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From Knotmag.com


Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

By Hank Green

Saturday 13 March 2004, by Webmaster

Dear Joss Whedon,

You are very good.

Not only did you bind my soul with a story of nerdy yet surprisingly attractive high school students overcoming insurmountable odds to become a band of vampire-slaying and world-saving misfits, you wrote it to an audience of us. Us being nerdy high school students with a strong internal desire for a tangible reason to live.

You ended Buffy with flair and simplicity. The lives were going in all the right places, the final scene was touching, brief and thought-provoking, and the lives that were ended were beautiful and perfect. We were done with high school, for a couple years by then, had enjoyed going to college with Willow and Xander, but it was time for the epic battle to be won.

The reason I am writing, however, is that you created Angel. A spinoff, and by all rights, one aimed at angsty twenty-somethings who had a strong internal desire for a tangible reason to live. In our twenties, Joss, is when we should be finding our own reason to live.

But what happened is that you provided us another band of our peers (and a 200-something-year-old vampire) who lived for undeniable truths. Helping the helpless, saving individual lives, destroying evil no matter what form it took. That’s what Angel Investigations did, and that is where tens of thousands of fans found meaning in their lives. Now, 5 years later, we’re out of college and in the workforce, just like Cordelia and Fred, or we’re doing our best with only a high school education like Gun, and the Fight of Angel Investigations has become our fight. Our lives are largely without meaning but, in that City of Angels you created, there is something to fight for.

Did you know this? And what did you think when the WB came to you and said this would be your last season. Did you think "Finally all those twenty-somethings will be able to find their own meaning in life?" That’s what I thought, pleased that I would be free from my last binding TV interest. Or did you think, "I bet tens of thousands of twenty-somethings across America will band together and fight for this show. They will fight because they finally have something to fight for. They will fight because without Angel their lives lose the vicarious and fleeting meaning the show gives to them. They will fight to the tune of raising over $17,000 that should, by all rights, be going to John Kerry’s campaign"?

Well they are fighting, and SavingAngel.org did raise over $17,000 dollars for print and billboard advertisements shouting "We will follow Angel to Hell...or another network!"

I don’t know why the WB would renew Angel for my sake. I certainly still watch the show, and though you’ve just killed off the only female character (aside from the obedient pit bull in a valley girl’s body; Harmony), and all of the male characters are annoyingly broody and relatively unattractive, I am still enjoying the plot twists, and moral messages, not to mention the "good fight" against "evil doers." But I haven’t watched the WB in over a year. I don’t have a television, so I download Angel every week, and, to save bandwidth and time, they cut the commercials out. The WB doesn’t make any money off me, so why should I be disappointed they’re pulling the show?

What I’m disappointed about is you forcing a fantasy world onto lonely intelligent high school and college graduates who had full lives ahead of them. Buffy was gone and maybe, just maybe, we could have found lives of our own. But you took our good years, the years where we lose our self consciousness and do our best to break free of the useless American Dream. Many of us are stuck now, and with slogans like "Angel has been saving the world for years, now he needs your help" the lost are reaching out for the crutch you’ve provided for them and that has now been yanked away.

They don’t need it, and the only way I will be pleased with you as an individual (I will always respect the plotlines and fantastic writing of both series) is if, at the shows end, you give the lonely confused Angel fans of the world something real to care about. You need to show them one or a thousand things in the real world that are worth fighting for, and then I will respect you and we can be friends again.



21 Forum messages

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    13 March 2004 09:57, by Anonymous
    What the hell is all this about?! Loving Angel, but dude....psycho!
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    13 March 2004 11:37, by Anonymous



    huh, it’s um...it’s a ... huh...

    unusual. :/

    Not being a twenty something, i’m not quite sure whether he’s right about most of the twenty somethings out there.

    so i’ll just hmm and har

    and say go angel!!!

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    13 March 2004 11:44, by Anonymous


    I for my part strongly disagree with his letter, and I am not quite sure why you printed it here and gave it even more publicity. I am a 36 year old professional with a family. My life has meaning, thank you very much, but even as a high school girl I wasn’t stupid enough to believe you could find the meaning of life in a TV Show, no matter how good it was.

