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lighthearted past vs. grim future, next try

Discussion in 'Inside Out' started by Puffy, Feb 19, 2017.

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What do you think about that change?

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  1. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    [​IMG]
    Gif from: rebloggy.com/post/gifs-season-4-buffy-the-vampire-slayer-btvs-hush-the-creepiest-post-i-ve-ever-ma/27926439599
     
    Puffy: ;)
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  2. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    I should elaborate; in S2 Angelus goes on a rampage. He- off-screen- almost certainly kills many, many people in Sunnydale. And Buffy is partly responsible. She knows she is partly responsible and it eats her up with the guilt. So much so that by the end of the season Buffy up and quits. She's had enough.
    That's some dark stuff- writing- and yet the season doesn't feel as dark as S6 when in fact it is darker.

    In S6 nobody dies. Buffy sleeps with Spike and all that happens is that she feels depressed and grossed out most of the time. But we are constantly shown how BAD and miserable everyone feels by the writers- that's the focus, so consequently it feels like its Buffy at its darkest, at its most 'adult', but the events don't match the tone for the most part.

    Also something to bear in mind is that earlier seasons just feel busier than later ones because the writers are juggling more themes and ideas rather than drawing one or two out and beating them to death.
    There is less focus on the 'bad' of the earlier stuff because there's much more going on. but the bad stuff is still bad.

    Your listing of cast member deaths as evidence of dark/adult is...faulty and a bit simplistic tbh. It's much more about the events/what's happening during the show vs. the tone/themes of the season.
    Jenny's death was caused by another cast member, somebody Buffy has feelings for. That's way dark.
    Tara's death was caused by a rather cartoonish misogynistic villain.
     
  3. Mr. Pole

    Mr. Pole Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    And for most cases, even worse than later seasons bad.

    A villain that was, for the most part, never seen again. So it lessens the impact and stakes.
     
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  4. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    Yes. That's pretty dark. But season 6 is just much darker. Buffy loses almost everything and quits her slayer role? That's dark. But Buffy loses the will to live and tries to commit suicide? That's even darker. That's just a different level of dark.

    It's like this: In season 2, Angelus asks Buffy what's left when she loses her friends and her weapons and her hope, and Buffy replies "Me". In season 6, Buffy doesn't even have that. In season 6, Buffy doesn't even have her "me" anymore. That's an even harder challenge, and it makes for an even darker story.

    I disagree with the second half, but the point is this - in stories, darkness is a matter of tone and theme. In season 6, the tone was dark, and the thems were dark. In season 2, the tone and themes were less dark. It's that simple.

    Um...

    [​IMG]

    That's like saying that in season 2, all that happens is that Buffy's boyfriend is mean to her and she runs away from home. It's a big understatement.

    Actually, the events of season 6 TOTALLY match the tone of the season. It's just that those "events" are more internal, rather than external.
    In season 2, the conflict (the "events") was relatively external - Buffy's boyfriend turns evil because of some out-of-nowhere curse, vampires like Spike and Dru attack the city, the judge threatens to kill everyone, etc... On the other hand, in season 6 the conflict was relatively internal - Buffy lost her will to live, Willow struggles with addiction, etc...
    Internal conflicts are actually a harder challenge for superpowered people like Buffy and the scoobies, and therefore, these characters can't put on a cheery face as easily as they did in the past. Which is why season 6 has a darker tone.

    *Shrug* It's the other way around for me. The early seasons have lots of monster-of-the-week episodes, that just waste time by repeatedly riffing on the themes of the season, in a way that doesn't reveal anything new about the characters. Episodes like 'Bad Eggs' and 'Inca Mummy Girl' and 'Reptile Boy' are just grinding away the time before we can get to the ACTUAL character arcs, which barely even move before 'Surprise'. Most of the episodes in season 2 are just repeatedly grinding the idea that "Sex has consequences". I don't see how you can say that they have more themes and ideas.

    By contrast, in season 6 ALL the episodes are character-driven, and they all move the characters' journey forward. Even weak episodes like 'Older and Far Away' are an essential part of the story, because they at least propel the character arcs forward. Season 6 just has a lot more substance to the story. Season 2 only has more monsters to punch.

    Yeah, I was half-joking. Obviously, art isn't a matter of math. The later seasons aren't darker because they have more main character deaths. They're darker because they have a darker tone, and deal with darker themes.

    Then again, Jenny was killed by a soulless monster, a person who only did something so evil because his mind was mystically altered. Tara, on the other hand, was killed by a regular human being with a gun, who was evil in a very common human way. It feels a lot closer to reality, which makes it feel darker and more disturbing, to me.
    Not to mention the fact that Tara was just a much more beloved character than Jenny, which makes her death more painful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
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  5. OccaQuokka

    OccaQuokka My arse is not pansy!

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    Sineya
    So again the "darkness" spoken of, is not essentially darkness, it is just closer to reality?

    Perhaps hitting home deeper that depression, death and rape can happen to any of us. But we're pretty safe from evils like Der Kindestod.
     
