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Whedon Wednesday :: color theory as it applies to a few Drusilla-specific Buffy promo photographs

1 May

I love Drusilla (Juliet Landau) a lot, and I’m sure I don’t talk about her enough.  And the sets of promo photographs from season two of Dru and Spike (James Marsters) are possibly my favorite sets of promotional photographs ever.  I’m not even sure why this is, exactly; they’re not particularly out of the ordinary, as far as promotional photographs go.  I think it might in part be that I get very nostalgic about back when Dru and Spike were a thing, because they were so wonderfully malicious and weird, and I think it is also that while lots of promotional photographs have the cast assumedly in-character and posing in standstill, these sets are so on, so active.

drusilla (juliet landau)

Anyway, I also think it’s fascinating that Drusilla’s photographs (and indeed her entire season two wardrobe) fall into three distinct color palettes, each of which represents a separate part of the puzzle that is her.  There is the white dress; “white is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection,” and therefore this reflects the Drusilla that was.  The whole story of Dru is, after all, that she was so innocent and good that Angel (and Darla) just had to ruin her, and in presenting so as to suggest that kind of innocence and goodness that she no longer has, she misleads observers.  Opponents do not take her so seriously at first, because what danger is a crazy child and really that’s what she is.  There is also a part of Dru that does, to whatever extent, remain that crazy child, that retains innocence, though it is corrupted.

drusilla (juliet landau)

Then you have the shades of red.  Red (and black) are the colors that most often get associated with vampires in general, regardless of mythology or canon or personality; this is pretty obvious.  Black for darkness, red for blood.  Variants of this outfit probably get the most overall screen time, and it’s decidedly the most eclectic: top like a corset, long skirt, fur-trimmed beaded jacket, very appropriate-to-the-90s shoes.  It’s capital-r Romantic but not nearly so literally vintage as the white dress.  Red is also “emotionally intense,” which — yes, obviously, of course, the majority of crazy fictional characters (and “crazy” ones, but there’s no “” necessary for Dru, as she is 100% insane) have that particular thing in common.  Red is danger — of course, she’s a vampire — and red is strength — again, vampire — and red is “passion, desire and love” — well, yes, I’ve discussed vampire sexuality before, but Dru is one of the Buffyverse’s more overtly sexual vamps to be sure, and what with the “we can love quite well, if not wisely” business, she’s one of the vampires who arguably was in a kind of love with another vampire.  Dark red additionally has “longing, malice and wrath,” the first of which foreshadows the inevitable fate of her relationship with Spike and matches the fate of the Whirlwind as a whole, the latter two of which are fairly inherent, though hers is less of a directed malice and more a malice-for-fun’s-sake.

drusilla (juliet landau)

And finally, you have Drusilla in black.  Black for darkness (she is a vampire, she is of the night), black for mystery (who in the heck knows what she’s talking about half the time?  Also, she is a vampire), black for evil (again, vampire, and one with a reputation at that).  There is something to putting vampires in black old-fashioned outfits, highlighting a certain level of inherent mourning that comes with being the undead, but it is especially potent with Drusilla, who either wants to mourn or to kill, maybe to kill and then mourn by dancing in the ashes.

–your fangirl heroine.

queen of sassiness

Whedon Wednesday :: color theory as it applies to a few Buffy season 2 cast promotional photographs

24 Apr

buffy season 2 cast

First, I would like to point out that this photograph is shot so as so seem mostly blue naturally, likely for power and seriousness.

Angel (David Boreanaz): Dude is wearing black.  Spoiler, you probably won’t find a promo picture of him where he isn’t wearing mostly black, which represents “power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery.”  Check, sometimes check, sometimes check, check, check this season, check.
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar): Blue pants because seriousness again, white to contrast Angel’s black.  White which is “light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity.”  Kind of check, check, check-but-not to the last three.
Willow (Alyson Hannigan): All you see here is green.  Growth and healing are probably the green buzzwords this season, both in relation to her magicks: growth because, oh look I can magick, healing because, hey even though I don’t know it surprise look Angel’s soul!
Xander (Nicholas Brendon): Mostly blue, probably for loyalty and also masculinity.
Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter): More whites and grays, innocence also.

buffy season 2 promo

Xander: More blue.  Buddy really likes to remind us he’s a guy, I suppose.
Willow: Dark blue, probably for knowledge and power.  Again because of magicks, probably, since she is knowledge girl but also she is getting knowledge of magicks, and she is a novice but she is more powerful than she knows.  This knowledge/power is contrasted to her almost sheepish facial expression, for example.
Buffy: Appears to be wearing the same outfit as in the above.
Cordelia: Also is wearing the same outfit, though the lighting for this picture reveals its actual color scheme, mostly yellows (dingy ones such as this for “caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy,” which is debatably applicable this season, but there is also an implied normalcy.)

buffy season 2 cast

Willow: Green!  Also black, but most noticeably green.  Definitely back to the growth and healing.
Oz (Seth Green): Black and white, and color theory be damned, it’s just for being snappy.
Giles (Anthony Stewart Head): Brown for stability and masculinity like last week, blue for knowledge.  Brown and blue is really the color way of saying “look, I know things that are important!”
Cordelia: Shades of red this time, which on her are visibility, power, desire, strength, determination, and most of the other positive connotations.
Xander: 4/5 of these pictures have had Xander in blue so far.  He wears blue inseries, of course, but not this overwhelmingly often.
Buffy: Her blue, however, is daintier, girlier; it almost looks periwinkle.  With it and white, this is an “underestimate me at your peril” outfit.
Angel: Black, black, a dark red shirt underneath I think (and a giant, humorous belt buckle, but that’s neither here nor there).  Dark red is, in his case, likely malice and wrath.
Spike (James Marsters): Also black.  These guys have the same basic color scheme.
Drusilla (Juliet Landau): Black for evil, red for blood, after all they are vampires.  Dru’s red also has a more romantic feel to it, one of emotional intensity and extreme passion.

