Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | February 5, 2012

Podcast #54: The Prom

Here’s the podcast for Season 3, Episode 20 – The Prom

Buffy surprised by her award

Buffy surprised by her award

Download: The Prom

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 13th February 2012 for episode twenty one of Season Three: “Graduation Day” Part One. That’s the one where the Ascension begins to take shape.

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    The big Buffy and Faith fight scene makes for one
    of the most thrilling girl/girl fights I’ve ever seen on
    film. There is just this raw and dirty energy to it.

    The fight is well staged and contains very satisfying
    jabs at each other in between the action. These jabs
    actually have great meaning because of the construction
    of Faith’s character and Buffy’s development over the
    course of the third season.

    Buffy and Faith are just awesome together. I love the look
    on Buffy’s face when she stabbed Faith. It conveyed perfectly
    the fact that up until then she was operating purely on her
    emotions to save Angel, and had done her best to not think
    about the reality of her actions.

    Buffy is finally showing a BIG difference between her and
    Faith, she doesn’t feel like a god here like Faith does. She
    took no enjoyment or whimsical sense of righteousness in
    what she has done, once she stabs Faith. She fights demons
    and vampires and other things that go bump in the night,
    but not people, not someone she could have considered a

    I felt like Buffy was feeling sorrow, not necessarily for Faith
    but the mess, the situation, and what was coming.

    Anyone else think the same?

  2. This is such a part one of a part two that it is really hard to have an opinion.

    It’s no secret that I don’t like how Faith and the Mayor have been handled but this is the first episode that I believe they have a connection. Both actors play off each other well and I feel that there is a father/daughter relationship here. However this is the first time I have felt this and it definitely was supposed to be something we have been building to all season so it’s a problem that this is the first time I have felt something.

    I agree that Buffy and Faith especially brutal as all their fights are, but I have a problem. It’s not that I don’t think it’s realistic for Buffy to be shocked when she stabs Faith but it feels especially drawn out and Buffy should tackle Faith or make sure she doesn’t get away. When Faith is standing on that ledge, Buffy should get back up and get her, I’m just saying.

    I forgot how much I enjoy Xander and Anya together, they are great together. It may be a little out of nowhere that Anya has feelings for Xander but I find it believable and I love how she interacts with him.

    This does set up for a great finale and in my memory Graduation Day Part 2 is one of my favorite Buffy finales.

  3. The Good
    I remember feeling the same sort of nostalgia at the end of my high school senior year, which was also in ’99. It was like the entire senior class called a truce. And while the teachers weren’t quite as lax as Xander’s, both of those moments really took me back.

    Faith was adequately creepy. From week to week, I’m not sure if she’s completely crazycakes or not. She sure does like killing when the victim doesn’t fight back.

    I liked Xander’s use of military lingo to highlight his story arch in this episode. His comparison of high school to combat tours is an apt analogy for Sunnydale High. His twitchy delivery is typical of Xander and a contract to how calm and collected he is when he turns down Anya’s offer. That transition is a nice echo of his development during “The Zeppo”. Even though he is the least powerful of the Scoobies, he is the most loyal.

    Writing-wise, I like that they chose to complete Xander’s ‘B’ story plot at the end of a two-part episode. This leaves the audience with some sense of closure during a cliffhanger episode (a technique lacking in current TV shows).

    Giles’ no-look fencing with Wesley was nice, but it pales in comparison to him running the Mayor through. Kick some ass, Ripper!

    The Bad
    Camera-wise, I get that they rented a crane to get an ominous shot of the gang when the Mayor left, but it was distracting when they used it in the one-take of Giles and Xander researching.

    Two kicks in the big fight clearly missed. And why did Buffy handcuff her right arm to Faith’s left arm? If both of them are right-handed, that took away Buffy’s most powerful punch.

    The Questions
    Have we ever seen Willow’s bike before?
    Do you think Rat Amy cared that she got a front-row seat to Oz & Willow show?
    Did the Mayor set up Faith by giving her poison that could only be cured by her blood?
    Does Buffy renouncing the Council justify the test/assassination attempt in “Helpless”?

    Anya’s 1100-year misunderstanding of male motivation brings up a question. Why does it seem like only certain “evil” creatures learn over their long lifespans? Removing the “human” curiosity and capacity for personal growth is a subtle difference between us and the demon/humans hybrids, but I like it. It also explains why we see so many “ancient” demons of the week that are stupid and one-dimensional. Maybe this is just me explaining away bad writing.

    Favorite Moment
    Xander sneaking into the classroom and the tongue-lashing he receives was handled perfectly. Personally, I go for the “R”, but I’m biased.

