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I'm not sure what I think about this issue. It's hard to take the implication that Spike is pressuring Buffy unduly seriously when the only reason he did it was because the writers wanted an excuse to write him out of the main comic. It's not like he's been following her around begging her to go on dates or anything. I mean, it wasn't so long ago that Spike was convinced Buffy felt nothing for him, and was actively avoiding her. It's only because Dowling urged him to that he was going to bring his feelings up at all, and then Buffy herself flat out told Spike that she was fantasizing about running away with him. So is it really that unreasonable at this point for Spike to take a chance on Buffy feeling something for him in return?

Because that's what it comes down to. If Buffy's not in love with Spike, then yes, his being in love with her is just another annoyance to her at a time when she has more than enough problems of her own. But if Buffy is in love with Spike, then what the hell do these writers think being in a relationship is about? What is the point of being in a relationship if you don't get to share your problems, and by tackling them together, solve or bear them more easily? If Buffy loves Spike but feels that she's in no better position to have a relationship than to have a baby, then why the hell can't she say so? Why is it always Spike's responsibility to be telepathic?

I mean, it's my best guess from Buffy's actions that while she may or may not have been in love with Spike at some point in the past, right now she is at best sort of fond of him. She takes his emotional support for granted when he's around, and would naturally prefer to have that emotional support on constant tap. So she's a little annoyed when he leaves. And she still finds him physically attractive on some level, hence the occasional sexual fantasies. But she doesn't appear to miss him one bit once he is gone. But that's only a guess.

There's also the factor that when Allie wrote Spike leaving, he was strongly implying that it was a positive development for Spike. So it's a bit jarring for Gischler to re-cast Spike's behavior this season as clingy and selfish. And even if you're only looking at it from in-story, and acknowledging that it may not have been the best time for Spike to bring the matter up... when is it ever a good time where Buffy is concerned? Even if it wasn't the best possible time, I honestly can't see it as a bad thing that Spike laid his relationship cards on the table, told Buffy what he wanted, and said that if she couldn't or wouldn't give it to him, he was gone. BECAUSE HE WAS MISERABLE THE WAY THINGS WERE. Constant misery may be 'real,' but it's a suck-ass way to live your life. There's a fine line between love's bitch and love's doormat.

A lot of fans seem to have this idea that the perfect romantic partner is one who never pressures you, never expects anything of you, and is always endlessly supportive of you regardless of what you do or say to them. Your needs are the only thing that matters to them, and they derive all their satisfaction from meeting your needs. And yes, that's a hellishly seductive fantasy. Just as seductive as the destined soulmate who's meant for you. And just as fake. Relationships are made up of two (or occasionally more) people, all of whom have needs and wants and desires. And everyone in a relationship deserves to have a decent chance at having their needs, wants, and desires met. If those needs, wants and desires are in conflict, then what you do is, you talk about it, and you compromise. And if you can't reach a mutually satisfactory compromise, then you break up. Or you spend miserable years together wishing you'd broken up, and end up resenting and maybe even hating each other.

Gischler's story is delivering conflicting messages on this front. On the one hand, Spike rejects Morgan's offer to be the power behind his throne because he says it isn't real, and seems to compare her desire to lose herself in him with his own desire to lose himself in Buffy. But then he goes on to say that his relationship to Buffy was real... because... it made him miserable? And that he should... I don't know, keep worshipping her from afar, but never burden her by telling her about it? Yeah, that's a healthy attitude, Spike. I almost get the feeling that the writers think that the only 'good' relationship is between perfectly self-contained people who don't need or want anyone else and would be perfectly happy living in splendid isolation, but just happen to end up in the same house by accident or something. I'm confused.

In short, I thought the bugs' one-sided devotion to Spike was a sardonic commentary on Spike's one-sided devotion to Buffy, but apparently Gischler thinks one-sided devotion is a good thing, as long as you never expect the target of it to reciprocate in any way? I'm not convinced.

I'm almost done with the first draft of my Seasonal Spuffy story. I know! I'm stunned too! You know how the last few years my SS stories have been deep and angsty and anguished and stuff? THIS ONE? IS NOT.

