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Herc Chats Up Comedy Genius BUFFY Writer Jane_Espenson!!!!

I am – Hercules!!

Jane Espenson makes us laugh so very hard. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is the finest TV show ever created, and Jane was its secret weapon: the best and funniest BUFFY writer not named Joss Whedon.

Joining the show with its third season, Jane received teleplay credit on a whopping 22 episodes, more than anyone save executive producers Whedon and Marti Noxon.

Before hooking up with the slayer circle, young Jane served on the writing staffs of sitcoms like ELLEN (during its final, best, “lesbian” season) and SOMETHING SO RIGHT and penned episodes for genre hourlongs like STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and NOWHERE MAN. Subsequent to joining the BUFFY staff she wrote two early installments of ANGEL as well as the third episode of Whedon's short-lived FIREFLY.

Here’s janeespenson.com to fill in a few useful details:

Jane Espenson grew up in Ames, Iowa where she watched too much television. At age 13 she attempted to write an episode of M*A*S*H. It didn't work out. She attended college at UC Berkeley, studying linguistics as an undergrad and graduate student. While in grad school she submitted spec episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and got her tiny foot wedged in the last open door of show business. After winning a spot in the Walt Disney writers' fellowship, she worked in sitcoms for a number years. Her first staff job at a drama was her job at Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thanks to her success there, she's now working on Gilmore Girls as Co-Executive Producer. She often tells people she has the best job in the world.

 

    Jane’s BUFFY output includes:
  • BAND CANDY (Giles and Joyce revert to unruly teens),

  • EARSHOT (Buffy develops telepathy),

  • HARSH LIGHT OF DAY (Anya gets seriously serious about Xander),

  • PANGS (Xander gets the funny syphilis),

  • A NEW MAN (Giles becomes a demon),

  • SUPERSTAR (Jonathan turns superhero),

  • THE REPLACEMENT (Xander gets Xeroxed),

  • TRIANGLE (Anya’s troll-god ex is summoned),

  • CHECKPOINT (the Watchers Council invades Sunnydale),

  • I WAS MADE TO LOVE YOU (the slayer faces the Aprilbot),

  • INTERVENTION (Spike gets his Buffybot),

  • AFTER LIFE (we learn Buffy was yanked from Heaven),

  • FLOODED (Buffy stresses over plumbing),

  • LIFE SERIAL (the slayer defeats a persistent mummy hand),

  • SAME TIME, SAME PLACE (Dawn becomes a poseable action figure),

  • CONVERSATIONS WITH DEAD PEOPLE (The First is mean!),

  • FIRST DATE (Giles terrifies the Chinese potential with homemade flashcards), and

  • END OF DAYS (Angel clocks Caleb).

Questions were emailed to Jane roughly six at a time. Her first set of responses arrived June 5; her last June 26.

***************

AICN: It makes Herc dizzy with rage to think there’s a you-authored BUFFY: THE ANIMATED SERIES episode gathering dust somewhere. Can you give us its title and some vague idea of what it deals with?

JANE: I actually wrote more than one of these! One of them was called TEENY, in which Buffy got all shrunk up itsy-bitsy. This was great fun because it allowed us to accomplish visuals that would've been impossible with live action. The episode was about feelings of insecurity and obscurity that most of us faced in high school -- a return to the very metaphorical story-telling of seasons one and two of Buffy. Another one that I wrote was called FOOD FIGHT, in which the cafeteria food was revolting (hee hee). This had a cool series of scenes in which spaghetti coalesced itself into a big wiggly demon. And a third episode, whose title is escaping me, (maybe THE BACK ROOM???), involved Buffy being stopped by a security guard for shoplifting and being taken to the store's back room, which was actually a passage to a scary netherworld of judgment and punishment. This one was the last one I wrote, and I never got notes for a rewrite on it, so it may not show up on any sort of list of completed scripts.

AICN: In TEENY, how small did Buffy get? Thumbelina small? Honey, I Shrunk the Slayer small? Beating up white blood cells small? And did she run into a sib of the demon from “Fear Itself”?

JANE: Buffy got Barbie-doll sized teeny and yes, she did face a small demon, a Roika demon which was described as being the size of a Scottie dog. Hope this helps!

