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Thread: Stuff on Buffy that doesn't hold up now

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    Post Stuff on Buffy that doesn't hold up now

    Watching the excellent Passion of the Nerd review of Restless, he makes the point about some of the stuff involving the First Slayer which doesn't hold up. It got me wondering what other things that people feel don't work 15 years later ?

    For me its Adam and his floppy disk drive, which considering floppy disks were on there way out even back then definitely does not hold up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BtVS fan View Post
    Watching the excellent Passion of the Nerd review of Restless, he makes the point about some of the stuff involving the First Slayer which doesn't hold up. It got me wondering what other things that people feel don't work 15 years later ?

    For me its Adam and his floppy disk drive, which considering floppy disks were on there way out even back then definitely does not hold up.
    I haven't watched that video, but if he is criticising the portrayal of the First Slayer, I bet it was on the grounds of "problematic" racial dynamics etc. which weren't really fine at any time, but people are more likely to criticise it now? On the other hand, stuff like the floppy disc (they really should have used a CD, LOL) is just simply outdated stuff?

    For outdated things - obviously I Robot, You Jane. It was actually already way behind the times in 1997. The World Wide Web was something new and niche in the early 1990s, but by 1997, it was mainstream and popular. And of course, computers were already mainstream in 1980s, kids loved playing games on them.

    For the "problematic" stuff, the biggest things are, I would say:

    - the portrayal of other cultures is really bad in general, especially everything with the Romani. But that's not maybe outdated because Hollywood and most of US TV is still just as bad in that department as ever.
    - the lack of racial/ethnic diversity in the cast - it would definitely look different today
    - the treatment of sexuality was very progressive for its time, but now - not so much, especially with the total bi-erasure. It's so bad with that, that it's often the first show mentioned in articles about bi-erasure. (And it continued in the comics!)
    - The blasť attitude to many of the instances of sexual assault, especially in the early seasons when Buffy was assaulted but it was treated as no big deal because she can defend herself (Go Fish, The Pack); or any of the mystical causes of dubcon or noncon (and that continued in the comics, too and got even worse!); and double standards regarding gender (the lack of follow up to Consequences, the way Who Are You? was treated...)....but in the case of the latter, Hollywood is still bad with that, too.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    I haven't watched that video, but if he is criticising the portrayal of the First Slayer, I bet it was on the grounds of "problematic" racial dynamics etc. which weren't really fine at any time, but people are more likely to criticise it now? On the other hand, stuff like the floppy disc (they really should have used a CD, LOL) is just simply outdated stuff?

    For outdated things - obviously I Robot, You Jane. It was actually already way behind the times in 1997. The World Wide Web was something new and niche in the early 1990s, but by 1997, it was mainstream and popular. And of course, computers were already mainstream in 1980s, kids loved playing games on them.

    For the "problematic" stuff, the biggest things are, I would say:

    - the portrayal of other cultures is really bad in general, especially everything with the Romani. But that's not maybe outdated because Hollywood and most of US TV is still just as bad in that department as ever.
    - the lack of racial/ethnic diversity in the cast - it would definitely look different today
    - the treatment of sexuality was very progressive for its time, but now - not so much, especially with the total bi-erasure. It's so bad with that, that it's often the first show mentioned in articles about bi-erasure. (And it continued in the comics!)
    - The blasť attitude to many of the instances of sexual assault, especially in the early seasons when Buffy was assaulted but it was treated as no big deal because she can defend herself (Go Fish, The Pack); or any of the mystical causes of dubcon or noncon (and that continued in the comics, too and got even worse!); and double standards regarding gender (the lack of follow up to Consequences, the way Who Are You? was treated...)....but in the case of the latter, Hollywood is still bad with that, too.
    If we are talking other cultures, Kendra and her Ja Jar accent is bad "you tink so!"

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    Nothing. It's fine. It's a show set in the 90s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BtVS fan View Post
    If we are talking other cultures, Kendra and her Ja Jar accent is bad "you tink so!"
    We can include Boreanaz's mangling of Irish.

