Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 8

2.9 What’s My Line, Part 1
2.10 What’s My Line, Part 2
2.11 Ted

This week we have two amazing episodes . . . and “Ted.” Season 2 is interesting because it moves in waves. There is a bit of a slow start, and then School Hard happens. Then a couple of okay episodes that feel very season one-ish, followed by the hilarity of “Halloween” and the darkness of “Lie to Me” and “The Dark Age.” The “What’s My Line?” episodes further the idea of Buffy realizing she has no future and bringBuffy and Angel together so they actually feel like a couple, where until now it’s been more like puppy love. And then there’s “Ted” and “Bad Eggs,” which are the “meh” episodes in the middle of the season, followed by the spectacular “Surprise”/ “Innocence” combo you’re going to get next week, and after that it pretty much hurtles forward until the end without stopping. (Well, okay, stopping briefly for a couple of monster-of-the-week eps near the end, but that’s fine.)

I’ve often wondered how Buffy would have looked if it had followed the HBO model of 13 episodes a season. Every season of BtVS always has those throwaway episodes that are standalones and don’t do much to further the plot. Lost had them, too, but they were less noticeable – either the backstory was just meaningless or the on-island material was boring, but rarely did an episode of Lost completely miss on both counts. BtVS, on the other hand, has those filler episodes each season where they took the scripts they’d originally relegated to the scrap heap and pulled them out, saying, “Hey, let’s do THIS one!” But as many a Buffy fan will say (and I’m one of them), the worst episode of Buffy is still better than 99% of everything else on TV. And even “Ted” is one of those episodes that’s instantly memorable... where I’ve forgotten some of the minute details of some of my favourite Buffy episodes, I remembered every minute of this one. Of course, I also remembered that I kind of hated it.

In light of one particular scene we watched this week, I do want to take this opportunity to mention a particular paper that really fascinated me at last year’s Slayage. It was by a German scholar, Marcus Recht, who provided this amazing look at BtVS that I’d never considered before. He watched the series with the sound turned off (!) and looked at the actual poses of the characters during torture scenes. He found that typically on Buffy and Angel, the vampires are pulled out into Jesus Christ poses, with their arms stretched out at their sides, shirtless, and vulnerable. The humans typically have their arms clasped behind them, usually in a chair. Watch for this in the rest of the series. In “What’s My Line, Part 2,” we see the first vampire torture scene with Drusilla going after Angel, and his arms are stretched out at his side and he’s shirtless, just like Marcus said. It was quite a stunning paper.

• Buffy and Willow discussing their love of shrubs.
• Drusilla’s whimper and the way Spike jumps up to soothe her instantly.
• Spike “dancing” with Dru.
• Mr. Gordo!!
• Giles: “You’d be amazed at how numbingly pompous and long-winded some of these Watchers were.” Buffy: “Colour me stunned.”
• Xander to Snyder: “I want to walk in your shoes. Well... not YOUR shoes. You’re a tiny person.”
• Oz: “Canapé?” EEEEEE!!!
• Buffy on what book was stolen from the tomb: “I’m guessing it wasn’t A Taste of the Vatican cookbook.”
• I’ve always had a soft spot for Willy the Snitch.
• Willow: “Don’t warn the tadpoles!” (This is the frog fear I was referring to a few weeks ago when I found it strange that she had a stuffed frog with her.)
• Cordy: “What am I, mass transportation?” Xander: “That’s what a lot of the guys say, but it’s just locker room talk.”
• Willow: “There’s a Slayer handbook?! . . . Is there a t-shirt, too?”
• The orchestra that strikes up every time Cordy and Xander kiss always makes me laugh out loud.
• Xander: “Who sponsored Career Day today? The British Soccer Fan Association??”
• Xander: “I am the Bug Man, coo-coo-ca-choo.”
• Drusilla: “Shh... grrrruh! Bad dog.” Drusilla torturing Angel is absolutely delicious. I adore her mania.
• Spike calling Buffy “Rebecca of Sunnyhell Farm.” Ladies and gentleman, the original Sawyer.
• Will’s first vamp kill!
• That Gothic Spike/Dru scene at the end of “What’s My Line.” FanTAStic.
• “Ted”: Cordy: “Feels like home! If it’s the 50s and you’re a psycho!”
• Giles saying his layers of tweed are better than Kevlar.
• Buffy: Do I have to sound an airhorn every time I walk into a room?!

