PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE

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

REVIEW ARCHIVES

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Although Later There Was an Ick Factor

Episode 1.7: Angel. Original Airdate 4.14.97

"Buffy discovers Angel's horrifying secret."












Zelda's Thoughts:

I'm going to start off just by saying I'd forgotten how fantastic this episode is. I think my general distaste for DB and who Angel becomes on AtS clouds my memory, because - this episode is really damn good. The writing is clever and clear - it's funny, it's character-developing, and the moral grey areas are all over awesome. It's also a great precedent-setter for the rest of the series - vampires are not guaranteed evil and (frankly?) dull, like they were in the film, or how they've mostly been up till now. Also? That dude is a vampire and we (theoretically) didn't suspect. And he killed that chick we expected to hang around being a villain for much longer (of course, that didn't stick, but how were we to know that then?) And of course the In Love Angst is perfect.
  • The Fumigation Party is the grossest thing ever. Continuously throughout that scene: Daniel and me: Ewwwwwww!
  • The Three aren't that threatening. Try harder, Master.
  • Shenanigans! That Dude from The Three should not have been able to get his hand in the door - blatant violation of the Uninvited Vampires Anonymous credo.
  • "What does your family think of your career choice?" "They're dead." CUZ HE KILLED THEM.
  • Giles has a shitload of weapons hiding in the book cage. Shenanigans! Don't keep weapons in the same cage where you also like to lock dangerous people/demons. That's bad math. Also, that's a total violation of Zero Tolerance.
  • Buffy kicking Giles's ass at quarterstaff is hilarious.
  • Awww. I hate on Angel but their first kiss scene is great. Buffy babbles, it's all romantic, it's all kissy, and then it's all HORRIBLE.
  • "How could you love an umpire? Everyone hates them!"
  • Cordy's freakout about the knockoff copy of her one-of-a-kind dress is just amazing.
  • I'm glad JB as Darla got better by the time she came back on AtS. She's kind of painfully one-note and mustache-twirling here.
  • There are too many lines in this episode I love. So well-written.
  • Also, Willow is unbearably adorable.
  • Buffy uses her new crossbow skills! To shoot a poster about how smoking is bad 'mkay.
  • Shenanigans! (sort of) Angel claims to have never fed on a single human since he got his soul. This is an out-and-out lie, but I'll give the writers a bye, since .... they thought it was true. This was only negated (more than once, I think?) later, on AtS.
  • ...How many schoolgirl outfits does Darla own? We count two so far. That's sketch.
  • Buffy pulls a crossbow. Darla: "Hmm. Scary. [pulls two guns] Scarier." Oh, Darla? These things? Never helpful.
  • Pretty awesome fight choreography in the deserted Bronze between Buffy and Darla.
  • I like that as Darla dies she says "Angel?" in the same quiet, childlike voice that Buffy uses when he comes back in Becoming Part 2.
  • SMG is totally standing on an apple box for her close shot at the end with Angel. She's nowhere near his height.

Daniel's Thoughts:

Agreed with Zelda that this was a great episode setting the vampire lore for the rest of the series and pretty much for me forever.  BtVS has spoiled me for other vampire flicks and books and tv series.  It just makes so much sense that it's the soul that makes you good and that when you become a vampire, your soul is swapped for a demon.
  • Roach Fumigation Party - so Gross
  • Angel and Buffy fighting together is hot.
  • Alyson Hannigan proves once again why I like first season Willow.  She has such great comedic timing:
Willow:  How is it you always know this stuff? You always know what's going on. I never know what's going on.
Giles:  Well, you weren't here from midnight until six researching it.
Willow:  No, I was sleeping.
  • Worst. Mom. Ever. Joyce barely bats an eye when she finds an older man hanging out with her teenaged daughter.  And then goes up to bed and trusts that Buffy sent him packing.
  • Cordelia is a glorified extra in this episode yet still remains awesome.
  • I loved seeing Darla and Angel's past and the only reason I feel he killed her too quickly and unremorsefully is because I know what's to come.  [You think you know...what's to come? - First Slayer] At this point, I think the writers did a good job.
  • I know Angel is supposed to be brooding and all emo and shit but I don't buy that he's survived so long by being stupid.  He knows, at this point, how strong Buffy is - why play with her and risk death instead of explaining right away who he is?  Is he that cocky that Buffy can't kill him? [I think he wants her to kill him. This is neither the first nor the last time his stupidity has led him down the suicidal path. - Z]
  • Rare gun usage but effective...although
  • Shenanigans! - Too many bullets came out of those guns...
  • The Three are mighty warriors and I get that the big bads are ruthless, even if with their own, but...you're kinda gonna run out of strong allies if you kill them so quickly.
  • Very romantic kiss at the end.  He doesn't even care that her cross was burning him!