–your fangirl heroine.

facepillow

Monster Monday :: on makers and progeny (or sires and children, or whichever combination you prefer)

28 Jan

Because I’ve discussed the individual sexual habits and proclivities of individual vampires before, many of whom were makers-sires/progeny-children, and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the different kinds of maker-sire/progeny-childe relationships, but I wanted to properly list them out and analyze them.

Shockingly, this list is not going to be canon-sorted.  Since it’s about different kinds of things, I’m sorting it that way.  So.

Sexual relations from the start

  • These are the makers (okay, from here out I’m just going with makers and progeny, since quantitatively there are going to be more on this list who are thusly called in canon) who are banging their progeny, period.  They sire (but see here I’ll use that term as a verb, because I like it) a vampire because they like them and want to be with them intimately.
  • Sometimes these maker-progeny relationships end; this is often due to choices made by the progeny.  They want to live a different kind of life, so they ask to be released and basically dumped, or they do something to cause the maker to feel they have no choice but to set such a scenario into motion.
  • Both pairs of consistently coupled makers and progeny who constitute Buffy and Angel‘s Whirlwind, Darla/Angelus and Drusilla/Spike, could be made to fall under this category.  (Angelus/Drusilla is a more complicated issue.)  Darla (Julie Benz) seduces Angelus (David Boreanaz) and turns him, they go on their merry and have all the sex the whole time (though not exclusively, of course), their relationship is then terminated by Angelus and his acquisition of a soul.  Drusilla (Juliet Landau) is enchanted by Spike, who is then William (James Marsters), then she charms him and turns him, they go on their merry and have all the sex the whole time (though not exclusively, of course).  Their relationship is terminated technically by Dru, but because she observes a change in Spike’s behavior.
  • The best example I can pinpoint from True Blood is Lorena/Bill.  (While certain other couples, i.e. Russell/Talbot, technically fall into this category, many of the details are ones that are not given much airtime, so I’m just going to mention it and move on.)  Many of the details of Lorena’s (Mariana Klaveno) past are similarly fuzzy (though according to the True Blood wiki, there are several things in common with the Drusilla situation) but the details of her relationship with Bill (Stephen Moyer) are fairly straightforward.  He shows up at her cabin on his way home from the war, she appreciated his “strong moral character” (quoting from the wiki there, because I think it’s funny), she turns him, they go on their merry and have all the sex the whole time.  In 1935, then, Bill asked to be released, being fed up with Lorena’s being, well, a prototypical murdering seducing vampire.
  • Oh, and I guess there’s plenty of this in Twilight, because sex is okay as long as you’re in a committed relationship and maker-progeny situations seem to sometimes lead to committed relationships in Twilight.  Or committed relationships lead to maker-progeny situations.

The fuzzy gray area that involves sexual relations, but

  • There are three types of these.
  • Angelus/Drusilla, wherein it is a fuzzy gray area because, well, there are sexual relations, there are a lot of sexual relations, but they are technically in relationships with their own other halves.  The Whirlwind is this big polyamorous mess of vampire sexin’, but it’s mostly that they like to share.  Also, Angelus/Drusilla is never a proper relationship, because the proper relationships that come from the sex in these other cases involve(d) some degree of officialness.  Angelus was with Darla, Drusilla was with Spike, and there was never really any time when the four of them were together and that wasn’t true.  And here the father and daughter thing is very intentionally creepy.
  • Eric/Pam, wherein it is a fuzzy gray area because yes, they partake of the sexual relations when Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) turns Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten).  They also partake of the sexual relations before she is turned.  But while they eventually stop having these relations, they don’t ever actually have a “break up” like the above couples.  They stop banging, but they stay together, and their relationship gradually shifts into one that the True Blood wiki says is “comparable to that of a father and a daughter,” though never entirely.  They stop banging, but they stay really, really close.
  • Pam/Tara, wherein it is a fuzzy gray area because the circumstances of their turning involve no sex whatsoever, but their attraction grows naturally.  Pam turns Tara (Rutina Wesley), but Tara makes the first direct move sexually.  There is an aspect of mother and daughter to their relationship, though it’s really only as much as you would see with a little girl “mothering” a doll, dressing her up and scolding her for purported misbehaviors.  Mostly they are just two women with a definite power dynamic that eventually enter into a relationship.

Pretty much familial

  • I feel weird saying that the Master (Mark Metcalf) was properly fatherly toward Darla, but there’s really no other place to put them, because I’m pretty sure they never banged?  “Darla,” a nickname given her by him, means “dear one,” but that could just as likely be a dearness born of some sort of platonic familial affection.  She was his protégé, and that was pretty much that, I think?
  • Also, Bill and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll).  This is the most overtly daddy-daughter relationship that really is between a maker and progeny, and honestly, the only times I’ve ever felt fond toward Bill was when he was playing good dad.  I’m positive I’ve mentioned that before.  I imagine that Bill’s reasons for not sexually relating to Jessica were several: for one, he remembered how unhappy he was in a romantic relationship with his maker.  For another, he was in a relationship with Sookie (Anna Paquin) at the time.  For another, Jessica was a teenage kid, after all, and Bill used to have scruples and whatnot.  But while he was a pretty awkward dad at first, and he obviously turned into a huge jerk in regards to the whole Lilith mess, there was a period in the middle where he was just an affectionate father, and she was happy to call him her dad, since in that in-between he was way less of a douche than her human father.
  • I’m pretty sure this is mostly true of Godric/Eric and Godric/Nora?  In their conversations about Godric (Allan Hyde), Eric and Nora (Lucy Griffiths) tend to refer to him as “father,” and they do seem to (have) compete(d) for his affections like siblings do.  I don’t know if we’ll ever know how much maker-progeny sexin’ was going on in that situation (personally, I suspect there was some, but that it eventually faded out over time a la Eric/Pam, and while Eric/Pam’s eventual form was something almost father-daughter but also decidedly not, the vibe of Godric’s relationship to his progeny was much more strictly familial at the end).
  • Oh, and I guess there’s some of this with Twilight and Carlisle the wonder vampire doctor dad.

