Bringing Back Buffy
This week we’re continuing our rant on Season Six. Oh, boy, what a crappy season…especially for a year that followed one of the greatest finales of all time. But we’re going to voyage beyond the most annoying factor and dive right on into something that is just plain wrong. That’s right. We’re going to ask the question of why the hell Willow felt compelled to bring Buffy back from the dead.
Season Six was far unlike any of other year Buffy put out on the tube…not only because it focused in on depressing topics instead of humorous ones, but also because it simply didn’t live up to its expectations. Oh, wow. That’s a kick to the stomach to a writing department if I’ve ever seen one. Not living up to expectations is exactly what television tries to avoid (obviously)…especially good television (again, obviously). So, how could I possibly say such a horrible thing about the greatest writing department in show business?
Well, that answer may not be so obvious. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s rather a dumb thing to say. But regardless, I need something to write about…so on we go…
I think the trouble truly stems in the way the villain was put together in Season Six. We had a great big lead-up stage of waiting for Willow to do the deed…and then felt everything slow down as this action was delayed almost to the point of becoming ridiculous. Think The First was a crappy supervillain who had great potential? Just look at Willow as a good example of lots of hype with little delivery. It’s really too bad, because we all know from past experience that the writers can do a hell of a whole lot better than what we were given these past two years.
Glory, for instance, gave to us something more fun, simply because there was so much mystery about her. We didn’t have a chance to get bored with the plot in Season Five because it was always unfolding with each and every episode, rather than being dragged out with a number of B-rated “fillers.” And, if you ask me, that’s exactly what made the transition between year five and year six so incredibly frustrating.
Both The First and Willow had loads of potential. The First simply because it could take on the form of anyone who had passed away…though rarely chose to do this convincingly. Instead, it often gave itself away too easily, explained to people who it was, and just ultimately wanted people to “look” at their deceased friends instead of actually interact with them. Had The First bothered to never even announce who it was…nobody would have had a real clue at all. And that, my friends, is how this noncorporeal beast could have won the fight easy. But, unfortunately, it chose not to live up to its potential…and as a result, Season Seven fell victim to the same problems its predecessor had had…and it toted us along just as boringly and just as extendedly as the year prior had. And pretty soon we weren’t even sure if we really cared how it ended or not.
You see, Season Six was the very first season that outlined the way the rest of the year would go with the very first episode. You don’t get that same feel from any of the previous seasons. For instance, in Season One the premiere focused around the premise of getting used to being new in a new town. But by the end of the season we were dealing with the topic of death and not being able to live out the days of youth from our main character’s point of view. Basically, the idea of sacrifice was the ending theme…and no longer was our topic simply about getting adjusted in an unknown town.
Season Two’s premiere showed us the bitch within Buffy, how she channeled all her frustrations and took out her bad feelings on her poor, unsuspecting friends. However, the rest of the season didn’t keep this theme. Instead, it pretty much died without a reasonable explanation by the end of that very first forty-four minute episode. By the end of Season Two we were once again dealing with loss…but this time the loss of true love. Once again, sacrifice played a major role in the year’s theme.
Season Three’s premiere showed Buffy once again in a bad spot. This time she was living as someone else, deciding it was better to be anyone but herself for a while. By the end of Season Three, the theme shifted slightly to growing up and moving on past high-school (not only the classes, but also high-school flings). While in many ways “growing up” and “maturing” were related to curing the type of behavior associated with Buffy’s fallout at the beginning of the season…it almost seemed as though she’d already reached this conclusion for herself by the end of the premiere. So why bother, right? Hmm…might have to ask the writers about that one. Saying goodbye to the past was a big theme with the season, as well. Hmm…could that be interpreted as sacrifice too?
Season Four’s premiere brought us into a college setting. We were sort of borderlining the end of the previous season’s theme while trying to find new ground. It was really about being a stranger in a strange place again, keeping with the idea of moving on. Somewhat reminiscent to the pilot ep in that way, this year’s premiere showcased a college setting instead of a high-school one…a more independent-living slayer. But this theme, of course, changed focus by the time we were at the finale…and pretty soon we saw that the new theme was going to be with keeping friends in times of anguish (basically keeping high-school buddies while growing up). So we went from being independent to dependent. Perhaps this could be interpreted as a good thing…in some demented alternate reality, maybe. It had a lot of the “moving on” feel to it, but the real central key point of the year had to be the rallying of the core scoobies. Hmm…and this is actually the reverse of sacrifice when you think about it. So what was the point of learning all that sacrifice stuff again?…Oh, yeah! Season Five!
