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The S6 division between fandom and writers

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  • Stoney
    commented on 's reply
    It might be helpful to expand on what you read you felt was misinterpreted or ask about what you feel was misunderstood, as I read Nothing's post as agreeing with yours.

  • HardlyThere
    commented on 's reply
    I am going to assume you misinterpreted what I wrote.

  • Nothing13
    replied
    Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

    The Anya Problem is really the spirit of the thread. The hypocrisy is pretty bare. There are some deep-seated incel issues at work, which make sense given the writer.
    Yes, I think that it is evident who has the problems from your post, like you said, there are some deep-seated incel issues at work, which make sense given the writer.

    Leave a comment:


  • HardlyThere
    replied
    Originally posted by Nothing13 View Post
    We shouldn't put the problem of Buffy-Spike's relationship only in relation to a "moral problem", because the problem of "Spike/Bad Boy" isn't related to morality for writers in reality (despite writers wanted to put it in this way). The problem that writers have with Spike isn't completely related to the fact that he is/was a killer but that he is/was a "Bad Boy".
    If writers really cared about the morality they were preaching condemning Spike because he was a killer, they should have been coherent also in relation to Anya and Angelus. Instead, they condemned only Spike continuously:
    1) Xander had a relationship and sex with Anya for years, who was arguably both worse and less remorseless than Spike. Xander himself didn't care about the jokes of Anya about her crimes and neither writers.
    Writers didn't care about condemn and judge Xander for having a relationship and sex with Anya despite like already said, she was partially a remorseless killer.
    When Xander judged and accused morally Buffy in relation to Spike, the writers portrayed him as the "voice of conscience" instead of a hypocrite with "double standards" in relation to Anya/Spike.
    2) If Spike is evil, he is disgusting but if Angelus is evil, he is "cool".
    They always overhyped Angelus, He was always called "the evilest" in an overhyping way "like a trophy". Season 4 of Angel was all about overhyping Angelus like season 6 of Buffy was all about denigrating soulless Spike. Because Angelus is a psychopath serial killer and Spike is a Bad-Boy. Writers subtly care more about condemning Bad-Boys than psychopaths in this context/metaphorical situation.

    The problem for writers is with "Bad Boys" and the fact that the audience liked them. Joss despised Spike's popularity, his tv show was a tv show based on outcasts/nerds and his avatar was Xander. Kevin Williamson despised Damon's popularity and his avatar was Dawson.
    Spike was always unworthy of Buffy according to writers even with a soul. The fact that he was soulless in season 6 was an excuse
    The same thing happened in Tvd where the writers continuously "demonized" Damon, he was always unworthy of Elena for writers.
    However, in the end, they have reassigned to his popularity like the writers of BTVS with Spike because Spike was the most popular character of the series at the time so was Damon; in order to have the highest ratings and money.

    According to these tv shows and writers, Bad-Boys are always unworthy of the good girl. The lack of the soul Spike was an excuse, even with a soul he was unworthy of Buffy for writers
    (Why nobody in the series/writers told Anya that she was unworthy of Xander since she was/is a remorseless killer? Because she wasn't a Bad-Boy)
    The Anya Problem is really the spirit of the thread. The hypocrisy is pretty bare. There are some deep-seated incel issues at work, which make sense given the writer.

    Leave a comment:


  • flow
    replied
    Coming back to the party a bit late, sorry

    vampmogs
    Yes it would make a big difference for me. There's a world of difference between being in a relationship with someone who has done terrible things but then genuinely feels bad about that and is trying to atone and make amends vs someone who has done terrible things and doesn't care and would continue doing terrible things if he wasn't imprisoned. Which is exactly what the characters, most notably Buffy, point out repeatedly in S5 and S6, most notably in Crush ("Angel was a vampire..." "Angel was good!"). Of course the relationship would still make me slightly uneasy but I could at least understand someone dating a prisoner who was reformed and would not kill again by choice vs someone dating a prisoner who isn't reformed and would kill again if they had the chance. I am not morally against forgiveness or second chances.
    I am too all for forgiveness and second chances. But in the case of Ted Bundy or Richard Ramirez I would still not want my friend to have a sexual relationship with either of them even if they would reform in prison and genuinely feel remorse. Those two actually never did but there are serial killers who reform in prison and regret what they have done. Maybe they would never kill again if they'd be released. Still ... the atrocity of their crimes, the pain, and suffering they have caused would not be softened by remorse. Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing if they feel remorse. It makes them better than Ted Bundy or Richard Ramirez. But does it make them good? Or is it just a step on the way to work on becoming better than the bad person you have been so far? To me, there is still a world of difference between being given a second chance in prison (yay) or becoming a sexual partner or even a romantic interest (nay).


    If there was no meaningful difference between Angel and The Whirlwind he'd be joining them in killing anyone in sight, he'd be happy at Spike killing the Slayer, he wouldn't be sneaking off to feast on rats down at the river, and he wouldn't have steered Spike, Dru and Darla away from the couple and their child in the alleyway.

    I absolutely think there is a huge difference between a souled vampire and a soulless vampire. I absolutely think Buffy could not be with Spike in season 6 because he did not have a soul. I don't think Angel turned good when he got cursed with a soul. He turned into a being who could feel remorse or guilt for killing humans and after some time, he made the decision to follow the voice of his conscience instead of the voice of his heart (that told him to stay with Darla). Yes, Angel did not kill the couple and their baby. But he killed "evildoers" although their lives mattered as well. They might not have been innocent but that doesn't mean they are fair game.

    The fact that Angel has to struggle to find his way as a souled being is what makes his character and his arc so fascinating within the narrative of the show. Had he turned into insta-saint-Angel he'd been absolutely boring. Within the narrative of a supernatural show, I can forgive him for his gruesome killing of "evildoers" like I can forgive Faith for killing a Professor. I don't think I could forgive as easily if this were a real-life story. But they are fictional characters after all. However, the starting point was that the chip didn't change Spike. That's true. But it is also true for Angel. The soul in itself did not change him. It merely gave him a capacity for change and he finally did seize that chance but it was a long way. At the risk of repeating myself - he killed humans without remorse even after he had been ensouled. Buffy nevertheless slept with him and we as the audience were not supposed to be appalled by it. Yes, Buffy declared him “good”. I can take that as her view of him – especially considering that Angel by that time had already come a long way. He wasn’t the souled vampire who travelled with the Whirlwind and killed ‘evildoers’ anymore.
    He was not on a killing spree anymore Buffy fell in love with him.

