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November 13 2016

32 fascinating behind the scenes facts about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Things that you probably already know about Buffy the Vampire Slayer from being a member here, and maybe some that you don't know, and some I'm not convinced are true.

The two would eat tuna fish or pickles before kissing to make the scenes as unsexy as possible.

I have read this precise word for word quotation also applied to Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry on Beverly Hills 90210. I don't believe it for either couple. Series television is a very expensive and time constrained product to produce. Actors who spend their time on set pulling pranks don't stay in the cast. They get bad reps and they never work in this town again.
I was also highly skeptical of the idea that Anya was meant to die, but Emma Caulfield kept "moving in the shot" so they kept her alive. That, uh, is not usually how it works.
I have heard that after many of her early appearances, Emma Caulfield was told that she would not be coming back just because there were no plans to use the character further. She was asked back repeatedly, after the fact, until she finally became part of the main cast. This happened because she did such a great job of bringing aspects of the character to life that nobody expected.
I've heard a variant on the "unsexy kissing" one from another source and in a different way (but never the one about Caulfield "moving"). One thing that makes me doubt the first is that Gellar is reportedly ultra-professional. Boreanaz is a total joker, though. I find it telling that I've never been able to find a "wacky hijinks" blooper reel fro BtVS, but I've got a hilarious one for AtS.

(Then there's the immortal Firefly blooper reel, so pranks can totally happen on-set. I actually quote the blooper reel almost as much as I quote the show.)

It does seem that there are a considerable number of stories from BtVS and AtS where a character was rescued from abrupt death by an actor's great performance and Joss liking worth them.



...Considering the shows were on the WB, would anyone have asked Eliza to do nude scenes?
I have never heard the Buffy making a wish to bring Tara back in 'Chosen' story before. This would have been super interesting to see.
With Buffy having spent time in what she thought was heaven, I can't imagine how the writers could justify her bring back Tara.

Good perhaps for Willow et al, not so much for Tara.
without_passion, I've heard the story before; supposedly in the episode, Buffy would be granted one wish of her choosing, and it was guaranteed somehow that there would be no bad consequences; at the end of the episode it is revealed that Buffy cast her wish as a gift to Willow, and brought Tara back to life.

But the way I heard it, it was Joss who decided not to have that happen. And much as I loved loved loved Tara, I think that he made exactly the right choice; it would have been a "jump the shark" moment.

There's a remark that Spike makes at some point--maybe to Dawn, and as I recall it's in front of the Summers house--about how there are ALWAYS consequences. That principle is essential to what makes the show work; it's not a superficial rule that can be bent for sentimental reasons, or surely Joyce would not have died (nor Fred on AtS).

--best regards

[ edited by mozzarellademon on 2016-11-14 02:04 ]
So I was at Wizard World Chicago in 2004 (?) just to see Joss’s panel. (This was while he was filming Serenity.) He gave a great talk on a bunch of different topics, showed us the earliest trailer for Serenity (this was waaaaay before we all had camera phones so it didn’t make much of a splash.)

But he answered a question from the audience about why Tara never came back, did he even try? He got super contemplative and said that in season seven he had this idea for an episode where Buffy performs this amazing feat (unspecified) and earns a powerful wish in return. This wish could be for anything so she spends the rest of the episode agonizing about what she should do with it. She could bring her mom back to life, try to make it work with Angel, etc. At the end of the episode she goes to find Willow and shows her these amazing shoes. “What do you think? Totally hot, right?” Willow is incredulous. “Is that what you wished for?” Buffy says, “No, you dummy” and steps out of the way to reveal Tara. End credits.

The panel audience gasped. The woman next to me teared up and we grabbed hands, even though we’d only met an hour before, waiting in line for the panel. I don’t remember him saying why it didn’t happen, but I’m sure we can all think of good reasons, but at the time it was incredibly moving.
Wow, thank you guys both for sharing. That's a great memory, @Prosperina. :)

I feel like this could have been pulled off, if Joss had written and directed it. I wonder if it was cut to focus on the series finale instead.
mozarellademon It's not like Buffy was going to use a spell. The idea was a wish granted by a higher power. But yes, given Buffy's own experiences, I can't see her doing that unless Tara agreed to it.
DaddyCatALSO, what I mean is that the entire possibility of a positive magical outcome without a horrific "down" side--no matter how or by whom--would violate one of the show's deepest principles. It would make all the suffering in all the other episodes of the show meaningless in retrospect. It would be the Kiss of Disney.

The closest I can think of to a "free" magical wish is the crossover episode in which Angel and Buffy can finally be together--I recall ice cream in bed. In the end Angel goes to TPTB and gives it all up because of his sense of responsibility to the world. And as an extra layer, he takes all the awareness and grief upon himself. That's a Jossian "resolution"; free happies, and a universe that grants them, are not.

