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View Full Version : Are too many of the major characters in the Buffyverse good-looking?



MikeB
24-11-13, 10:22 PM
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The primary (NOT sole) bias in M.E. when it comes to looks, IMO, is to put the pretty people in important roles. http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showpost.php?p=655680&postcount=156

It’s called television. And many are good-looking because they need to be (Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, Angel, Darla, Harmony, Spike, Drusilla, Faith, Wesley, Anya, Riley, Forrest, Graham, Dawn, Glory, Ben, and Jasmine).

And given what became of their characters and arcs, Giles, Willow, Lindsey, Lilah, Gunn, Fred, and Eve needed to be good-looking.


Mayor Wilkins and Maggie Walsh are at-best plain.

Caleb being good-looking helped with his luring girls in order to kill them.

Holland Manners and Hamilton perhaps didn’t need to be good-looking.

Gemini9857
24-11-13, 11:01 PM
I never really had that problem. I do sometimes wish they had some female characters who weren't a size 2 though. All the female characters seemed to have similar proportions (and that's even true on SHIELD - so Joss is pretty consistent with it) though and that does sort of annoy me because I just wish there was a little more diversity.

My main issue is that Sunnydale is in Southern California and almost everyone on the show as white. There was a bit more racial diversity on Angel than there was on Buffy - but not really enough to the point that it was realistic.

KingofCretins
25-11-13, 12:45 AM
I never really had that problem. I do sometimes wish they had some female characters who weren't a size 2 though. All the female characters seemed to have similar proportions (and that's even true on SHIELD - so Joss is pretty consistent with it) though and that does sort of annoy me because I just wish there was a little more diversity.

My main issue is that Sunnydale is in Southern California and almost everyone on the show as white. There was a bit more racial diversity on Angel than there was on Buffy - but not really enough to the point that it was realistic.

According to the 2000 Census, Santa Barbara, the town upon which Sunnydale is mostly based, was 72.7% white, and hispanic/latino the only other race that added up to more than 2-3% (this data is a little quirky since it breaks down all sorts of race combinations that are apparently double counted, since it all adds up to well over 100%). So in a group of six or major players from the first couple of seasons, preceding that census, having almost all of them as "white" (I'm sure Charisma Carpenter would be happy to argue with anyone about whether she is white or not) is not actually all that unlikely or unrepresentative. Not sure how badly the series might have done with the extras or one-offs, but I also don't really care.

Vampire in Rug
25-11-13, 05:47 AM
This is television. Nearly everyone on TV is good looking, whether it makes sense or not. All three members of the nerd trio were good looking guys. It would be more believable if Warren couldn't get a date because he was overweight or had poor hygiene or dressed badly. Often in TV you have to suspend your disbelief because nearly everyone is going to be pretty. That's just the way it is.

As for the racial diversity on the show, I'm all for diversity so long as it's not done in a way solely to appease the social justice warriors. I don't believe that "meeting a quota" is ever the right way to go about this type of stuff... that type of thinking is how we wind up with characters like Billy the Vampire Slayer.

I think for the most part, the characters are interesting enough regardless of race. I don't think it would make much of a difference if, say, Oz or Xander were black or Asian or Latino. Race doesn't really make a difference for most of these characters.


That said, it makes more sense for Angel and Spike to be white because of their background. They came from rich families in a historical era where they really wouldn't have been anything but white because of the era when they were born.

Remember that one episode where Angel reverted to his 17 year old persona and he was being kinda racist towards Wesley for being English and he assumed Gunn was a slave? That might not be the most PC attitude to have, but it's a realistic look at the sensibilities of someone from that era.

KingofCretins brings up a good point that Cordelia is likely the be of mixed racial background.

I think it's best that Willow is of the same race as the Cordettes. In the early seasons when Cordy and Harmony were picking on Willow, it's easier to forgive that type of teenage bullying if it's merely because she's a nerd. I don't think Joss would want audiences to infer that Willow is being picked on for any kind of racial reasons.

MikeB
18-03-16, 01:28 AM
All three members of the nerd trio were good looking guys. The members of the Trio weren't ugly, but they weren't 'good-looking'.


It would be more believable if Warren couldn't get a date because he was overweight or had poor hygiene or dressed badly. Warren Meers was super nerdy, relatively socially awkward, and clearly was only interested in dating good-looking females. His girl-problems made sense outside of the fact that he could have easily become a billionaire military contractor.

TimeTravellingBunny
08-06-16, 02:15 PM
The members of the Trio weren't ugly, but they weren't 'good-looking'.

Warren Meers was super nerdy, relatively socially awkward, and clearly was only interested in dating good-looking females. His girl-problems made sense outside of the fact that he could have easily become a billionaire military contractor.
I think, when it comes to Warren, the quote from The Social Network applies:
"You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an a$$hole."

TimeTravellingBunny
19-07-16, 07:18 PM
I never really had that problem. I do sometimes wish they had some female characters who weren't a size 2 though. All the female characters seemed to have similar proportions (and that's even true on SHIELD - so Joss is pretty consistent with it) though and that does sort of annoy me because I just wish there was a little more diversity.

My main issue is that Sunnydale is in Southern California and almost everyone on the show as white. There was a bit more racial diversity on Angel than there was on Buffy - but not really enough to the point that it was realistic.
You have a point that most of women in Whedon shows are quite thin... though that simply reflects US TV. But not all - Mellie on Dollhouse was clearly not size 2, she was not overweight but wasn't thin, either. I'm not sure Cordelia was size 2 either - she was slim, but curvy, tall and statuesque rather than skinny.

I'm not sure why you're singling out just the women, though. How much diversity is there of male body types on Whedon's shows? They range from "tall, athletic, hunky, gorgeous" and "medium height, athletic, hunky, gorgeous" (and those two groups encompass most of the men in the main casts) all the way to... "medium height/short, average build, good-looking" and "medium height/short, average build, OK looking", which is the worst Whedony men get to look - and even that is rare among the main casts. Where are overweight men? There aren't any, just like there aren't any overweight women. Where are the super skinny guys? Or the so called skinny-fat guys?

Now, there's the least room to criticize lack of diverse body types on Agents of SHIELD, since it makes sense that an agency like that would require a certain level of fitness. Less so for scientists, but there are times when everyone has to do field work. Being attractive can also help in certain situations and assignments. (Though it's interesting that in the initial character descriptions used for casting, out of 5 characters being cast, only one had any kind of physical description. Guess who.)

On Dollhouse, there were apparently plans at first to feature more dolls of different body types and ages, to reflect different desires and needs of clients, but the network nixed that. Although, it makes sense that the most popular dolls would be conventionally attractive.

The Whedon show where everyone being fit and hot (not to mention obviously much older than they are supposed to be) makes least sense is, obviously, Buffy. But that's what teenage characters tend to look on US TV. Supposed outsiders/losers like Xander and Willow didn't need to be so good looking. It would've made more sense if they weren't. (Yes, I know the original Willow actress in the pilot was overweight, so Joss did at least try. Though I'm glad she didn't get the role, because her acting wasn't very good.)

MikeB
22-07-16, 12:01 PM
TimeTravellingBunny


The Whedon show where everyone being fit and hot (not to mention obviously much older than they are supposed to be) makes least sense is, obviously, Buffy. That’s simply not true.

Cordelia Chase in BtVS S1 mostly represents what Buffy Anne Summers used to be before becoming the Slayer. One can even argue that Buffy like Coredlia feigned being ditzy in order to be popular but was actually very bright (if one doesn’t credit Buffy’s Slayerness being the reason for her 1430 SAT score).

Alexander Lavelle Harris is supposed to be a possible love interest to Buffy. Willow was in love with Xander. Xander’s best friend Jesse wants to be with Cordelia and tries to pursue her. Xander and Cordy already have some kind of ‘tension’ and Cordy dances with Jesse after Jesse becomes somewhat ‘cool’.

Willow is introduced as someone who could be popular if she simply dressed better and Buffy immediately wants to be friends with Willow.

Angel and Spike would have been dusted if they weren’t so good-looking. Darla and Drusilla also needed to be good-looking.

The boyfriends and girlfriends of the main characters needed to be good-looking.

Probably the only good-looking character in BtVS who didn’t need to be good-looking is Rupert Giles.


Supposed outsiders/losers like Xander and Willow didn't need to be so good looking. It would've made more sense if they weren't. That’s not true for the Original Pilot and it is not true for the actual Pilot.

TimeTravellingBunny
22-07-16, 12:23 PM
TimeTravellingBunny

That’s simply not true.

Cordelia Chase in BtVS S1 mostly represents what Buffy Anne Summers used to be before becoming the Slayer. One can even argue that Buffy like Coredlia feigned being ditzy in order to be popular but was actually very bright (if one doesn’t credit Buffy’s Slayerness being the reason for her 1430 SAT score).

Alexander Lavelle Harris is supposed to be a possible love interest to Buffy. Willow was in love with Xander. Xander’s best friend Jesse wants to be with Cordelia and tries to pursue her. Xander and Cordy already have some kind of ‘tension’ and Cordy dances with Jesse after Jesse becomes somewhat ‘cool’.

Willow is introduced as someone who could be popular if she simply dressed better and Buffy immediately wants to be friends with Willow.

