GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Joss' fascination with torture ?

POSTED BY: THESOMNAMBULIST
UPDATED: Monday, December 27, 2004 07:15
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 3809
PAGE 1 of 3

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 3:46 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Hey all.

I was recalling a few Buffy, Angel and Firefly episodes the other day and I realised how each show at various times dedicates an episode to having the character/s endure some form of torture.

Does Joss have some fascination with it do you think? Or is it just a great topic for character development?

What do you think?...And how well were they done?

Cheers
TheSomnambulist



www.cirqus.com

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 4:01 AM

GORRAMREAVERS


"Does Joss have some fascination with it do you think?"

Well...I think he 'goes there' because of the violent nature of all his shows. As for the character development, if your hero withstands torture and doesnt give up the goods than the hero becomes even cooler so yeah..I'd go with that one.

My fav is the end of season 2 of Buffy when Angel tortures Giles. When Dru makes Giles see Jenny...oooh...good stuff. Plus, Angel is funny in that scene (as in torture funny HAHA! :P)



"..it is my very favorite gun."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 4:08 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Yep. I remember thinking that for a TV show like Buffy and the kind of audience it would have gathered after the first series, this was a really brave thing to be doing to the characters.

For Angel as much as Giles, because Angel was someone the audiece would have had certain ties with and to have him be so evil was a great twist for the audience to deal with.

www.cirqus.com

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 4:16 AM

HUITZIL


I think he has a fascination with birthdays.

I reckon he has crap birthday's like I do... many a scorched cupcake.

___________
the turtle and the wolf are natural enemies

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 5:23 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Whedon spent much of his High School years at an English private boarding school.

RE-EDITED on advices below

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 5:28 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Whedon knows his audience, and how much they are entertained by the suffering of others. It is possible to address the evil of torture without presenting its enactment. What we have is torture as entertainment.

Does anyone else not re-view War Stories? Well, apart from Summer and Jewel's opening scene.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 5:34 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Quote:

Purplebelly
Whedon spent his High School years at an English private boarding school.



Me to. It aint that bad!
:)




www.cirqus.com

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 5:36 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
Me to. It aint that bad!

I think the canonical line is It never did me any harm

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 5:46 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
Me to. It aint that bad!

I think the canonical line is It never did me any harm





Well I never said I came out unscathed....

www.cirqus.com

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:01 AM

HONORBOUND


Quote:

Originally posted by Gorramreavers:
"Does Joss have some fascination with it do you think?"

Well...I think he 'goes there' because of the violent nature of all his shows. As for the character development, if your hero withstands torture and doesnt give up the goods than the hero becomes even cooler so yeah..I'd go with that one.

My fav is the end of season 2 of Buffy when Angel tortures Giles. When Dru makes Giles see Jenny...oooh...good stuff. Plus, Angel is funny in that scene (as in torture funny HAHA! :P)


"..it is my very favorite gun."




One of my favorite scenes is later in the series when Angel is now "good" again and he goes to Giles for help. Giles answers his door and Angel asks to come in. Giles walks away and Angel says kind of sheepishly "Ah, I can't come in without an invite." Giles comes back with a crossbow aimed at Angel and says "I know... Come in."


A kind word turneth away wrath, but not as well as superior firepower

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:32 AM

JENCHRISSYM


Not re-view War Stories? That is one of my favorites! The torture scene is genius and it is really well done. The badassery in the episode is in full effect and I love it! Also I just look forward to Wash saying, "Bastard's not gonna get days"

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:36 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by jenchrissym:
Not re-view War Stories? That is one of my favorites! The torture scene is genius and it is really well done. The badassery in the episode is in full effect and I love it! Also I just look forward to Wash saying, "Bastard's not gonna get days"

So, you're entertained by witnessing torture? Could you expand on really well done? What is the nature of the exclamatory love? My interest is almost as great as my concern. I hope you're the same person that noticed the reversed shot in one of the torture scenes because he had freeze-framed through it, but I fear not.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:51 AM

BADGERSHAT


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Whedon spent his High School years at an English private boarding school.



That's not entirely accurate... he actually spent at least SOME time at a high school in the North Bronx (right down the block from me, actually). Not sure what part of high school but he was definitely here for some of it (he was the honorary speaker at the school a few years ago, invited by my former boss' English wife, who works at the school... convoluted enough?).

Anyway, my two cents of the day.