Surrogates

  • Angelus was somewhat of an extra maker for Spike; this is mentioned sometimes.
  • Eric and Pam both stood as substitute makers for Jessica for that little while (and I understand why it wasn’t part of the show, but I kind of wish we’d have seen those shenanigans at least a little, just because I love the ridiculous cool older cousin/enthusiastic little cousin vibe that Pam and Jess have).
  • Salome (Valentina Cervi) was basically an extra maker for Nora.  Because Godric may have taught her how to vampire, but Salome taught her how to do many other things, I’m sure.
  • Oh, and this is true of Twilight and Carlisle the wonder vampire doctor dad too.

–your fangirl heroine.

hold on baby

Television Tuesday :: 5 of my favored lady antagonists

8 Jan

So I recently saw a meme on someone’s tumblr page called 30 Days of Female Awesome.  My initial thought was “yay!  I haven’t done a tumblr meme in a really, really long time, and I love female awesome,” so I copied the text into a Word file and started to plan out what I might create.  But while I’m still definitely considering doing this meme, the problem I came across was that I couldn’t decide on just one character for most of the categories (“a female character who needed more screen time”?  That applies to the majority of my ladies) or which character belonged in which category the most, since there was considerable overlap (Willow, Bennett, and Nora all belonged to at least three categories in my initial drafting of who might go where, which should not be a surprise).  I may just turn it into the 90 days of female awesome and draw certain of the categories out forever, I haven’t yet decided.

A particularly difficult category for me was “favorite female antagonist.”  This is partially because of the “I like moral grayness way too much” problem I’ve mentioned before; it’s also to do with what I mentioned when explaining why I didn’t mourn Salome, which is that my fondness toward characters can blind me to whether or not they’re supposed to be a big bad.  Instead, I go “oh, wow, they’re not good!” and then giggle at their exploits and put it under that moral grayness subheader in my brain.  Call it fictional optimism: while certain characters, like Governor Douchebag on The Walking Dead, are immediately distrusted by me, I tend to hold out some shred of hope that characters I like won’t be evil enough to need to die.  I don’t expect them to all repent, because that wouldn’t be too fun; there’s nothing wrong with fictional evil and/or moral grayness, no, but when you’re so evil and/or morally gray, that might mean you’re going to die, and I don’t always like it when characters I like die.  It happens too often, and it can stink.

This is an extremely long ramble to get into a relatively succinct point: I actually just want to talk tonight about a few technically antagonist ladies that I nonetheless enjoy the hell out of for whatever reason.  And I want to talk about what those reasons are.  (Yes, these are the ladies in my draft of what I might end up meme-ing.  So I guess you can expect them there if I get to this ever.)  These are not my simply morally gray ladies (…of which there are a lot) or my ladies who are evil for distinct specific reasons and then stop it (…of which there are a lot, many of whom overlap with the category before).  These are mostly not “my” ladies, but they’re still ladies I love.  Most of whom I’ve had to defend in the past to some extent.

5. Saffron (Christina Hendricks, Firefly)
I mean.  She’s not a proper antagonist in the way that any of these other ladies are.  Mostly because Firefly’s proper antagonist is, you know, the government.  But neither is she evil for a specific reason and then stops it.  She’s morally gray, but not simply morally gray; it’s just an aspect of her, moreso than it is with the rest of the ladies on this list.  There’s a reason that I called my Saffron fanmix “We Play Parts,” and that reason is that I love that line so so so much.

Everybody plays each other.  That’s all anybody ever does.  We play parts.

This line explains a lot of my fictional ladies, the ones that are “mine” and the ones on this list and the others too.  I think that maybe “ladies who lie and/or pretend” is a narrative kink of mine, actually.  (Is there a fancier name for this trope?  There probably is, and I just don’t want to go rooting around for it because unless I go with a trope name in mind and even sometimes then, I waste way too much time on TV Tropes.)  Saffron takes this to the extreme, obviously: her antagonism is basically rooted in the idea that “well, we’re all gonna be liars, I might as well profit from it.”  But it’s not like she’s a character who knows that, sees it, and yet still tries to work within some semblance of the law.  She’s a character who knows that, sees it, and says “screw it, I’m doing whatever I want regardless of anything.”  A lot of antagonists still have something, usually exterior, they’re tied to, but Saffron’s only anchor is… well, herself, maybe, whatever that means.  A dear friend of mine once complained about the Saffron episodes and about Saffron herself, though if he cited specific reasons, I didn’t hear or have since forgotten; I can understand conceptually how Saffron might not be your bad guy of choice, but at the same time, it’s hard for me to understand personally, because she’s so many kinds of fun.

4. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey, Game of Thrones)
First, a real-life conversation (paraphrased, but only because I don’t remember the exact wording) I once participated in.

One of my people (actually she who eventually was Ygritte for Halloween, because the about-to-be-mentioned plan was very requiring of extraneous effort or some such, which is understandable and anyway Ygritte rocks so there): I’m thinking about being Cersei for Halloween.
A second of my people (who never remembers the names of
Game of Thrones characters): Which one is that?
Me: The one who’s Lena Headey, the queen regent.
Second person: Uh…?
First person (using a nickname that the second person had once created): You know, incest queen.
Second person: Oh.  (pause, nosewrinkle)  But she’s evil, why would you want to be her?
First person: Because she’s awesome.
Me (repeating myself and the internet): You don’t have to be a good person to be a good character.
First person: Exactly.

I bring this up for two reasons.  The first is: well, what I repeated in the course of the conversation.  Because while Cersei has never, ever been a good person, I find her nonetheless intriguing and fairly fierce.  Occasionally I even pity her a little.  The second is: oh my gosh, though.  Yes, “incest queen” is easy to remember, but reducing Cersei to that isn’t fair.  Yes, she is the queen (regent).  Yes, she has partaken of the incest.  And much of her evil is channeled through the former and some of it has taken place because of the latter.  But there is much more to her than that, most of which is fairly fascinating; there is so much background information and layered characterization.

