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Discussion of 5.06 "Family" - Aired 11/07/00 (WB-US)

HowiMetdaSlayer

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I'm in the middle of season 5 at the moment. This is my least favourite script by Joss Whedon. It doesn't have any flair or much of anything to say. It just feels like he wanted an episode centered around Tara, and why not, but it's just dull and unaffecting. Probably up there as the most overrated episode for me.
I disagree. In my opinion Chosen is by far and away his worst Buffy script.
 

Bluebird

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I disagree. In my opinion Chosen is by far and away his worst Buffy script.

I dunno about best or worst but Family is my least favourite because I personally don't connect to it much. There's certainly an argument to be made over the structure and quality of the script itself, but going by how it affected me, it's my least favourite.
 

Professor Walsh

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Yeah, I can see that playing a part in how I feel about it. I think the story is half hearted too. Usually Joss is better at subtlety. The episode is a means to an end, really. I don't get why people love it so much, unless they're diehard Tillow fans I suppose.

I am fond of Tara, and adore that "you have to go through me"/"we're family"-scene. That's largely why I have warm, fuzzy feelings for the episode, I think.
 
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Carrie Hopewell

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I'd say Family is definitely one of Joss Whedon's worst episodes. Just watched it and wasn't impressed. The episode is boring and doesn't make much sense. Tara's family is irritating, which is the point, but just makes the episode worse. The whole 'We're family' part was cliché and felt insincere. And they say Amends is sappy... I don't like Tillow a lot either. I used to, but Tara and Willow act like children around each other and now I'm just noticing all of its flaws.

Season 5 started out fine, but it's unexciting, Glory is tiresome, Briley is a mess, Buffy finding out her roots isn't very interesting so far, Spike 'falling' for Buffy is terrible... hopefully the season improves...
 

DeadlyDuo

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Tara's family is irritating, which is the point, but just makes the episode worse.

I never understood why Tara's family let her go to college for a year if they were all "you're going to turn into a demon on your next birthday so we have to keep you controlled". If they wanted to keep her under their thumb then why did they give her a year of freedom where she was performing spells and all sorts?

Surely the smarter option would be to have Tara and Willow meet after Tara had snuck out of her house or something and then have the reveal about Tara's family being controlling and abusive.

The whole 'We're family' part was cliché and felt insincere.

It was quite heavy handed and practically sign-posted when Tara's father said "we're her kin" that the "we're family" line was coming. Also aside from Willow, the scoobies never had the emotional attachment to Tara to be able to call her family so it felt kind of hollow. I get Buffy stepping in to protect Tara from being taken against her will, but to go from "the only thing we know about Tara is she's nice" to "we're family" is a bit of a leap.

I don't like Tillow a lot either. I used to, but Tara and Willow act like children around each other and now I'm just noticing all of its flaws.

I agree. These are supposed to be two grown women and they act at times like they are 5.

Glory is tiresome, Briley is a mess, Buffy finding out her roots isn't very interesting so far, Spike 'falling' for Buffy is terrible... hopefully the season improves...

Spuffy was poison for Spike and Buffy's characters and dragged both of them down. It was only JM and SMG's performance that saved both characters from being completely unlikeable.

Glory was okay, but it was the Ben side that started to grate. Also, if Glory's main motivation was to go home to her own dimension, why didn't the monks just let her do so and get her out of our dimension? If the realities bled together until the key was used up, surely the best thing to do was get the key used up as fast as possible rather than turning it human and it taking longer until it was bled dry?
 
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Guy

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I never understood why Tara's family let her go to college for a year if they were all "you're going to turn into a demon on your next birthday so we have to keep you controlled". If they wanted to keep her under their thumb then why did they give her a year of freedom where she was performing spells and all sorts?

Surely the smarter option would be to have Tara and Willow meet after Tara had snuck out of her house or something and then have the reveal about Tara's family being controlling and abusive.

I think that's exactly what the show is implying - Tara's family didn't let her leave, Tara ran away. That's certainly how I interpret it.

It was quite heavy handed and practically sign-posted when Tara's father said "we're her kin" that the "we're family" line was coming. Also aside from Willow, the scoobies never had the emotional attachment to Tara to be able to call her family so it felt kind of hollow. I get Buffy stepping in to protect Tara from being taken against her will, but to go from "the only thing we know about Tara is she's nice" to "we're family" is a bit of a leap.

But it's not a leap, because the show doesn't pretend that Tara is suddenly one of them completely. In the party scene after, Tara isn't suddenly acting like she's one of them, she's just STARTING to integrate into the group (explaining her jokes to Anya, getting lame presents from Giles). When Buffy says "we're family", it's not because they're such close friends, it's because Buffy decides she WANTS to be.

I agree. These are supposed to be two grown women and they act at times like they are 5.

Aw, Willow and Tara are adorable. Sure, they're "cutesy", but not in a bad way.



And I agree that the episode is on the cheesy side, but no more than, say, 'Amends'.

Also, the episode has one of the most adorable Dawn moments ever: When she buys Tara a broomstick for her birthday. A BROOMSTICK.

Also, Spike's unwilling crush on Buffy will never not be hilarious...
 
