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Discussion of 3.02 "Dead Man's Party" - Aired 10/6/1998 (WB-US)

nightshade

Your grandfather is a cat
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Black Thorn
If that was the case, then why was Joyce letting Buffy set the table if she knew they weren't going to be sat at it. That was a waste of Buffy's time.
Buffy didn't set the table though did she? I don't recall that, she mentioned getting the company plates out and they found the cat, but I don't think Buffy actually set the table, Willow could have easily called Joyce before they arrived and said can you make room for the band, and Joyce could easily said I don't think that's a good idea.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Buffy didn't set the table though did she? I don't recall that, she mentioned getting the company plates out and they found the cat, but I don't think Buffy actually set the table, Willow could have easily called Joyce before they arrived and said can you make room for the band, and Joyce could easily said I don't think that's a good idea.
Buffy was setting the table because she was wearing her pink dress then the doorbell rang and she answered it which is when the band then came in. Either the scoobies didn't ask permission or Joyce was letting Buffy waste her time or Joyce said no and the scoobies did it anyway. Either way, someone comes out looking bad.
 
nightshade
nightshade
Ah yes, I really wasn't paying that much attention!

Mr Trick

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Think I like this one a little bit more having re-watched it earlier. Still think the tension between the Scoobies is a bit forced, but it does make for some good drama and I can see the others point of view a bit more than I used to. Not so keen on the Zombie plot though. Giles in the car is the highlight!:D
 

FaithLehane16

"Tact is not saying true stuff. I'll pass."
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The only person who seemed to keep his rationality and have his head where it belonged was Giles. He was the only one who accepted Buffy back unconditionally with open arms. I loved the smile and the look of relief on his face as he was getting the tea. He didn't like the idea of a house party (which, by the way, had underage drinking in Joyce's house of all places) over Buffy reconnecting with her circle of friends, but the jerk committee outvoted the 'boring' guy. He also got to have two awesome moments in the episode, the only good moments: hot-wiring the car, and confronting Snyder as scary Ripper-Giles at the end.

100% with Buffy here. If the others had even stopped to consider what she'd gone through they could have pushed their baggage aside.
I agree with this 100%. I think the same way. Giles wasn't the one to judge of them all. He didn't really pick on Buffy in this episode like the rest, especially her mother. Plus having a big party after everything comes across as insensitive.

Cordy was really helping herself more than anything by "trying to put herself in Buffy's shoes." :rolleyes:

One error of this episode is Giles keeping on turning the pages when he hasn't even read/scanned the whole page.
 

Btvs fan

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Ok done the rewatch on this. There are some good moments and SMG shines as Buffy and it's not a bad episode but there is some stuff I dont like that feels fake to me and done for plot purposes.
The gang inviting a Band and a load of people to Buffys house without even asking Joyce WTF
The whole gang up on Buffy went way to far and on to long too.
Snyder not simply firing Giles after he threatened him. It was great moment and ASH was chilling but common.
Xander Belgium line ? ????
The worst though was the laughing and "That was such a drag" line, it seemed a bit disrespectful to Kendra given she gave her life for those people.
On the flip side some lines were genuinely great. Giles line about not giving the dead Cat a saucer of milk is delivered so well by ASH and Buffy's horror at encountering Pat is hilarious
All in 5/10 don't hate it but don't love it
 

littlemisscooby

That'll put marzipan in your pie plate bingo.
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I'm sorry, but this is one of my least favorite episodes. The whole atmosphere is just so absurdly mean-spirited. Yeah, I understand why everyone would be upset over Buffy leaving but they all judge her without having a clue what she went through or even might have gone through.

Pat was a patronizing piece of garbage, but she gets a pass because she was the villain. Willow avoided Buffy like scabies and while their upstairs confrontation/reconciliation started out sweet and touching, it all went to hell when Joyce walked in and Willow suddenly reverted and accusingly ratted out Buffy with "She was about to run away again!" igniting a big scene. Joyce was, for the most part, pretty rational throughout the episode, except when she decided to blow up and humiliate Buffy in front of the party guests. And Xander...

