The Gift - Trailing Clouds

Everybody Loves Links

ETA: MORE PRETTY PICTURES!  I'm incorrigible. Sue me.

*** infinitewhale has posted a short but provocative meta about Buffy's dream in "Dead Things" and her own self-identification within the dream, briefly touching on the late-season Buffy & Willow parallels, and how Tara protects both women in OAFA. Hits my (bitter)sweet spot on about nine different levels. He was worried no one would want to read it, or that he couldn't write about the subject properly as a man. To which I say - nonsense, on both counts. If this fandom has reminded me of anything, it's that our shared humanity trumps gender differences unless we allow those differences to stand in our way.  Also, meta like his allows me to talk about subjects of great interest to me, while still preserving my commitment to focus on the ladies here on my journal. (I'm sneaky that way.) ETA: rebcake informed me this meta is f'locked. Oops. Sorry. Ask nicely to friend him and don't please embarrass me, kids (because I can manage that on my own just fine, thank you.)




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*** fray_adjacent12 was inspired by recent conversations between myself and kikimay re: the Summers sisters and the women of the 'verse, to create a new set of female-centric icons, including the scene from "Family" that I've grabbed, lots of lovely Tara-centric icons, Dawn, Faith, Buffy in S7. kikimay confessed that the phrase "not in blood but in bond" comes from Thor/Loki movie fandom. a track by composer Hans Zimmerman for the Sherlock Holmes movie soundtrack. (Ugh) Too late, kiddo, it belongs to OUR fandom now. The Buffyverse's chosen families rule everything.




Off-topic but I feel like saying it anyway: Amber is such a gorgeous woman, isn't she? Every time I watch her in the show I think it's too bad no one in the costume department knew what to do with the body of a goddess, damn it.  (There, I said it.)



Fray has also posted her very first poll (yay!) in the service of Buffyverse evangelism: "If you were trying to introduce someone to BtVS and only had 2-3 episodes to show them, what would you choose?" Personally, I went with option #1 - start with WTTH and proceed chronologically. Not that I'd try to influence your answer or anything.

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*** Speaking of Tara, polls, and OAFA (yes, I did; weren't you paying attention?) mcjulie posted her OAFA episode poll.  Two things to keep in mind: Tara, in all her gentle AND badass glory, and...Clem! Everybody in fandom loves Clem! Love the comics, hate the comics, early-seasons fan, late-seasons lover, what-have-you: he's the one thing in the 'verse that we can all happily agree upon. World peace is at hand. You're welcome.
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*** eilowyn is wondering if anyone would be interested in a meta she's working on re: Buffy and trauma. I say HELL YES - but that's just me. The post is f'locked btw but if you're not friends with her ask nicely, because she's worth getting to know.



Latest news! The expression "Not in Blood but in Bond" doesn't even belong to the Thor fandom (Even if it's freaking perfect for Thor and Loki and nobody can't say differently) but it's the title of a Hans Zimmer's track. Here you can listen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTTHMHq3JMU I did my research! :D

Amber is such a gorgeous woman, isn't she? Every time I watch her in the show I think it's too bad no one in the costume department knew what to do with a real woman's curves.


RIGHT? But maybe it was for the character. I mean, I think that Tara, especially in her pre-Willow period, wasn't really aware of her own sexyness and so she dressed that way. But, yes, mostly costume department. *glares at the OMWF dress*
Hooray for research! Ironic that it's from a movie I haven't and never would go to see in a million years. Unless you paid me and asked nicely, which obviously isn't going to happen.

I mean, I think that Tara, especially in her pre-Willow period, wasn't really aware of her own sexyness and so she dressed that way.

Well there are a lot of contradictions to Tara; fandom calls her "shy", which she is, but she's the one who pursues Willow, not the other way around. I've always assumed she's already been with at least one woman or like me, had an early awareness of sexual orientation that preceded actual sexual experience. Maybe she's like many lesbians who kissed their best girlfriend, who then denied it ever happened afterwards. We don't know.

Point is, I think that many times her clothes are more flattering in S4 than in S5. She looks lovely in Who are you; if anything her clothes seem to get worse - could they have come up with an uglier hairstyle and outfit than the one she has for most of Tabula Rasa? And she looks ok in OAFA, until she turns around and you see the back of her blouse and it doesn't even fit properly - it's hugging her torso too tightly. Ugh.

*glares at the OMWF dress*

I actually kind of - I don't know if I want to say "like it", but it reminds me of a dress my sweetie had, that pseudo-medieval sort that was in vogue in the 90's for a while; (Tara's is actually much nicer than my sweetie's was). I shouldn't have looked good on my partner but it showed off her breasts in that just-right way. And I have a thing for historical clothing, so I like the bodice.

Mainly though I think it suits the mood of the episode at that point - all lightness and fantasy until the walls come crumbling down; it has a satirical effect, and "Under your spell" is a satire of Disney cartoon musical numbers (and old-school movie musicals), with a terrible, dark underbelly. Tara still has an idealized ideal of Willow, which Willow is trying to maintain.

And I think the colors of the dress slightly echo the outfit she wears in the first part of Buffy's dream in Restless "Be back before Dawn"? I'd have to double check.

