Happy Birthday, squashed!
In Buffy news, despite how it might have appeared to anybody I was in chat with last night, I did like the episode. It's maybe #5 on my season list so far. (Selfless, Beneath You, CWDP, Lessons, Potential) I've got my issues, and they haven't gone away just because of other people's squeeage, but neither am I trying to kill anybody's buzz. I *always* have issues, and I'm always going to instinctively point them out, no matter how much I love a show/ep/character. And if that's going to make people defensive and leave them feeling threatened somehow, like I can damage their show-love merely by pointing out my specific problems... Shrug? Tell me beforehand and I'll keep my mouth shut.
Loved Dawn pretty much unequivocally. Really liked Andrew -- his jokes were less cringeworthily bad, it seemed to me, especially played off against Xander and his "I'll *pay* you to talk about Star Wars." I love the humour between them -- and Xander's reaction to Andrew is one of the things that makes me feel even more like Xander hasn't really turned into a middle-aged guy in the last two years. He's too embarrassed that people will look at Andrew and remember that Xander isn't so far off from that, in geekiness, though not in morals.
My first comment of the evening was "Buffy? Shut the FUCK up." I stand by that. I'm willing to go with TBQ's assessment that Buffy is showing the things she's learned from Giles. Except.... Giles mostly learned those things from *Buffy*. Giles taught her deeper, more emotional, less put-into-words-able lessons. The kill or be killed? The brain+instincts=survival? That's all stuff that Buffy learned for herself. And, I think, taught to Giles. But. I had no problem with Buffy *knowing* the things she was telling the potentials. I had no problem with her passing that knowledge on. It was just the *words*. That kind of speechifying that Buffy/Xander/Willow at age 18 would have been doing an MST3K on if someone had given it to them. Pretentious, trying-be-ubercool crap.
And before you say "Yes, but Buffy's grown up now and she's been through all kinds of shit and she's more mature..." A) Dude, she's 22. B) The *potentials* aren't grown up, and if Buffy at 22 has forgotten the way *she* would've reacted to that kind of kitsch coming out of someone else's mouth, then I worry. C) Just about anything she's been through now? She'd been through by the time she was a senior in high school. Being dead? Done that. Loved a vampire? Done that. Hated herself? Done that (re Angelus). So... maybe it's all on a larger scale, maybe there's Dawn and Buffy has to play the grownup now... but my point is, Buffy in the training lessons seems like the kind of grownup *Buffy* would have laughed at when she was the SITs' age. And that's a bit telling.
And sadly, I found myself liking the Spuffy moments simply because they were a) Spike moments and b) Buffy being *nice* to Spike moments.
Dawn. Did I mention Dawn? Rocked.
Slayers, Comma, The? Arggggggh. It's perfectly fine for Buffy, Dawn, et al, to not know that the line of succession now goes through Faith (if Joss hasn't change dhis mind), because the only place it's ever been said is Outside The Series, by Joss. So y'all who keep harping on that? Hi. Buffy does not have Colin Sense (see TBQ for explanation) and cannot read interviews that her creator gives in the Real World. However! If Buffy (Dawn, Xander, Willow, the Bringers, the Ice Cream Man and the Pope) believes that the next potential slayer will be called with her death, then why the hell haven't they also ben searching for Missing Slayer X who was called with her most *recent* death? Why does she say "They'll hunt down the potentials, then Faith, then me?" (paraphrased) Cake. Have or eat, Marti. Both is not an option. (Though cake or death is an option.) Buffy can believe that she's still active in the Slayer lineage, but that brings with it the fact that hi, she *died* recently -- and one of the Big Brains researching day and night should have come up with that fact...oh...five minutes after she hit the concrete in The Gift? I'll give them leeway for grief then, but, um, now? When they're all looking for potential slayers? K, done now.
Xander. I really don't have words. Except big hug and squeeze. And yes, it's gratifying to see ME point out what we all knew. It's not quite as gratifying to have Xander himself have to point it out in small words, so the kids watching at home can color along in their Picture Pages, but BtVS has lost much of its subtlety over the years, and I'll take what I can get. The Xander-Dawn kiss was adorable, and I love him and want him to hug me, please.
I still stand by my assertion that he's lost his spark, though. He doesn't seem mature, so much as resigned. As if he's buried the kid that he was deeply within himself (see Andrew, ashamed of being like) and has accepted that he *has* to be the grownup, because that's the only place for him to be a (relative) success. I don't see where people are getting that he's actually *happy*, is the thing. Glad that he's found a spot, as Xander the comfortador, maybe, but he doesn't feel *happy* to me. And if Xander *was* a scared, insecure little boy, as Anya accused him of being, when did he outgrow that? I'm not seeing anything in his behavior now that suggests he had an epiphany and suddenly grew to maturity over the summer. (The thing with Willow at the end of Grave? I maintain that he would've done that at any point in the series. That didn't take maturity; it just took devotion.) He isn't acting now much differently than he did when he was with Anya, except for seeming less pressured and assholish.
I don't want him to be the snappish, ADHD scared little boy of Season 3 (some of which I'm now watching for the first time, since I started in S4). But he's 22 years old! Nick Brendon isn't, but Xander Harris is, and while I accept that NB's not going to be able to *look* 10 years younger than his actual age forever, I wish they'd stop making him *act* like Xander is already buying 401K plans and drinking Metamucil. I'm 8 years older than Xander, and *I'm* not as old-acting as he is. My married-with-children friends aren't as old-acting as he is. I love him, but it feels like part of him has died, or been bound, gagged, and locked in a closet, and I don't see him as being really happy. Which hurts, because see above re Love For Xander, Comma, Amy's.
That's the news and I am outta here.
And may I kill zortified's ISP? Or possibly her phone company? No, really.
Edit: I didn't mean to sound like I was asking people to convince me not to stop commenting in LJ -- I meant that if it bugs anybody in chat, when we're all sitting around watching Buffy at the same time, or just after, I'll try to keep the more critical thoughts to myself, or at least PM somebody who seems to agree with me and rant to them, rather than inflict it on the whole gang. :-)
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