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Buffy by the Numbers - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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November 2nd, 2005


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06:36 pm - Buffy by the Numbers
Since there's no VM to write about tonight, I thought I'd post about Buffy.

So in the course of about two months last year, I went through five seasons of Buffy on DVD, finally seeing for the second time episodes I hadn't, for the most part, seen since they first aired. I took a little break and ploughed through Season Six on tape in four days (I watched a record eight episodes one day, a record I broke going through thirteen episodes of Angel S2 one Saturday). Season Seven I had seen just the previous year, and frankly, I only knew of a few stellar episodes anyway.

At the end of April, I created a list of favorite Buffy episodes according to number: favorite first episode, favorite second episode, favorite fourteenth episode, etc.

Here it is, temporal anomalies intact. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!)

3.1 "Anne" - I recently discovered there's a contingent of "Anne"-haters out there, which I don't get. First of all, this episode has tons of great lines.

Larry: If we can focus, keep discipline...and not have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna rule!

Oz: I don't know. I think we're kinda getting a rhythm down.
Xander: We're losing half the vamps.
Oz: Yeah, but...rhythmically.

Xander: You don't hide. You're bait. Go act baity.
Cordelia: What's the plan?
Xander: The vampire attacks you.
Cordelia: And then what?
Xander: The vampire kills you. We watch, we rejoice.

Buffy: Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?
(she smashes Ken's head under the gate)
Lily: Gandhi?
Buffy: Well, you know, if he was really pissed off.

Then there's just the great story of Buffy coming to terms with her identity. I think Joss did a great job with the theme, though some probably think it was too heavy handed. Also, there's this really cool bit where you see Ken approaching a person on the street before he's actually introduced as a character. And a kickass fight with a hungamunga. And a touching final Buffy/Joyce scene. What's not to like, I say.

3.2 "Dead Man's Party" - Hm, you'd think I had a thing for Season Three. Granted, this isn't a popular episode, and I'm not overly fond of a lot of the 2s. I don't mind 1.2 "The Harvest," but it's nothing to write home about. 2.2 "Some Assembly Required" is awful. Kathy grates on me way too much in 4.2 "Living Conditions." Dawn is annoying in 5.2 "Real Me," though not as horribly irritating as she would later become. And Harmony is fairly amusing. This one wins out because I'm a sucker for zombies, and I love Giles' "'Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty, it raises the dead.' Americans."

Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

4.3 "The Harsh Light of Day" - This one was pretty tough, as one could make a case for the 3 in any of the first five seasons. What really put this one over the top was the very end, with Anya, Harmony, and Buffy all walking away, alone, and I don't think it had dawned on me that their storylines in the episode had all been paralleling each other. I was all, good job, Jane!

Xander (shelving books): I'm not enjoying this.
Giles: Well, shelve them correctly and we can finish.
Xander: I don't get your crazy system.
Giles: System? It's called the alphabet.
Xander: Huh, would you look at that?

4.4 "Fear, Itself" - I think Giles in a sombrero trumps just about everything. Also, Giles with a chainsaw. Plus, Oz's God costume.

Xander (taunting the fear demon): Who's the little fear demon? Come on, who's the little fear demon?
Giles: Don't taunt the fear demon.
Xander: Why? Can he hurt me?
Giles: No, it's just...tacky.

7.5 "Selfless" - This episode is just spectacularly fantastic. It introduced us to the wonder that is Ultimate Drew (responsible for this week's great Angel episode as well ["Origin"]). Sepia-toned flashbacks in subtitled Swedish. More Olaf action. Brutal, brutal cut from Anya singing to Anya impaled on a wall. It's a shame Season Seven dropped Anya's character development from this episode, since her next character development was to get sliced in half.

Aud: The rapid reproductive rate of our rabbits has given me an idea. I can give the excess out to the townspeople, exchanging them not for goods or services, but for goodwill and the sense of accomplishment that stems from selflessly giving of yourself to others.
Olaf: Ha ha ha! Sweet Aud! Your logic is insane and happenstance, like that of a troll.

Olaf the Troll: Stop! Stop! It is Olaf!
Villager #2: The troll is doing an Olaf impersonation!
Olaf: I am Olaf!
Villager #3: Hit him with fruits and various meats!

3.6 "Band Candy" - Christ, this is like the 3s. Four classics (1.6 "The Pack," 2.6 "Halloween," and 4.6 "Wild at Heart" are runners up), and 5.6 "Family" ain't bad either. I had to go with the funniest and most entertaining one. When the adults of Sunnydale revert to their teenage psyches, it's just brilliant. Giles pulling the cigarette out of his ear, I'm just saying.

