Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Work, Which Becomes a New Genre Itself . . .

Reel One: Actually, the only "reel" this week. My college is on spring break, so my film class didn't meet this week (I'll spoil you about what's going to happen when they come back later in the post). Not to fear, though - the Nik at Nite re-watch continues unabated! This week, Ian Klein dissects three episodes leading up to the jaw-dropping finale of Season 2. (Incidentally, those finale eps are where I first entered the Buffy boat lo those many years ago.) The twin "Becoming" episodes are so strong that these three can get lost in the shuffle, which is a shame. Klein does a lovely job of giving these episodes the credit they're (over)due. And Steve Halfyard explains the music to us - honestly, I love those bits. Musicology isn't my field (at all, despite my propensity for belting out lyrics at stoplights), and I enjoy learning more about how the music weaves themes together throughout a show that has such a special place for me.

Now - there is no "Reel 2" this week, due to the afore-mentioned break, a large chunk of which I'm spending drafting my paper on Whedon's circular take on Marvel's Kitty Pryde and his own Buffy Summers. The paper is due to be delivered at the end of April, so you'd think I had plenty of time. Then again, you've never seen me write. But I also had to do some prep work for my return to class next week, which meant re-watching the anime feast that is Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop. To borrow from Mal Reynolds, dear and fluffy lord, how I love this show! It's not without its flaws (Faye appears to be an amalgam of large, jiggly parts that are often posed provocatively for the camera and her heart is nearly as cold as outer space itself), but it also isn't afraid to ask the Big Questions. You know the type - "Must I always be my past?" and "Caring about people complicates matters - am I better off with people or without them?"

The music is stunningly good and is in many ways the heart of the show. The title of this post comes from a snippet on Bebop and is a reference itself to the free-wheeling nature of jazz: "The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called . . . Cowboy Bebop." At its best, Bebop is a meditation on freedom and the price that comes with it. Lovely, truly lovely work, but I must warn you. Don't let the cartoon nature of Bebop fool you. It'll dazzle your eyes and then break your heart. Poor FryDaddy (who was a fan before I was) had to put up with my storming around when the series ended as it should, rather than how I wanted it. My students will be spared that, as they'll see the film, rather than the series. Still, I wouldn't give up the hurt that came with "Real Folk Blues."

Yet my pain is being mocked. Apparently, Keanu Reeves wants to be Spike. (Not that I blame him. Hell, some days I want to be Spike!) The difference is, especially after the bank that was The Matrix, Reeves has the box-office pull to make this an Appealing Idea to Fox. The live-action deal seems to be stalled in Development Hell due to cost.

Let us give thanks.

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