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Why do people try to retcon Buffy's love confession to Spike

AlphaFoxtrot

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Aside from the obvious, (Spuffy was pretty controversial as is) The writing in season 7 wasn't that great. I suspect that they gave up on trying to sell Spuffy, and mostly wrote it to satisfy fans who were already emotionally invested in the ship. Which is also kind of the problem with Willow-Kennedy.
 

katmobile

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Aside from the obvious, (Spuffy was pretty controversial as is) The writing in season 7 wasn't that great. I suspect that they gave up on trying to sell Spuffy, and mostly wrote it to satisfy fans who were already emotionally invested in the ship. Which is also kind of the problem with Willow-Kennedy.
You see I think the opposite that the writing is good and you're dismissing it because you dislike Spuffy and Spike at this stage. Kennedy is different - she wasn't given enough vulnerability and without that you don't get audience sympathy. Lani at Chipperish says good characters need strengths, weeknesses and vulnerabilities - Spike's a good character, Kennedy isn't.
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
That seems circular logic: of course if the writing is bad she's gonna dislike Spuffy and Spike at that stage. If it were written differently, then AF might've loved it, but then maybe you wouldn't.

TriBel

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But in Season 6, Spike truly damages Buffy. He victimizes her. Her makes her feel ashamed and degraded and traumatized.
No. She's degraded and traumatized BEFORE she encounters Spike. Watch her walk down the stairs - she covers her body. Listen to Dawn tell her she's dirty. These have both story and discourse functions - manifest and latent meanings. Her humanity is already damaged (as figured by her hands. Hands are a common metaphor for humanity. It's not coincidence her relationship with Spike begins with damaged hands and "ends" with flaming hands). She's traumatized by the fact that her mind/spirit/soul has been inserted in dead flesh. We see this happening. What's being played out here is the mind/body dualism at the heart of Western philosophy. Since the Enlightenment, the West has privileged the mind over and above the body. The problem is that because the mind is seen as "rational" it's been aligned with men. The body (because women bleed; because women are seen as more "in touch" with their bodies than men) is encoded as female. There's a reason "The Body" is titled "The Body". There's a reason in that episode that we see Dawn drawing negative space out of which a body appears because the body signifies only by what it isn't - the mind. Most of Buffy's problems go back to the notion of "the body" (both the generic body, its function in dualism and her mother's death). She tells us this in S10 but it can be inferred from the TV series. Her depression is easily read as melancholia (a failure to mourn, often related to the mother - see Intervention). In short, she's "ashamed and degraded and traumatized" because she's a woman and the Slayer, she's not traumatized by Spike. In fact, S6/7 overturns much of this through her relationship with Spike. In S6 she rejects the body (and implicitly the mother); in S7 she reclaims both (as much as she can).

What S7 does is work its way towards a notion of the "embodied mind", which culminates in Touched. In Touched, mind/body, subject/object etc. etc. are (in a sense) joined by a speculative & rather than pushed apart by / . (Interesting sidebar: In 1999 George Lakoff, a renowned linguist at Berkeley, writes a book called "Philosophy In The Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought". In it he credits a research assistant and doctorate student who spent more than a year researching the metaphorical structure of causation before leaving for a career as a Hollywood script writer. That assistant was Jane Espenson). What Buffy learns to embrace is her "thingness", through embracing a "(dirty) thing". She embraces her hybridity, as both a slayer and a woman).

There's an article here called Object Entanglements: From postmodern subjectivity to postmodern thingness in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. I haven't seen Dollhouse and I no longer have access to the article but I'll try to get hold of a copy. It begins “Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse…positions subjectivity in direct confrontation with posthuman hybridity by situating viewers to question what it is to be human – how much…integration occurs before we cease to be ourselves and become something else? Does that transformation require moral complacency? Are we a singular self, or are we many selves? Are we autonomous subjects, or interrelated objects, or something in between? Wrestling with socio-political issues common among Whedon’s works, such as identity in the face of technology, politics in the belly of industry, and commerce on the backs of the proletariat, Dollhouse creates a metanarrative of these things unlike any other Whedonverse.” I don't generally disagree with this - but the metanarrative she mentions - the metanarrative of "thingness" begins in the later seasons of BtVS (change integration for "connection" and you have the Touched speeches. Ask why, in Lessons, Giles jokes about not understanding "synchronized swimming" - a hybrid sport).

