Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | June 25, 2013

Podcast #115: Gone

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 11 – Gone

Spike and invisible Buffy

Spike and invisible Buffy

Download: Gone

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 1st July 2013 for episode twelve of Season Six: “Doublemeat Palace.” That’s the one where Buffy gets a job in a burger restaurant.

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

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Responses

  1. The whole storyline with Willow’s magic=drugs has fairly traumatized me. It was so on-the-nose and preachy that every time I hear in another form of media “it was like a drug,” I get shivers down my spine and immediately tune out. Beer bad was preachy, but it reached the so-bad-it’s-funny level, and was mostly played for laughs. The writers are obviously intending us to take this very seriously, but it’s so poorly written and shoved down our throats that I just can’t. It should be noted, though, that I wouldn’t mind so much if Buffy as a show hadn’t set itself such a high standard. With most modern-day dramas, I would probably roll my eyes and move on, but with Buffy, it’s such a disappointment. It taints my entire memory of season 6. Well, that and many other things, still to come.

    Doublemeat Palace, though, I loved. Most people I’ve talked to either love this or hate it, and it’s usually based on their work history. Most people who have only worked office jobs or are too young to work won’t get this episode’s humor, but anyone who’s worked for certain big-name fast-food burger joints understands. I worked for McDonalds in high school and had to watch one of those horrible training videos. I got off with just watching about the fries, but one of my co-workers had to watch the one about the burger production. Strangely, she never took advantage of the free meals. The coining of “The wig lady” was pretty spot on. In my experience with fast-food, we’ve had “crazy tuna lady” and “the bacon twins,” just to name a couple. If I was still working at McDonald’s when I saw this episode, I think it just would have depressed me, especially knowing that you smell and feel like grease traps for days after working, but hindsight makes everything funnier.

    • Good comment, Erica. I think I would expand your point about this being relatable if you’ve worked in fast food and say that it’s relatable for anyone that has worked in any of those typical “first job” jobs. Places like convenience stores, grocery stores, etc. I myself have never worked for a fast food establishment but I find a ton to relate to in this episode.

      I look at all of Buffy’s coworkers, at the training video, the tacky orange uniforms with the smiling cow hats and it all feels very authentic to me. Authentic, but exaggerated. The coworkers, for example, remind me of people I’d actually encountered in some of my earlier jobs. The guy that’s been there too long and is resigned to his job (the grill guy), the overbearingly stern and serious guy (the manager), the employee that is seemingly always off in some other world while on the clock (the aloof lady). All of these are very authentic but kind of hyper-exaggerated versions of personalities I’ve actually encountered. Then I think of the training video. I’ve seen a number of these. They’re always the same. “This is who we are. This is what we sell. This is your role within our organization”. That’s what this video is – except that Buffy gets to see the graphic slaughter of cows, too.

      All of this hyper-exaggeration I feel was deliberately done to enforce this “alien” sort of atmosphere onto the whole experience. Like you’re in this place that you don’t belong in and you’re completely out of your element. I mean, this is EXACTLY what Buffy is feeling, and I think I’ve experienced it many times myself. When you’ve been working the same job for 4 years you start to feel like you’re stuck in the doldrums and you start noticing all of the annoying idiosyncrasies of your coworkers. You start looking at those that had been there for 10 years, 15 years, etc and start thinking “If I’m not careful, I could turn into that person”.

      I think a big part of why this works so well is because while my fear may have been somewhat irrational, for Buffy it’s not. Long gone are the days when Buffy was expecting to make something of her life while she transferred her slayer duties over to Faith. Mom died and Faith went bad. Now she’s a full-time slayer and acting parent. She doesn’t have anything past a high school education, so she could very well find herself languishing in a place like Doublemeat Palace for the rest of her life.

      Anyway, that’s some heavy stuff to be dealing with so I’m happy that this episode is so unrelenting with its drab and dour atmosphere. Really quite fond of the humor as well.

      PS The whole “wig lady” thing reminds me of “milk maids” in Clerks. And yeah, it’s spot on. I did get the sense that some of the writers have first hand experience working in fast food while I watched this…

      • Forgot to add: I loved the monster of the week. B-horror done very well. Enjoyed the Jurassic Park-esque chase at the end and the phallic monster going BOO! a few times. Lovely stuff.

  2. I think Doublemeat Palace is a classic Buffy season six episode, an episode with a premise that sounds great but is lacking that Buffy spark. In many ways this a companion to season four’s “Living Conditions” and while I wasn’t as much of a fan of that particular episode, “Doublemeat Palace” takes my problems with that episode and magnifies them. It is so obvious that there is something wrong with the employees beyond basic fast food creepiness that mentally I check out as soon as the creepy music starts playing. I suppose its because the real twist ends up being that it’s Doublemeat Palace that is the evil thing but the creepy customer but that doesn’t fit with the rest of the episode because the workers are so out there and disconnected.

