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I need to give them what they need, not what they want.

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  • I need to give them what they need, not what they want.

    A quote of Joss, but did he follow his own advice? Did he really gave us what we needed or did he slip sometimes to get more viewers? Or don't lose any ...

    Why the return of Angel in season 3? Because the story needed that or because DB/Angel had many fans?
    Why wasn't Spike dusted in season 4, 5 or 6? There was no reason given why he should stay after the underwear stealing, Buffybot, the AR etc. Why the redemption storyline? There was already one. Because JM is such a great guy with lots of fangirls?
    Why the 'magic=drugs' storyline? Were they scared that Willow became unlikable? Or did they thought is was a better story as the one with Willow who became 'evil' without being high because of the magic?

    And the biggest question:
    In Chosen there was a 'Bangel' thing and a 'Spuffy' thing. Why? To make the fans happy? Why not making the Ruffy and Xander/Buffy fans happy also? He spend already many minutes in the final just to make a lot of fans happy.

    Why not his own opinion, why not;
    'Sorry Spike, but Buffy still loves Angel and that will stay that way ... she feels something for you but not that way'

    or

    'Angel, get over it. Buffy is over Angel and she is now with Spike.'

    Instead we've got;
    Buffy loves Angel very much and if she could, she would spend her life with him. Only he makes her smile again. And not much later we have Buffy in Spike's bed ... with the chance for the fans to make Spuffy sex canon if they want to. Heck, Buffy's last words are about loving Spike.

    Is that what we needed or what we wanted?
    Nina
    and her haircut.
    Last edited by Nina; 08-01-08, 07:08 PM.


  • #2
    It's what we need to remain interested in the story, the characters and the 'ships. The resolution and the "happily ever after" is what we (think we) want, but our interest would wane as soon as we got it.

    Joss Whedon: In terms of the Angel thing, the truth is that by Year 4 we would have been throwing up our hands going, "How can we possibly make this fresh?"
    Interviewer: Often what the fan base wants is for two characters to get together romantically, but that often doesn't leave the narrative with anyplace to go.
    Joss Whedon: It's Sam and Diane. That's why we had Angel go bad when he and Buffy got together. Because -- and I've gotten into so much trouble for this phrase -- what people want is not what they need. In narrative, nobody wants to see fat, married Romeo and Juliet, even if fat, married Romeo and Juliet happen to be Nick and Nora Charles and they're really cool and having a great time in their lovely relationship and really care about each other and have nice, well-adjusted children. Guess what? People don't want to see it.
    That was the problem we ran into with Riley. We said, "Let's give Buffy a healthy relationship," and people didn't want it. They did some great work together. But at the same time, when they were happy, it made people crazy. We found this with Willow and Tara, we found it with Gunn and Fred. It's fine for a while, but ultimately the course of true love is not allowed to run smooth.
    Last edited by Enisy; 08-01-08, 07:06 PM.

    (set made by Francy for me)

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    • #3
      I think it's a bit more complicated than pandering to fans desires. Sometimes I'm sure the reaction of the fans does influence matters (I'm sure I heard somewhere, a commentary maybe, that Kate in AtS was dropped in S2 because the fans didn't warm to her) but I think there's also the writers liking a particular actor/ress and wanting more of them in the show.

      I really think that Angel returning was because Joss had the idea for an Angel spin-off in S2 and had to bring him back to achieve this, so I don't think that would've been a fan thing.

      Joss seems to really favour a few of his actors (something I've picked up from the commentaries not hard evidence) and therefore doesn't want to lose them from the series - James Marsters definately fits in that category, so that would explain the not dusting in later seasons. Originally though Spike was intended to be killed off at the end of WML Part 2, but he was so popular that he was kept on. That could be a fan thing, or a popularity with the writers.

      With regards to Willow, take a look at the discussions on S8 and the possibilty of Xander betraying Buffy. Totally changing your perceptions about a character is a very tricky business to do well. I think Joss did decide to show Willow in another light, and thought it through very carefully - making her "evil", without ripping her character to shreds. In that he suceeded very well.

      Unfortunately, I think the Bangel and Spuffy scenes in Chosen were there to

      a. Ensure the Buffy only fans didn't forget that there was a spin-off, which was about to go into it's next season with a much reduced budget and more controls over the content. Joss must've realised it was in dangerous waters and needed every viewer he could (Me? Synical, never!)
      b. Put proper context for her final words to Spike, and to accomplish the prediction of Cassie in Help, but also to add closure to the relationship which didn't happen very clearly with the Bangel relationship.

