Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 26

4.16 Who Are You?
4.17 Superstar
4.18 Where the Wild Things Are

Read along in Bite Me!, pp. 235-239

And if you’re watching Angel, this week’s episodes are:

1.16 The Ring (featuring the little brother of Dennis, the Beeper King)
1.17 Eternity
1.18 Five by Five (Part One)

Follow along in Once Bitten, pp. 136-142

Well, with this week’s episodes we officially reach the midpoint of the Buffy Rewatch! (And the year, for that matter.) Twenty-six weeks down, 26 to go. This isn’t one of my favourite weeks, although it opens with a great episode, the end of the two-parter that began last week. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s impression of Eliza Dushku being Faith acting as Buffy (did you follow that?) is a thing of beauty, especially that hilarious scene where Faith stands in front of the mirror and does her holier-than-thou Buffy mimickry, “Because it’s WRONG.” Then later, Eliza does her impression of Sarah Michelle Gellar when she goes to Giles’s house, “Giles, you’re inching. Stop inching!... What’s a stevedore?” This episode is at times funny and devastating, and is where many of the fans who still hated Faith at the end of season 3 really came around. Faith hasn’t had Buffy’s cushy life, and she let the power of Slayerhood get to her. As she beats her own body to a pulp, despising every contour of it, we finally see the real Faith. Her self-hatred will destroy her… unless she can find a forgiving soul who knows what she’s been through (you’ll have to follow her over to Angel to see the true conclusion of the Faith arc).

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the super-hot Tara/Willow spell scene. That entire scene is incredible, and one of the best visual metaphors ever done on the show.

I’ve never been much of a fan of “Superstar” (I was kind of shocked at how much I hated it in Bite Me! when I went back and reread what I’d written) but this time around I didn’t dislike it as much as I had before. I still don’t love it (and I know many, many fans do, so I say all of this knowing full well that I’m definitely in the minority on hating this ep), but I was able to chuckle a bit more, especially knowing what this episode was foreshadowing. I think my main beef is that we last saw poor Jonathan as someone who’d had a rough time of it in high school and was driven to a brink, but Buffy was the only person who could really see what he was going through. I LOVE the scene in “The Prom” where he gave her the Class Protector award (I still can’t watch it without weeping) and this episode seemed to undermine that when we see that he owns it instead of her.

My feelings for “Where the Wild Things Are” didn’t change much. Whenever I think of this episode I think of Buffy and Riley, and honestly, I have to skip through scenes of them snogging. Really. I never used to… but I really have to now. Tracey Forbes, author of the infamous “Beer Bad” episode who redeemed herself with “Something Blue,” loses a few more points for this one only for one major reason: she always writes Buffy as acting completely unlike herself. Buffy is never Buffy in a Forbes script; it’s like Forbes has no idea who this character is supposed to be, so she gives her these out-of-character storylines every time. Thankfully, this is the last of the Forbes scripts.

However, while I hate that aspect of the episode, it still has that wonderful scene of Giles singing “Behind Blue Eyes,” a precursor to another episode coming up where we’ll see him singing a lot more.

As I’ve said, season 4 is my least-liked season, but on this rewatch I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed it. However, when the Initiative arc took hold and Adam was revealed I remembered why I didn’t like this season after all. Luckily, the next episode, “New Moon Rising,” will yet again show you why I adore this series. Prepare to have your hearts stomped on.

I have a big lineup of material for you again this week! First, our lovely Steve Halfyard talks about the music once again!

A Cheese Triangle: Buffy, Faith, Riley
This section of season four is musically interesting because Beck reuses a lot of season 3 material. I should have popped my head above the parapet last week to mention the use of lots of music from season 3 in “This Year's Girl”: the music from “Graduation Day: Part 2” that we hear in their shared coma dream reappears as Buffy and Faith make the bed at the start of “This Year's Girl”; and Faith climbs out of the grave in her dream-fight with Buffy to the “You killed me” music that we hear right at the end of “Graduation Day: Part 1” after Buffy has stabbed Faith – her fall and rise are framed by the same piece of music, half a season apart. There's also a new musical idea for Faith which we hear as she first wakes up and wanders through the hospital, a haunting four note fragment sung by a girl's voice, accompanied by an angular cello melody. It describes her disorientation, and it's simultaneously vulnerable (the youthful but rather lost-sounding voice) and a bit dysfunctional – the cello and voice don't seem to really be listening to each other, and it's all quite discordant.

In “Who are You?”, it's that angular cello melody that gets varied into a whole new thematic idea for Faith-as-Buffy as she battles with issues of identity and intimacy – the biggest working-through of that idea is the scene where she seduces Riley, juxtaposed with the equally intimate process of Willow and Tara working their spell: the theme starts off angular and awkward and transforms into something rather lovely and magical as those two sequences of events unfold. But then, having revisited musical ideas from season 3 for Faith's return to life, something very strange happens in “Where the Wild Things Are”. Firstly, as we see the house that is at the centre of the episode, the voice/ cello idea from when Faith woke up reappears again as voice and oboe, so connecting the dysfunctional, lost, vulnerable, badly behaved but sympathetic Faith with the children of the house (to whom all those descriptors equally apply); but then, in one of my biggest ever OMG moments, we get a complete cue from season 3's “Helpless”. The cue is the one we first heard as Buffy found out her dad wasn't taking her to the ice show for her birthday (the 'Fatherhood' theme) which was then followed by our first sight of the Psycho-like house in which she was supposed to be trapped to undergo her coming-of-age ritual fight to the death with a mad vampire after all her powers had been taken away from her (and the whole 'problematic parents' subtext of the episode, Buffy's bad father(s) and the mad vampire's mother-killing fixation).

