PDA

View Full Version : Best Visual Metaphor



TriBel
19-08-18, 03:57 PM
This comes from the Random Buffy Thoughts thread and a fortuitous remark by Stoney (thanks Stoney!). What's the best visual metaphor in BtVS or Angel? It can be a character, an object, a scene, a singular occurrence or a recurring trope.

Priceless
19-08-18, 04:15 PM
Not sure if this counts, but the drawing Dawn's class were doing when Buffy comes to tell her Joyce is dead. The teacher talks about drawing the space, not the object, and the picture we see is of something that looks very much like Joyce's body, or the space that body will leave.

TriBel
19-08-18, 04:34 PM
Not sure if this counts, but the drawing Dawn's class were doing when Buffy comes to tell her Joyce is dead. The teacher talks about drawing the space, not the object, and the picture we see is of something that looks very much like Joyce's body, or the space that body will leave.

Yes - that works and I remember it. They're asked to draw negative space. In fact, I think there's an essay about it in the WSA Slayage Journal. I think they revisit that trope in Touched. There's also Willow's missing jumper in the same episode (jumpers cloth or cover bodies - particularly significant given Buffy tries to make Joyce - the Body - look decent - or proper - by pulling her skirt down). I think this might feed into Bargaining. Buffy fastens her buttons as she walk down the stairs towards Spike.

Silver1
19-08-18, 05:07 PM
I don't know about best, but this subtle little nod in season 7 caught my eye.

https://78.media.tumblr.com/ec5735fac864d1b6c959de7c058ea44f/tumblr_nh230gfta81si9p52o1_250.gif https://78.media.tumblr.com/e4e471019a787aff4d57f581d1de764f/tumblr_nh230gfta81si9p52o2_250.gif

TriBel
19-08-18, 05:11 PM
I don't know about best, but this subtle little nod in season 7 caught my eye.

https://78.media.tumblr.com/ec5735fac864d1b6c959de7c058ea44f/tumblr_nh230gfta81si9p52o1_250.gif https://78.media.tumblr.com/e4e471019a787aff4d57f581d1de764f/tumblr_nh230gfta81si9p52o2_250.gif

Is that from HD Silver? Spike's hair looks incredibly white (I noticed it in Potential). Here, it's the same colour as the angels.

Argh! And what I should have added in regard to Potential is - in the opening scene (set in the graveyard), there are four(?) angel headstones and they all have their backs to the action (they're can't see what's going on). I'm presuming Spike didn't manipulate these in the same way he manipulates the ones above so why has the metaphor changed? Spike's drawing of Angel in Touched is also "blind".

Priceless
19-08-18, 05:51 PM
Vampire bites being a metaphor for sex, but specifically when Angel bit Buffy and as they fall to the floor, she kicks the coffee table over, a visual metaphor for her orgasm

Silver1
19-08-18, 06:13 PM
Spike's drawing of Angel in Touched is also "blind".

Thats because It's the old gag way of drawing somebody who's dead.

TimeTravellingBunny
19-08-18, 06:37 PM
http://i66.tinypic.com/qnnwwy.png

What's particularly striking about this scene from Wrecked is that it's both touching and sad, and really creepy - and in that dychotomy, perfectly encapsulates Willow's feelings for Tara, and its moving and its disturbing and unhealthy aspect. She uses magic to inflate Tara's dress to create an illusion of still having Tara with her after she has left her - because she needs her emotionally so much - and at the same time, it's also a visual metaphor for the way Willow previous used magic to objectify and abuse Tara - wiping her memories - so she wouldn't leave her or be angry with her (prompting her to actually leave her).

Priceless
19-08-18, 06:38 PM
Same Time, Same Place, a complete episode of visual metaphor for how disconnected Willow feels from the rest of the scoobies.

Buffy crawling out of the grave in *cough Grave, is a metaphor for her crawling out of her depression and moving towards a bright new day.

HardlyThere
19-08-18, 06:45 PM
Everything in Doublemeat Palace.

