Week 2 went off without a hitch, as per usual, where we got to watch some of the viewers’ most-hated episodes ever. Those included “I, Robot…You, Jane,” “The Puppet Show,” and the more loved “Nightmares.” And can I just say—again—that I really don’t understand why anyone hated these episodes. Now, that’s not to say I would have liked them in 1997. But in 2012, where we can completely laugh about Internet apocalyptic jokes and the idea of dolls coming to life and removing your organs, I say these were extremely enjoyable episodes. Especially “The Puppet Show.” Oh, my goodness. Thank you for the laughs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And although “I, Robot…You, Jane” had a ton of hilarious colloquialisms, it actually scared me. I’ll point out when below.
Buffy 1; Fans 0.
Oh, and it totally created my first ship on this show. Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar! Can you say “sexual tension?” Because oh, boy! I feel it!
Oh, my god! Please tell me this happens! Know what? Better yet — DON’T tell me! I don’t want to know. I want to be surprised; I want to go on this journey. What is this, though? Gilendar? Calendiles? Another thing I noticed about the show is that people just die in this school and then the next day it’s like nothing happened.
I love how they’re always friends with the dead person only in that episode but then just don’t care about them when they finally die. And I also love how no one decides to LEAVE THAT EFFING SCHOOL! Holy crap! If there were like 27 dead guys at my school one year, I wouldn’t even wait to see the third one. I’d get the heck outta that place.
Also, this crop of three episodes continued the trend of dead people in/near lockers.
And lastly, I finally realized why I’m very comfortable with Xander, why he seems so familiar. HE’S TOTALLY CHANDLER BING (from Friends). You guys…you guys, seriously. Has this been a thing before?
The hair! The clothes! They’re the same person! Okay, to be fair, that’s a pretty typical ’90s look. But, y’know, still. The way they talk, their snide jokes, apathetic optimism (which is a paradox, but truthful). I’m pretty sure they’re one and the same at this point. I mean, they even share the same nightmare:
And if you don’t understand this picture and now think I’m a total weirdo (not that you didn’t before), then you cannot call yourself a Friends fan (not that you did before)!
To understand, watch this video below at the 1:10 minute mark where Chandler describes his dream from the Friends pilot:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfZ8swV7eKg]
Okay, so, he was technically in the cafeteria. But yeah! I now have all the evidence I need to convince myself that Xander is Chandler Bing: The Teen Years. Anyway, let’s get to the recappin’ and opinionatin’!
1.08 “I, Robot…You, Jane”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has this tendency in its first season to be one episode on (the season arc) and then about two episodes off. So, since “Angel” was all about the arc and whatnot, the show had to go off for another two episodes, where we got to see them extremely not understand the Internet. And it was glorious. First off, however, I need to mention this. Look who it is:
It’s the Turn Face Monster from the opening titles every episode!! You know, I was waiting for him to finally pop up. And, boy, what an entrance. So apparently this monster/demon guy is in love with this other guy. And he looks like the creepy version of Aladdin, like the version that has to register on the sex offenders list.
Tell me I’m wrong. Anyway, he’s all, like “I will always love you!” But the monster/demon guy isn’t buying it and has to break up with him otherwise it would be awkward.
…by breaking his neck. It was a tough breakup. So these Italian people — oh, yeah, it’s in Italian this scene, by the way — put him in a book for the rest of his days! And this is the part where I cried:
Because, oh my goodness, The Secret Circle is canceled and Buffy needs to stop being so dang topical in 2012. I mean, cannibals? And now Secret Circle references!? Not cool.
So moving on, they succeed and now flash forward to 1996 and that book just coincidentally finds itself in the Sunnydale high school because why not. And this is where we have our first Gilendar/Calendiles interaction where she’s totally up for it.
He’s complaining because he doesn’t want his books to be “skimmed” and she’s all “it’s called scanning—it’s new, and improved purrrrr!”
Okay, so maybe their choice of conversation isn’t the most sensual, but they’re on a first-name basis. HAWT! The point is that Giles is an oldtimer and Calendar is all about the “new technologies.” For a Calendar, she sure ain’t dated! Bahahaha! I slay me! Oh, goodness! Me and these puns! (I guess her name should be Jenny Smartphone Calendar App Har Har Har!). Moving on, there’s this guy who you know will be the FOTE (Friend of the Episode) — he will end up dying at some point, as they all do, and then never mentioned again. Mr. Giles makes some snide remarks about technology and he’s all “YOU WILL OBEY TO THE INTERWEBZ YO!!!”
