April 2003 posts

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The First Good? -- Angelus, 22:18:30 04/10/03 Thu

There is an idea that good and evil taken to their extremes are exactly the same thing. For instance, the concept of the avenging angel slaughtering all 'unbelievers' or on a less violent note the believers in heaven singing hymns and praising God all day without a thought or a question of anything it does.

In more ordinary terms there is the idea that 'absolute good' like 'absolute evil' would do anything to succeed at its goals- the ends justifies the means.

Personally I don't believe that Jasmine is "The First Good" but in some respects it would make sense. Something happens that allows the First Evil and the First Good to manifest after a fashion on Earth. The FG uses "good" demons like Skip but even those good demons will do anything without question when the FG says so. Once manifest it starts slaughtering all "evil". The FG wants to bring about peace, love and togetherness but will do absolutely anything to accomplish that goal. It is a "good" so absolute that it would terrify with its ruthlessness if people weren't kept in a euphoria by its power.

Again, I really don't think Jasmine is the FG. But still its an interesting idea.

[> Re: The First Good? (BtVS & ATS future spec, BtVS 7.22 spoiler) -- Veronica, 08:43:51 04/11/03 Fri

I had a similar thought while watching "Shiny Happy People" and realized that would be an interesting way to setup any potential climactic crossovers....

Buffy and Co are manipulated by the First Evil into doing its bidding (probably without knowing it), and Angel and Co serve the First Good. They clash and in the end realize they have only themselves to be responsible to.

Oh, wait... that was really good when Babylon 5 did it.

So, like you Angelus, I don't really believe that's the way things will go, but it is an interesting line of thought.


[> [> Re: The First Good? (BtVS & ATS future spec, BtVS 7.22 spoiler) -- Angelus, 23:30:55 04/11/03 Fri

I didn't think about that but, yes Babylon 5 did that and the concept was great. Too bad the episode where the conflict between the Vorlons and the Shadows was finally ended was the lamest episode in the history of Babylon 5. It suddenly felt like Star Trek. Now we can all be friends.

I actually hope Jasmine is the First Good. I don't believe it but it would be different and would show that absolutes are too much for humans. There must always be balance.

It makes me think of what Galadriel said in the Lord of the Rings. Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a good Queen, too beautiful and terrible to behold. She would use the power to do what was right, for good at any cost and in the end, there would be no free will, no choice, only her absolute good that none could live up to. Not the exact words she said but you get the idea.

[> Would Anti-FE be better? -- heywhynot, 07:55:43 04/12/03 Sat

I think my calling Jasmine might of been a misnomer. How about the anti-First Evil? The FE is about despair, torment, pain. Jasmine is about ridding the world of despair, guilt, pain, bringing a world of shiny happy people. Without the challenges of life the First Evil offers, life is without substance, choice, color. Without the happeness though their is no reason to overcome the challenges of live, no hope, no reason to live. Humans are full of both. As long as the two opposing higher beings were balanced, humanity was alright. The balance was upset. Each is now able to act on its own accord, to remake the world in their own images. The race to see who gets there first. Of course then there is humanity (represented by the SG and AI) not really given the choice in the matter who eventually I think will go this is our world, see you later.

Vote Here For Your Favorite Buffy Episode, Season, & Moments -- Angel Wannabe, 04:10:35 04/11/03 Fri

Reply to this post with your votes!

My rankings of the seven seasons of Buffy:

#1: Season 2 (My favorite of all)
#2: Season 3
#3: Season 5
#4: Season 1
#5: Season 7
#6: Season 4
#7: Season 6

My favorite Buffy moments:

#1: Buffy and Angel's 'last kiss' in "Becoming, Part 2" (2- 22)
#2: Buffy's self sacrifice in "The Gift" (5-22)
#3: Buffy and Angel's dance in "The Prom" (3-20)
#4: Buffy throwing books at Giles in "Prophesy Girl" (1- 12)
#5: Buffy and Angel's argument at the end of "Amends" (3- 10)
#6: Almost every moment in "Passion" (2-17)
#7: "I'm Buffy, TVS. And you are?" -- "Anne" (3-1)
#8: Seeing what Sunnydale would have been like w/o Buffy
"The Wish" (3-9)
#9: Spike's revelations in "Lover's Walk" (3-8)
#10: The big goodbye's in "Graduation Day" (3-21&22)

*Not ranked but could be: The final moment of the show????

Best Episodes of all Time:

#1: Becoming (Season 2)
#2: The Gift [along with Spiral & The Weight of the World]
(Season 5)
#3: Angel (Season 1)
#4: Graduation Day (Season 3)
#5: Prophesy Girl (Season 1)
#6: The Body (Season 5)
#7: Passion (Season 2)
#8: Amends (Season 3)
#9: Lover's Walk (Season 3)
#10: Anne (Season 3)

The Best Bad Guys:
#1: The First
#2: Angel
#3: Spike
#4: Glory
#5: The Mayor
#6: Drusilla
#7: Willow
#8: The Master
#9: Snyder
#10: Mr. Trick

Worst Decisions of the Show:
#1 Turning Willow gay
#2 Taking Angel off the show
#3 Let's face it, ALL of Season 4!
#4 Buffy having nasty sex with Spike
#5 Making Spike a good guy
#6 We're keeping Anya around because why?
#7 Did anyone understand "Once More With Feeling"?
#8 Buffy dating the principal?! Snyder would have been a
better fit!
#9 Bringing Buffy back "wrong" in Season 6
#10 After vamps, demons, gods, ect., the three geeks and
Willow were the only villians we could come up with?

[> "Did anyone understand 'Once More With Feeling'?" Are you sacriligeous or something?!? -- Rob, Joss-fearing OMWF lover, 08:45:02 04/11/03 Fri

Not surprised though because you barely seem to like anything past the third season. Me, I didn't start loving the show with a fiery passion until the fourth.


[> [> Is that why I feel like intoning, "we are not worthy, we are not worthy" every tuesday night? -- Solitude1056, 08:58:59 04/11/03 Fri

[> Responding to your poll and rebutting your 10 "worst decisions" moments -- cjl, 09:56:07 04/11/03 Fri

My rankings of the seven seasons of Buffy:

#1: Season 2 (yep, still tastes good)
#2: Season 3
#3: Season 7
#4: Season 5
#5: Season 4
#6: Season 1
#7: Season 6

In the spirit of perversity, favorite Buffy moments from generally reviled eps:

#1: The Scoobies' collective "we're doomed" realization at the end of "I Robot, You Jane"

#2: Buffy's dramatic living room entrance, in full DMP "uniform" ("Doublemeat Palace," natch.)

#3: The speedo scene from "Go Fish"

#4: Spike/Anya bonding in "Where the Wild Things Are"

#5: Willow's breakdown at the end of "Wrecked"

#6: Spike, Buffy, Wood, and the rocket launcher in "Him"

#7: The "childhood's end" B/A smooch at the end of "Bad Eggs"

#8: Xander and Anya's "the wedding is not the marriage" discussion in "As You Were"

#9: Willow out-psychs Parker in "Beer Bad"

#10: Spike's "let's get out there and fight for puppies and niceness" speech at the end of "Doomed"

Best Episodes of all Time:

#1: Becoming (Season 2)
#2: Restless (Season 4)
#3: The Body (Season 5)
#4: Selfless (Season 7)
#5: Surprise/Innocence (Season 2)
#6: Halloween (Season 2)
#7: Normal Again (Season 6)
#8: The Prom (Season 3)
#9: Checkpoint (Season 5)
#10: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (Season 2)

The Best Bad Guys:

#1: Angelus
#2: Spike
#3: Dru
#4: Faith/Mayor Wilkins
#5: Ethan Rayne
#6: The Master
#7: Dark!Willow
#8: D'Hoffryn
#9: Principal Snyder
10: The First Evil

Worst Decisions of the Show:

(Excuse me, I'd like to test that theory....)

#1 Turning Willow gay

Brave decision by Joss and Co., and the Willow/Tara relationship (before it self-destructed) was one of the sweetest, most appealing couplings in the history of the series. Considering that Seth Green's bolt-from-the-blue departure screwed everybody over, the ME crew recovered with uncommon grace and daring.

#2 Taking Angel off the show

Have you watched Angel's show? I think it was worth it.

#3 Let's face it, ALL of Season 4!

You're kidding me, right? OK, the Initiative/Adam plotline wasn't exactly riveting, but there were tons of high-quality eps: The Freshman, Living Conditions, Harsh Light of Day, Hush, Someting Blue, The Initiative, Superstar, This Year's Girl/Who Are You, Yoko Factor, Primeval, and the capper, Restless. Can't wait for my S4 DVD.

#4 Buffy having nasty sex with Spike
#5 Making Spike a good guy

I'll let other Spike fans take these points. I only have so much space.

#6 We're keeping Anya around because why?

Because of "Selfless," that's why. And because Emma is pretty, she sings like an angel (not like an Angel, thank God), and she has comic timing that some "superstar" actresses would kill for.

#7 Did anyone understand "Once More With Feeling"?

Just about everybody. If you want a good idea what the episode was all about, New York's Village Voice had an excellent article, "Slay Miserables," about the conceptual triumph of OMWF. Google it up some time.

#8 Buffy dating the principal?! Snyder would have been a better fit!

It was one date, and actually more of a meeting of colleagues than a romantic encounter. Not sure Wood ever saw Buffy as a potential romantic interest; he's got WAY too many issues to sort out, anyway.

#9 Bringing Buffy back "wrong" in Season 6

That was the point. She DIDN'T come back wrong. It was existential malaise. (See slain's essay on existentialism and Season 6.)

#10 After vamps, demons, gods, ect., the three geeks and Willow were the only villians we could come up with?

Again, that was the whole point. S6 involved the Scoobies turning inward, tending to their own internal crises, and a near-inconsequential threat like the geeks was allowed to balloon out of control. Always liked the geeks, and I wish Dark!Willow had been given more room to be evil. But what the hey, you can't have everything....

[> [> Thank you, cjl!!! -- Rob, 10:15:39 04/11/03 Fri

I wanted to refute the list myself, but I figured everybody here knows I disagree with it. The arguments are much stronger coming from somebody who hasn't been branded the Buffy Cheerleader. ;o)


[> [> Amen! -- HonorH, 13:54:50 04/11/03 Fri

Actually, most of that list is what I consider ME's *best* decisions. While I don't mean to be insulting, I'm afraid the author of that list sounds like he/she's stuck in 3rd season.

As to the Spike thing, I won't give a long defense. However, I will say that I think what they've done with Spike, and Spike and Buffy, is one of the gutsiest decisions ever--and it's paid off in an amazing character, interesting plotlines, and fascinating philosophical conundrums.

[> [> [> Amen to that Honor H. -- s'kat, 15:49:10 04/11/03 Fri

Completely agree. And thank you for Spike defense. Want mine? Go to my site. Bloody tired of the posts bashing Spike.

I struggle doing a list because I change my mind. My favorite season depends on my mood. My favorite episode, same deal.

HEre's some of my all time favorites:

Once More With Feeling
Fool for Love
Becoming Part I & II
School Hard
Who Are You
Dead Things
The Body
The Pack
Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered.
Lover's Walk
Lies My Parents Tell Me

5/2 = tie
4/6= tie
3 = definitely better than Season 1
1 = better than most television

[> [> [> [> Re: Amen to that Honor H. -- Rufus, 06:12:51 04/12/03 Sat

Hey, ditto for the Spike or anyone bashing.....I love this show and may not like everything that happened but I can't control everything in my life so why should I expect to control ME?

I'm not going to rate the seasons cause I love them all, and I mean all, for different reasons. If I get started on certain eps in each season I could go on and on.....so I'll save you all the pain. Except to say I even loved some of what are considered the crappy eps like Reptile Boy....I also have a fondness for season four and of course the too perfect to be true Riley....and who can't love Professor Walsh and her way of turning Mommy into a scary, dirty word.

One thing.....congrats to Joss for taking the Musical and giving me one more reason to love the shows.

Now a bit about Angel......I love that show too and won't say one show is better than the other cause it's a personal preference thing....but as with Buffy I can take each season and find numerous eps to go on and on about.

[> [> [> [> [> Completely agree Rufus. Thanks for that. -- s'kat, 09:58:57 04/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> Re: Amen! -- Gwyn, 15:02:15 04/12/03 Sat

It strikes me that the original post in this thread is so mistakenly dismissive of the show beyond season 3 that it is not worth discussing.

[> [> I'll Raise You an 'Amen,' and add a Halleluah! -- Wizard, 23:18:18 04/13/03 Sun

The only problem with S4 is that the overarching plot has failed to be as compelling as the stand-alone episodes (and certain of the plot relevant ones ie. Hush, Primeval, Wild at Heart, Restless and a couple others).

Oh- and the Speedo scene was wonderful, maybe not in my Top Ten, but wonderful. They never looked at him the same way after that, I'm sure...

[> [> [> Preachin' to the choir -- ponygirl, 11:56:47 04/14/03 Mon

Though I must say I find it impossible to rank the seasons, in a large part to season 4's continual climb in my estimation. It made me cranky at the time but I just love it now. Ours is a simple uncomplicated love, none of the grand troubled passion I have for s6, but s4 is the season I'd most want to take on a fun weekend getaway.

Right now my favourite episodes are:

OMWF/Hush/The Body - the Joss holy trinity
Fool For Love - not just because of all the great Spike stuff, the structure of the episode is amazing
Dead Things - the most shocking hour of television I've ever seen, and I mean that in the best possible way
Lie To Me - pretty underrated, I think it's one of Joss' best episodes
The Wish - total bleakness and a blind hope in a better world! What more could you want?
Band Candy/Zeppo/Superstar - the view askew trio, shows just how funny seeing things from another perspective can be
Conversations With Dead People - pure elegance from the fade- up to the final credits.

[> Re: Vote Here For Your Favorite Buffy Episode, Season, & Moments -- Miss Edith, 10:17:26 04/11/03 Fri

Favourite seasons in order:
Season 3
Season 5
Season 2
Season 4
Season 6
Season 1

Favourite episodes:
2. Restless
3. Fool For Love

[> Re: Vote Here For Your Favorite Buffy Episode, Season, & Moments -- Mencius, 15:25:06 04/11/03 Fri

Favorite Season

#1: Season 2
#2: Season 3
#3: Season 6
#4: Season 1
#5: Season 5
#6: Season 4

I would wait until season 7 is done before I try and rate it, because I cannot yet see where many of the ideas are going.

