Francine - harvest
I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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/me partially reopens worm-can.
Well. Yes. Except for the 'wanted Spuffyness' parts.

YMMV. It obviously does. But *this* is how I feel about much of BtVS season 6. Is the author a redemptionista? Yeah. But her review tackles what went wrong with the plotting, characterization, anvilisciousness, and story-arcs, with what seem to me to be very sound, critical, non-redemption-driven arguments. They certainly describe how I've been feeling about Buffy all season.

Thanks to firehorse for the link.

wesleysgirl

2002-08-01 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wow. Thank you for sharing this.

stakebait

2002-08-01 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah huh. Hip hip hooray, even. Of course, I'm on board for the Spuffy. But still, well reasoned and well written and just *yeah.*

The only thing I disagreed with is that I'd argue that the rape wasn't built up to believably -- not because My Spike Wouldn't Do That, because he so would. But because Spike does the big bad invasive evil things out of raging pride and hurt when he's been shut out and slapped down, from Cecily to Dru to Buffy. And the Buffy in the bathroom scene was being vulnerable and letting him at least partway in, even if it wasn't as much as he wanted.

You could sell me on a Spike who was so dizzied by sudden hope that he pushed too far, but a Spike who was grimly determined to force his way past her defenses needed a harsher trigger than an admission that she does have feelings for him and an all-but-plea to earn her trust -- something like a reprise of "the only thing that's changed is that I'm disgusted with myself" would have done nicely.

Mer

mpoetess

2002-08-01 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

I find myself not allowing myself to go down the 'was the buildup believable or not' road.

I so *want* "My Spike wouldn't do that" to be true. Not 'My Spike wouldn't hurt someone he loves," but my Spike wouldn't hurt someone he loves that *way*. Not when she's emotionally wiped out and defenseless and needs to be able to trust him. Nothing in his history with Dru made me think he would ever do something to her (in a non saving-the-world, sorry baby, I don't want to hurt you' way) that she didn't truly want/enjoy, no matter how abusive it would look like to a vanilla audience. Much as I personally don't like seeing him in love with Buffy, I totally bought that he *was*, bought his confusion and self-hatred and devotion and struggle to change/not-change, whatever would make it stop hurting. And part of that is the idea that once he *did* love her that much, I don't want to believe he could hurt her like that.

But because I hate being labeled a fluffhead who won't accept the unpleasant aspects of the his character, I sort of allow myself to accept the believability of the rape scene. I say to myself, "You will be laughed off the stage if you even start thinking that it didn't make *sense* - so go with defending the character as written." If I don't, I feel as if I have no leg to stand on when I talk about the internal right-wrong-blame-forgiveness parts of it.

stakebait

2002-08-01 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

I so *want* "My Spike wouldn't do that" to be true. Not 'My Spike wouldn't hurt someone he loves," but my Spike wouldn't hurt someone he loves that *way*. Not when she's emotionally wiped out and defenseless and needs to be able to trust him.

See, you said it so much better than I could. Go after Dru to torture her till she loved him again, sure. Go after Buffy with a shotgun when she'd been contemptuous of him, sure. And the thing in Crush, too. Totally believable. And storming out of a house in the midst of a party was a big deal for Victorian dork William. But that's not letting them down when they're vulnerable and need him. That's precisely because they aren't and don't. It's *different.* Spike lashes out at barriers with rage, and for that there need to be barriers.

> Nothing in his history with Dru made me think he
> would ever do something to her (in a non saving-
> the-world, sorry baby, I don't want to hurt you'
> way) that she didn't truly want/enjoy, no matter
> how abusive it would look like to a vanilla
> audience.

Well we saw him lash out at her in jealousy of Angel, even though he immediately repented. I think they had their moments, just like he lashed out at Buffy by trying to make her jealous at the wedding, or taking her at her word and telling Xander about the two of them. But that's still a different caliber altogether.

> Much as I personally don't like seeing him in
> love with Buffy, I totally bought that he *was*,
> bought his confusion and self-hatred and
> devotion and struggle to change/not-change,
> whatever would make it stop hurting. And part of > that is the idea that once he *did* love her
> that much, I don't want to believe he could hurt
> her like that.

