Buffy Season 5

Spoiler alert – I will be revealing crucial plot points so if you haven’t seen season 5 be warned. Of course that fact that there are two more seasons spoils the finale, in which Buffy dies, anyway. The season presents, to me, the best Buffy villain yet with Clare Kramer as Glory. The actor is great & her scenes with Buffy crackle with great energy. She was like Cordelia with super evil powers.  

The season starts with Buffy vs. Dracula – one of those about time episodes it also introduced Buffy’s younger “sister”, Dawn, played by Michelle Trachtenberg. Talk about confusing. It did the writers a chance to work with easy family cliches as opposed to the Slayer mythos. The big reveal was well planned & well written to. The departure of Riley, Marc Blucas, was welcome as that ‘relationship’ was tedious & distracting. He was great eye candy but I never felt invested in him as a character.

It was a season of duality – many characters were two people, emotionally or literally – Zander get a double; Dawn is a sister & the Key; Glory is a god & Ben a mortal; Buffy is a Slayer & a parent, Spike is a  mess of emotions. Multilayered characters that drew me in & who never disappointed.

The death of Buffy’s mother, Joyce, was not unexpected & unlike many characters – she dies of natural causes. The emotions felt real and the emotional quandary for Buffy was well written & Sarah gives an amazing (& underrated) performance.

I loved the robot episodes, Zander’s double was great. Any appearance by Glory was satisfying. The morning of her dual nature was great fx & the flip between both of her/his halves int he finale episodes was very effective. I was sorry to see them go. I loved Joel Grey’s arc & I was sad to see that he doesn’t return in season 6.

I can’t say this is the best season but after the mess of season 4 it was a great return to form. 

All’s Well Bellicose

it’s not me it’s them

its a war zone out there

no safe haven 

to stop and breathe in

who wants to breathe 

the air out there

standing in what sort of shit

no place to rest 

to put down the gun 

for even a minute

random bullets materialize in the air

when you are walking down the street

looking for a burger joint

for a corner to piss in

and bang

 

if the bullets don’t get you

the burgers will

you’re all out to get me

people everywhere cough sneeze

wipe damp hands 

on door handles I have to touch

grimacing at me

at my gun

over their newspapers

cranking up their mp3 players

so I can’t hear mine

daring me to shoot 

as they light up a cigarette

as they push ahead of me 

to get their death burger faster

fast food being too slow for them

tearing off price tags

ripping books to shreds

pushing their way 

down crowded stairs ways

jumping at me with atomizers

when I enter a department store

try this sir

what’s your favourite blood 

I like the smell of 

cosmetic salespersons blood

do you have anything like that

or something that smells 

like fast food counter help

that empty fried fresh aroma

that tingles the taste buds

something that makes people hungry 

when they smell me

 

it’s not me it’s them

I set out peaceful almost serene

avoid the unscooped spots on the sidewalk

even manage a smile at the barista

who would smile back

if she weren’t afraid it slow her down

and the swish my coffee enough

to make sure the lumps of milk 

and sweetener have dissolved

and I’m happy for the first sip

until the lid pops off 

and I have to watch 

the slick scum cling 

to the sides of my cup

as I sip sip sip to the last drop

 

I am now ready for anything and everything 

that is out to get me

I won’t fight back too much today

I want to be a power of calm

in all this mindless 

staggering 

stumbling 

hurry around me

to step out of the way

resist saying have a nice day

resist saying fuck you too

resist kicking cars 

that stop in the crosswalk

as if they owned the damn streets

 

to know that even if this a war zone

all is well with the world

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The Feud Is Over

There is a lot of reality in the recent TV mini-series Feud – Bette Davis vs Joan Crawford. Books have been written about this catfight rivalry. Nothing new is added to the story but the series puts it firmly into its historic context: the subjugation of women for the pleasure & profit of men. It would be nice to think this has changed – sure there has been a power shift to give women greater control but male entitlement is disgruntled as opposed to encouraging & accepting. I also know the film studios did to male stars what it did to women.

Produced by the minds behind American Horror Story (AmHor), the series is a masterpiece that stands with the best the BBC has ever produced. Lavish in attention to period detail – costumes, hair, music – it’s clear no money was spared in making this show. Camera work is stunning, sets are astonishing & no opportunity is lost in making the leads look spectacular. The narrow focus also keeps the ‘plot’ from running away with the narrative as AmHor always does.

Lange & Sarandon give compelling rich performances, each capturing the inner & outer struggles of these two actors. Jessica at ease in the glamour that stifled Crawford’s career, Susan at home in the talent that drove Davis’s. Alfred Molina is their equal as Robert Aldrich – a director needing the hand that feeds him while it beats him at the same time.

At times I sense that these two actresses where happy to have targets for their cutting unkindness – many of the insults are a matter of public record & often feel more like an opportunity to be spiteful for their public than as deeply held emotions. Like a reviewer with a great nasty line that finally finds a movie review to show it off in – the ‘clever’ remark is more important than the target.

What is missing is Christine – a mention of her in the final episode. Plus, considering how open the AmHor men are about exploring gay & lesbian sexuality in historic context, I was expecting something about Crawford’s bisexuality. But those are quibbles about one of the best pieces of American TV I’ve seen & one that I’m willing to see again when the DVD comes out.

When that DVD comes out I’ll probably pick it up for any extras it includes. On-line people are picking sides: Team Joan, Team Bette. My mother was a Bette fan but I was more inclined to Joan – Crawford seemed more real & thanks to the Dearest biography is a major queer camp icon. Davis never got a role as iconic Mildred Pierce – Margo in All About Eve comes close though. ‘Fasten your seats belts, its going to be a bumpy night’ vs ‘Get out & take your things before I throw them in the street & you with them.’

Like This?

I didn’t enjoy it

I never have

but so many do

I had to try it

I thought it might be different

with him

when I said yes

let’s do it

it was no different

I didn’t enjoy it any more

or less

than I ever have

I expected

that if I did it often enough

with the right guy

I’d start to like it

start to see why others did it

but it never got more pleasant

in fact

I began to dread it so much

I stopped doing anything

with anyone

I didn’t explain

apologize

I kept it to myself

it seemed pointless to be contradictory

to have to explain it to anyone

I thought it might be better

with him

it wasn’t

I kept that disappointment to myself

tried to act as if

it was great

oh baby oh baby

he was fooled

fulfilled

I was happy to make him happy

looking forward to being together

yet dreading it at the same time

going through the motions

for the emotional pay off

of having my cake

but not wanting to eat it

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