December 12th, 2001

Francine - harvest

A little reviewish, a little selfish

For the record (having watched Angel on my wee PC screen last night, while Jen something, downstairs...)

Yeah. The googly faces were bad. The fact that there was very little supporting cast action was bad -- except for Cordy, and she's being set up for A/C.

The fact that WHAT THE FUCK? Fred knows how to trace websites? Better than Cordy, who's been doing this for two years, at least? Was bad. Either she learned a *hell* of a lot over the summer, while cloistered in her utterly computerless cell of a hotel room, or...Well, the woman's been in another dimension for 5 years. Cast your mind back. Think about the WWW in 1996. Think hard about it. I mean, it existed, but... Okay, whatever.

But overall, the chorus of bitching is getting to me. Dissatisfaction with a particular ep. or even several eps, is normal, and I can listen and sympathize, but the feeling I'm getting that there's going to be a massive, landslide retreat from Angel fandom, over this plot... It's just a storyline. And it's not *that* bad. Really. There will be more Wes and Gunn. There will be more slashy moments. There will be, and is always, the Great Lorne.

I guess I love the expanded universe too much to not put up with some moments of crap. And I don't think we're going to have googly-face making be the major theme of the second half of the season -- there had to be a googly-face episode, and the one right after the major trauma is the natural choice. I also genuinely liked certain aspects. How ready they were to protect him. How he did, in the end, trust them with the most important thing. You may not *like* that thing, may think it distracts from his friends and his mission and his monsterness, but it's bringing that all to the fore again. It's a foil. Just wait.

And Records Girl. Gah. Wonder what she is. Wonder what it would be like to be Lilah, making love to her on a clean desktop, unstrewn with papers because it's all there in her head. Finishing the scene she didn't get to have with Angel, and it's just as good, because, really, this girl's even more dangerous. "I'm records and files. It's my job." She knows *everything*. And that's hot. Librarians are hot. Archivists are hot. Lilah would be looking into her eyes, caught in a moment with her breath stopped in her throat and this aching dance of muscle spasms along her inner thighs and something *pulling* at her stomach, and there'd be just darkness in RG's eyes. But Lilah would be waiting, for the slot-machine flip and spin, the eerie light, wondering, "What does she know about *me*? How much I like to have my hair stroked? How far behind my head I can get my ankles, thank you God and eleventh grade gymnastics? How many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?" Because it's all in there. It's all in there, even the stuff she's forgotten, even the stuff she's not quite sure if she ever knew. Yeah. Bing! go the eyes, three cherries, and she comes.

Heh. It's a *good* thing I don't write femslash.

In general, though, this is just kind of the selfish begging part: No! You can't leave me! Look, half the people I love, who can write in the Buffyverse, are getting seduced away, or just worn out by either the shows, or the fandom circle. Somebody said it in the catalog of eerily accurate generalizations: Buffy is the fandom that eats its young.

It's also the only fandom I have an interest in. I can't get into anime, I think Roswell is hideous, I do not and shall never *get* Boyband slash. I don't have a problem with it, but I certainly have no desire to read or write it. I don't listen to their music, don't think they're particularly cute (Yes, that's right. None of them. They *all* look to me like those stuck-up, handsome jerks in high school, who were all sweet and sensitive to their cheerleader girlfriends, and made nasty comments about the fat chicks, when said girlfriends weren't listening. I'm not saying the guys are like that -- I'm saying that's the only type of cuteness I can see in them, and I don't *like* that type), and they have no *story*. I'd have to invent the story, and the setting would be the music industry, which interests me about as much as fried hedgehogs in butter sauce.

And Smallville. I keep saying somebody's gonna tempt me into the fandom. If so, it'll be Te, Tham, or Saber -- but... I really don't think I'll ever do more than lurk. It doesn'tsatisfy my craving for stories about people I *know*. I'll read some C/Lex, but the thing is, I don't *like* the show. I don't think I'll ever like the show. I have to be seduced by the plots, before I can let the slash control me. I have to like the people, all of them, before the subtext can get strong enough to make me forget about the text. The text has got to be good in the first place. And, though there's a lot of hotness and creativity being generated in slashdom right now, I have this itchy feeling that Clex is a one-note thing. That Smallville is a one-and-a-half note show. Clark and Lex are unhealthily fascinated with each other, and Clark is a future superhero who's trying to be a real boy. Cut, print. Right now, the original stories are out there, and they're fascinating, and sexy, but even now, four months into the show and only reading a very few Smallville stories, I can see the fanon being developed. The themes repeating. Power is heady, destiny sucks, pain is pretty.