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    I started my PhD in 1996 and finished it around the time S4 was airing. It was all stored on floppy disc.

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    Buffy is pretty dated in a lot of ways, I think. Off the top of my head:

    Technology Obviously, but I'm not just talking about stuff like floppy disks, VCRs, 4:3 CRTs and the like. The show's ludditic attitude towards tech was already kinda dated in the late 90s and now it's just weird. Giles is all Amish about computers. Robots/AI are evil. Internet is a scary, new thing. And I understand that TV is 20 years behind reality but come on, teens that don't play video games? That's not the 90s I remember.

    Nerds Look at that nerd, using the internet and liking Spider-Man. It's so dated and boomer-tier, you know what I mean? Nerd culture became mainstream culture and BtVS is product of a time when that wasn't yet the case. Of course it's dated.

    Puritanism. Sex bad. Drugs bad. Fun bad. Ugh. American puritanism is alive and well but teen shows these days aren't as in-your-face with the cheap indoctrination as Buffy was.

    90s Girl Power I'm conflicted about it, but still, I think that our favorite hot chick with superpowers herself is a bit dated. I feel like if BtVS was made today Buffy would have a lot more agency/self-actualization. She'd probably be less miserable as well.

    Xander. Just Xander, OK?

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    I agree with the point the show is representative of the time that it was produced in and so in that sense I don't think personally that it needs updating. But the aspects it has which I think are the biggest issues that would need addressing in a new version of the same, would be the racial representation and the sheer amount of dubious consent from magical influence and one-off plot points where it was swept aside or, especially, when it was done for humour.

    I just don't get the issues people have with Xander that isn't just another aspect of the show being from a specific point in time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    But the aspects it has which I think are the biggest issues that would need addressing in a new version of the same, would be the racial representation and the sheer amount of dubious consent from magical influence and one-off plot points where it was swept aside or, especially, when it was done for humour.
    .
    Funny you say that as I always had a problem with Buffy stabbing Faith even back then. Not so much the stabbing itself (Faith was a threat and needed to be stopped) but the fact Buffy committed attempted murder and then she moved on from it with no consequences and it felt like Joss just swept all that aside. Like it was a cool thing to do. As he said about Xandar/Anya in Chosen he did sometimes use shorthand when he wanted to move on from something.

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    About the whole representation/diversity issue - I've been wondering about something lately. Is Cordelia Latina/Hispanic? Charisma does look southern European to me and I checked her wiki page and sure enough, her grandpa is Spanish, her family even lived in Mexico at some point. But it seems like Cordelia is never mentioned in those representation/diversity in BtVS discussions. Why is that? Somebody explain it to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I agree with the point the show is representative of the time that it was produced in and so in that sense I don't think personally that it needs updating. But the aspects it has which I think are the biggest issues that would need addressing in a new version of the same, would be the racial representation and the sheer amount of dubious consent from magical influence and one-off plot points where it was swept aside or, especially, when it was done for humour.

    I just don't get the issues people have with Xander that isn't just another aspect of the show being from a specific point in time.
    Honestly, though, is it that big of a deal when put alongside nightly horror, death and carnage? The effects these would have on any individual are swept aside just as much. Very little in the show is played hard-edge.

    There is no issue with Xander. I mean I really don't get the people that complain about him while at the same time stating they all know a guy like that. It's not as if Xanders have ceased to exist. The gripe really seems to boil down to be less about Xander so much as Buffy and Willow tolerating him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HardlyThere View Post
    Honestly, though, is it that big of a deal when put alongside nightly horror, death and carnage? The effects these would have on any individual are swept aside just as much. Very little in the show is played hard-edge.

