Thursday, April 05, 2007

April 5th and 6th, 2007

Last night, tyranist and I watched CHILDREN OF MEN, Alfonso Cuaron's futuristic vision of a world without children and/or hope.

I really enjoyed the moment at the beginning where the world's youngest person, an eighteen year old "wanker," is killed, and the entire world feels his loss in an intense and deeply personal way. Virtually everyone in London was in mourning. Tyranist mentioned that it was like Princess Diana dying, a national tragedy on that scale. We both shed a tear as we reflected that Anna Nichol Smith's recent death was the closest thing America has to losing a beloved member of the royal family. Future historians may have to change their calendars based on that heartbreaking 2007 date, and I'm sure the ripples will be felt by our grandchildren.*

But I think I'm digressing here. You see, Wednesdays at tyranist's house are Buffy Days, just like all days at my house are Wallow In Misery Days. We watched two episodes again, "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "Go Fish." While neither were perfect episodes, they were both quite solid, and well worth watching.

In the first episode (and I love that it's named after a song; something that I do all too much), strangeness is afoot at Sunnydale High. I'm thinking an atypical week there would be when nobody dies and our characters just go to class. This time, a murder/suicide from back in the Fifties begins to replay itself with people at the school becoming . . . well, possessed, I suppose, by the two dead participants. I didn't really understand how it worked (and they made the ghost a lot scarier than seemed necessary), but it was an interesting episode, especially because Giles has his theory as to what is happening, and it differs from what the kids think, and he turns out to be wrong.

On the bad guy front, Tyranist and I noted all sorts of machinations to make us sympathise with the character of Spike (who, as I mentioned before, seems less and less like a demonic bloodsucker and more and more like a certain semidemonic Rish Outfield). Also, the way Bad Angel felt violated by the possession was really cool.

Most series have a mid-season or toward-the-end-of-the-season slump where the producers (TV-speak for writers) just run out of steam, and you get your weakest episodes. I guess that is happening here, but these two still measure up with the best episodes in Season One. Weird. I see Joss Whedon from time to time (now only at comic conventions, but it used to be that he'd come into the video store where I worked--yes, I was fired from that place too--and we'd chat), and I'd like to ask him how exactly that happened.

The second episode we watched was called "Go Fish" and it told of the Sunnydale swim team, practically celebrities at the school for actually being on a winning streak. Unfortunately, due to some kind of cutting edge steroids they're taking, they are turning into big scaly fish monsters.

This was a very Xander-centric episode. He gets into a Speedo or a towel a time or three and glimpses a bit of being on the inside when he's, ever so briefly, a sports jock at school. He also reveals that the Creature From the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields.

I have to admit that I've been having difficulty relating to Xander now that he's constantly snogging Cordelia. It's just that when he was a lovable loser, he reminded me so much of me (you know, minus the lovability) with better writers, and now . . .

Ohh, listen to me. I'm like one of those comic book readers who suddenly lost their connection to Peter Parker when his life wasn't completely hopeless and horrible and he married a supermodel. But at least he has the living shite beaten out of him in literally every other issue of his comic (just to keep him humble). Thanks, guys.

Sorry. Let me instead talk about the Sunnydale jocks. They all want to hit on Buffy, but none of them want to hit on Xander. What kind of swim team is this?

It seems that in one out of every two episodes, Buffy has dudes hitting on her and/or forcing themselves on her. I am wondering how typical this is for a seventeen year old girl. Do all pretty blondes suffer through this or is it just Buffy Summers? Is it because she's small and helpless-looking? Is it because Joss Whedon is all about women's issues and female super empowerment? Again, it would be nice to have someone to talk to about this.

So, Xander joins the swim team in an attempt to find out what's happening. The swim coach is revealed to be the villain, and he feeds the roly-poly school nurse to the creatures, then drops Buffy in there for their physical . . . amusement. Rough stuff.

In the end, the three fish-people** escape to the Pacific Ocean, free to swim and terrorize and rape another day. The End.

That was our Buffy Wednesday, which leaves just a couple more before Season Two ends, and we're forced to wait an agonizing length of time to find out the answers to our questions: however long it takes to put in the next DVD.

You know, I've never really thought about it, but "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is a really dark show. Surprisingly so. Joss told me the film had taken his Coming of Age/Horror film and turned it into a Comedy, and I do have to wonder what 1992 audiences would have made of THIS version of the BUFFY movie. Would it have been more successful? More beloved?*** There is a lot of comic relief in the characters and dialogue every episode (usually provided by Xander or Cordelia), but when I think about it, there's a lot of gruesome, unpleasant, heady stuff in pretty much every episode of the show.

Did parents pitch a fit about this, assuming (as I did) that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was just a silly teeney-bopper adventure show, only to find out that it's more akin to "24" than "Saved By the Bell?"

As usual, questions I'll probably never know the answers to.

Rish "I Only Have Eyes For A Chili Cheeseburger At DerWeinerschnitzel" Outfield

*"Grampapa, do you remember where you were when Saint Anna Nicole died?" "Remember it? My child, I relive it every day."

**There were four, though. One was in the pool while the others were in the sewer, but we never learn what happened to that one. I wonder if it was shipped off to "Dawson's Creek."

***Somebody told me (might've been you) that they actually did a comic book adaptation of Joss's BUFFY script, so we could see what his vision actually was before it got diluted. I may have to check that out.

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