Crossfire!

Zelda hates Angel. Daniel loves Angel. Both of them are having trouble articulating their positions at the moment.
Daniel:  Well...there's this:


Crossfire part deux!

Daniel: "Why is his voice like that?"
Zelda: "Cuz he's the annoying one."


Favorite Lines:

Zelda: "You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I"ve done ... and to care." - Angel
Daniel: "And 'A' doesn't even stand for 'Angel' for that matter, it stands for... 'Achmed', a charming foreign exchange student, so that whole fantasy part has nothing to even do with you at all..." - Buffy (I like rambly Buffy)


90s Factoid:
 
Mom hair
Arc/Continuity Stuff:
  • Xander dances like a spaaaaaaaaaaaaz. Did he give Angel lessons?
  • Buffy tells Joyce Angel is a student at first year community college (UC Sunnydale?) and is tutoring Buffy in history. Remarkably, since Joyce blocks out most of the alarming facts from Buffy's teenhood, she recalls this. Willow is the one who is actually tutoring Buffy in history. Darla also claims to be a history tutor. Good God.
  • Giles has a shitload of weapons hiding in the book cage.
  • Buffy quickly masters the quarterstaff and goes on to the crossbow.  
  • Buffy and Angel's first kiss, which leads to ANGEL IS A VAMPIRE.
  • Angel is a Vampire???

  • Angel/Darla mythology: Darla's been around for 400 years. Darla sired Angel, who is about 240 years old. Last time they saw each other, she was into kimonos (as we later find out - The Boxer Rebellion). Also he was evil when they were in Budapest.  Angel killed his family. Angel got cursed by gypsies with a restored soul. Angel's evil name is Angelus.
  • Angel lives above-ground, which is unusual for a vampire (apparently). 
  • The Master misses Angel - even though we later see (on AtS) that they didn't really get along so well.
  • Angel kills Darla.
  • Xander's skareboard is back!

Stats:
Voiceover - none
Angel's Character - A VAMPIRE.
Dead Humans - 0
Dead Undeads - 4
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 1 (Angel is a vampire!)
Unevil Reveal - 1 (But he's a nice vampire!)
Shenanigans Called - 4
Apocalypse Called - 0

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And the weird behavior award goes to ...

Episode 1.6: The Pack. Original Airdate 4.7.97

"Xander and several other students are possessed by the spirit of a demonic breed of hyenas that wreak havoc at the high school."








Daniel's Thoughts:

Let's take a moment to talk about popular kids or the writers Matt Keine and Joe Reinkemeyer's version of popular kids. (This team also wrote "Inca Mummy Girl", so...) This set of 30 year old models represent mean HS students except they're all...so...lame... And I guess bullies generally are lame, but I can't imagine anyone taking them seriously. Kyle, Rhonda, Tor (Tor?) and Heidi (thanks IMDB, I think Kyle is the only one that ever gets called by name) are played by actors who can't act. Luckily most of them hardly speak - including Jennifer Sky - who was awful as Sarah Webber on General Hospital. (Yes, I watch GH. Yes, I feel shame.) [You frighten me. - Z] Also, when they're gathering around Flutie trying to be "threatening", I'm confused as to whether they want to kill and eat him or...fuck him...especially the Blond guy. Tor. Oy. Stop touching Xander seductively, Tor.


