Category Archives: Rants
Let’s start with
Unfortunately, I finished not a single one of the 10 600+ page books I had as my original goal, as I found it difficult to get into long books during school (especially while completing my thesis), and harder to lug them around on the subway after I started working. My new goal was to read 42 (because, why not?), and I’m happy to say that I managed 43. Hurrah.
This was a great year for books. Nine 5-star reviews (more than I’ve given in any other year), a few old favourites, several new favourite books and authors, three total duds, and plenty of amazing, memorable reads that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come (notably: Shrill, NOS4A2, What Happened, Moneyball, Big Little Lies, Being Mortal, The Female of the Species, and The Hate U Give).
For fun, I took note of the amount of ebook/hard copy books (19/24), female/male authors (23/20), and fiction/non-fiction genres (18/25) I read this year, and was unhappy with the ratio of the latter. Goal for next year: read more fiction. Also, I think for next year I’m going to try to read only books I’m currently reading, and not start any new ones until those are done. I’m “in the middle” of more than 60, according to Goodreads, and that’s just nonsense.
The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, Three Billboards, The Big Sick, Lion, Moonlight, Lego Batman, What We Do in the Shadows, When Harry Met Sally = the good
Sister Act, Kingsman 2, Ant-Man, Big, Hocus Pocus = the mediocre
Halloween Town = the ugly
The Good Place, Big Mouth, Stranger Things, Jane the Virgin, Fargo = the good
The Crown, This Is Us, 70000th re-watch of Friends (including s6-10) = the mediocre
The Gifted, Murdoch Mysteries = the ugly
Ugh, where to begin. I’m not going to go into politics and current events. We all know it’s been an utterly exhausting, infuriating, emotionally draining shit show. Much of my personal year was along similar lines – depths of depression I haven’t had to reckon with since 2010, changes in meds, school issues, personal drama, endless job interviews leading nowhere, money troubles, York, the TTC, fucking SHINGLES. Around June or July, I was reading some old WordPress articles for some reason (some actual reason, I just can’t remember what it was) when I came across my post on my decision to run a marathon for my 100 Things To Do In 1000 Days project back in 2013. I read this:
Right now, I have had no luck finding a job. I find myself in the default setting of the modern 20-somethings these days: drifting. I’m living at home again. I’m not ready to go back to school, but I’m not ready to settle into a career. I’m over-qualified for the work I want to do right now, and under-qualified for the jobs that everybody thinks I should have. I’m trying to save money for the next step, but in which direction is that step going to be?
You know. The usual.
I’m really good with big ideas. I’m really bad with figuring out how to make them happen before spiraling into an overwhelmed basket-case of depression and self-utter-loathing. “How dare you set yet another goal for yourself and not achieve it? God, you’re utterly useless.” I want to be a marine biologist, or a travel writer, or a photographer, or a genetic counselor. Or all of those things. I want to be finished my B.Sc. I want to finish writing my book. I want to start that travel website. This isn’t a new thing. Sometimes my life feels like a trail of half-finished or discarded projects. […] I’m just filled with the best of intentions.
I’ve always wanted to be doing big things, great things. I tested high in IQ, and I thought that meant I’d be finished grad school by now. Instead, I can’t even get hired by McDonald’s. I don’t apply for awesome internships or challenging workplaces because I cannot see myself succeeding in them. All I see is myself letting everybody down. I see in my future an under-realised life. I’ll work temp jobs for a while, I’ll be the crazy aunt in scarves, I’ll end up getting a small apartment and dying alone with my dogs, probably in a bit of debt. It will have been a reasonably happy, mostly mediocre life. My family and friends will be sad, and in 5 years, it will be like I was never on Earth.
My god, you guys. I fucking BAWLED. “Four years later and it’s all exactly the same. I didn’t even run a full marathon. Nothing has changed. I’ve done nothing. I’m a loser. McDONALD’S STILL WON’T HIRE ME EVERYTHING SUCKS AND HAS ALWAYS SUCKED AND WILL SUCK FOREVER MORE.”
It’s not like everything changed all at once. This was pre-shingles, after all. But after deciding to end my schooling, at least for the time being, in August, things started looking up. I got a job, a job that pays money, a real, adult job, with benefits. Starting paying down some loans. Read a lot. Remembered I had friends and indulged my social life. Looking at that old post today, at the end of December, there are some things I’d like to celebrate.
Yeah, I still live at home, and I don’t have my B.Sc. I haven’t gone anywhere in 2 years and have no current plans to, no matter how desperately the travel bug itches. I’ve put on some weight, and I still kind of suck at remembering to talk to people.
But look here, you. (me.) You haven’t done nothing. Since that post, you got a TESOL certificate and taught English in Korea. You also went to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Japan (twice), Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, San Francisco, Hawaii, and New York. You climbed mount Fuji, ran a half-marathon, went bungee jumping, made hundreds of new friends, all over the world. Since 2013, you’ve read 142 books. This year, I wrote a thesis, got a job in a journalism-related field (who’d have thunk?), finally got my driver’s license, and had a lot of good days (I’d like to remember the ax-throwing, cider-tasting, 30th birthday surprise, Sister Act musical, Jurassic Park in Concert, and the Torgo-tastic uncut Manos, in particular). What more can you really ask for?
I’m so grateful for my friends and family, who dragged me through the bad days and helped me make the most of the good ones. Good bye 2017, you mixed bag of fury, despondency, joy, love, life. Looking forward to making your acquaintance, 2018. May you be heavier on the latter than the former.
I have seen the first 5 minutes of GoodFellas about 25 times, now.
This is the hardest time I have ever had trying to watch a movie. It’s not on Netflix (US or Canada) or Hulu. That’s fine, I’ll stream it. Nope, none of the streaming links work, and the ones that do are way too jerky. It’s probably my computer’s fault. I’ll restart and it will be the only window open. Nope, still not working. Fine, I will rent it on iTunes. Forgot the password. Forgot the credit card code. Reminded of password! Remembered credit card code! FINALLY it’s downloaded! No, it hasn’t. Why isn’t it downloading? Restart the computer. It works! No it doesn’t. Play. Play. Play? PLAY! Why isn’t it playing? The computer froze. Ok, I’ll try again. It works! Nope, it doesn’t seem to have loaded past the first few minutes. I’ll try logging out and logging in. It works!
NO IT DOESN’T!
Anyway, thankfully I finally got it to play the whole movie, all scenes in a row. Figures that the beginning scene is the one scene in the entire movie that is repeated. Twenty six times. There were a couple more hiccups, where I lost sound and the picture froze, then jumped forward a scene or two, but with some careful rewinding and only minimal breaking of ALL AVAILABLE OBJECTS IN MY SURROUNDING AREA, I have finally completed GoodFellas.
I like this reviewing movies via list. I think I’m going to make it a thing.
- Not sure if it’s blasphemous or hipster-cool or whateverthehellyouwanttojudgemeby to say this, but GoodFellas was SO much better than The Godfather. If only this one was in trilogy form, I might watch all three. As it is, I’m still having trouble working myself up to watch the next two Godfathers.
- Just by watching GoodFellas, the entire foundation of pop culture seems to have been laid bare for me. Contemporary American Poultry, for one, suddenly makes a lot more sense. Also every reference to the mob I have ever seen on my TV screen ever. No biggie.
- I have Layla stuck in my head. Oh well, things could be worse.
Also, FYI, I am now 14.5 books into my shelf, so even if I haven’t finished much on the List in the last few weeks, I have been plugging away. I have also been getting sidetracked by Raising Hope and Elementary (thanks to the omnipotent, brilliant, and fantastically beautiful Nataly, and also fever dreams). So you know, important, life-affirming things. Being unemployed and aimless is awesome!
10:00 – I stare at the Epic registration page
11:55 – I begin clicking the link to ticket sales
11:56 – click
11:57 – click
11:58 – CLICK
11:59 – CLICK CLICK CLICK
12:00 – It’s loading!
– it’s not loading
– it’s loading!
– run time error
– run time error
12:01 – CLICK WORK DAMN YOU WORK
– run time error
– *weeping* CLICK CLICK CLICK OHMYGOD WORK
12:02 – loading…
12:03 – loading…
12:04 – loading…
12:05 – loading?
12:06 – LOADING!
12:07 – service unavailable
12:08 – REFRESSSSSSSSSSSH WAHHHHHHH
12:09 – We are sorry, but the EPIC online waiting room has reached capacity and it is unlikely that badges are still available. Please click here to return to the Comic-Con website.
nnngggaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY.
