Friday, March 06, 2009

My Weekend Crush

All this talk of finales this week got me thinking about great grand finales. Television, like life, is filled with so many unsatisfactory endings. Things fizzle and fade, grandstand and glorify. So an ending that truly feels right, feels earned, feels worthy, that is a rare and wonderful thing. In the past decade I think I've seen two. One was the magnificent final flash forwards of “Six Feet Under.” But that series ultimately felt like bookends on a romance novel collection. Sturdy beginning and end with some questionable material in the middle. The other was the finale of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The genius of Buffy was always in its scope. A show about a blonde cheerleader who kills vampires taken at face value is silly. For reference, please see the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie. But a television show that takes the fantastical world of vampires and demons and uses it as a metaphor for the trials and tribulations of everyday life, now that's something worth staying home for on Tuesday nights. It's not that Buffy was always perfect. In fact, the sixth season was kind of a hot mess. But the writers and creator Joss Whedon had a vision for the stories they wanted to tell.

That one of the greatest feminist series on television was dreamed up by a man should not, despite what you may think, be considered ironic. In fact, it is the very definition of feminism – the belief that men and women are intrinsically equal and capable and important. To that end “Chosen,” Buffy's final episode, was the culmination of everything the show sought to say in seven seasons. That every girl in the world world can have the power, can stand up. That speech still gives me goosebumps. I will always miss that show. But thanks to its near-perfect finale, it will forever rest in peace in my heart. Happy weekend, all.

27 comments:

frannie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frannie said...

Whoops! I misspelled stuff...

Amen Sistah! I love that show and still miss seeing it on T.V. Thanks to DVD's though, she will never be far away.

"Hush" is still a genius episode that everyone should see.

Jaded said...

I agree - I saw BtVS movie when I was younger and thought it was fun and campy -- I didn't tune into the show until midway thru the 1st season and asked myself, "What does this have to do w/the movie?" I am so glad I con't to watch from that day on. Hush, is, and always will be, one of the best episodes of TV ever.

Anonymous said...

six feet under's ending was the best ever...

so emotionnal.....

everybody cried during hours
breathtaking
best show ever for me

love brenda

shecate said...

Will you marry me?

Nem said...

Chosen is bitter-sweet for me. I adored Buffy for the first four or five seasons, and I still whip get all stirred and weepy thinking about - well, loads of moments from the whole series really.

And then we got to the Spike-ification of the last two seasons, and the constant demand that the audience be on the side of the poor little abusive, self-obsessed, attempted-rapist Nice Guy vampire.

I love Chosen, but whenever I watch it I can't help but remember how it felt like far too little, way too late first time I saw it.

Anonymous said...

Every series finale gets compared to Buffy... nothing has yet to live up.

Marilda said...

God I miss Buffy. No, I'm not crying, I just having something in my eye.

Mets Fan said...

Love "Buffy", and I still think that "Hush" is one of the finest hours of TV ever aired. But....

"Six Feet Under" is the best series that ever aired, IMO. Yes, it was messy at times, and I wanted to throttle several of the characters on more than one occasion, but that's just like life, isn't it?

Let's not forget that Alan Ball gave us Ruth Fisher, Brenda Chenowith and especially Claire Fisher, whom I never stopped rooting for. Not to mention David and Keith--and kudos to Alan Ball for not pulling an Ilene Chaiken by continually having them break up and reconcile, his point being that how people manage a long term relationship is far more interesting.

May said...

I just recently finished watching all of Buffy - I'd never seen it before. I totally agree that the ending couldn't have been more perfect. It makes the abrupt ending of Firefly all the sadder.

Katie said...

While I wanted more from the series finale of BtVS, I agree with what I assume is the point of your post: that Joss Whedon's vision and talent exceed Ilene Chaiken's. I was just last week remarking to my husband that I wish Whedon were in charge of The L Word because I trust his sense of the scope of a TV show and his commitment to character. I am sticking with Dollhouse for now because I have faith in Whedon's storytelling. I doubt I will ever watch a Chaiken show ever again, though my tolerance for shit is quite high when there are hot women involved. Joss Whedon's genius appeals to both my fondness for good writing and my fondness for hot women. Such a combination is unfortunately rare.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I marvel sometimes that Buffy was even on the air, it's that good. As good as BSG is, as much as I loved The X-Files, and how I would hang out at my brothers' house so that I could watch Six Feet Under for free, Buffy was and is the gold standard.
I hope that it doesn't drag down Joss to not be able to achieve that level again. I'm sticking with Dollhouse, but I think, as with all of his subsequent shows, his idea of how Buffy would arc was clearly defined in his mind for almost ever.

