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Thread: Canon, Consistency and of course, Inconsistencies!!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    And that's why I think it's only reasonable to search for the reason of his failing with Angel himself. And depression (which was not a one episode thing) is the reason the writers/character gave us and I find that enough.

    Does that mean that non-depressed Angel will always beat Spike, no and you won't hear me say that. I just say that I accept the character's (and indirectly the writer's) reasoning why he lost this one as canon.
    I don't disagree that with their history you might expect Angel to have the edge, personally I think it is pretty 50:50 these days how it would go. And Angel says... "In the end, he... Spike was stronger. He wanted it more." So presumably Angel would consider himself at a potential disadvantage if they were fighting over something at a future point that Spike was more passionate about winning. Whether that would outweigh any differences at the time in strength, weaponry skills, ability to use/adapt to the fighting environment, overall fighting abilities, versatility/ingenuity etc etc who can say. I wouldn't place my bets without seeing the context of the individual fight when it comes to these two.

    A couple of great posts mogs. Dru was certainly never portrayed to be committed to Spike in a way they laboured that he was with her, 'love's bitch' and all. Spike openly allowed himself to be dismissed then picked back up again because of his feelings, he questioned his own worth and obviously wasn't left feeling empowered by his relationship. I accept that she loved Spike in some way but it doesn't resonate with how I think love makes you behave so I have to distance my personal understanding and acceptance of love in order to agree that was there for Dru. Equally, whilst I see more devotion and commitment from Spike I don't connect with a loving relationship where it seems an epiphany to conclude that what is needed is a good chaining up and torturing session to remind someone of why they love you!!

    And I completely agree about the boundaries that canon serves to provide. To get depth to the stories, to the characters we need to be able to see development and detail and unless we gather together what we are looking at in a cohesive collection of the story, the life of the character, the scope is too wide as anything imaginable is permissible and then no depth and coherence can be gained.
    Last edited by Stoney; 11-01-13 at 10:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norwie View Post
    I think this is ultimately the wrong question, or not the one fundamental question, to be more precise. It is like the theologist looking for the truth - but starting with a flawed premise.
    The more fundamental question, i think, is: What purpose does "canon" serve? Why do people need/make up "canon", and ultimately debates about "what is (and isn't) canon?"
    Well, like I said in my original post, the purpose is consistency. I means that our debates can be more meaningful when we all have at least a similar understanding of what actually 'happened' in the 'Verse and what doesn't.


    For me, i can answer these questions and thus come to the conclusion that "canon" is utterly meaningless (and even harmful to the perception of an expression of art).
    I don't think the two have to be all that mutually exclusive. For example simply saying that 'Epiphany' is a canonical episode of Ats can be important in terms of talking about Angel's journey with a character, but that doesn't fully encompass what the episode means to me personally, that's a different thing altogether.

    Also it doesn't undermine the fact that some fanfiction out there is actually better than some episodes. We can appreciate the beauty and significance of that piece of work in its own right and yes I'd deem it important in terms of fans' perception of the characters. Saying something isn't canon preserves meaningful debates but doesn't undermine the importance of non canon works within the fandom.

    "Canon"/"mythology" in fictional works is mostly a product of the "nerd" audience, living out a narcissistic need for escapism.

    I wouldn't use the word 'narcissistic', but yes, sometimes determining canon gives us a greater ability to immerse ourselves in this fictional universe. If such a thing isn't important to you, that's fine. This isn't a debate about what's meaningful to different fans, well at least no exclusively, it's about dealing with some of the issues that come up and actually cause problems in debates.

    For me, the question isn't "is this canon?" - it is "is this a good story?".
    Well obviously that's what's important to you, which is fine. Most of debating for me is effectively communicating one's point of view and if that includes thinking the story and meaning is more important than canon, then again that's fine.

    "Canon" doesn't help to determine if a certain piece of art resonates emotionally/intellectually: What use is "canon" for someone who just cannot get anything out of, say BtVS season 6?
    I feel as though we're talking with cross purposes. For me, whether something resonates with you a different question. I'm not here to determine which element of the Buffyverse is most important, but more observing some issues I've seen in continuity and seeing if we can address those issues.

    When there's no resonance, no transcendency? Should people be force fed stuff they have no attachment to in fictional works?
    I'm looking at this purely from a consequential perspective really. I've found that canon comes up in conversations, but I wouldn't say anyone should be forced to accept anything they don't like about the mythology, but it's understanding that this can cause problems in certain conversations, but not always .

    Now, i personally love BtVS season 6 to pieces, i think it is brilliant - but for someone who doesn't get anything out of it? What use is a defined "canon" to that person? To feel bad?
    Again, are the two things mutually exclusive? If one doesn't like it, they don't have to watch it, but it's another thing to deny it's canonical status. Again, it's just understanding if someone were to deny Season 6 'happened' then it can have effect on certain conversations.

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    Well let's say it differently; I can agree with that it all remains an interpretation, but I do believe that some interpretations are so close to fact/canon that I see no reason to throw it on the same pile as the strange fanon theories, the fanwanks and the other unofficial ideas. Both 'Destiny' and the Dru/Spike romance (which I don't see as a grand lovestory either, actually the opposite. Although Dru gets flack here for things all soulless vampires seems to have trouble with; loyalty especially sexual loyalty.) are perhaps not watertight, but it's obvious what the writers tried to say, it's consistant with what we see and it's very likely. That's why I'm more inclined to call it canon than just the interpretation of a fan.

