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Can't Stop The Serenity.
June 18, 2007 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Can't Stop The Serenity. "By their very nature, science fiction fans want to improve their world." Joss Whedon's birthday is this weekend (June 23). In honor of the event, fans of Firefly and Serenity are organizing Serenity screenings around the world with the proceeds to benefit his favorite charity, Equality Now. "Equality Now works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure." It's a fitting charity for a writer whose favorite subjects include "amazing, kick-ass adolescent heroines" and strong women in general. Last year's event earned almost $66,000 USD for the organization, and this year's event aims to raise $100,000 USD.
posted by Tehanu (101 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
So what you're saying, is that if I want people to worship me inappropriately enough to celebrate my birthday, like I was Jesus, I just need to make some crappy low-production-value shows with bad makeup and stilted dialogue and the nerds, they will all come running?

GENIUS. I will begin pitching "Angry Riot Grrl Meets The Big Bad Monsters Who Are Allegories For, Like, Growing Boobs" to the CW ASAP.
posted by mckenney at 2:46 PM on June 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


mckenney - is it fun to be cynical and crotchety? I hope someday I can be as utterly dismissive of my fellow humans as you are!
posted by muddgirl at 2:49 PM on June 18, 2007 [10 favorites]


I am sick of Serenity. Sick of it. Go away.

Joss can stay.
posted by AloneOssifer at 2:49 PM on June 18, 2007


Wow, and Bitter McPissy is first out of the gate...

I think the post was about folks trying to raise money for a good cause, and using something they all enjoy as a focus for that.

However, I understand this is the internet, and accept your bile with the thought it was presented.
posted by pupdog at 2:50 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, did you guys all know that Firefly is nothing more than a carbon copy of Cowboy Bebop? Right down to the Welsh Corgi.

Also, everything everyone but me likes is, like, totally overrated.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:06 PM on June 18, 2007


There's a welsh corgi in firefly?
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:09 PM on June 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


People who really enjoy things are lame.

The internet told me so.
posted by uri at 3:13 PM on June 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


There's a welsh corgi in firefly?

OK, maybe I don't understand irony, but just to cover my bases: No. My whole point is that the notion that Firefly is just a retread of Bebop is, well, stupid. (And for many more reasons than the fact that there isn't a Welsh corgi aboard Serenity.)
posted by hifiparasol at 3:13 PM on June 18, 2007


Argh, cognitive dissonance. Fond of Firefly, unfond of Whedon's brand of insipid grrl-pwr, ban-other-people's-art feminism. Perhaps I'll just send a winter hat.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:15 PM on June 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I watched the movie a while back...picked up the season on DVD for $20 last Friday....watched most of the episodes this weekend.

I hereby agree with all those that consider it a freakin' travesty the show was cancelled.

I do no, however, think building a life out of this particular travesty is worthwhile. Shit happens..often.
posted by wah at 3:18 PM on June 18, 2007


mckenney:
So what you're saying, is that if I want people to worship me inappropriately enough to celebrate my birthday, like I was Jesus, I just need to make some crappy low-production-value shows with bad makeup and stilted dialogue and the nerds, they will all come running?

No, I'm saying I think this is a really neat fan-organized event people might be interested in. I don't expect that Serenity appeals to everyone. You're thinking of my "OMG Buffy/Firefly/Serenity are so awesome!!!1!!" post that I haven't made yet that will link to 14 different youtube music videos. By the way, when is your birthday?
posted by Tehanu at 3:19 PM on June 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


Oh, and as a final tangent, I think the show was cancelled because it has a theme song that sucked worse than any other sci-fi theme song ever...until Enterprise.
posted by wah at 3:25 PM on June 18, 2007


Wow, and I used to be proud of the Mefi community. It's kind of disgusting that a community event designed to raise money for a worthy charity gets such spite because some people can't get over their own self-inflated opinions.

I'm going, I'm going to enjoy myself, and I'm going to feel good that we raised money for and awareness about an important cause.

Ah well, I'm sure the couple of bad apples we've heard from so far aren't the majority of the folk here. It's just a shame they spoke first and so rudely.

Show up. It'll be fun, and it's worth it.
posted by Imperfect at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Let me just say that as much as I think that people who are obsessed with mediocre science fiction are total freaks and could benefit from a good out-of-doorsing, I think if you're going to be creepy obsessive, weird, adoring Ultrafans, at least do it for charity. Although, you know, can't they pick another, not so "I'm two Match.com fouled-up dates away from locking a Joss Whedon lookalike in my closet and forcing it to listen to my self-penned ukulele ballads" date, like the premier of the movie, or the premier of the show, or something? It's way too "you really, no REALLY, are our god".

And it's in November. I am currently accepting donations to the Human Fund.
posted by mckenney at 3:28 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


How is Buffy a "strong woman" again? Was it the bit where her life fell apart the minute Giles wasn't there to hold her hand? The bit where she completely failed at being a responsible adult for her imaginary sister? The entire of the last season where she struggled making any kind of a rational adult decision? These aren't exagerations, they were plot points. Every step of the way from Season 3 on, Buffy fails at being anything but a human weapon.

But, she hits things, so she's strong. Forget any kind of emotional strength or maturity, she's fast with the quips and punches. Brilliant role model for today's youth, male or female.

Not that the show wasn't fun and very entertaining for the majority of it's run. I just don't see why everyone's all "Yay Joss Whedon writes strong women, Buffy is a great role model". He doesn't. And she's not really.

And yeah, Cowboy Bebop/Outlaw Star/Trigun did the space western first and did it better. Not that Firefly was that bad, getting the episodes on DVD and actually watching them in the proper order makes them much better but seriously good TV shows get cancelled all the time.
posted by davros42 at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2007


I'm saying I think this is a really neat fan-organized event people might be interested in.

