Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | July 31, 2013

Podcast #119: As You Were

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 15 – As You Were

Sam and Riley

Sam and Riley

Download: As You Were

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 5th August 2013 for episode sixteen of Season Six: “Hell’s Bells.” That’s the one with Anya and Xander’s wedding.

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

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  1. (this is victor, I’ve just recently set up my own wordpress so check that out too. It’s where i house an old movie review web series I did.)

    A few quick things that will probably take quite a bit.

    I have noticed you constantly brining up the ever-expanding Sunnydale, and thought that looking up a map might get a good laugh. As it turns out at least once in the series Sunnydale is referred to as a county, not with the main story taking place inside of a town that is also called Sunnydale. I for one grew up in a county that had a town of the same name, but lived in a different city that had all sorts of landmarks with the county name. So it’s possible that while the highschool and Bronze and magic box are within the town limits, the college as well as other one-off locations like the docks or zoo could be in other nearby towns. I still like to think that there 12 cemeteries in just the main town alone, because that’s funny.

    Also has anyone heard this hilarious story from Kevin Smith? His daughter waited until the last minute to say that she needed to bring a baked good for a school party or bake sale or something. The entire family searched the massive house but came up dry. Just as they were about to give up, who should knock on the door with a dozen cookies but Captain Cardboard himself, Mark Blucas. The actor had previously played a Freddie of scoobie doo parody in one scene of Jay and Silent Bob strike back, which is the only time they ever actually met. Trivia time: it’s the second time he’s played a “scoobie” and SMG herself played Daphne in the two movies as well. Talk about six degrees of scooby.

    Lastly: I started watching Dollhouse! I went in biased with all of Cordia’s bashings of it, but they couldn’t be more spot on. I stopped watching after your podcast ended at what i assumed to be the high point of the show and wanted to end with at least an averagely tasting episode on my eye-mouth. What’s even weirder is that i started watching/listening AFTER I started getting my voice on this podcast. So after getting used to hearing robin say my name, I now found him constantly referring to the Victor of Dollhouse. It got confusing early on, but after a while I was hoping to hear more about Victor because he was the only person on the show who knew how to act.

  2. I’ve got to say, Derek, “my sweet cardboard Prince is back” cracked me up. Too funny.

    I feel bad that I keep on commenting just to complain, but….I’m not fond of this episode. Every week it’s been “what wacky wedding preparation antics will Xander and Anya get up to this time?” Which is fine if not a bit dull. Yet many of these moments were based off of Xander’s continuing insecurity, so I wasn’t shocked that he didn’t go through with it. While I don’t think Xander would ever let those fake visions come to pass, I agree that he’s probably not ready for marriage. He’s still very young and he hasn’t worked through all his family and commitment issues yet. Despite all that, I kind of wish the writers decided to go through with the wedding. Xander could’ve still seen the visions but the surprise would be that he’s realized how much he’s grown, how he’s NOT like the rest of his family. It’s hard for me to like Xander when he abandons poor Anya to make the announcement on her own. In a season where each of our flawed but lovable Scoobies has been torn down to his/her lowest points it would’ve been nice to conclude an episode with some levity. I guess Buffy put it pretty well when she said they were supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I wish they hadn’t been a train.

    As usual for this season, most of the humor didn’t work. The whole minister-doctor joke felt like some weird gag out of a Friends episode (and not in a good way, even though I love Friends). Even though I didn’t get much out of Anya’s demon friends interacting with Xander’s family, it was nice to finally meet his family. They’ve been hinted at for years and they really are awful.

    Spike and Buffy’s conversation was cute. I also liked the detail in Xander’s ‘future’ visions that he can’t do construction anymore because he hurt his back trying to save Buffy, who apparently died again anyway. Even if Xander’s not pining after Buffy anymore, there’s always this undercurrent of hero worship and prioritizing when it comes to her. I think Cordelia pointed it out a few times when they were dating and Anya’s already pointed it out in OMWF (“when things get rough he just hides behind his Buffy”).

  3. Knowing the outcome of this episode I’ve been really harsh on Xander and Anya’s relationship all season and I have felt like there has been a lot of stalling. It’s very hard for me to believe that Xander would walk away from Anya. I doubt his fears but it feels like an enormous step back for the character that he doesn’t overcome them, especially since we have seen him overcome them before (The Zeppo, The Replacement). It is pretty true to life that someone might regress to their old self but this a TV show and we have seen Xander grow beyond that and to convince me that Xander truly believes he will change if he marries Anya. The way things end it just feels very forced way to break them up. It is a shame because Anya does have quite possibly her best written/acted episode ever.