    However, he had killed humans, even with a soul and the capacity to feel guilt and remorse. Buffy doesn't know that. But I do.

    Angel showed genuine empathy for humanity long before Epiphany. He showed empathy for Buffy when he saw her crying over her destiny/parents fighting in Becoming, he showed empathy for Cordy when she was down and out in City Of, he showed empathy for Tina in City Of, he showed empathy for Rachel during In the Dark, he showed empathy for Doyle throughout S1 but particularly in The Bachelor Party, he showed empathy for Kate and the loss of her father in The Prodigal, he showed empathy for Melissa in I Fall to Pieces, he showed empathy for Judy in Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been, he showed empathy for Faith in Five By Five/Sanctuary, he showed empathy for Gunn and his crew in War Zone, he showed empathy for a dying and sick Darla in The Trial etc. The list is endless.


    I mentioned Epiphany because it had come up earlier in the discussion, not because I tried to imply Angel had never felt empathy before Epiphany. He struggled to become a person who feels empathy and acts accordingly ever since he has been souled. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he failed. He did not feel empathy for the ‘evildoers’ he killed in China. He did not feel empathy for the people in the Hyperion Hotel. He didn't wake up one morning and suddenly was empathy-guy. He made mistakes and learned from them and slowly he grew to become the man he could be because he had a soul. And then he made some more mistakes. Even after Epiphany.

    The flashbacks in Five By Five show Angel in-between getting his soul and coming back to Darla in China and he tries to convince himself that he's a monster when he attacks the lady in the alleyway ("I'm a monster! I'm a monster!"). However, when he starts to bite her he can't bring himself to do it ("I can't - I can't") and walks away.



    I actually think that proves my point. There is a desire to kill and there is a moral imperative not to kill. There is a struggle going on inside of him. The soul is not a fail-safe. It is a challenge, a task.

    I
    think this is a bit of a leap personally. The camera lingers on Spike for maybe a split second after Buffy says her line before cutting away. We have no idea at all if he pretty much stopped what he was doing straight away and left The Bronze or if he stuck around etc. He's barely even had a chance to react to what she said before the scene skips to another character/moment. Regardless, it's not fair to hold the writers responsible for that as the Shooting Script makes no mention of Spike continuing to help the girl after Buffy walks away;
    Oh yes, it is only a split second. And maybe James Marsters took the chance to make Spike look more sympathetic than he should have been in the view of the writers/producers/directors (I try to include everyone now). However, they did not cut out the moment. It would have been a great opportunity to lay bare the inherent evilness of the character. Spike turns back to the victim, realizes that Buffy can't see him anymore, and leaves. A bit like what he did in WTWTA. However, it's not what we see in Triangle. And his "What's it take?" does sound as if he is genuinely questioning himself about what he has to do to become a person that can live up to Buffy's moral standards. If he merely was disappointed his trick did not work, he could have said so to himself. And even if the writers had not intended for that moment to ever happen, they knew it did happen at least after the episode aired (assuming they watched their own show).

    flow

    Leave a comment:


  • Nothing13
    replied
    The good girls don't have sex with bad boys element is part of what Buffy feels and is based on social judgements and that element being in the writing of how she is responding (with the whole implication that 'kink' is wrong), is definitely a problem in the writing of their S6 relationship if it is taken as a real comment moral comment and lesson being given. Not that Buffy might feel it, because people do feel those kinds of judgements, but the suggestion that that is the problem, rather than the context the show brings with the distinction of the soul in and of itself.
    We shouldn't put the problem of Buffy-Spike's relationship only in relation to a "moral problem", because the problem of "Spike/Bad Boy" isn't related to morality for writers in reality (despite writers wanted to put it in this way). The problem that writers have with Spike isn't completely related to the fact that he is/was a killer but that he is/was a "Bad Boy".
    If writers really cared about the morality they were preaching condemning Spike because he was a killer, they should have been coherent also in relation to Anya and Angelus. Instead, they condemned only Spike continuously:
    1) Xander had a relationship and sex with Anya for years, who was arguably both worse and less remorseless than Spike. Xander himself didn't care about the jokes of Anya about her crimes and neither writers.
    Writers didn't care about condemn and judge Xander for having a relationship and sex with Anya despite like already said, she was partially a remorseless killer.
    When Xander judged and accused morally Buffy in relation to Spike, the writers portrayed him as the "voice of conscience" instead of a hypocrite with "double standards" in relation to Anya/Spike.
    2) If Spike is evil, he is disgusting but if Angelus is evil, he is "cool".
    They always overhyped Angelus, He was always called "the evilest" in an overhyping way "like a trophy". Season 4 of Angel was all about overhyping Angelus like season 6 of Buffy was all about denigrating soulless Spike. Because Angelus is a psychopath serial killer and Spike is a Bad-Boy. Writers subtly care more about condemning Bad-Boys than psychopaths in this context/metaphorical situation.

    The problem for writers is with "Bad Boys" and the fact that the audience liked them. Joss despised Spike's popularity, his tv show was a tv show based on outcasts/nerds and his avatar was Xander. Kevin Williamson despised Damon's popularity and his avatar was Dawson.
    Spike was always unworthy of Buffy according to writers even with a soul. The fact that he was soulless in season 6 was an excuse
    The same thing happened in Tvd where the writers continuously "demonized" Damon, he was always unworthy of Elena for writers.
    However, in the end, they have reassigned to his popularity like the writers of BTVS with Spike because Spike was the most popular character of the series at the time so was Damon; in order to have the highest ratings and money.

    According to these tv shows and writers, Bad-Boys are always unworthy of the good girl. The lack of the soul Spike was an excuse, even with a soul he was unworthy of Buffy for writers
    (Why nobody in the series/writers told Anya that she was unworthy of Xander since she was/is a remorseless killer? Because she wasn't a Bad-Boy)
    Last edited by Nothing13; 02-08-21, 07:38 PM.

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  • bespangeled
    commented on 's reply
    No, I am cynical about SMG. SMG is not cynical as far as I know.

