Thursday, 23 August 2012
BUFFY 5.15: I WAS MADE TO LOVE YOU
Cute robot April
WRITER: Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: James A. Contner
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
A beautiful and slightly odd young woman comes to town asking everyone she meets if they have seen Warren. The girl, whose name is April, says that Warren is her boyfriend and that he has gone missing. At a party, April does the rounds asking every guest if they have seen Warren. When she gets to Spike, the vamp hits on her, whispering something suggestive to which April takes offence….and promptly picks him up and throws him through a window…much to the delight of a watching Buffy. After some investigations, Buffy and the gang discover that April is in fact a robot who was created by a guy called Warren Meers as the ‘perfect’ girlfriend. But not long after, Warren met a real girl called Katrina and the pair hooked up. Leaving April shut in a closet Warren and the oblivious Katrina then moved away, Warren thinking April’s battery would eventually run down. But it hasn’t, not yet. And April means to find him so that they can be together again. Things come to a head when a desperate Warren, wanting to get away from April, tells her he is in love with Buffy. April reacts furiously and attacks the unwitting Buffster. However April’s batteries are almost dry and the fight soon peters out. A dying April can't understand what she did wrong, as she was the perfect girlfriend. And before long, poor rejected April, left sitting on a swing, Buffy holding her hand, is dead. Elsewhere Spike finds Warren and demands he build him a robot Buffy. Then, as the episode ends, Buffy arrives at her home looking for her mom only to make a terrible discovery.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
Loneliness and the pain of rejection and of unrequited love. When you believe that you’ve done everything you can possibly do to make someone love you, when you’ve been everything they wanted you to be….only to discover that it isn’t enough and that love doesn’t work like that.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Well, it could be April, but it isn’t. She doesn’t hurt anyone, not really. She is far too sympathetic. She is the victim here. No, the real bad guy is Warren - the selfish, shallow and soon to be discovered criminal misogynist.
WHY IT ROCKS
I, Robot. Introducing a full-on sci-fi concept in to the show in the form of a man made and perfectly human looking robot is on one hand weird and disconcerting but on the other hand a stroke of nutty genius. But it isn’t new. The John Ritter starring episode ‘Ted’ back in season 2 first gave us human looking robots in Buffy. The show enjoys mixing popular sci-fi tropes with its more usual horror/supernatural ones. It’s part of the reason the show is so much fun. I mean, last season we got ray guns and cyborgs too. Cool.
April. Playing robot April is Shonda Farr who does a great job – all sweet and chirpy innocence with sudden explosions of violence. She’s great. She’s also very, very cute. A fact both Xander and Willow acknowledge. April is the victim here and her situation and eventual fate is sad…even if she is just circuits and motors…very, very attractive circuits and motors.
Puffy Xander. Buffy training violently at the start of the episode, venting her frustrations on an unseen punch bag, which is soon revealed to be a winded and pained Xander wearing a big padded suit, is most amusing.
Traumatised Giles. After babysitting Dawn for an evening while Joyce and Buffy are out, Giles is mercifully relieved to be set free from the torment a young teenage girl can inflict with her terrible music and relentless talk about boys.
That final scene.
WHY IT SUCKS
It doesn’t suck. It’s a solid episode, nicely written, nicely played and the underlying theme is quite a good one but overall it is fairly run of the mill stuff. The script is amusing and poignant in places but it just never quite gets up there.
The final scene.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Buffy: Oh! Puffy Xander, uh, I'm sorry, I got... guess I got carried away. Are you okay?
Xander: I'm alive. I can tell 'cause of the pain.
Xander: Buffy, do you ever think the reason you haven't found a great relationship on the Hellmouth is because it's a Hellmouth?
Joyce: He's a nice, normal guy. Okay?
Buffy: I think I've heard of those.
Tara: I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing.
Xander (dancing with Buffy): How you doing, having o' the fun?
Buffy: You know, I am. Dancing with you is way better than trying to hook up with some good-looking guy.
Xander: I think I liked it better when you were kicking me in my puffy groin.
Spike: You threw me through a window! What's that about?
April: You cannot make those suggestions to me. I have a boyfriend. Warren is my boyfriend.
Spike: You know what? My bleeding sympathies to Warren!
Buffy: I don't know about you guys, but I've had it with super-strong little women who aren't me.
Giles: Dear god, Buffy, there's only so much I can take. We're going to have to change the system. A fourteen-year-old's too old to be babysat, and it's not fair on her.
Buffy: What'd she make you do?
Giles: Um, well, we listened to aggressively cheerful music sung by people chosen for their ability to dance. Then we ate cookie dough, and talked about boys.
Buffy (laughing): I'm sorry. I'm very very sorry, but if it makes you feel any better, my "fun time Buffy party night" involved watching a robot throw Spike through a window, so if you wanna trade... no... wait... I wouldn't give that memory up for anything.
Buffy (seeing her mother lifeless on the couch): Mom? Mom? (In a small voice) Mommy?
AND ANOTHER THING
Originally it was intended for Britney Spears to play the role of April the jilted love bot. Britney was a Buffy fan but the deal fell through. Thankfully. Celeb gimmicks are NOT required in this show.
HOW MANY STAKES?
A lovely 3 (out of 5)