• Thank you for visiting Buffy-Boards. You obviously have exceptional taste. We just want you to know that:
    1. You really should register so you can chat with us!
    2. Twelve thousand people can't be wrong.
    3. Buffy-Boards loves you.
    4. See 1 through 3.
    Come on, register already!

I don't understand Bangel

burrunjor

Potential
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
404
Age
30
Well I'm not really much into shipping. It's fine in a fandom like this (that's awesome btw) but in others it can get really nasty and delusional. I've been banned from other sites for daring to question the validity of certain ships in other fandoms, that's how out of control it gets.

Still I do prefer Angel and Buffy to Buffy and Spike, because as a story I think there is more in it. Its not about hating Spike. I LOVE Spike. He was my favourite growing up, and I've met James (shaken his hand, he's such a cool guy) but I think overall Angel and Buffy is better and objectively more popular even with most of Spike's fans for the following reasons.

1/ It came when the show at its peak. Seasons 1-3 are probably the best era of the show. It was firing at all cylinders then, the horror, the soap opera, the fantasy, it all flowed together. They spent just as much time on their monsters of the week as they did on the drama with their main characters, and the story arcs. Most shows I've noticed tend to sacrifice one. Take the Flash for instance. I love it, but the monsters of the week are often bland, uninspired throwaway villains, because the focus is on the story arc.

Buffy however in those seasons came up with sensational monsters of the week all the time like Der Kindestod, Catherine Madison, Kakistos, Moloch, Ethan Rayne, Ken, Kakistos, The First (in Amends) etc, all of whom made a big impression on viewers. (As a child these guys fascinated and in some cases terrified me!)

Even villains that maybe were a bit more lacklustre like the Gil Men, and Machida you could still appreciate more because a lot of work went into making them. They weren't just guys with black or funny eyes like in other supernatural shows.

Sadly however by S6, the Spuffy seasons, I feel they tended to focus too much on the soap opera, or the drama with the characters and so the monsters were often just bland throwaways like rebel Vampire posse, Teeth, or M'Fashnik. S7 meanwhile we have been over in other threads is not well liked, so really Spuffy only has one universally beloved season, 5, whilst Bangel has 3. Also Spuffy isn't the focus of it's beloved season, whilst Bangel is the focus of arguably its most beloved season, 2.

Right away that is going to obviously make Bangel more popular, regardless of what effect either relationship had on the overall quality of both series.

2/ Angel was created to be the more romantic, brooding, tortured character. It didn't feel like we were being cheated out of something by having him be in that role. Initially Angel was just the bland satelite love interest, but then thanks to Angelus and his own show we saw that there was a lot more in this character and it was a pleasant surprise. He went from being mr cheesy to quite a badass, cool character who could take down hundreds of Demons.

Spike however was the opposite. Whilst always romantic, in seasons 2-4 he was a badass rebel who did things his own way, managed to be dangerous despite being just a fairly regular Vamp, and was hilarious. He had the absolute best lines, like in In The Dark when he mocks Angel on the rooftop .

Sadly however thanks to Spuffy he was cast into the Angel role of being the brooding, romantic Vampire and slowly but surely all of the things that we liked Spike for were taken away thanks to Spuffy until he was reduced to a mopey, brooding, whiny character.

In season 7 he doesn't get any funny lines at all. Also the beatings and physical torture become very frequent after he falls for Buffy LOL.

He loses every fight he has in S5 (apart from the fight with Buffy and flashbacks.) In season 2 he beat Buffy and curb stomped several Aulerian Vamps, held his own with Kendra and Buffy and defeated Drusilla, in season 3 he beat up the Mayors lackeys, in season 4/ 1 of Angel, he beat up Buffy until he provoked her too much, bossed around the other Vamps, tortured Angel, beat up the giant Demon in Doomed, escaped Forest and beat up several Demons at once at the end of Primeval.

In S5 meanwhile he gets beaten up all the time by Riley, he loses to Glory's minions, to Doc, gets curb stomped by Glory twice, and tortured by her in another episode, is unable to beat up a punk ass graveyard Vamp that Buffy stakes in Out of My Mind, or Intervention, gets thrown out a window by a robot, gets jumped by the alien Demon and doesn't even try to defend himself, he just screams.