      So basically, I think Joss tells his stories the way he wants to with all sorts of other things influencing how he tells it.
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      Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

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      • #4
        First; I'm deeply impressed with your quote collection. Really, wow!

        Originally posted by Enisy View Post
        It's what we need to remain interested in the story, the characters and the 'ships. The resolution and the "happily ever after" is what we (think we) want, but our interest would wane as soon as we got it.
        I don't know. I was pretty annoyed with all the failing relations. I would be so happy (I think) if there would be a romantic relationship that was actually working, one with 'real' problems ... and 'real' solutions.

        Joss Whedon: In terms of the Angel thing, the truth is that by Year 4 we would have been throwing up our hands going, "How can we possibly make this fresh?"
        I also think that the departure of Angel was a thing we needed.

        Interviewer: Often what the fan base wants is for two characters to get together romantically, but that often doesn't leave the narrative with anyplace to go.
        Joss Whedon: It's Sam and Diane. That's why we had Angel go bad when he and Buffy got together. Because -- and I've gotten into so much trouble for this phrase -- what people want is not what they need. In narrative, nobody wants to see fat, married Romeo and Juliet, even if fat, married Romeo and Juliet happen to be Nick and Nora Charles and they're really cool and having a great time in their lovely relationship and really care about each other and have nice, well-adjusted children. Guess what? People don't want to see it.
        That was the problem we ran into with Riley. We said, "Let's give Buffy a healthy relationship," and people didn't want it. They did some great work together. But at the same time, when they were happy, it made people crazy. We found this with Willow and Tara, we found it with Gunn and Fred. It's fine for a while, but ultimately the course of true love is not allowed to run smooth.
        I don't agree with Joss here. I think that with good writing, there can be enough good and interesting stories for a 'normal' relationship.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ciderdrinker
          b. Put proper context for her final words to Spike, and to accomplish the prediction of Cassie in Help, but also to add closure to the relationship which didn't happen very clearly with the Bangel relationship.
          Neither relationship got closure, and that was very intentional on Joss's part.

          Joss Whedon: I don't think [Spike]'s the kind of guy that would be like, "Well, that was a fun time with Buffy..." I don't think he feels a sense of resolve or resolution about the relationship. I think he feels that he was ready to sacrifice himself for her, and it was a beautiful thing, but... it wasn't like he's cured of loving Buffy, any more than Angel is.

          David Fury: And the problem with [Sarah] coming back anyway is that it sort of invites closure for Spike and/or Angel, which I'm not sure we ever want to do. I think it's better never to quite know.

          (set made by Francy for me)

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          • #6
            Why not his own opinion, why not;
            'Sorry Spike, but Buffy still loves Angel and that will stay that way ... she feels something for you but not that way'

            or

            'Angel, get over it. Buffy is over Angel and she is now with Spike.'
            I always got the feeling that Buffy actually choose between Angel and Spike in Chosen, pretty clear to me: she sent Angel home and give Spike the amulet and spend the night with it, two days after she tells him she loves him.

            For me, the cookie dough speech was, for Buffy, only a way to tell Angel she doesn't love him anymore but giving him a maybe to not break his heart.
            By the way I'm spuffy, hello!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pandora's_Box View Post
              I always got the feeling that Buffy actually choose between Angel and Spike in Chosen, pretty clear to me: she sent Angel home and give Spike the amulet and spend the night with it, two days after she tells him she loves him.

              For me, the cookie dough speech was, for Buffy, only a way to tell Angel she doesn't love him anymore but giving him a maybe to not break his heart.
              By the way I'm spuffy, hello!
              Well this comes from a Bangel (Yes I'm believing in Bangel 4evah! ), But I really think that the kiss in EoD/Chosen is enough 'prove' to know that the love isn't gone.

              (Or was it sarcasm? I'm really bad with recognizing sarcasm. )

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              • #8
                I also think that Joss is wrong about happy and stable relationships. I think he's taking the wrong view of a truly healthy relationship. It's just one character, not two. It isn't two boring people, it's one dynamic person, and you just begin writing for it. I mean, Spiderman's been married for, what, 30 years? Superman's been married for 15 or so? Those fans aren't leaving. Because, the relationship isn't the story, it's the character in the story.

