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tales from a fangirl
30 Days of Angel - Day Eleven 
11th-Aug-2010 10:15 am
beautiful fear
I stayed home today to power clean because my mother-in-law is coming to visit from NY tomorrow. She does this about twice a year for the last ten or so years, so the urgent need to have a sparlking domecile has long since faded, but I bought cleaning supplies, and I want to use them!

But right now I'm watching History's Mysteries about King Arthur and debating on whether I should steal two or so hours and go see Inception. Or Salt. I can't decide. Salt has an ass-kicking woman at the heart of the story rather than being a satellite to the main hero. But Inception has Tom-that-mouth-Hardy, and some other square-jawed men in kink-creating crisp white shirts, vests, and well fitting dress pants.

What to do? *frets*

Meme, of course.

Hate is a strong word. I don’t hate today’s choices, I just didn’t like them.

The introduction of ‘comic book’ characters such as Illyria and Gwen Raden to AtS.

Now, I’m not much of a meta person and I don’t pretend to understand all the different ways to read the show but I do know that Angel inhabits a supernatural world, even though the themes are mythological. It’s a world of Slayers, vampires, werewolves, demons, witches, mages and other assorted non-corporeal creepy crawlies. Illyria and Gwen Raden are comic book superhero-ish characters – Gwen’s very X-Men type super power, Illyria’s costume and blue skin/hair – and they were out of place, imo, amongst the blood drinkers and Evil Inc.

Illyria's origins as a forgotten god are interesting enough (if it hadn't been handled in a way that discredits Joss' "I'm a feminist" scree) and even squatting in Fred's body (if only he didn't feel the need to totally destroy the woman already in there) would have been good storytelling, but Illyria's appearance makes her look like an X-Men who got lost on the way to Xavier's school for mutants.

Gwen Raden is a straight up Rogue rip off down to the white streak in her hair.

I’m aware of Whedon’s comic book career and I know that most writers tend to stick with what they like and know, but I didn't like the way Gwen and Illyria were shoehorned into a supernatural universe just because Joss wanted to show how cool they were.

And I'm adding an honorable mention for Joss' other annoying habit - stunt casting Firefly actors and shoehorning them into AtS and BtVS. Whatever I might have felt about Jasmine and Caleb was colored by Firefly's cancellation and the casting of Nathan Fillion, Gina Torre and hottie Mchotterson Adam Baldwin. Whether justified or not, I got the impression I was supposed to think their characters were the most awesome, the most threatening. Caleb kicks the shit out of Buffy more than once, Hamilton's first appearance is a violent explosion onto the scene, with some ass-kicking (if my resentful memory serves) mixed in, and Jasmine...well, we know what Jasmine did, don't we?

It's amazing to me sometimes how much I can love these shows -and trust me, I love them wholly and completely - and hate what Whedon did to them at one time or another.

I hope tomorrow is more positive. I hate to feel like I'm complaining.
11th-Aug-2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
The Firefly stunt casting annoys me to no end -- especially when Nathan Fillion gets a Special Guest Star credit and -David Boreanaz- doesn't, what the fucking fuck Joss -- but Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres are at least fantastic in their random-ass roles.

Gwen is totally an awkward X-Men character, I agree with you there, but I love love love Illyria to pieces. Her costuming is a little too sci-fi but I like the way AtS straddles genres sometimes so I can forgive it. At the very least it looks alien.
12th-Aug-2010 06:28 am (UTC)
and -David Boreanaz- doesn't

Every new thing I learn about asshat makes me wish I were a dude so I can piss on the fucker. It's almost like he hated AtS actors. Grrr.

Illyria is an interesting character in her own right but I will always think she didn't fit in AtS or BtVS. Those shows were about dark cemeteries and darker alleys, not about alien chicks staring at sponges.

Or was that a fanfic?

12th-Aug-2010 06:37 am (UTC)
I think Illyria fits fine on AtS, which is way more genre-vague than BtVS. She's no more "alien" than Skip... or half the plots in S1: chestbursters, X-Files-esque doctor who splits himself into parts, I could go on.

Whatever sponge thing you are talking about did not happen on the show.
12th-Aug-2010 06:50 am (UTC)
It's times like this when YMMV comes in handy.

And the sponge thing was an excellent fic I read once apparently, and I guess I thought it was so good I made it part of the show.

Which is funny because except for YW and half of NFA, I avoided the fifth season at all cost.

12th-Aug-2010 06:56 am (UTC)
Yeah I mean I am not knocking you for thinking she doesn't fit! I just don't agree.

And hold up... you never finished NFA? Seriously? I love NFA to little tiny bits. :(
12th-Aug-2010 07:01 am (UTC)
I watched the last....erg, probably fifteen or twenty minutes.

I wasn't going to. I mean, I was resolved. NO WATCHING. But, like a girlfriend who runs to the airport at the very last minute to watch her lover's plane take off because dammit the love is still there, I couldn't help but tune in. It was Angel. I needed to see the ending at least.
12th-Aug-2010 07:04 am (UTC)
I guess I am just kind of curious as to how you formed opinions on S5 without watching it. Are you just going based on what you've heard and how it makes you feel?
12th-Aug-2010 07:10 am (UTC)
Transcripts, YouTube vids, recaps, etc. And fanfic is a big indicator of season shenanigans. Spangel exploded when s5 premiered.

