Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia
perpetual

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Review etc: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date



I could watch forty minutes of this scene on a loop. Angel. Buffy. Buffy's date. Muffin.


Hey, it's that S1 episode for which I have a strange and largely unique fondness. There's some Angel bits, and Giles and the Scoobies being comically competent on their own. I'm not sure why I like it so much, aside from the B/A factor. It's just really neat seeing the first instance of focus on Buffy's need to live a fulfilling normal life, and the complications in store for her.

There's also some boring vampire stuff again. I liked its contribution to the season arc, but man, that Master does start to grate pretty quickly. Also, I do like Owen as a character, but the one-shot kids tend to come across pretty awkwardly, which makes me squirm as a viewer and wish we could lose them.

This episode comes with a shooting script that changes so much it's like a bonus episode, and I clipped out a bunch of quotes when I first reviewed it to analyze them. That's kind of a pain to format here, but I saved a few anyway, because I don't have much commentary without them. :)

For instance!:

GILES
This isn't about me, it's about you.
It is about how there are traditions that a slayer needs to follow.

BUFFY
Tradition is yesterday's news. I'm an improv gal.
How about when I offed the first couple of V's with a single stake?
It was, 'Slay one, kill one free.'

GILES
Ah, yes. Showing off. Yet another example of
how you're not going by the book.

BUFFY
The book. You mean that old dusty thing that's
been out of print for two thousand years?

GILES
The old ways have much to teach us.
If you insist on ignoring the fundamentals handed down
through history, you could find yourself in serious danger.


There's just so much going on here. The Slayer's Handbook! Buffy being all proud of herself! Giles being all Wesley-ish and insisting on tradition, except actually having safety reasons to back it up!

WILLOW
(babbling)
I took algebra last year because I'm a year ahead,
so now I'm taking pre-calculus which is really hard,
but I'm in the gifted class, well, my parents signed
me up for it, how embarrassing is that, and maybe
I should get a janitor to take care of this mess.
(as she goes off)
Clean up on aisle seven!


So freaking cute.

BUFFY
Willow, it's not that big a deal.
It's just a bunch of people getting together.
I mean, sure, Chambers asked me specifically
right in front of Cordelia. And, yeah, he gave
me the marshmallows from his Jell-o during lunch.
And then he walked me to History class
and said 'I can't wait to see you tonight.'


SO FREAKING CUTE. Marshmallows?!

BUFFY
If you listen real close, I'm starting to sound like
a regular teenager. I've got friends. I've got a date.
All I need now are zits and an eating disorder.


Friends and a date are positive things that teenagers want. Zits and an eating disorder are not. Is this showing us how Buffy's lot is both better and worse than the usual teenage life, or am I reading too much into it?

GILES
I'm under the impression there's some sort of ironic tone in
that statement, but as an Englishman I'm incapable of discerning it.

BUFFY
Yeah? Well, that makes us even, because I don't get Benny Hill.


I have such a huge weakness for Buffy and Giles bantering about cultural differences. Especially when Giles initiates it.

BUFFY
Giles should come with a Surgeon General's warning:
may be hazardous to Buffy's social life. He's completely
not cognizant. It's as if he's never even been on a date.


So, I'm gathering from this script that the episode was originally meant to have much more of a "Buffy vs. Giles" theme to it. Does that have anything to do with Angel's absence?

CHAMBERS
Hey, guys.
(re: Giles)
What's Dewey Decimal doing here?

BUFFY
Oh. He's, uh, out promoting Bookmobile awareness.
We call him gruff but lovable Giles. But enough about him.
What's the plan?


We do. We do call him that. (Anyone else kinda miss the Bookmobile?)

GILES
All right, then. I don't need you. This is a subject
on which I am well versed. I've spent night after
night in that library reading book after book after book--

BUFFY
On the plus side, you've missed the career of Sheryl Crow.

GILES
One of us has to take your obligation seriously,
and if it's not going to be you, then I'll go do it alone.

