Our Television Heritage Update

Buffy= Good, Joss Whedon= Bad, but is that enough?

I’ve been preparing for this for almost as long as I’ve thought about starting the Heritage series, and I’ll admit that in the past, I was a little more willing to make excuses or even look the other way, but I really don’t think I can or should anymore.

Fans of his work have known for a while that Joss Whedon is not a good person. It seems like every few weeks or so, more information comes out to prove this, but after Charisma Carpenter has recently detailed that some of the gruesome rumors we’ve heard for ages are true, I’m just at a loss for words.

The unfortunate thing is that despite all of this, I don’t think that I could ever truly write Buffy out of my heart. The series has been a formative part of my life since adolescence, and for better or worse, I still look up to many of Whedon’s works as guidance for my own material.

This sounds slightly hypocritical to my confusion of how those invested in the Harry Potter fandom have a hard time abandoning the franchise after JK Rowling’s refusal to drop her transphobia, and maybe it is. I’d argue that like film, television is a collaborative enough endeavor that it’s fair to look past the problematic nature of a director or showrunner to appreciate the other talents involved. Meanwhile, literature is more or less dependent on the author, and their beliefs are what we see on the page. But that doesn’t give Whedon or any other showrunners a pass to engage in gross conduct.

Although at the same time, look at Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, or even Alfred Hitchcock, all of whom have arguably done worse things than Whedon or Rowling. Almost no one will discredit the artistry behind Rosemary’s Baby, Annie Hall, or North by Northwest, so why should Buffy be different? I should be able to appreciate the screenwriting talents of David Greenwalt, Marti Noxon, Drew Goddard, Jane Espenson etc, and while I can, it’s hard to ignore how much Whedon’s influence could be felt in most of their scripts. Similarly, while the cast of the series was heavily talented, it’s hard to watch the series now while recognizing how much he harrassed most everyone. Even the dudes.

So I have to ask- should I even review Buffy? The series is next on my list, and I fully intended to start it by the end of the year, possibly during the summer and/or when I hit a particular point for The Simpsons. But it seems absolutely tone deaf to talk about it at length, at least during the current climate.

As of now, I have three plans of action for what to do with the series.

  1. Stick to the Heritage series as is and review Buffy next

  2. Put Buffy on hold for now and go to the next series on the list, The West Wing

  3. Drop Buffy entirely

Which do you think I should do? Or is there a fourth option I haven’t even thought about? Frankly, I was hoping to hold off on going back to The West Wing for a while, as I’m not sure if I’m as up for its political optimism as I was when I first discovered it, but who knows.

Sigh, I wanted to make a fun quiz/survey about all the series planned to be featured in OTH, and maybe I can still knock it out this week. This is not what I had planned.