deird1: the Trio as Greek gods, with text "we are as gods!!!" (Trio as gods)
I was reading [personal profile] selenak's meta on fictional rapists and redemption arcs (which is interesting, so go read it too), and thinking about ...well, about redemption arcs. I particularly liked what she said in this bit:
One of the reasons why I think Faith wins at redemption arcs in the Jossverse is that what she did is never excused or forgotten, she eventually accepted responsibility and turned herself in (without mystical intervention causing her to do so), and she then kept (successfully) at trying to be a better person. Which is why I find it frustrating when her dark side days are then declared to have been all someone else's (preferably Buffy's) fault to begin with - that sells the redemption arc short.

Totally. I love redemption arcs where people accept responsibility for what they did and deal with it. It's awesome. I can like a fictional character who does pretty much anything – up to, and including genocide – if they have a good redemption arc thrown in. Which must be why I'm okay with fictional murderers and rapists, like Spike and Faith.

Except that doesn't quite cover it. Because I also love Scorpius, Lilah, and Azula, who are all quite happily evil, and never get redemption arcs at all.

I think I've figured it out, though. It's the up-front thing.

A character who does awful things, then says "Wow. I did all this awful stuff. That sucks. I need to be all repenty, now." will pretty much be my favourite person ever. On the other hand, a character who does awful things, then says "Wow. I did all this awful stuff. That rocks! I need to laugh manically, for a minute." will just about tie for my favourite person ever with the repenty one.

Whereas, a character who thinks their evil deeds aren't so bad, or are someone else's fault, will get much less leeway from me.

Holtz, for instance, can do very few evil things apart from trying to get revenge on Angel, and I will end up yelling nasty things at my television and wishing he'd come back to life so I could kill him again, nastily. Likewise, Xander lying to Buffy gets very little sympathy from me, because he is doing something bad that he never takes responsibility for. And Lindsey's association with Wolfram and Hart is something I tend to scowl at.

But Willow, Faith, Andrew, Spike, Lilah, Scorpius, Tempus, the Master, Azula, and Callisto? I will forgive the 'good' ones, and grin happily at the 'evil' ones, and not really mind them doing the evil things they do. Because every single one of them is, eventually, happy to point out that those things are, in fact, evil.

I think this is why writers of Xander irritate me so much when they excuse The Lie on the grounds that Xander was trying to keep Buffy focused. Because... it's an excuse. And, even though they're trying to put me more on Xander's side, giving The Lie an excuse rather than just calling it a lie is guaranteed to take me off Xander's side and want to pelt him with tomatoes instead. Whereas, if they'd just have him accept that he did it, and that it was selfish and bad, I'd like those stories a heck of a lot more.
deird1: comicbook Xander, with text "Xander" (Xander comics)
I think I've finally realised why I disagree with Xander-shippers.

Intro-ish dissertation on the subject of shippers

ridiculous stereotypes )

The genus Xandus Shipperus

best friend ever! )

The point

'good' characters )

Glad I've finally worked that out. It's been bugging me for months now.
deird1: Darla and Drusilla, with text "old world" (Darla Dru old world)
One thing that's been coming up in the comments at Mark Watches lately is BtVS's portrayal of "crazy" people. Which... well, I have thoughts.

The general position taken by many of the commenters is that:
1) Joss Whedon tends to portray people as generally "crazy" rather than specific-diagnosis crazy.
2) They tend to be over-the-top completely freaking nuts.
3) This is stereotyping mentally ill* people as extremely weird and freaky, which is bad PR, and not a good thing.

* (And other people who are not classified as mentally ill, but are still not neurotypical. I just didn't want to try to squeeze all of that into a single sentence.)

I see their point. I even partly agree. But my position is somewhat different.

angsty navalgazing )

The thing is, I get the fact that over-the-top portrayals are problematic and othering. I understand all that. But having realistic portrayals would made me feel crappy - whereas the over-the-top crazy speaks to me.

