Tropes I have suggested that actually got launched:
...and now the So You Want To
namespace, which I suggested and which is just starting to gather examples. I wrote up the Write A Story
and See A Template
, so the framework is there and ready to go.
Also now the Write The Next Star Trek
page. Head on over and improve it!
And now I've created a summary for the Abadazad
series, which I'm putting a link to here lest I forget its name again.
I've actually suggested a lot more tropes, some of which likely got launched, and even suggested some names that got voted in, but I need to hunt them down. Doesn't help that I'm not always properly cookied up when I'm on YKTTW
... but meh. More important that I add to the site than that I get credit for adding, yes?
And speaking of adding to the site... I fuzzed up a rough version of the current TV Tropes logo - the one with the lampshade over the second T. Someone else converted the design to vector-based art, we tropers collectively haggled over colors, and there you have it. The first piece of major art I had a major hand in. Sweet.
As far as I have been able to determine, I'm the only person online, barring one other, who uses Kilyle as my ident. The name comes from t'Cael Zaniidor Kilyle, my favorite Rihannsu (Romulan) character, from the Star Trek novel Final Frontier (by Diane Carey).
I'm a linguist by nature, a writer by calling. I love not only words, but other methods of communication. I've studied a couple dozen languages, although I've only gone in depth in Spanish and Japanese (and even those I'm not yet fluent in). I'm a conlanger with several languages on the back burner, and if I lived to see all my other writing projects to completion I'd probably still be alive in 2835.
I love this site. I hold to the optimistic wiki model, the idea of cream floating to the top (instead of dead fish), and I look forward to seeing this site get bigger and better—heck, have already seen it doing so,
day by day
millisecond by millisecond. I advertise it when I can, and wish my friends would see the usefulness. Eh well, nobody's interested in everything
good. (ETA: Friend Eric is now hooked on this site! Hooray! Also, I mourne your loss of innocence
The funniest darn thing
I've seen in over a year - thank you, TV Tropes. I'm in the process of laughing myself sick.
Want to start an article on Heroes And Heroines
, so sticking a link here. Mya.
Why I think Spike did not suffer BadassDecay
Okay, so Buffy the Vampire Slayer
had its share of problems as a series. Some of these were caused by outside factors and conflicts among the writers (the whole "Magic is Drugs" fiasco, urgh). Characters, even main characters, did a lot of horrible things to each other and few if any ever even bothered to apologize. (In one episode, Buffy practically bones Dawn's desired boyfriend (he was at the time in school and Buffy was at the time a school counselor), and Dawn walks in on them... and the end of the episode has Dawn
apologizing to Buffy
.) More than a few times the cast overlooked the feelings and worth of characters outside their little group. So Buffy's treatment of Spike is just one of many problems in the portrayal of relationships. (Don't forget, Whedon's got a thing against people being happy.)
Still, the choice to use the Chip was, IMO, the start of an intriguing thought experiment. It spun Spike off in a new direction. It allowed him to stay in contact with the group, without being the Big Bad
or someone Buffy was honor-bound to attack. It forced him to stop killing without removing his desire to kill — in strong contrast to Angel — and it didn't add an instant layer of empathy for his victims. Spike's change was far more gradual and full of a great number of mistakes, quite distinct from Angel's overnight transformation.
Spike from his first appearance was, in contrast to every other vampire, defined by love. The seeds for his eventual form were sown early. He adored his mate, cared for and comforted her, valued her despite her infirmity — the other vampires despised him for it. He valued Dru enough to show face to a Slayer and give up a room full of prey; to bide his time for months under Angelus's infuriating rule; to team up with a Slayer in an attempt to kill his sire (unheard of!). He loved Dru enough to return to kill the Slayer who somehow managed to take out Angelus (suicide!), and then to brazenly bargain with the Slayer using her friends as hostages. (Okay, so using a love potion isn't the best example of "love," but for vampires, I set the bar pretty low.)
Beyond this — moving out of love for Dru and into love for Buffy — the progression of his feelings and their expression seems to me a superb display of character growth. The contrast between beginning and end couldn't be clearer: He started so low!