3, 2. Darla and Drusilla (Julie Benz and Juliet Landau, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel)
Well, being as I’m through season three of Angel now, I’m done with any present-tense Darla and Dru plots.  And I still haven’t read the comics (I mean, I have a lot of the pre- and in-series ones, but post-series is daunting and therefore largely untouched thus far), so while I’m pretty sure I remember that Dru shows up at some point in them, they’re not being discussed.  These two may be the most straightforwardly big baddy of the women on this list; Dru was, after all, part of a triumvirate Big Bad set for a whole season.  But it’s not necessarily that that makes me love them.  While I haven’t had to defend Darla much, mostly because only a few of my RL people have seen any of Angel, I do sometimes have to stick up for my darling Dru, and I get why there are opposing sides in this regard.  I do.  British crazy is not everyone’s thing, and that’s fine.  To each their own.  But I find her British crazy so delightful.  It’s quite over-the-top, but it’s a sensical kind of over-the-top, narratively speaking, and having it to balance broody Angel-turned-hyperevil for evil’s sake Angelus and cocksure-turned-questioning Spike was much-needed.  Her evil is closer to Saffron’s, though more technically evil and less consciously manipulative: she does because it’s fun, and because of the nature of her turning and of her vampire life, what’s fun is bad, so bad is what she does.  Darla, on the other hand, seemed to be fairly nihilistic even before being turned, and at least prior to the whole soul-and-baby sequence, that held on.  She did evil for evil’s sake.

1. Salome Agrippa (Valentina Cervi, True Blood)
Yeah, okay, so.  Like I was saying on my television 2012 revue, my fondness toward and interest in Salome prevented me from officially registering her as season five’s big bad.  (I think this is also because I was mostly thinking of the Authority as a unit as the antagonist, though of course in retrospect/upon rewatch/once I put my perspective hat on I can see that Salome was the leader of that whole mess.)  Here is also another thing about this list: all of the women on it are antagonists for different reasons.  Saffron is an antagonist because she cares so little for anything but herself that why the heck not.  Cersei is an antagonist because she does very bad things for the reasons of self-preservation and preservation of the members of her family that count to her and preservation of her power because it’s all she really has.  Drusilla is evil because it’s fun, Darla is evil for evil’s sake.  Salome, though, is evil because she believes.  It’s like when, in Serenity, Inara says of the Operative: “We have every reason to be afraid because he’s a believer.”  And I’m not saying that believing in things is bad.  It’s not.  But when you believe in bad things, and you believe unshakably, look out.  Also, “there are always choices,” Salome said.  Which means that not only does she believe in what she’s doing, she chose it: that is, she chose the evil, and believes completely that it is not.  Which makes her double-dangerous.  One of my people enjoyed to make comments about Salome’s promiscuity, and that always made me cranky; I’m not disputing the fact that, also like Saffron, and like Cersei, and like the other two to an extent, Salome used sex as a weapon.  She did, she definitely did.  And while I’m not defending it, I do think that it’s interesting contrasted with the Salome myth that’s part of real life culture and also with the character’s canonical refutation of it: she’s been portrayed as a seductress, “made me a convenient villain, a symbol for dangerous female sexuality,” yet as she says, she was a young girl being used in political power plays, and as a vampire, she’s apparently learned both to make those plays and to some extent use herself in the same way, all because the ends she’s meaning to achieve are so significant to her that she’ll do what it takes.  She doesn’t seem to exclusively use sex in this way (or at least canon shows her liaising with Roman and Bill [and also Nora though not nearly unambiguously enough] and how much of that is genuine or manipulative is debatable) and by no means is it her only weapon, because she’s also a politician, and while scary in her faith and sometimes irrational because of it, she’s a good politician.  She’s good at schemes and planning plans that have nothing to do with her offering sex – not, perhaps, the absolute best, but pretty damn good.  So yes, she’s probably the most straight-up evil lady on this list.  But she is also awesome and I enjoyed her very much.

–your fangirl heroine.

i'm making the bed with foreshadowing

Monster Monday :: on vampire sexuality

10 Dec

A year ago, I talked about vampire procreation, but that isn’t all there is to vampire sexuality.  Far from.  So as usual, canon-sorted.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel:

  • To a soulless vampire, sex is just part of the fun.  It goes hand-in-hand with blood and killing: they eat, they kill, they bang.  Sometimes more of one of those variables than another, but that’s the basic equation.
  • Sex, at least for the Whirlwind, both did and did not acknowledge the family structure that Drusilla (Juliet Landau) set up.  The “official” pairs amongst those four were Darla/Angelus, Dru/Spike, which held to at least the basic seniority involved, but then again, the official pairs were guidelines and not strict rules: “Intimate liaisons also occurred between Angelus and Drusilla, Angelus and Spike, and Darla and Drusilla,” says the Buffy wiki.
  • And let’s just look at that for a second.  Both possible slash couples, though not seen liaising, are technically canon.  Angelus/Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters) can be read as quite hetero-leaning; that they happened to interact sexually was probably more an exception than a rule.  Darla (Julie Benz) and Drusilla are probably hetero-leaning; they aren’t seen interacting sexually with other women, really, though there’s more basis in canon for the nature of their having proper intimacy and not just doing something.  This is to say: while sexuality as a whole is always fluid, vampire sexuality is more openly so, perhaps.  It was network TV, so much of this is implied and not seen, but hey.
  • Now, Angel and the “true happiness” issue.  The curse that causes Angel’s soul to disappear being triggered by orgasm in the company of the woman he loved is an interesting metaphor.  It’s not just sex that does it (Angel does have sex later without the soul-losing repercussions) but sex with that person, well.  That this is what does it, and that it’s not fully revealed until after the initial incident, is pretty easy to read as commentary on at least the social connotations of acting on one’s desires.
  • Spike has a fair amount of sex.  He’s routinely with Dru when we meet him, he’s eventually with vampire Harmony (Mercedes McNab), he gets with Buffy for a relationship that’s mostly sex without the strings of affection and trust, he probably gets with others intermittently if he can.  At least pre-soul, Spike is one of those who seems to need to have someone to define himself in relation to: he both belongs to Dru and cares for her, he has Harmony, he has Buffy and belongs to her simultaneously.  Angel’s identity is largely defined by his perceived inability to be sexual, and Spike’s identity is largely defined by the ways in which he is sexual.
  • Oh, and let’s mention vampire Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) also; because this is canonical alternate universing, it’s not worth mentioning in many of these lists, but these guys are a perfect example of: flirtation, killing, all in one.

