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The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S02E013, “Surprise”

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In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone is seriously, so bloated from pie right now. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
  13. Science and technology are not to be trusted.
  14. Mental illness is stigmatized.
  15. Only Willow can use a computer.
  16. Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
  17. Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
  18. Oz is the Anti-Xander
  19. Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
  20. Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
  21. The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.

Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments.  Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.

WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it. 

Buffy wakes in the night to get a glass of water, and this happens.

This is rarely a good sign.
This is rarely a good sign.

For a minute it’s like, “Whoa, wait, what are you doing in here, and why is there blood on your face when Joyce doesn’t die until season five?” Then Buffy opens the door to her room and:

This is also not a great thing to have happen to you in the middle of the night.
This is also not a great thing to have happen to you in the middle of the night.

Now that Buffy’s room has turned into The Bronze, she can do all sorts of fun stuff. Like hang out with Willow while she speaks French to a monkey. And be criticized by her mother, who asks her if she’s really ready for something. Not that she’d have to be asleep for that to happen. Across the dance floor, Buffy sees Angel. He puts his hand out to her, but Drusilla steps up behind him and stakes him. He disintegrates into ash before Buffy’s very eyes, and Drusilla wishes Buffy a happy birthday, and Buffy jolts awake just before the opening credits. Thus begins a long and storied tradition of shit going haywire on Buffy’s birthday, all the time, every time.

Buffy goes to Angel’s apartment to make sure he’s not, you know, dead. He answers the door shirtless, and can I just say something here? I’m so pleased that he’s not bulging with huge muscles or something. It fits the character, as we later find out he was a lazy wastrel in his human time. There’s a lot of are you okay/yes I’m okay in this scene, with Buffy warning Angel that her dreams are sometimes prophetic, and Angel reassuring her that everything is fine. WET SMACKING SOUNDS. For literally a minute. A full minute.

Buffy tells Angel that she likes seeing him in the morning and at bedtime (titter, giggle, whisper behind hand, tee hee they’re talking about sex), and she’s half-mortified when relating the tale to Willow. But come on, that’s the kind of thing we all loved to have happen in our high school days. “My crush didn’t projectile vomit at the thought of having sex with me! Score!” Little did we all know, we could have been banging everybody if any of us had had a little self esteem.

Willow tells Buffy that Angel isn’t the kind of guy who would push her into anything, and they have an entire conversation about teen sex without ever mentioning teen sex. This is going to happen a lot in this episode and the next, and I’ll tell you my theory at some point later on. But for now let’s concentrate on the positive here: even though they never explicitly say that Buffy is considering having sex with her boyfriend, this is a scene where two female characters are talking as frankly as teen television drama will allow in 1997. This is a powerful image to the teen girls watching this show then and now. If Buffy can take control of her sexuality on her own terms, then they can, too.

Buffy decides that what the hell, she’s going to bone Angel. As she and Willow marvel at how awesome it is that they both know someone who’s going to get laid, Buffy spots Oz playing guitar in the courtyard. Buffy asks Willow what she thinks of him, and Willow says:

Willow: “I like his hands.”

Buffy says that Willow noticing this “insignificant detail” is proof that Willow has a crush on Oz and excuse me, but when I’m looking at pictures of Craig Ferguson, I notice the hell out of his strong-yet-elegant looking hands, and it’s not like I have a crush on him, even though I can and do readily imagine those hands giving me what would certainly be the most orgasmic foot rub of all time.

But I digress.

Willow is afraid to approach Oz, but with some coaxing from Buffy, Willow goes over and turns on the charm. She doesn’t really know what to talk about, and she’s awkward, but that’s okay because Oz is awkward, too. He’s just way more direct about it.

Oz: “I’m gonna ask you to go out with me tomorrow night. And I’m kind of nervous about it, actually. It’s interesting.”

Willow: “Oh. Well, if it helps at all, I’m gonna say yes.”

Oz: “Yeah, it helps. It creates a comfort zone. Do you wanna go out with me tomorrow night?”

Willow: “Oh! I can’t!”

Oz: “Well, see, I like that you’re unpredictable.”

If you don’t think they’re the cutest couple that has ever been on television, you’re wrong.

Willow explains that she’s going to Buffy’s surprise birthday party tomorrow night, but she suggests that Oz go as her date. And he agrees, and they both get all flustered and adorable.

At Cordelia’s locker, Xander is trying to convince Cordy to just go public with the fact that they’re dating. Cordelia doesn’t agree; she’s ashamed to be seeing him, and they haven’t really been dating so much as making out with each other constantly. I feel like Cordelia maybe doesn’t have an understanding of high school dating, because I don’t remember much besides the making out.  Xander gives up, and runs into Giles, who seems super psyched to be throwing a surprise party. He expresses his enthusiasm by being even more frazzled than usual.

The party convo is disrupted when Buffy and Ms. Calendar join them. Buffy tells Giles about her freaking Drusilla dream, but she’s worried that she’s making a big deal over nothing. Giles suggests that since Buffy’s dreams tell the future, they should probably keep an eye on that shit.

Cut to vampire Radar O’Reilly–hey! He’s back!–carrying a box for Spike, who’s rocking a hot new set of wheelchair. He’s also got some gnarly burn scars on his face. You know, I think Buffy is the only vampire mythology I can think of where the vampires need extended time to heal from stuff.

Spike is not happy with Drusilla for picking Sunnydale for a party venue–wait, I hadn’t noticed this before. Do Drusilla and Buffy share a birthday? Why didn’t I put two and two together?

Drusilla is taking care of Spike, and she seems a lot more rational and less vampire-crazy than she was before. Oh, wait, scratch that. Scratch it like the flower arrangement she starts frantically scratching to pieces while crying. Spike soothes her by letting her open one of her presents early. We don’t see what it is, but Dru assures us that it reeks of death. Oh, Spike. You know how to treat a lady.

So, now that Drusilla is back, be prepared for the vague crazy that marks pretty much all of her characterization. Yay. #14.

Back at the Summers house, Joyce tries to get Buffy psyched up for a mall shopping trip as a birthday present, but Buffy is more interested in revisiting the subject of her getting her driver’s license. Spoiler alert, this never happens. Buffy coasts right on into her twenties without ever getting a driver’s license, which is bullshit, because she’s the Slayer. She could cover way more ground if she had a sick ass vehicle with like, a cow-catcher on the front for mowing down demons and a roof-mounted fifty cal full of wooden projectiles.

