Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 24

4.10 Hush
4.11 Doomed
4.12 A New Man

*Follow along with Bite Me, pp. 227-231

If you’re watching Angel, this week’s episodes are a little less devastating than last week’s, and are

1.10 Parting Gifts (featuring the arrival of my favourite “rogue demon hunter”... all together now, “what’s a rogue demon?”)
1.11 Somnambulist
1.12 Expecting

*Follow along with Once Bitten, pp. 124-129

This week’s trio begins with one of the best episodes of Buffy, “Hush.” If I had to choose three episodes that could be considered Joss’s masterpieces, in my opinion, they would be “Hush,” “The Body,” and “Once More, With Feeling.” As I said last week, if you were trying to get someone to watch Buffy who had never seen it, “Hush” is the perfect entry episode. You don’t really have to know much of the mythology of the series (though it makes the projector scene that much funnier) and instead just revel in the scariness of it (this is probably the scariest episode of the series... to this day I jump whenever Olivia looks out that window and the Gentleman floats right by) and the brilliance of what Joss Whedon, the master of dialogue, can do with a bit of silence.

The genius of “Hush” lies in the fact that even without the ability to communicate, the true personalities of each character comes through, especially in the projector scene. Giles is still longwinded; Xander’s a bit of a doofus; Anya couldn’t give a crap; Willow is the keener; Buffy only wants to find out how to kill the demon... and is worried about whether or not she looks fat. But when the ability to talk returns, they realize they have nothing to say.

“Doomed” returns us to the high school, showing that you can take the people out of high school, but some emotional scars stay forever. My favourite moment of this episode is the classic line, “I’m just an old frienda Xanderrrrrr’s.” (It’s the line many fans use to describe what James Marster’s real accent sounds like the first time they hear it.)

“A New Man” is a personal favourite episode of mine, featuring Giles as a Fyarl demon who feels “out of the loop-y” as Willow would put it. We get Giles referring to the horrible Maggie as a “fishwife” (and chasing her down the street, HAHAHAHA!); the scene of Spike and Giles in the Gilesmobile; and “you have but-face,” something that nearly every Buffy fan I know has said at one point.

The one thing my husband and I both noticed this time around, several years after we first saw these episodes, is that the only thing that truly dates them is the fact that in a world of texting and emailing, losing your voice – or becoming an unintelligible Fyarl demon – wouldn’t be much of a problem.

This week I’ll leave most of the talking to my guest bloggers. First up is Steve Halfyard, commenting on the glorious music of “Hush.”

It more or less goes without saying that the music is rather important in “Hush”, so I will more or less let it go without saying anything. Still, there are two moments that should not pass without comment. The first is the use of Danse Macabre, a bit of 19th century programme music by Saint-Saëns, which Giles chooses to accompany his utterly hilarious slide show on the overhead projector (has he never heard of Powerpoint? Of course not), which is also the first time we get to see his marvellously limited drawing skills (we have to wait till season 7 to see more). It's a lovely moment of musical intertextuality on two levels, as noted by my late and much missed colleague, Vanessa Knights, in her introduction to our co-edited book on music in Buffy. The surface level is that it was a piece of music written to describe the supernatural, and a really important piece in culturally establishing the sound of the violin as the sound of the devil, so it automatically evokes, for anyone who knows it, the idea of devilishness. But even if you don't, Danse Macabre has been so influential in how composers write musical supernatural devilishness in film music, particularly in supernatural comedies (think The Witches of Eastwick, Hocus Pocus , Death Becomes Her and Beetlejuice), that even without knowing the piece it evokes the idea of a supernatural horror-comedy. This helps make the scene even more comic, with the juxtaposition of an ostensibly serious topic accompanied by serious classical music, but with all kinds of memories of Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton lurking in the subliminal musical text. The other intertextual level is that Danse Macabre was used as the theme tune for a long running BBC TV show called Jonathan Creek, about magical mysteries bein solved by a male-female duo (read: Buffy and Riley?) and Anthony Head played Jonathan's employer, a professional magician, in the pilot in 1997. Whether that actually has any significance at all beyond cool insider information I do not know, and nor did Vanessa, but it was cute connection we both liked.