Snyder: Whoa, Summers! You drive like a spaz!

Xander: I don't get this. The candy's supposed to make you feel all immature and stuff, but I've had a ton and I don't feel any diff...nevermind.

6.7 "Once More, with Feeling" - CHRIST ON A FUCKING STICK. This was up against 1.7 "Angel," 2.7 "Lie to Me," 3.7 "Revelations," 4.7 "The Initiative," 5.7 "Fool for Love," and 7.7 "Conversations with Dead People." I like them all quite a bit for various reasons (and I'm willing to discuss said reasons with anyone who's interested), and that last one could give them a run for their money just on the Holden scenes (written by Joss) alone. But in the end, how can they hold a candle to the musical? It was ballsy to try, but it worked wonderfully. Joss used the songs to get the characters to express their emotions in ways they couldn't normally.

Demon and Henchmen: She is pretty well with fiends from hell / But lately we can tell / That she's just going through the motions / Faking it somehow
Demon: She's not even half the girl she...(looks down at wound) owww!
Buffy: Will I stay this way forever? / Sleepwalk through my life's endeavor?
Handsome Young Man: How can I repay--
Buffy: Whatever!

Buffy: Life's a song / You don't get to rehearse / And every single verse / Can make it that much worse

Spike: Life's not a song / Life isn't bliss / Life is just this / It's living

4.8 "Pangs" - 6.8 "Tabula Rasa" is a runner up, but this one's funnier and has more great lines, despite my slight annoyance at Buffy's seeming apathy towards Xander's diseased plight and Willow's odd stubbornness to defend the vengeful, murderous spirit. Jane Espenson shows up for the third time on the list, bringing the funny and raising some interesting points about Thanksgiving. Buffy's monomania about having a perfect Thanksgiving dinner is hilarious.

Anya: To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice, with pie.

Buffy: It is a sham, but it's a sham with yams. It's a yam sham.
Willow: You're not gonna jokey-ryhme your way out of this.

Willow: The coroner's office said she was missing an ear. So I'm thinking, maybe we're looking for a witch. There's some great spells that work much better with an ear in the mix.
Buffy: That's one fun little hobby you've got there, Will.
Willow: Or...or maybe an ear-harvesting demon that is, like, building another demon completely out of ears. Or...Ooh. Thought. We're just assuming someone else cut off the ear. What if it was self-inflicted, like Van Gogh?
Buffy: So, she brutally stabbed herself, dumped the body, then cut off her own ear?
Willow: No. She cut off her ear, then killed herself, then dumped the body...I'm really off my game, aren't I?

Anya: So this is Angel. He's large and glowery, isn't he?
Xander: He's evil again.
Angel: I'm not evil again. Why does everyone think that?

3.9 "The Wish" - This one was easy, with very little strong competition. A dark twist on It's a Wonderful Life, we get to see what Sunnydale would have been like had Buffy never come, and it's not very funny. You have to give props to an episode featuring a montage in which our favorite protagonists not only die, but kill each other. A true classic.

Xander: And they burst in, rescuing us, without even knocking? I mean, this is really all their fault.
Buffy: Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic.
Xander: Mine is much more advanced.

Buffy: World is what it is. We fight, we die. Wishing doesn't change that.
Giles: I have to believe in a better world.
Buffy: Go ahead. I have to live in this one.

Master: Behold the technical wonder which is about to alter the very fabric of our society. Some have argued that such an advancement goes against our nature. They claim that death is our art. I say to them...well, I don't say anything to them because I kill them.

4.10 "Hush" - Easy schmeasy. Brilliant, awesome episode. This is the silent one. Joss shows up again on the list, cause, again, he took a risky concept and knocked it out of the park. I love the way he weaved the thematics of language and communication seamlessly into the episode. There are so many little things I love about this episode, and Giles' overhead projector scene is a classic.

Giles: I have a friend who's coming to town, and I'd like us to be alone.
Anya: Oh, you mean an orgasm friend?
Giles: Yes, that's exactly the most appalling thing you could have said.

5.11 "Triangle" - While 3.11 "Gingerbread" is great and is the runner up, I don't think I'm allowed not to pick this one, seeing as it's the one from where I got my diary title and all [I have another diary titled "Insane Troll Logic"]. Many people have issues with Willow's characterization in this episode and thus hate it a lot, but I love Olaf the Troll way too much. Look, another Jane Espenson episode.

