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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Call her that again I'll remove your face…slowly."
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December 29 2002

Spike is the Fan-Fiction Superstar of the year according to the UK newspaper, the Sunday Times (reg. required).

"Amateur stories about established characters from fiction continue to be the web’s most under-reported phenomenon. Fan fictioneers delight in creating unlikely relationships, so when the undead but sexually charged Spike joined Buffy the Vampire Slayer as her evil vampire nemesis, fan authors immediately elevated him to her potential partner.

Sites such as link to thousands of stories coupling the pair. Spike is our star of the year, because this story line has now surfaced in the real television show, an indicator of how fans increasingly influence programme-makers."

What scares me about Spike's popularity is the overwhelming amount of fans who say they watch BtVS for Spike, and only for Spike. Not the stories. Not the interaction. Perhaps not even the B/S 'ship. Not anything else but Spike in his state of undress. I'm not sure I like the fact that fans of a TV series influence the writers' storytelling in the first place, let alone fans of just one character.
There were times during season 6, when I thought the hysteria over Spike was something akin to a fanatical cult and the Marti bashing from certain Spike fans was unforgivable.

But it is pheonomal how a minor character from season 2 has now become almost the character of the show.

If Joss wanted to prove how daring the show can be, maybe he should consider killing off Spike.
Heh. The fall out would be akin a nuclear winter.
Just because fan-fiction writers daydreamed about a Spuffy relationship before the Buffy writing staff developed it, that doesn't mean that the writing staff was influenced by the fan-fiction writers. Just because it happened *after* doesn't mean it happened *because of*...
I don't think we were saying fan fiction is influencing writers. At least that's not what I'm saying. Fans, not fan-fiction.

Anyway, I can't read the Times article because I'm not a UK resident. (does anyone know a UK based anonymous proxy?) But I wonder if the writer's aware of the host of other pairings out there in fan-fiction-world.

I'm a GNAT girl, myself.
Hi all! I just recently found this site, so decided to wade into this conversation by adding my thoughts on the whole Spike situation.

First, let me say, not a shipper. I enjoy the show and all the interaction between characters. I lean toward enjoying Spike quite a bit, but it is because of the complexity of the character, not so much his abs;-)

Anyway, one thing I've always thought was that Joss has always had a plan for the premise of the show. I believe he thought it angsty and cool to have a vampire and slayer in love (sworn enemies). He started out with Angel and did all the twisty-turny stuff to make the audience weep and stand on its head.

But, then DB left, branching out into his own series. I think it was easy for Joss to let him go because he had found a talent in JM in S2. Instead of killing off Spike, he lived.

Now enter S4. How to keep Spike around without having to kill him off - a chip.

Then S5. How to make the audience WANT to see B/S? His sacrifices, the Buffybot, her kiss, his look and speech in The Gift, his pain at the end of The Gift.

Then S6. How to make it happen. Well, I for one don't think they needed it to be so ugly, painful, and destructive - but, it happened.

Then S7. I think they are making it right this time. It's getting back to Joss' romantic vampire/slayer love story.

So, yep, I think he had a foggy outline of what he wanted to say in the show. He's just had to take a few detours (DB leaving, ASH leaving, other priorities outside of BTVS) along the way to telling his story.

Just a thought. Comments?
Not sure if Joss meant for Angel and Buffy to be the Romeo and Juliet of Sunnydale when they started out. I thought that kind of happened as the story developed?

Also, "His sacrifices, the Buffybot, her kiss, his look and speech in The Gift, his pain at the end of The Gift.", didn't work for me. I didn't want to see B/S at all. I liked the UST of it, that worked well, but as a couple it's just wrong in so many ways (in my philosophy, of course - which has to do with the fact that I don't want to see two skinny fake blondes getting it on). And he doesn't seem to be her type at all. Big, tall, beefy, brooders. Bit like daddy. So I find it hard to believe their 'romance'.

