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Episode Titles

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  • Episode Titles

    What do you think of the episode titles on Buffy? To my mind, some of them are good, if unremarkable, others are boring, and others add a whole new layer of understanding to the episode. I thought we could go through season by season and discuss each title's meaning.

    So...Welcome to the Hellmouth. Personally I think this one falls into the category of good but unremarkable. Interesting title, and it does highlight the Hellmouth, which was a crucial part of the series from the very beginning. But it doesn't really have any deeper meaning.

    Any thoughts on The Harvest?

  • #2
    This is a very interesting idea. I love reading peoples opinions and analysis and criticisms (as long as it's constructive and not inane complaints) it can bring episodes and themes to a higher level of understanding and give new meaning and added depth.

    Looking through the episode titles of season one, I don't think they hold as much significance as later seasons. Although reading the etymology of the word "harvest", when it originated it was used to signify the season Autumn. This episode would have been set in the Autumn right? So the title in that sense brings a context to the setting of the story.

    I think out of all the episode titles of season one, my favourite is "Never Kill A Boy On the First Date", am I the only one who thinks that title encapsulated Buffy in the earlier seasons? Buffy was always subverting typical roles of women, and I think interchanging "kiss" with "kill", going from a very feminine word to something much more powerful held a significant meaning for the story told.


    • #3
      Very much agree that season one's titles are often not as significant as the later seasons. The Witch - not really any where to go from that! But if we move on to Teacher's Pet, I liked that both Xander was behaving like a teacher's pet, AND the teacher was in fact a pet (or, at least, secretly a bug-demon-animal type creature). Fun symmetry.


      • #4
        I liked the title "The Pack". It created feelings of herd mentality and herd instinct, the way teenagers copy each other. I really liked that comparison.


        • #5
          This episode would have been set in the Autumn right? So the title in that sense brings a context to the setting of the story.
          Actually it aired in March, because Buffy was a midseason replacement.

          The Harvest is a ridiculously spooky title, if you think about it. Deliciously creepy.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hekate View Post
            Actually it aired in March, because Buffy was a midseason replacement.

            The Harvest is a ridiculously spooky title, if you think about it. Deliciously creepy.
            Yeah, now that you mention it, Buffy did transfer schools for the new semester right?


            • #7
              The Witch - not really any where to go from that!
              I read somewhere that the actual title is supposed to be Witch, because then it can be also read as "Which", as in, mom or daughter? But I've only ever seen it as "The Witch", so I'm not sure if that's true. It's interesting, though.
              The story's kinda bland. It's about this guy named Dumbledore Calrissian who needs to return the ring back to Mordor.


              • #8
                I really like the title "Welcome to the Hellmouth." It's kinda spunky, and it literally welcomes both the audience and Buffy Summers to Sunnydale High. It establishes the idea that High School is hell -- in its unique Buffy mythology.

                I thought the episode title "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" was pretty brilliant. An obvious spin on the "out of sight, out of mind" expression. Like Marcie Ross, the episode title makes the metaphor literal.

                "Prophecy Girl" seems like an odd choice for the episode's title. It does point Buffy as the girl who accepts then denies the prophecy. But does it mean anything more than that?

                Oh, how can we not mention "I, Robot... You, Jane"? It's a pretty poor episode, but the title almost makes up for it, no? I thought it was pretty funny. A good spin on the Tarzan line.


                • #9
                  One of my favorite is "Grave", so full of symbols but Two To Go was a really disappointing title, not strong.


                  • #10
                    The early years had simpler titles like "Teacher's Pet", "Graduation Day, etc.."

                    Later years saw more metaphorical titles like "Seeing Red", "Fool for Love", "Empty places".

                    Sometimes the latter didn't quite feel right but often times they did. At least to me at any rate.


                    • #11
                      Some of my fave titles are:

                      Faith, Hope and Trick.

                      Buffy v Dracula

                      This years girl


                      • #12
                        I don't find Buffy titles particularly strong.

                        Let's go through them all, shall we!?

                        Out of 5.

