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13 February 2013 @ 07:41 pm
 
Rewatching Buffy for probably the 50th time *g* I've just finished the high school years. And I still like season 3 way more than season 2 and find it very underated, it's easily my favourite high school season and everything just feels more polished that year. Earshot may even be my favourite episode for representing the high school era. I loved it even more than I remembered on rewatch. Homecoming was also kind of perfect. And The Prom! And Lover's Walk! And The Wish! There so many excellent episodes that year, I can't think of a single real clunker on the level of season 2's Reptile Boy or Bad Eggs (I always remember Choices as being kind of a filler episode, but that too was actually pretty good). And Graduation Day was much better than I remembered too, the first half is still kind of slow, but the graduation scenes when the students all band together against the vampires really are pretty kickass. Even silly things like the lighting and how much more colourful the show felt made me happy, yes I know it's partly a horror show, but still I hated how seasons 1 and 2 had such dark graveyard scenes and bronze scenes that you could barely make out what was going on.

It's funny how differently some things are coming across to me compared to when I first watched though. Like with Jesse I think his crush with Cordelia was given a fairly sympathetic edit, Joss even mentions on the commentary that the scene of him asking Cordelia to dance is based on his own experiences of being rejected by a girl he asked in high school. But watching it now Jesse comes across as kind of a creep and I can absolutely understand why Cordelia would want to avoid him. First he's bugging her in the courtyard about whether you want a shoulder to cry on or nibble on and she snorts and dismisses him, yet still he goes to bother her in the Bronze and interrupts her conversation, even when it's already clear that she's not interested. Cordelia is supposed to just be the one-dimensional mean bitch at this time, but pfft whatever I found myself cheering her on and wishing I had some of her courage when she called Jesse a stalker and walks off with her friends. How depressing that even such blunt rejection as Cordelia gave him still wasn't enough for him to continuously keep hitting on her... It is annoying though that The Harvest presents Cordelia as suddenly attracted to Jesse when he drags her on to the dance floor and tells her to shut up when she protests, seriously now?

And I was never the biggest fan of Xander's, mostly because of his constant childish jabs at Angel and his entitled attitude toward Buffy. But on rewatch it's really coming across what an obnoxious "nice guy" he was and how much he would slut-shame Cordelia. For all that she was presented to us as the "mean girl" and Xander was supposedly the good guy sidekick who Joss wanted male audiences to look up too, 9 times out of 10 it was Xander who was lashing out at Cordelia first and then acting all angry and insulted when she responded in kind. I used to ship Xander/Cordelia back in the day and always kind of thought of it as being a more equal relationship than the way that Xander would belittle Anya, and while it's certainly true that Cordelia could give as good as she got, most of the insults were still coming from Xander first which I never really picked up on before. I.e in Bad Eggs in the closet Xander is the one who first says the making-out would work better for him if Cordelia didn't talk, and Cordelia then responds that it would work better for her with the lights off, cue Xander complaining about that not being a self-esteem booster. Well maybe if you didn't insult her first, ass. And in the classroom scene after that Xander is again the one who first starts on about Cordelia having bad breath. It was really only season 3 when that was reversed, after Xander cheated on Cordy, that she became the one to consistently be the first to lash out. Even then he seemed to fast lose any kind of guilt for the way he treated her and it wasn't until The Prom that he made any effort to make it up to her, in the very next episode after he was caught cheating he complains about Cordelia acting happy in the Bronze and tries to encourage a doubtful Willow and Buffy to pretend to be having their own great time and act dismissive towards her, so really who can blame Cordelia for reacting defensively toward Xander for most of season 3? Yet Xander still gets to have the big hero shot in The Zeppo of walking off and ignoring Cordelia's insults, it was as if the writers could never recognise when he was in the wrong and how he could be just as mean with the insults was Cordelia ever was

And to go back a bit, this DID bother me at the time and still bothers me now. For a show that was always so into emotional continuity and bringing up events from other episodes, how could Jesse have never been mentioned by his friends again??? All Willow says when she finds out he's been killed and turned is "at least you two are okay", that response so doesn't ring true to me. Obviously Joss didn't want them all moping and depressed over losing a friend for 12 episodes,but he could have handled it in a MUCH better way than just ignoring it completely after The Harvest. I mean he could even have tried to imply that Jesse was newish too and they didn't know him that well, to have him be a lifelong friend of Xanderand Willow's and always hanging out with them just makes no sense with their half-hearted responses to his death. I never brought it when some people claimed that Xander's hatred of vampires was from trauma over killing Jesse, the show never treated it as that big of a deal for him. Even the end of The Harvest, the very same episode where Jesse died, the ending is more about general shock over the existence of vampires than any real grief over the loss of their friend

