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


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Show's Not Over, But There Will be a Short Intermission.

As we say farewell to The Mayor and Season Three, Zelda just wanted to make sure you were aware of Harry Groener's extensive career as a song-and-dance man on Broadway. He's been nominated for a Tony Award three times, y'all. Now, two of them were for more conventional musical theatre fare: Crazy For You and Oklahoma!

True story.

But let's talk about that third Tony nomination. Because guys? Mayor Richard Wilkins III was a cat.

Truer story.

Oh no, he wasn't just any cat. He was freaking Munkustrap, that ... um ... the cat that narrates a lot of things?

So basically he's all over the cast album. Not only a featured fucking cat, he was in the Original Broadway Cast. That's legit. And apparently he gave such good cat, they nominated him for a freaking Tony Award for wearing spandex and fur and acting swag about it. Please take a moment to digest this, because we suspect you will never be the same afterwards.

Oh yes, he also replaced Tim Curry's King Arthur in Broadway's Spamalot, which is cool and all.

But. Cat.

let the memory live again

We just thought you should know.

Below: in "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats," he has the first line, a featured choreography bit at 0:46, and another closeup at 2:10.

Old Deuteronomy: No vid, but he (and Terrence Mann) lead the song; his first solo at 1:19:

Bonus: We'd love to find footage of him hootin' and hollerin' as Will Parker in Oklahoma! but sadly there is none - just photos like the one above, and the cast album (a good listen, mind you - also featuring Christine Andreas, Laurence Guittard, Mary Wickes, and Christine Ebersole). Instead, here's him tapping away in Crazy For You. The number's pretty boring except when you remember that seven years later he'll try to destroy Sunnydale.

We'd post more but we worry our heads might spin around and explode.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guys, Take a Moment to Deal with This. We Survived.

Series Stats:

Dead Humans - 78
Dead Undeads - 136
Dead Flashbacks - 7
Giles Unconscious - 12
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 11
Buffy Breaks a Door - 15
Evil Reveal - 36
Unevil Reveal - 13
Shenanigans Called - 74
Apocalypse Called - 5

Season Three Stats (including comparison to previous season):

Dead Humans - 29 (+2)
Dead Undeads - 70 (+25)
Dead Flashbacks - 2 (-3)
Giles Unconscious - 4 (=)
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 5 (=)
Buffy Breaks a Door - 4 (-1)
Evil Reveal - 10 (-7)
Unevil Reveal - 5 (=)
Shenanigans Called - 23 (-3)
Apocalypse Called - 1 (-1)

As you see, our dead human, dead flashback, door-breaking, shenanigans, and apocalypse counts stayed mostly level with Season Two, while unevils and Giles's various unconscious and glasses activities matched exactly. The only really big jump we saw was in the number of dead undeads, which was up 25 from last season. Go team Scoobies!

Daniel's Thoughts:
From the very first episode, Anne, I knew season three would be one of my favorites.  It's incredibly imaginative and forward thinking.  Everyone goes through major changes in their last year just like anyone would in their senior year.  Buffy must grow and get past the incidents of what she had to do to Angel;  Willow deals with growing up, dating and realizing she has special gifts;  Cordelia must decide if she's a Scoobie or a the rich girl with minions (I think she chooses both); Angel must deal with being back and if it's even right for him to stay, while ultimately making the decision to be a grown up and end things once and for all with Buffy; and even Xander grapples with his identity within the group, his very first (disappointing) sexual encounter and using his Halloween knowledge to be the "key."  No, not that key.

Season three also introduced some great characters. While Oz was introduced in season two, he became a season regular this year, joined and became an integral part of the Scoobies.  He was even helpful with plan ideas such as "We attack the mayor with Hummus".  Speaking of the Mayor, we got the great Harry Groener as the awesome and evil Mayor Wilkins.  Eliza Dushku came on as the feisty and badass slayer Faith.  Her story took a turn that I never imagined but I loved every minute of it.  And finally, we got introduced to Anya (no lameass made up last name yet), the vengeance demon turned human played by Emma Cauflield, who was so wonderful, they brought her back for season 4.

