PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on Buffy Spoiler-free ... good luck with that.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mommie Dearest

Episode 1.3: Witch. Original Airdate 3.17.97



"In an effort to inject some normalcy into her life Buffy tries out for the cheerleading squad - only to discover the competition wants her dead."










                                 Daniel's Thoughts:
Forget to change something, Will?

  • The very first one-off episode and one of my favorites. 
  • First shows of Xander's super-crush on Buffy.
  • Willow Fashion Faux Pas: Purple pants and that awful pajama shirt. 
  • Cordelia isn't a complete bubble-head - at least she knows her grammar.  Willow: She's on Fire!  Cordelia: Enough with the hyperbole.
  • Worst Mom Ever:
    • Joyce is so worried about her daughter but can't spare a minute to hear that Buffy is taking up an activity that doesn't involve fighting or burning down the building?
    • Buffy: "What I was trying out for?" Joyce: "Uh...some...activity?" 
    • and Joyce: "I'll keep you out of trouble." Buffy: "I'm not in trouble." Joyce: "Not yet".  Really?  And we thought Cordelia was the tactless one.
    • This woman has no faith in her daugter
  • Love the introduction of goofy Buffy....and even though she's under a spell, we can really see how multi-dimensional this character will be.
  • I like Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy but...I'm glad she didn't get the role she auditioned for: Buffy.
  • 5 Stakes

                                 Zelda's Thoughts:
  • Willow's outfits continue to embarrass. Poor Alyson Hannigan.
  • Glad we got over our best friend Jesse dying so quickly. Whew. (Sorry, that's the last time we'll harp on it. Probably the last time we'll mention him. It's certainly the last time the show will.)
  • Look to our right. This is Amy's Gingerbread House. This is Amy's Demon Gatekeeper. HOW DID NO ONE KNOW A WITCH LIVES HERE?
  • RAILROAD SPIKE. RAILROAD SPIKE. Okay, I'll calm down.
  • Aw we love goofy Buffy. Even if said goofiness means she gonna die soon.
  • Black Contact Lenses = Evil Dark Magic Witchitude. Write that down, kids. Memorize it. You'll need it in five seasons.
  • We have achieved our first unconscious Giles!
I'm very impressed there are Barbie outfits that match the
Sunnydale cheerleading uniform so exactly. Verrrrrrrrrrry impressed.

Crossfire!

Zelda: Cuz he loves her ... with his tiny Xander heart ...
Daniel: Stupid Xander.
Zelda ... of darkness.
Daniel: Stupid Xander.


Favorite Lines:

Daniel: "I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away." - Xander
Zelda: "I know this really good cauldron. Do you actually ride a broom?" - Willow


90s Factoid:

Bare Midriffs were a thing.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:
  • Introduction of Witches.
  • Willow casts her first spell.
  • Giles claims to cast his first spell, but he's totally lying.
  • Buffy sings her first song.
  • Buffy comes out as a Slayer for the first time. Joyce's levels of denial run deep, and she completely ignores it.
  • First Appearance of Amy, who is not a witch ... yet.

Stats:

Voiceover - None
Angel's character - Blinvisible
Dead Humans - 0
Dead Undeads - 0
Giles Unconscious - 1
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 2 (Amy/Catherine ... sort of twice)
Unevil Reveal - 1 see above
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Earth is Doomed

 Episodes 1.2: The Harvest. Original Airdate 3.10.97




Zelda's Thoughts:
  
