Acting Techniques

I was (am) a huge Buffy, Angel and Firefly fan. Every time I run across another blog where someone talks about his or her devotion to Buffy I wonder why we can’t just have our own planet. Joss would make TV shows around the clock and we’d all watch reruns and the new stuff and discuss whether anyone ever really liked Dawn or whether the Buffy/Angel or Willow/Oz doomed romance was more tragic.

I thought Buffy completely lost it in the last season. The group of potential slayers were horrifically bad actors and the story developments made no sense. I was on the verge of giving it up when I found out the series was coming to an end so I slogged through to the bitter end.

The purpose of this post is to discuss a nitpick of the show which I call “the stammering school of acting.” I don’t know who started it but after awhile every single scene where any of the main characters had to express some sort of intense emotion, they would do so by stammering. All the actors stammered. Once you notice it, you can’t not notice it and so instead of being drawn into the scene, I’d be rolling my eyeballs back into my head and screaming, “Enough with the stammering.” If you’ve never noticed it before, you will notice it now and you will curse me. So much for the Buffy planet idea.

This relates to a current nit which is in every single show I watch and is an acting technique called “panting to convey fear.” I suppose if I was chased by a bloodthirsty vampire or woken in the night by someone with a big axe that wanted to dismember me, my breathing might change. I don’t know. I don’t want to be tested on that. I’m just saying that watching two actors with their back against a wall, their shoulders rising and falling with great drama while they exchange wild-eyed looks is tired and someone needs to break the mold. Convey fear by eating a sandwich or reciting Shakespeare or making a poodle jump through a hoop. The possibilities are endless.

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