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24 February 2013 @ 03:34 pm
More Buffy rewatch ramblings  
The Freshman made me feel so bad for Buffy and I could really relate to how lost she felt at college. Honestly though I did kind of wonder why Buffy wanted to go to college in the first place, is it just an expected thing for American teenagers to go? Because she didn't seem into the idea at all and was telling Willow that having to read more than one novel might be too much for her, in which case why even go to a place for higher learning if it's really not her thing? I know that Buffy's SAT results were supposedly really high, but tbh it never made all that much sense to me when Buffy made many comments about how she doesn't test well/what can you really tell about a person from a test score, and certainly never spend much time studying. Being so clever that you don't need to study much is one thing, but a lot of the time Buffy did seem kind of confused by her classes when she didn't put the work in (and in Band Candy when Giles is helping her study for the SATs she admits to basically guessing the answers along the lines of "I'm going with B, we haven't had a B in forever" and at the end of the episode she is telling Giles how the math questions especially made no sense to her). I can certainly see her being a smart person who can do a good job when she's interested in the material, but not really someone who was such a secret genuis that she got astonisingly high SAT scores without preparing for them hardly at all...But anyways! I do love the college setting of the early season 4 episodes, I can't understand why they dropped it in season 5 when it was such a nice atmosphere to replace the high school feel with

Buffy Vs Dracula is an episode where I wish they hadn't gone for the comedy. Not so much everyone's swooning reaction to him, which were pretty funny ('you're under the thrall of the dark prince!'), but the performance itself was so campy and disappointing that it was hard to take it seriously in the scenes where he is seducing Buffy or she is tasting his blood. Plus the pale make-up was ridiculous. I think that everyone getting excited over the Dracula myth would have been funny enough without making the character himself a complete joke which just takes you out of the story, even though they were trying to make some serious points about Buffy fearing the darkness in her powers... Heh I did love though how the blood-seducing scene ended with Buffy saying 'that was gross' and kicking his ass, that felt like a much more effective way of BtS undercutting the Dracula films and the swooning women victims. If only Dracula himself hadn't been so lame...It was especially odd after Joss had been so vocal about disliking how the Buffy movie only had the villains there to be silly and to be laughed at, yet Dracula would have fit right in with that movie

And I love the intro of Dawn at the end of Buffy Vs Dracula, and Real Me and Michelle's performance is so good, but one nitpick I have always had is that they were originally looking for a 10-12 year old actress and then seemingly never adjusted the writing when 15 year old Michelle was cast. I know that she was meant to be playing 14, but really what 14 year old would get excited over the guy she has a crush on coming over to BABYSIT her, what 14 year old girl gets ice cream all over her face in front of said guy, what 14 year old cares about the cereal toys? Even making gagging noises when she sees her sister kissing her boyfriend seems a bit weird for a teenager Idk

And urgh the way Xander belittles Anya bugs me as much as ever. In Into The Woods Anya complains about Willow making fun of her for being newly literal and 'nobody talks that way', and Xander says not one word in his girlfriends defence, but as soon as Anya lashes out back at Willow he's telling her to 'back off a little' and 'play nice'. I really don't know how she put up with him for as long as she did or what she even saw in him in the first place, he was a condescending ass. He might have given a nice speech when Buffy called him on how he treats Anya, but then in the very next episode he is still utterly unable to stand up for Anya when Willow is being a jerk to her again.

And this might sound like kind of a silly nitpick, but all these years later I still don't get what the point was in creating Dawn? And that isn't meant to be bashing her as a character, but okay the Knight's quite sensibly wanted to destroy the Key as it was the one thing Glory needed to get home and thus have all the dimensions collapsing and bleeding into one another. Very bad, yes? And the Monk's thought that it would be better to harness the powers for the forces of light or some such nonsense, but Dawn as the key never did have any power after season 5, so basically they thought that creating a human being out of the key should take precedent over the safety of the entire world??? Killing her after she became an innocent human is one thing, but they could easily have gone along with the Knight's plan to safely destroy the key before it ever got that far...

It just never made sense why the monks believed that the creation of Dawn was so important over destroying the Key, at least the writers could have given Dawn some kind of Key powers in the remaining seasons and made them something significant to saving the world

And Idk I'm still kind of mixed on the message of "oh grow up" that the writers kept pushing with Buffy. I'm more on the side of the Giles in The Body who tells Buffy that he will handle the forms and very much steps in as father figure, ditto in Forever when he's helping Buffy in the funeral home with paying for the coffin. I hate how, starting from Tough Love, it was constantly drilled into the audiences head that Buffy had to become self-reliant and take care of Dawn by herself now. I never thought that she was being unreasonable when she was pratically begging Giles to step in and help her with Dawn and be Dawn's authority figure, her biological father would have stepped in anyway if he wasn't written as so uncaring, raising a sister who was just a few years younger than Buffy was never a responsibility that someone barely out of their teens could reasonably be expected to cope with.

