lookingforoctober: (Default)
This got long.

Buffy is an all-American individualist everywoman. She's the main character in a pretty quirky show, and therefore she has to be relateable. (Yes, even in season 6. She's much easier to relate to than anyone else at least. Except Tara and Dawn, who don't get much time.)

Buffy does a damn good job as the main character, IMO.

I may be forgetting something, but I believe she generally gets four types of plots:

1) Buffy defeats the enemy. Alternately, enemy beats on Buffy and Buffy goes off to find a bigger stick and then Buffy defeats the enemy. Alternately, enemy beats on Buffy and Buffy gets a bigger stick, enemy beats on Buffy some more, and then finally Buffy gets a giant monster stick of DOOM and defeats the enemy. Yes, I'm exaggerating, and there are a lot of ways this can be and was switched around, but the bottom line is that this type of plot had been pretty much played out by the later seasons.

2) Leadership. Season 7 is a blur in my memory, but there are also some stabs at this kind of plot in season 5, and I think this had a lot of potential but I'm not sure they ever got anywhere near most of that potential.

3) Family and friends. Buffy is generally too nice for family and friend plots to be very plotty. If this comes up, it usually either sort of simmers a bit and then turns into resolved, we're family or friends and you know what that means yay, or it turns into type 1, Buffy defeats the enemy for her family and/or friends. Buffy vs. Cordelia has a lot going for it in earlier seasons, but there's nothing similar in later season that I can think of.

4) Buffy has a boyfriend. Like #1, this is also a plot that got a lot of play.

4a) Angel. Buffy and Angel are star-crossed lovers. I think Angel became more interesting as a character on Angel, but he was never one of my favorites. I'm not especially interested in Buffy and Angel, and I think that once they split up, that was mostly it except for nostalgia, and quite frankly I'm baffled as to why Angel showed up in the series finale of Buffy. But I do like the overall plot arc of the Buffy/Angel relationship. It's just played out by the end of Season 3, and then they phased Angel out of Buffy and let him have his own non-Buffy story. Good job, nicely done.

Oh, also, I don't think Angel ever showed much monster to Buffy except when he didn't have a soul, and...you know, it recently occurred to me that he wasn't a good man, he was just a petty thug, and that's why he has such a hard time having a soul. It takes him a century to even decide to try to do anything much except eat rats, etc. He's got nothing to fall back on. I do think Buffy and Angel could be very interesting together post-series...but not as lovers. I think that if they ever spent a lot of time with each other, they could have a fine old time figuring out how much of what they thought about each other was illusion, and then they'd end up as friends. I could also see friends with benefits, depending on circumstances. But by the end of the series, the star-crossed only have eyes for you thing is pretty much history, IMO. They might not have completely realized it, but they've both moved on. (I'm not considering the comics here, because I can't make any sense of them.)

4b) Riley. All-American everyman meets all-American everywoman. Is it any wonder this isn't an exciting relationship? Personally, I think Riley's pretty good in season 4. I like watching Buffy and Riley discovering each other's secret identities, etc. and the Initiative would not have meant nearly as much without Riley.

Season 5, there's not much for Riley to do, he's not part of the plot. Unless he took the place of Ben, which...oooo, interesting. That could have worked. I never really liked Ben that much anyway. But since that's not what they did, I think it's sad for Buffy that he had to go, but narratively he wasn't pulling his weight. So yeah. (To be clear, what I'm saying is that as a source of boyfriend plot, which means some degree of inter-relationship conflict, Riley wasn't going to work out. Everywoman and everyman fighting supernatural evil as a team that actually works like a team would be just fine with me, but I don't think the writers on the show agreed.)

BTW, I think that the idea that Buffy needs some monster in her man is self-serving bullshit dished up by Spike. Like most of the things Spike says, there's some truth to it, but it's not monster Buffy needs. She'll accept monster, but it's sort of like her accepting Willow and Xander when they were not the most popular kids in high school. She's an accepting sort of person. Personally, I don't think she seeks monster so much as unusual. Because she's got the whole Slayer gig going on, so she's got some unusual herself.

4c) Spike. Spike is a very good match for Buffy in a lot of ways. He's the complete opposite of everyman, which is something she's been needing forever on the boyfriend plot front. He's got this whole vampire/chip/soul thing which gives him all kinds of plot potential. He definitely carries his weight. He's sexy. He's fun.

I don't think Spike is good for her. Even post soul, there are imbalances in many different directions that make this very troublesome indeed. But gosh is their relationship interesting. Probably because it's troublesome. Which is to say, I like Spuffy. Long term (post series) it doesn't actually fall in the center of my interpretation of Buffy's character, but in terms of writing I'm willing to skew that way because it's worth it for the possibilities, and so far I like reading a lot of Spuffy too for the same sort of reasons. And of the three long term relationships Buffy has in canon, Spike wins hands down.

However, it makes me sad that in all of Buffy's canon relationships, power was always about strength, and there was always this comparison going on. Riley was bothered by it, it always seemed important that Spike and Angel had vampire strength...