Patty Diphusa said...

Gran gran serie!

Elizabeth said...

Have you read any of the Wheadon (mostly) penned BtVS Season 8 graphic novels? There's more gayness... it's how he would have continued the show if it had gone on.

Heather said...

I think both the Buffy series finale and the Six Feet Under one were magnificent. I wish Angel's ending would've had more closure but other that that it was great as well. I also thought the Dawson's Creek finale was excellent. Other than that most series finales suck. Here's hoping the L Word one isn't as bad as I think its gonna be.

Julia said...

Knowwing the mess that will be the finale of the L Word, I wish they could have come close to the powerful and magnificent Six Feet Under finale.

babs said...

I kinda agree with Nem in parts. I wanted more from the Buffy finale. And I still haven't recovered from season 5 and Riley.

Though, by comparison, season 4 of Angel was the worst of all the worsts.

The finale was good. And I often wish that Whedon would be involved with writing the females on Smallville since they so suck so often.

angelina_knits said...

just watched the Buffy finale again the other night - I couldn't agree with you more!! *sigh* never will I ever tire of the BTVS and her Scoobies!

Anonymous said...

BtVS finale left me with a sense of 'Hope' for the future of the characters that i grew to love. I think the finale was perfect considering Whedon always planned to continue the story w/ season 8 in comic form...btw, Buffy finds a new, non-vampire/non-govt commando love to share her bed with.

Xena finale was good as well (better than what i expect from The L-word). Not what I expected, but did wrap-up story and character arcs without doing a complete 180 or even 90 degree turn. Again, I came away with a sense of 'Hope' for Gabrielle.

Farscape finale left me w/ 'WTF'??? But then I watched 'Peacekeeper Wars' (which is the true finale for this series) and again got another thought-out, consistant ending to both story and character.

I look forward to the Battlestar Galactia finale. I love the show and characters, and could watch for another 5 seasons, but I feel the writers will deliver an outstanding conclusion to their story and character arcs that wont feel like a rip off.

I had hoped for the same w/ the L-Word (as well as more hot TiBette scenes). Now i'm just hoping for one or two happy (if not hopeful) endings for these characters and their stories; considering the writers killed off my Dana, i'm not holding my breath.

Counterpunch said...

aim-wait for it.....
...
..
...
..
..
en.

Anonymous said...

I am in the minority here. I loved Buffy. Until they killed Tara then I stopped watching. Sorry Joss but I don't trust you at all. I really tried but you messed with your fans heads and well you're just mean. I'm not even sure I'd count you as a feminist. I did try. Even gave Dr Evil a shot. Buffy did have moments of brilliance though. Hush, The body, Once more with feeling and I loved Tabula Rasa but that's about it for me.

Rusty said...

Joss also gave Angel a pretty great sendoff:

Angel: This may come out a little pretentious, but one of you will betray me."

Spike [After he finds out it's not him]: "Can I deny you three times?"

Put me in the sticking with Dollhouse just because of Joss camp.

Anonymous said...

seriously six feet under is not buffy....

So much better....

buffy is a good show for teenagers probably

six feet under's finale was a heartbreaking for so many people around the world...

please don't compare...

Anonymous said...

and curiously it was the end of SMG....also...

Jesmimi said...

Anonymous at 6:36 am: I think it's worth noting that about seventy five percent of the Xena viewing public would disagree with you about the finale. But that's neither here nor there.

So, cheers to Buffy. Good finales are few. And thank you, Dorothy, for writing and posting these pre L's. They make the insanity so much easier to bear.

Keeva99 said...

That was beautiful. x

Femmepolitik said...

I admit I wasn't prior a follower of the blog, but I will be from now on. This post is brilliant.

I couldn't help thinking along the same lines while I was watching the L word finale. Chaiken should have consulted with Whedon as a script doctor!

Maybe we'll all get lucky and the dearth of a prime time lesbian themed show will be filled by a Joss Whedon creation in that vein. Maybe Dollhouse can fill that void in a way? I think there is definitely an audience that just wants to see strong, beautiful women who rule their world on TV - whether that was Bette or Buffy.