And okay I could understand it more if Giles just wanted to take a step back and say "whoa not ready to be a father here", but instead the show constantly presented it as all being for Buffy's own good and something that she HAD to learn how to do. But in what world is is the better option to expect 20 year old Buffy to drop out of college and raise her 14/15 year old sister on her own? That's like the last resort when the parents in your life have let you down, that's not normal adult responsibilities. Yet that message continues into season 6 with Buffy coming back from the dead to find out that all of her money had been spend and she was basically being seen as on her own in being expected to take on the expenses of the house and supporting Dawn, even by the people who were living in the same house with her. When Giles does finally give her a cheque (which I will always believe he owed her as the Watcher was supposed to look out for the Slayer and her welfere, not to mention Buffy getting him his salary and job back in the first place), it's presented as an act of charity with Giles looking concerned at how relieved Buffy is at having money now to take care of all the bills, as if that's y'know an unreasonable emotion to feel when you're broke and someone gives you money to help out And being forced to support herself did nothing to help Buffy anyway because, instead of being able to continue at college and work towards a better life later on, she was forced to drop out and work minimum wage to get by. Was that REALLY the better option, instead of someone stepping in to help her with Dawn and the finances and encouraging Buffy to stay in school? As someone who dropped out of college (and was only 20 years old) it's not like she could have reasonably be expected to bring in the same amount of money as Joyce or Giles could when it came to household expenses and raising Dawn


Was Giles right about Buffy needing to learn how to parent Dawn on her own?

Yes, Dawn was Buffy's resonsibility
2(4.8%)
No, Buffy was too young and she wasn't being unreasonable in wanting Gile's help
22(52.4%)
Buffy shouldn't have had to be the parent to her sister in the first place, Giles or Hank should have stepped in entirely for both Buffy and Dawn's sake
18(42.9%)
I have another answer
0(0.0%)
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( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Kiki Maykikimay on February 24th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
Hank should have had stepped in for Dawn. She was HIS daughter and he left all the responsability to Buffy. Honestly, I don't think that a 20 years old should be the mother to her little sister. I understand Buffy's sense of responsability and her bond with Dawn, Hank was the jerkist jerk that ever jerked. (And, at the same time, I perfectly understand why Dawn want to stay with Buffy because she's is truly the only family she has. But Buffy can't be a pseudo-mother) Giles isn't Buffy or Dawn's father, I know, but still he was really neglectful in S6. Maybe he told himself he was doing the right thing but he did the most wrong thing leaving Buffy and he recognizes it later.
I strongly indentify with Buffy in The Freshman episode and I think she felt compelled to do something and to go to university while deeply she wasn't really thinking about the future. She wasn't truly and deeply motivated as Willow but she's a smart girl, she can study and have good grades. I think that her problem is mostly about the future: she doesn't imagine herself in the future. She kinda lives just the present.

Edited at 2013-02-24 03:50 pm (UTC)
Naomi: Buffy Triangle by sparkz0rfrelling_tralk on February 24th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC)
It really made me sad this time watching how much Giles stepped in for Buffy in The Body and Forever, yet just a few episodes from then the writers seemed to honestly believe that it was the best thing for Buffy to learn to do it all on her own. It was a horrible position to be in, especially right after the tragic loss of her mother. I felt awful for Buffy when she was telling Giles how unnatural it felt to be all foot stompy with her younger sister, and he was basically saying it was something that she had to suck up and do.

Honestly though (and this is probably a really unpopular opinion!!) I felt like Joyce was putting too much on Buffy in season 5 as well. Once she had Dawn around to baby she seemed to very quickly switch into treating her 19 year old daugher as an adult. I.e in Listening To Fear....I don't want to sound unsympathetic to Joyce wanting desperately to be in her own bed and away from the hospital, but I just thought it was really unfair to breath a sigh of relief and know that Buffy would say yes when the Doctor was saying it really wasn't what they advised but they would allow it if Buffy agreed. Of course Buffy would say yes and want to make her Mother happy, but really how could she expect Buffy to have to take care of everything when Joyce wasn't in her right mind and really should have been in the hospital. It was such a tough season for Buffy overall...

In fact Buffy mentions in Forever that she and Joyce discussed plans for the funeral before her operation, so I'm surprised that Joyce never made any definite plans for who would be caring for Dawn. But then in LTF she does talk to Buffy about Dawn being the Key and Buffy needing to look out for Dawn if she's no longer around, so maybe she too was always assuming that it would be Buffy?
Kiki May: Buffy's glarekikimay on February 24th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
I agree. I also think it was too much for Buffy: having to deal with her mother illness and plus being kinda the step-mother of Dawn. It really was too much. We also know that Joyce didn't have any support system (A mother, a aunt or any uncle, a father or someone else) She was alone with two daughters and went she was unable to deal with stuff Buffy was the responsable one. Buffy was her only support system and that explain why she was so responsable but also tired of responsability. She was only 20 and she had to deal with so much.
Liliaethliliaeth on February 24th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
At least when Nikki Wood died, her watcher took full responsibility over her son and raised Robin as his own.

Giles didn't take financial responsibility over Dawn when Buffy died in 'the gift' nor did he try and bring Dawn to her father. The idea that he just left Dawn with a bunch of college students/kids barely able to look after themselves is just wrong.

