Sunday, September 5, 2010

The beauty of human emotion.

Warning: I am being a huge Buffy dork in this entry, but if you want to hear me gushing about the beauty of human emotion, then please continue.

I am really embarrassed about this but I am feeling incredibly emotional today. That sort of pit-of-your-stomach emotion that will only pass with time.

Nothing is wrong with me, don't worry. I've just power-marathoned through a lot of Season 5 of Buffy this weekend (I was supposed to be out partying with gamer nerds at fancy PAX parties last night but an unfortunate burrito stomachache incident rendered me couch-ridden) and it is such a painful season to get through.

I mean, and I've just started getting over the sadness that struck me when I finished Mockingjay - I was not prepared for the amount of pain and loss that Joss Whedon has put on my plate with this season. The episode "The Body" actually made me cry as though I'd lost someone too, and the lack of any backing music made watching the entire thing an edge-of-your-seat gripping experience. "Forever" wasn't much better, and following that immediately with "Intervention" made me realize I spent much of my day mourning the loss of fictional characters in a way that felt distressingly real.

I'm not going to have time to finish Season 5 before I leave for the Bahamas, which is a real suck, but it'll make the last two episodes of the season that much more intense when I get home.

I was realizing the other day that literally every book I have read recently was depressing. First I read 13 Reasons Why, a book about a box of tapes left behind by a girl who committed suicide and blamed those around her for her decision. Then I read Feed, which shows a depressing version of the future where everyone is so "plugged in" that they lose sight of what's important and an innocent girl's life is lost because of it. Then I read Mockingjay, which obviously goes without saying as to the depressing nature of the book. And now Season 5 of Buffy has left me numb and cold, but it's been my favorite stretch of episodes thus far.

I think the reason that I love reading and watching these difficult, dark stories is because it makes me feel something so real. I love a happy ending, yeah, and a cute little whimsical tale or a romantic comedy can put a smile on my face, but it's not very impactful. It doesn't resonate something deep within you like a good tragedy can. A tragedy can kind of open you up, make you feel a bit raw, or change the way you view the world around you.

Maybe this makes me weird, like I thrive on other people's (fake people's) pain or something, but I don't think that's it. I just find human emotion to be the most interesting tool in storytelling, and when authors or directors can capture that so wholly and realistically and beautifully in their work; I find that to be the most powerful form of art.

Also, I know I am not the first girl, and certainly not the last girl to say this, but I absolutely love Spike and I love his transformation, and my heart breaks every time the gang kicks him aside. He's trying! He's really trying. I've had a soft spot in my heart for Draco Malfoy for the last ten or so years of my life that many people have always felt was unwarranted, but I'm seeing now that Spike is who I always wished Draco would become while I was reading Harry Potter. Justin and I fight about this all the time because he thinks that Spike has used up all his "second chances" tenfold, but I disagree. And not just because I love him as a character.

I am going to stop being an absolute dork right now, because I need to finish packing for the Bahamas. We have a long, looong red-eye flight tonight with a 6 hour layover (gross) so I need to make sure I am armed and prepared with books, laptop, gameboy, etc.

I don't know if I'll have internet but I'll be blogging regardless while I am there, so expect tales of adventures and funtimes, and in this case, hopefully, for all our sake, no tragedy.

Last google search: "Weeds S06 E03"
Chipotle burritos: 19


Kai said...

Ahh I cried so hard in season 5 of Buffy!
and Mockingjay!
I've always felt that way too, a happy ending will make you feel good for a minute, but in the long run, you're more likely to remember the books/episodes that didn't necessarily end the way you wanted them, and struck your emotions.
On a happier note, thanks for blogging even though BEDA is over, and have an awesome time in the Bahamas!

elfarmy17 said...

Normally I detest spoilers (we're midway through season 2 still), but I love reading your adventures with watching Buffy.
And I so agree with you about the power of human emotion in storytelling. If a book makes me cry, that's a very good thing. I think experiencing emotions make us feel more alive, regardless of whether or not we're borrowing them from a character.

ajayrious said...

If you love the pain and suffering of season 5 of Buffy then i think you will be the first person ever to love season 6 lol.

Personally i think the end of season 2 was the highlight and it steadily declines from there before hitting a cliff around season 6.