The season wrapped up nicely with no cliffhanger and I liked it that way.  High school was over.  A chapter in their lives are closed.  Onto bigger and better. (We hope.)

Zelda's Thoughts:
Season Three is really satisfying in part because a bunch of seeds for it were planted in Season Two, so we get to feel clever for catching them - like Snyder name-dropping the Mayor, Xander admitting he loves Willow and those feelings coming to a really stupid head, Kendra's death leading to the next Slayer's being called, and of course Buffy dealing with the repercussions of killing Angel and the consequences of leaving town. We also have arguably the best Big Bad in the history of ever, if only because of Harry Groener being the King of All Things Awesome. AND we have Buffy's shadow-self, the Slayer she might have been, if not for her friends - and we have it twice: Buffy's alternaself in The Wish - cynical, cold, and business-like; and Faith, a powerful girl who doesn't understand why she doesn't have what Buffy has - and who turns to the dark as a place that might welcome her more easily than Buffy's wholesome world.

Season Three also drew really satisfying conclusions to the stories we've been following so far - I would have been fine if Angel never came back, but whatever. They brought him back, but acknowledged pretty readily that the relationship with Buffy couldn't sustain, one way or another. Spike was right, they'll never be just friends (as evidenced by every time they interact after S3 as well), but Joyce and the Mayor were right, too - there's an end-date to their romantic relationship as well, and not just because they can't have sex. Buffy will age, Buffy will change, and Angel will not. Meanwhile, we also had our Scoobies graduate high school, demolish said high school, and look toward the future and adulthood. And unlike a lot of tv shows, the characters really have changed and grown over the past three years. Willow has become more confident, and has fully embraced the mission of saving the world, while also exploring magics, Xander still has a ways to go, but he has matured, and he is a loyal lieutenant, and our beautiful Buffy has embraced her role as savior more fully, acknowledging the good and the bad - with the ends of Seasons One and Two, we saw her taking on that mantle, that duty, but we saw it in the sacrifices she was willing to make. Season Three saw the entire senior class acknowledging her, and her then taking that acknowledgment to empower everyone to save themselves.

Sure, there were some weak episodes (Beauty and the Beasts, The Zeppo), but there were so many strong episodes in an already strong season, and just ... damn, it's a good show. From Band Candy to The Wish, from Amends to Doppelgangland, from Faith's entire arc to the finale, this was a nearly uniformly solid season. Season Four's gonna get messier, in part because of some backstage hijinks, but I know there are still some fantastic episodes in our future, and I look forward to them.

Happy Graduation!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We Attack the Mayor with Hummus

Episode 3.22: Graduation Day: Part 2. Original Airdate 7.13.99

"On Ascension Day, Buffy and her friends prepare for the ultimate battle as they face off against the mayor and a hoard of vampires."

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • First shot is of the bloody knife. Whoops. Buffy did a bad.
  • And she leaves the knife behind. Um Buffy? Fingerprints? Remember the cops? Who should have a pretty thick file on you at this point?
  • Oh man, Harry Groener is so freaking good. He's so scared for Faith. "She'll be all right. She'll be all right."
  • "Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense."
  • Haha Angel kissing Willow's hand is so awkward.
  • I'm kinda glad Willow doesn't tell Buffy about Angel's fever-driven declaration that he can't leave. Especially since once he's better he's still all "bye now"
  • And then it's made hilarious when Oz reveals Angel also thought he was Buffy. Though ... they are about the same height.
  • Oz's "I think the pain is ... less" diagnosis of Angel is somehow more heartbreaking.
  • Man, Angel's a sloppy drinker.
  • And then they made an orgasm metaphor.
  • I actually really like the doctor here. Like I believe he's not as deeply stupid as the police, I believe that he's good at his job, and he's firm and competent with Angel.
  • You can tell Joss directed, by all the long moving camera shots. The camera tracks from Buffy in her room, to Angel in the hallway making a call, to the Mayor hearing Faith's diagnosis, to Faith in the bed, her face a bruised mess. Such good work.
  • He's so broken, he's so in shock, and his face, barely moving, showing no emotion, as he goes to Buffy's bed to kill her. Gah. Such good work.