Another scene that's a little bizarre to watch in retrospect is the way that Buffy and Angel's first time was romantised in the Innocence flashbacks as being this magical experience, yet Buffy is sooo uncomfortable with undressing in front of Angel in the very episode where she slept with him for the first time. She was asking him to turn around while she changed and keeping her top clutched to her when she did agree for him to turn around and check out her cut, so it really came across like they hadn't progressed beyond kissing at all and I found it hard to see how magical her first time could have been for Buffy if she was *that* tense and shy around him seeing her in a bra. Regardless of the whole Angelus curse I think Angel should have been aware that she wasn't ready to sleep with him at that time... Oh and Sarah still makes me cry in the morning after scene with Angelus everytime :sniffs:

And with season 3 I feel more bad for Faith than ever. I mean really the mayor immediately puts her up in a nice apartment and says he doesn't like her staying in that fleabag motel, but neither of her watchers, the supposed good guys, ever thought about using their watchers salaries to help her find a better living situation??? (But then I also recall Giles acting like he was doing Buffy a big favour and she was relying on him too much when he gave her a cheque in season 6, even though Buffy was the one who helped him get his job and salary back in Checkpoint and IMO that money was hers by right and Giles should have said that).

And I think Faith's killing of the deputy mayor was a little overblown quite honestly. I mean obviously I'm not saying that it wasn't a bad thing! But it just seems like the other characters immediately jumped on Faith being a murderer and would never have given her another chance or looked at her the same after that. Even before they knew she was working for the mayor (and believed that she was working to redeem herself in Doopelgangland), Willow is still describing her as a person who sometimes like to kill people. And I just wouldn't describe her as a murderer for Bad Girls, it seemed like an obvious case of self-defence which would lead to a manslaughter charge at best, the guy leaped out of the shadows at them in a back alley when they were in the midst of slaying vampires ffs. Just very different from the way that Buffy was treated when they believed that she had kicked her mothers human boyfriend down the stairs in Ted and killed him, in that episode Willow was all it wasn't your fault, he must have started it, yet it seemed like Faith was immediately treated as if the killing had been a deliberate act and she was going to get a taste for killing now

Buffy stabbing Faith actually feels more shocking to me now than it did at the time. I remember when I first saw it I kind of had the attitude of well Faith did poisen Angel so it's only right that Buffy go after her for the cure, but watching it now it *is* pretty shocking to see Buffy stabbing a human being in the gut like that. And I find myself wondering how she would have gotten the body to Angel's in the first place without attracting attention. And it seemed...odd for Angel to be aware of the cure and be okay with it until it was Buffy he had to drink from, surely someone with all of his guilt and issues should have had a problem with draining ANY 17 year old girl to save himself, he was the one preaching about how Faith could still be saved in Consequences
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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Dude, everyone in here's a dude: Buffy herobigboobedcanuck on February 13th, 2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
I really need to do a rewatch myself!

But on rewatch it's really coming across what an obnoxious "nice guy" he was and how much he would slut-shame Cordelia. For all that she was presented to us as the "mean girl" and Xander was supposedly the good guy sidekick who Joss wanted male audiences to look up too, 9 times out of 10 it was Xander who was lashing out at Cordelia first and then acting all angry and insulted when she responded in kind.

YES. In retrospect I really don't like Xander as much as I used to. In the later seasons I had issues with him when the show was on, but now I bet I'd have issues from the get-go.

But then I also recall Giles acting like he was doing Buffy a big favour and she was relying on him too much when he gave her a cheque in season 6, even though Buffy was the one who helped him get his job and salary back in Checkpoint and IMO that money was hers by right and Giles should have said that

I still hate what they did with Giles because ASH wanted to leave. It was just stupid. First off expecting Buffy to raise Dawn and do all that without help! Buffy was still a kid herself, and also doesn't Dawn deserve a father figure? Giles leaving always rang so very false.

Seriously, why do the Watchers get paid and not the Slayers? Why the fuck should Buffy be working at a fast food restaurant when the council are all making money? Eff that.

it seemed like an obvious case of self-defence which would lead to a manslaughter charge at best, the guy leaped out of the shadows at them in a back alley when they were in the midst of slaying vampires ffs.

