TALK STORY

Kevin Smith vs. Joss Whedon

POSTED BY: REGINAROADIE
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:46
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VIEWED: 5089
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Monday, March 24, 2008 4:54 PM

REGINAROADIE


Hey All

I need your guys' help on something.

A buddy of mine has decided to create a film and music website that has movie reviews, essays, podcasts and articles written by people in Regina and with a Regina slant. And he's asked me to be one of the contributors to the site. Naturally I said yes, and I've actually come up with a few ideas for some essays last night. One has to do with KNOCKED UP and how it's an equal opportunist love story. The other is a sort of "compare and contrast" type essay about Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon. Specifically, I want to write about how their spiritual beliefs tie into their work. How Joss' atheism influences, and arguably hinders, BUFFY while Kevin's devout belief in Christianity makes DOGMA and to a lesser degree REAPER a sort of parallel universe version of BUFFY and if Kevin's belief in God and Christ produces an arguably stronger work.

I'm not trying to start a flame war here. I'm just saying that there may be some people here who like both Kevin and Joss and can see the same weird parallels between BUFFY and DOGMA/REAPER and would like to discuss them.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 5:52 AM

MALACHITE


An interesting idea. How are you going to define "stronger"? Stronger in a philosophical sense? Stronger in that one provides more moving scenes and an emotional response based on a portrayal of humanity that an audience can relate to? I haven't seen Reaper, but while I found Dogma to have interesting ideas about God and challenged/refined my own conceptions of God, I don't remember being emotionally moved by the story or attached to the characters compared to characters in the Buffyverse/Firefly verse. I think it may be hard to compare in some ways because Buffy had several seasons to develop ideas and get us attached to stories and characters whereas Dogma is just one movie.
From a philosphical standpoint, Whedon still has a concept of good and evil and moral ambiguity that I can agree with. I did not agree with Dogma's portrayal of God being somehow weakened or limited by an external agent without His consent (I'm thinking of how they couldn't seem to progress until the guy in the coma died. I might be misremembering, but I thought he was God before Alannis appeared). While Joss's atheism may make it hard for him to have the philosophical underpinings to declare something as "good" or "evil" in real life, that doesn't really get in the way of his portrayal of good and evil in his shows and my interpretation of it according to my own beliefs. I guess what I'm wondering is, how do you define one work as "stronger" than another, when the interpretation of the work is based on an individual viewer, who views the work through his own philosphical glasses?
I have to say, the end of Season 4 of Angel in which Angel has to decide whether the population having free will with all the evil that comes with it is more desirable than people being enslaved into acting good was very intriguing to me and definitely rivals any of the ideas that Dogma might have addressed. In my mind, (spoilers ahead -- beware!) Angel made the same decision as God did, deciding that allowing beings to have free will (even if they then could choose to do evil) was more desirable than creating beings who were under compulsion to do only good. To me, this helped me gain a better understanding of the age old question of why God allows suffering. So Joss, the atheist/agnostic, contributed to my own faith system.
Well, that's my take, for what its worth... Good luck on your project.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 6:50 AM

REGINAROADIE


Well, one of the points that I want to make is that it always bugged me in BUFFY that you had a Hellmouth and all these demons and monsters and references to thousands of "Hell dimensions", but there was very little on the other side. You had a vague reference to a "heaven dimension" in season 6 and in Season 7 when the vampire of an old classmate asking Buffy if God exists, she says "The jury's still out.", not to mention Caleb as the stereotypical "evil sexist preacher". And then on ANGEL, the higher beings had worse make-up than the vampires and Cordelia's ascension to another level was just an act so that she could give birth to Jasmine and destroy the world. Personally, I would think that being promoted to a higher level of being would be a good thing, but apparently not.

I just think that for a show that had so many demons and hellspawn and all that, that they could have had at least one episode or a plotline that dealt with the other side. That had real angels and not a pretty boy vampire with that name. And that there was a true balance of good and evil, instead of evil and superpowered mortals that keep things at bay.

In contrast to Kevin Smith, two of Kevin's contemporaries (Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez) actually address this balance in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Near the end of the film, when they're stocking up on their final assault on the vampires, the George Clooney character confronts the Harvey Keitel character over his loss of faith and that they need his influence as a holy man now more than ever. And George tells him that up until now, he too didn't believe in God. But now that he's seen all these vampires and creatures from Hell, he now believes in God because there has to be something to balance that out.

It just amazes me that as enlightened and progressive as Joss is, that because of his atheism,he would never take into consideration the possibility that there could be a balance within the Buffy universe. That for a rich and complex mythology, that he's intentionally leaving out a major component to that mythology.

Kevin Smith, on the other hand, actually addresses this balance between Heaven and Hell and good and evil within DOGMA. One of my favorite deleted scenes in DOGMA was Azarel's monologue about the nature of Hell and how it was once nothing more than the abscene of God and that human with their pain and suffering and decay were the ones that actually made it worse. It gets into a much more complex view of Heaven and Hell and spirituality than one would perceive. It's on the same level as Milton and C.S. Lewis. And the character arc of Bethany and her journey of faith is touching.

And with REAPER, even though he only directed the pilot, he's still on as a consultant, and his influence can still be felt long after the pilot. Not only with the friendship between Sam, Sock and Ben, but also the fact that it does address both sides of the equation. The Devil says in the pilot "I know how it all ends. God wins." and Ben throughout the series brings up various theological ideas and influences, one of which is his grandma that sensed that even though Sam's doing this for the Devil, that there is something slightly holy in all this. Plus, the occasional parallels between this and BUFFY (demons see Halloween as a day off, the woman that played Harmony guested as a demon) only reinforces the whole "alternate version of BUFFY" that I'm working off of.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:21 AM

MALACHITE


Judging from your response, your essays should be great reads.

Okay, so when you say "stronger", you possibly are meaning that the spirituality as portrayed in Kevin Smith's worlds seems to be more multi-faceted -- that is expressing a broader range of (generally Judeo-Christian) spiritual experiences, characters, beliefs, etc. in a deeper and more balanced way than Joss's vision. Or something like that...

