TV: Roswell

Music Recommendation: “The Way You Are” by Mackabella

Guys! Guys! GUYS! I finally watched the Netflix hit Stranger Things and it is amazing. Like, as an 80’s sci-fi fan, I was in awe of the score, the tone, the characters, the creepiness, the cheese-factor, and of course just the production of such a great addition to the sci-fi television hall of fame. With the new year, I started thinking about my favorite science-fiction television dramas and I’ve already posted about Buffy, Smallville, and Supernatural. I  have a strong emotional connection with Roswell and you can’t get more sci-fi than aliens, so here we go…

635944688051077755335169110_giphy

The series dares to delve into the world of science-fiction, while at the same time stays human. It has everything that I love about television (and film and literature to be honest). It has all the genres: drama, sci-fi, romance, comedy, and a little horror / the ‘spook factor’. Plus, it premiered in 1999, and you all know how I love my 90’s television!

c73089b0c42338b6cc24e9b775ea5bde

It’s cool and interesting and the characters keep me invested and I just NEED to be a part of their squad, which is built on trust and loyalty. I just hate that I decided to finally watch the show so late in the game – back in 2012. From the pilot episode, I was hooked!

tumblr_no2ol32qOa1qg1euzo1_250

Some background: I always knew of Roswell as I grew up watching shows on The WB network. I would see ads (Max and Liz can be seen starting at 1:28) for the series. Also, here’s another one of my favorite The WB ads. I also recognized Shiri Appleby from the Gavin Degraw ‘I Don’t Want to Be’ music video. You know the One Tree Hill theme song. I kept telling myself that I’d watch the show later. Then, later became years and time passed by…

roswell gif 1

Flash forward to my third year in college and I’m living in my first apartment and pretty much living in my own little bubble. It was the year of self-improvement and peace. I had caught on to the flow of classes and I was getting stuff DONE while being comfortable having enough time to myself…to watch TV. I needed some new shows to ‘study’ and obsess over. Then Amazon had a ton of shows free to view through Prime. I decided hey, let me watch all those shows on my list that I always said that I would get around to. Keep in mind that at the time, I was a hardcore Buffy, Smallville, Charmed, and Angel fan. Science-fiction was one of my favorite go-to TV genres. I saw Roswell listed, watched the pilot episode – BOOM, I was in love. Just like that. I bought all three seasons on DVD after I finished season one on Amazon!

xpsnf7.jpg
I love it! I love it!

Before long, I found myself in a daze. All I could think about was the show. In class, I was thinking about the show. In the shower. While eating lunch. Dinner. Rare occasions where I ate breakfast. While sleeping. While walking. And even while talking. Lucky for me, the series is only three seasons long. Otherwise, I would be forever in a Roswell cosmic trance.

tumblr_mtc66iKzGn1qcn84xo2_250

In high school, I spent [wasted] a few precious moments watching (and reading) the Twilight series. I truly have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with the series. But the films (and books) did clue me into more of the sci-fi/teen drama/romance mixed genre: the human girl falls for the ‘outsider’ [non-human, vampire, werewolf, alien] guy.

091219115833Hallway_SceneB
Stop and stare.

Plus, the show just hooked onto my teen drama heartstrings. Shall we journey down the hallway?

roswell gif 2

3

summer-seth-anna

312fyoh-jpg

200_s

Seriously, Roswell was right up my alley. Something that I truly love about it is that the show includes the ‘love triangle’ trope that most of the other teen drama series like to hammer down hard on us, but you clearly know the two who are actually meant to be and there isn’t too much of a dilemma in deciding who you’re rooting for.

This is nice because I like to see two people make up their minds about who they’re in love with and the show can focus on the growth of their romance. And there is absolutely no doubt or debate that the two are soulmates (cough, Felicity). Max and Liz are honestly meant to be – despite them being different species and despite the world (and other worlds) trying to tear them apart. They just, somehow, naturally and seamlessly fit. Liz is the soft-spoken, wide-eyed, sweetheart and Max is her intergalactic prince charming. They are literally star-crossed lovers and sparks fly when they’re together. Simply, no ordinary love.

liz and max

What I also love about the show is that the aliens are two siblings and a best friend, so one of them is ironically the outsider. Brendan Fehr said during the ATX TV Festival reunion (around the 10:30 mark) that he enjoyed that Michael was the “outsider of the outsiders”. Years after their ship crashed and the aliens came out of their pods (I told you how hardcore sci-fi the show is), Max and Isabel were found by loving parents while Michael had to be put in the system with a not-so-fatherly foster dad. It’s an interesting take. There’s always a power struggle between Max and Michael as well as with Isabel (being the lady of the group) having to fight for her right to voice an opinion and make important decisions. Be her own alien-woman.

tumblr_n4kgq8oBwd1qg1euzo4_250

tumblr_nc5pzoju7z1ra0efio9_250

Side note: When I was really young, I had a deep appreciation and love for the Disney Channel and their movies. Wish Upon A Star was one of the first movies that I absolutely obsessed over. I loved Katherine Heigl and this was all before I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. And yes, I am aware of her less-than-stellar acting reputation these days. What a shame!

anigif_enhanced-13123-1401297233-1-1435700242

Back to Roswell: If it were up to Isabel and Michael, they all would have stayed below the radar. However, Max fell in love and he is the leader, so hello story. With Michael, it is always the question of who gives Max the right to be in charge and is he just suppose to fall in line because his ‘earth home’ is crap? Because he doesn’t get a family breakfast and dinner? Because his assumed earth identity is ‘beneath’ the others?

roswell gif 4
I’m leading for once.

What if he was rightfully the leader on their home planet? What if they were all related and shared the same social status? The show just makes you think on a deeper level about being separated from your birth right and not knowing who you really are. The three stick together for the most part until they allow their new human friends and lovers in on their big secret. Even then, Michael always feels like the lesser of the three and watching his growth throughout the series is a part of why I enjoy the show so much.

Adding to the mix is their newly found human friends and companions: Liz, Maria, and Alex (and later Kyle and Sheriff Valenti), the three aliens become torn between having the chance to learn about who they really are. They have to decide between “going home” and “staying home” and where their hearts are. They also have to figure out who to trust, including themselves. Their motivations fluctuate from time to time and sometimes they need those on the outside to remind them how to feel like they belong.

tumblr_n7wareKxrV1ra0efio1_250

There’s a lot of action and the sci-fi stuff can get heavy, but the show does a great job letting the characters’ “human side” shine through all the chaos. It’s great television.

Missing
It’s science.

I’ll talk about some of my favorite episodes (mostly from season one and two). I’ll also talk about my favorite character moments and relationships. I hope you all enjoy!

The Opening Credits

The show’s opening is mainly focused on Max and Liz at the Crash Down – watching and longing for each other as they are separated by a glass window. With Max on the outside and Liz on the inside, the two seem to merge into one as the glass reflects one onto the other. They are one despite their literal and figurative separation. The opening can be interpreted as Max being almost angelic and watching over Liz or Liz keeping Max grounded – pulling him close to something as earthly as a diner. Max’s background is the desert and basically emptiness. He appears out of nowhere.

roswell intro

Dido’s “Here With Me” goes perfectly with the story and Max and Liz’s romance. Liz is home and Max won’t go until he’s with her. She’s it. He’s it. They can’t ‘be’ themselves without the other. Plus, there’s almost an alien-like/sci-fi sound to the song. Especially the “I am what I am” part. Big kudos to the music department of the show, because it’s a perfect song for the human side of the story, but it diverges a bit into the alienness – but not too much to smother us. The rest of the opening consists of scenes from the pilot with the other characters’ titles.

Favorite Episodes

“Sexual Healing” from Season One

Before this episode, I found Liz and Max’s budding romance to be sweet and innocent. But as I watched this episode, I constantly had to pick up my mouth off of the floor. They were hot and the tension was building and exploding as they were drawn to each other and it was breathtaking. Seriously, I was out of breath. All Liz and Max could think about was, well…you know…

tumblr_mbx6oyLXPD1r32rq4o5_r1_250

I like to think the “draw” was more than sexual, but also a matter of love. Why else would Liz be getting the flashes other than that there was a true connection between her and Max? What other way is there to describe love but “out of this world” and seeing the stars and galaxies from the moment that you touch the one you love?  Sure, it’s also the ‘alien thing’ tying the episode together, but it’s also a brilliant metaphor for love. True love. Being blasted off into space and soaring into nothingness. Bright lights and strobes of color opening up your senses.

roswell1x16_078-StripedWall

The hilarious thing about this episode is Michael and Maria. Liz raves about this explosive feeling that she’s getting while kissing Max, so, of course, Maria has to try it out on Michael. And after hearing about it from Max, Michael has to experiment as well.

tumblr_n4yo8gagt91ra0efio7_250

The funny thing is that Maria isn’t feeling anything from Michael. Well, not like Liz. The episode does hint that Michael feels something for Maria, but he plays it off like he doesn’t feel anything either. I’m still unsure if this means that Liz is special and is linked to Max after he saved her life with his healing powers and that all aliens can feel, but it’s rare that humans do. So, maybe Michael does feel this incredible feeling, and he’s offended when Maria doesn’t. They, of course, fake it as long as possible not to be overshadowed by Max and Liz.

“Blind Date” from Season One

Through and through, this is one of the cutest episodes. It’s Valentine’s Day and as Max and Liz dance around their budding romance, Liz wins a blind date contest for a radio station candid camera feature. Liz describes her “dream date” and it’s definitely a draw-up of Max: a serious, dark-haired, mystery man from an exotic place.”

tumblr_ob44dn7iMx1rkhucho1_250

She ends up getting another Mr. Perfect, so, of course, this makes things very interesting. I’m sold. I got my popcorn in hand. The episode also reminds me of the “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date” episode of Buffy. Max is clearly crushed and Kyle can’t help but feel smug, but at the same time relate to Max. Max did steal Liz away from him, after all.

blinddate2

kylemax2

The two unlikely fellas bond over their mutual adoration of Liz Parker and get drunk. The cool thing is that Max’s drunkenness is amplified due to his alien nature, so things spark up a bit. Kyle is as oblivious as usual to piece together the strangeness, but seeing Max open up and cut loose is so much fun to watch!

tumblr_nznwiwsc011ra0efio5_250

tumblr_m3orbcvzpv1ruwg5po1_500

Max is honest and candid about his feelings for Liz. All of the brooding and ‘us against world’ cautiousness is thrown out of the window. It’s the moment when the guy that you love is saying all of the right things and saying everything that you have been waiting for him to say.

tumblr_mzpou8QsZq1tq4of6o1_250

tumblr_mc9kl3T0kn1qa6axgo6_250

It’s also like a ticking time bomb because you’re falling into the madness of the moment and you know that it’ll fade eventually. It’s like a dream and you know that you have to wake up. The question is, why get swept up in the overwhelming feeling of love? Because why the hell not!

a1fd48ba1b8924269b316ca6ba74f0bc

Also, Liz looked absolutely gorgeous in this episode. Shiri Appleby really has the looks of an angel.

tumblr_nxeuz9As8t1qcpnrro1_400

“285 South” from Season One

I didn’t really care much for Maria during the first few episodes of season one, but when I watched this episode, I couldn’t help but love her and her interactions with Michael. All I could think of during the episode was: “Of course, these two would make a cute couple! Of course, these two will be the comic relief!” And it all started with Michael trying to steal Maria’s car.

tumblr_n4yo8gagt91ra0efio10_r1_250

It’s just exciting to see the budding romance of another important couple. One couple would foil the other. Maria can also stop obsessing over Liz’s newfound romance, and focus on something that’s hers. What I love about Michael and Maria is that Michael is the outsider and has a tough exterior. He needs someone to challenge him and keep him on his toes. Maria suffers from word-vomit and is a little neurotic. She needs someone who’s frank and a little hard to latch on to. At the same time, Michael needs someone who isn’t afraid to try to latch onto him. With their time on the road and stay at the motel, we’re introduced to a lighthearted tone of the show as well as a chance to humanize Michael and soften him up a bit.

Michael-Guerin-michael-guerin-34089961-245-167

Their constant bickering and one-upping in this episode is only the beginning. From the first moment that they have to spend time together, it’s like they’re an old married couple. Their relationship totally tones down all of the drama and brings in the laughs.

tumblr_odu2v0pk5i1ra0efio1_250

tumblr_odu2v0pk5i1ra0efio2_250

We also get to see Liz and Isabel’s relationship in this episode. Liz has become more and more important to Max and he’s exposed so much of himself and Isabel and Michael’s secret to her. You have to wonder how this makes Isabel feel because for the longest time she’s been the only girl in Max’s life that knows the real him. All of a sudden, Liz has taken over and become something of the dominant female. The two bicker on the road and we see Isabel fighting to let Liz know who’s boss.

tumblr_mo50ebe06a1ra0efio3_250

From a certain perspective, it just looks like the girls are fighting like normal teenage girls do…even like sisters. The whole telling humans their secret is all new to Isabel too, so she’s figuring out what the humans mean to her. What Liz means to her. Isabel knows who she really is and in a sense, her life is in Liz’s hands. She has to open herself up more and trust Liz. She has to adapt to this new situation. Liz is just falling in love. It’s all a bonus that she’s accepted into this crazy world of aliens and the supernatural. When it’s all boiled down, she doesn’t want to take Max away from anyone or hold him back from discovering more about his true identity. She just wants to help, because of her love for Max. For her love of all of them.

tumblr_mo50ebe06a1ra0efio5_250

“Independence Day” from Season One

Michael is the center of this episode as we get to see his home life at the trailer park. His foster dad is a real son-of-a-gun and uses Michael as a punching bag. Sure, we’ve seen the tough side of Michael, but to see him being hit reminds me that he’s just a kid (more or less) with feelings. He came from the same place as Max and Isabel, yet he gets the crappy lifestyle. Why? Why is this fair? Michael also finds solace in the arms of Maria in this episode and we get to see her home life with her single mom. Guys seem to come and go (including Sheriff Valenti), so Maria is going through the normal emotions of a teenage girl when trying to figure out the guy that she likes and her mom is there to remind her to be careful with her heart.

b21

What’s amazing is seeing that Michael is feeling a whole new set of emotions. He’s always been closed off and to see him break down a wall to let in Maria instead of Max or Isabel when he’s at a low point is a huge change and growth in his character. He’s also been treating Maria pretty crappy lately, so she fights her feelings to let him in.

michael and maria
Go away!

Also, this episode has one of my favorite songs (at least in the DVD version) – “Did You Disappoint Your God?” by Neva Dinova. It’s a great way to show Michael’s vulnerability and basically to center his importance in the show. Though I love Max and Liz, it’s a more fulfilling viewing experience to see the character growth of other characters. And here is where I began to love Michael. I also would like to mention the 180 in Sheriff Valenti’s character here. He goes from being the villain and the guy that you better watch out for to a regular man flirting with a woman. It’s pretty hilarious and a nice way to show the comedy of the series. Each character is so complex and there’s always more to them than meets the eye.

Valenti2

valenti2

“Heat Wave” from Season One

Since this is a show about aliens AND teenagers, you have to respect the show’s full understanding of the teenage mind and the similarities with the science-fiction genre. The show blends both of the genres and it’s themes of loneliness: wanting to be accepted, to be loved, and to be understood. The highlight of this episode is Alex. So far, he’s been on the outside of this whole new alien crew. Max and Liz are falling for each other, Maria and Michael have been getting closer, so that leaves Isabel and Alex. Isabel has always had Max and Michael and Alex has always had Liz and Maria.

Roswell TV Series, Shiri Appleby (Liz Parker), Katherine Heigl (Isabel Evans), Emilie de Ravin (Tess Harding), Majandra Delfino (Maria DeLuca), Jason Behr (Max Evans), Brendan Fehr (Michael Guerin), Colin Hanks (Alex Whitman), Nick Wechsler (Kyle Valenti)

roswell 4

However, Alex is now on the outs as his besties have paired off without him. Isabel luckily is “in” on the whole alien thing…because she’s an alien and has had to give some sort of approval of letting Liz and Maria in on the big secret. But Alex is totally out. Liz and Maria have been lying to his face – calling the aliens “Czechoslovakians” when he’s around. I guess they just expected him to just not question them. To not be smart enough to figure out that something has been up with these three new friends that Liz and Maria have been hanging out with.

roswell gif 3
Shh, don’t tell Alex.

Honestly, in my first watch of the series, I discounted Alex as well. I figured, if Liz and Maria didn’t let him know the truth from the start, then he must not be that important. I was wrong, though. See, Alex is the conscience of the three humans. His existence keeps me judging the others and wondering whether or not who they are and what they’re doing is right. I mean, it’s very suspicious and questionable to hide aliens and the supernatural. What about the public? Should everyone know what’s around them and what’s really out there? The aliens need to be accountable for their actions, because what if they wanted to invade? What if they wanted to keep the humans in check?

Alex is so right to be pissed at Liz, his best friend, for keeping this huge burden from him. If she really does love him and wants him to trust her with his safety and everyone else’s safety, then she needs to be upfront with him. This is a guy she’s known forever and who has always been there for her. Why put him on the sidelines? Why bench him? What made Maria more important than Alex, to tell the truth to first?

roswell109_0394
What kind of friend are you?

roswell109_0395

Liz even asks Isabel’s opinion of including Alex in on the big secret. Isabel decides to ‘dream hop’ into Alex’s dreams to see if he is trustworthy. Come to find out that when he sees her in his dreams, he’s charming, charismatic, and sincere. Isabel feels drawn to him. She then feels as if he can be trusted and brings the issue to Max for his opinion. When it’s all said and done, Isabel wants to protect her family and herself, but she feels like Alex can be trusted as well.

Roswell1x09_224

I get it that Liz thinks that she is protecting Alex by lying to him, but I think to leave him in the dark just makes him vulnerable and an easy target for danger. It just always breaks my heart when Liz and Alex are in the jail cell and Alex basically calls quits on their friendship if she doesn’t speak up. It’s painful to see Liz struggle with deciding whether or not she should just let Alex go to protect him or if she should be the friend that he holds her accountable to be and tell him the truth. She eventually tells the truth, but of course how easily can you believe in aliens?

I think the main reason, though, that Liz doesn’t want to tell Alex the truth is that she doesn’t know if she can trust him. He’s well aware that they’re all hiding something and Sheriff Valenti is aware as well. He wants to use Alex to give up the rest of them. Liz doesn’t think that Alex can keep it all hidden from Valenti. However, once Alex knows the truth (whether he believes it or not), he holds out on Valenti after all.

Another great thing about “Heat Wave” is Maria and Michael’s hot and heavy relationship. As they physically get closer, Michael worries that he’s going to hurt Maria somewhere down the line. I mean, he may well have to leave her and go back to his home planet soon. At this point, anything is possible. Getting close is just going to make things harder for the both of them.

Maria is holding him to the standard of being a good human boyfriend, but Michael is still trying to figure out the alien thing. Adding on being human is just a little more than he can handle all at once.They have their little make-out sessions, but someone is going to get hurt in the end.

tumblr_n1o7l7rkks1ra0efio10_250

tumblr_n4yo8gagt91ra0efio1_250

tumblr_n4yo8gagt91ra0efio2_250

tumblr_n4yo8gagt91ra0efio8_250

“Tess, Lies, and Videotape” from Season One

I guess we have to talk about Tess. We get to meet her in the previous episode “Crazy”, but here we get to see how the new girl affects the rest of the gang. Instantly, I hate Tess. Seriously, why on earth would Max be dreaming about making out with another girl when he has met Liz, the love of his life? He’s probably one of the most loyal boyfriends in all of the teen dramas that I’ve watched, and to see him fantasizing about someone else other than Liz really pisses me off. It’s like, we’ve come so far in getting Max and Liz together and we’ve fallen in love with their love and then here comes Tess.

41553_640
Who’s that girl? It’s Tess!

Of course, it has to be some sort of supernatural alien hypnosis that’s drawing Max in, right? The more I try to tell myself during this episode, the less I believe it. The same with Max – he’s trying to convince everyone that something is wrong and that they should be suspicious of Tess, but then he’s still drawn to her and he really does eventually make-out with her. And Liz sees him. Tess’s whole innocent pleas that she doesn’t know why Max is attracted to her is the infuriating part. She makes it so believable that Max is the bad guy and that she’s just innocently caught his eye and it’s a shock that he’s into her.

862034_orig

Surely, Tess is doing something to Max. I mean, she has to be. It can’t be that Max is actually attracted to her because he’s feeling super guilty for being into another girl beside Liz. When it’s all said and done and the gang figures out that Tess is actually an alien and she’s put some sort of whammy on Max, the damage is done and I trust Max a whole lot less.

tumblr_n7y207kycx1ra0efio3_250

I grew so fond of him and Liz and I believed in their love and to have someone come in and easily tempt him just sickened me. So yes, I hate Tess (trust me, it’s with good reason). And I still get upset watching Max fantasize about her.

Michael1

And I’m not the only one who’s upset here. Seriously, my anger has merit as Michael is even pissed about the situation. When he was dreaming about Isabel and they thought that they were having an alien baby a few episodes prior, he fought off the urge and didn’t let his alien nature take over what he was feeling for Maria. So, how dare Max drag Liz down this rabbit hole? She loves him and we all believe that he loves her. He shouldn’t so easily allow Tess to destroy all of this. Michael’s got Liz’s back…and mine!

tumblr_n7warekxrv1ra0efio6_250

“Destiny” from Season One

After the last few episodes of Tess coming in and shaking up everything with Max and co. about their true heritage and nature, the gang decides that they need to know the truth about who they are. They allow Tess to guide them back to the cave where their ship crashed and where they get answers about their home planet and real relationship with one another. On their home planet, Tess is Max’s bride and Isabel and Michael are a couple. It just feels like too much is changing and everything is shattering. What about the humans that they have grown close to? Those relationships are the ones that I care about.

roswell-1-22-2

Liz does not want to be in the way of all of this destiny news, so she breaks up with Max. It’s heartbreaking. I mean, who is she to stand in the way of destiny? She feels insignificant. Max fights to stay with her because he truly does love Liz and it’s as big as all the news of his alien heritage. Michael and Maria also say those 3 little words and the finale is very emotional for all of the characters. Alex and Isabel have also steadily become closer during the season, but just as they’ve gotten somewhere romantic, Isabel chooses destiny.

destiny-1x22-alex-and-isabel-of-roswell-27635804-1024-576

Sheriff Valenti now knows what Max, Isabel, and Michael are. However, he’s conflicted about his duty to do something about it, because they save Kyle after the evil FBI guy, Pierce, shoots Kyle. All in all, the events of this episode breaks up the crew that we have come to love, but also clears up a lot of the alien mystery. Kyle and Sheriff Valenti no longer have to be on the outs, but Liz, Maria, and Alex have been pushed aside as their alien lovers are pulled into a world much larger than high school romances.

tumblr_n7y207kycx1ra0efio8_250

That feeling from “Blind Date” all of a sudden comes back with a vengeance as this whole romance with Liz and Max just feels like a dream and I all of a sudden have to wake up.

shiri-appleby-as-liz-parker-in-roswell-shiri-appleby-34544006-500-300

“Skin and Bones” from Season Two

For season two, The WB took some cues from Buffy and wanted the teens to look hotter. I saw nothing wrong with how everyone looked in season one, but of course, sex sells. I have no complaints either, but the hotness kind of distracted me from the story at times.

tumblr_lg8rv18M3Y1qay2jco1_500

With all the stuff that went down in season one’s finale, relationships within the group have changed. Max and Liz are now broken up as Liz doesn’t believe that things can go back to how they were in the beginning between her and Max. She’s threatened by Max’s destiny with Tess, but Max tries to assure her that she’s the only one for him.