Yeah. I get that. I'm there. Especially after failing her once. But -- I wasn't opposed to the idea of him fucking that up again, per se. The fact that he so didn't want to is the beauty of it. It hurt, but it was supposed to hurt -- much like the beautiful angst that was Buffy having to send Angel to hell.

But for that very reason, I really need them to dot the i's and cross the t's on the reasons and motivations here. And I felt like what we were getting from the show and even more so, the interviews, was "he's evil, that's reason enough", which just doesn't hold up after six seasons of showing us that being evil doesn't mean you don't have a unique personality.

> But because I hate being labeled a fluffhead who
> won't accept the unpleasant aspects of the his
> character,

I can see that. I'm in a bit of a different position there. The stories buffybot and I write together were never intended to be part of some redemptionista movement, but they do happen to coincide, sometimes, in part, with that agenda, and so I'm already irredeemably fluffy in the eyes of so many, I might as well embrace my fluffitude. (Of course, whether any of our redemptionista readers will survive our next arc, if we ever get it written, is another story.)

> I sort of allow myself to accept the
> believability of the rape scene. I say to
> myself, "You will be laughed off the stage if
> you even start thinking that it didn't make
> *sense* - so go with defending the character as > written."

I get that. But OTOH so *many* of the characters this season didn't make sense, even when the error was in their favor -- and I won't repeat the lovely cogent Willow analysis in the essay that started all this -- that I don't feel as held back as I might otherwise, if it were just that I've had a soft spot for the bleached one ever since Fool For Love.

> If I don't, I feel as if I have no leg to stand
> on when I talk about the internal right-wrong-
> blame-forgiveness parts of it.

[grin] So talk? Or point me to where you talked already? 'Cause I missed this rant, and I wanna hear it.

Mer

mpoetess

2002-08-07 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)

[grin] So talk? Or point me to where you talked already? 'Cause I missed this rant, and I wanna hear it.

Uh, there was a question there, weren't there. I can read. Really.

I don't have any specific rant - it was mostly the just-post-SR reactions wherein I said as much as I could stand to say, and pushed my emotional investment in a tv series to new and dazzlingly ridiculous heights. As did everybody else, I suspect. My bits on it are here and Kita's collected links to the extended discussions are here
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<i>[grin] So talk? Or point me to where you talked already? 'Cause I missed this rant, and I wanna hear it.</i>

Uh, there was a question there, weren't there. I can read. Really.

I don't have any specific rant - it was mostly the just-post-SR reactions wherein I said as much as I could stand to say, and pushed my emotional investment in a tv series to new and dazzlingly ridiculous heights. As did everybody else, I suspect. My bits on it are <a href="http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=mpoetess&keyword=seeing+red&filter=all">here</a> and Kita's collected links to the extended discussions are <a href="http://www.ficbitch.com/almightygah/rantseeingred.html">here<a/a>.

(Deleted comment)

Thanks

journalkitten

2002-08-01 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Worth every bit of the eye strain I got from reading so much white text on a purple background! ;)

(Deleted comment)

mpoetess

2002-08-01 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

I do not believe that there is anything ethically wrong in engaging in a relationship purely for the sex, so long as one is clear about one's intentions with one's partner. It's not necessarily the most attractive behavior to me, but it's not inherently wrong.

I agree. I can't speak for BarbC, but my objection to Buffy sleeping with Spike was the manner in which she did so, not the fact of her doing so. Sleeping with someone you know is depsrately in love with you, while telling him you don't love him and are only sleeping with him for sex, fine. Possibly a little ethically skeezy in my book just because it might hurt the other person, but not morally horrible. Sleeping with someone you know is desperately in love with you and telling him he's awful, terrible, you're disgusted with yourself for having sex with him, he can't really love you, he can't ever be good enough for you, he's a piece of garbage... that's emotional abuse. And far, far more of it happened on Buffy's part than on Spike's.


The beating in "Dead Things" certainly fails that last test, but it's still a far cry from attempted rape, forcible, nonconsensual violence, to engage in violence specifically requested by one's partner without the right mindset.