In “Where the Wild Things Are”, we have a scary house full of angry spirits who have a problem with a mother figure, a house in which Buffy is trapped and may well die in because she’s pretty much disempowered, this time by the fact that she can’t stop having sex with Riley. Apart from that last bit, that all sounds pretty familiar – and so does the music Beck uses to introduce the scary house about 9 minutes into the episode: it's exactly the same “scary house” part of the cue from “Helpless”. The connection between the two houses is pretty straight forward and kind of cool: Beck reminds us in season 4 that we have been here before, that there are precise parallels between these two houses. What’s less straightforward but actually even more interesting is that the music that symbolises issues of fatherhood and trust in “Helpless” is also used in the preceding scene (at night in Riley's bedroom) and is used to score Riley. Why? one might well ask! Well, at this point Buffy is still pretty upset about the whole 'you slept with me and you couldn't tell I was Faith?' business, which got rather put on hold in “Superstar” (oh, those James Bond guitar chords and brass stabs!) so we have the element of betrayal of trust. But fatherhood? My word, doesn’t that potentially bring a whole new dimension to our understanding of what Buffy sees in him!

Thanks, Steve!

Next up is David Kociemba, who we previously saw in weeks 4 and 10. Take it away David!

Oh, Jonathan!

Obviously, “Superstar” attracts a lot of attention in the academic study of fandoms. In a way, all three of these episodes are Mutant Enemy’s tip of the cap to its fan culture, just like “The Wish” (B3.09) and “Doppelgangland” (B3.16) were. You have three classics of fanfic genres here: a body-switch episode, an alternate reality Marty Stu and the normal interest in people bonking, whether it be Willow/Tara’s exploration of the nether regions or Buffy/Riley’s!

In Fighting the Forces, Justine Larbalestier expresses some concern about this episode, in the context of talking about how this series rewards fan engagement and acknowledges fan culture as productive and a source of inspiration for Mutant Enemy. She observes that “Jonathan’s desires to be a Buffylike superhero and to be publicly recognized as such (an acknowledgment that Buffy, with the exception of ‘The Prom,’ does not receive) are embarrassing and come dangerously close to caricaturing the relationship of fans to the show.” This episode is part of Jonathan hitting rock bottom—his use of magic to rape the twins presages even darker moments later. In the past, I’ve agreed with Larbalastier, suggesting the writers use Jonathan as a catalyst for the viewer to engage in a searching and fearless exploration of how they use Buffy. By season six, the writers engage in some serious soul-searching themselves. What does fiction mean after 9/11? What’s a Giant Mayor Snake next to a real apocalypse? The writers use Jonathan, The Other Two and Buffy to figure out whether getting lost in a story means losing yourself and whether losing yourself in some stories can help you find a better self afterwards.

Larbalestier’s unstated worry is whether Jonathan needs to “Get a life!”, to cite the infamous SNL skit, and whether Mutant Enemy thinks all their fans need to as well. Yet, I don’t think many viewers watching “Superstar” feel that way about Jonathan. What makes Jonathan different from them is that we know him. He has a history. That makes him a character to be understood, not a harmful and largely inaccurate stereotype to be mocked.

Jonathan was first seen almost getting the life sucked out of him by the kiss of the “Inca Mummy Girl” (B2.04), although he was in the unaired half-hour production pilot. He returns to the screen next at the end of “Reptile Boy” (B2.05) fetching a cinnamon, chocolate, half-caf, nonfat cappuccino with extra foam for Cordelia, his date. (In “The Wish,” Harmony shows her usual lack of creativity by suggesting that he’d make a wonderful date for Cordelia after she’s dumped Xander for cheating with Willow. All he can do is look up from his Big Gulp with those wounded eyes.) Later, some “Bad Eggs” (B2.12) control his mind, setting him to do some recreational digging in the school basement. Xander accuses him of mistaking the school library for a Barnes & Noble bookstore in “Passion” (B2.17). “Go Fish” (B2.20) is the first time the villain within is suspected, when Willow accuses him of being behind the rash of swim team deaths after his wounded masculinity prevents him from showing any gratitude to Buffy for saving him from swimmers intent on drowning him. (He got his revenge by peeing in the pool.) Despite all of this contact with Buffy, does she remember his name the next time they meet, in “Dead Man’s Party” (B3.02)? No, she does not, calling him “you, by the dip.” Still, he helps defend the Summers manse from an attack by zombies moments later. His greed for the good things in life first manifests itself in “Homecoming” (B3.05). He pits Buffy and Cordelia against each other when they buy his vote for Homecoming Queen, garnering a tidy profit in cupcakes and cash. This legacy of small wounds to his psyche, which would drive him to even more drastic measures later, leads him to try to kill himself in “Earshot” (B3.18), only to be prevented from doing so by Buffy. Jonathan shocks both Buffy and the audience by delivering a speech at “The Prom” (B3.20) that thanks Buffy for all that she’s done to make this class have the lowest mortality rate in Sunnydale High’s history. He even has a date that slow dances with him—a fan who won an online contest. And when the Graduation Day battle is joined, he’s the one who hurls himself with a barbaric yawlp in the student’s charge towards The Mayor’s minions.