I agree with your points about how Whedon's portrayal of the good side is much weaker and more limited. As you said, he does leave out an important perspective, and it may very well be his atheism/agnosticism that blocks him from wanting to flesh out what a good, all powerful entity would look like, since it isn't interesting to him. (Or it might be that his shows thrive on conflict and that the knowledge that a good, all powerful entity is going to win in the end sort of takes the fun and mystery out of the conflict). Anyways, in the Whedon world, hope seems to be found less in a good God and more in powerful humans/humanoids to defeat the powers of evil. In contrast, a Christian perspective would recognize that mankind is sinful, it is not able to save itself, and that only God can save it from the powers of evil. Whedon's view is limited in that it focuses on the human struggle against evil and not the ultimate power of goodness in the universe. It makes for great entertainment, but I agree that it is lacking that cosmic sense of purpose that for me is hard to find without invoking some greater power of good. His perspective of God/Powers That Be reminds me of the beginning chapters of Job, when God sits back, seemingly distant, uncaring and uninterfering, and allows Satan to torment Job (except that in Whedon's world, Job would have some tools to physically fight back). But in Whedon's world, you never get to the end chapters of Job, where God finally reveals himself and his ultimate power over the universe, and Job realizes his place in the universe and is content.

That being said, the character of Sheppard in Firefly was an interesting addition for Joss and combatted the negative stereotype of Caleb in Buffy. Had Firefly continued, perhaps interactions with Sheppard might have balanced things out and led to interesting forays into the spiritual.
That's enough rambling for now. I think you've got some pretty great ideas to express.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:56 AM

TANKOBITE


Good points all; but I just have to state my feelings about Book's character in the show. I really liked him, but as a Christian and especially as some sort of Shepard, he seemed very poorly fleshed out.

Heck, I think if it weren't for the fact that there was something in his past that shows that he wasn't always this way, I'd doubt he actually was a holy man to be honest. Being afraid of praying for Mal because Mal wouldn't like it? Or thinking he's on the wrong kind of ship and keeping the wrong company and the Buddhist has to explain that's where he's needed? I guess that can make sense, but it would seem to me that a Pastor/Priest/Shepard/Rabbi/Imam would have figured that kind of thing out for himself.

I also thought (at first) that the who pacifist thing was just another one of those misconceptions about Christianity, though I recalled that many Christians do believe in a pretty strict non-violence and I was allowing my personal bias to skip over that.

Select to view spoiler:


Though when Book dies I thought that line about it being "Unchristian" of him was a bit of this again...I doubt that too many Christians take pacifism that far as to refuse to defend themselves, their family, friends, or just innocents...but that's just my bias again



Edit: I think another thing that would have been interesting if Firefly had continued would be to see what prolonged exposure of Book and Mal would have done to each other. If Mal would ever regain his faith in God or idealism, or what how Book might have changed.

-----------------------------------------------------------
There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:57 AM

REGINAROADIE


That's such an interesting take on the story of Gob. I always took it as an example of faith. Satan challenges God by saying "He only praises you because of all the good stuff you've given him. If you were to take it all away, he'd denounce you." And so to put that theory to the test, God takes away his livestock, his family and makes him incredibly sick, but Gob never once says "Fuck You, God." And so because of his faith, he was rewarded tenfold by being cured and having an even bigger family and more livestock and wealth.

When I do say "stronger" I mean exactly that. And all the points you've made are incredibly well thought out. I guess if you boil it down, Kevin thinks that the spiritual cavalry can come, whereas Joss thinks that we're cut off and left to fend for ourselves, which isn't a bad message per se. The themes of empowerment and persevering in the face of hopelessness are great stuff that makes his stuff thematically rich and emotionally powerful. I just think that there is a slight bias and a willingful ignorance to a higher spiritual self that slightly hinders Joss's overall work.

On a bit of a side note, one of my favorite scenes between an atheist and a believer is in the opening half hour of THE THIN RED LINE, between Sean Penn and Jim Cavizel. The Jim Cavizel character in the beginning of the movie had gone AWOL and was on a spiritual journey in the Phillipines and hanging out with the natives of that area and felt like it was heaven on earth. Sean tells him "In this world, a man, himself...is nothing. And there ain't no world, but this one." Jim just replies, "You're wrong there Topp. I've seen another world. Maybe it was just my imagination." And Sean ends it with "Well then you've seen things I never will." I always found that moment so powerful since either side has their beliefs, but they respect each other's opinions and their doubts over it.

If I had the opportunity to write a stand-alone issue of BUFFY SEASON 8 comic, I would have done a story similar to that. Where one of the Slayer trainees is a devout learner of not just Christianity, but other religions around the world and actually sees her powers and what they're doing as a holy mission. Maybe she does a cross gesture or mutters something in Hebrew or Arabic before s raid. And there'd be a debate between her and other atheist Slayers and maybe even Buffy herself over whether there is indeed anything holy about what they're doing. And at the end she would say something along the lines of "Even if there isn't a big shiny prize at the end of the day, I still believe in it and what it represents." There's be a balance. Only difference is that Buffy believes in herself while she believes in a higher order.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:12 AM

CYBERSNARK


It should be noted however that in the Jossverse --especially after Angel started-- demons aren't rendered so much as "Evil" as predatory and opportunistic.

There are benevolent demons, even disregarding Angel & Spike; remember Lorne, Clem, and Doyle (well, half-demon, but you get the idea). There's even the MFFG (that the First Evil tries to take credit for)

Arguably, it's not a matter of needing to balance anything out; Joss' demons show as much moral range as humans. This itself is telling, since Joss has to approach it like that, otherwise he runs into the quandry of trying to define Evil without nailing down a counterpoint for Good.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:26 AM

LWAVES


I am one of the peeps who likes and admires both Joss and Kevin for various reasons. And yes I think their beliefs play a part in their work to whatever degree.

There have been some fanatastic points above but I have to disagree about one of the points made about Buffy/Angel, in that there should be some sort of balance. Whilst both shows used the term 'hell' in various ways, I never saw that it meant the actual supposed Hell where the Devil/Satan resides. Just in the same way that I never saw the PTB as anything to do with God or Heaven. To me they were just what was seen or described, alternate dimensions. Not something actually based on any belief system. If that sounds right?

By this thought I don't see why there has to be a balance between good and evil in Joss's work. One of the things I picked up on, and always assumed, was that evil far outweighed the good in Joss's world, but the good still went in for the fight anyway. This is particularly well referenced in Buffy when she accepts her destiny as a slayer and Angel when he regains his sense of purpose or the final moments of the series. Impossible odds but they do it anyway.

