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Old December 28 2011, 11:07 AM   #106
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

I think it's everlasting hysteria from The Prom. I was a gibbering wreck at the end of it.

Faith's arc is particularly compelling, and I love the 'The Wish' universe. The whole graduation arc at the end had me enthralled also. I suppose that Angel's purpose pretty much dwindles though, which is a shame after season two. However, he got his own series, so it was all good in the end.
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Old December 28 2011, 12:24 PM   #107
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

3 is my favourite, it's firing on all cylinders practically from the beginning
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Old December 28 2011, 10:01 PM   #108
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post
I think it's everlasting hysteria from The Prom. I was a gibbering wreck at the end of it.

Faith's arc is particularly compelling, and I love the 'The Wish' universe. The whole graduation arc at the end had me enthralled also. I suppose that Angel's purpose pretty much dwindles though, which is a shame after season two. However, he got his own series, so it was all good in the end.
I love Faith's arc and the Mayor (my favorite villain), but somehow that was the season I least connected with Buffy, and I usually relate to her, but even though I find the Buffy/Faith dynamic fascinating, I think I had a problem with the whole "Good Girl/Bad Girl" thing they were going for (they even had SMG wear more conservative clothes than in the first 2 seasons, while ED wore black leather and had dark lipstick... geez, could they add a few more stereotypes?). Buffy/Angel isn't that interesting as it was in season 2, and I'm not a fan of the Willow/Xander fling. A lot of the seasons seemed to be about preparing Angel and Cordy to leave for a spinoff. The Wish is a great episode though, that one, Earshot and the two-part finale are the best of the season.

The main arc is one of the best, but I normally don't put any of the episodes in my top 10 for the entire series... It's a very consistent season, it doesn't have any really bad episodes, but I don't think it hits as many highs, unlike season 2 which has a bunch of episodes that are in my top 10 or even top 5. Season 4 is the exact opposite of season 3 in that the main arc is the weakest of all seasons, but it has a few episodes that are among the best (Restless, Hush, Who Are You?).

We'll see how I feel about it this time. I used to think it was better than season 2 because of the consistency and lack of really cheesy MOW stuff, but the last time I rewatched a bunch of season 3 episodes (which was about a year ago) I was less impressed than before. On the other hand, I liked season 2 even better this time than before.

I think season 5 is the best. As to which one is my favorite, we'll talk about it when we get there. (You're free to guess.)
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Old January 16 2012, 03:05 AM   #109
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

3.01. Anne

Just like the season 2 opener, this season premiere is about dealing with the emotional fallout of the previous season’s events rather than introducing the themes and characters for season 3 (which only happens in episode 3). But at the same time, some of the themes introduced here do turn out to foreshadow some of the themes and characters that are important later in the season.

There are two separate threads in the episode, and their tone is so different they feel like they barely belong to the same episode. One plays like a comedy and is a look at how Buffy’s friends, family and the people at the Sunnydale High are starting the new school year without Buffy. The other is a drama about what happens to Buffy in L.A. – where she’s been working as a waitress, living in a rented apartment and going by the name of “Anne” (which is her middle name) – that makes her reclaim her identity as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and decide to go back to Sunnydale. It’s one of the storylines that shows Buffy starting in a place of vulnerability and despair and then showing her strength and becoming the hero again.

Is this the BtVS episode that feels most like social commentary or what? Homeless people wondering the streets, saying “I am no one”? Villains posing as a religious organization and recruiting vulnerable young people? Ruthless industrial system using people as slaves, obliterating their identities, chewing them and spitting them out when they’re of no use to it? Buffy starting a rebellion and fighting oppression with hammer and… sickle?

But let’s start from the beginning. The first notable thing about this new season is: THEY FINALLY DITCHED THE OPENING NARRATION! It was high time. The “Into every generation a Slayer is born, ONE girl in all the world…” bit was cheesy and repetitive (we don’t need to be told every time what Buffy is, thank you) and became obsolete halfway through season 2 with the introduction of Kendra, and it would really be absurd to keep it in season 3, for reasons that become obvious a couple of episodes later.

The episode opens in a standard way, on a graveyard, showing a gravestone of someone who’s a little later revealed to be a former student of Sunnydale High (Willow and Xander know that he was on a gymnastics team). As he rises as a vampire, a woman stands over him in a badass Slayery pose – but it’s not Buffy, it’s Willow, and we learn that she, Xander and Oz are trying to slay vampires, with moderate success. Then we cut to L.A. to see Buffy’s life there and a dream sequence with her and Angel.

Seth Green is in opening credits now, and if anyone didn’t know that Angel was coming back, then the opening credits were spoiling it for them, since it was very unlikely that David Boreanaz would be a main cast member who just appeared in dream scenes and flashbacks for the rest of the season.

