Thursday, May 29, 2014

Breaking up

If you've been around these parts for a while, you'd know that I have something of an obsession with all things Joss Whedon (except Dollhouse. Never Dollhouse...). BUT.

(And this is a big but. Not to be confused with MY big butt)

As a result of spending the past TWO YEARS blogging about Buffy and Angel over on Snark Squad, I'm a little bit exhausted thanks to all the crap that tends to accompany Whedon's shows. So Whedon and I? We're breaking up for a little while. At least until The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out next year.

Here's why:


K xx

26 comments:

  1. I love this. You've said pretty much everything that I've been thinking myself for a long time. My feelings towards Whedon have changed a lot over the past few years, partly influenced by my reading of all the Snark Squad recaps, and partly just from growing up and rewatching the shows a few times and noticing how problematic some of it actually is. It also doesn't help that I live with someone who really can't stand his stuff, so I've found myself trying to defend him on numerous occasions and found that I actually can't do so as well as I thought I could. I still consider myself a big Joss Whedon fan, but some of the shine's definitely worn off and I don't put him on the pedestal that I perhaps used to in my late teens/early twenties. In particular, I don't think he should be held up as the gold standard for writing 'strong female characters' (ugh) as he so often is.

    I'm also not really into the Marvel stuff, so I watched Avengers/Agents of Shield pretty much solely because they were Whedon things and I was excited to check them out. I enjoyed some parts, but other bits made me cringe because some of the dialogue was so Whedony that it felt like Joss Whedon out-Whedoning himself, or someone else sticking a bunch of terrible quips into their own work to try to imitate his style. I found Skye's lines in the early Agents of Shield episodes particularly bad for that.

    I am, however, a big fan of Dollhouse! It's deeply flawed but I'm fascinated by the concept and what he does with it. I'd be interested to hear why you dislike it so much.

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  2. Wilhelmina UptonMay 29, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    BUT WE WERE ON A BREAK!!! (I know it's too early for that line, ahem, moving on.)

    I think what stands out mostly to me from all the valid points you made is the being punished for sex thing. Because that happens so many times.

    I understand where you're coming from with most of your points unless it's about a show or movie I haven't seen yet and I am so glad I never jumped on the Angel bandwagon, even though so many people on Snark Squad tried to get me to watch it when you guys firsts started covering the series.

    I never even realises the people of colour thing with Buffy but you're right. And you're not the first person to criticise Whedon for his "Feminism but..." characters. Great video!

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  3. Oh, stupid me. I just realised that 'Never Dollhouse' was a clicky link that would give me your reasons for not liking that show. Carry on...

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  4. I didn't really go into a lot of detail in the post linked above, but mostly I hated the "prostitute them out and then wipe their memories" thing. Maybe if the show hadn't led with like three episodes in which Echo was effectively a prostitute, it would have been different. But that, combined with the "a dude punches her in the face every single episode" factor = NOPE NOPITY NOPE NOPE.


    So yeah. I know a lot of people love it and that it apparently gets amazing, but I couldn't get past disc 1...

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  5. I think in all cases, the slut shaming says more about the person doing it than the person on the receiving end of it. But the fact remains that the show was clearly building towards a romantic relationship between Mal and Inara, but he repeatedly disrespects her based on her profession, despite the fact that it's considered a respectable profession in the Firefly-verse, one that can gain them access to many planets they wouldn't otherwise be welcome on. We're meant to believe the romantic aspect between the two of them, even in the movie, and yet he calls her a whore time and time again. Which, NO.


    But yes, Firefly definitely features a lot less "have sex, get punished". Thank God...

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  6. Seriously, don't ever jump on the Angel bandwagon. Not only is it massively problematic but it's decidedly meh. There's like ten decent episodes in the whole 110 episode show...

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  7. I was lent the DVDs by a friend who warned me that it was pretty weak to start with, but got amazing in S2, so I was prepared to stick with it and it did pay off in the end. But I agree that a lot of the earlier episodes are pretty terrible. As is often the way, I think it gets really good once they start to focus on the main series arc and move away from mission-of-the-week episodes, but some of those MOTW episodes are so weak that I can see how it would put you off completely.

    I was actually lined up to review the whole series for another site a few years ago, and I had to pull out because once I started trying to watch it and write in-depth analysis I realised how awful some of those episodes were, and I just couldn't handle it. It was a site where the reviewers were supposed to be huge fans of the material they were writing about, so when I found myself already starting to hate the show a few episodes in I decided to call it a day. Particularly the one where she's a backing singer/bodyguard. Yeesht, that one was bad.

