Monday, April 28, 2008

Boys Don't Cry: A Heartless Man's Confession (2.0)

I've been re-reading a few of my older posts, and found one that needed expansion. The reason being, that I've been watching my DVD box sets of (geek-out favorite) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and recently re-watched The Body, the episode where Buffy's mother dies.

Knowing the story, I watched the episode with a slightly more critical eye, to the writer/director Joss Whedon's intent, and found myself more moved than ever. When you read the original article below, you will see why this is a pretty big deal for a guy like me. I'm a black-hearted, stoic, android to some people. I just don't get too worked up about "heart-wrenching" TV shows or movies. This one is different.

I am amazed that this episode didn't win Emmys for everybody, Joss, the actors, camera men, everybody. It's a truly amazing episode. Whedon attempted to depict the strangeness, hollowness, just plain surrealness of a very personal and unexpected death. Very uncharacteristic of me, I teared up several times in my re-watching of this episode.

The Other Half's father died recently, and I got to experience--more from a tangential position--some of the actual aftermath of a close personal loss. Joss Whedon's masterful telling of this story drove home for me the parts I was missing. It is simply an episode that should be seen by everyone, Buffy fan or not. And if you get to see it on DVD, watch it again with commentary by Whedon himself. I really hope this man has more up his sleeve. He deserves better than obscure cult hits on obscurer networks. As good as his shows are, he needs a wider audience.

In the re-posting of my original piece below, I have a YouTube clip of one of the more moving scenes from the episode. It is unfortunately ruined by it's poster, a person I'm sure is an ardent fan, but someone who truly missed the point of the episode. The Body had no soundtrack. No musical cues to guide your emotions. A perfect decision, and I'm sorry that doesn't have the real clip to post. They do have other full Buffy episodes though, so be sure to check them out.

Original post follows. . .
(November 4, 2007)

We have a roommate in our household for a while, and the experience has been something of a new one. It's the first time I've lived with someone who wasn't family or The Other Half. [Editor's Note: Not true. I forgot about two roommates I had in the early 90s. Oops.] It is fortunate that he is interested in pop culture, and especially horror movies, which helps make a bit of a bond. Interestingly, he also shares some of The Other Half's interests, namely those that I lack.

Some of those things would be musical theater and sentimental period-piece movies. Those are times that I usually just leave the room, and surrender the TV. And it has come to my attention that another area where I don't quite match up to the other men in my household, is the ability to get choked up during sad, emotional scenes in movies and TV shows.

Whether it's an episode of Brothers & Sisters, or the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway, the roommate gets misty, and reaches for the Kleenex. I'm just not the crying kind. I can't get past the fact that it's Tom Hanks, or Sally Field. I can appreciate the story, even be genuinely engaged by the performances, but I don't get worked up about it.

Years ago, my Mom and Dad took my brother and me to see Jaws at the biggest theater screen in Columbus. I was nine, and my brother was eight. We didn't have enough money for a babysitter and the movie, so there we were, little kids at a scary movie. But Mom explained to us that we would get scared, but to remember that these were just actors and special effects. A character might die on the screen, but then he just got up, and went home to dinner. I never confused reality and make-believe again. And that may just be the problem!

But I remembered that there is one scene that has choked me up, each time I've seen it (including a few minutes ago, when I watched it again). As I've shown in this space, I'm a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I even enjoyed Once More, With Feeling! the musical episode. One episode in particular was heart-rending, even to me. In it, Buffy's long-suffering mother, Joyce, dies suddenly of an aneurysm. Anya (a character who is a former vengeance-demon turned human), who isn't known for her tact, simply does not understand the mechanics of human death. She offends everybody, and in her frustration, expresses her loss. Kudos to the actress, Emma Caulfield, for yanking tears from a stone (again and again).

Something about this scene always gets to me, and I confess has even brought tears. How strange is that? This heartless bastard weeping over a TV show. Yes, it's true. Watch and see.

03/01/08 UPDATE: I found a replacement video (for now--it could go any moment), that unfortunately superimposes a music track that does not belong in the scene. Hopefully, you can still get the gist.

12/26/07 UPDATE: Sorry folks, but is wont to happen with these clips, FOX has apparently pulled the video. I fail to see why, as all these YouTube clips do is keep interest going in their projects, and raise the profile of their properties. My site has made a whopping 81 cents since it debuted, and I can't even cash that out. I am not putting a dent in Rupert Murdoch's profits.

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