I always wanted to see Buffy in a relationship with someone for whom strength was not even a factor. Like...Miles Vorkosigan. He of the bones that break if you look at him funny. It'd go something like this:

Buffy: I'm the Vampire Slayer. Look at me run and jump and do flips and kill things.

Miles (circa The Vor Game): *gets a glassy look in his eye, admiring Buffy's prowess* Want to help me steal a mercenary army?

See? They're both amazingly good at certain things, and they both get things done, but in completely different ways. And yes, I do think Buffy could hold her own against Miles, and Miles could hold his own against Buffy. They'd compliment each other. Wouldn't that be cool?

So for Buffy, I think there are far more interesting pairings than Spike (if you look outside of canon options). But that's not a reflection on Spike, just...a universe of possibilities.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
So far as I'm concerned, it all starts with Spike. Spike definitely has the most interesting story over the course of Buffy. As an analytic person, interesting is by far the best compliment I have to offer.

I don't like all the little bits. There are four places in particular I think they completely fell down on the job, three in terms of storytelling and two in terms of characterization.

1) Why did Spike fall in love with Buffy? He has a dream, and then suddenly from then on, he's in love with Buffy. I'm willing to accept this, and even come up with my own answers, but I really shouldn't have to. (And actually, I'm really pretty sure this was done purely for the lulz. It bugs me when things are done purely for the lulz.) Characterization flaw.

2) Fool for Love is waaaay too much, too soon. Looking back, I don't have a problem with anything in there, this history makes Spike an interesting character, but from a storytelling perspective, watching it in order made me furious (both times, the first and the rewatch, even when I already knew where it was going). I liked Spike as a villain, and as a quasi-villain, and I wasn't ready for him to change so much so fast. Just because you say he was always like that doesn't mean I won't get whiplash. Storytelling flaw.

3) Seeing Red. This was also a whiplash moment, it's the episode I'm looking forward to in my rewatch even less than The Body, and so far as I'm concerned, it's completely a mess in terms of characterization and storytelling. It's too little too late, in terms of 'Spike is actually evil when he doesn't have a soul'. Because he hasn't been acting very evil for years, and he's had plenty of opportunities, and then it's like 'oh, he's evil, SEE'. And I didn't want to see that, and at the point where they drop it in, it's horrible but not convincing. They might as well have had him kick a puppy.

4) Season finale. It's annoying how easy it is to see the gears of plot turning here. The amulet had to come from Angel so Spike could end up on Angel next year, Spike had to die because that's how he's going to prove he's good, but the amulet of macguffin weakens the death plot because Spike doesn't really know what he's doing. But oh, that bit where he says 'No you don't but thanks for saying it...' that's just perfect but I wish it had been embedded in a plot that worked too. On the whole, not a storytelling success. It's sort of like Serenity (the movie), I'm glad to see how it could have worked, but it doesn't quite actually work as given.

But overall, I love how much Spike changes, and how completely unforced it feels. For the most part, it's like evolution, every single step of the way is viable on its own. But wow, look at the end result. That's an amazing journey.

Rewatching has been interesting, because so far (i.e. #1 and #2) I don't take these things any better just because there's an arc that I actually really like that they're in support of. I thought I might like it better when I knew how it came out...but on Buffy, this isn't happening (I do appreciate Angel more second time around, when I'm not taken in by their 'no, I've never heard of foreshadowing or playing fair, la la la BAM' plots).

Anyway, Spuffy. I like Spuffy for basically the same reasons I like Spike. It's interesting. It's optimistic without being...treacly. Spike wouldn't be anything like the same character without Buffy. I don't think he could do any better than Buffy, either as a character, narratively, or as a person.

Tomorrow -- Part II: Buffy.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Something in the Eyes

In which vampires can throw things into houses they can't enter. :) 1000 words is not very much. I'm not sure I used them to absolute maximum effect (I'm not rewriting it, but I can see what could be cut to make a little more room elsewhere.)

Oh, also, I think I got some mode from The Mentalist into the first part, since I started writing it during the commercials. It works, but it amuses me.
lookingforoctober: (Default)

New rule: nothing involving meter or rhyme after 10pm. Too hard to stop. There's nothing like writing poetry.

It's not quite what I set out to write, but then, there's not a lot of space in 14 17 lines. Take what you can get.
lookingforoctober: (Default)

Chapter 1 of probabaly four or five chapters.

Finally. The whole thing isn't finished, but it's really nice to get some of it out there. I've been working on this forever...for values of forever that are equal to a month or so. But stories with lots of ideas in them take a long time, longer than the ones that just riff off of something that's already established in canon. (Funny how I insist on worldbuilding like crazy even when I'm writing fanfiction, but I guess that's what happens when you stick your story in the future -- and in a different dimension.)

I was hoping that it would go faster once I had all the ideas and just needed to add words, but words are tricky little things too, sometimes.

When I started writing this, I was convinced that it was my most fanfictiony story yet, because it's mostly about a relationship, and a popular one to boot. But then I wrote Imperfect Happiness, and added more Slayer focused plot to this one, and now I don't know which is the most fanfictiony.


lookingforoctober: (Default)

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