rebcake: Buffy, pretty slayer (btvs buffy slayer)
The list of days... )

Favorite Friendship:

Friendship is sooo important on the show. I am sad about the characters on Buffy that don't have important friendships. Even Cordelia is keenly aware of the utter shallowness of her relationships:

CORDELIA: Bummer for her. It's awful to feel that lonely.
BUFFY: Hmm. So you've read something about the feeling?
CORDELIA: Hey! You think I'm never lonely because I'm so cute and popular? I can be surrounded by people and be completely alone. It's not like any of them really know me. I don't even know if they like me half the time. People just want to be in a popular zone. Sometimes when I talk, everyone's so busy agreeing with me, they don't hear a word I say.
BUFFY: Well, if you feel so alone, then why do you work so hard at being popular?
CORDELIA: Well, it beats being alone all by yourself.
Out of Mind, Out of Sight

And look what a lack of friends does to Marcie! And Jonathan! Fer crying out loud, it drives him into the clutches of Warren!

That said, friendship isn't exactly without its pitfalls. Most of the friendships on the show have their breaking points, as well as their triumphant moments. The Buffy/Willow friendship is really central, but also fraught with problems due to their matching superiority/inferiority issues. Willow/Xander is probably my favorite at the point where it alone saves the world, but is very disturbing at other points along the way. People rightly give Xander a hard time for the way he tries to control Buffy's love life, but the same could be said of Willow regarding Xander's relationships, exactly zero of which she accepts. The Buffy/Xander friendship is even more up and down. He struggles for years over his "friend-zone" status with her and constantly switches between "supporto-guy" and "attacko-guy".

There are interesting relationships outside the Core Three. Dawn/Tara, Dawn/Spike, Buffy/Giles all have strong familial overtones, which I enjoy, but that doesn't allow for a fully equal exchange. Buffy/Giles especially ends up breaking when he can't accept her autonomy. Spike/Clem is a huge hoot. Giles and Ethan's ex-friendship is incredibly interesting to me, if not exactly healthy. Workplace friendship Anyanka/Halfrek makes me wish better friends for Anya. Riley's friendship with Graham pretty much saves his life, so I think it's under-appreciated. Forrest, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of controlling friend nobody needs. 

I really appreciated the all-too-short Buffy/Tara friendship. Having Buffy accept her as her own person allowed Tara to come just a bit more out of her shell, and Tara's understanding and non-judgmental attitude was exactly what beleaguered, depressed Buffy needed.

But the Spike/Buffy friendship was probably my favorite, even if it was fated to be just one iteration of their tumultuous story. He accepts her as she is, she brings him into a more meaningful life. They share humor, strength, and a love of the fight. It's what Xander once described as "a solid foundation for future bliss". That future may never materialize anywhere outside of fanfic, but it's still a foundation. I'm guessing this is a minority "favorite".

rebcake: Joyce with Axe: Not in the brochure (btvs joyce axe)
The list of days... )

Least Favorite Male Character:

There are lots of men on Buffy to dislike. Some I love to hate. Some I only hate some of the time. There are hardly any guys on the show that I feel neutral about. All of them have disappointed me at some point or other. Even darling Oz screws up.

I'm doing a rewatch right now, and I'm finding Xander less charming than ever before. I don't hate him, though. He's pretty realistic with good and less good traits; his crimes are small time, personal ones, mostly, and he seems to show growth to a certain extent over the course of the show. 

A character trait that I find disturbing is paternalism — a person, organization, etc., that protects people and gives them what they need but does not give them any responsibility or freedom of choice. In Buffy, there are a range of men (and sometimes women) who exhibit this trait, and I don't like 'em: Quentin Travers, Angel, Maggie Walsh, later-season Willow Rosenberg. Riley Finn has a real tendency in this direction, but he never really pulls it off. There's deadbeat dad Hank Summers on the other side of the equation. Is taking on more responsibility for people than they want you to really worse than not taking any responsibility for your actual children? There are some "daddy" figures on the show that are really wonderful: Giles, Richard Wilkins III (The Mayor), and D'Hoffryn.

