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January 27, 2004
by Daniel Erenberg
It’s been hectic lately. The holidays took their inevitable toll on me. I’ve been spending loads of money. In addition to this, my novel is still being written, and my play “Dystopia” is being performed in a competition. On top of all of that, I knew that I needed an idea for a Buffy article. Now, there has been a guy writing in the comments section for weeks now that “The Body” is trite and meaningless. He might want to stop reading at this point.
I only have one friend that’s into Buffy really at all. And she’s as hardcore as I am. And I guess that’s the way it is with Buffy fans. There are few casual watchers of the show. In many ways, it’s love it or hate it. Many take it at face value and drop down onto the side of “hate it”. That’s not Caroline. She loves the show. Still, though. I became tired of having only one friend to debate with. She stood alone. I wanted another viewpoint from someone I speak to every day. This is where Christine came in.
Christine is my good friend Josh’s girlfriend. A few years ago in a misguided attempt to attract Josh to the show (this is before any of the DVDs had been released), I showed him the only episode I could find that I had on tape. This episode, horrible for first-timers but greatness for longtime fans, was “Becoming Part One”. Josh, naturally, hated it. He passed along this gene to Christine. I believe the exact word she used before watching a single full episode of the show was “shallow”. Peh. For more on that struggle, go check out another article I wrote called, uh, “The Struggle”.
Now, at this point I was also sort of having an awful time with any sort of writing. Nothing was coming to me (about Buffy or otherwise) and I felt like smashing my head into a stucco wall, because brick would hurt far too much). This hurtful synapse response caused me to do some serious thinking about what my next article would be. Then I remembered something that someone asked in an article I wrote called “FAQ2”, the inevitable sequel to “FAQ”. She asked what I thought was the best episode to show to first time viewers. I gave her ten. One of these was “The Body”. I’d already used “Welcome To The Hellmouth” and “Becoming Part One” to try to entice new viewers’ appetites for more Buffy. Those didn’t work. So, I figured, I might as well just show them my personal favorite. After all, I’d just purchased Season Five on DVD.
So Christine the Skeptical came over. I dimmed the lights and turned on the Joss Whedon masterpiece. She sat and watched in complete silence for the, I guess, 42 some odd minutes. Finally, in a bizarre moment, the episode ended (as it always does) with Dawn’s fingers about to touch Joyce and Christine freaked out. She cried out, “This can’t be the end!” But it was. And such is only part of the brilliance of the episode (sorry erroneous commenter if you’ve gotten this far).
We spoke about it for some time. Then I gave her a choice. I told her that we could either watch another one of my favorites (I was thinking “Hush”) or start from the beginning. In another surprise move, she opted to watch “Welcome To The Hellmouth”. And she dug it.
The following week, she came over again. We would watch another two. This would be the first test. On the one hand, the first episode would be “The Harvest”, another excellent Whedon episode. However, on the other hand, the other episode would be “Witch”, a lackluster effort only truly notable because it introduces Amy Madison to the cast, a character that appears in every single season with the exception of season five. Not only this, but “Witch” isn’t written by Joss Whedon. Hell, it’s not even written by a regular staff writer. It’s written by Dana Reston: her only episode. “Witch” is okay. And that’s all.
I don’t know how much she liked “Witch”. However, I feel as though she already has such feelings towards the characters that it doesn’t even matter. This is the kind of feeling that allows me to re-watch the very nearly unwatchable “Beer Bad” (an episode that I’ve noticed has a very small and perhaps a bit confused following on the Slayage Bulletin Board).
When Christine left on that first night, she turned to me with a vague dirty look and said to me, “I can’t believe I like Buffy”.
And I think that says a lot.