The Sunnydale scenes are a quick ‘what is everyone doing at the start of the new school year’ overview. We get a glimpse of some new faces, like Larry who’s really excited about the new football season; it’s quickly established that Oz is repeating the senior year despite his intelligence (I didn’t quite get why, except so he could still hang out with the Scoobies), and Cordelia is just back from vacation abroad. She and Xander haven’t been in touch, and they both seem very much in love with the other one (which makes the latter storyline about Xander and Willow all the less plausible) but very insecure and jealous, which leads to some of their classic arguing and insults, and ends in a passionate kiss as they manage to stake the vampire together (or rather, Cordelia pushes the vampire onto Xander’s stake as she jumps on him/them). Since it’s Xander and Cordy, designated comic reliefs (and Xander’s love life is usually the comedy on the show as opposed to the epic and angsty potrayal of Buffy’s relationships), this stereotypically romantic/dramatic moment is accompanied by the same ironically cheesy music that was used when they first kissed in What’s My Line. But by this time, it’s starting to feel a bit repetitive and lazy.

There’s something bugging me a bit about the Sunnydale parts of the episode. They’re funny and cute, and there are some witty meta lines poking fun at things like the high death count on the show or Buffy’s quipiness as one of her strongest weapons that the Scoobies are trying to emulate. But that’s it, they feel a bit too cutesy and full of BtVS’s typical high school humor it’s like the Scoobies, without Buffy, have become solely comic relief characters. The newly sired vampires are starting seem like a bit of a joke, if you don’t need a Slayer or even an experienced vampire hunter to kill them, just a few of her friends who have picked up on things while helping her for a little over a year. They do mention that half of the vampires are getting away, but if they’re managing to kill half of them, it’s still quite a lot for their level of training and strength.

There’s one serious scene that happens in Sunnydale - the conversation between Joyce and Giles. I like it because it feels more raw and real than similar scenes is most other shows, it’s a cliché to have a person tell someone that the last time they saw X, they were fighting, and then the other person says “You mustn’t blame yourself”, but this is better writing since it subvers expecations and Joyce startles Giles by replying “I don’t. I blame you”. Joyce admits she feels jealous of the role that Giles has played in Buffy’s life – it’s as if he’s taken her daughter away from her, influencing and guiding Buffy in this incredibly important part of her life that her mother didn’t even know about.

But the reason I enjoyed this episode is the story with Buffy in L.A. Our first look of Buffy in season 3 is a dream scene that takes place on a beach in sunset, where Angel joins her. (Buffy sure seems to like beaches – her fantasies tend to take place on a beach, like the one about Gavin Rossdale in Dark Age, and a similar one about Daniel Craig in season 8.) Since it’s Buffy’s romantic fantasy, it’s not surprising that Angel says cheesy things like “If I was blind, I would see you” (which is actually similar to a lot of cheesy romantic lines Angel does say for real). These lines are interesting:

Buffy: Stay with me.
Angel: Forever. That’s the whole point. I’ll never leave... Not even if you kill me.

It’s not uncommon for people to expect and want love to last forever, but “that’s the whole point” is interesting wording – like she thinks that there’s no point to love if it’s not forever – like its purpose is to be this emotional anchor, the one constant that you can always count on in the ever-changing and confusing world. Unlike, say, her parents’ marriage. But this “forever” thing becomes a problem when your boyfriend is dead (or in this case, in hell, which amounts to the same). Buffy is obviously still tormented by killing Angel, and the promise to “never leave” is ominous since it implies that she’s afraid she’ll never get over it – or maybe at the same time she wants not to get over it, having the familiar memory and familiar pain as this emotional constant to rely on. But Dream!Angel’s words are ironic when you know that the season will end with the real Angel literally leaving.

In reality, Buffy has a job as a waitress and lives in a rented apartment , but doesn’t seem to feel much hope or joy. I wonder if Buffy’s emotional state between Becoming and Anne classifies as depression, but she is certainly at a very low place emotionally. It’s not the greatest of jobs, obviously – she has to put up with jerks grabbing her butt, and it hurts to see Buffy not doing anything about it – she would normally kick the guy’s ass and teach him a lesson, but the customer’s always right and you don’t can't allow to lose your job, can you.

Her old life comes to haunt her in the shape of someone who recognizes her from Sunnydale, when a young couple Lily and Rickie come to her restaurant. Actress Julia Lee returns as Lily, who’s actually Chanterelle, one of the vampire wannabes from Lie to Me that Buffy saved from vampires. Lily and Rickie are kids living on the street, very much in love, with matching tattoos with each other’s names in one half of a heart. Despite her own dreams of forever love, Buffy’s reaction to this is far more down-to-earth – she seems less than delighted with the idea of a putting something like this on your skin permanently (which is pretty much my reaction to such tattoos every time – yeah, now you’re thinking it’s a good idea to tattoo “Winona forever” on your body, but you’ll want to remove it once you break up…), but Rickie echoes her dream saying “Forever. That’s the whole point.” A line that makes a more obvious kind of sense in this case that it did in Buffy’s dream (the whole point of the tattoo is to be permanent, since our love is forever). Like so often on this show, Rickie and Lily’s love is portrayed in both romantic (after Rickie is kidnapped and dies as an old man after the hell factory has finished with him, we learn he still remembered Lily’s name decades after he forgot his own) and subversive way – Lily says that she needs Rickie because he takes care of her, which means that she doesn’t know how to take care of herself. Most of the episode is based on the interaction between the two girls, who are in a similar situation, despite the contrast in their personalities between passive Lily and the much more self-reliant and proactive Buffy. Lily immediately realizes that Buffy also wants to run away from her life, to “lose herself”. But Buffy becomes her old self again when she immediately decides to help Lily find Rickie.

