Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bitsy Rant: Xander and the Duckie Effect

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Buffy Season Eight Issue # 28

In 1986, John Cryer played the character who would define his career. To his parents he was Phil Dale, but to the annals of history he will always be Duckie. The film, of course, was Pretty in Pink, and the plight of Duckie's unrequited feelings for Andie Walsh (as played by John Hughes' it girl, Molly Ringwald) would become a point of contention for nerd boys for generations to come. What was originally intended to be a film about the effect of economic class structure on the hierarchy of high school students ultimately was boiled down to "Damn that dress she wore at the end was repulsive" and, more importantly "Why didn't she choose Duckie?"

I have always thought of Xander as being Buffy's Duckie. He's nerdy, self deprecating, says things addressed solely to himself, dresses funny, and is, frankly, kind of a douche when he doesn't get his way. I'm not sure if this makes Willow Annie Potts (although I now kind of want to see Alyson Hannigan play a Ghostbuster for some reason) but there's no doubt that Xander is profoundly Duckie-esque, especially in the early seasons. Just like Duckie, many geeky guys have long bemoaned the fact that a relationship between Xander and Buffy never took place. Wait... now I'm picturing Andrew McCarthy playing Angel and it... no. Doesn't work. Moving on.

So here's the thing: Andie shouldn't be with Duckie and Buffy, in turn, shouldn't be with Xander. Horrendous accusations, Batman! I know, I know. Nerd-core dudes everywhere, just chill a minute and let me explain. The reason Andie and Duckie didn't wind up together is because, and keep this between us because it's a super secret, she didn't have any interest in being with him. That's it. Simple, no? Sometimes you feel it and sometimes you don't. Andie never got the warm fuzzies when she thought about Duckie and that's okay. Sometimes the cute, funny guy who moons over you is just a friend. It's tough when you're smitten but, if you really care about someone, want to be a part of their life, then you take the friendship and value the person for the place in your life that they fill.

I could totally see Xander doing this

For seven seasons Xander did exactly that. Not once did Buffy ever show even the most remote of passing interests in him and, though I think he always held onto the crush, Xander moved on to greener pastures and accepted Buffy as being exactly what she was: a fantastic, life saving friend. No more, no less. Oh, sure, he'd occasionally try and get her boyfriends killed but that was just... because... he's a complete toolbox. But so is Duckie because he's always being pissy pants about Andie not loving him and all dragging Annie Potts around even though everybody knows he's crazy not to jump Annie Potts' bones because, dude, she's Annie Potts! But I digress.

Sudden romantic feelings developing between Xander and Buffy are an insult to platonic friendships between men and women everywhere. It says that Xander really was only waiting to score and never really cared all that much about his friendship with Buffy. It also means that his three dead ex girlfriends were all just stand ins for Buffy. Now, I'm cool with that because I think Xander is just that much of a box of Summer's Eve but anyone who actually likes Xander should hate this development.

It should also annoy any woman who knows what it's like to have a dude who just won't take no for an answer. Suddenly having Buffy interested in Xander is like telling comic book nerds everywhere "Hey, keep harassing that chick to be with you because, eventually, when her life is completely in ruins, she'll give in". Does that sound awesome town to you? It sounds like last stop Frown Town, everybody off, no refunds to me.

In short: a Buffy/Xander romance makes zero canonical sense and is an affront to the sensibilities of 80's kids everywhere. That's like messing with the Goonies and, when you do that, those kids make you slip, crush your own balls on a slippery log of wood, get beaten up by your own kind of retarded, monster brother, get arrested, and miss out on all of One Eyed Willy's awesome pirate treasure. Nobody wants that. Nobody. Because pirate treasure is awesome.

the end.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Buffy and the Chipmunks

I think these speak for themselves...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Watcher's Council - Dollhouse 2x01 "Vows"

Tara's take - I actually thought Vows was both incredible/Jossy and odd/confusing still. But even the confusing was in a much better way. Basically, I think they are just going to focus on the "souls can be erased, new souls can be created in empty bodies but now who are they?" god complex thing. Which I think is cool b/c it goes back to our endless discussions about vamps and their original owners souls and Angel's newer manufactured soul. Really, an active is very much like Angel.