--Jefé The Hat

***************************
--Don't bother trying to predict, figure out, second guess, criticize, or suggest anything that comes from the mind of Joss Whedon, for you shall usually be wrong, and shall find out the Truth and Purpose in due time.
(This is the Truth of Whedoning)

"I like smackin 'em"--Jayne

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 7:35 AM

XION47


I think he's fascinated by S&M and subsequently that carries on to torture. He's made some comments in RL about dominatrixes and the like and we even saw in "Convictions" the character of Spanky. I really don't want to know what he and his wife do alone.

Harken: "Seems odd that you would name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of."
Mal: "May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."
~ƒireƒly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:43 AM

RABIT


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
So, you're entertained by witnessing torture? Could you expand on really well done? What is the nature of the exclamatory love? My interest is almost as great as my concern. I hope you're the same person that noticed the reversed shot in one of the torture scenes because he had freeze-framed through it, but I fear not.



The scene was really well done, for me, in that it was impressively constructed and concieved. See, for me it's more about taking the characters and putting them in a situation to see how they'd deal with it. Mal, left by himself (as we see later) refuses to give up to the extent that he is using humor to show his antagonist that he is not going to give. But with Wash there, Mal knows that Wash won't be able to make it. He does everything he can to push Wash, to keep him from giving in to it.

I look back at scenes such as Faith's torturing Wesley, and I don't see any humor in it. I see the torment that Faith is struggling with, and how she's trying to understand and manage her guilt and pain, pushing that pain onto someone she partially blames for it. There's no humor there, just characters dealing with their situation.

Is this entertainment? It depends upon how you look at it. I'm entertained because I enjoying seeing how the characters deal with situations, so yeah, I find this "entertaining". Do I enjoy what they are doing to each other? No. I have no S&M interests or anything like that. I'm not psychologically sick (more than normal, anyway ). I'm not "disturbed".

But that's just my take on it.

In my opinion, those scenes are meant to make you uncomfortable. You shouldn't enjoy them. You should find yourself troubled by the fact that you laughed at Mal and Wash while they were quivering in pain and agony.

It means you're okay...

Rabit


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:08 AM

MAUGWAI


Quote:

Originally posted by BadgersHat:
Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Whedon spent his High School years at an English private boarding school.



That's not entirely accurate... he actually spent at least SOME time at a high school in the North Bronx (right down the block from me, actually). Not sure what part of high school but he was definitely here for some of it (he was the honorary speaker at the school a few years ago, invited by my former boss' English wife, who works at the school... convoluted enough?).

Anyway, my two cents of the day.

--Jefé The Hat



I've heard this rumor before about Joss going to school in New York, but I don't see how it's possible. In all his interviews her talks about his schooling in England, and before that he grew up in L.A. I just don't see why he would go to NY for school. Maybe his connection is through his wife or a friend?

And Rabit, I agree. War Stories is my favorite ep because I find it so intriguing that such a disturbing scene can be kind of funny at the same time. "Jokes in the face of danger" as Buffy would say. It tells you just what kind of brave people those two men really are, which is the whole point of the episode.

"Dear diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:15 AM

BADGERSHAT


Well, it was a brief stint at Fieldston in Riverdale, NY, and when I met him in L.A. 3 years ago, I asked him myself if he'd gone there, and he said yes... so I'm thinking it was one of those brief periods that goes unmentioned due to lack of significance.

--Jefé The Hat

***************************
--Don't bother trying to predict, figure out, second guess, criticize, or suggest anything that comes from the mind of Joss Whedon, for you shall usually be wrong, and shall find out the Truth and Purpose in due time.
(This is the Truth of Whedoning)

"I like smackin 'em"--Jayne

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:20 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by Rabit:
See, for me it's more about taking the characters and putting them in a situation to see how they'd deal with it.

Thank you, Rabit. It seems Whedon does know his audience. He puts their words into the mouth of the torturer.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:24 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by maugwai:
War Stories is my favorite ep because I find it so intriguing that such a disturbing scene can be kind of funny at the same time.

Thank you, maugwai. It seems this is an episode that tells us much, about ourselves.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:08 AM

MAUGWAI


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Quote:

Originally posted by maugwai:
War Stories is my favorite ep because I find it so intriguing that such a disturbing scene can be kind of funny at the same time.

Thank you, maugwai. It seems this is an episode that tells us much, about ourselves.