And you were right. Thanks! I had no idea that this was going on. It sounds like a fun and worthwhile charity event, if you are a fan like me and a lot of other people.

If you're not a fan, you don't have to go, or even think about it ever again! Neat, huh?
posted by gemmy at 3:35 PM on June 18, 2007


I'm totally going...thanks for sharing, I would never have known.
posted by schyler523 at 3:40 PM on June 18, 2007


How is Buffy a "strong woman" again? Was it the bit where her life fell apart the minute Giles wasn't there to hold her hand? The bit where she completely failed at being a responsible adult for her imaginary sister?

This is actually the argument I was just making to my girlfriend a few days ago as we re-watched the Season Two finale. I've never been a big fan of Buffy herself, though I'm a huge fan of the show, and of Angel, and of Serenity. Hell, I even like Alien Resurrection.

But Buffy always pulls it out when the chips are down. And, even if it is just a matter of her being strong and hitting things (and despite what I just said, I know it's much more than this) -- well, there aren't too many women doing that on TV and in movies these days, are there? I'll take Buffy making bad personal decisions but kicking ass any day over Carrie Fucking Bradshaw bitching because she can't find a good-looking boyfriend who'll let her smoke.

Oh, and I was actually railing against the argument that Firefly is a retread of the crappy anime series you mentioned. To say "X is just a ripoff of Y" is rarely correct, and as an argument it's low-hanging fruit to fanboys who want to bitch about things they don't like.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:41 PM on June 18, 2007


you really, no REALLY, are our god

Eh, so what. Lots of people worship a silly god, and that other god has never worked with David Boreanaz.
posted by Roman Graves at 3:45 PM on June 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


I always think its great when fan communities can act out in such positive manners. Cheers to 'em.

And really, I'm still perplexed to how people call Cowboy Bebop a Space Western. It really wasn't. If anything, it was Space Film Noir mixed up with comedy. The only "cowboy" about it was one episode where the producers literally poke fun at the idea of transferring a western to sci-fi with Andy. Trigun, meanwhile, was entirely a Space Western.

Anyhoots, great again, that the Brown coats are doing this. Yay.
posted by Atreides at 3:47 PM on June 18, 2007


I can't think of anything more fun than watching a canceled TV show with a couple hundred people who are still pissed about it 5 years later. Oh, wait. Yes I can.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:03 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, Firefly killed off Dark Angel before its time; Angel is a total Forever Knight / Dark Shadows ripoff; and Whedon hates mature women, fathers, homosexuality, relationships, alcohol, sex, strong men, the obese, pagans, ethnic minorities, Christianity, China, the fans, the critics, and you personally.

Grrr!
posted by ormondsacker at 4:07 PM on June 18, 2007


That's Grrr...Arrgh, if you want to get picky.
posted by pupdog at 4:18 PM on June 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


C'mon. They could be furries.
posted by dhartung at 4:24 PM on June 18, 2007


Oh, and as a final tangent, I think the show was cancelled because it has a theme song that sucked...

Bah. I enjoyed the theme song, I think it fits the show really well. In any case, I think the show would have done much better if Fox had actually let Joss tell the story the way he wanted to. They basically aired the pilot at the (premature) end of the series run, and aired a number of other episodes out of sequence. They just dumped "The Train Job" in the laps of the viewers and expected them to understand what the heck was going on, and why these
"cowboys" were flying in spaceships. Having a main character that was a bisexual prostitute also probably didn't help with the more conservative "red state" stations, either.

My personal fantasy is that Fox would relinquish the rights to Firefly, the SciFi channel to pick it up and let Joss continue it from there. Heck, it would give people something worth watching after BSG is done. The only downside would be if they couldn't get all of the actors, and they'd have to rebuild all those sets for a third time. Oh, and I would want to see a new series positioned between Firefly and Serenity in terms of timeline. Killing off Wash and Book just... sucked.

In other news, I did think it was cool that one of the shuttle astronauts that just went up was a Browncoat and added the series DVDs and movie to the space station's media library.
posted by mstefan at 4:28 PM on June 18, 2007


I can't think of anything more fun than watching a canceled TV show with a couple hundred people who are still pissed about it 5 years later. Oh, wait. Yes I can.

You have selected "complaining on the internet about other people enjoying something that you don't."

You have chosen poorly.
posted by Simon! at 4:32 PM on June 18, 2007 [23 favorites]


mstefan:
Oh, and I would want to see a new series positioned between Firefly and Serenity in terms of timeline. Killing off Wash and Book just... sucked.

There's a comic coming out soon (this fall?) from Dark Horse that picks up events during the tv timeline. It'll be called Serenity: Better Days. Sorry, I can't seem to find the original announcement right now, but this link has the most information I can find at the moment. Same co-author as the other Serenity comic mini-series that does take place between the series and the movie.
posted by Tehanu at 4:41 PM on June 18, 2007


Cowboy Bebop is not crappy.
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on June 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


How is Buffy a "strong woman" again? Was it the bit where her life fell apart the minute Giles wasn't there to hold her hand? The bit where she completely failed at being a responsible adult for her imaginary sister?

I think what you're searching for is "realistic role model". Yes, she had failings, and she let people down and she fell apart. That's because she was human. She was a strong woman not only because she could kick ass but because she wasn't afraid to use that power to protect people. She did that at the expense of relationships and a "normal" life but the growth of her as a woman throughout the seven seasons was that she began as a child, sulky and reluctant who needed some to tell her what to do and by the end was the leader to an entire army of other strong (physically and mentally) girls. And she made mistakes along the way.

Isn't that a better kind of role model than the one who is constantly perfect, constantly "girl power grr!"? That would put pressure on girls to believe they could never put a step wrong? And seriously. The dearth of positive female role models on television at the time meant that Buffy was far away and beyond an icon. She still is.

All of this is beside the point.