Are you going to watch Angel when you're done? There are quite a few loose crossover episodes that you may have missed along the way that you really should watch.

Oh and please do not apologise for being a buffy geek. I'd love to read more in depth comments from you on the episodes that you're watching, particularly the end of season five when u get back from your hols.

Have an awesome time anyways. Lots of Love and Lols xx

someniceletters said...

You basically summed up the reason why I love so many fandoms - especially fanfiction.

I wish I could have explained it as eloquently as you.

Paloma said...

I agree with just everything that you said. I watch dark movies, read dark books, but I like them. It makes reality seem... real. And if a book makes me cry, either it's because it's mind-blowing, or a simple joke.

I just wanted to say thanks. Because of you/The Oceanic Six uploading Good Morning Charlie on your channel I started watching LOST. LOST is emotional, right?


Anna M. said...

I've never watched Buffy (but you are making me want to!) but I am currently plowing my way through Doctor Who, and yesterday I watched the Season 2 finale. I positively sobbed when Rose left, and I'm still genuinely upset when I think about it. I thought I was going insane taking these fictional characters so seriously, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

Joanna said...

The Body is a perfect episode. Anya's speech about not understanding death is the best acting I've ever seen on that show. My older sister still can't drink fruit punch because it makes her sad.

Arletta said...

I also cried a bit in season 5, and a bit in the end of season 6. I loved the last episode of season 5 and kind of wish that the series ended with that season. (I'm a fan of things like that... I won't spoil it for you) I haven't gotten to season 7, yet and probably won't for a while.

Lori said...

Spoilers for those of you who haven't seen THE BODY season 5 of Buffy:

I'm not good at knowing what episode was called what, normally, but The Body I remember. Anya's meltdown about (I think) how she won't brush her hair ever again, omg, how I cried. And then again when Buffy is talking to Tara about her mother's death and she said "was it sudden?" and Tara said "no. And yes." If you've been through that you know how honest and true that is, but how hard it was to explain until Tara. Brilliant. And yes, depressing.

PinkPieLover18 said...

I love tragedies too. For some reason or another, I've been really into books that seem kind of depressing lately. I think it's really interesting to read and to kind of live vicariously in a masochistic way. I never really thought about it in terms of human emotions before. When I read the books, I can't help thinking how amazing the author is to write about something that he or she might not have experienced. As you wrote, it is a very powerful form of art. :)

Heather said...

I wouldn't feel so bad about "The Body" making you cry and feeling like you'd lost someone. That's actually the only episode of Buffy I've ever seen as I watched it randomly on TV once when I saw that it was on because I'd heard Buffy was good. That episode made me cry without having any emotional attachment to the characters, so I can't imagine having actually watched the five previous seasons and then power marathoning through the fifth season.

Gilly said...

It's funny, I hadn't been reading my blog feed (I'm catching up now), but I started watching Buffy/Angel (I'm trying to watch them in order... Ambitious, I know.) only a week or so before you did. I finished Season 5 last week and am taking a "break" to catch up on summer reading, but I completely agree with you. I've already taken the Anya speech from "The Body" to use as a monologue, and I think that episode (and that arc) is one of the most stunning pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen. Although it is Joss Whedon, so this is to be expected. To be honest, I found Season 4 of Buffy rather painful in terms of quality, but Spike made me hold on, and I'm glad I did. (I am also a Buffy/Angel fan... so I was a little upset. Although I do recommend Angel after you finish Buffy. The crossovers with Sarah Michelle Gellar/James Marsters are fantastic, and "The Host" is one of my favorite Whedonverse characters.Karaoke demon. C'mon)
Wow. Sorry for the rant. What this tells me is I need to stop putting of my Buffy fangirl blogging. What won't I do to avoid summer reading for my history class? :)

tikken said...

I don't know if you knew this about me already, but I absolutely ADORE BtVS. The Body is extremely powerful and emotional, even for Joss Whedon; from the moment Buffy shakily uttered, '... mommy?', I was in tears.

There's so much I could say about this episode. In fact, I think you may have just provided me with inspiration for my next blog entry. :)

runa said...

Yeah, sounds like you might like season 6. I hope so, seems I'm the only one who does at this point =P

Thirteen Reasons Why! <3 Definitely my favorite book.

Casey said...

