Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S02E16 – Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

In the sixteenth episode of the second season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, who knew that a Xander-centric episode would be so fantastic? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

Look, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” is not without its problematic issues. It is inherently about one man violating the consent of EVERY single woman in the entirety of Sunnydale, possibly the world. Is it perfect? No. Is it my favorite episode of the whole show so far? YES IT IS.

Xander Harris, I have been waiting for so long for this day to come. You’ve been written with one note, and you’ve been running with that for twenty-seven straight episodes. And now, this long character arc has come to fruition in a terrifying and hilarious way, and I am so happy to have experienced it.

It was nice from the get-go to explore the idea of Cordelia and Xander’s relationship. The writers have been growing it with each episode, and in the process, Xander has been making minuscule changes in his behavior. Nothing terribly huge or significant, but I’ve noticed it. I had a feeling this episode would move things forward when Xander asked for Buffy’s opinion on a locket he got for Cordelia for Valentine’s Day. That’s not something you get someone you’re ashamed of.

But then there’s a brilliant misdirect that exists for so long that I believed this episode would be about something else. We see Amy again, who hasn’t been around since “The Witch,” and then there’s the entire plot with Buffy and Angel. Would this episode focus on Amy returning to the story? Would the threat of Angel’s Valentine’s Day plan be the narrative center of the episode?Β  Would we see more of Angel’s competition with Spike for Drusilla’s affection? Or would Giles and Buffy attempt to amend their relationship with Jenny Calendar? Any of these were pretty compelling to me, and it’s what gives Xander’s story so much weight in the end. Because while there are pieces of all of these in the main story, it’s not the main story at all.

That happens when Cordelia breaks Xander’s heart. It really is a terrible thing for Cordelia to choose Valentine’s Day and the moment after Xander gives her a pretty awesome gift to dump him. Do I understand why she did it and why she chose that moment? Sure! And I think the story contains the motivations for her character pretty well, even if the viewer might not agree with them. We get to see how her friends rebuff her just for dating Xander and willingly putting herself lower on the social ladder of Sunnydale High. Plus, if she was concerned about this relationship, she was, at the very least, considerate enough to stop leading Xander on if she was going to dump him eventually.

All this doesn’t not erase Xander’s pain. And for the first time ever, I felt genuinely awful for him. I’ve been dumped a few times before. My first boyfriend dumped me over MySpace (SERIOUSLY!!!) just a week after Christmas (and after I’d spent hundreds of dollars on him for gifts) and while he was on vacation. I know timing isn’t everything, but it’s something. No matter what Cordelia’s intentions were, it sucked seeing the guy hurt like this, especially since I liked him so much when he was with Cordelia.

Aaaaaannnnddd then Xander blackmails Amy. OH BOY. Like, way to take a sympathetic situation and utterly destroy it, dude! But what I found fascinating about this choice is twofold. First, it shows that Xander is reverting back almost instantly to the behavior he started off with before he ever kissed Cordelia. While he has every right to feel sad and dejected, he has to take it a step further. That’s the second thing: the show takes what was awful about Xander in the past (his creepy opinions of attractive women) and then actively uses that against him.

I know it’s meant to be both funny and creepy at the same time, but I was just so impressed that the love spell plot is essentially Xander’s attitude about Buffy and Willow, but taken to its logical conclusion: Xander has always wished that every woman was attracted to him. The thing is, that’s not what I thought was happening. I expected that something would backfire, either intentionally on Amy’s part as punishment for Xander blackmailing her, or merely by accident since she wasn’t that experienced of a witch. When Cordelia doesn’t respond to Xander’s attempts to come on to her the day after Amy casts the spell, I thought this would be a pretty predictable story.

And then Buffy starts hitting on Xander.

And then Amy starts flirting with Xander.

And then another student is flirting.

And then WILLOW IS IN XANDER’S BED.

AND THEN NOTHING IS FUCKING SACRED ANYMORE.

This episode had me cringing and laughing, often one after the other. Here is Xander’s dream, made literal, and he can’t make it go away. This is what it’s like, and this is what he’s always wanted, right? Oh god, it is so horrifying and it is so beautiful in the worst way imaginable. It’s one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen on television, and a lot of rests on the fact that the context of these women hitting on Xander is just so wrong. Plus, the execution of this could have failed so miserably, but the entire cast does such a fine job of taking their characters to this uncomfortable sexual place. Look at the glee on Alyson Hannigan’s face! LOOK HOW SULTRY SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR AND ROBIA LAMORTE ARE. They sell this idea so masterfully, and it’s what makes this such an entertaining thing to watch. Oh god, when Jenny started hitting on Xander, I just lost it. (I also think I enjoyed this so much because I’d just finished “The Reichenbach Fall” and nothing felt good and I needed help.)

But the moment that really sold this story to me, and the one that made me like Xander the most, was when Buffy, appearing only in a rain coat, tries to seduce him, and he flat out refuses to take advantage of her. It doesn’t excuse his earlier behavior, sure, but that moment of clarity – you do not take advantage of a woman – is such a powerful moment for him. Look, Xander’s written as a gross, immature high school dude. That’s what his character is. Yet there’s something just so lovely to me about the fact that even someone like Xander just knows that he should not do anything to Buffy while she’s in a state where she cannot consent. On top of that, we have Giles, who acts as a clear critic of what Xander’s done, almost disgusted with his particular brand of self-serving decision-making.

Oh, and then Buffy is a rat? Okay, that’s fucking weird. She’s in this episode for like ten minutes tops, isn’t she?

Anyway, while there’s a lot to laugh at here, the story gets gradually more creepy as it progresses. There’s some laughter and grimacing to be had when Buffy’s mother starts hitting on Xander, but I was totally in love with how “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” takes this concept and turns it into a horror movie of sorts. It’s unsettling to watch all these women rush into the Summers’ home specifically because it’s overwhelming. At the same time, though, I can’t deny how silly it is, especially when we get a glimpse of Jenny desiring Xander or every time we see the lunch lady with her rolling pin. This is a comedy, and a damn fine one at that.

But at the end of it all is a genuine, touching moment, and it’s not one that goes straight for being cheesy or a joke. I got a sense that Cordelia’s opinion of Xander would change when she expressed joyous shock that Xander actually wanted the love spell to work on her, not the entirety of Sunnydale. It was inevitable then, that when Cordelia’s friends started insulting Xander, that she would gain the courage to finally tell them to shut the hell up. This is such a huge moment for her character, both because it’s so believable, and because Cordelia has this moment of self-worth. She’s worth more than her friends think of her, and goddamn it, she’s going to be with Xander if it makes her feel good.

oh my god I am just so full of feels for these two. This show is going to destroy me, isn’t it?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

424 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S02E16 – Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

  1. Bewitched, Bothered and Midsummered

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/4jDQB.jpg&quot; height="60%" width="60%">

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/y5OrA.jpg&quot; height="60%" width="60%">

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/zmv5M.jpg&quot; height="60%" width="60%">

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/JcoX6.jpg&quot; height="60%" width="60%">

  2. tigerpetals says:

    That was kind of blatant. I guess she thinks Xander won't care.

    The melody playing while Giles rebuffs Jenny, is it a reprise of the B/A theme or am I just hearing it everywhere now?

    How to interpret Cordelia's 'way to make things harder'? Xander made it harder because he dressed up for her or was she sarcastic because he was mentioning Buffy? I usually went with the former until I surprised myself with the latter today. Or maybe I always thought of it and then always forget.

    Why is Amy doing this? Who's Xander going to tell? Would Buffy or Giles really care? Though obviously, what with her spell on the teacher, she doesn't care about the effect on the victim's minds. 'Course we don't know whether or how much she was affecting her teacher's mind.

    Diana is not a love goddess!

    Is this the first time someone has referred to her as Cordy?

    Now he's been dumped he's eager to go to Buffy. It makes me think he wasn't that hurt by being dumped, but more by the humiliation.

    But he makes no effort to find Buffy at first. And Miss Calendar just stands there watching Amy try to turn her into a rat.

    Giles tells Amy she botched the spell, but she did say intent had to be pure and I didn't think she meant pure revenge. I've always thought Xander's intent towards Cordelia was what made the spell protect her instead.

    Black kitty. <3 But I've never seen my cat meow at his prey. Growl, once.

    I've always wondered what he planned to do to Buffy that wouldn't kill her. Or would, but more slowly.

    He backs off from Dru! <3 But it would hurt Buffy to have Xander turned, so he should have been pleased.

    Blaming Cordelia dosn't make you look good to me.

    Don't compliment Xander, Buffy!

    I don't feel triumphant about this ending.

    • Amanda says:

      "I don't feel triumphant about this ending. "

      This was me. As soon as Cordelia wasn't totally grossed out and skeeved by the fact that he tried to basically force her back with him with magic mind control I was basically making this face for the rest of the episode : /

    • Fuzzysnowpuffs says:

      I think that Diana is also associated with women and femininity in general, so maybe that's what they were thinking of?

      • tigerpetals says:

        So are other goddesses. I can't think why they'd pick her, especially since they do know she's the goddess of the hunt. Yeah I know there was a hunt for Xander, but still.

        • drippingmercury says:

          Yeeeah…. Diana's depicted as a younger, virgin goddess of the hunt who takes chastity VERY SERIOUSLY. When Acteon saw her bathing she turned him into a deer so that he'd be ripped apart by his own hounds. One of her Nymphs, Callisto, was raped and impregnated by Jupiter. When Diana found out she was pissed and tossed her out. Not the kind of goddess that's going to help out with smoochy-making.

          Of course, it does depend on where and when you're looking at in history. The Ephesian Diana is like… made out of boobs and is associated with fertility.

        • MrsGillianO says:

          Diana's nymphs hunted down Actaeon and tore him to shreds – which is close to what happens to Xander. I don't think Amy did this by accident.

          Orne va zvaq whfg jung Nzl orpbzrf bapr fur'f ab ybatre n eng – gur ebbgf ner urer. Svir frnfbaf rneyvre!

          • RoseFyre says:

            Lrnu, frevbhfyl, jr unir gur oynpx rlrf – juvpu jr qba'g frr ntnva hagvy Jvyybj trgf gurz va…frnfba svir? Fvk? Naq Nzl'f znavchyngvir – vg'f cerggl pyrne gung rira ol guvf cbvag fur jnfa'g rknpgyl jvgu gur cher fvqr bs zntvp.

    • notemily says:

      Black kitty. <3 But I've never seen my cat meow at his prey. Growl, once.

      Yeah, TV shows never get cats right. They just record a cat being angry without taking context into consideration. Cats will growl, or sometimes even chatter (ADORABLY), when they see prey, but the yowl this cat makes is more of a fighting-against-another-cat noise I think.

    • Noybusiness says:

      I tend to think the spell went wrong because Amy invoked the wrong goddess.

      • tigerpetals says:

        That could also be. Especially since Diana would be more likely to, as Mrs.GilianO is saying, want such a spell to backfire.

  3. arctic_hare says:

    This episode… oh man. It starts off okay, and I could sympathize with Xander, but then it just…

    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/mj8w8i.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    … Yeah. It goes to complete, massive, gross and awful hell, and I despise it. What else can I do when it has such a terrible premise? Said premise being that Xander is going to punish Cordelia for breaking up with him by taking away her free will and humiliating her. That is not okay. That is never okay. That is a horrific course of action that is completely inexcusable, and I will not back down on that.

    His age does not excuse him. He is seventeen years old. That is more than old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I find it ageist and gross to handwave away things like this with "But he's just a teenager!"

    His gender does not excuse him either, because "boys will be boys" is not, has never been, and never will be an acceptable excuse for ANYTHING. Ever. Period.

    His ~pain~ over being dumped is not a valid excuse either. There are plenty of perfectly acceptable things one can do to deal with being dumped. What he tries to do in this episode is not one of them. And if you're prepared to use this to try and justify his behavior, I urge you to think long and hard about the fact that you're saying that his pain outweighs Cordelia's agency, that his feelings are more important than her right to have control over her own thoughts, feelings, and body, that she somehow deserves this for dumping him.

    The episode really doesn't get any better from there, because in the end, the narrative REWARDS him for his actions by having Cordelia take him back after she finds out the spell was meant for her. Ah, but does she know what the intent behind it was? I'd bet no. It's disturbing enough that she finds this flattering, though.

    And what really makes me see red? Buffy THANKING Xander for NOT RAPING HER while she was under the influence of the spell. NO. GODDAMN IT, THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. YOU DO NOT GET SPECIAL CREDIT FOR DOING WHAT IS (OR SHOULD BE) EXPECTED OF ANY REMOTELY DECENT PERSON. NOT RAPING IS THE DEFAULT. IT DOESN'T MERIT COOKIES. And then he has the gall to make a joke of it with his "it was touch and go for a minute there" line. UGH JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP, XANDER, RAPE JOKES ARE NEVER OKAY OR FUNNY. God, that line pisses me off so much. "Hahaha, I almost raped you, isn't that funny? Aren't I just a barrel of laughs?" No. No, you're not. Fuck you, Xander. And fuck you writers, for this shitty, rage-inducing episode.

    Other stuff:

    – I hate how they're still ostracizing Jenny. πŸ™ And calling her "Ms. Calendar", yikes, Giles. Ouch. πŸ™

    – Fuck Valentine's Day, it's so artificial and stupid. Even when I was dating, I never gave a shit about it.

    – Oz and Willow continue to be adorable.

    – Cordelia looks so gorgeous in the Bronze scene, omg. <3

    – Oh yes, Xander, because your life is so much worse than Buffy's. Being mocked all over school after a girl dumps you so outweighs your ex trying to kill you and everyone you know.

    – Gross lapdance comment is gross. SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT.

    – Okay, Angel's reaction to Drusilla not being able to go inside is like, the one genuinely funny moment here, just because of Boreanaz' delivery.

    – And then he has the gall to blame this on HER?! FUCK NO. FUCK YOU. HOW FUCKING DARE YOU. NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF *YOU* HADN'T MADE THE HORRIFIC CHOICE OF TRYING TO CAST THAT SPELL ON YOU. SHE IS NOT THE BAD GUY HERE. YOU ARE.

    – "Roofie spirit"? WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT THAT WAS AN ACCEPTABLE LINE? THAT THAT IS FUNNY? THAT ANY OF THIS WAS OKAY?

    • misterbernie says:

      I love your comment and everything it chooses to be. If I had a hat, I'd take it off for you.

      Also, re that roofie spirit line, yeah… what the fuck? It shows that the writers are actually fully aware of the gross horribleness of the very premise and yet they just went with it.

    • monkeybutter says:

      And what really makes me see red? Buffy THANKING Xander for NOT RAPING HER while she was under the influence of the spell. NO. GODDAMN IT, THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. YOU DO NOT GET SPECIAL CREDIT FOR DOING WHAT IS (OR SHOULD BE) EXPECTED OF ANY REMOTELY DECENT PERSON. NOT RAPING IS THE DEFAULT. IT DOESN'T MERIT COOKIES. And then he has the gall to make a joke of it with his "it was touch and go for a minute there" line. UGH JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP, XANDER, RAPE JOKES ARE NEVER OKAY OR FUNNY. God, that line pisses me off so much. "Hahaha, I almost raped you, isn't that funny? Aren't I just a barrel of laughs?" No. No, you're not. Fuck you, Xander. And fuck you writers, for this shitty, rage-inducing episode.

      Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      And what really makes me see red? Buffy THANKING Xander for NOT RAPING HER while she was under the influence of the spell. NO. GODDAMN IT, THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. YOU DO NOT GET SPECIAL CREDIT FOR DOING WHAT IS (OR SHOULD BE) EXPECTED OF ANY REMOTELY DECENT PERSON. NOT RAPING IS THE DEFAULT. IT DOESN'T MERIT COOKIES. And then he has the gall to make a joke of it with his "it was touch and go for a minute there" line. UGH JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP, XANDER, RAPE JOKES ARE NEVER OKAY OR FUNNY. God, that line pisses me off so much. "Hahaha, I almost raped you, isn't that funny? Aren't I just a barrel of laughs?" No. No, you're not. Fuck you, Xander. And fuck you writers, for this shitty, rage-inducing episode.
      UGH. YESSSSS. THAT SCENE ANGERS ME SO MUCH.

      – I hate how they're still ostracizing Jenny. πŸ™ And calling her "Ms. Calendar", yikes, Giles. Ouch. πŸ™
      It makes me sad, but I get it. They're still feeling super betrayed and a bit used. They don't know everything the audience knows about Jenny and her conversation with her uncle, I think they're still feeling too hurt to have a sit down and chat about it. But they don't seem to be actively angry anymore. It's more like awkwardness and detachment.

      – Gross lapdance comment is gross. SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT.
      My initial response is "WHO SAYS THAT TO A FRIEND?", but idk. Maybe some people are more comfortable in their friendships than I am, but at the same time Xander's crush on Buffy is well established so yeah. Gross.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Oh, I get it, don't get me wrong, it's just sad to see. πŸ™

        Yeah, some people would be able to say that to a friend and not have it be gross and horrible, but I really don't think Buffy and Xander are in that kind of friendship, especially with his established crush on her.

    • Cassie says:

      I don't want to justify anything he did in this episode, nor say that Cordelia deserved it for breaking up with him, nothing excuses what he did. But I don't think you can say that "Xander meant to punish Cordelia for breaking up with him by taking away her free will and humiliating her", it's more like he wanted to be with her? and didn't think of the consequences this would bring to her?
      Of course that doesn't change what happened, but what he did was more like an desesperate, idiot, unadvised act. sorry about my bad english >.<

      • arctic_hare says:

        Yes, I can, because that's what he wanted. He says it himself, he wants revenge. And even if he did just want to get back together with her, it would still be awful and wrong because it still takes away her consent.

        • Delta1212 says:

          I think it would be an even worse thing than it already was if he was casting the spell to make her get back together with him, frankly.

      • echinodermata says:

        "Amy: Well, then I don't get it. If you don't wanna be with her forever, then what's the point?
        Xander: The point is I want her to want me. Desperately. So I can break up with *her* and subject her to the same hell she's been puttin' *me* through.
        Amy: Oh, I don't know, Xander. Intent has to be pure with love spells.
        Xander: Right. I intend revenge. Pure as the driven snow."

        He very clearly says he wants the spell not so he can get back with her but rather so he can get revenge.

    • SweetVerda says:

      I don't think that the writers, or anyone here, would say that Xander did the right thing by trying to use a love spell on Cordelia. In fact, this episode's point was to show how wrong it was and is a classic case of 'be careful what you wish for.'

      I don't think that Cordelia was glad that Xander tried to put a love spell on her, and she had already stated that it was gross. I think that her smile comes from a little relief that Xander had not gotten over her so quickly that he wanted to have every woman except her to love him. She didn't get back together with Xander because he proved his love by trying to put a spell on her. Cordelia had wanted to be with Xander throughout this episode, but only realized at the end that she doesn't care what her friends think. This episode taught both of them a lesson, Cordelia about peer pressure and herd mentality, Xander about consent.

      Xander's comment to Buffy about how "it was touch and go for a while there" filled me with rage, but I understand why Buffy brought it up the way she did. It was something that she needed to talk about, but also an uncomfortable subject, so starting with positive reinforcement (you weren't a completely terrible scumbag) might have been the best way to do it. I also find it interesting that this happened the episode after it was revealed that Xander remembered his time as a hyena. People say that there was never closure on this, but I think that this helps a little.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Except that they rewarded Xander by having Cordelia be impressed with his actions and get back together with her. That goes against any previous message of "this is a bad thing to do" to me.

        • SweetVerda says:

          So, you're saying that the narrative rewards Xander because instead of ending the episode with a misery proportionate to his sins, it gives him character growth and a girlfriend?

          I guess it's two different paradigms. My take on it was that Cordelia did not expressly decide to get back with Xander because of his behavior, but instead because she learned a lesson about peer pressure, albeit one that she wouldn't have learned immediately without Xander's indirect actions. And Xander is not told "Good job" by other characters but is instead ridiculed and chastised for the love spell.

          The narrative, I suppose, rewards him, but the other characters do not.

          • arctic_hare says:

            Character growth is fine, there SHOULD be character growth. Having him get back together with Cordelia, especially when there's no indication that she learned the real intent of the spell, is not okay to me because it undermines all the expressions of "this is a bad thing to do" and gets him his girlfriend back in spite of doing something terrible. And again, it doesn't seem like Cordelia knows what the original intent of the spell was. It felt to me like Cordy took him back because she was so impressed by what he did that she decided to be brave and stand up to her "friends".

            The characters may not reward him, but the narrative sure as hell does, and at the end of the day that's more important to me, that is what upsets me about the ending of the episode. Because the narrative rewarding him says so much more about the writers' mindsets than the characters voicing their disapproval ever could. It's a contradiction.

            • Delta1212 says:

              I get the feeling that this was meant to be a fluff episode that didn't dramatically shake up the status quo, but that the writers also wanted to use it to tackle serious issues regarding consent, and… The two didn't mesh very well.

              • sporkaganza93 says:

                Actually, this episode was written very quickly on the fly because the next episode required Buffy to be a major part in it and SMG was busy.

                …So that's exactly what the episode is.

            • Skyweir says:

              Aesop narratives are ineffective, as well as horribly boring. They tell us nothing about ourselves, because that is not how humans work. There are no narrative rewards and punishments in the world, and good storytelling should not pander to such an illusion.

              A story were good actions always have good outcomes and bad actions always have bad outcomes would be terribly predictable, as well as uninteresting and without telling us anything real.
              Writers intentions are a very dangerous road to walk, and to attach opinions, mindsets or political ideals to the writers they have not themselves uttered is to take away agency from them. It is one of my least favorite ways to attack fiction, because the writers cannot defend a statement they did not make, but are also prevented from attacking the critics since all interpretations of the material has to be respected.

              • Genny_ says:

                Speaking someone who writes, this is full of bullshit. If you stick your work out there in public with intent to be consumed, you acknowledge that a part of the process of it being consumed is criticism, and people holding a perspective on it that you don't share or control. Writers can't defend a viewpoint? Tough. Ultimately, they put it out there *to be consumed*, and if they aren't prepared for the idea that a part of that includes the concept that the important element for said consumers is the *consumption* and not the production that they had no part in… then they shouldn't be a writer. It's how writing for the mainstream works, for goodness sake! It's about what the viewer gets out of it, not what you'd quite like them to get out of it, because you don't control your viewership.

                Also, attaching meaning to a piece of fiction =/= attaching it to the author of that fiction. One action does not necessarily define a person wholly.

                Also, it's possible to avoid sending terrible messages without being 'an aesop'. Stop strawmanning.

                • arctic_hare says:

                  Exactly. I don't give a shit about authorial intent, what matters is what is already out there, which the author cannot control once it's published and being consumed. If a writer doesn't like that, tough shit. And yes, I myself write too.

            • SweetVerda says:

              I do not think that Cordelia left her friends because she was at all impressed by Xander's actions. I think that her smile when she found out that Xander's love spell for her was relief that Xander hadn't gotten over her so quickly that he decided to use a love spell on the entire school.

              At the beginning of the episode, it is established that Cordelia likes Xander, and that Cordelia knows that Xander likes her. The only reason she broke up with him is because of peer pressure. However, after watching her friends fawning over Xander, Cordelia realized how little her friends' opinions actually mattered to her. She still liked Xander throughout the episode, despite his gross behavior, and had no reason not to get back with Xander now that she did not crave her friend's approval.