Did You Notice?
• For the new viewers, WML is Marti Noxon’s first writing appearance, and she would ultimately become the executive producer of the show and pretty much helm it when Joss was busy with Angel and Firefly.
• I remember when the WML episodes first aired, there was a whole discussion on the Buffy posting boards about what “the whole 9 yards” really DID mean. Oh Wikipedia, how we longed for you and your suspect information in those days...
• I always thought it was rather amusing that something as valuable and legendary as the du Lac cross was located in Sunnydale... a few minutes from the high school. How... convenient.
• Ah, 1998. Remember a time when they didn’t show blood on television? Buffy slits the bounty hunter’s throat with her damn skate and there’s not a single drop of blood on the ice.
• OMG, when the Worm Man comes to the door next to Buffy’s, the woman who answers the door is totally Jane Bodehouse from True Blood!! I recognized her the minute I saw her. Interesting she went from one line on Buffy to a full part in True Blood.
• Eh, mon! Dee Award for WORST ACCENT ON BtVS goes to... “Kin-DRAH! Dee Vum-pire Slay-ER!” (At least, until we hear a certain accent in the Becoming episodes... the rewatchers know exactly which one I mean.) Oh Kin-DRAH, that accent. UGH. (Bianca Lawson is now on Vampire Diaries.) Bianca is American, but Kendra is the Asian African Jamaican Irish WTF Slayer. “It cloods yer judg-MENT! It’s the rituelle!” What?!
• So, in case the whole slayer thing wasn’t clear (and there are long-time viewers who still have a bit of an issue with the ascendancy thing), Buffy is no longer the active Slayer. When she “died,” Kendra was called. So if Buffy dies tomorrow, there’s no new Slayer. Only if Kendra dies will a new Slayer be called forth. It’s too bad only one is allowed at a time, otherwise you could just stop the Slayer’s heart over and over and create new Slayers all over the world.
• “Back off, Pink Ranger!” That line was an in-joke, because Sarah Michelle Gellar’s stunt double was the Pink Ranger on Power Rangers (when she was inside the suit).
• Buffy appears to be dressed like a homeless person for days in this episode.
• “Ted”: Ack, floppy disks!! Now THAT dates the program.
• Sorry, have to say it... “Ted” is one of the episodes that made me really dislike Joyce. Buffy comes to talk to her in the kitchen to say Ted threatened her and Joyce simply says, “He did no such thing.” She waves it off like her daughter’s on crack and doesn’t actually listen to Buffy at all. Argh.
• OMG... a police station actually exists in SUNNYDALE!! With, like, procedure and interviews and everything! The mind boggles.
• "Daddy's here." :::SHUDDER:::
• While “Ted” is an easy ep to dismiss, it’s important to the idea that Buffy’s power could be dangerous to those close to her. It also speaks to something that a lot of viewers have experienced – a parent back out on the dating scene, and the ooginess that can follow.

This week I’m introducing a new element to the rewatch: the Cheeseman! Otherwise known as Janet Halfyard, or Steve Halfyard, depending on who you ask. Janet is Director of Undergraduate Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire in the UK. She wrote the first essay on Buffy and Music, which you can read here. She’ll be popping in every once in a while just to add a paragraph on some of the more interesting musical moments on Buffy, and since, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly so far, the addition of Christophe Beck really changed the tone of the show, I’m fascinated by this (and for the Losties, please help me in convincing Janet that she REALLY needs to watch Lost to hear how musical motifs are created and carried out for each character...) ;)

Think of me as the Cheeseman — not really a spoiler, just something that won’t make any sense (if you’re new to Buffy) until the end of season 4. But anyway, I’m the person who pops up now and then saying “look, I made a space for the music.”
“What’s My Line” has one of my favourite ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ clever bits of musical game playing. One of the big themes of the double episode is Buffy’s desire to have some kind of normal life, other than just being locked into her life as the Slayer; and that’s one of the reasons she ends up going on her ice-skating date with Angel. As she waits for Angel at the ice rink in Part 1, we watch her skating to a sweet, wistful piano melody: but if you listen carefully, you’ll hear that it’s actually the series theme tune, reworked in a major key (the Nerf Herder theme is in a minor key). The Nerf Herder version is loud, aggressive – it’s all about Buffy as the Slayer; but this reworked version is not about that, it’s about Buffy as a fairly normal teenage girl with a bit of a Dorothy Hamill fixation. The conflict between those two identities is actually really clear at this moment as both she and her music attempt to distance themselves from the heroic identity of the kick-ass Nerf Herder theme: and yet the fact that she can never separate herself from being the hero is highlighted by this still actually being the same theme, seen from a different musical angle. Whether major or minor, aggressive or lyrical, it is still the theme of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: and we get that underlined at the end of Part 2 of as Buffy says goodbye to Kendra. The major key version of the theme plays again, mirroring musically what Kendra tells Buffy “You always do that…You talk about slaying like it’s a job. It’s not. It’s who you are.”

Thank you, Janet! And now on to the feature presentation of the week: Evan Munday! Evan is an illustrator and the publicist of Coach House Press, an excellent indie publisher in Toronto (like mine) and someone who comes to so many of my company’s launches that the publisher keeps joking he should get a frequent launcher card – go to five launches, and the book for the sixth one is free! He is very funny and an excellent writer. His upcoming first novel will be published by my press, ECW, in fall of this year. It’s a Y/A novel called “The Dead Kid Detective Agency,” about a group of kids who join forces with a group of ghosts of dead children who help them fight crimes. Dark and funny, all rolled into one. I asked him if he could do one of his patented videos for me so you could share in his kooky brand of humour, and he graciously complied. He sent this to me at work, and I started watching it but made it about two minutes in and was giggling so much I had to turn it off and watch the rest at home. So, take it away, Evan!

Night of the Living Ted
“The subtext is rapidly becoming the text”

by Evan Munday

When faced with the three episodes of the eighth week of the Great Buffy Rewatch, it seems obvious which episodes to focus on. The two-part ‘What’s My Line?’ is much more integral to the ongoing Buffy story arc, both for Season 2 and the entire series, yet, I just love ‘Ted’ too much. Consider the following arguments:

Reasons to study ‘What’s My Line? (Parts 1 & 2)’:

1) Kendra, the second vampire slayer is introduced. There’s more than one! And she dresses like Aladdin and speaks in a Jamairish accent! [OMG, Evan just came up with perfect name for her accent!! –Nik] This seems like it could be crucial to upcoming episodes. Not only her existence, but the entire idea of a slayer queue is integral to the mythos. When one slayer dies, another is ‘activated’ to take her place. Buffy very temporarily died when The Master drowned her, so Kendra shows up. Without spoiling too much, this becomes kind of a big deal in Season 3 and Season 7.

