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Spuffy and the Ageing Question

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  • Stoney
    replied
    Originally posted by Josh View Post
    I'm mostly talking about Spike sans the soul since that part of their relationship gets a lot of attention, sometimes in a positive way when (in my opinion) it should be frowned upon.
    When I first watched the show I enjoyed Spike's character, the sarcastic lines etc pretty much as I was supposed to I'm sure. But he was a bad guy and my interest in his story would have been pretty limited if he'd stayed static and presented as just that on and on. His love for Buffy and what he did for her intrigued me in S5 and FFL really increased my interest and appreciation for him as a character because it worked so well back to what had come before and gave some added depth. But really my investment in the character increased hugely the more the story continued because the greater path they took him on beyond his soullessness was one of becoming more than he had been, and this raised him beyond the original character and his journey was just more interesting for it. Sure the attraction and connection between Buffy and Spike was always interesting and as others have said, in great part because of the negativity that they openly explored too. So I would always have found them intriguing if it had stopped at S6 when they broke up but I wouldn't have shipped them in the way that I do for all that they could become. It's like Spike really only became my absolute favourite character in fiction when I saw the extent of the progressive journey he was on and how it took him so much further.

    There's definitely a wish by some fans for Spike to have not needed the soul and he can be too romantacised because of some of his character traits and choices he made that weren't mwahaha 'evil'. But the show raised the question of whether he could be good for love and against his nature and answered with a firm no. So it feels to me that perspective has blinkers to it and in how S5-6 didn't actually go where some wanted it to. But really the show didn't opt to leave it open so I think they wanted people to see it as limited, even within the supernatural context where we can accept some things we never would in real life (like them moving beyond the AR because of the context of the soul in verse). Yes there were positives that they put forward about Spike, but they always constantly laboured the negatives too and it just built up the complexity of the character, but ultimately always with that limitation unsouled. It was Buffy that broke the relationship off in S6 because she could see that it was abusive and limited in a way Spike didn't. Like SpuffyGlitz I've read fanfics where Buffy is blamed for the AR and Spike really woobified, if only he'd been accepted and guided more etc. It doesn't hold up against the mythology of the show I don't think and in that sense I do agree that some issues with Spike/the Spuffy relationship pre soul are brushed aside by fans and too romanticised. But not all and the show itself doesn't support that perspective to me. And because of this I also agree with HardlyThere that the relationship gets too often demonised in the opposite corner.

    I didn't watch the show until I was in my thirties but I don't think my opinion of the relationship has shifted over the years with age, just with the hindsight of seeing the individual paths they went on and the positive progression Spike achieved. They were always interesting, but they also became something I could root for as they went beyond what held them back individually and together.
    Last edited by Stoney; 08-08-19, 07:04 PM.

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  • TriBel
    replied
    SpuffyGlitz

    I see Creed's monstrous feminine thingie a bit differently (or maybe not!)
    You probably do because I'm taking liberties with it * - as I understand it, it's monstrous because of abjection - because of the significance of the archaic / castrating / phallic mother. However - are these fixed and eternal givens or is it possible - in theory - to do away with abjection of the mother, for the mother (to paraphrase Alasdair Gray) to escape the nursery? I'm not sure - that's why I was excited about Joyce's "return" in S12 (more fool me!).

    Re: Estes. Can't find my copy and it's years since I read it (bit hippish for me) but the language makes it accessible. What also interests me is she wrote "Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother's Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul" and the Madonna appears in both the church and the mission in S7.

    *ultimately - I think it is unhealthy.

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  • Priceless
    replied
    I wouldn't say that. I think S6 uses the Freudian (which Joss is) anger-turned-inward basis for depression. Buffy is angry at her friends, but feels she shouldn't be and directs that anger toward herself. She fears their rejection, yet wants it at the same time. She chooses Spike because he's there and very willing and she feels it will create the result she subconsciously wants. Feelings develop which complicates the matter even more. Buffy is terrified of her friends judgment, of them leaving her. I would not call her repressed, but I'd say she had been tamping down elements of her personality for a long time, voiced as far back as S3.
    Along with the anger Buffy felt, there was also a deep sense of loss. She'd been finished, free, with Joyce, and I think Spike represented some of that freedom to her. I like to think she was absolutely free with him in a way she could never be with anyone else and that was partly her trying to reclaim a little of what she'd lost.