              • arctic_hare says:

                However her smile is interpreted, it's still highly problematic and disturbing for her to not be, well, disturbed by the fact that he tried to use a love spell on her. I would argue that knowing that he tried to deny her agency, particularly for revenge, is a good reason to not get back together with him. Of course, we're left with no way of knowing if she's aware of his intent or not, which just makes him look worse if he decided to omit that inconvenient factoid.

                • majere616 says:

                  Frankly, her smile is completely in character. Cordelia is an extremely self-absorbed person and I have zero difficulty believing she would see the flattery in being the target of a love spell over the agency violation.

                  • arctic_hare says:

                    It's believable, sure, but from a narrative standpoint that + her taking him back at the end sends a really horrible message by the writers, IMO.

                    • majere616 says:

                      I see your point, but I'd rather the writers go for consistent characterization rather than trying to shoe in an Aesop.
                      Also, I just have such a hard time not loving Cordelia telling her "friends" to shove it.

        • Bill says:

          I think you're being too hard on this. In a show like this the attitude is always "oh well a spell went wrong. It happens to everyone." The rarely address the person's intent. "So he wanted to use a little mind control, big deal" is the thinking here. He just wanted to cause her to feel the same way he felt when they broke up. Yes, if you put thought into his reasoning it is horrifying and creepy, but I doubt it occured to the writers that this was the case. Ng yrnfg abg va frnfba 2 naljnl. Yngre va frnfba 6 gurer vf na rcvfbqr gung qbrf unaqyr vg zber frevbhfyl jura zntvp vagresrerf va bar bs Jvyybj'f eryngvbafuvcf. Gur jevgref whfg jrera'g cercnerq lrg gb guvax gung qrrcyl. Qba'g oynzr Knaqre, fb zhpu nf ubj gur jevgre'f zvfhfr uvf qrirybczrag. Be fbzrguvat yvxr gung. Just take it easy. It is a cult show for a reason. Not everything is perfection.

          • etherealclarity says:

            Look, I love Buffy as a show. It's one of my favorites. And I love Xander as a character. But the things he does in this episode are legitimately awful, and the fact that the narrative rewards him is a legitimate reason to feel bothered by this episode. There's no need to tell anyone to "take it easy". That's incredibly condescending and I'm embarrassed for my fandom to see it here.

          • Genny_ says:

            'Just take it easy', says the person discussing the depiction of issues regarding consent in the media, because apparently that's no big deal now. This isn't necessarily about Buffy. It's about how we as a society view issues like these, and how that's reflected in our media.

            • Bill says:

              I apologize for being condescending. I don't honestly like this episode either, but by take it easy I just mean the writers did not intend that kind of deep thinking to be put into this episode. They chose a poor method for delivering an important message, but I just don't like seeing people fight over an accident. You are right though, you have every right to be bothered by this and I'm sorry I said take it easy.

              • Bill says:

                V jbhyq ubjrire yvxr gb ntnva fgngr gung gur jevgvat qbrf vzcebir naq nyy gur vffhrf va guvf rcvfbqr ner nqqerffrq yngre. Frnfba 6 vf nyy bire guvf jvgu Jvyybj znavchyngvat Gnen'f zrzbel ntnvafg ure jvyy naq Fcvxr nggrzcgvat gb encr Ohssl.

                • psycicflower says:

                  negvp_uner naq bguref unir fnvq gung gurl'er abg gnyxvat nobhg gur rcvfbqrf va gur terngre pbagrkg bs gur frevrf nf n jubyr ohg nccebnpuvat gurz bar ng n gvzr yvxr Znex vf. Crbcyr jvyy nqqerff shgher vffhrf yvxr Jvyybj znavchyngvat Gnen'f zrzbel naq Fcvxr'f nggrzcgrq encr bs Ohssl jura jr trg gb gubfr rcvfbqrf. Vg qbrfa'g, ubjrire, gnxr njnl sebz gur snpg gurer ner vffhrf va guvf rcvfbqr naq gung crbcyr jnag gb qvfphff gurz. Whfg orpnhfr vg trgf orggre yngre, qbrfa'g zrna vg'f yrff onq abj.

                  • Bill says:

                    Jryy qnza. V pna'g qrsraq gur fubj jvgubhg fcbvyref gura. V qvqa'g jngpu gur frevrf va beqre fb V unir ab jnl gb eryngr gb gur qvfphffvba. Nygubhtu guvf jnf gur svefg rcvfbqr V rire fnj, zl oebgure unq nyernql gbyq zr rirelguvat. V unir ab vqrn jung vgf yvxr gb frr guvf rcvfbqr jvgubhg xabjvat gung gur fubj jbhyq or orggre yngre. Znlor V whfg fubhyqa'g pbzzrag gura.

                    • psycicflower says:

                      Bu ab, srry serr gb pbzzrag bapr nyy lbhe fcbvyref ner haqre ebg13 fb lbh qba'g fcbvy Znex be nal bgure svefg gvzr jngpuref. V jnf whfg cbvagvat bhg gung crbcyr jub'ir jngpurq gur fubj nyernql xabj gung guvf fghss pbzrf yngre, naq fbzr ner whfg jnvgvat gvy gura gb gnyx nobhg vg naq gung whfg orpnhfr fbzr guvatf znl vzcebir yngre vg qbrfa'g zrna gung vg rkphfrf nal ceboyrzngvp orunivbhe abj.

                    • psycicflower says:

                      Hahaha, I nearly rot13ed that until I remembered it's one of two words of German I know.

                    • feminerdist says:

                      Awww! Rot 13!

                      I've been so into this conversation that I almost translated it anyway. Spoilers be damned!

                      (I didn't, but it's really damn tempting.)

                    • Bill says:

                      Good thing you didn't, cause they were really big spoilers. ITS NOT WORTH IT!

      • echinodermata says:

        I'm not sure how much he learned about consent if he still says the "it was touch and go for a while there" line at the end of the episode.

        • SweetVerda says:

          There is a large gap between Xander's actions and his words. With his words he's doing a gross teenage guy thing and falling back on old habits. I think that it was his immature way of trying to reassure Buffy that he finds her attractive.

          With his actions, however, he did not seem the slightest bit tempted to use any of the ladies he had accidentally controlled, once he discovered what was going on.

          • arctic_hare says:

            I don't care what his intent may have been, it was still a terrible, gross, and utterly unfunny joke that should not have been made. Being a teenage guy is not an excuse, and "lol I almost raped you" IS NOT A COMPLIMENT.

            • SweetVerda says:

              I completely agree that it is not a compliment, and that it is immature and gross, just like Xander is often immature and gross. I was just responding that Xander did learn something, even though it really wasn't enough.

          • echinodermata says:

            I think words are really important and I'm saying if he had learned about consent, he shouldn't be joking about taking advantage of his friend – a friend he once (while posessed) attempted to rape. If he had learned about consent, I'm saying his words should reflect that as well as his actions and he shouldn't be making such careless remarks towards and about someone whose consent was taken away.

            • SweetVerda says:

              Xander isn't going to change overnight. And he doesn't know how to act properly, possibly due to the lack of strong male figures in his live.

              But at least the audience now knows that Xander wouldn't take advantage of someone, and wouldn't even look tempted when push comes to shove. That isn't something we could have said an episode ago.

              • echinodermata says:

                "and wouldn't even look tempted when push comes to shove."

                Except that he said that he was tempted. Even if it's was purely a joke and he wasn't actually, he said he was. As I said before, if he would still be joking about that by the end of the episode, I doubt how much he really learned. And I never actually thought Xander would have taken advantage of someone before this, so for him to have "learned" that means he had to previously been willing to take advantage of someone.

                • BornIn1142 says:

                  Joking around is what Xander does. I saw the line as an attempt by him to normalize relations between her and Buffy with typical "self-deprecation" and not indicative of his actual feelings at the time (pretty obviously).

                  • echinodermata says:

                    Okay, if you go back to where I started in this conversation, I was responding to this line from SweetVerda: "This episode taught both of them a lesson, Cordelia about peer pressure and herd mentality, Xander about consent."

                    My point, which I don't think I have every strayed from in any reply in this thread, is that I think if he's still joking about taking advantage of his friend by the end of the episode, I contend he really hasn't learned a lesson about consent because it is not appropriate to joke about taking advantage of his friend.

                    I agree it's a joke. I have called it a joke in my own comments. That's my issue: he's still joking about ignoring someone's consent. I'm not saying I don't understand his urge to crack jokes; I'm saying it's inappropriate and therefore makes me question the claim he has actually learned a lesson.

          • settlingforhistory says:

            I agree so much, Xander didn't look even a tiny bit tempted when Buffy tried to seduce him, he looked more scared. I think at this point he realized that he had messed things up real big.
            I like his line "You're only here because of a spell. I mean, if I thought you had
            one clue what it would mean to me…But you don't, so I can't -"
            It's similar to Oz's "When I kiss you, you kiss me" and to his reaction to Buffy dancing with him in "when she was bad". He might be a bit creepy in how he expresses his feelings, but he does have honest feelings for Buffy. (V'z tynq gung gur fubj arire jrag va gung qverpgvba gubhtu. V qbhog n eryngvbafuvc orgjrra gur gjb jbhyq unir unq n orggre raqvat guna gur Pbeql/Knaqre bar.)

    • Binx says:

      I can't share in your irateness over this one.

      Firstly, the entire thing was treated as a huge mistake. It was "impulse to get your mean ex back" gone entirely wrong, paid for, and the fact that it was (mostly) forgiven a decision made with the free will of those who were affected, and I respect it. I'm not going to shout at the characters for not feeling different than they do.

      • Genny_ says:

        And the fact that the writers decided to play the concept of men 'getting back' at their exes by violating as funny them when it's a huge problem IRL is fucking gross. Sure, it's played as a mistake, but it's a FUNNY mistake, it's an 'oh that Xander' mistake. Men trying to punish women for daring to dump them is not actually all that hilarious, and the fact that the writers played it as such is its own problem.

        • arctic_hare says:

          THIS. Thank you.

        • Binx says:

          It's not about "men punishing women". It's about Xander and Cordelia.

          Some episodes and storylines are clearly specifically wrote to examine gender relations and roles, but this was not one of them IMO. This was actually about their specific characters and their specific relationship.

          • Genny_ says:

            Which does not change the fact that their specific characters are male and female.

            Sound unfair? Absolutely. That's what sexism in the media does. It limits storytelling by saying 'okay, men are disproportionately depicted as punishing women for stuff like this, so these two characters can't have this plot'. But the fact that it's unfair doesn't get around the fact that… men *are* disproportionately represented as in the right when hating on their female exes! In an idea world, that wouldn't be an issue. We don't live in an ideal world. It contributes to a pre-existing trend.

            This is not a story *about* gender roles, but it *depicts* them. Sexism isn't only applicable when it's directly addressed. It's always applicable. Hell, the fact that it was unconscious makes it WORSE to me. The writers apparently didn't even *think* about the idea that in a society where women are frequently/disproportionately abused and assaulted for leaving their boyfriends, a story where a man punishes a woman for leaving him and is treated as sympathetic is a bad idea.

            • Bill says:

              Actually there was just one writer for this episode. Marti Noxon. He wrote bad eggs and surprise. The director was James A. Contner. I don't care enough to look up what else he directed (he wasn't important enough for wikipedia to list his filmography). I didn't really have a point, but I just felt you should know who wrote it.

              • Jenny_M says:

                FYI, Marti Noxon is a woman.

                • Bill says:

                  Huh. Whaddya know? I guess there was a point to me mentioning it. When I hear the name Marti I think short for Martin, but I realize that's spelled Marty. She's one of the writer's whose name you always see in the credits, but never bother to look up because you forget.

      • Noybusiness says:

        Ditto.

    • sesinkhorn says:

      Yes. All of this. God, I love this show, but it is so not without it's issues and downright WHAT THE FUCKS. I too cringe like fucking hell when Buffy's like OH HEY THANKS FOR NOT RAPING ME, THAT WAS SO SWEET OF YOU.

      GOD WHY.

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      God, yes, the ending of the episode is just WTF WERE THE WRITERS THINKING. Buffy praising Xander for not raping her… I guess she had a very low opinion of him before, and why was she even friends with him if she thought he would use the opportunity to rape her if only he could?

      But Xander being rewarded for what he did by getting Cordelia back, and then Cordelia feeling touched and taking him back because HE WANTED TO TAKE AWAY HER FREE WILL AND ABILITY TO CONSENT? It's bad enough that she doesn't learn what his real intention was, but it's even more disturbing that she thinks that he wanted to put a love spell on her to get her back and she thinks that's sweet, in other words, she thinks it's sweet that HE LOVES HER SO MUCH HE TRIED TO RAPE HER.

      WTF, really.

      • Gwen says:

        The worst part, for me, is that if you think about it, it's lucky that the spell did fail (maybe not in the way that it did)–because if it had succeeded, with Xander's feelings for Cordelia, do you think he would've had to self-control to go through with the original "so I can dump HER instead!" plan? No. He would've just been glad to have her back, and probably wouldn't think through the implications of getting back together with her under those circumstances. And making out with her. And who knows what else. "Well… it's probably worn off by now… and we were boyfriend and girlfriend before… and the only reason why she broke up with me is because of her friends…."

        • Michael says:

          Eh, I don't think he would have done that. We see from what happened with Buffy that Xander is unwilling to take advantage of a woman in a mind-controlled state. I think his intentions were honest. (They were horrible, horrible intentions, but they were what he said they were.)

          • Gwen says:

            He wasn't willing to take advantage of Buffy (who had already previously made clear her rejection of him) in that particular mind-controlled state (which was very obviously not-normal-Buffy). If the love spell had worked the way he seems to have expected it to (that is, make Cordelia feel as intent on getting back together with him as he was to get back together with her, NOT make her show up wearing a coat and nothing else, or climbing into his bed, or whatever), I don't think his resolve would've held against re-dating Cordelia. (Even if that wasn't his stated or conscious intent when casting the spell. Obviously getting revenge on Cordelia didn't trump his desire to be in a relationship with her when she decided she wanted to be with him again naturally, at the end of this episode, even though he could've just as easily devastated her emotionally and socially by refusing in front of her friends….)

            And if, as a natural progression of their already-established-as-normal makeout sessions, the girl that has (according to Xander's view of the world) already slept with plenty of guys happened to move toward the hotter-and-heavier–well, do you really think that Xander's masculinity and insecurity issues, lack of self-control, and inability to think ahead or from the perspective of other people will let him stop in-progress sex (losing his virginity! with a hot, popular girl! that he likes!) that shows no obvious signs of non-consent or altered mindstate (it's been so long since he cast the spell; Cordelia was already being sexual with him; Cordelia's had sex before; it's a natural progression: all factors that didn't come into play with Buffy in this episode), just to go check with Amy or Willow or Giles or Jenny to make sure that Cordelia isn't being magically influenced?

            To me, that's asking waaay too much subtlety, especially in an issue like women's consent, from Xander "I guess a guy has to be dead to make time with you"/"Willow needs to stop deluding herself"/"that's not what the guys on the football team say [about whether Cordelia is "mass transportation"]" Harris. Especially when it's so obviously in his interest to ignore any doubts he might have.

            All I can say is, I'm glad that the spell didn't work the way he'd intended.

      • Binx says:

        Well, Xander's weren't the only flaws that were being addressed in this episode. Cordelia's were too, if not more so. And one (or two) of those, quite glaringly, was that her priorities are way off and she is completely egocentric. So doesn't it make absolutely perfect sense that she would be flattered that a boy (who she already liked) turned to magic to make her like him (because he thought she didn't)? In Cordelia's view, that shows he has good taste and is fighting for her. I mean, that is really how she is. That wasn't a writer fumble or insensitivity at all in my book.

    • platoapproved says:

      His age does not excuse him. He is seventeen years old. That is more than old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I find it ageist and gross to handwave away things like this with "But he's just a teenager!"

      Word.

      His gender does not excuse him either, because "boys will be boys" is not, has never been, and never will be an acceptable excuse for ANYTHING. Ever. Period.

      Word.

      His ~pain~ over being dumped is not a valid excuse either. There are plenty of perfectly acceptable things one can do to deal with being dumped. What he tries to do in this episode is not one of them.

      Word.

      You know, I'd best stop copy-pasting all the bits of your comment I completely and wholeheartedly agree with, because you've just said every single thing I was going to say.

    • notemily says:

      – Cordelia looks so gorgeous in the Bronze scene, omg. <3

      Can I just say that Cordelia looks STUNNING in this entire episode? Every scene, every outfit, she's just gorgeous.

      • RoseFyre says:

        Charisma Carpenter is just gorgeous in general. And she even pulls off the weirdest outfits well.

        …Actually, everyone on this show is gorgeous, and I know some of that is Hollywood syndrome, but I seriously can goggle at these people for hours – though some have to be in the right episodes. Nicholas Brendon doesn't usually do it for me, but Halloween, with those arms…yeah, those arms do it – while, say, Juliet Landau is pretty much always.

  4. settlingforhistory says:

    It’s so sweet that Xander is worrying about his gift to Cordy so much.

    Oh poor Cordy is not part of the it-crowed anymore.
    Sarcasm aside, I like that scene, it shows Cordy has no actual friends among these girls, just as she had told Buffy in “Out of side, out of mind”.

    Yum, a heart for Valentine’s Day. I prefer Spike’s gift, thanks.
    “I found it in a quaint little shop girl” *shudder*

    Willow the groupie, please be my friend! Did you know that her BOYFRIEND Oz is in a BAND?

    I want Buffy’s “hug me” top and I wouldn’t mind a Buffy-hug either.

    Oh, the creepy Valentine’s gift from hell. “Soon” Yes, I’m sure that’s just what she wished for.
    Angelus is such a believable villain.

    I’m furious at Cordy for dumping Xander on that day. I mean, couldn’t she have waited until Valentine’s is over? We see she has feelings for him so this is just cruel.

    Jr fgneg n geraq urer, jvgu ybir fcryyf naq iratrnapr. Gurfr crbcyr arrq gb yrnea n yrffba nobhg erfcbafvoyr zntvp hfr, ohg fbzrubj gurl whfg pna’g fgbc cynlvat jvgu gur sver

    I like how Xander is immediately freaked out after the second girl hits on him, he isn’t even happy about Buffy’s interest in him, because it is not real.

    Amy is quite a powerful a witch, she can affect a whole school and even vamps.
    I guess it’s because her mom used magic in her body naq sebz Gnen jr yrnea gung zntvp frrzf gb eha va gur snzvyl.

    I want to hug Xand for rejecting Buffy’s offer, he might be a bit obsessive but even he has principles.

    Nzl’f fgnaqneq fcryy vf fb hfryrff naq haarprffnevyl ntterffvir. Jung vs Ohssl unq orra rngra ol n png? V nyernql fgnegrq gb qvfyxvr ure n ybg urer. V zrna fur hfrf zntvp gb purng va pynff. Vg gbbx Jvyybj lrnef gb or fb syvccnag nobhg vg.

    I wonder why only girls are attracted to Xander. Does the spell consider people’s preference or Xander’s?

    Angelus’ reaction is priceless; it’s more disgust than anger.

    Scavenger hunt, the excuses are getting less and less convincing. Why do they even bother, they could just say “You know, it’s just another typical day in Sunnydale.”

    “There are two other girls he is gonna ask first” Harmony has no self-respect at all.

    Aw, a happy ending. (Fb ener sbe guvf fubj naq vg jvyy or ehvarq yngre naljnl. Fgvyy avpr gb unir guvf orsber nyy gur fnqarff.)

    • rabbitape says:

      Nzl’f fgnaqneq fcryy vf fb hfryrff naq haarprffnevyl ntterffvir. Jung vs Ohssl unq orra rngra ol n png? V nyernql fgnegrq gb qvfyxvr ure n ybg urer. V zrna fur hfrf zntvp gb purng va pynff. Vg gbbx Jvyybj lrnef gb or fb syvccnag nobhg vg.

      I agree with this so much.

    • Karen says:

      Oh poor Cordy is not part of the it-crowed anymore.
      Sarcasm aside, I like that scene, it shows Cordy has no actual friends among these girls, just as she had told Buffy in “Out of side, out of mind”.

      She also has no actual friends among the Scoobies either (Willow and Buffy both still bad mouth her and Xander says mean things to her and is constantly talking about other girls around her). And she'd rather be alone surrounded by people than alone all by herself. So yeah, I get why Cordy is clinging to the popular girl "friends" she has. If she's going to be friendless anyway, at least she could be surrounded by people who will at least pretend to like her.

      And yeah, breaking up with him on Valentine's Day was harsh, but Cordy was extremely gentle in her dumped and Xander's response of the love spell is a total overreaction.

      • settlingforhistory says:

        You're right, it's kind of sad that Cordy is so alone, but she makes it hard to like her.
        Maybe it's the often bullied kid in me who reacts sometimes too gleeful when people like Cordy fall from the top rung of the social-ladder.
        I love her for standing up to the girls and that it's not just because of a boy, but because this was the last straw..

    • t09yavosaur says:

      "I wonder why only girls are attracted to Xander. Does the spell consider people’s preference or Xander’s?"

      I think it was because the spell was cast with Xander sitting on the "female" symbol.

  5. Karen says:

    Here’s the thing. Cordelia was being shallow when she rejected Xander, but you know what? If the guy I’d been making out with was constantly talking about other girls when we were together and if being with him would wreck my social standing (which is obviously something that is important to Cordelia), I WOULD HAVE REJECTED HIM TOO. I mean, I think that Cordelia does like Xander (evidenced by the fact that she was wearing his necklace), but she is too much of a coward to admit it to her friends. And like Cordy is actually REALLY nice in her break-up with him. She doesn’t disparage him or say mean things about him. She just says that they don’t fit. Yeah, it was rough to do it on Valentine’s Day, but Coredelia is really being apologetic about it, so Xander’s reaction is WAY over the top.

    I think Xander’s defining character trait is his insecurity (even a lot of his humor is a way for him to cover it up), and that comes out in full force in this episode. After being rejected, he wants to be the one to reject her now so he casts a love spell. Except this being Buffy, it goes awry and instead of Cordy being in love with Xander, EVERY OTHER WOMAN IS. Ugh gross lap dancing joke. OMG I WANT TO PUNCH HIM WHEN HE SAYS THAT NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF CORDY HADN’T BROKEN UP WITH HIM. FUCK YOU, XANDER, TRYING TO PUT THIS ON CORDY WHEN IT WAS YOUR OWN DUMBASS IDEA TO MESS WITH LOVE SPELLS THAT CREATED THIS MESS.

    I also think it’s kind of gross at the end that Buffy is all congratulating Xander for doing the bare minimum to remain a decent human being and NOT take advantage of a person who is under the influence. Good job, Xander, you’re not a rapist! I mean, it IS good that he didn’t take advantage of Buffy or any of the other girls, but that’s like… basic human decency. So congratulations, Xander, for not being scum?

    I think Cordelia’s story in this touches on something that has been building for a while under the surface. As Cordelia became more and more involved with the Scoobies and slaying, she obviously would become more distant from her old group of friends. I think it’s probably something that happened gradually and now she’s really feeling that gap. She just doesn’t fit with her old friends anymore even though she might want to. And the sad thing is, I don’t think she fits with the Scoobies either. Buffy and Willow both seem to retain disdain for her, and Xander likes making out with her, but I’m not convinced he likes her as a person. Vg’f abg hagvy Natry gur Frevrf gung Pbeqryvn ernyyl svaqf jub ybir ure sbe jub fur vf naq orpbzr yvxr snzvyl gb ure. V guvax fur’f nyjnlf na bhgfvqre va Fhaalqnyr- arire dhvgr bar bs gur cbchyne tveyf nalzber, ohg nyfb arire shyyl npprcgrq nf n Fpbbovr.