  • American Aurora
    replied
    Originally posted by Stoney View Post
    I think the difference between using Spike to fight with them and using him for sex is that Buffy held Spike at a distance for a long time on the second point but always felt it was okay to accept his help in fighting and protecting Dawn. There is a personal boundary broken which Buffy always pushed against happening with Spike because of his lack of empathy and moral understanding as a soulless being. But I do agree Buffy sees using him as a problem and that's part of why the relationship is killing her. But it is in a way that she didn't struggle with the same when it was just fighting alongside them and using his affection to her advantage then.

    The good girls don't have sex with bad boys element is part of what Buffy feels and is based on social judgements and that element being in the writing of how she is responding (with the whole implication that 'kink' is wrong), is definitely a problem in the writing of their S6 relationship if it is taken as a real comment moral comment and lesson being given. Not that Buffy might feel it, because people do feel those kinds of judgements, but the suggestion that that is the problem, rather than the context the show brings with the distinction of the soul in and of itself.
    I agree - the problem lies in focusing solely on Buffy's supposed discomfort at transgressing sexual boundaries instead of looking at the big picture.

    I think the problems comes from the wish to make Spike's situation transposable in a way that pulls down the structure of the show. It's the importance of the various reasons the writers objected to Spike bridging the divide on his own. The wish to always have a line that puts Buffy on one side and those she preemptively kills on the other. Spike appears to break through some of this so the writers had to make him limited in how much he could. But of course the very fact that he did fight for his soul still gives a reason for people to root for him. Yet if the point that he was fundamentally limited is still true, just because he realised this doesn't mean he could move beyond it without a soul. This is why I just don't think it works to try to find strong/exact real life equivalents for vampires and the soul, the show context can't be fully stripped away on this point. Ultimately, I think that is what the writers were trying to uphold and that some areas of fandom dislike. It's really the same element of why the show can't truly be transposable with the vampire and the serial killer analogy too as you say.
    Ah, well, I agree with you. I was primarily referring to those who see any defense of Spike or wish that he hadn't needed a soul as just an extension of a supposed sexual interest in the character/actor. I think that the desire to have Spike redeemed without a soul isn't based in "I want to sleep with Spike" but more in applying real-world morality to the Buffyverse. Now whether this works or not is debatable - I agree with you that within the parameters of the Buffyverse, Spike could move towards a kind of humanity but was unable to move forward past a certain point without a soul.
    Last edited by American Aurora; 01-08-21, 05:25 PM.

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  • sybil
    replied

    I guess the notion of a romance and that of romantic is what goes on for writers, fandom and “story.”

    The first is literary and of my interest, the second is around that which has to do with human sex and sexuality, including notions of love and pleasure from sexual ‘use’ of each other. (Romantic includes ideas of getting naked for a reason that is more than pleasure, but of expressing the idea and need of giving and getting love within mind and body).

    Because I was Buffy’s age and “dumb as a post”==which mine reveal still—I saw the blur of the first idea of romance painting the second, the romantic, but not completely—one reason I love BTVS still. (It holds true in the deepest search for understanding that still drives whole religions and philosophys and struggles for the truth of things still).

    It was Buffy who commanded Angel in their first sexual encounter, despite Angel having all the “experience” or ‘knowledge’ of behaviors, the body in all its manifestations of human, monster, and now for the first time, ensouled. He, too, is virginal, but not in the ways Buffy is. They are equal in some respects.

    I think the humanity of the sex act (the caring, the love) is what makes their choice so “romantic” and “acceptable” at that long ago—even though it was done, * pointedly * after he literally married her. This old convention is from Angel’s best and purest intent on (sexual) desire regarding the gift of self to another with *commitment *, while Buffy already is a modern person who doesn’t consider marriage asa requirement to express her sexual and emotional desire for someone. And, yes, someone who is special to her.

    I fully realize that Buffy is dangerous, for she is powerful enough to both admire and yet scare anyone in her physical power and in what her duty to kill the supernatural means. However, we also admire her for controlling such power against weaker humans. Not to mention, the (ridiculous) decisions of “body beauty” in “parts” e.g. a meat market they put upon SMG’s frame, yet they also did (symbolically) present her attire and “attribures” as the goddess Diana. A huntress, yet also protector of children (innocence) for one.

    Angel is not a “boy”—let us be clear. He is a (sexy) man and being a man, makes him both independent, and one who “knows”; and that makes him also dangerous—let alone the actual hulking physically of the actor for Angel vs. tiny Buffy. He also has his reality of a vampire—we have seen them to be deceptive predators in the very show of Darla, and powerful.

    Buffy’s idea for her “surrender” to her desires is terribly risky for her very life—let alone worry about how ‘good’ or ‘evil’ the choice is in ‘soul’ or ‘duty’ arugments of a good person. This is a demon in an undead ‘meat suit’ who well could lose control of that soul, or “go all ape-sh*t” as is his *Nature * during the “peak moment.” What is that?

    His character, his will and his intent to consider “the other” above himself is carefully detailed. The idea of selfless as superior to selfish. (Even if it is all broody guilt--a dead thing that requires action).

    However! It is clearly shown that “sacrifice” in this world is actually both personally as selfish and selfless. (a union of opposites clearly used in Chosen).

    We have the relief from life’s duties and tribulations in a huge motive to “act,” but so is the deep need to love (and even protect another or even an abstract—it is said—over own’s own survival . WE see this human instinct/need to protect the body and the soul from literal birth to grasp: survival itself ;and the need to connect that nourishes “the soul”—aka ‘the good’. We also see the “instinct’ just as to suck is an instinct to eat and nourish the body and yet also requires “connection” to do so and the will of a woman capable to do. So another good and actual choice.

    Buffy’s choice of love is absolute. It is committed. It is really kinda like something people who bind blood or strangulate for more powerful orgasm for “spiritual achievement” might do, but could also seriously die.

    And! Angel did. Not from ‘sex’—but from the true love, peace, joy he experienced in utter acceptance of equal giving and getting of his * continuing * experience: the forever moment of bliss without boredom. The utter surrender and yet accomplishment that creates innocence.

    Buffy’s “renewal” innocence is learned in * loss * and Angel’s is in “the chosen one’—each and every choice through all eternity.

    That is why his deep guilt and remorse, expressed in the “grand gesture” that would wipe the (Impatient) slate clean in a sweep of time * will * * never * be the means of doing do. His ‘grand design’ is the choice to “care” that commits him eternally to always choose ‘the one’--while Spike’s efforts, as Patience, do work (self sacrifice) in the “grand gesture” for his “renewal of innocence” (aka death to rebirth that is change). (See : 1. William to Spike: chosen, eyes wide open and acceptance; 2. I hurt the girl and going to get the soul 3. “Chosen “).