    Heinke Otto

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    13 March 2004 14:42, by Anonymous
    Some people really are psychos! Wake up man! Angel is a tv show; it’s entertainment not some way of finding the meaning of life! We love the way it entertains us because it’s well-made, interesting and funny! Periode! We want Angel back because it’s the only creative and valuable show on tv today!
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    13 March 2004 15:56, by Lara
    Whats his problem? He was all addicted to Buffy and Angel and he blames Joss cuz he couldnt get his own life? Maybe he is a angsty twenty-something, but im a high school girl with a busy fulfilling life, and i still want to save Angel. Dont speak for us all, traitor.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    13 March 2004 16:19, by makd

    Huh. And here I thought Joss Whedon was showing people what was worth fighting for:

    family,friends,ideals,good vs. evil, self control (gotta control those inner demons), some great characters and a terrific story that started millennia ago and just keeps getting better....

    Sorry you missed those, Hank; maybe you’d better go back and re-check the vids.

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    14 March 2004 01:11, by Anonymous
    OK, I was in high school when buffy started, and am now in my 3rd year of college - so basically the same as what Hank is getting at... I too wish to save angel, but that letter was out of order. it was strange and he didn’t seem ...well, sane.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    14 March 2004 03:23, by Buffy/Angel Fan
    I recently finished high school, and Buffy was on TV for every year I was there. It gave me something to relate to, and I feel I became a better person because of it, same with Angel. The shows do have messages in them, but the thing is, they are still TV shows. You can’t blame your life not moving forward because a TV show is still on air, its up to you to make those decisions, the TV shows are for entertainment, not to model your life on.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    14 March 2004 06:32, by Anonymous
    I think Hank should be writing for the Bold and the Beautiful. Watch the cheese, Hanky. Oh and get a clue.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    14 March 2004 13:46, by thingy(carla)
    shouldn’t there be a sanity limit for posting letters? I hope Joss doesn’t think we are all this pathetic...please Henk, who ever you are GET A LIFE!!! I mean I am what you can call an obsessed fan of Buffy-Angel...SPIKE AND a twentysomething, but you should really see a shrink...or think before you publicly blame someone for not having a life. Seriously you a so sad...i wonder if you even understand what the shows were about!!!
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    14 March 2004 14:05, by broilingh8
    who the hell is hank green and why do i have an overwhelming urge to pimp slap him for stupidity. i did pick out certain key words like upset with money going to john kerry so its safe to say he’s a republican first and an angel fan second so disregaurd what he has to say because they all would follow each other off a cliff for their ignorant beliefs by the way has anyone seen the whole fcc cracking down on our airwaves recently just another fascist law by our concerned parents and politicans be smart wake up people they are trying to control what we watch and do through relligion did anyone notice that the president came out the day before passions of christ was released and encouraged all americans to go spend money to watch that crap well yes he did it even played on my metal radio station now you try and tell me this isnt a political strong arm to get angel off the air for use of pentagrams and religous analogys that to them being conservitives are less than favorable cause last time i checked angel was the second highest rated show on the wb hmmmmmmm if thats not fascism what is? and it doesnt stop at angel like i said the fcc cracking down on all of our airwaves means all kinds of good shows will be censored like southpark and chappelle show i for one am taking a stand right now before it gets to bad please people if your going to elect a republican please make sure hes not a fascist christian first lol. dont get me wrong they are great for fighting and killing other countrys with a different invisible god than them but thats about all there good for and once their done with them they will move on to killing all the conflicting ideas to their religion over here. so if you want to save your tv world make sure you vote at the next election and if you want to see how a conservitive likes his tv tune into the pax channel sometime that should be enough to get your ass’s in gear lol.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    14 March 2004 14:41, by Anonymous
    Okay, this is a little creepy. I hope Joss doesn’t pay too much attention to this letter, cause i seriously doubt the idea that most of his fans hold this view. Personally, i’m a huge fan of Angel, but it’s not like it’s the center of my world. I’m a 20 yr old college student who is graduating in a little over a year, obviously i have other concerns that take priority over this well-written, intelligent hour of television. It’s called entertainment Hank, not a guide through life. While the show does make some great points regarding morality and such, i think this guy is taking it a bit to far.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    15 March 2004 00:30, by Lauren
    Wow...that was so....BAD! Just because this guy can’t find the line between real and fiction does not mean it’s Joss Whedon’s fault...it just means this guy should be in a phsyc ward instead of at home on his computer!
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    15 March 2004 04:27, by Angelus67

    Well!.......Hank you are a bit of a tosser mate!

    Firstly, do you really think it is all about lessons and meaning and getting a REAL life?

    I have and live a REAL life, like EVERYONE else!