TriBel
19-08-18, 07:15 PM
http://i66.tinypic.com/qnnwwy.png

What's particularly striking about this scene from Wrecked is that it's both touching and sad, and really creepy - and in that dychotomy, perfectly encapsulates Willow's feelings for Tara, and its moving and its disturbing and unhealthy aspect. She uses magic to inflate Tara's dress to create an illusion of still having Tara with her after she has left her - because she needs her emotionally so much - and at the same time, it's also a visual metaphor for the way Willow previous used magic to objectify and abuse Tara - wiping her memories - so she wouldn't leave her or be angry with her (prompting her to actually leave her).

My initial impulse would be to say it's uncanny/unheimlich but I've been reading Mark Fisher's book "The Weird and the Eerie", two modes of experience that build on Freud's "uncanny" and I think "eerie" covers it: "The sensation of the eerie occurs either when there is something present where there should be nothing, or is there nothing present when there should be something."

- - - Updated - - -

Priceless


Same Time, Same Place, a complete episode of visual metaphor for how disconnected Willow feels from the rest of the scoobies.

What do you make of the mise-en-scene in the cafe in First Date? Before we see Xander waiting for Lissa, we see a clock and various maps on the wall. I read this as Same Time, Different Places (or Different Time, Different Places because of time zoning. Either way, it fits in nicely with the chronology reference in the title). I ask because I wondered whether they end of FD referred us back to S6 - Older and Far Away (again - time space reference)? In FD B/S "connect".

Priceless
19-08-18, 08:13 PM
What do you make of the mise-en-scene in the cafe in First Date? Before we see Xander waiting for Lissa, we see a clock and various maps on the wall. I read this as Same Time, Different Places (or Different Time, Different Places because of time zoning. Either way, it fits in nicely with the chronology reference in the title). I ask because I wondered whether they end of FD referred us back to S6 - Older and Far Away (again - time space reference)? In FD B/S "connect".

There is definitely a similar feeling, with the close up of the clock and the maps on the wall. Though I'm not sure what it means, except that time is moving on and that everyone is in a different place.

a thing of evil
19-08-18, 08:30 PM
https://i.imgur.com/zjRF9td.gif
https://i.imgur.com/UA5INeB.gif

SpuffyGlitz
19-08-18, 09:21 PM
Great topic! :heart: Pretty much the whole of Restless - and the whole of Buffy - is one big visual metaphor for me :lol:
But here are a few standouts:

Buffy and the sandbox
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/buffy/images/a/a4/065_Buffy_-_Restless_Sandbox_playing.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20171117074117

Joyce in the wall
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rs3zJVrnxRE/UhRXJSGcHfI/AAAAAAAACJ4/sv80MCJTC_w/s1600/BuffyList_Restless.jpg

Dark Willow absorbing power from books:
https://fantasywitches.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/evil-willow-the-power-in-rede.jpg

And of course, I have to be really obvious - but I can't not include this from Chosen:
http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/8500000/Spuffy-Caps-7x22-Chosen-spuffy-8532076-750-409.jpg

TriBel
19-08-18, 10:32 PM
Great topic! :heart: Pretty much the whole of Restless - and the whole of Buffy - is one big visual metaphor for me :lol:
But here are a few standouts:

Buffy and the sandbox
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/buffy/images/a/a4/065_Buffy_-_Restless_Sandbox_playing.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20171117074117

Joyce in the wall
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rs3zJVrnxRE/UhRXJSGcHfI/AAAAAAAACJ4/sv80MCJTC_w/s1600/BuffyList_Restless.jpg

Dark Willow absorbing power from books:
https://fantasywitches.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/evil-willow-the-power-in-rede.jpg

And of course, I have to be really obvious - but I can't not include this from Chosen:
http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/8500000/Spuffy-Caps-7x22-Chosen-spuffy-8532076-750-409.jpg

Hands are an extended conceit for Spuffy (ask Stoney - she'll list them for you!) - from Potentials to Chosen thru S10 to the end of 11. Joyce in the fabric of the house - house: the house itself is a metaphor - particularly in S6/7 - from Becoming/Anne then Smashed through to the eviction in Empty Places and the stranger's house in Touched. I think it goes deeper though because the child's first home is the mother.

