TITLE: The Spam And Umad Reader (An Essay)
SERIES: Overview of my Buffy/Popular X-Over A.U.
DATE: Dec 2003 (updated Feb 2004)
PAIRING/RATING: None/"R" for rogue curse words...
SUMMARY: An attempt to explain my reasonings for the messed up, muddled up, shook up world I've attempted to create usurping my favorite parts/characters from Joss Whedon's "Buffy" and Ryan Murphy's "Popular"...
This series originally started out as a one-off starring the
Nicole Julian. "Super'tard" was a x-over between 2 eps that I thought (I)
meshed really well together. BVS's "Superstar" Jonathon-vehicle and the 2-part
Popular "Style & Substance Abuse/Ur-ine Trouble" arc. Everyone was writing
Sam/Brooke fics with Nicole as the villain/angst-instigator. The only way I
could get my girl her "props" was to have her ~unite~ these 2 setting up someone
else as the villain--Enter patsy: April Tuna. As a reward for her unselfish
actions I rewarded Nicole by having Lily introduce her to my all-time favorite
fandom character: Willow.
My score: C (too many obscure references...)
I was still focusing on Nicole and Willow, hoping to lend an air of "concreteness"
to this UC ship, when I cobbled out "Big Top PeeWee's Robot Carnival". I had no
intention of a series at that time (and questionable faith in my writing
ability) but was responding to a challenge posted by a fellow PopularSlash list
member. Jos Mous had requested a "Replicant" x-over--I should have realized he
meant the anime series, I instead went with old-school "Bladerunner" replicants
and it quickly deteriorated from there...Still it had a couple of good jokes and
I got to write Anya in! Also I noticed a lot of slash fics where every couple
was gay--which to me distracted from the uniqueness of the main couple's
relationship. Also, I thought by including a het couple in equal regard I was
doing my PC duty to bestow each choice equal validity...
My score: C- (to many ~ancient~ references...)
"Brunettes Kick Ass!"--
Several months pass before the next installment--#3: "Dawnie's Inferno"
which I think was the pivotal episode, (best written/personal fave). The shift
of emphasis to Sam and Dawn brought the whole AU together...
My score: A- (a hoot & a half; and foreplay!)
I think everyone has their ideal/dream mate in the back of their mind; certain physical and psychological traits, personality types we are inexplicable attracted to...For me it's scrawny, head-strong young brunettes (w/ intellectual, moody, curvaceous redheads a very close second). One would be hard-pressed to find better examples than Sam McPherson and Dawn Summers.
While some argue "opposites attract", I contend that these 2 character's similarities are what make them perfect for each other. Both are highly intelligent, albeit unfocused, girls who's stubborn streaks often force them into corners. Both find solace/escape in the written word (the Zapruder & The Dawnmiester Chronicles). Both girls have suffered the loss of a parent at a vulnerable age, and both feel overshadowed by a larger-than-life blonde "sister". And I think both characters remain unjaded despite the "heinous atrocities" they've witnessed; an innocent belief that they can make a difference...which I guess is the trait I find most admirable...that, and they both have great hair...
I've had to tweak the time-line a scoosh: as if they're forever frozen in Carbonite (or at least preserved on DVDs...) Sam remains a 17 year old High School Junior; Dawn a year behind her as a (for ethical purposes) 17 year old sophomore. Nicole is still in Sam's class but due to "extensive life-experiences" often reads older than her own girl, Willow, whom I've frozen as a freshman at UCSunnydale.
They say most writers work with an audience of one in mind, I don't know...My beta/idea-bouncy-girl is often my harshest critic; at least when it comes to flipping me shit about my "Lolita/Jailbait" mind-set...but like (a cut-rate) Nabakov/Humbert Humbert, I'm merely trying to regain a degree of innocence vicariously thru these young women. I would ~never~ gratuitously exploit their youth or fawn-like, emerging beautiliciousness...Word. };o)
"Babes in the Woods"--
OK. The characters/scenarios/backdrops in place, all that's (still?)
missing is a plot! Installment #4: "Menacing the Phantom Clone" emerged after
repeated playing of Kevin Smith's just-released DVD "Jay & Silent Bob Strike
Back!" It became the Turning Point. From here on the series would be a vehicle
in which I could pay homage to (*cough*rip-off! *cough*) all my outside cultural
influences. Despite all the dark moments, both "Buffy" and "Popular" were
essentially light-hearted morality tales, and I wanted to remain true to the
comic overtones. Buffy's supernatural ambience and Popular's over-the-top humor
meshed perfectly with the comic-book feel of Smith's world-view, thus were
born-- "Spam & Umad" a.k.a. "Dawn & Cynical Sam". All I had to do was amplify
the ludicrous quotient...