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Comments

( 23 rants — Talk To Me )
kikimay
Nov. 23rd, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC)
Personally I got this: Spike prefers a real relationship, with all his ups and downs, than the perfect romance with a succubus. He suffered for Buffy and it was awful, but they also shared more peaceful moments. Spike chooses reality over fantasy.
Now I hope that Buffy will choose reality over fantasy too, because if she looks at her life seriously, she'll know that Spike was the real one and Angel the dreamy romance.
Personally this is what I understood about Spike's final epiphany.
rahirah
Nov. 23rd, 2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's there, but then there's also the part where he's ranting at Morgan that he can't be her project because he has a life of his own, and I get the impression that we're supposed to be seeing that he realizes that that's what he's been doing to Buffy. Which... I don't think he really has? So if that's the big character development moment Spike is supposed to be getting out of this miniseries, it seems kind of muddled.

I get more and more uncomfortable as the years go by with characterizing Spuffy as 'real' and Bangel as 'unreal.' I've never bought that Bangel is unreal to begin with, and while Spuffy may be real, neither of them are enjoying it all that much. :/ Whacking your finger repeatedly with a hammer is real, too, but i wouldn't want to make a career of it.
norwie2010
Nov. 23rd, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC)
Whacking your finger repeatedly with a hammer is real, too, but i wouldn't want to make a career of it.

Don't diss it if you haven't tried it. :-D

(In other words - i like what you wrote above and the "slightly" confused stuff within the comics is indeed part of the program: Just write down some BS, someone will buy it and interpret it in an amiable way...)
rahirah
Nov. 23rd, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
I've stepped on a rusty nail twice. Does that count? *g*
red_satin_doll
Nov. 23rd, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
I think I've exhausted my rage over the comics, feminist and otherwise - the better to analyze them my dear - and what I see is a continuation of JW's attempt to "subvert" traditional tropes of "romance" that go beyond "Twilight", and occurred all seven seasons of the show. And on some level I think that reading fanfic has helped me to understand this because I have seen things in fanfic more fantastic and horrifying than even JW and DH could dream up. JW wants to say "romance fantasies are wrong!" and he may see them as anti-feminist, but doesn't examine WHY they exist, why to some women they are meaningful, important, or emotionally satisfying - is it something in the culture and how we are raised, or something deeper to that in terms of human emotions, that make it so? Without understand that, the whole enterprise just comes off as mocking, sour and insulting.
kikimay
Nov. 23rd, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Heh, I understand. And, you know, very much of our interpretation depends on what happpen next. Until now they are toying with both relationship and I wish they have the courage to just say: okay, let's try with this one and try to do a good job.

While Buffy and Spike had a relationship based on sincerity, even in painful moments, for example during Buffy's depression; Bangel is greatly about fantasy of soulmates and stuff, while, in reality, Angel and Buffy are too different to work out. (That's my opinion, of course) And after the whole Twilight/sex frak, Bangel is really like a mermaid or somenthing. But the Ulysses' kind.
rahirah
Nov. 23rd, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
See, I think that Buffy and Angel are bad for each other, and Angel's track record of making decisions for her and KILLING HUNDREDS OF SLAYERS TO MANIPULATE HER means that them ending up together would be a creepy tragedy rather than a great romance. I agree they don't know each other very well, and if they tried to live together it would probably be a disaster. I will be very disappointed if they end up together.

But I think their feelings for one another are very real, and very strong. Ojectively speaking, there are just as many points that could be used to say Spike and Buffy are bad for each other, too. The thing for me is this: when Buffy and Spike are together, they may hurt each other, but when Buffy and Angel are together, it generally puts the entire world in danger. That alone is enough to make me root against Bangel.


kikimay
Nov. 23rd, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
I will also be very disappointed in case of Bangel. I agree about everything, but, you know, who knows when it comes to Whedon?

Spike and Buffy were bad for each other in a particular situation and I would add not so bad because they didn't hurt anybody else, they just had a bad relationship. Now they're both mature and I think that would work out very well, in a healthy way.
tant0.myopenid.com
Nov. 25th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Buffy is not mature. She'll never become mature because the moment she becomes mature both Spike and Angel become irrelevant. As long as this Vampire Diaries-like triangle keeps going Buffy can't grow up.

kikimay
Nov. 25th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
I don't see it that way. Both Angel and Spike were, at some point, the dark places of Buffy, but to me maturity doesn't mean being another kind of person, a person without dark places, to me maturity is also about accepting your needs and the things you love and be happy with yourself.
ayinhara
Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
I look forward to reading your Spuffy story. I know that you are kinder to the characters than the official sources.
rahirah
Nov. 23rd, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Being kinder than canon is a pretty low bar. :D
red_satin_doll
Nov. 23rd, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
OUCH
ayinhara
Nov. 23rd, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Truer words were never spoke.
tennyo_elf
Nov. 23rd, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
I stopped reading the comics around Spike issue 2/Buffy 13 because of the poor writing choices and the poor story structure.