The other moment is twenty minutes in when Buffy and Riley meet on the street as the town falls apart around them: and there it is, their love theme, for the very first time. It more or less comes out of nowhere. There's a brief guitar riff at the end of “Something Blue” that pre-empts it a little, but the theme itself emerges suddenly and fully formed as they kiss, exactly (in fact) as the Angel love theme did. Buffy and her love themes seem intrinsically connected with her being prevented from speaking. Way back in “Surprise” in season 2, Angel kissed Buffy to stop her babbling, and that was the moment their theme first appeared in all its glory. Now, Buffy can't speak at all, and again we have a kiss that replaces words as we hear her fall in love. And that is essentially what both these themes represent the first time we hear them: a kiss may be just a kiss, but the music tells us that this is something more. This is love. And it's a lovely theme – Whedon and Christophe Beck described it as a more grown up theme than the Angel one – but actually it's a really sad melody. Poignant, yes; tender, yes: but honestly, there is something terribly sad in this theme. SPOILER: really, would anyone listening to this think this relationship was going to go the distance?

Thanks, Steve! And now the inimitable Evan Munday, who we last saw in the “Ted” week (as the guy who was super-pro-Ted) and he also appeared in our Love camp for the “Beer Bad” battle. This time I can actually tell you more about his upcoming YA book, The Dead Kid Detective Agency, which I just had the distinct pleasure of proofreading, and it’s amazing. I wish I’d had this heroine when I was a teenager! The book is available now for preorder, and I urge you to pick up a copy.

In the meantime, in addition to his brilliant observations and video-making (yes, there’s another video this week!) Evan is an accomplished illustrator, which he displays in his book, and please check out the beginning of his video to see some of the awesomeness of his work, in, shall we say, his own little homage to the “Hush” projector scene. Enjoy!

Fail Blog
Where Buffy the Vampire Slayer & the Myth of Sisyphus intersect
By Evan Munday

Obviously, the majority of my post will focus on 'Hush,' given it's one of the most compelling hours of television (period), but we'll get to that last. (Be patient.) All three episodes this week ('Hush,' 'Doomed,' and 'A New Man') speak to a similar theme that carries throughout Season 4 (or, as I like to call it, the first season of Buffy: The College Years).

Season 4 finds our favourite gang of vampire slayers and demon subduers (yea, even the story arc itself) lost and directionless, which parallels the motion of many individuals after high school. Season 4 is all about failure, about feeling like you're going nowhere, because for many people, first-year university is all about failure.

Buffy is feeling aimless and somehow hollow after the dissolution of her relationship with Angel and is unwilling to start things up with someone new (like Riley). Despite becoming a more powerful witch, Willow is still reeling from Oz's betrayal and departure. Xander is living in his parents' basement, working through a series of unfortunate jobs. Giles, no longer a watcher nor a librarian, feels useless, and Spike (thanks to the chip in his head) has become impotent as a vampire, unable to bite people (which is pretty much the main criterion for vampires). He resorts to self-staking attempts and dressing in smaller versions of Xander's clothes.

Is it any surprise that 'The Initiative' is the gang's nominal antagonist in Season 4? They're the very opposite of the somewhat purposeless Scoobies. They have direction (it's even in their name), all sorts of science guys, something called '314.' They're real go-getters who have set goals and work toward them.


Continuing that feeling of aimlessness, 'Doomed,' begins just seconds after 'Hush' ends, and the episode focuses on the failure and doomed nature of Buffy's love life. But love isn't the only thing that's doomed: the central characters are doomed to repeat high school (figuratively), to face the same threats over and over.

The earthquake that opens the episode parallels past threats. History is repeating itself. The earthquake, in addition to being a taste of things to come, also demonstrates that Riley is not nearly as good as Angel at 'sex-protecting.' For the uninitiated, 'sex-protecting' is when a male character protects a female character from impending harm by covering her with his body. David Boreanaz is a world-champion sex protector. You can witness him sex-protecting Emily Deschanel often on Bones. Marc Blucas doesn't even come close.)

As Giles uncovers the mysterious demons' plans -- opening the Hellmouth again -- things are literally repeating themselves. When Giles says, 'It's the end of the world.' Everyone else cries in disbelief, 'Again?!' Haven't they used this before? After Giles gets beat about the head again (how much brain damage does that former librarian have?), and the gang figures out their demonic plan, they have to return to their alma mater, old Sunnydale High, and again prevent the Hellmouth from opening. This is the first we've seen of the high school since graduation and the Mayor's fiery death, and the school has clearly been abandoned. Seemingly untouched since the ascension, the preserved state emphasizes the inescapability of high school. And that's not where the 'you can never escape high school' references end.

Spike, annoyed with Xander and Willow, brings up their high school fears of old ('Or you're just the same 10th grade losers you've always been and she's too much of a softie to cut you loose.') Earlier in the episode, Willow runs into Percy, the student athlete she tutored to graduation, who also brings up the spectre of Willow's painfully nerdy past, littered with happy-face backpacks and Blossom-esque hats. 'I like my women hot,' he tells his ladyfriend. 'Call me old-fashioned.' Whatever, Percy! Willow Rosenberg is white-hot with the power of a thousand suns!

