I was seriously appalled by the so-called dust-up after Tara's death. I still am, actually. A lot of people tossed around this phrase you're using -- "Dead Lesbian Cliche." But this confuses me. Historically, the media presented same-sex attraction as something shameful -- it was evil or pathetic or sick. And that shame was a burden borne not just by the characters experiencing the same-sex attraction, but also those in their lives -- associates, loved ones and the objects of their attraction. The best solution for all concerned was to eradicate the shame, and this usually meant killing the lesbian or having her commit suicide. Either way, she died so everyone else in the story could get back to their normal lives without the burden of her inconvenient sexuality infringing any more on them. Tara was the exact opposite of those hateful characterizations. She wasn't a problem to be solved, and neither was her sexual orientation, which was always a part of her character. Willow's friends accepted and respected Tara for all that she was, practically from jump: she was the moral center of this group of friends. She was light, she was kindness. We didn't want you to be made uncomfortable by Tara and wish her to go away -- we wanted you to love Tara and want her around more. Which many of you did. And then we pulled her away -- not so you could breathe a sigh of relief that she was gone, as has been the custom with the dead lesbians, but so you would feel the ache of her absence. We wanted you to miss her, to wish she would come back. This is not how the dead lesbian cliche works -- it is the direct opposite of it. Joss bravely inverted the traditional story arc for a lesbian death, and people criticized him for it. To be perfectly candid, I resent that. The knee-jerk reaction -- ACK! DEAD LESBIAN MUST EQUAL DEAD LESBIAN CLICHE!!! -- trades in oversimplification, and, respectfully, I think we can do better than that.
Boom!!! Best takedown of stupid fan faux-criticism I've read in a long time.