  • Not even a violent attack, just a quiet suffocation.
  • Interesting that he calls Buffy Angel's whore, when he sent Faith to try to seduce Angel away.
  • Harry Groener, you are my favorite. You were so stunningly good in that scene, showing so many colors and levels.
  • You know, it's pretty good Angel's leaving town, the way Giles and Xander and even Oz and Willow are looking at him. I'm not sure any of them are anywhere close to being ready to forgive him for almost draining Buffy dry. And we were there, we understand that Buffy pushed him into it, but all they can see is a vampire who nearly killed their Buffy.
  • SHARED DREAM TIME. Counting down from 7-3-0.
  • Oh man that shot when the cat turns into Faith in the hospital bed for a frame, when the knife appears and disappears from Buffy's hand. Also a very Joss move.
Is this a really cool murder weapon I see before me?

  • And Faith tells Buffy the key to defeating the Mayor - his human weakness - his emotional attachment.
  • What I like about the dream is that it helps give Buffy some closure - she has a peaceful, loving scene with Faith, Faith helps her, Faith is gentle, Faith forgives her. Without Faith's forgiveness I don't think Buffy would be able to continue on the way she does - we've seen what killing a human does to Buffy.
  • Of course, that forgiveness was in Buffy's perception only, as we see when Faith wakes up in S4 that she hasn't forgiven Buffy at all.
  • Aw Snyder. I think I'll miss you most of all.
  • Aw Xander is the key figure. See Daniel? He can be useful.
  • Willow's face. "Was that before or after you put her in a coma?"// "After." // "Oh."
  • "We'll attack him with germs!" Hey, it worked in Independence Day.
  • Aw Wesley wants to help, yay. Everyone gets to be cool this episode. Except Snyder. He just gets to be funny and then dead.
  • "And boys, let's watch the swearing." Never change, Mayor.
  • Oh boy. Time for awkward Cordy/Wes kissing.
  • That was just. Wow just. Wow. Awkward.
  • Oh. Buffy does have the knife. Did she go back for it? I guess, after Angel said Faith was the Mayor's weakness? *shrug*
  • It is a pretty cool move - kind of like in a trilogy - to find out that something you thought was just there was actually planned - in this case that the Mayor founded Sunnydale 100 years ago precisely for his Ascension.
  • Oh hey giant snake thing.
  • Oh man I love it. Buffy says "Now." AND EVERYONE HAS WEAPONS AND IS READY TO FIGHT I LOVE IT SO MUCH. And it's so good - they recognized Buffy as their protector in The Prom, and so she knew she could tell them to prepare - and, like the same spirit of S7's arc, she wanted to teach them to protect themselves, to defend themselves, to have their own agency. What she first taught Chanterlily in Anne, she is now teaching to her entire graduating class. She got them all to fight together.
  • Aw bye Snyder.
  • I love the kids charging the vamps. I love it.
  • And then, I also love that poor Wesley is just lying down helpless during the whole fight.
  • Bye bye Sunnydale High.
  • "Well, gosh." 
  • Goodbye, Angel. I will not miss you.
  • "Fire bad. Tree pretty." I use this a lot.
  • "Synchronicity that borders on predestination." Way to explain the metaphor, Jeeves.
  • At least Angel let her see him leave. That's a sort of goodbye.
  • Eh whatever. We all know I'm going to miss Snyder most of all. Armin Shimerman, tiny and brilliant.
  • Well, I'll also miss the Mayor.
  • Basically I won't miss Angel, is what I'm getting at here.