Two whole episodes of season 7 meanwhile are just him being tortured and chained to a wall whimpering. With this in mind it's no surprise that a lot of his fans didn't like seeing the character reduced to this. Even James has regularly said how he wasn't entirely happy with it and enjoyed being on Angel Season 5 as he got to be an antagonist and win fights for a change.

3/ Buffy I think came out of Bangel a lot better than Spuffy.

It was understandable as to why she couldn't kill Angel as she was young, he was her first love and she had no idea he would turn evil.

Added to that she wasn't attracted to Angel because he was evil. On the contrary it was because he was a hero. Spike however retconned it that Buffy apparently was attracted to Angelus, (which left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.) I get it that Buffy as the Slayer might like a man who is dangerous, but the whole "monster in your man" thing to me felt a bit creepy, as Angelus is a serial killer, rapist (same with Spike.)

Added to that Buffy didn't abuse Angel physically, they didn't have to have her fall out with all of her friends, so he could be the only one to stand by her etc.

Sarah Michelle Gellar herself has said she feels Buffy was undermined by her love for Spike, like letting him look after Dawn after his AR.

4/ Also Bangel didn't overshadow other characters. They were all able to develop from it just as well. Giles had the fabulous Jenny story arc, Willow first learned magic cursing him, Xander had his petty jealousy, even Cordy we saw become a better person with the way she became a more proactive member of the gang. With Spuffy however in season 7, all of the other characters are kind of pushed to the background so we can focus on Spike and Buffy.

5/ Angels story arc was more unexpected. Angel becoming Angelus was a horrifying twist, where as Spike and Buffy was more cliched and predictable.

6/ Bangel didn't undermine Vampires. Buffy gave us one of the best takes on Vampires by presenting them as monstrous, creatures of horror. They were like the Deadites from Evil Dead. Angel however was a special Vampire physically so that meant that they didn't have to undermine the rest.

Spike sadly however did undermine their evil by being really noble like in Intervention and also as the Vamps were no longer the main villains by the time his infatuation rolled around (S5) then Vampires occupied almost an exclusively romantic role in the show, which put a lot fans of evil monstrous Vampires off.

7/ Spuffy ultimately just retread a lot of the same ground as Bangel, but not as well, because again it was using a character not as well suited for it, and coming when the show was running dry.

As I have said before S7 Spike is just a mini Angel, rather than the Spike we all know and love. (Thank god for Angel S5 that gave us the real Spike better than ever before.)

Everything they do with Spike in that series they had done with Angel in S1-3.

Vampire with a soul.

Spike starts going evil and killing people again.

Spike gets captured and spends a whole episode being tortured before Buffy has to rescue him just like Angel (who ironically got that treatment from Spike, Bring on The Night, What's My Line Part 2.)

Other members of Buffy's gang don't trust him and think Buffy's compromised by her feelings and make plans to kill him behind Buffy's back. (Giles and Wood for Spike, Faith and Xander for Angel.)

Faith comes between them and Buffy is all jealous. It's not as big a thing in S7, but it's there.

The First drives both Spike and Angel insane.

Spike even gets his own Holtz in the form of Wood.

Basically we liked Spike as Spike, we didn't want to see him become Angel mark 2.

Having said all of that I don't hate Spuffy. As time has gone on, I've warmed to a lot of aspects of it. There are some touching moments like Intervention, th end of Chosen, James and Sarah do have amazing chemistry, there were plenty of great twists, and it added to the Spike/Angel feud tremendously in S5.

Still overall I think that there was more in Bangel.
 
K
katmobile
Not one funny line in season seven? "Who you gonna call Buffy?" (beat) "God that line's never gonna be useable again!" That's pretty funny.

Ann

Nee chatwuann Bangel
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
765
Location
Where I live, but really don't want to be.
Bangel is a relationship between Soulmates. They have a connection that goes deep and ties them to each other. Bangel is an unselfish kind of love between two people. It was a love between champions and their strengths mingled perfectly. They aren't friends but they are not enemies either. From first meeting: Angel:"Let's just say I'm a friend."
Buffy: "Well maybe I don't want a friend.
Angel: "I didn't say I was yours."
They were there for each other in every way they could be.

