Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | April 29, 2013

Podcast #108: Life Serial

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 5 – Life Serial

Jonathan looking impressive

Jonathan looking impressive

Download: Life Serial

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 6th May 2013 for episode six of Season Six: “All the Way.” That’s the one where Xander addresses his engagement, Tara addresses Willow and Dawn addresses something else…vague much?

Comment on this post to get your views on the podcast.

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  1. I suspect this argument will never be solved but I’m just throwing my two cents in (again).

    I’m with Robin. Buffy is a show about Good vs. Evil and that does not mean the show is not complex in any way thematically. I think the argument could be made for Angel that it is a show about moral grey areas and choices etc. but just because these two shows exist in the same universe does not mean that they share a central theme. Technically the “cow argument” is right no one group thinks they are the bad guy (though honestly I’m pretty sure vampires have described themselves as evil).

    However the fact is that this is a show for humans so human rules apply and I understand that the soul thing has expanded on but it’s still true. While humans can be “good” or “evil” I believe the position of the show is that everyone with a soul is born inherently good and demons are born inherently bad. You can believe that people are inherently good or inherently bad in the real, to quote Bobby Brown that’s your prerogative but I believe the evidence says that humans are inherently “good” beings. It is demons nature to be “evil” and is humans nature to be “good” and Buffy the character is the symbol of human goodness. “She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness….”

    Spike is the outlier. Spike has been conditioned to behave the way he is behaving. I believe Spike is unique. I don’t believe every vampire has it in him/her to be like Spike. In my opinon any argument that bases “demon morality” mostly on Spike is a flawed argument because Spike is the exception not the rule.

    (Season six: the season where I stop being jokey and start getting REAL!)

  2. That’s funny – I was actually thinking of commenting on the Buffybot shot in the credits. It’s not a big deal or anything, but it’s always bugged me too. Spoilers, but I’m pretty sure in S7 it’s of The First as Buffy. I wonder why they didn’t choose a ‘real’ shot of her these last two seasons.

    Off the top of my head the two moments I remember from this episode are Anya’s adorable “here, have some money!” after the engagement announcement and Buffy’s priceless reaction to Spike’s patrolling offer. Dawn’s story isn’t horrible – I feel like we still don’t know her very well and it is nice to see her friends in order to get an idea of what her life is like. But the story is unmemorable and unsuccessful at fleshing out her character in any meaningful way. I don’t dislike Dawn but I also don’t connect to her, and this episode doesn’t help with that problem; she just feels like a Teenager, not a three-dimensional character in her own right. Plus, I cared about the high school Scoobies because they were sweet and admirable. They weren’t reckless teens egging houses and stealing money. I did like that Dawn does the round robin (where everybody lies about whose house they’re staying at) thing, it’s a nice callback to the high school days and makes you realize just how much the Scoobies have grown up.

    Elsewhere, Buffy shirks her responsibilities again and Willow’s downward spiral continues. Erasing Tara’s memory to avoid a fight is almost as gross an idea as Spike programming a BuffyBot to do whatever he wants, except this is a different level because Tara is an actual person.

    Cannot wait for OMWF!

  3. I wonder if my feelings about this episode are affected by knowing that OMWF is coming next and I just felt a bit “get on with it”.

    I haven’t got any big complaints about the dawn story. I thought her acting was fine, she was very cute with her first kiss. Somehow I wasn’t very engaged though. Perhaps there was just a bit of a lack of danger or genuine fear. Didn’t understand why all the vampires had turned up at the parking spot either. I did like Dawn’s reaction when the vampire boy says he must have been attracted to her because of her sister. Forever in her sister’s shadow.

    I did like like Buffy’s reaction to Spike’s “rough and tumble” line – shows her mind is wandering in all sorts of directions now.

    I wanted to add something to your debate about Buffy dating (with age not Spike). I just rewatched Phases with my kids as they wanted to watch a Werewolf episode. I was surprised at Xander’s reaction to Larry coming out and I don’t think the show would play it the same way if was made now. Xander seems quite disturbed about it and very uncomfortable about how to act with Larry. As I was watching with my kids and I’m such a pathetic uber-liberal mum I felt I had to say “I don’t know why Xander is making such a fuss about Larry being gay, blah blah blah, perfect normal, blah blah blah”. They mostly ignore me and just roll their eyes.

    It’s not that I think a real 17 year old today wouldn’t be mildly freaked out if a peer announced they were gay but a protagonist that we are supposed to like would definitely act a bit cooler. I think our society’s changed quite a lot over the last 15 years about this particular issue. Ironically enough, Buffy actually did its bit to help with the Willow and Tara storyline.

  4. I got a chuckle out of Anya’s description of Charlie’s Angels, and Buffy’s references to the previous episode. Giles telling Buffy that Xander kept poking him with his hook was amusing as well. I always love Xander and Giles moments. Xander’s decision to finally announce his and Anya’s engagement came as a bit of a surprise, but I appreciated that they chose a natural if not spontaneous way to announce it to the gang. It was a moment where they were all happy and it made sense that Xander would feel like it was the right time.