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  • HardlyThere
    replied
    I think that is an area in which some fans, myself being one of them, disagrees with what the text is trying to tell us message-wise and a worthwhile basis for the "is the show sex-negative" discussions. I don't care for what S6 seems to try to say about some things.

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  • SpuffyGlitz
    replied
    Originally posted by TriBel View Post
    Spuffy S6 is often talked about as "self-harm" - which it may be (for both of them). But - what's wrong with "self-harm" (and I mean the words at face value rather than what they signify in real life), if harming that self paves the way for a new and more self-fulfilling self? Creation can't happen without destruction. Yes - I think there are problems with the relationship in the short-term - but long term (and - yes - I do mean after the "mutual my arse" break-up. I think there's a reason Spike's prepared to "hang around forever), I think it's representative of a progressive state of being.
    Hey, I just realised I have an old copy of Estes' Women Who Run With the Wolves! It looks like a fabulous book. I see Creed's monstrous feminine thingie a bit differently (or maybe not!) but I agree about the embracing of a new inner self, it speaks to Buffy's S6 journey in really interesting ways I love what you've said about a progressive state of being.

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  • TriBel
    replied
    Spuffy S6 is often talked about as "self-harm" - which it may be (for both of them). But - what's wrong with "self-harm" (and I mean the words at face value rather than what they signify in real life), if harming that self paves the way for a new and more self-fulfilling self? Creation can't happen without destruction. Yes - I think there are problems with the relationship in the short-term - but long term (and - yes - I do mean after the "mutual my arse" break-up. I think there's a reason Spike's prepared to "hang around forever), I think it's representative of a progressive state of being.

    HardlyThere:
    That's all interesting to me because you don't see much of that outside of novels.
    That's what intrigued me about it. I'd seen it before but only in "literature".
    Last edited by TriBel; 08-08-19, 05:27 PM.

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  • GoSpuffy
    replied
    Buffy and Spike are my favourite characters. On my first watch I could not believe their relationship unfolded the way it did. I would have thought Spike and Dru would go out together, they were forever. Until they weren't. How many of us thought we found our destiny and then found a whole new path? Spuffy to me is all about the journey, how real they made it seem, how it grew out of something completely different. The SR is upsetting to me and in real life I don't believe any couple could overcome that event. In this case I can accept it because of the "soul" issue in BtVS lore. I don't hate Angel for murdering Jenny because he was Angelus. Spike went to Africa to get his soul to be a better man. For her. That's pretty spectacular on the romantic scale. Spike is confusing, if only he had two names, Spikelus and Spike, then maybe people would remember to see him as two completely separate characters. There are lots of unforgivable things in the show by lots of different characters. Part of Buffy's character is forgiveness. She's a forgive-a-thon. If Buffy can forgive Spike I can accept it. And as much as I wish it hadn't happened I do see it was used as the trigger for Spike to go to Africa and the writers felt he needed something huge to motivate him.

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  • HardlyThere
    replied
    Originally posted by Priceless View Post
    I don't watch any shows on the WB either, but someone did mention it, though I can't remember who. But I'm running with it. Someone also mentioned Dany and Drogo, which is nothing like Spuffy, but anyone throws Spuffy in my face as toxic, I'll say 'watch any game of thrones lately, where every bloody relationship was toxic
    Some people see one thing as the same as the other. Which I guess it is with a standard definition. Rape is rape.

    You could say that Spike is Buffy's depression. He is the undead embodiment of all her feelings in S6.
    I wouldn't say that. I think S6 uses the Freudian (which Joss is) anger-turned-inward basis for depression. Buffy is angry at her friends, but feels she shouldn't be and directs that anger toward herself. She fears their rejection, yet wants it at the same time. She chooses Spike because he's there and very willing and she feels it will create the result she subconsciously wants. Feelings develop which complicates the matter even more. Buffy is terrified of her friends judgment, of them leaving her. I would not call her repressed, but I'd say she had been tamping down elements of her personality for a long time, voiced as far back as S3.

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  • flow
    replied
    To me Spuffy isn't about their season 6 abusive affair. It's abouth what they make of it and how each of them takes the chance to change theirselves and their lives for the better.

