AngelHank 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.
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