True Blood:

  • SEXY VAMPIRE SEX OHMAHGAH.  That’s people who don’t watch True Blood talking about True Blood.
  • But see… not only?  Yes, there is sex.  Many characters, vampire and not, regularly partake of the sex, because it is HBO where you can do that, but, uhm.  I’ve mentioned before that I have never really found it gratuitous, and that still stands.  And it’s not like there isn’t sex in the source material.  Maybe not as much, or as specifically strange, but it is there.  Because hey, you know what?  Sometimes people in life have sex.
  • Buffy seems to have a sire/childe relationship imperative: rather, there are plenty of vampires who don’t end up sleeping with those they’re linked to by blood, but the main instances we see of Darla/Angelus and Dru/Spike are blood ties and intimate ties both.  True Blood is… fuzzier on this subject.  Which I talk about all the time, but I’m stating it here for the record too.  I’m just addressing this vampire by vampire.
  • Bill (Stephen Moyer).  His sexcapades with Sookie (Anna Paquin) comprise much of the first seasons, which means that SEXY VAMPIRE SEX OHMAHGAH is already a misnomer: Bill is a vampire, Sookie is not, it’s not like this is just a show about vampires banging.  Actually, a reasonable amount of the sex we see is not vampire/vampire at all.  Bill did have a sexual relationship with Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) his maker, which ended when she released him; it is reprised in season three (and while I didn’t even find the head-turned-backward sex gratuitous, it was definitely nosewrinkle-inducing) and it’s definitely not of the good.  Then there’s more vampire/vampire sex when Bill hooks up with Salome (Valentina Cervi) in season five.
  • Eric (Alexander Skarsgard).  He gets a fair amount of fangbanger action before he eventually hooks up with Sookie (this in contrast with Bill, who decidedly does not; this could be reflective of the fact that Bill starts as a super-mainstreamer, or reflective of the fact that Bill is kind of a prude).  He is unashamed of this, and it’s definitely not vanilla, nope.  When Eric gets with Sookie, it’s much more “normal” – sure, it’s outside the first time, then it’s in sex Narnia, but it’s still something like missionary.  And then Nora (Lucy Griffiths).  They have two different sex scenes, and this is more vampire/vampire sex, but unlike Lorena/Bill or Bill/Salome, it’s… presumably from a place of if not romantic love in the traditional sense then at least some kind of love.  Eric and Godric’s relationship… well, it’s never fully described, but there’s much speculation.  Also of note is the conversation between Eric and Talbot (Theodore Zouboulidis here credited as Theo Alexander), where they’re about to get to it and Eric comments that it’s been a long time since he’s done this, then corrects upon Talbot’s prompting that he doesn’t mean sex with a man, he means sex with a vampire.  We don’t see Eric getting with men, but he mentions that he has, and it’s unlikely that it’s a complete lie.  So that’s something.
  • Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten).  She’s gotten a fair amount of fangbanger play over time too, usually on the desk in the office; she’s lady-leaning, definitely, though presumably not entirely (“Let bygones be bygones, bi girls be bi girls” and whatnot).  She met Eric in the context of sex, and they were intimate, though they haven’t been in some time.  Pam is completely sex-positive, really.  And while she presumably is entering into a sexual relationship with her progeny Tara (Rutina Wesley), it wasn’t a given fact, it evolved over a bit of time.  The attraction grew like attractions do into what I will say again is the most beautiful phrase in the English language, cellar door be damned: interracial lesbian vampire couple.
  • Sophie-Anne (Evan Rachel Wood): vampire/fangbanger time all the way, and “I haven’t enjoyed sex with men since the Eisenhower administration.”  And though she has favorites, she seems iffy on the concept of monogamy.
  • Russell (Denis O’Hare), first with Talbot and then with Steve (Michael McMillan).  Definitely gay, which is not made an issue; he forces Sophie-Anne into that marriage of convenience, but there’s no pretense about it.  He seems to be more for vampire/vampire sex, yep.
  • Franklin (James Frain) was a d-bag and a rapist and he’s despicable.  But I suspect that would have been true of his personality whether or not he was a vampire.
  • Nora.  Reiteration, she has a fair amount of sex with Eric, and it’s vampire/vampire but not of the bad so that’s something.  Also, please allow me to elaborate on why I fully believe that the Nora/Salome kiss came from a place with background: the way I read her, intimacy in one way translates to intimacy in another for Nora.  She and Salome were crazy-close, so naturally they were going to have the sex, even if it was only implied (sigh).  Also, Nora feeds on humans, but she doesn’t strike me as necessarily the fangbanger type too often.  She’s more of a strictly vampire/vampire sex kind of girl.
  • Salome.  Based in a story of seductive manipulation, which she then debunked, but either it was a lie in the first place, or she eventually learned that art.  Because wow, wow, all the sexual manipulation from this woman: she was in a relationship with Roman (Christopher Meloni) and presumably had been for a while, they shared a bedroom, she shed a tear (of debatable legitimacy) when he was killed, but do I think for a second that that wasn’t a strategic choice of hers?  Nooope.  Bill was a strategic choice, too, and I still can’t decide how much it turned real.  She was taught to define herself by who she liaises with, at least publicly, but do I think she saw herself as anyone’s strictly speaking?  Nope.  And here’s another reason why Salome/Nora: she looked at Nora like she didn’t look at any of the others, at least if you’re watching with lady-tinted glasses.
  • Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is never seen having sex with another vampire, actually.  She’s with Hoyt (Jim Parrack), then with Jason (Ryan Kwanten); she feeds on fangbangers of both sexes, but she’s still fairly heterosexual.  She’s actually, I would say, the most heterosexual of all of the vampires on this show.  Even Bill gets innuendo thrown at him and participates in sexy dreams of Sam’s (Sam Trammell).
  • Okay so I wrote a lot about these guys and sexuality but that’s because they live in a canon where they’re allowed to have more sexuality to write about.

