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The Feminist Filter: Ted

will57
I wanted to post this on Weds or Thurs, but LJ was going wonky. Now it's not. So here! :)

Mission Statement:

This series is intended to outline the feminist text of each episode so as to provoke and encourage open discussion. It's not so much about making value judgments about events and/or characters but about analyzing the series from a feminist framework so as to see what patterns and themes emerge.

Rules:

1. If you do not consider yourself a feminist or do not see the point of dissecting a TV show from a feminist perspective, this is not the meta series for you. I don't mean this in a hostile way, however the intended audience of this series is feminists who want to turn a critical eye to the show.

2. This meta series is written well beyond a 101 level of feminism. If you are new to feminism, I ask that you please take a look at this blog for an introduction to concepts that will be discussed heavily here.

3. If you begin to feel yourself getting defensive on behalf of a character (or the show), take a break from commenting. The outlines as posted are not meant to condemn either the characters or the show, but to contextualize the dialogue and events within the patriarchal cultural in which they reside.

4. BtVS is a constructed media. The characters are not actual people but are written, dressed, and directed by a team of outsiders. Criticizing a character for, say, having sex could be a sexist insult or it could be a legitimate criticism of the writers who chose to go that route with the storyline. There are nuances here when discussing a television show, and I ask that everybody be careful about exactly what's being discussed. A couple helpful terms are Watsonian and Doylist. "Watsonian" indicates that the discussion is taking place within the Buffy universe as if the characters are real people. "Doylist" indicates that the discussion is focused on the construction of the narrative and, as such, deals with the decisions of the writers and/or producers.

5. The key goal here is open discussion. I'm not presenting you guys with any brilliant insights; I'm just laying out what's in the episode. Feel free to discuss or disagree with me and others. Also feel free to answer other commenter's questions. The comment section is an open floor.



2.11 Ted

I. The Tallies

Criteria for Bechdel Check: The episode must have a) two women in it b) who talk to each other c) about something besides a man.


  1. Bechdel Check: PASS on 4 counts

  2. Deaths:
    Dead boys: 0
    Dead girls: 0


II. Agency

Criteria for Agency: Do the female characters a) exert power or influence over the plot b) through decisions based on their own characterization? Agency means more than providing information or support that helps the (usually male) characters resolve the conflict.

The Plot: Ted is a homicidal robot who has set his eyes on Joyce as his new wife.

The Big Question:
If Buffy were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? No.
If Willow were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? Yes.
If Cordelia were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? Yes.
If Joyce were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? No.
If Jenny were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? Yes


  • Decisive Buffy: Buffy, as usual, takes the lead in this episode. She takes it upon herself to investigate Ted from the start.

  • Decisive Joyce: Joyce's main decision is dating Ted, though this ends up putting her in a Stepford Wife state as she's drugged by him. Not very much with the agency.



III. The Feminist Fine-Toothed Comb

Criteria: Do any of the characters engage in sexist dialogue or action, whether overt or subtle? Does it receive an explicit rebuke or does it pass uncommented on? Further, what can be deduced from the various gendered comments that are made by the characters?


  • Protagonists (Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Cordelia, Joyce, Jenny, and Angel)

    1. In the teaser, Willow comments to Buffy in regards to taking care of Angel: “And you're loving playing nursemaid?”

    At Buffy's affirmative response, Xander adds his own two cents: “So, is it better than playing naughty stewardess?”

    Xander has a habit of getting bits of throwaway dialogue that sexualizes Buffy. This is one such example.

    2. During the miniature golf outing, Joyce comments: "You know how rare it is to find a man that cooks?"

    This is in reference to gender stereotypes wherein women tend to be responsible for cooking. Ted is, oddly enough, atypical in that respect.


  • Antagonists (Ted)

    1. While playing miniature golf, Ted says to Buffy: "So, Buffy, I bet the boys are lined up around the block tryin' to get a date with you."

    This is commonly used as a compliment for women and girls. In specific, it's highlighting the high value that is placed on dateability for girls. In saying as such, Ted is basically telling Buffy that she's attractive to guys.

    2. Ted often refers to Buffy as "little lady", which carries a condescending connotation.

    3. When Ted reads Buffy's diary, he threatens to tell her mother about her “delusions”:

    Ted: So, from now on, you'll do what I say, when I say, or I show this (holds up her diary) to your mother, and you'll spend your best dating years behind the wall of a mental institution.