Favorite Moment:

#1: The school uniting to fight the Mayer in Graduation II
#2: The end of Becoming II
#3: Giles finding Jenny dead in Passion (not that I enjoyed it but, I was amazed with how it was done)
#4: Zander facing down Jack at the end of the Zeppo
#5: Zander talking down Willow at the end of Grave
#6: The end of Prom
#7: Buffy descending into the earth to fight the Master in Prophecy Girl
#8: The end fight in Graduation I
#9: Then end of Becoming I
#10: The First shifting through past villains in Lessons

Best Episode

#1: Passion (Season 2)
#2: Once more with feeling (Season 6)
#3: Becoming (Season 2)
#4: Zeppo (Season 3)
#4: Graduation (Season 3)
#5: Villains (Season 6)
#6: Prophecy Girl (Season 1)
#7: Whatís My Line (Season 2)
#8: Anne (Season 3)
#9: Checkpoint (Season 5)
#10: Tabula Russa (Season 6)

Best Bad Guys (Girls)

#1: Drusilla
#2: Faith
#3: The Mayer
#4: Angel
#5: Spike
#6: Willow
#7: The Master
#8: Magie Walsh
#9: Glory
#10: Warren

Worst Decisions:
#1: Riley
#2: The disc drive in Adamís chest
#3: Having Giles betray Buffy
#4: Bargaining (the whole thing)
#5: The relationship between Cordelia and Wesley
#6: Using Jonathan and Andrew as villains
#7: Kennedy
#8: Principle Wood

These may not actually be bad decisions since many people seemed to like them, I however did not. If I were in charge these events/people/episodes would not have occurred. Maybe that is why I am not in charge.

[> [> Sorry, a spioiler for ěLies My Parants Told Meî in above post [nt] -- Mencius, 17:11:13 04/11/03 Fri


[> I love these posts but answer them strangely (spoilers up to 7.9) -- SkyMatrix, 00:31:33 04/12/03 Sat

S7 is still in progress, so I don't really consider it eligible for any awards (except the bad ones, although actually I like S7).

My rankings of the seven seasons of Buffy:
I don't like doing this! Maybe it's because I feel the main reason for a season ranking is for people to express their hatred of Season 4 ("the Initiative and Riley suck!") and/or Season 6 ("Joss abandoned us and Marti sucks!"). I don't mean to bash people with views similar to that, but I do have a wierd tendency to tend towards disagreement with the "party line" of fans in general. There are undeniable problems with both Seasons 4 and 6, but I think you could possibly say, when you really consider some of the weak MoW S2 eps, there might be more above-average S6 eps than S2 eps (I wonder if anyone would be daring enough to test that theory!).

There are also some seasons that I've all but forgotten, especially Seasons 3 & 4. I've been refreshing my memory on Season 3 with my new DVDs enough to say that it's probably the best season, as I'm sure S4 (coming June!) will not be as good. I definitely think that S1 is the weakest, maybe it would have that "special place in my heart" if I'd started watching in March 1997, but I didn't, so it doesn't! I do love the actual Scooby dynamic of S1, but the eps themseleves are downright stupid sometimes! I think it's the fault of a less than ideal writing staff.

My favorite (most memorable) Buffy moments
For me, these are represented by simple quotes that evoke the event or just a general notion:

"You came back wrong!"
"Close your eyes."
"There was no pain / No fear, no doubt..."
"Hello, gay now!"
"Hold on, just let me kill this guy."
"Live, for me!"
"What's that do?"
"Give me time."
"Kick his ass."
"I never said that!"
"I'd like to test that theory."

Best Episodes of all Time:
1. Once More, With Feeling
What, is there another answer? Come on, this is better than most Shakespeare plays (and I love Shakespeare)!

And the usual suspects, i.e. the certified Whedon classics. Hard to avoid them really:
2. Becoming, Part 2
3. The Body
4. Innocence
5. The Gift

6. Who Are You
7. Prophecy Girl
The unsung (or just less-sung) Whedon classic.

8. The Zeppo
Xander realizes he's not the buttmonkey without anything really changing. Plus the "make fun of B/A" scene (and I have nothing against B/A!)

9. Dead Things
I don't know that I like watching this ep, but this is where they really nailed S6 while not avoiding any of those things people complained about (darkness, twisted sex, etc). Although if UPN had censored the "balcony scene" for me I don't really think I would have complained!

10. Restless
Well duh! Can't wait to see the commentary.

The Best Bad Guys:
Anytime our friends turn against us and try to kill us, i.e. Angel, Faith, Willow, it's all good. It's repetive, but there's a reason it's a classic. ;)

Worst Decisions of the Show:
From lurking (earlier) I've figured out that Rob is known as the Buffy cheerleader, but in my IMs and previous board wanderings I've been something of that as well. Although I have yet to suffer serious disillusionment, I'm starting to become more realistic about some things.

1. The addiction plotline
As I was telling LittleBit, I spent some quality denial telling myself this was a good direction, only for Joss to have Giles say "no it wasn't addiction," basically saying "yeah that was a dumb idea wasn't it?" Basically, it seems that they couldn't find a better way to tread water between the excellent "Willow becomes drunk with power" sequence of eps 1-8 and the "Willow tries to kill you" sequence of 20- 22. What they shoulda done is just kept with the power- hungry angle. I don't know if it's true that AH somehow influenced Willow's plot, but I can see why people want there to be a good excuse for this stuff!

2. The balcony scene, tied with DMP sex
As last minute in as it was, and as horrible as the commercial break in the middle was, the AR had a dramatic point to it, and it reminded us that no Spike doesn't have a soul, yes he's done really well without it, but no it's not reasonable to expect him never to do bad again without it. So what was the point of this bloody scene? This and the DMP scene also consist of the entire opinion of Buffy for some people who gave up after watching these two eps with me. Kinda frustrating. If it weren't for the increased W/T onscreen affections, I would almost say they'd have been better off with a more restrained, WB S6.

3. The Dawn Show, with Kit and Carlos, at SHS! Just kidding.
Okay maybe I just want to know what was up with this? Honestly, I've never seen a season premier that had so little to do with the season, in which it really did seem to be pretending to set up the season and yet isn't at all, making it a little too transparent that they shifted gears at some point. Yeah they probably saved us from a trainwreck, but it's weird to see it in the distance before it evaporates (ok that metaphor didn't hold).

4. The occasional joke that's so funny it supposedly justified ignoring character development.
I'm actually not thinking of Xander in the crypt in "Gone" (he's born & raised in Sunnydale, don't you think he's mastered denial? that scene is way more embarassing for Xander than Spike IMO). I'm thinking of "Do you want me to kill Anya for you" in "Never Leave Me." Didn't Willow just bond with Anya in STSP and Selfless? So why say that? There are other cases, this is just what occured to me now.

One last thing... it gets old when people blame ME for an actor leaving (Giles), or when they blame an single episode writer for a long-ago planned arc point (DeKnight). Blame where blame is due!

Ok that's enough for now!

[> [> I'd like to test that theory -- Sophist, 08:23:12 04/12/03 Sat

I think you could possibly say, when you really consider some of the weak MoW S2 eps, there might be more above- average S6 eps than S2 eps (I wonder if anyone would be daring enough to test that theory!)

Recognizing that this is very subjective, I count 8 above average for S6 and 13 for S2. Here are my 2 lists:

S6: Afterlife, Life Serial, OMWF, Tabula Rasa, Smashed, Dead Things, Normal Again, Entropy.

S2: WSWB, School Hard, Halloween, Lie to Me, WML 1 & 2, Surprise/Innocence, Phases, BB&B, IOHEFY, and Becoming 1 & 2.

I know some people like Bargaining and SR, but I don't. Even if we add these in, that only takes us to 11 for S6. The rest of S6 is "wrecked" by the Willow storyline that you rightly criticized and some other problems.

The count could even be higher for S2. I'm probably giving too short shrift to The Dark Age and Killed by Death, and perhaps Ted.

S6 has the fewest overall successful episodes of any full season (IMO). Ironically, it has the most entries on my top 10 list. Talk about all or nothing!

[> [> [> ACK! Add Passion to my S2 list. Duh. -- Sophist, 09:21:47 04/12/03 Sat

[> [> Hmmm sort of agree...more thoughts on S6, etc -- s'kat, 10:36:20 04/12/03 Sat

Agree with a lot of your points. Except I started watching in 1997/ Season 1 and while I appreciate the episodes in retrospect? I don't consider them the same quality as later seasons. Actually S1 just doesn't interest me overly much and when/if I can afford DVD Player and DVD's, while probably be the one season I don't purchase. Season 3 - while the strongest overall story arc, bored me at the time and I forget it's episodes the most. Another DVD I may not
end up ever purchasing. Yes I loved the episodes: Dopplegangerland, The Wish, Lovers Walk, Bad Girls, Consequences, and Enemies...but the rest? (shrug) Season 6 - for all the negative criticism I've read, intriqued me the most and was the season that made me go online and actually discover the addictive pleasure of writing essays. If it weren't for the gusty experiments of S6, I probably wouldn't have ever written any Buffy posts or essays. I blame S6 for this addiction I can't quite break. S6 is the reason I became obsessed with Buffy. (Although went briefly online and was obsessed in Season 2, after Angelus appeared.) Dang it.

Season 6 surprised me, they went in a direction I never thought any one would try, actually take the central heroes to a dark place? Unheard of on network television. To show the hero engage in S&M sex with the pseudo-villain? We've entered film noir. Risky. Interesting. And to make a musical that makes fun of musicals, brilliant. IT's the only musical version of a tv show I've seen that actually worked on all cylinders. Yeah, the Willow-addiction storyline was a bit tired. But I loved DarkWillow at the end. So excused it. Dead Things was one of the riskiest and best episodes I've seen, painful to watch at times? Discomforting? yes, but that was the point. It took us completely and utterly inside abusive relationships and showed the pain on both sides. The attraction-repulsion.
While the balcony scene did make me wince, it also was an excellent metanarration on the characters impulses, fears and desires. In that one scene - the writers were able to convey Buffy's shame and attraction, her fear of telling her friends, her feeling that she was cut off from them and her fear of her dark side. Spike in that scene is almost a metaphor - a shadow...and the scene does bring back an image from Welcome to the Hellmouth - where Giles also conveys that Buffy must always feel apart.

Comparing best episodes between Seasons 2 and 6 - gets into subjective territory, I think, and I tend to change my mind on a daily basis. Today my picks:

S2: PAssion, Halloween, School Hard, The Dark Age, Becoming Part I & II, Suprise, Innocence, Bewitched/Bothered/&Bewildered, What's My Line Part I &II

S6: Bargaining Part I&II, Afterlife, Flooded, Life Serial,
OMWF, Tabula Rasa, Smashed, Dead Things, Normal Again,
Entropy, Seeing Red, Two-To-Go

Today S6 wins by a nudge.

Agree S7 isn't done yet so I can't fairly evaluate it. PArticularly since of all the seasons it is the least episodic and the most serialized. I honestly don't think any of the episodes in S7 really work as stand-alones. They seem to work better placed against the whole. So I'm waiting to see the whole and how it fits together.

Agree on most everything else.


[> [> [> Re: more thoughts on S6, etc -- skyMatrix, 11:05:06 04/12/03 Sat

Two responses in one! I don't know if this works but I'll try.

First, to s'kat, I think it's interesting that starting with S1 doesn't necessarily mean one looks at it sentimentally. (I don't recall where I saw someone express that.)

Secondly, I would add something about S6, which is that my reason for liking it is slightly different. I'm pretty open minded about the show, but when the trailers for "Crush" made it look like Buffy was gonna "get with" Spike, I started yelling "noo!" And in "Intervention" I laughed at Spike and cheered on Giles, right up until Spike starts defying Glory. So I was close-minded about B/S, yet ME managed to practically build an entire season around an idea I was totally opposed to, and I really enjoyed it (although maybe not "enjoyment" in the traditional sense). So I figure if they won me over, it was a success in some degree. I also remember watching the first 5 eps and going "damn this is way deeper than S5!" Some of the middle eps did chip away at this, but it's still largely great.

As for Sophist, I did my own count this morning (I was tired last night) and yeah, S2 does win even if I uncritically include some eps like "Bargaining" (I loved that premier but probably only Part 1 deserves inclusion). But "Phases"? It's the first one I saw, but in watching it again, the scenes with Cain the werewolf hunter are so bad that they drag the ep below the "average" marker. Maybe I'm being too hard on the ep, but that's some of the worst stock villainy I've ever seen! Well, even without "Phases" you still win, I'm just saying. ;)

[> [> [> [> Why I like Phases -- Sophist, 13:42:47 04/12/03 Sat

From a really subjective view, I like the humor. I've always loved lines like "mein furrier", and "People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves" still cracks me up every time I hear it.

More seriously, I like it because it adds 2 layers of depth to the Buffyverse. One, it gives us Oz to contrast with Angel. Both have a demon inside; one is uncontrollable only 3 nights a month, the other under a specific trigger. Two, it addresses the issue of homosexuality quite nicely (see KdS's post in Rob's annotation thread above). ME was able to carry over this point even into S4 (NMR), all the while reminding us that we share an essential humanity.

I should add that I interpreted your "top half" episodes to mean "top half of Buffy". If I really had to list the top 70 episodes as of today, I'm sure I'd have too many and be forced to make some hard choices. In that event, an episode like Phases might well fail to make the cutoff.

[> [> [> [> [> I also like Cain, because... -- Rob, 13:56:00 04/12/03 Sat

...he is a nice black-and-white counterpoint to the greying of the Buffyverse that was occurring here. Although it's earlier than most people say the rules began to grey, Angel and Oz are two examples of characters whose evil is not so easy to be classified. When dealing with a creature of evil who also can be a fully souled human at other times, it's a harder decision for Buffy to make. Cain has no such moral objections, and his view, paralleled with Buffy's, really underlines and enhances the importance of the concept that it can be dangerous to see the world as only black or white.


[> [> Ok, that was REALLY hard -- Sophist, 11:49:11 04/13/03 Sun

In my post above I commented that many of the episodes I listed as "above average" might not make the list if I actually had to go through the whole series. Just for obsess... er, fun, I decided to do just that. Damn it was hard.

There were 122 episodes through S6. If we evaluate these episodes against each other (as opposed to other shows), 60 must be "below average". You try coming up with 60 "below average" episodes. I know everyone's tastes will vary, but here are some of the better episodes I had to rate "below average":

The Pack, Invisible Girl, Puppet Show, WSWB, The Dark Age, Killed by Death, Homecoming (and, sob, I love "Slayerfest"), Amends, Earshot, The Zeppo, The Prom (though it's a personal fave), The Freshman (sorry Sunday), Fear Itself, Superstar, Forever, Spiral, Bargaining 1 & 2, SR and Entropy.

It truly is a commentary on the overall excellence of the show that episodes this good could be seen as below the norm.

[> [> [> Another method (Council of Watchers site) -- skyMatrix, 16:51:29 04/13/03 Sun

The Council of Watchers website takes votes from random users and automatically compiles episode rankings for them. I ranked all the Buffy eps so far (I can't find an easy way to do it with only S1-S6, so this is all 139 eps aired in the US so far). I measured which ones were before the approximate halfway mark, #70, the rating of which is 7.83 (tie between "Consequences" and "Villains," which in itself is kinda suspect, "Consequences" being way better IMO!). So how does S6 and S2 shape up?