To say there should be some kind of balance is to apply 'real world' themes to a work of fiction. But then again, if you are a believer in God and the Devil etc, where does it say that there are roughly as many angels of God as demons of the Devil?

Although some of my theory can be blown apart by the fact that vampires fear crosses, which pertain to some kind of higher power, but again it's never stated that it's God (although it may be another god).

Just my opinion.



"I don't believe in suicide, but if you'd like to try it it might cheer me up to watch."

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:28 AM

REGINAROADIE


OK, so maybe demons can be as morally complex as humans. But if there was The First, most supreme being of evil, then where's The First, most supreme being of good? There HAS to be that balance. Otherwise, The First would just be the first being in existence. Just a blank, sentient being.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:48 AM

MALACHITE


Well I certainly agree with the idea of Job as a story of faith. But God does step back and allow Satan to torment Job. However, God specifies that Satan can only torment Job up to a certain point -- he isn't allowed to kill Job. (Satan gets some free reign over humanity but is still on a leash). From Job's perspective, he is being punished for no reason and he wonders why it is happening. He also questions what God is doing and maintains his own innocence, even going so far as to question God's justice. So, yes, it is a story of faith, but that faith isn't the typical faith of someone simply maintaining the ability to praise God and stay happy in spite of their woes. Job complains a lot, gets hounded by unsupportive or theologically errant friends, gets chastised by God, gets to experience God in a huge way, gets a personal lecture about the vastness of creation, responds with humility and finally gets rewarded by God with material things -- though I think he was already pretty content with just the experience of having an audience with God. I think that just being reminded that God is big and that God is personal was enough for him. That is what he truly needed to be fulfilled -- not more herds and children. (But he got those anyway).

Well, sorry for the tangent about Job. As you were. Where will your articles/essays appear when they are complete?

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:55 AM

SPACEANJL


I'm going to put in a small aside here...

I'm a fan of a certain school of thought, that espoused by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. People make their own gods.

Every 'supreme being' is just a concept of people, only somehow bigger and stronger and better. In the classical world, you had gods and demons, demi-gods and heroes, then later, fantasy writers gave us elves, and the world of gothic gave us vampires. But it's all just folks.

And maybe one day, we'll move past the idea of pointing at the sky or the ground and saying 'they made me do it.' Look within ourselves and find our own compass, instead of relying on an external force to take responsibility.

Guess you can tell where I stand, huh? But I think writing that seeks to show how people make their own choices and decisions, and live with the consequences thereof, is stronger than one which takes the decisions out of their hands at some final level.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:02 AM

MALACHITE


Quote:

Originally posted by lwaves:
I am one of the peeps who likes and admires both Joss and Kevin for various reasons. And yes I think their beliefs play a part in their work to whatever degree.

There have been some fanatastic points above but I have to disagree about one of the points made about Buffy/Angel, in that there should be some sort of balance. Whilst both shows used the term 'hell' in various ways, I never saw that it meant the actual supposed Hell where the Devil/Satan resides. Just in the same way that I never saw the PTB as anything to do with God or Heaven. To me they were just what was seen or described, alternate dimensions. Not something actually based on any belief system. If that sounds right?

By this thought I don't see why there has to be a balance between good and evil in Joss's work. One of the things I picked up on, and always assumed, was that evil far outweighed the good in Joss's world, but the good still went in for the fight anyway. This is particularly well referenced in Buffy when she accepts her destiny as a slayer and Angel when he regains his sense of purpose or the final moments of the series. Impossible odds but they do it anyway.

To say there should be some kind of balance is to apply 'real world' themes to a work of fiction. But then again, if you are a believer in God and the Devil etc, where does it say that there are roughly as many angels of God as demons of the Devil?

Although some of my theory can be blown apart by the fact that vampires fear crosses, which pertain to some kind of higher power, but again it's never stated that it's God (although it may be another god).

Just my opinion.



"I don't believe in suicide, but if you'd like to try it it might cheer me up to watch."



I agree that there doesn't have to be a balance of good and evil. I think for the purpose of making some judgment whether one work is "stronger" than another, you have to decide what makes it "stronger". Saying that one work deals with both good and evil in an in depth way (i.e. is more balanced) and the other one doesn't, was one way of determining "strength" for this discussion. Rather than using the word "stronger", it may be better to compare and contrast the two, noting their different treatments of the concept of God/good powers.

Incidentally, I don't believe in a "balance" of good and evil in real life, either -- certainly not in the sense that good and evil are equal and opposite forces and that if the scale is tipped, some sort of cosmic equilibrium will be disturbed. In the end, I believe good will triumph over evil. Where's the balance in that?

Edit to add: Oops, I don't think you were responding to any of my comments about balance but instead were replying to Regina's comments about there having to be a balance between good and evil.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:07 AM

REGINAROADIE


No, no, I didn't mind it. I only remember most of the stories from the Bible from what I heard at Sunday School a long time ago, so the "real" versions of them I'm not totally familiar with.

I'm not 100% sure. It's still in the planning stages. Right now we're just spitballing some ideas and figuring out the format and whose going to contribute to it. I don't think it's going to be a Dark Horizons or an AICN type site. More of a QuickStop Entertainment thing of just some guys from Regina writing about their favorite movies, TV shows and music. Along with those two essays I have in mind, I'm also thinking of dusting off some of my old film studies essays and posting them on there for content. One was about the sociology of today reflected in GARDEN STATE and it's zeitgeist quality, another is a look at THE SHINING and THE DEAD ZONE and how an auteur can be both faithful to the book as well as his own filmmaking and storytelling sensibilities, and a third one about the differences between American and Canadian cinema through ARMAGEDDON and LAST NIGHT.

One thing I'm looking forward to is our first podcast. I think it's going to be us reading off our ten best lists for 07, even though we're well into 08, and talking about the movies on the list and debating their qualities. We have similar tastes, but we can disagree in big ways over different films. We both loved NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, but he thinks ATONEMENT was boring after the first 40 minutes while I almost cried at the end of the film. He thought CONTROL was an amazing film about the front man for Joy Division, I was glad to see the selfish bastard hang himself at the end of the film and thought that music was blah. And I gave him ACROSS THE UNIVERSE because I loved it and thought it was a wonderful film, and he thought it was hollow and had no chemistry. So I think it's going to be a blast to record it and the inevitable debates over the movies we either liked or hated.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:21 AM

MALACHITE


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I'm going to put in a small aside here...