The scenes showing the streets of L.A. and homeless people on it are really haunting – from street kids, to old people who wander about, saying “I am no one”. Here it’s the result of what was done to them in the hell factory, but it makes me think of the homeless people I see in the streets on my city – alcoholic, mentally ill, or without any family and any money (and since it’s a transition country with something that looks more like 19th century capitalism with very poor social security, I’m surprised that there aren’t more homeless people out there).

Lily is a teenage runaway who keeps changing her identity and looking for a replacement family; it’s obvious that she’s from an abusive household that she’s been running away, since her family is something she doesn’t even want to talk about, and we don’t even learn her real name. She admits that she used to be in a cult and call herself “Sister Sunshine” (she went from Sister Sunshine to a vampire wannabe! ) before she joined the Sunset Club vampire worshippers. They were treated as deluded fools in Lie to Me, and I like that Whedon brought one of them back and treated her in a more serious way, showing the real problems and loneliness that drove them, while still poking gentle fun at Chanterelle/Lily for giving herself what she thought was an “exotic” name, unaware she named herself after a mushroom. She says Rickie named her “Lily” after a song (my guess is it’s “Lily [My One and Only]” by Smashing Pumpkins, from Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness, which was released in 1997). Becoming one half of a romantic couple was her next attempt at finding love and connection, but, as I said, this “forever love” thing becomes a problem when your boyfriend is dead. But this is not Twilight, and women can go on living without their boyfriends. At first she is easy prey for an apparently pleasant guy offering her to join his quasi-religious organization that promises to help young people like her, but the captivity in “hell” has crucial character development for her, and she starts fighting back and helps Buffy save the other captives. At the end of the episode, she is starting to learn to take care of herself, and Buffy helps her by giving her her current identity – job, apartment and name tag. (Were Buffy’s bosses confused to see another girl, or maybe they just didn’t care – one blonde is as good as another.) Lily/Chanterelle/Anne has a great mini-arc that spans both shows –she reappears in AtS under the name Anne Steele, running a homeless shelter in L.A. , and makes it to the last episode of AtS, where she’s the character who represents hope and doing the right thing.

The main villain introduces himself as a religious do-gooder – apparently nice and blandly pleasant man called “Ken” (!) and his mask torn and revealing a demonic face feels just like a metaphical “showing his real face”. You gotta love the foreshadowing of the twist in his words: “This is not a good place for a kid to be. You get old fast here.“ The demons in this episode are just metaphors for the ruthless system that uses people as workforce, erases their individuality and rejects them when they’re too old and not needed anymore. (Hm, again something not unfamiliar to people from transition countries.) The place where the humans are brought to work and treated as slaves is a factory/labor camp, but it is also a metaphorical Hell”– and the villain ‘Ken’ is the spokesman for the writer when he says: “What is hell but the total absense of hope?” It feels a bit like the place is an embodiment of Buffy’s and Lily’s fears and despair, especially when ‘Ken’ as he plays on Lily’s deep insecurities, telling her that she always knew she would end up in Hell, and telling Buffy that she finally got what she wanted: “So pathetically determined to run away from whatever it is you used to be. To disappear. Congratulations. You got your wish.”

And this is where Buffy reclaims her identity and fights back, starting a rebellion and freeing the captives/slaves. Maybe more importantly, Lily, regular human, starts fighting back, too. „Humans don’t fight back! This is how it works!“ shouts Ken, shocked. This is how oppression works: most people don’t fight back and just give up.

There are some real moments of awesome in this episode:

When Buffy breaks into the blood bank, suspecting that they’ve been giving away the files of young street kids who come to give blood for some money, making it easier for the villains to target their victims. When the blood bank doctor asks Buffy what she’s doing, she’s totally unfazed and replies: „Breaking into your office and going through your private files“ and goes on to interrogate the doctor.

The crucial moment of the episode – when the demon guards are forcing the slaves to say „I am no one“ and Buffy replies, smiling defiantly: “I am Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And you are?” and starts fighting.

Buffy fighting the demons with a hammer and something that looks like a sickle (apparently it’s a weapon called hunga munga) is an iconic moment that was used as the final shot in the opening credits for seasons 3, 4 and 5.

Then there’s also this:

Buffy: Hey Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?
[beats him to death with a club]
Lily: Gandhi?
Buffy: Well, you know, if he was really pissed-off.

She seems to share Stockley Carmichael’s very smart views on peaceful resistance: it’s all nice and well, but works only under the assumption that the people you’re fighting actually give a $hit about things like human rights. Against real bastards, you gotta use other means; if they use force, fight back.

Best lines: Most of the best lines are the above mentioned awesome moments and Ken’s description of Hell, and there are also some funny lines poking fun at the show itself, like Larry very seriously saying that Sunnydale High is going to rule this football season if they can “focus, keep discipline, and not have quite as many mysterious deaths“. I liked Giles’ understatement when he told Willow that she and the other Scoobs mustn’t get themselves killed or they’ll make him „cranky“.