And don't even get me started on how pissed off I am with Willow (and sort of with Tara) for moving into Buffy's place, without even bothering to pay any of the bills, leaving all of those for when Buffy came back. If they couldn't pay the bills, which is understandable, they should have sold the house and have moved themselves (and Dawn, though she really should have either gone with Giles, or off to Hank) into a smaller apartment that they were able to afford.
Naomi: Buffy cross by letsey-xfrelling_tralk on February 24th, 2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't have minded Willow and Tara being unable to take care of the bills, but it just seemed like such an awful thing for them all to basically sit there and tell Buffy that she was broke. Xander and Anya at least had jobs, yet not one of her friends was offering to help Buffy out of the mess they made left her with and say we're all in this together. It almost came across like they just ignored the bills all summer because they were always planning to being Buffy back and immediately make it her problem alone to solve

And I will never understand what Giles was thinking in leaving Dawn in the care of a group of people who were barely out of their teens, he knew here was no way they could pay the bills and provide Dawn with everything that she needed, yet the writers never seemed aware of how badly Giles let them down. Instead they always tried to give him the sympathetic edit in season 6 by pushing how he was struggling at seeing Buffy rely on him and that he cared for her own good, but then he was her Watcher! They're supposedly in charge of taking care of the slayer and her needs, yet he couldn't even give her a cheque without worrying that it meant that Buffy should be making that kind of money on her own without reliance on him. He wouldn't have even had that money or job if not for Buffy, the least he could have said was that the money was hers by right as it came from the counsel

Edited at 2013-02-24 04:44 pm (UTC)
Liliaethliliaeth on February 24th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
Exactly, it's not like they were obligated to look after Dawn. But the moment they accepted the responsibility, and more importantly, decided to move into Buffy's home, that should have included looking after the bills.

And yeah, I do feel like you say, that it looked as if they left the bills lying around, because they knew they were planning to bring Buffy back so she could solve all their problems.

Now at their age, being college students, without even a part time job, as far as we saw, it's understandable that they couldn't pay the bills in regards to the house, but... if that was the case, then they should have sold the house to pay those bills. (or had Giles pay the bills.)

The basic reality is that up to modern times, Slayers were a Watcher's responsibility, Slayers weren't paid, because their Watchers took care of their needs. Especially since Buffy got Giles his salary back. The least that Giles could have done, was to split his paycheck with Buffy, or at least to pay her a stipend. After all, her job is supposed to be, being a Slayer. Taking care of her financial needs would make her a more effective Slayer. And as a Watcher, Giles should have realized that.
Naomi: Punk Spike by kimcullenfrelling_tralk on February 24th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, it still bugs me today that Giles couldn't have found a nicer way of giving Buffy some money to live on and saying that it was hers by rights, instead he basically made it feel like a hand-out

Buffy knew all about responsibility, that had been her whole life since she first took on the burden of being a slayer! I have no idea why Giles thought it would be more helpful for her to have to start working fast-food to make ends meet, instead of jut sharing his salary with her. Or even putting his foot down with the watcher's counsel and insisting that Buffy needs to be independent now and they have to pay her her own salary. Instead he sat there and listened to Buffy talking about the nightmares she was having about paying the bills and yet still seemed really begrudging about her relying on him. And I'm not suggesting it was because he was too mean to share his money, he just honestly seemed to believe that it was the best thing for Buffy to struggle on her own to pay those those bills and that offering her a helping hand wasn't helpful. Even when she was suffering from a crippling depression. And that is a message I will never understand
falafel_musings: buffyfalafel_musings on February 24th, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
I think Dawn was largely brought in as a device to re-establish Buffy as being an adult woman character rather than a young teenage girl character. I know they did something similar in Angel by giving him a teenage son to look out for. Killing off Joyce also pushed Buffy into the surrogate mother role.

I think the writer were probably also looking for an excuse to get Buffy out of the college setting. Buffy as a working girl offered them them more variety of storytelling. Personally I always thought it was ridiculous that Watchers supposedly get paid for their services yet Slayers (who risk their lives every night fighting vampires) get nothing. What's that all about? That said (correct me if I'm wrong) don't Giles and the Scoobies offer Buffy a lot of support in raising Dawn? My memory is fuzzy. But I always thought it was more of a team effort.

Raising Dawn did make the later seasons Buffy very admirable. I'm a fan of a show called Shameless, which is about a 21 girl called Fiona who is left raising her five younger siblings after their parents abandon them. It's a massive burden but - like Buffy - Fiona would prefer to take the responsibility on herself than risk losing her younger siblings to child services.
Naomi: Spike/Dru promo pic by alchemistcfrelling_tralk on February 24th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
Giles didn't really help out much to be honest, Buffy tried turning to him to be Dawn's authority figure and he kept insisting that it was Buffy's job alone. And again in All The Way he wasn't very impressed when Buffy wanted to leave it to him to discipline Dawn. Willow and Tara probably helped out the most in terms of babysitting Dawn to be fair, but there was definitely a feeling that Buffy was back in charge of Dawn's needs once they brought her back from the dead