Priceless
19-08-18, 11:11 PM
I think it goes deeper though because the child's first home is the mother.

Where does that leave Dawn? :)

TriBel
20-08-18, 12:58 AM
Where does that leave Dawn? :)

Same as everyone else I guess. "Memories" of the first home are imaginary ones but intrinsic to desire. It does raise an interesting question though - of whether Dawn's unconscious functions in quite the same way as other people's. I'm presuming the monks programmed her with repressed memories? Sigh...Whedon might be familiar with Freud but I'm guessing Freud was less familiar with BtVS. ;)

Stoney
20-08-18, 06:19 AM
Great thread TriBel. :D The whole show is riddled with visual communications. Yes, the hand symbolism is a favourite of mine and the use of stairs as symbolic of journeys and entrance/exit. :biggrin1:

The way clothing is used often through the series is interesting and was something that I think Clavus first really drew me to noticing. As an example, I loved the way Buffy's clothing mirrors the gravestones as she walks through the graveyard singing at the start of OMWF. I actually hadn't noticed it when I watched it originally but picked up on it when reading Aurora's incredible review. Brilliant visual rhyme to emphasise how she is feeling in her disconnection from her life but being drawn and feeling more aligned to the dead. Works excellently with the lyrics of Going Through the Motions too of course and with the point when she walks through the vamp dust saying how she wants to feel 'alive' at the end.

Another random one from S6, as they are most on my mind at the moment with the rewatch, I also really like the pipes under the house bursting in multiple places in Flooded as representative for the pressures within Buffy, and as something that she can't just fix with her strength.

Priceless
20-08-18, 08:43 AM
Stairs and steps are obvious ones that we've discussed before. Stairs feature a lot in the Buffy/Spike relationship, with one or other of them always on the steps. In The Gift Buffy is walking up the stairs, Spike stays at the bottom, and in Bargaining we see Buffy walking back down the stairs towards Spike. There are many examples of stairs within the relationship denoting status and place, and of course the Back Steps are very much a Spuffy place :D

TriBel
20-08-18, 10:22 AM
Great thread TriBel. :D The whole show is riddled with visual communications. Yes, the hand symbolism is a favourite of mine and the use of stairs as symbolic of journeys and entrance/exit. :biggrin1:

The way clothing is used often through the series is interesting and was something that I think Clavus first really drew me to noticing. As an example, I loved the way Buffy's clothing mirrors the gravestones as she walks through the graveyard singing at the start of OMWF. I actually hadn't noticed it when I watched it originally but picked up on it when reading Aurora's incredible review. Brilliant visual rhyme to emphasise how she is feeling in her disconnection from her life but being drawn and feeling more aligned to the dead. Works excellently with the lyrics of Going Through the Motions too of course and with the point when she walks through the vamp dust saying how she wants to feel 'alive' at the end.

Another random one from S6, as they are most on my mind at the moment with the rewatch, I also really like the pipes under the house bursting in multiple places in Flooded as representative for the pressures within Buffy, and as something that she can't just fix with her strength.

Clothing: There's this remark in the shooting script for S7 Lessons: DAWN (as Yoda) "The Stake is not the power..." Thank you, Master Prada". It doesn't make it to transmission but I love the juxtaposition of power and a high fashion clothing label - particularly in an episode where Wood deliberately mis-identifies her as Dawn's mother and she blames it on her appearance. In the following scene, we see Giles in leafy England in a Stockman's coat. I've read countless reviews that call him "sexy" because of it. This is a season where we have at least two episodes (Him, Get it Done) about the significance/appropriation/fetishization of clothes and the "Sexy Giles" comment fills me with horror. Spike appropriates the coat of one dead women, while Giles (English, upper middle class) appropriates a garment originally associated with the working class. The scene ends with this:

GILES
You are. In the end, we are all who we are -- no matter now much we may appear to have changed.