Olaf: Bar maid! Bring me stronger ale! And some plump, succulent babies to eat!

Willow: I wish Buffy was here!
(Buffy runs in.)
Buffy: I'm here!
Willow: I wish I had a million dollars!

Xander: I'm not choosing between my girlfriend and my best friend. That's insane troll logic!

Olaf: What are you fighting for, minuscule blonde one? Your friends? (He gestures to Anya and Xander.) These two? They will never last. Anyanka is very difficult to live with, and he...he is ludicrous, and far too breakable. Their love will never last.

Anya: It's possible that he's in the land of perpetual Wednesday, or the crazy melty land, or you know, the world without shrimp.
Tara: There's a world without shrimp? I'm allergic.

1.12 "Prophecy Girl" - Ha, I'm cheating! It beats out the other contenders (among them 4.12 "A New Man" and 5.12 "Checkpoint") with its extra special season finale power. It's got lots of great moments I remember. Xander's rejection by Buffy (remember, I'm Xander). The A/V room massacre. Willow's describing her reaction to Buffy. Buffy learning about the prophecy of her death. Oh! And Cordelia driving through the school to get to the library. It would have been a great end for the series if it hadn't been picked up.

Willow: How'd it go?
Xander: On a scale of one to ten...it sucked.

Xander: You were looking at my neck.
Angel: What?
Xander: You were checking out my neck, I saw that.
Angel: No, I wasn't.
Xander: Just keep your distance, pal.
Angel: I wasn't looking at your neck.
Xander: I told you to eat before we left.

Master: You're dead!
Buffy: I may be dead, but I'm still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you.
Master: You were destined to die. It was written!
Buffy: What can I say? I flunked the written.

3.13 "The Zeppo" - Believe it or not, the runner up is 6.13 "Dead Things," for the awesome Buffy/Tara scene at the end. But I agree with Jonathan in enjoying the parody of serious Buffy episodes in "The Zeppo." I don't think everyone is as terribly out-of-character as some claim, and it's very funny. And Xander's "I like the quiet" is just cool.

Buffy: Should I burn them?
Willow: I brought marshmallows. Occasionally, I'm callous and strange.

Xander: You're in a band. That's like a business-class ticket to cool with complimentary mojo after take-off. I gotta learn an instrument. Is it hard to play guitar?
Oz: Not the way I play it.

Giles: All we know is that the fate of the entire world rests on the--did you eat all the jellies?
Buffy: Did you want a jelly?
Giles: I always have a jelly. I'm always the one that says, "Let's have a jelly in the mix."
Willow: We're sorry. Buffy had three!

2.14 "Innocence" - Well, that was easy. The Angelus arc is, for some, the most powerful arc in the history of the series, and it really begins here. So many great moments. Angelus exhaling the smoke of the woman he just sucked on. Willow discovering Xander and Cordy kissing. Xander and Cordelia stealing weapons. Oz and Willow in the van. The fucking rocket launcher. And that last scene, where Buffy looks at her birthday candle and says, "I'll just let it burn" makes me tear up just thinking about it. I mean, dust. There's dust in the air.

Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
Spike: You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also, it's day.

Cordelia: Well, does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
Xander: I'm seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?
Willow: Well, we don't have cable, so we have to make our fun.

Oz: Sometimes when I'm sitting in class...You know, I'm not thinking about class, 'cause that would never happen. I think about kissing you. And it's like everything stops. It's like, it's like freeze frame. Willow kissage.

4.15 "This Year's Girl" - This one blew me the hell away on the rewatch. Faith's dreams are great, and we get to see the Mayor again. There's just something so intense about this episode. And holy motherfucking shit, that fight at the end. Faith breaks through a window, and she and Buffy tousle and tumble down the stairs, and Buffy gets slammed through a glass door, and it's all just so fucking awesome. And the "Five by five" end is one of those classic Mutant Enemy endings you remember forever.

Xander: I'd hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way of pursuing a homicidal lunatic.

Willow: She's like this cleavagey slutbomb walking around going, "Ooh. Check me out, I'm wicked cool. I'm five by five."
Tara: Five by five? Five what by five what?
Willow: See, that's the thing, no one knows!

3.16 "Doppelgängland" - I'm taking the easy way out, I know. It's impossible to choose. 2.16 "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" is a great wacky love spell episode, 4.16 "Who Are You" is a great body switch episode, and 5.16 "The Body" is an amazing episode, period. But this one has two Willows! It's immensely entertaining. Joss delivers yet again.

