Ozzily Yours

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Oops - I mixed up my one-word episode titles. I remain several episodes behind Adam807. D'oh!

Anyway, monumental episode remains monumental. Angel is evil, Judge is dispatched ("What's that do?"), Xander and Cordy are outed, Willow and Oz are adorable, and Giles is fatherly. It is good. All that said, a couple of notes on less-monumental items I may not have noted before:

First, while I'd remembered, of course, that it's Xander's army knowledge that allows them to steal the rocket launcher, I'd forgotten that it's actually entirely his plan - go, Xander! Perhaps you should remember this moment in a year when you're feeling like the Zeppo!

Second, I have long been amused by the fact that the movie theater featured in the Buffy/Angel fight scene has, like, half a dozen Quest for Camelot posters, and no other movie paraphernalia in sight. Quest for Camelot is a Warner Bros. joint, and Buffy aired on the WB, and I assume this meant no one had to pay for the Quest for Camelot images (esp. since they feature drawings, not pictures of actual humans), but I still find it distracting.

And last, perhaps because this was on my mind, I picked up on another copyright-related moment: when Joyce says happy birthday to Buffy, then asks, "I don't have to sing, do I?" You know, it's very rare that you hear anyone singing "Happy birthday to you" on film or television - because the song is still copyrighted (and will be until at least 2030) and producers don't want to shell out for the privilege. Bam! Inconsequential dorky trivia imparted!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Woo-hoo, I'm all caught up to Adam807! (Unless, of course, he's been watching but not posting... he's sneaky that way.)

Anyway, I don't know how he's waited so long between Surprise and Becoming. Watching Surprise is mostly just, well... boring. Namely because you know EVERYTHING that's about to come. Even the funny moments with the Judge don't start until Becoming. Surprise is all blah blah blah, dreams, blah blah blah, maturity, blah blah blah Drusilla-wants-to-end-the-world.

That said, the last minute when Angel rises out of his post-nookie bed and lunges out into the rainy night? STILL gives me goosebumps!

Bad Eggs

Observation the first: this is one of those times where I wonder if this is something that actually happens in normal public high schools: parenting an egg? Really? Can someone enlighten me?

Observation the second: this episode is not nearly as terrible as I anticipated. The cowboy vampires and the demon eggs - neither of them was as hokey as I feared. The cowboy vampires were actually kind of funny. Also, some great one-liners between Xander and Cordelia, and a lovely moment with Joyce at the very beginning which I had completely forgotten: "Don't you ever think about anything besides boys and clothes?" "...Saving the world from vampires?" Poor Joyce Summers really can't claim to have been THAT surprised, when it came down to it....


I can't believe it never occurred to me before now to consider how John Ritter's talent for physicality in his acting played so nicely into this role. Also, it's still sad that John Ritter's dead. I wonder if a guest spot on Buffy was considered a step down for him in 1997? I'm not sure what else he was doing at the time. My pop culture genius is eluding me. Either way, though, I'm not complaining, because this is a great one-off - even without John Ritter, it would still be good - the script is well-written, the pacing is good, and the payoff was, I think, legitimately surprising. "Beg to differ, little lady."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What's My Line? pt 2

Okay, the fight scene in the church - as Spike is attempting, via a ritual somehow involving Angel (although it's unclear exactly why it's going to kill him) to bring Drusilla back to health - is EPIC. Seriously awesome, with multiple fights going on, good action sequences, and a healthy dose of humor (I don't remember noticing Willow admonishing Giles to "Hold him still!" before staking what I assume was her first vamp). And the scene at the end, where Drusilla rises from the ashes , with the destroyed organ all around her, and tells Spike she'll make him strong again, like her - legitimately chilling.

So it's a shame that the very last shot of the ep, in which Dru carries Spike out of the smoldering church, is ruined by uber-cheesy CGI. Seriously, it make me giggle and forget (briefly) all of the goodness that had come before.

But so much goodness! The assassins are, frankly, AWESOME villains, and I'm so pleased that the Xander-Cordelia storyline actually starts off well (which will finally take my mind off Xander's annoying Buffy crush).