    It's interesting that he specifies “best dating years”, as if that would be the most important thing for Buffy. It rings as a gendered assumption, especially given the time period Ted comes from.

    4. When Ted returns in the final act and goes to Joyce, he tells her she doesn't have to worry about anything.

    Ted: Daddy's here.


    Besides being rather creepy, referring to himself as “daddy” reveals the patriarchal mindset that Ted is programmed with. As such, his controlling and abusive behavior can be seen in light of the traditional gender roles that place men as the king of the household.

    Later, when Ted is starting to blow his circuits, he asks Joyce, “Don't I always tell you what to do?” and then later: “I think you might wanna stop telling me what to do! I don't take orders from women! I'm not wired that way!”

    See more in the Points to Consider section.




IV. Objectification Watch


  1. Midway through the episode, Buffy's wearing a rather low-cut top, and the camera doesn't shy away from displaying her cleavage.



V. Points to Consider


  1. Ted is a robot from the 50s, a period with notably distinct gender roles. What can we take away from Ted's behavior in light of this context? As noted in the Feminist Fine-Toothed Comb, Ted comes from a time when family dynamics revolved around a patriarchal assumption, literally a “rule of the fathers”.

    This puts a gendered light on the fact that Ted, a throwback to traditional gender ideology, is a salesman (a guy who doesn't quit) who repeatedly murders women in trying to establish the family ideal. He does so, specifically, because the human Ted was dying of illness and his wife dumped him. In creating the robot Ted, human Ted continues to terrorize his wife – and other women – beyond his death.

    He's controlling, not just with Buffy but with Joyce, and he doesn't brook any challenge to his authority – the reason he doesn't get along with Buffy.

    There's an appropriateness to the fact that Buffy, the girl who challenges traditional gender roles, is the one who immediately senses something off with Ted. Also appropriate is Buffy vanquishing Ted with a cast-iron skillet, at once his own tool of control and the symbolic representation of the woman's domestic role.

    While Buffy beats Ted, she declares: “This house is mine!”

    This statement challenges the patriarchal assumption in granting ownership of the house to the young girl, not the father figure.

  2. What about the family dynamics going on here from a more contemporary viewpoint? The single mother finding a new boyfriend and the unhappy teenage girl. Add onto this Ted's drugging of Joyce – as well as Buffy's friends. What type of commentary can we take away from this?

  3. At one point, we have Joyce noting:

    Buffy: You love him?

    Joyce: (puts down the juice carton) I-I don't know. (exhales) That just
    slipped out. (takes the juice back to the fridge) But I guess, I mean,
    it's not exactly like men beat down the door when you're a single...

    Buffy: When you're a single parent.


    Joyce is commenting on the difficulty of an older woman – specifically an older woman with a kid – in finding a partner. This limited range of options appears to exacerbate the abuse by Ted in which he drugs her into submission. Is this episode giving us some social commentary in that respect?




Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
norwie2010
Nov. 13th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
Ted is a robot from the 50s, a period with notably distinct gender roles. What can we take away from Ted's behavior in light of this context? As noted in the Feminist Fine-Toothed Comb, Ted comes from a time when family dynamics revolved around a patriarchal assumption, literally a “rule of the fathers”.

Ted "from the fifties" is very successful economically, as well as socially (so to speak) in the nineties. In fact, people admire and love him (or are jealous of him): his work colleagues, Joyce, the Scoobies, etcpp.

I think that says a lot about how not very different our times are from the fifties on the gender front. I think the whole "from the fifties" metaphor is a cover, it makes it easier to tell this story and brings some "creep" factor in as well for good fun. At the end of the day, the ideology Ted represents is very much alive now. (Otherwise Buffy wouldn't challenge it day in, day out.)

I think that's clever, because it let's the audience say "haha, we're so much better today!" but then you turn around and think "why did Ted fit so well into today?".
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Fantastic point, yes!

