Archive for August, 2009

How Not to Apologize for a Raping

August 24, 2009

Oh man. Blake Carrington and Krystle. Last season Blake raped Krystle because he was mad at her for taking birth control, but she forgave him after he gave her some sparkly jewelry and flowers. She has lately returned to his bed because she feels super sorry for him after he “accidentally” killed his son’s gay lover.

Blake: That night that I forced you, the night that I… wanted you to have my child… that was even a bigger mistake than you thought. The last reward that I need is another child. And you were quite right to be angry with me.

“That time I wanted you to have my child” is the greatest vague euphemism for rape I have ever heard. I’ve been thinking a lot about rape on tv shows. This is one of the most realistic scenarios I’ve seen yet. Television rapists nowadays tend to be very different from real life rapists. In a post about Law and Order: SVU, Melissa McEwan notes that if the show reflected reality, it would be pretty boring:

The problem with L&O:SVU is ultimately this: If it reflected the reality of sexual assault, it would be a “boring” show. Woman gets raped; it’s her boyfriend. Woman gets raped; it’s her male lab partner. Girl gets raped; it’s her stepdad. Woman gets raped; it’s her male date. Girl gets raped; it’s her male teacher. Girl gets raped; it’s her dad. Woman gets raped; it’s her male boss. Woman gets raped; it’s a guy she met at a bar. Woman gets raped; it’s her male coworker. Boy gets raped; it’s his male scout leader. Girl gets raped; it’s her male soccer coach. Woman gets raped; it’s her ex-boyfriend…

We’d have to go on a long way like that before we got to a female assaulter or a false accusation. It would even be awhile before we got to a stranger rape on the street (or in Central Park, ahem); women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street.

Fantastical, larger than life shows like Law and Order: SVU or Nip/Tuck or even Beverly Hills: 90210* have long acted as if violent stranger rape is the only kind of rape that exists or is worth talking about, particularly because it’s very easy to identify as rape, and it doesn’t lead anyone to any uncomfortable places. If one out of four women is raped in her life (which I’m sure is a conservative estimate given how often rape goes unreported) not only do you probably know a rapist, you have probably dated one, are friends with one, or are related to one. And no one likes to think about that.

So we’re good at not identifying rape. Last year on Mad Men, in one of the saddest, hardest to watch scenes I think I’ve ever seen on television, Joan is raped by her fiance. In his recap for TWOP, Couch Baron initially called this a “borderline rape.” Similarly, a recent discussion about Weeds on Shakesville revealed that even among very media-savvy feminists it’s hard to identify rape for what is, and instead recontextualize it as “a bad date” or “rough sex.”

Similarly, Gossip Girl opened with Chuck Bass attempting to rape Jenny Humphrey on the roof at a party, when he is interrupted by her brother, at the time, this was clearly understood as rape, and Chuck, in fact apologized for it to Jenny midway through last season. But as the show progressed Chuck became something of a fan favorite, especially in his relationship with Blair. So the next time Chuck raped someone, even though he had been widely understood to already be a rapist, Chuck and Blair fans (of which I am one, actually, Chair forever!) found it difficult to call a rape a rape. During a blackout, Chuck takes advantage of the darkness to pretend to be Blair’s boyfriend and have sex with her while she thought he was someone else. When confronted, Blair said that she knew it was Chuck all along. But the rape victim’s state of mind isn’t what determines whether something is or isn’t rape. Chuck intended to mislead her as to his identity in order to have sex with her, presuming she would not consent if she knew the truth. Attempting to shortcut someone’s ability to consent IS rape.

There’s a very similar scene on Nip/Tuck, actually, in which Christian believes that Liz, his friend who is a lesbian (I point this out, because it is very clear that they have no prior sexual history which could confuse the matter, AND he has a big reason to believe she wouldn’t consent– she doesn’t like dudes), is asleep, and he begins to have sex with her. Of course it turns out later, she likes it. Very few of my tv watching companions understand this to be a rape scene. But Christian waited until she was asleep in order to have sex with her, assuming she would not consent. Attempting to shortcut someone’s ability to consent IS rape.