  • Goodbye Jesse.
  • Physics Shenanigans! Buffy barely crouches, but is able to leap into the air and over the fence, landing on the other side. I mean, it's awesome, but ... no.
  • Shenanigans in the Mausoleum! So ... Angel was just hanging out in the Mausoleum when Buffy stopped by in the early afternoon. Was he just hanging out there from sunrise on? Also ... he just stayed there after Buffy left, so ... gonna be there the rest of the day too? This dude's life is awesome. No wonder he has no friends.
  • Oh Harmony. You're so adorably stupid. You were put there to make Cordelia look marginally less so. Also, hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! I loved you in The Addams Family.
  • Vampires have glow in the dark eyes? And claws? Did we know this? Does this persist in being a true thing?
  • I wonder what Mark Metcalf looks like. Oh. So. Not that different then.
  • I'm so glad Danny Strong bombed his audition for Jesse. Otherwise we might never have a pocket-sized Jonathan!
  • "She did it. I'll be damned." Really, Angel? You and your condescension suck.
  • Aw I just love that ending to little tiny edible pieces.
  • But ... Buffy can't break down the door of the Bronze?
    Daniel's Thoughts: 
  • I think this episode definitely trumps its predecessor.  There's still some annoying exposition but this time it's more for Xander/Willow's benefit. ["The slayer hunts vampires, Buffy is a slayer, don't tell anyone." - the most concise Giles will ever be. - Z]
  • Agreed with Z's Mausoleum Shenanigan - It was clearly stated that there were only two doors. The door to the tunnels were chained up and the doors to outside led to...sunlight.  I know we're not supposed to know that Angel is a vamp yet, but Joss Whedon and the writers know...so....shame!
  • I loved Buffy telling a clearly horrified Xander about killing an undead football player - it seems foreshadowing for when Anya will talk about her past to Xander later on.  
  • Weird that Xander is wearing a similar 70s outfit that the "DeBarge" vamp was wearing. [I just died a little. - Z]
  • In this episode we introduce time-saving techniques like Willow accessing the computer (instead of breaking into the city council) which also nicely shows how smart, savvy and helpful Willow will be.  
  • We also visit why the police will never be involved in a tiny short exchange of dialogue.
  • Angel's name is revealed in this episode and while David Boreanaz hasn't quite gotten his acting skills together yet (will he ever?) there is a really nice humble moment when Buffy asks him about friends where he looks down - and just for a moment, I think I might like Angel.
  • Worst Mom Ever moment:  Joyce: "The Tapes all say I should get used to saying it. No." The tapes?  Shut up, Joyce.
  • Nice moment: "There's something you forgot about, too.  Sunrise.  It's in about 9 hours, moron!"  Bye, bye Luke!
  • And Bye, Bye Jesse....we will never ever talk about you again.  Ever.  Even though you were best friends with Xander and Willow.  
  • Despite its problems, I give this episode 5 Stakes.  


Crossfire!
Today's topic: Random 90s Stoner Guy

Zelda: I just have to take a moment to ask ... who the heck is this guy? His drop into frame is unabashedly hilarious, but ... Who? What? Huh? ("Three excellent questions.") The hair, the outfit, the alarming similiarity to Breckn Meyer's character in Clueless - clearly we have located Sunnydale High's Resident Random 90s Stoner Guy. Which ... fine, there were plenty of those. My question is, why is Cordelia talking to him? Why does she not immediately say "ew" and "butt out" like she would were that Xander or Jesse or - as we see in a few moments - Willow? I call Shenanigans.

Two Very Enthusiastic Thumbs Up! Fine Holiday Fun.
 Daniel:  While I agree that normally she wouldn't talk to this guy, Cordelia is smart about the thing she values most: her popularity.  When Buffy attacks her she says, "Excuse me, I need to call everyone I've ever met."  And I don't think that's much of an exaggeration.  Cordelia's aim in this episode is to let everyone know how 'crazy' the new girl is and if she can hit the stoner crowd, the more the better.  The reason she lashes out at Willow is because Willow defends Buffy.  That said, I'm so glad that the 90s Californian stereotypes didn't really make it past the first few episodes, e.g. 90s stoner guy and the two valley girls who find the dead guy in their locker.




Favorite Lines:



Zelda: "Jesse was an excruciating loser." - Jesse (I just adore how he can't say any of the words with vampire teeth. Sorry, Eric Balfour)
Daniel: Willow: "I need to sit down"  Buffy: "You are sitting down." Willow: "Oh. Good for me." (Just a really cute Willow moment.)

90s Factoid:



Giles says "Go on the net" to Willow as she uses the Giant Fucking Computer. She does a "computer search." 

Also - there was no Google yet (it showed up September 1998)!

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Angel has no friends.
  • Willow shows her tech savvy skills.
  • First appearance of Harmony.

 Stats:


Voiceover - Creepy B-Movie Guy
Angel's Character - Mostly just Douche with Tiny Hurt Puppy Moment

Dead Humans - 3
Dead Undeads - 6
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 1
Evil Reveal - 1 (Jesse 2.0)
Shenanigans Called - 3
Apocalypse Called - 1




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hello Devil. Welcome to Hell.

