Buffy season 3

Season 3 of Buffy has us in hand. It’s my sixty millionth time through the Buffy series, but The Squeeze hasn’t seen them all. We’re enjoying them very much, though our viewing has synchronised with someone else who’s borrowing them from the video shop*. We watch them faster than they do, but they keep them out for the whole week and won’t let us get ahead – whenever we make a preemptive strike and borrow the couple of discs ahead of them, they retaliate and take the next two. Which sucks, as we’re done with ours in less than a week, while they keep them for the whole week.
We’re nearly at the end (just one or two discs to go), and then we’ll start getting Angel out as well. I have convinced The Squeeze that we have to watch the two in conjunction. Personally, Angel was the only thing that kept me with Buffy at the end there. Buffy herself craps me to tears – she’s such a whingey little ho…
*I want to make a dumb joke about female fans, woman-friendly telly and synchronised menstrual cycles, but I can’t quite manage it…


Cranky out-of-towner in the breakfast queue: “Is it crowded in here, or does this town have a lot of fat fucking people in it?”
Charlie Utter: “either that or some lethal combination of the two”
ianmcshane.jpgAl Swearengen
We are watching season 1 of Deadwood on DVD from the video shop at the moment, and I’m really enjoying it. Well, I don’t know if enjoy is the proper word – it’s dark, it’s super-violent, every second word is cocksucker (or cunt), there’s a lot of mud, a lot of drugs, a lot of whoring and no healthy personalities.
It does, however, have one of the most excellent scripts I’ve seen on telly for a while – I’m finding the late 19th century lingo pleeeasing, when I’m not dodging cusses. Excepting hoopleheads – we’re liking the cuss hooplehead round here.
Deadwood is an American telly show set in the mythic Deadwood city from western lore. I have fond memories of Deadwood and sang every song from Calamity Jane I could remember* when we first starting watching the show. One episode later and I realised how innapropriate it was to sing about the joys of Deadwood city, as sung by an abstinant Calamity Jane.
The Squeeze isn’t really enjoying Deadwood – it’s dark and violent and depressing, though I’ve noticed that it lightened up after the first two episodes (the pilot?). There’s still lots of nasty violence (seems you’re likely to end up fed to pigs if you’re not careful – particularly if you’re the nasty bit of work Kristen Bell played one episode**), the women seem to be either dopefiends, whores, gimps, frighteningly ingnorant widows, con artists or some combination thereof.
ebfarnum.jpgE.B. Farnum
But I like it. I like the dialogue and I like the complicated relationships between the characters. I’m interested in the way the town ‘has no law’ and yet still has an equilibrium maintained by the ‘upstanding’ members of the community – the Gem’s owner Al Swearengen, Cy Tulliver, the Hardware Boys (Bullock and Star), the unspeakably vile E.B. Farnum, etc etc etc. I’m interested in the development of Deadwood as a township, and of the USA as a federation of states.
doccochran.jpgDoc Cochran
I like the Doc Cochran’s complexity – he’s the most sympathetic and sensitive of the characters in Deadwood, though his sensitivity seems strange and excessive in this harsh landscape. He’s not as attractive (this is him – he’s the crazy science dood from Alien Resurrection) as Bullock, and while Bullock can be extremely, irrationally violent (NB the episode with the Indian dood, and the opening scene of season 1), he seems more appealing because he’s better looking and cleaner than the Doc. Which is, of course, nuts, because the Doc is (as I’ve just said) the ‘better’ person.
sethbullock.jpgSeth Bullock
Bullock’s attraction to the Widow Garret is the best demonstration of Bullock’s dissatisfying nature – he’s attracted to this selfish, self-obsessed woman who chooses to stay in Deadwood to pursue her gold mine’s bounty, rather than taking the Metz child and Trixie to New York. Trixie is a whore from the Gem, Swearengen’s ‘woman’, and with a nasty history of laudenum addiction. Her incipient relationship with the eminently sympathetic Sol Star is quashed by her comment “I don’t want what I can’t have”, indicating the permience of class even in the ‘lawless’ Deadwood.
almagarret.jpg the Widow Alma Garret
The issue of class is dealt with in an interesting way by the program when Garret tries to send Trixie to New York by herself. Trixie cannot face a new life in a strange city by herself (as the Doc has to point out to ignorant Garret), but is keen to accompany Garrett to New York as a servant. Escaping Deadwood means escaping violence and regular beatings (ample of evidence of which is shown in the first episode and later, when Swearengen brutally knocks her down and stands on her neck to teach her a lesson for shooting a client who’d beat her nastily).