    It’s a similar problem to Willow’s story that there is no real interesting part to this drug metaphor. They aren’t going anywhere unique or original with the drug story. I do feel bad for Willow but at the same time I feel that there is a wall between the story and me because I can’t shake how much the drug metaphor seems to be created just for this season. It’s not as if I don’t want to see an anti drug story on Buffy, I agree whole hardheartedly with the message of the story. The execution and the lack of originality is my problem with it.

    Now it’s time for the “Dawn Sin of the Week”:

    Letting the deranged Amy into a recovering Willow’s bedroom unattended. It’s not like she has magical powers that can get Willow high in a second and is incredibly unstable and seems to have walked out of the worst after school PSAs. All the cool kids are smoking, I mean doing spells.

    • I think in a sense the episode wants you to feel disconnected. Mentally checking out, proooobably not so much, haha.

  3. Here’s a link of home video from the stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt of behind the scenes footage from mostly season two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BLKDsmJjFq0

    • How funny, I was just about to post this. This video is cool but I also love the other videos with just the stunts – it actually looks a lot more impressive when you see the whole thing uncut with the doubles and without all the editing to put in the actors punching/staking.

      • Weird. A friend tweeted this at me yesterday. I’m assuming its a new video on the Internet with all these coincidental postings.

        I could watch stunt double footage all day. They’re so good at what they do.

  4. I kind of feel like the non-peril that was in Gone over the invisibility is another sign of Giles being away. That kind of experience and gravity that he brought to the Scoobies is missing here. The episode would have been much different in tone with him around.

    While listening to that podcast on Gone, I was thinking, well the beginning of the episode will make Robin happy, since they immediately address the Trio’s hideout!

    Two references I noticed: talking about the Vulcan ladies at the beginning, and then Sleepless in Seattle later. Also, this can’t be a mere coincidence, because Doublemeat Palace’s logo is a big DMP — dump? 🙂

    Things I liked: Xander’s expression when Willow says that he will be hearing about Anya’s obsession with money for the rest of his life. Great example of “show, don’t tell”. He looks horrified and about to puke at the same time. I also thought that Willow’s reactions to magic addiction were all very believable with the storyline they gave us – especially the part about her impatience with everything taking forever. I didn’t notice the first watch that Spike actually thinks that Buffy is a demon. Very interesting. And, it’s nice to see Halfrek and Anya’s friendship, and how they both have the same social tics, like being extremely blunt.

    Things I didn’t like: Willow’s super pathetic conversation with Amy at the end. Did a chimp write that dialogue? It was achingly horrible. Even if you were thinking on your feet, you would come up with something better than that. Also, the phallic monster out of an old lady’s head? Yikes. I actually randomly saw this episode when it was airing, and I thought Buffy the show was super weird.

  5. Found this interesting behind the scenes tidbit from tv.com’s page about this episode:

    Ridiculing fast food doesn’t pay the bills. Joss Whedon has said in interviews that this episode was wildly unpopular with sponsors. He also states (in the disc three special feature Academy Of Television Arts And Science Panel Discussion) that the Network Producers found this episode the most controversial episode of the season- even more so than the last three episodes (Smashed, Wrecked and Gone) which featured much nudity and many sexual references.

  6. I am not a fan of this episode. It would be a skippable episode for me if I were to do another rewatch. Compared to most episodes, it’s pretty average, and it doesn’t really do much in terms of the overall season plot.

    All the fast food stuff was hauntingly similar to my own experience in fast food. I echo the above comments about the ridiculous orientation videos and constantly smelling like grease and frying oil. Blegh. I’d also add customers who rattle off orders at lightning speed and then get upset, or look confused when you missed half of what they said. That being said, most of my coworkers were much more normal than the ones Buffy was dealing with, and I had some really cool and nice managers. Our regular old couples were also much sweeter than the wig lady, haha.

    Halfrek saying that half the time she doesn’t know if she’s maiming the right guy just made me picture all these poor innocent guys being totally confused as to why they’re being tortured, and wondering who on earth wished vengeance upon them. Her and Willow did bring up some of those marriage concerns that still have not been addressed by Xander and Anya, and still weren’t. Yes we got Xander suddenly realizing he’d spend the rest of his life hearing Anya’s money stories, and Anya questioning whether Xander treats her the way he should, but it still is not really addressed. They need to have a scene where the two sit down and actually talk about their relationship instead of just always planning the wedding.

    All I’ll say about the Willow story is that I’m glad she finally told Amy to stay away. Some of the magic effects from Amy’s spell were kinda cool.

    Best line of the episode: Spike – “Damn fluorescent lights. They make me look dead.” Haha…made me laugh.

