September 2003 posts

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I missed my chance... so I'm posting thoughts on "Prophecy Girl" a little late... -- Q, 15:36:07 09/06/03 Sat

My computer was down for a few weeks, but I wanted to post some light thoughts on Prophecy Girl

Prophecy Girl
Grade: A (almost +)

Hands down the best episode of season 1. The High School Horror Metaphor ended up being a whole life horror metaphor-death. This is the episode that showed us how dark this show could be. Cordelia and Willow walking in on the dead boys, with the blood on the TV as the 3 little pigs danced happily sent a shiver down my spine. So did so many other scenes, Buffy hitting the ground and then pulling out a stake at the first of the ep, "I'm 16, I don't want to die (the whole scene), and the subsequent scene with Joyce (Jonathan Brookes "Inconsolable" was perfect for this scene!). So much emotion. This episode had me crying crocodile tears sometimes, out of my chair in excitement in others.

Soooo much character development too!

We see what Buffy is made of, and her commitment to her birthright, when she is willing to die for what she believes in.

Xanders takes the final move, is shot down, and a serious death knell rings for the love triangle of season 1.

Angel is back, and it is obvious this relationship isn't as dead as we thought.

Cordelia is a scooby.

Giles shows his true love for Buffy... and his knockout total goes up to 4 because of it.

You know, I don't have as much to say as I thought I would. It was just a great episode. The best musical score of the season, great lighting, great story-everything was great.

And it sets up so much in season 2!

Kendra Jenny/Giles Angel/Buffy Cordy as Scooby etc.

[> Oh... AND "When She was Bad" -- Q, 15:39:11 09/06/03 Sat

When She Was Bad
Grade: B-

While watching this episode, I had a very similar adverse reaction as many fans had watching season 6-I understood what was going on, I understood the need for that, but I still couldn't bring myself to enjoy watching it! Getting killed could not be an easy experience, and we see in this episode that it is not without consequences. Joss has said it needs to be earned, so to forget the major trauma Buffy went through in "Prophecy Girl" would be too easy. So we watch as she struggles through her "issues", unable to talk to anybody, bottling up the pain, and taking it out on the ones she loves. Like I said, I get it-but I can not stand watching Buffy act this way! The "sexy dance" when she "mated with" Xander was especially painful. Watching her hurt that many people was too much! Angel, who loves her has to watch in heartbreaking pain as she throws herself at another man, in as cold as manner as possible, knowing he is watching. She is intentionally hurting Angel in as malicious a way as possible. Willow, who loves Xander, has to watch him be seduced by the girl who is supposed to be her best friend, the second heart broken. And Xander, who loves Buffy, has to put up with somebody who is supposed to be a friend being a total tease, when he knows she is never going to act on it. 3 people smashed, and Cordelia cares more than Buffy! This was very painful.

That being said, there was a lot to like here. The plot was scary and exciting. The season is set up well-we know Xander will be pining again for Buffy (oh, so close Willow!!!), Willow for Xander, Angel and Buffy for each other, and Giles and Jenny for each other. Snyder will continue being a pain in the ass, and the Annoying one will continue to lead.

The library trap sets up at least two similar situations down the road.

And Giles knockout total reaches 5.

A good episode, but not very entertaining or easy to watch.

OT: Can anyone recommend a mythology reference text? -- sdev, 16:05:26 09/06/03 Sat

[> Re: OT: Can anyone recommend a mythology reference text? -- Ray, 10:28:25 09/07/03 Sun
It's not mythology, exactly. But it has the origins of mythological names etc. and it can give you an idea of it. Either way, it's an interesting site.

[> [> Interesting site. TY -- sdev, 15:16:53 09/07/03 Sun

[> What kind of reference are we talking about here? -- leslie, 14:45:04 09/07/03 Sun

Do you want to know about the content of specific mythologies, about comparative mythology, about interpretation? Do you want a really basic text or something theoretically advanced?

Mythography by William Doty is a good overview of the approaches that have been taken over time by academic mythologists. Sacred Narrative edited by Alan Dundes is a good introductory compilation of theoretical approaches, too.

The Larousse Encyclopedia of World Mythology is a good quick overview of the content of the major world mythologies. Mythologies edited by Yves Bonnefoy and Wendy Doniger is a very advanced encyclopedia with a strongly French theoretical underpinning, but it covers a lot of the more obscure nooks and crannies of mythology that you won't find most other places--small Central Asian tribes, Romantic European literature, modern fantasy, pre-Roman Italy, etc.

Robert Graves's Greek Myths is idiosyncratic but very thorough and provides many, many variants for each myth. Norse Mythology by John Lindow is an encyclopedia-format book covering "deities, themes, and concepts" as well as a good introduction. The Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend by Miranda Green is good for the Celts--covers both literature and archaeology. There is a series called The Library of World Myths and Legends published by Peter Bedrick that is a set of culture-specific volumes offering a basic, quick overview of each mythology with a lot of good illustrations. However, they are very erratically in print, so you have to search for them.

If you have access to a good reference library, The Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade is quite good, and if you're into old-fashioned Frazerian mythological collections, James Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics just can't be beat. It's about the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Only place you can find essays on, say, shoes in religion and mythology.

[> [> Thank you and another question -- sdev, 15:14:26 09/07/03 Sun

I have an old Edith Hamilton. I was looking for something of wider world scope (not just Greek/Roman)but theoretically basic.

Also while I have your attention, which Joseph Campbell would you recommend to someone who has read none, you all have piqued my interest.

[> [> [> Re: Thank you and another question -- aliera, 06:15:47 09/08/03 Mon

Online you might try:

[> [> [> Re: Thank you and another question -- Rendyl, 12:07:21 09/08/03 Mon

You could always start with 'The Power of Myth' but it seems more like Campbell-lite to me.

(it is what I usually recommend to friends who don't read anything on the subject)

Maybe 'The Hero With a Thousand Faces' would be a better starting point?


[> [> [> Joseph Campbell -- Miyu tVP, 12:19:04 09/08/03 Mon

I can't help much with the mythology - I'm all over the greco-roman stuff, but not much help beyond that...

as for Campbell, I too am just gettting in to his works. An excellent starting point is the PBS miniseries "The Power of Myth" or the accompanying book. It covers a broad range of topics and introduces you to his approach to myth. After that, I believe his seminal work is "The Hero with a Thousand Faces."

For greater detail, I am moving into the Masks of God set.

Hope that helps.

Faith vs Riley -- JBone, 20:09:40 09/07/03 Sun

Man, I would like to get my hands on her. Not in a sex way.

It's another week of carnage at the Apocalypse. The Tiebreaker Council this week are Masq, Diana and Rob. I put up a Sweet 16 page, but I haven't had time to link it up yet, but you can check it out here.

Post comments here, at the voting site, or email me.

[> Re: Faith vs Riley -- Apophis, 22:04:57 09/07/03 Sun

Please, ass-kicking is foreplay for Faith (as Riley knows by now...). I don't care how many neat scars he has, Riley is still too whitebread to accept the idea of Faith, let alone the reality. Not only would she beat the snot out of him, she'd put him in an awkward marital situation by dropping insulting comments about his bedroom prowess in from of his wife, What's-her-name. By the end of this match, Riley is sleeping on the couch in a body cast while Faith heads off to a work off some steam with some lucky bastard.

[> Much as I like Riley-- -- HonorH, 22:19:36 09/07/03 Sun

Sorry, but Faith takes it here. Agent Finn couldn't take a Slayer even while hopped up on the Initiative's finest. Good fight, but he's out of the running. Faith triumphant.

[> [> Re: Much as I like Riley-- -- MaeveRigan, 07:59:14 09/08/03 Mon

HonorH has it right this time (as she so often does)--Riley's no match for a Slayer, good, bad, or reformed. South America, here he comes.

[> Faithie-poo vs. Ri-Dogg -- deeva, 22:50:14 09/07/03 Sun

She can get that man wrapped around her pinky (or other parts! Heh, naughty, naughty.) in no time. He's never met anyone like her. Well, unless you count her "sister", B. Ri-baby won't know what hit 'im.

[> Re: Faith vs Riley -- Anneth, 23:23:50 09/07/03 Sun

Mmm, I'm not even gonna pretend there's some sort of real contest here. Physically, Faith would beat Riley to a pulp in 3.5 seconds. Faith also wins just about every popularity contest one could throw at her - she's hot, she's tortured, and she's got truck-loads of personality. Poor cute, sweet, tortured-but-it-just-ain't-the-same Riley is left playing 16" softball with no mit when Faith's smacking homers into the next state in the big league. Faith victorious. (And I don't feel that badly for Riley - he has a nice boobie-prize to mope home to. By which I mean that his wife is a metaphorical consolation-prize, you gutter-minded people, you! What the heck did you think I meant? Sheesh.)

[> Sorry, I voted for Riley -- KdS, 03:24:50 09/08/03 Mon

Poor bastard gets nothing but contempt, just for having a heartbeat and no on-his-sleeve psychopathology. And to justify it, Faith sees those puppy dog eyes and gets a flashback to the moment when she discovered that sex wasn't necessarily just a de Sadean exercise of power. Riley stun guns her while she's still in the moment...

[> Re: Faith vs Riley -- Caira, 04:30:54 09/08/03 Mon

Ah, Riley; apparently his pulse was just too strong for the viewers to like him, poor bastard. ;o) While he's virtually the poster boy for fan underappreciation, there's no doubt, particularly in his Initiative-fuelled phase, that there would be few human beings (those with serious magical training excepted) on Earth better qualified for taking on an experienced Slayer one-on-one. Which means Faith'd take two whole minutes to mop the floor with him. (I've got nothing against the guy, but let's be realistic here...)

[> Re: Faith vs Riley -- Celebaelin, 05:18:08 09/08/03 Mon

Gotta say that Riley is gonna get trounced in this one. Agent Finn, always the realist, knows this as well as anyone but goes through the motions in his fatalistic, dutiful way. All gadgetry is off limits because that would be cheating and Faith's already come round to the Dudly Do-right perspective. All in all it's just as well Riley's got so much experience of camping as there's a very good chance that he'll be spending the next two weeks in an oxygen tent.

[> Poor Riley. -- cjl, 08:54:47 09/08/03 Mon

He's got the cool super-secret Army job with the kick-ass benefits package. He travels around the world battling the forces of evil with the latest military hardware. He's got the wife with the heart of demon fighter and the body of a supermodel--but he's never going to win our love. You know what? He doesn't need our love. (I voted for Faith, but I still like Riley.)

[> Kudos JBone -- s'kat, 16:06:21 09/08/03 Mon

This combat challenge is actually starting to look interesting.

We have Cordelia vs. Fred
Buffy vs. Gunn
Spike vs. Lilah
Angel/Andrew vs. Dru/Darla?
Willow/Jenny vs ?/Tara
Xander/Kate possibly against Anya/Lorne?
Ripper vs. Dawn!
Faith/riley vs Mayor Wilkins/??
(now I really want to see some of these battles acted out)
Really cool matching ups of characters...good job!

(yeah I know the voters helped, but your arrangement made the battles interesting. I don't know about any one else
but the battles I want to really see are Angel vs. Drusilla or Darla, Drusilla vs. Darla, Willow vs. Tara and Xander vs. Anya and Faith vs. the Mayor! Now that could be a fanfic worth writing or filming!)

[> [> Your post raises an interesting question... -- Apophis, 19:07:51 09/08/03 Mon

What if these were tag-team matches?

(Angel/Andrew vs. Dru/Darla?
Willow/Jenny vs ?/Tara
Xander/Kate possibly against Anya/Lorne?) etc.

quick, before it's over! happy birthday, cjl! -- anom, 21:14:17 09/07/03 Sun

We had ourselves a fine party at Two Boots & then some of us went to see American Splendor--highly recommended! Still couldn't leave, though--we hung around the subway entrance discussing Buffy & Angel for a while longer. Nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, even for those not having a birthday!

[> Did not realize it was your BD-- Happy Belated! -- sdev, 21:55:46 09/07/03 Sun

[> Happy Birthday, cjl!!! -- Rochefort, 22:01:25 09/07/03 Sun

[> Happy Birthday, cjl! :-) -- OnM, 22:12:43 09/07/03 Sun

[> Birthday spankings to cjl.......;) -- Rufus, 22:16:37 09/07/03 Sun

[> Wow, happy birthday! -- KdS, 03:26:31 09/08/03 Mon

[> And a belated one fron another Virgo! -- Marie, 04:00:51 09/08/03 Mon

[> Happy birthday cjl! -- Masq, 06:18:07 09/08/03 Mon

[> Doing the happy belated birthday dance!! -- ponygirl, 08:05:39 09/08/03 Mon

[> Thanks, everyone. And to the upstate contingent of yesterday's meeting... -- cjl, 09:24:26 09/08/03 Mon

I have to apologize. It wasn't fair to subject you to six hours of driving only to get two plus hours of lunch and conversation. Fifteen people and conflicting schedules did us in. For the next New York meeting, I'm going to let the Darbys do the planning and I'll drive the Brooklyn contingent upstate. (Darb, Sara--it's your ball.)

Still, it was wonderful seeing aliera again (and her son) and I always enjoy the Darby clan, the first family of ATP. Shadowkat gave me Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy for my birthday. Rob proudly displayed autographed DragonCon photos of Andy Hallett (with and w/out makeup), James Leary (with), Danny Strong, and one of Rob and his new love, Iyari Limon. (No Marsters, though--which disappointed shadowkat no end.) I finally got to meet sdev, and we might have a mini-meet soon with me, anom, sdev, sarand and s'kat getting together at lunch time in mid-Manhattan.

Again, great seeing everyone again. Next time (to reverse an Elvis song title), a little more conversation, and a little less action.

[> [> Happy Birthday...and one quick correction -- s'kat, 15:50:49 09/08/03 Mon

"we might have a mini-meet soon with me, anom, sdev, sarand and s'kat getting together at lunch time in mid-Manhattan."

Dariel, not sarand (sarand couldn't make it - because she just had a baby...).

Oh and Happy Birthday!!!

[> [> Happy Birthday! We had a lovely time. -- Sara, reaching out and catching the ball, 16:44:12 09/08/03 Mon

Happy Birthday cjl! Sorry we forgot the card, but sadly, it is a very typical occurance in our family. I've actually developed a stockpile of birthday cards that were purchased for someone and then never managed to reach their destination. Hopefully, yours will soon be wending it's way too you the old fashioned way. (Since Darbs is in charge of that, the odds are favorable.)

We will be thrilled to have the next meet up here, lots of fun places to choose from. Darbs and I may have to start some serious research on local restaurants - oh the pain of it all... "Well dear, I was going to make a meatloaf, but than I remembered that we had to find a restaurant for the next mini-meet! Reservations are at 6:00." Yeah, I think we can handle this.

Great seeing everyone, old and new! Hurrah for the mini meets!

And sophie - thanks for the anti-virus recommendation - so far I really like avast!

[> [> lunch meet! -- anom, 19:40:56 09/08/03 Mon

Turns out a few of us work in the midtown area, so far ranging from ~30th & Park Av. to Madison Av. in the upper 40s. And we thought it'd be cool to have lunch together, someplace central so nobody has to walk too far. To avoid any concerns about dietary & budgetary needs, howzabout we meet in Bryant Park, where you can buy something at a food stall, bring restaurant takeout food, or brown-bag it?

But we'd need a backup indoor location in case of bad weather, & I'm not familiar w/what's in the area. Any suggestions? Actually, I do have one: the café in the recently reopened (yay!) Coliseum Books. I don't know how they are about bringing in outside food, & I have no idea how their own food is--anyone else know? or have a better idea?

And does anybody else work in the area? So far there's me, cjl, Dariel, & sdev; I hope people w/open schedules due to student or un-/self-employed status will also come (s'kat's in; how about Rob? SugarTherapy?) As far as when, the best time for me is this Thursday or Friday, when I'll be working in-house in the area--is that too soon to make plans? I could come other times, depending on work schedule, but I'd rather save the subway fare!

Speaking of ST, I'm sorry you didn't get to the meet on Sunday. I hope you'll be able to come to another one soon! And sdev, nice meeting you--chime in on this lunch meet idea, OK? Everybody, what's your availability? What time would be best?

And hey, west coast--how was your meet? Sorry we didn't get the e-link together, but the required equipment on our end left early w/the upstaters. Well, I tried--I nudhzed as much on the board as I dared w/out (I hope) getting annoying! Hope you guys had a great time!

As for the upstate meet, if you're driving, cjl, could 1 or more Manhattanites hitch a ride? And if that's gonna be the next meet, it'll have to be before mid-November, 'cause I want a meet for my birthday too!

