Saturday, 5 February 2011

Buffy: 3.2 'Dead Man's Party'

This episode remade in Lego in under 3 mins. Silly.

Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: James Whitmore Jr

What's the sitch?

Buffy is back in Sunnydale. But things are tough. Her mom is overjoyed to have her home but is terrified her daughter will run off she is also secretly furious at Buffy for what she did. And Buffy's friends, though seemingly glad to have her back, are rather distant and awkward around her. There is a lot of pent up resentment and anger brewing that's about to explode. Only Giles is utterly relieved and overjoyed to have Buffy back, with no apparent bitterness towards her. So, in an attempt to make things better, Buffy's friends along with her mom decide to throw her a welcome home party at her house. Unfortunately that very same night an ancient African tribal mask that Joyce has brought home goes and turns all the recently deceased in town in to lumbering, murderous zombies. And said zombies then proceed to converge on the Summers’ house and crash Buffy's party just as tensions between Buffy, her mom, and her friends reaach breaking point.

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

The meat of this episode is the character stuff and the fallout from Buffy's running away. The zombie malarkey is there just to show how when the chips are down Buffy and her friends will fall back in to Scooby mode and be there for each other. The most blatant metaphor at work here is Joyce and Buffy's row in front of a house full of people with Buffy blaming Joyce for telling her to leave when she discovered her daughter was the Slayer. Joyce defends herself by saying you don't just drop such a sudden bombshell on someone and expect them to deal and to act perfectly. This is an obvious continuation of the gay metaphor played up by Joss in Becoming – part 2.

Why it rocks

Lots of great character stuff with anger and resentment bubbling under before eventually boiling over.

A zombie cat. Heh.

Oz thinking the zombie cat is cool and wanting to name it 'Patches'.

Buffy's very funny near-panicked shout-out for her mom after opening the front door to Joyce's new busybody friend Pat.

Giles is so damn cool. He's the only one who doesn't give Buffy a hard time, being just so (secretly) overjoyed to have her back safe.

Snyder is on good odious form. His battle with Joyce over readmitting Buffy to school is entertaining. But he turns out to be no match for a sinister and threatening Giles, Buffy's heroic father figure who will do anything to get her back in school and her life back on track.

Why it sucks

The demon mask/zombie story is pretty lame. It just feels like a needless distraction from the real drama and character stuff.

The trashing of Buffy's house is a bit extreme. How does Joyce get all of that fixed? Oh, and the smashing in of the front door looks terrible. It looks like it's made out of paper.

What kind of museum lets someone (i.e. Joyce) take an ancient exhibit home to be hung on their bedroom wall?

Buffy's friends and her mom are way too hostile towards her and seem only too happy to humiliate poor Buffy in public. I mean what did she really do that was so bad? So she took off for a few weeks. So what? Considering what she went through this is some pretty bloody sadistic behaviour from Xander, Willow and Joyce towards the poor girl. Lest they forget she's a seventeen year old kid with the weight of the world on her shoulders who'd been forced in to doing something utterly awful. Have a heart people.

It's Buftastic

Oz and his zombie cat

Dialogue to die for

Buffy: I'd like to find Willow and Xander.
Joyce: Will you be slaying?
Buffy: Only if they give me lip.

Cordelia (after Giles brings the dead cat to the library): Nice pet, Giles. Don't you like anything regular? Golf, USA Today, or anything?

Giles (muttering to himself as he drives): 'Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead.' Americans!

And another thing

This episode introduces a new location, a downtown corner plaza with an espresso bar.

Director James Whitmore Jr is the son of James Whitmore who played prison librarian Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption.


This party's kinda dead. 2 (out of 5)

1 comment:

  1. The Giles quote you list at the bottom is one of the best bits of the episode. Certainly me and my husband always laugh at it, but then maybe that's cos we're Brits. Sometimes it's just nice to see an authentic British viewpoint of Americans on a US show, the fact that it's amusingly curmudgeonly is even better.

    Another of my favourite bits is when Oz explains the difference between a gathering, a hootenanny and a shindig. A distinction which I'm sure influences/informs the Firefly episode 'Shindig'.