What Does Five by Five Mean, Faith?

One frosty night, not so long ago, I was scrolling upon my phone in lieu of sleep. The app was named Instagram, the posts were endless and the quotes were #deep. Upon my casual perusal I stumbled on a few words that caught my eye. ‘Five by Five’. Those 3 words stared me straight in the face as an image flashed to my frontal lobe:

Image result for faith buffy gif
Faith Lehane

Faith! Her catchphrase has boggled our noggins for decades. I, myself, accepted it as another one of Joss Whedon’s linguistic inventions and thus questioned it no more. He likes a bit of insular lingo, and Faith has a devil-may-care demeanour. Phrases that don’t make full sense align well with a psyche that spares little thought to philosophy, I thought. Until, in my 25th year, I saw this:

Image result for if it won't matter in 5 years
Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It’s a pretty solid perspective. I like the logical take on how pointless it is to worry because a lot of problems are inconsequential. The apathy suits Faith very well, as she puts little stock into personal relationships anyway. What if 5 by 5 made sense after all? Maybe Faith just had an idiosyncratic way of saying ‘not bad thanks mate, you?’.

You’re not sold, I know. It could well just be a happy accident from the wordsmith we know to be Whedon. In any case, there’s a nugget of wisdom there that I’m content to dip into some hypothetical BBQ sauce.

Image result for faith buffy gif
Five by Five, B.

 

Buffy Turns 20 This Year; 8 Reasons Why We Love It.

Another win for our old friend Time.

Irony aside, a Buffy birthday is something to celebrate. Why? I polled a few friends of mine to ask why the show has a special place in their hearts and came up with some pretty unaminous answers… but you can’t have a blogpost that just says ‘BECAUSE IT’S REALLY GOOD‘, so let me expand.

Buffy Summers

We love to watch Buffy because she’s a multi-faceted heroine. Joss Whedon’s empathetic depiction of a female character enabled him to create a strong woman that anybody could admire. Her physical and emotional strength coexist with her interest in beauty and relationships, she can defend herself without being portrayed as a ‘bitch’ and her quips are just as loved as her looks. She’s interesting. She’s enviable. Or as mi amigo Adam put it,

‘Buffy is a kick-ass lady. And is hot.’

Big Bads: Vamps’ and Violence

Every episode delivers some fast-paced fight scenes courtesy of Mr Pointy and the Scooby gang. Vampires are textbook cool creatures: immortal, pretty and nonchalant, however they’re the arrogant enemy in a universe where ordinary humans are heroes. The Big Bads are often disguised as harmless, like ‘the trio’, who Whedon uses to highlight the threat posed by narcissistic entitlement.

Most of the fight scenes take place in the graveyard so we get a double scoop of spook, and you can often see the microphones in shot. So ’90s.

Coming of Age: The High School Setting

It’s the perfect platform for a lot of heart-wrenching character development, as my friend Bridie pointed out, and it enables us to look at the ‘cool kids’ dynamic with a fresh pair of ambivalent eyes. We follow Buffy on the familiar journey from angsty teen to reluctantly responsible adult and we watch her grow as if we’re holding a lens up to our own past.

Life Lessons

Buffy is so beloved due to its’ thematic variety. Some episodes are non-stop comedy, some are quasi-horror shows and others simply break your heart. The wisdom sieved into the making of each story arc (beyond the first Season perhaps) is Whedon’s way of sharing his own story in a way we all find accessible. He pinpointed the more discrete feelings we bury under the surface as though he was our personal psychologists, and that’s a big part of what gives Buffy meaning.

From depression to grief to unrequited love, no avenue of human pain was off limits.

LGBTQ Representation

My friend Bridie articulated it’s importance beautifully when she said ‘the relationship between Willow and Tara was the first instance of a female same-sex relationship I’d ever seen on television. I know a lot of queer women my age credit that as something that helped them feel comfortable in their own sexualities.’ Even now, onscreen lesbian love is often sexualised. Tara and Willow were so beloved because of how tender they were to each other (we’ll glide over the obvious error he made when dealing with a certain character’s treatment).

Spike

Spike isn’t really a villain because we don’t love to hate him, – we just love him. His aesthetic is based on punk rock Londoner Billy Idol and his personality reeks of a man trapped in the toxic masculinity of pretending to be tough when all you want is to feel love. We hate the things he does but only sometimes. His backstory shows us the sensitivity his current incarnation denies him and his flawed relations with Buffy are ultimately endearing.

He’s there to remind us that nobody is entirely evil/give many fans a sexual awakening.

Five By Five

Quips and puns line the mouths of each character, whether part of the Scooby gang or not. Whedon has the talent of any hugely successful writer in that all Sunnydale residents speak with alien vernacular, where phrases like ‘totally wigging‘ and ‘five by five‘ apparently make sense. Despite this, every piece of dialogue is paced to perfection so it never feels stilted or unrealistic.

Once More With Feeling

The musical episode is one of the greatest pieces of television aired to date. Importantly, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously and thus throwaway humour and cheesiness is imbued into each installment of the chosen one. The musical episode is masterful because it gives us a dose of something different while proving that experimenting with format can pay off.

