Joss Whedon turns 50 Monday (June 23), and geeks the world over are celebrating his birthday.
The creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” and writer-director of “The Avengers” is unquestionably one of the most influential pop-culture voices of the past 20 years or so. This year also marks his 25th anniversary as a professional writer — he started work on “Roseanne” in 1989, and even there, the voice that would make him an icon is apparent.
Case in point: his first credited TV episode, “The Little Sister” from early in Season 2 of “Roseanne,” which revolves around separate conflicts between the two pairs of sisters in the show, Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) and Darlene (Sara Gilbert). You can watch the whole thing below, but take note of these bits:
- At the 17-minute mark, a hungover Jackie lashes out at Roseanne over her big sister’s lack of support for Jackie wanting to join the police force: “You sit up there on your pedestal, act like some big, high and mighty, self-righteous … pedestal-type person.” It is not hard to imagine Xander or Willow or any number of Whedonverse denizens mouthing that line.
- The argument leads to a fight, which Roseanne punctuates with a very serious explanation of why Roseanne doesn’t want Jackie to be a cop. The way Jackie lets the tension out (at about 22:20) is perfect Whedon.
Happy birthday, Joss, and thanks for everything so far.