I agree with it making Buffy a very admirable character, I just never understood the shows message that it was almost a responsibility that she should be taking on and feel guilty about shirking. I'm not that familiar with Shameless, but I assume that was about the older sister having to step up to the plate because of absent parents, but it still not being presented as an ideal situation for her but basically something she felt she had no choice but to take on? Whereas with Buffy Giles seemed so against offering her any kind of help and just assume that she should be doing it all by herself, and the musical hammered the message home that he wanted to offer a helping hand but was trying to resist that urge for her own good. And that is just baffling to me, like if the family in Shamless had been offered money or other assistance would it been presented as a bad thing for the older sibling to take because she needed to be responsible and handle things by herself now? Because that was how the writers seemed to see it on Buffy... I can understand Buffy wanting to keep Dawn with her, I just don't get why Giles kept treating it as a bad thing when she looked to him for help and guidance with raising her teenage sister, and I certainly don't understand how he could have approved of Buffy having to drop out of college to become an adult before her time

Edited at 2013-02-24 06:56 pm (UTC)
falafel_musings: buffyfalafel_musings on February 24th, 2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
I'm not that familiar with Shameless, but I assume that was about the older sister having to step up to the plate because of absent parents, but it still not being presented as an ideal situation for her but basically something she felt she had no choice but to take on?

It's kinda the opposite in Shameless. Fiona has a rich boyfriend who offers to help the family and take the financial burden off Fiona providing for her younger siblings. But Fiona is too proud to accept his charity and is determined to take on the responsibility that her parents abandoned. So Fiona is the one pushing herself into that surrogate mother role. Her boyfriend and everyone around Fiona is telling her she's only 21 and she needs to live her own life. It's portrayed as Fiona taking on far too much, too young. But if she leaves then her siblings will be put in foster care.

I just don't get why Giles kept treating it as a bad thing when she looked to him for help and guidance with raising her teenage sister, and I certainly don't understand how he could have approved of Buffy having to drop out of college to become an adult before her time

I admit I'd forgotten some of this. It does seem ridiculous, but then...Giles is already expecting Buffy to save the world on a regular basis! Buffy is a whole show about a young girl being demanded to do more than she should.

Giles's weird attitude might just be a forced contrivance because Anthony Head was dropping down to guest star status, so the actor wasn't going to be around enough to be the father figure. If so they could've written it better. Like, it would've been more acceptable if Giles had offered help but Buffy had insisted she wanted to take care of Dawn on her own.

Edited at 2013-02-24 11:22 pm (UTC)
Naomi: Spike/Dru Crush dance by massive_dosefrelling_tralk on February 25th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah it was kind of weird because it's not like Buffy was some slacker still living with her parents and doing nothing with her life, in which case the 'oh grow up' message might have made more sense. But really you'd think that Giles would have encouraged her to stay in school and offered to help them out financially so that she had the means to do that, he seemed really proud of Buffy in season 3 when she got her high SAT scores. Yet he was happy to see Buffy throw her college chances away and work minimum wage to get by. It felt felt like, just because of an unpreventable tragedy in her family, that was it for Buffy's future prospects :/ I mean even the job at the school was only offered because Robin had his own agenda, I'm not sure what other job Buffy could take on post-series without a college degree
goldenusagigoldenusagi on February 24th, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
but one nitpick I have always had is that they were originally looking for a 10-12 year old actress and then seemingly never adjusted the writing when 15 year old Michelle was cast

This has always bugged me, and I really like Dawn.

but instead the show constantly presented it as all being for Buffy's own good and something that she HAD to learn how to do

This is one of the reasons I intensely dislike S6. The show presents it as Buffy needing to become an adult, yet it doesn't concede real world points of adulthood. Hank being one factor. If he wasn't paying child support, they should have had the courts after him. Also, there's the obvious solution of selling the house and moving to something much smaller. (And there's hardly sentimental attachment to the house, as they've only lived in it since S1; it's hardly their childhood home.) I can completely understand Giles not wanting to get any more involved in parenting Dawn, but I don't think that necessarily means he needs to leave BUFFY. And then of course you have the other people living in the house, who are paying what and work where?
Naomi: Buffy PG By letsey-xfrelling_tralk on February 24th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
I really think they could have got away with knocking a couple of years of Michelle's real age and portraying Dawn as 13, which would have been better at least than the rather glaring fact that she was written as 14 and 15 and not that far off the ages of the scoobies in season 1, yet she was still having Tara making funny shapes pancakes for her. At least having her at 12 or 13 at the beginning would have made her much more obviously younger

And yeah even if Giles doesn't want to be a father figure to Dawn, it still doesn't make much sense that he would be comfortable with Buffy struggling to make ends meet when he was supposed to be her Watcher. And honestly I always assumed that Willow and Tara contributed nothing towards household expenses, there's no mention of them helping out when they're discussing the bills that Buffy now needs to deal with. And realistically they were college students, so it's not like they would have had any income to share
goldenusagigoldenusagi on February 24th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC)
I always assumed that Willow and Tara contributed nothing towards household expenses, there's no mention of them helping out when they're discussing the bills that Buffy now needs to deal with.

Yeah, I never figured they paid anything, either. But the whole 'Buffy YOU need to do all these things (while we live in your house for free)' just annoyed me.