Cut to:


"EXT BUFFY'S HOUSE - DAY. In the bright morning. A car pulls up to the curb. Xander steps out, and he's changed a bit himself. He's sharp dressed in a dark suit and tie in which he's at perfect ease. He's holding a set of rolled-up blueprints. We track around the car with him a bit, low angle, taking in his new image.

(NOTE: this can be shot as a reverse somewhere else if we're not heading Torrance way any time soon.)".

The note makes it clear that it's Xander who's the focus of the shot. The scene seems to belie Giles' remark - or does it? Buffy says: "You're unconscionably spiffy" but Dawn compares him to a fictional character: "Check out Double-Oh-Xander". The last remark is cued up by this: "XANDER: Take a look" - the ocular is every form is central to S7. Then we have the "blue-prints" as a metaphor for what's real and what isn't and - importantly - what's beneath not just the school but also "Beneath You".

Don't start me on architectural features and how they mirror the architectonics of the text. I think Lessons is a stunning opening (and it's written by Whedon). The whole of the season is designed to work through the metaphors set up in this episode. I could easily write 10,000 words on Lessons.


I also really like the pipes Note the pipes in the basement in First Date. Spike's leaning against them when he and Buffy "connect". There's a sign on the wall warning about the danger of explosion. This is a season where "everything connects". On the bug ship is season 8, Xander and Dawn fantasize about their future. They're surrounded by pipes ("Pipe-dreams?). It's this future we see in S12.

Stoney
20-08-18, 10:37 AM
Stairs and steps are obvious ones that we've discussed before. Stairs feature a lot in the Buffy/Spike relationship, with one or other of them always on the steps. In The Gift Buffy is walking up the stairs, Spike stays at the bottom, and in Bargaining we see Buffy walking back down the stairs towards Spike. There are many examples of stairs within the relationship denoting status and place, and of course the Back Steps are very much a Spuffy place :D

Yep and as I said in the Smashed discussions, they don't go up the stairs but head down into the basement together. I'm sure the basement steps feature at points in S7, but I haven't watched it recently enough to have those occasions clear in my mind. There is also the fire escape steps in S9 that they meet on and the stairs/stairways are fought on together in S10 and in defence of Spike being taken in S11, if I recall correctly. There is the doorway to the stairs behind them on the rooftop too.

Conversations outside/inside buildings and houses are often significant for where they are happening, as the buildings themselves often are symbolic too. Buffy's home as representative of Joyce, nurture and security as Aurora raised in our Smashed discussions. This also then becomes somewhere that emphasises Buffy's disconnection on her return as it all feels strange to her and then we have the representation of the house and walls being brought down in Smashed as Buffy's security in her moral choices and boundaries crash around her.

Fire too is used in many instances. It's referred to in terms of passion and drive as well as the visual depictions of course. It can be a warning and denote danger. Spike's hand catching fire in Lovers Walk as well as in terms of cleansing and sacrifice as you get in Chosen. There are fire's burning all around Sunnydale when Buffy returns and she feels she has arrived in hell, and also when she goes to Sweet and wants her fire back. Passion and drive, cleansing and effulgence. :D

EDIT: Loved your additional thoughts on the clothing and pipes for S7 TriBel. :thumbup:

TriBel
20-08-18, 10:51 AM
I'm sure the basement steps feature at points in S7, but I haven't watched it recently enough to have those occasions clear in my mind.

Faith pauses on the steps to have a cigarette in Dirty Girls (leading to the flirty conversation with Spike). Spike stops Buffy going up the steps in Chosen (the noise you just heard was me sighing before an eyeroll!). He follows her up the steps in LMPTM. They all come up the steps (lead by Giles?) in Touched (?).

Silver1
20-08-18, 02:11 PM
Stairs and steps are obvious ones that we've discussed before. Stairs feature a lot in the Buffy/Spike relationship, with one or other of them always on the steps. In The Gift Buffy is walking up the stairs, Spike stays at the bottom, and in Bargaining we see Buffy walking back down the stairs towards Spike. There are many examples of stairs within the relationship denoting status and place, and of course the Back Steps are very much a Spuffy place :D

Well personally I think you can't read to much into that beyond stairs in a scene make thing visually a tad more interesting.

