Thoughts on the 25th Anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

You never forget the first female TV character that inspires you to become a badass.

March 10th was the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It was more than your standard coming-of-age high school drama. The supernatural elements were an allegory for the messy and very complicated experience of being a teenager. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has more to deal with than grades, boys, and friends. She is the Chosen One, the Slayer who has to save the world from all manners of evil that only exists in the very darkest of imaginations.

Writer and showrunner Joss Whedon (whose reputation has recently tanked due to his inability to act like a mature adult), took the allegory of growing up, added a few literal monsters, and in doing so, made the audience feel seen and understood. We related to Buffy and her friends because they were just like us. The fact that she could kick butt and had to save the world was just the cherry on top.

What made the show appealing was more than its title character. The other people who populated this world added additional flavors and colors. Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) was initially introduced as an unsure young woman trying to find her place in the world. By the time series ended, Willow had come out, both as a gay woman and a witch, lost the woman she loved, and grieved in a way that was representative of how powerful that loss was. Angel (David Boreanaz), was both Buffy’s antagonist as a vampire and her first love. After they slept together for the first time, he turned into Angelus, a villain of the first order. The analogy of sleeping with someone who then becomes someone unrecognizable was all too clear. Buffy’s mother, Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) tries to understand what her daughter is going through. Like any good parent, she is doing the best she can. But that does not mean that she is fully comprehending who Buffy has become.

The reason why BVTS has lasted a quarter of a century and continues to appeal to young people is its ordinariness. Underneath the supernatural nature of the series was the everyday experience of becoming an adult and the pitfalls of that experience.

Happy Birthday, Buffy. Here’s to another 25 years.

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Joss Whedon Needs to Grow Up and Apologize

I’ve been a fan of Joss Whedon for more than twenty years. He is one of those writer/director types that is only bound by his imagination and his ability to create a compelling narrative.

Between Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, the 2012 Much Ado About Nothing, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, etc, his career is nothing to sneeze at.

That being said, that does not mean that he has the right to be an asshole.

After multiple accusations of being an all-around jackass on various sets, he threw the blame back on the performers. Speaking of Ray Fisher (Justice League) he claimed that Fisher is a bad actor. If he was so bad, why did he not just fire him and recast the role? It wouldn’t have been the first time and I am sure that it won’t be the last time. The fact that he is making these claims now does not exactly hold water. At least Fisher was the bigger person, which I cannot say about Whedon.

Whedon also claimed that his working relationship with Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot went sour because her native tongue is Hebrew.

“I don’t threaten people. Who does that?” Whedon told New York. “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.”

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There are plenty of actors whose second (or third) language is English. That is no excuse for treating anyone on set as if they are an annoying fly needing to be squashed.

The key to any workplace success (regardless of where one works), is the capacity to be professional, even if we don’t get along with everyone we work with. Whedon either lacks this capacity or thinks that he is above it. Either way, he needs to grow up and apologize.

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Thoughts On Joss Whedon and the Toxic Workplace Accusation

I don’t know about anyone else, but one of the things I have learned in my professional life is that one’s relationship with their boss can make or break how you feel about your job.

Last week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star Charisma Carpenter accused the show’s creator and showrunner Joss Whedon of creating a toxic workplace.

Since the news broke, her BVTS and Angel costars have banded together, supporting Carpenter and stepping back from the man who helped to build their careers.

Some people think that just because they are an artistic genius or at the top of their professional field, they can treat their staff like shit. But, the reality is that a television show or any product is rarely created by one person. It takes a team, and if there is negative energy coming from the top, it will quickly engulf everyone invovled.

The sad irony is that both BVTS and Angel brought strong female characters to the forefront of pop culture. Instead of elevating the women who worked for him, he treated them like the monsters of the week treated the characters.

I used to respect Joss. His work as a writer and creator is undeniable. But that is never an excuse for thinking that you can treat another person like they are dirt on the bottom of your shoe.

Why We Need Planned Parenthood

For many women, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline that is vital to their health and their future. But at the same time, there are many who would savor the day when Planned Parenthood ceases to exist.

Film and movie director Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Avengers) presents a world without Planned Parenthood. Frankly, it is scary and a little too real for me. But it is a dose of reality that we would be facing if some people had their way.

I could go on and on about the reasons that Planned Parenthood is vital and necessary, but I think the video does a pretty good job of doing that for me.

#IstandwithPP

Throwback Thursday Part III- Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare’s works are immortal. They have outlived his lifetime and will continue to outlive our lifetimes.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of his greatest comedies. Last year, Joss Whedon released his version of Much Ado about Nothing.

In 1993, actor/director Kenneth Branagh released his take on the classic comedy. His Benedict is opposite his then wife, Emma Thompson as Beatrice. Robert Sean Leonard and Kate Beckinsale are Claudio and Hero. Secretly planning on bringing the lovers together is Don Pedro (Denzel Washington), Leonato (the late Richard Briers) and Antonio (Brian Blessed). Conspiring to keep the lovers apart is Don John (Keanu Reeves).

This is how Shakespeare should be done, every time. The cast is spot on and the movie is perfect. I still think that Hero should have not been so quick to take Claudio back, but that is the play overall and that is another topic for another post.

I recommend this movie.

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