                I've never liked this quote, and I think it's actually a little pretentious. Better to just say the story is what the story is, and that the wants or needs of the audience aren't part of it. Because I can think of things that have happened, and even more that might happen, that as a fan, I don't want *or* need. But I can think of far more examples of the audience getting things they 'want' than things that they 'need' -- in fact, I can't think of anything the audience 'needed' but didn't want, just things that the story needed. Jenny being killed, for instance. Fans weren't going to lose interest or stop watching Season 2 just because they hadn't seen anyone get killed, they didn't *need* that. The story might have, for the tension, for the risk, but that's the story, not the audience.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                  I also think that Joss is wrong about happy and stable relationships. I think he's taking the wrong view of a truly healthy relationship. It's just one character, not two. It isn't two boring people, it's one dynamic person, and you just begin writing for it. I mean, Spiderman's been married for, what, 30 years? Superman's been married for 15 or so? Those fans aren't leaving. Because, the relationship isn't the story, it's the character in the story.

                  I've never liked this quote, and I think it's actually a little pretentious. Better to just say the story is what the story is, and that the wants or needs of the audience aren't part of it. Because I can think of things that have happened, and even more that might happen, that as a fan, I don't want *or* need. But I can think of far more examples of the audience getting things they 'want' than things that they 'need' -- in fact, I can't think of anything the audience 'needed' but didn't want, just things that the story needed. Jenny being killed, for instance. Fans weren't going to lose interest or stop watching Season 2 just because they hadn't seen anyone get killed, they didn't *need* that. The story might have, for the tension, for the risk, but that's the story, not the audience.
                  Totally agree with you. I think it has a lot to do with where you're going for your drama. If, more often that not, you're looking to your romantic relationships for your main drama, then yes, happy couples would result in quite a boring show. But there's absolutely no reason why you can't have dramatic things happening around the couple and not between them. Buffy could still have dramatic and compelling stories like, for example, the ones with Dawn and her Mother in S5 whilst being in a happy, healthy relationship.

                  I agree with the "want and need" issue too. Another example is Tara. Whilst it might have been necessary for the storyline to enable Willow's dark turn, I don't think any fans wanted or needed her to be killed off. I think in that situation, he'd be smarter to say he just felt it was something that needed to be done for storyline progression.
                  OkinawanSteel
                  Hellmouth Tourist
                  Last edited by OkinawanSteel; 08-01-08, 08:19 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Well I wouldn't change any BtVS storylines. Especially what happened in Innocence. I do take the view however that you can have a stable relationship and still a good show. But what happened in Innocence was something really important to convey about who Buffy was, and something that a lot of women can relate to (obviously in a metaphor kind of way, I hope!).
                    Stuff like Willow dealing badly with the death of Tara right as they get back together is another thing which I wouldn't trade away. I also wouldn't mind her coming back sometimes though But I still enjoyed the Dark Willow arc and could relate to her pain. The scene with Xander on the bluff is another important message.. I've had a lot of non BtVS fans watch it at my house and they were all touched as much as me. Guess it's that unconditional love thing.
                    The Banike thing is something which still baffles me though. It was handled as good as can be, but seems like they dug themselves into a hole.
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                    • #11
                      Banike = Xander/Anya/Spike/Buffy in Entropy? Or what?

                      (set made by Francy for me)

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                      • #12
                        LOL Banike is Buffy:Angel:Spike. Yep there's prolly a better acronym. Spanuffy? Anufike? Sounds like enough.
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                        • #13
                          Hee! The common term is Spuffel, just for the record.

                          (set made by Francy for me)

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                          • #14
                            How about Ihacombames?

                            [I ha(te) comb(ining) (n)ames]

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by alexa View Post
                              The Banike thing is something which still baffles me though. It was handled as good as can be, but seems like they dug themselves into a hole.
                              Well whatever it's called I think you're right. And the Spuffel's just keep digging it deeper! I like David Fury's comment above (Thanks Enisy) about it never being quite over. Because someone's going home with crumbs.
                              -TP<3
                              "At that point I'd love a fight and a heart to heart and then of course naughtiness and happy ever after."
                              - Dorian's Kitten re: Spuffy Reunion

                              Spuffy Videos!

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                              • #16
                                The way out of the hole is pretty straightforward -- if you don't want Buffy to be with either of them, don't put her there. Leave or single or give her a new love interest, and ignore the complaints. There was relentless criticism of Willow and Kennedy, and then, after a long enough time, Joss writes a two page scene between them, and suddenly people are okay with the relationship. They'll get over it.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  I've never liked this quote, and I think it's actually a little pretentious. Better to just say the story is what the story is, and that the wants or needs of the audience aren't part of it.
                                  I agree in part with this - the story is what is important not the needs of the audience, but other factors do come into play as well. As I said Angel coming back from hell wasn't what the audience wanted or needed, but what he needed in order for Angel to have his own series. I don't think Joss is going to stand up and say I did this because ratings were falling, or I seem to be losing my core audience - he's too erudite for that.

