~ Out of this World ~
Nombre de messages : 58929
Age : 29
Date d'inscription : 07/01/2009
|Sujet: 10 Most Depressing Realistic Lessons from BTVS Sam 13 Sep - 10:51|| |
- Citation :
- 1. The Death Of A Parent Leaves The Best Of Us Helpless
Episode: Season 5, Episode 16 – “The Body”
There is no music in “The Body.” Very little action. There is simply the most horrifying of prospects come reality for Buffy Summers to deal with: a parent who has died suddenly. Their body, discovered in the family home.
And it leaves the best of us helpless.
To clarify – Buffy first finds her mother’s body at the very end of the previous episode, “I Was Made to Love You.” Her calls for her mother upon discovering Joyce Summers unresponsive become more tragic every time. “Mom. Mom? Mommy?”
“The Body” picks up at that very moment. It follows Buffy preforming CPR, and breaking a rib on her mother’s body in the process. It covers the arrival of the paramedics, the confirmation of her mother’s death, the shock, the surreal quality of everything, the feeling of helplessness. Buffy, who can fight any monster, slay any demon, cannot save her mother from an aneurysm.
It follows the reactions of her friends to the death, of her sister, and of herself. The lone vampire in the episode is not nearly as scary as losing a parent, and that’s the point: the worst fears are the realistic ones. Scary monsters aren’t so bad, but losing a parent will leave the best of us helpless.
2. We Don’t Always Get What We Deserve
Episode: Season 6, Episode 12 – “Doublemeat Palace”
The Doublemeat Palace was a terrible fast food joint, with a terrible name, and an all-around hokey concept, but it actually did serve to teach a valuable lesson to Buffy Summers: we don’t always get what we deserve. That includes jobs.
Buffy was a college drop-out, and while some college should get you higher up than the burger industry, it’s where a lot of kids start out. And it’s where Buffy wound up working during the sixth season of the show. With all her skills and physical talents she just couldn’t land a solid career (especially with her duties as Slayer always calling her away from any prospective job at any given moment). A burger joint seemed to work fine – even with a horrible uniform and monsters for customers.
Yes, there were still monsters, and the burger joint played into the plot more than it should have as a result, but it’s still a valuable, depressing lesson to learn. There’s a good chance you’ve once been served a burger by someone with far more talent and potential than you expect (just not the person who gave you onion rings instead of fries – for that one, there’s no hope).
3. Parents Don’t Always Know Best
Episode: Season 7, Episode 17 – “Lies My Parents Told Me”
Lets be honest: The seventh and final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a let-down. The “Slayer School” storyline was lame. The “real vampires” (or ancient cave-man vampires, or whatever) known as Turok-Hans were corny and inconsistently presented, at first being nearly impossible for Buffy to defeat one-on-one, but by the end of the season being cannon fodder. Willow was just sort of “there” and Giles wasn’t really there at all (having been written off to England the previous season). The season also had far too many “motivational speeches” that seemed like filler.
Really, it was Spike that carried the seventh season, with the only interesting storyline being his (First Evil, we’re sorry, but you would have been better suited to a multi-episode arc, not a series ending storyline).
So it seems fitting that it was a Spike episode that taught us one of the few lessons to be had from the season.
Interspersed with scenes from Spike’s past, the episode is basically a look at Spike then vs. now, with the surviving son of a Slayer he once killed looking to take vengeance on the vampire who left him an orphan. The parent in question is Giles, watcher for Buffy, and all around father figure. Throughout the season, Buffy had grown less reliant on him as a father figure, and he frequently questioned her alliance with Spike. In “Lies My Parents Told Me,” however, he took things a step too far, trying to have Spike killed for (what amounted to) “Buffy’s own good.” He allowed Spike to walk into a trap set by Principal Wood (a.k.a. the son of the second Slayer Spike killed), breaking Buffy’s trust.
It was a set of lies (hence the title) by Giles that put Spike in danger, and served as a fitting reminder that parents don’t always know best – and what they think is in your best interest may not be (after all, Spike saves the world at the end of the season). The depressingly real moment actually comes at the end however – when Buffy informs Giles, a man she very much loves as a father, that she already knows everything he could teach her.