I think there's an added subversion in that Joyce and the Scoobies loved Ted specifically because he drugged them. The drugs, in this case, being symbolic of cultural misogyny.
doublemeat
Nov. 13th, 2011 07:40 am (UTC)
The drugs also emphasize that Ted is wholly fake. The Ted of this episode, having been constructed by long-dead and unseen human Ted, is pure artifice. As a robot, he doesn't even have agency of his own; all he does is carry out programmed instructions corresponding to desires he can never understand or fulfill, and manipulate others to do the same by removing their agency. That's a pretty obvious metaphor for the constraints imposed by socially inherited ideas (specifically patriarchal culture).
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
Very good point. *nods*
beer_good_foamy
Nov. 13th, 2011 09:07 am (UTC)
I love this point.
alexeia_drae
Nov. 13th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
Joyce is commenting on the difficulty of an older woman – specifically an older woman with a kid – in finding a partner. This limited range of options appears to exacerbate the abuse by Ted in which he drugs her into submission. Is this episode giving us some social commentary in that respect?

Then you wonder why Joyce, by all means a successful woman (isn't she the curator of a museum?) feels that she needs to have a man in her life. Of course, Buffy mirrors this throughout the show.

This episode reminds me of the phenomenon where a single mother starts dating some creep who mistreats her kids, and she is either blind to it or stands behind her man, which is still alive and well today.

Now if Joyce was portrayed as being happy with her job, family, and friends but happens to fall in love is one thing. But when this successful woman feels like she has to take whatever comes her way as that line indicates...
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
isn't she the curator of a museum?

More than that, she owns her own gallery!

And I agree. I think it's a noteworthy example of the expectation that women need a man for their life to be complete. I'm not sure if the episode is playing into it so much as critiquing it (cause...Joyce does end up dating a serial killer robot from the 50s).
enigmaticblues
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
You know, the funny thing about "Ted" is that it's probably one of the episodes that makes me feel MOST uncomfortable. There are certain ways in which it really bucks stereotypes and gender roles, or at least questions them. And then, there are other ways, as alexeia_drae comments, in which it underscores certain tropes, like that of a woman needing a man to be "successful", particularly if you look at it in light of the entire series.

Ted himself is one of the scariest villains I've seen on BtVS. I think he embodies the fear of any young woman whose mother begins to date again after a divorce. He's the step-father, or potential step-father, who abuses the kid who isn't his, and who the mother chooses over her own child. As someone who has worked with victims of abuse, I have seen this situation over and over again, and it's chilling to see it here, even with the supernatural element. Even though Ted is drugging Joyce (which has a parallel in certain fairy tales, where the evil step-parent drugs the natural parent), there is this awful sense that the parent is not protecting their child, or is blind to the abuse their child suffers.
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
It's a disquieting episode. I feel especially anxious for Buffy as she starts to feel trapped in a poisonous household with a mother who won't stand up for her.
ceciliaj
Nov. 13th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
I find that disquieting, too, but I also feel for Joyce. I think she disregards Buffy's concerns far too quickly and comprehensively, but I also think that things aren't easy for her, and I can forgive her some missteps along the way to finding a social circle that works for her (which does not happen until Buffy moves out, but we hear about it a few times in S4). Parents should always stand up for their children against abuse, but I don't think that Joyce fully realized that she had the power to reject Ted until after the fact. It is a shame that Joyce thinks that she needs a man, but it is understandable that she needs a friend her own age, and I'm glad she eventually finds some. /iz Watsonian
(Anonymous)
Nov. 13th, 2011 09:41 am (UTC)
written anonymously to protect family
I hear you here, and I think it’s important to look at what scripts are available for people socially. The story is, you make friends when you are in high school and college, and then you grow up, and then you make friends at the workplace (Joyce doesn’t seem to interact with that many people there), interact with the friends you have left over (she lost those when she moved/divorced), and then you can date. The social model for how you make friends as an adult not through work really sucks, because friendship is supposed to come naturally. It’s okay to work at finding a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/etc, because that’s something you’re supposed to want and something you’re specifically supposed to seek. In the Ted model from the 1950’s especially, the nuclear family is THE thing that is more important than anything else, and men and women are incomplete without each other, and then, once it’s just the two of them, they don’t really need anyone else. The script is that you need a partner, and then the partner becomes everything. As you’ve discussed in the past (guess who I am! I bet you can guess) (but not here, I’m anon. for a reason), stories emphasize marriage/romance plotlines over platonic friendships so very, very often.