Because it's impossible for super hot people to even want to be friends with average looking people, let alone consider them as possible love interests, right? :rolleyes:

Buffy, Cordelia, Angel, Spike, Darla and Dru were supposed to be very good-looking. Willow and Xander were not. Cordelia even makes fun of Xander for not belonging to the rich or the beautiful crowd. She made the same jokes about Doyle on AtS, and both times I was thinking: "Huh? He is good-looking." When Willow would joke that no boy wanted to date her, it also felt a bit "um, right".

Joss himself admitted in DVD commentary for season 1 that Nick Brendon was too good-looking to play the high school loser, but "that's TV". It's funny how everyone looked good and about 10 years older than they should be, but that's the unrealistic picture of teenagers you see on US TV. There are always some people in high school who look older than they are, I remember people who looked like hot 20-somethings at 15, and those people always draw a lot of attention from others, naturally. But everyone looking like that? None of the actors or extras ever looked like the average teenager, gawky, pimply, or just convincingly 16. When I was rewatching some season 1 episodes, like Teacher's Pet, where Xander is basically being an immature, hormonal 16 year old kid who does stupid things, I was thinking "This would work so much better if he didn't look 27 year old". It's especially jarring with him, and I think a lot of animosity towards the character in fandom may be caused by the fact that people tend to forget how young the character was supposed to be.

a thing of evil
22-07-16, 02:58 PM
This thread is ludicrous. Who would you raging hypocrites rather watch? Attractive people or unattractive people? What, are you robots? It's human nature, nothing to be ashamed of. B-but it's not rea- It's entertainment, who gives a shit?

TimeTravellingBunny
22-07-16, 10:03 PM
This thread is ludicrous. Who would you raging hypocrites rather watch? Attractive people or unattractive people? What, are you robots? It's human nature, nothing to be ashamed of. B-but it's not rea- It's entertainment, who gives a shit?
I'm sorry, but no, contrary to what you may believe, I can assure you that my eyes don't bleed and fall out of my head when watching average-looking people in TV shows. I know that, because I've watched quite a lot of British TV, where - shock, horror! - not every single actor is absolutely beautiful in every TV show. You get some really gorgeous people, but you also get some ordinary looking people in the same show. And I don't know, personally, while I certainly enjoy watching gorgeous people, I don't need every. single. person. in the cast to look beautiful and fit. One or two or three is quite enough. Sometimes, shockingly, I can watch something with no particularly attractive people in it, just because the story and characters are really interesting.

Actually, it's nice to have a more realistic and diverse cast, with people of different body types and looks. Ever heard of realism? Lots of people like it in their entertainment.

I'm funny like that. If characters in the movie or show are telling me that someone is gorgeous, I want them to look gorgeous, but if they are telling me that someone is ugly or average or not all that good-looking, then I want the actor playing that character to at least not look like they've stepped out of a fashion magazine/GQ cover. Because that kind of makes it stupid. It feels incredibly stupid when you watch Jane Eyre and see Michael Fassbender or Timothy Dalton or some other conventionally handsome hunk play Rochester (who's supposed to be ugly but charismatic/sexy) and when he asks "Do you find me handsome?" and Jane replies: "No". Or when the actress playing the "plain" Jane Eyre is more beautiful than Blanche Ingram.

a thing of evil
22-07-16, 11:53 PM
I don't believe you :evil::evil::evil:

KingofCretins
23-07-16, 12:48 PM
I'm sorry, but no, contrary to what you may believe, I can assure you that my eyes don't bleed and fall out of my head when watching average-looking people in TV shows. I know that, because I've watched quite a lot of British TV, where - shock, horror! - not every single actor is absolutely beautiful in every TV show. You get some really gorgeous people, but you also get some ordinary looking people in the same show. And I don't know, personally, while I certainly enjoy watching gorgeous people, I don't need every. single. person. in the cast to look beautiful and fit. One or two or three is quite enough. Sometimes, shockingly, I can watch something with no particularly attractive people in it, just because the story and characters are really interesting.

Actually, it's nice to have a more realistic and diverse cast, with people of different body types and looks. Ever heard of realism? Lots of people like it in their entertainment.

I'm funny like that. If characters in the movie or show are telling me that someone is gorgeous, I want them to look gorgeous, but if they are telling me that someone is ugly or average or not all that good-looking, then I want the actor playing that character to at least not look like they've stepped out of a fashion magazine/GQ cover. Because that kind of makes it stupid. It feels incredibly stupid when you watch Jane Eyre and see Michael Fassbender or Timothy Dalton or some other conventionally handsome hunk play Rochester (who's supposed to be ugly but charismatic/sexy) and when he asks "Do you find me handsome?" and Jane replies: "No". Or when the actress playing the "plain" Jane Eyre is more beautiful than Blanche Ingram.

I think Gerard Butler's Phantom in 2004 Phantom of the Opera was one of the most ruinous examples. You see him unmasked and you're thinking "y'know, she... probably would just still go out with you, dude. Just don't do anything to ruin it like start murdering people and you -- nevermind".

Guy
23-07-16, 03:10 PM
Well, watching pretty people is, by itself, more entertaining than watching normal-looking people. Andrew gets it:

http://i.imgur.com/629Oh.gif

But seriously, the over-prettiness of the people in the Buffyverse never really crossed to the point of harming the story, IMO.
If I'd meet someone in real life who looks like Alyson Hannigan, and I'd hear her complaining about not being "the kind of girl vamps like to sink their teeth into", I'd be a little surprised, because she's clearly gorgeous... But when we see Willow in BtVS, dressed in these weird clothes and surrounded by Eliza Dushkus and Charisma Carpenters, her insecure attitude doesn't stand out as weird.

MikeB
02-09-17, 06:16 PM
TimeTravellingBunny


Because it's impossible for super hot people to even want to be friends with average looking people, let alone consider them as possible love interests, right? “Impossible” is clearly too high a standard for almost anything.

The premise of BtVS is the blonde girl who usually gets killed in a horror movie is the protagonist and hero of the movie. For how things are set up in the pilot and afterward, the good-looking people—aside from Giles and maybe some others—needed to be good-looking.

In “Welcome to the Hellmouth” (B 1.01), it’s implied that a main reason Willow isn’t popular is simply because she dresses as if she shops at Sears. Xander’s set up is his immediate attraction to Buffy and his considering he has a chance to date her.

I don’t remember Cordelia ever implying or inferring that she finds Xander not good-looking.


* Cordelia was the only ‘teen’ who didn’t look as if she could still be a teenager and BtVS and AtS commented on that fact.


* The animosity toward Xander is mostly because of his massive hypocrisy.

___________________________________________

* Much of Xander’s arcs and character development depend upon his being physically attractive.


* Willow’s insecurities about her looks were because she wasn’t as physically attractive as Cordelia Chase, Buffy Anne Summers, Faith Lehane, etc.

myth-taken
15-01-18, 11:18 PM
The way in which the attractiveness thing bothers me is mostly with Willow's casting-- I LOVE Alyson Hannigan in the role, but Joss Whedon originally had a different actor in the role and made the switch because he didn't want her to be a stereotype of a nerd. I've always thought that by "non-stereotype" he actually meant "attractive and thin," and I wonder about what would have happened if he had chosen to subvert the stereotype in a different way.

KingofCretins
16-01-18, 01:36 AM
It's not hard to assume that the network also wanted to be heard on the subject -- WB's brand was young and sexy people. Hasn't really changed through all iterations up to now. Joss can say there is a reason that doesn't even connect on that, but we are certainly under no obligation to believe him.

TimeTravellingBunny
16-01-18, 03:25 PM
The way in which the attractiveness thing bothers me is mostly with Willow's casting-- I LOVE Alyson Hannigan in the role, but Joss Whedon originally had a different actor in the role and made the switch because he didn't want her to be a stereotype of a nerd. I've always thought that by "non-stereotype" he actually meant "attractive and thin," and I wonder about what would have happened if he had chosen to subvert the stereotype in a different way.

Have you seen the original unaired pilot? The actress was pretty bad, at least compared to Hannigan.

I'm sure the network wanted attractive people, but in this case, Alyson Hannigan was cast because her performance was better. They've said she was the only one who did not play Willow as a stereotypical nerd at the audition. I'm pretty sure she wasn't the only thin and attractive actress at the audition.

MikeB
16-01-18, 04:49 PM
The Unaired Pilot and the actual Pilot--"Welcome to the Hellmouth" (B 1.01) and "The Harvest" (B 1.02) are two different things.

In the UP, Xander Harris is Buffy's love interest. In the actual pilot, Buffy has around zero sexual interest in Xander and Xander is Willow's crush. In the actual series, Buffy doesn't really seem much interested sexually in Angel until "The Witch" (B 1.03).

For what the actual series is and became, the original actor for Willow wouldn't have worked.

Cordelia in "WttH" (B 1.01) implies that Willow's only not popular because of how Willow dresses and perhaps also Willow's meekness. Is Mercedes McNab more physically attractive than Alyson Hannigan?

By BtVS S4, it seems Tara initially assumed that Willow was popular in high school.

Skippcomet
22-01-18, 10:48 AM
By BtVS S4, it seems Tara initially assumed that Willow was popular in high school.