                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  There was relentless criticism of Willow and Kennedy, and then, after a long enough time, Joss writes a two page scene between them, and suddenly people are okay with the relationship. They'll get over it.
                                  Exactly why I don't think he panders to his fans, and why he said it in the first place. He's letting the fans down gently in a way - telling them to get over it without sounding harsh
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                                  Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

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                                  • #18
                                    I do think the Willow/Kennedy relationship is Joss' way of saying that he isn't going to pander to fans. When Willow said "she died" in 'The Long Way Home' you could tell Joss was just pandering to fans lol, so many of them expressed that desire. But then we just got the scene in 'Anywhere But Here' with Willow saying Kennedy is the woman she loves, and you get the impression they're here to stay. He stuck with his decision this time.

                                    The shippy pandering in 'Chosen' was a little frustrating, but I can forgive him just because I like the idea of Angel coming back for the final episode seeing what a big impact he had on the show and to establish the connection between Btvs and Ats. But, I'd take more core four scooby interaction over the Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike scenes any day. I think Joss let himself down that time.

                                    ~ Banner by Nina ~

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Nina
                                      And the biggest question:
                                      In Chosen there was a 'Bangel' thing and a 'Spuffy' thing. Why? To make the fans happy? Why not making the Ruffy and Xander/Buffy fans happy also? He spend already many minutes in the final just to make a lot of fans happy.
                                      By putting a brighter spin on the Bangel relationship in the final eps, it had to draw a lot of fans back to the show. For me, it redeemed my hardcore Bangel love over the wasteland of so many seasons cold without any Bangel moments. Having Angel show up and still be so in sync with Buffy made me feel less of a fool for loving a couple that hadn't been in a happy relationship for over 5 years. Gave me hope again.

                                      However, to give the Bangel fans what we wanted, Joss needed to balance the show with Spuffy. It couldn't be balanced with Ruffy or Xuffy. Not embracing Spuffy would have been an insult to those fans after the Bangel moment because there was always strong Spike and Angel rivalry. So kept Spuffy's at peace.

                                      So I'd say it was done for the two largest shipper sets so they could each leave the show believing their ship won.


                                      Originally posted by Pandora's_Box View Post
                                      I always got the feeling that Buffy actually choose between Angel and Spike in Chosen, pretty clear to me: she sent Angel home and give Spike the amulet and spend the night with it, two days after she tells him she loves him.

                                      For me, the cookie dough speech was, for Buffy, only a way to tell Angel she doesn't love him anymore but giving him a maybe to not break his heart.
                                      By the way I'm spuffy, hello!
                                      Hmmm!! It's so funny how we all interpret things so differently. I always thought it meant she saw Angel as an individual with his own life. And Spike was there as an instrument for her to use.

                                      Not to mention the fact that wearing the amulet seemed rather risky/suicide mission and she hoped to at least let Angel have a fighting chance to survive.

                                      But I'm a Bangel.

                                      As far as the what we wanted and needed quote. I think Joss hit one out of the ballpark by ripping Buffy/Angel apart with Angelus. However, it worked because it was new to the show and unexpected. Unfortunately, the show repeatedly tried to mire the characters in pain and for me it felt repetitious and boring many times.

                                      I think Joss misunderstood why it worked to so well and thought it was a formula to be used often. I would have appreciated a more varied or natural approach. Life sucks, but just because something is good doesn't mean you need to start waiting for the other shoe to fall and beat you back down.

                                      Lydia made the punch!

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                                      • #20
                                        While a stable relationship is definitely possible for a show (so I partially disagree), I see where Joss is coming from.

                                        A lot of times fans don't like seeing their characters get killed, breakups, their individual wants and desires. I think what Joss was saying is that you can't have a fairy tale where everything works out, essentially.. because it's not good for a show. There has to be bad that happens with the good.


                                        However, I do agree to an extent that a main character can never really have a stable relationship in a show and retain interest for the viewer if it's a main part of the show. For instance, relationships were a huge part of the show of Buffy.. so Joss was always using provocative themes and motives for them. In the situation with Buffy, Joss had to essentially always have an unstable relationship because it kept the juices flowing, because of how relationship driven Buffy the Vampire Slayer is. It thrives on relationships, and it thrives on drama between relationships.
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