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"As a friend of mine once said, I'd like to test that theory."
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July 03 2005

It's chic to be geek! Geeks are in vogue on TV, film - "Buffy the Vampire Slayer' completely changed the landscape of geekdom," Grelck says. "It was geek material aimed at women."

Didn't know what category to pick for this because it kind of equally mentions both BtVS and Firefly but decided to go with Firefly because it's mentioned first.

Heh heh. I love the way it rhymes.
Er, yes.. aimed at women.
""The geeks will inherit the Earth, that's true," Grelck says. "We're smarter and we'll live longer. We'll know what to do if a comet destroys Earth."

So very true!
Christopher, it was a feminist show...that's all it means. :)

[ edited by charisma on 2005-07-04 07:01 ]
The way I see it is that BtVS would obviously be a show that guys would tune in but this is a show that brought in women viewers in large numbers too.

[ edited by Firefly Flanatic on 2005-07-04 07:14 ]
Of course I know what to do if a comet destroys earth!
Run and hide...right?
Yeah, as soon as I heard the line, "It was geek material aimed at women," I was going to comment on it. I really think Buffy had a positive view of both men and women, but it just tended to focus on empowering women, but at the same time we were given positive role models of both sexes. So the fact that the lead character was female was just unusual at the time, and more likely to appeal to females, but not aimed at one particular gender.

As to the geek issue, I just think people are becoming less dismissive of other people's interests. I mean there are people who are just as obsessed about something, like sport or music or fashion, as a geek is about a film or TV show, so it's unfair for them to be singled out.

As Willow said once, "I'm not ashamed. It's the computer age. Nerds are in. They're still in, right?" I think The OC actually has had a big hand in making most people think geeks are cool with Seth Cohen.
Damn BL, you're on a roll. So many topics. As a geek, I never saw BtVS in that way. Instead, the characters hooked me. I could relate with them so. The character of Willow has shattered my heart countless times because I could understand what she was going through. The same saided for Buffy.

So whether BtVS was a feminist show, I must disagree. I do believe that it made several of us to understand a few things in life.
I think The OC actually has had a big hand in making most people think geeks are cool with Seth Cohen.

I was about to post the same thing. I remember that summer, there was the one-two punch of Clay Aiken then Seth Cohen, coming off of the popularity of Spiderman. Suddenly, everyone liked geeks.

Not to say that Buffy wasn't geek friendly. But, aside from the fact that fantasy and cult shows tend to attract TV-geeks (heh, not an insult), I always thought the content of Buffy was actually very cool, by definition.

[ edited by VampiresSuckLOLOLGetIt on 2005-07-04 17:40 ]
My favorite part? Here: "You're not a geek until you take your obsession beyond socially acceptable levels."

Well. Then. I have, apparently, been a geek for several years, and had NO clue. With the BtVS/Angel/Firefly/Whedon-verse... Alias.. and now the Lost.

Sweet! I'm a geek!
For me, what made BtVS great was that it appealed to the 'geeks,' the 'cool' people, young people, old people, men, women... it hooked everybody in, and then it transcended all the genres and surprised us by making us come face to face with real issues. There was something universal about it.

Oh, and since no one has mentioned it... isn't it nice to see 'Serenity' cited as an example of this whole cultural shift? =D
"Buffy" mocks geeks in Season 6, as well as later on with Andrew.
The greatest párt of the me shows, is that the creators weren't afraid of mocking themselves and their own creations, lauguing about itself and themselves. Those were very reflexive works.
Scully wants me so bad. Hehe.
Oh, NOW you all want to be geeks, now that us already-geeks took all the heat for you. Well, there will be a rigorous screening process and me and Willow and Andrew will be conducting the interviews. Line up, people, and no shoving!

As far as 'aimed at girls'... well, you can insert your own joke about explosions and tittilation vs. tight plotting and characterization here, 'cause I'm too busy with the geek interviews. Oh, please use the term reverse sexism, I love me some reversage. I'm like the Palmolive of sarcasm...
Oh, zeitgeist. It's not necessarily that we all want to be geeks now, per se...just maybe that now we want one of our very own. I'm in the queue, making with the reverse sexism, and all sorts of other inappropriate behavior. Sign me up, luv. ; )
Seth Cohen = geeky hotness. I'm so totally a geek, more and more each day...and proud of it.
i dont think the show was aimed at women, somehow i dont think Joss set out to write a show for women, but it does however have an empowering message to women. I love how the show appealled to all people of all ages.