Given that Joss once said that Tara in Season Four was supposed to mirror how Willow was in Season One, that's not surprising. Season Four Tara was shy, stuttered and stammered, and was awkward and insecure when dealing with other people, especially the aggressive mean girls we met at the 'coven' meeting when we first were introduced to Tara. Despite the fact that Tara was actually practicing magick and was more of a wiccan than seemingly all the other girls who weren't named Willow combined, she was treated rudely and condescended to by the more self-confident and bossy members. Willow at this point had graduated high school with a small but devoted and supportive group of friends (something Tara apparently didn't have in high school), was already learning to be a witch and had cast several impressive spells, and had both grown and been empowered through her experiences as one of the Scooby Gang, including the simple fact of her friendship with Buffy and her romantic relationship with Oz. AND she was in a college environment in which her academic and even nerdy inclinations, she felt, were far more welcome and encouraged to flourish than she felt they had ever been encouraged to flourish in the Sunnydale public school system. As a result, Willow started out Season Four a much happier and self-confident young woman than she was for most of the three previous seasons. Tara's backstory and family life probably hadn't been worked out yet by the writers, and the main source of whatever anxiety and crisis of self-worth Willow was feeling at this point mostly stemmed from Oz's departure and the unexpected and abrupt end of their romantic relationship this caused. Either way, why wouldn't Tara see Willow when they first met and assume that Willow was more popular in high school than she was?

MikeB
13-04-18, 06:34 PM
Skippcomet

How Tara is in BtVS S4 and much of BtVS S5 is how Willow probably was pre-"The Harvest" (B 1.02). Cordelia is freely talking to Willow already in "The Witch" (B 1.03).

In addition, by the time Tara meets Willow, the guy who dated Cordelia Chase had an 'affair' with Willow, lead guitarist Oz had been Willow's boyfriend, and Spike had told Willow he was sexually attracted to her.

bespangled
14-04-18, 04:20 AM
Have you seen the original unaired pilot? The actress was pretty bad, at least compared to Hannigan.

I'm sure the network wanted attractive people, but in this case, Alyson Hannigan was cast because her performance was better. They've said she was the only one who did not play Willow as a stereotypical nerd at the audition. I'm pretty sure she wasn't the only thin and attractive actress at the audition.

I'm glad that Riff Regan was not cast as Willow. Having the fat girl being teased would have just reinforced that sad trope. I gotta say though, I wish there had been more heavyset characters in the show.


Given that Joss once said that Tara in Season Four was supposed to mirror how Willow was in Season One, that's not surprising. Season Four Tara was shy, stuttered and stammered, and was awkward and insecure when dealing with other people, especially the aggressive mean girls we met at the 'coven' meeting when we first were introduced to Tara. Despite the fact that Tara was actually practicing magick and was more of a wiccan than seemingly all the other girls who weren't named Willow combined, she was treated rudely and condescended to by the more self-confident and bossy members. Willow at this point had graduated high school with a small but devoted and supportive group of friends (something Tara apparently didn't have in high school), was already learning to be a witch and had cast several impressive spells, and had both grown and been empowered through her experiences as one of the Scooby Gang, including the simple fact of her friendship with Buffy and her romantic relationship with Oz. AND she was in a college environment in which her academic and even nerdy inclinations, she felt, were far more welcome and encouraged to flourish than she felt they had ever been encouraged to flourish in the Sunnydale public school system. As a result, Willow started out Season Four a much happier and self-confident young woman than she was for most of the three previous seasons. Tara's backstory and family life probably hadn't been worked out yet by the writers, and the main source of whatever anxiety and crisis of self-worth Willow was feeling at this point mostly stemmed from Oz's departure and the unexpected and abrupt end of their romantic relationship this caused. Either way, why wouldn't Tara see Willow when they first met and assume that Willow was more popular in high school than she was?

Tara was almost not hired for the role because Joss wanted someone physically smaller than Willow - less womanly. It took Noxon to convince him to look at Amber again.
What I really miss is any older women in the show. Yes, Joyce shows up to do the mother things, but other than that older women are treated as gross and a joke (lunch lady anyone?) Men held all the wisdom in the B-verse. The closest they came to any sort of womanly wisdom was Tara who had grown up a witch. I wish there had been a wise older woman - someone with wrinkles, grey hair and a few extra pounds.

Rebcake
14-04-18, 05:13 AM
According to the 2000 Census, Santa Barbara, the town upon which Sunnydale is mostly based, was 72.7% white, and hispanic/latino the only other race that added up to more than 2-3%

As someone who went to public school in Santa Barbara, I can assure you that the lack of Latino characters is noticeably off in Buffy. It's a real failing of the show. A Southern California with no Latinos is more of an alternate universe than one with vampires. Most Latinos in California come under the wacky category of Latino/White. This is to differentiate between Latino/Black (like, say, many people from Cuba) or Latino/Asian (an outlier category). While it's maybe ridiculous to separate out everyone into these little boxes, it's equally ridiculous to imply that representation doesn't matter. In the end, this is my biggest complaint about BtVS.

As for the actors' beauty, it's no different in the Jossverse than any other entertainment. I mean, Charlize Theron plays Aileen Wuornos, Julia Roberts plays Erin Brockovich, Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. Must we hate them because they are beautiful? ;)

vampmogs
14-04-18, 06:48 AM
I wish there had been a wise older woman - someone with wrinkles, grey hair and a few extra pounds.

You can blink and you'd miss her but there was the elderly women in End of Days who pretty much fits this description perfectly except for the extra pounds. I agree that it would have been interesting to have Buffy develop a relationship with an older woman. It would have been a different dynamic to any of her other relationships.

In regards to representation, honestly, in my experience the people who usually seem to dismissive of it's importance are the people who've never had to worry about it. It's almost always white, straight men who have never had to experience what it's like not to see themselves represented in media, usually as the protagonist, and who claim it's unnecessary. It's often the same men who are the first to accuse media of "pandering" or being "politically correct" when a story chooses to deliberately cast someone other than a straight, white male as the lead because of course in they're heads the assumption is that straight white male is the default and everything else is just that silly SJW crap. Nevermind the fact that they're being pandered to just as much because society undeniably favours them above anyone else (because those in the position of power are mostly straight white men - go figure) and they're so used to it that they just consider it the norm that stories would of course be about them. They're also often the first to accuse a story of being misandrist if it's about women power (I've seen this accusation thrown at Buffy on numerous occasions and recently in franchises such as Star Wars) because as much as they like to tell minorities why it isn't a big deal that they're not represented, they're always the first people to get butthurt when a story isn't about them :rolleyes:

Representation is hugely important. It's why a film like Black Panther has done so incredibly well because it's such a game-changer for people in the black community. I used to try and tell myself that I didn't care much about representation because I could identify with characters who weren't like me. And whilst I certainly can still identify with characters who aren't like me and enjoy those characters very much I cannot deny how it makes me feel when I see a movie like Love, Simon that does such a wonderful job telling my story on screen. It isn't until I see films like that, that I realise what I've been missing out on.

Sosa lola
14-04-18, 06:55 AM
When I was rewatching some season 1 episodes, like Teacher's Pet, where Xander is basically being an immature, hormonal 16 year old kid who does stupid things, I was thinking "This would work so much better if he didn't look 27 year old". It's especially jarring with him, and I think a lot of animosity towards the character in fandom may be caused by the fact that people tend to forget how young the character was supposed to be.

I agree. NB's real age did hurt the character. Even in Hell's Bells, it would have been more sympathetic if Xander looked like the young 21 year old boy he's supposed to be and not a man in his 30s who is the right age to get married.

TriBel
14-04-18, 09:21 AM
bespangled
What I really miss is any older women in the show. Yes, Joyce shows up to do the mother things, but other than that older women are treated as gross and a joke (lunch lady anyone?) Men held all the wisdom in the B-verse. The closest they came to any sort of womanly wisdom was Tara who had grown up a witch. I wish there had been a wise older woman - someone with wrinkles, grey hair and a few extra pounds.

I think Buffy's reaction to having "Mom hair" in Lessons is perhaps an indication of how Buffy herself and society in general perceive older women. It's no coincidence her response to Wood confirms age in men equates with wisdom and experience. The following exchange in Get it Done suggests it's not just the slayer who's alienated from her roots. The past is a foreign place for women.

DAWN So, I took a look inside that emergency bag of Principal Wood's. BUFFY And? DAWN Smelled weird. Kinda like Grandma's closet, but worse. BUFFY
I didn't know what was possible. Anything we could use? DAWN Trinkets, weapons, one very large textbook. (picks up the book, flips through it) Translation's gonna be a bitch, but... Do you know that ancient Sumerians do not speak English? BUFFY (scoffs) They're worse than the French. Anything else?

As Vampmogs suggests, The Guardian was a missed opportunity. On reflection, I don't see why they couldn't have intimated her existence sooner. There's this exchange: "BUFFY I don't understand. How is it possible that we didn't know any of this? WOMAN We hid, too. We had to until now. We're the last surprise". I understand the reason for subterfuge but perhaps they could have introduced her earlier, maybe as a shadowy figure who functioned as a foil for the first evil?

