Chosen One - purple

"School Hard" / "Chosen"


Like Mother, Like Daughter original artwork a gift to me from comlodge, an amazing artist and generous friend. Check out the original on her journal.



Apparently, Buffy isn't the only Summers woman who is going to be "a fireman [sic] when the floods roll back."

ETA: beer_good_foamy reminded me that Joyce's threat to Spike, "You get the HELL away from my daughter!" (Rock on, Joyce!) could be seen as applicable to Buffy's actions in Chosen, if we consider the new Slayers as her metaphorical "offspring".  (What's the plural for "childe"?)


Or, Kendra was her "daughter", Faith her "granddaughter", then Buffy and Faith got together and now the new Slayers have two mommies - which. ok, is kind of
incest-y, but no worse than the Fanged Four, right?

 And Willow is their midwife. Something like that.

.
Brilliant.

There's a pun here somewhere... Buffy fighting back the threat against the Slayer line... noun form of "slay"... "Get the hell away from my slaughter."
OUCH.

You did make me realize that the pun isn't necessary at all - the Potentials are Buffy's metaphorical daughters. Hmmm *runs to edit post*
*lol* SOMEBODY needs to make a Buffyverse vid to that tune! (Don't look at me...)

FYI - post has been updated, thanks for the brain wave, kind sir!

The metaphorical mother to the potentials idea is one a buy into. Buffy doesn't have mom hair, of course, and Chosen references Lessons in lots of ways on top of the obvious Buffy leads a group of teens out of a hole in the school basement stuff.
*lol* Totally forgot about the "mom hair"

That seemed pretty clear to me when I watched S7 last year, and I think it's an extension of Buffy's role as Dawn's legal guardian (surrogate parent? everyone calls Tara her surrogate mom so - does Dawn have three mommies?) in S5-6

I definitely see Buffy as "mother" to Kendra and Faith in the exact same way that Angel is to Dru and Spike; but I don't see that referenced very often in the areas of fandom I've been to. (Which admittedly is limited.) But then again neither does the show, whereas the Fanged Four are referenced as "family" very explicitly. (childe/sire) There's no equivalent terms for the Slayer line of descent.

Although - it just occured to me (DUH) that it's the WC, not Buffy, who sire Kendra and Faith, until Buffy takes the power away from them. *Smacks forehead* I am so dumb. (But I still like the imagery, WTH.)
Yeah, I don't think that Buffy is Kendra or Faith's "mother" in the same way that Darla>Angelus>Dru>Spike are a family, because, well, she didn't make the choice to have offspring — until Chosen. I think that's why the "Sister Slayer" nomenclature works for me. Siblings don't have to choose or do anything for new ones to arrive, while parents need to be a bit more involved.

Now, there's always the argument that not all parenthood is planned, but there's accidents and then there's accidents if you know what I mean.
Now, there's always the argument that not all parenthood is planned, but there's accidents and then there's accidents if you know what I mean.

Somehow I suspect I shouldn't be laughing about this so much....

And of course I mean symbolically rather than literally for the Fang Gang. But it also works for me metaphorically as a reference to the fact that, until sometime until the 20th century, the leading cause of death among adult women in the Western world for several centuries was childbirth. (I haven't checked figures in the developing nations today for comparison.) Having children was considered a woman's destiny and duty, but it always came with the risk of death. As for the Slayer, if biology is destiny, then destiny sucks.

Of course I could also go with the Greek philosopher (forgot who) who claimed that everything of a child came entirely from the man and the women were nothing more than empty vessels that contributed nothing whatsoever....yada yada.
There's a meta in a Buffy essay book about sisterhood and being a potential in Buffy Meets the Academy (I think that's what it is, but a lot of the scholarly Buffy books run together in my brain), and I know angearia has something on Buffy and Willow as the parents of the slayers somewhere (it's comics-compliant though, as I recall, so it may not be your bag). But Buffy=mother of the Slayers needs to be explored in fic.

I'll be right back - plot bunny happening.
I think I've heard of Buffy meets the Academy; I've not read it. (I looked through the state's interlibrary loan database and found none of the scholarly books on the buffyverse whatsoever.) I'll have to look for Emmie's story - I don't like the comics but I appreciate what she does to/with them.

