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November 25 2004

Buffy 101: Scholar studies holiday episode. Research looks at series' handling of Thanksgiving.

yes, I love 'Pangs' it is my favorite of all the Thanksgiving Day holiday movies or shows...a wonderful combination of politics, family, and the importance of pie!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!
love from, embers
Oh, that's just cute.

Happy Historically Whitewashed Sham with Yams Day!
There is so much good stuff in "Pangs"...the politically correct debate between Willow and Giles (and Spike's participation), the "Bonanza"-like bike ride to the rescue (hysterical!), "Imaginary Xander's quite the machine", also hysterical, the forced togetherness that can be so cloying at holiday time, the "that's for giving me syphilus" line, and the "oops" moment at meal time...hasn't every family had one of those?

And, the plot--moral ambiguity in a big way. A splendid 2nd tier episode.
Pangs was ok. I always thought it was a pretty poor use of Angel - why would Doyle have a vision of Buffy in trouble with this particular MOTW and not another? She wasn't in a hell of a lot more peril than usual. And the Buffy vs. vampire opening scene is one of the worst ever.
Pangs is a great episode. I can easily categorize it as the best Thanksgiving themed show/movie I ever seen. Willow's argument that "it's not just a yam jam ,our nation wiped many Indian tribes out, it's not a day to celebrate but seek forgiveness ", Buffy's insistence on celebrating the day from her childhood with her loved ones because she wants have a normal day, Xander & Anya, Spike's superb speech about the conquerors are all excellently written and acted.

And how can I forget:

- You made a bear !
- I didn't mean to...
- Undo it ! Undo it !

Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating...

[ edited by pelinxf on 2004-11-25 22:14 ]
pelinxf, one of my favorite moments of that episode!

Agree...they took what could have been a sappy or platitudinous story and spun pure gold out of it.

Isn't it the first time Xander calls Anya his girlfriend, too? That alone, for the future poignancy, makes it remarkable.
Isn't it the first time Xander calls Anya his girlfriend, too?

Yes, it is. Lovely moment. :) I can't comment on Pangs without mentioning how great Nick Brendon was at playing the syphilis struck Xander. Total pleasure to watch.

I think what charming about Pangs was, its fine balance between the political/moral issues and the uniting/family feeling of the tradition.

[ edited by pelinxf on 2004-11-25 22:50 ]
Another great thing about this episode is the way Spike gets brought to the table, literally and figuratively, and begins to be accepted as one of the gang. Of course they treat him with disdain and don't even give him any gravy, but there's subtext underneath of amused tolerance of him, mixed with pity, mixed with a bit of admiration for his stolid continued sense of humor even when tied up, shot full of arrows, and no blood to drink.
Must say that it was "Pangs" that hooked me on Buffy. It was the second episode that I ever saw, and I laughed myself silly. I didn't understand who Angel was, so I missed out on that aspect of the episode, but the dialogue and the comedic timing for all the actors was right on the money. It only improves with reviewing. And I have not been able to think about the Thanksgiving holiday without thinking about yam shams since.
Lizard - I also saw the ET connection in the bike ride and loved it for that too.
I've heard the complaint that Angel wasn't well used in the episode before, but definitely disagree with it. Buffy was doing a lot of growing up in Season 4, and Pangs was partly about that. Buffy is trying to prove she can be the grown up, and do Thanksgiving as her mom did. Angel, who knew her as a high school girl, is there, treating her like a kid that he can't trust to handle things as an adult (if she were to find out he was there). And the fact that everyone at first thinks he's evil, and that the episode open with a normal-looking guy turning out to be evil, also goes with the "amibiguity of evil" theme. Is Hus evil? Were the white settlers evil? Should their descents be held accountable (Angel and Spike haven't killed anybody lately)? And all that stuff. Listen to that opening - the young vampire guys says to Buffy, "Why did you come here? Things were great before you came!" Sounds like the message Hus is sending also.

I guess you can tell I saw this episode recently and liked it very well! It is very funny on top of being crammed, crammed, crammed with the imagery. Listen to that conversation between Buffy and Giles, all about how she likes her men evil, and how she can't figure out why she froze when trying to kill Hus, keeping in mind that Angel is in the shadows of the episode, and Spike is about to get his first invite to the table.
Excellent observations, sari, especially the way you link all the seemingly disparate character developments to come.

And, catalyst2, good call on the ET reference!
Being an 'uneducated english person' I am really unfamiliar with the detailed history of thanksgiving, but the sentiments I do appreciate.

I have always loved this episode, the marvellous quotes from Giles about getting used to not calling americans 'colonials' and Spikes history speech. Lucky for me Jane Espenson did a live commentary on Pangs at the recent con in the UK and clarified what exactly is a potato ricer and spoke about the amount of research she carried out on the Chumash.

As for Angel being underused - I thought this was part of a big build up to a major cross over ep up on AtS. And the final side long glance the bound and arrow-ridden Spike gives to the camera as Buffy hears about Angel - priceless.

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