Sunday, 13 November 2011
BUFFY: 4.02 ‘LIVING CONDITIONS’
It's all super fun!
WRITER: Marti Noxon
DIRECTOR: David Grossman
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Creepy demons turn up in Sunnydale, clearly looking for something or someone. Meanwhile Buffy is getting more and more aggravated by her relentlessly perky, neat freak, Celine Dion and Cher loving roommate Kathy. So much so that Buffy begins to suspect that Kathy is in fact evil. That she is not human, and that she must be stopped. Buffy’s friends are freaked out by this and think Buffy has gone off the deep end, so they try to convince her that Kathy is really a normal (ish) human being and not some evil hell beast that needs to be slayed. But Buffy won’t be convinced and is determined to gather the proof of Kathy’s inhumanity in order to validate her intended forthcoming slaying of her roommate.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
The metaphor is the roommate from hell. Literally. And carrying on from 4.1 ‘The Freshman’, it remains part of the whole moving out in to the world and out of your comfort zone deal. Part of doing that successfully is learning to get on with people you might not have bothered with before, to allow for people’s foibles and habits, to learn patience and compromise. This is Buffy’s first experience of living with someone outside of home. And she gets Kathy, who’s a total neat freak (whereas Buff can be a bit of a slob) and obsessed with annoyingly mundane details like keeping a log of phone calls for when the bill comes in, for labelling individual items of food etc. Plus she has habits that Buffy truly hates – closing the window at night, clipping her toenails on the bed, playing Cher’s horrendous chart botherer ‘Believe’ over and over and over and over…
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Yes, Kathy is annoying, and there are a couple of creepy looking demons who lurk around the place, but as has been done before and will be done again, it is actually Buffy herself who is doing the scary stuff for most of the episode.
WHY IT ROCKS
The script. Marti Noxon’s script is, to quote Kathy, “Super fun!” Watching Buff slowly start to unravel due to the extreme mental torture of having to listen to Cher’s ‘Believe’ over and over and over is most amusing. It is hilarious that Buffy’s only plausible answer as to why a human being would behave in such a way is because they are an evil soulless demon.
Kathy. Yes, she is annoying – though mostly due to her music tastes. But she actually comes across (to those of us not obsessed with her possible evilness) as a rather sweet and (overly) friendly girl. She makes the effort to hang out with Buffy and to be nice to Buffy’s friends. But as we know, Buffy is mightily territorial over such things and is often extremely possessive and defensive about her gang of pals. See what happened last year with Faith. Dagney Kerr is a cutie and she plays Kathy with energetic perkiness and an offbeat charm. Sorry Buff, I kinda liked her.
SMG unhinged. Sarah gets to do all out comedy…if rather dark and batty comedy. And she is very, very good at it. Nutty Buffy is funny.
WHY IT SUCKS
It’s perhaps just a bit too light and silly, though the metaphor of the roommate from hell is nicely played. Problem being, despite the awful music, and the ultimate reveal, I quite liked Kathy. Sorry.
Xander and Oz watching Buffy who has just been tied up and Xander’s nervously manic laugh when Oz suggests they go check that her bindings are tight enough.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Buffy (to Oz): "So then Kathy's like, 'It's share-time.' And I'm like, 'Oh yeah? Share this!'" (Buffy punches the air a few times.)
Oz: "So either you hit her or you did your wacky mime routine for her."
Buffy: "Well, I didn't do either, actually. But she deserved it, don't ya think?"
Oz: "Nobody deserves mime, Buffy."
Buffy: "Kathy's evil. I'm an evil fighter. It's simple. I'm gonna have to kill her."
Buffy: “And what are we if not women up to a challenge?”
Willow: “Exactly. I mean, did we not put the 'grr' in 'girl'?”
Buffy (to Willow as she leaves to patrol): “Wish me monsters.”
Buffy: “Cool. You guys can do the brain thing. I'm gonna go to class.”
Oz: “Which could also be construed as the brain thing.”
Buffy: “Not when you're minoring in Napping 101.”
Buffy: “She irons her jeans. She's evil.”
Xander: “Why couldn't Giles have shackles like any self-respecting bachelor?”
AND ANOTHER THING
Clayton Barber, who played a demon in this episode, was Angel's stunt double in the past. He was another vampire's stunt double (Frost's), in the movie Blade.
Dagney Kerr used to be a singer and dancer on cruise ships before she started acting. She went on to a recurring role on Desperate Housewives.
HOW MANY STAKES?
Do you believe in life after love? 3.5 (out of 5)