  • "Whapoosh"? - something only annoying 90s douchebags say.
  • Shenanigans! When Willow talks of her tingly feelings for Xander, Buffy claims that that feeling hasn't happened to her lately...you mean not since Owen last week?
  • I guess when hyenas possess you, you start only wearing black and become pale. Wait...do I mean vampires?
  • I never understood TV series' obsession with showing how horrible and warlike dodgeball is. You want to get out of gym for ten minutes? Jump in front of a ball. They're really not that hard. [Some kids tried that and the teacher made them run laps. - Z]
  • And why on Earth would the gym teacher allow what happens at the end of the game where "the pack" start throwing balls hard at their own teammate? That kind of violence would get them immediately suspended, if not expelled.
  • No Cordy :(  - I think it's because she would have outshone all the bullies.  But also:
  • Shenanigans!  In "Welcome to the Hellmouth", Cordy says "see you in gym class.  So...why isn't she in that gym class?  WHY?  Ok, maybe she was sick that day.
  • The one thing I really like about this episode is that I think Nicky does a good job. His Hyena-personality is "cruel" as opposed to the cool kids' "lame". Basically, Nicholas Brandon is good at playing a dick...which is essentially what Xander becomes. [Oh come on. Xander makes bad choices but he never embraces cruelty deliberately. I will Crossfire your face. - Z]
  • Also: Alyson Hannigan is awesome at playing sad which she proves in this episode.
  • Bye, Principal Flutie...though you were barely in a few episodes, 4? 5? You will always be a memorable character.


Zelda's Thoughts:

I have much less issue with this episode than Daniel does. While I agree that the acting of the bullies/pack is sub-par, I don't think it detracts any more from the episode than Owen's muddy line-readings in "Never Kill A Boy..." [Owen is fantastic. You shut your whore mouth - D] They're not great, but mercifully this is our only episode with them, so I tolerate them (and they will never rival my least favorite one-off villain of all time, The Loan Shark of "Tabula Rasa." That was awful). But they're really the only weak link - I think the metaphor is fantastic, especially in how it translates a mob mentality - the need to laugh at weaker parties in order to seem strong - into the hyena pack - capitalizing on both the hyena's brutal scavenger nature and its signature "laugh." I also really love that this episode shows off not just NB's range and skill - he's quite good at playing cruel and dark, and we don't get to see him do it much (the only other example I can think of right now is "The Wish") [Hell's Bells...D] - but also giving us a small peek into how good Willow is at being sad and how Freaking Huge her eyes are. Further thoughts and quibbles ...
    
    It's called recycling.
  • Buffy's scarf! Is made out of her dress from last episode!
  • Thank you, Animatronic Hyena, for infecting the bullies and Xander with your crazy. Also, you're not at all creepy and fake-looking.
  • Dodgeball - the last step in humanity before anarchy and cannibalism. Which .. yeah, pretty much this episode.
  • I actually find it really interesting that, in the dodgeball game, when the pack is faced with only Buffy on the other side, they instead turn on their weakest member (Lance) - rather than attack someone whom they sense (or in Xander's case, know) is stronger than all of them. And again, Xander verbally takes down Willow right after, but only laughs when challenged by Buffy, rather than attacking her.
  • Herbert the pig dies but he is neither human nor demon, so he gets no statistic.
  • Willow is crying. NOTHING IS RIGHT IF WILLOW IS CRYING. Stupid Xander.
  • Fun fact: When Xander is possessed by a hyena, he wears rings.
  • I'm glad Xander wasn't in on the Flutie lunch. It's actually an important factor in redeemability.
  • Xander goes for Buffy's neck for their first kiss - because he wants to be Angel. Possibly also an explanation for his wardrobe? It's also a good note in that his interest in her when he is HyenaXander is aggressive, not romantic. Also noting that Xander goes after Buffy with only a sexual intent - never with a violent (well, non-sexually violent) intent.
  • The next we see him, he is unconscious because Buffy hit him with a desk. I love Buffy and her non-victimness.
  • THERE'S A BABY IN THIS EPISODE. I totally forgot there is a baby in this episode (the night hiker who finds the pack sleeping in the woods has a baby backpack).
  • Xander: "Weren't our lives simpler when it was just you and me?" ...and JESSE?! Awful memory, Xander and Willow. Oops, sorry, said I wasn't going to talk about that anymore.
  • I just love the scene through the cage between Xander and Willow. Well-written, well-acted, excellent line of tension. Lovelovelove.
  • Hyena Pack calling Willow's name through the library windows ... creepy and awesome.
  • "They're tough. But I think they're getting stupider." Continuing with the metaphor of teenage boys and teenage bullies (and teenagers in groups following the mob mentality) lose intelligent rational thought fairly quickly.
  • And Xander gets to redeem his awful behavior - his first act when he regains himself is to defend Willow.

Crossfire!

Mostly handled without bloodshed above. 


