No, really, I'll get onto that in a minute.
Tash and I have been at home for a couple of days with a really gross tummy bug, and as a result we've been watching a fair amount of Buffy. On my sister's recommendation we also watched sdwolfspup
's Coin-Operated Boy, which we both agreed was great (Tash: "This is very good. Did you make it?" Me: "Ha, I wish!"). It's unusual amongst Buffy vids in that it features lots and lots of rarely used (wonder why?!) Riley footage, along with Angel and Spike, and about halfway through a little conversation developed among the audience:
Tash: I think she's really stupid to love lots of people.
Me: Do you think she should just choose one?
Tash: Yes, but I wouldn't choose Angel or Spike.
Me: Would you choose Riley?
Tash: Yes, because he's the best.
Biley, the six year olds' ship of choice! Actually, I can sort of see her point, since she's presumably thinking more in terms of Daddy material than anything more hormonally driven, and I have to agree that while Angel is just too boringly grown-up to be a top candidate, Spike is frankly way too immature to qualify either.
We watched All the Way as well, by mistake (Coin Operated Boy had led Tash to request As You Were and I got the episode titles mixed up). It was worth it, though. Spike is so unbelievably beautiful in that episode, it's hard to believe he's real. In the sense of there being a real actor under the make-up. Obviously. It's not like I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't realise this is a TV show. S6 may not be that big on the funnies but it sure has a lot of pretty Spike.
And to conclude my random ruminations on the Buffyverse I give you: Why Spike is like a Jane Austen hero. Well, it's obvious, innit. I mean, what with him being so well-bred and all. No, but seriously, what all the best Jane Austen heroes have in common is an undying fidelity to the heroine in the teeth of fate (Edward Ferrars), inexplicable denseness on her part (George Knightley), revulsion (Fitzwilliam Darcy - I bet Emma wasn't the only missus to have trouble using her husband's first name) and rejection (Frederick Wentworth). I don't count Edmund Bertram, who definitely doesn't fit this pattern, because he's a boring old prude, and anyway, we have a neat sort of counter-example in Henry Crawford, who would have won Fanny's heart had he only persisted in fidelity a while longer (mind you, I consider HC had a lucky escape). So there you have it, the key virtue in an Austen hero is to persist in adoring the heroine in spite of apparently having no chance whatsoever of a relationship with her. I'll let Anne Elliot sum it up: "The only privilege I claim for my sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone." Austen, who knew a great deal better than Freud What Women Want, gave us a clutch of heroes who embody that cardinal female virtue of loving longest. I hardly need to point out where Spike fits in.
So now somebody just needs to do a survey to find out whether Spuffy supporters are more likely than Bangel lovers to read Jane Austen. Quantitative analysis, yeah!