And your response certainly tells me something about you.

Have you ever read a novel about war? Fiction or nonfiction, written by experienced soldiers or historians, all soldiers find something to laugh about in the middle of battle. If they didn't, they'd be carried away by the horror of it all and couldn't keep fighting.

Mal refused to give in to Niska. Instead, he joked. He made genuinely funny comments to keep up both his spirits and Wash's. And it's okay to laugh at the things he says because they're funny. That doesn't mean anyone who laughs at them goes out and drowns kittens in their spare time. It doesn't mean that person doesn't see the tragedy in torture. It simply means they understand what Mal is trying to do, and that is to keep himself from giving up. If you can't find something to laugh about when the chips are down, you might as well pack it in, because you've just lost your will to go on. That's what I like about the ep. The writers and actors did a good job keeping it funny and intense at the same time, which is very difficult to do.

The episode is about many things much more complex than "torture=bad". It's about conquering our fears and dealing with them - with humor, if necessary.



"Dear diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:12 AM

MAUGWAI


Quote:

Originally posted by BadgersHat:
Well, it was a brief stint at Fieldston in Riverdale, NY, and when I met him in L.A. 3 years ago, I asked him myself if he'd gone there, and he said yes... so I'm thinking it was one of those brief periods that goes unmentioned due to lack of significance.

--Jefé The Hat



I stand corrected.



"Dear diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:27 AM

MALICIOUS


I agree with Maugwai and will further it by saying that the worse the torture appears, the more you cheer when the torturer gets their comeuppance. It justifies the "hero's" vengeance, thus furthering the story all the while making you empathetic to it, rather than aghast by it.

Mal-licious

Co-Holder of the Red Bell from Hell

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:41 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by Malicious:
... the worse the torture appears, the more you cheer when the torturer gets their comeuppance.

Thanks Mal-licious. Do you think there is a limit to the degree of depiction, or is the catharsis directly related to the realism? Having European sensibilities, I genuinely do not understand the majority audience in this case.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:50 AM

DEBBIEBUK


Don't think Joss is particularly fascinated with torture, just that it shows people in extremes and how they deal with things because of faith (not necessarily religious). I think that the torture more reflects that there are bad people in the world and this is how the victims/ heroes cope. It's not just S&M, a hobby for bored sophisticates, torture really happens, now, around the world, to people who believe in changing things.

But on another note I had a lot of trouble trying to "convert" my sister to Firefly because her teenage sons really like War Stories and she though the whole series was like that.

One of my favourite eps, because it shows the team coming together to save Mal, most definitely not because of the torture.

Debbie

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:54 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Having European sensibilities, I genuinely do not understand the majority audience in this case.



Sorry to possibly go O/T on this one but what do you mean by "European sensibilities" in this context because I'm European and not following you here at all?



...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 11:15 AM

HEB


Quote:


I've heard this rumor before about Joss going to school in New York, but I don't see how it's possible. In all his interviews her talks about his schooling in England, and before that he grew up in L.A. I just don't see why he would go to NY for school. Maybe his connection is through his wife or a friend?

B]



I'm pretty sure he only studied towards A-levels (without actually taking them) at Winchester in England, which means he was just there for two years 16-18ish and then went to Uni in the US. I think the rest of his school years he spent in the US somewhere.

...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 11:18 AM

MARYA


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Having European sensibilities, I genuinely do not understand the majority audience in this case.



Quote:

Sorry to possibly go O/T on this one but what do you mean by "European sensibilities" in this context because I'm European and not following you here at all?



Ditto that Hotpoint, you just beat me to it. I am European and I don't get it either. Dying to know what "European sensibilities" are. I didn't think we had many left. How are they different from American ones (which I assume you must compare them to)?


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:12 PM

NIKNAK


Though I do not share it, I can understand Purplebelly's point of view. It's seems wrong that we should be entertained by torture. Yet we enjoy by gunfights and Shakespearean tragedies. Almost all of our favourite stories involve pain and suffering in some way. As Early would say: Does that seem right to you?

I think emotional enjoyment is based on feeling SOMETHING. Whether good or bad emotions we want our brains to be stimulated.

The entertainment came from the conflict between Mal and Wash and the humour rather than the torture. The torture was unrealistic and its best just to sit back, enjoy the story and not think about it too much. I don't think I've ever seen the horror of torture ( http://www.amnesty.org/stoptorture) portrayed accurately and I don't think I want to. I suspect that if any film showed it everyone would be seriously disturbed by it.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:14 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by heb:
I'm pretty sure he only studied towards A-levels (without actually taking them) at Winchester in England, which means he was just there for two years 16-18ish ...