Buffy bad liar: Her cover story for Ken’s organization is the worst attempt at lying ever: “You know, I just - I woke up and I looked in the mirror and I thought, ’Hey, what's with all the sin? I need to change. I'm-I'm dirty, I'm-I'm bad with the sex, and the envy, and that-that loud music us kids listen to nowadays. B-’ Oh, I just suck at undercover.“ What she said.

Foreshadowing: The horror of industrialization reappears as a theme in The Wish, where villains are also using humans as expendable meat (in a more literal way). Ken says that Buffy got her wish with this Hell; the alternate universe from The Wish will be literally Cordy’s wish came true.

Ken’s explanation that time runs faster in the hell dimension where the factory is could also apply to the hell dimension where Angel has been. Rickie’s fate – spending decades in hell and then being thrown out of it back into our world, is similar to what happens with Angel, as we’ll see in a couple of episodes.

Buffy starts the season as a teenage runaway living on her own, which foreshadows the arrival of Faith, who shares Lily’s dysfunctional and abusive background.

Rating: 4
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Old January 16 2012, 10:03 AM   #110
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

You know I was going to quit this board today but now I guess not. One moment you didn't mention was Carlos Jacott, a Whedon hatrick player


Anne

The Good;
Lovely to see Chantelle/Lily/Anne again. Great to see the slave rebellion. Love the long tracking shot around Sunnydale high, lovely cameo from Larry. Nice to see that Buffy can make it on her own but did anyone really doubt that she could? The gang's vamp hunting is hilarious. Terrific scenes between Giles and Joyce. The final scene when Buffy and Joyce hug is just too lovely.

The Bad;
Truly horrible what happens to the human slaves. Ricky's suicide is just awful

Wheldon Cliches;
Character death; None although Buffy still dreams of killing Angel
Shot;
Tied up;
Knocked out; Buffy by Ken
Women good/men bad;
Kinky dinky; Buffy as a slave but not of the sexual variety. Anne Summers is the name of a lingerie/sex toy chain in the UK.
Calling Captain Subtext;
Reccurring actor in another role; Carlos Jacott as Ken who'll later turn up as someone different in Angel and TSSC

Best line;
Giles; You musn't blame yourself
Joyce; I don't, I blame YOU. You've been this huge influence on her all these years

Questions and observations;
Surely a girl as attractive as Buffy could get a better job than waitress in LA? (Xander later wonders the same as he wants to know if Buffy met 'any nice pimps on her travels'?) 'Pretty Woman'? Belle du jour? Weren't Hooters or Spearmint |Rhino hiring? She's in LA, what about Playboy? (or would that mean Xander would be certain to spot her?). Ok I'm not entirely serious but honestly when did you ever see a girl as pretty as Buffy working as a waitress except in TV/Movies? (the other wise awful film 'The Last Action Hero' does a great joke on the theme). Plenty of fanfic with Buffy and indeed any or all of the Scoobygirls turning to prostitution over the years, my favourite ends with Revello Drive being turned into a high class bordello with Joyce as the madam and then eventually the same thing happening to the post-Chosen Slayer academy. [COLOR=#006699]http://buffy.adultfanfiction.net/story.php?no=600031116[/COLOR] if you're over 18 and VERY open minded. Of course having now watched Dollhouse you wonder if Joss would actually be quite keen on the idea, especially after watching the scene with Eliza Dushku as a dominatrix.
Or is Buffy just trying to lie low? Anne Summers is the name of a lingerie/sex toy chain in the UK
Cordy refers to Xanders exes who are almost all demons, Preying Mantis, Mummy Girl, Dru in BBB. Xander nails his third vamp with some help from Cordy. Joyce is a sad figure in her summer alone without Buffy but at least in everyone's revised memories she has Dawn to keep her company (to judge from the comics and Dawn's chopstick story she always knew Buffy's secret). I'm always intrigued by the times the Scoobies got by without Buffy, I would love to see more on it in the comics.
One thing that does occur to me is that the weapon used by Buffy during the slave revolt (the wonderfully named hung-munga) actually resembles a hammer and sickle at some angles. I'm sure it's just coincidence but if this were the 50s I'm sure Joss would be hauled before the un-American activities board.

8/10 I think although that may be a little generous
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Old January 16 2012, 01:25 PM   #111
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
You know I was going to quit this board today but now I guess not.
Really? Glad that you've changed your mind.

Reccurring actor in another role; Carlos Jacott as Ken who'll later turn up as someone different in Angel and TSSC
I remember him from the Firefly pilot, and he was also a demon new husband of Doyle's ex wife in AtS. Always seems to play similar kind of smarmy deceptive guys.