'Doomed' refers to the feeling of aimless dread pervading our heroes at this point in the season: they keep fighting the same demons, uncovering the threats, their romantic relationships keep ending, they founder in adulthood. Everything does seem doomed.


- The Initiative calls demons 'Hostile Sub-Terrestrials' or HSTs (which has unintended comedic effect for those of us living and paying taxes in Canada)
- Morley Safer / 60 Minutes reference for the win!
- Does Riley have the worst pick-up lines in history, or what? 'I can feel my skin humming ... my hands, every inch of me!' Just berate her into dating you, Riley. You can do it.
- Spike's American accent ('Just an old pal a' Xander's') is pretty hilarious, especially given James Marsters is American. It's like when Dominic West does a fake British accent on The Wire.
- Why does Riley have a poster of 'balls' on his dorm wall? I'm just an average American guy who likes sports. What other kind of poster would I own?

A New Man

Though it begins with Buffy and Riley making out (gross, right?), this episode is all about how Giles has lost his way and how he comes to terms with that, by hour's end. Thinks of it as kind of a How Giles Got His Groove Back thing ... but with demon transformation.

Rupert Giles had always been planning guy: the guiding light to the team, the researcher and wise advisor, a surrogate father figure to the Chosen One. But in Season 4, he spends his days aimlessly, drinking tea in his courtyard, wearing continually less appealing clothing and having sex with random British visitors. (Whatever happened to Olivia anyway?) Professor Walsh is fast replacing him as Buffy's advisor, which troubles him to no end. So much so that he calls her amazing things like 'harridan' and 'fishwife!'

Giles, after being beaten to the punch by The Initiative again (and learning that no one's bothered to tell him about The Initiative), hits rock bottom (i.e. drinks with nemesis Ethan Rayne). We get to witness Anthony Stewart Head getting hammered, then wake up the next day as a demon. The resulting confusion and terror results in significant Mike-Holmes-level property damage (how much does Giles spend in home repairs?), and Giles finds himself unable to communicate with Buffy and friends about his state. Hilarity ensues.

However, the episode can't be written off as a standalone comedy showcase. There are undercurrents that mirror the entire season (and entire series). When Giles utters his Benjamin-J-Grimm-worthy line, 'I refuse to become a monster because I look like a monster,' it echoes throughout the show. Was this not the attitude of Angel? Or even the attitude of Xander and Willow, refusing to act like losers, even when everyone else believes they are? And, as mentioned earlier, Giles does get his groove back to some degree. The episode ends with a heartwarming reunion between the Slayer and her fake dad, and Giles has a renewed purpose and place in Buffy's life.


- Note how Riley and Buffy's conversation about the number of 'hostiles' they've slain mirrors that other 'number question' encountered in non-demon-slaying relationships. Does it really matter if you've 'slayed' 3 or 300? Or if you started 'slaying' at 15?
- Spike measuring the tomb in the graveyard is comic gold.
- Likewise, when Giles walk in on Ethan Rayne's evil monologue: hilarious. Anyone who's watched their fair share of genre television has waited for that to happen for years.
- From Riley Finn's Big Book of Horrible Romantic Sentiments: 'She is the truest soul I've ever known.

Hush (finally, the main event)

'Hush' perhaps most vividly represents this season's recurring them of failure, the feeling of being lost, as it focuses on the failure of language. The episode is all about people failing to communicate with language: Buffy and Riley can't communicate their feelings, Xander and Anya are having problems deciding what exactly their relationship is, Willow isn't communicating her emo-sized pain to the others. (Spike is the only one who seems to notice she's distressed.) It's only when their voices are taken that they really begin communicating.

'Hush' is also simultaneously one of the funniest and one of the scariest episodes of BtVS. The lack of dialogue makes for some truly inspired moments of silent comedy, but the Gentlemen are also one of the more terrifying monsters on the show. You can't scream as they glide toward you in their fine suits and cut out your hearts.

The episode opens with some clumsy foreshadowing about language in Buffy's Psych Class, then continues the grand tradition of Riley Finn delivering horrible romantic lines ('When I kiss you, it'll make the sun go down.'). They make out in front of class to demonstrate ... something ... (not unlike that recent incident at Northwestern University), but luckily it's all a dream! Or is it?

