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The Lana Lang Effect: When TV Producers Play Favorites


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#31

Jeebus Cripes

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 6:01 PM

I didn't find Greenwalt's saintification of Cordy half as annoying as Whedon's saintification of Fred


Oh, so Whedon is responsible for Fred? ::shoots a mind-bullet in Whedon's direction::
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#32

Imogen

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 6:03 PM

I think 'The Abby Lockhart Show' wins this one.
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#33

redrobin27

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 6:05 PM

I don't know if this would qualify since she's a main character, but Alexis Bledel totally fits this thread in my mind. After all of the crap Rory Gilmore has pulled since season 4, the writers neatly wrapped everything up by having Jess come in one ep, ask "Rory, what are you doing?", suddenly have her come to her senses, and BAM!....everything falls into place for her. She magically gets a job at the newspaper where she interned for like 2 weeks. Her mom, Lorelai, never has a discussion with her regarding all that happened - just "Glad to have you back, kid!" Wha? tha? hell? And let's not forget that AB's acting is directly proportional to the amount of screen time she has received in the last couple of seasons, which I totally don't get. She's gotten WORSE since season 1, and you give her more screen time, more lines to mumble, and more opportunities to exhibit bad posture? Yet Lane, who TOTALLY rocks, is supposed to be Rory's best friend, but Keiko Agena has been mostly MIA until recently and can act circles around Alexis. And someone must hate Kelly Bishop, because the writers have slaughtered the character of Emily Gilmore. Shut up, Amy Sherman-Palladino!
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#34

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 6:27 PM

as annoying as Donna was on 90210, the character that bugged me to death was Kelly. AARRRGH!
What exactly was so wonderful about her anyway? Her nasally voice and lousy acting skills drove me crazy.

How about Homicide:LOTS? I think I've blocked out the names of the characters that the producers decided were the greatest thing since sliced bread. The Italian guy and the detective chick her started sleeping with. Okay, with a quick look on imdb and here's the names: Falsone and Ballard. Ugh! what made the producers think that they were so much more appealing than the older characters like Munch and Giordello? I could even tolerate Michael Michelle if I didn't have to put up with Falsone and Ballard. Especially Falsone.
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#35

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 7:03 PM

God I hated Kelly Taylor. And I doubly hate that Jennie Garth managed to snag a comedy to star in while Shannen Doherty can't get a break. Although the time when Kelly uses the check her father sent to snort coke is hilarious, what an irritating rich brat.

This thread wouldn't be complete without mention of Rachel Green/Jennifer Aniston. No wonder Phoebe turned malevolent and Monica focused on her shrewish side. I would have too if the show I was on became Who's Rachel Dating Now?
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#36

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 7:13 PM

Jill Farren Phelps is a producer who is the absolute worst at playing favorites. All you soap nuts know who I'm talking about. When she was a producer at Guiding Light, she hired a no-talent named Kevin McClatchy. Then, when she moved to Another World, she promptly fired Grey's Anatomy's Justin Chambers, who played Nick, and replaced him with McClatchy. Several years later, she produced One Life to Live, and she hired the dude again! And if that wasn't enough, she hired him at General Hospital (where she's currently employed) for a few episodes last year.

Also, when she is producing a soap, she usually becomes obsessed with a few selected male actors, and proceeds to pimp them to death, while ignoring the show's female talent.
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#37

Split Ends

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 7:21 PM

My it's-gotta-be-favoritism rant points directly at Maurice Bernard on General Hospital.

He hasn't brought his A, B, or even C game since the 90s. He's gotten chubby and mutters half his lines, screams the other half, and usually is staring off at some completely incongruous point in the distance or at his shoes.

Yet he continues to get top billing, tons of screen time and every romantic pairing possible, even in the face of over 60% of veiwers loathing the relationship. He reportedly has a killer salary and it is rumored he can kill plots at whim, particularly if he doesn't like the lead actress.