Favorite Lines:
Daniel: "It's devastating. He's turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. Course, you'll have to kill him." - Giles
Zelda: "How terribly frustrating for you, that a bunch of schoolchildren could accomplish what you could not." - Giles, being awesome.


90s Factoid:

This took place in the 90s.
Ahahaha! That was hilarious.



Arc/Continuity Stuff:
  • Willow knows Xander's blood pressure. Willow is kind of creepy.
  • Buffy is wearing Angel's jacket.
  • Buffy is known for taking baths.
  • Sunnydale High's mascot is Herbert the "Razorback" Pig. But not for long.
  • Buffy, Willow, and Xander all have gym together.
  • Flutie eats it. Or rather, is eaten.
  • First use of the book cage to lock people in.
  • Also our first evidence that the book cage can be easily broken open. Why they ever thought it was a good holding room for Oz is a mystery.
  • Xander fakes amnesia about his Hyena Time. Giles aids and abets.

Stats:

Voiceover - none
Angel's Character - Off on a camping trip with Cordelia, probably.
Dead Humans - 2
Dead Undeads - 0
Giles Unconscious - 1
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 1 (Zookeeper)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 2
Apocalypse Called - 0

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Clark Kent has a job. I just wanna go on a date!

Episode 1.5: Never Kill a Boy on a First Date. Original airdate: 3.31.97



"While Buffy awaits the arrival of a warrior vampire, she dates a boy who is attracted to her exciting lifestyle."







Zelda's Thoughts:



  • I like the Master when he's whimsical.
  • Buffy is better at research than Giles! The world is upside-down! The world is inside-out! 
  • "He can brood for 40 minutes straight - I've clocked him." - Willow; strangely, NOT about Angel
  • Buffy's green print dress is horrifyingly short.
  • But then she covers it with a horrifying tiger hoodie:
  • The Anointed One rides the Special Bus.
  • Clearly, today Cordy doesn't think she's too good for high school boys.
  • Giles drinks tea! Because he's British!
  • Buffy's outfits are a wreck this episode. Bare-midriff shiny blue tie-dye. And all dresses are just long shirts. My name is Zelda the Prude.
  • Giles is surrounded by vamps. Giles: "Damn." Oh Giles and your British understatements and stiff upper lippiness.
  • Where's Harmony? All of Cordy's other cronies are boring and expressionless. And brunettes.
  • Owen is excited to go the funeral home - Best Buffy Date Ever or Worst Buffy Date Ever?
  • Giles's vague distaste - not shocked, not appalled, just vaguely distasteful - that she brought Owen to SlayerLand. Love.
  • Worst barricade ever, Xander and Willow. Also, you forgot about the window into the Vampire Room. Which probably makes it a good thing that it's the worst barricade ever.
  • "Did you see that? He tried to bite me! What a sissy." heee
  • Aw Buffy. You made an adult decision not to date danger-seeking Owen. It was very sad - even the music agreed. You'll be waaaaaaaaaaaay safer with Angel, babe. Good choice. (cough)
Daniel's Thoughts:

I'd like to take a second of your time to discuss Owen.  Because he's so Owen-y.  BtVS is good at bringing some characters back and I always sort of wished that Owen was more than a one-off character. Owen seems like a pre-Finn type and I could see him meeting up with Buffy again in college, this time as part of the initiative - maybe to prove to Buffy that he'd be a good asset to her team.  (Even though he doesn't know what her team is.)  On a much smaller scale, I could have seen him come back for Graduation Day at least.  Owen would have been a great asset in that department and yes...probably would have died, too.  But that's ok!  I also liked the actor tons. In my mind, he wasn't exactly what the casting calls put out. Owen reads as a pre-emo type - dark haired, skinny, brooding.  But the actor looks more like a jock type which...I kinda liked. He was playing against type.  And his line readings are soooo adorkable!  I would have liked to see Owen come back.  But...alas.
  • It was nice to see Giles training - I believe this is the first time we see him talking about technique.
  • The master is scary & funny at the same time.  It'll set a precedent for future villains and big bads
  • A student in the library to take out a book?  What?  Love when BtVS makes fun of itself
  • Buffy Fashion Faux Pas. Buffy's dress looks like 70s wallpaper
  • Worst. Mom. Ever.  Joyce is non-existent...not even home to meet her daughter's first date in Sunnydale. 
  • There is tons of witty banter in this episode, which I love.  It's almost non-stop
  • The British handle distress with such poise: Giles: Damn.
  • This is the first time we see a really nice father/daughter moment with Buffy and Giles.  It sets a standard for their future relationship.  Until season 7.  Stupid season 7....
  • Also the start of the Buffy/Cordelia rivalry
Favorite Lines:
Zelda: "All right. I'll just pop into a time machine, go back to the twelfth century, and ask the vampires to postpone their ancient prophecy for a few days while you take in dinner and a show." - Giles
Daniel: "At this point you're abusing sarcasm." - Buffy...in response to Zelda's favorite line :)
90s Factoid:

 

Cordelia's hair is crimped.  Just....no.
Buffy has a beeper! A pink bejeweled beeper.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:
  • First Vampire Fight opening.
  • First quip ("I'm Buffy, and you're History.").
  • The Anointed is created, and we all moan in boredom.
  • The first of Buffy's way-too-tall beaux (Owen).
  • Buffy's first kiss of the series! With ... Owen. Bye Owen.
  • Giles's father and grandmother were Watchers.
Stats:
Voiceover - none
Angel's Character - Salty Goodness. Also jealous mysterious guy.
Dead Humans - 5
Dead Undeads - 2
Giles Unconscious - 1
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 1
Evil Reveal - 1 (True Anointed One)
Unevil Reveal - 1 (Pork and Beans is not the Anointed One)
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Interviews With Some Non-Vampires: Part I

In which we explore the origin stories of our intrepid bloggers...



You get to pick which one of us is Brad Pitt
and which one of us is Christian Slater

Z: So tell me, Daniel-san, how did you first start watching Buffy? What sparked your interest?


Bunnies frighten me
D: Buffy was on at a time when I was too busy to watch any tv: College.  Once when I was home, however, I did see my first episode:  "Fear, Itself."  I thought it was clever and funny and scary and there was a strange cute girl in a bunny costume. (Little did I know that my love affair with Anya was just beginning!)  I always knew that Buffy was a show I'd enjoy if I only had the time for it.  A couple of years later, my then boyfriend's friend showed me the brilliance that was "Once More with Feeling".  Thought I thought it was absolutely wonderful, I don't think I realized exactly how brilliant it was because I didn't know the characters/storylines well.  But that's what made me start watching it on netflix from the beginning.  The show was already over by then, but I knew I had seven crazy wonderful seasons of Buffy and friends to watch and obsess over.  When I finished the seasons on netflix, I bought the box set and have been re-watching and over-analyzing what truly became my favorite show ever since!

Z: Now I know that Anya is your favorite character. What is it about her that you like so much?
D: I love how Anya is frank and honest and pulls no punches. The thing is, though, Anya wouldn't have been half the character she was if it had not been for her portrayer, Emma Caulfield.  Emma has perfect comedic timing and proved time and time again to be a real asset to the show.  It was also nice to see her grow; learn what it was like to be human.  While she wasn't always tactful, she was enthusiastic about at least trying to be more sympathetic towards others and often showed hints of a vulnerable side that I think we can all relate to.

Z: Of course, Xander's had tactless girlfriends before. How would you compare Anya to Cordelia? Or to Ampata? That was pretty tacky, how she spoilered the life out of her boyfriends.
D: Anya started out as the sort of "Cordelia replacement".  Their mistake was they wrote her a lot like Cordelia (whom I also love but in different ways) but the two are very very different.  Emma, smartly didn't try to make her like Cordy and I think the writers followed suit after that.  The thing they had most in common, though, was that Xander didn't deserve either of them.  Ampata, on the other hand...was almost perfect for Xander.

Z: Speaking of Xander, whom I know you adore, have you noticed how many of his paramours are now deceased? Even Buffy died twice, and they never dated! Guess how many girlfriends of his died in the comics! Guess!
D: I don't understand.  Com-icks?

D: Let's start with the same question: How did you first get into Buffy?
Z: I'm not gonna lie to you, Daniel, I saw the movie when it came out in theaters in 1992. And I ... hated it. Flat out yuck. Granted, I didn't yet understand the concept of camp, unless we're talking Clue, which is one of the best movies ever, but even on more recent reviewings, I sitll don't like the movie of Buffy. So when I heard, five years down the line, that they were actually making a TV series out of it, I audibly scoffed my disbelief and disdain, and went on my merry. I heard about it periodically in TV Guide (including that she died in a season finale, which - what?), but didn't pay much attention.