                        Welcome To The Hellmouth - 2.5/5
                        The Harvest - 1/5
                        Witch - 0/5
                        Teacher's Pet - 2/5
                        Never Kill A Boy On The First Date - 3/5
                        The Pack - 1/5
                        Angel - 0/5
                        I, Robot - You, Jane - 3/5
                        The Puppet Show - 0.5/5
                        Nightmares - 1.5/5
                        Out of Mind, Out of Sight - 3.5/5
                        Prophecy Girl - 2/5

                        When She Was Bad - 2/5
                        Some Assembly Required - 3.5/5
                        School Hard - 1.5/5
                        Inca Mummy Girl - 2/5
                        Reptile Boy - 2/5
                        Halloween - 0/5
                        Lie To Me - 4/5
                        The Dark Age - 1.5/5
                        What's My Line? (Parts 1 and 2) - 3/5
                        Ted - 0/5
                        Bad Eggs - 2/5
                        Surprise - 2/5
                        Innocence - 3.5/5
                        Phases - 2.5/5
                        Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered - 4.5/5
                        Passion - 4.5/5
                        Killed By Death - 4/5
                        I Only Have Eyes For You - 3.5/5
                        Go Fish - 2/5
                        Becoming (Parts 1 and 2) - 2/5

                        Anne - 0.5/5
                        Dead Man's Party - 2/5
                        Faith, Hope, and Trick - 3/5
                        Beauty and the Beasts - 2.5/5
                        Homecoming - 0/5
                        Band Candy - 1/5
                        Revelations - 1.5/5
                        Lover's Walk - 3.5/5
                        The Wish - 1/5
                        Amends - 2/5
                        Gingerbread - 1/5
                        Helpless - 1.5/5
                        The Zeppo - 2.5/5
                        Bad Girls - 3/5
                        Consequences - 1.5/5
                        Doppelgangland - 4/5
                        Enemies - 1/5
                        Earshot - 2/5
                        Choices - 1/5
                        The Prom - 0/5
                        Graduation Day (Parts 1 and 2) - 0/5

                        The Freshman - 0.5/5
                        Living Conditions - 3/5
                        The Harsh Light of Day - 3/5
                        Fear, Itself - 3/5
                        Beer Bad - 2/5
                        Wild At Heart - 3/5
                        The Initiative - 0/5
                        Pangs - 2/5
                        Something Blue - 3/5
                        Hush - 4/5
                        Doomed - 2/5
                        A New Man - 2/5
                        The I In Team - 2/5
                        Goodbye Iowa - 3.5/5
                        This Year's Girl - 4.5/5
                        Who Are You? - 2.5/5
                        Superstar - 1.5/5
                        Where The Wild Things Are - 3/5
                        New Moon Rising - 3/5
                        The Yoko Factor - 3.5/5
                        Primeval - 2/5
                        Restless - 2/5

                        Buffy vs. Dracula - 0/5
                        Real Me - 2/5
                        The Replacement - 1/5
                        Out of my Mind - 2/5
                        No Place Like Home - 3.5/5
                        Family - 1/5
                        Fool For Love - 4/5
                        Shadow - 1/5
                        Listening To Fear - 3/5
                        Into The Woods - 4/5
                        Triangle - 0.5/5
                        Checkpoint - 1/5
                        Blood Ties - 1.5/5
                        Crush - 0/5
                        I Was Made To Love You - 3/5
                        The Body - 4/5 (so simple; all it really needs)
                        Forever - 2/5
                        Intervention - 2/5
                        Tough Love - 2/5
                        Spiral - 2/5
                        Weight of the World - 3.5/5
                        The Gift - 1.5/5 (boo! hiss!)

                        Bargaining (Parts 1/2) - 1.5/5
                        After Life - 2.5/5
                        Flooded - 3/5
                        Life Serial - 2.5/5
                        All The Way - 2/5
                        Once More, With Feeling - 3/5
                        Tabula Rasa - 2/5
                        Smashed - 1/5
                        Wrecked - 1/5
                        Gone - 0/5
                        Doublemeat Palace - 0.5/5
                        Dead Things - 3/5
                        6.14 - what is it again?
                        As You Were - 3.5/5
                        Hell's Bells - 4/5
                        Normal Again - 4/5
                        Entropy - 2/5
                        Seeing Red - 4/5
                        Villains - 1/5
                        Two To Go - 2/5
                        Grave - 3.5/5

                        Lessons - 2/5
                        Beneath You - 3/5
                        Same Time, Same Place - 3/5
                        Help - 0.5/5
                        Selfless - 2/5
                        Him - 0/5
                        Conversations With Dead People - 4.5/5
                        Sleeper - 1/5
                        Never Leave Me - 2.5/5
                        Bring on the Night - 3.5/5
                        Showtime - 1.5/5
                        Potential - 0.5/5
                        The Killer In Me - 3/5
                        First Date - 0/5
                        Get It Done - 1.5/5
                        Storyteller - 1.5/5
                        Lies My Parents Told Me - 3.5/5
                        Dirty Girls - 3.5/5
                        Empty Places - 3/5
                        Touched - 1.5/5
                        End of Days - 1.5/5
                        Chosen - 1/5


                        • #13
                          Ever notice how many song titles are utilized in Buffy episode titles?