AICN: Not to obsess, but will mankind ever get to read this lost work? Or will it remain crated up forever inside some cavernous Fox warehouse, awaiting the attention of “top men” who will never come?

JANE: I suspect mankind's gonna get screwed on this one. The scripts belong to Fox. I never understood why this series was never produced.

AICN: Was Dawn Summers, as Eric Wight’s drawings suggest, to be an ongoing component of the animated series?

JANE: Interestingly, yes. The animated series was set during season one of the live-action series, in which Dawn did not exist, AND YET, she is in the animated series as a... what would she have been?... as a ten or eleven year old. This means, of course, that these are BUFFY'S MEMORIES of what happened during season one... a glimpse into the revised history created by those darn monks. Neat, huh?

AICN: Leaving aside for the moment the many filmed entertainments on which you yourself have labored, what do you believe to be the finest hourlong series ever crafted for American television?

JANE: Hmmm. Good one. I liked MOONLIGHTING, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, TWIN PEAKS, STARSKY AND HUTCH, LAW & ORDER, L.A. LAW, even some of the glory years of GENERAL HOSPITAL. And I have this feeling I'm forgetting some winners. I missed CHINA BEACH, but I know I would've adored it. You know, I've just gotta go with my first instinct: MOONLIGHTING was funny, innovative, genre-busting chaos. Also, apparently, unsustainable. Sigh.

note: I just returned to this question to add MONTY PYTHON, but I see that you have cleverly specified American television... you win this round, Hercules.

AICN: You were maybe seven when STARSKY went off the air, yes?

JANE: Um, yeah... let's say that.

AICN: I fully share your admiration of MOONLIGHTING, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, L.A. LAW and MONTY PYTHON, and TWIN PEAKS was my all-time favorite show before stupid BUFFY came along. If I told you I found LAW & ORDER maddeningly bland, would you look at me like I was on mescaline?

JANE: Oooh. Fightin' words. I love the way LAW AND ORDER doesn't always put their heroes on the side of good. And sometimes they win, sometimes they lose and sometimes for the wrong reasons. I also think it's interesting that there is a series that has remained story-driven in its, what, sixtieth season, right? If not for them, I would argue that all shows eventually become soap operas about the lives of the characters. LAW AND ORDER does what it does and does it well. It may simply be that you're mistaking consistency for blandness, how 'bout that, fella?

AICN: Are you wholly satisfied being one of TV’s most talented, beloved and sought-after scribes, or does ambition drive you these days to create your own potential pilot and feature scripts?

JANE: Blushing from the praise, then collecting myself...

Pilots yes, features no. I've been dipping my brain into the waters of the pilot-fountain more and more these days, and I have a few notions that I'm starting to love. Some are in the Buffy mold, in that they've got extra-normal elements that symobolize ordinary life metaphorically. Others are more realistic. If I create a show, it would be an hour and it would be funny. At least, it would be intended to be funny... whether you actually laugh is up to you.

I'm committed to working exclusively for The GILMORE GIRLS this season, without any "development component" to my deal. That means no pilots. But next year... mmm... look out.

AICN: What was the most entertaining non-musical released to U.S. moviehouses last year?

JANE: Oh my. I'm really a TV person, not a movie person. But you know what I liked? Rob Schneider in THE HOT CHICK ... not a masterpiece, but hooo! Some funny moments! Could it be that this is why I'm not a movie person?

AICN: Do you share my confusion about why so much TV (which is piped into our homes for free) is better than so many movies (which often involve driving, and babysitters and the buying of tickets)? As the amazing BUFFY cast slowly segues into features, I’m frequently appalled by how much better it was served by its small-screen scripts.

JANE: I think it's very natural that TV is better. The system of making television allows for strong individual voices, like Joss's. Movies are always made by committees, and the writer is not at the head of the committee. Thus, mush.

AICN: You wrote the Dawn scenes in CONVERSATIONS WITH DEAD PEOPLE. Now that BUFFY is no more, some fans wonder what Joyce was talking about when she said, “Buffy won’t choose you.” But surely that was just The First messing with Dawnie’s head, yes?

JANE: Yes indeed.