Serenity is a pretty cool movie. Equality Now is a pretty cool charity. I will be going to watch said movie this weekend to support said chairty even though I own the DVD. It's amazing to see the support and the generosity this brings out in fans. So please, keep your snark to yourself.

P.S. I met my boyfriend at a pre-screening of Serenity back in 2005. The same night I met Joss Whedon. So it's kind of special and significant for me.

It's way too "you really, no REALLY, are our god".

Um. I would think so because he REALLY is a god? Didn't you get the memo?
posted by liquorice at 4:46 PM on June 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, and Whedonesque is a good site for all your Whedon-related needs. It is similar to this site or summat.
posted by liquorice at 4:48 PM on June 18, 2007


I'll take Buffy making bad personal decisions but kicking ass any day over Carrie Fucking Bradshaw bitching because she can't find a good-looking boyfriend who'll let her smoke.

Damn skippy, hifiparasol!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:51 PM on June 18, 2007


Cowboy Bebop is not crappy.

Fair enough.

liquorice, I'm not letting my girlfriend read your post, because then she would win our ongoing argument re: Buffy's maturity.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:55 PM on June 18, 2007


That's Grrr...Arrgh, if you want to get picky.

I need a hug.
posted by ormondsacker at 4:55 PM on June 18, 2007


I think it's neat that however you feel about the show or Joss, this even takes a concept Joss tries to get across (women are people too!) and couples it with an organization that pushes this point (women are people too!) funded by people who think maybe that women are people too. Or they think Summer Glau is hot. It's still better than tracking down that original Boba Fett thermos, or whatever the fuck it is scifi fans spend their money on.
posted by supercrayon at 4:59 PM on June 18, 2007


Thanks for posting this! I just watched the series, and it had occurred to me that it would be cool to see the movie again on a big screen. And now I'll be able to! Cool.

I don't consider myself a sci-fi geek. I've seen the series twice, and this will be my second time seeing the movie. And it's the only sci-fi series I've ever seen in its entirety and will be the only sci-fi movie that I've ever seen more than once. But I have a soft spot for sci-fi geeks. I am a big fan of people who embrace their geekiness. I am in favor of unapologetically being whoever you are.
I would think so because he REALLY is a god?
Isn't he pretty publicly an atheist? Does that mean that he doesn't believe in himself?
posted by craichead at 4:59 PM on June 18, 2007


GENIUS. I will begin pitching "Angry Riot Grrl Meets The Big Bad Monsters Who Are Allegories For, Like, Growing Boobs" to the CW ASAP.

They already have that show. It's called Veronica MarsAmerica's Next Top Model.
posted by dw at 5:12 PM on June 18, 2007


Isn't he pretty publicly an atheist? Does that mean that he doesn't believe in himself?

That's what makes him more god-like. He's so modest!
posted by liquorice at 5:16 PM on June 18, 2007


"By their very nature, science fiction fans want to improve their world."

Self-congratulatory pap like this makes baby Jesus, Gandhi, and all the saints vomit with rage.

There's a welsh corgi in firefly?

There's Jayne.

What Firefly is missing is Big Shot and the associated Hot Chick.

All of which is beside the point. Everyone knows that Firefly is a clumsy anglicization of Uchuu Senkan Yamato, complete with atrocious theme song.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:18 PM on June 18, 2007


It is saddening.

Watch great tv. See it cancelled during series one. Watch shit tv. See it repeat series after series. See MeFi bitch about people who enjoyed former.
posted by imperium at 5:20 PM on June 18, 2007


I just need to make some crappy low-production-value shows with bad makeup and stilted dialogue and the nerds, they will all come running?

Please give us examples of well written television shows. Preferably those you've written yourself, that have managed to stay on the air. We will also consider any of your short fiction published at pro rates, or novels in print by major publishers.
posted by asfuller at 5:28 PM on June 18, 2007


That's Grrr...Arrgh, if you want to get picky.

I need a hug.


*hug*

There there, ormondsacker, there there...

We all feel that way sometimes most of the time.
posted by pupdog at 5:46 PM on June 18, 2007


It's still better than tracking down that original Boba Fett thermos, or whatever the fuck it is scifi fans spend their money on.

I love you, supercrayon!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:56 PM on June 18, 2007


I hate everything Joss Whedon does (and believe me, I've tried so very hard to like it), but I have to admit that it's pretty cool how his fans pull together like they do. Because the fans are as awesome as they are, I'm willing to admit that maybe I just don't get Joss Whedon.
posted by katillathehun at 6:00 PM on June 18, 2007


Well, I might as well get into the fray, No Firefly is Not Cowboy Bebob, But Blake 7 so SUCK it Fan Bois.

\ I love the show
\\ and Blake 7
\\\ Slashies Rok
posted by Elim at 6:06 PM on June 18, 2007


I do believe there was a historical Firefly, but I prefer to see it as a story or allegory rather than as a religious text.
posted by Artw at 6:10 PM on June 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


The best you can come up with is "bad makeup and stilted dialog"? Not that I agree that the dialog is stilted. But really, if that's your big complaint, you sound more shallow than the geeks you are flaming.

Who, by the way, include me. I'm happy to be a browncoat. I bought all the episodes of Firefly when they came out on DVD. I don't worship Whedon, and I don't consider Buffy a role-model (can't find any vampires to stake), but I may just go see the movie again June 23rd because it was great fun. Plus, the money goes to charity, which doesn't suck.

I'm sure that you, in your advanced state of enlightenment that we poor geeks could never hope to achieve, let alone comprehend, will spend your day on worthier pastimes. Have fun up there in your ivory tower.
posted by misha at 6:12 PM on June 18, 2007


Now Blake 7 had worse dialog and gawd aweful makeup,
posted by Elim at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2007


You have selected "complaining on the internet about other people enjoying something that you don't."