Buffy can't help remember the little ditty (straight out of Nightmare on Elm Street) sang by the girl in her dream. Given her track record with premonitions, it seems like it might be important. Riley shows up (IRL); he and Buffy are having trouble getting things together. Maybe it's his fashion sense, his patented only-bottom-button-buttoned-shirt look. Maybe it's that they're so wrong for each other. Who can say? (I can't help but think that Riley is the James Marsden of BtVS, sans the good looks and charm. Not a bad guy for Rachel McAdams or Lois Lane or Jean Grey to settle down with, but just missing that chemistry.)

Speaking of so wrong, is Anya wearing a backless sweater? Yes, she is. (I feel like I could devote an entire site to the fashions on this show. I mean, can we talk about how many long skirts appear in this season?) And she feels like Xander isn't treating her like a girlfriend (which he hasn't been). And Giles's 'orgasm friend' is in town. And Willow joins a university Wiccan group (been there; done that). A lot is happening.

In said Wiccan group, we're introduced to Tara Maclay, sporting a killer zig-zag part, looking constantly high and not unlike the lead singer of Soul Asylum (but in a good way). Later, we meet Giles's friend, Olivia, who gets Giles laid (sorry to be so crass) for the first time in the entire series (without the aid of band candy). So, kudos, Olivia. Because of said milestone, Spike gets moved to Xander's apartment, much to his chagrin. I also noted a great deal of Spike bondage this season. He's, like, always being tied up.

Once the characters' voices are stolen, the episode moves from humour (like Xander's phone call and Forrest's written 'C'mon, C'mon') to horror (the Gentelemen's appearance) even more seamlessly than this show usually does. It's helped by the addition of Olivia and Tara, who are newcomers, not yet jaded by demons and monsters. We're seeing this through their eyes, in many instances. And the Gentlemen's disturbing mannerisms and metal grills certainly help.

Soon we're onto the overhead projector exposition from Giles, which must rank in the top ten funniest scenes in television drama of all time, and the harrowing escape of Tara (also in a long skirt) from the Gentlemen. She runs from door to door, knocking madly for someone to help, but everyone is afraid to open the door. (Terrifying shades of Kitty Genovese here.) Only Willow has the courage to open the door and find Tara. (I can't remember my college days too well; do dorm rooms not have peep holes?)

Tara and Willow share a witchy moment later, by combining their powers to move a soda machine, which leads to an intense exchange later.

Willow: I'm definitely nothing special.
Tara: No, you are.

Yow. Keep it in your pants, Maclay!

Without language, the characters are all forced to communicate their feelings in other ways. Riley and Buffy kiss, kickstarting their relationship. Xander faux-rescues Anya from Spike, acting more like a boyfriend than usual. Secrets are revealed and the Gentlemen are defeated.


- Willow with the message board ('Hi Giles.')? Totally adorable. I nearly melted.
- I like how Buffy's all like 'How do I get my voice back? Because, I'm obviously the princess in the fairy tale, right?'

Finally, if there's one thing to be learned from BtVS, it's about the importance of friends. Even if you're the Chosen One, you can't do it all alone. So I invited all the Buffy fans (including one future Rewatch blogger) I knew over for a 'Hush' rewatch. This is (sort of) what happened:


Dusk said...

That projector scene was one of the funniset bits ever! In high school almost all my classes had 1 presentation in them. That Giles' puting it the wrong way happened SO MANY times to people!

The scariest bit for me was/is Tara knocking on the doors. I saw it for like 4th time and I can still feel the pressure rise.

Felt bad for Tara trying to get an idea heard, same thing has happened to me more then once.

Buffy and Anya's...gestures were awesome! And Giles's face at both of them. His face at Buffy's motion reminded me of the inital face a parent makes when their kid swears for the first time.

How lucky for everyone Olivia has an apparent art degree.

Spikes staking scene and shirt rock. Xanderrr!

Ok, now Riley's lines are becoming cornball, I actually agree with Walsh for once.

I wonder if Anthony had fun doing physical and drunk comedy. And I wonder what kind of coverage he and Joyce have for their houses?

AEC said...

I actually didn't think Hush was that scary, there were several episodes in earlier seasons that scared me more, but I did think it was really funny! The scene in the classroom with the projector was great.

Oh, and I've only been out of the doors a couple years, our rooms didn't have peepholes (but it seems like they should!)

I also loved the scene of Spike and Giles in the car when Giles was the demon. I'm really glad Spike is getting more screen time. I'm really enjoying him!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I wonder if Riley has done that kissing thing before. He doesn't seem surprised by it. To paraphrase, "When he kisses her, my lunch comes up."

Spike has some odd dietary habits for a vampire.

The one Wicca (they seem to use this as the series word for witch, rather than Wiccan, which is a religion) talks about walking beside the wolf. Willow's been there, done that.

Look! It's the birth of Spander. (One of the more popular slash pairings, challenging Spangel.)