AICN: How big a BUFFY fan were you before you landed on the show’s staff? Were you hooked from WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH, or did a particular episode make you sit up and start paying much closer attention?

JANE: I was a huge Buffy fan before I got the job. But I didn't watch from the very start. A friend of mine told me to watch, so I half-heartedly tuned in...and fell in love. I was hooked by THE PACK and by TED -- those are the ones where I have specific memories of watching and saying, I need this show to exist for the world to be a good place. When I decided to make the transition from comedy writer to drama writer, my agent asked me what show would represent my Dream Job. I said BUFFY.

AICN: You’ve stated you prefer to write the “funny stuff” on BUFFY. So why did you decide in 1999 that you wanted to make the leap from sitcoms to drama? Well??

JANE: I had just finished up a year on ELLEN, which I found to be an amazingly wonderful experience. She made everything we wrote better and the room was kind and efficient. Usually, on a sitcom, you consider yourself lucky to be home by midnight, and you often work 'til two or three in the morning. On ELLEN, we wrote good scripts, rewrote them cleverly and were home at nine. When ELLEN ended, I realized I'd be going back to normal sitcom room, and I found it hard to take. Plus, if there was a chance I could work on a show like BUFFY...

I was widely told not to make the jump, that I'd be starting over on the drama side, that I'd lose all the status I'd established in comedy. But I did it anyway, and haven't looked back. And on BUFFY we were home by six.

AICN: You call yourself more a “TV person” than a “movie person.” How much TV does Jane Espenson watch? Were you a fan of GILMORE GIRLS from the onset? Do you watch all three LAW AND ORDERs? What about ALIAS and 24?

JANE: I watch a lot of TV, but I find that recently it's largely oddball stuff: IRON CHEF and JUNKYARD WARS and the History channel (they have this English thing called TIME TEAM), and THE AMAZING RACE. Scripted stuff sometimes feels like homework, like I'm scoping out the competition or something. I do indeed watch all three L AND O's -- maybe because they're so darn story-driven they don't feel like what I do, so they're less like work. I have watched quite a few eps of ALIAS and 24, but have failed to be drawn into either of them... I didn't put in the effort to bond with them. I did not watch GILMORE until recently, but now I adore it... so much funny for the simple sake of funny, and such affectionately drawn characters. It's a show with a great heart to it without being religious schmaltz. I enjoy MONK when I catch it, and I like WILL AND GRACE because it's willing to be goofy and outlandish.

AICN: What about the “non-scripted” shows? Are you watching BIG BROTHER this summer? Does JOE MILLIONAIRE, AMERICAN IDOL or the ROAD RULES/REAL WORLD CHALLENGE do anything for you?

JANE: I loved AMERICAN IDOL (Clay! Clay! Clay!). I love THE AMAZING RACE and SURVIVOR -- they are glories of storytelling-through-editing. I watched JOE MILLIONAIRE and most of THE BACHELOR, but the relationship-based ones are begining to fade for me. I think this is probably true for America, too. I'm getting that same feeling I had when WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE reached saturation point. The pendulum is about to swing back. The best examples of the genre will survive, and the MR. PERSONALITYs are gonna go away and we'll all be the better for it.

AICN: BUFFY, for my money, is the funniest TV series ever broadcast. Since your facility with comedy is so famed, were you ever tapped to “funny-up” the teleplays of others? Or was that strictly young Mr. Whedon’s gig?

JANE: I would love to be hired to do punch-up for movies. But I have never once been approached about it. My agent tells me that studios have their sort of “designated” guys, who get all the punch-up work and that they aren't really searching for new people in this area. But just in case someone sees this who does have a need of this kind... I'M HERE! HIRE ME TO PUNCH UP YOUR FILM! I WILL MAKE WITH THE FUNNY-TYPE WORDS!

AICN: At the ANGEL event at the Museum of TV & Radio a few years ago, Joss Whedon mentioned the original plan was to bring Spike AND Dru back as regulars for BUFFY’s fourth season, but Juliet Landau turned out to be too busy to return. Do you think Buffy and Spike would have eventually coupled-up anyway had Dru returned?