Guess you can tell where I stand, huh? But I think writing that seeks to show how people make their own choices and decisions, and live with the consequences thereof, is stronger than one which takes the decisions out of their hands at some final level.




So, if Joss shared that perspective, he might feel that creating some more fleshed out concept of a good ultimate being would somehow detract from the decisions and actions of an individual and that this is undesirable in a show?

What do you mean when you say that having an ultimate power of good would take "the decisions out of their hands at some final level"? I'm not sure how its a bad thing or weaker in some way.

I disagree with the idea that simply having some ultimate power of goodness takes away the significance of or responsibility for our own actions. We still have free will.

Paradoxically, I also don't think we're in as much control or have as much control over things as we'd like to think... Kids and global warming come to mind...

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:39 AM

REGINAROADIE


Exactly. While there is an aspect of "glory to God in the highest", I think that God and Christianity would prefer it if we took care of ourselves. It's like what the high being in the "Godfellas" episode said to Bender.

"Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You need a light touch, like a safe cracker or a pickpocket...When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:47 AM

MALACHITE


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
Exactly. While there is an aspect of "glory to God in the highest", I think that God and Christianity would prefer it if we took care of ourselves. It's like what the high being in the "Godfellas" episode said to Bender.

"Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You need a light touch, like a safe cracker or a pickpocket...When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack



What a great quote!

One could add that if God did too much or revealed himself too much, our free will to be disobediant or unbelieving might be compromised ala Jasmine from Angel.

It's a weird balance because God wants us to be dependant on Him but also take action (without necessarily obvious guidance) at the same time.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 2:37 PM

TANKOBITE


I'm just throwing this out there, but I don't think there is a balance. From a Christian theological standpoint the war is over; ultimate good has won on the Cross and nothing can change it. I recall a pastor who related a story of some allied POWs in WWII; the Yanks had a radio and heard the Germans had surrendered and passed it onto the downed British Pilots; however the guard hasn't gotten the word and stayed for three days before disappearing into the night. The POWs were free then, but for them the war had been won three days ago.



-----------------------------------------------------------
There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:13 PM

SPACEANJL


Hmm, probably best if I stay out of this discussion, actually. I'm interested in the comparisons of work, but I'm also a non-believer, and liable to offend.

Though a thought occurs to me - I dislike organised religion, partly on feminist grounds. I wonder if Joss comes from the same angle?


(Gotta say, I did like that 'Futurama' episode.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:48 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
Though a thought occurs to me - I dislike organised religion, partly on feminist grounds. I wonder if Joss comes from the same angle?

Seems likely!

My comment is about the whole "stronger" issue - maybe I'm feeling a fannish need to defend my Jossman.

The definition I've picked up in this thread is this: so when you say "stronger", you possibly are meaning that the spirituality as portrayed in Kevin Smith's worlds seems to be more multi-faceted... which is a good point, and I don't think anyone's gonna argue against it. Kevin Smith wants to explore spirituality, that's quite clear, and has spiritual facets a'plenty, issues taken straight from the Bible and discussed in those terms. (I've only seen Dogma, which I found quite entertaining. I don't know about his other shows, if they're so blatant with the Biblical.)

But you're getting apple v. orange here if you use that definition as a measuring stick for other fictional works, especially Joss's verse. Joss is not out to explore religion-based spirituality. His interests seem to lie in the moral inner workings of people, not in the exterior forces of God or Devil as defined by the Bible. In fact, I'm with Spaceanjl that Whedon is more concerned with feminist issues than religious. That's a measuring stick that rings with me, much more than religion, but I can't expect it to be the center of every movie and TV show.

Anyhoo, ReginaRoadie - this is an interesting issue and good thread, and based on your thoughtful posts I look forward to reading your article. I just think your non-religious readers (like me) will have an easier time understanding your point of view if you're up front and clear with your definition of "stronger." I guess I'd want to understand why you expect Joss's work to address spiritual issues and obey Biblical rules of good/evil balance. Personally, I don't see those topics as necessities for "strong" entertainment, but that's just me.

It's all a matter of taste, right?


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:53 AM

MALACHITE


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
Hmm, probably best if I stay out of this discussion, actually. I'm interested in the comparisons of work, but I'm also a non-believer, and liable to offend.

Though a thought occurs to me - I dislike organised religion, partly on feminist grounds. I wonder if Joss comes from the same angle?


(Gotta say, I did like that 'Futurama' episode.)



Doh! I hope I didn't come across as being offended by your post. I was trying to understand more of what you meant when you were talking about how the presence of an ultimate good entity somehow minimized either the significance of our actions or our responsibility for our actions.

I agree with these posts about how Joss may have different priorities and interests when writing his shows and that feminism is quite a powerful thematic element in Buffy. One might even say that Whedon's work is "stronger" than Smith's in that sense and write some articles about it instead... (Alannis not withstanding)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 4:26 AM

REGINAROADIE


Exactly. It is a matter of taste. While I like BUFFY, ANGEL and FIREFLY as much as the next guy and can see the inherent qualities of Joss and his work (the complex mythology, the deep characterizations and the sense of humor and genre subversion), some of my personal experiences and tastes can run contrary to Joss, which in my mind keeps him from being on the absolute top, such as his atheism and how his spiritual bias intentionally hinders his complex universes, not to mention his obvious daddy issues (I'm from a very close and strong family, so I can't really buy the whole "Fuck you Mom and Dad, you suck as parents so I'm going to create my own little family of friends and strangers." I identify more with the Fishers from SIX FEET UNDER than I do with the Scoobies or the crew of Serenity.) and the arbitrary killing of characters for shock value (which we can all agree as fans is something we don't like about Joss).

Yeah, DOGMA pretty much is Kevin's views on religion, both the man made aspect of it (which was always the real target in the movie) as well the spiritual aspect of it. And I only say REAPER to a lesser extent since he only directed the pilot. The show itself was created by these two girls Michelle and Tara who I think worked at LAW AND ORDER: SVU (I forget their last names). And he wanted to do it because he liked the script, wanted to see what it's like to direct something he didn't write and was on TV, as well as help out two women who created a genre show (which pretty much never happens). But he's credited as a consultant on the show, and since he directed the pilot, he kinda sets the tone for the series. So his influence can still be felt.