    Andddd there’s tension between Spike, Dru and Angel. Now that Angelus is back AND he’s in full health, he’s able to woo Dru which he is obviously doing partly just to piss Spike off. V’z pubbfvat gb oryvrir gung gur wbxr nobhg “jung eulzrf jvgu yhatf?” vf n ersrerapr gb Fcvxr’f cnfg nf n cbrg rira gubhtu V’z fher gung vf va ab jnl gur pnfr orpnhfr V’z fher gung onpxfgbel unqa’g rira bppheerq gb gur jevgref lrg. Again I thought that the writers did a great job of tying the Angelus story into the Plot of the Week by having Dru also be infatuated with Xander and thus protect him from Angel’s attempt to mess with Buffy.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Loving this comment. <3

    • Kari18212 says:

      V ynhturq ernyyl uneq ng gur 'eulzrf jvgu yhatf' yvar sbe gur fnzr ernfba naq vzzrqvngryl gevrq gb guvax bs gur jbefg cbffvoyr jbeq, orpnhfr gung'f qrsvavgryl jung Jvyyvnz jbhyq unir tbar jvgu. Abguvat ernyyl orngf rsshytrag gubhtu yby.

      • MrsGillianO says:

        "Lbh hfr lbhe yhatf
        Sbe fbatf lbh'ir fhat
        Gurl fubhyq or uhat
        Bhg gb qel
        Ol naq ol
        Naq gura gurl'yy sel
        Vafcverq ol lbhe rivy fb uvtu
        Lbh ner yvxr qhat.

        Jvyyvnz gur Oybbql Njshy Cbrg unf abg ybfg uvf gbhpu, frr?

        • Kari18212 says:

          YBY cresrpgvba. Vs ur unqa'g orra gbgnyyl qribgrq gb fnccl ebznagvp cbrzf, ur jbhyq qrsvavgryl unir jevggra fbzrguvat yvxr guvf.

    • Genny_ says:

      "And the sad thing is, I don’t think she fits with the Scoobies either."

      This is really true. And that's basically her own fault- she was a bully to them, after all- but it's still something I find kind of sad to watch. She's in a really awkward transitionary period here. Ah, Cordy.

    • psycicflower says:

      Xander likes making out with her, but I’m not convinced he likes her as a person

      This is exactly why I'm not completely behind the whole Cordy/Xander thing. This episode it the first where they've given any indication that they actually like each other so I'm not convinced that they suit each other at all.

  6. enigmaticagentscully says:

    So I have a confession to make.

    This episode was…terrible in a way. There was so much weird morally ambiguous shit in it. I mean, what Xander tried to do was reprehensible. What he actually ended up doing was even worse. I hate that Buffy thanked him at the end for not taking advantage of her in a situation that he himself created. I hate that Cordelia was even willing to talk to him after he tried to put her under a love spell, let alone keep on dating him. Why does no-one ever take love spells seriously in fiction? He singlehandedly did more damage to the people of the town than any of the vampires so far and he was only briefly yelled at for it before everyone (bar Willow) forgave him. And yet…

    Oh my god.

    I FRIGGIN LOVED THIS EPISODE.

    Yeah yeah, this probably makes me a bad person, but this episode was played for laughs and after everything that’s happened recently? I needed some.
    Just the way everyone acted was brilliant. At the risk of sounding really pretentious (but I can’t think of anther way to put it!) the cast were all on top comedic form. I had a ton of fun watching this, and I don’t care who knows it.

    In other news:

    – How awesome was it to see Amy again?? I loved that bit of continuity.

    – Oz continues to be awesome in every scene.

    – Jenny! :(:(:( I’m so glad we saw her again, and that she’s giving it her all to make things right with Giles. Though it was simultaneously really annoying and kind of hilarious that her efforts were blocked by Xander’s spell. Darn it! Just forgive her already. I need more Jenny Calendar in my life, tbh.

    • gonzoron says:

      "V’z fb tynq jr fnj ure ntnva" "V arrq zber Wraal Pnyraqne va zl yvsr,"

      Hoo boy…. hoo boy o boy…..

      Ba Zbaqnl, Wbff jvyy or pbyyrpgvat uvf yngrfg "fbhy erfvqhnyf"

    • @liliaeth says:

      SPN s7 spoiler

      vg'f bar bs gur ernfbaf jul V yvxrq gur erprag fca rc 'gvzr sbe n jrqqvat', orpnhfr gurl znqr vg pyrne gung vs Orpxl unq fyrcg jvgu Fnz juvyr ur jnf haqre gur vasyhrapr, gung gung jbhyq unir orra encr.

    • LadyPeyton says:

      "Why does no-one ever take love spells seriously in fiction?"

      Probably because they're not real so it's difficult to take them seriously, I would guess.

      "I don’t care who knows it."

      Well good, because there is nothing wrong with loving fiction that explores morally reprehensible topics. Hell, murder is the most morally reprehensible topic in existence and yet the murder mystery is one of the most popular genres of fiction there is.

      • Pseudonymph says:

        Probably because they're not real so it's difficult to take them seriously, I would guess.

        Love potions/spells are basically mystical date rape drugs. Date rape is real. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about what I think of your premise.

        • LadyPeyton says:

          Funny, I don't remember expressing any interest at all in what you think of my premise.

          • Pseudonymph says:

            You're right, you didn't specifically ask for my opinion. I'm pretty sure engimaticagentscully didn't ask for your opinion either yet you felt compelled to offer it in, seemingly, the most condescending way you could think of.

            Here's some more opinions no one asked for: instead of responding to an intellectual critique with defensiveness and condescension, take a moment to actually think about your opinions and their implications for the real world.

            I have to wonder what you're doing here if you can't take fictional things seriously.

            I saw you treating enigmaticagentscully's opinion with contempt so I thought I would defend her and her opinion because I agree with her opinion and because I think she is a valuable participant in this community as well as this conversation. But I also spoke up because I am disturbed by people's continued attempts to shut down discussions about rape and consent and how it is depicted in fiction. Your comment, among many others, trivializes rape and I have a major problem with that.

            Date rape is extremely common and it is treated as fodder for comedy in this episode. Your comment makes it sound like you just don't give a shit.
            I really hope that's not the case but I have no reason to give you the benefit of the doubt.

            • LadyPeyton says:

              Except Enigmaticagentscully did ask a question. I know this because I quoted it before I offered my not-meant-to-insult-her actual opinion.

              I then quoted her expressing that she doesn't care who knows that she liked the episode and I applauded her for it.

              You were the one who was extremely rude, confrontational and insulting. Not me. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the stick out of your ass and back off me.

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                Omg stop it.

                For the record, enigmaticagentscully's question was clearly rhetorical.

                • LadyPeyton says:

                  Well then I apologize to her for not seeing that. I thought it was a good question. There are a lot of metaphors for date rape in fiction, yet love potions don't seem to often be taken as seriously. I wasn't trying to sound insulting when I answered that I figured it was because it's easier to handwave something when you can tell yourself it's not real.

            • Binx says:

              I think to accuse Xander of date rape is way extreme. He NEVER expressed the intent to do *anything* sexually with Cordelia, and the question of "but would he have?" is explicitly shot down with the Buffy-trenchcoat scene.

              What he intended was to have Cordy express regret for what she did and want him back so that he could have the chance to dump her. That is as far as the deviant plot goes. This thread's getting a little ridiculous with the accusations. Xander is by no stretch of the imagination my favorite and I'm aware of all his faults, but rapist isn't one of them.

              • Pseudonymph says:

                . . . Did I accuse Xander of date rape?
                I was responding to Lady_Peyton's contention that fictional things can't or shouldn't be taken seriously, specifically love spells and potions.

                My argument is that love spells and potions should be taken seriously because they are fantasy analogues of date rape drugs/alcohol.

                I never once accused Xander of date rape so please don't bother responding unless you've actually read and understood what I've written.

                • Binx says:

                  "Date rape is extremely common and it is treated as fodder for comedy in this episode."

                  THAT is what I was responding to.

    • Karen says:

      I kind of agree. There is a lot that makes me go "ugh" in this episode, and yet I find myself enjoying watching it. So… Yeah.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        It just can't be helped I suppose!

        I mean, the message this episode sends is awful, but the how the situation itself plays out is just incredibly funny. To be fair, a lot of the humour is derived from the fact that Xander did a really stupid thing and now has to pay for it. You know, the old 'ironic punishment' thing. So it's not like we're supposed to be egging him on in this episode; we're laughing at him because he kind of deserves what he gets.

        The only problem is that because this episode is entirely played for laughs, they can't spend any time on the more serious consequences and implications of what he did. I understand why not, but it just becomes a little uncomfortable when you realise that after everything is over, he essentially gets away scot free.

        Like Mark said, it's not perfect, but at the same time…I kind of laughed my ass off watching it. πŸ˜›

        • hassibah says:

          Yeah this is actually a decent summary of my feelings. Especially the getting off incredibly easy part.

        • notemily says:

          The only problem is that because this episode is entirely played for laughs, they can't spend any time on the more serious consequences and implications of what he did. I understand why not, but it just becomes a little uncomfortable when you realise that after everything is over, he essentially gets away scot free.

          Yeah, this is pretty much my opinion too. It's funny, but when you think about it you're like "hey, wait a minute, Xander actually WINS in the end."

          • Tina says:

            I don't think the end of the episode was supposed to make Xander win but more to give the boys who might watched the show an actual lesson : yes if a girl is clearly not in her normal state and throwing herself at you, not taking advantage of her IS the good way to react.

            I'm not sure the message could have been that clear if Buffy slapped Xander for putting the spell. On the contrary, I'm pretty sure most of "male" response to this would have been to feel even worse for Xander and they wouldn't have take Buffy's side.

            It's like slapping a child who pushed another in an angry moment but felt guilty just after and helped him to get back on his feet and apologizing. I'm not sure slapping him could make him understand that his first movement was bad but the second was just normal behaviour.
            Also, I actually find this episode way much less sexist than all those Lynx ad.

            • notemily says:

              I'm not saying BUFFY should have slapped Xander. I'm more worried about CORDELIA not having any animosity towards Xander for trying to control her with magic.

              • Tina says:

                Well, the thing backfired so much that I always thought she considered he learned his lesson. Plus, they are teenagers, I can't count the number of friend I have (male and female) who forgave their boy/girlfriend mistakes very quickly. I also think, Cordelia have this "fantasy" trope about the "guy who wants you so much he will go to the extreme to have you back". Yes it's a creepy fantasy, but it is one still very present in teenagers' mind.

        • majere616 says:

          As long as you consider the likely trauma involved in almost being axe-murdered by his best friend and torn apart by a mob "scot free."
          EDIT: Oh and being punched in the face by Oz.

          • Tina says:

            You can add a very strong and angry scold from Giles, plus Willow not talking to him at the end of the episode.
            So yeah, I don't think Xander "won" or had it easy at the end of the episode. Well yes in fact he did win because now his fantasy to be the "hot stud that every woman wants" is pretty dead in his head and I don't think he will have harem fantasy anymore.

          • Sosa Lola says:

            Not to mention Giles’ “Get out of my face.” That’s got to sting, especially since Xander loves and respects Giles so much.

    • Inseriousity. says:

      Hey just wanted you to know that cos you're new to buffy too, it's good to read your first-time reactions too. Also your Giles/Jenny shipping will never become tiresome! πŸ˜€

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Glad to hear it! I'm having a ball watching along with Mark!

        Especially relieved about the Giles/Jenny, because I'm not stopping that any time soon. πŸ˜›

        • sporkaganza93 says:

          orpnhfr V'z abg fgbccvat gung nal gvzr fbba.

          Jubbcf, qvq V fpunqraserhqr? V guvax V whfg fpunqraserhqrq.

      • MrsGillianO says:

        Gung, va gur pbagrkg bs jung jr xabj vf pbzvat ba Zbaqnl, vf abg bayl n fjrrg gevohgr ohg nyfb nyzbfg nf rivy nf Wbff.

    • I just read an urban fantasy where they actually took a love spell seriously. The main character is given a love/lust spell, and the bad guy rapes her, and worse makes her beg for it/willingly participate. For the first time in my memory, the author wrote these scenes as despicable and horrifying. I was desperately hoping that somebody would save her. But he rapes her before anybody comes, and she has to use her own ingenuity to fight him off despite the spell, and kill him dead. Nobody (among the supernatural community) questions that it was rape. The author is clear that it is not the main character's fault, even though she went on a date with the guy and was nice to him (the horrors!). The reader doesn't question that it's rape because instead of writing the scene like erotica, the author spells out the horror of lost consent.

      It was horrifying and so sad. But if you want to see a love spell taken seriously, then Veba Xvffrq from the Zreprqrf Gubzcfba series by Cngevpvn Oevttf is the book for you.

  7. Seventh_Star says:

    i have real life stuff to do today. what's that all about? so, i have to comment and run.

    this episode is the romp of all romps, and i love it to pieces.

    "what rhymes with lungs?" "jung'f nabgure jbeq sbe 'tyrnzvat'?"

    "i've been thinking a lot about us lately…the why and the wherefore. you know, once, twice. a kissy here, a kissy there. and you can chalk it all up to hormones. and maybe that's all we have here, tawdry teen lust. but maybe not. maybe something in you sees something special inside me. and vice versa." PRESH.

    wait, venus was the goddess of love, not diana?

    leave the puppies alone, angelus!
    v jnf jngpuvat natry ynfg avtug, naq ybear znxrf n ersrerapr gb guvf va "fbhyyrff". bu, guvf havirefr.

    i'm quite fond of the music cue with the violin runs. i can't think of this episode without hearing it in my head.

    giles: "i can't believe you'd be fool enough to do something like this."
    xander: "oh, no. i'm twice the fool it takes to do something like this."
    well, at least he admits it.

    my heart swells when cordy finally stands up to the haters. the little moment here between she and xander, when she looks at him and takes his arm (she's floundering and he's there to steady her), is what i think of when i think of this relationship.

    • Katiface says:

      "jung'f nabgure jbeq sbe 'tyrnzvat'?"

      V jnf guvaxvat guvf jura V erjngpurq vg gbb! V whfg ybir gur pbagvahvgl va guvf fubj πŸ™‚

  8. misterbernie says:

    Well, I agree with you that they all play this wonderfully. SMG and Robia La Morte and AH are flawless in this ep.

    But.
    This episode.
    I will be the first to admit that on its initial airing, I found it hilarious. Side-splittingly funny. Then, I occasionally rewatched it, but usually skipped it in favour of a quick marathon of my favourite bits. So the last time I watched it was at least two years ago. But now I’m rewatching alongside Mark, and I tried to remember bits about it and… well, what I did remember? Oh dear.

    <img src="http://i42.tinypic.com/dwpdoi.gif"&gt;

    REVIEW ALL THE THINGS!
    – Well, they’re talking about stuff. Talking is good. And the dialogue barely made me cringe.
    – Cordelia, you need better friends
    – HELLO AMY THANKS FOR THAT BIT OF EXPOSITION DIALOGUE HOW’S YOUR WITCHCRAFT
    – aww Willow you’re adorbs
    – Amy, with great power… πŸ™
    – Jenny :((((((((( why do you all have to break my heart so much
    – Giles’ concern for Buffy is sweet, though
    – Dru and Spike and Angel and omg Angel what what are you wearing. Your shirt grosses me out way more than that heart. Their chemistry is just superb. But Dru’s last line is just so clunky.
    – ugh, gaudy Valentine’s decoration burn it with fire
    – poor Buffy, I want you to have the best of TV mope fests with Joyce.
    – more πŸ™ So my thoughts in a nutshell: it’s sad that Cordelia feels pressured into breaking up with Xander, and in this scene, him being hurt is a legitimate reaction, and Charisma Carpenter plays the regret/Cordelia’s own hurt very nicely here.
    (By the way, you’re an awful human being, Harmony.)

    So, hey, this isn’t so bad so far. Actually, it’s nice to see Xander as a guy with, well, layers, and I feel sympathy for his heartache.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/280ijrs.gif"&gt;

    Oh. Right. The Plot arrives. THIS plot arrives.
    And it’s here’s where we steer clearly directly head-on into What for fuck’s sake do you think you’re doing here, Xander? territory. I don’t even mean the wanting-to-get-even/hurting-right-back fantasy, but taking steps to actually pull it off? Is not remotely okay. Wanting to control Cordelia’s feelings, whether to get back with her or back at her, is not remotely okay. At all. Also, Amy, there is nothing pure in intentions about a love spell. It’s gross and controlling and gross.
    Diana, goddess of love? … not really, no. Also, ♀ is generally seen as the mirror of Venus. I don’t know if this was on purpose (it would make … some kind of sense with the fucking up of the spell and the subsequent hunt imagery) or not, but I’m side-eying in general here.
    – HAHA IN YOUR FACE XANDER my sympathy has evaporated
    – … puppy? πŸ™
    – lapda- I’m not even at the halfway point I want to skip through the rest of this. This is just … beyond gross. Are there friendships where making highly sexual jokes is okay? Yes. Buffy and you? Are not that kind of friends. And then, the rest of that scene. Is specially gross.
    – And then it just goes on with Amy.
    – LOL WACKY MUSIC GO GO GO
    – Willow :((((
    – Shut your face, wacky music, this is not funny.
    – The Xander walk. Again, originally? Hilarious. On rewatch, the only funny thing I find is watching the male extras and trying to figure out if they’re going for "annoyed at Xander" or "have the hots for Xander".
    – Jenny :((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
    – oh yeah, right, the reason this episode exists: SMG was to appear on SNL, so they had to throw something together quickly to fill this slot, where SMG’s scenes could be filmed early and then Buffy’d be a rat for the rest. And it shows in this barely thought-through, sloppily written mess of a sleazy gross episode.
    – I can’t even with this wacky music and poor Cordy and lol Buffy is a rat
    – HI OZ

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/bhxax5.gif"&gt;

    – (As a side note, no, I don’t approve of violence in general in real life, and I recognise that there’s problematicness surrounding the fact that Oz basically punches Xander for Willow and what are these masc issues, but that scene was cathartic to watch and it felt good to gif).

    (cont'd)

    • misterbernie says:

      – GILES ILU FOREVER I LOVE YOUR DISDAIN IT IS GLORY AND ALL THE GOOD THINGS
      – poor Cordy πŸ™
      – filler filler rat blah
      – and suddenly night fell?
      – Cordelia, let’s not with the ageist remarks.
      – HI ANGEL! HI DRU! oh god dru i love you forever
      – filler blah
      – Cordelia why are you touched by Xander’s grossness πŸ™
      – Xander, no sympathy for you. NONE.
      – Yes Buffy, congratulate Xander on not being a rapist. ugh what is this episode
      – okay, Cordelia, I like that you tell your "friends" what’s what, but jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick I don’t like this writing at all. Xander is a gross gross bag of douchery and he gets rewarded with a girlfriend. THAT IS NOT … OKAY

      So. Final thoughts?
      <img src="http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ly2yfdmMEJ1r7k3tso1_400.gif"&gt;

      German title: Der Liebeszauber – The Love Spell.
      Yeah.
      There was one.

      As a palate cleanser, here’s Meryl fucking Streep with a fucking shotgun because I can:
      <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/f3dz5e.gif"&gt;

    • tigerpetals says:

      " On rewatch, the only funny thing I find is watching the male extras and trying to figure out if they’re going for "annoyed at Xander" or "have the hots for Xander". " I spent those moments doing that. Some I think do look annoyed, but with others I'm not sure.

      • quenstalof says:

        I was actually confused when Giles didn't hit on Xander because the walking down the hall montage made me think the guys were all into Xander too.

    • notemily says:

      On rewatch, the only funny thing I find is watching the male extras and trying to figure out if they’re going for "annoyed at Xander" or "have the hots for Xander".

      lol this is exactly what I do during this scene

  9. Smurphy says:

    Me 10 minutes ago: "Awesome! It's 4 o'clock and I'm not doing anything so I can have fun commenting on Markwatches." … "Wait, what episode is today." … checks site. "SHOOT. Haven't seen it yet and HAVE NO recollection of what happens in it…" (the only problem with watching this when it originally airs was that I was 10.)

    Grrr… watching now. Be back later with substantial comment.

    BUT FOR THE RECORD. I despise Valentine's Day. My sister and my best friend's birthday is on Valentine's Day so even if I ever had a boyfriend around that dreaded day I'd most likely have at least one other commitment. Boo.

    OK WATCHING.

  10. beckaboomer says:

    Oh, Xander. Xander, Xander, Alexander Harris. What do we do with you?

    I will just say, I think the way Cordy broke up with him was pretty horrible, even though she has every right to end the relationship. Come on, you couldn't have phoned him? Or taken him somewhere private? Ouch.

    In any case, obviously that spell was a horrible, gross thing to do. Even though his reasoning was, "I just want to break up with her so she'll be humiliated like me," and not, "I want to keep her as my love slave," LOVE SPELLS ARE GROSS. You are taking away the other person's ability to consent. You suck at this moment.

    I like that Xander goes to Giles when he realizes just how badly he's fucked up. That's one point in his favor. Any others? Um, he doesn't actually take advantage of any of the women under his spell, so that's two. He admits he's done something wrong and feels remorse, so three. I think that's pretty much all the points I'm giving you for this one, Xand. Do better.

    Even though the premise is icky, that shot of Xander walking down the hall to "Got the Love" will never cease to make me giggle. Also, is it just the female population that's affected, as Giles surmises? Angelus does say, "I feel very close to you right now" when he nearly kills Xander. Heh.

    V npghnyyl qvfyvxr gung guvf rcvfbqr pbzrf whfg orsber "Cnffvba," orpnhfr V srry yvxr gur ercrephffvbaf fubhyq unir ynfgrq n yvggyr ybatre sbe Knaqre. Jvyybj'f evtug onpx gb gnyxvat gb uvz va gur ortvaavat bs gung rcvfbqr, naq vg znqr zr tb *FVTU*. V guvax gurl fubhyq unir chg gung ubeevoyr "Tb Svfu" rcvfbqr nsgre guvf bar vafgrnq. Uvaqfvtug, naq nyy gung.

    All in all, BBB is a solidy-acted episode with a premise that makes me cringe. Parts still make me laugh (like Xander's headdesking when Joyce hits on him), but I'm usually too busy going "noooooo what are you doing that is A BAD IDEA" to make this the feast of hilarity I think the writers were going for.

    • cait0716 says:

      I love the shot of Xander walking down the hall. And yeah, some of the guys look pissed, but some also seem to be pretty into him. Hooray gay extras.

      • beckaboomer says:

        Yeah, one guy was like biting his lip or something. He was totally into Xander. πŸ˜‰

        There weren't any guys visible in the "mob" that attacked him and Cordy, so I don't know if the spell was supposed to affect all people with any attraction towards men or whether Xander's heterosexual preferences were taken into account. If only Larry had been there!! The spell affected women who definitely had no attraction for Xander beforehand (like Jenny), so surely he would have been affected too? I think too much about the "what ifs," don't I? Sigh.

        • BethanytheMartian says:

          Well Amy said something about intent when she was working on the spell, so I've just always assumed it took his preference into account.