Anyway, Joyce doesn’t think Buffy is ready. In fact, she says as much… exactly the way she said it in Buffy’s dream.

In Jenny Calendar’s classroom, a sinister dude who was in the really scary cave episode of Punky Brewster comes in. You may also remember him as “GET OFF MY TRAIN!” ghost from Ghost and the creepy organ grinder from Batman Returns, which, incidentally, is the best Batman movie of all time, and Michael Keaton is the best Batman of all time, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, Nolan fans.

Where was I? Oh, right. Sinister dude’s presence doesn’t alarm Jenny at all. She tells him she’s sorry she hasn’t been writing, and he scolds her for neglecting her duty to her people. They argue about a curse, and how it’s wearing off or whatever, in really vague terms, until Jenny says:

Jenny: “I promise you, Angel still suffers!”

Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Back up the frick train. This whole time, Jenny has been in Sunnydale to thwart Angel? This is a shocking development, dear reader. Angel apparently killed the “most beloved” person in Jenny’s “tribe.” Let me just preface the whole lot of racism that comes hard and fast for the rest of this show: Jenny is TV Romani. That’s just what we’re gonna call it. They call these characters and their “tribe” the g-word.

Now, here’s where I’m going to pause, less I look like a total a-hole hypocrite, and admit that I wrote a fantasy series in which a side story involved a group of magic using humans who lived in vardos and had all sorts of superstitions, and I used the g-word. A lot. Here’s where it gets worse: I had no idea that the g-word people from fiction were a stereotype of actual people who still exist. I thought this particular ethnic and cultural group was a fairytale construct that never existed. And among all the eyes that fell on that manuscript before it hit the shelves, no one else seemed to know the truth, either. To this day, I’ve never received a single email or comment about the offensive way I portrayed Romani people, which leads me to believe that there are a lot of people out there who might be in the same situation. Television, movies, books, even music, have all created an ethnic stereotype of the sneaky, curse-dropping, wagon-living g-word, to such an extent that people literally do not know that Romani people exist. If you’re reading this and going, “Oh my god, are you kidding? This is an actual thing?” then I suggest you do some mad googling so as not to be as ultra, high-intensity racist as I was.

But an explanation of a cultural phenomenon isn’t an excuse. I was being hella racist, and this element of BtVS is hella racist, as well. So, #12.

So, Jenny Calendar isn’t even Jenny’s name, and she’s not just a teacher and technopagan, she’s an agent of vengeance sent to stop Angel from having even a single moment of happiness. She tells her uncle that she’ll get right to work on breaking up Buffy and Angel.

In the library, Buffy is explaining to Giles how the stuff in her dream just came true, and he’s right in the middle of brushing her off when Willow and Xander come in all excited for Buffy’s birthday. Giles, still uncharacteristically not-interested in Buffy’s dreams (there are a bunch of times in the series where Buffy has a dream and Giles is all, “that’s a prophetic dream”) tells her that since she dreamed that the Master would rise and he didn’t because she stopped it from happening, this Angel thing isn’t going to happen either.

But guess what, Giles. Buffy did dream that Master would rise and he didn’t, but she also dreamed that the Master would kill her and he did. So, what’s more likely? Drusilla is alive and out to get Angel, or Willow is going to start speaking fluent French?

Wait, that’s not a good comparison. Willow could totally become fluent in French like, over the weekend or something.

Giles tells Buffy that he’ll research Drusilla, and she should just go on with life as normal until they have more information. This visibly bums Buffy out, and when she leaves, Xander and Willow bemoan the fact that their party is probably not going to go over as intended. But Giles is not having it:

Giles: “One thing I’ve learned in my tenure here on the Hellmouth is that there is no good time to relax, and Buffy’s turning seventeen just this once, and she deserves a party.”

Willow points out that Angel is coming to the party, anyway, so Buffy won’t have to worry that he’s out there being staked.

Buffy arrives at the school that night to meet Giles and find out all about Drusilla, but Jenny is there instead. She tells Buffy that Giles needed a book from home, and that he’s going to meet her “somewhere near his house.” And then Jenny offers to give Buffy a ride, and the audience is like, waaaaaait a minute. Jenny is supposed to make sure Angel will never be happy, so is she going to like, kill Buffy, or what?

Jenny pulls into a seedy looking alley, and Buffy asks if they’re going to The Bronze. Jenny tells her she just has an address that Giles gave her. Buffy sees some guys loading stuff into a truck, and she decides that it’s fishy. She jumps out of the car and sees vampire Radar O’Reilly carrying a box. Inside The Bronze, the gang waits, wondering where Buffy is. So, I’m guessing that the “ambushed by vampires” thing wasn’t just a way to get her to the party? That’s good, because I was worried for a second that her friends were horrifically terrible at planning parties.

Buffy wrestles a vampire through a window, and they tumble into The Bronze. She stakes the vampire with a drumstick, and everyone just stands there in shocked silence. Except Cordelia:

cordy surprise

Buffy is genuinely touched by the surprise party. She says it’s sweet, but as she’s saying it, she’s directly facing Angel. What the fuck, Buffy. You think Angel did this? Angel did nothing (I assume, since it’s been Willow and Xander and Cordelia putting the whole thing together as far as we’ve seen), but he doesn’t go, “It was really them that did it.”

Come to think of it, what has Angel ever really done for Buffy? Besides show up with bad news or rush into fights with absolutely zero effect, or get into trouble and need to be rescued? Nothing. He’s done nothing, and he’s a bad boyfriend. #9

Even though the rest of the group takes the whole vampire thing in stride, Oz is new here:

Willow: “Are you okay?”

Oz: “Yeah. Hey, did everybody see that guy just turn to dust?”

Xander tells Oz that vampires are real and that Willow can fill him in on the rest.

Willow: “I know it’s hard to accept at first–”

Oz: “Actually, it explains a lot.”

This is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series, because of the way Oz just rolls with it.

Jenny Calendar comes in with the box the vampires were trying to steal. They open it, and inside they find a severed arm that immediately attacks Buffy.

judge arm
Happy Birthday, Buffy!

And Oz is still totally fine with all this.

Angel tells them the arm could belong to a demon called The Judge, who destroys anyone who has any humanity. They figure out fast that Drusilla is trying to reassemble the judge and end the world. Angel is going to have to travel around the world for months, hiding the arm. Oh, and he has to leave that night. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUFFY!