So yeah, he was creepy from his first line.
Anyway, Willow ends up scanning the book and the Monster Guy enters the computers because that makes sense in 1997. And he uses his evilness to…hit on Willow a lot, which we know won’t work out because (A) he’s a monster and (B) for…reasons. But Willow is loving her new Internet boyfriend, and Buffy is sort of concerned. So she goes to FOTE 2 to find out information about people online.
She finds out that just anyone can fill out a profile page online and it can be literally anyone in the world you just don’t know!!! Like, for example:
At this point, it was sort of becoming a PSA for online anonymity. I was half expecting Chris Hansen pop out at any moment. And my other half expected the Glee kids to bust in and sing about it. Anyway, when FOTE 2 finds out that Buffy is worried about Willow he gets all FOTE 1 on us and acts creepy. At this point, we know that Monster Guy is totally controlling them…somehow…it’s not really explained. Basically, these kids just listen to anything they read. And Monster Guy is trying to kill the slayer, who just so happens to be Buffy.
Which is why I wasn’t surprised when FOTE 2 apparently tried to kill Buffy with help from FOTE 1. He makes pretend that Willow is calling her (they’re on the outs), lures her into the gym showers, and then cuts a hot wire and puts it into the water…which in turn causes this:
Totes would happen, you guys. Don’t even laugh about this one. I mean, look at her unprotected feet!
That’s only, like, four inches of rubber protecting her. How careless!
Anyway, she survives, but ONLY because she’s the slayer. We find out that Willow is in danger, since FOTE 1 chloroformed her (which is when I got genuinely scared), and is in the hands of Monster Guy. FOTE 1 dies and no one is sad. And then Buffy and Xander go to look for Willow at some abandoned facility. And then this insanely anticlimactic scene happens:
WHAT? She just…KNOWS? Okay. I guess the point is that in 2012 Calendar and Giles would be one and the same person, because as I said previously, it would be a Media Center Specialist. And apparently every teacher in this school just knows about crazy demon stuff, which yet again makes me question why Buffy hasn’t told her mother that she’s “the slayer.”
I mean, I know a lot of these vampire/supernatural shows always argue that they have to not tell their friends and family because it would put them in danger — and I would mostly argue that it at least keeps the show grounded in some sense of reality — but on Buffy TVS, it’s most apparent that it’s just ridiculous! If anything, it just puts them in danger. Like, for example, when Darla BIT HER MOTHER because she invited her in!!! Preventable. But, whatever.
Anyway, Buffy and Xander save Willow because Giles and Calendar figure out a way to re-curse Monster Guy (but not before FOTE 2 dies). They are saddened about their love lives.
Future Pop Culture References: None, really. Except that you probably still can’t believe some of this stuff was possible in the 1990s. And then what brings it back to the 1990s is all the hilarious Internet lingo!
They don’t really say all those terms, but you get it. Oh! And also that final scene pictured was TOTALLY…
You know, Fear? That movie with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg? Yeah that one. And if you don’t know, I envy you. Because yeesh!
Oh and also this episode sort of reminded me of The NeverEnding Story, so there’s that.
The Grade: Hey, I got scared during this one. I think that warrants some sort of “good” on the season one scale.
1.09 “The Puppet Show”
Okay so this very well may be the best episode of anything ever in the history of the world. The gang get a new principal and he’s sort of a hard ass, so he makes them participate in the school’s talent show — where there is an evil demon ripping people’s hearts out. And — get this — he’s a DUMMY! Oh, my goodness! THANK YOU!
But as it turns out, there’s a twist! He’s not a demon, he’s hunting demons. And then it gets even more hilarious because this dummy’s got wood (bahaha!) for all the girls. And he, like, drinks and smokes cigars. It’s awesome.
Anyway, they find the right demon person and he rips his heart out and then the Dummy dies (which is what he wanted all along). Episode over!