Michael and Maria are broken up too, as Michael tries to understand his alien-soldier destiny. Maria challenges him, but he stands firm on keeping his distance. You can tell that he still loves her, though, despite the new girl at the Crashdown, Courtney, constantly flirting with him. Turns out that she has a secret of her own. I honestly hated her character, so I’m not going to go into detail. I’m always annoyed when new characters join a season to break up the main cast and start trouble. Courtney was no exception and I became hotheaded every time she was on the screen.

tumblr_o1w48prqai1ra0efio1_250

This episode really hits me, because I’ve fallen in love with the idea that these characters are in love. But now they’re separated and they’re pushing each other away. It’s like I’m being broken up with multiple times. The heart ‘stings’ keep on coming. The best part about this episode is Mackabella’s “The Way You Are” playing in the background as the characters go their separate ways.

“The End of the World” from Season Two

This episode is amazing. It’s probably my favorite out of the entire series. I’ve talked about how addicting and beautiful Max and Liz’s romance is and this episode solidifies their true love while at the same time rips them apart. Seriously, I cry every time I watch this episode because it’s such a tragedy to see true love destroyed.

tumblr_myco7di5jy1qcnaeuo4_250

The beginning of the episode begins with future Liz and Max as they try to dodge some sort of doom coming their way. Future Liz tells Future Max to go back in time to make sure this doesn’t happen, which means that he needs to make sure that present Max and present Liz do not fall back in love. Their love means a terrible death for Liz in the future. What I love about this scene is seeing how long Max and Liz have been together and how strong their love has grown. It sucks that they’re still battling outside forces, but it’s bittersweet that they’ve grown older together.

Back in the present, Max tries to win Liz back by standing outside her window to serenade her. It’s definitely cheesy, but I can’t help but smile. Present Max isn’t worrying about the doom and gloom. He just wants his girl back. He’s not worrying about what the future holds or his alien destiny – he just wants to be Liz’s Romeo (but we all know how that story ends).

roswell gif 7

Future Max appears to present Liz and of course, she’s stunned to see the older version of Max. It’s beautiful to see future Max seeing Liz back as she was when he first fell in love with her. It’s like all of those feelings rush back to him coupled on with the feeling of losing her in the future. He gets to spend time with her once more and she gets to see that for sure, Max is her end-game. However, the bad part is knowing that she meets her end because she falls and stays in love with him.

It hurts Future Max to see himself and Liz fighting and falling out of love and he knows that once she sees his future self and that longing in his eyes, that she still loves him and that he never stopped loving her. So what’s the point of fighting? What’s the point of pushing him away? Well, the point is that he is an alien and there’s a price to pay to be in love with him.

roswell gif 9

Future Max needs to get Liz to fall out of love with him, but Liz knows that she loves him and it’s going to hurt her just as much to see present Max broken-hearted. The only way to do that is to enlist Kyle and pretend that they sleep together and to have Max witness them in bed.

tumblr_n1qamhpupy1ra0efio3_250

roswell gif 8

tumblr_n1qamhpupy1ra0efio7_250

It’s nice to see Liz and Kyle catching up and bonding. Their friendship has surely blossomed over the years. Kyle is aware of the chaos of Liz’s life and how her choice to love an alien has affected everyone’s world. He just does what he can to let her know that he’s around and he still cares.

tumblr_n1qamhpupy1ra0efio10_250

Max knows that Kyle is just a friend and that Liz has to be in some sort of trouble to result to something so dire to push him away. However, she insists that she’s not in love with him anymore and Max has to accept this and walk away.

max-liz-max-and-liz-25121391-500-372

The little set up does hurt all parties, including me. After all of the hurt, Future Max and Liz dance one last time to their would-be wedding song. Then, he fades away, leaving Liz alone. This episode just crushes me.

roswell gif 6

“Meet the Dupes” and “Max in the City” from Season Two

This two-part episode is probably one of the most shockingly COOL episodes in the entire series. I really didn’t see it coming. The fact that we get to see different sides of the alien trio is amazing. Huge kudos to the acting chops of Behr, Fehr, Heigl, and de Ravin.

dupes

I honestly felt bad for Tess and felt her vulnerability. Her dupe character showed a reflection of being the girl in love with a guy that was in love with someone else and she was just a pun in some larger end-game that she wanted no part of. She just wanted her own identity. Her own story. Even the real Tess could see this.

image

Also, until this point, Max has been the good guy. He’s always been Mr. Right. Seeing his dupe version being so quickly dismissed and KILLED by his own crew reminded me of how much the real characters take his speeches and holier than thou attitude and self-righteousness. He stands up as a leader and this sometimes puts Michael and Isabel off. However, they love him and choose to follow him. The dupes…not so much.

ros2-8p3

Michael and Liz’s relationship started off strained and he resented her for how easily Max exposed their secret identities because he fell in love with her. All of the chaos and big revelations can be traced back to the day in the Crashdown when Liz was shot and Max saved her with his alien powers. So for the most part, Michael and Liz bickered until Michael realized how much Liz loved Max, and Isabel, and himself. And he loved her too. She was now family. By the end of season one, Michael and Liz had an understanding that they were all in this together.

tumblr_n7warekxrv1ra0efio9_250

tumblr_n7warekxrv1ra0efio8_250

The hilarious thing about “Meet the Dupes” is an alternate reality of Michael falling for Liz. It’s hilarious, ridiculous, and downright scary.

tumblr_n47fgurazg1ra0efio1_250

tumblr_n47fgurazg1ra0efio5_250

tumblr_n47fgurazg1ra0efio9_250

tumblr_n47fgurazg1ra0efio10_250

Liz and co were lucky to have met the normal aliens and not the dupes, otherwise, this would be a totally different story.

“Heart of Mine” from Season Two

The thing about this episode is that it truly makes your heart hurt. It’s filled will joyous moments and then heartbreaking and then joyous again. You’re on this rollercoaster (as cliche as that sounds) and you feel like your world is spinning. You’re emotionally going through loops, spiraling, and coming to a screeching halt. We travel through this episode mostly from Liz’s perspective as she narrates. At the beginning, she’s seen spinning and dancing in her socks.

heart of mine

By this time, the group has gone through the most, but they all come together for their junior prom. It’s time to push aside all of the alien destiny explorations, and boogie on the dance floor. Michael and Maria bicker as usual because Michael tells Maria that he’s not going to prom. For the most part, they’ve come to terms with their relationship and keep each other close by even though Michael puts distance in between them. He knows that he loves her. She loves him. They will fight, but they’ll make up somehow. It’s the sweetest thing.

michael and maria

michael and maria

michael and maria

Michael really has become more human and has given into his love for Maria. She seems to be the only thing that makes sense to him. He even takes dance lessons with a mysterious Juanita to help him make Maria’s prom night perfect. It’s great seeing the look on Michael’s face as Maria realizes that she has been foolish and overacting and jealous. Michael knows it’s all out of love and it’s amazing that someone truly cares about him so much. I’m so glad that he decided to pursue Maria.

michael and maria

Isabel finally realizes that Alex is the guy for her, and Max and Liz totally have broken up, but they decide to go prom together for old times sake. Liz has been hanging out more with Sean, Maria’s older cousin. By the way, it’s Brian Krackow from My So-Called Life.

tumblr_n8o681pnjf1ra0efio2_250

anigif_enhanced-27173-1428284856-2

Kyle has been spending a lot of time with Tess as she has moved in with the Valenti’s.

tumblr_mmytee29A41r0pc44o4_250

Since it’s a special occasion, they all put aside their differences and come together as a group, more or less. However, Liz warns us that all may not be smooth sailing as it seems.

roswell gif 12

Liz’s narration: “And there we were. All together, with everything we’d all been through over the last two years. The battles we’d fought, the relationships that were formed, the feelings for each other, stronger than any feelings we’d ever known could exist. And somehow in this moment, I had this really strong, really upsetting feeling, that this was the last time we’d all be standing together.” 

Once they are all at prom (minus Michael…because he’s being mysterious about his whereabouts), the truth starts pouring out and the facade of normalcy comes crashing down for some of the gang.

roswell-couples-isabel-alex-liz-max-michael-maria-tess-kylie-100-real-allsoppa-27442735-500-500

True feelings are shared: Isabel really does care about Alex…romantically, Tess only sees Kyle like a brother, Liz and Max can’t get back to how things used to be, and Michael shows up to woo Maria with his not-so-learned dancing skills.

But the big exchange of feelings is between Max and Tess. They finally give into their destiny and kiss. This really sucks, because Liz has a last-minute realization that maybe she’s being too stubborn to make things work with Max. But then there’s an awful blow to our guts as Liz sees Tess and Max.

278

291

roswell216_2014

Oh my god, it’s REALLY OVER! Maybe it’s a good thing for Liz to have a way out from all of this madness and fall in love with someone normal? It’s bittersweet. At the very end, Liz begins writing in her journal again (like she used to in season one) and she states that:

“We try to live responsible, logical lives. But we can’t tell our hearts how to feel. Sometimes our hearts lead us to places we never thought we wanted to go. And sometimes our hearts can be the sweetest, gentlest things we have. Sometimes our hearts can make us feel miserable, angry, excited and confused. All at once. But at least my heart is open. And I’m writing again. I’m feeling. I’m breathing.”

She’s seen dancing and talking with Sean after catching Max and Tess share the passionate kiss. It’s the kiss that she’s been trying to avoid seeing, but she knew that it would come eventually.

roswell216_2103
So, it happened…

I think Max was trying to avoid the same thing, but he knew that learning about his true heritage from Tess would bring them closer and through their nature – they were bound to become intimate. I mean she was his “young bride” on their home planet. After a little heart to heart with Liz on the dance floor, they both conclude that it’s “really over” and Max is shattered. Vulnerable. Tess just happens to come in and console him. Seeing Max sitting in the chair after he and Liz really break up really does hurt. He’s been doing all that he can to keep them together despite all of the alien heritage mumbo-jumbo. There’s been so much weirdness going on, but he’s been trying to stay grounded with his love for Liz. How can he love someone so much and not be destined to be with her? It just doesn’t make sense to him. How can someone else be his soulmate?

normal_blinddate-516

ef1caabc7a4607e1bbae260086742f80

Even though Liz knows that she and Max are supposed to end up together, she also knows that it ends in tragedy. Their whole relationship has been filled with love and tragedy. Whenever they would find each other, something else comes crashing in. Like Tess. When it’s all said and done in this episode, Max looks truly lost after sharing a kiss with Tess. Liz looks happy as she comes to terms with the breakup and talking and dancing in her socks with Sean. She’s getting to know someone else.

tumblr_n8o681pnjf1ra0efio3_250

On another note, it’s great to see Maria and Kyle bonding in this episode. Kyle has really become one of my favorite characters in the series for his comedic naivete and relationship with the other characters.

tumblr_nzj6x54kt81qm73ogo1_250

tumblr_nzj6x54kt81qm73ogo2_250

tumblr_nzj6x54kt81qm73ogo3_250

tumblr_nzj6x54kt81qm73ogo4_250

“Cry Your Name” from Season Two

Something I’ve talked about a lot in my grad school personal statements is my attachment to characters in favorite TV series. I oftentimes use TV to escape the real world’s problems…especially today. I understand that TV is fiction, but when the screen begins to mirror reality, it’s a surreal draw into the story. Real life is fleeting and unpredictable. When people die, that’s it. They don’t return as part of some plot twist to explain their absence. Characters on TV become my friends and family and I root for them to survive the craziness of the plot. If they do die, I want them to wait in purgatory and return with stories to tell (cough, Supernatural).

In all seriousness, I only expect this in shows that are supposed to be rooted in science-fiction and fantasy. If a show like Grey’s Anatomy kills a character off (and it certainly does) and they return, there better be a highly logical and rational explanation for their reappearance. When any series, fantasy or drama, suddenly kills a character and they are really gone, I experience a sickening reminder of life and death. The characters have to cope. I have to cope with the loss of those whom I have become attached to. Roswell is no exception as Alex is suddenly killed off in “Cry Your Name”.

Roswell2x21_463

It’s a complete punch in the gut and the episode is so eerie. The first time watching it, I was so sick that I had to pause the episode several times to get through it. I was hoping that it was some sort of alien-twist of fate, but when Max is unable to heal Alex back to life, I lost it. Just like Liz. In fact, Liz is basically me throughout this entire episode. I am upset that the creators allowed Alex to die just like how Liz is upset that her friends easily accept Alex’s death and try to convince her that her theories of foul play are nonsense.

And I’m not going to lie, Liz’s personality this season created some distance between my love for her character. In the beginning, I loved that she and Max had such a strong connection and that she was normal and kind. However, as Tess enters the picture Liz allows herself to give up even before Future Max assures her that the end for them is fatal. I don’t think that she had to accept that. She should have said screw it and fought harder for Max like he did for her. It was like she felt entitled to have Max’s affections and the fact that his destiny sensibly got in the way made her annoyed that he had to deal with things that were entering his life and not 100% focusing on her. She began to have this stone cold look on her face whenever Max would try to talk to her and it chipped away at how much I loved her in earlier episodes.

large
You are cold as ice.

“Heart of Mine” actually revived my love for Liz and I accepted her maturity about her situation with Max. Now I was pissed at Max for allowing Tess to screw everything up for him and Liz. If it was true love, he shouldn’t have allowed it to be over. So with all of that, Liz and Max are more distant than they have ever been. At this point, them getting back together seems very unlikely. Coupled on top of that, one of Liz’s best friends is now dead. The person that she put on the back-burner for so long for Max and the alien A-team is now gone forever. Just like that.

image

It’s like everything comes rushing to the surface for Liz and she is pissed. It just has to be the aliens fault. Even if they didn’t have a direct hand in killing Alex, the fact that Liz wasn’t paying attention to him as much as she could have been if she wasn’t dealing with Max and Tess could have made her more available to Alex and prevented his death. Liz puts it all on the aliens and doesn’t try to hide that she will figure out the truth. It’s “The Departure” from the once sweet and kind Liz to the ‘somebody-will-pay-for-this’ vengeful Liz. And I don’t blame her.

roswell season 2 the departure

This episode is great and a total wake-up call for me to watch these characters more closely and enjoy my time with them. I honestly took Alex for granted just like Liz and his absence certainly cuts deep. At least Michael stands by Maria to help her get through the pain. Alex was her best friend too.

michael and maria

I also feel bad for Isabel, because she finally let someone in and found someone that she loved and trusted and he’s ripped away from her. If she would have admitted her feelings sooner to Alex, she would have had more time with him. Doesn’t it all feel just too real?

Cry-Your-Name-2x17-alex-and-isabel-of-roswell-27650407-854-480

“The Departure” from Season Two

Liz discovers the truth about what happened to Alex. Spoiler alert – Tess killed him. Liz knew that there was something fishy about the whole situation. Max ended up sleeping with Tess in an earlier episode and now Tess claims that she’s pregnant and the baby can’t survive on earth. How convenient.

roswell_-_tess_wife_set_5

Before she completely fools Max, Michael, and Isabel to going back to their home planet to save the baby, Liz shows up to reveal the truth and it’s ON! Max is wrecked with guilt and pissed that Tess not only seduced him, but she killed Alex and destroyed his relationship with Liz. Now she’s supposedly carrying his baby that he has to save.

image

Max ultimately wants to kill Tess, but he makes the right decision (I guess) and just sends her off back to their home planet.

tumblr_n7y207kycx1ra0efio4_250
Tess, bye!

The sad part about this episode is that Tess used her alien powers to whammy Kyle to be her accomplice in Alex’s death. She makes him believe that he is putting luggage in the car, but it’s actually Alex’s body. Yikes! That’s going to scar him for life along with the fact that Alex died the day before Kyle’s birthday. Gosh, I hate Tess.

The best part about this episode is Michael realizing that he truly loves Maria and he doesn’t want to leave her. They sleep together and Michael is the most vulnerable that he’s ever been. He knows where is heart belongs and that is home.

michael and maria

“The Departure” is actually the departure of the greatness of this show. Season three has poor writing and most of the storyline seems rushed and not thought out too well. I mean there’s also a lot of weird things that go on in season two that are kind of annoying and less interesting (Michael’s human family? The skin aliens? Sean?). I’ll list what I think are highlights from season three and what are just “WTF” plot moments.

Highlights from Season Three

1. Michael is happier and less broody than usual. He’s often smiling, being quirky, and hanging out with Kyle, Maria, and Max. Also, I love his hair this season. When I first watched season three, I obsessed over Michael’s long hair. Also, the ‘Snapple’ episode is hilarious.

2. Liz and Max are back together. It’s great that after everything they have been through, Max and Liz are solid. However, their relationship seems to be off at the beginning of the season. I honestly feel like they have been brainwashed and are not the same Max and Liz from season one. Every once in an episode I’ll catch a glimpse of what they used to be. With all of that, I just love that they get married in the end. It’s beautiful.

max and liz 2

tumblr_noe9x9fr9f1ra0efio7_250

3. Kyle being Kyle and his relationship with everyone, especially Isabel. When Alex was around, I felt like maybe he and Isabel were an odd couple but I accepted that he loved her and she eventually fell for him. Kyle seemed to be focused on Liz’s well-being and later Tess’s. However, Kyle and Isabel are a duo that I totally ship. His comedy plus her sass is a pleasure to watch on the screen.

tumblr_n5fi1yfgzf1ra0efio7_250

tumblr_n5fi1yfgzf1ra0efio3_250

tumblr_n5fi1yfgzf1ra0efio2_250

Though there is a bit of a problem that gets in the way of Kyle winning over Isabel, and it’s not because he’s now a Buddhist.

tumblr_navi8fxuwe1ra0efio8_250

4. Seeing everyone hanging out and just being normal. This show is wild, but the gentle moments of the characters being regular teenagers and hanging out always puts a smile on my face. They’re more relatable.

tumblr_n1qamhpupy1ra0efio4_250

tumblr_n7warekxrv1ra0efio4_250

tumblr_navi8fxuwe1ra0efio1_250

tumblr_n1qamhpupy1ra0efio8_250

WTF Moments from Season Three

1. Liz and Max are rebels who wear a lot of black. When did they become rebels and why is Liz acting all bad-ass? It just doesn’t suit them. Is this another take on “Meet the Dupes”, because I miss my sweet and adorable Liz.

a81206ddece2ecd7b02dc535c68ef32b
We’re here for the Snapple.
tumblr_lbep39bs8C1qed5f8o1_500
That’s better.

May I also include the WTF moment of Liz having alien powers? That whole plot was cringe-worthy.

fouraliensbaby-452-roswell

2. Isabel is barely recognizable with her new hairdo and she gets married to a new character. I don’t hate the haircut, but it’s so drastic that Isabel just doesn’t look like Isabel. Also, she just does it with little to no explanation. Her marriage is a shocker, because not only does she marry a new character but it just seems so out of character for her to put love at the forefront. If she was going to marry anyone, it should have been Kyle.

IsabelPic

roswell isabel wedding

tumblr_n5fi1yfgzf1ra0efio9_250

3. Maria pushes Michael away. The fact that Maria plays with Michael’s heart this season frustrates me. I get that she wants him to keep up his place and be more ambitious, but breaking up with him and dating someone else when he’s become so open is just annoying. Look how long it took for him to shake away that hard exterior. In the end, he declares his undying love for her, but I honestly don’t know where they stand. She doesn’t deserve him.

tumblr_n4yo8gagt91ra0efio6_250

All in all, this series is amazing and got me through some of the most challenging times in college. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, I had Roswell to keep me sane and entertained. I hate that I missed the reunion at the ATX TV Festival. I was so close by! It seemed like fate that they would reunite so soon after I discovered them and in my location.

ROSWELL-REUNION_612x380_0

Watch the show, guys! It took me forever to write this and I’m so glad that I can finally share it with you all.

P.S. I really love Kyle and I love how he turned out to be a completely different character than I thought he would from the pilot episode. He turned out to be so lovable and caring and I thought he’d be the typical high school jock/scorn ex-boyfriend that would vow to make Liz and Max’s relationship a living hell. Nope! He’s the greatest.

tumblr_n1qamhpupy1ra0efio2_250

‘Til next time!

 

 

TV: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer

Music Recommendation: “Wild Horses” by The Sundays (Re: The Rolling Stones)

Alright, so I tried to ease you all into my loaded brain of fictional obsessions last year, but it’s about to get real! This year I want to talk about some of my all-time favorite series and maybe even do part-twos or threes on the series that I posted about last year. The thing about television is that there’s always something new to discover the more you watch it or you can talk about different aspects of episodes, seasons, and the series as a whole. Or, you can focus on the key themes that link one specific series to others. My last big TV post was on Supernatural and as I was writing it, I couldn’t help but think about my other favorite series with similar thematic structures.

And with that said…

tumblr_static_tumblr_mjod6g6zh31reop97o2_250

The fact that I’m even attempting to write a blog post about why Buffy, the Vampire Slayer is one of the most amazing / intelligent television shows in the history of television is INSANE, because I honestly can’t express everything in mere words and plus, I’m not an expert on all things Buffy or even Joss Whedon (for that matter) – even though I think that I am. But you know, I can’t just not write about Buffy. I mean, it’s BUFFY!

I’ll start with how I got into the series. It was my senior year of high school and I was in the midst of applying to colleges and taking on an internship while in school. So, I was going through two huge changes in my life: working for the first time and getting ready for college. You know how college admissions ask for personal essays and statements to explain why you’re a good fit for a certain school / program or why college is even something that you want to do?

Well, like I mentioned in previous posts, high school was just not for me. I felt out of place from day one and just having to go through the motions along with the politics of cliques and clubs and your childhood friends ch-ch-changing just wasn’t something I cared about putting my energy into. After the first semester of freshman year, I was simply over it.

buffy7
High school? Nah, I’d rather watch Buffy.

I was a model student, though, and I think the best part about high school was the opportunity to apply to college my senior year. I made sure that I focused all of my energy into getting into college. However, the free time that I had outside of college apps and working – I started watching shows that I wanted to watch when I was younger, but I had  never got around to them back in the day. Buffy was on my list and from the pilot episode (there are two versions) I was more than ready to start binge watching. Six or seven years later, I’m still wishing I was a part of The Scooby Gang.

buffy43
Let’s watch all of the seasons!

I also think that it’s hilarious that Sarah Michelle Gellar was actually a part of the original Scooby Gang as she played Daphne in the live-action Scooby Doo films.

Buffy honestly got me college-ready. The wit and the experimental story ideas (season four’s Hush, for example) really made me decide that television (and writing) was absolutely what I wanted to study. Joss Whedon became something of a GOD to me in terms of writing and directing TV, so of course I watched Angel, Firefly, and Doll House after Buffy. If Whedon’s name is on it, I’ll watch it. The whole concept of ‘smart’ writing never really clicked until Buffy and I’m honestly glad that I started watching when I did, because I probably wouldn’t have appreciated the series as much as a kid.

buffy40

Yeah, sure the vampires and supernatural beings would have definitely peaked my interest as a kid, but the actual writing and stylistic filming techniques probably would have went over my head. Not to say that I was a dumb kid or anything, but watching the show at the time of applying to college and deciding on my major was just perfect timing. Once I began college, I wrote about Buffy every chance that I got. It’s just one of those shows that you could branch so many topics off of like: feminism and post-feminism, life and death, the strange and familiar, adolescence, and of course, the human obsession with vampires and the supernatural.

buffy twilight

To not make this post an academic essay (or several essays), I’ll just maybe mention these elements within some of my favorite episodes (as well as talk about why I love these episodes) and what they meant as stepping stones in Buffy’s Slayer journey.