    There is no issue with Xander. I mean I really don't get the people that complain about him while at the same time stating they all know a guy like that. It's not as if Xanders have ceased to exist. The gripe really seems to boil down to be less about Xander so much as Buffy and Willow tolerating him.
    Yup. I know Xanders exist. I just - now and when I was a teenage girl - would not be best friends with someone who makes gross jokes in front of me and also "jokes" about wanting to have sex with me. It's one thing to crush on your friend. It's another to bring it up constantly in a Nice Guy way. Buffy and Willow being friends with him confuse me.

    Thankfully, Xander is a really good guy in season 5 and I get it then. And season 7.
    Last edited by seekingoutfriday; 11-02-19 at 11:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a thing of evil View Post
    About the whole representation/diversity issue - I've been wondering about something lately. Is Cordelia Latina/Hispanic? Charisma does look southern European to me and I checked her wiki page and sure enough, her grandpa is Spanish, her family even lived in Mexico at some point. But it seems like Cordelia is never mentioned in those representation/diversity in BtVS discussions. Why is that? Somebody explain it to me.
    Because Spanish people are white, and living in Mexico doesn't in itself make you a POC. And, for that matter, being Mexican doesn't either, if you are one of the white Mexicans, usually of fully Spanish descent.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    I watched when I was a teenager, and things bugged me then that are just now being brought up. All the rapey issues - underage, rape attempts, consent issues, spells and magic - bothered me. The racial issues bothered me then. The slut shaming and judging other women aggravated me then (90s and early 00s had a thing where the lead women of shows had to be against the other women of the show for Reasons).

    What bothers me are the Faith rapey moments that people don't bring it up because a.) she's a woman and b.) her sexual assault was against Xander and her rape was against Riley and these are two people a lot of fans don't care about so people don't like to acknowledge it and that puts me on edge.

    What's surprised me - and this is due to 90s and 00s Girl Power and thankfully we've evolved in our feminism, I hope anyway - is the anti-guy stuff didn't bother me as a teen and now as an adult it makes me cringe. Because of How Hard the writers are trying. I watched Phases recently with my boyfriend and they were going hard at how men are just animals and yada yada. And I had a moment of going, "I can guarantee you this episode was not written by a woman" and I looked it up and it wasn't. It was written by men who, I don't know, were over compensating?

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    Quote Originally Posted by seekingoutfriday View Post
    Yup. I know Xanders exist. I just - now and when I was a teenage girl - would not be best friends with someone who makes gross jokes in front of me and also "jokes" about wanting to have sex with me. It's one thing to crush on your friend. It's another to bring it up constantly in a Nice Guy way. Buffy and Willow being friends with him confuse me.

    Thankfully, Xander is a really good guy in season 5 and I get it then. And season 7.
    That's what I'm saying. Their issue is less with Xander so much as Buffy. Similar to how each character reacts to the consent issues, the problem seems less the storyline itself, but rather the characters not reacting the way people think they should. Regarding that, personally, I think it's all part and parcel to the whole landscape of the show. By the end of S1, they've all be nearly murdered more than once with various other terrors in between and yet what people complain about is Buffy not being in therapy after Seeing Red.

    I actually agree about Xander's comments. I can't see the girls being comfortable around it (though I think there is meta there that they aren't), but that was as true then as it is now. It's not a new thing.

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    Seeing Red is a whole separate issue for me and I don't personally have problems with how Buffy responds, it feels followed up for me. I was always more bothered by the times it was magically influenced and treated as a joke, such as Him and Eve/Angel. I take the point that the show treats horror/violence/murder as such. I suppose it is just a more sensitive topic. Or it is to me and that's why it bothered me.

    I also have problems with Buffy trying to kill Faith, but again I don't think that is a then/now issue.

    I was aware of Charisma's heritage and it has been raised/discussed in these things before that I've seen. I'm led to believe that California has a very high Latino population though. So even if you take her as representative, that doesn't make the show realistically so even vaguely compared to the actual representation.
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    I find some of the dialogue has aged poorly. For instance, Cordelia says "retard" or "retarded" at least twice in Angel and it does make me wince because you'd just never heard it nowadays.

