Sunday, January 23, 2011

Joss Whedon knows me: Part I

  This is to be the first in a series of musings on my love for all things Joss Whedon.  I realize that this is unheard of in the blogosphere, as no one else has ever written anything about him.  You should feel as heroic and groundbreaking treading forward into these words as the early pioneers felt wandering into the western wilds.

My virtual friends.  What?  It is perfectly healthy.

  I suppose that it only makes sense that this first in the series start where all Whedon Lore begins... with Buffy.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite television show.  That simple.  While I may watch others, it will always come back to Buffy for me.
  Before I go any further, let me temper my earlier sarcasm by stating that there is little that I can say here that hasn't been said already.  My favorite take to date happens to also be on my favorite blog, Kindertrauma.  To read the words of the inimitable Unkle Lancifer go here, All I plan to do is what I intend to do with every post here and that is explain how Buffy helps me deal with life.  Redundant sentiments or not, my heart is determined that I tell my story.
  In order to give my full perspective we all need to hop into the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman where we will be setting it for 1997.  I was but a wee lad of 25.  I was making a living as a playwright, a theater tech, an actor and in many side projects including work in a local sideshow.  Life was going exactly as I had expected it.  To top it all off, a new television show called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" came on the scene.  I remembered seeing a film of the same name some years before and being mildly amused, but mainly remembering Paul Reuben's credit-stealing death scene.  A TV show?  I had a bit much going on in my life for TV, but I made time for the occasional episode when I could.  I loved what I saw, but was too busy to be able to make watching a ritual.
  Fast forward to one year later.  My wife was pregnant, my jobs were all falling to the wayside and I would very soon be completely unemployed with no idea what to do with myself.  Well, at least now I had time for television.

 Despite their tendency to rip out a heart here and
there they had surprisingly good manners.

  Very soon my Tuesday nights were my sacred time.  With my newborn son asleep on my chest I would watch Buffy and the Scoobs as they saved the world with smarmy remarks, martial arts and pop culture references.  As my career took a sharp turn and I was suddenly working as a mapmaker, Buffy was always a constant.  I could count on them because, unlike most of the other people I was now working with, Buffy and the gang got me.  Xander knew just what to say to make me laugh.  Willow, like me, felt like the nerdy outcast who needed to dabble in witchcraft just to try and feel important.  And Buffy.... well, who doesn't want to be friends with the sassy cool girl?
  What is it about Joss Whedon that taps into the heads\libidos\lives of we geeks so well?  Is it simply because he is one of us?  I think what it comes down to is that he does whatever he thinks is the best thing for the show.  It usually turns out that it is also the best thing for the fans.  Even when Buffy was hitting the occasional snag in the sixth season, I could still count on each episode to deliver at least one moment of catharsis.

We've all had days that ended like this.

  The show just has so many complexities over all that it is hard to pin down what I like best.  I could write an entire thesis on the psychology behind Angel and Buffy's relationship.  (A guy who doesn't age, expects nothing of the girl but long staring sessions and who can't have sex.  Oof!  The stuff of fairy tales.  Amiright, ladies?)  Buffy coming to terms with dying, coming back, dying again and coming back again.  That whole Spike\Buffy relationship.  That whole Buffy\Faith relationship.  A spontaneous sibling in Dawn.  A trio of nerds as villains.  The "Hush" episode.  The "Ted" episode.  "Once More with Feeling," that's right.  A musical.  A freaking musical.  Speaking of music!  There should be a compilation album of all of the fantastic bands that played The Bronze.  Like all Whedon written things, however, it is really about the characters.  Care about the characters and they stories tend to write themselves.  Joss loves these people, so, in turn we love them, too.  (I don't go to many conventions and it is probably for the best.  I like my Buffy to be carrying Mr. Pointy, my Oz covered in fur and my Spike to have an English accent.  A dark haired James Marsters would just about ruin all of the fun for me.)

A musical?  It is like Whedon is in my head.

  Here we are now, some 8 years on since the last episode aired and I can still pick any one of them to watch and be happy.  Especially now as my son no longer sleeps on my chest, but sits next to me as we watch together.  Better still, he suffers through me pointing out references that he might have missed.  Of course, we have raised him too well for him to miss a good pop culture reference, but he humors me... most of the time.  So, the torch is passed.  Who knew geek was hereditary?
  Rereading this, I feel like I am doing a lousy job explaining my passion for this show, but I guess that is the point.  Like all love, it is simply to complex to put into words.  It will be just as bad whenever I decide to write about Firefly.  When it comes down to it love of a good TV show is just like love of a certain food.  No two tastes are alike.  It is likely that even those people who love this show as much as I do love it for very different reasons.  It is more likely for those people to argue against my points more voraciously.  That's love, though.  And the more geek the love, the more geek the arguments.
  I guess it is this.  Everyone has that show that, whenever they are down can pick them right back up.  Something that seems to be talking directly to them.  Same with books, movies, music... that is the entire point of this blog.  How we all use these things to make a bad day better.  Buffy has made many a dark day shine through with a little sunlight down to burn my vampires to dust.  Just as she is destined to do.

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