[> [> [> Re: lunch meet! I'm in -- sdev, 21:49:12 09/08/03 Mon

It was great meeting everyone (but too short!) and seeing pictures of the Vancouver meet.

Thursday is often ok, Friday harder. This Thursday or next Thursday(9/18)are open barring the unforseen work disaster.

And what's the date on that BD?

[> [> [> [> this will probably be even shorter! -- anom, 22:07:47 09/08/03 Mon

A weekday lunch won't give us much time, but w/a smaller group, at least we can all be in the same conversation!

I have no preference btwn. Thurs. & Fri., but this week is definitely preferable, if possible.

My birthday is November 13. That's a Thursday, so I'm not expecting a big bash on the day itself--probably that weekend. On the other hand, if my midtown client has me working in-house again that day.... @>)

[> [> [> [> [> Would prefer mid-town meet for next Thursday (9/18) -- cjl, 10:21:29 09/09/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> Agree-prefer 9/18 to 9/11 -- sdev, 13:27:31 09/09/03 Tue

[> You didn't mention that to us! -- Isabel, 11:40:57 09/08/03 Mon

Happy Birthday! It was a lovely day, wasn't it?

Classic Movie of the Week - September 7th 2003 -- Anneth & OnM, 21:48:18 09/07/03 Sun


Personal responsibility is a difficult thing to ask for in a nation which has attempted to find a societal "root cause"
for all things.

............ Shapley R. Hunter


Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own

............ Adolf Hitler


Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening....The average American
[should be] content with their humble role in life, because they're not tempted to think about any other role.

............ William Torrey Harris, (U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889)


Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

............ Saul Alinsky


To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

............ William Shakespeare (from Hamlet, 1602)


Well, I was right again-- it's now officially September. I suppose that there was always the very small chance that
the world would end (and thus prove me wrong) when I stated last week that it would soon be this particular
month. Of course, there was also the chance that I might have ended before the new month took form,
but then you would have to get into the philosophical debate about the relevance of point of view to the
proceedings. You know, if I'm deceased, does the world go on? To me, obviously not, but to ya'all, it's just
another day, right?

Point of view is such a slippery thing. What was Mayor Wilkins' term-- a greased weasel? OK, he was talking
about souls, but I feel like I can fairly cop the phrase for the sake of allusion. The trickiest thing about POV is that
it's often contagious. I mean, there you are, just truckin' down the street, and you see someone standing on the
corner, head craned back, looking up into the sky, an astonished look on his face, sheer amazement. How many
of you could resist doing the same? Is it a bird? Or a plane? Or advertising?

So you look up, and you don't see anything out of the ordinary, but as you come to stand next to the man with
the inclined cranium, he's still gazing heavenward. So you look harder, but still-- nada. You look over at
him and ask what he's looking at, he momentarily lowers his gaze and stares back at you, incredulity on his
countenance. "What?" he says, "you don't think that's bizarre?" He raises an arm, points at a specific location in
the air. "No normal aircraft moves like that."

You look again-- and this time the airplane you saw before, a perfectly mundane looking but fast moving dot,
makes a sudden right angle turn and moves off at an even higher velocity. All without any sound, or vapor trail.
You're taken aback. "Hey! That is weird," you tell the man.

The man looks down again, shrugs, and walks off, without saying another word. You keep scanning the sky,
looking to find the odd dot once again, and there it is, bouncing and jogging around like-- like-- oh, crap. That's
not a plane, or even a UFO you suddenly realize, it's just one of those pesky little eyeball floaters you've been
increasingly plagued with in recent years. The power of suggestion put you in just the right position to accept the
highly questionable, and you fell right in. Ahh, you think, continuing on your way... what a moron I am.

Then the other side of the mental coin flips, and you start wondering but what was he looking at??

Keeping in tune with the general movie theme here, the adventures in sycophancy we are visiting this week
around recalls a scene from Hardcore, a rather mediocre film from years ago that starred George C.
Scott as a father who was trying to track down his runaway daughter, who he had reason to believe was mixed
up in a porno movie scam of some nasty kind. Failing to get any leads from the conventional sources-- police,
detectives, etc.-- he eventually teams up with a prostitute (Season Hubley, if I recall the actress correctly) and at
one point during the search they start to talk about how human behaviors that seem objectively outrageous to
most persons can become accepted as perfectly normal after a while.

"For example", the prostitute relates, "I had this one customer once who almost talked me into [having sex with]
his German Shepherd."

Scott's character looks at her, aghast.

"Well, I didn't do it, but after he had talked about it enthusiastically for several hours, he made it seem pretty
damn cool. I almost gave in."

This week's Classic Movie isn't about sex with German Shepherds, but it does come pretty close to that at times,
since it's about cliques and hellbitches and high school, and may very well be the finest, and most vicious satire
ever created about the subject. If not, it's right up there, and as my co-columnist this week noted in an e-mail to
me, "It's amazing how much I had missed the last several times that I saw this movie". I most heartily agree, and
we're hoping that you'll also revisit this flick if you have seen it before, or check it out anew if you're still a
Heathers virgin.

That's right, this time around Anneth and I are closing in for the kill (or is it the suicide attempt?) by
enthusiastically reviewing this brilliant and insightful deconstruction of the evil that men (and women) do, and do
so while fashionably dressed at all times. This film is what the original Buffy movie (or series) could have
been if Joss was about five times nastier than he really is. All right, ten times, whatever. Evil is so very, you

Released in 1989 and directed by one Michael Lehmann, Heathers is a story about heroism, but not the
typical kind. In fact, while there is no question that the person who is left standing (but slightly smudged) at the
movie's end is duly elevated to the status of bonified hero, the means by which she gets to that point are the
subject for endless discussion. Just how much bad behavior can you write off post-epiphany as part of the
'learning process'? Even Faith went to jail, you know.

At this point in time, I'm going to pass the keyboard and its lovely decorative red scrunchy over to Anneth, who
(as you no doubt noticed from the post header) has graciously agreed to join me in the reviewing riff this week.
Be advised that Anneth has chosen to do a fairly detailed plot description and analysis, so in the event that you
have never seen Heathers and have interest in doing so unspoiled, you may wish to exit now and come
back later post-viewage. If you have seen the film before... enjoy!


The Unlikely Hero

The premise of the movie Heathers doesn't seem to be all that groundbreaking. A relatively nice
high-school girl named Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) has fallen in with the wrong crowd, a group of
uber-bitca popular girls known as 'the Heathers'. She meets a rebellious but travel-weary young man, a 'dark
horse' with a Jack Nicholson drawl and the promising name Jason 'J.D.' Dean (Christian Slater), and the two
begin an affair.

"Yeah," you say, "I know how this one ends. He shows her the error of her superficial ways and she teaches his
wounded soul how to love again. The two ride happily off into the college-tinted sunset. Big deal."

Well, it's all fun and games till someone drinks a mug of Hull Clean (tm) and crashes through a glass coffee-table.

Heathers is the ultimate unlikely movie about an unlikely hero. The character whom one would initially
expect to play the hero, JD, turns out to be a homicidal psychopath. Rather than learning saccharine lessons
about love and friendship, Veronica is forced to decide whether to become a fully-realized individual in control of
her destiny or throw in the towel and let events do with her as they will.

The Plot

The movie has four distinct acts. The first part, which takes place essentially in the high school cafeteria,
introduces the movie's main players and sets up the initial tensions. In the second part, JD and Veronica
accidentally kill a girl. As their relationship heats up, the body-count climbs, but Veronica remains in denial about
what she's doing. In the third part, Veronica dumps JD and agonizes about her complicity in the murders while
JD compels another girl to collect the signature of every student at school. For the final act, Veronica foils JD's
plot and saves the school.

When I was young, we used to play croquet at family gatherings. The way we played, one became a "killer ball"
after completing half the course and touching the opposite wicket with his ball. The killer ball was aptly named;
with it a player could eliminate competition while racing for the end-game wicket. My father was always the
black ball, and he was always the first to become a killer ball. In fact, he usually won before the rest of us had so
much as gotten through to the far wicket, due mostly to his ruthless inclination to take out all who dared approach
within about 15 feet of his ball. For being such an apparently dignified, low-impact 'sport,' croquet does seem to
bring out the domineering, cold-blooded tendencies in those who succeed at it.

The Beginning

It's fitting that Heathers, a movie at least in part about cold-blooded, ruthless domination, should open
with a game of croquet. (Actually, Heathers opens with a slow-mo shot of a woman pulling her teased
blonde hair through a bright red scrunchy; a kind of hair-tie - but that scrunchy will also become imbued with
great symbolic meaning as the movie progresses.) We first see three young women sitting in a garden. They
arise and walk over to a croquet-set, heedlessly crunching flowers beneath their well-shod heels, and begin to
play. The blonde girl in the red scrunchy hits her red ball, which smacks a fourth woman, buried in the turf but for
her head, in the face. The fourth girl begins to speak: "Dear Diary..."

Turns out that the fourth girl, Veronica, is frantically writing in her diary at school.

Veronica is one member of a clique of four girls, the rest of whom are named Heather. Heather Chandler (Kim
Walker), who favors the color red and wears a distinctive red scrunchy in her teased blonde hair, is Westerberg
High's Cordelia Chase (I believe the phrase "what's your damage?" originated in Heathers) - despite the
fact that she's pretty much universally loathed, she's still the girl everyone "wants as a friend or a f*ck." The
other two Heathers are sniggering sycophants to Red Heather. Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty), distinctive in
her green wardrobe, is the shrinking violet that Red Heather seems to particularly love heaping verbal abuse on.
Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk), resplendent in yellow, is the cheerleader.

Veronica Sawyer used to be best friends with a girl named Betty Finn. (The names, according to the movie's
writer, were particularly chosen to signify that the two girls had a 'true' friendship, and further allude to both
Archie Comics' Betty and Veronica, and Mark Twain's Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.) Betty Finn is now a
socially-inept nerd, and Veronica's in the heart of the in-crowd. Although the Heather-esque Veronica of the
movie's beginning objects to the way the other Heathers treat the less socially-fortunate, particularly overweight
Martha Dunstock, (aka 'Martha Dumptruck'), she capitulates to their insistent demands and uses her notable skill
at forging handwriting to embarrass Martha in front of a couple of jocks.

Bemusedly watching the action from an otherwise empty table in a far corner of the cafeteria is a dark young man.
He catches Veronica's eye, and she heads over to introduce herself. His name is Jason Dean, though he requests
that she call him 'JD'. He's new to the school; his father's a famous developer, and he's gone to seven different
schools in seven different states. The two engage in some mild flirtation before Red Heather drags Veronica
away, concerned that any interest in high-school-aged guys by Veronica might reflect badly on herself. The two
jocks, threatened by JD's communication with Veronica and Red Heather, neanderthal their way over to his table
and insult his sexuality. JD takes it in stride, pulls out a gun and shoots them both with what turn out to be blanks.

The Second Act

Act Two opens with another croquet game. Red Heather coldly thumps Green Heather's ball far off into some
distant shrubbery rather than taking the two shots she'd otherwise be entitled to. Green Heather then fortuitously
hits her 'lost' ball back onto the green in a single shot, much to the amazement of the three others. You might
think this clever (or lucky) feat would bring some kind of praise or credit, but Red Heather only grins and hits
Green Heather's ball again. When Green asks why, Red simply replies "Why not?" The three Heathers
then take off, and Veronica explains to her parents that she and Red are going to a college party that night.

On the way to the party, the two stop at a convenience store, where Veronica finds JD hanging around. She flirts
a little more seriously with him, but Red Heather gets angry and impatient and keeps harassing Veronica that they
need to get moving. "I don't think I like my friends very much," Veronica confides to him. "I don't
like your friends much either,"
he responds. At the party, Veronica embarrasses Heather by first refusing to
have sex with a frat boy and then vomiting. Veronica leaves, and RH follows her out, screaming that Veronica is
now out of the clique. Veronica stomps off. At home that evening, she is scribbling furiously in her diary that she
"want[s] to kill Heather Chandler..." when JD appears and crawls in through her open window. The two head
outside for a game of croquet, and end up sleeping together.

The next morning, they slip into Red Heather's house, with Veronica intent upon concocting a hangover cure that
will make Red vomit. She's considering a mixture of milk and orange juice, perhaps with a 'phlegm loogie' spit in
for good measure. JD rummages around in a cabinet, and holds out a blue plastic bottle labeled "Hull Clean",
which Veronica laughs off, noting correctly that drinking that would kill Heather. On her way up to Red's room,
however, she picks up the wrong mug, a covered container that JD has poured the cleaner into while Veronica
wasn't watching. Red drinks and--no surprise-- Red dies. JD convinces the shocked and frightened Veronica to
forge a compelling suicide note for Red, thus covering up their actions. After all, everyone hated Red Heather,
who's going to miss her enough to ask questions?

Naturally, the unexpected happens, but not in the expected way. The ensuing scenes show Veronica's rising
disgust at the way Red's memory quickly becomes sanctified with her death 'at her own hand'. Students who
loathed Red feed intense sound-bites of love and grief into the hovering media's eager microphones, and even the
chain-smoking teachers feel forced to reevaluate their assements of Red's character. Veronica's faked suicide
note has imparted a kind of depth to Heather Chandler in death that she never so much as pretended to in life.

At the funeral, Heather McNamara ('Yellow Heather') talks Veronica into going on a double-date with her, Kurt
and Ram, the two homophobic jocks from the earlier cafeteria/gunfight scene. After an exciting night of drunken
cow-tipping and attempted date-rape (apparently successful in Yellow Heather's case, sadly), JD wanders in to
Veronica's rescue and the two high-tail it off for a Slushie.

The next morning, however, the entire school's aflame with rumors of Veronica's supposedly pernicious sexual
appetites. Disgusted with the two boys, Veronica takes her frustration to JD, who cooks up an 'innocent' plot to
humiliate them. She calls both guys on the phone and asks them to meet her behind the school at dawn the next
morning for a ménage a trois, intending to ambush them with tranquilizer darts and leave their bodies to be found
in a nude, and suspiciously affectionate, embrace. JD has other plans, however, and using his so-called 'ich
bullets ('ich luge' being German for 'I lie') instead of tranq darts, intends to kill the two guys. Alas,
Veronica doesn't understand German, falls for JD's ruse, and forges a note indicating a double-suicide. They
execute the plan, and of course the two young men end up dead, but this time around Veronica is starting to
understand what's actually going on with JD.

Though she initially feels wretched for having been involved in their deaths, JD sweet-talks Veronica through her
moral quandary ("They had nothing to offer this school but date-rape and AIDS-jokes"), and the two
snigger their way through the jocks' hypocritical funeral service. When one of the fathers, in tears, turns to the
assembled mourners and loundly proclaims "I love my dead gay son!" JD wonders aloud if the father
would have been so affectionate to 'a limp wrist and a lisp' in life. Veronica giggles, but looks up in time to see
the little sister of one of the jocks turn around and stare emptily at her, tears of genuine sorrow running down her
face. The little girl's pathetic look hits Veronica hard, and jolts her back to reality.

The Third Act

The Third Act opens with the high school's resident 'touchy-feely' teacher organizing a post-suicide 'love-in,' for
which there are a suspicious number of network reporters and cameras present. Veronica notes with loathing that
the various 'suicides' have "given Heather depth, Kurt a soul, [and] Ram a brain. Am I going to the prom or
to hell?"
Later that afternoon, at JD's house, she watches in disgust as his father, a developer, gloats
obsessively about having blown up a building. Then, when JD shoots the radio, she dumps him. He grabs her
and forces her to kiss him, but she fights him off and disappears. (Interestingly, JD's outfit in this scene is
strikingly reminiscent of Spike's most famous ensemble - a black overcoat, a red dress-shirt, unbuttoned, and a
black teeshirt tucked into black jeans.)

The scene then switches to find JD confabulating with Heather Duke (Green Heather). He blackmails her with
some childhood photos of herself with (a much thinner, younger) Martha 'Dumptruck' and offers her Red
Heather Chandler's famous red scrunchy if she'll collect the signatures of every student at the high-school for him.
She accepts. Later, Veronica runs into the New Heather #1 wearing the scrunchy and storms off in revulsion.

Heather's third croquet game finds Veronica playing with Betty Finn. Veronica doesn't want to knock
Betty's ball out of the game, but she has to in order to win. "Go ahead, knock me out," Betty enjoins.
"It's not my style," Veronica demurs. "Nice guys always finish last," Betty responds ruefully, "I
oughta know."
Veronica knocks Betty's ball away as the NewRed and Yellow Heathers descend into the
backyard. Heather Duke is no longer wearing her trademark green; rather, she's clad in Chandler red, and
claims the red croquet ball. It seems Westerberg High has a new Queen Bee-- or Queen H in this case.