I think I got a little lost in the wording here, but you're saying that the beating in Dead Things wasn't as bad as the attempted rape, because Spike told her to lay it all on him, go ahead, do it, etc? Possibly. Probably, even. But Buffy as 'hero' beating someone who was clearly offering himself as a victim, to protect her from herself, comes very close to classic spousal abuse. *Not* the cringing little woman who is physically afraid of her husband, but the codependent woman who believes, truly, that by letting him hurt her, she's doing a good thing for him. I don't know that I can weigh one act of violence over the other - especialy since, despite its horror and wrongness, I see Spike's as an attempt to communicate even if it caused pain, and Buffy's as an attept to cause pain. Period.

Buffy's (or Willow's) behavior as an offensive against bougie values is just not really something I can get too worked up over.


I'm not sure what bourgeois values you mean - the definition of sleeping with your girlfriend while she's under the influence of a spell (what if it were a drug dropped in her drink?) that makes her forget a very important argument, thus clouding her ability to freely say no, as rape? The definition of Spike telling Buffy to leave his crypt in "Gone" and her dropping down to suck him off as at least improper advances?


mpoetess

2002-08-01 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

As for the inconsistent behavior of the Scoobs towards Spike, you know, that's true. But do you know why it's true? They had to be written as inconsistent, as morons and buffoons, entirely out of character, to keep Spike alive all along.

I have so little patience for this argument.

How does treating him *badly* keep him on the show? Perhaps, as you say, they would be fools and utterly out of character to actually trust him, or believe he could change his ways. But treating him like crap? How is this alleged violation of their characterization, in any way more helpful to keeping the cheekbones on the show than if they treated him with, for instance, grudging distrust? Some small amount of respect, as for an enemy whose aganda you don't agree with, but you can at least work with or near him and respect his abilities, intelligence, power, etc? How does the scoobies treating him like crap except when they needed him, turn into a character violation that Spike fans can't complain about because *it* in particular - the abuse - keeps him on the show?

To clarify - I don't say that the abuse is out of character. It's not, imo. I'm a major fan of Xander as well as Spike. They're my non-canon otp. Do I believe Xander is utterly in character in the way he treats Spike? Yup. He treated Angel the exact same way, with the caveat that he *had* to be polite-ish to Angel because Buffy was openly dating him, and because Angel had a soul.

I mean that purely in the fictional world, the scorn and derision they heap upon him is *wrong*, and partially sets Spike up to fail at even being a *neutral* person. Please don't tell me I can't make judgements against them or in his favour because of it, by saying I should keep my mouth shut because their treatment of him kept him on the show. Hogwash. Not staking him - which none of them are likely to do, because it's completely in character for them to not want to kill a vampire who they've come to know personally - see Cordelia letting Harmony go - keeps him on the show. The way they treat him while he's kept on the show? The way some of his behaviour is a direct result of that? That's an internal matter than I can and will bitch about, and I'm highly unimpressed by people stepping outside the fourth wall and avoiding that issue by saying it was done for my benefit and I should have a coke and a smile and shut up.




jainieg

2002-08-10 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Not to mention the fact that Spike has been around since season 2. It's not exactly like he just showed up last season, y'know. I would think that the time for us biting our nails, wondering if he's gonna get dusted next week was long passed. He was a regular by season four and his place on the show was secure. It still is - so the argument that the Scoobs' treatment of him is all that's keeping him on the show is, I agree, incorrect.

You could say that about any of the other characters... most especially, though, poor Tara. As far as plot was concerned, the entire reason for her character was, utltimately, for Willow to fall madly in love with her and be murdered, thus bringing about the Evil!Willow arc.

Granted, yes, at first, Joss conceived the Spike character and only intended for him to survive a few episodes, but the fans were so crazy about him, Joss - bright man that he is - reconsidered his concept of Spike. Like SMG said: "He's taken this character that was only supposed to be a short-term role and made it into someone the show couldn't survive without."

It's not just his pretty face or the writers trying to humor the fans that keeps Spike on the show: it's JM's considerable acting talent. He was underused on the show for far too long and I'm glad to see that he's getting the screen time he should have had long before now.