Jonathan’s us. Jonathan lost his way and looked for the easiest way to solve his hardest problems. This character—who grows from human scenery into something more complex than any of the roles he steals—has trouble imagining a new narrative to his own life. Don’t we all? Viewers shouldn’t see Jonathan in the same light as those Trekkers on SNL. We don’t know anything about them and there’s nothing to know.

And if Jonathan’s us, it’s very interesting that he can also be Joss Whedon. The first shot of Jonathan in “Superstar” shows him swiveling his desk chair around to face the camera—suave, smiling, and smug—to observe to Buffy, “It sounds like you can use my help.” The score quotes the James Bond theme, then segues into Nerf Herder’s series theme for the opening title sequence… into which Jonathan has inserted himself. These appropriations are few in number, but strategically chosen for maximum comic impact. He does Buffy’s kip-up, but stands wielding her crossbow. He’s bent over to disarm a bomb, while Xander had to have a zombie do it. He cocks his head and smiles, as so many of the characters do. The final crescendo references but does not duplicate the final shot of the opening title sequence in Angel. When Jonathan’s magic spell allows him to alter the opening montage, Whedon acknowledges his implicit presence in the narrative as narrator of the series. Whedon is a part of the series, so his creative efforts are just as subject to rewrite as the heroic efforts of his characters. SNL’s creators can’t see themselves in their subjects; Joss Whedon can and teaches us that empathy through his stories. Through Jonathan, and Faith, we learn to love the sinner and hate the sin. Even when the sinner is us.

Oh, Sarah! Oh, Eliza!

Cynthea’s post discusses the meaning of “Who Are You?” in some depth, so I’ll take pleasure in making a just a few informal observations. First, I absolutely love Faith’s arc here and its two crossover episodes in Angel. “Five by Five” and “Sanctuary” show the limitations of Buffy’s role as a righteous warrior of justice, which has little room for the complexities of how redemptions are actually nurtured. Faith’s the catalyst in seasons three and four for weaning viewers away from hero worship towards a richer understanding of Buffy and heroism. Faith’s recovery is different from Angel’s because she is the first villain to admit that her life had become unmanageable and to explicitly seek forgiveness. It was never as difficult to forgive Angel’s blood binge in season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as it was to do so with Faith’s murderous treachery and class resentments. The emotional hardship of actually embracing genuine outsiders becomes most apparent through Faith’s story. And you should see those two crossovers, as they are actually vital to understanding season seven. They also explain why producers thought Eliza Dushku merited a starring role in Tru Calling and Dollhouse.

But what’s interesting here is how complex the acting is. Sarah Michelle Gellar has to perform the role of Buffy plausibly enough to temporarily fool the other characters. She must slip in enough of Dushku’s techniques to signal the presence of Faith’s consciousness in Buffy’s body. Vocally, Gellar does this through a brassier voice contrasted with a higher pitched laugh, slightly longer pauses, and strategic mispronunciations. Physically, Gellar rolls her shoulders back, half-closes her eyes, purses her lips and makes active use of her hands and legs, especially while sitting. Gellar has to play a plausible Buffy using her own techniques, the role of Faith using Dushku’s techniques, and Faith’s understanding of Buffy by blurring both approaches. In addition, Gellar has to signal that Faith is beginning to understand and emulate Buffy through moments of genuine Buffyness prior to the scene in the church. Meanwhile, Dushku has to impersonate Gellar’s performance of Buffy. During Dushku’s scene with Giles, she opens her eyes wide and speeds up the delivery of her lines while varying her pacing to include hitches. Dushku largely eschews the expressive use of her body and hands, although she does push her hair back with her pinky and tilt her head.

And you know what? Both actresses are clearly commenting on their relationship on set while they’re doing this! In an interview with Jana Riess, Dushku mentions that “My relationship with Sarah was the same way, art imitating life in a way. We had a real chemistry that was similar to Buffy and Faith. [laughs] I was like, ‘Hey! This is fun! Let’s have some fun!’ And she’d say, ‘This is my job. This is work. There’s responsibility, and there are consequences. You can’t hook up with these hot guys! We work with them. You cannot hook up with our costars.’ It was a real dynamic we had, that just started to come out in the show.”

So now you know why Joss Whedon had Faith sleep with Riley. It had to have made Gellar nuts.

Thank you, David! And finally, Cynthea Masson, one of my cohorts in our Beer Bad battle, and previously seen here covering “Lie to Me” and “The Dark Age.”

“Who Are You?”—Rewatching the Self and Other
Cynthea Masson

Two of this week’s three episodes, “Who Are You?” (4.16) and “Where the Wild Things Are” (4.18), represent Buffy at its best and worst. An example of the best: Willow and Tara’s homoerotic “nether realm” spell in “Who Are You” emphasizes the intense sexual energy between these two witches. An example of the worst: Buffy and Riley’s enchanted heterosexcapades in “Where the Wild Things Are” confirm for me an absolute lack of genuine chemistry between the Slayer and her commando. (After all, the reason Buffy and Riley can’t keep their hands off each other is mystical interference. At least Willow and Tara are responsible for their own orgasmic magic.) I have little else to say about “Where the Wild Things Are” since I place it alongside “Beer Bad” as one of the worst Buffy episodes ever. So, let’s forego the literal and figurative sexual alliances of these episodes and discuss another type of relationship emphasized in “Who Are You?”—that of “self” and “other.”

