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Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite TV show


At first I was hard-pressed to come up with an episode of Buffy that I actively disliked, and then I remembered this one. This episode seriously drives me up the wall. It takes two characters who are favorites of mine, Willow and Anya, and turns them into completely obnoxious whiny brats fighting over Xander. This might not have been so unbearable had Anya not been with Xander for, oh, a year already, but as it is, it felt contrived to cause drama in Xander's life, and make Buffy weepy.

And Buffy. I don't know what crack the writer and director were smoking, but Buffy was just horribly written, and badly directed. Yes, she just lost Riley, and I can understand how that would (and should) affect her. But to have her be useless and weepy? What in the world happened to the awesome writing of Willow healing from Oz? And not only was she weepy, all the crying was horrifically overacted and embarassing. I know Sarah Michelle Gellar can do better than that- look at the episode Joyce dies- so I'm assuming her director told her to do it. I can't fathom why. And the fact that Buffy can't defeat Olaf until he mocks Anya and Xander's love just seals the deal of fail.

Oh, and as long as I'm getting irate about this episode, Willow's declaration that she's not going to try to steal Xander away because she's "gay now." I'm bi, and I sometimes say stuff like that, but that is due entirely to utterly unfulfilling relationships and encounters with men. But Willow was in love with Xander for a while, and they had emotional and physical chemistry. Willow was in a two-three year relationship with Oz, and it was quite clear that they both enjoyed their sex life, and she mourned Oz leaving for a while. The episode where Oz comes back and she chooses Tara? Among her reasons is definitely not, "Sorry, gay now, we used to have good sex but now I'm gay gay gay." No. So why can't she just say she's not going to steal Xander away because she loves Tara? Why not say she's over Xander? Why not let Willow be bi? This is hardly the only episode that does this with her, but as long as I'm complaining about it...

This episode didn't have to suck. It's a pity it really, really did.

Date: 2010-06-04 11:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That ticks me off about Willow, too. If she'd been unhappy in her relationship with Oz, I could get it more. Or if she'd just said it the once, to Anya, because then you could make a case of Willow vastly oversimplifying to reassure a friend. But she clearly loved Oz and, like you said, enjoyed sex with him. I can accept that maybe she had a stronger preference for women- I don't think people are 100% gay, 50/50 bi, or 100% straight, for the most part (although I think there are people who fit those, too)- but... ARGH.

I remember reading an article in Philadelphia magazine about how more married women are having affairs with women. What ticked me off was that they also assumed that an affair with a woman = pure, 100% lesbian. I'm sure there are some women for whom that is the case, but I'm betting money it's not all of them.


Date: 2010-06-04 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know, right? How hard is it to let a character be bi? Willow loved Oz. I was heartbroken when they broke up. Yes, I love Tara more, but the idea that she discovered vagina and then suddenly she isn't attracted to men ever again? It doesn't make sense with her development.

It drives me crazy how people try to force other people's sexuality into a little peg. I run into biphobia from gays and straights alike, who think we're just "undecided." It's kind of funny and kind of sad how many different times I've had to calmly explain the concept of bi to people.

Date: 2010-06-04 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I run into biphobia from gays and straights alike, who think we're just "undecided."

Yeah well, I have to deal with bi people who try to tell me a person can't be gay if they've liked having sex with the other gender at some point. ;)

My suddenly discovering vagina didn't make sense with my development either, but it's just the way these things work out sometimes. You argue from your bi head space there. Willow makes perfect sense for gays (and straights, I'm sure).

Date: 2010-06-04 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So why can't she just say she's not going to steal Xander away because she loves Tara? Why not say she's over Xander?

Because that would've sounded apologetic, pissing me off. ;)

You're taking that show out of its context. Willow was the first lesbian character ever in a show of that genre. And that's not just America, that's the whole world. You don't go and make that character bi. Bi would have been a compromise in that situation, just like Gaeta being bi in the Webisodes was. And fact is, gay people need representation a lot more than bi people. This was shot way before anybody could even start thinking about bi women. And it still wasn't exactly an act of bravery, considering it took, what, two seasons for them to show a kiss. (which is how Star Trek: Deep Space Nine became the first show of the genre to do a lesbian kiss, I believe)

So why can't she just say she's not going to steal Xander away because she loves Tara? Why not say she's over Xander?

Because a great many women start out like that and still they aren't bi. Yet a lot of people can't accept that they aren't bi just for that very line of reasoning. My feelings on that one are strong enough for your words to rub me the wrong way, no matter I know you don't have a problem with lesbians. Just because a woman has been with men, happily at that point, doesn't make them bi. Otherwise, I'd have to call myself bi when really I was just inexperienced and stupid. Don't even go there.

Date: 2010-06-05 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
See, it rubs me the wrong way the idea that being bi is a compromise. I know the point you're trying to make, and I understand it, but at the same time, it gets old being told that bi isn't good enough to represent the queer community. That somehow we give gays a bad name- which I have gotten before. And at the same time, straight people tend to think that being bi means we're secretly gay- which is what comes across when Willow, who didn't leave Oz because she was gay but because she loved Tara more, says, "I'm gay now" as to why she won't try to steal Xander. I honestly wouldn't have cared if that had been been the reason she didn't go back to Oz, but the way it comes across squicks me. Like, "Oh, well, if I did like men too, you'd have to be worried, because my girlfriend isn't enough for me and my bisexual urges."

It's not so much that they made Willow gay, it's the way they did it, because I know perfectly well that sometimes you just don't know- I dated a gay guy for over two years before he figured it out. But that was why we broke up.

Though I do give them a little credit, I guess, for Tara's biphobia at the end of S5 before Glory sucks her brain- at least they addressed the fact that it happens.

Date: 2010-06-05 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, frankly. You know I'm the first to take the bisexuals side when gays bitch about them, but frankly, being able to be bi is a privilege. Historically, when we first came up with sexual identity as a concept, there was no such thing as bisexuality or homosexuality. There was just people who had an attraction for the same gender that they couldn't live without, and there were those who either didn't have it or could ignore it in favor of their other attraction. That's still the mentality most people who walk around now grew up with. So now we have bisexuals with the privilege to choose, created for them by an effort of those lesbians-because-they-need-to-be of the old days. That considered, damn right it's a compromise. I get that the bisexuals's situation isn't an easy one in this time and day, but it's still one of privilege (doubly so, because you get to choose and you get to have a non-political label). If it's making a character bi vs. making them gay in a situation like that, I'll always vote for gay. *shrugs*

Date: 2010-06-05 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, don't get me wrong, it was the execution of Willow being gay rather than the fact that they made Willow gay that bothered me. (Mostly, leaving it ambiguous for so long and then having it randomly declared by her in fits of pique.) If we had seen, like you say, the discovery of being a lesbian along with the discovery of loving Tara, it wouldn't have bugged me.

I guess what I really want is to see a bisexual character who makes a commitment to the person they love, and then keeps it. Because that's the big misconception about bisexuals, that if we commit to a partner of the opposite sex then we were just experimenting, and if we commit to a partner of the same sex we were just easing into being gay. Either that, or somehow the commitment we make means we're denying ourselves something by not getting laid by both sexes. So to have a bi character who commits but stays bi would do a lot for the way the general public- gay and straight- perceive us.

So, yes, I do understand why you want gay characters, and I agree- we need gay characters. But we also need bi characters. (And trans- if we wanna talk underrepresented, it's the trans community.)


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