And there are tons of SPOILERS for those of you who still haven’t seen the series. I’ll stop you right now, because I would hate to ruin all of the juicy surprising moments in the show. Plus, you just have to watch and take in all things Buffy before you go off reading anything about it. It’s quite the journey, I promise. So, go watch it! Then, come back here.

I’m also going to do something different here from previous TV posts. Normally, I include a music recommendation at the beginning of each TV post (and I did here for Buffy as well), but I’ll also include a music ‘wish list’. Basically, since Buffy included a lot of underground or uber-original / not so mainstream music – a lot of the songs from the series aren’t really known about. You pretty much have to watch to know the music.

Since I love music as much as I love television, I tend to listen to something and think about other mediums totally unrelated to the song. There are of ton of pre / post-Buffy songs that I love and I actually begin to think about the series when I listen to them. I wish these songs could have been in the series and  I could totally see these songs performed at The Bronze or during a pivotal moment. Here are some of them:

Help I’m Alive – Metric

tumblr_lz3jiosnts1qkx3d4o2_250
Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?

Wolf Like Me – TV On the Radio

oz
Howling. Forever.

Savior – 30 Seconds to Mars

willow goes dark
Don’t save me, cause I don’t care.

Silver Coin – Angus & Julia Stone

fdc6784040b435924b82530f42ba8e90
I’ll miss you when you’re gone.

Myxomatosis – Radiohead

myxomatosis

tumblr_mkdgvpfrlc1rn6j0qo6_250

Afraid – The Neighbourhood

575701_1289243297624_full
Somebody else is going to end up being me.

Alright, let’s actually start talking about Buffy. I’ll try my best to keep organized, because I tend to go askew when talking about this series.

Season One – What Is a Slayer Anyway? 

“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.” – Pilot 

It’s funny that I discuss in my Supernatural post the concept of supernatural ‘hunters’ as it’s a show that came a little less than a decade after the premiere of Buffy. I talk about the women in the show and how there just has to be female hunters, because why wouldn’t there be? Well, now we’re here talking about the biggest and baddest female hunter of all. Buffy Summers. The [then] generation’s newest vampire slayer.

buffy5

The first season of Buffy branched from the film that came a few years before it while at the same time becoming it’s own thing. The season focused on Buffy battling the monster-of-the-week (including a witch, a cyber-demon, evil hyenas, an invisible girl, and of course vampires) while also trying to keep up with the crowd in high school and do normal teenage girl stuff. She accepts her birthright of being ‘the chosen one’ that has to fight the baddies, but she also just wants to hang out with her friends, date boys, try out for the cheer-leading team, and possibly not fail her classes.

buffy4

I just love Buffy this season with her bubbly personality. This is probably one of the campiest seasons of the series, but it covers a lot of ground work in terms of setting of thematic plots, characters and character relationships, as well as making the audience laugh. There’s a lot less doom and gloom (and I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy some of the doom and gloom in the series), which works because it’s the first season. It was the beginning of the journey and the perfect time for immaturity and fun and Buffy has a load of wisdom for us viewers and her newly founded Scooby Gang.

buffy17

When I first watched season one, I laughed mostly at the fact that Buffy was the superhero. Like, I just loved how absurd it all seemed at the time. She would twirl her hair and have these little cute lolly-pops during the day while bantering with Willow and Xander, and by nightfall, she was the one staking vampires and fighting a ventriloquist dummy (who turned out to be the good guy).

buffy9
I love hanging with you guys, but don’t forget we have to patrol tonight.

Buffy constantly tries to get out of Slayer training with her Watcher, Giles, who is there to guide her and ‘try’ to teach her the importance of strengthening her Slayer skills and stamina, plus he’s all about that research. He is a librarian, by the way. Buffy trains and follows his lead, but her mind is mostly on the who’s and what’s at Sunnydale High and at The Bronze night club (for teens apparently).

buffy31

One of my favorite episodes from season one is Never Kill A Boy On the First Date. Buffy meets Owen, the mellow mature hottie from school that notices (mistakes) Buffy as focused and totally on his mature level. He’s right to an extent, because Buffy does have a lot of responsibility and balances out her school schedule with her Slayer duties as much as she can tolerate. Her blossoming relationship with Owen comes at an odd time when The Master (The Big Bad of the season) receives his anointed one. Basically, his man on the outside to raise some hell. For the longest time, we think it’s this paranoid super religious guy that gets turned into a vampire and kills a bunch of people on a bus. I mean, he ends up being pretty dangerous too, but he’s totally a red herring.

Anyway, as hell is being raised, Buffy ends up making Angel (the then unknown vampire) jealous with her new courtship with Owen. With all that I know about Angel now, this episode just gets better every time I watch it.

screenshot-2014-04-14-09-55-52
Mr. Steal Yo’ Girl

Owen, being the mature and protective guy, ends up following Buffy to her Slayer mission of the night (fearing that she’s in danger) and kind of gets in the way (no more than Willow and Xander – but they know and accept Buffy as the Slayer). So the basic point of the episode is to show the complications that Buffy faces trying to date a normal guy while having to seriously deal with the evil in town.

buffy maybe i like you

And then there was the Angel episode. Since the pilot, I fell in love with this guy. He pops in to give Buffy the scoop on what all the commotion is about in the underground, lingering just enough to make Buffy (and myself) fall for him and he for her. Then, he’s gone in a split second. Leaving us pining for him and wanting more. Angel gives us a chance to really hang out with Angel, which is all the more time to fall even more in love with him. He gets hurt and Buffy rescues him and invites him into her home for a sleepover. The tension is real! Here he is: tall, dark, and sexy. And here is little o’ Buffy, patching him up (he’s shirtless) and giving him a safe place to stay for the night. He’s in her bedroom without her mom knowing!

buffy3

You know how you have that one guy in high school (or middle school) that you totally crush on. You think about him constantly. Well, Buffy actually gets to make her dream a reality. It’s so romantic and cheeky. What could go wrong here…

buffy48

The season one finale, Prophecy Girl, shows Buffy and the team fighting all sorts of evil. The frightening part is that The Master actually rises and Buffy has to face him. Alone. She is terrified, because she doesn’t want to die. There’s so much more that she has to live for.

buffy1

The first time watching this episode, I was so scared for Buffy. Sure, she’s been kicking butt all season. But, I didn’t know how bad The Master would be in terms of the main villain of the series. I didn’t know if she would lose someone close to her (because I knew that she would somehow live with all the other seasons waiting for me to watch). I loved that she had Xander and Willow at her side during her face-offs with the baddies. Seeing how quickly Jesse was killed off way early in the season, I was [not] ready to see who would be next.

tumblr_mes6hvzpiu1r68d1so1_500

Also, it still hadn’t sunk in that Buffy was the superhero in this story. I didn’t like the idea of her facing The Master alone. To me, it was like an innocent lamb up for slaughter. And indeed, Buffy dies in the episode, but it doesn’t stick. It does however trigger a loophole in the whole Slayer prophecy, which we don’t find out until later. Until then, The Master is put out of his misery and the world is saved, for now.

Also, I just love how snarky and crude Cordelia is in season one. It’s like she tried to avoid Buffy and her squad at all costs, but something always pulled her in. I especially love it when she allows herself to open up and be vulnerable.

buffy49

buffy52

Season Two – Surprise!

Season two of Buffy is definitely ranked high on my list of favorite seasons of the series and favorite seasons of television in general. The big curve ball towards the mid-point is one of the best smacks in the face that I’ve ever received while watching a television series. Also, the comedy is just amplified to another level with Seth Green joining the cast and the characters really finding their own. All of them add something special to the bunch.

cousin wiley
Seth, I knew you way back when.

The Scooby Gang is just on point this season with Oz, Cordelia, and Angel on board. We have the perfect balance of those that make us laugh, cry, angry, and those that make us think. There’s no one just taking up space and wasting time (cough, Riley). Everyone feeds off of each other’s personality, creating some of the best moments of banter.

buffy41

buffy49

We’re also introduced to Spike this season and he’s someone that we’re never going to be rid of. And that’s the way it should be. He and his sadistic lover Drusilla are our initial ‘Big Bads’ this season. Spike crashes into town, introducing us to a whole other level of villainy. Basically, we can’t really hate him, because we love him.

Buffy2

I remember thinking that I knew Buffy and that I could follow along with her journey pretty easily and that the show was somewhat predictable and straightforward, like the Slayer prophecy. Turns out, Buffy died last season so another Slayer had risen.

Buffy kendra

Doesn’t have the same ring to it, huh? And even though Xander did some CPR on Buffy to ‘resurrect’ her, she had still technically died. A prophecy is a prophecy. One falls and another rises.

buffy34

The whole point of Buffy having so much responsibility and being ‘the chosen one’ to have to put her life on hold and save others is kind of debunked. There was technically someone else to lend a hand or even take over. Kendra has the equal amount of responsibility and capability to be The Slayer. Which comes in handy this season.

buffy33

I also thought that bad guys were to be clearly detectable and the good guys were always the good guys. But, no. Season two was all about flipping the show on its head and letting the audience know that things aren’t always what they appear and the characters that we love can turn into the most frightening. Case in point: Angel.

buffy27

Coming from the revelation of Angel being a vampire in season one, I already had a taste of what it could be like if Buffy had to take him down. However, season one set me up to trust Angel and to root for him and Buffy. And the first half of season two surely did.

buffy angel 1

Buffy was growing up and thinking more about Angel and growing closer to him – emotionally and physically. Angel is seen trying to push her away, but wrestles with the fact that he has fallen ‘madly’ in love with her.

buffy28

Then, Surprise! Watching this episode (and part two Innocence) made me realize what the phrase ‘total eclipse of the heart’ really means. Thanks Bonnie Tyler. Seriously, I was over the moon for Angel. I was falling in love and realizing that I was falling in love with him – just like Buffy. It was wrong, but it was so right.

788a0c48-6ef0-42e9-a388-4d45bd22f0015

Watching them succumb to their love for each other tied my stomach in knots. I just wanted Buffy and Angel to forget about who they were and what their roles were in this whole good vs. evil plot. Then, badda-bing, badda-boom! Angel is no longer Angel. He’s this sicko named Angelus. Basically, he is his true vampire self. Soulless.

angelus
You didn’t see that one coming, did ya?

Angelus joins Spike and Drusilla and straight up disses Buffy. I’m just speechless. And heartbroken. I’m also mad as fudge and more intrigued and invested than I ever was in this series. (Also, if you’ve seen the series a couple of times or you’re just really observant the first time around – you can tell when Angel is Angelus by how chapped his lips are. Like, does having a soul mean that you invest in lip balm?) Anyway, Angelus is hanging out with the Big Bad duo –

buffy56

and a heartbroken Buffy has to pick herself up and face facts. Angel is evil now and it’s her duty to put evil vamps out of their misery. But, maybe Angel is still in there – fighting to get out and love her again. Either way, they both have roles to play.

buffy32

And if we thought that Angelus was not that bad and the Angel in him would suppress his evilness – um, no. Episode Passion shows us that because Angel loves Buffy, Angelus uses it to pervert their connection. He’s twisted and ‘passionate’ about killing Buffy and those close to her. I mean, she is the one responsible for making him feel like a man and he can’t forgive her for that.

buffy30

We truly see the dynamic between Angel and Angelus in this episode. It’s probably my favorite out of all of my favorite Buffy episodes (I say that about all of my favorite episodes). David Boreanaz proves his acting range and gets to be an entirely different person. I love the music and the way Angelus stalks his prey. It’s like he can’t just kill and be done with it. He has to draw it out and be all poetic about it. As much as Angel loved Buffy, Angelus hates her even more. He’s invested in carefully and passionately taking her down.

buffy29

We get a brief moment of Buffy and Angel’s relationship in I Only Have Eyes For You. Buffy is drawn to Sunnydale High after hours due to a series of ghost possessions and killings. Angelus follows her there, ready to taunt her and have her alone. They are both eventually possessed by the erratic and scorn lover ghost (Buffy) and the apologetic lover ghost (Angelus), which is the reversal of the gender roles of the originals. Buffy gets to air out her anger towards Angel, eventually shooting him. No one dies during the possession this time, because you know, Angelus is a vampire.

And Buffy calls Angelus a b*tch. It’s a moment that you definitely have to rewind.

eyes1

eyes2
“Don’t walk away from me bitch.”

It’s a relief to see that somewhere deep down, Angel is still in there. But, of course Angelus does all that he can to suppress him. Angel is back, but only for a moment.

neverstopped

Other highlights this season include Joyce standing up to Spike (which sparks their ‘friendship / toleration’ and even Spike’s admiration of Joyce) and Spike being in a wheelchair. I would also have to admit that this isn’t my favorite season with Spike, but it’s definitely my favorite with Angel. Buffy grows up a lot and has to make one of the hardest decisions in her life…so far. She learns the lesson of love and loss and what it truly means to put herself back together, believe in herself, and do what has to be done.

s2 angelus vs buffy

Sadly, she eventually feels that she has let her friends and family down by allowing herself to grow so close to a vampire and putting them all in danger. She eventually leaves Sunnydale – her way of keeping everyone out of harm’s way. The season is dark, but it definitely has its lighter moments.

tumblr_n435xvm84d1qeg6zlo1_250

I can’t forget to mention that Jason Behr guest stars in one of the episodes this season. Yes, Max Evans from Roswell – another one of my absolute favorite series. Sometimes I even question if I like it more than Buffy. They’re different in their own rights, but both series allow me to retreat into this calm that I honestly can’t describe. Maybe it’s the way the characters value each other and the lessons in life and love the shows emphasize. I’ll have a full post on Roswell soon.

buffy10
Fan fiction.

Another great moment from this season is Giles’ effort to comfort Buffy in Lie to Me. Along with all of the crap that began to pile onto Buffy this season, this moment was a great way to stop and acknowledge that holy crap, Buffy is in for a lot more, more than she expects. It’s a moment that foreshadows what is to come and to be at least a little privy to understanding that the Slayer’s world is no where near black and white.

lie to me buffy

Season Three – Have A Little Faith

Season two always takes a lot out of me. By the end, I am heartbroken and shaken at the turn of events. During my first watch, I just couldn’t imagine how Buffy would recover leading into season three. Where would she be (mentally)? Who would she be? She lost the love of her life. And yes, I understand that she’s still in high school and has plenty of time to discover love again, but let’s be honest… Angel is the real deal. I didn’t care that I had only made it through two seasons. I knew that there were still five more to go, but Angel was it for me. I wasn’t going to tolerate any other love interest besides Angel (and I honestly think that Buffy was in the same headspace at the time).

anne dream
Sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare…

Of course, I also knew that Angel would eventually get his own series, so I wasn’t totally bummed or believed that he wouldn’t return. It was just the ‘when’ and ‘how’ this would all play out. Guys, this is what happens when you watch a series after it’s already off the air. You’re aware of some of the big things that will happen from word of mouth and catching snippets here and there. I can just imagine if I had watched Buffy while it was airing and I didn’t know if Angel would come back or if there would be more seasons or a damn Angel spin-off. I would just be stuck in season two, thinking about the good times…

buffy41

But, because I was had all of this future knowledge, I jumped into season three like I had ants in my pants. The first time I watched it, though, I had a hard time with the whole Buffy moving to LA and having an alias as a waitress named Anne (her middle name). Of course after my initial run-though, I could appreciate the theme (lost souls looking for a savior / connection with someone) in this episode and how they later appear in the first season of Angel. Even the opening credits of Angel use some of the stock footage from this episode of Buffy.

Anne begins with Buffy trying to avoid any real responsibility or human interaction. She’s living under the radar, working in a little diner. She has noticeably lost her spark and kind of just avoids real eye contact with anyone.

buffy as anne
Bored now.

Buffy is a ‘lost soul’ in the city of angels, but is somehow sucked into the business of helping another teenage girl (and even more lost soul) search for her missing boyfriend. It turns out that demons are running this church that is secretly this underground society using lost human souls as slaves and stealing their youth. Before you know it, Buffy is kicking butt again and bringing the humans back to higher ground.

anne is buffy

This episode was strange for me to watch, because it felt weird being somewhere else other than Sunnydale. It felt even more odd once Buffy was underground in the demon dimension. I felt homesick without the Scooby Gang at Buffy’s side. And if I’m being honest, watching this episode gave me the similar feeling that I had when I went off to my college freshman orientation. I was on my own, in a new place without familiar faces. I quickly began to feel empowered and capable of doing things my way, but it was definitely a process. There was this pit in my stomach of falling down the rabbit hole and never finding my way back. It was scary stuff, but I’m definitely not saying that going to college felt like being in a hell dimension. It was just foreign to me in the beginning and I had to find my footing.

rbguq
Student loans!

And the episode wasn’t solely based on Buffy in LA. We get to see the Scooby Gang handling their own in Sunnydale. Just because Buffy headed out of town doesn’t mean that the Hellmouth decided to close up shop for the summer. If anything, the vamps probably felt like they had free range to terrorize more so than usual. But the Scooby Gang wasn’t going to let that happen. Little did they know that there was a bigger bad preparing for an ascension.

scooby gang anne

What would Buffy do?

Back home, Buffy faces some understandable hostility from Joyce and her friends, especially Willow. I’m on the fence to who’s side I’m on, because on the one hand: Buffy is someone with this great responsibility and by letting her guard down and falling in love like a regular teenager, she released a great evil on her friends, family, and herself. At the same time, she lost the love of her life. Even before she had to physically vanquish him. He was gone the moment they consummated their love. What does that do to a person? Her friends weren’t easily understanding that.

255663_1245493455751_full

On the other hand: Buffy wasn’t getting that she was the one that her loved ones depended on and that they were not built to fight her battles. She can’t just take a vacation and throw in the towel and give up. Who’s going to fight for them when the Big Bad decides to wreck havoc? Buffy is reminded of her role in the larger picture. She’s the Slayer. The one. The only (for now). Eventually they all air it out and Buffy and Willow are solid once again after literally raising the dead with their bickering in Dead Man’s Party.

buffy46

Adding on to the mess leftover from season two, lord behold Angel returns at the end of Faith, Hope, and Trick. He’s back in town and he’s more damaged than ever. He’s drawn back to Buffy, but she’s more than hesitant to fall back into his graces. He needs her to set him straight. All of the awful things that he did last season plus his earlier crimes as Angelus come rushing back to haunt him. ‘The First Evil’ takes advantage of his vulnerability and tries to recruit him into the army of evil. Angel can only stand his ground, because of Buffy. His guard. His heart. His soul.

s3 amends 2

And explaining to her friends and family that she is hanging out with Angel (first of all explaining that he’s back) is not an easy thing to do. They do not trust him, and rightfully so. Even as Angel himself tries to lend a hand, they treat him with resentment and they are on their guard. I mean, he did terrorize them and kill Jenny Calendar, Giles’ girlfriend, last season. You can’t just easily forgive that. But somehow, Buffy does. The more time she spends with him, the more she learns about herself and the art of balance. Angel has more of a purpose to keep going, eventually understanding that he has his own destiny to adhere to.

s3 2

Buffy sees the good in Angel and grasps that it wasn’t him that did those terrible things. Even though – it was his inner demon. So that’s the wedge in their relationship. They try to make it work, but with caution. They cannot give into temptation ever again. But love is love and they can’t deny that. Even Spike has a thing or two to say to remind them.

buffy25

Making matters more interesting, we have a new girl in town. Kendra was killed in season two (by Drusilla) so that triggered the Slayer prophecy line once more. A Slayer rises as one falls. So ladies and gentleman I present to you, Faith.

s3 bad girls 2

And it’s all fun and games when Faith first arrives. She’s edgier and definitely more hardcore and sly than Buffy. She’s a bit rough around the edges and tries to get Buffy to loosen up, learn about some facts of life, and be more street-smart and indulge in their Slayer-hood.

buffy12

s3 gangstas

Out goes the orthodox way that Giles has set for Buffy with taking care of school, patrolling, then having a social life. Teaching her that there’s an order to things. Faith blurs the line between patrolling and having a social and free life. She does whatever she wants and doesn’t do well with rules. She sees herself and Buffy as higher beings. They were born to be strong and take out ‘bad guys’.

s3 bad girls

buffy and faith dance gif

However, Faith becomes more jealous of Buffy’s sense of security and righteousness. She’s the ‘main’ Slayer. The correct one. The one with a support system: a mom, a Watcher (who’s also a father-figure), friends, a boyfriend, and a purpose. And how the hell does Buffy get a pass to be in charge when she’s dating a vampire? Faith is both annoyed and intrigued that Buffy and Angel have a relationship. He’s the definition of danger, and Buffy’s living on the edge.

buffy26

Eventually though, Giles is booted from being Buffy’s Watcher due to the whole Angelus ordeal. Giles is just too close to Buffy and their professional relationship has somehow transformed into more of a familial relationship. And that’s somehow distracted him from keeping Buffy in line (which sounds like a load of bologna to me). Wesley is the new Watcher for Buffy and Faith, but of course Buffy’s respect aligns with Giles. Wesley is young and impressionable, but he’s not taken seriously as a Watcher. Not even by Giles. He can’t control or even instruct the girls, so things get out of hand.

3x16dgl0287

vlcsnap-532040
Giles: *rolls eyes*

Faith’s blurred sense of morality leads her to kill an actual person and she seems to be more nonchalant about the whole ordeal than distraught. Buffy is more than frightened by the situation and remembers that there are lines that just cannot be crossed. Just because they are Slayers does not make them gods.

buffy21

Faith soon falls prey to being the sidekick of the evil Mayor of Sunnydale – this season’s Big Bad. He gives her a sense and source of love and respect. He’s like a father to her as he guides her be all of the evil that she can and wants to be.

s3 mayor faith
Mayor Wilkins knows best.

Now Buffy has to battle it out with Faith. She even tries to get Angel to teach Faith about redemption, and I honestly believe that what Angel says to Faith sticks, even if only a little. This begins their companionship later seen more on Angel. If anyone can set her straight and to face her demons and try to redeem herself – it’s Angel. He becomes like a life coach or mentor. A different connection than he has with Buffy. Angel has to pretend to have reverted into Angelus to get close to Faith and the Mayor with some very convincing acting skills. I was definitely convinced, and so was Faith.

s3 faith vs buffy

s3 angel faith

With that, Angel realizes his larger part in the whole good vs. evil dynamic. He still has to redeem himself and have a larger purpose. This leads him to breaking things off with Buffy and deciding to move on to Los Angeles after the battle with The Mayor’s ascension during graduation. Graduation Day (parts one and two) along with The Prom are some of my favorite episodes this season.

s3 prom dance

buffy grad

Other things that I love about season three include Angel’s new found sense of humor. It’s like he can joke about the lows (and creepiness) of being a vampire and the awkwardness of being so much older than his girlfriend. He’s from another time and Buffy’s sense to be a normal couple is just ridiculous. He can’t even go outdoors in the daylight (we really need those daylight rings from The Vampire Diaries or at least the *Gem of Amara* from season four).

s3

And there’s Buffy and Cordelia’s rivalry. Buffy is Queen B in terms of the supernatural. She can kick butt and face evil, but Cordelia is even more of a force to be reckoned with in the hallways of Sunnydale High.

buffy50

buffy51

Oz continues to be an absolute gem in the Scooby Gang. His dry sense of humor (re: honesty) and sarcasm include some of the best one liners in the series.

buffy37

Cordelia’s new found sense of hate towards Buffy and The Scooby Gang (Xander cheats on her with Willow) allows her to set her eyes elsewhere – on Wesley. This whole romantic encounter doesn’t become funny until Angel. Because, who were they kidding?