I guess the reason why I expect Joss's work to address spiritual issues and obey Biblical rules of good/evil balance is because he makes reference to it. He has Buffy wear a cross around her neck, he makes references to Hell dimensions and demons, they fight in churches numerous times, even though Willow's a practicing Wiccan, she's never denounced her Judaism, Hell, one of the main characters is named ANGEL!!!!! So he's opened this door, but then turn around and says "The door's not even there, let alone open."

Kevin, on the other hand, kicks the door in and goes in full force to delve into the deeper meanings of Chrisitanity and Catholicism and exposes the flaws of organized religion as well as some of the inner working of God and Heaven that no one surprisingly has ever brought up. Below is this incredibly well done article about the parking garage scene in DOGMA that really gets into why this scene is so powerful.

http://www.411mania.com/movies/columns/66158/Scene-Anatomy-101-01.02.0
8:-Dogma.htm


Also, there's the deleted "Evil is an abstract" scene that I think if Joss had written a scene similar to that that it would have moved BUFFY up to an even higher level. There may be a scene like that, but its not as apparent or memorable as it is here.



I just think that Joss has set up 65% of an incredible world, but chooses through willful ignorance not to examine the remaining 35%, while Kevin takes what's established in our world and expands it to 110%.

I would also like to point out that Kevin does write strong female characters. It's just that they're not as front and center in his work as it is with Joss. But you have Renee in MALLRATS screaming at Brodie "I'M A GIRL, DAMMIT!!", Alyssa in CHASING AMY being a strong character in control of her sexuality, plus the final little denouement of "I love you. I always will. Know that. (pause, slap) But I am not your fucking whore.", Bethany being the Last Scion and the one who ultimately saves all of existence, God being played by Alanis Morrisette, the diamond thieves in JASBSB, Gertie and Maya in JERSEY GIRL and Becky in CLERKS 2. So he has strong female characters. They're just not front and center.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 5:23 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
Exactly. It is a matter of taste. [snip] ...some of my personal experiences and tastes can run contrary to Joss, which in my mind keeps him from being on the absolute top

I so get this! My issues of interest are different from yours, but I have the same problem. I'm reading a sci-fi novel now that's quite imaginative and well-written, but (like other books I've read by the same authors) has racial and gender biases that niggle at me. It's hard to ignore these things and just enjoy what's good about the book. I'd almost prefer something less well-written but more believable in terms of how black folks and women behave.

Anyway, I totally get where you're coming from!

Quote:

I guess the reason why I expect Joss's work to address spiritual issues and obey Biblical rules of good/evil balance is because he makes reference to it.
Which is understandable, and you've definitely got me thinking. Especially the balance issue. It's an interesting question, though I don't see it as an automatic sign of weakness in Joss's shows. To me, the issues you raise are another way to understand the verse that Joss gave us with Buffy and Angel. It's enlightening and fun to discuss!

(I could go on about the absence of "good" external symbols in his show, which I can see as a weakness but maybe for different reasons than you... in a later post maybe.)

So, I see Joss as borrowing religious symbolism without making his works about religion, which of course doesn't bug me because I'm not a believer. I can see that it would get at you though - totally! But let me try to sway you a bit...

lwaves already said this, but let me just go further: The hells and monsters in Joss's verse, though they borrow from the established mythology of demons and vampires, are not about religion. They don't represent Biblical Satan. They are embodiments of the everyday problems we face - the "abusive boyfriend" episode has a guy who turns into an actual monster. The "too much beer is bad" episode has beer that turns drinkers into Neanderthals. The "lonely LA singles" episode has an alien(?) being that hangs out in singles bars, feeding on the lonely.

Any apparently religious symbolism hanging around all this I see as superficial and not paramount to Joss's intended message. The symbols are neccessary to fit the viewer's expectations of vampires - crosses and daylight and cemeteries and churches. He's got to follow that mythology so we'll watch and believe it (in the suspension of disbelief sense). But it's not religious mythology to me - it's vampire mythology which has its roots in a religious culture.

The fact that Joss doesn't follow up on the religious symbols is not a sign of "willful ignorance" to me. I don't think he had any intention of opening a door to religion. It's just unavoidable that the symbols are present, given the genre he chose to wrap around his real message of feminism, empowerment, and struggle against the constant obstacles of life.


Quote:

Kevin, on the other hand, kicks the door in and goes in full force to delve into the deeper meanings of Chrisitanity and Catholicism and exposes the flaws of organized religion as well as some of the inner working of God and Heaven that no one surprisingly has ever brought up.
I agree. As an exploration of organized religion, Smith is brilliant. Joss does not even compare.

But when you say Joss has set up 65% of an incredible world, but chooses through willful ignorance not to examine the remaining 35% you're making an assumption. He's just not interested in the things you are. It never was his intention to explore religious spirituality, so it seems unfair to dock him for not doing it fully.

Yes, I'm totally being a defensive Joss-fan LOL!

EDIT: And I don't mean to imply that Kevin Smith doesn't address feminist issues. He does, absolutely! Part of what I like about Dogma is that he tackles this fearlessly...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 5:51 AM

REGINAROADIE


You know, when I was typing that last post, it did occur to me that the demons on the show really weren't of the Biblical type. There were no Pazuzu's or Golgothan's or Azarel's. Almost all the demons on the show were one's created by the writers (I remember one of them joking on a commentary track that one of the demons was named after something on the side of some equipment from the grip or electrics department) and that were more metaphorical representations of real life issues and evils. And I guess because I personally haven't experienced a few key ones that specific turning points in the series meant nothing to me. Like in season 2 when Buffy and Angel finally have sex and Angel turns into Angelus and treats Buffy like crap the morning after. To me, when I saw Buffy break down and cry, I was going "Uh Hello? Red flag here that's somethings happened to Angel. Stop crying and get your shit together." But because I'm not a teenage girl and have not had that experience of a guy using me for sex and my self worth plummet because of that, I didn't understand why people considered that the moment that the show became THE SHOW. The thing that elevated it above the masses. Also, I always saw Angel as a dull character for the first three years. Only when he got his own show that I felt he actually got interesting.

