Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Buffy Blog: "Reptile Boy"

Previously on Buffy: Jonathan is back. He made an appearance as Ampata’s potential victim at the Bronze. We see Jonathan again at the Bronze. This time he is Cordy’s younger boy slave. Cordy has, at least for the moment, sworn off older men as a result of what happens in “Reptile Boy”.

Character: Poor Xander: Xander is still jealous of any other men who Buffy is interested in be they Angel or Tom. Xander becomes a frat boy bitch and is humiliated by being turned into a woman by the macho frat boys, after he “crashes” the frat party Buffy is at to “protect her”. Xander the male macho protector. Buffy: Buffy is still thinking a lot about Angel (having surround sound dreams about him in fact). She is conflicted about killing vamps due to the fact that she has “fuzzy feelings” for one, Angel (complicating Buffy’s theodicy). Giles: “Reptile Boy” really plays up the kind of father-daughter relationship between Giles and Buffy. Giles play fights against vamps in the library. Giles real fights (quite well) at the frat house. Willow: Willow gets her righteous bitch on: Willow can’t believe Buffy lies to Giles and tells her so and “Willow: (to Angel) Why do you think she went to that party? Because you gave her the brush off…(to Giles)…and you never let her do anything except work and patrol and – I know she’s the Chosen One but you’re killing her with the pressure, she’s sixteen going on forty –(to Angel)-- and you, I mean you’re gonna live forever, you don’t have time for a cup of coffee? I love a righteous, angry, Willow. Cordy: Cordy is following the advice of Doctor Debi (“Teen Time”) and practicing eye contact and really, really listening so she can get her an older wealthier man. This, by the way, leads Cordy to laugh (feign laugh) inappropriately on occasion. Cordy’s trademarks are black, silk, chiffon, and spandex. Cordy blames the Scoobies for the bad things that happen to her when they are around (or presumably not). Angel: Angel comes to the Bronze at the end of the episode and tells Buffy they should have coffee sometime. The frat boys are pretty misogynous. Jenny: No Jenny. Does her lack of appearance have something to do with finances or availability?

Corporate America: In “Reptile Boy” the fortune and wealth of some Wall Streeters derives from the offerings they make to Machida, the reptile boy. They offer three high school girls per year to Machida and apparently have been doing so for the last fifty years. This ritual and their religious like devotion to Machida has brought and continues to bring them good fortune at least until they run into Buffy.

Psychoanalysis: Reptile boy, Machida, is obviously a phallic symbol. Buffy, the Slayer, Buffy the power girl, castrates Machida. Is this a metaphor for Buffy’s female power theme?

Out of the Past: It appears that scenes of students walking to and from class filmed during season one are being reused in season two. This is undoubtedly due to money or lack thereof.

Sets: The frat boy house was rented for the occasion. Is the underground set at the frat house reused portions of the underground lair of the Master? Again money, or the lack of it, is a reason sets are sometimes reused. If this is true this will not be the last time sets will be reused and adapted in Buffy.

Bringing the S&M of Romance:
ANGEL
What are you saying, you want to have
a date?
BUFFY
No –
ANGEL
You don’t want to have a date.
BUFFY
Who said date? I never said date.
ANGEL
Right, you just want to have coffee or
something.
BUFFY
Coffee?
Buffy makes a “that’s ridiculous” sound.
ANGEL
I knew this would happen.
BUFFY
Really? And what do you think is happening?
ANGEL
You’re sixteen years old, I’m two
hundred and forty.
BUFFY
I’ve done the math.
ANGEL
You don’t know what you’re doing, you
don’t know what you want.
BUFFY
Oh I think I do: I want out of this
conversation.
She turns to walk away. He grabs her.
ANGEL
Listen. If we date you and I both know
one thing’s going to lead to another.
Then what?
BUFFY
Then… whatever, I don’t know, might be
nice to find out. But you want to end it
before it’s begun. Fine.
Angel just shakes his head.
ANGEL
It’s a Fairy Tale. Only when I kiss you
you don’t wake up from a deep sleep
and live happily ever after.
BUFFY
No. When you kiss me I want to die.
She holds his gaze – then she walks out of frame.

Me: Ouch.

Foreshadowings: Is the “[w]hen you kiss me I want to die” a reference to the Angelus arc of season two and what happens in particular in the final episode of season two, “Becoming”?

Laugh out Loud: Willow to Angel as she is trying to see Angel’s non-image in the bookshelf glass in the library, “Angel, how do you shave?”

The Bizarro World: A world, in which according to Cordy, Xander “could join a fraternity of rich, powerful men”. The Xander-Cordy verbal sniping continues in “Reptile Boy”.

Cordy Lore: Cordy’s license plate is “Queen C”.

History Moment (what can I say I am a historian): Buffy is stumped by history. “I have a hard enough time remembering what happened last week”, she tells Tom.

Themes: Buffy is still struggling with the Slayer versus normal girl divide (Buffy to Tom: “I have obligations, people I’m responsible to… or for…”). Tom’s comments about his obligations to his father and grandfather who were in the Delta Zeta fraternity before him forces Buffy to recall her obligations to others.

Metaphors: Hey high School girls, think twice before you go to a frat boy party with all of its booze, macho boys on the prowl, and potential date rapists who might drug your drink. Good looking, seemingly sympathetic, and well-behaved guys can turn out to not so nice. Buffy and Giles sum up “Reptile Boy’s” moral message: “Buffy: I told one lie (well really three: I have homework, Mom is sick, I am not feeling well), I had one drink…Giles: And you nearly got devoured by a giant demon-snake. I think the words “let that be a lesson” are a tad redundant at this juncture." Here endeth the lesson.

The Chorus: “Reptile Boy” is more of a standalone. Still it moves character development and the Buffy-Angel arc along.

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