Surely a girl as attractive as Buffy could get a better job than waitress in LA? (Xander later wonders the same as he wants to know if Buffy met 'any nice pimps on her travels'?) 'Pretty Woman'? Belle du jour? Weren't Hooters or Spearmint |Rhino hiring? She's in LA, what about Playboy? (or would that mean Xander would be certain to spot her?). Ok I'm not entirely serious but honestly when did you ever see a girl as pretty as Buffy working as a waitress except in TV/Movies?
Yes, all the time. It's not like being a pretty girl guarantees a good job, there are plenty of attractive women out there and good jobs are hard to come by. It's not like modelling agencies are hiring every pretty girl... especially not those modelling agencies that aren't just a cover for prostitution. Waitressing seems to be just the most likely job for a teenage girl with just 3 years of high school education like Buffy.

What is the alternative, prostitution? Um, that's not a step up from waitressing. Most people consider it the opposite, to put it mildly. Xander has a dirty mind, but I'm guessing that neither he nor you are seriously thinking that Buffy would consider becoming a prostitute.

With her skills, I guess she could be a body guard or martial arts trainer, but that would be too much like her old calling which she wanted to get away from (and the latter would require acquiring some training certificates, which requires some time; the former would certainly draw attention when a girl her size demonstrated her strength to prospective employers - that would be fun).

I wonder if she ever resorted to stealing before she found a job - she did let Faith talk her into robbing a store in Bad Girls, plus there's that shoplifting past mentioned in the Becoming flashback ("I meant to pay for that lipstick").


Plenty of fanfic with Buffy and indeed any or all of the Scoobygirls turning to prostitution over the years, my favourite ends with Revello Drive being turned into a high class bordello with Joyce as the madam and then eventually the same thing happening to the post-Chosen Slayer academy. [COLOR=#006699]http://buffy.adultfanfiction.net/story.php?no=600031116[/COLOR] if you're over 18 and VERY open minded.
Huh, I guess there's all sort of fanfic out there. Whatever floats people's boats.

Of course having now watched Dollhouse you wonder if Joss would actually be quite keen on the idea, especially after watching the scene with Eliza Dushku as a dominatrix.
Well if he wanted to portray Slayers as nothing but brainwashed slaves used to portray rich people's fantasies, then I guess I could see it...
Cordy refers to Xanders exes who are almost all demons, Preying Mantis, Mummy Girl, Dru in BBB.
Dru isn't exactly his ex, or attracted to him when she isn't under a love spell that affected all the women in the town, they don't all count as Xander's exes. Now that you remind me, Xander has really kissed just two women before Cordy, as far as we know? And they were both demons. Cordelia isn't at this point, but as a high school resident bitch, she kind of almost fits the bill.
Xander nails his third vamp with some help from Cordy.
Sounds kinky.
(to judge from the comics and Dawn's chopstick story she always knew Buffy's secret)
I don't know if those comics are considered canon, though there's nothing that contradicts them. Remind me what the chopstick story is.

One thing that does occur to me is that the weapon used by Buffy during the slave revolt (the wonderfully named hung-munga) actually resembles a hammer and sickle at some angles. I'm sure it's just coincidence but if this were the 50s I'm sure Joss would be hauled before the un-American activities board.
I'm sure it's not a coincidence.
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Old January 16 2012, 10:22 PM   #112
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
Wheldon Cliches;
Missed those.
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Old January 17 2012, 12:39 PM   #113
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Scrawny71 wrote: View Post
saturn5 wrote: View Post
Wheldon Cliches;
Missed those.
Yeah, yeah, gimmie a break, I've got nearly 300 Whedon
reviews and I can't fix them all!
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Old January 17 2012, 12:45 PM   #114
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Well if he wanted to portray Slayers as nothing but brainwashed slaves used to portray rich people's fantasies, then I guess I could see it...
Ah but the whole point of the Dollhouse was that they become more than that but that's another discussion.
Sounds kinky.
I'VE got a dirty mind?

(to judge from the comics and Dawn's chopstick story she always knew Buffy's secret)
I don't know if those comics are considered canon, though there's nothing that contradicts them. Remind me what the chopstick story is.
[/QUOTE]

In season 5 Dawn relates that when she was little she'd put chopsticks in her mouth and pretend to be a vamp so Buffy would chase her around
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Old January 17 2012, 07:04 PM   #115
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
Well if he wanted to portray Slayers as nothing but brainwashed slaves used to portray rich people's fantasies, then I guess I could see it...
Ah but the whole point of the Dollhouse was that they become more than that but that's another discussion.
Echo and the dolls were prostitutes when and because they were brainwashed slaves. I get that it was a joke that Joss might be OK with making Slayers prostitutes but with so many people slagging off Joss these days for supposedly being sexist and misogynistic fake feminist, maybe someone might take it seriously.

Speaking of weirdly-themed fanfic that is not in the realm of "I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole", I much prefer something like this - a shipper story about "Poinfe" (Mr. Pointy/Faith's knife). Though there's no sex in this one. I don't know if there are more antropomorphic objects fics, but this poll had me LMAO yesterday. I needed some laughter after all the heated debates and flame wars in the fandom recently due to the comics.
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Old January 17 2012, 10:47 PM   #116
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Oh my, what have I walked into?
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Old January 18 2012, 02:44 PM   #117
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
saturn5 wrote: View Post
Well if he wanted to portray Slayers as nothing but brainwashed slaves used to portray rich people's fantasies, then I guess I could see it...
Ah but the whole point of the Dollhouse was that they become more than that but that's another discussion.
Echo and the dolls were prostitutes when and because they were brainwashed slaves. I get that it was a joke that Joss might be OK with making Slayers prostitutes but with so many people slagging off Joss these days for supposedly being sexist and misogynistic fake feminist, maybe someone might take it seriously.