    I for one,35 year old, like most of the female fans out there, love the characters, best of all ANGEL (David Boreanaz), I have spent a small fortune on merchandise, pictures & autographs, and not for any of the boring or fictional excuses made by many, but because it gives me something to be interested in. And the stars of both Angel & Buffy are GORGEOUS! A Simple fact, glossed over by many who would like you to think that there is actually other legitimate reasons for being so addicted to Whedons creations.

    Not since the X-Files, has there been such interesting and thought provoking storytelling.It is not that anyone thinks this is real, but it does establish "Possibility" and provoke ones own imagination to work occasionally.Have a look at some of the fan fiction written in regard to Sci-Fi programs.

    I for one am NOT a huge fan of reality television or reality itself....Reasons are numerous....try turning on CNN,the news mate, if that isn’t a big enough dose of reality to remind you about "REAL LIFE" then turn on "Celebrity Encounters", - you know, the state of things in the real world leaves a lot to be desired-REALITY! We are,generally speaking, a shallow species with shallow desires!

    It is the escape from reality that we find interesting, the possibilty that there is more than this life that we are expected to endure....Get Up, Go To Work, Marry, Have kids, Pay off a mortgage & Die!...Yep....sad truths of REALITY!

    It is the tiny doses of an active imagination that gives us small pleasures and some of the sweetest and memorable dreams (any of you girls that have had "The Dream" about our favourite star....? You know what I’m talking about!)that gives us a little excitement and uptempo vibe for the following day.

    So Hank.....go buy yourself a newspaper, go for a trip to the local pub and get yourself a dose of the real life & "Sod Off" while we are trying to save our Beloved Angel!

    We Love You and your creations Joss and thank for the dream David B!

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    15 March 2004 14:50, by Anonymous
    WHAT THE HEll, what has hank been smoking, this guy totally lost it, not all of us are looser and twenty something without a cause in life , DUDE ALL OF US have lives unlike you , go to your doctor you need some medication and proffesional help, Angel and Spike not attractive what show are you watching because the guys I see on TV are to die for ,dissing Harmony you call yourself a fan , well I trust me you are nothing more than a crazy lunatic, I don’t think any of us fans appreciate you letter . GROW UP, GEE YOU HAVE NERVE
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    16 March 2004 01:55, by Absinthe
    Hank, You are deluded. The beauty of Angel and Buffy is that both shows are excellent television. They deal with moral issues and real life issues through a mythology. People learn a little bit about themselves and about others through these shows. They are not meant to fill the gaps in empty lives. The people who watch Angel and Buffy do so because they enjoy being thoroughly entertained, which, with the flood of empty reality TV rubbish that cascades over our screens these days, is a rare treat. Look on that $17,000 dollars raised as what people are willing to pay to keep alive quality TV drama as an art. That should be a strong message in its own right to the network moguls. Your describing the people behind the Save Angel campaign as people with empty lives is not only slanderous, it’s just plain wrong.
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    18 March 2004 18:07, by sicklittlemonky
    I don’t think I need to reiterate any of the sentiments that are so clearly outlined below! True fans know the art and depth of the show, and if you don’t get it, don’t speak for us! And, by the way, Cordelia didn’t go to college, and Gunn (two n’s) isn’t getting by with a high school degree. Before you criticize a show, try watching it!
  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    19 March 2004 04:42, by Hank Green

    Hi, It’s Hank

    I guess I’ve got a few things to say, in my defense. I can’t imagine you expected I’d come ’round, so I’ll disregard the personal attacks. Except one...I’m not, never have been, and never will be a republican. I was griping because the money raised to save angel SHOULD be going to Kerry’s campaign. And because I think that would be a better place for it.

    A few of you hit on the reason I wrote the letter, and I’m sorry it was too hidden in egotism or poor word choices to be clear.

    David B says "It is the escape from reality that we find interesting, the possibilty that there is more than this life that we are expected to endure....Get Up, Go To Work, Marry, Have kids, Pay off a mortgage & Die!...Yep....sad truths of REALITY!"

    It is that very problem that I took issue with in this letter. Reality sucks, the world we are living in is wrong, but as long as we can take solace and divert ourselves with television, books, drugs, or whatever your diversion of choice is, we will do nothing to change the sad state of reality.

    I dont think Angel fans have no lives, I just wish they were out trying to make the world better.

    You cant deny our world is fucked up. It needs saving, and as long as you’re caught up in the "real world" living, there’s very little you can do to make life better. And the 20’s is the only time in which we are free enough from commitments to make that break. I feel, that maybe if there was less television for us, there would be more time to explore new and more valuable paths.