Season 5 of Buffy is so heart breaking. 'Sad' can't even describe it. I recently watched it for the first time, too, and I agree about Spike. 110%. He's just such an amazing character.
When I watched the season finally(no spoilers, I promise) I was able to not cry until one second of it and I burst into tears.
It's as heartbreaking as anything, but it's amazingly done.

Kirstin said...

I love Buffy, but season 5 is by far the most depressing. I never really disliked an episode of Buffy but when 'The Body' first aired I hated it. Mind you when I rewatched it. maybe a year ago, I saw the beauty in that episode. I loved Anya's words in that episode. I also love Spike. I hate the way Buffy treats him.

Kirstin said...

Oh, and season five only gets worse, I'm sorry to tell you. But, they make great episodes. The whole rest of the series is kinda dark.

BenCracknell said...

I'm so happy you got me back into Buffy. I watched it when I was about 6 through 9, but obviously I don't remember much. Now I'm 16 I can remember and understand so much more! There was one episode that I could remember exactly, though, which really surprised me as it was in seasons 2!
I'm not on seasons 3 and I'm just so in love. It's my favourite TV show, and I feel like it has so much more than just Ugly Betty or 90210--both of which I'm a fan. Buffy is something for an elite audience, because it appeals to nerds and dorks alike who have ever felt left out or strange or different--like Buffy and Willow and Xander--and I just love the whole idea of having a loving team around me. I also LOVE Cordila, but as I've only seen up to seasons 3, I have no idea what she'll be like, so I'm looking forward to see if she turns out evil or a bitch. I hope not, because I relate to her quite a lot.

Have a fantasic time away!

Ravenclaw2313 said...

It's funny that you should mention the ability of tragedies to open you up and leave you raw. I'm currently studying the origin of tragedies in my theater history class and came across this: "Aristotle held that tragedy provided a release, a katharsis, of those stirred up emotions and left the audience open." He believed that tragedy served a therapeutic function by stirring up and releasing strong emotions in the audience.

Reading your post just reminded me of that particular line. Who knew that you and Aristotle shared such a belief?

I also agree with the ability of tragedy. Although I enjoy happy endings, my favorite stories always involve a lot of tragedy along the way. You can't get to something good without taking a journey. I'm only in Season 2 of Buffy (just met Spike actually) but I'm now looking forward to getting to Season 5.

Krazy_4_Kelly said...

The first time I watched The Body was the week after my sister and I had to make plans thinking we would need to end life support on our mom. As Joss says in the commentary, fans have written him saying the episode helped them get over a loss and it really helped me a lot. I honestly can't even put into words how much Buffy helped me without crying lol. It was just so real and powerful...

Also, it's best that you didn't finish the season before you left for vacation. You'll learn why when you get back and watch them. :)

Amber said...

I had to skip through some of this because, thanks to you, I started watching all of the seasons of buffy. I just started season 3 last night and it's such a good show!!

Thanks for getting me into it. In fact, I consider reading or watching or playing any book or show or movie or game or going to places that you go because you're so cool!

Jodi Butler said...

I couldn't agree more about what you said about tragedy. I love writing and reading and watching stories that tear through my heart because it makes me feel. And that includes stories that make me so happy that I cry (like Will Grayson, Will Grayson), but those are much harder to find, I think. I've only cried out of happiness while reading or watching something once (the aforementioned Will Grayson, Will Grayson).

Also, I really need to star watching Buffy...

Ruth said...

I totally know what you mean! A perfect example is the movie The Boy in Striped Pajamas.

Jess said...

Season five was so emotional. I can't even listen to the finale's score without crying. :P

Amethyst Princess said...

Everyone tells me I should read the Hunger Games books, even people I work with. But these are the same people who got me into twilight, so that worries me. And then everyone tells me how good and sad the book ends. Makes me wonder if I really should read it.

I also totally have a soft spot for Draco. But I never made it to season 5 of Buffy, I kind of just stopped watching it at some point. Who knows why....

apples_and_pancakes said...

