Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Anya Jenkins

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, especially when a woman takes revenge on her cheating husband or boyfriend.

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya Jenkins (Emma Caulfield) was introduced in third season as a guest character. Though she was once human, the audience meets her as Anyanka, a demon that women call on when they want to take revenge on the men who have cheated on them. When Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) catches her boyfriend, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) kissing Willow (Alyson Hannigan), she wishes that Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) had never moved to Sunnydale. This opens the door to an alternate reality where there is no slayer and the vampires control the town. Thankfully, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), destroys her necklace (where her power comes from), returning the world back to normal and returning Anya back to human form.

Because she has lived for 1000 years as a demon, Anya is unaware of the social cues and social norms. This leads to uncomfortable moments within the Scooby gang and comedy for the audience as Anya says and does things that someone who is aware of social cues and norms would not say or do. She also has a will they or won’t they relationship with Xander, which leads to them nearly saying I do. But Xander is manipulated by someone from his soon be wife’s past and his growing anxieties lead him to break off the engagement just before the ceremony. At the end of the series, Anya becomes a martyr, sacrificing herself to save her former lover.

To sum it up: the woman taking revenge on her cheating significant other is a standard narrative. Anya makes the character more interesting by adding the comedy and the lack of awareness of what not say and do. This comedy not only lightens the dark mood of BVTS, allowing the audience to laugh and wanting to come back for more.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Throwback Thursday-Date My Mom (2004-2006)

When it comes to dating and romantic relationships, our parents play a part in whom we may or may not end up with.

From 2004 to 2006, this was the premise of the MTV show, Date My Mom. The premise of the show is as follows: The subject of this particular episode goes out with three moms. During their “date”, the moms try to persuade the young man or woman to pick their son or daughter for a date. At the end of the episode, one mother is “chosen” and watches as their child goes of on their date.

Of all the reality dating shows that was on MTV back then, this show was the worst. Not only did it feel fake, but it felt like everyone involved signed up just to get on TV, not to genuinely find a date for themselves or their child.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

Leave a comment

Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Recap

Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust Book Review

In the years leading up to World War II, approximately nine million Jews called Europe home. By the end of World War II, six million of them were dead.

Dave Hersch is one of the lucky ones. He survived The Holocaust and eventually immigrated to America, where he and his wife raised their children. His older son, Jack, thought that he knew his father’s story. It was only after his father’s death that he learned the complete story.

Jack J. Hersch tells his father’s story in the new book, Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust. The narrative follows Jack as he both listens to his father’s tale harrowing of survival and follows him as he visits Europe to trace his father’s footsteps during the The Holocaust.

I’ve read many Holocaust books over the years. This one strikes close to home for me because it is a reminder that there will come a day when the survivors will no longer be around to directly tell their stories. It is up to their families and the rest of us to keep telling these stories to ensure that what happened to the Jews of Europe during World War II does not happen again.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, History

The Actor Who May Have Cried Wolf: Thoughts On the Jussie Smollett Case

When we were children, many of us were told the tale of the boy who cried wolf.

For those who were not taught the story, it goes as follows: a boy is charged with watching the sheep that belong to the people in his village. He sees a wolf and alerts the villagers, they are up in arms as a result of the claim. But the wolf does not appear. The boy continues to state that he has seen a wolf. As the days pass and the villagers keep hearing this, they ignore the boy as the wolf has yet to appear. When the wolf actually appears, no one believes the boy.

Last month, Empire actor Jussie Smollett accused two men of verbally and physically attacking him for being African-American and gay. The most recent development in the case is that Mr. Smollett is charged with filing a false police report.

While he continues to state that he was attacked, the evidence that the police have found state the contrary. There are rumors abounding that the reason for claiming the attack was that his role on Empire will be reduced or his character will be written out completely.

If it is true that the attack was a hoax and he paid his attackers, it is akin to a woman claiming she was raped when it was nothing more than a date or a hookup that went wrong. Hate and prejudice are very real in this country, Americans are verbally and physically assaulted everyday just for being who they are. Not only is this a waste of time and resources for the Chicago PD, it may bring up the question if charges of assault based on factors such as race or sexual orientation are real or just a need for attention.

I hope that Mr. Smollett has not cried wolf. But if he has, it sets a dangerous precedent will not end well for Americans of color and members of minority groups.

Leave a comment

Filed under National News, Television, Thoughts On....

New Randy Rainbow Video-BORDER LIES – Randy Rainbow Song Parody

It goes without saying that need for secure borders is a non-negotiable issue for any country. The question is, can the country’s current leaders go too far when determining the best method to keep the borders secure and protect the citizens who call that country home?

When you know who running for President in 2016, he built his campaign around a border wall that Mexico would pay for. Cut to last week, when he announced that there was a “national emergency” that required a border wall to stop illegal immigration on the Southern border.

In response to the “national emergency”, Randy Rainbow released his new video today. It is entitled BORDER LIES – Randy Rainbow Song Parody.

Using Madonna‘s classic 1983 song Borderline, Randy Rainbow uses the art of satire to prove once again why you know is ill-equipped to lead this country.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, National News, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Isn’t It Romantic Movie Review

Every movie genre has its own series of predictable clichés. The romantic comedy genre is no different.