Drusilla is pissed off, and ready to gouge out Radar O’Reilly’s eyes, but Spike points out that he’s probably the only person who can find the arm. My favorite part of this scene is that Drusilla goes from this:

spooky dru

to this:

nice dru

in just a few seconds. Which might fall under #14 what with the “oooh spooky crazypants,” but it’s still weirdly adorable.

At the docks, Buffy and Angel are saying goodbye. Angel is all, I’ll be back soon, and Buffy is all, you can’t possibly know that, also, everyone is trying to kill you, dummy. Angel gives her a claddagh ring, spurring like five years of those things being everywhere all over the place. He tells her:

Angel: “Wear it with the heart pointing toward you. That means you belong to somebody.”

Hey pal. She doesn’t belong to you unless she says she belongs to you. (#6#9)

Their tender 18th century courtship moment is interrupted when Radar O’Reilly attacks them. He’s gonna get that arm and save his eyes. During the fight, Buffy falls off the pier and Angel jumps in after her, fulfilling his quota of being useless in at least one fight per episode.

1. Do you really think the Slayer isn’t going to be able to swim? She’s like a billion times stronger than you, Angel.

2. You’re letting Radar get away.

Back at the library, Giles is worried that Buffy isn’t back yet, and Willow is bummed that bad things are happening to Buffy on her birthday. Xander’s totally psyched about his friend’s emotional pain, though:

Xander: “It’s sad, granted, but let’s look at the upside for a moment. I mean, what kind of a future would she have really had with him? She’s got two jobs–Denny’s waitress by day, Slayer by night–and Angel’s always in front of the TV with a big blood belly. And he’s dreamin’ of the glory days when Buffy still thought this whole ‘creature of the night’ routine was a big turn on.”

Willow: “You’ve thought way too much about this.”

Xander: “No no, that’s just the beginning. Have I told you the part where I fly into town in my private jet and take Buffy out for prime rib–”

Willow: “Xander.”

Xander: “–and she cries–”

I think my feelings about this can be summed up with an annoyed Giles pic:

annoyed giles

Okay, maybe not entire summed up. What the fuck is this, Xander? One of your best friends just got the news that her boyfriend is leaving for months, without any notice, to go on a dangerous mission he might not survive. Oh, and it’s happening on her birthday. And instead of being like, “this sucks, I’m sorry you’re hurting,” you lose yourself in some horrible fantasy in which you hope your friend has a miserable life just so you might have a chance to bang her when you’re both in your forties. That’s shitty, Xander. You’re a really shitty guy. (#5)

Xander’s jerk off fantasy wherein he wishes Buffy nothing but misery until she’ll open her vagina for him is interrupted when Buffy comes in to announce that they’d been ambushed. Giles asks where Jenny is, and Buffy tells him she’s with Angel. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUHHHN viewer who have never seen the rest of the series. Angel is with Ms. Calendar, who just swore she’d stop him from ever having a moment of happiness.

Wait, knowing what we know about how this all goes down at the end of the episode… why didn’t Ms. Calendar just cut Angel’s dick off? Would it grow back? Do vampires grow back parts that get cut off? I’m thinking not, because I’m almost certain we see a vampire get something cut off and not grow back in this series. But anyway. Geld Angel. I won’t mind.

But whatever, that throw-away line creates more tension, and is a prime example of awesome writing.

Giles has done research on The Judge, who burns the humanity out of anyone he touches. Only the truly evil are spared the fiery fate; no humans have ever survived. The good news is just beginning, because Giles goes on to explain that “no weapon forged” can kill The Judge.

Willow, Xander, and Buffy call their parents and lie about where they’re going to be for the night, so they have time to figure out how to stop Drusilla from assembling The Judge. At around 2 a.m., Giles asks Angel if he’s found out anything, but then he sees this:

sleeping buffy

and realizes he’s potentially woken his Slayer, so he motions Angel away. Angel makes a face like, “Dude is clearly in love with her,” and follows Giles to another part of the library.

Giles: “Seems Buffy needed some rest.”

Angel: “Yeah, she hasn’t been sleeping well, tossing and turning.”

You guys know that I do not buy the “father’s love” bullshit from season three, so I’m labelling Giles’s fleeting look of “WTF?!” one of those rare early season moments of truth for #2.

Angel clarifies that this is second-hand knowledge from when Buffy told him about her recent nightmares. In one of the show’s less subtle moments, we cut to Buffy having one of those very nightmares. And it is suuuuper literal; Buffy is walking through the factory, all dressed in white. We see what appears to be Ms. Calendar walking there, too, then the boxes containing The Judge, right before Drusilla cuts Angel’s throat. Buffy wakes up and yells for Angel, and he’s right there to hug her and reassure her, because that’s easy and that’s basically the level of effort he’s willing to put in here.

Wow, I can’t believe how much I loved Buffy and Angel’s relationship the first time I watched this. Now I can’t stand it. But same with Spike and Xander in season four. I shipped them brutally. Now, I’m like, “I don’t ship either of you with anyone, because you’re both horrible guys.”

Okay. The next scene, just a few seconds of it, is one of the scenes that will forever stick with me about this show. At Drusilla’s party, she dances to “Transylvanian Concubine” by Rasputina. That’s it. It adds nothing to the story. But it’s one of the first things I think of when I think of the show.

dru dancing

Spike gives Dru a box, the last piece of The Judge, AKA a big ole box full of monster head. Their minions put the boxes together and out comes The Judge, like a demonic Transformer.

Here’s a really interesting thing, and I’ve added it to our list at #21: The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing. You like how I added it to the list during this recap, so when I copy/paste into the next recap I won’t be all, “WTF, did I forget one?” That’s called character growth, friends.

Anyway, the really interesting thing is that when The Judge comes out of his satanic Voltron, Spike looks for real scared. And then The Judge tells him and Drusilla:

The Judge: “You two stink of humanity.”