This was my experience with trying to buy Comic Con tickets. I think it goes without saying that the attempt was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, there is always a tiny kernel of hope which will remain within me until July comes and goes, because tickets apparently may be re-sold at some point, and no matter how realistic I try to be, I just can’t help hoping. Damn you, uncontrollable optimism. Damn. You.
*Updated for clarity*
(Buffy review available here.)
For completeness’s sake, I started watching Angel in conjunction with s4 using this as a watching guide. Again, spoilers ahead.
I had no interest in the show before because Angel bores (or, I guess I should say “bored”) me, and I’m generally pretty skeptical of spin-offs (this is what kept me from watching Futurama for ages, though, so shows what I know). On the other hand: Cordelia – I didn’t even realise she was in it until a friend convinced me the show was worth watching. Which was a bit of work. “Why bother watching Angel? He’s SO boring, I hate Wesley, and surely Cordelia can’t carry a show,” I said. But Wesley got good, Cordelia got great (seriously, I love her so much), and Boreanez got funny, so – problems solved.
Before I get to the seasonal review, there are a couple of things I want to get out of the way.
One: Angel on Netflix is WEIRD. The sound mixing is bizarre – it goes way too quiet and then way too loud in the same scene, and the music is always blaring. Plus, for about half of the first season episodes, a black screen where commercials should be went on for about 10 full seconds. So not the best viewing experience.
Two: Joss Whedon. Man, I have such mixed feelings about Whedon. Almost as though he’s an actual human being with faults, instead of the idol I prefer to pretend my celebrity objects of affection and admiration are. I often feel like I’m watching a different show than the one he thinks he’s putting on. Like, you can’t keep re-writing people’s characters and motivations (not to mention the rules of your supernatural universe and the actual history of your show), and expect people to roll with it. Or maybe you can, but you SHOULDN’T. His shows are like Jessica Chastain’s fashion choices. So close. And yet…
The first episode was surprisingly funny, if a bit slow, so I was, if not hooked, then at least vaguely intrigued right from the beginning. Here are the notes I had about season one:
- I’m getting a bit tired of characters telling me how hot Angel is. He’s no Giles.
- Is every episode of Angel about some poor, down-on-her-luck, abused blonde woman being taken advantage of by a guy?
Answer: by Hero, no. But until then (and a good deal after), good freaking grief.
Seasons two and three had my favourite Cordelia – recognizable as herself from Buffy, but with the more thoughtful, caring traits highlighted. There was a great moment on Buffy where she mentioned that she ran away from some fight or another, only to realise later that no one was chasing her. It was a surprisingly introspective moment, but one that (as well as some tough love advice for Buffy and friends, her entire relationship with Xander, and her intelligence) makes her transformation on Angel entirely believable (to me, anyway).
You can count me as one of the people who are not a big fan of s4 (as Skip would say, I didn’t love it). Part of it was the lack of Cordelia, part of it was the annoyingness of the by turns whiny and psychotic Conner, and part of it was the general lack of fun that was happening around this time in the Buffyverse (season four aired at the same time as season seven *spits* of Buffy). Jasmine was an interesting idea, but the way they got there – Jeebus. So this all powerful higher being needed to create an impossible vampire birth in order for that impossible child to impregnate a part-demon woman who spent some time on the same (?) higher plane as this being, because that’s the only way she could burst fully formed from Cordy’s thrice pregnant belly because…why? What part of that makes any sort of actual sense? Seriously. I just – what?
Season five, on the other hand, I flat out loved. I also loved the beginning of s7 of Buffy, though, so I was prepared for disappointment, but turns out I didn’t need to be. Of course, there were some major continuity problems (*sigh* as usual), but after 12 seasons in the Buffyverse, I just don’t care anymore. Plus, if you think of s5 as its own show, which I can’t help kind of doing, continuity isn’t much of a problem if the show started with “Conviction” (the episode, not the intensity of your belief system). Fred’s recognizable, but Gunn isn’t, Wes is back to late s2, early s3, and Angel’s a bit of a blank slate at the best of times anyway. But I like it. It’s got the self-assurance of later-season Whedon shows AND the light-heartedness of the earlier seasons. I even loved Fred in s5, despite being totally meh about her for the past two seasons. Plus, then sexy Adam Baldwin walked in, and it’s official, s5 is my favourite.
In fact, there were only about 3 or so episodes I didn’t particularly enjoy in the whole season. For every other season, individual episodes tended to be a mixed bag of things I loved and things I hated, which makes it difficult to pick out favourites for re-watch. If only they could have been s5 good when Charisma was still in the cast. Or kept her on through the season. Sigh. Well, you can’t have everything. Especially if Whedon’s involved. (And if you’re Wesley, you can’t have anything.)
I’d always heard of Willow and Fred as being the big, well-loved female characters from the Buffyverse. Maybe that’s true, maybe I was hanging out in the wrong circles. I’d also heard of Buffy and Faith. But somehow, I’d never heard all that much about Cordelia, and what I did hear suggested that she wasn’t well-liked. So I’m glad that this “must read about everything I watch” business has led me to seeing I am not at all alone in my CC^2 love (and frustration). First she was bitchy and hilarious. Then she was entertaining and interesting. Then she was lovely and thoughtful. And then she was quiet, bizarre, and, finally, dead.
Frankly, I was one of those who really couldn’t freaking stand Wesley until around “Eternity” (no matter how little sense that episode actually made). And by “Sanctuary,” I thought I might actually like him, and was having trouble figuring out how to deal with it. Was this going to be another Logan Echolls situation? (Answer: yes, but less intense.) So I stopped hating Wesley around the time Faith tortured the shit out of him in s2, but I actively started to like him after his tortured reaction to Fred at the end of “Billy.” Damn, but Denisof can act. Plus, for some reason, his hair in s3 is really doing it for me.
I know some people still hate Wesley, and he’s not a very likable person, but I think he may be the most well thought-out, consistent character on either show. His ruthlessness, insecurity, self-loathing – he’s the only one who seems to avoid the episode-by-episode change of motivations that haunts pretty much every long-running series and especially the “I only care about the truth of the emotion, not the facts or the actual logical SENSE” of a Whedon series.
I love phantom Dennis, but is nobody going to at least point out that it’s vaguely creepy him scrubbing Cordy down in the bathtub? Another character I missed in s5.
Lilah – I didn’t start liking her until Linsday left. Probably because she was always getting one-upped by Lindsey and Gavin and the other big boys at Wolfram and Hart. I like her and Wesley together because they’re on equal footing. And while it could be said that Joss and Co. are making a point about being a woman in a man’s world, sometimes empowerment isn’t running around shouting about how empowered you are while punching guys in the face, sometimes it’s just being empowered.
I don’t know if Eliza Dushku’s grown up, or if Buffy’s just gotten so terrible, or what, but I’m liking Faith a lot in s7/s4. Even her “I’m so tough” act didn’t seem as forced (on the part of the writers and actor; I realise it’s supposed to be forced for the character). I didn’t have any patience with Faith when she was supposed to be Fun!Buffy, I didn’t have any patience with her when she was supposed to be a misunderstood sociopath, but her breakdown to Angel in Angel, I thought, was really effective, and started to explore a situation I’ve always been incredibly intrigued by – what happens when an essentially good person accidentally commits murder, an act that is so contrary to how they see themselves and the world that they choose to deal with it by going all in – the “I can’t deal with the guilt, so I’m just going to become fucking evil and be done with it” approach. The more people you kill, the less each life means, perhaps diluting the guilt, but only on the surface.
I like Gunn, and J. August Richards is hot, but they didn’t really seem to have a good grasp on the character.
I didn’t like Lorne, and thought the karaoke thing is stupid. But when he started hanging out at the Hyperion…well, by late s3 I liked him fine. And even though I was fairly ambivalent toward Fred, I really liked how much Lorne liked her.
The arc of Chantarelle/Lily/Anne was very cool to watch, really bringing home the second (and third, and fourth) chance thing that the series harp on.
A note on ‘shipping:
I don’t really care about Fred/Gunn or Fred/Wesley. I guess I lean toward the latter just because the series suggests that they’re meant to be and all that. As for Cordelia? I really do think that Buffy and Angel make sense together, but Boreanez is really adorable with Cordelia. He just looks so happy and fond of her all the time. They did a really good job showing the relationship progression between those two. I guess in terms of the characters the show thinks it’s putting on the screen, I’d root for Buffy/Angel, but in terms of what I enjoy watching more, it’s definitely Cordy/Angel. I just love her and want her to be happy.