    If we take the Destiny example again; and instead I interpretate that episode as another moment that shows that Spike is a very special vampire. First he isn't evil without a soul (Tabula Rasa) and now he is better than a much older vampire! Spike is like no other vampire is (and I don't mean personality-wise). Does that interpretation of the episode have the same weight as the one the writer had in mind? The one he got across quite well in the episode. But just because he didn't make sure that no other interpretations were possible, his intent doesn't matter anymore? All interpretations (including the one by the writer) are the same?

    I really see little in treating tv shows like it's math, logic or like we're in court. That's not how these shows are written and I think these extremely long discussions everybody has with MikeB these days are a great example of how pointless and tiresome discussions are going to get if even the weirdest theories have the same weight as an interpretation that is extremely likely and/or the intention of the writer. I'm fine with it not being canon (because I understand the purist approach), but I'm not okay with the lack of gradations for interpretations.
    Last edited by Nina; 11-01-13 at 07:07 PM.

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    I do understand what you're saying Nina. When a writer explicitly states what their intentions were with an episode it seems pretty futile to try and claim it meant something else entirely. However, at the same time ‘the author is dead’ is a mantra that even Whedon has endorsed himself and he’s said in interviews to “trust the tale and not the teller.” So the writers do encourage fans to come up with their own interpretations of the story and will often write episodes with a certain amount of ambiguity and nuance so that multiple interpretations are all equally valid. Not to mention that on the rare occasions the fans have even convinced the writers that there is subtext or meaning to their stories that they hadn’t even been aware of. The classic example of this is the Buffy/Faith subtext in S3 which isn’t something Whedon had originally intended but he became convinced of it when he read a fan meta online. Of course, Petrie and Eliza were pushing it from Day 1 so it was intended, but not by Joss, and it was a fan who convinced him it was there.

    It's hard. I don't like discounting the writer's opinions/intentions completely because they obviously matter but at the same time if I honestly feel differently about something I can't just change that opinion because the writer feels differently. I guess the best a fan can do is acknowledge the writer's intentions (instead of becoming deluded and insisting they meant something else entirely) but explaining why you don't necessarily see it that way and why. That said, if somebody spends 90% of their time watching this show disagreeing with the writers and ignoring their intentions than you have to wonder if it's really the show for them.

    Some opinions are more loopy than others but you can always tell if they are because even with the variation of interpretations/opinions on a forum like this, they'll be dismissed by pretty much everyone because they're not remotely based on anything that's shown on screen. That's how it's easy to tell when someone might as well just be watching a completely different show than everybody else.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 11-01-13 at 02:29 PM.
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    Yup that's my main problem.

    When I truly feel different (often because it doesn't make sense) I'm not going to ignore my own interpretation either. By example 'Forgiving', I've no idea if Minear was too lazy to try or if he wanted to leave it ambigious, but I can't buy the idea that Angel wanted Wesley dead and failed to kill him. Not because I want to woobify my favorite character but because it's just too stupid. How can Angel not kill a weakened human man in a bed? I find Kana's explanation (Angel didn't want Wesley dead, but wanted to rage) more likely.

    And I usually don't value interviews/commentary all that much either but when the intention of the writer shows in the episode itself and it makes sense, I rate that interpretation. I find it weird to ignore the idea behind an episode when the writer managed to tell a good and clear story. These people wrote a consistant story with a clear message/idea and just because it's not watertight, everything is up in the air and the idea behind the episode is 'worthless'.

    You're right about the weirdest interpretations being recognized as such by the majority. But it still makes for rather pointless and long discussions and in the end while everybody 'knows' that some people 'watch the shows differently', you can't truly 'win' the discussion because his/her interpretations are just as valid as those of others, even if nobody shares them.

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    I don't think any interpretations are as valid as the next personally. When something is feasible but there isn't anything to directly support it then I see it as fanon speculation. MikeB's constant assertions that Spike was sleeping with the women he was biting in S7 is a good example of exactly that for me. There is nothing to directly disprove it and prevent him choosing to think that, but the facts don't directly support it and there is no reason to assume it beyond a personal preference to do so. Those are the debates I find frustrating and it is a discussion that can't be 'won' if someone chooses to speculate without proof or supporting text/visuals etc. I find it hard to not react to them though when the person asserts them as facts because that is how they choose to speculate about the unwritten details. I am trying to sway myself away from those types of debates as I don't think it adds value to the board. In fact I think it clutters it with pretty meaningless drivel as far as I'm concerned because, without a weight and validity of canonical interpretation behind the discussion, it is just stabbing randomly in the dark and can metamorphose characterisation for no purpose other than a personal desire/preference. I just don't fair very well in steering clear when it is about my favourite character, my bad!!!