Well there are a lot of contradictions to Tara; fandom calls her "shy", which she is, but she's the one who pursues Willow, not the other way around. I've always assumed she's already been with at least one woman or like me, had an early awareness of sexual orientation that preceded actual sexual experience. Maybe she's like many lesbians who kissed their best girlfriend, who then denied it ever happened afterwards. We don't know.


Nice observation! I didn't really think about it. I also felt like she was super sure about her sexuality but I don't know if it's something about experience or just knowing.

Yeah, mostly it's bad dressing for Amber (But I think that it was also bad dressing for Sarah in the first three seasons) But, you know, the bright side is that the characters feel much more realistic. They aren't the ultra classy people they pass for teenagers nowadays - always dress properly and perfectly. The hair gives false hope to regular teenagers - and people, for the matter.

I also liked the bodice in OMWF - I mean, Tara has really great breasts - but ultimately I dislike the dress, I think it depends on the color or the texture. While I adore Willow's pink one with the red shoes. Quoting Anya: "It's so beautiful! I wish it was mine!"
Nice observation! I didn't really think about it. I also felt like she was super sure about her sexuality but I don't know if it's something about experience or just knowing.

Well it's like rahirah said the other day, we know next to nothing about her. So it's a lot of guesswork. I think part of the reason I've started writing Tara-centric meta is that very fact, but also I think there's a lot of assumptions about her I see repeated in fandom that are taken as gospel but I'm not sure are true. We can't say definitely anything about Tara's knowledge/experience prior to Willow. And I can say from experience that as a lesbian I have been attracted to straight women and vice versa (the first two women I fell in love with were straight), and I know it's true of other people as well. It might not have anything to do with Tara having a well-honed "dyke detector" but simply being attracted to Willow, period. But the fact that Tara approaches Willow points to the fact that she's had some experience or knowledge in terms of living with the self-identification as lesbian. (I came out more than five years before I was in a relationship, but straight friends would ask me "How do you know you're a lesbian if you've never had sex?" I'd turn it around, "How did you know you were straight before you had sex?")

And at least when I was coming out 20 years ago, approaching someone of the same gender in that way was a HUGE risk, moreso than the usual risk of flirting with someone and getting rejected. You were outing yourself, and so it was dangerous. So for someone so "lacking in confidence", Tara's a pretty big risk-taker and very courageous IMO.

Have you ever seen the fanvid by BadWolf about Tara's childhood? She uses clips from other movies like Practical Magic, and it works surprisingly well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcRDwljpC00 The first 28 seconds are "opening credits" and after that the vid starts for real.

But I think that it was also bad dressing for Sarah in the first three seasons

Make it four? some of the outfits and accessories in S4 just make me shake my head. It's not until S5 that she becomes really "elegant", as blackfrancine described her. (Barring the pimp coat in OAFA of course. And that pink satin blouse after Riley left.)

The hair gives false hope to regular teenagers - and people, for the matter.

Does it? I'm not so sure. Sarah said she was proud of the fact that Buffy "wasn't the prettiest girl", and I think the women on the show are not as idealized as I've seen on some other shows, but still thinner, prettier etc than the norm. There are no truly plain girls or women.

While I adore Willow's pink one with the red shoes.

The dress not so much but the shoes? Yes. I have a kink for the sort of modified louis or edwardian heel she wears on her shoes in OMWF, TWoTH, STSP. I guess Aly is a shoe hound because her clothes are "bleh" on HIMYM (IMO) but she almost always has very stylish shoes or thigh-high boots.
Maybe Willow was making feel Tara comfortable. I feel like they both connected in a deep level and that helped with their mutual insicurities. I don't mean it like in a idealized romantic bangelian way, but in a more pratical one of people slowly knowing and liking each others. But yes, all your points are totally valid and I also saw Tara as a shy person but certainly she has some strong roots unlike many other characters and we know/consider very little about that. I kinda don't buy the all-angsty childhood for that reason: because Tara is also strong at her core. Because of her mother? Because of other people influences? I feel like she knew pain but also love and goodness.


Make it four? some of the outfits and accessories in S4 just make me shake my head. It's not until S5 that she becomes really "elegant", as blackfrancine described her. (Barring the pimp coat in OAFA of course. And that pink satin blouse after Riley left.)


I agree. She became more sophisticated in the latest seasons. (But I love the pink blouse! I mean, I wouldn't wear it but she looked so good with it!) I love the cherries dresses - I have a major kink for the cherries dresses - in S4 and how she seemed young and happy even through her fashion choices. I love some Willow's shirts in that season, like the one she wears in Doomed.

I agree that the actresses are generally much more pretty than regular people - and the hair! The hair is always so perfect. It can't be real - but the dresses aren't impossible. I mean, look at Gossip Girl. That really gives a totally false perception of teenage girls. (I don't watch GG but I saw sometimes promos and stuff)

Maybe Willow was making feel Tara comfortable.

I think I understand what you're getting at, could you explain a bit more? It's complicated because of problems with censorship restrictions at the time, so the show has to play it close to the vest.

Having someone pay attention to you is the biggest turn-on in the world - and not necessarily sexual/romantic relationships, but any sort - friendships etc. We tend to blossom under it, esp if we've not received much of it before or don't have a strong and healthy sense of self. (I'm guessing on that last point - I wouldn't know a "strong and healthy sense of self" if it made sweet love to me.)