But Buffy=mother of the Slayers needs to be explored in fic.

ABSOLUTELY. It's right there in the DNA of the show. I'm really still surprised how little fic or meta I've seen on the subject. I don't know why I expected more, given what I would guess to be the number of female fans especially? We've all been daughters and/or mothers at some point.

I'll be right back - plot bunny happening.

*bounces eagerly in chair* Has it happened yet?
Or, to take it in a more Spike-centric direction, the events of Chosen can be seen as him taking Joyce's instruction to its literal conclusion: he uses the amulet to keep Hell away from Joyce's daughter(s). Just sayin'.
Heh. Imagine Spike trying to sneak that into the Flaming Hands moment:

SPIKE: Gotta move, lamb. I think it's fair to say, school's out for bloody summer.
BUFFY: Spike...
SPIKE: I mean it, I gotta do this. I made a promise to your mum.
BUFFY: My... what? When? How?
SPIKE: About six years ago. Don't you remember? She hit me with an axe, "Get the hell away from my daughter!"
BUFFY: Uh, kinda burning my hand here.
SPIKE: So, well, here I am. Getting it done.
BUFFY: What?
SPIKE: Well, I am bringing down the hellmouth.
BUFFY: Which is why I need to tell you - Wait. You're saying...
SPIKE: That's right.
BUFFY: ...the last few years have been a cunning plan on your part to literally get the Hell away from me?
SPIKE: And your daughters.
BUFFY: [checks her hair with her free hand] My...? I don't -
SPIKE: Metaphorically speaking. The Slayerlings.
BUFFY: Whatever. Spike, I love y-
SPIKE: Your mum had a hell of a commanding voice. No wonder your room is always so neat.
BUFFY: Would you stop talking about my mom!
SPIKE: But this time it's up to me to do the clean-up. It's what she would have wanted.
BUFFY: I'm trying to tell you - OW! Son of a bitch!
SPIKE: Language!
BUFFY: My. Hand. Caught. Fire.
SPIKE: That's no reason to use that kind of language. You need to set an example for your daughters.
BUFFY: They're not my - forget it. Isn't there something you want to tell me?
SPIKE: Buffy?
BUFFY: Yes?
SPIKE: Do you think Joyce will be waiting for me with a cup of cocoa in heaven?
BUFFY: Fine. Whatever. Yes, I'm sure she will. I'm out of here. [leaves]
SPIKE: Thanks for saying it!
BUFFY: Would you stop talking about my mom!
SPIKE: But this time it's up to me to do the clean-up. It's what she would have wanted.
BUFFY: I'm trying to tell you - OW! Son of a bitch!
SPIKE: Language!
BUFFY: My. Hand. Caught. Fire.


OMG...NEED...AIR...NOW....

2013 Award Winner: Funniest non-penguin Spuffy fic. (Christ now I'm imagining THAT mash-up: Penguins in Hell.)
Haha, thanks!

Penguins are versatile. I'm sure they'd cope. And by "cope", I mean take over the place and make it freeze over.
The unladylike snorting going on over here would NOT meet with Joyce's approval, I'm sure.

This is OMG brilliant.

But this time it's up to me to do the clean-up.

Of your room. Or town. Whatever. *snerk* Oh, god. Make it stop.
But this time it's up to me to do the clean-up.

Of your room. Or town. Whatever.


You might also imagine Spike telling Buffy "Now go... clean your mouth out with soap." But I don't think Joyce would approve of that either. :)
WORD. Ah Joyce - they don't have nearly enough of her on the show IMO, but when they let her rip, it's grand. You can see where Buffy gets a lot of her personality traits.

I kept meaning to do a meta on Joyce in School Hard, because I noticed even on feminist LJ's in this fandom, the total focus is on Spike and Dru in this ep - and I loved them from the minute they appeared onscreen, but this was the ep in which Joyce first saw her daughter in action, trusted Buffy to handle things (and told Snyder to shut up because they needed to listen to Buffy) then beans Spike with the axe (they could get away with "Get the hell away from my daughter" on a show marketed to teenagers back then? Nifty.)