4. Sometimes People Die For No Good Reason
Episode: Season 6, Episode 19 – “Seeing Red”
Everyone dies. That’s a fact of life. Hopefully they die after a good long run, happy and content. That’s the goal. However, as we all know, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Sometimes people die for no good reason. Hit by a drunk driver. Felled by an undetected heart condition. Killed in an accident on the job. A lot of times, they’re gone too young. Too soon.
That was the case in the nineteenth episode of season it of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a season full of missteps, and the beginning of the end for the series, as Joss Whedon became less hands on, and the show became driven by Marti Noxon. Whedon, however, accepted full responsibility for what would transpire at the end of the episode. Furious at his plans being foiled, evil geek Warren attempts to shoot Buffy, firing wildly. He misses – but a stray bullet catches Tara, girlfriend of Buffy’s best friend and uber powerful witch Willow, killing her. She dies in Willow’s arms by episode’s end.
The argument can be made that the death was necessary to turn Willow evil, turning her into the “big bad” for the season, which is where the show headed, but killing a major character, and one as important to the fan base as Tara, just to have the death serve as a plot device cheapened the character. And on screen, there was no season – it was just a stray bullet.
As Tara and Willow were at the time one of the only positive lesbian couples on TV, fans were extremely upset, and rightfully so – but the lesson was most certainly there.
5. First Loves Rarely Work Out
Episode: Season 3, Episode 22 – “Graduation Day Part 2″
This was actually a multi-season lesson that ending in a finale, depressingly real (though still somewhat romantic) moment at the end of Buffy’s third season: First loves are intense, first loves are exciting, and first loves rarely work out.
Angel was Buffy’s first, all brooding and mysterious – and it turned out, a vampire. With a soul, so he was a good guy, so it was all fine and dandy.
Of course, things went bad – a moment of true happiness with Buffy meant Angel lost his soul, reverted back to the evil Angelus, tortured and terrified the Slayer’s friends, murdered Gile’s love interest Jenny Calendar, and was sent to hell (just after getting his soul back thanks to Willow) at the end of Buffy’s second season, by Buffy herself as she saved the world.
Flash forward to season three and Buffy and Angel are doing the are we or aren’t we dance, never really officially getting together but still being very much in love, despite all the inherent risks their involvement would entail.
After the end of the season, after teaming up to defeat the evil Mayor, Richard Wilkins III, Angel tells Buffy he’s leaving – leaving town leaving. Leaving to get away from her.
Look, not all of us have crazy first loves like that, but lets face it: first loves rarely work out. It’s a depressing fact of life for 9 out of 10 of us (or maybe 99 out of 100 these days).
6. Facing Reality Isn’t Easy
Episode: Season 6, Episode 17 – “Normal Again”
“Normal Again” was one of the most divisive episodes in a season full of them during Buffy’s sixth season. Written by Diego Gutierrez, who wrote just this single episode for the series (he was Joss Whedon’s assistant), it was unlike any other episode the show produced – and it surmised that Buffy’s entire story might be the delusions of an emotionally and mentally troubled, institutionalized young girl.
Throughout the episode, the character of Buffy is seen both in the magical world she inhabited throughout the series, and also as a young girl in a mental asylum who has concocted fantasies of being a vampire slayer and other magical devices in order to cope with emotional trauma. At the end of the episode, she’s forced to make a choice: face reality, or avoid it.
Here’s the rub: the episode is intentionally presented in a way that leaves it open ended as to whether the magical world of Buffy and Sunnydale was “real” – or whether the asylum was “real.” If you choose to believe that the series is “reality” than Buffy faces her fears, says goodbye to the asylum (where her dead mother and absentee father are present together for the first time in years), and returns to face demons and monsters and the stress of being a young girl without any supportive family structure who must single-handedly care for a younger sister. She is accepting her responsibility, facing reality, and moving forward.
However, if you choose to believe that the asylum was the real world, then Buffy, in saying goodbye to her mother, retreated fully into her delusions and fantasies and escaped from reality forever.
Either way, facing reality wasn’t an easy choice, and it never is. It can be depressing, and this episode was one of the most depressing and disconcerting of the entire series.
