Monday, March 4, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 16

Day 16: Episode You Like That Everyone Else Hates

Being relatively new to the Buffy fandom, I'm not in touch with what is universally liked or disliked.  So I searched the Web for lists of the worst Buffy episodes, and I came across one episode I like quite a lot.  This episode appeared on almost every "Worst Of" list, and I just don't get it.

Where The Wild Things Are
Honorable Mentions to "Beer Bad" (this appears almost universally as the worst episode of the whole series, I don't get it at all), "Doublemeat Palace" (there was some plot in this episode and it was also a nice return to the Season 1 campy Monster-of-the-Week format), and "Gingerbread" (this appeared on a list or two and I was baffled by it.  It's one of my favorites)

I will admit that I'm biased here for one reason: this episode has Mrs. Landingham from The West Wing in it.  Even if it's a brief appearance, it's awesome.

A quick synopsis for those who don't have every episode title memorized: the gang goes to a party at Riley's frat house.  It is obviously haunted.  Riley and Buffy go off to have some undoubtedly boring sex in Riley's room.  Their passion (I laugh at the notion) fuels the ghosts in the house to do all kinds of wacky things, like make people have orgasms by touching a wall and make other people rip all of their hair out.  Then the gang (excluding Buffy and Riley, who are still locked in their Abercrombie-and-Ftich-catalogue-esque entanglement) go and find the woman who used to own the house.  She turns out to be the former director of an orphanage who was also crazy religious and used to punish her charges when they had impure thoughts or were too vain or, I guess, breathed the wrong way.  For some reason, the solution here is to go get Riley and Buffy to stop making the freakishly good-looking breast with two backs.  So that's the story.

I like this episode because it doesn't mind portraying the shaming of sex in a negative light.  The one-off villain is actually kind of interesting in a way I wish Caleb would have been interesting.  She honestly believes that by abusing teenagers she was doing the right thing for their souls and doesn't get it when Giles gives her a thorough dressing-down for what she did.  Also, this is the episode that finally allows Anya and Xander to have a conversation about their relationship.  And also, Giles sings Behind Blue Eyes.  How can anyone's least favorite episode be one in which that happens?

So yeah, for my least favorite season there are a lot of good one-off episodes and I still think this is one of them.  Sure, it's got Riley in it a lot, but every episode has flaws, right?

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