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  • The So Called Real World

    Hey everyone

    So I have been re watching S6 and while I had thoughts on this before, I never thought about it properly until now. So after watching Normal Again I started to think about the alternative reality that the demon's poison brought Buffy to.

    But what if it wasn't an alternative reality? What if it was the real world? What if Buffy was actually managing to fight and break through her delusions and the whole demon poison thing was just away for Buffy's mind to cover it up. To make her place more trust in the world that she had created, rather than the one that she truly belonged to.

    There was one quote in particular that I noticed that could almost be seen as a way of backing up the fact that the mental in institution was real and that Sunnydale, the scoobies Dawn all of it was imaginary.

    DOCTOR: That's right. Last summer, when you had a momentary awakening, it was them that pulled you back in.
    The doctor makes reference to the previous summer which we all know was the time that Buffy was dead between the Gift and Bargaining and that got me thinking. What if Buffy hadn't died? What if she had even temporarily broken through her mind delusions and her death in Sunnydale was just away of finalizing this fact. We the viewer have never had Buffy's heaven explained to us not fully. But what if she wasn't in a heavenly dimension as suggested by Tara?

    What if she was in actual fact back in the real world the institution and was beginning to recover that is until her friends, the traps of her mind dragged her back in? There are also a number of other things about this world which made it seem quite likely and one of these was the non existence of Dawn. Though we know Dawn took it as an insult doesn't the fact that she doesn't exist there not make sense? Since as we know she isn't Buffy's sister, but rather the key something which was made human and given false memories by monks. Then of course if the world of the mental institution was the real one Dawn wouldn't exist...

    The final thing which made me think that it could possibly be was the ending and the way that Joyce and Hank seemed genuinely upset that they lost her. They seemed to hold the reaction of a true parent, they certainly didn't hold anger and annoyance that an enemy would have, if they had just been trying to trick Buffy into murdering her friends. Also if that world was just created as an hallucination by the Demon medicine then shouldn't it have stopped existing when Buffy took the antitode...

    So that's me done... I am really interested ot hear other people's opinions on the issue. I am not entirely sure how I feel. I just thought it would be fun to give some arguments as to why this world would exist since I am sure that a number of viewers will likely instantly dismiss it although of course I can not speak for all Buffy verse fans
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  • #2
    I thought of that... but not deeply like you did.
    The whole thing is just so complicated that it's too hard to understand.. I mean, If she was creating her own world, then why did it suck most of the time? isn't the point of creating your own world that it will be the way you want it to be based on your wishes and thoughts?
    Like, I think if she was just imagening her world as a slayer in sunnydale, that Dawn is her creation, which means she wanted a sister.. But why create a sister that is so annoying to her in season 5 for example? You see, it is complicated and it has many buts and why's and other stuff... but good thinking.

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    • #3
      Well it's a interesting ep.

      On one hand we do not truly know which world is real within the episode. However we tend to want to believe that the Buffyverse is the real world and the hallucinations are just that, mainly because the series wouldn't be as satisfying if it were all a delusion.

      Also it would have to mean that Angel's universe is a construct of Buffy's mind as well. Which seems unlikely that her mind can in two or more places at once.

      As well as dealing with the 'Matrix' style 'Is this world real'? question it also carries on the themes of the value and angst of human existence. Buffy actually chooses the hard reality where she has made mistakes, her mothers died, etc. Omri kind of alluded to it but her reality in the verse is the one where she has to be strong not the hospital. However the mind can sometimes play tricks on us. Sometimes people with a serious mental illness can make their reality seem more real by making their 'sister seems annoying' because that's more real. Our choices in what to believe inform our subsequent choices and this is what Buffy has to go through. She placed her faith in the supernatural world. Is she right? We'd like to think so but maybe the last scene was Buffy's way of trying to hang on to the preferred existence.

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      • #4
        That was an amazing episode, one of my favourites. But the whole thing just gets too confusing to think about, so I usually give up :P Although I think that both worlds are 'real'.. only just alternate realities. That there are many different realities that are taking place this very moment, we just see the whole Buffyverse one that we know and love Not too sure if that makes much sense, sorry

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        • #5
          Originally posted by omri View Post
          I thought of that... but not deeply like you did.
          The whole thing is just so complicated that it's too hard to understand.. I mean, If she was creating her own world, then why did it suck most of the time? isn't the point of creating your own world that it will be the way you want it to be based on your wishes and thoughts?
          Like, I think if she was just imagening her world as a slayer in sunnydale, that Dawn is her creation, which means she wanted a sister.. But why create a sister that is so annoying to her in season 5 for example? You see, it is complicated and it has many buts and why's and other stuff... but good thinking.
          As Kana said I think if this were the real world the main reason that Buffy would have troubles to face again would be for the sake of realism. I mean from what we know up until she was 15 the year before she moved to Sunnydale at the age of 16 or at least in the Buffy verse world that we know and love. She has faced conflict before in her life not to the severity of what she has suffered, but none the less she knows that conflict exists in the world. For example if I were to wake up tomorrow and find myself in a prefect world where nothing bad happened, death didn't exist, there were no wars etc. Perhaps I wouldn't think I was mentally insane or in a different world, but I would certainly know something was wrong.