Still, though, nothing - NOTHING - compares to Oz looking at Willow and saying, "You've got the sweetest smile I've ever seen. So anyway, what I'm wondering - do you think all the other animals are mad that the monkey gets to wear pants?" That moment, right there, might be the reason for my enduring crush on Seth Green. And Alyson Hannigan.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's My Line? pt 1

Spike and Drusilla are delightfully loopy - I think I'm going to go on record as saying they might have been the best Big Bad of all the seven seasons. Not in terms of evil or anything, but for sheer entertainment value. Glory (season 5) was entertaining, but much more predictable. We'll see, maybe I'll change my mind as I keep watching, but for now, I'm picking them as my favorites.

And speaking of entertainment: "How'd you know?" "I... lurk." The first time David Boreanaz gets to be funny as Angel! Woo-hoo!

On a more thoughtful note, it occurs to me how important the introduction of Kendra is, in that it's a great reminder that Joss Whedon wasn't afraid to muck with the form. Think about it - the show opens every episode with the intonation that "Into each generation a slayer is born," implying there's only one at a time, and less than halfway into season 2, he's messing with that formula. Go, Joss! (Although, seriously, what's up with that accent?)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Which I (Irritatingly, I'm Sure) Insist on Comparing a Film to Its Source Material

I am white. Hella white. Polar bear in a snow storm white. I also undeniably come from a place of privilege. That all adds up to a whole lot of white guilt. (You know the type - I recently second-guessed my own AWESOME actor ID because the actor in question was black and I suddenly feared that I was assuming they all looked the same.)

With all that in mind, I was hesitant to read The Help back when everyone was talking about it. I mean, here I am, a privileged white woman, I wouldn't begin to say that I could approximate the African-American point of view even now, let alone in the '60s. So why did I want to read a book that tried to do just that, written by a privileged white woman, about a privileged white woman writing a book about the African-American point of view??? (Man, that's a convoluted sentence.)

But eventually, I succumbed to curiosity, and I found The Help extremely compelling. Sure, I've still got issues with the idea that this is what it took to get this story told... but I'm glad the story got told.

I was intrigued, but not surprised, when I heard about the film version. And I had definite issues with the casting (sure, I adore Allison Janney as much as anyone, and yes, Emma Stone is adorable - but the idea of Ms. Stone portraying the tall, awkward, graceless Skeeter with Ms. Janney as her former-beauty-queen-southern-belle mother? Erm, no). So I decided I had to check it out.

And I came away with renewed appreciation for Kathryn Stockett's book. Because what I vividly remember from it that the film simply did not portray was the absolute mistrust that the maids had for white people (which many of their white employers were completely unaware of), and the abject fear they felt - the understanding that, given they right (or wrong) circumstances, they could literally die for a single misstep. Which made the idea of their willingness to participate in a tell-all regarding the treatment of house staff in Jackson, MS truly an act of courage.

Tate Taylor's film was quirky, precious, comical, and occasionally included footage of both whites and blacks reacting to an offscreen act of violence perpetuated upon a national figure. There was none of the urgency that I imagine truly ignited the civil rights movement, none of the fear. It is true that Viola Davis was (as always) extraordinary, and many other performances were equally memorable (though, still... Emma Stone and Allison Janney? no). But I was disappointed by what was stripped away, and that what remained was so very very lightweight.

The Dark Age

AWWWW. Just when we get used to Giles taking care of Buffy, Buffy has to go and take care of Giles. Pretty heart-wrenching, and a good growing-up moment for her. Also, I enjoy seeing Willow come into her own (via the take-down of a sparring Xander and Cordelia), especially in light of our previous discussion about her empowering wardrobe (or lack thereof).

Seriously, though, I can't get enough of Giles-as-Ripper. AWESOME.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anthropomorphic = fine; Suicidal = not so much

In the mid-'90s, M&Ms had a commercial featuring M&M boot camp. It was old-school, hand-drawn animation, and featured the individual Ms going through their paces - obstacle courses, getting yelled at by higher-ups, etc. - before their final endeavor of leaping into the candy coating. The M&Ms were all insanely enthusiastic about passing these tests and making it through boot camp. I found this commercial incredibly disturbing.

