Saturday, 19 February 2011

Buffy: 3.6 ‘Band Candy’

Short and funny tribute vid

Writer: Jane Espenson
Director: Michael Lange

What's the sitch?

The gang is told by odious Principle Snyder to sell as much chocolate as they can in order to raise money for the school band. However they soon discover that the chocolate they’ve been given to sell is cursed and is addictive to adults and regresses them in to behaving as if they were teenagers again, leading to chaos in Sunnydale. It turns out that this ‘Band Candy’ scam is being managed by Giles’ old friend/nemesis Ethan Rayne. But this time Ethan is being sub-contracted by Mr Trick on behalf of The Mayor, who needs to make a special and particularly horrible tribute to a demon, a tribute he’d be unable to make unless the town’s adults are otherwise distracted. Can Buffy save the day while also contending with Giles and her mom getting it on like frisky teenagers, and a weasely Snyder tagging along, desperate to stay in with the cool kids? My money is on the Slayer.

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

Maturity vs. immaturity. We all have it in us. You don’t need to be sixteen to act like a sixteen year old. Buffy is acting immaturely at the start of this episode and gets lectured by her mum and by Giles. But she has an excuse. She is immature. She’s a teen. She has yet to mature. What Band Candy does is to give us a glimpse of the show's so-called adults as teens, to see how they react and deal with things when they were the same age as the Scooby gang. And it’s quite illuminating…and very, very funny. It’s the old Back to the Future thing where mum says ‘I never asked a boy out or parked in cars with boys…’ and then Marty finds out she did all that and more. Likewise Buffy finds out just what Giles and her mum were like at her age. Her mum seems a bit of an airhead and, er, kinda easy, while Giles is pretty much a trouble-making thug. So Buffy is now forced to be the adult and to take charge of things, ordering around her mum and Giles as if they were the wayward teens. Most amusing.

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

Mr Trick, The Mayor, Ethan Rayne, and a baby-eating demon called Larconis.

Why it rocks

Like Xander might say: “Mmm, chocolatey goodness! “ Band Candy is simply one of THE great episodes of Buffy. It’s a great concept and is very, very funny.

Giles as teen Ripper. “Ooh, Copper’s got a gun!”

‘Teen’ Giles and Joyce make for a really great pair.

Tony Head (Giles) and Kristine Sutherland (Joyce) are wonderful and are plainly having a blast.

Buffy’s driving skills (or lack of).

Armin Shimerman as weasely ‘teen’ Snyder.

Harry Groener as The Mayor.

Mr Trick making an example of an innocent employee.

Buffy’s horror at her mum and Giles constantly making out.

Ethan Rayne. Gotta love Robin Sachs.

The Bronze filled with raving oldies and Willow’s horror at seeing her doctor stage diving.

Xander wondering why the chocolate didn’t make him immature, saying he’s eaten loads and doesn’t feel any different. Heh.

Why it sucks

The whole band candy thing seems rather a convoluted and elaborate distraction to enable The Mayor to have his henchman steal five or six babies from the hospital.

Where’s Faith? She’s MIA for this episode, mores the pity.

It's Buftastic

Buffy first spying Giles and her mom making out in the street. A greatly timed gag as she at first walks past them, oblivious, then freezes in horror, and turns back, crying out, “Mom? Giles?”

Dialogue to die for

Oz: They're teenagers. It's a sobering mirror to look into, huh?

Snyder: Whoa, Summers! You drive like a spaz!

Buffy: Giles at sixteen? Less Together Guy, more Bad-Magic-Hates-The-World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy.

Willow (reading graffiti on the school lockers): 'Kiss rocks'? Why would anyone want to kiss... Oh, wait. I get it.

Xander: These things are selling like hot cakes…which is ironic, ‘cos the hot cakes really aren’t moving.

And another thing

This is the first Buffy episode by the great Jane Espenson, who would go on to write some of the best and funniest episodes of Buffy as well as write/produce for Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and the new incarnation of Torchwood.

How many stakes?

I like Candy. 4.5 (out of 5)

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