Meanwhile, the sad and desperate Martha Dunnstock has genuinely attempted to commit suicide, information
which NewRed Heather gleefully imparts to Veronica. Veronica reacts badly. The two then listen to a popular
call-in talk-show, "Hot Probs," and realize that one of the callers is Yellow Heather, who is terribly upset that
both her best friend and the last boy she had sex with are dead. NewRed is thrilled and the next day the school is
buzzing with the word about Yellow's trauma. Yellow Heather runs out of class and Veronica follows to find her
in a lavatory, trying to down a bottle of sleeping pills. Veronica talks Yellow McNamara out of suicide, while
realizing that "I've cut off Heather Chandler's head and Heather Duke's has sprouted back in its place."

Veronica confronts NewRed that afternoon. "Why are you such a mega-bitch?" Veronica yells.
"Because I can be," is NewRed's smug reply. The formerly downtrodden Heather of the beginning of the
movie has 'moved up in the world'. In this take on humanity's weaknesses, Heather isn't a person so much as an
idea - Red or Green or whatever are only place-holders for the part. There will always be a Heather, someone to
exploit the fears and petty insecurities of teenagers.

Veronica comes home that evening to find her parents concerned that she's suicidal. It seems that JD has been
by, and told them he's worried about her. She goes up to her room to find a Barbie Doll hanging in a tiny noose
from the ceiling, wearing a teeshirt with the name of the band who's radio hit is the song "Teenage Suicide -
Don't Do It."
Veronica falls asleep, and dreams that she and JD kill Heather Duke. She wakes with a start.

The Ending

The final act of the movie opens that very same evening. JD loads a revolver and crawls through Veronica's
bedroom window, only to find that she's apparently hanged herself. Like any good villain (clearly, he didn't read
the Evil Overlord Handbook), JD decries her act while admitting that he was planning to kill her, then spills the
beans about his ultimate plan. He has had NewRed collect the signatures of the entire Westerberg student body
in order to attach them to a mass-suicide note - he intends to blow up the school the next day. He leaves after
hearing Veronica's mother approaching the bedroom door, and she enters, understandably shocked to see what
appears to be her 'suicidal' daughter hanging from the ceiling. Veronica suddenly opens her eyes, and then
nonchalantly lets herself down by cutting the concealed cloth wrapped around her waist. Needless to say, mom
isn't too pleased with the deception, but Veronica seems to be walking some razor-fine line between compassion
and obsession. She acknowledges her mother's distress, and then heads downstairs to eat dinner.

The next morning, Veronica follows JD to school and realizes that he's planted the bombs in the boiler room
beneath the gym. There's to be a pep-rally that afternoon. She confronts him in the boiler room with a gun,
which he easily knocks from her hands. He hits her head against a wall and continues with his preparations. She
picks herself back up, arms herself with a fire-extinguisher, and goes after him again. They scuffle, he drops the
gun and pins her against a wall. She knees him in the family jewels and claims possession. He has already armed
the bomb, and threatens her with a knife. She demands to know how to disarm the bomb; he flips her the bird
and yells "F*ck you!" She promptly shoots his middle finger off.

He lunges for her, after ranting about the fact that "The only place different social types can get along is in
heaven. People are going to look at the ashes of Westerberg High School and say, 'now there's a school that
self-destructed, not because society didn't care, but because the school was society!'"
demands once again about the way to disarm the bomb, and he finally tells her how, adding "If that's what
you really want."

"You know what I really want?" she cries, as he lunges at her. She shoots him in the abdomen and
replies to her own query with "cool guys like you outta my life." Falling down, JD stabs his knife into the
bomb, shutting it off (at T-minus four seconds.) Veronica staggers out of the boiler room and smiles fondly, if
somewhat ruefully, at her innocent peers.

The final scene finds Veronica wobbling out the front steps of the high school, with JD a little behind her, badly
wounded. She stops half-way down the steps and he moves to stand before her, revealing a the bomb, now
strapped around his stomach. "Well color me impressed," he mumbles, "you really f*cked me

"You've got power; power I didn't know you had. Now the slate is clean."
He re-arms the bomb as she
regards him calmly. "Pretend I did blow up the school - all the schools," he tells her, "Now that
you're dead, what're you gonna do with your life?"

She pulls a cigarette out of her breast-pocket and sticks it between her lips. The two share a wry grin when the
bomb malfunctions at 15 seconds. He gets it going again, then slowly spreads his arms, crucifixion style, beneath
the Westerberg High School sign. The camera switches to the pep-ralley, to catch the surprise of the students at
the sound of the bomb going off. In the ensuing panic, students pour down the smoking front steps as a calm,
disheveled Veronica lounges against the hand-rail, taking a drag on her cig, apparently lit by the fire of JD's
explosive demise. (This is a very clever counterpoint to a scene after the two jocks are killed, where JD lights his
cigarette from a self-inflicted burn on Veronica's hand. Yeah, I know, but it works, unrealistic or not.)

Finally she turns and walks slowly into the school, pausing only to kiss NewRed Heather on the cheek while
pulling the Red Scrunchy of Office from NewRed's hair. At the ex-#1's confusion, Veronica smiles,
"Heather, my love, there's a new sheriff in town" and walks off.

The final moments of the movie find Veronica telling a wheelchair-riding Martha Dunnstock that her prom date
flaked on her; and asking if would she like to get together and watch movies. The two head off into the dust-filled
but bright light of the afternoon, with Martha making cheerful little circles around Veronica's limp. The strains of
the song "Que Sera, Sera" play wistfully in the background, then pick up in speed and energy as the end credits
begin to roll.


The Real Scrunchy

is, at its heart, a movie about a woman finding strength in herself. Veronica is clearly an average
high school girl, insecure enough in herself to be discontent with her popularity when friends with Betty but
intelligent enough to find the Heathers' calculating ways off-putting. It's important to note that, despite the fact
that Veronica Sawyer's name is supposed to indicate that she had a 'true' friendship with Betty Finn, it also
indicates that she had no identity separate from the friendship. Betty and Veronica, and Tom and Huck, are
famous couples, though Tom and Huck fare a little better in the quest for individuality than Betty and Veronica.
When associated with the Heathers, Veronica is the odd-woman out by virtue of her name, but is equally
complicit in their cruel activities. The director, in the DVD commentary, notes that the character of Veronica is
made to wear a monocle when writing in her diary to symbolize that she's the "Albert Speers of the Heathers."
Despite her intelligence and reticence, she's easily bullied into acts of puerile cruelty.

Hooking up with a loner like JD doesn't serve to make Veronica any more of an individual than disliking the
Heathers' behavior does, or trying to re-befriend Betty. He bullies or charms her into complying with his ideas;
he convinces her to forge suicide notes despite her better judgment; he easily manipulates her into complying with
his paper-thin plan to "frame" the two jocks. Towards the end of the third act, Veronica realizes that she has no
self-control around JD; in the final confrontation, she realizes that he's not an individual either. "You think
you're a rebel?"
she screams at him. "You're not a rebel; you're an asshole!" And, as JD mentioned
earlier on, the world is filled with assholes.

Veronica only becomes an individual after she has dumped JD and pretended to hang herself. From his
perspective, she's Judas and he's Christ, a man who's been martyred to "seven schools in seven states - and
they're all the same" and a mother who committed suicide by walking into a building his father was about to blow.
Her hanging is symbolic for her for different reasons. Coming at the end of the third act, it stands for her death as
a follower and her rebirth as a powerful individual. She takes the task of defeating him unto herself and asks for
no help from anyone - not even Yellow Heather, with whom she had recently shared an intimate bonding
moment. JD is her problem, she realizes, and she's got to deal with him herself. JD's final revelation, of
Veronica's great power, and her insouciant stance as he attempts to blow his megalomaniacal self to bits, all
serve to high-light her new-found power and strength-of-character. And with that strength comes individuality.

JD's problems with high school ("they're all the same") is Veronica's problem with the Heathers writ large. How
can an ordinary person deal with the terrifying truth that the world is filled with nominal carbon-copies; that for
every one Heather who leaves her place of power, another will soon step in to fill it? That no high school is any
different from any other high school? Veronica deals with her forays into manslaughter and murder with a
believeable kind of confusion - she's never been presented as anything more than a smart but insecure groupie.
Each 'suicide' is met with hypocrisy by the community, which adds to her feelings of unreality. It's only after she
sees the little girl crying at the second funeral, and hears of Martha's attempted suicide, that the gravity of the
situation hits home.

Both Veronica and JD want the same thing - for there to be "fewer assholes in the world." JD's way of
procuring this, however, is akin to a violent government overthrow. He appears to find the idea of killing
everyone it takes to make the world 'a better place' an acceptable, even laudable, means to achieving this end.
He never experiences a revelation akin to Veronica's - that there are certain people (and, by extension,
institutions), that will always exist. It doesn't matter how many Heathers JD murders; another will always be
ready to step up to the plate. Veronica's final act, of taking the red scrunchy for herself and declaring herself
sheriff, symbolize her stab (no pun intended- well, not really... well, maybe sorta...) at regime-change - a quiet,
internal coup. Veronica will step up to the Heather-plate herself, but she probably won't be batting like any of her

In the final analysis, Veronica is an ordinary person faced with circumstances that escalate to the extraordinary.
She becomes a hero, and a fully-realized individual, by first realizing her own complicity in those circumstances
(her pawn-like nature) and then acting to change that. She can't change what has come before, but she can
change the future. Veronica begins as the unlikeliest of heroes - she's a follower, and JD's clearly the more
'stereotypical' teen-movie hero/rebel - but she ends the movie as both a hero and a fully-realized individual.

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,

Anneth & OnM


Technically very:

Heathers is available on DVD, which was also the format of the review copy. The film was released in
1989 and the run time is 1 hour and 42 minutes. The original cinematic aspect ratio was 1.85:1, which was
preserved on the DVD edition.

Screenwriting credit goes to Daniel Waters. The film was produced by Denise Di Novi, Iya Labunka and
Christopher Webster. Cinematography was by Francis Kenny with film editing by Norman Hollyn. Production
design was by Jon Hutman with art direction by Kara Lindstrom and costume design by Rudy Dillon. Original
music was by David Newman. The original theatrical sound mix was in mono.

Cast overview:

Winona Ryder .... Veronica Sawyer
Christian Slater .... Jason 'J.D.' Dean
Shannen Doherty .... Heather Duke
Lisanne Falk .... Heather McNamara
Kim Walker .... Heather Chandler
Penelope Milford .... Pauline Fleming
Glenn Shadix .... Father Ripper
Lance Fenton .... Kurt Kelly
Patrick Labyorteaux .... Ram Sweeney
Jeremy Applegate .... Peter Dawson
Jon Shear .... Rodney
Carrie Lynn .... Martha 'Dumptruck' Dunnstock
Phill Lewis .... Dennis (the Westerburg Year Book Editor)
Renée Estevez .... Betty Finn
John Zarchen .... Country Club Keith


Miscellaneous Dept:

There are four kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.

............ Ambrose Bierce

OK, a real short Misc Dept this time around, because it's like really late, ya know? Anneth mentioned the exerpt
from the DVD commentary track where the screenwriter refers to Veronica as having a few characteristics in
common with Albert Speer, commonly known as 'Hitler's Architect'. Here's a little tiny portion of the historical
record on the man:

After September 1944 he became convinced that Germany must try to lose the war (...) with the least
possible long-term damage to her economy and, when he became aware of Hitler's nihilistic intentions, did what
he could to thwart them - towards the end with decreasing care for secrecy. Hitler probably became aware of
Speer's disloyalty but allowed his long-standing affection for his only 'artisitic' subordinate to get the better of his
(by then almost instinctive) vindictiveness. Speer's conversion came, however, too late for the Allies who insisted
on noticing that he used slave-labour on some of his schemes and arraigned him at Nuremberg. (...) The story of
the life of the man himself, well-born, brilliant, charming and handsome, is itself the stuff of Faustian drama.

Hitler, you see, wanted to massively destroy Germany's industrial base to keep it from Allied hands when it
became apparent that Germany was going to lose the conflict. Speer, as noted above, tried and mostly
succeeded in preventing this. Did he thus become a reformed evildoer? Different historians have differing
opinions. This leads us to: (ooo, big surprise!)


The Question(s) of the Week:

Heathers predates BtVS by several years, and I think that Anneth and I aren't the only ones to see some
common Buffyverse-isms that appear to be derived from this film. Feel free to answer either/or of the following:

Question 1: Do you think Joss was influenced in any way by Heathers? Do you know of any
concrete proof of such influence, such as statements made in interviews, etc?

Question 2: Do you see any similarities between the characters of Veronica in Heathers and Faith in BtVS?

Whew! All for now, dear friends. Do post 'em if you've got 'em, and I'll see you next week, possibly with
another guest co-writer or maybe all by my lonesome, but rest assured, it'll be very very.

Take care.


[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - September 7th 2003 -- Brian, 07:30:49 09/08/03 Mon

Can't answer your questions, but Heathers is one of my favorite movies for its "take no prisoners" attitude. I like movies that don't cope out on the ending. I would place Dr Strangelove and Natural Born Killers in the same catagory. All three movies are a wild ride to chaos, and out of the chaos comes a new order.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - September 7th 2003 -- Rob, 12:24:08 09/08/03 Mon

Veronica: I've just killed my best friend!
J.D.: And your worst enemy.
Veronica: Same difference.

Heathers happens to be one of my very favorite movies; it is, strangely, a film that makes me both laugh uproariously and cringe, sometimes simultaneously. Heathers is the ultimate anti-teen-movie teen movie, a film that redefines the meaning of the term black comedy, an absolutely brilliant piece of cinema that manages to do the unthinkable-function as, on its most surface level, a comedy about teen suicide of all things, and yet at the same time never make light of the subject matter. Suicide itself is not parodied; the institution and societal structure of high school, which, through the combined pressure put on students by both their peers (the torturous gauntlets kids must go through in order to be perceived as popular) and teachers (the constant homework, papers, tests, etc) can lead a teenager to such a drastic measure, and then, after the action, romanticize and mythologize the deceased student to the point that the promise of securing similar depth post-mortem could seem awfully tempting to other angst-ridden teens, is the target of the film's humor. And one rarely finds humor on film that derives from such an angry, sad place. The fact is, Daniel Waters, the screenwriter of Heathers, understands the darker side of high school in a way that other filmmakers of the time, like John Hughes, only hinted at.

When I first saw Heathers in seventh grade, I hated it. I didn't understand the humor; I found it disturbing and frightening. I rewatched it at the end of ninth grade, when I had been in high school for a full year, and I finally got it, or, rather, perhaps the film finally got me. If you haven't survived life in a public high school, it's impossible to truly understand Heathers. And although it makes fun of the popular kids in high school, I would submit that even most popular kids would understand Heathers, because it speaks to the low and sometimes degrading measures people take to become popular, so even though many wouldn't care to admit it, just about any "caste" of students in high school can relate-both the students, or former students, who were tortured by the popular students, or those popular students who know deep down how awful and empty high school popularity is. In many ways, the film reminds me of Cordelia's speech to Buffy in Out of Mind, Out of Sight, the first time we really delved into her psyche.

To add to anneth's discussion, I thought it would be interesting to note that on the DVD of Heathers, the shooting script of the original ending of the film is included, the ending which was considered too dark even for this film. At the end, J.D. is successful. The school is blown up. Cut to a prom, where all of the deceased students of the different social sects are dancing. We learn that this is heaven. Daniel Waters, Winona Ryder, and Christian Slater have all said that they were upset that this was not preserved in the final product. I disagree, though, because it would just be too depressing, too dark. One of the strengths of the film, I think, is as anneth so shrewdly points out, Veronica's journey and her empowerment in the end, because after all the darkness and despair, we are given a small glimmer of hope, albeit in a warped way. To have everybody die would, despite the clever premise of the prom as heaven or afterlife, be just too morbid.

Another one of the major successes of the film is that it is not dated, because Daniel Waters was clever enough to not have the film be bogged down by 80s trappings, styles, and dialogue. Instead, he did something which Joss Whedon would later do himself: create a new form of language for the characters of the film. Examples include "so very," and "what's your damage?" (which Joss would himself use later). Therefore, the slang of the film was never used in the real world, at least before the film came out. Whedon's characters similarly use their own form of speech that keeps it from being too closely identified by the slang of the time.

Thanks to anneth and OnM for giving me the opportunity to revisit this great film.