    There is a lot to respond to in all of your comments and I’m afraid it might be a little too much for me to go through and try to defend myself on every count. You all have very good points, I’m sorry I spelled Gunn wrong, and cordy didnt go to college, you’re right, spike is quite hot...but Fred was way cuter.

    I wasnt blaming joss for yanking the crutch, I said only that the crutch was yanked, attempting to imply it was the network. I’m not crazy and I do have a life, I have a couple jobs, I’m a local activist and I’m in grad school.

    I also occasionally write for knotmag and have NEVER had as much response to anything I have ever written. This has been really amazing.

    My original intention was to analyze why people care so much about this show, and to do it from an interesting perspective and possibly illuminate some interesting aspects of our society in the process.

    Many of you have excellent points that rebuke or support my views and I respect you for that.

    I know I’m just opening myself up for more slander, it’s somewhat exciting though. Kinda like an extreme sport. Being flamed by an entire message board, and in my case I saw 5 days of angry posts in one half hour. Its been a bit like a mosh pit.

    No matter what any of you might say Knotmag is a really great online magazine with a lot of great writers (much much greater than me) and I hope none of you have a poor opinion of them because of my letter. It is a very well done magazine, and I have a feeling that many of you would enjoy its content.

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    19 March 2004 06:23, by abby

    Ok so I would like to first state that despite being a fan of both Buffy and Angel I have not, nor will I ever give money to this "organization." I happened upon your responses to the "open letter" I had previously found quite ENTERTAINING at the knotmag site. Your responses left me feeling quite scared for the state of humanity and just generally for the direction all of your lives are taking. Angel is just a TV show, a darn good one at that, but your responses in trying to condemn Hank show that you actually do believe it to be so much more. Get a life, donate money to something that actually will help people and if you so crave a dose of angel by the damn dvds or watch the reruns.

    My first comment is to the person who called Hank a Republican. First of all, did you even read the letter? Hank clearly stated that you shouldn’t be wasting your money on "saving angel" but instead should be giving said money to something more worthy, like getting W. out of office. Obviously Hank is not a republican. The remainder of your diatribe obviously had little to do with Hank’s letter and more to do with your needing to spout off about your opinions. If you want to do that I recommend starting your own website about politics, getting involved in campaigning/activism or simply write an editorial in the paper.

    My second comment is to the person who wrote about spending a small fortune on Angel/Buffy over the years. All I have to say is I feel sorry for you. If you actually do have a real life I wonder how much it is limited because instead of spending the very little money all of us have on enjoying life, you have spent it on material posessions that will most likely end up in a garage sale or garbage pail in 5 years. Think of all you could have done with that money. Perhaps you could have gone on a trip that was not through the glass on your television set. There are many wonders in this actual world and we should be celebrating and encouraging their continued existence instead of finding happiness in pretend worlds.

    Finally I will end by asking all of you to think about what you could do with the hour you will now have with Angel going off the air. Spend some time with your family, read a book, take a walk, simply look at the stars and realize that there is a world of possibility out there just waiting to be explored. That and there are plenty of demons in our own world that need slaying, just pick up a newspaper or turn on the news and you will see. So spend your now free hour each week doing something to recognize the beauty in our own world or fight the very real problems so many of us face. Basically all of you (not Hank) GET A LIFE!!!!!

  • > Hank Green’s Open Letter To Joss Whedon

    17 February 2005 23:52, by Daniel Legg
    there actually are a lot of things in this letter that i agree with; however i have a slight problem with some things. Yes i understand that great art, that is what Angel is, can have impact on someone’s life and help them find ideas and ideals that bring meaning to life, but such things should not be The source of menaing in any life as hank’s letter seems to indicate it has been for him. The biggest thing i have issue with is that Hank seems to be blaming Joss Whedon for his and others not "fighting the good fight" in reality. I think there is certaintly enough time for people to watch an hour of television and also impact positivly the world they live in, to implicate that prtesting a show ending is somehow iresonsible in light of what the show is about is more than slightly rediculous. Anything that brings such enjoyment and inspiration and possible impetus to fight for good in the world should not be simply let go becuase there will be an hour more that you have to do something else with. Your choices are your own and the creator of a work of art does not have responsibilty for making anyone dependent or independent of their work. The fact the Angel was on television, did not make it so that anyone had to watch it at the expense of "having a life". it is also rediculous to say that something take up enough of your life to take away the meaning of it. If you havent done what you wanted to do; it isnt becuase of a telivision show; it is becuase of your own choices.
  • I’m not sure why everyone is so unsettled by the show of enthusiasm and care, but — well said, Hank. Well said.