Cut to 2001 - my sister is in college, I'm in high school, and she calls to ask me to record an episode of Buffy.
     Me: What? That show's lame.
     Sister: I won't be able to watch it otherwise.
     Me: Why?
     Sister: They made a musical episode. I hear it's actually really good.
     Me: I love musicals too, but that's super-lame. Ugh, FINE.
Unfortunately, that was the year Buffy entered syndication heaven, and it was on every channel. I turned onto one, saw Michelle Trachtenberg (I didn't know she was on the show at all), assumed I was wrong, and switched to the other. That was wrong too. I switched back to the correct channel in time to see Sweet do his thing. And damn. By the end of "Walk Through the Fire," I was absolutely hooked.

Anyway, to make a long story short ("too late"), after that I watched the two hours of Buffy FX aired every day in order, and caught up on the series in time for the season six finale. I also, in the process, became like The Old Dope Peddler, lending out my videotapes of all these episodes I'd been recording to all my friends - "No seriously, guys, this show is AMAZING. Watch 'Prophecy Girl.' Watch 'Lie to Me.' Then we'll talk."

D: Convincing skeptics that it's a great show continues to be the bane of a Buffy fan's existence.  Besides the two episodes you mentioned, what other episodes would you pick to turn a skeptic into a fan?
Z: Ooh, that's a hard one - hard because a lot of my major favorites are so arc-heavy that I worry they wouldn't have the same impact out of context. "Innocence" is pretty great, but would it have the same heartbreak if you hadn't been following that relationship for a season and a half (actually, maybe yes - Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz are both pretty perfect in that episode)? Same for "The Wish" - it's great because you know what it's contrasting. But I'd say if you want to give them a good sense of the humor of the show, go with "Band Candy," "Tabula Rasa," or "Life Serial." For good pathos, "Into the Woods" and the two-part "Becoming." For scary? Duh. "Hush." Duh. "Conversations With Dead People" could be an interesting, if supremely confusing starter. Actually, I'd love to hear your "starter" eps before we continue.
D: That's also a hard one for me. Mostly because I'm generally a very spoiler-free person.  I hate being spoiled for future events and hate spoiling it for others.  I think I'd encourage a newbie to start from the beginning by watching the first three episodes because I think it shows the direction the show will head. 

D: Who is your favorite character and why?
Z: Well, you know my deep and abiding love for Spike - but a lot of that is probably connected to James Marsters's wonderful performance in the role. Of the characters who actually made it into the opening sequence, I might actually have to go for the obvious - Buffy herself. Though I grew frustrated with her in the last two seasons, this girl was a true hero - an admirable one. She didn't always make the smartest decisions, but she also didn't shy away from making the tough ones. When the chips were down, when things were at their absolute worst, she was still able to act, to try to change things, fix things. Very rarely would she give into helplessness or despair. I feel like heroes, heroism in general, have gone out of vogue lately - with the exception of the fantastical or comic book films - in favor of "realistic" people, dripping in "humanizing" flaws. Which, while I recognize the worth of that too, I don't like it when it results in a general view of the heroic character as unrealistic in and of itself. Heroic characters like Buffy, people who act, should continue to be written and portrayed, as examples of all of our potential if we reach for it.
D: Well said.  I agree that we need more heroes like Buffy in TV and Cinema.  I feel like they inspire us to be better people.

D: Now on the other side, I know Tara and Dawn are your least favorite characters (Correct me if I'm wrong about that).  Can you tell us why?
Z: Oh, what a can of worms you have opened, sir! Of the regulars, Tara and Dawn were indeed my least favorite, and actually for close to the same reason - I didn't feel either actor really brought much to the table, and indeed failed to match what was intended. They both of them lacked depth, and I think the dimensionality of both characters in the writing ultimately suffered as a result. MT is very pretty, has poise, some comic timing, and can convey emotions - but they're general emotions, not organically grounded into a scene or interaction - couple that with my belief that she makes no discoveries means that as a whole, Dawn's emotional throughline rings as dishonest (a great example of this is the scene in "Blood Ties" when Dawn and Spike read from Gile's journal - Spike struggles through Giles's handwriting and is surprised by what he reads; Dawn has no trouble with the handwriting and is already reacting to the end of the entry before she's started reading the beginning of it). Now Tara, I was mostly bored by. I liked the idea of her, I liked the relationship with Willow, and it's clear from reading the scripts or listening to the writers talk that AB is much-adored and generally adorable, but in her actual portrayal of Tara, she left me bored. There just wasn't much going on there behind the face - contrast her with Oz, who as written was very, let's say ... expressing himself in short, non-committal phrases  - but I believe that Oz has a full emotional life and throughline because of the subtle honest work of SG.