Buffy and Willow in WTTH and Willow and Tara both parallel and reverse each other; in both instances, someone else pays attention to Willow, they recognize her as special, as worth noticing; the difference in her confidence at each point shows in her reactions. She's utterly astonished by buffy's first overtures; in Hush she'd noticed Tara, and is still taken aback by her overtures but much less so. Plus there's the additional sexual/romantic element there. Does Willow have the same "spiritual" (chemical/hormonal) attraction to Tara at the end of Hush, or does that come later?

That is, I think they help one another to be more confident, but their growing confidence, or moreso Willow's especially, comes at the cost of Buffy's gradually eroding self-confidence over the course of the series.

I don't mean it like in a idealized romantic bangelian way, but in a more pratical one of people slowly knowing and liking each others.

It's a bit of both, I think. There definitely is an idealized, romantic element - the handfasting in Hush and Tara's statement "no you're very special", or "I am you know - your's" and "I trust you" in WAY. And they barely even know each other at that point- they've just met. So there is something very realistic to me about their early relationship, in that way we "fall in love" and then start to deal with the reality of the other person when the veil of the "honeymoon phase" has lifted. (TL, ATW, TR) You see this other person through the haze of hormonal attraction, what you want and need, you idealize them and try to present an idealized version of yourself. That's very normal, especially for first loves, and it's what Buffy and Angel do prior to the soul-bomb. Willow and Tara don't get to "suck face" on camera in S4 (damn American cultural mores and network censorship), but it's clearly a sexual relationship and not just a romantic one pretty early (WAY, NMR). And we see that in Buffy/Riley as well - Buffy overlooking the fact that he was very patronizing to her in Doomed and getting into a romantic relationship with him; him not realizing what being the Slayer really means in real life terms.

but there is also the practical element that you mention; I think there is some of that in Bangel as well, although it's easy to overlook it because the romance dominates the story. had Angel not had his soul bomb, etc, - or Riley his identity crisis - I think Buffy might have eventually broken up with them anyway but could continue to have been friends.

I love some Willow's shirts in that season, like the one she wears in Doomed.

I kind of liked Willow's outfits in S4 but apparently that's a minority view? I thought she looked pretty but still eccentric and very much herself; it was a relief when she dropped the more childish attire from earlier seasons. (the infantilizing yellow jumper in Phases, for instance, which is also very symbolic of the fear of stepping into adult sexuality with Oz.) I also liked her rose velour dress in Enemies when she's going face-to-face with Faith; the dress in OMWF sort of reminds me of it.

Oh and I have never seen Gilmore girls, even promos. teen dramas are not my thing at all, which is part of the reason I didn't watch Buffy for so long, I'm sure.
Forgot to add this part...
I kinda don't buy the all-angsty childhood for that reason:

But Family is very very clear that she had a very strict, controlling and rigid father, in a region/family in which rigid and old-fashioned gender and familial roles were upheld. I don't recall if religion is mentioned but they read as "southern fundamentalists" or somesuch thing. (Damn you Joss and your outdated southern "redneck" stereotypes. There are plenty of "rednecks" in the north, let me tell you.)

So yes, angsty - I think that's as clear even if there wasn't any physical abuse, there was definitely shaming - Tara learned to be ashamed of herself, of something at her core that couldn't be fixed. Buffy, Faith, all the SG have something of the same. Shame about who they are, not what they've done, something that can't be fixed.

because Tara is also strong at her core. Because of her mother? Because of other people influences? I feel like she knew pain but also love and goodness.

But it's not either/or. Buffy and Tara both have loving mothers who are their emotional source, the women who teach their daughters how to love. But they aren't perfect: Joyce's anger at Giles and Buffy's slayerhood is mostly swallowed down, only to pop back up when under the influence of alchohol/drugs or a spell (gingerbread), or misdirected (Dead Man's Party). Tara's mother never leaves the situation she's in, never takes her daughter away from it, and is only able to leave by dying. There are probably reasons - economics, sickness, her training that you have to "stand by your man" etc. But she gives tara the strength to leave.

So they're flawed but loving women who model love to their daughters however imperfectly, and that's something that links Buffy and Tara, and why it seems appropriate that Buffy & Dawn name Tara "family" and Tara returns the favor on several levels, becoming close to both of them.

I think I identify with both of them on that level because I had a very angsty childhood - I know you've read my Ted meta - but also a very loving mother for all her flaws. We endured years of physical and emotional abuse but I'm not afraid to touch, to hug, to be emotionally intimate with someone because I had that foundation from my mom.
Re: Forgot to add this part...

I think I identify with both of them on that level because I had a very angsty childhood - I know you've read my Ted meta - but also a very loving mother for all her flaws. We endured years of physical and emotional abuse but I'm not afraid to touch, to hug, to be emotionally intimate with someone because I had that foundation from my mom.


