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Thread: Positives and Negatives - S1

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    The Witch

    Positive: I think that Catherine is an awesome, underrated villain. Metaphorically, she represents all those crazy, abusive parents that force their kids to excel in various activities only for the sake of parents' complexes and insecurities. On top of that, this story actually happened in real life.

    Negative: I'm not happy with Giles being so butthurt about Buffy cheerleading. I mean, she was a cheerleader at Hemery and what's the harm anyway?

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    The Witch

    Positive: The introduction of Amy's character was brilliant as well as the twist of her mother taking over her body. That's just beyond abusive.

    Negative: I wish Amy was a more recurring character, like Tara. It would have been nice if she was an honorary Scooby.
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    Teachers Pet

    Positives: Dr Gregory is so sweet to Buffy, and seems to be the only teacher that appreciates her intelligence.

    Negatives: The story is horrible, male virgins eaten by a praying mantis in the form of a female teacher. What was the point of this episode other than to make the audience uncomfortable on so many levels.

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    Day 4 - Teacher's Pet

    Positive - I love Xander's fantasy. Getting that little insight is just great for seeing there is more at play in the internal image that then influences his choices than just the straightforward possibility of losing his virginity. What we wish we were is often in play during the series for many characters and is great for getting a better sense of how they perceive themselves and feel that others do or don't see them. Getting inner thoughts like that is always interesting.

    Negative - I'm opting for the inclusion of Fork/Claw guy. The whole claw thing is just strange and naff to be used as a mislead (although great to see the Sunnydale police out doing something!). But what really irritates me is Buffy being able to scoot down into the sewer where she saw him go, manage to successfully find him, bind him for him to do his tracker dog impression and all in the nick of time. It's just clunky.
    Last edited by Stoney; 12-01-18 at 11:12 AM.

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    Day 4 - Teacher's Pet

    Positive - A Xander episode , I love the gender roles reversal in the episode. It's the same traditional sacrificing a virgin story, except this time the virgin is a boy and the hero is a girl, this episode also is a continuation to Xander's main arc in the series. I also loved the teacher who had faith in Buffy. Especially the thought about him being a virgin. Also, Xander and Willow's first glimpse of Angel... notice how Angel's characterization is way different here than it was in ep1 and ep2.

    Negative - My vote goes to fork guy.
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    Teacher's Pet

    Positive: She-Mantis is interesting in the context of the series. She parallels both Moloch from "I Robot, You Jane" and Angel. Buffy, Willow and Xander all go through a variation of the same story with the same outcome and the same moral - don't date old "people" who pretend to be something they're not. If only the show was always this cohesive in the approach of the themes it explores....

    Negative: I know that Xander is a teenage boy but being all jealous/insecure about Angel when he can't even bother to actually ask Buffy out is just in bad taste.

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    “Teacher’s Pet” (B 1.04)



    POSITIVE/NEGATIVE


    * The chemistry between Buffy and Angel by the end of the episode is sultry. This is the first episode in which it seems Buffy and Angel are actually physically attracted to each other. Buffy treats him less as an annoyance and more as a possible love interest and Angel reacts to her in a “he likes her” way.

    - So, it’s a relatively sudden change from “Welcome to the Hellmouth” (B 1.01) and “The Harvest” (1.02). And it seems ignored that Angel didn’t appear in “The Witch” (B 1.03).

    - A Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike parallel that I just noticed. Compare Buffy at the bar waiting for Angel and the aftermath to Buffy at the bar in “Tabula Rasa” (B 6.08) and the aftermath. Dr. Gregory died. Giles was leaving. Maybe it’s a stretch to call the scenes parallels.



    NEGATIVE


    * Xander’s attraction to Buffy still seems based on her physical appearance. In terms of his reactions to people, Xander found in order of physical attractiveness: Miss Natalie French, Drusilla, Buffy, Cordelia.

    I’m not sure when Xander’s attraction to Buffy became more than one-dimensional, but by “The Freshman” (B 4.01), he tells her she’s his hero and he thinks about “What Would Buffy Do?”

    Even his fantasy has HIM being a rock star and fighter and Buffy simply being a pretty damsel.

