October 2015

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That Buffy meme

Had to finish my marathon (7 seasons in 21 days) before I could do it, but here it is:

Day 1: Favourite Season
Season 6. Oh, so much to love about this season. Other shows would be all "yay, Buffy's back, everything's okay," but here they're so very much not. Everyone is so broken and so afraid to face it because they know it's massive and irreparable. Spike's the only one not playing along, as ever, and it makes for such a delicious struggle as Buffy's pulled towards him against her better judgement. Not to mention all the hot hot hotness of Spuffy.

Day 2: Favourite Episode
Yeah, there is no single favourite. Restless, Once More With Feeling, Hush, The Wish, Tabula Rasa - these are the ones I could watch again and again. All kinda took the regular episodic structure of television shows (such as it ever existed in this series) and gave it a kick out the door.

Day 3: Favourite Song Used In An Episode
I Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Melanie Doane at the end of Family. Yes, the floating thing is cheesy, but all that comes before that just makes my eyes well up with tears. Happy tears.

Day 4: Favourite Female Character
Andrew: You are the perfect woman."
Anya: "I've often thought so."

I have to agree. I pretty much adore all the female characters ever on Buffy – has there ever been a show with such a collection of strong female characters? – but Anya was the standout. I love how nobody really got her (the Scoobies were rarely an empathetic bunch) yet that rarely affected her self-confidence. I love how she always spoke the truth, even in customer service. I love how unabashedly happy she was when she found a place in the mortal world – Xander always treated her like a golddigger (as if she couldn't have found a much richer boyfriend if she was!) but her love of making money always seemed to me like a tangible reminder that she was doing something productive after losing what had been her purpose for centuries.

And her lines! She always got the best lines, like "I was being patient but it took too long." "I have finesse. I have finesse coming out of my bottom." "You could have, like, a world with no shrimp. Or with, you know, nothing but shrimp." And the most heartbreaking of all, because it was promised her and then reneged on: "If you ever decide to go, I want a warning. You know, big flashing red lights, and-and-and one of those clocks that counts down like a bomb in a movie? And there's a whole bunch of, of colored wires, and I'm not sure which is the right one to cut, but I guess the green one, and then at the last second 'No! The red one!' and then click, it stops with three-tenths of a second left, but then you don't leave. Like that, okay?"

Day 5: Least Favourite Female Character
Kennedy. Does this even need an explanation? I'd really prefer not to give that much thought to the worst houseguest ever.

Day 6: Favourite Male Character
Spike. One of my favourite male characters ever, actually – it's hard to think of anyone else who straddled good and evil as perfectly as he did, and with anywhere near as much coolness. Watching his infatuation with Buffy become love, and driving him to do unthinkable things, was powerful and heartbreaking and ultimately one of my favourite starcrossed love affairs ever. But more than that, I love how he was positioned as an always sensitive male/attentive boyfriend, even if he'd bite anyone who called him that. Whereas I think the Scoobies lacked empathy, he was all about it. With Drusilla he was always so solicitous – even when she annoyed with the crazy, he would shake himself and respond kindly. He was the same with Harmony, even when she was maddening. And with Buffy, he went above and beyond to prove to her that his heart was true. It was just such a great depiction of a complex man, so much different than other male characters on the show. Such as...

Day 7: Least Favourite Male Character
Xander Harris. I've always kinda wondered whether he was supposed to be the model of a crap boyfriend and Joss Wheden was just testing women to see who would buy it. My other theory is that he never got the hyena out of his system and continually had to put down anyone the moment they displayed a weakness. He did this continually with Cordelia and even more with Anya, and he wasn't immune even as a friend – the minute the new girls express some hesitation about Buffy's abilities, Xander – despite seeing them in action for seven years – jumps in on the coup.

Runners up go to Riley, for knowing exactly what Buffy was and being unable to deal with it, and thus acting like an utter ass, and Warren for all the funny rape.

Day 8: Favourite Friendship
I always had a soft spot for Spike and Joyce. She treated him so normally, which was so refreshing to see. And they enjoyed Passions together. <33333333333333333

Day 9: Favourite Romance
It has to be Buffy/Spike. What a story that was!

