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Musing on Whedon's themes

The buffyquestions community posed the following:

In Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse, who was the most evil character?


I responded in the thread, but just for posterity and potential discussion here ...

In thinking about this question, it occurs to me that Whedon has consistently put villains in his shows that are enablers, especially for those who value happiness/order over free will and autonomy ... where, essentially, we're the real villains ... or at least the part of us that wants to just nod along, consume and be taken care of while accepting whatever trade-off or cost is incurred by someone else. The part of us that doesn't want to know if our electronics are being made by child laborers in other countries. The part of us that wants to eat the burger without knowing how the meat is sourced. The part that is too lazy or tired to be ethical, and just wants to be gratified and entitled. The part of us that doesn't want to think.

D'Hoffryn/Anya -- The Wish. Any selfish, horrible desire, large or small, can be gratified.

Jasmine -- She is the Pax, baby. All you have to do to experience peace and bliss is to become one of her zealots ... part of her collective.

The Alliance/Blue Sun/The Academy -- "We meant it for the best ... to make people ... safer." (Talking about the Pax experiment on Miranda.)

The Rossum Corporation -- Perhaps the furthest, most aggressive and personal extension of this concept. It started out about pandering to our desires - a "Wish" for anyone who could afford to pay ... at the cost of the loss of another's self and identity. It eventually evolved into our destruction -- mind wipes, puppet armies ... completely out of control ... chaos. (There were parts with the butchers that reminded me of the Reavers.)

I'm sure there are other examples, but the "Man on the Street" episode made it very clear how the road to hell is paved with our own selfish desires.

So, ultimately, I vote for the Dollhouse manifestation of our own lesser natures: The Rossum Corporation.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
wytchcroft
Apr. 13th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
this seems a well balanced view - i would only add (perhaps) that Whedon often portrays the murky evil of the best intentions, be it The Operative or Boyd or The original Watchers or even Angel.
pointedview
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
Absolutely right, and good on you for including Angel in that ... that even "Our Hero(es)" are susceptible.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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