    It's possible Xander only begins to consider Buffy's awesomeness when he's dating Cordelia. He then sees the differences between Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia.

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    Teacher's Pet

    POSITIVE: I also like Xander's dream. It is very authentically guy and healthy. It's tiresome to me when people drag Xander for this dream as though it condescends to Buffy; he admires her and wishes he could do what she can do. That he is infatuated with her is incidental really. Honorable mention -- the handling of the topic of virginity, the show treats neither chasteness nor sexuality as aberrant behavior in teenagers. I also thought it interesting Buffy presumed Xander not to be a virgin even though she herself was; was that a social courtesy, or did she genuinely assumed that he was already initiated into that part of the human experience, and if so, why? Always noticed that.

    NEGATIVE: the whole mantis metaphor was anvilicious. I think there were other better ways within the Buffy aesthetic to set up the plot. Maybe not a witch again, back to back episodes, but... a vampire? Or a human in service of one with a virgin-blood fetish, out there trolling for him/her? The latter might have given Angel a more coherent reason to even be in the episode, maybe someone he knew of.

    Asides -- ATOE nails it about Xander and jealousy about Angel. Not to be too tough on fam there, but maybe if Xander had been the kind of kid that would have made his interests and intentions immediately clear and acted on them with confidence, he'd have also have been the kind of kid she'd have said yes to?

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    Day 5 - Never Kill A Boy On the First Date

    Positive - As a further exploration of 'who we want to be', how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived I appreciate Owen. Through being good looking he exposes how shallow the social hierarchy is as he's seen as a nerd by some but isn't deemed undatable by the popular crowd. But mostly I just quite like that the 'dreamy', quiet sensitive guy turns out to be a thrill seeking liability. I just like perceptions and initial impressions being turned upside down, the truth camouflaged, and he gives a big old tick to that. Obviously it's a thing in the series and is greatly what Buffy's character is here to do. It's often used to give character depth and shift expectations. In this season we've already had a hidden body swap, a predatory insect within, underlying truths will be revealed for Angel soon enough, Cordelia somewhat later and for this ep specifically of course there's Collin.

    Negative - Giles surviving at the funeral home isn't really justified. His initial escape from the vamps is one thing but also then managing to successfully hide without being heard/sniffed out. All of the fighting in the funeral home comes damage free really with everyone just getting knocked unconscious repeatedly, it's lame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Teacher's Pet
    I also thought it interesting Buffy presumed Xander not to be a virgin even though she herself was; was that a social courtesy, or did she genuinely assumed that he was already initiated into that part of the human experience, and if so, why? Always noticed that.
    I think that Buffy assumes he'd already had sex because he's a guy. Guys are pressured to have sex by their peers since they start high school, and those who don't will be targets for jokes - which is why boys lie about their virginity.
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    Day5 Never Kill A Boy on the First Date


    Positives: Buffy is so relatable in this episode, she's so much the teen girl, with all her insecurities on show. Willow is also brilliant as the over-excited best friend.

    Negatives: The introduction of Colin

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    Great thread topic, Stoney! Lots of great comments from everyone. I'll play catch-up.

    Day 1 -- "Welcome to the Hellmouth"

    Positive: The first scene. BtVS is one of the most original shows ever created and the opening scene highlights why. The twist of Darla being the vampire was great because no one sees it coming. Darla kind of sucked in Season 1, but I think her character works really well in concept. She's like the anti-Buffy. Whedon created Buffy to subvert the stereotype of the pretty blonde girl getting killed by a monster. But the episode doesn't open with Buffy killing a monster, it opens with Darla killing a dude instead. Whereas Buffy is the pretty blonde girl who turns out to be the hero, Darla is the pretty blonde girl who turns out to be the villain.

    Negative: Darla's character wasn't very well-defined. At this point, she's just a dumb blonde vampire. While I said above that she works in concept as sort of an anti-Buffy, her actual interactions with Buffy really suck. Their fight scene is really underwhelming and just a huge bore. I'm so glad that Buffy's fight style improved because the gymnastics-type shit that they have her doing here just didn't work.

    Day 2 -- "The Harvest"

    Positive: Willow and the Deliver trick. Simply because it's the moment where I really fell in love with her character.