The only reason they are not together is Angelus. Neither Buffy and Angel can risk him being unleashed again. If Angel had been made human sometime on Buffy then it is most likely they would have stayed together. Most likely Angel would not have gotten his own show if he was not a vampire. It is a transcendent love and they will always love each other whether they are together or not. Going through similar experiences they will always understand where the other is coming from. They have a lot in common because they both don't fit into the world. Both were better for loving each other.

Buffy and Angel talk about a future together. In bad eggs and End of Days and Chosen.
Buffy and Angel were meant to be and meant to find each other again. The kind of love they shared never dies.
 
V
vitriol
I guess you see what you want to see.

Professor Walsh

Feminist slayerette
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
2,151
Location
Snow-in-May-land
Black Thorn
When I first joined this forum, years ago, it was because I had been through a rewatch (or my first complete watch) and wanted to discuss the show. At fortysomething, I can still go into complete fangirl mode, wanting to discuss, look at the show or book from different angles and hear what others think just because I'm not ready to let go yet. With the years, though, I have found that there are limits as to how much I want to dissect my love for a book, a poem, a show, a film, a song. Sometimes, just enjoying it is enough. That is certainly the case with all of Buffy's romances. I can enjoy, and even love, Buffy with Angel or Buffy with Spike without being blind for the flaws in the relationships. Buffy with Angel satisfies my taste for good, old-fashioned romance with quips, much like Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I love the way a cheesy moment like "I didn't even notice" at the ice rink makes me feel. I love how I smirk at the "I didn't say I was yours". I love the lonely heartache of Angel on Buffy's floor, I love the cookie dough speech. I suppose it boils down to me enjoying the escapism of the romance combined with the good chemistry between SMG and DB. I could easily dissect the relationships to death and make a list of why loving it doesn't make sense, but I choose not to. I choose to love it.

It would have been neat, though, to see Buffy and Riley settling down as two fighters always having each other's back.
 

Ethan Reigns

Scooby
Joined
Oct 14, 2012
Messages
7,168
Location
Canada
Sineya
Both Buffy and Angel were on their way to being something different from what they were at the time they met. We all remember high school romances where the people involved were good people individually but they weren't ready to commit to each other yet. And the teachers all referred to (and dreaded) "crying time" at the end of the final year when long-term couples were going to go their separate way to universities that were separated by a few time zones. Those of us who went to university knew a few students who were married and living in hand-to-mouth poverty, the opposite side of the coin. If I wanted to go out drinking with the boys, I did because I could afford it. They couldn't.

It always feels good when people who are looking to become better people find each other and help each other on their way.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

Scooby
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
1,821
Age
39
Re: Age Gap; Here's the thing. When you were 14, were you too young to fall in love? Okay, do you think your 14 year old self felt the same way? My guess is, most of the girls watching the show in 1998 had no objections to Buffy dating an older guy. Because teenagers are foolish and ignorant. Not their fault, of course. But it is worth remembering that a 16 year old dating a 26 going on 300 year old didn't seem like a bad idea at the time.
 

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
Joined
Nov 8, 2017
Messages
1,503
Location
Australia
A big appeal of Bangel is the star-crossed lovers angle. There have always (and will always) be fans who love the Romeo and Juliet angle and who get caught up in the tragedy of doomed romances. They pull at the heartstrings in a way more stable relationships just can’t. But if we’re getting into the real in-depth reasons for the appeal of Bangel and what they do for one another and how they connect, here’s my take:

Buffy and Angel connect first due to the way they identify with the loneliness they see in one another. When Angel first sees Buffy when she is called and is watching her cry to herself, he deeply identifies with the loneliness she’s experiencing. When Buffy first meets Angel in Welcome to the Hellmouth, we see her soften when she asks him “Do you know what it’s like to have a friend” and he kind of sadly looks away. She recognizes the loneliness in him, especially since she is also an outsider at the time and longing for friendship and connection. They both understand the pain of walking in two worlds without truly belonging to either (the human world and the supernatural world).