I actually thought that Joyce would then realize who Buffy was and then she would become more involved in the story and so forth. So I was a little disappointed that didn't happen (yet) but it fits Joyce's pattern of denial (which IMO actually has nothing to do with the Hellmouth and existed long before they got to SD.)
I don't know, I always liked that Joyce didn't need to figure out that Buffy's The Slayer and that Vampires Are Real in "School Hard" - she just sees that Buffy is resourceful, strong, takes control and looks after others. (Which, come to think of it, is another s7 parallel, even if it comes harder there.) And that's all she needs to know to have confidence in her. Her trust is in Buffy Summers, not in The Slayer.
Her trust is in Buffy Summers, not in The Slayer.

Which is better, I think, because even if Buffy were NOT the Slayer, she would have the same faith in her.


Gabrielle
Oh I see what you're saying and I loved that confidence in her daughter, no doubt. And thematically it fits I was speaking from my experience watching it for the first time last year, when I wasn't really away of the thematic resonances; as a divorced daughter I could relate to their dynamic and I wanted more Joyce in the story. Perhaps even more so now that I'm a *gulp* mature woman; there were plenty of father figures on the show, but precious few mature women, and I know that women the most important people in my life growing up.

So it was a "this is what I wanted to see" thing, as opposed to "this is what it is" which is how I try to view the show now.

there were plenty of father figures on the show

All are corrupt, though, no?

But yeah, it would have been nice to see more Joyce or another surrogate character to play such a role. That's why my headcanon has Buffy and Olivia bonding post-Chosen.
All are corrupt, though, no?

True.

I actually like to use Cynthia Bower's term, "problematic parenting" (as she described Giles and Joyce in an essay.) I noticed some resemblances btw between Hank in Nightmares and Ted in "Ted", as well as a lot of similarities between "Ted" and "Helpless".

I rewatched Helpless and that scene where Buffy silently processes Traver's words, "You have a father's love for the child" and then when Giles wipes her face in silent apology - and I'm thinking, oh Buffy. No wonder the poor girl is so screwed up - but that's the plight of most children; you accept what you get from your parents, even if it's subpar. And it reads so - in most series we'd see that as really touching, and it is, but it's also very creepy and unsettling. And the later seasons prove that it's not to be taken at face value. (Although a lot of people seem very happy to do just that. But then a lot of people believe Angel was Buffy's true love. *shrugs*)

But yeah, it would have been nice to see more Joyce or another surrogate character to play such a role. That's why my headcanon has Buffy and Olivia bonding post-Chosen.

I like your headcanon very much and shall adopt it as my own! (Have you written fic about this?)

But yes, this is exactly what I was trying to get at earlier re: Joyce, and I was disappointed that they got rid of Olivia after one episode - for Giles' sake and for my own; I was hoping that Maggie would prove to be a mentor to Buffy, even if a reluctant one. etc Women were very important to me growing up, and I've always hated the lack of diversity of age, appearance, ethnicity etc of female characters; so it's not that i notice it more because I'm older, I've always noticed it.

I thought it significant that we only see three female watchers: Gwendolyn has actually been fired by the WC and is evil; Lydia's most significant moment is flirting with Spike in Checkpoint, and then there's a third watcher in S7 who starts to cry and Quentin Travers says "there there my dear." I suppose the point of this - assuming there is one - is that the paradigm that the WC represents either corrupts women as well as men, or encourages female watchers, like Slayers, to stay within a very narrow range of roles, in the service of the partriarchy.

Oddly enough one of the comics written while the series was still running (?), "Slayer Interrupted" has an older female psychiatrist/psychologist who actually serves as a mentor to Buffy in the mental hospital, and that is exactly the sort of character I would have loved to have seen on the show. I get that the fathers on the show are corrupt, as you say, but eliminating "mothers" altogether is fairly standard for US entertainment, where mature women don't exist. (I think that's changing, but it's still to a limited degree.)

but it's also very creepy and unsettling. And the later seasons prove that it's not to be taken at face value.

Your Ted post got me to thinking that the "father's love for the child" is very, very creepy coming in an episode where he's been violating her trust and drugging her for days to weeks.

(Although a lot of people seem very happy to do just that. But then a lot of people believe Angel was Buffy's true love. *shrugs*)

The way some things are interpreted on the show creep me out. I've seen "Forever, that's the whole point" quoted as some super shipping line and it's like... you know that was a nightmare, right? And guilt-driven? Which is another interesting discussion.