My score: C (unbridled potty-mouthedness)
Installment #5: "Rosemary Cherry's Baby" filled in the rest of the
Ficscape: Established Mary Cherry as a 1930's influenced Evil Overlady obsessed
with possessing Sam at all costs. Finally intro'd Buffy, now reduced to
co-star/walk-on status and, displayed the pattern I borrowed from both shows: A
self-contained episode that furthers the overall story arc, but more often than
not ends in unresolved cliff-hangers or lame continuity. (OK. I admit it--I often
wrote myself into a corner and it usual took 1-2 months before I could figure a
way out...or the readers forgot about it, either way...)
My score: B- (nice imagery; a bit wordy...)
Installment #6: "Rocket from the Crypt" was a well-intentioned, but
ultimately doomed epic. A good plot I handed over to Inner-Artsy-Fartsy-Wordplay-Guy
who mangled what would've been an above-average, multi-leveled sci-fi/porn
spoof. Kind of like having your own Marti Noxon emerge from a multi-personality
My score: C- (Sam/Dawn the only non-ugly part...)
Installment #7: "Energized" was a Dawn-centric piece designed to
pooh-pooh all her distracters and legitimize her as old enough for Sam (and me)
to be thinking this way...;o) Sue me; it's a song-fic written shortly after
"Once More w/ Feeling"...
My score: B (nice imagery; stumbled explanation...)
Installment # 8: "When Angels Sleep..." ended up as a good character
study; it wanted to go hard-core NC-17 but lost it's way...we get to "watch"
Dawnie undress; big deal...so much for original plotlines.
My score: C (obscure references; but--nekkid Dawn!)
Installment #9: "Something Bad" Written after the start of S7 Buffy, a
hodge-podge "Same Time; Same Place/Gnarl Monster" parody that actually turned
into a well-polished holiday tiding...if I say so myself...
My score: A (solid plot/characterization, I rock!)
Installment # 10 "Devour This!" Worst Episode Ever! Move along people,
nothing to see here...
My score: D- (paid by the word?)
Installment #11: "Effulgent Delirious Carbon-based Bipeds"...lame
"day-in-the-life" song-fic proving that I suck at angst/dialog/direction...
My score: C- (all that for one lame punch-line?)
"Life After Buffy"--
"Popular" had been gone 2 years at this point, and I was sadly awaiting Buffy's swansong. Opinions are mixed about "Chosen" but I thought JW did the best he could considering how far the series went astray in the UPN era*. So after a respectful time of mourning and contemplation, I was able to make peace with The Slayer's Departure...
Installment #12: "Everywhere You Want to Be" combined my ongoing
"I-hate-the-WB/I-hate-Spike" rants with a good-natured (questionably executed)
tribute to the Buffy finale. Was striving for "The Ultimate X-Over Epic!" but
perhaps fell a little short. It did however introduce "What I Like About You"'s
Holly Tyler into the mix as part-time menage-a-trois love interest for Sam &
Dawn. Two-fold benefits--Holly sustained my fan-boy belief/hopes in a
show/character...and (AB) fits nicely in the scrappy young brunette category.
Since her inclusion takes the series even further afield from Popular canon, I
feel totally at liberty to take my Tantalizing Teen Trio in brave, new
directions--an "R" rated, Jailbait Version Charlie's Angels! Mild-mannered
sexploitation and alluded-to "hot, off-screen girl-on-girl-action"...at least
where minor 16-year-old Holly is concerned, proving yet again that my intentions
are honorable, my respect unquestionable, and my morals unperverted-able...This
installment laid the (however shaky) foundation for any subsequent episodes to
My score: B+ (+ for babes all over/- for Spikecentric)
Installment #13 "Nip/Tab". OK, so it could go either way from here--this could be the start of my own UPN era, could be a minor setback yet important to the overall arc, or it could be beating a dead horse. I have a few ideas, a lot of avenues the original shows left to explore, and the occasional new influence that--
a) would mesh well with the series so far...
b) actually inspires the creative forces...
