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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Big Bad

As I may have mentioned, I have recently discovered a love for crap novels. It's the weirdest thing. I've been reading a perfectly decent horror book, Heart Shaped Box for months. 
I got a history book on my Kindle about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire that I was quite excited about (because I get excited about shirtwaist fires) around Christmas and have barely made it through the first chapter. 
I'm only halfway through Tess of the D'urbervilles, though I started it a month ago (although to be fair, I kind of stopped reading after Tess didn't tell Angel Clare her secret when she had the chance and I just didn't have the heart to go on - because I've loved Stephen King at his most ghastly, yet I'm terrified about the moment when Clare finds out about Tess' rape baby). Also, yes, I did pick up Tess because it's mentioned in Fifty Shades, so at least some good came of my obsession with it. Also, even though Christian sees Ana as the Tess character, it's clear that it is really Christian who is Tess - neglectful parents, terrible secret, taken advantage of at a young age, falls for an impossibly virtuous woman but tries to push her away because of his horrible past...). But I digress so much more than usual. It's entirely possible I'm not even get to my point.
My point being, I'm unable to choke down all this totally decent literature, yet I'm gobbling up smut and crap like McDonald's french fries. All of which is to explain why I'm in the middle of yet another Sookie Stackhouse novel when I should be reading this perfectly digestible book about the real life explosion that's serving as a partial model for the explosion at the center of the book I'm writing. Again, digressing.
So I'm reading Club Dead, the third of about one billion books in the Sookie Stackhouse series that served as the basis of the soft-core vampire porn series True Blood, and the narrator uses the expression the Big Bad.


What's interesting about that? Well, I was pretty sure, and now I've verified through Wikipedia and TVTropes.com, that the Big Bad was one of the many terms popularized or coined on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was a series created by Joss Whedon, a TV and film writer whose credits include the upcoming Avengers movie, the TV series Firefly (which, if you have not seen, you should stop reading this post, run over to Netflix, watch the series in its entirety. Now.), Dollhouse, and bunches of other shows and movies that have inspired a cult following that makes Rocky Horror look like Mars Attacks
Joss is a lover of words, both old and new, as you find in the neat literary references throughout the series. Buffy once remarks "this guy makes Godot look punctual." One episodes contains three minor characters, soldiers whose names are Young, Goodman, and Brown. At one point, Buffy asks a nun about how she likes "abjuring the sight of men," a reference to Twelfth Night, my favorite of Shakespeare's comedies.
But Joss does more than pay homage to master word crafters, he crafts some neat words and expressions of his own. According to the article Slayer Slang by Michael Adams found in Verbatim magazine, Buffy coinages include terms like sitch; mootville; and unh, a not-so-euphemistic euphemism for doing the diddy (also a Buffy coinage), a more euphemistic euphemism for sex.
He also introduces some fun portmanteaus, according to Slayer Slang by Michael Adams, like vamp-nap - to kidnap a vampire; Spuffy - the romantic pairing of characters Spike and Buffy; and slayground - a slayer's playground. 
My favorite, by far, though, are what Adams refers to as CBSs, or Cute Buffy Sayings. Like when character Willow, angry at finding out about her friend Xander's new secret girlfriend, says "I'm going to call him. What's his number? Oh yeah, 1-800-I'm-Dating-A-Skanky-Ho." Or when Buffy, rejecting her role as the slayer says "I don't have a destiny. I'm destiny-free." 
Oogly-booglies, a coinage and a CBS in one are monsters. 
To "Hulk out" is to go into an uncontrollable rage. In a slightly more obscure reference, the "guestage" (hostage/houseguest) Andrew says of a character who had suddenly turned evil "she went all Dark Phoenix" (an X-Men reference). Note to Whedonites, that may not be a direct quote. It's late and I don't want to look it up.
Character Giles refers to the British as "the Nancy tribe."
After Willow comes out of the closet, she often repeats that she's "kinda gay." 
Sexy ginger werewolf Oz, insults a guy's vocabulary by saying he's a "master of the single entendre."
And at one point, Buffy refers to a bunch of people who are trying to offer themselves to be eaten by vampires as an "all you can eat moron bar."


Neat stuff for what started as a teen drama with vampires.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Have I mentioned that I love your writing? I am pretty sure that I have; alas, I am saying it again anyways. Coincidentally, I have been watching Buffy for the first time ever, and we are down to the final 2 episodes. I've been stalling like mad because I don't want the series to end. Sigh.

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