        • RoseFyre says:

          Someone said it farther up – Xander was sitting on the symbol for females (femininity?) during the love spell. So it only affected the women.

    • Dru says:

      Angelus does say, "I feel very close to you right now" when he nearly kills Xander.

      Wow, it's like canon WANTS me to ship Spike/Angel (because that is totally who he'd be going for i Xander hadn't shoved a love spell in the way).

    • RoseFyre says:

      "I will just say, I think the way Cordy broke up with him was pretty horrible, even though she has every right to end the relationship. Come on, you couldn't have phoned him? Or taken him somewhere private? Ouch."

      I don't know about phoned him. There are few things worse than someone not even having the guts to break up with you to your face – and phoning admittedly at least has voices, but breaking up over text or email is Not Okay. And I know people who have had it happen to them. I think that Cordelia was right to do it in person, though…not gonna disagree with you on the taking it somewhere more private, especially when we see the repercussions the next day. But I'd much rather have someone break up with me in person than over the phone, or, God forbid, text or email. It shows more respect.

      • notemily says:

        Yeah I was broken up with by email once and it enraged me. Part of the reason we broke up was BECAUSE this guy was way too conflict-avoidant and preferred to ignore problems rather than talk about them, so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. /bitter

        • RoseFyre says:

          Ew. I think you can make a case for phone in a long-distance relationship – is it worth a visit just to break up? – but you can't justify email or text ever, and you can't justify phone in a relationship where you see each other often.

  11. SosaLola says:

    I've come to love the episode even more when I read Maggie's episode reviews. Xander experiencing what's like being the object of interest, being harassed and hit on, sexually preyed upon. It's not something guys experience very often. It's very unpleasant.

    I don't really hold Xander forgetting about Cordelia to be with Buffy when she showed interest in him against him. Xander still has feelings for Buffy, those feelings wouldn't just go poof because Buffy rejected him. And Cordelia, by breaking up with him, clearly showed that she didn't want to be with him.

    On that thought, I wish we could have seen the scene with Buffy picking Xander's outfit for him. That would have been fun to see.

    • tanbarkie says:

      "I've come to love the episode even more when I read Maggie's episode reviews. Xander experiencing what's like being the object of interest, being harassed and hit on, sexually preyed upon. It's not something guys experience very often. It's very unpleasant."

      Yeah, this is what makes this episode brilliant for me. Only Joss Whedon could take a plot about a man violating the consent of hundreds of women and use it to criticize the male gaze by turning it backward on the man.

    • RoseFyre says:

      Maggie's episode reviews? *curious what these are*

      • SosaLola says:

        Maggie, Strudel, and Max's Episode Notes. The notes are written for the fans who have seen the whole show, naq gurer jvyy or fcbvyref sbe gur pbzvp pbagvahngvba. If you haven't watched all the show and want to stay away from spoilers, then don't click on the link, because there's foreshadowing and mentioning of later episodes.

        If you did watch all the show, then I strongly reccommend the Notes. They're very insightful and interesting. Fb sne gurl'ir jevggra hagvy F3 Rcvfbqr Rarzvrf.
        http://2maggie2.livejournal.com/23547.html

  12. echinodermata says:

    Yeah, no, hate this episode. And frankly, I forsee literally no one and no argument changing my mind about it. The very fact that it's supposed to be funny and inspire laughter is inherent to what pisses me off about it.

    So let's get started.

    This is a big 'wow, fuck you Xander' episode for me. Trying to shame Cordelia and humiliate her for revenge? Gross. Decide mind-alteration is the way to go about doing that? Fuck you. Right before he realizes Buffy is not acting herself, he jokes about her giving him a lapdance when he knows she's not into him? Fuck you. Thinking the spell worked simply on Buffy instead of Cordelia and thinking or at least joking that's fine and Amy shouldn't try to stop it? Fuck you. Oz punches you and you ask why? Dude, really? Cordelia asks what the hell's going on and you want to know why she can't believe this is normal? Shut up; I know it's a joke but shut the fuck up. And then still late in the episode he blames Cordelia for the whole ordeal. And later jokes about having been tempted to take advantage of Buffy to Buffy. And wants Buffy to talk Cordelia up for him. Fuck you.

    And show, really, you're gonna play sad sympathetic music for Xander after Giles rebukes him? Cordy forgives him after this all this and even thinks it's romantic how strongly he reacted to their break up? Buffy acts like Xander gets points for not taking advantage of her? Happy music at the end and all is apparently good? What the fuck, show. Buffy explicitly compares what happened to roofies, and even if he didn't mean to do that to all women he still meant to do it to Cordelia. If Xander roofied Cordelia's drink so she would fall all over him in public and he could humiliate her, I doubt we'd be ending with happy music and Cordelia forgiving Xander and continuing to date him as though that's a good thing. And that's the metaphor the show itself made – it's really not an exaggeration of the events.

    What the fuck. What a horrible episode for what's supposed to be a feminist show. It's not even that the premise is necessarily bad, but the execution is so gross – if the writers have the ability to see this as comparable to roofies, then what the fuck happened during the writing of the rest of the episode?

    • beckaboomer says:

      Thinking the spell worked simply on Buffy instead of Cordelia and thinking or at least joking that's fine and Amy shouldn't try to stop it? Fuck you.

      I thought that Xander just assumed Buffy was really into him in this scene, and that why he was so surprised when his gross lap-dance line didn't make her eyeroll/punch him/whatever? And then that's why he told Amy not to bother about the spell, because he couldn't believe something this awesome was actually happening and then he realized Amy was coming on to him and that finally clued him in that the spell had affected everyone. I thought that's why he seemed so sad after hearing Amy repeat the "you see somebody every day" line.

      In any case, agreed on the general skeeviness of the premise here. *shudder*

      • echinodermata says:

        Hm, I can see that interpretation, but part of why I read it the way I do was that when Amy interrupted him and Buffy having a moment, he seems pretty happy to go talk to Amy when I would have figured the opposite.

        • beckaboomer says:

          I see at least one other person who read it that way, and now I can definitely see how you read it that way too. I wasn't sure if I'd missed something in that moment, or not. It makes me happy that so many moments in this show are ambiguous and can be interpreted in different ways. Discussion makes me happy. =D

        • Delta1212 says:

          Yeah, I know what you mean. The, to me, surprising ease with which Amy manages to pull Xander away from Buffy in that situation is what contributed me forming that initial opinion in agreement with yours. His subsequent reactions, especially once Amy used Buffy's same wording is what brought me around to thinking he hadn't been clued in after all.

          I think it may have just been the writers attempt to get him alone with some other girl so that they could demonstrate that the love spell had affected everyone but Cordy. They couldn't have Amy professing her love in front of Buffy since it would have sparked the confrontation they were saving for later, but in pulling him so quickly away at that moment, they may have accidentally implied something they hadn't intended.

        • psycicflower says:

          I had the same interpretation as you. I guess it's just one of those scenes that's ambiguous enough that people can read a lot of different things into it.

        • etherealclarity says:

          I more had the sense that he agreed to talk to Amy because she was being so insistent about it and he thought he could get rid of her more quickly & get back to Buffy. I definitely never got the vibe that he knew the spell was on Buffy at all at that point, more that his thought of "HOLY SHIT IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING" was drowning out the possibility for alternative explanations at that point.

          Which I feel is supported later in the ep with the way he rejects Buffy. He's rejecting her specifically because she's under a spell, and he wouldn't want to be with her unless she wanted to be with him too.

        • etherealclarity says:

          I more had the sense that he agreed to talk to Amy because she was being so insistent about it and he thought he could get rid of her more quickly & get back to Buffy. I definitely never got the vibe that he knew the spell was on Buffy at all at that point, more that his thought of "HOLY SHIT IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING" was drowning out the possibility for alternative explanations at that point.

          Which I feel is supported later in the ep with the way he rejects Buffy. He's rejecting her specifically because she's under a spell, and he wouldn't want to be with her unless she wanted to be with him too. That doesn't change whether or not the spell is just on Buffy, or on all the girls.

          • Tina says:

            This, this is my inteerepration too. In fact, it never crossed my mind that Xander kne Buffy was under the spell when Amy dragged him outside. He was suspicious that something wasn't usual (the lack of eyeroll for his poor joke, making him think "wait… I just made a douchey joke and you have no reaction ? Was my joke not as douchey as I thought it was ?" then Amy coming, Xander being a bit confused and annoy that Amy just interrupted them so going with her to get rid of her and going back to Buffy, then Amy using the same words as Buffy and Xander understanding (and watching Buffy sadly through the window as he realize the last few minutes, he wasn't talking to "Buffy").

    • arctic_hare says:

      I adore your entire comment. <3

    • Delta1212 says:

      "Thinking the spell worked simply on Buffy instead of Cordelia and thinking or at least joking that's fine and Amy shouldn't try to stop it? Fuck you."

      This was what I thought at first. I think, though, that Xander didn't actually put two and two together until Amy said the exact same thing as Buffy. I could see him waiving off Amy and the whole spell thing because suddenly Buffy is showing interest so who cares that his revenge plan on Cordelia didn't work? I mean, if the girl I was carrying a torch* for was acting like that toward me, I'd probably be a bit distracted as well. Not immediately jumping to the "Ah, the love spell actually worked on Buffy instead!" is one of the more forgivable things he does, both because he doesn't really have any context that would make him think it was a possibility, and also because given the one minute he has to process this information, I can't entirely blame him for not immediately hunting for alternatives to Buffy actually finding that she likes him.

      Not that I don't think he made some very awful choices otherwise in this episode, I just don't believe he was meant to be thinking along those particular lines at that moment.

      *Vg fpbepurf zr

  13. Ryan Lohner says:

    Sarah Michelle Gellar was busy hosting Saturday Night Live when this one was filmed, so the Buffyrat was invented as a way to give her some time off.

    Bu zl tbq, Cnffvba vf arkg! Ur'f tbvat gb qvr.

    • kte says:

      V'ir orra guvaxvat gur fnzr guvat. V'ir frra gur rc znal gvzrf naq V'z fgvyy abg cercnerq.

    • Smurphy says:

      I might have to track that SNL down and watch it.

      • IceBlueRose says:

        I especially like the end of the SNL episode when SMG is holding up a sign that says "Hi Aly!" for Alyson Hannigan. πŸ™‚ I definitely suggest finding it!

    • SnarkyWriter says:

      I thought she was off getting married. Isn't that what they say in the commentary for this episode? (I could be so utterly wrong it isn't funny.)

      • SnarkyWriter says:

        And I just looked it up and you're right. She wasn't married until 2002. Where the heck did I get that idea? o.O

        • Dru says:

          Not that it doesn't happen, but SMG was only 20 when this episode was filmed, which does make it rather unlikely that she skipped out on it to get married πŸ™‚

      • NB2000 says:

        Lbh'er npghnyyl evtug gung fur qvq zvff na rcvfbqr gb trg zneevrq ohg vg'f frnfba frira'f "Frysyrff", na Naln-pragevp rcvfbqr (juvpu jbhyq znxr frafr vs gurl qba'g unir FZT, sbphf ba fbzrbar ryfr). Nccneragyl gur unvefglyr Ohssl unf va gung rcvfbqr, gvrq onpx jvgu n fbeg bs oenvqvat grkgher…guvat arne ure snpr (V'z greevoyr ng qrfpevovat gurfr guvatf) jnf gur jnl Fnenu unq ure unve fglyrq sbe gur jrqqvat.

    • BethanytheMartian says:

      Weird, I always assumed that Buffy!Rat was invented because the slayer has the potential to just mow through all of the other girls who were fighting to get to Xander, so they had to find some way to keep her mostly out of the narrative.

      V unir gb fnl, V nz ortvaavat gb nccerpvngr jul Wbff Jurqba yvxrf gb oernx urnegf. Orpnhfr V xvaq bs srry yvxr V nz jnvgvat sbe qryvpvbhf grnef evtug abj.

      • Mannz says:

        "Weird, I always assumed that Buffy!Rat was invented because the slayer has the potential to just mow through all of the other girls who were fighting to get to Xander, so they had to find some way to keep her mostly out of the narrative. "

        Oevatf hc gung qryvpvbhf fprar va frnfba 7'f "Uvz" jurer fur gevrf gb xvyy Cevapvcny Jbbq jvgu ure Ebpxrg Ynhapure

        • BethanytheMartian says:

          Ojnunun gung'f n tbbq bar. Bu zna V xabj vg'f qbja gur ebnq ohg V'z ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb Znex trggvat gb Cevapvcny Jbbq. Uvf urnq zvtug npghnyyl rkcybqr.

  14. Nattlinnen says:

    Oh yes, it will destroy you.

  15. Is it perfect? No. Is it my favorite episode of the whole show so far? YES IT IS.
    HA HA HA HA AWESOME. It's a really fun episode.

    We see Amy again, who hasn’t been around since “The Witch,”
    Which is why Oz was looking at Amy's mom in the trophy in the last episode, to remind you she existed.

    Oh god, when Jenny started hitting on Xander, I just lost it.
    NICE SHIRT.

    Oh, and then Buffy is a rat? Okay, that’s fucking weird.
    Haaaaaa. Get used to weird. You're in Sunnydale.

    Randomly: bhe engf ner ybj.

    oh my god I am just so full of feels for these two. This show is going to destroy me, isn’t it?
    That is simply a given after every statement you make, Mark.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Oh god, when Jenny started hitting on Xander, I just lost it.
      NICE SHIRT.
      "

      Oh god, I loved that whole scene! The timing of it was so perfect, just as Xander admits to Giles what he did, Jenny walks in…and all you can think is 'ohhhhhh nooo' because you can just TELL what's going to happen.

      • And she's just casually rubbing it the whole time while she talks with Giles and it's so entirely uncomfortable, it's great. I agree with you: TOP COMEDIC FORM.

        • etherealclarity says:

          I absolutely LOVE that moment. She's still saying coherent, important things, and at the same time being drawn under the spell and completely unconciously rubbing his arm? OMG. SO FUNNY.

          You can see it dawn on Giles at that moment too what is really happening.

    • beckaboomer says:

      NICE SHIRT.

      Have you been working out? *squeeze*

      I have to say, Giles yanking Jenny away from Xander was pretty genuinely funny.

    • etherealclarity says:

      "bhe engf ner ybj."

      Urur. Znqr zr tvttyr πŸ™‚

  16. cait0716 says:

    I really like Harmony's hair. I wish I had the patience to grow my hair that long. I can usually get it to about boob-length before I get frustrated and cut it all off.

    I love that Buffy's pajamas look like pajamas I would actually wear.

    Hi Amy!

    Avpr bs lbh gb qebc ol sbe lbhe frnfbany nccrnenapr

    I like all the dangers the Buffy-rat faces in the school basement. Oh no! Look out for the cat! Don't eat the cheese! It's a trap! That whole sequence is sublimely ridiculous because the dangers are so silly and contrived and clearly not going to kill Buffy.

    Buffy spent most of the episode as a rat because SMG was hosting SNL while they were filming.

    I think the spell backfired because Cordelia was already in love with Xander, and it breaks my heart a bit. She is able to look past the insults and patronizing behavior and see a sweet, funny, loyal guy who is very different from the guys she's dated thus far. She interprets the love spell as something he did to get her back, not out of revenge (he probably failed to tell her the whole story there) and sees it as a romantic gesture. Love doesn't always make sense, especially to people on the outside, and I do believe that Cordy really loves Xander at this point. She uses that love to empower herself to stop seeking the approval of the popular clique. It's a big character moment for her, and I'm glad we get to see it.

  17. psycicflower says:

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/2805wkn.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="http://i44.tinypic.com/20h6fqo.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just couldn’t resist.

    ‘Buffy can I have a word?’ ‘Have a sentence even.’ – Giles and Buffy banter for the win.
    ‘Here’s another one. Valentines Day, Angel nails a puppy…’ ‘Skip it.’ – Will never stop lolling.
    Is it weird that I like Angel/Dru/Spike in a strange evil OT3 kind of way?

    But to the main part of this episode. Xander. What on earth do I say about Xander in an episode like this. I started off this episode feeling sympathetic for Xander and his relationship woes with Cordelia but that vanished fairly quick. And I know the episode is all good job Xander for being a decent human being and resisting raping your friend (and I can’t believe I just typed that) (Also ‘for a minute it was touch and go there’ not funny Xander )but he was kind of going a long with the whole thing at the start. When Buffy hits on him that first time in the library he knows it’s the spell and still goes with it. When Amy says the spell went wrong and asks if he wants to try again, Xander was completely okay that it backfired and affected Buffy instead and was clearly going to take advantage of that. The only reason he started panicking and wanting the spell broken is because everyone else started showing interest in him too.
    While it’s good for Cordelia in the sense of not letting popularity and it’s trappings affect her decisions and what makes her happy, I also can’t believe that she got back with Xander. Even if she doesn’t know the purpose of the love spell was so he could get revenge and be the one to break up with her, he still cast a love spell on her and was going to take away her choice in the matter. Just not cool, in any way, shape or form.

  18. t09yavosaur says:

    When I realized it was a Valentines day episode I decided I really didn't want to take notes. Relationship angst is never really fun and in a Valentines day ep. its even worse. Then there was Xander and Cordelia both being horrible to each other (Xander was being really sweet in the beginning though) and I gave up on it completely…until the spell backfired then it became the funniest thing ever!

    Here is some of my favorite things:
    -Cordelia was wearing the necklace!
    -Buffy was a rat!!
    -So Amy's Mom's familiar is living off of rats in the Sunnydale High basement?
    -Everybody checking Xander out in the hall was great, even some of the guys looked like they were doing it.
    -Oz punched Xander!!…For not making a move on Willow.
    -Xander and Cordy end up back in the basement!!
    -That was the best scavenger hunt ever! What was the prize?
    -Cordelia isn't a sheep!!
    -Cordy and Xander matched at the end. πŸ™‚

    Good Valentine's Day ep y'all.
    <img src='http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p150/Falcon823/chuckbam.gif'&gt;

  19. t09yavosaur says:

    When I realized it was a Valentines day episode I decided I really didn't want to take notes. Relationship angst is never really fun and in a Valentines day ep. its even worse. Then there was Xander and Cordelia both being horrible to each other (Xander was being really sweet in the beginning though) and I gave up on it completely…until the spell backfired then it became the funniest thing ever!

    Here is some of my favorite things:
    -Cordelia was wearing the necklace!
    -Buffy was a rat!!
    -So Amy's Mom's familiar is living off of rats in the Sunnydale High basement?
    -Everybody checking Xander out in the hall was great, even some of the guys looked like they were doing it.
    -Oz punched Xander!!…For not making a move on Willow.
    -Xander and Cordy end up back in the basement!!
    -That was the best scavenger hunt ever! What was the prize?
    -Cordelia isn't a sheep!!
    -Cordy and Xander matched at the end. πŸ™‚

    Good Valentine's Day ep y'all.
    <img src="http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p150/Falcon823/chuckbam.gif"&gt;
    (I never though I would get a chance to use this gif)

  20. rabbitape says:

    I haven't had a chance to rewatch this episode yet, so I don't have a whole lot to say about it. BUT. I have to say how incredibly happy I was to see Xander not take advantage of Buffy — or any other woman under the spell. He is absolutely 100% clear that to do so would be skeevy and unforgivable, and I love him for that.

    I wish this could be required watching for so, so, so many people that need to understand that simple lesson.

    • Karen says:

      I'm just kind of sad that the idea of NOT taking advantage of a woman is something that needs to be praised and reinforced and not like basic humanity.

      • rabbitape says:

        I totally and completely agree. But unfortunately, a lot of people just don't get it.

        Sadly, I know more than a few women who were taken advantage of when they were way too drunk to consent, and they were convinced it was their fault. !!!

        So I appreciate seeing this on TV. "Look, people. This is not ok. Don't excuse it, and don't accept it. It's gross. Everyone thinks this is gross and you should too."

        I franky wouldn't mind seeing it praised and reinforced into the fucking ground.

  21. etherealclarity says:

    Ahh, Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered. What to say about this episode.

    Let's see. Xander tries to be sweet (though rather awkwardly), gets rejected on Valentine's Day, is confronted with the fact that the whole world finds him laughable or useless or both, decides to be a RAGING JACKASS in response and do something HORRIBLE AND STUPID, and mayhem follows.

    I love that Giles in particular pulls no punches about telling Xander how disgusted Giles is with him. And that Oz punches Xander in the face. And that Willow hasn't forgiven him at the end of the episode. All richly deserved. And I greatly dislike that Xander never really TRULY owns up to the fact that what he did was horrible (and granted his INTENDED scope of horribleness was much smaller than the result, but still awful) and could have turned out WAY, WAY worse. And I have no understanding whatsoever as to why Cordelia would forgive him for the spell based on the fact that he meant it for her (yes, it's complementary I guess, but also horribly vindictive and controlling), but then, I really cannot relate to Cordelia at ALL so this is nothing new.

    That said, I can't help loving this episode. It makes me laugh. It has some great serious moments too. I love the moment when Xander says "If I thought you had any idea what it would mean to me" to Buffy. He may want to be with Buffy, he may love Buffy, but only if Buffy actually wanted to be with him too, actually loved him too. Despite all of the possessive controlling one liners he loves to throw out there, despite all of his gross fantasies about wanting to save Buffy, he could never be with a version of Buffy that had no autonomy. Part of what he loves about her is her strength and autonomy.

    And I think this is part of why I like Xander as a character. It doesn't excuse any of the gross stuff he says and does, but it helps show that the gross stuff isn't really who he is underneath, but rather the veneer of very poorly executed humor that he uses to try to hide his insecurities and social awkwardness (and, for the most part, unsuccessfully).

    Of course, none of this excuses what he did in this episode. But from a storytelling standpoint, the spell does result in some fantastic and hilarious moments on screen.

    I love that Cordelia clearly does care about Xander at this point. It is interesting (but true to her character and their relationship) that her rejection of him at the Valentine's Day dance is somehow so much less cruel than the things she says to him while making out with him, and yet somehow so much more hurtful.

    I love the fact that Angel is foiled in his Valentine's Day plot by Drusilla being captured by the spell. Clever and completely unexpected.

    I love Giles's outburst at Amy that what she's feeling is obsession, not love, and that if she really did love him she would be helping him. I know that's a reaction to the spell, but it does often feel like people confuse the two, especially in high school, so it's a lovely point to make.

    I love Cordy's speech at the end about how she's actually cooler than any of her friends because she does what she wants.

    I love THE WALK through the hallway with "Got The Love" playing. I can't help but giggle at the extras in that scene. Most of them look WAY too old. And they are checking Xander out in this awesomely dehumanizing way – awesome in the sense that usually the gender tables are turned here and I love that we are confronted with how uncomfortable it is to be checked out so blatantly. And I love that all the guys in that hallway look VERY ANGRY.

    I love Xander's introduction of "blackmail" into the conversation. "I didn't say blackmail!" "I know, but since I'm about to blackmail you I thought I'd bring it up."

    I love Oz's line: "Call it an upside." and Buffy's reaction to "don't go anywhere." "Really not an issue."

    Maybe I should feel worse about loving an episode that gets so much of its humor from invoking the "great roofie spirit". But I do love it. I don't know.

    Side note – a while ago I came across a very lovely fanvid someone did, pairing this episode with the song "2+2=5 (The Lukewarm)" by Radiohead. I feel like it lends a sense of dark intensity to things that the episode really lacks. Because when you take away the obviously intended humor elements of the episode, it really is quite dark. Sadly, the video seems to have disappeared from YouTube, so I cannot share it with you lovely people. :/

    • tanbarkie says:

      "Maybe I should feel worse about loving an episode that gets so much of its humor from invoking the "great roofie spirit". But I do love it. I don't know."