3x15con0173
Just wait until I’m a rogue demon-hunter.

She also lets her steam out on Xander given every opportunity. One of her digs at him creates an entire episode, The Zeppo, where Xander is the center of story A and Buffy and the rest of the gang’s plight to save the world (yet again) is story B.

Cordelia vs Xander

With all of that, season three is definitely a strong season. Having Faith join the series gives us the opportunity to see what it would be like to have a Slayer with no boundaries. A rogue Slayer. What’s great about Faith is that though she’s bad, we want to save her and open her eyes to see that she can change. And sometimes it seems like she wants to be someone else…

With all the evil in the Buffy universe, having [one of] the Chosen One(s) turn into something even more wretched really amplifies the grayness of the series. How much bad does one have to do before they become villains? And are some bad guys actually good, because they try to live civilized? Though Faith is put in a coma by Buffy this season, we haven’t seen the last of her.

buffy vs faith

Buffy also puts in a real effort to just be a normal teenager this season and tries to enjoy her last year in high school – despite all of the evil that lines up to take a few swings at her. You would think that she’s given up on wanting a ‘normal life’ by now, but she really puts herself out there to be more than just a Slayer.

buffy feminism

Buffy even campaigns against Cordelia for Homecoming Queen. They both end up in a hilarious kidnapping scheme, but make it back to school in time to see that they both lose. Their dry-cleaning bill must have been a nightmare afterwards.

buffy and cordelia homecoming

This season also gears Angel up to be on his own and he becomes lead character material. I hate that he leaves the series at the end of this season, but it’s nice that we get to focus on him on his own turf. And of course I’ll have a post on Angel, as it is also one of my favorite shows of all time.

1x01co0019
So, here’s my side of the story…

…and once again Spike and Joyce have a moment.

spike s3

Season Four – The College Year 

The gang is all grown up. They have left the halls of Sunnydale High (mostly because it got blown up during The Mayor’s ascension last season) and they now walk the halls of UC Sunnydale. Bigger halls. Bigger stakes. It’s time for the Buffy college experience.

s4 beer bad
Beer. Good.

The thing I love about The Freshman, the  season opener, is that it’s kind of a reboot to the series. It realigns the characters with new locations and duties. Giles is now unemployed and Xander is living in his parents basement. Buffy, Willow, and Oz are freshmen in college and they’re finding their comfort zones in this new territory. Upon first watching this season, I was anxious to see  what the Scoobies would do without Cordelia and Angel – who are gone off to Los Angeles. Plus, I was wondering if we’d ever see Faith again. Anya is introduced in season three and though I didn’t care much for her then, she becomes a treat this season and beyond with her brutal honesty, inability to take things figuratively,   fear of bunnies, and her unhealthy addiction to money.

buffy anya sarcasm

In The Freshman, Buffy can’t keep up with her friends as they actually find things that interest them in college. Willow has always been studious, so she’s amped for classes and practicing her witchcraft. Oz is no stranger to campus as his band regularly plays there. It all boils down to Buffy feeling insecure about college as she’s not familiar with the new turf. Not even for her Slayer duties. Plus, her new roommate is excruciating to live with and has an unfit obsession with Celine Dion.

The next episode Living Conditions further touches on Buffy’s new roomie and it’s hilarious. It prepared me for the types of roommates that I could have gotten stuck with in college. Fortunately, my freshman year roomie was a friend from high school and we had a blast together. We’re still close today.

s4 3

More on The Freshman – Buffy eventually meets a pretty decent guy who’s struggling with the new college experience as well, however he goes missing and a bunch of hardcore vamps rade his room for his possessions. Later, Buffy’s side of the room gets cleaned out too and the vamps leave a fake note insinuating that Buffy has left school, because she just couldn’t handle it. Buffy meets up with these vamps and gets her a** handed to her by the leader, Sunday. After a pickup talk with Xander at the Bronze, Buffy comes to terms with who she is and regains her confidence. She and Xander team up to confront Sunday, and Buffy shows her what she’s really made of.

buffy what would buffy do

buffy stake1
I still got it.

Now that Sunnydale High is destroyed, the Scoobies usual meetings in the library with Giles are a thing of the past. Giles is no longer their librarian, so he’s living it up in his bachelor pad with a new girlfriend, Olivia.

tumblr_m0exhmxmoc1qz5stv

It doesn’t take long for everyone to make Giles’ apartment the new hangout spot and they discover that Giles isn’t just some dusty librarian, but a normal guy. Who knew!

284a7e1c17e3a8b543830a7a9020e047

One character that will soon make Giles’ place his own home (prison) is Spike, who pays everyone a visit in The Harsh Light of Day. Buffy seems to get this whole college thing under control and even meets a new guy, Parker. Figuring that things are falling into place, she runs into Spike and Harmony (one of Cordelia’s high school besties who was turned into a vampire during graduation).

s4 20

I find this episode hilarious along with it’s Angel counterpart, In the Dark. I love Spike and he just gets better from season to season. Here, he’s in search of the Gem of Amara, a ring that will allow him to be indestructible. Of course Buffy can’t allow him to find or keep something that pretty much guarantees that Spike will become ruler of the underworld. Oh, what a thought!

150f36359c74434aff3b49b48f69195e

And speaking of this new guy, Parker – he ends up charming Buffy just enough to sleep with her. He then leaves her high and dry in the morning, which becomes a running gag of guys leaving Buffy the morning after (cough, Angel). He’s exceptionally an a**hole to Buffy the next day, which teaches Buffy a valuable lesson and further makes her privy to the [sometimes cruel] college experience. Not to fear though, this heartbreak leads her to opening her eyes to see someone else, Riley.

s4 12

s4 4

It sucks that Parker is such a jerk, but then again Riley has his head on his shoulders and is great for Buffy (for the moment). In the beginning, I really liked him and he kind of made me forget about Angel. Kind of. Ok, not really. I was doing this thing where I would watch an episode of Buffy’s fourth season and then follow up with an episode of Angel’s first season. It was a cool idea at first, and I got to see some of the continuations from one series to the other (like with Spike and the Gem of Amara).

3574215-angelgeargemofamara

The thing is, I began sizing Riley up with Angel and it affected my judgement of him, greatly.

angel-buffy-riley-buffy-the-vampire-slayer-898446_559_400
Bro, do you even lift?

Trying to give Riley a fair chance, I just finished up Buffy and afterwards submerged myself into Angel. I was beginning to notice Angel becoming more of its own standalone show anyway, so the interchangeable watching wouldn’t have made sense down the line other than an episode or two. Angel aside, I thought Riley was decent and he becomes more important to the Scooby Gang as the season progresses. Heading into the fifth season though, Riley starts to bore and annoy me. But, I’ll touch on that later. He’s a different kind of guy for Buffy. He’s the ‘good guy’, without much baggage – if we ignore the whole secret government demon hunting gig. We basically have ourselves a regular ol’ joe.

tumblr_lvy2arvrd51qkx3d4o1_500

One of my other favorite episodes this season is Fear, Itself. Halloween is usually a special event on Buffy (for obvious reasons), and the series never ceases to amaze me with its Halloween episodes. Anya is now heavily seeking Xander’s affections and hanging around the Scoobies more. They’re all invited to a haunted frat house party and end up being prey to a fear demon, naturally. Anya is the one to realize that something is wrong and calls on Giles for help. Her costume is the stuff of legend. It almost beats out Oz’s original getup.

buffy39

s4 anya bunny

bunnies

Speaking of Oz, Seth Green decided to leave the series around this time to pursue his film career. Nothing wrong with that, as he stars in some of my favorite films including Rat Race and Without A Paddle. The thing is that Oz is in a relationship with Willow, so in order for Oz’s departure to make sense is to break them up and Joss Whedon is the king of tragic character sendoffs. Enter Wild at Heart, an episode that I hate to love or love to hate. This episode also introduces Tara – the Wiccan and someone who becomes very important to Willow. For now, let’s talk about Willow and Oz.

tumblr_inline_mrmlqvr6gw1qz4rgp

In a nutshell, Oz meets a female werewolf who’s also in a band. They have this animal attraction that causes Oz to cheat on Willow. Veruca, the she-wolf (literally), ends up being more animal than human and tries to go after Willow. Oz kills her and Willow and Oz break up, both distraught by his actions and the whole situation. Oz has to leave to learn how to be in control of his wolf form and to heal from the breakup. I love Oz and I hate to see him leave Willow. Their relationship was already tainted by Willow’s infidelity last season, but I thought that they were growing as a couple. This episode makes Seth Green’s departure epic rather than killing him off or just having him leave with some half-a** explanation.

willow oz breakup

The Initiative is probably the most important episode this season to really get the ball running on what we’re in for in terms of the Big Bad, and the show takes it’s time to even give us a Big Bad this season. Spike is captured by some guys in militant suits at the end of Wild at Heart. He’s then imprisoned in a government / militant hi-tech facility and blames everything on Buffy.

s4 16

Turns out that Riley is a part of this top secret group, The Initiative, where they track and hunt down vamps, demons, and supernatural creatures. So yeah, government funded male Slayers – without the super powers.

s4 the initaitve

Riley also realizes that he likes Buffy in this episode. This jump starts the storyline of The Slayer vs. The Initiative. Both have similar goals, but one of them seems to be questionable in terms of morality and incentive. Buffy is naturally born to do what she does while The Initiative seems to be in it for power. The funny thing is that Riley and Buffy are kind of like equals, but on the surface they’re seemingly a rare fit. Go figure.

The most important thing that we learn this episode is that Spike is no longer able to bite or harm a human. He’s basically neutered and the allure of being a vampire is gone out the window. The Initiative implanted a chip into his brain to send nerve-scratching and painful surges if he tries to bite or harm a human (though this gets kind of iffy in season six). When he escapes his cell, he looks for Buffy and tries to bite Willow which sets off the instant pain. So why should anyone be afraid of Spike now? Easy, they shouldn’t.

Spike not scary

Which brings me to Pangs, my favorite of favorite episodes this season. Actually, it’s probably one of the funniest in the series. It’s Thanksgiving and Buffy and the Scoobies attend the opening to a new cultural center at school. I mean, what else is college for.

pangs 3

Xander is there working on the groundbreaking and accidentally unleashes a Native American vengeance spirit. While Buffy attempts to cook a normal Thanksgiving meal at Giles’ place, the gang is all there to figure out what the heck is wrong with Xander. He’s infected by the spirit and appears feverish. His illness makes him paranoid and delirious, which I cannot help but laugh at!

s4 pangs 1
Syphilis!

The gang is in for some surprise guests, including Spike, who miserably begs for help. He comes over during the day-time under his ratty blanket to keep from going up in flames. This blanket makes so many cameos and it’s always funny to see Spike flying inside in fear of combusting. That blanket is his safety net.

s4 17

Buffy allows him to stay under the condition that he’s tied up and bound to a chair. His chip makes him utterly pathetic in vampire norms, so why the hell not. Spike pitches in his two cents and complains about being mistreated. It’s just so ridiculous and ironic. He’s also in the worst condition when comes an attack on the gang.

s4 10

The second special guest is Angel! Angel pretty much let’s everyone know that he’s in town to help Buffy, except Buffy – and Spike. While the vengeance spirit attacks at Giles’ place and animorphs into a bear, Buffy desperately tries to fend him off while the others fight in the background. Buffy is unaware that Angel is right outside helping fight the good fight. Spike, now shot with arrows and impaled with various weapons, hops around fussing at Buffy for egging the spirit on. It’s just so much going on and the comedy is just perfect timing.

s4 9

s4 11

The funniest thing is at the end of the episode when everyone is sitting at the table to finally enjoy their meal. Xander lets it slip that Angel was there all along and everyone looks at Buffy’s reaction. (Notice how Giles just sips his tea. Ooh, gossip!)

pangs

I’m sort of going through this season episode-by-episode mostly because I really love and enjoy season four. The season works so well due to the flow and freshness of the episodes. Coming from two seasons that were pretty dark, season four has a lighter tone – balancing with the more serious episodes nicely. In addition, Joss Whedon does something exceptionally experimental and brilliant this season: making the majority of an episode silent.

s4 5

Hush begins with a bunch of bickering and lingering and unfinished conversation. Buffy is trying to figure out the whole Riley relationship, because the right words just don’t seem to come out. Giles sends Spike to stay with Xander, which Spike and Xander immediately disagree to. Spike has gotten pretty comfortable at la casa del Giles, who just wants peace and quiet.

s4 7

s4 spike

Hush is probably one the creepiest episodes in the Buffy canon. It reminds me that this show is of the horror genre. Then, taking an analytical approach to watching television, you really have to stop and think about what it means to have a voice – literally and figuratively. The Gentlemen are the stuff of nightmares and watching them float around along with their flopping minions as the entire town goes silent just sends chills to my spine.

s4 hush

The episode doesn’t skip on the comedy though. Buffy, Giles, and the Scoobies try to figure out who The Gentlemen are and how they can stop them – all in silence. Of course, there’s a lot of miscommunication…

s4 hush 3

Hush 4

Buffy Anya Hush

This is also the episode Riley and Buffy discover each other’s true identities and Willow and Tara connect. Actually, let’s talk about Willow and Tara. So, I mentioned Oz’s sad goodbye and Willow’s heartbreak. Willow later realizes that she’s falling for someone new, Tara. Yes, Willow discovers that she likes girls and it’s such a bold move for Joss Whedon and for network television.

We see Oz again in New Moon Rising (sounds like another Twilight sequel) and Willow finally opens up about her new relationship. I was crushed during this episode, because Oz and Willow are just a solid couple and they are just so darn perfect together. I like Tara and respect her and Willow’s relationship. Wouldn’t be fair to just drop Tara just because Oz comes back. I knew that Seth Green wasn’t coming back permanently anyway, which softens the blow. This episode just puts a pretty bow on top of the whole Oz and Willow relationship, making them both ok in the end.

tumblr_m1jy09wer11qkbybho1_500

Ok, before I move on to season five, let’s talk about two of the best episodes in the series. This Year’s Girl and Who Are You. Faith wakes up from her coma and all hell breaks lose. She wants blood and she’s going to get creative in how she gets it. First thing’s first is letting Buffy know that she’s ‘five by five’ and not in a forgiving kind of mood. Being is a coma only stalled her anger.

s4 1

Buffy20

When all else fails and the Watcher’s Council is on Faith’s trail, she uses a magical device (left to her by The Mayor) that allows her to switch bodies with Buffy. UH, OH. God, I was on the edge of my seat when I first watched this two-parter (it actually continues on Angel, so it’s more of a saga with Five By Five and Sanctuary). Faith is in Buffy’s body without her friends realizing at first. She really frames Buffy in a whole new light and we truly get to meet Faith without Eliza Dushku’s face. Its a strange thing to hear and see the dirty things she says to Spike. He’s even pissed off that he’s coming on to Buffy (Faith) after what she says.

buffy24

s4 6

This episode is another Face / Off moment. If you read my Smallville post, then you know how much I love Face / Off and exchanged identities. We get to see the good and bad guys with two faces. We get to love and hate both faces at the same time. Think about it this way, I love Eliza Dushku as Buffy (I actually love her as Faith as well). We get to see Buffy’s goodness and innocence but with Eliza’s face. I have to remember that she’s not Faith. The same for Sarah Michelle Gellar: we all still see the rottenness of Faith but with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s face. Remember, she’s not Buffy!

The ordeal is kind of twisted and mind-boggling. You have to keep up with who you love and who you should fear. It’s like unleashing your worst enemy on your friends and family and they’re ignorant to the fact that you are not yourself. So, when you do something terrible and they do not realize that it’s not really you, you have to wonder how well some people know you. Even the one’s closest to you. I feel bad for Buffy here as she’s punished (as Faith) and no one’s buying her pleas. She’s basically trapped in a prison, getting exactly what she doesn’t deserve.

Other key moments that I love about season four includes the gruesomeness of The Big Bad, Adam. He’s part demon, machine, and human. I can play around with all sorts of deep analyses of what his character implies about humanity. Honestly though, I really do not care for the Big Bad this season. At least, I think he’s really pushed until the end and there’s just too much build up and little execution.

buffys4d4-title2_wmv_0646

With all of that, I really enjoy Spike’s relationship with everyone this season. He goes from being a Big Bad to being a vampire with mixed intentions. The persons that he wanted to kill before become members of his dysfunctional family. And I think that he kind of enjoys having to tolerate them and them having to reserve from staking him. Spike and Giles’ relationship even becomes almost sibling-like.

s4 15

s4 18

Restless, season four’s finale, is kind of strange or rather experimental. The first time I watched it, I was scratching my head – wondering what was going on and what was the meaning within the riddles and quizzical conversations. I actually felt like I was too dumb to watch Buffy or that I wasn’t smart enough to keep up with it. The episode is definitely an acquired taste. If you’re into experimental films / television where you absolutely have to pay attention and call forth prior knowledge while also playing the guessing game – this episode is for you. If you would rather just watch something more straight-forward, I would skip this episode.

buffy first slayer restless
I always feel like somebody’s watching me.

Depending on my mood, I stick it out and watch the episode or I skip it. As much as I love the series and as much as I watch it, I still have a hard time trying to ‘get’ the episode. It’s a little too complex to be a season finale as it opens up so many unanswered questions leading into season five. But being a Joss Whedon fan, I’ve recognized these types of episodes from a mile away in his other series. He does it in Firefly (“Objects in Space”), Dollhouse (“Epitaph One” and “Epitaph Two: Return”), and even in Angel (the Jasmine storyline). These episodes are Joss’s way to switch it up and do something totally different and target a niche audience. He’s basically making sure that we’re paying attention and that we’re thinking.

Season Five – Family and Sacrifice 

Season five is the first season that I had difficulty watching (before season six). It’s so different and darker than the seasons before it. Actually, it is just more mature and thought-provoking. Really big things happen to Buffy this season and she’s on this journey where she has to understand herself, as The Slayer. She also focuses on her family rather than falling in love while her friends have their own lives and loved ones to focus on. Buffy is all about tapping into her true strength and really learning her Slayer ability.

buffy training

The most obvious thing that’s different this season is Buffy having a younger sister. No, Joyce doesn’t get knocked up, Dawn’s existence is totally supernatural. She is introduced as no one special. She’s just Buffy’s little sis. Of course, if you’ve watched the previous seasons then you know that that is absolutely not true. Dawn is absolutely something special, because she just pops up this season and didn’t exist before. Now we have to think about all of the events in Buffy’s life in previous seasons and imagine that the whole time, Dawn was around. It’s strange, but so much fun to do. The funny thing is that before long, you actually get used to Dawn and it does feel like she’s been there all along.

960

The season begins with Buffy vs. Dracula, an episode plot that I went into knowing that I was going to hate it. I think if the actor/ character would have been less of a caricature of Dracula and more scary or more ‘real’, I probably would have liked the episode a lot more. I also hated Xander in this episode. I thought that Xander was coming a long way from his extreme goofball days, and to have him become a pitiful minion to Dracula was just tacky and wasteful.

tumblr_m7f5xuo1ka1r8gsqgo1_500

Dracula is THE vampire that we know and his lore should have been handled with more care, I think. I mean, it should have been more epic to see Buffy face off with the king of all vamps. If anything, The Master, was more Dracula-ish and scary. But to be positive, I love seeing the gang hanging out at the beach. It’s a nice change of pace and atmosphere.

buffy s5

buffy s5 2

If anything, the Scooby Gang is closer than ever after the events of Primeval at the end of season four. With Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles magically merging the essential parts of themselves together (strength, wisdom, magic/intelligence, heart) to defeat the Big Bad Adam. It took all of them to be strong and smart enough to fight Adam, which meant that their trust and love for each other was whole.

buffy scooby gang 1

Playing around on the beach is a great escape to just be normal friends hanging out, enjoying each other. They are admiring the road that they have travelled so far. Little did they know that the road would only become bumpier and jagged from this point on. Their problems would grow tenfold and Big Bads will not only be outside forces, but the Scoobies will have to battle the demons within themselves and those closest to them. Real Me allows us to see another side of Buffy – the big sister – a role that really brings out her protective instincts and makes her lead command on just about everything. She is in charge and her word is law. Ok, so basically The Slayer, but with one more person to closely protect. It’s more of a personal protection, though.

Dawn’s existence allows us to be at home more with Buffy and to see her spend time with her family.

tumblr_lo9tma6fsk1qkbybho1_500

Dawn, annoyed and jealous of her big sister’s leadership role and know-it-all-attitude proceeds to be a typical little sister – starting trouble and getting herself into situations where Buffy has to save her. And not only is it Buffy’s responsibility to protect Dawn, but also the rest of the Scoobies’ responsibility. This creates hilarious situations where villains like vampire Harmony tease and criticize the gang’s ‘skills’ (or lack of skills) to protect Dawn. Xander and Harmony end up cat fighting (again) after Dawn’s big mouth invites Harmony into the Summers house to eventually kidnap her.

Harmony_xander_fight_initiative
Flashback from The Initiative

Harmony Dawn Season 5 Real Me

Of course, this is a prime example of the type of chaos that Dawn creates for Buffy as she has to spread herself out thinner than usual to not only be The Slayer, but also a big sister. Joyce usually knows how to avoid trouble to eliminate the need for Buffy to constantly worry about her (except when it comes to Spike for some reason).

joycespike4

Dawn is a kid with the wired DNA (well, sort of) to make her sister’s life harder than it needs to be. We get to learn more about Dawn’s existence and sudden presence in Buffy’s life in No Place Like Home. We’re also introduced to the Big Bad this season – The Beast Glorificus or Glory, for short. A red wearing diva goddess who’s a really nuts.

glory

I was honestly a little discouraged the first time I watched this episode. I was annoyed that the Big Bad, The Beast, was just a ‘hot chick’ wearing a red dress. I couldn’t wrap my head around how she could be this evil force to wreck havoc in Sunnydale. I was also thrown off by her slight-insanity and the whole split-identity thing. Basically, she morphs into a guy named Ben (Frank from How to Get Away With Murder). My hesitation to take her seriously and her dual identity as a man is just so much material for a discussion on gender roles and identity.

buffy50
Before he was getting away with murder.

I slowly started to enjoy Glory being able to outmatch Buffy, which in turn forced Buffy to adapt to Glory’s strength if she ever wanted to survive a fight between the two.

tumblr_m6pnpuqlcf1qkx3d4o1_250

This season is also centers on the theme of insanity and the brain. The things that seem to be your ‘run of mill’ normal are actually bizarre and out of this world crazy. For instance, Dawn is not really Buffy’s sister, but The Key blending the lines of realities and the supernatural demon dimensions.

tumblr_lqybzkzeoi1qh92s8o1_500

And the things that seem to be crazy and impossible are your everyday normal. Like Joyce. She’s been through the ringer with her daughter being The Slayer and being in charge of saving the world from evil. She’s survived the apocalypse…twice. And in the end, she loses her life to a normal brain aneurysm. Just like that. It’s not fair that Buffy can save the world from vampires and demons, but she can’t save her own mother from something that’s just biology.

The Body is an episode that quickly became one of my all-time favorites in the series. It’s a close view of death. Normal death and how it feels to lose someone close to you in an instant. You can’t control it or stop it. The one-take shot of Buffy discovering her now deceased mother, Joyce is a moment that haunts me even today. It’s so realistic that it’s terrifying. To see your own mom lifeless lying on the couch is a sight that I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy. I imagine that there’s a rush of memories with your mom. Her just walking or talking. Or cooking. Or working. Her yelling. Her crying. Her laughing. And now, her dying. Her lying there without her spirit, just a body. It’s enough to actually drive someone insane.

