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BtVS rewatch : SEASON 1

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  • #61
    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
    Oh wow! I hadn't even thought of that! It certainly puts Xander's story line into perspective and the overwhelming pressure he felt to be a "man" by his peers. I have to think that was intentional by the writers. As you say, here's a confident, kind, smart male in a position of authority who on paper is a fantastic role model for any young man; and he's a virgin. It's a pity Xander never knew that as it may have helped him a lot.
    While it's a very appealing idea that I wish had been explored on the show, I don't think that's what the writers were thinking of when they wrote the episode. It would be awesome if we could ask Joss about it, though. I wish this episode was done in S2 or S3 when the writing is much better.
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    • #62
      Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
      Both. Unless you think Buffy usually is so helpless against a single vampire? Any way you look at it that fantasy robs Buffy of her empowerment. Whether it's making Xander stronger than her, a better fighter than her, taking the spotlight - again, literally – from her, or showing Buffy through the male gaze (the script explicitly calls for Buffy to be in a "hot dress and out of breath"), it takes the protagonist and reduces her to a damseld groupie and sex object.

      I wouldn't say the fantasy is necessarily "unhealthy" for Xander but there's fantasies he could have had that are less unattainable or, at the very least, don't require Xander to be Buffy's savior. Why not fantasize himself fighting side-by-side Buffy as equals? Or fantasize a scenario where he risks his life to save Buffy and almost gets himself killed but Buffy recongises his bravery in the face of overwhelming odds and falls in love with him? Since you're fond of comparing Xander to Buffy's "superpowered warriors full of dark seduction", what about Spike's fantasy of Buffy in Family where Spike imagines sparring with Buffy who is tough, formidable and his equal?
      Whose fantasy life proves my point more than Spike's? You cite one; how about the programming of the bit to serve up just the fetish fuel I am talking about? Can't resist your evil, powerless against you blew blah bloo. Return to sender my friend. Spike is no better than Xander in this regard, and arguably worse -- his fantasy involved a Buffy so enabled that she felt her own agency might be compromised ("Out of my Mind" hits those notes as well, with the trembling touch to her lips as her loins overcome her moral reasoning); Xander's fantasy Buffy was thoroughly, but innocently, smitten at his mad guitar skills and badassery.

      Not remotely the same thing. Xander's fantasy is undoubtedly a MALE fantasy. For all your disdain of B/A and B/S, Angel and Spike are shown through the female gaze and are predominately FEMALE fantasies (obviously there'll be exceptions). It should be obvious which is more appropriate for a feminist show. Angel takes off his jacket and reveals his buff arms for the titillation of Buffy (and the female audience). Xander's fantasy has Buffy sexed up and out of breath for, well, him, because she's being shown through the male gaze. Entirely appropriate for the context of the scene and what this episode is exploring but not something any feminist text is going to be doing all that often.
      Salmon is salmon, doesn't matter whose hook it's on. Or put another way, do you know what the difference between a sandwich looked at through the Male Gaze or the Female Gaze is? Nuthin', the sandwich is exactly what it is. The subject matter of these fantasies is what it is. Hence there's the hidden switch. And I am fine with the hidden switch, but shouldn't come down on Xander for flipping it in his own mind for his own benefit from time to time -- and he does, after all, Joss describes him as turned on by Buffy's strength and identity. If his subconscious wants it both ways, that just means he is qualified to write for the show, or to watch it

      Max, Joss spoke of that sort of thing on the premiere commentary, that idea of chasing confidence, assertiveness, and sexual awakening, that it isn't easy to find and everyone is looking for it at that age. In fact, it might be the first thing on the series that is explicitly called out for vampirism to be a metaphor to, when describing Vamp!Jesse interacting with Cordy, that "Jesse had to die to get it".

      EDIT: on the subject of Dr. Gregory, I think his strength as a teacher was his matter-of-fact expectations. Didn't seem like a man prone to idle praise or inclined to worry first and foremost about a student's self-esteem. He seemed like a great possible mentor.

      I also don't know that he was raped/murdered, at face value killing him seemed to be for the purpose of access to the strong young bucks of Sunnydale. There could be another rationale for there to be a separate egg clutch. Not enough to say, IMO.
      Last edited by KingofCretins; 23-03-14, 06:40 PM.
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      • #63
        I should say, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with Xander's fantasy in and of itself. He is pushing Buffy down to push himself up, but it is a fantasy, and it's hard for him to know how to define his awesome without thinking in those terms at that point. I think the place where the fantasy becomes a little dangerous is what we see later in the episode. Miss French's affections lead to Xander imagining that guitar strum again -- he goes to her house hoping to get laid because he is kind of chasing the possibility of making some measure of that fantasy come true in real life. And that, in this episode, blinds him to the very real danger that that represents.