sophiametz.jpgSophie Metz
When the Widow Garret chooses to stay in Deadwood to manage her claim, rather than choosing a proxy, she commits the child Sophie Metz to a life Deadwood (she is the only other child we ever see onscreen beyond the Chinese quarter), and Trixie is forced to leave Garret’s employ as a nanny and return to the Gem, Swearengen and whoreing.
solstar.jpgSol Star
Trixie’s return to the Gem is made all the more blatant by her costume change – from ‘respectable’ women’s clothing (the costume she wears when Sol first meets her) of dress, corset, petticoats, coat, shawls, etc etc, to ‘whore’ costume of undergarments. Trixie’s character also changes as she returns to the Gem – she no longer smiles, she smokes more, she will not allow Sol to see her at work “like this”, though his interest seems to overlook this issue. She also returns to Swearengen’s bed, and we see her naked more than once. As Garrett’s servant and companion, Trixie is never naked and her confidence and knowledge of things like laudenum addiction give her strength.
Trixie and Garret share an uneasy relationship – Trixie has a better rapport with the traumatised Metz girl, while Garret seems cold and unable to relate to people – bound by her tight, black silk dresses and high collars, impeded by her utter ignorance of the reality of people’s lives in Deadwood, or outside her own priveleged class, despite her continual presence at her window looking out on the street – and that’s another interesting thing.
The importance of looking and surveillance in Deadwood – characters are always observing each other, and we are invited into this voyeurism by sharing their line-of-sight and through scenes such as Farnum’s ‘free touch’ from one of the whores at the Gem – she masturbates him in the main room and the spectacle is remarked upon by the observing Swearengen (and others).
Sex and whoring in Deadwood are not romanticised. There is a matter-of-factness about sex and the sex industry in Deadwood, and we often see women’s naked or revealed bodies, from full-frontal nudity to exposed breasts. The women who work in the Gem are also ”revealed’ and ‘exposed’ in the Doc’s regular trips to care for their health (which includes vaginal examinations). While they are apparently ‘comfortable’ with their state of undress in the Saloon and on the street, there is a marked contrast made between the clothed bodies of Garret and the Madame Joanie at the ‘better’ quality Bella Union Saloon, and the revealed bodies of the Gem’s whores.
There is also a distinction made between the ‘gimp’ Jewel and the other women she works with at the Gem – Jewel is not a whore but a ‘char woman’ (to use my nan’s phrase for a cleaning woman) and is also physically crippled, hence her positioning as an ‘undesirable body’.
Gem whores
I’m not sure how I feel about all these images of women. I’m inclined to the feeling that it’s a complex representation of gender, where we don’t see the madonna/whore binary where the madonna (Garret for the most part) is pure and virginal – she is not sympathetic and the whore (every other woman but Jewel) is evil.
cytolliver.jpgCy Tolliver
The female sex workers in Deadwood vary in character from the ‘hooker with the heart of gold’ Trixie, to the lesbian Joanie in a difficult and maschistic relationship with Cy which echoes Trixie’s with Swearengen, but is perhaps more disturbing for its patina of ‘civility’. The least sympathetic ‘whore’ character was the Veronica Mars character who dropped in briefly then was murdered – horrifically – by Cy for stealing. This female character, while there were suggestions of vulenerability, was bloodthirsty.
As I said, I’m not sure how I feel about these characters – I’ve watched about 11 episodes and there are lots of characters with a range of story lines. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of unpleasant stuff (people shitting themselves, vomiting, pissing in public, having nasty sex, getting very ill, everpresent mud, disease, etc) which distracts me from much of the major character development.
If you get a chance to see it, and can handle the nastiness, tell me what you think.
*and that’s quite a few, as I was in the musical at school and loved the songs.
** the veronica mars site says she had a recurring role on Deadwood, but unless they get her back in via flashbacks, a la Buffy or Angel, then there’s very little chance that we’ll be seeing any more of that character beyond the tattered remnants of her dress half-buried in the pig pen’s mud down at Mr Wu’s place.

