Sci-Fi: the future of sex and sexuality

Saw this really awesome blog post by scientist and sci-fi enthusiast Kyle Munkittrick from Discover:

Science fiction knows how to play around with sex and gender. The free-lovin’ of A Stranger in A Strange Land, Commander Shepard’s bisexual proclivities, and William T. Riker’s seemingly universal interspecies compatibility are constant sources of entertainment.

And the fun doesn’t stop with organic entities. Androids, cyborgs, and robots make gender all the stranger. Why is Data fully functional? Isn’t it curious that, of all the characters in Ghost in the Shell the two most heavily cyberized characters, Motoko and Batou, are hyper-feminine and hyper-masculine respectively? And, my favorite: as a robot Bender has no gender, so if Bender bends his gender, what gender does Bender bend?

Sci-fi sex is fun to talk about, of course, but how can all of that help us understand the actual future of humanity? Simply put: we imagine what we hope to see. So the question is: what is it we imagine and hope for? An utter free-for-all of alien-cyborg-A.I. bacchanalia? I don’t think so. Instead, sci-fi is teaching the diversity of our own human sexuality back to us.

Science fiction allows for universes in which we can more easily accept alien forms of gender expression and sexual desire. For example, Ruby Rhod from The Fifth Element is perfectly and outrageously androgynous. In a normal action flick, I suspect Rhod would be a controversial and possibly distracting figure. In science fiction, however, Rhod is just another character caught up in the chaos. Sci-fi lets us explore sexuality free of the cultural and social baggage it carries in the here and now.

For more, click here.

Buffy Studies 101: All the things I know about break-ups I learned from Buffy

So, in the previous post I said that I thought there was a romantic prospect on the horizon. Well, that was a bust! It came and went in the space of a week and thus I must needs go to the “Gospel of Buffy” to find some measure of comfort and truth in Buffy. I think maybe Buffy can help me get over this heartbreak.

1. Did your groom just leave you at the altar? No problem. Go back to being a demon!

2. Is your girlfriend the emotionally unavailable Chosen One? No problem. Go pay vampires to suck your blood then rejoin the Initiative.

3. Did your girlfriend dump you because you are using way too much magic? No problem. Use more magic.

4. Did your friends bring you back from the dead not knowing you were in Heaven because you are The Chosen One? Sleep with the vampire you hate the most and have earth shattering sex.

5. Did your girlfriend stab you through the chest and send you through a demon portal because your evil alter ego was about to bring the apocalypse? Come back, leave town and establish your own private investigation agency.

6. Did your girlfriend die from a gunshot wound because The Chosen Ones nemesesis (grin) accidentally shot her whilst trying to kill The Slayer? Go bad, suck the magic out of everything, skin your enemies alive and destroy the world.

7. Did you just propose to your girlfriend thinking it’s the end of the world but suddenly change your mind because you’re not ready? Wish for a musical demon to make everyone burst out into song. Then after, right before you get married, abandon your bride at the altar, disappear and appear again demanding that the ex-bride you just abandoned at the altar take you back again. And watch as she tries to eviscerate you.

Hmmm….I don’t have a lot of choices from the above, do I? What I want to do now though is become a vengeance demon. But since that can’t happen, I think I shall go for just randomly bursting out into song and joining an organization that will make me travel to other places. Wish me luck!

All I Ever Really Learned About Love & Relationships, I learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and other shows besides)

So there’s a potentially interesting dating prospect on the horizon and since being the hardcore geek that I am, I am always lost and stumped as to how to go about this, I have turned to television shows to help me deal with people who may potentially be the next partner.

I have realized that in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s six season run, it has quite capably tackled the very thorny, tricky issue of navigating the murky waters of relationships, something that now proves handy in light of the circumstances. Sure, nobody past 3 years old watches television to improve his/her mind, much less turn to TV to help you with relationships, but I find that all you’ll probably ever learn about relationships you’ll learn from TV. Or more specifically, Buffy.

1. If the object of your affection looks pale, only comes out at night, and has mysteriously long, sharp canines, think twice about dating him/her.

2. If the object of your affection doesn’t look pale, isn’t a night owl, and doesn’t have fangs, but cannot explain the impeccable posture, the alertness in his eye, or the many shades of fatigues in his closet,  then he’s probably working for a secret government organization out to shut you down.