A note on some favourite episodes:
Fav seasons (in terms of overall enjoyment): 5, 3, 2, 4, 1
Favourite episodes: Parting Gifts, Expecting, Sanctuary, To Shanshu in L.A., Guise Will Be Guise, Reunion, Reprise/Epiphany, That Vision Thing, Birthday, Loyalty/Sleep Tight, Awakening, Sacrifice, s5, Lineage, You’re Welcome, Smile Time (!!!!!), Origin
(Darla and Fool For Love are pretty good together.)
“Expecting” It’s not the best episode ever, but a great one for Cordy. It was nice to see how much all the men in her life valued and cared for her (so, since Fred got about 20 episodes of mourning, it would have been nice if Cordy got more than the last 2 minutes of one). She just keeps getting better on Angel, managing to mature and become sweeter without losing her character. (Well, that’s what I thought UNTIL some of s3, and ALL of s4, but this was written before that). Her reactions to her situation in “Expecting” and “Parting Gifts” are wonderful, and she’s becoming more empathetic, shown in her clumsy but well-meaning talking-to of Angel at the end of “Somnabulist.” And I hope Phantom Dennis sticks around forever (*sigh* again, written before season 4/5).
“Billy” felt weirdly exploitative to me, despite what it was obviously trying to do, especially by implying that all men have inside them a primal hatred of women just waiting to be let out (actually, I’m not sure it was implied so much as outright stated…). And how dare Angel not let Cordy take care of Billy herself? It would have been a nice bookend to the opening, where he tried to be supportive (but was ultimately condescending) by not training her to kill because he’d be there to swoop in and save the day.
A kinder take on the message of Billy (although I don’t really agree): “What Billy reminds us of, as I wrote when discussing him last year, is that anyone has the capacity to be a misogynist. Anyone has the capacity to be evil. It is not that people are intrinsically bad, but that people are shaped by the people and environment around them. Even a ‘nice guy’ can be contaminated by the touch of misogyny, and internalise it along the way. The question in ‘Billy’ isn’t ‘how do you identify and protect yourself from a misogynist,’ but ‘how do you resist misogyny and find new ways to fight it?’”
“Reunion” was kind of kick ass, and while Dru’s loopiness is kind of hit and miss, I thought she was all hit that episode. And Julie Benz’s simper may make me want to hurt things, but she is a beautiful human being.
Anyway, “Loyalty” is another favourite Angel episode (the hamburger! Loa! Darth Burger!). I thought it would be painfully ridiculous with bad CGI on top, but instead it was funny and disturbing and affecting, just like the episode. Way to go. If all eps were like this, it could have been an all-time favourite series. Plus, it was around this time I stopped finding Lilah tiresome.
“Sleep Tight” was also effectively creepy. However, I thought they were going to address the perfect happiness problem, and instead all we got was a father drinking his son’s blood. Still creepy, though.
“Lineage” was good. I gasped out loud about three separate times in the last 10 minutes. Maybe I was tired or just gullible, but still.
“You’re Welcome” is another one I could watch over and over. I forgot how infectious Cordy’s smile and bubbliness could be. One episode doesn’t make up for a whole season of mistreatment, but it was so, so nice to have the old Cordy back. I just wish there’d been some, any acknowledgement of her death in the next episode.
“SMILE TIME!” I AM MAKING THAT PUPPET OH MY GOD.
Seriously, I don’t even know what else to say about this episode. It’s just the best.
Picking Some Nits
- Inconsistencies are driving me CRAZY. If a drug simulating “bliss” can cause perfect happiness, why the fuck would the effects wear off? Once he feels happy, the soul leaves the body, done. It doesn’t return when the drug wears off. Was Angelus climaxing the whole time he was evil on Buffy, or was he happy once, then done? The latter. THIS IS NOT HARD.
- And how long does it take to drain a body anyway? Sometimes, people are dead within seconds, and sometimes they’re, er, sucked on for ages and still live to see another day. Not to mention that half the vampires we see running around that used to be humans could not possibly have been sired.
- If vampire hearts don’t beat, why would a heart-paralyzing dart affect Angel? How would it be spread throughout his bloodstream? What difference would it make? I kept thinking he would reveal he was just faking the effects of the poison.
- What do you mean demons don’t work with vampires? Do you watch your own show? Come on, Joss. Get your life together.
- Like, do they ever think things through? Why does everybody act like Angel just up and decided to change his ways one fine day? (or night?) He was re-souled. That is an actual, obvious, external event that happened. So I’m not sure it’s all that fair or accurate to compare his journey so closely to Faith’s, or, as Wesley says (and then Angel acts all bizarrely offended by it): “We’re supposed to believe he’d change his modus operandi overnight?” Well, yes. Overnight, something big changed (i.e. A SOUL WAS ADDED), and he became a different person. And when he goes evil, it’s not because he just changed his mind about humanity. It’s because his soul is no longer in that body. Or it is, but somehow doing drugs makes it go away because who needs silly things like sense and continuity?
- In “Happy Anniversary,” the aliens are all, “He is the one, the one we were waiting for, the only one…who can write gibberish on a blackboard that we can later erase and replace with the correct calculation because WHAT THE FUCK?” SERIOUSLY. I KNOW 22 HOUR-LONG EPISODES IS A LOT, BUT COME ON. That episode was entertaining, but conceptually awful. Like a lot of this show.
- http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/angel/untouched.php?page=16 Oh please, please, please let Angel get a dog and name it Charlie.
- Darla’s at her best when barely tolerating Dru.
- I LIKED that swami guy. Why has no one ever brought up that convertible thing before?
- What happens to Cordy and what happens to Fred is very similar. So. Much. Rape/forceful penetration and sublimation themes. Maybe if I don’t like it, I should just go watch shows by a different show runner.
- Sahjhan and Skip and now this new demon – I’m getting a little tired of the ‘hilariously incongruent-slang-speaking bratty evil demon’ thing. It was vaguely amusing the first time, now it’s just tired.
- Did Angel seriously just say “supposably“?!
- Also, why does Wesley always speak like he’s talking to someone on their deathbed?
- The TWoP recappers really do take some of the joy out of watching the later seasons of Buffy and the earlier seasons of Angel, but I will say this; one of them mentioned that no matter how hard they try, Angel will never be as kinky as Farscape, and I have to “hear, hear” that statement, because dude. Don’t even try.
- Between the Trio and David Nabbit and Willow’s offence at being called a nerd, I’m getting a little frustrated here.
- The Dinza is my favourite Angel demon, but I thought it was interesting that Gnarl, who seemed very similar to me, appeared around the same time. Gollum! And then there was the spider monster.
- I liked “Tabula Rasa” better than “Spin the Bottle,” actually, because the framing device bugged me (even if it was eventually explained, 38 episodes later), and it was never clarified how Lorne knew what he knew (and why he randomly went unconscious AND didn’t lose his memory when everyone else didn’t, and did). So that I couldn’t enjoy the otherwise fun episode fully. But it was awesome to see so starkly how much Cordelia and Wesley have changed over the course of Angel.
- Fred and Willow together was actually adorable.
- Poor Charisma Carpenter for anything she has to do post season 3. I guess Cordelia only gets 3 good seasons per series. Which is a pity, because Giles, she, and Anya are my favourites, and they are all being marginalized. BORED NOW.
- I love that Fred points out to Wes (and, many episodes early, Cordy to Angel, although that clearly didn’t stick) how condescending and annoying the mens’ “I should have protected you, I should have known better” bs is when talking about grown ass women. Speaking of putting people in their places, I miss Cordy.
- TWOP isn’t perfect, but I loved this: “On the bright side, if there’s any justice, a few weeks from now Cordy’s ghost will inexplicably materialize in Italy and start bugging the hell out of Buffy.” No one’s ever dead for real on a sci-fi/fantasy show.
- Actually kind of cool to see Amy Acker playing a different person; she did twitchy and crazy well, and she does Illyria well, too.
- Illyria sounds like 7 of 9.
- I mean come on. I need that puppet.
I had a whole long thing here about feminism and Joss Whedon, but I think that’s a topic for another post (if I ever get it done). Anyway, I think my feelings have been made fairly clear in these last two posts.
Cordelia: “I probably look really scary. I finally get invited to a nice place…with no mirrors and…lots of curtains…Hey — you’re a vampire!”
Russell: “What? No I’m not.” (In the most Monty Python, “I think he’s dead”/”no I’m not!” way.)
Wesley: “For your information, I lead a rich and varied social life.”
Cordelia: “Oh, I know. Every night it’s Jeopardy, followed by Wheel of Fortune and a cup of hot cocoa. Look out, girls, this one can’t be tamed!”