There are characters who are horrible, but too funny to really hate: Principal Snyder, Ethan Rayne, enormous user Parker, pre-coming out Larry. Larry is an example of lovely character growth. He's a HUGE jerk who becomes a sweetie pie and a hero. He's a cautionary tale against writing off people, really.  


But then there's the out-and-out misogynists: Pete from Beauty and the Beasts, the yucky swim team/coach combo from Go Fish, the horrible werewolf hunter from Phases, Tucker Wells from The Prom, Kralik from Helpless. These are mainly one-shot villains, though, and I don't feel like they have enough impact to rise to the level of "the worst".

Then there's Warren. He's arguably a Great Man, a genius. He's completely aware of his choices, but he chooses to use his gifts for entirely selfish, destructive ends. He's given plenty of opportunity to rethink his trajectory but remains unrepentant to the end. Was anybody sorry to see him go?

rebcake: spike air kiss (btvs spike_kiss)
The list of days... )

Favorite Male Character:

Spike. This turned out to be a hard one, and not because it's hard to pick a favorite. It's just hard to come up with something to say that will encompass all of why he's a favorite without just echoing things that have been said better by a heckuva lot of people.

So many facets! He's loyal, funny, smart, inventive, observant, emotionally fluent, and interested in sex. He likes to dance. He gets along better with women than with men. He has a heaping truckload of "manly" defense mechanisms to keep other (usually male) people from seeing his perceived weakness. Like many other BtVs characters, he loves language and has an enormous amount of fun playing with it.

Most of those features fit Xander as well, however, so I don't feel I've really put my finger on what makes Spike unique.

Um, he fears very little, aside from bears. He's up for a challenge. He's pugnacious and stirs up trouble for fun. If he doesn't care about something, he really doesn't care about it. Conversely, if he cares, he cares a lot. He's got buckets of joie de un-vivre. He's gleeful, bless 'im.

Lest we forget, he's also a notorious vampire, a killer, a predator, and an unrepentant (until much later), violent criminal.

Okay. So here's something I've been musing on for a while and it's bound to come out wrong, but here goes: Spike works as a sort of metaphor for awful people, a window, if you will. Here in the USA, we have an increasing tendency to respond to horrible, terrible behavior with, "That's inhuman! What a monster!" But really, the scariest thing is that it is humans that are responsible for all those things we wish to call "inhuman". By demonizing the perpetrators, we give ourselves a convenient, but inaccurate, narrative that "we" are nothing like "them". But if you dig a little, you'll find that most of these "monsters" loved their mamas, or their dogs, or Bach, or they were really good at parcheesi, or something. It's not easy to accept that horrible people are, well, people. So much easier to write them off. Spike, started off as a terrifying, dangerous threat and then developed into a complex person, eventually becoming a hero vital to the good of humanity. His is a fun story, but also a tremendously deep, complicated, and thought-provoking one.

****
Went to see the Afro-Cuban All Stars perform at SF Jazz on the weekend. Once the gals in the band kicked off their heels, the party really got started!

Coming up: the Frameline LGBTQ Film Festival leading up to Gay Pride Weekend at the end of the month. There are five films I want to see this Saturday, many of them in conflicting time slots. Talk about first world problems...

rebcake: Joyce with Axe: Not in the brochure (btvs joyce axe)
The list of days... )

Least Favorite Female Character:

Glory. I adore her minions, but Glory herself holds little appeal or dread for me. Her tantrums are tiresome. She's vain, shallow, entitled, and screechy. And she's not funny. I understand that she's supposed to be a counterpoint to Buffy, but unlike with Buffy, I have zero sympathy or, more importantly, empathy for her or her situation. She's just...unpleasant. As far as Hellgods go, I vastly prefer Illyria.