The writing in season 7 wasn't that great.
I think the writing's excellent...as good as any postmodern text I've ever worked with. It's complex because of the above and because it's characterized by polyphony, which isn't new but is a characteristic of postmodern fiction. Simply put, there isn't just one voice - there are a multitude of clashing and conflicting intra and intersubjective voices (even the titles are doubly coded). The conversation in Empty Places (?) over who's in charge merely mirrors at the level of content what's happening at the level of form. It satisfied me before I was a fan. In fact, it was the writing of S7 that drew me to fandom, which introduced me to the word "Spuffy".

@RachM - it was coming into fandom that made me reconsider my position on S6. From an ivory towers perspective I can understand (to my intellectual satisfaction) why SR happens as it does and why Buffy disavows a victim status. What I hadn't realised (because for me BtVS is just a text) was how contentious it was and how much it hurt other people. Nor had I realised how much succour people took in her fight against depression. I apologize upfront if it sounds as though I'm underestimating these - I'm not. I find S6/7 intriguing and intellectually stimulating but I fully understand why others don't.

Sigh...somewhere in the above is a response to the OP - I'll drag it out if I can.
 

katmobile

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You see I think the opposite that the writing is good and you're dismissing it because you dislike Spuffy and Spike at this stage. Kennedy is different - she wasn't given enough vulnerability and without that you don't get audience sympathy. Lani at Chipperish says good characters need strengths, weeknesses and vulnerabilities - Spike's a good character, Kennedy isn't.
[/QUOTE
But thrashpix Alpha Foxtrot's reasoning is circular too. I don't like it so it's bad, it's bad so I don't like it.
 

Anyanka Bunny Slayer

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It would make sense for Buffy to...tell him the words he's so long wanted to hear as he is dying, and it's a great end to Spike's arc for him to acknowledge and accept that Buffy doesn't love him, especially given his obsession for her in Season 5 and 6 when he would've loved to hear her say those words
.
My thoughts exactly. It was a lovely gift to him since he was sacrificing himself, and I think his response was perfect.

Because she DIDN'T love him and he knew it.
 
Angel6
Angel6
Yes it’s interesting because this thread is about people retconning her saying it, but the people who think she loved him obviously retconned his reply!

Serenityrose

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I think it'll always come down to whether you like Spuffy or not.
If you don't, you're not inclined to believe that she meant it. If you do, it's easier for people to buy into the love story.

But in terms of if Buffy meant it. Joss confirmed that she did.

But what I basically told [Sarah and James] was: "Play the romance. Be proud of him. Love him when you say you love him. Love her when you say she doesn't love you. Forget about the crumbling world. For that period of time, it doesn't exist- Joss Whedon Chosen commentary

Buffy was in love with Spike the moment their hands clasped. -- Joss Whedon (San Diego Convention)

I'm sorry! Totally buried my lead there. Any way you like, sweetheart. All right, DVR. I'm sorry. (goes into FAQ response mode) DVR. River. [Buffy] really loves Spike. -- Joss Whedon (Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, 4-09)

Now whether people saw that onscreen, that's another story. I definitely saw that Buffy loved Spike. So I got what Joss was portraying. Others might not have seen it and that's fine. I'm not sure if it's retcon, it's just based on that specific individual's opinion.
 

Antho

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You see I think the opposite that the writing is good and you're dismissing it because you dislike Spuffy and Spike at this stage.
I don’t get what’s your point. Of course if you don’t like something you are gonna say it’s bad writing. The reverse is also right. If you like one thing then you have no problem with the execution. If you don’t then it means you don’t like how things went. That’s called having an opinion !
 

katmobile

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I don’t get what’s your point. Of course if you don’t like something you are gonna say it’s bad writing. The reverse is also right. If you like one thing then you have no problem with the execution. If you don’t then it means you don’t like how things went. That’s called having an opinion !
Of course it is but I have a bit of a problem if it's asserted like gospel truth.
 

