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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]


2004-12-10 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

So that at the end of season 7, Willow hasn't made any persoanl strides at all in understanding herself.

I think at the end, they presented her as having done so -- i.e. she's been learning that magic is intrinsive to the world and it's all connected, that she can't really divorce herself from it, and at the end her big transcendental experience comes from using powerful magic in a way that's totally unselfish. BUT.

But I don't think they actually earned that ending through character development; I don't think they actually showed Willow learning those things. They just showed her having been told them, and at the end, flying blind on the hope that it was true because she had to; there was no other alternative.

And they copped out with Giles telling Willow that magic isn't a toy, isn't an addiction etc, at the beginnig of S7 because they didn't make it clear -- I think on purpose -- whether he meant "NOW, since you went all-powerful and can't go backwards" or "ALL ALONG; you had your head up your arse with that 12-step stuff." {disclaimer: am not mocking 12-step programs; am only mocking the implication that Willow's issues could have been solved by one}

And then there's Kennedy, and the logic that says "Willow has power issues that she's allegedly trying to overcome, so let's give her a new girlfriend who doesn't understand magic but thinks that Willow can just do anything and she's so nifty-keen, I have complete faith in her!"


2004-12-10 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

intrinsive to the world

or, uh, intrinsic