And realistically they were college students, so it's not like they would have had any income to share

Because college students can't work, in Buffy-world I guess. But if they hadn't had a free house to be living in, they would have had to be paying for some form of board somewhere.
Naomi: Spuffy In The Band by neversleepsfrelling_tralk on February 24th, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
Oh absolutely, especially when they believed that she was still getting over the trauma of being in hell and clearly wasn't functioning right, yet there was no team effort whatsoever, just 'here are the bills we've left you with". They were all such terrible friends that year, I can't believe not one of them said that we'll be here helping out too, it was very much treated as Buffy's burden alone and that still makes me furious when they were the ones to leave the bills to run up all summer in the first place
eowyn_315: hugseowyn_315 on February 24th, 2013 11:31 pm (UTC)
Honestly though I did kind of wonder why Buffy wanted to go to college in the first place, is it just an expected thing for American teenagers to go?

Yeah, it pretty much is. Not everyone goes, obviously, for financial or personal reasons, but there's definitely a stigma if you don't go, that you're not smart enough and you'll never get a good job without a college degree. Even if Buffy wasn't planning on a career other than the Slayer, I can still see her caving to the social pressure and her mother's insistence.

You can kind of see it in how inferior Xander feels as the one who's NOT in college. It's not just about being the odd one out with his friends - it's also about the perception that he's dumb because he's not in college (like with the college guys in "Beer Bad").

Buffy's SAT score doesn't bother me that much, since the SATs are a measure of very little other than one's ability to take the SATs, so the results can be all over the place. I also think that Buffy is quite a bit smarter than she acts - she seems to play down her intelligence an awful lot, whether out of insecurity or living down to expectations or not wanting to seem like a nerd.

so basically they thought that creating a human being out of the key should take precedent over the safety of the entire world???

No, I think it's more that they thought the Key's possible use for good outweighed the potential to collapse universes. The only reason they made it human is because they needed it to be in a form that the Slayer would protect at all costs - and they figured a sister would inspire the most loyalty and sacrifice from Buffy, because it's not just a duty, it's someone she loves that she's protecting.

Presumably, if Glory hadn't used Dawn to open the portal, the Key energy could've been used for whatever good purpose the monks intended. But the energy got used up, so now she's just a girl.

Re: Giles - I've always kind of suspected that he simply didn't want the responsibility, and Buffy's needing to "grow up" was just an excuse for him to leave, which is what he wanted anyway. To be fair, he's NOT her father, and certainly not Dawn's - Hank really should be the one parenting Dawn, since he's her ACTUAL parent). Giles just kind of gets stuck with the job because he's there and Hank's not. But it's not a job he wanted at all, so the first chance he gets, he leaves - and when he comes back, he does so in a way that suggests it's really ~inconvenient for him to give up his life in England.

ITA that it's incredibly unreasonable to expect Buffy to be able to do this on her own at her age. Even if Giles wasn't obligated to become a surrogate father to her and Dawn, it's still the right thing to do.
chelseagirlchelseagirl on February 25th, 2013 10:20 am (UTC)
This. It would not in a million years have occurred to me to not go to college. Since WWII and the GI Bill it's become part of the culture in the US.

My British husband, on the other hand, did not go to college and never seriously considered it. It occasionally gets in the way of his job prospects over here, though he has enough experience -- and Americans go so gooey over his accent -- that it's not been too much of a problem. But when he first got here and was bartending he was shocked at how everyone he worked with was a college graduate.
Naomi: Anya bunny suit by jemsfrelling_tralk on February 25th, 2013 11:09 am (UTC)
It's kind of become more the norm in the UK too since around the 1990's when Tony Blair spoke of wanting 50% of young people to attend, but there are still definitely a lot of people who don't go if they're just not academically inclined . And with someone like Buffy, who struggled with studying and with tests when she was at sunnydale high, it probably wouldn't have been something she would have chosen if she really did balk at the idea of reading more than one modern novel.

The show did occasionally present her as really interested in her classes mind you and she seemed sad about leaving the poetry class in Tough Love, but overall I just didn't get the feeling that schooling was her thing. I always found it kind of funny that she was at uni, yet in Out Of My Mind she's talking to Willow about how strange it feels to actually be intensely studying and it's not like how she pictured it in her head, because it did make me wonder how she even got through her first of college if she wasn't putting a lot of studying in already
chelseagirlchelseagirl on February 25th, 2013 12:05 pm (UTC)
My husband is more Thatcher-era, when it was not so much encouraged for the working class to go to university. (He's 42.)

As a college professor, and one who has taught as adjunct at a number of different universities, I'd say that here the difference is the more academically-inclined you are, the more selective the school you will get into. I like teaching at highly selective institutions (one of the schools I currently teach at is small but among the most selective in the country) and at state-run schools that aim to give a chance to students whose backgrounds and economic situations might not lead them to college otherwise (my City University of New York students are so hard working and motivated, many of them the first generation in their families to go to college). In-between, however, are a lot of schools where middle-class kids hang out for four years without necessarily being particularly motivated, often putting more effort into their social lives than the classroom.
Naomi: Spuffy fucks in comics by wisteria_frelling_tralk on February 25th, 2013 12:27 pm (UTC)
And even without being the surrogate father, I would have respected Giles a lot more if he had decided to shake things up with the counsel and insist that they start paying Buffy a wage now that she's an adult with a dependent to take of. Instead he threw one cheque at her and then worried about her needing to do it all on her own, even when she was in no position to make the kind of money that Giles received from the Counsel and the Magic Box