    As for the Destiny example, I don't see why there aren't multiple canonical developments that are all validly supported. The struggles that Angel was having are there, that it played a part in his mental strength in the fight is there. That Angel had previously won their fights is there. There is no reason to take away any of that as canon to be able to acknowledge and support other interpretations for the episode. That Spike lost knowledge of his vampiric status and became Randy Giles (note not William for people that get too focussed on his sensitive side, the snark is part of who he is as a vampire) shows canon that his demon isn't perhaps as dominating as it is for some vampires, that he beat an older vampire doesn't have a significance in canon which can be coupled with this as another addition to solidify the notion of 'how Spike is different' I don't think. The older vampires are stronger is only one mere facet in a cornucopia of cuts that make the elements of a fight. Strength is one thing, Spike didn't win by being stronger so it doesn't challenge that canon if you hold by it, he won by being able to overcome his disadvantage through making more of an separate advantage, he wanted it more.

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    The example of Spike being really special is something that shows up on the BtVS boards from time to time (episodes like Tabula Rasa are to blame IMO.*), and Spike beating Angel in a fight is also used as an argument to conclude Spike's specialness. I do agree with you that it doesn't have anything to do with Spike being a special kind of vampire, but you can't proof that. All canon really gives us is Spike won the fight, Angel lost (who should be stronger because of his age) and that Angel is depressed. (Although this is one of those things you can ignore if you want to.) The conclusion that Spike is special can be made if you want to, especially if you don't believe that Angel is depressed or if you don't think of depression as a huge factor.


    *You probably didn't see Spin the Bottle, but that episode is often used to show how fabulous Spike is. In Spin the Bottle it's time for amnesia for Angel's team. In that episode we see Angel, who is mentally reduced to his 16 year old self. (So unknowing about vampires and all.) And Angel has trouble controling the demon within. It's a very funny but also interesting episode with a lot of insights in the characters (except Lorne, because he is Lorne so he can't have any story. And Cordy, but we already knew her as a teenager.). But you can imagine what kind of material this episode gives in combination with Spike's story in Tabula Rasa. Take your pick; Spike is special/Spike is a good soulless vampire/Spike has a semi-soul/Angel is weak/Angel is evil deep down/Liam is a horrible person etc.)

    And this is my whole issue with declaring canon holy and ignore the intention of the writer. You get wacky conclusions that are more 'canon' than sensible interpretations. Especially if you strip canon of anything you could doubt, you lose a lot of subtext if you do. (Like Angel's depression in season 5 which was less obvious that the one in season 2 or Buffy's depression in season 6.) I don't know about Tabula Rasa, but it wouldn't suprise me if that episode was meant as a light nonsense episode and not as a characterpiece for Spike. Still it's canon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norwie View Post
    I think this is ultimately the wrong question, or not the one fundamental question, to be more precise. It is like the theologist looking for the truth - but starting with a flawed premise.
    The more fundamental question, i think, is: What purpose does "canon" serve? Why do people need/make up "canon", and ultimately debates about "what is (and isn't) canon?"

    For me, i can answer these questions and thus come to the conclusion that "canon" is utterly meaningless (and even harmful to the perception of an expression of art).

    "Canon"/"mythology" in fictional works is mostly a product of the "nerd" audience, living out a narcissistic need for escapism.

    For me, the question isn't "is this canon?" - it is "is this a good story?".

    "Canon" doesn't help to determine if a certain piece of art resonates emotionally/intellectually: What use is "canon" for someone who just cannot get anything out of, say BtVS season 6? When there's no resonance, no transcendency? Should people be force fed stuff they have no attachment to in fictional works? Now, i personally love BtVS season 6 to pieces, i think it is brilliant - but for someone who doesn't get anything out of it? What use is a defined "canon" to that person? To feel bad?

    A story is interaction between text and reader (and possibly the author, and other readers, too, as happens on the board, f.ex.) and if this interaction just doesn't happen in a meaningful way...

    .. i think that's the "real" question: does a work of art resonate emotionally/intellectually with the reader?
    I agree with this in general, and I think that aspects of the conversation going on overall show the downside of trying too hard to find an official canon. For example (see below), I tend to agree that Destiny is not saying anything globally about Spike's strength vs. Angel's strength, but is talking about their respective psychologies, especially Angel's but both of them. But the reason I think that is not because I can prove that, but because (dum-dum-dum-dummmm) it's a better story if we assume that the episode is about the physical battle between Angel & Spike as a representation of a psychological battle, which then is about issues regarding fathers and sons, willingness to commit to hardships for the potential of becoming better, willingness to commit to hardships in order to take something away from other people (!), etc.

    Ultimately, as vampmogs eloquently puts it, in order to reach out and connect with other audience members and share the love, and the frustrations, and the in-betweens, and communicate, there has to be something like a shared language -- and I think that's the purpose "canon" serves. Canon is part of the story which we use to interpret the story -- and it is not easy (especially for a nerdy set ) to dismiss things we have already "learned," nor does the story resonate the same way if we lose information we have already held onto.

    But I agree with you globally -- in that BtVS and indeed my favourite works are more interested in telling stories about the human condition than maintaining complete consistency. Whedon has made clear, both in interviews and in the text, that he will fudge the details if it's necessary, and that's not always a bad thing. Taking the revelation in Normal Again that Buffy had told her parents about being the slayer, and that they put her in the hospital (!) as "canon" makes it hard to interpret the Buffy-Joyce dynamic in which Buffy makes reference to slaying jokingly several times, and Becoming has no element of "not this again!" It could also play into and reinforce the depths of Joyce's denial and suggest a reason for why she had been so primed to go into denial before the series even starts. Maybe Buffy's memories are false and part of her hallucination. We can play around with it, based on our own understanding of how humans work, what aspects of human nature are being represented, but ultimately the reason this revelation shows up is that the writing team felt that it made Normal Again stronger. They even joke in that episode about a long-running serial text unspooling "creating inconsistencies" (as the Doctor says), and the fact that Buffy chooses an inconsistent "canon" over a more orderly but spiritually dead one should let us know what the better story is, and whether or not consistency within canon is the only thing that matters.