As long as they don't get too much into the controversy of human trafficking and the prostitution metaphor, it really works. Shame is, you really can't ignore those 2 things. Herein, has always lied the problem. But really I want to stay focused on the soul/personality thing and be able to ignore the hard questions about that other stuff. It's a pickle. Since you can't ignore that stuff, the many atrocities going on at once makes it very heavy and actually way too deep in a bad way.

Another thing, Eliza's acting was still clunky (she's gorgeous in a bridal gown but clomping down the aisle like a horse wearing 2 size too big Uggs) but there was one scene where she was fantastic! The reason I know this was bc I was engaged in the scene and not realizing she, Eliza Dushku the actress, was in it at all...gratuitous bra showing for no reason and everything. Weird times.

Bits, what did you think?

Bitsy's take - I won't deny that the show seems a lot more focused at the start of this season but I do still think it suffers from a number of the same issues. I find it very hard to believe that DeWitt would genuinely want Ballard in the Dollhouse and it's equally unlikely that he'd reciprocate. Also, how exactly does Echo convince Jamie Bamber's character to marry her so quickly? There are just so many things that don't make sense.

On the plus category, however, I am thrilled to see Jamie Bamber and Alexis Denisof appear on the show. They're both very talented and it doesn't hurt that they're so easy on the eyes. The best bits from this episode by far though have to be the ones between Topher and Dr. Saunders. Amy Acker is absolutely stealing the show right now and Fran Kranz did a fine job of keeping pace with her which is no mean feat. Claire's questions about her own existence and fear of death really touch on the more compelling philosophical elements this show can delve into.

I agree, Tara, that it's best to let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to the question of informed consent. We all know there's no way anyone can truly understand what it means to become a Doll so it's best just to accept that it's screwed up and move on or else the show can never be enjoyable. I think that's what they're going to do and that's a relief.

All in all, it's one of the best episodes of Dollhouse so far. Next week's episode looks kind of ridiculous though. What did you think, Michelle?

Michelle's take - I didn't watch it.

Oh, right. Well then. What did everybody else think?

THE CHAMPIONSHIP of September Silliness: The Buffy Episode Tournament

This is it! We've come to the final of finals for our little tourney du Buffy. There's just one last choice to make and, oh boy, is it a doozy. Two of what are quite possibly the finest hours in the history of television lay before you. But before we get there, let's look at the tale of the tape, shall we?

"Becoming Part 2" defied all the odds and finally silenced "Hush" just barely.
"Once More, With Feeling" easily staked vampy Willow's super sequel "Doppelgangland".

It's a big decision and we here at Buffyfest know it. That's why we're giving you until Wednesday at 11:59 pm EST to chew it over. Then, at long last, we'll finally find out who the prettiest girl at the ball really is.

If you still need a refresher, click here for the full list of episodes and their descriptions.

East vs. West
Location: Right here at Buffyfest Central

Happy Voting!
If your curious to see the entire bracket listing the entire tourney history, click here to enlarge:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

fanvid sunday: crossover edition

While I'm sure the right and proper thing to do today would be to show a Dollhouse fanvid (what with it's return and all) I have instead, after my usual exhaustive research (which typically takes five minutes) concluded that what we really need is a full on Buffy/Supernatural crossover event. Again. This time with a little help from MJ.

Find more videos like this on BAM Vid Vault

See? I told you that was the way and when have I ever steered you wrong? Well, there was that time I put a hat and tie on a bear and told you it was safe to feed him from your picnic basket but that was hilarious and most of the scarring eventually healed. I think I'm going to lay around like a lump today. What's on the plate for you today? Happy Sunday, everybody!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Buffy/Angel Emmy Reunion

How fun is this shot from Alyson Hannigan's Twitter page.

Last time we saw see these three together, Willow was trying to get Angel's soul back in his body after Evil Cordy stole it and Wes was a gun-toting, bearded man. Ah, good times.