Oh God, Xander. He was awful the entire episode, almost from the very beginning. From the rude way he talked to Buffy before she knocked on Giles' door to the snide comments he kept making to the absolute godawful butting in, judging and condemning at the party, I wanted to give him an early eye-gouging. But then the zombies came, and after they were gone, everyone was friends again. Psh. Right.

The only person who seemed to keep his rationality and have his head where it belonged was Giles. He was the only one who accepted Buffy back unconditionally with open arms. I loved the smile and the look of relief on his face as he was getting the tea. He didn't like the idea of a house party (which, by the way, had underage drinking in Joyce's house of all places) over Buffy reconnecting with her circle of friends, but the jerk committee outvoted the 'boring' guy. He also got to have two awesome moments in the episode, the only good moments: hot-wiring the car, and confronting Snyder as scary Ripper-Giles at the end.

100% with Buffy here. If the others had even stopped to consider what she'd gone through they could have pushed their baggage aside.
I would have pretty much written everything you have written, so I'm glad I read this before I replied in the thread lol!

The one thing I will add to Willow's avoidance is that she didn't even try to hide the fact she was avoiding Buffy. She made is so blatantly obvious yet lied to Buffy when she said nothing was wrong and just walked off on her at the party and also pretended she couldn't hear Buffy over the music. It was so OOC for Willow as Willow's normally the one sticking up for Buffy in these situations. Following on, I also hated that in Anne, Joyce blamed Giles for Buffy leaving yet he was the only one who still treated her with respect when she got home. He loved her unconditionally and it's like the others wanted to throw a big party on purpose knowing full well Buffy would hate it.
 

Mr Trick

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Think I like this one a little bit more having re-watched it earlier. Still think the tension between the Scoobies is a bit forced, but it does make for some good drama and I can see the others point of view a bit more than I used to. Not so keen on the Zombie plot though. Giles in the car is the highlight!:D
Re-watched it tonight and I like the Zombie plot more than I used to. Decent Monster of the Week worked nicely into the drama. One thing I like is how other people at the party chip in and help Buffy and gang fight the threat. It feels like this might be the first time when other people in Sunnydale see who Buffy is and are faced with the very real demon threat. This episode is nicely bookend in the finale where of course the students have to band together during Graduation. This is one of Marti Noxon's best scripts up to this point.
 

Moggin

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I'd like to take a different approach to discussing this episode. I have included the transcript of the most heated part of the argument from that episode, but devoid of Buffy's responses. I'd like for anyone interested in this experiment to imagine themselves as Buffy, and come up with their own responses to the things the others say to her. The argument escalated pretty quickly in this episode. How would you have handled it? Fill in the blanks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Joyce: You can't imagine *months* of not knowing. Not knowing whether you're lying dead in a ditch somewhere or, I don't know, living it up--

Buffy:

Joyce: Buffy, you didn't give me time. You just dumped this thing on me and you expected me to get it. Well, guess what? Mom's not perfect, okay? I handled it badly. But that doesn't give you the right to punish me by running away.

Buffy:

Xander: Well, you did. You should've seen what you put her through.

Buffy:

Xander: You know, maybe you don't want to hear it, Buffy, but taking off like you did was incredibly selfish and stupid.

Buffy:

Xander: Did you even try talking to anybody?

Buffy:

Xander: Yeah, and you see how well *that* one worked out. You can't just bury stuff, Buffy. It'll come right back up to get you.

Buffy:

Xander: Look. I'm sorry that your honey was a demon, but most girls don't hop a Greyhound over boy troubles.

Cordelia: Time out, Xander. Put yourself in Buffy's shoes for just a minute. Okay? I'm Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally I pick a freak for a boyfriend, and then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault--

Buffy:

Cordelia: I'm just trying to help, Buffy.

Willow: Buffy, you never--

Buffy:

Xander: Let her finish! You at least owe her that.