Isn’t It Romantic premiered last week.

Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a plus sized woman living in New York City and working in an architecture firm. She is single and cynical about romance. She is even more cynical about romantic comedies. Then she is mugged and knocks herself out running into a pole in an effort to get away from her mugger. When she wakes up, she finds out that the world around her has changed.

Her apartment, which was tiny one room apartment over a store has become the apartment of every New Yorker’s dreams. Every man she meets thinks she is attractive. This includes Blake (Liam Hemsworth), a super hot billionaire who is immediately attracted to Natalie.  Instead of being seen as a gopher by her colleagues, they respect her. The only person who seems the same is her best friend and work husband, Josh (Adam Devine). Then he meets Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), a model and philanthropist. This turns Natalie’s world upside down and she has to decide if she wants to live in a romantic comedy fantasy or live in reality.

I loved this movie. I loved it not only because it’s heroine looks like most women in America, but it exposes in the most satirical (and funniest) way possible, the flaws in the romantic comedy genre. But what I loved most of all was the message of self esteem and loving yourself, regardless of romantic relationship status.

I recommend it.

Isn’t It Romantic is presently in theaters. 

2 Comments

Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City

The Only Woman in the Room Book Review

There is a stereotype about women: their looks dictate their intellect. A pretty woman lacks in the intelligence department while an unattractive woman soars in the intelligence department.

Back in the day, Hedy Lamarr (b0rn as Hedwig Eva Maria Kieslerwas considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. She was also incredibly smart, but given the era, her intellectual abilities were not exactly respected or appreciated.

The new book, The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict is Ms. Lamarr’s story from her perspective. The book starts when she is 19. It’s the early 1930’s in Vienna. She is a budding actress who catches the eye of a wealthy and powerful arms dealer. To protect herself and her family, she marries this man. While she plays the role of dutiful wife, she absorbs everything that she hears and sees.

When the marriage turns abusive and it becomes clear that her Jewish ancestry will put her in harm’s way, she escapes to Hollywood. In her new life and career, she is Hedy Lamarr, silver screen goddess. But she has a secret that only a few select people are privy to: she is a scientist. Her invention could possibly end the war and save lives, if those in power would give her work a chance.

I was shocked how much I loved this book. Before reading it, I was aware of Hedy Lamarr as a movie star and had heard that she was an inventor. But other than the basic facts, I was unaware of her complete story. I loved this book because it is the story of a woman who is clearly intelligent and capable, but is underappreciated for those qualities due to the era she lived in.

I absolutely recommend it.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Movies

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life Book Review

Human beings have an innate need to be wanted and to be included. The problem is when instead of looking in the mirror for approval, we look to others for approval.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson was published in 2016. While this book falls into the “self-help” category, it is not your average self-help book. Mr. Manson is to the point, blunt and tells his readers to make a choice. They can care about everything, everyone and anything. Or, they can choose what/who is important to care about and discard the rest. He also speaks of how to deal with rejection and the unexpected challenges that life can bring.

I really liked this book. I liked it because Mr. Manson does not coddle his reader, but at the same time, supports them with real world experience and advise. I also appreciate his bluntness, because the truth is, life is hard sometimes. When that happens, the only thing we can do is pick ourselves up, and keep moving, in spite of how difficult it is.

I absolutely recommend it.

P.S. Mr. Manson uses the f word frequently in the book. This is your obscenity warning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Life, Mental Health

The Real National Emergency is the Epidemic Of Mass Shootings

A year and a day after 17 innocent lives were taken during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, another 5 innocent lives were stolen.

Yesterday, a gunman killed 5 people in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois. The shooter (who will not be named in this blog post), was on the verge of being fired. The authorities have not released all of the details to the public yet.

Just before this shooting happened, you know who proclaimed that there was a national emergency on our Southern border. The only way to solve the problem was to bypass Congress and waste tax dollars on an unnecessary border wall.

The real national emergency is not on our Southern border, it is the epidemic of gun violence in this country. When it comes to the point of being afraid to go to work, school or live our lives because of the fear of gun violence, something has to be done. We cannot completely abolish the 2nd amendment, but at the same time, we need to make sure that those who have guns are doing so legally and are of sound mind. While authorities have not yet confirmed or denied that the gunman had mental health issues, it is one of the key components that have been the cause many of the mass shooting in recent memory.

I’ve spoken in the past of my memories of the day of the Columbine shooting. At that time, it was an anomaly that should have shocked the nation and our lawmakers into action. But it didn’t and twenty years later, we are paying the price in the blood of innocent Americans.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mental Health, National News

Flashback Friday-Say What? Karaoke (1998-2003)

For some karaoke is chance to let loose, relax and pretend to be a rock star. For others, it makes their skin crawl.

So of course, MTV had to make a show based on karaoke. Say What? Karaoke aired from 1998-2003.  The premise of the show was that contestants sung karaoke in front of celebrity judges. As with any reality competition show, the contestants are judged and one is named the winner.

 

Say What? Karaoke is one of those shows that you watch when your a certain age. While I certainly watched it when I was in my late teens and early 20’s, I wouldn’t watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Music, Television, TV Review