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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"You give it up for the Yorkie?"
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March 05 2003

The Village Voice approves. Sort of. And draws comparisons to - gasp - real life. "Goofy and fantastical as it is, Buffy feels more attuned to the dread and precariousness of the current moment than almost any other show on television."

"Now in its seventh season, Buffy has lost much of its original jouissance as the characters' youthful innocence hardens into professionalism (nightly demon-decapitation will do that to you). The Scooby gang now seems rudderless and despondent; Buffy's mom is dead, her watcher Giles has largely drifted from the fold, and an amorphous force called the First Evil is approaching. Although the clever jokes and whiplash dialogue still flow at a rate most shows would die for, a pall has descended, much like the one that hangs over our own hellmouth, New York City."

More approving than not, although that "Goofy and fantastical" bit seems awfully dismissive. The whole piece has that irritatingly familiar, "Gosh, can you believe that this show of all shows might actually tap into real people's feelings? I mean, it has vampires!" vibe. I thought, after all these years, that we'd gotten past that.
Actually, I thought the article seemed totally complimentary. I mean, YES, "Buffy" IS goofy and fantastical (among other things) that's one of the reasons that I love it. Sure, it also approaches an almost epic grandeur at times, and it's certainly not one of those annoying shows that's constantly nudging and winking at the viewer, but still, "Buffy" never takes itself TOO seriously, never loses sight of the fact that there's something kinda silly about the basic premise.

As for the tone of the review, I dunno, it didn't seem that condescending to me. For one thing, YOU take it for granted that "Buffy," despite being about vampires and the like, is more emotionally and intellectually complex than most of the other stuff on television, and so do I, but MOST people I know still have a hard time taking a show called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" seriously. Secondly, the point wasn't about the show's emotional realism, but rather its political relevance and ability to tap into the post-Sept. 11 zeitgeist. This point is more debatable and certainly hasn't been addressed that often before.

Oh, and while we're on the topic, you know what articles REALLY peeve me? The ones that act as if EVERYONE hated Season 6, and that Season 7 is an attempt to "fix" the show. THOSE are the ones that strike me as really condescending.
Oh, I'm not saying the article wasn't complimentary. It was, and that's great. It just seems to me like they were covering themselves a little bit; throwing a wink to those who don't or won't take the show seriously, instead of facing them head on. And I know the show doesn't always take itself seriously, which I adore, but they always take the stories they tell seriously, which I adore even more.

And I agree with you about the S6/S7 thing.
I see your point. There IS a slight sense of "'Buffy' is a great show IN SPITE OF itself."

Still, I like the article. Maybe I just have a soft spot for the Village VOice. :)
I thought the article was quite complimentary. I think hardcore fans are just going to have to accept that when 'Buffy' is written about there is always going to be a little "can you believe this show is so good" vibe to the writing.

By the way, the S6/S7 articles annoy the heck out of me too. Anyone who sees this season as so radically different than the last just isn't paying much attention.
"There's something kinda silly about the basic premise"? Well said bobo...I remember that I was initially almost hostile to "Buffy". And even today, after being miraculously transformed into a hardcore Whedon-fanatic, I like the show despite its supernatural rationale and would preferably de-genrefy it, getting rid of demons, vampires and martial arts, bringing it closer to "Buffy the Lesbian Separatist", as Joss quipped in his New York Times Magazine profile ;-)

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