Taking a break from IT and Management, I'd love to take the time to share a little bit about one of my passions: Joss Whedon.
Joss is the creator of TV shows such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. During the writer's strike, he created Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was a self-financed project that aired on the internet. Despite the fact that Dr. Horrible aired on Hulu for free for several days, the project was profitable
(gaining sales through iTunes, DVD, and merchandising). He also used to write for the TV show Roseanne, has contributed to scripts such as Toy Story and X-Men, and is currently working on a horror film called Cabin In The Woods. He's also a third generation TV writer -- both his father and grandfather worked in the industry.
Most people hear a title like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and think it sounds like one of the cheesiest things they've ever heard. It's hard, however, to meet a person who has actually given the show a shot and hasn't fallen head over heels in love with it. The immediate draw is the great mix of humor, drama, and suspense. One of Joss' strong suits is dialogue. Take this exchange, for example:
- Cordelia: I personally don't think it's possible to come up with a crazier plan.
- Oz: We attack the Mayor with hummus.
- Cordelia: I stand corrected.
- Oz: Just keeping things in perspective.
- Cordelia: Of course. That's it! We'll attack him with germs!
- Buffy: Great! We'll get him cornered, and then you can sneeze on him.
- Cordelia: No! No. We'll get a container of Ebola virus, and... and, um... or -- it doesn't even have to be real. We could just get a box that says "Ebola" on it, and, um... [snaps her fingers] chase him. [everyone is silent] ...With the box.
- Xander: I'm starting to lean towards the hummus offensive.
- Oz: He'll never see it coming.
Beneath the snappy dialogue, there's a real emotional core to Joss' shows. Buffy, at its heart, is all about the metaphor that high school is hell (which it was for a lot of us, so it's easy to relate to). Serenity, the movie made to wrap up Firefly, dealt with some deeply resonant issues about how government can overstep its bounds. "People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome." Dollhouse broke some of the snappy dialogue tradition and asked some deep philosophical questions about human nature, about the nature of the oppressed and the nature of the oppressors.
But at the heart of most Joss shows are the characters and how they interact with each other. He's truly a master at characterization, and was so back in a day before character-driven shows like Mad Men, Lost, and Dexter were mainstream.
So, if you haven't taken the time to get to know a little of Joss, now's as good a time as any! You can currently watch Season 2 of Buffy
or download Dr. Horrible on iTunes... but prepare to get hooked, and find out why I have this T-Shirt:
Posted by on Sun, 21 Feb 2010