elisi: (Smile Fan by buttersideup)
[personal profile] elisi
One reason I love BtVS so much is that Buffy gets a happy ending. She wins. I've not seen Dollhouse, but on his other shows winning doesn't enter into it. Angel will be forever fighting. Mal only wishes to keep flying.

But Buffy wins. And there's something else I've realised too. Putting it under a cut, so as not to take up all your flist.

[livejournal.com profile] shadowkat67 posted some Joss quotes re. Dollhouse that crystallised some things for me:

I never concieved of a more pure journey from helplessness to power, which is what I always write about, and in that sense, I feel we accomplished a lot of it. I do feel that part of what we tried to get at kind of got taken out at the beginning and it really was more important to how the show would work than I even realized when they took it out- which was sex. The show was supposed to be, on some level, a celebration of perversion, as something that makes us unique. Sort of our hidden selves. You can talk about your hidden selves and identity, but when you have to shoot each other every week, you get a bit limited. The show was supposed to flop genres every episode, and the moment we did that, they shut us down and said, 'Quickly, have someone shoot at someone.' I feel when we had to take sex out of the equation, it became kind of a joke or almost unsettling. Because we couldn't hit it head on - and so much of our identity is wrapped up in our sexuality, and this is something Eliza (Dusku) was talking to me about, as something she wanted to examine before I even came up with the idea, and to have that sort of excised and marginalized and santised and not to be able to hit on the head what they were doing made the show a little bit limited and a little bit creepy at times, I think we still did some fairly out-there stuff, and I'm proud of what we did, given the circumstances, but with those circumstances, it was never really going to happen the way it should have.

People say that rape is one of Joss' staples, and that's true, but that's probably because rape encompasses what makes him tick: power and powerlessness and sex. These are his leitmotifs throughout.

And what I love about Buffy is that she is most of the time above it. Sure, we find out that the original Slayer-power came from a very rape-like empowering of a helpless girl, but Buffy never experiences her power as anything other than innate and hers. The burden of it is to do with her loneliness, not with the power itself. (Which is why I love Chosen so much, because by sharing her power, she removes the last obstacle in her way to freedom.)

See River for a different take - River is very powerful, but the cost is immense, and she is very fragile mentally because of it, and needs a lot of care and looking after. Buffy on the other hand is always the one in control, the one who looks after others. Even in 'Helpless', bereft of her powers, Buffy does not go seek help - not from Giles, nor from Angel. She goes by herself, with nothing but her wits and her self belief, and she saves the day.

So yes, I love Chosen. I love that she triumphs and that her life is her own, without any compromises.

But what about the comics? Ah now. This is where it gets interesting, because suddenly they make sense! We have the extreme powerlessness, followed by the extreme powerfullness, followed by sex... You can see all the key ingredients of any Joss work, but bluntly wielded and rammed in sideways, the characters grotesquely bent out of shape to fit the paradigms in question. (Much like the way the giant bug fits inside the human farmer in Men in Black.) This story was never Buffy's - she was the one that got away, the one who was her power, and owned it.

From the shooting script for Chosen:

BUFFY
I want you... to get out of my face.

The First looks suddenly worried.

SLO MO: Buffy rises. Sweaty, bloodied, hair in her face, but nothing but resolve in her eyes. The First is nowhere in sight as she takes a step forward, two, stumbling, hunched steps...

Rona sees her and throws her the scythe. Buffy catches it. Stands a little straighter.

And SCREAMS, and swings the back of the axe like it's a bat, knocking five vamps back and over the edge in one blow. Sauron himself would be, like, "dude..."




As always, vids influenced my thinking and illustrate what I want to say:

Bachelorette by [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24 is Buffy, ultimately winning. (In the shape of a girl.)

And My Medea by [livejournal.com profile] yunitsa shows the flipside. (Mostly Dollhouse/Firefly.) I can't remember if I've rec'd it before, but if not - make sure you watch! (So come to me my love/I'll tap into your strength and drain it dry)

ETA: I think my point is - Buffy is never the victim. This is one reason the AR is so uncomfortable - it tries to jam her into that box, and she doesn't fit. Even her death at The Master's hand comes about through her own choice and bravery.

One problem with s8 (possibly the biggest one) is that she accepts the victim role (letting go of her powers, becoming passive rather than fighting, no matter how hopeless), and when she regains her strength (with added superpowers) it is not through her own agency (or the love of friends/family), but as a consequence of Twilight-related-nonsense. She becomes just another woman willing to bend whichever way she needs because of male power, and then altered without consent.
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