P.S. Other great moments of dialogue in the film:

"If you want to f*** with the eagles, you're gonna have to learn how to fly."

"I love my dead gay son!"

"My teen angst bulls*** has a body count."

"I must say I was impressed to see that she made proper use of the word 'myriad' in her suicide note."

"Sorry to hear about your friend. Thought she was your usual airhead bitch. Guess I was wrong. We all were."

[> Great review! -- ponygirl, 12:53:31 09/08/03 Mon

Ah Heathers. I forgave Winona Ryder much of her later career choices based on her performance in that movie. It's been years since I've seen it but the BtVS similarities really struck me reading Anneth's review. The tone of Heathers and the series is incredibly similar, and the larger metaphor of high school as hell is something they both share. Personally I've always wondered if Willow's appearance in Inca Mummy Girl as an Eskimo was a reference to the Green Heather's obsession with Moby Dick and JD's plan to use the word "Eskimo" to symbolize her isolation in her faux-suicide note.

I actually don't see connections between Faith and Veronica but rather Veronica and Buffy. If Buffy had had a weaker sense of morality and a stronger longing to be popular one could see her choosing Cordelia over Willow in WttH and finding herself in a very Heathers-like situation.

[> [> Re: Loved the film. Loved the review. -- sdev, 23:02:33 09/09/03 Tue

Agree on Veronica and Buffy. There are moments such as Buffy's puns before the final stab that are Veronicaesque. A certain nonchalant insouciance in the face of grave circumstances that they both have in common.

[> Veronica? -- KdS, 02:25:28 09/09/03 Tue

Looking at it, I see JD as far more similar to Faith in S3. The cool, sexy, leather-clad rebel whose rebelliousness isn't constructive but hides a truly dangerous nihilism.

Response -- Claudia, 12:57:40 09/08/03 Mon

[What right have we to smash a perfectly fine reflection?]

I think we have every right, since this "perfectly fine reflection" seems to reflect nothing but hypocricy.

[> Ummm... -- Random, 13:59:21 09/08/03 Mon

To what are you responding? I only ask because we had another poster (Rina, I think) who did this exact same thing a lot because she was unfamiliar with the board operating procedures. If you post from the main page, it will start a new thread. In order to reply to a post, you have to post from the page the original post was on.

In any event, a mirror only reflects the things that are placed before it...

[> Again, not sure what you're responing to but... -- Celebaelin, 16:58:16 09/08/03 Mon

how about some Rush.

Natuaral Science
Pt. I Tide Pools
Permanent Waves (1980)

When the ebbing tide retreats
Along the rocky shore line
It leaves a trail of tidal pools
In a short-lived galaxy
Each microcosmic planet
A complete society
A simple kind of mirror
To reflect upon our own
All the busy little creatures
Chasing out their destinies
Living in their pools
They soon forget about the sea

Wheels within wheels
In a spiral array
A pattern so grand
And complex
Time after time
We lose sight of the way
Our causes can't see
Their effects

[> [> Howabout a poem from Matthew Arnold. One of my favorites -- Random, 17:13:38 09/08/03 Mon

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Matthew Arnold

[> [> [> Re: ooooo..poems! How's about one by John Masefield... -- LittleBit, 17:27:30 09/08/03 Mon


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Thanks, fresne, for reminding me of this.

[> [> [> [> Re: ooooo..poems! How's about one by John Masefield... -- fresne, 13:22:06 09/09/03 Tue

Hmmm, this does rather leave me without a poem to hand.

Since all that comes to mind is Sam I Am.

And thus, a medley

I will not eat green eggs and ham.
I will not eat them on wine dark seas,
I will not eat them on whale roads pleasing,
I will eat no green eggs and ham.

For now we look into a glass, but darkly
And then we will see face to face, but darkly
And turn westward to face the undiscover'd country
Lest Hades a revolving door make for hero-ery.

There is a tide to the affairs of men
Which wine dark seas do wash.
No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent itself.

Of his bones are coral made;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

I must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
What merchant's ships have my sighs drown'd?
Who says my tears have overflow'd his ground?

So, come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.

I will eat green eggs and ham.
I will t eat them on wine dark seas,
I will not eat them on whale roads pleasing,
I will green eggs and ham, Sam I Am.

[> [> [> [> [> Or Katherine Mansfield -- Celebaelin, 13:57:58 09/09/03 Tue

"How idiotic civilisation is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?"

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
'Bliss and Other Short Stories', Bliss

[> [> [> Have you read 'Dover Bitch'? -- Nino, 18:09:11 09/08/03 Mon

It's a humorous (feminist??) take on the Arnold classic, by Anthony Hecht.

It makes the Arnold poem's narrator sound like a whining boy who can't perform, and the girl (who is all but invisible in Arnold's poem) waiting not so patiently for him to...err....get the job done....

its really funny, I just don't want to type it, so google it fools!

The best part is the line about a "mournful cosmic last resort"...

[> [> [> [> Heh...that's just sacreligious...but cute. I like Hetch -- Random, 18:20:24 09/08/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Heh...that's just sacreligious...but cute. I like Hetch -- LittleBit, 18:26:15 09/08/03 Mon

You can find it here.

[> [> [> [> Something about the sea... -- Celebaelin, 19:53:09 09/08/03 Mon

always leads people towards sexual melancholy. What is it about that Arnold verse (let alone the Hecht, which I hadn't read before) which put me in mind of the following. I can't say I know but before I read Dover Bitch I was already humming the tune, well, mentally.

Seal Driver
Jethro Tull
Broadsword and the Beast (1983)

Take you away for my magic ship
I have two hundred diesel horses thundering load
Sea birds call your name and the mountain's on fire
As the Summer lightning cuts the sky like a hot wire
And you ride on the swell
And your heart is alive
Think I'll make you my seal driver

I'm no great looker, I'm no fast shakes
I'll give you a steady push
On a six knot simmering high tide
I can hold us down
Keep our heads to the wind
Or let us roll on the broadside
Cold spray flying in
And we'll ride on the swell
And our hearts are alive
Let me make you my seal driver

I could captain you if you'd crew for me
Follow white flecked spindrift - float on a moon kissed sea

Could you fancy me as a pirate bold
Or a longship Viking warrior
With the old gods on his side
Well, I'm an inshore man and I'm nobody's hero
But I'll make you tight for a windy night and a dark ride
Let me take you in hand
And bring you alive
Like to make you my seal driver

All the morose energy of the sea in that one (and the guitar's pretty wicked as well, you should hear it on WaveLab Lite).

Got away from mirrors a bit but what the hell.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: And here's something by Emma Willard -- Brian, 04:44:27 09/09/03 Tue

Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep

ROCKED in the cradle of the deep
I lay me down in peace to sleep;
Secure I rest upon the wave,
For Thou, O Lord! hast power to save.
I know Thou wilt not slight my call,
For Thou dost mark the sparrow's fall;
And calm and peaceful shall I sleep,
Rocked in the cradle of the deep.

When in the dead of night I lie
And gaze upon the trackless sky,
The star-bespangled heavenly scroll,
The boundless waters as they roll,-
I feel Thy wondrous power to save
From perils of the stormy wave:
Rocked in the cradle of the deep,
I calmly rest and soundly sleep.

And such the trust that still were mine,
Though stormy winds swept o'er the brine,
Or though the tempest's fiery breath
Roused me from sleep to wreck and death.
In ocean cave, still safe with Thee
The germ of immortality!
And calm and peaceful shall I sleep,
Rocked in the cradle of the deep.

OT: Warren Zevon dies of cancer at age 56 -- cjl, 09:51:28 09/08/03 Mon

From Inside Entertainment:

LOS ANGELES -- Warren Zevon, who wrote and sang the rock hit Werewolves of London and was among the wittiest and most original of a broad circle of singer-songwriters to emerge from Los Angeles in the 1970s, died at his home after a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 56.

A lifelong smoker until quitting several years ago, Zevon announced in September 2002 that he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and had been given only three months to live.

He died Sunday afternoon at his Los Angeles area home, his manager, Irving Azoff told the Los Angeles Times. Azoff and Zevon's publicist did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press.

During his last months, Zevon had faced death with the same dark sense of humour found in much of his music, including songs like I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Life'll Kill Ya and Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.

"Really, the thing I want is to last through the winter so I don't miss the new James Bond movie," he said when his illness was diagnosed last year.

He also resumed smoking, jovially asking an interviewer for a recent VH1 documentary what he would do if he only had a month to live.

After his diagnosis, he spent much of his time visiting with his two grown children and working on a final album, The Wind, which was released to critical acclaim just last month. His son said recently that he thought the support from family and friends, which included an all-star cast of musicians who worked on that final album, helped prolong his father's life.

Zevon released his first album, Wanted - Dead or Alive, to little notice in 1969, but gained attention in the '70s by writing a string of popular songs for Linda Ronstadt, including Poor, Poor Pitiful Me, Carmelita, and Hasten Down the Wind.

The songs, a lyrically lighthearted, upbeat rocker about a spurned lover driven to the brink of suicide; a romantic ballad about a destitute heroin addict; and a ballad about rejection and hypocrisy, quickly fuelled his reputation as one of rock music's most cynical voices.

His next two albums, 1976's Warren Zevon and 1978's Excitable Boy, followed those songs with darkly humorous tales of prom-date rapists; headless, gun-toting soldiers of fortune; and werewolves who drank pina coladas at singles bars and were particular about their hair.

They would cement the musician's reputation as one of rock music's most politically incorrect lyricists, giving him a lifelong cult following that included gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (who had Zevon perform at his inauguration) and Late Show host David Letterman, who provided backing vocals on Hit Somebody, Zevon's 2001 elegy to a professional hockey goon who longs to be a goal-scoring hero.

"I always like to have violent lyrics and violent music," Zevon told The Associated Press in 1990. "The knowledge of death and fear of death informs my existence. It's a safe, kind of cheerful way of dealing with that issue."

A classically trained musician and accomplished guitarist and pianist, Zevon also substituted from time to time for Letterman's Late Night band leader, Paul Shaffer.

Other admirers included Bob Dylan, whom Zevon cited as one of his principal songwriting influences and who performed on his 1987 album Sentimental Hygiene. Still another was Bruce Springsteen, who co-wrote Jeannie Needs a Shooter, Zevon's tale of a lover shot to death by a woman's jealous father.

Despite such respect, Zevon's career nearly ended soon after it began when he developed a reputation as one of rock music's rowdiest drinkers, sometimes showing up on stage raving drunk and berating audiences.

It was a period reviewed in music like The French Inhaler, a song that he once noted gave him a reputation as the "foremost chronicler" of the excesses of the 1970s L.A. music scene.

"He is among the wildest people I've ever met," fellow L.A. singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, who produced several of Zevon's early albums, once said. "I always remember him just tearing off into the night in Morocco one time, drunk, by himself. For him, it was all about trials by fire."

When he gave up alcohol in the mid-'80s, Zevon said he did so to avoid drinking himself to death, something he characterized as a coward's way out.

His compositional style, meanwhile, reflected a number of genres, from hard-driving rock to folk, as well as classical, polka and other influences.

Born in Chicago on Jan. 24, 1947, to Russian immigrant parents, Zevon moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s, making a living writing jingles for television commercials.

During his last months, he told various interviewers he had no regrets, expressing particular gratitude that he had quit drinking in time to watch his daughter, Ariel, and son, Jordan, grow up. He became a grandfather in June when Ariel gave birth to twins.

He also boasted that he had lived a life as wild as legendary Doors frontman Jim Morrison, with one exception: He survived nearly 30 years longer than Morrison, who died at age 27 in 1971.

"I got to be the most (expletive-deleted) rock star on the block, at least on my block," he said. "And then I got to be a sober dad for 18 years. I've had two very full lives."


Not much to add here. For all of his fans on the board, let the man himself sum it up. From his last song, "Keep Me in Your Heart":

"Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep in your heart for awhile
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile."

[> Re: RIP - Wolf howls across the world -- Brian, 14:32:02 09/08/03 Mon

[> [> And their hair was... perfect. -- OnM, 19:45:48 09/08/03 Mon

[> [> [> I am choked up -- Sara, 14:35:00 09/09/03 Tue

[> [> Speaking of which -- d'Herblay, 22:20:55 09/08/03 Mon

Michael Swanwick.

[> [> [> heard the news yesterday morning...damn -- anom, 14:03:08 09/09/03 Tue

But he lasted longer than anyone expected & managed to finish that last album...I'm glad he was able to accomplish something that meant so much to him. That's more than a lot of people do.

d'H, thanks for posting that link. I'll have to shake Swanwick's hand next time I see him at an sf con.

My picture with Iyari Limon... -- Rob, 10:30:07 09/08/03 Mon

Anyone curious to see the answer to the following mathematical problem, click on the question mark:

Iyari Limon + Rob = ?


[> God, is she a babe or what? -- Masq, 13:05:00 09/08/03 Mon

Nyuhh hhuhhh huhhhh.........

Jealous now.

[> [> Oh, yeah! I've spent the past few days rewatching choice S7 episodes... -- Rob, 13:28:54 09/08/03 Mon

...smacking myself in the head, saying "How did you not like her before, you fool?!?" Consider me a reformed Iyari fan. Mmmmm, Kennedy!

Speaking of which, she revealed at the full-cast panel discussion that she will be appearing on the first episode of "Drew Carey" this a prostitute. Meow! Set your VCR to tape...My new Tivo's raring to go!

Rob, who had two copies of his picture with Iyari to hang on the wall, the other to put beside his pillow

[> [> [> Rob has seen the Kennedy light -- Masq, 14:09:20 09/08/03 Mon

There is nothing "Buffy" he doesn't like.

All is right in Rob's world!

[> [> [> [> I saw the Kennedy light and keep it under my sheet. -- VampRiley, 18:18:21 09/08/03 Mon

[> [> I still hate Kennedy, but Iyari can invoke the Jessica Rabbit Alibi anytime: -- cjl, 14:21:46 09/08/03 Mon

"I'm not a whiny, spoiled brat of an SIT--I'm just written that way."

[> [> Re: Rob, you, lucky dog, you -- Brian, 14:24:26 09/08/03 Mon

[> Rob, great, so you've moved on? Dumping poor Kerry? Player. -- Rochefort, 14:24:57 09/08/03 Mon

Ah well. Now she's mine.


[> An Iyari sighting -- Darby, 07:07:05 09/10/03 Wed

Not the best circumstances - an ad for a feminine product not unlike the one advertised every 37 seconds on FX. Saw it last night.

Look for the young woman with the group of kids in...a museum, maybe? I'm afraid I was barely alert enough to see that it was her. She is very obvious right from the first shot, though.

And if you're looking for validation, Rob, after the commercial was over, Graffiti pronounced, "She is hot!"

Xander vs Kate -- JBone, 20:09:08 09/08/03 Mon

Damn it! You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt monkey!

I'll try to get the results up tonight. Post comments here, at the voting site, or email me.

[> Re: Xander vs Kate -- MaeveRigan, 20:31:36 09/08/03 Mon

At 2 votes to nothing, Xander's currently running away with this one.

But here's why I think he really should win: it's not about violence, which as we all know has never been Xander's strong suit. Kate's been waiting for a guy like Xander all her life. You know I'm right. I say the venue for this match is a bar in LA; Xander gives Kate his "fish" spiel over a hot cocoa (the cocoa-factor simply can't be over-emphasized), gazing at her with his sad, puppy-dog eyes. Kate melts, it's all over but the part where she moves in with him and they live happily ever after (until the next apocalypse).

It was sad about Anya, wasn't it? I really miss her. But Xander deserves someone, finally, who is emphatically not a demon.

The Zeppo is a lover, not a fighter. I'm just saying.

[> [> Jinx, 'twas I first (again), oh the joys of 04:30 posting! -- Celebaelin, 21:03:33 09/08/03 Mon

[> Re: Xander vs Kate -- Celebaelin, 20:52:02 09/08/03 Mon

You can't win Darth. It's the eye - in his ill considered attempt to harm the Xand-man physically Caleb has inadvertantly made Xander the avatar of at least three major deities to my certain knowledge. Under the protection of Odin, Horus and Balor Xander's power flourishes in the areas of wisdom, justice and retribution. He also discovers a deep psychological need to start keeping snakes, and I don't mean the one-eyed trouser variety, OK that was way too loud wasn't it? Anyway, Kate's awed by Xander's new incarnation as a one-man judicial system and seeks a position under him. After a moments hesitation caused by the non-demonyness of it all the Xand-man accepts and starts his new career as the elusive and charismatic head of Harris Associates ('Wierdness squished fast' [daylight hours only]).