"Above Average" in Season 6 (Rating / Votes / Deviation)

1 Once More, With Feeling 9.16 429 2.21
2 Tabula Rasa 8.65 302 1.64
3 Two to Go 8.44 181 1.79
4 Grave 8.43 207 2.00
5 Seeing Red 8.24 203 2.04
6 Dead Things 8.18 206 1.64
7 Normal Again 8.14 216 2.03
8 Bargaining Part One 8.04 265 1.93
9 After Life 7.92 257 1.91
10 Bargaining Part Two 7.84 255 1.91
11 Villains 7.83 179 1.98

"Above Average" in Season 2

1 Becoming Part Two 9.41 422 1.92
2 Innocence 9.10 328 1.98
3 Passion 9.04 343 2.12
4 Becoming Part One 8.99 325 2.10
5 Surprise 8.52 230 1.86
6 Lie to Me 8.46 217 1.75
7 I Only Have Eyes for You 8.40 243 2.11
8 Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered 8.37 219 1.85
9 School Hard 8.35 213 1.91
10 What's My Line? Part Two 8.32 188 1.46
11 Halloween 8.21 208 1.94
12 When She Was Bad 8.11 209 1.68
13 What's My Line? Part One 8.09 188 1.50

So Season 2 beats Season 6 by two eps? Also you'll notice that there are a lot more high-scoring eps in the top of S2. Also, the average rating for both S2 and S6 eps is apparently 7.62? How can that work? This is just getting weird.

I'd guess it was because people agree on which eps of S2 suck (the MoW non-arc ones) while one person's fav S6 ep is the bane of another person's existence.

"Below Average" in Season 6

12 Entropy 7.65 182 1.74
13 Smashed 7.44 267 2.13
14 Older and Far Away 7.37 188 1.74
15 Life Serial 7.36 234 2.06
16 Flooded 7.24 238 1.81
17 Hell's Bells 7.03 188 2.08
18 Gone 6.97 224 1.89
19 All the Way 6.88 224 1.81
20 As You Were 6.70 203 2.14
21 Wrecked 6.59 241 2.35
22 Doublemeat Palace 5.61 221 2.16

"Below Average" in Season 2
14 Phases 7.74 176 1.50
15 The Dark Age 7.58 182 1.42
16 Ted 6.40 194 2.26
17 Killed by Death 6.16 202 2.20
18 Some Assembly Required 6.11 189 1.86
19 Go Fish 5.75 191 2.37
20 Inca Mummy Girl 5.64 204 2.15
21 Bad Eggs 5.57 214 2.28
22 Reptile Boy 5.35 200 2.22

For instance, you thought you hated "Wrecked," but according to this it's still better than the 7 worst eps of S2. I think this is partly because Joss is still stuck with writers like Robert DesHotel & Dean Batali (all their S2 eps are below average by this reckoning) or Joe Keine & David Reykenmeyer (sp) (although Fury & Greenwalt, and even Whedon, are responsible for some of these as well).

Btw Sophist, when you ranked average and above-average, which season "won"? I don't think you actually mentioned your conclusion!

[> [> [> [> Re: Another method (Council of Watchers site) -- Sophist, 22:03:13 04/13/03 Sun

I had 9 "below average" in S2 and 15 in S6. My own ratings elevated Smashed and Life Serial and dropped Bargaining 1&2, SR (barely), Villains and TTG/Grave; that accounts for my 15 versus their 11. OTOH, Entropy, for example, is clearly better than any of the "below average" S2 eps; I just had to include it because I couldn't bring myself to rate it above Phases (note the COW site also gives Phases the higher rating).

The COW ratings are interesting. If they had more voters and a controlled format for the ratings, I'd give them more credit. I find it hard to believe, however, that episodes as brilliant as DT or NA rate below BB&B and Halloween (much as I love both of the latter two). There are some other interesting anomalies, but those stand out.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Another method (Council of Watchers site) -- dream, 10:41:47 04/14/03 Mon

See, the problem with these comparisons is that I think Season Six aimed higher than Season Two, but failed more frequently. The Willow plotline - almost worked, could have worked, was daring and interesting, but ultimately unsatisfactory to me. Buffy and Spike - very daring, very difficult. It worked, for me, but I found a lot of it hard to watch. Which is more brilliant - something that's excellent, but almost unbearably painful (like Dead Things), something that's interesting and daring but not well- executed (like the Willow storyline), or something that's perfect but not nearly so complex (like Halloween)? Also, the episodes in the later seasons tend to stand alone less - I loved the Buffy pulled out of heaven storyline, but disliked the Dawn neediness and kleptomania storyline. Sometimes these were in the same episode, with nearly equal importance. How do you rank that? The earlier episodes tend to be clearer - I never cared much for Oz-as-Werewolf, so I don't tend to like those episodes very much. Overall, I would describe the seasons as follows:

Season One: Innocent charm, pleasant, enjoyable, but other then Prophecy Girl and The Witch, these are the episodes I'm least likely to watch again.

Season Two: A somewhat deeper version of Season One that rather abruptly truns fabulous - but only for a couple episodes. (A woman I work with has been catching up on her earlier season Buffy, and she told me the other day that she had just watched the "worst Buffy episode ever." Which one? Surprise. Surprise? "Yeah, it was all 'Oh, Buffy,' 'Oh, Angel, I can't bear to be apart' blah, blah, blah." I had always considered this episode to excellent, in light of the storyline it starts going, but really, by itself? I think she might be right - just okay, in my estimation.

Season Three: My favorite, I think. For my money, the perfect balance of humor and drama, stand-alone and serial, the quality is consistent, it aims fairly high (though not as high as later seasons) and makes the mark. (Can't believe you don't like it better, s'kat.)

Season Four: Extraordinary number of excellent episodes, but the long-term storyline (the Adam business) is a case of good metaphor, bad story.

Season Five: Excellent, solid, some of my favorite episodes (The Gift, The Body), but ultimately doesn't resonate with me quite as deeply as Season Three, doesn't have as many stand-out episodes as Season Four, and doesn't go as far into difficult and dangerous territory as Season Six.

Season Six: Both the best and the worst - highest aspirations, hardest to watch, most failed execution, some of the best episodes. Absolutely essential development that I would rather not have to go through again. Sounds like adolescence.

Season Seven: Well, not finished yet, but what can you say? Selfless, Beneath You, LMPTM, Conversations with Dead People - these episodes are some of the best theyve ever done. The midseason slump was particularly pronounced this year, but I have great hopes for the last five.

Ultimately, ranking just doesn't work.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Very true -- Sophist, 11:14:44 04/14/03 Mon

Ultimately, ranking just doesn't work.

Doesn't mean we stop doing it though. Just think of college football polls or (to take my own preferred sport) trying to decide who's the best baseball player.

I agree with your evaluations of 4-6. I'm a little kinder on the midseason eps for S7 than you are, but that's partly because I strongly believe in reserving judgment until we can evaluate them in the context of the entire season. I should note that I took the same view last year, only to decide at the end that the stretch from Wrecked to Hell's Bells really was awful (DT excepted).

I pretty much agree about S1, though I'd add WttH/Harvest and Angel to the list of eps to re-watch (and maybe The Pack), and I'd drop The Witch. I also agree about the overall level of quality in S3; while none of the eps stand out to me the way, say, Passion does in S2, it's very hard to identify a "bad" episode from S3, while S2 has several.

S2 is my personal favorite (hard to tell, huh?). I'd add 2 points to yours. One is that the sequence from Halloween to WML2 seems to me underrated, in part because of the extraordinary quality of the run from Surprise - Becoming 2. The other is that your friend shouldn't judge Surprise on its own when it really is a 2-part episode. As a unit, Surprise/Innocence is as good as it gets IMO (I have it 5th all-time, just because I can't resist ratings :)).

[> A couple clarifications.....and thank you's! -- Angel Wannabe, 02:18:56 04/12/03 Sat


-I have seen all seven seasons, all episodes

-True, I am partial to the "high school" part of the show

-However I liked season 5 and just might like 7 but i need to see it all yet

-I LIKE SPIKE! If i had ranked the characters, he might have been #1 as the best; but I liked him as evil Spike, not as pathetic Spike. True, he's still funny but i think his character was stronger earlier in the show

-Yes i did think 4 and 6 were weak but i agree that having an "internal" bad guy rather than an "external" in season 6 was a unique change (i think that might play a big role in season 7 as well)

-I LIKE ANYA! I just thought that after her and Xander's break up that she had outlived her role in the show. Not that i wanted her to go away, I just didn't see a place for her

-Season 6 might not have been bad....maybe it was good but i simply didn't like it

Thank you's

Thanks to everyone that replied to my post so far! I enjoy it when people agree with me and when they don't! I hope more people reply and I hope you guys that did will respond to this post as well! Just remember...I LIKE THE WHOLE SHOW FROM BEGINNING TO END! When I say I don't like season 4, what I should be saying is "I didn't like season 4 AS WELL AS the others." "Beer Bad" was awesome and so what the whole Buffy vs Kathy thing! Keep that in mind when you reply to my post and keep arguing with me! I love every minute of it!

[> [> Beer Bad.....the tribute to philosophers -- Rufus, 06:33:38 04/12/03 Sat

I liked Beer Bad cause I've convinced myself that the mention of Philosophy was a tribute to Masquerade...so I'm delusional, but I ain't a shipper. Plus Buffy hitting Parker.....twice and after he even apologized....cathartic....;)

Season six....well I loved it more than some people but I felt it had some of the strongest episodes ever....like Once More with Feeling...Afterlife....Seeing Red...Dead Things...Tabula Rasa...Grave (we got to see Giles). I didn't like how they did the addiction thing but understood why they did....I feel Rack was diminished as a bad guy cause we didn't see him do that much. Flooded was great as we saw the beginning of what would be the battle between Giles and Willow at the end.

Spike as a bad guy.......Yawn....you can't keep a character bad enough to sustain any menace and do the things that Spike was doing. Watching him evolve from a typical bad guy to pathetic loser, to what he is now was the best thing they could have done for the character. Going over the top and being a bad guy is the easiest thing to do....but to look pathetic in front of an audience is tough. I didn't much like Angelus either, prefer the evolving Angel.

My vote for the best bad guy in Buffy is Maggie Walsh because she thought she was saving the world in her own twisted way.

In Angel the best bad guy is Liam/Angel's father....cause he could be anyone's father. Liam's dad honestly thought he was bringing up his son the best way he knew how and couldn't see that he was destroying him. The non-monster bad guys are more frightening cause they have the potential to be real.

[> [> [> I loved Beer Bad! -- Masquerade, 07:53:08 04/12/03 Sat

I think because the first four episodes of the season disappointed me and the allegory of the pseudo-intellectual frat-boys going cave man just made me giggle.

But if there's ever a real shout-out to me, I'll faint dead away. I doubt seriously anyone in ME has ever heard of this site, because I like to think Joss couldn't resist making a comment about it if he had.

[> [> [> Re: Beer Bad.....the tribute to philosophers -- s'kat, 11:09:21 04/12/03 Sat

Spike as a bad guy.......Yawn....you can't keep a character bad enough to sustain any menace and do the things that Spike was doing. Watching him evolve from a typical bad guy to pathetic loser, to what he is now was the best thing they could have done for the character. Going over the top and being a bad guy is the easiest thing to do....but to look pathetic in front of an audience is tough. I didn't much like Angelus either, prefer the evolving Angel.

James Marsters made a very good point about this in a recent interview - the interviewer had asked him if he found fans were missing evil Spike.

"Yeah, but evil Spike was fairly two-dimensional character, and if they had had to watch evil Spike for the last six years they may not be crying for his return as much as they think."

Agree. I liked the introduction of Angelus - b/c it gave me a chance to see a different side of Angel. Angel had actually gotten sort of dull for me by the time Surprise rolled around. Then Angelus appeared - and I went - okay, things just got interesting. Maybe there's more going on here. I like it when they take a character in a new direction, aren't afraid to dismantle the character and rebuild it in a new way, yet stick with what came before, so it's not retcon, so much a building it up.

I may be weird, but I never considered Spike a pathetic loser. Evil? yes. Cruel? yes. Sympathetic? yep. Complex? very much so. Pathetic Loser? NEVER. But my definition may be somewhat different than most. IMHO pathetic loser is when you give up on life and either go back to the easy path or sit in a gutter feeling sorry for yourself. In Season4, Spike killed demons, sought help from his enemies, and made a deal with the devil. Not pathetic. Misguided? Evil at times? Yes. Pathetic? No. In Season 5 - he decided to try and be good for a lady love, yet do evil things on the side, underwent torture, ordered a Buffybot, and helped save the world. Hardly pathetic. In Season 6 - involved in a s&M relationship, abusive at times, sympathetic and nice at other times, descending into self-hatred and finally having a nervous breakdown and seeking a soul. Hardly pathetic. In Season 7, bonkers? yes. Remorseful? yes. Pathetic Loser? no. Sorry don't see it. But than it depends on your definition.

Pathetic loser to me is someone who doesn't try to change, who blames others for everything, and who runs away from their problems. I know many people in the fanbase seem to think that the moment a man cries over his sins - he's pathetic. I don't. It's a pet peeve of mine.

Outside of that one minor quibble? Agree with everything above.

I love all the regular characters in these shows. But what I love most about them is none of them have stayed static,
they've all changed and evolved in some way. The show never repeats a character's emotional arc. Have to give them a lot of credit for that.

[> [> [> [> Re: Beer Bad.....the tribute to philosophers -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:02:41 04/12/03 Sat

In my mind (and in the minds of a lot of people, I imagine) has more to do with their abilities rather than their choices.

"Lover's Walk": unable to stop girlfriend from breaking up with him, unable to get over Drusilla, unable to bear the pain so he turns to alcohol, and unable to execute his plan. Pathetic loser.

Early Season Four (pre-chipping): again, plans fail, gets caught in sunlight a couple times, grabs a cross, thus burning himself, more effective at name calling than actual fighting, lost Drusilla again, reduced to using Harmony as a Dru substitute, and gets zapped by tasers from behind. Pathetic loser.

Late Season Four (post-chipping): the chip itself renders him unable to fight his enemies or defend himself against them, nearly starves to skeletal state, has to come pleading to Harmony for help and gets thrown out, has to become the prisoner of people he hates and help them just to stay alive, is tied up many times, suffers injuries with comic effect (sunlight burns, arrows, bullets), unable to impress the Scooby Gang in any way, has to bunk in the basement with Xander, tries to kill self (and even fails at doing that), forced to wear clothing he finds tacky and demeaning, crashes car while escaping Initiative, is so desperate for money he performs little tasks for the good guys, falls for Faith-in-Buffy's seduction, gets beat up by demons at the bar, can't even hit Adam without hurting his fist, fails to fully carry out Adam's orders, and is almost killed for it. All in all, pathetic loser.