The list could go on and on….

It’s camp, dated and hugely sentimental but still it stands the test of time. Buffy is the show that inspired lots of young women and made many alienated young people feel as though they weren’t alone after all.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Character Signs. Part 5!

Faith: Sagittarius

Faith is carefree, an area of Sagittarian expertise. She arrives as the badass in town: an outsider with a rebellious tendency, her outgoing personality and zealous fighting style run parallel to the righteous Buffy Summers. Buffy slays out of duty – Faith kills for kicks, it makes her ‘hungry and horny’. Slayer no.2 brings nonchalance to the game of life and death as she closes every statement with ‘five by five’… whatever that means. She doesn’t know or care, making her a unique character who willingly never fits in anywhere, just like a non-conformist Sagittarius.

Her arrival in Sunnydale is beset by her direct nature and attention-seeking tendencies as she regails stories of nude ass-kicking adventures to the Scooby gang. She’s focused on the bigger picture and therefore doesn’t desire gossipy, organised meetings with the herd. But not everybody operates with such an open manner, meaning she falls prey to the Mayor’s manipulation and Angel’s pretend pact against Buffy. She always saw Buffy as competition, even body-swapping with her in pursuit of victory, like a determined centaur. Strategy is a game this fire sign can play well due to their sharp intellect, even in their love life. Despite not necessarily existing as mutually exclusive concepts, success trumps romance in the Sagittarian mind, enabling them to play the field with a fast recuperation rate (poor Xander).

Like a true fire sign, she’s uninhibited and that’s why she’s loved. Plus, even as the Mayor’s employee, Faith is nothing if not free.


Number 5 in a 5 part series, start from the beginning to read about Buffy, Giles and the others…

Buffy Character Signs, Part 1

Signs You Are In Your Twenties

  • You have no idea what you’re doing.
  • 18 year olds have started to look 12.
  • You log into Facebook every day and you don’t know why. It’s just a habit: a necessary tool for connecting with friends & acquaintances.
  • Conversations you once pretended to enjoy have now become mildly pleasant experiences; small talk is no longer the enemy – you can talk about tax if you wanna. (And sometimes you genuinely need to).
  • Relationships are a whole load more scary than they used to be – a feeling intensified by the myriad of ‘we’re engaged xo!’ posts that crop up on said Facebook ever so frequently.
  • Chart songs are unrecognisable to you, just like the baby-faced singer’s of said songs. Once upon a time, you thought adults were bluffing when they heartily laughed, “Who’s this?!” but nowadays you can’t feign the effort required to keep up. You are the adult.
  • People in their 40s and above begrudge your false sense of old age while simultaneously asking you questions regarding marriage and babies.
  • You have no idea what you’re doing.
  • Alcohol exists that isn’t vodka – you understand this now. Also, you don’t need to double up all night! Single measures get you just as crunk without the “did I ruin my life last night?” feeling in the morning.
  • Strong emotional reactions are triggered by these words: ‘Nickelodeon’ ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ ‘Power Rangers’ ‘Toy Story’ ‘I’ll never let you go, Jack’
  • You genuinely think your mum is cool and have new-found respect for her. If you aren’t hip to this yet, you are a shitbucket.
  • Hangovers are not myths anymore.
  • You went from ‘mature for your age’ to ‘childish’ in a few swift years…
  • Britney is important – Britney matters: fan or no. You understand this in a way the youth of today seemingly cannot.
  • Only recently did you realise how many years it has been since you were 16/17/18, and therefore relating to people that age is inexplicably difficult. You try, and often succeed, but secretly know they think you are past it.
  • This picture affects you on a deep, emotional level

tumblr_n2v9nhSnZG1s5rsdao1_500

  • You have no idea what you’re doing, but that’s okay because you’re still young enough to have fun and you’re entitled to live in the moment. Nobody knows at any age, you’re just supposed to keep on truckin’…

Life After Beth: Netflix Reviews

I think I enjoyed Life After Beth. It has no discernible genre; it’s an amalgamation of comedy, horror, drama and rom com that misses the mark on each one. A lot of independent films encounter the same identity crisis, but perhaps there’s little need for a definitive label when the plot centres on relationship exploration and the audience came prepared to meander through a slow-paced story. Sometimes we need a break from formulaic blockbusters to indulge in films demanding our patience unites with our stylistic appreciation for a 90 minute spell, and when Aubrey Plaza stars in a film you’re guaranteed deadpan delivery alongside believable characterisation.