Speaking of weirdly-themed fanfic that is not in the realm of "I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole", I much prefer something like this - a shipper story about "Poinfe" (Mr. Pointy/Faith's knife). Though there's no sex in this one. I don't know if there are more antropomorphic objects fics, but this poll had me LMAO yesterday. I needed some laughter after all the heated debates and flame wars in the fandom recently due to the comics.
Yeah, I've often wondered that, Joss tending to have his cheesecake and eat it a lot, even the scene in Alien 4 where the drone carries Ripley off smacks of GOT. He puts his heroines through a lot but to be fair they always prevail.

As for the Dolls well they are both male and female and (Sierra aside) they did sign up for it so it is their choice.
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Old January 18 2012, 02:45 PM   #118
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

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Oh my, what have I walked into?
You shouldn't be shocked, you've lived a LONNNNGGGG time!
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Old January 18 2012, 05:10 PM   #119
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

3.02. Dead Man’s Party

This is a not very exciting, but necessary episode that deals with the fallout from the last season before the real story of season 3 starts. Buffy is back home, not wanted for murder anymore since the police have eliminated her as a suspect in the meantime, but she’s still expelled from school and Snyder is refusing to let her back, and her relationships with her mother and her friends is still awkward and very strained. They’re all avoiding the talk about Buffy running away a few months before, and they’re trying too hard to pretend that everything is OK, until it all bursts out at the party organized in Buffy’s honor and they finally have a big shouting match in front of a lot of random people. I guess that could be as good a way to solve your problems as any?

Oh, and then zombies crash the party. Yes, this is the first zombie episode of the show. We’ve had vampires, werewolves, witches, a robot, an invisible person, a mummy, a Frankenstein’s monster, body snatchers (Bad Eggs), so it figures we had to have zombies at some point.

Funniest moment of the episode: when in the middle of the big argument Xander says “You can’t just bury stuff Buffy. It’ll come right back up to get you” and we cut right to the zombies. So, I guess zombies are the metaphor for unresolved problems and consequences of being in denial.

The main plot involves some Nigerian mask that Joyce has brought from her gallery, which turns the dead person who wears it into the demon that even the zombies are scared of. Or something. It’s a rather silly plot, but the episode is not so bad, since it’s not so much about the supernatural plot but about the relationships between Buffy and her family and friends, and it has a lot of good dialogue.

We also meet one of Joyce’s friends, Pat from Joyce’s book club. Wait, Joyce has friends? Joyce goes to a book club? Joyce has a life outside being Buffy’s mom? Wow, that’s a rare occurrence on this show! Pat, sadly, ends up dead, as one of the people killed by zombies, and then gets possessed by the demon, before it’s killed by Buffy. And that’s the first and the last time we meet one of Joyce’s friends – I’m pretty sure that the only other mention of her social life, apart from Ted, was when she started to date some guy called Brian off-screen.

So, Joyce is trying a bit too much to be an understanding mom to Buffy and to show she’s coping well with her being a Slayer, and in that attempt, goes to the other extreme and suggests things such as that Buffy could tell Snyder and the police that she’s a Slayer. (Little does Joyce know that Snyder already knows who she is.) She also tries her best to make Snyder change his mind, but, as much as it would’ve seemed that Snyder couldn’t be an even bigger jerk than he was before, he’s outdoing himself with his nasty comments about Buffy right in front of her mother and open admission that he enjoys keeping her out of school and dooming her future. Is Snyder a OTT evil character? Yes, but I don’t care, he’s really someone you love to hate… and in fact, I’ve known some high school teachers who were almost like that, minus being so honest about their hatred for their students, so he’s not even that much of an exaggeration.

In the end it takes Giles threatening Snyder to get him to change his mind. And coward that he is, Snyder doesn’t give in when Giles threatens to go to over the Mayor and even all the way to the Supreme Court – probably thinking Giles is bluffing – until Giles gets into the Ripper mode and threatens him physically. That ties up this dangling plotline – Buffy is admitted back to Sunnydale High.

In other news, Willow has a new look – a different haircut and less dorky outfits, reflecting the changes that she’s been going through, as she later tells Buffy when they finally start confiding in each other: dating Oz, studying magic, all the “scary life stuff”.