Season 5: again, sleeping with Harmony, whom he dislikes, failing to get his chip removed, falls in love with someone he knows hates him and will never love him back, can't even tell the woman that he loves her (instead he stalks her house, steals little things from her to make a shrine, fails to control himself while practicing a speech, tries fighting monsters attacking her in order to be impressive, and tries to trick her into going out with him), gets zapped, hit, burned, thrown across rooms, bloodied nose, hit be arrows, and staked, can't get Buffy to even want to spend time with him, has a robot built to look like Buffy since he's so inept at trying to impress the real thing, unable to lift the Troll hammer or beat off Doc (or Glory's minions for that matter). Survey says: pathetic loser.

Season 6: can't even win at kitten poker, has to disguise himself in a very embarrassing outfit, gets zapped when he tries to bite people, can't get Buffy to love him even at her most vulnerable, unable to beat sword demon, can't cover his tracks as demon egg smuggler, doesn't know to refrigerate demon eggs, tries for petty revenge against Buffy's breakup with him by bringing a rather lame date to the wedding, resorts to alcohal and comfort sex, unable to force himself on Buffy, and (keep in mind this may change depending on whether or not Buffy will develop love for Spike in Season Seven) gets a soul and all the torment that comes with it for the love of a woman who still doesn't love him back. In summation, pathetic loser.

You have to admit, from "Lover's Walk" onwards, Spike has been incredibly unsuccessful in love, revenge, evil, good, and happiness in general. While he may try very hard (which apparently lifts him out of the "loser" category in your mind), the traditional way of thinking of it is that a loser is someone who constantly fails, and Spike certainly fails constantly. As for "pathetic", I tend to associate that with debased, humiliated, and incompetant/incapable. And Spike has been all of those things many times over the past few years. A debased, humiliated, and incompetant/incapable person who constantly fails is a pathetic loser, and thus Spike is a pathetic loser. (Keep in mind, someone can be persevering and still be a pathetic loser, just so long as their perseverence never (or almost never) really works out too well for them) (And someone doesn't have to be non- sympathetic to be a pathetic loser; many sympathetic characters throughout literature have been pathetic losers: Oedipus, Hamlet, George Costanza, Dilbert)

On another note, I agree that if they made Spike a regular character (or even kept him recurring for several seasons) and didn't go the route they have done, it wouldn't be that interesting. However, that doesn't mean I stop preferring him in his early days when he could be evil and still be considered an interesting character. I also can't help wondering whether or not it would have been cool to bring Spike back as a villain throughout Season 4, and have killed him off or gotten rid of him near the end (while unchanging characters can get dull with time, Spike was charismatic enough to be able to pull off another season, I think), and whether that would have made the show better or worse I cannot say.

Lastly, terms like two-dimensional and three-dimensional are very subjective. For example, in Season 2, Spike was an evil, snarky being who was intent on killing the Slayer. That fulfills the requirements for a one dimensional character. But, he also was in love with Drusilla, and had a very heavy bent against people in charge (whether the Annointed One or Angelus). The question then arises, "each of these things makes Spike a little more deeper, so does that bring him to two-dimensional, or does each one boost him up a dimension to three dimensional?" If it's the former, Season 2 Spike was two-dimensional. If it's the latter, than Spike has always been a three-dimensional character. I personally can't decide which would be the better way to judge character dimensionality.

[> [> [> [> [> Reasons why I think Spike is so often humiliated..... -- Nitz the Bloody, 15:06:14 04/13/03 Sun

1.) He is a vampire ( and a paticularly tough vampire, it seems ) who can survive punishment far beyond humans. Though he has the special vampire weaknesses ( fire, the cross, sunlight, and the stake ), he's still much more durable than the human Scoobies ( even the slayer herself ), and he has the potential for slapstick. And since Spike is typically into some kind of bad dealings when he takes this abuse, we're free to laugh at the Big Bad being taken down a few pegs, the Bloody one forced to wear Xander's dorky clothes.

2.) So much of Spike's character is devoted to his puppy love/twisted obsession, that he shows even the undead can make a complete ass out of themselves when in love. Starting with Lover's Walk, when he gets very drunk following his break-up with Drusilla and falls asleep in the sunlight, trying to put out his burning hand with hard liquor, the rule of Spike's passions has gotten the better of his judgement.

3.) I think that in the seasons where Spike was grudgingly forced into the Scooby Gang, he realized that though he was still bad, he had to join up with Buffy and her friends for his survival, and they wouldn't want him around if they knew he was still a danger. So when Spike misbehaves, he ( and possibly James Marsters ) tries to temper it so that it's not evil deeds, but mischevious antics. For example, when Riley returns to Sunnydale to find Spike with his demon eggs, Buffy comes to Spike's defense by saying that he's just being Spike, the lovable rascal with the elaborate schemes. To some extent, because Spike can be such a valuable asset, Buffy and her friends just let him off with a scolding and occasionally a punch to the face.

If anyone's read Garth Ennis' risque but brilliant comic series Preacher, the character Cassidy is very similar; the Irish Vampire is more morally weak than soulless like Spike, but their evils are more pathetic than vicious.

[> [> [> [> I'm thinking "Lover's Walk" -- Rufus, 19:27:03 04/12/03 Sat

When Spike arrives in town a sobbing drunken mess who falls asleep outside of Angel's window. The same guy who is crying into his cocoa as he tells Joyce about his troubles.

Doomed....when he has to resort to wearing Xander's casual wear.

Fool for Love, as William in the alley saying his mother is waiting for him.....I could go on.

To look any less than perfect and in fact look like what some people would consider a wimp or loser is a brave thing to do in a business where image is all.

[> [> Glad to hear! -- Rob, 09:53:51 04/12/03 Sat

I've been struggling to come up with some rankings, and lists, but it's so hard!

Here's my season rankings, which, of course, are just in comparison to each other, because I love all of them:

Season 5
Season 4
Season 3
Season 6
Season 2
Season 1

And I think 7 will probably be before or after Season 5 (it definitely has the potential--no pun intended--to be my favorite), but it's really hard to judge without having seen the last 5 eps yet, which are almost always the best part of the season.

Best Final Shots:

1. The Body--Dawn reaching for Joyce
2. The Gift--Buffy's gravestone
3. Normal Again--Camera backing away in the institution
4. Killed by Death--the crayon picture the boy drew for Buffy
5. Hush--Buffy and Riley sitting on the beds in silence
6. Sleeper--The Bringer's ax swinging towards Giles' head
7. Get It Done--Sweeping shot of the army of Turok-Han
8. Lessons--First Evil as Buffy: "It's about power."
9. OMWF--Buffy and Spike kissing, with curtain closing.
10. I Was Made to Love You--"Mommy..." *sob*

The best episodes:

1. Once More With Feeling
2. The Body
3. Hush
4. Restless
5. The Gift
6. Normal Again
7. I Only Have Eyes for You
8. Selfless
9. Conversations with Dead People
10. Fool for Love
11. Becoming (I and II)
12. Doppelgangland
13. Superstar
14. Prophecy Girl
15. Earshot
16. Life Serial
17. Seeing Red
18. Dead Things
19. Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered
20. Spiral

And Joss forgive me if I forgot any other favorites!


[> Re: Vote Here For Your Favorite Buffy Episode, Season, & Moments -- atom and dream, 05:26:43 04/13/03 Sun

Oooh, these things are always fun.
Even if I can never answer them the same way twice.

Season rankings (leaving out season 7 as I'm only up to 'Potential'. Guessing I'm going to place it very high though) -

#1 - Season three.
Faith, the Mayor, the darkness in our heroes starting to show through and the format of the previous two seasons unravelling before our eyes. It's never been sexier or funnier.

#2 - Season five.
Grossly unfunny, apart from every glorious Espenson epsisode, and melodramatic but still... I've never been so hooked on the what-will-happen-next?-ness of Buffy. By Spiral it had me feeling this story was the most important thing ever. The Scoobies showing they're bigger and better than madness, death and gods. Epic as you like.

#3 - Season one
Hilarious, scary, perfectly-crafted and disciplined storytelling.

#4 - Season four
Yes, I know Adam and the Inititive are pants.
Thing is, we shouldn't let that distract us from everything else in this season being bloody fantastic.

#5 - Season two.
The real, pure BTVS. Everything since has been either a commentary or a variation on the material introduced here.
It only rates so low on my chart as I'm not fond of 'pure'.

#6 - Season Six.
I like and applaud almost every character and plot development in this season. I just can't bring myself to enjoy the actual episodes though because they're so flat, glossy, samey, humourless, and superficial. It's problems are all about style not content.

BEST EPISODES (Again, up to Potential. I haven't ranked these, due to the apples/oranges factor, just listed my ten favourites. Some Earth-shattering episodes and some small, perfect little stories that just did everything right. If I did bother to rank them though, OMWF would be easy to place at the top))

Once More with Feeling,
Conversations with Dead People,
I Only Have Eyes for You,
Who Are You?,
Fool for Love,
Graduation Day #2

Favourite momments :

1) Closing sequence of Becoming #2.

2) Closing sequence of Becoming #1.

3) The Mayor giving Faith the Playstation.

4) Ben turning up at the Gas Station in Spiral...sound of viewers across the world slamming head into hands.

5) Willow's wistful, "You couldn't have figured that out in high school?" in The Gift.

6) Spike vs. Nikki in Fool for Love.

7) Giles's reaction to ghost-Willow in Halloween.

8) Willow and the Buffybot discuss recent gayness and Angel's hair in 'Intervention'.

9) Faith's 'because it's wrong' practise session in front of the mirror.

10) Superstar Jonathon about to do "Something off the new album"

God, I could do these all day. Reminds me how much I love this series.

Best Baddies :

1) 'The Slayer' (In various incarnations, clearly the main villain of the show. This part of Buffy, Faith, the Primative, etc should probably be thought of in roughly the same way we think of BOB on Twin Peaks)
2) The Mayor
3) Spike
4) Angel
5) Warren
6) Drusilla
7) Sweet
8) Glory
9) Vamp Willow
10) Darla

Descions on the show that annoy me most...(I'm going with this rather than 'worst' since...who the hell am I?)

- Willow not identifying as bisexual when she blatantly is.

- Every writer execept Jane, Drew and Joss forgetting BTVS is meant to be funny.

- Bringing Buffy back so soon in season six. Couldn't we have had three or four episodes just with the Buffybot?

- Creating Angel:the series.

- Buffy's pre-emptive declaration of War on Terror, sorry, Evil. Dependant on how it turns out, this is either going to be my favourite or least favourite storyline. Joss's politics fill me with hope, but I worry over Buffy's.

- Featuring 'All the Small things'. Although at least the episode makes clear you have to be drunk to think it's a good song.

- Sidelining Xander so badly and forgrounding Spike. Spike's almost certainly the most complex and interesting character on televison, but the ammount of screentime given to him in S6 & S7 is just ridiculous. Angel never got so much either when he was romantic lead or when he was big bad.

[> [> Couple words of hope -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:05:25 04/13/03 Sun

"- Every writer execept Jane, Drew and Joss forgetting BTVS is meant to be funny."

Well, you're only up to "Potential", so that's understandable. But, I just hafta say that the next four episodes will have a lot of humor moments (though there are, as always, darker things going on). Two of these are Espenson penned, and one by Douglas Petrie, and the other by Drew Greenberg.

[> [> [> Re: Couple words of hope -- atom and dream, 22:05:19 04/13/03 Sun

Cheers. Looking forward to them.
And I like the dark things. Season six done right would have been far and away my favorite season.

On one of the DVD commentaries Joss said something about telling the actors to play the comedy underneath all the horror and to play the horror underneath the comedy. At some point they stopped doing that, and the writer mostly stopped giving them scripts that would have let them.

But now the good old days are back! 'Selfless' is pitch black, and paints the Scoobies as darker people than most of season six does, except it's hilarious. So's 'Conversations...'.

Every Buffy writer should have a little plaque on thier desk saying, "There's room for 'Mother's milk is red today' and the delicious anchovies song in the same script."

[> So you get the idea where my newbie arse comes from... -- Nitz the Bloody, 01:00:01 04/14/03 Mon

Season Favorites:
5, 3, 6, 2, 4, 1, 7

Best Moments:
-The Invincible Judge is blown to bits by modern weapons in " Innocent "
-Buffy stops Giles from killing himself in " Passion "
-Buffy stabs Angel to save the world ( obviously )
-Xander's rite of passage in " The Zeppo "
-" Hands! Hands! "-- " Doppelggangland "
-The doubledate at the beginning of " The Replacement "
-Xander's speech to Buffy at the end of " Into the Woods "
-Buffy's sacrifice in " The Gift "
-Every moment of " Once More With Feeling "
-Buffy vs. Warren, the busting of the orbs in " Seeing Red "
-Every moment of Storyteller

Best Episodes...
1.) Storyteller
2.) Once More With Feeling
3.) Into the Woods
4.) The Gift
5.) Fool for Love
6.) Seeing Red
7.) The Replacement
8.) I Was Made to Love You
9.) Becoming Pt. 2
10.) Doppelgangland

Best villains:
1.) Warren/ The Trio
2.) Spike
3.) Angelus
4.) The Mayor
5.) Drusilla
6.) Ben ( not Glory, Ben )
7.) Ethan Rayne
8.) Vampire willow
9.) Snyder
10.) D'Hoffryn ( more a pimp than a fiend, but still, he's cool )

Worst Decisions;
-Dawn's mini-scoobies in Lessons ( thankfully, they dissapeared )
-Willow becomes a stereotypical junkie
-Anya becomes human again in " Selfless ", becomes little more than a comic foil in the background afterward ( I fear the same will happen to Principal Wood and the amazing Andrew )
-The kiss in Lover's Walk; a big event, but too soon afterward, everyone returns to form ( Oz and Willow as the cute couple, Xander and Cordy hating eachother )

[> [> Totally with you on "Storyteller" (one of my fave eps, too)...not on season rankings. -- Rob, 10:15:14 04/14/03 Mon

[> [> Re: So you get the idea where my newbie arse comes from... -- shambleau, 10:40:33 04/14/03 Mon

Oooh! Someone who rates Into The Woods highly! It's so underappreciated, it's pitiful. I love Xander's speech, too. Not because I think he was right though. It was just beautifully in character. I wouldn't have the ep in my top ten, but it's somewhere in my top twenty-five.

Agree on Season 7, too.

[> Re: Vote Here For Your Favorite Buffy Episode, Season, & Moments -- Rabel Dusk, 15:50:12 04/14/03 Mon

First posted this over on the Sunnydale Station forum -

Here are my top ten Buffy episodes. They're listed by season, and not by quality - can't figure out which is my absolute favorite, or is this one better than that one.