    Xander's 'gay panic' in episodes like Phases, The Zeppo and Earshot is also pretty dated as is Spike insulting people by calling them "poofters/poofs."

    It is what it is. It's a show that's over 20 years old. Society has bound to have evolved in over two decades. It doesn't ruin the series for me at all but I think it's fair to be uncomfortable with some of it.
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    Fair enough regards the Faith thing.
    For Then and now, well representation of people of colour was not great on the show, though it was just as bad on Angel, where until Gunn showed up at the back end of S1, there seemed to be no people of colour in LA. Angel generally just seemed to save good looking white girls . That family in IGYUMS seemed to be the exception to the rule.
    Rewatching Get it Done (2003) and being uncomfortable with the whole chain white girl Buffy up and try and infect her with the black demon mist by a bunch of Black men.
    Add on the fact that only 7 episodes later that goes from being a rape metaphor to an empowerment metaphor because Buffy does it. That hasn't aged well.

    Though in fairness to the show DB Woodside killed every scene he was in and came across great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Seeing Red is a whole separate issue for me and I don't personally have problems with how Buffy responds, it feels followed up for me. I was always more bothered by the times it was magically influenced and treated as a joke, such as Him and Eve/Angel. I take the point that the show treats horror/violence/murder as such. I suppose it is just a more sensitive topic. Or it is to me and that's why it bothered me.
    I just used it as an example. Swap it for The Pack or Helpless or Him or BBB. It's definitely a more sensitive topic, but I happen to think it's something overly-centered upon given the nature of the shows and what people wanted to be the fall out from these storylines.

    One reason it doesn't bother me personally is despite what people seem to want to claim, it is across the board. You'll see many claims of double standards, but examples of it being laughed off/forgotten go both ways. There is no follow up to The Pack, just as there isn't to Faith's assault on Xander. Teacher's Pet is played as comedy, but so is The Initiative.

    That's not to say I don't think there are some inherent contradictions, but they also exist today. What I mean is, for all the complaints about these old 80s/90s shows and how tragic they are, people still seem to watch them over modernized "woke" shows. The most popular stuff created today like Got is just as if not more rife with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Seeing Red is a whole separate issue for me and I don't personally have problems with how Buffy responds, it feels followed up for me. I was always more bothered by the times it was magically influenced and treated as a joke, such as Him and Eve/Angel. I take the point that the show treats horror/violence/murder as such. I suppose it is just a more sensitive topic. Or it is to me and that's why it bothered me.

    I also have problems with Buffy trying to kill Faith, but again I don't think that is a then/now issue.

    I was aware of Charisma's heritage and it has been raised/discussed in these things before that I've seen. I'm led to believe that California has a very high Latino population though. So even if you take her as representative, that doesn't make the show realistically so even vaguely compared to the actual representation.
    If Cordelia were a WOC (Bianca Lawson initially auditioned for the role), I'm sure people would see BtVS as more diverse. But do you think it would make sense to use the argument "well, we cast Cameron Diaz in our movie, therefore our cast is more racially diverse"?

    Hispanic or Latino is not a racial category anywhere except in USA, and that's because USA didn't know how else to deal with the fact that so many Hispanic people in the USA are mixed race. But being originally from a Spanish speaking country doesn't make you a POC in otself, no more than being from an English-speaking country makes you Native American.
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    I have real issues with the fact that social class is never addressed. It's not just that the place is white - the place is rich! The choices characters make are seen strictly through that lens. It's bad enough that Xander's social skills are subpar but the reason is ignored. The treatment of Faith is even worse. We know she has an absent father, an alcoholic mother, and has survived trading her body for some semblance of affection and survival.

    None of this is explored. The characters in Buffy are incredibly entitled in some ways, but worse than that the degree of entitlement is the norm. Anyone falling below that norm is judged as failing, as opposed to having their reality explored. This is one area that I truly wish the reboot does a better job with.
    Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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