    A Geeky Tangent
    After your last podcast, I have to take a moment to defend how the Mayor has been acting. You two, and many commenters, have cited contradictions or anomalies in the Mayor’s actions. However, I believe that his actions are congruent if you assign him a moral “alignment” (Alignment is the way that Dungeons & Dragons characterizes the morality of characters). Using the old-school 3×3 grid, I think that the Mayor is “Lawful Evil”. This means that he believes that there are right and wrong actions, but his values are skewed towards the malevolent nature of mankind. With the same breath, he claims to be a “family man”, but he has no problem ordering the assassination of an enemy. The Mayor can’t help himself from commenting on what he sees as bad habits. This is best demonstrated in “Choices” when his logic deals devastating blows to the relationship that Buffy and Angel are deluding themselves with. The Mayor’s speech points out the hypocrisy that exists in White Hats (who fight evil while they themselves are flawed with sinful nature) at the same time it plays mind games with his enemies. Two star-crossed lovers, one stone.

    I decided to examine Faith using the alignment trick to shed some light on the “Is Faith completely crazycakes?” debate. She slides down the alignment grid during the last half of Season 3. She starts off Chaotic Good, puts on a chaotic neutral face by the end of “Bad Girls”, and acts Chaotic Evil after joining with the Mayor. The problem with this is that she displays guilt periodically. This makes me wonder how much of her time with the Mayor is an act to impress her father figure or if she’s suppressing her guilt as survival mechanism. Either way, she’s bleeding out in the back of a truck, so we’ll never know. Characters on Buffy stay dead, right? 😉

  4. In response to the podcast for “The Prom”:

    1. This is the first time that I’ve remembered that I’ve commented on the last episode and, therefore, the first time I have not jumped in surprise after hearing my name. Yay!
    2. The hell hounds: I heard lots of complaints about how pathetic and non-scary they were and about how Buffy wasn’t really in any danger and how this took away from the plot. But I’ve got to say this was my favorite part about the hell hounds. It gives the impression that Buffy is a very strong slayer and is much more competent in this department than in her personal life. It also gives a nice subliminal message about how pathetic and meaningless some of our greatest struggles in life can seem. No matter how lame the monster, Buffy must put aside her life to stop it. Also, I liked that Tucker was some stupid guy who was scorned by one person and decided to make everyone else’s lives miserable because. I have known a few people like that. Just another thing about how hardships in our lives can be caused by people being stupid. This all just really speaks to me at this point in my life.
    3. As for the Angel coming back for the prom thing, I’ll leave that for someone who actually understands about things such as relationships and school dances, and actually gives a hoot either way.
    4. A great “hey now” to Cordia’s comment about Cordelia needing to eat a hamburger because her breastbone and ribs stick out. This is something I got teased about quite a bit in high school so I’m a bit sensitive about it. Some people just have weird protuberant breastbones.
    5. As to the mayor, I think his problem is that he compulsively needs order and control. He does this in many ways including the compulsive cleaning. I believe that his whole evil agenda is an attempt to gain absolute power so that he can force everyone into complying with how he believes people of a good town should act. Hence the forcing his opinion of Angel and Buffy’s relationship on them. It’s all about control. And OCD on steroids (coming from a person with OCD).
    6. Miscellaneous. I like to think that Wesley was there as Giles’ date. I don’t know why. When you said I wonder who would have been prom king and queen, my first thought was “Larry and Harmony,” and I was excited that that’s what Cordia thought too. I really do believe that driving is just a skill that Buffy will never acquire. They’ve said that she’s taken the drivers’ ed. classes and taken and failed the driving test many times over. Driving+Buffy=bad.
    7. Thanks again for an awesome podcast, and sorry for my extended ramblings. The end.

  5. Sorry, for the additional post, but I was just rewatching “The Prom” and realized Tucker called them the Sunnydale Lemmings in his death-threat email instead of the Razorbacks. At first glance this seemed like discontinuity, but then I realized it’s a reference to the common misconception that Lemmings (furry rodentish creatures) will throw themselves off the side of a cliff in mass suicide. So he was saying the the students going to prom were committing mass suicide. I thought that was pretty clever…for a kid planning an inane mass murder just because he got turned down for a date to the prom.

  6. Theres a hilarious line by Oz about him getting choked up when “We are Family” started playing in relation to the Hellhounds also being drawn to that the prom with that song. Made me really laugh with such a small joke.

  7. Unlike Cordia, I sort of liked the hellhounds, mostly *because* they’re so pointless and trivial. Like the zombie football players from The Zeppo, I got the feeling that this is just daily life on the Hellmouth for the Scoobies. Sure, every so often you get a monster with a compelling backstory who serves as a metaphor for your life as a teenager, but it stands to reason that 80% of the work is drudgery.

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