    Mr. Pole: Exactly
  6. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    But that's the thing, the same topics have been there since S1 already. We've had death, depression and rape even in the early Seasons. Jesse dies in the freaking pilot. Xander tries to rape Buffy in the 6th episode of the first Season. We have seen Buffy suffer both PTSD (WSWB) and Depression (Anne) before.

    The difference is the literal vs. the metaphorical. Joss has always said the 'highschool is hell metaphor'. So the real life problems we face were wrapped up in the metaphors they told with the supernatural. In S6 they said 'to hell with metaphors' and 'lets just be very literal'. For some it makes the show seem darker. For me not at all, they have been there and done those stories since S1. The only thing that changed was how they did those stories.
     
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  7. OccaQuokka

    OccaQuokka My arse is not pansy!

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    Sineya
    I agree.
    I am trying to figure out the way to say it - maybe more relateable to some in the later seasons because it is more literal.
    As a viewer as a child, I appreciated the metaphors, it did not seem so dark - none of the situations yet related to me, carefree in the face of obvious danger. As I aged, they did, and the show did too, there was not as much of a need for it with a maturing cast and audience.
     
    Mr. Pole: I don't think there wasn't a need, I think the showrunner did not WANT to tell those stories. Look at her other shows, look at her movies. That's not really her style.
  8. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    I don't know about the literal being easier to relate to. Maybe some people need the literal to actually understand the context. A lot of young people certainly do. I was pretty much the same age as the Scoobies when the show was airing for the first time. I have never felt more for Buffy as a character as I did during S2 (and S5 when Joyce died). That was true back then and it's still true now.

    But not all of the cast was maturing. One of the reasons to bring Dawn into the show was because they feared they would lose the younger audience. So the sudden switch wasn't because the audience was full of grown ups. IMO it was just their eagerness to take advantage of the fact that UPN didn't have 'standards and practices'. And even then they didn't have the guts to go all out (see Willow's story).
     
    OccaQuokka: Yeah my brain wandered in a direction that I dont really even get now haha. No posting while distracted is a better way for me
  9. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Or 'Buffy abandons her friends because she feels alone' at the end of S2 vs. 'Buffy heroically sacrifices herself to save the world', which is S5.
    Both are downer endings to be sure.
    Btw- when does Buffy actually seriously try and commit suicide. I mean really?

    Yes, and the other half is ACTUAL STORY and events, which is what matters more than tone imo.
    And the story and events of the first three season are are about children growing up and facing harsh adult realities. The darkness is more symbolic- because that's what the show was originally about but its still there. Just because something is wrapped up in metaphor doesn't make it LESS DARK, it just means that the viewer has to do a bit more extra work.

    Sure she has reason to live, they just draw out the revelations for a whole season. Dawn is the one who stops Buffy jumping in Bargaining Part 2- Dawn symbolizes life and the future in S6 and Buffy realizes that about twenty episodes later.

    Yeah, I do know that Tara died (obviously) , but it wasn't as a direct result of Buffy's actions (or inaction). It was just the villain that none of them knew or cared about; some nut with a gun.
    Jenny died because Angelus killed her. They all knew who Angelus was (back when the show wasn't making an effort to distinguish between the two characters because Angel was supposed to die)
    Also Angelus was 'brought about' by Buffy's loss of control (and also Angel's but Angel can't do anything about it since he has ceased to exist) so Buffy has guilt and has to handle that guilt.
    That is internal conflict right there, but there are also other things going on at the same time, monster and metaphor and symbolism because that was what the show was best at; it wasn't actually very good at making depression look anything other than kinda dull and repetitive.

    Uh, no. Angelus KILLS PEOPLE. We even see this happen on-screen. Like, a lot. Jenny, Buffy's classmate, trying to kill Xander & Willow, torturing Giles.
    Jeez, now who's been simplistic.
    In contrast Spike doesn't kill anyone. Oh sure he's a total sleaze and he does hurt Buffy quite a few times, but the body count is zero by his hand. And the consequences of what DOES happen are mostly brushed off and never dealt with.

    Eh, that's just surface stuff. There were monsters AND things going on under the surface. Halloween 'on the surface' was just Ethan Rayne hi-jinx but it was also so much more, so was Lie To Me' or 'Phases' or 'IOHEFY'. Monster as metaphor and character and lots more besides.

    I mean, what was the point of the 'Doublemeat Phallus' monster? What did that represent exactly, apart from a god-awful monster concept?

    Whereas for me S6 is incredibly slow and full on ennui. We spend entire arcs without any forward character momentum. The writers have one or two ideas and no real plot to speak of.

    No, the themes weren't actually darker nor were they handled especially well. S2 tackled child abuse in a chilling episode through use of metaphor. S6 tackles drug addiction through a stupid unsubtle 'magic is drugs kids' metaphor.
    Buffy's depression literally just goes away, whereas the 'betrayal' of her calling at the end of S2 has actual resonance and consequence for her character. She grows as a result of the darkness she suffers.