Professor Walsh
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Broomstick karma.

Carrie Hopewell

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And I agree that the episode is on the cheesy side, but no more than, say, 'Amends'.

Completely disagree. Amends is only cheesy in the last 2 minutes or so. And the snow doesn't fix anything. It forces Angel to live one more day which sometimes is all someone needs in order keep fighting. The snow follows a very powerful, in no way cheesy, scene between Buffy and Angel. Family is cheesy all the way through: the story about kitty Fantastico, the "We're Family" bit, the floating in the Bronze and the general vibe of the episode.
 

Guy

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Completely disagree. Amends is only cheesy in the last 2 minutes or so. And the snow doesn't fix anything. It forces Angel to live one more day which sometimes is all someone needs in order keep fighting. The snow follows a very powerful, in no way cheesy, scene between Buffy and Angel. Family is cheesy all the way through: the story about kitty Fantastico, the "We're Family" bit, the floating in the Bronze and the general vibe of the episode.

I completely disagree also. Well, not completely, I guess - I agree that the magic snow is cheesy, and I agree that the "We're family" bit is kinda cheesy.

As for the rest...

- 'Amends' is cheesy in more than just the magic snow. Especially in the big Buffy-Angel scene, with DB's lackluster acting, and all the "I love you so much" sappiness. It works for me if I'm in the mood for some cheesy stories, but the same is true of 'Family'.
- The magic snow DOES solve everything - if it wasn't for the magic snow, Angel would have died, and therefore the magic snow saved the day. Which is bad storytelling, for all sorts of reasons...
- The story about Kitty Fantastico isn't cheesy, it's cutesy. It's not my favorite Willow/Tara moment or anything, but it's fine.
- the floating in the Bronze isn't cheesy, actually. The Willow/Tara conversation before that is a little cheesy, but the floating is just sweet.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Uhm - grown women? How old are they when S5 starts, 20?

20 is still classed as an adult.

I completely disagree also. Well, not completely, I guess - I agree that the magic snow is cheesy, and I agree that the "We're family" bit is kinda cheesy.
The story about Kitty Fantastico isn't cheesy, it's cutesy. It's not my favorite Willow/Tara moment or anything, but it's fine.

The story about Kitty Fantastico is sickly saccharine . Willow's dialogue is way too child like, a 9 year old would say it's OTT. The whole scene plays like a mother (Tara) is reading her child (Willow) a bedtime story to get her to sleep which is an odd choice considering it's supposed to be two grown women in a romantic relationship. Willow never behaved like that with Oz.
 
I think that's exactly what the show is implying - Tara's family didn't let her leave, Tara ran away. That's certainly how I interpret it.

I don't think so though I'm not completely sure. When Tara saw her brother, she was about to ask "how did you find me" before changing mid sentence which would imply that she ran away yet later on her father said that they'd let her go to get the magic out of her system which suggests they knew where she was all along and had only just come to get her because her birthday was fast approaching. Also Tara would've had to apply and receive an acceptance letter in order to get into UC Sunnydale which would've taken time, so it's not like she just upped and left one day.
 

Guy

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The story about Kitty Fantastico is sickly saccharine . Willow's dialogue is way too child like, a 9 year old would say it's OTT. The whole scene plays like a mother (Tara) is reading her child (Willow) a bedtime story to get her to sleep which is an odd choice considering it's supposed to be two grown women in a romantic relationship.

I know 50-year-olds who talk like that with their spouses. It's a thing people do - I believe "bedroom voice" is the term? I find it very natural for Willow and Tara.

Willow never behaved like that with Oz.

Willow behaved even more childishly with Oz. Remember "I said date"?

I don't think so though I'm not completely sure. When Tara saw her brother, she was about to ask "how did you find me" before changing mid sentence which would imply that she ran away yet later on her father said that they'd let her go to get the magic out of her system which suggests they knew where she was all along and had only just come to get her because her birthday was fast approaching.

So, Tara DID run away, and her family just didn't sweat too much about finding her until her birthday was approaching. It makes sense, and it fits with the episode.

Also Tara would've had to apply and receive an acceptance letter in order to get into UC Sunnydale which would've taken time, so it's not like she just upped and left one day.

No one ever said that Tara IMMEDIATELY went from her home to college. She could have ran away earlier, gotten a job and stuff, and THEN went to college.
 

DeadlyDuo

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No one ever said that Tara IMMEDIATELY went from her home to college. She could have ran away earlier, gotten a job and stuff, and THEN went to college.

But then how did her family find her? If she'd run away and then applied for college and got the letter, how did her family know she was in college and even which one?
 

Guy

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But then how did her family find her? If she'd run away and then applied for college and got the letter, how did her family know she was in college and even which one?

That's not hard to find out. Tara didn't even use a fake name, they way Buffy had in 'Anne'. Maybe they hired a private investigator?
 

DeadlyDuo

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I don't think Tara was a runaway. If she was, then they should've made that clearer. I think she left abruptly but they all knew she was going to college. They left her to it until they turned up. Tara always knew it was going to happen but got so caught up in the freedom of college, that it came as a shock when they did turn up.
 