A lot of Angel’s appeal to Buffy in the first season is due to his mystery and, yes, her physical attraction to him. She’s intrigued by him and feels herself turning more and more towards him with every interaction. We can clearly see that he occupies her mind and that she wants to get to know him better. The episode where it’s revealed that he is a vampire is obviously a turning point and she ends up feeling sympathy for him when he tells her “You have no idea what it’s like to do the things I’ve done … and care.” She can see the struggle he’s going through and, because she is a compassionate person, she feels for him because of this. They decide at the end of the episode that maybe becoming a couple isn’t they best course of action, but it’s obvious that a connection has been made which won’t be soon forgotten.

In Season 2 they have some definite ups and down but we see them grow much closer and Angel becomes someone whom Buffy can be totally vulnerable around (something she has a lot of trouble doing with other people). We see her share her fears with Angel, she talks about her past with him, tells him about how she used skating as an escape, discusses her fears for the future, complains about Ted when Joyce starts dating him. Angel gives her a safe space where she doesn’t have to be The Slayer, she can just be a normal girl with frustrations and fears. He reassures her and tries to do things to make her happy, such as the skating date. In return, Buffy helps to connect Angel with his humanity. She is the first truly human connection he’s had in decades and she inspires him to be better and to stay connected with the human world. They have some typical couple issues – communication problems, some petty jealousies (such as the Xander-sexy-dance or Buffy getting jealous when she sees Angel and Cordy laughing at the Bronze) but they usually talk these issues through (the conversation at the end of Halloween) and resolve their issues.

Of course the Angelus period is very hard for Buffy and the after-effects in Season 3 can be very bogged down in drama. I think a lot of people who ship Bangel do enjoy the misery but not because of the melodrama. I think that they enjoy the misery because it actually illustrates how much Buffy and Angel love one another. If their feelings weren’t so deep, if they hadn’t connected so intensely over the previous two seasons, then all the misery in Season 3 wouldn’t be there. It’s there because they love one another so much but so much has happened that they can’t resolve. But even in Season 3, with all the misery, we still see them support and help one another. Amends is a great example, with Buffy telling Angel how strong is fighting and that he needs to be better and stay in the world, or in Gingerbread when Buffy is doubting herself and whether she makes a difference and Angel reassures her that she does and tells her how she taught him not to give up. Even though there’s a lot of heartbreak, there’s also a lot of good, even if they end up breaking up at the end of the season, despite still loving one another.

The heartbreaking conflict of loving one another but not actually being able to be together becomes the crux of the Bangel relationship for the rest of both series. We see constant evidence that Buffy and Angel continue to hold deep feelings for one another (“In two hundred years no one mattered, not like she did” “How’s forever, does forever work for you?” “I would have given up everything I had to be with him, I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life” Buffy’s reaction to Anya’s “I found my soulmate” speech in As You Were, Angel’s reaction to Buffy’s death at the end of Season 2 “It’s Buffy”, their desperate need to see one another when she’s come back from the dead in Season 6, “I do sometimes … think that far ahead”). Every time they meet up post-Season 3 we see their instant connection and attraction resurface (their kisses in Forever and Chosen) and we know that if the Universe allowed them to, they would be together. And I think, above all else, that’s the enduring appeal of Bangel – that we know, and see constant evidence that Buffy and Angel continue to love and want one another and probably always will.
 
Last edited:
Ann
Ann
Very well put Rach M @RachM. You have a great understanding of Bangel and why Bangel fans are drawn to it. For me that will never change.

Taaroko

Gunner of the USS Buffy/Angel
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
438
I don't think being star-crossed lovers is a major component of why I ship it. It might be a major component of why I felt so compelled to write hundreds of thousands of words of fanfiction in which they get happier endings, but not every ship I like that isn't married with babies by the end of canon inspires that kind of reaction from me. Obviously a certain element of it is based on shallow preference. Sarah and David have a lot of appealing visual contrast in height and coloring and look really good together, and bonus points for DB (but specifically as Angel) being very high on my celebrity crush list. Meanwhile I never really found Spike or Riley all that attractive.