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • And we start exactly where we left off: Faith’s awesome night is covered with ketchup.  I mean blood.
  • It shows a very human side to the Mayor that he care so much about Faith that he’s even willing to hold off on his plans for the Ascension in order to find her.
  • Last episode for Charisma, and David as a regular.  He’ll be back.  She won’t.
  • “You got fired and you still stick around like a loser.  Why can’t he?”  Ha, I love it.
  • I wonder when Buffy knew she was going to sacrifice herself.  Maybe from the moment she lost Faith?
  • And the feeding.  Can something be gross and romantic?  The music is telling us yes.
  • This doctor is acting as if he doesn’t live in Sunnydale.  He’s saying all the right things a doctor would say but you’d think they get things like this all the time.  I guess it’s the selective amnesia Sunnydale denizens get.
  • Shut up, Xander.
  • Yay! Little miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0.  Hints! Predictions!  PLANNING IN ADVANCE.
  • Faith looks almost innocent in her coma.
  • Xander’s not the key! That’s Dawn!  I think I’ve made this joke before…
  • I love Cordelia’s fake Ebola box plan.
  • I love the planning on both sides.  I think I feel a chorus of “Tonight” coming on.  But who are the Jets and who are the Sharks?
  • Harmony! Percy! Larry! Jonathan! All the recurrings!
  • This is when Owen should have come back.
  • Cordelia doesn’t ever talk about what she’s doing after graduation.  All we heard her say is that she can’t afford college yet. I wonder if she knows yet.
  • Where’d they get all those explosives and why was no one suspicious?
  • “I’m not going to say good-bye”.  Such a hard thing to do but probably for the best. 
  • I love how the Mayor wants to get through his speech before ascending.
  • The Mayor snake monster really isn't terrible for TV visual effects in the 90s.
  • Such a great moment with all the students standing their ground together and starting to fight.
  • Awww! Larry!  Who will Xander experiment with in college?
  • Snyder!!!
  • And I love the moment when Jonathan instinctively protects Cordelia from the blast.

Emmy winner Danny Strong. (We never get tired of saying that)

  • Destroying the school! Every kid’s dream of graduation.
  • The Mayor-Snake-Demon saying “well gosh” is hilarious but it negates Anya’s explanation that the ascension makes someone “full demon” as opposed to all other demons being “tainted” by humans.  As does his continued love and affection for Faith.  I'd call shenanigans on it if it weren't such a great scene.
  • Zelda is waving Angel away.  Aww.  I think I’m more touched by this than she is.  And I normally hate the schmoopy stuff.
  • Cordelia’s nurse shoes are distracting. 
I guess one needs comfort to slay demons

  • “We survived.”  “Hell of a battle.”  “Not the battle.  High School.”  Sort of encapsulates the first three seasons.  [That's....kind of what I was going for -Joss]

Favorite Lines:

Zelda: "My god. He's gonna do the entire speech" // "Man, just ascend already." //"Evil." - Buffy/Willow. Because it so purely encapsulates what makes this show amazing. He's evil for boring them with a speech, not for wanting to become a pure demon and destroy the town.
Daniel: "We attack the mayor with hummus." - Oz, and our blog title for today.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

Recurrings: Faith, Mayor, Snyder, Wesley, Harmony, Percy, Jonathan, Larry
Recurrings who die: Mayor, Snyder, Harmony, Larry
Recurrings who are now in a coma: Faith
Xander's military memories from Halloween help him organize the student body.
Grr Arrgh Demon wearing a graduation cap!


Oz's Hair - blonde with roots showing
Dead Humans - 4
Dead Undeads - 5
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 1
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal -  0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0

See ya in college.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Suspense is Killing Angel

Episode 3.21: Graduation Day: Part 1. Original Airdate 5.18.99

"In an effort to distract Buffy from the Ascension, the mayor instructs Faith to poison Angel."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • “I’ve been lucky too many times.”  No sentence uttered by Xander has more fully encapsulated him.