Spoiler alert, later in the series, after he’s robbed of his ability to kill, Spike becomes at least somewhat more human. Then, after he acts with surprising humanity–in a bad way–in the season six episode “Seeing Red,” he repents and has his soul restored of his own free will. Spike is human as fuck, but we don’t get to see that fully until the last season of the show. I used to think this show got too much credit for foreshadowing, but then I worked on a couple television proposals myself (neither of which have seen the light of day yet, but fingers crossed) and I learned that it isn’t enough to have an idea and a single season and throw it out there. These shows are actually plotted like five seasons in advance. So, at the end of season five, you see Spike’s character arc, which would have been written into the following seasons when he returned as a series regular, and when the show moved to CW, the characters had to continue on arcs that were kind of already wrapped up when the fifth season seemed like the last.

The more you know.

Hey, now that I’ve been thinking about “Seeing Red,” why doesn’t The Judge love humanity? It’s one of the most violent states of consciousness.

They decide to test out The Judge on Vampire Radar O’Reilly, and The Judge explains that he has to be physically touching someone to actually melt the humanity out of them. When he’s at full power, he’ll be able to just point and shoot. Anyway, he touches Radar and burns him up using the latest in Photoshop technology, and Drusilla jumps up and down like a delighted child. So long, Radar.

Back at the library, Buffy tells Giles about her prophetic dream and says she knows where Spike and Drusilla are. She and Angel go out to find them, leaving the rest of the gang to try and figure out where the pieces of The Judge are coming from. They’re all hoping to stop him from being assembled. Toooooo late.

Buffy and Angel stroll right into Dru’s birthday party like they have an invite, only to see The Judge wandering around. He spots them, and everyone is alerted to their presence. They’re captured, and Spike totally thwarts every attempt Angel makes at being heroic and noble:

Angel: “Leave her alone!”

Spike: “Yeah, that’ll work. Now say ‘pretty please.'”

and

Angel: “Take me!

Buffy: “No!”

Angel: “Take me instead of her.”

Spike: “Uh, you’re not clear on the concept, pal. There is no ‘instead.’ Just first and second.”

Spike and Drusilla are going to let The Judge kill Buffy and Angel, but just as The Judge reaches for her, Buffy does a lightning fast move and kicks him in the chest, knocking him back. Angel pulls a chain thingy and drops a whole bunch of televisions on him–what the hell did they make in the factory, anyway? Music videos?–and they break a hole into the floor. Buffy and Angel escape through the hole, into the sewers, but first, #6! There is a totally ridiculous moment when, after The Judge gets knocked down, Buffy races to Angel’s side to cling to him momentarily before leading him off in a different direction.

So, let’s talk about this shit for a second. I get that she’s relieved that they escaped that danger, but they’re still in danger. Is it really the time to throw yourself into the protection of your undead boyfriend’s body? No, it’s not, and Buffy would know this. Buffy is a freaking warrior.

But anyway, they dash through the sewers and escape into the pouring rain. In order to get off the streets and into the sheets, the script sends them to the first logical hideout, Angel’s weird subterranean apartment. Angel gives Buffy some dry clothes and stands literally two feet from her with his back turned while she changes. Because there’s no place else in the apartment he can go? Buffy got cut during the fight or the flight, and Angel asks to see it.

I would be like, no. You’re a vampire. I am not going to show you the convenient access point to my delicious blood. And how dare you ask, by the way.

So, then Buffy is all freaked out about Angel almost dying, which in hindsight wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the dreams made it out to be. He was basically going to die the same way Buffy was going to die, so they were in parallel danger the whole time. All of this leads to Angel telling Buffy that he loves her, and they start making out and fall gently out of frame.

Cut to later, as seventeen year old Buffy and her boyfriend with a 200+ year age gap sleep in the glow of their statutory bliss. Lightning flashes. Angel bolts from the bed. He runs dramatically outside, screaming, “BUFFY!” and collapses in a pile of rain-soaked trash.

TO BE CONTINUED…

I think this episode, and this story arc, is where the show really finds its feet. While I love the first season and the beginning of this season, Surprise feels like the beginning of a new season, a season 2.5, in which series assumes the conventions and format that we all love.

So… I heart this episode. A lot.

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The cover for Nightmare Born shows the silhouette of two teens facing each other, holding hands in front of a night sky. There's a scary dracula-looking castle on a hill in the background and a full moon in the clouds. The title and two logos for the Google Play and Apple App store show beneath my name.

60 Comments

  1. Maitri
    Maitri

    Pics missing?

    November 24, 2014
    |Reply
  2. The pictures aren’t showing up. 🙁

    November 24, 2014
    |Reply
    • Also, Oz is my absolute favorite character and I love the exchanges between him and Willow, especially early on. They have a great little convo in the next episode, too. 🙂

      November 24, 2014
      |Reply
  3. Anni
    Anni

    Oh my god, I feel the exact same way about that scene of Drusilla dancing! Most of those moments that are burned in my brain are from the last half of this season. I agree with you that this is where the show really finds its footing.

    November 24, 2014
    |Reply
  4. Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
    Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

    I’m so surprised you did not know of the Romani/Travellers/”Gypsies.” They have been stereotyped, but they did, at least in pre-WWII Europe, live in “tribal” organizations. I know this because my dad, who served, dated/listened a lot because she needed it, a girl who was the only survivor of her “tribe,” as “Gypsies”/Romani were among the groups of people gathered up and sent to concentration camps and systematically murdered. So, yes, they were, and are, real, they have long and interesting histories, and they were on the slate to be genocided.

    And I realize that mental illness is problematic in protrayals in film/media, but hell, Dru is probably the most terrifying vamp ever to enter Sunny-D. How I love the way she talks to her dolls….

    November 24, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jemmy
      Jemmy

      Yeah I’m surprised people don’t know that the Romani are a real people. Maybe it is the books I read as a child but I’ve always known they were real.

      November 25, 2014
      |Reply
      • I always knew they were real, too. Victor Hugo does an excellent job portraying them in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

        November 25, 2014
        |Reply
  5. Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
    Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

    This is one of my fave eps, my absolute fave being “Passion,” because…well.

    November 24, 2014
    |Reply
  6. TayciBear
    TayciBear

    Not knowing about Romani’s is like super common. I just found out like 2 years ago and so many people still say “gyped.” Hell people still say “jew them down.”

    November 24, 2014
    |Reply
  7. Cherry
    Cherry

    Michael Keaton really is the best Batman.

    November 25, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jemmy
      Jemmy

      Yes, he absolutely is.

      November 25, 2014
      |Reply
      • Elyte
        Elyte

        False. Adam West forever.

        November 25, 2014
        |Reply
        • I’m sorry, but I thought Michael Keaton was the worst Batman. Hated every second of him as Batman.