And I agree that making the Key in human form made the most sense if the Monks did want Buffy to protect it with her life, but the show just never adequately explained to me why they wouldn't go along with the Knight's plans to destroy it and end Glory's one chance of getting home. Whatever they may have been planning to use the Key for couldn't have been important enough to warrant risking the end of the world, not when Dawn's Key power ended in season 5 and there were never any serious consequences or loss from that. It just seems like an awfully big risk to take
semi-titled: buffy get out of my facepocochina on February 25th, 2013 12:08 am (UTC)
I don't know that the show dropped the ball on this, necessarily? I mean, I agree, Buffy should not have been expected to parent Dawn at any point during the series. But:

a) S6 is from Buffy's POV, as much as any other season, right? And in depressed-person logic, Giles letting her down like this *must* be her fault somehow, which is proven by how bad she feels about being unable to cope with something that a clear thinking person on the outside can readily tell that she never should have been expected to cope with in the first place.

b) I think Giles needed time off for Giles, but I think it's an admittedly ugly character-consistent moment thing, that he won't acknowledge that. He struggled with Buffy's death a lot more than he would have let the children see, and then she comes back and he is mature enough to know he will have to go through the whole thing again. And that's brutal, and I do think he's entitled to figure out whether he can keep living that life. But instead of owning that, he gets all stiff-upper-lip and therefore dumps the blame on her lap.

Mostly it just galls me that he was happy to accept a salary from the Council but then condescendingly decided Buffy, the Slayer doing actual slaying labor, was not entitled to a cut, except for "gifts" and "help" at his paternalistic benevolence. NO, Giles.

But I think all that's good writing about a bad situation, not bad writing.

Edited at 2013-02-25 12:09 am (UTC)
Naomi: Spuffy Wrecked by awmpfrelling_tralk on February 25th, 2013 11:25 am (UTC)
The Buffy needing to parent Dawn thing started from Tough Love in season 5 though, so I think it was always something they had in mind that Buffy has to do alone, even before ASH expressed his intent to be a recurring character. And I do agree that it FELT like Giles was the one in the wrong to not help Buffy and Dawn out more, but what puzzles me is that the writers seemed sincere in wanting to present it as all being for Buffy's own good , and how Giles was genuinely concerned and trying to do what was right in Tough Love when he tells Buffy that this is something she needs to learn to do by herself. And I'm always just stuck on why, Buffy has only just turned 20 ffs! Giles says himself at the end of the season that the adult thing can be to as for help when you need it, but that wasn't exactly what he was saying at the time that Buffy was actually asking him for help. And there was just never any obvious subtext of Giles lying to himself because he just didn't want the responsibility, instead season 6 just had him giving a ton of concerned looks whenever Buffy turned to him for help, and then seeming sincere in OMWF when he sang about so wishing that he could offer a guiding hand and carry Buffy, but realising that he is just standing in the way of her becoming an adult

And I am also totally with you on Giles should have negotiated some kind of payment for Buffy,but instead the show seemed to straight-forwardly present it as it not really being a good thing to hand out money and make her reliant on him. Not to mention having all of the other characters act shocked and awkward when Anya suggests that Buffy could get paid for the slaying gig, as if we should know what a ridiculous idea it is because it came from Anya


ETA Really it was a bit rich of Giles to act like Buffy needed to learn to be an adult and support herself and find her own way of handling the bills, even when he had enough money left over from the counsel to not be in any employment in season 5. AND he still had enough money to buy his own business in season 5, so he wasn't exactly familiar with the money problems that had been dumped on Buffy's lap and having no way to cover your expenses . He must have been rolling in money for most of his adult life as all of his family were connected with the counsel/destined to become watchers, so really he was addressing Buffy needing to pull herself up by her bootstraps and act like a self-sufficient adult from a very comfortably middle-class perspective

Edited at 2013-02-25 11:34 am (UTC)
ever_neutral: [btvs] buffy = conquerorever_neutral on February 25th, 2013 01:52 am (UTC)
And okay I could understand it more if Giles just wanted to take a step back and say "whoa not ready to be a father here", but instead the show constantly presented it as all being for Buffy's own good and something that she HAD to learn how to do.
Yeah. It was cowardice dressed up as benevolent paternalism. Ew.