[> Re: Xander vs Kate -- Anneth, 21:15:43 09/08/03 Mon

Xander Xander Xander! He's our man! If he can't do it, well - that's not too terribly surprising, but I love him to bits anyway. Xander victorious, because he'd happily be trounced by her, after which she'd lose her heart to his sparkling personality and he'd come out the winner in many, many ways.

[> Xander vs Kate take the contest to a local bar.... -- cjl, 22:42:16 09/08/03 Mon

...where they start off the competition (loser pays the bar tab) with their second-favorite activity--complaining about Angel. How "he's probably a decent guy, and he's heroic and all, but I hate him anyway." Kate tries to impress upon Xander the dangers of vigilante justice and how Angel represents a threat to the system; Xander tells Kate the story of Buffy Season 2 and ends the preliminaries right there. They proceed to the main event--How My Dad Screwed Up My Life. The battle is fast, furious and depressing. Christmas at the Harris home. Beating up her first boyfriend. Drinking binges. Dead Mom and emotional distance. Kate knows she's got the winner, though: Trevor's sad, post-retirement downhill slide from proud cop to flunky for demonic overlords, and his painful, vampiric death (while Angel watched, yet!). Xander is more than ready to concede and reaches out for the bar tab when Kate asks him--just for kicks--about the worst thing his father ever did. Xander is barely two-thirds through describing the wedding when Kate slides the bar tab over to her side of the table and calls for the waiter.

[> [> Hmmm...did Voy chop that message into bits? Let me try again... -- cjl, 22:48:07 09/08/03 Mon

Xander and Kate take the contest to a local bar, where they start off the competition (loser pays the bar tab) with their second-favorite activity--complaining about Angel. How "he's probably a decent guy, and he's heroic and all, but I hate him anyway." Kate tries to impress upon Xander the dangers of vigilante justice and how Angel represents a threat to the system; Xander tells Kate the story of Buffy Season 2 and ends the preliminaries right there. They proceed to the main event--How My Dad Screwed Up My Life. The battle is fast, furious and depressing. Christmas at the Harris home. Beating up her first boyfriend. Drinking binges. Dead Mom and emotional distance. Kate knows she's got the winner, though: Trevor's sad, post-retirement downhill slide from proud cop to flunky for demonic overlords, and his painful, vampiric death (while Angel watched, yet!). Xander is more than ready to concede and reaches out for the bar tab when Kate asks him--just for kicks--about the worst thing his father ever did. Xander is barely two-thirds through describing the wedding when Kate slides the bar tab over to her side of the table and calls for the waiter.

[> Re: Xander vs Kate -- Apophis, 23:28:41 09/08/03 Mon

I'd really like to write something long and witty and enlightening, but I'm tired and I still have 2 papers to write. Let's just say Xander blinds Kate with his Babylon 5 collector's plates and pushes her down a flight of stairs. Or they get to talking, Kate falls asleep on Xander's couch, and Xander's the only one who remembers they were supposed to fight and wins by countout. Or whatever. Why do I have to think of things for you, JBone? Why don't you ever cut me some frigging slack, you slavedriving monster?!?! Why won't you let me die?

[> One thing I don't get... -- Caira, 06:13:10 09/09/03 Tue

... is why whenever one of these contests is identified as making a better 'ship (or one-night-stand, at any rate) than a fight, it's taken to be a victory for the male involved (unless it's Oz)? Call me naïve, but wouldn't that make it a tie, for all the obvious diabetes-inducing reasons? On that note, put me down for romance, sweet romance, or whatever Xander and Kate come up with together, and therefore a vote to Kate to narrow the margin... and someone bring in the fic writers.

[> [> Awwwwww, poor Xander - where lieth victyory -- Celebaelin, 13:39:01 09/09/03 Tue

[> [> [> Or even victory for that matter -- Celebaelin, 13:44:00 09/09/03 Tue

[> [> Re: One thing I don't get... -- MaeveRigan, 15:02:59 09/09/03 Tue

Good point. And my only answer is that I just wanted to see Xander win for a change. That boy gets no respect. This way, I figured everyone came out ahead. Kate has enough self-respect already.

You know, I'm going to have to stop doing this, or like you said, I'll start writing fanfic, and that would be...well, let's just say it would take up too much time.

[> [> I think you missed the point -- Majin Gojira, 15:13:36 09/09/03 Tue

It's a huge fanvote. Nothing more.

It's like the WWWF:

People get to tout their opinions as facts and think of hackneyed reasons to support their claim even though no real 'rules' have ever been established, and even then--some people ignore them completely. This is basically a "Who do you like more" poll. Nothing more.

Sorry, I'm a little more accustomed to vs. debates...though I do enjoy WWWF :)

[> [> [> Don't take this to heart or anything -- Celebaelin, 17:56:32 09/09/03 Tue

But how come the time when it being a popularity contest becomes an issue is when Xander wins? Originally I was entirely up for it being a who would beat up who kind of deal, still am to a certain extent, pointless admittedly and yet oh so amusing.

Again, I hope I don't sound too aggressive in saying this but voters make no secret of voting with their sympathies, their libido, their prejudices or indeed their heads. The bouts, at least the first round bouts and by inference all others to some degree, are, in a very real sense, contrived. I'm as sure as I can be that JBone would agree on this point, so where's the problem. There is a rule in the DC universe that no-one beats Superman ie no super-hero has any power of greater effect than Superman's. This contest is similar, only fan opinions and sympathies will prevent a Buffy vs Faith final with Buffy being victorious. But Angel and Spike are in with a shout and everybody has their favourites. Personally I'd love to see the contest go contrary to canon in any number of ways, partially because of unsupported personal perspectives on character strengths and partly because I really enjoy reading other posters convoluted explanations of why supposedly 'weaker' characters would triumph. Can we be so sure that one or, heresy of heresies more than one, Slayer will not be defeated even before the final? Probably, but there is that element of doubt that makes it interesting. If I knew what the undercurrent of voter opinion was I wouldn't be wrong so often, but then again under that circumstance I wouldn't bother voting.

[> [> [> I think you missed the point -- Caira, 06:58:52 09/10/03 Wed

Nothing personal, but *duh*. ;o) What I meant was, among all those hackneyed reasons, why would romance blossoming between the two characters be considered victory for one but not the other?

[> [> [> [> All that maters then is 'who is on top' ;-) -- Majin Gojira, 06:51:49 09/12/03 Fri

I am in heaven! -- Rob, 22:22:24 09/08/03 Mon

I just began taking a night class tonight called "Modernism, Media, and the Middle Class: From the Forsytes to the Sopranos," the goal of which (according to the syllabus) is "to (a) investigate the meaning of the term 'middle class; (b) apply historical, sociological, psychological and art historical analyses of the middle class to novels, plays, films, television programs, commercials, and printed advertisements; and (c) discover our own sense of identity within a culture driven by middle class values, ideals, 'imperatives,' and pressures to conform." As if a class that primarily analyzes television and other forms of pop culture, in the context of both the Modernist and Postmodernist movements, weren't enough to get me excited, the bulk of the class will be devoted towards each student doing a project and paper, the topic of which will be a study of any book, movie, or television show "as it reflects Modernist or Post-Modernist thinking filtered through middle class morality, consumerism, etc."

Hmmm, so let's get this straight...I'm going to be getting college credit for a semester-long project on analyzing Buffy. And even cooler, I'll have to make a presentation at the end of the semester with clips from the television show/movie I chose (or selections from the book, if I chose a novel).


I'm thinking of possibly doing a joint analysis of how death is handled on Buffy, using Six Feet Under as a counterpoint. Or I might extend my focus to an analysis of all three of Joss' shows, but that will come later. For now...excited!! This may be the first time that I was told by a professor that I have a huge project/paper to do, and I was excited--no, make that giddy--about the idea of doing it! I, of course, will post the paper here once it's done (and once I get it back from the professor, so it doesn't look like I plagurized my own paper off the 'net!).


[> Can't wait to read it! But how difficult to choose which clips to show!! -- Marie, 01:33:56 09/09/03 Tue

With so much that's good from which to choose, you need to warn your class to bring thermos flasks and sleeping bags to your presentation!


[> Hmmm -- KdS, 02:34:51 09/09/03 Tue

Not sure this is a good idea, because of the terms of the question

as it reflects Modernist or Post-Modernist thinking filtered through middle class morality, consumerism, etc.

I suspect that you're expected to produce something talking about how TV promotes bourgeois laziness and false consciousness, which would probably mean that you're expected to pick a show you don't like and explain how it reinforces capitalist hegemony. The obvious credit-winning approach with Buffy would be to present that whole claim about how vampires are a metaphor for the lower classes in BtVS that appears so often (mostly among people who never watched past S1) but that would probably not sit well with your personal integrity.

[> [> Re: Hmmm -- CW, 06:36:42 09/09/03 Tue

I think KdS maybe right. I'd be a little gunshy that the course is supposed to be about "the middle class." That usually happens in artsy courses when the prof/instructer hates the idea of the middle class and wants the students to get a taste of that same hatred. It isn't necessarily the case here. But Rob, if you find the class going into detail on movies like "The Lost Weekend" and "American Beauty;" if "Death of a Salesman" is on the reading list; if the class starts beating up featherweight TV shows like "The Partridge Family" "Seventh Heaven" and "Charmed" not on general content but on class identification; then your Buffy idea isn't going to fly and it could be a long term.

[> [> I don't know -- ponygirl, 07:06:38 09/09/03 Tue

I think there's a case to be made for the show critiquing middle class desire for stability and complacency as represented by the Mayor in s3, and Sunnydale's ongoing policy of ignoring its darker elements. There's also the distrust of the upper classes as seen in Reptile Boy and William's adoption of his Spike persona, and the horror of downward mobility that Xander experiences in s4 and Buffy in s6, both of which are very middle class issues.

Lots of chewy goodness, I think Rob's going to have a great time!

[> [> [> I was also thinking of using Glory... -- Rob, 09:35:55 09/09/03 Tue symbolically the "Goddess of capitalism consumerism, beauty, greed, etc." and show how the characters of Buffy negatively react to how the media tells them should act, think, etc. I don't plan on going into the theory that the show is about middle class fears of minorities and other "problems" taking over and destroying their world, because I personally consider the idea to be a gross misinterpretation of the text which occurs from taking the metaphors completely out of context (just talking Buffy here--I know at times the situation can get a bit cloudy on Angel). Well, I might address it briefly only to attempt to disprove it.

Actually, I was surprised, but the professor does not want us to rip apart the programs we choose, unless we happen to dislike them. I actually spoke to her for about 8 minutes after class about my ideas, and she was very interested.

And, btw, ponygirl, thanks for the great ideas...Hope you don't mind if I pilfer some of them! I had already thought of the frat in Reptile Boy, and Xander and Buffy's downward social mobility fears, but I hadn't thought of using William's adoption of the Spike persona, or the Mayor, that way...but those could really work. Also a nice twist with showing that the "fault" lies with the people of Sunnydale for attempting to hide/ignore the darker elements of the world, and thus focus on middle class ignorance and/or hypocrisy rather than the argument that they are mere, innocent victims of the "Other." Nice fuel for my Buffy-as-PostModernism fire. ;o)

I also thought of using Willow and Tara's relationship as an example of the show's commitment to going against middle class "norms," as well as showing that the middle class desire for always trying to make their lives easier, through, for example, new gadgets, quick weight loss shakes, etc, can have a negative effect as demonstrated by Willow's misuse of magic in the early portion of the sixth season, particularly in All the Way. Also the fact that Anya's captilistic spirit is always played for laughs. Um, Xander's final words in Chosen poke fun at the middle class values that would value the well-being of the mall and food court over that of the entire world. The Council's attempts to get Faith to conform end up driving her completely over the edge. Even just the simple fact that the characters took so long to get cell phones, and when they finally did, barely used them. Wow, I'm on a roll here.


[> [> [> [> Re: I was also thinking of using Glory... -- Arethusa, 09:52:28 09/09/03 Tue

...showing that the middle class desire for always trying to make their lives easier, through, for example, new gadgets, quick weight loss shakes, etc, can have a negative effect as demonstrated by Willow's misuse of magic in the early portion of the sixth season, particularly in All the Way

Also, how the middle class turns a blind eye on how they get their cheap consumer goods-exploitive labor practices abroad (and here), for example. Like Jonathan using magic to make his life easier and more pleasant in Superstar, but as a by-product creating a monster that threatens to destroy him and others. He willfully ignores the consequences of his actions so he can continue his wonderful life.

[> [> [> [> [> Oooooh, cool, thanks! -- Rob, 10:16:02 09/09/03 Tue

And the fact that the masses are encouraged to ignore the possibly dark or unlikable things that might have lead to their favorite celebrities gaining and securing their fame.


[> [> [> [> [> [> And d'oh just thought of a really obvious one... -- Rob, 10:25:38 09/09/03 Tue

The almost complete lack of parents in the Buffyverse. The few we see are either flawed, ineffectual, and/or evil. Joyce is the only really good mother we see on the show, and even she had times where she made huge mistakes.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Another thought . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:26:48 09/09/03 Tue

Buffy does seem to go against the "go to college, get a nice business career" trend. After high school, none of them graduate from college. Xander never gets accepted, Cordelia can't afford it, Anya has no interest in it, Oz and Buffy drop out, and the town and college are destroyed before Willow can finish. And it's Xander, who never got into college in the first place, who ends up with the successful career (as a construction worker, a trade usually seen as unsuitable in comparison to middle management office work).

Oh, and Oz would work as an example, too; he goes against many middle class values. He got held back a year, is in a band, and is the most sexually experienced of the Scooby's during high school, yet, instead of being a dumb, trouble causing punk, he's a stoic-yet-gentle genius.

[> Re: I am in heaven! -- Celebaelin, 05:29:18 09/09/03 Tue

the topic of which will be a study of any book, movie, or television show "as it reflects Modernist or Post-Modernist thinking filtered through middle class morality, consumerism, etc."

Perhaps you should check whether this is meant solely in terms of program content or whether public, commercial and network responses to the work are a permissable approach. Or maybe you could explore your Jungian shadow and dispel all those unconscious doubts about ME 'subversively' slipping in bits of middle class value here and there. Your familiarity with and enthusiasm for the subject matter, and to be fair there is a lot of material to work with, might well outweigh the fact that for the most part neither the characters nor the audience reflect comfortable middle class stereotypes, not in a very positive way anyway.

You could of course try shopping around for another series but I'll lay odds you come back to Buffy simply because you'll enjoy doing it more. What better reason is there? Oops, my values are showing.

Angel Spoofs -- Claudia, 10:20:37 09/09/03 Tue

While watching "Tabula Rasa", I noticed that after Spike (aka "Randy Giles") went on about being a vampire with a soul, Buffy (aka "Joan") rolled her eyes and commented, "How lame is that?" Was ME spoofing or making fun of Angel's character? And were they making fun of Angel in the episode, "Intervention", when BuffyBot made insulting comments about the brooding vampire?

If so, I cannot help but wonder, sometimes, how Whedon really feels about Angel.

[> That's just ME's sense of humor -- Ray, 13:10:39 09/09/03 Tue

James Marsters said in an interview that when ME makes a character look foolish, it just means that they care about the character. Besides, Joss created and nurtured the Angel character. If anythng, Angel is proof that Whedon isn't a one hit wonder. And the Buffybot comment was to illustrate Spike's jealousy.

[> Dunno... -- Random, 13:38:45 09/09/03 Tue

Yes, they were spoofing Angel and his persona. Just as they mocked the Buffy/Angel angst in The Zeppo. It is part of why I love the show. It's not evidence of secret Jossian antipathy. No conspiracy theory here. I mean, how does Joss really feel about "Captain Peroxide" and the pathetic Spike that graced our screens in S4? How does he really feel about the parody of Spike that we were treated to when he's actin' all manly and then watching Passions? Or wearing Xander's clothes? Or his inability to "perform" with Willow. Or, as in Restless, where they mock Spike's posturing? Joss doesn't spare Xander the barbs, most of them self-inflicted. Poor Xander's manly poses get mocked a lot, especially when he is revealed to be the lovable boob we all have come to, well, love. Or Willow, who geeks out quite a bit in the early going. "Squeal of geeker joy" anyone? Or Buffy, whose generalissimo pose gets mocked later in S7. Or Faith mocking Buffy's attitude: "Because it's wrong." Or Giles and his constant blackouts...he even mocks himself..."Oh, good show, Giles. Uhh... at least you didn't get knocked out for a change" Or even dear, pathetic EarlyWesley(TM) screaming like a woman.

