one thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires

People of the Internet! I declare the final showdown. I give you the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

This is your one and only chance, ever, to convince me that Joss Whedon lives up to the hype.

I’ve long maintained that Whedon scripts dialogue beyond his actor’s capabilities, putting A-list screwball in the mouths of B-list actors. That his much vaunted “strong female roles” simply put a new gloss on the same girly stereotypes that we’ve seen in every sitcom for the last fifty years. That his cutesy moralizing is, well, cutesy and moralizing.

But I could be wrong! It’s happened before.

In order to give Joss Whedon the full benefit of the doubt, I will watch an entire season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I’ll watch every episode, beginning to end. I’ll even take notes.

So what do you, Whedonophiles of the Internet, have to do? Easy. Tell me which season to watch. Because I’m only going to watch one.

“Oh, but you really have to watch these episodes from Season X-1 in order to get Season X.” If that’s true, then Whedon fails as a writer and everything I’ve ever said about him is true. Network television is episodic – it uses a formula to fill a structure. A viewer should be able to pick up any episode of a good TV show and follow along. I might laugh a little more at recent episodes of (say) The Office if I knew that Dwight and Angela used to sleep together, but the episode should still work as a story if I don’t know that.

“Oh, but they’re all good.” Then pick the best one.

“Oh, but you should watch Firefly instead.” I’ve seen Firefly. Fun, but hardly amazing.

I’m a busy man and I’ve all but made up my mind on Whedon. But I’m holding out because of the incredible passion my friends have for him. So, in the interests of fairness – and because it’ll make good weblog fodder, if nothing else – I’ll give him a shot.

So, discuss with your Slayer friends which season I should watch, fill out the attached poll, and make me a believer!

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5 Responses

  1. “Network television is episodic – it uses a formula to fill a structure. A viewer should be able to pick up any episode of a good TV show and follow along.”

    This is true to an extent, but embracing this point as a creed is moronic. TV is being crippled as a serious art form because of the inability for people to understand what its full potential can be in creating a masterful story that is fully connected episode to episode.

    You would NEVER say the same of a great piece of literature (I can read one chapter of a good novel and follow along), but you are willing to lower your expectations for TV. Stupid.

    Also, your superficial comments on Whedon’s work are embarrassingly unformed and makes it sound like your extent of knowledge on him comes from Imdb and Wikipedia. Try doing your homework next time. Critics are subject to the same scrutiny they apply to the artists on whom they write, so if you are too lazy to do research, stay out of the critical arena.

  2. your superficial comments on Whedon’s work are embarrassingly unformed and makes it sound like your extent of knowledge on him comes from Imdb and Wikipedia

    And yet, they don’t, so I don’t know what to tell you.

  3. This is oddly familiar to a certain lil’ wayne related challenge that you issued on the Overthinking It podcast a few weeks back. Did you ever listen to the tracks that I posted? They’re at the bottom of the comments thread for that ‘cast.

  4. yanno, i dig Whedon and all*, but I can see your points. i’m kinda curious as to why the experiment, though. (on the other hand, i kinda decided i should try vegetarianism for a month on an utter whim a couple weeks ago [not that i’ve started yet], so there may not be a quantifiable reason, which i would understand)

    Screw Buffy, just watch the first season of Supernatural instead. It’s tons of silliness and fun. And also with demons and quippy dialogue and stuff.

    Oh, and the car.

    *yes, i own all of Buffy, but it’s been a few years since i went through it all. i liked Angel ok except for that one god-awful season, and i own and love Firefly.

  5. […] gave him a fair shake. But when a given season of his seminal work – voted by his fans to be the one to watch – is just as likely to delight me as it is to bore or annoy me, that’s too random a […]

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