I guess I didn't wanted to show face since it would then render my argument null and void, thus eliminating the need for an essay. I dunno. Maybe I can just copy this thread, format it and post it and have it be about something different.

But please, do go on about the lack of external "good" symbols in his series. I need to write about something. Maybe it could be about that.

And let me ask you this. As a defensive Joss-fan, what would you say about my other criticisms about Joss' work? And is there indeed anything about Joss's work that you actually don't like? Or would you just bend over backwards to praise him, provided that your spine doesn't snap?

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:04 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
You know, when I was typing that last post, it did occur to me that the demons on the show really weren't of the Biblical type. There were no Pazuzu's or Golgothan's or Azarel's.

I'm glad you say that, because I actually know very little detail of the Bible. I felt like the Buffy monsters were non-Biblical, but wasn't sure...

Named after grip's equipment? Too funny! I totally relate, it's hard to come up with monster names LOL!

Quote:

As a defensive Joss-fan, what would you say about my other criticisms about Joss' work? And is there indeed anything about Joss's work that you actually don't like? Or would you just bend over backwards to praise him, provided that your spine doesn't snap?
LOL! I don't think I'm like that (most of the time) but I know what you mean!

I believe Joss's shows to be the best things to ever hit television, but that doesn't mean I don't find things to pick at. I'm actually quite critical in general (as some ficwriters and RWED posters can attest!) but try to temper myself as far as Joss. It's easy to offend around here, and it's hard to explain that, coming from me, nitpicking is a sign of love. If I don't like something, I won't bother to dissect it.

So, to go on to your question...

Quote:

But please, do go on about the lack of external "good" symbols in his series. I need to write about something. Maybe it could be about that.
Poop. Now I have to figure out what I was thinking...

Hmm. Your second post on this thread got me pondering how the Buffyverse has all this evil but no external representation of pure good, and why is that? OK, the Powers That Be are selfish and aloof, and those who "take" Cordy are just setting her up. The modern day Watchers are interfering busybodies, and even those who created the Slayer are not so great - they took advantage of a young woman by infesting her with a demon. Getting chosen as Slayer is no treat - it's a hard life and an early death, but they didn't care about that at all.

In fact, it could be argued that the only truly good thing in the Buffyverse is Buffy. The other characters, no matter their strengths, are shown as bad at some point or another. Willow for sure goes evil, and Anya and Spike and Angel. Xander is shown as a vampire in another reality, and Giles makes some questionable decisions. Not evil, but he's very human. OK, maybe Tara is always a sweet little doll, but then she's not very powerful.

So, any character with power goes evil at some point or another. Except Buffy. She gets moody and angsty and makes mistakes, but she's never evil, not matter how much power she has. I must admit that I thought the seventh season, with all the references to "from beneath you" and the First wearing Buffy's form, might end with her turning bad. So Buffy would be the big evil of the final season. I would have liked that, to break the Buffy-as-Christ-figure thing. (There's an article for you - Kevin Smith's female Christ figure in Dogma as compared to Buffy) I wanted to see how the scoobies would react to her falling off her pedestal, being seduced by the dark side. The solution would have to come from elsewhere, not from Buffy, and would have to defeat her.

OK, so something like this happened when Willow went evil and Xander's friendship was the good to save the day. But still... friendship turned against Buffy from time to time. It wasn't pure. Nothing on the show was pure good, although plenty was pure evil.

This is the part I need to think through more, but my instinct is to find it limiting that there is no pure good except Buffy... not sure where to go with this...

Anyhow, I digress. I feel that Joss's few references to the Good Side are not much more than hand-waving, just to say: yes, people have asked where God lives in my verse and I don't know so I'm going to give you some vague references just to fill the gap. But it won't make much sense and it'll explain nothing in terms of plot arcs. You see, I can't say what I really think - that there is no God - because I would offend my religious viewers and TV official types and I'd get cancelled.

In this sense, Kevin Smith is braver. He comes right out and tells you what he doesn't like about religion. Of course, he had the freedom to do that with his independent movie. A TV series couldn't take that risk.

I'm out of rambles now.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:51 AM

KAYNA

I love my captain


Wow...
This thread is full of very well thought out posts. I really enjoy both Kevin Smith's and Joss Whedon's worlds but I don't feel like I have much worthwhile to contribute right now.
I'm just going to go and think on these things some to see if I can organize my thought on the issue.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Op: You're fighting a war you've already lost.
Mal: Yeah, well I'm known for that.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:09 AM

REGINAROADIE


You know, when you were saying the stuff in italics, I could actually hear Joss' voice saying those aloud. And with Kevin Smith, I agree that he's very bold and fearless in what he wants to say in his movies, because it's the nature of the medium he works in. On one of the earlier SModcasts, he did a very lengthy discussion about the making of the REAPER pilot and all the hoops he had to jump through just to get it cast and shot and how developing a series is an insanely maddening and time consuming process. And how whenever he makes a movie, it's comparatively easier, because if anything needs to be changed or if issues arise, he just runs it by Scott and they figure it out. Very rarely would Harvey issue a decree in terms of casting or personnel and if they did concede on something (like casting a name actress in CLERKS 2), then they'd find a way for it to work to their advantage (like casting Rosario Dawson in the movie). He said that as enjoyable as making the pilot was, he would never want to do something like that again. That he'd rather stick to just writing and directing his own stuff since that's what he does best. And having the last true movie mogul backing you probably doesn't hurt.

As much as a creative force as Joss is, he's still held accountable to advertisers, since they are the real powerbrokers in the TV industry. Exec's and presidents and veeps come and go. It's the advertisers and the corps they represent and the standards and practices people that really dictate what gets on TV. It's a good thing Joss never went political or anything like that. I heard that the only time they ever lost an advertiser was in season 6 when Buffy worked at a fast food joint.

But what about the other issue with Joss' work that I raised? Namely the obvious daddy issues. I see a lot of "Fuck you Mom and Dad, you suck as parents so I'm going to create my own little family of friends and strangers." in all three series, and it honestly alienates me. I come from a very tightly knit family that sticks together no matter what. And while my time in the film program comes close, I've never had that whole "family made up of strangers" experience that's supposed to have made up the 21st century and in shows like BUFFY, FRIENDS, etc. To me, friends come and go like seasons. But family is with you no matter what. I identify more with the Fishers from SIX FEET UNDER than I do with the Scoobies or the crew of Serenity. I was more touched at the end of 6FT when Ruth tells Claire to not stay behind and take care of her and to go to New York to pursue her dreams or Hiro and Kaito Nakamura's scenes in HEROES and the Petrelli Bros. act of sacrifice than with Tara telling her family to fuck off in season 5 or River's "Captain Daddy" schtick. My whole story of "You Can't Go Home Again" is kinda my attempt to rectify that by saying that no matter what had happened, that Simon, River and to an extent Kaylee has a connection with Gabriel and Regan that can't be denied.