Willow: Old reliable? Yeah, great. There's a sexy nickname.
Buffy: Well, I didn't mean it as...
Willow: No, it's fine. I'm Old Reliable.
Xander: She just means, you know, the geyser. You're like a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.
Willow: That's Old Faithful.
Xander: Isn't that the dog that the guy had to shoot...
Willow: That's Old Yeller.
Buffy: Xander, I beg you not to help me.

Giles: She was truly the finest of all of us.
Xander: Way better than me.
Giles: Much, much better.

Xander: Will, we saw you at the Bronze. A vampire.
Willow: I'm not a vampire!
Buffy: You are. I mean, you were. Giles, planning on jumping in with an explanation any time soon?
Giles: Well, uh, something... something very strange is happening.
Xander: Can you believe the Watcher's Council let this guy go?

Angel: Buffy, I...something's happened that...Willow's dead. Hey, Willow. Wait a second.
Xander: We're right there with you, buddy.

Willow: A human? Oh, yeah? Could a human do this? Aaaaaahhhhh!
Anya: Sure, yeah. Humans do that.
Alfonse: Yeah, I think, yeah.

2.17 "Passion" / 4.17 "Superstar" - You can't make me choose! The former wins for drama, the latter for comedy. It's like the Golden Globes! "Passion" is just brilliant and heartbreaking, and "Superstar"...they made new opening credits! They changed the fucking credits! Brilliant! Hilarious episode. "Passion" taught us that Joss Whedon isn't afraid to kill a pseudomajor character, and "Superstar" taught us that you can make a shrimp joke once, and then again, and then the next season, and then a couple years later on Angel. "Passion" has...just...for fuck's sake, it's "Passion"! It belongs on this list! The runner up is 6.17 "Normal Again," and it's possible 7.17 "Lies My Parents Told Me" had a shot as well, but I'll wait for the DVDs.

Xander: Excuse me, but have you ever heard of knocking?
Jonathan: We're supposed to get some books. On Stalin.
Xander: Does this look like a Barnes & Noble?
Giles: This is a school library, Xander.
Xander: Since when?

Angel: It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we can live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead.

Buffy: I think that Jonathan may be doing something so that he's manipulating the world, and we're all, like, his pawns.
Anya: Or prawns.
Buffy: Stop with the shrimp!

Xander: Right, you can't just go "librum incendere" and expect... (book bursts into flames)
Giles: Xander, don't speak Latin in front of the books.

Xander: So we're saying he did a spell just to make us think he was cool?
Giles: Yes.
Xander: That is so cool!

5.18 "Intervention" - 4.18 "Earshot," another Jane ep, was a close runner up, but the Buffybot is hilarious. Plus, unlike "Earshot," this one contains important plot developments. And it gets special points for Sarah's brilliant acting in the final scene. Maybe it's just me, but I actually saw the layers of Sarah playing Buffy playing the Buffybot, rather than just playing the Buffybot straight.

Buffybot: You're evil.
Spike: And that excites you?
Buffybot: It excites me, it terrifies me. I try so hard to resist you and I can't.
Spike: Yeah?
Buffybot: Darn your sinister attraction!

Buffybot: Hey! You look just like me! We're very pretty.

2.19 "I Only Have Eyes for You" - There may be better options, like 6.19 "Seeing Red" or 3.19 "Choices," but I like this one cause it feels like a mini-horror movie, with the sinking into the ground and insect invasion and stuff. And the Buffy/Angel parallel stuff is very cool.

Xander: Oh, no, no. No. No cool. This was no wimpy chain rattler. This was "I'm dead as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore."
Giles: Well, despite the Xander-speak, that's a fairly accurate definition of a poltergeist.
Xander: I defined something? Accurately? (closes book) Guess I'm done with the book learning.

Giles: To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it, it's done because they need it.

3.20 "The Prom" - First, I have to mention that 5.20 "Spiral" is the runner up, because everyone hates it. I think it's a great, action-packed episode, and it would win this slot if "The Prom" weren't the only Buffy episode that's made me cry. Like, really cry. And it has nothing to do with Buffy and Angel breaking up and everything to do with everyone's selflessness. Xander buying Cordy's dress. Buffy risking her life for the sake of others. The Class Protector Award. Angel showing up to give Buffy her perfect night. It's just all so fucking beautiful.

Anya: Look, I know you find me attractive; I've seen you looking at my breasts.
Xander: Nothing personal, but when a guy does that, it just means his eyes are open.