    This moment also leads into the straw that sparks the upcoming argument between Tara and Willow regarding Willow’s overuse of magic when she magically decorates the house for the impromptu engagement party. The scene later at the Bronze where Willow lashes out at Tara was shocking to me, much in the same way that Willow lashing out at Giles in flooded was. It’s not shocking in the sense of “that came out of nowhere,” but rather just in how it emphasizes the change Willow’s increased power has had on her. It almost seems like she herself can’t quite fully grasp the effects either as in both instances, as soon as she lashes out, she immediately retreats back to a calmer “I really don’t want to fight about this” place. Unfortunately, the damage is already done by that point. Can I just say Go Tara! It’s about time she really stood up to Willow.

    The Dawn parts were okay, but I guess I just find the whole girl-likes-cute-guy-cute-guy-ends-up-being-a-monster to be a kind of clichéd Halloween story, so I didn’t really connect with it.

    Also, I finally caught up enough to listen to the Bargaining Part 1 podcast, and I wanted to mention an interesting thing I noticed regarding the “Sunnydale has an airport” comments. I have convinced my best friend to watch the show, and we were watching Season 1’s Never Kill a Boy on the First Date. In that episode, it caught my attention that the bus that crashes so that the Anointed One will rise from the ashes of five is actually a Sunnydale Airport Shuttle. I just thought that was interesting given that I too thought it was odd that small-town Sunnydale conveniently had an airport. I guess it has been around since Season 1 though.

    Bring on Once More With Feeling!!! Cannot wait!!

  5. I’m going to be the weirdo here and defend The Trio, or at least the writers’ use of them. Yeah, they are nerds painted in a horrible light, and use a lot of the same tropes that we’ve been seeing in media for a long time, but the catch here is that they are the bad guys. They bully each other, and one of their goals from the whiteboard is to make women sex slaves. This is a far cry from the yellow-bellied, shy, wet-their-pants-at-the-sight-of-a-girl geeks. I haven’t watched The Big Bang Theory, but I can assume that the main characters on that show are not bad guys. The Trio are the flipside of geek culture, which is still ahead of its time. This is before 4Chan, Anonymous, Reddit, and Men’s Rights and all the other misogynist geek subcultures that are in the news today. This is why it contrasts so brilliantly with Willow’s character – she is also a bully, but she is one of the “good guys”. Is bullying okay when she does it, because she really means well? Or is it just as bad as The Trio wanting to make women their slaves? Such huge issues with personal consent here.

    • Just gonna say I side with you here. I don’t know how much it matters that they’re “the bad guys” because they’re still played for laughs, but I think they’re stronger characters than Glory and Adam in the preceding seasons. It’s like Robin said. We know The Trio better than we knew either of those two characters.

      And while some of their humor lands short of the mark, there’s enough Trio gags that work for me to give them a pass.

  6. I’ve been listening to this podcast and catching up over the past couple of months and must say that this has made my latest Buffy rewatch very enjoyable. Commenting here has been a long time coming, I really feel like I’m late to the party, I kind of wish I’d found this when it first started! Nonetheless, I guess I’ll start with this episode and just work my way forward from here as I finish catching up.

    As much as I love Buffy, I remember hating this season off first watch. I can easily suspend my disbelief for any of the supernatural parts of the show but have consistently had a problem with improbably or impossible things being done by human characters. The trio are the epitome of this and I strongly agree with all points made about the strange dynamic of character that establishes them all as brilliant geniuses while also coming across as so inept (for comedy purposes of course). Aside from their character, there seem to be a lot of inconsistencies in the technology they use in this episode. If Buffy is caught in some kind of time distortion by Warren an indefinite loop by Jonathan, how is it that the trio are able to monitor Buffy in real time? Are they essentially subjecting themselves to the same time manipulation inside of the van? Not to say I didn’t find the sequences entertaining but it just seems way to easy to get yourself in trouble when you start writing scenes that explore the bending of time.

    I guess I don’t like the idea of someone like Buffy being matched up against a group like the trio who seems so beneath her. In the first episodes of the season, I thought that the resurrection of Buffy was handled extremely well and no shortcuts were used to expedite the process of reintegrating her into the world, so it just seems anticlimactic to have these guys plotting against her. In a way, it seems very much like a boxer who’s been out of coming back and getting matched up against chumps to build them back up and get them back into the game. Of course, the trio can be an annoyance to Buffy as we have always seen her as someone who is particularly vulnerable when distracted. Trying to take up classes again and get a job seems to prevent her from getting to the underlying cause of thing despite her recognizing that someone is definitely wrong.

    I do actually like the scenes with Spike and Buffy. Buffy’s drinking is pretty entertaining and she plays drunk pretty well. Of course this completely facilitates demon Jonathan being able to distract them and get away with only a kick to the stomach, but even still was pretty lucky. Even a wasted Buffy could have quickly killed him and I see no reason why she wouldn’t have slayed what she thought was a threatening demon.

    So I probably wouldn’t rank this one too highly but I know there are some good episodes coming up. Can’t wait to listen, keep up the great work!

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