Season 2 - Passion - The death of Jenny Calender. A lot of strong emotion in this one. Great narration by Angelus

Season 3 - The Wish - Cordelia's wish turns Sunnydale into Vamptown. First appearence of Bad Willow. Bad Xander. Jaded Buffy.

Season 3 - Graduation Day 1 & 2 - Big snake!

Season 4 - Hush - don't need to say anything

Season 4 - Restless - Willow, Xander, Giles, and Buffy get dream punished by the First Slayer, because they combined into one to take out Adam. Great dreams.

Season 5 - Fool For Love - The history of Spike. Why slayers get killed.

Season 5 - The Body -

Season 5 - Intervention - Buffy goes on a Vision Quest. Spike and the Buffybot. Glory kidnaps and tortures Spike because she thinks he's The Key. Spike tells Glory to sod off.

Season 6 - Once More With Feeling - don't like this ep quite as much with repeat viewings, but still in top 10.

Season 7 - Selfless - History of Anya or Aud

Other good Episodes - From season 2 - School Hard, Becoming, 1 & 2 - From season 3 - Doppelgangland, Choices - From Season 5 - Blood Ties

[> Re: Vote Here For Your Favorite Buffy Episode, Season, & Moments -- goose, 17:01:58 04/14/03 Mon

Season rankings:
Season 6
Season 2
Season 5
Seaons 3
Season 1
Season 4

*Season 7 could end up on top though.

Best Episodes

Fool for Love
Once More with Feeling
Lie to Me
Conversations with Dead People
The Body
The Wish
The Gift
The Zeppo
Dead Things
Beneath You
Lies My Parents Told Me
Two to Go/ Grave
Seeing Red
Never Leave Me

Best Moments

The end of Beneath You
When Giles hugs Buffy when he first sees Joyce's body in
The Body
Spike's speech about every slayer having a death wish in FFL
"every night I save you"
The end of The Wish
"In my plan we are beltless"
The end of Becoming part 1
Xander walking away from Cordy in The Zeppo
Angel's speech to Faith in Consequences
"You'll never be friends"
The end of The Gift; Spike's "you treat me like a man"
The kiss in Intervention
Buffy trying to keep Angel from killing himself in Amends
Buffy burns Angel with her necklace
Xander telling Anya he loves her in Into the Woods
Everybody in Tabula Rasa

Oh and i know there's more I can't think of at the moment, on that incredibly long list. Jeez, this just reminds me of the great show Buffy is (not that I've ever forgotten, but it's more of a reinforcement)

Angel Speculation, Based upon "Shiny Happy People" (SHP spoilers) -- Darby, 05:47:04 04/11/03 Fri

It's pretty clear that, whatever her identity and motives, Jasmine is not going to continue to Be the Power over Angel Investigations. But, as is quickly becoming obvious, AI is not her only seat of power - as of the end of this episode, she has a sizable fraction of LA following her.

So how does one fight this?

It could be as simple as killing the human Jasmine, or finding the whammy antidote, but I'm betting that the hints already given will preclude this. Jasmine isn't just the Bad, she's a window into the Angelverse mythology, showing how a balance between two warring sides, whatever they're called, is necessary to minimize damage to the scurrying ants - sorry, humans caught on the battlefield.

A large part of the groundwork laid for Jasmine's return was the elimination of Wolfram and Hart. Now, she's using AI to take out those of the demon LA that could have been W&H minions.

I think that to really put up a fight, Angel is going to have to switch sides and reconstitute Wolfram and Hart. He's going to have to meet the Senior Partners, and live up to that vague apocalyptic prophecy that made W&H think that he was so important to their future plans.

And then? With the knowledge that neither side has humanity's best interests at heart, with the Gods no longer that interested in Balance, does that become Angel & Company's job? Will that expand their mission enough to make picking up Buffy alumni a reasonable thing? Is that the paradigm switch Joss and Company are talking about for next season? Is that really a working paradigm anyway?

[> Another possible plan of attack -- d'Herblay, 08:22:55 04/11/03 Fri

It is strongly implied in "Shiny Happy People" that people with a history of mental unbalance are resistant to Jasmine's control. If this is the case, then Angel and his fellow resistance fighters need only take steps to mentally unbalance the whole of Los Angeles.

Their work is half-done already.

[> [> Not "mental unbalance," but -- Athena, 10:38:08 04/11/03 Fri

I don't think it's mental unbalance (a la Glory), as much as contact with Jasmine's blood that gives people the ability to recognize her.

The vamp who slashed her still had her blood on him when he ran into the guy who could see her for what she is (the one who ended up in the mental hospital). Likewise, Fred was washing the shirt with Jasmine's blood on it, and it somehow got into her system -- Fred even has a line about "I washed it until my fingers bled."

[> [> [> Re: Not "mental unbalance," but -- Darby, 16:09:48 04/11/03 Fri

So in both cases it was blood-to-blood contact - the waiter was scratched by the bloodied vamp claws, and Fred's hands bled in contact with the bloody shirt.

Although there may be a mental-illness synergy to it...

[> I really shouldn't be doing this... -- Doug, 09:38:53 04/11/03 Fri

...I have to finish an assignment right now; but I can't let this slip by me.

Recent episodes have really put me in mind of the Roleplaying game Hunter: The Reckoning. The thing about Fred and the man she encountered being "called", not to mention the sight of Jasmine's visage, and the kind of reaction other people have to those "called" when they voice their revelations put me in mind of Hunter.

This is a quote that seems relevant to this topic,

I see people and monsters locked in endless conflict, ignorant of the encroaching flames that chase at their heels. If they would just look up, they would see that the world is a plaything for titans. The Messengers and their dark opponents peer down from impossible heights, circle each other warily, putting words in the mouths of dying men. They shift their pawns back and forth with cold indifference.

Time stretches to my right, space to my left, and where they cross lies the world. Dark and light powers coil like serpents, ignorant of a third direction at right angles to them both. The last of me burns away and I strain to peer down that middle path. I don't see aything looking back at me. It's an unblinking eye of solitude. A infinite tangle of silence. Something undreamed of. It watches the clashing armies, patient, waithing for the stupid little game to finally end.

In my final moments, I reach for it.

Understand that the narrative of that chapter, from the sourcebook Fall from Grace, is written by a Hunter who is very insane as well as being very powerful. The insanity explains some of the weirder prose. I just took a bit off the end of the chapter; but I think you can see the similarities.

The other reason I wrote this was because I first started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer after a) a guy in my gaming group recomended it, and b) The Hunter the Reckoning Core Rulebook includes BtVS in it's list of good source material. So I'm finding the parrelels with events in this season of Angel a little ironic.

[> [> But of course you should.......;) -- Rufus, 06:03:15 04/12/03 Sat

The writers use literature, comics, and I think games to write both shows so someone like you who knows about the game part should write up the parallels that you can see for Buffy and Angel....please.

[> [> Re: I really shouldn't be doing this... -- aliera, 06:33:53 04/12/03 Sat

That's one of the things I think is great about the show (and yet frustrating). Almost anything you research, brings up such a plethora of different links and gaming is a big one. Did the reference to Gaea come from a religious source? a magic book? a comic? a video game? Can't know. But what's really cool (at least to me) is that because of this some understanding or connection can be made by so many different people.

Last year, when there were rumours about 'back to the beginning', I did some searches on the Master and the Pergamum Codex etc and I came up with this one really rich online game that was a really twisted version of the show's early mythology. It was a real double take moment as I tried to figure out was the show drawing from the game? visa versa? Cultural icon indeed!

Gina Torres TV Alert...For those of you interested in what "Cleopatra 2525" was like... -- Rob, 08:40:51 04/11/03 Fri

...SciFi is going to be airing the series on Friday nights now at 8 o'clock in the US. Not sure if that's only East Coast.

But you may want to catch Gina as Hel in this kind of stupid sci-fi show, just to see some of her earlier work. And no matter how bad the show can get, it's not unwatchable, IMO. It crosses the line from campy to shlock, but at times it can be an 'it's-so-bad-it's-good" type thing.

The lyrics of the theme song should tell you just about everything. (They're a reworked version of the Zager and Evan song, "The Year 2525"):

"In the year 2525
There are women with the will to survive
Fighting for a brand new day
Nothing's gonna get in their way

And in the year 2525
Three women keep hope alive
Joining forces to reclaim the Earth
Looking ahead to humankind's rebirth!"

At least Gina's good in it...I swear.


[> "Noooooooo! It won't stay dead! Why won't it stay dead?!" -- cjl, 10:02:21 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> Didn't you hear, cjl? They're dedicating the rerun of the pilot to you. ;o) -- Rob, 10:09:09 04/11/03 Fri

[> *whips out her stake and takes aim* ACK! -- AurraSing, 12:14:11 04/11/03 Fri

Sorry,couldn't help myself.

Luv the Gina though,don't get me wrong. But this show was enough to make even me consider cutting off cable.

[> [> Don't stake the messenger! ;o) lol -- Rob, 12:58:13 04/11/03 Fri

[> And it all comes back to Buffy. . . -- Cheryl, 14:07:31 04/11/03 Fri

The actress who played Cleo on Cleopatra 2525 was also in The Pack episode of Buffy. :-)

[> [> Oh dear lord--that's right. Jennifer Skye played Heidi in "The Pack".... -- cjl, 14:20:53 04/11/03 Fri

She was great, grunting and hooting like a wild animal, sniffing everybody's private regions, chowing down on Principal Flutie and the Sunnydale mascot...

And it was still a more dignified role than Cleo.

[> [> [> "Everything's connected" :-) -- Cheryl, 14:53:49 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> Re: And it all comes back to Buffy. . . -- s'kat, 15:17:24 04/11/03 Fri

If you are talking about the blond? No that was Tamara Braun not Jennifer Skye. Completely different actress.

[> [> [> Re: And it all comes back to Buffy. . . -- Cheryl, 16:06:27 04/11/03 Fri

Jennifer Sky played the blonde, Heidi Barrie, in the actual pack of The Pack (check out imdb: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Sky,%20Jennifer). Was also Cleo on Cleopatra 2525 and Sarah Webber on All My Children (where I first knew her from). Also on Xena a number of times.

[> [> [> [> Yes, as Amarice, the fake Amazon. -- Rob, 16:20:50 04/11/03 Fri

K-E-N-N-E-D-Y (Thoughts on "The Killer in Me", no later spoilers in this post) -- KdS, 12:01:45 04/11/03 Fri

This is what I've been missing. A one-off, non-arc episode with no point-missing speeches (see my forthcoming post) which actually deals primarily with a character who isn't Spike, without making it an obvious event ep. OK, there's the chip subplot, but it's actually a B-plot, and it's so amusing to see Spike staggering around in agony in the background while everyone else has something more important to deal with. Pity they couldn't have got Mark Blucas to give the "assface" line, but you can't have everything. I'll be trying to explain why I liked the ep so much, while addressing some of other people's problems with it. One minor issue: good though it was, it still wasn't anywhere near good enough to deserve to steal the title of Jim Thompson's most terrifying novel, minus one syllable.

my sins my own
they belong to me, me

I've been pretty happy in general with Willow over the last half-season or so. Some people have complained of a lack of visible penance and brooding, but I always had a problem with souled vampires brooding all the time. Sooner or later, you start caring about the suffering person in front of you, sympathising with them and wanting to make it better. The display of guilt actually distracts your attention from the suffering the person was responsible for, that created the guilt in the first place. Willow probably had all the sobbing and suicidal impulses and self-loathing over the summer, but now she's actually trying to achieve what seems to be the closest ME can see to redemption - accepting your crimes and leading your life in a better way in the future. Isn't it egotistical to imagine that it makes any difference to someone you tortured to death that you're walking around in a big romantic funk? It can't be accidental that ME compare Willow in this ep with Amy, who's genuinely sunk in denial and self-righteousness, and with her new cult of followers, could still be on the way to Big Bad status in a few years. I personally found her rant about how everything works out for Willow disturbingly and deliberately reminiscent of the way some of my thoughts and other people on the board were going. Are we after morality, or just vengeance? The line "I killed him for a reason" drew some outrage, but that's said when Willow and Warren are starting to merge, and it's said with one of Warren's most recognisable trademark gestures, the doubled index-finger chop that he always used when trying to persuade Jonathan and Andrew that killing Buffy, or hiding Katrina's corpse, was a necessary step in the plan

oh, she looks so good
oh, she looks so fine

After anticipating much resistance before viewing the ep, I have to confess that I enjoyed the Willow/Kennedy scenes in this ep. The things that drove people to denounce her here - the malingering, the casual attempt to charm Willow into bed - aren't the sign of a morally ambiguous person, they're the signs of someone who despite her potential status hasn't been living her life with the berzerker melodrama of the Scooby Gang. She's grown up in a world where taking someone out to a bar and chatting them up is a pleasant evening, not an invitation to mayhem, slaughter and agony. And she's the opposite of a Mary Sue in this episode. The textbook Mary Sue uses canonical characters merely as tools for their own character development, while if anything Kennedy is a tool to Willow's development.

then you came to my room
and you whispered to me
and we took the big plunge

While the limitations of actors required the uneasy compromise of switching frequently between AB and AH (but really, very few actors could perfectly copy the performance of someone of the same gender, let alone the opposite), Willow's development here was probably the best handling of the legacy of S6 this season. From Willow/Warren's cry of "I killed her" to the healing kiss, it's not merely Willow realising that she can live her life without betraying Tara. Maybe even Warren Meers, the ultimate human evil of BtVS, the terrifying incarnation of everything we usually romanticise with brow ridges and yellow eyes and leather, could have found some kind of secondhand redemption? And really, we've seen the same thing before in Willow. Remember her collapse in Bargaining II, when the apparent failure of her spell leaves her finally admitting Buffy's death?

Tara's dead, Willow was evil, and we won't be seeing that sweet little girl ever again. But maybe now we'll actually see something new rise from the ashes.

and the tower bells chime
"ding dong" they chime
they're singing
"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine."

[> Briefer thoughts on "Calvary" (Sorry, later spoilers in this post) -- KdS, 12:03:54 04/11/03 Fri

Angel continues to go from strength to strength. Let's start with a moment of silence for the last of the original LM threesome (and what was it with those initials?). Rah spent some time trying to persuade yab and I that Lilah was on her way to redemption. I just don't see anything in Lilah's appearance at the Hyperion beyond the self- preservation that she claimed. What did she do that was good, beyond passing Wes the uncensored Compendium and accidentally saving Fred from draining? Let's hope that the MEverse Hell isn't the terrifyingly simple place of eternal agony depicted by medieval theologians, but somewhere where Lilah can spend eternal bliss engaging in the sort of murderously treacherous politics and backstabbing she loved so much. After all, even such an orthodox Christian as CS Lewis considered the possibility that Hell might actually seem a reasonably pleasant place to those twisted enough to be consigned to it.

