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  • Show Criticisms You Don't Agree With

    One of the most common complaints about the show, particularly S1, is how dated it is. The examples given typically revolve around things only date the show in terms of the time in which it takes place. It's a 90s show, focused on 90s teens, set in the 90s in the 90s American High School. Which to say, if the fashion doesn't seem modern it's because it's accurate. How else are 90s kids supposed to dress? These things do not make a TV show dated.

    What dates shows are overused camera techniques, sequencing, sometimes manner of speech and transitions. In this regard, Buffy was very advanced for the time it aired and holds up to anything currently being put out. There are indeed some dated shots in S1, particularly the power shot in Prophecy Girl with the theme music playing. That is indeed very mid-90s. But it is one shot in 12 episodes.

    I often feel like people that level this complaint don't really get the meaning of it. You want to see dated storytelling and camera work, check out stuff like Seaquest or The Pretender. Establishing shots every other scene, sepia all over the place, static cameras. Watch stuff like that and then watch BtVS/AtS and you'll realize, distractingly dated it is not.

  • #2
    Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
    One of the most common complaints about the show, particularly S1, is how dated it is. The examples given typically revolve around things only date the show in terms of the time in which it takes place. It's a 90s show, focused on 90s teens, set in the 90s in the 90s American High School. Which to say, if the fashion doesn't seem modern it's because it's accurate. How else are 90s kids supposed to dress? These things do not make a TV show dated.

    What dates shows are overused camera techniques, sequencing, sometimes manner of speech and transitions. In this regard, Buffy was very advanced for the time it aired and holds up to anything currently being put out. There are indeed some dated shots in S1, particularly the power shot in Prophecy Girl with the theme music playing. That is indeed very mid-90s. But it is one shot in 12 episodes.

    I often feel like people that level this complaint don't really get the meaning of it. You want to see dated storytelling and camera work, check out stuff like Seaquest or The Pretender. Establishing shots every other scene, sepia all over the place, static cameras. Watch stuff like that and then watch BtVS/AtS and you'll realize, distractingly dated it is not.
    I agree.

    When it comes to actually dated stuff, I'd point out to:
    • the awful genetic synth background music in S1 (but that was also due to the low budget and changed in subsequent seasons)
    • lack of racial diversity
    • bi erasure
    • the Inca Mummy Girl party definitely wouldn't be happening today, or it would get a lot of criticism for cultural appropriation
    • pretty flippant attitude to sexual assault in some of the episodes, particularly in early seasons (The Pack and Go Fish come to mind)
    There's probably a lot more

    And then there's I Robot, You Jane - which was already dated at the time it aired. The way people talk about the Internet makes it sound more like 1991 than 1997, and the overall attitude to computers and people who are good with computers seems out of the 1970s.

    There's also stuff that would probably get called problematic today much more than it was then, but I don't know if it's dated as crap like this is still done on TV shows, like the double standard towards sexual assault when the perpetrator is a woman (no consequences of any kind after Consequences, Who Are You?) and while I'd love to believe it, I'm not really sure if Hollywood has generally become more racially sensitive when it comes to stereotypes about Roma (the infamous "Gypsy curse").
    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.

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    • #3
      Re-lensing the view of the show to see other characters like Cordelia and Faith as far more heroic figures than Buffy or Willow because they’re more brazenly outspoken despite the fact that they’re initially introduced as a**holes who treat people badly and only grow into confident, empathetic heroes many seasons later.
      Last edited by American Aurora; 27-08-20, 11:25 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
        Re-lensing the view of the show to see other characters like Cordelia and Faith as far more heroic figures than Buffy or Willow because they’re more brazenly outspoken despite the fact that they’re initially introduced as a**holes who treat people badly and only grow into confident, empathetic heroes many seasons later.
        Sort of OT, but that's one of those things that make me roll my eyes. I used to read those Storylines You Wish We Saw things and invariably someone would say they wanted the Scooby gang to witness Cordelia. And I mean witness, too, because apparently Cordy transcended to a Christ level at some point and the gang would be totally awed by her. Or something.