Joyce’s death is one of the most shocking moments in the series to me, next to Angel turning into Angelus in season two. Joyce is the reminder that there are ‘normal’ people in Sunnydale. She’s Buffy’s mom. A role that carries so much importance and weight. Even if she is only mortal, she has a hold on Buffy to keep her from spinning out of control when things get tough. And she’s the one to remind Buffy that she’s human and not just a tool to battle the forces of evil. It’s very heartbreaking to know that Joyce is gone and Buffy has to deal with the loss of her mother internally, because she has to show a brave face for the others and now Dawn – who’s utterly broken by the loss. Joyce has impacted just about everyone close to Buffy – even Spike. She’s the one that brings everyone back down to earth.

s5 2

joycegiles

Dawn even tries to bring Joyce back in Forever. It’s one of those episodes that’s hard to watch, because Joyce was such a lovely woman and to bring her back as a zombie or something less than human would be a disgusting way to show her character. “What’s dead should stay dead” – Dean from Supernatural shouts years later. And he’s right. It wouldn’t be natural to bring Joyce back. I like to believe she’s gone somewhere beautiful and to snatch her back to the doom and gloom of reality is just cruel. I was terrified to watch the feet of her now resurrected body walk up to the Summers’ home and see her shadow behind the curtains as Dawn and Buffy fight about bringing her back. Her memory should be enough to guide and protect them.

rs_1024x759-131120103152-1024-kristine-sutherland-buffy-jl-112013

Buffy is now forced to express her heartbreak and she tells Dawn that she’s just as broken as she is. “Who’s going to take care of us?” Who’s going to hold this family up and be the adult? Who’s going to provide? Who’s going to love us? The only blood family that Buffy has now is Dawn and technically she isn’t even real. What if this whole Key thing goes away and Buffy is left with no one. Her father is off in LA last we heard. The only time we get to see him is in an alternate reality/dream sequence that Buffy has in season one Nightmares. One of her greatest fears comes to fruition – her father says that he left her because she was too much of a hassle.

And I wish the show shed more light on his later presence. I know we have Giles, but it would be nice to have him check in every once in a while. Even Angel visits more and he’s got his own show and apocalyptic situations to take care of.

buffy angel forever
I really hope Cordy, Gunn, and Wes haven’t burned the place down.

One of the most powerful moments in the series and one of the most selfless things that Buffy does is in The Gift. She finally musters up the strength to defeat Glory and get Tara’s sanity back (which was taken a few episodes back).

s5

She has to shut the portal that Glory uses Dawn, The Key, to open and unleash hell on earth. Buffy, embracing her Slayer duty and being selfless, jumps to her death to close the portal. Her blood is Dawn’s blood and rather than killing Dawn to save the world, she uses herself. Of course her friends are distraught. Even Spike breaks down seeing Buffy’s broken body on the ground.

the gift 2

It’s ironic, because Spike has relished in killing two Slayers in the past. In Fool for Love, Spike tells Buffy that the Slayer has a death wish. She’s going to eventually die. And he’ll be waiting on Buffy when she’s ready. However, in The Gift, we can see that Spike loves Buffy and is in pain to see her actually die. It’s a complete 180. He goes from being this psychotic vampire that has two dead Slayers under his belt to a vampire that cries when the Slayer dies.

spike the gift

Fool for Love is such a great episode, by the way. It’s a crossover with Angel’s season two episode Darla. We get to see Spike’s past with Angelus and the crew. I love when Spike and Angel are together. There’s so much snappy torment (mostly from Spike) and self-righteousness (mostly from Angel). The two can’t stand each other, yet they tolerate the other…to an extent.

tumblr_static_tumblr_m7sutrjdie1rt0r3f_zpsjak3jw33

Spike’s sadness over a deceased Buffy has a lot to do with him falling in love with her this season. For the bulk of the season, he tries to play it cool and pretend that he loathes her, as he should. His habits become sketchy and creepy as he watches her and hangs out in front of her house.

buffy53

I honestly do not like the romantic aspect of their relationship. It seems like more of a sick, twisted, stalker, lust, hate-sex (I’ll get to this more in season six) kind of thing. Nothing like Angel and Buffy, where their love just lit the screen when they were together. I absolutely love Spike as a character, but him with Buffy is just not something I ever enjoy watching. It just seems wrong. When Spike kisses Buffy this season, she has his invitation to her house magically revoked.

buffy-are-you-naked

spike uninvited

But I do adore Spike and Dawn’s relationship. He’s like an uncle who is obligated to protect her, because she’s so precious to him. He’s honest with her without tainting her innocence. He’s aware that he’s a vampire and she’s just a kid, so he mostly jokes around with her while treating her like she’s got some sense. It’s funny, because Spike wants to be this hardcore vampire, but he’s becoming softer and softer as the days go by – much to his dismay. I also love when he calls her ‘lil bit’.

spike dawn safe

You’re probably wondering, what the hell happened to Riley, right? I honestly intentionally skipped over his plot in season five, but here is the Cliffnotes version. He leaves Sunnydale after he and Buffy grow apart. He wants to be closer to Buffy and prove his importance in the Scooby Gang, but Buffy is learning more about her natural Slayer abilities and is needing less and less of a romantic interest. So he joins this government mission. Buffy chases after him, but arrives too late. Done.

Riley became more and more useless or rather pointless as Buffy was focusing more on her family and herself this season.

Buffy riley apart
Maybe I should make a trip to LA.

Other highlights in season five include Anya’s growing money obsession. It’s hilarious. She’s a centuries old ex-demon and now has settled down into the human nature of greed and pride. She and Xander are closer than ever, but she’s still an odd-ball in the Scooby Gang. Doesn’t mean that I love her any less. She’s a realist.

tumblr_nc9xygbznf1qmc4euo2_400

And we can’t forget the reopening of The Magic Box, now with Giles in charge. The place has previously been a death trap. The cashiers and shop owners were always getting caught in the crossfires of some vamp or evil visit. Spike even killed a few people there. Now, with Giles and the Scooby Gang taking up shop (pun intended), the place is used as their go to for research and training. Anya is basically the manager or head-cashier. She’s totally protective of her role and makes sure that the shop [she] is making money.

buffy44

anya magic shop
What do you mean discounts?

Season Six – Resurrection and Lost Soul   

Beginning from the first episode of season six, I had a sickened feeling in my stomach. Buffy died last season. Yes, it’s something that has happened before, but not at this capacity. She actually jumped from some ‘I don’t know how tall’ platform, through a mystical energy of hell dimensions, and landed crushed on the ground. We saw her body. Her family and friends saw her body. Lying there lifeless.

gallery_buffy_the-gift

So, what’s a world without Buffy? What is everyone going to do now? Are they going to replace her with the Buffybot? (By the way, I haven’t talked about the Buffybot, because I hate her. A lot.) But seriously, we saw Buffy rise up last season and defeat a hell goddess. She looked inside her Slayer ability to become stronger and smarter. She saved the world again, and saved her sister. A sister that she just met (after regaining her memories and learning about the true origin of Dawn). A sister that we just met. Buffy died for her and we could see it on her face that she felt like her job was done and that she had lived up to her potential and to the Slayer prophecy. Now, she could rest peacefully – away from the savage and gloom of Sunnydale and the world in general.

buffy the gift 3
I’m done.

Flash forward to Bargaining, Part One. Willow and the Scoobies hold off the bad guys as best as they can with the Buffybot standing in as the real thing. Giles, feeling as if he no longer has a real need to be in Sunnydale with Buffy gone, departs to England. The Scoobies then set to resurrect Buffy with Willow clearly doing some dark magic. I really hate that Willow crosses more and more into the dark-side with her magic. It is selfish of them to want Buffy back so bad that they would resort to the unnatural to have her once again grace them with her presence.

buffy14

They believe that Buffy is in some hellish place due to her unnatural death, and it doesn’t occur to them that Sunnydale is the hellish place. The gang is attacked by vampires who raise hell now knowing that the Buffybot is nothing but a fake. With all of the chaos going on, I sickenly watch as Buffy’s flesh reappears on her corpse within her grave. Her eyes open and she claws her way out of her grave. The scene will forever haunt me as I had more proof that Buffy was really dead. She had decomposed. It’s like the Joyce thing all over again.

xjbhb

Bargaining, Part Two shows further how Sunnydale has become like a huge The Purge type of deal. The vamps do what they want, because they surely aren’t afraid of The Scoobies and without Buffy, their biggest threat is nowhere to take them out. Spike amusingly tries to save Dawn as they ride through the crazed streets on Spike’s bike.

spike dawn bike

Once again, I love Spike and Dawn’s relationship. For some reason he ironically is the best person to look out for her and keep her out of harm’s way. He also teaches her about the facts of life, because he’s had a long one.

buffy54

In the next few episodes, Buffy deals with her new reality of being alive again after finding peace in the afterlife. She lets Spike know how she really feels, but makes him swear to keep it to himself. He seems to be the only one that understands her and who she can trust. She even invites him back into the house.

spuffy-5x22-spuffy-13203583-300-217

Giles and Tara continue to be at odds with Willow as she is using too much magic and for the wrong reasons. Buffy also struggles with being the head of the household and being jobless. She doesn’t know what to do with herself or what her future holds.

tumblr_me17cs42ax1qh01r8o1_r1_500

She tries going back to school, working in construction with Xander, at the Magic Box with Anya, and even trying to take out a loan. She fails at all of the above, mostly due to the new Big Bads this season: Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew – The Trio. I could go on and describe the new baddies, but I freaking hate the whole villain concept and their existence. I thought season six would have a terrifying Big Bad, someone to remind Buffy of the big stakes and to knock some sense into her. Like a demon to drag her to the underworld or an archangel to wreck havoc on The Scoobies for bringing Buffy back to life. But no, we get the geek squad and I am bored and annoyed watching them try to be villains.

trio

And speaking of bored and annoyed, Once More with Feeling is one of my least favorite episodes of Buffy and television in general. It’s a musical. Everyone’s singing and it’s totally distracting from any kind of plot. The episode is ridiculous and the singing is horrendous. I’m just not a fan at all. This episode coupled with The Trio makes me think that this season is just random and not really going anywhere special. It just feels like Joss Whedon is saying screw it and doing whatever the hell he wants without an actual focus. Some believe that this episode is amazing and brilliant in terms of storytelling and experimenting with narrative styles. I just think that it’s a waste of time. Sure, there were some funny moments, but I honestly just skip the episode when I rewatch the series.

buffy died twice

19eeo20niyj7tgif
No thanks.

Switching gears from mentioning the things that I hate about this season, let’s talk about Tabula Rasa. I love this episode. The Scoobies have indeed been through alot in the past five (and change) seasons and I must say as viewers of the series – so have we. Buffy has died – twice. She’s basically a walking shadow of her former self. All of the strength and focus that she managed last season has been washed away and she just looks frail and lost. Giles has been rendered the “grandpa” of the group without a real voice of guidance.

buffy45

Willow is dabbling in the dark arts, a 180 from her cutesy days of being Buffy’s sidekick. Xander has become the ‘bitch-boy’ to so many of the villains that I have lost count. He and Anya are now engaged and it finally seems like he is growing up – or does it? Spike has gone from a vicious vampire with nothing but hate for The Slayer to a neutered vigilante with a weird infatuation with The Slayer. Tara is beginning to see Willow in a whole new light that’s not so flashy and exciting, but more terrifying. Anya has a nice foot into the Scooby Gang, as opposed to her days of just tagging along because she was needy for Xander and attention. Then, there’s Dawn. We just met her last season as the typical little bratty sister. She’s still a brat, but now she’s more rebellious than ever with her mother gone and her Slayer sister losing her way. Like I said, it’s been a journey and the Scoobies have been through so much.

buffy tabula rasa

Tabula Rasa is a fresh start, literally. The characters have a blank slate as Willow screws up a spell that she tries to use to make Buffy forget about her memories of being in a paradise afterlife and Tara from remembering all of the fights that they have about all of the magic that Willow uses. The result is everyone having amnesia of who/what they are. It’s one of my absolute favorite episodes. It’s funny and all-around entertaining. A nice depart from the doom and gloom.

buffy vampire with a soul

Spike definitely shines in this episode as he believes that Giles is his father, because they are both British. When he vamps out, it scares the heck out of Buffy and stuns himself. Spike’s like, well I didn’t see that coming.

large

Smashed is an episode that I continue to find hard to watch. Season six already has me semi-uncomfortable and further watching it only makes me even more anxious to return Buffy back to normal and to put everything back in its right place. Spike and Buffy getting it on at the end of the episode and Amy ‘The Rat’ being turned human again by Willow out of loneliness just creates this catalyst of no-turning back to the bright side Buffy. I mean, I can’t imagine what Angel feels once he learns about Spike and Buffy. Was he and Buffy’s relationship a joke? Is Buffy that screwed up? Apparently so as Spike’s chip doesn’t go off when he hits her. She’s not this innocent/ good thing anymore.

buffy55

And if things couldn’t get further away from the happy times of the Scooby Gang, Willow wrecks her friendship with Buffy and disables Buffy trust in her to care for Dawn in Wrecked. This episode is so dark and twisted. Willow is getting off on extreme magical hallucinations through a warlock named Rack. Before long, she puts Dawn’s life at risk when she takes her to Rack’s to get another fix and a monster peels out of her hallucination and into reality. Dawn confronts Willow at the end of the episode and basically tells her that she’s out of control and could have gotten her killed. After all that Willow has done to resurrect Buffy, she almost costs her little sister her life.

dawn2bslap2bwillow2bwrecked

Another episode that makes me uncomfortable is Doublemeat Palace. Buffy begins working at a fast food joint and continues to have gross sex with Spike. Everywhere. It’s all unsanitary and archaic. Despite Buffy being the freaking Slayer, she has to work at Doublemeat Palace, because any other job would require her to have developed real marketable skills during those years that she was saving the world. The episode is suppose to have a lighter tone, but I’m not very amused.

service_me_by_clockworkprincess-d4sgsnb

As You Were is an episode that I love mostly because it is a big slap to Buffy’s face. Riley’s back and I never thought I’d be excited to see him again. He basically serves as a wake up call for Buffy. He’s now happily married and kicking supernatural butt with someone who understands him. He’s doing his job with someone that supports and loves him. Their relationship is wholesome and right. Buffy on the other hand is flipping burgers and screwing a vampire that doesn’t have a soul. She went from having a true love (Angel), dating someone who helped her mature and find the strength to be on her own (Riley), and then there’s Spike. Someone she’s screwing just to avoid thinking about how her life has been turned upside down. Their relationship is indecent and all around perverted. Riley comes back to remind her that, hey, you’re The Slayer. Act like it. Have some respect for yourself.

615

Seeing Red is a must watch for season six. Buffy is on the Trio’s trail and determined to end the nerds’ terror upon her and her friends. Earlier, Xander left Anya at the altar and later discovers (along with everyone else) Spike with Anya – who sleep together after they are both rejected (by Buffy and Xander). It’s then all clear that Buffy and Spike have been canoodling and Xander is disgusted at the revelation. Seeing Red allows the two to rekindle their friendship after Xander consoles Buffy after she is attacked by Spike, who tries to force himself on her.

anay spike

This to me is one of the most frustrating scenes of Buffy. First of all, Buffy could have taken Spike. She could have kicked his a**. Here, she’s frail and barely escapes Spike. Maybe the episode tries to say that Buffy has been crushed by her misguided trust in Spike and their relationship. She’s lost her will to him. But – I just can’t take that lightly. I also just can’t take that Spike would try to rape Buffy. Sure, he’s fallen for her and is hurt that she rejects him. And sure, he’s technically evil. But I still don’t see him being that deluded to try to rape The Slayer. He’s come too far.

tumblr_inline_mxqm3rtfie1su7yy5

Xander comes after the fight and sees Buffy lying on the bathroom floor with a huge bruise on her leg. He’s seen Buffy in worse physical conditions, but I think this is the first time he has seen her broken. (And may I remind you that he’s seen her dead – twice.) This time Buffy’s not just physically crushed, but also mentally. It’s enough to make him forget how angry he is at her, and to remember that he loves her. She’s one of his best friends and he’d die for her as she would for him. They’ve been through so much and seeing her, The Slayer, defeated is enough to send Xander over the edge. He hates Spike as he always has and as he should. And this isn’t even the most shocking part of Seeing Red. The episode ends with a crazed Warren (one of The Trio) firing a gun up at Buffy, shooting her, and accidently hitting Tara – killing her.

buffy6x19seeingred

tumblr_n8i7bmlkhm1tgcvvro3_250

It’s also a hard scene to watch and it happens so fast. Willow and Tara have made amends and then Tara is suddenly killed. The shock on Willow’s face and even Tara, who doesn’t quite understand what has happened before she dies. She says, “Your shirt,” to Willow after the blood from her wound splatters onto Willow. Tara dies and we then absolutely understand the episode’s title…

buffy-seeing-red

Villains is an excellent episode as well. Willow grows darker, hell bent on getting revenge on The Trio, especially Warren. She saves Buffy by pulling some magical whammy to get the bullet out of her chest. Anya has once again become a vengeance demon and helps Xander and Buffy locate Warren to keep Willow from killing him. Even though Warren deserves it, Willow killing him will damage her soul and humanity. Just flashback to old Willow in her quirky clothes and adorable relationship with Oz.

buffy36

What has become of her and what has become of The Scooby Gang? So much darkness has touched them and I just cannot see how they’re going to return to normalcy. Especially if Willow kills Warren, which she happily does. It’s gruesome to say the least.

4951090-tumblr_my4ig38gh61smxszdo1_500

The season ends with Willow becoming more powerful than ever. Giles returns to battle against her and is almost killed. Even Buffy can’t defeat Willow. The person who saves the day in the end is Xander, who stands with Willow despite her threatening his life. His love and devotion to his second best friend (actually first) is what returns Willow to normal. And this is where I truly fall in love with Xander. He’s become the ultimate best friend. He’s stuck by Buffy and Willow for so long and has been the butt of every joke. The Zeppo. The guy without any supernatural gifts. But his biggest contribution to The Scooby Gang is keeping them whole. Keeping them from destroying themselves and each other. He’s the one who’s down to earth and there to be the shoulder to cry on.

buffy43

resizedimage600335-xander-breaks-willow

We also see where Spike has been since his whole attack on Buffy thing. He’s been trying to return to his original self, and unexpectedly gets back his soul. Ha, like we haven’t heard of that one before. At this point, I’m sick of Spike and could care less about him having a soul. Angel has already been there and done that.

tumblr_lyzzw40wsf1qi2uvzo1_250

What Spike did to Buffy is unforgivable, so I’m going to be biting my tongue whenever he’s around. Later on though, I grow to actually forgive Spike as he becomes somewhat redeemable. It’s all about writing your characters well enough to humanize even the demons. Joss does a great job at this.

8f22186ee51fd55949ee6693118dedac

Season Seven – Destiny Fulfilled

What I love about season seven is that it’s aesthetically and tonally brighter than season six. The stakes are definitely higher as it’s the last televised season (Buffy continues in graphic novel form), so the showdowns come at the audience one by one with so much energy and intensity. I know that a lot of fans of Buffy actually hate the lightness of the look this season as we have all grown custom to the dark lighting of past seasons (including season four, which was lighter but still held on to the grit). It is a shock to the system and eyes and it took me a while to adjust, but I love it all the same. After season six, I honestly needed the eye-opener.

tumblr_m3vdx65guy1qkx3d4o1_250

I’m going to try something different here from how I approached the last six seasons (by episode for the most part). I’ll just talk about my favorite moments this season as I love the season as a solid whole. I’ll include the episodes when needed. So, here we go…

dawn s7

Dawn has definitely grown up this season, and if you think about it long enough, she’s the same age as Buffy during season one. Remember how independent Buffy was starting out that season, and how she took care of her friends and even started falling in love with Angel? Well, Sunnydale High is back in commission and Dawn starts high school. Oh, the nostalgia! She’s all grown up with her own plight to make herself useful in the Scooby Gang and become more than just Buffy’s little sister or The Key.

6358918810513368951865141519_dawnkey

There’s a hilarious moment in Him as Dawn and her date grind on the dance floor of the Bronze and Willow and Xander admire her assets from behind. It gets better when Dawn turns around and they both realize who they were looking at – and what they were looking at.

giphy

Willow, Anya, and Spike are back in the good graces of Buffy. Even Andrew has made a home at the Slayer’s place. Remember Andrew? One of The Trio from last season? Yeah, he’s hanging (mostly tied up and guarded) with The Scoobies now, kind of like Spike back in season four. He’s the previous bad guy that we’re growing to love. His imprisonment by the Scoobies gives us more time to spend with him and he becomes more like family. I honestly hated The Trio last season and for good reason, but Andrew is definitely one of my favorites this season. He’s hilarious.

tumblr_nc9xygbznf1qmc4euo7_500

2fe7ff6cacb30be45b2db13ba2ab3016

As for Spike, the whole tried to rape Buffy thing last season really put me off as well as the characters in the show. Dawn, who used to be Spike’s sidekick and ally has flipped the switch and if Spike wasn’t a vampire, she’d probably kick his a**. He tried to rape her big sister and she’s not liking him being around Buffy or her any more. She doesn’t understand why he’s back and why Buffy keeps him by her side. Quite honestly, as much as I think Spike is hilarious, I still don’t get it either.

dawn hates spike

I don’t like Buffy and Spike being romantically linked. I believe they are stronger apart and just as allies. They are better supporting each other on the battlefield. Spike is more muscle to keep Team Buffy afloat, so him being around is understandable in that regard.

92c98f16553908711700344df2fb2e8c

With all of the lovey-dovey / stalkerish moments gone, Buffy and Spike are able to push through the weirdness and be straightforward with each other. That also means that Spike gets to be funny again without me feeling weird for laughing and Buffy can mock him or turn on her charm that she used to have.

tumblr_m66qc91qh81qaimf2o4_250

This makes season seven so much more enjoyable as Spike and Buffy aren’t really being pushed in that romantic direction. It’s more of a partnership in saving the world and kicking evil a**. I love the team up and how Spike has Buffy’s back. Buffy is also rooting for his redemption.

tumblr_mfe0h9zgmz1qkx3d4o1_r1_250

Spike has a soul now and feels his wrong-doings and tries to do right by Buffy. The whole him falling in love with Buffy last season and even in season five didn’t make sense to me, because Spike was soulless and essentially evil. The ‘love’ for Buffy could only be deluded and just ‘lust’. Now that he has a soul though, I can kind of put up with their odd relationship. It may all be that I’m Team Angel and I am just hard on anyone else being the guy for Buffy.

tumblr_m4sg77tv111qkx3d4o1_250

tumblr_mf7cq7woiy1qzw0zeo4_250

tumblr_mf7cq7woiy1qzw0zeo6_250

Dirty Girls is one of all time favorite episodes in the series. Team Buffy and her potential Slayers along with Spike and Faith (’ll come back to this) go on to battle Caleb – the second man in command of this season’s Big Bad. The Big Bad is actually The First Evil, who wears different faces. Most of the time it’s Buffy’s. Which can get kind of confusing.

18452592

In the episode, Caleb basically kicks Buffy’s a** is one swoop and Spike jumps in to defend her then gets knocked out as well. Of course, Faith gets her punches in, but is also unable to defeat Caleb. After shoving the actual strong hands aside, Caleb does some really bad stuff to the rest of Team Buffy – including to poor Xander. It’s a cool action scene and sometimes it’s kind of hard to watch. It prepares me for the ‘everyone is a target’ attitude of season seven. Anything can happen to our beloved characters.

