Is the fact that I’m a Buffy fan much of a surprise?
No? Well, regardless, thanks to Shannon I happen to be watching the show yet again. And since I’m in a Buffy mood right now, I figured, hey! Let’s write a short post about what my five favourite—for subjective reasons, mostly—episodes of Buffy are. I plan to talk more about the show in the future, so it’d be cool to revisit this post once I’ve done so and see if and how my opinions on the matter have changed.
(And, as a side note, this post was a bitch to categorize, since Buffy kind of fucked genre in the ass.)
So, let us begin. Here are my Top 5 Personal favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire slayer. Tell your friends! #NudesAtOneMill*
Spoilers ahead for … a pretty old, show guys. You can’t be blaming me for this one.
5. The Body
“Where’d she go?” – Dawn
My dear friend—I call her the Admiral—said that she can’t watch this episode; it’s too painful. And I completely understand why. Personally, I’m ready to watch this episode over and over. In a truly heartbreaking way, this episode is beautiful.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer uses the supernatural creatures and events around the central characters as a way of representing the trials and darker sides of real life, with these themes getting darker (which is why I tend to prefer the later seasons) as the show went on. In The Body, however, there’s no Big Bad to fight. There’s a very real, very human, death. A very real, very human, trial for our characters. In the episode we see Buffy fight one vampire, but this is happenstance.
This episode is real, and it’s human, and it’s difficult to watch. But that’s why it matters to me.
4. Band Candy
“I don’t get this. The candy’s supposed to make you all immature and stuff, but I ate a ton and I don’t feel any dif—never mind.” – Xander
See, the whole gig with this episode is confronting the teenage characters with the knowledge that, yes, all those old and boring adults around you used to be reckless and irresponsible teens, too. And, well, remember when I said this was my personal Top 5 episodes?
Putting that aside for a moment, this episode, like The Dark Age before it, did a great job of fleshing out adult characters, this time adding Joyce and Snyder to the mix as well as Giles. But Giles was still in there, and …
Giles is a father figure to Buffy. There’s not really any denying that. With her biological father so very, very absent, Giles is the one who’s there for her. And, though in my case it is very much my biological dad who’s my real father (thanks, dad! Are you following my blog yet? Sorry for the nudes joke, if you are) Giles will always be a really important character to me because …
Look, he reminds me of my dad, okay? You got your outwardly awkward, nerdy sort of bloke with the tea and the glasses, but he’s also got a kind of cool past and admittedly better music taste than you could ever hope to have. Also, bet you my dad would beat the shit out of a chaos worshipper if he tried to get a demon to possess me. Bet you.
3. Once More, With Feeling
“Where do we go from here?” – Ensemble
This is the musical episode of Buffy. You know, the one in which a demon shows up and as a result everyone starts singing and dancing about their feelings. It’s pretty good. As the Buffy the Vampire Slayer wiki for this episode tells us:
Joss Whedon had wanted to create a musical episode since the first season of Buffy, but wasn’t allowed to until the show was moved to a more permissive network, UPN.
And thank shit!
At first, I wasn’t going to include this one because, despite the many comedic aspects of this show, my favourite episodes are my favourite episodes for generally serious reasons. But then I realised, you know what? This episode is serious.
In this musical episode of Buffy, think about the content of the songs.
Think about how much development is achieved in one episode because of them.
Think about how Giles’s solo, Standing, makes me cry like a little bitch every damn time because he loves her so much damn it. (Hmm … Should I call my dad? I’ll make a Twitter poll.)
I’m forever impressed by this episode and how, you know, good it is. The character development in here is just wonderful, and the songs are great. And memorable. I listen to them on Spotify every now and again when I need to be in a Buffy mood and can’t sit down for an episode, and a lot of them stand on their own. As a writer myself (*bows*), I can only imagine that doing a musical episode without launching yourself over that shark is damn near impossible.
And yet Once More, With Feeling seemed to do it. My dad called it the best episode of Buffy. I wonder if he still thinks that.
“You’re waging a war. She’s fighting it. There is a difference.” – Giles
I wasn’t expecting this one to be on the list until I was writing it. And then I remembered Buffy’s face, and … I had to.
I love Buffy because it’s relatable. Yes, it’s all demons and Big Bads, but they use those demons to tell real stories. You know how people (myself included) complain that Superman is OP? And that it takes away from his character? Well, I don’t think think people are as likely to make that complaint about Buffy. Because she’s a real girl. A real woman.
In Helpless, to mark Buffy’s eighteenth birthday, she is tested by having to fight a strong vampire with her Slayer powers having been taken from her. So much of Buffy’s identity is to do with being the Slayer, so it’s interesting to see what she thinks of herself when this identity is ripped from her—or, to take the opposite view, that it wasn’t ripped from her at all. This episode truly highlights that Buffy is just a person. But a strong person. And it wonderfully does Buffy’s job of reminding us that we can all be strong too, it’s in our actions.
And, returning to Giles, it’s in this episode that he truly marks himself as Buffy’s father figure, as he defies the Council for her sake and gets himself fired. And in the same scene utters my favourite Giles line in the show, featured above. If you didn’t believe that Giles loves Buffy, you’ll have to after this episode.
(Okay. Fine. I’m calling my dad. Happy?)
Helpless is a great episode for me, personally, as I honestly find Buffy to be one of the most relatable characters in fiction, and this episode just reminds me why. Though, interestingly, this episode is deemed by the wiki as Giles-centric. And I can see why.
“Who are the Gentlemen? They are fairy tale monsters.” – Giles, in writing
According to the DVD commentary, Wikipedia, and the Buffyverse Wiki, this episode was created in response to Joss Whedon being told a few too many times that Buffy‘s success lay in its dialogue. Now, I don’t think that’s true, and apparently, neither did Whedon. In this episode, in which the terrifying Gentleman (Whedon and I also agree that these are the scariest damn things ever to appear on Buffy) steal everyone’s voices, most of the runtime contains no dialogue.
This episode manages to capture something which is truly terrifying. The Gentleman steal your voice, and when they come to kill you, you can’t scream for help. A scream is what defeats them, too. It’s a vicious situation. And making them a dark fairy tale? Christ, you know how to get to me, Buffy.
On top of that, the design of the Gentleman is scary enough in itself, with their creepy, Joker-like smiles and the fact that they float instead of walk making them memorable creatures of nightmares. The music which accompanies their entrance (which you can find on the Once More, With Feeling soundtrack) is also very memorable.
And, well, I said this was a bit of a personal list. For me, there’s something else. I’ll let Whedon lead me in:
When people stop talking, they start communicating. Language can interfere with communication because language limits. As soon as you say something, you’ve eliminated every other possibility of what you might be talking about. We also use language to separate ourselves from other people.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m autistic. And a real autistic person, not just a moron who gets “autistic” hurled at them by an angry YouTube commentator. (Although, I do aspire to someday be both.) Because of my autism, I go through periods of being non-verbal, and there are some people I just can’t speak to, full stop. Nothing personal, and it’s not a conscious choice not to speak. I just … I can’t. More recently during these times, I’ve used basic British Sign Language to aid in my communication.
And only one person has ever responded with anything other than, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak sign language.” So, I resort to slapstick mime and writing it down like they do in Buffy.
I’m going to leave this one here.
“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live.” – Buffy Summers
*that was a joke, but you should tell your friends anyway! Look at those juicy share buttons. Look at ’em.
If you’ve got a favourite Buffy episode, you should definitely tell me which one it is. That’s what the comment section is for, right? Sorry that this post wasn’t all funny ha ha. I’ll return to the funnies soon enough, so feel free to follow to see that.