ONN: TV Nudity OK If It's Who?


Here's a funky little thing from The Onion News Network that freaks me out a bit:

FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It�s Alyson Hannigan

I saw this a few days ago but haven't posted it sooner because I needed a while to think about it. Obviously it's a joke 'cause it's from the Onion, but is part of the joke that Alyson Hannigan isn't all that sexy? I'm honestly confused, and I honestly need help understanding this, 'cause it's sorta relevant for a paper I have to write.

As longtime readers of my blog will know, I do scholarly work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Alyson Hannigan played Willow for seven years, and part of Willow's character was that, at least initially, she WASN'T sexy--she was the wallflower character. But does she become truly sexy and do I fail to see that about her because I am blinded by her original characterization? I honestly think she's the least sexy character on the show, even after she hooks up with Tara--I think Tara is much hotter.

I haven't stopped to think about whether or not I find the women of Buffy all that hot--too fixated on Spike, I admit--but now that I consider the matter, I think there are lots of female hotties on Buffy, but Willow really isn't one of them. I think Joyce is hotter than Willow. I think Jenny Calendar is hotter. I think Halfrek is hotter. I might even think Dawn is hotter, though her sexuality is so rarely addressed that I find it inappropriate to consider the matter. And there's no question for me as to who's the hottest woman on Buffy: it's Anya.

But is Alyson Hannigan hot in ways that Willow (regular Willow, not vamp Willow) isn't? I admit I didn't think she was hot as Trina Echols on Veronica Mars, and I didn't watch enough of How I Met Your Mother to decide if she was hot on that.

I know, I know; it's a goofy thing to worry about. But as I say it's relevant for a paper I'm writing so I welcome opinions from any and all Buffy fans who might come across this.


She's considered sexy because her character was a girl geek on a show loved by geeks, and she became a lesbian and all the fanboys got to see her make out with a chick. In the Buffy comic, Buffy herself just "experimented," too (http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=4396156&page=1). It's all about appealing to teenage boy fantasies, which, it seems, Joss Whedon still clings to.

My take on the Onion clip is that they were just being really ironic. The FCC guy is showing that he's got the hots for Alyson Hannigan while saying that in her case, nudity isn't obscene, so he can continue to view her on television.

Personally, I never saw the appeal of Buffy.....Now, as for hot women, "Firefly" is a whole other story, and given the fact that one of the characters on Firefly is a "companion," I daresay it probably was Spitzer's favorite show as well....

I'm not sure if you're asking a) what the clip means about Alyson Hannigan, or b) about Alyson Hannigan's inherent hotness (or lack of hotness). If a) I'm going to go with Juti - I think the point is that it's totally subjective and this FCC guy wouldn't rule it obscene if it were someone he WANTED to see naked.

If b) I'm going to say I think it's totally, totally subjective. I'm on the fence about Alyson Hannigan/Willow. I do think that geeky girl thing is kind of cute and sexy, but if I went for girls I probably wouldn't go for her in particular (Tara - definitely Tara. She's my pick for sexiest girl on Buffy. Giles for sexiest guy). I think on Buffy she was that geeky girl next-door who grew up and got cool and pretty, and that's kind of awesome and sexy. Buffy was all chosen and stuff, Faith was crazy and damaged, Cordy was the high school queen snob, Jenny was the hot teacher, but Willow was the attainable one. She was cute and cool and smart, and if she'd been more aloof and confident she might have had a serious following of guys in high school and college. Instead she was friendly and insecure, so the guys all went for the unattainable hotties who knew they were hot and oozed sex.

Hi everyone--I'm sorry my question was confusing. Of course I get the basic premise of the skit, that the guy is a weird, scary, stalker-wannabe hypocrite. But I wonder why the person whose nudity would be acceptable isn't someone who's more conventionally sexy--say, Katherine Heigl, the lingerie model/surgeon on Gray's Anatomy. (And can I just say, god, will Hollywood never tire of that stereotype? Sure, my last surgeon put herself through medical school by letting people take pictures of her in her underwear, because after all modeling is a part-time job that really compliments the rigors of medical school and test-taking, but can't we move on from that? Can't we see an occasional doctor who just took out loads of loans because they're not beautiful enough to earn money by posing for photos in push-up bras? I realize it's not realistic, but it would make for a nice change of pace.)

Anyway, I'm wondering if an additional layer of the joke is that the person this geek wants to see naked is Alyson Hannigan, who, as Jim points out, established her career playing a geek. But Hannigan's role as Willow isn't mentioned in the skit; instead, her role in Veronica Mars is mentioned, and on VM, AH didn't play a geek; she played a third-rate slutty actress. I mean, I agree with you, Rebecca, about the girls of Buffy, but why does this geek go for the friendly insecure girl instead of one of those unattainable hotties?

I had read about Buffy's "experimentation" in the comic book, and I'm sorta interested, because I'm interested in sex in Buffy, but I don't care for comic books.... I'm also interested because the slayer Buffy gets it on with is Asian, and BtVS was so slow in including much racial diversity--that's one thing VM did much better than Buffy, considering that both shows were set in SoCal. But having just watched season six, in which the bad guys are adolescent boys who obsess over comic books, and having watched enough of the commentary by Joss and other writers on enough of the episodes, I can certainly agree that Joss has quite a few adolescent issues he can't let go of, but I also know there was a lot more going on with the development of Willow and Tara than merely satisfying teenage male fantasies. The show has, not surprisingly, a huge lesbian following.

And Joss is pretty damn amazing, for all his adolescent fixations. I also just watched the commentary to the musical episode, and Joss talks about how much he loves musicals from all periods, and how he wanted Buffy to sing the first song because it followed the Disney model in which, say, Belle or Ariel declare in song the secret desires of their hearts. That's not teenboy fantasy stuff--unfortunately for me, or I would find teenboys much easier to relate to.

Honestly I'm a little surprised that you're surprised. Alyson Hannigan probably inspired more geek lust than any other actress on Buffy. She has legions of male (and female) fans who think she's just hotness personified.
That said, she certainly isn't as mainstream as someone like Katherine Heigl (who I still have trouble thinking of as mainstream since I got to know her on Roswell, which was almost the definition of small-time), and that's a big part of the joke. It's always funnier to pull out a name that's a little more obscure. It bucks expectations, startles the audience a bit, and increases the comedic exaggeration.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on March 13, 2008 9:53 PM.

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