First, he realizes he's attracted to her (oh shoot). Not sure what to do. Hangs around her, insults her, pines for her, steals her underwear. Dresses up his lover to look like her. All very immature and schoolboy-ish, low and creepy, the stalker.
Then he tries to change for her, to find ways to make himself acceptable to her. The "I didn't drink from the disaster victims" is a superb example of the gulf between the Hero and the Villain-struggling-to-crawl-out-of-the-muck. I've never seen a more vivid depiction of the "filthy rags" we humans try to hand God, thinking He'll be pleased with our "good works". Spike tries to inject himself into Buffy's life, but moves far too fast — although I wouldn't expect more from him, since he's so naive to begin with. Unfortunate.
He declares his intentions — gets rebuffed in the strongest way. It's a low point that almost, almost makes him go back to who he had been. When Dru tries to bring him back into the fold, Spike may pass it off as the Chip, but that's not what's holding him back. If it were, he wouldn't have been shocked by the death of the two victims, nor would he have hesitated over drinking (I would even call that "trying to gather the nerve" or even "coax himself"). He's not what he was. He will never be again.
Then he seizes an opportunity to tie Buffy up, make her listen to him, take him seriously. She's taken him lightly far too often, and his manhood is at stake. But he also turns on Dru. Again, he offers Buffy the best "good works" he can dredge up: He's willing to stake his sire for her. And she sees the offering as filthy rags. But within minutes he offers something a little more valuable: After declaring his intention to let Dru kill Buffy, or perhaps kill them both, when the chips are down, he stands with Buffy. As Dru rightly points out, he's beyond repair.
Buffy locks him out, which he needed. Wake-up call. And soon enough he commissions a Buffybot. Kinda spooky, but there's a lot of positive ways to look at this. One is, in using the Buffybot, he isn't out stalking Buffy, which he might otherwise be doing. Also, his sex play is hardly what you'd expect from a vampire. It's still childish (affirming his Big Bad
-ness, for one), but it's tender and neither abusive nor unromantic. And it maintains Buffy's role as Slayer, instead of moving her into a Spike-centered orbit.
Not only that, but he never meant for her to see it. It was a private way of dealing with his feelings, and, as I said, I set the bar pretty low for beings who don't have a conscience to begin with. He's authentically ashamed when Buffy finds out.
Stepping back a moment, wasn't that Spike ready to die rather than betray Buffy? His love may not extend beyond Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce, but it's gone a few steps beyond a mere crush. Now he's willing to act as babysitter to a couple of mortals. And not only has he connected with Joyce, but he's treating Dawn — repeatedly — like a person with a mind and a will, instead of as a child or a forbidden snack. (In fact, he's treating her better than most of the Scoobies treat her.)
And then we have Spike the Warrior back for a couple eps, again going against the wishes of the traditional vampire, and now willing to risk himself personally for Buffy. Now he's controlling his temper (consider how S2 Spike might have reacted when Tara opened the shades and burnt him) and even being reassuring to people he still considers little more than "Happy Meals on legs."
Then in the finale, he sees Buffy down and he, unlike the rest, just breaks down. Part of it his own sense of failure. In less than one season, his cocky attitude has been worn away to the point where he sobs in public (and he's not even drunk).
I could detail the next two seasons; the relationship has its highs and lows (deep, deep lows), and I disagree with some of how they presented it. But in general, most of it reads well. And over the three seasons Spike moves from pining and possession through self-sacrifice to a complete overlooking of self ("It's not because I want you... not because I can't have you... it has nothing to do with me; I love who you are
The highlights of his journey include:
- Holding up under Glory's torture
- "I know you'll never love me"
- Protecting Dawn after Buffy's death
- Acts just like he did toward Drusilla when he first meets Resurrected!Buffy — it's about you, do you need anything, what can I do?
