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  • Two Sunnydales

    With apologies (well, not really) to John Edwards, I think there are two Sunnydales represented in the Buffyverse, two Sunnydales represented in the fandom.

    One is the gothic fantasy, the place where Buffy has dramatic, sweeping romances with vampires, where Slayers turn to dark and back, where there are hunter and hunted and epic fights.

    One is the metaphor for life and friendship, the place where great friends play with each other's hair and watch old movies, cast love spells and wrestle with their old crushes and jobs and school.

    Which one do you live in, when you come to town as a fan?
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  • #2
    I've never really saw them as two different entities myself.

    It also involves what you mean by 'coming to town' really.

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    • #3
      i'm a gothic fantasy girl, myself. but, you already knew that.

      of all the sets in the jossverse, i wanted angel's first apartment (it looks so drab, stark and homey--i love the imagery of that red bed cover being the only colorful thing in the whole room--i want to raid angel's historical stuff), the hyperion (yay for pomegranate mist, a poof and a place to hang people in the lobby), the factory (it's all about the metal staircase) and the master's lair (stalagmites and stalactites--and some great-looking candles and bones). angel's batcave (awesome birdcage elevator), the library (dark wood and antique) and the garden of the mansion (not a big fan of the building, though--too modern) are runners up. i'd probably be the only one to take up fred's idea of building condos in the sewer (that sewer set rocked--especially at the beginning of offspring in the rome flashback). oh, and spike's crypt and the big cemetery... awesome.

      overall, bright, shiny sunnydale was no match for the gothic underbelly. and i think ats definitely had more visual style--more of the show at night.

      i'm in love with flashbacks, philosophy, the supernatural, epic tragedies and death scenes, epic gray area and ambiguous morality on both sides of the fight, redemption, betrayal, revenge, outcasts, etc...

      the vampire quartet were really my first interests in the two series. which would explain why that shot of the four of them walking in slow-mo during the boxer rebellion is probably *the* quintessential image of the entire 'verse for me.
      Last edited by NileQT87; 08-12-07, 03:35 AM.

      "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
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      • #4
        That would be what Doug Petrie called their "album cover" in the "Fool For Love" commentary. Unfortunately, it wasn't *quite* as cool to me after I found out that wasn't Angelus, but it was still awesome.

        I can't really decide between the Sunnydales. I commute between them a lot. My favorite characters live in the second Sunnydale, but my favorite episodes live in the first one.
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        • #5
          Vampires. It was all about the vampires. Oh! And the werewolves. I also liked the werewolves.

          NileQT87 -the vampire quartet were really my first interests in the two series. which would explain why that shot of the four of them walking in slow-mo during the boxer rebellion is probably *the* quintessential image of the entire 'verse for me.
          I agree with you Nile! That's one of my favorite scenes!!! Love when Spike does his little "jump" there at the end! And they really nailes his hair in that episode!
          Last edited by ThePoet's<3; 08-12-07, 03:36 AM.
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          • #6
            World #2; essentially the show was about growing up, and this was one of the reasons I like the later seasons best. The characters became very likable, and just to see friends that close is amazing.

            The mythology? I could care less, except when they colossally screw it up. (The fights were good though.) That works to make things seem bigger than life. All the little things mean more when there's an apocalypse, but that's not my reason for watching.

            But the (maybe) #1 reason is that each season/episode has multiple themes which are really fun to analyze. No, seriously. Watch any season/episode and you can find about a billion different reasons for each line, scene, or character.
            Buffy: It sounds like it's difficult for you. Maybe your sister makes it hard for you to establish your own identity. You said she's controlling, she doesn't let you make your own decisions -
            Dawn: Yeah, and she borrows my clothes without asking.