    All these years, I think I “get it” reading what you guys say about “evil Spike” and that is ‘what fades away’ everytime. I see endless emotional adjectives in decriptives about Spike, and that is very human of you. I try to understand the framework of this story—that real life also “murdered “ in show runners, writers, actor problems, including death never actually finished the story of the title characters!

    So! I do not understand any defense of Spike as “selfless” or ‘good’ when he is soulless. He has good impoulses? Really? Isn’t he completely (uncaring aka defintion of evil) and selfish: I want what I want and FU hard (or harder if its fun).

    He acts to get something for himself. (As for protecting Dawn…jaysus..That was simply idiocy. The people who would hurt Dawn were HUMAN; and chipped Spike couldn’t KILL a human.

    I cannot integrate the meaning of a soul with “quirks of personality” and “remembered” human insecurity, that drive it.

    We viewers could see “mother issues” and ‘father issues” despite “gender presentations” in Spike and Angel, respectively. The creation of Dawn and Connor only made the title characters avators in their own stories, to me. That is why Dawn ends up with fertile Xander, as Joss always gets the (pretty) girl—not too “blond” and not too “brunette.” THAT needed fixing IMO. How do you kill the humans who are the (embodiment) of the point of ‘growing up?” You can’t….(unless in the underworld, of course).

    I guess all the desires of very human hands muddying the descriptions of a truthteller—general to specific, element of chaos, the poet, the ‘underdog’ or any of what is designated as Spike’s “structural story” made in efforts to excuse the reality of “recreating” the Surprise/Innocence dynamo, yet told in the same “black” and “white’ terms, with a human Buffy, who is infused with a demon, no less, * as well * and a demon Spike, of evil who is * really * changing all the time in supposed “choices and intentions* (!!) Which evil does not do: see serial killer, even a human one. Evil does not care. Well…except for itself and a challenge to his own boring sameness?

    Acting to garner prey and being the predator require different “time sets” and skill sets that a human might learn, but a demon has as “instinct.” So, Spike never did track for me as “what is a vampire without a soul” in the Buffyverse might * also * be that gives authority to a human to destroy this species from existence? Aka “ Evil.” Is that a human’s job to define; or do all things that actually are alive, not “undead, ” which is the grey area , supposedly, of a vampire vessel/ body, but doesn’t explain * who * he is. Does Angelus have a personality? He does have method, but really....Even Darla's 'knitted brow' of concern is in Angelus ever manifesting deeper or wider (surprising to us humans) evil for her own entertainment through the centuries. Angel might not be her first, but wouldn't have been her last, either...(I think that is why her self-sacrifce and crushing guilt, in the balance, is "mother love" for a creation made from horrors of just horror and death, besides "the other" taking its (precious) place in the order of time.

    Evil aka Not Caring is clear for soulless beings, but does that hold for Spike , as if he is some ‘potential’ within evil (!!) to care beyond “survival” as if, life itself? The living understand this “idea” in the very purpose of * existence * and *survival * aka life. Even animals practice self sacrifce regarding protections. But we didn’t start that way, from elements to molecules to charged particles, et al to life itself. Is that what is being set before us?

    THIS is why the idea of a romance (three times death/change, for one) and what is romantic color the B/A world –which did not have three deaths actually—versus the Spuffy world, IMO. They got all three deaths, even if I don’t “buy” the miracle conversion for self destruction in a soul. (Mimicry? Like Angel did and he “got the girl” willingly in a way Spike can’t feel , let alone why would he crave it??).

    I never did understand Spike the vampire, as a vampire, for it was a lot of tell and not the show of ‘family squabble’ power dynamics in fashion drag. while Angel/Angelus was all in such “beau geste’ moments, about the entire world apart from Angel or him struggling between self and acceptance, survival and self sacrifice, self and other, good and evil of life, the universe and everything. It was always told to show his "way" was through the *ONE *.

    Angelus was rather a pure character of ‘pure evil.” And yes, Buffy had to dust him. She only hoped to find ‘Angel” in the ensouled person who was lost to her and “kept” in the vessel of a Vampire. Just as her human body is the vessel to the “vampire hunting’ demon.

    All other humans are not explained as the “total range” of existence in good and evil, but we are given a mirror to specific acts or motives in various kinds of darkness in the symbols of actual words and of ‘posessions’ et al witchery, especially the use of “tea” and other drug suggestions. Pure evil people may “love their dogs.”

    Spike? Pretty much no.

    I kept looking at the definitions he never quite fit and all the talk “he is evil” in * showing * me he is not (really) meant to be seen as a vampire. PERIOD. The agent of change in the opposite pole given B/A in their romance regarding souls, was simply not ‘what happened * to Spike.

    The chip did show he had no other intention or desire than what he wanted and to kill or hurt people hadn’t changed, just because he was physically denied the capability to do so.

    That is as close to a “soulless” being I could understand about Spike, but was already hampered in having to fit in with humans around him, to not be alone—a human need—to both have that company just to “get his rocks off” in killing, even if it was demons—who cares—but also for his “acceptable” food or shelter et al eventually, as humans were among the killing hordes, as well. He wouldn’t be able to protect himself.

    Well, Except Joss’s use of Spike to “get it right” in *HIS * third death, not the Title character (of either BTVS or ATS ) within the episode of “Chosen.” Joss chose the ‘grand gesture’ in the simplicity and utter quiet of “the chosen one(s) in their * real union * by chasm of time and space at the end of the world, for Spike to * lose * both Buffy and his life to actually provide (“’go on” ) the protection all the slayers and the very world of life needed: he is Light. (And that is both within and out of time itself, that is matter/energy/that is creation/destruction and that is all-knowing innocence, a lot more than ‘effulgent.’

    And I still wait and do in grief….always….
    Hugs
    sybil
    p.s. edited for really bad typing in places like: xyjouop. hee.
    Last edited by sybil; 01-08-21, 04:42 PM.

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  • Stoney
    replied
    I think the difference between using Spike to fight with them and using him for sex is that Buffy held Spike at a distance for a long time on the second point but always felt it was okay to accept his help in fighting and protecting Dawn. There is a personal boundary broken which Buffy always pushed against happening with Spike because of his lack of empathy and moral understanding as a soulless being. But I do agree Buffy sees using him as a problem and that's part of why the relationship is killing her. But it is in a way that she didn't struggle with the same when it was just fighting alongside them and using his affection to her advantage then.