      I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of. The episode is preeeetttty darn clear on the fact that what Xander did was wrong. And it does some amazing things with the inversion of the male gaze – in fact, I know more than one male viewer who never quite understood what was meant by "the male gaze" until they saw the scene where Xander slow-mo's through the halls of Sunnydale High, mortified by the attention he's receiving. It can be quite the feminist wake-up call for folks who've never really thought these things before.

      "Side note – a while ago I came across a very lovely fanvid someone did, pairing this episode with the song "2+2=5 (The Lukewarm)" by Radiohead. I feel like it lends a sense of dark intensity to things that the episode really lacks. Because when you take away the obviously intended humor elements of the episode, it really is quite dark. Sadly, the video seems to have disappeared from YouTube, so I cannot share it with you lovely people. :/"

      Ooh. Link please? Love that song.

      • etherealclarity says:

        I would love to link you, but I can't seem to locate the vid on YouTube. I may have found this back in the day when you had to download fanvids instead of being able to stream them. Or it may have been taken down by the copyright police. I'll keep checking though cause I really loved it… if I come across it, I'll post again. πŸ™‚

    • Noybusiness says:

      "yes, it's complementary I guess, but also horribly vindictive and controlling)"

      Yeah. Although when you said that, I realized Cordelia also has vindictive and controlling tendencies, so it might be the kind of thing she'd do herself, which would explain not being so grossed out about it.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      Reading your comment I realized that Xander had absolutely NO IDEA what a Love Spell entailed. He thought that he could make Cordelia love him just to break up with her and it would hurt her as much as she hurt him. Leaving out the murderous obsession part (which the episode clearly states he did not know about) in theory this would not break her heart at all because she would still be under the spell. She would love him no matter what he said and she wouldn't have other feelings to revert to like Xander did. So even if the spell had worked it would have backfired on Xander's plan anyway.

    • VicarPants says:

      V sbhaq gur jubyr bofrffvba-vf-abg-ybir guvat znqr zr fgneg guvaxvat nobhg gur riraghny Fcvxr/Ohssl qlanzvp, ng yrnfg va vgf vavgvny fgntrf naq yrnqvat hc gb Frrvat Erq naq nyy vgf uryyn pbafrag vffhrf.

      Gura V jnf whfg fnq naq entrsnpvat nyy bire gur cynpr.

    • vermillioncity says:

      And they are checking Xander out in this awesomely dehumanizing way – awesome in the sense that usually the gender tables are turned here and I love that we are confronted with how uncomfortable it is to be checked out so blatantly.

      Yes yes yes yes!

  22. NB2000 says:

    Valentine's episode sees a sudden increase in the amount of red being worn by the characters, or maybe it's not that much of an increase and I'm just imagining that there's a lot more red and pink on screen.

    "Jung eulzrf jvgu yhatf?" Uvagf bs uvf cbrgvp fvqr?

    Really Amy/show? Invoking Diana for a love spell? Surely say, Venus or Aphrodite would have been more appropriate. But then, maybe that was intentional, maybe Amy really did screw up the spell on purpose, she does seem disapproving when Xander brings it up.

    Url svefg nccrnenapr bs gheavat fbzrbar vagb n eng. Vagrerfgvat gung Ryvmnorgu Naar Nyyra'f cebahapvngvba bs Urpngr urer qvssref sebz ubj fur cebabhaprf vg va Tvatreoernq, qvssrerag fbhaq ba gur "r". V unir ab vqrn juvpu vf gur zber pbeerpg ohg, vg'f na vagrerfgvat cbvag. Jnl gb cnl nggragvba naq erzrzore gur qr-enggvat fcryy Tvyrf!

    I'm kind of a broken record this week but OZ! His face when he looks out at Willow in the Bronze is so damn cute, and then he punches Xander for upsetting her, yay.

    The entire cast do such a good job this episode, particulalry all of the actresses playing the effects of the spell. Jenny's little "No" and arm reach as Giles drags her away from Xander, Joyce's super creepy "Let Joycie in!" through the door and Willow's tears when she confronts him with the axe are probably my favourite moments.

    • VicarPants says:

      Considering Diana's more bloodthirsty approach to love n' stuff, I can totally see that working. The invocation of the name threw me off, too, but intentional or no, it suits the fuckup.
      I'm partway through reading Elizabeth Abbott's A History of Celibacy and there's some really in-depth sections on the practices and people devoted to the virgin-goddess Olympians, i.e. Diana, Athena and Hestia. Celibacy is srs and bloody bznss.

  23. I was kind of meh about this episode, not because it's bad or anything, but it just sort /is/, you know? I did like some of things though, like Xander getting some character growth (has the phrase 'be careful what you wish for' ever been more appropriate?), seeing Jenny again even if everyone is still mad at her (can you blame them, really?) and I especially liked the part where Angel left Buffy flowers. That's the only time the word 'soon' has made me shudder with dread.

    Oh, speaking of Angel, the dynamic with Angel/Spike/Drusilla is really getting interesting, and you can see that Spike is definitely Not Happy.

  24. haguenite says:

    It's been a while since I last watched any Buffy episodes other than my absolute favorites (like, three years) and it's amazing how much more problematic shit I'm noticing now. There's a ton of problematic shit in this episode: Buffy thanking Xander for pretty much not raping her, roofie spirit, the love spell in general.

    That said, I still love it to bits: both the series and this episode. I feel like it provides the much needed light note after Innocence and the stuff with Oz in Phases naq bs pbhefr Cnffvba juvpu vf pbzvat hc arkg bu fjrrg Wrfhf V xabj Znex'f nyernql jngpurq vg ohg fbzrbar ubyq uvz?

    Maybe it's because I do look at these early episodes with the goggles of all the 7 series knowledge on that I don't mind the problematic things as much as I would if I were watching it for the very first time. V whfg jngpurq Gur Mrccb ntnva naq zna, bu zna, V whfg ybir jung gung rcvfbqr qbrf sbe Knaqre naq gur tnat nf n jubyr. Lrf, Knaqre vf n frkvfg qvpx fbzrgvzrf naq jvyy ybat erznva fb, ohg gurer VF zhpu zber gb uvz naq V ybir gung uvf sevraqf npxabjyrqtr gung (gubhtu abg nyjnlf, frr Gur Mrccb) naq ybir uvz naljnl.

    I mean, loving people despite, even FOR their faults is a pretty big theme throughout the series, I think, along with forgiveness. Anyway, love love love. Off to watch Bad Girls now.

  25. cat lady says:

    Joss Whedon feasts on your unpreparedness.

  26. Emma says:

    Love Potion plots, which pop up in basically EVERY SCI-FI/FANTASY SHOW AND SERIES EVER, are always iffy. For me, it hinges on the way the writing portrays it – if something equivalent to date rape is portrayed as lighthearted wacky-funtimes, then NO THANKS. However, most shows I've seen have had the decency to deal with the violation as a violation, with the person/persons employing the spell being punished or learning a solid lesson by the end of it all. I really do like this episode; it's not without its gross-out factors, but they work well with the theme of the whole thing. All-in-all, a clever, if light, installment. Naq jvgu jung'f pbzvat hc arkg jrrx… lrnu. V'yy gnxr jung sha V pna trg.

  27. SweetVerda says:

    Hmm, I had a problem when Xander was refusing Buffy's advances because his reason was more "It wouldn't mean the same to me if Buffy doesn't really want it" instead of "It would be completely morally wrong to take advantage of my friend who cannot consent." However, Buffy seemed grateful at the end regardless of his motives, and it is a big moment for him to realize that consent matters to him.

    I know some people were discussing earlier that it is gross that the show has Cordelia deciding to resume dating Xander seemingly because he proved her love for her by trying to violate her consent. I don't think that this is it at all. Through the events of this episode, she realized that popular opinion mattered less to her than she thought it did, and she chose Xander over her friends despite his actions in this episode.

    Cordelia's smile when she found out that Xander had tried to put the love whammy on her could have just been her relief that Xander hadn't moved on so quickly and had not intentionally wanted all women to fall for him. This is open to interpretation. I'm just hesitant to say that Cordelia fell for him because of his gross behavior.

    Now, parallelism time! Xander's motive for the love spell was because he wanted Cordelia to suffer as he has suffered. Sound familiar?

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I agree, Cordy was simply glad that he had not tried to make other girls fall in love with him to get over her.
      If it had worked as it was intended to even for just a moment she would have probably hated Xander with a fiery passion (zhpu rneyvre guna va pnaba).

  28. Inseriousity. says:

    If there is any episode that had the most impact on me as a child, it's this one.

    The reason why? I wanted this. I wanted everyone to love me, I wanted the girls to love me the same way that they love Xander. I was shallow, selfish and a spoilt brat. I wanted it all. Despite that the episode clearly points out that this is not the right thing to do (although I do think it is rather strange that Cordelia seems flattered that the loss of her free will was meant to be for her), I didn't care. I went to bed wondering what it'd be like to have all the girls love me when I got to school. My subconcious, however, must have known it was wrong because I did have a dream about the episode that night. I dreamt that I was being chased by ALL THE DINNERLADIES WHO ALL LOVED ME. LOL that dinnerlady is so hilarious and she stands out a lot in the episode and this is what my brain decided to focus on!

    I am now much older and know that the very concept is rather disgusting but I thought I'd give my thoughts as if I were my 6/7 year old self again.

    • Tina says:

      And thank you for that. Because I think the message of this episode was addressed to men and not on women.

  29. knut_knut says:

    Things I liked about this episode:
    – I didn’t really LIKE this, since it was sad, but I felt SOOOOOOOOO bad for Xander when Cordelia broke up with him. SO SAD. πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™
    – Buffy the Rat was cute

    Things I didn’t like:
    Everything else. Xander should not have been congratulated for not taking advantage of people because that’s just something you shouldn’t do EVER. PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE REWARDED FOR NOT RAPING. THAT SHOULD BE A GIVEN.
    And I ABSOLUTELY HATE that Cordelia thought it was sweet that Xander cast the spell for her. Awww, my ex-boyfriend just tried to force me to fall in love with him AGAINST MY WILL. HOW SWEET.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "Xander should not have been congratulated for not taking advantage of people because that’s just something you shouldn’t do EVER."

      Kind of a sign of low expectations for teenage boys, huh?

      Actually, I'd be grateful to someone if a spell or equivalent made me come on to them and they didn't do anything gross. Although more so if they had been a random bystander and not someone who was actually *using* the spell or equivalent.

  30. todd says:

    Okay, on a feminist level (and I am a proud feminist) I should hate this episode. I should. BUT I CAN'T. Goddamn, it is so funny. It's like that scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Ron eats the chocolates and falls in love with whatsherface, except in reverse. It's got moments! Oz hits Xander then goes searching for the Buffyrat. Drusilla is creepily in love with Xander and it's perfect. Also, now would be a great time to point out Harmony = Mercedes McNab = the Girl Scout from "The Addams Family" movie. Are they made with real girl scouts?

    So yeah, I love this episode. It's pure comedic gold. I watched this episode with my mom ("Mom, just watch one episode of Buffy with me. I promise you will like it." "It's not really my kind of show…" "Just 45 minutes of your time. Come on, please?") and she laughed so hard she cried. Now we're Buffy buddies. Why yes, I am proud of getting my 64 year old mother to watch Buffy.

    • NB2000 says:

      Also, now would be a great time to point out Harmony = Mercedes McNab = the Girl Scout from "The Addams Family" movie

      And she was Amanda in "The Addams Family Values".

    • pica_scribit says:

      *feminist solidarity fistbump* I love this episode, too. I can't not. My own thoughts about its problems and awesomeness are on page 3 of the comments. Wish my mom was into some of the things I like….

  31. etherealclarity says:

    That HAS always weirded me out, this idea that "love potions" as a plot point are somehow NOT horribly violating because they're not a real thing. Except of course that if they were a real thing, they WOULD BE horribly violating. This bothered me in Harry Potter as well.

    It makes me wonder, too, if our acceptance of "love spells" in popular fiction as an acceptable plot device that isn't horribly reprimanded actually helps encourage or at least normalize rape culture.

    (And yet, I still found this episode to be funny. So IDK.)

    • Emma says:

      Re: love spells in HP, yeah, the one with Ron definitely goes the wacky route, which is regrettable – but then there is the whole really powerful, tragic Voldemort backstory which hinges on a love potion and illustrates all of the pain that something like that can cause. So I don't know; I suppose it doesn't really go one way or the other for me. Gurer unir orra gjb (vs V erzrzore pbeerpgyl?) ybir cbgvba cybgf va "Zreyva", bar bs juvpu jnf cynlrq erznexnoyl fboreyl, jvgu gur ivpgvz (Neguhe) gheavat vagb zber bs na qvfgheovatyl rafynirq mbzovr guna n jnpxl ybirfgehpx fhvgbe – ubjrire, gur bgure bar cynlrq gur tbbsl nccebnpu pevatr-jbeguvyl fgenvtug. Fb rirel jbex'f genpx erpbeq va gerngzrag bs gur gbcvp vf abg ernyyl pbafvfgrag; ohg hygvzngryl, vg'f n gebcr V pbhyq qb jvgubhg. Vg'f ceboyrzngvp naq haarprffnel, naq gurer ner fb znal zber jbegul cybgf.

      • etherealclarity says:

        In HP, I more or less was referring to the fact that Fred and George sold love potions in the first place. The fact that they were normalizing what amounted to worse than a date rape drug? Made me feel uncomfortable. And yeah, the Voldemort backstory definitely gave the love potion thing some more weight, but not on the level that it really deserved.

        • BethanytheMartian says:

          As I recall in Harry Potter, the love potion that effected Ron was so potent because it was way past it's expiration date, so maybe normally it's a lot less daterapey? I don't know.

          I do think that the reason this is not more called out is because in the HP verse the love potions were marketed to and seemingly only used by girls. Which calls in several problematic things- the idea that girls are more interested in romance than boys are, for example, or the idea that it's more permissive for girls to violate someone's consent, or that dangerous things in the hands of girls are no longer dangerous. It's all kinda problematic.

  32. SosaLola says:

    I really wish we got to see what Angelus wanted to do with Xander. Was he going to kill him and leave him at Buffy's door steps? Was he going to turn him into a vampire and send him after Buffy? Was he going to rape him and leave his naked body on Buffy's bed? All these thoughts I've read in fanfiction and all were scary and violent – something Angelus isn't so far. :/

  33. hassibah says:

    A few side points:

    -it makes me hella annoyed that Jenny still doesn't get a let me explain moment. Fucken hell people give her a chance.
    -I love how calm Oz is even when he's explaining why he just punched Xander in the face. I wasn't here yesterday so I'll say as well that I can't get over how nochalant his facial expression was even when he inexplicably wakes up naked in the woods.
    -I really feel for Willow and especially Cordy cause holy crap that scene where she gets mobbed in the hallway is terrifying. Also her throwing Joyce out of her own house always makes me laugh(though logically it makes more sense that they'd hide at Cordy or Giles' place instead of Buffy but whatever.) Also her line about doing what everybody else does, just so you can say you did it first is pretty damn great.

    As for the punchline of the main plot, this is one of those times where I'm not feeling that articulate so I'm gonna go live vicariously through other people's comments.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "-it makes me hella annoyed that Jenny still doesn't get a let me explain moment. Fucken hell people give her a chance."

      RIGHT? Just get over it already, people! Heck, even what Xander did in this episode alone I would consider worse than what Jenny did. Why is she the only one who doesn't get a free pass every now and again?

      • hassibah says:

        Just be sure to be white if you don't want everyone you've ever known to shun you when you fuck up I guess!

      • Noybusiness says:

        The way they see it, Jenny was secretly working against them for months in a way that led to the transformation of Buffy's boyfriend into a horrific serial killer. Harsh and not completely accurate reading, but worse than what happened in this episode when seen that way.

        • Yeah, I kinda agree with you here. I would not be so quick to forgive someone who had basically lied to me for MONTHS and kept back critical information that could have saved a lot of heartbreak.

        • hassibah says:

          YEah but an explain yourself scene is pretty standard in this genre, hell even actual villains get that much. As everybody pointed out there was a hell of a lot of confusion going on at first, but even when Jenny took them to see her uncle obviously out of intentions to help them, nobody has any questions about what the hell she was doing this whole time?
          Because she wasn't working against them actually. She wanted Angel to keep his soul too and it's not like they don't need all the help they can get.

    • James says:

      I love how calm Oz is even when he's explaining why he just punched Xander in the face.
      RIGHT? He's got out his anger, now he can go back to being mellow and help Xander up of the floor. Oh, how I love Oz.

    • psycicflower says:

      I love how calm and relaxed Oz is about everything. I pretty sure the building could be burning down around him and he'd still be all no big deal.

  34. notemily says:

    So… I usually look forward to watching this ep when it comes up in re-watches, but I've been dreading it this time because of reasons.

    – "Does she know what one of these is?" Oh look, a non-sexist insult towards Cordelia! See, they are possible!
    – "My valentines are usually met with heartfelt restraining orders." Might be time to examine WHY that is, Xander.
    – The girl in the red vinyl coat and beret is cracking me up. Who wears that?
    – Willow is so excited about Oz being in the band πŸ˜€
    – Dude, if I had witchy powers, I would SO use them for not doing homework.
    – LOL Angel's valentine is AN ACTUAL HEART. "I found it in a quaint little shopgirl."
    – "It lacks poetry." "Doesn't have to. What rhymes with 'lungs'?"
    – Uh-oh. This is the point at which I remember that Angel still has access to Buffy's house because he's been invited in before.
    – This is so painful. Cordelia, you obviously LIKE Xander! And he's wearing a pointy-collared gray shirt! Don't dump him!
    – I think there are probably a LOT of breakups around Valentine's Day. It's a shitty day to break up with someone, but it also forces people to examine relationships and figure out where they're going and what level of commitment requires what type of valentine's day celebration/gift. Some relationships don't stand up to the scrutiny. I'm not speaking from personal experience at all! *cough*
    – Asking for a gift back is such a dick move, Xander. But then awww she was wearing it the whole time she really DOES like you, Xander, she's just afraid to show it!
    – The image of Xander sitting in a large Female symbol wearing red paint on his chest is pretty hilarious.
    – "Angel nails a puppy to the–" PLEASE DO NOT FINISH THAT SENTENCE
    – Poor Xander realizes that the spell is what's making Buffy like him, not Buffy herself.
    – UGH, poor Willow. I think I feel worst for her in this whole episode.
    – The scene with Average White Band playing is pretty hilarious, if only for the look on Xander's face. I also love that the guys are all glaring at him. Although–did the spell only work on women? Even lesbians? Or would it work on gay guys as well? (Jvyybj jnf pregnvayl nssrpgrq, ohg fur'f abg "tnl abj" lrg…)
    – The scene with the library doors opening outwards is funny, but the library doors have opened inwards in every other episode I can remember.
    – I love the image of Amy and Jenny sitting down across from each other at the library table. That one little moment always cracks me up.
    – Oz! Punching Xander! He deserved it! Also I love that Oz is even kind of nonchalant about punching people.
    – At least Xander REALIZES how BAD an idea it was to do a love spell, but that's all kind of negated by the fact that in the end he gets Cordelia back. What an awful message for this episode to send.
    – Why is there an angry cat in the school basement?
    – Xander's *headdesk* moment–please tell me there's a gif of that.
    – "Works in theory!" lol Angel
    – And now they're trapped in Buffy's basement again, which, as I remember, is where their relationship started in the first place.
    – "None of this would have happened if you hadn't broken up with me!" No, Xander. This is YOUR fault. None of this is Cordelia's fault.
    – Cordelia actually finds this romantic? See, this is where that *headdesk* gif would come in handy.
    – "Boy, that was the… best scavenger hunt ever!"
    – "The great Roofie spirit." ljadfksdfsjkladfs
    – AND SHE THANKS HIM FOR NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HER jalskfjklajkdfkl;ds WHY. GUYS YOU DO NOT GET A COOKIE FOR BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING
    – Cordelia realizes that her friends suck and she wants to be with Xander. Which… yay? I guess? But also *headdesk* forever. I like the message that you should date who you want regardless of what your sheep friends think, but I wish it hadn't come about through Xander trying to "invoke the great Roofie spirit" on her.
    – I do think this episode has a lot of great comedic moments in addition to the problematic stuff. I just hate that final message it sends that if you do ill-advised love spells that take away people's consent, you'll get the girl in the end!

    • cait0716 says:

      Oh look, a non-sexist insult towards Cordelia! See, they are possible!
      I was actually impressed to note that Cordy and Xander made it through their entire breakup without any sexist insults.

      Asking for a gift back is such a dick move, Xander.
      When my mom told my dad she was leaving him he bought her this gorgeous black pearl earring and necklace set. When she left him anyway he asked for it back and she was just like "nope, that was a gift"

      I thought the library doors were swinging so they opened both ways

      • lawrence_s says:

        I thought the library doors were swinging so they opened both ways

        I could have sworn they were able to barricade themselves inside the library in Prophecy Girl, at least. I think they reversed the doors in this episode for the sake of comedy.

        • hpfish13 says:

          They also barricaded themselves in the library in School Hard. I only remember this because when I watched that episode, I fully expected it to contain the moment in this episode where they realize the door opens the other way.

      • notemily says:

        I agree with your mom. Gifts shouldn't be conditional on the continuation of a relationship or whatever your condition is. Gifts should be freely given with no expectations, or they're not really gifts.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Ha, love that you and arctic_hare both have a line about getting a cookie.

      What you said about breakups on Valentine's Day reminded me of that totes scientific graph of facebook breakups during the year.

      <img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/fdam2x.jpg&quot; width="600">
      There's a slight blip around Valentine's Day, but it's not too far off of the norm. Still, I think it makes sense that there would be an increase after that point, because people don't want to be alone during the holidays, especially not Valentine's Day, but after that? Meh.

      • psycicflower says:

        I love how there's a spike in late November/early December, like it's people thinking do they like this person enough to buy them a present/spend Christmas with them and getting out before it's close enough to Christmas to seem cruel.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Haha, yes. I also like to think (because I'm US-centric) that there's some Thanksgiving-related trauma mixed in there.

      • notemily says:

        I love that chart, precisely BECAUSE a number of my relationships have started around August and ended in springtime. I do wonder about April Fool's Day though. Are these joke breakups?

    • hassibah says:

      Also I love that Oz is even kind of nonchalant about punching people.

      Right? Oh this dude is a douche and I have to beat the crap out of him? Oh I just woke up naked in the woods and I have no idea what happened? Oh the kid I got bit by is a monster and now I'm going to transform into a bloodthirsty monster for the rest of my life?

      Same face.

    • Delta1212 says:

      While I don't think I'd ever ask for a gift back, accepting one from someone you know you don't have any intention of remaining with weirds me out a little. I don't think Cordy should have accepted it under those circumstances.

    • James says:

      Pretty sure the spell only works on women, regardless of orientation. I refuse to believe there weren't any lesbians anywhere in Sunnydale! Also, if it was just anyone attracted to guys, Larry would've been around, surely? Amy did invoke Diana who, while not a love goddess, dammit show, is a goddess of women, so… idek.

    • RoseFyre says:

      "- The scene with the library doors opening outwards is funny, but the library doors have opened inwards in every other episode I can remember."

