This week, the poll at "My Buffyholism...." is for one of the best episodes of the entire series run, Dead Man's Party.
Except, I kid.
It's not a bad episode, but I see it as more of a necessary episode to get Buffy back in the Sunnydale swing of things, rather than as an actually good one. But, I have to say the "Willow's smug superiority while forgiving Buffy" at the end is one of my favorite scenes between these two that doesn't involve crying.
But, on to the poll questions!
Let's get down to it. Who annoyed/angered you most during the big fight scene?
Yeah, yeah, I'm going to anger people - I supported Xander being harsh with the un-listening Buffy. Actually, I very often support Xander's ragging on Buffy, because she doesn't appear to listen well to people who aren't up in her face.
I know he's going to get all the votes, so I wanted it out there that he isn't my choice. Buffy is. I love her. Truly, I do. But, she can be really frickin' self-centered. It irritated me to no end that she, first of all tried to use her party as a shield to avoid her mother's very deserved anger. Yes, Joyce should have let it go until later - and probably would have if she weren't on her way to Drunksville. But that doesn't excuse Buffy's not taking her medicine in her room... plus, that re-packing thing just because everything was weird and strained after her walkabout... well, tough shit - you don't just run away again! That pissed me off. I completely support Willow's show of impatience and anger when she walked in on Buffy throwing clothes in her suitcase.
But also, Buffy STILL made everything about her: "I know you were worried", "You have no idea what I was going through", "I don't have time for this" ... it was "I, I, I, I".
Now, I have sympathy for Buffy here. I'm not suddenly hating on her or anything - she's right that no one can know what it was like at that moment when she had to send Angel to hell, never to see him again (as far as she knew). And, I totally get why she just couldn't talk about it. I'm not faulting her for any of that, only for getting on her "Why are you all mad at me for totally bailing and not even bothering to let you know that I'm all right for three months!?" horse.
How about trying to be a little understanding with your friends' and Joyce's hurt and anger in return for same, Buffy. You were the one that made them feel the way they did by running off without a word. I'd say it falls on you to be understanding first.
And we're gonna get scaly. Several characters stress how selfish and wrong it was for Buffy to abandon them. How reprehensible was it for Buffy to do this? 1 = Not at all; 10 = Uber-amounts.
I struggle a little bit with this, since I know the whole story of why Buffy took off to forget about ever being a Slayer. I can't imagine the utter bleakness she was going through. And it isn't like she was renouncing the power - she wasn't in any serious danger out on the road, being more than capable of looking after herself and avoid victimization on the streets. She was still a Slayer, after all, even if she didn't want to exercise those powers.
But, she couldn't put .50 in a payphone and let Joyce know she was alright, but needed time to pull her head together? Really? After a month, she couldn't do this? After two? Did she not give one iota of thought in all that time as to what her mom might be thinking and worrying over? And, Giles? She never thought, "I should let Giles know that I didn't die or get sucked into Hell with Angelus (as far as he'd know, it would have been Angelus she defeated)."
So, Buffy's reaction to what happened was entirely sympathetic and understandable. But, not contacting anyone in all of that time to just say "I'm alive, I'm alright, I can't come back right now, I need time" really is selfish. I think I'm gonna go with Seven.
The zombie attack: Welcome distraction or irritating interruption?
I'm going to choose 'welcome distraction'. While I'm on the Scooby and Joyce's side in this, the middle of the party wasn't the place for a confrontation, even if Buffy was deliberately retreating there just for the avoidance refuge. Everyone (well - Joyce, she kicked this off) should have tamped down on there anger and bitter resentment until later, where they could have insisted that Buffy was going to get over herself and listen for a minute. They had a right to vent, but not there and then -- plus, it wasn't helping because Buffy was too defensive due to being publicly embarrassed by being shouted at in front of people she didn't even know.
The huge, loud party was a mistake, anyway - just because it wasn't a controlled 'friends only' affair. But, since that is what was happening, it behooved the Gang and her mother to just chill out until later. I don't really quite buy that the zombie attack would have made everything better, though - much as I love the Willow/Buffy scene to follow.
Had Joyce ever sampled Pat's empanadas?
Oh, I think she and Buffy had re-heated empanadas for a few days. However, that isn't a poll choice:
A) Of course. They were very good friends.
B) No way. Don't be silly.
C) What, exactly, is this question asking me?
Uh - I totally didn't get the double-entendre going on. I must choose C.
Pretend you're a movie reviewer and give this episode a star rating.
This is a very 3 episode. Quite Average in the Buffy-scheme of things.
Edited 10/21/10 to encourage you to clicky the linky and read through the comments. I wasn't expecting the conversation that this episode has inspired. Apparently, my thinking Buffy selfish for going all summer without calling somebody is in the minority view, and harsh views on Joyce are fascinating.