I don't know the dates, but private schools are less regimented in their approach to study than state schools, A-level courses may be started earlier and completed in a more concentrated time-frame. IIRC Whedon pursued two consecutive courses in English at A-level.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:24 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by Marya:
Ditto that Hotpoint, you just beat me to it. I am European and I don't get it either. Dying to know what "European sensibilities" are. I didn't think we had many left.

Just my first cut at an attempt to find the line between entertainment and offence; it may be that, regardless of domicile, I have the sensibilities of a middle-aged pinko-liberal of moderate education without a TV
For me, the acceptable approach to this kind of violence is that made by The Wire. Its existence is acknowledged by the narrative, but its depiction is not presented as entertainment.
But I'm not really interested in me, perhaps the European posters could suggest when torture as entertainment becomes unacceptable to them?
So far, the consensus seems to be that it's tolerable if accompanied by jokes and provides the justification for subsequent slaughter.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:48 PM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:

But I'm not really interested in me, perhaps the European posters could suggest when torture as entertainment becomes unacceptable to them? So far, the consensus seems to be that it's alright if accompanied by jokes and provides the justification for subsequent slaughter.



I cannot really be said to speak on behalf of three quarters of a billion Europeans but personally I do not object to "torture as entertainment"* specifically because I am a Liberal and therefore believe there should be no limits of freedom as long as the exercise of that freedom does not infringe upon the liberty of others.

Not liking something is a truly illiberal reason for thinking it shouldn't exist


BTW. Actually it's not the humour that means I personally had zero problem with watching the scenes in War Stories but the drama of the situation



* simulated torture of course



...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:53 PM

HEB


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Quote:

Originally posted by heb:
I'm pretty sure he only studied towards A-levels (without actually taking them) at Winchester in England, which means he was just there for two years 16-18ish ...

I don't know the dates, but private schools are less regimented in their approach to study than state schools, A-level courses may be started earlier and completed in a more concentrated time-frame. IIRC Whedon pursued two consecutive courses in English at A-level.




http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/425/425492p2.html

http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/425/425492p3.html

"Well, let's see. I went from Riverdale, a fairly progressive private school that my mother taught at, where I'd gone for ten-and-a-half years, since first grade – because it went all the way through, K-12. I went from that, having never been out of the country, to a 600-year-old all male boarding school where I actually listened to a lecture on why co-education will never work. The cultural difference couldn't have been huger. The only thing that was the same was that, like at Riverdale, I had no money and was surrounded by very rich people."



"It was not the instructor's choice – it was whatever play was on the A levels that year. And because I actually wasn't planning on going to university in England, the tests themselves were not that important, so I started on A level English when I got there, which was above – I was still at O-levels in everything else. Then sort of bumped back to a different A level ... I think Lear and Othello were the main ones for the second one, but for the first we studied Hamlet. This was a thing where, in A levels, your getting into a decent university depends on three tests. That's it. You spend the last two years of high school studying for those three tests, and you choose your three subjects. It's very odd, but it's also great because I didn't have to take math or science."

Hopefully these quotes will answer the question.

...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:59 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
... personally I do not object to "torture as entertainment" ...

You were at Fratton Park on Sunday

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:06 PM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
You were at Fratton Park on Sunday



No. Torture is having Jim Smith join Harry Redknapp over at Southampton. If they turn up over here ever again someone is likely to fetch a rope



Apologies to all for the threadjack btw

...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:14 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Apologies to all for the threadjack btw

I'm a native of Sussex so you'll understand that, after looking at your profile, the level of violence you're prepared to accept has become clear to me - I've heard stories about the Provost Marshal's men

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:26 PM

TLACOOK


Forgive me if someone else has already mentioned this but the vast majority of torture scenes in Angel and the War Stories torture scene was written by Tim Minear. I am sure Joss had input, of course but let's give Tim his evil due!

Buffy torture belongs to those other than Tim because despite the rumors tothe contrary, Tim never worked on Buffy.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:26 PM

REEQUEEN


Personally, I think it's a mistake to construe too much of another's personality from an episode of (admittedly excellent) television, because one can never extrapolate the full psychology of another person simply from what he writes or produces. Most especially in a medium like television, where there is input from more than one person.