Silver1
14-04-18, 10:14 AM
I suspect because as per Whedon wanted to enjoy his little 'gotcha' moment with the snapping of her neck just at the crucial moment. *sigh*

vampmogs
14-04-18, 10:42 AM
The Guardian was probably the lamest addition to the Buffyverse mythology out of the entire show and another example of S7's extremely lazy and sloppy writing. It was an ass-pull out of nowhere, to try and justify another ass-pull out of nowhere (the Scythe), and was totally meaningless in the grand scheme of things. This woman appears out of nowhere to tell Buffy that she's part of a group that watched the Watchers Council, who watched the Slayers, unbeknownst to both of them, that she's been laying in wait all this time, that they created a weapon for the Slayer that was apparently used by someone (a Slayer? Someone else? I have no idea?) to kill the last Old One who worked the earth, right here in Sunnydale no doubt, then she gives us a quick history lesson on Sunnydale including the brand spanking new information that apparently monks helped found the place (in California), suggests that they had to keep the scythe hidden from the Shadow Men, and then, oops, she's dead. Like seriously... wtf? It reads like an extremely bad fanfic.

In a scene that lasts probably 5 minutes at best they completely alter the Slayer mythology up until this point just so they can justify the deus ex machina which is the Scythe and then they kill off The Guardian and she's forgotten about and never referenced again. Why not establish this earlier in the season? Why not expand on this more? The answer most likely is because the writers literally pulled it out of their ass in the last second and that none of this was planned whatsoever. Buffy has never been a strong show when it comes to world building but this was on a whole other level. I just checked over the transcript and I'm cringing as I read it because I forgot how amateurish the whole thing is.

Silver1
14-04-18, 11:12 AM
Yeah you could really see that Whedon's eyes weren't on the prize with all this. So sad as It was the last ever season. :(

This is when I thank god we had season 5 of Angel which imo went out in style.

HardlyThere
14-04-18, 12:47 PM
The Guardian was probably the lamest addition to the Buffyverse mythology out of the entire show and another example of S7's extremely lazy and sloppy writing. It was an ass-pull out of nowhere, to try and justify another ass-pull out of nowhere (the Scythe), and was totally meaningless in the grand scheme of things. This woman appears out of nowhere to tell Buffy that she's part of a group that watched the Watchers Council, who watched the Slayers, unbeknownst to both of them, that she's been laying in wait all this time, that they created a weapon for the Slayer that was apparently used by someone (a Slayer? Someone else? I have no idea?) to kill the last Old One who worked the earth, right here in Sunnydale no doubt, then she gives us a quick history lesson on Sunnydale including the brand spanking new information that apparently monks helped found the place (in California), suggests that they had to keep the scythe hidden from the Shadow Men, and then, oops, she's dead. Like seriously... wtf? It reads like an extremely bad fanfic.

In a scene that lasts probably 5 minutes at best they completely alter the Slayer mythology up until this point just so they can justify the deus ex machina which is the Scythe and then they kill off The Guardian and she's forgotten about and never referenced again. Why not establish this earlier in the season? Why not expand on this more? The answer most likely is because the writers literally pulled it out of their ass in the last second and that none of this was planned whatsoever. Buffy has never been a strong show when it comes to world building but this was on a whole other level. I just checked over the transcript and I'm cringing as I read it because I forgot how amateurish the whole thing is.

And they spend most of the rest of the episode pretending 1-20 never happened. The only good bit is Buffy wrecking the ubervamps but even that is mitigated by them being tissue paper in the finale.

KingofCretins
14-04-18, 01:12 PM
As someone who went to public school in Santa Barbara, I can assure you that the lack of Latino characters is noticeably off in Buffy. It's a real failing of the show. A Southern California with no Latinos is more of an alternate universe than one with vampires. Most Latinos in California come under the wacky category of Latino/White. This is to differentiate between Latino/Black (like, say, many people from Cuba) or Latino/Asian (an outlier category). While it's maybe ridiculous to separate out everyone into these little boxes, it's equally ridiculous to imply that representation doesn't matter. In the end, this is my biggest complaint about BtVS.

Just for shiggles, what was more common in your school; people hanging out in close-knit social groups that were basically ethnically and economically sectarian, or scrupulous adherence to the mores of intersectionality so that there were few if any repeating demographic niches in a circle of maybe only 5-7 students? Point being this stat was only raised in response to the idea that "Buffy" was somehow injured by its main casts composition and that of the extras. For the time and place, if you were to grab 20 students at random, 14-15 would have probably been white, 2-3 would have been hispanic, and probably 1 each black, asian, or east Indian. Today I'd guess it would probably be more like 8-9 would be white, 6-7 would be hispanic, rest one each. But no, it's not equally ridiculous to say representation doesn't matter than to have such a byzantine array of 'little boxes', because the more imagined boxes one creates to artificially categorize people the more manifestly impossible it is to check them all or even most.


As for the actors' beauty, it's no different in the Jossverse than any other entertainment. I mean, Charlize Theron plays Aileen Wuornos, Julia Roberts plays Erin Brockovich, Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. Must we hate them because they are beautiful? ;)

It puts the silliness to the thread's central question. It also stumbled upon the alpha "privilege" that underpins human social interaction, is that the world looks different when seen through the eyes of beautiful people, few places more than who gets calls back on auditions. Even real people who are reasonably attractive (Brockovich for instance) are gonna get big time upgrades in a movie, because movie.


In regards to representation, honestly, in my experience the people who usually seem to dismissive of it's importance are the people who've never had to worry about it. It's almost always white, straight men who have never had to experience what it's like not to see themselves represented in media, usually as the protagonist, and who claim it's unnecessary. It's often the same men who are the first to accuse media of "pandering" or being "politically correct" when a story chooses to deliberately cast someone other than a straight, white male as the lead because of course in they're heads the assumption is that straight white male is the default and everything else is just that silly SJW crap. Nevermind the fact that they're being pandered to just as much because society undeniably favours them above anyone else (because those in the position of power are mostly straight white men - go figure) and they're so used to it that they just consider it the norm that stories would of course be about them. They're also often the first to accuse a story of being misandrist if it's about women power (I've seen this accusation thrown at Buffy on numerous occasions and recently in franchises such as Star Wars) because as much as they like to tell minorities why it isn't a big deal that they're not represented, they're always the first people to get butthurt when a story isn't about them :rolleyes:

I mostly don't like when intersectionality is basically the reason there is such a high social expectation to think "The Last Jedi" was good. Finn and Rose could be white, still wouldn't give me back the 20 minutes spent on Canto Bight :)

Representation is hugely important. It's why a film like Black Panther has done so incredibly well because it's such a game-changer for people in the black community. I used to try and tell myself that I didn't care much about representation because I could identify with characters who weren't like me. And whilst I certainly can still identify with characters who aren't like me and enjoy those characters very much I cannot deny how it makes me feel when I see a movie like Love, Simon that does such a wonderful job telling my story on screen. It isn't until I see films like that, that I realise what I've been missing out on.[/QUOTE]

Of course, the only actual bigotry that a film like Panther had to overcome was in Hollywood itself, in the projects that get green lit, the scripts that get approved (I mean, it would have been completely believable for someone, somewhere, to have preferred a script that sets Black Panther in the US for reasons, and that therefore much more of the supporting cast wouldn't be black at all, let alone extras, precisely because some movie executives didn't think you could make a movie with only 2 white characters of note and be able to count on it at the box office. Of course, the fact that Black Panther is successful is because it's just a pretty solid flick doesn't carry much water I've noticed. But even I'll concede that I think there's probably, say, $200 million of its US box office that is being driven by the 'representation' component, i.e. people seeing and re-seeing it more because it's "our" movie and less on its merits*, so there is presumably some commercial value in representation.

*I personally put it at like #5-#7 ish for the MCU in terms of movie quality, definitely top tier but also like "wow, $750 million?"


Yeah you could really see that Whedon's eyes weren't on the prize with all this. So sad as It was the last ever season. :(

This is when I thank god we had season 5 of Angel which imo went out in style.

And that was all back when he at least still had something left in the chamber. And why I'm kinda horrified at the idea of him helming any reboot/reset of the franchise in TV or on film.

In a Season 7 that wasn't a rushed and over-reaching spectacle, there'd have been a good opportunity for a mentor to Buffy in the school. Either alongside of or instead of Robin Wood. How about Nikki has a vengeful sister instead of a son? I'll just randomly say, Robin Givens or a contemporary would have been mid-late 30s around then, right age to play Nikki Wood's kid sister perhaps.

vampmogs
14-04-18, 02:53 PM
I mostly don't like when intersectionality is basically the reason there is such a high social expectation to think "The Last Jedi" was good. Finn and Rose could be white, still wouldn't give me back the 20 minutes spent on Canto Bight :)

I've yet to see anyone claim that The Last Jedi was good because of intersectionality. If anything, I've seen far more criticism levelled at the film for sidelining it's two characters of colour with some unnecessary B Plot whilst Kylo Ren took more of a centre stage and usurped Finn as one of the main protagonists as he'd been in The Force Awakens. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with that by the way, or that there won't be someone out there saying you should like the film because it hired POC, I'm not invested in Star Wars enough to have much of an opinion, but I do see a lot of pathetic fans (particularly in the dreaded Youtube comments) complaining that Disney has an "agenda" because it dared to have a female protagonist and didn't pander to their demographic for a change. As I said, in their mind "Straight White Male Lead" is the default, anything else is agenda-driven/SJW nonsense/pandering etc.


