Saturday, 16 August 2014
BUFFY: 6.12 ‘DOUBLEMEAT PALACE’
WRITER: Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: Nick Marck
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Needing money to pay the bills and generally help get herself back in the black, Buffy takes a job at The Doublemeat Palace, a local franchised fast food joint where she is forced to wear an embarrassing uniform (complete with cow/chicken hat) and flip burgers and serve customers for minimum wage. Of course, being Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it's soon obvious that something strange is afoot at The Doublemeat Palace with staff members disappearing and strange secrecy around the food's apparent secret ingredient. What's more Spike continually hanging around trying to tempt Buff away from her new life on the bottom rung of the service industry ladder doesn't make things any easier for our girl. Poor Buff. And did I mention that hat? Hoo boy!
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
Real life. Paying the bills. The soul crushing monotonous drudgery of going through the motions of daily life, just trying to keep ones head above water. Oh, and poking fun at the fast food industry.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
The monster with the phallic worm thing that extends out the top of its head to eat people with. Yeah, it's as weird and as gross as it sounds. Yuck! Oh, and working at a fast food joint.
WHY IT ROCKS
Funny. This ain't the greatest of episodes but being a Jane Espenson script it does bring the funny in a few key places, mostly at the expense of poor Buff and in poking fun at life working at a fast food restaurant.
SMG. Put this girl in the worst most embarrassing uniform ever with that god-awful hat...and she still looks as cute as a button. Plus she also provides another excellent comedy performance. Buffy's reaction watching the Doublemeat Palace training video showing how cow and chicken are brought together in to one swirly meat-like substance is priceless.
The penis worm monster. It is quite frankly weird and yucky. A pretty good physical and make-up effect though that is just the right side of silly while keeping one foot firmly planted in the gross camp.
WHY IT SUCKS
The 'lets poke fun at fast food joints' is amusing at first but I'm not sure it warrants a whole episode. It isn't that subtle either portraying the staff as dull, greasy, zombiefied stiffs who are like that due to the soul crushing nature of their job rather than anything supernatural. It's just all a bit obvious.
Also, mixed in with the fun and silliness are moments of darkness with Spike showing up to taunt/tempt Buff and her then sneaking away for (literally) soulless sex with him up against a burger bar wall. This feels grim and rather jarring in tone. Also seeing Buff apparently helpless against the vampire, unable to enforce her own will, is kinda distrubing too. But hey, that's season six for you.
Our first sight of Buff in THAT hat.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Anya (to Xander & Willow): “But super-villains... want reward without labor, to make things come easy. It's wrong. Without labor there can be no payment, and vice versa. The country cannot progress. The workers are the tools that shape America.”
Buffy walks in wearing her new fast food uniform complete with silly cow/chicken hat
Buffy: “Good to know. I was kinda feelin' like a tool.”
Buffy (watching Doublemeat Palace's graphic meat production video): “Holy crap!”
Manny (about the Doublemeat video): “Interesting, isn't it?”
Buffy: “Oh yes! Like how the cow and the chicken come together even though they've never met. It's like Sleepless in Seattle if, if Meg and Tom were, like, minced.”
Buffy: “I'm working. Go away.”
Spike: “Yeah, and you chose to be in the consumer service profession, and I'm a consumer. Service me.”
Buffy (manic): “Stop! Stop! Everyone, you have to stop! Stop eating! No, you can't have this! It's not beef! It's people! The DoubleMeat Medley is people! The meat layer is definitely people! It's people! It's people! Probably not the chickeny part. But who knows? Who! Knows!”
AND ANOTHER THING
The whole idea of Buffy's that people are the main ingredient of the burgers was the theme of 1973 sci-fi flick Soylent Green.
Doublemeat Palace was first heard (but not seen) in a TV commercial Amy watched in ep. 6.9 'Smashed'.
SMG's first acting gig was a Burger King ad at the age of four. And it got her sued. She was named in a lawsuit filed by McDonald's because in the ad Sarah said, "Do I look 20 per cent smaller to you? I must have at McDonald's because their hamburgers are 20 per cent smaller than Burger King's." McDonald's sued Burger King, the advertising agency, and Sarah herself.
Believe it or not Doublemeat Palace is the Buffy episode that got Joss and co. in to the most potential trouble with the network. Forget sex scenes, gay relationships, horror, violence.. Making fun of fast food was then a cardinal sin in US broadcasting. The ep proved extremely unpopular with sponsors with some even pulling out of the show because of the episode.
HOW MANY STAKES?
It's not a Whopper at 2.5 (out of 5)