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


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Hope It's a Funny Aneurysm

Episode 4.1: The Freshman. Original Airdate 10.5.99

"As Buffy adjusts to college life, she notices that classmates are mysteriously disappearing."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Is Buffy really just choosing her courses like a day before college?
  • I love Willow’s new hair.
  • I remember taking short stories just because of the word “short”
  • Hey I wonder if Sunnydale has the “Buffy” course.
  • “It’s been a very slay-heavy summer”.  Good thing last year wasn't….
  • Credits! No Angel or Cordelia.  Shot of Anyanka!
  • UC Sunnydale seems huge.
  • Oh all the craziness of first day of freshman year. I remember when.
  • Shenanigans – you don’t pledge on the first day of college.
  • How do you really not know your classes until your first day?  I had all my courses down pat during the summer.
  • Willow’s comparison of HS and college is pretty accurate, though: "It's just in High School, knowledge was pretty much frowned upon. You really had to work to learn anything.  But here, the energy, the collective intelligence, it's like this force, this penetrating force, and I just feel my mind opening up - you know?" - While I had a pretty decent High School, I can definitely relate to this.
  • Beautiful library.  Too bad we’ll never see it again.
  • Funny Aneurysm. That’s…not cool.
  • Hey Riley!  You’re a big hunk of America-ness.
  • Man, his arms are like tree trunks.
  • Aww, Buffy is so awkward on her first day!
  • Hey, Kathy.  I bet she’s a demon.
  • That room is freaking HUGE.  My roommate and I needed to have bunk beds because otherwise they wouldn't fit otherwise..
  • That shot of Kathy putting up the Celine Dion poster is so well shot. (As seen in our 90's factoid below).
  • Ugh, I hate this teacher.  Fuck humiliating people just to be a dick.
  • And he’s taking acting lessons William Shatner.
  • Ok, the hallways are definitely sets because ARCHES.  If I had any ambition at all, I’d find all the arches that the Buffy designers have built and make a collage.
  • I love professor Walsh’s classroom, though.
  • And Walsh is as hard-nosed as that other teacher but in less dickish way.
  • Hey look, Buffy met a lost soul!  I’m sure he’ll last…at least through the night.  I was wrong.
  • Does she have Psych every day?
  • So it’s a neat concept and all.  Kill the freshman, leave a note so everyone will think they just couldn't handle it.  But…what about their parents?
  • Stoner vamp is kinda lame.
  • Giles!  It’s about time!  And oooh, Giles has a girlfriend!
  • I feel bad for Anthony Head. They never really found a place for him this season.
  • I wonder how much Olivia knows about things.
  • Poor Eddie!
  • I love that Buffy is so insulted by the dig at her clothes that she’s thrown off guard.
  • Stunt Sunday has huge arms.  Maybe it’s Riley in drag.
  • So I heard that Sunday was supposed to be an ex-slayer turned vamp but they decided to chuck the idea since that would be more of a season long arc.
  • I hate when Buffy goes all sad and inside of herself and doesn't trust her friends to confide in.
  • Hey! They still have the home set!
  • Worst. Mom. Ever. Really?  Turned her room into storage already? And the “I didn't think you’d be back so soon” line she keeps uttering.
  • Xander!  Yeah, I’m not as excited to see him.  But it’s nice for Buffy to see a friendly face.
  • Could Buffy really not ask if Xander’s heard from Cordelia?
  • Extra’s shirt at the bronze is really odd:

  • I'm really glad they didn't force Xander into college.
  • For a guy who doesn't want to talk about a story, he sure mentions the story a lot.
  • “Do we hug?” “I think we’re too manly.”  Heh.
  • I bet the prop guy was pissed when he read the script and realized they were breaking the umbrella.
  • See Buffy? Friends are your gift! [Uh... ~First Slayer]
  • I love that Willow is carrying the most stuff
  • And a nice set up for the season long arc we’ll all grow to love…

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Oz is on disc one of season four. Because Oz leaves right after disc one. [And Anya is on NONE of the discs..-D]
  • So apparently unlike everyone else in the universe, Daniel and I don't hate S4. We welcome your arguments. (We don't think it's perfect, but there's a lot of good in the season)
  • It's a cute touch that Willow is in Sunnydale High colors as she helps Buffy choose classes.
  • "Yes, first there's the painful nowning process."
  • Willow and I have the same haircut but my hair is curly and not red. Hey! I thought I was supposed to bond with Buffy the most!
  • Hi first vampire of the series! Hi first Buffy failure to stake first vampire of the series!
  • I forgot how huge Aly's eyes are.
  • What the fuck, Whedon. One of Oz's shots in the new credits is from his EXIT EPISODE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, SIR.
Even Seth Green thinks this is tacky.