And I caught bits here and there channel surfing but I won't call it 'watching' - that's indicative of interest and I wasn't, not without Charisma. She was the deal breaker and I wasn't going to sit and 'marvel' at Joss' genius with the horror of s4 - especially ConCord - still burned into my brain.
12th-Aug-2010 07:12 am (UTC)
Well I mean it's your prerogative but I think Illyria especially would make more sense in context if you watched the eps. But eh, I am not gonna tell people to watch something they won't enjoy. :P
12th-Aug-2010 07:23 am (UTC)
I was pregnant with my daughter when Charisma was pregnant on the show - I was about three months behind her. Seeing what was happening with her character made me overidentify to a large degree. Even if I watched s5 in its entirety, I still wouldn't like it. Because Charisma/Cordelia was my portal of entry, the POV I saw things in. Without her it was white noise. And I'd had enough of AtS without her in s4.

I have the gist about Illyria, and I've seen her interact with Wesley just a bit. Just a bit. But, like Andrew in BtVS s7, I don't think she was needed.

But if you liked it, then that's great, because you've written a couple of really interesting and thought provoking essays so far and I don't see that very often from someone who's a Cordy fan. Usually it's "oh yeah, and Cordy was there and said that". It's nice to see the focus on her in such thinky thoughts.

Got another meta brewing? :P
12th-Aug-2010 07:25 am (UTC)
You haven't even commented on the first one yet! ;P

I am doing mini-meta on occasion with my 30 Days meme; I did a piece on Jasmine the other day. My Day 30 is going to be a big meta thing as a bookend with the Cordy essay on Day One, though it probably won't be as ostentatious as that essay.
11th-Aug-2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Just wanna "amen, sistah" you with this. Gwen...ugh. Illyria - more interesting than Fred, but still hated the way it happened and what a big ta-do was made of Fred because of it. Get thee to a nunnery, Fred, and lock the door!

Re the stunt casting, was Summer Glau in WiTW pre-Firefly or during? I can't be bothered to look up the dates. *hee* I guess the shows didn't last long enough to get Wash, Simon and Caley(?) roles. Oh,and the Preacher. Too bad, because I kinda have always liked that guy. :)
11th-Aug-2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Summer Glau did Angel first. Whedon loved her performance in WitW so much that he had her read for River, who was initially written as Asian (River and Simon -Tam-, der, Chinese).
12th-Aug-2010 06:33 am (UTC)
Doesn't Firefly suffer from some skeevy culture appropriation issues?

The least he could have done was change their last names if he was going to change their ethnicity.
12th-Aug-2010 06:35 am (UTC)
Well it wouldn't be quite so skeevy if the characters had actually been Chinese. A lot of Asian fans have complained about this, and I agree with them much as I love Sean Maher.

I mean it's the far future so we can assume they are mixed somewhere back along the line and just look really white, but it's still... troubling.
12th-Aug-2010 06:47 am (UTC)
That's what I meant, from what I've read, Chinese culture is all over Firefly but nary a Chinese character. Unless I've heard wrong? I've never watched the show.

And it is troubling if the Chinese features mixed right out of the Tam children but not their Chinese surname. Skeevy right there.
12th-Aug-2010 06:49 am (UTC)
I mean their ethnicity is never even mentioned, I just figure it's reasonable to assume they have Chinese ancestry due to the name. And yeah, the Firefly universe is a far future where America and China, as joint superpowers, basically influenced all the culture in terraformed space... but all the main characters are white except for the Magical Negro preacher, Shepherd Book, who is an excellent character but like. Yeah.
12th-Aug-2010 07:05 am (UTC)
And Gina Torres, but I get what you mean.

I gotta say, as a person who happens to be half Asian, I'm a little offended that apparently the culture's a big hit but not actual Asian people.

There are some amazingly hot Chinese actors out there in Hollywood that would have been preferable to Nathan Fillion. Just sayin'.

God, I hope tesla321 and starlet2367 don't read this or I'm dead. *ducks away*

Edited at 2010-08-12 07:06 am (UTC)
12th-Aug-2010 07:10 am (UTC)
Oh my god what a brainfart. Yeah, Zoe is black. I think my brain skipped her because her marriage to Wash is the first time I'd ever seen an interracial relationship on television that was never, ever commented on as being extraordinary or abnormal.

And there are millions of Chinese extras running around but yeah, not in the primary cast. I wouldn't have recast Fillion, but Simon and River should totally have been Chinese.
12th-Aug-2010 06:32 am (UTC)
Just wanna "amen, sistah" you with this.

It's because we share the same brain, bb. And you're so right, one thing informs the other and makes everything leave a bad taste in my mouth. Meh.

Have I ever told you how happy I was when I heard AtS got cancelled? I danced a jig. And I never thought it would have come to that, but omg, it was time. Before Joss got to destroying it even more.
11th-Aug-2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
As an artist/designer, I ADORE Illyria's design. It's bloody brilliant it is. Then you have the character who I get on an intellectual level but can never give half a crap for.

Gwen - she is miss-matched for the show. She is the worst representation of females in comics - tight pleather, lame puns. Macking on the main character within 5 minutes of her introduction. Skank-tron as "Cordelia" calls her, with run of the mill superpowers. Heh. Hate her too.
12th-Aug-2010 06:39 am (UTC) - Sexy Lexy!
I don't mind Illyria's character but I didn't think she belonged on my show. On her own, somewhere else, I might have been interested. But on AtS, I felt she was pasted in.

I tend to like females on any given show, just because I grew up watching stuff where girls were just the girlfriends who occasionally died, or damsels in distress. So strong females? Totally drawn to them. But Gwen was a total misfire - she's like a man's idea of what an interesting female character would be like. An upstart who needed to eat a burger. Or four.

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