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September 30 2004

Smart Chicks. Buffy gets credit from the Denver Post for a new kind of heroine emerging as a TV Role Model: The Strong Female!

And Xena wasn't a strong female? A bit of a quibble, perhaps...
I'm amused that the woman praising Buffy is Joss' former professor ...
Yup, Basinger was Joss's favorite film professor at Wesleyan. She's quoted extensively in that book devoted to Joss and his work. Intelligent, insightful woman.
Nice article, and Veronica Mars can use all the help it can get. It's probably already cancelled. But the writer misquotes the character. It was "Life's a bitch until you die." Which was a much cleverer comment on the passage of Pope. Pope. It's really best to just think of this show as already cancelled.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2004-09-30 20:52 ]
And Xena wasn't a strong female? A bit of a quibble, perhaps...
My reading of the article wasn't just that strong females are getting more air time, but smart ones. A lot's been written already about the strong female archetype, the Xenas and Buffys and Sidney Bristows who can both kickbox and look great, but this was looking at the idea – still sadly rare - that a smart, snarky, no special-powers heroine can carry a show.
Unfortunately, Veronica Mars's ratings may prove it wrong. I found the statement that male viewers are turned off by shows about smart women, or shows with a woman's name in the title, particularly sad. But very little has come along to prove that wrong. Based on the first two episodes, i see a lot of promise in Veronica Mars, but i'm already expecting the cancellation news....
She's quoted extensively in that book devoted to Joss and his work. Intelligent, insightful woman.
Which book is that?
The book is called Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy. As you can guess from the title it's pretty much a hagiography, but definitely worth reading.

I may have been a little hasty about Veronica Mars' ratings. They are very bad, but the weeklies show it beating America's Top Model, its lead-in, and several other shows.
"I found the statement that male viewers are turned off by shows about smart women, or shows with a woman's name in the title, particularly sad."

I sincerely hope that this is not true. Speaking for myself, there's not much that I love more than a smart, strong female lead.
I may have been a little hasty about Veronica Mars' ratings. They are very bad, but the weeklies show it beating America's Top Model, its lead-in, and several other shows.

Really? I though ANTM was UPN's most watched show?
I just checked the ratings and you're both right in a way. It's difficult to compare two shows when they air on different nights. Both ANTM and VM are the least watched shows in their time slots. ANTM has more viewers than VM, but in the overall numbers compared to the other networks, they're fairly well matched. That's why they use those ratings ratios. UPN is just having a slow start this year. It's a shame that VM is getting poor ratings, I hear it's a good show (UPN doesn't air at my location).
Dana Scully(FBI agent, The X-Files) Maggie O’Connell (pilot, Northern Exposure), Colleen McMurphy (nurse, China Beach) to name a few more smart chicks.
I’m crossing my fingers for Veronica Mars because I really like the character and I think Kristen Bell is wonderful in the role. I wonder if Paris Hilton was cast in the second episode to make her subversively represent all that is wrong with television?
Buffy wasn't just strong with special powers, she was "smart," too. Sure, she was a bubblehead in school, although she blew away the SATs and got an accolade or two from various teachers/professors along the way who said she had a lot of native smarts. But there are numerous episodes where she uses her brains and not just her brawn. A couple of examples: "Helpless," "Chosen." Willow/Giles were promoted as the brains on the show but Buffy wasn't an idiot. As for her "special powers," these are meant to be a metaphorical expression for the specialness and strength of all women who journey through this life and meet challenges. I think Buffy's special slayer powers stand in just fine for intelligence and all-around capability.

I don't know about the Alias character as I'm not a fan, but I believe from the two episodes I've seen that she's meant to be quick-witted and able to think on her feet. Sure, she kickboxes, but she matches wits with her enemies in tricky situations.

Dana Scully, Maggie O'Connell, Colleen McMurphy - yes, they were all smart. But the difference between them and Buffy/Sydney/Veronica is that these latter figures are carrying their own shows. So I think there really is a departure from the shows of yore. (Wonder Woman and Xena and the Bionic Woman aside. One can make arguments either way for how much their intelligence is being highlighted).
Interesting story in the NYTimes today about the lack of strong female characters in this year's crop of TV shows: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/01/arts/television/01TVWK.html?oref=login (reg. req.).
It mentions Veronica Mars as one of the few exceptions.
As for Buffy being smart – of course she was. Sorry if my post came off sounding otherwise. I was just responding to the earlier post wondering why Xena and other strong women hadn't been cited – trying to clarify that the article was looking specifically at smart (and not necessarily physically strong) female leads. But yes, buffy had lots of inate intelligence, and was clearly strong both mentally and physically.
Thanks for the NYT link, acp. Must read after finding my registration info. I get so annoyed with how you have to register for everything these days. It's for the use of marketing bastards and damn them all. Anyway, I'm thinking that with all the positive stuff coming from smart Whedonesquers that I'd better check this Veronica Mars show out. I admit I've been resistant so far. Don't know why.

I didn't really think you were saying Buffy wasn't smart, acp. :) I just love to adamantly support all blondes who are thought to be ditzy but are actually smart. It's a fellow blonde thing. I leap into every opening I can.
Madhatter, I'm no expert on this ratings stuff but I still think what I said was right, because the weekly ratings were for the premiere of VM, which aired on Wednesday night after ATM. There are no weekly ratings for the regular Tuesday timeslot yet.

Buffy was also an expert on archaic weapons. Cordelia: Is this (ax) antique? Buffy: Byzantine. And the bastinada thing with Principal Wood.

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