    Had the Spuffy relationship got stuck in season 6 at the point where Buffy secretly sneaks into Spike's crypt to let herself be shagged senseless by him while the demon eggs he was trading are hatching downstairs, Spuffy would have been boring and repulsive.

    What makes Spuffy interesting is how they are both willing to learn a lesson, how they both hit rock bottom and then start to climb up again and how they both grow and evolve through the good and the bad of their affair.

    For Spike the change is obvious. he goes and earns himself a soul. But season 6 is a valuable lesson for Buffy too. She re-claims her power and re-connects with her "bright" side at the end of season 6. However exploring and accepting her dark side has made her stronger. She ends the relationship with Spike because she realizes how she is using Spike and she doesn't want to use or hurt another sentient being. That's how she is able to find the way back to the compassion and love within her.

    The AR and Spike's evilness is part of their path. It's nothing to be romanticized. But it's also not the end of the path. It's something they have to overcome and they manage to do so. I don't like Buffy being at her worst or her lowest point. But I do like to see how she carries on and does not let herself be defeated, hardened or darkened.


    flow

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  • Priceless
    replied
    I can't say that I've seen every show on the WB/UPN, but I don't remember too many things like that happening. In the scifi/fantasy genre in general, there is a lot of dubcon like memory spells and body swaps, but nothing like the AR. That's why it stands out. The comparison was Luke and Laura, an old soap opera storyline. The AR is bold because it's largely portrayed as a miscommunication rather than a mwah-hah, mustache-twirling, Warren-like sexual assault attempt.
    I don't watch any shows on the WB either, but someone did mention it, though I can't remember who. But I'm running with it. Someone also mentioned Dany and Drogo, which is nothing like Spuffy, but anyone throws Spuffy in my face as toxic, I'll say 'watch any game of thrones lately, where every bloody relationship was toxic

    But seriously, I thought Spuffy was extremely rare and personally cannot think of any other relationship like it, at least not in the last 20 years. That's one of the reason it appeals to me so much, because it is so different from every other romance out there. It's completely unique, and just for that alone I admire it.

    You could say that Spike is Buffy's depression. He is the undead embodiment of all her feelings in S6.

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  • HardlyThere
    replied
    Originally posted by Priceless View Post
    I am a huge Spuffy fan and I do romanticise the relationship, but not to the extent that some do. I've read fanfics which have blamed Buffy for that AR, or had her guilt over beating Spike in Dead Things be more important than his guilt at the AR, which is just ridiculous.

    Times have changed, and I always believed that you could no longer have an attempted rapist become the love object of the character they attempted to rape, but someone suggested AR's and rapes were incredibly common on the WB, so to be honest, I've become much less uptight about the AR then I used to be.

    On tv Buffy was always my hero and even when she was going through hell, she tried to do her best for everyone around her. When you really think about what her life was like and all she went through in those 7 years, I'm surprised she's as well adjusted and morally 'good' as she is and can still feel shame.

    I accept Spike is a soulless vampire, and a fictional character, two very important things when discussing him and this show. We saw what Angel could do without a soul, and I accept both of them for what they are. I thoroughly enjoy watching Spike striving to become a man, falling in love with the Slayer, the Buffybot and the taking care of Dawn, and even the incredible writing of Seeing Red. It really works for me as one characters journey, but also as a love story between two complicated people.
    I can't say that I've seen every show on the WB/UPN, but I don't remember too many things like that happening. In the scifi/fantasy genre in general, there is a lot of dubcon like memory spells and body swaps, but nothing like the AR. That's why it stands out. The comparison was Luke and Laura, an old soap opera storyline. The AR is bold because it's largely portrayed as a miscommunication rather than a mwah-hah, mustache-twirling, Warren-like sexual assault attempt.

    I think part of why S6 Spuffy is most interesting to me is because it's never really treated like a ship by the show. Spike is really only a metaphor throughout that season. He doesn't really have an arc until SR. He is treated as a bad choice Buffy makes. He is like Amy or Rack. His brief solo scenes are typically only used to illustrate that, yup, Spike is still Spike and Buffy is in a bad place and doing Wrong Thing.

