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Buffy's shadow selves

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  • Buffy's shadow selves

    Completely random thread I'm just throwing out there because I have a report to write :

    I was thinking about all the "shadow selves" (ie a character representing a path not taken/darker or different side of a character)for throughout the show, and was trying to break it down season by season. It goes something like this:

    S1 : Cordelia. What Buffy would've been had she not been called
    S2: Spike (a lot of parallels between them, especially wrt to their respective relationships to Drusilla and Angel) and Drusilla (in relation to Angel)
    S3: Faith (I think it's pretty self evident)
    S4 : ?? Adam ??
    S5: Spike , Glory and conversely, Dawn as the "light self"
    S6: Spike and Dawn, see above
    S7 : the First (something something Buffy cutting herself off and not letting anyone close and the First being unable to touch and be touched (see what they did there)), ??

    Anyone help me fill in the blanks and/or want to vehemently disagree with me ?
    What a challenge, honesty
    What a struggle to learn to speak
    Who would've thought that pretending was easier

  • #2
    None, really. What Buffy fears she would be is not the same as being a "shadow" self. At least, IMO. That notion pretty much relies on the old Joker/Batman thing Moore tried to do by saying all that separates the good guy from the bad is a bad day and the whole "we are not so different, you and I" angle of trying to coax the hero to break bad. Most of the juxtapositions they do are only to highlight those differences. They do a lot of paralleling Buffy and Dru in S2, but they are hardly alike. Faith is the dark slayer, but she is not the dark Buffy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cheese Slices View Post
      Completely random thread I'm just throwing out there because I have a report to write :

      I was thinking about all the "shadow selves" (ie a character representing a path not taken/darker or different side of a character)for throughout the show, and was trying to break it down season by season. It goes something like this:

      S1 : Cordelia. What Buffy would've been had she not been called
      S2: Spike (a lot of parallels between them, especially wrt to their respective relationships to Drusilla and Angel) and Drusilla (in relation to Angel)
      S3: Faith (I think it's pretty self evident)
      S4 : ?? Adam ??
      S5: Spike , Glory and conversely, Dawn as the "light self"
      S6: Spike and Dawn, see above
      S7 : the First (something something Buffy cutting herself off and not letting anyone close and the First being unable to touch and be touched (see what they did there)), ??

      Anyone help me fill in the blanks and/or want to vehemently disagree with me ?
      Kind of Kendra, as a contrast - what it's like to be a "proper" Slayer, which Buffy never was.
      She and Faith represented different sides of Buffy's Slayer self.
      You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

      Comment


      • #4
        Adam was breaking away from what his 'mother' envisaged for him and acting out his own exploration and interest in the world which sat alongside leaving home and going to college.

        (I agree that these are compare/contrasts rather than shadow selves though)

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        • #5
          I think all of these are Buffy's shadow selves and it is not all that subtle.

          Buffy tells Cordelia that she wishes she could be the homecoming queen. And Cordelia isn't just Buffy's shadow self. She used to be Buffy's surface self. When Buffy was at Hemery, she presented much like Cordelia does. Now that part of her is repressed.

          She enjoys partying with Faith in "Bad Girls" and she savagely stabs Faith in "Graduation," despite claiming that a slayer shouldn't be allowed to pass judgement on who gets to live or die. She is surprisingly sympathetic and forgiving towards her.

          And while they don't explore it that much, there is definitely a part of Buffy that is immediately jealous of the accord Kendra strikes up with Giles. She talks a lot about wanting to be better at living up the expectations put on her by her mother, school and by Giles.

          She tells Riley that she wishes her mother cuddled her like she cuddles Dawn. She tells Dawn, who's going to take care of us, signifying that she wishes she didn't have to take the role of the adult, as it forces her to suppress her own grief and feeling of helplessness.

          Her assertions that she and Spike are nothing alike are undermined by how much time she spends with him.
          Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 14-01-20, 08:38 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Stoney View Post
            Adam was breaking away from what his 'mother' envisaged for him and acting out his own exploration and interest in the world which sat alongside leaving home and going to college.

            (I agree that these are compare/contrasts rather than shadow selves though)
            I think Adam was more set for a Riley comparison. Perhaps the original intent was to set Maggie and Buffy in some sort of parallel, warring for control over their sons, but Lindsey Crouse left.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
              I think Adam was more set for a Riley comparison. Perhaps the original intent was to set Maggie and Buffy in some sort of parallel, warring for control over their sons, but Lindsey Crouse left.
              According to Linsey Crouse she stayed for the time she was contracted for, and then Joss killed off her character.
              Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
                I think all of these are Buffy's shadow selves and it is not all that subtle.
                I was probably restricting shadow self to being too much about a darker side to you, rather than also considering the path not taken aspect as Cheese Slices originally suggested and that works with Cordelia, Kendra and Dawn, as you say.

                Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
                I think Adam was more set for a Riley comparison. Perhaps the original intent was to set Maggie and Buffy in some sort of parallel, warring for control over their sons, but Lindsey Crouse left.
                Yes I think you are probably right that Adam was set more intentionally for a Riley comparison, it doesn't mean that we can't find something for Buffy too. But yeah, Riley and Adam as the two constructed sons are definitely a pair. I don't think the potential link to Adam breaking away from his mother by killing her as a dark contrast to Buffy moving out of home and not visiting is intentional, I was just trying to find a S4 suggestion.

                Could Willow be a S4 shadow self for Buffy as someone that could commit her time to focussing on her study and felt at ease in the college environment? It is often made clear that Buffy could be more academically successful. Not to Willow levels, but greater than she actually manages and she does end up having to leave college of course eventually.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                  I was probably restricting shadow self to being too much about a darker side to you, rather than also considering the path not taken aspect as Cheese Slices originally suggested and that works with Cordelia, Kendra and Dawn, as you say.
                  It is not necisserily darker, nor does it have to be a path that you could realistically have chosen. It is just the part of you that you have to supress to present yourself as a coherent, well adjusted adult human in the world.

                  Buffy can't be Dawn. That ship has sailed. But the desire to remain a child is something we all feel to a degree, I think.

                  And while Willow's shadow self doppelganger is both very evil and very gay, I don't think that implies that being gay is evil. It simply means that being gay is part of the forbidden. It is part of what Willow has chosen to suppress ... for the time being. Later, she integrates her querness into her persona.

                  Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                  Yes I think you are probably right that Adam was set more intentionally for a Riley comparison, it doesn't mean that we can't find something for Buffy too.
                  I think you are definitely right. There are many connections between Buffy and Riley. The problem is that S4 is perhaps the season when Buffy seems the least demon-y. She gets accused of being a killer, but there is never a time in the season that she seems to want to kill anyone, except maybe in "Sanctuary."

                  Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                  Could Willow be a S4 shadow self for Buffy as someone that could commit her time to focussing on her study and felt at ease in the college environment? It is often made clear that Buffy could be more academically successful. Not to Willow levels, but greater than she actually manages and she does end up having to leave college of course eventually.
                  Definitely. POTN talks a lot about how the Scoobies represents parts of Buffy's psyche, using the tarot cards as part of the evidence. I think that theory comes from one of the famous books on Buffy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bespangled View Post
                    According to Linsey Crouse she stayed for the time she was contracted for, and then Joss killed off her character.
                    There always seems to be multiple stories with this stuff. Whatever the case, if they were trying to set it up, they stopped at that point. I think a big reason Adam failed as a BB is he had no connection at all to the characters aside from Riley. They do the whole Super!Buffy is made up of parts and so is he, but, eh.

                    Could Willow be a S4 shadow self for Buffy as someone that could commit her time to focussing on her study and felt at ease in the college environment? It is often made clear that Buffy could be more academically successful. Not to Willow levels, but greater than she actually manages and she does end up having to leave college of course eventually.
                    Honestly, if the definition used for a shadow self is "path not taken" then every character is one. The fundamental differences in the characters are why those paths weren't taken. Cordy isn't a "shadow" Buffy because of the reasons Buffy disregards her friendship to be friends with Willow. Cordy and Buffy have some similarities, but they're not all that deep. They do these storylines, but those lines always diverge and show that characters aren't alike at all. Spike spends all of S6 trying to convince Buffy they are the same, but the end result is them being totally different.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
                      Honestly, if the definition used for a shadow self is "path not taken" then every character is one. The fundamental differences in the characters are why those paths weren't taken. Cordy isn't a "shadow" Buffy because of the reasons Buffy disregards her friendship to be friends with Willow. Cordy and Buffy have some similarities, but they're not all that deep. They do these storylines, but those lines always diverge and show that characters aren't alike at all. Spike spends all of S6 trying to convince Buffy they are the same, but the end result is them being totally different.
                      Buffy isn't Cordelia. Her choice to not be Cordelia is significant. But she admits twice that she was once very much like Cordelia, and in "Homecoming", she admits that there is still a part of here that wants to live Cordelia's life.

