Putting The Cop Shows Back In The Cop Shows Thread (And Even a Little Deconstruction, too!)

Paul Henry Rosenberg rad at gte.net
Sun Feb 21 17:46:30 PST 1999

Nathan Newman wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Liza Featherstone <lfeather32 at erols.com>
> To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com>
> >as if buffy is being punished for being tempted by faith, and
> >faith for being faith E.G. being the only female character on the show who
> >A)EATS b)openly digs her own aggression c)digs other grrrls d) really digs
> >sex in general...(Paul: I KNOW she hides behind all this appetite to avoid
> >dealing with other stuff but it's still genuine!) The narrative is veering
> >in this retributive direction and all I was saying is I really don't want
> it
> >to turn out that way
> My two cents...
> I think the show is moving in a retributive direction, but not for either
> Faith's apetites or Buffy's temptation by those apetites, or even for
> Nietzean overreaching.
> I thinks it's a more complicated retribution for overactive consciences (by
> both Faith and Buffy) combined with real personal betrayal. Faith is not
> over the edge because she enjoys killing too much. If she did, the whole
> murder thing would not have bothered her and she would not be in this deep
> obvious painful denial. The problem is she couldn't deal with what happened
> and she displaced it into real betrayal of Buffy by blaming her (and maybe
> the even bigger coming betrayal with the mayor).
> And Buffy isn't being punished (or going to be punished) for giving into
> party girl appetites. She's being punished for going partying without
> Willow- leaving her friends behind temporarily. Poor Willow had a double
> betrayal given Sanders announcement of sleeping with Faith. Of course,
> Willow is on the edge of betrayal of her boyfriend with Sanders. And I
> don't think all this sexual treachery, relatively new on Buffy, is
> coinciding with this broader treachery of Faith. The personal usually
> mirrors the macro on the show.

This tallies pretty well with my overall view. 'cept its Xander, not Sanders. Sanders was the sign in Winnie-the-Pooh.

But--and this is a big one--I wouldn't use this to dismiss the points that Liza raises for the simple reason that "Buffy" has always worked on along several different lines of logic simultaneously. The grand outline you've sketched doesn't negate what Liza rightly reads into Faith.

What's more, your grand outline isn't negated by my pointing out an even broader one -- the whole drawing away dynamic goes MUCH farther back in the show and has to do with coming of age, individuation, etc. Willow is vey much a (if not the) major character in developing this theme, which ties in with at least 3 things she did last year: teaching, letting go of Xander & getting together with OZ AND getting into magic. And it was majorly symbolized in the Halloween episode, where Willow was only person who was both transformed AND retained her identity.

It's this layering of meanings that makes the show genuinely a work of art.

> Actually, Giles is the only one doing well on the show, in some ways having
> his own Nietzchean freedom after betraying the Watchers for the right
> reasons. He took the almost casual dismissal of the murder as "one of those
> things that happen"-- in fact, in all seriousness he took the line that
> Faith was trying to cop about casualties in the line of fire, but she
> doesn't have the confidence to mean it; Giles does. His saving grace is his
> fatherly love for Buffy which is his moral center in the middle of this war
> zone.

All spot on in my book.

Now, think how this ties in with the candy/regression show.

> In that sense, this is not about bad girl appetites but about all the more
> grownup tragedies of war movies and cop shows of the bad kill: the civilian
> casualty and how the killer handles the tradegy.

No, it's two, Two, TWO mints in one!

-- Paul Rosenberg Reason and Democracy rad at gte.net

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

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