Whedon Weekend - Laughing through the tears


So, fiktiviteter sent out word some time ago that she was planning a Whedon Weekend in which bloggers would talk about anything Joss Whedon-related. And as a fangirl of gigantic proportions I of course couldn’t resist that temptation. This here is my contribution, go check out this link to see the other wonderful pieces posted over the weekend. And remember, comments are what we live on!

Fair warning, there might be spoilers. Although I write mostly about Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog which you can see on YouTube (or Hulu if you are in the us.) If you like it buy the DVD!


Laughing through the tears
If there is one thing Joss Whedon is excellent at, well there are several things (one liners, strong female characters, relatable story-lines), it is to make us laugh just to turn on the waterworks the next second. A brilliant example of this is the experimental feature Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. As I hope you all know this was 45 minutes of singing superheroes and villains portioned out in 15 minute chunks for free over the Internet. The idea was apparently spawned and the series created during the writer strike of 2008 (Also known as the TV-season of abrupt endings) and it is really rather great, especially for something made with a shoestring budget.

In the 45 minutes of runtime, portioned out in 3 parts, Whedon manages to squeeze in laughter, original songs and drama enough to make your heart ache. Many think that the base premise is a rather standard love story but there’s where I think they are wrong. This is a coming of age-story, or rather a coming to evil-story.


Billy
The main character, Billy, has a supervillain alter-ego, Dr Horrible (with a phd in Horribleness) and his greatest dream is to get into The Evil League of Evil. Or is it? There’s also the pretty girl at the laundromat who he really wants to at least talk to. And herein lies the problem, can you be a supervillain and get the girl at the same time? Isn’t it the heroes that get the girls? What if the heroes are assholes who use their fame to get into the panties of every female who gets in their way?
This feature pokes fun at the classic portrayal of super heroes and their nemesis and in the process it tells a bit of human nature and breaks our hearts. Seem familiar? If you’re a Whedon fan it should be because he’s done it before. Buffy the Vampire Slayer pokes fun at the horror genre while also telling the story about a girl who just wants to be normal (at first) and later just have a nice quiet life. Angel the Series handles moving to and living in a large city, how easy it is to disappear between the cracks. And Dollhouse is just a big hunk of critique on the whole society we live in, how people become bartering chips and stripped of their humanity in the process. In all of these cases the serious issues are cleverly hidden under a thin veneer of one-liners and laughs which gives the right distance to actually see what is being shown. For me that is much more effective than a based on a true story Lifetime movie about a single mom just trying to get by in a harsh society.
The final song from DrHSaB still makes my eyes misty when it comes on randomly on my playlist. The Bad Horse song makes me smile when I wake up to it (I have a whedonesque playlist for my alam clock app to choose from) and I still can’t see the Buffy episode The Body without ample supply of tissues.


Dr Horrible from the comic book(s) which tell more of the story
Billy isn’t a full on super villain until the accidental death of Penny, he is pushed rather far along on the path by Captain Hammer’s douchery but when the moment comes to pull the trigger he hesitates and that hesitation costs him the girl but gets him the world. The transformation is complete. I don’t really think people are evil from the beginning, most are made such by events in- and outside of their sphere of influence, and that is illustrated very well by mr Whedon (again).

Maybe it is because Whedon’s world view is similar to my own that I like his works so much, but if that is the case I am not alone. I think the mixture of sadness and humor is what drew together the large fanbase and I think the truthful protrayal of real life is what keeps them interested.
  • Sooz
  • 12:02 PM
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