Veronica Mars has the best and the worst depictions of rape on tv. The first season did something amazing and subtle. We find out, first episode, that Veronica was raped, she doesn’t know by whom at a party where she was drugged. One of the season’s big mysteries is who raped her. It’s nice to see a rape survivor who is completely proactive about solving the case, who doesn’t turn it over to someone else to save her. What she learns is that she was drugged by accident, when a drink spiked for someone else was handed to her, and that her drugged ex-boyfriend, with whom she was still in love joined her in what he thought was consensual, but secret sex. It was an upsetting, deeply conflicting solution to the seasons mystery. Without a pervasive rape culture, Veronica never would have been raped. If no one thought it was acceptable to drug a woman’s drink to get her to have sex, she wouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. But the person who had sex with her in no way intended to rape her, and was also drugged against his will. Both Veronica and Duncan, in this scenario, were victims of rape culture, which was a powerful, profound, and very complex situation for a tv show to take on.

Of course, the second season fucks it all up and ruins the awesome completely. Because it turns out that Duncan was not the only person to have sex with Veronica that night. Cassidy “Beaver” Casablancas secretly master-minded the whole thing and raped Veronica. In the season finale, there is a suggestion that he raped Veronica’s friend Mac, which is denied in the third season. (He takes her clothes, and when she’s found she cries, “He took everything.” Which I thought meant he raped her, but it turned out I was wrong. I know, first time for everything.) And the third season opened with ANOTHER rapist, who rapes Mac’s roommate Parker, and later nearly rapes Veronica. It was incredibly sad to have such a subtle, feminist show morph into procedural levels of sensationalism. I mean, seriously, Two out of three protagonists were raped with the third only narrowly escaping? Our plucky heroine is nearly raped twice? What is the purpose of that? Veronica was an amazing heroine. I would have loved her even without the writers putting her virtue in jeopardy every six seconds. (And at this point, I’d ever prefer if Veronica were nearly the victim of multiple murders, so great is my distaste for depictions of rape for edginess. Newsflash, by definition, nothing that happens to a quarter of all women is edgy.)

I suppose my concern, at the end of the day, is that these rapes are made so sexy and titillating that rape takes on the shape of being a crime about sex, rather than a crime about power, and it’s confusing. In Dynasty, Krystle forgives Blake, but they both call it rape. On General Hospital, Laura marries Luke. But they still called it rape. But 20 years later it’s hard for people who write about tv and committed feminists to consistently identify rape as what it is. We know from advertising how persuasive a medium tv is. I feel it’s a distinct possibility that the relentless sensationalizing of rape and its divorce from reality have affected our judgment negatively and profoundly.

*In the first season Kelly tells her friends at a sleepover that her first time was rape, and she was raped by a friend from school, but this instance is overshadowed by the 9 million strangers who stalk and rape or attempt to rape Kelly over the run of the show.

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Let’s Meet the Cheftestants

August 22, 2009

Top Chef premiere! Top chef premiere!

The first episodes of elimination reality shows are sort of pointless since everyone melds together into a bitchy, beige, pointy-haired mass. It’s nothing to quit watching a show over, but it’s certainly a pitfall of the genre.

The first chef to draw my notice (though I still probably wouldn’t be able to pick her out of a lineup) is Eve, from Michigan. She says she’s “surprised that she’s the only chef from Michigan.” Reeeeeally? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten TONS of delicious food in MI, but very little of it is high end or… top chefly. I’ve never been to Eve’s Ann Arbor restaurant though, maybe it’s a high point of culture (but badly cooked scallops and rubbery shrimp make me think I’m not missing much). Anyway, Eve slips herself into the country bumpkin roll being all “I’m the only one impressed by mountains and palm trees, ya’ll are totally unfazed!”

MI may not be a cultural mecca, but it’s also not like, land o’ the rubes. We have lots of impressive nature things, and lots of Michiganders travel to places with mountains and palm trees particularly those in a position to compete on Top Chef. It just seems like an easy and annoying stereotype for Eve to embrace.

Michael is kind of disgusting with his “rack of lamb” and “two lovely coconuts” dish. So smarmy. But I can’t hate it too much because it gave me a great moment of Gail and Padma looking grossed out and Tom Colicchio being all, “No, cuz it’s RACK of lamb, like plastic surgery RACK–” And Gail busting in, “Yeah, we get it.”

