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Thread: Billy The Vampire Slayer

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    Default Billy The Vampire Slayer

    What do you think of Billy? Why was his story included in Season 9? What purpose did it serve?

    I'm not a fan, but I am sort of hoping fans will tell me why I'm wrong and persuade me Billy is a good idea

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    This is what I think. Billy the Vampire Slayer is the biggest pile of garbage this franchise has ever spawned. It's worse than even the worst parts of season eight, it's worse than that DS game that couldn't even bother to license the opening music so they used some generic rock track, it's worse than "Queen of the Slayers" by Nancy Holder, I mean, at least that pile of trash has no canon ambitions. Billy Lane himself is the worst Buffyverse character. He's literally lame and gay, like, his sexuality is his only defining trait. He's a bad 90s gay character from a lifetime original movie. Written In 2012! BtVS had better-written gay characters (Larry for example) in the actual 90s! It also had Andrew, who, at the time when this dreck was released was still officially kept in the closet! It's unbelievable.

    Why was this story included? Because Jane Espenson, who conceived this crap, is a shameless yaoi lover. That's about it, really. What purpose did it serve? I have a theory. It's a reach but bear with me. At that point in the story Buffy's actual friends are either dead, away saving the world or just temporarily done with her bullshit so Billy and Devon are, like, the new Scooby gang. So, I guess, it makes sense to spend two issues, two Buffy-less issues in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic for goodness' sake just to properly introduce them, I mean, if they're supposed to be the new Willow and Xander, right? Except that off-brand Scooby dynamic lasts for, like, one issue. So it's all just a waste of page space. Billy was a mistake.
    Last edited by a thing of evil; 06-03-18 at 09:06 PM.

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    Yeah I'm not a fan either a thing of evil I think they are trying to be inclusive, but as you say, they have Andrew still in the closet. And why is Billy gay anyway? Are the writers saying that there is some sort of bond between gay men and women and that we can all be 'slayers'?

    What is yaoi?

    I think it is too much of a reach to think that anyone would even consider Billy and Devon becoming the new scoobie gang. They are too young for a start. Maybe that's another reason they were included, to attract a younger readership.

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    I do get what they were trying to do here and I realise this was meant to be seen as step forward, but It didn't feel thought out well to me. Also Billy was such a poorly drafted character that it all felt too forced and overly artificial to me. I mean just because he wills it doesn't mean he's on par with a 'real' Slayer or everybody would be doing it.

    Not a fav of mine thats to be sure. They could have done so much with Andrew and yet they chose not to.

    Yaoi
    Yaoi (/ˈjaʊi/; Japanese: やおい, Japanese: [ja.o.i]), primarily known as boys' love (BL) (ボーイズ ラブ bōizu rabu) in Japan, is a Japanese genre of fictional media focusing on romantic or sexual relationships between male characters, typically marketed for a female audience and usually created by female authors. Yaoi also attracts male readers, but manga specifically marketed for a gay male audience (bara) is considered a separate genre.
    Last edited by Silver1; 06-03-18 at 09:42 PM.

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    Billy was silly, and I found it odd that he moved to San Francisco to live with Buffy and be "mentored" by her, since he in reality wasn't a Slayer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a thing of evil View Post
    So, I guess, it makes sense to spend two issues, two Buffy-less issues in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic for goodness' sake just to properly introduce them,
    This probably must have been really annoying for those who read the comics back then.
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    Billy seemed like the writers trying to make a point that nobody wanted them to make. We can’t all be slayers! Then nobody is a slayer. It’s the Syndrome principle. Come on people.
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    It doesn't even make sense for Buffy to take him in. We skip over their meeting entirely and then he's just living with her, Anaheed and Tumble. Le what? In S7 against the uber-vamps she was way more reluctant to have Dawn and the Potentials fight; and the zompire stuff was nowhere near as dangerous...and she had police support to boot!

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    Honestly, I think Billy was an attempt by the writers, or Dark Horse, or somebody, to prove that Mutant Enemy and the Buffyverse were still "progressive, yo!" after getting mail and e-mail during Season Eight asking and demanding that they include a gay male character (or in some cases, out an existing male character, and IIRC correctly they weren't all asking for Andrew to be outed already). Espenson and Greenburg were chosen to write it because Greenburg himself was gay and Espenson had written some online show about a gay married couple. And it seemed, judging from the letters pages versus online commentary, that that the only ones completely happy with Billy and Devon were mostly gay male fans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skippcomet View Post
    Honestly, I think Billy was an attempt by the writers, or Dark Horse, or somebody, to prove that Mutant Enemy and the Buffyverse were still "progressive, yo!" after getting mail and e-mail during Season Eight asking and demanding that they include a gay male character (or in some cases, out an existing male character, and IIRC correctly they weren't all asking for Andrew to be outed already). Espenson and Greenburg were chosen to write it because Greenburg himself was gay and Espenson had written some online show about a gay married couple. And it seemed, judging from the letters pages versus online commentary, that that the only ones completely happy with Billy and Devon were mostly gay male fans.
    It seems such a shame that they had to bring in two new characters to widen the appeal to a gay audience, when Willow has been out for years and Andrew appears so obviously gay. I would have much preferred the writers to finally allow Andrew to experience his sexuality, as they did in later seasons. I would be amazed if any gay fans of Buffy were completely happy with Billy and Devon, because just from a story telling perspective, they were not good.