    Jenny was killed by a cast member. And- more importantly- the consequences of the death are explored in detail in subsequent episodes and into the next season. We see how it affects Giles and Buffy and Willow and eventually Angel himself.
    After Tara dies the only one who references it is Willow- really. Where's the 'darkness' or the drama?
    The problem is their wasn't really any because Tara's death was simply there to 'shock' and facilitate the Dark Willow arc. Now the Angelus killed Jenny was ALSO there to increase the tension of the forthcoming arc BUT we also saw how the characters were affected.
    'Death' without consequence isn't dark, its hollow.
     
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  10. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    Twice.

    - In the end of 6x02, she goes to the tower from 'The Gift', to jump to her death again. Dawn stops her.
    - In 6x07, after Buffy admits that "I think I was in heaven", she starts dancing faster and faster, until smoke starts to come off of her. We've seen earlier that this kind of dancing can kill people by burning them to death, and the implication here (as I see it) is that Buffy wanted to burn to death ("These endless days are finally ending in a blaze" "To save the day, or maybe melt away... I guess it's all the same. So I will walk through the fire, 'cause where else can I turn? I will walk through the fire, and let it burn"). Spike stops her.

    Matters to the quality of the story, sure, but not to the darkness of the story. Man of Steel is a TERRIBLE movie IMO, but it is also pretty dark. Dark =/= Good. You may hate season 6, but I don't see why that makes it less dark. A story can be dark and terrible at the same time.

    I think that it does. I think that, for example, showing metaphors for rape (vampires) is less dark than showing ACTUAL rape ('Seeing Red'). That doesn't necessarily mean that one is a better story than the other (I know that many people HATE 'Seeing Red'), but I do think that it makes it darker. Even if it's only darker in a shallow, superficial way.

    (For the record, I DON'T think that 'Seeing Red' is shallow or superficial. But that's a different issue entirely)

    I see it differently, but again - this is a question of quality, not of darkness.

    Actually, both cases are similiar in this respect. In both cases, innocent people died because Buffy and/or the scoobies failed to stop the villain in time. Buffy and the scoobies KNEW about the Trio's presence since 6x05, and they knew their identities since 6x11. They failed to stop them in time because they were too wrapped up in their own psychological problems - and the story PUNISHED them for that (by killing Tara), just like the story punished them for not killing Angelus in season 2 (By killing Jenny).


    Um, that was my point. It's an understatement.

    Some of the things that Spike does to Buffy in season 6 are more horrifying than ANYTHING that Angelus does in season 2 - even if he doesn't kill anyone. The attempted rape scene is much more horrifying than Jenny's death, for example. And anyway, Spike is just PART of season 6. There are plenty of other horrifying things in that season.

    Sure, I love season 2. But it still has lots and lots of FILLER. I wasn't talking about IOHEFY or 'Lie To Me' - I was talking about 'Inca Mummy Girl', or 'Reptile Boy', or 'Bad Eggs', or 'Some Assembly Required'.


    I strongly disagree, but again - this is a question of quality. I'm not trying to argue that season 6 is GOOD (it IS, but I've grown tired of debating that), I'm just saying that it is dark. And again - a story CAN be dark and terrible at the same time.
     
  11. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    Always reminds me of @EvilUU who said Spuffy could have been done in 3 episodes because it was always the same formula. And it's true.

    Let's have sex.
    No, you're an evil monster.
    But I love you.
    No.
    Pretty please?
    Ok.

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    Willow's story had potential to get real dark. If only they had better writers and Whedon & Co. hadn't listened to Alyson Hannigan when she chickened out so they changed the storyline.

    S6 is just a badly done soap. But at least like any soap, completely nonsensical and filled with unlikable characters and stereotypes.
     
    thetopher: Exactly.
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  12. Taake

    Taake Tweedledee Staff Member

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    Black Thorn
    I didn't realize her story had supposed to have been different! What was supposed to have happened with Willow?
     
  13. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    Just like the story originally began in S6. Willow was going to go dark side because of her human flaws. It would actually have made sense when you think about Willow over the course of the whole show. But Alyson Hannigan thought it would take Willow to a place she can't come back from and people wouldn't like her anymore/see her as a good person so they changed it to magic!crack. You never noticed the sudden u-turn in Willow's story in S6?

    Too bad they didn't afford SMG with the same courtesy when she voiced her doubts about the S6 path for Buffy.
     
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  14. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Scooby

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    Gods, I'd have LOVED the original. And of course she can come back from evil. Redemption was a huge part in Angel (including when he became so dark in season 2 Angel) as did Faith, Anya, and many notable mentions of numerous episodes of characters acting out in horrifying ways in which I'm too lazy to look up the titles (but thinking of like Giles poisoning Buffy to make her weak for that stupid test on her 18th birthday). And let's not forget Spike. Heck, if there is something Willow would not have been forgiven for by the audience then it would've been giving Spike the dusting he so richly deserved.
     
  15. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    Of course Willow could have come back from that. But they probably would have needed writers from AtS to pull that off. Thinking about what passed for redemption on BtVS in it's last Seasons proved they needed better writers for that. Redemption was basically shedding a few tears (Andrew), a vacation in England (Willow), not giving a damn (Anya, Spike) and never facing punishment of any kind (too many characters to list for that one).
     
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