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October 03 2008

The best One Crazy Night movies of all time. Yes it's not a movie but it's always good to see some love for Xander and 'The Zeppo'.

I've always been baffled by the lack of love for this episode. It has good comic timing and shows that Xander can hold his own, even if he has to Gump his way through without the special powers of nearly every other character on the show. Go Xander!
I have a copy of the script signed by Nick, tis a wonderful read.
From what little of the list I had time to check, all these movies seem to be after my time.
One of my favourite episodes.
As I was clicking through the list, I was scared After Hours wasn't on the list. But there it was, at the end. That was actually my first Scorsese picture.
Wow, for some reason it never registered before now that 'After Hours' is a Scorsese film. Good movie though, Griffin Dunne seems to have credits pretty solidly from 'An American Werewolf in London' on (and I think he's pretty big in theatre too ?) and yet it still feels like we haven't seen enough of him.

"I like the quiet" showed that Xander had a bit of the proper hard in him, nice moment. The episode's maybe a bit wacky for some tastes I guess but I always liked that mix of OTT "Stoogey" craziness all brought back down and grounded by a bit of genuine darkness.

And doesn't 'Escape from New York' count ? Or maybe that's the slightly smaller sub-sub-genre "One Crazy 24hrs" ?

(also 'Strange Days' maybe ? Or, cos for some reason it was on my mind over on the .org, 'Last Night' a Canadian movie about the end of the world)
There’s a lack of love for some because this is the episode where the idea of xander as a liability was introduced.
My vote for the best episode.
I think that Ferris Beuler's Day Off should have made this list. Granted, not night, but everything else fits.

I've always loved the Zeppo.
I love "The Zeppo" except for one serious flaw -- it totally and artificially alters Xander's relationship with everybody around him to set up the central conceit. There are parts that are so universally out of character that it really just grates on me, all the business about him suddenly needing to be protected from a fight and all.

That said -- Xander/Faith is not only awesome, but it was probably the most artfully shot sex scene they did on the show. The scene of Xander stepping all over the preposterous Buffy/Angel melodrama is one of the single funniest things ever in the series.
I never noticed a big schism between pre-"The Zeppo" Xander and post-"TZ" Xander until others brought it up. It makes sense to me as a consequence of season two and early season three episodes. "Becoming" was when Xander discovered he was no longer Willow's number one, and Buffy's summer away is what I think finally let him give up hope for Buffy, even if the more obvious moments were earlier in the season. Then comes "Lovers Walk," and Oz forgives Willow but Cordy doesn't forgive Xander. Willow grows more and more powerful; Faith comes into town; Giles is no longer the official Watcher and is on some level "one of the gang" more so than an authority figure; same with Angel; and Cordy is somewhat ousted. Basically, this period is the first time in which Xander actually is far and away the least powerful member of the gang. Perhaps his friends' attitudes toward him changed a bit dramatically, but I think that "Revelations" and "Lovers Walk" (and Giles' firing in "Helpless") ripped the gang apart and put it back together in unexpected ways. Willow's growing confidence, Buffy's growing affinity for Faith, and Cordy's breaking up with him explain a lot of why the gang seemed to turn on Xander and his skills as quickly as they did--and Angel and Giles were never 100% sold on Xander's skills anyway (though Giles, somewhat hypocritically, did let him fight vamps--but hey, they aren't apocalypse demons, are they?). There are certain episodes regarded as character turning points, where certain emotions that weren't entirely examined previously come out in full force; "Fool for Love" in its Buffy/Spike treatment is an obvious one. I think "The Zeppo," in the entire gang's (mis?)appraisal of Xander is another. The apocalypse demons, like Buffy's nearly being staked to death, were just the right catalyst to set into effect what was already bound to happen, eventually.

I've thought a lot about "The Zeppo" as being one of the best examples of a "one wild night" genre. I'd add "Sweet Smell of Success" to it as well, actually, for a darker interpretation, but with the same sense of loosely connected adventures, people coming in and out of one's night and leaving and reentering, and having a vague sense of it all spinning out of control. I've had nights like "The Zeppo" (and "Dazed and Confused" and "American Graffiti"), if to a much lesser extent; so much happens so quickly that nothing seems to make any sense and I wind up sorting it out for months afterward. Obviously the scale is much smaller, but it is "TZ" that I turn to afterwards, almost always.
I don't agree with their blurb on "authority figures." I think that Giles should still count as an authority figure, even if he's being mostly unsuccessful and a little silly in "The Zeppo." He's not helpful to Xander, but that's just obliviousness, not antagonism.

Hmm. It seems to be the only "movie" that I really like on this whole list.

Strange Days shouldn't be counted in this genre, if it really is a genre, IMO. The main character is already so close to the bottom of his world, it's more of a junkie story. Though I do like it.
Yeah fair point, "complications ensue" but there's no "fall from grace" no "being out of his element". The central character has some similarities to the mold though I reckon - i.e. Fiennes' character doesn't really have an arc as such (or not one separate from the plot anyway) and pretty much just is himself until he transcends his limitations at the end and that's often true of the central fish-out-of-water character in "one crazy night" stories too (they're always changed by the experience, usually for the better, often becoming more tolerant or less uptight for instance).
Think that was the point of the coin and the "reflection" upon it.
The scene of Xander stepping all over the preposterous Buffy/Angel melodrama is one of the single funniest things ever in the series.

I so love that scene.
Last Night was so well-acted, funny, and powerful (that last bit is one of my favorite movie moments, burned into my brain). At least it was when I saw it when I was 18. I think it would still hold up. I didn't know what to expect from that Canadian production at the time, despite seeing positive ratings here. I know I now love two or three of the main actors from it (but I don't love Sandra Oh enough to watch Grey's Anatomy. Don McKeller is still awesome though, can't wait to see him in Blindness along with all the other heavy hitters. Missed that to see Choke and Religulous tonight).

I wish I had a better memory of Strange Days, though I remember I liked it when I saw it.

Originally when Season 3 aired, I thought "The Zeppo" was cheesier than I really wanted the show to be at that point (yes, I'd seen Season 1, save one episode, at that point), though yeah, I know it was somewhat of an intentional spoof episode in some respects. And I did love Xander getting in the way of the Buffy/Angel cry-scene, which was my least-favorite aspects of that season as of "Amends" and for the entire rest of the season. I like Buffy/Angel as well enough as anyone who was liking them in Season 2 and during Angel Season 1's "I Will Remember You" and maybe in a couple other spots, but by the second half of Season 3 I couldn't have been more sick of their--admittedly warranted--mopefest and it dragged S3 down for me in a lot of respects.

I like it more now, but despite Xander being one of my favorite characters throughout most of the series (especially in the first four seasons), "The Zeppo" just didn't do it for me originally. I remember that playing off an opening-of-the-Hellmouth-style apocalypse lightly at that point, so early in the show's life, really rubbed me the wrong way.

[ edited by Kris on 2008-10-05 07:42 ]

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