So Joyce wants Ted. Later she moves off the romance thing. What happens every time Joyce tries to make a life for herself outside Buffy, on screen? Disaster! Pat is a condescending bitch who seems to be encouraging Joyce to dislike Buffy, and then she gets zombiefied and Buffy has to kill her. MOO is a demon-created fascist organization that leads to her trying to kill her own daughter. (And, er, Sheila is not the best friend to make.) In Fear Itself she talks at length about how she has made a bunch of new friends, but I kind of don’t believe her, because where are they? There are two categories: invisible—i.e. they never affect Buffy in any way—or visible and direct threats to Buffy.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 13th, 2011 09:44 am (UTC)
part 2
So, you know, this reminds me a lot of my experiences growing up being raised as an only child by a single parent. My mom was an alcoholic. And all the friends she ever made were drinkers. That was, since she was a teenager, the only kind of friendship she knew how to do—the kind where you hang out and drink, and then eventually it gets nasty and sometimes you fist fight. She also dated a deadbeat guy who stole money from her (though he was nice to me) at one point. So basically, every single friend she had was kind of a threat, because I didn’t want her drinking. There were a lot of good reasons: because she was an addict; because she suddenly seemed like a different person; because she sometimes, like, got into fights; because I think our lives were threatened once by one of the drinking buddies’ friends of friends; because she could get a little nasty. But my real reasons were (I was a child at this point, say <12): I want her to pay attention to me; something about her drunk just bothered me; and…well, I didn’t have any friends either, so I just wanted everyone else to go away. It was pretty much just us most of the time, and other people were a threat to her being there for me. I had no one else.
So why is this relevant to Buffy? Because, well, every single friend looked like a Ted or a Pat or a Sheila, to me. Some of them were, but some of them weren’t, and I think the fact that this is a horror tale focused on Buffy’s POV is revealing. These are a child’s (teenager’s) fears about their single parent blown up. And there is something sad about it, because what about the parent’s fears? They don’t quite get the same vetting.

But…well, I guess I’m at college now. And my mom hasn’t learned how to make new friends. I think that her only contacts are me and her mother. And you know, she talks to people at work. I’m glad there are no Teds in her life, but it’s tough. I’ve always been skeptical about Joyce’s speech in Fear Itself about how she has all these great new friends now. We never see them or hear of them; I guess they are the ones at her funeral. In This Year’s Girl Faith accuses Buffy of just leaving Joyce out to die, of abandoning her. And, well…. There is no life for Joyce. Eventually, she finds one, and it’s through dating again (in season five). However close her friends are, none of them went to the hospital.
Joyce is, ultimately, probably a middling mother; she doesn’t really believe Buffy much of the time. But there is so much loneliness in her life. I think that we can see the plight of the single mom, bits and pieces of it. It’s told from the child’s point of view, but I think Buffy might see it all differently when she looks back on it.

Anyway, in the episode itself, Buffy jumps to disliking Ted, and wanting her mother not to date anyone but her father, pretty early on. She does turn out to be right. But I feel for Joyce, in seeing Buffy refuse to give her much. Her unwillingness to listen to Buffy later on is very bad parenting (though, I guess, we can excuse it somewhat since she was drugged at the time). I feel bad for everyone.
ceciliaj
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
Re: part 2
I feel bad for everyone. This is my reading practice in a nutshell, anon! Dawn creates an interesting middle term though -- it seems like Joyce really enjoys getting to know her while their lives intersect. And yes, Dawn's another child rather than a peer, but she's a different kind of child, one who gives Joyce a different kind of outlet.

But yeah, your reading of Joyce as a "middling" mother is probably about right on an objective level, which I think is important. I think Joss knows that he can idealize characters he likes (and that there's a particular risk of idealizing mothers), and he does a good job putting them in situations that reveal the cracks in their systems without writing them off completely.

Edited at 2011-11-13 02:44 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Nov. 15th, 2011 08:38 am (UTC)
Re: part 2
Right (urgh, sorry for delay in response, I don't get notifications fron anon comments!). I actually am very curious how closely Joyce/Buffy is based on Joss' own experiences. Because Joyce really does play a stable role in Buffy's life during her high school years, while also being a little vicious and reactionary. And then there is something really sad about the nature of their interactions in season four, with Joyce just waiting around for Buffy to call (as Faith points out). I feel like there's some resentment and some guilt toward mother at work, but except for the occasional Gingerbread it's mostly kept human scale. It's possible that this level of psychoanalyzing the author is a little inappropriate.