    And yeah, it's really icky. It's obviously supposed to be an icky concept, but you're right about it taking it to the point where the episodes themselves seem like exploitation. I mean, there's an early episode where a dude is literally hunting Echo like an animal right after having sex with her.


    And although Eliza Dushku's gorgeous, I did get very tired of feeling like her hotness was just being paraded around in tight/skimpy outfits every single episode. Minor spoiler (though I doubt you care): the moment that really made me yell 'oh COME ON!' at my screen was a later episode where she's been imprinted as a mother to a newborn baby, and they have her tottering about the kitchen making coffee in massive high heels and hot pants with a full face of makeup (including lip gloss) and perfectly styled bouncey hair at like, 7 in the morning.

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  8. Yeah, in the early episodes the entire show felt like it was basically one big excuse to have Eliza Dushku walk around in skimpy clothing being objectified. I almost stopped watching in the episode where the dude was hunting her, because URGH.


    Maybe if it had had a stronger actress in the lead who was more capable of playing a completely different character every week, it would have been a different experience for me?? But I kind of doubt it...

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  9. I don't think it helped that the girl who played Sierra was in Neighbours for a year or so, which meant I had a really REALLY hard time taking her seriously. As you can see if you read her character's storyline: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katya_Kinski#Storylines

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  10. Hehe, I don't need to click that link ;-) I was a student in the UK in 2005, twice-daily viewings of Neighbours were pretty much mandatory.

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  11. Really, though, it's worth revisiting just to remind yourself of how cracked out Neighbours seems when you're not watching it on a daily basis. I mean, I always think of Neighbours as a higher class of soap opera than Days of Our Lives or whatever. But she dated a guy thinking he was his twin brother then got kidnapped by his father and got rescued when she waved her jumper out the window of a caravan. LOLOLOLOL.

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  12. I will definitely have to give it a read at lunchtime. The most hilarious Katya story I remember was when she developed a crush on Max and they went to some retreat and somehow meditated for an ENTIRE DAY without realising and had all these crazy trippy dreams about winning football games or something (because that's totally what meditating is).

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  13. Oh God. Why did I ever stop watching Neighbours?! SOLID GOLD SHIT.

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  14. I totally understand and agree with everything you've said. He's work makes great strides but he undermines in SERIOUS ways. Breaking up is hard to do. Let us know if we can support.

    See you at Ultron!

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  15. Videos like this make me feel better about boycotting Whedon for nine years after Firefly caused Dark Angel to get canned. When I finally got over my bitterness and watched his stuff, I think because I was a bit older and more educated about misogyny, racism et. al. that I could never make it through more than a few episodes of a show without being squicked in some way.
    That and I find a majority of the dialogue in his shows attention-seeking and juvenile. I probably would have LOVED it as a sixteen year old, but as I got older my taste changed, and I began enjoying subtlety over snark.
    And yes, I will scream. I will scream so hard.

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  16. I think I must be heartless - I'm not really a cryer. My eyes may sting a little occasionally, but there are never full-blown tears. So happy you enjoyed it! And it was good. and I can't wait to see it!

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  17. I still like some of his dialogue. But yeah, the one off designed-to-be-quoted-forever stuff just grates on every nerve now. SIGH.

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  18. It's like a three steps forward, two steps back type of a deal. And it drives me CRAZY.

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  19. I never used to cry over movies and books. Except for, like, Dead Poets Society when we watched it in year 10 English. But now? ALL THE FEELS OMG.

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  20. I kind of wonder if I would have cried if I hadn't been heavily influenced by all the people around me. Probably, but maybe not to the same extent...

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  21. It was actually surprisingly funny, so you'll probably get away with laughing during the sad bits!

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  22. It was surprisingly funny, which was a massive relief because I'm not sure I could have coped with the last third of the movie if the first two thirds hadn't been as funny as they were. GOOD LUCK!!

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  23. I didn't end up as much of a mess as I'd anticipated. So maybe you won't either??? IDK.

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  24. Wilhelmina UptonJune 2, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Who knows?! It'll be a while until I get to see the movie, sadly.

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  25. In the same way pre-exam stress/nerves spreads outside the exam hall? :P

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