Far more importantly, Buffy and Angel are compelling because they understand each other on a level that no other character does. The loneliness and isolation inherent to their circumstances and the fact that neither of them chose those circumstances. The growing sense of responsibility over the endless nightly war they fight. The longing for something normal, even though it's unattainable for both of them. How hard it can be to fight against the worst parts of yourself, but that it's worth fighting anyway. They accept each other when they're vulnerable and they challenge each other when they're wrong. They inspire each other to be better but they don't put each other on pedestals. They're partners. If the characters are supposed to have that level of connection with anyone else, particularly romantically, then the actors aren't selling it.

If they're melodramatic, they earned it, and so what if it's a first love? Lucky them to find their soulmates without a ton of trial and error first. Unlucky them that there were a ton of external obstacles to get in the way.

Also, if you take away the "vampire element," you canonically get the "jouissance" of IWRY. So.
 

NeddaSai

Potential
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
230
I'm not a shipper but I do think Bangel had a better written story, which is what I want from a show at the end of the day.. I do enjoy Spuffy but (for whatever reason) it breaks my suspension of disbelief and takes me out of the show. Bangel feels more immersive imo.
 

AstridDante

Potential
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
286
Age
42
I completely understand Bangel and the appeal. It is epic and dramatic...first love, star crossed lovers arc however I prefer the Spuffy journey. I have never been a fan of instant love, Romeo and Juliet style romance it just doesn’t appeal to me. I love the enemies to lovers trope so much more particularly when it is done well and has depth. I think Buffy and Spike are iconic for this.
 

Britt

Townie
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1
Age
22
I'm not sure what the point is since this won't change your mind, but here it goes.

I saw a relationship built on mutual love and respect. I think about the scenes that resonated with me. Her kissing his vamp face and how much that meant to him. Him talking to her about loneliness and allowing her mother to date someone new. Her talking about her Dorothy Hamill phase and him offering to take her ice skating. It's clear from their interactions that they spent a lot of time talking to and learning about each other. She was able to be honest about every aspect of her life.

They were equals in every aspect. They had the same level of strength and ability. Buffy leaned on Angel for support and he leaned on her too when he needed it. They advised one another on everything from battle strategy to home life and ACTUALLY LISTENED to that counsel. That's a big deal for little miss Buffy *I'm-always-right-i-do-what-i-want* Summers.

They spent years apart, and yet never truly moved on from one another. For example, during "Forever", they had such an easy intimacy. He came all the way from Los Angeles just to hold her all night. He's tender and understanding and mostly patient with her.

Who wouldn't want that for Buffy? They had a mostly normal, healthy relationship right up until the plot got in the way and they couldn't have sex without him turning evil.
 
Antho
Antho
Well said :)

TriBel

Scooby
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
2,675
Location
Manchester
Also, if you take away the "vampire element," you canonically get the "jouissance" of IWRY.
Interesting choice of phrase: in what sense are you using it and why take the "vampire element" away"? Jouissance "beyond the phallus" (in all its forms) is what I associate with Spuffy. For me, Bangel's characterized by plaisir (pleasure). With Bangel, it's the man's bliss that's a problem; for Spuffy (particularly in S6), it's the woman's. It's the reason I find Spuffy more interesting - and ultimately, more progressive.
 

Taaroko

Gunner of the USS Buffy/Angel
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
438
My phrasing was a direct response to your "Without the vampire element, it's safe. It maintains the status quo. It's not visionary - it's not messianic. It won't change the world but it's not fundamentally bad. It's a plaisir ("pleasure") not jouissance ("bliss")...probably in the fullest sense." line. Maybe I misunderstood your lofty academese there (I definitely have no idea where being "messianic" factors into either ship), but it seems like you're saying the only substance to the Buffy/Angel relationship comes from the conflict surrounding his being a vampire. I'm pointing out (perhaps facetiously) that in the episode where the vampire element is removed (IWRY), the result seems pretty dang blissful. It also seems like you're saying that Buffy/Angel doesn't attain the same blissful heights as Spuffy, which is kind of baffling to me considering 1) how miserable Buffy seems most of the time with Spike and 2) it's an immutable canon fact that Buffy is perfect happiness for Angel. It isn't one-sided, either. Obviously we don't have the litmus test of a curse to gauge Buffy's happiness levels, but to revisit IWRY, she tells Angel "This is the first time I've ever really felt this way. Just like I've always wanted to. Like a normal girl, falling asleep in the arms of her normal boyfriend." I don't think there's another episode in either show where she's as radiantly happy and peaceful as she is there. I don't see the drawback if Buffy/Angel is "safe" either. The relationship doesn't exist in a vacuum. They're on the front lines of an endless war protecting innocent people from monsters, so I would absolutely hope that they can feel safe with the person they love.

