I finally broke out the BTVS DVDs last night. Having watched bits of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, but no 5 or 7, I delved into season 5. I wanted to investigate the beginnings of Buffy and Spike’s twisted affection for each other, before it became the season 6 tango of revulsion. To that end, I checked out Crush, in which Spike has one on Buffy, and Intervention, in which the BuffyBot makes its first appearance to satisfy the lovelorn Spike.
Wow, those eps were flaccid! The repartee, linguistic inventiveness and deep emotional responses that I associate with BTVS just didn’t exist in these eps, even though they were supposedly about lerve. The characters appeared brainwashed, with Spike saying, “I lerve you; I suffer for you,” and Buffy saying, “Bleeecccch,” like zombies of pop song lerve rather than consistent, multi-dimensional characters. It wasn’t funny; it wasn’t interesting; it wasn’t in character. It was just really painful and boring to watch.
The only moment in which the true characters surfaced was at the end of Intervention, when Buffy acted like the willing BuffyBot because she was trying to determine if Spike, under torture, had told Glory that Dawn was the Key. So Buffy plays the willing sex slave until she gets the info [e.g., that Spike kept Dawn’s secret]; then she switches back to herself and leaves him. Both Buffy and Spike seemed incredibly sad and regretful in this scene, Spike probably because his dedication got him pounded and plus his robot’s gone, Buffy because she realized the depths of Spike’s infatuation and then played along with it for a bit. Buffy’s ambivalence toward Spike [heartless manipulation and reluctant gratitude] and his ambivalence toward her [slavish crush and violent, stupid frustration] are transmitted clearly without platitudes. The truth comes through: their relationship isn’t pursuing guy vs. retreating girl, but squeamishly fascinated guy vs. squeamishly fascinated girl, a theme developed much better in season 6.
So, anyway, I’ve found the perfect application for the word schmoopy: season 5 Spike. Oh, how drab and disappointing. I’ll take the characterologically consistent season 6 Spike instead. Stereotypically pining vampires make me want to vomit vomit vomit. If I ever write about them, someone please shoot them.