Sunday, December 18, 2011

Once More, A Feeling

I recently rewatched the classic (yeah, I'll use the word "classic" here) Buffy episode 6, season 7, better known as the musical episode. Yes, they did it before Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, and Glee made it cool. Not before Cop Rock, the musical show about police officers, but well, Cop Rock most definitely did not make musicals cool.

The verdict? A little disappointing, to be honest. The songs haven't aged as well in reality as they did in my mind. Even the most charitable interpretation would have to admit Whedon gets a lot better at writing for song and dance by the time Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog comes a few years later. What saves it, for the most part, is that there's some really good singers among the core cast. That's not to say the songs are bad; I still got the dose of nostalgia I was looking for.

But the one that really strikes me years later is this one, Amber Benson as Tara singing "I'm Under Your Spell."

I really wanted to get a version with the video, but, alas, Youtube does not have all that is desired. First, it's a very character-oriented song. Willow was definitely the more "outgoing" person in their relationship, compared to Tara's more withdrawn nature, and that definitely comes through here, perhaps even to an unhealthy extent. The positive interpretation is that Tara is saying, er, singing, that Willow brings out the best in her, which is a common enough sentiment for those in happy relationships (or so I'm told). But the other, at least as valid, interpretation is that Tara is really putting a lot of weight on Willow for their relationship ("Nothing I can do, you just took my soul with you." Yikes.)

But what's really amazing, to me, is the innuendo that got by the censors in the final stanza. Take a close look:
The moon through the tide, I can feel you inside.
I'm under your spell.
Surging like the sea, floating here so helplessly.
I break with every swe - ll,
Lost in ecstasy, spread beneath my Willow tree.
You make me comple - te.
You make me com - plete.
You make me com - plete.
You make me com - plete.

"I can feel you inside." "break with every swell." "Lost in ecstasy, spread beneath my Willow tree." There is a subtext here. And just in case that subtext isn't clear, in the original video, at this point, the two women are embracing each other in bed, and the then Willow, with a devilish look on her face, moves from face to face to somewhere decidedly lower on Tara's body. I don't think she's moving down in order to tickle her feet. I really can't believe that this scene made it past the Fox censors in 2001. How does it end? Well, put it this way: "complete" is definitely pronounced as two words.

And yet, there's nothing puerile or salacious about the scene. This isn't a "OMG too chicks duing it xxxx" scene done more for a male audience than anyone else. It's a very sweet, rather romantic scene between two gay characters. It's a portrayal that I can't think of seeing anywhere else on prime time television, and it was ten years ago now. Good for them, frankly. And why aren't we still seeing more of that now?

Later Days.

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