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Old January 30 2010, 03:26 AM   #1
Sisko_is_my_captain
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Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to be talking about seasons 1 - mid-4 of Buffy, so if you haven't seen them, don't read.

SIMILARLY: Please don't spoil me. I've never seen any Buffy before; I'm watching from the beginning and I'm currently in early season 4. I'm also watching Angel (also new to it) and I'm toward the end of season 1 (1:17 Eternity)


Beer Bad. Oh my . That was painful.

Seasons 2 and 3 were fantastic. I seriously dug the Angel/Buffy storyline, and everything else seemed to really be hitting it. Then they graduate, and so far season 4 is missing something. The writing seems poorer.

"I can deal," I thought. "It's got to get better." But then I came to that abortion they called "Beer Bad" and I'm officially becoming skeptical. I've watched a couple eps more, and it's back to 'ok', but then in the latest episode I saw, they just revealed the 'grad student vamp hunter association' and I'm back to pulling a serious .

Random thoughts:
Giles and Xander seem seriously underutilized.
I'm frustrated with Buffy's hangup on ass-face she slept with.
I miss Angel, although the Buffy crossover in mid-season 1 was wonderful.
I dug the Oz/Willow breakup. Well-played, especially by Oz.
I think the Anya-Xander relationship is strangly touching.


I guess what I'm asking is: I have heard that season 2-3 are the high point on the show, but are the remaining seasons going to rape my nascent Buffy childhood, so to speak? Does the writing improve somewhat? I can take silly, but graduate students are too jaded and bitter to moonlight as vamp staking commandos.
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Old January 30 2010, 03:41 AM   #2
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

I liked season four a lot, but I agree it was maybe 50-50 in quality. There are several utterly brilliant episodes, the best of which are probably "Hush" and "Restless" (the finale). While a lot of people hated Riley, I loved the big lug. Plus we get to meet Tara (if you haven't gotten to that yet, I won't spoil). And while the Big Bad of the season is a it lame, the final two eps are awesome.

Season 5 also has moments of brilliance, and, as a whole, is probably better than S4. The episode "The Body" may be the most brilliantly written filmed and acted episode of Tv ever. Again, the season finale knocks our socks off. Many people think the show should have ended right there.

S6 is uneven, sometimes preachy, sometimes hilarious, and the characters begin to stray in terms of the writers having them doing things out of character. On the plus side it gives us the truly remarkable musical episode, which is not only a good musical but a good spoof of musicals, and still manages to move the plot arc along nicely.

S7 kinda comes off the hinges. Buffy becomes a shrill bitch; everyone acts out of character to the point of character assassination; the Big Bad is lame as hell (heh. hell). It really seems like a whole new staff is in charge of the show and they didn't watch the last 6 years.

The different tone of the last two eps may have something to do with the network change - seasons 1-5 were on The WB, then WB cancelled it (giving S5 the finale that seemed like a series finale), then UPN picked it up for 2 more seasons. It's a theory, anyway.

But I really don't think at any point it's NOT worth watching.
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Old January 30 2010, 03:42 AM   #3
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Sisko_is_my_captain wrote: View Post
I'm frustrated with Buffy's hangup on ass-face she slept with.
Well, she was acting like a real person there. It was pretty honest writing. But if you've seen Beer Bad, you've seen the end of the Parker problem. Didn't you get that impression the second time she clubbed him with a tree branch?
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Old January 30 2010, 03:57 AM   #4
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Yeah I'll be honest with you, season 4 sucks for the most part with bright spots only here and there. Probably the second weakest after season 1 IMO. The season's main story arc is extremely lame. Hang in there though, season 5 is a definite improvement (though not as great as 2 and 3.)
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Old January 30 2010, 03:59 AM   #5
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

I guess my problem with the Parker thing was that Buffy handled the horrible evil Angel situation a lot better than she seemed to handle Parker (she kept whining about how maybe Parker was just confused or scared, as well as her cringe-worthy "Did I do something wrong?") She seemed to cope with her long-term boyfriend turning evil, murdering people, and taunting her with their sexual relationship in a more healthy way than she handled the creep she had a one-night stand with.
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Old January 30 2010, 04:37 AM   #6
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

From favorite season to least favorite...

5, 2, 3, 1, 4, 6, 7.

Season 4 was weird. Eps like "Beer Bad" are ones you see once and then forget about them.
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Old January 30 2010, 04:43 AM   #7
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Sisko_is_my_captain wrote: View Post
I guess my problem with the Parker thing was that Buffy handled the horrible evil Angel situation a lot better than she seemed to handle Parker (she kept whining about how maybe Parker was just confused or scared, as well as her cringe-worthy "Did I do something wrong?") She seemed to cope with her long-term boyfriend turning evil, murdering people, and taunting her with their sexual relationship in a more healthy way than she handled the creep she had a one-night stand with.
I think that's consistent with Buffy's general character, actually. Buffy has a much easier time handling the emotional problems she faces in her supernatural life than she does in her regular life.
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Old January 30 2010, 05:30 AM   #8
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

I also despise the Parker arc. The whole thing was just stupid. Buffy shouldn't have fallen for his (obvious) act in the first place. Yes, she did something wrong....
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Old January 30 2010, 06:39 AM   #9
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

To address your "Random thoughts,"

* Giles and Xander seem seriously underutilized.