        As you say, King, it is normal to search for "confidence, assertiveness, and sexual awakening." Indulging in a fantasy to imagine getting it isn't such a bad thing. I think Xander is also letting his fantasies blind him to reality. I don't think Xander should reasonably anticipate that his hot teacher is a monster who is going to kill him, or anything, but there is something funky about the situation he's getting himself into. I think that's the episode's argument -- not that fantasies are bad, but that you shouldn't let the pursuit of acting out those fantasies blind you to reality.

        For what it's worth, a friend of mine is showing me Batman: The Animated Series, which I didn't watch growing up, for the first time, and yesterday we just passed the episode Batgirl Returns, which quite similarly opens with a fantasy sequence in which Batman is facing off against the Penguin, the Joker and Two-Face, is losing, and Batgirl swoops in, saves Batman, and then makes out with him before Barbara Gordon (i.e. Batgirl) wakes up, bored and a little annoyed, surrounded by books she's studying. Interestingly, the episode similarly ends up having Batgirl getting herself into big trouble because she is in over her head in the hero game, mostly leading to her trusting Catwoman when she shouldn't...but she still ends up saving the day, even if making out with Batman is out of the question (for one thing, because Bruce Wayne was in Europe during the episode). (The episodes do seem subtly to be pushing the Robin/Batgirl 'ship, though.) It's another episode in which chasing a hero-adult-awesomeness fantasy can get you into trouble, but also suggests, as I think BtVS ultimately does, that there is something valuable in those fantasies and in the desire to be the totally awesome hero figure. It is a little sad that Batgirl can only be the hero when Batman's on another continent, but that's kind of the default; these shows have only one central hero.

        I think that Xander's wanting to be the kind of guy Buffy could fall in love with actually is based in part on something really positive and noble. He wants to be an adult, confident, suave, heroic, and good. He wants to do good things for other people and to not feel so powerless in his own life. Those are all good things, and it's good to want those things. The mistake I think Xander makes at this stage of the story is that the only way to self-actualize is by winning the (romantic) love of the hot blonde goddess who has just entered his life, and the only way to win her love is by out-Buffying Buffy, heroically sweeping the heroine off her feet by being a bigger hero. He was attracted to Buffy from the first moment he met her, before he knew she was a hero, but he finds her heroism a turn-on, so it's not that he wants her not to be a hero; he just wants to be even better than Buffy at Buffy's game. The thing is, eventually he will "earn" Buffy's love, in a platonic way, and he will become an adult, and will be brave and confident. He just will never out-hero Buffy, never be better at fighting monsters head-on, never make her swoon. He never does learn guitar, either. How I connect this with the show's "feminist text" is not so much that men shouldn't be heroes, as that, basically, not everyone is going to be the best at everything, and men have to be okay with women being stronger than them sometimes. Xander kind of wants to be okay with it, but he's not there yet.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
          Salmon is salmon, doesn't matter whose hook it's on. Or put another way, do you know what the difference between a sandwich looked at through the Male Gaze or the Female Gaze is? Nuthin', the sandwich is exactly what it is.
          I kinda don't think you understand what I'm referring to when I talk about the Male Gaze because, honestly, you couldn't be more wrong;

          "The Male Gaze is a term from Gaze theory that describes the tendency of works to assume a (straight) male viewpoint even when they do not have a specific narrative Point of View, and in particular the tendency of works to present female characters as subjects of implicitly male visual appreciation.

          One of the most obvious results of Male Gaze is the way a (usually male) director/cameraman's interest in women informs his shots, leading to a focus on breasts, legs, asses and other jiggly bits even when the film isn't necessarily supposed to be a T&A-fest. For example, a sex scene between a man and a woman may show more of her body than it does of his, or focus more on her reactions than his (see Right Through His Pants). Alternatively, it could appear in shows that aren't overtly sexual - for example, scenes of bikini-clad female characters talking that emphasize their bodies rather than showing just their heads."


          Your 'a sandwich is a sandwich' analogy makes no sense. That scene would have played out totally different and looked totally different had it been from a female's perspective. For a start, Buffy mostly likely wouldn't have been wearing a "sexy" dress, asked for specifically in the script, and there only to arouse Xander. Just like we both know Angel and Spike aren't often walking around shirtless for your benefit. The male gaze/female gaze can change almost everything about a scene. There'd have been no emphasis on Buffy's breathlessness or her cleavage had that scene been designed to titillate female viewers or shown through the perspective of a (straight) female character.