The Gentlemen are the creepiest villains ever, and like Nikki I jump every time the one floats by the window. The lead ones are Camden Toy and the now-famous Doug Jones of Pan's Labyrinth.

A note about Jonathan Creek. I asked Tony Head about him leaving the series, and he told me that he shot the pilot after the first season of Buffy, assuming it wouldn't be renewed. After it was, he had to be replaced on JC.

Does the little girl in Buffy's dream represent her innocence? She looks like a young Buffy.

Buffy has a Slim Whitman scream (see Mars Attacks.)

I think that Olivia is more to Giles than an orgasm buddy, and that it's another dark point in his life when she breaks up with him.

Buffy's birthday in Doomed is established as the end of January, since she says she's Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius.

The Initiative has done pretty shoddy research by discounting the Slayer. It's like the discount anything without a scientific explanation (I wonder where they think the demons come from.)

Again, the evils of alcohol. Bartender guy goes extra light on the soda, and he's toast.

My wallet often has HST attacks.

If Spike can't hurt people with fists or fangs, he'll use words.

Spike's not anti-social - 'Let's kill something.' He's quite willing to include the others.

A New Man - I'll just sit over here until the kissing stops. Makes me miss Angel.

Giles is suffering from empty Slayer next syndrome - I can sympathize.

I see a theme that's further expressed in Firefly of the Government (Initiative) vs Independence (Buffy.)

Tat said...

Weetabix, it kills me every time and I don't know why. Although I do love the rare occasion when Giles and Spike share cultural references.

Unknown said...

OK, first of all, the video had me simultaneously in tears from laughing, and also wishing I was at that re-watch party. Fun?!

Evan--commentary was hilarious! I am definitely checking out your YA novel because I'm a big fan of the genre. Have you been over to foreveryoungadult.com? You should get them to review it! I found that site through Googling "hunger games drinking game" for my book club;)

Steve--Danse Macabre used to be the music to this cutesy children's Halloween record (like, actual record-player record) that I had, the words to which went: "H-A-double-L-O, Double-U, Double-E, N, spells Halloween!" And whenever I heard it that's all I can sing. I still know all the verses. Horror+humor.

Ugh--Riley's lines. OMG. My ladyparts hurt when he talks.

Video quote: favorite character--"Principle Snyder" LOL

Marebabe said...

Sorry to post and run. I haven’t even had a chance to read Nikki’s post yet. 9:40 p.m. Just got home from the movies. (“Super 8” – Fabulous! Go see it!) And now it’s almost bedtime. I’ll just post what I’ve got prepared now, and tomorrow at work I’ll have time to read everyone’s take and really join in the discussion. Looking forward to it!

Regarding “Hush”, I’ve been aware of this episode for a long time, because of its excellence and stellar reputation. It keeps showing up on “Top 10” and “Best 100” lists at places such as EW.com and Blastr. So, even though I didn’t know what was going to happen in the episode, I was totally up for it, and knew I was in for a treat.

I didn’t know I was so good at lip-reading! I could tell what everyone was trying to say, no problem. And because voices were missing for much of the episode, music had to fill the gap, and it did so superbly. I kept noticing the fabulous score, and it belongs right up there with the music of John Williams and Michael Giacchino in my book.

We were given no names for the Fairy Tale demons in this episode, so I made up names for them myself. I think of them as Gliders and Flailing Igors. Also, I liked Anya’s tiny little charade for “Let’s make whoopee.” I can’t help wondering if the network censors had any problem with it. It was almost too small and quick to notice, which made it even cuter!

I loved the ending, when Buffy and Riley agreed they had to talk, and then the credits rolled. I thought it was a really elegant way to handle it, and I didn’t know then that we were going to get to hear that conversation after all, at the beginning of the next episode. I thought that the audience pretty much knew everything that they were going to say, so why make us sit through it? Nicely done.

I was SO surprised that “Doomed” picked up right where “Hush” ended. I was further surprised by some of the things Buffy and Riley said to each other. Turns out we (I) don’t know everything. ;)

When the lights suddenly came on to reveal the dead guy on the bed next to Willow, it took me a few seconds to remember that there had been a power outage. I was slightly disoriented and wondering who had switched on the lights. Answer: no one. The power had just been restored. Another thing about that power outage, I think it symbolized what a dark, dark episode this was.

When I first saw the design carved on the dead guy’s chest, I didn’t immediately recognize the eye in the center. I was reminded of the symbol for the Deathly Hallows, except this bloody design had more lines. (Harry Potter fans will know that reference.)