This is not the first time we’ve witnessed self/other interplay in Buffy—we need only think back to “Dopplegangland” (3.16) when Willow and Vamp Willow temporarily co-exist in the same dimension or “A New Man” (4.12) when Giles is transformed into a Fyarl demon. The human “self” and the demon “other” are not necessarily polar opposites. Indeed, Buffy repeatedly asks us to consider the ways in which the self is recognizable in the other and, moreover, to recognize that a person’s conception of him/herself is considerably limited; as Adam says in “Superstar” (4.17), “Humans sense so little of what they carry inside.” We also repeatedly see that a person’s perspective on other people (and, by extension, our perspective on any given character) is limited; as Faith says (when she inhabits Buffy’s body in “Who Are You?”), “I guess you never really know someone until you’ve been inside their skin.”

When Buffy and Faith switch bodies, each self temporarily exists within the other. Initially, when Faith (as Buffy) strokes Buffy’s leg in the bathtub and then scrutinizes her face in the mirror, her fascination is limited to the physical experience of the exchange. Similarly, Buffy (as Faith) experiences the sheer physicality of being Faith when told by one of the Council thugs, “What you are, miss, is the package. I deliver the package. I don’t much care what’s inside.” We must ask here whether the assumption perpetrated by others that Faith is merely a physical package rather than an emotionally complex woman has contributed to her callous persona. Faith herself seems to believe that she is merely the body she inhabits; thus when she (as Buffy) sexually propositions Riley, she asks, “What do you want to do with this body?” Only after experiencing emotionally laden sexual intimacy with Riley does Faith (as Buffy) ask the titular question, “Who are you?” Arguably, this question represents a first attempt on Faith’s part to see beyond the body or beneath the physical surface. In this moment Faith disassociates herself from Buffy’s body, asking Riley, “What do you want from her?” Shortly thereafter, having apparently learned something about her self through living as the other, Faith begins to assume Buffy’s ethical role, to redefine her position in the world (“I am not a killer. I am the Slayer”), and to fight for what is right. She begins to understand the moral complexities of being the Slayer, recognizing that she has a choice to fight evil because it’s wrong rather than because she possesses the physical power to do so.

“Who Are You?” also plays with notions of selfhood through other characters. For example, Spike is reminded by Faith (as Buffy) that he is “William the Bloody with a chip in his head.” In other words, he is no longer the self he used to be or the self others knew him to be. But neither is William the Bloody the person he used to be prior to being sired as a vampire: William the “bloody awful” poet (“Fool for Love” 5.7). Positioning Spike as a continually evolving vampire/person/character is fundamental to the plot lines of upcoming seasons. Tara also provides a site at which to question the relationship between self and other when she acknowledges that none of the Scoobies know her: “They don’t even know I exist, right?” In response, Willow claims she wants to keep Tara for herself, but she must also recognize (and perhaps fear) that if the others knew Tara (or even knew of Tara) they might discover the extent of Willow’s relationship with her. One’s friends can reveal something about oneself.

Indeed, Faith (as Buffy) immediately recognizes the sexual connection between Willow and Tara, as she acknowledges rather crudely to Tara: “So, Willow’s not driving stick anymore.” Tara likewise immediately recognizes that Buffy (that is, Faith) is not herself: “A person’s energy has a flow, a unity. Buffy’s was—was fragmented. It grated, like something forced in where it doesn’t belong.” Notably, the episode suggests that a stranger may be better than a friend at recognizing subtleties about a person’s character—subtleties that exist beyond the limitations of familiar physical features and expected patterns of behaviour. Riley knows Buffy intimately, but only Tara recognizes the “other” within her; Buffy knows Willow very well, but only Faith recognizes the sexual relationship Willow shares with another woman. (Where does Buffy think Willow has been spending her nights?) In “Superstar” it is Buffy who recognizes that Jonathan is not the person (or people) he claims to be: “He just seems too perfect.” Both “Who Are You?” and “Superstar” imply that people are not necessarily what they appear to be and that each of us needs to be open to recognizing the other within the one (or self) we thought we knew.


Marebabe said...

"...and Eliza Dushku as Buffy.” How utterly perfect! Sarah and Eliza were both brilliant portraying the switcheroo in “Who Are You?” And at the end of this episode, when Buffy and Faith were back to normal, Buffy’s hurt feelings over Riley not realizing the difference between them reminded me sharply of “Fringe” this past season, with Olivia and Alt-Olivia.

I was super-confused at the beginning of “Superstar”. The trouble was, I couldn’t place Jonathan, and his cute intro in the opening blurb, followed by the opening credits that featured him quite prominently, had me wracking my brain. “Who IS this guy?!” I actually stopped the DVD about 4 minutes in and read a little of Nikki’s chapter on this episode. The light went on. OHHHHH, right, he was the guy who presented Buffy with the Class Protector Award at the Prom. At that point, I was still a bit confused, but at least I remembered where I’d seen him before. And for quite some time, I thought this was purely Jonathan’s fantasy, rather than any sort of spell.

I enjoyed the James Bond 007 music during the fight scenes. But pretty soon I was thinking, forget Bond! Jonathan believes he’s Our Man Flint who can do, like, EVERYTHING! PERFECTLY!

LOL when the book burst into flames and Giles said, “Xander, don’t speak Latin in front of the books.”

Before “Where the Wild Things Are”, I never really noticed what a great old house they got for the Frat House/Initiative HQ. (Love the vintage tile in the bathroom.) Speaking of love, I LOVED Xander and Willow’s open-mouth dumfoundedness at the sight of Giles singing with his guitar in the coffee house. (I thought he did fine.)

