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  • Bring on the GAY!

    I was just casually discussing the subtext between Riley and Forest in season 4 when it occurred to me that not everyone takes the gay subtext for granted in the same way I do. So...discussion!

    To me, the subtext runs heavy in the jossverse. Everyone's a little bit gay (to the tune of everyone's a little bit racist, anyone? Avenue Q? Anyone?). There are the biggies - the Joss-acknowledged 'one time' between Spike and Angel, and the heavy subtext between Angelus and Spike in season 2 of buffy, and the Buffy/Faith subtext intentionally implied by the writers from the beginning of their relationship. But I see lots more than that...I see lots of lovely Willow and Buffy potential subtext (from Willow's perspective), some nice Spike and Xander subtext....loads of Ethan and Giles...

    And I could go on. But basically, what I'm wondering is...what do you all think? Do you see the subtext too? Do you enjoy it? Do you look for it? Personally, I love slashy fanfic and rarely read anything else, because I love seeing the subtext made text. Who's your favorite pair of subtexters?

    Or maybe you disagree? Find it annoying/find slashers annoying?

    Questions? Comments?
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    http://buffysmom.wordpress.com/

  • #2
    Xandrew, Xandriley And now Xandracula. I could never read a fanfic in which Xander and Spike got consummatey because it would be too out of character but any of the above pairings works for me in the fantastical world of Fan fabricated fiction. Also Dru and Darla must have been as intimate as Spike and Angel and I loved their interaction in Angel season 2.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by litzie View Post
      I was just casually discussing the subtext between Riley and Forest in season 4...
      Oh, jealous!Forest gets so snarky. I do love his "all temperature Buffy" line.


      [/quote] when it occurred to me that not everyone takes the gay subtext for granted in the same way I do. So...discussion!

      To me, the subtext runs heavy in the jossverse. Everyone's a little bit gay (to the tune of everyone's a little bit racist, anyone? Avenue Q? Anyone?).[/quote]

      Or perhaps to the tune of "If you were gay, that'd be ok (but I'm not gay)"

      There are the biggies - the Joss-acknowledged 'one time' between Spike and Angel, and the heavy subtext between Angelus and Spike in season 2 of buffy, and the Buffy/Faith subtext intentionally implied by the writers from the beginning of their relationship. But I see lots more than that...I see lots of lovely Willow and Buffy potential subtext (from Willow's perspective), some nice Spike and Xander subtext....loads of Ethan and Giles...

      Ethan/Giles is definitely one of the biggies for me. I'm trying to think of instances now, but generally the atmosphere between them, and the fact that it's Ethan that brings out Giles's hawt scary side for the first time. I don't know why, but the "Hello Ripper" line that Ethan says to him when they first re-meet is just sizzling with...I was going to say Gypsies, but that's a whole Blackadder thing....sexual tension, is what I was going to say.

      However, I'm not sure how much I think of BtVS in a subtext context, because....well, I'll reply to the next bit to explain myself.


      And I could go on. But basically, what I'm wondering is...what do you all think? Do you see the subtext too? Do you enjoy it? Do you look for it? Personally, I love slashy fanfic and rarely read anything else, because I love seeing the subtext made text. Who's your favorite pair of subtexters?

      Or maybe you disagree? Find it annoying/find slashers annoying?

      Questions? Comments?
      I enjoy the subtext a lot, but I think that slash in Buffy isn't really slash, because the subtext and the text are interchangeable for me. Someone kindly made me an avatar to that effect, misquoting Spike: "It's not slash if you say yes". By explicitly playing with the subtext, and by turning it into text (that one time), you get a more complex relationship between the notion of reading stuff into the text/teasing out the subtext and just plain reading the text. When hot gay sex is part of canon, it's rather different to when it's coded into the underbelly of the story, eg in stories written in a time when hot gay sex was against teh law, or only recently legal, and certainly not socially acceptable (Spock/Kirk in the 60s). Or in shows where the values are not exactly hip to the homosexual lifestyle (Pa Kent's conservatism in Smallville probably adds an extra naughty kick to the Clark/Lex slash... as does the whole Superman mythos which is usually on the conservative side, though depending on who's writing it of course).