Twilight:

  • Presumably, Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Emmett (Kellan Lutz) have a healthy sex life, Alice (Ashley Greene) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) have a healthy sex life, Esme (Elizabeth Reaser) and Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) have a healthy sex life.  Token “breaking a house” jokes go here.
  • But do we know anything about these healthy sex lives other than those jokes?  No, because this is the kind of story where only major characters’ intimacies are really delved into, so we only hear about Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) doing it.
  • I’m still shuddertwitching about the birth scene, though.  I haven’t seen Breaking Dawn yet, but I remember reading it and being horrified.  For one thing, half-vampire half-human baby?  How again?  At least there’s magic involved in the vampire/vampire conception on Angel that I’m still not up to yet.  For another thing, this is the actual grossest, and I have the strongest stomach of most everyone I know as long as there aren’t closeups on needles in spines or eyeballs.  But it’s gross psychologically, too, which I’m sure has been said many a time already on the internet.

–your fangirl heroine.

friendship is magic

Television Tuesday :: 6 of the times that family ain’t always blood

4 Sep

As I mentioned last week and as I mention always and forever, I absolutely just love created families.  These can take a whole variety of forms.  They’re based in organizations, in necessity, in friendship, in trust, in, uhm, vampirism, in care for others, in whatever.  And they are beautiful.  I heard in work orientation that the “my friends are my family” thing is sort of unique to the younger generations, and I suppose I understand how that’s true (it’s certainly true in my case, but I think that comes as much from generational differences as from my latching onto a few people with everything I have) but it has fascinated and will always fascinate me.

Honorable mentions to the Angel Investigations crew, who I’ll discuss a teensy bit more in a minute, and the cast of Community, neither of whom I’m discussing in detail because I’m still working through those two particular shows, but augh I love them already.  I’m just waiting till I’m done to discuss.  Another honorable mention, actually, to Dany (Emilia Clarke) and her dragons and her khalasar, which is a kind of family in its way (and, y’know, “blood of my blood” and stuff) but since it’s more conceptual/re: dragons than re: specific characters (I mean Jorah [Iain Glen], yeah, and her maids, though that’s a whole other meta, but) I’m not going into it much.

6. Sofia has four or five mommies and a daddy or two (Deadwood)
This one is complicated because strictly speaking, Alma (Molly Parker) basically adopts Sofia (Bree Seanna Wall), and Alma and Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) do get married.  But it’s my favorite adoptive mommy&daddy situation ever, basically; it’s different than if Alma was actively seeking a child to adopt, which is cool too, but this is more a case of stumbling into it and deciding that yes, she liked the little impromptu family.  And Ellsworth was a great fake dad.  I also bring this up because this is a relatively literal “it takes a village to raise a child” situation – I guess it’s more “Sofia has a mommy and three or four aunt figures” than the above, I just like how the above sounds.  Considering that Sofia is influenced by Trixie (Paula Malcomson) and Jane (Robin Weigert), to a lesser extent Martha (Anna Gunn) and occasionally even Joanie (Kim Dickens), as well as sometimes having Sol (John Hawkes) and Seth (Timothy Olyphant) in her life (and even Bill [Keith Carradine] a teensy bit back in the day), well.  Everyone is contributing to the life of this one adorable little girl, and I think it’s really sweet.

5. The Sons of Anarchy (Sons of Anarchy)
Wow, I don’t have nearly as much meta about these guys as I do about, y’know, everyone else, but they’re worth mentioning.  They’re totally a family, and for a long time Clay (Ron Perlman) and Gemma (Katey Sagal) were the daddy and mommy, easy; they’re married, yes, and Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is their RL kid, and the whole mess with Maureen (Paula Malcomson) and Trinny (Zoe Boyle) and Abel and Tara (Maggie Siff) and my point is there are a lot of blood relations, yes, but the whole extended club is family in their way.  Sometimes a family that doesn’t get on that well, but family nonetheless.

4. I heard it called “the family Godric” somewhere online and I don’t remember where, but I’m going with it (True Blood)
(Well, technically vampire families are by blood, just not in “we share blood because I literally contributed to the creation of your DNA” way.  But they count, because it’s a family that’s chosen and created.)  The family Godric is all of the vampires who are descended from the bloodline created by now-deceased Godric (Allan Hyde), with his children Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Nora (Lucy Griffiths), Eric’s child Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), and Pam’s child Tara (Rutina Wesley).  And now I’m all curious about whether Nora’s ever been a maker.  But I’m shutting up about it now.  Because even vampire families aren’t always by blood, I also sort of count Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) in the family Godric – well, Bill (Stephen Moyer) was her maker, but Eric and Pam did foster her when she was a newborn, and she totally does act like Pam’s bratty little sister sometimes.  (Bill can maybe be the uncle in the family, the one that nobody really likes that much but they’ve all had to deal with him.)  And now that the family Godric is a proper thing, ridiculous family times with the whole crowd now that they all know each other is one of three things I want from season six.  I basically just want them acting like they’re all in high school: Pam and Tara, the snarky ones who make out with each other and then threaten you with physical violence just ‘cause and insult everyone, Nora the socially maladjusted genius child (since going from the Authority to not just that is probably sort of like going from private school to public school or something) just being dry and British all over, Eric the golden boy, the noble bad boy type, and for good measure Jessica naïve and also not naïve “good girl” who isn’t really that “good,” just chipper.  This is their family dynamic, and yep, it works for me and I like it.

3. The Whirlwind (Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel)
(Also technically a bloodline, but.)  Darla (Julie Benz), who sired Angelus (David Boreanaz), who sired Drusilla (Juliet Landau), who sired Spike (James Marsters).  In the above vampire family,  the lines between parent and child are a little blurry, but in the Whirlwind, even taking the romantic relationships out of the equation, it’s very clear who’s what: Darla and Angel are the parents, period, and Dru and Spike are the kids, period.  Or at least it’s very clearly big sister and brother/little sister and brother.  There is no room for flexibility with these guys, and who’s in charge is clear, period.  Age isn’t relative, it’s very necessary.  But despite the fact that these guys are evil and crazy, their interactions are intriguing.  A lot of bad goes down, yes, but… well, this.

