GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

The Pregnant Pause and other Whedon Trademarks

POSTED BY: MANWITHPEZ
UPDATED: Saturday, March 17, 2007 13:54
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 3:26 PM

RETRO


Quote:

Originally posted by firefloozysuzie:
Loving this thread!

As an aside: Has anyone else noticed that when you watch a whole lot of Angel, Buffy or Firefly on DVD, you internalize the Whedon dialogue cadence....and then find that you've started talking a lot like Whedon/ one of the Whedon characters?

(Um, or is that just...me?)





Not just you. I have noticed that after I watch a lot of Buffy, I usually start picking up a Xander or Giles. But most noticeably, after watching lots of Firefly, I pick up a sort of freaky Mal/Jayne combination.
It happens with a lot of shows, though. I also do it with Babylon 5.

"Just because I choose to wander, it doesn't mean that I am lost..."

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 4:39 PM

TRUTHSEEKER


Quote:

As an aside: Has anyone else noticed that when you watch a whole lot of Angel, Buffy or Firefly on DVD, you internalize the Whedon dialogue cadence....and then find that you've started talking a lot like Whedon/ one of the Whedon characters?

(Um, or is that just...me?)




Yes, my speech is occasionally filled with Whedon-y goodness. Not to mention quotes! A few weeks ago I was heard to complain, "My snack food is problematic," and one of my converts said just today, "A man walks down the street wearin' a hat like that, people know he's ain't afraid of anything!"

But on a more serious note:
I've noticed that in the commentaries there are several times when Joss accuses himself of being overly literal or cliche in his storytelling: use of camera tricks, "obvious" metaphors, etc. Here's the crucial point, though, which I consider a Whedon trademark. He uses the tools of storytelling and metaphor to talk about deeper issues that other TV doesn't even attempt to talk about. Sure, he wraps it up in a tasty little package of humor, adventure, and catchy speech, but underneath there are levels of meaning that he trusts the audience to look for, understand, and think about. What other television show can you think of that would attempt something like OiS?
To me, this is what makes Joss's work art. He creates an image of the world and humanity, and invites you in to experience it. As someone else commented, I'm enjoying "Lost", too, but I do feel manipulated by it. ("We know something you don't know. Tune in next week, and now for a word from our sponsors...") Joss's work makes me feel respected, and so in return, I respect him as an artist.
Also, earlier posts mentioned the the pattern of humor and high drama being used together almost in the same breath. I find that having the two extremes so close together makes the drama more intense and, in a way, more believable. How many times have you had one of those "If I didn't laugh, I'd cry" moments? Joss has mentioned his appreciation of Nathan and James Marsters (Spike) for their ability to rocket back and forth between drama and comedy in the blink of an eye. I think he looks for actors who can carry that off because it allows him to push his storytelling further.

*** *** ***
The woods are the only place where I can see a clear path.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:47 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by BadgersHat:
In an episode of "Buffy" and I can't recall the name, or even the season, but there's a character that had shown up a few times, an old friend-turned-enemy of Giles...

Character name was Ethan Rayne. Blanking on the episode title.

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

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Saturday, March 17, 2007 10:36 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


I almost forgot a very obvious one:

The Macguffin!

Or, if you listen to Joss's or Marti's commentaries, the Phlebotonum. A macguffin is a plot device used to further the story, but really has no importance beyond that.

A perfect example is whatever they were trying to smuggle off Higgin's Moon in Jaynestown. Does it matter what it was?

Of course not.

That, and I just wanted to revive this long dead thread...see what some of the new people thought of it.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

http://manwithpez.livejournal.com

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Saturday, March 17, 2007 11:19 AM

CAUSAL


Well, heck, I don't have time to read all the posts in the thread, so I apologize if it's already been mentioned. But I love the places where Joss takes a time-honored Hollywood convention and turns in on its head (to great comedic effect). Examples might include Xander's comment, "I laugh in the face of danger" *beat* "Then I run away and hide." Or Mal saying, "Now if I'm not back in an hour, if you haven't heard from me" *beat* "You take the ship, and you come and rescue me." Pure genius!

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Saturday, March 17, 2007 11:58 AM

SPACEANJL


I think with Joss, it's a total package. Not only does he like to play with 'serious' concepts, he expects his audience to put in the work. (translate your own mandarin insults!) He also has a knack of taking a load of influences and using them in a fresh way.

You can trace the influences, and the more you watch, the more you feel included in a circle of people who get the in-jokes. Even the self-referential ones. (Weyland-Yutani logos?)

If you think of the number of 'hey, I just noticed...' threads on this board alone, it shows how much mental effort we put in to trying to 'get' his oeuvre.

And he chooses cast members who can cross over the genres. The use of comedic actors for serious roles, for example. And the casting of people with that split second timing who can do action, romance and comedy within the same small timeframe. (Nathan, AB, James M.)

He expects his audience to have a brain, to go and look up things, to question what they are being presented with.

And yeah, he can do people who are scarier than monsters. Of all the 'Buffy' villains, Caleb is the one who freaked me most. Because he wasn't a demon, he was a man. Dr Mathias was a worried little penpusher fretting about his funding, having stuck needles in a teenager's eyes. I expect if we had ever seen any Blue Sun executives (mind you, who did Gabriel Tam work for?) they would have been genial types with a happy home life. Or pleasant idealists.

He is a great writer, who surrounds himself with excellent complimentary talents, and isn't afraid to throw it all into the mix.

SpaceAnJL Blushing fan-girl since BtVS

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Saturday, March 17, 2007 12:30 PM

DONCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by manwithpez:
A perfect example is whatever they were trying to smuggle off Higgin's Moon in Jaynestown. Does it matter what it was?

Of course not.

Just for the record... it was mud.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm pointin' right at it!

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Saturday, March 17, 2007 1:03 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


I read through this, but I'm not sure if anyone mentioned the sort of "tragic hero" thing Joss does. I'm not an avid Buffy or Angel fan, but, like Mal, they have their own (inner) demons (sorry about the pun) to struggle with. Mal's lost everything, Buffy is forced to be mature and responsible and often lonely, and Angel... he's a vampire.

Oh, and Joss doesn't shy away from dramatic, ugly emotions - anger, doubt, fear - and he does it in a way that's real, instead of just "Oh, so the good guy's gonna get a little peeved now, but it'll pass." It's not superficial.

The one that was a little shocking for me the first time around was (obviously) Jubal and Kaylee. And, the original intent for Inara's vial...


(VERY IMPORTANT) Rules and voting: http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=22892

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Saturday, March 17, 2007 1:54 PM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Quote:

Originally posted by DonCoat:
Quote:

Originally posted by manwithpez:
A perfect example is whatever they were trying to smuggle off Higgin's Moon in Jaynestown. Does it matter what it was?

Of course not.

Just for the record... it was mud.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm pointin' right at it!



I'm still stickin' with "It didn't matter."

Actually, if you look up "MacGuffin" on wikipedia, it lists this episode of Firefly, and the mud as specific examples.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

http://manwithpez.livejournal.com

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