What's the Sitch? Real Doll Edition

Watch Echo come alive on your desktop with the finally released "Virtual Echo" application. Basically, I downloaded it and the next thing I know, Echo came out of nowhere and shot a hole in my monitor. Um, why is she wearing Spike's coat though?

It turns out that the Dollhouse is real, kind of. Unfortunately, we don't know how long the TV world Dollhouse is going to stick around. Check out these ratings.

Eliza's on the cover of this magazine. The tag line reads: "Ultimate Buyer's Guide for Men." Do Dollhouse clients get a complimentary copy of this magazine with every purchase?

Check out these awesome Dr. Horrible cakes. Yummier than fro yo, I'm sure! Thanks to Captain Elias for that awesome find.

Whedon confirms what we already knew. More importantly, what about a Buffy movie? David Boreanaz doesn't think it'll happen. Or, at least that's what we think he's saying here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Death to the Dollhouse Death Watch

Last season of Dollhouse, some of us here at Buffyfest were convinced that the series was headed for certain death at the hands of FOX and one of us was a bit more positive about the whole situation. An argument was had, a wager was set, and a little game called The Dollhouse Death Watch was born. For those keeping score: Michelle was the optimist, thinking that it would make it through the season and more (which, of course as we now know, it had!) Bitsy, always the Hardcore Skeptic, believe it would be vamp dust blowing in the wind faster than you could say "Firefly" (holy mixed metaphor thingee.) And I, Tara the Realist, thought it would have it's active day in the sun, then be wiped from our memories at the end of the season.

The crazy twist here was that by episode 10-ish Skeptic Bits ended up loving the thing and Michelle...well the optimist in Michelle had died and she ended up hating Dollhouse with a passion. So much so that she refuses to watch it AT ALL this season, Whedon blogger chick and all. Shame. She has her reasons and I'm sure she'll explain them all if prodded, but most of the reasons start with an EL and end with an IZA.

So...we've decided to shelve the Dollhouse Death Watch. It won battle against FOX, even if it does end up with a Tru Calling-esque fate. But Bitsy and I have made a new side bet to see how long it will take Michelle to break, if at all. Now we can't really discuss the terms or who chose what result, as we don't want to influence her either way. So whaddya think?

THE FINAL FOUR - September Silliness Buffy Episode Tournament


We're down to the final 4 Buffy episodes. Two are obvious and the other two are pretty remarkable having made it this far. The bracket made things funky, but these are the 4 outstanding eps. In fact, 3 out of the 4 left are listed in today's Television Without Pity article listing their top 20 episodes in the Whedonverse. Guess everyone is in agreement then! (Except me, wahhh about The Gift's elimination! She saved the world...a lot!) Ahem. Let's review what happened in The Elite Eight:

"Becoming Part 2" beat "Restless"
"Hush" beat "Innocence"
"Once More, With Feeling" pummled "Becoming Part 1"
"Doppelgangland" beat "Tabula Rasa"

So now it's pretty much:
Season 2 vs. Season 4
Season 6 vs Season 3

The Final Four has 2 matches and these last 2 rounds will go a little longer. Voting for this part ends Sunday at 11:59 pm EST, at which point the Championship top 2 will begin.

If you still need a refresher, click here for the full list of episodes and their descriptions.

The West
Location: Angel's Mansion

The East
Location: Cleveland Hellmouth

Happy Voting!

If your curious to see the entire bracket listing the entire tourney history, click here to enlarge:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

*UPDATE* Recap: Dr Horrible Sing-Along and Joss Whedon Q&A

Earlier today, 826NYC posted an important message from Joss and Ira Glass along with the full audio of Monday's Dr. Horrible screening here in New York. In an effort to benefit this important non-profit, we're temporarily taking down our recap and asking that everyone head on over to to donate any amount you can. In exchange you'll get a shiny download of the full interview and the deepest gratitude of Joss, Ira, and everyone here at Buffyfest.

Also, we spoke to Sarah Pollock of 826NYC who addressed some of the Q&A issues brought up in our comments section. She said:

"Special Guests" was posted waaaay before we realized that maybe all these television stars would be at the Emmy's, which was held the night before, and was something Joss had to skip to come out to do this event. Which was sorta the same situation for the Q&A - we were under the impression early on that we would do a panel Q&A with the audience but then it got changed. I guess we should have updated the website, but we're just a staff of 5 (non-superheroes) so sometimes things slip through the cracks. Sorry if anyone was extra disappointed!