Year five came and we had a premiere that bordered on all things strange. The Dracula episode didn’t really feel like a premiere, but it worked for the occasion. We got the feeling that there would be a lot of secrets and spontaneous events for the season by the premiere’s end…but that shifted to dealing with a new aspect of growing up. Premature adulthood, some might say. Sacrifice was the big theme by the end of it. Sacrifice, yet again. This time, however, we got the feel that sacrifice was indeed worth something. Unfortunately, we were badly misled as the next premiere made its way to national television…
Season Six. This premiere gave to us the feeling that the other episodes in it would dive into the issue of bringing someone back from paradise and placing them in the hell of the real world. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what we received. It didn’t get off this issue…which is perhaps what made the year seem off when compared to the rest. It did have a sort of depressing air to it…which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when all twenty-two episodes revolved around the exact same theme it seemed to become a tad bit redundant. Boring, some might say. I mean, I wouldn’t dare to use that terminology, but some might.
Basically, we already knew the ending theme and we already knew how the year was going to unfold. We knew Buffy would eventually accept her place in the world again…and that is exactly what happened. We knew the ending by watching the beginning. It was insanity…pure chaos. Season Six made this fatal mistake, and Season Seven soon followed right behind it. Why were these two years so damn boring when compared to the rest? The obvious answer is that we had a beginning, we had an ending…but there was just no real middle section to either one. There was nothing to fill in that long space between Point A and Point C. We were dragged along for twenty-two episodes dealing with the exact same topic. The only difference from episode to episode was that the supporting cast would temporarily change every so often. And to think…they were doing so damn well with Glory.
Just watch any two Season Six episodes back-to-back to get a really good depressing feel of the series. And what did we learn from this year of television? Was there anything good that came out of the season?
Well, we had an in-depth look at why it’s a bad idea to bring your bestfriends back from the dead and why to avoid doing this in life. I’m happy to report, however, that since the airing of this season, there have been no reported cases of wiccans raising dead ditzes. Apparently the show got it’s message out to its young viewers. And that, obviously, shouldn’t go unpraised.
But this leads us right to the very core of all sadness ever to be discussed in the Buffyverse…and also the very core of this article. It was the saddest moment ever in Buffy history…
Buffy returning from the dead.
It was very distasteful to bring back Buffy. Why? Because she was finally dead and apparently was going to stay that way (which, for her, is quite an achievement). I can’t help but wonder if killing her off again was just a way to tease us viewers into finally being happy to see her go…and then having our joy ripped apart and torn to shreads from our souls as we watched the bitch return to life. Ah, what a sad night in Buffy history indeed.
We could have been spared two entire years of the blonde bitch had Willow just expressed a tiny inch of self-control. And in its place we could have possibly had five years of none other than the Buffybot. Just imagine it, for a brief moment if you will: Buffybot against The First. Now for all you people who complained about how poorly Season Seven was written…surely you would agree that Buffybot would have given you something far more entertaining than all the “We’re gonna die” speeches that were hashed out like Shakespearean monologues that year.
Buffybot gave us a more friendly slayer, a more social slayer, and a more entertaining slayer. In fact, if I had to pick one portion of Buffy that I absolutely did not hate even in the slightest way…it would have to be the Buffybot. For some reason, it took a computer to make this character entertaining. So why didn’t the writers stick with it? Well, the most obvious answer is that I’m always in the minority. The other answer is that Buffy writers have a history of taking away their best characters before they’re truly developed. Holden Webster, April, Jenny Calendar, and even Principal Flutie all fell victim to this poor judgment call. So why not here as well?
Hm. Well, it seems Season Six could have been a hell of a lot better. No one is disputing that. Well, someone is, but their case is falling upon deaf ears. But that’s not to say that this season didn’t have a few redeeming factors. It surely did. The Trio, for instance, being one of the most entertaining of aspects to the year. But had this season of Buffy been without the Troika, it would have seriously been lacking in any real purpose at all. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is perhaps the saddest fact of the night. Hmm…maybe they should have just stuck with the whole sacrifice thingy as a theme. Things were a whole lot better back then.
Too bad, too sad. And this article is too long. Guess I’ll head out again. This officially concludes the two-part Season Six rant. Have a nice day and I’ll see you again next week….At least, some of you. The rest of you are free to go.