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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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.

Big Bads… start with B

Big Bads.  Villains.  Evil Nasties.  They go by so many names.  But they’re all just evil.  And magnificent.

Throughout the seven seasons of Buffy, there were lots of bad guys and vampires and annoyances, but there were really only seven Big Bads, which *I* classify to be the season long bad guy whose arc culminates in a big demonstration during the season finale.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the Big Bads by season:

The Master – Couldn’t get out of the Hellmouth until Buffy was dead.  But she was resuscitated, and killed him by dropping him through the ceiling of the library on a massive stake.

Angelus – After sleeping with Buffy, Angel lost his soul and turned into Angelus, the former big bad, evil vampire with an affinity for really REALLY hurting people.  Especially Buffy.  He almost destroyed the world with Acathala, but Buffy put a sword through him in the 11th hour, sending him to hell.  And her to LA.

Mayor Richard Wilkins III – Probably the funniest Big Bad, and huge germaphobe.  He’d been alive for 100 plus years and was finally about to reach immortality by becoming a true demon.  But his snakey self was vulnerable, and he blew up in the school.

Adam – Ugh.  Hate this guy.  Buffy used the essence of all her friends to pull out his power center and disintegrate it.  Then the gang dreamt about the first Slayer.

Glory – Evil hell-bitch with a split personality she shares with mortal named Ben.  After having found the key, Dawn, she tied opening a porthole to get her home to her own hell dimension, which would have destroyed the world.  Giles took her out by killing her mortal half, Ben.  Then Buffy sacrificed herself to save the world from being destroyed.

Evil Willow – Willow began to spiral in a drug/magic metaphor wherein her girlfriend Tara leaves her, and when they finally get back together, Tara dies at the hands of Warren.  Evil goes all black hair and kills Warren and begins more destruction, only to be saved by Xander and his yellow crayon speech.

The First Evil – The culmination of all the evil in the world, and alleges that it cannot be defeated.  It appears in various forms, including previous Big Bads, which makes the montage so awesome.  Buffy can’t defeat the First Evil per se, but destroys the Turok h’an that the First sends to destroy the world, and all the Slayers.  Spike helps in that destruction by wearing a trasnporty necklace that sends him to LA once the fight is over.

And there you have it.  Buffy Big Bads.  Love them or hate them, they make Buffy’s life more difficult, and certainly more interesting.

Adam… is for A

Adam.  Ugh.  Adam.  My all time least favorite villain EVER.  There was nothing good or exciting about this guy other than when he was defeated, the worst season was over, and we could get back to our regularly scheduled Buffy.

I don’t even understand what the purpose of that was.  Did they run out of ideas?

Ok, I’m being harsh in my hatred for Adam.  But he doesn’t hold a candle to the Master, from season one who was pretty iffy after we saw some of the other Big Bads of the Buffyverse.  Angelus, Glory, Evil Willow, the First.  Come on.  Adam was just this crazy humanoid made of extra parts.  Ewww.  I hate that.  I didn’t like the miscellaneous parts when they did it in Some Assembly Required from season two.

Enough ranting about Adam.  I guess he served a purpose in being a vehicle for moving the story along, so I can’t complain that much.

Wonder what I’m doing?  It’s called the Ato Z Challenge.  Check it out here.