    The good girls don't have sex with bad boys element is part of what Buffy feels and is based on social judgements and that element being in the writing of how she is responding (with the whole implication that 'kink' is wrong), is definitely a problem in the writing of their S6 relationship if it is taken as a real comment moral comment and lesson being given. Not that Buffy might feel it, because people do feel those kinds of judgements, but the suggestion that that is the problem, rather than the context the show brings with the distinction of the soul in and of itself.

    Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
    Did a lot of fans want Spike to be able to bridge that divide on his own and reclaim his former human self in terms of morality? Yes. Did the writers object for various reasons. Yes. But I think that we're not fully thinking out why that might be the case - why certain people might want Spike to realize goodness on his own. I think that some fans view it as a radical departure that overthrows a lot of societal moral strictures that are oppressive, prejudicial and cruel and tie Spike's situation to real-life examples in which 'morality' has been a nightmarish aggregate of horrors against people because of their gender, race, sexuality, religion - basically, a morality that only exists to define a uncomfortable difference that ends in building societal structures that exclude and punish.
    I think the problems comes from the wish to make Spike's situation transposable in a way that pulls down the structure of the show. It's the importance of the various reasons the writers objected to Spike bridging the divide on his own. The wish to always have a line that puts Buffy on one side and those she preemptively kills on the other. Spike appears to break through some of this so the writers had to make him limited in how much he could. But of course the very fact that he did fight for his soul still gives a reason for people to root for him. Yet if the point that he was fundamentally limited is still true, just because he realised this doesn't mean he could move beyond it without a soul. This is why I just don't think it works to try to find strong/exact real life equivalents for vampires and the soul, the show context can't be fully stripped away on this point. Ultimately, I think that is what the writers were trying to uphold and that some areas of fandom dislike. It's really the same element of why the show can't truly be transposable with the vampire and the serial killer analogy too as you say.

    Leave a comment:


  • Stoney
    commented on 's reply
    A fundamental limitation despite any potential is the problem as it makes him unreliable in a way that is inherently tied to being soulless. But yes, I do see it as a limitation.

  • American Aurora
    replied
    Originally posted by Cheese Slices View Post
    I am not going to make a point by point response because I'll probably end up paraphrasing points that have already been made (and better expressed) so far, but I would say that whether I personally would qualify someone disliking Buffy having sex with Spike in S6 as "antiquated" hinges upon whether that someone only has a problem with the sex specifically or a problem with Spike being relied on and trusted to an extent by our "heroes" in general. For example, if you think that it's acceptable for Buffy & co to trust Spike to look after Dawn but not inacceptable for him to have sex with Buffy, then I fail to see how your line of thought holds together without assuming that you think that Buffy having sex with Spike somehow "taints" her in some way that is exclusive to sex; bonus points if you don't have as big a problem with Xander having sex with Anya, who is arguably both worse and less remorseless than Spike.
    That's a fantastic point, Cheese Slices - what's the difference between using Spike for muscle as opposed to using Spike for sex? Is one of those things not like the other? Well, actually, they are the same in a fundamental way - in both instances, she's using Spike's infatuation to get what she wants.

    Buffy's discomfort with her Season Six relationship with Spike was as much about her moral reluctance to 'use' Spike because he was in love with her as it was about his past murders and general wickedness. She doesn't really respond to Xander's angry accusations about 'forgetting what he is' - she's more distraught by the fact that she allows Spike to 'do' all these things to her. Why? If it were nothing more than a straight-forward sex marathon with Spike as a kind of undead sex machine providing pleasure, I don't think she'd be as upset.

    It's because of Spike's feelings for her - they're not 'real' to her in one sense and extremely 'real' in another. His constant attempts to parse her words and actions for any sign of affection, to make idle conversation after sex, to get close by showing empathy, to emotionally manipulate her into being with him by telling her she's come back wrong and she wants to be in the dark with him - that's when she feels at her worst. She's using him as an emotional crutch - a kind of vamp sex therapy - to avoid coming to terms with what's really bothering her. Since Buffy doesn't like to think of herself as a user who exploits others, that is a major component going on in Season Six.

    A lot of fans seem to imagine that it's all about crazy S&M sex, but I think what's really causing Buffy tremendous anguish is the fact that Spike is in love with her - or at least he believes hat he is in his own sick, soulless way - from her perspective. Her tears at the end of Dead Things and her pleas for forgiveness are as much about using Spike as they are about her fears over herself and what she's become and how she's lied to her friends. Buffy's morality isn't black-and-white for me - I think it's very complex and hard to unravel. Angel is the same way. Some of it is instinctive - some is learned - some is thrust upon them by outside forces. And the most fascinating times are when we see the wobble - the slip-up - the pushback - as they grapple with scenarios that become a kind of Catch-22 where there is no absolute wrong or right.

    I do agree that it's quite common that we place far more gravitas on a woman's reasons for sleeping with a man than a man's sleeping with a woman. It's why so many shows have male teens casually falling into bed with older women but not the opposite. Some of this is due to the fact that men tend to naturally be placed in more powerful positions - and thanks to societal sexism that rarely listens to women who are exploited, men often ruthlessly use women in a way that was condoned and romanticized by society until fairly recently.

    Of course, we don't really look at the opposite situation - is Anya using Xander to fulfill her human desires after losing her powers? She's been a killer for over a thousand years, seemingly feels no remorse and literally shows up at Xander's place naked, pushing herself into his life. If Anya were a male, would we view her in the same way? Yet many see Xander as the bad guy in their relationship - accusing him of bullying her and shutting her up when he's embarrassed. Would they feel the same if the roles were reversed?

    Interestingly, the relationship between Willow and Tara goes back and forth - the same sex relationship really removes a lot of the gender bias that infuses much of the other relationships in the series, Then again, societal prejudice often leads to readings that view gay relationships as naturally exploitative because they're supposedly unnatural. So a young man with an older woman is fine - but a young man with an older man is exploitative and the young man MUST be protected from the predator.