And yeah, I’m about as old as Buffy was in S6, and the notion of taking on all that responsibility is HORRIFYING. The idea that Buffy just ~couldn’t handle being an adult is ludicrous.
Naomi: Spike/Dru Crush dance by massive_dosefrelling_tralk on February 25th, 2013 11:56 am (UTC)
Exactly! To add to what I said in my comment above about Giles coming at Buffy's woes from a very middle-class perspective, I wonder if that wasn't some of the writers own privileges and bootstrap attitudes coming through? Because there is no conceivable way that any 20 year old girl just out of college could be expected to take over the running of a house and the raising of a teenager, those are things that you work your way up too, yet the show did very much present all that as being about Buffy needing to learn to become an adult and stop relying on Giles for assistance, as if they didn't really get how horrible those kind of money problems are to get stuck with

Having to find the money for the bills that the house was sucking up (bills that she wasn't even around for when her friends were leaving them to run up!), as well as the money you need to raise a 15 year old girl, it was just way too much for anyone to suddenly get dumped on them when they had no real income and had to go looking for a minimum wage job to scrape by on. Without the cheque from Giles there is no way she could have paid off those bills with her DMP salary alone, she and Dawn would have been left in total poverty. But I just never got any awareness from the show that it was too much for anyone Buffy's age to handle, regardless of her depression. Instead it was presented as her depression leading her to shirk her responsibilities, and it was something to be concerned about that she was relieved at Giles offering her money to cover her massive expenses. As of any 'adult' wouldn't have been in Buffy's position!
zanthinegirl: Good Pointzanthinegirl on February 25th, 2013 09:11 am (UTC)
Here on a rec!

I have a lot of sympathy for Buffy re: Dawn & Giles. When I was just a little older than Buffy in season 5-6 (I think I was 22) my 16 year old cousin moved in with me. He really didn't have another place to go. I figured it would be fine, I'd had other roommates. It turned out to be a whooole other kettle of fish when suddenly you're the authority figure for someone who needs an authority figure, but you don't have a lot lot of, you know, authority. I had enough trouble being the grownup in my own life, much less in his.

Honestly though I did kind of wonder why Buffy wanted to go to college in the first place, is it just an expected thing for American teenagers to go?

Middle class kids like Buffy? Yes, it's expected unless they have other plans-- the military for example. If you want to get a job with a living wage you go to college. Not everyone graduates on time, but we pretty much all go. And it's not like Buffy went to a competitive school!
Naomi: Buffy Fear Itself by organzafrelling_tralk on February 25th, 2013 12:15 pm (UTC)
Hi :) And yeah I felt at odds with what the show was trying to tell me, because I had watched Buffy and Dawn have their sister squabbling earlier in season 5 and so I could absolutely understand why Buffy would be telling Giles in Tough Love that it feels unnatural to now have to act like Dawn's authority figure and scold her, but it always seemed to be presented as a failure on Buffy's part whenever she naturally turned to Giles to be an authority figure for Dawn. And, like I said above, I could understand if the show just presented it as Giles not wanting to be anyone's father figure and trying to get out of that role Buffy was pushing him into, but instead the message I got from the show was that Giles was more concerned at how Buffy was letting Dawn and herself down by not being ready to act as Dawn's mother and become the adult of the house
Infinitewhaleinfinitewhale on February 28th, 2013 02:42 am (UTC)

Agreed about the grow up stuff. It's not so much that Giles screws up; the show is actually saying it. It's the moral of the story, which is BS.

I know the writers' hands were tied with ASH wanting to leave, but still.
Naomi: Spuffy fucks in comics by wisteria_frelling_tralk on February 28th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah I wouldn't mind so much if the writers used it as part of the overall season 6 theme of Giles shirking adult responsibilities in his own way as well, but the show just never seemed self-aware about how badly he was letting Dawn and Buffy down
sum1_differentsum1_different on March 1st, 2013 12:36 am (UTC)
Buffy's Dracula was so annoying. I've seen that actor in a number of roles and he always makes his characters come across like total posers. Obviously that was intended here, but it would have been better if they hadn't made Dracula so unbearable. And I didn't like Buffy being under his thrall.

Xander's a jerk, but I was never very concerned about how he treated Anya. Anya was a mass murderer for a thousand years and then suddenly we're supposed to care about her? Not me. It might have been different if Emma Caulfield's performance had been sympathetic, but it wasn't. And her anti-male prejudices turned me against her from the get go. All in all, I never felt any reason to care about her or how she was treated. But it goes without saying that Xander is an asshole. The two of them together was for me double the awfulness. I couldn't stand it. Far worse ship than B/A.

Edited at 2013-03-01 12:38 am (UTC)
Naomi: Buffy Fear Itself by organzafrelling_tralk on March 1st, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
It was frustrating when they wanted to play it seriously that he was trying to seduce Buffy, at the same time as portraying him as a completely camp villain like the ones from the Buffy movie. I much prefer Bts villains like the Master or the Mayor who had their moments of humour sure, but didn't play the entire part as a caricture to sit there and laugh at

And I like Anya more than you do obviously lol, but I totally agree about finding her and Xander awful together. They never seemed to have much chemistry (the scene of them in bed together during Forever was so awkward and unsexy...) and Xander didn't even seem to like Anya most of the time, she was such an embarassment to him
sum1_differentsum1_different on March 1st, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
I wasn't too concerned about the logic of Dawn's creation. Michelle was great in the role and that's all I cared about.
Naomi: Clark/Alicia by yumeriofrelling_tralk on March 1st, 2013 02:57 pm (UTC)
I agree about Michelle being great in the role :)
red_satin_dollred_satin_doll on May 10th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
Here a little late! (No wonder I get nothing done in the house.)