2) Xander and Cordelia totally make out! When faced with extreme danger (and possible doom), Xander presses his lips to those of his frenemy. This can only lead to either hilarity or heartbreak. Knowing this show, probably both.

3) Willow meets Oz, for real. After several "Who *is* that girl"s from television’s shortest heartthrob, Mr. Seth Green finally gets to talk to his dream woman at the school career fair. They share similar interests and aptitudes. And by the end of the second episode, they share an intense life experience together (when, y’know, that unhinged policewoman tries to shoot Willow). If Speed taught us anything, we can assume a solid romantic relationship will follow.

4) The whole slayer heavy-cross-to-bear really gets hammered home with the school career fair and Buffy’s lament that she already has a job, will have that job for the rest of her life. (Which begs an interesting question: what’s the usual life span of slayers? Seems like a high-risk job, but one could conceivably slay well into middle age, no? Or does Buffy break some kind of slayer age record by the end of the series?)

5) Spike and Drusilla are featured prominently. By the end of this two-parter, Martin Landau‘s favourite daughter is back to full strength and Brainiac (that’s right; I watched Smallville) has been crippled by a pipe organ falling onto him. By this point it’s clear Spike and Dru are the boss level bad guys this season.

Reasons to study ‘Ted’:

John Ritter guest-stars as a killer robot who is dating Buffy’s mom.

If you’ve read ‘John Ritter guest-stars as a killer robot’ and you haven’t convinced yourself this is where blog-post solid gold lies, I’m afraid you might not enjoy this week’s installment.

That said, I feel I should do my due diligence and point out some moments of note in the two-part ‘What’s My Line?’

5 Things to Ponder in ‘What’s My Line? (Parts 1 & 2)’

1) Spike obviously cares for Drusilla, which is strange as we’ve not seen any other vampires so lovesick. Angel has been cursed with a soul, so we give him a pass. But why does Spike demonstrate such a range of human (not demon) emotion?

2) Does anyone else think its bizarre that, given Buffy’s continual depression over the burden of being a slayer she’s not relieved when another slayer shows up? One that (on paper) looks like a better slayer candidate. She studies and trains more, for sure. Every episode so far has featured at least one Peter Parker ‘I’ll be Spider-Man no more!’ outburst. But when the bad guys are defeated, Buffy tosses Kendra her shirt like Mean Joe Greene (dated reference?) and sends her back to her (presumably) vampire-free hometown. I mean, they could at least take shifts, am I right?

3) That tumble-roll during the final Buffy-Kendra vs Spike-Drusilla fight is pretty rad. It reminded me of when Batman and Robin would drop some two-combatant moves on henchmen in the Adam West show. In reality, the move seems like way more effort than it’s worth, but it looks impressive.

4) Sarah-Michelle Gellar can really skate! If she joins the next season of Battle of the Blades, I might watch.

5) As I age, I find myself liking Principal Snyder more and more. Armin Shimerman is the bomb. ‘Every word out of your mouth is an airborne toxic event.’ Amazing. Let’s hear it from the Don DeLillo fans in the audience! I’m not sure if the band named themselves after this Buffy line or the novel White Noise it references. Either way, it severely tricked me into thinking I’d like their music.

6) Best line of the episodes: ‘That’s me favourite shirt! That’s me only shirt!’

Okay, but back to more important things: Ted.

‘Ted’ is simply an hour of great Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. It takes the show’s high-school-as-hell metaphor to a genius, genuinely uncomfortable but still highly entertaining end. As Giles puts is (and as is often the case in Buffy) ‘the subtext is rapidly becoming the text.’ Buffy’s mom gets a new boyfriend who seems like the perfect man (he’s got a good job, he can make mini-pizzas; what more do you want?), but slowly ... or quickly ... Buffy realizes he’s a monster. The abusive step-parent story, so popular in fairy tales and movies starring John Locke, gets the Buffy monster makeover. And who should be that abusive father-surrogate but Jack Tripper himself, John Ritter!

Now, I know The Master was that guy in Animal House and those Twisted Sister videos, but as a teenager, I remembered ‘Ted’ was evidence that Buffy had ‘made it.’ This was real guest star. This guy was in the Problem Child movies. And man, does he bring it! Ritter must have taken Robot Mimicry 101 at Julliard or something, because the guy hands in a stellar performance. So genuinely creepy that it’s sometimes uncomfortable to watch. (‘Daddy’s here,’ anyone?)

The show turns the abusive step-parent theme up a notch by implicating Joyce, Buffy’s mom. Joyce, never the most supportive or trusting of mothers at the best of times, refuses to believe Buffy when she suggests Ted threatened her. She doesn’t even ask Ted about it; just assumes Buffy is lying. (She is kind of a liar, after all.) But as absent as Joyce sometimes is, she’s never betrayed her daughter like this.

