You know, I realized something just now as I was responding to something buffyannotater (Rob) said in our Cordy thread on the board. I wrote to him, “I’m a canon geek”. What matters to me in the text of show, book, film, whatever, is What Actually Happens. The “reality” within the world of the text. That’s one reason I can’t read (or write) fan fic. It’s not part of the original text. It’s not “real”.
For me, fan fic that contradicts canon is like turning your back on the death of a loved one in real life and writing fictional stories where they’re still alive. It might make you feel better for a day or a year, but in the end you have to deal with the loss of that loved one, or live in a fantasy world.
Within my experience of a fictional piece of work, I priviledge canon as I do reality out in the physical world.
If ME writes the show to say, “Everyone but Angel has forgotten Connor” “Connor has this new life and won’t be back on the show” than that’s reality. I either live with it, or turn off the TV. At least, that’s how fiction works for me. Tara’s dead until ME resurrects her. That’s just life. I accept whatever happens on the show, and fan wank the stuff that happens that doesn’t quite work.
I’m not going to turn All Things Philosophical into a discussion board where the only acceptable post is season 4 AtS AU fan fiction and everyone trashes you for watching season 5. I have friends on the Kitten board, and that’s what it’s become. A board for season 6 AU fan fic where you got flamed for watching season 7.
That means that after I recovered from “Home”, I had to accept the reality of the mind-wipe, and the effect it had on the characters and the show. I had to stop whining about the loss of Connor as a character in Season 5. I couldn’t write AU fan fic to soothe myself because I wouldn’t be soothed.
And that means, for me, that until the memory wipe is resolved, I have to accept it. If it is never resolved, I have to accept that, or turn off the show. And if I have to divorce my show, I will mourn, like I did last summer when I was on the verge of it.
In the mean time, I live inside this schitzophrenia in which a great deal of the events of season 3 and 4 are tenuous. I imagine that’s how Angel is feeling right about now. “Connor lived! I remember him!” “Wesley betrayed me! I remember that!” But in the minds of everyone else, it never happened. Reality for Angel all twisty-turny right now. It’s like me remembering the events of my real life one way and everyone else another. You’d start to feel crazy. Alone. How good it must have felt for him to talk about Connor, and his reasoning in “Home”, with Cordelia, even though she judged him for it. Talking about it with a person he despises, Eve, can’t provide the reassurance he needs.
When fantasy shows can play with their own reality in a way that can never happen with real reality, things get murky. What the mind-wipe did, in effect, was take away some level of the “reality” of many of the events of seasons 3 and 4. It took away the “reality” of Connor. It took away the reality of much of what I loved in the show.
In the previous thread, I wrote to rahael that seeing the show in purely abstract terms, like as watching it for the good writing, or watching it to find and admire the metaphors, or whatever, can’t work for me. I love all these things in a good text, of course, but if I’m thinking at the same time, “and this stuff is as good as never happened in this universe”, the emotional intesity gets lost on me. I can’t writhe in the good writing of Wesley’s betrayal in Sleep Tight if it’s not “real”. Things that aren’t real have no consequences, and things with no consequences are stripped of meaning, especially emotional meaning. In Wesley’s mind that never happened, and he’s acting this season as if that never happened, and no matter how much bhadrasvapna argues it’s still having an effect on him, it doesn’t have to of necessity like it does in real life. ME can write it as if it’s having no effect on him.
I’m starting to be a devil’s advocate of all my worst nightmares just for the sake of protecting my ego from bruising. So I’ll stop now.