Buffy:

Xander: Fine! You stop acting like an idiot, I'll stop annoying you!

Buffy:

Oz: Okay. I'm gonna step in now, being Referee Guy.

Willow: No, let them go, Oz. Talking about it isn't helping. We might as well try some violence.
 
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
Interesting idea. I'll try to give it some thought
Ethan Reigns
Ethan Reigns
A good approach since they weren't listening to anything anyway.
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
Doesn't work for me as I'd kept on walking, at least away from there so I couldn't be dogpiled in front of everyone, but shoehorned sitch. (I'm tempted to share obnoxious things Buffy said and ask for a reaction to the one she was like that to.)
r2dh2
r2dh2
Very interesting proposal. I'll try to find some time to think about it.

r2dh2

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I think that I might be alone in this, but I’ve always seen some merit in Willow’s reaction in Buffy’s bedroom, before things got out of control in front of everyone.

We’re very complex beings and at times we experience contradictory feelings. The Scoobies were clearly avoiding one-on-one conversations with Buffy. They were happy that she was back, but they didn’t know how to react, so they settled for a party that conveyed celebration for her return but that allowed them to keep avoiding to really talk.

Buffy feels alienated and tells Willow that she’s leaving because she isn’t needed or wanted there, or something like that. And things implode. They wanted to be there for her, they still want to be there for her, and they are happy that she’s back, but they cannot avoid feeling somewhat resentful or find it difficult to tackle the subject. Buffy’s traumatic experience does not invalidate their own feelings, and life kept happening for them while she was away. She is such an important and central part of their lives that her absence left a huge void.

I experienced a period of severe depression and I isolated a lot from everyone, including my parents. When the fog dissipated, I slowly realized that my parents wanted to be there for me not only because they love, but also because they need me.

I think that it wasn’t the place or the way to say it, but it was a very human reaction. They could have benefited from group therapy, without zombies and half of the school present.
 

Faded90

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I think it’s definitely understandable for them to be feeling the way they feel, the issue is that while they want Buffy to see their side they completely eliminate Buffy’s side. Xander dismisses her having to kill the man she loved as ‘boy troubles’ , Joyce dismissing her own actions with ‘well I’m not perfect’ but not affording her own troubled daughter the same leniency and the astonishingly ignorant ‘but I didn’t have anyone to talk to about MY boyfriend I’d already had for months anyway’ from Willow when she’s been point blank ignoring Buffy who has tried to talk to her all episode. I absolutely despise passive aggressiveness like what Willow gives off this episode. Plus when they see Buffy getting upset not one person goes to comfort her instead they just stare at her blankly while piling even MORE onto her. I think it would have been more forgivable if the episode had ended with them both agreeing to take blame. Instead it ends with Willow for some reason gloating about having the moral high ground when she has been a complete dick all episode. Buffy I love you but you are a complete doormat at times pet
 
r2dh2
r2dh2
In all fairness, Buffy does tell her that they have been avoiding her and that's what escalates their interaction, bringing out Willow's own hurt. As for the rest, I only understand it, I don't justify it.

DeadlyDuo

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I think it's very telling that some of the party guests who don't even know Buffy that well started to leaved when Xander started having a go at her. Even people who don't know Buffy that well, know that it is a conversation that should be happening in private rather than in front of a public audience. They cared more for Buffy's feelings than her friends did.
 

thetopher

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I dunno, I think up until Dead Man's Party we've had an awful lot from Buffy's pov and not much from her friends. We all understand why she left but she didn't tell anybody (she doesn't explain it all until the next ep Faith, Hope & Tricks) all the reasons, she just took off.
Given that Xander, Willow and co had been worried about her all summer and risking their lives every night fighting the uptick in vampire population then its understandable that they'd be angry; they're teenagers.
Bear in mind that the only reason they're all having this argument in front of a crowd of strangers is that Buffy was going to run away again and instead of hashing it out in her bedroom she stormed off into the midst of the house party (although they shouldn't be having a house party anyway...).
Willow is too avoid-y and Xander is non-confrontational until he gets overly confrontational but Buffy has acted thoughtlessly as well.