Eli quickly secured a place as chef I will love to hate by cattily noting in a poolside interview that no one would want to see cuddly bear Kevin in a swim suit. Um, mirror, look into, Eli, you guys have practically the same physique. It’s sad to me when people on cooking shows embrace fat hatred. Like, come on, if there’s any time and place you should be able to roll out with your rolls out it’s when you’re watching the food network.

Who Wants Cake?

August 21, 2009

This week’s SLAT took on a Lynchian quality when Tom got pissed at his mom and Grace because Grace’s boyfriend, Jack helped fix something and Tom felt like his role as man of the house was usurped. Seriously, Grace and Jane Mancini looked completely terrified of him when they were cowering in the kitchen about the anger that had been building.

Does Tom have a history as a mass murderer the show hasn’t gone into? It just seemed waaaay too intense. Doostyn and I found it to be, hand’s down our favorite scene of this week’s show (word of day is slut, fyi), and Doostyn noted that it bore a striking resemblance to the classic Strangers with Candy scene in Who Wants Cake when Mr. Jellineck is listening to the audiotape for Retardation: A Celebration:

Hi. This is Wilford Brimley. Welcome to ‘Retardation: A Celebration.’ Now, hopefully with this book, I’m gonna dispel a few myths, a few rumors. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it – nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ‘em, don’t do it. Puts ‘em on edge. They might go into berserker mode, come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming, ‘No, no, no,’ – all they hear is, ‘Who wants cake?’ Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake. Well, that’s it for the celebration. I guess the most important thing to remember is, they’re just like you and me.

Various groups have pulled their advertising from SLAT for one reason or another: too much teen sex, gay characters, good taste, but I’m surprised that no one has objected to the horrific representation of people with Down Syndrome.

I guess SLAT is marginally better than Brenda Hampton’s last offering, 7th Heaven, which depicted everyone with Down Syndrome as an angel and preternaturally wise, but you know, not by much. I guess if Brenda wanted to open the eyes of the American public that people with DS can be enormous assholes just like everyone else, then mission accomplished, your last tv show thesis has been debunked.

What makes the SLAT scenario offensive is the sense that people are tolerating this extremely bad behavior because the character has Down Syndrome, or worse that that makes it somehow adorable or inherently hilarious. How completely condescending. The show also hasn’t really addressed why Tom is still living at home as an adult and doesn’t seem to work or really do anything other than exert his patriarchal control over the women in his life. I guess it doesn’t occur to Brenda to give this character a full life outside of his disability.

Which is, you know, completely surprising, given how fully fleshed out the rest of the SLAT crew is.

Noooooooooo Godric!!!

August 19, 2009

This week’s True Blood was freaking awesome. I am so tired of Bill and Sookie and so in love with Eric (who I privately think of as the vampire of Kurt Cobain) that I was very pleased by the romantic development and Sookie’s hot sex dream, though I am a little retroactively annoyed that I was taken in by the Comic Con promo shot of Sookie and Eric in bed together. It’s like the time they promised me steamy kisses between Annie Camden and Rabbi Glass on Sev Heav but it all turned out to be a wacky misunderstanding.

So Sookie drank Eric’s blood and is now attracted to him. (Ann Paquin was hilarious when she ran up to Bill and was all ‘That was disgusting and horrible!!!’ with that big grin on her face.) She has way fewer questions about this than I would have in her shoes. She drank Bill’s blood on like the second day she knew him. Shouldn’t she wonder how much of her attraction to him is “real” and how much is the blood? Doesn’t she feel like it’s a little bit of a violation that Bill never told her about this effect? I hope this is just the first step to Bill and Sookie breaking up because their paternalistic smug relationship is getting a little old.

I feel a little let down by the fact that we only really got to have Godric for two episodes and change. What a let down. He was shaping up to be an interesting character, and his relationship with Eric was something I would have liked to see a LOT more of.

I was also interested in the implications for True Blood’s parallel to homosexuality. Godric said a couple times that he was more evolved than other vampires, and it seems he, like Bill and Eddie, was another non-practicing vampire, at least he turned down Eric’s offer of a human after being “rescued” from the Fellowship of the Sun. I also have no idea why he thought burning in their ritual would help human/vampire relations. I’m not blind to the Christ symbolism, but I think the FotS folks would be.

