Monday, March 30, 2009

My Scott And Jean

I've been debating throughout the day whether to get with this meme, or do the post I originally had planned, but I finally figured I might as well. I haven't taken part in a meme for awhile, and I haven't really ranted about anything too recently, so why not?

So here should be the link to the description of what "Scott and Jean" means (as I type this, my computer keeps telling me there's an internal server error every time I try and load the page. It's basically something geek-related you feel so strongly about, you can't really debate it, rationally, I think. I have a few of these, of varying intensity, so I've been trying to decide which to focus on. I thought about "Cassandra Cain as a villain/killer", but I don't get angry about that anymore, so much as I just ignore stories which don't jibe with my view of the character (Beechen's Batgirl mini-series, for example). Maybe One More Day, since I don't see why it was necessary to remove the marriage so Peter Parker can have a supporting cast. Hey, I'm glad Pete has a supporting cast, but when JMS put Pete and MJ back together, Paul Jenkins kept including the wacky apartment neighbors he created previously, so I don't think the marriage was the issue, as much as the unmasking and having him move into Stark Tower. But I chalk that up to lazy writers and move on. I guess with anime there's my distinct feeling that as far as the Tenchi Muyo series go, Tenchi ought to wind up with Ryoko, and that prissy princess Ayeka can take a long walk off a short pier into a black hole infested with space piranha, but even there, I don't find myself getting actively riled about it. So I finally settled on the Scooby Double-Standard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 6.

I've complained about this before, in reference to the Spike/Buffy relationship of Season 6, and the different treatment Faith and Willow receive, compared to their relative crimes. Oddly enough, unlike most things that bother me, where I complain about them on the blog, feel better, and can sort of move on, I can't quite let this one go. I suppose it's because I liked, or at least in Buffy's case, could tolerate the characters before, but was actively wishing for their deaths by the end of the season. There's just something that bothers me so much about how Xander, Willow, and Buffy all pull various crap on other characters, then skate on it. Xander bails on Anya at the altar, then when she has drunk comfort sex with Spike(who had just been told by Buffy it's over between them*), Xander acts as though he's the hurt party, and was about to stake Spike, rather than deal with his own inadequacies. Plus, of course, Spike can't fight back, so Xander can beat him up as much as he needs to feel like a big man.

Then Buffy acts like Spike wronged her by sleeping with Anya, after Buffy freaking broke up with him, and then he gets chewed out by Dawn about hurting Buffy later, and it all ignores the loads of shit Buffy dumped on him throughout the season. The beatings, the insults, diminishing his every attempt to improve himself (which he was doing for her), occasionally pretending they could be friendly when they were alone, then treating him like dirt as soon as her friends showed up. And she gets away with it! No one calls her on this bullshit! And then everyone acts horrified that Spike did something bad (which assaulting Buffy in the bathroom was, I'm not denying that), when they spent the entire season telling him he was bad, that he was a monster, a thing, that he couldn't ever be good. Here's a thought: You want someone who's been evil in the past to stop being evil? Give them encouragement when they do something good. Let them know you recognize their efforts, and appreciate it. If all you do is mock or belittle them, you shouldn't get to act hurt when they decide it's not worth the hassle and revert to old habits.

And yes, Buffy consistently defends and protects Spike in Season 7. Swell, except I still think that support would have done more good when he didn't have his soul. Also, near as I can tell, her friends still don't understand the damage she (and they) did to him the previous year, which probably contributed to the nervous breakdown that lead to the assault attempt, so there's no recognition that, yeah, Buffy really ought to assume some responsibility for Spike, and maybe we should too, since we treated him like dirt, except when we needed him to act as muscle for us. Bunch of poncy bastards, the lot of them.

I've gone into the Willow/Faith thing before, so I won't bore you by repeating all of it (here's one example, the rant in the last footnote). For me, it boils down to accepting responsibility, where the core Scoobs don't, and the others do. Faith accepts she screwed up, goes to prison, stays there until she's needed. Spike decides he screwed up, that he can't be good without a soul**, goes to get one. Anya had a chance, after Xander caught them, to let Spike make a wish against Xander and she restrained herself, because she'd grown to the point she didn't really want vengeance for herself. Meanwhile, Xander's acting like bailing on your bride on your wedding day is no big deal, Buffy's (for a long time) unwilling to risk her friends' scorn by admitting what she was doing with Spike, and I still don't think they know about the beatings she gave him, and Willow gets to foist the blame for her actions off on the magic. Funny, I recall Giles accepted the responsibility for that demon he and his friends summoned back in their youth, even though that was also dark magic, just like what Willow was messing with. Can't quite see the difference there myself.

So, there it is, hopefully for the last time on this blog. Tomorrow, making fun of stuff from War of Kings #1!

* And for the record, I'm glad she ended it, since she was killing him by inches, but she doesn't get to act proprietary towards him afterwards. Where I come from, if you break up with someone, you don't get to be mad if they screw someone else later. You want to be their one and only, then say so.

** Again, I think if the Scoobies had simply encouraged him a bit, he wouldn't have needed the soul. He was struggling to do good, but the point is he was making the effort.


Sarah said...

That was a good, thoughtful post, and something I'd never really considered while watching the show -- thanks for playing! Added to our master list. :)

You might be interested in the Scott & Jean post on Geeked, which is also Spike-centric!

Seangreyson said...

Ah One More Day. It still leaves me irritated (and it wouldn't surprise me to discover that my comic book guy is getting sick of hearing my rant). My disagreement with it is less a matter of splitting up the marriage to get a supporting cast, which I dislike (Pete and MJ I liked almost as much as I liked Scott and Jean) as the means they used.

Making deals with the devil are never a frickin answer to problems!

Which also applies to Buffy. Season 6 had my favorite overall episode, but the overall season always left me irked.

The Scooby double standard always bugged me. One that partcularly got to me was also how the main characters treated Dawn. She was supposed to be a freshman or sophmore in HS at the time, and she was constantly being scolded for getting captured, or looking into weird events.

This despite the fact that her sister, Xander and Willow had done exactly the same thing at the same age. Buffy was at least the slayer, but Willow and Xander had even less background than Dawn did. Her sister even managed to get killed before graduating high school. Yet somehow Dawn's being a brat when some villain goes after her, instead of one of the others.

CalvinPitt said...

sarah: Thanks for adding me to the list. I read the post on Geeked yesterday, which might be why I ended up discussing this, since they're sort of related.

seangreyson: I guess they just assumed Dawn would somehow absorb and learn from their mistakes by osmosis, since they never seemed to explain things she should and shouldn't do until after she'd done one of them. Not the best strategy, I'd say.

Teebore said...

Yeah, the double standard with Dawn drove me nuts in season six. Season 5, fine she's still young, but by season six, she was as old as the Scoobies when they started out.

Every time they tell her she's too young, or how she needs a babysitter or something, I'm yelling at the TV "SHE'S THE SAME AGE AS BUFFY WAS WHEN SHE STARTED SLAYING!"

Anonymous said...

I hated it in the episode when Buffy comes back home after running away and Xander goes off on her at the party. He LIED to her about Willow doing the spell to give Angel his soul back and was all devious about it, then has the gall to give her a lecture!