Basically unlike say, Empty Places I see every point of view and all have valid reasons for feeling the way they feel. Nobody feels out of character here.
 
Puppet
Puppet
Thank you. You phrased it in a way I just couldn't myself :D
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I dunno, I think up until Dead Man's Party we've had an awful lot from Buffy's pov and not much from her friends. .
I agree that because the show is told so much from Buffys point of view, it is natural to take her side a lot of the time even when other people may have an equally valid POV.

Buffy is wrong to try and sneak out like that and I can understand why the others are angry with her. But there is still no excuse to gang up on her and in front of everyone. And that counts double for Xander.

He has never been my favourite character but last time I watched the show I tried to consider his side and a lot of the time I could see where he was coming from even if I still didnt always agree with it. But there were a few occasions like this one where it is impossible to defend him.
He could have let her Mum deal with it but he has to jump in and he is so sanctimonious about it. He comes across like he is enjoying the chance to have a pop and saying stuff just to hurt her - he even said something like "most girls dont leave town over boy troubles". I'm not sure how sending your boyfriend to a hell dimension can be classed as boy troubles!
I think the others come across more as angry and confused (even if they should know that this isnt the right way to deal with it) whereas he comes across as nasty and spiteful
 

thetopher

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Buffy is wrong to try and sneak out like that and I can understand why the others are angry with her. But there is still no excuse to gang up on her and in front of everyone. And that counts double for Xander.
Ins't that a bit emotive though? They didn't set out to 'gang up' on Buffy, it all happens rather organically like many arguments. And in front of everyone was her choice, she was running away from Joyce and avoiding the issue.

As for Xander, yes he was being an insensitive jerk....but he was sticking up for Joyce, who presumably he'd seen spend the summer worry constantly about her daughter. And then Buffy goes and calls Xander an idiot for being 'Nighthawk', risking his life night after night trying to do HER job. Is that fair or nice? Nope, that's a crappy thing to say but it rarely gets called out because we, the viewer have mostly been shown Buffy's side of things.
So Xander is being dumb and Buffy is being dumb. In my mind the dumbs cancel each other out. Xander is really no better than Buffy here if you consider both their points of view
 
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Ins't that a bit emotive though? They didn't set out to 'gang up' on Buffy, it all happens rather organically like many arguments.
It is understandable why they are angry, and I get why Willow and Joyce are having their say - they might not be doing it in a constructive way but Willow was the one who found her packing her bags and Joyce is her mum.
But there was no need for Xander to get involved. Buffy was close to breaking point and if somebody else is already confronting her and expressing how you all feel then you bite your tongue and let them carry on. If you pile on and do it in such a a spiteful way then there is no excuse
 

GothicBuffy

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I rewatched this episode last week and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

They all really gaslit Buffy into the sun, huh? Jesus. Both in this episode and then in the immediate next one. Honestly this whole season was the let's gaslight Buffy season.

Some points:

Joyce was a bad parent the entire time and blamed Buffy for her terrible parenting. The emotional sabotage and neglect Joyce had going on... yikes.

I usually love Xander but WHO let him act like that.

Don't understand why her best friend didn't want to hang out with her or even demonstrate interest in her life. No interest in what her life was like in LA, what happened with Angel. Literally no one cared enough to say hey, you had to kill your boyfriend, that really sucks. Are you okay? I think this is partially because they treated Angel like he was already dead after he lost soul (even encouraging Buffy to date not that long after. They also encourage her to date the next episode when they haven't even tried to talk to her about Angel, even though she's still traumatized.)

Her friends KNOW that Buffy is prone to self isolation after traumatic incidents or when things get hard.They know this from prophecy girl and when she was bad.