When the subject of Buffy’s absence comes up but everyone is skirting around it, the Scoobies say that they’ve been managing to kill 6 out 10 vampires while she was away. And I continue to find this ridiculous. There’s another reason why it’s good that the show ditched the “she alone can stand against the vampires and the forces of darkness” intro. Which never actually made sense, when you think about it – if there’s just one Slayer in the world, who takes cares of all those vampires around the world? There have to be many human demon-hunters, like those we meet later (Holtz, Gunn and his gang, Wood). But Xander, Willow and Oz aren’t skilled and experienced as those people, they just hung out with Buffy and occasionally helped her patrol, and they’re able to kill 60% of the vampires? Granted, those newly sired baby vamps don’t seem very dangerous, it’s only those older experienced ones that one has to fear. Maybe the show should’ve explicitly established, like True Blood did, that vampire strength grows with their age; that could explain Luke’s strength (yes, he was a big guy, but still), or the Master’s powers, or why Darla was at least as strong or stronger than Angel when they fought on AtS, despite their respective size and muscularity. In any case, it seems like the Slayer isn’t that indispensable if the Scoobies minus Buffy could take out over half of the regular vampires. (How lucky that there were no apocalyptic threats during the summer, eh? Though if there had been, I guess Faith would’ve quickly taken a trip to Sunnydale – but Buffy doesn’t know that.) This might be a sign that show has finished with the vampires as the main antagonists – after season 2, they’re increasingly treated either as a joke or as allies/lovers, while the Big Bad role was reserved for superpowerful demon politicians, hellgods, megawitches and other incredibly powerful opponents.

Hey, there’s another dream appearance by Angel! Except that this one really wasn’t that necessary but not saying anything particularly meaningful. It seems like an excuse to have Boreanaz in the episode. I wondered in my last review if there was anyone who was fooled into thinking he was in the main credits just for appearing in dreams and flashbacks – was that what they were trying to do?

Buffy is still feeling distant from her friends and wishing their relationship could be the same as it used to be, as seen in the scene where she takes out the framed photo of herself, Willow and Xander, and they decide to throw her a party – and instead of a quiet friendly gathering, they go for a big loud party with live music by Oz’s band Dingoes Ate My Baby, and lots and lots of people who don’t even know Buffy. There’s a cameo by Devon, Dingoes’ singer, and another cameo by Jonathan. The party, meant to cheer Buffy up, ends up depressing her all the more. Most of us have been to some dreadful party like that, where you’re supposed to be having fun but you feel alone in the crowd. It’s all the more ironic because it’s supposed to be Buffy’s party, but she feels isolated, with all her friends busy with their significant others (Xander and Cordy are particularly absorbed in their make-out session) and the majority of the party being completely unknown people, including one guy who tells his friend that he’s heard the party is for “some chick who got out of rehab”. And then the worst part, she overhears her mother telling Pat that things are in some ways worse with Buffy around than when she was away, and Buffy decides to leave again.

...Which prompts a series of big emotional confrontations – first between Buffy and Willow, which is actually a rather sweet scene since Willow tells Buffy how much she needed her best friend to talk about the changes she’s been going through. Then between Buffy and Joyce, with both of them pouring out their resentment at each other, Joyce for the way Buffy took off and never called, leaving her mom to worry if she was even alive, and Buffy for the way Joyce threw her out and told her not to come back. At which point there are already arguing in front of a large audience who seem to find it really gripping. Xander takes Joyce’s side and starts accusing Buffy of being irresponsible – and I have to say that Xander comes off as a first class jerk here, when he dismissively describes what Buffy went through with Angel as “boy trouble”. Really, Xander? Really? (Now I just can’t wait for Xander to fall for Anya and for her to go back to being a demon and kill some frat boys in season 7 so he’d finally start understanding some of what Buffy went through.) I think Cordelia is honestly trying to defend Buffy and trying to put things into perspective, but she’s tactless so she makes things even worse. This disaster is interrupted by zombies, and in the end it seems that the fight had a therapeutic effect and, for the most part, everyone is getting along much better. The last scene has Buffy and Willow humorously “insulting” each other, and if they’re able to joke about it, they’ve smoothed things over. But if I were Buffy, I don’t know if I could be OK with Xander at this point, to be honest. I’m not sure that Giles has really worked through his feelings about the events of season 2 – Buffy was particularly worried if he would be mad at her for abandoning her duty, but out of all her friends and family he was the only one she didn’t talk things through. He’s even more prone to “bury stuff” inside than she is. But both of them are better at showing love and loyalty through action, which Giles does when he takes care of the Snyder situation in his way.

I wonder what stories the party guests told about the party later, they might have thought words like “your boyfriend was a demon” weren’t meant literally, but the zombies are something much harder to rationalize. Maybe people at the Sunnydale High are starting to realize what Buffy is, since they seem to have an idea by the time of The Prom. It’s hard to say what the body count at the party was, but besides Pat there had to be a few dead students including the “rehab” guy.

Best lines:
Joyce (about the mask): It cheers up the room.
Buffy: It's angry at the room, Mom. It wants the room to suffer.

Buffy: What about home schooling? You know, it's not just for scary religious people anymore.

Cordelia: Put yourself in Buffy's shoes for just a minute, okay? I'm Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally, I pick a freak for a boyfriend, and then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault...
Buffy: Cordy! Get out of my shoes!