Yes, that's exactly what I meant when I wrote not *all* angsty. There was a positive even if flawed role model. A source of love and compassion in all that chaos and despair and that is very, very important especially for a kid. And, yes, I think that Tara's childhood is extremely tragic because of her family but she took pleasure and a definition of love from her mother. Imagine Tara without that. I don't think she would have been strong to the core on the same level. Take Willow for example: her parents aren't abusive but they are both negative examples. And, of course, I'm not saying in anyway that Willow's childhood was more angsty than Tara. I just mean that she didn't have a positive role model to look foward to and that's why Buffy is so important in her life.


I think I understand what you're getting at, could you explain a bit more? It's complicated because of problems with censorship restrictions at the time, so the show has to play it close to the vest.


I really can't explain it rationally. I feel like it's about instinct and also knowing a person and building mutual trust. Of course, there's the sexual component and the irrational component - I feel like you're special. But you just meet me. Shhh, I feel it. - But we see Tara and Willow talking a lot and getting closer as they explore their common interests and passions. (And okay, spells mean sex but for a moment imagine that spells mean "interests in common") So there is something other that just attraction, it's really about getting along and sharing similar opinions/interests. So they build this safe space for them. And, of course, there are flaws but I guess it's understandable.


I kind of liked Willow's outfits in S4 but apparently that's a minority view?


I also liked her S4 outfits. She was somehow eccentric and very ironic - the funny shirts! - but she was comfortable and cute. Plus great haircut.
Re: Forgot to add this part...
Yes, that's exactly what I meant when I wrote not *all* angsty. There was a positive even if flawed role model. A source of love and compassion in all that chaos and despair and that is very, very important especially for a kid

Oh yes, I understand what you mean now. the opposite of that of course is that there are murderers and psychopaths who had two perfectly loving parents and a stable home. (You buy your ticket, you take your chances.)

Take Willow for example: her parents aren't abusive but they are both negative examples. And, of course, I'm not saying in anyway that Willow's childhood was more angsty than Tara. I just mean that she didn't have a positive role model to look foward to and that's why Buffy is so important in her life.

THIS. Exactly this. Neglect is also a form of (passive) abuse, and dysfunctional families come in all price ranges. And I think you're absolutely right about Buffy's importance: she sees Willow, notices her as a person, not a member of a demographic group or an abstraction as Sheila Rosenberg does; Willow's growing confidence in herself is mostly because of her role in the Scooby gang, because of the value and status that gives her as well as Buffy's friendship and intimacy. It sure as hell doesn't come from Xander!

And okay, spells mean sex but for a moment imagine that spells mean "interests in common"

Holy roman fuck you just blew my mind with that. that's a brilliant interpretation.

So there is something other that just attraction, it's really about getting along and sharing similar opinions/interests. So they build this safe space for them.

Oh yes, that's one of the things one does going into a relationship - explore common interests, have long conversations etc. but it's also accompanied by handwaving away or ignoring things that will become a problem later; or being drawn to certain qualities about them that become irritating over time. Again, it's not either/or in terms of attraction vs commonalities.

For instance, it's very complicated with Willow and Tara - each one would probably like to be mothered (loved) by the other, each one is looking to the other to do the mothering (getting needs met that hadn't been in childhood.) Willow probably loves tara's earth-mother qualities, her softness and nurturing - something Sheila didn't have - but OTOH, now that Willow's begun to claim greater status for herself, she's not about to become the "bottom" in the relationship, the submissive one as she was with her mother. Whether she's aware of it or not - and I doubt that she is consciously - her template for adult womanhood is her mother, a dominating personality.

Conversely, Willow is capable of great, motherly tenderness, esp after Tara is tortured by Glory in TL; and Tara doesn't really want to be submissive the way she was with her father again. But she can also be rigid and dogmatic in her thinking the way her father was. (Someone else in fandom pointed this out to me so it's not original to me.) Her ideas that you shouldn't try to raise the dead because it violates tradition, for example, is much like her families' conservative "things are done this way because they've always been done this way." Part of growing up and maturing is figuring out what we believe - NOT because our parents told us to think a certain way but because we've reasoned it out and experienced for ourselves why certain things are right or wrong; we have to develop our own ethical reasoning.

It really is a fascinating dynamic that deserves closer attention than I think it generally gets.

I also liked her S4 outfits. She was somehow eccentric and very ironic - the funny shirts! - but she was comfortable and cute. Plus great haircut.

I was looking at some screencaps from Hush and holy cats was she cute in that episode.
Well, the OMWF dress had to disguise the harness they used to make her float, so I forgive it.
had to disguise the harness they used to make her float

A harness? Oh - duh, right? That never even occurred to me.
Well, phooey! How can I read infinitewhale's "short but provocative" meta if it's locked! Durn it all! I was excite!
How can I read infinitewhale's "short but provocative" meta if it's locked!

Oh I didn't even notice sorry! I'm a mutual friend so (your Dr Horrible Icon is extremely distracting btw - it's making me giggle, you fiend.) I'm assuming there's no bad blood between y'all so I would thinking asking to friend him would do the trick?
Aw, thanks for the signal boost! And for helping me find new people to friend! And the picspam!! :D
You're very welcome, sweetie! I'm more than happy to return the favor.

Notice how the icons are smaller in this template though? Grrr...

BTW, which ep is that Dawn icon from?
It's from "Lessons", when Buffy gives Dawn the cell phone. :D

And yes, the icons are tiny!! That sucks. Argh.