          But I just can’t stand Michael Keaton in general. Not sure why.

          August 11, 2015
          |Reply
  8. Jemmy
    Jemmy

    This will probably come out badly, but I don’t see how Dru is stigmatised by her mental illness. She’s extremely deadly and dangerous, while also being mentally damaged by what Angel did to her. I’m not trying to troll etc, and I have family with mental illness so I don’t like the idea of mental illness being considered a bad thing. I’m just not sure how Dru is stigmatised in the show. Spike tends to take her visions seriously and is willing to act on them.

    Oz and Willow are adorable. I think the ‘That explains a lot’ comment was the first time someone outside the Scoobies actually acknowledged there is something odd going on in Sunnydale. His phonecall in ‘Phases’ about his cousin Geordie is also great I think.

    November 25, 2014
    |Reply
    • Lindsay
      Lindsay

      I don’t think Jenny’s point is so much that Dru is stigmatized or looked down upon because of her mental illness. I think it’s more that mental illness is stigmatized because of the way Dru’s character is written.

      I think in today’s society it is very very difficult for a lot of people to face the possibility that they may suffer from a mental illness. I think a lot of that has to do with the way mental illness is portrayed in the media. Like, everything Dru does is like, “oh, that’s Dru, she’s just crazypants,” without ever actually examining how mental health is a very real problem for many people, and it’s not something to just be dismissive about.

      I think if a show/book/movie/whatever is going to write a character with mental illness, it should be done in a way where the mental illness is examined, studied, and written in a way that adds to a character’s depth, not just thrown in to make a character even creepier and weirder than others. Like, what mental illness does Dru even have? I don’t think anyone knows, it’s certainly never discussed, and when I watch the show it is not evident at all. Her symptoms align with a cultural view of generic “crazypants” rather than any mental illness I can think of off the top of my head.

      November 25, 2014
      |Reply
      • Jemmy
        Jemmy

        That’s the thing, I don’t see Dru as suffering from a mental illness as such. I see her as someone who has been badly damaged but isn’t mentally ill in the way you mean.

        I agree that if a character is going to be clearly defined as mentally ill it should be accurate and not used as some kind of short hand for weird etc. That mentally ill people should be seen as functional normal people who happen to have an illness, much like a diabetic.

        I guess i don’t view Dru so much as mentally ill like my family members and more utterly broken by her pre vamp experiences.

        November 25, 2014
        |Reply
        • Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
          Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

          Absolutely. The meticulous destruction of everything she loved by Angel caused some sort of complete breakdown in Dru. That, the demon inside her, and her clairvoyance, make her into the lovable “crazy as hell” vamp we have grown to love. But she’s not a mentally ill vampire. There’s no cure nor medication for Dru. Except a good staking.

          November 26, 2014
          |Reply
          • There’s no cure or medication that consistently works with bearable side-effects for depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, any of the personality disorders, autism (which may or may not be a mental illness, but is stigmatized like one), trauma disorders, or any other kind of mental illness.

            Dru is mentally ill. She doesn’t have A MENTAL ILLNESS insofar as she could be diagnosed, but that’s a fault of the writers’ internalized stigma saying ‘we don’t have to do any work here; generalized crazypants is fine’, which is part of the culturewide stigmatization of mental illness. They all get lumped together. That is not a good thing.

            Also, I think a lot of people with PTSD would disagree with the statement that “badly damaged” doesn’t count as mentally ill.

            November 30, 2014
          • Jemmy
            Jemmy

            @RunSquidling I hadn’t thought about it from the perspective that the inability to pinpoint a mental illness with Dru was due to the writers’ shoddy portrayal of a mentally ill person. You’re right, that’s not a good thing and is definitely an issue.

            PTSD is definitely a mental illness, I don’t like applying a diagnosis of that sort of thign to people/characters because I’m definitely not an expert. I was looking more for ideas on how the portrayal is bad and reinforcing stimga. I am tackling the issue of mental health issues with my kids as they are predisposed to a couple of mental illnesses and I really don’t want to reinforce the wrong messages, so I’m trying to find as many different angles on what the wrong thing is.

            Thanks for that perspective, that helped a lot 🙂

            December 1, 2014
          • @Jemmy

            Well, the portrayal is bad and reinforcing stigma by relying on tropes that make people go “Oh, this person is c-word”. At the same time, she is a very dangerous character. This reinforces the common misconception that mentally ill people are quite violent and dangerous. (Some can be violent, they need to be protected from ableism too) – Point being: you cannot fight stigma with shitty lazy portrayals of a real-world thing which people will then think of when they hear “mentally ill”)

            December 10, 2014
  9. Kristen
    Kristen

    I know this is the smallest possible thing I could take away from this recap, but that cave episode of Punky Brewster terrified me for life. It’s all coming back.

    Another awesome recap 🙂

    November 25, 2014
    |Reply
  10. Lindsay
    Lindsay

    I really love this episode too.

    *Spoilers ahead* It’s interesting, I think we see evidence of Spike’s “humanity” pretty frequently in the show. I think besides Angel (and that’s only because he has a soul), Spike is the most “human” of all the vampires. He’s jealous, he can be sulky, and to me it seems like a lot of his badassery is just an act (granted, an act that he has kept up for decades and so a large part of him now). When you think about the fact that Spike, for hundreds of years, was running with the Darla/Angelus/Drusilla crowd, it was like he was the runty sensitive kid who had to prove to the gang that he could be just as cool and bad as the rest of them. Especially since he is the youngest of all four of them, and he was a freaking poet in his human life.

    To him, violence is a way he can prove himself, not necessarily something he is personally compelled to do for the love of it the way it is for Angelus. When he’s in that wheel chair, he doesn’t seem to care so much about the fact that he is helpless because he can’t commit violence for the hell of it, it’s purely because he’s afraid of losing Drusilla, who is clearly attracted to strength.

    I have to say I really like Spike’s character. I know you mentioned that you don’t. To me there is a pretty bright line between “early seasons” Spike and “later seasons” Spike. A lot of the qualities I enjoy about Spike kind of bottom out after the fourth season and are replaced with character qualities I very much disliked.

    In any event, I really hope you keep doing these recaps. They are absolutely fantastic and I am super excited because from this point on through the end of season 3 is my favorite portion of Buffy, so I am really stoked!