Buffy: I'm gonna give you all a nice, fun, normal evening if I have to kill every person on the face of the Earth to do it.
Xander: Yay?

2.21 "Becoming Pt. 1" - I like Angel, so it was good to get his origin story in "Becoming," and I also like Whistler and wish we'd seen more of him (I especially love his closing monologue). Dru's killing Kendra is one of those scenes that always sticks with you, and it's one of the few times Dru's really scary. 3.21 "Graduation Day Pt. 1" is the runner up for the great Buffy/Faith fight.

Spike: It's a big rock. I can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big.

Whistler: Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

2.22 "Becoming Pt. 2" / 3.22 "Graduation Day Pt. 2" - So it's late, and I'm cheating, okay? How am I supposed to choose when my two favorite seasons come to a close? "Becoming" doesn't make me cry or anything, but it has a kickass Buffy/Angel swordfight. And "Graduation Day" has a giant melee and a really crappy CGI snake and the blowing up of Sunnydale High. Anyone who's seen these episodes can understand why they make the list. The runner up is 4.22 "Restless," cause dream episodes are cool.

Buffy: What are you, just some immortal demon sent down to even the score between good and evil?
Whistler: Wow. Good guess.

Angelus: Now that's everything, huh? No weapons. No friends. No hope. Take all that away, and what's left? (thrusting a sword in her face)
Buffy (stopping the fucking sword within an inch of her face): Me.

Cordelia: I personally don't think it's possible to come up with a crazier plan.
Oz: We attack the Mayor with humus.
Cordelia: I stand corrected.
Oz: Just keeping things in perspective.
Cordelia: Thank you.

Giles: There is a certain dramatic irony attached to all this. A synchronicity that borders on predestination, one might say.
Buffy: Fire bad. Tree pretty.

And that, my friends, is that.
Current Mood: distresseddistressed
Current Music: Ben Kingsley - The Wind and the Rain

(51 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:lonesomepioneer
Date:November 2nd, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
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There's no VM tonight?

That makes me feel better about not having UPN tonight.

Is there new Lost tonight? Um, not that I care.
[User Picture]
From:dachelle
Date:November 2nd, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
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Yay! "Selfless" love! Still my favorite Whedonverse ep ever. I was so nervous before that aired, because I was terribly afraid it would suck and I would look stupid for setting up a fanclub for Drew. But then it didn't, and here we are.
[User Picture]
From:ste_noni
Date:November 2nd, 2005 11:46 pm (UTC)
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Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are

I love this line, especially because it's said against the backdrop of Buffy rushing to Kendra's death. I think this might have been the moment that hooked me on Buffy. Of course, this line is even better once you have seen the "What's left?" "Me" stop-the-sword-with-her-bare-hands moment in Becoming Pt2. Crap, I may have to go watch S2 again.
[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:November 2nd, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
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Oh oh oh, and don't forget the huge fight between The Three at the party during Dead Man's Party - that made the episode for me.
[User Picture]
From:briasoleil
Date:November 2nd, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
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I love Oz. I really do. He had some of the best lines ever. And I cried when he left. Cried a lot.

I now want to watch seven seasons' worth of Buffy in the next few days.

The Body was perhaps one of the finest hours of tv ever made. It was perfect. Restless is my favourite Buffy ep. Though, it's so hard to choose.
[User Picture]
From:hecubot
Date:November 2nd, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Fun! Who knew episodes 3 and 7 were so consistently great?

I'd probably take "Lie to Me" or "Conversations With Dead People" over the musical. I love them both.

What do you like about "The Initiative"?

It's fun to see somebody with as much enthusiasm for the later season as the early ones.

Though your list confirms my feeling that S5 is the worst.

And I'd take "Doppelgangland" over "The Body" too.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 3rd, 2005 04:13 am (UTC)
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There's a lot of love for "Lie to Me" below.

I wrote this over a year ago, so I don't remember what I specifically liked about "The Initiative" (besides the slow-mo Harmony/Xander fight), but I do know that Doug Petrie's commentary made me like the episode a whole lot more.

I don't think that S5 is the worst so much as it doesn't have as many stand-out episodes. Like, when I was rewatching, I realized I didn't even remember most of the first half. And they were episodes that should have been fresher in my mind than the ones from the earlier seasons.
[User Picture]
From:the_partyman
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:11 am (UTC)
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Cool post!

Makes me wanna get my own dvd sets out.