One of the best elements of the show was its ability to consistently undercut the characters. I don't believe any of this is evidence of how Joss or the writers feel about the characters. It's just an element of a well-written show that is secure enough to be self-mocking.

[> [> I agree! -- DickBD, 11:05:02 09/11/03 Thu

The strength of the shows is in the way that they can mock the characters and even themselves as the writers. I think a bit of that was done in "Normal Again." And the mocking of a vampire with a soul as "lame" is really the writers laughing at themselves.

What 22 episodes of BTVS tell the Essential Story of Buffy? -- s'kat, 17:16:28 09/09/03 Tue

Here's the question - if you were to issue a DVD of the Essential Story of Buffy on BTVS but had to limit it to 22 episodes and it had to appeal to people new to the show or unfamilar with it - what 22 episodes would you pick?

(not as easy as it looks, I fiddled with it for a while and this is what I came up with)

Season 1
1. Welcome to The Hellmouth (Introduces principal characters and Buffy struggles with new school)
2. Harvest (second part)
3. Angel (introduces who Angel is, and the vampire/slayer thing first time)
4. Prophecy Girl (Buffy chooses her calling)

Season 2
5. Surprise (Buffy and Angel consummate their romance, other relationships come to a head)
6. Innocence (Angel loses his soul)
7. Becoming I (angel's back story and Buffy's back story)
8. Becoming II (everyone's roles change)

Season 3
9. Lover's Walk (Everyone breaks up)
10. Graduation Day Part I (Buffy/Faith/Angel/The Mayor comes to a head )
11. Graduation Day Part II (Angel leaves, Buffy graduates)

Season 4
12. The Freshman (Buffy deals with College)
13. Who Are You (Buffy and Faith - deals with the dark side)
14. Restless (Characters interior emotional lives examined and we get info on the First Slayer)

Season 5
15. Fool For Love (Spike's back story and more mythology on slayer/vampire relationship)
16. The Body (Joyce dies)
17. The Gift (Buffy sacrifices herself for the world)

Season 6
18. Once More With Feeling (The entire season summarized in song)
19. Grave (Buffy emerges from the grave finally, and characters deal with their issues)

Season 7
20. Conversations with Dead People (buffy, willow and dawn deal with their issues in different ways)
21. Get it Done (The slayer's and watcher's orgins are revealed)
22. Chosen (Buffy spreads the power)

*Note - I did not pick my favorite episodes, just the ones that would tell the story the best to a new viewer or the broadest group of viewers possible.

Agree? Disagree? Your own list?


[> Re: I'd add Season 2: School Hard (intro of Spike) -- Brian, 21:11:35 09/09/03 Tue

[> [> I'd choose Lie To Me instead -- ponygirl, 07:08:16 09/10/03 Wed

It serves as a good intro to Spike and Dru, plus explains Angel's connection. It also introduces the theme of moral ambiguity that marks the rest of the series.

[> Really, quite a good list...I would go for 'Choices' over 'Lover's Walk' and 'TYF' over 'Freshman' -- Nino, 21:12:20 09/09/03 Tue

[> Re: What 22 episodes of BTVS tell the Essential Story of Buffy? -- Artemis, 00:09:32 09/10/03 Wed

Great list! s'kat. Great idea. And boy is it hard. I keep coming up with 24 episodes but I guess that's not fair.

Totally agree with your season one and season two selections.Those episodes convey the heart of Buffys' struggles during those seasons. So that gives me the same first eight as you have chosen.

For season 3

I choice:
9. Faith Hope and Trick, because of its introduction of Faith which I think is so important to Buffys story.
10. Bad Girls because we get to see Buffys potential Dark side and Faith cross over.
10. Enemies. Continues the season struggle but also sets the insecurities Buffy has regarding Angel and Faith
11. I agree with your choice of Graduation Pt one
12 Graduation part two.

It's getting hard now
Season four.
13. The Freshman is a good choice.It does set up her transition into college life.

14. Doomed. I know this is a strange choice but it does seem to set up her attempt and fear of dealing with a normal guy which I think is important to her journey . It also deals with Spike and his chip. And we see how he stays connected to the scoobies.Since he can fight demons.

15. Restless. For reasons you mentioned, First Slayer ,internal struggles.

Season Five

16. "No place like Home." Anyone tuning into Buffy with only these episodes has to have the episode that has Buffy learning that Dawn is the Key.It also explains one of the overwhelming loads that Buffy must bear through out the rest of her journey.
17. The Body. another burden to bear.
18. The Gift. The temendous sacrifice.

. I don't think I'm going to make it. I'm taking out The Freshman. The audience is just going to have to figure out that she went to college and that the first days were hard.... Anyway who cares if she went to college.
So now I'm really on number 18. And Season Six

Season Six

18. Afterlife. (But we must include all of the previously on Buffy clips, from this point on.) This episode really sets up Buffys emotional devastation and isolation

19. Once more with Feeling . For the reasons you mentioned.
20. Dead Things. I think you have to see how low Buffy is sinking. to appreciate her coming out of the Grave.

Ok so now I have to take out another one. Oh why must there be only 22 episodes per season.Ok breathe..think... Alright.. Enemies from Season 3 has to go. The audience doesn't need to know that Buffy is insecure about Angel and Faiths relationship. Whew!!
So I'm still on number 20. Yeah!!

20.Grave (We are still using Previously on Buffy clips, so I guess I can live with jumping to this episode.)

Season Seven:
I agree with all of your choices
21 Conversation with Dead People
22. Get it done (For slayer watch origin revelation which you mentioned)

23.And Chosen
But that means I have to take out another episode to make this 22. Damn..Damn..Damn..!!!
Okay I'm taking out Afterlife. Only because we're getting the previously on Buffy clips.

Boy this was hard.And like you this doesn't necessarily represent my favorite episodes, but I think they tell the story.
Thanks for starting this.

[> [> LOL! Nearly impossible ain't it? -- s'kat, 12:43:26 09/10/03 Wed

I tried to focus on the slayer mythos when I did it, but it was hard. The first round I put in Hush and School Hard, but I realized The Freshman and Get it Done were more important.

But it's still much easier than Angel. You want hard?
Try doing the essential Angel story in 22 episodes?

[> [> ok, take it easy...let's just redefine the rules a little... -- anom, 19:56:08 09/10/03 Wed

...isn't that what Buffy would do? @>)

OK, not in such a dramatic way as Buffy would do it: just define "episode" so that 2-parters count as a single episode. Voilà! Becoming & Graduation Day are 1 ep each, leaving you space for Enemies & Afterlife. Or substitute Bargaining for 1 of those.

Good point about the "previously on's"--they do give you a little more flexibility, although they can be short on context.

[> [> [> Nice idea but doesn't work, here's why -- s'kat, 19:43:45 09/11/03 Thu

OK, not in such a dramatic way as Buffy would do it: just define "episode" so that 2-parters count as a single episode. Voilà! Becoming & Graduation Day are 1 ep each, leaving you space for Enemies & Afterlife. Or substitute Bargaining for 1 of those.

Sorry - it's not how many episodes - it's length. You can only fit 22 - 43 minute segments on 6 DVD's Disc pack. However if we go with OnM's assessment, we could get 24 maybe. Or do 12 pack. Which would give you 25-30 episodes, I think.

The trick or point of the game is to get it done to 22, 43 minute episodes. So sorry, can't make the two-parters one episode. Nice try ;-).

[> [> [> [> hey, no fair! you let onm do it... @>n -- anom, 21:23:53 09/11/03 Thu

OK, still gotta work on that sulky/pouty emoticon. But you said "episodes," not "hours":

"Here's the question - if you were to issue a DVD of the Essential Story of Buffy on BTVS but had to limit it to 22 episodes and it had to appeal to people new to the show or unfamilar with it - what 22 episodes would you pick?"

See? "Episodes." So who's changing the rules here, you or me, huh? And besides, OnM's approach gives us the same total hours, & w/my little tweak could still keep it to your 22 episodes. So there!

(OK, hope it's clear now that my suggestion was at least semi-facetious...I could hardly decide whether to put it under Artemis', Valheru's, or OnM's post!)

[> [> [> [> [> Yes and the point still holds! -- s'kat, 22:33:45 09/11/03 Thu

See? "Episodes." So who's changing the rules here, you or me, huh? And besides, OnM's approach gives us the same total hours, & w/my little tweak could still keep it to your 22 episodes. So there!

Well - as long as it just comes to 24 episodes then it doesn't matter, does it? ;-)

From what I remember Bargaining I and Bargaining II are two "separate" episodes, not one. Just as Innocence and Surprise are two separate episodes - heck they even aired them on two separate nights and named them two separate names. So, unless you can find a way of proving to me that the TV show treated these as one episode? Doesn't fit. ;-)

Seriously though this is really about logistics - OnM proved that you could logically fit 24 episodes on 6 DVD's, which I didn't know (woefully stupid on the tech end). The rule was that it had to be limited to one DVD package. It's based on a poll of the 22-24 favorite Buffy episodes which Fox wants to put on a DVD - see Celebalin's post below.
So unless you can show me a way that we can count the two parters as one episode and logically fit them all on DVD's along with the single episodes? (Course if you stay within the 24 episode rule? No biggie, but if you try to combine the two-parters in order to cram more than 24 episodes in there - or more than 24 - 43 minute shows? IT just won't fit on the DVD' no can do.) Not a matter of fairness, matter of space. (It's a mathematical problem unfortunately.)

(OK, hope it's clear now that my suggestion was at least semi-facetious...I could hardly decide whether to put it under Artemis', Valheru's, or OnM's post!)

LOL! Yep...the attempt to break the rules in order to fit in all the episodes people think are needed proves my point that it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a perfect "essential story of Buffy" on a 22 episode DVD set which includes commentary and featurettes. Probably why Fox and ME haven't attempted it. We can barely agree on one after all.

[> And I thought the Angel/Spike wars were mindboggling... -- Valheru, 00:13:11 09/10/03 Wed

To be honest, I don't think this can be done and still do justice to the series. I mean, I really really like your list, but look at what's left out:

Season 1 - Since it's only a half season and most of the eps are standalone, nothing significant is missing.

Season 2 - The introduction of Spike'n'Dru; introduction of the Slayer-line divergence with Kendra; the romantic part of Giles/Jenny and Xander/Cordy; Oz's lycanthropy; Jenny's murder; the Angelus/Dru affair and the Angelus/Spike rivalry.

Season 3 - The resolution to runaway Buffy; the return of Angel; the First's first appearance; pre-evil Faith and her crossover into city politics; Anya's demon days; Giles's firing from the Council.

Season 4 - The Initiative arc; the Buffy/Riley romance; the Willow/Oz breakup; the start of Willow/Tara and Xander/Anya; Spike's return and chipping; Hush (yeah, I know why you left it out, but still).

Season 5 - Dawn's introduction and explanation; Glory's quest; the Buffy/Riley breakup; the importance of Ben; the introduction of the Buffybot and Warren.

Season 6 - Buffy's resurrection; Doublemeat; the failed Xander/Anya wedding; Spuffy sex; the Willow/Tara breakup; MagiCrack; Nympho!Dawn; the Trio; the AR; Tara's murder; Warren's murder.

Season 7 - Actually, you could just watch Chosen and get the gist of it.

See? Even if you just bare-boned it down to a beginning-middle-end for each season--i.e., Episode 1 (exposition), Episode 13, 14, or 15 (usually the action/turning-point episode of each season), and Episode 22 (resolution)--you'd have 21 episodes.

So what would I do? Focus only on Buffy's story. Hit the high points for her, ditch plot-heavy episodes that don't affect her character very much.

Season 1
2. The Harvest
3. Prophecy Girl

Season 2
4. Surprise
5. Innocence
6. Becoming I
7. Becoming II

Season 3
8. Anne
10. Graduation Day I
11. Graduation Day II

Season 4
12. The Freshman
13. Doomed

Season 5
14. Real Me
15. The Body
16. The Gift

Season 6
17. Bargaining I
18. Bargaining II
19. OMWF
20. Seeing Red

Season 7
21. CWDP
22. Chosen

Hard! I chose Anne because it's sort of a necessary resolution to Becoming. Doomed gives us a tidy summary of Buffy's relationship problems post-Angel, while Seeing Red sets up her problems post-Spuffy. I picked Real Me because Buffy's relationship to Dawn is central to her choices in The Gift and Season 6. And I chose Bargaining because the resurrection sets up the next two seasons' angst.

My biggest problem was with the two-parters. 5 stories, but they took up nearly half of the list. Kind of a shame that I had to leave off Restless, Amends, FFL, Hush, and Passion because Joss wanted to fit all those pesky Scooby moments in and bloat episodes into two parts.

Or maybe I should just scrap my Buffy-centric view and pick the episodes Buffy herself would like to see: Angel and Spike X-posed!

[> [> yep. Actually doing the essential Angel story is harder. -- s'kat, 13:02:56 09/10/03 Wed

When I did it the first round I struggled, I wanted to put in School Hard and Passion. I also wanted to nix Prophecy Girl and put in Hush. Realized I needed Get it Done.

So what did I do? Focused on Buffy as the Slayer story as opposed to her journey as the girl.

I nixed Anne, since you don't really need it to wrap up Becoming. (Although on the fence there.) Of all the seasons I found Season 3 the hardest to figure out. Hmm, actually I think you might be right Anne over Lover's Walk.

So for the slayer do we go with Doomed or Who Are You? Who Are You - talks about what being the slayer means to both Faith and Buffy. Doomed really isn't as important. Restless?
It covers who the slayer is as well - with intro of the First Slayer. Same with Get it Done. Don't need Bargaining - since same themes are covered in OMWF. The first time I did it - I put Seeing Red before Grave, but another poster convinced me to put Grave instead...since this is more about Buffy and her getting out of the grave. On the fence there too. Get it Done is unfortunately essential to understanding the origin of the slayer. CWDP sets up Chosen
and also explains Buffy's issues.


But not nearly as tough as doing essential Angel story.
I tried that and almost went nuts. Here's what I came up with:

Season 1
2.Parting Gifts (introducing the characters)
2. The Prodigal (Angel's back story)
3. To shanshue in LA (the prophecy)

Season 2
4. Darla (Darla's back story)
5. The Trial (fight for Darla's humanity)
6. Reunion (Darla's Turning)
7. Reprise (sleeping with Darla)
8. Epithany (rejoins with team Angel)

Season 3
9. Lullaby (Darla has Connor and dies)
10. Sleep Tight (Wes betrays Angel, Holtz kidnaps Connor)
11. A New World (Connor returns)
12. Tomorrow (Cordy ascends, while Angel descends after Connor puts him in a box)

Season 4
13. Deep Down (Angel ressurrected)
14. Apocalypse Nowish (Connor/Cordy Sleep Together)
15. Long Day's Journey (Day becomes Night, Wes decides to ressurect Angelus)
16. Awakenings (Angel loses his soul)
17. Cavalry (Cordelia kills Lilah)
18. Release (Angel almost kills Faith)
19. Orpheus (Angel gets his soul back)
20. Inside Out (explains what happened)
21. Peace Out (Angel gets rid of JAsmine)
22. Home

ugh. hard. Since most of S4 is so serialized that it doesn't make sense without all the episodes. Hence the reason we don't see reruns.

[> [> Re: And I thought the Angel/Spike wars were mindboggling... -- Sheri, 13:43:55 09/10/03 Wed

Season 6 - Buffy's resurrection; Doublemeat; the failed Xander/Anya wedding; Spuffy sex; the Willow/Tara breakup; MagiCrack; Nympho!Dawn; the Trio; the AR; Tara's murder; Warren's murder.

Um... Nympho!Dawn? Did ME make a version of the show specially for the SPICE network? ;o)

[> [> [> Shows where my head is these days -- Valheru, 19:31:42 09/10/03 Wed

Uh, KLEPTO!Dawn. Not Nympho. I guess it's the pesky Freudian part of my brain that keeps insisting that the reason why Dawn's story was so bad in S6 was because she was spending too much time stealing and not enough time having lots of orgasms. Yeah, that's it! S6 was backwards! The wrong people were having sex! It would have been SO much better had Spike and Buffy gone on a crime spree while Dawn and Clem got spurty. And then there's the real reason why they were called the "Trio"...

[> Good list - but why necessarily limit yourself to 22 eps? -- OnM, 07:53:12 09/10/03 Wed

Consider the following:

1. If you delete the extras, you can fit four eps per disc on a 6-disc DVD set. This means you could have 24 eps.

2. If you wanted what I think would be the lowest number of eps that could tell the story to a newbie, then my vote would be for 25. (Which you could still fit on a 6-disc set with just a little more compression or use of a dual layer disc, which I suspect they do anyway. The first year was shot on 16mm, I believe, so that would be the disc with 5 eps on it.).