Even Maggie Walsh is a far more interesting character/villain. One thing I do like about Glory is that she and April together give Buffy the opportunity to say this:

I've had it with super-strong little women who aren't me.
Buffy, in I Was Made to Love You

***

The opera was splendid! Bill Irwin was in it! Not so much in a singing capacity, but still! Tonight we're headed to the historic Castro Theater to see the newish Hayao Miyazaki movie, "The Wind Rises".
rebcake: Buffy, pretty slayer (btvs buffy slayer)
The list of days... )

Favorite Female Character: 

Buffy
. Do I really need to explain?

However, what I really love is that there are so many female characters to choose from. I mostly love 'em all at one point or another. The first episode I watched was Reptile Boy, and I remember thinking that Cordelia was really funny and interesting. I didn't watch the show again for 7 years or something, but that wasn't Cordy's fault. 

When I finally got around to watching, I started with Season 2. Drusilla and Sheila in School Hard were both fresh and women that we don't get to see all that often. Sheila especially felt real to me in a way that pop culture rarely gets right. When I went back to the beginning, the opening scene with Darla in Welcome to the Hellmouth confirmed that I was in the right place. Since then, I've come to love sassy!Jenny, Joyce, Faith, vamp!Harmony, Tara, and a couple dozen other fantastic female characters. None of them are perfect, but that just makes them easier to love, IMO.

***

Hey, a friend just called with the offer of a ticket to the opera tonight! Showboat, here I come!
rebcake: Buffy and Spike about to kiss during OMWF finale. (btvs spuffy omwf_finale)
The list of days... )

Favorite Song Used In An Episode: There are too many to choose from! Buffy makes great use of music throughout. Band appearances at the Bronze are usually fantastic, notably Cibo Matto doing "Sugar Water" in When She Was Bad, Aimee Mann doing "Pavlov's Bell" in Sleeper, and The Breeders doing whatever the hell they want in Him. For me, Michelle Branch's song "Goodbye To You" was a bit on the nose for the end of Tabula Rasa, but it's certainly effective. Background music is also terrific, and a standout for me is "Faith in Love" by Devil Doll in Harsh Light of Day. Sexytimes! And don't even get me started on Once More With Feeling, which is packed with wonderful songs, all of which are just right for their purpose. I could never choose between them.

For me, it comes down to two: "Blue" performed by Angie Hart in Conversations with Dead People and the "Main Title Theme" performed by Nerf Herder on either end of almost every episode. They set the tone for the entire episode, and do it in such different ways. The Theme lets the viewer know that this is supposed to be a fun, rollicking ride, and that even with all the death, monsters, and mayhem, you should enjoy yourself. Surf music has always perfectly captured that "fun in a minor key" mentality that is so very Buffy. Since surfing is all about the challenge of facing your fears — what could be more terrifying and exhilarating than giving yourself to and triumphing over an ocean — it is really genius that surf music is the intro to the show. On the other hand, "Blue" forces a shift in thinking. For the final push, the final apocalypse, all the characters have to face themselves, one way or another. It's introspective and asks questions about individuality and yearning for understanding from others. Or not. Who knows? It's poetry and it's thoughtful and emotional, and that's where we're headed. Co-writer Joss Whedon is putting us on notice that things are going to be different. And, for better or worse, they are.
rebcake: Spike: What? (ats Spike what?)
The list of days... )

Favorite Episode: This one is not tough at all. It's Fool For Love, y'all!

So many good episodes and still this one stands out: unexpected back story, loads of "historical" stuff, glimpses of slayers past, super funny Harmony, dead sexy Dru, and bonus Chaos Demon! This episode is a big fat payoff for continuity buffs. It explains Spike's name(s), his Slayer obsession, his scar, his coat, and his breakup with his paramour of 100+ years. The subway/alley back and forth is a dazzling, heart in the throat scene. It's also the episode that launched a thousand fanfics, and would be worthy for that alone. To top it all off, both Spike and Buffy get to fight back tears. Mmmmm, emotional.

