The One Where I Hop on My Soapbox About Racial Diversity… Sort of

In doing tonite’s Buffy Rewatch, this really got to me.  Not the lack of racial diversity in the episode (Inca Mummy Girl), but the idea that so many people cared so much.  Did I notice it before?  Of course.  Did I care?  Not really.  It doesn’t affect the show as it is or was.  It doesn’t affect how brilliant the writing is, nor does it affect how awful season four was.  But it is an idea that is present.

I do believe, however, that if we’re going to discuss the lack of racial diversity, we ought to be looking at the series as a whole, and not just individual episodes.

The idea of Sunnydale, California, allegedly, is that it is supposed to be a very diverse town, as California is a very diverse state.  (Here’s where I play devil’s advocate) Think about Sunnydale for a minute.  As the fictional town it is.  It’s on a hellmouth.  People have been moving out of Sunnydale at increasing rates.  Property values are going down.  Are you REALLY surprised more people don’t want to live there.  People die in Sunnydale.  And most people can’t explain why.  Would YOU want to move there just to prove that Sunnydale was diverse?

But other than that… the series as a whole has had a limited number of “colorful” characters.  Most of them played less than significant roles in one-off episodes and end up dead.  Does anyone remember the locker room in Welcome to the Hellmouth?  That isn’t a white girls screaming about the EXTREME DEAD GUY that just fell out of her locker.

Granted, she only had one episode.  Well, one scene in one episode.  And there’s a lot of characters like that.  One’s that try to be important or influential, or diverse, and they end up getting killed.

Then of course there’s our Islander Slayer, Kendra.  And don’t forget baddies Mr. Trick and Sweet.  And even more importantly, Robin Wood, the new principal of the NEW Sunnydale High, who probably had the most episodes.

But this was the 90’s.  I think if Buffy were done today, it would be a very different show.  I give the show quite a bit of credit for being as awesome as it was.  And to me, the lack of racial diversity, as it were, is not going to affect me either way.  Except maybe to get me to talk about it.

But I’m a purist.  I like my Buffy as it was, is and ever shall be.  I love the writing, and the characters and can’t imagine it being a different show with different people or different ideas.

Plus, it gives us all something to talk about.

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Back to Basics

… but not quite “Here endeth the lesson.”

I’ve been participating (for all of two days… or four, depending on how you look at it) in a Buffy and Twitter trending topic called #BuffyRewatch.  Like, I’m totally geeking out over it.  Like, for days, I’ve been so excited just waiting for this to happen.  And it finally started.  Thanks to some pretty cool people over at No White Noise, worldwide, there are many MANY people geeking out watching Buffy together, at the same time, and talking about in on Twitter.  And I’m totally participating.

So, what this #BuffyRewatch thing is is this: people watching their DVDs, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes or other whathaveyou the same Buffy episode at the same time and live tweeting comments and reactions.  Some people have seen Buffy before, and some haven’t.  And as a community thing, I think it’s great.  And for those who haven’t seen Buffy before, I think there’s no time like the present (always, anytime, anywhere) to start watching such a great show.

ANYway.  So this started on Friday night, when collectively, we all watched the first four episodes of the series, and every Monday night thereafter will consist of three more episodes until we get to the end of season 3.

And what this all means to me, aside from bonding with people with whom I have something in common, but also that I want to refocus on what I came to this blog to do: write about Buffy.  And more specifically, write a book about Buffy.

I have a great outline, and so many good ideas, I think that it’s about time to get them out and really start organizing them into something I would totally read (and buy).

So back at it I go.

Faith… starts with F

Oh, Faith, how I love thee, let me count the ways.

Faith is one of my all time favorite characters of the Buffyverse.  And it’s not because I absolutely adore Eliza Dushku, because I do.  It’s that Faith is the antithesis of Buffy.  I love Buffy as a character, but Faith is the darkside.  Anything you ever wondered if Buffy could or would do, Faith has already done it.

Faith isn’t supposed to exist with Buffy.  Buffy died.  The Kendra was called, thus beginning the two Slayer game.  Then Kendra died, and Faith enters into the picture.  Buffy and Faith never get along.  In the beginning, Faith tries dragging Buffy to the darkside by showing her how to party like a rockstar, and Buffy enjoys it until Faith takes it a step too far and kills a civilian.  Then Faith spirals and really turns evil.

She does eventually find redemption with the help of Angel, and reappears in Sunnydale when she finds out the First is trying to kill off and end the Slayer line.

