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Jun. 17th, 2010 (UTC)

But if it's the case Marti Noxon is being scapegoated at least in part because she's female, then why is Jane Espenson, who was co-executive producer, beloved by pretty much everyone?

For me, I did have some issues with Noxon's take on the show for very specific reasons. One of them involved that fact that, in various interviews, she kept screwing up the canon of the show, and not small things but things like the idea Buffy had DIED in season 1. I can't find the link, but I remember my jaw dropping open because it was obvious from the quote that she had not watched most if not all of season 1, and this was in season 6. That's a pretty huge canon blunder.

As for the idea of her expressing her sexuality via the show, I had very few problems with plenty of shirtless Spike, though even I had to admit that it was getting excessive in a way the show had never done before. What really bothered me though was the idea that the exact same sexuality was always immediately linked to massive shame and wrongness. The public anal sex scene on the Bronze catwalk? About three steps beyond good taste.

I can't help thinking this probably related to the fact Noxon stated repeatedly in interviews (I swear, half of what happened with the fan opinion of her was based on the idea that she has a tendency to put her foot in her mouth) that she was using Buffy as a stand-in for herself and Spike as a stand-in for a college boyfriend who was apparently a bad guy. Using one's background to inform characters is absolutely fine, of course. Any good writer writes from experience. The problem is there was little to no blend I could see between the Buffy and Spike of seasons 5 and 6. Maybe key moments were cut out, but it did feel to me as though someone in the writing staff (maybe it wasn't even Noxon, but somebody) was saying, "No, audience, you just don't get how hard it was for me! And how evil he was! And you will pity Buffy and hate Spike because I need you to pity me her and hate my lousy college boyfriend him!" I never was sold that the characters I knew would behave the way they behaved in season 6. They acted like other people entirely, and while factors could have caused that to happen, the change was so huge I couldn't accept it.

As for loving the guys instead, I do love "Once More with Feeling," which was nearly all Joss, so yeah, he gets some love that season for that reason. I do, however, blame Joss for not putting the brakes on some of the stuff that went desperately wrong in season 6 because it was still his show, and the buck does ultimately stop with him. Oh, and for the record, David Fury's infamous statements about women who want to marry serial killers being equivalent to fans who liked Spike pretty much blacklisted him from a lot of fans' books as much as anything Noxon did, so Noxon's reception is not unique.

I'm not sure that it's really the fault of either one of them. What the show tried to do in season 6 needed a truly deft hand, a very focused one, someone who knew the characters inside out and was willing to write them, not try to squeeze them into other people entirely, and very carefully change them. Frankly, I don't know if anyone could have done what they were trying. But for a lot of people, it just did not work, and Marti got the blame.

And this got really long. Sorry!

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The One Who Isn't Chosen

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