--but not sure if the audience is there for it. I envisioned this AU as my
very first web-site (if I ever become computer literate) complete with fan-arts
etc. but am seriously beginning to wonder if this has become a delusion.
My score: C- (all over the place, chronologically speaking)
Installment #14--"Her". Woohoo! First piece I've hacked out in months--Finally figured out how to write my way out of the corner I'd gotten myself into--another reason why these one-off stylings are so hard to keep momentum. My score: B- (nice imagery-1/2 smut; 1/2 romantic plus elation that I finally completed a ongoing arc.)
The future beckons with some Sam/Dawn, Willow/Nicole fanarts to flesh out these seemingly foreign concepts. Maybe seeing them together will light a fire under my sloth like fic-finagling fanny...Wish me luck...
Out-takes/Deleted scenes available only at The Realm and PopularSlash--
Jane was mired in the drudgery of laundry day. She was enroute to the washer with yet another load, when a vision out of the corner of her eye made her do a double-take thru Sam's partially open bedroom door...Was that her first-born *preening* in front of the mirror and--was she wearing a dress!?!
Sam was smoothing the light fabric down against her tight, flat tummy, turning 30 degrees or so in either direction, in the slim chance that it was a lighting quirk responsible for her "appalling lack of bust". She was slowly morphing into her infamous pout-face when she noticed her mom's reflection behind hers in the mirror. Jane trying on an expression somewhere between bemused smirk and proud-yet-wistful smile...
"So that's where all these extra clothes are coming from" Jane scoffed as she saw Sam's "reject" pile on the bed (and floor). "I'm assuming Brooke knows you've pilfered her entire wardrobe? (Sam visually hedges) Hmmm, well unless you're primping for your first big date, I suggest you put all th--"
"Yes," Sam nodded vigorously; nervously, "It's for my first big date..." Biting her lip; watching Jane's reflection set aside the laundry, to concentrate fully on her daughter.
"So...does this heart-throb of yours have a name?" Jane teased, getting a slight contact-high off Sam's giddy demeanor.
"D-D-Dawn." Sam blushed at finally admitting it aloud...
"Do I know this Don? How did you two meet?" Jane prodded.
"Actually Nicole introduced us..."
"Nicole Julian? That teen-mantis friend of Brooke's? I'm not sure I'd want you associating with anyone she'd be familiar with..." A slight look of apprehension crossing her smile.
"No mom--they're just like friends of mutual friends--absolutely nothing alike! Dawn's like---really sweet, a little moody--but yea, me too and really intelligent! Sees right thru all my bogus fronts---and..." Sam took a breath and prepared for the worse, "...and Dawn's a girl--Is that a problem?"
Jane had always weighed her words carefully with Sam; to break the cycle of restrictive, tempers-flaring uber-parenting she'd endured. So even now, she treaded lightly--
"You know me Sammy; do you think that would be a problem for me?--It's only a problem if she breaks your heart--" Sam blinked back a rapidly forming tear and hugged her mom; the one constant left in her mutating world...
Nicole finished her harsh tirade, oblivious to the myriad of twinkly little lights worbling behind her like Old School Star Trek transporter beams; as if the air was becoming almost visible/dimensional as the time-space continuum rifted behind her.
The irate blonde turned abruptly nearly knocking a naked, now-corporeal Holly onto her ripe, round little rump. One could swear she copped a quick feel before turning back to the two shocked brunettes--
"And could somebody ~puh-leeze~ hang a bell on Quantum Queer Girl here," she gasped, "If I had a heart, it would've attacked by now!"
*UPN era: For foreign viewers, the last 2 seasons of BtVS (often cited for their suckiness) were provided by a different network after negotiations broke down w/ the original broadcaster, The WB *kack*.