3. If the object of your affection isn’t any of the above, but likes to float pencils, make spells that make friends into demon magnets, go blind, or marry the next git that comes along, then think twice. She may be gearing up to be addicted to the dark arts…and get you killed in the process.

4. Is the object of your affection your mortal enemy? Is she your complete opposite? Does she stake your kind? Do you bite her kind? Brace yourself. You’ll probably fall in love with her. And get yourself dusted in the process.

5. If the object of your affection used to be a demon, you’ll probably fall in love with her. Everybody loves obnoxious thousand year old demons!

6. If the object of your affection is a geek and a dork, is a drifter, bounces from one job to the next, is prone to making stupid, pointless jokes in the face of danger, is given to commitment issues, living in his parents’ basement and spanking, then you better not date him. When he proposes marriage, turn him down, like, right now.

7. If the object of your affection’s girlfriend just died, is a recovering addict, is prone to making friends disappear accidentally, and making herself look like the guy who killed her dead girlfriend…duck. Then come on to her shamelessly, til she gives in and sucks the power out of you to open a portal to another dimension.

8. If the object of your affection is a self-sufficient, self-reliant person prone to keeping things to herself, has a lot of responsibilities (say, like saving the world from an apocalypse), is prone to not having time for you because she has duties like taking care of a younger sister who’s also a mystical key that can open the portal to an apocalypse, a dying mother, a friend who just left his bride at the altar, another friend who’s a magic junkie, in short, not really there there for you then maybe it’s time to re-think your relationship prospects. Confront the object your affection, but if nothing happens, then it’s time to go to rejoin the secret government organization instrumental in your meeting and go down to Guatemala.

9. If the object of your affection is a spoiled, rich, trust-fund, boarding school hottie who is into you right from the get-go but doesn’t get your addiction to magic, and pursues you like hell on steroids, don’t panic. This will probably be the best thing that ever happened to you. Try it. The most unexpected is usually the most surprising, and the most fulfilling…unless until Season 8 comes into the picture.

10. It is possible to be friends with all your ex-es, no matter how terrible the relationship may have been. Some of them turn out to be your best friends, too, and save the world because of you.

11. All you need is love. Love is the one thing that triumphs over you staking your evil boyfriend in the gut right after he summons an apocalypse, condemning him into a demonic dimension, and it is the one thing that triumphs when he comes back and should be hating you but instead loves you even more, loves you so much in fact that he leaves so you don’t have to make the choice of choosing him over the world again. Love is the one thing that makes you die for your loved ones. Love is the one the thing that makes you quit your addictions and obsessions. Love is the one thing that helps you triumph over fear, grief, pain, death. Just when you think you can’t take it anymore, just when you think you have nothing more to give, just when you think you can’t take anymore of what life can give you, you find the strength in love. In the end, what matters most is that love is still, ever more, stronger than death. 🙂

Have a great week!

11 Things I learned from watching “Battlestar Galactica”

Just finished watching Season 5 of “Battlestar Galactica“, arguably one of the best sci-fi television shows ever produced ever. My eyes are bloodshot, I am tired, but it’s all worth it, considering it’s a great show.

Since I have finished watching it, I have come to realize some important things about the human race and everything else, and I would like to write it down for posterity.

1. When robots evolve, all they’ll ever want to do is reproduce…with each other and with humans.

2. When robots evolve, the first thing/s they want to look like are a) Xena, b) a hot-looking Victoria’s Secret model, c) hot Asian chick. Oh, and the guys look okay, too.

3. Time travel is always an acceptable solution for any kind of impending extinction of humankind (please see the new “Star Trek” movie to illustrate this point as well).

4. When robots evolve, and are able to look human, they will only choose 10 faces and multiply that by millions, and have each one called by a generic name like “Six” or “Eight”  to confuse viewers.

5. It is possible to have cancer and live through 50,000 crises and only die at the very end of the show.

6. Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes) is awesome. Scary, but awesome.

7. You can be a woman and still be a) the complex president, b) a complex admiral, c) a complex lead fighter pilot, d) a complex villain  with intelligent lines.

8. Even if you are the most vile, dorky, deranged (but smart!)  villain in the fleet, for as long as you are  Gaius Baltar (James Callis), you will almost always get laid by a Number 6 (Tricia Helfer), anywhere in the universe (or multi-verses or alternate dimensions or time).