    November 25, 2014
    |Reply
    • Kayla
      Kayla

      Huh, I never really connected the dots with Spike like that before, but it makes perfect sense. Especially since he was ridiculed for his poetry as a human (“They call him ‘William the Bloody’ because his poetry is so bloody awful”), he’s going to be driven to prove his new badassery to himself as well as Angelus/Dru/Darla.

      November 25, 2014
      |Reply
  11. eselle28
    eselle28

    I’ve also had the experience of going from loving Buffy and Angel’s relationship to hating it. It’s not even the 200+ year age gap. Angel’s not one of those vampires who was turned when he was 17 and who for some mysterious reason chooses to spend his days as a high school student. He’s a 26-year-old with his own apartment but seemingly no job, who dates a high school sophomore who he’s routinely dismissive of and occasionally condescending to. Even without the vampirism and the born in the 1700s bit and the terrible Angelus accent, that still sounds like a pretty bad dude.

    November 25, 2014
    |Reply
    • To be fair, in the 1700s, a 16-year-old who wasn’t married was an old maid. So to a 26-year-old in the 1700s, 16 was a grown woman.

      The supernatural part of this stuff helps me accept this more than I would if they were just two normal humans. Suspended disbelief and different rules and all of that. But I need to go watch again with Jenny’s recaps in mind and see if I still feel that way.

      November 25, 2014
      |Reply
        • I stand corrected. But at the same time, it wasn’t unheard of for a 16-year-old to be married.

          November 25, 2014
          |Reply
          • Michelle
            Michelle

            Nope, not unheard of.
            I’m at work so will ramble a bit with no other sources, sorry for that.
            If I remember correctly, young marriage was actually much more common for the nobility when marrying for power/politics/money and so forth happened all the time. Common people tended to marry a bit older once they were more settled in life.

            Off the top of my head, Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife (so about a century before this) was 26 when she married Shakespeare who was younger than her at the time.

            November 25, 2014
          • Anna
            Anna

            Michelle is correct (for some reason it won’t let me reply directly to her). If you’re looking for further reading, Diaraid MacChulloch’s “The Reformation” has an interesting chapter on marriage patterns in early modern Europe (I think it’s at the beginning of the book, but don’t quote me on that…it’s been about a year since I’ve read it).

            December 4, 2014
      • eselle28
        eselle28

        Leaving the stuff about what marriage ages actually were aside, I still find Angel pretty objectionable. 16-year-old girls in the 1700s probably were considered closer to adulthood than they are now, whatever the marriage ages were, but Buffy doesn’t live in the 1700s and at this point in the story isn’t especially mature for her age. Plus, unlike some vampires who seem caught in time warps, Angel seems pretty acclimated to modern-day California. I can buy them as a couple, but it’s hard for me to buy them as a healthy couple. But I think this is an aspect of the show that’s open for interpretation – I think there’s certainly plenty of room to find the supernatural aspects to cancel out what might be squicky if both characters were human.

        November 25, 2014
        |Reply
  12. noisyninja
    noisyninja

    First, on the whole batman thing, I am 100% with you on Michael Keaton, and I really want to see Birdman.

    Second, I always thought Spike/Buffy was way better than Buffy/Angel, especially since in this particular series, I don’t really like Boreanaz’s acting. I much prefer him in the Angel series and beyond, but he seems so hulking and stilted in Buffy. But I have a special place in my heart for Spike, and I think you’re right, he’s consistently written in a way that makes his acceptance of his soul later on way more believable.

    (spoiler alert) And I freaking love Oz/Willow. I can’t stand them breaking up later on, and I never really bought Willow’s sexuality change down the line, or even her dalliance with Xander, which I also hated because I kind of like the Xander/Cordelia dynamic too. Relationship-wise, this is kind of the sweet spot for the Scoobies. But I have to say, I hate this half of the season because the whole “Angel loses his soul if he has sex” thing has always pissed me off, and I just feel so bad for Buffy the whole time. Thank god for Oz, because he’s literally the best character for the rest of the season. And maybe the next one too.

    Wow, that ended up being longer than I expected!

    November 25, 2014
    |Reply
    • Lieke
      Lieke

      Spoiler alert!
      I love Oz and Willow too. They’re without a doubt the cutest couple on Buffy and Oz is just the most awesome guy. He is that weird thing: a cool geek. I like him way better than Tara (sweet but bland) and Kennedy (pushy and annoying).

      Did Willow really have a sexuality change? I thought she had a sexuality addition. She met Tara, fell in love with her and discovered ‘hey, I’m attracted to women too.’ I never thought it negated what Willow felt for Xander and Oz. People seem to consider Willow a lesbian, but I always thought that she was bisexual. Maybe I’m wrong.

      November 26, 2014
      |Reply
      • JennyTrout
        JennyTrout

        Oh no, the bi-erasure is strong with this series. Willow is consistently referred to as, and refers to herself as, gay. Which obviously, if someone who was a real person dated a dude and then said, “I’m a lesbian,” okay, yeah, you’re a lesbian, but Willow has the hots for Giles when he’s singing and she describes Dracula as sexy after meeting him. I don’t see why Willow couldn’t have been bisexual, aside from the fact that TV writers refuse to ID any characters as bi if they’re not evil/sexy-crazy.

        November 26, 2014
        |Reply
        • Faith is probably bi \sarcasm*

          *I like Faith

          December 10, 2014
          |Reply
        • EXACTLY!!!!! Bi-phobia. That always bothered me. There’s even a line, I don’t remember exactly when, I think Season 6, where she says, “Plus, hello, gay now” and I’m like – please. You were TOTALLY in love with Oz. And now you’re gay?

          I came out at about the same time, and I told everyone I was a lesbian – even though I’m not, I’m bi – because there was such a stigma attached to bisexuals. Even now I’m reluctant to admit to lesbians that I’m bi, because it’s often perceived as threatening or insincere. And with straight men, it’s usually just wank fodder. So I would have understood/excused it better if they’d somehow addressed that in the show.

          August 11, 2015
          |Reply
          • Lieke
            Lieke

            I once had a teacher in university who said, ‘Do bisexual people really exist?’ One girl just went, ‘Uhm, I exist. And I’m bisexual.’ At the time I was weirded out because she had created a super awkward moment by outing herself (and I was at the age where awkward moment were mortifying). Now, though, I realise how cool and brave that was of her. I never in a million years would have had the courage to be that open and defiant about my sexuality.