I'm also not sure what's progressive about a ship where the woman's emotional trauma is ignored in favor of comforting her abuser, but okay.
 

TriBel

Scooby
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
2,675
Location
Manchester
like you're saying the only substance to the Buffy/Angel relationship comes from the conflict surrounding his being a vampire.
No...I was saying the opposite. That there IS substance to it. Take away the vampire and it's ideal. It's also predictable. I don't mean that in a negative sense but in the sense that you can see where it's going...it lends itself to closure. Spuffy is more speculative...open-ended...indefinable...

In fact, to return to the OP, I do understand Bangel. It's perfectly understandable...I don't always understand Spuffy and that's why I enjoy it. I have to work at understanding it.
 
Last edited:

Taaroko

Gunner of the USS Buffy/Angel
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
438
Oh, okay. Well I will gladly take my predictable ship with two people who deeply love each other and want each other to be happy, then. I like that I can feel reasonably confident based on what we've seen of them that if you removed their main obstacle (his being a vampire), they'd pick up where they left off, start a martial arts school together or something, get married, and have babies. And in the meantime I will thoroughly enjoy their vampire/human romance with the vampface kiss and the bite scene and his sexy growls. I'm a simple girl with simple needs; I like when relationships are appealing on the literal level, not just as abstract concepts. Then again, I never found Spuffy especially indefinable. It's a lot of orgasms and misery, and a massively insecure, bitter guy trying to project his obsession onto the object of it. Not that deep. Definitely wouldn't call it messianic by any stretch.
 

TriBel

Scooby
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
2,675
Location
Manchester
Definitely wouldn't call it messianic by any stretch.
The penultimate episode of the TV series is "End of Days"; the final comic is called "The Reckoning". Both are eschatological terms (as is Chosen) so I don't think "messianic" is out place. Both S7 and S12 are about history and time. Homogeneous empty time is continuous; messianic time is ruptural. Bangel exists in continuous time (hence predictable...but, as I said, not in a bad way. Isn't it prophesied? You don't get much more continuous than that). Spike causes a rupture, not just figuratively (in language) but also literally by sinking Sunnydale and opening up a ruddy great abyss. "Messianic hopes are directed toward a single redemptive figure who, it is believed, will lead the people...into a better historical future". Or, to quote Dawn, "Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?" It's not that abstract. Don't ask me about S12.
 
Taake
Taake
I think you’re making me like s7 a bit more!

Taaroko

Gunner of the USS Buffy/Angel
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
438
Uh...what does any of that have to do with how the Spuffy relationship is messianic? Wasn't that your original claim? You just made a case for biblical themes in the finale and that Spike himself is messianic. The former, obviously; this is a show about fighting evil in which the main species of antagonist is allergic to crosses and holy water, so of course there were going to be biblical themes. The latter, still debatable. All Spike did was put on a necklace and show up to the battle. He didn't know it was going to take out the turok-han, himself, and the entire town when it activated. Nobody did. Buffy believed there was a chance that whoever wore it wouldn't survive, and she wouldn't allow Angel to take that chance, but she was fine with Spike doing it. When it actually did result in his death, she shed a few tears in the moment but was smiling in the next scene. Quelle jouissance!