9. Even old people (William Adama and President Laura Roslin, Col. Sol Tigh and Ellen)  in the future have sex lives.

10. You can die and come back again for as long as you are Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff).

11. All this has happened before and will happen again.

12. Robots are humans too.

13. Battlestar Galactica rocks. 🙂

Now, for a trip down memory lane, the BSG cast on the David Letterman show.

12 things I’ve learned from watching lesbian films

So I came across this blog post “17 Things I’ve learned about life from watching movies and TV“(good post, check it out). The blog post inspired me so much I’d like to do my own, except it’s the top things I’ve learned from watching lesbian movies.

1. Character. The leads will always be extreme opposites. One of them will usually be a) some repressed, conservative girl who gets attracted to the b) rebel without a cause who likes to drink, smoke and generally be her exact opposite.

Examples:

  • Lost and Delirious. Tory (Jessica Pare) is the nice girl-next-door who falls for orphan rebel smoker Paulie (Piper Perabo).
  • The Secrets (Ha Sodot) – The repressed Israeli student falls in love with the girl who just came from Paris.
  • The World Unseen – Lisa Ray’s repressed Indian wife  falls in love with the feisty (aren’t they always?) cafe-owning, liberal Amina (Sheetal Sheth).
  • I Can’t Think Straight – Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth reverse roles.
  • But I’m a Cheerleader – Natasha Lyonne plays the All-American cheerleader who falls in love with the goth-ish rebel without a cause trust-fund hottie, Clea Duvall.
  • When Night is Falling – Repressed Christian professor falls in love with the free-wheelin’ circus hottie.
  • DEBS – Hot, repressed, uptight top, perfect scoring DEBS spy falls in love with equally hot, uninhibited, liberal, very gay Jordana Brewster character.
  • Show Me Love (Sweden) – Promiscuous, rebellious teenage girl who’s slept with most of the teenaged male population of the town falls for geeky, mousy, teenage girl.-

2. The more “butch” lead will almost always be smoking.

3. The “femme” lead will almost always love Walt Whitman, opera and walks under the moonlight or in wide, open spaces.

4. The repressed latent homosexual will almost always be attracted to the outsider/rebel/sexually ambiguous and/or lesbian in the school because said repressed homosexual is sick and tired of boyfriend/fiance/husband or has slept with the whole male populace of the town or city.

5. The would-be lesbian lovers will have a series of meetings that may either begin with a) hostility or b) bonding but will almost always end with c) them hitting it off and then having trips to some exhilirating place where they realize they are meant for each other: the soccer stadium (Imagine Me and You), the gaming room (Imagine Me and You), the bar/pub, the circus, hang gliding, Oxford, some god-forsaken wide open space in the middle of nowhere where the two leads will then proceed to

6. Have a montage of talking, listening to music, reading, looking at each other with those longing looks that can either look like either or both are a) really into each other or b) constipated.

7. This montage will eventually lead to a mounting sexual tension which will then lead to a lot of vigorous making-out or a really contrived but inexplicably hot love scene featuring really dark lighting, red sheets, stock footage of the moon and stars, and some music by a band known only to the producer and director.This scene will end with both characters professing undying love to each other until

8. The  love struck lesbian  leads are discovered by any of the following: a) family, b) friends and/or c) complete strangers buck naked in bed which lead to the climax of the movie.

9. The  love struck lesbian  leads will almost always forget to lock the door whilst making love even though both are not out to their family, friends and/or complete strangers.

10. The inevitable tension mounts when family, friends and sometimes even complete strangers express disapproval over the lesbian relationship. Said family, friends and complete strangers will try to break said  love struck lesbian  leads.

11. Either leads will try to be straight.

12. One of them will almost always go crazy, end up in a mental asylum, or be married, or dead. And sometimes, they come back as ghosts and haunt the living daylights out of the ex-lover (Memento Mori).

DVD Junkie: Found “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” Season 2 (yay!)

So last year, in search of interesting things to watch and entertain myself with while I was in London, I came across a little-known anime show entitled “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, which is about a girl who one day, in a fit existential depression, realizes how insignificant she is  and how she must change the world to make herself matter and thus inadvertently, by conscious evolution, changes the world. Is she a god? An alien? A powerful being? It’s anyone’s guess. But this is one of the best shows I have ever watched so far. Plus, it’s really funny.