    Ideally, the story would be fully consistent -- and I think for some stories, this is especially important. For BtVS, I think they do well on character, okay-ish on plot, and that's good enough for the most part, despite the occasional nerdy frustration.

    ----

    On Destiny, I think I'd say that we can't conclude what the vamps' relative strengths are. It's not just that Angel loses because he's depressed; Spike wins because he's dedicated. The episode is about both characters, though it's Angel's show and so it's more about him. But Spike wins because at that moment he's convinced that the Cup of Perpetual Torment / his destiny is something he wants -- something that can make him a better person, something that can transform him, something that he thinks he will be better at than (from Spike's POV) sell-out Angel, and something that he can use to get back at Angel and prove himself superior. Meanwhile, he is much more willing to access his petty/dark side which Angel is ashamed of. And Angel doesn't really know if he wants the cup -- nor should he. Angel is also genuinely feeling guilt over the way he treated Spike and contributed to Spike's becoming a monster, though he's not wrong that Spike "had it in him" and that Spike is wrong to put all his blame on him. But essentially, all else being equal, Spike wins the fight because, as Angel says, he wanted it more -- and that is both because Spike wants more, and because Angel genuinely doesn't know if he wants it; because Spike takes more pleasure in taking Angel down a peg than Angel does in beating down Spike at this moment.

    That's part of why Angel "wins" the rematch despite being a puppet. I mean -- Spike doesn't take the fight seriously, and is himself now, if not depressed exactly, no longer believes he's champion material, doesn't want to beat up a puppet, etc. Angel has a score to settle and he wins. Boom. I would presume that a puppet Angel is weaker than a vampire Spike, but there you have it.

    Which of the two is actually physically stronger? I mean, I have no idea! I don't think anyone knows, and I don't think it really matters much.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 11-01-13 at 07:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    The example of Spike being really special is something that shows up on the BtVS boards from time to time (episodes like Tabula Rasa are to blame IMO.*), and Spike beating Angel in a fight is also used as an argument to conclude Spike's specialness. I do agree with you that it doesn't have anything to do with Spike being a special kind of vampire, but you can't proof that. All canon really gives us is Spike won the fight, Angel lost (who should be stronger because of his age) and that Angel is depressed. (Although this is one of those things you can ignore if you want to.) The conclusion that Spike is special can be made if you want to, especially if you don't believe that Angel is depressed or if you don't think of depression as a huge factor.
    But you keep ignoring the important fact of other factors in a fight. Spike wanted it more, that is canon, that is a fact Angel saw and is what played to Spike winning despite Angel being physically stronger if we accept that as a general vampiric mythological premise that holds true with greater age. It isn't just about Angel being depressed and we know that because Angel identifies what was in Spike during the fight that gave him an edge too.

    As a Spike centric fan I do think that he is special and I feel, personally, that there is no denying that as a soulless demon he had more 'humanity', 'heart', 'love' in him than Angelus displayed. That doesn't mean that he has more worth as a character or as a souled vamp. Spike chose to fight for his soul, he didn't struggle with his demon in TR, he prostrated his self worth for love time and again. They are different in the same way that everyone else is. But Seeing Red was there for us and for Spike to see and realise that there is always a demon within, that without a soul as good as he can be and as much love as he can feel, he can, against his own wishes, become more demonic, more monster than man. That bridged the gap somewhat between Spikelus and Angelus. What makes Spike 'special' and can never be changed is that he sought his soul and fought for it and I don't think that that needs to be taken away from him in any way to even the playing field with Angel. I think it is unfortunate that comparative competitiveness can diminish individual stories. Faith can never be as good as Buffy because she isn't Buffy? That Angel struggles with the lines between his darker urges and the high worth he places on his fight for redemption and moral integrity makes him interesting on a level that Spike isn't. They are just different stories.

    EDIT: I haven't seen Spin The Bottle. I had a major sulk on when I didn't get AtS for Christmas. I may just order it regardless and 'pay back' my account forcing my husband to accept it as a fait accompli!!
    Last edited by Stoney; 11-01-13 at 07:24 PM.

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    Season 4 isn't everybody's favorite (although I do like it despite some huge issues.) but there are some great episodes. Spin the Bottle is one of them, one of Joss Whedon's best episodes for Ats. Perhaps even his best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    But you keep ignoring the important fact of other factors in a fight. Spike wanted it more, that is canon, that is a fact Angel saw and is what played to Spike winning despite Angel being physically stronger if we accept that as a general vampiric mythological premise that holds true with greater age. It isn't just about Angel being depressed and we know that because Angel identifies what was in Spike during the fight that gave him an edge too.
    I don't ignore that at all, I acknowledge Spike's victory quite a few times in our last two discussions. But I also think it's directly linked to Angel's depression; I also run faster than somebody with a broken leg, even if that person is usually faster. Spike being the mentally stronger one in that episode is an obvious result of Angel's state. Also I really like what Local Maximum wrote, that Angel wasn't sure about this cup and had a different mindset. I don't really see it that way because that cup stood not so much for a destiny as for a dream; Angel's big dream, becoming human. Angel not being able to go all the way for that is more than just doubt about the prize he has to pay for the cup I think. But I think it's very well possible that Angel is less angry with Spike than the other way around, and thus less prepared to go all the way to hurt the other.

