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November 08 2002

Joss to be interviewed on NPR's 'Fresh Air' today (see your local public radio station schedule for air times or just stream it online later): "Terry talks with the creator of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Joss Whedon."

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week nearly two million people tune in to the show's in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

Wow. This should be Grr-eat. Fresh Air is a great program but it's a shame more people don't listen to it. Searching through the archives I found that Joss Whedon has been on Fresh Air once before on May 9th, 2000 that is worth listening to. I wonder how much the audiences of BtVS and Fresh Air overlap. Both audiences are intelligent by all accounts.
today's broadcast is a repeat of the May 9 2000 broadcast. darn.
Opps. I didn't see that. But I just listened to it and found if very worthwhile. Almost a full hour talking with Joss Whedon can not be beat. Also, I found more on NPR related to BtVS here.

[ edited by the_zeppo on 2002-11-08 22:04 ]
Incidentally, I heard a live Joss Whedon interview randomly today on New England's WFNX radio station. The most interesting thing to me was that he talked of Buffy Season 8 almost as a foregone conclusion, focusing more on whether or not SMG would be reprising her role. There was little of the "if we have the stories to tell, we'll keep going" talk we've been hearing up till now. I don't know if that's actually indicative of anything, or if it's just reflective of the tone the interview took, but it made me hopeful and happy. {{He had one funny patented Joss moment when he was talking about how, if the show goes on without SMG, it would definitely be a different show. He said something to the effect of, "It's not like we're going to have the other characters pointing offscreen, going, 'She's over there!'"}}

Otherwise, he said pretty much the stuff you'd expect, mentioning that Firefly was in a bad time slot, but that FOX was being very supportive, that the execs like the direction the show is taking, and that they are dedicated to letting the show develop enough to earn the ratings it deserves. We'll see how true that proves.

He said that having a show last several years the way Buffy has allows the writers to take one of two paths: 1) They can settle into a comfort zone and produce more of the same with every passing year, or 2) they can use it as an opportunity to constantly challenge themselves and take the show in new directions. Mutant Enemy's constant striving for the latter, he said, is what drives them to do all the wacky things that only Buffy can pull off, like "Hush" and "Once More, With Feeling" (the interviewer, not him, brought up those two episodes specifically, in case you think he was grandstanding because he wrote those eps). I imagine that contention would be snarked at by those who feel that "Him" was a tired retread of "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" and that there have been too many in-jokes and self-references this season.
The argument of "Him" and "BBB" is beginning to bug me, and can be explained in much the same way ME seems to be going with Angel & Spike. Sure, they both are vampires with souls. That's where the comparison ends.

"Him" was not about Xander. It was about the ladies. "BBB" was ALL Xander. It was a Xanderesque ep, and one of the better ones. It ranks up there with "The Zeppo" (the BEST Xander-focused episode ever). "Him" was only resolved by Xander, with a bit of help from Spike. Otherwise, Xander was a peripheral character in "Him," which was more of a Dawn vehicle until the last twenty minutes, when it went into overdrive and gave us a chance to see how the four ladies approach similar situations in dramatically different ways. NOT something we really saw in "BBB."

Hopefully we can soon put this particular argument to rest. The comparison is superficial at best.
The argument I've heard (William the Poet's) is that this season's 're-hashing' of stories is entirely on purpose. This season's about shades of grey, rather than black/white which is what the early seasons were about. By re-using certain stories and themes, they're trying to point out how the characters have changed and how their reactions have changed.

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