"War Stories" was actually written by Cheryl Cain (with, I assume, input from Joss Whedon and Tim Minear), and directed by James Contner (a Mutant Enemy vet). So, really, the hypothesis the JW has a thing for torture, as relates to this episode, falls apart. Forgive me, but I'm not going to go research all the Buffy and Angel eps that have torture in them and find out who wrote and directed those.

As one of my fave Firefly eps, "War Stories" has a couple of subtexts that I find interesting - be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it, being one (Wash wanting to have a War Story of his own); that personal vengeance on someone who has done you wrong isn't actually necessary is another (Mal saying, "no, no I don't" when Zoe says, "Don't, he needs to do this for himself"). One of the biggest messages I got out of it (and this is just my own perspective, I don't expect anyone to agree) is that an individual can get through anything, even dying, by knowing that, inside, whatever happens, one is always oneself.

Simply by not giving Niska what he wanted (whatever esoteric goal that may have been), Mal showed that, inside, he was free, and he would always remain free. I think that's important.

My own opinion on the recurrence of torture themes in the three JW shows is that all shows are about extremes - whether horror, fantasy, sci-fi, they all deal with extremes of human behaviour, and torture is an extreme form of human behaviour. I don't recall a character that was tortured unto death (with the notable exception of Warren, and even then he was tortured then blasted to pieces), and the characters who survived underwent changes that, in my opinion, made them more interesting for having that experience. Not that I'd recommend being tortured to be more interesting, but I am talking about fiction.

I don't expect authors of horror stories, or those who write about psychopaths, to be psychologically bent. They may be, sometimes, but I'm guessing it has little to do with how and what they write. We all have imaginations, and sometimes our imaginations take us to dark places. Thinking about it, or writing about it, doesn't mean we're going to do something awful, that we practice sado-masochism every Thursday night, or that we run over squirrels deliberately (it was an accident!).

Unless one is a close, personal friend, of Joss Whedon, or, y'know, married to him, I think discussing his married or personal life is in extremely bad taste. Hey, if one were a close personal friend of JW, or married to him, discussing these things in public is in the worst taste imaginable.

Just my buck-oh-five.

"Today we get to meet the real you." Niska - War Stories

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:31 PM

TLACOOK


Pretty much what you said.

See my post above. Tim says he wrote the torture scenes in War Stories and he is the one responsible for killing Mal.

And no true fan of the Tim Reaper is surprised by this. LOL


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:41 PM

REEQUEEN


Yeah, I caught your post after I spent (too much) time writing mine. ;-D If my son wasn't watching a Treehouse of Horror DVD, I would've thrown War Stories in (obsessive, moi?) and gotten more detail, instead of doing a quick'n'dirty net search. Heh.



"Today we get to meet the real you." Niska - War Stories

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 2:05 PM

TERAPH


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:

But I'm not really interested in me, perhaps the European posters could suggest when torture as entertainment becomes unacceptable to them?
So far, the consensus seems to be that it's tolerable if accompanied by jokes and provides the justification for subsequent slaughter.



Well, I'm not a European, but I'll take a shot at this.

I doubt anyone here finds torture entertaining.

Most apparently find a scene that includes torture can be entertaining. They are not, however, getting off on the torture. They are entertained by the dramatic and emotional events of the scene. They are entertained by the struggles of the characters. Not by the torture itself.

You suggest in an earlier post that Whedon's audience is entertained by the suffering of others. I disagree. We are entertained by characters and how they respond the events of their lives. I doubt that many people here enjoy the actual suffering. I doubt that anyone here tuned-in to "Objects in Space" because they get off on watching someone threatened with rape. They tuned in because they care about the characters and their situations. They care about how the characters respond. They care about how the characters overcome challenges.


The subject of "War Stories" is "let us see the real you". The torture is a dramatic device to allow that to happen. We see more of the real Book and more of the real River. We see the real love Zoe has for Wash. And Wash, in that room with Mal, sees the real Mal. He sees why his wife follows him. He sees what inspires the loyalty. In that room, being tortured, Mal does everything in his power to keep Wash aware and strong. He does everything he can to take Wash's attention away from the pain. His focus is on helping a member of his crew get through. Mal attacking Niska isn't the real him. Mal trying to keep Wash strong is the real him.