    If you watch an episode like "The Trial" you can see that Angel has a lot of spirit and can break through many barriers to get what he wants. If Spike beats Angel on a day when Angel has the spirit he had in The Trial, it would tell a lot more IMO. Now it's just one victory (a real one, but just only one) for Spike on one specific moment that is marked by Angel's depression. Now it's possible that it's 50/50 like you state (I see no reason to conclude that, but that doesn't matter right now.), but I think we've seen to little to conclude that. And perhaps we've seen too little to conclude anything, which is why we should stop about this.

    As a Spike centric fan I do think that he is special and I feel, personally, that there is no denying that as a soulless demon he had more 'humanity', 'heart', 'love' in him than Angelus displayed. That doesn't mean that he has more worth as a character or as a souled vamp. Spike chose to fight for his soul, he didn't struggle with his demon in TR, he prostrated his self worth for love time and again. They are different in the same way that everyone else is. But Seeing Red was there for us and for Spike to see and realise that there is always a demon within, that without a soul as good as he can be and as much love as he can feel, he can, against his own wishes, become more demonic, more monster than man. That bridged the gap somewhat between Spikelus and Angelus. What makes Spike 'special' and can never be changed is that he sought his soul and fought for it and I don't think that that needs to be taken away from him in any way to even the playing field with Angel. I think it is unfortunate that comparative competitiveness can diminish individual stories. Faith can never be as good as Buffy because she isn't Buffy? That Angel struggles with the lines between his darker urges and the high worth he places on his fight for redemption and moral integrity makes him interesting on a level that Spike isn't. They are just different stories.
    You know that Angelus isn't the general standard for vampires? Just because he shows more love than Angelus doesn't mean that Spike is special. Harmony, Elizabeth, James, Dru and Darla all showed more 'humanity'/'love' than Angelus and I also think that Angelus' lack of humanity is more a myth than reality. Angelus cared about his family, especially Darla. He also loves art, literature and culture. He was perhaps less open for showing it, but I don't think any of the vampires were really different from the others. (At least not more than what can be explained by their different characters.) The only big difference we know is the Tabula Rasa/StB matter.

    Actually I've trouble with all theories concerning [insert character] being more special than the others. We're talking different kind of personalities here, and they all did different kind of impressive and less impressive things, often because of those different kind of personalities. I don't see why you need to bend backwards to make your favorite character more special than the other characters. By example; The semi-soul theory. Spike has no semi-soul, and I don't understand why you would want that? Does that make Spike better? More interesting? Is it important that Spike is more special than any other vampire? I love Angel to pieces but see no reason to crown him as the special vampire! Angel is unique because of his personality, that's enough I would say.
    Last edited by Nina; 11-01-13 at 08:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    I don't ignore that at all, I acknowledge Spike's victory quite a few times in our last two discussions. But I also think it's directly linked to Angel's depression; I also run faster than somebody with a broken leg, even if that person is usually faster. Spike being the mentally stronger one in that episode is an obvious result of Angel's state. Also I really like what Local Maximum wrote, that Angel wasn't sure about this cup and had a different mindset. I don't really see it that way because that cup stood not so much for a destiny as for a dream; Angel's big dream, becoming human. Angel not being able to go all the way for that is more than just doubt about the prize he has to pay for the cup I think. But I think it's very well possible that Angel is less angry with Spike than the other way around, and thus less prepared to go all the way to hurt the other.
    Hmm, well I definitely agree that the cup also represented the dream of becoming human. I think the question for me is, does Angel still want that in season five? I mean -- as a dream, I think Angel still wants it, but I think he also isn't sure he deserves it anymore (he sold everyone out to join W&H), and he's already lost or given up so much. Very recently Cordy's died and he's given up Connor forever -- those are the two people he would most want to share a human life with. And in addition to that, Buffy being in a relationship with Spike hurts him, too, because he can no longer count on the possibility of having a human life with her either, for sure -- she may have moved on from him, and we know that's one of his fears since it comes up a few times (e.g. in the dream in Soul Purpose where Spike and Buffy are having sex). He's not as close to his friends anymore because they don't remember Connor and Angel chose that. This all contributes to his depression itself, of course -- but it's also, well, many of the specific reasons he has to want to be human have been taken away.

    I agree with your later point that Angelus was more human than is given credit for. In season two, he even tries to destroy the world partly out of love -- because he can't get rid of his attachment to Buffy, which he associates with his soul which he hates. (I wonder why Angelus hates the soul so much? On some level, of course, he suffered big time with it, but I also think he associates it with rejection -- his father always disapproved of him, and Darla tossed him out for having a "filthy soul" the moment Angel came in with one.)