Blair

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This is my all time favourite episode.

My interpretation was that Tara's family was happy for her to do whatever up until her 20th birthday, then she would have to come back home. I suppose it for her to get whatever she wanted to do out of her system then accept that she would have to come home. Did surprise me that Cousin Beth was allowed out of the house though.

One thing I didn't like is that Donnie has such an annoying accent but he's the only one in the family has that accent.
 

brittles

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This episode isn't one of my favorites either but it does have some good moments and I think it's kind of meant to serve as the point where everyone in the scooby gang takes Tara in and makes them one of their own. I love the part where Buffy tells the father that he can take her but he has to go through her first. Then when everyone else steps in as well I thought it was really heart warming. Tara was still a bit of an outsider up until this episode so it was nice to finally acknowledge her as one of the group. We also learn a little bit more about who Tara is and where she comes from which for me made me connect more with her character.
 

Give Us A Kiss

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Miss Kitty fantastico is so cute :D

Tara, you are useful :)

Giles, Buffy can't tell Dawn that...

Buffy's dad has showed his true colors, he's an ass.

Glory :eek:

Giles, let them be boys :p

Buffy has to move back in :(

Yes Anya, you have to bring a gift.

Glory has been a bit too busy sucking brains...

Bloody demon...

Glory is Ben :eek:

Anya, you can't just do the money part :rolleyes:

Glory=Cordy ??? o_O

Xander, Tara likes witchcraft.

How does fighting Spike loosen the tension ??? o_O

Spike, you cheater :eek:

Harmony :rolleyes:

Tara has a brother :eek:

Tara's father is creepy...

Riley=god ??? o_O

Buffy, stop being so strict :mad:

Buffy's a hypocrite because she doesn't want Dawn to hang out with short people...

Tara is a demon??? o_O

Tara's father can't accept her wiccaness.

Did Glory steal everything from Cordy's closet ??? o_O

I feel bad for Tara :(

Sneaky Tara ;)

Riley has a drinking problem...

Spike, dump Harmony...

Tara, stick to your guns, don't come with them ;)

Flexible Buffy :p

Anya, no, you will not be getting more cash.

Invisible demons :eek:

Tara's father needs to shut up...

No, Tara doesn't want to leave...

Tara is officially a Scooby :)

Tara is also not a demon :)

The Bronze sure is fun tonight ;)

Why didn't the Scoobies have to wear stamps back when they were in high school ??? o_O

Next time: Something a bit more Spike centric.
 

Mr Trick

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Miss Kitty fantastico is so cute :D

Tara, you are useful :)

Giles, Buffy can't tell Dawn that...

Buffy's dad has showed his true colors, he's an ass.

Glory :eek:

Giles, let them be boys :p

Buffy has to move back in :(

Yes Anya, you have to bring a gift.

Glory has been a bit too busy sucking brains...

Bloody demon...

Glory is Ben :eek:

Anya, you can't just do the money part :rolleyes:

Glory=Cordy ??? o_O

Xander, Tara likes witchcraft.

How does fighting Spike loosen the tension ??? o_O

Spike, you cheater :eek:

Harmony :rolleyes:

Tara has a brother :eek:

Tara's father is creepy...

Riley=god ??? o_O

Buffy, stop being so strict :mad:

Buffy's a hypocrite because she doesn't want Dawn to hang out with short people...

Tara is a demon??? o_O

Tara's father can't accept her wiccaness.

Did Glory steal everything from Cordy's closet ??? o_O

I feel bad for Tara :(

Sneaky Tara ;)

Riley has a drinking problem...

Spike, dump Harmony...

Tara, stick to your guns, don't come with them ;)

Flexible Buffy :p

Anya, no, you will not be getting more cash.

Invisible demons :eek:

Tara's father needs to shut up...

No, Tara doesn't want to leave...

Tara is officially a Scooby :)

Tara is also not a demon :)

The Bronze sure is fun tonight ;)

Why didn't the Scoobies have to wear stamps back when they were in high school ??? o_O

Next time: Something a bit more Spike centric.

Don't remember that being revealed in the episode;)

And its about bloody time too:p

Stamps for what? To get into the club?:eek:
 

sosa lola

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Stamps for what? To get into the club?:eek:

@Smile Time refers to Dawn wearing a stamp so she wouldn't drink. This bothers me because it's a continuity error. Xander and Buffy shouldn't be allowed to drink either as they're both not 21 yet. In S6 Bargaining, Xander wanted to buy Giles a can of Old English 800, but couldn't because he was underage.
 

Mr Trick

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@Smile Time refers to Dawn wearing a stamp so she wouldn't drink. This bothers me because it's a continuity error. Xander and Buffy shouldn't be allowed to drink either as they're both not 21 yet. In S6 Bargaining, Xander wanted to buy Giles a can of Old English 800, but couldn't because he was underage.

Interesting. I never noticed that. I'm guessing that the people running the club are convinced that Buffy and Xander look about 21 so are happy to let it slide. Dawn clearly doesn't look that age;) I always assumed that when Buffy and the gang went to the club during High School they drunk non-alcoholic drinks?
 
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