Homepage > Joss Whedon’s Tv Series > Angel > Interviews > Drew Goddard - Drewgoddard.com Q&A - Summer 2003
AngelDrew Goddard - Drewgoddard.com Q&A - Summer 2003
Sunday 4 April 2004, by Webmaster
Drew Q&A, 2003
So, many moons ago, also known as the time just after Buffy ended its run, I (Dachelle) sent a rather ambitious list of nearly 30 questions to Drew by e-mail for him to answer for the site. Drew, bless him, tried his best to get to all the questions, but over time he became busy with Angel, and I became busy with law school stuff, and eventually it became clear that the Great DrewGoddard.com Site Interview was never going to be completed. However, in the interests of fandom enlightenment, I present the truncated, belated, but nevertheless interesting official site Q&A with Drew from summer 2003.
Q. Who are the hardest and easiest characters for you to write?
They’re all challenging and rewarding in their own way. But for some reason, writing mean-spirited, obnoxious villains comes very easy to me. Hmmmm. For instance, I’d be at my happiest if I could write an entire script about D’Hoffryn discussing bathroom fixtures and making fun of frat boys. It must be because I’m so pleasant and humble in my every day life.
Also, now that I think about it, Andrew’s a really easy character to write because I just stick my head out of my office and write down whatever the hell Doug Petrie is talking about that particular day.
Q. How has being a writer on the show changed your opinion on certain characters/storylines/relationships from those you had when you were just a fan?
You become more understanding to storyline issues when confronted with the reality of putting on a television show every week. Good example — as a fan, I was always bothered by the abrupt ending of the Darla story arc in season two of Angel. When I came over to Mutant Enemy I found out that Julie Benz was cast in a pilot for another show that season and the writers had to work around it. When I look back at those episodes now and I can appreciate the work everyone did given the constraints of the situation.
Q. What is your favorite episode out of the ones you’ve written?
The one where Mark Greene keeps making small mistakes when delivering the baby and ultimately gets his patient killed. After that, it’s all pretty much one big tie. Though "Selfless" does have Swedish Viking Troll dialogue in it. That’s going to be hard to top. Where do you go after that? What’s the point?
Q. For each of your episodes, list a favorite moment and/or a scene you’d change given a second chance.
"Selfless" — Favorite moment: "Lloyd has a sketch of it on his wall." I’d change: the Spider Demon scene with Xander — the webslinging effect didn’t really work the way it was supposed to.
"Conversations" — Favorite moment: Jonathan’s last speech. I’d change: Not really sure... I was pretty happy with that one.
"Never Leave Me" — Favorite moment: "It was kinda like when I used to get ulcers in high school, only at the end I became one with light and hope." I’d change: The building explosion effect. Don’t even get me started...
"Lies" — Favorite moment: Giles and Wood’s scene in the basement. I’d change: Not sure... Fury did a damn good job directing.
"Dirty Girls" — Favorite moment: "Like Falcon Crest." I’d change: Some nitwit wrote an eight page fight for that last sequence and caused the show to run out of money. If said nitwit had it to do over again, he’d condense it a bit. Ah, the limitations of television.
Q. You were given the task of killing off one of the most-popular and longest-running recurring characters in the Buffyverse, Jonathan. Describe how you went about writing that scene and what you think of the end result.
Jonathan’s been there since the beginning, and it was important to us to give him a death that completed his character arc. When I was writing it I basically sat down and watched all the key Jonathan episodes — "Earshot," "Superstar," the Season Six arc — and looked at Jonathan’s journey. He follows a fairly logical progression from beginning to end, so it was simply a matter of servicing the character.
I love how the scene turned out. Danny Strong breaks my heart.
Q. Why is Anya afraid of bunnies?
I’m not sure. You tell me.
Q. What the heck was up with the time/date stamp at the beginning of "Conversations with Dead People"?
I’m not sure. You tell me.
Q. You’ve written two episodes with other writers, and three solo episodes. How does your writing process change when you’re writing with someone else? How are the duties broken up, and is there a lot of compromise involved or does each writer do his or her own thing and then the individual works are pulled together at the end?
Every script is different — "Conversations" was a very compartmentalized script and "Lies" was a true collaboration from top to bottom. Writing for television is about playing well with others, so in a sense all scripts are collaborations whether you’re credited as solo writer or not. I’m lucky because I work with such talented writers. There isn’t a lot of ego involved. Everyone just wants to make the best script possible.
Q. Which parts of “Lies My Parents Told Me” did you write, and which parts belonged to Fury?
"Lies" was a weird process. At the beginning Fury wrote Acts One and Three and I took Two and Four and then we switched and I rewrote One and Three and he rewrote Two and Four. I don’t think there’s a scene that doesn’t have both of our voices in there. It was an odd way to work, but Fury kept us on track. He had a very strong vision of what the episode should be right from the outset.
Q. "Lies My Parents Told Me" ended up being a fairly controversial episode among some segments of the fandom. Some fans felt Spike was portrayed too sympathetically, others too harshly, and many were upset by Giles’s betrayal of Buffy’s trust and Buffy’s reaction to Giles at the end of the episode. Can you describe to us what you and Fury were going for in terms of the character development of Spike and the relationship between Buffy and Giles in that episode, and how well you think you accomplished those goals in light of the fan reaction to it?
At the end of the day, any time these characters take a strong position it’s going to upset some people. Buffy’s not a story-driven/standalone show; characters evolve within this universe. This doesn’t always make people happy. Admittedly, we go to some dark places.
What’s important is that the story stays true to the character. With "Lies," individual point-of-view shapes the morality of the episode. We tried to show that each character truly feels he or she is doing what’s right. How you view the episode may depend on which character you identify with the most. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It’s exactly what we intended it to be. I’m glad people are talking about it.