(Have you written fic about this?)

Oh, I can't write fic, but I have a couple S8 episodes in my head. It's like you said, one thing Buffy always lacked was a stronger, older female character. Buffy needs someone to talk to. Someone she doesn't know and more importantly doesn't have any expectations of her the way her surrogate family does. Olivia would have been the perfect character for that. Plus, you know, Restless tie-backs.

but eliminating "mothers" altogether is fairly standard for US entertainment, where mature women don't exist.

Yeah, it's annoying. Hell, Buffy herself isn't even allowed to be mature for people. Biggest complaints about the idea of a Buffy movie is the actors are too old. It's like, uh, why can't the film take place 5-10 years down the line? Of course most of those people also claim DB and JM are too old to play their vamp selves 'cause you can't have Buffy without them. *eyeroll* Once again, it's never about the character herself, just who she ends up with.

Yet another reason why I liked TGIQ.
Your Ted post got me to thinking that the "father's love for the child" is very, very creepy coming in an episode where he's been violating her trust and drugging her for days to weeks.

*dusts off hands* My work here is done.

I'm only surprised that the creepiness of the situation is not more widely acknowledged in fandom. The show doesn't exacly belabor the point because it's part and parcel of that entire 'verse - misuse of power, the inability to find the balance between emotional ties and duty. Giles' coldness here will have repercussions in S7 when Buffy is so closed off; we imitate what we are modeled to us by our parental figures.

I guess it's the "everyone loves Giles" factor? This episode actually reminds me a bit of "Ted" which is not a parallel I've seen made overtly but it occurred to me the other day - betrayal by Buffy's literal and metaphorical father figures, use of drugs by men to control women, Buffy having to protect/rescue her mother, both somewhat more intensely frightening than usual, interlacing of the male monsters abusiveness with warped sexuality - and Buffy's Overalls, which are so densely symbolic that they deserve (and will get) their own meta *wicked grin* but serve to somewhat desexualize her in both instances and emphasize her youth.

I've seen "Forever, that's the whole point" quoted as some super shipping line and it's like... you know that was a nightmare, right? And guilt-driven? Which is another interesting discussion.

I know, right? I just - sometimes I have no words. But if you want to lead the way on that discussion I'll gladly follow! One of the reasons I love the episode "Him" is the way it once again subverts romantic tropes, comedically rather than tragically - or in this case, Buffy's romances, in a way that I think also subtly pokes fun at fandom taking the tropes seriously - Dawn spouting "it would be true, forever" and "it's real!", while under the spell - the Bangel and Spuffy catchphrases - just makes me grin like a mad thing.

It's like you said, one thing Buffy always lacked was a stronger, older female character. Buffy needs someone to talk to. Someone she doesn't know and more importantly doesn't have any expectations of her the way her surrogate family does. Olivia would have been the perfect character for that. Plus, you know, Restless tie-backs.

I'd forgotten Olivia's appearance as a mother figure Giles' dream but you're right - I love your headcanon. It fits beautifully.

Biggest complaints about the idea of a Buffy movie is the actors are too old. It's like, uh, why can't the film take place 5-10 years down the line?

WTF? That's one of the things that annoyed me right off the bat about the comics - that they didn't move forward either in time or characterization.

Once again, it's never about the character herself, just who she ends up with.

You speak truth.





I guess it's the "everyone loves Giles" factor?


I've found fandom relies on the metaphor and kind of forgets the actuality of the characters. Giles is the father figure, Willow the quirky sister, Xander the loyal brother, etc. They tend to forget a lot of the crap they pull. And it goes the opposite way too. Cordy gets a lot of crap for being the cruel bully and her better qualities are ignored. I liked Helpless as an episode, but I do think it was a pretty big dropped ball. I guess it's the "everyone loves S3" factor. :P

But if you want to lead the way on that discussion I'll gladly follow! One of the reasons I love the episode "Him" is the way it once again subverts romantic tropes, comedically rather than tragically - or in this case, Buffy's romances, in a way that I think also subtly pokes fun at fandom taking the tropes seriously - Dawn spouting "it would be true, forever" and "it's real!", while under the spell - the Bangel and Spuffy catchphrases - just makes me grin like a mad thing.