I have seen someone describe Joyce as a bad parent because she has pet names for Dawn but not for Buffy. Besides the fact that this is probably a function of the monks' spell to begin with (she never had pet names for Buffy in the original history so that wasn't altered, but Dawn needs to have a manufactured history that emphasizes her as someone who needs protecting), I think it ties in with what you said about parents having different outlets for different children. Dawn is not a peer, but she is different, and with two daughters with two different lives and two different sets of needs and contributions, Joyce can find a different stability, blissfully, in her final days.
concinnity
Nov. 13th, 2011 04:52 am (UTC)
Man. This is one of my favorite episodes. It is so, so, smart and creepy. And SUPER FUCKING OBVIOUS, which I just adore about it.

*cue Xander voice* "Hey Kids! You know what's neat! That almost nothing has changed for women in the last fifty years! Isn't that great?! /XanderVoice.

And then they quite literally beat you over the head with the idea. A frying pan to the head. I'm trying to think of a more obvious metaphor....nope, can't get there. I also love how this episode works to shift the audience boundaries; along with Ted, we get a chance to see Buffy, et al, as someone outside their little bubble. I think the BtVS team sometimes doesn't get enough credit for how well they alternate perspectives for us - it is particularly deft work, imo. :)
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
Haha! Yep, it is anvilicious in its application of the metaphor. Actually, a lot of S2 are. Some Assembly Required, Go Fish, Reptile Boy. Heavy-handed, yet still largely effective. :)
local_max
Nov. 13th, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
I think I would put Willow as decisive in this episode. She notices the cookies are drugged, figures out where they come from. The Scoobies (which includes Cordelia as well) discovered where Ted came from. I think that's a big deal for our understanding of the episode.
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. I see your point. I'm a bit unsure as to whether that qualifies as Willow making a decision, though. When she notices the cookie making Xander act wonky, she's already been investigating Ted (something that Giles asks them to do before he leaves). So while Willow helps the investigation, I don't know that I'd say she made any active decision in that regard.
beer_good_foamy
Nov. 13th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
It's not the last time the show conflates "Strong, superficially open-minded and dependable but rather patriarchal Nice Guy" with "salesman". Viz Riley in "Restless".

So, from now on, you'll do what I say, when I say, or I show this (holds up her diary) to your mother, and you'll spend your best dating years behind the wall of a mental institution. (...) Midway through the episode, Buffy's wearing a rather low-cut top, and the camera doesn't shy away from displaying her cleavage.

On the other hand, it's also contrasted with the sexless, almost childlike dungarees she wears after she "kills" him the first time. One might argue that in having "defeated" him, she's basically let him define her. Shame is a powerful tool.

Also, it's hardly a coincidence that this episode comes right before the "sex has consequences" triple Bad Eggs->Surprise->Innocence...
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
It's not the last time the show conflates "Strong, superficially open-minded and dependable but rather patriarchal Nice Guy" with "salesman". Viz Riley in "Restless".

lol! Good catch. I hadn't thought about that.

On the other hand, it's also contrasted with the sexless, almost childlike dungarees she wears after she "kills" him the first time. One might argue that in having "defeated" him, she's basically let him define her. Shame is a powerful tool.

Also, it's hardly a coincidence that this episode comes right before the "sex has consequences" triple Bad Eggs->Surprise->Innocence...


Awesome point, and yes. :)
flagless_piracy
Nov. 13th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
It's also rather telling how the robots that we see during the course of the show take gender roles to the Nth degree. Ted is created to be the head of the household, to rule over the women in his life, to tell them what to do and basically perpetuate and reinforce stereotypes. Both Buffybot and April are created to please men, to be ruled by them, to fulfil their desires when they are wanted and to leave without a word when they are unwanted. And all the robots in the show are created by extremely misogynist men, the original Ted and Warren. It's interesting how both of them end up creating robotic versions of themselves which help them obliterate (or hide after having obliterated) women. It's as if the show is telling us how, even though gender roles are constructed and unnatural, even though they are harmful to both women and men, they are reinforced mostly by sexist men, and thus men still get a much better deal - they are forced into a role, but that role isn't one where they exist solely to please women, it's mostly just 'masculinity' as seen through a fun-house mirror. Juxtaposing 'Ted' and 'I was Made to Love you' is particularly interesting when it comes to the constructedness of gender roles and gender roles themselves.
norwie2010
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Just as i wanted to write something about Ted being a robot, a construct just as patriarchy (and the socio-psychological structure of the patriarchal man) is a construct - you come along and: BAM! Hit the nail on it's head!