    Negative: I forgot how dull and cheesy the vampires were in the pre-Spike and Dru days. Every scene with the vampires (except Jesse, due to his personal connection to the characters -- loved his interactions with Xander and Cordelia) is just really hard to watch.

    Day 3 -- The episode title is not "The Witch", it's just "Witch". It's a pun that's supposed to play on the word "which" due to the fact that Amy and her mother have switched bodies. Which witch is which?

    Positive: Drunk Buffy! SMG was so adorable playing the metaphorically intoxicated Buffy under the influence of Catherine's spell.

    Negative: Bad special effects.

    Day 4 -- "Teacher's Pet"

    Positive: Glad to see Xander's dream getting plenty of love. I think it's awesome too, and one of the best parts of the episode.

    Negative: How heavy-handed and predictable the plot is. As soon as you see Natalie French in the classroom, you know exactly what's happening going to happen and how the episode is going to end. We spend most of the episode knowing exactly what's going to happen and just waiting for the Scoobies to catch up, which just makes it incredibly tedious and there's no suspense whatsoever.

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    Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

    Positive: "And I saw on TV once, a bunch of people our age went to a party." - I love that entire conversation, it's just so real, you know?

    Negative: Angel is simply obnoxious in this episode. He shows up, is jealous, does nothing.

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    Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

    Positive: Xander's Tweety wristwatch, Buffy's "If the apocalypse comes, beep me," Xander and Willow pretending to be a couple, Owen's adventurous nature revealed in the end, Giles opening up to Buffy about a childhood memory and Buffy and Giles having something in common, the gang trying to block the door with cushions and a lamp.

    Negative: Anointed One.
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    Day 6 The Pack

    Positives: That dodgeball game was one of the best things the show has ever done, it was incredibly tense and quite scary

    Negatives: Xander's 'memory loss' was a cop out, and I wish it had been dealt with at the time.

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    Day 6 The Pack

    Positives: Hyena Xander was hot! Xander chasing Willow throughout the school was so scary, especially when he suddenly appeared to her. Also Xander's smirk the first time he got possessed, which again, Hyena Xander was hot! "He's a 16 year old boy. Of course, you'll have to kill him." "Don't Scully me!" Another vote for dodgeball game.

    I'm also one of the minority here because I'm glad Giles kept Xander's secret and was supportive - one of the rare moments of Giles showing compassion towards Xander - because it was Xander's trauma and if he's not ready to talk about it, then it's his choice. Which leads me to...

    Negatives: I wish more focus was put on how traumatic that experience was to Xander, being possessed against his will and forced to hurt his friends, same goes for the other kids who ate the principal. Sadly most of Xander's traumas get swept under the rug: Jesse, almost being raped and murdered by his teacher, and now this. He will bottle them up inside until S9 when he won't be able to do it anymore.
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    The Pack

    Positive: This episode is a true genre bender. It's basically a campy 80s horror flick inside a 90s teen drama and it manages to work as both. It's amazing, one of my favourite episodes.

    Negative: Doctor Weirick just isn't creepy enough.

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    Day 6 - The Pack

    Positive - The subtle shifts that they used in conveying 'the pack' were brilliant. The dodgeball scene for sure, but also the power walk and the way they flowed around each other, moving as a predatory unit. It's just an excellent visual.

    Negative - This is one of my favourites of the season but as often happens the effects can be a let down, the hyena was rubbish.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    I'm also one of the minority here because I'm glad Giles kept Xander's secret and was supportive - one of the rare moments of Giles showing compassion towards Xander - because it was Xander's trauma and if he's not ready to talk about it, then it's his choice.
    It's worth noting that I don't think Giles was there when Buffy came into the library and said that Xander tried to assault her. As far as he is concerned he may just be protecting Xander from the fact he remembers the pig lunch he had. But regardless, I agree that it will have been traumatic for him to be possessed like that and all that happened during, and of course the attack could also have been traumatic for Buffy. As it isn't something that he would have done in his right mind I think that it is fair for both of them to want to let it pass and move on.