They do not resolve their issues. No one really apologizes to Buffy. She is expected to repent to them. And Buffy accepts it because she also was way too hard on herself, making the whole thing more heartbreaking, but thats a discussion for a different post.

Xander claims that when Buffy left, he ruined their lives. What? It;'s been at most three months. You... have been fighting vampires and hell beasts for two years anyway.You're fine. And did you get killed? Any of your friends get killed? No. Plus you had all your friends and support system. Suck it up. Also talk about life ruining events: Buffy had to murder the love of her life (at that point in her life). Not saying her life was ruined, but that's gonna leave some lasting damage.

Willow’s complaints when they talk in Buffy's rooms are nowhere near close to Buffy's problems. You're sad you can't talk to one specific friend about having a boyfriend... when that friend's boyfriend just died horrifically... and you had other friends to talk about this with? While Buffy had no one to talk to about her real problems? Ok. The self centeredness was unbelievable.

Okay. Rant over. In order to like the Scoobies I have to repress this episode (and the next one to, tbh, bc they ruin yet another relationship for her).
 

Faded90

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I rewatched this episode last week and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

They all really gaslit Buffy into the sun, huh? Jesus. Both in this episode and then in the immediate next one. Honestly this whole season was the let's gaslight Buffy season.

Some points:

Joyce was a bad parent the entire time and blamed Buffy for her terrible parenting. The emotional sabotage and neglect Joyce had going on... yikes.

I usually love Xander but WHO let him act like that.

Don't understand why her best friend didn't want to hang out with her or even demonstrate interest in her life. No interest in what her life was like in LA, what happened with Angel. Literally no one cared enough to say hey, you had to kill your boyfriend, that really sucks. Are you okay? I think this is partially because they treated Angel like he was already dead after he lost soul (even encouraging Buffy to date not that long after. They also encourage her to date the next episode when they haven't even tried to talk to her about Angel, even though she's still traumatized.)

Her friends KNOW that Buffy is prone to self isolation after traumatic incidents or when things get hard.They know this from prophecy girl and when she was bad.

They do not resolve their issues. No one really apologizes to Buffy. She is expected to repent to them. And Buffy accepts it because she also was way too hard on herself, making the whole thing more heartbreaking, but thats a discussion for a different post.

Xander claims that when Buffy left, he ruined their lives. What? It;'s been at most three months. You... have been fighting vampires and hell beasts for two years anyway.You're fine. And did you get killed? Any of your friends get killed? No. Plus you had all your friends and support system. Suck it up. Also talk about life ruining events: Buffy had to murder the love of her life (at that point in her life). Not saying her life was ruined, but that's gonna leave some lasting damage.

Willow’s complaints when they talk in Buffy's rooms are nowhere near close to Buffy's problems. You're sad you can't talk to one specific friend about having a boyfriend... when that friend's boyfriend just died horrifically... and you had other friends to talk about this with? While Buffy had no one to talk to about her real problems? Ok. The self centeredness was unbelievable.

Okay. Rant over. In order to like the Scoobies I have to repress this episode (and the next one to, tbh, bc they ruin yet another relationship for her).
I once saw a great analogy for this episode which was Cordy’s running over someone ‘it was the most traumatising moment of MY life and she’s making it all about HER leg’ obviously we laugh at the self centredness of Cordy’s statement but then we’re supposed to nod at the scoobies appalling behaviour this episode. Don’t get me wrong I totally get why they’d be upset but I hate the passive aggressiveness. Xander proves why she didn’t talk to them when the instant she tries to he says ‘hey sorry your honey turned out to be a demon. Blah blah girl troubles’ THAT RIGHT THERE! That’s why she doesn’t open up to you - unfairness this is something Xander finally understands in Seeing Red and why Buffy is hesitant to open up to him. Getting kicked out of school, kicked out of your home and your friend being killed are not girl troubles.

Joyce’s dismissive ‘well Moms not perfect’ is just astonishing
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
Yeah, I HATE Xander's line there. Also, I hate it when people say they're not perfect but expect those around them to be!
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