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...less than gay?....

This excellent article on Willow and the death of Tara sums up my feelings too.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
cangetmad
Nov. 8th, 2002 07:33 am (UTC)
But, but, but... I don't care about reasoning and queer theory. I just want Tara!

I think the article was partly right (hate crime? Get a fucking grip, people), but I also remember reading another article that dealt rather better with the Dead Lesbian cliche, and actually showed quite a lot of parallels between Tara's death and the Killing of Sister George- type stuff. It was also right about the shitty handling of bisexuality. But I've never been that convinced by the protestations that Oz would have died, or would have died in the same context. For a start, the episode of the death wouldn't have been the first explicit mention of sex between the two.

There is a tension between the whole "it's a relationship like any other" thing, and a need to acknowledge that, in TV terms, it was a relationship unlike any other. You con't have it both ways with the self-congratulation for being the first, without bearing some responsibility for doing it right. They think they did. I'm not sure that they did, quite.
stellanova
Nov. 8th, 2002 07:47 am (UTC)
've never been that convinced by the protestations that Oz would have died, or would have died in the same context. For a start, the episode of the death wouldn't have been the first explicit mention of sex between the two.
>/i>

True. I think the main thing I agreed with was the way in which the ME people have dealt with bisexuality, and the possibility of it. Obviously I know that there are people who come out as 100% same-sex-loving after years of hetero relationships - hell, my ex-boyfriend's mother is a lesbian who came out aged about 45 - but I don't think that came across with Willow. I mean, maybe I just want them to show us rather than tell us, but I never got the sense that being with Tara made things click into place for Willow, and made her realise that her deepest feelings of attraction were just to women.

I'd like to read more level-headed stuff about Tara and the dead lesbian cliche, though, even though I do think that while maybe a straight relationship might have been depicted differently in those final scenes, it's not like the hetero relationships in Buffy have ended happily (see: Buffy having to send love-of-life to Hell). In a different show, one in which romance didn't alwyas end with death and world-ending and vengeance-demons, I think I'd have been way more outraged.
biascut
Nov. 8th, 2002 02:49 pm (UTC)
As you know, I really, really identify with Willow's whole Xander/Oz/Tara thing, and I agree about the bisexuality thing. I didn't mind the "gay now" comment, because "gay" is my general, everyday word. If I'm asked seriously, then I say I'm bi, because it just wouldn't be right to deny that I did have serious, invoved straight relationships. I could also totally understand Willow identifying as gay rather than bi if it made Tara feel more comfortable, and, of course, if it was part of her working out her own feelings about her sexuality.

So I didn't mind the first "gay now!" comment, but when it started to get more and more insistent, it bugged me. It just didn't seem true to the character - it felt more like a political thing. It felt like they wanted to make it black and white to appease the more conservative audience - both the anti-gay audience and the gay audience who couldn't deal with the ambiguity. They were a little bit radical, but not nearly radical enough to be true, IMO. I do think that's a bit of a US/Europe thing though: "sexuality is fluid" is almost becoming a cliche on this side of the Atlantic - I even heard a fourteen year old saying it to an interviewer on Radio Four! America strikes me as so much more conservative, and so much less ready to deal with in-betweeners.

The dead lesbian cliche - to be honest, I didn't get it at all at first, because I have zero acqaintance with pulp fiction, which is where it mostly comes from. Now that I understand... Well, actually, I think I take issue with the author's comment that you can complain about the pacing or the execution but you can't complain about the storyline. Because that's what bugs me most - not that they killed Tara to send Willow evil, but that they did it in such a ham-handed and badly-paced way. I really felt that her death had been sold short, and that still bugs me.


angiv
Nov. 8th, 2002 05:45 pm (UTC)
Grr. Arrgh.
I'm with you. The first "gay now" was fine, the second was fine, the zillionth was like, who are you trying to convince? Willow did love Xander and Oz and Tara, belittling her relationships with men belittles her as a character.

I didn't want Tara to die, I'm still very unhappy that she did, but I didn't have a problem with the way she died. I mean, I understand why it was a "senseless gun crime" - the whole season was about dealing with real-life shit, and the scariness that ordinary people can cause and have to cope with - and not a vamp attack. But I hate that they wasted it. They had an opportunity to show Willow's character develop and instead they changed her hair-colour. Bah!
stringy
Nov. 10th, 2002 10:15 pm (UTC)
Great article. It sums up most of what I've been feeling about BtVS lately. The repetition of "Gay now!" is a symptom of what was wrong with Willow's character development, and a sore point with me. And yet, when the seventh season starts here next year, my VCR will still be set to record... I can't help myself :)
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