Wow. How long ago did you start watching Buffy? You're already on the fifth season?
I don't think that happy or sad endings matter much because if endings fit, then either could work depending on the nature of the story. I feel that a writer's job is to be true to the story. Don't paste a happy ending onto a story (which [spoiler alert, but you've had about 150 years to read this] I felt was done with Jane Eyre), but then again, I hate it when you can just imagine writers thinking "Okay, well this couple has been together for a long time, so lets fuck up their relationship by having one of them uncharacteristically cheat on their partners."
I went on a tangent that has little to do with Buffy. Okay, well most of the couples do meet horrible ends such as: Buffy and Angel, Willow and Oz, Willow and Tara, and another that I don't want to spoil you on if you haven't heard already. What I mean that happiness is as valid of an emotion as pain, if the writer's good enough, it could be used just as effictively. And, you know, pain could be bad in a story where it does not belong, but exists only to be sensational or because the writers lacked imagination.
Not that I'm saying anything about Joss Whedon's imagination, I've just seen pain badly used so, so many times before.

kira902k said...

The Body was such a heartbreaking episode of Buffy. The lack of music is really shockingly noticeable. Just the way Willow and Anya react to killed me.
Joss is a mindblowingly amazing director/writer.

And thank you! I LOVE Spike so much, and when I was watching Buffy I had to argue for him SO much with my friend. Like Justin, he thought he used up his second chances and was really evil inside.
But he's trying /so/ hard, and I think that's enough. Spike is born evil, it is what his species is made for, so I think it's forgivable when he does something bad, because the fact that he is trying to go against his own nature to be good for Buffy out rules everything else.
Also, it helps that he's damn sexy.
I died of happiness when Buffy kissed him at the end of Intervention. <3

Hah rant over.

Have fun in the Bahamas!

apples_and_pancakes said...

Efficitvely? I should really proof-read before I post my comments.
To the person who commented above me: you should definitely read The Hunger Games. John Green wrote an article on it called "Scary New World" that you might be interested in. It's on the New York Times website, so you can search for it there. Make sure to specify all results rather than just the recent results.
I understand how you might not want to read it after hearing about how sad it is. For instance, I tried to read Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure last year for banned books week, but I found that I could not get into it, and after my brother told me that it was really sad, I stopped reading altogether. The reason for this is because I had seen an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles on Masterpiece Theatre, so I knew that he really had potential to break my little heart. The story was beyond juicy and everything, but owww!
Anyway, even though I sympathize with your reluctance, you should really read The Hunger Games.

Michaela said...

When your done watching all of Buffy to you should read the season 8 comics :)

fattefent said...

I completely understand about loving tragedy. For me it breaks down something like, the pain in life makes the joys sweeter. Or that, you appreciate something more if you had to fight for it. Buffy is one of the most underrated shows; it has such amazing themes and emotions. Season 6 is my favorite and a lot of it is set up in Season 5. I've cried more at Buffy than any other show, no matter how many times I've seen an episode. (I've seen them all at least twice and some in the double digits, so no need for you to feel like a dork.) I love the development of Spike's character because it feels real.

And, if I may point out, Angel hated Buffy when he lost his soul, but Spike loves her without one.

Talon Black said...

season 5 was so emotionally draining! I am true to my star sign, a Cancer, so I can cry really easy. Needless to say every time I started to get a hold on my emotions in "The Body" I would loose it again. Like Lori said, it was heart wrenching when Anya talked about how Joice wouldn't do the mundane things like brushing her hair. Have fun in the Bahamas!

Rebecca said...

I just finished Mockingjay and I honestly don't know what to do with myself. I feel like I'm too overwhelmed by the intensity and sadness in the book to do anything remotely fun right now. The upside is that I'm being super productive on my organic chem homework..

Tracy said...

Oh Buffy- such an amazing show. I love your commentary on Season 5, and especially Spike. Thought you might enjoy this photo.

Jamie said...

Looking forward to your thoughts on season 6... and Spike in season 6. I think it's even harder to get through than season 5 (although the villians are humorous, and there are moments when you can see the beginnings of what will someday be Dr. Horrible), but totally worth making it through as season 7 is (in my opinion) a brilliant and fitting end.

nzaussiegirl said...

My Partner and I are making our way through Buffy & Angel, and when I first read this entry I was only up to 'Crush' but I watched 'The Body' & 'Forever' yesterday and OMG I bawled my eyes out... it really was like I had lost someone too! the silence in that episode is so haunting... my partner on the other hand has 'the emotional range of a teaspoon'.