17, living alone, with a distinctly new outlook on life. After nearly 10 years in what was, in retrospect, a very controlling relationship, it was time to re-evaluate things, decide what I wanted from life and decide what the future held for me, independent of anyone else. For a very short while, I felt lost and alone, but surprisingly quickly, I realised how incredibly liberating this was. As a result I began to re-evaluate everything, from my previously vegan lifestyle (it is amazing how easy it is to justify going back to vegetarianism is when you have blue cheese again for the first time in 4 years) to what I wanted to watch, read and enjoy.
For years, so many friends, work-colleagues, academics and creative people I respected and admired had expounded on the merits of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "It is so well-written" they would opine, "This Joss Whedon guy is a genius, and these characters are fantastically well-drawn", others would gush. I would nod politely, internally wondering what spell had been cast on so many people - people whose tastes co-incided closely with my own - when all I could see was a cheesy high-school drama with a ridiculous title and, I suspected, all the depth of Beverly Hills 90210. Of course, I'd never actually watched the series, but having seen, and hated, the 1992 film which I believed the series to be 'just like', I gave it a wide berth.
|The 'Scooby Gang' in the kind of 90210 shot|
that had initially put me off giving Buffy a chance.
Over the course of about 6 months, my main viewing becomes this fantastic series with its gutsy characters, carefully crafted relationships and best of all the narrative - this interwoven, richly-textured story that stops at all points on the passage from childhood to adulthood. It encompasses, amongst many other things; sexual awakening, familial relationships, bereavement, homosexuality, addiction, religion and of course the over-riding themes of responsibility, otherness and the growing pains of young adulthood. The more obvious metaphors of high-school being 'hell', a young woman fighting off demons and keeping secrets from those around her for their own protection are perhaps, plain to see.
push the envelope episodes such as Once More With Feeling, an episode that happens entirely in the form of a musical or The Body which explored the devastating loss of a parent in a way that left its audience bereft, in many ways redefined the genre.
|Fabulous Zoe and her adoring husband, Wash.|
Whedon's mother, Lee Stearns, was a high-school teacher, credited with inspiring Jessica Neuwirth, founder of Equality Now, an organisation working for the protection of human rights for girls and women across the world. In 2006, Whedon was asked to speak at an Equality Now conference as an Honoree, for his part in the fight for gender equality. His speech, whilst highlighting how sad it is that he is so unusual in his dedication to writing strong roles for women, is highly inspiring.
“Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.” Joss Whedon, 2006.
2012 was an exciting year as it saw the release of horror film The
|2012's Avengers Assemble - just fantastic!|
At present, Whedon is reported to be working on a TV show, again based on Marvel characters, currently titled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and a sequel to the Avengers, due for release in 2015. I can't wait to see more of his work.