As much as I love evil, season 3 Faith who is the hard partier and the anti-but-wannabe-Buffy, I love season 7 Faith so much more because she found redemption but STILL doesn’t get along with Buffy.  But they try, for the sake of humanity and their Slayerhood.  And they have such great chemistry – it’s like their sisters, “but with really different hair” (Cordelia, Season 2, Reptile Boy).

Some of my favorite Faith quotes:

Are you the bad Slayer now?  Am I the good Slayer now?

And this exchange kills me everytime because it tells everything.  It explains their whole story.  And it’s funny.

Faith:  Okay, the point. Me, by myself, all the time. I’m looking at you, everything you have and, I don’t know…  jealous. Then there I am, everybody’s looking to me, trusting me to lead them and I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life.

Buffy: Yeah.

Faith:  And that’s you everyday, isn’t it?

Buffy:   I love my friends. I’m very grateful for them. But that’s the price of being a Slayer.

Faith: There’s only supposed to be one. Maybe that’s why you and I can never get along. We’re not supposed to exist together.

Buffy:  Also, you went evil and were killing people.

Faith:  Good point.  Also a factor.

Buffy:  But you’re right. I mean, I guess everyone’s alone but being a Slayer? There’s a burden we can’t share.

Faith: And no one else can feel it. (beat) Thank god we’re hot chicks with superpowers.

Buffy:  Takes the edge off.

So, Faith.  Love her.

Earshot… starts with E

I absolutely LOVE season 3.  I think it may be my number one season, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.

One of the most interesting and then controversial episodes of the season was Earshot.  The airing was cancelled initially because at the time, the Columbine shootings happened.  And it would have been in poor taste to air such an episode.  The season finale was also pulled from network and tucked away on a shelf, then finally aired in the Summer, after “enough” time had passed that the two episodes wouldn’t appear tasteless.

I do love Earshot, otherwise.  It’s such an interesting episode in that it deals with Buffy getting this demon power, she can hear people’s thoughts.  It seems cool to being with, until Buffy becomes totally overwhelmed by it to the point where she can hardly function anymore.

In 2006 or 2007, when music vids were the popular thing to do, because video editing is still awesome, I spliced some clips of the Earshot episode together and put a track by Green Day behind it.  And here it is below for you to see.  Enjoy!

Dawn… starts with D

Probably an obvious choice for D… or maybe not.

Dawn started out being my least favorite character (along with Riley), but as she became more integrated with the group, the higher up my like list she got.

A few things about Dawn:

  • She was the Key.
  • She was inserted into Buffy‘s life/world by monks trying to save the world.
  • Glory was obsessed with finding the key so she could go home to her own dimension.
  • Dawn was ready to sacrifice herself to save the world – but Buffy did it first.
  • Once, she thought she was a potential Slayer, but promptly and nobly gave up the responsibility when the time was right.

Sure, Dawn was why and annoying at times, but she did get some redeeming qualities the more integrated she became.  In season 5, she was the obnoxious and annoying little sister, but season 6 saw a whole new Dawn.  She’d lost her mother, then her sister.  I think she did some growing up.  Of course, she had her moments of being the annoying little sister still.  But that had nearly totally disappeared by season 7, where she was becoming a pro Watcher-in-Training.

I promise, Dawn, I won’t hate you anymore.

Caleb… starts with C

I’ve got some pretty serious Nathan Fillion love.  I first discovered him is his beyond-creepy role of Caleb in the second half of the seventh season of Buffy.  And it wasn’t until much MUCH later that I found him again as Mal on Firefly.  And as Mal he was such a great, lovable character.  As Caleb?  Not so much.

Caleb was the wanna-be, holier than thou, woman hating priest who showed up in Dirty Girls as a worker of the first to help destroy the whole Slayer line.

Joss Whedon described him as “the creepiest priest.”  And also said that “he was the most bald-faced misogynist we’ve had since, well, since Warren, last year.”

I hated Caleb.  He creeped me out to my core.  Normally, when a character does that for me, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth about the actor and I tend not to like anything else they do based on one, horrible, evil character they played and that I hated.  Hey, it happened with Harry Hamlin playing Aaron Echolls – but I think I’ve gotten over that, finally.  And I have certainly gotten over that with Nathan Fillion.

He’s gone on to play one of my favorite characters on TV, Richard Castle.  And good for him for getting his own show.

But as far as Caleb goes, I hate him.  He’s just so bad, he’s good.  Oh, and he poked Xander‘s eye out, so that tips the scale way in the evil column.

But it’s Nathan Fillion, so I love him.  Just not Caleb.