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    Well, I'm gay, and I thought Billy and Devon were written very poorly but then I think S9 as a whole was written very poorly so I wasn't expecting much else. I agree with the main criticisms of the characters and how they were introduced to the story and I thought the scripts were awful. I also think it was pretty irresponsible that they marketed these characters as a way of making the Buffyverse more inclusive of gay men only to then dump them completely due to the negative backlash. For those readers who did take Billy and Devon to heart it must have been pretty disappointing and heartbreaking to see them shuffled off out of sight.

    That said, the way a lot of fans reacted to Billy and Devon was very unpleasant and it was a pretty depressing time for me in fandom. Fans deeply resented that the writers wanted to include Billy and Devon with an agenda in mind, despite it being a positive agenda that could help a lot of young gay kids, and they gleefully tore the story apart in a way that they didn't the rest of S9 despite it being just as bad. Fans were determined to hate the story before it even came out and mocked the idea that it could mean something to people or that it was even necessary, despite often being the same fans who have whined for years every time they think their self-insert into the story is being treated improperly or neglected in some way. I had no objections whatsoever to the legitimate criticisms of the characters and I agreed with them, but there was something very ugly about the extent people went to, to bash the story. It was pretty apparent that there were a lot of fans who detested the idea that other's were being 'pandered' to who weren't them, and especially if it's any of those annoying PC minorities. I just thought the whole discussion was incredibly tone deaf. There was very little self-awareness about how it could look from the POV of a gay person to see a bunch of straight people ripping the story to shreds and moaning about how unnecessary it was. People might as well have just complained about the "gay agenda" and been done with it.

    I will say that as a gay guy I almost never related to Willow/Tara. The only time I ever related to anything about their relationship was when Willow was keeping Tara a secret from her friends as I have experienced how painful that can be from both sides. However, I never really identified with Willow because her 'coming out' story was very different to mine. For one thing, Willow hadn't known she was gay throughout her entire adolescence and had to keep that a secret. Willow also didn't face any kind of homophobia when she came out and her life was remarkably homophobia-free except for that one jerk who called her "Ellen" in Smashed which is pretty tame in comparison to what the vast majority of gay people go through. Willow also never really felt isolated because she was gay or wished she had been different or "normal" and seemed to embrace her relationship with Tara and newfound sexuality pretty easily. Willow/Tara was definitely a milestone for television and they'll always be hugely important for that but the writers really didn't delve into what it means to be gay, like, at all. They seemed to take the approach that they were going to treat Willow/Tara just like any other relationship which is nice, but it wasn't very honest and it certainly wasn't very true to what gay people faced in the late 90's. I have a really hard time believing that Willow and Tara didn't face any kind of homophobia in a world where Joss wasn't even allowed to show them kissing on television. As a guy guy I couldn't really relate to it at all because it was a very idealised relationship and didn't really reflect my experiences as a gay person at all. I also think that gay men and gay women experience things very differently.

    I actually related to Buffy's character far more than Willow or Tara. Whenever they used Buffy's slayerness as a metaphor for being gay it was always felt far more relatable to me. Buffy's "coming out" scene to Joyce in Becoming II felt far more authentic to my own experiences than anything in Willow/Tara's storyline.

    But yeah, it would have been nice to have some gay guys on the show who weren't treat as a big joke. Both Larry and Andrew's gayness were used as punchlines and were not taken seriously the way Joss took gay women seriously. He even admitted his own failings on this which is why I suspect Billy and Devon came about. It was at least nice for Larry to not be your stereotypical gay guy in the sense that he was a high school jock/footballer but his sexuality was still nothing but a source of humour (as was Xander's gay panic which is very much a product of it's time). I did strongly identify with Buffy (and other characters) so I had plenty of characters to relate to but it would've been nice to see myself on my favourite TV series and not be ridiculed.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 18-03-18 at 12:28 PM.
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    Yeah, I agree with a lot of your points. The reason I disliked Billy was even though the intentions of the writers were good, he came across a bit of a 'Billy Sue' in that Buffy all of a sudden took him under her wing right from the get go when in reality Billy was in danger of being killed If he carried on as he did. He can't be a Slayer by willing it so, and imo he needed to be shown that.

    As male gay representation goes Whedon has always been pretty rubbish at that. Unable or unwilling to include a interesting, strong gay male character in the universe that wasn't a joke. I get that may have been a problem in the TV series seeing they already had Willow/Tara but in the comics?

    Also call me a cynic but have you ever had the feeling that some straight male writers want to focus on lesbians relationships because deep down it's pandering to their own sexual kink in some way, where as writing for a gay male would not?