Cordelia [as Angel]: “Oh, no, I can’t do anything fun tonight. I have to count my past sins, then alphabetize them. Oh, by the way, I’m thinking of snapping on Friday.”
Wesley: “I even spilled it on her in front of Mr. Fat Chow… Chow.”
Cordelia: “Chow. Yun. Fat!” (Ok, the quote’s not funny on paper, but the way she said it…)
Again, not a quote, but Cordy’s happy jumping and singing when Angel buys her new clothes. And then he joins in!
Fred: “I never understood that saying-right as rain. How is rain right? Or wrong for that matter? Okay, I suppose if there’s a flood it’s wrong, and speaking of floods, or just being overwhelmed, what’s it like to have a vision?
Cordelia: “Wow. Y’know, next to you, I am downright linear.”
Cordelia: “Hey! Do you like bribes?”
Guard: “Do I ever.”
Cordelia: “She’s got the big puppy love. I mean, who wouldn’t? You’re handsome and brave and heroic, emotionally stunted, erratic, prone to turning evil, and let’s face it, a eunuch.”
Angel: “Hey! How can you…I’m not a eunuch.”
Angel: “I was just thinking about things. People. You know, how they relate. Take you and me, for instance. We’re very different. Very different. Obviously. [points at Cordy] Human, [points at self] vampire. [points at Cordy] Woman, [points at self] man… pire.
Cordelia: “Has someone been putting vodka in your blood?”
Angel: [chuckles] “See? You’re funny! And I, well I get off a good one every once in a while, but you…”
Cordelia: “Angel, are you trying to say you love me?”
Cordelia: “I love you too.”
Angel: “You do? When did this…”
Cordelia: [calling into Wesley’s office] “Angel loves me! I love him!”
Angel: “Oh, my God!”
Cordelia: “You guys love us and we love you!
Wesley, Fred, Gunn: [offscreen, in chorus] “We love you, Angel!”
The three-headed scream when Wesley, Gunn, and Angel see Lorne’s head. The Pylea arc was unbearably cheesy, IMO, but it had its moments.
Connor: “What’s a zombie?”
Angel: “It’s an undead thing.”
Connor: “Like you?”
Angel: “No, zombies are slow-moving, dimwitted things that crave human flesh.”
Connor: “Like you.”
Lorne: “Can’t fight kyrumption, cinnamon buns. It’s fate. It’s the stars. Kyrumption is…”
Angel: “Stop saying that. And stop …calling me pastries.”
Fred: “I’m also detecting brainwave activity.”
Angel: “On Spike? Hmm. That *is* weird.” Hee hee. Although really, look who’s talking.
Angel: “Yeah, I never told anyone about this, but I–I liked your poems.”
Spike: [dismissively] “You like Barry Manilow.”
Angel: “What happened?”
Spike: “Oh, I just thought I’d see what it was like to bounce off the pavement. Pretty much what I expected.”
Angel: “You just like stabbing me.”
Spike: “I am shocked – shocked – that you’d say that. I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.”
When everyone shouts “Hip Hip Hooray” for Spike, and Angel walks away sadly, pushing a mail cart in “Soul Purpose” – BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Fred: “That other girl. I couldn’t save her. I was arrested. They got her. She’s a slave. She’ll die!”
Angel: “Oh, Cordy. No, she’s fine. They made her a princess.”
Fred: “They… really? Oh. When I got here they… they didn’t do that.”
Lindsey: “Boo-hoo. Let me wipe away the tears with my plastic hand!”
Lindsey: “Stop it, evil hand, stop it! I just can’t control my evil hand.”
Woman’s voice: “Hi, you’ve reached the Tittles. We can’t come to the phone right now. If you wanna leave a message for Christine, press one.”
Man’s voice: “For Bentley, press two.”
Demon’s voice: “Or to speak to or worship Master Tarfall, Underlord of pain, press three.”
Lorne: [singing] “Go to sleep, lullaby, you’ve been fed and you’re sleepy. You’ll be with uncle Lorne, who in no way resents not being asked to go to the ballet. And is certainly, not thinking, of selling you to the first vampire cult that makes him a decent offer…”
Lorne: “They came out of your what? Okay, okay, well, did they get up there themselves, or was this part of a, y’know, a thing? No, I’m not judging!”
Groosalugg: [upon hearing Angel’s cellphone] “Angel, your coat is singing.”
Lilah: “Look, Angel, I know you’ve been out of the loop for a while, but I’m still evil. I don’t do errands. Unless they’re evil errands.”
Wesley: “Probably best we avoid brand names.”
Gunn: “Three-fifths of the world covered in water, the rest covered in me.” Best Gunn quote ever? Not quite, because there’s still Wesle, but still.
Gunn: “How’s Fred doing?”
Wesley: “I’m sure ‘Knoxy’ will take wonderful care of her. Don’t you think it’s a bit unseemly adding y’s to the ends of people’s names?”
Gunn: “Does that mean I have to call you ‘Westle’?” And then I died.
Probably liked Buffy more for longer, but Angel left a better taste in my mouth, and more prominently featured my favourite character in the Buffyverse (Ms. C. Chase, if that wasn’t clear). So let’s call it a tie?
(Angel review available here.)
It only took, like, four months, but I did it! Copious spoilers ahead. I seriously cannot stress that enough.
I belong to the younger outskirts of the Buffy generation, but I’d never really seen the show. I’d catch it in the background at a friend’s house or while channel surfing. I’d definitely seen enough to know I loved Giles, and that Buffy slayed vampires. In university, after watching “Once More With Feeling,” I decided to give the series a try, watching the first two seasons at my friend Alex’s house, but I didn’t make it all the way through.
Certain images stuck with me from that first viewing – Jenny and the skylight, Sunday and her lair (don’t ask me why), Faith unconscious on the truck, Vamp Willow, and Willow’s wave to Oz, Giles breaking into some place with an axe and a tiny fear demon, Willow’s veiny face in the woods (although that one I saw on TV by accident, years ago). Turns out I stopped watching mid season 4 (which is also, I think, when I stopped watching Six Feet Under, and when I pretend How I Met Your Mother and The Office ended, so…) And now I remember why. It was the episode after Oz left, and I just lost interest in the aftermath.
This time, however, I was going to make it all the way through. And, to be extra thorough, I was going to watch Angel episodes at the appropriately matched times. What follows is a review, of sorts, of both shows, assorted thoughts I thought while watching them, and favourite episodes and quotes for myself, for future reference. Since it’s so incredibly long, I’ve separated Buffy and Angel, and labeled each section.
You know the short from the Incredibles? Jack Jack Attack. You know by the end, when the overworked and whelmed Kari answers the door to Syndrome and hilariously, maniacally introduces herself by yelling, “I’m Kari, the baby-sitter!” Well, when ever I say the title in my head, it’s always to the cadence of, “I’m Buffy, the vampire-slayer!” I just thought you should know.
Anyway, the show itself.
Season one is REALLY rough. The only episode I truly enjoyed was the finale, “Prophecy Girl”; the other ones I merely endured. I guess “Angel” was okay too, but it was probably better the first time around, when the twist was actually a surprise and not just, “Oh joy, more BOREanez.” Still, there were a couple of kick-ass moments that gave hope of things to come – hyena packs eating the principal, actual brain- and heart-removal from students, having there be no cure for the invisible girl, and so on.
Season two, on the other hand, is really good stuff, and everything involving Angelus was phenomenally effective. Although I did have some issues with the “pure happiness” of it all. I’ve heard a lot of people complain that Angel becoming evil after sex is a ham-fisted abstinence lesson, and/or that it’s offensive that “pure happiness” is equated with orgasm, and at first, as much as I have some issues with Whedon’s status as a feminist god, I didn’t think that was the case here. We see the transition happen after he’s been lying contentedly in bed with Buffy, not (excuse my frankness) mid-climax. However, Mutant Enemy then spends all of season three making sure that we know orgasm=pure happiness. So okay, fine. Whatever.
Despite this, about a third of the way through s2 until the end of s3 is probably the best stretch of Buffy, and s3 is probably my favourite season overall. The mayor was the best villain, I was excited to watch each new episode, and all the characters were at their most human(e) and likable. High school life wasn’t all that believable (though this was probably not helped by the fact that I started watching Freaks and Geeks at around the same time as beginning the Buffy project), but hey, nobody’s perfect.