7. There Are Some Things You Don’t Need To Know About Your Parents
Episode: Season 3, Episode 6 – “Band Candy”
Trust us: there are some things you don’t need to know about your parents. When/how you were conceived. What sort of trouble they got into in their youth. Who they hooked up with back in the day – or even who they might be hooking up with these days.
None of us really want to see our parents as sexual creatures, even if logic dictates that we are all essentially sexual creatures at our core, and that for us to exist, our parents must have been at some point.
“Band Candy” does a great job outlining this. It shows how embarrassing it can be to know too much about your parent’s personal lives, all thanks to a bit of magical candy that reverts adults back to their teenage selves – mentally, though not physically. Giles goes back to his “Ripper” days a bit and becomes a bad-boy figure. Buffy’s mom Joyce swoons over him. It’s just… embarrassing.
This is an episode that doesn’t pay off right away – in fact, it doesn’t really pay off fully until nearly the end of the season, in the episode “Earshot” – when Buffy winds up with a bit of telepathy, and discovers that her mother and Giles had sex not just once, but twice, while in their juvenile state.
8. Just How Insecure, Invisible, and Lonely High School Students Can Be
Episode: Season 1, Episode 11 – “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”
High school student Marcie literally becomes invisible in this early Buffy episode not because of magic but because of indifference: Sunnydale High’s students and faculty simply overlook her to the point that she is no longer there. She winds up isolated and alone, and angry. Why? Well, the population of Sunnydale High ignored her when she could be seen, and certainly didn’t think of her when she was gone. Why wouldn’t she be angry?
It’s a good dose of hyperbole to illustrate a simple point: high school kids often don’t feel like they matter. They’re already insecure, and they often feel invisible. With that comes loneliness. And when they feel like they don’t matter and aren’t seen, they begin acting out for attention – as Marcie did, first with petty crimes, then with more serious infractions like kidnapping, trying to choke a teacher, etc..
Oddly enough, however, it’s Cordelia Chase (still in her full little miss perfect mode up to this point) who provides the most depressingly real moment of the episode, confiding in Buffy that she, too, is lonely – that despite being the most popular girl in school, she feels alone. Why, then, try so hard for popularity? Because it “beats being lonely by yourself.”
9. You Can’t Run From Your Troubles
Episode: Season 3, Episode 1 – “Anne”
At the end of Buffy’s second season, Buffy banishes her first love, Angel, to hell. Consumed with guilt, despite doing it for “the greater good” (to save the world), and despite not knowing til the last minute that it was Angel, not his evil alter-ego Angelus, she heaped blame on herself, and headed for the hills – or headed for Los Angles, to be exact.
Buffy has, in essence, run from her past and her troubles. She’s taken on the name Anne, her middle name, and is working in a diner. And despite being away from home, she can’t escape her troubles: she’s soon bumping in to someone she recognizes. Trouble manages to find her. The change of scenery provided comfort, but no real solution to her guilt.
Sound familiar? People often talk of getting a “fresh start” but more often than not, they either bring their problems with them, or their problems find them.
10. College Roommates Sure Can Suck
Episode: Season 4, Episode 2 – “Living Conditions”
College. It’s the start of a whole new world for many a recently graduated high school kid. It’s also the first experience living with anyone other than family for a lot of young adults. It’s the real beginning of “growing up” – forget the early teen years, forget high school, growing up really starts in college, and the process often begins with learning to co-exist in close quarters with another, unrelated human being who you often get no choice in. Dorm life isn’t quite real life, but it still teaches you some important social skills.
Enter Buffy Summer’s new roommate Kathy. Kathy has some annoying habits. Some boundary issues (borrowing clothes without asking, for example). She also happens to enjoy blasting Cher’s “Believe” (honestly, that’s a strike against anyone). She’s overly perky. In short, she’s a bad match for Buffy. And Buffy does not cope well with it, getting annoyed, focusing on every little misstep, and just generally losing her focus on other, more important things (starting school, slaying vampires).
Being a supernatural show, Kathy turns out to be a demon – but the real lesson of the episode is that living with someone requires a lot of give and take, and letting little things go. By the end of the episode, Kathy is banished, and best friend Willow is Buffy’s new roommate – but Buffy has the exact same reaction to Willow’s transgressions as she did to Kathy’s, and that exact moment is depressingly close to how things can go in real life.