I love it how Joss adds all these references in his episodes
...and SOLD! to barest_smidgen! Price not disclosed due to prior agreement by both parties. Essentially. ;)
There is an automatic assumption that anything with a female lead and/or predominently female cast who have some dimension and are not just eye candy, must be aimed at girls/women. (My son used to lie in preschool about enjoying the Powerpuff Girls because boys are only supposed to be interested in shows where the main characters are boys.) Admittedly I have heard it said any number of times that BTVS was indended to give girls a strong female figure they could relate to, but I do not think it was Joss who said that. I get the feeling that that may have been part of it, but he had larger ambitions.
Well I really do love the way Joss writes about women.
Zoe, strong, smart, as equally capable as any man and damned sexy!
Buffy, cute, warrior, and still very girly.
Willow, smart, cute, can rip your skin of just with the wave of her hand.
Winifred, not very strong, smart as hell, became the ultimate strengtth in Illyria.
River, genius, fragile, can shoot ppl with her eyes closed, just don't let her near commercials.
Cordy, vapid at first then selfless, then thru pain learnt strength and became a champion, went from clothes horse/ wanna be actress to higher being in like 5 years.
Kaylee, pretty with engine grease, softhearted, genius mechanic.
Inara, has wit and grace, can handle a gun but prefers to handle things diplomaticaly, is independent and has the sense to pull away from Mal because she knows he could never deal with her job.
Anya, ok vengence demon and not so much with the ppl skills, but still softhearted.
Darla, a vampire without a soul giving the ultimate sacrafice for her child.
Lilah, strong, smart, sexy, evil.
Tara, beautiful and caring, makes the hard descions with Willow, still goes vamp hunting despite not having super powers.
Dawn, a teenager who despite not being a potential had the strength of character to go into the hellmouth and almost as badly tell her sister to leave thier family home.
Faith, stayed in jail when she could have easily left, struggles with her issues in doing the right thing and yet despite always being second to Buffy still comes thru in the end.

OK I could go on, but I won't. He really makes his women strong and capable. Which unfortunately most TV shows don't. And if they are it's usually only because they're either scheming or gay. Which is why I so especially love the relatiopnship between Wash and Zoe. He's most definately the man in that relationship, and yet she's the warrior. I love that! It is a great role model for young girls, and not a bad thing for young men to learn either.
Thinking about this is really making me look forward to WW hey!
Actually, I was thinking about this the other night. I don't really agree with it, but do you think that Buffy/Angel could be seen to be sexist because most of the tragic deaths have been female? In Buffy at least, we had Jenny, Joyce, Tara and Anya, whereas most of the male regulars left the show alive, such as Riley, Oz and Angel (well, alive in a sense).

I think it's slightly more balanced in Angel, we had Doyle first, but there were also people like Darla, Lilah, Fred, Cordelia, and at the very end Wesley and Gunn (bearing in mind I haven't seen all of season five yet so I'm going on what I've heard). But it seems that up until the very last episode, even in Angel it has been women who've suffered the most.

So why is it? Are their deaths more emotional than men dying? Does it just happen that the characters who need to die for emotional resonance are female? If you just look at the numbers in Buffy, there are usually more female cast members so it is more likely that they will die, but it's still strange that all of the important deaths have been women (although Angel was sent to a hell dimension he came back and Spike 'died' in Chosen but also returned).
I think it has to do with emotional resonance. Joss loves women. And so it's more emotionally resonant for him when a woman dies. So he sees more drama and impact in a woman character's death than a man's. I don't see that as sexist but I suppose it could be interpreted as such.

Chew on this for a while: Jenny, Tara, Fred, and Cordelia die just after or soon after making some kind of declaration of being in love. And Darla stakes herself out of love for her baby. I think you can toss in Eve too because she decides to stay in a collapsing building because feels she has nothing to live for because she's lost Lindsey. That's two thirds.

Buffy sacrifices herself after declaring love for Dawn. But she comes back so that doesn't really count. Lilah was warming up a bit because of her relationship with Wesley, and Anya was always in love with Xander but still not quite the same thing as the other six, and Joyce died a natural death (but just after a date that went well...hmm...).

And three more women whose deaths were significant to the episode they were in: Kendra, Katrina and that poet girl from S7. The Aprilbot has poignant "death" scene too. Any guys get a poignant death scene? Angel, Spike, Wes, and Doyle. But two of them come back. So just Wes and Doyle. Am I missing any other poignant death scenes involving male characters? Jonathan's isn't really poignant and probably not what that ep was about. But his death was significant. So that's three guys so far who are dead compared to all those women. Gunn's probably dead so that makes four. Do we see Buffy's friend who wants to be a vamp die? I don't think so, but he does die and that was the point of that ep, so that makes five.

Now Anyaka killed or tormented a lot of men but we don't see a lot of that and the ones she did kill in "Selfless" are undone.
Men get to live I guess.

By the way, Gunn killed his own sister. Vampire sister, but still. Vampire William killed his vampire mom. Of course Angelus killed his whole family but I don't think we see it.

If you believe Halfrek and Cecily are the same being then the woman who broke William's heart gets it.

And Caleb and the Bringers aren't just killers but killers of women.

Don't go to the Buffyverse girls, your love life will suck and you will probably die. Maybe there is some sexism here. Still I think it's that Joss gets more emotional when a woman dies.
I think batmarlowe has some interesting thoughts on emotional resonance but I don't have much time to reply. Cassie and Holden are the names you are looking for, I believe :)

p.s. to barest_smidgen -- *looks at clock*

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-07-05 23:47 ]
I don't know how to interpret it, really. I don't think any of Joss's shows are in any way sexist deliberately. It's like the issue with Tara's death, I feel that it wasn't attacking lesbianism, it was just required to move Willow's story on. In the same way I don't feel like Joss is deliberately killing female characters as some sort of message.