Edited at 2013-06-26 03:55 pm (UTC)
Oh duh! I knew the sweater was familiar but I couldn't quite place it. (I always wondered why she was wearing a sweater in what had to be September esp since Buffy has on the barest slip of a (linen? Cotton?) top. but she still looks cute in it.)

It's funny how often I can't quite place icon images esp when they are out of context.
I know! I guess I decided at some point in S2, when Willow was always wearing sweaters while Buffy was wearing little dresses, that Buffy must not get cold easily. But yeah, September in SoCal doesn't really seem like sweater weather. Nonetheless, Dawn is adorable and awesome in that episode. I love her "favorite activities include never having to do this again" speech during the first-day-of-school icebreaker session.
I guess I decided at some point in S2, when Willow was always wearing sweaters while Buffy was wearing little dresses, that Buffy must not get cold easily.

Which is funny because apparently Sarah did get cold easily; she's wearing coats in off-set photos (including the making of photos from the last scene in chosen - everyone was wearing heavy coats when not on-camera.) and infinitewhale told me once that she requested a warmed chair off-camera. Which makes sense because she's so thin; ever since I lost a lot of weight in high school I'm more vunerable to cold temperatures.

I think they wanted to emphasize her attractiveness (those skirts in S1-2? Oy vey - I was afraid there was going to be an accidental "Basic Instinct" moment.) But the blouses early in S7 are also similar to those in early S6 (before Smashed); in both seasons she becomes more covered up generally as the emotional stresses pile up.

I love her "favorite activities include never having to do this again" speech during the first-day-of-school icebreaker session.

Gah, yes isn't she terrific? I love Dawn in S7 generally - but then again I was just about cheering when she and Buffy fought side by side in Grave with their swords. Fierce warrior Summers women FTW. I was really disappointed then when Dawn was sort of shoved off to the side later in the season.
Oh. I guess this also means Israel and Palestine won't be laying down arms anytime soon? Eh, Can't have everything, can we?

Tell me Wisenheimer - if not Clem then who?
I don't think there's any character who is universally loved. No matter who they are, there must be someone out there who hates them. Not that I hate Clem--I'm just cold about him. Although I did always wonder what happened to him after S6, and once had a fic idea where he met Spike in early S7, and Spike found out about Buffy bringing Dawn to Spike's cave after the attempted rape (I always wondered if Spike ever know about it).

As for who I love: The obvious: Buffy, Faith, Spike. I love Warren, too, but not in a very loving kind of way. I love most of the main characters, some more than others. More obscure characters: I developed a bizarre soft spot for Harmony, although she also annoys me a lot.
I don't think there's any character who is universally loved. No matter who they are, there must be someone out there who hates them.

Very true (and you can tell I was being satirical anyway.Or trying to.)

Although I did always wonder what happened to him after S6,

You mean the time between Villians (or TTG?) and Potential, and once more in EP? You're right, we don't see him again do we? That's an interesting concept.

Basically he's a plot device anyway, showing that 1) Buffy's different worlds fit together very awkwardly if at all, and "normal" for a Slayer looks a lot different than everybody else's, and 2) another shade of grey away from the black/white. humans/demons divide that the WC has drummed into Slayers' heads. (ie, Kendra)

I honestly would have been very happy with more Clem and less - oh, say, Andrew in S7. But he drives me up a wall anyway.

(I always wondered if Spike ever know about it).

That never occurred to me - although I must have read it in a fic somewhere. (Would it have registered even if he did know?) His relationship with Dawn was secondary to his relationship to Buffy anyway IMO contrary to the countless volumes of fics to the contrary.

I love Warren, too, but not in a very loving kind of way.

Huh. Now I'm curious why - but I should probably reread your meta on Warren and Willow shouldn't I?

I remember disliking Warren right off the bat in IWMTLY - not even so much for the creepiness of building a robot girlfriend, but I think a sort of visceral displeasure at having to look at or listen to the character, his face, voice etc. (I was kind of like that with Charisma Carpenter at first, to be honest.) I think it's a reaction to actor+character that's hard to parse out which is which. And if the performance is really good, that's part of the point - the difference between inhabiting a role and wearing it on the surface like a costume. So I think in hindsight I appreciate the character and the actor a lot more than I first did.

TKIM actually had a lot to do with that I think; Adam's performance in it just about broke me when Warren is on his knees crying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry come back!" One of the best performances of pure emotional anguish I've ever seen. The show loves redemption arcs, but what happens when redemption isn't possible, when there's no way to fix the damage you've done?
Very true (and you can tell I was being satirical anyway.Or trying to.)

But if we just found the one fictional character that everyone loved, it would solve all our problems.

You mean the time between Villians (or TTG?) and Potential, and once more in EP? You're right, we don't see him again do we? That's an interesting concept.

Yes, I meant that, although I may also have forgotten his two appearances in S7.

Basically he's a plot device anyway, showing that 1) Buffy's different worlds fit together very awkwardly if at all, and "normal" for a Slayer looks a lot different than everybody else's, and 2) another shade of grey away from the black/white. humans/demons divide that the WC has drummed into Slayers' heads. (ie, Kendra)

That's probably true. And he shows a good side of Spike. In some ways, I think Spike's interactions with the demon world in S6 are a stronger argument for his goodness than his interactions with the human world (i.e. the Scoobies).