      Basically, slash ceases to be "naughty" on Buffy, because Daddy Joss is home but no one is in wicked trouble for writing slash, because he's all for it, so where's the fun in rebelling?

      That doesn't mean I don't think there's plenty of sexual tension between same sex people on BtVS...but it doesn't feel like slash exactly a lot of the time... it just feels like sexual tension that may or may not ever play out. But the sense that it IS possible (eg Joss for a while was wondering whether to make Willow or Xander gay, and there are a lot of lines and moments that Xander has earlier on in the show, or even later, that could have been developed into same sex love/someone questioning his sexuality ("I'm not sleeping with Spike', said Buffy in season 5, "But I'm starting to think you might be."). But they could just be nervousness around the question of (homo)sexuality on Xander's part.

      In a way, Andrew is one of the slashiest characters for me, because of his repression - it's all subtext and no cigar with him. Or text. Text is a cigar.

      I had an evening discussing Freud, ignore the cigars...except now you're all thinking about cigars aren't you? Nothing can defeat the cigar!


      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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      • #4
        Oh gosh! I so had this realisation when I was discussing Moonlight. Of course I am convinced that Josef is in love with Mick, and my friend was like 'yeah, maybe?'. And I kinda figured- oh, not everyone looks for the slashy joy every second! rofl.

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        • #5
          I think that Joss goes a little too far with his 'My series are openminded!' thing. If you put all the characters in a row from who we know that they are gay, bi or have experimented ... it's quite a list;

          Faith is bi sexual I believe, it's never stated anywhere but her behavior towards Buffy says enough. And I believe that there were plans for WAY? with Faith being really happy to be in Buffy's body?

          Willow, Gay now!

          Tara also gay.

          Kennedy is gay.

          Andrew is probably gay.

          Spoiler:
          Satsu is gay.


          Darla and Drusilla did spend time together in bed and bath.

          Spike and Angelus ... you know, that one time.

          Forest was in love with Riley.

          Spoiler:
          Buffy experimented with Satsu.


          Giles and Ethan have experimented.

          And we've got Wesley with his memories of his schooltime;
          Originally posted by Wesley
          Unless you count the nights you made the lower classmen get up as girls and watched them ... Dip is tasty, isn't it?
          Spoiler:
          And we've got Dracula who is in love with Xander. And who knows what Joss has in mind for Xander who did spend a year with Dracula.


          And maybe Lorne, but I think that he is asexual.

          I mean, really what is this? Torchwood? I've no problem with vampires jumping on everybody, because that is part of their mythology. But 50% of the characters is experimenting/bi/gay ... I've no trouble with gays or same sex relations let that be clear, but not everybody needs a experience with the same sex and the whole 'Look! I'm openminded!' is kind of tiresome.

          What I do love are little things like Angel being comfortable with the fact that he attracts men, those touches are great in a series. But not everybody has to sleep with somebody of the same sex to be openminded. Accepting gays in your environment and don't be disgusted when people think that you're gay are also nice 'openminded' touches.

          I like to read slash, but only slash that has some canon moments on the show. Somehow I can't enjoy weird couples. But that is also with the non-slash fanfic.
          Nina
          and her haircut.
          Last edited by Nina; 02-06-08, 12:27 AM.

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          • #6
            In my own opinion the only reason to read Fan fiction is the improbable pairings; the pairings based on the sheerest, least pronounced subtext. One could and probably had built a Cordelia/Harmony fan fiction around the events of "Harm's Way" and given a competent writer it would make a fascinating read--as long as it is understood that it is built on subtext.

            And I don't think Joss has ever tried to say he's openminded, he just is. None of the subtext or overt text is designed to be a public relations excercise it just naturally stems from Joss' personal beliefs. Also, Kinsey Scale. The Kinsey Scale is a theory devised by Dr. I can't remember his first name as I type Kinsey and states that most people are attracted, in varying degrees, to both sexes. Freud said similar things in his essays, though it has been awhile since I read that so I may be mistaken.