          Local Max does a great job articulating why it's not necessarily bad for Xander to have these fantasies but why it's still problematic that, at this stage of the story, he still wants to beat Buffy at her own game. And given the context of the scene I'm fully on board with the show adopting the male gaze for this fantasy but had it done it all the time it would undermine the message of the series, absolutely. There'd be nothing 'feminist' about constantly presenting Buffy in a way that's designed to cater to men whether it be dressing or shooting her in a way that's designed to entice men, or constantly showing her story through the perspective of a man.

          Originally posted by Local Maximum View Post
          I think that Xander's wanting to be the kind of guy Buffy could fall in love with actually is based in part on something really positive and noble. He wants to be an adult, confident, suave, heroic, and good. He wants to do good things for other people and to not feel so powerless in his own life. Those are all good things, and it's good to want those things. The mistake I think Xander makes at this stage of the story is that the only way to self-actualize is by winning the (romantic) love of the hot blonde goddess who has just entered his life, and the only way to win her love is by out-Buffying Buffy, heroically sweeping the heroine off her feet by being a bigger hero. He was attracted to Buffy from the first moment he met her, before he knew she was a hero, but he finds her heroism a turn-on, so it's not that he wants her not to be a hero; he just wants to be even better than Buffy at Buffy's game. The thing is, eventually he will "earn" Buffy's love, in a platonic way, and he will become an adult, and will be brave and confident. He just will never out-hero Buffy, never be better at fighting monsters head-on, never make her swoon. He never does learn guitar, either. How I connect this with the show's "feminist text" is not so much that men shouldn't be heroes, as that, basically, not everyone is going to be the best at everything, and men have to be okay with women being stronger than them sometimes. Xander kind of wants to be okay with it, but he's not there yet.
          Word. You articulated this better than I ever could.
          Last edited by vampmogs; 24-03-14, 06:34 AM.

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          • #65
            Mogs, Buffy finding a warm happy place in the arms of a big strong man is an image with independent ontological substance -- whether it is seen through the Male Gaze (I get the term, btw, but it is all a tad overblown) or the Female Gaze for what about the image appeals to them respectively, the thing is still exactly itself. And if Xander's "you hurt your hand" Buffy is irreconcilable with her empowerment, than so is Spike's (variously fantasizes and actual) "addicted to Spike in spite herself Buffy, and so is her own similar fantasy of Angel. What I am still failing to see is how Xander is taking heat for having an in-verse fantasy consistent with tropes that materialize off and on through the actual narrative for the audience to enjoy.

            Only other point about this episode is Musetta Vander, the titular teacher, played one of the sirens in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
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            • #66
              To further defend Xander (not that he needs it- no one has bashed Xander or been remotely unfair or unsympathetic to him or said anything less than intelligent about Xander's Teacher's Pet dream because this the best location for BtVS discussion on the Internet), his dream is less OTT than a holistic view of the series would suggest.

              On rewatch after seeing Buffy fight entire cadres of vampires and demons at a time, it's ridiculous that Xander dreamed Buffy having so much trouble with just one vampire. However, Xander's is verrrrry early into his monster-fighting career and he doesn't have superpowers. He just envisions *himself* fighting one vampire at a time. He's not used to seeing Buffy fight against multiple vamps at a time. From what I remember, the vamps came at Buffy one at a time in The Harvest. One vampire looks plenty fearsome to Xander right now. Xander isn't Andrew-levels of delusional where he dreams of himself perfectly and suavely confronting Darth Rosenberg to the point that Willow had to compliment his spell-casting even though it's multiple orders of magnitude away from Andrew's ability and real-time behavior and it's a total deviation from Dark Willow's strength and attitude. Xander will fantasize- but he needs *some* reality to get lost in the fantasy.

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              • #67
                Convenient, the way they always just come in one at a time. One vs. Many trope But your point is well-taken; Xander's fantasy is ultimately about Xander, not Buffy. Same as the guitar thing; he has no particular reason to think that would impress Buffy (well, other than the base rate), so it is probably just something either be personally fantasizes, or thinks would make him cooler in general. It's why I circle back to it being a healthy fantasy for a guy his age.
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                • #68
                  I do think Xander's swing to the stereotype 'strong male rescues awed female' is bound up in many things. His own personal desires of how he would like to be, his desires of how he would like to be seen, how he thinks society judges what he is now and contrastingly how he thinks his fantasy him/her would be viewed. It does take power away from Buffy for the fantasy to work but that isn't what the fantasy is about. In actuality Xander wouldn't wish for Buffy to be like this because she would cease to be many things that he wants and admires. But in reality Xander would wish to be a competent/dashing demon hunter that Buffy looked favourably upon. That is the fantasy. The reason Buffy gets altered for it to work is all those points on stereotypes/perceptions that project onto the him of it and the point that Xander has limited reference on what would be an impressive display of slayage is a fair one too. So if he would be impressed by himself fighting off one vamp, Buffy, consequently, has to fail to do even that much. There is also a point that Xander doesn't actually know Buffy that well yet so he doesn't have different references of what things Buffy might like in her ideal man to draw on and 'become' himself.