      Yes! I totally had that reaction. "The joke is funny, but, um, they've managed to block the library doors before…"

      And, um, I like this episode, but…dreading it for reasons as well. Not going to get into it in depth, but I'm glad Mark liked it.

  35. jenesaispas21 says:

    Hee…so…admission. I get sooooo much enjoyment out of reading the comments when Mark and the various commenters (esp the mods) have completely differing opinions on things. Just, cause, well…you're all really articulate and make me think (granted, sometimes I think that one side or the other is just plain off, but that's part of the fun).

    Just saying that's probably my favorite thing about this site. And the fabulous gifs y'all manage to come up with. <3

    • psycicflower says:

      It's one of my favourite things about this site as well. I love reading everyone's various reactions and opinions on episodes. It's great reading them all and either agreeing or finding myself thinking of something in a new and completely different way. Even Doctor Who's 'Fear Her', one of the most hated episodes of anything ever on Mark's sites, has commenters who like parts of it.

      • Karen says:

        LOL. I LIKE "FEAR HER". Sort of. Not the plot. But I love Rose and it's an episode that is super key to her character arc.

        Also Rose and the Doctor are super adorable in it.

        • sporkaganza93 says:

          I like the Rose-Doctor stuff too. I really like the "peanut butter" joke because I kind of have a mean sense of humor.

          The actual plot of the episode is pretty much shit from top to bottom, though. (Except for the Doctor carrying the Olympic torch. David Tennant had better get a chance to do that this year!!!!)

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I love that it's always a little risky to comment here. You can say something that everyone will love you for or they might reply with hundreds of counterarguments. I enjoy these arguments so much, because they are reasonable, littered with facts and theories and they can go on for hours.
      Just mention something as innocent as "Oh Buffy's outfit looked terrible today" and there will be a whole page filled with opinions and wonderful gifs.
      And you always learn something, even if it's just one of the mods reminding you that the "c-word" is bad and should never be used anywhere.

      • jenesaispas21 says:

        it's true…sometimes the arguments I see people coming up with on here are things that never even occurred to me before, and probably would have classified as "out of left field" until I read the reasoning. I find myself thinking out and re-reading a comment 3 or 4 times before posting just to be absolutely sure that I'm saying things the way the way that I mean them and not being unintentionally naive or offensive.

        I think that's a great thing! I like having my paradigm challenged and reading well-reasoned and logical arguments. Especially if they're ones I didn't agree with to start.

  36. plaidpants says:

    Like you Mark, I oddly really enjoyed this episode. I think for one thing it's clear that Xander's actions are horrid, wrong, awful, and in no way acceptable. I don't think we're supposed to feel bad/sorry for him at all, and I appreciate that the show went there.

    I think my favorite part was Dru showing up to save Xander! I was completely not expecting that – I didn't realize the spell would effect vampires as well! I also loved the misdirection – we think that the episode is going to be about Angel's evil plans for Buffy and then Buffy is barely in it at all!

  37. Raenef_the_5th says:

    Man, I have so much fun watching this episode, I don't even care anymore. I'll embrace my enjoyment, acknowledge there is stuff, and then not feel guilty.

    Also, I think when Buffy is not in an episode for much it means she was doing an interview somewhere that week. (Like Jay Leno or one of those back in the day.)

  38. Raenef_the_5th says:

    Man, I have so much fun watching this episode, I don't even care anymore. I'll embrace my enjoyment, acknowledge there is stuff, and then not feel guilty. The slow motion walk down the hall gets me every time.

    Also, I think when Buffy is not in an episode for much it means she was doing an interview somewhere that week. (Like Jay Leno or one of those back in the day.)

    • Fuzzysnowpuffs says:

      I was wondering the same thing about Buffy. It seems like there were so many ways they could've gone for a Valentine's Day episode and it surprised me how little Buffy showed up… I wouldn't be surprised if Sarah Michelle Gellar had some sort of conflict.

  39. Fuzzysnowpuffs says:

    Blah, I don't have much to say about this episode because I don't particularly like it. It's one of those episodes that I always skip over if I'm in a Buffy mood. My main reason for dislike is the whole Love Spell plot, no matter how well it's written. It irks me how little it bothers Cordelia that Xander was trying to cast a spell on her, but maybe they were just being true to her character. Willow at least did not take it well.
    Love spells aside I do like that in the end there was important character development for Xander and Cordelia.

    Qvq nalbar ryfr svaq vg vebavp gung Fcvxr znxrf sha bs cbrgel?

  40. DreamRose311 says:

    Does anyone by any chance have a gif from Saved By The Bell? I think you know the one…

  41. Smurphy says:

    OK. Actual review.

    40 minutes of this episode was every level of horrible… and the last 5 minutes almost makes up for all of it.

    Buffy and Oz LOLS. A scavenger hunt LOLS. Buffy and Xander aw. CORDELIA STANDING UP TO HER FRIENDS. Xander and Cordy together at last.

    And yes Mark. This show is going to destroy you.

    Also my sister was listening to Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" while I was reading your review and commenting. PERFECT BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR THIS!

  42. dasmondschaf says:

    First, I want to make it absolutely clear that almost everything Xander does in this episode is disgusting. Wanting to work a love spell at all? Gross. Wanting to do so solely for revenge? Abhorrent. And no, Xander, you get no extra points just because in a situation where it would be easy to rape someone, you… didn't. Instead, you just lose MASSIVE points for willingly wanting to remove Cordelia's agency.

    THAT BEING SAID, I am not going to jump aboard the Xander hate train. I think this episode was important for him because it took all his previous gross behaviors and thoughts and brought them to their logical conclusion. All the times that Xander has been disgusting and sexist, and has objectified the women in the show, they come back to bite him in the ass. The Xander we've seen so far is absolutely the kind of person to pull the shit that he did. That is what makes this such a brilliant episode of TV, is that it absolutely indicates that love spells are wrong, and with hilarity and monumental hawkwardness displays that Xander does not actually want all the ladies to go after him.

    Basically, I think of this episode as Xander being forced to confront all the internalized shit that he has demonstrated previously. That moment when Buffy has him cornered in the library and he doesn't rape her, I feel like that is a key character moment: that is the exact time when he realizes that he doesn't actually want this physical relationship, and that it needs to MEAN something. In a very optimistic light, I can see where the conversation between Buffy and Xander at the end is not about her congratulating him for not raping her (UGH) but rather about her acknowledging what he said about needing meaning and love rather than obsession. I agree that the implication is still there that not raping someone is worthy of praise, and that's definitely problematic; I wish there were a way to make the moral more into "love is more than obsession."

    I also liked the scene where Xander walks through the hallway at the high school only to see a bunch of women eyeballing him. Considering how much he objectifies women, I think it is an important moment for him to understand what it's like for someone to actually see you as an object, rather than as a human being like any other.

    Also, I think Xander and Cordelia are adorable, and I loved having an episode focused on the two of them. Cordelia Chase, you are utter perfection, always and forever.

    • Tina says:

      This too (except I actually think that, for the purpose of the show it was important that "not taking advantage of someone" was "praised" as being a good person. because it's not something obvious in society. Like it was important in Innocence that Giles told Buffy that he won't shame her for having sex, it's a strong message for girls. Then in this episode, take it as a strong message for boys.

  43. Beri says:

    Love spells = gross
    Xander making a lap dance joke = gross, and also just awkward (who would say that?)
    Buffy thanking Xander for not taking advantage of her = gross

    Redeeming qualities:

    Good character development for Xander & Cordy
    Great comedy
    Giles getting angry at Xander = well deserved
    Oz hitting Xander = well deserved
    And of course, Xander & Cordy are now publicly dating!

    So, despite my reservations…I can't help but enjoy this episode.

  44. @_Weaver says:

    Rirel gvzr V frr guvf rcvfbqr V guvax gung Wbff naq Pb. ner whfg ybjrevat bhe rkcrpgngvba nf sne nf gurl cbffvoyl pna fb gung Cnffvba jvyy uvg hf GUNG ZHPU UNEQRE.

    • _Bailey_ says:

      Vagrerfgvat cbvag. Obgu Guvf rcvfbqr naq gur ynfg bar, "Cunfrf," jrer nobhg gur qrirybczrag bs eryngvbafuvcf jvguva gur tnat. Fvapr Ohssl'f boivbhfyl pna'g or erfbyirq hagvy gur raq bs gur frnfba (be, lbh xabj, RIRE), vg jbhyq znxr frafr gung gur arkg rcvfbqr jbhyq or nobhg gur erpbapvyvngvba bs Tvyrf naq Wraal.

      Naq gura nybat pbzrf "Cnffvba" . . . . naq ABOBQL vf cercnerq!

      • @_Weaver says:

        Uhu! Gung'f ernyyl gehr. Rfcrpvnyyl orpnhfr vs lbh'er nalguvat yvxr zr, lbh'er QLVAT sbe Wraal naq Tvyrf gb erpbapvyr ol abj. V erzrzore gur svefg gvzr V jngpurq Cnffvba naq V jnf fb natel ng Natryhf gung V'z cerggl fher vg gbbx zr 'gvy fbzrgvzr va gur svefg frnfba bs Natry gb npghnyyl sbetvir bhe oebbql inzc. Naq gung jnf bayl 'pnhfr ur naq Pbeql jrer fb zbgureshpxva' phgr.

        Fnl jung lbh jvyy nobhg Natry naq Ohssl orvat ~zrnag sbe rnpu bgure naq Fcvxr naq Ohssl'f enj purzvfgel, ohg sbe eryngvbafuvcf gung jrer onfrq ba npghnyyl haqrefgnaqvat naq ybivat sevraqfuvcf? Natry/Pbeql sbe gur zbgureshpxvat jva.

        • _Bailey_ says:

          V unir gb nqzvg gung V ybir Fcvxr naq Ohssl (rfcrpvnyyl va F7 jura gurl trg fb pybfr rzbgvbanyyl) ohg lbh'er pbacyrgryl evtug nobhg Natry naq Pbeql. Vs Fcvxr unqa'g qvrq ng gur raq bs F7, ur naq Ohssl znl unir riraghnyyl ernpurq gur fnzr yriry bs vagvznpl gung Natry naq Pbeql qvq, ohg nf vg vf, Natry naq Pbeql ner cebonoyl gur urnyguvrfg pbhcyr va gur Wbffirefr — be jbhyq unir orra, vs gurl'q orra tvira gur punapr . . . .

  45. Genny_ says:

    I hate, hate, hate this episode.

    Sorry. I just detest it. It's not funny; it's creepy, and vile, and sexist, and rape culture-y, and tbh, despite me not exactly hiding that in a lot of ways I am iffy about Xander… I find the degree to which it's creepy really OOC. I genuinely can't see the kind-of-a-dick Xander of the last two series doing this.

    I admit to a total bias against plots like this: I never like them and they're one of my beserk buttons, so I don't pretend any objectivity whatsoever in my reactions. (Nor is this a 'you can't like it!!!' deal, everyone has a different threshold.)

    I just… this episode skeeves me out SO MUCH. Xander decides to control Cordelia's mind to PUNISH HER FOR DUMPING HIM. He admits it! Revenge, he says! By taking away her inability to consent and forcing her to act romantically towards him. That is so skeevy, because it's the kind of thing so many guys *do*, punish ex-girlfriends for dumping them because they feel that their girlfriends are in the wrong for doing so. Regardless of how shallow Cordelia's reasons for doing it were, nobody is *ever* entitled to their partner staying with them. A person should never be punished for leaving somebody romantically, because that says they were wrong for doing so, which… ew. It says that a person is obligated to stay in a relationship for the sake of what the other person wants. When you couple that with the gender dynamics… yeah. Woman obligated to stay with man so his feelings aren't hurt. Oh joy.

    And it's all presented as funny and misguided-but-sympathetic because oh, poor Xander, he was so angry at being humiliated! Sure, he was in the wrong, but nobody's perfect, right? Except- look, if someone dumped me the way Xander was dumped, I would be pissed off too, not so much about the 'what' of being dumped as I would be about the 'why' and 'how'. I'd probably be a total dick about it, I won't lie. But I am pretty sure I would never do something that is directly compared to date rape. I am pretty sure I would not decide to violate somebody if the opportunity arose.

    and also then Xander is apparently ~super amazing~ for not raping buffy i just

    can't

    even

    fklsjdfl;gdfl;

    And yes, before anyone jumps in: it is presented as bad. But it's not presented as SERIOUS. It's funny-bad, it's 'oh Xander you fool' bad, and then Cordelia gets together with him and he's BETTER OFF than he was before. So just… no.

    Honestly, in my headcanon, this episode doesn't exist. It makes… no sense.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I love this whole comment. <3

    • psycicflower says:

      THIS to your whole comment but especially And yes, before anyone jumps in: it is presented as bad. But it's not presented as SERIOUS. It's funny-bad, it's 'oh Xander you fool' bad, and then Cordelia gets together with him and he's BETTER OFF than he was before. So just… no.

  46. PheasantPlucker says:

    This episode.
    It's clearly trying to address Xander's behaviour towards women and give him some consequences for it, but tends to overlook some of the more insidious aspects of the plotline. The writers seem to have missed that the entire concept of a love spell is an inherent violation, and while they show that Xander realises it removes the ability to consent (with his rejection of Buffy once he realises the spell has worked on her rather than Cordelia) he faces no real consequences for those actions at the end of the episode (no one died, no one holds it against him, he gets his girlfriend back and Buffy thanks him for not raping her. Nice). The actors do extremely well with the material from an entertainment perspective and Xander gets a taste of what its like to be treated as an object of desire. I like that Giles remains completely unimpressed and judgy about Xanders actions, and I like that Xander DOESN'T rape anyone. I don't like that it frames him as being extra-specially awesome for not raping anyone and doesn't address that he (as the episode referred to it) 'roofied' the entire female population of Sunnydale. Which is actually accurate and not at all funny.

    • James says:

      You pretty much said everything I wanted to say about this episode. They do some decent things with it, the performances are great, but the fact that Xander faces no real, lasting consequences for such a violation is really not cool.

    • beckaboomer says:

      I agree with this. I just wish that the overall episode didn't seem to treat such an icky concept with such light-hearted wackiness. Even if parts are funny, there should have been more consequences as a result. I love Xander, so I don't want him flayed open and miserable, but it's hard to see how much he really learned as a result of this debacle. I like that Xander is put in the position of the Object of Desire (and all of its resulting awfulness/obsessiveness). That is an attitude he has demonstrated towards several women at this point, and it's good to see him put into their shoes, but I don't think that's enough. Ah well.

  47. Flowerry Pott says:

    I was so waiting for this episode! My second-favorite moment in the entire series is when Xander asks for the locket back and Cordelia secretly pulls it out from under her blouse. Awwww…….. I think there's something in my eye…..

  48. LadyPeyton says:

    Am I the only person who, upon first view through, was a little freaked out that Willow's go to thought, when it occurred to her that Xander wasn't going to love her back, was to GO GRAB AN AX? Meek, quiet, bookish, adorbs, little Willow? The character I identified with the most until later seasons when Naln appears? My expression, from the moment she first showed up with it until the end of the episode, was this: O.O

    • Dru says:

      Like they say, it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for….

    • James says:

      Arire yrg vg or fnvq gung Jvyybj'f qrfprag vagb qnexarff jnfa'g znffviryl sberfunqbjrq!

    • Kickpuncher says:

      On the one hand, I remember hating it when Knaqre naq Pbeqryvn oebxr hc, but on the other hand, Naln vf gur orfg punenpgre bs nyy gvzr.

      <3 Naln <3

    • t09yavosaur says:

      She (not counting Buffy) was also the most forward in her advances toward Xander. I suppose it is because they are the two girls closest to him?

  49. shoroko says:

    I don't really care for this episode. However, I feel like I think there are some things about it that I at least want to be paticular on my feelings on:

    – What Xander does is obviously gross and messed up. I don't really care that he's hurting, I don't like that he blackmails Amy and I certainly don't like that he coudln't have chosen a better way to sort out his feelings. However, Xander did not pursue the love spell becacuse he wanted Cordelia to be in love with him. He did it because he was hurt by her, and was utterly convinced that Cordelia felt none of that. Obviously, we know that's not the case, that Cordelia was hurting and that she did have feelings for him. But Xander's stated intentions are't about forcing Cordelia to have feelings for him so that he can be happy or about having any sort of intimate interaction with her – it's about hurting her the way he felt she hurt him. Now, that's unkind at best and hugely violative and gross at worst, and it's discounted when in the end Xander is thanked for not raping a girl, but I do think it was worth delinianting. And I do think it would have been worse if Xander's stated purpose had been to make Cordelia fall in love with him so that they could date again. That doesn't make what Xander did okay, or that he should be congratulated or otherwise approved of because he could have a been a more disgusting asshole, I just… like to be precise.

    – I wasn't really into the humor of this, but I did find Jenny's little "Nooo…" when Giles dragged her off to be kind of funny. And Angel randomly appearing and grabbing Xander.

    – Xander also finally gets what he wants: everything. I'm not sure it was really worth it to try to do this episode study, to be honest.

    – I also didn't really care for the gender stereotypes concerning women and competition between women. I get that violence was inevitable, but… again, I wasn't really into this exercise anyway, and I think there is some genuine question as to whether love really must be possessive.

    – I also didn't like that the spell being meant for her was something that made Cordelia like him, but at the same time, I'm not sure I could argue that such a reaction is out of character for her.

    – And this episode title just makes me think of a reddit thread I read once in which people were talking about misunderstandings they'd encountered/caused because they hadn't known what "hot and bothered" meant. Anyway.

    • notemily says:

      – And this episode title just makes me think of a reddit thread I read once in which people were talking about misunderstandings they'd encountered/caused because they hadn't known what "hot and bothered" meant. Anyway.

      Someone mentioned Bad Translator in yesterday's comments, so I ran "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" through it and got:

      "Confused confusion and problems"
      "Love is a wonderful compromise and confusing."
      "There are problems and misunderstandings, magic 84"
      "I'd like to keep the changes made to the Mix."
      "This proposal now began to rain."

      • settlingforhistory says:

        After 35 translation I got:

        "Find the differences between witch love."
        Jryy va jvgpu ybir fcryyf pna qb n ybg bs qnzntr, gbb.

      • Noybusiness says:

        A synopsis that I wrote came out as:

        "Xander in the let it be as a similar kind, but as blackmail boutique events Witch Amy, Sun Valley, under the influence of women, Mary. Cordelia and the wealth of his love for the period has been sent."

      • Noybusiness says:

        For some reason the first Cordelia in the paragraph got translated to Mary, and the second Cordelia didn't.

        I've had fun with Google Translate without even using more than one language. Observe:

        English: This is a sentence that you will be able to understand perfectly, because it is written without a single deviation from the rules of spelling and grammar, has no typos or incorrect words, and contains neither any ambiguity nor any vagueness, it being impossible to mistranslate a sentence of such clarity.

        German: Dies ist ein Satz, den Sie in der Lage, sehr gut verstehen, weil es ohne eine einzige Abweichung von den Regeln der Rechtschreibung und Grammatik geschrieben wird, hat keine Tippfehler oder falsche Worte und enthält weder Unklarheiten noch Unklarheit, da es unmöglich ist falsch übersetzen einen Satz von solcher Klarheit.

        Back to English: This is a sentence you in a position very well understand, is because it is written without a single deviation from the rules of spelling and grammar has to translate any typos or incorrect words, and contains no ambiguities still unclear, since it is impossible wrong a set of such clarity.

        Back to German: Dies ist ein Satz, den Sie in der Lage sehr gut verstehen, weil es ohne eine einzige Abweichung von den Regeln der Rechtschreibung und Grammatik hat keine Tippfehler oder falsche Wörter zu übersetzen geschrieben ist, und enthält keine Unklarheiten noch unklar, da es unmöglich falsch a Reihe solcher Klarheit.

        Back to English: This is a sentence that you understand the situation very well, because without a single deviation from the rules of spelling and grammar has no typographical errors or wrong words to translate written, and contains no ambiguities still unclear, since it is impossible wrong a number of such clarity.

  50. Alayne_Stone says:

    Ah, the episode we truly fall in love with Cordelia! At least I did, and I never looked back.

    • Karen says:

      I wish I could remember at what point it was that I fell in love with Cordy. All I know is that I love her now and she's one of my favorite characters in the Buffyverse.

      • notemily says:

        V guvax sbe zr vg zvtug unir orra nf yngr nf "Ez J/ n Ih," ohg abj jura V er-jngpu V ybir ure sebz gur ortvaavat.

        • Alayne_Stone says:

          Gb or snve, V xarj crbcyr jub nqberq ure fb V jnf ybbxvat sbe na rkphfr jura V svefg jngpurq, naq ure gryyvat bss Unezbal frnyrq gur qrny. Jura fur'f ba Natry, gur fgnaavat gnxrf qvssrerag cebcbegvbaf fgvyy πŸ˜‰

      • Ellie says:

        I know I fell in love in Prophesy Girl, when she bit the vampire and shouted “See how you like it!”

        Vg jnfa’g hagvy fbzrgvzr qhevat NgF gung fur orpnzr zl hapbagrfgrq snibevgr Ohsslirefr punenpgre rire, gubhtu.

        • BethanytheMartian says:

          V ernyyl sryy va ybir jvgu ure gur rcvfbqr jurer Ohssl orpbzrf Cflpuvp, naq fur pna ernq rirelbar'f gubhtugf. Rirel gubhtug Pbeqryvn unf pbzrf bhg bs ure zbhgu zbzragf yngre. Fur unf ab svygre, naq V xvaqn ybir gung nobhg ure.

          Nyfb, va gur fnzr rcvfbqr, Bm vf gur orfg.

  51. sesinkhorn says:

    Is David Boreanaz wearing eyeliner? I think he's wearing eyeliner. I love the Angel/Dru/Spike scene in this episode. Angel is such a freaking jerkwad and Spike's giving him the squint-eye and still being a smartass. "TEAR HER LUNGS OUT. That'll make an impression." I just love how Spike is like, "IDGAF ABOUT YOUR STUPID POETIC NONSENSE YOU OVERDRAMATIC SOD JUST KILL HER."

    Yeah I don't know what to do with this episode. Willow in literal tears because she loves Xander SO MUCH (spell or not) breaks my damn heart. And much as Arctic Hare went over upthread, I just can't get past the humor in this episode being used as 1) a lesson, and 2) it still ending up somewhat okay that Xander did this. I used to freaking adore Xander's character, but now that I'm reviewing everything with a critical eye, so many things he does are so problematic and I see so many shades of excused misogyny being okay because he's a "nice guy" and it's really upsetting to me.

    I can kind of excuse him for making shitty decisions as long as those shitty decisions are clearly called out and refuted later. But yeah, as has been mentioned, I really do not dig the "Hey thanks for not raping me, buddy! You really ARE a good guy!" schtick and Cordelia being, like, flattered that he wanted to cast a love spell on her. I mean, I try to keep in mind that this is a much younger Whedon show and that this stuff eventually progressed and got better, but yeah. Having dealt with my own "nice guys" in life, I have a really difficult time with the character, both in fiction and reality. It's so thorny to have a guy who feels like HE IS OWED YOUR AFFECTION because he's been so "nice" and "loyal" to you.

    ANYWAY. I have a hard time with all of this. I don't want Xander to be a perfect character. I like that he has flaws and is sometimes really freaking unlikeable. That's okay with me. I just don't dig the lack of critical analysis of his actions and really establishing that NO: NONE OF THIS WAS ACTUALLY OKAY AT ALL.

