Spike and Angel; they were hanging out for years and years and years. They were all kinds of deviant. Are people thinking they never... ? Come on, people! They're opened-minded guys!
-Joss Whedon commentary on "A Hole in the World"
I already had the perfect couple. It was Spike and Angel.
-Joss on "The Girl In Question"
doyle_sb4 has the Hole in the World commentary remark in fuller context.
wisdomeagle links to a lot of the discussion. The discussion i first saw, actually, was harriet_spy via jennyo.
I’ve read some of the kerfuffle and my commentary (on the commentary) is on (1) hoyay as Othering, (2) text=canon.
The nudge-nudge-wink-wink Spike and Angel stuff was creative-team pandering to a segment of the audience, not some bold endorsement of the meaning and value of gay relationships. [...]nolivingman adds:
Also, wow--and I know this is taking the quote out of context, so I'm not attributing this meaning to JW as much as looking at the attitudes it could symbolize elsewhere--but to say about an episode in which the two main male characters are chasing around after the vision of a girl they both canonically loved desperately enough to give up everything for, "I already had my perfect couple," meaning the two men--if that's not the mission statement of slashers' misogyny, then I don't know what is. Screw that stupid girl, screw the relationships with her, no matter how strong canonically...it's the boys that are really the perfect couple and meant to be. Ugh.
The nudge-nudge-wink-wink Spike and Angel stuff was creative-team pandering to a segment of the audience, not some bold endorsement of the meaning and value of gay relationships.It was on fox1013's LJ that i first saw talk about the hoyay-full-ness of Angel S5 as being problematic. I think Foxlet used the terminology "sideshow attraction." Now, my slash-happy heart was full of glee during probably every single hoyay shout-out that season, but reading her comments i found myself agreeing, and i still do reading these new comments.
Thank you for articulating so well what bothered me so very much about Angel S5. It was not a glorious win for the forces of slash; it was juvenile joke-making without regard to characterization, one of Joss' worst habits.
In her post kindkit talks about how f/f relationships are less controversial than m/m in terms of media representation and how Joss doesn't work against that, giving us canon healthy lesbians and boyslash as villains and/or comic relief. In her comment on the post, fox1013 says:
I got really really angry at the hinting at gay sex during s7 Buffy/s5 Angel. Because they weren't "acknowledgments of the gay yay!" They were JOKES. About the fact that BOYS MIGHT BE GAY.
I skimmed some of the comments on kindkit's entry, and the valid point is raised that making, say, Spike/Angel, canon probably wouldn't have flown with the network, and so the subtext was the best we were gonna get. I agree, and i'm not saying i'm not still happy about the subtext, but i also think it's valid to argue that the subtext was sometimes poorly played. And being as i am really not all that into Spike/Angel i have rather less invested in this whole debate than some. (The idea that Joss thinks Spike and Angel are the perfect couple out of all the options in 11 and a half seasons makes me boggle for so many reasons.)
In her commentary, wisdomeagle says:
Let's compare our treatment of the Buffyverse with the literary world's treatment of Shakespeare. Every time Shakespeare is performed, it is reinterpreted. Totally. One production of Midsummer may be totally and entirely different from another, and almost certainly doesn't resemble the original Kings' Men production. Theatre historians are interested in what that original production looked like, but only becauseI laughed reading that because for me, there really isn't all that much of a difference. I'm One True Text girl. I mean, who hasn't met me and my issues with adaptations? A video of a Kings’ Men production wouldn't be the be-all-and-end-all for me because authorial intent doesn't ever get entirely translated into performance since it’s always imperfectly mediated by the actors themselves, but if Shakespeare told us exactly what he intended, yeah one could still talk about the ways in which he failed, the ways in which the text got away from him, the ways in which the text allows for alternative readings, but those alternative readings would all in a certain way be wrong. Now, i ultimately come down on the side of the text itself as the ultimate Truth and the authorial intention as being useful information that is ultimately only secondary to what the actual text is, but -- and now i seem to have lost the thread of where i was going with this, so i'm gonna just post and go back to my homework.
theatre historians are BIG dweebsit's of intellectual interest. If they were suddenly confronted with a videotape of that production, they'd be overjoyed, but it wouldn't invalidate hundreds of years of interpretive work done on the text.
But compare the reaction of some fundamentalist Christians if they were confronted with a videotape of Jesus! If he didn't conform to their expectations, their lives would be shattered! They thought Jesus was one way, and he turns out to be different entirely! To them, this changes everything, including the hundreds of years of Christianity that can be understood as thousands of years of interpretation of the Jesustext.
We obviously aren't nearly as wrapped up in our universe as fundamentalist Christians are with theirs, but I still think it matters to us more along those lines. Not only our cherished interpretation of the text, but our cherished understanding of reality is in jeopardy.
Edit: Via mutant_allies: nothingbutfic talks further about authorial intent, slash, and queerness/homophobia on ME shows.