Jumat, 17 April 2009

Whedon Metaphor

Here, David Bishop talks about metaphors used in Joss Whedon's work. He goes through the more obvious layers of BUFFY and then voices a very interesting idea on what DOLLHOUSE is a metaphor for.

This got me thinking about how Whedon's shows depend heavily on characters and their goals / missions. Let me explain.

SPOILER ALERT - If you haven't watched all of ANGEL, this will spoil it for you.

I'll talk about ANGEL. Angel is a vampire fighting for redemption. As the evil vamp Angelus, he killed countless numbers of innocent people. So he made a decision to make his new life count - he would help the helpless. He began by lending a helping hand to Buffy when she needed it. But after their hot, steamy sex, Angel went all evil again and as Doyle puts it (yes, I know almost every episode of ANGEL off by heart) -

"The technical term is perfect happiness and as soon as our boy gets there, he goes bad again. Kills again. It's ugly. So when he gets his soul back a second time, he figures he can't be anywhere near young Miss Puppy Thighs without endangering them both. So he takes off. Goes to LA to fight evil and atone for his crimes."

How's that for remembering a quote? I'm showing off? Really? Oh, chur-ni-duh.

Anyway, ANGEL is all about this guy trying to repent. Now, the idea is that when he's fought enough and stopped enough evil - when he has been forgiven for his sins - he will become human. Now at this point, Angel being Angel would keep on fighting. As he says to Spike - "What else we gonna do?"

But as soon as Angel has nothing to fight for, the show is over. ANGEL isn't about fighting evil, it's about why we're fighting evil. Without the will, Angel is still fighting, but not fighting for anything. So the character (and thus, show) would have no drive.

However, this remind me - at this point in season 5, Angel and Spike are having a good old heart to heart. Spike has just realised that he's going to go to hell. This actually makes for a superb episode - "Hellbound", as Spike is literally being dragged into hell. It's not often you see Spike scared, so watching our bad-ass vampire scream in pain and terror is always fun.

Right, so here, Angel tells Spike that yes, they're going to hell. So essentially, has Angel lost his will to fight already? In the final episode, he signs away the prophesy that would make him human. The thing that has driven him for 4 years has gone away. And why? He does it so he can take the Circle of the Black Thorn. He knows they're not getting out of there alive but he's going to make a difference. There's your theme.

If you've never really watched the show, this clip will serve as a trailer and will probably explain the whole redemption theme pretty well.

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