Most harrowing is the moment when Buffy retaliates after Ted confronts her in her own bedroom (after rummaging through all her slayer gear). First, Ted (having read her diary) calls her delusional. (This foreshadows the most mind-blowing episode of all, ‘Normal Again.’) And when he strikes her, Buffy fights back as if he were a vampire, eventually killing him. This is before we know he’s a robot! (There have been clues, mostly in the neverending parade of robot puns: ‘Who, The Machine?’ ‘I’m not wired that way.’) So, for the first-time viewer, it looks like Buffy just killed a regular man. An awful person, no doubt, but not a demon. Echoes of Faith and a vulcanologist in Season 3 abound.

As a super-nerdy aside, this scene brought flashbacks of a very affecting comic book arc from my youth. In the Marvel comic New Warriors, one of the teen superheroes had an abusive dad. The hero, Marvel Boy, had psychokinetic powers, and one issue fights back, killing his father. (Eventually Marvel Boy goes to trial, with Daredevil as his attorney, and serves hard time, for those who are interested.)

The Scooby gang and Giles attempt to make Buffy feel better about her very first manslaughter. (In one scene, Willow and Xander discover his mini-pizzas are drugged with ecstasy, which they seem to think will exonerate Buffy. Totally Death Wish: he drugged our pizza; he deserved to die.) But luckily, Ted is a robot. An obsessive, chauvanist serial killer robot, so Buffy doesn’t have to deal with her great power and great responsibility issues until a later episode. And that’s probably all the episode analysis I can handle before I feel self-conscious.

As Nikki has mentioned in my bio, I’m an original Buffy watcher. I’m pretty sure my first episode was ‘Halloween,’ and I continued to watch the show religiously, every Tuesday night (surely to the detriment of normal human socialization) throughout high school and university. And when I first started watching it, it was not through the ironic lens of the sophisticated adult I now imagine myself to be. No! It was heartrending and terrifying. It left me in tears at one point or another. Not, like, when I was watching it with friends, but later, when I watched homemade VHS copies by myself in my parents’ bedroom.

And, naturally, I was madly in love with Willow Rosenberg. The only ‘pin-up’ I had in my teenage bedroom was a full-page magazine photo of Alyson Hannigan that a friend had ripped out of Seventeen. The text on the page revealed that Hannigan had a horrid obsession with beanie babies of all things. Yet despite this, I loved her ... and though the crush isn’t nearly as intense as I rewatch, it’s still there. (Alyson Hannigan, if you’re reading this, call me.)

Additionally, when rewatching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, I realized B:tVS was rarely a solo pursuit for me. Aside from those aforementioned deep-cry sessions in my parents’ bedroom, I always watched Buffy with friends. The show was a social event (of a sort). During high school, I was one of a faithful crew of three devoted viewers stationed in suburban basement, watching vampires, eating brownies and cracking wise. It was Buffy night!

In the film My Winnipeg, director Guy Maddin moves back into his childhood home with his mother, hires actors to portray his siblings and recreate seminal scenes in his youth in an attempt to understand how he’s become the man he is. In that same spirit, I have made the following video response to the episode, ‘Ted,’ wherein I attempt to recreate the original conditions under which I first viewed the show. Please enjoy the following, extremely self-indulgent video short as the remainder of my blog post:


Marebabe said...

Last week I was noticing how creepy and dangerous Drusilla is. This week I couldn’t help noticing that she’s really a high-maintenance girlfriend! And Spike has a whole repertoire of pet names for her, but my favorite so far, by far, is “Kitten”. When he said, “I’m sorry, Kitten”, I thought, way to evoke memories of “Father Knows Best”! For you youngsters in the audience, “Father Knows Best” was about the most wholesome, functional, white-bread American family that ever graced the small black-and-white screen. And Spike’s use of “Kitten” seemed to me like they were spreading on the irony with a trowel! I loved it.

My favorite line this week goes to Angel: “I lurk.”

Seeing Giles carrying that ridiculously tall stack of books reminded me, seriously, of myself when I was a kid. My family were regulars at the library, and it was nothing for EACH of us kids to check out a foot-high stack of children’s books every couple weeks. Anyway, I was impressed with Giles’ skills at book-stacking, and even more impressed with Buffy’s save, when the pile was tipping over. That either required multiple takes, or (I suspect) that pile of books was all super-glued together.

I really enjoyed the scene with Buffy skating. It was very pretty, with pretty music, just a nice, change-of-pace scene. However, from the first moment I saw her in skates, I was thinking that a roundhouse kick with the addition of a metal blade on the foot would make that kick especially devastating. And darned if it wasn’t! Memo to all warriors/martial artists: An ice skate makes an awesome weapon!

Dang. I was EATING during the worm-smashing scene. Yuck! As a fan of “Fringe”, I already get plenty of gross-outs on a regular basis, thank you. Double-yuck! Brrrrr!

Better now. Shifting subjects, that church had the flimsiest pipe organ ever! In my opinion, they should’ve either had something with much greater mass crash into it, or chosen a different prop that could conceivably be destroyed by a couple bodies falling onto it. As it was, the wreck of the pipe organ just looked silly and very amateurish. It took me out of the moment, and I imagine it distracted some other viewers as well. Filing this one under “Nobody’s Perfect”.

It was with a twinge of regret that I watched the scenes where Angel was held captive and in mortal (?) danger. Regret that there was absolutely no tension or suspense about Angel’s fate, UNLIKE when this episode first aired. Back then the fans didn’t know that he was destined for his own spin-off show. I’m sure that Angel’s peril had first-run fans on the edge of their seats.

