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Discussion of 5.16 "The Body" - Aired 2/27/01 (WB-US)

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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Sineya
#1
Buffy is devastated when she arrives home and finds her mother dead. The rest of the gang try their best to pull themselves out of their own grief so that they can help Buffy and Dawn to deal with the worst day of their lives.
Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

msfantastico87

Joann the Goblin Slayer
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#2
This is definitely in my top five episodes. I love how they make it such a serious episode and kind of take time with it. The best part imo is when Buffy finds Joyce's body and the entire thing is shot in one go. no retakes no nothing. and just the way she reacts to it. Also, not just her reaction, everyones. From Xander being upset and punching the wall, to Willow not knowing what to wear, Tara trying to comfort Willow, and Anya trying to understand death. Then Buffy telling Dawn at shcool. It was brilliant that they drained out the entire conversation so that we can just imagine what was being said. This episode had a huge impact on me. It's the reason why I love it so much. I cry every time i watch it
 

Chosen Enemy

Losing my soul
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#3
I know it's a big and meaninful episode, with great writing and acting, but... I found it kinda boring. Or really boring.
 
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#4
I also found it sort of boring... It also always scares the crap out of me because I am made aware of our mortality and I know some day my parents will die. I've seen them both on the brink of death, but some day, they will actually die. That thought terrifies be beyond belief. This is the scariest episode of Buffy because it reminds me of that.
 
Little Miss Muffet
Little Miss Muffet
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Chosen Enemy

Losing my soul
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#5
I also found it sort of boring... It also always scares the crap out of me because I am made aware of our mortality and I know some day my parents will die. I've seen them both on the brink of death, but some day, they will actually die. That thought terrifies be beyond belief. This is the scariest episode of Buffy because it reminds me of that.
I know what you mean. I experiece these feelings everyday, about everybody including my dog. The only one really close to be that I've lost was my dog, about 5 years ago and it hurt like hell. Since then I don't take anyone for granted, and I've gotten real paranoid that I can't say goodbye to anyone, I just fear that it would be the last time I see them. I'm not even scared for my own life, just other's.
 

msfantastico87

Joann the Goblin Slayer
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#6
I don't understand why everyone finds this episode so boring. I'd actually prefer watching this one over some of the more, dull, episodes of the season. I'm not sick or anything. I don't like the idea of people dying. In fact I think part of the reason I watch is because it's more attuned to reality than fantasy. It's something that could happen, and not very many people put that message across in fiction.

I lost my closest cousin to leukemia when I was only 11. I saw him suffer just like Buffy saw Joyce suffer. Then to see him dead, laying on the hospital bead...it's just a shock...I reacted almost in the same way as Buffy did. Granted, none of my parents have died, but if they were suffering like Joyce was, in the end, I'd be glad my mom or dad feel no more pain, ya know what I mean?
 

Chosen Enemy

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#7
I don't understand why everyone finds this episode so boring. I'd actually prefer watching this one over some of the more, dull, episodes of the season. I'm not sick or anything. I don't like the idea of people dying. In fact I think part of the reason I watch is because it's more attuned to reality than fantasy. It's something that could happen, and not very many people put that message across in fiction.
I think we got so used to Buffy-ic episodes, with evil vampires, fights, wittiness, jokes, etc. so when we watch a so different episode, with not much of the above, it seems like nothing really happens there. Not even music or tunes, nothing. Someone is dead, but nothing else happens. I know how I must sound, but I don't mean that death is boring. But we're used to something that is being taken away from us for an entire episode. Just in the end, we get this vampire that reminds us that vampires are still out there, even though people still die, and not by them. In the ending scene it felt more Buffy like.
 
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#8
this episode's boring to me because I never cared much for Joyce and death is boring. I mean, it's a great episode. But it's not exciting.
 

msfantastico87

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#9
Well I guess I should expect that from you lol. I can just imagine you "oh this is the episode where Joyce dies...yay! Now on to more important things" lol

But I loved Joyce, and I'll always think she was killed off too soon :(
 
Z
zobothehobo
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Charmander
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#10
haha well it's not like that... I mean it's not like "YAY Joyce dies!" It's more like "poor Buffy and poor Dawn, this is not what they need. They've got so much going on... speaking of... GLORY! Where's the action?"
 
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#12
I know it's a big and meaninful episode, with great writing and acting, but... I found it kinda boring. Or really boring.
Yeah,but thats kinda the point. It captures how...boring and airless real life death is. How youre just waiting for something to happen.

I think its brilliant but...I cant watch it. It's just too depressing. I cant get through it. Its too real. Infact,nothing in entertainment quite bothers me like that episode. Hell,I got to the point with the exorcist where I liked it so much that i was comforted enough to fall asleep to it. Ive read and watched some of the most disturbing and depraved stuff ever...but this just effects me more. Its powerful and brilliant though.
 
W
Willow My Love
I rarely watch it. It puts me in a horrible mood because I relive everything I went through when I was 12... Sad, sad memories.
Wesley Pryce
Wesley Pryce
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#13
I watched this episode for the first time today, and is it bad I didn't cry or feel remorse at all? I just watched it, and went on to the next episode...
 

