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Just Say No to people who don't get why the S6 Willow-crack sucked...
{Ok, because it's come up, lemme clarify the title -- it should really be "Just say "Huh?" to people who don't think the S6 Willow-crack sucked and don't seem to comprehend the opposing argument, regardless of whether they agree or disagree." It's more accurate, though less pithy.}

Interesting blog post on "tell me what makes BtVS so shiny", but in the comments, there are a couple of folks who -- even after what's wrong with the addiction metaphor {according to some of us} has been explained and re-clarified -- keep earnestly telling us that it's not really about addiction; it's about power.

They're making me tired. Yes, we know it was supposed to be about power, and in the opening and closing episodes of the season, they did manage to take it there, but what these people are seeing is the story that ME wanted to tell, instead of the one they told. In a way that's a compliment to those viewers, since it speaks well of their ability to engage with the intentions of the writers, and it even shines a little reflected glory back on Marti & Co. in that they at least managed to show most of us where they were trying to go. It's just... Smashed/Wrecked/Gone, the Willow/Tara parts of Older & Far Away... they failed at telling the story that (it seems, we hope, etc.) ME was trying to tell. They used too many literal references to drugs that didn't track to the reasons why someone would be addicted to power, and the side-effects thereof.

Plus as has been pointed out before (by TBQ among others) they muddied the use of magic as a metaphor for power corrupting, by also using it as a metaphor (or code, at least) for Big Gay Love in Season 4. I'm not sure they really shifted from one meaning to the other (magic=forbidden relationships to magic=use and abuse of power) because there were magic/power issues as far back as Fear Itself and Something Blue, but the Willow/Tara courtship, as much as I love it, er. Crossed the streams? Made it that much harder, anyway.

Personally I think part of the confusion (magic=love, magic=bad and something you can get addicted to and/or give up cold turkey) comes in because magic=forbidden love is Tara's metaphor, and magic=power/respect/not-being-a-sidekick is Willow's. It's a tangly web ME weaves when they put the two meanings together. They do have their moments of meeting beautifully -- I'm Under Your Spell is probably the highest point, at once a glorious and boundary-pushing scene of love/sex/character-portrait of Tara, and a sickbadwrong mirror image when you remember/realize that it's all happening literally under Willow's spell, and what does that say about their relationship and both of their personalities?

I think the juxtaposition, intentional or not, ultimately fails because Tara's metaphor gets buried and forgotten as she buys into the Spells Anonymous thing, supporting Willow "going clean" as if you can or should go clean of something that's a part of you and often desperately needed by the people around you, instead of learning to deal with it responsibly. I'm not saying a season of Willow in therapy was the way to go -- the Learn By Explosion plot needed to happen. But nobody {on the show}, including the alleged voices of reason, seemed to have the right end of the stick as regards what was wrong with Willow.

I... had a point. Didn't I? Oh yeah -- that the people who are defending the Magic Crack arc seem to be missing the point that most of us who call it a flop and get righteously indignant about it aren't doing so because we missed the point that it's all about power. We're doing it because we know it's all about power, and we were waiting for ME to do something with that, and... they gave us Willow And Amy Go To The Crack Den And The Bad Man Touches Them Inappropriately, Be Sure To Watch It With Your Children And Discuss It Afterwards, We'll Give You A Study-Guide.

(And now that I've got the requisite afterschool special gag in, lemme say that it's actually the post-Wrecked AA storyline, and the fact that Tara bought into it, that pissed me off most. Not the Rack-den thing. For someone like Willow, Spells Anonymous would be the same thing as Breathing Anonymous -- an issue they only finally played with in Season 7, with mixed success due to none of the storylines in Season 7 having anything like the right pacing or cohesiveness.)

[Insert clever conclusion here]

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Just a brief thought


2005-01-05 09:42 am (UTC) (Link)

From the perspective of a comics reader:

When new writers come in what you see is that writers take on the universe. People often scream about continuity in comics but honestly Buffy as a show had more respect for continuity over the course of its career than most comics ever do. When different writers come in I expect different takes on things like the nature of magic in any story. Not because I want it, just because different people have different ideas about what things mean and what they potentially mean.

Does that mean its any less aggravating? No, not at all. It just means that someone looked at the universe differently and happened to be in charge at the time. Don't get me started on some of the rants I'm capable of on characters that really and truly are some of my favorites in the whole comics medium.

I'm not trying to critisize people's opinions/thoughts or call them illegitimate. Honestly, based on the opening post of all this I think you've got some pretty good complaints. I was just wondering if everyone who critisizes the magic plots felt that S6 and S7 was wholly without merit?

Re: Just a brief thought


2005-01-05 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)

I agree that new writers often show a new take on the universe -- hell, I was an X-Books fan for 15 years or so) but there weren't really new writers in S6 and 7. Just people who'd been staff writers all along, who had now been put in charge and allowed to have more control over the continuity that they'd always been around for. So Marti gets no points from me for havinga fresh new view -- she was on staff in Season 2.

But I don't hate Season 6 or Season 7 -- I don't even think season 3 of Ats, which is probably my most-reviled "WTF have you people DONE???" season, is without merit. I think BtVS S6 fucked up a *lot* of things, but the final three episodes (Dark Willow) made a valiant effort to get back to what I think the message was originally meant to be back when Joss came up with the idea for "Eventually Willow will flip out over power issues" (which seems to be sometime in S3 or 4, going from interviews.)

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