Yes, I am all grown up and calling you Joss. Ever since season one, when My Year Of Buffy entered the doors of Sunnydale High, I have been gently stalking your creativity.
The season one report had my blathering on about your first half season, and my season two Report Card featured my thoughts on your first full season. And the big climatic season three was dissected by me.
So now Joss, we enter into your transitional season four, and my SPOILER-FILLED look at your Buffy The Vampire Slayer Goes To College.
And this concept was both good and bad Joss.
But we will get back to that, because first I gotta start with our heroine, the amazing Buffy.
HUSH… Screaming with the clapping.
This was a big big big changeover year for our Slayer Joss. Buffy entered University, lives on campus eventhough home with mom is very close by, and she tries to move on in the romance department. And unfortunately it all goes pretty bad, pretty fast. But I gotta admit Joss, it did strike me as overkill. From those rejects from Ridgemount High Vampires to it seems like every Professor being a dick, our Buffy’s got her butt kicked waaaaay to easily. Remember Joss, she fought a giant snake and survived Principal Snyder. And by the way, those Spicolli Vampires broke Buffy’s Class Protector Kaylee Umbrella, so she must stake them twice. Speaking of staking twice, Parker gets this treatment as well. This story hurt Buffy a lot, and felt the most real. But heartbreak is like that as Angel’s showing up and hiding also opened old wounds and poured some salt on them. Lots of salt. But at least she gets a well deserved more stable relationship with Riley, who is awesome. Less awesome is how she never visits, gets her mail, or even talks to her mom Joyce. While I have never been a fan of her, she has slightly grown on me and Buffy seems to purposely estrange herself from Joyce. One of the funny things I noticed this year as well Joss is how Buffy’s spunky personality did two things this season. She managed to drive Spike insane with the constant barrage of funny, well deserved, insults. And she managed to make the crazy ass Professor Walsh go homicidally nuts in one episode, all because she is Buffy and asked a whole lot of logical questions. Gotta love our Buff for this. And the Little Red Riding Hood outfit was sooooo cute!
Now someone who has had no problem adjusting to university life is one of my favs, Willow. She goes to wonderful classes and thrives, she glows with happiness when she enters a real library, and she is getting more powerful and more better with her magic. Willow is right Joss, she is not simply a sidekick. But with great magical power comes greater magical responsibilities, and I don’t think Willow has quite grasped that concept yet. But the big massive, hardship that you smashed our poor Willow with this season Joss? The one I waited till now to mention? The heartless destruction with malicious glee of the Willow and Oz relationship with the nasty Verucca? I was ready to rant and rave and rant about this, but then you gave us the wonderful, nice, kind, and just really swell Tara. As the old saying goes, when one werewolf leaves, one witch enters. I am now officially a Willow and Tara shipper, long may they reign. And, by the way, Joan of Arc? That is really inspired Joss.
HUSH… Buffy mimes staking.
And speaking of Willow, I now must take a moment to wish goodbye to her first serious beau, the laidback and woolly Oz. I loved Oz. I loved Willow and Oz. I couldn’t wait for them to have half wolf/half witch little babies. But because the actor was leaving, the character of Oz had to be scuttled in a hideous way, by cheating with another werewolf. That was sad, Joss, very sad, but at least Oz came back once to help Willow with closure. Oz is God? That sounds plausible Joss!
And speaking of Willow again, I now must take a moment to bid a hello to her new serious beau, the quiet and sweet Tara. I love Tara. I love Willow and Tara. I can’t wait for them to have witch and warlock babies. Tara is such a sweet, wonderful young lady Joss, whom you can tell engenders a trustworthy glow since Willow tells her right away about all the Slaying going on. But you can tell she has some troubles in her past, that stutter is a big clue Joss. Got my interest with Tara.
HUSH… Floating gentlemen in suits.
Now on to someone who barely hold s my interest, the aimless loser Xander. Pop quiz hotshot, how many dead end jobs did Xander go through this year? I seriously lost count after the protein bars. Plus, him living in a crappy place in his parents basement is a joke that stretched on waaaaay too long. I know you are trying to show how shiftless some people are after high school and all, but Xander’s fate of listless nothingness just goes soooo over the top. It’s no wonder he turned invisible at one point, and that his greatest fear is having no one needing him. One plus side this year, Xander is finally over Buffy, and thank you for that Joss. But I do like Xander’s taste, with James Bond as his role model.
Another Scooby needing a swift kick in the Hellmouth is Giles. He is doing his best Xander impression by becoming an aimless loser. From being whiny, to getting tricked by the idiot Ethan, to watching Passions, to feeling sorry for himself, to getting tricked by the obvious Spike, to being whiny, Giles was the former Watcher who made Wesley look manly. But I did cheer twice for him this year, once because he found companionship with Olivia, and the second because he has a chainsaw. Why is this not an action figure? And Giles in a sombrero is most amazing, Joss, most amazing.