Yeeeees. TGIQ is kind of like that. It's actually kind of sad because a lot of the jokes were lost on fandom. At the time I didn't care for mocking fans, but I guess I've become more mean over the years. Both Spike and Angel arguing over who gets credit for helping save the world in S2 is hilarious, especially if you've read some of those SvA debates. They're arguing over who's better...she's moved on--her story is beyond them and isn't directly tired to them.
They tend to forget a lot of the crap they pull. And it goes the opposite way too. Cordy gets a lot of crap for being the cruel bully and her better qualities are ignored

You're right it works both ways. I admit - mea culpa, I didn't appreciate Cordy until - well, actually until she was impaled, then lying in the hospital bed and told Xander to go away. That was the first time I really appreciated CC's performance. Now when I go back and rewatch I enjoy her more. (the scene where Buffy asks if Cordy would drive her home and Cordy's "of course", no questions asked, is beautifully underplayed; or Cordy's offer to Giles "What can we do to help?" in Ted. I've overlooked a lot of those moments myself, which is why rewatches are so rewarding.

OTOH - thanks to ITW / AYW I have a hard time remembering why I liked Riley in the beginning. (Then again rewatching Doomed I thought "Buffy, girlfriend, just walk the other way from someone who patronizes you like that.") I have to make myself remember that yes, he had some good qualities and yes I liked him once upon a time.

In terms of "overreliance on the metaphor" - maybe it depends on which metaphor or lens someone relies on? A lot of what I write or post here is a reaction to fandom's (starting with a year ago on the AV Club) focus on one metaphor with disregard for another possible reading or for the text/story itself. (ie Ted is ALL about Buffy misusing her Slayer powers against a human and that's the only subject of interest, while the story of a girl whose divorced mom brings home a creepy and dangerous boyfriend is ignored. And that makes no sense to me; S1-3 was still also about exploring tropes and themes of horror films, high school films, as well as RL issues that young people face. It's all in the mix.)

But one of my primary lens for thinking of the show is "dysfunctional family dynamics as an expression of the theme of power (the misuse of it) on a micro scale; the Initiative and the WC are the macro level, but same dynamic. If that's not someone else's lens, then I can't dictate what lens they should see it through, but I can say "this is how I see it". (That said, there's still things I am very reluctant to talk about. "let's see, how can I talk about the show, about how the early and late seasons and Buffy's journey all connect and come together without ever mentioning Spike because, you know, badness." That's a tricksy one. *le sigh*)

I liked Helpless as an episode, but I do think it was a pretty big dropped ball.

How so, and who did the ball-dropping?

I guess it's the "everyone loves S3" factor.

Not everybody (hence the quote marks, amiright?) The other day I looked at some of the ways in which people describe S4 - which supposedly isn't as well-loved, and you can use nearly all the same phrases to describe S3 as people generally do S4, honestly. I actually find S4 more interesting, in hindsight at least, because it marks a shift in the show to a more psychological, inward journey for Buffy. But that's just me.

At the time I didn't care for mocking fans, but I guess I've become more mean over the years

Heck I've become more mean - or jaded, whatever - just in the past year. At the same time, there's a line that can be drawn, but it's a fine distinction or maybe none at all, "laughing with" vs "laughing at". And then how you achieve that makes a difference too. (Tearing down beloved characters to make your point - you know what I'm talking about, right? - still seems unnecessarily mean-spirited.

Both Spike and Angel arguing over who gets credit for helping save the world in S2 is hilarious, especially if you've read some of those SvA debates. They're arguing over who's better...she's moved on--her story is beyond them and isn't directly tired to them.

The more I've thought about it - or rather read descriptions of that ep - I can see the point being made. But again, just a few months in this fandom and reading a lot of fanfic and conversations etc in which it's "all about the boys" and Buffy's just a footnote, helps to that end, whereas I couldn't see it just coming fresh from Chosen.

In terms of "overreliance on the metaphor" - maybe it depends on which metaphor or lens someone relies on?

I think that was a bad choice of words on my part. Maybe overreliance on the archetype would be a better way to say it.

How so, and who did the ball-dropping?