Over in Bon Temps, I was thrilled that Lafayette stood up for Tara to Eggs. If your cousin comes into the bar with a new relationship and a new black eye, more than nine times out of ten Lafayette would have been correct, and in a way, he was in this case. Eggs did hit Tara, and Tara is in a dangerous situation, just not the exact situation Lafayette thought. I don’t know what Maryann’s deal is, but I feel like Daphne was incorrect, Maryann is no god. Her monologue about blacking out being religious ecstasy seemed… ill informed. Yes, a lot of religious worship requires a trance state or the contemplation of nothingness, but that’s hardly the same as having no recollection of what you did the night before. There’s a big difference between a mindful loss of control and the complete recklessness Maryann inspires. It’s good to see that Eggs and Tara, both of whom have good reasons to worry about substance abuse are worried, even if they can’t resist Maryann. It will be really interesting to see what happens when the grown-ups (boring Bill and Sookie) come back to town.

Drop Dead Diva

August 15, 2009

Just got finished watching the first episode of Lifetime’s summer series Drop Dead Diva. I didn’t hate it, although there are certainly some things about it that grate a little.

The premise is basically that smart, kind, fat humanitarian lawyer Jane and shallow model Deb both die on the same day and Deb sneakily sends herself back to earth, only HORRORS she’s in Jane’s body! She also has access to Jane’s smarts, so it’s not an excruciating look at how models are dumb as posts. Annoyingly, Jane’s eating habits are overemphasized to the point of ridiculousness. She gazes so longingly at a plate of donuts that a partner brings them over to her mid meeting, and she has her assistant (Margaret Cho!!!!) spray EZ Cheese directly into her mouth, declaring it “like xanax.” Honey, I’ve had xanax, and I have to doubt that.

My favorite moment was when Deb in Jane’s body looks up her old best friend and tells her the truth, which she confirms with a list of secrets, and the friend accepts pretty easily. He friend goes… “I know you’re Jane… but do you still drink like Deb?”

AWESOME. I had just explained that Jane was the awesome one to a friend, but that made me reconsider.

My main concern is that we are all going to learn an Important Lesson here about how it’s better to be smart and ugly (which by the way Jane isn’t, she’s just fat, but like, totally gorgeous) than pretty and vapid. As if these are the only two choices.

And as if, by itself, intelligence is morally superior to beauty. To my mind, it seems like both are traits you’re born with, mostly, that can be nudged in one direction or another by your choices and behavior. But believe me, there are PLENTY of crappy smart people in the world. I think this division between women– smart or pretty– is just another misogynist myth that ultimately pits us against each other. And I hope that by blending the characters of Jane and Deb the show will reveal this to be the false choice it is.

Homoneurotic

August 12, 2009

Oy. Weeds. When last we spoke, the season had just begun and I was already sick of it. No less now.

A few episodes ago, Dean slammed his former bro, Doug’s, dick in a drawer (intentionally). This episode Doug retaliates, insisting that Dean dip his junk in scalding coffee. These two scenes demonstrate perfectly how I feel about watching the show nowadays. I used to really enjoy Doug and Dean’s friendship,which was the darker, more realistic side of an Apatovian bromance, stunted and damaging, but still amusing. Weeds also earned points with me for having a v. unstereotypical gay character whose gayness was definitely present but was not the focus of the character. A far cry from the present day which has all sorts of characters calling each other fags, with that as the only joke. OMG. Sometimes boys like boys. Isn’t that hilarious? Isn’t it insulting (but hilarious!) when a kid calls someone who is so clearly masculine and unfaggy as the Mexican drug lord a fag? HA.

This week’s episode dealt with the fallout of Shane Botwin getting shot and Nancy marries her rapist, Esteban, and seems really happy about it. What? The fuck. Is this territory not pretty well-worn by now? I feel like I’m reading Modern Love. It is so much better to marry a rapist than a guy your sons might consider faggy sensitive. Right? RIGHT?

The high point now, is Andy’s storyline. He is now wooing Alanis Morisette, who plays Nancy’s OB/GYN (cum doctor for all sorts of shady injuries obtained in the trafficking trade) and she is basically having none of it for the very believable reason that she is a doctor and he is a fuck up. I’m sure her resistance will be worn down and I will go back to feeling crotchety about it all.