- Truly respects and mourns Joyce (has nothing to do with Buffy)
- Honestly concerned for the safety of Dawn (ditto) on multiple occasions
- Tries to get Buffy to acknowledge that he is capable of love (which he is) and that their relationship should be more than merely physical (which it should)
- Tries more than once to say "If you're just using me, leave"
- Getting his soul, of course
- Here's the clincher: "You have to kill me"
- The Speech (wish I were worthy of a speech like that)
See, that "You have to kill me" moment happened with Angel, too. It's that moment when you are ready to give up your own right to exist because you believe that (a) you forfeited it and (b) you are doing harm by existing. It's at that point that the change is really real
. At least, in this type of fantasy. Spike put his life on the table, and luckily Buffy was in a good mood when she dealt the cards that day.
But yeah. Spike had a great character arc, even if I dislike some mini-arcs the writers decided to embark on. And yeah, I'd write the whole thing a little differently were I making a remake. But I don't think the journey was wrong or bad or ill-chosen. I think it did something worthwhile, and something out of the ordinary. And I think it worked.
Decided to put up my opinion on M*A*S*H
here, instead of adding it to the MASH talk page, as it's long:
After the show left the purile comedy stage, it did get very good. But you gotta ignore the anvils. Concentrate on the characterization. Klinger was always amusing, and Radar generally endearing, but it was the introduction of Colonel Potter, Hunnicutt, and Winchester that really got the ball rolling. Blake was useless; Potter was both antagonist and friend, and had the just the right amount of backbone to moderate his crew of misfits. Trapper was The Sidekick
, basically another version of Hawkeye; Hunnicutt became just as good a friend, but contrasted Hawkeye on a number of levels (and still managed to play the best pranks). Burns was a stereotype, one-dimensional and incapable of growth; Winchester was a human being who fluctuated between cultured self-control and explosive outrage, who on multiple occasions showed great humanity, nobility, even a heartbreaking realization of his own shortcomings, and who at the end was not the same man he had been at the beginning.
On top of that, the show went into greater detail on Father Mulcahy, including his determination and willpower, ability to manipulate others as needed, and ability to reach out and actually help those who were having a crisis of faith (including Hawkeye, if I'm recalling that correctly, albeit not often or life-changingly). It showed the humanity in Hot Lips and changed her, softened her, connected her to others (and I don't mean just physically). It brought Hawkeye out of the nothing-but-laughs circle and pushed him through a wide range of situations, emotions, and connections. The show still had its laughs, but now there was substance and relationships, and a certain level of continuity when they recalled older characters or considered the way people had changed. Moving out of the strictly-sitcom category was the best thing they could have done.
As for the anvils, well, everything has a political opinion in it somewhere, and their was just excruciatingly obvious. And you can overlook it, but if you give up on the series you're missing a lot of gold to be found both apart from the anvils and beneath them. Anvils aren't pleasant, but they aren't the end of a series this good. And some of its anvils were pretty well chosen, such as what they put in the time capsule (Radar's teddy bear, for all those who came to the war as boys and left as men...). The show wasn't all anvils, and even the anvils weren't all Glurge
The anti-war screed, by the way, is just the most obvious anvil. At least one other was their permissive attitude about indiscriminate sex. Even the priest didn't have much to say (and the one time he was told to be more forceful on the subject, the advice was bad advice). The show did acknowledge that marital infidelity is wrong (but something the marriage could recover from, an excellent message), but had nothing bad to say about singles who sleep around, and, of course, A Man Is Not a Virgin
(well, softened a bit by the end of the episode: Guess you don't have to get experience just yet, Radar
And for a less anvilicious treatment of a subject, I'd say they did well by the subject of faith. They didn't ridicule it, didn't push it to the side; it became the basis for several episodes, including those focused on the main characters, and they explored the subjects of fear, panic, phobias, and life after death, albeit in at times a cursory fashion. And of course they brought in Sydney Freedman a few times for consistently appealing stories.
If you don't like the anvils, at least take a look at the way the rest of the show was handled. It did so much so right that it has the tropes you need to make a winning series, and you just have to find them. I'd start with Passion and Compassion
's theory on compelling stories) and Sympathetic Characters Dealing with Near-Constant Jeopardy