Of course, the only actual bigotry that a film like Panther had to overcome was in Hollywood itself, in the projects that get green lit, the scripts that get approved (I mean, it would have been completely believable for someone, somewhere, to have preferred a script that sets Black Panther in the US for reasons, and that therefore much more of the supporting cast wouldn't be black at all, let alone extras, precisely because some movie executives didn't think you could make a movie with only 2 white characters of note and be able to count on it at the box office.

Well, I mean, no, it wasn't just Hollywood bigotry that Black Panther is faced with because race relations throughout the world (and especially in the US where it was made) are still sadly a complicated issue. But yes, absolutely, a film like Black Panther had to overcome bigotry in Hollywood and the entertainment industry because the entertainment industry is mostly run by white men and therefore it's really no surprise that Hollywood caters to white men more than any other demographic. It's terrible that it has taken this long for a movie like Black Panther to have been made or that it took 17 movies before Marvel made a movie about someone who isn't a straight white guy. It's also terrible that they're only just making their first female-led movie now.


Of course, the fact that Black Panther is successful is because it's just a pretty solid flick doesn't carry much water I've noticed. But even I'll concede that I think there's probably, say, $200 million of its US box office that is being driven by the 'representation' component, i.e. people seeing and re-seeing it more because it's "our" movie and less on its merits*, so there is presumably some commercial value in representation.

*I personally put it at like #5-#7 ish for the MCU in terms of movie quality, definitely top tier but also like "wow, $750 million?"

It's success obviously has to do with it's cultural importance. As you say, I don't think that objectively it's the best Marvel film and it's certainly not such an amazing film that it's become of the most successful movies of all time based on quality alone. The reason it has done so well is because of what it represents and, yes, it should make the industry take note. It really shouldn't be all that surprising either as statistically speaking, POC make up a significant portion of the moviegoing audience now and it was out of sheer stubbornness (*cough* racism *cough*) that the industry didn't want to acknowledge this. You can bet that if Black Panther had done poorly at the Box Office that movie executives would have used the film as an excuse for why another black-led superhero movie wouldn't have been made for several years, if not decades. The same way Catwoman and Electra were used as excuses for years why another female-led superhero wasn't made despite the fact that they just weren't very good movies and movies led by straight white men fail all the time but Hollywood will continue to churn them out. Just like white male actors or directors can have flop after flop and continue to be given multiple chances whilst actors of colour are either ignored or given one chance to succeed (or else).

Hollywood would be foolish to ignore how much money can be made from minorities who want to see themselves in big budget blockbusters. Ideally they would want to do it because it's also the right thing to do but purely from a business standpoint the industries own racism and ignorance has led to it shooting itself in it's foot for a long time now. It would also be wise to stop ignoring how fed up audiences are with such issues as white-washing historical characters considering that the last few movies to have done so (that I can think of) received a lot of negative backlash and ended up bombing at the box office. Audiences in general are a lot more socially aware than they once were.

In regards to Buffy, it absolutely did fail when it came to representing POC. Even back in 1998 the writers were aware of this and had Mr Trick comment on how disproportionately white Sunnydale was - so they were aware it was discussed even 20 years ago. Why they thought it was fine to just mention it flippantly in the script but not, ya know, do something about it, is pretty piss poor.

KingofCretins
14-04-18, 04:13 PM
I've yet to see anyone claim that The Last Jedi was good because of intersectionality.

Ah, but that isn't what I predicated -- it's rather that because the movie does a laudably good job of representing protagonists and ancillary characters who are not all uniformly white men, or white folk in general of competing American vs. British accents that it gets a lot of "street cred" for its intersectionality. Agree? What follows, though, is that this becomes a bragging point not only to the studio, actors, and entertainment press, it also becomes a blanket that gets wrapped around it to immunize it from criticism. I'm pretty sure I even saw an article citing either Abrams or Johnson saying that only people who didn't like the movie are being bigoted in some fashion, pick your -ism. Instead of pointing out the mile-wide logic flaws in much of the central "escaping the First Order" plot, or resenting the childhood tromping deconstruction of pretty much the entire original trilogy's central mythology, we hated women and minorities.


Well, I mean, no, it wasn't just Hollywood bigotry that Black Panther is faced with because race relations throughout the world (and especially in the US where it was made) are still sadly a complicated issue. But yes, absolutely, a film like Black Panther had to overcome bigotry in Hollywood and the entertainment industry because the entertainment industry is mostly run by white men and therefore it's really no surprise that Hollywood caters to white men more than any other demographic. It's terrible that it has taken this long for a movie like Black Panther to have been made or that it took 17 movies before Marvel made a movie about someone who isn't a straight white guy. It's also terrible that they're only just making their first female-led movie now.

And now those same white men are so swathed in 'attaboys' for it that they'll go right on being who they are but now get praised for it. With "who they are" undoubtedly to include more lining up eager ingenues like a buffet line while their community in the business musters the occasional color-coded wardrobe protest. The machine don't change and isn't any reason to think it's likely too. What I really hope Black Panther turns a corner on is focusing on existing or new characters conceived of from the start as African American for development, or even original characters. Of course, this would require that Hollywood A) stop lying to itself a little, like pretending Black Panther was the "first" black superhero to be made a movie (Blade trilogy grossed, and B) occasionally, maybe, possibly develop a new genre screenplay instead of just constantly rebooting them.


It's success obviously has to do with it's cultural importance. As you say, I don't think that objectively it's the best Marvel film and it's certainly not such an amazing film that it's become of the most successful movies of all time based on quality alone. The reason it has done so well is because of what it represents and, yes, it should make the industry take note. It really shouldn't be all that surprising either as statistically speaking, POC make up a significant portion of the moviegoing audience now and it was out of sheer stubbornness (*cough* racism *cough*) that the industry didn't want to acknowledge this. You can bet that if Black Panther had done poorly at the Box Office that movie executives would have used the film as an excuse for why another black-led superhero movie wouldn't have been made for several years, if not decades. The same way Catwoman and Electra were used as excuses for years why another female-led superhero wasn't made despite the fact that they just weren't very good movies and movies led by straight white men fail all the time but Hollywood will continue to churn them out. Just like white male actors or directors can have flop after flop and continue to be given multiple chances whilst actors of colour are either ignored or given one chance to succeed (or else).

Don't think you are giving Marvel's brand it's due for the calculus here, because Black Panther was going to represent a sea change pretty much no matter what, since Marvel's MCU structure renders it effectively bomb-proof. The positioned it very well as the last entry before THE MCU movie and knew that even if it didn't turn out to have broader appeal to the supposed (untrue, obviously) unicorn of a huge turnout of black viewers for a superhero movie, it would still be a "hit" because young and old white nerds like me and thee were gonna go see the thing pretty much no matter what. Only Nixon can go to China, and only Marvel could guarantee a hit movie featuring a black superhero.


In regards to Buffy, it absolutely did fail when it came to representing POC. Even back in 1998 the writers were aware of this and had Mr Trick comment on how disproportionately white Sunnydale was - so they were aware it was discussed even 20 years ago. Why they thought it was fine to just mention it flippantly in the script but not, ya know, do something about it, is pretty piss poor.

See, I don't think of Trick's comment as a meta shot at the people making the show for not having created a world of broader demographic capture, but as a comment on exactly the sort of community Sunnydale was an expy of -- affluent, mostly white, urban flight.

A better question might be, why did Joss move the setting out of LA in the first place? He didn't need to, even if he wanted to hold on to the "loose" canonical status of the movie/Origin, it's a big place after all. And certainly that setting would have made it damn conspicuous for -- if not the main characters, because of the self-segregating reality of humans -- but certainly supporting or recurring characters and faculty and especially extras not to be more demographically diverse.

HowiMetdaSlayer
14-04-18, 04:26 PM
To be fair, the actress who played Willow in the original pilot was kind of chubby.

Silver1
14-04-18, 04:29 PM
Yes, but unfortunately she didn't seem like a particularly good or charismatic actor.

vampmogs
14-04-18, 05:08 PM
Ah, but that isn't what I predicated -- it's rather that because the movie does a laudably good job of representing protagonists and ancillary characters who are not all uniformly white men, or white folk in general of competing American vs. British accents that it gets a lot of "street cred" for its intersectionality. Agree? What follows, though, is that this becomes a bragging point not only to the studio, actors, and entertainment press, it also becomes a blanket that gets wrapped around it to immunize it from criticism.

And again, as I said, I haven't seen any of this which you talk about. I'm sure it exists because every opinion exists on the internet but I've only seen criticism towards the movie for how it reduced Finn's role and replaced him with Kylo Ren (a white guy) and people have accused the movie of backtracking on the progress made in The Force Awakens. I've personally yet to see a single person deflect criticism of the movie based on the fact that it has a diverse cast as this seems to be a particularly sore point for a lot of people who were unhappy with how Finn's role was reduced and how Finn and Rose (the two POC) were shuffled off to the sidelines.