If you haven’t watched it, get thee to a DVD shop and buy yourself one of these!

DVD Junkie: “Popular” is actually just an earlier version of “Glee” (and all other teen TV shows besides)

So here’s why I think Ryan Murphy’s “Popular” got cancelled after only two seasons: falling ratings is one, yes, but the other reason could also be because while it had a great first season, it could not be sustained in the second season.

Here’s the thing that I don’t quite get: the second season starts off really nice and funny, with all the pizazz and in-your-face coolness that so defined season 1. So, where did it go wrong?

Well, half-way through the season, whilst trying to control myself from the incessant yawning-inducing episodes I was watching, I realized why: the season just didn’t seem as good as the first one. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s still funny, and the nasty, snarky banter is up to par with the first season, but there was still something missing. Maybe it’s because American high school TV shows always seem to have the need to come off as PSAs whenever they run out of good stories, rehashing the same old storylines from other teen TV shows that have come before it: Alcoholism? check. Domestic violence? check. Drug abuse? check. Cancer (or any variation thereof)? check. Drunk driving? check. Teen pregnancy? check. Pre-marital teen sex? Check. A discussion on doing it vs. abstinence? check. Some form of eating disorder? check.  Death? check. Homophobia? check. Some form of coming out and a discussion of coming out? Check. Hate crimes? check.

If you think I’m kidding, please see previous American TV shows, re: Beverly Hills 90201 (the original one, not the remake), Party of Five (didn’t one of the characters used to be an alcoholic?), Felicity, and before that, when I was growing up, High School Confidential and Degrassi Junior High. We can probably go waaaay back and dig up some more of the same actually.

To illustrate my point, consider the following in the second season of this show:

1. Picture perfect all-American cheerleader, Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) has an eating disorder.

2. Lily Esposito (Tamara Mello) has an addiction to cough syrup. It was just one gulp actually. In the Philippines, that would be considered experimenting, not an addiction.

3. Harrison Ford (Christopher Gorham)  develops leukemia.

4. Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels) finds out she’s adopted and spends the rest of the season looking for her biological mom.

5. Carmen Ferrera (Sara Rue) has an alcoholic mom and is a domestic violence survivor.

6. Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman) has a tax evading mom and becomes poor.

7. Sam McPherson (Carly Pope) struggles with her interracial relationship with what seems to be the only black guy on campus.

And the bad thing is, when it all gets dramatic, the comedy falls flat, and just seems all the more appalling. In one episode, April Tuna (Adria Dawn, who looks like Tilda Swinton’s love child), the Star Trek loving, overachieving, socially inept geek from hell is mistaken for the one who dies in a car crash accident and people joke about it. That’s just in bad taste. The show really shines when it’s being satirical, ironic, hysterical, over-the-top,outrageous and campy. And who can resist camp?!?

I also did not realize how many stereotypes this show was perpetuating as well. You have the blonde, all-American golden-hearted jock football jock Josh (Bryce Johnson), the blonde, all-American cheerleader who wants to be taken seriously, Brooke (Leslie Bibb), the dark-haired geeky, rebel without a cause, Sam (Carly Pope), Sam’s geeky bestfriend who’s in love with her, Harrison (Christopher Gorham), the sexually ambiguous/ambivalent butchy chemistry teacher, Bobbi (Diane Delano)…the list could go on.

In fact, I just realized how much this TV show seems more like “Glee”, which is also a Ryan Murphy production. The football jock with the heart of gold is still there, so is the pretty, blonde, All-American cheerleader, the dark-haired geeky rebel (who now just happens to be Jewish), the sexually ambiguous teacher, except now she’s teaching PE. The token African American person in “Glee” is now a girl, there is a token Asian American girl as well and an Indian principal. The only thing that makes “Glee” interesting is the music and Kurt. We’ll see what else “Glee” can deliver this year.

“Popular” came out in 1999. “Glee” came out a good 10 years after.

It’s nice to know that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

Guerilla Geek books and DVDs: Salmon, Faust, Star Gate and Cheerleading

Spent Saturday scrounging around for books at SM Booksale and National Bookstore, then going to my suking DVD shop for my weekly dose of DVDs. Spent Sunday morning napping, had a lecture at 1pm on how to make effective résumés to HRM students at Teacher’s Camp here in Baguio City. Sweet, short and nifty, that. Had lunch of mussels and some wine after at SM.