[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
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Oh, P-C, I do adore you. You know, when the S1, 2 and 3 DVDs came out some friends and I had ourselves some marathons. We went straight through all three times. That's the way to do it.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:02 am (UTC)
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Yes. I have a friend who loved Anne. It's the episode that got him into the show. And when he told me that, I was surprised. But then he explained that it was the first episode he'd ever watched. For me, coming on the heels of being obsessed with the show all through Seasons 1 and 2 (when it was, in my opinion, at its best), it was definitely kind of anticlamactic. I remember thinking, "Oh-kay..." I didn't hate it though.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:violet4120
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
This is a very awesome list. It makes me want to do my own list. Too bad I SOLD MY DVDS TO WAIT FOR THE BIG BOX SET. Sigh.
[User Picture]
From:shamoogity
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:43 am (UTC)
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This was so much fun to read. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who loves "Anne" and "Dead Man's Party." And crying at "The Prom" isn't that bad when you consider that I just about started crying just reading your description of it. It's funny, your reason for liking "The Harsh Light of Day" (Anya, Buffy, and Harmony's parallel stories) is my reason for not liking it. Also, there sure are a lot of excellent sixteenth episodes. I've never noticed that.
[User Picture]
From:bdbdb
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
Awww... You made me all nostalgic for BtVS. Thanks for the excuse to walk down memory lane... Getting to watch Joss direct the musical episode was one of the hilights of my life. I met my very best friend through Buffy. I found my career path through Buffy. I 'grew up' with Buffy. Thank you!
From:babsonite
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:16 am (UTC)
(Link)
OMG, is that you with SMG?????

I am so jealous.

You get to meet all the coolest people!
[User Picture]
From:raelee
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:51 am (UTC)
(Link)
3.1 "Anne" - I recently discovered there's a contingent of "Anne"-haters out there, which I don't get.

I love you for that.

They claim that death is our art.

Hey, look at that. I've never noticed the Master saying that line before. Wonder if Joss knew he was going to use that in the future at this point or, if later, he remembered that line and liked it.
From:vandalisimo
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:00 am (UTC)
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I don't mind Anne at all now. In fact, I really love Anne now. But when it first aired? After waiting months for the follow up to BecomingII? Forget it. I was pissed. Everyone I was watching with was pissed. But, I'm cool with it now. There were just some seriously high expectations going into that one after the S2 finale. I still hate that Gandhi bit though. I think it's a real clunker.

God, I love Becoming I. I love it so much. And I watch Fear, Itself every Halloween. It's my Halloween tradition. You know what? Reading through this list? Buffy was such a fucking awesome show. It's actually kind of astounding.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 3rd, 2005 04:20 am (UTC)
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It really is, isn't it? So many episodes that are just stellar, and I had such a tough time choosing just one for some spots (and sometimes I just didn't!).

And as I replied to Strega above, I think I was a pretty casual viewer back when I first saw "Anne," so I didn't really go in with major expectations or anything like that. It's always been one of my favorites; I remember catching it on an fX rerun randomly and watching it. Some episodes just do it for you, you know? They're like security blankets; they feel so familiar.
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From:snoopypez
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:08 am (UTC)
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...

::sobs over memories::

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is my all time, number one favourite. La la.

I like/love every single episode in the first three seasons. I was the easiest fan ever to please back then. Sigh. So, yeah. I love Anne and Dead Man's Party and every thing else.
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From:jeeperstseepers
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:33 am (UTC)
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We have so many vastly differing Buffy opinions. This post makes me so sad that my love for the show was crushed and that I was left a bitter shell of what I once was.

6.7 "Once More, with Feeling" - CHRIST ON A FUCKING STICK. This was up against 1.7 "Angel," 2.7 "Lie to Me," 3.7 "Revelations," 4.7 "The Initiative," 5.7 "Fool for Love," and 7.7 "Conversations with Dead People." I like them all quite a bit for various reasons (and I'm willing to discuss said reasons with anyone who's interested), and that last one could give them a run for their money just on the Holden scenes (written by Joss) alone. But in the end, how can they hold a candle to the musical?

"Once More, with Feeling" was very well-done. I was no longer watching the show that season, but I tuned it for it. But for me, "Lie to Me" is still miles above it. That's my favorite episode of Buffy ever. Other episodes may have certain individual lines that are funnier than any one particular line in "Lie to Me," but the overall package of that episode is just...wow. It's like a punch in the stomach every time. And it's so pretty: the people, the camera work, everything. Love. It used to be on a list with a few other eps as *one* of my favorites. But I've realized that as the years have gone by and the other episodes have dimmed a little bit in my mind, that one is still just lit up really bright and the title alone makes me feel things.