            Point: The Homosexual subtext isn't about openmindedness it's about liberal but mostly accurate narrowmindedness in this one particular area, which is tha mostt people do need to experiment and are inclined to homosexual as well as heterosexual attraction and Harmony and Cordelia are totally hot for one another.

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            • #7
              I must have missed the Forrest/Riley and Xander/Riley subtext. Anyone have examples?

              I think it would be hard to not be sexually attracted, they're all...hot!

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              • #8
                I think there's very, very little actual subtext but that thinking makes it so. The only same-sex subtext in the series that was ever written A) intentionally, and B) as something other than a one-off joke, was Buffy/Faith in Season 3. Even the more recent Season 8 developments were largely subtext free until suddenly it was paid off.

                Riley and his guys, Riley and Xander, Xander and Andrew, Xander and Dracula... I find it to be almost entirely absent (Xander and Dracula especially -- mind control is not subtext). Unless, the implication is (either by the writers or the fans) that there is simply no such thing as heterosexual male friends, ever, in the *absence* of homosexual subtext. Such a notion is completely absurd, though.

                Also, I think we can assume Faith is not bisexual.
                Spoiler:
                She tells Giles point blank (and with amusing foreshadowing, it turned out) that if he was expecting her to sleep with a girl he "chose the wrong Chosen One".
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                • #9
                  There is very little (re: no) actual subtext for any of the couples I listed, but again the point is not that the subtext exists or is intentional but that any of the interactions between those couples could be interpreted as such if we try really, really, hard. And Mind Control is not subtext but Dracula's single line in the preview for Issue fifteen and general season eight behavior, retconned as it is, can be forced by any decent Slash fiction writer into a relationship. If I implied that Butt-MOnkey Xander and Dracula consituted a healthy slash in anyway I apologize and am very repulsed. It would be worse than the Big Wolf on Campus slash I read in which the Big Wolf stays a wolf and his same-sex partner gets very into it. It wasn't so much a slash fic as werewolf porn, *shudders* *not with pleasure*

                  KingofCretins I understand your point and would never approach the slash relationships seriously or discuss them outside of AU possibilities like Buffy and Spike giving birth to Hillary Clinton and plotting a presidential coup d'etat, but slash fic is considerably fun despite its improbability and part of that fun is building a relationship out of understandably platonic interaction. Slash isn't about abundant subtext it's about self-gratification.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                    Riley and his guys, Riley and Xander, Xander and Andrew, Xander and Dracula... I find it to be almost entirely absent (Xander and Dracula especially -- mind control is not subtext). Unless, the implication is (either by the writers or the fans) that there is simply no such thing as heterosexual male friends, ever, in the *absence* of homosexual subtext. Such a notion is completely absurd, though.
                    But...of course there's no platonic friendship!!

                    I think that there are relationships where these things are more textually present (as subtext) than others. Riley and Forest, from Forest's perspective, could be read as repressed!gay!jealousy, rather than as petty friend jealousy, if you wanted. I think there are quite a few Xander/spike moments that have much subtextual meaning..."Oh, I'm biteable...moist and delicious" ... the comments that inspired "I'm not sleeping with spike but I'm starting to think you might be"...

                    I think, however, that any disagreements we might have over subtext comes down to our different understandings of textual interpretation. I think text is a polysemic, flexible object that can be interpreted differently by different people. So, with that in mind, subtext becomes the writers intentional or not intentional moves in the direction of one of the many multiple meanings that the dominant interpretation of the text doesn't take.

                    Whereas if I understand what you're saying here (and other places), you think of text as a more monolithic object, with a correct interpretation and wrong interpretations. Maybe you include a few correct interpretations, I'm not sure...is that what you think? (I'm totally not trying to put words in your mouth or anything like that...just understand better by summarizing). In which case, subtext becomes an aberrant reading of the text.