I'm wondering what your opinions are on that.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:11 AM

MALACHITE



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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:13 AM

MALACHITE


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:

I guess I didn't wanted to show face since it would then render my argument null and void, thus eliminating the need for an essay. I dunno. Maybe I can just copy this thread, format it and post it and have it be about something different.



Don't give up! I think you've got some fascinating ideas and have really provoked an interesting discussion here. Even if you decide it isn't appropriate to write an essay that sort of faults Whedon for his limited portrayal of the good spiritual side of things, I still think you could write a fascinating article comparing and contrasting the spiritual worlds of Smith and Whedon. I also think "A Christian's perspective on Spirituality in the Buffyverse" would still be a fascinating read. The similarities and differences and strengths and weaknesses between the two world views would be quite intriguing and would be a new angle, I think.

Edit to add: I don't know why it isn't separating your quote from my comment. Sorry

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:21 AM

REGINAROADIE


How about "A Christian's Perspective of Spirituality between the Whedonverse and the Askewniverse"? I like that.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:28 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
On one of the earlier SModcasts, he did a very lengthy discussion about the making of the REAPER pilot and all the hoops he had to jump through just to get it cast and shot and how developing a series is an insanely maddening and time consuming process.

I don't know much about Kevin Smith outside Dogma, but I bet he's got some interesting stuff to say about the business and how he's dealt with the BS. I can only imagine how tough it is for writers like him and Joss to get their stuff out, given how far they are from mainstream.

It's kinda sad - whenever I get into fic discussions of what's canon and what isn't, I have to wonder how much Joss really meant and how much he had to put into Firefly just to please the executives. It's a shame creators never have free license to make a TV show according to their own vision. It seems that a lot of shows jump the shark when too many writers clog things up. BSG started going down that chute last season I thought. (It was still the best thing on TV though. Well, next to Heroes.)

Quote:

As much as a creative force as Joss is, he's still held accountable to advertisers... I heard that the only time they ever lost an advertiser was in season 6 when Buffy worked at a fast food joint.
Really? Who'd he lose? Just because Buffy worked fast food? Was it because he made fun of the fast food job? Good lord - who doesn't! How about Best Buy and Chuck LOL!

Quote:

But what about the other issue with Joss' work that I raised? Namely the obvious daddy issues. I see a lot of "Fuck you Mom and Dad, you suck as parents so I'm going to create my own little family of friends and strangers."
Yeah, I skipped past this issue right to the religious thing. One topic at a time!

My biological family is not tight at all, despite many painful years of trying, so the "found family" is close to my heart. Yeah - I'm totally biased! Honestly, I don't like the idea of a parental bond being there no matter what, because sometimes parents are just schmuks. Sometimes you have no choice but to face life without your birth family, and it's nice to think you can build another family that's actually of some use.

I do like the Fishers. So flawed, so real, but so resilient. Ironically enough, I sometimes just don't get their bond. Not that I mind a close family on a TV show. It's just not something I've experienced. Which is to say - I think I understand how you feel about the "found familiy" being weird, since it's outside your experience. But isn't that cool thing about fiction? We get to see life a different way.


Quote:

no matter what had happened, that Simon, River and to an extent Kaylee has a connection with Gabriel and Regan that can't be denied.

I'm wondering what your opinions are on that.

It'd be nice if real life was always that way. I've seen too many families go down the crapper, and the family bond does need to be denied sometimes.

Oh - I gotta agree with Malachite. Don't give up the article topic! I just want a less absolute statement of strong show versus weak show. As long as it's stated as your perspective, I can be informed without feeling the need to argue. Cause I do like to argue when I'm given any kind of reason.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:53 AM

LWAVES


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
I don't know much about Kevin Smith outside Dogma, but I bet he's got some interesting stuff to say about the business and how he's dealt with the BS. I can only imagine how tough it is for writers like him and Joss to get their stuff out, given how far they are from mainstream.



I would recommend the two Evenings With Kevin Smith. Basically a Q&A with the main man. They are wickedly funny, and he offers a lot of insight into how his movies got made and how things came about, amongst other things. He does it in an honest way (the Prince story is hilarious) and the guy certainly does love to talk.

It's a pity that Joss hasn't done anything like this. To hear his thoughts along with his humourous ways of telling stories would be fantastic.



"I don't believe in suicide, but if you'd like to try it it might cheer me up to watch."

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:00 AM

REGINAROADIE


Well, I'm definitely emboldened to write this due to the debate we've been having here.

I hope I can get this much reaction when I debate the "sexist" criticisms of KNOCKED UP.

And YES!!! Finally something we can agree on. WE BOTH LIKE HEROES!!!

As per The Fishers, I think it's because they're so individually screwed up and fight and argue, like any other family, that I like them that much. It's not like The Camdens where it's a decade of shiny happy people who keep reproducing like rabbits, or like the Bluths where the deception and backstabbing is so rotten to the core that you're with Michael in that you're glad to see him and George Michael leave. Even when confronted with all this sadness and tragedy and nihilism, that there is still a basic connection of love between them. You look at the finale, and watch how they all manage to pull themselves out of their grieving and to move forward with their lives. It's so cathartic and moving. How can you NOT be touched by that?

Since you're into fanfic and canon, could you take a look at YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN? Specifically the last four chapters? It's kind of what I always wanted to see in a FIREFLY fanfic and my take on the Tams and how they're more tragically dimensional then the usual Whedon parents=bad equation.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:46 AM

MAL4PREZ


lwaves - these Kevin Smith things are on DVD?


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
Since you're into fanfic and canon, could you take a look at YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN? Specifically the last four chapters? It's kind of what I always wanted to see in a FIREFLY fanfic and my take on the Tams and how they're more tragically dimensional then the usual Whedon parents=bad equation.

