Thursday, March 6, 2008

Talent Show

Buffy: Could I have a little support here? I'm not just some crazy person. I'm the slayer!
Xander: The dummy slayer? (awkard silence) There's nothing funny about that.

Ben says:

Okay, let's say this up front. Buffy is right: Ventriloquist dummies are creepy. Any episode with a live puppet who has some kind of control over its master is already several steps ahead in the spooky stakes. Poor old Morgan does such a good job or portraying the fear and confusion created by Sid's life, it's impossible not to feel the freakiness.

This isn't just a scary episode, it's also one of the funniest so far. Any episode that opens with Cordelia singing The Greatest Love of All is gonna have to work hard to top that, but there are some classic lines in this episode. My favourite:

Willow: It could be anyone! It could be me. It's not, though.

And Giles's facial expressions during the auditions alone are worth watching the entire episode for.

We also meet Principal Snyder for the first time, and what a fantastic first episode he gets, describing his predecessor's attitude as "The kind of wooly-headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten". This is just one of many awesome lines that Snyder gets. There is also something undeniably sinister about him here. He is set up quite clearly as a fearsome and unpleasant force at the school, and a thorn in Buffy's side.

There are a few clever twists, and we get to see Giles in danger again, which always raises the stakes (Giles or Willow in danger = Ben on edge of seat). And Sarah Michelle Gellar manages to create poignancy out of a scene with a plastic doll... I am actually realising more so this time around than the first time I watched, what a fantastic actress she is.

And I love the ending. "I don't get it. What is it, avant garde?" followed by a very funny rendition of Oedipus the King.

What's not to like about this episode really?

I give it four spooky dummies.

1 comment:

Alisa said...

I'm gonna cheat and respond here instead!

I lurve this episode! One of my *classic* Buffy moments of all time is the three of them doing their dramatic piece with absolutely no enthusiasm! That cracks me up every single time!!!

And all the suspense with the guillotine!!!

I also love the three of them teasing Giles as he is tortured by having to run the auditions!!

But .. along with this episode acting as some great comic relief, there's that great, moving scene of the Demon Hunter (dummy) being able to relate to The Slayer. It's really poignant.