Seriously! It wasn't intentional! Faith always got a raw deal.
Naomi: Buffy cross by letsey-xfrelling_tralk on February 14th, 2013 09:16 am (UTC)
Xander is one of those 90's character that has dated horribly, nearly everyone who starts watching the show in the 2000's picks up on what an obnoxious 'nice guy' he is, but at the time he never seemed all that bad although he was far from my favourite. But now nearly everything he does grates lol

And the way that Giles departure was handled always bothered me. The writers treated it more as if it were something like Buffy needing to grow up, move out of her Mom and Dad's house and get some independence, but it was actually about a 20 year old girl not being able to take over running her Mother's house and raising her 15 year old sister. That's not normal adult independence, that's a huge burden that anyone needs help with before they are forced to drop out of school and work minimum wage to get by. Instead of being so hard on Buffy naturally not wanting to mother the sister that was just a few years younger than herself, I wish Giles had moved in in Tough Love and made more effort to help them, pointing out that Buffy being able to finish college would be much more helpful for her and Dawn's future. Like Buffy already had the burden of slaying every night as a second job and trying to save the world, she knew all about responsibility and Giles could have cut her some slack after her mother's death, instead of complaining because she wasn't ready to be a authority figure in raising a teenage girl. She was 20 years old!!!

And with Faith I felt like Giles handled it the most reasonably in saying that it's tragic but these mistakes can happen, but then even the council was apparently planning to lock her up for a long time for it (how does that even work in the times when there isn't a second slayer to take over saving the world??)

Edited at 2013-02-14 09:28 am (UTC)
ever_neutral: [btvs] buffy = conquerorever_neutral on February 14th, 2013 12:59 am (UTC)
I found it hard to see how magical her first time could have been for Buffy if she was *that* tense and shy around him seeing her in a bra.
L O L

Just very different from the way that Buffy was treated when they believed that she had kicked her mothers human boyfriend down the stairs in Ted and killed him, in that episode Willow was all it wasn't your fault, he must have started it, yet it seemed like Faith was immediately treated as if the killing had been a deliberate act and she was going to get a taste for killing now
I feel like that’s very typical of the Good Girl / Bad Girl thing, though. Especially from someone like Willow who has very black/white thinking at this point, so everything Buffy does must be Good, while Faith is just inherently bad. It’s depressing, but realistic.

I remember when I first saw it I kind of had the attitude of well Faith did poisen Angel so it's only right that Buffy go after her for the cure, but watching it now it *is* pretty shocking to see Buffy stabbing a human being in the gut like that. And I find myself wondering how she would have gotten the body to Angel's in the first place without attracting attention.
Yeah, that’s why I’m inclined to think that Buffy went after Faith mainly for revenge – and curing Angel was a good excuse. What I do like, though, is that Buffy clearly hasn’t thought it through – she’s completely horrified when she actually does manage to stab Faith.
Naomi: Buffy Triangle by sparkz0rfrelling_tralk on February 14th, 2013 09:27 am (UTC)
Really though lol, isn't it the accepted thing that most teenage couples at least progress to heavy petting and seeing some of each others body parts before jumping into bed together! The way Bts did it made it seem like they went right from just kissing to Buffy having sex for the first time. It just seemed like such an old-fashioned way of doing it, especially with the show deliberately emphasising Buffy not being comfortable with her boyfriend seeing her in her bra for heavens sake right before they have sex. Everything about that scene screamed that she wasn't ready to me, but Innocence flashbacks painted the actual experience as magical anyway hmm
apeygirlapeygirl on February 14th, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
I recently reread a book that, as a teen, I thought was super romantic and awesome. I was going through some boxes of stuff and thought I'd reread it and I was cringing. It was the MOST SEXIST CRAP EVER. And the relationship was so stalky and borderline abusive. I actually had to check and make sure the author was a woman.

So yeah. Joss was miles ahead in that time, but he wasn't perfect. Still, he did better than most running teen shows.

As for Xander, I always thought his hatred of vampires was just leftover petty jealousy over Angel and Buffy. He's kind of a jerk when you look closer.
Naomi: Buffy Fear Itself by organzafrelling_tralk on February 14th, 2013 10:22 am (UTC)
Yeah watching this time I was really picking up on Xander making way more bitchy little comments than Cordelia, the token 'mean girl', ever did. And moments like him perving on Buffy changing in Never kill a boy on the first date comes off as so gross, but the show always seemed to still treat him as this great guy who was always there in a pinch, never mind some of the horrible comments he would make in everyday life and how much he tried to guilt Buffy for daring to not be attracted to him.