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    Day 5 -- "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"

    POSITIVE: Buffy and Giles bonding at the end. Although Season 1 is pretty lackluster, I love it a lot for its heavy focus on the core four cast members. As lame and campy as the episodes can be sometimes, it's always nice to see the development of the Scooby friendships as they become closer as a group and we see that in play with Buffy and Giles here.

    NEGATIVE: Owen. He was dull as dirt, and I had no idea why Buffy was into or him. And Cordelia's entire appearance in this episode felt unnatural because it made no sense for her to be into him, either.

    Day 6 -- "The Pack"

    POSITIVE: I love this episode dearly for so many reasons that it's really hard to pick just ONE. Um... probably Principal Flutie's death, the shocking nature of it, and the way it was executed. It's the first time I was really shocked while watching this show. And it paved the way for the much more superior, Principal Snyder.

    NEGATIVE: The bullies/hyena pack, all of whom looked WAY told to be in high school. Then again, so did Nick Brendon and Charisma Carpenter but they played their roles well enough for me to suspend my disbelief, whereas all the hyena pack actors sucked. The kid that was getting bullied, Lance, seemed like a rough draft version of Jonathan. Some early-season one-off characters often remind me of later ones. Lance seemed like Jonathan, Owen seemed like a rough-draft Riley, and the creepy Eric guy from "Some Assembly Required" seemed like a rough draft Warren Mears.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    It's worth noting that I don't think Giles was there when Buffy came into the library and said that Xander tried to assault her. As far as he is concerned he may just be protecting Xander from the fact he remembers the pig lunch he had. But regardless, I agree that it will have been traumatic for him to be possessed like that and all that happened during, and of course the attack could also have been traumatic for Buffy. As it isn't something that he would have done in his right mind I think that it is fair for both of them to want to let it pass and move on.
    You know, it's always bothered me when I've seen people who use the end of the episode as a reason to bash Xander. "He tried to rape Buffy, but then pretended he forgot -- what an ass!" I think some people, in an excuse to go out of their way to bash Xander, forget that HE was the real victim of this episode. He was the one who was possessed by a hyena and forced to eat a pig, FFS! While Buffy having to fight off one of her closest friends trying to rape her is a pretty terrible thing for her to have to experience (and sadly, not the last time she will have to experience it ), Xander also got a pretty bad deal. It's also a sad case of irony that Xander got turned into a bully while he was trying to save another kid from getting bullied.

    But yeah, I love that Giles-Xander moment at the end. It's one of the few times we ever see them bond.
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    Day 5 - Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

    POSITIVE: I kinda like Owen, at least thinking of him now. He wasn't a cookie cutter archetype of high school, being both athletic and literate. And not raised in a barn! old-fashioned gentlemanliness keepin it real. Actually think it's unfair to dismiss him as having a daredevil thrill seeking attitude because all we saw was him signing up for what he thought Buffy was into, not a thing qua itself. It's upside-down to assume he'd be unserious and vulnerable to vampires because of how he behaved without actually knowing the situation. But not to turn that into my negative, I thought he was a decent character, worthy company for the Buffster.

    NEGATIVE: Eh... having to scrape for one here actually. Colin is too obvious, but really the twist of who Colin would be wasn't a bad one. I guess just the arch-ness of Giles' stand on Buffy's social life, which ultimately is never repeated?

    Day 6 - The Pack

    POSITIVE: The power walk scene and music choice. Nick would later play a damn intimidating vampire and he was a damn intimidating mean-boy/were hyena thing. Great screen presence, convincing as both a psychological and physical threat to the his friends.

    NEGATIVE: Again, having to scrape here. This really is one of the best episodes of the season IMO. I guess the hyena laugh. It's a small thing, but the "hallway insults to Willow with Buffy as witness" cackle is performed too over the top for my taste, and it's only because it's got to be there for Buffy to remember. Just think the "mean kids" should have sounded a little less affected with the laugh right then, there could have been some other more subtle way to tip Buffy off.

    ASIDE: I think Giles was reasonable regardless of his knowledge. Agency is a major question mark with the hyena, isn't it? I suspect he either knew or logically inferred about Buffy, too, because honestly I think his facial expression in "Phases" when Buffy catches Xander remembering hyena time is too knowing.

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