This led many of my friends to ascribe to me a distaste for anthropomorphised food. Incorrect. I love anthropomorphised food! My college life was undeniably improved by the Happy Dancing Cupcake Man and Mr. M&M Man, among others. No, what disturbed me was that these M&Ms were going all out for what was indisputably a suicide mission. I don't know if they were promised 74 M&M virgins or what, but it was creepy and wrong.

This came to mind this evening when, as he ate his dinner, I heard Calvin singing, "It's my turn, it's my turn." I absent-mindedly asked, "Why is it your turn, buddy?" "No," he exclaimed, "HE'S saying it's HIS turn!" He pointed delightedly at the pear slice in his hand and then popped it in his mouth, beaming. Then he picked up the next pear slice, which also immediately began singing, "It's my turn!"

Some days I really do think the kid was preconfigured to mess with me.

Lie To Me

I remember, way back in 1997, the teasers for this episode promised that we would meet Buffy's very first boyfriend (of course, we learn in the actual ep that she just had a crush on Ford in 5th grade). And at the time, discussing with Adam807 how awesome it would be if it were a guest spot by Luke Perry as Pike. I share this anecdote merely to illustrate that we've ALWAYS been this way.

Anyway, even without Dylan McKay, the episode stands up. While I was prepared for the patheticness of the revelation of Ford's brain cancer, I had forgotten about the patheticness of his vampire-wanna-be cronies. Of course, they live in a world where, frankly, they probably don't really believe vampires exist - so why not imagine a world where they're immortal but friendly? And given that, why not want to be one of them?

That said, the stand-out moments are two completely different lines of dialogue: Willow's treatise on whether sore thumbs really stick out, and Giles' assertion, in response to Buffy's request, "Lie to me," that "it's all terribly easy... and everyone lives happily ever after." Writing it down couldn't possibly do it justice, but his delivery manages to be both affectionate and slightly mocking. Good stuff.


I like the fact that, while Giles continues to insist that very little supernatural activity occurs on Halloween, the seven seasons featured three Halloween-themed episodes. For my money, the haunted frat house in season 4 is a better episode (due partly to SMG's terrible old-timey acting here), but, again, I like this for what it sets up - Willow and Oz, for one; Ethan Rayne, for another ("Hello, Ripper!"), and Giles' dark past; also, Larry (though I suspect his arc was an afterthought).

On another note, the angry feminist in me can't help but harp on the fact that, when Buffy is rhapsodizing about how great it must have been to be a noblewoman, Willow replies, "I prefer being able to vote"... and Buffy, in response, does her best to convince Willow to dress like a whore. Which she eventually does. I know Joss Whedon is all about girl power, but I'm bugged by the mixed messages here, clearly.

Sure, they try to make up for it by showing us how much cooler today's Buffy is than her 18th c. incarnation (who spouts such drivel as "I'm a proper lady, I'm not meant to understand things," and "Surely some men will protect us!"). But that stuff is so heavy-handed it's just... meh.

Reptile Boy

Things I Really Enjoyed About This Episode:
  • The premise that is pretty much the same as The Skulls*, except for how it involves a GIANT SNAKE DEMON
  • The very important lesson that going to a frat party is not just a bad idea, it will get you eaten by a GIANT SNAKE DEMON
  • Xander's frat party disguise, featuring a red polo shirt and slicked-down hair
  • The way the frat house is right next to a graveyard - is everything in Sunnydale right next to a graveyard?
  • The opening pan across said graveyard which includes a tombstone that simply says "DAD" and a tiny pyramid
  • The appearance of Jordana Spiro, of My Boys** fame, as the first snake-demon-sacrifice
  • Another appearance by Danny Strong - this time referred to by name as Jonathan!
*The Skulls features one of my all-time favorite pieces of dialogue: "If it's secret and elite, it can't be good!" It is also the reason I still, and will forevermore, refer to Paul Walker as Caleb, no matter how many Fast & Furious movies he does.