                    This is totally the discussion I wanted to have when starting this thread, but I didn't actually realize it at the time, so...yay!

                    Originally posted by AllenGray
                    Slash isn't about abundant subtext it's about self-gratification.
                    I think slash is about both subtext and self-gratification, but you're totally right that the subtext is the optional part...I've read some slash that managed to be totally believable while not being based on even a smidgeon of subtext...in fact I've read some very convincing stuff where the characters never met on screen.

                    Point: The Homosexual subtext isn't about openmindedness it's about liberal but mostly accurate narrowmindedness in this one particular area, which is tha mostt people do need to experiment and are inclined to homosexual as well as heterosexual attraction and Harmony and Cordelia are totally hot for one another.
                    Hee! Yes. Totally. And I really like you're point about Joss not being or trying to be 'openminded', which is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in the press in a way that makes it seem like you need an excuse to have a gay relationship on screen. Of course, there are lesbians-as-ratings-stunts...and a few examples of show runners who really were trying to be 'openminded'...but Joss is def to my mind not one of those examples.

                    Originally posted by smashed
                    I must have missed the Forrest/Riley and Xander/Riley subtext. Anyone have examples?

                    I think it would be hard to not be sexually attracted, they're all...hot!
                    Ok, yes to the last bit (). Re Forrest/Riley (am just realizing that I think I've been spelling Forrest wrong for the last like ten posts, whoops!), there are quite a few examples. Mostly, though, it's the general sense throughout the season that Forrest is jealous as hell of Buffy stealing away Riley's time/attention. To me, that part is text...the subtext is that perhaps he's jealous in a hot!gay!sex! kind of way, rather than a petty friend kind of way.

                    Ok, must actually go study for my exams, but will try to reply to some other points later.
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                    • #11
                      I really don't think there is too much homosexual subtext in Buffy/Angel. I think it is the best imitation of real life situations we can see anywhere on the television, because we all have these hidden desires in us, no matter how much they are subconscious.

                      This may just be my view because I live in Brighton, which as we all know is the gay capital of England! But I don't have one friend who hasn't, if not experimented seriously, at least had a drunken kiss with a friend of the same sex. On some deep level, we are all attracted to everyone else, even if not in a consciously sexual manner, we have some draw towards our friends.

                      So IMO it's not over-the-top or 'hey, look at us, we're gay friendly!', it's just life.

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                      • #12
                        I guess that I live at the wrong place then. The Netherlands aren't homophobe at all, neither are the people around me. But I think that there is like 3 or 4 people I know, who have experience with same sex relations, so it feels a little over the top for me.

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                        • #13
                          The whole gay subtext thing bores me. I read somewhere the writers wanted to make it
                          that Giles/Ethen and Angel/Spike had sex in the past. Why dont they just make them
                          all have a big orgy and get it over and done with.
                          Whats Joss's big obsession with making people gay anyway!

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                          • #14
                            Subtext in general can be interesting.I don't have a special preference for, or an deterrence from slash. I loved Willow with Oz, and until Tara came into the picture I couldn't see her with anyone else. They were just perfect.

                            I think if I had to pick a favorite subtext gay couple...it would have been Andrew and Jonothan, provided Jonothan had lived a little longer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lee View Post
                              The whole gay subtext thing bores me. I read somewhere the writers wanted to make it
                              that Giles/Ethen and Angel/Spike had sex in the past. Why dont they just make them
                              all have a big orgy and get it over and done with.
                              Whats Joss's big obsession with making people gay anyway!
                              Well, Spike did confirm that he and Angel(us) had sex, textually. So that one wasn't that the writers "wanted to make it" but rather that they MADE it. So the subtexty nature of that is debatable, seeing as it was made text.

                              I don't think it's that Joss has an 'obsession with making people gay'...that seems kind a harsh way to put it. I think it's that he likes to explore all the different aspects of characters and their potential relationships with each other.

                              I think it also depends on your perspective. As Nina argued, and I've heard this other places as well, it seems like there are a lot of characters with gay leanings/experience on Buffy/in the Buffyverse.

