Angelfood Beefcake

If you are a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or its spin-off Angel, then you no doubt understand why a soon-to-be-41-year-old man has a Buffy poster hanging in his laundry room and a Buffy calendar on his office wall.

And to you non-fans out there, let me just say this: SHUT U-U-U-P. I'M NOT A DORK. YOU'RE A DORK.

Besides, my wife bought the poster and calendar. Blame her. I happen to like both shows greatly for their inventiveness and winning casts, but the lovely missus appreciates them on a whole other level, one that apparently resides about 32 inches above the floor. That became clear when word came that I could interview Angel star David Boreanaz for 10 whole minutes as part of this week's release of the first season of Angel on DVD. I called my resident Angel expert for some questions.

"No, I don't think I'll ask him that," I told her as she rattled off a few choice queries. "Um, no, that's kind of personal. N-o-o, I don't think legally a man can say that to another man in Texas."

Great. Going on 17 years of marriage and I'm a bench player in my wife's erotic fantasies. And who's the star? A guy who plays a rehabilitated vampire who hunts demons and other vamps as part of his penance. Mr. Broodypants, the sensitive leather-jacketed champion of good, who, get this, just happens to lose his soul and turn evil whenever he has sex with his true love.

Oh, I had a question all right: Who writes this stuff, a committee from the National Organization for Women? (I didn't put it quite like that.)

"There's so many different aspects to him," Boreanaz says of Angel. "We have two women writers on our staff...and then the rest are gentlemen. But he's got a vulnerability to him that's explored. There's so many ways to play this character, and the writers allow me to do that, so it's a collaboration, but you can definitely see different sides to him in different situations."

Right. Jealous snarkiness aside, that explains Angel's appeal to those of us who don't fantasize about "making him lose his soul." The show's characters are multidimensional, torn between right and wrong, afflicted with loneliness and a desire to connect. They change and grow and, sometimes, die. At its best--as in the first-season DVDs--the writing is diamond-sharp and filled with humor, horror and sly pop-culture references. Plus, there are sword fights and chop-socky. And if the whole vampire/demon thing strikes you as silly, ask yourself this: Which do you prefer, creative flights of fancy or "reality" shows featuring real-life losers trying out for roles as carnival geeks (e.g. The O'Reilly Factor)?

I'll take Angel, as soon as my wife's done with him.

And by the way, fellow fans, as for the rest of what turned out to be a six-minute interview: No, he wouldn't say whether this is Angel's last season. No hints on what's coming. No spoilers.


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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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