Saturday, July 20, 2013

Top Ten Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Joss Whedon Shows*

10. It really is the little things.

Kaylee from Firefly was intensely happy about that box of strawberries that Book brought on board. Same goes for the mega-ruffled dress and the hot cheese at the party in “Shindig.” She’s got crap-all for creature comforts on board Serenity, but she makes the most of the few she does have. A lot of times you can’t control the big stuff in life—like being arrested as a space pirate. But you can make the most of the little things and enjoy life anyway.

9. Don’t ever let anyone erase your personality and memory and store it in their sketchy corporate offices like they do in Dollhouse.

This one seems pretty self-evident, but, you know—still good advice in case they ever do invent this tech.
(However: would we remember if they had?)

8. Beware the power of the dark side.

Willow fails to heed this advice in season 6 of Buffy, and she goes Dark Willow in a major way. I’m not sure she ever truly recovers from the terrible things she did. Willow’s experiences also show how important it can be to surround yourself with people who bring out the good parts of you—not the bad. Former rat Amy was a decidedly bad influence on the magic-addict. If she’d stayed in her little wheel things may have gone very differently, and Will wouldn’t have had to worry about those pesky dark magic roots in her hair. 

7. Curiosity isn’t always a good thing.

Oh, Fred. You had to open that stupid crate. And then you got killed and possessed by a socially awkward blue demon. Sometimes it’s best to just leave the bad stuff buried.

6. Maybe little white lies aren’t so bad.

On each show, the compulsive truth-teller made a bad end: Cordelia on Angel, Anya on Buffy...Spike became the one who always spoke his mind on the final season of Angel, and then he got dusted (though that was technically on Buffy). I can’t actually remember anyone telling the truth all that much on Dollhouse, though. It might have had something to do with all the brain-wiping going on.

5. Be nice to your boss (and co-workers)

This one’s from all the shows: for example, it seems like the funnest folks all got invited to go make a fun Shakespeare comedy at Joss’s house. Epic!

4. Sometimes you can make a whole lot out of a little chance.

This one’s backstage too: James Marsters was only a guest star for an episode or two, but he so rocked it as Spike that he made an entire career out of it. Extremely epic!
3. Think outside the box.

Buffy solves her final, seemingly unsolvable challenge, by doing just that: she releases the Slayer magic-dust or what-have-you to all the girls with the potential to kick vampire ass. All the other slayers seem to have been thinking too small: patrol, stake, repeat. But being an innovator has its advantages.

2. Running away is a short-term solution.

On all the shows, the main character tried to outrun his or her past, tried to leave and start over, but their past always caught up: Buffy tried to quit several times, and even suffered at least two mental breaks trying to escape being the Slayer. She tried to go to college and be a normal girl. The universe responded by sending her the source of all evil and then her town was sucked into hell. Mal tried to run away from all responsibility, only to accidentally adopt a heaping load of it when he let himself have a soft spot for River. Angel ran to L.A. but his past kept catching up. And Echo was only born because Caroline was running away from who she was—and wow did that not end very well. 

1. You can make your own family.

This happens on all his shows, really—often the characters didn’t have families, or were running away from them for various reasons. But they made their own, and stuck by those folks through thick and thin--and sometimes even hell and back. 

*or, I’m not at Comic-Con—AGAIN—which really sucks


  1. Great post! I love Joss Whedon. And, for the record, I'm not at SDCC either. And yes, it does suck.

    1. Thanks, Claire! We really should have been at ComicCon. Life is so unfair sometimes!

  2. Dang I just loved that particular episode with Kaylee.