The rapid jungle growth in the house reminded me of “Jumanji”. Something about that is supremely creepy and scary. It’s so out-of-place and out-of-control. How do you even begin to deal with something like that?

Y’know, I was thinking, the editors of the Dictionary add new words every year. “Poltergasm” should totally be included (giving credit to Xander, of course).

Christina B said...

It's funny you say, "...and is where many of the fans who still hated Faith at the end of season 3 really came around."

I didn't. Not on my first OR my second watch.

I FINALLY came around at the end of Five By Five!
NOW I get why everyone likes Faith!
God, that was heart-wrenching!

I REALLY disliked both Superstar and Where the Wild Things Are.
The ONLY good thing was Giles singing.
Yes! He's VERY sexy when he sings, Willow! ;)

More about Angel--

Eternity REALLY bugged me. Like, a LOT.
Did I miss something? How did Angel jump through the window in Rebecca's house and save her when she hadn't invited him in?
Didn't they JUST make a HUGE deal about him watching Kate's father die while Angel had to stand in the hallway and watch because he couldn't enter? Argh.

Angelus in Eternity. WTF? He's suddenly The Joker, now? He wasn't at all like that in Buffy!

I could also see from watching Eternity that I'm going to have a VERY hard time with Angel moving on.
I'm fine with Buffy dating other people, but I didn't like the chemistry between Angel and Rebecca at all!
I kept wanting to slap him and remind him about Buffy! ;)

And about Five By Five--
I think this is where things are going to change for me when it comes to Wesley.
At the moment, he's still a slightly annoying background character I can live without.
But that torture scene...I can almost see that he's going to change for the better after that.

I hope...?

Can't wait for next week's tearfest!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

The old body-switch episode (see The X-Files, Star Trek, Smallville, Angel...) I thought Sarah was the far superior, but it's easier to do bad (on Smallville, Tom Welling is far superior in their episode to John Glover, who is usually a brilliant actor.)

I still don't like Faith. Now. Today. Ah, well.

When Sarah looks in the bathroom mirror, does anyone else expect a hand to come through her head? Ah, Grudge...

Faith's not too bright - she's taken the trouble to set up the switch, then she's not at all careful about what she says to the scoobies.

That scene with Faith and Spike? The other thing that got me to keep watching the show. Sarah and James' chemistry FTW!

Faith, Buffy (Fluffy?) is in the leather pants of evil a la Angelus.

Faith assumes that Riley is using Buffy, because sex is only about using to her.

"And we conjured this"... kryptonite?

I freaking love Superstar. But Jonathan gives Riley and Buffy advice that keeps them from breaking up. No wonder Nikki hates it. :)

WTWTA starts almost the same way as the previous episode, only this time Buffy is competent.

You know, if the fans didn't get the Willow/Tara thing by now...

The last time I tried to play this episode the DVD didn't work so I though it was damaged. This time it was fine. Ah, well. Maybe if I scratched it with a nail?

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Christina, please try and stick it out with Angel. It is hard to watch him with these ridiculous women sometimes, but you will be rewarded. And Wesley is a real treat!!!

Again, I am going to say that I DO NOT have a problem with Riley. I think he's charming, handsome and funny. I love his comment about feeling really tall in the Jonathan reality of Superstar. I also liked his comment when they were all talking about what they remembered most from the "spell" and he said the swimsuit calendar: "but not in a good way." As for Jonathan, the episode became tiresome, but I did like when The part I liked it when Jonathan was singing. He was great, btw. The girls were watching him with the same adoration as they were when they ran into Giles singing in the coffee house in WTWTA. The only difference in those two episodes/scenes was Xander's reaction. Love Xander.

Giles and Spike haven't had much to do lately. Even though James Marsters is in the main credits, we see much more of Anya. Speaking of Anya, LOL at Xander and Anya in the ice cream truck. Xander and his ever changing jobs.

I love the way Sara Michelle Gellar and Eliza Dushku played eachother's characters. It helps improve the way people perceive both Faith as a character and Eliza as an actress.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I liked it when Jonathan was singing. He was great, btw. The girls were watching him with the same adoration as they were when they ran into Giles singing in the coffee house

Though Tony did his own singing. Danny did not. But he's an Emmy nominated writer, so that's okay. :)

Dusk said...

Eliza and Sarah were great as Fuffy and Baith as I call them.

Only thing I really like about WTWTA was the Willow reaction.

Johnathan 007 credits rock.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Did anyone else notice the magazine on the dashboard in Xander's ice cream truck: Giant Insects. LOL

Colleen, thanks for the info on Danny not doing his own singing. It was a close voice match. I DID, however, assume he wasn't playing the trumpet! LOL

Love Tony singing...with his earring, none the less. I *heart* Giles/Tony.

Page48 said...

Giles should have busted out the "Behind Blue Eyes" in the episode "Who Are You?". I'm just sayin'.

I've never been fond of Jonathan in anything but the smallest of doses, so "Superstar" is tough to get through until Buffy starts to clue in and then the payoff comes along.

Plenty of fun stuff to go around in these episodes, though:

-Giles lying about having Jonathan's calendar.
-'poltergasm' as Marebabe mentioned
-Buffy: "Get out of that body with your hands up"
-Jonathan starred in "The Matrix" even though he never left town. That doesn't even register with the others. Ha!

Buffy (as Faith) tells Spike she's got muscles he's never even dreamed of. Does she mean Buffy's muscles or hers?