3.13 "The Zeppo" - Believe it or not, the runner up is 6.13 "Dead Things," for the awesome Buffy/Tara scene at the end. But I agree with Jonathan in enjoying the parody of serious Buffy episodes in "The Zeppo." I don't think everyone is as terribly out-of-character as some claim, and it's very funny. And Xander's "I like the quiet" is just cool.

So much love for this episode. People think everyone's out-of-character? But everyone was in character--to the extreme. That was the point! The whole thing was a parody of itself. Everything was just more. More drama, more cheese, more impractical and season-inappropriate clothing, stupider hair...just more. I guess if you don't realize that, it does all seem weird and inconsistent.
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From:magnolia888
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)
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Wow, you picked "Once More, with Feeling" over "Lie to Me"?? I enjoyed OMWF a lot, but I really love "Lie to Me." And I love "Angel." That end scene at the Bronze gets me every single time.

I had forgotten how many truly wonderful episodes there are of Btvs. Thanks for this helpful reminder!

Of course, then there are the episodes about the reptilian swim team. And the mummy girl. And the bug teacher. And all the potentials. You win some, you lose some, I guess. Ignoring seasons 6-7, though, Btvs had a pretty good track record of great episodes. I could watch most of seasons 1-3 over and over again, just skipping over the swim team and frat party.

Wow, "Passions" is another good one. Maybe I'll break out the Btvs DVDs tonight because VM is a repeat.
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From:jeeperstseepers
Date:November 3rd, 2005 02:38 am (UTC)
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I could watch most of seasons 1-3 over and over again, just skipping over the swim team and frat party.
But then you'd miss Wentworth Miller as Gage Petronzi.
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From:dgriswold
Date:November 3rd, 2005 02:01 am (UTC)
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Mine:

1.1 Welcome to the Hellmouth - For the Buffy-meets-pals scenes, and Willow's cute mumblings about boys at the Bronze, if nothing else.

5.2 Real Me - I like Dawn. So there.

3.3 Faith, Hope, and Trick - Faith. Trick. Nothing more required.

4.4 Fear, Itself - you summed this up good.

4.5 Beer Bad - This is one of my favorite episodes. I really, really don't know why, as it should grate on my nerves like it does those of so many others. But it's so very, very funny.

4.6 Wild at Heart - I like the depressing episodes. This has the most depressing last 2 minutes ever, and the stuff before it is great too.

6.7 Once More, with Feeling - Duh. Musicals are my life. Lie to Me and Fool for Love are runners-up.

6.8 Tabula Rasa - I don't get the Pangs love. I mean, it's a good ep, but it doesn't do as much for me as it does for so many, I guess. Like "An Echolls Family Christmas." Tabula Rasa, on the other hand, makes me laugh until my sides hurt for 38 minutes, then makes me cry. I love that.

3.9 The Wish - again, you said it. This episode hurts me so good.

4.10 Hush - I like Hush less every time I see it, but it remains brilliant. It's now my fifth favorite episode instead of my second, but none of the top 4 are episode 10s, so it wins with ease.

3.11 Gingerbread - I actually don't like any of the 11s that much. This is the best one, but I still don't have anything especially good to say about it.

1.12 Prophecy Girl - "I may be dead, but I'm still pretty." makes this episode brilliant, but it's pretty cool even before that. I also quite like 4.11 "A New Man" for some reason.

3.13 The Zeppo - this is one of those polarizing episodes, isn't it? I love it like you do.

2.14 Innocence - the show was occasionally dark before, but it was like a high school goth. This is the episode where its darkness grew up and became a full-fledged psycho. Beautiful, beautiful episode.

4.15 This Year's Girl - I love this episode with great love.

5.16 The Body - Doppelgangland and The Body are two of my top five. Who Are You is even better than This Year's Girl. Hell's Bells hurts my romantic inclinations. Storyteller and BBB both make me giggle and giggle. For me, the 16s are the best spot, but The Body is my second-favorite episode while Doppelgangland is only fourth, so it wins the spot.

2.17 Passion - this one's hard too, but Normal Again is my runner-up. I love it. Superstar is great entertainment, and definitely in the top 30 eps or so, but not as good as these two, in my mind.

5.18 Intervention - your description is mine.

4.19 New Moon Rising - Oz, Tara, Willow pain. My favorite couples in the show join together. I don't even care that the episode itself is mostly meh.