Part of the point, as later episodes will make clear.

* I'm frustrated with Buffy's hangup on ass-face she slept with.

Dealt with above.

* I miss Angel, although the Buffy crossover in mid-season 1 was wonderful.

Not the last crossover - 3 or 4 more to come this season, and others in subsequent seasons.

* I dug the Oz/Willow breakup. Well-played, especially by Oz.

Not the end of that story.

* I think the Anya-Xander relationship is strangly touching.

It develops in various suprising ways over the next few years.
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Old January 30 2010, 07:00 AM   #10
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Sisko_is_my_captain wrote: View Post
are the remaining seasons going to rape my nascent Buffy childhood, so to speak?
I don't tend to bring it up since I don't like putting down things that people like, but since you asked...

I wasn't wild about season 5 when it started airing, but it turned out decent overall. I continued watching through 6, but the enjoyment went down month by month. At the end of it, when the show-runners announced that they realized they'd kind of dropped the ball and that 7 would be better, I believed them and stuck it out to the end.

But when it came time to buy the DVDs, there was no doubt. Only seasons 1-5 are on my shelves, and the wonderfully dramatic, funny, and moving story they tell is the entirety of my personal Buffyverse.

Now, some like or even love 6 & 7, and I'm glad that they do. I'd have liked to like them too. But as it turned out, no.

So, here's wishing you three more seasons of Buffy that you enjoy, Sisko_is_my_captain, and I mean that. But if that turns out not to be the case, you aren't alone.
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Old January 30 2010, 08:07 AM   #11
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

I liked the second half of season 4 more than the first half, and as others have said, season 5 is an improvement over season 4. Season 6 and 7, unfortunately, are worse than 4, but even then they have a few excellent episodes scattered here and there.

I wish I had better news, but Buffy was best during the high school years.
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Old January 30 2010, 09:11 AM   #12
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Jetfire wrote: View Post
From favorite season to least favorite...

5, 2, 3, 1, 4, 6, 7.
3, 7, 6, 2, 5, 4, 1

I did some number crunching on the imdb episode ratings a while back. It's interesting to see which elements of conventional wisdom are upheld (S3 being the best, head & shoulders even with an average episode rating of 8.25 where no other season breaks 8.0) and which aren't (S6/7 being the worst, S2 being anything special).

Random observation: breaking the seasons down into a three-act 6/10/6 structure - which works remarkably well for most seasons - the strongest 'acts' in BtVS are, in order, S3.3, S7.3, S6.3. The weakest are S1.2 and S4.1.

Last edited by Rii; January 30 2010 at 09:31 AM.
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Old January 30 2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Evil Twin wrote: View Post
Yeah I'll be honest with you, season 4 sucks for the most part with bright spots only here and there. Probably the second weakest after season 1 IMO. The season's main story arc is extremely lame. Hang in there though, season 5 is a definite improvement (though not as great as 2 and 3.)

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Sisko_is_my_captain, it's getting better again in the next seson. Apart from that Season 4 has some nice episodes. I think "Hush" was a S4 episode and that's a great one.
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Old January 30 2010, 04:35 PM   #14
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Hush is award-worthy in its concept and execution. Unfortunately it's hard to show a non-fan because its 50% plot arc and you need to know what's happened leading up to it.
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Old January 30 2010, 05:02 PM   #15
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Re: Buffy S4: "Beer Bad" - help me!

Make sure you keep watching Angel: the Series. It quickly surpasses its mother show (frankly, from episode 1). While I mostly like the first 3 seasons (and I have a soft spot for quaint, little, nostalgic season 1), I do enjoy season 6. Seasons 4 and 7 are the worst.

I honestly end up mostly focusing on seasons 1-3 of BtVS and 1-5 of AtS. I've seen seasons 4-7 of BtVS plenty of times, though. I have a habit of watching mostly episodes with Angel and he is by far my favorite character with the deepest and most expansive story. Spike is the character that makes the later BtVS seasons.

In order, my favorite characters are: Angel, Wesley and Spike. Female-wise, I like Darla, Drusilla and Fred.

Buffy was only likable to me when she was with Angel. As much as I like Spike, Buffy was too far gone at that point (season 7 being at her least likable). IMO, she never got over Angel leaving. And if you know the spoilers for season 8 (the comics), it only proves it.

But yes, Beer Bad is the worst episode in either show's history. So bad that Joss apologized for it in that little leaflet in the season 4 DVD box set. It's openly acknowledged as being horrible.

Here's my little ode to Bangel:



Unfortunately, Youtube has done a number on my fanvids (so lame). Two that have been there for years just got killed this week.

My fanvids sans censorship can be seen here (along with a lot of BtVS/AtS goodies like the AtS pitch tape, BtVS unaired pilot, 1-800-Collect commercials, the History of the Slayer promos, etc...):

http://www.4shared.com/dir/8365904/1...e/sharing.html

A warning though, the 'Heartaches' one is spoilery as Hell. And I mean SPOILERY. It's most of the tragic events of the entire franchise all together.

And I didn't make this, but it's hilarious: every on-screen vampire staking on AtS:



You can smell that $5,000 disappearing for each dusting. LOL.

Last edited by NileQT87; January 30 2010 at 05:41 PM.
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