Buffy (SMG) is really looking anorexic at this point in the series. I mourn the loss of her baby fat.

I was really hoping to rewatch "Angel" again as well, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Tom D. said...

I just want to say thanks to Nikki and this week's guests for what I think was a particularly excellent week of Buffy-blogging. Especially Kociemba's analysis of Sarah and Eliza's ways of playing each other's characters.

Also, I agree with Page48 in wishing that Buffy hadn't gotten all skinny.

Tom D. said...

Who Are You might be more packed with moments I love than any other episode in the series.

Tara: "I am, you know ... yours."

Giles: "Dammit, man, our families are in there! And tiny, tiny babies!"

Spike: "You know why I hate you, Summers?"
Faith: "Because I'm a stuck-up tight-ass with no sense of fun?"
Spike: "Well, that covers a lot of it, yeah."

Faith: "I could squeeze you until you popped like warm champagne and you'd beg me to hurt you just a little bit more ... and you know why I don't? Because it's wrong!"

Even Adam, though he's not a great villain, has a nice insightful line about how vampires fear death more than humans do because it doesn't come naturally to them.

Efthymia said...

"Who are you":
- What IS a stevedore?
- Although I've never been a fan of Riley, I kind of feel bad for him. No one else knew it wasn't really Buffy, how was he supposed to? And he's the one who knows Buffy the least.
- Since Faith was in Buffy's body, couldn't she just punch Forrest in the face?

My experience with this episode is the reverse of Nikki's: I remember liking it when I first saw it (I find Danny Strong very amusing), but now I was a bit bored...

Orgasm inducing wall. Enough said.
Thankfully, ms. Forbes won't be doing any more BtVS writing.

Missy said...

'Who Are You'

Obviously my favourite of the bunch.
@TomD listed all my fav quotes,Thanks Tom :)

Both Girls do a Great job acting like each other.
But after countless rewatches,the pinky hair move from Eliza still seems out of place.
I don't recall Sarah/Buffy ever doing that.I tend to miss subtle girly moments like that.

I love that Faith can tell just how much Willow as changed...and that perception from an outsider like Cynthea says can shine a light on truth.
Not just surfacey truth...which is never an honest truth,it's truth gets buried when you've known someone for yrs...& it becomes easier to fool them.

Spike maybe kinda liked the idea of Buffy coming onto him....he leaned in. ;)
(I always notice the lean in..and wonder if it was scripted,knowing what I know I think it was just a James as Spike moment)

I know Faith had found a truth in herself...but I still wish she could have smacked Forrest upside the head when he was being a dick to her.

WILLOW&TARA.....That relationship owns my heart.


I love Jonathan as big guy on campus(as Faith would say) but the Demon and the concept itself gets lost in "How awesome is it to see Buffy ask for help from a bit player in the verse".

Brad Kane(who we last saw as Tucker Wells 'Prom' Hellhound raiser) is doing the singing for Danny Strong.
(He's also the singing voice of Aladdin in 'Aladdin')

I love all the little details that went into making Jonathans world,Playing Cards,Comics,A Biography,Action figures,various TV spots ect. it's awesome that Joss&Co. wnet through all the trouble.

It's lost it's shine over the yrs.

Notice Anya doesn't flinch at the mention of Bunnies in this Alt world.
Jane Espenson says on the commentary that it worked for the alt world but was a total slipup.


This is the second of only two episodes from the entire series I can't stand...obviously I mentioned way back that s3's 'Revelations' was no.1.

I enjoy Kathryn Joosten as much as the next person.
And Giles/Tony singing 'Behind Blue Eyes' is beyond awesome...as are the reactions of Xander,Willow,Anya and Tara.

Spike and Anya get alittle "Alone Time" that is completely misconstrued by Xander.

It's not the creepy bouncy poltergasms....it's the idea that that old $#@! killed all those innocent children and then on top of itthe old crone said it was for GOOD.WTF?
Also the weird similairity between this story and the fact that Pr.Walsh had her "Sons" living in Lowell house probably knowing damn well what went on there.UGH.

As for Ats
I don't like 'Eternity' either,Rebecca wanting to be a Vamp and mickeying Angel's drink.
It just falls flat.

I do however LOOOOOVE 'Five By Five'(and 'Sanctuary'....I need my Faith fix.Lol

I enjoy 'The Ring' on rewatch.
It's not the best ep but it's interesting enough & the monster make up is top notch.
Plus we get a new W&H associate Miss Lilah Morgan.(Who I only recently found an appreciation for)

David Kociemba said...

Thank you, TomD!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

It's not the creepy bouncy poltergasms....it's the idea that that old $#@! killed all those innocent children and then on top of itthe old crone said it was for GOOD.WTF?

She didn't kill them. She tormented them and sexually repressed them, which is pretty darned bad. They aren't ghosts, they're poltergeists.

Nikki Stafford said...

I have to echo the sentiments about SMG shrinking, and for me it's no more apparent than in Who Are You? In fact, when I was watching it, there's a scene where she's in a tank top and walking into the church where I said to my husband, "Where the HELL did Sarah go?? Look at her! When she turns sideways she disappears!" Unbelievable.

It's a sad thing to note on BtVS, I have to say. I have a long section in my book where I talk about the issues surrounding Tara; when she first showed up (and I sadly remember this well) fans hit the message boards saying they really hoped that Willow wouldn't hook up with "fat" Tara. Amber was really hurt by it, but fought back in an inspiring post on the Bronze board.

