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  You & A Guest

February 24, 2000

You &... Marti Noxon
Head Writer and Supervising Producer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and Consulting Producer for Angel

She's the hand behind the hand that wields the stake. She's lead us -- Buffy's loyal fans -- through some of the most painful breakups ever to shatter the small screen. She knows how to blow up a Judge and how to bring a boyfriend back from Hell. She made Willow single last fall... and she's making up for it this spring.

After film school at U.C. Santa Cruz, Marti was a writer's assistant working on a stack of her own spec scripts for film and TV. She was chosen by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt to join the staff of Buffy during Season Two and has distinguished herself as one of the standout writers on the show. She's also helping Angel get his bearings in L.A., and -- in her spare time -- she has features for Warner Brothers and Universal in the works.

In a "typical" day, she'll help guide the stories that keep a good-sized heap of you lot -- and all of Team BG -- glued to the screen once a week. (Actually, Team BG works late, so we tape.) She works with writers, casting directors, producers, and editors to make sure that the finished product we see is harrowing, hilarious, and heartwrenching. Just like we like it.

Buffy has always been a fave of BG's, and why not? They have the same mission: ridding the world of evil. They're both powerful female icons who save men and women alike. And they get their jewelry at the same place.

Even more importantly, many of the same guiding tenets that make BG your hero are routinely on display in similar -- if bloodier -- ways on Tuesday nights. After meeting Marti, you'll understand why.

We asked for your questions and sent her a pages-long list of the best ones. To her credit, and in true Slayer fashion, she answered every single one. Aren't you glad she uses her powers for good? Our sincere thanks go to her (and to her own intrepid Willow, J.D.) for being our guest.

And now, a very special crossover event....

Buffy: The Big Picture

1) Team BG asks, "Why do you think Buffy and Angel have captured their audiences so passionately? Is there a bigger mission that you, Joss, and the cast are aiming at?"

I'm not entirely sure I understand this one. But, yes, we are trying to take over the universe.

2) Breakup Girl asks, "What point, if any, are the writers/producers trying to make with the near-equation of sex and violence (as when Buffy and Riley get turned on when they spar or kick some demon ass together)? It would be simplistic to consider this depiction 'offensive.' Is it a not-afraid-to-go-there way of exposing an uneasy relationship between lust and bloodlust?"

Yeah -- I'm glad you asked this. Joss says I've ruined his life by introducing a faintly (okay -- overt) S&M element to the show. Apparently, now he gets turned on by going to the dentist. All kidding aside, I think the connection between sex and violence lies for me in our basic animal nature. These are instincts -- to fight and to f-ck (can I say that?) -- that have been around since man first killed beast to impress a pretty cave girl (or vice versa). Also, I can't deny a darker impulse -- which has something to do with the fact that women have been historically victimized by men only because our physical differences permit it. That Buffy can level the playing field -- or Evil Willow, or Faith -- is, to me, inherently satisfying and erotic. But in a "call my shrink" kind of way.

3) Colin asks, "Is the team behind Buffy and Angel planning another show at this time?"

Yes. It's called Bobo, Monkey P.I.

Love and Sex on Buffy and Angel

4) Nancy asks, "You once said that 'I Only Have Eyes for You' was your favorite episode, which in its soap opera-like tragedy can only be matched by the episode 'Wild at Heart.' Is it the nature of young love to disintegrate on Buffy, or is it just the nature of young love to disintegrate, vampires [notwithstanding]?"

I imagine some young love remains intact. But my experience with young love was more that it explodes and shatters like some horrible, frightening, explode-y thing. I would venture that most of the writers on Buffy had similar experiences. Hence, we write what we know.

5) Constance asks, "Is it significant that every time Buffy sleeps with someone it happens to be on red sheets? I realize that, as a recurring theme, the color red might be a warning of danger (like what happened with Angel and Parker, who turned out to be jerks afterwards). Why continue it with Riley who seems like a nice guy?"

Honestly? Didn't notice the red sheets. The art department is messing with us again. They like to get all "meaningful" and "symbolic." And Angel isn't a jerk. He's just misunderstood.

6) Alexandra W. asks, "Buffy had sex with Angel while in high school and since starting her freshman year in college, Buffy has had sex with two different men. Since the show's audience largely consists of impressionable teenagers, do you think that it is responsible to depict Buffy engaged in sexual activities?"

I think our attitude on the show toward young people and sex is that they have it. In most cases. And in most cases, a lot. And good girls do it. But we try to show that there can be serious consequences when a young woman has sex (your boyfriend can turn out to be evil, for example; you might have to send him to Hell; that kind of stuff). We show that sex can be dangerous and powerful, it can affect the way a girl feels about herself. As far as impressionable young people, parental involvement is really important in the Buffy Universe if a parent is concerned about what their kid sees in terms of sexuality and violence. The show changes a lot from week to week. It can be harmless and silly one week, then genuinely scary ("Hush"), then all naked (the upcoming "Where the Wild Things Are.") So watch with your young ones. Hopefully, we'll turn Mom and Dad into Buffy-holics, too.

More of your interview with Marti Noxon!

Pictures are copyright © The WB Television Network and are from the Official Buffy the Vampire Slayer Site.

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