Hey, guess what? There have been two Buffy Guides that have been released that I haven’t mentioned of yet. The first is called “This Girl’s Got Bite”, by Kathleen Tracy a book that read quite some time ago and forgot to mention. That one I dug. However, there’s a book that I’m currently reading that I’ve just immersed myself in. It’s called “Dusted” and it was written by Lawrence Miles, Lars Pearson, and Christa Dickson, a formidable triumvirate of television and comic book writers. It’s a fascinating study of the show and includes every season of Buffy plus many of the comics and novels. I’m also awaiting Nikki Stafford’s upcoming addition of season seven to her Buffy guide, “Bite Me!” and the amazing, amazing Keith Topping who is coming out with an extension on his Angel book “Hollywood Vampire” this summer. Presumably, this will include the first four seasons: the pre-Spike years.
Finally, you’d all do quite well by yourselves to pick yourself up a copy of “Firefly: The Complete Series” on DVD. This is a show that I loved quite a lot when it was on, and I’m enjoying it even more seeing the episodes IN ORDER (stupid FOX). So good it could have eclipsed Buffy.
Speaking of Buffy, Season Five is out now on DVD. I’m already through it. Surprisingly, my favorite commentary wasn’t Joss Whedon on “The Body”, but instead Douglas Petrie’s incredibly witty comments on his “Fool For Love”.
Oh, but wait. There’s more. With all of that thinking about the “FAQ” articles, I realized now might be a decent time for “FAQ3”, so if any of you have questions to ask me about anything even remotely Joss-related, email me them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love you all. Even that dude that hated “The Body”.
|Daniel Erenberg lives in a gothic-looking house in a suburb of Long Island shrouded by trees and darkness. His backyard is so overrun with shrubbery that he can't plant flowers in the soil. He's penned articles for numerous magazines (and a couple of websites for free). Currently, he's writing his first novel, entitled People That I've Long Since Forgotten. He's also written two plays, Little Room and Dystopia and a screenplay called Youth Or Consequence. He lives a fairly happy life alone except for the mind-numbing loneliness he feels on occasion. If you’re a beautiful woman that’s fallen in love with Daniel, or you just want to talk Buffy with him, you can contact Daniel at email@example.com.
Check out www.savingangel.com - it's a coalition of fans from several different boards, including some of the people responsible for placing previous ads, etc.
Posted by: abt on February 26, 2004 04:28 PM
Hey Cal. I would have to say UPN is our best shot as well. I watched nothing on that network until they saved BTVS. So yeah, I'm starting with them first. Suggestion guys, I'd go with letters. E-mail can be deleted. A letter they have to open and I think it would get their attention more. Fox is a good second choice. I think Angel would stand a chance with one of those networks. Write them both. Use e-mail as extra ammunition. Onward!
Posted by: jp on February 19, 2004 06:33 PM
Send as many letters, postcards and e-mails as you can. Get all your friends and family to do it too. The more you can send the better. UPN is probably our best shot, but try every where you can think of. Come on guys, we can do this!
JP, good on you! You are really helping.
Posted by: cal on February 19, 2004 02:48 PM
I hope Joss and company have 3 months worth of incredible episodes lined up. Next week looks good in the promos. Tonight was o.k. We did touch upon some important relationship stuff which was something I needed to see. It started out here we again with "Harm's Way(5.9) but with 5.10, 5.11,5.12 they got the ball rolling again. Hopefully next week is the start of the final push. Maybe we can get UPN or Fox interested. The campaign for one more season is massive. There are several petitions in the works. Hey Dani, just wanted to make sure that was your e-mail address. This hasn't been my favorite season so far BUT it is my Wednesday night television and I'm not ready for it to go yet.
Posted by: jp on February 19, 2004 12:04 AM
Since it seems WB is so dam concerned about viewers/ratings watch the show! Get your friends to watch! Get UPN's or Fox's attention.
ATTENTION ALL ANGEL FANS:
Please check out saveangel.org. A massive campaign to save Angel has been launched. We can use your help!!! Whether simply writing a letter to TV execs or through a monetary donation for the full page Variety ad every fan can help. Again, please check out
Posted by: dani on February 18, 2004 03:31 PM
I received your e-mail. Thanks for the help!
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