I just don't like how it's never mentioned again. At all. Arguably, it's the biggest betrayal on the whole show and yet there are no long term repercussions to it, at least not explicitly stated ones anyway.

which supposedly isn't as well-loved, and you can use nearly all the same phrases to describe S3 as people generally do S4, honestly. I actually find S4 more interesting, in hindsight at least, because it marks a shift in the show to a more psychological, inward journey for Buffy. But that's just me.

Heh, I'd definitely agree. I don't really like to rank seasons because I don't think any one season, with the possible exception of S4, is a standalone season. 1-3, 4, 5-7 is how I tend to look at them. I just have seen so much 'S3 is the pinnacle of the series' when pretty much all the critiques I've seen leveled at the later ones, and even the early ones, apply to S3, if not moreso.

Heck I've become more mean - or jaded, whatever - just in the past year. At the same time, there's a line that can be drawn, but it's a fine distinction or maybe none at all, "laughing with" vs "laughing at". And then how you achieve that makes a difference too. (Tearing down beloved characters to make your point - you know what I'm talking about, right? - still seems unnecessarily mean-spirited.

Oh, I'm never for tearing down any character to prove a point. I mean, I pretty much loathed Angel while the shows were running, but I've come to defend the guy thanks to the comics. TGIQ doesn't really mock fans directly, just fanwanks, really. Thing about doing that is, some people take it as confirmation of their beliefs. You'll see Spike fans take him claiming S2 as his when it's pretty clear that he's in the same boat as Angel; just posturing. After all, all you need to do is watch the DVD to see Spike shrug his shoulders and leave when it looks like Angelus has her down for the count.

But again, just a few months in this fandom and reading a lot of fanfic and conversations etc in which it's "all about the boys" and Buffy's just a footnote, helps to that end, whereas I couldn't see it just coming fresh from Chosen.

Yeah. :( Sort of related, I read a post on tumblr of all places wondering if, looking at the fandom in which it is all about the boys, Buffy was at all successful at what it was attempting to do--give the girl a story rather than be a footnote in the male-driven narrative.
Maybe overreliance on the archetype would be a better way to say it.

GOTCHA. That's exactly right.

I just don't like how it's never mentioned again. At all. Arguably, it's the biggest betrayal on the whole show and yet there are no long term repercussions to it, at least not explicitly stated ones anyway.

Agree to disagree? I can see what you're saying. I think that it does have ripple-effect repercussions even if they're never stated outright that are in the mix all the way to S7. They love each other but IMO Giles is never able to fully commit to either either being Watcher or Father. Like Buffy he imagines the two halves as separate but he can't completely chose between or integrate them as Buffy must (she's the Hero after all.) Unlike Buffy he has the luxury & the ability to stay or to go; so he very nearly leaves in S4 & S5 until Buffy says she needs him as a Watcher. But when she needs a parent more in S6 he leaves (which sometimes happens to people with depression in RL) only to come back in full-on Watcher mode at in TTG/Grave, as well as S7. He rationalizes his actions every time, but his emotions are still compromised.

Also, just from my own personal experience, kids will forgive a LOT & because they have no choice until they get older, because all you've got is each other, you are bonded by secrets, & your understanding of parental love involves (abuse, neglect abandonment, etc) That's the child's normal life. Buffy needs a father, Giles is the only one there, which doesn't negate genuine love; in fact it makes it more difficult to stand up for oneself or change things. Change the dynamic, you risk losing the love. I think a person has to be strong enough in themselves or have sufficient outside resources/support to do that. That's S7 in a nutshell.

I was more bothered by the fact that Joyce's actions in Gingerbread aren't addressed at all; yes she's under a spell - just another day in Buffy's world (see above), but Joyce's actions here (& Ted, DMP, etc) are pretty profound betrayals IMO. The spell or drugs allow her to express frustration and resentments that she wouldn't otherwise. What I dislike is how her being kidnapped in Helpless can be read as closure for Gingerbread because a) Joyce is "punished" for her sins, &/or b) that she & Buffy are able to move forward because Buffy saves her. I don't recall if it's explicit in the text but it does seem to be implied whether the writers intended it or not. It's not a far-out reading by any means.