In other words, the big fandoms out there aren't going to console me, if everyone flocks away from BtVS/Angel, and it's only me, James, Lorna, and a hundred people who think a beta reader is something to do with software, and Xander's sexual abuse happened onscreen, in that episode they missed when their VCR's went out. I exaggerate, of course. There are many great writers left in the b-verse. but I'm alarmed. And whiny. 'Cause in the end, it's all about me!

And Angel v. Spike thought: Spike can look evil, in gameface, if he wants to. He can also look sweet, funny, goofy (in a good, non-moronic way), sexy, and intelligent.

Angel can *only* look evil. The contact shade? The shape of his face? How pointy his teeh are? I dunno. But the googly-face gameface scene creeped me out, not because he *did* it and it was some terrible all-time low on the writers' part, but because he looked *evil*. Even when he was trying to be good.


The "Why Slash?" Discussion (da da da dum...)

Writer's Workshop board at the site. Interesting discussions there, because they're all BtVS writers who like Spike. The discussions don't get nearly as arch and (sorry) pseudo-intellectual as those on BetterBuffyFic have been recently. So the "Why Slash" question came up -- on a "Things I Like To See In Slash Fics" thread. It still mystifies me, as to why the poster didn't just start a new, relevent, thread, called, "Why Slash?" But I don't think it was ill-meant; the poster is a regular who pretty much reads every thread, and just wanted to ask the question on an existing thread. Mostly, she wante dto know why women would write slash, a genre that essentially "Leaves them out of the loop."

Simple, shallow answer, which is much of the reason for me reading slash *sex* scenes: to quote Grace Adler, "Gay sex is hot." Period. It turns me on. Why? Hell if I know. Why do redheads turn me on? Why does light bdsm turn me on? Because it does.

More complicated answer, on the very specific issue of why I'd want to read or write something that "leaves me out of the loop" :

An example: I *hate* Buffy/Spike fic. Dislike it immensely on the show, but ain't bitching about it because the acting is superb, and the nekkidness is...well, there. Why do I hate B/S fic? Not because I hate Buffy. I don't. But when I read a fanfic, I *become* the viewpoint character (which is why pseudo-omniscient narrators bug the hell out if me). That means either I'm Buffy, in love with or having sex with Spike, or I'm Spike, vice versa.

Say I'm Spike, then. I have that mindset. I can do that. I can get into being the guy. Why doesn't the hetfic work for me? Because I'm not attracted to Buffy. I'm vaguely attracted to Willow, and would sell my computer for the chance to lick Amber Bensen's ankles, but I don't want to read about Spike (or Xander) being in love with them, either. Male-POV descriptions of sex with a woman don't turn me on., because even when written by women, they tend to seem idealistic, and *very* Mary-Sue. Describing BUffy/Willow/Tara as everything the author wants to be, instead of as Buffy, Willow or Tara. Moreover, they make me jealous, because why ain't it me?

Say I'm Buffy. And pretty much stop there. That's the biggest reason I don't like Buffyverse hetfic. I can't be Buffy. She's too pretty, she's too strong, she's too powerful and she's the center of attention. Seeing the two most beautiful blonde creatures on the show go off to make beautiful blonde love to each other does jack-squat for this short, fat girl from Indiana. It "leaves me out of the loop," as someone whom Spike or Xander would never go for, more than seeing either with a man does. I can't be Willow. She's brilliant and beautiful and powerful. I can be Tara, a little, only because she's *so* disbelieving about how gorgeous she is. But Tara is, was, and always will be queer as a three dollar bill, so I can't buy her with any male on the show.

I'd rather read a story about Spike alone in bed, jerking off, than read him having sex with a woman. The woman being there makes me have to think about *her* thoughts, feelings, etc, which are *not* going to match mine. They never do. And if I'm not seeing that woman as "Buffy" -- if I can disassociate from the identity of the character enough to put myself in her place, when I know I *can't* put myself in the real Buffy's palce -- then it's bad writing. Bad characterization. Bad story, Amy's putting you down and looking for another. If Buffy's going to be *in* a story I'm reading, I want her to be Buffy.

In general, I can "feel" Spike's or Xander's POV, much more than I can any of the girls'. And I want to read and write about men, because, well, they turn me on. Women turn me on too, but not as visually. Not as directly. So if the best POV for me is a man's, out of the available characters, and the best thing to read/write about are men's pretty naked parts, then slash is pretty much the ticket.

And, as others have said, the shock. The awkwardness. The coming to terms with this *wrong* thing, and realizing you like it. The embarrassment. The humor. The lure of the forbidden. Biggest: that two men, especially men who aren't primarily gay, heretofore, or are just discovering it, have to let their emotional barriers down *so* much more. It's so much more intense, so much more satisfying when they do come together, and admit they love/want each other.

Plus, have I mentioned, gay sex is hot?
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