Priceless
20-08-18, 04:31 PM
Well personally I think you can't read to much into that beyond stairs in a scene make thing visually a tad more interesting.

There might be instances where Spike is higher than Buffy when steps/stars are involved, but I can't think of them. Even when Spike is climbing the ladder in his crypt, he's climbing up to Buffy. When we see basement steps we always (I think) see Buffy climbing down to Spike. Buffy is always higher and has to climb down to meet Spike, or he climbs up to meet her. Stairs/steps are a constant metaphor for the distance between them and their status within the show.

It stairs/steps were just to make a scene more visually interesting, than it wouldn't be so prescriptive about where each character would stand and which direction they would take.

TriBel
20-08-18, 04:49 PM
There might be instances where Spike is higher than Buffy when steps/stars are involved, but I can't think of them. Even when Spike is climbing the ladder in his crypt, he's climbing up to Buffy. When we see basement steps we always (I think) see Buffy climbing down to Spike. Buffy is always higher and has to climb down to meet Spike, or he climbs up to meet her. Stairs/steps are a constant metaphor for the distance between them and their status within the show.

It stairs/steps were just to make a scene more visually interesting, than it wouldn't be so prescriptive about where each character would stand and which direction they would take.

https://nofilmschool.com/2016/07/learn-how-stairs-can-be-used-visual-metaphors-films

https://reelclub.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/stepping-on-symbols-staircases-and-symbolism-in-the-virgin-suicides/

https://mwgerard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/HitchcocksStairs.pdf

Best not to tell SpuffyGlitz about the last one (that said, she's probably read it!). :D

Priceless
20-08-18, 04:58 PM
It seems any film or television maker who didn't use stairs as a metaphor is missing a major storytelling device :D

Silver1
20-08-18, 05:46 PM
There might be instances where Spike is higher than Buffy when steps/stars are involved, but I can't think of them. Even when Spike is climbing the ladder in his crypt, he's climbing up to Buffy. When we see basement steps we always (I think) see Buffy climbing down to Spike. Buffy is always higher and has to climb down to meet Spike, or he climbs up to meet her. Stairs/steps are a constant metaphor for the distance between them and their status within the show.

It stairs/steps were just to make a scene more visually interesting, than it wouldn't be so prescriptive about where each character would stand and which direction they would take.

Maybe they're not? You'd be amazed how many times fans of various shows have read into things, only to find out some time later the production don't know what they're talking about. :lol:

Priceless
20-08-18, 06:04 PM
Maybe they're not? You'd be amazed how many times fans of various shows have read into things, only to find out some time later the production don't know what they're talking about. :lol:

I'm one of those people who assign meaning to pretty much everything. I would hope a good film-maker would do the same :lol:

Silver1
20-08-18, 06:28 PM
Ah, but It depends on what type if film you're talking about. Art house or popular pot boiler.

Also Buffy is not a film and doesn't have the luxury of too much time spent on it.

HardlyThere
20-08-18, 07:26 PM
Are you suggesting the numbered shirts in S6 didn't mean something!?!?

Silver1
20-08-18, 07:45 PM
What numbered shirts??

Sosa lola
20-08-18, 08:21 PM
The ones Xander and Willow wore in the first ep of S6. Fans used to think the numbers meant something.

flow
20-08-18, 08:23 PM
There is one visual (is it OMWF?) where Buffy walks along a graveyard and it suddenly looks as if she has wings because she passes by an angel.

https://i.imgur.com/c4UFsml.jpg

flow

Silver1
20-08-18, 09:00 PM
The ones Xander and Willow wore in the first ep of S6. Fans used to think the numbers meant something.

What on earth? That really is stretching it! ;)

HardlyThere
20-08-18, 09:10 PM
What on earth? That really is stretching it! ;)

Marti and Fury agree.

Honestly though, it's not as if there isn't some imagery here and there, but much of it is limited sets, limited time and limited shot selection due to both.

