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Dead man's party revisited

Discussion in 'Season 3' started by AnthonyCordova, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. AnthonyCordova

    AnthonyCordova Giles Award Winner, 2017-thanks!

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    Sineya
    Truthfully, the worst Xander episode ever, specifically for his unintelligible vindictive arguments against Buffy during the big scooby confrontation. I just saw this episode again (I tend to avoid it) and my original feelings keep getting reaffirmed with every painful rewatch. I mean, who the hell does Xander think he is? And where does he come off jumping into a conversation that didn't really involve him to begin with (summer difficulties adjusting to life without Buffy or no)?!?

    Despite all of that, (I avoid the rewatches because I hate to see Buffy in such a pitiless, uncompromised and unfairly unsympathetic position) as strange as it sounds, part of me likes this episode a lot anyway because it reflects life so well. Everyone's reasoning and arguments are often poorly thought out, (emotions are not arguments) but that's realistic and how normal people really are. Also, normal people often don't articulate their feelings and half-thoughts ideally the first time, especially when inflamed with emotions, which is why I often advice friends/lovers fighting with each other to give the other person more than one opportunity to explain themselves, because it will often take 2,3,4 opportunities to work it out and articulate it in a way that finally communicates clearly what the person really meant to say.

    So let's discuss this episode in detail.

    -What are your feelings about the issue as a whole?
    -How do you feel about each person's respective positions to the topic? (Willow, Buffy, Xander, Giles, Joyce, etc.). Do you feel some people's pains are more justified than others? If so, why?
    -What specifically are your feelings about Buffy this episode, both considered in isolation (her behavior this episode) and in the wider context of the end of season 2, the 3rd season first episode Anne, etc.(?)

    And one last thing: *incredulously* "Cordy, get out of my shoes!"-Buffy.
     
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  2. GwenRaiden

    GwenRaiden AKA Apology Girl

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    Black Thorn
    The one thing I always think about during this episode is whether the Scoobies (not so much Joyce) would have acted differently if Giles were present at the party during the argument.

    Cordy, Oz and Giles are the only reasons to like this episode, they have some great lines and scenes. And Pat getting shovel through the face.
     
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  3. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    Probably not because I think they would have just come up with a storyline reason for Giles to mistreat Buffy. Its a convention of the plot that he's not there because of how things work out with the mask.

    And the scene with Buffy and Willow at the end which is very sweet.:p But another thing when Cordy is sucking face with Xander at the party. Would it not have hurt her not to do that because its not her party its Buffy's? I don't think you can obsorb the likes of her and Oz from the blame. Its just that they are not the worse offenders.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2016
  4. GwenRaiden

    GwenRaiden AKA Apology Girl

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    Black Thorn
    What do you mean by obsorb?

    I only mentioned Cordy, Oz And Giles as reasons to enjoy the episode, unrelated to the argument. Those three stuck out in terms of dialogue (plus, Cordy did actually try to defend Buffy mid-Scooby argument).
     
    thetopher: I think he means absolve. :/
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  5. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    I just ment that as Buffy's friends or at least as scoobie members they could have been more social towards Buffy themselves. But I think you have a point about their dialouge being the best in the episode:)
     
  6. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    I feel that both Cordelia and Oz didn't care about Buffy being missing for three months the same way Xander and Willow were which was why they barely felt a thing upon her return. Xander and Willow's anger shows that they cared more IMO.
     
  7. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    I don't really expect Oz and Cordy to care as much its just that by association they were Buffy friends too and I don't think they are totally blameless. Your last remark is interesting. I guess they cared but not in a good way. But then that's why the episode doesn't work for as I don't buy that they would treat Buffy that way.
     
  8. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Xander and Willow showed strong emotions because they cared so much, that emotion doesn't have to be positive. At first there was the initial sense of happiness and relief that Buffy was alive - Xander's glistening eyes and choked up voice upon seeing Buffy back - but when that wore off, relief was replaced by anger, an anger that was simmering all summer along with the worry and dread that Buffy could be dead.

    Like a mother who catches her own young driving a motorcycle off a cliff but making it alive and slaps them silly for being so thoughtless.
     