--best regards
Prosperina, that is one of the facts that I believed, having read it before. My understanding was that that was the one that Amber Benson wasn't available for.
@barboo - I was just about to chime in and say the same thing.
mozzarellademon, we'll never know how it would have played out if that episode had happened. Even if Tara had been brought back to life, it might not have been happily resolved. What if she was as depressed by coming back as Buffy had been at being yanked out of heaven, and eventually Willow realized that the only right thing she could do for the woman she loved would be to let her die again (by not saving her in some undescribed situation, for instance)? Or in the final episode, Tara died again, saving Willow's life? She could die in Willow's arms a second time saying "Now I know why I was brought back. It was to save you."

Or a combination of both. Tara is depressed until she dies saving Willow's life, when she says the thing about now she knows why she was brought back. And then she could say "I'll see you on the other side."

I could totally see those as Jossian scenarios.

[ edited by barboo on 2016-11-14 17:36 ]
I've heard the gross foods before kissing scenes thing before, and I swear it was from an interview with SMG. My memory is terrible though, so grain of salt and all that... Something like they were competing to gross the other one out more, in a way lessening the awkwardness of doing intimate scenes? Maybe it will ring a bell with someone who remembers the same thing.
I've never before heard the story about Faith being originally intended to commit suicide, and I'm really skeptical about it. I find it hard to believe that the main storyline of season 3 with the Mayor and Faith was something supposedly just made up halfway through the season. Does anyone know the source for that? I'm also highly skeptical of the Anya story.

@mozzarellademon: I agree, I've always thought that would have been a jump the shark moment that would Disneyfy the show.

@RobynH: I think you're wrong. Hayley Atwell - a very pleasant and well liked actress - and Dominic Cooper (certainly not lacking work opportunities) are well known for pulling pranks on each other on the set of Agent Carter, filming them and posting them on their Twitter and Instagram accounts. Atwell is generally super goofy and also organized things like the "dubsmash" war with the cast of Agents of SHIELD, even getting Chris Evans to come around to participate. The entire cast of Agents of SHIELD are also incredibly goofy and comfortable with each other (just look at their live Facebook Q&A sessions), and they've told stories about pranking each other on set - you can see one such example in one of the blooper reels (I don't remember if it was for season 1 or 2) where Clark Gregg comes up to wake Chloe Bennet who was dozing off, putting on a monster mask on and freaking her out. Bennet and Luke Mitchell (Lincoln) have also told a similar story about eating food just before their kissing scenes. In the show's blooper real for season 3 you can see 2 or 3 shots of the two of them bursting into laughter during their kissing scenes. The producers of the show clearly have never had a problem with actors acting goofy and having fun on set - why not, after all, they work long hours and spend a lot of the year on set. It's much healthier than having a bunch of angry, grumpy people or people who hate each other or have bitter rivalries. The producers of AoS are said to have the "no asshole policy" when it comes to hiring actors.
@TimeTravellingBunny Anything is possible. I agree that getting part or all of the cast together to do social media like the dubsmash videos or comicon pranks is a regular occurrence and is considered free advertising and a way to generate buzz about the series by the producers and distributors and network.

I think what doesn't exist are a lot of pranks that ruin a take or that delay production even momentarily. When you look at the gag reels for a series, you might see 4 or 5 minutes for a full season of 22 episodes, or almost 15 1/2 hours of broadcast. That probably took eleven or twelve hundred hours of work to produce with a cast and crew of fifty or sixty people.

Some moments are unintentionally blown scenes that are funny, a few are pranks that occur in rehearsal. (I'm remembering the Wash, Mal and Zoë mustache scene in Out of Gas), But I am still guessing the number of times that someone decides to prank a live take are few and far between. Let me know if I'm not thinking it through. Thanks!
@RobynH That's how I took these reports about DB pranking co-stars or he and SMG pranking each other. Being on set the whole day and shooting the same scenes over and over probably gets tiresome and exhausting, and some jokes and levity is welcome occasionally. I certainly don't imagine it would involve repeatedly and intentionally screwing up takes.

This report could also be somewhat exaggerated. They had just two sex scenes on Buffy and one on Angel, and I don't even think that any of them involved Angel taking off Buffy's clothes, so that part sounds dubious.
barboo : Or this one, which is an idea I'm sure Joss is keeping in a back pocket in case it's ever what we "need;"

Tara: Darling! The Powers asked if I wanted to come back and here I am.

Willow: God, I missed you! (hug) (mumbles into Tara's shoulder) I have metastatic brain cancer and only have five months max left.

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