I honestly would have been very happy with more Clem and less - oh, say, Andrew in S7. But he drives me up a wall anyway.

I like Andrew and am glad with what we got from him, but, like Harmony, he is annoying, so I get the feeling.

Now I'm curious why - but I should probably reread your meta on Warren and Willow shouldn't I?

I'm not sure if I get into it in that meta, except to say that the way he parallels everyone on the show is cool. I have a hard time putting into words why I love Warren. Just the little things, like in Dead Things the way he checks out Andrew and Jonathan to see what their reactions are to getting away with murder. The way he is simultaneous one of the most human villains (even more human than the Mayor and Faith, because for me, he feels like someone you would actually know) and one of the most irredeemable.
But if we just found the one fictional character that everyone loved, it would solve all our problems.

Exactly! ;) But then again people have thought that if everyone believed in the "one true God" it would solve everything and look where that's gotten us.

I may also have forgotten his two appearances in S7.

That's easy to do, they're so brief - but in both instances he's interacting with Buffy, not Spike; so his purpose has shifted from that of Spike's confidant, to the symbol of Buffy's changed attitude/relationship with demons.

In some ways, I think Spike's interactions with the demon world in S6 are a stronger argument for his goodness than his interactions with the human world (i.e. the Scoobies).

Oh that's a interpretation I haven't heard before! Interesting. (it's certainly true that he can hurt other demons if he choses to but doesn't have the same choice with humans except Buffy until S7. Huh.) I'd be interested if you ever developed that further in a meta-post. *bats eyelashes*

but, like Harmony, he is annoying,

To be fair, I can actually deal with him better in S6 as part of the Trio; I guess because his role is smaller and he has the other two to play off of? Also, he's still a comic figure but also a very dark one - he thinks it's cool that they got away with murder in S6, unlike Jonathan. And Tom Lenk's final scene in Storyteller, before he turns off the camera? Fantastic. OTOH, having that entire episode built around him when the rest of the main cast goes wanting feels like a fanboy choice on the part of the writers. (That's the only way I can interpret the fact that he's continued to have a significant supporting role in the comics - and gets away with some very skeevy stuff. "We like this character! You should too!")

I actually enjoy Harmony a hell of a lot more. rahirah said that she has a "sad affection" for her, and I guess I do too? She actually endures a lot of shit when you look at it, and she's so funny, when she could have remained the one-dimensional bitch from the early seasons.

The way he is simultaneous one of the most human villains (even more human than the Mayor and Faith, because for me, he feels like someone you would actually know) and one of the most irredeemable.

ever_neutral made the same point in her S7 meta, and I think that's the point where I started to take another look at the character.

I'd be interested if you ever developed that further in a meta-post.

I'm not sure if I have enough to develop into a meta post, but maybe at some point. It's mostly based off of the idea that Spike could hurt demons like Clem, and would have in the past (See: his reaction to demonized Giles in A New Man), but chooses not to. And this, not killing demons like Clem, isn't something that Buffy cares about--at least, not the same way she cares about dead humans--so he's probably not refraining from killing demons to please her. Also, he pays his gambling debts :)

She actually endures a lot of shit when you look at it, and she's so funny, when she could have remained the one-dimensional bitch from the early seasons.

She's also the only vampire on either show who tries to do good without a soul, chip, or romantic obsession. Go Harmony!

ever_neutral made the same point in her S7 meta, and I think that's the point where I started to take another look at the character.

Do you happen to have a link to that meta? I maybe have read it, but I'm not sure.

Edited at 2013-06-28 11:20 pm (UTC)
And this, not killing demons like Clem, isn't something that Buffy cares about--at least, not the same way she cares about dead humans--so he's probably not refraining from killing demons to please her.

Interesting. of course he's still in a weird sort of limbo - he can't cut all his ties to the demon world because it is his world still. But if that's true, it's an interesting parallel (I'm making this up as I go along) the to acts of service Buffy performs on his behalf without his knowledge.

She's also the only vampire on either show who tries to do good without a soul, chip, or romantic obsession. Go Harmony!

Right? Why isn't there more Harmony-appreciation in fandom? Is it because she's a girl? Because she's comic relief? (Her scenes in S4 where Spike mistreated her actually had me teary for her.)

Do you happen to have a link to that meta? I maybe have read it, but I'm not sure.

Here it is, sorry!

http://ever-neutral.livejournal.com/14562.html
of course he's still in a weird sort of limbo - he can't cut all his ties to the demon world because it is his world still.

That's true. And it's interesting that of all the demons who could have connected with, it's the relatively harmless Clem he becomes friends with.

Why isn't there more Harmony-appreciation in fandom?

Maybe because she's annoying? Maybe because she makes Spike look bad (both because she's the victim of his mistreatment, and also because she does good without chip or romantic obsession)? I don't know.

Thanks for the link. I don't think I've read that one before. I can't find where it mentions Warren, though.
it's the relatively harmless Clem he becomes friends with.

Clem is so easy-going, he almost isn't a demon. He's more - a really funny-looking stoner? I get the sense that to the rest of the demon world Spike is persona non grata ever since he teamed up with the Slayer in Becoming. Or is that just with Dru?