  9. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    The only people who come out of this scenario well are Cordy (who tries to defend Buffy), Giles (who is brilliant) and- to a lesser extent- Joyce, who's anger as a worried parent is the most understandable.

    Everyone else does something wrong; Willow is irritatingly passive-aggressive with her avoidance dance,
    Oz comes up with the 'brilliant' idea for the party (yeah, if somebody invites you to dinner, they don't mean 'bring any other dozen people that you'd like!' jackass), Buffy is okay-ish (a bit bratty) until she goes to pack her bag again in a huff and then runs off rather than talk things through (just another form of avoidance I have little patience for).

    But Xander really takes the cake with his unsympathetic, not to mention public, lambasting of Buffy 'on Joyce's behalf'. He summation of Buffy's pain the year before literally beggars belief in its lack of empathy or compassion for what she went through. (e.g- 'boy troubles')
    He'll only begin to understand this pain in S7 with Anya. And his answer? We can't kill her because I'm in love with her. Funny that.

    I really think that this episode needed another episode to deal with the aftermath a bit more, maybe bring up the 'kick his ass' thing at this time and get it out of the way instead of having it hang over Xander's head until S7 (for the good of his character if nothing else).
     
    sosa lola: I especially agree about Kick His Ass, that needed to be dealt with in S3!
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  10. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    Oz isn't one to get overemotional anyway but I think perhaps he and Cordelia understood that Buffy needed to have some time to herself to sort her head out after everything that went down at the end of season 2.
     
  11. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Potential

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    Okay, I just watched it again, and my immediate thoughts follow...

    I wonder if Giles was irked that Joyce didn't tell him, after all Joyce knew Giles was concerned AND looking for her (granted, she only got in a few hours ago so it's understandable he didn't say anything, but was probably still irked). I'll explain away Buffy not calling as she tried and couldn't get hold of anyone as they were out on patrol...and she'd be too nervous to call Giles right away.

    Finding Xander...gods, did Xander ever try to stake someone behind him for making a noise who WASN'T Buffy? :eek:

    Btw, trivial detail I noticed that I think is actually consistent...crosses don't work unless they're either in the hand of the person with it, or if there's direct skin contact with the vampire. (Xander wears a big cross and it didn't even seem to slow down the vampire attacking him.)

    Xander seemed a bit passive aggressive in his jokes toward her. He's usually self-depreciating, but he was doing it at Buffy's expense. He was certainly mad. 'Course he's not someone who'd have good ways to handle stuff like that, particularly not at his age (and as he says later on, "She doesn't want to talk about it, we don't want to talk about it, so why don't we just shut up and dance?"). Even when his jokes are less at Buffy's expense, he's still very tense (which I think is good acting on the actor's part to show how conflicted he is, both angry and relieved). Actually Willow is very similar, just not slinging some barbs her way as Xander does (Xander passing it off as humor, and he may have even convinced himself that it was). Though for me personally, I'd rather take a few passive aggressive zingers than be told to meet without showing up.

    'Course Buffy vents herself early on, though I can understand it from her perspective as well. She was frustrated but knew she wouldn't help herself by venting openly, so she'd come up with some pettiness of her own ("...I love art talk as much as the next very dull person...") which, like Xander, she may have convinced herself at the moment that it wasn't that rude or offensive (and no wonder Joyce seemed willing then to shove Buffy off onto Giles).

    But I believe you covered that in people feeling rather than reasoning and having a hard time articulating thoughts (something that afflicted all of them really).


    But now I'll get to the person I'm sure about everyone hates: Pat. :mad:

    That neighbor Pat was actually more passive aggressive than Xander, perhaps because she didn't have the conflicts Xander had. The "kindly neighbor" strikes me as a psychic vampire type, one that actually exists, who looks for people in trouble to get their hooks into them for all sorts of mind games and/or exploitation. Pat no doubt hated that Buffy was back, and/or hoped it would make Joyce even more vulnerable to her (Pat).