I think everybody, B/S shippers and non-shipper would have been happier if the pair had just remained mortal enemies that happen to have great chemistry on screen.
Prolific, I've only heard and read about Joss. Don't know the man personally ;-). However, I've heard that he does things this way .... maps out entire seasons, storylines, many years in advance. Much of what he was thinking of doing in later seasons shows up as early as S1 or S2.

I guess, what I'm saying is, I don't think ME or Joss is so much influenced by fanfic or fans, as others do. *I* think that Joss has always had the vision from the beginning of what type of story he wanted to tell. So, I guess I'm on the opposite side of the fence here.

And you know what, we'll never really know unless the man himself tells us in such a way as there is absolutely no mystery surrounding his answer :-.)

Thanks for the comment!
Joss has a vision, he knows what the season's story is going to be. The big picture is there. But the details are filled in by him and the writers episode by episode. And there are so many ways you can get from point A to point B. Now, every show is going to poll their audience to find out what works and what doesn't work. Spike wasn't meant to last that long. But he was a hit with the audience, so he stayed on. This year they seem to be catering to many, many fan-favourites. Giles/Anya took off, so they're giving us a little bit of that. They're pleasing the HoYay crowd, giving 'em a bit of Xander/Spike, a bit of Xander/Andrew. There were complaints about lack of continuity, so this season they've been on top of it. The ending of the series seems to be 'cast in stone', but right up till the end I'm sure they'll be giving in to the audience whenever they can.
Prolific, that is the article in its entirety. It was part of an overall series of articles on a web page devoted to Internet awards.

If my posting it does break the copyright rule, please edit my post.
's Okay, I don't think the Times is going to come knocking on our door.
Gotta agree w/ Prolific on how Spike & Buffy would have been better off for the show's sake as enemies. Some of my favorite episodes are 7-9 in season 4, when Spike's back and the dialogue between them is absolutely hilarious. Their "seething hatred" of each other is what was great about the show when the show had nothing else going for it.
Hi. Newbie here.

Reading some of the aforementioned text has made me a wee bit nostalgic; I've been a fan of BTVS for some time now who enjoys being taken aback every now and then by a genuine "Whedon" moment. If obliged and without getting too "testimony of the week" I would like to describe mine:

I remember when the slayer and Spike were first linked romantically and my first instinct was something along the lines of "ugh." After shedding any mock disbelief, however, I the incorrigible cynic tainted by momentary flashes of shameless romanticism, actually attempted to sort out the creator's intentions for this unusual pairing. All sorts of questions ran through my mind, with the most obvious being the least likely: "Is he trying to replace Angel?" - I quickly dismissed this notion, as this didn't seem to be his usual MO, but I still continued to question his narrative direction.

Then an unusual thing happened...I realized that gradually I was becoming less concerned about these characters as a duo, as my focus was being led elsewhere or to the actual story that was being told. It was like these players were victims of circumstance rather than at the mercy of a typewriter and I could finally appreciate this unexpected use of their great chemistry. Now, up until this moment I had never thought of Whedon as anything less than a talented writer-hell, I'm still waiting on Singer to allow him to pen the next X-Men film, but this ability to literally manipulate a viewer's perception without compromising fidelity to the actual heart of the mythos or sacrificing consistency and damaging the flow of the narrative truly impressed me. It is at the very least a unique quality that sets him apart from other writers in this or any other genre. This is not to say its a perfect science because to date I am unable to stomach the coupling of Cordelia and Angel - some characters were just not made to be together (no offense to the actors or proponents of said pair). I feel that their shared background just does not lend itself to such a match. I am almost inclined to recall Xander's words to Cordy from the infamous Halloween episode: "You'll never get in between those two."-referring to Angel and Buffy.

Thankfully, mainstream critics such as Matt Roush from TV Guide have also struggled when issuing their opinions on the BTVS serial because of Whedon's knack for making the unpopular plausible. There are reviews where he wishes to bash the series, but then retracts his statements (he was not a fan of Dawn's addition) because of the masterful way in which it was written.

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