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Derek Kompare

Great comparison, Allison, and a cool video as well. DS9 is still my favorite Trek series, for exactly the reasons you cited.

In BG, there is a real sense of Ron Moore effectively responding to the Trek franchise. He and David Eick (as well as a very like-minded cast and crew) have done what the narrative format of DS9 (and other Treks) actually allowed (hypothetically, at least), but the conventions of 90s TV SF (and, specifically, Star Trek) forbade: moral and aesthetic ambiguity. They’ve effectively raised the bar for all future SF TV, as did the original Trek forty years ago.

Still, as you observe, there’s an awful lot already there in DS9 itself that still resonates. Here, I think mostly of the series’ complex treatment of multiculturalism, and its refusal to paint any race or religion (or even individual) in only one shade. Even Gul Dukat had several moments of redemption! All this and that certain quasi-operatic sensibility that the best of Star Trek (and very few other shows) pulled off.

And, damn it, the ending of “What You Leave Behind” (the final episode) still makes me cry. :)

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David Golumbia

Some people have asked me what this parodies, so I thought I’d include it here, namely Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback”:

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Avi Santo

perhaps it is only because I have just reread Ulf Hannerz’s work on Cosmopolitan identity in preparation for a class lecture, but I am struck watching this clip on the question of mastery — how the Simpsons (and Smithers) have no problem integrating themselves into a Bollywood musical, despite their common failures to accomplish the simplest tasks at home. Strange considering how Homer is supposedly the embodiment of underachieving American identity that he seems so comfortable in taking on the customs of “others”.

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Radhika Gajjala

:)

Is it the “West ” Gazing though?

Add to the mix that Simpsons is “made in South Korea”

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-03/05/content_421986.htm

You say that if you wait for a joke at the end, you won’t find one. But isn’t the use of the song just a very ironic joke? First, the sound of the song is the polar opposite of that scene: it is a ’20s love song that is all wrong for a scene of destruction and flame.

Second, the use of the song, juxtaposed with the images and the implicit references to America in Iraq, set up a rather absurd (and, I think, funny) analogy between America’s war in Iraq, and someone who just wants to be loved. The lyrics speak about losing “all ambition for worldly acclaim.” The only thing the singer cares about is winning over the heart of his love. This makes the absurdist implication that America is the singer: not caring about what the world thinks of it, America is a poor lover who just wants to win over the heart of Iraq.

These two facts—the tonal disparity between the song and the scene, and the ironic comparison of America’s war in Iraq to a young man yearning for nothing else but to win over his love—make the ending, in my mind, a very ironic and absurd joke (you can just picture Monty Python making the joke very literal).

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NOTE: The clip published this past friday accompanying Patrick Burkart’s comment was incorrect. We apologise for the confusion. Here is the correct clip:

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Jonathan Gray

Like Vicki, I’m not sure where Star Search comes into this. But a similarly brilliant mashup, of one of Bush’s State of the Union by Brit comic mastermind Chris Morris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FSpQLsUmVQ

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Vicki Mayer

I don’t get the connection to Star Search but this is pretty funny. Reminds me of the Death of the President film. Does someone actually know how to do this?

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Alan McKee

1. is this a typical recap (narrative-based)?

What I particularly like about this is that it *isn’t* narrative-based. That’s why, I think, it is such a good example of Whedon’s genius. The recap as a format is in essence purely utilitarian, bringing the viewer up to speed with plot information from previous episodes necessary to make sense of the current one. It usually does so by cutting together expository dialogue, with little interest in humour, characterization, visual pleasure, or the traditional rules of what constitutes good editing. Joss Whedon, typically, saw the potential to do something different. As with all of his best work, this recap is at once purely generic – here is what has happened previously on Buffy, clips edited together – and, at the same time, staggeringly innovative. You are not presented with the plot information you need to make sense of the upcoming episode; rather you’re presented with the emotional context that will add to the richness of this episode of Buffy. What do you need to know before you watch ‘The Gift’? You need to know that this is the end of the season, and that it is the end of an era (nothing will ever quite be the same again in Buffy, in seasons 6 and 7, even when she comes back to the dead). This is a climax, things are heating up, getting faster, running out of control. So let’s build a recap that tells you this.

2. The move to snackness Culture is becoming more dense - but at the same time, don’t forget that the total Buffy text is 144 episodes - over 100 hours - long. We have no need to worry about ‘short attention spans’!

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Jonathan Gray

Even Buffy’s regular intro sequence is a tour de force of editing — I challenge anyone to count the number of shots in it with the naked eye. In 30 seconds or whatever, it introduces us to multiple characters, inter-relationships, themes, motivations, etc. It really is the ideal defense against those who feel images and fast-editing have killed information acquisition (you know: “Grumble, grumble, MTV generation, grumble, grumble ADHD”).

In that context, I see this clip as Whedon playing with his intro. Certainly, that intro plays a large role in Buffy fandom: a while back, I tried to get the Buffy intro on Youtube and had to first wade through about 50 fan-made intros, where they pieced together their own favorite clips of the characters. It seems to function something like a sports fan chant, or another highly ritualized moment of textual announcement.