As we said to her, the night was still extra special without those details!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September Silliness Buffy Episode Tournament: The Elite Eight


Just 8 episodes left! This Buffy episode tournament has really brought the surprises along the way. I thought I knew this fandom, I really did. After that last round, I'm kind of in shock. Let's review what happened in The Sweet Sixteen:

"Restless" beat "Consequences" clean and simple
"Becoming Part 2" beat "The Gift." Wow, "Becoming 2" is the ultimate game changing episode of the entire series, imo...but I never would've thought "The Gift" wouldn't make the top 8. "Becoming 2" better take the whole tourney after that drama.
"Hush" totally beat up "This Year's Girl" Story-wise, not sure I agree but I do get it.
"Innocence" edged out "Graduation Day pt 2" but it was very close.
"Becoming pt. 1" beat "Prophecy Girl" putting both of the eps in that particular 2-parter in the Elite 8!
"Once More, With Feeling" beat the epic writing and acting that is "The Body"...that was a toughie.
"Doppelgangland" beat "Surprise" aaaand now I'm really confused
and finally
"Tabula Rasa" took out "Band Candy." Well, the southeast Region "England" has always been the silliest of September Silliness

A few fun stats about The Elite Eight. Of the remaining episodes:
Seasons 2 is in the lead with 37.5% of the remaining eps from that season
Seasons 4 & 6 are both tied at 25% of the eps left
Season 3 went from the lead in The Sweet Sixteen to the bottom with 12.5%
Seasons 5 is now out
Season 1 is now out
Season 7 has been out. Season7fail

The Elite Eight has 4 matches and voting for this part ends Thursday at 11:59 pm EST, at which point the Final Four will begin. Good luck because these are impossible!

If you still need a refresher, click here for the full list of episodes and their descriptions.

Region 1: Sunnydale
Location: The Bronze

Region 2: LA
Location: Hemery High School

Region 3: Scotland
Location: Base at the Citadel

Region 3: England
Location: The Watcher's Council

If your curious to see the entire bracket so far (and what's up next), click here to enlarge:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's a girl for Smidge!

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze had their baby **correction** on Saturday! She's named Charlotte Grace according to People mag. Baby girl will need one of these for sure!

The photo on the right was taken just 1 day before SMG delivered. Congrats Prinze clan!

Recap: Dr Horrible Sing-Along and Joss Whedon Q&A benefit for 826NYC

Joss Whedon and Buffyfest, sadly minus Michelle

Joss Whedon hosted a Dr Horrible screening last night in New York City and Bitsy and I were there! This was all to benefit 826NYC. Joss showed up and worked the entire line outside, signing things and taking pictures. Once inside...well just check out the video below, which was Joss's intro of the evening:

The crowd was great, Dr. Horrible looked better than ever on the big screen and the singing was loud and rambunctious. Joss was just a few seats down from us and was also singing along. Ira Glass led the Q&A portion of the eveing right after the screening. What transpired was a very interesting interview of Whedon, indeed. I'll try and recap as best I can. (Please know that this was all shorthand and not entirely complete):

Dr horrible makes me sad. - Joss Whedon

Ira Glass: Are you knocking off Sondheim?
Joss Whedon: I knocked off Penny!

Joss spoke about the song "Slipping" originally being called "Rebuttal" and that he definitely takes cues, particularly from Sondheim. See the entire beginning portion here (Thanks, Lyssa!). He then spoke a bit about being inspired by films.

JW: When I was doing "Amends"...the thing that unlocked it for me was watching The Last Temptation of Christ. Just the emotional pain of what this guy had to do because it's right.

IG: What kind of stupid shit can you get away with in a Musical?
JW: "Deltoids of Compassion" might be the greatest thing I ever wrote. Musicals bring the broadest jokes, the loudest cry. Cursing in musicals is 10 times funnier.