So Spike doesn't strike me as a Christ figure in all this. Tripping into a self-sacrifice moment and then going along with it, while very noble, is a far cry from coming to Earth with the express, known and accepted purposes of eventually suffering and dying to redeem mankind from their sins and conquering death. It's also the sloppiest writing in the episode, because unlike the revolutionary mass Slayer activation spell, it had no setup and no narrative significance. A MacGuffin saves the day, wow. I guess that makes Spike Jesus. Buffy is much closer to being a Christ figure herself throughout the series. Her defining character trait is compassion, and check out the cruciform pose as she jumps into the portal in "The Gift" to save her sister and the world. Angel gets a lot of that too, with his mission of saving souls, not just lives, and it's especially clear during the Holtz arc (complete with another cruciform pose). There were attempts to put Spike in a similar position in S7, such as his creepy speech at the end of "Beneath You" and draping himself over a cross, but those fell incredibly flat for me, because he was making himself Buffy's responsibility when he should have been respecting her emotional needs and giving her space. I'm also much more impressed with Spike's decision to stand with Angel in the "Not Fade Away" fight than I am with him putting on a necklace.

Buffy and Angel might be predictable in that there's little question they're going to love each other no matter what, but what happens to them and how they handle it together is less predictable. Joss might think stable relationships are boring television, but I love seeing a power couple overcome any obstacles that get thrown at them.
 

TriBel

Scooby
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
2,675
Location
Manchester
@Taake I think you’re making me like s7 a bit more!

Good! Don't get me started on the six degrees of separation between The Morphing Monsters and Chaos Theory. Seriously - I think it's clever! There again, it's what the cool kids refer to as "meta" and I like "meta".🙄 I'm not great with "story".

it had no setup and no narrative significance
Arguable...depends on your understanding of narrative.
the Spuffy relationship is messianic?
Because they're each only there because of the other(s).
So Spike doesn't strike me as a Christ figure in all this.
Nor me.
Buffy is much closer to being a Christ figure herself throughout the series.
Which is what I said...she's the redemptive figure...though I think it's more complicated than that.
A MacGuffin saves the day, wow. I guess that makes Spike Jesus.
Nope. He identifies with Elizabeth Taylor. I didn't mention themes. Seriously, I'm not interested in themes - I'm interested in rhizomes (Willow's connections) and palimpsests (Anya's traces) and fusions (Touched) It's a whole different vibe. And messianic doesn't necessarily mean Christ. My understanding of messianic time comes from Benjamin and he was a Jewish Marxist.
Joss might think stable relationships are boring television, but I love seeing a power couple overcome any obstacles that get thrown at them.
I rarely listen to what Joss says and my OTP is Lucifer and Chloe...so I agree. I'm not sure why you're getting so heated. In effect, all I said was Bangel's a closed text; Spuffy's an open one. For that reason, I prefer the latter.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

Scooby
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
1,821
Age
39
It’s important to remember, Shipper Culture, like everything else about Internet Culture, was still in its infancy when Buffy first aired. You had TNG shippers, because TNG only teased relationships, it never indulged them, unless you were a Miles-Keiko shipper, I suppose. The X-Files had a lot of shippers, whom the series eventually caved into. And you have sexual tension between actors who were cast with their chemistry in mind. Angel and Buffy was not written in response to fan demand, it was just written for the sake of the story. You kind of just applauded for whatever was put on your plate. But somewhere around the year 2000, Shipping became a thing, and it reached full maturity with Twilight. So, you aren't really looking at a shipper friendly relationship in Bangle.
 

Taaroko

Gunner of the USS Buffy/Angel
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
438
Nah, I'm not getting heated, I'm just trying to bushwhack my way through the dense jungle of your obfuscating academic jargon and my machete's getting dull. I feel very strongly that when we're excited by certain ideas, we should be able to discuss them in accessible ways so that newcomers feel welcomed to join in and discover what's so exciting about it for themselves rather than feeling too intimidated to participate. When a point is sound, it should be possible to make it using straight-forward language.

What makes Spuffy an open text and Buffy/Angel not? I still don't get what you're trying to say here well enough to know if I agree or not. If it wasn't possible to have differing readings of these dynamics, surely we wouldn't be able to argue about them decades after they first came onscreen. Doesn't the very existence of the shipping factions indicate that there's plenty of flexibility in how the text can be understood?