Given the juxtaposition with last night's Buffy episode, the conversation turned to Warren Meers and the whole issue of the romanticisation of evil, and as Rah pointed out at that point, it's pleasant that Angelus gets so much mockery in this ep (as well as the very satisfying moment when Lilah drops the shelves on him). But I can also see a tendency to subvert the good as well. I have to assume that the way Angelus-pretending to-be-Angel gives a speech eerily mirroring Buffy's speeches this season is a deliberate poke at Big Sis.

Knowing what I do about forthcoming events, Cordy's rant to Lilah about "people like you" is interesting because we have to assume that whether it's Cordy or Jasmine speaking it's genuine. It might be the original Cordy, but it would work just as well from an avenging angel. Other highlights were Connor's continuing enthusaiasm for the slaughter of Angelus - no matter how much the other AI members may regret it, I can't see that changing any time soon.

The Connor/Gunn/Souleater fight was another in the run of really, really good fight scenes this season. Compared to the relatively blah punchfests we're seeing on BtVS, they have a really excellent action arranger or directors. Gunn and Fred's break-up was quite heartbreakingly restrained. (Note to yab - I was unthinkingly sexist in my conversational speculation yesterday for which I apologise, but I think my argument still holds up. If Wes had made his move on Fred circa Billy and been rebuffed, and Fred had still ended up with Gunn after Waiting in the Wings, I think that the gap would still have assuaged Wes's vanity enough for the two men to stay friends.)

[> [> Yeah! -- Rahael, 12:09:27 04/11/03 Fri

I have to run now, so more later - but, agree with everything you say about KiM. I had tears in my eyes with the final Willow scene - never have I felt more for Willow. I liked Kennedy and I thought KiM, for me, was the resonant ep of the season so far, apart from Selfless (I liked Potential too).

And you know, Calvary, loved it so much, as you know. KiM was touching and poignant but Calvary rocked!

[> In complete agreement, on all points! -- dream, 12:47:34 04/11/03 Fri

[> Great thoughts! -- HonorH, 13:47:38 04/11/03 Fri

Agree on all points. The thing I like about Kennedy is that she *isn't* a born-and-bred Scooby--she's coming in from the outside, she's got her own way of doing things, and sometimes, she actually manages to do things better. She got Willow talking about Tara in this episode. I have a feeling, though it's not backed up in canon except by the absence of evidence, that the Scoobies haven't exactly been pressing Willow to share. Natural impulse, I suppose, giving her space and time and letting her decide on her own when to talk, but at the same time wrong-headed, I think. Willow wouldn't necessarily talk about Tara and her own private pain at this time. First, she'd feel it was off- topic with an apocalypse breathing down their collective necks. Second, I think she feels she deserves her pain and even jealously guards it--pain and suffering mean she's not happy, and someone who's done what she's done shouldn't be happy. Kennedy's brashness forces the issue to the surface and lances the wound.

[> Sorry -- Shiraz, 14:05:50 04/11/03 Fri

I just cannot get into the Kennedy character.

It's the sense of smug entitlement she seems to carry with her at all times.

Well, that and the fact she shows no fear, self-doubt, or even nervousness in even the most freakish and terrifing of circumstances.

I was going to go into a few point-by-point examples(again), but I think I've got a better idea;

a little mental excercize.

When you see Kennedy in an episode I want you to imagine that her character is being played (with exactly the same dialog and body language) by the guy who played "Manny" in the Angel episode "Long Days Journey".

Now how does that bedroom scene from "Showtime" look? ("Cause nice, big, comfy bed right here.")

That date with Willow in "Killer in Me"? (and Manny could even leagally purchase the drinks!)

Or how about that whole 'maggot' incident from Get it Done?

Still charming examples of playful impishness?


"In the same way that the really rich can never be mad (they're eccentric), so they can also never be rude (they're outspoken and forthright)."

Terry Pratchett - "Maskerade" (on one of the reasons I don't like Kennedy)

[> [> Re: Sorry -- Rob, 17:47:38 04/11/03 Fri

"I just cannot get into the Kennedy character.

It's the sense of smug entitlement she seems to carry with her at all times.

Well, that and the fact she shows no fear, self-doubt, or even nervousness in even the most freakish and terrifing of circumstances."

I agree, and disliking a character is a huge admission, especially coming from me!

"When you see Kennedy in an episode I want you to imagine that her character is being played (with exactly the same dialog and body language) by the guy who played "Manny" in the Angel episode "Long Days Journey"."

I get by by imagining how she would have been played if Jewel Staite from "Firefly" had gotten the role, as was rumored she would have had the show been cancelled earlier. She would bring a sweetness and subtlety to the role that the girl who plays her utterly lacks, IMO.


[> [> [> Disagree on a point -- HonorH, 19:51:54 04/11/03 Fri

The "no fear" thing doesn't ring true to me. She was definitely scared in BotN. In "Showtime," she showed less fear, but it was still there. WilloWarren freaked her out for a bit, but she again recovered. As for GiD, not only did DarkWillow definitely put her off, but the "maggot" incident led to her taking a hit from the FE, and it looked to me like it connected.

As for replacing her with Manny and trying out her lines, you can do that with practically any character and turn him/her into a spooge. Not exactly a fair thing to do, IMHO.

[> [> [> [> Re: Disagree on a point -- Shiraz, 11:22:54 04/14/03 Mon

True, in "Bring on the Night" (BotN) she was scared, but that was the first and last time we ever saw that emotion coming from her.

By "Showtime" she had mysteriously morphed into a cheerleader, unfazed and superemely confident that Buffy + Co. could handle the threat at hand, nevermind the situation had actually deteriorated since BotN. (example: the ear-to- ear grin she wore during the weapons distribution scene)

As for WilloWarren, she was at best put off for a moment or two, and recovered from it much faster than any of the main cast.

"As for GiD, not only did DarkWillow definitely put her off, but the "maggot" incident led to her taking a hit from the FE, and it looked to me like it connected"

Funny, if the FE's hit connected, she certainly wasn't showing it much in the very next scene (remember, all indignant with Buffy). If she was reeling from guilt and inner turmoil, she was hiding it well. And while she was supposedly freaked by dark(er) Willow, all was back to normal the very next episode.

"As for replacing her with Manny and trying out her lines, you can do that with practically any character and turn him/her into a spooge. Not exactly a fair thing to do, IMHO."

Well you see, when I first brought up these concerns, I was told that I was misreading the situation; that Willow was just showing Kennedy "Southern Hospitality" (how a Jewish Californian Girl learned 'Southern Hospitality' was not explained) by allowing her the bed. Well, if that's the case, then it stands to reason that ANYONE could expect this sort of hospitality.

Also, I tried this myself substituting Manny for Faith in her arc on Angel, and, even with this substitution, Faith still came off as a sympathetic character (although many of the scenes did become alot more off-putting). So I feel this is a valid test.


"Rincewind had a fleeting vision of Twoflower handing around his pictures and saying things like "This is me being tormented by a million demons" and "This is me with that funny couple we met on the freezing slopes of the Underworld."

-Terry Pratchett "The Light Fantastic" (on Angel's photo album)

[> [> [> [> [> Well, looks like we'll never agree on this. -- HonorH, 12:42:33 04/14/03 Mon

So Kennedy recovers from being freaked out pretty quickly--I don't see that as a reason to dislike her. Oz, if you'll recall, was much the same way. He rarely showed fear outwardly. Kennedy's the oldest of the SiTs and seems to have taken it upon herself to try and be the steady one. Not a bad thing.

As for GiD, my opinion stands as is. The scene you reference was focusing on Buffy, not Kennedy, and had nothing to do with Kennedy's "maggot" comment. As for Kennedy challenging Buffy, again, Kennedy's the outsider looking in. She's not cowed by Buffy, and she's not so used to Buffy's way of doing things that she'll just automatically go along with them. That's not a bad thing. Not at all.

Also, I never gave a second thought to Willow giving up the bed to Kennedy, and I'm not even Southern. I also think that Willow would've given it up to just about anyone who was sharing her room, not just flirtatious 19-year-olds.

And again with the Manny test--I just don't get it. You could substitute him for anyone being flirtatious and turn them into a creep. Flirting depends on the context. A nice guy and a skeezy guy could say the same line and get totally different reactions. Kennedy's very forward, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If Willow wasn't attracted and didn't like it, she wouldn't be in a relationship with Kennedy now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, looks like we'll never agree on this. -- Shiraz, 15:25:30 04/14/03 Mon

"So Kennedy recovers from being freaked out pretty quickly-- I don't see that as a reason to dislike her. Oz, if you'll recall, was much the same way. He rarely showed fear outwardly."

The key differences here are that Oz:
1. Never called anybody a "maggot"
2. Never assumed bed privileges (even once he had them).
3. Never once got anybody drunk to determine if they dug him.

Also, Oz's taciturn nature was complete, in that not only didn't he show outward fear, he didn't show joy or enthusiasm either; this is obviously not the case with Kennedy.

"Also, I never gave a second thought to Willow giving up the bed to Kennedy, and I'm not even Southern. I also think that Willow would've given it up to just about anyone who was sharing her room, not just flirtatious 19-year-olds."

Very true, Willow would have given up her bed, a good night's sleep, her food for the next three days, the clothes off her back and four pints of blood to anybody who asked nicely enough, and that's kind of my point.

Willow has what has been called "Terminal Politeness", and it is very easy to take advantage of someone with this condition. Heck, its very easy to take advantage of Willow, period. This has been shown numerous times in the past.

I can just imagine the scene we missed:

Kennedy: You don't mind if I stay in your room, do you?

Willow: Uh, no. No. That's fine. Eh, I'll just go get a sleeping bag... (exit Willow).

(As Willow leaves, Kennedy flops down on Willows bed, spread- eagled)

Willow (with sleeping bag): O.K. you can just lay this out wherever...(notices Kennedy on bed).

Kennedy (feigning innocence): Oh. You don't mind if I take the bed, do you? It's reeaallly comfortable. (exaggerated stretch)

Willow: Uhh... No. No that's...just fine. Yeah... that... that's great. I'd been meaning to break this in for some time anyway. Just, ummm m-make yourself ... comfortable.(unrolls bag on floor by bed) I'll... I'll just go brush my teeth now. (hurries out)

Kennedy: (to herself) Oh yeah, she wants me.

"And again with the Manny test--I just don't get it. You could substitute him for anyone being flirtatious and turn them into a creep. Flirting depends on the context. A nice guy and a skeezy guy could say the same line and get totally different reactions. Kennedy's very forward, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If Willow wasn't attracted and didn't like it, she wouldn't be in a relationship with Kennedy now."

O.K. Then, replace him with AD (I won't even try to spell his name). It really doesn't matter. The point isn't that Willow wouldn't have put up with that kind of behaviour from a Manny-shaped Kennedy, its that WE, THE AUDIENCE WOULDN'T; because we let beautiful people get away with what would otherwise be unacceptable behaviour.

After all, at the point "Showtime" aired Kennedy had no real way of knowing if Willow even shared her orientation, let alone if she was attracted to her, and even if she had been picking up on subtle "signs", there are better ways of following up on this than jumping into Willow's bed. (asking, for one)

So the only conclusion I can come up with is that Kennedy merely assumed she'd be welcome in somebody else's bed; that no one could possibly resist her charms.

And I just can't abide by that attitude in anyone, no matter how cute.


"Magrat: "There's nothing wrong with happy endings."
Granny Weatherwax: "Listen, happy endings is fine if they turn out happy. But you can't make 'em for other people. Like the only way you could make a happy marriage is by cuttin' their heads off as soon as they say 'I do,' yes?" "

Terry Pratchett - "Witches Abroad"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, looks like we'll never agree on this. -- HonorH, 17:16:26 04/14/03 Mon

Afraid I still don't get you. You're putting the worst possible spin on Kennedy's actions and motivations. To give you an example, here's how I imagined the "bed" conversation went:

(Kennedy and Willow enter Willow's bedroom. Willow stares uncomfortably at the bed for a minute while Kennedy waits.)

W: You can have the bed. I'll take the floor.

K: Hey, no, it's your room. I'll take the floor.

W: No, seriously. You've had a long trip. Take the bed.

K: You sure?

W: Sure.

K: (grinning) We could share, you know.

W: Uh, I, um, no. You take the bed.

K: Okay, your call.

And again, the Manny test fails to convince. If Alexis Denisof laid Kennedy's Bronze lines on me, he could have me (but then, I find him very attractive). It's just flirting. That's all, nothing more. Kennedy wasn't forcing herself on Willow--she was just making it very clear that she liked her. A lot. That's not a crime; that's how you test to see if someone likes you back.

Also, for the record, I don't think Kennedy really was serious about getting anybody drunk to see if they liked her. She was making a joke while flirting. Again, hardly a crime.

Finally, the "maggot" thing (which I'm getting tired of): it was a bad thing to say. That's a given. Kennedy was getting way too much into the drill sergeant thing, which is a product of her inexperience in leadership roles, most likely. Aside from that one single incident, she hasn't been shown as being mean to any of the SiTs. Just the opposite, in fact. They all seem to like her. Unless we get more instances of Kennedy calling the girls names and bullying them, I'd say it was an anomaly, and she learned from it.

[> [> Comparisons -- KdS, 02:39:00 04/12/03 Sat

When you see Kennedy in an episode I want you to imagine that her character is being played (with exactly the same dialog and body language) by the guy who played "Manny" in the Angel episode "Long Days Journey".

Apples and oranges, because as well as the mere issue of surface level of attractiveness you have age and the gender issue. To be fair you'd have to also replace Willow with Kristine Sutherland, and by that point the characters would be so different there'd be no analogy.

OK, the bedroom scene is quite aggressive. However, while I'm totally ignorant of lesbian dating etiquette, it seems possible to me that women could get away with more, for the simple reason that (again so far as I know) women almost never rape one another, so there's less implied menace.

And I didn't see the bar scene as unpleasant. Kennedy's list of things that attracted her to Willow were the sort of things that suggested that she genuinely sees Willow as a person, it didn't seem to me like some generic seduction routine, or suggest that she saw Willow as a sex object.

[> [> [> You're quite right -- Dariel, 11:37:51 04/12/03 Sat

OK, the bedroom scene is quite aggressive. However, while I'm totally ignorant of lesbian dating etiquette, it seems possible to me that women could get away with more, for the simple reason that (again so far as I know) women almost never rape one another, so there's less implied menace.

It's disconcerting when a person of either sex makes unwanted advances, but the fear factor comes up only with men. (And in the case of Kennedy and Willow, as hindsight tells, us, the advances were not unwanted, just early!)

[> [> [> Tangential but FYI anyway -- Solitude1056, 08:04:59 04/13/03 Sun

However, while I'm totally ignorant of lesbian dating etiquette, it seems possible to me that women could get away with more, for the simple reason that (again so far as I know) women almost never rape one another, so there's less implied menace.

