Sunday, 7 July 2013
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER 6.5: LIFE SERIAL
WRITER: David Fury & Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: Nick Marck
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Buffy returns home after her meeting with Angel just as the geek Trio of Warren, Jonathan and Andrew launch in to a series of goofy and rather annoying scenarios to secretly test the slayer. Scenarios that include a mummy hand infested time loop, speeded up time, and a conjured demon attack. Thinking someone is messing with her, Buff teams up with Spike to crash the local demon haunts in search of info. This leads to vast quantities of booze being consumed, a few hands of kitten poker and a run-in with a nerdy Star Wars van and a decidedly odd red faced demon.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
The continuing search to find where you fit in, what direction your life should be going in. Making some kind of sense out of the senseless.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
The Trio and their various tests.
WHY IT ROCKS
Funny: After what has been a fairly heavy start to the sixth season, Life Serial is just a big bunch of full-on silliness. Much of the comedy is not subtle, be it the innuendo around grabbing Jonathan's magic bone, the Trio's geek fight over who was the best Bond, the reveal of the Death Star and the Star Wars horn, Buffy's Evil Dead/Three Stooges style battle with a living mummy hand, drunk Buffy, kitten poker etc. Yep, not subtle. At all. But funny? You bet.
Who was the best Bond? Warren and Jonathan's vigorous debate over whether Connery, Brosnan or Moore are the best James Bond is hilarious, especially when Andrew, sat between them, says that he preferred Timothy Dalton, thus earning a hard smack around the head from Warren. This is followed up by a discussion on how terrible Moonraker is and then Andrew's later scream of rage that: “Dalton should get an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the *head* with it!” Heh.
Kitten poker: Pure bloody genius. 'nuff said.
Buffy the boozer: Oh she is not a good boozer. So funny how she does a silly gag with every shot she does. And then later suffers the mother of all hangovers complete with handy bucket. Ugh. We've all been there.
Giles' dark look as a happy Buffy leaves the bedroom, saying she's so happy he'll always be there to help her out with her problems.
WHY IT SUCKS
Tricks: the tricks/tests the Trio put Buffy through are not exactly scary or too terrible, more annoying. Luckily the mummy hand sequence is very funny thanks to some snappy direction and SMG's game performance.
Silly: The entire episode is very, very silly. While that is not a bad thing per se, it's just that this one tips over in to the absurd rather than keeping itself grounded in some sort of reality, which all the best eps of Buffy are able to do.
Kitten poker. Who's gonna advance me a tiny tabby?
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Willow: You're not dumb, just rusty!
Buffy: Maybe I should ease back in with some non-taxing classes, like Introduction to Pies, or maybe Advanced Walking.
Xander: I think it's worth checking out. And I don't mean later. You need to see Giles right away. I'd start by IDing those demons.
Buffy: You're firing me, aren't you?
Xander: Big time.
Andrew: Why is the Slayer here anyway? She's a student, she's a construction worker, and now she's some kind of selling-stuff person?
Warren: It's like she's completely without focus... Should we check the other channels for free cable porn?
Jonathan: Stop touching my magic bone!
(Warren & Andrew giggle)
Jonathan: Shut up!
Andrew: I just hope she solves it faster than Data did on the ep of TNG where the Enterprise kept blowing up.
Warren: Or Mulder in the X-Files one, where the bank kept exploding?
Andrew: Scully wants me so bad!
Warren: This mummy hand has ceased to be!
Andrew: It is an _ex_-mummy hand!
Buffy: You play for *kittens*?!?
Spike: Who's gonna advance me a tiny tabby... get me started? Come on, someone's got to stake me.
Buffy: I'll do it! (he glares) You thought I was just gonna let that lie there?
Andrew: We're really super-villians now! Like Dr. No.
Warren: Back when Bond was Connery and movies were decent.
Jonathan: Who remembers Connery? I mean, Roger Moore was smooth!
Warren: You're insane. You're short and you're insane.
Andrew: I like Timothy Dalton. (warren smacks him) Hey!
Buffy: Scamper! Be free, kittens!
Warren: Connery is the only actor of the bunch!
Andrew: Timothy Dalton should get an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the *head* with it!!!
AND ANOTHER THING
Star Wars: There are lots of pop culture gags and references in this episode. Perhaps the most obvious (other than Bond) are the numerous Star Wars ones. This is not by accident. George Lucas' daughter was a massive Buffy fan and during the filming of season six both her and her dad visited the set to meet the stars and production team. George was so impressed with what he saw he actually invited Joss and the gang to come out to Australia and do some shooting while he was there making Episode 2: Attack of the Clones at the new FOX studio. It was seriously considered for a while but in the end time and money prevented it from happening.
Gidget & Britney: Buffy is referred to as both Gidget and Britney by the construction guys. Gidget was a trouble-prone teenager in a popular 1960's American TV show played by a young Sally Field. Britney is, I think, fairly obvious to all.
Clem: Spike's pal Clem, the good natured loose skinned demon, makes his first appearance in this episode.
In jokes: If you could read the labels on all the jars on the Magic Box set, you’d see in-jokes like Boreanaz Beads, Charisma Charms and Tony's Heads.
The Mummy's Hand: Actress and puppeteer Alice Dinnean Vernon, who also worked on Sesame Street, provided the mischievous mummy hand.
HOW MANY STAKES?
The Force is (fairly) strong with this one. 3 (out of 5)