    I also disagree with the notion that Spike remains as evil throughout the entire show up until he gets his soul back, as there are many instances of him showing empathy (Spiral, Afterlife, Wrecked, OaFA), hesitating to do evil when given the chance (Crush, Smashed, Intervention, every time he gets to look after B's family or friends), and showing remorse to some extent (Hell's Bells, Seeing Red). Doesn't mean he is no longer evil to some extent and that all is forgiven, but I would say the more accurate and nuanced take is to say that his capacity for good is limited rather than completely absent. He is the textbook conflicted character, with both aspect of his identity at war with each other.
    It's hard to qualify if Spike is 'evil' because it's such a nebulous term - what is 'evil' anyway and how does it work in the Buffyverse? We've got characters who say they're connected to 'evil' and we've got a character running around saying they are 'evil' and we even have a character who is the FIRST EVIL.

    But the word is so compromised throughout the centuries and so tied to religious dogma and societal/cultural bias that it's almost lost all meaning. One of the few places that we still see it used in it's original form is the horror genre - which is the center of all the world-building of Buffy and Angel. So 'evil' in the show is said to be this outside force that newly awakened vampires feel an attachment to - it's something that goes back to the origins of the earth in the Buffyverse when the Old Ones walked the planet and in a Luciferian manner, spread evil all around like candy before escaping to other dimensions. There's also a sense that evil is balanced by an eternal 'good' that Angel and Buffy strive for - but from a philosophical point of view, most of the world-building in the Buffyverse is old hat mind-body stuff and rather specious today with an evil 'demon' replacing a human but retaining its memories and character flaws.

    But taking it as it is in the show, is Spike 'evil'? For most of the show, he's a soulless vampire and morally unable to distinguish between selfish desires and selfless love. But it's a problematic evil - because many of the actions that Spike takes are based on a supposedly 'selfish' love that isn't that much different from regular human beings. When it's pointed out that Spike only did such-and-such to impress Buffy because he wants her, why is that more 'evil' than Willow trying to impress Oz? Or Buffy trying to impress Angel? We're all a mixture of good and evil if we judge it solely by selfish vs selfless standards.

    If we perceive evil as an absence of something, however, then it becomes more complex. It's not that Spike tries to impress Buffy by helping a victim, but the fact that he is 'lacking' the empathy that he performs for her benefit. The idea of evil vs good then becomes all about authenticity - are his motives pure? Is he lying? Does he care at all outside of impressing her? When he hangs his head in Intervention, is he showing remorse or is he just parroting the emotion like a Buffybot? The problem is that such depths of feeling are unquantifiable - one fan may see genuine distress when another only sees selfish motives.

    I agree with Cheese Slices and others that it's all about limitation with Spike rather than absence. Spike can make baby steps towards developing genuine human emotions - most likely because his vampire physiology requires the human mimetics of memory and emotional response of his former self to function. Spike can draw upon the dormant qualities of William to some extent - he must anyway or he wouldn't be able to function - but without a 'soul' (which I perceive as probably requiring a complete physiological rewiring of a vampire as well as adding the nebulous element of spiritual consciousness), Spike can only draw upon his limited skill set so far. Whether you can call that moral growth probably depends upon how you feel about Spike's 'authenticity' in terms of motives. So the conversation about good vs evil becomes more focused on degree rather than kind.

    And the degree to which a vampire can even reach towards good probably depends on a lot - as bespangeled says, the chip worked as a conditioning agent. It probably also has a lot to do with Spike's former human self - who was not without his own flaws. I know that we got into a bit of a tiff when discussing William's relationship with his mother a while back, but I still maintain that William's character flaws are enlarged in Spike to a grotesque degree and demonstrate how much influence the original human self has on the vampire.

    Did a lot of fans want Spike to be able to bridge that divide on his own and reclaim his former human self in terms of morality? Yes. Did the writers object for various reasons? Yes. But I think that we're not fully thinking out why that might be the case - why certain people might want Spike to realize goodness on his own. I think that some fans view it as a radical departure that overthrows a lot of societal moral strictures that are oppressive, prejudicial and cruel and tie Spike's situation to real-life examples in which 'morality' has been a nightmarish aggregate of horrors against people because of their gender, race, sexuality, religion - basically, a morality that only exists to define a uncomfortable difference that ends in building societal structures that exclude and punish.

    It's a really tricky situation to divine what fans are thinking and why they feel so strongly about things. The hoary old "they won't sleep with you" as a response to any and all defenses of a character is really off-putting. The idea that fans just like Spike because they want to sleep with him or find him sexy is really reductionist - but it's a tenant of literary and journalistic know-nothings that fan fiction is primarily wish-fantasy by women who are desperate for sex and want to just endlessly write about sexy men who sparkle. This reading is sexist to the core and hilariously ignores the fact that most of the media today still shows out-of-shape older men marrying or dating hot young women decades younger than them. The double-standard is just amazing.

    Finally, imo the whole serial killer analogy only really works so far. Vampires are only partly human per the show's lore, whereas serial killers are 100% human. Serial killers only kill other humans for pleasure or personal gain, while vampires primarily kill humans to feed, though they definitely seem to enjoy "playing with their food". Of course it varies from one vamp to another but their nature is simply not the same as serial killers', and serial killers do not kill because something external happened to them; whether they later repent or not, they remain the same person throughout their entire life.
    Swinging back to Buffy and Spike - I think that Spike IS a predator naturally as a vampire - but I've never, ever liked the formulation 'vampire = serial killer' because the supernatural world of Buffy with a powerful female Slayer and a soulless vampire really lies in a different country than women writing love letters to Ted Bundy. So I agree.

    Buffy and Spike obviously are equals in terms of strength and power - in fact, Buffy has had the advantage of him when he's chipped until she comes back from the dead - and so the power inequities that would normally exist between a man and a woman in real life don't apply here. The same goes for Xander and Anya in some respects. He's now stronger than Anya, but her knowledge of everything is far more vast - they complement each other in a very different way than your average male/female relationship.

    So when Buffy or Spike manage to really throw the other down, there has to be a very good reason. Mainly, throughout season six, the reason is that Spike 'lets' Buffy abuse him in order to win her love - and perhaps tip her a little towards the dark side while doing so. He does nothing to protect himself from the beat-down in Dead Things - he allows her to throw him around in Gone - his balcony monologue isn't accompanied by an attempt to physically subdue Buffy, but to coax her into doing something bad up there while watching her friends below. She could just as easily turned around and twisted his member until he collapsed to the floor if she'd wanted to - which is part of the point here. Buffy DOESN'T do that - there's a part of her that wants Spike to 'do' things to her.