And there was so much off-screen talk of him being a role model because he supports strong women, but quite honestly I don't see how him finding Buffy sexy is some great statement of supporting women's empowerment, for a start he also fantasised in Teacher's Pet about Buffy being the helpless female that he needed to rescue (instead of say fantasies about working alongside a strong Buffy as an equal) and in Halloween he complains about losing masculinity points because he got rescued by a girl. In the high school years he was never truly happy with just following Buffy, a lot of his issues with Angel suggested major issue over not being an alpha male. Which is probably understandable for the typical teenage boy, but the show never seemed to want to present him as that. There was so much off-screen talk about him being this ideal role model for men just because he has a thing for slayers, but it's not like he was some shining example when realistically most high school guys would find it hot that a thin and conventionally attractive female could kick ass like that

Edited at 2013-02-14 10:23 am (UTC)
sum1_differentsum1_different on February 14th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
Season 3 was great. It's one of my favorites. I think of it as the most classic season. Season 2 is overrated. A lot of season 2 is crap.

Xander is an arsehole. He was the first Buffy character I hated. He's just a jerk all around. I don't know why we were being sold him as this great guy, except maybe Joss has low standards in human behavior. Willow's a jerk too. The two of them are a pain in the ass. I wish they'd been dumped after season 3. Useless pair of rejects.

I never felt sorry for Faith. She never had any humanity. Right from her first episode she demonstrates bad character. And yes killing that guy might have been manslaughter rather than murder, but the way she didn't give a damn about it and was totally unrepentant is what condemns her. If she had an ounce of humanity she'd have felt terrible about it. She felt nothing. I had no problem with Buffy trying to kill Faith. Faith was a cold-blooded killer of innocents (remember that harmless scientist guy she murdered?) who had shown she had no more humanity than the soulless demons and vampires Buffy so freely killed. I was really bummed that Faith didn't die.
Naomi: Cordelia Earshot by wicked-signsfrelling_tralk on February 14th, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
I disagree that Faith felt nothing, she seemed genuinely shocked at the time of the killing and was stammering that she didn't know. And in Consequences she looked sad at seeing him in the photo and quietly said "he came out of nowhere", she was just closing herself from really feeling the remorse whenever Buffy tried to get her to talk about it.

I understand why Buffy was as horrified as she was and reacted as she did,but I think it did make Faith even more defensive the more Buffy emphasised what a terrible thing it was and the more Faith feared ''jail for the rest of my young life'. It just seemed like, even before she did anything REALLy bad, the other characters were mostly emphasising how Faith had done the worst thing ever and maybe she belongs in jail. And then there was Angel trying to 'help' by talking about her being on the road to darkness and how she would have a taste for killing now. If anything I think it was those reactions that pushed Faith to believe that she was bad, instead of eventually being able to work through her feelings and come to terms with what was an accidental killing that she was at fault for. It seemed like the other characters more wanted her to face up to herself as a murderer instead...

I just think she was more scared than evil in that two-parter, and even the onimous music raising when Buffy realised that Faith was blaming the killing on her seemed a little O/T to me. It felt like the show was trying to say wow she's really going bad now, but (while I don't of course justify Faith blaming the person who was trying to help her), I don't think it was all that evil for Faith to be scared and try and escape the consequences of her actions. Not in any way admirable, but not a sign of turning evil either. If anything she seemed to feel bad about putting the blame on Buffy and was unable to look her in the eye, so I still wasn't getting ruthless killer or evil vibes from her in that time

In a way I can see her POV even that it was all very well for Buffy to keep insisting that we will have to tell someone, it's eating me up with guilt, but Faith was the one who was actually going to get into trouble for it. Ironically though it seemed like Giles wouldn't have treated it as such a big deal as Buffy did, but more take the viewpoint of tragic accidents can happen. So things might have turned out okay even if not for Wesley and Angel diving in to treat Faith as being on the road to hell. That is IMO what really drove her to the bad influence of the Mayor