And then, sadly, lost some weight that she really didn't need to lose and now is a wispy little thing (she's still gorgeous, but her face looks very different). I thought Tara looked amazing, as did Buffy and her voluptuous curves in earlier seasons. Sigh.

Nikki Stafford said...

TomD: I agree with you on all those fave lines; in fact, I had each of them written down! Whenever we get to the church scene I always look forward to the "tiny tiny babies" line, which I ADORE. And did you notice he flails his arms about like he's the Fyarl demon? ;)

Missy said...


Technically you're right,but how many of those kids killed themselves because she mistreated them...to be honest I'd hate to wonder.

Christina B said...

Speaking of Tara and losing weight, I'm watching Supernatural for the first time and I was surprised to see TWO Buffy alum.

Amber (Tara) and Mercedes (Harmony) are in two different Supernatural episodes and BOTH play vampires!


I almost didn't recognize either, but Amber's face is ALMOST the same (albeit much slimmer). Mercedes has definitely grown up!

Cynthea said...

I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments. And I can tell from of a few comments that you'll certainly enjoy upcoming seasons.

Thanks for the list of quotations, Tom D., and for your feedback on this week's blog entries. I'm having fun with this blogging adventure.

Cynthea said...

@ Missy: Thanks for your comment about outsider perception. When writing this week's entry, I had questioned whether to include the final paragraph (on the grounds of potentially insufficient textual evidence for the point I was trying to make). But you helped to articulate the difference among "truths." And I love your phrase "surfacey truth." Good Buffy speak!

Linda345 said...

Marebabe: Me too about confusion regarding "Where do I know this guy from?" When it hit me, that this is Mr. Suicide, I was glad to see him doing well. Even though he's maybe not doing all THAT well, but he's better, and getting a bit philosophical. Incidentally, I thought Danny Strong was terrific playing the two personas. As was SMG playing Faith, with her "aboot." (Why does Eliza pronounce things so Canadianly? Isn't she from Boston?)

Must have been the late hour I watched it, but Superstar totally sucked me in, too sleepy to even question why Buffy was all, "oh, fighting a nest of demons is too hard. I need heeeeelp!" Since when? And when the demons said it was a fake, still didn't get it.

In short, I loved the first of these episodes, Fringey as it was, and was less entertained by the others. Superstar went on too long, and I couldn't find a point to Wild Things.

vw: heeze--what guys do when they have a cold.

David Kociemba said...

I can, in fact, give readers Benson's post, May 4th, 2000:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about what people said about Tara on the internet after the last episode aired. At first, I was very hurt. I tried to disassociate myself from feeling bad by saying: This is Tara that they are talking about, not me. But I couldn’t. I guess it hurts when someone calls you ugly or makes nasty comments about your weight whether or not it is really YOU they are referring to. I am just a human being and I feel like I deserve to be treated as such. I also feel that Tara deserves to be treated with a little more kindness and compassion.

Yes, I am not a STICK. I am a NORMAL, HEALTHY (I was gonna say Girl, but…) WOMAN. I have breasts and hips and I am very happy that they are part of me. I weigh 118 and I am 5_4. If you saw me in real life, you would think I was on the thin side. But on tv, next to my very petite costars, I do like heavier. I am PROUD to be NORMAL. A body is a beautiful thing to waste. Believe me, I have seen enough of my friends and peers waste away to NOTHING so that they could work in this industry. So that they could perpetuate the LIE that ANOREXIA is Beautiful. IT IS NOT. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. ALL OF YOU. Just for being.

You all can judge me and Tara for being ‘fat’, ‘gay’ and ’shy’. I suppose that my being on tv gives you that right. But I DO NOT have to read what you say. I have enjoyed being a lurker. But my feelings just can’t take the criticism. Those of you (you know who you are) with sensitivity will understand. Thank you for sticking up for us. Tara and I both appreciate it. I think that being a beautiful, heavy, lesbian witch rocks! No matter what happens I’m glad I get the chance to walk in Tara’s shoes. All you girls and guys out there who think that starving, binging and purging and exercising yourself to DEATH is gonna change how you feel inside - It’s NOT. Don’t buy inot all the media crap. Love yourself for who you are, not what others THINK you should look like. It’s DEFINITELY more important in this life to love each other despite our imperfections.”

Source; restlessbtvs.com

David Kociemba said...

Regarding Sarah Michelle Gellar's weight, however, I'd recommend that you take a look at the varying representations of Buffy in live, illustrated and animated form here: http://www.watcherjunior.tv/05/schumacher.php.

There, she asks the following questions, in addition to talking about the weight issue:

What relationship does Buffy have to Sarah Michelle Gellar? Are they physically identical or is Gellar an approximation of a fictional but fully-formed and different Buffy?

Are the Comic Book Buffy and the Television Buffy the same person? If so, how does one reconcile the fact that they are often visually dissimilar?

How does the comic book format affect the presentation of Buffy? How much do illustrators author?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I don't think the comic book Buffy is the TV show Buffy. I think they are each their own 'reality', and if the comics are canon, they are comic book canon.

Tom D. said...

Thanks for linking to that article, David! It was really interesting to me, especially its observations about SMG's face. I only sorta skimmed through it because I'm at work right now, but I want to encourage everyone to check it out. It's very visual and engaging and detailed and insightful.

Anne said...