Again with the movie references. When Buffy met Riley downtown and he was using his pheromone detector, I SOOO wanted him to say, “It’s technical. One of our little toys.” Hee.

Oooh! Remember near the beginning of “Ghostbusters”, when Ray was all excited about the readings they were getting in the library, and he said the “PKE valences were off the scale!” Even though that TLA probably stood for something like Pyro-Kinetic Energy, we can pretend that the P stood for “pheromone”.

And I must give a shout-out to Spike for brilliantly serving as the comic relief in this episode. Especially at the end when he badly faked an American accent. More, please!

Marebabe said...

My conditioned response at the beginning of “A New Man” when I saw that it was Buffy’s birthday: “Oh, no!” Seriously, Miss Buffy has had a terrible run of birthdays in the past few years. There were a lot of new faces at her surprise party, a lot of people NOT in the know about her secret Slayer-identity, who saw her rush into the room heavily armed. Or was she only carrying Mr. Pointy? I forget.

When Professor Walsh asked Buffy, “How many hostiles would you say you’ve slain?” I wanted Buffy to fire back with, “In the past week?” or “In the mid-town area?”

Big LOL when Giles called Professor Walsh “That fishwife!” I love Giles. I really do. And I looked up fishwife just to make sure it really meant what I thought it meant. “A crude, loud, foul-mouthed women.” In a nutshell!

By ten minutes in, I was wondering if we were gonna see Giles tooling around in a Corvette, or other, typical midlife-crisis behavior. He was really taking an emotional beating, and I felt bad for him. But then, what a surprise! It’s not every day that you wake up looking like a monstrous bighorn sheep! And it somehow wasn’t preposterous. That’s the weird part.

Buffy to Giles: “You have but-face.” Even though she immediately explained what she meant by that, I was distracted and snickering to myself, because I was remembering a truly bizarre outing from season 5 of South Park, called “How to Eat With Your Butt”. If you’re a South Park fan, you’re probably snickering now, too! If you’ve never seen it, I’m sorry, but I can’t possibly describe it. You’ll have to experience it for yourself.

WHAT is in Room 314, we wonders, yes, we wonders!

Dusk said...

@ Marebabe: Thank you! That symbol looked similar to something now I know what I was thinking of!

In the commentary (spoilers are in it so you probably don't want it yet) Joss said the network had a reaction close to Giles's about Anya's gesture, but they let it through/ If someone's not old enough to get it, then they probably won't, he said the same about Buffy's mistake with the stake.

Evan said...

EBethtothePowerOf?, thanks! I have heard of foreveryoungadult.com, but I had completely forgotten it! This is a brilliant idea.

JS said...

I agree, Nikki, Hush was still scary the second time around. And hilarious. I for some reason feel proud as Willow's magic gets stronger, and still got a rush when Tara and Willow were strong together.

I would absolutely read a blog about the fashion on Buffy. A by-episode evaluation. Long skirts, an endless supply of leather, and a different coat for every episode. But at least the clothes get better than the first three seasons. Except for the pink fuzzy number with the lilacs underneath - still a favorite, with the matching tights and the addidas. :)

I thought weetabix was a made up product name. It is real. But I will never think of it without also thinking of it as a blood texturizer.

Awesome video, I was impressed with their recall, and their ability not to spoil. And the miming of their favorite scenes. And though I sort of was OK with Riley through my first watch, I am starting to hate him more each week.

Christina B said...

So...am I really the only one here that LIKES Riley? ;)

See, I don't want him to be with Buffy forever or anything...but I think he's the perfect guy to help her get over Angel and move forward.
Also, he REALLY reminds me of a good friend who I adore...and yes, that friend is JUST as nice as Riley, says stuff like "courting" and his hands tingle and such.
People like that DO exist! ;)

But Anya...I hate to say it, but I just DON'T like her.
I LOVE seeing Xander happy...but she really bugs me!
I was hoping I'd feel better during my second watch, but nope. :(

ANYway...Hush was definitely just as good, if not better, the second time around.

It's number 2 on my list of favourite Buffy episodes (#1 being Once More, With Feeling).

Werewolves, Freddy and machete wielding serial killers got nothin' on the Gentlemen!

Hush was the episode where I sat back and finally just said, "....whoa."
I realized after watching it that Buffy wasn't just a fun show for teens. That it actually was GENIUS, and I finally "got" it.

And, yes...the projector show and hand gestures made me howl. ;)

Onto Angel--

Parting Gifts.
But I thought I was crazy and didn't want to look like a fool, so I didn't post about it last week!

I thought the episode was a sweet tribute to Doyle. I got teary a few times...again.

And Wesley. Ah, Wesley. I do hope he grows on me like you all say he will.