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            • #7
              Neither? Both? The Sunnydale that I fell in love with is the one we learned about in Lie to Me -- the one that says that black and white aren't obvious, that the heroes can be villains, the villains heroes. Where the outsiders can be cool, but might wake up as insiders and have to relearn all their old lessons. It's the one where the refusal to acknowledge the truth about past hurts and betrayals can leave you stunted until you have the courage to confront it. That makes me a fan of the later seasons, though only as being the logical and true development of what happened in the earlier seasons. In practice that means I have more in common with the people who like the gothic Sunnydale.
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              • #8
                I'm definitely a resident of friendshiptown. I was sold on the show by the last scene in the Harvest when Willow and Xander were helping Buffy think of interesting ways to get kicked out of school. Homicide, Brimstone, the Burning Zone, and a number of other shows would have placed higher than BTVS on my favorite shows list if it weren't for the friendship element.

                I loved that three distinct friendships existed between Buffy, Xander, and Willow. Add Giles into the mix and you have the main players in all my favorite scenes of the show. I was such a fan of the Buffy-Xander friendship that I was an anti BXer for five and a half years of the shows original run. I've always viewed the romantic relationships as plots, and the bonds of friendship and platonic love as central themes of the series.

                I've never really been interested in either vampire. Maybe if I hadn't already been a fan of the Spirits of Vengeance, the Nightstalkers, the World of darkness, Kindred the Embrace, and Forever Knight; I would have enjoyed Spike and Angel's stories more. To someone who has read comics since he was ten, redemption stories aren't that novel. And boy did Marvel try to redeem every villain they ever had during the gritty 90's (Venom: Lethal Protector, blah!) If im going to get into a redemption story, it really needs to break the mold.
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                • #9
                  I couldn't possibly choose. I like aspects of 'both' Sunnydales. Love the friendship, love the epicness. I love the mythology of the show, the gothic setting which is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed the look of the earlier seasons more because the sets were more gothic than shiney and new. But I love how the characters were still just people as well, I don't think Sunnydale would be Sunnydale if they split it into two different factions.

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                  • #10
                    Well... I would say it is the grand, sweeping mythology of the show that really draws me in, like the beautiful music, images and myth of "Restless" and such, but that takes its draw and depth from the characters and their psychological struggles. Just look at Buffy and Faith in season 3... that's really epic hatred, of great battles and betrayal, that was founded in a single stroke of jealousy and morality.

                    Then of course the other town, of normal people, is given so much more depth by the big sweeping epic stuff. I think the best example of this is "Innocence", which goes from this beautiful fight between Buffy and Angelus in the 'rain', to the conversation between Buffy and Joyce about Buffy's birthday.

                    It's encapsulated in the division between Buffy's Slayer identity and Buffy's human, "just a girl" identity. They lend each other strength.

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                    • #11
                      I think I visit a third Sunnydale, where the gothic castle is a big joke, dracula is the dark prince-bator, and everything that appears terribly serious is actually ridiculous. And I think that's how I see the real world.

                      Oh, and where Syphilis is funny and vampires are "undead Americans".


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                      • #12
                        I like the Sunnydale of friends hanging out together, and I also like the gothic Sunnydale, where the shadows begin. And this gothic territory itself, as interpreted in the Buffyverse, is the edge where our world meets a world even more mysterious than that of the gothic. The idea of amoral demon realms and whatever odd creatures we might encounter beyond the normal world as we know it. That stuff is up my alley.

                        It's clear that normal life has a fairly central position in Jossverse thought--this is as it should and must be. And the gothic stuff is also more central than the Lovecraft-ist stuff--and that's okay too; the gothic territory and the sheerly alien territory are both the better for this arrangement as well.
                        Last edited by Ojuice5001; 08-12-07, 05:03 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                          I think I visit a third Sunnydale, where the gothic castle is a big joke, dracula is the dark prince-bator, and everything that appears terribly serious is actually ridiculous. And I think that's how I see the real world.

                          Oh, and where Syphilis is funny and vampires are "undead Americans".
                          Agreed. On second thought, the subversion of traditional storylines and mythology is one of the best things about Buffy - the best example being the little blond girl in the alley who just happens to be really badass. I guess you can't have that until you find yourself some mythology in the first place... and what's more absurd and easy to make fun of than vampire/monster mythology?
                          "Are we gonna fight, or is there just gonna be a monster sarcasm rally?"