You don't know what you ask LOL! I really am overly critical and biased against family type fics, so I'm not likely to do your work justice. I've looked at your postings before, and I think you write quite well, but there's like... married S/K and pregnant Kaylee and that's just not stuff I'm into. Reference: me biased.

I agree about your take on the elder Tams - I don't see them as completely evil and self serving. I don't think they sold out their kids just for the hell of it, or for money or whatever. I like to think they honestly believed they were doing their children good. So there could be some sort of reconnection for Simon and River. Thing is, family bonding fic just doesn't turn my crank.

(I'll probably read through it tonight anyway, since you ask!)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 12:07 PM

REGINAROADIE


Yes, the Evening with Kevin Smith's are on DVD and that there's a third one being planned that has the Q&A he did on his 37th birthday in Red Bank with footage of the birthday prom they did. But that probably won't be out until ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO hit's DVD, which will probably be way into next year.

As for Joss doing something similar to that, I agree that it would be funny and cool for him to tell funny stories and to give his insights to a mass audience. But I think that it actually might not be as enjoyable. If you compare the commentary tracks that the two give, Joss seems a bit more scholarly and esoteric, as opposed to Kevin who gives great insight, but is much more candid and filthy. Kevin's more down to earth and willing to take a shot at himself before anyone else. He's like a best friend that you can hang out with and talk about random shit, like he does with Scott on the SModcasts. Joss doesn't seem to have a self-deprecating type sense of humor. I don't think he'd tell a story about his kids walking in on him and his wife while they're having sex or how his wife inadvertently sliced his cock open the first time they had sex, or any kind of stories like that.

As per YCGHA, not to spoil it, but in terms of families reconciling, they only come together once, and then are split again almost irrevocably.

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"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:35 PM

BIGGESTDAMNHERO


Makes me wonder why any of this matters? It's all science fiction/fiction anyway. One's an atheist with a female "ass-kicking" fetish (which isn't based on reality or facts), who champions the gay agenda. The other has religious beliefs. I'm sure that outside of Firefly&Serenity that I would not care anything about Whedon. I'm not a Whedon cultist. Love his BDS&BDM, but not going to ponder the "riddles of the universe and his place in it". Realife issues are important. Analyzing Sci-Fi is for the uber-(reality challenged) nerd with bad interpersonal skills. AKS The midget in the basement in "Benchwarmers"

"And I'm thinking you weren't
burdened with an overabundance of
schooling"

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Thursday, April 24, 2008 6:57 PM

TANKOBITE


While that could have been phrased a little better; I have to agree with most of that. Especially the part about not caring for Whedon outside Firefly.

-----------------------------------------------------------
There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008 8:22 AM

BIGGESTDAMNHERO


Quote:

Originally posted by Tankobite:
While that could have been phrased a little better; I have to agree with most of that. Especially the part about not caring for Whedon outside Firefly.

-Sorry I wrote that like I was pitching the argument. I thank you for your honesty. Seems there are two types of Browncoats. Fans of the show/movie and they end it at that. The other type are the ones that any blasphemy towards Joss is catamount to treason! AKA The Independent recreators who play dress up, and confirm the "uber-nerd in Mom's basement" (Mom leave me alone! I'm roleplaying here!) sterotype.

"And I'm thinking you weren't
burdened with an overabundance of
schooling"

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Sunday, April 27, 2008 8:26 AM

BIGGESTDAMNHERO


If some of these angry resentful Browncoats put as much energy into voting for honest and decent politicians, as they do a cancelled TV show, we wouldn't be going down the tubes! Blind obedience at the altar of Whedon, and the rest of the country goes to sh_it, what does that solve?

"And I'm thinking you weren't
burdened with an overabundance of
schooling"

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:10 AM

MALACHITE


Quote:

Originally posted by biggestdamnhero:
Makes me wonder why any of this matters? It's all science fiction/fiction anyway.


Good question. But all it does is make me have more questions... For example, why does anything matter? How do you define what matters? Does discussing or analyzing a work of fiction matter? Can it have any real world value or application? Are all the discussions on fireflyfans.net (except those from the RWED, of course) pointless and meaningless because they are about or were inspired by a fictional show? If not, how do you weigh the value of one discussion over another discussion? What absolute could you appeal to that would stand up to the inevitable criticism that your value judgment in the end is just as subjective as anyone elses'?
With that in mind, I'll try to answer your question -- though others could do it more articulately. Perhaps the topic of this thread doesn't matter to you, but others might find it interesting and meaningful. It could have value because the process of discussing something, relating to others, listening to, and sharing ideas is valuable, in and of itself. Many people have a desire to express their opinions and be heard. It gives them a sense of connectedness and importance. This kind of experience occurs despite the fact that we are communicating annonymously in cyberspace. Science fiction/fiction can also have real world relevance by making commentaries on the human condition, musing about the unknown, being a medium for explorations into various existential dilemnas, and just plain fun escapist entertainment. Even fictional events and relationships can evoke real emotions or provide real world comfort. In addition, reflecting on and discussing ideas in a show can be used to refine or shape one's beliefs and ideas that they take in to the real world.
You also mentioned that "analyzing sci-fi is for the uber-reality challenged nerd with bad interpersonal skills". I'm sure that stereotype has some merit, but I could also argue that people can be too obsessed/emotionally involved with a variety of things, even real world issues (like their job, global warming, politics, science, women) to such a huge extent that they come across as having bad interpersonal skills, so this is not a phenomenon limited simply to those who like sci-fi.
That's a start on the answer to your question. Writing it has provided real world enjoyment to me.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:46 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by biggestdamnhero: Analyzing Sci-Fi is for the uber-(reality challenged) nerd with bad interpersonal skills.
LOL! Says the guy who jumps into a chat he has no interest in just to hurl insults and claim superiority over anyone who's not exactly like him. Now THOSE are some interpersonal skills to be proud of!



BDH, someday you're just going to have to accept it... you post on a sci-fi TV show fan site, just like the rest of us. It's OK! You've got nothing to prove - no one here cares if you're a dork or not.

EDIT: LOL some more! Wow... "angry resentful Browncoats" says the guy who antagonized a stranger in an airport over the very TV show which he is absolutely NOT cultish over. OK, now I know you're not for real, BDH, because that's just silly. I couldn't write a character this conflicted.

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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