                              (though, sidebar, I would argue that while I totally believe Giles and Ethan got it on, I don't think that was ever made textual, nor was Faith's bisexuality (and King makes a good point re NFFY), nor Forrest and Riley, nor Wesley, at least not on Buffy. So while there are many, I wouldn't say there are as many as Nina listed.)

                              But, while there are quite a few openly gay and experimenting characters on Buffy for a mainstream show, that's only (to my mind) because the mainstream of television is incredibly straight. Much like black characters are rarely found in clumps outside of specifically 'black' programs, multiple gay characters are unusual outside a show like The L Word. But as Retrograde pointed out, some people's experience is much the same, with many people in their social circle gay or experimenting. I had quite a few very straight girl friends in college who used to make out with each other to get into clubs for free...what level that puts them on the Kinsey scale, I don't know, but I think it does kind of demonstrate that often sexuality is a complex thing, something that Joss also demonstrates nicely.

                              I think actually that subtext is very different from the openly gay relations on the show. By its very definition, it's what's NOT said, but rather implied. Willow and Tara's relationship in season 5, for example, is bereft of gay subtext because it is gay text. At least that's how I look at it.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Nina View Post
                                And maybe Lorne, but I think that he is asexual.
                                I'm not sure about Lorne. Didn't they imply he was in love with Fred? I think he's makin love with the music personally Can you be musosexual? Or is that just someone who sleeps with people who say "hmm, interesting tonalities, reminiscent of Miles's sketches of Spain with the dark insouscience of Coltrane's more whimsical compositions" a lot when listening to jazz?

                                I mean, really what is this? Torchwood?
                                Not unless someone has sex with a poodle at some point.


                                I like to read slash, but only slash that has some canon moments on the show. Somehow I can't enjoy weird couples. But that is also with the non-slash fanfic.
                                I wonder if there's any Buffybot/Toaster oven slash out there...?


                                Originally posted by AllenGray View Post
                                Point: The Homosexual subtext isn't about openmindedness it's about liberal but mostly accurate narrowmindedness in this one particular area, which is tha mostt people do need to experiment and are inclined to homosexual as well as heterosexual attraction and Harmony and Cordelia are totally hot for one another.
                                Harmony and Cordy 4 Eva! Ok, maybe not. But I could definitely believe in a fanfic that explored that, especially with Vamp!Harmony. She did say she'd do Charlize Theron after all. Perhaps if Cordy went blonde?

                                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                I think there's very, very little actual subtext but that thinking makes it so.
                                Depends what you mean by subtext and how far "beneath" the surface of the text you think it lies (if there's such a thing as beneath), whether it has to be intentional...whether you believe that authorial intention is valuable or accesible in the first place (especially in the context of a group-written/collaborative text such as a television show, as opposed to a novel with just the author and some editors...though that's still quite a big "just!").

                                I'd define a homosexual subtext
                                Spoiler:
                                (though there are many subtexts other than teh gayness - the monster metaphors are a kind of subtext, for example)
                                as the elements of the "text" (ie the show that we see playing out on our tv screens, but you could also count commentaries and interviews as part of the text if you wanted to) that don't involve explicitly gay romantic/sexual relationships or desired relationships (ie no kissing, no saying I love you, no suggestions that they spent the last night doing it like Talia and Ivanova, no "phwoor, he's fit...and I'm a boy and I want him in a gay gay way" BUT there are elements of what we see, what the characters say, how they behave around one another that COULD be read as IMPLYING repressed homosexual desire or even a future homosexual relationship.

                                How would other people define it?

                                For me, a subtext has to be there in the text somehow, it can't just be something you impose on the text. EG I can't say "Buffy and Harmony are secretly in love" unless I can give evidence to support my theory. That is, there has to be some evidence in the text that you can point to that could be read as reperesenting some kind of desire.