The rest of the series is a little rougher. I actually liked season four okay (“Hush” is possibly my favourite episode of the entire show, maybe the Buffyverse, save for “Smile Time”), and found Riley boring (like so many of Buffy’s love interests) but bearable UNTIL the whole Adam thing happened. It only just barely made sense, it was incredibly ham-fisted, it was boring, and the storyline kicked into gear mid-season, which up until that point had usually been the time during a Buffy season where things get more exciting, not less. Also, while I find the meeting of science and the supernatural, fantasy and sci-fi, a fascinating topic, I think it was poorly explored here, especially considering the appearance of these weirdly all-powerful “chips.” But I’ll get to that later. As Noel Murray from the AV Club puts it, “I still love the idea of Adam and the idea of The Initiative. But for the most part I’ve been putting together a version of the show in my head where these ideas make more sense.” I mean, do the people involved with the s4 arc of Buffy have any idea where, or even what, the central nervous system actually is?
Season five was another mixed bag. I think it’s fair to say that I was coming into this Whedon-viewing extravaganza fairly unencumbered by outside bias, especially since I’ve never spent any time among the fandom. So I think it’s also fair to say that my opinion is not being clouded by others’ when I state that Dawn, after one episode, was almost enough to turn me off the damn show. And I stuck with it through Adam. And yes, the sibling bickering is fairly realistic, but isn’t Buffy, like, 20 at this point? She’s old enough to get the fuck over it. Dawn had her moments in later episodes, and there were times when I actively liked her, but when she was first introduced – gah. They did want people to enjoy watching the show, right?
Old favourites have also been given whatever irritation treatment Dawn underwent to give her such superpowers in annoyingnesss. Giles, for example. Has he regressed into Wesley? Just when I’m starting to not hate Wesley on that other show? I personally think the world would be fine with no old Wesleys, we don’t need one to take his place, thanks. And WHAT was the point in s5 making Riley not just bearable, but likable (thus proving that it was possible, so why didn’t they do it from the start?), only to immediately turn him into a dick (Who cares about your mom possibly dying? Why didn’t you think about MEEEEE?) with an inferiority complex and break them up? Oh, right. Functional relationships don’t make good television and no one gets to be happy. Sorry, I forgot.
Plus, the special effects in this season are weirdly AWFUL. (That snake with arms? Good grief.)
Season six was a slog. It also contains the first episode I out and out hated while I was watching it. Things like “Inca Mummy Girl,” “Beer Bad” and “Bad Eggs” get, well, a bad rap, but god “Wrecked” was terrible. Did ham-fisted even have a definition before “Wrecked” aired and gave it meaning?
Which leads to the problem I have (like so, so many) with the magic = addiction storyline. I suppose, if it were consistent with Sunnydale as we know it, it might not have been so obnoxious (the writing would still have had to be better, though). But how can the way we’ve seen magic used in seasons 1-5, for actual functioning spells, be reconciled with, basically, magical drugs? Equating the two conflates the character traits of hubris and abuse of power that had been built up in Willow over the last three years with a much more straightforward body-need trippy ecstacy scenario, and it doesn’t work for so so many reasons. The after school special episodes of Buffy were never the strongest (e.g. “Beer Bad”), and s6 was all after school special. It also had more of that problematic magic/technology interaction.
In s5, I mourned the loss of He Who We Knew As Giles, but in s6, I started to really miss Old Willow. I understand the need for character development and change, but, much like Rory Gilmore, these quiet nerds lost a huge part of what made them unique when they “evolved” into assertive, sexy, out-going, entitled brats.
Lots of people think Joss Whedon’s an ass for refusing to show a long term happy couple on his show, and for randomly and painfully killing popular characters, but I think one of the cruelest things he ever did to fans was to finally show Amber Benson in the opening credits (which fans had been clamoring for for ages) and then immediately kill her. I suppose you could say he did it because it would be her last chance to be in the credits, and it was a gift to her, but I bet you he did it just to make the death all that much more shocking and unexpected. Prick.
I knew going in that while season six had its defenders, season seven was pretty much unanimously considered terrible. Here’s what I wrote as I started watching: “I know season seven has an awful reputation, but the first episode was like a breath of fresh air, all the way back to [season] two again. Plus, it was cool to see all the villains appear again in Spike’s hallucination (or whatever it was). And now I’m up to episode five and still enjoying it.” Sigh, and it was going so well. After “Selfless,” it’s all whiny, boring, character-bastardized (GILES! WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOU?), repetitive (how many stirring speeches can Buffy possibly make?) crap. If I’m feeling charitable, maybe I’ll extend the run of not-terrible to “Sleeper,” but latter half of the season was the worst run of Buffy, and a pain in the ass to get through. And Conversations With Dead People is way overrated.
Season seven also features the Britta of villains. God Caleb is talky. And at this point, I was thoroughly sick of all the misogyny on Buffy. Beating women into the ground and having men support them as they claw their way up is not “feminist” television I find enjoyable to watch. And don’t tell me it’s empowering to knock ’em down to watch them get back up. Not like this. This is just dreary torture porn disguised as empowerment. Seriously, I thought people were exaggerating about the awfulness of s7, but fuck it. It’s terrible.
Part of the problem with the later seasons is summed up in this quote from Ace at TWOP: “I fail to see the entertainment value in putting beloved characters through years of unrelieved misery.” Yes, growing up is hard. Yes, people get depressed. But it’s not all relentless agony, and we find new ways to have fun. And maybe this is why I haven’t been big on the dramas lately, but I don’t watch TV to observe a bunch of dead-eyed gloom monsters I used to like go through the motions of life. That’s not storytelling. There are ways to create drama other than misery, suffering, and despair (preferably relationship-related), or you’re just a one-trick pony. That, or a talentless hack.
Favourite characters: Giles, Cordelia, Oz, early seasons Willow, Spike whenever he’s with Joyce, and Anya, but I am truly unable to tell if it’s her character, or my raging girl-crush on Emma Caufield (why isn’t she in anything anymore??). Anyway, in no particular order:
I always liked Willow, but her doormatty wallflower act pissed me off some, this time around. But then Oz showed up, and all was good (“I have my own fun.” Oh, Willow). I think Alyson Hannigan is a really good actor. Some people say she always plays the same character, and I disagree. I think she has a very unique style (and the baby voice), which stands out and makes her memorable, but, for example, Lily and Willow are not the same character at all.
Xander‘s doofery annoyed me, too, although I think I always disliked him. Or maybe I was just in a bad mood in general in 2012. For example, I remember finding Spike fabulously entertaining and a breath of fresh air, but this time around I felt like staking him from the beginning. Maybe it’s the fact that now that I know his accent is fake, it’s all I can hear. Having completed the series, looking back, he did have some fabulous lines and deliveries, but overall, I kind of hate his character. He was fun as a bad guy, but sleazy, gross, and annoying as love’s bitch.
Cordelia, however, will always make me laugh. I love her so much. I remember when I first started watching Buffy from the beginning, thinking that this stereotypical, bitchy mean girl was actually kind of hilarious and fun to watch. And then she turned into a real person, too, and it just kept getting better. Charisma Carpenter doesn’t get enough credit.
And Giles. Giles is my favourite. Sigh, older British guys. His fighting ability seems to wax and wane with the episode. I think it goes without saying that I like it better when he’s winning. (Side note: Am I the only one who thought Willow and Giles would have been cute together? Go nerd love!)
Funny, I only started actually liking Tara the episode she broke up with Willow. Probably because she finally developed a personality. And in “Older and Far Away, she turns AWESOME with her needling of Spike.
Regarding Glory: Oh, god, and I thought Adam was bad.
But you know who isn’t? Riley. Or at least, not until mid s5. He’s kind of a doof, but whatever, you put up with 7 seasons of Xander.
I had absolutely no patience for Faith in s3, but in later episodes, she’s actually quite sympathetic and enjoyable.
I take it I’m not the only one to have noticed that Anya is always blond when she’s with, or trying to be with Xander, and brunnette when she’s not?
Buffy was never a favourite, but I always liked her fine, even identified with her, especially during seasons 3-5 (and bits of 6). However, her “leadership” of the mini-slayers turns her into the most insufferable person on this show, and was at least 70% of what made s7 such a chore to watch. In later seasons, she comes down with what I like to call a major case of HP Book 5 Syndrome, which maybe isn’t fair, because I’m pretty sure the Vampire Slayer came first, but still. I buy her depression and emptiness and I think the show and actor do a good job portraying it, with all its false recoveries and everything, but that does not make it fun to watch (much like OotP is not all that fun to read. KILL THE UMBRIDGE KILL HER TO DEATH OH MY GOD.)
