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By Far the Best Series of BTVS. But Also, by FAR the Very Worst!
on 22 June 2009
Will someone please explain to me, what is Joss Whedon's problem?
Did he suffer a childhood trauma that forced him to sabotage his every success? Or is it simply that his `Love/Hate' relationship with Buffy meant that he just couldn't be bothered to follow through; throwing a full third of each series together and using a dozen different stomach churning clichés?
In the end of course, the fact is that I simply do not know. But if my opinions are correct and BTVS was really a reflection of Joss Whedon's subconscious, then it's no wonder that Buffy and Willow were such whimpering cowards and Xander had an inferiority complex the size of Mt. Rushmore.
The character of `Adam,' one of the finest villains ever created is proof that Joss Whedon is a spectacular writer, even though he seems convinced that any `Nietzschian Ubermench' must automatically be `Evil' by default.
On top of that, the episodes "Pangs," "Something Blue" and "Hush" are all true classics that will go down in Television history. And at the end of the day, the four part `cross-over' story in which Faith sets out on the road to redemption would have made a great spin-off series in itself.
"Because it's wrong."
But as to the worst aspects of the series however, where do I begin?
Even leaving aside the "Hilarious Joke" at the beginning of the first episode, it was almost 40 minutes of pathetic, whimpering cowardice; a young woman standing on the threshold of adulthood feeling miserable, isolated and alone.
There then followed a ridiculously clichéd and farcical `Comedy' episode about living with a difficult roommate.
"Fear Itself," drove home the fact that Buffy was terrified of being abandoned, just in case any of the viewers happened to have been in a coma for the last three years. And this fear was personified by her childish obsession with that womanising pillock, Parker Abrams.
In the end, BTVS was the story of each character's search for security, contentment and social conformity. I, e, "Why Can't I Just Have a Normal Life!?" And blaming the fact that she was the Slayer for Angel's departure and her parents' divorce, Parker Abrams was `Proof' in her mind that she must try to be a wimpy little girl.
Enter Riley Finn, a corn-fed, Iowa stereotype who Buffy hardly noticed earlier in the series, but now the man who was doomed to be her walking badge of `Normality' and who Buffy would lean on like a crutch.
"Look Everyone! See! I DO Have a Normal Life!"
Of course, when Riley also turned out to be a `Fry Cook,' that comfortable illusion was shattered.
No matter how much Buffy tried to pretend that she was just a weak and wimpy little girl, ("I held back a little") she was `Certain' that being the Slayer would drive Riley away sooner or later. And in a ridiculously ironic self-fulfilling prophecy, her desperate attempts to keep her two worlds separate caused him to leave her in series 5.
Moving back to series 4 however, Willow also used Tara like a badge and a crutch in the vain attempt to mask her own fears.
A terrified little schoolgirl, using magic and flashy clothes to try and hide her irrational cowardice, (Primeval: "Why are you still in costume?") Willow used Xander and Oz like the stupid T-shirts she wore to try and make herself `Feel' more secure.
When Oz left in fact, it wasn't her `Love' for him that caused Willow to feel such crippling pain. After all, as far as she was concerned, their relationship was little more than a sticking plaster to cover the agony of her childish fears. But what if Willow now `Fell in Love' with someone who would never leave her under any circumstances? A whimpering coward who was even more pathetic and weak-willed than she was?
What if she found another spineless doormat who practically worshipped her for breathing, making Willow feel confident and powerful by default? So as a result, when Willow stumbled across Tara, it must have been like striking gold.
"Now I can say that I'm a Lesbian as well!" Cheered her subconscious. "That'll make me look REALLY confident!"
As for Xander? He'd spent the first three series struggling to get inside Buffy's knickers and hating all male competition, feeling weak, stupid and useless in comparison to his friends. But now, Buffy and Willow were off at University and in a separate world. And robbed of Angel as the target for all of his projected jealousy, blaming him for the fact that Buffy would never even glance in his direction, he wallowed in the `Basement' of his own self-pity, (another clichéd metaphor,) whining about his relative lack of intelligence and talent whilst shagging Anya to make himself feel better.
Speaking of Anya, could Joss Whedon have created a more blatant `Cut & Paste' character?
When Cordillia left the series, he simply created a replacement.
When he needed a `sexist' character to prop up the `Girl Power' subplot, he turned Forest into a rabid chauvinist who projected all of his self-doubt onto Buffy.
Do I even dare to mention the episode "Superstar?" The worst possible blending of ridiculous `Comedy' clichés and pathetic, whiney self-doubt ever conceived?
"Buffy was right?"
Also, Professor Walsh turned out to be the head of the `Initiative' and a modern day Frankenstein. Who didn't see that coming?
And as for Giles, he also spent the forth series wallowing around in his own self-pity, feeling useless and shagging an old friend; even projecting all of his insecurity onto Buffy's new mentor, Professor Walsh.
In short then, all five series of BTVS were written to these precise specifications: (And before you ask, I don't even recognise series 6 & 7.)
1. One-third spectacular writing, incredible acting, hilarious comedy, deep drama and so forth.
2. One-third pathetic, childish whinging, futile attempts to mask their own fears, fear of adulthood and responsibility etc.
3. And finally, one-third stomach churning stereotypes and lazy, predictable plot/character development which might as well have been `written' by sticking a pin in a book of TV clichés.
So because this series reached the glorious heights of `Adam' and "Five by Five," it almost seemed contractually obligated to scrape the bottom of the barrel.