Stoney
20-08-18, 09:20 PM
It seems any film or television maker who didn't use stairs as a metaphor is missing a major storytelling device :D

Stairs and steps are great for injecting meaning in a scene, particularly where there is hierarchy as you suggest and for a sense of progression and journeying. The development towards knowledge. I only had the chance (before I was getting glares from my family!) to glance at TriBel's link regarding Hitchcock, but that idea was very much what I think of with stairs, a process of change through the experience of walking the path. Although that seemed to relate some sense of a loss of innocence or awakening that I hadn't considered. Even when/if the symbolic meanings aren't consciously intended, symbolism and visual communications can be instinctively used. People of different cultures can equally identify red as a warning colour and a jagged shape as representative of a sharp sound for example. I better scurry away again!

TriBel
20-08-18, 09:26 PM
Everything in film conveys meaning but not everything conveys in the same way or at the same level.

http://learn360.infobase.com/public_resources/b7b958ef-3248-4f97-a6de-e89ced52d5f2.pdf

Better still - here's David Bordwell. http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2014/11/12/little-things-mean-a-lot-micro-stylistics/

In the case of the numbered shirts, it's probably not that the numbers themselves are significant (unless you're into numerology) but that the shirts have numbers on them and not (for instance) flowers or a cartoon character. :)

Silver1
20-08-18, 09:31 PM
Marti and Fury agree.

Honestly though, it's not as if there isn't some imagery here and there, but much of it is limited sets, limited time and limited shot selection due to both.

Exactly. This isn't a Stanley Kubrik movie we're talking about here but a jobbing TV series called Buffy. Having worked in TV and film myself never try and read too much into things as you'll only end up being disappointed.

HardlyThere
21-08-18, 04:38 AM
Everything in film conveys meaning but not everything conveys in the same way or at the same level.

http://learn360.infobase.com/public_resources/b7b958ef-3248-4f97-a6de-e89ced52d5f2.pdf

Better still - here's David Bordwell. http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2014/11/12/little-things-mean-a-lot-micro-stylistics/

In the case of the numbered shirts, it's probably not that the numbers themselves are significant (unless you're into numerology) but that the shirts have numbers on them and not (for instance) flowers or a cartoon character. :)

In theory: Every frame a painting
In practice: Rotating directors that often didn't even have full scripts, limited budgets and only 8 days to block and shoot 45 minutes of television. Sometimes lines are just filler. Things randomly get changed because of any variety of reasons, from weather to time shortage. Buffy's dream talk with Riley in Restless? Originally meant to be outside, Alice in Wonderland style.

Beyond that, Joss isn't Vince Gilligan. He's not that obsessive and doesn't have the lead time.

The shirts were just a crazy, random thing that happened and no one noticed until fans started commenting on it, just as they didn't figure it out until shooting that, hey, maybe Emma shouldn't have long blonde hair because it's hard to tell her from Buffy(bot) from behind.

vampmogs
21-08-18, 11:27 AM
I have no problem with fans finding meaning in pretty much anything. At the end of the day it doesn't hurt anyone and if they get enjoyment out of it then by all means they should do so. But yeah, there's a world of difference between being self-aware enough to at least realise that it probably wasn't deliberate and actually suggesting it was intentional by the writers. The numbers on the t-shirts is a classic example of that. Noxon and Fury were amused that fans were reading into it when the truth was that it was both a complete coincidence and went completely unnoticed by everyone working on the show. Rather than there being a hidden meaning or it symbolising anything the truth was, as they said, that numbers on t-shirts must've just been 'in' that year. Nothing more to it than that. I dare say a lot of what people read into the series is of a similar nature.


There is one visual (is it OMWF?) where Buffy walks along a graveyard and it suddenly looks as if she has wings because she passes by an angel.

https://i.imgur.com/c4UFsml.jpg

flow

See, that's an example of where I think the symbolism is very deliberate. It's obvious by the way the scene is staged and the way the camera lingers on Buffy. It's actually from Afterlife when Buffy has just returned from death which makes it more likely that it was intentional. I've always loved that shot myself.

