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In which I reflect on the greatest show evah!

Welcome to the Hellmouth / The Harvest

1. Darla is the best. If I had actually bothered to watch this when it was on the air, I would have been hooked by her opening sequence. Thank you for upending expectations right from the start, BtVS.
2. The Master is ridiculous, but I love that about him.
3. Giles is so keen (in both senses, really) and everybody is so adorable. Or funny. Or both.
4. Speaking of senses, Buffy's fashion sense is stronger than her vampire-sensing ability. "Carbon dated" outfit, indeed. This comes up a lot over the course of the show.
5. Angel appears to have a sense of humor, although he's using it to "neg" Buffy. Not nice, Angel. But what happened to the funny? We don't really see it again until Season 2, if I'm remembering correctly.
6. The world is saved and Buffy gets to do gymnastics and decapitate somebody with a cymbal. I'd say everything is just about perfect.
7. Except for poor Jesse and the doorman at the Bronze. How come they couldn't at least mention Jesse after this?

The Witch

1. Amy makes her first appearance, and it's a doozy. The metaphor of parents living through their children went deep and dark.
2. This also marks the first appearance of drunk!Buffy! Who is doubly adorable. She's a macho, macho man! She also tells Xander he's one of the girls, which...well, he may not like it, but I do. It's nice to not have the heroine immediately assigned a romantic goal.
3. Joyce gets to have her own life, which is a nice counterpoint to the operative metaphor, but also makes for an actual character. She's Joyce, not just "Buffy's mom".

Teacher’s Pet

1. Ms. French is a super fun villain! Bug sandwiches!
2. I still miss Dr. Gregory, supportive guy who sees past the surface. Of course he had to die. *sobs*
3. Xander's fantasy cracks me up and it's wonderful that he immediately becomes the damsel of the piece. But not as damsel-y as blowhard guy!
4. They defeat their enemy with science! Also bladed weapons. But mostly science. ♥

Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

1. This episode sends the show veering in the wrong direction, IMHO. Exhibit A: the Annointed One. Need I say more?
2. Exhibit B: What was so terribly, awfully wrong about Owen Thurman being let in on the secret of the supernatural? He doesn't seem to be in any more or less danger than any of the series regulars, present and future. Is his fascination with Emily Dickinson indicative of some issue with his character that I missed?
3. Exhibit C: Angel being jealous of Owen seems...premature. If he's planning on being boyfriend material, why isn't he around every week? If he's not planning on being boyfriend material, he should just kick back and respect Buffy's choices. Actually, he should respect her choices regardless of their relationship status. Jeez. Feminism 101, people.
4. Pork and beans vamp is pretty scary, and I do like Buffy's relief that Giles is okay.

What do you all think?

This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/46225.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.

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Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
brunettepet
Mar. 3rd, 2017 03:51 am (UTC)
I think you're making me want to do a re-watch. I knew i was moving the DVDs for a reason!
rebcake
Mar. 3rd, 2017 06:52 am (UTC)
Me too!
thenewbuzwuzz
Mar. 3rd, 2017 04:46 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm only seeing it this way because Passion of the Nerd said so, but Owen's interest in Dickinson is part of his fascination with death - he says he likes Dickinson because she's morbid and writes about death and pain. I think the point is he likes death and danger too much and wouldn't be careful. And it seems maybe he likes the danger more than he likes Buffy. Let me throw the transcript at you.

"Owen: I mean, last night was incredible! I never thought nearly getting
killed would make me feel so... alive!

Buffy: (looks down and starts to walk) So that's why you wanna be with
me.

Owen: (follows her) Oh, absolutely! When can we do something like that
again?

Buffy: Something like...

Owen: Like, walk downtown at three in the morning, a-and pick a fight
in a bar. How about tonight?"

(<-and this is when Buffy rejects him)

"Giles: (looks toward Owen) Seems like a nice lad.

Buffy: Yeah. But he wants to be danger man. You, Xander, Willow, you
guys... you guys know the score, you're careful. Two days in my world
and Owen really *would* get himself killed."

Like, if Buffy draws the conclusion that the only human guys who would know her and still want to date her are weirdos with a death wish, that's not necessarily true. (Sigh. And the dating-related psychological issues commence.)
rebcake
Mar. 3rd, 2017 07:12 am (UTC)
Well, that makes sense, sort of. But I don't see the Scoobies as being particularly careful. They maybe don't exactly go looking for trouble — except when they do — but trouble finds them anyway. And knowing the score is what happens when you learn the score.

If Darla or Ms. French had decided that Owen was the one they wanted, how would NOT being a Scooby help him, exactly? I can see Buffy not wanting to date him for any number of reasons or no reason at all, but thinking that she's keeping him safe by cutting off all contact isn't realistic.