On the contrary. I liked the series, and the movie. I just don't carry a torch for the show. It's been 5 years, people. Please move on with your lives.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:37 PM on June 18, 2007


Joss Whedon's not a god. He doesn't have to be. To be a god means people have to worship you, and Joss Whedon doesn't need to have anybody worship him. He'd be motherfucking cool whether you worshipped him or not. In fact the more you diss him, the cooler he is. So go right on ahead and diss him, because that only increases his coolness quotient, while it diminishes your own.

Joss Whedon's motherfucking cool. His motherfucking coolness outtrumps all you "Joss Whedon's so not cool" motherfuckers. So diss all you want. You can't change the facts.

Whedon's cool. You drool.

There. I'm glad we were able to put that one to rest.

The theme song to Firefly rocked.
Special effects? they rocked.
Practical effects? They rocked.
Lighting the spaceship with strategically placed foil? That rocked.
The planet where Jayne was a hero? Rocked.
Book telling Mal about the Special Hell? Rocked.
Hot redhead all naked and articulate? ROCKED.
Kaylee eating a strawberry fucking rocked!
Cows shitting in the cargo hold? Rocked.
Wash and Zoe getting it on with River looking on? ROCKED
Weirdo guys with the blue hands. ROCKED.
Reavers? ROCKED.
Chickens? ROCKED.
Space whores? ROCKED!
Shindigs? ROCKED!
Hootenannys? ROCKED.
Huh-tse duh peegoo? IT FUCKIN ROCKED MAN!!

Everything about Firefly rocks. Even and especially the parts that don't, because they don't don't rock. That's a double negative which is proof positive, and you can take that to the bank. If you do, they'll look at you funny, but you CAN take it to any bank you'd like. So there.

I watched Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop made zero fucking sense.

I hated Cowboy Bebop.

I loved Firefly/Serenity.

Comparing the two is like comparing The Rockford Files with Law and Order Special Victims Unit.

"I don't care how good your home theatre set-up is at your house -- a theatrical 35mm exhibition trumps a 60" plasma with 8.1 surround sound any day of the week."

Actually, my home setup is a twenty inch TV that's older than me and a DVD player that was cheaper than my water bill. It trumps going to the theater for a number of reasons:

1) No kids running up and down the aisles.
2) No couples french kissing noisily in the back.
3) Nobody laughing at the screen at inopportune times.
4) Nobody lookin at me funny when I laugh at the screen at inopportune times.
5) No concession stand charging a kidney for nachos and popcorn.
6) Nobody with a big head directly in my line of view.
7) No stoned projectionist fucking with the sound twenty minutes into the picture.
8) No fucking cellphones.
9) a PAUSE BUTTON for when I wanna take a leak.
10) No McKenney clones outside the theater with a picket sign telling fans of Joss Whedon how much he thinks they suck.
11) No complete stranger sitting next to me taking the armrest with his sweaty forearm and smelling like the inside of a gym locker.
12) No having to stand in line to get a ticket, then standing in line to get a seat, then getting a sucky seat, then being afraid to get up and go outside the theater a second cuz when you come back you might not have a fuckin' seat.
13) no having to drive out there and drive back.

With all that said, Jane Espenson will be there, so I'm seriously considering it. She's hot!

...I'll be in my bunk.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:39 PM on June 18, 2007 [26 favorites]


So what you're saying, is that if I want people to worship me inappropriately enough to celebrate my birthday, like I was Jesus, I just need to make some crappy low-production-value shows with bad makeup and stilted dialogue create something that can inspire total strangers to come together to raise lots of money for a good cause, and the nerds, they will all come running?

Fixed that.

Yes.
posted by rtha at 6:41 PM on June 18, 2007


Gads I keep Telling Folks Firefly is Blake 7. but no one listens, I feel like cassandra here. (oh well, I always have my action figures... THEY"RE NOT DOLLS!!!!)
posted by Elim at 6:42 PM on June 18, 2007


I would go, but the money goes to charity.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:57 PM on June 18, 2007


Bummer for me, no nearby showings.
supercrayon: Or they think Summer Glau is hot.
Nothing against her, but in a series with Morena Baccarin, that's who you pick?
posted by solotoro at 7:23 PM on June 18, 2007


nononono, Jewel Staite!
posted by pupdog at 7:32 PM on June 18, 2007


Nothing against her, but in a series with Morena Baccarin, that's who you pick?

Not to mention Gina Torres...
posted by kid ichorous at 7:37 PM on June 18, 2007


I can't believe I am this late to what's become a Buffy discussion. Dudes, just because Buffy has flaws (like the ones davros42 described above) and sometimes makes poor decisions and occasionally fucks up, that doesn't make her not a heroine or not a strong woman. What makes her real and compelling (and heroic) is that despite her flaws she manages to make difficult decisions that put the wellbeing of others (oftentimes strangers) before her own needs and wants. If Joss Whedon had wanted to write Superman, whose only weakness was kryptonite, he could've, but the show would've gotten pretty boring. Instead he wrote a character who has an actual achilles heal--humanity. She has as much good as bad because she is human, after all. And, lest we forget, for most of the series was an adolescent. What teenagers/young adults don't do dumb things like fall apart when a father figure/mentor leaves or treat a little sister like crap?

Take that, haters.
posted by sneakin at 8:01 PM on June 18, 2007


Another way of putting the above would be: "What liquorice said."
posted by sneakin at 8:02 PM on June 18, 2007


I watched Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop made zero fucking sense.

How y'all doin?

I hated Cowboy Bebop.

Here, have some beef with green peppers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:27 PM on June 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


I like the tone and style of Firefly a lot, but Joss Whedon should stick to TV, and not do movies.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:34 PM on June 18, 2007


Thanks, pupdog, but I need a hug.

Sigh - sometimes you make the clever geek reference, sometimes the clever geek reference makes you.
posted by ormondsacker at 9:47 PM on June 18, 2007


Doh, as soon as I saw it was a link i realized what you meant.