“Ted” was, I thought, a very unique episode. I enjoyed John Ritter’s menacing, sinister performance, but I really wanted much more of an explanation about the motivations and backstory of the android’s creator. (And come on. Not even Data in “Star Trek Next Generation” looked that lifelike!) They had about 90 seconds at the very end to wrap it all up, and it just felt super rushed and inadequate. For me, it was a fascinating episode with a weak ending. (One of the highlights of this episode was when Giles calmly sat on a bench to wait while Buffy kicked the stuffing out of a vampire. He is supremely confident in her slayer skills!)

JS said...

This week was fun.

Jamairish - It was painful to listen to her. I have family that is Jamaican, and, well, it was just bad.

John Ritter - I love him! I miss him. And I loved him in Ted. I agree with Evan.

Knives - how many holsters did that fake cop have? She had like, 18 guns.

Mom - I have written her off, she is just not good. Her character is not believable to me. She never believes Buffy, but then defends/obscures her seemingly outrageous behavior to others. OK, I take that back. That’s what Mom’s do.

Scooby gang - is this the first time they have used this term to describe themselves?

Ecstasy - I would also like a microscope that can find drugs in cookies.

Druscilla – I loved her weird sadist ways. How angry are vampires anyway? Don’t they have to agree to become vampires? I understand why anyone would hate Angel after what he did to her family, but why make her a vampire so she can hold that over your head forever? In any event, she is a very enjoyable character.

JS said...

Nikki - Does Buffy continue to have wardrobe issues throughout the series? She is bra challenged, goes from wearing leather jackets to tank tops in the same day, skirts that fit weird, and really bad shoes. And lets not discuss the overalls of sadness. Does it get better?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I have to disagree with Nikki *gasp*. What's My Line I find kind of 'meh' (except the Spike parts) and I much prefer Ted. Maybe there's too much Bangel smoosh in the former (though watching Angel get tortured never gets old.)

So, the things I noticed:

There's a flyer on the school bulletin board for an event on July 30th. Either that school plans very far in advance or they were filming in the summer.

We see Buffy in the mirror without Angel's reflection just before her line about wanting a normal life.

And isn't the guy showing up in her room and looking around when she isn't there kinda creepy?

I checked, but the Mr. Gordo fan page is no longer up. Sad. It was a lot of fun.

In Buffy's dream, she was afraid she broke up her parents because of getting into trouble at school. But she tells Angel that they were fighting when she was a little girl and that's why skating helped her escape.

Giles carrying the books makes a pretty good case for an eReader.

Dalton wears glasses. Usually people who get turned are in better physical shape.

Which brings us to Dru. What does she have - vampire Love Story disease? Later we'll see her arms are covered with bruises too.

Spice Williams who played Patrice the fake cop is a stunt woman who had a part in Star Trek V.

Is the assassin who gets off the bus a demon or a human? The only indication he might not be human is that he growls. He could just be mean. If he's human, and I don't really see anything to indicate that he isn't, Buffy seems pretty blase about killing him.

The worm guy is especially creepy because he's so mundane.

I won't comment on Kendra's accent. What more is there to say?

I loved Willow's line to Oz. "Your hair is brown." "Sometimes." I can relate.

Dru seemed to actually care about her family and resents that Angel killed them. Her torture seems less about BDSM and more about revenge. Note that I said less, not not at all. ;)

Buffy's supposed to be sharpening the knife, but it looks like she's blunting it.

How was Spike going to pay the assassins anyway?

I don't really like Joyce, but I'll cut her some slack for her reaction in not believing Buffy. She's been eating more of Ted's food than anyway and thus taking in more drugs. Who knows what he's been feeding her?

What is the temperature at the mini-golf range? Willow and Joyce are in long sleeves and Buffy looks like she's wearing underwear.

Ted's work nickname is The Machine. Talk about on the nose.

It's good to see John Ritter in a villainy part, and do it so well, after his years as a nice guy minister on the Waltons and Jack on Three's Company. He also does some excellent work in Sling Blade.

My husband walked in during the episode and made a Ten Rules About Dating My Daughter joke.

Nick Brendon mentioned at a con that he and John remained close friends. He was very distraught when John died.

Lesley C said...

Not sure if it's just my browser, but none of the links in Evan's post worked. Shame, because some of them were really intriguing (e.g., "Mean Joe Greene").

Okay, I loved this week's episodes, even "Ted." I giggled with glee every time Xander and Cordy made out (or talked about going to utility closets to make out). I squee-d over the shirtless Angel. I clapped my hands with joy when Jenny showed up in the cemetery. I gasped when Kendra said (in her Jamairish accent) "I'm the Vampire Slayer." I laughed out loud over Oz's French monkeys line. Yes, it was a one-woman Greek chorus of horror and delight over here.

@Marebabe: I loved Angel's "I lurk" line as well. Did you notice, after Buffy cuts the bounty hunter's throat (and he doesn't bleed) that he was breathing hard while lying "dead" on the ice?

@JS: I'll take one of those microscopes as well.

Not too much to add after the first comments. I am glad that Evan pointed out Spike's sentimental streak when it comes to Dru. They're the only vampires who have been shown to form such an attachment, Angel notwithstanding. Could it make Spike vulnerable? He got pretty heated when Angel insinuated he [Angel] knew more about how Dru liked to "play" than he [Spike] did.

