Hello class. Can you take your seats, please?
My name is Professor Hanton and I'm filling in for Dr. Maggie Walsh who seems to still be on her extended sabbatical. I'm not sure what you all may have been covering in class, as her notes are a little unclear...and her TA, Mr. Finn, seems to have withdrawn from the university due to illness.
As best I can tell, she wanted you to start discussing "The Psychological Impact of Wish Fulfillment and Wish Denial in 20th Century Popular Culture Narrative."
Did everyone get a handout? No?
Ah. I see, They seem to have stopped there with someone in the back row. I'm sorry I don't know anyone's name yet. Let me see the chart. Um. Summers? Is that Ms. Summers? Could someone please wake her up and get her to pass these along? Thank you.
First, we are going to focus on two verbs, which describe a process of dramatically engaging your audience by delighting them and then ruthlessly breaking their hearts. The terms are Jossing and Whedoning. I'll just read from the handout here :
Jossing, v :
Definition : To grant a much-beloved character (and by extension, the audience) a moment of transcendent happiness - usually after denying them this for months.
Please note, class, that Jossing never occurs alone. It is always followed by Whedoning.
Whedoning, v :
Definition : To dramatically and suddenly cause catastrophic angst/harm to a much-beloved character, (and, by extension, the audience) immediately following a moment of transcendent happiness.
I'll give the first example of this. The setting is the future. Here's the Joss : a lovable space pilot completes a harrowing, well-nigh-impossible flight through a cloud of opposing space ships, declaring himself "a leaf upon the wind." Upon successfully landing, he exults "I AM a leaf upon the wind!"
Can anyone identify the Whedon in this situation? You there in the second row? Go ahead. Yes, the Whedon in this situation comes immediately following this glorious moment ... when the space pilot is brutally impaled on a massive hunk of metal, right in front of his wife.
Can anyone name other examples? Yes, the redhead in the back. You're...Ms. Rosenberg? Alright, go ahead, and I'll write it on the board. Let's start with the Joss.
Hmm. Beloved shy english librarian. Sassy funny computer teacher. Polar opposites. Awkwardly, poignantly fall in love. Go ahead... become estranged, due to betrayal. Good! That's the Whedon.
Oh, there's more? Interesting. Gradually come back together, on brink of reuniting. Yes, this feels like we are being Jossed, doesn't it? Go on. Shy librarian receives romantic note that she is waiting for him in his apartment. He arrives to see a romantic scene. Lit candles leading to bedroom. He climbs the stairs, finds her awaiting him in bed...excellent Jossing... only to discover that she has been brutally murdered by a psychotic killer. Whedon! Excellent example, excellent.
Anyone else? No? Ah, Ms. Rosenberg again. Go ahead.
An LA-based empire private detective and his employee and friend... I'm sorry. Did you say an "empire detective?" Oh. Vampire detective. Interesting idea. Yes. Friends for years. Mm-hmm. Slowly growing appreciation for each other. Unspoken attraction, but evident to audience. Finally, decide to meet and declare their feelings. Yes, we're being Jossed. Then the woman stands him up by disappearing to a higher plane of existence without letting him know what happened...that's a good Whedon.
There's more? She returns - another Joss! - but no longer loves him - Whedon!
She betrays him by sleeping with his son? Nice! A double Whedon! You go, girl! You're on a roll!
She gets pregnant from son? Triple Whedon!
Then gives birth to an evil being that threatens to overwhelm the world? Quadruple Whedon!
She falls into a coma? Quintuple!
A long time later she awakens, returns to him clearly in love, Jossing, Jossing...only for it to be revealed that she has actually died? Incredible, Ms. Rosenberg! A SEXTUPLE WHEDON!
Wow. This IS exciting! And I'm sorry to say that we have run out of time for today. Please read the rest of the handout, where we touch on "First loves becoming psychotic after sex," and "Cancer survivor Moms finally enjoying life only to be found dead on the couch" and "Rogue demon hunter's girlfriends dying due to possession by blue elder gods."
Any last questions? Ms. Rosenberg. No, no. This is purely a fictional device. I don't think that you need to be worried about it, at all. Nice shirt, by the way.