Now, let’s talk about Spike. Reading my notes, it was almost comical to see how wildly my feelings toward this character changed through the seasons. As I mentioned above, his accent and try-hard Bad Boy persona pissed me off originally, but some truly hilarious lines (“They don’t have a rock this big.”) slowly won me over. During s5, I even wrote: “I will say, with Spike, that I’ve never found creepy stalking so entertaining.” But then came s6.
I mean, seriously, how can anyone ever, ever be Buffy/Spike? He’s a pathetic, grovelling, whiny little sap who can’t take “not a chance in hell, and I’ve been there, buddy” for an answer. I mean, it’s entertaining as hell and Marsters is hot, but seriously. Their relationship is wrong and gross. Viewer/Marsters I can understand, but really, I can’t even get behind Viewer/Spike. I mean, he’s abusive to Harmony, he’s a giant stalker, he doesn’t know who he is if he’s not mooning after a woman, he’s a pathetic wannabee badboy, even as an undead hell beast. At least when he was evil you could revel sadistically in it, but post-chip? Post soul? The rape scene was the most horrible and uncomfortable thing I have ever seen on the show, and the fact that we watched Buffy in past episodes repeatedly say “no” while either being ignored or not meaning it just made it worse. The only thing Spike has going for him apart from a couple of good speeches is that he’s played by the very well-built, very charming Marsters, and that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the character. Like stalking and almost-rape are such great bases for relationships. And at my wedding, I definitely want the toast to end, “…and he finally wore her down.” So again, I stress – I am enjoying watching it (well, until “Seeing Red,”) but I do not understand anybody who seriously thinks “Spuffy” belong together. I do not get it.
A note on ‘shipping:
I have interesting shipping feelings from Buffy in that, for the most part, I don’t really care (generally, I like to get invested in the love lives of my TV characters). I feel like Buffy and Angel may as well be together, what with all the destiny, and actually caring about each other. Spike as a character is more entertaining (I initially refused to watch Angel because he bored me so. very. much.), and James Marsters is more attractive to me, although I don’t particularly care for either of them (although Spike did look damn good in his 70s punk gear). But, well, see above for how I feel about Spike and Buffy together, so by default and history, Buffy and Angel are the pair I’d root for, if I really cared all that much about Buffy’s love life. I guess the only couple I really cared enough to actually root for was Oz and Willow. Sigh. Oh, and Giles/Me. Obviously.
A note on some favourite episodes:
Favourite seasons (in terms of overall enjoyment): 3, 2, 5, first third of 7, 4, 1/6, last two thirds of 7
Favourite episodes: Angel, Prophecy Girl, pretty much all of s2 and s3, Surprise, Innocence, Becoming I/II, Band Candy, Dopplegangland, Earshot, Graduation Day I/II, Fear Itself, Pangs, Something Blue, Hush, A New Man, The Body, Life Serial, Once More With Feeling, Tabula Rasa, Selfless, Storyteller (Jane Espenson and Joss Whedon wrote an inordinate amount of these episodes.)
“Hush” is probably my favourite episode. I know, I’m so original. The music and creepiness gave me a very Doctor Who vibe. Also, it’s surprisingly hilarious, and I love everyone in it.
“A New Man” was okay, but Giles in demon makeup just isn’t as attractive to me as Giles in his regular human get up. What can I say, I’m shallow. I always love to watch him beating up Ethan, though, and it was nice to see the Scooby Gang remember how important he is to them (the scene when he finds out how Buffy knew it was him is one of the sweetest moments on the show; another is in “Hush,” when he greets her and Willow.)
“Once More With Feeling.” The first full episode of the show I ever saw. I can’t decide whether it ties with “Hush” as The Favourite, but it definitely is my most re-watched episode. At one point, I’m pretty sure I had the entire thing memorized. Standing makes me cry. So does Give Me Something to Sing About. I don’t particularly like the song – I don’t listen to it on my mp3 player or anything, but it’s incredibly affecting to watch, knowing what came before – the way SMG sings, or pleads, “please” – it just gets me, okay? This episode was also way better when watched in context (as much as I enjoyed it the first time). Dawn’s “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it,” sounded so awkward and out of place the first time; Anya’s bunny thing, it turns out, was not just a throwaway joke, and the Chumash tribe was an actual thing in an actual episode!
ASH, Marsters, Benson, and Caufield can sing really well. My favourite lyric is probably “The battle’s done and we kind of won, so let’s sound our victory cheer/Where do we go from here?” I think at least part of the reason I like this episode so much is because it’s written for people who can’t necessarily sing particularly well, and so the songs are actually pretty easy to sing along to. I love singing along to my favourite musicals, but have you tried singing along with Les Mis? My vocal range is about 3 notes wide, okay?
For ONCE I actually agree with people who say the lack of polish is part of its charm, despite my OCD aversion to imperfections. It’s not a bombastic and slick professional musical; it’s people we’ve spent almost 6 years with (or 3 condensed months) putting on a show. It makes it feel smaller and more inclusive. I just love this episode. I understand people who think it’s overrated, but it’s my go-to rewatch episode any day.
“Selfless” was excellent (but we already know I adore Anya, so that’s not a surprise) – I loved the “Once More With Feeling” callback (her voice!), and having Xander’s lie to Buffy from s2 finally exposed.
Picking Some Nits
Consistency and continuity are the two most important things to me in storytelling, and I think that may be one of the reasons I was never fully on board with Whedon. There were so many continuity questions by the end of the series that I stopped listing them, but now I kind of want to again, for completeness’s sake. For example (and in no particular order):
- Vampire’s don’t breathe. How can dunking Spike’s head under water bug him in any way, shape, or form? Oh, what horrible torture.
- Buffy died in s5, and no new slayer was activated. How come in s7 everyone goes on and on about a potential being activated when she died? It’s amazing how good with the troll logic and Xander lies call-backs they can be on the one hand, and how out of touch with basic sense and continuity they can be on the other.
- Does NO ONE remember that a vampire is actually a demon in a former human’s body? I can buy that a return of the soul effectively returns the vampire to his/her human self, but this point seems to be forgotten.
- I also wish they’d done a better job at establishing the way potentials were paired up with Watchers and trained. Kendra was separated from her family and trained specially even before she was “activated,” yet people like Buffy and Rona find out once their powers actually kick in/the world is ending. So…explain, please. And the earlier seasons weren’t free of this sort of thing, either. Medicine has been advanced enough for long enough that there could very easily have been other slayers who “died” but were then brought back to life, so why was two slayers such an utter shock for the counsel?
- Another obvious continuity problem: Spike proves that Tara’s not a demon by feeling pain when he punches her. Because it’s no longer about his brain and whether he THINKS something is a demon or not (as seen in other episodes), but the chip is now magic. ARGH.
- Sigh. So in the new implanted Dawn memories, Buffy was a slayer from childhood and Joyce always knew about it?
- Amy hexing Willow doesn’t at all explain how she knew about the potentials and who Kennedy was. Does anyone read through the scripts anymore? Just once?
- Willow’s happy little wave to Oz, and his subtle relief, in Dopplegangland is one of my favourite moments of the series. Even if it’s a little far-fetched that no one else wises up to what’s going on until she screams.
- Thank you AV Club for pointing this out: “The poster on Buffy’s door: chocolate. The poster on Riley’s: balls. Make of that what you will.” I noticed the Balls one (because…wtf), but putting the two together, naturally, made me think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w24Xd8fVlTU&feature=related
- Looks like in S5, Xander finally grows up. And apparently, we shall never speak of him again, until he makes inexplicable alter-abandoning decisions in s6. “The Replacement” and “Into the Woods” are the most I’ve ever liked him.
- “Blood Ties” – YES! Seeing Spike paint his nails makes this whole season worth it no matter what happens. This whole episode is a showcase of many of Buffy (the show)’s strengths: we’ve got good family scenes, some real acting from Trachtenberg, continuity showing excellent planning throughout the season, and Spike being useful. If only we had some more quality Scooby interaction, we’d be golden.
- Dammit, Spike, stop it with the Monty Python references. I refuse to like you!
- Giles’ and Spike’s reactions to Joyce’s death I found especially touching. The musical call-back to Band Candy and the flowers. Spike’s relationship with Joyce was always enjoyable to watch.
- Dawn’s bearable, even fun, in the sidelines, but turns into an utterly horrible brat whenever she’s the focus of an episode.
- Intriguing concept of the death wish, in terms of needing the uncertainty to end. It’s nice to see your more twisted philosophies played out on the small screen. Other people get it, too!
- I really liked Katrina’s normalness and no-nonsense attitude. So naturally, she has to die in the most degrading way.