Great combination of of "Ted" and "I was made to love you"!
doublemeat
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
Yes! You said what I was trying to say, only better.
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
I love this comment and wish to be betrothed to it. Now. :)
mikeda
Nov. 13th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
leave without a word when they are unwanted

Although one does note that the April-bot does turn into a bit of a stalker.
norwie2010
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
I want to break a lance for Joyce here and the underlying theme: Sure, Joyce thinks that she "needs a man" to be complete, a "real woman".

But i don't think this undermines the fundamental themes of the episode/the show:

At the end of the episode Joyce is clearly better off without a man at all than someone like Ted.

Joyce is "normal", she has "normal" views and standpoints. And she tries to "force" these views on Buffy (and Buffy tries to adopt them) but the whole show shows again and again how these "traditional" (whose tradition?) views just don't work for Buffy.

So maybe there is even a bit of a generational commentary here: How the "young generation" hopefully tears the "traditional" view asunder (to build a better tomorrow).
gabrielleabelle
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
I tend to agree, but I can see that there's room for criticism there. Especially considering that the Joss convention of killing off Joyce at her happiest point involves her starting a new romantic relationship (as opposed to, I dunno, getting some great review at the gallery or somesuch thing).
norwie2010
Nov. 13th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, there is of course room for criticism. I myself grapple with the multitude of instances of female-on-female slut-shaming a lot. (And i don't know if it is clever writing or idiot writing that Xander always suffers indirectly for his slut-shaming).

At least Joyce's "deathbed romance" is about great sex and affirmation of life - and not about being incomplete without a man. :)
norwie2010
Nov. 13th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was meant as a reply to your latest answer to my post... *oops*
local_max
Nov. 15th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
(And i don't know if it is clever writing or idiot writing that Xander always suffers indirectly for his slut-shaming)

Clever writing. :) (I know, I know -- I shouldn't start that again. Forget I said it, let's put that one off for another time. :) )
norwie2010
Nov. 15th, 2011 08:14 am (UTC)
Hehe - but as you see by me questioning it i've come around a long way towards your POV. ;-)
local_max
Nov. 15th, 2011 08:30 am (UTC)
:D

At some point after I'm finished my thesis, I want to do a post going into more detail on Xander's arc in season two -- from "If they hurt Willow I'll kill you" to the lie about what Willow said at the season's end. Some of it I've said, and Maggie has said, in the notes, but there's a lot that I didn't realize until even more recently about how it all ties together. (The way his dismissiveness toward Willow is tied with his desire to protect her; his attraction to Buffy with his desire to confront her.) I will wait until the notes on season six-seven to figure out exactly how much the text does explain about his turnaround there, so I may come around to your way of thinking ultimately. Though -- all of Grave, for all the characters (well, maybe not Dawn) has a very special, maybe disproportionate-to-actual-quality place in my heart, so I might weight that moment as both more important, and better handled, than is justified. We'll see!
norwie2010
Nov. 15th, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, then! Get your thesis on the way! ;-)

(What is the content of your thesis?)
local_max
Nov. 15th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
Very little!

I'll pm you the answer (I want to avoid being traced to my actual identity in public posts).
red_satin_doll
Aug. 31st, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
At least Joyce's "deathbed romance" is about great sex and affirmation of life - and not about being incomplete without a man. :)

And that's one of the things that hurt me most emotionally about the show (I know, I know, it's a Joss thing); as the daughter of a divorced mom I wanted to see a little bit more of that reality, or rather examined a bit more, because that had such a huge impact on my life (changing schools, shift in financial status - not as much an issue here, but still - how much money is there in owning an art gallery?) We never get the sense of Joyce as a working mom, or as person in her own right; I was thrilled to see more of her in S5 and loved the parts where she was primping for her date, or teasing Buffy about it, because we got to glimpse the woman, not just "Buffy's mom". And OF COURSE that's the point where they had to kill her off - literally, the next episode after the date. So I get the whole things thematically but emotionally? Not a happy for me.
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