Antho

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Of course it is but I have a bit of a problem if it's asserted like gospel truth.
If I say I dislike season 7 ( it’s an example I precise) will take you that to me saying gospel truth ? I think we need sometimes to do the differences between how people express their opinions and that’s not necessarily means they pretend to say « Gospel Truth » 🤔😉
 

AstridDante

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I think it'll always come down to whether you like Spuffy or not.
If you don't, you're not inclined to believe that she meant it. If you do, it's easier for people to buy into the love story.

But in terms of if Buffy meant it. Joss confirmed that she did.

But what I basically told [Sarah and James] was: "Play the romance. Be proud of him. Love him when you say you love him. Love her when you say she doesn't love you. Forget about the crumbling world. For that period of time, it doesn't exist- Joss Whedon Chosen commentary

Buffy was in love with Spike the moment their hands clasped. -- Joss Whedon (San Diego Convention)

I'm sorry! Totally buried my lead there. Any way you like, sweetheart. All right, DVR. I'm sorry. (goes into FAQ response mode) DVR. River. [Buffy] really loves Spike. -- Joss Whedon (Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, 4-09)

Now whether people saw that onscreen, that's another story. I definitely saw that Buffy loved Spike. So I got what Joss was portraying. Others might not have seen it and that's fine. I'm not sure if it's retcon, it's just based on that specific individual's opinion.
Agree with all of this and yes retcon is the wrong term. I guess it was just clear to me what Whedon is was going for. For example in the conversation between Angel and Buffy about her feelings for Spike, it was clearly in a romantic context. Angel asked if Spike was her boyfriend and she said her was in her heart’. I believe Angel replied ‘that will turn out well’ which shows he understood her reply to be romantic in nature. Similarly the flaming hand imagery is so iconic and probably the most romantic symbolism. I just don’t get how people could interpret it as anything other than romantic. It is not like the love she has for Xander or Willow. I mean they had amazing sex in past (‘you never had it so good’ - shooting script said this is true). In Season 7 she still finds him attractive and references him as hot on a number of occasions. To me that’s not a friendship. Indeed Joss Whedon referred to what went on between them as ‘romantic/sexual, if not physical’ soooo I can understand people who say she loved Angel more or she didn’t love him as much as he loved her but to argue she loved him same as Xander or Giles, with their history, not plausible
 

Serenityrose

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AstridDante..
Joss has also confirmed that the relationship in season 7 was a romantic one.
We had a few things in mind with Season 7...to see a very grown up and romantic and confusing relationship that isn't about power, but actually genuinely beautiful between two people in the form of Buffy and Spike. -- Joss Whedon

Whedon stated that "in time what went on with Spike and Buffy was very textured and complicated". The relationship, as it evolved in Season 7, "has a romantic/sexual angle but not a physical one". -- Joss Whedon (San Diego, 2003)

I thought this was a sort of romantic image, the two of them (clasped hands bursting into flames) -Joss Whedon Chosen commentary.

He also mentions that he deliberately put a scene in there where he wants the audience to choose what happens between them. If we want to believe they made love, then we can.
He explains that it's confusing to see Buffy go from Angel to Spike in Chosen but that's because it's confusing to her..But right now Spike is the person in her life.

Spuffy actually had a love theme in season 7 as well. The composer talks about it.

I was told in our Buffy pre-season talks that Spike and Buffy would have a connection in Season 7, so I had tailored Spike's theme with an eye toward it being played as a love theme eventually- Douglas Romayne Stevens


For me personally, it was obvious and I saw the story Joss wanted to portray. But again I think it'll always come down to if you like the Spuffy relationship or not. How you feel about the relationship can and a lot of the times does (i think) impact how you interrupt it. It happens to all of us and as I said it's fine.