He was better during Expecting, which I enjoyed!
It was so nice to see Cordy play a bit of a different role!

Page48 said...

Lots of goodness this week.

"Hush", a night of Tara. And bad things wearing straight jackets. The slide show is brilliant. Giles has answers sketched out in anticipation of questions asked. He knows his Scoobies inside and out.

"Doomed". Fresh off of Xander's girlie clash with Harmony, he's threatening to kick Spike's ass. As if. I love Spike in this episode. He's integrating with the Scoobies (untied most of the time) and finally finds out that he can whoop demons with the best of them with no brain pain. A turning point in Spike's life.

Wearing Xander's duds, it's no wonder Spike wanted to self-stake. And Willow is actually worried that he might dust himself. Bless her heart.

"A New Man". How funny is it that even Spike knew about Riley and The Initiative before anyone thought to mention it to Giles?

A welcome return of Ethan Rayne.

Giles terrorizing Maggie Walsh. What a fishwife! She earned it.

Buffy recognizes Giles's eyes. Awwwwwwwwsome.

What Spike did to Giles's car. LOVE IT. It needed doing.

Efthymia said...

This is TV at its best! It's inventive and original and creepy and comedic... pure perfection!
I agree on it being one of the scariest episodes ever (not just compared to other BtVS episodes, but generally on TV); the Gentlemen and their assistants(?) are soooo creepy, and I always watch this episode when there's still daylight.
My favourite moments are apparently everyone's favourites, because they have all already been mentioned.
I love the music; I find it somewhat Danny Elfman-y, which for me is really high praise.

The only note I took during this episode is that Spike is awesome! (then I read what everyone else has to say and what it all means and I feel a bit dumb, but I'll stand by my position and insist that the most noticeable thing in this episode is that Spike is AWESOME!)

"A New Man":
Walsh is EVIL!!!!! "Absent male role model" my ***!
You know, with all the adventure and horror cinema and TV I've seen, it's surprising how I still cringe at homes being destroyed...
"314", "316"... I'm betting that the next show I get obsessed over will feature a "318" somewhere along the way.

PS.: Mr. Munday, Riley is SO NOT James Marsden! Regarding the latter, I'm always baffled by someone else being chosen over him in films (except for X-Men: I can understand the dilemma there). Riley is just blah.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Christina B, you are not the only Riley fan here. I think he's adorable, and quite a hunk. Boy, THAT word (hunk) is quite from the 80's I think ;). Buffy's a lucky girl as far as I'm concerned. I will say, however, if you weren't/aren't a Riley fan, you must have hated the new opening credits with Mark Blucas added as a regular.

I also love Anya. She can be truly annoying, but her lines are great, and Xander is trying to work with her utter lack of people skills. Love her eating popcorn during Giles overhead projector show. Speaking of, they just march in and use the fishwife's classroom? BTW, the autocorrect on my iPad had a dandy time with fishwife.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

Nice to see a mention of Jonathan Creek, a show I like a lot and which, of course, uses Saint-Saens.

Marebabe said...

@Colleen/redeem 147: “When he kisses her, my lunch comes up.” LOL! Way to paraphrase!

I must wait (grrrr!) until I get home from work this evening to watch Evan’s rewatch party video. No speakers on my computer at work.

I overlooked making a specific note of the fact that The Gentlemen were officially called “The Gentlemen”. I swear, if I don’t jot down a stack of notes while watching an episode, I often forget details. Something to do with having a feeble brain, I guess.

AEC said...

Oh, I also meant to add that for some reason I really dislike Tara (?- I think that's her name, Willow's witch friend)there's something about her that I don't like/trust. Anyone else feeling that way?

Marebabe said...

Hey, Evan! Loved your video. You have some cool friends. Thanks for sharing a wonderful feel-good 10 minutes with us! (And that intro was ACES!)

Evan said...

Eftyhmia, I said he was like James Marsden, but without the looks and charm. I love James Marsden. I want to start a Toronto chapter of the James Marsden fan club. And thanks, Marebabe!

Missy said...

Buffy Fashion Episode by Episode Analysis(With the roulette aspect it's completely spoilery)


Olivia is back
She can Draw!!(Lessons from Angelus?They clearly weren't from Giles) but The Gentlemen and Giles past/present freak her out.
I believe I hear the MotherCountry calling,which is too bad because I liked her.
Is this the right time to start gushing over Tara?Or is it still off limits?
Either way I adore her..She's really sweet.
She has the ability to instill calm in me,Everything is Good because she's there.
Joss has said that Emma Caulfield has the best comic timing ....cue sexy hand gesture ;)


I've never understood why the school wasn't torn down already, it's been more than 6months since it was blown up.
Little nit pick I guess.
Percy washed away all the Good he did in 'Graduation Day' with one snide remark about Willow...way to go Percy.
I can't say it's a fav but I enjoy it once I hit play.
Spike making with the funny is always Good.