                                EG you could point to the scene where Spike and Xander are in the bedroom together and Xander's telling Spike how "moist and delicious" he is as an example of Spike/Xander sexual tension/subtext action. Xander wants Spike on some level to think he's "tasty", and in a vampire context, eating and fcking are closely linked (cf the various orgasmic expressions and oh oh ohhhs that occur when people are biting and getting bit. So there are sexual overtones to that scene, which don't have to imply actual sexual desire but they raise the question of desire...they are desire-adjacent. Subtext doesn't have to be "Spike and Xander secretly want each other" - it can be more subtle than that. Slash fanfic then extrapolates from that into full blown relationships.

                                However, as I said above, I wouldn't differentiate completely between subtext and explicit textual stuff - it's a sliding scale and grey area and all that. Sexual tension between characters can be built slowly, it may end in sex, it may end in awkward kisses (Cordy and Wes), it may end in nothing - whether you call it subtext or text could vary depending on where the relationship goes in the end, or on what aspects of the text you're focusing on.

                                There are other examples, unlike the Spike and Xander one, where the subtext does in fact become text. Tara and Willow start off with sexual tension and slashy magic that represents sex in a subtextual/metaphorical way... but they go on to have the actual hot!gay!sex! so it stop being subtext in the same way... however, if you're watching an ep from earlier in season 4, is their relationship subtextual or textual at that point, once you know where it goes? Is the textualisation process retroactive?

                                More later but lots to respond to!

                                EDIT: More, now that it's later:



                                Originally posted by AllenGray View Post
                                There is very little (re: no) actual subtext for any of the couples I listed, but again the point is not that the subtext exists or is intentional but that any of the interactions between those couples could be interpreted as such if we try really, really, hard.
                                There's certainly "work" required from the viewer/reader where subtext is concerned. Though I'm sure a lot of slashers wouldn't see it as work. Mind you, any act of interpretation beyond saying "that man just ran across the screen and punched someone" or "She just said "Bored now!" and she's a vampire" or things of that level requires the viewer/reader to do some work. EG if you're talking about a character's emotional reaction in a TV show, you have to take the actor's expressions, tone of voice, other physical clues, plus what they say, plus the camera work into consideration to decide what you think they're feeling... and not everyone would agree. Sometimes not even on what physically happens. EG when Spike and Buffy are shagging in the Bronze up on the balcony in whichever season 6 ep it was, I always thought it was a bit of light buggery, but maybe that's just my interpretation? And you could argue that she looks joyless when it's happening, or darkly sexual, or like she's in pain, or...insert your own or.

                                Some subtextual readings are pretty flimsy - they're nearly all work by the reader and no play-outage on screen. But it's not cut and dried and it is hard to say whether something's a reach or whether it's "obvious", since we all probably have different ideas of obvious. EG I remember someone saying he didn't think that there was anything sexual about "I'm under your spell" in OMWF and the way the line's cut off in "You make me com...." while Willow is out of shot past Tara's waist and Tara is floating...

                                Which I would've thought was in the "bleeding obvious" category when it comes to the hot!gay!sex! But it does depend on the viewer. Perhaps some people would say that the floating/willow out of shot was obviously a bit of the old cunning linguistics but that the line break isn't actually anything to do with sex.

                                And Mind Control is not subtext but Dracula's single line in the preview for Issue fifteen and general season eight behavior, retconned as it is, can be forced by any decent Slash fiction writer into a relationship.
                                Mind control can totally be subtext - it was with Buffy and Dracula, after all, all that talk about "thrall" and "penetrating eyes" was very sexualised. With Xander, less so, but the potential is there. Also, any time someone calls someone else Master, it just sounds dirty. There's no getting around that (which makes Doctor Who inherently slashy).


                                It would be worse than the Big Wolf on Campus slash I read in which the Big Wolf stays a wolf and his same-sex partner gets very into it. It wasn't so much a slash fic as werewolf porn, *shudders* *not with pleasure*
                                How dare you post something like that without first providing me with a vat of brain bleach? Nooooooooooooooo! Get out of my braiiiiiin!