Angel was basically tortured twice in "What's My Line?" - once while locked in a cage, waiting for the sun to rise and knowing it would be the death of him (mental torture,) and once at the hands of Dru (physical torture). For a vampire with a soul, that has to carry some emotional baggage with it. Yet he seems perfectly content to lie on his pallet, waiting for Buffy to rewrap his hand bandage and then snog him during Ted.

The WB intro kind of tips you off on what type of episode you're in for, at least on Netflix streaming. If it furthers the show's mythology, you get a "Previously on..." If it's a monster o' the week episode, you get the standard Slayer intro.

So excited for next week - Surprise and Innocence have been alluded to so many times now, I'm expecting big things. :)

EBethToThePowerOf? said...

JS, earlier in the rewatch Nikki posted a link to an essay on clothes in the Buffyverse and I thought it was really good. It addresses the overalls of sadness, as well as other clothing issues:)

Coleen/redeem: YES! what the heck kind of vampire plague does Dru have? Vampire scurvy? Vampire rickets? Your "Love Story" reference made me laugh out loud!

Lesley, I absolutely love your "one-woman Greek chorus of horror and delight" LOL!

Cynthea said...

Love the video! Thank you! That was so much fun!

Missy said...

Being an Original watcher I was concerned for Angel during 'WML'.

I recently came across a Fake accent that had me thinking I'd gladly listen to Kendra all day than to have to hear it.
(Julianna Moore as Nancy in 30Rock)

I've never understood why 'Ted' gets such a bad rap from the fans....I like it.
I also really like both 'WML'.
I miss John Ritter
'Surprise' & 'Innocence' are major game changers.
I think you and the other 1st timers are going to flip.

I am REALLY REALLY looking forward to reading all of your comments.
The newbie track record suggests lots of OMG WTF....I can't believe they just did that.Lol
Joss&Co are brilliant at subverting your expectations.
As for the Joyce hate ,again I've never understood it....I think because she shows up sporadically it's hard to care for her.
But she acts like a mother....mother's act all superior and it's my way or the highway,it's what they do.
I can only hope by the time you get to her defining ep....that you'll all feel different.

karoliinahv said...

I have loved all the rewatch-posts and I have become to eagerly wait Wednesday mornings, when we in Europe read them, but this week it was simply great - can we, please, have Mr. Munday more often?
I never had so much trouble with Kendra's accent as I had with her clothing, she doesn't speak all the time, but we still have to watch her - 'dresses like Aladdin', indeed!

Efthymia said...

The Great Accent Debate:

In Bianca Lawson's defence, Marti Noxon explains in the commentary for "What's my line" that the actress worked with a dialect coach (a very good professional, according to ms. Noxon), who taught her the accent of a specific region of Jamaica - because there are supposed to be many different accents depending on the region there - thus obscuring where Kendra comes from, leaving even the showrunners perplexed. Now, I don't know if this is just an excuse. Personally, having the privilege of not being a native english speaker and of living in a non-english speaking country, Kendra's accent never really bothered me (unlike the one to come in the end of this season, that had me cringing from the very beginning): she sounded Jamaik-ish, so I just explained it as an accent from "somewhere in the Carribean".

Stacy said...

I was so happy to see John Ritter on the screen again. Hated that he was a creep though.

I'm a little confused about the slayer que. So Buffy is not the vampire slayer now since she died and Kendra became the slayer? And when/if Kendra dies another person will be slayer? So where does that leave Buffy? Just doing it for fun now?

stacy said...

Also- even though I might have sneaked onto the spoiler posts and read that Xander and Cordy get together, I still gasped when they actually kissed- both times...

Efthymia said...

Now, on to the episodes comments:

"What's my line": I loved the fact that Buffy's very short death had already triggered the surface of a new Slayer: for me, it shows that (a)vampire (and-other-supernatural-creatures) slaying is so impotant for the fate of the world that the "position" cannot stay open even for a minute, and (b)Buffy can feel a little less lonely and the carrier of the weight of the world on her shoulders.
As to why Buffy doesn't leave the slaying responsibility to Kendra, or at least share it with her, after all her complaining, I think it was pretty clear that she felt really sorry for Kendra, because of the life she had been leading due to her Slayer preparation, and realised that her life wasn't all that bad, and she wanted Kendra to go and have a more normal life. At least, that's what I received.

I love the look he gives Willow when she sits on the couch next to him, I love that his hair is brown "sometimes", I love how he starts talking about animal crackers and then says "You have the sweetest smile I have ever seen!" and then continues talking about the animal crackers in an instant. I just really love Oz...

Xander and Cordelia, with the name-calling and the kissing and the music and the more name-calling are so great! Why is it that completely opposite characters who argue a lot make such interesting fictional couples?

Drusilla: I don't believe that she hurts for what happened to her family and that she is taking revenge when she tortures Angel; I believe that she talks about what Angel did to her because she knows that he now feels extremely guilty about it, and she is therefore using it as added emotional torture.
I never found it odd that Spike and Drusilla have this relationship and never saw them as different because of it: we had never before them gotten so close to vampires (apart from Angel) to know if they can form strong loving/sexual relationships, and we know that they can form strong attachments - the Master expressed pain and sadness after Darla was killed.

These two episodes are the first to include all three of my BtVS crushes (Oz, Spike & Giles)together: they make me happy!

Dusk said...

@Stacy: Yes, Buffy's out of the Slayer line now, so her death would not activate another Slayer, only Kendra's would.