Oh, yeah, and Joyce shows up to pretend she’s a parent:
FOTE: The Friend Of the Episode is this guy, who you think you’ve seen in something else before but it turns out he just looks familiar.
He’s the ventriloquist and he goes frantic looking for his dummy. But for the most part, he’s kind of just useless. The audience knows pretty early on that he’s not really doing anything and is a victim of his own mind. And, y’know, talking dolls. Also, if you count the girl who died as a FOTE, then the “they always die” theory is still true.
(Not Always) Future Pop Culture References: Um, a talking Dummy that may or may not be causing mischief?
But I only read Goosebumps in the 2000s, so…
And a doll that’s DEFINITELY causing mischief?
Oh and seriously, I cannot believe it took me this long to figure THIS out…
Cordelia was also Kendall Casablancas on Veronica Mars! It only took NINE episodes! Oh, goodness. That means she an Allyson Hannigan were TWICE the working buds!
The Grade: Okay, seriously. This was absolutely HILARIOUS. I think it was also meant to be hilarious, too. And for that reason alone, I LOVE this episode. It was going to be my favorite of the season, until…
This episode was actually kind of important. It didn’t ACTUALLY pertain to the entire season-long arc, but it sort of helped it move along some. What happens here is that some kid is in a coma and is affecting everyone’s reality — the world is turning into one, huge dream and everyone’s nightmares are coming true…literally.
Now, of course, the show makes use of it in a cheeky way to show Willow’s stage fright, or Xander’s classic naked-in-school nightmare, or Giles being afraid of incomprehension, but what I loved about this episode is just how much more dynamic it made the Buffy character. It wasn’t only the dad thing…
Which, by the way, what? She’s just hanging with her dad on weekends? I guess that’s why vampires and monsters take off on Saturdays and Sundays?
Anyway, it wasn’t just that. I mean it was; because oh, my goodness, what a scene.
Okay, but seriously, it was quite emotional. And I think the reason it was so, and maybe it’s because I’m still at an age where it’s quite relatable (though I think it’s timeless), is that these really are the things you think about as someone’s child. I know that Buffy is a freakin’ slayer and her mom and dad think she’s some lunatic arsonist, but the root of the insecurity still rings true. We’re all just walking around, living beside each other, wondering if we have or ever will live up to the person our parents imagined we would be, or could be. That’s a lot of pressure. And then to imagine that perhaps since you let them down that’s why they love you a bit less, or don’t like you as much.
Yes. Buffy. YES. So I connected to this right here a lot. And this is perhaps my worst nightmare. That and getting stabbed naked. I can’t be the only person who thinks getting stabbed while naked would hurt more than with clothes on, right?
Anyway, this little tidbit really helped diversify Buffy from just a slayer into a more well-rounded individual. And so I’m interested to see how these struggles play themselves out in the future.
Elsewhere, we also realized that Buffy fears becoming the one thing she’s fighting against, and even of failure (and having The Master escape). It truly makes you understand how much she has on her shoulders — the weight of everyone’s lives!
So, anyway, Buffy gets to the kid who’s in a coma and allows him to wake up before everything turns to s—, basically. Episode over!
Hey, don’t I know you from…oh, never mind: Just like Morgan, or FOTE, in the previous episode was this episode’s FOTE who totally looks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt but isn’t. But, c’mon, he so is.
I mean, I know it’s not. But that’ totally him.
Future Pop Culture References: Buffy speaking to people from Over There who make it extremely difficult to make you understand WTF is happening? Yeah that’s…
But it stays in the ’90s because having to defeat your enemy in your dreams or otherwise you’d all die in reality?
More Evidence SMG took this job to practice for Scooby-Doo:
The culprit was Old Man Little League Coach!
Also, why is Giles vogue’ing in that screencap?
The Obvious Parallel: Overcoming your fears of being who you are, your insecurities. But thankfully, not in SUCH an obvious way, y’know?
The Grade: This was quite a fun episode, but not as fun as “The Puppet Show,” which for those elements I like “Puppet Show” more. But in the sense of developing its leading lady, “Nightmares” may perhaps be the best episode of season one thus far.
And that’s three more episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! We resume with the final three of the season this Monday at 9:30pm EDT on Twitter, #BuffyRewatch.