While starting bar fights is not a good way to get your kicks, Buffy's fooling herself if she thinks she doesn't enjoy the rush, herself. (But that's a discussion for later episodes, perhaps.) I notice Owen's desire to hang with her doesn't seem motivated to make the world better or safer for others. Maybe that lack of heroism is the crucial difference? He's not in it for the do-gooding, but rather the derring-do. It's like Spike, when he's chipped and discovers he can fight demons, but without Spike's suppressed impulse to do evil.

Thanks for making me tease my thoughts out more!
thenewbuzwuzz
Mar. 3rd, 2017 11:06 am (UTC)
I like your teased out thoughts.

"If Darla or Ms. French had decided that Owen was the one they wanted, how would NOT being a Scooby help him, exactly? I can see Buffy not wanting to date him for any number of reasons or no reason at all, but thinking that she's keeping him safe by cutting off all contact isn't realistic." Yeah. He's probably a *little* safer if he doesn't actively pursue supernatural trouble, but if the Scoobies really want to keep people like him safe, it would help to clue people in more. Supernatural PCP gang self-defense classes for everyone...

"It's like Spike" - omg, it really kind of is!
trepkos
Mar. 3rd, 2017 10:19 am (UTC)
Yeah, poor Owen - he just seemed a bit slow on the uptake. Angel is a dick for a lot of Season 1. And why is Buffy so angry in the first episode? I love The Master!
rebcake
Mar. 3rd, 2017 05:38 pm (UTC)
why is Buffy so angry in the first episode?

Buffy is on a bummer in most of the season openers. Sometimes I get it — she died! she killed her lover! she died, again! — but sometimes it's less clear just why. In this case, I can see that switching schools mid-year would be stressful. Finding that you are still expected to fight the forces of evil every night, when it just got you expelled...well, it's confusing. If we take Normal, Again into consideration, she's also fresh out of a mental institution, into which she was wrongly placed. That would be irritating, I imagine. ;-) Plus, she's having nightmares.

Yes to all your other points. The Master is corny as hell, but it's fun that he is. I went to a drag show mash-up of the first two episodes and "Angel" in which the Master was even campier and it was delightful. *\o/*
beer_good_foamy
Mar. 3rd, 2017 11:59 am (UTC)
1. Ms. French is a super fun villain! Bug sandwiches!

And the power to unconvincingly turn her head 180 degrees! Jesus, the special effects in the early episodes...

Love to read your thoughts on these. Makes me want to start a rewatch myself, it's been way too long. Maybe I'll even find something to like about TP and NKABOTFD, two of my least favourite episodes. I get the feeling that both could have worked better with some tweaks - in the latter case, sharpening up the character work, in the former, buying a few more lightbulbs so you could actually see what the hell is going on.
rebcake
Mar. 3rd, 2017 05:49 pm (UTC)
Special effects don't age well, even the big budget ones, but Ms. French's neck was pretty ridiculous. And, man! The lighting for the first 2 seasons is terrible. Maybe they were trying to contrast the sunniness of one of Buffy's worlds with the dankness of the other? Mission accomplished, but we'd get it even if we could see anything. Sheesh. At least we know they come to see the error of their ways by season 3.

I'm not sure I can do a full-on rewatch, but it is fun ruminating on things again. And every episode has something worthwhile and likable. My least favorite episode doesn't happen until season 3, but even that contains some valuable nuggets.
snogged
Mar. 3rd, 2017 12:53 pm (UTC)
I think Jesse suffered from the "Pilot" problem aka something that existed in the first episode and was scrapped. I think the writers wanted to focus on the new core 3.
rebcake
Mar. 3rd, 2017 05:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I get that Jesse wasn't really necessary after Xander dispatched him, but there are so many references to things past and throwaway lines that build the BtVS world — and consequently aren't throwaways at all — that it seems like just a mention wouldn't have been so hard. They show is so good with continuity in other ways. I just wonder why not in this case?
shapinglight
Mar. 3rd, 2017 07:14 pm (UTC)
I love season 1 to pieces these days. I think it's utterly adorable - even the terrible special effects.

Well, maybe not Angel. He's pretty but really, really annoying!
rebcake
Mar. 3rd, 2017 07:46 pm (UTC)
Angel is very pretty in season one. *nods*

There's really only a handful of episodes in season one that aren't wonderful. The season suffers from lack of Spike and Dru, whose appearance kicks things up a notch, but that's only in retrospect. I watched season 2 before this season, which probably made it pale a little in comparison.
shapinglight
Mar. 3rd, 2017 07:52 pm (UTC)
I'm very keen to get on with the Fantasmagoria rewatch now. It seems like the best way I can pay tribute to twenty years of Buffy.

It's just finding the time. ;)
slaymesoftly
Mar. 4th, 2017 01:32 am (UTC)
It's been so long, I only remember bits and pieces of these. Now I'm thinking I need to rewatch season 1 to see what I didn't notice at the time. :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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