I'm pretty sure I even saw an article citing either Abrams or Johnson saying that only people who didn't like the movie are being bigoted in some fashion, pick your -ism.

I've read this article and I do think that JJ was burying his head in the sand a little. However, that said, I can understand how they could walk away with that impression as the bigoted members of the audience have been the loudest and most vocal since back when The Force Awakens was first announced up until now.


Don't think you are giving Marvel's brand it's due for the calculus here, because Black Panther was going to represent a sea change pretty much no matter what, since Marvel's MCU structure renders it effectively bomb-proof.

It was going to do well. It's cultural significance obviously plays a major reason in why it has done so exceptionally well, though.


The positioned it very well as the last entry before THE MCU movie and knew that even if it didn't turn out to have broader appeal to the supposed (untrue, obviously) unicorn of a huge turnout of black viewers for a superhero movie, it would still be a "hit" because young and old white nerds like me and thee were gonna go see the thing pretty much no matter what.

I'm not sure what you mean by "unicorn of a huge turnout of black viewers" or claiming it is "obviously untrue." Are you saying that black audiences didn't turn out in droves for this movie? Because in the US 37% of the audience for Black Panther was African American (as opposed to the statistical average which is usually 15%) and white movie goers made up 35%. It's a statistical fact that the African American community came out in droves to watch this film and that they contributed more to the movie's success than any other demographic.

What's also interesting is that Black Panther had a larger female audience than what is normal for superhero movies (45%) as did Wonder Woman. It's obvious why the latter would but the fact that Black Panther did as well suggests that female audiences may have interest in movies lead by a more diverse cast.


See, I don't think of Trick's comment as a meta shot at the people making the show for not having created a world of broader demographic capture, but as a comment on exactly the sort of community Sunnydale was an expy of -- affluent, mostly white, urban flight.

Even if that were true (and for the record I'm pretty sure I remember one of the writers going on record stating that Mr Trick's comments were meant to hang a lantern on criticism about the show's lack of diversity) you know what kind of character would fit in really well with a bunch of outcasts in a mostly white community? A POC.

Rebcake
14-04-18, 07:12 PM
Just for shiggles, what was more common in your school; people hanging out in close-knit social groups that were basically ethnically and economically sectarian, or scrupulous adherence to the mores of intersectionality so that there were few if any repeating demographic niches in a circle of maybe only 5-7 students?

If we're getting personal, my crew in 1970s Santa Barbara was multi-ethnic in the extreme, more diverse than your theoretical breakdown from "nowadays". And my daughter, who went to public school in Cali just a few years ago, also had a posse with full representation of all sorts of ethnicities. From my personal experience, Buffy gets this completely wrong. It's not surprising, as Joss went to boarding school in England, and it's probable that most of the other writers did not have the standard SoCal public school experience. Even my favorite, Jane Espenson, is from Iowa. I don't know where Marti Noxon went to high school, but she is from LA and might've had a better grasp of this — Joss has said than she was the one pushing for representation when it wasn't even a blip for the other producers.


But no, it's not equally ridiculous to say representation doesn't matter than to have such a byzantine array of 'little boxes', because the more imagined boxes one creates to artificially categorize people the more manifestly impossible it is to check them all or even most.

You and I will have to agree to disagree about which is more ridiculous: lack of representation or precise census categories. I am in the "race is a social construct" camp, but social constructs are very, very real for the people living in those societies.

bespangled
14-04-18, 10:56 PM
To be fair, the actress who played Willow in the original pilot was kind of chubby.

And of course she didn't get the role - lousy actress. But Joss recasted with an adorable waifish redhead.

In terms of representation, Willow is Jewish. Outside of comedies that trade on Jewish stereotypes,, how many shows have Jewish main characters?. And they didn't use the traditional "Jewish" look. Jews are not white - not even those with light skin. Jews come in all colors and live in all countries, are found in all ethnicities, and are generally used to bolster the NY ashkanezi stereotypes that came early european migrants.

ghoststar
15-04-18, 02:31 AM
I realize this is probably heresy, but I don’t think all the actors were drop-dead gorgeous in a physical sense. They just had great makeup/lighting and loads of charisma, so they could sell an Aesthetic(TM) that appealed to the requisite slice of the show’s audience. I’d call SMG cute, not beautiful— what really stood out about her appearance was those big soulful eyes, rather than exquisite features or w/e. Likewise, Michelle Trachtenberg was cute, maybe pretty by the end, but not Miss America material. Nicholas Brendon looked very average to me. While I’d agree that David Boreanaz was attractive, he was also helped a lot by that special early-seasons vampire contouring that made his features much more defined than they were in the later seasons of Angel. No disrespect to Juliet Landau, because I wouldn’t prefer anyone else as Drusilla, but I’d put her in the category of a jolie laide, all buggy eyes and razor-y bones. The show made it work by playing up her odd-looking features for all they were worth and counting on us to be impressed by the her amazing Gothic-ness, and it worked. Most of the other actors, I’d put in the category of “moderately attractive.” If you saw a Julie Benz or a Marc Blucas wearing Target clothes in the check-out line, and you didn’t recognize them, you’d probably think, “Oh, they’re cute,” rather than struggling twenty seconds later how to pick your jaw off the floor. (Again, no shade on their skills— I watched 2 seasons of Defiance in large part for Benz!) The only actor whose first appearance basically killed my blood pressure was James Marsters. Yeah, the citizens of Sunnydale were a little better-looking than average, but it wasn’t among the more dramatic examples I’ve seen on TV. (The stupidest example I can think of is the endless list of well-coiffed, leggy prosecutors on Law & Order. I mean, come on, could anyone take the gritty vibe seriously after a few of them?) I think that BtVS got sexy characters through development and some ineffable It factor, more than through their all being played by physically stunning actors.

vampmogs
15-04-18, 03:08 AM
I realize this is probably heresy, but I don’t think all the actors were drop-dead gorgeous in a physical sense. They just had great makeup/lighting and loads of charisma, so they could sell an Aesthetic(TM) that appealed to the requisite slice of the show’s audience. I’d call SMG cute, not beautiful— what really stood out about her appearance was those big soulful eyes, rather than exquisite features or w/e. Likewise, Michelle Trachtenberg was cute, maybe pretty by the end, but not Miss America material. Nicholas Brendon looked very average to me. While I’d agree that David Boreanaz was attractive, he was also helped a lot by that special early-seasons vampire contouring that made his features much more defined than they were in the later seasons of Angel. No disrespect to Juliet Landau, because I wouldn’t prefer anyone else as Drusilla, but I’d put her in the category of a jolie laide, all buggy eyes and razor-y bones. The show made it work by playing up her odd-looking features for all they were worth and counting on us to be impressed by the her amazing Gothic-ness, and it worked. Most of the other actors, I’d put in the category of “moderately attractive.” If you saw a Julie Benz or a Marc Blucas wearing Target clothes in the check-out line, and you didn’t recognize them, you’d probably think, “Oh, they’re cute,” rather than struggling twenty seconds later how to pick your jaw off the floor. (Again, no shade on their skills— I watched 2 seasons of Defiance in large part for Benz!) The only actor whose first appearance basically killed my blood pressure was James Marsters. Yeah, the citizens of Sunnydale were a little better-looking than average, but it wasn’t among the more dramatic examples I’ve seen on TV. (The stupidest example I can think of is the endless list of well-coiffed, leggy prosecutors on Law & Order. I mean, come on, could anyone take the gritty vibe seriously after a few of them?) I think that BtVS got sexy characters through development and some ineffable It factor, more than through their all being played by physically stunning actors.

I agree ghoststar. When people comment on how amazingly attractive the cast are I'm like, yeah, sure, most of them are nice looking enough, but I see hotter people walking down the street where I live then a lot of the cast. Obviously it's a completely subjective thing because what I find attractive will be totally different to what somebody else finds attractive but there's really only a few of the actors/actresses that I'd look twice at if I walked past them on the street.

I also agree that a lot of the time it's the character that they're playing that makes them more attractive or the wonders of Hollywood. We do differ in taste as personally speaking, I only have ever thought JM was attractive as Spike and I think out of character he's extremely average at best, but it's a perfect example of the character they're playing making them appear differently than in real life. I've also personally never got what people mean when they say NB was way too attractive to be a high school nerd. I mean, he certainly wasn't ugly or anything and he was fine looking and there are episodes where I do find him genuinely attractive, but I don't find him so good looking that I think he'd have been super popular in high school or anything. And there are occasions where I find Alyson Hannigan gorgeous but she's really not my type at all so overall I can buy her as being the unpopular nerd too.

But ultimately there's nothing wrong with casting attractive people to be on TV. It is what it is. And as much as fandom likes to pretend that they don't care about this thing, the fact of the matter is that most of the popular characters also happen to be the characters the majority of fandom consider the most attractive. That's not a coincidence. DB was pretty much hired for his looks and although his acting was extremely average in the early days, the casting team were smart enough to realise that female audiences (and I'm sure some guys too) would respond to that. It's human nature. If people thought DB or JM were ugly Bangel and Spuffy would not have caught on like they did. If SMG had been ugly then they wouldn't have been able to use her sex appeal to market the show in magazines etc.

