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"Wasn't that guy dead?"
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July 07 2011

Top five Joss Whedon moments! As provided by WhatCulture!.

This is actually a pretty cool list. 5, 3, 2 and 1 are amongst the most epic and well-loved scenes across Joss's shows. Really, they're all actually kind of series-defining moments. And I think it'd be a very hard argument to say The Body isn't one of the most brilliantly crafted episodes of television ever.

(With that in mind, has any got - or ever heard - any actual criticism about The Body? Along with Hush and OMWF it seems to be in the "holy trinity" of best Buffy eps, but while I've heard plenty valid criticism of the latter, I don't think I've ever heard an ill word about The Body).
Yes. I remember criticism about the vampire. I think it had something to do with it taking people out of the real-life tragedy.
I remember that too, Simon. And I remember feeling that way at the time... then someone said No, it just shows that Buffy is who she is, regardless of what happens to her personally. That the Slayer must go on. Vampires don't stop coming because Joyce is dead.

After hearing that, the scene did seem to fit better.
That's how I heard it explained, and it makes perfect sense -- she can't take a day off even for Joyce dying. Oh, and it's one of the least-elegant slayings she's ever made, messy and disgusting and hard. No grace here. Death and killing aren't clean that day.

Pretty darn good list, actually. I might quibble with the order of #1 and 2, but hey, I might let it stand, too.
...but while I've heard plenty valid criticism of the latter, I don't think I've ever heard an ill word about The Body

Too deathy ?

In an episode full of rightness about the joy and sadness of being human, Buffy killing the vampire felt right to me too. Thing about real-life tragedy is, it's got 'real-life' in it, killing vampires is Buffy's real-life, QED. And stripping the metaphor away, people continue when a loved one dies, part of the tragedy is that while it feels like your world's ending it actually isn't, it's still got things in it like walking the dog, paying the bills, feeding the kids etc. - there's a disconnect between reality and your internal state. People continue because that's what we do, because what's the other option ? Buffy is people, 'nuff said.

Pretty good list in general though a completely different Top 5 Joss Whedon Moments would be laughably easy, such is the standard of the man's work.
#1 has it all for me
03. “And yet somehow, I just can’t seem to care."

I do like that scene, but there is another episode I like more that's equally brutal in terms of killing humans, deserve it though they may (Conviction: S5, Ep1 -- Angel stops Ops Agents from killing a classroom full of children):

Hauser: I am something you will never be. I’m pure. I believe…in Evil. You and your friends, you’re conflicted, you’re confused. We’re not. That is why you are going to lose. Because we possess the most powerful thing in the world: conviction.

Angel: There is one thing more powerful than conviction—just
one: mercy. (Kills Hauser)

Ops agent: What happened to mercy?

Angel: You just saw the last of it.

In the same episode, I have no problem spanking men. Nothing revelatory, just awesome.
Another key aspect about The Body is that Willow and Tara kiss for the first time - there's something elegant about such an important character point (which was likely to attract media interest) being in the background and yet, in line with Saje's observation, demonstrating that life goes on.
Wow. A good list. Nothing to quibble with, really. *sigh* Bored now. ;-)
That scene in "Conviction" is, as short and as brutal as it is since he doesn't simply kill Hauser, but makes him kill himself in a particularly sickening way, is probably my favorite scene in what (for me) was a difficult season of the series. It was pure Angel, inside and out. Every once in a while the audience needs a reminder of the person their dealing with here, because yes he's goofy, stoic, cheap, out-of-touch, protective, but he's also a very dangerous man that you don't want to piss off.
The Body is such an amazing episode. Throughout the series we see the gang deal with supernatural death,in this episode we get to experience a very natural death and it's just so shocking. Everyone in the episode is trying to figure out how to cope with it. I also think that in this episode we get to see how difficult it is for Anya to be human and it really helped in developing and understanding her character.
"(With that in mind, has any got - or ever heard - any actual criticism about The Body? Along with Hush and OMWF it seems to be in the "holy trinity" of best Buffy eps, but while I've heard plenty valid criticism of the latter, I don't think I've ever heard an ill word about The Body)."

I teach screenwriting, and I played this episode to my students. I thought it would be a sort of writer bootcamp. You think you write well? Heh, well taste PERFECTION, mere mortals.

Buuuuut they laughed the entire way through. Boggled my mind. Not one of them liked it. I thought it stood alone nicely, but I was disappointed that it seems like one does need to spend time with the characters for the episode to matter as much as it does. It's superbly well-crafted, but it showed me that a) Joss's work is awesome because of how it stands as a whole as much as on the strength of the individual episodes and b) some episodes are best watched when you're NOT in a room full of people.