                  - - - Updated - - -

                  1.05 Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

                  So stepping out of Teacher’s Pet and the MOTW, we are back into the world of vampires, the threat of The Master, prophecies and slaying. We are of course looking at Buffy and her slayer/normal girl desires and balance, her attempts to lead a ‘normal’ life, and generally not killing a boy on the first date is good advice! But we are keeping alongside this the notions of fantasies, who we are, who we want to be and the truth being camouflaged.

                  Odd bits and bobs. Firstly, a quick comics-related aside… Giles' recent S10 display of magical abilities looks immensely ridiculous against his behaviour in episodes like this. Anyway… I really like Buffy’s “I kill ‘em, you fence their stuff”. Although it does beg the question why the ring didn’t dust so I will have to assume it was a poor fit and was dropped. Not missing a beat on saying Emily Dickinson is good also after getting the name wrong had great delivery to it. I have to say that, unless it is a cultural thing I’m missing, I find the well known Cordelia line of ‘hello salty goodness’ to be a surprisingly lewd phrase with only one possible meaning. So if anyone knows a ‘not-very’ crude explanation, I’m all ears. I was also amused that Buffy’s and Angel’s eyes flicked to each other just after she says ‘bite me’.

                  Having both the patriarchal leaders reading from their tomes was interesting. The comparison really emphasised that as much as he is still looking to tradition/process/hierarchy Giles is starting to flex a little in working out his dynamic with Buffy, going from observing patrol to doing the legwork. The Master is stuck in his role, literally trapped from his past. His repeat that what is written will come to pass is of course a seemingly rigid point of view we come back to when the later prophecy is examined and see such a lot is actually a matter of interpretation. So we see the Master ruling his brethren with threats whilst Giles is starting to turn more towards mutual supportive respect. He is still very much trying to instruct Buffy – “plunge, and move on”, ha – but he is starting to try and give some flexibility. He will relent to a date rather than continue to threaten that she isn’t going to get off that easily and his view on the importance/strength of the lead weakens with his resolve.

                  The hidden identity of the anointed one, the unpredictable victim becoming the warrior that The Master is waiting for and not the more obvious vessel is of course revealed at the end. Colin feels a character that never really was for me. I don’t remember them ever having him in gameface, which, although it fits the innocence sham and the camouflage of the child’s form, it feels a bit of a cop out to never do it at all. The killing/siring of a child is almost hidden from the viewer, a little more courage somewhere/somehow wouldn’t have gone amiss I think.

                  I have an issue with both Xander and Buffy in the date preparation scene. I accept that Buffy sees Xander as one of the girls and doesn’t have romantic feelings for him but she isn’t stupid, he is a teenage guy. So I don’t think it is believable that you would get changed with a male friend in your room like that without being aware that it might be tempting for them to try and sneak a peek. Particularly someone you only recently met. The fact that Xander is doing that is totally predictable, but it is still skanky of him.

                  Xander is coming more out and open with an air of possessiveness in the episode. He is now warning off potential boyfriends and trying to dissuade Buffy from attracting guys through makeup/clothing choices. But he is also contradictory. When he is just being a responsive friend he points out to Buffy she didn’t have to walk away from her first potential date. She could have approached Owen and given him a plausible reason for being late. His background presence in the Buffy/Owen second date arrangements really tickled me. I like seeing his tweetie pie watch after his ‘cool me’ fantasy of last episode and the way his initial judgement of Owen as boring isn’t the perception that Buffy has of him and he seems thrown by that. NB’s visual comedy/timing is great in that scene, I love his expression when Owen cracks his joke about the chess club drinking/fighting.

                  Cordelia is obnoxious throughout the episode and continues with her perception of who should be where and what they should be entitled to according to her social hierarchy. On this social side Owen is an interesting character because to Xander he is perceived as boring and he fits the quiet, studious image. But the nerd who is good looking and sensitive can still get attention and when the popular girl is interested in him it validates acceptability. But whilst Owen declares he isn’t interested in girls like that, who prioritise dating, that is exactly what Buffy is doing. Her bitchy comment about Cordelia’s hips being wider after fluttering earlier at Giles about whether she looked fat in her outfit were hints again of her pre-Chosen social status which of course we know she is still somewhat reluctant to let go of.

