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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
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March 06 2017

Every episode of Buffy ranked. This is a Paste Magazine list and, like most lists linked to here, is not legally binding.

I'm confused about one thing - the author invites people to post comments, but I don't see the Comments option anywhere on the page? Is it there and I'm just missing it?

Overall a good list, and kudos to the author for making an effort to rank so many Buffy episodes and write explanations. Of course, I don't agree with some of it (no two fans are ever going to agree on everything). This confirms to me that some episodes like Lie to Me, I Only Have Eyes for You, Dead Things, When She Was Bad, Anne, Beauty and the Beasts, Out of Mind, Out of Sight or Forever are seriously underrated (pretty much the list that I named in the comments to the entry about the most underrated episodes), while others like Chosen, Halloween and Band Candy are overrated (though the latter is not placed that high, I think). Chosen has so many problems, it wouldn't even rank in the first 40 for me in spite of some brilliant moments. (Completely unnecessary and fanservicey love triangle that takes up way too much screentime? Lack of a proper resolution of relationships between Buffy and the Scoobies, particularly Giles, after the events previously in the season which left them on very bad terms? Ridiculously nerfed Ubervamps? A whole bunch of unaddressed issues with the Slayer spell itself, including the question, how is giving a certain limited number of random women superpowers - which they did not even ask for - a universal feminist triumph?) Band Candy is super fun but has the fundamental problem of an incredibly stupid premise (being a teenager is not the same as being an irresponsible, out of control idiot, except in bad teen comedies, which Buffy is not), and Halloween is deeply sexist and absurd, not to mention historically inaccurate and ignorant, in its portrayal of 18th century noblewomen, complete with blaming pre-20th century women for their lack of rights to career, education, vote etc. as if this was (the implication is) all because they were just so stupid and air-headed.

I haven't had the time to go through write-ups for each episode yet, but a couple of things have caught my attention. I don't agree with the reason given for the relatively low placement of Normal Again - I am critical of the same thing, but for completely different reasons. No, the problem with "Is it all in her head?" concept is not that it may mean the series is just in her head and that's bad. The problem is that, whatever Joss may say, it's obvious that the show can't be in her head - that theory is simply untenable, because the show has never been fully from Buffy's POV, and huge chunks of it are devoted to scenes she never witnessed or could even know about. (Plus, there's that whole other show that's definitely not from her POV at all.)

And then there's the comment about the balcony scene from Dead Things... Look, there is a legitimate criticism one may make about that scene: I've never been sure if it fully works, because it's a bit over-dramatic - especially the way Spike speaks - to the point I wasn't sure the first time if it was not in Buffy's head. Then again, one may argue it fits with the somewhat surreal tone of the entire episode. But the author's comment is: "While I appreciate that Buffy is still figuring out what happened to her and who she is, resurrected, I emphatically do not accept her in the role of bottom/submissive/what have you. Not that one can’t play multiple roles. It’s just that this is out of character." Uh, oh. Where do I start with this one? And why is that so, pray you, sir? Strong women can't be "bottoms", is that it? Your sex roles and positions determine your worth/strength? Come on, really? Some serious sexual stereotyping/prejudice going on there, methinks.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-03-06 17:33 ]
I have a few disagreements ;) I actually like Riley, for one thing. Though many of the episodes he's in are indeed not good. And I'm much less of a Xander fan (Hell's Bells should be way lower). If I wrote all my thoughts, I'd be here all night, and it's not worth the effort because I doubt anybody cares what I think. So I'll just say that even the worst episodes have redeeming features and Buffy is an amazingly good show. I kept thinking "I must be almost done with this list, these episodes are amazing" and then I'm only at 30 or something.

Has anyone ever set up a kittenwar/Hot or Not type thing for people to rank Buffy episodes? It wouldn't really be definitive, because internet poll, but it would be closer than one person's list.

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