What I have managed to dig up at the booksale:

Salmon spawning

1. How to Travel with a Salmon by Umberto Eco –  I have Umberto Eco’s “The Island of the Day Before” which I never seem to get finished. I always get stuck at Chapter 1. I guess I should have bought “The Name of the Rose” instead – but “The Island” was on sale at National, The Name of the Rose was unavailable, and since I’d been hearing a lot of positive reviews about Umberto Eco decided to read one and see what all the fuss about. Verdict? Should have bought “Name of the Rose” instead. However, “How to Travel with a Salmon” is actually not too bad. In fact, I am so far, liking it. I bought it primarily because I love salmon, both as metaphor, inspiration and food (not necessarily in that order) and because since this is a collection of essays, I figured maybe Umberto Eco is more interesting as an essayist. As it turns out, he is interesting. In fact, he is that, and more. I still haven’t finished the whole book, but I am so far loving it. His sardonic, snarky sense of humor and his detailed amusing accounts of traveling with salmon, trying to get a driver’s license, surviving customs and immigration and traveling by train calls to mind my own experiences of trying to get my own driver’s license, going through customs and immigration, traveling by train and by plane. I wanted to tell him, come to the Philippines, where getting a driver’s license is as easy as buying a stick of Marlboro cigarette at the neighborhood sari-sari store.

2. Goethe’s Faust translated by Walter Kaufmann – Okay, so I don’t know why I bought this one. I already had a hundred year old, dusty,musty, hardcover edition of this book (bought at 10 pesos or something) bought in the Ramos administration way back in college. But I saw this paperback edition, with the left hand side in the original German, and the right hand side in English – and I realized I had to buy for those days when I have run out of stuff to read and must thus read that stuff that I have to read but haven’t found the time to. Plus I saw the translation and thought it was a better translation than the one I already have. Plus, it was translated by Walter Kaufman, who translated the anthology of Friedrich Nietzche works that I have and I liked that translation. Nuff said. It looks pretty nifty.

I must say, actually, I should put a moratorium on my book-buying habit. I’ve got so much books to read, I’ve got books coming out of my ears! IN fact, I think my books are spawning all on their own, so much so that when I try to clean up my room or get rid of books that don’t need to be kept, some nook or cranny reveals some long-forgotten book I didn’t know I had bought long time ago.

Anyway, feeling a little guilt at having bought a couple books, I go to the DVD shop to assuage my guilt, only to realize that I find myself feeling more guilty as I leave the shop with a couple of DVDs: Ryan Murphy’s (he of “Glee” fame) now-defunct, two-season TV show, “Popular” and Ming Na’s new TV show, “Stargate Universe”. The lady at the DVD bookshop had offered me the DVD of “True Blood” and some other TV shows, which I vehemently refused, and I told her, “I have so much to read and watch. You’ve recommended so many DVDs to me I don’t even have time for a social life anymore! IN fact, all I ever do is watch DVDs! I have no friends! Ya hear me? I have no friends!” The lady laughs and says, “You have a friend. I am your friend.”

Funnily enough, that doesn’t make me feel better.

But no matter! I am happy to report that I may have to chuck the Battlestar Galactica DVD. It ain’t working, and the first few scenes I’ve seen of the premier is pretty much ho-hum. The only thing that makes this interesting is Ming Na but she isn’t the star, so when she isn’t in any frame, it’s boring. Even the presence of Robert Carlyle isn’t doing it for me.

Now, “Popular” though is another thing altogether. I’ve had apprehensions about buying it. But I remember it when it was first being shown on TV, at Studio 23, and from what I had seen (I hadn’t followed it as religiously as “Buffy”) it was entertaining and funny. It had shown at the time when I was busy with school and work, so. Plus DVDs weren’t invented yet, or the fine art of DVD marathons, so. But! I have since started watching it and I must say, this is one cleverly written, witty, hilarious, snarky, sardonic, ironic little TV show. It’s a bit like Buffy, except without the vampires or demons or staking and slaying and action. All the action happens in the dialogue, which is tight and nasty and funny, even when it talks about serious stuff like bulimia, anorexia or the scary stage in a person’s life that is puberty.

