.g. Fred, Joyce, Knox etc. we know this because we have been watching Buffy and Angel for eight years between them. I don't think that Tara died because she was a lesbian, I think it was simply too good a storyline to miss
Gay/Lesbian peole are no different to anyone else

I would imagine this reporter would beg to differ. It seems some groups get mad when they're not treated like anyone else, then when they *are* treated like everyone else, they complain that their uniqueness and diversity are being overlooked. You can't win.

Just like with women, we want to be treated as equal to men, except when we're emotional or there is a bug to be killed.....THEN men need to understand that it's just how we are and they have to deal with it! But after that, treat us just like another man.....;)
I think everyone has articulated quite eloquently the fallacy of this article. And, I don't have much to add other than that I agree wholeheartedly with what's been said so far. To accuse Joss Whedon and company of promoting homophobia by means of the dead lesbian cliche (is there even such a thing?) is absolutely ridiculous. Shouldn't the Gay and Lesbian community focus their wrath on those in Congress who would pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage instead of attacking the few public personas who actually support them?
Technically, I don't think I would say that Tara was murdered. If Buffy had died from Warren's shooting, she would have been murdered. But Tara wasn't Warren's intent; he killed her but did he murder her? Can there be a difference? The dictionary defines murder as premeditated. Tara's death was a tragic accident stemming from the attempted murder of someone else. And if that's the case then this article's judgements against BtVS don't hold up.
Murder doesn't have to be premeditated.
Invisible Green is right about murder, but irish is also right that Tara wasn't murdered. She was horribly, tragically killed in an attempt to murder someone else. Legally, that would probably be manslaughter with all sorts of aggravating circumstances, but not murder.

What Kansas said, though, about not this shit again. Tiresome stuff in the extreme.
To paraprhase Lizard, tiresome, tiresome, tiresome. There is so much homophobia in this world -- why not go after the real culprits? No-one, no matter how earnest, will ever convince me that Joss "killed" Tara because he's subconsciously ruled by some sort of "those bad lesbians should die" thing. Bullsh*t. I have no patience for this kind of hogwash.
Tiresome is right. I've already exhausted myself ranting about the ridiculousness of this topic in my online journal back when it was a big issue, so I have no desire to dive into it again. I only have three words: get over it.
oh, and didn't you know that all white, hetrosexual man turn into mindless killers after sleeping with their virginal girlfriends? its called the evil white hetrosexual man cliche.
heheh h'biki nice comment. i still don't understand were this " evil and dead lesbian cliche" came from. I never heard of it till Tara died and I hardly think its a cliche. I love Tara and I love BTVS and I love Joss and I think that storyline was great and I have NO fricken' idea about this "cliche" thing, I think its a load of bull that dumbasses made up because they are stupid and upset about Tara( not that being sad about Tara is stupid, I was, I just didn't make up stuff about "cliches")

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