JANE: Oh yeah. Joss doesn't like to leave any couple together too long. We'd already seen what Spike and Dru were like as a couple. If she'd returned I think we'd've played 'em like an interesting divorced couple -- a bit of heat and love still there between them, but mostly challenged into conflict and jealousy.

AICN: You joining GILMORE GIRLS seems, admittedly, like a perfect match – but, wait a minute, maybe too perfect. GILMORE GIRLS is already probably the funniest show left on television. It frankly doesn’t need a Jane Espenson the way, say, a BOSTON PUBLIC or EVERWOOD might. Why did you decide to join GILMORE GIRLS instead of a show in desperate need of your comic acumen? And, hey missy, weren’t you going to work for THE OC at some point?

JANE: I did work for THE OC, during all of hiatus. My work there ended when GILMORE began. I helped them plan stories and I wrote a script which is intended to air as the third episode. And thus, off to Gilmore. Hmm... now the interesting question...

Do they want big funny on BOSTON PUBLIC? Probably not so much. A show has to still feel like that show. And it's not like the people at Gilmore are sitting around going, "we're so funny, we sure don't need another jokesmith around here, let's get one a' them real serious writers."

AICN: You got your foot in the showbiz door via STAR TREK’s unique open submission policy. How big a STAR TREK geek are you, anyway?

JANE: Only medium sized. I loved original TREK and TNG, and watched the early years of DS9, but then I kinda stopped. Here's a measure: I know who wrote THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES. I know who invented the warp drive. I own a copy of Brent Spiner's album. I think I remember Spock's mothers maiden name. But I don't know who played Tom Paris. I don't know what the nacelles do. I don't know the name of the episode where Kirk switched bodies with the woman and spent the episode swanning about and getting hysterical.

AICN: Okay, smarty-pants. What was Spock's mother's maiden name? And while we're at it, in which U.S. state was Jim Kirk born?

JANE: Well, Jim Kirk was born in Iowa like all right-thinking people.

And (refraining from looking it up) I think Spock's mom was Amanda Grayson????

AICN: You get a call tomorrow from Les Moonves. “Jane,” Les purrs in an inexplicably Montalbanian accent, “this coming season is the last for poor ENTERPRISE. We start over with a new TREK series in autumn 2004 and I must insist you take complete creative control of the franchise!” And you have to, because in this scenario Les has photos of your boyfriend doing ghastly things to Miss Kitty Fantastico. What fresh STAR TREK premise do you pitch?

JANE: Man oh man, these are fun questions. Well, I think the best way to freshen it is to stop freshening it so damn much. The original worked. It had stand-alone adventures on planets that illustrated the human condition metaphorically (much the way Buffy's demons are employed), and it had CONFLICT BETWEEN A SMALL NUMBER OF REGULAR CHARACTERS!!! I don't know why we just accept this mandate that there's no conflict among our team. That was not in the original -- Spock vs. McCoy as the warring left and right brain of Kirk was the perfect physicalization of Kirk's internal conflicts. (And by the way, Spock was not emotional because of his human side... he just didn't realize how many of the emotions he struggled with were natural to Vulcans, so stop playing them so damn dull.) So... something like that.

Now, that's still pretty vague. So let's see if we can put some skin on those bones. How about a very young male captain, 23, fresh out of the academy, still learning his stuff. He's teamed with a more experienced "number one" who thinks this is his chance to command, because he can control this kid -- but he does it with total charm and a straightforward excitement about space that's infectious to everyone. Working against this likably manipulative person is a woman, maybe a reformed Romulan-type or similar, the head science officer or councellor perhaps, and she encourages the kid captain to take charge, guides him. Is she genuine, or is she hoping he'll make mistakes? The captain believes in her. Usually.

And there's a Ferengi, because they're funny; and there is a Spock/Data/doctor character too, someone to observe and admire humans and try to be like us, because that always touches my heart. Maybe it's a human who was raised in an alien culture and finds himself unable to find his own humanity now?? Have they done that?

I don't know if any of this would work, but that's my first five minutes of thinking about it. <

Readers Talkback
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  • July 3, 2003, 2:24 a.m. CST

    Me Tired, You Jane

    by Cardiff Giant

    I'm way sleepy, so this very long interview will have to wait til morning, but rock on Jane Espenson!!! When you're done with Rory and Loralei, you should get back on a show with some thaumaturgy. Okay, I just wanted to use the dictionary.com word of the day and that was probably the only opportunity I'll ever get for it. See you in the fall!