                  Buffy is wrong on this occasion to push her freedom when she does. I understand her frustration in having given up her first date for no results. I even sympathise with her for not approaching Owen when she arrives at the Bronze in her disappointment in facing Cordelia having snagged him in her absence. But, as harsh as it is, the ramifications of her avoiding her duty when there is a viable link to a serious threat are too great. Giles was trying to support Buffy when he said it was a slim lead because it did still need checking. The support that Buffy is given by Giles/Xander/Willow is really important and we see in the episode how the unit that they are becoming, how they look out for each other, strengthens them. The presence of Owen does actually serve to underline this because although he throws himself into the fray it is without caution/restraint/understanding. The fact that someone can hit Buffy’s sphere and get it wrong just shows the natural fit that is forming with our core four.

                  I found Owen’s line to Buffy about seeming like two people far too forced in the script. There didn’t really seem enough groundwork for him to think that. Buffy can seem pretty quirky I’m sure, but she doesn’t outwardly live two lives to those in school. Obviously it is relevant to Buffy’s side of the episode but it wasn’t earned I don’t think as a character observation from him but was just used to emphasise that this is how Buffy sees her life, how she feels.

                  Buffy has every right to strive to find a balance rather than to just forfeit her life for slaying. Giles says that he means for her to keep it separate even though there is a direct contradiction in the fact that Xander and Willow are accepted parts of the team and are straddling both aspects of Buffy’s life with her/Giles. The key issue is what Buffy identifies at the end in that Owen couldn’t/didn’t fit because he was seeing it as a thrilling ride and that approach would always be a liability. The desire to maintain a normal social life is called ‘problematic at best’ and is arguably not feasible in that Buffy can’t ever stop being the Slayer and just be any girl. She can have that feeling now and then but this falls into a fantasy that can’t stand the test of reality to it.

                  Aspirations, fantasies and motivations are important parts of self-expression though. They help us to form who we want to be and who we can be. As daft as they can actually be they can often play a practical and significant part in us shaping ourselves and improving ourselves. What Buffy does manage of ‘normal’ has to work within the truth of her life all around, or it will fall apart based on lies, remain fanciful rather than real. It isn’t that she can’t have an ordinary guy. As Xander says they just need to understand her life. It is tough on her no doubt, but her issue is that she just can’t ever 100% be an ordinary girl.

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                  • #69
                    I don't know how I feel about this episode. It has a lot of memorable moments but for some reason I'm pretty indifferent to it.

                    Owen is a bore. I have see people speculate on how he's basically a mash up of Buffy's three most pivotal relationships. He's got Angel's dark brooding, Spike's fondness for poetry and, well, he's an average Joe like Riley and his recklessness does have shades of Riley in Out of My Mind. But mostly he does nothing for me. I'm actually pretty surprised that Cordy shows so much interest in him as I don't get the impression he has any real social status to speak of and seems more like a loner. Competing with Cordelia does seem to bring out Buffy's more stereotypical 'catty' side which we'll see again in Homecoming -- "I guess Cordelia's hips are wider than I thought!"

                    I agree with Stoney that Buffy has every right to try and build a normal life for herself. That said, I can understand where Giles is coming from when you consider the importance of stopping the Anointed One. It's not easy because part of what makes Buffy's calling so monumentally unfair is that she didn't ask for this whatsoever but a Slayer's duties are also really important and necessary for the world, Like, world-saving, literally. So for any good person like Buffy the burden also comes with a boatload of guilt if you neglect your duties (even if it's to try and have some personal happiness in your own life and just find what everybody else is entitled to) and that can be exploited easily by people wanting to manipulate the Slayer for their own gain. To Giles' credit, he actually doesn't, and for all his arguing about why Buffy needs to put her destiny first when he sees Buffy self-flagellating he's the first to talk her out of it. A lot of other Watchers wouldn't do that but I think that's because not only does Giles identify and relate with Buffy but he also knows deep down that it's a terribly unfair burden for anybody to have. Let alone someone so young.