I should sleep sometime...
posted by pupdog at 10:05 PM on June 18, 2007


I watched Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop made zero fucking sense.

Two bounty hunters went about collecting marks and happened to accrue some misfits in the 26 episode snippet of their lives. There you go. Now, The Big O made absolutely no fucking sense whatsofuckingever. Tomatoes? Everyone lost their memories forty years ago? whah?
posted by stavrogin at 10:56 PM on June 18, 2007


As if it matters, I liked Cowboy Bebop (series and movie) slightly slightly better than Firefly (series and movie) although both entertained me a great deal. Firefly had a number of really good episodes (The Man Called Jayne and the first Mrs. Reynolds one jump to mind) and a few lame ones (the whorehouse episode, guhh). It's a strength of the chosen medium, but the visual worldbuilding of Cowboy Bebop drew me in more.
posted by furiousthought at 11:10 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


We had ours. I was there. It rocked.
posted by Fence at 1:23 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cowboy Bebop was too busy trying to look cool to get around to telling the story in a way that was suitable for consumption. I also think something just got lost in the translation. Maybe if I were actually well versed in foreign languages I'd have a different opinion. If there's one thing Whedon is, it's a storyteller. He'll go out of his way to make something pretty certainly, but he never forgets the reason he's making the shot is to tell the damn story.

Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Summer Glau, Christina Hendricks... What is there not to love about this series? =)

Jayne: Whoop! My John Thomas is about to pop off and fly around the room, there's so much tasty here. Ooh!
Wash: Would be you get your most poetical about your pecker.

posted by ZachsMind at 1:24 AM on June 19, 2007


*hands Liquorice an ancient scythe*
posted by Coaticass at 3:02 AM on June 19, 2007


Re: Dark Angel (see way above) - talk about irony. It was an almost complete rip off of Battle Angel Alita, produced by James Cameron. There is/was? a live-action movie version coming out of Battle Angel Alita, produced by - guess who? - James Cameron.
posted by gnash at 4:56 AM on June 19, 2007


How can you like X, X is a complete ripoff of Y, which was a complete ripoff of Z in the first place!!!!!11111!!!!
posted by signal at 6:19 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I still owe Josh Whedon a knee to the nuts for killing off Wash.

I listened to the commentary regarding him killing off Wash. He basically did it because he could and he wanted people to know he was serious.

He has one hard knee to the nuts in his future.
posted by Bqaggie87 at 6:25 AM on June 19, 2007


Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Summer Glau, Christina Hendricks...

I'll be in my bunk as well.
posted by Ber at 6:40 AM on June 19, 2007


What is this fanboy obession with Jewel Staite? What is this fanboy obsession with white girls who look like they're twelve and act all cutesy?

Gina Torres, now there's a friggin woman. Also Christina Hendricks.

Cowboy Bebop made zero fucking sense.

Cowboy Bebop is the only good anime series I've ever seen, but yeah, like all other anime, it gives you a rain check on the whole issue of narrative sense-making, particularly in the arena of character back-stories never being fully explained. And what the fuck is a "data dog?"

Great thoughts on the whole notion of anime making No Fucking Sense here.
posted by hifiparasol at 7:17 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


What is this fanboy obession with Jewel Staite?

You see the episode where she gets tagged in the engine room?

No?

Aaaahh, now I see why you don't get it.
posted by wah at 7:38 AM on June 19, 2007


You see the episode where she gets tagged in the engine room?

Yeah, and I forgot about it when I saw the post-coital conversation between Wash and Zooey, and then forgot about it again when I saw Saffron all naked and stuff. I really forgot about it when Inara hooked up with that nice lady politician.

But we're arguing taste. There's no winner here.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:05 AM on June 19, 2007


I still owe Josh Whedon a knee to the nuts for killing off Wash.

What are you talking about?! Firefly ended and everyone was still alive. Yeah, Whedon talked about making a movie and even did a some rough scenes which was loosely called "Serenity", but that wasn't the finished product, everyone knows that!

Wash is still alive, he made it back to Earth and is working on a TV talk show. It's the one where Izzy stars after she left Seattle Grace hospital. Izzy's pregant though by some Will Ferrell clone.

Zooey's gonna be pissed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on June 19, 2007


And what the fuck is a "data dog?"

A dog that's suspiciously smart. Duh.

That, or a corgi. Which is a dog that abounds in corgishness; it is a corgy dog.

Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Summer Glau, Christina Hendricks

What are "Things that cannot match the phlegmy perfection of Dr. Girlfriend?", Alex?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:28 AM on June 19, 2007


What are "Things that cannot match the phlegmy perfection of Dr. Girlfriend?", Alex?

"...I'll be in my Cocoon!"
posted by kid ichorous at 9:34 AM on June 19, 2007


What is this fanboy obession with Jewel Staite? What is this fanboy obsession with white girls who look like they're twelve and act all cutesy?

Er, why are all the leading men tall and white? Because, despite a few nods to grrl-pwr cliches, Joss' shows readily embrace gender roles? You think the fangirls would embrace short, weaselly Badger? Or how about an asian Simon Tam?

In the end, they're selling relatively un-challenging images of beauty to an adolescent crowd.

Also, that whorehouse episode sucked on sooo many levels. That Mal would intervene in a custody squabble, that the writers took such pains to sanctify the mother's side and avoid moral complexity, and then that they chose to dissolve it all in gratuitous horse-chases and laser pistol fire... I was waiting for the Stargate to show up.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:57 AM on June 19, 2007


...ban-other-people's-art...

What the hell are you on about?
posted by Snyder at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2007


That Mal would intervene in a custody squabble...