Nicknames:
Or, rather insults – there’s a lot of those this time – some of them serious, some humorous. Snyder gets two new nicknames – “His Ugliness” (Buffy) and “nasty little bigoted rodent man” (Joyce). I wonder how Armin Shimerman felt watching episodes with lines like those. In the last scene, Buffy and Willow friendly and jokingly compete in using all sorts of slurs for each other – Willow calls Buffy “runaway”, “quitter”, “bailer”, “delinquent”, “bad seed”, “freak”, and Buffy calls Willow “whiner”, “harpy”, “tramp” and “witch”….Wait, I get the other ones, but why “tramp”?

Ooh, kinky: Xander’s first idea of what Buffy might have been doing while she was away is that she might have worked as as a prostitute. Really, Xander? Or maybe he was just joking. At least he doesn’t tell her to her face. This episode really doesn’t count as one of his shining moments.

Pop culture references: “Dead Man’s Party” is a song from the album of the same title by Oingo Boingo. The phrase is mentioned by Oz, who is just the guy who would know 1980s new wave bands. Joyce compares Buffy to a superhero (like Cordelia did in season 2). Xander enjoys feeling like a superhero while he’s killing vampires and calls himself Nighthawk. Cordelia says the outfits sucked and were like Rambo. Joyce is reading Deep End of the Ocean for her book club. I haven’t read it, but according to the online summaries it’s about a kidnapped child that the parents find many years later. Now it makes sense why Joyce implied and it will be even harder for her to read what with the Buffy situation.

Foreshadowing: The Mayor is name-checked again. Snyder mocks Buffy, implying that the best future she can have is to work in fast food industry, and even says he can just imagine her with the hat. And this line just doesn’t sound the same anymore – when Buffy finds Xander patrolling, she says “Didn’t anyone warn you about playing with pointy sticks? It’s all fun and games until somebody loses and eye”. Ouch!

Rating: 3
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Last edited by DevilEyes; January 18 2012 at 05:23 PM.
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Old January 19 2012, 01:29 AM   #120
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
Echo and the dolls were prostitutes when and because they were brainwashed slaves. I get that it was a joke that Joss might be OK with making Slayers prostitutes but with so many people slagging off Joss these days for supposedly being sexist and misogynistic fake feminist, maybe someone might take it seriously.

Speaking of weirdly-themed fanfic that is not in the realm of "I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole", I much prefer something like this - a shipper story about "Poinfe" (Mr. Pointy/Faith's knife). Though there's no sex in this one. I don't know if there are more antropomorphic objects fics, but this poll had me LMAO yesterday. I needed some laughter after all the heated debates and flame wars in the fandom recently due to the comics.
Yeah, I've often wondered that, Joss tending to have his cheesecake and eat it a lot, even the scene in Alien 4 where the drone carries Ripley off smacks of GOT. He puts his heroines through a lot but to be fair they always prevail.

As for the Dolls well they are both male and female and (Sierra aside) they did sign up for it so it is their choice.
GOT?

I don't agree with those rants against Joss (which have lately been raging due to the controversial storylines in season 8 and now in season 9, which I'm reserving judgment on until I see how this season unfolds; I expect that all this bringing Buffy low and tormenting her is the first part in the story that shows her enduring it and rising above it and rebuilding her life). One thing I also have to say is that he tortures both his female and male characters - usually the more he's invested in the character, the more he tortures them, and the more he tortures them, the bigger role and more screentime they have. Putting people through emotional and physical pain is often a way to show how tough and brave they are that they can endure it and prevail. An invulnerable superhero isn't really heroic, he's like Captain Hammer, who's a coward and can't take pain once he finally feels it; he was never brave since he was never at risk.

And what you say about his heroines being put through hell but fighting back and prevailing is true of Buffy, Dollhouse and River in Firefly/Serenity.

Not so on Angel, however. That's the one work by Joss I really can't defend from the feminist perspective. It's sad because the show was great in season 2 and had flashes of greatness in season 3, and there were some great female characters on the show (who all got killed off. But at least Darla had a great arc and ending). But while there were good things about the last two seasons, they were so many awful missteps, and their treatment of the main female characters which was just dreadful. Cordelia and Fred were simply "fridged" with no agency on their part, they lost control over their own bodies, it wasn't about their characters at all, they were just objects to get possessed, violated and killed, with the purpose of drawing emotional reactions from the male characters. There was no fighting back and no prevailing. Cordelia didn't even participate as a person in most of season 4, while her body was being used and abused. At least Cordelia got to return for an episode, to inspire Angel and die - but even that might not have happened if SMG had been available, since they initially wanted Buffy to be the one to get Angel back on track. Yes, it happened because of behind the scenes reasons in the former case, and in the latter it was just because Joss wanted to give Amy Acker a chance to play a cooler character - but didn't it occur to him that it wasn't a good idea to do this with his remaining, second most important female character, especially after what he did with the main female character? In the end AtS was a total boy's club, there were no women on the team at the end of the show (since Illyria is not female). Doyle and Wesley got heroic deaths, but Cordy and Fred were just treated as objects. They aren't even among my favorite characters, but that was just awful. And I also hated how season 5 treated Buffy's character in her absence, making her a trophy for the boys to fight over in their pissing contests, especially in that horrible episode The Girl In Question. At least the comics got to retcon Buffy's part in it and salvage her character - and whatever the comics season end up doing, I'll always love them for that!
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