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Monthly Archives: March 2012
It’s March 20th, 1999. I’m twelve years old, and I’m at an arena in Austin, Texas to see the World Wrestling Federation put on a show. My dad marvels at how Kane, a wrestler who’s billed at seven feet tall, towers above his competitors. He’s graciously tolerating this event on my behalf. I don’t realize it at the time, but this show is largely a dress rehearsal for Wrestlemania 15, which is only a week away. Still, I’m dressed for the occasion.
I have a foam championship belt slung over my shoulder. I’m wearing a pair of cheap sunglasses I picked out at the corner drug store. I’ve taken a magic marker and drawn a pair of long sideburns on my prepubescent face. I do my best impression of his demeanor, his strident presence, his swagger. I’ve spent hours looking in the mirror, trying to keep one eyebrow raised over the other. I have every one of his catchphrases memorized and ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. It’s all I can do to imitate my favorite wrestler — The Rock.
“Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?”
- Rorschach, in Alan Moore’s Watchmen
One of my theater teachers gave me some advice before I performed a particularly bizarre piece on stage. He said, “Make the character’s reactions real. No matter how wild the situation or how crazy the setting, you have to make the audience believe that this is how someone would react.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the fantastical world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sure, creator Joss Whedon lays down some important ground rules for his universe, but at its heart, it’s still a fantasy world where the chosen few do battle with demons and monsters and bloodsuckers in a quiet California suburb. Through five seasons of Buffy, Whedon & Co. populated this world. They gave it life as a place where the mystical reigns above the everyday. Then, in Season 6 they decided to turn it completely on its head.
They changed course and put their focus on how the folks battling supernatural threats handle the fallout of that fight in their everyday lives. The mythic elements of Buffy–the monsters, the spells, the magic–were all still there, but they took a backseat to giving the audience one, big, season-long reminder — that the story of Buffy Summers is supposed to take place in the real world.
A long time ago, in a sweet serene dale,
Dr. Seuss wrote “The Lorax,” a wonderful tale,
About truffulas, Oncelers, a thneed and a plan,
And of course of a small, squat, mustachioed man.
Then some big-shots in Hollywood liked what they’d seen,
And decided The Lorax should be on the screen!
They would spare no expense, they’d promote cross the land,
So that furry and orange could be their new brand!
They put ads up on billboards that list all their stars,
Hawking toys, meals, and t-shirts, and gas-guzzling cars,
And the latter is what has folks all up in arms,
The hypocrisy rankling, And raising alarms,
While the irony of it’s not lost on yours truly,
There’s something else that I find much more unruly.
The ad’s contradiction is worth some distress,
But “The Lorax” is part of a much bigger mess.
I recently finished watching all of Downton Abbey, and with all the shifting alliances and dramatic turns, I felt compelled to whip up this Character Alignment Chart.