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Author Topic: Buffy
Coyote
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posted 23 September 2004 07:34 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Opening this thread to see if there are any Buffy fans out there, and ask a question: I have oftened marvelled at what I have seen as the progressive politics of Buffy - and I have gone so far as to search out Buffyverse criticism on the net and in the bookstores (aside: I don't know how much more strange a look a twenty-something male can get than after having purchased a book on Buffy criticism).

Is Buffy progressive? Are we reading too much into the Buffyverse and Josh's politics? I know I have argued there is a strong sympathy for leftist causes, even argued that the scooby-gang can be seen as an anarchist collective, but is that just so much projection?

What are Buffy the Vampire Slayer's politics as a show; and in the end, does it really matter?


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 24 September 2004 05:25 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Okay, I'll admit it--I'm a Buffy fan.

I got hooked a couple of years ago. I like the show's sense of humour and agree that there are some progressive tendencies in some of its plot lines and character dynamics.

At the same time, the "Violence will save us" and "We're facing a (capital A) Apocalypse" tendencies trouble me.

Also, I find Whedon's vision incoherent in some respects.

After reading the initial post, I was expecting the moderators to remind us that there are Buffy forums elsewhere on the net for those who want to talk about Buffy.

Since they haven't, I thought I'd let the original poster know he's not the only babbler interested in this subject.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 25 September 2004 04:25 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I suppose you could say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Progressive, but I think we should remember that they creativity of Joss whedon was restricted by the fact that they were airing his show on corporately owned networks. Case in point, they were originally planning to make Xander gay, but backed off ot the last-minute, probably because they thought the network execs wouldn't go for it. That's a shame. I would have liked to see what kind of partner Joss and company would have dreamed up for him.
I actually like Buffy better then I do Angel, but watching SMG's physical decline through out the series is definitely disturbing.

[ 25 September 2004: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 01 October 2004: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 25 September 2004 05:09 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Im a big fan myself

physical decline?


From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 25 September 2004 05:18 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Addendum: I don't really think Joss is a very political person. Yes, he is an atheist and a feminist, but other than that, his overarching political philosophy appears to be nihilism, i.e. everything will end up sucking anyway, so why bother trying to fix the world.
I do however like the fact that he created a realistic lesbian relationship. The Willow /Tara Romance was one of the best parts of the show.

[ 01 October 2004: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 25 September 2004 05:31 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bacchus:
Im a big fan myself

physical decline?


Yes, If you look at her at the beginning of the series and then see her at the end, there's definitely a big difference in her weight. In the beginning she was Zaftig. By the end of the series she was stick thin. As somebody said in the thread commemorating the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's seventh season, she's aged 10 years in the last five. Her costars say that she is anorexic. It's a pity. She was gorgeous in the early days.*sigh*

[ 25 September 2004: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 01 October 2004: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 01 October 2004 07:26 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
[QB]
Yes, you look at her at the beginning of the series and then see her at the end, there's definitely a big difference in her weight. In the beginning she was Zaftig.
QB]

"Zaftig?" "Plump, curvaceous, having a full figure" ?

I don't think SMG ever qualified for "Zaftig."

Judging from her eye make-up on the cover of Elle Girl at my supermarket checkout stand yesterday, however, she does qualify for the quarter-finals in the Avril look-alike contest.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 01 October 2004 07:32 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, but she did sgm. Re-watch some of the first and second season episodes, and I think her body will surprise you.
From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 01 October 2004 11:02 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Margaret Cho on the word zaftig:

quote:
(An article about Ms. Cho) started out, "Funny, sexy, zaftig Margaret Cho..." What is "zaftig?" Isn't that German for "big fat pig?" I guess I was lucky; "zaftig" is kind of a nice word. It could have been, "Funny, sexy, OBESE Margaret Cho."

From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 01 October 2004 11:21 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In German, "saft" is juice (the initial s has a zed sound) - saftig means juicy, and usually when transcribing the word from Yiddish one writes it zaftig.

Originally it meant "pleasingly plump" - the feminine ideal at the turn of the last century. Like everything else in the personal ads, it became a euphemism, often meaning "obese" - but that is not the original meaning of the word.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 02 October 2004 03:25 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks, lagatta, for the info on Zaftig's etymology. I was relying on the OED and my dictionary of foreign phrases for its meaning.