    Those behind the scenes stunt videos are awesome. I’ve watched a lot of them as well. I found an interview with Sophia Crawford, Buffy’s stunt double from seasons 1-4, in another Buffy podcast I’ve been listening too. If you go to episode 13 of the Buffy Revisited podcast, you can hear it. It was pretty interesting.

  7. Hey guys. A few weeks ago I discovered the concept of podcasts, and decided to create one on one of my favorite subjects, Buffy the Vampire slayer. Having no clear idea of what a podcast was I decided to go download the first few episodes from a few people who had this idea before me to try figure out what people would expect from a podcast. Clicking onto the Buffy Re watch turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises I have had of late (aside from the fact that I am to busy listening to you to work on my own concepts) I had not intended to make any comments but at this point I am coming to the end of your season four podcast and I just want to be part of the conversation. Quickly I want to go over my thoughts on the first four seasons.

    First and foremost, Amends…nah just kidding you guys got that one spot on!

    Season one.
    Jessy, Everybody says that Jessy’s death was glossed over and although on the surface that is true, I honestly believe that this death is the reason Xander has such an intense hatred of vampires in general. Obviously with Angel there is the jealousy card to think of, but if you look through the series Xander does appear to have a greater distaste for vampires specifically than any of the other demons they face. This may just be a little super fan girl trying to lend credence to a big plot moment as I’m drawing a blank on any specific instances of this but it is a point worth mentioning.

    Season 2
    Oz, you guys have said that this character was to perfect. The only thing of note for Oz aside from the great one liners he comes out with is how well he gets Willow and knows what to say to her. I think this can be forgiven by the fact that Oz was written to be the perfect boyfriend at a time when they thought Angelus was going to kill him. Had he not been perfect for Willow his death would not have hit the nerve they needed. When they changed their mind they had to find a way to give him a personality without destroying the character everybody had fallen so in love with and I feel it took them until season four to properly accomplish this goal.

    Season 3.
    The Mayor. You mention that you do not like the way the Mayor talks to Buffy and Angel about their relationship when they are in the library with the yucky spider box. I love this moment. As much as it is an attempt to throw the two of them off their game in the final days before he ascends, I think it is also because he is a politician. He has spent the past several hundred years wearing the persona of a man who belongs in office. That man would have to truly care about the problems involving the people in his charge. Everybody watching who is not so caught up in the Bangel love knows that this is a love story that can not last. If we look at Buffy like the honor student who is simply campaigning for the mayors competition, a real world comparison i think fits, I don’t think it would be out of place for a long time politician to try to give that young person some good advice. It is a great moment.

    Wesley. Just a quick note about the final fight, Joss actually asked the actor how he wanted to play Wesley in this Final battle, and Alexes Denisof said flat out he wanted to come charging in and get knocked flat on his back in the first thee minuets. Just a random fun fact. So much love for that actor.

    Also you complain that it takes us so long to find out anything about what the ascension will be, but we knew about it as soon as the writers did. Joss had a hard time figuring that one out.

    Season four
    Tara. Okay so when Cordy first started talking down on Tara I was so offended it took me a few moments to remember that she was speaking about a character on TV and not a real person whom I am friends with, which is almost how I view Tara. Although I am not gay, my life has been a very close mirror to that of Willows seven season arc and for that reason I am very protective of Tara. This will become far more obvious when we meet the little boy pretending to be a man with his stupid little robot toys…but I digress. Im not going to say much here because its all about opinion on this one but I had to give the love Tara shout out.

    Superstar.
    Okay I think you are missing the point of why Buffy is so small in this episode. Yes she has her slayer powers but what has she done with them? She did not get to destroy the masters bones, she did not run away and find herself in hell, she did not stop the judge or help Faith find the strength to kill Kissingtoast or blow up the giant mayor snake. The Buffy Jonathan created never learned that if you take away her friends, her watcher and her weapons, she would still have her self. I think this was an important message to bring out. Poorly timed episode placement? Maybe but still important.
    Also the bit about Jonathan giving the uranium core info, that was just something Jane Espison who wrote that episode made up to make him look cooler. It was only when the writers got around to killing adam that they realized they had no idea how to do it and somebody was like, hey what about that core thing Jonathan was talking about? I think that is an interesting detail.

    One last general point before I move on to restless. I like to think of this show as having two parts. Seasons 1,2 and 3 are the first part, and season 5,6 and 7 are the second part. Season four is the dark creaky rope bridge with lots of missing planks and the hand ropes are long gone and your scared as all get out to cross it, but you have no choice if you want to get the awesomeness on the other side. Unpleasant at times, yes, but well worth it!

  8. Hey guys,

    Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing is out worldwide in select theaters. I’m having to make a long drive to go see it, but from all the stellar reviews/word of mouth I hear that it’s worth any extra effort. Anyways just thought i’d share.

    Below is the trailer


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