            (Another time I was one of the few people who had to speak up about muslims not being some sort of primitive people. You know, with ‘their’ bombings and whatnot. It was a really weird class. Strangely un-enlightened.)

            August 13, 2015
  13. I guess Im risking being crucified right now but has any of you had actually any interaction with a gypsy/Romani? Because we have a lot of them and Ive personally had some not really pleasant experiences.
    The way they are portrait on the show is pretty much how they actually lived in the past (minus the magic I guess) and the show romanticized them greatly as they are not really evil people (considering what Angel was capable of, I understand them a lot) but right now they are a very big problem – antisocial behavior and crime is very high in the places they live.
    Im not sure if I understand you, Jenny . What racism do you see in the show? Because to me they are portrait quite positively.

    November 26, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’m clearly not the expert here, but I would venture to guess that anti-social ways of living probably come from bring actively rejected by society.

      The racism I’m talking about is the depiction of the magic/mysticism/curses.

      November 26, 2014
      |Reply
      • Exactly! When you’ve been the target of persecution for centuries, persecution that continues today though in a less overt way, it has consequences. Particularly poverty and fear of outsiders (you see this in many minority communities, it’s not specific to Romani). Poverty in particular is the biggest predictor of crime out there because desperate people do what they have to in order to survive.

        November 26, 2014
        |Reply
      • Lindsay
        Lindsay

        Well. I am not going to implicate this across all Romani, because obviously all ethnicites/groups of people have variations and are not a “uniform” people. But in many Romani groups, and an arcing trend in Romani culture. Everyone who isn’t Romani is considered “unclean” and are called Gadje/Gadjo, and a lot of people that are Romani think it’s perfectly ok to exploit/steal from Gadje because they are lesser.

        So, I am not willing to say that Romani behavior is purely because everyone else is always terrible to them for no reason. It is unfortunately one of those chicken or the egg situations – did the Romani reputation/behaviors develop because of their cultural beliefs about non-Romani, or did outsiders treating them poorly lead to them acting in this manner?

        I also am not the resident expert, and I don’t know how much this cultural belief is actually prevalent, or how long it has been part of their history. But it is definitely pretty well documented.

        November 26, 2014
        |Reply
        • …and? They are still a minority and as such always at a disadvantage when faced with the majority. This sounds a lot like the concept of “reverse racism” to me. A person may say they hate white people. Will that cause any trouble for me as a white person? Certainly not.

          And no, I do not think it’s hard to figure out what came first. If people are mistreated on an institutional level (and it’s really bad in several European countries), they will use the means they can get. “Oh, but they called outsiders names” is nothing compared to institutionalized discrimination.

          December 10, 2014
          |Reply
    • Ash
      Ash

      First off, this issue is incredibly complex and I won’t be able to do it justice here and I know that. I also know I’m a little late to the game but here is my two cents. Roma are not a problem anywhere. The problem is centuries of institutionalized racism and discrimination. Roma were, and continue to be, excluded from housing, education, and public life in general. They experience physical segregation, are streamed into special schools, have difficulty accessing healthcare, and face violent politic discourse and physical attacks against them. They are often forced onto the peripheries of cities to live in shanty towns which are constantly being deconstructed by government authorities as well as vigilante groups. Rather than being relocated, as mandated by law, the vast majority are simply turned out of their homes, which are torn down and sometimes destroyed in more violent ways, such as being burnt down. When they are relocated, it is generally to extremely poor quality housing. In Italy, forced evictions are common, sudden, and leave Roma families in dire situations. They have been left out on the streets in the middle of winter (which is illegal) and are forced to deal with losing all of their belongings with each eviction. These evictions can be instigated by either state authorities or by members of the local non-Roma community and evictions by community members can be more or less common depending on the country. This puts a huge strain on Roma families and severely disrupts the educational process for Roma students. In Hungary, for example, the segregation of Roma students into special schools represents the largest threat, often preventing Roma students from attaining a high level of education or employment, which in turn prevents them from exercising social and economic mobility and results in a widespread distrust of authority amongst the Roma. Roma in both Italy and Hungary often live physically segregated in camps and also suffer from social segregation and exclusion from schools, housing, and employment. France has now evicted well over 10,000 Roma and the situation across Europe continues to worsen for the Roma. In 2011 it was found that in Fakulteta, Sofia (part of Bulgaria’s capital city) that there was only one tap for water per 200 families. Cities in Slovakia have put up walls around towns to segregate Roma and many public officials have campaigned for the destruction of Roma settlements by declaring them waste dumps. Cluj, a large city in Romania, evicted Roma and then built a new “official” settlement for them to live in. Right next to a former chemical waste dump. This is all in the past 5 years or so, by the way, and these are by no means anomalous examples.

      I’m going to stop here but are a million and one things more I could say. Like the fact the the idea of Roma traveling from place to place in a caravan and basically being Esmerelda (from the cartoon version) is so, so wrong. It is impossible to say how many Roma would choose a nomadic lifestyle, although high numbers of Roma have become permanently settled. One of the biggest problems in determining something like this the lack of census data and underreporting by Roma – basically, many, if not most, settled Roma choose not to identify as such for fear of being targeted within their communities. A huge number of Roma are also forcibly settled.

      Below are some resources. This is a very short list. If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to point you to further resources of your choosing (news, country reports, scholarly works, data/statistics surveys, etc.)

      https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1826921 (Report by Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, following his visit to Italy from 26 to 27 May 2011)

      http://www.euc.illinois.edu/eucdw2011/documents/Sigona2005LocatingtheGypsyProblem-TheRomainItaly.pdf (Article from the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies)

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/8949325/Italian-gipsy-camp-burned-down-by-vigilantes-after-false-rape-claim.html (news)

      http://www.errc.org/article/italy-torino-municipality-shuts-off-water-supply-near-roma-camp/4183 (news)

      https://www.amnesty.org/en/articles/news/2013/09/france-record-number-forced-evictions/

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/ethnic-cleansing-the-roma-in-france/5350916 (article)

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/roma-france-camps-demolished-gypsies_n_1778357.html (article)

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/apr/08/immigration.uk (article)

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/21/world/europe/roma-discrimination/ (article)

      http://spectator.sme.sk/c/20057661/government-points-to-roma-incest.html (article)

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/roma-refugees-victims-of-systemic-discrimination-in-canada-new-report-finds-1.3018837 (article)

      http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2005.072173 (A Comparative Health Survey of the Inhabitants of Roma Settlements in Hungary, American Journal of Public Health)

      http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/157181611×605864 (Article from European Journal of Migration and Law)

      May 30, 2015
      |Reply
  14. Lieke
    Lieke

    Mmmm, Craig Ferguson…
    I like him so much. His intelligence and compassion and humour all add to his sexiness.