                          And this is probably the short list:

                          Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered
                          I Only Have Eyes For You
                          Dead Man's Party
                          Lover's Walk
                          The Harsh Light of Day ? an album title
                          Wild at Heart ? a movie title - close but still cookie-worthy IMO
                          Something Blue
                          Out of My Mind
                          Fool for Love
                          Doublemeat Palace

                          just kidding about Doublemeat Palace
                          I am the one who has disappeared. The way you look through me, I know I'm the one who has disappeared.


                          • #14
                            out of mind, out of sight is a reversal of a famous quote--"out of sight, out of mind"... it's when a lover goes away from their other and get eyes for someone else.

                            and there is also a song by that name as well (it's from the '50s by ivory joe hunter and clyde otis).

                            here's the phrase's meaning:

                            the song lyrics:
                            Out of sight, out of mind
                            So the story goes
                            You forgot I exist
                            My broken heart knows

                            When out of sight then it's out of mind
                            Especially when you found somebody new
                            But I can't change my love
                            Umm umm, the way that you do

                            I sit around and wonder
                            About your new love affair
                            That's what you call lookin' back
                            I should forget to remember
                            And remember not to care

                            I'd forget if I could
                            But my heart is blind
                            You are gone out of sight
                            But you're lingering in my mind

                            Out of sight but not out of my mind

                            interesting aside--the song "i only have eyes for you" dates all the way to 1934, but the flamingos version you hear in the episode is from 1959. the problem is, the flashback takes place in 1955.

                            also--the astrological clues given in the episode mean that the harvest showdown took place on january 9, 1997--the crescent moon. buffy's first day of school was january 8, 1997--which is a wednesday.
                            Last edited by NileQT87; 17-06-08, 05:47 AM.

                            "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
                            "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."


                            • #15
                              Why would they do that if it aired in March? I guess it's nice that it matches up to a real day at all, but that's going to bug me now that I know (Wow, I'm a spaz).

                              I think my favorite title is probably Conversations with Dead People. It's the only title that was shown on an episode and it's chilling when you rewatch the beginning conversations between Andrew and Jonathan and realize that Jonathan can be considered one of the dead.

                              I also like Earshot, Hush, The Body, Surprise, and Innocence. The more blunt, the better.


                              • #16
                                Anyone else think all the Darla episodes in Angels2 had great names? ...Redefinition, Dear boy etc..


                                • #17
                                  So I think we've covered most of the season one titles about season two?

                                  I always loved the title When She Was Bad, because it's a line from a poem I heard as a kid:
                                  There was a little girl,
                                  Who had a little curl,
                                  Right in the middle of her forehead.
                                  When she was good,
                                  She was very good indeed,
                                  But when she was bad she was horrid.

                                  -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



                                  • #18
                                    Ive heard that too. In a nursery rhyme book when i was a kid.
                                    I love 'when she was bad' title. And School hard.


                                    • #19
                                      Who didn't love Buffy "When She Was Bad" though? I mean, whole new side to her character, I'm guessing that's what "Spordelia" was like if you got to know her more.

                                      Anyway, Some Assemble Required, I quite like it simply because of the image it gives you, like from old toy boxes, you have to put the thing together yourself/build a humanoid girlfriend for your reanimated brother.

                                      Inca Mummy Girl and Reptile Boy were kind of weak in my opinion because they just generally tell you what the episodes are about, they're sort of boring.

                                      Halloween is a good episode title because of the flexibility behind it and also all of the lore connected to the holiday, that and the ability to basically go anywhere with the Halloween idea.


                                      • #20
                                        Question for anyone who saw Buffy on original broadcast: were the titles public knowledge back then? Or were they just things that the writers used in-house to refer to each episode?

                                        Because things like 'Prophecy Girl' and 'Reptile Boy' sound to me like the sort of title you think up after a long, exhausting day of writing when you can't think of anything better, and it doesn't really matter anyway because nobody outside the TV studio will ever know or care what title you gave the script...

                                        Later on, after the show went into syndication and the DVD boxsets started to come out, they knew they had to pay more attention to the titles, though, and began thinking up more interesting ones...

                                        Originally posted by Hekate
                                        I think my favorite title is probably Conversations with Dead People. It's the only title that was shown on an episode.
                                        One of two. 'Once More With Feeling' was shown on screen as well.

                                        Which suggests a separate topic, actually... how many episodes had their title spoken in dialogue during the show?