TimeTravellingBunny
15-04-18, 03:14 PM
I realize this is probably heresy, but I don’t think all the actors were drop-dead gorgeous in a physical sense. They just had great makeup/lighting and loads of charisma, so they could sell an Aesthetic(TM) that appealed to the requisite slice of the show’s audience. I’d call SMG cute, not beautiful— what really stood out about her appearance was those big soulful eyes, rather than exquisite features or w/e. Likewise, Michelle Trachtenberg was cute, maybe pretty by the end, but not Miss America material. Nicholas Brendon looked very average to me. While I’d agree that David Boreanaz was attractive, he was also helped a lot by that special early-seasons vampire contouring that made his features much more defined than they were in the later seasons of Angel. No disrespect to Juliet Landau, because I wouldn’t prefer anyone else as Drusilla, but I’d put her in the category of a jolie laide, all buggy eyes and razor-y bones. The show made it work by playing up her odd-looking features for all they were worth and counting on us to be impressed by the her amazing Gothic-ness, and it worked. Most of the other actors, I’d put in the category of “moderately attractive.” If you saw a Julie Benz or a Marc Blucas wearing Target clothes in the check-out line, and you didn’t recognize them, you’d probably think, “Oh, they’re cute,” rather than struggling twenty seconds later how to pick your jaw off the floor. (Again, no shade on their skills— I watched 2 seasons of Defiance in large part for Benz!) The only actor whose first appearance basically killed my blood pressure was James Marsters. Yeah, the citizens of Sunnydale were a little better-looking than average, but it wasn’t among the more dramatic examples I’ve seen on TV. (The stupidest example I can think of is the endless list of well-coiffed, leggy prosecutors on Law & Order. I mean, come on, could anyone take the gritty vibe seriously after a few of them?) I think that BtVS got sexy characters through development and some ineffable It factor, more than through their all being played by physically stunning actors.

If you think that the cast of Buffy and Angel are average or just above average, it shows you've been a bit too used to people you see in movies and on (US) TV. :D They are, collectively, way, way above average for people you meet in real life.
That's not to say that I, or any of us, don't know several people who are as gorgeous as anyone on TV - but almost every single person? No. Even the supposedly 'average' looking guys (like Xander or Doyle) are way more good-looking than 80% of guys I get to meet in real life. Go to the beach and tell me how many buff dudes with perfectly defined muscles you see there, as opposed to average-built, skinny, skinny-fat, overweight bodies.
But what's more jarring in Buffy and almost every other teen show is that most actors and extras look like adults (because they usually are, and while some adults can actually pass as teenagers, most can't). Again, it's not like there weren't people in my high school who looked like 25 when they were 16 - but all of them? That's really unlikely.
For instance, I don't think Nicholas Brendon was gorgeous - he was pretty good-looking, but he was way too buff (which was obvious whenever he took of his shirt in seasons 1-3) and way too obviously in his mid-to-late 20s to play a dorky, loserish 16 year old boy.
We should have seen more gangly, pimply kids and generally people who looked like high school kids, rather than a bunch of good-looking, fit 20-somethings. But that's not a problem with just Buffy, it's with pretty much every teen show.

Again, it's nice to see good-looking people on TV, but not when it clashes with what those people are supposed to be. If someone is supposed to be average or plain and this is reiterated in dialogue, then they shouldn't be better-looking than the majority of people you meet in real life.

The point about the makeup, lighting etc. only reinforces that - they could have used those things to make some people less attractive (those that are supposed to be less attractive), but they did not.

I do actually agree with some of the above - I think that makeup, filming angles, charisma etc. helped some of the cast a lot. It may be an unpopular opinion, but while David Boreanaz is an attractive man - tall, broad-shouldered, strong face - I don't think he is that super-handsome as people make him out to be, without the early seasons makeup that accentuated his cheekbones. James Marsters was absolutely stunning as Spike, but out of character, in other roles, without the bleached hair and makeup to accentuate his eyes and cheekbones, he looks just OK, in some roles he's just average. Alyson Hannigan is pretty, but her attitude as early seasons Willow made it believable that she would be a high school nerd. Juliet Landau has very unusual features that people may consider ugly or attractive. It's a matter of taste, ultimately.

Looking at the cast themselves, without their characters, makeup, costumes, camera angles etc., they are way above average people, but not that gorgeous by Hollywood standards - there are much more collectively conventionally attractive casts in some other US TV shows (though, again, actual attractiveness is a matter of taste, which is why I'm putting the 'conventionally' disclaimer: what's perfectly gorgeous for one is bland and nothing special for someone else, what's ugly for someone is unconventionally beautiful for another, etc.).

Alce
15-04-18, 04:39 PM
I think that if we take 100 random people that are about the same age as any Buffy's actor/actress, then this actor/actress would easily be among 30 most attractive (top 10 for SMG and easily top 3 for Charisma). Let's be real - they are way more attractive than average person. And it's not really a problem as we're all expecting it to be that way.

If some TV show would cast ordinary looking people as main actors we probably consider them plain and ugly. I said probably, but it something that I did feel when I was watching some German TV shows for example. In comparison with US or french ones, actors did seem very plain for me, although looking back they were just ordinary looking.

TimeTravellingBunny
15-04-18, 04:59 PM
I think that if we take 100 random people that are about the same age as any Buffy's actor/actress, then this actor/actress would easily be among 30 most attractive (top 10 for SMG and easily top 3 for Charisma). Let's be real - they are way more attractive than average person. And it's not really a problem as we're all expecting it to be that way.

If some TV show would cast ordinary looking people as main actors we probably consider them plain and ugly. I said probably, but it something that I did feel when I was watching some German TV shows for example. In comparison with US or french ones, actors did seem very plain for me, although looking back they were just ordinary looking.

I haven't watched much (or any?) German TV, but many UK TV shows tend to have a better mix of good-looking and average-looking people. Even the leads in, for instance, some of the cop/detective shows aren't conventionally good-looking. Someone like Olivia Colman would probably not become a star playing lead roles on American TV. I remember watching the excellent crime show Trial and Retribution and thinking how refreshing it was that the lead, David Hayman, was an average looking guy. Same with Ken Stott, who was the lead in crime shows like The Vice or Messiah, or Robbie Coltrane in Cracker - both are very charismatic and great actors, but Coltrane is a big, overweight guy, and Stott is a short guy with a big nose.

Same thing with villains - I really liked the fact that the main vampire villain in the early seasons of Being Human (UK version) was an average looking, shortish, balding middle-aged guy who could pass as your neighbor or uncle - that actually made him all the more terrifying, as the whole point of the vampires in that show was that they were able to pass as ordinary humans (they don't burn in the sunlight) and he was a police officer.

HardlyThere
15-04-18, 08:14 PM
They are just attractive enough.

Priceless
15-04-18, 08:31 PM
I thought some of the women on the show were stunning, especially Eliza Dushku, Charisma Carpenter and Michelle Trachtenberg, but all were very good looking. The men were all nice looking, though it's the character that makes them really attractive to me. I adore Spike and think he's as hot as hell, but JM is just a nice looking guy

Silver1
15-04-18, 08:35 PM
JM does not have the standard Hollywood pretty boy looks. But he does have a very 'odd' face, but which comes across really well on a TV screen imo. Also his voice work for him.

Priceless
15-04-18, 08:38 PM
JM does not have the standard Hollywood pretty boy looks. But he does have a very 'odd' face, but which comes across really well on a TV screen imo. Also his voice work for him.

His voice sounds really deep to me, which is hot, and his eyes are beautiful. Oh and his cheekbones . . . okay, yeah , JM is a very attractive man :p

bespangled
16-04-18, 12:17 AM
I don't know where you guys hang out, but the characters on Buffy - as presented with a whole slew of professionals working on hair, make-up, lighting, et. al are one helluva lot more attractive then the people I see on the street. Of course, I am counting everyone - old people, fat people, poor people, people who are not really seen. If you go stand at the local Walmart and watch people come in and out you aren't going to see much of anyone who looks like Buffy in softened focus or Dawn.

At least in terms of physical beauty.

ghoststar
16-04-18, 01:48 AM
I'm assuming that we're working from the premise that "If you took away their in-universe pluses like couture clothes and good taste in makeup, would they be at a level that you'd when you looked around a group of people of similar (biological, not year-based) age and accounted for their supernaturally-enhanced health?" And I think probably not. Most vampires seem to level up in hotness when they get turned, thanks to that handwaved-as-bloodlessness highlighting and the end to human frailty. (Darla actually had oozing sores when the Master visited her.) Slayers' constitutions should, in theory at least, resolve the endocrine and immune issues that cause spontaneous inflammation, which in turn causes acne, rashes, etc. Riley has tested into an élite military program, so his health is probably above average. That has benefits. And, when they get ground down enough, the characters do look at least somewhat rougher: Think of Buffy in "Bring on the Night" (even before the Turok-Han's beatdown) or Faith in "Sanctuary." Granted, all those well-fitting clothes and well-matched lipsticks don't make a lot of sense for the characters' apparent poverty in the later seasons, but, if it's something that the character can put on/take off in-universe, it isn't part of their inherent attractiveness.