TriBel
21-08-18, 12:28 PM
In theory: Every frame a painting
In practice: Rotating directors that often didn't even have full scripts, limited budgets and only 8 days to block and shoot 45 minutes of television. Sometimes lines are just filler. Things randomly get changed because of any variety of reasons, from weather to time shortage. Buffy's dream talk with Riley in Restless? Originally meant to be outside, Alice in Wonderland style.

Beyond that, Joss isn't Vince Gilligan. He's not that obsessive and doesn't have the lead time.

The shirts were just a crazy, random thing that happened and no one noticed until fans started commenting on it, just as they didn't figure it out until shooting that, hey, maybe Emma shouldn't have long blonde hair because it's hard to tell her from Buffy(bot) from behind.

All well and good but it doesn't take anything away from my original assertion - that everything within the frame (and the frame itself) conveys meaning (irrespective of whether the meaning is denotative, connotative or mythic; iconic, indexical or symbolic, or simply "filler"). For instance, I read somewhere that the horse ASH rides in the beginning of Lessons is his own. It's a piebald (I think) - had they wanted him on a white horse (which would have conveyed something different - particularly if you know Westbury), it's not outside the realms of possibility that they could have acquired a white horse quickly, thus changing the symbolism. That aside, there's no mention of the horse in the shooting script. A conscious decision was made for him to ride a horse, wear that particular coat and patrol fences. ASH asked to wear a safety helmet - the request was refused (I think ASH himself remarked on this). Why? I can only presume because it would have changed meaning. Fortuitous or not, the fact that Giles is shown patrolling fences, policing borders, feeds directly into his first line to Willow: "That [the flower] doesn't belong here".

The shooting script describes the setting "EXT. ENGLAND - DAY. No, really! Actual England. Not like that cheesy Istanbul. Rolling green hills and an arm down to find GILES making his way along them." (Note, while it may actually be filmed in England, it's not MY England - it's stereotypical England standing in for the rest of England). Why "cheesy" to describe Istanbul - and why Istanbul (I'm presuming it's not shot in Istanbul. It could be :noidea:)? If Turkey, why not Ankara? If Istanbul, why "old Istanbul" and not new Istanbul? It could be something to do with the fact that Istanbul is on the Bosporus and the Bosporus is a border between West and East, Europe and Asia (old world and even older world; "us" and "them"; "known" and "unknown" - adding the US to the mix introduces a third space - the concept of the "new world"). Whedon doesn't create the metaphor of Istanbul (division/bridging) it's relatively well known and pre-exists him. He does, however, use it (Isn't the season about division and bridging division/difference?). I'd suggest it's "cheesy" because it's mysterious "old Istanbul" - new Istanbul would look too much like - well, anywhere else - and wouldn't convey otherness.

None of the above is costly or time-consuming - and it could all be "coincidental". However, do I think it is? No. A third space disrupts the dyad - it's paralleled by the re-introduction of the First and the Turok-Han. Humans/Vampires and then something predating Vampires. The known/the made known and the unknowable. (just as the Scythe is unknowable until the Guardian). The season abounds with triads (Buffy/Angel/Spike; Willow/Kennedy/Tara; the re-emergence of The Trio; Buffy/Joyce/Dawn) most obviously figured in the exchange of looks between Wood/Spike/Buffy in First Date.

I could go on but I won't. :) Did I mention I quite like the metaphor of Istanbul? I think it's rather clever.

On the question of stairs. Again, not a costly or difficult metaphor to sustain. The fact I published a link to Hitchcock was fortuitous. What I wasn't responsible for was the naming of Robin Wood (there's an interview somewhere that reveals he was named after one of the leading theorists of Hitchcock's films. Sidebar: a colleague actually commented on this. I dismissed it until I saw a confirmation in an interview). Nor am I responsible for this (again from the shooting script) "Her eyes. The knife. It leaves frame, and comes back bloody. Again. Again. We see nothing, but we hear it all". I'm not drawing a direct parallel but there does seem to be an intimation of the shower scene in Psycho (particularly if you make a correlation with Wood and his/Spike's obsession with their respective mothers and the fact that "Joyce" is an absent presence that haunts the season. SpuffyGlitz did a nice reading comparing key moments in the BtVS with Vertigo. Do I think it's feasible Whedon is aware of Hitchcock? I think it's probable. That aside, the killing of German slayer also alludes to a film (Tom Tykwer's, Run Lola Run).


