So I am putting my remaining Hellraiser posts on the back burner for a little while for a few reasons. One, I’d like to read some of the comics before the next posting so I can give a decent comparison between the styles, and two, I have had a few requests for posts that I would like to fulfill (including one from my sister, Lady May).
But let me start with the easiest one to answer, the one that will put me squarely in the “outs” with the fanboys and perhaps the grand phoombas of Nerd-dom. But this won’t be a lengthy post, and I really could easily make it so, but I’m tired and have another post to finish. So let’s make this one fast and dirty.
As you may recall, I once stated that I didn’t particularly care for Wheddon’s “masterpiece,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer Series. In fact, I don’t like it. Still don’t, despite the numerous attempts taken to get into it (I blame peer pressure). But the worst of it all is that I actually enjoy the movie version. I know, quelle horreur! “Why?” I’ve been asked a multitude of times. How can I prefer a cheesy Hollywood comedy over the “popular” Wheddon television adaption that made Sarah Michelle Gellar into a household name?
Well, there are many reasons, but I think the name itself is a good place to start. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now say that out loud to yourself. Imagine, if you will, that you have never seen the show or the movie or know anything about the franchise but just the name. What images does the title conjure up in your mind? Is it that of a leggy, spunky, blonde Valley girl cheerleader with a desire to shop and an even bigger desire to kick some undead ass? Or is it a cynical, whiny, doe-eyed brunette outcast who wallows in her own teen angst, hangs out with fellow emo outcasts, a bunch of geeks so awkward they make Sheldon Cooper appear bubbly, and a morose, bland mentor who is English for no reason other than it makes him appear wise. Do you picture a fun, light, self-aware comedy that’s just a little campy? Or a hipster-esque teen drama on a nothing-budget-and-it-shows, that tries to pretend it’s a modern day, gothic fantasy tale, forgetting that if it weren’t for supernatural elements it would fit right there with Dawson’s Creek, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, and Popular (no, strike that, Popular was actually half decent, Freaks and Geeks was better though). Yeah, the title isn’t fitting for Wheddon’s vision. It sells itself perfectly for the film though.
Also in the film you have Kristy Swanson in the title role, and boy, does she sell it! She was a blast! Spoiled, silly, cheeky, sexy, and bad ass. I loved her! I bought her as the vamp slaying, high kicking, sass-bringing character. No silly “forbidden” romance, no angst, just a few quippy lines and a stake and she was all ready to go! She was fun, energetic, smiley, she kept the film light and entertaining. The supporting cast in the film was fun as well. I mean, where else are you going to see David Arquette and Paul Reubans as vampires? And they had so much fun hamming it up! Paul’s death scenes were especially delightful!
With the television series you have a cast that is….blah. Bland, boring, clichéd. Just blah. And for a series that is supposed to be so edgy, I expect much more. And it’s not like I don’t like the actors themselves, but their characters are just stereotypes you could put into ANY teen television drama. I mean, a socially awkward but sweet geeky girl? Another nerdy, bland guy who somehow manages to have less personality to the point that I barely remember him? Oh, how about the stock popular mean girl who serves absolutely no purpose other than it’s a high school drama so we MUST have an evil beautiful rich girl to hate. While the film laughed at itself, the series tries too hard to appear both cool and deep with lame one liners shoved at predictable place markers to give the characters “spunk” (but really only serve to make me cringe).The only saving grace as far as I was concerned was the character Spike, who made for great eye-candy and actually had a few funny lines, and Seth Green (just because he is Seth Green, his character offered nothing). Other than that, *snore*.
And the series just went on and on and on…getting more and more contrived as they tried to boost ratings, inevitably turning one of the characters into a lesbian (of course). Ugh. I just can’t with this.
See, all the silly stuff, stock characterizations, ridiculous plots, etc, worked in the film because it was just a fun fluff piece. I laughed a lot, I remembered the characters, I was entertained. It wasn’t serious. It didn’t try to fit in to pop culture. It was IN on the joke. It didn’t over stay it’s welcome. It had real humor, not some soulless, pandering mess masquerading as a pseudo gothic, indie quasi-satire (with terrible prosthetic makeup, I might add).
Good god. The Wheddon fans are screaming at me now. I can hear them through my monitor. “It’s deeper than that.” “So-and-so’s character develops blah blah blah” “You just don’t GET it!!” No, I think I do get it.
Let me just barrel straight to the main reason why I feel this failed for me. In my opinion Buffy the series is meant to appeal to the angsty teeny-bopper, the self-perceived “outcasts” who want desperately to be with the “in” crowd but they aren’t, so they want some fantasy to live through where the outcasts of the show are actually special snowflakes who are part of a “deeper” world, but highschool is just sooooo important that naturally the “chosen one” (the primary outcast who represents their perceived self) is a whiney, (and of course) pretty “misunderstood” teenager and her gaggle of fellow nobodies who must constantly save humanity night after night one nauseating quip at a time. But because they are just soooo misunderstood by the outside world (aka the “popular” kids), they are considered freaks.
In this respect, it’s not much separated from Twilight. Yeah, you read that right. It’s a series that’s meant to be marketed. Is it better written and performed than Twilight? God, yes. Absolutely. But it’s still pretty shallow. The film was too, but never tried to pretend otherwise. In fact, it RELISHED the fact. It embraced the cheese. Three layers of cheesy goodness. And I gobbled it all up! Num-num-num.
So suck it fan boys. There’s another bit you can hate me for. I didn’t like the series. Maybe Wheddon has other things I would enjoy, but with that no. And maybe one day, I can give a more detailed, lengthy rant for you to obsess over, a better point-by-point blow on the film versus the series. But for now, this will do to answer the question.