If there is more room for flexibility in how we can interpret Spike and Spuffy than Angel and Buffy/Angel, I think that has much less to do with Spike's complexity than with the inconsistency of the writing. Somewhere in S5, the writers reached a crossroads: do we A) stick to the previously established rule that soulless vampires are automatically evil and it isn't a moral problem to slay them indiscriminately, or B) give Spike a potentially redemptive moral arc because otherwise he might get kinda stale and hard to justify keeping around? They chose option B but did a very poor job of committing to it. Some writers (notably David Fury) refused to get on board and continued to push option A, muddying the waters even further. Option B in itself isn't automatically bad continuity (though I question how worthwhile it is for the sake of a character like Spike, who I have long felt would have been better in occasional doses, Drusilla style). However, it can become bad continuity if no support structure is built around it to recontextualize the characters and if there's no exploration of the broader implications of the rules not actually being what we thought they were. By what mechanic are vampires able to attain a measure of goodness without their souls? Is the demon that inhabits them capable of moral nuance? If vampires aren't automatically evil, should Buffy really be slaying them without giving them a chance? Should she feel guilty about doing so for years without questioning it? Why has the Council been hammering this narrative about vampires being irredeemable? Do they have ulterior motives?

Sadly, the writers neither built that support structure nor explored these implications. I think I would have loved it if they had. Instead, they just gave us a pretty wishy-washy, possibly redemptive arc for soulless Spike and left us to fill in the gaps for ourselves. A hugely important question goes unanswered by canon: is Spike somehow actually becoming a better person despite lacking a soul, which would mean we need to adjust our understanding of demons and souls, or is he just being manipulative and opportunistic because given the rules of the Buffyverse it isn't possible for him to become a better person without a soul and there's no other way to understand his actions? The previously established rules don't allow for the former, but anyone rooting for Spike would balk at the idea of the latter. There shouldn't so much ambiguity around basic worldbuilding concerns like this one, because it weakens the entire story and makes the struggles of the characters less meaningful. It's very difficult to engage in productive discourse around Spike because of these kinds of problems with the writing. We have to fill in the holes the writers left with our own assumptions, which will inevitably differ wildly, and then we end up talking at cross-purposes when our points rely on those assumptions.

I understand that continuity is hard in long-form storytelling where there's no set plan from beginning to end and you never know when you'll get cancelled or what stories or characters will resonate best with audiences ahead of time, but I think if you're tired of the rules you made seasons ago when you had different goals, you need to at least do the work of explaining how it's possible to break them or make it explicitly clear that those weren't really the rules to begin with (provided you can do so without egregious retconning) before you let your worldbuilding crumble for the sake of one character. Especially when that character isn't even the protagonist.

(We clearly have different approaches to Buffy criticism. As an aspiring author who is very interested in the craft of storytelling and especially fantasy worldbuilding, I want to dissect it and identify writing flaws like a script doctor first, and you seem to be in full academic criticism mode. That's totally fine, but I think that one can't really analyze what a text is doing or trying to say without first making sure it is actually functional and coherent.)

Because they're each only there because of the other(s).
Because of each other(s) what? What are you referring to and how does it show Spuffy is messianic? Genuinely confused.

It’s important to remember, Shipper Culture, like everything else about Internet Culture, was still in its infancy when Buffy first aired. You had TNG shippers, because TNG only teased relationships, it never indulged them, unless you were a Miles-Keiko shipper, I suppose. The X-Files had a lot of shippers, whom the series eventually caved into. And you have sexual tension between actors who were cast with their chemistry in mind. Angel and Buffy was not written in response to fan demand, it was just written for the sake of the story. You kind of just applauded for whatever was put on your plate. But somewhere around the year 2000, Shipping became a thing, and it reached full maturity with Twilight. So, you aren't really looking at a shipper friendly relationship in Bangle.
That's really interesting. I wonder how different Buffy/Angel would've been if the show had come out, say, when Vampire Diaries did instead of when the internet was just a baby and social media wasn't a thing. Considering how many shows have been harmed by the showrunners' misguided need to subvert audience expectations and be unexpected, I can't imagine it would have been better. Writers should be able to tell the story that needs to be told, not the one fans (or interfering network execs) want.
 
Top Bottom