    I do agree with Stoney though that of the two, Spike even while soulless seems more attached to human society than Angelus does, and that makes it easier for him to transition from soulless to soulful and harder for Angel to integrate his demon self. The soulless/demon part of Spike doesn't hate his soul the way Darla (initially) sees hers as a cancer or Angelus wants to end the world to be rid of traces of it. I don't think it is because Spike or Angel or Darla (or Harmony, etc.) are totally unique for supernatural reasons; they just have different possibilities, experiences, making their stories all interesting for different reasons.

    I do also think that Angel is ultimately more...susceptible to his demon "taking over" than Spike is. The only time in which Spike's demon side itself seems to me to be his biggest problem is in s7 when the First triggers him to vamp out and he goes through blood withdrawal in Never Leave Me. Even in Seeing Red, I attribute Spike's low point not to having a demon side to him but to being soulless. I mostly see Spike's dark side as having human urges with a narcissistic side to it without having a soul/conscience to reign them in. (I think "soullessness" and "demonhood" are different things.) Whereas Angel's demon, and his thirst for blood and difficulty controlling that demonhood, comes up many times -- his difficulty putting down Joyce in Angel (the episode), his staring at the blood on the woman's forehead in City Of, his freaking out when being given his son's blood in season three, etc. I think most of Spike's hedonistic traits are actually part of his identity as counterculture badass; I think Angel (and Liam) really likes pleasures of the flesh, which is part of the reason why he stays away from them. In that sense, I think it makes sense that StB focuses more on Angel's fear of his own demon than Tabula Rasa does with Spike -- because Spike, ultimately, likes pleasure but is much more about whatever identity he gives to himself. I don't think this is because there is some supernatural difference in their demons, or whatever; I think it's more that Angel's core personality has a bit of a hedonistic streak (which he tries to shut down) more so than Spike's does, which goes back to "drinking and whoring" Liam vs. "withdrawn nerdy poet" William.

    In addition to that, Tabula Rasa has the gang lose their memories but it doesn't push them back to teenagers; they remain adults. Part of the reason Angel/Liam vamps out is because he's...a teenager, and the metaphor of Spin the Bottle is that he's horny for Cordelia and can't control it, and is convinced he's going to get killed for that. Spike is also "randy" (lol) but it's not the same type of "hormonal imbalance" story that StB is. Angel's losing control of his demon in some ways in StB is not that dissimilar to Connor walking around a rage machine from sexual frustration because the encounter with Cordelia and later the prostitute, or Wesley being unable to control his collapsible swords because of how hot Fred makes him. And I think this ties into the season by suggesting that while Angel, Wesley et al. are more grown up now, they are still motivated by teenage urges, that are just more deeply buried -- Angel's jealousy of Connor sleeping with Cordelia clouds his judgment, Wesley/Gunn/Fred get trapped in their petty resentments and love triangle rather than being able to see the bigger picture, Jasmine!Cordelia manipulates everyone by using their immaturity. While it's fun to compare TR and Spin the Bottle, they really are episodes about different things, and I don't think it's really fair to draw too global a conclusion about Angel vs. Spike from how they react to the memory spells, which, remember, are different in both cases anyway.

    Actually, going back above to what Stoney said: I don't actually think it is canon that Spike "wanted it more" -- that is Angel's interpretation of what happened. I mean, I agree that he did want it more, but the only thing that's canon and that we can be sure about (unless it was a dream sequence! which, yeah, it wasn't, let's not go nuts) about that exchange is that Angel told Gunn that he thought Spike wanted it more.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 11-01-13 at 08:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    Spike being the mentally stronger one in that episode is an obvious result of Angel's state.
    See I think that is where we differ because I don't think it is fair to totally attribute Spike's strength to Angel's weakness, that makes no sense to me.

    You know that Angelus isn't the general standard for vampires? Just because he shows more love than Angelus doesn't mean that Spike is special... Actually I've trouble with all theories concerning [insert character] being more special than the others. We're talking different kind of personalities here, and they all did different kind of impressive and less impressive things, often because of those different kind of personalities. I don't see why you need to bend backwards to make your favorite character more special than the other characters. By example; The semi-soul theory. Spike has no semi-soul, and I don't understand why you would want that? Does that make Spike better? More interesting? Is it important that Spike is more special than any other vampire? I love Angel to pieces but see no reason to crown him as the special vampire! Angel is unique because of his personality, that's enough I would say.
    I think that Spike is special because he chose to fight for a soul as a soulless demon. Not that he is the 'most special' compared to a.n.other character because all characters have their things that make them significant. I wasn't meaning it like that and I have certainly never been one to speak about any semi-soul with Spike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Local Maximum View Post
    ...or Wesley being unable to control his collapsible swords because of how hot Fred makes him.
    Not knowing the context to that is great.