2. The Scoobies (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
(Okay, at this point I’ve seen enough of Angel to have seen a lot of the Whirlwind flashbacks, which I’d read about anyway, but I’m still in season two, so I don’t know enough about the whole Angel Investigations group to really discuss their forever dynamic.  Since people add in on the fairly regular.  I love them as far as I know them, though.  I love them a lot.  I just don’t have intelligent thoughts in excess yet.)  This is a whole lot of characters: Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendon), Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), Angel (David Boreanaz), Oz (Seth Green), Anya (Emma Caulfield), Riley (Marc Blucas), Tara (Amber Benson), Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg), Spike (James Marsters), even sort of Andrew (Tom Lenk) and Faith (Eliza Dushku), not to mention I guess technically the Potentials sort of count, and eh, I’m probably forgetting to throw others in there because there are so many Scoobies.  What I love about the Scooby Gang is that yes, they’re a family, they’re a family easily, but they’re variable.  The lineup changes all the time.  Several of the Scoobies are reformed baddies to one extent or another.  The group is comprised of Slayers, of witches, of vampires, of ex-demons, of ex-energy blobs, of (ex-)soldiers, of (ex-)Watchers, of werewolves, of just regular people hanging out fighting the good fight.  Provided they want to fight the good fight and aren’t assholes, any variety of person can wind up a Scooby, and everyone gives something unique and necessary to the group.  Giles is the dad, of course; Buffy and Dawn play big/little sister pretty obviously, Xander’s the big brother, Willow’s sort of the middle sister who’s trying to prove herself, Cordy and Anya are the sometimes-abrasive cousins, Tara’s the big sister who ends up playing mom, Oz is the middle brother who’s shrugging and going along with it, Angel’s sort of the older cousin type who never knows what to do with himself at these family things, Andrew’s the twerpy little brother, Spike and Faith are the rebellious middle children who also want to prove themselves, it’s just this big mess of how people work together.

1. The crew of Serenity (Firefly)
The best best ain’t always blood family that ever has been and ever will be.  Literally they are the reason I started saying “family ain’t always blood,” which should be abso-bloody-lutely obvious, really.  Mal (Nathan Fillion), Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Kaylee (Jewel Staite), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), Inara (Morena Baccarin), Simon (Sean Maher), River (Summer Glau), Book (Ron Glass), and it doesn’t matter that Zoe and Wash are married or that Simon and River are siblings for true, it is perfect.  Mal’s the protective big brother and occasionally the daddy, Book’s sort of the grandpa or the kindly uncle (sorry, Book, it’s true), Zoe and Inara are big sisters forever, Jayne’s the douche big brother, Wash and Kaylee are the middle siblings (Kaylee tending to be little sister a lot of the time, but not always), Simon’s the mannersly big brother, River’s the littlest sister forever.  But the magical thing about these guys is that even in all of the gēgē/dìdì/jiějie/mèimei stuff, it’s not like the roles are static.  Big sisters/brothers look after little sisters/brothers or after each other, but little sisters, for example, look after big brothers (and everyone else).  Captain Daddy doesn’t treat l’il albatross like a child exactly (sometimes treats her like a liability, but that’s when it’s reasonable, not knowing everything, to feel that way) and when Zoe comic-canonically births her child, that child is going to have a whole passel of aunts and uncles.  L’il Kaylee is clearly everyone’s little sister (the baby before River shows up) but nobody ever underestimates her on account of it.  Everyone looks out for each other.  They made this family that counts for so much, that often counts for more than the families they were born to anymore, that matters so much they’ll all die for it if need be and a couple of them do.  It’s a family made by circumstance, by proximity, by camaraderie, by belief, but by love most of all, absolute and pure and real familial love that is so so good.

–your fangirl heroine.

Whedon Wednesday :: so I have a little bit of a vampire family couple thing.

29 Aug

So this is the week of True Blood, and that means it’s… kind of the week of Nora Gainesborough (Lucy Griffiths).  (As I’ve before said, I am in love, and love makes you do the wacky.  So roll with it.  Or, y’know, come back later if you’d rather.  I’m not taking attendance.)

If you’ll remember, last year I was talking about a bunch of little things that made me think Buffy thoughts.  There were fewer of those this year, but I fully acknowledge that some of my inherent weakness for Eric/Nora – not necessarily for Nora herself, because there are a thousand other reasons I’ve listed previously why that happened – is because of my feelings about Spike/Dru.  So tonight?  I present to you a discussion of how things that are so theoretically the same in ways can have drastically different results.  With all the spoilers.

First off, aesthetics, namely the blond male/brown-haired British woman vampire thing.  (Even though Eric’s [Alexander Skarsgard] really more dirty/dark blond nowadays.)  That’s a surface similarity, yes.  There’s also the vampire relations thing, though Drusilla (Juliet Landau) had been the one to sire Spike (James Marsters), whereas Eric and Nora were both sired by Godric (Allan Hyde).  But Dru and Spike were sexin’ and Eric and Nora are sexin’.  So.

Drusilla is really the only Buffyverse vampire who seems to put a whole lot of stock in the family line thing, whereas it seems much more culturally prevalent in the True Blood ‘verse – in addition to makers and children, there’s the issue of siblings, which isn’t even relevant in the Buffyverse (I suppose you could make assumptions about Wishverse Willow and Xander, but even that’s tentative), and family loyalty seems to be definitely more the rule, whereas the Whirlwind was definitely more the exception.  In both situations, being vampire-related doesn’t seem to stop folks from the aforementioned sexin’, though, so there’s that.

But here’s the real difference in family presentation.  Season two of Buffy was largely dominated by the plot of Angelus (David Boreanaz), made instantly evil by his sex with Buffy, wreaking havoc and eventually deciding to end the world because why not?  Dru, made starry-eyed by her sire, was going along with the plan; Spike, still devoted to his sire, felt that Angelus was driving them apart.  Besides, ending the world is lame.  So once Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) the love of Angel’s undead life is there to fight Angelus, an apocalyptically apathetic Spike knocks an unrepentant Dru out and skedaddles out of there.

