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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lie to Me

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Lie to Me is almost certainly the best episode which I rarely see on Top 10 lists, including my own. In his reviews for The AV Club, Noel Murray suggested it as the episode he’d use to introduce a new viewer to Buffy. It’s truly a wonderful episode.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Halloween

[Updated April 29, 2013]
 
Halloween is one of my favorites, though I can say that about most of the remaining episodes in S2. There are lots of classic moments here, the best (for me) probably being when Willow walks through the wall into the library and Giles’ reaction, though I could be talked into “eyeballs to entrails”. Naturally I think we’re learning something important about Buffy in addition to being entertained, so let’s talk about that.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Buffy Movie News

The LA Times covers this industry more than most, so I'll copy this little note from today's paper in case it didn't get picked up elsewhere:

"'Buffy' film script falls flat

That big-screen revamp of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has been dealt a setback: It looks as though the movie's first-time screenwriter bit off more than she could chew.

Two sources close to the project say that the script submitted this past summer by Whit Anderson fell far short of expectations and, in the end, was rejected completely.

That's news that will spark celebration from some longtime "Buffy" fans who were less than thrilled by the prospects of a "Buffy" revival that didn't involve Joss Whedon, who wrote the 1992 film and created the WB series.

A new writer is being sought but the entire endeavor may have lost some steam."

I hear there's this guy in LA who has a great reputation as a script doctor. Maybe they could bring him in....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reptile Boy

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Reptile Boy, whether in spite or because of its heavy-handed, sexually charged theme and metaphor, is ranked consistently down there with IRYJ among the least liked of the series. Perhaps we can find a nugget if there’s a way to reconcile text and subtext.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Inca Mummy Girl

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Inca Mummy Girl doesn’t require very much of us in order to spot the metaphor. Ampata is a “Chosen One” like Buffy. If we needed more, other details reinforce the comparison: Xander’s instant attraction to her, just as he was attracted to Buffy; Ampata’s desire, which she tells Buffy, to lead “a normal life”, which has been Buffy’s desire from the very beginning; and, perhaps beating us over the head with the point, Ampata telling Buffy “You remind me of someone from very long ago: the Inca Princess…. They told her that she was the only one. That only she could defend her people from the nether world…. Out of all the girls in her generation... she was the only one... chosen.”
Ampata’s death at a young age may have been more certain, but Buffy’s own life expectancy as the Slayer isn’t all that much to brag about. It’s natural, therefore, that we’d be sympathetic to Ampata, seeing her both as a victim and as a stand-in for Buffy’s situation. Note the way the Guardian describes her situation: “You are the Chosen One. You have no choice.”
We’ve forgotten all about poor Rodney Munson and the real Ampata Gutierrez.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

School Hard

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Spike and Dru. They’re favorites of most Buffy fans, including me, and their entrance into Sunnydale and Buffy’s life makes School Hard a very popular episode. It’s certainly one of my personal favorites for re-watching. Every minute with Spike on the screen is mesmerizing, but there are lots of great moments. “How much sugar did you add?” might be my favorite.
I think we can read the episode on multiple levels, but the problem is I can’t explain the details without spoiling possibly the biggest plot twist of the entire series. Let’s see if I can talk around the problem. That will involve talking about Spike, while I leave it to you to consider what or who Drusilla might represent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Some Assembly Required

[Updated April 29, 2013]
 

Some Assembly Required is, I get the impression, viewed by most fans as a light, funny, but not very good or important episode. I half agree with this – it’s light and funny, but, per usual, I think it’s also telling us something important.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When She Was Bad

[Updated April 29, 2013]

While Joss got to tell his story in outline form in S1, beginning with S2 he will pick up on themes which first appeared in S1 and expand on them. This adds both depth to the story and sophistication to Buffy’s journey to adulthood. When She Was Bad transitions us from the clear but relatively simple outline we saw in S1 to the profound and deeply moving experience of S2. If Buffy was the show which made television great, to paraphrase Robert Morgan from the Introduction, Season 2 was the season which made Buffy great.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prophecy Girl

[Updated April 29, 2013]

BtVS began as a mid-season replacement show. All 12 episodes of S1 were shot before it aired, giving Joss the chance to go back and change or add scenes. However, he didn’t know until they were done shooting that the show would be renewed for a second season. He therefore made the decision, which he repeated every year until S6 (when he had a 2 year contract), to end the season in such a way that it could serve as a series finale if necessary. He wrote Prophecy Girl, as he wrote all season finales except S6, with that aim in mind.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Out of Mind, Out of Sight

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Out of Mind, Out of Sight rarely gets trashed like Teacher’s Pet or IRYJ, but I don’t get the impression it’s anyone’s favorite either. It’s just a standard, average S1 episode, a satirical look at the way high school cliques and cruelty can devastate outsiders.

It won’t be a surprise that I think there’s another reading, but it took me a long time to find it. I couldn’t figure out what the larger point was, or if there even was one, nor could I understand why it’s located just before the season finale. I now think I can explain it.