Saturday, June 23, 2012

Birthday Boy and Killer: Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon turns 48 today and do we even need to mention what an insane year or so it's been for him? Let's just spew out some key numbers here: $1.4 billion worldwide, $591.2 million domestic, $200+ million opening weekend, 93% Rotten Tomatoes ratings. Yeah, suffice it to say whedon is on top of the Hollywood world right now and as happy as I am for him obviously I'm not ready for him to become "Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers" as opposed to "Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That may have sounded a little hipterish of me, but not really since I don't at all begrudge him his mainstream success (just the opposite) and I don't regard myself a truer fan of Whedon since I was a fan long before The Avengers. Whedon is for all and may he have many, many more opportunities to show us his mad genius.

Speaking of his mad genius, I think it's common knowledge how much Whedon enjoys putting his characters (and fans) through a ringer including killing off beloved characters and breaking off relationships. You see that in The Avengers where 70% of the plot includes Loki trying to break the superheroes up and of course that one death which I won't spoil for the 3 people in the world who hasn't seen the movie yet. And so with that said, as I promised last year, here's my list of Top 10 Whedon Deaths. Spoiler Alert... obviously.

First, just want to list some honorable mentions. Penny's demise in Dr. Horrible makes you wonder how they'll do a sequel. Jesse's death in episode 2 of Buffy should've clued us in on the depths of Whedon's sadism. Book, Wesley, and Topher's deaths in Serenity, Angel, and Dollhouse respectively made my heart hurt considering I actually thought they'd make it out alive somehow. And of course that one Avengers death that made me shake my head. See the entire list after the jump...

11. The Wish - I did say top 10 right? But I have to quickly mention the deaths that took place in this alternate universe. One of my all-time favorite Buffy episodes.

10. Darla - She died not once, but twice! Her resurrection was a big shocked, but how she died the second time, by sacrificing herself to save her unborn child gave the character such a redeeming, heartbreaking, and fitting end.

9. Allen Doyle - Not many of us knew what Doyle's death would mean in the long run, but looking back at that moment in Angel, it certainly became a huge turning point didn't it?

8. Anyanka Jenkins - Oddly I'm still a bit pissed at Whedon for killing her especially the shit she had to go through those last couple of seasons. But like the best of them, she went out fighting the good fight.

7. Tara Maclay
- "You've got red on you." And thus Whedon broke up another popular couple and brought on the admittedly awesome Dark Willow.

6. Hoban Washburne - "I'm a leaf on the wind, watch how I..." Unnecessary Whedon! I remembered YELLING LOUDLY in the theater when this happened. Book's earlier death and Wash's popularity blindsided me, but man did it make the ensuing fight scenes all the more urgent.

5. Cordelia Chase - In Angel's 100th episode, Cordelia finally wakes up from her coma to KICK SOME ASS only for us to find out she had been dead all this time. I remember wanting to punch Whedon's face, but also wow such a wonderful way for this character to leave.

4. Joyce Summers - There's a whole episode dedicated to how the Scooby Gang deals with this huge loss and it's still one of the best episodes not only of Buffy, but all of TV. I'm still recovering frankly.

3. Jenny Calendar - We all remember the scene where Angel breaks her neck. It is one of the most iconic shots of the series and again seems to be a turning point for the show. Just think about Willow's reaction on the phone or Giles' reaction. Oh Giles...

2. Winifred Burkle - The episode where she died felt like it was running in slow motion. I guess I just couldn't believe that Whedon would actually do that to this character and yet he did and it was gut-wrenching. Illyria's presense after that just magnified the loss that much more.

1. Buffy Summers - I didn't care that I knew the show was renewed for next season. At that moment, when Buffy decided to sacrifice herself to save the world... again... there was nothing I could do but cry, cry, cry. "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it."

So... that was depressing. Happy birthday, you murderer.


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