Oh come on, is it really that hard to believe? Let me express it as a formula for you:

(Mal + Inara) * (Horny ^ 2) = Intervention

Understand now?
posted by mstefan at 1:03 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


The thing about the whorehouse episode is that while other episodes toyed with Western conventions, maybe surprised you with their structure, the whorehouse episode just went straaaaight along the rails and I was rolling my eyes about halfway through. It wasn't as scarring as "Beer Bad" (one of the few times I've watched television and had my suspension of disbelief completely fail. I was sitting there thinking, here I am, watching people pretend to be chimps on network television) but it was seriously not a good hour of TV.
posted by furiousthought at 1:16 PM on June 19, 2007


Snyder:

There's a message I'm supposed to cut and paste but I imagine you've read it. So just let me say that the ad campaign for "Captivity" is not only a literal sign of the collapse of humanity, it's an assault. I've watched plenty of horror - in fact I've made my share. But the advent of torture-porn and the total dehumanizing not just of women (though they always come first) but of all human beings has made horror a largely unpalatable genre. This ad campaign is part of something dangerous and repulsive, and that act of aggression has to be answered.

As a believer not only in the First Amendment but of the necessity of horror stories, I've always been against acts of censorship. I distrust anyone who wants to ban something 'for the good of the public'. But this ad is part of a cycle of violence and misogyny that takes something away from the people who have to see it. It's like being mugged (and I have been). These people flouted the basic rules of human decency. God knows the culture led them there, but we have to find our way back and we have to make them know that people will not stand for this. And the only language they speak is money. (A devastating piece in the New Yorker - not gonna do it.) So talk money. Remove the rating, and let them see how far over the edge they really are.

Thanks for reading this, if anyone did.
Sincerely, Joss Whedon.
Creator, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"


In short, he wanted the MPAA to prevent another artist's film from appearing in major theatres, on Walmart's shelves, or anywhere else it stood a chance of building a large viewership and customer base. Why? Because he considers the film's advertisements tantamount to a violent assault, a mugging. And he sings the same tune about Roth's Hostel.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:51 PM on June 19, 2007


The whorehouse episode works fine if take it as character development between Mal and Irana, and admire Jane's new "relationship".

And it's not hard to see Mal helping out fucked over people, especially friends of Irana's.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 PM on June 19, 2007


Maybe I'm being deliberately obtuse, kid ichorous, but are you criticising Joss Whedon for advising the MPAA to do its job? It's not like he tracked down every single copy of the reels and burned them, or lobbied to pass a law saying such movies should be banned from the earth. Furthermore, its not the MPAA's job to regulate how industries handle this rating. Many theaters show unrated films, and many stores sell unrated films. I hardly consider this censorship on Joss Whedon's part.
posted by muddgirl at 2:13 PM on June 19, 2007


In short, he wanted the MPAA to prevent another artist's film from appearing in major theatres, on Walmart's shelves, or anywhere else it stood a chance of building a large viewership and customer base.

Oh, that. Well, boo-hoo to them. There's no right for anyone to have unfettered commerical access, and if they flout there rules of the MPAA (something the filmmakers willingly submitted themselves too,) for the sake of god-damned marketing (not the art in itself,) then maybe they deserve some punishment. All Whedon was doing was saying, "Hey, I really didn't like seeing graphic advertisements for torture porn, and since the producers seemed not to give a shit about breaking their own rules when they decided to show people images of torture, maybe they should get hit in the pocketbook."

Also, attacking advertising is not exactly an attack on art or speech, it's not even recognised as protected speech anyway, nor should it.
posted by Snyder at 2:30 PM on June 19, 2007


On un-preview, muddgirl said it better.
posted by Snyder at 2:31 PM on June 19, 2007


And it's not hard to see Mal helping out fucked over people, especially friends of Irana's.
I think he also identifies with Nandi a little bit, even on top of his usual tendency to sympathize with people who are being oppressed by more powerful folks. She's someone like him: a person who can't deal with the strictures of "civilized" society, so she's established her own little community outside of its literal and figurative boundaries. Like him, she feels an intense sense of loyalty to that community and the people in it. The brothel is Nandi's Serenity, and Nandi is the brothel's Mal. And if some grandiose small-town kingpin were threatening one of Mal's crew, he would do whatever it took to protect his crew. It's not a mere custody dispute, because it's about a sense of loyalty and responsibility to the people who work for you that Mal totally sympathizes with and understands.

It's probably the worst episode of the series, though. I suspect that it would seem less annoying if the series hadn't been canceled, because the real point was to set up Inara leaving Serenity.
posted by craichead at 2:58 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between voicing your disagreement or criticism of a work of art, and appealing to a censor or a ratings board or otherwise seeking to have it hushed up or marginalized. And, as I read this, Whedon falls closer to the latter. He's not saying the disagrees with the film, he's saying it isn't fit for public consumption. He's not asking them to C&D the ad, he's asking them to change a movie's rating from R to Unrated.

Maybe you disagree, but I'd place this in the same laughing-stock category as Catholics who didn't want Scorsese's Last Temptation shown in chain theaters.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:27 PM on June 19, 2007


Whedon was telling the MPAA to not cater favoritism. The MPAA has shut down other films for far less. Essentially Whedon's reacting to something he's seen for years as the hypocrisy of the industry. The entire ratings system is subjective and partial and an offense to the sensibilities of every intelligent human being on this planet.

MPAA doesn't do its job fairly and objectively. That's what Whedon was calling them on. He wasn't trying to censor another fellow artist. As MuddGirl said, he just wants them to do their JOB. Either that, or admit their job is full of hypocritical bullshit. One or the other.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:40 PM on June 19, 2007


There's a difference between voicing your disagreement or criticism of a work of art, and appealing to a censor or a ratings board or otherwise seeking to have it hushed up or marginalized. And, as I read this, Whedon falls closer to the latter. He's not saying the disagrees with the film, he's saying it isn't fit for public consumption. He's not asking them to C&D the ad, he's asking them to change a movie's rating from R to Unrated.