3104517547_1_7_5zbxocex

tumblr_n01nipffiz1sykpjyo5_400

calebxander

It’s also a plus that Caleb is played by the amazing Nathan Fillion. If you’re a Whedon-head, then you know how awesome it is that he guest-stars this season. Also, if you’re simultaneously watching Angel season four, then you see another Firefly rep (season five has another). Nathan Fillion is so deliciously evil on Buffy, but it doesn’t get in the way of his natural tendency to quip and his comedic demeanor.

tumblr_n01nipffiz1sykpjyo6_400

Having him as an evil priest that’s all powerful makes up for some thought-provoking TV watching. Because, vampires, demons, and even witches are among the dark and Buffy and the gang play fiddle sometimes when judging them. Caleb is like, screw that – you’re all going to die for being ‘dirty’. He himself is definitely evil though, so his argument is mute.

775f233e-44ec-4029-a935-53d0daa319bf
Boss.

So, I mentioned Faith. She returns in Dirty Girls after helping Angel out with his own crisis in LA and on a different network. She is definitely one of the best parts of season seven and an additional set of muscles. Faith is a version of The Slayer that brings a lot of things into perspective, like The Slayer in redemption.

c14caf08d96762c7126295d6d146e834

Last season we saw Buffy at her lowest and we’ve seen all of the bad that Faith did in season three and four and even on Angel. So, why does it make sense to have one Slayer calling all of the shots? Buffy being the Chosen One is a mutable and invalid reason, because there’s more than one Slayer alive. Because Buffy has saved the world on many occasions is a valid point to make her head honcho, but then she has slept with vampires and basically given up on her duties last season.

tumblr_n7xmky7gpn1rl4zibo4_250

We also have to think about why Buffy has to do this on her own? She needs help from someone with equal abilities and with an understanding of the loneliness of being the powerful one. Faith is trying to redeem herself from all of the chaos she caused before and she finally gets a taste of what it means to be in charge this season and finally what it means to be the Slayer. I just love seeing the change in leadership – or rather a joint leadership.

buffy-faith-chosen-series-finale

Not that I hate Buffy, but she needs not to be on a powertrip. I want Faith to have the chance that she never had to utilize all that comes with being chosen to save the world. Plus, they are all housing a flock full of potential Slayers, so seeing two types of Slayers gives a nice range of their abilities. Plus, now we have a Team Faith.

tumblr_n0t0i4fpju1reop97o2_250

Faith also has a better and more understandable platonic relationship with Spike. I love both characters and value their multi-layers and journey to shake off their dark sides and past crimes. Buffy always had Angel to turn to in terms of vampires and now Faith has Spike. Though Spike and Buffy are somehow romantically linked, Faith is the Slayer that can actually relate to his past indiscretions. They’re both rough around the edges and have a rebellious nature. Now, if they were to get together, I would be totally fine with that and the show would probably have a little more intrigue – well more so than it already does.

spike-and-faith-in-dirty-girls-spaith-37554159-457-750

Faith is even shocked that Giles and the rest of the gang are out for Spike’s head. Dawn and Xander surely hate him and Giles wants him dead. What a turn of events that Faith is questioning everyone else’s morality. She’s smart enough to wonder how bad can Spike be that the good guys are crazy enough to try to kill him. She is intrigued as well as on her guard. She is a Slayer after all.

buffy23

With the new addition to The Scooby Gang, Principal Robin Wood, we get to explore more of Spike’s history as Robin is the son of the second slayed Slayer by Spike’s hands (teeth). All Robin sees is a monster and is hell bent on serving Spike some justice in Lies My Parents Told Me. And he has a valid hatred of the vamp. However, Buffy’s morals are in the grey area and she has more fight in her to justify Spike’s behavior than to just let Robin (and Giles) off him. Spike did his worst in the past, including killing two Slayers, according to Buffy. Him having a soul now excuses his past life and he deserves to live and be redeemed just as much as a human being. Plus, she’s just not going to fit Robin’s personal vendetta into her schedule.

e8073dbee3f59e863496ef833b15e142

So, as far as Buffy is concerned – if you’re against Spike, you’re against her. Robin doesn’t want to be on The Slayer’s naughty list, so he puts his hatred and personal vendetta aside. Robin serves as someone to comment on The Scooby Gang’s unconventional behavior in determining who’s good and bad.

demons good

Which allows for some comedy, especially when commenting on how the group treats Andrew – who shouldn’t even be there. Soon enough though, Andrew grows accepting of his hostage-status and even believes that he is something of an honored guest.

tumblr_mxm6qwdaww1qeg6zlo3_250

tumblr_mo68urvmyd1suh310o1_250

Robin and Faith also begin a romantic/sexual relationship as he is someone strong and smart enough to soften up her rough exterior. Normally, men are tools that she can use up and throw away when she’s tired of dealing with them. Unlike Buffy, who is 90% dealing with romantic issues per season, Faith never has to deal with men slowing her down or trying to change her. However, Robin is someone different and interesting enough to make Faith second-guest having a romantic relationship or at least allowing someone in. Besides their physical attractiveness to each other, Robin and Faith can actually talk about what’s going on inside their heads.

tumblr_n55rkvyb8w1qkbybho1_500

It’s funny, because Robin started off interested in Buffy – even if it was to get to know The Slayer and for Buffy to date someone ‘normal’. Of course, their dating didn’t last long as Buffy was too tied up in confused feelings about Spike, and Robin basically only wanted to get close enough to Buffy to get to Spike. I loved seeing Buffy dress up and put a smile on her face. It’s been too long.

buffythevampireslayer7x14firstdated
“Daughters” by John Mayer

While we’re talking about Buffy and Robin, it’s good to mention that they meet at the ‘re-vamped’ Sunnydale High. Robin is the principal and Buffy becomes the counselor – a position perfect enough to spread her wisdom when the kids are in shock at all of the weirdness that flows from the Hellmouth beneath the school. Plus, she’s close enough to keep Dawn safe and kick some vamp and demon and ghost and whatever else butt! It’s finally a real job and the perfect job if you ask me. Who else knows what the students are dealing with more than Buffy? She did win ‘Class Protector’ back at her senior prom.

2a38-7-6

Sadly the counselor job doesn’t last long as Buffy has to deal with Caleb and The First and all of the ubervamps. She also has to train all of the potential Slayers living at casa-Summers. Good thing she has Faith, Willow, Dawn, Giles, Xander, and even Anya and Spike to help her out. Their methods may be unconventional, but we’re talking life and death, so if Spike has to put the fear in the girls to toughen them up, so be it.

tumblr_lrvxrwynys1qkx3d4o1_500

I was so intrigued with the direction the show was going during my first time watching season seven. I knew it was the end and I had experienced so many emotions watching the previous seasons. Seeing Buffy having to really engage with others beside the Scooby Gang and having her leadership role called into question was something shiny and new to view. I loved the new storylines and added characters. I even appreciated Buffy being booted out of her own house for her and the others to realize that they all have to change and there needs to be more shared responsibility among them. They are not safe and seeing what happens to Xander really opened my eyes to how really bad and long-lasting things can happen to my favorite characters.

tumblr_mkes61tihp1qmtytko3_250

Xander becomes someone totally lovable this season (as well as last season) and I have so much more sympathy and respect for him. He’s hung in there a long time. All of the wiseguy comedic liners were toned down for me to see him as someone serious. He’s the best friend that I could only dream of having. Willow’s role is dialed back as she has to pull herself back to pieces after the events of season six. Giles is there to rehab her magical abilities.

buffy-season-7-episode-1-lessons-promo-01

There is a hilarious scene in Him where Willow and Anya fight over the same guy that Buffy and Dawn are fighting over. I love it, because the guy is obviously pulling some supernatural whammy as you know, he’s not Willow’s type.

22dee55323e486f2f1cc124d6e4ac522

I have grown to love Anya as well and her story-line this season comes together quite nicely. She may have reverted to vengeance, but her bond with The Scooby Gang is enough to put her humanity in check.

tumblr_lrctugq0pu1qkx3d4o1_500

Plus, she was getting on Buffy’s naughty list, so she had to tone it down, before she got vanquished. She and Xander are not officially back together this season, but she can’t deny that she still cares for him. He accepts her bluntness and often rude comments and gestures all the same.

200_s

In the end, we see her protect someone other than herself and though it’s a shocking scene, it’s great to see Anya rise up and become a hero.

anigif_enhanced-10383-1414779888-11

Most of the Scoobies survive, but their place in Sunnydale has all fallen to rubble. Seeing Spike and Anya bite the dust is heart-wrenching, but excellent television writing. Their story-lines have lead them to sacrifice themselves and put themselves out there for the greater good. Plus, Spike is like a cockroach, so I would just tune in to Angel’s final season to pick up the pieces. Speaking of Angel, we get to see him again this season as well.

buffy-season-7-episode-22-chosen-stills-photos-mq-25
Hey. Hey.

I hate that the series eventually ends, but it does so on such a strong note. The series finale is probably one of the most satisfying endings that I have witnessed from all of the television series that I consume. And even though it ends, it doesn’t actually ends. Buffy continues in graphic novel form. I still haven’t invested in reading up on the Scooby Gang’s adventures, but it’s something that I will get around to eventually.

960

7cast020

That’ll actually be something great to do on my next go around watching the series. I watch Buffy at least twice a year, because it’s just a show that I heavily identify with and find resolve in. Every time I watch it, I learn something new about the characters and about myself.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you watch the series and enjoy it as much as I do.

‘Til next time.

TV: Beverly Hills, 90210 (Part Two)

Music Recommendation: “Three Little Words” by Nu Flavor

As a huge fan of Beverly Hills, 90210, I think that it’s pretty amazing that people are really talking about the show again. I briefly touched on some of my favorite parts and some of the major plots of the series in my previous Beverly Hills, 90210 post. But after noticing how much attention and detail I’ve been giving to my recent television posts, I have to do Beverly Hills, 90210 some better service. I mean, the show is one of my top five favorite television series ever (and trust me, that really says something). I’ve had ten seasons to just melt into and become a very loyal couch potato and I’m not even sorry. So, here’s a part two.

Cue, theme music –

bh 62

From the high school years (seasons 1-3) to the college years (seasons 4-7), and to the adult years (seasons 8-10), I was able to grow with the characters through each significant era of their lives. You can’t really say that about too many other series these days. Some perks of such a long series include being able to see the growth of characters and the changes of fashion, music, technology, and lifestyle over time. The series begins in the early 90’s and ends right at the top of the new millennium. I grew up during this decade and clearly remember these significant changes. To this day, I ‘rave’ about 90’s music and pop-culture.

Since this is something of an expansive view of the series, I am going to talk about the major characters and some of their significant plot lines (if not all). The things that I love about them and the things that always bothered me. We of course have to start with –

Brenda’s Send Off

Before I dive into how amazing and crazy the college years were for the characters, I have to briefly touch on Brenda’s descent into the girl that just couldn’t catch a break in terms of trusting her instincts and her friends. In the beginning, she pretty much had things in line until she decided to sleep with Dylan. After that, I felt like the show was punishing her (or maybe it was indeed Shannen’s ‘diva’ behavior off-screen that influenced the writing for her character on-screen). I honestly felt like the whole break up with Dylan kind of spun things out of control for Brenda and she couldn’t catch her grip afterwards. Before, she had made all of these new best friends and had a place with people that loved her. Her character seemed genuinely happy.

bh 21

Then, all of a sudden Brenda was more than a basket case than usual and bounced around with taking Dylan back and being utterly jealous when they were apart (when he could fix his eyes on other girls). Kelly became more and more of a rival to Brenda, rather than a best friend. She seemed to be getting all of the attention (more so than usual) and was becoming less of the rich blonde with good fashion choices and more of someone with a brain and had her own goals and aspirations. She was becoming the shinning star in the group. As much as Brenda tried, their friendship was more of an exchange of side-eyes than anything else.

bh 22
Keeping up with the fake smiles for the holidays.

It could just be that Brenda was seeing through Kelly and this princess role of hers that she’d had since the beginning. Before, Brenda had to love her to win it in with one of the most popular girls at West Beverly – to become popular herself. But after a while, she just didn’t give a damn anymore and it was all a matter of playing nice to please the rest of her friends.

bh 57

Whatever Brenda’s motives were, as just an audience member – I could feel the tension even before Kelly and Dylan had their little fling behind Brenda’s back. After that, all hell broke loose. Brenda, heart-broken and kind of disgusted that her boyfriend (though on and off) an her best friend actually had the audacity to hook up. It was like, what about her feelings and what happened to loyalty? Breakups suck. And high school breakups are probably the most painful, because usually it’s your first love and you have to constantly see them around – sometimes with their new partner. You will most likely feel like the world is against you, because those walls at school will start to close in around you and those that betrayed you. It’s the same for when you’re fighting with a former friend. Loyalties are tested and the rest of your friends have to pick sides. Sometimes, you’re too defeated to even fight for why your side should be the one that they choose to be on.

bh 60

But then, something happens and you pick yourself back up and it’s game time. Revenge can seem so sweet, because hurting those after they’ve hurt you seems like the right thing to do. The facade that you once saw on the surface of your ex and your ex-best friend trickle away and they are – crystal clearly – the enemy. Seeking revenge may even be petty, but boy does it seem like a good idea.

bh 51

The worst part about these kind of situations is when you’re all stuck in the same circle. You love your other friends so you battle it out with yourself about your tolerance of those other persons that shake you to your core. You spend most of the time day-dreaming about slapping the spit out of their mouths, but then you look at your other friends and remember that it’s not worth it. But, for the record, you let those former friends know that you hate them. Without a single doubt.

Donna, please hold my back!

I always have a lot to say about Brenda, because she’s my girl. I closely related to the whole situation and it disgusted me that Kelly and Dylan found it a smart idea to parade their romance around Brenda after she found out. I don’t give a damn if they all had the same friends – distance can heal, they clearly didn’t understand that. No matter how ‘fine’ Brenda seemed about the situation, the truth of the matter is that she had to relive the betrayal over and over again everytime Kelly and Dylan were around.

bh 50

I guess she got tired of all the passive aggressiveness and figured leaving was the best idea. I don’t blame her, but the show became something different once she was gone. I certainly missed Brenda’s jabs to Kelly and her over-dramatic tendencies. She was the bad girl, who was actually a gentle spirit. She reminds me of the wicked witch – turned dark only because those closest to her betrayed her trust.

bh 55

My Love/ Hate Relationship with Kelly Taylor

I hated Kelly after the Dylan-Brenda fiasco. I felt like she could have been the bigger person and chose friendship over romance. But no, Kelly has to have it all and she always had to get what she wanted and prove that she’s the most desired girl, ever. Underneath all of her beauty, though, I didn’t see much else. She was kind of shallow and was in need of a reality check. And as the years went by, she certainly got paid a few reality checks. Surely, she became a stronger character because of them and I finally started rooting for her. I think I started liking her after she and Brandon got together. I know, I know – she did not deserve Brandon, but she had the audacity to believe that she did and their budding romance was an eye-opener.

bh 90210 2

You see Brandon was the good guy. Freaking Captain America if you ask me. He was intelligent and knew how to be the boy-scout. Plus, he was gorgeous. Dylan started to show his true colors, even more so, with Kelly and their incompatibility grew even more apparent once Brenda left. I think they stayed together for as long as they did just to spite Brenda. Once she was gone though, it was like, “Yeah, what the crap were we thinking?” And what I find ironic about Brandon and Kelly in the beginning is that first she betrayed Brenda by stealing her boyfriend, and then she fell for the person the closest to Brenda – her twin brother. Was Kelly’s attraction to Brandon some sort of way to express her regret of hurting Brenda? I don’t know. And I’m probably thinking way to much about this. But, I think she was always jealous of Brenda and wanted Brandon so she could officially take Brenda’s place and become a Walsh. And as much as I love Brandon, he certainly showed his flaws when he (ironically) cheated on Kelly. I’m laughing just thinking about this. And it was with this chick…

bh 27
Emily. Freaking. Valentine

Emily was ‘cool’ and someone totally different from Kelly. What’s worse is that Kelly was literally on fire when the cheating was happening. Yes, Kelly was caught in a house fire and her beauty was scarred. I guess it was a metaphor for this thing that Kelly has been using to get what she wants for so long – her beauty – being burned away.  And her most prized possession, Brandon, was lured away. Now, she had to actually show what was inside and grow the hell up. This beauty queen persona needed to disappear, and all of her superficial problems, like boys, needed to go away with it. Who was the real Kelly Taylor?

bh 23

It didn’t take long for Kelly to move on to the next guy – this time he was someone outside of the group (because she’d now been with Steve, Dylan, and Brandon – David was her step-brother but he crushed on her too in the beginning). Anyways, Colin was this artist that she fell for in season six after letting Brandon and Dylan know that she wasn’t going to choose between them at the the end of season five. Apparently, both guys believed that Kelly was their true love. And it’s funny, because I love both of them and each of them brought out different attributes of Kelly. Bad and good ones. Initially, Kelly was just too spoiled for my liking and Brandon matured her a bit by making her want to be this semi-wholesome / fit-for-Brandon type of woman for him. Brandon had a way of treating Kelly like she was the girl with the star on her dressing room door. Dylan too matured Kelly, because he needed to grow up himself and he had real issues to deal with (I’ll get to him in a bit). Kelly always got dragged into his mess and this sort of overshadowed the romance. Season five ended with both guys treating Kelly like a prize and may the best man win her. So she had to choose –

kelly1

Back to Colin…the only good impact he had on Kelly was her change in style. Kelly always had a good fashion sense, but season six was when she was FLY! Being on the arms of an artist meant that she needed to have all eyes on her…to give him more cred. She cut her hair even shorter (than it was in season five) and wore some of the cutest outfits. She stepped it up, because she was now in the real world with real artists. But stories like this never go too well, especially on this show. This whole allusion of being an artist and knowing the who’s-who’s in Beverly Hills and LA came with a lot of peer pressure. As if Kelly didn’t get enough of this in high school. Colin did cocaine and he graciously extended the bad habit to Kelly. Before long Kelly was a stereotypical coke-head girlfriend of an artist.

kelly colin
Oh, isn’t this romantic with a side of cocaine.

After hitting rock bottom though, Kelly had the support of her friends and family. She had already went through what drugs and substance-abuse could do to you with her mother, Jackie, back in season 1. She finally realized that a) Colin was no good and b) She had become a monster that she didn’t recognize.

bh 63

Before long, Kelly began to grow quite the backbone and she finally became a character that I liked and began to root for! She kicked Colin to the curb.

kelly new

bh 48
Bye, Felicia.

No more was she trying to prove herself to the likes of some guy. Especially one that turned her into something so ugly. Just because he wanted her, doesn’t mean she had to want him. This is where the glorious Kelly Taylor eye rolls really kicked into high gear for me and she became the b*tch that I loved to see side-eye those beneath her…like Valerie (oh, I’m getting there). You couldn’t mess with Kelly without her calling you out. That little entitled blonde from Beverly Hills was gone. Though, she was still catty, but in a good way. She reminded me of the old Brenda in some ways.

bh 47

bh 10

bh 7

But this show doesn’t like to let characters be happy for very long – especially Kelly. And I don’t want this to be the history of Kelly Taylor, but the girl really went through the worse of the worse. So, I got to lay some of this stuff out. It’s like she’d make it out alive, but then something else terrible came along.

bh 14

Also in season six, Kelly met her own single white female, Tara, in rehab after the coke stint. It was ridiculous, because of all of those years in high school when Kelly wanted girls dreaming to be her and following her around (like Donna and Brenda). She had met a girl that was actually ‘dead-set’ on being Kelly Taylor.

tara kelly
There can only be one Kelly Taylor.

I even think Kelly was starting to catch on that her life was just a bullseye for crappy stuff to be aimed at. When she and Brandon reconnected – they had a miscarriage, called off their wedding, and Kelly was shot and got amnesia. Later on, when she finally met “Mr. Right”, Matt (as boring as he was), she was raped by some guy, who Matt was defending for some other crimes. Oh yeah, Matt was a lawyer. Kelly got revenge by shooting and killing her rapist.

bh 45
He won’t get away with this!

And “Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes” Matt also turned out to be not so perfect after all. He also cheated on Kelly, while hanging out with Dylan. They were totally too good to be true.

bh 24

Kelly went through the wire, but the worse that happened, the stronger her character became. All of her bad choices in earlier seasons came to bite her in the butt. I hated what she had done to Brenda, but honestly, the girl did her fair share of paying and atoning for her sins. It made me really sad when she would fall in and out of love. Never seeming to find the right guy.

kelly3

Apparently she and Dylan had a son together in the future, but I didn’t watch the rebooted 90210 series where that story-line played out. Anyhow, Kelly went from someone I wanted to punch to someone I would punch others for. And speaking of…

Valerie Malone Comes to Shake Things Up

At first, Valerie wasn’t one of my favorite characters, but I thought she was a crucial part to keeping things interesting on Beverly Hills, 90210 after Brenda left the series. There was definitely a hole in the lineup for a brunette with attitude, and Valerie fit the bill perfectly. When she first showed up, I had my doubt about her JUST being a Brenda stand-in and I rolled my eyes when she would to just include herself in the affairs of the other main characters. Like, who are you and why do you just assume that you can hang with Brenda’s crew?

bh 61 YES

I never bought the whole story of her being a close family friend of the Walsh’s and that was why she was living in Brenda’s old bedroom. It was a little too convenient for me. But I guess after a few episodes of Brenda’s friends expecting Valerie to BE Brenda, she got fed up and decided to stand out on her own and show them her true colors.

bh 6

And when we got to know Valerie Malone and her catty and indecent ways, she became the perfect foil to Kelly Taylor. And let’s be honest, they were both bombshells. Valerie had that natural beauty that could stand paired to Kelly’s. They both wanted to be the center of attention and they both grabbed the attention of the men around them – instantly. They also both couldn’t stand each other, but both knew how to be passive aggressive to the 100th degree. I then, fell in love with Valerie as Beverly Hills’ new villain.

bh 1
Keep your enemies close.

After playing ‘nice’ for a few episodes, and Valerie hooking up with Dylan, Steve, David, and Colin – Kelly stopped trying to mask the fact that she hated Valerie and Valerie stopped pretending that she could worship the ground that Kelly walked on like all of her other friends. The two would call each other out on their bullsh*t at any given time. And it was always glorious.

bh 19

Even when they knew that they could really hurt each other, the moment couldn’t be sweeter to make the other one look bad in front of their friends. It’s like when one did something shady, the other would come running i to shine the spotlight on the situation.

bh 20bh 12

Another great thing about the Valerie and Kelly rivalry was the obvious jealousy of the other. Valerie let Kelly know that she could have the men that love Kelly. But, Kelly would let her know that the guys actually did love HER and not Valerie. Kelly thought that Valerie was, more or less, a bimbo for the moment. Then, David actually fell in love with Valerie and started to make her seem more human and sympathetic. Moments came where Valerie and Kelly would have to team up, because someone else was causing trouble for the group. But of course, they had to one-up each other even then.

bh 13

bh 90210 1
Excuse me, but we’re too busy hating each other to hate you right now.

The fact of the matter was, they said to each other what we couldn’t say to them when we hated the two of them for their shenanigans. And because I hated Kelly for the longest time, Valerie made me laugh on many occasions when Kelly was just being obnoxious, irritating, and unabashedly territorial with Brandon. In my head, I would call out the fact that sure Kelly could get Brandon, but she always ruins it with her big mouth or something unfortunate happens to them. So when she paraded around with Brandon, this came to mind…

bh 31

Either way you slice it, Valerie was a b*tch. Kelly was a b*tch. And they were at their b*tchiest toward each other. Calling each other out did embarrass the other, but sometimes it shined a light on things that they seriously needed to change about themselves.

bh 44
By the way Kelly, I found your coke.