    Yeah, as a I said cynical I know.
    Last edited by Silver1; 19-03-18 at 12:31 AM.

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    Billy was the point where I begin to stop caring about the comics(I stopped caring completely once they ruined Illyria).
    I was just completely confused at why this character was taking up so much valuable storytime that could be going to other way more interesting characters.

    The big problem with Billy is that he has no real personality. It feels like the writers thought that just having a gay character would be enough of a reason to get people to care about the character, and it failed.
    Last edited by Lostsoul666; 18-03-18 at 11:39 PM.

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    As far as pandering and representation goes, I'm a straight white guy so you would think I have nothing to worry about; but I've got a visible physical disability. Objectively in fantasy and sci-fi where death isn't permanent I can see a bit of an issue about making it believable that a disability sticks. However consistent straight up erasure like Felicity on Arrow isn't good.

    In more grounded terms you get either inspirational bits (Wonder) that are too saccharine or bitter people wishing for death (Me Before You). Films that could tackle grey areas tend to whitewash so we're mostly back to feel-good territory. (The Sessions). In terms of Whedon, Fitz's brain damage was erased after the 2nd season just because, Wesley got out of the wheelchair; and Xander's loss of an eye was very last minute. How does he get to those construction jobs/ Would they even let someone without depth-perception work in that field? Is he stuck on buses or letting Dawn drive him everywhere? Again, mundane and boring issues for a fantasy story but real ones that could have turned into metaphors of some sort on the show. Now I wouldn't instantly insert someone like me the way Billy was but I think the overall intention meant well.

    If you want a look at what it's often like, this is my condition and a lot of this hits home for me although I can walk you can see it in me instantly:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFQmS2JWKNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver1 View Post
    Also call me a cynic but have you ever had the feeling that some straight male writers want to focus on lesbians relationships because deep down it's pandering to their own sexual kink in some way, where as writing for a gay male would not?
    To his credit, there's an actual quote where he admits as much and he concedes that he can see how it would come across that way to people. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it always felt right to me, given the themes of BtVS, that they chose to explore a lesbian relationship first. But I do remember that by the time Dollhouse came out and Felicia Day's character was revealed to be a lesbian I started to side-eye him a bit. Not that you can have too many lesbian characters but it was more the fact that he could never find the opportunity to make one of his male characters gay too. It did start to come across as something of a fetish and the fact gay men were ridiculed in his shows certainly didn't help.

    I'm actually going to throw AtS a bone and say that it tended to handle male homosexuality better than BtVS did. It always made me smile that they had Doyle admit that he was a little attracted to Angel, or that Angel was so unbothered by Cordy's friends assuming that he and Wes were gay, or that Angel was mildly amused by a bad guy calling him a "fairy", and then of course there's the hints about Angel/Spike. It was far from perfect but at least the show didn't make fun of gay people and the male character's reactions to people thinking they were gay were a lot nicer to watch than Xander's gay panic etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lostsoul666 View Post
    Billy was the point where I begin to stop caring about the comics(I stopped caring completely once they ruined Illyria).
    I was just completely confused at why this character was taking up so much valuable storytime that could be going to other way more interesting characters.

    The big problem with Billy is that he has no real personality. It feels like the writers thought that just having a gay character would be enough of a reason to get people to care about the character, and it failed.
    Pretty much. I think I had already stopped caring but I think Billy was a point where I realised just how bad the writing had gotten.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanSlayer View Post
    As far as pandering and representation goes, I'm a straight white guy so you would think I have nothing to worry about; but I've got a visible physical disability. Objectively in fantasy and sci-fi where death isn't permanent I can see a bit of an issue about making it believable that a disability sticks. However consistent straight up erasure like Felicity on Arrow isn't good.

    In more grounded terms you get either inspirational bits (Wonder) that are too saccharine or bitter people wishing for death (Me Before You). Films that could tackle grey areas tend to whitewash so we're mostly back to feel-good territory. (The Sessions). In terms of Whedon, Fitz's brain damage was erased after the 2nd season just because, Wesley got out of the wheelchair; and Xander's loss of an eye was very last minute. How does he get to those construction jobs/ Would they even let someone without depth-perception work in that field? Is he stuck on buses or letting Dawn drive him everywhere? Again, mundane and boring issues for a fantasy story but real ones that could have turned into metaphors of some sort on the show. Now I wouldn't instantly insert someone like me the way Billy was but I think the overall intention meant well.

    If you want a look at what it's often like, this is my condition and a lot of this hits home for me although I can walk you can see it in me instantly:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFQmS2JWKNY
    Totally. I think they have a huge way to go in terms of representation for someone such as yourself in comparison to somebody like me. It's still a work in progress but things are definitely improving for gay people and representation in media whereas I think they still do a pretty shit job showing people with disabilities (unless it's to mock or make fun of). I totally feel for you dude and I can only hope things improve.
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