Yes, we laugh when they are arguing about Mal and Zoe. We should. The argument is so completely absurd in light of their predicament. It's also the best thing Mal can do to help some he cares about. Nobody is laughing at the torture, and the scene isn't about the torture. If it was, they wouldn't have bothered with all the pesky dialogue.


This show is a drama. Bad things are going to happen. In this case, really bad things.

And it's entertaining. Just like King Lear being blinded is entertaining. Just like a pair of star-crossed lovers having their relationship be destroyed is entertaining.

Just because I am entertained by those things doesn't mean I took pleasure in the suffering. I take no pleasure in how Romeo and Juliet ends.* But the play entertains me. I don't like the end of "The Professional" but I think it's a great movie. I don't like what happens to any of the characters in "Requiem for a Dream" but I own the DVD.


Torture as entertainment is not acceptable to most people. Including most people who liked this episode. Thankfully, this episode does not present torture as entertainment. We are not watching to see the torture. We are not focused on the act or torture. We look at its consequences, and we are entertained by how the characters react. We look at the story, and it is definitely not a story about torture.


(*Although I recall a production of R&J where the audience wanted Juliet to die, but that was an issue of bad acting. The audience wanted their own suffering to stop.)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 2:20 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by teraph:
This show is a drama. Bad things are going to happen. In this case, really bad things.

There appears to be a consensus that the depiction of torture is acceptable entertainment. Is the level of violence which is acceptable dependent on the characters involved? Would Zoe and Kaylee have been acceptable victims?

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 2:24 PM

MALICIOUS


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
Quote:

Originally posted by Malicious:
... the worse the torture appears, the more you cheer when the torturer gets their comeuppance.

Thanks Mal-licious. Do you think there is a limit to the degree of depiction, or is the catharsis directly related to the realism? Having European sensibilities, I genuinely do not understand the majority audience in this case.



I have no idea if there is a "limit," per se. It's just an individual and therefore subjective limit per person. In my opinion, I think the torture is there to be gotten through, rather than as entertainment in and of itself. In other words, it is a means to an end, not the end itself. At least, it isn't for me!

Mal-licious

Co-Holder of the Red Bell from Hell

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 2:31 PM

JENDANDY


You'd think we were talking about real people and real torture here instead of characters on a TV show.

Way too much is being read into this. I like War Stories and believe it or not I don't get up and cheer everytime I watch and the torture scene comes on. I think that can be said for most of us.

You must hate slasher flicks PurpleBelly...

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 2:39 PM

REEQUEEN


PurpleBelly wrote:
Quote:

There appears to be a consensus that the depiction of torture is acceptable entertainment. Is the level of violence which is acceptable dependent on the characters involved? Would Zoe and Kaylee have been acceptable victims?


I don't believe anybody is saying that "the depiction of torture is acceptable entertainment." What we are discussing here is fiction - not the real depiction of torture (in which case, call the authorities), and most certainly not anybody's sadistic enjoyment of same.

The torture is part of the story. That's really the beginning and end of it. I don't think I, or anyone else, are, by enjoying this episode, sublimating our urges to go out and buy a car battery and some leads, perhaps some restraints, and I'm almost certain no one here has a victim he or she is "shopping" for. Because that seems to be what you're saying, even if you don't quite realize it (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt). Especially as concerns Americans (why else would you mention "European sensibility" as if there was such a thing?), which I think is bloody ridiculous, to tell you the truth.

Because every single country contains within it people who are not good, who would buy a battery, leads, restraints, and who have probably already picked victims. America may not be the shining light of all that is good and right in the world (I'd be the first to admit that), but neither is any other country. No culture can claim the high ground, PurpleBelly, and I think it's the height of arrogance to attempt something like that.

Nobody is innocent of having "wrong" thoughts, and nobody has the right to cast aspersions on other people simply because of their taste in Firefly episodes.

Basically, that's all it boils down to, taste. You don't like the episode as much, and that's fine, but trying to psychoanalyze the rest of us who do enjoy it is not only wrong, it's pretty darn silly.



"Today we get to meet the real you." Niska - War Stories

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 3:25 PM

SIMONWHO


>> but trying to psychoanalyze the rest of us who do enjoy it is not only wrong, it's pretty darn silly.

Not least because of all the other questions you could ask of yourself in a similar vein.

*adopts rubbish German accent*

"So, you like this show set in the future, yes? Are you unhappy in the present? Do you wish to be hundred of miles and years away from here, yah? Tell me about your mother."