'A New Man'

My least favourite Buffy Birthday Episode.
Don't get me wrong I love seeing Ethan back and Giles as a fyarl demon is hilarious
but I guess with Walsh and the Initiative and the lack of actual celebration it fails to thrill me.
"Oh, and it might have a sauce pan shape bruise" Xander
"I think it ate him up." Anya
I adore those two :)

As for Riley during the Original run I liked him just fine(and sure it had something to do with the handsome Marc Blucas Lol)but his character is ruined upon rewatch.
When we get to what ruins him for me I'll say something..but for now it's far to spoilery.

lyssiria said...

I feel much the same way as all y'all about the favorite dialogue parts, with a special shoutout to my possibly-absolute-favorite-of-all-time 'fishwife.' :D

About Hush: I think the use of a young girl in Buffy's dream is fairly freaksome, but this particular little girl did not really seem scary. I thought she would, the first time around because her voice is really creepy, but she herself is not actually creepy. If it had been my call, I would have gone with creepy like the twins in The Shining. Instead they went for 'real cute' instead of 'scary cute.' I wonder why they did that..

About Doomed: I thought (and still think) that Buffy's snarky reaction to Riley's inept questioning (doesn't she know by now he doesn't know how to properly speak to women?) was uncalled for. I mean, I would never say 'Scorpio.' I would probably say my occupation ('Librarian' - no, really), or possibly my gender ('female'), or even 'only child.' But certainly never my zodiac sign. Every time I expect her to say right away that she's the Slayer, and every time she says 'Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius.' It's understandable that she would be mystified as to why the Initiative, which should be on top of everything, doesn't know she exists. But this is the guy you like, Buffy! Sure he's been less than honest, as he points out, but who doesn't have a secret? I think she could have handled that better.

lyssiria said...

Doomed illustrates exactly the point I was trying to make last week about conditioning. When Spike tries hitting that demon the first time, he immediately grabs his head in anticipation of pain, which doesn't come this time. But he held back because he was conditioned to think that pain would go along with fighting. So this is why I thought in retrospect that the escape scene from The Initiative was just a normal reaction because he hadn't been conditioned yet to know that it would hurt.

On Percy - I think that he doesn't so much only like hot women (just look at Willow!), but he's scared on a visceral level of Willow because she could quite literally wipe the floor with him. Or at least, he believes she can. So he puts on his blinders and doesn't see her obvious attractiveness. What he means when he says he likes his women hot is that he likes them weak. Or he's just a giant poopyhead. Plus, his girlfriend is WAY less hot than Willow.

On A New Man - I <3 demon Giles. 'Ack oog! Ack oog!' It makes me giggle every time. But to business. Why do they have a surprise party for Buffy's birthday? What would have happened if somebody had shown up with an arm in a box this year?! If I was the Slayer, I would NOT appreciate surprises. Come to think of it, I'm not the Slayer, and I still don't like surprises. Also, I find it to be very callous and completely unlike Willow to forget to mention to Riley that there was going to be a party. I mean, he's supposed to be good at sneaky undercover stuff. It goes to show that though he may be dating Buffy, he has yet to earn the trust of the Slayerettes.

@Christina B. Re: Wesley - You'll definitely feel much more strongly towards Wesley soon. The same thing happened to me. I couldn't accept him because he was such a...tool...on BTVS, but he really grew on me. If you have Once Bitten though, don't read the interview with Alexis Denisof unless you're into spoilers.

@AEC Re: Disliking Tara
I think maybe we're supposed to think Tara is creepy.

Tom D. said...

In Hush, when Riley is fighting the straitjacket guys, there's a moment when he pulls a kind of baton out of his boot and whacks them upside the head with it.

In Parting Gifts -- which I guess would have originally aired right after Hush -- there's a slapstick bit where Wesley has a knife attached to his calf (where his boot would be if he was wearing boots) and he rolls helplessly on the ground trying to get the knife free so he can help Cordy.

I wonder if that comedic juxtaposition was intended. At any rate, I enjoyed it!

Tom D. said...

Riley: "I don't see a scratch on you."
Buffy: "You're not looking hard enough."
I just love the way SMG delivers that line. Sexy, vulnerable, regretful, yet tough as nails. The first couple of times I watched this show, I didn't really like Buffy (the character); now I have no idea what my problem was. She's fascinating.