                                Speaking of Andrew, his sexuality is something that I find interesting from the point of view of slash, as it nearly always is treated as a joke ("You've never had any little bit of sex, have you?"), but at the same time, it's very much a part of his character (his admiration/attraction to Warren is key, it's how the First manipulates him).

                                I wouldn't say that Andrew's homosexual feelings are subtextual, they're just not acted on - to me, he's very repressed, but I have no doubts that he has romantic feelings for men of some kind, whether or not they're fully sexual (given his stunted emotional growth and childishness).

                                But there's the grey area between subtext and text right there. Andrew has no gay sex on screen... does that mean his feelings are subtext necessarily? Or are they just a different kind of "text" - the stuff that happens through hints and inferences and thoughts.


                                EDIT 2: Later still....



                                Slash isn't about abundant subtext it's about self-gratification.
                                Or the state of "being in one's bunk" perhaps? There's definitely a difference between slash and subtext. Slash is where you go after subtext, it's at a remove from the text itself - being composed of other text.

                                Originally posted by litzie View Post
                                But...of course there's no platonic friendship!!
                                Yeah, When Harry Met Sally proves this as a FACT.

                                I think, however, that any disagreements we might have over subtext comes down to our different understandings of textual interpretation. I think text is a polysemic, flexible object that can be interpreted differently by different people.
                                I'd be interested to know who contests this actually as it's one of those things that I take as a given (that texts can be interpreted in different ways by different people) and get confused when people don't. So...anyone who doesn't? And if not, why not?

                                So, with that in mind, subtext becomes the writers intentional or not intentional moves in the direction of one of the many multiple meanings that the dominant interpretation of the text doesn't take.
                                Mind you, there's a problem with the idea of a dominant interpretation, especially when it comes to a fandom that's as diverse as Buffy's (there are a wider variety of Buffy fans, imo, than there are of quite a few other fandoms as it attracts people who often aren't into fantasy/sci fi in other contexts). Would dominant be the majority? Would it be the stuff that the writers have said (even though they sometimes talk crap, cf the "plot twist" of Spike being always meaning to get his soul)? Would it be online fans AND casual viewers' most frequent interpretations?
                                Wolfie Gilmore
                                Sad Castiel
                                Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 02-06-08, 07:12 PM.


                                -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                                  Mind you, there's a problem with the idea of a dominant interpretation, especially when it comes to a fandom that's as diverse as Buffy's (there are a wider variety of Buffy fans, imo, than there are of quite a few other fandoms as it attracts people who often aren't into fantasy/sci fi in other contexts). Would dominant be the majority? Would it be the stuff that the writers have said (even though they sometimes talk crap, cf the "plot twist" of Spike being always meaning to get his soul)? Would it be online fans AND casual viewers' most frequent interpretations?
                                  Replying to you in parts, cuz I should really be studying for my exam...

                                  When I think of dominant interpretations, I think of a more technical definition (maybe because I am studying? I dunno, at least it implies that SOMEthing has sunk in!). To me, the dominant interpretation is the one prized by the authors, intended by them, or intended by them to be the main interpretation. Because with Buffy, I feel like Joss & Co. don't always intend just one interpretaiton, or even just one main interpretation, which is part of what I love about buffy.

                                  So rather than a dominant interpretation being a majority interpretation, it's more like a producer's intended main interpretation...at least, I think. My brain hurts from all this studying, if I'm making no sense I'm sorry!
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                                    EG you could point to the scene where Spike and Xander are in the bedroom together and Xander's telling Spike how "moist and delicious" he is as an example of Spike/Xander sexual tension/subtext action. Xander wants Spike on some level to think he's "tasty", and in a vampire context, eating and fcking are closely linked (cf the various orgasmic expressions and oh oh ohhhs that occur when people are biting and getting bit. So there are sexual overtones to that scene, which don't have to imply actual sexual desire but they raise the question of desire...they are desire-adjacent. Subtext doesn't have to be "Spike and Xander secretly want each other" - it can be more subtle than that. Slash fanfic then extrapolates from that into full blown relationships.
                                    "Could" and "extrapolates" leap out as the words that more or less confirm my point -- the homosexual subtext is an inkblot, at best, that the reader's mind bends to the shape it prefers. And, the example you provide reinforces for me my point that any interaction between guys in this series is homosexual subtext if you're inclined to look for it. When the biting and vamping has been sexual metaphor, the show has pretty invariably hung a lantern on it. If I tell my best friend to kiss my ass, and he retorts "you wish", have we now established homosexual subtext? Or are we just snarky?