In other words, they're my least favorite characters because they suck.

D: And on that note...stay tuned for Never Kill A Boy On A First Date and Part II of our interviews!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Full On Exorcist Twist

Episode 1.4: Teacher's Pet. Original Airdate 3.24.97


"Buffy's biology teacher is killed by a giant praying mantis that assumes the form of a beautiful substitute teacher. Her next victim will be Xander unless Buffy can stop her."







Zelda's Thoughts:
  • Xander is gay for Angel and we all know it.
  • Yeah, fine, Daniel, Nicky Brendan is mugging a lot in this episode. I still think he's way better than Amber Benson.
  • Okay, her body is fine, but that teacher is in no way hot enough to warrant a slo-mo camera.
  • Just curious - how many teenage boys are actually convinced that their teachers have the hots for them? Do we have a statistic on that? [57% - D]
  • Everyone, note - Giles is eating an apple OF SYMBOLISM.
  • Natalie French's weirdass accent, which sounds like an odd hybrid of Welsh, Irish, Southern, British, and Australian, has been identified - she's South African. Who knew?
  • Shenanigans! There's got to be a more practical way to eat your live cricket lunch. At least three of them escaped!
  • Can we talk about Tony Head's giant forehead scar? What's that about?
  • Blaine is a Poor Man's Percy (they shoulda had this be Percy). And that's not saying much.
  • Buffy almost broke a door. But then Old Natalie French opened it. Curses! Foiled again!
  • Shenanigans! I call extreme foul on those stupid eggs in the last shot. It's such an X-Files/Twilight Zone/Horror Movie Franchise move, and it's beneath the show (especially because it never ever ever comes up again). It's just cheese.
  • ALSO - okay. We are told that in order to mate and such, Lady Mantis needs a virgin male - she lays her eggs, she mates with him, she eats his head. Okay, cool. So um. Dr. Gregory, Buffy's very old biology teacher got his head eaten off, and eggs got laid. Poor old dude was a virgin?
                    Stupid Eggs                                              Old Man Virgin

 Daniel's Thoughts
  • Shenanigans! Why oh why would Covert Bug Lady risk twisting her neck around in full view of the entire class, half of which is teenage boys lusting after her? 
  • Shenanigans! Why does Buffy think Xander wouldn't be a virgin? She's met him. [Also, she and Willow are both virgins. Way to be a hypocrite, B. - Z]
  • First character death I felt bad about: Dr. Gregory.  He was so nice to Buffy! And didn't think she was a criminal!
  • Bad monster effects! I can picture a stage hand holding the end of that bad insect arm.
  • So most Buffy fans know that Joss wanted to make either Xander or Willow gay...Xander's whole "She didn't tell us he was buff" almost sounds like he wants Angel himself.
  • Xander fashion faux pas: Blacks shoes/White socks
  • By far one of the worst one-offs of the season, if not the series. [Go Fish, The Zeppo, Reptile Boy, Doublemeat Palace and I would like to have a word with you ... - Z]
  • That last shot was incredibly pointless unless they planned on having a sequel to this episode...and I'm sure glad they didn't.
  • One stake.
  • Although loved...

Cutsey Buffy and Willow


Crossfire!

Sorry, we're in complete accordance this week. No crossfire for you. Kill us both, Spock!


Favorite Lines:
Zelda: "And while we're on the subject, what kind of a girly name is Angel?" - Xander
Daniel: "No dear, I'm right here." - Natalie French (the real Natalie French)


90s Factoid:
Very shiny shirts worn by men were a thing

Arc/Continuity Stuff:
  • Xander's middle name is Lavelle.
  • Xander's first basement. Not his last.
  • Angel's first showing of some skin:
And Buffy finally gets it
  
Stats:
Voiceover - Creepy B-Movie Guy
Angel's Character - Annoying Cryptic Brooding Guy AND 90s Charming Mysterious Guy (how does he do it?)
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 2 (and one dream vamp. nice try, X)
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 1
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 1 (Mrs. Mantis)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 4
Apocalypse Called - 0