Going extra-geeky for a moment, we probably should expect the lead character's attractiveness correlate to that of her associates-- not perfectly, but enough to make a difference. In the first legit-looking study that popped up in a quick DuckDuckGo search, scientists from Columbia University pored over (https://www.livescience.com/2307-romance-matters-beautiful.html) information from a dating site and came to this conclusion:


Individuals who slid furthest down the hot-or-not scale seemed more desperate, as they were the most likely to respond "yes" to any date requests. For every unit decrease on the 10-point scale of the member's own attractiveness the member was 25 percent more likely to say "yes" to a potential date.

The hot-rated members were choosier, tending to accept only dates from others in their attractiveness neighborhood.


Shallow or not, birds of a feather do, on average, flock together. If Buffy is good-looking (which I'd agree with-- if 5 is average, I'd personally put her at around an 8), then you'd expect her lover interests, at least, to be good-looking as well.

While I'm not as well-versed in the effects of physical attractiveness on friendships, it does have an effect (http://www.businessinsider.com/attractive-people-are-more-successful-2012-9)--again, on average-- on how your boss is likely to treat you. Not as big a difference as in the case of romance, but still statistically significant, accounting for an income gap of perhaps 3-4% between above- and below-average-attractiveness individuals. Your looks even affect how well a potential employer remembers the contents of your interview. Even if bosses make objective determinations to hire pretty people for public positions, I doubt they're deliberately shutting down their capacity to remember conversations when the interviewees are ugly. This points to a subconscious reaction, and I'd be surprised if it didn't extend to considerations of friendship. Keep in mind, I'm not saying that your typical person makes a point of sizing up a potential friend's hotness level before deciding whether or not to accept them. I am, however, saying that they likely size it up without realizing they're doing it.

Of course, all of this assumes that a representative slice of humanity, literal warts and all, is a good thing for TV. I'm not sure it always is. There are a lot of plots where I don't think it matters, but BtVS leans heavily on sexual subtext, and sometimes sex outright, in its portrayal of character interactions. It stands to reason that watching attractive characters in sexually-charged, situations is going to be more fun, for more people, than watching unattractive characters do so.

MikeB
25-04-18, 01:23 AM
All caught up.




Rebcake

* When BtVS aired, the ‘rich’ areas of Southern California were still mostly White.

Southern California being largely Latino everywhere is a stereotype like California is all one big beach.



vampmogs

Black Panther is a good movie and in ways better than how Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was for Black Panther. It’s also the only movie since The Avengers outside of the first Guardians of the Galaxy that makes sense.

Representation isn’t more important than quality.

____________________________________

* It’s always baffling that anyone says the Buffyverse isn’t good at world-building and/or continuity.

____________________________________

* The problem with Finn is John Boyega has much less chemistry with Daisy Ridley than Marc Blucas had with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Rey/Finn makes very little sense because of that. And Finn is no Han Solo.

The biggest problem of The Last Jedi is how badly it was written.


* Black Panther’s sister is the second or third most important character in Black Panther and she’s not there only for “eye candy”.

Young Justice and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes did well with women because it had “strong female characters”.

http://vsbattles.wikia.com/wiki/Scarlet_Witch

http://vsbattles.wikia.com/wiki/Thor_(Marvel_Comics)

http://vsbattles.wikia.com/wiki/Vision_(Marvel_Comics)

http://vsbattles.wikia.com/wiki/Hulk

Scarlet Witch is perhaps the most shortchanged character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Civil War is ridiculous given her side should have easily won. Avengers 2 is better.

Young Justice has Miss Martian as clearly the most powerful member of The Team. The women of the Justice League are shown on par with the men.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes essentially has Miss Marvel as the most powerful member of The Avengers.

In general, DC Animated does well with female characters.

____________________________________

* In what world do you live where James Marsters is “extremely average at best” in terms of his looks?



ghoststar

* The thread title asks: “Are too many major characters in the Buffyverse good-looking?”

Good-looking is a few steps below gorgeous and gorgeous is a step below stunning.


Jolie laide: A woman whose face is attractive despite having ugly features. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/jolie_laide

Pretty: Attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful or handsome. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/pretty

Good-looking: (chiefly of a person) attractive. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/good-looking

Cute: 1) Attractive in a pretty or endearing way. 2) North American informal Sexually attractive. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/cute

Beautiful: Pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/beautiful

Gorgeous: Beautiful; very attractive. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/gorgeous

Stunning: Extremely impressive or attractive. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/stunning


Even your own descriptions list:

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Michelle Trachtenberg
David Boreanaz
Juliet Landau
Julie Benz
Marc Blucas

As all at least good-looking.

You seem to consider BtVS S2 James Marsters to be at least gorgeous.


Nicholas Brendan is not “average looking”.


* Juliet Landau has hyperfeminine features including her face and figure. She’s the only major character who could be reasonably described as stunning.


I’d list Stephanie Romanov as gorgeous.



TimeTravellingBunny

* Xander was never meant to be considered an “average looking guy”.

Doyle thought he had a chance with Cordelia.


* Xander and Willow are both only unpopular because of how they act. It’s shown with Willow in “Welcome to the Hellmouth” (B 1.01). By “The Witch” (B 1.03), Cordelia is already talking to Willow as if Willow is someone worthy to talk to. “The Pack” (B 1.06) has Xander as the Alpha of The Pack.


* James Marsters without the bleached hair “in other roles” was already over 42 years old. Even at conventions nowadays he’s still good-looking and he’s in his mid-50s now. He’s good-looking in Runaways .

It’s less known, but Juliet Landau is less than 3 years younger than James Marsters. She was around 33-34 and he was around 35-36 in early BtVS S2. Both their ages began to show in BtVS S7 when James was around 40 and Juliet was in her late 30s.

David Boreanaz is around 7 years younger than James.



bespangled


If you go stand at the local Walmart and watch people come in and out you aren't going to see much of anyone who looks like Buffy in softened focus or Dawn.

At least in terms of physical beauty. In total? It depends on the Walmart.

Rebcake
25-04-18, 01:49 AM
Rebcake

* When BtVS aired, the ‘rich’ areas of Southern California were still mostly White.

Southern California being largely Latino everywhere is a stereotype like California is all one big beach.

Having lived in a lot of coastal California towns for the last 45-ish years, I will concede that there are some rich, white enclaves. Parts of Monterey Bay, Marin, Malibu, and spots along the coast toward San Diego, for example. Santa Barbara is NOT one of those enclaves. It has, and has always had, a very large Hispanic population. Most (but not all) of Southern California does indeed have a large Latino population. If it's a stereotype, it's a stereotype based on reality. Before it was part of the US, it was part of Mexico, and the people didn't go away — plus they brought friends. I will grant you Carmel and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, but not my old hometown. BtVS got it wrong. Full stop.

cil_domney
25-04-18, 07:23 AM
James Marsters was stunning as Spike - the costume department got it just right with the look that was developed for him - plus JM, his performance was so awesome he simply made Spike look Grand and Bad Ass. As for DB and that entire "angelic face" IMO, bunch of baloney. He was attractive, again we all have our own ideas of what attractive is, only in the first two season by season three he had changed and began looking older - not old but for sure older. Of all the actors in the series DB and NB changed the most physically. I don't think Marc Blucas as presented for Riley Finn was ever attractive, actually if there were a cast member who most resembled an average looking human, Riley Finn did.

Regarding female cast - Julie Benz, I think of as the most physically beautiful - all the other women were attractive but other than when they are presented in those stunning Fashion Photography Magazine Shoots - most are not what would be classified as Stunning Beautiful. Stunning Face for a vampire of the Great Looks category would have to go, IMO, to the actor who played Damon on TVD. Stunning because he made it so due to performance and character would be James Marsters as Spike.

As for beautiful people that we see in our neighborhoods and places we frequent - don't have to be actors - I saw a young woman, our waitress today that could be on any fashion magazine cover - An attractive face, pleasant to look at for most of humanity is based on symmetry of facial features - film stars and fashion models have it a super high degree. That is if we are speaking of what we are calling Great Beauties for both female and males.

Plus - times change so much in what our cultural norms. When I was young a leading romance male leads still had an actor like Walter Matthau or someone like Jack Lemmon - don't think this would happen in today's film and TV stardom. Most leading male actors working today are very handsome and if they are not it is because they have proven themselves to be superb performers. Same goes for the leading female stars.
Hell, here in the USA - in TV today even the news anchors are pretty much attractive people. MSNBC, just about all the female anchors are very attractive and most of the men are as well - unless they are top journalists who have proven themselves - say someone like Andrea Mitchell. Not saying that she is unattractive, but she does not have to be the beautiful face news anchor that is lucky enough to have great smarts to go with that face.

And TTT - you are so right about that more balanced looks on UK TV - the actor Jason Watkins who played Herrick was outstanding and a great choice.

One thing we can say about Joss Whedon and the cast he and his creative did was choose a great cast and not only in the leading roles but the secondary cast was equally well chosen. You go back and look at the series and you see just how excellent they all were - NB was very good as Xander and AH was lovely as younger Willow and AH as Giles did a great job - SMG, that woman was awesome as Buffy. DB was, for me rather boring but he was great as Angelus. And Drusilla-JL and Spike-JM - together they brought another outstanding level and quality to the series. I know that there will always be differences of opinion but without Spike I don't think the series would have been as outstanding. And before I get flamed - Just My Opinion.