Even though Valerie was brilliant as Kelly’s nemesis, she didn’t limit her terror on just Kelly. The rest of the group got their individual doses of Valerie Malone, giving them good reason to hate her. There would be times where she would go too far and no one was laughing. Those times, I seriously wanted someone to slap her.

bh 5

She may not be my favorite character, but I am glad she came to stir the pot as the group stepped into adulthood. Sure, I missed Brenda, but some of the things that Valerie did was specifically made for Valerie. I wouldn’t want Brenda to stoop so low and become downright hated in the process of screwing with the other characters. I loved to hate Valerie and all of her glorious seduction and sabotage.

bh 4

Donna. Martin. Graduates. 

Donna was a hard character for me to like in the beginning. I wanted so much more for her. She was just so hollow and  would just follow Kelly around and basically be her little sidekick. Then, season two came along and she became an individual. She stepped out and gave me good reason to love her quirkiness. Instead of being Kelly Taylor’s second-in-command, she was just as much an important part of the squad, because the rest of the group loved her, for her. They adored Donna. Just think about the whole Donna Martin Graduates protest. There was nothing her friends wouldn’t do for her, because she was a sweetheart.

bh 3
Nobody messing with my squad.

Donna had her high school sweetie, David Silver and the two were perfect for each other. Donna helped David shake his geekiness and be taken more seriously by the others. David helped Donna rise from under Kelly’s shadow and have more important things to do. Even when they went to college, they shined together.

bh 41

However, Donna’s sweetness was taken advantage of by David. David eventually cheated on her, because Donna wanted to wait until marriage for sex. After that situation, Donna had to realign and redesign herself. Then, she started experimenting with some of the most cheeky outfits (though she always had a bold fashion sense). After David though, it was like she had no reason to play it safe with her look and she switched it up quite a bit. Some of her choices really made me scratch my head though…

bh 16

bh 25
Donna, what is this hair though?

Stories soon got more serious for Donna after she and David split. She started dating another ‘wannabe musician’, Ray Pruit. Valerie couldn’t wait to get her hands on him when he was becoming something of a star. Donna, usually the ‘innocent one’ of the group and seemingly easy to be stepped on, had to become a bit more feisty and put on some punching gloves to fight for what she wanted. It just so happened that at the moment, she wanted Ray.

bh 28

Ray being someone other than David that Donna fell for meant that she tried to hold on to him even when he didn’t deserve her. The bastard made her his punching bag and Donna had to come up from under his shoes and remember that she was important and deserved to be treated with respect and love. She had to stop opening herself up to jerks that took advantage of her genuine niceness. I think a lot of times they assumed that she was ‘easy’ due to the way she dressed, but she set them straight. They tried to make her feel like they were doing her a favor by being with her or something.

bh 11
Please, be gone!

It was always Donna not feeling smart or pretty enough and basically falling prey to guys like these due to her insecurities. She eventually meets “Mr. Right”, football player, Joe Bradley, and he showers her in the respect that she deserves. The two became a happy couple, both sharing the same disbelief in premarital sex.

bh 9

It turned out that Joe has a heart condition and Donna did the Powerman 5000 “Strike the Match” music video, making Joe understandably uncomfortable watching Donna parade herself around so explicitly sexual and semi-degrading. His wholesome values became jeopardized, I think, with dating someone who would agree to do something like this. And honestly, I don’t blame him for questioning their relationship after this. I still wonder if Donna was trying to test him or push him – just to see if she could. Anyway, this coupled with all of the stress with Donna’s life and his heart condition, Joe moved back to his hometown. He asked Donna to come with, but of course she belonged in Beverly Hills.

bh 30
But you were on the hood of the car!

Donna got a lot of scrutiny for her choice to be a virgin until marriage and for the way she dressed and the guys that she dated. But, her friends had her back even when they were setting her straight on these guys. Kelly remained her best friend through thick and thin. She had her own issues, but she was something of a sister to Donna and knew just what to say when Donna needed advice and cheering up.

kelly new2

She also had her new roommate, Clare Arnold (Steve’s girlfriend) to be there for her when Kelly was too busy getting high or fighting for her life. No, but seriously, Clare was a nice touch to add a different layer to Donna’s social life. Both were quirky and got into hilarious shenanigans, usually involving David and/or Steve.

bh 18

Speaking of David, he and Donna were on-and-off and eventually she decided to sleep with him after they graduated from college. I guess she was like, to hell what other people think! It’s true love. Check out Donna’s red/burgundy hair, though. The girl was not afraid to switch up her style! I actually really liked this color on her. It complimented her features. And she no longer looked like she was trying to look like Kelly.

Well, her and David eventually broke up again and she started dating Noah Hunter. This guy annoyed the heck out of me. He was always brooding or complaining about something while trying to seem like he had it together. His problems just added too much drama for Donna and her big personality seemed to be incompatible with his staleness. Donna actually ended up cheating on Noah. Yeah, I’m still stunned. I didn’t know what was happening with little Miss Martin, but apparently she was bored with him. She felt horrible and regretful after the fact though, and he did his best to make her feel like crap for her mistake. By being with other women and making Donna beg for his forgiveness. I’m still on the fence about this situation. On one hand, yeah, Noah was a bore. On the other, cheating is wrong and Donna should have known that first hand.

bh 35

It also turned out that Donna’s cousin, Gina, was actually her half-sister and hated Donna for being the princess in the family. She wanted everything that Donna had, because she felt that Donna didn’t deserve it or that she was too spoiled or that it was she that should have been raised by their (rich) father, Dr. Martin. Donna had to watch her back with Gina, because she was [trying] to be the next Valerie. But, she wasn’t. She was just too pathetic (in my humble opinion). I actually really hated her character.

bh 36
Ugh, like why does she even exist?

bh 17

But after all of the drama and all of the pain, it was David that Donna truly loved and who loved her. They grew up together and saw each other at their worst…and best. They were there for all of the tears and regret and there for each other even when they weren’t together. They were each other’s first love. The series ended with their wedding day.

bh 40

Let’s Talk About David

David started off as the geek who was obsessed with Kelly Taylor and her group of popular friends. He often had these get-to-hang-with-Kelly-quick-schemes that made for some comedic moments, like season one’s slumber party episode. The thing that fascinated me about David though was his dance skills. The guy was a natural at getting the party started. Seeing the rest of the cast try to hang and keep up with him was hilarious. I think the only two characters who could keep up with David’s crazy dance moves were Brenda and Donna.

bh 56

David officially became one of the crew when his dad married Kelly’s mom and he started dating Donna. The two of them were a refreshing duo to watch as their romance was more fun and silly vs. all of the drama with Brenda, Kelly, and Dylan. David had this sizzling personality coupled with Donna’s underrated quirk. He was always trying to be on the radio, or make music, or film something. She was his muse, partner, and manager.

bh 39

bh 21
David, we got to show this to everyone. You’re a genius.

Of course, David made some mistakes with the price of trying to get famous and work in the industry. It’s a dirty business. I think he started to mature more when he started dating Valerie. I honestly didn’t see this relationship lasting too long, though. Valerie was a vixen and knew how to get under everyone’s skin. David, for the most part, was the nice guy. I guess Valerie needed a little more humility in her life and David needed to date someone that could teach him a few things. Though they were sort of cute together, it sickened Kelly and hurt Donna to see them getting closer. I always felt like Valerie had an ulterior motive for dating David. She may have fell for him to an extent, but it wasn’t real love.

bh 43

David was also Steve’s sidekick and the two of them got into a ton of shenanigans. He was even there to continue his sidekick duties with Steve’s wife, Janet. David and Kelly also had a solid sibling relationship and he would do anything for her and vice versa. I don’t think the two of them ever saw that coming when he was following her around like a lovesick puppy / paparazzi and Kelly was constantly telling him to go away. Their relationship grew to become the ultimate bro/sis combination.

bh 34

bh 52

And again, he and Donna realized that they were crazy not to be together. They were basically one heart beating in two separate bodies. Stronger together.

bh 42

Dylan and His Ladies

Oh Dylan. Dylan, Dylan why must you be so handsome? I instantly fell for Dylan during season one’s “Isn’t It Romantic?” episode. The one where he and Brenda have their first hangout / date. Here he was, genuine Beverly Hills material and he was interested in little Miss Minnesota. I don’t say that to be condescending or anything. What I mean is that Brenda thought her ‘in’ to the Beverly Hills group was to impress Kelly, but all she had to do was be herself and this guy was fascinated by her coolness. She actually didn’t have to do all of that crap (like dye her hair blonde) to create a facade of coolness for Kelly to accept her. What Dylan liked the most about Brenda was that she was easy to hang with like Brandon. Without the pressure. Until there was pressure – to be this ultimate boyfriend for such a wholesome girl. Dylan was used to playing the field and doing whatever he wanted, until he saw that this could hurt Brenda. And he didn’t want that. Sure, he was totally cool and suave – but with Brenda he was a normal guy.

bh 53

I’ve said it already, but the foreshadowing of the two girls wanting to impress Dylan in season one is just so uncanny. Who would of thought that by just being Brenda, Dylan would fall for her. He was at his most likable when he was with Brenda. Up until they slept together and the show did everything to drive a wedge between them. The funny thing is that when he was with Kelly, they slept together all the time and it was no big deal. This still baffles me.

irony

So glad that he and Kelly didn’t last too long and Dylan met someone even more sweet than Brenda – Antonia ‘Toni’ Marchette. Dylan was going through the most with Kelly and I have to admit, seeing him with Valerie after they broke up just made me hate watching Dylan’s storylines. I had no attachment to him and I didn’t care for him, until he met Toni in season six.

bh 8
Oh, who is this beauty?

Yes, their whole storyline was very soapy and dramatic with the war with her father. The thing that broke my heart though was seeing Dylan so happy and so in love with Toni and having her ripped away from him. I just thought it was cruel.

bh 29

Toni was so great that even Kelly couldn’t hate her. She was just what Dylan needed – a light to brighten all of the darkness in his life. When she was killed, I thought it was best for Dylan to leave. I mean, there just wasn’t much for him left in Beverly Hills. I never thought that he and Kelly were soulmates, so why would he stay? Of course, this is television and the show brought him back and put him back in the graces of Kelly. Glad their relationship was open-ended in the series finale.

bh 38

Steve Grows Up

Steve’s life seemed to always revolve around women. He was infatuated with the opposite sex. For the longest time, he was the playboy or the boy who lived to have fun. The man-kid, not really growing up. After chasing after Kelly in the early seasons, he seemed to say, screw it, life’s too short. Before we knew it, Steve was chasing the ladies and many of them equally played with his heart. His first serious girlfriend, Celeste, was the sweetest, though.

steve celeste

Unfortunately, Steve let his immature ways ruin that relationship and she left him. He did meet her at a dating game show, so I knew the relationship was bound to hit the breaks in the long run. Steve soon started dating Clare Arnold. Clare was definitely a match in one-uping Steve. She was witty and kept things interesting for the two of them.

bh 36

They actually couldn’t stand each other in the beginning. Clare with her big mouth and Steve with his immaturity. All of their pent-up angst for each other lead to lust, and then love. In between, we got some pretty funny moments of Clare saying things that totally embarrassed Steve and him irritating her. When she left, Steve was heartbroken.

bh 2
I’m so confused to why I love you.

Steve became the master of longing after unattainable women. There was a vicious cycle of Steve latching on to a girl and them basically getting the best of him and pretty much (consciously and unconsciously) using him (cough, cough Valerie). Steve desired to be the ultimate bachelor, but after being best friends with Brandon for years, Brandon’s good will and ‘family man’ ethics started to rub off on Steve. He then desired to be a part of something bigger than himself. He later met Janet Sosna, and though their relationship was rough in the beginning with Janet’s parents against the “untraditional” pair and Janet also questioning Steve’s maturity, they later started their own little family and got married. Janet and Steve had their own (tabloid/National Inquirer-inspired) newspaper and Steve was finally a part of something bigger – outside of the group. He had people relying on him and he, though comically, succeeded at being the family man.

How did we let The National Inquirer scoop this story before us?

Brandon Walsh, The Boy Wonder

No, I certainly did not forget about Brandon Walsh. The man with the plan. The good guy. The great guy. The boy scout. Brandon served as the leader of the group and the main character for eight seasons. His big plans and overall, good guy exterior (and interior) was the glue keeping the group together.

brandon walsh1
Just look at that smile.

brandon3

Even though his Beverly Hills friends all had their different passions and dominant traits, Brandon brought them all together and they all felt wanted and a part of something with Brandon around. Of course, no one is perfect and Brandon surely showed his flaws from time to time. Even though he always strived to do the right thing, and be the symbol for the right thing, his inner desires pulled him left field. Like dating Kelly after (while) her and Dylan went through a rough patch. Kelly was a friend and Dylan was one of his best friends. But, Kelly was like a golden trophy and I think Brandon wanted to prove to himself that he could have her. I already mentioned this before, but Brandon also ended up cheating on Kelly with Emily Valentine, because he was so wanted by Emily and he felt like he had to have her (since their relationship failed in high school).

But let me back up for a second. I always thought that Brandon and Andrea made a really good pair. Sure, I liked him and Kelly together, but Andrea was sort of like his equal. She was smart and goal-oriented and this made Brandon look up to her.

brandon andrea

But maybe that’s why they remained friends. Brandon held Andrea too dear to him. She was like a sister, someone to set him straight and keep him on the right path. Even though she wanted more than friendship for quite some time, Brandon knew that friendship was much more valuable. Romantic relationships are messy and I don’t think Brandon wanted to taint his and Andrea’s friendship with the downfalls of dating.

brandon andrea2
Nothing more awkward than waking up next to your best friend…

They certainly were adorable together, though. Both with those million dollar smiles. They felt safe with each other, like they could totally be themselves. Brandon was the first to accept Andrea into the group, despite her not being wealthy like the rest of the Beverly Hills peeps. Andrea also accepted Brandon and took him seriously as more than just a pretty face. They were the ultimate journalists at West Beverly. Getting the scoop on everyone’s business.

brandon andrea
Power couple?

I saw Andrea as Brandon’s mentor and coach when it came to writing and even entering into politics in college. Andrea had her head on straight when it came to academics (she eventually got pregnant and married their freshman year though), and Brandon looked to her for strategy. Maybe they would have been a power couple, but you know, this show wasn’t much for happy endings. Every romance had to have drama and Andrea and Brandon were too much of a pure couple to actually last as more than friends. Even Andrea and her husband hit a snag with him being unfaithful. But Brandon had her back and she had his.

bradon politician
Make sure you floss those pearly whites!

Emily Valentine seemed to be someone that Brandon was just magnetically attracted to. First in high school and later on when he ran into her in season five. After the whole Emily slipping Brandon drugs in season two, Brandon saw her as a bad influence – but kind of like his Id. Yeah, let’s get Freudian. Emily allowed Brandon to indulge and be bad. A version of himself that wasn’t accepted by the rest of his friends, or at least a side that he didn’t want his friends to see. The annoying thing about Emily was that she didn’t seem to care that she was luring Brandon into darkness. Maybe she meant well, but she certainly wasn’t the right girl for Brandon.

emily1
How about a second round, Brandon?

So even with the temptation from Emily, Brandon seemed to know one thing for certain –

brandon 2

He loved Kelly Taylor. I’m glad that the two of them didn’t date in high school, because the whole dating your sister’s bestie and your bestie’s (Steve) ex would have just taken away from the longing and beauty of them finally getting together in college. I didn’t see it coming after Kelly and Dylan stole the damn show, but it was big when Brandon finally gave into his desire to be with Kelly (and take her seriously). I was still angry at Dylan for choosing Kelly over Brenda and I wanted to finally see Brandon with someone he could actually have a lasting relationship with. Sure, Kelly was still at her annoying stage, but I felt like there was big change coming for her character with Brandon.

brandon kelly3

brandon kelly2
Let’s watch our soaps, honey.

Their relationship was just grounded in this realistic world. They seemed so stable and grown-up, compared to all of the other pairs. Like, their hearts were tugging for each other. Brandon was the ultimate good-guy that Kelly had been in need of, and Kelly was the beautiful princess that Brandon wanted in high school, but he wasn’t ready for her and she wasn’t ready for him. Yeah, Kelly had more depth than being a princess, but she was just so spoiled and entitled in the earlier seasons and when she started dating Brandon, she allowed herself to be better and switch up some of her life goals. All of her (need to be in charge) issues though pushed Brandon away and his big plans to move forward – and away from Beverly Hills was too much for her. Her home was in the 90210, but it was never Brandon’s real home. He wanted things outside of their little bubble and eventually moved away. I’m still pretty sad that it didn’t work out with the two of them, but it all seemed like a mirage anyway.

I vow to let you grow - without me.
I vow to let you grow – without me.

Well there you go, folks. It took me a little while to get this post up, but I had to give the series a more in depth look. Forever a favorite of mine and I’m glad that I discovered it all of those years ago. Whenever I watch the show, I notice something different and see characters through a different lens – based on where I am in my life. Can’t wait until my next rewatch of the series and the new things that will become more important and clear. Love the characters and love the stories. The series became so much more than a teen drama, and that’s one of the things I hold most dearly.

‘Til next time.

TV: My So-Called Life

Music Recommendation: “Pressure” by Sunscreem

I bet you guys knew this one was coming, especially after the Felicity post. What can I say, I have a knack for teen dramas, especially smart ones, and most especially from the 90’s. To know that My So-Called Life had only ONE season still puzzles me, because it’s brilliant and basically serves as a guide to LIFE [in high school] and as a human being. One of the most amazing aspects of the show is how we’re allowed to be inside of Angela’s head, the protagonist. We’re up close and personal and some of the things that she says or experiences sometimes makes us blush of embarrassment, because we’re just too close to the moment. Then, her relationship with her parents can be quite unnerving (a word said a lot in the show), because you know – she’s a teenage girl trying to find her footing and her parents are trying to figure out how to continue to be her parents without activating a ticking bomb. I remember those days quite clearly and I am thankful to be passed them! High school was all about waiting for something more interesting and amazing to happen later on. Down the line.

MY SO CALLED LIFE
Sitting, waiting, wishing…

The show is a gem and maybe it is best that there’s only one season. There wasn’t a chance for the show to over-saturate us with the unnerving teenage mind or for it to jump the shark with the college years (cough, Saved by the Bell). Then again, the college years could have been great (a la Felicity or Boy Meets World). Guess we’ll never know. The ending is left to our own interpretations and we can let our imaginations decide what eventually happens to Angela, Rayanne, Ricky, Brian, Sharon, Jordan, and the rest of the gang. I hold the show dear and here are some of my favorite aspects of the show.

Being Inside of Angela’s Head

Angela says some of the darnedest things. She’s often observing her fellow classmates, friends, and family experiencing some of life’s tedious and coming of age moments. Often times she gets lost in her own head as she tries to sort out what’s happening in the moment and then offers up some of her ‘teenangsty’ wisdom. She points out the obvious, but her tone emphasizes either her disgust, irritation, boredom, happiness, or whatever (another phase often said in the show).

angela 2

angela 3

The fact that we’re inside her head reveals the truthfulness in situations. I think for the most part she’s honest with herself, so reading her mind (listening to her thoughts) allows us to see the true Angela. The raw truth in the situation. But…

Angela 1

His name is Jordan Catalano

Do you all remember what it was like to have that time/life consuming crush in high school? Or even in junior high? Heck, or college? I certainly do and you know what, I would give anything to visit my younger self and say – snap out of it! Seriously, there would be moments where I would totally ignore the real world around me because I would be so love-sick about the boy that had no idea how amazing I thought he was. He could sneeze and I would think that it was the cutest thing ever. And if he said something to me, I would over-analyze the hell out of whatever he said. Even if he was asking me about homework. His tone, his eye contact, his poise – everything would be going a million miles an hour through my head. I can just slap myself for wasting so much time just thinking when I could have accomplished greater things like learning how to swim, drive, or play the guitar. But that’s being a teenage girl for ya.

jordan love

Angela goes through the same thing. She is totally in love with Jordan Catalano, a boy in her class who was held back a few times. Sounds like a catch, huh? He’s the typical ‘semi-bad’ boy with issues. Brooding and mysterious. He’s in a band and he loves his car. He’s also played by the gorgeous Jared Leto…so yeah I can kind of cut Angela some slack in that regard.

frozen embryos

Angela is so love-struck by Jordan that she totally obsesses over the tiniest things about him like the small hole in his shirt, the way he blinks, and…

leans

Yes, she even gets her friends in on the obsession and they are glad to point out when he’s near in the hallways at school or where he’s hanging out later on. I remember how my friends used to swoon whenever my crush would step inside the classroom or if he looked in my direction. I would die a little inside of embarrassment and they would laugh their heads off. Angela got plenty of that from her two besties, Ricky and Rayanne.

I think some of the best moments with Jordan came from when Angela somehow got maneuvered to be alone with him or she self-orcistrated their alone time. Their two totally different personalities and body language would scream incompatibility, but you just wanted Jordan to want Angela, because you wanted Jordan.

stop talking

I mean, sure he was into Angela (she was the good girl), but she was way too into him because he was ‘cool’. They weren’t compatible or anything though. I think high school and even junior high is where you have to kiss a few frogs to figure out that just because the guy is gorgeous and mysterious, doesn’t mean that you should date him! But their moments were cute and all too realistic that it would be painful to watch them sometimes. angela 4

Here’s one of my favorite Angela and Jordan moments

New friends, Old friends, and Maybe friends

So being in high school means a lot of growing up and changing. Sometimes the changes mean desiring different settings, different clothes, different friends. The show begins with Angela hanging out with her new best friend, Rayanne – the outsider. She is often described as something of a slut with a heart of gold. She drinks a lot and her wardrobe is on the atrocious side…even accounting for it being the 90’s. But Angela is indeed fascinated by Rayanne’s bold personality and independence. Rayanne is always on some sort of high and she just goes with the flow. She knows what’s ‘happening’ and who’s-who’s. Angela is Rayanne’s opposite and desires more of Rayanne’s hipness.

Rayanne hat
Rayanne, the cool cat

With that said, this means that Angela ends up leaving her old friends behind, like Sharon. Sharon is Angela’s childhood best friend. Her family is close with Angela’s family and she’s basically Angela’s sister.

sharon
Hangouts with Sharon

But Sharon is a different type of friend than Rayanne. Sharon is growing up too and is landing more on the popular/ homecoming queen end of the high school spectrum. Angela notices how their bodies are developing at different rates and she begins to feel inferior to someone that she has known to be just like her most of her life.

different ways

Angela wants to be someone different. Her friendship with Sharon was predictable in a way and even though Sharon is loyal and sweet, Angela wants to dare herself to experience life through Rayanne’s lens. That means dying her hair red (because Rayanne says it’s cool) and becoming an ‘outsider’. Sharon loathes Rayanne for stealing away her friend and brainwashing her in a way. But Sharon has to see both Angela and Rayanne at school and it can get pretty awkward.