  • July 3, 2003, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Oh And You Buffy Haters...

    by Cardiff Giant

    Buffy rocked! Angel rocks! If you wanna bitch, go to the T3 talkback. No wait T3 wasn't that bad. How bout the Shrek 2 talkback...yeah go there.

  • July 3, 2003, 2:29 a.m. CST

    What The Hell?

    by Cardiff Giant

    Herc, are you already deleting people's responses? Cause now, I just look like an ass. A split personality ass...one with four cheeks. Shutting up now.

  • July 3, 2003, 2:35 a.m. CST

    I Guess That Makes Me...

    by Cardiff Giant

    No. I'm not THAT lame.

  • July 3, 2003, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Good Interview

    by The Paladin

    Jane is one of my favorite Buffy writers. IMHO she would be #3 next to Dave Fury (#2) and Joss (#1). ================================= ================================= Great to finally hear which scenes and dialouge she was responsable for. I think I will print that part out, and re-watch those episodes on DVD when they come out. ================================= ================================= Paladin out

  • July 3, 2003, 3:02 a.m. CST

    I SWEAR there was a post here marked "Jesus, Herc, it's over..."

    by Commando Cody

    Maybe the long island iced teas are kicking in as I sit here relaxing, but I swear that earlier when I was checking out this interview and scanning ahead I saw only ONE talkback answer had been posted so far, and that was it's title. But since the interview runs so long, I only read part of it and then went back to some other desktop work I had to plow through. So just now I decided to take a break... I hit refresh... and now there's 5 other posts but not THAT one which caught my eye earlier. Looking above, I guess it got deleted for some wacked out reason. Well, nice interview. Always interesting to get a particular insight into how someone's creative mindset works. On the flip side and the missing post, man, so much for open criticism at AICN anymore!

  • July 3, 2003, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Cool interview

    by earthworm

    And I'd forgotten about the World Without Shrimp thing. Funny. Anyway, anyone want to fill in a lazy euro TBer about what this Gilmore Girls thing is. I'd assumed it was a sitcom a la Golden Girls. Am I wrong? Will anybody read this? Does anybody care?

  • July 3, 2003, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Nice one...

    by eternal76

    This interview and the Joss interview over at ing have been the best ones I read in a while... I'm glad to see that amongst the oh so many whines, bitchings, and foofaraw, there's some decent shit around here... Good job Herc...

  • July 3, 2003, 6:34 a.m. CST

    gilmore girls

    by allnamesaretaken

    #1 drama on the WB. it took Buffy's time slot 2 years ago. Has been kicking Buffy's ass in the ratings ever since.

  • July 3, 2003, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Herc's Obsession with Buffy being funny to be Good

    by Hamlet3145

    I just don't understand it.

  • July 3, 2003, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Ames, IA Gets a shout out

    by ben gardner

    Now I officially love her. *Sigh*

  • July 3, 2003, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Right Thinking People

    by Dmann

    Do come from Iowa, of course! Let this be a lesson to you Herc, next time you feel the need to mess with me about my state! Freakin' Los Angelenos!

  • July 3, 2003, 9:25 a.m. CST

    For the record ...

    by Hercules

    Herc likes the comedy for sure, but he likes the drama, action and horror in "Buffy" too. Note the five-star appraisal he gave "THe Body." (To say nothing of Herc's obsessive love of "24," perhaps the most relentlessly humor-free series on television.) But yes, when the great jokes grew more scarce on "Buffy," Herc missed them very much.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:02 a.m. CST

    The Pack hooked me too!!!

    by sundown

    loved the dodgeball scene.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Remember when Coax wasn't a Joss/Buffy Fansite?

    by Zubalove Lives

    Dudes, the show is dead. It ain't coming back. Let's move on with our lives now and get back to posting news on Coax that's lifted from TV Guide. Wasn't El Cosmico running Coax at one point? I wonder if Glen Oliver can be coaxed (pardon the pun) into coming back?