We are introduced to Beth as recently deceased, and soon thereafter she’s reacquainted with Zachery; her boyfriend, in apparent zombie form, although she’s forgotten all about the time she clawed her way out of her own grave. When Joss Whedon dealt Buffy the same fate, he acknowledged the emotional trauma of resurrection by having her endure severe depression until an impromptu singalong eased her despondency. No such emotional intensity is reached in Life After Beth as the frequent tone changes interrupt the poignancy of mourning – for example, the poorly executed joke about Zach ‘fucking’ his dead girlfriend’s scarf. While I admire the brief foray into showing the unorthodox behaviour we might exhibit in our solitude, our voyeurism is soon interrupted by Zach’s pedestrian brother, Kyle, in what attempts to be a comedic moment. The trailer advertised a largely comedic tone but sadly a lot of the jokes are too obvious to invoke a reaction. There are a few subtle laughs to be had, but most of the comedy originates from characters such as Beth’s parents: Geenie and Maury Slocum, who are played by actors with vast improv’ experience (Molly Shannon and John C. Reilly). The only conventionally funny line arrives near the climax of the film: a character says ‘goodbye’ before intending harm and the other replies ‘where are you going?’ in a classic case of misunderstanding.

The dialogue is neither fantastic nor terrible, so the high-calibre cast reconcile the banal script. Matthew Gray Gubler is fascinating to watch in the role of gun-obsessed security officer Kyle, due to his earnest demeanour and excessively masculine mannerisms. Mid-way through, Aubrey Plaza’s real-life best friend Anna Kendrick shows up as childhood friend – film code for ‘potential love interest’ – Erica, to add another light-hearted dimension to the slightly tedious dynamic of Beth and Zach’s love affair; the cast get it right.

The script may lack originality, but the concept doesn’t. Plus, it’s a good first attempt from Jeff Beana at writing and directing independently. The film relaxes and hooks you to a certain extent, provided you don’t analyse the absurdity of sudden plot acceleration or watch with friends; it’s definitely a film best enjoyed alone. Hardly high praise, I know, but if you enjoy films that are a little imperfect and require some scouting for the hidden gem within, it could be worth your time. 

Erratically paced and tonally imbalanced, watch Life After Beth if you’re a fan of Aubrey Plaza, study films professionally or need to zone out for an hour or so.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Zodiac (Star/Sun signs)

Buffy Zodiac SignsWant more detail? I’ve written an analysis of why each character matches their allotted Sun sign in a 4 part series!

Part 1: Buffy, Giles & Willow,

Part 2: Spike, Xander & Cordelia,

Part 3: Tara, Anya & Angel,

Part 4: Oz, Dawn & Drusilla.

Enjoy!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Character Signs. Part 4!

Oz: Taurus

Oz was always the Earthy extra in the Scooby gang. Taureans have a calming effect on other people due to their docility and use of passive aggressive sarcasm to avoid confrontation. He was introduced to us as quiet and unassuming, staying in his shell for a long time before the beast within him emerged. After a long while of stewing over past wrongs and arguments, a Taurus will explode in fury to reveal a magnificent temper; werewolf transformations are a means of catharsis for him. Oz is an artistically inclined procrastinator as he plays live music with his buddies while schoolwork goes unnoticed. He is also very tactile in showing his affections. Taureans (arguably) function best in a relationship due to their considerate and sensual nature, as well as their tendency to prioritise other people. A self-assured sign such as Taurus adores their partner, making the end of any relationship even more difficult to process. If there’s one certainty we have regarding Oz, it’s that he’s terrible at goodbye’s. He used his inner strength to leave Willow when he felt ashamed of his infidelity, but he’ll still reminisce about their relationship from time to time.

Dawn: Libra

Libra is a social sign. A person born under this sign actively desires popularity, harmony, and a full love life more than most. Idealism is their default setting, meaning they don’t always know how to obtain the riches they romanticise. Dawn’s ‘damsel in distress’ behaviour is rooted in her preoccupation with outside perception. She deduces that since Buffy is the powerful Slayer, society must view her as the futile little sister, and acts accordingly. This behaviour evolves into a more independent streak later on, but adolescence brings Libra many phases until they decide who they truly are. Libran self-perception will always originate from how they believe other people view them as they want to fit in yet stand out simultaneously, and Dawn clearly yearns to join the Scooby gang in their adventures. Naturally beautiful, a Libra is in high demand when it comes to relationships. It’s something Dawn flirts with when she’s caught in a love spell, yet her attraction turns out to be superficial. A Libra is fickle in matters of the heart, yet disarmingly charming and smart.

Druisilla: Pisces

Cursed with psychic intuition and visions, Druisilla is the ethereal Pisces sign. These people are attuned to their gut instincts more than any other sign, giving them an affinity for occultism. Angel’s malicious character sees vulnerability in her visceral reactions to ordinary events, and her imaginative resources are a factor in his decision to sire her. He also perceived usefulness in her compassionate ability, an endearing girl he reveled in corrupting. Pisces is often beset by passivity and daydreaming, whereby the crude ways of humanity cannot provoke their heightened sensitivity. Despite her considerable cruelty, she relies on the co-dependency she has with both Angel and Spike to comfort and empower her.This reveals the essentially insecure character of a Pisces, whose self-worth is tainted by their acquiescence. Symbolised by two fish, animals are natural companions of this sign as their prominent visual thinking skills engender empathy towards smaller creatures. Druisilla is too preoccupied with assimilating everything around her to dish out puns and throwaway small talk. Unlike every other Sunnydale resident, she’s a mystery in her aloofness.

Buffy character signs Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3!