Taake

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Black Thorn
#14
I watched this episode for the first time today, and is it bad I didn't cry or feel remorse at all? I just watched it, and went on to the next episode...
I wouldn't say it's bad. We all react differently to these things :)
Myself I feel incredibly sad whenever I watch it but it's not as if you have to.
 

Goby

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#15
Simply the best episode of television EVER!!!!

Brilliant acting performances by EVERYONE except Xander (Nick has his limitations as an actor) and Giles (He really didn't have many lines). Buffy, Willow, Tara, Dawn, and especially Joyce gave brilliant performances worthy of an Emmy nomination. Dawn's Teacher was perfect in her very short performance.

I love how this episode dragged on forever, just like a real death.... just like the real death in my family. And yes, most of us dealt with something like the Willow "clothes fiasco" when one of our loved ones died. And Tara and Willow's kiss was sooooo perfect. And Anya's speech so moving. And Dawn's breakdown so painful.

SMG was perfect. The first very long short is the work of two master artists (SMG and Joss) at the top of their game. My first real flood of tears came when she calls her mother "The Body" for the first time.

I understand those who don't care for this episode and respect their opinion. But for me, there is no finer episode of BtVS, no finer depiction of death, and no finer example of brilliant writing, brilliant performances, and brilliant directing than this episode. I am glad that I'm not alone in calling this the finest episode of television in the past 60 years.
 
J
jellybean13
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NeonNightLight
NeonNightLight
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AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
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jls
jls
Very true about Dawn's teacher, they casted so well for that, she is so empathetic.

HisMrs

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#16
I just rewatched this episode yesterday and never fail to be amazed at how touching this episode is. I never cease to be awed and moved by the emotions in this episode, and yesterday was no exception.
 
AnthonyCordova
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WileyDairyGnome

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#17
This is my favourite episode. It was really well done. Having no music being played adds so much more emotion to it than when there is music. And Anya's speech is really touching. This episode never fails to bring tears to my eyes. This episode is truly a masterpiece.
 
AnthonyCordova
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PassionBecoming

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Sineya
#18
I both enjoy this ep and dread watching it. The feel the directors/actors/sound and light people gave it is amazing. Is it necessarily entertaining? Well, no, but it really shows life and death in the raw. I though it was brilliant how they would flash from what was going on with the living and what was happening to Joyce's body throughout the episode.

I have to say that if anyone ever wants to watch some of the best acting EVER, they should tune into this episode. I am always blown away by the actors and how each has their own way of expressing their characters' grief.
 
Goby
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AnthonyCordova
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Sineya
#19
I agree with pretty much everything that [MENTION=10790]Goby[/MENTION] said about this episode.

It was stunning, amazing television. It was very very brave of Joss to decide not to use any music. I love that he takes risks like that.

There were brilliant performances all throughout the episode. My mother and I are very very close and I used to have nightmares about finding her dead all the time so this episode is very difficult to watch but I really love it.

The use of color and contrast in this episode are stunning as well. Buffy's focus on things that don't matter, like the paper-towel and the sounds going on outside after she finds her mother, is brilliant.

My mother had recently lost her mother when she watched this and she called me to tell me that she cried from when Buffy said "mommy?" until the end of the episode.

Anything that can move either me or my mother like that, we usually respect. It's hard to get a reaction out of us.
 
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#20
The Body is a perfect piece of drama "“ 10 years on and I haven't seen anything as heart-wrenching, dramatic and moving. From the acting, to the writing, to the cinematography to those small miniscule touches - it is so powerful. I don't watch this one a lot "“ I find it very disturbing and painful, but when I do I'm overwhelmed by it.

The emotions kick in when Buffy quietly calls out to Joyce, "mommie" after twice saying "mom." Also, that moment when she first gets down towards the body and screams "mom" after saying it several times is when my tears come. SMG is a revelation in this episode "“ it is all so real. There is a perfect stillness to the episode that mirrors the dead body. The blurry vision and out-of-focus camera work - such as when the paramedic is talking to Buffy and you only see his mouth and body- and the muffled noises when you can't hear speech all that clearly create such a disturbing atmosphere. It is so intense.

The performances are excellent "“ especially Buffy, Anya and Willow. Willow always gets me when she cries, those tears and trembling lips just set me off, and Anya's speech is so touching as it beautifully underlines the banality of life, fragility and mortality. SMG has never acted better than in this episode, those eyes could do all the work themselves. I really thought Dawn was great too. Her reactions at school as we look through the window are just agonizing.

I think the focus on bodies throughout the episode is interesting "“ obviously there is Joyce's body in her various states, then there is the body statue that Dawn and her classmates paint in their art lesson (where the stuff about negative space neatly gets at the theme of the whole episode) and then finally there is something so physical about the naked vampire that arises in the morgue as he tries to kill Dawn and then battles with Buffy. The vampire and Buffy's need to stop him are a shocking reminder that Buffy's life still has to go on despite that feeling of stillness that is prevalent in the episode. So too are those sounds of children laughing as she opens the door after discovering the body.

I am constantly in awe of this episode "“ there is something so special about it that never appears again in the series and why it is firmly one of my favourites of all time.
 
NeonNightLight
NeonNightLight
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SRMarx
SRMarx
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Ethan Reigns
Ethan Reigns
I don't recall anything this effective in any other TV show or movie anywhere.
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
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