                      There are people who see no attraction in being popular, and who would never feel any jealousy towards Cordelia at all. But I think everyone have something about themselves that they chose to not act out. They may not even be aware of it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        But I think everyone have something about themselves that they chose to not act out. They may not even be aware of it.
                        This may be key. We speak of shadows through the language of similarity but when it comes to the unconscious "self" (word under erasure) it's a r/ship of alterity (and it also makes choice far more complex than is commonly thought).

                        Hence Fred's actual shadow (Illyria in her real form) at the end of A11 (Dark Reflections).
                        Last edited by TriBel; 14-01-20, 12:08 PM.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
                          Buffy isn't Cordelia. Her choice to not be Cordelia is significant. But she admits twice that she was once very much like Cordelia, and in "Homecoming", she admits that there is still a part of here that wants to live Cordelia's life.
                          Buffy says a lot of things about herself that are not true. It's readily debunked. If she was "like Cordy" she wouldn't have been put off by her behavior toward Willow in the pilot. Buffy does not want to live Cordy's life. She, as she says, wants to exist in the world. In that sense, she envies all their lives. Get your picture in the yearbook. Go on a date. Go to prom. Have your favorite teacher remember your name.

                          There are people who see no attraction in being popular, and who would never feel any jealousy towards Cordelia at all. But I think everyone have something about themselves that they chose to not act out. They may not even be aware of it.
                          As said, Buffy's motivation isn't to be like Cordy. She wants to be recognized as having existed. Willow, Xander and Oz aren't shadow selves because Buffy put off they got their picture taken and she didn't.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            No matter how many "selves" we incorporate, or try on, it's never going to be enough because the ideal self is "notself" - the "me" without form she describes to Spike in Afterlife. "Time didn't mean anything. Nothing had form, but I was still me, you know? And I was warm. And I was loved. And I was finished". It's the search for that self that's still driving her in S12. I think this is probably the ultimate shadow.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cheese Slices View Post
                              Completely random thread I'm just throwing out there because I have a report to write :

                              I was thinking about all the "shadow selves" (ie a character representing a path not taken/darker or different side of a character)for throughout the show, and was trying to break it down season by season. It goes something like this:

                              S1 : Cordelia. What Buffy would've been had she not been called
                              S2: Spike (a lot of parallels between them, especially wrt to their respective relationships to Drusilla and Angel) and Drusilla (in relation to Angel)
                              S3: Faith (I think it's pretty self evident)
                              S4 : ?? Adam ??
                              S5: Spike , Glory and conversely, Dawn as the "light self"
                              S6: Spike and Dawn, see above
                              S7 : the First (something something Buffy cutting herself off and not letting anyone close and the First being unable to touch and be touched (see what they did there)), ??

                              Anyone help me fill in the blanks and/or want to vehemently disagree with me ?
                              I agree on Cordelia, Faith, and sort of Glory, although the last one is more subtle than the first two. She's not so much a parallel to who Buffy is, as she is an ironically-unpleasant god of Buffy's hobbies (fashion, kicking butt, making quips, generally combining power and frivolity).

                              Dawn doesn't strike me as a reflection of Buffy. If anything, she's an inverse of Willow-- the power is inside her rather than needing to be taken, yet the other characters can't or won't teach her how to use it. Additionally, Willow is the one that Dawn identifies with and tries to emulate, despite the other characters' disapproval.

                              Spike is more Angel's shadow than Buffy's. Spike was also turned into a vampire, but rather than being driven to destroy everyone he had loved, he committed monstrous acts to serve them. There are stronger parallels between Buffy and Drusilla: Both received some sort of superhuman power before they lost their humanity, both were parentally abused for their strangeness, and both became/become objects of obsession for Angel.

                              Riley and Adam are kind of like siblings who grow up with an overbearing parent and deal with it in opposite ways. Riley breaks free of Maggie's control by rejecting her power (quitting the drugs, cutting out the chip); Adam breaks free by embracing and surpassing it. At the same time, Riley both exemplifies and deconstructs Xander's masculine ideal, so he is, to some extent, a mirror of Xander's wishes.

                              Not sure about the First Evil and Buffy. It takes her form and experiences loneliness, but it can take the form of anyone who's died, and just being lonely isn't particular to either of them. I do think that Buffy's meant to be one corner in a destiny triangle with the First Slayer and the Potentials; unfortunately, none of her S7 reflections works well enough to inspire further thought on my part.

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