                          They also did some interesting things that weren't funny with the monsters (the ones that weren't lame, of course). Spike's character development through s5 to become a man was decent, as well as all the metaphors and themes the later monsters represented.
                          Buffy: It sounds like it's difficult for you. Maybe your sister makes it hard for you to establish your own identity. You said she's controlling, she doesn't let you make your own decisions -
                          Dawn: Yeah, and she borrows my clothes without asking.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                            I can't really decide between the Sunnydales. I commute between them a lot. My favorite characters live in the second Sunnydale, but my favorite episodes live in the first one.
                            See, I think that sums it up. You can't choose.

                            At least for me, I watch this show because it doesn't have one cool quality, it's because it's so unique that it has almost EVERY quality that I like. It isn't one genre, it's many and they're all done so well. The relationships are so real and the characters in this show are very, very important to me. But, the storyline is fascinating and has great episodes tied to it. Also, the worlds mix a lot. Like, in "The Gift", I'd consider her love for Dawn World#2, and Tara and Willow being reunited, but Glory going back home is World #1. This show is a mix between so many things. I can't choose because of that reason.

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                            • #15
                              To me personally.. I've always been drawn into Buffy because of the relationships.. and most importantly the three most important characters (Buffy, Xander, Willow).. I've always loved the setting of the show, but it comes down to what is more important to the show. They're both important to the show of course.. I think they both distinctively make the show what it is.. and make the show unique. I love epic fights, the monsters and demons, etc.. but to me I couldn't honestly watch the show if we didn't have our relationships and the connections between our favorite characters. This is the main reason I love season 6.
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                              • #16
                                You know, I'm not really sure. Both Lou and Maggie bring up aspects of the Buffyverse that I probably find more compelling than either of the parts you mentioned (by themselves), Dan. I think on some level "Lie to Me" might be the fulcrum of the whole series, to me--Buffy has to come to terms with the fact that she isn't necessarily or only the good girl in the white hat, but also "the thing that monsters fear". Angel seems to come closer to understanding that about himself (though obviously he has reason), but the easy, artificial division between Angel and Angelus hampers him in other ways.

                                I like the warm, friendly, sunny Sunnydale--but as something that constantly has to be preserved or sought, not as the natural state of things. I like that that side of things exists in spite of the darkness--that the Scoobies usually refuse to let the shadows drag them down.

                                I don't want to get too deep here, but an awful lot of horror is about fear-of-the-other. And while there are times when that fear is justified, it's foolish and wrongheaded at least as often. The Buffyverse's special mix of horror and humor sometimes covers that up, and sometimes exposes it. I prefer the latter, obviously.
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                                • #17
                                  I think I was mesmerized by both aspects actually.

                                  I mean it was season 6 when I started becoming a hardcore fan and Warren had just shot Buffy and Tara, I remember feeling really empathic towards how they would be feeling and thought how this does happen in real life, just not under those circumstances and I was also intrigued by the action scenes between the characters and the way that Willow presented her torment, anger and hurt in such a way that was descriptive in regards to her storyline for that season and her character in general.
                                  So it was both, I remember considering both things when I watched the whole show, obviously certain aspects were moreso than others and at times vice versa, but either way I was on the fence for both.
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                                  • #18
                                    Well, I'm not quite sure, it's like, they complete each other in a way. If the dark side didn't exist, then the light wouldn't have been like that..I prefer the merged life, both included.
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                                    • #19
                                      I'm another commuter.

                                      I love the 'real life' element of sunnydale, the storries about growing up an finding who you are but i'm also a sucker for mythology and Sunnydale has it in droves. In fact the fact the mythology aspect and the real life aspect interwave so closely and that the monsters and the issues become so interchangeable, metaphor becoming flesh and flesh becoming metaphor is to me one of the strongest points of the whole thing.

                                      Add in the subversion of expectations and plot devices and the bitter sweet elements that seem to crop up everywhere you look and, well, that's why I watch.
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                                      • #20
                                        Okay, I like them both but I mostly prefer the relationships. They sometimes have good villains and great fights but the characters and their development is what really fascinates and continues to amaze me still. They have a lot of metaphors beneath the monsters. Essentially, Buffy has one Sunnydale for me, the one where the characters have to learn to live, have to grow and mature. The mythology is just a smoke screen.

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