Which is why I'm glad it's there.
deird1: Faith looking thoughtful, with text "deep thought" (Faith thought)
I've always thought of Buffy season 5 as having four episodes of not-much at the start. (Granted, one episode of the not-much is utterly awesome because it's entirely about Dawn and I love her with every fibre of my being, but still...) It just meanders around on Monster Of The Week silliness until we finally find out what the season's about in episode five.

I basically think of it like this:
Episode 1: Not much happens, in a vaguely funny way.
Episode 2: Not much happens (although it's hilarious and Dawnish).
Episode 3: Not much happens, boringly.
Episode 4: Not much happens, yet again.

However, I may have to revise my opinion. I've just been rewatching, and realised that, in those first few episodes...
- Buffy wants to find out what being the Slayer means.
- Buffy has a little sister, who is getting on her nerves.
- Joyce is sick.
- Riley is feeling insecure about his macho-ness.
- Giles has a new job at The Magic Box.
- Spike has a crush on Buffy.
- Harmony has minions.
- Xander has a new job.
- Willow is getting good at magic.
- Anya has discovered the delights of money.
- Tara feels left out of the Scoobies, and doubtful about being "one of the good guys".

That stuff all happens right then. With the exception of Willow, none of it has been mentioned before. And, with the possible exception of Harmony, all of it will have major plot implications over the next season.

These four episodes are, in fact, one of the most intricate set-ups of future plot that I've seen. And somehow I always missed that...
deird1: puppet!Angel brooding, with text "brood brood brood brood brood brood brood brood brood" (PuppetAngel brood)
So, over on Mark Watches, the comments are discussing Angel. And someone just said this:
Vampire Spike was never as evil as Angelus (considered one of hte most evil vamps ever) he just does the killing bit because he truly enjoys it. He's not a good guy, doesn't try to be, doesn't pretend to be, but he isn't so evil as to actually want to tear someone mentally to pieces.


I responded by pointing out this line of Spike's:
Do you know how much blood you can drink from a girl before she’ll die? I do. You see, the trick is to drink just enough to know how to damage them just enough so that they’ll still cry when you… ‘cause it’s not worth it if they don’t cry.

...and the answer I got? "Yeah, but he's just saying that so Buffy will kill him."

Allow me to get my ranty pants on for a minute or so.

brief rant )

In short? A character can do awful, evil stuff. And still be your favourite character. And you don't have to gloss over one to keep the other.

Let me leave you with a fanfic that addresses this. Because if I could write that fic, I wouldn't have to write this rant instead.
deird1: the Master sneaking up on Buffy, with text "ceci n'est pas une victime" (this is not a victim) (Buffy (french victim))
I saw Fred Clark being a subtle Buffy fan this morning:

“What if I told you it doesn’t help?” the man asks as the woman packs up a truck with supplies for her shelter for at-risk youth. “What would you do if you found out that none of it matters? That it’s all controlled by forces more powerful and uncaring than we can conceive and they will never let it get better down here? What would you do?”

“I’d get this truck packed before the new stuff gets here,” she says. “Wanna give me a hand?”

That scene comes at the end of a very long story. The woman has heard all this before. She’s said all this before. She knows firsthand about “forces more powerful and uncaring than we can conceive” who will “never let it get better down here.” But she’d also met a real hero who’d showed her different and so she changed her name and became a hero herself.

This is what heroes do. They pack the truck despite all the forces that tell them it will never get better down here. They act like it matters even when they’re told it doesn’t matter. They help even when they’re told it doesn’t help — even when, as Dr. Rieux puts it in another story, it means being involved in a “never ending defeat.”

You know, I'd never put that together.

Lily is caught; Lily will never escape; Lily gives in. Lily sits in hell, defeated, knowing that she is never leaving. Knowing that she's trapped - that it doesn't matter what she tries, she can't ever win.

And then Buffy comes in and refuses to give in.

And now Anne, stuck in a crappy world that's always working against her, stands firm and refuses to ever give in. She will not let the world destroy her shelter kids. They have spent their whole lives being stuck in a hell that they can't escape...

