Al Norton: I ran a whole bunch of Buffy polls on our website and Facebook page and the one things the readers wanted me to ask you about, other than your favorite episode, was Seeing Red, the episode where Spike tries to force himself on Buffy. There’s been some distance now between you and the episode; do you think it worked and did you understand the story they were trying to tell?
James Marsters: I do understand why they did it but I still think it was a mistake. The truth is the writers on Buffy were being incredibly brave. Joss was asking each of them to come up with their most painful day, their most humiliating day, the day that they made the biggest fools of themselves or the day they hurt someone else the most, and then put a patina of fangs and blood over that. Basically that’s why I think the series is so delightful, because of the bravery of the writers on that score.
One of the writers, a female writer, had a situation in her life where she was and her boyfriend were breaking up and she decided if she just made love to him one more time, that they wouldn’t break up. She ended up trying to force herself on him and decided to write about that. The thing is, if you flip it and make it a man forcing himself on a woman, I believe it becomes a whole different thing.
Even though Buffy is super strong, even though she kicks him through a wall at the end of it, how it plays to the audience changes when you change the sex that way. It worked out and everything but I’m not really sure it expressed what the author was intending and on that score it was not successful. I think it was a big risk for everybody but I think if she could have found a female character to express that with it would have gotten closer to what she was trying to say, and I’m not really sure that we got there with that episode.
James Marsters, I will watch just about anything with you in it.