Runners up are Willow/Oz and Jenny/Giles. *sniffles*

Day 10: Least Favourite Season
Season 5, hands down. It's not that I don't like a lot of the individual episodes or love the overriding arc with Dawn and Glory. Those are just fantastic. What I really despise about this season is how so much of it is premised on "Buffy has shut herself off from love". Or as Xander says: "You shut down, Buffy. And you've been treating Riley like the rebound guy. When he's the one that comes along once in a lifetime. He's never held back with you. He's risked everything. And you're about to let him fly because you don't like ultimatums? If he's not the guy, if what he needs from you just isn't there, let him go. Break his heart, and make it a clean break. But if you really think you can love this guy... I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need... if you're ready for that... then think about what you're about to lose." Bull. Fucking. Shit. The man could not even get over his needy toddler act when Buffy's mother was having brain surgery. The risks that Riley took – like getting sucked by vampires – were not for Buffy but because they fed his ego, they needed him more than his uppity girlfriend who had the audacity to be independent and try to protect her family and her friends and the whole fucking world.

So this felt terribly false to me, and I would've preferred if Buffy had told Xander where to go with his nose-sticking, and then let Riley go without that whole race for the helicopter.

Problem was, they didn't do that, and they dealt with the repercussions of this premise that I didn't buy in the first place.

And Xander didn't help with his stupid objections to Spike helping even when he was needed to fight Glory. (Newsflash: He was a lot more useful than you ever were. Ass.)

The last half of series 5 is amazing though. Spike in tears just kills me.

Day 11: Least Favourite Romance
Buffy/Riley. The way they tried to hide their lack of chemistry by making them have sex all the time was just annoying. And unbelievable.

Xander and whoever he was putting down dating at the moment was offensive as well.

Day 12: Least Favourite Episode
Dead Things, when the trio turns Katrina into a "willing" sex slave. So much wrong.

Day 13: Favourite Potential Slayer
Andrew? The rest ranged from nothings of note to entitled twats.

Day 14: Favourite Female Villain
Drusilla for her excessive cray-cray. Glory for her fabulosity (and groveling minions!). Harmony for aspiring to lead a gang who laud her with tacky unicorn statues.

Day 15: Favourite Male Villain
The Mayor, both for his rapid-fire personality switches and his love for Faith, which raised him even higher in my esteem.

Day 16: Episode You Like That Everyone Else Hates
No idea what everyone else hates…

Day 17: Character You Relate To The Most
Hm, this is a hard one – I've never really self-inserted into Buffy. In some ways I guess it would be Tara, wanting to be a part of things but lacking confidence. In other ways, it'd be Giles, as I feel I go through half my life rolling my eyes at the world like he does in Something Blue.

Day 18: Character Who Didn’t Get Enough Screen Time
The Gentlemen. I really would have liked to see them reappear in a later episode – they were creepy as all get out!

Day 19: Character You Like That Everyone Else Hates
Not sure who they hate. Do people really not like Dawn? Or Faith? Because I love them both to bits.

Day 20: Best Spike-centric Episode
Fool For Love. I love the way it's filmed, I love the distinctions drawn between Angel and Spike, I love how Spike reveals that he understands things about Buffy that she won't even admit to herself.

Day 21: Best Willow-centric Episode
Doppelgängland, because the only thing better about a Willow episode is when there are two of them! It's such a great exploration of who Willow is, how she really struggled with her good girl image in those days before she was comfortable being herself. And vamp!Willow is kinda gay. *g*

Day 22: Best Xander-centric Episode
Let's see, would that be The Body when he did nothing to help Anya understand the process of death, which she knew nothing about? Or would it be Into the Woods when he makes Buffy feel guilty for not being all weak and princess-ified for Riley. No, I know, it's in Hell's Bells when he falls hook line and sinker for a demon's lies simply because the demon tells him what the future might be like, without trying to fight or change it or even take a smidgeon of responsibility for the entire wedding party. Yes, that's the best Xander-centric episode by far.

Day 23: Two Characters You Wanted To Get Together That Never Did
Can I say Giles and Jenny? No? Okay, then Buffy/Giles or Anya/Giles. I'm going to get Giles in there somehow.

Day 24: Favourite Example of 90s Special Effects
That giant cobra that Glory calls. What was that?

Day 25: Favourite Buffyverse Saying
Waaaaay too many to pick a favourite, but this one has always made me smile:

Buffy: Does it ever get easy?
Giles: You mean life?
Buffy: Yeah, does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: Lie to me.
Giles: Yes. It's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and... everybody lives happily ever after.
Buffy: Liar.


Also did your life pass before your eyes? Cup of tea, cup of tea, almost got shagged, cup of tea?

Day 26: Favourite Scooby Moment
The climax of Family, when they're all standing up to Tara's family and I'm cheering.

Day 27: Cutest Moment
So tough. Pezwitch has already been mentioned, then there's anything with Miss Kitty Fantastico, and almost all of Once More With Feeling. But this little clip is just adorable:



Day 28: Character You Love To Hate
What does this even mean? Characters I hate, like Warren, I just want to be flayed alive. Oh wait, they are. (Why didn't that happen to Kennedy too?)