I read somewhere that Joss said that Giles had family money (hence the very nice house with plenty o' land and horses we see in Lessons) but I assume that's just the lazy way of dealing with things that most American tv shows follow, as well as a lot of movies. That way the don't have to actually worry about money issues and whatnot. It actually seems like a bit of a retcon from S1 when I recall Giles wanting to grow up to be an airplane (RAF?) pilot - or a grocer. Which I assume was meant as a joke but those struck me as very working class sorts of careers, or at least grocer. But I may be making assumptions re: the UK class system that I shouldn't.

With Giles and Buffy - there is a bit of a mixed message there; Grave actually bothers me a LOT in that regard, with Buffy's speech to Dawn and the impression that for Buffy to get better all she needs to do is love Dawn and devote herself to her wholeheartedly. I can read that on the metaphorical level - Dawn is Buffy's human side, and Buffy needs to integrate the Slayer with the Girl; but on a feminist or just watsonian level, it doesn't work for me. (the movie version of Veronika Decides to Die, which Sarah also starred in, has pretty much the same message, but I found the movie somewhat fucked-up in it's conclusions to be honest.) Buffy HAS been dedicating herself to Dawn the best she can; S6 gave me a lot of renewed sympathy for what my mom as a single parent had to go through 20 years ago.

And DON'T get me started on Giles walking through the door at the end of TTG with "borrowed power" from a coven of women, and people cheering for him like a Hero when HE ABANDONED BUFFY because he couldn't chose between duty or love and so took the coward's way out. He abandoned his duties as Watcher. Period.

But I'm not sure if it isn't partly a mislead as well? Buffy's not exactly "all better" in S7, perhaps just on an "up" cycle (I experience that with depression); and I think S6 has a lot to do with Buffy closing the door on him in LMPTM (or even standing up to him re: Spike in First Date); she doesn't look to him in the same way and he really doesn't have the right to say in S6 that he doesn't want to be a parental figure, and then do just that in S7. And I think Buffy knows it. And I don't think it's just "all about Spike", either.

This may be a fanwank but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to consider Robin Wood in this: the fact that Nikki Wood had a child and her Watcher was so devoted to her that he adopted him after her death means that Giles didn't have to walk away, didn't have to handle things the way he did; it was his choice to do so. The men always leave Buffy and she's taken it as her fault in the past, but I think by LMPTM she's basically past that, at least with Giles. (That's why she can close the door on him.) I can't believe that isn't in the back of her mind somewhere, whether the writers intended it or not.
Naomi: KK crazy by ali-consfrelling_tralk on May 10th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know about airplane pilot, but grocer would be considered fairly working-class yes. ASH did say that he deliberately had Giles speak in a more working-class accent in Band Candy because it was something familiar from his own experiences, that upper middle-class people might drop to a more lower-class/cockney way of speaking in order to rebel when they're in their teens. Wanting to be a grocer could have been part of that?

And I like that interpretation, I definitely think that Buffy never relied on Giles the same way again after season 6, and her rejection of him in LMPTM would fit with Buffy feeling that she has outgrown needing to rely on an absentee or unreliable father figure. Even in season 7 Giles was still dumping a lot on Buffy when he turns up with more and more potentials and expects Buffy to feed and house them
red_satin_doll: Tara Buffy Bargainingred_satin_doll on May 10th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
Even in season 7 Giles was still dumping a lot on Buffy when he turns up with more and more potentials and expects Buffy to feed and house them

OMG YES. I mean, really, Giles? REALLY? And right when she's about to hug him but can't because these girls walk in (and make rude comments about the place. Honestly, I wish I had ever lived in a house half that nice.)

I know it was supposed to be part of the "Is Giles the First?" mislead, but for me it actually was really noticeable that she was prevented from hugging him and works very well thematically, that they aren't able to really connect emotionally at this point. He's there as a Watcher first, to talk shop (and dump the care of these girls onto Buffy as you say - as women are so often expected to do in our culture, so I think we are supposed to be mad at Giles, it's a bullshit move on his part.)

At least that's what I think; and maybe the Buffy & Giles dynamic is part of why I like the season more than fandom does? I find it fascinating and love that they don't just handwave away the tensions and problems that have been building between the two of them.

And how much do I love the scene in the kitchen in Touched when Spike dresses everyone down? A whole hell of a lot. I love that it's in the kitchen, which I associate with Joyce, but also where Buffy was kicked out of the house in Becoming; the female space (the house in general) has been taken over by The Father (Giles, patriarchial paradigm); and Spike is the person closest to the Mother Principle in that scene, via his relationships with Anne, Joyce and Buffy. He's doing what Joyce would have wanted IMO, just as Tara did in DT - the Mother-figure who comforts and defends Buffy, after she has done the same for them; as Spike himself verbalizes. And when Spike says "she's surpassed you" I don't think he (just) means in terms of being a Slayer - but in the sense that she has worked harder to face her emotional darkness and try to reintegrate and accept her Shadow Self (Spike) while Giles runs away from it, from messy emotions - from his love for Buffy and his Ripper side represented by Spike - and retreats behind his rational Watcher side.

OH there is so much going on there I just want to cuddle S7. Except for Tara being missing, although I don't HATE Kennedy,which doesn't make sense to me. She's like, if early seasons Cordy, Buffy and late seasons Faith had a love child, you'd have Kennedy (there needs to be fic for this.)
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