                    I'm starting to feel somewhat self-conscious about my thoughts on Xander because I can see why they come across as rather critical. And it doesn't help that I'll have some negative things to say about his behaviour in the next two episodes as well. I don't dislike the character by any means but I do find some of his behavior pretty bad when it comes to B/X in S1-S2 and whilst there's a lot to love about him in spite of that, in S1 so much of his story revolves around his unrequited feelings for Buffy that it's harder to ignore. I don't want to constantly be criticizing him and whilst it may not always look like it, the majority of the time I find him perfectly enjoyable to watch in these seasons. But look, I have been what Xander has been through. In high school I had unrequited feelings for a girl who I was very close with and who had very firmly put me in the 'friend zone.' I found myself in this exact same situation on numerous occasions so not only do I find it totally believable that a girl could get changed in the same room as a guy who she saw as "one of the girls", but I'm not going to criticize or blame Buffy in anyway for her, naivety, I guess, that she trusted Xander not to be a pervert. Because, honestly, that's what he's being in this scene and there's no other way to say it. When a girl doesn't want you to look then you don't look. A girl should be able to trust a dear and close friend to keep his back turned whilst she undresses. If he can't do that it's not the girl's fault it's his fault.

                    I don't know what to make of the fact that a lot of Xander's bad behavior is played off as comedy. Or that he practically gets caught red-handed trying to perv on Buffy and both girls don't call him out on it. There's moments throughout this episode when he's brave and level-headed and, look, I actually do truly feel sorry for him that he has to see Buffy interested in other guys, but he acts pretty bad here. His possessiveness of Buffy and the way he tries to sabotage her relationship with Owen isn't just crossing the line but also Xander being a pretty bad friend. He's not thinking about Buffy's happiness at all. And this is all played for laughs when really Buffy should be addressing it and confronting him about it. I guess the show's answer to his behavior is that he doesn't get the girl when a lot of other shows/teenage movies would have her eventually fall in love with him because he's 'lovable and funny and has a tweetie bird watch!' and reward his actions. But the older I get the more problematic I find Xander's behavior and the more I wish Buffy had put her foot down.

                    All that said, what I DO like about Xander in this episode is how he and Willow handle the vampire problem. It's almost as if they're taking over slayer duties for the night so Buffy can have some semblance of normality and I really appreciate that. I also think it's brave that they'd go to the cemetery alone to hunt for Giles. And I must say that whilst they're still fairly new at this they do come across as real pros during the whole thing, certainly in comparison to Owen who is all over the place.

                    This episode does contain probably one of the most iconic lines in BtVS -- "If the apocalypse comes, beep me!" Though boy does it date the series now!

                    In What's My Line II Buffy tells Kendra that her emotions/anger gives her power and this is never truer than at the end of the episode when she defeats the vampire -- "You killed my date!" Credit to Xander for stopping Willow from telling Buffy that Owen is alive. It reminds me a lot of how well he reads the situation with her in When She Was Bad.

                    I do love the Buffy/Giles scene at the end of this episode. It feels like the first time these two really bond and relate to one another. I do feel bad for Giles that he wanted a different life but was pressured into this one. I think Giles grows to love Buffy and the Scoobies dearly but I don't think he every truly feels satisfied living in Sunnydale and surrounded by people half his age which is why he'll try leaving twice (S5 & S6) when he feels his job is done. I do wish they had paralleled Buffy/Giles more going forward and expanded on he felt trapped by a role he didn't ever truly want.

                    Wow. Looking at the shooting script and I had no idea how much of this episode was re-written and changed. Owen was originally called "Chambers", Giles was originally the one to stop XANDER from telling Buffy that Owen was alive, Xander never gets caught out trying to perv on Buffy, there's entire chunks of scenes cut completely etc. There's always slight differences between the shooting scripts and what ends up on screen but this is the first script I've seen that has been altered so dramatically.
                    Last edited by vampmogs; 25-03-14, 07:52 AM.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                      I found myself in this exact same situation on numerous occasions so not only do I find it totally believable that a girl could get changed in the same room as a guy who she saw as "one of the girls", but I'm not going to criticize or blame Buffy in anyway for her, naivety, I guess, that she trusted Xander not to be a pervert. Because, honestly, that's what he's being in this scene and there's no other way to say it. When a girl doesn't want you to look then you don't look. A girl should be able to trust a dear and close friend to keep his back turned whilst she undresses. If he can't do that it's not the girl's fault it's his fault.
                      You are right, you are. It is his fault for effectively not averting his eyes but I have been in that position too, as the female. Teenage girls want to be wanted, to be desired. Even by their friends and the guys they aren't interested in at all. If you want to be admired and you believe you have something to admire then immaturity can let boundaries fuzz a little where opportunities for you to be desired and feel desirable crop up. I'm not saying this is in a seriously intentional or a manipulative way but it is more than subconscious as it seems harmless. I don't think she calls him on peeking because I don't think she is surprised. Perhaps I was just more of an attention seeking skank as a teen than Buffy is.