He said the ad is not fit for public consumption, as in, should not be on a fucking billboard. I'm curious why you think it is.

He's not asking to C&D the ad, because the ad breaks the rules about MPAA ad approval, and he wanted the MPAA to sanction the willfull breaking of them, as well as get rid of the ad.

There's a difference from putting up a disgusting ad, and putting up a disgusting ad in direct violation of your industries guidlines that you willingly accepted. It turned out the MPAA didn't, I assume because they bought Courtney Solomon's line about it being a mistake, something that could be argued was irrelevant.
posted by Snyder at 3:52 PM on June 19, 2007


As for Heart of Gold, it was a great episode and a lot of fun to watch. Humor. Action. Sex. I honestly don't see why anyone would say it's the worst episode in the short-lived series. The worst episode of the series didn't get made. It'd be like if Buffy hadn't survived past the first season, which was a distinct possibility at the time, fans of the short-lived series at the time would be saying that "Puppet Show" or "The Pack" was the worst Buffy episode, and no one would have ever known about season four.

Now, personally, I love BTVS season four, but it did have its weak points. Living Conditions, Beer Bad, and Goodbye Iowa are definitely some of the worst of the series. Something Blue is forced and the humor comes off very flat. Doomed was pretty rancid. It's got its plusses too. Don't get me wrong. I'd recommend Hush to even the most spiteful of nonBuffy fans. Restless is a personal favorite, though definitely not for nonfans cuz it wouldn't make sense to them. This season was also where the Oz/Willow/Tara love triangle came to a head. Whether or not that's a good thing is endlessly a debate among diehard fans.

However, nothing in season one of Buffy is as bad as the worst of season four, OR the best of seasons two and three for that matter. And arguably I'd say the best of Buffy as an ensemble piece happened in Once More With Feeling which was in season six (my favorite season but some fans say it's their worst).

So we can't determine a best episode of Firefly or a worst, because the best and worst ones simply never got made.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:22 PM on June 19, 2007


The problem for me isn't Whedon's thoughts about what should or shouldn't happen to something like Captivity or Hostel, because those movies have a pretty secure audience no matter what. I do have an issue, though, with Joss appealing to the MPAA and its ratings board, because that's a ridiculously flawed organization if ever there was one. I understand (and for the most part agree with) his point, but I'm not crazy about the bedfellows he's choosing.

Also: The "they broke the rules and should pay the price, and it's as simple as that" argument is an old MeFi trope, and one I have little patience for. If the Captivity ad was abhorrent to southern Californians as a community -- and I sure didn't like seeing it every time I left my apartment -- something should be done about it, regardless of whether or not it broke some clause in some contract. The problem isn't that the studio broke the rules, the problem is that there was a gigantic picture of a woman being tortured on my street.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:48 PM on June 19, 2007


Whedon appealled to the MPAA cuz they're there. That's where the buck is supposed to stop when it comes to shit like this. That's not always where it does stop, but if you got a problem with a film or its advertising, and can't get it resolved by the people who made the film or the people advertising it, the next step is to appeal to the MPAA.

I'm not sure where you go after that. Oftentimes if they don't address it, shit just doesn't get done. I thought that was Joss Whedon's whole point. If the people marketing his stuff had put out pictures of women being tortured, Whedon woulda gotten the third degree. He just wants some consistency, is all. The MPAA kisses the ass of some people and reams the asses of others, and the reasons behind it are seemingly arbitrary, but probably have to do with how much money someone has at the time.

Whedon coulda saved his breath though. The MPAA is notorious for not giving a shit about doing the right thing.

The rating of PG13 didn't exist prior to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They essentially invented a soft R for Spielberg after he "convinced" them it was okay. HOW he convinced them is uncertain. Temple of Doom showed children being enslaved and tortured, but they didn't put any of that in the advertising, so the MPAA said it was suitable for teens to see. WTF???

If that's not favoritism I dunno what is.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:12 PM on June 19, 2007


If the people marketing his stuff had put out pictures of women being tortured, Whedon woulda gotten the third degree. He just wants some consistency, is all.
Where are you getting this? Do you think the first part of the post is all about how terribly unfair it is that we're not allowed to stone 17-year-old girls to death and post videos of it all over the internet? If people in Iraq can have cool honor-killing fun, we should be able to have stone-the-slut fun, too!

I don't know if he was right to call upon the MPAA, but I do know that it well and truly sucks that American movie standards treat naked bodies, consensual sex, and swear words as more objectionable than images of terrified, cowering, tortured women.
posted by craichead at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2007


Sorry. I was referring to this post, which apparently is not what was quoted above. I don't think it says anything about the MPAA.
posted by craichead at 5:44 PM on June 19, 2007


So we can't determine a best episode of Firefly or a worst, because the best and worst ones simply never got made.

ZachsMind, you're probably prepared to argue this point at more length than I am, but I still want to pipe up to say the argument as presented doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You can't speculate about possible better and worse episodes and argue that they'd be better or worse than the episodes that do exist, and use your speculative episodes to exonerate any present episodes' weak areas. Just because the series was canceled, and just because Whedon's other longer series work can be argued to have more depth or development than Firefly, it doesn't follow that he'd have continued to make good episodes or better episodes or worse episodes. I suspect, as you do, that he probably would have made better episodes and worse ones, but what there is is all there is. You gotta use what you got, not what you might have got.

If you can use what you might have got as fodder for argument, then you can say Keats—for example—never got the chance to write his best or worst poems, and so we cannot make clear judgments about the quality of the works we've got.
posted by cgc373 at 6:21 PM on June 19, 2007


Keats wasn't cancelled.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2007


I do completely agree with you CraicHead that American movie standards are atrocious. They're hypocrisy in action. There's no consistency. MPAA has gotten anal about far less content, and then they let worse things slide.

