Anyone who knows me, knows that recently, I've become a huge fan of all things Joss Whedon. This either makes me a big loser for pooh-poohing Buffy and Angel for so long (because how could these shows possibly live up to the hype? oh, the naivete of moi...), a big loser for finally becoming a fan-boy, or a big loser because all I do now is sit on the couch and watch 5 consecutive hours of TV on DVD every single g'darn night. I'm okay with my self-inflicted loser-status... I'd proudly wear a big plastic "LOSER" button on my lapel every time I leave my apartment if it came down to choosing between wearing such a button and falling into an alternate dimension where Joss Whedon never existed, which, in the world of Whedon, is always a possibility.
I love his creativity. I love his silliness. I love his shocking twists of plot. But above all, I love his characters. Even the totally EVIL ones... His team of talented writers somehow make you relate to EVERYONE on some level -- which creates an unsettling dynamic between wanting the heroes to defeat the villains, yet wanting the villains to find some sort of redemption... I guess?
However, when I started out watching these shows, nobody warned me the cost which would eventually come with my emotional investment in the lives of these fictional characters. And I've since learned that Mr. Joss is infamous for murdering some of his most Beloved in the most shocking ways imaginable. (Okay, granted, some of the characters "magically" return, but you never know which ones will, and which ones will not.) The fact that I've teared-up over the supposed death of a quirky demon says something about the transcendent qualities possible in these "lowly" genre categories of pop-culture. But it's all good.
Except when my favorite character from the Whedon-verse is killed in a shock-twist final moment of the episode I watched last night. Don't worry - I won't give anything away for those of you who have not yet had the priviledge of being subjected to this torture...
I went to bed, my face tear-stained, my nose stuffed up, thinking "WHY? WHY? WHYYYYY?"
There was so much LEFT I wanted to see happen, to go-through with these people... I had expectations DAMMIT, and now they've all been dashed (no, exploded) to hell!
I woke up this morning, the episode replaying in my sleep-addled brain, like a post-traumatic stress disorder flashback... And as I made myself coffee, the brilliance of the episode began to work itself into my nervous system... And I recognized carefully crafted early clues that indicated I should have seen this coming -- I should have been prepared...
But I guess that's what makes my Whedon so compelling. I'm never prepared. I'm always shocked into laughter, or fear, or revulsion... and I think that's what makes good story-telling.
So even though I'm pissed, and hoping, improbably, that maybe this plot-point will be one of those "ha, ha, just kidding" moments, I understand that these things are what make us "losers" keep watching. At least until the networks cancel the shows prematurely. I, like many Joss fans, am keeping my fingers crossed for his next project: Dollhouse.
Hopefully, we, the faithful, will have the opportunity to love the next generation of Whedon creations before he, or someone else, decides to pull the plug on them. Despite the pain, I will always return for more... Like the vampires who populate his worlds, I'm totally addicted...