If this isn't producer favoritism, I can't imagine what is. Deal with Satan, perhaps?
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#38

Jeebus Shuttlesworth

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 7:31 PM

My most hated screen time hog: Dawson Leery. It's like he thinks the show was named after him or something. Second place: Angel on Angel. What, did you appoint yourself the leader of these people and the show has to follow you around fighting demons every week? Whatever. Also, and I hate to say this, because I love Arrested Development and Jason Bateman, but they really focus too much on Michael Bluth. Hello, it's the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, not the story of the one son who had no choice but to keep them together.
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#39

Mr. Excitement

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 8:05 PM

Jeebus Cripes writes:

But ye gods, I have to say the title for this thread is perfect. Lana Lang truly owns this one.



Thanks for the kind words. I thought I should have named it after the historical examples of the phenomenon, like The Fonz or Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, but that wouldn't have fit as well with the general zeitgeist of the forum.
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#40

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 8:52 PM

I heard that they actually wanted to change the tittle of Happy Days to something that was named after Fonzie's character somewhere into the shows run because of the character's popularity. However, the actor thought it was completely disrespectfull and nixed the idea.

I totally feel the pain over Kelly Taylor. I liked the character when she was supposed to be the rich bitch. She was beautiful and I don't agree that the actress was untalented. I wasn't even bent out of shape over her relationship with Dylan because it was a soap and that's what soaps do. What chapped my ass was that Brenda was supposed to be happy for them. That just doesn't make sense. It wasn't until Kelly was cannonized and Brenda was treated like Caligula that I couldn't stand Kelly.

All My Children has earned the Golden Douche Bag Award for this category though all because of Babe Carey and her mother Krystal. Babe Carey came into town as a gold gigging tramp and a bigamist. The first night she was in town she slept with a guy she met on the beach (who turned out to be her brother in law although neither knew it at the time). She ended up getting pregnant. There were three possible different fathers (her first husband who was poor, her second husband who was rich, and her second husband's brother). Babe went on to let her best friend believe her baby was dead and pass off the child as her own all so that she could stay married to her rich husband. Half the town, characters who had previously been good and kind, helped her in various ways including tampering with the DNA tests. Then her marriage feel apart and she found out her real child was alive. She no longer had any interst in the former child. Eventually she ,with the help of the brother in law, kidnapped her husband and taunted him with the fact that his baby was dead (even though they know the child was alive) to give the other child back to her rightfull mother and take care of their problems. They found her real son and went on the run with him. Eventually, the biological father regained custody.

The kicker is that after all that the writers acted as though everybody who hated these people were irrational or evil. They expected all the fan base to have sympathy for the poor little mommy who just wanted to see her son. This eventually made me stop watching the show. I'm still bitter about it to this day.
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#41

Betty Louise

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 8:56 PM

Seven of Nine

I remember this fairly decent version of Star Trek that had cool characters and lots of potential. It was cancelled suddenly though, and replaced with The Seven of Nine Show



On another forum I frequent, someone referred to the character as "Seven of Mary Sue." I laughed aloud and then had to explain the joke to my roommate. It loses a lot of the humor in translation.
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#42

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 10:08 PM

In the last season of 'The Practice', the brought in screen actor James Spader to play Alan Shore after firing half the original cast- and in no time flat they turned everyone else into wallpaper and made him the focus of every single ep. They even had promos of him almost totally blocking the camera with everyone else barely visible in the distant background! I hated that so much I quit watching and refuse to give into seeing the overhypped spinoff!
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#43

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 10:12 PM

Family Ties, originally about Eylse and Steven but Justine Batemen and Michael J. Fox were so freakishly hot that the show eventually refocused on the kids rather than the parents

Family Matters. Two words Steve Urkel

The Simpsons, Bart Simpson started out as the pop-culture icon of the show, being that parent groups were OUTRAGED that such a cartoon character could be allowed on TV (never mind that this was a prime-time TV show) and Bart T-Shirts and trinkets were ALL the rage. Flash forward a few years (or fifteen if you will) and clearly Homer is the star of the show as the Simpsons moved from a passing fad for the pre-teen set to one of the pop-culturely significant shows of the 1990's
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#44

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 10:48 PM

The first thing that pops in my mind regarding TPTB playing favoritism is the Bosco character on Third Watch. While, Jason Wiles is a good actor, I still felt it wasn't cool to dedicate so many of the storylines surrounding him, b/c it changed the concept of the show, IMO. I know there were many fans who LOVED his character, and probably didn't see a problem, but I still believe that was one of the reasons the original cast were dropping like flies. Hey, if you aren't getting much screentime...why stick around? I enjoyed TW during most of its run, but I'll admit I liked it so much better in its earlier days when all the characters got a chance to shine.


