Buffy: Whut.


   Field Reporter: Fishermen discovered the body today, the victim of a brutal stabbing. Authorities and citizens alike were shocked when the slain man was identified as Deputy Mayor Allan Finch.
   Joyce: Oh, honey, you're up. (turns back to the TV) Oh, it's just terrible, isn't it?

Yes, mother and mainstream media! It's almost as awful as the twenty-three other mysterious deaths and/or murders that have occurred this month! Some of which even happened to pretty young white girls and not deputy mayors! Which makes it even more puzzling that the news is devoting so much coverage to this!

   Trick: Well, they're not gonna be much of a threat in jail.
   Mayor Wilkins: Well, we don't have near enough evidence to put 'em away.

No, we really don't have enough evidence to take them to trial! And there's the pesky little fact that EVERYONE ON EARTH emphatically does not want the Masquerade becoming a matter of public record at a trial wherein a demonstrably super-human Slayer explains why she carries an arsenal of wooden stakes! And the fact that a number of those people invested in the Masquerade are absolutely capable of making life very uncomfortable for us! And the fact that "locking the Slayer up" is actually a step down in terms of efficacy from our previous plan of just plain killing the Slayer! And the fact that a world without the Masquerade is a world where any yahoo with a cross and a UV lamp can kill us with impunity!

Little things like that!

   Giles: Which means that Faith will be soon on her way back to England to face the Watcher's Council.
   Buffy: And then what?
   Giles: Most likely they'll lock her away for a good long while.

Most likely! I mean, it's not like the Watcher Council doesn't regularly murder Slayers when they reach their eighteenth birthday! I'm sure they'll respect the sanctity of life and keep one of only two effective weapons they have against the dark forces of evil locked in a cupboard for years rather than ruthlessly murdering her and hoping the next one activated turns out better! That absolutely seems in keeping with the character of the Watcher Council so far!


chris the cynic said...

My assumption would be that those on the side of good would want to maintain the masquerade for the usual reasons:

1) The forces of darkness are all around you, they look just like you, you could be married to one and not even know it, and they could kill you with ease. By the way, don't panic and paranoia is bad.
2) Maintaining the masquerade places limits on what can be done by the other side. As long as the bad guys have a vested interest in not being found out, they have a reason not to go too far (barring introducing godlike beings that they can used to crush all opposition) but if the masquerade is broken then they no longer have to worry about breaking it themselves, so they can do whatever with no thought to the consequences. Wipe out entire towns in a single night before moving on to better feeding grounds? Sure, why not. Population is 7 billion, they're not going to have to worry much about overgrazing for a while still.
3) Even the wisest of us cannot see all ends, if we loose the truth upon the world then what will happen next? Will humanity wipe out the evil, or will evil triumph? The armies of the world would surely love some demons in them, and if the Roman Empire taught us nothing else, it should have taught us this: Whoever controls the army, controls everything until a bigger army comes along. Might people flock to the side of darkness in hopes of being eaten last/gaining immortality/gaining power?
4) Running into a crowd of people with cellphone cameras is the last vestige of those about to be killed. That doesn't work as well when the demons chasing them aren't afraid of having their pictures taken and can simply slaughter the crowd until it disperses. Yeah, this is more or less a variation on 2).

And so on.

Tigerpetals said...

For the first reason, I think that would be no worse than how it already is with only normal humans who do evil things. At least with the vampires you can set rules about invitations and wear crosses, though maybe there's magic that can make one look as if one is wearing a cross.

Isator Levi said...

Personally, I've always wondered exactly how Angel talked her into it.

Tigerpetals said...

Me too. It was suggested to me that Drusilla could have hypnotized her.

Guest said...

There's no rhyme nor reason to the backstory of Buffy; eventually you've just got to realize that things happen because they're important to the plot for them to happen, and not otherwise. There's no real reason for the good guys to not smash the Masquerade with a wrecking ball; nor is there a real reason that the Watchers would try to kill someone with multiple years of expereince in vampire-fighting and world-saving to get a newer Slayer. If you think that there's a real reason that Buffy kept getting attacked at close-range so she could fist-fight instead of getting shot from behind at 300 yards by a sniper rifle, I am again sorry to spoil you - but there really isn't. Vampires are apparantly immune to bullets and vulnerable to melee weapons, so naturally in BTVS all the vampires use melee weapons and never use bullets.

Basically, the end reason for things is "so the events of BTVS could happen". Joss Whedon was not working from an extensively pre-developed background out of which the plot could logically develop and cohere together, but was instead making up the rules to facilitate individual episodes' plot.

hf said...