        I've found it kind of typical though in fandoms that go on for a long time for them to get increasingly hostile and critical to the main players, largely because they constructed a bunch of headcanons around their faves. Mains are frequently downplayed by fandoms in general; they're taken for granted. The heroes good deeds are dismissed while a side, antihero character will get more credit for NOT killing someone.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
          Re-lensing the view of the show to see other characters like Cordelia and Faith as far more heroic figures than Buffy or Willow because they’re more brazenly outspoken despite the fact that they’re initially introduced as a**holes who treat people badly and only grow into confident, empathetic heroes many seasons later.
          Yeah this is especially true for Cordelia. It's got to the point nowadays where her S1 bullying is completely dismissed as no big deal and people criticise Willow more for the "deliver" moment in The Harvest, which is ridiculous.

          I think people forget just how awful Cordelia was at times in S1. She went out of her way to ostracise the new girl from everyone on her first day at school ("I have to call everyone I have ever met right now"), she was horrific to Willow ("Who gave you permission to exist?"), she was physically threatening to Amy in The Witch (slamming the lock door) etc. And this kind of bullying was meant to have went on for years throughout primary school etc.

          I'm all for recognising that Cordelia has layers and has very likeable and endearing traits as well but it doesn't mean you downplay her serious flaws. It's bizarre seeing it twisted around as if Willow was at fault for the way Cordelia treated her or that their actions later in the series somehow change this.

          ~ Banner by Nina ~

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

            Sort of OT, but that's one of those things that make me roll my eyes. I used to read those Storylines You Wish We Saw things and invariably someone would say they wanted the Scooby gang to witness Cordelia. And I mean witness, too, because apparently Cordy transcended to a Christ level at some point and the gang would be totally awed by her. Or something.

            I've found it kind of typical though in fandoms that go on for a long time for them to get increasingly hostile and critical to the main players, largely because they constructed a bunch of headcanons around their faves. Mains are frequently downplayed by fandoms in general; they're taken for granted. The heroes good deeds are dismissed while a side, antihero character will get more credit for NOT killing someone.
            It's probably also fueled by the belief that you're super edgy and cool if you like supporting characters better, particularly those that are in conflict with the main characters. You know, people who like to say "I never like the main characters, the supporting characters are always more interesting!"
            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.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

              Yeah this is especially true for Cordelia. It's got to the point nowadays where her S1 bullying is completely dismissed as no big deal and people criticise Willow more for the "deliver" moment in The Harvest, which is ridiculous.

              I think people forget just how awful Cordelia was at times in S1. She went out of her way to ostracise the new girl from everyone on her first day at school ("I have to call everyone I have ever met right now"), she was horrific to Willow ("Who gave you permission to exist?"), she was physically threatening to Amy in The Witch (slamming the lock door) etc. And this kind of bullying was meant to have went on for years throughout primary school etc.

              I'm all for recognising that Cordelia has layers and has very likeable and endearing traits as well but it doesn't mean you downplay her serious flaws. It's bizarre seeing it twisted around as if Willow was at fault for the way Cordelia treated her or that their actions later in the series somehow change this.
              Wait people defend Cordelia ? She's the cliche high school bitch. Even on the DVD commentary Whedon says how she acts like a total cartoon, (interestingly he also admits her because your boring line was what he said to somone else in real life) . How can anyone defend that ?

              American Aurora Regards Faith, yeah she was bad but I think the issue there was not she was bad but more Buffy literally committing Attempted murder on her with no consequences. On Buffys part. Joss copped out big time there. He admits he didn't have her die because he didn't want Buffy to be a murderer. I guess Attempted murder is OK then
              Last edited by BtVS fan; 29-08-20, 06:28 AM.

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              • American Aurora
                American Aurora commented
                Editing a comment
                Excellent point! But I’ve actually read pieces that claim Faith should’ve been the hero instead of Buffy because she was transgressive. I can’t agree with that.

            • #8
              I agree that there is certainly a group fans in probably every fandom who wants to be edgy and is only interested in the bad guys/antagonist. But the desire to see the story from another POV is not odd IMO. A POV does colour other characters and the antagonist is usually more layered in 'reality' than what the protagonist sees/wants to see. Not sure if you're going to get a BtVS!Cordelia with much more layers though. Young Cordy seems to be a case of "what you see is what you get" and she doesn't really change until the second part of Ats s1.





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              • American Aurora
                American Aurora commented
                Editing a comment
                It’s not so much that they’re interested in the bad guys as it is that they have to put down Buffy and Willow to do it. That’s what I find strange.