Edited at 2013-02-14 08:32 pm (UTC)
sum1_differentsum1_different on February 14th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
Faith did her best to downplay the seriousnes of what she'd done, showing she didn't care. Certainly she didn't care enough. If she she showed any sign of caring it was precious little, rather less than would be expected from anybody with a normal level of human feeling. She didn't have a normal level of human feeling. She was a psychopath. Buffy tried hard to make her care but it didn't work. Faith was utterly self-centered and mostly amoral from the start. And responsible people don't close themselves off from feeling remorse when they've killed someone like that. But this is Faith, who showed up in her first episode running away from her problems and dumping them on Buffy. She didn't TURN evil. She started out that way -in her first episode on the show she showed she loved killing. It just was just one step away to love killing people with souls. And her framing Buffy for the killing shows how much she really felt remorse. As in not very much. Nor did the behavior of the other characters FORCE her to join up with the Mayor, murder innocent people, and try to bring about the apocalypse. She had free will, made her own choices and should be held accountable for them. That she went that way shows her true nature, which was hinted at in her first episode. It was a consistent picture from one end of the season to the other. She never showed anything genuinely sympathetic in her nature and if Eliza Dushku was supposed to make her sympathetic she failed utterly. Her Faith approached the whole world with a smug sneer. Faith was an utterly unlikeable character and it bewilders me that anybody finds her sympathetic.

How you've been recently? :)

Edited at 2013-02-14 10:33 pm (UTC)
Naomi: Spike/Dru Crush dance by massive_dosefrelling_tralk on February 15th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
Oh I agree that nobody actually forced Faith to team up with the Mayor, I just don't think that she was all bad so much as she felt like Buffy and the scoobies would never accept her after the way the accidental staking was treated as being her downfall, and that was a big part of her motivation in giving up and going to the Mayor. Still I didn't mean to imply that she wasn't responsible for the choices that she did ultimately make. And yes she had issues that came across from her first episode when she was running from the memory of her watcher's death and beating up vampires extra-viciously, but I just never got the born evil vibe from her as there were times when she was shown to surpress her conscience, meaning that she did have one.

And heh I'm doing okay :) Work is getting me tired though and piling on the overtime :/ I'm still working on getting my driver's license at the moment, I'm hoping that when I do finally get my license *fingers crossed* then it will help me with travelling further in looking for a job that interests me more, so there is that at least
sum1_differentsum1_different on February 15th, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
["I just don't think that she was all bad so much as she felt like Buffy and the scoobies would never accept her after the way the accidental staking was treated as being her downfall, and that was a big part of her motivation in giving up and going to the Mayor"]

They would have treated her a lot better had she not tried to frame Buffy for it. Not to mention trying to murder Xander. Now of course I'd be the last to object if Xander was killed off, but that was hardly the behavior of a decent individual and I think you can bet it hardened the scoobies against her. She showed repeatedly that she was a nasty piece of work. I don't think she needed any help in going over to the evil side.

["I just never got the born evil vibe from her as there were times when she was shown to surpress her conscience, meaning that she did have one."]

Supressing their conscience is what evil people do. A lot of evil people have a conscience, they're just better at supressing it than normal people. And she didn't have much of a conscience -I think that was made clear. One thing I noticed with her was a lack of empathy, common with psychopaths.

I definitely think she was "born evil". I think she radiated that all season, all the time. That much Dushku got right in the performance, if that's what she was going for.

Ok, good luck with the license. :)



Edited at 2013-02-15 05:23 pm (UTC)
Naomi: Spuffy In The Band by neversleepsfrelling_tralk on February 15th, 2013 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
Infinitewhaleinfinitewhale on February 15th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)

Xander really kind of undermines the series, IMO. He's the "nice guy" who constantly undermines and judges those around him. Worse still, the series never addresses it and even condones it most of the time.

Joss should have stuck to his guns and killed him in S7. It would have added an extra layer to the show and final season.
Naomi: Spike/Dru promo pic by alchemistcfrelling_tralk on February 17th, 2013 11:08 am (UTC)
It would have definitely give the First more impact if we had lost one of the regular characters that year

And yeah, you get the feeling that the writers do think of Xander as this really great guy, but (to skip ahead slightly *g*) it's especially odd these days watching scenes like the slut-shaming of Anya in Entropy or the lecturing of Buffy in Into The Woods for not appreciating the nice guy enough, and just never having Xander's faults called out. He feels like a very 90's example of the unappreciated 'good guy'

Edited at 2013-02-17 11:10 am (UTC)
Infinitewhaleinfinitewhale on February 17th, 2013 11:46 am (UTC)

I wouldn't say it was needed to add weight, but I think it would have added in a better link between the overcoming your own roadblocks/The First Evil metaphor. Better than Caleb, anyway.
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