But for now. Thank you India. Thank you Providence, RI, thank you, Alanis Morisette for brightening up my obligation/appointment tv.

Hi I’m a homosexual how can I help your heterosexual existence?

August 11, 2009

The Secret Life of the American Teenager definitely qualifies as the most watchable yet most frustrating show I watch on a weekly basis.  The twisted conservative (but hip!) moralizing is always something to roll your eyes at (see Studies in Line reading with Professor Coolidge), but tonight I was just pissed.

I was excited and slightly horrified in anticipation at what a gay teen would bring to the show this season, and have come to find that horrified (not slightly) is way more apt.  Griffin is a gay stereotype of the worst degree, a particular kind that really puts an itch in my big gay rectum that even the most gigantic of big gay dildos can’t scratch.  He apparently is around for the sole purpose of saving Ashley from being cast into slut-dom upon her entrance into the sex-drenched halls of the American high school (and what’s so fucking secret about this sex-drenching anyway…every kid talks about it constantly, even the adults’ boring sex lives…why do high schoolers care about 40somethings’ sexcapades?!?!).

First eyebrow raising moment of the episode in regards to Griffin’s neutered heterosexual assistance pledge :  He brushes off a potential suitor who approaches Ashley in said sex-drenched hallway.  Not only does he act all chivalrous/chauvinist about her dating (why does he fucking care, and why doesn’t sassy Ashley tell him to back the fuck off?), but then he goes one crazy ass step further and says “Remember we said no dating in high school!” after a guy approaches him for a date!  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!

No, no, no, no Brenda Hampton and the other producers of this show that is damaging little teen brains across the nation!!!!  I may be able to look at this train wreck and not get permanent mental damage from it, but I’m not so sure younger more impressionable minds can.  This is not what gays are for!  We do not have an inexorable male impluse to save ladies from slutty disaster, and we do not care who or how often they date in this kind of sense.  Perhaps, for those of us with lady friends (and yes, that is a stereotype I’m comfortable in confirming, we typically have lots of straight female friends), we might like to know these things just like we would like to know about any other thing happening in a friend’s life, but we certainly do not meet a girl, declare her our friend (weirdly kind of against her will in this case….is this like homosexually hetero date rape or something?), and then, as Griffin pledges to Ashley’s father at the end of the episode, make it our personal mission to protect her girlish honor.  If anything, we ask “How big do you think his deeeeeeeeeeeeck is?”  and encourage a better understanding of the matter through the perfected homo-art of fellatio.

Some gay stereotypes are perfectly acceptable and can be played up (stereotype does not always equal bad), but when it’s this deluded (we’re entering Object of My Affection/Next Best Thing territory here…shudder), it needs to go.  Griffin and Ashley better start acting like the other teens on this show (oral sex, pregancy [not with each other!!!], father-killing awesome intercourse…all commonplace) or this show might not be a Booze Tube favorite anymore.  (Gnatalby you can continue to watch in “secret” shame if you’d like…I probably will too even if I declare otherwise.  Damn you addictively bad teen soaps!)

Normal Panties! On a hot chick! On TV!

August 8, 2009

Accompanied by a serious continuity error. I feel a bit pervacious since I’ve now viewed this scene several times to make sure of what I was seeing.

I speak of Starbuck’s failed seduction of Lee Adama on Battlestar Galactica in season 2 episode 15.

They start making out, both in full clothes. Shoes are lost and (off camera) Starbuck’s shirt comes off. She is wearing a black sports bra and is down to her underwear in the next shot. Lee is down to his boxer briefs. (Good choice!) He pulls down her FULL panties! They are like totally not sexy and not a thong, but something you would expect a soldier to be wearing under her uniform when she’s just on her business not expecting to bone at any time. Lee lowers her onto a table, and then has second thoughts and pulls back.

In the next shot, they are both topless (still a bra on Starbuck thank the gods of Kobol and non gratuity) but now they are both wearing pants!

The Battlestar has magical pants apparating and disapparating powers!

I actually sincerely do love that Starbuck isn’t wearing like, a lacy thong, which is something I would totally expect on most tv, which seems to assume that women exist in a constant state of sexual preparedness, which translates into real women feeling pressured to maintain the same. And then they are judged for it. (See: innumerable blog posts I don’t care to link to about how you can tell a woman is a slut if she’s shaved and it’s your first time or if she’s going commando. Then see: innumerable blog posts about how “unhygienic” an unshaven woman is or how off putting it is when a woman is wearing underwear with all thought to function and not to form. Truly, The Patriarchy, how is a woman supposed to win? Oh wait. She’s not.)

