I read a lot and I watch a lot of TV. A good television writer knows how to make me laugh. The best television writers know how pull a laugh out of me in middle of the most heart-wrenching situations. And one of the best out there is Jane Espenson. She has written for many of my favorite shows: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Gilmore Girls and now Battlestar Galactica.
The first Espensode I saw was a season three episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called “Band Candy, ” you know, the one where Giles and Buffy’s mom totally did it. Twice. Hilarious from start to finish, it’s one of my all-time favorite episodes of any TV show ever. On top of that, she went on to write or co-write 22 other Buffy episodes, including “Earshot,” “Superstar,” and the Hugo Award-winning “Conversations with Dead People.”
It’s not just comedy she excels at: she has a unique way of delving a bit deeper into a character’s back-story and capturing their heart. She did this for Kat in Battlestar Galactica’s “The Passage” and Andrew in Buffy’s “Storyteller”.
She understands that sometimes things are so bad that all you can do is laugh, because the other option is just too scary or unthinkable. And that comes across in her deft handling and understanding of the characters she is writing for.
One of the coolest things about Jane is that she has a website, Jane Espenson.com, where she not only keeps in touch with fans, but she tries to give back a bit by advising stuggling writers and discussing how the industry works.
Since TV is very much a writer’s medium (Jim thinks that it’s totally a writer’s medium, but what does he know?), I’m always paying attention to who the writer is of whichever show we happen to be watching. When I see Jane’s name at the beginning of a show, I get a little bit more excited about what’s to come.