[ edited by patxshand on 2011-07-07 23:21 ]

[ edited by patxshand on 2011-07-07 23:22 ]
They laughed ?? I get not being totally blown away by it (or even liking it much) without some feeling for the characters but laughter not so much. I too am boggled, you've passed it on patxshand, rest easy and lay down your boggle.
Not seeing which "moment" the number 1 spot is describing. This is how the list reads to me:

5. The end-game, post-apocalyptic story that Dollhouse set up
4. The Body
3. Angel's grit, especially in season 2
2. Chosen
(which makes sense, but then for number one...)
1. All of Firefly/Serenity

...Really? I know that everyone loves Firefly, but come on.
Well... Firefly was sort of one big, long, awesome moment - in more ways than one.
Buuuuut they laughed the entire way through. Boggled my mind. Not one of them liked it.

Can I ask what they thought was amusing? Just for interest's sake.
Yeah, the Body -- for all its power -- is not a stand-alone. Actually I'm not sure any of them are, for full effect; the first ep I ever saw was OMWF, and while I found it entertaining, I didn't think of it as a work of genius... which is my current opinion.

"Lie to Me" may be the only one that's truly stand-alone and also amazing. The rest take too much prologue.
Yeah but they laughed ?? How can a human watch Buffy saying "Mommy ?" or telling Dawn the news at her school and think "Yuks, yuks, her world is falling apart - hah, hilarious!" ? Even the non-standaloneness doesn't explain that, it's not as if in real-life you think it's sad when your mother dies but absolutely hysterical when the parent of someone you barely know does. It's possible I may no longer understand the youth of today. Patxshand's students better not come anywhere near my lawn is all i'm saying ;).

(though in a screen-writing class I guess there could be quite a spread of ages. Which is even more mind-boggling)

((unless, I suppose, it was uncomfortable laughter, as when you're experiencing strong emotions but don't want to display them in front of a group of relative strangers. That's more understandable))
I showed the first ten minutes of 'The Body' once in class (not one I was teaching).

Everyone laughed at the part where Buffy cracks Joyce's rib. I was shocked.
Death is hilarious - just ask the Irish.
The moments that got the laughs going were the cut back to Joyce's face after the plate breaking, Willow's clothing dilemma, and the vampire at the end. Unfortunately, the latter had some groans as well. I don't think they understood the dichotomy of a serious episode with a supernatural element.

Hell, I screened it to show an episode with strictly diegetic music and to get them to try to talk about theme. I guess, when a group of college students doesn't know the difference between "your" and "you're," I might have to aim lower.
I've thought several times about showing The Body to one of my intro film history classes for the same reasons, patxshand. Now I'm glad I have never followed through. I would be crushed by such a reaction. (I have the same level of students.)
Yeah, definitely don't. I think the person who suggested "Fool for Love" might be onto something. I'm going to try it next semester.

Oh, or maybe "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?"
Angel was meaner and manlier than its predecessor. Forget high school, trendy clubs and social get-togethers; introducing a vampire private investigator, gritty Los Angeles nightlife and car chases. It was a vital move and one that meant Angel went places BtVS couldn’t touch.

Tell that to BtVS Season 6. Instead of letting the vampire villains kill the human villains, we have a human protagonist skinning one of the human villains. (And that's just the most obvious counterexample. "Dead Things", anyone?) It's fair enough to draw a distinction between the noir-laden tragedy of AtS and the more hopeful BtVS -- but dismissing the complexity and darkness of BtVS wholesale just makes me inclined to dismiss this writer's point.

Sorry to say, I'm reading an implicit conflation of "manlier" and more "adult" here. Even the comparison itself only describes BtVS during its first three seasons -- "high school, trendy clubs and social get-togethers." Remove the "high school" (which describes less than half of BtVS) and you'll have a description that works for both BtVS and AtS (unless I'm imagining all that time spent hanging out at Caritas singing "Mandy" and "we are the champions" or I dreamt all the social get-togethers at the ballet, Las Vegas, birthday parties, and office parties).

My eyes: they are a-rollin'. Car chases demonstrate darkness, vroom!

[ edited by Emmie on 2011-07-08 19:59 ]
With that in mind, has any got - or ever heard - any actual criticism about The Body?

I have seen criticism about the inclusion of the flashback scene that ends with the pie-plate breaking. Some think that scene didn't have a place in the episode and that it should not have been included. Some think that it was filmed to show that Buffy was still close with her mother, despite her absence during most of season 4.
I think it's hard to show emotion in front of your peers. While I'm horrified at the idea of laughing at "The Body," I can see why your students could be scared of getting into the episode and used laughter as a way to counteract any other emotions they could be feeling.

Maybe if you made it a homework assignment, where they didn't have to watch it with other people?
Everyone laughed at the part where Buffy cracks Joyce's rib.


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