Having worked in TV and film myself never try and read too much into things as you'll only end up being disappointed. As do I (though not in the production sense). I'll also freely admit to over-reading. However, what I can say is, however extreme my readings get (and they do), I've yet to be disappointed. I'll let you know whether this holds after S12. ;)

vampmogs
21-08-18, 01:17 PM
I'm pretty sure Whedon is referring to Istanbul as "cheesy" because he was aware they'd be shooting that scene on a naff looking set as opposed to actually going to England to film the Willow/Giles scenes. By the time Whedon was writing the script for Lessons it would have already been decided that production would be filming in the UK whereas they had neither the time or money to travel to Istanbul and film there as well. Things like that would have been planned, budgeted and approved long before the script was ever written. It's just an inside joke over the fact that Whedon has already anticipated that the Istanbul scenes will look fake and cheesy. Remember that Shooting Scripts were written with only other writers, actors and crew in mind. They weren't written for the benefit of the audience and nor were they ever supposed to be seen by the audience. A lot of the Buffy scripts have these kind of snarky comments or inside jokes in them and Whedon in particular did it a lot.

TriBel
21-08-18, 02:04 PM
I'm pretty sure Whedon is referring to Istanbul as "cheesy" because he was aware they'd be shooting that scene on a naff looking set as opposed to actually going to England to film the Willow/Giles scenes. By the time Whedon was writing the script for Lessons it would have already been decided that production would be filming in the UK whereas they had neither the time or money to travel to Istanbul and film there as well. Things like that would have been planned, budgeted and approved long before the script was ever written. It's just an inside joke over the fact that Whedon has already anticipated that the Istanbul scenes will look fake and cheesy. Remember that Shooting Scripts were written with only other writers, actors and crew in mind. They weren't written for the benefit of the audience and nor were they ever supposed to be seen by the audience. A lot of the Buffy scripts have these kind of snarky comments or inside jokes in them and Whedon in particular did it a lot.

I'm not disputing that. :) What I'm saying is they're deliberately "cheesy" - ie. stereotypical and that the fakeness serves to authenticate the "real" of Westbury. The number of comments I've read waxing lyrical about the Westbury shots is ridiculous. In actual fact, as I said, it's not "my England". My countryside is bleak moorland (which tells a different story altogether). For all it's shot on location, it's still an idyll: a timeless England, the "green and pleasant land" familiar from (for instance) the wartime propaganda films of Jennings (not a criticism of Jennings - I like Jennings). Istanbul is associated with the death of the potential and an oppressive ideology: a place where windows and doors (another motif in S7) are shut to women. In comparison, England (the West) is figured as a haven and Giles associated with a benevolent paternalism that, to my mind, is actually quite insidious. I hate that line "Do you want to be punished?"; I hate that Willow's infantalized. I hate the deliberate "PCness" of Ms. Harkness (doesn't she have a first name?). I think in this scene we see a subtext of oppressive patriarchy masquerading as paternalism - a "for your own good" attitude that will come to a head in his confrontation with Buffy.

HardlyThere
21-08-18, 03:53 PM
I'm with you to an extent. I have zero issues with looking at things totally Watsonian because it makes things a little more fun and interesting. You think up little things that happened off screen. Thing is, though, I think vampmogs is right that you have to be aware of going too far. Do Buffy and Willow actually have tattoos? No. It's because they failed to cover them. It can be fun to think up explanations, though. There are plenty of things that the set dec/prop people just get wrong, but it doesn't change canon.

As far as cheesy Istanbul... it's because it's fake. Same reason he calls some of the cemetery sets "styrofoam city" because they were fake. I believe they were allowed to film in the UK because it B-footage, at Tony's house and it was Summer, so no time crunch. They didn't have to send a crew to do it.