Ricky, Rayanne’s sidekick and the fashionista questioning his sexuality. He certainly has a beautiful soul and anchors Rayanne when she’s at her worst. Angela also learns what loyalty is from Ricky’s tolerance for Rayanne’s wild behavior and screw-ups.

friends2
Kickin’ it in the ladies room

Ricky also teaches Angela to love herself and be appreciative of her family and support.

friends3
The lovely Ricky Vasquez

The beauty of high school though is learning to identify with more than one friend and bringing old friends and new friends together. Everyone admires somebody, even if they hate to admit it. Surely there’s a curiosity of what it’s like to be someone else or to hang out with so-and-so. Sharon eventually gets onboard with Angela’s new squad, because what they all have in common is that they love Angela.

friends
We can all share Angela

I also love how Angela’s squad eventually includes Brian Krakow and Jordan Catalano. Sure Brian is Angela’s annoying, nosey, know-it-all neighbor who always has some critique about how Angela is living her life and Jordan is well…Jordan. I think Brian stays close to Angela and the gang because yeah, he’s in love with her, but he’s also inspired by how Angela allows herself to change and associate with different people. Brian can be somewhat awkward, cold, and judgmental – but I think he’s more hard on himself than anyone.

bryan

He wants Angela to stay the way that he is comfortable with, but he also wants her to be different and blossom so that he can challenge himself to do the same. In the mean time, he knows how to piss people off and be brutally honest. Which is fun to watch.

or whatever

Jordan ends up in the circle mostly because he and Angela start dating, but also because he begins to learn from her and her friends, like Ricky and Brian. Here are two very different guys in Angela’s life that can teach him a thing or two. Ricky teaches him to be more personable and Brian teaches him to use his brain and not be a stereotypical airhead-hot guy without any prospects after high school.

whatever happens

Falling for Angela means stepping up and trying to be a better version of himself, because Angela deserves that. She and her friends teach him, but he also teaches Angela to loosen up and stop over-analyzing life.

big deal

Family Matters

Some of the most powerful moments in the show focus on Angela’s relationship with her family. Her mom is the overbearing, ‘I know what’s best for you’ type. She overanalyzes the changes that Angela makes with her appearance and her friends. Angela has to fight back her irritation with her mom on many occasions. 

angela 5

But Patricia ‘Patty’ Chase, is played by the stunning and talented Bess Armstrong though so the more you hate her, the more you love her. She just exudes beauty and strength. Her strong judgment of Angela is her way of trying to figure out how to parent a teenager while making sure that her daughter doesn’t lose her identity all too quickly. Patty was adopted and spent her high school years as the prom queen, popular girl. She knows how cruel the kids can be to those on the ‘outside’ and she certainly knows how it feels to be estranged from your family. Angela may want to stab her mom at times, but deep down she just wants to be accepted and live up to the standards that Patty holds for her.

angela and mom
Bess knows best

While Patty was prom queen, Angela’s dad, Graham Chase was on the other end of the spectrum in high school. He went to the same high school as Patty, but she never noticed him. Doesn’t that say something about relationships in high school, or am I over thinking it? I just know that my goal was always to fit in with everyone: popular, smart, outsiders, and even the rebels. I just enjoyed everyone’s view of high school and their expectations of life after high school. It was refreshing to be neutral on the spectrum, but I know that many other people saw me as whatever they believed I was. Popular. Smart. Outsider. Rebel. Or, whatever.

The fact that Patty ends up marrying someone that she didn’t even know existed in her little high school bubble is quite interesting. She passed her future husband in the halls, probably looked right at him on more than one occasion and didn’t feel a thing. Funny how things turn out.

patty and graham

Anyway, Angela and Graham’s relationship becomes uncomfortable as Angela grows up. She notices things about her dad that make her question his faithfulness to her mom. It’s like she stops viewing him as dad and sees him as a man, which unnerves her.

graham and some other woman
That’s not Patty

The older Angela gets the more disgusted she becomes with her parents relationship, because she’s no longer blinded by the innocent lens of a child towards them. She sees them as people, flaws and all. Graham struggles with Patty’s overbearingness and need for perfection and he slightly strays from his marriage, having a mental affair. Angela catches on and doesn’t like what she sees.

Removing the unfaithful husband factor, Angela grows further from Graham because she’s becoming a woman and it’s just not comfortable being around her dad anymore. I think many women can relate going through that phase. Plus, your parents just know things about you that are too personal – because they went through it already.

Parents 1

I can also relate to Angela’s relationship with her younger sister, Danielle. As Angela grows up and becomes interested in boys and makes these new friends, Danielle is left to wonder about Angela’s more interesting life. She can’t go out to parties or make-out with guys. She can’t dye her hair and her mom still picks out most of her clothes. Her sister is the coolest person she knows, which makes her feel uncool, uninteresting, and unworthy of attention. Which makes Danielle envy and become more of a nuisance toward Angela.

I went through the same thing with my older cousin. She started dating and hung out with some rebellious chicks. I just felt like she had forgotten about me and our moments playing with Barbie dolls and riding our bikes in the yard. Suddenly her life was more interesting and I was left to be treated like a child, while she had freedom. The funny thing is that I became an Angela to my own little sister. I took my cousin’s place and my sister had to watch me grow up and do things that she still wasn’t allowed to do. It just sucks watching the person you admire the most pass you up and you get stuck on the sidelines.

angela sister
Be the person that inspires you for Halloween

Oh 90’s, how I miss thee

I love that the show is set in the mid-90’s. Cue alternative tracks from bands like The Cranberries, Buffalo Tom, and Stone Temple Pilots. Cue the grunge culture with the numerous oversized plaid flannels. I love it. I absolutely love it. The dyed/ spiked/ bobbed/ long and wavy hair with barrettes. The dark lip liner. The floral dresses and floppy hats. The combat boots over tube socks, over tights. The references to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain’s unfortunate suicide in 1994.

dreams2

cobain

This was the era of rave culture and laptop-less DJs. The era of note passing in class. You had to show up and hang with your friends instead of texting from afar. The times seemed easier, but more complicated at the same time. Looking back at the style, I can’t help but wonder what on earth were we thinking? I was a kid at the time, but my parents didn’t shy away from dressing me in the attire. I miss it though. Skateboards and cut off long shorts with Chuck Taylor’s. The 90’s pioneered the grungy-skater look while people today kind of just pose in what has already transpired and expired. Certainly the music will never be the same and I can go on and on about how house, techno, rock and alternative music today is just NOT the same quality and doesn’t hold a candle to the 90’s or even the early 00’s. I’ll forever be nostalgic to the times and this show is a nice little time machine.

angela style

style
There’s so much going on with Rayanne’s outfit, but she’s still fabulous

rayanne style

ryanne style
I see you rocking’ those tights and barrettes, girlfriend

The Elusive Tino

Whenever there’s a party or something cool happening, Rayanne or Jordan assured the squad that Tino would hook them up with access, a ride, or fake IDs.

tino 1

The thing is, Tino is never shown. He’s the running gag on the show: the coolest person ever with the keys to the kingdom, but we never see him. We just know that if Tino will be at the party, then you know it’s the place to be! At the same time though, he’s like the flimsiest guy ever and not that dependable. He even quits Jordan’s band.

tino2

tino3

At the end of the day, Angela, though seemingly self-absorbed and overly obsessive, eventually acknowledges that the people around her inspired her to change for the better and that she also inspired them. Life extends beyond high school and it’s important to enjoy the different people while you can before your teenage years are over. Angela’s friends mattered. Her family mattered. She mattered. All of the moments as a teenager seemed so important, and they taught her what it meant to grow up, love, forgive, and be comfortable in one’s own skin.

small things

‘Til next time.

P.S. Count how many times Shannon Leto pops up throughout the show. Who else is a 30 Seconds to Mars fan?

shannon leto

TV: Felicity

Music Recommendation: “Blue Parade” by Sarah Slean

Dear Sally –

In order for me to do this show any justice in terms of ‘reviewing’ it, I need to focus on the reasons why I love this show. I mean, for a show that only had four seasons, it had such an impact on my entire college experience. I probably would have had more of a social life in college if I watched less of the series amongst the many other shows I spent my free time watching. Most of the time, I would knock out those papers and chapters just so I had more time to watch TV. Truthfully, I’m not even ashamed to admit this. Felicity was one of the first shows that I re-watched in college and I even got my first roommate into it. We would shut ourselves in our little cave (re: dorm room) and watch the hell out of this show, even when we had a crap load of work to do. We’d be like, “let’s just finish this disc” (I have the series on DVD). Or, “let’s just watch it while we eat.” I don’t know anyone else who took five hours to eat their lunch.

Anyway, let’s start off with a little preamble: Felicity is about a girl from Palo Alto, California named (you guessed it) Felicity, who decides to go to college in New York City after her high school crush, Ben, writes in her yearbook. Once in New York, she meets a number of interesting characters and has to decide what path she wants to take for her life and love life. She begins college communicating with her friend, Sally, via cassette tape – recording her thoughts about how things are going in college. The recordings sort of stop once she’s thrust into the college life and made new friends. It’s a little more extensive than that, but that’s why you need to watch the show!

felicity-ep-1-photo
What did I get myself into?

Here are some of the reasons why this show is so amazing and addicting.

The Opening Credits

The first two seasons of Felicity open with flashes of black & white photos of Felicity and the other characters in the show – pondering and hanging out in the wonderful city of New York. Felicity drinks coffee in a cafe, pets a dog, waits for the subway, laughs with her friends – daily life sort of things. The music is mellow and doesn’t have actual words, adding a calm and chill nature to the credits. The photos aren’t perfect either, which is a nice wink to the ‘realism’ approach the show tries to emulate (at least most of the time). Some of the shots are blurry, or the characters are out of focus, or they are not completely in frame. Great stuff.

felicity opening 2

I also like the opening credits in the third and fourth seasons too, but they are your basic in-color episode clips with actual lyrics in the new theme song: “New Version of You.” Yeah, we get it. I still wonder why they changed the credit style? Anyway, the black & white credits are stills from moments that we don’t see in the actual episodes – a look behind the scenes of the lives of the characters.

felicity opening

Team Ben vs. Team Noel 

Before there was Team Jacob vs. Team Edward or Team Stefan vs. Damon or even Peeta vs. Gale (or any other fictional love triangle after the 90s) – there was Team Ben vs. Noel. Yes, Felicity was caught between two lovers, but not in a weird kinky sort of way. She came to NY to follow her high school crush, Ben, but found herself unexpectedly falling for someone else in the midst of dealing with the struggle of college, Noel. She had the best RA, who eventually became someone she loved and who loved her from the moment he first saw her. Sounds great, right? Going to college and finding your soulmate and living happily ever after. The end. But no, Felicity’s little world is all but a fairytale. You see, this chick isn’t someone who can make up her mind or make the right choices – until after she’s made the wrong ones. I mean, obviously from the premise of the show. Following a guy to college doesn’t sound like the smartest thing to do, especially if you’ve only had one conversation with him. Felicity says “obviously” a lot, by the way.

Even though Noel is into her right away, Felicity is at the University of New York (it’s a fictional college based on NYU) for BEN. She’s so determined to get Ben to fall in love with her that she’s blind to see how Noel feels for her. It takes having Ben call her “crazy” and rejecting her to get her to see what’s been right in front of her. Noel is there to hear all about her crazy antics in wooing Ben, and he even bails her out of some of the situations she gets herself into. More on that later. But, eventually she falls for him too – and presto! The end.

noel and felicity3

Yeah, I think you all see where this is going. Allow me to continue. So after Noel and Felicity get together, guess who comes around and see’s how amazing Felicity is – despite her impulsiveness? You guessed it, Big Ben. That’s when all hell breaks loose, because now Felicity can have what she wanted in the first place. And then Noel’s “past” comes to get him as well. Let’s just say, Ben and Felicity get together. The end.

felicty and ben

Sure….. Yeah right. You guys, need to keep up.

noel and felicty and ben

Noel was the best RA, even when he wasn’t the RA anymore

Freshmen year was a hot mess for Felicity and she always seemed to get her nose stuck where it shouldn’t have been. From retyping Ben’s paper and nearly getting them both expelled for plagiarism, to stealing his admission file and again almost getting him expelled. There was one person that Felicity could always count on to help her out with her impulsiveness. Noel was the RA of the century – even when he didn’t want to be. He was in love with a girl, that was in love with someone else. He didn’t let that bother him (for a while) and came to Felicity’s rescue on many occasions. His best advice, “Stay in New York or perish.”

noel felicity office

But Felicity wasn’t the only one living in the dorms so Noel had his hands full with the rest of the freshmen crew. Even Elena, with her toughness and desire to be the best in class, needed Noel’s help from time to time. From sleeping with the ‘tin-man’ (Halloween episode) or trying to figure out how to actually date someone you just met (and slept with). Somehow, Noel had the answers. He also realized that she could help him out with his Felicity troubles. An eye for an eye. Their budding friendship and partnership made up for some very hilarious scenes. They eventually became roommates in season 2. I secretly always wanted them to hook up.

noel RA

noel and elena 2

Then there’s Richard, the sort of guy that will annoy the hell out of you, because he’s so self-righteous and oblivious to his asshole-ness. He tried Noel on many occasions, including hosting a BBQ in his dorm room – violating so many rules. Noel threatened to get him kicked out, but then Richard caught Noel making out with another resident – Felicity. So, um yeah, their friendship and endless dueling became the stuff of legend. He even became likable as you felt for the guy who just wanted friends and to fit in. Who can’t relate to that?

richard and noel2

Richard and noel

noel and richard

Another problem that Felicity continuously had was with her roommate, Megan. More on that later. But Megan and Noel had their own relationship. Megan’s bluntness and know-it-all ticked Noel off, but made him keep coming back for info – because who didn’t know more about what Felicity was up to than the person sleeping across from her? Even after Megan gave Noel beet powder (he’s allergic and becomes neurotic after consumption) calling it ‘smart powder’ during finals, he continued to put up with her crap. A necessary evil.

Noel and megan

Megan blunt

After an entire school year of assisting the residents, Noel was no longer their RA, but the gang continued to depend on his guidance and friendship. The job was never-ending.

noel laughs

Elena was the best, best friend 

Elena began as the girl living across from Felicity who just happened to be around when crap was going down in Felicity’s life. She was also the smartest and most determined premed student that Felicity knew and Felicity leaned on her for guidance – both academically and personally. When Felicity was dealing with Ben rejecting her or Noel’s confession of love, Elena rolled her eyes but gladly became the best friend a girl could ask for. Even giving Felicity sex tips. You see, Elena was the most confident person ever (next to Megan and Sean), but she was kind of clueless when it came to dating. Especially freshman year. So of course, her advice doesn’t help and lends to one the most hilarious episodes ever in the series.

elena
“Keep your eyes on the ball”

Their friendship lasted all four years and beyond (if you don’t include Elena’s fate and reversed fate at the end of the series). Her kickass attitude even attracted the other characters. Though Julie was Felicity’s first best friend in college, Elena became the glue to keep them all together, because Julie and Felicity had issues when it came to Ben.

julie and elena
What are you up to now, Felicity?

One of my favorite episodes is when Elena and Noel decided to dress up as Subway (yes, the restaurant) employees for the Halloween party at Ben and Sean’s. The deal was that they BOTH had to attend as a duo. However, Noel’s RA duties got in the way of him attending and Elena had to walk around the party taking people’s sub orders. Oh, hell no! Check out that uniform.

elena halloween

Elena was the best friend that anyone could ask for in college. She was smart, tough, funny, and the men loved her! Felicity’s impulsive tendencies and never-ending boy troubles always led her in some crazy situations, like the time Ben saved a woman’s life after she was shot at a party. Turns out the woman was filthy rich and became obsessed with Ben – while he was dating Felicity. She tried to let Felicity know that she would fight for him, but Elena had Felicity’s back and helped her learn some martial arts. What more could you ask for in a bestie?

elena could kick butt

Elena felicity

Dean & Deluca w/ Javier

Boy troubles isn’t the only thing that Felicity had to worry about. I mean the girl is going to college in NY – against her parents wishes by the way. So without their support, she’s got to work. Dean & Deluca is one of the jobs that she gets freshman year, and continues to be her main job throughout the series – because she’s had an awesome manager named Javier.

Javier becomes one of Felicity’s best friends and offers her some great advice about her love life, like Elena. Felicity and Javier even try to get married at one point, but it’s not how you think. He’s even a fan of “Ben-ja-min”, and eventually hires him – despite all of the drama with Felicity. He’s kind of like the Cupid in the group. Plus, his thick Spanish accent makes everything that he says feisty! You could grab a cup of coffee and a scone with a side of saucy Javier.

javier and ben

Sean and his Smoothaise

You know, the most refreshing part about Felicity was that the show didn’t limit the friendships to be composed of only kids in college, like including Javier. Sean was the guy with all of the ideas. Literally. He was a self-proclaimed inventor and entrepreneur. He always tried to make a buck. He was the perfect example to teach the kids about that hustle life, because sometimes life doesn’t work out exactly like you plan it to (during) and after college. His presence assured the gang to keep working for what they believed in. I do find it hilarious that he befriended a bunch of college kids, but hey – got to keep those ideas fresh and where else can you get characters for the most bad ass documentary series, “Docuventary” (because he’s an inventor making a documentary). Get it?

I think teaming up with Richard was the best part about Sean’s documentary. Showcasing some of the most private moments of his friends while keeping the price of the moments on his mind and having Richard be his PA is just GOLD. Who wouldn’t buy this?

Sean the director

sean reality show

Sean always had a get rich master plan. Even having all the peeps over at his great apartment wasn’t just about socializing and demonstrating his hospitality, because he was charging most of them rent. And while having them there, he had an audience to test out his new inventions and hear out his new ideas.

sean inventions

sean inventions 2

He also sold things to benefit the college students, like essential study kits or that time he sold fruit during finals. I mean, that’s pretty genius.

sean selling fruit

I’ll never forget the time Sean inserted himself in the catering biz with Ben at Dean & Deluca just to have people try out his new food condiment – Smoothaise. Sounds delicious, right? Ben was having some relationship issues and Sean, instead of being supportive of his friend, was asking people to try out his Smoothaise.

sean catering
Ben, try out my Smoothaise?

Megan was the best roomie, even when she wasn’t

The scary part about college is when you have to move into your dorm with a stranger for a roommate. Some people get really lucky with someone amazing, but other’s aren’t so lucky. Case in point: Felicity’s college roommate, Megan. Their living arrangement was the most pivotal during their freshman year – when they first met. But, somehow due to television circumstances, they ended up living together at one point or another during all four seasons.

Megan and Felicity were two totally different people. Felicity was the straight-lace neurotic college student, while Megan was the Gothic club-nympho, with something pretty epic in a box. I honestly still don’t know what she had in there, even after the ‘artsy’ (being nice) episode that showed us what’s in the box. All I know is that she was paranoid with Felicity looking in the box.

As you might have guessed, they did not get along in the beginning, but Megan was always there to be totally blunt about Felicity’s struggles. The first few episodes, she would just pop in the room with some outrageous outfit ensemble on and say something rude during the perfect time. But Megan became someone to steer Felicity back into reality. Her ‘rudeness’ was something that Felicity needed (that all of the characters needed, actually), because most of the time (not all of the time) she was being honest. Down the line, she couldn’t help but be in Felicity’s little circle of friends (even when she didn’t want to).

felicity-1-07-whats-in-the-box
“Did you open my box?”

Living with Sean and Megan

The best of the roomies collide. Someone’s got to tell Sean how ridiculous his ideas are and someone’s got to tell Megan how much of a bitch she’s being. Both of them mature tremendously during the last few seasons, and I’ll just leave it at that.

sean and megan

“New Version of You” (Felicity’s infamous haircut) 

Well, if you’ve ever heard of Felicity, you are probably familiar with the whole Felicity haircut fiasco. Yes, she starts college with a head of glorious big curls and chops them off in season 2. Why? She went crazy, of course!

felicty hair

No, but in all seriousness – Felicity cut her hair because she needed a change. Sounds like a cliche, but that’s what happened in the story. Now, the reason behind KERI RUSSELL cutting her hair, I don’t know. Maybe she went crazy – or needed a change as well. I think it was all about growing up and shedding away all of her past mistakes. She became anew!

I similarly cut off all of my hair during my junior year in college for similar reasons. One of my friends even asked me if I was pulling a Felicity. No, I wasn’t exactly inspired by little miss busy body, but I was in need of a huge change in my life. So adios to the hair that has been with me my whole life, and hello naked head. Ready for the world!

felicty hair cut

Throughout the first few episodes of ‘the new Felicity’, her friends and (a heart-broken and angry) Noel questioned her big decision (well he just laughed). Even Felicity questioned herself at one point. Her love life was in shambles and she also decided to change her major from premed to art. She was starting all over and it was kind of scary.

oops

Eventually, everyone got over the haircut and Felicity was growing up. She started dating (outside of Ben and Noel) and was enjoying her new artsy and independent lifestyle. She was rockin’ that haircut! And even in the midst of the big changes in her life, two things returned to normalcy – or should I say two guys!

hair felicity

Maybe the haircut was just Felicity being impulsive as usual, and yeah people hated it – within and outside of the show. Despite this, Felicity continued to be a great show even without the big curls. Hair grows back guys!

felicty hair 2

Finals Week

Every season of Felicity has finals week, or hell week. I mean, it’s a show about life in college and we can’t forget the week that sends college kids into a definite frenzy. Felicity and the gang aren’t safe from the week of utter terror. So finals week is basically a week of cramming everything that you (were suppose to) learn during the semester – in hopes of passing the final exam or write a great paper. Wow, just thinking about my finals week makes the hair on the back of my neck stand. It’s like you have to pull a miracle and relearn everything and remember it when you’re actually tested!

finals

So basically, all of the students in your university are on edge – which makes for a number of hilarious situations. During the first season of Felicity, Noel and Felicity are newly dating, but haven’t actually made it official that they are dating. So the whole time they just want to make-out and talk, and make-out some more – but they have to study for their finals. This is where Richard catches them and it’s such a funny moment.

finals2

Eventually, they have to separate and Noel has to try to convince Richard not to get him fired from being an RA. Felicity then runs into Ben, who asks for help on studying. He and Julie (Felicity’s supposed BFF – I can’t stand her) are sort of dating by this time as well.

julie and ben finals

Felicity of course helps Ben out, because she owes him after almost getting him expelled in an earlier episode. Plus, I don’t think she knows how to say no to him. Meanwhile, Noel is running around looking for her and runs into Megan, who gives him “smart powder.” Noel finds Felicity studying with Ben and his insecurities added with the beets in his smart powder make him totally overact. All the while, both of them still need to study for their finals. Sean is walking around selling fruit by this time as well.

Finals week creates some of the best moments in the series and the characters each approach the week in their own way –  surviving the best way that they know how.

noel finals

noel and Elena

noel and felicity finals

ben finals odes

The Squad

As Felicity is trying to find herself and survive the college life, she meets all of these amazing people. The group is there for one another – when they are not killing each other. Without a doubt, Felicity’s friends are the BEST reason this show is amazing. Without the love triangles, the fights, and Sean’s terrible inventions – the show wouldn’t have been what it was, because each character literally had an important part to play. Felicity wouldn’t have survived without her squad.

squad

I watch this show when I need a reality check or when I need to remind myself that friendship is important and finding myself is essential. College wouldn’t have been the same without this show and I’m betting the more I revisit Felicity and the crew, I’ll understand and accept becoming an adult even more.

This is one of my favorite scenes of the show. After all the characters have been through, they still managed to put aside their worries, dance it out and stick together.

Thanks for reading. ‘Til next time.

noel
P.S. I’m still Team Noel.
ben
Wait…
Noel and felicty
No, definitely, Team Noel…
ben face
Damnit, Ben!
Noel inside his mind
Why don’t they ever pick me?

Update: Just look at these guys now!

Shawn-Patrick-Anderson-Entertainment-Weekly-Felicity-02