                                    Mind control can totally be subtext - it was with Buffy and Dracula, after all, all that talk about "thrall" and "penetrating eyes" was very sexualised. With Xander, less so, but the potential is there. Also, any time someone calls someone else Master, it just sounds dirty. There's no getting around that (which makes Doctor Who inherently slashy).
                                    The subtext in these cases is neither homosexual or heterosexual, then -- it's rape fantasy. Because any sexual contact under Dracula's thrall would obviously be such.

                                    Yeah, When Harry Met Sally proves this as a FACT.
                                    Well, when you go to the exact quote, it pretty much sidesteps this entire thread It would only even come up if you knew for fact you were dealing with homosexual friends, right? Logically it doesn't apply to people outside each other's sexual preference, so one still must create the subtext to apply the rule, rather than using the rule to establish the subtext.
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                                    • #19
                                      [QUOTE=KingofCretins][The subtext in these cases is neither homosexual or heterosexual, then -- it's rape fantasy. Because any sexual contact under Dracula's thrall would obviously be such./QUOTE]
                                      I think Buffy's attitude here IS a bit rape fantasy, purely from the perspective of she seems to want the loss of control offered by the thrall...the loss of responsibility. She wants to be seduced...at least a bit.

                                      With Xander and Drac...it's much more from dracula's perspective in my mind, espec. in season 8. Though...
                                      Spoiler:
                                      in the scene where Xander's trying to convince Dracula to help them, there's definitely some both-ways subtext

                                      When the biting and vamping has been sexual metaphor, the show has pretty invariably hung a lantern on it. If I tell my best friend to kiss my ass, and he retorts "you wish", have we now established homosexual subtext? Or are we just snarky?
                                      I think it's hard to pick and choose when to take vamp biting as a sexual metaphor. At the least, there is something sensual about it (ie, it's a very sense-related process, as demonstrated best probably when Angelus blows out the smoke of the first woman he kills in innocence). I would say that almost always, there is something sexual about it...that's why druscilla kills a woman for spike and takes a man for herself in Crush, that's why the vamp in the ep where we find out about Spike's trigger (Sleeper maybe?) suggests doing the same thing, but also offers the kinkier other suggestion. So for me Wolfie's point about vamp biting stands...there's a reason Xander's offended Spike doesn't want to bite him! And I think that reason is that it implies he's not very attractive...which could be read as, not very attractive to SPIKE. Which would be the gay subtext way to read the scene. However I think there are plenty of other valid ways of reading it.

                                      So would you say that you think of text as a more monolithic object, with a correct interpretation and wrong interpretations? or is it gay subtext that you specifically think is reaching? What would you define as subtext? I'm really interested in your opinion on this because when it comes to practical examples of subtext we seem to have such opposite opinions.
                                      litzie
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                                      Last edited by litzie; 02-06-08, 08:49 PM.
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                                      • #20
                                        I mean, really what is this? Torchwood?
                                        I got to say this, for all Torchwood's faults (and there are many), it did get one thing right, that Joss hasn't bothered/dared to yet, and thats have openly gay relationships with men in his stories. Joss likes to play 'lipstick lesbian' but where are the men then Joss, eh? One sided much? And no, the awful Andrew doesn't count I'm afraid.

                                        Slash isn't about abundant subtext it's about self-gratification.
                                        You say that as if it's a bad thing!

                                        Yes I see gay subtext in the Buffyverse, but then as a big slash fan, I would do, wouldn't I?
                                        sueworld
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                                        Last edited by sueworld; 02-06-08, 09:07 PM.

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