My choices, based on your list:

Season 1
1. Welcome to The Hellmouth (Introduces principal characters and Buffy struggles with new school)
2. Harvest (second part)
3. Angel (introduces who Angel is, and the vampire/slayer thing first time)
4. Prophecy Girl (Buffy chooses her calling)

Season 2
5. Surprise (Buffy and Angel consummate their romance, other relationships come to a head)
6. Becoming I (Angel's back story and Buffy's back story)
7. Becoming II (everyone's roles change)

Season 3
8. Lover's Walk (Everyone breaks up)
9. Graduation Day Part I (Buffy/Faith/Angel/The Mayor comes to a head )
10. Graduation Day Part II (Angel leaves, Buffy graduates)

Season 4
11. The Freshman (Buffy deals with College)
12. Who Are You (Buffy and Faith - deals with the dark side)
13. Restless (Characters interior emotional lives examined and we get info on the First Slayer)

Season 5
14. Fool For Love (Spike's back story and more mythology on slayer/vampire relationship)
15. The Body (Joyce dies)
16. Forever (I see this ep and *The Body* as bookends-- I wouldn't seperate them.
17. The Gift (Buffy sacrifices herself for the world)

Season 6
18. Bargaining Part I (Buffy's resurrection)
19. Bargaining Part II (Buffy decides to live even though she has been called back from heaven. You have to have this and Part I to set up the *OMwF* & *Grave*, so you understand why someone like Buffy would consider suicide.)

20. Once More With Feeling (The entire season summarized in song, and Buffy reveals that she was 'in heaven')
21. Grave (Buffy emerges 'from the grave' finally, and characters deal with their issues)

Season 7
22. Conversations with Dead People (Buffy, Willow and Dawn deal with their issues in different ways)
23. Get it Done (The slayer's and watcher's orgins are revealed)
24. Chosen (Buffy spreads the power)

Now, if I had 25 eps, I would add Primeval back into Season 4. This ep really is the 'end' of the season, not *Restless*. *Restless* is a bridge piece between the end of Buffy's 'youth' and the beginning of her 'adulthood'. As such it kind of stands 'outside' the normal series to a certain degree. (And explaining any better than that would take waayyy more time than I'm gonna spend right now! ;-)

Personally, I think a 12-DVD set would be a better choice, with 6 discs before *Restless* and 6 after!


[> [> Re: Heck, I'd go for '50's prime time and have 39 episodes -- Brian, 08:20:13 09/10/03 Wed

[> [> Okay I agree with most of this except for two things. -- s'kat, 13:19:29 09/10/03 Wed

Thanks for the info on DVD's, wasn't sure how many episodes it would take to fill up one six disc set. Although 12 disc makes more sense.

(Oh this whole poll idea came about from someone's post on Buffy Cross and Stake about Fox considering doing a 22 episode DVD filled with the favorite Buffy episodes. There was a site where people were voting - I think on TeenHollywood, not sure. The ranking for top five was:
1. Once More With Feeling 2. The Gift. 3. Innocence. 4. Becoming. 5. Chosen. I think. It was a couple of weeks ago).

Personally I think 24 works better.

The only picks I disagree with: the lack of Innocence.
You need Innocence to explain Becoming. Angel doesn't lose his soul until Innocence. And it's where we learn about the curse. It's the lynchpin of the entire season. In my first round I left off Surprise and went with Innocence, since in some ways it's more important.

While I love Forever - you can live without it easier than Innocence. You may be right on Bargaining - sort of necessary for when she decides to live or why she wants to die. But you could do the same thing with Afterlife which only takes up one hour instead of two. And if you put Afterlife in - instead of Bargaining, you can keep Forever.

Primeval may be more vital than Forever - but unlike Who Are You, The Freshman and Restless - if requires explanation on the whole plot arc of S4 which isn't necessarily vital to Buffy's story.

So I'd exchange Bargaining with Afterlife. Put in Innocence.
And keep Forever.

[> [> [> Re: Okay I agree with most of this except for two things. -- ponygirl, 13:53:32 09/10/03 Wed

I think you'd need Blood Ties in s5 as well. Not my fave episode but Dawn's presence requires some explanation, and it also gives us the Ben/Glory connection (wait - there's a connection?), both of which are needed to understand the events of The Gift.

[> [> [> [> Re: Okay I agree with most of this except for two things. -- s'kat, 14:16:05 09/10/03 Wed

Actually I think you can ignore Dawn to some extent, she really isn't that vital to Buffy's story outside of S5.
I'd either pick No Place Like Home or Blood Ties. Nix
Forever. Nix Bargaining Part I & II.

So just have No Place Like Home - introduces Joyce's illness and what Dawn is and Glory - all three you need to understand the Gift.

So it's
No Place Like Home
Fool For Love
The Body
The Gift


Get it Done

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Just curious. Why 'Fool for Love' -- Artemis, 18:06:58 09/10/03 Wed

Though I love this episode, in regards to Buffys story why do you or others feel it is essential if given only 22 episodes? I'm assuming it's because you believe Spike is telling the truth that Buffy has a "Death Wish" Or is it something else?

[> [> [> [> [> [> It's about what a slayer's job is and how dangerous -- s'kat, 19:42:57 09/10/03 Wed

Fool For Love is the first time that we really see what slayers are from the vampire pov. It also describes in detail how dangerous Buffy's job really is.

Doug Petrie mentions in his commentary on the episode that the importance was to reveal that any vamp at any time could kill Buffy. Over the years Buffy and the audience assume she will win - she's the hero after all. In this episode the creators are preparing us for the fact that she could die, and in fact it's a miracle she hasn't.

We also get an inside view on what vampires are. How they are created. That monsters don't just appear, they evolve.

If you don't see Fool For Love - it's hard to really contemplate what Buffy goes through in Get it Done, Conversations With Dead People, Chosen, or even The Gift.

Also Fool For Love shows us the cracks in the Riley/Buffy relationship. The cracks between her and Giles, the fact that Giles really can't teach her anything else, that she's moved past him. The toll her mother's illness is taking on her. All of this shown clearly in one episode.

Fool for Love is the counterpoint to S1 Angel. It is in some ways far more important to Buffy's story than even Angel is, not b/c it features Spike, but because it gets to the heart of what Buffy does each night and how isolating that job is. How alone she feels. How there's more vamps than her.

Fool for Love explains why Buffy does what she does in Chosen. Why Chosen is inevitable if Buffy wishes to survive and not give in. She is getting close to Spike's prophetic death wish - b/c like Spike in Fool For Love, in S7 Buffy has begun to isolate herself. Compare her discussion with Spike in Fool for Love with her conversation with Holden Webster in CWDP - in both - the vampires tell her she has a death wish but in different ways.

Spike - he tells her the only reason she hasn't finally given up is her mom, the SG, her kid sis - they connect her.
But sooner or later she gets tired of the vast numbers she has to fight...all alone. One slayer in all the world and her doom to die alone.

Holden - tells her that she is alone, everyone is until they die. Unconnected.

Both as vampires are connected to the FE (Buffy's own dark side if you want to examine it pyschologically) - the
FE tells Buffy in Chosen she will die alone. This links all the way back to WttH and Prophecy Girl and Becoming and even Restless. It is a steady and important theme throughout the series.

I think to get the full picture? You have to have Fool for Love. I wouldn't buy the essential 24/22 episode DVD on BTVS without it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks. You sold me. -- Artemis, 20:04:09 09/10/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Dawn -- Claudia, 11:15:36 09/11/03 Thu

[Actually I think you can ignore Dawn to some extent, she really isn't that vital to Buffy's story outside of S5.]

I disagree. I think that Dawn continued to be vital to Buffy's story, following S5. Especially from when she first became Dawn's guardian, following Joyce's death ("The Body"/"Forever"), to that proud look she gave the younger girl before the final battle in "Chosen".

[> An ATP list of REALLY essential Buffy episodes -- Just George, 14:55:39 09/10/03 Wed

I am too lazy to make a decision. So, I combined everyone's lists (and added When She Was Bad because I think it's important) and came up with an ATP list of REALLY essential Buffy episodes:

Season 1 (4)

Welcome to The Hellmouth
Prophecy Girl

Season 2 (7)

When She Was Bad
School Hard
Lie To Me
Becoming I
Becoming II

Season 3 (8)

Faith Hope and Trick
Lover's Walk
Bad Girls
Graduation Day Part I
Graduation Day Part II

Season 4 (5)

The Freshman
Who Are You

Season 5 (7)

Real Me
Blood Ties
No place like Home
Fool For Love
The Body
The Gift

Season 6 (7)

Bargaining Part I
Bargaining Part II
Once More With Feeling
Dead Things
Seeing Red

Season 7 (3)

Conversations with Dead People
Get it Done

A total of 41 episodes.

Note that Seasons 2, 3, 5, & 6 have seven or eight essential episodes, while 1, 4, & 7 have five or fewer. This may be one reason why these seasons are the ones that generate the most interest and discussion. These were he seasons when the story progressed the most.

-Just George

[> [> Interesting note about the number of episodes per season . Thanks -- Artemis, 18:10:23 09/10/03 Wed

[> Slayer Buffy or Buffy Buffy? -- Valheru, 23:44:08 09/10/03 Wed

I guess that the list depends on how you view Buffy's story. For instance, Get it Done has a huge impact on the mythology of the Slayer, but it doesn't matter much to Buffy's personal story, whereas an episode like Lie to Me or Doublemeat Palace is the reverse. And in cases like Who Are You?, certain themes (in this case, the study of the dark side) come at odd times in relation to Buffy's personal story, yet don't alter the Slayer story at all.

And while I tried to include Dawn and Riley in my list, I notice that yours pretty much leaves them out at their most crucial periods (Riley in S4, Dawn in S5). I'm curious as to why, especially since you included so many pivotal Connor episodes in your AtS list. While I wouldn't consider either character to be as pivotal to the overall series arc as Connor, Dawn and Riley are extremely important. In fact, I'd even consider dumping The Body in favor of a more Dawn-centric episode pre-The Gift like Real Me, No Place Like Home, or Blood Ties. Joyce's death was important, yes, but it's easier to let The Gift summarize her passing than to let Buffy sacrifice herself to save Dawn without giving the audience an emotional connection to the person Buffy dies to save. Or maybe drop something else and use The Weight of the World. As for Riley, I would have at least one episode where he features prominently as Joe Regular, otherwise it just looks like Buffy went for the first semi-substitute for Angel she came across, then dumped him for the next best Angel substitute, Spike; even though it doesn't seem like it, her relationship to Riley was pivotal to Buffy's whole character.

Oh, and I'm just curious: why did you pick Who Are You? instead of Consequences? IMO, WAY is more important to Faith, where Consequences is more important to Buffy (and thematically, I think the "dark mirror" story works best in S3 anyway).

One thing this list has made me realize is how truly interconnected all 144 episodes are (and throw some of the AtS crossovers in there, too). Maybe rather than 22 episodes, just pick significant parts of each episode and make one big 22 hour movie out of it. Or do the "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer..." from The Gift in slo-mo, then have Joss and Marti (as Numfar and Parking Ticket Lady, of course) re-enact the UPN years in dance and song. "Numfar! Do the Dance of Season Six!"

[> [> I'm obviously not 'kat, but here's a brief defense of choosing *Who Are You?* -- OnM, 05:36:55 09/11/03 Thu

*** One thing this list has made me realize is how truly interconnected all 144 episodes are. ***

Amen to that, brothers and sisters! One of the points that I think 'kat was trying to make in the first post is just how hard it is to summarize the series in a small number of episodes.

Anyway, this could easily be a whole essay, but since I have to get ready for work in about 15 minutes, I'll just summarize the main points about Who Are You?:

1. You're right about the "dark mirror" arc in S3. That's the setup, but This Year's Girl and WAY are it's first main payoff. If we're cutting things down to a minimum, I prefer to see the payoff in detail rather than the setup.

2. Much depends on to what degree you see Faith as Buffy under different circumstances. Faith doesn't understand who Buffy really is, and conversely Buffy doesn't really understand who Faith really is. The body switch brings about a critical increased understanding on the part of both women as to what the other's life is like, although in typical ME fashion, it takes literally years for a resolution to be obtained in the endgame of Season 7.

3. You mentioned the importance of Riley, and I agree. In one of the single greatest ironies of the entire show, Riley saves Faith's soul by proving to her that love really isn't just sex misspelled. Other characters later act to help the process to completion, but Riley started it.

4. If Buffy had any remaining doubts as to the trustworthiness of the Watcher's Council, she had none after this episode.

5. Willow and Tara do their first 'serious' magic in this episode, and Tara is effectively brought into the Scooby Gang.

6. The difficulties in the Riley/Buffy 'ship begin here, since Buffy can't seem to get past Riley having slept with Faith, even though Faith was in Buffy's body at the time. This says a great deal about Buffy's ongoing personal insecurites and general difficulties with relationships, a constant theme throughout all seven seasons. It also reinforces the idea that Buffy and Faith are (disturbingly, to Buffy) much alike in a lot of ways, otherwise how could Faith have 'faked it' so well that Riley couldn't tell it wasn't Buffy?

Something like that!

Off to the electronics mines...


[> [> [> Very well done! OnM! Oh and ...why I nixed certain episodes -- s'kat, 18:23:58 09/11/03 Thu

*** One thing this list has made me realize is how truly interconnected all 144 episodes are. ***

Amen to that, brothers and sisters! One of the points that I think 'kat was trying to make in the first post is just how hard it is to summarize the series in a small number of episodes.

Very much so. Thanks! I guess the point I was making is how impossible it really is to just watch 22 episodes and get the whole story. The show is way too serialized for it to work. The best you can do is pick episodes that cover most of the themes and give you a general idea or summary.

If you look at my list above - I tried to pick the episodes that either were self-contained in one or two parts and cut across as many of the Buffy Slayer themes, so you didn't need the set up. Actually that may be the common denominator between all those episodes. You can watch Surprise/Innocence apart from the others, same with Becoming and Graduation Day - they are more or less self-contained. I excluded Choices, The Wish, Selfless because they did not focus on Buffy's story - they focused on another character or supporting characters. Choices is really more about Willow than Buffy, Buffy is making choices too - but we see these choices delinated for Buffy better in Graduation Day, Lover's Walk, Freshman, Anne, and Becoming. The focus is really more on Willow here. The exceptions to that other character rule are: Fool For Love, Angel, and Becoming = b/c the vampires are used to reflect the slayer mythology, they are used to enhance or reflect something new on Buffy. We learn a great deal about Buffy through them. Angel - we learn she does not kill indiscriminately, she has rules, Becoming? how she became a slayer and how Angel's state affects her calling, Fool for Love - see my explanation above. The only episode that centers on a vampire character which we don't learn much about Buffy is Amends - which is more Angel centric and easily discarded. Amends isn't about Buffy so much as Angel and it covers the same ground as Angel, Becoming, Innocence, Graduation Day and Lover's Walk. So not as necessary. Lie to Me? I nixed b/c again it covers the same ground as Becoming, Angel, Innocence, Fool For Love and CWDP.

OnM's summary shows how Who Are You really covers the whole Faith/Buffy relationship, Willow being gay, Tara's introduction to the SG, Spike's attraction to Buffy, Riley and Buffy's relationship issues - his desire to connect to her and her emotional insecurity with him, Buffy and Faith's struggle with being the slayer. This episode encapsulates the themes and issues in ten episodes. You don't need Into The Woods, Hush, Enemies, Bad Girls, Consequences, etc - because Who Are You covers these themes
as well if not better. As for the set up? Graduation Day covers that as well.

Angel S1/Prophecy Girl and WttH - covers Buffy's boyfriend issues.

Fool For Love - covers the slayer/vampire relationship and the B/S dynamic as well as the problems between Riley/Buffy.
While Riley is important - you have to pick the episodes that cover the most ground. Who Are You, Fool For Love, Restless, all cover Riley territory pretty well. I picked the Freshman - because it deals with the slayer/girl dichotomy in college and how Buffy's job has changed. It also introduces the distance between Buffy and the SG for the first time.