    And although I understand all the arguments over the past twenty years that Buffy should not be with Spike and I agree with a lot of them, some of it does feel motivated from a disappointment that good, pure Buffy would allow that soulless thing to touch her. I agree that Spike is often romanticized to the point of ridiculousness, but there are those people out there. As vampmogs also points out, that's starting to fade as people accept more and more that women have the same basic impluses that men do, but they're still out there.

    And as Cheese Slices says, those fans don't object to allowing the soulless thing to watch Dawn. Or helping the Scoobs defeat Glory. Or numerous other helpful things that Spike does. But having sex with Buffy seems to cross an invisible line that touches upon the societal view that good girls don't want sex with bad boys. Or they shouldn't, anyway.

    I don't think there's anyone on this forum (or in this thread) saying that, but I do see it often on the internet in various places. I really appreciate the complexity of the analysis here by everyone - one of the main reasons why I love this forum.
    Last edited by American Aurora; 01-08-21, 04:17 PM.

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  • flow
    commented on 's reply
    You have to register with a name, a birthdate, and an email address. I don't think there is anything else, but I haven't gone through the process.

  • Cheese Slices
    commented on 's reply
    I have no idea how those work - is there no kind of screening whatsoever beforehand ?

  • Cheese Slices
    replied
    I am not going to make a point by point response because I'll probably end up paraphrasing points that have already been made (and better expressed) so far, but I would say that whether I personally would qualify someone disliking Buffy having sex with Spike in S6 as "antiquated" hinges upon whether that someone only has a problem with the sex specifically or a problem with Spike being relied on and trusted to an extent by our "heroes" in general. For example, if you think that it's acceptable for Buffy & co to trust Spike to look after Dawn but not inacceptable for him to have sex with Buffy, then I fail to see how your line of thought holds together without assuming that you think that Buffy having sex with Spike somehow "taints" her in some way that is exclusive to sex; bonus points if you don't have as big a problem with Xander having sex with Anya, who is arguably both worse and less remorseless than Spike.

    I also disagree with the notion that Spike remains as evil throughout the entire show up until he gets his soul back, as there are many instances of him showing empathy (Spiral, Afterlife, Wrecked, OaFA), hesitating to do evil when given the chance (Crush, Smashed, Intervention, every time he gets to look after B's family or friends), and showing remorse to some extent (Hell's Bells, Seeing Red). Doesn't mean he is no longer evil to some extent and that all is forgiven, but I would say the more accurate and nuanced take is to say that his capacity for good is limited rather than completely absent. He is the textbook conflicted character, with both aspect of his identity at war with each other.

    Finally, imo the whole serial killer analogy only really works so far. Vampires are only partly human per the show's lore, whereas serial killers are 100% human. Serial killers only kill other humans for pleasure or personal gain, while vampires primarily kill humans to feed, though they definitely seem to enjoy "playing with their food". Of course it varies from one vamp to another but their nature is simply not the same as serial killers', and serial killers do not kill because something external happened to them; whether they later repent or not, they remain the same person throughout their entire life.

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  • flow
    replied
    EC recently complained on Insta about an entitled fan that berated her in a paid video because she didn't know every fact about the show.
    I am happy there is an alternative for cons since they have pretty much not happened for one and a half years now. However, I find those one-on-one video calls on cameo highly problematic, to be honest. People can pretty much do anything. They can threaten you, they can make sexual offers, they can insult you ... Theoretically the same could happen in one on one talks at cons but there are always so many people around that I'd like to think people would behave better. Of course, you can always just cut off the phone in a video call but I feel still kinda uncomfortable about them.

    flow

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  • flow
    commented on 's reply
    JM has always said he was a con guy, he went to cons long before he was the guest star. If SMG isn't that much into cons then that's her prerogative.

  • vampmogs
    replied

    Originally posted by bespangeled View Post
    Oookay...sorry if I hit a sore spot.
    You didn't hit a sore spot bespangeled and I'm honestly not sure why you think you did or what warranted this kind of response but it feels unnecessary and counterproductive.

    I was a ST fan when conventions were first taking off, and being at one was fantastic. I bring that up because JM grew up going to cons, and he actually wanted to do conventions and interact with fans. It was a goal in life, and had I gotten into acting it would have been a goal in mine. I used to talk at writing conventions, and it was a kick. I actually enjoyed the interactions.There are other reasons to go to conventions besides just paying your bills.
    Fair enough. It's personally not my thing at all but I'm aware a lot of people get a lot of happiness out of them. I just don't think it's a coincidence that the 'bigger' actors don't do them anywhere near as much as the others with less commercial success do. And it's not a criticism of either of them as I see nothing wrong with actors using them as a source of income if they're not landing other roles and I think they'd be stupid not to. Likewise, I've never held it against any actor who isn't interested in doing them and can get by without it as I personally would be exactly the same. However, fandom did used to regularly hold it against SMG and say that she "owed" it to the fans because fandom can be incredibly obsessive and entitled. She came to work, did 17+ hour long days, and by all accounts was a consummate professional and that's all she or any other actor owed the series. My point was that none of them owe their free time to fans but a lot of fans couldn't see this which drove the "she is ashamed of BtVS" sentiment.

    There are other ways of making money - like creating your own baking business selling food mixes. Yes, AH and DB have had monetarily successful careers as tv actors. That is one form of success, and I wish them well. SMG had markedly less success in her acting career, but seems to have moved on to hawking products from her baking business.
    When looking at her social media she hasn't promoted Foodstirs since July 2019.

    While you cynically believe the lower tier actors do conventions just to make money off of fans, I see SMG only interacting online with fans now that she has her own business, and products to sell.
    I'd share your cynicism if she hadn't joined social media 2 years before her company was founded (joined twitter in 2013 whereas Foodstirs was first founded in 2015) and had promoted it once in the last 2 years.

    Of course that doesn't mean she hasn't been involved in other ad campaigns on social media and has monetarily benefited from them but in the last 8 years they are relatively few and far between. And given that she and her husband were recently making headlines for all the high rises/apartment complexes they invested in years ago (a joint reported net worth of 100 mil) and she's got 2 new shows in development as well as her voice-work with Star Wars and Netflix, I just don't think she's having to rely solely on social media for a means of income, is all I'm saying. I suspect she's also on social media for the same reasons most of the planet is (social interaction, a way to connect, validation, networking etc) and because she also uses it as a platform to regularly promote her activism/causes she's passionate about (voting/voter suppression, vaccination, the recent talk she did about how the pandemic impacted women etc).