I don't really like to rank seasons because I don't think any one season, with the possible exception of S4, is a standalone season. 1-3, 4, 5-7 is how I tend to look at them.

TOTAL AGREEMENT. For me 4 is the "bridge" season between childhood & adulthood. In part because that reflects my own experience of college: moving out of my mom's house for the first time, pursing subjects I was interested in, carving an identity, etc. I thought I was adult but wasn't aware of how much support/structure college provideduntil I had to drop out for health & financial reasons, work two jobs etc. The structure disappeared & I failed to make the relatively smooth transition to career, family etc that other people did. Which reinforces my identification with late-seasons Buffy!

but I've come to defend the guy thanks to the comics.

I mostly just enjoy poking fun of him, or letting BGF do it for me. & WORD on fanwank parodies in the comics; the "shag or die (save the universe)" trope has been mocked much better in other fanfics without the vulgarity or the juvenile mean-spiritedness.

You'll see Spike fans take him claiming S2 as his when it's pretty clear that he's in the same boat as Angel; just posturing. After all, all you need to do is watch the DVD to see Spike shrug his shoulders and leave when it looks like Angelus has her down for the count.

Agree on the second sentence, but 'splainy on the first one, pretty please?
I knew I forgot to say something last time!
I read a post on tumblr of all places wondering if, looking at the fandom in which it is all about the boys, Buffy was at all successful at what it was attempting to do--give the girl a story rather than be a footnote in the male-driven narrative.

Yeah, this - gives me pause. And I don't think it's the fault of the show itself, it's the culture that it's in. Our cultural paradigm really has not changed, not that we could expect it to in 10-15 years time. One tv show does not a revolution make, esp when the show itself is more liberal or progressive rather than transgressive. But - I can see why Joss would parody Twilight in the comics, even if the way he went about it was too "clever" (and not smart enough) by half. But it's a sobering reality.

I do think that it's easier to find tv series today centered around female characters than when I was growing up - but then again there's also a lot more channels to fill than when we had the Big Three, PBS, and where I lived CBC from Ontario. Also we have Netflix so I have instant access to decades worth of series including British tv. (but not Nurse Jackie, damnit.)

Movies however are still a different thing, but I think the presumption is still that "women control the remote but they don't go to the movies."

Sort of related, something else that I became aware of watching the show last year was that the depiction of Willow and Tara's relationship should have opened up the floodgates for more lesbian characters on tv - and I'm setting aside the bad old tropes raised by SR for a moment because whatever issues I have with it don't negate all that was good about that relationship or the depiction of it. But what do we have more than a decade later? the occasional side character (and still usually gay male not lesbian); two characters in Ringer who fit stereotypes that date back to 1860's France or 1960's dime novels (dark haired sophisticated European "lesbian" seductress and blond-haired unstable bisexual who falls under her spell, and is also mentally ill and a psycho killer etc etc - bad Sarah, no biscuit!) Or the "lesbian Robin doppleganger" on HIMYM (short hair, cowboy boots, flannel shirt and baseball glove is still shorthand for "lesbian"? What the creeping blue FUCK? It's still a pretty piss-poor picture.

Re: I knew I forgot to say something last time!

Definitely the culture we live in, I agree. It's driven me to almost anti-shipperism.

Ringer was a let-down. So many interesting possibilities in the pilot. I don't know if it got CWified or what, but I didn't care for the obvious plotlines.

What the creeping blue FUCK? It's still a pretty piss-poor picture.

Perhaps it's due to a lack of lesbian showrunners? Straight people who don't really know how to write them, so they go back to tropes. Most US TV writers and showrunners are as disconnected from society as our politicians are. Most grew up in Hollywood, 2nd or 3rd generation screenwriters. Of course, so did Joss, so I don't know.
Re: I knew I forgot to say something last time!
Almost? You're more patient than I am. I think the emphasis on "ships" (as much as I heart Buffy and Spike in S7) has challenged me to think and write about other aspects of the show and other characters. Which is good thing, but trying to write about Buffy's story and BtVS as a whole without mentioning Spike - or S6 - or anything that could possibly, ever ever offend or upset anyone? MAJOR challenge.

Maybe that's also why I've started to read B/A/S fics, like Elisi's. I agree with her - shipping the three of them at once eliminates lots of headaches.