There's parents out there who don't care what their kids see cuz they don't believe their kid's gonna be scarred for life over a naked tit or cussword.

Other parents want a marshmallow fantasy land so their child is NEVER subjected to anything remotely dirty forever. The ratings system is supposed to cater to both extremes AND the myriad spectrum between them.

It's patently impossible. Hence the hypocrisy.

Is a cussword worse than consentual sex? Should we not be allowed to show anything, so long as it's consentual? There are people who find public french kissing disgusting and offensive; there's others who want movies where Sharon Stone's getting fisted by Julia Roberts. For two whole hours.

Is the threat of endangerment to a child just as bad as literally showing violence on children? Some argue there is no difference. Should we show women being tortured? Maybe it's okay to show some forms of torture but not others? Who gets to decide this? What makes them righteous enough for the job?

If the people marketing his stuff had put out pictures of women being tortured, Whedon woulda gotten the third degree. He just wants some consistency, is all.

I meant before, that IF Whedon wanted to do something like the worst that Captivity or Hostel have to offer, MPAA would ream him a new orifice. I'm not saying he ever did, just that IF he ever did, he wouldn't get away with it.

Yet others do, and others have. Why, is not clear, but from the nosebleed seats up here, it looks to me that the MPAA plays favorites, and Whedon's not one of their favorites, perhaps partly cuz he blows his whistle when he sees them being stupid.

Whedon's told stories before where women were treated violently, but he dealt with the subject matter respectfully and thoughtfully. The marketing people whose job was to present his storytelling to the public in hopes of getting them to tune in, they never showed explicit imagery in trying to encourage ratings. They didn't have to. The story pretty much sold itself.

Then he sees this Captivity thing, where the story is basically nothing more than a fictional equivalent of a snuff film. Not much plot. The actress is essentially used like meat, as is her character. Whedon's spent his life going out of his way to create stories that empower women - that give well-trained actresses some real material to convey to an audience. Whedon wanted to dispell myths that women are the weaker sex. This doesn't seem to cater to the standards of the movie and TV industry. It's not marketable.

Stories of women being tortured and beaten to an inch of their life, though? Carte blanche! Thank you! Drive thru!

Whedon's been essentially unofficially and unceremoniously blackballed out of television and film, yet this crap is allowed. He was offering steak. They rejected him for dog food.

I'd be pissed off too if I were him. In fact. I'm NOT him, and I'm pissed off.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:42 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you think the first part of the post is all about how terribly unfair it is that we're not allowed to stone 17-year-old girls to death and post videos of it all over the internet?

For people who don't read Whedonesque, this refers to 17-year-old Dua Khalil, who was stoned to death by a group of men (including relatives) because she had been seen in the company of a man and was suspected to have married him or have converted to his faith. Joss Whedon wrote about it, and about the video of her murder (taken with camera phones) being posted to the internet. And he drew connections between the availability of that video for general consumption and the current trend of movies such as Captivity being produced in the US. The underlying theme of both of his writings (the letter to the MPAA predates his writing about Dua Khalil) is misogyny and a specific manifestation of it, which is condoning violence against women. The issue extends beyond the MPAA-- it's global, and it's what Equality Now is fighting against.
posted by Tehanu at 8:56 AM on June 20, 2007


I'm loathe to keep this going, but this general outrage doesn't seem to be as directed at Audition or at Miike's other works, or at Hostel I (rather than II), or at any number of Japanese or knockoff films that brazenly depict violence or suffering. This outrage, and this mis-characterization of the whole genre as "torture porn," seems to surround a visible subset of these movies that involve women. As if putting a woman in the lead role automatically makes something into pornography, or a statement about women overall? And if men and women are equal, why is depicting the suffering of women in art somehow more of a taboo? I feel that Whedon's thesis is crippled when you recognize other movies in the genre that depict female-on-male, female-on-female, and male-on-male violence with equal intensity. So, at risk of throwing some of Snyder's general rudeness back, I still have to wonder "what the hell Whedon is on about."

Then he sees this Captivity thing, where the story is basically nothing more than a fictional equivalent of a snuff film. Not much plot.

So, he saw the ads and promptly made up his mind? Did the trailer for Serenity have much to do with the movie?

Whedon wanted to dispell myths that women are the weaker sex. This doesn't seem to cater to the standards of the movie and TV industry. It's not marketable.

Really? There's a thriving industry for turning women's empowerment into a cash commodity, from the TV and publishing colossus that is Oprah, to the recent boom of "chick-lit" in the 18-30 crowd, to televised camp like Xena. It's vogue right now, and Buffy owes some of its success to this very market.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:52 AM on June 20, 2007


I'm loathe to keep this going, but this general outrage doesn't seem to be as directed at Audition or at Miike's other works, or at Hostel I (rather than II), or at any number of Japanese or knockoff films that brazenly depict violence or suffering.

So? I think you're incorrect that "outrage" dosen't surround other, less female-centered films, that are also torture porn such as the Saw franchise, or Hostel I, even for people like me, who are exploitation film fans, but even so, I think it's irrelvant. People have a right to get upset about violence against women as entertainment, (especially when it's the sole purpose of the entertainment, which is difficult to argue when an advertising campaing is images of a women being captured, tortured and killed with the the caption "Abduction, Confinement, Torture, Termination,") especially when it is advertised in the general public as such.

Whedon was trying to get rid of a horribly violent and distressing ad, as his is right, and calling the MPAA to enforce it's own rules, rules that Lionsgate happily agreed to, and then appeared to flaunt. That's nothing to do with "ban-other-people's art" about it. You might think the add was fine, or that Whedon's concerns are misplaced or silly, but it's goofy hyperbole to to call it censorship.
posted by Snyder at 3:21 PM on June 20, 2007


Update: Photos from this year's events are up in the CSTS Flickr pool.
posted by Tehanu at 1:39 PM on June 26, 2007


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