I mean ultimately I feel like Joss was saying Angel and Spike were the most important men in her life, but Buffy is strong and she'll choose growing and being who she is over any relationship. It was a statement he made at the end of show and the end of the comics.
 

katmobile

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If I say I dislike season 7 ( it’s an example I precise) will take you that to me saying gospel truth ? I think we need sometimes to do the differences between how people express their opinions and that’s not necessarily means they pretend to say « Gospel Truth » 🤔😉
You're not just saying you don't like though. You're saying it's badly written and that's different. Something can be well written and it doesn't do it for you. I've loved films that are problematic and I get why my friends hate them. I couldn't watch a film that is good but IMO problematic and it took a You Tuber talking about its attitude to abortion and it's stubtle misogyny to make me understand why I disliked it so much. Every other film critic liked it - that's not a badly written film it's a film with issues.

If you say I hate something and why it's not the same thing as saying it's badly written - the first is your personal response which may or may not be to do with writing flaws. The second is saying because I didn't like it it's crap.

You see the difference.
 

Antho

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I couldn't watch a film that is good but IMO problematic and it took a You Tuber talking about its attitude to abortion and it's stubtle misogyny to make me understand why I disliked it so much. Every other film critic liked it - that's not a badly written film it's a film with issues.
By that logic Everything is great, nothing is bad but « problematic « 🤔🤔. I agree that we all respond to what we see in different ways, but saying that’s something is badly written is not saying that it’s crap, it’s saying that I don’t like how things went, how things were developed. That’s all. When people want to say that something it’s crap, they say it. They don’t use the term badly written which is a soft term IMO. So I guess that no I fail to understand your logic.
 

katmobile

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By that logic Everything is great, nothing is bad but « problematic « 🤔🤔. I agree that we all respond to what we see in different ways, but saying that’s something is badly written is not saying that it’s crap, it’s saying that I don’t like how things went, how things were developed. That’s all. When people want to say that something it’s crap, they say it. They don’t use the term badly written which is a soft term IMO. So I guess that no I fail to understand your logic.
But badly written is a bald statement and yes you're right trying to pin down what makes any piece of entertainment good or bad is difficult if not nigh on impossible. However I think you're not understanding the point I made - which was there are films like Gone with the Wind which are great not just IMO but in that of many critics but are problematic and one of my friends hates. I can see why he does despite not sharing his opinion. People dislike season seven for many reasons - they hate Spuffy, their favourite characters don't get enough screen time, they don't like the Big Bad or certain characters - all might be valid. (I don't think Kennedy is well written for what they wanted to do with her for example but I don't think Riley is either. ) However that doesn't automatically make the writing bad - in fact some parts I'd argue are well written.
 

Antho

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I don't think Kennedy is well written for what they wanted to do with her for example but I don't think Riley is either. ) However that doesn't automatically make the writing bad
I can understand what you say but I think this Way of thinking is a little too idealistic for me. In reality, people when they dislike something are going to be critical on all the levels ( writing, interpretation of actors, message that it sends) and being more severe in their views. And when they like something they are going to concentrate on the positive aspect and being more easy on their views. It’a 50-50 situation. And that’s a human things to do. At least for me.
 

nightshade

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Katmobile and I are disagreeing but we debate with mutual respect. I think that we can continue as long as there is no bashing.
That may be true, however your discussion had drifted away from the topic.
 

Antho

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That may be true, however your discussion had drifted away from the topic.
Yeah you’re right I know. I just think that when the discussion doesn’t dérange other people and when there is no insults or whatever, we can let it go. I understand that you recall people when they are direspectful and off-topic but that’s not the case here. However I will respect your decision.
 

Taake

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Off-topic is off-topic, someone who enters the thread interested in the topic has a right to see it discussed and may be deterred from adding to the discussion if it isn’t, whether the off-topic is polite or not. Even if we appreciate your ability to politely disagree with each other, as always, if it is off topic, you start another thread for it if you wish to explore it further.
 
Antho
Antho
Alright
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