The rest of the demon world does seem to hold him at arms length; but they know he can beat them up. OTOH why would he want to beat up Clem? there's no reason.

Maybe because she makes Spike look bad (both because she's the victim of his mistreatment, and also because she does good without chip or romantic obsession)?

He treats her like dirt (even compared to his beloved Dru), and SHE makes him look bad? (i know that's not your view but if it's fandom's - gross. Blame the victim.)

And come ON - she's hilarious in Restless and OOMM. Sometimes I don't get this fandom - or rather I do and I wish I didn't. *shakes head*

I can't find where it mentions Warren, though.

Crap i thought it was in that one. I'll find where it's at and send that link, sorry.
I get the sense that to the rest of the demon world Spike is persona non grata ever since he teamed up with the Slayer in Becoming.

If not then, then after he got the chip and started fighting other demons.

OTOH why would he want to beat up Clem? there's no reason.

For fun?

He treats her like dirt (even compared to his beloved Dru), and SHE makes him look bad? (i know that's not your view but if it's fandom's - gross. Blame the victim.)

This is purely speculation on my part, but I think a lot of people are uncomfortable dealing with the victims of people they like. I know the feeling, more so from other fandoms than this one, and more so when I was a kid, but still, I would have that attitude sometimes, of not wanting to deal with the victims of the bad behavior of characters I liked.

I'll find where it's at and send that link, sorry.

Don't worry about it. It was interesting to read. And it's cool if you can't find the other one.
If not then, then after he got the chip and started fighting other demons.

It's easy to forget that in School Hard he had minions at his command - sort of paralleled with the demon biker gang in Bargaining now that I think about it ("Chop her into messes" / tearing the 'bot to pieces ..hmmmm....)

This is purely speculation on my part, but I think a lot of people are uncomfortable dealing with the victims of people they like.

I think you're absolutely right. If you're not dealing with that person's dark acts, it's easier to whitewash them. I think I may have read one or two fanfics so far out of hundreds that deal face-to-face with Spike's victims, like the child he chased down in the coal cellar after killing the other family members. People turn Spike into a gentle poet who would NEVER hurt or rape anyone? WTF? Really? (And I'm probably guilty of that with Buffy sometimes, I admit.)

And it's cool if you can't find the other one.

I just asked her which meta that was. But anything she writes is amazing.



I think I may have read one or two fanfics so far out of hundreds that deal face-to-face with Spike's victims, like the child he chased down in the coal cellar after killing the other family members. People turn Spike into a gentle poet who would NEVER hurt or rape anyone? WTF? Really? (And I'm probably guilty of that with Buffy sometimes, I admit.

Yeah, and I think the show helps with that by not introducing us to any of his victims, except for Nikki Wood, and at least she was an equal fighter. I've always wondered what would happen if someone like Robin Wood, who had family Spike killed, showed up in S4-S6, before he had the soul.

Thanks for the second link! I will read it now.
Yeah, and I think the show helps with that by not introducing us to any of his victims, except for Nikki Wood,

Actually, in School Hard, Sheila is one of his first victims. (Remember the school's sexually-experienced "bad girl" who hangs out on the wrong side of the tracks, as contrasted with Buffy? and holy shit is that some wonky sexual politics there, Joss) He hides her, bound and gagged, behind the bedroom door and then before leaving Dru he encourages her to "eat something" and throws the terrified girl at Dru; the last thing we see is Dru vamping out.

I don't know what to call that except psychological torture with a sexualized component (bound and gagged, a common trope in torture porn fics) - as well as physical torture, because vamps feed on living humans. It's interesting to rewatch S2 to remind myself what Spike was like before the show (and fandom) woobified him. He was a fucking VAMPIRE, kiddies. He fed off terrified living human beings, and the terror of the victims is part of the thrill, what he "fed" off of in addition to blood. This is truth. Just because he didn't plan things in advance like some elaborate stage show like Angelus doesn't mean he didn't engage in torture or didn't enjoy the suffering of his victims. It just means he has a short attention span, no impulse control, and an inability/unwillingness to plan ahead, like some teenager with ADHD.

what would happen if someone like Robin Wood, who had family Spike killed, showed up in S4-S6, before he had the soul.

Pretty much the same thing that happened in LMPTM, to be honest. That is one area I think the show (and subsequently fandom) fell down - the perpetrator's POV is prioritized over that of the victims. lanoyee and I were talking about this in regards to LMPTM as a matter of fact.
http://red-satin-doll.livejournal.com/17490.html?thread=375634#t375634
As she said, they went pretty over the top in terms of Spike beating the shit out of Robin and even seeming to bite him - but not doing so just to prove to himself he was in control? Yeah, that's some problematic shit there, and it doesn't get a fraction of the attention that DT does, for instance.
Actually, in School Hard, Sheila is one of his first victims

Good point. I sometimes forget about her since Dru was the one who actually killed her, but Spike still victimized her.

I agree that LMPTM is very problematic, but at least in LMPTM Buffy could fall back on the excuse that Spike was a different man because of the soul. She wouldn't have been able to do that earlier. You have a good point about Robin Wood's beating not getting the same attention as Buffy beating Spike in Dead Things.
I sometimes forget about her since Dru was the one who actually killed her, but Spike still victimized her.