Not true.

Women-on-women rape can, and does occur, although the statistics are fuzzy for most localities because the victims rarely report the crime to the police. Same goes for men raping men, or even cases (which do happen) where women rape men. Furthermore, the percentage of the lesbian population with abusive relationships is proportionally not too far off the percentage of the overall population that's abusive. So if you have a 1 in 100 chance of being in an abusive hetereosexual relationship, you have a 1 in 100 chance of being in an abusive homosexual relationship. (Although the 1:100 part is just an example; I don't know the exact proportions.)

My campus' Sexual Assault Services have these posters that talk about de-mythifying stuff. When the elevator takes forever, you find yourself reading these posters so many times you've practically got some of them memorized.

[> [> [> [> Re: Tangential but FYI anyway (plus a little ranting on W/K) -- Calamus, 10:27:52 04/13/03 Sun

Yeah- thanks for clarifying that. Women can be scary, controlling, abusive, physically violent and invasive, too.

That said, I'm not one who thinks Kennedy came on too strong. The 'date rape' metaphors rest back with Willow and her memory-wipe of Tara, IMO. Also JIMO, Kennedy made overtures, but never pushed very hard (having seen women and men push hard, with disregard for the sexual object in their sights...). If she had some kind of power over Willow, perhaps her level of intensity would have made me uncomfortable, too. But Kennedy's not Willow's boss, or even close to being in the same class as far as Power with a capital P. All she's got on Willow is sexual confidence, and clear intent.

Personally, I find that sexy, not scary, because IMO behind the bluster, Kennedy seems to pay a lot of attention to Willow's responses (all that Limon mugging for the camera, which does make me cringe, seems to be intended to convey that) and to try to strike a balance between being direct and not pushing too hard. Since playing it cool and coy with insecure, oblivious, socially-inept Willow the Woman (as opposed to confident, intense Willow the Witch at Work) would likely mean never getting to first base, ever, I can't fault her.

There's things I keep feeling the need to say in defense of a storyline I kinda enjoy (though I've certainly seen better acting & action, and really think Willow should be wooing Kerry Weaver while Kennedy gets together with Seven of Nine). Just gonna do that to get it out of my system:

Except in fanfiction, not every couple gets to have that eyes-meeting-across-a-room-filled-with-floating-demony- things fateful moment when they just "know." Sometimes it takes a little prodding, dating, etc, to get to the point of really being interested. And when wooing an insecure person, sometimes only an awkward advance that may at first seem to them or others like "coming on too strong" can put that in motion. Kennedy didn't, like, do any unwanted touching, or (apparently from ongoing outcome) make any unwarranted assumptions. That was all Andrew...

In the wake of "lesbian chic" and the whole cheezy Xena over- the-top thing, I think it's nice to see lesbians represented on TV (period and) as imperfect, not so cool, or super- steamy, yet at the sime time desirous and physically- oriented (instead of solely emotional and romantic). Fact is Ms. Rosenberg, your daughter is one. She also spends an awful lot of time up in her head; it's probably good for her to focus on her body, and not just as some mystical extension of her magical mind. I like the matter-of-fact recognition of the desire to "celebrate the need of comrades," for all the characters.

And, while I'm on about it, for many of us there *is* a reason why the only lesbian in a crowd would seek out the only other lesbian, even if they have nothing else in common, and even if it's only for a purely-physical good time (which I'd argue W n K's not portrayed as). Happens all the time, even to people who're still stuck grieving the loss of "something more." When I hear people say, "All Kennedy seems to want is her body," I'm like "What's so wrong with that?" And so what if all Willow wants and is getting is a little comfort, flattery, and booty? I get tired of hearing that giving Willow another love interest is just a kneejerk response to GLAAD-types and kitten-luvers. For one, so what? We're here, we want to get to leer, too. For two, IMO it shows some basic awareness of the reality of "women like Willow" that's welcome and refreshing. Like the Slayer, she lives. Cool. It's often mundane, boring, limp even. Not everything in life can be resurrections, flaying, and floating-in-the-air. But it goes on, even when the only options are far from perfect.

That's a wonderful message, IMO, regardless of whether it amounts to "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with," "You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need," or "Come on and shove!"

"Nor will my poems do good only, they will do just as much evil, perhaps more,
For all is useless without that which you may guess at many times and not hit, that which I hinted at..."
-W. Whitman

[> [> [> [> [> Great post. Well said. -- Sophist, 11:29:27 04/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Willow/Kennedy -- Liam, 05:52:11 04/14/03 Mon

The real problem I had with Kennedy's behaviour in 'The Killer in Me' was that she lied about being sick in order to hit on Willow, getting out of an important training session. If she was male, and Willow still heterosexual, would many of us be as accepting of this? :) Will we, for example, hear a lot of criticism about Kennedy's conduct from Giles and Buffy, on the grounds that she's setting a bad example to the other potentials in letting her love life take priority over her very important work? Or will she be immune from criticism as she is now an 'orgasm friend' of a Scooby? :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Willow/Kennedy (spoilers next episode FD title also) -- Abby, 12:21:50 04/14/03 Mon

I agree on the training session front..since the 's'mores session' seems like something any SIT would be required to do, ill or otherwise. But maybe this (like most things!) will become significant: Kennedy's reluctance to truely embrace Slayerdom. I know we've seen her be upfront and eager on the training/ fighting fronts, but what of the mythology/ heritage of the role? You can see the training as being pretty vital for SIT short-term survival, what with the pretty-knife wielding Bringers around, so her activeness on those fronts could be more out of practical 'let's stay alive' logic than Slayer business. She seems resigned to perhaps being to old for the job, so perhaps she's looking to stay alive and wait for it all to be over and some other child called, in which case her pursuit of Willow becomes something constructive she's doing with her time that has relevance *right now* opposed to all the hypertheticals of Slayerdom.

As for the active pursuit, I had no problems. To be honest I was happy that for once we weren't seeing over-wraught, complex relationship issues..in her at least. Yes we have Willow and her guilt issues, but finally a character that is a) attracted to someone, b) senses some maybe attraction too, and therefore c) does something about it! When was the last time we had some casual dating that didn't end in tears/blood/dust? And this goes for homo/heterosexuals alike!

Although, from what I can tell of next episode title (I'm valiently struggling untainted through the minefield of being a British un-spoiled viewer. sob) this should change...

[> [> [> Re: Comparisons -- Shiraz, 11:53:45 04/14/03 Mon

I wasn't suggesting we change the characters, just the actors.

I was merely suggesting that you consider some odd, alternate universe where the actor who played Manny on Angel was cast to play Kennedy on Buffy. Everything else (plot, dialog, facial expressions and body language) would be exactly the same.

So instead of a nineteen-year-old girl smiling suggestively on Willow's bed, you have a 40+ years old man smiling suggestively on Willow's bed.

The bar scene then involves a middle aged man uttering the immortal line: "Getting her (Willow) drunk and seeing if she hits on you."

You don't need any implied menace to make these situations WRONG.


"Not for the first time [Herrena] reflected that there were many drawbacks to being a swordswoman, not least of which was that men didn't take you seriously until you'd actually killed them, by which time it didn't really matter anyway."

-Terry Pratchett "The Light Fantastic"

[> [> [> [> Context is everything -- Sophist, 13:39:53 04/14/03 Mon

The reason I don't get your comparison is that we can't just make the substitution you suggest. We have preconceptions about gender and sex that make it impossible to switch a 40 year old man with a 19 year old woman. Try imagining Mercedes McNab or Danny Strong instead of Jeff Kober as Kralik in Helpless. It just doesn't work, but that says nothing about the actors or the characters.

[> [> [> [> [> No kidding. -- HonorH, 18:13:21 04/14/03 Mon

Replace my sister's sweet, wonderful fiance with a 90-year- old hunchback and you've got a weird situation that says absolutely *nothing* about either of them. For that matter, think back to when Xander and Cordy were together and then replace *him* with Manny. Xander and Cordy may have been wrong for each other, but that substitution would have put it all the way through to icky.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Actually.. -- Shiraz, 21:10:49 04/14/03 Mon

Cordelia treated both Xander and Doyle as if they WERE Manny.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Context is everything -- Shiraz, 21:06:31 04/14/03 Mon

"We have preconceptions about gender and sex that make it impossible to switch a 40 year old man with a 19 year old woman"

Who's we? I mean if were talking about Willow here, her attractions are governed by the whims of the script and the casting decisions made by ME.

But we're not are we? We're talking about us, the viewers, looking at those casting decisions that have already been made.

As for 'not working', a lot of people didn't think Glory or Adam worked as villans, but that didn't stop them from appearing on screen. People on this board don't think Angel and Cordelia have any romance in them, yet there it is on screen, week after week.

So what I'm saying here is suppose, just suppose, that in some bizzaro-world ME a monumentally bad casting decision was made and we were presented with MannyasKennedy. Everything else - including Willow's reactions to the character - are EXACTLY the same.

My question to you is - aside from whether or not you agree with the casting decision - would your opinion of the Kennedy character remain unchanged?

Or has the character been playing the 'rich and beautiful' card to trump everything else?


[> [> [> [> [> [> Dunno about Sophist, but -- HonorH, 23:10:44 04/14/03 Mon

Heck, yeah, my opinion would change, just as it would've changed if Doyle would have been played by a skeezy 40-year- old.

(Incidentally, Doyle would be a far more accurate analogy. The way he checked out Cordy's back, front, and everything in between every chance he got, and some of the things he said to and about her, even when he kept getting shot down, are far closer to "sleazy" than Kennedy's ever gotten with Willow. Yet Doyle was excused because he had that Irish charm and was totally non-threatening.)

It wouldn't have worked for me to see Willow hook up with a guy like that primarily because I cannot stand the Hollywood "pair young hot beauty with craggy old coot" thing. Now, if he'd been a young guy, even a not-terribly-attractive young guy, and excepting all the gender preference issues, that would've been closer to something. And you know what? I don't think I'd have disliked GuyKennedy either, just as I didn't dislike Doyle.

I dunno. I just don't think Kennedy's as sleazy as you seem to think she is. I don't even find the actress that physically appealing. She's cute, but that's it, and the fact that she's rich means absolutely nothing to me. To me, she's done nothing especially wrong, save for a few missteps here and there like the "maggot" incident. Therefore, she doesn't need anything "trumped" by her looks or her money.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Dunno about Sophist, but -- Shiraz, 12:37:27 04/15/03 Tue

You mean you believe that Doyle could have said - to Cordelia, no less - "'Cause nice, big, comfy bed right here. I mean, you oughta know. Your bed. "

and kept all of his teeth?

Cordelia wouldn't have put up with that even from someone she was attracted to. That's why Doyle worked, he wasn't just a potential romantic interest for Cordelia, he was an effective foil as well. The course peasant vs. the haughty queen in a subtexty battle royale!

Something like this could have been done with Willow/Kennedy but that's not how its been played.

No, that bedroom scene from "Showtime" was merely an example of Kennedy getting away with something because a) she's cute and b) Willow's a doormat.


"It was all right for the likes of Hrun the Barbarian or Cimbar the Assassin to carouse all night in low bars, but Herrena drew the line at it unless they sold proper drinks in small glasses, perferrably with a cherry in."

-Terry Pratchett, the Light Fantastic

[> [> [> Well Known Casting Spoiler and Kennedy -- Malandanza, 01:00:20 04/15/03 Tue

"And I didn't see the bar scene as unpleasant. Kennedy's list of things that attracted her to Willow were the sort of things that suggested that she genuinely sees Willow as a person, it didn't seem to me like some generic seduction routine, or suggest that she saw Willow as a sex object."

Compare Kennedy's seduction techniques to Parker's -- he also came across as though he genuinely saw Buffy as a person, yet it turned out to be his generic seduction technique. The bar scene showed me that Kennedy, at 19, is very experienced sexually. She enjoys the seduction, the challenge of figuring out who's a potential partner, then moving in (or just getting her drunk) -- she's a conquistadora.

Now, after Parker had sex with Buffy, he immediately found a pretext for breaking off the relationship. Buffy became worried at his cavalier morning after attitude, and Parker used that concern as an excuse to move on. He never made any promises and she thinks they're dating? He pretends he thinks Buffy is a stalker to give himself a rationale for abandoning her for his next conquest.

Well, Kennedy didn't abandon Willow the day after they had sex, but Parker had a whole campus of nubile young underclassmen to chase, outside of Willow, Kennedy doesn't have much choice. (Although perhaps she could get steal a bottle of Giles' scotch to get Rona or one of the other young potentials drunk). But look at Kennedy's attitude towards Willow both before and after the consummation:

In TKIM, Kennedy isn't particularly unnerved by Willow's uncontrollable transformation into the man she admits having killed "for a reason." Not even after Warren/Willow aims a gun at her and threatens to kill her in a fit of witch- sponsored insanity. By contrast, in Get It Done, Willow pulling power from Kennedy during a ritual leaves Kennedy so concerned about Willow's control issues that she kicks Willow out of her own bed. It's not about Willow -- it's about finding a reason to disapprove. What was sexy during the seduction phase is now troubling in the post seduction. She can move on to the next conquest at any time now -- and claim it was for her own protection and Willow's own good.

I saw some posts returning to the old argument that there's nothing wrong with casual sex. Both parties are adults, neither was coerced, what's the issue? I'd say the issue is the same as it was for Buffy/Parker, Xander/Faith, Harmony/Spike, Spike/Buffy or Anya/Xander -- it's never really perfectly casual for both parties, no matter how carefully both parties are to agree ahead of time that the sex is purely recreational. One person will attach more meaning to the sexual experience than the other and end up being hurt in the process. If you're Parker, that doesn't matter -- you don't care if the other person is hurt; in fact, you barely think of them as a person at all.

I think that the return of Faith will reveal more about Willow/Kennedy than any of Kennedy's flirtations and pick-up lines. Willow already had issues with Faith and I believe that Faith and Buffy will work together to the exclusion of many of the Scoobies (leaving Willow jealous again). Add to that Kennedy showing an interest in Faith (just like Oz and Veruca) and Willow will magnify the issue until it is impossible to ignore. Then we'll see if Kennedy really is fond of Willow or just after another notch in the bedpost.

Then again, with so few episodes remaining, maybe the soap opera will take a backseat to the story.

[> [> [> [> Will Willow have issues with WKCS? (spoilery spec for tonight's Buffy) -- Masq, 09:42:28 04/15/03 Tue

She didn't seem to have any issues with Faith in "Orpheus". Granted, Willow and Faith only interacted in the last ten minutes of the show. But everything about it was casual. "Hey, Willow thinks I can be of help in Sunnydale." "Hey, Faith, let's hit the road now."

I found this exceptionally puzzling until someone--Rob, maybe?--pointed out that Willow no longer has the moral high ground with Faith anymore. Willow's a murderer, just like Faith. Faith found new "faith" in prison and is back more or less on the straight and narrow slayer path. Faith and Willow have more in common now than they ever did before.