            • #9
              Originally posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post

              It's probably also fueled by the belief that you're super edgy and cool if you like supporting characters better, particularly those that are in conflict with the main characters. You know, people who like to say "I never like the main characters, the supporting characters are always more interesting!"
              I wouldn't call them edgy. That sort of implies they are only doing it for show. They really think that, though. Some types of characters are never what you would call fandom accessible. Buffy's one of them. She's not poor. She's not ugly. She's not an outcast nerd. She's "basic". To their eyes, she's one of those shallow squares who aren't important. In fact, they hate them. Which is basically Faith's POV and that's who they identify with. So you get POVs like above where they omit half the story so Faith looks like a victim. Outside of fandom, Buffy is way more popular than in fandom.

              That's an area where I think the show and Joss's work as a whole fails. I mean, his goal was to take the blonde-haired cheerleader type who gets raped/murdered in an alley and give her a story.Cool. But he never, ever delves into why that trope was/is so common to begin with. Why do people like to see that? What's the drive there? We can all take a guess as to why the 'black person dies first' trope exists, but neither the show, nor anyone else really, gets into Buffy trope genesis even though it rides on it.

              It is cool to see things from other POVs, but you can't really ignore the realities of the story which is what so often happens.

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              • #10
                Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

                I wouldn't call them edgy. That sort of implies they are only doing it for show. They really think that, though. Some types of characters are never what you would call fandom accessible. Buffy's one of them. She's not poor. She's not ugly. She's not an outcast nerd. She's "basic". To their eyes, she's one of those shallow squares who aren't important. In fact, they hate them. Which is basically Faith's POV and that's who they identify with. So you get POVs like above where they omit half the story so Faith looks like a victim. Outside of fandom, Buffy is way more popular than in fandom.

                That's an area where I think the show and Joss's work as a whole fails. I mean, his goal was to take the blonde-haired cheerleader type who gets raped/murdered in an alley and give her a story.Cool. But he never, ever delves into why that trope was/is so common to begin with. Why do people like to see that? What's the drive there? We can all take a guess as to why the 'black person dies first' trope exists, but neither the show, nor anyone else really, gets into Buffy trope genesis even though it rides on it.

                It is cool to see things from other POVs, but you can't really ignore the realities of the story which is what so often happens.

                The show is full of tropes though. You've got the tweed wearing English cliché to contrast with the super cool Americans. ASH even has to change his voice for the part. In fact all English people are more or less like portrayed like that. Even when he was meant to have this Badboy ripper past he's the guy that gets knocked out in fights. Compared to say Xander who does quite well in them.
                Joss admits that Nic Brendon was way to good looking for the role he was playing but its TV so get over it.
                Buffy herself is in a Teen romance which was/is the Twilight style trope that other shows have copied. Essentially good looking people going out with each other Hell all the cast are good looking 20 somethings. Joss says that David Borenaz was hired because the women literally turned to puddles when he came into the room to audition.
                I think it was Marti Noxon who commented on the difference between them and a real school when they shot a scene in a real school.

                While Joss own Male fantasy character was Riley Finn. The tall good looking all American hero.

                You had heroines before Buffy like Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley so that 80's horror genre trope (which thats all it was) of helpless girl was kind of done anyway.

                And while Buffy subverted that trope at the same time he had other characters like Cordelia literally screaming for help and needing Buffy to save them a lot. Hell the first half of the Angel spin off is literally episodes of this big broody hero saving helpless women in Alleys. He even kind of admits that on the City of Commentary though he does it anyway.
                Last edited by BtVS fan; 29-08-20, 08:33 AM.

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                • #11
                  Originally posted by Nina View Post
                  I agree that there is certainly a group fans in probably every fandom who wants to be edgy and is only interested in the bad guys/antagonist. But the desire to see the story from another POV is not odd IMO. A POV does colour other characters and the antagonist is usually more layered in 'reality' than what the protagonist sees/wants to see. Not sure if you're going to get a BtVS!Cordelia with much more layers though. Young Cordy seems to be a case of "what you see is what you get" and she doesn't really change until the second part of Ats s1.




                  I think Buffy early S3 Cordelia has layers then they break her and Xander up and they pretty much press the reset button on her, until the Prom

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

                    I wouldn't call them edgy. That sort of implies they are only doing it for show. They really think that, though. Some types of characters are never what you would call fandom accessible. Buffy's one of them. She's not poor. She's not ugly. She's not an outcast nerd. She's "basic". To their eyes, she's one of those shallow squares who aren't important. In fact, they hate them. Which is basically Faith's POV and that's who they identify with. So you get POVs like above where they omit half the story so Faith looks like a victim. Outside of fandom, Buffy is way more popular than in fandom.