  • Also this means that by the time this episode aired Seth Green had already wrapped on shooting and it's just not fair.
  • Yeah my first day of class/orientation was nothing like this.
  • Evidence Willow is Not Gay Yet: her turning first day of college into a hetero sex metaphor.
  • Aw Oz trying to make Buffy feel better about being disoriented. Failing utterly.
  • Aw, I forgot "funny aneurysm" was from this episode.
  • Hi Riley. You're very tall and corn-fed. I don't like you the way Daniel does, but I don't hate you just yet. I just find you a somewhat boring actor in terms of delivery. Not as inaccurate in your delivery as Glory (and sometimes Tara), but not interesting.
  • Oh Em GEE their dorm room is huge. They try to hang a lantern on it by commenting on the niceness of the room but WHAT THE HELL NOW. Sophomore Me is super jealous. I was in budget housing that year - 1 tiny closet, bunkbeds, NO dresser or shelving, just one large desk with three drawers.
  • Kathy's passive aggressiveness is well-begun.
  • Man, this teacher is a douche.
  • Okay, so I've been reading the highly-entertaining recaps by Snark Squad. And their big problem is they felt like Buffy's scramblings to find her footing in this episode were out of character with how confident and BAMF she was by the end of S3. I'm going to respectfully disagree, because I RELATE COMPLETELY. Every time in my life I've been thrown into a new setting, I freak out, turn completely silent, and try to stumble my way through til I figure out the rhythm. This was true when I went from middle school to high school, this was REALLY FREAKING TRUE when I went from high school to college (that first day was so truly awful I contemplated dropping out), and it continues to be true with every new job I get. I'm all confident and whatnot now, but throw me in a new setting with rules I don't know, and I feel like a spaz. So ... smoke on your pipe and put that in.
  • I just was completely ignoring Buffy's meetcute with Eddie to write the above, but it's okay because he's about to die.
  • It is a pretty clever way to pick off freshmen without ticking the radar too much. Way to be covert (and evil!), Sunday's gang of meanies.
  • I've never read Of Human Bondage. Is it good?
  • Sunday, your hair is awful. Awful.
  • Sunday's minions are all in vampface, for they are unimportant. Sunday isn't, because she is a featured guest role and wants to look pretty.
  • Does Buffy have a key to Giles's place, or does he leave it unlocked? [Never mind, this gets answered by Anya in  The Harsh Light of Day - Giles leaves it unlocked for he is footloose, fancy-free, and kinda foolish, frankly]
  • Hi Olivia!! I really liked you and I'm sad we didn't get more of you.
  • Buffy freaking out about Giles having a sex life, while completely unfair, is also hilarious. Props to SMG for adorableness.
  • I like that Buffy is spot on about the evil afoot. Giles has a point, though, he's not officially her Watcher anymore.
  • BUT then why the hell is he still in town? BE HER WATCHER, GILES. BE AWESOME.
  • SMG's delivery is so golden this ep. "I was worried that something had happened to you and of course it has 'cause you're a vampire."
  • Aw Buffy ran away. This gives me sads.
  • So I've never understood the arm thing. We hear it go crunch, but later in the climactic fight, she says it's hurt, not broken. Does that mean it never broke, or just magic Slayer Healing?
  • Hi Xander! Yay! (I'm not going to apologize for that yay, it was a nice entrance and just what Buffy needed in her sadness)
  • Hah. Xander was a stripper.
  • I'd call contrivance on the way they keep Xander around even if he's not in college, but no, I totally believe everything about that story.
  • "cancer of the puppy" haaaaaaaaaaaa
  • Avengers Assemble!

  • Let's take a moment to celebrate how much Xander has improved from S1 though. He's all "let's problem solve!" Even if his problem solving falls apart in his "Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side."
  • "I feel much more abstract now."
  • "Maybe in high school I was Buffy." Buffy, stating in fewer words what I tried to argue above.
  • "What Would Buffy Do? You're my hero." d'awwwwwwww
  • hey look Buffy knows how to use a computer without Willow! I'm so proud!
  • srsly Buffy, why are you keeping a diary. It already got you in trouble with Ted. Keep a LiveJournal like any self-respecting young woman in 1999.
  • Sunday's hair is slightly better in this scene but still kind of annoying.
  • Do people like Sunday? Her banter is well-written but the actress is rubbing me wrong.
  • haha Willow's freakout about the "note" "Buffy" left is very reminiscent of "Buffy would never do that! Except for that sometimes you do that."
  • "Long, arduous hours of practice." Damn there are some good lines in this ep. Just a heads up my "favorite line" below is gonna be arbitrary because I couldn't really pick one.
  • "from her friends who sleep all day and have no tans."
  • Oh hey, Buffy got her mojo back. Do we credit her little toy surprise?
  • Yay Giles! Giles is back in the gang!
  • "The evil is this way?"
  • Why is Xander carrying the heavy trunk of weapons? Shouldn't strong Buffy do that?
  • I imagine this was a very wtf moment at the end, when the Initiative tasered and scooped up the vampire. Like ... that actually is a pretty cool way to end a season premiere ep - we solved the problem of the week, but here's this other big thing we'll have to contend with.


