Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ten Moments of Solid Proof Joss Whedon is a God

Okay, so maybe my title is a bit dramatic--so what? Joss Whedon is, in my opinion, the geek to surpass all geeks. You're probably thinking, "Uh, what about Stan Lee? George Lucas? Alan Moore?" and yes, okay, there are a plethora of geeks to choose from for the role of THE geek god. But hear me out; Joss Whedon is it. He is the final frontier. This man is our pop-culture geek Messiah, and with this top ten (of about a MILLION) list of his greatest moments, I will make a believer out of you.


10. Toy Story

Did you know Joss Whedon co-wrote Toy Story? You do now. That's right, he is partly responsible for what I'm sure is one of your favorite childhood movies. And, although it's very different from the genres he normally sticks to, there's definitely still that same quirky, realistic dialogue present in the script that JW is so well-known for.

9.  The Avengers: The Cunning Black Widow

JW's involvement of Black Widow in 2012's The Avengers was no different than his portrayal of any strong female character: a bad ass, hard-working woman with an agenda. Natasha Romanoff is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with particular talent in undercover work. In this film, we're treated to plenty of scenes where she shows us how well she matches up to the rest of the boys, including battling The Hulk and flying an alien spacecraft to help stop an invasion. My personal favorite, however, is her first scene, where she completely destroys some less-than-gentlemanly Russian mobsters.

8.  Cabin in the Woods: The (Intentionally) Campiest of All

2012's Cabin in the Woods is a brilliant take on the generic horror film genre that we're all too familiar with. The jock, the (slutty) cheerleader, the deadbeat/stoner, the good guy, and the virgin, all thrown together in either a very empty suburb (where are all the adults?) or--well, a cabin in the woods. Enter: the villain. Could be a murderer with mommy issues, a demon, zombies, a ghost, any number of things, really. Kids go into the woods to have sex (why?) and are murdered. The rest are picked off one by one, leaving the virgin for last, who will inevitably destroy her sanity by having to murder the murderer, and thus the movie ends with a very pretty girl covered in blood and weeping.

JW, like us, wanted a film that analyzes the horror films we all know; and Cabin in the Woods was born. We see a behind-the-scenes view of where this repetitive, generic horror plot originates: in a lab, full of employees who monitor the victims (who are under surveillance) and control the monsters, hormones (explains all that forest sex), locked doors, and any other convenient plot device. Why? To appease the Gods, of course. Sigourney Weaver will explain it all to you, don't worry.

7. Dollhouse: Apocalypse Now

This particular episode (officially titled, "Epitaph One") of JW's conspiracy-theory science fiction series came literally out of no where. In the finale of season one, we are thrown into an apocalyptic future, where the imprinted and non-imprinted are at constant war. There is complete anarchy abound, and we are left to guess that the "Tabula Rasa" technology of the Dollhouse has gotten loose and taken over the world. This episode stands alone until its second part in season two, confusing the viewer, but making it no less intriguing. Joss decided to hook us in that future plot early on, perhaps as a way to tease us: was it all a nightmare, dreamed up by Echo or Topher? Or are we actually getting a glimpse of the future? Joss doesn't leave questions unanswered, but there was a period of uncertainty until season 2. Well played, Joss.

6. A True Feminist

In May of 2006, Joss Whedon delivered a speech for Equality Now. In it, he addresses the issues of equality as it is seen in pop culture. He presents a question that he's been asked "over and over and over" again, "Why do you write these strong female characters?" Out of the numerous and wonderful answers he provides, the final answer is my favorite (and perhaps the thing that convinced me to worship this man): "Because you're still asking me that question."

Here is his entire speech, I highly recommend you watch it:

5. Serenity: River's Turn

If you read my last article (and if you did not, here it is), you know River Tam from Firefly is one of my favorite characters of all time. In the feature film Serenity, fans get a long-awaited continuation from the single-series run of JW's space cowboy science fiction magnum opus. In one of the final scenes, River proves that her brain-washers may have turned her into a killing machine, but that doesn't mean they've turned her into an evil one.

4. Nominated for an Emmy: Hush

Okay, this is my least favorite episode of Buffy, not because it isn't good (it most certainly is among the best, actually), but because it scares the living shit out of me. Hush is a brilliantly written (heh) episode about a new kind of monster; they are called the Gentleman, and they're assholes. They glide around town stealing everyone's voice, then glide into your bedroom in the middle of the night, and cut out your goddamn heart. All with perfect gentlemanly poise. Congratulations, Joss, you've managed to give me nightmares for the rest of my life. (I still love you).

Obviously, since their voices have been stolen, almost the entire episode is acted without any lines. The characters have to figure out how to communicate with each other and defeat the Gentleman. This episode is brilliant, beautiful, and hilarious. So it's no wonder why it was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (ironically).

3. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Written during the 2007-2008 Writer's Guild of America Strike, Dr. Horrible has received high praise and reviews, and plenty of awards to accompany them. A genius, heartbreaking musical about a man with aspirations to be a super-villain, this web-series is a fun, hilarious, and quirky addition to Whedon's ever-growing list of brilliant material.  But the best part of the series? This scene, when Nathan Fillion makes his gloriously handsome entrance:

2. "You can't take the sky from me"

When Firefly was canceled, JW and everyone involved was crushed. Fox didn't have enough faith in the show because it didn't have enough viewers to survive another season, even though it received endless praise from reviewers. Not hours after he got word of the show's cancellation (while they were still filming an episode--the nerve) Joss was on the phone with the president of Fox. In an interview on the fan-made film "Done the Impossible" (a wonderful film, available to stream on Netflix), Joss describes the simple interaction in which he thankfully gained the rights to his space-cowboy baby.

"I talked to the president of the network and all I said was, 'Will you let me take it somewhere else?' She said, 'Yes.' That was our entire conversation. I believe it was our last. And they did, very graciously, let me take it somewhere else. And so it did not die, but it was close." Source

1. Death Scenes

This isn't just one moment, because there are multiple deaths involved in the Whedonverse. But allow me to explain: Joss knows how to convey real grief. His most gut-wrenching, heart breaking character deaths are those that happen so suddenly and naturally within the chaos of science fiction. These deaths come out of no where, like most in the real world. Sometimes someone is shot by some dickhead with a gun; sometimes, someone is impaled through the heart; and other times, someone died in their sleep from a brain tumor. These deaths are Joss's way, I think, to keep us checked in; the story is taking place on Earth, with humans. Humans are not immortal. The monsters and aliens and Gods he writes may be, but humans are humans. That grief, while devastating, gives us strength; it gives us the fuel we need to fight the enemy as one. Like Phil Coulson says in The Avengers, "This was never going to work...if they didn't have"

Like I said, this list is really endless, but I tried to pick the top ten most unique ones that stuck out for me. Are there any Joss Whedon moments you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments!


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I thought I read somewhere that Joss only created Hush because all the reviewers for Buffy only talked about the dialog. So he took it out.

Yes! He began to realize that a lot of the show was "he talks, she talks, they talk." over and over again, and people from the network told him his show was mostly dialogue. He didn't like that. He was starting to feel stifled when it came to creativity. So "Hush" was born.

Great article. I'm going to have to watch Dr. Horrible now. It looked amazing. I love how JW "gets" the gender issue wholeheartedly. Awesome.

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