But, when Carol left and Abby Lockhart arrived on the scene, I was all psyched because this development would surely mean that the other female characters, like Lizzie and Kerry, would get more screentime? Boy, was I wrong. The show turned into The Astounding and Angsty Adventures of the Amazing Abby. I realised this and lost interest.


How in the world did I forget Abby? She's one of the main reasons I stopped watching ER. I got so bored with her moping all the time, and as you mentioned her crazy family stories. Then they had Carter and Luka head over heels in love with her. So much that they actually fought over her...LOL. Seriously, TPTB definitely negelected other characters in favor of Abby's overly sulky character.

Family Matters. Two words Steve Urkel


Oh my goodness....this has the be the KING Of reshifting the focus. Not only did Urkel become a focal point, people stopped calling the show Family Matters and would just refer to it as URKEL. To this day, I know that has to bother the actors...especially Jo Marie Payton, because FM was a spin off based on her character on Perfect Strangers.

Another good example is Happy Days. Fonzie didn't even start out as a regular chracharacter, but he shortly became a big part of the show. People called this show Fonzie. I still don't think it was as bad as Family Matters, because the Cunninghams did still get decent focus.

Edited by Divagalore, Jan 28, 2006 @ 11:46 PM.

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#45

kcsnedah

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Posted Jan 28, 2006 @ 11:20 PM

Oh no. I cannot believe NO ONE has mentioned Brad Kern and Charmed with all it's suckiness yet!

It really should be called the Alyssa Milano/Phoebe (isamajorskank) show because of all of Brad Kern's focus on her throughout the years. On another thread someone said it best, a 3,498,128 episode arc about Phoebe and Cole? KILL ME!

Although, this season it has almost been surpassed by Kern's love for Kaley Cuoco's character Billie. Never has anything so...vile...been so prominently and proudly displayed. He's desperately trying for a spinoff, and it's so evident and repulsive because he already HAD a perfect spinoff with Leo & Piper's two sons.

Kern managed to drive away (fire?) the LEAD MALE CHARACTER Brian Krause aka Leo to have this shitty actress on the show. Now, there isn't a male lead. It's something I took for granted, having a man on a TV show, and I want him back!
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#46

chancellorjake

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 2:11 AM

Word, kcsnedah
Fortunately, for all of humanity, any of Kern-y's hopes for his Billie The Teenage Witch spin-off were crushed under the bloated weight of The CoW.
If we're really lucky he will completely unemployed when Charmed is finally vanquished in May.

McKay is a nasty, bitchy, self-centered little shit.

Thanks for that CoderLady. I nearly died of a laughing fit.
I've never been able to understand how anyone could love McKay. One-Liners aside he is completely heinous 98% of the time.
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#47

Tibby

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 2:26 AM

Ooh how about Full House, aka The Michelle Show? It makes me so sad to watch the first few seasons (before the Olsen twins learned how to talk) to see the amazing comedic timing Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie) had when she was only five years old, only to have her and the rest of the cast be completely overshadowed by Michelle by the end of the run.

Edited by Tibby, Jan 29, 2006 @ 2:26 AM.