They mentioned that Joss directed the Emmy bit that aired last night.

IG: Where did Moist come from? Is there anything else to say about a character like Moist? JW: You're underestimating the power of "damp". He comes from the mind of Ben Edlund.....So did Bad Horse which he pitched for Angel. Ironically, that horse was in episodes of both Angel and Dollhouse. We've used this horse 3 times!

In reference to Neil Patrick Harris's opening monologue in Dr. Horrible:

IG: Is he ad-libbing at all?
JW: (jokes) Never! (then coyly) I'm not as controlling as I uuuuused to be. I'm a "control enthusiast."

IG: (in response) It's an amazing monologue to watch. Is it take 50?
JW: I think it's take 4. Or maybe 6. It's a long monologue. I thought "It's a lot to ask of an audience"...but it's an internet musical! It's free!

In the clip below, Joss talks more about the opening monologue and then about the financial aspect of Dr. Horrible:

Joss would give us absolutely nothing about the Dr. Horrible sequel except that "Penny's still dead". See for yourself:

When Dollhouse came up, Ira Glass' first question was "Did Dollhouse feel like a Joss show?" (People in the audience proceeded to scream "No!")

JW: It did at first. Even the first pitch seemed territory uncharted, but at the same time natural. These stories are "me" stories.

Joss spoke about Eliza's acting saying "Eliza is capable playing someone who is actually classy." instead of just tough. He mentioned a bunch of roles she's played and Bitsy then shouted "Bring it on!"

JW: the "Bring it on" girl is both tough and conservative.

JW: [Dollhouse] became just a scoach too whore-y. Never had a better meeting, everything was great, then they [FOX] said "so they're kinda like prostitutes and that's not ok" Word came down that it wasn't ok. I wanted to make a show thats about feeling bad about feeling good or good about feeling bad. Fantasy is just that, fantasy. FOX wanted to back away from these implications. Every episode is ridiculously hard because the central core has been ripped out just enough, that we're constantly dancing around our own premise.

JW: I only do ensemble shows don't hire Olivia Williams for exposition.

IG: You're about 6 episodes in the season now?
JW: About halfway through yeah.....and we've written 2 of then too! (laughs)

Regarding the episode "Epitaph One":

JW: We didn't want a Firefly where it's "interuptus" but we also didn't want to close the book. Plus, we also had FOX which needed another episode (and me thinking it eventually would air). We couldn't do a clip show, showing the pilot would be stupid. We could do this fast. It would be a bottle show. A bottle show means "let's shoot on the set we have, we've run out of money."

[Apparently another example of "Bottle Show" was the Angel episode "Spin the Bottle" - all shot on the Hyperion set.]

Ira Glass seemed baffled by the fact that a Whedon show always has strong women but with an older "dude" that she needs. See below for that conversation:

They spoke a bit about Joss's father:

JW: Since the day I started writing he's been nothing but supportive.
IG: What does he say about the fatherless characters on your shows?
JW: It doesn't come up....were WASPS! (laughs) My relationship with my older brothers and father was tough, but over dinner we spoke about it one day and that was it. "This always bothered me, "well this always bothered me", "Good talk." But the damage was done (audience laughs) and I get to give it to all of you.

Glass had a question about the art in the Buffy comics. Apparently his wife noticed that when the comics started, the boobs on the women matched those of the original actresses. But now, "the boobs are getting bigger".

JW: I've always been pretty specific about the breasts in my comics. I probably shouldn't be saying this. (laughs) But there's a certain form they're used to drawing and they revert back and I don't is Willow like stacked? (audience laughs)

They got into Joss having a hard time with being a leader:

JW: My version of being nice is avoiding conflict, not telling the cast what they do wrong and then firing them. (audience laughs) I write about being a leader...making a decision that makes you less of a person. I find it fascinating in Mal, the later seasons of Buffy, in Adele. For me, it's really hard.

He had a hard time with a leadership role he had in college, then he found he could lead people with kindness.

IG: What happened that you realized you weren't having a firm enough pimp hand?
JW: Were not talking about Dollhouse. (audience laughs)
IG: So were you trying to be their friends?
JW: Yeah, it was cool and then it got messy. It always gets messy.