I had figured that Spike's epiphany was going to be anti-climatic and the buildup would end up being frizzing out. I haven't read the issue and don't really plan to. But what I got from the posts I've seen here and there, the message is clear they have no idea what to do with Spike and the only thing they could think of was "fixing" his love for Buffy. (I do however think Spike was supposed to be used for another purpose. This "fixing" thing would have been a sidebar to the plot b Spike could have been focusing on in the main book.)

It is horribly confusing because the moment Spike stepped into the DH comics he had seemed to have buried his Buffy feelings or moved on from Buffy. Only after a few issues of season 9 he's flip flopping and suddenly it felt like he was being all about Buffy though at the same time it felt like he was avoiding her. What kind of life was he living? He doesn't like SF but stayed around because of Buffy and we weren't shown any of Spike's goals or aims. Everyone had one, Buffy wanted normal, Xander/Dawn wanted out/living as normal as possible, and Willow wanted the return of magic. What was Spike doing off panel? Was he looking out for Buffy or not? He kept telling Buffy someone was after her and yet he had no new info, so was he really looking into it on the off hours or just being captain?

I think it was horribly executed if they wanted Spike to be all about Buffy and putting undue pressure on her when we were shown something slightly different up until the stupid ultimatum. I don't get it either. Especially if Buffy is supposed to have romantic feelings for Spike, which at this point seems clear she doesn't. So why the heck put us through all this when it's just a round about way of killing time and putting spuffy to (semi)rest as convoluted and as fast as possible?
kerry_220
Nov. 24th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
So why the heck put us through all this when it's just a round about way of killing time and putting spuffy to (semi)rest as convoluted and as fast as possible?

I'm thinkin' you just answered your own question :)

The way I see it the hole they wrote themselves into waaaay back in S6 (coupled with the righteous declarations made since) effectively rule out a happy Spuffy future. But the Spike and Spuffy fans are amongst the few they've still got left. So indifferent pokes at the corpse are what we get and a weird stasis of emotion from both Buffy and Spike. It's so bland.
rahirah
Nov. 27th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
Kewpie doll for the little lady!
tennyo_elf
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
Hehe! I did indeed! Thanks for catching that...

I think it boils down to foresight. They think, "Oh, this is a great shocker and twist, let's do that!" without thinking of the full ramifications of that twist. Thus the AR and the ton of other issues with BtVS.
rahirah
Nov. 27th, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
Well, the series isn't over, so I suppose there may be more epiphanies (or more likely fauxpiphanies) to come. They keep saying that Spike's going to be REALLY DIFFERENT as a result of what happens in this series, and so far I just don't see it.

Sigh. They're doing that "oooh, will Spike lose hsi soul?" tease in the lettercolumns again, and while I am a big fan of unsouled Spike, I really don't trust them to handle it well, and for crying out loud, Spike losing his soul is not nearly as big a deal is Angel losing his. Although the way Angel's been lately, losing his soul might be an improvement!
tennyo_elf
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
Doesn't Allie overstate things? Didn't he say that Xander was going to have a great story arc coming up? And didn't he say that he may have over sold it?

I don't see it either. The only thing I can think of is trying to iron out the love's bitch mentality?

The whole losing his soul bit was annoying. It feels kind of obvious that they won't do it, but then again their sense making in story telling isn't very sensible, but it just seems like a stupid tease. I'm eye rolling on it all.

Edited at 2012-12-15 04:41 am (UTC)
hello_spikey
Nov. 27th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's like each writer is assuming the emotional arc is different, and they aren't talking. :P

rahirah
Nov. 27th, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
I strongly suspect that's because there really isn't an emotional arc at all. They have no intention of making Spike and Buffy an actual couple, but they want to keep teasing the shippers. Hence stagnation and tail-chasing.
hello_spikey
Nov. 27th, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. After all, 'everyone' knows that teasing ships is a good way to keep fans - Maddy Hays and David Addison can never be a couple or the show will end!

But having your only 'arc' be 'maintain status quo' is frustrating and muddying. It's the sign of a dying storyline, where the writers have ceased to take risks and just want to milk the dead cash cow. /imho
( 23 rants — Talk To Me )

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