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#48

Morrigan8472

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 3:44 AM

I didn't find Greenwalt's saintification of Cordy half as annoying as Whedon's saintification of Fred

Oh, so Whedon is responsible for Fred? ::shoots a mind-bullet in Whedon's direction::


Jeebus Cripes, I think I love you a little bit, and I have a list of people you can "contact" too. I personally loved Cordelia a lot; she (the actress) is one of the few people I would switch teams for. I only brought her up since I think it was one of the clearest examples of producer favoritism cutting both ways. Fred ended up as just a clone of a character type Whedon has in all his writings: the horny, quirky, unrealistically smart nice girl (see also Willow and Kaylee). Way to expand your horizons and challenge yourself, dude.
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#49

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 6:27 AM

Ooh, how I hate Kelly Taylor. I particularly despised her during the later seasons when she was so nasty to Val (she uninvited her to Thanksgiving!). Okay, yes, Val was a blackmailing, drug-dealing, boyfriend-stealing whore, but at least she owned it and didn't get all sanctimonious towards others after, say, snorting coke or joining a cult or sleeping with her best friend's boyfriend. Val respected you enough to be a straight-up bitch, while Kelly was an underhanded, holier-than-thou bitch. And Brenda was never actually a bitch, they just said she was later because they hated Shannen.

I also wanted to comment that so often when a character is sanctified, they actually do continue to have flaws (including, often, passivity/passive-aggressiveness, paralyzing indecision and a general inability to locate a spine, all of which is characterized as being "nice" or "sweet"), but other characters are constantly praising him or her (hence Joey Potter has "it" or Rory Gilmore makes even the most determined playboy fall in love with her). And to me, that's the rub. Yes, saintly characters are annoying, but the ones who aren't saintly but are constantly being shoved on us as such bug me even more (I'm looking at you Babe Chandler).

Edited by ultimategirl, Jan 29, 2006 @ 6:34 AM.

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#50

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 9:34 AM

Good comments!

Speaking of Happy Days, didn't it become "Give Chachi A Q Rating" to spin off "Joanie Loves Chachi" ?

And Star Trek: TNG was too often about Wesley Crusher for the first season until they got their footing. Even then it was known to be "Data and Friends" a lot.

NYPD Blue ended up "The Sipowitz Hour". But would it have been a show otherwise, like MASH and Hawkeye?

And a fun one, didn't Mary Hart's Legs get a show of their own for a while?
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#51

spacemonkeys

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 2:09 PM

I remember this fairly decent version of Star Trek that had cool characters and lots of potential. It was cancelled suddenly though, and replaced with The Seven of Nine Show

This is the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread. To this day, my sister and I refer to the later seasons of Voyager as The Captain and Seven Show(with occasional guest appearances by the Doctor and Neelix). And the worst part? When Robert Beltran (Chakotay) complained about his lack of screen-time, they gave him more screen-time by having his character date Seven. Thereby admitting that the only way to get on the show was to be in love with Seven['s balloons and catsuit].
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#52

Gaymo

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 2:24 PM

Jeebus Cripes and Morrigan...I love you both a little bit. I think Charisma was one of the real stars of the show; hilarious at best and entertaining at worst. I mean, Cordelia was just wonderful and I had my worries when she moved to Angel because I was afraid she wouldn't cut it (both the character and the actress) and she consistently kept my interest. Loved. Her.

But Fred. Gnargh. Hated her with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. There was a time during Season 4 and 5 when Mrs Gaymo and I would only ever ask "Is this the episode where Fred dies?" Ah, those hopeful halcyon days. It's the ultimate geek act, to Mary-Sue your characters and really, what was Fred other than Willow-Lite?

Edited by Gaymo, Jan 29, 2006 @ 2:25 PM.

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#53

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 3:10 PM

I love this thread, especially the Fred hate. I know quite a few fans blame Connor for ATS jumping the shark, but IMHO, the show started downhill at the end of S2 when little Freddie Sue joined the cast and stole Wesley's role as brain, and Cordelia's screentime and role as the female lead. Don't get me started on everyone madly in love with her and thinking her scrawny, flat-chested body was TEH SEXXORS!!11!!

Illyria was just as bad in a different way. 1) it was too late in the series to introduce not only a new character, but a whole new species/threat/mythology; and 2) watching Acker dressed in an anime convention costume, tilt her head and drone on and on about "I once was a god, now I must live among human vermin" to be just as boring as Buffy's S7 speechifying.