    November 26, 2014
    |Reply
    • Cressida
      Cressida

      This post semi-confirms for me the inspiration for Ian Pratchett.
      I am reeeeeeeally enjoying this now.

      November 29, 2014
      |Reply
  15. Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
    Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

    I can’t really envision Craig Ferguson as a vampire, though.

    November 26, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Dorkiest vampire ever.

      November 26, 2014
      |Reply
  16. Jon
    Jon

    Has the age of consent legislation in California changed since this was made?

    November 28, 2014
    |Reply
    • BitterAlmonds
      BitterAlmonds

      It hasn’t, but no matter what the age of consent in California was, Angel is still a 200+ year old man dating a 17-year-old girl. Even if it was legal it would still be wrong.

      November 29, 2014
      |Reply
      • Jon
        Jon

        Granted that vampires bring whole new layers of creepiness to teenage relationships that are not envisaged by our legislatures (mainly due to being fictional) but I thought the whole focus of the Buffy/Angel relationship was ‘wait ’til she’s legal’. Wikipedia (not the source of all truth) suggests that legal age of consent in California is 18. I am therefore slightly puzzled.

        December 6, 2014
        |Reply
  17. Taz
    Taz

    Hey, I just read through all of these in rapid succession, and I just wanted to point out that you had “smoking = evil” or something like that for a previous episode and you’ve left it off the list as you continued.

    I also wanted to say how very much I enjoy these posts, especially as someone who has ALWAYS hated Xander for his general dickishness but didn’t have such of nuanced analysis of his nice guy behavior when I was younger.

    November 29, 2014
    |Reply
  18. Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
    Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

    Good gads, I’ve been re-reading your slice-and-dicing of the 50 Shades “trilogy,” (possibly I am a sadist and a masochist to myself, but it’s so funny/amazing) and I just realized that Evil! Angel, my favorite Angel because his viciousness is deliciousness, is a better person to be around than Chedward, because at least Evil Angel isn’t pretending to love Buffy while he tortures her. Angel’s still a pretty sucky bf, even when good, though. The Mayor had it right.

    November 30, 2014
    |Reply
  19. Candy Apple
    Candy Apple

    I used to live in the UK. I was driving through the Cotswolds, came around a bend, and in the rather wide, grassy shoulder of the road, a gypsy (Romani) wagon was parked, two horses were grazing nearby, and a woman was stirring something in a cauldron hanging over a small fire.

    This was in 2003. I had the very surreal instantaneous thought that I had somehow managed to travel back in time, and nearly had an accident as I kept driving but continued to stare at the woman, my head probably twisting around backwards like an owl.

    They’re still around, still living the way they did five hundred years ago. At least, in England they are. And I think it’s important to note that they can and do call themselves “gypsies.” (Watch the UK version of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,” where they say it often.) So if this is a racist thing to do, are they being racist about themselves…?

    December 3, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jon
      Jon

      There is often a context to a word which can determine if it is offensive. Generally people are considered to be able to use whatever words they want to describe themselves (although this causes controversy – see the use of ‘slut’ in some sex-positive circles for example) while others have to be careful. As a UK person I was not aware that ‘g-word’ was seen as particularly offensive (I have heard derivatives of it used as insults) but it may be used differently in the US.

      December 6, 2014
      |Reply
    • People using a word for themself is not indicative of it’s offensivness when used by an outsider, see the n-word. That’s especially important because offensive words will often be reclaimed, i.e. purposefully used by people targeted by those words. Unless you are explicitly told you can call a person by a reclaimed term, don’t use it. Especially not, if there is a better alternative.
      I can’t speak for or against the offensiveness of the g-word in the UK, but I have read it’s considered offensive by Romani in Germany and the USA and other countries, so I’d avoid using it.

      December 10, 2014
      |Reply
  20. Anon123
    Anon123

    “Little did we all know, we could have been banging everybody if any of us had had a little self esteem.”

    Sigh. This.

    And yes, Willow and Oz are adorable.

    So, about the g-word… Story time: I definitely did know the Romani people actually existed from day 1, but nevertheless in my young adulthood I learned and taught a form of dance in which there’s a move that goes by the g-word. Not, you know, because the move has any connection to Romani culture whatsoever, but because its inventor held some stereotypes about “mysteriousness.”

    Only after leaving the dance community for a few years and coming back did I finally know enough to know that the g-word is gross. I pointed this out (somewhat more tactfully) on some forums for people who teach this form of dance, and everyone was all, “Why is [g-word] offensive? It’s totally fine, and we can’t possibly call the move anything else now!”

    Some people (usually the younger ones) were actually awesome and came up with some really great non-racist names for the move, but the whole experience just left a sour taste in my mouth. Knowing who mostly makes up this dance community, the protracted argument made me realize how awful entitled white middle-class baby-boomers can be. (And *there* is a group I will happily stereotype the shit out of, because privilege.)

    April 25, 2015
    |Reply
  21. Goldberry
    Goldberry

    I’d marry Oz, right now. All though I love, love,love him and Willow …they are by far the cutest couple ever.

    August 8, 2015
    |Reply
  22. Oh jeez, so many nostalgic feels reading this particular recap. I had a huge crush on David Boreanaz around 2000 to 2002. I vividly remember renting the Buffy VHS tape that had Surprise on it because my 11-year-old brain thought that the scene at his apartment was sooo sexy and romantic. I bet if I watched it now I’d have to give my younger self some major side eye.

    January 5, 2016
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  23. Audra
    Audra

    Did anyone else facepalm when Xander made the birthday spanking comment? I was surprised not to see it mentioned actually.

    April 12, 2016
    |Reply
    • Camden Luxford
      Camden Luxford

      I hate to necro this thread, but yes, yes, yes. And the fact that Jenny *immediately* shut that shit down only confirmed my love for her (a love tarnished, but not extinguished, by the weird racist shit that got abruptly piled onto her character).

      January 24, 2017
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