yes, don Hamleoni

I have tired brain. I’m not tired physically, I just suddenly become tired when I start reading this chapter I’m trying to edit. The words sort of blur together and I realise how frequently I repeat myself. It’s humid and warm today and I’m hiding inside. It’s not really working, as my sinuses have reminded me that humidity is good for mould. Not Bob Mould, but the other type.
I have this chapter to finish, then the other difficult one (DJing) to finish, and all before the end of the month. 20 days, with weekends off. Meanwhile, the date for submitting my application for extension draws closer and closer (loom is the appropriate word here), my panic ebbs and flows. It’s given me strange dreams, a combination of the hardcore inter-species war being conducted in the Judas Unchained universe and my sudden Lost bingeing.
I hadn’t watched Lost ever before, but an impulse added it to my trawl at the video shop last week. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 4 episodes or so, but it’s kind of losing its appeal – it’s getting silly. I keep noticing things that could either be continuity errors or clever plot lines. If this was David Lynch, I’d be overjoyed and suspecting the latter. But it’s not. One thing I want to know: how is it I can never find half a dozen functioning bobby pins in my own home, when the blondey asthma chick can find at least 20 every day on a desert island? I also want to know how the Korean chick managed to explain to the black guy which type of leaf she needed to do a little eucalyptus naturopath action on blondey. And why she didn’t punch him when he came back with an armload of wattle* instead. That’s not to mention my disbelief at his success finding this particular type of indigenous Australian plant on a tropical island which does not show any other plants from the same family or micro-climte group at all.
Ok, so it could all just be woo-aliens or wooo-government-conspiracy, but please. Respect the bounds of my belief!
On another television front, I think I could be interested in Carnivale on the ABC, but seeing as how I only ever watch telly on DVDs now, that could be difficult…
Meanwhile, we continue the Godfather Experience with Godfather II this week, prompted in part by our delight with phrases like “would I make my sister a widow?” and threatening Crinkle with waking up with the severed head of one of her beloved bunnies in her bed if she gave us any trouble. And no, despite first impressions, it wouldn’t be just like waking up with your period in the night, it would be horrific and she’d scream and scream and scream. And then come on a night time revenge visit with half a dozen henchmen and a machine gun.
In our house, if you displease don Hamleoni, you’re offered a trip to Vegas.
But back on the thesis thing: surely I’ll find my focus again soon? Surely?
*it could have been a particular alpine eucalypt indigenous only to alpine Tasmania, but please.

telly update

It’s ten past eight, and still way light outside.
I’ve spent the day divided between the couch and bed, dealing with serious goobs.
What else to do but watch telly?
We’re watching Veronica Mars on telly and I’m kind of not really digging it. I know other people really dig it, but me… not so much.
It’s been a while since I watched some Dead Like Me, which I’m holding as the main contender for decent teen tv… though it probably doesn’t count as teen tv, seeing as how the protagonist is 18 or even a bit older. It’s certainly a bit less mainstream than VM, seeing as how the protagonist is not only 18 and finished with schoool, but also dead.
Do the characters have to be at school to make it a teen flick?

fan attack

and we’re done.
We watched the last episode of Firefly last night, and that’s it – finito. I am definitely going back to the cinema to see the fillum again, though.
To help me get over the loss, I’m watching masses of episodes of Dead Like Me which I’m quite enjoying. It’s no Firefly, but it’s passing the time.
We also have some Veronica Mars to watch, but I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about it – it looks a bit glam. It better be as dark as the other stuff we’ve been watching.