Episode 1.1: Welcome to the Hellmouth. Original Airdate 3.10.97


                                                                                        Daniel's Thoughts:

Because really, it’s the first episode – the episode that sets the standard for the show and WttHM is usually revered by Buffy fans as being one of the best [really? I mean, I like it, but it would never make my top 10. - Z] and while I agree on the whole, there are so many problems with it.  There are great subtle nuances that show us what this series will be like.  We’ve got a great opening where the viewer is tricked into thinking nameless guy is luring this poor innocent schoolgirl in order to seduce her and eat her neck except surprise (!) – It’s actually the poor innocent schoolgirl who turns out to be the vamp!  And so we’re introduced to Darla, a character that will be forgotten and then remembered and go through many changes despite not being able to age. *snerk* And the surprise “reveal” will become a staple of this show. And then we settle into the other half of what this show will ultimately be about: Life in a 90s California H.S. Drama with the grunge music and the skateboard that Xander will never ride again followed ever so closely by a David Lynchian pan down below the high school to reveal the darkness that lies beneath.  “From beneath you it devours…”  Too soon? [Alternatively, it eats you starting with your bottom. Too soon? - Z]

We meet all the characters that will grow and change in many years to come including the dowdy best friend Willow in her most fabulous dress ever.  Willow: “I don’t actually date a whole lot…”  Me: “That’s because you’re a lesbian!”  Spoilers! Xander, whose abysmal line readings make me want to kill myself: “You forgot yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr stake?”  Yet, it’s pretty tame compared to how much I’ll begin to hate him later. And Joyce.  Oh, Joyce.  Worst. Mom. Ever.  And I know people love Joyce and I think the first time I watched this show, she didn’t get on my nerves that much but she really doesn’t try that hard to understand her teenage daughter, does she?  Buffy is a pretty self-reliant kid.  Sure she burns down the gym and gets into fights…but if Joyce weren’t so blind, she might see why.  True, it’s a fault that many Sunnydale residents face but I just can’t forgive lines like: “And honey… try not to get kicked out,” - just inexcusable when you’re dropping your kid off for her first day of school.  We’ll revisit why Joyce is the worst in future episodes but now we turn to Angel.  We don’t know who this mysterious stranger is, yet all signs pretty much point to douchebag. “to kill them…to kill them all..”  Again, this is hardly the fault of the creators…because to their (and Joss’s) credit, Angel does develop layers later…but really?  Was this the direction that Angel was going to go?  And is there much to say about Jesse?  The “best friend” of Xander and Willow’s that we’ll never ever speak of again… Cordelia – who has the best lines of the episode but hasn’t really found her place yet.  And finally Buffy, played by SMG here with actual curves.  A girl, we’ll find in episode one who just wants to fit in – to find a group of friends and be “normal”.  But she never will be( Spoilers!) and that’s what we love about her. It’s also why we identify with her so much.  My biggest beef with this episode, though, was the scene between Giles and Buffy which will be featured in the section: CROSSFIRE!    So I know I point out many problems with this pilot, but the truth is, it brought me in and slowly made me a fan. 

If I were coupling this episode with its second parter “The Harvest”, I may give it a 5 stake rating but for now: 4.5 Stakes.

Zelda's Thoughts:
  • Hey, remember when Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't a stick? [Amen! - D]
  • I had completely forgotten that David Boreanaz used to be only a guest star. Yay! That means Season One will be less saturated with him.
  • Okay, fine, he was incredibly hot. Still awful.
  • For the record, I think Daniel is being Way Harsh Tai on poor Nicky Brendan. If you watch his face as he trips over his words continuously in his first scene with Buffy, he's doing a lot of subtle honest work very quickly. Not bad for a ballplayer.
  • "But the fun part of the Black Plague was ..." - this is an amazing throwaway line by Buffy's history teacher. It almost made it as my favorite line, except that I use Cordelia's line in real life. Real life wins.
  • See, we're mocking names like Buffy and Aphrodesia ... but can we talk about Pilot Inspektor and Apple and Blue Ivy for a moment?
  • Shenanigans! Giles must be a shitty librarian. The library's not that big, and yet he proceeds to have a shouting match about all of Buffy's deepest darkest slayeriest secrets while Xander is in the stacks? He didn't notice? Giles is so fired (spoiler!).
  • I actually kept twitching because I love Tony Head and all his ways.
  • Shenanigans! Why does Buffy have the bible seller dress anyway? Did she lose a bet? [And that leather outfit! - D] Actually Daniel, I'm willing to buy the dominatrix garb. We know she loves her leather.
  • I know Joss likes to kill people, but the real reason Jesse had to die? We don't need two Xanders.
  • Luke talking in scripture-speak is like that annoying kid in middle school who quoted musical theater lyrics all the ... oh. I'll go hide now.

