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February 11 2006

The Lesbian Teen Formula. Or why even after nearly three years since it ended, Buffy is still the best example of a well developed post-coming out story on television.

Wow, it's a cool and very complimentary mention of Willow/Tara. I agree with the article that too many queer stories are about coming out and never really develop beyond that, so that the W/T relationship being treated dramatically as any other relationship was what sold me on them as a couple. If their coming together had been all heterosexual panic and coming out drama, I would've been howling for Oz to come back. Instead, it was, to me, the warmest and most comforting relationship ever in the Buffyverse... at least until it went pear-shaped, as romance always does in Joss' world. If anything, the Buffy/Angel relationship reads as more "queer" to me: slayers and vampires sleeping together is way more taboo, and has to be hidden from both worlds, demon and human, and there's the delightful scene in "Becoming, pt.2" where Buffy comes out to her mother as a Slayer.

The article rocks as well b/c it doesn't rehash the controversy re: Tara's death.
It has always annoyed me that there wasn't enough focus on the fact that Willow didn't really go through a lot of angst about "coming out". Her friends had a teensy wiggins and then it was all good, which is probably more realistic. She found Tara, and fell in love, end of coming out storyline, onto the being in love storyline. And I love that the author of this article recognizes that Tara's death wasn't a statement about the dangers of being a lesbian ie, if you are gay you'll die a horrible death, but as a catalyst for Willow's loss of control. As always with Buffy, it was an interpretation of the rage one feels about losing a loved one, especially in such a horrible senseless way.
EVERYONE should keep this on their favorites...Excellent.
I am thrilled that someone wrote this.
My last post was about Brokeback and how it pales TOTALLY in comparison to Whedon's depictions of gay life. Brokeback is classic one-step-forward (the whole world is suddenly interested in gay characters..sexual ones at that...not eunuch-Will) TEN steps back. It's still a tragedy and one very much rooted in definitions understood by the straight world...i.e. these are hapless victims, they( do certain things we look down upon in the "straight" world lie and cheat-even-with-each-other but we'll forgive them 'cause society is against them).

And I Liked the movie... but I have a hard time calling it a GREAT movie (or Oscar Worthy for that matter).

The Whedon world, on the other hand, presented two people who were heart breakingly in love. Being lesbians was not the "issue" that drove their arc- and when it did...it was emotionally real and presented the character's inner beauty and strength...case in point...The appropriately titled epidose Family from Season 5 was completely about "coming out" to an abusive family and how Tara had reconstituted her family in the Scoobies. Nowhere, ever, was Tara's (or Willow's) personality, actions, and character in question in light of her sexuality...she was never a neurotic victim of it...and that is just awesome. This is one of the things I've wanted to personally thank Joss for.
I've always loved the W/T relationship the very most out of all of the Joss'verse. Closely followed by Wash and Zoe. It was heartbreaking when Tara died, so beautifully done too. Just that little "Willow, your shirt" oh man, it's killer! The same with the Wash quote. Joss sure knows how to sucker punch us. Bastardo! ; )
hbojorquez, You didn't think Brokeback Mountain presented two people heartbreakingly in love?

*stares at you with look of comic incredulity*
Hmm . . . I have to disagree about Brokeback Mountain. Willow and Tara were in a very different place and surrounded by very different people - there's really no comparison.

It's still a tragedy and one very much rooted in definitions understood by the straight world...i.e. these are hapless victims, they( do certain things we look down upon in the "straight" world lie and cheat-even-with-each-other but we'll forgive them 'cause society is against them).

I thought BBM avoided falling into that trap by showing the effects Jack and Ennis's affair had on their wives and families. If anything, they were the hapless victims. I thought Jack and Ennis were sympathetic, but certainly not heroic.
Hmmkay..to clarify what I meant.
First Bad Kitty
Yes Ennis and Jack were in love... didn't say they weren't. But the thrust of the movie is how their gayness (as it stood in their social millieu) thwarts their happinness. I wasn't caught up in their love story as I watched it, so much as I was caught up in trying to figure out what the conflict was...was the source of the problem REALLY society..or was it Ennis' inability to either commit...or to articulate a commitment? Jack seemed to just want to have Ennis articulate it and then move from there. Either way...the tragedy is so ill-defined that I just couldn't decide who to feel for...and ultimately is was tied to their gayness not to their love...

gilraen ...
You're right... it's an unfair comparison as far as circumstances are concerned. What I'm trying to say (in my typical rambling way), is that American audiences (and possibly the Academy) are still more comfortable feeling sorry for gays and "their plight" than with the kind of matter-of-fact, this-is-life (albeit in a vampire ridden universe) way that Whedon did in BTVS.

BTW... I'm not saying that BBM is not a decent movie...it's a far cry from some dysfunctional gay characters... but I can't completely get all happy about it either. And I'm not convinced yet that the Academy's gushing over it, is not just a tad bit condescending.

On the other hand... because my world is ALL about emotionally satisfying character arcs, I really did enjoy the fact that BBM took place over years.
Just a quick mention, I watched Brokeback mountain, it was ok, good, but a bit too slow and too depressing for me, aka typical queer film. ;) It was a good movie, and the characters seemed quite real, and actually I personally empathized(for reasons like Im a gay male), but I didnt sympathesize whole-heartedly, I found things the characters doing were a bit distasteful(but real for the characters to do). But it seemed to follow in my mind the standard gay film... there was a depressing ending lol.

Anyway in terms of Willow/Tara, I really didn't think much of it, in fact, I hardly even noticed the "lesbianism". For me, it was just two people who were in love and interested in magic, not a lesbian couple. It seemed so natural, and thats how it should be! The real drama was Willow's addiction, or having to deal with her ex, Oz, or whatever trouble was facing the scooby gang. As I(and others) have mentioned on another thread on this site(ASH playing Elton John in tv show), its rare to see "normal" queer characters who aren't caricatures. Willow/Tara seemed quite honest, and beautfiul.

I am a fan of Buffy, but not insane like Firefly, hehe, but the love scene right before tara's death, was just beautiful. Thats what I find with Joss's work, is that the so called quirks in the character, do not define the character, rather colour how that character interacts with others in his/her world. The characters are real, and they go through definite story arcs where they themselves grow, learn, get jaded, much like real life. Doesn't matter they are male/female, black/white, str8/gay. Those things are a non-issue to a certain extent, when it comes to the actual story. I really hope to see more relationships like Willow/Tara in the future on tv or film. *hint* *hint* *cough* Joss *cough*
*ditto
kurya!

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