I've never heard about Michelle Tratchenberg dissing the show. What has she said?
Well, first of all, let me say something…
What actors say about the characters they played or the shows they worked in does not affect in any way how I perceive their characters or their work as actors. I love Dawn. Yes, I love annoying, bratty Dawn who turned into an extraordinary woman. That’s my own perception of who Dawn is. And I love how Michelle portrayed her. Yes, even the annoying, bratty part. Because that’s usually how 14-year-olds act, you know? It wasn’t out of character. Especially since she was a 14-year-old going through a massive identity crisis. But I digress. Disclaimer over!
Anon, this was a difficult question because I remembered reading her statements about BTVS but memory can be tricky, so I had to do a little digging because I don’t like making this kind of statements if I can’t back them up.
So this is some of the stuff I could dig up:
How was the return to TV? Well, honestly when I left “Buffy,” I never thought I’d go back to TV, because I’ve done it. I’m not a person to repeat myself creativity-wise. And I found TV to be rather stifling, especially “Buffy.” Three years as one character – where they’re not changing the character and your abilities aren’t being tested or challenged – gets very repetitive. (x)
(the following is from her IMDB page but I couldn’t find the original source, but this is the quote I remembered) (x)
I felt like every year, my character got younger as I got older. The scripts even had me speaking grammatically incorrectly. So I had to do something else. Besides, the show is over. If you miss it, get the DVDs.
Like with many actors, I get the feeling she never truly understood her character. Or the writing on the show, for that matter. I don’t understand how she could feel her character didn’t change or her abilities weren’t being tested or challenged. I definitely believe she did some of her most impressive work as an actress on Buffy. And her choices afterwards, though fun, aren’t challenging per se. Euro Trip? Gossip Girl?
But what I think is most disheartening is that she actually refered to the writing on the show as “grammatically incorrect”. Didn’t she know they were creating this super awesome slang that would forever be associated with the Buffy universe? Didn’t she realize how unique and special the show was because of this? Didn’t she realize they were trascending mainstream television and actually affecting the English language? I truly hope she was misquoted here.
And could she feel her “characters got younger” as she “got older”? It feels as though she was watching a different show than the fans. Because Dawn definitely grew up and matured and became a woman in the course of the show. Season 5 Dawn is definitely different from Season 7 Dawn.
That being said, this wasn’t the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last time, I fundamentally disagree with an actor’s opinion about a character or the show they work in (Kristen Bell, I’m looking at you!) And that’s okay. I don’t need the actors to think and feel the same way I do about the shows to actually enjoy their work. And they certainly aren’t under any obligation to please the fans by agreeing with them (and it would be an impossible feat to please every single fan.) But when an actor says something that I feel couldn’t be further from the truth, it makes me question if they ever understood the nature and purpose of their work.
“I met Wendy Peterson when I was ten. She was eleven, one grade ahead of me in school. If I wasn’t queer we would have ended up having sloppy teenage sex and getting pregnant, contributing more fucked-up unwanted kids to society. But instead, she became my soulmate. And… one true partner in crime.”