BUFFY
Fine. It should be very exciting for you
doing absolutely nothing all by yourself.

GILES
Ha! What you fail to realize is that that's what I do best!


Actually I would have thought that Sheryl Crow was right up Buffy's alley. Would have loved to see Giles delivering these lines - except I hate thinking of him as sad and lonely with his books!

GILES
No, no. I won't bask in the glory and rub your nose
in the fact that old Giles was right and that young,
inexperienced Buffy was one-hundred percent wrong.

BUFFY
Thank you.

GILES
It would only further heighten the
current embarrassment you must be--

BUFFY
Annoyance factor dangerously high.

GILES
I'm done.


Awww. Kinda odd that this one wasn't the "making up" scene.

GILES
Buffy, you can not ignore who you are.

BUFFY
Hey, I never wanted this. I like who I was before just fine.
And you know what I liked best about then? I didn't know you!


OUCH! Like I said, way more with the Giles resentment in this version. She really seems to blame her 'destiny' on him.


BUFFY
But I'm sure there will be other gorgeous guys
who would do anything for me and are perfect
in every way. Oh, wait, no there won't. Because I'm a freak.


YES THERE WILL.

Now, back to canon.

The Buffy and Angel Show:

WILLOW
Wow! He hardly talks to anyone. He's solitary, mysterious... He can brood for forty minutes straight, I've clocked him.


And she really did, didn't she? Anyway, this is the first time in the show that anyone uses the word 'brood', and it's not about Angel. It's about the oft-overlooked B/A nod that is Owen, the boy that Buffy succeeds in not killing on the first day. He's the first guy in Sunnydale that she actively wants and attempts to go out with. Why him? Well, he's smart...likes poetry...keen on danger and even a bit morbid...and come on, he's brooding.

Buffy has a type.

The shooting script disagrees:

BUFFY
Okay, so as a type, he's not exactly my proto.
I just think maybe someone should sit by him.


Maybe that idea was discarded along with the differences between Chambers and Owen, but I'm curious. Chambers isn't really brooding, solitary, or mysterious either - is that why he's not exactly her proto?

One way or another, I'm certain that the parallels between Owen and Angel are there on purpose. Even Riley shares a couple of them, though we're not really accustomed to seeing him as similar to Angel at all. It's just interesting that Buffy isn't drawn to guys who are peppy and outgoing like she is.

On a more shippery note, that look of Angel's that follows her "Bite me"? I cannot get enough of that. And the male posturing! Angel is well aware that he has neither the right nor a good reason to compete with Buffy's dates, but he just can't help it. I am so glad he never grows out of that. He's never been too old for her and never will be.

At the end, Buffy ditches Owen for his own safety, just like Angel will later do for her. It shows her good heart, and it shows that she really does like Owen and wants what's right for him. It's also kind of interesting that Angel's life is as much freakier than Buffy's than Buffy's is freakier than Owen's. (Does that sentence makes sense?) What would happen if Angel fell for a girl who really was as 'normal' as Owen is?

Xander and Boyhood: I never really thought about exactly why Buffy isn't into Xander, but maybe that's because the show did a good job with it - to the viewer it's immediately plain that they're not a good match. The lipstick comments...yeah, he knows that's not going to get him anywhere. He's just being a pest, like immature guys do when they're trying to flirt.

Giles and Objects: Next to Buffy, it's really his episode. Here's Giles with a ring.



And here's Giles with a file cabinet.



Random notes:

• I wonder if Buffy's slaying style, allegedly wasting too much time and energy, is just her trying to make her job more fun. She has to do it anyway, so she might as well make the most of it, right?
• I'll be honest, Dickinson was never my favorite poet. She had some great thoughts, but I don't see Buffy relating too much to an introspective recluse.
• Not much else to say, so here's another screencap that I pulled before I decided on the one with Angel in it (I know, it's weird that I thought I would want one that didn't have Angel in it).



Oh hey, that's actually another Giles and Objects candidate! I'm not going to move it now but check out Giles with a newspaper.
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