Season five of True Blood was largely dominated by the plot of the vampire Authority getting not-good vampire religion and Bill (Stephen Moyer), made slowly evil by his getting of said religion, wreaking havoc and eventually deciding to set in motion the dawn of a new era in the world because the vampire Bible tells him so.  Nora, made starry-eyed by vampire religion, was going along with the plan; Eric, still devoted to his (y’know, dead) sire, felt that vampire religion was driving them apart.  Besides, massacring humans everywhere is lame.  So before anyone else gets dragged into the plan (except dearly departed Molly [Tina Majorino]), a determined Eric knocks an unrepentant Nora out and tries to skedaddle out of there.

Except there were still three more episodes of the season left, so they get caught.  And then Eric and Nora do blood-drugs and Eric pretends to convert to crazy vampire religion.  And then Nora starts thinking about their (y’know, dead) sire and repents hardcore.  And then Eric and Nora fly off into the night, hear that Eric’s progeny is in danger, gather backup forces which includes Sookie (Anna Paquin) the love of Bill’s unlife, and head back into the fray to do some saving and ass-kicking (the latter of which was the plan anyway) their own damn selves.  Oh, and Bill takes all of the blood-drugs and in the last minute explodes into a bloody mess and is resurrected all messy and naked and maybe godlike or maybe just demonic.  That too.

In short: season two of Buffy ends with my delightful vampire couple being driven apart (not to reconcile), season five of True Blood ends with my delightful vampire couple being driven closer together.  Spike and Dru head off by themselves, Eric and Nora join up with the rest of the created family (ugh and I love created families).  And I understand these differences, and I’m not taking sides, but it’s an interesting contrast of arcs: Spike/Dru is the first we know of Spike, and the breakup with Dru eventually facilitates Spike’s feelings for Buffy, whereas Eric/Nora happens once Eric/Sookie has already happened many times.  In 5×14 of Buffy, “Crush,” Drusilla is presented as a direct adversary to the Spike/Buffy relationship, someone that Spike once cared about and now cannot, whereas in 5×12 of True Blood, “Save Yourself,” Nora is presented as someone that Eric cares about and Sookie is presented as someone that Eric also cares about and it’s not a competition.  This could well be to do with the timing of the vampire couples in regards to the overall arc, but.

Despite the fact that Dru sired Spike, Spike does a lot of taking care of Dru in the first part of the season, because she’s infirm.  To be fair, Dru then takes care of Spike when he’s infirm, though not quite as attentively as per Angelus.  The issue of who sired who is only really prevalent in flashbacks, and that’s mostly just Dru prouding on her darling deadly boy ‘cause she likes being a mommy.  Even though vampire mommies and their children can and do still sex.  Spike also takes care of Dru because she’s crazy.  He acknowledges that she’s crazy, more than once and very openly, but he’s fine with it.  He loves her no matter what, at least for those first hundred-some years.

There is never an issue of infirmity regarding the Eric/Nora relationship, but there is one of crazy: crazy Nora is still more clear-headed than crazy Dru, though both of them float around wearing pretty dresses and are totally more evil than they let on.  Eric doesn’t do a whole lot of taking care of crazy Nora, though, and since the crazy is more self-inflicted and behavior-patterny than actual psychological damagey he’s not exactly all “pat, pat, I’ll go along with it.”  Eric always loves Nora, in their weird messed-up siblings/f-buddies that are actually totally kosher to coexist way, but he doesn’t really like her a lot when she’s crazy.  He’s hopeful that she’ll snap out of it, which she eventually does, not because of him exactly but because she just does.

The difference in the presentation of Spike/Dru and Eric/Nora is that the former were presented from their entrance as antagonists, whereas the latter were presented as… morally gray who-knows-whats.  Spike and Dru’s relationship, despite being delightful and still one of my favorites in the canon, was clearly based in wickedness and bad deeds, and bad characters don’t get to stay bad for more than a season in the Buffyverse, not really.  That’s just how it’s structured to work.  So one or the other of them had to turn good, or at least morally gray that led to eventually good, and that one was Spike.  Which is a pretty interesting arc of itself, so.

Eric’s arc started long before Nora was probably even an idea in the writers’ minds; he was morally gray and he’s… slightly less morally gray now, and in his way I think he is a good guy, but he’s not a Good Guy.  I don’t think he would personally sit for that, in all honesty.  Eric and Nora’s relationship was a thing that had been on-off for hundreds of years but was only introduced to us once Eric was already having his moral journey of sorts, and it was clearly based in… well, they were vampire siblings who had been on-off together for hundreds of years.  There is no discussion of them going on merry slaughtering rampages with Godric, though I’m sure at least one merry slaughtering rampage probably took place over time.

Nora herself was presented as morally gray in the extreme from day one, and as evidenced by the fact that she was playing for at least three different teams throughout twelve episodes, this is valid.  Eric played for a couple of teams too, but we and he both knew it was faking; he makes it very clear that the old, pre-evil god Bill was more of a mainstreamer than he would ever be, but at the same time he doesn’t condone the senseless massacring of all humans.  Nora, in her crazy period, did condone that, but late in the game, she undertook a redemption mission of her own alongside Eric.  (Wow, in this way these two are more like Buffy and Faith, and I literally just realized that.  Weird.)

In short, Spike/Dru was a wonderful moment in time that I still love with all my heart.  I adore it.  It is my favorite kind of evilcrazywrongbad love.  Appreciate Spike’s redemption arc as much as I do, evil Spike is still my favorite Spike, and I actually love that Dru was the one that stayed pretty much evil forever.  I never really rooted for them in their overall mission as characters, because ending the world is lame, but I love them together in that moment.  Eric/Nora is a wonderful moment in time that I will choose to believe is going to at least on-off continue, at least unless the hypothetical Eric/Sookie endgame comes to pass.  I appreciate Eric’s overall arc, I appreciate Nora’s smaller arc, I appreciate them.  I would have loved Nora even if she had stayed evil, but I love her redemption too (mostly because I’m pretty sure that evil Nora would have met the true death, and I really, really want her to stay around forever).  And I root for both of them together and separately and just in general.

–your fangirl heroine.

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