Joss Whedon Cliches

Joss Whedon is a great recycler of tropes and ideas. And I'm not just talking about the obvious ones, like vampires and Sarah Michelle Gellar – no, I'm talking about his own memes.

Because I mentioned her, and that made me lonely.

Just The Facts

  1. What am I, Gunn?
  2. Joss recycles more than the state of Michigan.
  3. All his shows follow a very predictable formula.
  4. Anyone can be taught the pattern. It's like jaunting. Even Gully Foyle can be taught how to jaunt.

Make a conspiracy; Now make it worldwide.

Oh, so you've got an idea. It's called Show. It's about Things. How nice. You know what would be nicer? Making those Things into a worldwide conspiracy. Let's do a roll call of Mr. Whedon's shows and their conspiracies, shall we?

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Hellmouths draw demons to them. But there isn't just one in Sunnydale. There is also one in Cleavland. Or maybe you want to make sure that you have your characters reference things that are in other countries, like the Watchers Guild in England. Why is demonic phenomena not localized to Southern California? Because we're all part of a global community. My heart is overflowing with global pride.

A hellmouth of some kind, obv

Angel: This show is where Joss starts hitting his worldwide stride. Angel and friends are battling the Los Angeles arm of a multidimensional law firm. This does two things: it means that Our Heroes will never come close to the ultimate bad guys, thus staving off pesky conclusions and story resolution. It also means that the bad guys pretty much won't stop coming. If all you're doing is fighting the branch, that's exactly like fighting the finger of a Silver-back gorilla. Even if you beat the finger, you've really done nothing but make the gorilla angry. And you won't like gorillas when they are angry.

Firefly: Oh, look. The Big Bad is the government. Good luck, group of nine people drifting through space.

Dollhouse: The show is set in Cali. But are there other Dollhouses? Why, yes! They're everywhere! And there is nothing you can do about it! Worldwide! Conspiracy! (Now, I'll grant that this time Joss decided to take the show in the "these people are important because they will end the conspiracy" route, but that doesn't make up for the fact that the point of Angel was basically "middle management sucks." You're right J-man. It probably does.

If you don't have a new idea, your old idea will do.

So, Mr. Show creator, you've got you're Things, but they aren't new Things. Is this a problem? No! Let me set up a premise for you. Group of ragtag misfits on a smuggling ship travel the galaxy as they try to save humanity from itself. Led by a handsome rouge and a female bad-ass, they have a series of adventures before ultimately fulfilling some nebulous "destiny". Firefly and Serenity, right? WRONG! The movie I just described is Titan A.E. which is basically the exact same premise as Firefly, just with a helping of Aliens. Seriously. Earth-that-was is destroyed, and humans have to go out into the galaxy. Only here they are fighting for survival against evil energy aliens, not each other. Oh, and Titan A.E. has like the most hilarious genocide ending ever. Matt Damon is all like "This ship has no power!" And the aliens are all like, "We're made of Energy! I hope that Matt Damon doesn't turn on his ship's Energy Vacum tm and power his dead ship, which would kill us all!" and then M.D. is like, "I know how to solve this problem! Fight genocide with genocide!" And basically all the Aliens of this species are killed, and future human civilization is built upon the aliens sweet, sweet electric bones. I think I'll go turn on my T.V. just to feel the power. Take that, Species!


Matt Damon: Worse than Hitler.

Why make a successful show when you can make an entertaining one?

So, you're Show has been picked up by Network. Great! Try to get it scheduled during Friday nights! TGIF is still a reliable programing block, right? WRONG! You're in this business to make dialogue, not money. All of Mr. Whedon's shows have been canceled. That's a fact. I didn't even look it up. It may or may not be true. But it is a fact. I know at least Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly were. Anyway, back to the main topic. Get great DVR numbers! Have fan letter writing campaigns! Give people a world where they can feel like they would not be so goddamn useless, writing articles for Cracked that will never be read, ever.

Can't you give them a moment alone? They were just about to slash fiction!

Wildly vary the quality of your episodes:

Though this is by no mean a unique trait, it is important to the whedonesque success of you're show. Seriously, I've seen every BtVS, and the quality varies more than that strange you drag home from the bar every other night. Not that either I or you know what the words "strange" or "bar" mean, but still, I vaguely sense that you have been insulted, and I have lost credibility. You ever seen "Beer Bad?" Shit, be glad you haven't. "Beer Bad" makes every episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" look like Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts." Don't like that analogy? Suck it.

Write Toy Story:

Again, pretty self explanatory. Nothing says "success" like a man who can only say the word "success". That poor, poor man. At least he never fails. But in a close second to the man who's vocabulary is entirely made up of various intonations of "success" is the man who wrote the 1996 blockbuster Toy Story. Who wrote that, you ask? J-dub himself, the great Jossinator. If you want to be like him, then write Toy Story. Do expect a call from some lawyers thought.

Then Write Alien Resurrection:

Fans of the Alien franchise had this reaction to the movies as they came out: Alien: "Ooooh, scary and creepy. I want more." Aliens: "Kick-ass! Game over man, game over! This franchise will live4eva!" Alien 3: "The franchise at least can't get any worse, can it?" Alien Resurrection: "It is now the worst movie franchise since Birth of A Nation (didn't know Birth of a Nation was a franchise? Then you haven't seen the highly controversial second installment: Birth of a Nation Two: Lets just kill all the blacks (I don't think that joke is funny enough to justify its potential offensiveness. However, I am too lazy to go back and change that shit now.) AR is to Alien and Aliens ....what... another analogy joke? Fucking lame. AR is the toe jam of the Alien franchise. For some reason, that phrase always disgusts me. Toe jam. Its like they want me to imagine fruit growing down there and such. Which is so far beyond gross. "Hi, this is Jimmy, and if you look at his feet, you'll see he's got a nice Foot Orchard going. Come this spring he'll have himself a whole passel of Toe Jam." Foot Orchard should be one of those things that Dave Barry says. You know. A family quirk. Or a band name. Is my writing too schizophrenic for you? Other me: No, come on, it flows down the mountain of my brain like a Toe Jame avalanche. Callback!

God. Even the promo pics suck. And its all Joss Whedon's fault

Change your name to Joss Whedon.

Seriously, I shouldn't even have to write this shit down for you idiots.