As for Dawn? I made a decision - do I want to focus on Buffy as the girl or Buffy as the slayer? So I picked the episodes that encapsulate SlayerBuffy's view of Dawn the best - The Body (where Buffy as the slayer is almost useless for her mother but as the slayer she can save Dawn.) Forever or BloodTies of No Place Like Home might be essential to explain the Gift. But it has been argued, quite well in fact, that Buffy didn't just sacrifice herself for Dawn, she did it for the world and even if Dawn had not been her sister, she would have died for her - because Dawn was an innocent. Buffy's feeling towards Dawn as an innocent is established to some degree in The Body - when she goes to her sister to reveal her mother's death and when she saves Dawn from the vampire. Dawn is highlighted as well in
Grave and Once More With Feeling and to a degree in CWDP.
So I think she's covered.

Truth is? When you limit it to 22-25 episodes, you have to pick one character to focus on. On ATS - it's even harder because S4 was so tightly plotted and so serialized that it just does not make sense. I picked the Angel/Connor/Darla arc because that was the one with the fewest episodes.
My first attempt included Cordelia/Gunn/Fred and Wes and I went wayyy over. Connor is so essential to Angel's story it's impossible not to include his origins. Dawn isn't really that essential to Buffy's, she's essential, but not to the extent that you have to include all the episodes on her - since you can argue that Buffy would have probably done what she did in the Gift if it had been someone else. Angel? What he did in Home is arguably more ambiguous and I can't see him doing it if it weren't for the fact that Connor was his son.

Again - it's really tough to do.

I focused on the episodes essential to Buffy as the slayer.
We'd probably pick different one's if it was Buffy as the girl, actually I think it would be far harder to do 22 episodes on Buffy the girl. The easiest would probably be picking 25 episodes that told the Dawn Story, The Xander Story, The Anya Story, The Tara Story, The Spike story, etc...since they have less episodes devoted to them.

Hope that explains my choices a bit better. ;-)

[> On a related topic -- Celebaelin, 05:27:47 09/11/03 Thu

I've mentioned this before but it may be worth repeating as the thread didn't last long, vote for your favourite Buffy eps. to be released on the Best of Buffy DVD at

[> [> Yes! That was the poll I was referring to! Thanks Celebalin. -- s'kat, 18:27:11 09/11/03 Thu

See Celebalin's post for the poll that started this idea.

[> Board hopping briefly -- RJA, 12:00:25 09/11/03 Thu

Since this really interests me in that obsessive geeky kinda way, and your lists didnt get the attention they should over on the ASSB. I've noticed a few changes you made, and agree with them. Here's my own ammended personal list.

Season one
2. The Harvest
3. Angel
(Tempted with Prophecy Girl, was in initial list, but I think ultimately not as essential as subsequent episodes)

Season Two
4. Surprise (for obvious reasons, but also this, along with Innocence also negates the need for School Hard to be here - you find out more about the group dynamic and history, plus the emphasis on their humanity)
5. Innocence
6. Becoming pt 1
7. Becoming pt 2

Season Three
8. Anne (I think this is something that is an either/or with Prophecy Girl, in that they both deal with accepting being a Slayer. I think this is more important since it explains Buffy's return, and is more linked to the Angel arc already established on this DVD)
9. The Prom (ultimately I prefer this over Lover's Walk, since it has Bangel splitting up, and is a nice marking point of Buffy as the Slayer, and being recognised for that. I think it brings together her character arc quite nicely before the action of...
10. Graduation Day pt 1
11. Graduation Day pt 2

Season Four
12. Restless (I feel bad for only having one episode from season four, but this, in terms of a larger arc, is the only one that is essential to what it says about her character. CollegeBuffy is interesting, but not sure how far that added anything to her character in the long run)

Season Five
13. No Place Like Home (simply because Dawn needs to be explained, and it sets up The Body and The Gift)
14. Fool For Love
15. The Body
16. The Gift

Season Six
17. Once More With Feeling (since ultimately, the fact she was in heaven is said again here, and I think thats enough to justify her descent into the dark side. Also we see separation from the gang, turning to Spike. All those things essentially that Bargaining and Afterlife ultimately told us)
18. Dead Things (I used to have Amends, but realised it was not as important as this to Buffy's story on the whole. This is more important, and probably the best episode to show the Dark Slayer aspect without requiring a whole load of backstory. Also largely self contained)
19. Grave

Season Seven
20. CWDP
21. Get It Done
22. Chosen

Really enjoyed this :-)

[> [> okay you convinced me - good picks. -- s'kat, 18:43:58 09/11/03 Thu

Once again - I find myself going with your picks over mine, RJA. I agree...Anne probably is a better choice over Prophecy Girl - since it covers both the slayer and Buffy's return and how the others struggle without her.

(Damn Prophecy Girl is so much better written, but you're right.)

Also The Prom, while it is not the best written episode and skimps on the other characters, it does handle the B/A relationship and Buffy's feelings about the slayer and high-school the best. So have to go with it over Lover's Walk.

No Place Like Home? I'm torn between it and Blood Ties.
But think it might be more self-contained. Blood Ties isn't very good as a stand-a-lone.

You do solve a huge problem by just picking Restless out of S4, but on the other hand - you nix Riley - who is important and to a degree Faith. Still think Who Are You is more vital to the arc. We may have to do 24 - with the addition of Dead Things - which you've also convinced me on.

Good choices.

[> Here are my picks for this seductive poll -- sdev, 13:21:42 09/11/03 Thu

Season 1 -
1. Angel
2. Prophecy Girl

I would eliminate all but Angel and Prophecy Girl. From those episodes alone I believe the viewer can catch on. I see Season 1 as a prequel.

Season 2-
3. School Hard
4. Surprise
5. Innocence
6. Becoming II

This is where the series really starts for me. Many different recurring stories start here. Add School Hard for Spike introduction. I think Becoming 2 works by itself.

Season 3-

7. Lover's Walk
8. Faith hope & Trick
9. Graduation Day Part II

Add Faith's introduction because she is a Buffy shadow.

Season 4-

10. Hush (or The Initiative)
11. Who Are You
12. Primeval

Season 4 I would substitute a Riley episode for The Freshman--Hush would work because it shows Buffy and Riley at their respective jobs, or The Initiative, for the same reason as OnM suggested-- need to show Buffy's relationship with Riley. I would put in Primeval instead of Restless. Primeval sets the stage for the Potential empowering spell in Chosen, brings up the power of prior slayers, and also is the true season resolution.

Season 5-

13. Fool For Love
14. Blood Ties
15. The Gift

Season 5 I would add this Dawn episode to understand Buffy's motives in the Gift and to understand her Season 6 stress.

Season 6--

16. Once More With Feeling
17. Smashed
18. Dead Things
19. Seeing Red

For Season 6 I would add Smashed, beginning of sexual relationship between Spike and Buffy, Dead Things and Seeing Red and eliminate Grave. Smashed, DT and SR were pivotal to Buffycentric Season 6 and to Buffy's character development which made sense of Season 6 and 7. Grave was really critical to Willow not Buffy.

Season 7--

20. Conversations with Dead People
21. Touched
22. Chosen

My focus was more on the inner Buffy not the slayer mythos so I picked Touched because that is where she regains her strength and belief in herself.

Along the same lines I think the inner Buffy went through the most in seasons 1 and 6 and therefore I picked the most episodes from those two seasons.

[> A more Mainstream approach is required... -- ZachsMind, 09:41:21 09/12/03 Fri

What's 'essential' mean in this context? The 22 episodes Shadowkat has listed are ideal in an attempt at summarizing seven years of storytelling into one season's worth of material. However, it leaves immense gaps in the storytelling that would turn off newcomers. Jumping from Harvest to Angel is possible, but jarring. Going from Becoming Part Two to Lover's Walk? Ouch. You gotta through Beauty & the Beasts in there at least, and there's still nuances one misses after that. Then Graduation Day immediately thereafter? High school just doesn't speed by that fast. Restless makes absolutely no sense unless taken in context with not only the episodes surrounding it but ultimately the three seasons of episodes beyond it. Actually pretty much everything from Faith's entrance to Willow's return from England. Without all that, Restless will just hurt one's head. Just rip that puppy right outta there. It's a treat for diehard fans but would leave newbies spinning. Restless IS a standalone, but it doesn't so much reveal new stuff as illuminate elsewhere stuff. Jumping from The Body to The Gift? Woah. Where's my Tums? From Once More With Feeling to Grave!? I think I just got whiplash!

No. This isn't how one would introduce newcomers, and this isn't how one defines what is "essential" to understanding Buffy. The overall plot arcs and season arcs and even the ultimate series arc (which is ultimately Buffy going from being unhappy about being the chosen one to Buffy realizing that she's cookies. I'm not kidding. Maybe someday I'll waft eloquent about that) are all delicious treats for only die hard fans. I mean sometimes a newcomer will grasp one of them, but usually by the time he does he's 1) no longer a newbie to Whedon's universe and 2) hooked.

To introduce newcomers to Buffy, to launch a dvd collection of episodes that would draw a wider audience into the Buffy story, one would have to go in the exact opposite direction. Pick TWENTY episodes that reflect Buffy & the Scoobies at their best. Not highlights of the overall series arc, but episodes which are for the most part self-contained, and tell entertaining stories.

S.1: The Puppet Show, Nightmares, Out of Sight Out of Mind
S.2: School Hard, Halloween, Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered
S.3: Homecoming, The Zeppo, Earshot
S.4: Fear Itself, Pangs, Hush
S.5: Before Dawn(Buffy vs Dracula), I Was Made to Love You
S.6: All The Way, Once More With Feeling, Tabula Rasa,
S.7: Lessons, Help, Him

Yeah I know. That last one I almost said "Showtime" instead, but "Him" is more contained, and illuminates the four main females in the ensemble. It's also just downright funny from start to finish. Silly. Perhaps even redundant, but adorable all the same. I know BB&B did it better, but despite fan speculation, the two episodes are not that similar. If you watched them back to back you'd see how Him actually complements BB&B.

Then spend any extra space you have on the discs with an abundance of special features designed to fill in any necessary blanks, without unloading the entire farm. Introduce new fans to the parts of Buffy that the above episodes don't address, or more properly the things hinted at, and direct them to what episodes feature that more prominently. Explain that these episodes only touch the surface. In order to really grok Buffy, one needs to delve a little deeper, but the above list would reel in new initiates and show what is truly essential in capturing the essence of Buffy.

To get EVERYTHING however, one needs to see everything. There's no substitute for that. There's no cliff notes version of Buffy. Nor should there be.

[> [> Re: A more Mainstream approach is required... -- Valheru, 13:27:37 09/12/03 Fri

Yes, this sounds like a better way to go. Although I think it would be a good idea to include some arc-ish episodes, ala the old Buffy/Angel Chronicles and Slayer Chronicles VCR box sets. Something just to let the newbies know that, yes, the show has some excellent standalones, but the arcs are where the juicy stuff is. S2's Angelus arc is probably the best candidate, because 1) it doesn't require a great deal of backstory, 2) it's early enough that it doesn't spoil very much if the newbies want to be relatively fresh to later season arcs should they choose to see more, and 3) because it is the Angelus arc.

Another idea is to only include the high school years, or maybe up to S4. Once the show hits S5 (or more precisely, Restless), it begins to rely much more on the past to inform themes, and perhaps it does a disservice to the stories if the episodes are seen with only a rudimentary knowledge of the first four seasons. Besides, if the first four seasons aren't enough to hook someone, S5-7 probably won't fare any better.

Maybe do some of the strongest episodes from S1-3, then Hush, a dream from Restless, and a preview of the last 3 years.

1-6. WTTH, The Harvest, The Pack, Angel, Nightmares, Prophecy Girl
7-15. School Hard, Halloween, Lie to Me, Surprise, Innocence, BB&B, Passion, Becoming I, Becoming II
16-22. Lover's Walk, Amends, The Zeppo, Doppelgangland, Earshot, Graduation Day I, Graduation Day II
23. Hush
24. Previews

Geez, even doing it that way, I had to leave of some gems. Is there any particular reason why Fox couldn't just do a 39-disc box? =)

[> [> [> Hmm...maybe it depends on the newbie? -- s'kat, 15:28:15 09/12/03 Fri

Another idea is to only include the high school years, or maybe up to S4. Once the show hits S5 (or more precisely, Restless), it begins to rely much more on the past to inform themes, and perhaps it does a disservice to the stories if the episodes are seen with only a rudimentary knowledge of the first four seasons. Besides, if the first four seasons aren't enough to hook someone, S5-7 probably won't fare any better. interesting factoid I'd like to share since coming on line - over 50% of the people I've meet online who are currently obsessed with or enjoy BTVS and over the age of 25, did not get intrigued until S4. Before that they saw the show as "juvenile" and found anything dealing with high school? Uninteresting. It was S4 that intrigued them.
(Personally? I got hooked in S2 and started watching in 1997, but I'm in the minority of a majority of people I've met in person and on fanboards.) I couldn't get my mother interested until S6 - she wouldn't even try it. One of my closest friends? Can't stand the reruns featuring Seasons 1-3, but loves the episodes after that.

Why? Simple. They found the focus on the high school alienating to them. They could not get past the idea that the show took place in a high school. When S7 threatened to go back to high school, they wondered if they would be interested.

So the question is? Who is your audience? Is it 16-25? In which case anything from S1-S3 would work. OR is it 25-44, in which case S4-S7 might be a better choice. Another thing to consider - which episodes appeal to the broadest demographic and/or age group?

I'd take only one or two from s1, it had the lowest ratings and the least appeal. So taking demographics into consideration and the fact that you want to appeal to people who buy DVD's. Attract newbies and addicts - broadest sales possible.


(This is still the most popular episode from this season and the one's that gets voted for on the F/X marathons)

2.School Hard
7Becoming I/8Becoming II

This covers the whole Angelus arc more or less - brings
in Giles, Spike, the comedy and melodrama.

8. The Wish (very dark episode)
9. The Zeppo
10. Dopplegangland
11. Helpless

(All are pretty much stand-a-lones, all very adult not much focus on high school issues)

12. Hush
13. Something Blue

(Two very popular episodes - one a comedy, one a silent movie)

14. Buffy vs. Dracula
15. Fool For Love
16. The Body

Also all stand-a-lones but adult and gripping and high vote getters for F/X marathons.

17. Once More With Feeling
18. Dead Things

(These two are more or less stand-alones which get across the flavor of the season by themselves)

19. Lessons (or Beneath You - maybe Beneath You since it had a bit more going on)
20. Selfless
21. Conversations With Dead People
22. Chosen

Again, this really is a matter of opinion. I honestly don't know what I'd do if I was a marketing person with Fox. Probably put together an online poll and have people vote.
Which is what they did. LOL!

[> [> new quote-of-the-week nomination: -- anom, 10:54:29 09/14/03 Sun

"There's no cliff notes version of Buffy. Nor should there be."

And good overall point too, ZachsMind. Although you & shadowkat may be trying to do different things. Is the goal to have the newbie say at the end, "Oh, OK, I get the picture--yeah, I see why you like it," & not feel the need to watch the other episodes, or is it to have s/him say, "Wow! I gotta see more of this!" & rush out to buy all the DVDs that are out by that time & then borrow your tapes of the rest?

So it may depend not only on the newbie but on what the diehard fan wants to accomplish.

[> Restless -- Dochawk, 22:39:40 09/12/03 Fri

Restless may be one of the finest hours of Buffy ever, but it is not essential in understanding the story of Buffy. In fact, I think it is one of the least important episodes in Buffy's story. There are many episodes which I think are mediocre which are more important for her story. The missing episode from your list which I think most belongs there: Checkpoint, where the watcher/slayer relationship is really examined and Buffy truly understands her power.

[> [> You're right - Checkpoint probably is better. -- s'kat, 22:05:11 09/13/03 Sat

We do need an episode with the First Slayer though.
But - that said, I think Get it Done might work just as well as Intervention or Restless and is probably far clearer.

Checkpoint does a good job of showing her relationship with the council and is a big turning point - after that episode, Buffy never relies on the Council or anyone with the Council's advice again. It's a true turning point in the series.

[> Need a transcript site -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:25:31 09/13/03 Sat

For the past three days I've been trying to come up with my list of the Essential Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but have been having difficulty. The three criteria I have to fulfill are really making me head hurt (worthiness of episodes, episode limit, and continuity coherence). So, it would really help me out if someone could point me towards a transcript site, specifically one that has the "previously on" segments. That will help me figure out how to reduce continuity confusion and maybe finish my own list. Anyone know of a site like this?

[> [> -- Sophist, 16:57:52 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> Unfortunately . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:51:21 09/13/03 Sat

It doesn't quite have what I'm looking for. It only transcribes the "previously on" segments for the later seasons. The earlier seasons (such as 3, which is the one I'm having the most trouble with) don't have the previously on mentioned.

[> [> [> [> -- Masq, 10:07:26 09/15/03 Mon

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