- I’m not really buying Jonathan’s turn from sweetly depressed bestower of “Class Protector” award on Buffy to supervillain wannabee. Also, within the span of ONE episode he goes from “we can’t hurt her – she fights evil and saved my life” to “let’s find out her weaknesses and destroy her” with absolutely no explanation. The latter seems to be the inconsistency, though, because he’s back to basically good and out of his depth for the rest of the season.
- The way Anya and Halfrek speak makes me think of classic movie actresses.
- WHAT is happening to Giles? I was so excited that he would be in more episodes this season, and then he comes back as this dour, grouchy, uptight pain in the ass. Buffy’s been a bitch for most of this s7, but she’s not wrong that THIS Giles has nothing more to teach her.
- This is just the Buffy and Spike show, and while I think it’s interesting and daring that they’re willing to go so far into his mommy issues, the fact that we as the audience seem to be asked to forgive or forget it is incredibly disturbing. It’s also hard to tell what’s purposeful when everything seems so clumsy – has been re-ensouled taken some of the fun out of killing, or is he still willing to murder Faith just because Buffy is (for once) unjustly pissed at her? Which is it?
- I will never forgive the weaselly sheep Andrew for killing Jonathan. Storyteller was a nice try, and there are moments I can enjoy him, but no.
- NOOOOO, not Anya and Amanda! Ugh, why couldn’t Kennedy have died instead? AND MORN HARDER PEOPLE. GOD.
- http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/buffy-the-vampire-slayer/chosen.php?page=15 A pretty good overview on the finale’s use of Slayer abilities as a metaphor.
- “She didn’t get a big, maudlin send-off, it was very quick and to the point – very Anya in that respect.” – that’s a nice way to look at it.
- The most pleasantly creepy thing in Buffy is the gentlemen.
- The most disturbing as fuck thing in Buffy is Anya slashing her face in “After Death.” S6 had a lot of creepy imagery.
For most long-running shows, I like to pick a sort of retrospective end-point. For example, the last few terrible seasons of How I Met Your Mother have driven me to declare the end of season four as the show’s REAL ending, and while I continue to watch this alternate reality version of what could have become of characters I once loved, I don’t consider new episodes part of my show anymore. Friends ended after Monica and Chandler’s wedding. And Buffy ended at the end of season three. Willow with Oz, the high school chapter is complete, Spike hasn’t been emasculated, etc. And because this is my own personal lunacy, I also get to decide what bits and pieces from later seasons probably occurred in the “real” reality I made up. For example, the sexless inkeeper still happened in HIMYM. “Once More With Feeling” somehow still happened in Buffy, as did all of Anya’s existence (I’m sorry, I just love her. Her and Cordelia. My huge love for them doesn’t make sense, but it exists). But most of the rest of the episodes don’t exist, thanks. I suspect Community will have DonnaEnded after season three as well, but that’s just because I have no faith in anything. And I flatly refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Buffy comic books, because of a certain character death that NEVER HAPPENED.
Cordelia: “What is your childhood trauma?!”
Cordelia: “Buffy. You’re really campaigning for bitch-of-the-year, aren’t you?”
Buffy: “As defending champion, you nervous?”
Cordelia: [scoffs] “I can hold my own. You know, we’ve never really been close which is good cause I don’t really like you that much. But you have been known to save the world on occasion, so I’m going to give you a piece of advice.”
Buffy: “Which is?”
Cordelia: “Get over it.”
Buffy: “Excuse me?”
Cordelia: “Whatever is causing the Joan Collins ‘tude? Deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. ‘Cause pretty soon you’re not even gonna have the loser friends you’ve got now.
Cordelia: “I came by to tell Buffy to stop all of this craziness and found you all unconscious … again. How many times have you been knocked out, anyway? I swear, one of these times, you’re gonna wake up in a coma.”
Giles: “Wake up in a c… ? Oh, never mind. We need to save Buffy from Hansel and Gretel.”
Cordelia: “Now, let’s be clear. The brain damage happened before I hit you.”
Buffy: “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.”
Buffy: “We’re not friends. We never were. And I can fool Giles, and I can fool my friends, but I can’t fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason.”
Buffy: “Sure. We can work out after school. You know, if you’re not too busy having sex with my MOTHER.”
Buffy: “When Giles sends me on a mission, he always says ‘please.’ And afterwards, I get a cookie.” SMG is really, really underrated you guys. She made me cry several times. And she killed it as Faith, I was really impressed.
Buffy: “Well, if this guy wants to fight with weapons, I’ve got it covered from A to Z — from ‘axe’ to… ‘zee other axe’.”
Buffy: “Didn’t anyone come here just to make out? Oh, that’s sweet. You run.”
Buffy: “Hey… how’ve you been?”
Amy: “Rat. You?”
Buffy: “Oh, Dawn—”
Dawn: “I know! You never know what’s coming, the stake is not the power, To Serve Man is a cookbook. I love you. Go away!” If only Dawn was always like that…
Holden: “Oh my God!”
Buffy: “Oh, your God what?”
Holden: “Oh, well, not my God. Because I defy him and all of his works.”
Buffy: “I sacrificed Angel to save the world. I loved him so much, but I knew what was right. I don’t have that anymore. I don’t understand. I don’t know how to live in this world, if these are the choices, if everything just gets stripped away. I don’t see the point. I just wish- I just wish my mom was here.”
Buffy: “Dawn, listen to me, listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles… tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I’m okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other.You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world-is to live in it. Be brave. Live… for me.”
Buffybot: “That’ll put the marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo.”
Buffybot: “If you want her to be exactly she’ll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she’s gone who?” I liked the Buffybot.
Xander: “I laugh in the face of danger. And then I hide until it goes away.”
Spike: “Oh, balls! You didn’t say he was a Glarghk Guhl Kashmas’nik!”
Xander: “‘Cause I can’t say Glarba…”
Oz: “Hey, I may be a cold-blooded jelly doughnut, but my timing is impeccable.”
Oz: Nobody deserves a mime, Buffy.
Oz: On the plus side you’ve killed the bench, which was looking shifty.
Oz: “So, I’m wondering, do the other cookie animals feel sorta ripped? Like, is the hippo going, ‘Hey, man, where are my pants? I have my hippo dignity!’ And you know the monkey’s just,’I mock you with my monkey pants!'”
Buffy: “Stop! You’re saying it wrong. I think that Jonathan may be doing something so that he’s manipulating the world and we’re all, like, his pawns.”
Anya: “Or prawns.”
Anya: “But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I knew her, and then she’s— there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead… anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And… and Xander’s crying and not talking, and… and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.”
Buffy: “Anya, that thing you created burst through solid pavement and ate her dog.”
Anya: [anguished] “Oooh, puppy!” I knew there was a reason I liked Anya
Anya: “It’s not like I’m snooping around for proof that you’re some sort of whacked-out serial killer. I don’t know why I said that. Forget I said that. It’s craziness talking, it’s just nerves. Nerves. Nerves and horniness. Oh, just shut up, William, and take me. Take me now.”
Principal Snyder: “There are no dead students here. This week.”
Principal Snyder: “My predecessor, Mr. Flutie, may have gone in for that touchy- feely relating nonsense, but he was eaten. You’re in my world now. And Sunnydale has touched and felt for the last time.”
Principal Snyder: “That’s the kind of wooly: headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten.”
Principal Snyder: “You… all of you… Why couldn’t you be dealing drugs like normal people?”
Principal Snyder: “It’s worth nothing, Harris. Whatever comes out of your mouth is a meaningless waste of breath, an airborne toxic event.”
Principal Snyder: “One day, the campus is completely bare, empty. The next, there are children everywhere…like locusts. Crawling around, mindlessly bent on feeding and mating. Destroying everything in sight in their relentless, pointless desire to exist.”
Principal Snyder: “A lot of educators tell students, ‘Think of your principal as your pal.’ I say, think of me as your judge, jury, and executioner.”
Principal Snyder: “Summers!! You drive like a spaz.” Possibly the best thing I have ever heard.
Principal Snyder: “Congratulations to the Class of 1999. You all proved more or less adequate.”
Spike: “It’s a big rock. I can’t wait to tell my friends. They don’t have a rock this big.”
Spike: “You hit me with an ax one time. Remember? Uh, ‘Get the hell away from my daughter!’?”
Spike (to demon!Giles), in the world’s most hilarious sympathetic drawl: “Hooww you feeling, mate?”
Spike: “Spike had a little trip to the vet and now he doesn’t chase the other puppies anymore.”