    Good for Willow for refusing to speak to him for a while, seriously. Yeah, sure, people make mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes have real and serious consequences and don't get automatically forgiven because you're SUPER NICE normally and you LEARNED YOUR LESSON.

    OMG I had a lot of thoughts.

  52. quenstalof says:

    •Poor Cordelia πŸ™
    •Willow/Oz yay
    •Um…I think this is a side of Xander that I don't like…..
    •She was wearing the locket. πŸ™ I never thought I would have so many feelings for Cordelia based on her introduction.
    •Lol cgi witchcraft
    •I was gonna say earlier that I was getting some weird rapey vibes from Xander earlier, but the wording of that spell just makes it worse. Until she submits to his will alone?
    •Is it not going to work because she's already in love with him?
    •Ew comfort each other? EWW lapdancing come on Xander! We were just starting to like you
    •Oh shit did the spell get cast on Buffy somehow?
    •Lol everyone even better! I love this montage. Is it just me or do the guys seem to be looking at him lasciviously as well?
    •Is Giles going to hit on him too? Probably about time Xander asks for help
    •If you had one clue what it would mean to me? Ick ICk ICK. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that he's not taking advantage, but that would be a pretty awful reason to sleep with someone, because they knew what it would mean to you.
    •"We have to catch the Buffy-rat." Favorite quote from the episode, calling it now.
    •I was wondering if Angelus was going to factor more into this episode.
    •The great roofie spirit
    •I find it really telling that Buffy can admit what she remembered, but Xander still hides behind amnesia for his actions as a hyena.
    •That's two episodes that have made me happy in a row. I am terrified of what's to come.

    • spikesjojo says:

      Lrnu, or fpnerq. Fb sne vs gurer ner avpr dhvrg shaal rcf (bxnl – abg fb shaal va cnegf) gura Jurqba tbrf sbe n ernyvgl purpx bs fbzr fbeg. Cnffvba vf arkg!

  53. Ida says:

    My mind goes to strange places sometimes.

    Like now, for example, I wonder if this love spell would work on gay men. It wasn't as if it was really meant for women; it was meant for Cordelia only. So technically speaking, would it mean that everyone who had the ability to fall in love with Xander would? Straight women, gay men, bisexuals. Or is it strictly gender-orientated? It would be interesting to have, say, Larry come running and wanting to join in the fun.

    Bs pbhefr guvf znxrf zr guvax bs Naqerj, orpnhfr ubarfgyl? Rirelguvat gung pna pbaarpg gb Naqerj – V'z va. Ur frrzrq gb or nggenpgrq gb Knaqre, ng yrnfg fyvtugyl, fb vs ur unq orra nebhaq, jbhyq ur tb vagb vg gbb? Ur jbhyq or gur bar gb fhzzba n qrzba naq xvqanc Knaqre naq oevat uvz vagb n ercyvpn bs gur GNEQVF be fbzrguvat. Gung'f npghnyyl… xvaq bs greevslvat.

    IDEK. I'm tired and should go to bed.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Well, it was magically-induced fake love, so I don't think the target's natural sexual orientation necessarily applies.

    • pica_scribit says:

      I had this thought, too. My conclusions are that 1) having non-straight characters attracted to Xander would be too complicated to pull off in a nuanced way in 43 minutes, 2) Xander's sexual orientation is the one "controlling" the magic, and 3) Xander having gay panic would have made him look far less sympathetic in this episode. So I can understand why the writers didn't "go there" even if the end result was a glaringly heteronormative episode.

  54. Ellie says:

    Hi Mark,

    I just want to thank you for doing these reviews. I stopped watching Buffy at the beginning of season 2 (I can’t remember why, but I was thirteen and fickle at the time) and only started again early in season 4. Because of this, I was never not spoiled for the majority of seasons 2 and 3, and it is just so much fun to watch the show again through the eyes of someone with no idea what to expect.

    Oh boy, this episode. I have to admit, I loved it for the comedy the first time I caught it in reruns, but wow is it problematic when I watch it now. As others have said, having Cordelia stand up to her β€œfriends” and get back together with him really undercuts the lesson about consent he supposedly learned. I felt bad when Cordelia hurt him, but his retaliation is just so much worse than what she did, and the fact that she doesn’t realize that his intent was to make her fall hopelessly in love with him just so he could break her heart and publicly humiliate her when she gets back together with him makes me really angry. We’re only two episodes past Innocence, and I’m imagining a replay of the β€œmorning after” scene with Xander treating Cordelia in the many Angelus did Buffy. Yeah, no way does Cordelia even remotely deserve that, and she certainly doesn’t deserve to be in a relationship with a guy who’d do that to her.

    This show is IMO at its best when exploring the darkness within its characters, so I actually like that it took Xander so far, but the romcom ending is unearned and ends up rewarding Xander, and with a beautiful girlfriend willing to stand up to the social hierarchy to be with him, when this very episode makes it pretty clear he’d still dump her in a second if Buffy ever actually decided she wanted him.

  55. 00guera00 says:

    I was always kinda meh on this episode, except the whole Oz hunting down Buffyrat bit was hilarious.

    But it made me think…

    Va frnfba fvk jr trg Jneera (naq ol rkgrafvba gur bgure gjb) jub perngr gur 'zvaq pbageby' onyy (V'z fher vg unq n anzr V pna'g erzrzore) naq jura vg ehaf bhg bs whvpr, Xngevan tbrf bss ba gurz naq pyrneyl fgngrf 'Vg'f encr' V sryy va ybir jvgu gur jevgref n ovg zber.
    Nyfb va frnfba fvk, Nzl fher punatrf ure zvaq nobhg gur ybir fcryy guvat fvapr fur pnfgf zntvp ba gung tvey sbe Jvyybj. Frevbhfyl Nzl, qvq lbh yrnea abguvat?

    • Bu frnfba 6. Fhpu n zvk ont.

      V guvax bapr Nzl ernyvmrq rirelguvat jnf qvssrerag nsgre orpbzvat uhzna ntnva fur guerj pnhgvba gb gur jvaq naq fnvq "shpx rirelguvat V'yy qb jung V jnag."

      Naq gurl arrqrq fbzrbar gb ernyyl chfu Jvyybj'f yvzvgf. V thrff.

      • BethanytheMartian says:

        V'ir nyjnlf vagrecergrq vg nf "Nzl vf hcfrg gung ur'f oynpxznvyvat ure vagb qbvat n fcryy sbe uvz" guna "Nzl vf hcfrg ur jnagf ure gb qb n ybir fcryy". Jura fur qbrf gur yngre fcryy sbe Jvyybj, vg'f orpnhfr fur jnagf gb qb vg. Fur nyfb vaibxrf gur vapbeerpg tbqqrff, dhvgr cbffvoyl obgpuvat gur fcryy ba checbfr. Abg orpnhfr jung ur jnagf ure gb qb vf jebat, ohg orpnhfr ur'f sbepvat ure gb qb vg.

        V guvax guvf vf sberfunqbjvat ubj vpxl ure punenpgre orpbzrf.

  56. Tristam says:

    About Buffy thanking Xander… From a neutral point of view, of course, not taking advantage of a person, who is under a spell, would be normal human behaviour, not worthy of any special reward. However, for Buffy as a character, it was a perfectly natural thing to say after that experience in the library. How else could this little episode between them have been resolved? Saying nothing would have been awkward and out of character. But now we get a resolution that shows Buffy's kindness and empathy, strengthening their friendship and mutual trust. Xander may not deserve it in our eyes, but I see nothing wrong with it in terms of their character development at this point in the series.

  57. kelseyofcake says:

    My notes on this episode are making up for the fact I didn't comment yesterday. I HAVE LOTS OF THOUGHTS.

    -Aaaww, Xander this scene was cute until you made that "unavailable" comment to Buffy.
    -Cordy needs some real friends. πŸ™ I wish Buffy and Willow were more friendly with her.
    -"Bad breakup." I am going to keep an eye out and see if we ever get a bigger understatement than this. Also, hi Amy.
    -Guys please stop shunning Jenny. πŸ™
    -I like Spike's gift better. It doesn't make me shudder. Also, lol, vampires celebrate valentine's day.
    -"I think I'm a groupie!"
    -Ugh, fuck you guys. It's none of your business who Cordelia dates!
    -Jesus, those roses.
    -I feel bad for Cordy and Xander at the same time. πŸ™
    -Okay wow, this is what I would call a gross overreaction. This is disgusting.
    -No really, knock it off!
    -Puppy :((((((((
    -No, that lap dance comment was fucking unnecessary.
    -Well, I'm glad that he does want to break the spell now rather than take advanta- ……no, that is not something I should have to feel glad about.
    -Yay, he admits he's stupid!
    -So, does the spell affect gay guys too?
    -There are creepy consent issues here not even being discussed within the show.
    -CORDELIA! Not you too! Characters on my list of favorites are not allowed to make PMS jokes!
    -Oz punching Xander is a beautiful thing.
    -Go Giles, go!
    -LOL, I forgot about axe-wielding Willow.
    -Of course. There would be a random black cat in Sunnydale High's basement.
    -Joyce, no.
    -Dammit Angelus!
    -Okay this part with Drusilla is hilarious.
    -Oh good, I'm glad to hear Willow is punishing him.
    -Buffy, you shouldn't have to be thankful about that. πŸ™

    The end of the episode is where I feel conflicted. It's true that Xander suffers no lasting consequences for his actions, but I love watching Cordelia stand up to her friends. But I am a bit confused that she seemed….happily surprised that the spell was for her? I don't fall into the "love it" or the "hate it" category of opinion here. There things I enjoyed, and then there were other things that were very problematic. I can see what the writers were trying to do with Xander here, but I think they could have done better.

    Abj rkphfr zr juvyr V tb teno n obk bs gvffhrf naq cercner gb jngpu "Cnffvba".

    • notemily says:

      -Aaaww, Xander this scene was cute until you made that "unavailable" comment to Buffy.

      That line always bothers me because it's such a Nice Guy thing to do–remind this girl, who is supposedly your friend, that you are ~so sad~ about her not wanting to be with you. I've had guys do that to me before and it pisses me off.

  58. Nicholas says:

    V jbaqre vs Znex xabjf gung pbzr zbaqnl, rirel fvatyr bar bs uvf rkcrpgngvbaf naq nffhzcgvbaf nobhg jurer guvf frnfba vf tbvat gb tb jvyy or funggrerq.

    Fvqr abgr: Guvf vf n snveyl hacbchyne bcvavba gb unir urer, ohg V'yy fnl vg naljnl. V qvqa'g zvaq gur qrngu bs Wraal Pnyraqne. Gur tlcfl erirny whfg znqr zr ungr ure fb zhpu sbe qrpvrivat rirelobql. Vs fur unq gbyq rirelbar nobhg gur phefr naq jung pbhyq oernx vg nurnq bs gvzr, Natry jbhyq fgvyy or Natry. Fur perngrq guvf jubyr zrff naq "Cnffvba" jnf xnezvp whfgvpr.

    • Ellie says:

      Ba gur Wraal sebag, V’z cerggl fher ure hapyr qvqa’g gryy ure nobhg gur “cresrpg unccvarff” pynhfr hagvy nsgre ur’q ybfg uvf fbhy. Fur xarj fur jnf fhccbfrq gb znxr fher Natry jnf fhssrevat, ohg fur qvqa’g xabj gurer’q or pbafrdhraprf vs fur qvqa’g.

      • Nicholas says:

        Znlor fur qvqa'g xabj rirelguvat, ohg V'z cerggl fher fur qvq. Rira vs lbh'er pbeerpg gubhtu, gur cbvag vf gung fur jnf fclvat ba gurz naq qrpvrivat gurz. Vs fur unq gbyq gurz jung fur xarj nobhg gur phefr, rira vs fur whfg fnvq fur jnf gurer gb znxr fher ur qvqa'g ybfr uvf fbhy, vg jbhyq'ir znqr n qvssrerapr.

        • Ellie says:

          V nterr fur jnfa’g va gur evtug, ohg fur nqzvggrq gung, erwrpgrq gur “iratrnapr ng nyy pbfgf” cuvybfbcul naq gevrq gb znxr nzraqf. Sebz jung jr fnj, vg’f abg zhpu bs n yrnc gb rkgencbyngr gung fur’q orra envfrq jvgu gung zvaqfrg naq erwrpgvat jebat oryvrsf jvgu juvpu lbh’q orra oebhtug hc qbrfa’g unccra bireavtug (sbe gur fnxr bs guvf nethzrag V’z vtabevat gur vffhrf vaibyirq jvgu gur qrcvpgvba bs Ebznav phygher). Lrf, ure orvat sbeguevtug znl unir znqr n qvssrerapr, ohg fur unq ab vqrn gung gur fgnxrf jrer fb uvtu hagvy vg jnf gbb yngr.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Qvq lbh abg ernq gur cneg bs Znex'f erivrj ba Ghrfqnl gung fnvq gung "tlcfl" vf na rguavp fyhe naq abg gb hfr vg? Nyfb, lbhe fhttrfgvba gung ure qrngu vf "xnezvp whfgvpr" sbe nalguvat fur qvq vf rkgerzryl tebff naq bss-chggvat. Rfcrpvnyyl orpnhfr fur unq ab vqrn nobhg gur cresrpg unccvarff pynhfr nurnq bs gvzr.

      • Nicholas says:

        V ncbybtvmr nobhg hfvat n fyhe. V jnfa'g gelvat gb or enpvfg.

        V qba'g ernyyl guvax V jnf orvat bss-chgvat ol fnlvat gung "Cnffvba" jnf xnezvp. V fgvyy fgnaq ol zl bcvavba gung fur znqr jebat qrpvfvba nsgre jebat qrpvfvba yrnqvat hc gb ure qrngu, fhpu nf abg gryyvat nalbar gung fur jnf fgnlvat yngr ng fpubby, rira gubhtu fur xarj gung rirelbar jnf n gnetrg. Znlor vs fur gbyq Tvyrf gung fur jnf jbexvat ba n fbhy-erfgbevat fcryy orsber fur jnf xvyyrq vafgrnq bs xrrcvat vg n frperg sbe fbzr ernfba, vg jbhyqa'g unir gnxra nf ybat sbe vg gb or sbhaq haqre ure qrfx naq Ohssl jbhyqa'g unir unq gb fraq Natry gb uryy. Abguvat jnf fcrpvsvpnyyl ure snhyg, ohg fur arire qvq n ybg bs guvatf evtug rvgure.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Naq lbh guvax nyy gung zrnaf fur qrfreirf gb qvr? Ab. Gung vf erchyfvir naq bss-chggvat, naq ivpgvz-oynzvat. Whfg fgbc.

          • spikesjojo says:

            V guvax Wraal jnf erfcbafvoyr sbe n ybg zbs gur fvghngvbaf gung riraghnyyl erfhygrq va ure qrngu. Fur qbrf xabj zber guna gur bguref. Fur vf fhccbfrqyl va ybir jvgu Tvyrf – lrg fur qbrfa'g rira tvir uvz n pyhr gb erfrnepu orsber Natry ybfrf uvf fbhy. Fur fgnaqf ol naq yrgf Ohssl naq Natry snyy va ybir – orpnhfr fur qbrfa'g jnag gb oernx gurz hc, rira gubhtu ure yvsr vf qribgrq (ng guvf cbvag) gb znxvat fher Natry fgnlf zvfrenoyr. Vg gnxrf n uhtr pbasebagngvba sbe ure gb rira bja hc naq rkcynva – gura fur jnagf vafgnag npprcgnapr. Lrf, gurl jrer nyy yncfrf va whqtrzrag – naq gubfr yncfrf unq n erfhyg.

            Xnezn qbrfa'g zrna trggvat jung lbh qrfreir. Wraal qvq abg qrfreir gb qvr. Xnezn zrnaf frggvat raretvrf va zbgvba ol pubbfvat npgvbaf naq ernpgvbaf. wraal qvq fhssre gur pbafrdhraprf bs raretvrf gung fur frg va zbgvba ol znxvat hajvfr pubvprf – gur zbfg boivbhf bar orvat fgnlvat ng gur fpubby. Fur xabjf nal sevraq bs Ohssl'f vf n gnetrg.

        • Ellie says:

          Nobhg abg gryyvat nalbar, vg jnf n onq vqrn naq vg pbfg ure ure yvsr, ohg V pna nyfb haqrefgnaq. Va obgu “Vaabprapr” naq “Orjvgpurq, Obgurerq naq Orjvyqrerq” fur jnagrq gb zraq oevqtrf naq jnf erohssrq. Fvapr fur crefbanyyl sryg thvyg sbe jung unq unccrarq (zber guna fur’f erfcbafvoyr, V’q nethr, ohg fur qvq qrprvir crbcyr fur pnerf nobhg naq ertergf vg), naq fur jnagrq gurfr crbcyr gb sbetvir ure, fur jnf nsenvq bs fnlvat nalguvat orsber fur jnf fher fur pbhyq qb vg. Lrf, fur “fubhyq” unir gbyq rirelbar fur jnf erfrnepuvat gur phefr, ohg abg qbvat fb vf irel uhzna naq flzcngurgvp gb zr. Nf sne nf xnezn tbrf, V guvax fur gentvpnyyl raqrq hc cnlvat sbe bgure crbcyr’f pevzrf sne zber guna ure bja.

          Nobhg fgnlvat yngr ng gur fpubby, hz, V pnyy cybgubyr. Vg’f ernyyl xvaq bs fvyyl naq vzcynhfvoyr gung fur pbhyqa’g unir whfg qbar gung ng ure ubzr, rfcrpvnyyl jvgu n yrtraqnevyl fnqvfgvp inzcver ba gur ybbfr. V zrna, fur’f tbg n qrprag wbo naq fur’f n grpuvr–nz V ernyyl fhccbfrq gb oryvrir fur qbrfa’g unir n ubzr CP jvgu vagrearg, rira va 1998? Crefbanyyl, V svyr guvf va gur fnzr cynpr jvgu “Jul qvq abobql jbeel nobhg Natryhf orvat noyr gb trg vagb gurve ubzrf orsber Cnffvba?” Gung rcvfbqr jbexf FB jryy ba na rzbgvbany yriry, ohg nyfb qrcraqf hcba gur nhqvrapr abg abgvpvat pregnva vapbafvfgrapvrf (juvpu, gb or snve, vg jnf n ybat gvzr naq znal ivrjvatf orsber V unq gung “Url!” zbzrag zlfrys).

          • nanceoir says:

            Va ertneqf gb gur ubzr pbzchgre-naq-vagrearg guvat, V vzntvar gung Fhaalqnyr Uvtu'f pbzchgref nera'g ba qvnyhc. Hfvat gur fpubby'f pbzchgref (naq zber vzcbegnagyl, gurve vagrearg pbaarpgvba) znxrf frafr gb zr.

            Vf gung n tbbq unaqjnir-l rkcynangvba? πŸ˜‰

            • Ellie says:

              Jryy, V’z abg ernyyl ybbxvat gb avgcvpx, fb V’yy npprcg vg (gubhtu vs V jrer ure naq Natryhf jrer ba gur ybbfr, V guvax V’q whfg qrny jvgu gur qvnyhc πŸ˜‰ )

              • Ellie says:

                Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, I meant to rot13 that and just brainfarted. Is there any way to alert a mod?

                • echinodermata says:

                  Caught it on my own and rot13'd it. In the future, report it – a box comes up asking for confirmation that you wish to report it and there's a text box to explain your reason for reporting it.

                  • Ellie says:

                    Thank you so much and will do. I realized what I’d done about a microsecond after clicking the “Post Comment” button.

        • Genny_ says:

          Lbh'er jvfuvat n srznyr punenpgre gb qvr n oybbql, ivbyrag qrngu orpnhfr fur znqr n srj zvfgnxrf. Lrf, gung vf bss-chggvat naq senaxyl, perrcl.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Abcr, vg’f pbzcyrgryl bss-chggvat. Yvxr nepgvp_uner fnlf, vg’f ivpgvz oynzvat, naq va n fubj shyy bs synjrq punenpgref (jub, nf jr fnj va guvf rcvfbqr, ner tvira uhtr nyybjnaprf sbe gubfr synjf), vg’f evqvphybhf gb fnl gung bar bs gurz qrfreirf gb qvr. Lbh zvtug abg or oebxra hc bire vg, ohg Wraal va ab jnl qrfreirf jung unccraf gb ure. Naq qb lbh guvax gur jnl gur znva pnfg gerngf ure va gur cnfg pbhcyr rcvfbqrf *zvtug* cynl n ebyr va jul fur’f xrrcvat gung n frperg?

          • Ellie says:

            Cerggl zhpu guvf. V zrna, V pna trg fvzcyl abg srryvat flzcngul sbe n punenpgre–V ernyyl qba’g yvxr rvgure Knaqre be Jvyybj, sbe vafgnapr, gubhtu V guvax obgu ner jryy-qenja punenpgref naq pna frr jul bguref qb–ohg Wraal qrsvavgryl qbrfa’g “qrfreir” jung unccraf gb ure. Va snpg, V’q fnl gung Tvyrf jbhyq’ir qrfreirq vg zber gb or xvyyrq ol Rltuba sne zber guna Wraal va “Cnffvba,” ohg V’z irel irel tynq ur jnf fcnerq.

    • Genny_ says:

      Bxnl fb svefgyl: tlcfl! ENPVFG FYHE. Frpbaqyl: abobql vf ragvgyrq gb xabj fur vf ebznav, abg yrnfg bs nyy orpnhfr vg arprffvgngrf bcravat urefrys hc gb enpvny qvfpevzvangvba! Guveqyl: fur qvqa'g *xabj* nobhg gur phefr orvat oernxnoyr. Sbheguyl: frevbhfyl, lbh ungr ure rabhtu lbh jnag ure gb QVR orpnhfr fur fperjrq hc va na njxjneq fvghngvba?

  59. theduck says:

    Today's Badly Translated episode name:

    Original text:
    "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"
    …35 translations later Bing gives us:
    "–City of deaf and hard of war"

    Alrighty then. I didn't do a re-watch of this one, cause I just saw it a few weeks ago, but a couple comments from memory:

    – This is one of those episodes where the first time I watched it I absolutely loved it, and the second time I was bored. I guess it's one of those things where knowing what's going to happen kind of takes the fun out of it. "Gur Mrccb" vf n jnl orggre Knaqre-pragevp rcvfbqr, va zl bcvavba.

    – Jenny hitting on Xander will never not be funny though. Especially when Giles has to pull her by the hand out of the library and she's just like "noooo ;__;" XD

    – Also, FAVORITE ANGELUS MOMENT EVER: "We should be safe up here." "Works in theory!" The timing of that is just perfect and hilarious.

    – XANDER/CORDY 4EVAAAA it's just mandatory for me to say that every time their relationship progresses.

    • notemily says:

      I posted this somewhere else, but the translations I got for the episode name were:

      "Confused confusion and problems"
      "Love is a wonderful compromise and confusing."
      "There are problems and misunderstandings, magic 84"
      "I'd like to keep the changes made to the Mix."
      "This proposal now began to rain."

      • sporkaganza93 says:

        The first three kind of make sense (I especially love the second because it's pretty much a pearl of legitimate wisdom), but…

        I think Xander would rather do anything BUT keep the changes made to the mix in this episode! And the last one is just hilariously nonsensical.