Crossfire!

Daniel: The one-Starbucks town ... with a University!
Zelda: Hey, my town had no Starbucks ... and a University!

Daniel: I understand that a series premiere needs some sort of exposition but it sort of happens at the expense of making Giles seem incompetent.  There will be many instances of this in upcoming episodes that will make me tear my hair out wondering why the not-mentioned-yet council would send him to train the only active slayer…but I’m getting ahead of myself.   The part that irked me the most is when Giles asks Buffy if “the young man” will rise.  Buffy explains that in order to turn a vamp, you each have to suck each other’s blood…it’s “a whole sucking thing”….which…great, if he were asking for an explanation of how Vampires work…and since he is a Watcher…he already knows that.  And again, I understand that the audience needs to know how vamps in this particular sci-fi universe work but 1) they could have had her explain it to someone who knows nothing about vamps like Xander or Willow and B) It didn’t answer his question.  She doesn’t know if “unnamed first victim of the series” fed on the vamp or not and can’t be completely sure that he will or won’t rise again.  She runs into that problem a few times…most notably with “Theresa” in season 3. Shenanigans!

Zelda: While I take your point about the "whole sucking thing" - she really didn't seem to check (and how would she be able to tell?), BUT we don't see her leave the scene. We only see her find the body and the bite marks. It's possible she spent a good solid bonding twenty minutes with Dead Guy, chatting about this and that, checking for flecks of dried blood in his gums. WE DON'T KNOW. But what I'm doing right now is trying to write in non-existent scenes, so we'll leave it at that.

To your other point, about why Giles is having this Blatantly Expository Dialogue with Buffy about things any Slayer or Watcher worth her or his salt should know, I say this - Giles and Buffy barely know each other. What does Giles know about Buffy? She's a blonde LA girl - a perky insolent slang-talking American - who seems entirely uninterested in his many back-breaking books on the occult. She got her last watcher killed. She burned down the gym at her old school - not covert behavior at all - and got kicked out. Does Giles have any reason to trust that Buffy understands the first thing about her heritage? He's testing her. He needs to feel out this tiny stranger whose burden it is to save the world, and see if she actually has the stones to do it. ("Oh, I got the stones! I've got a whole bunch of ... stones.") He needs to try and clarify what his job will be in all this as her Watcher - start from scratch, or pick up from where Donald Sutherland left off?

Favorite line:

Daniel: "Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears." - Cordelia
Zelda: "What is your childhood trauma?" - Cordelia

90s Factoid:

James Spader was still hot.


Angel's Character:

Mysterious Stalker Douchebag.

Arc Stuff:
  • The introduction of ... everyone.
  • Buffy is from LA. She burned down the gym at her old high school. Because it was full of vampi - asbestos.
  • Giles gives the Slayer Duty speech. This will be used later. A lot.
  • Besides Vampires, Giles warns us we will face zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi. We think he lied a bit on the last two, but we get his point.
  • Luke is the first of two roles that Brian Thompson will play in the series.
  • First appearance of Darla, The Master, Luke, and Principal Flutie.

Stats:

Voiceover - Creepy B-Movie Guy
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 1
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 1
Evil Reveal - 1 (Darla)
Shenanigans Called - 3
Apocalypse Called - 0

Friday, January 13, 2012

If the apocalypse comes, beep us: Our Mission Statement


Daniel and Zelda met when Daniel joined the army of receptionists at Zelda's office, Wolfram and Hart. Over the course of training, Zelda and Daniel got to chatting about various crossover topics of interest, and the subject came up of The Best Television Show Ever. (Buffy. Duh. Why do you think we're here?)

Daniel and Zelda were delighted to find they agreed on this point. However, as further discussions developed, the two found there was much on which they disagreed - Tara. Xander. Spike. The comic books. Season Six in general.

After much debate, hurling of quotations, cries of "It's Canon!" and Rick-Rolling, Zelda and Daniel reached one conclusion - they must rewatch the series, start to finish. And they must continue their debate in as public a forum as they can muster.

Here on Once More With Extreme Prejudice, Daniel and Zelda intend to duke out their differences, bask in fond remembrances, crack wise about the Whedon, and call shenanigans whenever they so please.

We will also be keeping a running tally of dead bodies, dead undead bodies, unconscious watchers, and slayers that go kick in the night.