IG: What would've happened if Firefly had continued? (someone screams, "IT WOULD'VE BEEN AWESOME!)
JW: It's hard to talk about. Recently, I was going over a scene with Mal in a bar at the end of an episode and I actually got a little teary...then I wake up from that daze and I realize that's never gonna happen.

Glass tries to press what this "lost" Firefly scene was about.

JW: Intimate things and I have a few if them... I'm not going to share. Had the show continued, I'll tell you one thing, Wash would've been alive! (Applause)

IG: Is TV a good place right now to make interesting work?
JW: Getting harder for networks and the way people are entertained is changing. I didn't think I was gone from TV for that long but so much has changed. What they refer to as a "6 act structure," or what we refer to in the writers room as an unholy mess, it creates false act breaks. Someone says "pass the salt" cut to commercial. Really? The salt? Can't you just not pass it? (audience laughs)

JW: They tried with Dollhouse and Fringe shorter commercials...which meant 10 more minutes of show, which was prolly the most crippling decision they could've made. But they're out there trying different stuff. The most interesting venues right now are AMC, HBO. For me there was this little golden era of television. Little places that no longer exist called the WB and UPN...indie TV. Janet Jackson's nipple caused the FCC problems and the whole culture seemed to retract. "No side boob." Every week we get this note. "no side boob" Ira responds, "Really?"

IG: A question that might be embarrassing...Do you go back and watch old episodes of your own shows?
JW: It is embarrassing. After my wife would go to sleep I'd put Buffy in (slyly motions the dvd player closing).
IG: Which ones would you watch?
JW: The ooooones directed by meeee. (audience laughs) It's funny, cause it's true. (more laughs) The reactions would surpise me, though. It watch "Restless" and think "that's good", I'd watch "Hush" and's not all that.

Ira's final question was a pretty awesome one, regarding half a dozen Reavers vs. half a dozen Vamps. Check that exchange out below:

Here are some more photos of the evening:

Monday, September 21, 2009

The line for the NYC Dr Horrible event is already so long

Here's a pic...along with Bits hanging out with our NYC Browncoat friends.

Whedon is working the whole line.

Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Tonight!

Don't forget that tonight Joss will be at The Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street) for a rousing sing-along of Doctor Horrible with some "special guests". Afterward Ira Glass (awesome) will be on hand to take control of ye olde Q&A. Most importantly of all though, Tara and I will be there and, let's be honest, aren't we the people you've been most dying to meet?

See you there!

September Silliness Buffy Episode Tournament: The Sweet Sixteen


There are just 16 episodes left in this Buffy episode tournament and I'm not going to candy-coat it, this next part is really hard. Some crazy eps are pinned against one another...anything can happen. My prediction has always been "OM,WF" taking the entire tourney but now I'm not so sure. Before we get into it, let's recap what happened last round:

"Becoming Pt 1." beat "School Hard"
"Prophecy Girl" beat "Helpless", by just a little
"Once More, With Feeling" kind of killed the fabulous "Pangs"
"The Body" beat "Fool for Love"
"Doppelgangland" beat "Enemies"
"Surprise" beat "New Moon Rising"
"Band Candy" beat "Faith, Hope & Trick"
and finally
"Tabula Rasa" took out the series premiere "Welcome to the Hellmouth"

A few fun stats about The Sweet Sixteen. Of the remaining episodes:
Season 3 is in the lead with 31.25%
Seasons 4 & 2 are both tied at 18.75% of the eps left
Seasons 5 & 6 both have 12.5% of the eps left
Season 1 has just 1 episode left (Prophecy Girl) so that makes 6.25%
Season 7 has 0 episodes remaining in this tourney. Season7fail

The Sweet Sixteen has 8 matches and voting for this part ends Tuesday at 11:59 pm EST, at which point the Elite Eight will begin.

If you need a refresher, click here for the full list of episodes and their descriptions.

Region 3: Scotland
Location: Base at the Citadel

Region 3: England
Location: The Watcher's Council

If your curious to see the entire bracket so far (and what's up next), click here to enlarge: