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A ritual sacrifice, with pie

For the first time in my life, nobody invited me to a traditional family Thanksgiving dinner. My parents went to Los Angeles to spend it with my brothers’ families, which has been their habit ever since the adorable nieces were born. Paul and I thought that surely, somebody in Paul’s family would host — because they always have before. We’ve been dating since 1988, and until now, every year has brought us to some branch of his family for the annual ritual sacrifice with pie. So I woke up this morning with no idea at all what to do with…

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Where did I go? A farewell to the Buffybot

I can’t say I was surprised that the strong winner of “favorite Season 5 episode that isn’t The Body, The Gift, or Fool for Love” was Intervention — because Intervention was my own pick. But at first consideration it might be an odd choice. It seems like the deep introspection and thematic heavy-lifting of Buffy’s spirit quest in the desert shouldn’t combine so well with the giddy comedy of the Buffybot’s first appearance — but it does. I think this is because the two halves of the story reflect on each other. Just as Buffy is coping with the accumulated…

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Into the Woods

This season five episode where Buffy and Riley split up gets props for having the same name as a Stephen Sondheim musical, but otherwise it’s one of my least favorites in the entire series. There’s something deeply unpleasant and icky about it. (And I say this as one of the fans who likes the scene in season six where Buffy and Spike beat the hell out of each other and then have sex for the first time.)

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That’s me as a vampire?

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I followed "The Wish," as I often do, with "Doppelgangland".
This episode is from later in season three, and it’s a direct follow-up to "The
Wish." We meet Anya the (ex) vengeance demon again, and, oh yeah, Evil
Vampire Willow makes another appearance. In fact, she gets a lot more screen
time here.

This episode was written and directed by Joss Whedon, so I could be cynical
and accuse him of just wanting to make Alyson Hannigan put on that leather corset
again. But, that’s okay, since all the fans of the show wanted to see
Alyson Hannigan in that leather corset again. And more, we get to see both Evil
Vampire Willow rocking that corset like nobody’s business, and Regular Willow
sort of awkward and cutely uncomfortable in it.

The Wish is one of very few Buffy episodes that I think is primarily horror,
"Doppelgangland" is one of a handful that is mostly comedy. The title,
for those of you low on German or poncey literary obscurities, refers to the
German concept of the doppelgänger,
or double-goer, a kind of shadow self that looks just like you. Season three
has an overall shadow-self theme with Buffy and bad-slayer Faith, so this episode
ties in nicely.

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This is the world we made

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Last night’s make-dishes-tolerable randomly-selected entertainment was season
three Buffy episode "The Wish." It remains one of my favorites. It
has a solid story, fascinating alt-world building, fabulous new characters,
a devastating emotional punch, and is one of very few Buffy episodes
to actually be, mostly, a horror story.

Maybe I should explain. Obviously Buffy is built out of horror tropes
— vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons and monsters of every conceivable
variety. The stories tend to have a high body count, and a surprising amount
of blood, guts and goo for network television.

Buffy is horror genre, no question. But genre is as much about milieu as it
is about story. (Which is an argument I pull out whenever people try to claim
that Star Trek isn’t really science fiction.) And genre is about approach
and desired emotional affect as much as about story.

Which, this came up as a rant about the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror
X", part of our newly purchased season 11, when I couldn’t stop throwing a tantrum
about how segment two, where Bart and Lisa get superpowers, isn’t horror.
It was more than just "superheroes aren’t horror." Superheroes can be horror.
Anything can be scary. But, you have to commit. You have to be horror.

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