On the Jazz #8: Joss, Lose the Beard!

I’ll even donate my Norelco.

By Matt Springer
February 26, 2003

Fans of television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as opposed to, what, Russian literature’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer?) have a great deal on their minds right now. Sarah Michelle Gellar is leaving the show. This leaves the future of Buffy as we know it in jeopardy. Spinoff rumors are overtaking fandom like those grisly Ubervamps in Buffy’s dream. And the plot threads of this season provide their own worthy mysteries to ponder, such as, “Will Buffy and the Scoobs defeat the First?” and “Where the fuck is Giles?”

However, I would like to turn your thoughts toward what I feel is a more pressing concern, a more dire event. I am speaking, of course, about Joss Whedon’s beard.

I remember near the end of Season Six (at least, I think that’s when it was) first noticing the facial hair. Immeidately, it struck me that the beard looked simply awful. I thought, “Here’s a relatively cute young dude with an enormous brain who insists on wearing a beard. How sad. Does he realize he’s conjuring a decidely unsexy ‘eager grad student’ vibe?”

I was so struck by the lameness of the beard that I almost asked Joss about it when I attended his panel at last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con. But by then, he had lost the beard, and so I reasoned that perhaps someone close to him had clued him in on the beard’s essential suckiness.

Then I saw the picture accompanying this article on ScoopMe. It’s from the recent Buffy Posting Board Party. It’s literally a few days old. And again, Whedon’s kickin’ the beard, and he looks baaaaaaaad.

Why is a beard such an awful cosmetic decision for Joss Whedon? A few reasons.

It’s slightly pretentious. Not quite as pretentious as, say, carrying around a slim volume of Voltaire at all times, or prattling endlessly about the “sublime boquet” of a perfectly chilled glass of Cabernet. But still. A wee bit pretentious, as all beards are.

It makes him look old. This guy’s got a baby face, and ladies, I bet you think he’s pretty foxy without the facial hair. What do you think now? He looks like one of your dad’s buddies from the office, doesn’t he? Is this how we want the guy who crafts the hip, edgy entertainment of our geek youths to look? I think not.

It’s scraggly. Some men can pull off growing out facial hair. Many men, like Joss, cannot. When the folically challenged attempt to grow beards, it just comes out looking like they’re too tired, stressed, or ignorant to shave. Again, is this the kind of look we want Joss Whedon to convey? THE Joss Whedon? Supergenius of TV?

It’s forever. Does Joss want TV history to remember him as the brilliant man with the unfortunate facial hair? I’m still scarred emotionally from Elvis Costello’s horrifying beard. He looks like his own roadies.

It’s a slippery slope. First the beard. Then the soup strainer. What then? The goatee? There’s a reason why they call those “jailhouse pussy.” I won’t go into it; y’all seem clever enough to figure it out. But there’s a reason.

Dude, it’s ugly. Trust me on this. I know I’m a guy, and guys don’t traditionally listen to what other guys have to say about their physical appearance. But I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t important. Dude. Seriously. Ugly beard.

I love Joss Whedon, more than I love any other man I’ve met once for about twenty minutes. I love his work. He is a creative god and a true inspiration. It is because of Joss that I am busting my ass to learn TV writing so I can scoot out to L.A. and try my own hand at it. If I can produce even a small sliver of a fraction of the brilliance that Joss has brought to the tube, I will be a happy man.

But Joss, please. Come on. If you have any respect for yourself and your fans, consider shaving. I realize you have a lot on your plate right now, what with the end of Buffy and the season finale of Angel and all this spinoff nonsense to deal with. Just find ten minutes to spend with some warm water and a Gilette. Without a beard, you look like the suave, young, sexy genius we know you are. With the beard, you look like Richard Karn.

Yeah. That’s right. Al from Home Improvement. Current host of Family Feud.

Richard. Freakin’. Karn.

I rest my case.

Matt Springer’s debut novel, Unconventional, tells the tale of a pivotal weekend for four geeks at a con.