Yeah, Dru's role was relatively passive (not that it's any less evil); she's still housebound/bedbound at that point, and Spike is the one "going to market" to bring home her supper; he has to have been the one to lure her (probably flirted with her, then bound and gagged her.) Sheila's nothing more than fresh meat to them.

S2 is extremely psychosexual in a lot of it's themes and tropes, not necessarily to the good, but then vampires always have been ever since Bram Stoker - linked to negative views of female sexuality. The monster and the woman are linked in the popular culture because female sexuality is "monstrous". This happens to be the episode where Xander pulls a tampon out of Buffy's purse at the Bronze and Spike says "I smell the blood of a nice, ripe girl." Not exactly subtle.

Buffy could fall back on the excuse that Spike was a different man because of the soul.

The thing is the show paints it as self-defense, and maybe this is no different from my contention in my Ted meta that Buffy had a right to fight for her life. But I think as in DT they went a little overboard for emotional effect, but they assumed in both instances we'd have sympathy for the perpetrator not the victim. So that's on Joss for approving it and the writers.

The thing is, in one instance(a portion of) fandom has sympathy for the victim and in another for the perpetrator - because it's Spike in both instances. Ultimately fandom prioritizes him in any situation - and the show oddly enough follows suit, by making his redemption more important, bigger and shinier than Buffy's; by making him the one who saves the day thanks to his sacrifice and the amulet from Angel. In the shooting script it's implied that the Slayer Spell is what actually unlocks the amulet's power and Spike is then connected to the new Slayers - he feels their pain as they are injured - but that doesn't come across in the episode itself.
Ultimately fandom prioritizes him in any situation - and the show oddly enough follows suit, by making his redemption more important, bigger and shinier than Buffy's; by making him the one who saves the day thanks to his sacrifice and the amulet from Angel.

I wonder how much of that was the writers giving fandom what it wanted, and how much of it was based on the writer's feelings independent from the fandom.

In the shooting script it's implied that the Slayer Spell is what actually unlocks the amulet's power and Spike is then connected to the new Slayers - he feels their pain as they are injured - but that doesn't come across in the episode itself.

I didn't know that. That's a cool detail that I wish they'd kept in.
ever_neutral kindly sent me the link to her S6 meta. I missed her reference to Warren because it's just a couple of sentences. I thought there was more to it than that, but she puts a lot of power and meaning into just a few words, so I oughtn't be surprised:
http://ever-neutral.livejournal.com/5745.html
"... And I think I'll backtrack and explain my random sympathy for Warren. It was just this one casual moment in Seeing Red, when he's getting ready to kick the ass of some guy he went to school with: "It's Warren! Remember, Warren, gym class, fifth period? You and your jock buddies used to give me such a hard time. That thing with the underwear? God, I thought I'd never stop crying."

... It's [S6] about power.

It's about control and identity too."
["our shared humanity trumps gender differences unless we allow those differences to stand in our way"]

Amen to that! That's a terribly crucial point that too many people don't seem to grasp. Grasping that is the key to defeating sexism. We need to get the whole of humanity to see things that way.
Thanks for coming by! I hope things are well with you?

We need to get the whole of humanity to see things that way.

PREACH.
(Anonymous)
I'm managing, thanks. :) Btw, I left a comment on your Ted entry. It wasn't about the main topic of the entry, because I felt that was too sensitive for me to address well. It was about Joyce, sparked by your exchange with Norwie. You may not like my opinion of Joyce too much, but I hope you won't mind the input. Btw, I don't see Joyce as representing mothers in general or motherhood, because she's way too different from my own mother for me to see her that way.
Yes, I saw it, and thank you for commenting. You probably also saw that I did make that point that she isn't perfect. I would certainly never claim that. That is the point - I see the show through the lens of dysfunctional family dynamics, which is very familiar to me. Just so you know, I will make other posts about the Summers women on this site in part because I'm interested in women. Giles and Spike etc get a ton of ink as it is.

I don't see Joyce as representing mothers in general or motherhood, because she's way too different from my own mother for me to see her that way.

Neither do I, but there are points of recognition for me in the dynamic, and I know that's true of some other people. It is what it is. I wish that weren't so, because I wouldn't wish that knowledge or experience on anyone anyone. My mother did endure a lot, as did my siblings and myself. I'm trying to understand, not judge, because I object to the notion that women have to be "perfect" - as mothers, daughters, etc. Or that love doesn't exist unless the relationships are the tv advertisement version of "perfect".

It wasn't about the main topic of the entry, because I felt that was too sensitive for me to address well.

I appreciate your sensitivity on the matter, especially if it's a "hot" issue for you, as it is for me. Hence the plentiful disclaimers at the top. ;) My wish was to share an experience without verbally "battering" anyone, and voice solidarity with others.




You just got an anonymous comment in response to the above response to me (though I don't see it here). That was me. I didn't realize I wasn't signed in.
Yup, got it, thanks! I knew it was you b/c I saw the other comment first. (God do I hate how I see the latest comments come into my inbox first, so then I find myself answering people all out of order. And then earlier replies go unanswered *sigh*)