Voyager - I concur with those who hated what was once a decent SCIFI show turning into the 2 of DD's show.

ER Add me to the Abby hate train. I gave up on that show after Bitchface McSourpuss showed up.

ST: TNG - gave up when it became all about Data.

Stargate SG1 It started out good, but turned into the Samantha Carter Romance Hour in S4 and has been going downhill since.

Edited by Laira, Jan 29, 2006 @ 5:55 PM.

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#54

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 3:29 PM

This is a change that worked out for the better, but The West Wing drastically reoriented itself from its focus in "Pilot"; Sam was the star of that episode, but the series rapidly recentered on Bartlet (who is barely in the first episode, although his appearance is killer), and Sam eventually ended up deep background. Moira Kelly, originally meant as the female lead, ended up being written out quickly (again, for the better). It quickly became apparent that Sheen was the real centre of the show.
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#55

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 6:43 PM

I'm surprised no one Mentioned Dawn, I always had a feeling the producers liked her which is why she stayed after season 5.
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#56

Penthilisea

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 7:19 PM

Joey Potter does not own the Creek. Her It and the Fivehead do not own the creek. Pacey and I own the creek and we are living happily ever after. I mean, clearly the writers hated Dawson, since he was a humorless yammering asshole and his perfect future was to be ALONE with spielerg...

But someone up there loved JJ, and the viewers did too. But the good boy/bad boy/ stock broker/sailer/chef/job of the month schtick gets old.

In regards to Joss + Fred, In firefly/serenity I got it. I bought in and said yeah, ya know, River is a prettykickass weak looking little girl with infinite cosmic powers.
But fred was just a weak neanderthal version of River. Yick. Even after she turned Blue I still hated her. The actress is a lovely lady but Fred and the thing that ate wonkas blue berry gum were IMO a mere directors whim.

And BTW who did Tara piss off that she was not only the fat one but also stuttered and then DIED? Anti favorite - anyone?
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#57

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 9:04 PM

And BTW who did Tara piss off that she was not only the fat one but also stuttered and then DIED? Anti favorite - anyone?


First of all, Amber Benson is not fat at all. She isn't skinny. She is average weight. Second of all, nobody told her to go gain weight when she was cast. I don't remember her ever being painted as "the fat one."
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#58

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 9:47 PM

The wardrobe painted her as the fat one...God, those atrocious Ren-fair dresses with the big band around the waist would make Nicole Ritchie look like Kirstie Allie. I do agree that Amber Benson isn't fat--she's closer to skinny than fat.
Topic:
Marti Noxon's sick obsession with Spike tanked the show. Although he was a popular character, as the story had to be progressively stretched to create an excuse for him to be in the plot (the chip, the sooouuuuull), which ruined the credibility of the show. A true ballsy head writer would kill him off; they did it to Ms. Calendar, they did it to Darla, why not to Spike?
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#59

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 10:06 PM

I've actually wondered if part of the Spike Buffy stuff, is a result of SMG. Back when EW did their Buffy issue, SMG mentions she wanted Spike and Buffy to hook up but Joss said no more vampires. A year or two later? boom.

Also season 7 Buffy became so completely insufferable and yet still managed to be right. When they had ths overly elaborate set up that Buffy never would have fallen for because she was never one to think that far ahead to try something on that scale and yet it works, because it happens at the same time everyone decides quite rightly Buffy was not in a position to lead. When they had that girl say we were punished for not followig you? I swear to God that was added to either appease SMG or someone at ME saying you don't like Buffy's behaviour 'Screw you'
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#60

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Posted Jan 29, 2006 @ 10:24 PM

I have to agree with whoever mentioned Spike a few pages back.
I didn't really mind Spike too much for most of Buffy. I actually liked his character. I didn't mind him too much on AtS either, until it became StS. The show was about Angel, ok? It's in the name. The show is called Angel. An-Gel. I try yelling this at my TV, but the writers don't seem to get my message. Grrr Argh!
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