                    That's an area where I think the show and Joss's work as a whole fails. I mean, his goal was to take the blonde-haired cheerleader type who gets raped/murdered in an alley and give her a story.Cool. But he never, ever delves into why that trope was/is so common to begin with. Why do people like to see that? What's the drive there? We can all take a guess as to why the 'black person dies first' trope exists, but neither the show, nor anyone else really, gets into Buffy trope genesis even though it rides on it.

                    It is cool to see things from other POVs, but you can't really ignore the realities of the story which is what so often happens.
                    First off, that certainly doesn't explain people who do that with Cordelia, does it?

                    Secondly, when I say I've seen people say that, I mean I've actually seen people say that. No, it can't be down to "they want to see POC as the main character" because there are shows with POC as the main character, no, it can't be down to "they want to see poor people as the main characters" because there are shows about people struggling with poverty. And so on. So if that was their problem, they'd do and watch those shows. Or ask why there aren't more shows with a different kind of protagonist But if you're instead saying you always like the supporting characters better, you're probably doing it because you think you're being cool and edgy.

                    And none of the people I've seen say that were, in fact, fans of supporting characters who were POC or poor or LGBT (I can guarantee you that about the people I've seen say that, because I know who some of their faves and non-faves are), nor did they ever indicate this is what the issue is about. Because it wasn't.
                    Last edited by TimeTravellingBunny; 29-08-20, 11:48 AM.
                    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


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
                      First off, that certainly doesn't explain people who do that with Cordelia, does it?

                      Secondly, when I say I've seen people say that, I mean I've actually seen people say that. No, it can't be down to "they want to see POC as the main character" because there are shows with POC as the main character, no, it can't be down to "they want to see poor people as the main characters" because there are shows about people struggling with poverty. And so on. So if that was their problem, they'd do and watch those shows. But if you're instead saying you always like the supporting characters better, you're probably doing it because you think you're being cool and edgy.
                      When was Cordy ever the main character?

                      Never did I say it was absolutes. I was referring specifically to the show in which the board is dedicated in the example given.

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

                        When was Cordy ever the main character?

                        Never did I say it was absolutes. I was referring specifically to the show in which the board is dedicated in the example given.
                        Exactly! You implied that people prefer supporting characters because Buffy is a white, middle-class pretty cheerleader etc.
                        So why would that make them prefer Cordelia to Buffy?
                        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


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post


                          The show is full of tropes though. You've got the tweed wearing English cliché to contrast with the super cool Americans. ASH even has to change his voice for the part. In fact all English people are more or less like portrayed like that. Even when he was meant to have this Badboy ripper past he's the guy that gets knocked out in fights. Compared to say Xander who does quite well in them.
                          Joss admits that Nic Brendon was way to good looking for the role he was playing but its TV so get over it.
                          Buffy herself is in a Teen romance which was/is the Twilight style trope that other shows have copied. Essentially good looking people going out with each other Hell all the cast are good looking 20 somethings. Joss says that David Borenaz was hired because the women literally turned to puddles when he came into the room to audition.
                          I think it was Marti Noxon who commented on the difference between them and a real school when they shot a scene in a real school.

                          While Joss own Male fantasy character was Riley Finn. The tall good looking all American hero.

                          You had heroines before Buffy like Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley so that 80's horror genre trope (which thats all it was) of helpless girl was kind of done anyway.

                          And while Buffy subverted that trope at the same time he had other characters like Cordelia literally screaming for help and needing Buffy to save them a lot. Hell the first half of the Angel spin off is literally episodes of this big broody hero saving helpless women in Alleys. He even kind of admits that on the City of Commentary though he does it anyway.
                          Oh, come on! It's not like, once Alien was released in 1979, or The Terminator in 1984, the trope of helpless girls as horror movie victims disappeared, feminism started ruling Hollywood, and every female character became deep and layered and super competent. In fact, I'm pretty sure the slasher movies were in full swing after that. And I distinctly remember 1990s action movies where the female lead couldn't even run for her life if the male lead wasn't holding her hand.
                          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.

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                          • BtVS fan
                            BtVS fan commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Thats a fair point it was happening after those movies . It was also happening on Buffy too
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