Buffy still has her powers and she's stil inthe hellmouth, so she's stil a Slayer, just not in the normal way.

Efthymia said...

Wow, it looks like I had A LOT to say this time... Sorry for the triple posting!

"Ted": OK, this isn't a great episode, but I never hated it - I can think of worse episodes, most of them in a future season that shall remain unnamed (although rewatchers probably know which one I'm talking about). What I personally don't like about this episode is the message it sends - "Kids, if you hate the person your parent is dating and think he/she is a monster, YOU'RE RIGHT!" No love for the single parents...

Nikki, I remember your dislike of Joyce from your book, but so far I haven't been able to really blame her - and I'm saying this as a daughter (who very often finds her mother insufferable). In this episode, Buffy has already been very negative and shown open dislike towards Ted even before he threatened her for the first time; for Joyce, Ted treats her right, he (apparently) treats Buffy right, he treats her friends right and seems to show genuine interest in them, while Buffy is pouting and being rude. Buffy (to Joyce's knowledge) has burned down a school building, been in fights, lied and not been a very good student and still Joyce isn't all that strict with her. Yes, she does let Ted interfere a bit too much and does a lot of compromising, but she is human, therefore imperfect. Why can we forgive everyone else for being imperfect and not her? Plus, after Buffy "kills" Ted, Joyce doesn't freak out and go "My daughter is a psychopath!" (which I'm sure many parents would think in a similar case) but protects her from the police; she doesn't scream, she doesn't throw Buffy out of the house, she doesn't lock her in her room - considering she believes her daughter killed her boyfriend, she acts pretty decently.

I love "I have my own fun", because I often do! :)

Marebabe said...

@JS and most everyone else: Regarding the Jamairish accent, when I first heard it, I just thought it was some sort of African accent. I’ve seen plenty of documentaries with African people speaking English, and it’s a good thing that those are always subtitled, because an American would quickly lose the thread of what they were saying without being able to read along. Not so with the Jamaicans I’ve heard. Not only are they easy to understand, I find their accent very pleasant to listen to.

I thought the “overalls of sadness” were cute. I’ve worn regular overalls, like what carpenters and painters wear, and Buffy’s were styled differently, making them look like play clothes (to me) rather than work clothes. And I’m OK with people changing things up and wearing drastically different outfits as the mood or occasion warrants.

@Colleen/redeem: TV and movies hardly ever get knife/sword-sharpening right. I don’t know why that should be. Maybe it’s because some care and attention is needed to really make a sharp edge. It takes some focus, and I think filmmakers prefer to show this little bit of business as a casual activity taking place in a scene where other things/dialogue are going on. They’re trying to make it look cool, but they usually just succeed in making it look fake.

@Lesley: I don’t think we’ve seen this yet – What does a vampire death-by-sunlight look like? Would that be a puff of ash, too?

Why, exactly, are none of the passers-by staring at Kendra and/or laughing and pointing? Her outlandish way of dressing reminds me of “My Cousin Vinny”, when Lisa says to Vinny, “Yeah, you blend!”

@Efthymia: I really like your very eclectic taste in crushes. Oz, Spike, AND Giles!

(That’s funny. Spell-check had a problem with “Jamairish” just now. What’s up with that?)

Lesley C said...

@Marebabe - we've seen one vampire-death-by-sunlight. Spike locks the Annoying One in a cage and hoists him up into a beam of light. All we see afterward is a swinging, empty cage and a wispy puff of smoke. That scene made the death seem pretty fast (and painless?). On the other hand, as Angel is trapped and waiting for the light's advance into his dark corner, he seems to sweat a lot and grow weak. Maybe the effects are different depending on sunlight strength, age of vampire, etc.??

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Not so with the Jamaicans I’ve heard. Not only are they easy to understand, I find their accent very pleasant to listen to.

I have a friend who can switch from her everyday accent, to her 'going to Caribana' accent. The latter - not so easy to understand.

I must ask her what she thought of Kendra.

Also- even though I might have sneaked onto the spoiler posts and read that Xander and Cordy get together, I still gasped when they actually kissed- both times...

Efthymia, I think you have a point about Dru pushing Angel's buttons, but I still think she misses her family and resents him for what he did. Her perceptions are different than other vampires, with being crazy and all.

redeem147 said...

Okay. Somewhere in the posting I got a piece of another person's post. Weird.

Mike_D said...


I'm loving the rewatch and wanted to put my two cents in!

1. Marvel Boy was actually defended by Foggy Nelson, Daredevil's law partner in that "New Warriors" comic.

2. The "original Sawyer" line made me laugh only because Josh Halloway would make a guest appearance as a vampire in the "Angel" pilot. He picks up some girls at a bar, vamps out and is staked by Angel. And the guy who Darla kills in the opening moments of the "Buffy" pilot now stars in "CSI: New York."

Marebabe said...

@Lesley: Thanks for the reminder about the demise of the Annoying One. And I think you’re right about how gruesome it was for Angel, seeing the light grow and move towards him. It reminds me of the slow, drawn-out deaths that James Bond’s pompous enemies tried to orchestrate for him, which always backfired, because they were giving him plenty of time (and privacy) to work out how to escape.

VW: zessimpt - something German!

Marebabe said...