                      Interesting about the increased amends on the script.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                        I don't know what to make of the fact that a lot of Xander's bad behavior is played off as comedy. Or that he practically gets caught red-handed trying to perv on Buffy and both girls don't call him out on it.
                        I've yet to rewatch the episode but I wanna comment on this: the time in which these episodes were written and filmed is probably the reason for that. Back then terms like slut-shaming and Nice Guytm were not invented yet and, honestly, I believe they were not big issues at all. Even homophobia wasn't something to be ashamed about back then. So it's not shocking to see so many things that are not accepted nowadays played for comedy - Xander peeking at Buffy? It's normal teenage boy behavior and boys will be boys and it just means that he's got "normal" urges ( AKA not gay ) this is how people back then used to think.
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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                          You are right, you are. It is his fault for effectively not averting his eyes but I have been in that position too, as the female. Teenage girls want to be wanted, to be desired. Even by their friends and the guys they aren't interested in at all. If you want to be admired and you believe you have something to admire then immaturity can let boundaries fuzz a little where opportunities for you to be desired and feel desirable crop up. I'm not saying this is in a seriously intentional or a manipulative way but it is more than subconscious as it seems harmless. I don't think she calls him on peeking because I don't think she is surprised. Perhaps I was just more of an attention seeking skank as a teen than Buffy is.

                          Interesting about the increased amends on the script.
                          I just need something – anything – in the script to even hint at that, but I don't see it. Especially with Willow there who’s preoccupying Buffy as she changes. Also, and trust that I know you don’t mean it this way, but I’m really uncomfortable with what you’re reading of the scene implies. I’m sure some girls do get off on that but to hold ALL girls to that rule and to say that they basically “want it” whether they’re consciously aware of it or not is pretty victim-blamey. I’m not comfortable assigning those motives to Buffy, even on a subconscious level, because it pretty much does imply that she brought it on herself even if you hold Xander accountable for his own actions.

                          Like I said, I'm sure you don't mean it that way at all but I just think it's an unfortunate implication of you're reasoning. I'd have to have pretty good evidence in the text to even entertain ideas like that and I just don't see it at all. I'm not trying to discount your own teenage experiences but it's just enough for me to then say all girls want to be perved on subconsciously. That's not to say I don't think Buffy likes getting male attention (see for example "Earshot") but there's a world of difference between wanted attention and asking someone to turn around so they can't see you undress. And with Willow also in the room I just really, really don't get any kind of vibe like that at all.

                          Originally posted by Sosa lola View Post
                          I've yet to rewatch the episode but I wanna comment on this: the time in which these episodes were written and filmed is probably the reason for that. Back then terms like slut-shaming and Nice Guytm were not invented yet and, honestly, I believe they were not big issues at all. Even homophobia wasn't something to be ashamed about back then. So it's not shocking to see so many things that are not accepted nowadays played for comedy - Xander peeking at Buffy? It's normal teenage boy behavior and boys will be boys and it just means that he's got "normal" urges ( AKA not gay ) this is how people back then used to think.
                          I think you're probably right. The show is pretty ground-breaking but it's also becoming quite dated as well and there's a lot of things that probably wouldn't pass on television now. And just to clarify, it's not necessarily that I don't want BtVS to show these things because whether we like it or not that wouldn't be a realistic portrayal of teenage life at all. I think it's just the fact I'm getting older and (hopefully) wiser and seeing this behavior for what it is whereas before I mostly laughed it off and paid no attention to it. But I also think you're right that the series is a product of its time and that the tone of some of these scenes is a bit jarring.
                          Last edited by vampmogs; 25-03-14, 11:36 AM.

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                          • #73
                            Ooooo, no, no! I wasn't thinking about the actual looking bit when I was saying about wishing to be wanted/desired. That wasn't intended to be about him actually taking a peek, not what I meant at all. I do think that Xander is wrong, totally wrong in not respecting Buffy's privacy. Buffy/Willow seem to almost share a wry look so the tone I suppose is that she isn't offended but perhaps next time she would just secure her privacy by asking him to leave the room and not trusting him in that way again. My comments on teenage girls wanting to be desired wasn't in any way whatsoever to excuse that Xander disrespected Buffy's request to turn away. I wasn't saying any part of her wanted to be peeked at, that wasn't what I meant at all, I was really thinking about him having remained in the room. The moment it stepped into the invasion of privacy, the perving on her part, it isn't what I'm talking about. I was meaning more about the almost innocent 'sexiness' of the guy staying in the room knowing that she is just behind him changing, not anything to do with him actually sneaking a glance. So I think you are right that isn't a compatible pov with her suspecting he might try to look unless she is wanting to be looked on which I really don't think is at all the case, so my eye roll at Buffy for trusting him is pretty unfair.