My favorite has always been Glamazon cheerleader Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman) and Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels, Melissa Etheridge’s girl), who light up dull scenes with their easy, nasty banter. Whether trying to turn pre-pubescent wanna-bes into p0pular types by requiring them to read Sun-Tzu’s “The Art of War” and Nicolo Macchiavelli’s “The Prince” (call them shallow, but never call them stupid. They read, these cheerleaders!), or calling each other hos and sluts, or going off to vomit before a big pep rally, or making life miserable for all those who are not popular, these two are always fun to watch. I think of them as Buffy’s Cordelia, Anya, Glory, Harmony all put together, plus every other bitchy character ever created on TV. But more fun.

And who can forget that androgynous chemistry teacher, Bobbie (Diane Delano) who rocks as the unforgiving, unapologetic, single, overweight, tough teacher from hell? Also, blink and you’ll miss Michelle Krusiec (“Saving Face”) playing Exquisite. I blinked and I missed her the first time. Then again, she was the token Asian, so she’ll just register as such in your consciousness. But I think the most interesting here has to be Carly Pope’s “Sam MacPherson”. What can I say, brainy types are hot. 🙂

There are a lot of memorable quotes here, so I suggest just clicking here for the full list. 🙂

In the meantime, I have got to go. Must finish el reading and el watching.

Buffy Studies 101: Buffy & the Scoobies vs. the “I-just-want-to-be-a-snake”Mayor – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 3)

Had a blast watching Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again on DVD (ah, season 3…good times, good times…reminds me of my college days).

What I liked about this season:

1. Witness the first appearances of beloved characters – Anya! Faith! Mostly Anya!

2. Witness recurring characters – Ethan Rayne! Jonathan! Joyce! Joyce having sex with Giles!

3. Witness the return of good Angel – Ah, Angel (David Boreanaz). You are still the bestest vamp love interest for Buffy. Okay, Spike comes a close second.

4. Witness pre-Wicca, pre-lesbian Willow being straight – Latent homosexual that she is (=insert grin=), with the seemingly absent angst, identity crisis or the pointed checking out of hot girls we are always so prone to doing (=insert another wide grin here= ), Willow seems to be happily ensconced in straightsville. Then again, it takes the right woman to make any (seemingly, ostensibly) straight woman gay (=insert diabolical laughter here=).

5. The First makes it first appearance here – Oooh, now I so get Season 7 references. Yay!

6. Witness Vamp, bisexual Willow from alternate universe vamping it up with fuzzy, straight Willow from the main universe – Probably my favorite episode from this season.

7. Witness Buffy getting psychic abilities – Best part of this episode: Oz revealing how awesome he is. His most interesting postulation: if Buffy can read our minds, does that mean we exist in Buffy’s mind only? We think, therefore Buffy exists. Descartes would have been proud. 🙂

8. Witness the spectacular season finale – I wish my graduation was as awesome as this one. Sans the mayor turning into a snake, the eclipse, the fighting, the fellow graduates armed to the teeth, the explosion. Er, on second thought, maybe I’ll settle for my ho-hum graduation.


Buffy studies 101: Buffy Lives! (the Best & Worst of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6)

In continuing my homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I now go to BTVS Season 6 and discuss what makes this season interesting.

1. Buffy dies, Buffy lives – This is a very dark season and if you need further proof, look no further than the first episode of Season 6 of BTVS.  Buffy dies in the last season, having prevented the many realities and worlds from bleeding into each other and imploding by throwing herself into the mystical portal. Season 6 finds our Scooby gang (with the new and improved Buffy bot formerly owned by Spike) being given the unenviable task of continuing to patrol Sunnydale sans Buffy and her superpowers. Willow finds a loophole in Buffy’s death, and that is that since Buffy died from mystical forces, then she can be resurrected (very mythological, that. Ever heard of a hero that never came back from the dead? The ultimate biblical hero, in the New Testament, even He came back from the dead). She is resurrected and all hell breaks loose. Not just for this season but for the next season as well. Buffy lives and the pathos continues.

2. Buffy loves, Buffy hates – Buffy was torn away from heaven and thus is understandably detached from this world when she is brought from the dead. She thus develops a disturbing, violent, intensely sexual relationship with Spike. It’s disturbing and fascinating at the same time.