    In regards to the conventions, hey, maybe they do enjoy it. It is just genuinely hard for me to imagine it wouldn't get tiresome repeating the same stories ad nauseam for the last 2 decades or doing the Snoopy Dance on stage for the 1000th time. And now they've switched to online videos/messages due to COVID it would be even less interactive (but perhaps easier as it involves no travel). However, I just think it's safe to say that if they stopped getting paid they would pretty much stop doing them. I also would be willing to bet that if they had to make a choice between a new gig/role and a convention they'd take the new gig which is not a judgement at all as I think they'd be absolutely crazy not to.

    That's fine. For whatever reason it happened, we can both agree that now that SMG is using social media she is more popular.
    Yep.

    As for CC being afraid of Joss, that fear did not last long. She's spent at least a decade being quite open with fans at conventions about all the ways Joss done her wrong.
    She didn't say she was afraid of Joss. As per her public statement, she was afraid that speaking out against Joss would impact her popularity with fans as she relies on conventions as her primary source of income. She said that she would regularly attend cons with fans literally walking around with "Joss is my God" on their t-shirts and was fearful that there'd be a public backlash that would impact her financially. Which is completely fair because just a few years ago Joss literally could do no wrong in the eyes of fandom overall, even when her story was out there it was mostly ignored and swept under the rug, and even with Whedon's unpopularity now there are still fans who blame her ('she must have been a problem', 'it couldn't have been that bad', 'she's just looking for attention', 'she should be grateful he gave her a job' etc) so I'd hate to think what it would have been like when he was actually still worshipped.

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  • BtVS fan
    replied
    Originally posted by bespangeled View Post

    Oookay...sorry if I hit a sore spot.

    I was a ST fan when conventions were first taking off, and being at one was fantastic. I bring that up because JM grew up going to cons, and he actually wanted to do conventions and interact with fans. It was a goal in life, and had I gotten into acting it would have been a goal in mine. I used to talk at writing conventions, and it was a kick. I actually enjoyed the interactions.There are other reasons to go to conventions besides just paying your bills.

    There are other ways of making money - like creating your own baking business selling food mixes. Yes, AH and DB have had monetarily successful careers as tv actors. That is one form of success, and I wish them well. SMG had markedly less success in her acting career, but seems to have moved on to hawking products from her baking business.

    While you cynically believe the lower tier actors do conventions just to make money off of fans, I see SMG only interacting online with fans now that she has her own business, and products to sell. That's fine. For whatever reason it happened, we can both agree that now that SMG is using social media she is more popular.

    As for CC being afraid of Joss, that fear did not last long. She's spent at least a decade being quite open with fans at conventions about all the ways Joss done her wrong.



    Really ! ? So SMG is just being cynical to promote her food business yet the guy whose very open in interviews that he did all he could not to be killed off because he had bills to pay only did the convention circuit to interact with fans and no other reason

    Actually those previous years CC was always very polite about Joss when she told the story, she never mentioned the name calling of her fat etc when she was pregnant or asking her if she's going to keep it ?

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  • bespangeled
    replied
    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

    There was never really any truth to that. SMG was always very complimentary of the show and happily discussed it whenever asked in interviews and attended the PaleyFest reunion in 2007. She also specifically used her acceptance speech for her People's Choice Award to honour BtVS and thank the fans back when The Crazy Ones first started airing (and prior to Robin's death). A lot of fans interpreted SMG as running from BtVS because she was never interested in doing cons which, IMO, always reeked of fan entitlement. I don't think SMG's opinion of the series changed, it's just that when she joined social media she was now interactive with fans and she could express it more publicly/often. Before that Sarah said she was very private and was very hesitant to join social media and share her life with the public. However, she's since revealed a lot of things that show sentimentality towards the show (like that she's kept one of Buffy's stakes in her bedside table ever since the series ended in 2003 or kept Buffy's prom dress from PG) that fans were just unaware of back when she wasn't on Instagram.

    She did look forwards in her career but that also doesn't mean she was ever running from BtVS which is the same for DB and Alyson Hannigan. What is interesting is that fandom never accused Aly of being unappreciative despite the fact that she started focusing on HIMYM, didn't even attend the Paleyfest reunion and never attended cons because she was friends with Joss. Whereas, SMG and DB who very much kept Joss at a distance were accused of being unappreciative towards the series and 'fans.' But a lot of these fans naively think that the likes of CC, JM, NB and EC are doing cons for them when in reality they're doing it to pay their bills and of course like all actors would much rather be acting in new roles then endlessly talking about a job they had 20 years ago. CC even admitted that she was fearful about speaking out about Joss because cons are her primary source of income and EC recently complained on Insta about an entitled fan that berated her in a paid video because she didn't know every fact about the show and SMG commented and said it's one of the reasons she wouldn't ever do it because she'd just be a disappointment. Fans are a bit blind to the fact that it's not a coincidence that the most commercially successful stars (SMG, DB, Alyson, Seth Green) aren't on the endless convention circuit. A lot of these fans can also be terribly exploitative towards actors like NB who are clearly in a real mess and yet they have no problem taking advantage of this to get access to one of the show's stars.
    Oookay...sorry if I hit a sore spot.

    I was a ST fan when conventions were first taking off, and being at one was fantastic. I bring that up because JM grew up going to cons, and he actually wanted to do conventions and interact with fans. It was a goal in life, and had I gotten into acting it would have been a goal in mine. I used to talk at writing conventions, and it was a kick. I actually enjoyed the interactions.There are other reasons to go to conventions besides just paying your bills.

    There are other ways of making money - like creating your own baking business selling food mixes. Yes, AH and DB have had monetarily successful careers as tv actors. That is one form of success, and I wish them well. SMG had markedly less success in her acting career, but seems to have moved on to hawking products from her baking business.

    While you cynically believe the lower tier actors do conventions just to make money off of fans, I see SMG only interacting online with fans now that she has her own business, and products to sell. That's fine. For whatever reason it happened, we can both agree that now that SMG is using social media she is more popular.

    As for CC being afraid of Joss, that fear did not last long. She's spent at least a decade being quite open with fans at conventions about all the ways Joss done her wrong.





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