D: [Before pressing play on The Freshman] Okay, so what happened at the end of season three? [Z stares blankly] Oh the school blew up. And DONE.

Part Two:

Daniel and Zelda are pretty impressed with how much this doppelganger looks exactly like David Boreanaz, but is clearly not him in the next shot. Almost tempted to believe they brought in DB for a 2 second shot. What say you all?

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: Xander: "What would Buffy do?"  I do have this on a t-shirt and got an air-high-five from a girl across the subway once for wearing it.  This line also made it into a play I wrote and produced a few years ago.
Zelda: Buffy: "You got a nice set up here, but you made one mistake." // Sunday: "Yeah? What was that?" // Buffy: "Well, I'm not actually positive, but statistically speaking, people usually make at least - " // *punch*

90s Factoid:
Celine Dion was Super Fun!

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • First appearance of Riley, Walsh, Kathy, Olivia, and SUPER SECRET ARMY GUYS
  • Recurring: Joyce, Mr. Gordo, that random vampire from Sunday's gang who then gets kidnapped by the Initiative
  • The phone in Buffy's house that rings (and she answers) with no one on the other end is Angel calling from LA.


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


  1. ...People don't like Season 4?.... :O

  2. YAHOO! Season four! finally! Years ago I must say I hated this season with a passion. I hated Riley, the initiative, Maggie Walsh, UC Sunnydale, I thought Adam was cool xD Even though nobody else seemed to like him. I really thought that the initiative was taking everything that made Buffy "Buffy" if that makes any sense...they replaced magic, good vs evil and whatnot with soldiers, fireweapons, science and tecnology, making vampires , demons and the forces of evil look like nothing more than wild animals.

    Now I see this season in a different way, The college setting was amazing, and it was handled quite well because the transition from HS to College isn't a easy one, and Buffy had to deal with this. It is interesting to me that by this point, Buffy was a slayer 100% she didn't see the initiative as an opportunity to get away from her slayer duties and graduate and be a "normal" person, she is now actually proud of what she is, and that's why she confronts M. Walsh about her not being a myth.

    I must say I don't hate riley now and I actually think that they would have made a good couple, Riley being human and all...but I'm guessing fans didn't like him so they had to get rid of him one way or another.

    This season is also the funniest! In my opinion that is...with such great episodes like "Pangs" and "A new man" and "Fear itself" and even though this season has my least favorite episode of the show (not beer bad) I'm talking about Superstar (I hate Jonathan) I consider it to be one of the good seasons, And I like it as much as seasons 2 and 3.

  3. I'm in the camp of liking season 4 too. It has the weakest season arc but there are some great stand alone episodes this season. A lot of people hated Living Conditions too but I love that episode!

    I actually like the normalness of Riley for Buffy and prefer her with him than her vamp boyfriends but I do wish they'd gotten a better actor who wasn't quite so bland and boring. If I really want to nitpick, I much much prefer Buffy single. She is kind of awful at relationships.

  4. Yeah I don't think it's such an unpopular opinion to not hate this episode/series as much as it's reputation would suggest. People have gotten over its real flaws (the arc/Adam being a bit lame) and its imagined flaws (new setting! New love interest! We fear change!) and appreciate that it has a lot of great episodes more now.

    I'm a season 1-3 fan at the core, with love for season 5 & 6 too, and mostly hate for 6 & 7 , so here is where this blog really gets interesting to me!

    P.S. Beer Bad was fun, and too much of a joke to be a PSA against alcohol, end the hate!

  5. I'm going to be so sad if you guys hate Glory, she is my all time favorite villan.

    1. So ... I'm going to be making you sad a season from now. I love S5, but I think Glory is a terrible terrible actress and it makes me dislike the character a lot.

    2. I really like Glory, but I completely agree with the "inaccurate delivery" thing. That's a really perfect way to put it for those 3 characters.

  6. I'm with the rest of the world on this--Season Four is great when the episodes aren't about the main plot of Season Four.

  7. (I'm aware this is 5 years old...). That's definitely David Boreanaz in the Bronze - he came back for a teeny cameo!

    Also I just discovered this blog and I think it's awesome! Thanks for the witty banter.