**please note that I am aware that no one else watched My Boys, but it featured both awesome shots of Chicago and Jim Gaffigan, both of which make me even happier than all the items listed above.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inca Mummy Girl

First, and most importantly: woo-hoo for the first appearance of Danny Strong! Every time I wade through a schlock-tastic episode and start thinking it's about time to bail on this project, something comes along that reminds me how much goodness is yet to come - so now I'm excited for days/weeks/months from now when I watch Earshot and Superstar.

And that said... yeah, if it weren't for Danny Strong, I might almost be done here. You know, for a group of folks who spend an inordinate amount of time investigating supernatural phenomena, it really takes them an awfully long time to register that a) Ampada somehow switched gender before arriving at Buffy's for the cultural exchange and b) every time the mystical mummy seal comes up in conversation she insists that it should be destroyed. And also, how does a 500-year-dead Inca Mummy Girl speak such good English?

In other wonderings, I'm intrigued by the fact that, for Oz's first appearance, Seth Green doesn't just turn up in the guest starring list - he gets a special "and Seth Green as Oz" at the end. What kind of cred did Seth Green had that he warranted that? Don't get me wrong, I love Can't Hardly Wait as much as anybody (probably more than most, frankly), but it still struck me as a little odd. Guess the guy had a really good agent. And now he spends all his time making Robot Chicken.

School Hard

While it's not a stand-out, there's a lot to like about this episode: the intro of Spike and Drusilla, Angel's pretending to be evil as he tries to trick Spike, Armin Shimerman's always entertaining performance as Principal Snyder, the very welcome death of the Anointed One.

I think it actually marks a turning point for the series, too, as it's the first time we receive hints that folks in Sunnydale know that everything in their town isn't necessarily on the up-and-up. For starters, there's the fact that Joyce has to start acknowledging that what she perceives as Buffy's rebellious behavior is something more than that - the moment when she saves Buffy from Spike is goosebump-giving. More explicitly, though, as Snyder throws out the "gang related, PCP" story to cover up for the vampires, we realize that the town's leaders know much more than they're letting on... it's fun to watch knowing that, eventually, that will lead up to the season 3 Mayor arc.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Assembly Required

I remember that this episode was so lazy it basically ripped off Frankenstein. I'd forgotten that it's so lazy that the plot is first uncovered when Buffy stumbles into an open grave left behind by the graverobbers. Why are they so foolish as to LEAVE THE OPEN GRAVE behind? Lame.

Not much else to say. Except that Giles' first date with Jenny is pretty adorable, as she drags him to a Sunnydale High football game.

When She Was Bad

Now that I know my brother is dutifully slogging through these posts, despite his distaste for all things Buffyverse, I feel even more obligated to pick up this project again. After all, it is a younger sister's duty to aggravate her sibling, no?

Anyway, season 2 kind of opens with a whimper rather than a bang. To be sure, it fits nicely into Joss Whedon's efforts to portray things that we all go through in high school... but when one of those things is our fearless heroine taking a short foray into bitchland, it gets a little boring. Yes, all adolescent girls go through periods of nastiness, but it's still not fun to watch, especially when you know there's no way it's going to last more than an episode.

Watching this episode, I may have identified the source of my irritation with the Xander-on-Buffy crush: the fact that it is nowhere near as adorable as the Willow-on-Xander crush. Because seriously, is there anything as adorable as Alyson Hannigan? No, there is not. The ep features one of my all-time favorite moments, when Xander recreates the movie Witness by putting ice cream on Willow's nose. SO CUTE. And Willow's attempt to recreate that moment later in the Bronze? SO HEARTBREAKING.

Monday, August 01, 2011

I'll Be Back

Damn, Degrassi is good. The only thing that would make it better is the occasional vampire.

I jest, clearly. There are no vampires in Toronto. Probably werewolves, though.

Anyway, between the return of Degrassi and my work on the 34th annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival, I am obviously derelict in my watching duties and have clearly fallen well behind Adam807, who is well into season 2. I thought I'd get back into the zone this week until - as I watched the very last play on the very last day of the very last weekend of the Festival - I got word that my son had cracked his head open BUT GOOD.

The good news: no stitches! The bad news: no Buffy! I may be able to pick up a couple of episodes in the next few days, but then we are off to Chicago for 10 days (woo-hoo!). So I urge you not to wait with bated breath. All three of you.