This thread started off with a question about progressive politics in Buffy, so drifting into evaluations of SMG's appearance over the course of the show is probably not where we want to stay (though I admit to having helped send us in that direction with my query re: zaftig).

Mea culpa.

Here's a question to help focus discussion on the show's attitude to politics: Why is the Mayor (Season 3's Big Bad) given certain positive characteristics, ranging from a dislike of foul language to an apparently genuine concern for Faith?

Any thoughts?


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 02 October 2004 04:28 AM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:

Here's a question to help focus discussion on the show's attitude to politics: Why is the Mayor (Season 3's Big Bad) given certain positive characteristics, ranging from a dislike of foul language to an apparently genuine concern for Faith?

Any thoughts?


My opinion is that Joss is humanizing the enemy. His ideology is hateful, his designs on the world are abominable, he's the Big Bad; but he is more than that . . . he's just like us in a lot of ways.

One of the things I've always like about the show is that it stays away from the easy stuff. The Mayor has to be stopped, but that doesn't mean he is wholly other and without humanity.


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 02 October 2004 04:03 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's interesting. When I was in high school, I had a teacher who was just like the mayor. He was fond of expressions like "pitter patter let's get at 'er" and "jeepers creepers". The man was a mormen and further to the right then Attilla the Hun. He liked me and in a way, I liked him. We are living proof that the right and the left can get along sometimes.
From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
simonvallee
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posted 02 October 2004 04:36 PM      Profile for simonvallee   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ah yes, Buffy. To say I avoided the show at all costs in its early years until the summer before last where, having nothing to do, I started watching re-runs on Space channel. Now I've got six seasons on DVD and waiting for the final one.

As for politics, I do know that Whedon is a feminist and that Buffy could be considered as a feminist show. But to the larger picture, I think it's a bit unclear. There was this episode where there was an hell dimension where homeless young people were treated like slaves in a factory similar to 19th century mills. When Buffy liberates them, she uses a weapon that looks suspiciously like the "hammer-and-sickle" communist symbol. And that may have been involuntary.


From: Boucherville, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 02 October 2004 05:34 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As I say, there is a lot of atheism and feminism in Buffy, but as I have said in a previous post, the show was aired on corporate networks so they probably had to avoid being overtly left-wing.
Actually, there really wasn't much political commentary in the show. Yes there was a lesbian relationship, but other than that they just seemed to focus on wacky jokes and squishing the villians. That's part of the reason I like the Jossverse so much. While other shows like the West wing and law and order were going crazy over 911 and the Iraq invasion, Buffy and Angel just continued with no reference to real world events.

[ 08 December 2005: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 02 October 2004 05:45 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think you need to edit it just one more time CMOT
From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 02 October 2004 06:02 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

Buffy and Angel just continued with no reference to real world events.

On at least one occasion, an accidental connection affected airing of an episode. "Earshot," where Buffy was able to hear others' thoughts and heard someone planning a school massacre, was delayed, I believe, because people saw connections to Columbine.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 02 October 2004 07:11 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
People had the same problem with graduation day part 2. I believe the WB had to show the ep a month after the original air date.

[ 02 October 2004: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 03 October 2004 05:07 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

My opinion is that Joss is humanizing the enemy. His ideology is hateful, his designs on the world are abominable, he's the Big Bad; but he is more than that . . . he's just like us in a lot of ways.

I think humanizing is a real part of it, but I also think that evil in the Whedon universe means not being able to see the forest for the trees.

That is, the Mayor can be upset by relatively tiny things like a lack of hygiene (he doesn't like reading "Marmaduke," for example, because the dog leaps up on the furniture) while having no problem with eating a pile of spider-like creatures in order to undergo his Ascension.

Any hint from Faith that the Mayor's her "Sugar Daddy," similarly, bothers him. That he should send her (after having given her a luxury suite complete with video game set) to murder a vulcanologist seems to pose no moral problems for him.

In short, I would offer that the Mayor's "goodness" also offers a critique of a "conventional morality" whose adherents refuse to consider the broader implications of their actions.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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