Hopefully everyone is familiar with Joss Whedon, not best friends familiar, or wave at each other from across the food court at the mall familiar but familiar enough that if someone said the name Joss Whedon you wouldn’t immediately say, “who?”. McKay and I are totally familiar with the man but sometimes we forgot the rest of the world doesn’t always share our same interests. Also if Mr. Whedon happened to be looking for a new best friend we would have no problem filling that roll, I mean, if he needed it - which he probably doesn’t. So if for some crazy reason you happen to NOT know who Joss Whedon is please do a quick google search then head back over and finish out this blog post.
Joss Whedon may be well known for many projects but he did some of his best work on a canceled science fiction television series called, “Firefly.” Yep, I said canceled. So, Firefly is so many different things and can be difficult to explain to those who haven’t watched it. There are hilarious moments, touching moments, and suspense moments all built around character development and great writing. This show, which lasted less than a season on FOX gets billed as a space western but to those who have watched it is so much more. For me this is when I discovered Whedon.
This show was so tremendous. I am a sucker for great dialogue which is why I have loved pretty much every David Mammet play, anything in the Cohen cinematic universe, and yup, the Princess Bride. For those of you who love podcasts its why I fell in love with the Bright Sessions. Great dialogue, and even better conversation, really helps develop the characters beyond their specific sets of fact. You can learn more about who each character is by focusing in on their conversation, a concept which can be exemplified by great acting. For a television series, Firefly, and some of the best dialogue which only helped to strengthen each of the characters.
Another aspect of the show seemed to be the endless supply of one liners which have probably fueled tumblr, Pinterest, and click bait everywhere for years. Here are a few of my favorites:
"Someone ever tries to kill you; you try to kill 'em right back!"
"I've been under fire before. Well ... I've been in a fire. Actually, I was fired. I can handle myself"
“You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who's in charge here."
Whedon was so much more than Firefly, it wasn’t his first or last project. He has been credited with so many great lines in so many great programs, both film and television. Another one of his greatest hits was his writing on the movie “The Avengers.” I could go on and on about some of the best moments but one of my favorite lines from the file was when Tony Stark said, “Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster..." Good stuff right? Funny, and spot on in the exact same breath.
Whedon wasn’t just an action movie writer/creator but he did a lot of work on sitcoms too. Who knew he write 4 episodes of the Rosanne show? Or that before Buffy the Vampire Slayer he penned 3 episodes of TV’s Parenthood? The man was all over the place and contributing real quality everywhere he went.
The most interesting project to me which Whedon was a part of in his long career was when he worked on an animated movie which saw its release in 1995. Whedon wasn’t part of the original creative team but was brought in later to help pour some pep back into the film. Originally the lead characters were a ventriloquist’s doll and an astronaut named Tempest. The characters were reportedly sarcastic and not the fun and likable heroes they needed to be. Whedon spent time working with the production company to change the feel of the film and eventually the ventriloquist dummy was changed into a cowboy doll. The character referred to as Tempest, well, he had a name change and to infinity and beyond would be remembered as Buzz Lightyear.
Joss Whedon didn’t just save the movie Toy Story back in 1995 but he also contributed one of my favorite lines to the film. You may remember when Buzz looks at Woody and while shaking his head he says, “You are a sad, strange little man., and you have my pity.”
Watch it again and I guarantee you will catch his influence.