    Actually, going back above to what Stoney said: I don't actually think it is canon that Spike "wanted it more" -- that is Angel's interpretation of what happened. I mean, I agree that he did want it more, but the only thing that's canon and that we can be sure about (unless it was a dream sequence! which, yeah, it wasn't, let's not go nuts) about that exchange is that Angel told Gunn that he thought Spike wanted it more.
    See I think that is one of those times where I feel that the writers had Angel say it and we saw Spike do it so we generally accept that for whatever reason at that moment it was true for Spike.
    Last edited by Stoney; 11-01-13 at 09:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Not knowing the context to that is great.
    It's the moment on the commentary that makes Joss say "subtlety is for little men". Honestly, I'd go watch the episode totally out of context just to absorb it. Really, there's nothing wrong with watching a series out of order. When I caught up on "Buffy" in its entirety leading up to and into Season 6, I was basically watching the prior seasons in episodic order, but reverse season order. Gives you an interesting perspective. Sort of an MC Escher perspective, to make another "Angel" reference

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    Just to make myself clear, I wasn't talking about Spike not being special in the way anyone is special, personality wise. Nor do I mean that he didn't do remarkable things. I was really talking about the Spike being a special case, physical. That he has feelings and can do things no other vampire can do, breaking the laws of nature/the mythology. Like the semi-soul theory. It's a theory that quite often pops up (at least it did in the past, no idea if it recently showed up.) and one that annoys me to no end. Just like the Angelus has no humanity nonsense, I know that the Judge said so but I think the Judge was kaput. ~super special~ characters remind me of Mary Sues in fanfiction written by young childeren, and it seems to be a strange desire to wish that upon a character you like. Especially because most Buffyverse characters are already everything but ordinary. I can only think of Xander as an ordinary guy in both tv shows, and Kate perhaps.

    To me we're just talking about different kind of personalities, perhaps opposites of eachother even, but all good and well within the spectrum. Angel and Darla perhaps more on the one side and Harmony and Spike on the other. The only real special case I can think of is Lawson, because he seems to have some sort of echo of a soul.

    About Angel having more trouble controling himself; the fanwank is indeed his alcoholic past. But that looks to me more like the metaphor became the fanwank, but it could work even if Angel shows little to no addictive behavior in pretty much any other area or episode (minus those 4 where it's a big deal). In the early seasons the solution was that Angel should be around humans to get rid of the bloodthirst. So it also could just be his introvert character. Or Spike has it as well but we simply didn't notice it. We usually don't notice it with Angel either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    EDIT: I haven't seen Spin The Bottle. I had a major sulk on when I didn't get AtS for Christmas. I may just order it regardless and 'pay back' my account forcing my husband to accept it as a fait accompli!!
    Yes! Just buy it!

    I've been rewatching a lot of early AtS lately (S1/S2) and I'm REALLY in the mood to talk about it. I just watched Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been which has always been one of my absolute favourites and the final scene of Judgment which, well, I won’t spoil the surprise for you but it’s amazing and just perfect.

    But I’m kind of on an Angel binge in general, which you may not be able to understand I just rewatched “Angel” (from BtVS S1) and I’ve always loved that episode. So underrated even by S1’s standards.

    Hurry up and get the DVDs! I’d be happy to even start a rewatch thread to coincide with you watching the episodes for the first time. I’ll never love AtS as much as BtVS but it does do a lot of things well and when you’re in the right mood for it, it’s a fantastic show to watch
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    Yes! Just buy it!

    I've been rewatching a lot of early AtS lately (S1/S2) and I'm REALLY in the mood to talk about it. I just watched Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been which has always been one of my absolute favourites and the final scene of Judgment which, well, I wonít spoil the surprise for you but itís amazing and just perfect.

    But Iím kind of on an Angel binge in general, which you may not be able to understand I just rewatched ďAngelĒ (from BtVS S1) and Iíve always loved that episode. So underrated even by S1ís standards.

    Hurry up and get the DVDs! Iíd be happy to even start a rewatch thread to coincide with you watching the episodes for the first time. Iíll never love AtS as much as BtVS but it does do a lot of things well and when youíre in the right mood for it, itís a fantastic show to watch
    Ha! Got to love the enthusiasm! I was actually just saying to my husband that if they have it in the shops when we head out today that I am going to spend our joint xmas gift vouchers on them and if he won't watch them I'm going to watch them during the day anyway. So fingers crossed, I will have them by this afternoon, yey!!! The downside if he decides he wants to see them too will be bullying him into watching them quickly enough but I would definitely discuss in a rewatch thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kana View Post

    Inconsistencies????

    This is where the problem starts. The two methods for analysis is the Doylist and Watsonian approach. The problem is, with a TV show with multiple writers, one will see inconsistencies. Joss has actually admitted this, so how can we have a meaningful discussion knowing that fanwanking is inevitable? Again hopefully in this debate we'll look at that.

    Such subjects that have come up on this forum are:

    1)Strength, fighting skills of characters etc

    2)The Buffyverse metaphysics
    I wanted to return to the original topic because I thought about this and I'm not sure if there is a good way of 'dealing' with inconsistencies. In my first post I said that canon isn't holy and that I've no trouble ignoring lines that are inconsistent with logic, the mythology or canon events.

    But I'm not sure if 'ignoring' or 'pick what you like best' is the best way to deal with big canon events, inconsistencies or not. But at the same time is there another option? Sometimes there are too many inconsistencies to cover up with a fanwank.

    I think two examples are the soul (what is it?) and the big differences between BtVS!Darla/Angel and Ats!Darla/Angel. You can't just gloss it over but at the same time whatever you choose to believe, it's always inconsistent with some canon events. And while talking about it (especially about the soul/mythology) is facinating and fun, it's also frustrating because whatever you come up with, there is always somebody who comes up with strong arguments against it. The best would of course be a writer (yes I know the author is dead, but at the same time if the mess is as big as it is concerning the soul. A word from the author would be nice.) who finally makes up his mind and tells us what is going to be the (consistent) mythology from that moment on. Which we can accept and use for discussions about certain characters. But as long we don't have that I'm afraid we all have to come up with a theory that we like most and ignore the arguments against it, no matter how canon those contra-arguments are.