    But besides the ending I really don’t enjoy the Spike/Buffy interactions. Their scene where he leaves is actually very cute and that in my opinion stands in stark contrast to how their relationship was been potrayed up until now. There is definitely attraction maybe even some friendliness but they aren’t a couple who broke up because they can’t be together, Buffy was using Spike and Spike who has become progressively more possessive should not be this mature about the break up. Spike has always shown concern for Buffy but there’s no reason why the possessive soulless vampire should choose to leave the wedding because it makes Buffy uncomfortable. Spike had sex with Buffy at the Bronze and forced her to watch her friends during now that she has left him he doesn’t want to make a scene? To paraphrase my sweet cardboard prince I think Spike left reasonable about three stops back. Also of course Spike has a right to be at the wedding of Xander who hates him and Anya who we have never seen him speak to once.

  4. Is it too late to get one of those “Xander is a douche” t-shirts? If you don’t feel comfortable getting married, you say something before you just walk off right before the wedding! Most of what he said to Anya towards the end of the episode sounded suspiciously like “I’m only hurting you for your own good, because I care.” Maybe marriage counseling would have been a good idea? Actually, a supernatural counselor in Sunnydale would be a great career. But, apparently, it’s suspicious to have counselors even in high schools, so….

  5. My main problem with this episode is the whole demons thing. I think prior to season 6 all demons are evil and unseen by the public. Now they are presented as decent and moral – even as if they are some put-upon ethnic group – I just found that a bit of a forced metaphor. It’s a bit confusing apart from anything else. Seems like they just liked the idea of Xander having relatives-from-hell and Anya having, you guessed it, relatives-from-hell-for-real and throwing them together for zany wacky fun. But I did like Xander’s parents – great example of a miserable marriage.

    I quite like the plot of the demon showing Xander his possible future. I was disturbed when I first watched this as it apparently tells of Buffy’s ultimate demise. Only thing is I’m not utterly sure why Xander is so unsurprised when he finds out that future Xander was actually just a demon out for revenge on Anya.

    Nice interactions between all the scoobies whilst preparing for wedding.

    • You worded well something that bothered me more than I realized. Having demons so out in the open and more decent than previously portrayed really does affect the tone of the show and chips away at its credibility. It’s harder to take demons and ‘the forces of darkness’ seriously when they’re treated so casually in this episode. The same goes for characters like Clem in the last episode, and the whole kitten poker thing. It’s all too flippant I guess.

  6. I went into the rewatch of this episode with lots of negative feelings toward Xander and the writers of this episode. When I first watched it I tweeted “I think the writers of #Buffy wanted to see how much they could depress viewers in season 6.” ( I was unhappy with the idea of Spike and Buffy’s relationship ending and also the dissolution of Xander & Anya’s. As a fan, I was disappointed. But after the rewatch, I have a completely different opinion, and now I get it. This is a tragic love story and it’s actually quite beautiful. Xander has had all of these doubts all season, but I don’t question for a moment that he truly loves Anya and wants to be married to her. The fake vision (Xander is in his wedding tux the whole time and never ages! Nice touch that I didn’t notice until this time) brings to the forefront his fear that he will turn into his parents, but adds in the idea that he may actually *murder* Anya. And that so completely terrifies him, he sees the only option to be to leave her. I think the fake Xander really hits the point when he says “you’ll hurt her less today than you’ll do later”. He’s not really afraid of having a bad marriage – he is afraid of losing control and killing her. He leaves her to save her. That is maturity, that is love. He loves her too much to take the risk that he can’t or won’t change. Now, yes there are other options like marriage counseling or anger management, but those are not a guarantee. The only way he can ensure that he will not kill Anya is to end their relationship. Once this realization hit me, I was so touched I started to cry. He does NOT want to end the relationship, but he feels that he has no other choice.

    Now, for Spike and Buffy, I totally get their interaction as well. Spike goes into it all in your face with the see my date?! spiel, and Buffy basically just tells him that she is jealous and wishes it were her going home with him. This gives him hope – and that is why he is so tender towards her. He probably thinks that he can wear her down and she will come back to him, he just needs to have patience. If she had been completely dismissive and didn’t care about his date, then I think he would have been more aggressive.

    I really disliked this episode the first time, but now I think it is one of my favorites.

    Some behind the scenes stuff I gleaned from the commentary:
    The rain was totally fake. It’s actually a really sunny day. This is very obvious from the scene were Xander is walking around outside. Also, fake Xander doesn’t get wet when he materializes.
    Uncle Rory is mentioned before as Xander’s taxidermist uncle, first all the way back in “I Robot You Jane”.
    A circus geek is an actual thing – it was a performer who bit the heads off of live chickens. Ew.
    Even though Buffy has short hair in recent episodes, she suddenly has enough to make a huge bun in her hair. The writers said it was totally fake.
    Buffy’s t-shirt that says “I survived” at the end when Buffy, Dawn, and Willow are talking in the Summers living room was a “big mistake” according to the commentary. They don’t say much more than that about it.
    There are mirrors all over this episode. It’s supposed to a theme of self-reflection.