  • July 3, 2003, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Thus, mush.

    by GypsyTRobot

    Very quotable. Hope Espenson has many productive, funny years ahead of her and that she works on shows and movies I'd actually watch.

  • Once again I must conclude that HERC is Joss and/or involved with him in some sexual manner. You would think this man invented the wheel or something.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Shutup...

    by zer0cool2k2

    ...If you don't want to read about Buffy, don't click the link. You aren't required to read this section in order to read about Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, or The Matrix. So just go away and quit your bitching. *************************************** Herc, excellent interview. Not the usual everyday questions, but still got the answers most people wanted. The only bad that can come of Geek-Goddess Jane's new job is that I may have to now watch a "Chick" series, and there's no second season of Fastlane to balance me out.********************************** And the best Twilight Zone episode ever was Robert Redford's Mr. Death ep.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Oh, and by the way,

    by zer0cool2k2

    The Body is one of the best episodes of any television series, ever.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:53 a.m. CST

    That wasn't Storyteller

    by noid

    The Vulcan joke was in "Dirty Girls", oh ultimate fanboy.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Uh, Hercules...

    by rev_skarekroe

    Why are you referring to yourself in the third person in your Talkback post? What are you royalty, or a hive mind, or what? sk

  • July 3, 2003, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I am a complete idiot

    by zer0cool2k2

    Bash freely

  • July 3, 2003, 1:11 p.m. CST

    I Love You, Jane Espenson.

    by The-Warrior

    And I hate everyone except LeeLee Sobieski and Alyson Hannigan. See you in Hell.

  • July 3, 2003, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Gilmore Girls the best "Chick Series" ever!

    by BLADE

    I feel so homo but it's true. It like Lorali's ass sucks you in and you cant stop watching, then they start talking real fast, then theres the 5 minutes at the end of almost every episode where it gets all dramatic and they star arguing real fast, then theres Kurt and Ms. Kim and the dude who plays the guitar and then theres the tight jeans the mom wears and will Luke and The Mom ever bang eachother and what about Max and hey is Lane's mom going to freak out one day and axe murder her and do the Gilmores know that chick from Archy Bunker lives next door....

  • July 3, 2003, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Janes' Serious Spike scene

    by lynnbracken

    I just wanted to say, I loved that scene (the one where Spike says he dreams he saved Buffy every night)! It was on recently and even though I've seen it numerous times...I taped it specifically for that scene. Who knew our humor-monger penned it! Without gushing, I think she can probably do anything. Also, I am a GG fan from the beginning and look forward to seeing if I can spot her episodes. And of course I have to say, I'll always miss Buffy, watched it from the beginning and never missed an episode. It is by far my most favorite show ever.

  • July 3, 2003, 2:47 p.m. CST

    And P.S...

    by lynnbracken

    I just read that awful crappy post below mine...geez. Some people just gotta gripe. Nasty. I just love blanket statements like, "tv's just shit". If you feel that way, why did you read an inteview with a TELEVISION writer? Get a new hobby.

  • July 3, 2003, 3:13 p.m. CST

    by JXF

    JE is a phenomenal and fantastic writer who added a great dynamic to the Mutant Enemy team. Thanks for all the great episodes, one liners and laughs. To all the talk backers who continually knock Hercs obsession with Buff believe me when i say he has just cause. Buffy was, and forever will, be the best TV series ever produced. And Herc and I are not alone in this belief. While I understand some people might have given the show a viewing late in its series and not quite understood its appeal. But some if you were to go out and by the first series on DVD and then come back on these talkbacks, I would guarantee A) These ignorant people would have a different opinion.. B) you would be hooked and C) you would already have bought season 2. And no i don't work for fox.

  • July 3, 2003, 4:23 p.m. CST

    AHA!! Andrew confuses Vulcans with vulcanologists in episode 7.

    by Demosthenes2

    Oh God, I need help...

  • Don't listen to any of the whiney dorks, Herc. Right On to a Buffy talkback, and great interview with Jane! I still check every day for Buffy news, and I just knew you wouldn't let us down. So the show is over. Our appreciation of it IS NOT. So just ease off, slimy naysayers! We are here to stay. Keep up the good work, Herc.