    And while you're theory fits/is based on certain canon events, I don't think I would call a theory canon.

    About the other example; I think it's easier to ignore certain moments/episodes when we're talking characters instead of mythology. Angel & Darla in BtVS season 1 is just as canon as Angel & Darla in Ats season 2, but it's obvious that there was more energy and thought put into them during Ats. So I don't see much reason to bend backwards to put these two versions together if the writers didn't know what to do with them in BtVS season 1. It felt like the Ats writers just threw the old Angel/Darla in the bin and rewrote their relation, so in that case I just go for the second version. Especially because that one fits the characters and the story better.

    But this is just how I think I deal with it, and I can imagine others to have more trouble 'ignoring' big events that are canon. So perhaps they prefer fanwanking to fit it all together. I don't think there is a right or a wrong way to deal with inconsistencies, which can cause rather huge debates where two people of groups don't come an inch closer to a workable answer how to deal with a certain topic, like the soul.

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    No box sets of AtS in store so I just came home and ordered it, hooray!!!! I'll let you know when it comes through mogs, should be good to start next week.

    Nina what would you bullet as the inconsistencies with the soul?

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    Great stuff! It's a pity you couldn't get it in store but hopefully it doesn't take too long to arrive
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    I think two examples are the soul (what is it?)
    This really is the problem I've always had. In fact I think it's one of the most important issues seen as a few major storylines within the show involve the soul. I was kind of pissed off that Joss more or less said it was a plot convenience.

    I'll dig out my response to this when I have more time, but I try to keep speculation down to minimum and use quotes and examples from the show to try and support my theory.


    and the big differences between BtVS!Darla/Angel and Ats!Darla/Angel. You can't just gloss it over but at the same time whatever you choose to believe, it's always inconsistent with some canon events.
    I know what you mean, but these I can overlook more easily than the soul thing. Again, when I have time, I'll look at my personal fanwanks for these.

    And while talking about it (especially about the soul/mythology) is facinating and fun, it's also frustrating because whatever you come up with, there is always somebody who comes up with strong arguments against it.
    For me, the only arguments I hate are when people talk about their theories as facts and call other people's counterarguments 'silly' (naming no names). I like looking at different possible theories and being as objective as possible (rather than making character X look morally superior/super strong/like sex God(dess)/ etc).

    The best would of course be a writer (yes I know the author is dead, but at the same time if the mess is as big as it is concerning the soul. A word from the author would be nice.)
    We have it. It's a plot convenience. It's the same thing with the ubervamps. Fanwanking or simply ignoring it, are the only options unless Joss gets off the fence.

    who finally makes up his mind and tells us what is going to be the (consistent) mythology from that moment on.
    We could try and force Joss at gun point to give us an explanation, but I was told that was illegal. jk.

    But as long we don't have that I'm afraid we all have to come up with a theory that we like most and ignore the arguments against it, no matter how canon those contra-arguments are.
    Can you come up with any examples? I just want to know exactly what you mean when you say "no matter how canon those counter-arguments are"

    And while

    you're theory fits/is based on certain canon events, I don't think I would call a theory canon.

    Agreed. I mean, on a basic level, canon is 'event' or 'works' based. For example, canon would be "Spike beat Angel in Destiny' but inferring he's a better fighter because of it would be interpretation.

    About the other example; I think it's easier to ignore certain moments/episodes when we're talking characters instead of mythology. Angel & Darla in BtVS season 1 is just as canon as Angel & Darla in Ats season 2, but it's obvious that there was more energy and thought put into them during Ats. So I don't see much reason to bend backwards to put these two versions together if the writers didn't know what to do with them in BtVS season 1. It felt like the Ats writers just threw the old Angel/Darla in the bin and rewrote their relation, so in that case I just go for the second version. Especially because that one fits the characters and the story better.
    This is where the Doylist perspective has an advantage, but it depends on what we are discussing. Darla was called pathetic on Btvs, but seemed more competent and confident on Ats. Arguably these are just appearences rather than canonical facts. Arguably people can change their behaviour in real life, but we may not know the explanation. From a Watsonian perspective, we can just say "I don't know, we can only speculate".

    But this is just how I think I deal with it, and I can imagine others to have more trouble 'ignoring' big events that are canon.
    For me, it depends on how it affects the story and how biased the theory is or how far removed it is from established canon. I suppose can start looking at specific examples and examine how we look at each one. When I have more time, I'll try to address the 'soul' issue and the Angel/Darla on Ats and Btvs respectively.


    So perhaps they prefer fanwanking to fit it all together. I don't think there is a right or a wrong way to deal with inconsistencies, which can cause rather huge debates where two people of groups don't come an inch closer to a workable answer how to deal with a certain topic, like the soul.
    Well in regards to you and me, I don't think we are million miles aways in our opinions. I don't mind looking at some inconsistencies you have issues with and I'll have a look at how I deal with them and vice versa. Certainly I look at my old posts in regards to the soul.

    Most of the issues I have with how to deal with Spike are on other forums, I'll have a look at those too.

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