I think the reason I like it so much is that it opens up the Buffyverse. We aren't just in this one, probably sucktastic, moment on the Hellmouth. We're all over the world and all through time. We are multitudes! There was some of this in Becoming back in Season 2, but that was mainly through Angel's eyes, and this gives us a whole host of possible perspectives. It's clear that we can't trust the teller of the tale, either, and that encourages the viewer to be a more active participant in the story. Nifty, yes?
rebcake: Buffy, pretty slayer (btvs buffy slayer)
Okay, I'm in! Late, but in. I might as well, since I'm still thinking about Buffy, forming opinions, and currently doing a rewatch. Plus, I want to talk to you guys. So, here is my stab at this. Away we go!

The list of days... )

Favorite Season: This will probably be the toughest question in the whole set for me. All of the seasons, even the first one, have excellent qualities. I am especially fond of seasons 2, 4, and 6, though. Two has an excellent arc, the addition of Spike, Dru, Oz, and a great villain in Angelus. It's not as cinematically pretty as Four, which I love for Buffy. It's arguably her best year. She's having fun, meeting people, and overcoming vast conspiracies. She's hit her stride, and hasn't been poleaxed by the whammy of Five yet. Six I love for the sex. Partly. I'm invested in Six. I care deeply what happens. For me, the show becomes more than entertainment in Six. I don't think I'd be as fascinated with the show without Six. It goes deeper, emotionally, than I expect televised stories to go.

All three seasons are absolutely crucial to my Buffy love. If I had to pick one to take to a desert island, I guess it would be Four. No. Two. Wait. Um, possibly Six.

You know what? I don't have to give up any of them! All three of them are my favorite! 66 episodes of Buffity goodness!

rebcake: Buffy and Spike about to kiss during OMWF finale. (btvs spuffy omwf_finale)
This is snagged from everywhere, and put up without a lot of thought.

Everyone should post their ten most CRUCIAL CRUCIAL CRUCIAL films, like the films that explain everything about yourselves in your current incarnations (not necessarily your ten favorite films but the ten films that you, as a person existing currently, feel would help people get to know you) (they can change later on obviously).

Heh. Don't look for drama from me, folks. Or maturity.

1. Peking Opera Blues
2. Down With Love
3. Sleeping Beauty
4. Freaky Friday (the second one) or Clueless
5. Moonstruck
6. The Incredibles
7. Rock 'n' Roll High School
8. Some Like It Hot
9. The Palm Beach Story
10. Galaxy Quest

It would probably be a different list tomorrow, but no less silly fun-filled.
rebcake: spike air kiss (btvs spike_kiss)
My Favorite Vampires... )

Also, does anybody know how to find that vid of Spike set to the Count’s “I Love To Count” song? Funny, naughty stuff…
ETA: It's Cybermintz's award-winning "The Song of the Count", but I still don't know how to get to something I can watch and chortle over. :(
rebcake: spike air kiss (willow_tara)

First, it's Intervention Week over at Fantas_Magoria, and not nearly enough people have weighed in on the Intervention Love Comment Cavalcade. Go forth and tell us who, what, when, where, and how you love Intervention! All types of love encouraged. You may also post links to your Intervention-related artwork, meta, and stories. I want moar Intervention in my life! Please give it to me. *puppy eyes*

Second, it seems that I've inadvertently become a co-mod of a community I never knew existed until a couple of days ago:


Cool, huh? I'm excited that a) it didn't get deleted, and b) that some of my awesome meta-writing friends might be prevailed upon to post and/or link there, so we have a one-stop place for heaping bowlsful of the good stuff! Go! Join!

Then, while I usually avoid memes, this one struck me as fun and informative. So you can read all about my romantic history as told through the lens of my various obsessions fandoms. Oh! The many mysteries revealed...

Fandom as Love Interest )

rebcake: spike air kiss (wrong)
I miss my old show.
When you see this, post another Buffy quote in your LJ. Let's see how long this can go on.




'Cause I could do anything I want . . . )

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