At the same time, it’s undeniable that Starbuck is attractive and desirable, but it’s also delightful because there are as many ways that she subverts the ideal (strong, muscled, hard drinking, non baby wanting*) as she upholds it (white, blonde, fairly spare in terms of body fat, heterosexual).

Despite the continuity errors, I declare a win!

*Friend of the boozetube Vyeto has noted that Starbuck may not be entirely anti-baby due to events on New Caprica. My defense is that I haven’t gotten there yet. But I will report back when I do!

Women Who Date Monsters

August 6, 2009

I’ve been putting off watching the rest of season eight of Smallville for awhile because it got kind of boring, and believe me, my standards when it comes to Smallville are pretty low, I’m mostly in it for the hot guys and the homoerotic over under tones. Plus my dad is a big fan of classic comics, so I enjoy them for that reason too, WHATEVER I don’t have to justify myself to you!

A hundred years ago a friend of theboozetube, Erika noted a central feature of the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (she was talking about the musical, but it applies more generally as well) which is “stuff that should be figurative is literal.” Smallville works the same way. In fact, in the season finale, Tess Mercer committed a grammar atrocity I didn’t realize could exist: “figuratively” abuse. I think we’re all familiar with “literally” abuse. You know, “When I got a C+ I literally died.” Um, no dude, you “figuratively” died. Anyhow, Tess was all, “You have to slay the proverbial beast, Clark!” But Doomsday is, literally, a kryptonian beast! Tess could have said literally.

But all of that is beside the point. The point is, our dear Chloe is an abusive relationship, take a gander at the extremely romantic creepy dialogue.

Davis aka human host of Clark’s seasonal kryptonian rival Doomsday: I tried looking at photos of you, I tried holding strands of your hair, none of it works! This thing inside me… it starts to claw its way out as soon as you leave! Chloe, I can’t be away from you now…. By accepting your help I’ve put you right in their crosshairs; what about when the cops find you?”
Chloe: Then we leave. We load up the car and never look back.
Davis: You’ve done more for me in a few weeks than anyone’s done in my entire life. I can’t ask you to run away with me.
Chloe:Then it’s a good thing you’re not the one asking.
Davis: You wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to anyone, not even Clark, can you do that? Can you honestly tell me that I am the most important person in your life?
Chloe: Davis. I would do anything for you.

Oh my. Davis is smooth. Not only is he effectively cutting Chloe off from everyone who cares about her, he’s arranging for her to think it’s her idea. As viewers we, like Chloe, are meant to understand that Davis and Doomsday may inhabit the same body, but they are not the same. Davis is a sweet, good EMT, Doomsday is the killer who abducted Chloe from her own wedding.

I was prepared to be really annoyed with this plot, because obviously I don’t think it’s women’s job to tame men’s rapist/killer natures. And like, if you’re dating someone and one side of them is sweet and loving but they have another side that is a killer/rapist DUMP THEM. People are not divided into sweet and human with a voluntarily repressed dark side.

Smallville seems to agree! Oliver and Clark both identify early on that it’s not only Doomsday that’s obsessed with Chloe: it’s Davis as well. In fact, Chloe and Clark do succeed into splitting Davis’s Kryptonian side from his human side, and after the split, when Chloe reconciles with her husband, Jimmy Olsen, Davis, as a full human being, with no remnant of Doomsday, kills Jimmy in a fit of jealous rage.

You cannot remove the abuser from the person you love. The abuser is not an excisable growth. Of course people can change, but not easily, instantly, or painlessly.

That was something I thought Buffy did very well, actually, with Spike and Angel, two vampires who were given back their souls. In neither case was Buffy like, “Oh yay me, monster’s gone, happy love times are ON!” Both had to work to earn her trust and both had to make painful changes to their personalities that took, in the case of Angel, several seasons. I have further thoughts on undead personalities that will save for a future post. (Specifically, I’d like to look at the first evil’s Buffy incarnation and why Angelus is so different from Angel when all the other vampires are so much like their person was.)