  • July 3, 2003, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Shut up, Herc & Buffy hatas

    by Dr_Jownz

    Buffy rules and more updates on the subject are vital to Coax!!!! I am disappointed Espenson didn't mention Party of Five in her list of best dramas though. That show rocked up until right towards the end...kind of like Buffy.

  • July 3, 2003, 10:55 p.m. CST

    Best Show Ever...

    by Billy_Oblivion

    Oh my gawd, it's the comic book guy from the Simpsons. Buffy was OK, maybe better than most of the dreck on TV. But best of alltime? All of the Buffy fanatics I know are still trying to deal with issues from high school. Not that there's anything wrong with that; there is a place for that kind of stuff. But let's keep some perspective.

  • July 3, 2003, 11:14 p.m. CST

    JE IS GOD!

    by Angelus54

    She is a genuis!

  • July 4, 2003, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Fact remains, Buffy handled supernatch better than most movies I

    by JasonDkEldar

    I personally think that the Buffster should have had to eat it when she had Willow free the potentials to all be slayers. Would have set things up nicely for Eliza and to worry over a show's ratings to justify YOUR opinion of the show?? Well, it seems to me that advertisers pay more attention to the demographics of a show than any sort of worry about how many grandpas and grandmas or toejam-sucking po' folks watch ANY show. Have you ever watched the commercials for a show you sometimes felt weird for liking and realized the real company you kept? I never worried about that with Buffy, though, since I watched the premiere, waiting for the fatal crash and burn to show me that maybe HOLLYWOOD was really NOT responsible for the movie SUCKING ASS. However, Joss Whedon showed with this series that what most of us out there, who appreciate Hollywood movies only for the spectacle now, believe: that TV does not nearly depend on the pitch to predicate its schedule so much as testing reactions with potential audiences thru relatively inexpensive pilots that distill the basic aim of a show. The Buffy unaired pilot shows that the original Buffy series' direction was way off-base from how it ended up being on the air. Too many of those committee members convincing Joss that the show could never work as an hour drama when it had jokes in it and funny situations in the face of ugly beasties. Those committees will never make a movie that dares to do what it should do. Armageddon, though I perversely like the film, pulled back from so many black humor sitch-es that it felt as though the PC police had there own lil' Inspector Clouseau there in-house, telling them,"Real cops never joke at a homicide scene, so why would real people in peril ever crack wise unless they were suffering from the 'Space madness'?" Buffy rarely ever pulled back during shooting, and their stance of "Show it as is or pay us for a show you won't air" made the fearmongers who worry over how everyone will take anything back down from their holding back of the shows featuring guns and weapons in the school. Zero tolerance policies cooked up by those coining the phrase to cover their own-zero-level-intellects and absent reasoning skills have lended this theory that by being reactionary and stupid we can protect our kids, but I think plain-speaking showing the realities of why it would be necessary and more often foolhardy to bring an arsenal to class put things more into perspective than ranting about plastic knives signaling the triumph of barbarism in our schools could possibly do. This show was smart television, and the ones shooting daggers and flaming arrows at it even after its run has ended remind me of the people who hated MASH back in the day, more so for its own black humor than any anti-war or pro-war stance. People don;t want to imagine doctors or cops or firemen joking of the macabre and absurd when standing over their lifeless or near-lifeless bodies, but I have met too many survivors of bad times to believe that there is any other really effective defense against the the horrors you witness daily than a well-timed verbal whoopee-cushion to cut the tension like the cheesy emotion tension serves us by being.

  • July 4, 2003, 4:10 a.m. CST

    The show's deader than a doornail! So let's have a talkback tha

    by Commando Cody

    Me, I pick Kristy. Just flat out sexier. On Cinemax the other day I saw her in some low budget spy movie with Michael Madsen called SUPREME SANCTION. At one point she dons a tight black top and does the ALIAS red wig bit...and let me tell you, that settled the debate there and then! Yessiree, Bob!

  • July 4, 2003, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Herc should do more of this stuff...it's more interesting than H

    by Hell's Cigarette

    What about you Mr. Little Jeans...what did you think...Best Show Ever Man!!!

