Monday, July 23, 2007

Dead like ______

While I was only halfway through Harry Potter and my brother was finished, he joked about Harry dying. That's been the speculation for several books now, so it wasn't any sort of spoiler and in my head I was thinking that he'd be Buffy-dead. The way she died in that first Season - dead for a minute, then back to life to save the world. And indeed, that's what happened. Now I've just finished off Season 5 of Buffy and I'm thinking Buffy is now Harry-dead. I'm glad once more that I didn't watch these in realtime - it would have annoyed me a lot to wait an entire summer to find out what happens next.

What to say about Season 5? I wasn't overly pleased about the whole Riley leaving set-up. He was so passive-agressive in the end there. All that "you don't give me what I need, give me a reason to stay, you won't let me take care of you" bullshit. He didn't take any responsibility for himself or his emotions. The relegating of emotional health to a woman as her responsibility within a relationship isn't very feminist. He even tells her she throws like a girl! So, while this particular girl can beat him, girls in general can still be used as a put-down and synonomous with weakness. He replaced Xander in this season as my least favourite character. Xander wasn't so great in his speech to Buffy either about the whole running after Riley - suggesting that if she loved him, she should just forget the whole vampire-sucking/cheating and go get him back. The season redeems itself with the robo-girlfriend episode, which has Buffy realising that she doesn't "...need a guy right now. I need me."

There was another silent episode, the one about her mother's death. It's interesting how effectively the lack of noise can be used to create an emotional response. Because I've been watching the seasons so quickly, it was hard not to compare it with Hush, which has so far been one of my favourite episodes and the only one that has ever made me a little bit on the scared side (and I quite like being scared). I think the silence was more effective at creating fear in Hush than sadness here - in the death episode it worked for me for awhile, but then I found it stopped. I can think of some other shows that have used this technique effectively - an episode of ER comes to mind off hand. It got me thinking about whether or not I had ever seen the same technique used to portray happiness or love and I can't think of any examples.

Where is the damn musical episode? Everyone raves about it and I want to see it already!


Banannas said...

keep'll get to it. i had wayy to much fun singing along with the entire episode with a huge room full of strangers in austin...ah, i miss the drafthouse.

on another note, good to know you come up for air now and again. hope things fall into place soon!

Sofiya said...

It's in Season 6. "Once More With Feeling."

I never really liked Riley either, but I think his inclusion in the series is part of Buffy's character development. He's there to show how Buffy deals with a relationship where the man feels threatened by her power. He starts out looking like a great partner for her, because he understands about the vampire slaying, but in the end, he's an establishment figure (i.e. works for the government) and Buffy 's modus vivendi is always highly anti-establishment.