drama, soap opera, cereal

My obsession with Firefly continues. Maybe I’m understimulated – and that’s why I like it so much…
Last night we went to see Night Watch/Nochnoi Dozor, a Russian vampire/woo scary fillum. I didn’t mind it…sorry. I know I should have something more interesting to say, but David and Margerate said it all. I mean, I should be going nuts for this flick, what with it being a really interesting Russian contribution to Hollywood (there are 2 more to come and a big fat Hollywood budget for the last one at least, so I’ve heard), but … meh. It was ok, and there were bits I quite liked (it was interesting to see something like this set in Moscow), and there were some pretty interesting and unique approaches to cinematography/CGI/subtitles, but… Maybe the next one will blow my pants off. Thing is, being such a fan of vampire/supernatural/sc-fant/sci-fi stuff, my standards are quite high. Well, I’ll watch any old woo crap, but to be impressed, I need more.
It was certainly no Fireflly.
On other filmic fronts, Pride and Prejudice is out now, which I’m quite keen on seeing. I’m a bit of an Austen fan, and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility pleased me immensely (that could just be the Ang Lee factor, though). I’m also a huge fan of lovely period costume and sets.
There’s actually a stack of lady-movies out at the moment: In Her Shoes (or whatever it’s called), Must Love Dogs etc etc etc. eeeeexxxceeellllent. Though of course, this sudden bounty happens just as I get back into the whole thesis thing. Dang.
Similarly, last night I saw a copy of The Truth About Cats and Dogs in a clearance bin at Kmart for only $11. I should have bought it.
Should I be ashamed of this passion for ladyfilms?
I mostly like them because they’re dialogue driven, so you can ‘watch’ them while you quilt/sew/crochet – it doesn’t really matter if you don’t watch the screen the whole time. Unlike action films where it’s all about watching the screen*. Interestingly, Firefly is about half and half: I could quilt while I watched it (as if!)…
Right now I’ve taken a break from Diana Wynn Jones (after a million zillion wonderful books) to read Alexander McCall Smith‘s book 44 Scotland Street which was originally written as a serialised novel in The Scotsman newspaper. Here’s a story about that. I quite like it – and I’m facinated by the idea of the format. How GREAT. How oldskool – I keep thinking about how the ‘soap opera’ or serialised drama format is as old as Dickens.
So it’s oldskool to love Firefly.
*I know I should have used the word ‘spectacle’ here, or made some reference to masculinity and scopophilia but really. That would would be wanky. And kind of dumb.

even The Squeeze watches it

ok, so now i need to know why every bloggging woman in australia is obsessed with chanel (which i keep reading as channel).

why do people like her? she really irritates me – she’s a bit smug. and not nearly as ‘out there’ as she’d like to think. just because ms hines thought that portishead song was really obscure, doesn’t mean it actually IS. i mean, it did rank in the mainstream charts for quite a while, if i recall (possibly incorrectly).

in fact, i don’t know why people watch this show. even The Squeeze watches it. he who declared that reality television was ‘amoral’ before stomping out of the room mid-way through big brother last season.
my mum even watches this dire program.


it’s not like they do anything interesting. they just go on telly and preen and sing songs and cry. even the boy-toy hosts suck.

having said all that, that star search show is actually the closest i’ve come to teenager fashion in a while. i’m continually shocked by the toyboy hairdos.
and at uni yesterday (after giving my lecture TRIUMPHANTLY and triggering spontaneous applause and moderate audience participation) i saw a guy whose fashion was so ludicrous it made me laugh out loud.
now, i do have a history of laughing inappropriately, but gawddammn. WHAT is with this 70s surfer boy fashion revival? it was ridiculous in the day. and now, on the bodies of young wipper snappers who were born, like less than two decades ago (that means they were born in the EIGHTIES), it’s absolutely ridiculous.


yes, i am turning 30 next month. no, i do not have any ‘issues’ about it.