  • July 4, 2003, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Xander: The Series

    by Voice_Guy

    Donnie Darko says: "Jane Espenson: Xander after Gilmore Girls! (JE:XAGG)" That sounds like a CBS show if I ever heard one. Them CBS folks love the acronyms. It worked for CSI and JAG,CSI Miami, and now Navy NCIS? Waitaminute, the N in NCIS stands for Naval.. so it's gonna be called Navy Naval criminal Investigation Servis.. how lame is that? Anywhoo I miss Xander and Anya.. hey maybe Anya isn't as dead as we thought, she's fine.. just a flesh wound, she can get better right?

  • July 4, 2003, 11:51 p.m. CST

    BUFFY is the funniest TV series ever broadcast??

    by ninjrk1

    Umm, you're kidding here, right? Look, I think Buffy is one of the best ways to spend an hour yet. I watch it in re-runs repeatedly and it is one hell of a fine show. That said, you're saying that Buffy is funnier than the Dick Van Dyke Show, funnier than M*A*S*H, funnier than Newhart, funnier than the Mary Tyler Moore show, funnier than Carol Burnette, funnier than the Larry Sanders Show? C'mon, that's just silly. Get some perspective here.

  • July 5, 2003, 3:10 a.m. CST

    YES! The Hot Chick was ART!

    by jules windex

    Jane rules!

  • July 5, 2003, 6:52 a.m. CST

    that's just pathetic

    by eau hellz gnaw

    comedy genius? a Buffy writer?

  • July 5, 2003, 11:22 a.m. CST

    about Joyce in CONVERSATIONS...

    by Big Papa

    How could that be The First, not actually Joyce, when The First was already someplace else talking with Willow? Can he be two places at once? I have to wonder if Jane and Joss are trying to cover up.

  • July 5, 2003, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Even Jane couldn't save Star Trek

    by HOTPANTS

    Granted, she only gave it five minutes of thought, but that formula would blow just a bad as anything. My solution: Every female character wears HOTPANTS. There are no male characters. That is all.

  • July 8, 2003, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Interesting Star Trek ideas, but

    by Drath

    Fandom would never accept a 23 year old captain(or any young character for that matter). I'd like to see a mostly youthful group of characters frankly, but you'd only get that under the radar as a second show like DS9 was. Too many Trek fans would just dismiss it as "not real Trek." It would have be REALLY good to overcome that, and even then you'd have people who won't like it(although at this point, that's going to be true of anything Trek does). The dynamic with the manipulative older First Officer is a good one, but that combined with the quasi untrustworthy female science officer is sort of what T'Pol is on Enterprise. In fact, they've recreated the "Spock/McCoy as Voices in Kirk's Head" thing with Archer, Trip, and T'Pol on Enterprise. She's the realistic/pessimistic intellectual saying humans aren't ready for space exploration, while Trip is a typical arrogant/confident human, and Archer is in the middle wanting to agree with Trip but afraid T'Pol is right. The trouble is they don't throw these three together regularly, and so there isn't enough chemistry to sustain interest during stand alone adventures. I think Trek needs a head to toe make over myself. You need new make up guys, new conceptual artists, new composers, new lighting people, or at least a daring departure from what has become the norm. It's not just about writing anymore. A better script wouldn't have kept those aliens in Nemesis from looking like shit piranas in irradecent purple plastic nightgowns! As for more Ferengi, please don't. There was more Quark on DS9's second season than Sisko who was supposed to be the lead! And 7 of 9 already did the human trying to reconnect with her humanity after being absorbed by an alien culture--although I don't fault Jane for missing Voyager at all. Basically, you need a lot more than five minutes of thinking to fix what's wrong with Star Trek. The franchise is running on empty, and while I'm hoping for the best I doubt Enterprise will get better. They should let actor Peter Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) write some stuff, he's got a sense of humor Trek's been missing and he's already on the pay roll!

  • July 9, 2003, 2:02 a.m. CST

    A girl like that!

    by Oompacabra

    I've know idea what this woman looks like, but a girl that smart...AND funny! My knees do buckle.

  • July 9, 2003, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Thanks.

    by Jaka

    Good interview. Nice job by both parties involved.

  • July 23, 2003, 11:34 a.m. CST

    by TOTABC

    I'll have to agree with Jane that all right-thinking people do come from Iowa.