HUSH… Buffy And Riley really meet.
I am still massively on the fence with Anya. I do find her funny and interesting and funny, but I do wonder if her job is mainly comic relief. But where does she get money? Or live? She becomes human and has all that out of nowhere? Me confused. Maybe she makes money from the bunnies Joss?
Now Finn I like a whole whole lot. He is cool and nice and dedicated to Buffy. You got this soldier Joss who follows orders, but still attempts to think for himself. I also find it interesting he is the only Scooby who is religious enough to go to church. Buffy and Riley Forever!
Spike is back and you all are trying to make him less threatening, more of a general menace with a funny bone. Don’t know how I feel about this Joss, since I like old Spike a lot, but he is a brutal evil killer. His popularity seemed to suddenly create a brain chip to neuter him. Now can you think up a chip for his Buffy obsession? Couple of bits I did enjoy this year is Spike spending Thanksgiving all tied up, his constant taunts to Buffy, and his insipid following of Passions.
One big missing piece of the canvas is our favourite Vampire with a soul, Angel. I loved the gem crossover, with Oz leading the way – and an obvious bait to have the werewolf join AI, and the humourful craziness of Angel showing up and hiding from Buffy. Even if his reasons were idiotic in each instance. It is clear to all the relationship is over between Angel and Buffy, and that they still love and care for each other, but now must lead separate lives. Heck, angel even managed to get Buffy mad at once or twice or three times this year. His reflection will stay with Buffy for an eternity.
Now before I expound upon your villains this year, I wanna go on abit about the wonderful potential of the Initiative. It was so obvious, the government had to have known about the Hellmouth and the netherworld and the demons and Vampires and all that. The invisible girl episode made that clear. For the government to decide to study and combat these threats makes complete sense, and Buffy joining them was Earth shaking is so many ways. And having The Initiative thinking the Slayer was a myth, and seemingly unaware of the Watchers, was interesting. Heck, the teases of the commandoes and the big reveal was epic. But…. in actual execution, it falls apart. Professor Walsh became a mostly one note bitch with a perv fixation, and the complete lack of troop discipline in the ranks was riotous. They also gave us Adam, the most boringest, ugliest, stupidest, big bad ever. Adam sucked Joss, nuff said.
HUSH… They steal your voice.
What other baddies did I like this season, you ask Joss? The haunted house at Halloween was amazeballs. Willow’s wishes going wrong was epic. The frat house with the sex walls was ecstatic. Harmony barely qualifies as a baddie – but I still loved her. Parker has to die. The Watchers moronic strike force are vile. And Faith with the switchero with our Buffy made my day in such a huge huge way. That Slayer has issues Joss!
So now we move onto the loser list. Superstar is the clear winner of the Worst Episode Ever. Hands Down. No Argument. Hated It. Then we go onto Adam, whom I have already made clear sucked bigger than a black hole. Verucca should choke on a hairball. Beer Bad was drunk with stupidity. The Native American ghosts were whatever. Ethan Rayne should die now. Spike doing a mindgame was lame lame lame.
Season four did bring up some interesting thoughts and mythologies. We find out that Vampires and demons don’t like each other, with Vampires being considered half breeds. Does that mean the demons inside the Vampire are being punished or something? Also, where do the students from Sunnydale High go to school now? Love how Buffy and Riley are so open about with their sexual being, and how no one cares. And love how Willow and Tara are together, and again no one cares. Plus, the First Slayer brings up a whole Hellmouth worth of questions.
Hush… Giles drawing like you Joss.
The one with the most questions, answers, and deep deep thoughts is your season finale, Restless. Dreams upon dreams, with an extra helping of insights and cheese. Xander having no direction in life. Willow fearing she has not changed. Giles wondering if he is father or mentor. Buffy worrying about her mom. This can be watched over and over again, with the horror, the horror, intact.
Now Joss, as I was saying 5,000 words ago or so, Buffy The Vampire Slayer Goes To College kinda didn’t work that well. And that was not because it is a bad concept, not in the slightest. It is because, in my humble opinion, your attentions was severely distracted trying to fix that trainwreck called Angel season one. It becomes very obvious you could tell this year was not going well, going along with your grand plan and thought process, because the big battle and culmination happens in episode 4.21. You tried valiantly to save it all with Restless, and I give you immense credit for that. Because that was a great great save.
Now even with this slight misfire in the series, I shall keep on with Buffy because I have complete faith in you Joss. I know season five will be awesome and amazing and awesome.
…is currently reading Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
P.S. Amy is back from being a rat! Er, nope!!