Speaker by Various Artists

Don't touch

by Fiona Rae

The boyfriend used the enticing words “You’re allowed to say ‘pussy’!”, so really it’s a no-brainer. How could I resist? Pussy, pussy, pussy.

I suppose now that means this blog won’t make it through some spam filters, or perhaps will even become spam, but the freedom to say pussy was one I was not afforded in a recent TV preview for the New Zealand Herald. The subbed story is here.

Ah well, it’s a family newspaper and I didn’t mind (you can’t say “shag” either), although if you’d seen the first episode of The Real Strip, about The White House on Queen Street, you’d have taken my point. Almost everyone in it chanted like a mantra, “don’t touch the pussy”, evoking visions of bad customers (called “pussy-touchers”), at home repeating “don’t touch the pussy” until it was okay to venture out to The White House again.

The White House may now have to take its non-pussy-touching customers elsewhere, however, due to new regulations on strip joints and brothels brought in under the prostitution reform bill.

What a shame, after owner Brian Le Gros has spent five million smackers on all those classy decorations and new poles in what was formerly a hall for religious contemplation and spiritual ecstasy. Is it a sign of the times that spiritual ecstasy has been swapped for the physical kind? I don’t know, but The White House doesn’t look like that much fun.

Hardly anyone’s mentioning the special place that John Ritter, who died last week, has in the hearts of Buffy fans, although www.slayage.com has a link. For us, he’ll always be the evil robot Ted, who chose the wrong divorced mom to make the moves on in season two. The show could never afford flash guest stars and John really got it: enjoying bewitching everyone with his cursed cookies and then having his ass kicked by Buffy. Lessons learned: if a guy seems too perfect to be true, he probably is; and never call Buffy “missy”.

I dare say the creator of Ritter’s new show, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter is regretting his comments in Entertainment Weekly: “I would like our characters to become more real and bleed more.”

I’m still getting used to the hard, brutal fact that there are no new episodes of Buffy being made, although the fact that Spike will now appear in Angel’s fifth season goes some way to alleviating the pain (this means something to us, believe me).

There was an exhalation of relief among fans when the WB network decided, after some dithering, that it would make a fifth series of Angel. After the end of Sunnydale, and Firefly, Joss Whedon’s space Western, was canned, it was too cruel that there might be no Angel either. (New Zealand fans, there must be some, will have to wait a while for season five of Angel; season four won’t arrive until next year on TV3.)

It does mean that Whedon, who’d been stretched thin juggling three shows and a new baby, has been working on Angel. He’s under pressure to bring in new viewers though – that’s the trouble with the Buffyverse and the Angelverse, it can seem like a closed society. Or maybe fans like to think it is. Newsflash: Whedon is going to make a motion picture version of Firefly.

Buffy will always have an influence however: a whole phalanx of Action Women are being touted for movie ideas, such as Wonder Woman, Modesty Blaise and The Bionic Woman. I read some movie executive saying they’re trying to “get the Buffy factor”, ie someone believable – someone who’s not just kicking ass as a lifestyle choice or because they mutated that way.