  • I love this scene between Willow and Harmony.  They’re so mushy and nice even though they hate each other.  And it’s so true.  I remember getting yearbook signings from people and they always said such nice things whether we even knew each other (or liked each other) or not.
  • Brought to you by Coke!  Though, I have to admit, product placement on TV back then was a lot subtler than it is today.  At least they’re not openly eating Subway.  I’m looking at you Cougartown & Community.
  • Faith is getting way too into the killing.  It’s sad.
  • Opening Credits: Zelda and I both sang along to the opening electric guitar strum at the exact same time. Someone has melded our brains.
  • The dress Faith wears is so perfect.  It’s so un-her, which is the point, but she’s so pretty in it.  And it visually represents what they’re looking for.
  • Percy is graduating!  Good, since he’s…like…30.
  • Love this teacher.  He’s not using hangman as a busy technique…he actually enjoys it and revels in the fact that a student got a wrong letter.
  • Anya is amazing.  Have I mentioned that?  I will do it a lot.  Be prepared.
  • She’s trying to flirt. It’s adorable.
  • Giles also is amazing.  I love that he’s reading while fencing with Wesley.  AND WINNING.
What's a five-letter word for badass? Is it Giles?

  • Anya has the answers! 
  • Why are they setting up for graduation so early?
  • I love that Giles stabs the Mayor, even though he knows it won’t kill him. It’s a purposeful act of aggression, defending Buffy.
  • It’s nice that Cordelia and Xander are sort-of friends again.
  • Amy the rat!  She’s missing graduation!
  • Oz is the perfect boyfriend.  I honestly think the writers write him as a sort of ideal.
  • I like when Angel does funny. (The tripping over the door thing).
  • Such a weird thing to point out but these extras are terrible in this scene.
  • Oh no, Angel! You can’t die!  What would they call the spin-off!
  • Aww, Willow.  Oz is the first…and last guy you will ever sleep with.
  • I wonder where Anya lives, gets her clothes and food and stuff.  Did someone adopt her or did she just steal all this stuff?  I wish they explored Anya in this series more than they did.
  • “Are you really … Aren’t you going to just get in the way?”  Anya to Xander.  Well said.
  • Can you call someone your lover if you’ve only slept with them once?  I could go into the etymology and implications of the word “lover” but…I’ll save that for another blog. [I've heard it used to indicate one who loves without the sexytimes, but typically in period stuff, like Jane Austen. - Z]
  • I’m glad Buffy is quitting the council but…is it really that big of a deal?  How much say do they actually have in what Buffy does ever?
  • “The suspense is killing Angel.”  Tactless as always, Xander.  But also…kinda funny.
  • I love Buffy’s leather red pants but holy COW, how can you fight with those?
  • Greatest girl fight ever.  Only one that comes close is Sydney/Fake-Francie in Alias.
  • Oh, the self-referential humor.  “It’s a good thing no one ever checks these books out.”
  • Tootsie roll spiders!
  • How conveeeeeenient that a flat-bed truck is passing just as Faith wants to jump off the building.  I wonder if she was going to jump regardless.

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Why is Cordy talking teal as an option for graduation robes? Our robes matched our school colors. Sunnydale is maroon and yellow. Be grateful you're not in yellow, Cordy.
  • "Know what I mean?" // "Seldom if ever."
  • "Aw I'm gonna miss her." // "Don't you hate her?" // "Yes, with a fiery vengeance. She picked on me for ten years, vacuous tramp." All in the same sappy voice. Kinda amazing.
  • Okay, I didn't say anything last week, but Willow was wearing a pink-and-white striped sweater. And this week SHE'S WEARING ANOTHER EFFING PINK SWEATER AND WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO.

  • Oh hi Faith. We kinda forgot all about you. Whom are we killing this week?
  • "I'll scream." // "Who wouldn't."
  • Aw, Mayor's tidying up.
  • "No father could be prouder." Dang, I'm invested in this evil relationship. HG is just so good.

  • And just to keep a running tally:

  • "They always go for the E." Teacher Beardface is awesome. 
  • "Men like sports. I'm sure of it." 
  • Aw man I freaking love Alexis Denisof.