    • Robin asked me to clarify Xander’s fear of killing Anya, so I’ll give it a try. If you have ever had instrusive compulsive thoughts then it’s a little easier to understand I think (many people with OCD have this), when you get unwanted thoughts about hurting yourself or others. Sometimes it easy to dismiss the notion that everyone is capable of murder, but if it has ever popped into your head that “I could pick up this knife and stab myself RIGHT NOW” then it might be easier to understand. Xander didn’t have a random thought about smashing Anya’s skull with a cast iron pan, someone else forced that thought onto him (hey, there’s that consent theme again), but it has the same consequence. He now sees that he is physically capable of doing that action, and it will haunt him. So, given his family history and the idea that fathers pass on abuse to their sons, he is worried that he won’t change despite his best intentions to start a new kind of life with Anya. I don’t think it’s the idea that he thinks he is destined to become his father, it’s the fear that he will accidentally become him despite his desire to avoid that fate. What if he ends up that way anyway? What if he does smash Anya’s skull with a frying pan in a fit of drunken rage? The only way to save her is to not be with her, therein lies the tragedy.

      Time for a personal moment. I actually had a very similar intrusive thought when I was in college. I had just gone through a very dark depression and was still suffering from some anxiety. My mom took me grocery shopping and we bought a cast iron pan. (I’m not making this up.) I actually had the sudden thought that I could smash her head with the heavy pan AND IT TERRIFIED ME. The idea that I could be capable of hurting another human being was very scary. After that, I went on medication, because before then I’d had thoughts about hurting myself, but until it changed to hurting others I’d thought it was somewhat normal. (PSA: those thoughts are never normal, seek help.) If I hadn’t been living several hours away from my mother, I may have gotten rid of the cast iron pan, just in irrational fear, so I can understand why Xander ultimately decides to not marry Anya.

      • I just realized that I made it sound like the episode is an allegory of mental illness. I didn’t intend that at all, I’m just trying to explain Xander’s fear in a way that may make sense. It’s all right there in the dialogue, how Xander didn’t hate Anya – he hated himself in those visions. He would hate himself if he hurt her.

  7. “You don’t know who you are.”
    “Right, none of us do.”
    – Joan and Randy in Tabula Rasa

    Those two lines in Tabula Rasa nailed the theme for all of season 6. The Scoobies have been caught up in their own issues and letting one another down all season long. In Hell’s Bells, Xander doesn’t know who he is, but he’s afraid of who he might be, which is why the demon is able to manipulate hims so easily.

    Nice continuity:
    -We actually see Uncle Rory, whose car Xander was driving in The Zeppo.

    Things I love about this episode:
    -Anya’s practice vows: “that’s anachronistic and misogynistic and who do you think you are, like a sea captain or something?”
    -Spike’s date being nowhere around when he finally sees Buffy, and Buffy calling him on why he brought her. Also, everything else about this scene.

    Oh, gross, Xander:
    -Xander’s vision of Buffy having been an obstacle in his relationship with Anya comes hard on the heels of his “joke” with Buffy about not being married yet. Will he always have a little bit of hope that Buffy might want to be with him?

    • I’ve heard before that the big bad of season six is actually Life.

  8. I really liked the false visions. I want to believe that the nightmare version of Xander’s future came from Xander and not from the demon. It’s far more powerful that way.

    Oddly, I felt bad for Xander’s dad (paid for the whole wedding!) and for all the guests when Xander walked out.

    On the demon: Why does he start attacking Anya after he gets his revenge? Is it because he’s a demon and that’s just what demons do? I don’t mind Xander killing him, but it’s odd that the show sprung his history on us and then didn’t seem to care about him when he died. I thought that part of the episode was a little insincere.

    That aside, I liked the episode. I enjoyed it more than the last one.

  9. – I guess in hindsight, Xander’s arc makes some sense. He loves Anya but he proposed in haste, and his fears about his own family and his inferiority complex cause him first to kill all those people in Once More With Feeling, then to eat a lot of chips, then to leave Anya at the altar. I can sort of see it, but it feels like the writers didn’t do the work to justify the payoff.

    – Also, the comedy was a bit broad for rewatch. I had remembered Buffy’s stalling routine as being funny, but on rewatch it just seemed dumb and contrived. And if a bunch of demons got mad enough to punch the Harrises, why wouldn’t they just kill them? I can see being on your best behavior as a favor to Anyanka, but at that point, all deals are off.

    – Lastly on the bad, what idiot muscians strike up the march when a bride shows up in the room bloody and sobbing?

    – The good: Joss sure knows how to twist a knife. I knew what was coming, but watching Anya’s vows or her desperation for Xander to come back, I wished it could turn out differently.

    – Also, I’d put the dress opening scene as one of the relatively good Buffy misdirects.

  10. This episode is alright, I don’t really have an analysis but feel like there are quite a few inconsistencies that I find subtly funny. After all of the supernatural things that Xander has seen throughout the series, why is the time travelling old man seem so crazy to him at first? Since when are Clem and Xander good enough friends that he would be invited to the wedding and seated on the groom side? When Spike leaves the wedding after his last talk with Buffy, why does his floozy suddenly seem interested in being there by saying “but what about the wedding?”. Probably many more, I’m already forgetting.

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