Missy said:

(I always notice the lean in..and wonder if it was scripted,knowing what I know I think it was just a James as Spike moment)

I think it's a bit of both, some episodes have the shooting script as a special feature on the DVD's and this one does, here is part:

'Cause I could do anything I want
and instead I just pout and whine
and feel the burden of slayerness? I
mean, I could be rich, I could be
famous, I could have anything.
(her tone becomes
intimate, hypnotic)
Even you, Spike. I could ride you at
a gallop till your legs buckled and
your eyes rolled up, I've got muscles
you've never even dreamed of, I could
squeeze you till you popped like warm
champagne and you'd beg me to hurt
you just a little bit more and you
know why I don't?

Spike, as aroused as he is confused, takes a moment. Before he can answer:

FAITH (cont'd)
(mock serious)
Because it's wrong.

She laughs. He takes a step back, not amused.

I get this chip out, you and me are
gonna have a confrontation.

Count on it.

James and Sarah have an amazing chemistry, they feed well off eachother, and its different than what David and Sarah had, still as powerful though. the same goes with Oz/Seth and Willow/Allyson and Willow and Tara/Amber, both are unique in their own way and both of them are powerfull and true.

Anne said...

David Kociemba said...

What relationship does Buffy have to Sarah Michelle Gellar? Are they physically identical or is Gellar an approximation of a fictional but fully-formed and different Buffy?

Are the Comic Book Buffy and the Television Buffy the same person? If so, how does one reconcile the fact that they are often visually dissimilar?

How does the comic book format affect the presentation of Buffy? How much do illustrators author?

Thanks for that article David, a very interesting, read, I don't know if you have seen the comics, but the front page drawing really looks like SMG and in some issues, #40, even the comic drawings have a ressemblance to her, even her unique nose.

Blam said...

Woo! Happy Rewatch Midpoint, Nikki and everyone! Wish I was here!

VW: appomat — Vending machine for smartphone and tablet widgets.

Blam said...

PS: Life's been throwing me some technical difficulties, but I should be caught up on the viewing if not the commentary soon. My sister and her kids are coming to visit for a while, however, which although terribly fun means that I'll probably fall behind again. I do miss you all. *sniff*

Missy said...


I've only gone through the scripts(on the DVDs)the once.
I don't find them half as interesting as the actual special features of which I watched numerous times.Lol

I went to a con over the weekend and noticed afew Spike mannerisms while James was talking and what not.
It came across as a James move.
Even if it was hinted at in the script.

lyssiria said...

@Christina B Re:eternity. That wasn't chemistry between Angel and Rebecca, that was her trying to use him and he being too dense to see it right away.

@Colleen/redeem Re:Faith/Buffy in the mirror I TOTALLY wanted a hand to come out of the mirror too!

@Efthymia: a stevedore is a dockworker who is responsible for moving heavy crates around. so you can see how complementary that is to Giles!

I absolutely LOATHE Where The Wild Things Are. LOATHE. I come down firmly on the pro-Beer Bad side, and don't mind Forbes' other ep, but this one is just too much. It's not just Buffy who's acting oddly, it's Riley. He's completely recovered from Prof. Walsh's death? She's his Mom-away-from-home, and she's just been murdered by his semi-brother, and he's fine?! No, I don't believe it.

Now, to be fair, I do find two redeeming points in this episode. The first time I watched it, my mouth did the exact same as Willow's. And I love it every time. I also like the word Xander makes up that's been said many times this post, POLTERGASM!! Heh. And maybe when Xander tells Mrs. Lowell that "She who smelt it dealt it. It's what you said, but faster." So maybe three things I like about the episode.

And I LOVE Superstar. I knew right away who Jonathan was, but I didn't know what the heck was going on! I felt that it was SO wrong that nobody believed Buffy when she hypothesized that Jonathan wasn't entirely on the up and up (thanks, Willow). BUT, if they hadn't had Jonathan there to be a genius, they would never have figured out Adam's power source, and then what woulda happened?

I can't say anything about Who Are You? that hasn't already been said. And ooooh man do I love what Faith says to Spike.

WV - wiged - to have a mini wiggins

lyssiria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthea said...

@ David Kociemba: Love the Schumacher piece!

Anne said...

OMG Missy you went to a convention with James Marster, I am so jealous of you right now, you are so lucky. How was it? do you go often? does he still get a lot of Buffy questions?

I have to agree with you on the scripts, sometimes when I read them it almost feels like fanfiction, which makes me apppreciate the actors even more. It's just your comment made me go look, and yes the real special features are way better, i also like the commentaries, they are always fun and interesting, especially Joss'

Missy said...


I <3 the commentaries.
(-The scripts do read like fanfics-rarely does the final product read like the "Scripts" do,which I'm thankful for)

1)It was AWESOME.Lol

2)It only happens once a yr in my City(and this was only the 4th yr...so far I've only missed 1)

3)It appears he does...He did get alot of other questions but for the most part it was OMG SPIKE I LOOOOOOVE YOU. :D

Missy said...


James held a Concert which was beyond awesome.
Lotsa Great Songs.

Anne said...

Thank you Missy for your answers, it sounds amazing, you are so lucky, I didn't know he did concerts. Spike is aweome so I guess its normalk lol. I wish they would do those conventions in Canada.

Missy said...


James is actually lead singer of the band Ghost Of The Robot ,Who recently got back together and have an album coming out toward the end of the yr.
James' son Sullivan will be guitarist on the album.
They have preivous albums up on Itunes to buy if you havn't heard them befor.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

James was at a convention in Toronto last year. He's in Montreal in September. So he does do Canada, but it's a big country. :)