But it just seems too much of a coincidence for so many significant female characters to die whereas so few male characters have died in comparison. Why did people like Riley and Oz leave town after their relationships whereas Anya and Tara were killed instead of having the relationship dissolved? I'm not sure whether it is more emotionally resonant or whether it's the higher ratio of female characters on Buffy, or what the explanation is.

Even think quickly about the type of deaths the characters suffered. Doyle and Spike died as heroes, they probably could have avoided their own deaths but instead took a stand in order to save others. From what I hear, Wesley and Gunn die or are injured in battle, quite a noble ending. Tara and Anya were both killed suddenly and brutally. Joyce died suddenly of natural causes. Jenny was chased by Angelus and murdered, much the same as Lilah was by Cordelia/Jasmine. Apparently Fred gets randomnly smothered by a sarcaphoagus or something. Even Kendra didn't really do much to stop Drusilla from slashing her throat.

The only real exceptions to this trend are Darla, who did die bravely to save her child, and Buffy of course did die twice to save the world. But again, Buffy came back from that. The trend seems to suggest that the male characters, if they do die, do so bravely with dignity, whereas the female characters are relegated to the position of damsel in distress, defenceless and without being able to do much to save themselves.

The way I see it is that the deaths of male characters can be just as moving as female characters, so it just strikes me as odd that in retrospect there were so many female characters who died.
Oz was supposed to die but Seth Green left the show so Willow's new love interest was going to be the victim instead. Had nothing to do with Oz or Tara but more about Willow. Anya died a hero just as much as Doyle and Spike did. Anya knew there was a good chance that she may not survive and in the past she had opted to leave town in situations like that but not this time. She knew the risks but stayed anyway.

Buffy was a show that the female characters outnumbered the males so it would make sense that it would be more female deaths. Buffy killed Angel - yes, he came back but he did die. Spike died and did come back and Tara, according to Joss, would've been brought back too. And even though Cordy was only back for the one day, it was shown that she did die at the beginning of "You're Welcome" but came back to "help" before moving on.

Joss just didn't kill off characters just to do it - there were always reasons for it and it was always an impact.

Buffy's deaths were not unexpected because Slayers have short life expectancies and her second death was to save her sister - a very heroic and very Buffy thing to do.

Jesse's death was to show us that no one was safe. He seemed like he was going to be a part of the Scooby gang and he's killed off immediately. It is also the basis for Xander's unrelenting hate of all things vampire.

Jenny's death was to show us that Angelus was not Angel having a bad day. Jenny was the first character that we really loved and knew and wouldn't expect it to go that far. We all thought that Angel would be restored. We had to go from loving Angel to truly hating Angelus and to really see that Angel was no more.

Kendra was a gung-ho but inexperienced Slayer that came across a very experienced vampire too soon in her "career" as a slayer. She froze and didn't react, which was not unlike what Buffy did with the Master. If Buffy had met the Master later on, once she had had more experience she would've easily wiped him out.

Joyce's death was a normal part of living. We will all die and have people that we love die and yet, when death comes to a family it is always shocking and unexpected, no matter what the circumstances. The way for this to hit home the strongest for all of us was for Buffy to lose her mother, therefore, for us to feel her pain because that's the pain we all dread facing or have faced in our own lives.

Doyle died a hero - he knew he had no choice and faced it head on.

Spike, the same as Doyle, he didn't do it for Buffy, he did it because it was the right thing to do.

Wesley, well, some could say he died a hero but I always felt that Wesley may not have tried very hard to not get killed. I kind of feel that Wesley's soul died when Fred died.

Fred's death was so very painful because the sweetest person died and her soul was destroyed along with it. That had the most impact because we've always known how important the soul was because of Angel and Spike and to have this very loving and innocent person die this was was the ultimate heartbreak.

But to wrap this up, Buffy had more female characters so therefore, more female deaths but not done lightly.

The only death that seemed more like a way to wrap up a storyline was Cordy's. I was glad for that, though, because I would've hated for her to be left in limbo like that and it was nice to see CC return to her earlier persona of Cordy with her wisecracking, bitchy tone (yet, obviously changed for the better) than how we had seen her during her last season on AtS.
I think that, at least when Joyce died, it wasnt about her being a woman, or her mom, it was about losing someone SO important to you that you can't. breathe. at all. You go on auto pilot and perform basic life functions, but, you die a little inside with that person, because they were such a part of you.

Joyce was taken because of something Buffy couldnt control, and Buffy was ALL ABOUT control and her choosing her own outcome and always winning... and that's why Joss made it that way. Everything on BtVS was a metaphor, but Joyce had cancer, and then she died. And it was horrible and real and completely perfect story telling.

And I hope that made sense to someone, because... I can't even watch The Body anymore, because of Anya's scene. Oh, fruit punch.

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