    S6 from the Buffy perspective, I think, is all very cumulative going all the way back to S1 or S2, perhaps even prior to that. You have a girl who has had most of her choices made for her either by her calling or by social push. In S6, she's brought back after having completed her journey and pushed into a housewife role, having to make house all with a smile on her face on top of being the slayer with all of her insecurities about that piled on top. She's caught in a vicious circle of resenting it all and guilt over that resentment and building anger all on top of it. She chooses Spike because he's everything she should not choose and she feels that her friends will be disgusted by her and her sexuality and fears they'll abandon her, which makes it all the more attractive and her all the more guilty as things progress. That's all interesting to me because you don't see much of that outside of novels.

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  • Priceless
    replied
    Do I think from a textual point of view that it's okay to accept the inference that Buffy loved Spike pre-soul? Yeah...I'm okay with that. I think it changed her for the better.
    I agree with you. I think Buffy did love Spike pre-soul, that's why the relationship nearly killed her. It wasn't just the empty sex, or the fact that he loved her - he was just a vampire, a thing, why would she care. It's that she loved him and could never admit it.

    Spike is the only 'person' Buffy can stand to be around in S6. In Hells Bells she says it hurts her seeing him with someone else, in Entropy when Spike has sex with Anya she's hurt and jealous and in Season 7 she says 'why does everyone think I'm still in love with Spike'. Buffy herself says she was just using Spike, and I think that's true, but while she's using him she's showing him her true self, perhaps the only time she's ever let herself be completely free with another person . . . I did admit I romanticised this relationship and I do, but I'll always believe she loved him, but couldn't bear what that said about her and so buried it.

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  • TriBel
    replied
    Priceless (mutual my arse)

    Originally posted by Josh View Post
    I'm mostly talking about Spike sans the soul since that part of their relationship gets a lot of attention, sometimes in a positive way when (in my opinion) it should be frowned upon.

    The world is not black and white and neither is the show but what interest me is how much love Spuffy gets or even just Spike. Watching the show again perhaps will help me a more established opinion on the subject.
    Depends. Were it real life, I'd run a mile. However, it isn't - in real life, neither vampires nor slayers exist. Because I'm not especially interested in fantasy/the supernatural/horror at a basic story level, in order to engage I have to translate it into metaphor and structures. Fandom has a tendency to talk of Spike's "redemption". However, IMO, Buffy's also redeemed through her relationship with him (and I'm talking sans soul). It's through Spike that she comes to terms with herself as a woman - possibly a "wild woman" (what society sees as the "monstrous feminine" though I'm oversimplifying. The woman that's a threat to patriarchy). Perhaps this blurb (below) from Estes "Women who run with Wolves" makes some sense. (Note - Estes is a Jungian - I'm not. She's also influenced by Joseph Campbell - and I'm fairly he's an influence on Whedon).

    "Pinkola Estés writes about a number of universal human experiences, including addiction, romantic love, body image, self-love, and faith. In the story of the Skeleton Woman, she writes about falling in love, and the idea of being reborn through new and challenging experiences. When the Skeleton Woman’s head surfaces in the sea, her lover is terrified. But Pinkola Estés argues that the Wild Woman is not afraid of the difficulties that come with learning to love another person. Instead, she argues, seeing their imperfections and being brave enough to face one’s own discomfort around them is the most courageous and loyal way to live. Through the Skeleton Woman*, Pinkola Estés makes an example of the idea that from the death of one idea of the self comes a new way of living."

    So...would I advise a REAL woman to "marry a serial killer"? Not in a million years. Do I condone the AR? No - I don't. Do I think from a textual point of view that it's okay to accept the inference that Buffy loved Spike pre-soul? Yeah...I'm okay with that. I think it changed her for the better.

    *LOL! Skeleton Woman - "Am I flesh to you?" Perhaps I need to read Estes again.
    Last edited by TriBel; 08-08-19, 03:42 PM.

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  • SpuffyGlitz
    replied
    I never romanticised Spike or the later part of S6 Spuffy, but I love the characters of Buffy and Spike (they're both still my favourite characters today) and I love the complexity of their relationship and the complexity of their individual characters. I don't romanticise the S6 portion of their relationship even if I find aspects of it fascinating. I feel like there's a draw in glamourising vampirism in general and Spike was often imbued with certain traits that lend himself to being romanticised, but for me that goes against much of the ideology of the show. It's deeply unsettling to me if there's a lot of Spike love at the cost of Buffy (I see this especially in fanfic), but equally, I think there are some fans who've ended up hating Spike and Spuffy (and for some reason, conflating S6 Spike/Spuffy as representative of the entire relationship as a whole.) Then again, most of the Spuffy fanfiction I've read has been pro-Spike, some equally pro-Buffy while some fics display a teensy bit of ant-Buffy sentiment to full out resentment, and that I do find very hard to stomach or understand. I don't see S6 Spuffy as the entirety of the relationship, it often seems to get conflated that way because that's the season they officially get together. I identified very closely to Buffy and still do, and S6 has now become tied with S5 as my favourite season. As for the AR, which occurred after their sexual relationship had ended (Buffy had broken up with him), for me it's very hard to find a real life analog to vampiric acts of evil.