    Ah, Joyce. I know she meant well by inviting everyone, but damn...part of me wonders if the fiendish Pat put her up to that. And though it's possible Joyce invited Pat for moral support, I bet Pat more invited herself (in a manipulative way), especially given how Pat expertly got Joyce to drinking and then trying to get Joyce to talk bad about Buffy and the situation. Pat comes off to me as loving to roll in the misery of others, and hoping to stir up more. If the zombie mask liked anyone who came to the house, it was probably Pat.

    In any case, Joyce comes off as especially naive in this episode (and not just because of Pat)...not that it's a first or last time, but damn (and it would be interesting if Joyce tried to explain to Snyder that Buffy is the Slayer, though, especially as I'm certain Snyder already knows). And interesting to me how people can be so naive and so paranoid/fearful at the very same time. Just because a person is naive doesn't mean they have a positive attitude (just as a person can be cynical yet have a positive or can-do attitude). Good thing no vampires showed up asking if they could come in because Joyce would've invited them in and forgot about them.

    And anyone who lets stranger gurus tell her how to raise Buffy (she kept mentioning that in the first two seasons, what the "experts" say, meaning she doesn't believe in herself) doesn't strike me as confident in herself, and someone easily manipulated.

    I'd have liked to have seen what went through Joyce's head as a bunch of kids came in with live music. I don't think Joyce would've normally tolerated that (and that's BEFORE the drinking and breaking stuff began later on), and at the very least had to wonder where Buffy met these people (especially the band, probably worrying about more sex with some drugs thrown in, something I'm sure Pat would suggest to her). If Joyce were the least bit aware then she'd have to see Buffy wasn't enjoying herself, but then Joyce has proven herself the champion of self-absorption and denial (and when she doesn't want to deal with something then she just doesn't see it even to the point that she washed blood out of Buffy's clothes without questions or comments) when she gets a mind to do so.



    And damn, Buffy and Willow FINALLY start to talk rather than all the avoidant stuff and Joyce has to ruin it AND then make it all public...after having a few shots (Joyce adding "And I've had Schnapps" which might mean at some level Joyce realized she was screwing up), courtesy of Pat, of course, the only reason I don't just reject it as just terrible and forced writing, save when everyone at the party FINALLY gets quiet as Joyce rants up a storm (er, well, I can't let it off the hook that easily, with everyone--including Buffy--refusing to open up so all the badness festers and healing & rebonding can't begin and then invent a party, though it personally helps me to think Pat engineered the party rather than everyone getting a chance to ease back into Buffy being back, it could've all happened a lot less painfully had the party not happened, and my headcanon says Pat got Joyce to do it).

    Speaking of which, I wonder if Joyce had gone up to FINALLY talk about the pandemonium going on in her house. Maybe because Perfidious Pat told a tipsy Joyce to talk it out with her daughter hoping for that, hoping to get rid of Buffy again, or just enjoy the drama with a feeling of power and thinking they have a worse life than her so Pat can feel better about herself.

    Heh, the kids walking out as they hear that, I bet they thought Buffy had come out gay and couldn't wait to tell everyone. :rolleyes: 'Course what the others said who stayed to hear about the "freakiness" and murderous boyfriend....:eek:

    It appears that beating the zombies let them all beat out their anger (better than a punching bag) so they could finally start talking to rather than AT each other, and let the barriers come down.


    That all said...props to Joyce for help in fighting the zombies! :cool: Once again she shows the the side of her that cared as she did when she took an axe to spike in the previous season! (I wonder if Joyce had once been a Potential without her even knowing it...)


    That all aside, I can't help but wonder if a vision may have helped Buffy decide to go home. She didn't have any Slayer visions over the mask (though she obviously had a bad feeling about it), but that she'd show up the same day the mask did? Coincidence? I think not! :rolleyes:

    And imagine if Buffy returned home to find her mother had been torn apart by zombies...not likely she'd read of it in the papers giving how Sunnydale keeps all that under wraps, apparently with some aid from the federal government. :eek: :(

    And finally, LOVE these lines:

    "It's angry at the room, Mom, it wants the room to suffer."

    "What about homeschooling? You know it's not just for scary religious people anymore."

    " 'Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty. It raises the dead.' Americans."

    Xander telling Joyce, "Generally speaking, when scary things get scared, not good!"