Ringer was a let-down. So many interesting possibilities in the pilot.

Weirdly enough the very end of the season was when my interest perked up again (evil/crazy lesbians to the contrary) because there was a shift in the narrative; originally Siobhan was a 2-dimensional villainess and Bridget the warm loveable protagonist, but then the story started to give Siobhan more depth and delved into their backstory more - by which point I realized that Bridget was really in deep in her own rationalizations and fantasies despite the shiny new moral compass provided by NA. I mean - basically doing to her sister's husband what Faith did to Riley in AYW. And that's actually what got me watching it was an interview with Sarah where she talked about the moral ambiguities, and hey, I'm always up for that. Which is to say I agree with you - a lot of wasted promise and not even trashy enough to be a true guilty pleasure.

Perhaps it's due to a lack of lesbian showrunners? Straight people who don't really know how to write them, so they go back to tropes.

You may be right (aren't there more power lesbians by now, or is there no trickle-down effect from Ellen and Melissa and etc?) OTOH it's not just the tropes, it's the fact that lesbian characters still don't even exist. Period. There were more lesbians "under cover" back in the 1960's, disguised as librarians and teachers and working girls and nosy neighbors, it feels like. And don't forget Roseanne in the 1980's.

I think our culture and our media, or those who run our media, aren't interested in women to begin with; but doubly-so with lesbians - no men in our beds, ergo no interest from those who "run the show". IMO

Most US TV writers and showrunners are as disconnected from society as our politicians are. Most grew up in Hollywood, 2nd or 3rd generation screenwriters.

But lesbians aren't a weird, exotic species of bird in Madagascar that they've only seen in picture-books. (ok, I just make myself giggle.)
Re: I knew I forgot to say something last time!

Which is good thing, but trying to write about Buffy's story and BtVS as a whole without mentioning Spike - or S6 - or anything that could possibly, ever ever offend or upset anyone? MAJOR challenge.

I used to be like that. Then I quit caring about offending people. :P Eventually you just get tired of the same old arguments, usually with the same old people. I say almost because it's unfair to hate a character or ship because of parts of their fanbase. I was really starting to dislike Spike for awhile because of some fans, but the fans were the problem, not the character. I just couldn't (and still can't) get my head around what some think the show was actually trying to say.*

I could never get into B/S/A because I just don't ever see Angel or Spike settling for something like that, nor do I really see Buffy settling either.

*This goes back to my one post about writers interacting with fans. Truth is, I don't think we get the AR without that S5-S6 writer/fan sniping. Writers were saying one thing, fans were arguing another. The writers swung the sledgehammer to prove their point. I know the official explanation is they needed it to happen for the soul quest, but I just don't buy it. You don't go that far for something like that.
Re: I knew I forgot to say something last time!
Then I quit caring about offending people. :P Eventually you just get tired of the same old arguments, usually with the same old people.

I was re-reading two of my first posts here the other day (about Buffy, Spike and Riley) and realized I was a little more fearless then (last September). I think I'm getting back there but I'm trying to focus mostly on underexplored subjects or characters of the show rather than get into the same old arguments. but I can see some of those arguments as unavoidable. Maybe all the arguments? There are some things that I won't get into at this point (maybe later) because right now it's not worth it to me, I haven't figured out how to say things in a way that others haven't already, or someone else has pretty much "claimed" the character for themselves. So, whatever.

I say almost because it's unfair to hate a character or ship because of parts of their fanbase.

Very true. I don't find myself hating a character because of fans - more often, I get defensive on behalf of a character or because of interpretations that seem off or incomplete TO ME (which is what motivated my Ted meta, honestly). I don't presume to have the OTI (One True Interpretation). Except when I do (such as "Angel and Buffy have a forever love"? Um, no.)

I could never get into B/S/A

Neither could I until recently - and it's not something I see happening in canon (outside of fantasy) but I've found a couple of fanfics that write the threesome charmingly, so I can enjoy those for what they are. (I rarely read "Spangel"; if there isn't at least one woman involved in a ship, I'm usually not interested. Even from an erotic fantasy standpoint. And I don't love two male characters enough to want to seem them together to the exclusion of any and all women. YMMV)