2. Good Willow, Dark Willow – Character development is in full swing in this season. None more so than in Willow, who goes from dork and geek, to Buffy groupie, to rockstar girlfriend, to simply rockin’ lesbian, to full-fledged witch, to magic junkie struggling to keep it all together.  Magic goes to her head, everybody knows she is way in over her head, but she doesn’t know it, until Tara leaves her, and until she almost kills Dawn and the rest of the gang when she makes a spell that is supposed to make Tara and Buffy forget about bad past experiences. Scary dark Willow though, the Willow that lost Tara and went all berserk and apocalyptic, is all scary and creepy. However, she still rocks the “lesbian witch” character.


3. Tabula Rasa – Must be my favorite episode from this Season. Willow screws up a spell that’s only supposed to make Buffy forget that she was in heaven, and make Tara forget that they have been having fights about Willow’s growing dependence and eventual addiction to magic. The spell goes bad and everybody forgets who they are. So Buffy becomes “Joan”, Dawn “Umad”, Giles thinks he is engaged to Anya (who pronounces her name “Enya” – ah, Anya, how I adore thee!), Spike thinks his name is Randy and that he is Giles’ son, Xander thinks he and Willow are going out, Willow thinks she might be gay and thinks Tara is her study buddy. I liked this episode because it has that “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” vibe about it. We can have our memories erased but our essence, destinies and proclivities cannot be erased and we will always gravitate towards those people, interests and things that we are interested in. Brilliant, that. Eventually each character figure out who they are, Buffy knows she is the leader, Buffy and Dawn figure out they may be related and Willow suspects she might be gay. The story ends badly though, since Tara leaves Willow, but this is still an awesome episode.

4. Tara and Willow: break up to make-up to break-up to make up to break up…permanently – It is hard to watch this season when you see the disintegration of the most normal relationship (which happens to be gay). Harder still to watch knowing that Tara will eventually die. As of this season, Tara and Willow (as played by Amber Benson and Alyson Hannigan) are the last couple standing. But Willow’s addicted forays into the dark side of magic effectively dooms their relationship. But some good news: Tara grows a spine and seems feistier in this season. You can see this in her physical and emotional transformation. Seems like the (lesbian) relationship has done both good.

5. They sing, they dance, they stake things (“Once more with feeling” the musical) – blink and you’ll miss the fact that future “Hairspray” director Adam Shankman choreographs this episode (like blink and you’ll miss pre-critically acclaimed, Oscar buzzed Amy Adams as Tara/Amber Benson’s cousin in season 5). I haven’t seen this in its entirety when it came out on TV, it was nice to watch it on DVD. It also gets better as you listen to the songs repeatedly. Spike rocks his songs. And so does Giles. Check out Tara’s heartbreakingly ironic love song for Willow “I’m Under Your Spell” (since Willow quite literally does have Tara under her spell). Check out Anya’s adorable Bunny song which raises the all important million-dollar question, “Why do bunnies eat so much carrots? Why do they need such good eyesight for?!?”, the Anya-Xander duet with Xander claiming Anya has hairy toes and Anya saying Xander has beady eyes. There is a funny bit song about a laundromat that got the mustard out, and another funny bit about a lady singing her way out of a parking ticket. The tight “Walk through the Fire” raises the musical and emotional tension to intense heights as well. Here’s a sample:

6. Anya the good, Anya the bad– Because thousand year old ex-demons with inexplicable fears of bunnies are awesome. Because she is funny whether loved or scorned. Because when Xander leaves her at the altar, Emma Caulfield plays the character sympathetically. And how cool is that that she becomes a demon again and proves instrumental in the season finale?

7. The Revenge of the Nerds – Andrew, Jonathan and Warren are equal parts annoying, excruciating to watch and just…well…annoying. Part of me loathes having to see them onscreen (and I skipped most of their scenes), but part of me appreciates the fact that these nerds/geeks seem like a nod to the nerds/geeks who are the loyal fan base of this show. The best parts of this trio are the scenes in which they just do normal geeky things like discuss which James Bond is better, reference Star Wars, Star Trek and other popular culture and profess unabashed allegiance to geekdom.

Anyway, I gots to go.

More later.

Next stop: Season 7 and Dollhouse.