3.20 The Prom - this episode also makes me cry. Bawl. Die of tears.

2.21 Becoming - I'm counting all of Becoming here, so that I can get away with choosing...

5.22 The Gift - It was my favorite episode for a long time, when season 5 was my baby. Now, it's probably behind Becoming as finales go, and behind lots of individual eps, but I still love it. The last second alone makes it worth the respect.
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From:dlgood
Date:November 3rd, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
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I know I've posted my own variation on this list before - and my opinions differ in some regards because I have far less whimsy than you - and am one of those cranks who thinks musicals would be better if they didn't have all that signing....

1) I know was "When She Was Bad" which is not only my favorite season opener, but also the best episode of Season 6. Even though it has a lousy villain and takes place in S2.

16) I picked Dopplegangland also, because I think it's the closest any Jossverse episode ever gets for being perfect at what it's trying to do. Lots of attention is always given to the Aly stuff, which is great, but what really impresses me is how well ME used the whole cast and even the extras like Percy.

Also - I still think the coolest scene in the entire series is in Go Fish when the big swimmer dude asks Buffy to walk him home in a teeny tiny voice.
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From:mulamster
Date:November 3rd, 2005 04:54 am (UTC)
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It's so exciting seeing you write about Buffy, and this is why: Last year, I watched the first ep of VM, and thought it was cool, but didn't start watching the show week-to-week because Tuesdays at 9 were so full. Then, in the winter, thanks to insomnia and the vagaries of late night UPN programming, I saw The Body and Innocence in a row- my very first (and still my favorite) Buffy episodes ever. And there's nothing to be done in the face of a juggernaut like that but marathon. Then, because I missed the last two minutes of a Lost episode, I learned about TWoP, where I began reading Couch Baron's recaps of Buffy episodes, which led me right back around to VM, and reading you in the forums. And here you are with your analysis and your wit focused on Buffy! Also, your soul icon is fantastic.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 3rd, 2005 04:58 am (UTC)
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Ha! Wow, that's quite a journey there. Very cool, and thank you.

The fantastic icon is by the wonderful cleapet, who made it on sistakaren's request, I believe, but it was too good not to steal for my own nefarious purposes.
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From:starfyer
Date:November 3rd, 2005 05:27 am (UTC)
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God, I miss it. I only have 2 seasons. I need to get collectin'.
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From:alliterator
Date:November 3rd, 2005 06:24 am (UTC)
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Buffy: I'm gonna give you all a nice, fun, normal evening if I have to kill every person on the face of the Earth to do it.
Xander: Yay?

This is, like, my favorite Buffy quote ever.

I would have chosen "The Body" over "Once More, With Feeling" and "Welcome to the Hellmouth" over "Anne" (even though I loved "Anne") just because of the complete and total love I have for the pilot. I mean, it was cheesy as hell and bad special effects, but it is still one of my most favorite things to watch. Cordelia saying, "Willow! Nice to know you've seen the softer side of Sears," still brings a smile to my face.
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From:ashfae
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC)
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I am showing the Chris Buffy, which means I'm watching the first three seasons myself for the first time (I've seen off and on episodes but didn't get hooked until season five, largely because I loathe Angel). But wtf, in the episode I just watched Darla gets staked, which I know can't be right because she shows up later to do neat evil things! How, what, huh? I know it'll be explained if I keep watching, but, but, impatient!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 3rd, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
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It'll be explained if you watch Angel, which is a great show if you can get past your loathing of Angel.
From:xo_willow_xo
Date:November 3rd, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
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*sigh, sigh, happy sigh*
Oh, Joss.
Oh, Jane Espenson.
I just finished watching Innocence, like, ten minutes ago, and there you go reminding me of some of the great moments, and other fantastic moments in other episodes, which means I'm going to have to go back and watch them all for the four billionth time.
*shakes fist at you*
...Oh? So you REMEMBER your other diary, do you? *angrily poking you with a stick*
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From:blixie
Date:November 3rd, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
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Aww, I *adore* Anne. While I get that it may have seemed a bit...random at the time, it didn't lessen my enjoyment of it at all. Buffy SO needed to have that experience, to really revel in being the Slayer, and own it. Aw, I love Buffy-Anne Summers.I really need to find an sickle and hammer Buffy icon.

This is such an awesome way to break down favorite Buffy eps. I'm always looking for new ways to make lists, so I will most surely be totally copying you soon.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 3rd, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
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Just for the record, it totally wasn't my idea. It was a meme last year.

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