And I don't see Faith interacting solely with Buffy. Buffy will have BIG issues with Faith. Buffy's the general now, in charge. She says it over and over. And what makes her general? She's the Slayer. Well, Buff, here's another Slayer. Not a potential. And arguably the one who will trigger a new Slayer calling when she dies.

I think Faith will try to mend fences with people like Giles and Xander. I think she'll find interesting things in common with Spike.

Faith's arrival is going to be very, very interesting!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Will Willow have issues with WKCS? (spoilery spec for tonight's Buffy) -- Malandanza, 12:42:32 04/15/03 Tue

"She didn't seem to have any issues with Faith in "Orpheus". Granted, Willow and Faith only interacted in the last ten minutes of the show. But everything about it was casual. 'Hey, Willow thinks I can be of help in Sunnydale.' 'Hey, Faith, let's hit the road now.' "

I bit too casual for me. This was not Willow of Season Seven, but Willow from early Season Six, with nearly limitless powers she was willing and able to use without fear of repercussions. There was no mention about all the bad things that could happen if Willow got possessed during the ritual, no concerns from Willow about whether she would be able to control the magic. But I rationalize these incongruities by reminding myself that Willow isn't a regular character (or even a minor, recurring character) on AtS. The episode wasn't about her and her issues -- in fact, her issues would have been in the way on an AtS episode. I'm certain that most AtS viewers are also BtVS viewers -- but I also think that there are some who do not watch BtVS or stopped watching BtVS when Buffy switched networks. Different writers with different objectives -- none of which involve Willow.

"I found this exceptionally puzzling until someone--Rob, maybe?--pointed out that Willow no longer has the moral high ground with Faith anymore. Willow's a murderer, just like Faith. Faith found new 'faith' in prison and is back more or less on the straight and narrow slayer path. Faith and Willow have more in common now than they ever did before."

I don't believe that killing Warren gave Willow common ground with Faith. Willow hasn't really expressed remorse for killing Warren -- we've heard that she "feels responsible" and that she killed Warren "for a reason" which is a far cry from voluntarily turning herself over to the California Penal System. If anyone has moral high ground, it's Faith. Faith emerged from her Dark Night of the Soul (DNotS), Willow hasn't begun hers yet -- and she won't until she admits that what she did was inexcusable. Even if Willow returns with the best of intentions -- desiring to let bygones be bygones -- all it'll take is one interested look at Faith from Kennedy (even if Faith is oblivious) and Willow's good intentions will vanish like biodegradable party favors.

"And I don't see Faith interacting solely with Buffy. Buffy will have BIG issues with Faith. Buffy's the general now, in charge. She says it over and over. And what makes her general? She's the Slayer. Well, Buff, here's another Slayer. Not a potential. And arguably the one who will trigger a new Slayer calling when she dies."

I think old Buffy would want to make amends. She behaved badly the last time they met and has had time to reflect. Buffy from the end of last season would understand Faith's DNotS having been through her own. General Buffy would want a powerful ally, regardless of her own personal feelings. I can't see Faith challenging Buffy's authority any more than Spike. For me, all things point to Buffy as the person in Sunnydale most likely to welcome the prodigal home.

"I think Faith will try to mend fences with people like Giles and Xander. I think she'll find interesting things in common with Spike."

I think Faith's focus will be Buffy (and only Buffy).

"Faith's arrival is going to be very, very interesting!"

I couldn't agree more -- and I'd love to see a few moments of the roadtrip back from LA

[> [> [> [> Re: Well Known Casting Spoiler and Kennedy -- dream, 13:46:29 04/15/03 Tue

**it's never really perfectly casual for both parties, no matter how carefully both parties are to agree ahead of time that the sex is purely recreational. One person will attach more meaning to the sexual experience than the other and end up being hurt in the process. **

So, Mal, I'm guessing you've never called someone to end a casual thing because you've met someone - only to have him tell you before you can say a word that he needs to stop seeing you because he's met someone? Then exchanged genuinely pleased congratulations? I highly recommend it - in some ways, the best relationship I ever had! Maybe not the deepest, but completely friendly, good-willed, pleasurable and so on.

I do think that there's a age difference involved - the casual sex relationship definitely works better if you're not nineteen...but I had to (at the risk of sharing way too much) put in a word for the casual relationship. I've know a lot of people who've had good ones, even healing ones. They can be particularly helpful to people who, for one reason or another (recent divorce, etc.)shouldn't really be pursuing a serious relationship at a particular time, but need some affection and companionship.

Now I'm going to stop posting before I embarass myself any more.

Buffy addresses the troops (vague spoilers to mid- S7) -- KdS, 12:10:45 04/11/03 Fri

I first considered posting this after Potential last week, but held off in case it was considered too sentimental, disturbing, or politically controversial. However, last night Rah, yab and I were discussing our serious concerns about the philosophical direction in which S7 is still heading with only five episodes to go. Note that I do not want people to start attacking me on the grounds of the impracticality of the attitude I'm about to discuss in relation to modern geopolitics. This is specifically written in recognition that the SG in Sunnydale are fighting the Absolute Evil, even if that's just a metaphor. This is a universe in which Good and Evil with capital letters exist, where there is some kind of afterlife. This, therefore, is the oration that Buffy should have delivered at the beginning of Potential...

Potentials, I've decided that the time has come to rethink the approach I've been taking for the last few weeks. Here's the good news - there will be no more drilling. Here's the bad news - I need to be honest with you.

We don't know how or if the enemy we're dealing with can be defeated. We still don't know what its long-term tactics are. We do know its objective, and we know that it will try to make us do all the hard work for it.

I'll be honest again. The enemy is with us in this room. It's there. [Points to Andrew, who looks terrified. Subtle movement away from him] It's there. [Points to Kennedy, who looks outraged.] And it's here. [Points to self] The First Evil knows who we are and how to attack us because it's in all of us. It can talk to us as anyone who has died. So if anyone comes to speak to you, touch them somehow, make sure that they're really who they are and that they're not lying dead somewhere. And I have something very important to tell you. A few years ago, I fought a vampire and I came off worst. I recovered, but I stopped breathing. I was clinically dead for, I don't know exactly how long, but I do know that it was long enough to let the First take my form whenever it wants to. So if I come up to you and start telling you how much you suck ass, do just give me a poke and check that it's really me.

I've been telling you that this is war. This isn't war. Our enemy doesn't want to take our land, it doesn't even want to kill us. The First wants us damned. Or if you don't like that word, it wants to kill everything about us that makes us human. This is, to borrow a Muslim word, jihad. And I can see the way some of you are looking at me, and you need to be corrected. Jihad isn't about blowing yourself up in pizza places, or flying planes into office blocks, or anything else Osama Bin Laden or Fox News might tell you it is. It's about fighting evil everywhere it exists, but most importantly of all in your own minds and hearts and souls. Some people call it spiritual warfare, but that isn't as snappy. And this has nothing to do with warfare in the way we all think about it.

Back when the first few of you got here, I said we'd make our worst nightmares take form, and then we'd rip their hearts out. Well, I got distracted from that thanks to other things, but now we're going to start. This is what the First will use to attack us. Everything in our minds that frightens us, everything we ever did that we wish we could forget, everything we feel that revolts us and makes us want to rip it out and lose it, the First knows about it and it'll use it on us. So now the battles are going toc start. You're going to think about those things and you're going to admit the worst things that live inside you. You can just admit them to yourself in your head, you can tell them to someone else you trust, you can write them down and burn the paper, whatever. But you have to make those demons visible, you have to own them, consume them, assimilate them into your being without letting them take control. Because if you don't then the First will set them on you and you'll be lost. And if the First does start talking to you, don't be dumb and brave and try to handle it on your own. You don't have to tell anyone else what it's saying if it's too horrible to admit, you just need to tell them that it's after you and you need some help. And you need to do everything you can to support anyone who comes to you.

We're still going to be training you how to fight. The First still has its Bringers, vampires, probably things we haven't seen yet. Every tangible attack it makes, we will stand up to it and defeat it. But don't let yourself start thinking of that as the most important thing. Fight when you need to, but don't see killing things as worthwhile in itself. And don't ever let yourself enjoy it. If you start believing that anyone else in this room is expendable, that it doesn't matter if they get killed if it means we win a battle, then you've just changed sides. If you see a way that you can die and save everyone else, then go ahead. If you have the guts, spill them. But don't let it be a way of getting out of the game, because if you kill yourself you lose as well.

Of course we want to live, of course we want to save the world. We might still all die, this whole world might end up as a cinder, but if we die as human beings then the First won't have won. So let's start the struggle.

[> Great speech. But it sounds like Joss talking to the Potentials, not Buffy. -- cjl, 12:19:21 04/11/03 Fri

Not sure if Buffy has the self-awareness to make that kind of speech, at that point in the season or even now.

[> Um, does Buffy know? -- dream, 12:39:01 04/11/03 Fri

That the FE can appear as her, that is? She surely doesn't think of herself as dead - unless Spike has told her that the FE has taken her form, which we haven't seen, she doesn't necessarily know the FE can also appear as the formerly dead (as well as the dead and undead). As much as I hate plot points that depend on a character not sharing information, I am more willing to believe that Spike never mentioned seeing Buffy (emotionally icky - and he's been pretty quiet this year)than that Buffy never warned the Potentials that the FE could appear as her. I would be willing to buy a scene in which the FE/Buffy fools the potentials - or simply shakes Buffy up with the utter creepiness of seeing herself.

Of course, Buffy could have warned the Potentials, off- screen - we won't know unless FE/Buffy appears again.

[> I'm curious -- Sophist, 13:24:33 04/11/03 Fri

serious concerns about the philosophical direction in which S7 is still heading with only five episodes to go.

What are those concerns and how do they relate to Buffy's speech in Potential?

Much as I might agree with your proposed speech, I think you're leaving out some important considerations:

1. As dream pointed out, Buffy may not know some of the facts necessary to give this speech.

2. Giles is pushing Buffy in the direction you seem uncomfortable with. This makes it much more difficult for her to react the way you'd prefer.

3. To steal a quote, you think you know what's to come. Personally, I couldn't have predicted the denouement of any of the preceeding 6 seasons. They generally involve an insight gained or lesson learned at the very end, with many earlier events seen, in retrospect, as misdirects. I'm inclined to agree that you are on the right track, but I can't be too sure about it.

Even you are correct, that doesn't mean Buffy should give such a speech. We, as viewers, have a perspective which those "inside" the drama lack. Every time I read or watch Othello, it infuriates me that he's so blind to Iago's manipulations. But it wouldn't be much of a play if he weren't.

[> [> Re: I'm curious -- KdS, 07:17:30 04/12/03 Sat

This is hard to write as I'm slightly spoiled for the next couple of eps, Rah and yab are both very spoiled until 7:22 but dropping hints to me, and I don't know how spoiled you are. What I am willing to say is that I could accept Buffy's speeches at mid-season projecting a simple kick-ass attitude, but I'm disturbed by the lack of change since then, with only five eps still to go. Given that the SG are supposedly fighting Evil Itself, I think that ass-kicking is far too simplistic a way to go (and dangerous given the current world situation). My particular problem with the speech in Potential is the "Make sure it isn't you" line. That seems to me to suggest either selfish individualism, or a Traversian perspective on the expendability of others, either of which seem far too morally questionable to be safe when confronting the incarnation of darkness.

My problem is that we have only five episodes left. Now, we have been seeing some of our characters having epiphanies, but Andrew is a fairly minor character and Spike's realisation of his issues in LMPTM seems not to have led to any significant moral advance (given the self- righteously disgusting opinions he spouted immediately afterwards, one might even say that he's had a moral decline). I also feel that a really satisfying confrontation of the FE via a philosophical, non-ass-kicking route would take more than one or even two eps to do well without being platitudinous: the S6 last-minute epiphany problem.

[> [> [> Sorry, but -- Sophist, 07:56:53 04/12/03 Sat

I'm not spoiled at all, so I stopped reading after your first 2 sentences. I guess we can re-visit this after the finale.

[> [> [> [> Sophist, my actual post contains no spoilers at all -- KdS, 08:25:58 04/12/03 Sat

I'm not spoiled a lot, and there's nothing in the post that depends on, or gives away, the little I do know.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Sophist, my actual post contains no spoilers at all -- Sophist, 10:53:23 04/12/03 Sat

I'm sure you wouldn't spoil me except inadvertently. My previous experience, however, is that "all that we know now informs our expectations" (or something to that effect). I really want to remain vestally pure for the last 5 episodes, so I'll take a rain check on the discussion.

[> [> [> Re: I'm curious -- Dariel, 11:11:26 04/12/03 Sat

Now, we have been seeing some of our characters having epiphanies, but Andrew is a fairly minor character and Spike's realisation of his issues in LMPTM seems not to have led to any significant moral advance (given the self- righteously disgusting opinions he spouted immediately afterwards, one might even say that he's had a moral decline).

I share your concerns, up to a point--how are they going to bring this all together without giving us another clunky epiphany like the one in Grave? However, I don't agree that the characters have not advanced since Potential or over the course of the season.

We don't yet know what role Andrew will play. However, everyone's contribution is important, and someone switching sides is certainly an expression of humanity and a blow against the FE. As for Spike, not everyone agrees with your assessment. Spike (finally!) made a moral judgement independent of Buffy--he let Wood live. Spike was able to empathize with Wood, even though the man tricked, triggered, and bashed him, and tortured him with a cross. I'd say Spike is making progress.

Willow has also made progress--she's been using her power without letting it take her over. She brought Buffy back through the portal, despite her fear of losing herself. She did this out of love for Buffy. She also restored Angel's soul and reconnected with him. This could only be empowering, reminding her of who she once was and her connections to others outside the Scooby gang.

And then there's Buffy, who's been practicing forgiveness all season long--with Willow, with Anya, with Spike, with Andrew. With herself. She knows and states that you cannot use evil to fight evil, later rejecting the Shadowmen's "offer" of extra demony power. She's not quite there yet but she's clearly, despite her little speeches, learning to value connectedness, looking for a new way to "fight" the FE. Judging from her last scene with Dawn, and with Giles in LMPTM, she's ready to drop the CoW "everyone is expendable" credo as well.

[> Oooooh! -- Rahael, 16:22:17 04/11/03 Fri

Thank you! I found that pretty powerful stuff. I was saying last night that Buffy's being all Henry V at the moment, only gloomier with life and with nothing to win. I was of course wondering if it was unintentional resonance, and then remembered the refs to Henry V in the Gift. Doesn't the speech in HV make reference to brotherhood and blood? Does that tie into 'it's all connected'? I do so hope we aren't meant to be taking Buffy's speeches at face value and that's why I was so delighted at the subversion of Angel's leadership speech in Calvary.

Tons to think about! More later!

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