    If it's OK I'll post something I'd written on another thread on this board about the subject of S6 Spuffy specifically:

    Spoiler:
    We saw their romantic relationship in S6 unfurl at a juncture of their lives when Buffy was depressed and Spike was soulless, so the repercussions of those two states weren’t specifically indicative of the “Spuffy” relationship as much as they were about individual journeys for both of them.

    By the middle of S6, there was a shift once the relationship became sexual, with Buffy warring with herself against her attraction to Spike, housing conflicted feelings amidst her existential melancholia post her resurrection, and the pleasure and pain of her relationship with Spike. I saw it as something that helped thaw the numbness she felt at the start of the season (when she didn't feel responsive to anything -- I specifically loved the moment in OMWF when Spike directly addressed her with “Life isn't bliss. Life is just this. It's living. You have to go on living. So one of us is living.")

    Towards the latter half of the season, when Buffy broke up with him, that was the close of the official Spuffy “relationship” in a technical sense as I saw it. That was the point when Buffy drew the line and recognised that it had reached a point where they were both being detrimental to each other and hurting each other, that it was “killing” her to continue that way. The aftermath of the break up (amidst the turmoil of Anya-Xander's cancelled wedding) and the subsequent AR following Entropy, to me became about their individual journeys. Spike was soulless in S6 and the AR illustrated the limitations of a soulless vampire, something the season had been hinting at throughout.

    They were both inadvertently (and often deliberately) mutually abusive to each other towards the middle to latter half of the season, but the AR and Buffy’s depression are incidents grounded in a specific time period and context in their lives. I never equated sexual assault and depression as inherently "Spuffy" qualities for that reason, the AR occurred after the relationship had ended, it was the impetus for Spike’s journey in regaining his soul (Buffy had already drawn a line and broken up with him.) There was a huge contrast in the way they interacted in S7 when he returned souled. S6 ended with both Spike and Buffy separately undergoing individual journeys - Buffy rising into the light and emerging out of the grave, Spike having his soul restored to him.
    Last edited by SpuffyGlitz; 09-08-19, 08:33 PM.

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  • Priceless
    replied
    I am a huge Spuffy fan and I do romanticise the relationship, but not to the extent that some do. I've read fanfics which have blamed Buffy for that AR, or had her guilt over beating Spike in Dead Things be more important than his guilt at the AR, which is just ridiculous.

    Times have changed, and I always believed that you could no longer have an attempted rapist become the love object of the character they attempted to rape, but someone suggested AR's and rapes were incredibly common on the WB, so to be honest, I've become much less uptight about the AR then I used to be.

    For me Buffy is at her worst in the comics. In S8 she's completely overwhelmed by her new life and all these Slayers that she has to somehow lead. She propositions Xander ,even though she knows he's in love with her sister - that's pretty low. She robs banks, protects Angel even though he kills Giles etc.. When she branches out on her own she can't keep a decent job and ends up with a mountain of student debt . . . and then right at the end she breaks my Spuffy heart by ending her relationship with Spike (mutual my arse)

    On tv Buffy was always my hero and even when she was going through hell, she tried to do her best for everyone around her. When you really think about what her life was like and all she went through in those 7 years, I'm surprised she's as well adjusted and morally 'good' as she is and can still feel shame.

    I accept Spike is a soulless vampire, and a fictional character, two very important things when discussing him and this show. We saw what Angel could do without a soul, and I accept both of them for what they are. I thoroughly enjoy watching Spike striving to become a man, falling in love with the Slayer, the Buffybot and the taking care of Dawn, and even the incredible writing of Seeing Red. It really works for me as one characters journey, but also as a love story between two complicated people.

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