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                            • #74
                              Let's not give Buffy too little credit here. She had the guy up in her room while she was going to be in intermittent states of undress. By that fact alone she was tacitly conceding that he might catch fleeting glimpses of this or that. Which is not to say that she was intentionally putting herself on display, but more to say it was a risk she was assuming comfortably enough. I imagine Brittany Snow in "Pitch Perfect" standing naked in front of Anna Kendrick in the shower ("I'm pretty confident about... all this") and think Buffy is probably at least a little bit there in that place. When she was de-ratted in front of Oz, she covered up her not-approved-for-fashion-magazing-cover bits but otherwise stood in front of him (him averting his flashlight was more a gesture of politeness, if we accept that the characters are in the scene lit as we the audience see it, he was still being given a pretty serious faceful of mostly-nude Buffy -- I think most girls instinct there would be to duck down entirely). Nor am I suggesting Buffy is at a Johanna Mason level of "doesn't give a damn", but just that... if he saw, he saw.

                              Now, that's no excuse to try to take advantage of the environment, but it does mitigate the offense a little bit. They could have asked him to wait in the hall -- not like his fashion insight was to be heeded, he literally contributed nothing to that process other than the possibility Buffy is seen all or partially naked by him.

                              My main problem with this episode is that it perpetrates an intellectual fraud with regard to what it means for Buffy to date, be it Owen or anybody else, by setting it up as this intractable danger to their lives. They must have known it, too, because they barely skip across the obviously logical flaw before moving on -- that it's different with the Scoobies, that they are careful. Well, shit, Buffy -- if knowing the trick and being careful are all it takes for your comfort level with the normals being in "your world", then solve that problem. The whole episode's design, then, is to lay out the false premise of it being too dangerous for Buffy to date as a regular girl might -- thereby at the least guaranteeing that she's doomed to a life of group-interest-incest to guys who already have peaked behind the curtain but more for the Doylist purpose of giving her a reason to be more open to dating a vampire starting in two episodes.

                              "Charmed" of all things dealt with the "two steps in our world" issue in a much more reasonable way, probably because they weren't looking for an excuse to limit the dating pool; basically any of the sisters would start up with a guy keeping him at arm's length from their world and would bring them into it if the relationship seemed serious enough. Now, with Owen specifically they raise the notion of him being an adrenaline junkie or some such, it's thinly established. But that's only a theoretical concern; on the night in question, Owen didn't do anything reckless in the context of what he he knew about the situation. He didn't step up to fight anybody that he didn't think he could take (and a teenage athlete would, incorrectly but nonetheless, probably think he could have beaten up that doompreacherbikerguy), he didn't break in to someplace he had any reason to think had any danger other than being caught by the owners or cops. We have no idea how he'd have reacted to the truth.

                              I'd have much rather, for logical coherency, had them attack the subject along the mostly-abandoned lines of preserving Buffy's secret identity, that he'd be in special danger because he'd be targeted. That, two, carries an obvious logical flaw because of the Scoobies, but at least it's one that doesn't feel like it's shoehorned in just to establish that She Can't Date Normal Guys.

                              Best moments to me are Giles and Buffy at the end talking about duty, and also Giles getting flanked by vampires ("... damn").
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                              • #75
                                King Buffy stopped what she was doing and pointedly waited for Xander to not be looking before she changed and she was very much covered in a bathrobe prior to that. As much as I do see a distinction in keeping him in the room, as I said, I still see that as quite an innocent/perceived to be harmless thing. I think it is clear that she didn't want to actually be looked at and was simply trusting him too much. Even though it seems likely to me that he would try to sneak a peek, and was certainly my first reaction, I think that maybe it just illustrates how much she doesn't see his attraction/just sees him as a friend.

                                The can't date normal guys doesn't hold up at all from the episode though, agreed. It is clear with Willow/Xander that the truth can be managed. But Buffy isn't trying to dismiss Owen from the get go when he comes to talk to her the next day about going out again, at first she is really pleased it didn't put him off. The cut off point for her is when he is making it clear it was the rush he enjoyed and he suggests going out and picking fights. I think what they were trying to show that it is a world that not everyone can fit into and that it is difficult for Buffy to have the ease of relationships that others enjoy but it doesn't rule out ordinary. But yes, I would agree, it helps to set up for accepting Angel.

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