...but she is going to stand there and be Anne, and refuse to give in, and show them that there are some things that can be fought.

She kinda rocks.

*needs an Anne icon*


Dec. 29th, 2010 01:40 pm
deird1: comicbook Buffy, with text "Let's not go to Scotland. It is a silly place." (season 8)
Suppose I have a garden.

There's a rose bush, and then some azaleas (aren't they pretty!), and then some lavender. It's so very lovely and fragrant. And then there's a few trees, waving gently in the breeze, and after that a whole bed of daffodils! I love daffodils! And there's a nice bench in the shade, right next to the delphiniums, and some daphne, and perhaps a few carnations just to round things out...

...and then there's weeds.

Weeds. A whole corner of them. All extremely thorny, ugly, and stinky. Right in the middle of my lovely garden.

If I walk around my garden, admiring the roses, smelling the lavender, picking the daffodils, sitting on the bench - and I suddenly come across the weeds... then I'm not going to shrug, say "well, it's time I stopped looking at this garden", and walk back inside.

It's my garden. My lovely, beautiful garden. And one corner of it is all weedy.

I'm going to get out my gardening tools and start weeding. Then I'm going to figure out how on earth it got so weedy in the first place, and take steps to stop it happening again.

"I'm not telling anyone not to post anything. I'm simply trying to understand why they would even want to...
...It was a waste of my time to continue discussing something I disliked and unfair to expect others to want to read all the reasons why I thought the show had failed."

Why are we still here discussing this? Because our show, which we love, suddenly has a corner full of weeds. And we want to figure out what happened - or at least, get out our gardening tools.

If we loved it less, we might be less upset about the bits we didn't like. But this is our garden.
deird1: Dawn looking at Spike, with text "badder than you" (Dawn badder than you)
This post by [ profile] stormwreath got me back to thinking about something I always seem to disagree with people on.

That being, Potentials, Slayers, and the Watchers Council.

my theory on how this works )

So ends my random thoughts on the Council.

Questions? Comments?
deird1: Faith looking thoughtful, with text "deep thought" (Faith thought)
I think I've realised why I like Die Hard 2 better than Die Hard 3.

some thoughts, at random )
deird1: Faith in Buffy's body, in a bubble bath, with text "Please, do keep explaining how Fuffy isn't canon." (Fuffy)
(a repost from LJ, two years later)

So: you want to write fanfic. And you’re worried that your summary will have too much punctuation. Have no fear! With this quick lesson, you can forget about all the /s, &s, and +s running rampant through your summaries, and instead learn how to craft the perfect smushy name that, with one word, can summarise each relationship in your story.

Xanya, Fresley, and Spinterelle )
deird1: Dawn upset with Buffy, with text "you don't have a sister" (Dawn sister)
I think I've figured out why I have such a big problem with what happens to Donna Noble: it's because of Dawn Summers.

this might require more explanation... )

Questions? Comments?
deird1: Fred looking nervous (Fred nervous)
I was talking about Fred over at [ profile] blackfrancine's journal, and (among other things) said the following:

Fred is a survivalist. Utterly. She will do whatever she can to keep herself safe. (Being enslaved in another dimension will do that to you.)
She latches on to the most protective guy. (Starting with Angel, who saved her in Pylea. Then she finds Angel and Lilah together, and Angel becomes unsafe, so it switches to the others.) Seriously - every single time she changes who she's interested in, it's because the Protectiveness Quotient has just changed.

I thought I'd give a brief summary of Fred's relationships, just to show you what I mean.

spoilers, obviously )
deird1: Fred reading a book (Fred book)
There is a reason why sequels flop, McDonalds succeeds, blurbs are important, and Dawn Summers was hated by many fans when she first appeared.
That reason is known as The Vegemite Effect, and I am here to explain it to you.

Hermione has bushy hair, bus tickets should be credit-card sized, Wolfram & Hart is evil, and Bruce Willis kicks arse.  )


deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)

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