Thinking and pondering some more... The Annoying One was a vampire in a child’s body, right? I just realized how very unique that was, at least in our story so far. Wondering about how that happened, his origin, etc. I mean, all of a sudden he was just THERE, back in Season 1. I’m further wondering just how unique he really was, if we’ll be seeing other evil, toothy junior vampires. (I don’t expect an answer, because that would be spoilery! Just typing out loud...)

I'm real sorry about this. Ahem. My VW is Apoleney - what a beautiful, young Sicilian girl is called when she visits her American hillbilly relatives. (Fans of "The Godfather" will get that.)

Nikki Stafford said...

Sorry, guys, those links were all screwed up. I've fixed them, and I hope you check them out again because they were hilarious and awesome. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Stacy: I actually explained the whole Slayer thing in the "Did You Notice" section of the post: Kendra is now the active Slayer, in that her death will bring on a new Slayer, but if Buffy dies, nothing happens.

Nikki Stafford said...

Efthymia: Re: negative thoughts toward Joyce, as I mentioned in my opening post for the Rewatch, I was taking a lot of that back and watching her in a new light. But the thing about "Ted," and something that I think is actually important to BtVS (and possibly Ted's only important link to the overall storyline) is that it's easy to forget that Buffy is just a girl. She's got this huge responsibility, she's brave, and she's the protector of humanity. But she's also 16 years old.

There are few things harder than discovering one of your parents is dating someone else. Every child just wants their parents to be together, and Buffy actually says that in this episode when Angel asks her if any date of her mother's would make her happy, and she says, "My dad?"

Joyce is an adult, and someone who could have helped ease her daughter into meeting Ted. She lied to Buffy about "working late," she didn't talk to her ahead of time and instead gave Buffy the shock of finding her snogging him in the kitchen. Now, this is all very new for Joyce, too, and maybe sometimes she wants to forget she has a daughter and have a part of her life that's just for her. But when she disregards Buffy telling her that Ted threatened her, I think that's some pretty bad parenting. But that's just my opinion.

AEC said...

@ Nikki re: Joyce- at first I was really upset with her too about how inconsiderate she was being of Buffy's feelings. But, in this case, it wasn't actually Joyce thinking that, right? All along she'd been eating Ted's food which was drugging her into submission?

I loved the episodes this week! Buffy's clothing is driving me crazy though! She goes from shooort skirts and braless to frumpy sweatshirts and overalls. I thought it was especially noticeable when she was next to the other slayer.

I'm also glad to be seeing more of Oz, I hope he and Willow become a couple soon! And I was happy to see Giles and the computer girl (can't remember her name!) together again

Ian said...

Evan, I want one of your video responses every week. I'll even host!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Just a few observations. In "What's My Line", petulant Buffy drives me crazy. The way she reacts to Kendra's arrival is annoying. Having said that, it is just how a teanager would act. "I hate my life...but you can't come and take away what's mine." Buffy IS the slayer, and Kendra showing up gives her a momentary identity crisis. I also love how serious Giles takes the assassins. He doesn't have time for Xander's constant littany of jokes.
Did anyone else feel disoriented when Giles and Buffy were in the graveyard during the daytime?

On to Ted. When Buffy is "fine" and taking it out on the vamp, Giles comments, "It's staking time, really, don't you think?" I love this comment, because I often feel like Buffy takes forever to get to the staking, beating them to a "bloody pulp" in the process.
Buffy: "Vampires are creeps."
Giles: "Yes, that's why one stakes them."

The scene between Buffy and Angel as she tapes him up is just plain adorable.

I loved the look on Giles face when the vampire came straight at him while he and Jenny were on patrol. It looks like Giles just missed having his kidney punctured by Jenny's stay arrow. Tweed kevlar indeed.

And when it's all said and done, and Ted is on the "scrap heap of life", Buffy and Joyce hang out on the porch eating...wait for it... celery. Right??? I guess they'd had enough tainted baked goods and felt the need to get back to mother nature.

Evan...I loved your video. So funny. Makes me wish I was watching Buffy with others. I really loved the ending homage to the great John Ritter. Jack Tripper can cook for me any time. I *heart* him, and watched "8 Simple Rules" because of him. I now watch THE EVENT, and the only reason I'm hanging on to it is because of his son Jason. Quite a physical resemblence.

Sara D. said...

First of all, Jane must watch LOST. That is a necessity. That is SO FASCINATING that the ice skating music is a rendition of the theme! I need to go back and rewatch that episode!

I completely agree about the details surrounding the Slayer mythos being confusing. I actually didn't fully understand it in its entirety until reading Tales of the Slayers, and the Omnibus comics.

But YESSSSS!!!! What's My Line? was the point where I knew for SURE that I was going to become a Buffy nut! From that moment on, it was an obsession. One of the best, most rewarding obsessions I've ever had!

redeem147 said...

I didn't realize that the Yahoo group is still there.

Mr. Gordo

Spike952931 said...

Was is just me or was Buffy acting a little overly bitchy toward Kendra in the beginning of What's My Line Part 2. I didn't understand why she whas being like that. Wouldn't it be kinda cool to not be the only Slayer in the world. And another thing I thought of was, shouldn't there be three Slayers. I say this because of what happened in Nightmares. She turned into a Vampire. And that means she was technically dead. So there should be three. How cool would that have been if they did something with that. I do suppose that when they woke the kid up that everything was set back as if it never happened so Buffy would have never become a Vampire and would have never died but I just thought that would have been cool.

redeem147 said...

I don't think Buffy was a 'real' vampire. I chose to think the clown wasn't real either.