“When people stop talking, they start communicating. Language because it is so specific and constrictive can interfere with actual communication.”
The above was part of Joss Whedon’s commentary on the “Hush” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That quote sums up the main theme of that predominately silent episode, which speaks louder than words and was nominated for an Emmy and a Bram Stoker Award. It’s not only one of my favourites, it’s also the episode my friends used to hook me on BtVS, but that’s beside the point. Since that night a few years ago, I’ve come to really respect Whedon and his work.
Since 1965, the Nebula Awards have been given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to recognize writers’ achievements and excellence. Am I surprised that in April Whedon received the Ray Bradbury Award for his screenwriting? Hardly. Prior to receiving a Nebula for Serenity in 2006, he was nominated for two of his BtVS episodes. He and his co-writers were nominated for an Oscar, a Saturn Award, and an Annie for Toy Story‘s screenplay, the latter of which they won.
Bradbury Acceptance Shpil:
In an interview with the Write Environment, Whedon said he can’t imagine writing re-said television in which characters stay the same in every episode. He used X-Files as an example, where Scully remains as dubious about Mulder’s bizarre findings as she was in episode one. Whedon’s series reflect his statement:
“I need people to grow. I need them to change. I need them to learn and explore and die and do all the things that people do in real life.”
Firefly‘s Captain Malcom Reynolds may have to make a living illegally, but he adheres to his code of honor, even if it frequently gets him into trouble. When Simon asks why Malcom didn’t hand him and his sister over to the Alliance from whom they’re running, Malcom responds, “You’re on my crew”, you’re family. Simon and River had previously been viewed by everyone as baggage best left behind, especially by backstabbing Jayne. Even Whedon’s undead, demonic characters are realistic. Spike from BtVS is the type of guy who’s always kicked down, but continues to try. He wants to do the right thing, but goes about it the wrong way. He learns, changes, and grows, as do all of Whedon’s characters.
During his acceptance speech for an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism at Harvard in April, Whedon said:
“The enemy of humanism is not faith. The enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance, is the darker part of man that is in every humanist, every person in the world. That is the thing we need have to fight. Faith is something we have to embrace. Faith in God means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers.”
It sheds a bit of light on the rogue slayer Faith and why Whedon chose to name her such. Despite Faith’s faults and turning to the dark side, there are those who think she’s merely been led astray. Although she’s repeatedly given them no reason to do so, they try to help. They believe in Faith.
After having the quotes scattered on scrap paper and recently coming across the video clips, I figured it time to put them in one spot. This is just another meandering of why Joss Whedon is one of my favorite screenwriters and directors and why I say time and time again that he’s bloody brilliant.