  • Yay Anya gave us useful exposition. But also ohhhhhhh shit all the demons we know are measly hybrids we in troooooooooooouble.
  • Awwwwwww shit son. Mayor Wilkins just strolls into the library and it's terrifying. He's seriously, he's just the best villain ever.
  • YEAH GILES STABBING THE MAYOR IN THE HEART. Too bad ... it ... y'know ... didn't do any good.
  • Though Shenanigans that Giles and Wesley would spar with uncapped foils. (is that the word for it? basically they should be blunted foils)
  • I do love how Cordy takes bad news. "Oh. Are you gonna go to 5th period?"
  • "But there is something I do that I can do better than anyone else in the world." Yay Buffy owning what makes her special.
  • Oz's form of panic is really sweet. d'awwwwwwwwwww they're so cute
  • Also I like seeing that some people on the show are allowed to have sex without one of them turning evil.
  • I wonder why they had Angel trip into the door. I mean, it's funny, but ... random?
  • DB is pretty baaaaaaaaaaaad in this scene. Like awful enough for me to cheer when he gets an arrow through his torso.
  • And we have definitive proof that Angel's heart is the tiniest heart known to vampire. HOW DID THAT SHOT NOT KILL HIM. It would kill any other vamp. Besides Spike.
  • Aw, even Wesley is gonna try to help.
  • It's interesting, you can see some of the sadness when the Mayor looks at Faith. A hint of what we'll see in the video he leaves for her that we see in S4. The belief that one of them might not survive the Ascension, but a father's love for her, too, and sadness for the hard life she's had.
  • Aw Anya wants to keep Xander alive. It's sweet. "Like I might vomit."
  • Bye Anya! You're fantastic. See you next season.
  • YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS BUFFY QUITTIN' THE COUNCIL. And THAT'S her graduation into adulthood.
  • Slayah Fight! This is awesome. I'm not writing notes because excited.
  • "Boy it's a good thing nobody ever wanted to check any of these books out," Xander rationalizes for us.
  • "We're gonna need a bigger boat."
  • Ewwwwwwwwwwww tootsie rolls spider legs.
  • Wow the Mayor just made a poop joke.
  • I like that once they're handcuffed both Buffy's and Faith's strategy is SLAM HER HEAD INTO ALL THE THINGS.
  • "That's mine."//"You're about to get it back." I like that Buffy's voice shakes slightly on that line. Subtle work from SMG.
  • HOLY SHIT BUFFY GUTSTABBED FAITH WHUT. (Yes, shut up, we all knew it happened, but still hot damn)
  • And Faith won't let her win, even with a mortal wound - she'll take her body away so Buffy can't use it.
  • "Shoulda been there, B. Quite a ride." - Faith. Good last line. Except for how she's not dead, but still.
  • AHHHHH I FORGOT THAT WAS THE END OF THE EPISODE HOW CAN I WAIT TO WATCH THE - oh right, Daniel and I are gonna watch the next one now. But you guys have to wait.


Blackboard: What event in the 20th century had the biggest impact on the most people?
Zelda: Buffy!
Daniel: I'd say ... World War II?

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: "I hope you die. Aren't we gonna kiss?" - Anya
Zelda: "Our lives are different than other people's." - Oz

90s Factoid:
Faith wears glitter jeans

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurrings: Harmony, Faith, Mayor, Percy, Snyder, Joyce, Anya, Amy the Rat, Teacher Beardface
  • Anya's seen an Ascension before. And now we know that every demon we've yet encountered isn't a pure demon, but a hybrid - smaller and less powerful. Ascensions are when they become pure demons.
  • Willow and Oz have sex.
  • Buffy quit the Council.
  • Buffy goes after Faith with the knife Faith got - and left behind - in Choices.

Retraction: We would like to retract our previous stats/scoffs of Choices where we mocked Sunnydale's sudden acquisition of both an airport and a university. Sunnydale's airport first reared its implausible head in What's My Line: Part 1 (when Kendra arrived), and Sunnydale's Crestwood College's Frat House o' Penises (Delta Zeta Kappa) made an appearance in Reptile Boy. But for the record, Crestwood is not UC Sunnydale, so ... snap.


Oz's Hair - blonde with his roots coming in
Anya's Hair - honeyblonde
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 1
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0 
Shenanigans Called - 1
Apocalypse Called - 0

Note: Since the Ascension is set to decimate only Sunnydale and not Life As We Know It, we're not counting it as an Apocalypse Called, despite Anya's fears.