Day 29: Episode You Hate That Everyone Else Loves
I think people like Superstar, don't they? I find it a complete waste of time. As I did most anything involving Jonathan.

Day 30: What You Think Made Buffy So Great
I wish I had something deep and meaningful to say but... *points to favourite quote* This. They made a show where the good guys weren't all good and the bad guys weren't all bad. They didn't come up with easy answers to any of their problems. What they went through felt real – too real at times, despite the supernatural nature of the show. They made people feel ALL the feelings in a way that other shows based around high school/college life didn't bother with. And they all had shiny hair. Who could resist all that?

Comments

I wonder if there are prices for record-time Buffy marathons. Because I think you might qualify. 21 days??? Colour me awed.

Awwwww, I love your answer about Anya *cuddles her* I think of of my favourite things about her was her origin ep that - apart from old-timey sepia grainy film and hilariously bad subs - showed us her bluntness and inapproriateness had absolutely nothing to do with being a vengeance demon like the Scoobies always assumed - that it was just the way she was and had always been, even when she was still human. There's something so lovely and also so sad about that, because in all those centuries the only person who might ever have bothered to truly understand who she was, the only person who didn't think she had to try harder and assimilate and be more like everyone else, was a semi-creepy pimp demon. Well, and Halfrek. Halfrek rocked.

Very well argued points about Xander. I didn't dislike him quite that much the first time I watched it (though I did whole-heartedly agree with Dracula's assessment of "You are strange and off-putting", lol), but on every rewatch I find I have less patience for his BS and I detect more behaviour patterns that are more than borderline disturbing to me. I haven't rewatched season 5 in a while, but just seeing that preachy little speech to Buffy about her relationship (that Xander knew nothing about and it wasn't his effing business) makes me seethe. Especially in light of his horrible treatment of Anya later. Hypocrite much?

Hahahah, the portrayal of the Buffy/Riley relationship reminds me of nothing so much as any pairing involving Deniz and a girl. "They are so into each other! SO, SO INTO EACH OTHER! Omg, it's crazy! Look at all the sex they're having! Look at all the smoochies! Listen to everyone constantly marvel at how into each other they are! Boy oh boy, those kids must be crazy in love!" Slightly manic, more than slightly desperate, and very very unconvincing.

Mhmmm, ships involving Giles. He is basically shippable with everyone. I would also have loved to see him with Cordelia.

That's too bad about season 5. It kinda resonates with my reasons for not enjoying season 3 as much - in both cases there's a love interest who's really overstayed his welcome, lol. I wonder how much better it could have been if Riley had already left in season 4, but then I shudder how badly that would have damaged season 4, lol (which already had to shoulder a lame-ass villain and the build-up of the cardboard romance).

The cup of tea line! Such a classic *adores*

Awww, what a great final answer in combination with that quote. *co-signs* Shiny hair is of the utmost importance.

And now excuse me, I must continue watching Tara grrrr-arrrgh-ing on a loop. SHE IS SO FREAKING ADORABLE!!
Heh, I'm a little amazed by it too. Being unemployed is good for something, I suppose. Now if I could work out how to get paid for watching, I'd be set!

I loved Anya's backstory so much! All the rabbits!! And I think we need to add Andrew to that very short list of people who appreciated her. He might have been annoying and somewhat gay but he knew fabulous when he saw it.

LOL at the Biley and Deniz/girl comparison. Too true! It makes it especially unrealistic when your canon specifies that Riley only likes missionary. Maybe Buffy was catching some zzzzzz's during all the sexing? I know I was.

Wow, although I do agree with your reasons for not doing it, getting rid of Riley after S4 would have been NICE. As it was, though, it did feel like there'd been an almost 180 degree turnaround from S4 to S5 - not that he got any less boring, he was equally boring + fretting about his manhood. There really weren't a lot of signs of that happening in S4.

And now I'm going to have to spend some time thinking about Giles/Cordelia. Because yes!
OMG I just love Buffy! I re-watched all of it just a little while ago! I could comment all of your day-answers, but it'd probably be too long for a comment... so I'll just say that Anya is awesome, I always loved Buffy, the 6th season was great and that I love the series even more because of its treatment of feminism. Or: Buffy. Is. Awesome!
I think "Buffy. Is. Awesome" really says it all! :DDDDD

But you should do this meme while it's all still fresh in your head! I really enjoyed marathoning - I'd seen most episodes more than once (except season 7, I'd only seen that the once) and it was really neat to go through and see the momentum build. What an amazing show.

The feminism side - yes, wow, the women in this show were just brilliant. And I'd love how they'd call anyone on sexist crap, no matter who it was. So good!!!