It's a TV show, to say we're there to enjoy torture is tenuous beyond belief.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:06 PM

TERAPH


Quote:

Originally posted by PurpleBelly:
There appears to be a consensus that the depiction of torture is acceptable entertainment.



Nope. There is a consensus that it is acceptable for torture to be portrayed in entertainment. That is not the same as "the depiction of torture is acceptable entertainment". The former says that one can be entertained by a story that includes a scene of torture. The latter says that one is entertained by the torture itself. They are not the same thing.


Quote:

Is the level of violence which is acceptable dependent on the characters involved?


Yes, in the sense that it's dependent on what is necessary for the story and the development of a specific character.


Quote:

Would Zoe and Kaylee have been acceptable victims?


For this episode? No. It wouldn't have served the story. (Neither would Book or Jayne.)

Could they be in another episode? Possibly. It depends on where they want to go with the characters and the story.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:44 PM

NEEDLESEYE


I think something has been overlooked. One of the main reasons people watch and enjoy torture or anything horrific on film is due to the adrenaline rush you get from being frightened or in danger. There is a sense of euphoria once the "danger" is over from the adrenaline high.
So, writing in a torture scene, or maybe someting reaver related (reaver=tortured twisted beings) gives the fans the adrenaline rollercoaster ride. Which the euphoric feeling, when we're all relieved that the Capt and Wash are safe, makes us want to watch more.
Joss and Tim surely know what they are doing throwing in torture.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:24 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by JenDandy:
You must hate slasher flicks PurpleBelly...

It's not an experience that I have sought. Do you think it would be useful? Is there a canon that would help me to understand the consensus opinion in this thread?

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:35 PM

PINGJING


Some really good points have been made in this thread, especially by Teraph. One is that danger, horror, and violence are not appealing in themselves, but they are appealing when you see how empathetic characters deal with them. Another is that fiction does not parallel life, nor should it, necessarily. I'm curious why anyone against the torture scene would be a fan of Firefly, or any violent tv show, actually. Kaylee is shot and nearly dies, ditto for Book, Mal... Yet, aren't we fans "entertained" by those episodes? When other forms of violence are acceptable as narrative or dramatic devices, what makes torture a special case?

Julia

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:44 PM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

Originally posted by ReeQueen:
... why else would you mention "European sensibility" as if there was such a thing?), which I think is bloody ridiculous, to tell you the truth.

Quote:

sensibility: peculiar susceptibility to a pleasurable or painful impression (as from praise or a slight) -- often used in plural
Used in this thread to emphasise that the opinion is not based on a moral stance alone. The choice of adjective is explained elsewhere; it is an acknowledgement that sensibility may vary with education and experience.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

YOUR OPTIONS

NEW POSTS TODAY

USERPOST DATE

OTHER TOPICS

DISCUSSIONS
The NEW newb Welcome Mat thread...
Tue, July 22, 2014 10:31 - 60 posts
76th Independent Battalion Part 47
Tue, July 22, 2014 08:38 - 52 posts
"Adam is a Hottie"---FFF Version
Tue, July 22, 2014 02:50 - 328 posts
CAPTION TIGHTPANTS: Aim to Misbehave #54
Mon, July 21, 2014 17:55 - 33 posts
So, we're walking back to my car after the Arlington CSTS screening...
Mon, July 21, 2014 17:42 - 9 posts
THE OTHER SHINY CAPTION GAME Round #132 - a Jewel in the rough!
Mon, July 21, 2014 14:53 - 18 posts
Sending A Wave - the UK "Firefly"/"SERENITY" podcast
Sun, July 20, 2014 09:47 - 5 posts
CSTS Event in Halifax Nova Scotia, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington D.C. 7/18-7/20/14. Small ensemble from the Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra. Shiny.
Thu, July 17, 2014 22:38 - 1 posts
Newbie Welcome Thread!
Thu, July 17, 2014 12:04 - 118 posts
Forsaken Pyre at the Pub: in memoriam Mavourneen, she's gone into the black.
Wed, July 16, 2014 14:25 - 24 posts
Firefly-marketing project
Tue, July 15, 2014 16:07 - 1 posts
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6 **(SPOILERS!)**
Tue, July 15, 2014 15:19 - 42 posts

FFF.NET SOCIAL

OUR SPONSORS