          Another reason for having Sunnydale as imperfect as it was. Didn't the doctor state that Buffy has created this world where she is at the centre and a superhero. Wouldn't this suggest that as apart of the superhero complex of this world that Buffy needed to have enemies, needed to have problems issues for her to have to deal with and come out stronger. As of such wouldn't her mind also look for those things which would hurt or scare Buffy the most in her real life such as the death of her mother, having an annoying sibling which I am sure to an only child could be scary in itself.

          Originally posted by kana View Post
          Well it's a interesting ep.

          On one hand we do not truly know which world is real within the episode. However we tend to want to believe that the Buffyverse is the real world and the hallucinations are just that, mainly because the series wouldn't be as satisfying if it were all a delusion.
          I have to agree with you there and although I haven't gotten around to listening to the episode commentary that's on the Season 6 Box set. I am pretty certain that I have read somewhere that the writers purposely left this open to let the viewers decide. However feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

          Originally posted by kana View Post
          Also it would have to mean that Angel's universe is a construct of Buffy's mind as well. Which seems unlikely that her mind can in two or more places at once.
          Well it really depends on how you look at it. I mean I am not saying that her mind can be in two places at once, but then this is the one world, which is based in her mind, and it also makes sense that she would create things for Angel to do. After all we as the viewers know that Buffy keeps contact with Angel in this world not lots of contact, but certainly enough that her mind would feel the need to create great villains for Angel who in her mind is a hero as well to conquer.

          Originally posted by Phoenix View Post
          That was an amazing episode, one of my favourites. But the whole thing just gets too confusing to think about, so I usually give up :P Although I think that both worlds are 'real'.. only just alternate realities. That there are many different realities that are taking place this very moment, we just see the whole Buffyverse one that we know and love Not too sure if that makes much sense, sorry
          That makes prefect sense and in actual fact I am actually in the same position as you as in I too do not know where I stand on this issue. However I do find it fun to argue in favour of the world of the institution being real and that is why I will most likely be taking this particular stance for the duration of the thread.
          Last edited by Bittersweettwit; 15-10-07, 05:46 PM.
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          • #6
            I also thought of that deeply like you did, I even questioned myself for a moment about my life, what if mine was that way Then I returned to the real world Right, it's a psychological epi, I dunno, have no idea, but I'd prefer that Sunnydale was real for Buffy (absolutely) it affects too much while watching for the first time, especially if you are watching alone(like I did) I mean..confusing..
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            • #7
              I'm so glad you posted this because it's something i thought of when i saw the episode too. I think the writers were extremely clever to put that theory of alternative worlds in the show, yet again. It was always touched upon, but never in a way that the viewer could relate to. Especially through the idea of being medicated to the point of being so out of touch with your own surroundings. Whether thats drug induced or not.

              Also, i think as someone mentioned earlier in the thread... this alternate universe buffy has 'created' is one where she is centre of attention, the 'hero'. I think this reflects psychological battles between the 'id' and 'ego' (our inner and outer selves, to put it simply) where, externally, in the 'real world', buffy is fighting what she probably thinks is a losing battle. So to deal with this she has reverted within herself where she's fighting battles and winning.

              I think buffy needed to have enemies in order to come out stronger; As humans we create problems for ourselves, so that we can triumph over them, and go from feeling pain & fear, to feeling the exact opposite, and therefore getting an even bigger hit.

              When buffy was brought back from death (or was it real life?) in season 6, she struggled to get to grips with the world she was in, a world that she created. This perhaps shows that her own psyche was growing out of her childhood/teenage delusions. Perhaps, if it wasn't for Spike taking advantage of her, she may have awoken from her delusion and rejoined the real world.
              (Don't get me wrong i love Spuffy, heh.)

              Coming full circe, i think she digressed into her made up world of sunnydale, as a result of her parents divorce. Usually children have imaginary friends, but Whedon upped the anti and created an imaginary town, friends and enemies.
              In otherwords an imaginary life.

              And don't most artists say that their art is an extension of their own lives?
              "Blue in the face with a choking regret."

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