Spike: “You made a bear! Undo it! Undo it!” HAAAAAAAAAA
Spike: “And I should do what with my spare time? Sit at home knitting cunning sweater hats?” I didn’t realise Spike gave Jayne’s mom the pattern for her cunning hat!
Angelus: “It lacks. . .poetry.”
Spike: “Doesn’t have to. What rhymes with ‘lungs?'”
Willow: “I have my own fun.”
Willow: “I haven’t been a nerd for a very long time.” Hey, Willow, there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd. Own it, live it, love it.
Willow: [describing Anya] “1000-year old capitalist ex-demon with rabbit-phobia.”
Willow: “I am Willow. I am Death. If you dare defy me, I will call down my fury, exact fresh vengeance, and make your worst fears come true! Okay?”
Giles: “For god’s sake, man, she’s 18! And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you? And stop fluttering about.”
Giles: “Demons after money. Whatever happened to the still beating heart of a virgin? No one has any standards anymore.”
Xander: “Am I right, Giles?”
Giles: “I’m almost certain you’re not, but to be fair, I wasn’t listening.”
Jonathan: “We’re not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t noticed you. We don’t talk about it much, but it’s no secret that Sunnydale High isn’t really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here. But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We’re proud to say that the Class of ’99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history. And we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks, and gives you, uh, this. It’s from all of us, and it has written here: Buffy Summers – Class Protector.”
Jonathan: “Yeah, it was sexy the way she touched me real hard with her fists.”
Warren: “We’re your arch-nemesises…ses. You may have beaten us this time, Slayer, but next time… um… uh, next time…”
Jonathan: “Maybe not!”
Andrew: “It eats you, starting with your bottom.”
M’Fashnik: “You can’t pay me with paper, tiny king.”
Dracula: “You are strange and off-putting.”
Young Woman Vampire: “Is that all I was to you, a one-bite stand?” Quoting this only because – for six years you resisted.
The first time I tried to get my driver’s license I was 19. A high school friend had decided it was about time she got hers, and she convinced me to go with. My parents and friends had been nagging me for years to get my act together, but see, this was my thought process:
I hate driving. Hate it. I hate all the places you’re supposed to be looking at once, all the things you could hit, and that there are thousands of other stupid people on the road with you, having to do this same place-watching and thing-avoiding (and according to the nightly news, not doing it all that well). I hate that I’m not in the middle of the car, so I have no idea how much space is on the car’s right. I hate having this much power and money in my control when it could all go so terribly wrong. I hate having horrible life-or-death responsibility. There is a Very Very Good Reason why I didn’t become a doctor (actually, there are several, but let us not speak of the germaphobia, OCD, and general squeamishness).
I know this isn’t a terribly reasonable or logical fear. When other people are driving it’s not so bad. I just pretend I don’t know how hard it is, how easily you can be distracted, how many things could go wrong – they’re confident, they’re probably doing fine. Plus, more reading time for me. It’s a self-confident thing, and an aversion to high-stakes responsibility. This is why despite all of my ridiculous childhood ambitions, I am currently a 25-year-old slacker living at home.
So I let my G1 expire.
But I’m not quite so nervous anymore. There are places I need to be at times that can’t be negotiated, and the right side of the car doesn’t feel so frightening anymore. I guess I just feel ready. Besides, I’m tired of having to be chaperoned everywhere by my younger brother.
So on August 23rd, I went to the DMV again, this time with another licenseless friend who had finally decided enough was enough.
I will not let it expire this time. Now, there’s no way I can complete this Thing To Do by the end of the 1000 days, but I thought I’d include my progress here, and put “get G” on my next List.
***I’m keeping this for myself, as a record of what the list used to look like, but I am no longer updating this page***
Good bye and good riddance to 2010. The last real blog post I wrote here was in June, and it was a bit of a pity-fest. And naturally, the summer only got worse from there. After a bad allergic reaction, a hospital visit, mild hallucinations, and the death of my wonderful puppy Fudge, school started, and it was much more work-intensive than I’d hoped, I was behind from the start, I went for a couple of interviews for Alternative Spring Break and a job as a field assistant for next summer and didn’t get either, dropped a course, and had to get an exam deferred due to OCD/my own stupidity. And what is a blog for if not a place for self-indulgent whining?
But some time around the first week of December, I started feeling a bit better. Perhaps it was actually being on medication, the new dosage, or the fact that depression may wax and wane, but I remembered what it felt like to want to do things, to be able to envision getting things done, to feel motivation and contentedness.
So here’s to 2011.
No more pity parties. And I’m kicking off January with a list.
100 things I want to do (in 1000 days)
- Get my stupid degree [In progress since the dawn of time]
- Take a voice acting class
- Take a singing class
- Finish the first draft of my book (The King)
- Get my driver’s license
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Get a journalism type article published (for money)
- Play an instrument in a big band
- Learn to play Rhapsody in Blue on piano
- Learn to play Somebody to Love on piano
Paint something[completed February 20th, 2011]
- Start drawing again (
buy a sketchbook[completed March 27th, 2011] – fill it up)
- Stop picking
Do some fun creative baking (ask Po for help if needed 😛 )[completed April 1st, 2011]
- Finish a scrapbook -> 0/3
- Finish another scrapbook
- Finish another scrapbook
- Join an improv class
- Act in a play
- Do an archaeological dig
Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter[completed December 26th, 2010]
- Go to grad school
- Go to a San Diego ComiCon
- Participate in a NaNoWriMo
- Get computer organised once and for all
- Make website for photographs (e.g. travel photos, portfolio photos)
- Learn to Scuba dive
- Volunteer at CHEO
- Volunteer at the Ottawa Crisis Centre
- Get TEFL
- Teach English overseas
- See The Daily Show live
- Visit Marina in Minnesota
- Watch 20 great old movies (I haven’t seen a LOT of the classics, so this is a selection from IMDB’s Top 250) -> 7/20 [In progress]
- The Shawshank Redemption
The Godfather[completed July 17th, 2011]
- The Godfather II
- 12 Angry Men
- Silence of the Lambs
Dr. Strangelove[completed July 20th, 2011]
- Citizen Cane
- The Shining
Spirited Away[completed April 1st, 2011]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind[completed February 4th, 2011]
- Requiem for a Dream
Back to the Future[completed January 1st, 2012] Ghostbusters[completed December 31st, 2011]
- Die Hard
- Annie Hall
The Social Network[completed March 27th, 2011]
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- Run a marathon of sorts
- Knit something
- Whiten teeth
Go two weeks without drinking coke (shut up)[started March 16th, completed March 30th, 2011] Participate in/skate in a Winterlude in Ottawa[completed February 19th, 2011] Get a bottle of vitamins and finish it without missing a single day (yeah, some of them I just stole right from Heather of gofugyourself fame) [In progress][completed July 29th, 2011]
- Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books
- Complete a Cannonball read (pajiba.com) -> 29/52 [In progress]
- Get past fear of diving
- Watch some finished/cancelled TV shows -> 2/10 [In progress]
Watch all of Terriers[completed January 31st, 2012]
- Watch all of Battlestar Gallactica
Watch all of Better Off Ted[completed January 9th, 2012]
- Watch all of Ashes to Ashes
- Watch all of the West Wing
- Watch all of Blackadder
- Watch all of Buffy (I only watched to about season 3, and I’d like to finish)
- Watch all of the Wire
- Watch all of Freaks and Geeks
- Watch all of Spaced
- Take a long-exposure picture
- Learn to juggle
- Solve a Rubik’s cube
- Donate blood
- Witness an eclipse
- Do pottery (make a pot or a vase)
- Learn 5 card tricks -> 0/5
- Go camping
- Do the splits (every day) [In progress]
- Learn glass blowing (take a course)
- Renew CPR/first aid licence
- Make a candle
- Finish Learn French in 10 Days book
- Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film
Creatively ice a cake[completed July 20th, 2011] Throw bachelorette party for Nataly[completed January 22nd, 2012]
- Make a gravy train
- Learn to do that two-fingered whistle
- Spend a day tree planting
- Allow a spider to crawl on me without screaming
Do a 1000+ piece puzzle [In progress]*asterisk* [completed July 26th, 2011]
- Get my ear cartilage pierced once and for all
- Pay back mom and dad
- Donate $10 to charity for each goal not completed by the end date
- Begin world traveling (the following are places I have always desperately wanted to go and exotic things I’ve always wanted to do; there’s no way I’ll make it to all of them in 3 years, but I’m keeping them on the list anyway)
- Costa Rica
- Galapagos Islands
- Amazon Rainforest
- New Zealand
- Peru – Walk the Inca Trail
Start date: December 26th, 2010
End date: September 21st, 2013