The Buffy-verse vf n zretre bs pbhagyrff qvssrerag uvfgbevrf be gvzryvarf, perngrq ol gur crefbavsvpngvba bs Ergpba Vgfrys (gur Xrl). Guvf rkcynvaf jul gur Tbq vzcevfbarq ba Rnegu unq gb hfr gur Ergpba ng n cnegvphyne gvzr naq cynpr -- gur cbvag jurer fur (jbhyq unir) hfrq vg va gur bevtvany Rnegu gvzryvar -- naq jul fur fgnegrq gb zretr jvgu gur uhzna fur unq birejevggra nf gung gvzr nccebnpurq. Vg rkcynvaf jul gur unzzre jnf whfg n gebyy jrncba bar jrrx naq gur jrncba bs n Tbq gur arkg. Vg rkcynvaf jul Fhaalqnyr'f ynlbhg frrzf fb inevnoyr naq jul gur jryy-rfgnoyvfurq ribyhgvbanel uvfgbel bs Rnegu unf gurfr tvnag qrzbaf tensgrq bagb vg, jvgu gur Fynlre nf gur puvrs rknzcyr. Jr'er abg jngpuvat n jbeyq, ohg n cbvag bs rdhvyvoevhz jurer gur punbgvp zretre fgbcf vgfrys.

Even the season that follows that one nyzbfg znxrf frafr nf gur erfhyg bs erzbivat gur fgbel'f Ovoyvpny-Ornfg fbhepr. Rkprcg gung Jvyybj'f genafsbezngvba jbhyq frrz gb chg vg evtug onpx va.

Lady Viridis said...

I love that moment, but only because my roommate and I were watching Buffy and I paused the DVD to explain to her what TV Tropes calls "Sunnydale Syndrome," and FIVE SECONDS after we unpaused the DVD, that scene happened. The timing was just too too perfect.

The best part is that after this vampire walks in and incinerates herself, the class just continues on as if nothing happened. It's hilarious. But it doesn't make any kind of logical sense, no.

Disa Marnesdottr said...

I wanted to say that I've just found your blog and I'm really enjoying reading what you have to say about the Buffyverse. The only thing is, I am just a post or two away from being able to straight-up read rot13. Ah well. Spoilers don't scare me...

depizan said...

I'm not sure what you've rot13ed doesn't make it all worse.

Continuity, what's that?

Aidan Bird said...

This is very true.

It often feels like they realized that their world-building isn't great, and then tried a quick fix that didn't quite work out the way they hoped.

Wingedwyrm said...

It always struck me that, in the Buffyverse, the Masquerade was less a secret and more... manners.

Vampires agreed not to be open about being vampires, because that would be goache and upsetting to the humans. Humans agreed not to be open about talking about vampires because that would make the vampires feel like their efforts are meaningless.

Really, as Buffy (and Angel) go on, you see the monsters getting more and more open and even blatant about what they're doing, with no care to convince saved victims of a more socially acceptable reality, there becomes less and less a reason for the whole world not to know other than pure politeness... and maybe tradition.

Isator Levi said...

Really, the biggest slap in the face to the idea that there's an actual Masquerade was that time Angel delivered a message to Buffy by having a vampire woman walk right into the middle of one of her classes in broad daylight and incinerate herself in front of dozens of witnesses. :D

Aspermoth said...

A truly tragic case of that inexplicable phenomenon, spontaneous human combustion. A search for an explanation goes on. (Okay, that isn't a very good excuse, but it is an excuse that would perhaps maintain a masquerade in the face of that, even if it doesn't answer the question of why one would want the masquerade.)

Asha said...

Its been so many years that I can't recall, but was there ever an explanation for why the Masquerade exists at all? I can see why it is convenient for the bad guys, but I can't see why the good guys are invested in it, beyond deluding themselves into wanting a world they can 'go back to'. That's one of the things about vampire anything that bugs me. I can sort of buy it in a time before television, or the internet. But when you can take pictures of everything and anything? What's the point? I can sort of see Blade's explanation: the vampires rule everything from the shadows, and the illusion keeps the meat peaceful and the vampires are so well connected they can manipulate the media, police and governments. Is it about the same in the Buffy-verse?

Isator Levi said...

"But when you can take pictures of everything and anything?"

It's unfortunate that the development of image recording technology seems to be highly concurrent with the development of image falsification technology. :p

Scribblegoat said...

It honestly started bothering me more once they started trying to consciously play games with the continuity in later seasons (see also Dawn). It's like okay, my voluntary suspension of disbelief went right along with this fantastical premise until suddenly you wanted to pretend that SOME out-of-continuity things were special, and then I just felt a little insulted.

Aidan Bird said...

Yes. This also had me very much confused.

To be honest, Sunnyville itself is baffling. No one even notices the vampires or demons that run about at night? Or the missing people? Or any of this? Are they so used to bizarre happenings that they don't wink a eye at it anymore? I guess the little, finer details in the world-building confused me a lot in the first three seasons.

Va frnfba sbhe, gurl svanyyl fubj ubj crbcyr va gur gbja QB abgvpr gung guvf ovmneer unccravatf ner tbvat ba, naq gurer ner crbcyr svtugvat gur rivy. Fb V fhccbfr gurer ner fbzr erpbtavgvba gung nyy guvf vf erny...

Boutet said...

I was at a board game party last month and someone complained that the new tv shows were so bad at maintaining ongoing storylines and continuity. "Why can't they be as good as Joss Whedon?" she asked. I had to lean around someone to eyeball her, looking for sarcasm.
No sarcasm detected.

He (and his fellow writers) do certainly ignore details in the service of their chosen plot-of-the-moment.

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