    And all the things Buffy and Willow called each other at the end...("Quitter" "Whiner" and so on)
     
    AnthonyCordova: you offer a lot to think about!
    sosa lola: That was very insightful
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  12. VisionBoy

    VisionBoy Scooby

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    As much as the argument irks me, the real blood boiling thing for me in this episode is how they decide to throw a huge house party in someone else's home. Especially when they're well aware that that person is still adjusting and in a fragile state. After that, going at her in front of everyone was just 100 kinds of messed up.

    If my friends tried to pull that crap with me, I'd be kicking them out and giving all the strangers they invited one of their addresses.
     
  13. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Potential

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    If you want detailed thoughts, then you might like to see this commentary as well:



    I think it's all worth watching. He first describes the episode and his reaction to it, but then, in the 6th minute, talks about how annoying the plot is (on this and other shows) when it's dependent on people not talking as they should and probably would. After about 7:30 he talks about the sudden "intervention" (or ganging up on Buffy), both his immediate reaction and what he thought about it after watching it again. (Just a quibble: I think Cordelia TRIED to understand at the very least.) He then shares on the characters and the supposed metaphor.

    As for the cops dropping the murder case, that actually makes sense to me. The cops in Sunnydale would rather not know (Joyce would fit right in with them), and the survivors would tell them it wasn't Buffy. If you wanna make a big deal about it, then Buffy assaulting police officers at least once (maybe Spike more did it the second time, but she wouldn't be absolved of blame for that) as well as resisting arrest is what they'd go after her for. They'd do that even though she was no longer a suspect in a homicide. Maybe the Mayor got her off behind the scenes as he wanted to hone her as a weapon against Balthazar or some such. (ETA: Or maybe the police knew! One knew about the vampires as he discussed the conspiracy of silence with Snyder, and they'd know Ted was a robot. Maybe enough of them DID know, and also knew Buffy was making the streets of Sunnydale safer for cops! I could see them letting her go because of that, all off the record, of course.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  14. HowiMetdaSlayer

    HowiMetdaSlayer Occasionally, I am callous and strange.

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    This episode has one of my favorite Buffy/Willow moments at the end when they're playfully insulting each other.

    Buffy:
    You're really enjoying this whole moral superiority thing, aren't you?
    Willow: It's like a drug!
    Buffy: Fine! Okay. I'm the bad. I can take my lumps . . . for a while.
    Willow: All right. I'll stop giving you a hard time. (pauses) Runaway.
    Buffy: (gives her a surprised look) Will!
    Willow: (smiles and giggles) I'm sorry! Quitter.
    Buffy: (widens her eyes at her) Whiner.
    Willow: Bailer.
    Buffy: Harpy.
    Willow: Delinquent.
    Buffy: Tramp.
    Willow: (takes mock offense) Bad seed.
    Buffy: Witch.
    Willow: Freak.
    :p
     
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  15. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    I enjoy that too!:p That along with the Giles moment in the car are the only two great scenes for me. Its a forgettable episode IMO.
     
  16. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    This episode confirmed that Billow is canon, if S1E1 hadn't done so.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    They keep telling themselves otherwise, but everyone can see the chemistry here.:p
     
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  17. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    I personally enjoy the Xandelia make out session at the party and Nighthawk :D
     
  18. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    The Nighthawk part of fun, though I thought that was in Anne actually? But the make out at the party was just wrong:rolleyes:
     
  19. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    They mention it in Dead Man's Party. I think.

    It was hot. :D That's what matters. ;)
     
  20. Dora

    Dora Potential

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    I have always compared this episode with what happened in season six, just that Buffy had been gone a while and the scoobies had moved on, They did not care about Buffy feelings...they wanted a party ,they did not think about Buffy after chosen only how good it would be if she was around for the slaying, the whole hell thing did not make sense as unlike when Angel went to hell total,but they had Buffy's body so there was a very good chance her soul went to heaven . In both Xander was a complete Ahole, I wonder how long Buffy would be treated as a outcast by her friends had it not been for the Zombie attack on the party.......they treated her very poorly for the whole of season six
     
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