Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Some Assembly Required

“Sorry, but I'm an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.”

So, we get the inevitable Buffy take on Frankenstein. A pretty good one too, really, although I don’t think this is exactly the best or most significant episode. It’s interesting in the sense that Frankenstein is pretty much science fiction, but it’s pretty much the only piece of sci-fi as opposed to fantasy (aside from Out of Mind, Out of Sight which it now occurs to me long after the fact, was a rather neat take on The Invisible Man) that Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with its horror aesthetic, is allowed to do.

There are a few little nods to the source material, aside from the basic plot: Cordelia’s scream at the sight of Darryl reminds me very much of Bride of Frankenstein, while the whole thing inevitably ends with a burning building. Even the scientific basis for re-animating a corpse maintains a charmingly early nineteenth-century reliance on that exotic phenomenon, electricity.

There’s also a bit of social commentary here, in that some men, who surely can’t possibly get anything out of sex that they don’t get from masturbation with this attitude, just want women to be pliable sex objects (Darryl), hence rape, abuse and such things. Also there’s a general “laddish” culture which leads lots of other men to acquiesce in this (our two teenage Victor Frankensteins). This isn’t made much of, but it’s there.

Back to Buffy itself, though… as the dialogue towards the end implies, this is the episode where people start to pair off in proto-relationships, which all feels like setting-up for later in the season. Giles and Jenny are now a couple, and Buffy is beginning to re-connect with Angel. Only Xander and Willow, significantly, are not involved with anyone, and their own “will-they-won’t-they” thing is definitely stuck on the “won’t-they” part of the dial at the moment. And Cordelia seems genuinely grateful to Xander for saving her life in a way which genuinely is “brave and heroic”. It’s almost as though she sees him in a new light, in spite of the rather rude rebuff. Of course, nothing will come of it. And the relationships which are being set up are bound to end up happily. That always happens in Joss Whedon shows, right?

I like that it’s Jenny, completely unflustered, who asks out a stuttering Giles. Odd to invite him to a game of American Football, though; trust me, I’m a countryman of his. He won’t have a clue what’s going on. Although I have to say that, amusing though Giles comment comparing American football to Rugby may be, I’m going to fail the patriotism test on this one, I’m afraid. Rugby is rubbish, and overcomplicated, and boring. It keeps stopping and starting, it doesn’t flow properly, it’s really boring to watch and it totally lacks the elegance of cricket or football. Oh, and both the oval “ball” and the silly h-shaped goal are both blatantly just being different for the sake of it.

Having said that, though, all sport is boring. Except for the Olympics. And sometimes cricket. If I happen to be in the mood. Everything else is rubbish, so nyaaah.

Next up is a rather significant episode, so I expect to be spending much more time actually talking about it...!

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