  60. fantasylover120 says:

    Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered is a good name for this ep because those are the feelings it invokes. It's bewitching due to a interesting storyline. It bothers me some because the treatment girls receive through it, including Cordelia though I do love that it backfires on Xander in a huge way. It bewilders me because I have a love/hate thing with this ep. Part of me loves it and thinks it's one of my favorite Buffy eps ever. Another part of me upon rewatch is bothered by the consent issues.
    Daily Buffy Quotable
    Buffy: Slaying is a tad more perilous than dating, Xander. Xander: Well, obviously you're not dating Cordelia.
    "It's time for me to be a man…and hide."-Xander
    "Quit with the Hecate."-Xander
    "I don't know exactly what happened but I was left with a very strong urge to hit you."-Oz
    "Who died and made you Elvis?"-Cordelia
    "I seem to be having a slight case of nudity."-Buffy

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      Actually, that's an interesting point. It is kind of an apt title, since I feel the same way about the episode. Xander's behavior in this episode infuriates me, but… it's really funny and well-executed, and I just CAN'T hate the entire thing.

  61. pica_scribit says:

    Late to the party. The night shift is killing me.

    I had forgotten this episode was so good. In my memory, it was sort of a goofy filler episode — a mood-lightener for the whole dark Buffy/Angel arc. This is also the first time I've seen it since embracing feminism and becoming more fully aware of sexist and heterosexist tropes and themes in the media. Which means I got to have a whole lot of new thoughts while watching it this time.

    The biggest thing for me is that this episode is not played out as a complete joke. While there are some wonderfully funny moments, Xander isn't given a pass here. The seriousness of his actions are addressed almost from the start. Neither women being sexually assertive nor the inherent consent issues are treated with anything but the respect they deserve. There's not even a joke or special level of horror specifically aimed at the lunch lady, when so many tv shows go for treating the sexuality of older/heavier/less conventionally attractive people (women especially) as humorous. She's just *there*, as she would be, given the nature of the magic.

    However, did anyone else think this episode was awfully heteronormative? Maybe the nature of the spell had to do with Xander's intent, and Xander has been established as being in no way into dudes. Maybe the writers didn't want to deal with the having gay guys be attracted to Xander as well, without it coming off as a joke. Maybe the writers worried that Xander having a gay panic reaction to being hit on by a guy would make his character appear less sympathetic than this episode intends. So the end result is that all women and no men are attracted to Xander. OK. I can accept that. They only have 43 minutes to work with, after all.

    The other thing that bothers me is that Cordelia doesn't seem to mind that the spell was a direct and intentional attempt to violate her own consent. OK, so Xander wasn't going to use it to take advantage of her sexually, but he was still being grossly manipulative. If I were Cordy, I wouldn't have let him off so easy, but she seems to take it as some kind of compliment, besides which, Xanders stupid spell almost got her *killed*.

  62. The point of this episode is simple: don't fuck around with spells for personal gain, yo.

    NAQ AB BAR RIRE YRNEAF GUNG!

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/e63p7s.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="http://i44.tinypic.com/5oc8jp.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  63. SnarkyWriter says:

    I generally dislike this episode (it puts me in a permanent state of *cringe*), but I do love that Oz IMMEDIATELY takes the flashlight off Buffy when he realizes she's naked and doesn't look directly at her the entire time they're talking. Unlike Xander, who tried to see her changing in her mirror in "Never Kill a Boy."

    • pica_scribit says:

      Oz has his own experience of ending up naked in awkward, random places. I can't imagine him being anything other than completely empathetic.

    • claretstock says:

      Yeah I agree with ya there. And I think Willow definitely is getting a much better guy in Oz than she would have ever had in Xander.

      But ya know I'm totally an Oz groupie. πŸ˜›

      • SnarkyWriter says:

        Juvpu znxrf gur jubyr fvghngvba jvgu Jvyybj naq Knaqre yngre fb vashevngvat. V nyjnlf lryy ng gur fperra, "ernyyl?! Lbh'er purngvat ba BM jvgu KNAQRE?!"

        • SosaLola says:

          V'q purng ba Bm jvgu Knaqre. *oyhfurf* Npghnyyl, V jba'g or qngvat Bm gb ortva jvgu, urapr ab purngvat. Ohg V'q gbgnyyl qngr Knaqre.

  64. stephanie says:

    vf nalbar ryfr ernyyl sevtugrarq sbe cbbe znex jub qbrf ABG XABJ JUNG'F PBZVAT ba Zbaqnl?! v trg gur srryvat ur znl ernyyl sernx bhg. {{uhtf sbe uvz abj!!!!}}}
    ohg, lnl CNFFVBA!!!! orfg rcvfbqr nyzbfg rire! (BZJS vf zl nyy gvzr sni. gurer'f fbatf naq qnaprf… jung pbhyq or jebat jvgu gung? πŸ™‚

  65. Auracounts says:

    "This show is going to destroy me, isn’t it?"

    Why yes, yes it is.

    Also, Zbaqnl vf tbvat gb nofbyhgryl xvyy Znex qrnq.

    • Bu Tbq V xabj!!

      V er-jngpurq Cnffvbaf lrfgreqnl naq juvyr V jnfa'g zhpu bs n Wraal sna lbh unir n urneg znqr bs fgbar abg gb srry nalguvat.

      • spikesjojo says:

        V yvxr gur snpg gung ur xvyyf fbzrbar – qenzngvpnyyl fcrnxvat. Gur svefg gvzr V jngpurq uvz ehaavat nebhaq fpnevat crbcyr, V jnf fgvyy cerggl fher vg jnf bayl erqfuvegf va qnatre naq znwbe punenpgref jrer fnsr. Fb jura ur fancf Wraal'f arpx vg jnf zvaq oybjvat. Gura frggvat hc gur gnoyrnh sbe Tvyrf – naq abj lbh xabj gur ubeebe gung vf Natryhf. Gur svyyre rcvfbqrf tvir lbh gur vqrn gung Natryhf vf whfg tbaan or cvffl naq gura trg pherq naq tb ba orvat gur qnex oebbql oblsevraq.

        Guvf jvyy ebpx Znex'f jbeyq rira zber guna Vaabprapr.

        • Auracounts says:

          Ubarfgyl, guvf jubyr frnfba vf tbvat gb zrff uvz hc, uru. Cnffvba vf whfg gur ortvaavat. Orpbzvat vf ernyyl tbvat gb zrff jvgu uvf urnq (gubhtu, ng yrnfg gur png jvyy svanyyl or bhg bs gur ont jvgu Wblpr).

          Nyfb, V ybbxrq ng gur pnyraqne naq vs V’z abg zvfgnxra, Orpbzvat Cneg 1 snyyf ba n Sevqnl. Nal cynaf gb npghnyyl jngpu obgu cnegf gung qnl/jrrxraq, be ner lbh tbvat gb jnvg bhg gur jrrxraq naq svavfu cneg 2 ba gur Zbaqnl nf fpurqhyrq?

          V qb abg erpbzzraq gur ynggre.

  66. sporkaganza93 says:

    OK, I overall like this episode, but I have a lot of negativity that I want to get out of the way first.

    Mostly, I really despise the way this episode ends. It was bad enough that Xander came up with this spell as some sort of twisted, misogynistic revenge fantasy. But then at the end, he GETS BACK TOGETHER WITH CORDELIA! He's REWARDED for this. Boy, did that ever get my blood up. It's just really, incredibly uncool. I mean, SERIOUSLY. It's not like this show can't explore feminist themes well. It's done that plenty of times already! But somehow whenever Xander is involved, Joss Whedon and everyone else involved JUST CAN'T FUCKING GET. IT. RIGHT.

    OK, with that out of the way, there's still so much to love about this episode. Xander walking down the hallway to the beat of "Got the Love" basically had me in stitches. This is probably the funniest episode of the series so far. But at the same time, it's one of the ones that actually got me the most nervous – yes, more so than anything involving evil demons or vampires or whatever. When Xander and Cordelia are in the basement and all the women are closing in on them? Yeah, that's some seriously tense shit. Overall, I love this episode because of the way it takes a premise that on paper just looks unbelievably stupid and sells it for all it's worth. And it's a decent "careful what you wish for" tale to boot. It's only the beginning and the end of the episode that really mars it and makes me have to take it down a notch from "excellent" to "pretty good".

    One more note:

    Oh, and then Buffy is a rat? Okay, that’s fucking weird. She’s in this episode for like ten minutes tops, isn’t she?

    Actually, that's pretty much the point of this episode. It's a bottle episode. Not in the sense of "low budget", heavens no, it's pretty sprawling, actually. I mean that the next episode you're going to watch was originally supposed to fill this slot, but SMG was busy (hosting Saturday Night Live, actually), so they had to hurriedly cook up an episode that did away with her character for most of the running time. Hence the whole rat thing.

    It also explains the shitty ending. I think they knew to some extent that it was shitty, but they were too busy thinking "Look, we just need to get shit back to the status quo so we don't have to fuck around with the story we've already come up with" to really stop and think about how COMPLETELY gross it was. That doesn't excuse it, obviously, but it at least helps put it in SOME kind of context.

  67. robin_comments says:

    Everyone has said all of the interesting things to say about this episode already. Because this is what happens when I'm late to the party! I will just add one little note (and if someone already said this exact thing and I missed it, sorry for the repetition).

    I love that we get a little arc about Cordelia's flaws, which are also addressed in this episode, and it makes me really wish she got own expanded storyline to deal with them. Her revelation about staying true to what makes herself happy, not bowing to image and the wishes of others, is such a HUGELY IMPORTANT character note… and yet it feels kind of shoehorned into this episode. IMO it would have been better to carry that story, where she gets back with Xander in one of the next couple episodes instead.

    That way they could have had awesome Cordy growth while also avoiding having the narrative seem to reward Xander's behavior. Plus, gur rzbgvbany vzcnpg bs Wraal'f qrngu znxvat Pbeqryvn errknzvar ure cevbevgvrf pbhyq svther vagb vg. (abg gung V'z fnlvat sevqtvat ynqvrf fubhyq or hfrq gb vavgvngr tebjgu tebjgu, ohg jul abg znxr gur vzcnpg rira zber zrnavatshy ol univat vg vafcver Pbeqryvn nf jryy nf Ohssl naq Tvyrf.)

    Also, YAY AMY. I love when they bring back characters. It fleshes out the universe so much.

  68. @farwell3d says:

    Willow with an axe. That is all you need to know about this episode.

  69. Ella says:

    Other people have said mostly everything I think about this episode (HATE it) but I have to comment on one line in particular. It may be meant to be sweet or self-aware or something, but I loathe Xander's line about not responding to Buffy's advances because she doesn't have any idea of what it would mean to him. Really? REALLY??? You're going to say that you're not going to rape someone not because of, oh, say, the trauma she would feel after the spell wears off, the fact that she is not actually consenting, the fact that it would be a huge violation of her…but because it wouldn't be meaningful enough for you? Fuck the entire hell off.

  70. @lemairei says:

    I think that you need to consider this episode in terms of role-reversal. Basically, all women who 'fall in love' with Xander start behaving like immature, possessive men, and Xander — deservedly — finds himself on the receiving end of it.

    First of all, all the women who are obsessed with him automatically assume that them 'loving' him make him their property — which often happens in abusive relationship, usually with the man being the offending party and the woman being the victim. Xander's opinion or desire to be in a relationship with them is of absolutely no consequence to them. Then, when the women realize that they cannot all have him, they are prepared to murder him so that other women couldn't have him. Again, reminiscent of an abusive relationship, where the man constantly threatens (or even acts on his threat) to kill the woman so that no one else could have her.

    Finally, with regards to Buffy coming on to him in the library, the fact that he was in a position to take advantage of her is only half of it. If you think about it, had not Amy interrupted them it was completely possible that he would be still refusing, and she — being the Slayer — could have taken him by force, against his will. Even Buffy's speech 'You make me feel that way about you and then refuse to be with me' is very much a gender-reversal version of a situation where a guy would accuse a girl of leading him on when she refuses to have sex with him after being friendly or flirting with him.

  71. Lina says:

    Every since Mark reached the Surprise/Innocence review I have had an endless musical loop of the Buffy/Angel theme circling through my head as I am reading the reviews… Any one else with this problem????

  72. John says:

    Mark, you're right: this show will destroy you.

    I *love* how the love spell includes Drusilla. So good.

    I was hoping some of the men would be affected, but no such luck (other than a sultry fanfic I once read about Giles "punishing" Xander for his reckless behavior). Larry would've been funny to see, but I think the spell was pretty specific. Or something.

  73. spikesjojo says:

    Yeah – this show will destroy you. Whedon has ways of taking out the torture implements (metaphorical) and using them to flay your heart into ribbons. He does it a lot. He likes to wait until you feel safe – then he throws in another unexpected flaying, as you've seen so far.

  74. Mary says:

    i believe this ep had very little SMG because she was hosting SNL the week they filmed

  75. Kim says:

    So, I just have to say that I think that if a guy, who has been very attracted to a girl and has expressed that and been rejected, and then that girl starts hitting on him and begging him to make passionate love to her, and he REFUSES because he knows it's wrong. I think that guy deserves to be praised and thanked for that. To not give someone credit when they do the right thing is akin to not criticizing someone when they do the wrong thing.

    Also, according to some commenters on this site, it would have been better if Xander's intention with the love spell would have been to make Cordy love him so he could have her and have sex with her, than as stated that he wanted to use the spell on her so he could break up with her and make her feel what he felt. Personally, I think the first scenario is WAY more skeevy.

  76. L_Storm says:

    Bu gur sbefunqbjvat!

    V ybir frrvat Ohssl-eng urer. Abg whfg orpnhfr bs gur uvynevgl, ohg orpnhfr bs gur sberfunqbjvat. Gur jevgref pnzr onpx gb guvf rcvfbqr naq hfrq n dhvpx guebjnjnl guvat fb gurl jbhyqa'g arrq FZT gb qenzngvpnyyl vzcnpg yngre rcvfbqrf. Nzl nf n eng, rfcrpvnyyl gur oevrs uhzna zbzrag orsber ergheavat gb eng-ubbq vf snohybhf. Jngpuvat gur anfgvarff bs jvgpupensg ntnva, ohg jvgubhg gur fnqvfgvp(rira rivy) zragny fgngr bs Nzl'f zbz, jnf ernyyl xrl gb shgher vapvqraprf.

    V nyfb ybir jngpuvat ubj Jvyybj tbrf sebz gbgny ybir gb nkr-zheqre. Erjngpuvat guvf whfg chg Qnex Jvyybj vagb rira orggre pbagrkg. Jura fur svanyyl srryf erny rzbgvba ntnva nf Qnex Jvyybj, fur qrpvqrf gb RAQ GUR RAGVER JBEYQ orpnhfr vg uhegf, zhpu yvxr fur jbhyq engure xvyy Knaqre guna yvir jvgubhg uvz. (Nf jryy nf gur jubyr rivy qrfprag sebz ybfvat Gnen va gur svefg cynpr.)

    Nyfb gur sberfunqbjvat sbe Cnffvba vf snohybhf. "Fbba" orvat frg jvgu ebfrf, nf Tvyrf vf yrnq gb Wraal'f obql jvgu n genvy bs ebfr crgnyf. Tvyrf naq Wraal'f vagrenpgvbaf rira. Uryy gur "Fxvc vg… V qba'g unir n chccl" zbzrag pbafvqrevat jung unccraf gb Jvyybj'f svfu? Fubjvat ubj Natry pna whfg cenapr evtug vagb gur Fhzzref' ubzr? Fb ornhgvshy.

    Ohg zber guna nalguvat V ybir gur vagrenpgvba orgjrra Pbeql naq Unezbal. Urer, Pbeql gryyf Unezbal fur'f n furrc naq nyjnlf jvyy or, juvpu vf gehr rira nsgre Unezbal inzcf bhg. Pbeqryvn, ubjrire, trgf znffvir qrcgu, naq lrg GURL ERZNVA SEVRAQF. Jura Unezbal cbcf hc ba Natry, vg'f fb pyrne gung gurl'er sevraqfuvc zrnaf gur jbeyq gb gurz, qrfcvgr gur jnlf gurl terj ncneg (bar orpbzvat n inzc gru bgure orpbzvat n cneg-qrzba, tbqqrff zbgure). BIre nyy gur frnfbaf Pbeqryvn fubjf gur zbfg tebjgu bs nal fvatyr punenpgre, naq gung tebjgu ernyyl ortvaf evtug urer.

  77. Bonnie says:

    Focusing on the fun and positive! So:
    – Poor Spike. He's got such an expectant look on his face, and then Angel outgrosses him with the heart.
    – V'z rdhny cnegf gunaxshy naq qvfnccbvagrq gung jr qvqa'g trg gb urne Fcvxr'f vqrn bs jung eulzrf jvgu 'yhatf'. Jr jbhyq'ir tbg nabgure 'ohytr va'g – rsshytrag'.
    – The Xander/Angel/Dru scene is my favourite. (Hey, I can enjoy Angel at times!) The vampires growling at each other – so ridiculous that it's adorable.Xander thinks that it should be coffee first, eternal life maybe later. Poor Dru, she is so sad when she can't get in.
    – I love's Harmony's small-voice 'I'm not a sheep.'

    • Bonnie says:

      Nyfb, guvf vf gur rcvfbqr gung znqr zr ernyyl frr gur Ohssl-naq-Knaqre-jvyy-nyjnlf-erznva-whfg-sevraqf vqrn, naq vg'f tybevbhf. V ybir gung gurl arire ubbxrq hc. V ybir gung jr jrer fubja ubj n fgenvtug zna naq n fgenvtug jbzna pna unir n ornhgvshy sevraqfuvc.

  78. SosaLola says:

    <img src="http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j180/Arrohy/farrah001.gif"&gt;

    <img src="http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j180/Arrohy/farahgander.jpg"&gt;

    The hurt look on Xander's face whenever Giles yells at him always gets to me.

    • VicarPants says:

      As much as they're always drawing snippy remarks from each other, I think Xander really looks up to Giles. I don't know what Xander's home life is like or if he has a solid father-figure, but I already see Giles filling that role, not only for Buffy, but for all the Scoobies. Willow's parents are pretty absent, IIRC?

      Basically I want Giles to hug Xander and teach him how to be a better man.

      • SosaLola says:

        Since Xander's father tried to sell him once – he tells Buffy and Willow that in Inca Mummy Girl- I doubt he's a good man.

        I think Giles is more focused on Buffy, he gives her his full attention – which he should, he's her watcher. But I don't see him giving much attention to Xander and Willow, though Willow at least gets a little more than Xander does.

        Poor Xander does seem to try to get Giles' attention though, in Bad Eggs, he was more than happy to help Giles out.

  79. Yorkshiregal says:

    Funny episode.

    I thought it did a good job of giving Xander a hard lesson. Yes, he may have gotten "the girl" at the end but that was much more about Cordelia discovering she was not a sheep than Xander getting a reward.

    What did Xander learn?
    – He was an idiot fooling with a love spell.
    – Magic is something he should stay away with.
    – Wanting to have all the women want you is a BIG mistake.
    – What it feels like to be objectified (i.e. a reverse on the male gaze)
    – When it comes right down to it, there's more to him than a horny teen.

    Giles was rightly harsh on him and I think Xander really took it to heart.

  80. Lilah Quinn says:

    So… I'd never heard of Mark and all his watching things. But– now that I have, and I see you are now watching my all time favorite series, I have to say it really is a joy to 'sit beside you' as you discover the stories and characters I have loved for so long. I can't help rooting you on, sometimes, only because I know all the glorious things that await you. NOT SPOILING YOU. PROMISE. But sometimes you make these very astute observations and I keep screaming at my monitor JUST WAIT. JUST WAIT. JUST WAIT. IT GETS BETTER.

    Strange? Possibly. Just thought I'd let you know you have a cheering section. πŸ™‚

  81. christytrekkie says:

    hey no mention of Dru's moment with Xander? I thought that was the funniest thing ever, I never stopped laughing at it and Angelus' reaction to it…priceless.

  82. Corey says:

    Cordelia secretly wearing the necklace under her shirt = one of my favorite moments of Buffy EVER.

  83. theDMG says:

    This episode has some of my favorite quotes for using in real-life:

    "Works in theory!"
    "I intend revenge – pure as the driven snow."
    "Boy, that was the best scavenger hunt ever."

  84. Ellie.B. says:

    I think the best part is when Drusilla hits on him. Partly for Spike and Angelus's WTF faces, partly because its something neither us or Xander considered and mainly because of the utter King-Kong-Terror he faces as he is held by a hungry lovestruck vampire with no means of escape XD

  85. @myracarmel says:

    Can I just say that I love you Mark? I found this site yesterday and was up far too late reading all your Buffy recaps. It makes me to happy to read your ideas and thoughts about the show as a new watcher. You just wait, you are in for some major shocks in the seasons that follow and I will be here reading it all with you!

  86. Lilah Quinn says:

    So… I'd never heard of Mark and all his watching things. But– now that I have, and I see you are now watching my all time favorite series, I have to say it really is a joy to 'sit beside you' as you discover the stories and characters I have loved for so long. I can't help rooting you on, sometimes, only because I know all the glorious things that await you. NOT SPOILING YOU. PROMISE. But sometimes you make these very astute observations and I keep screaming at my monitor JUST WAIT. JUST WAIT. JUST WAIT. IT GETS BETTER.

  87. Irastev says:

    I'm stunned that so many people fail see it. While Xander robs a whole bunch of people from their consent, his own consent loses its value in punishment. Buffy, Jenny, Willow, Amy, Joyce, Dru — none of them are in the slightest interested in whether he wants to be with them. They touch him, they want to have sex with him — whether he consents or not — and Dru wants to turn him into his sex toy. Buffy or Dru were even in the position where they could force them to have sex with them.

    Did he bring it on himself? Absolutely. Does he deserve it? You bet. But I dare anyone to say something gross like 'being touched and objectified is not really punishment for Xander because that's what he wants deep down.' This would be exactly the line that sexual predators, including pedophiles, often use to justify their behaviour towards their victims. And speaking of pedophilia, you do all remember that Xander is a high school boy, right? Nick Brandon does not really look 16 or 17, but what if he did? That scene with Joyce could have been much more disturbing. Or is it the gender roles? If it was Giles feeling Willow's upper arm, or Buffy's dad kissing Willow's neck we'd all be horrified — but reverse the gender and suddenly no one seems to see anything particularly terrible about Buffy's parent laying hands on one of her daughter's friends.

    The desire of some fans to 'punish' Xander by using Larry or other guys is gross beyond belief. Quite apart of the distinct whiff of homophobia, it also implies that inappropriate sexual behaviour is only traumatic, or wrong, if it comes from people to whom the victim cannot potentially be sexually attracted, in this case other men (presumably).

    So, no, in this light, I do think that Xander is punished by having him to suffer almost evey indignity a person could suffer when their consent is not taken seriously.

    • Yorkshiregal says:

      "but reverse the gender and suddenly no one seems to see anything particularly terrible about Buffy's parent laying hands on one of her daughter's friends. "

      TRUTH.

      I'm guilty of not seeing this. I felt bad for Xander because he was mortified and yes I know he brought it on himself but it didn't really occur to me that he felt as objectified because he knew they were under a spell. As Cordelia cruelly pointed out, the women of Sunnydale would have to apparently be under a spell to find him that attractive. I don't agree but Xander did and said so. Still, Xander did act horrified. My favorite line he used: It's time for me to act like a man. And hide.

      For me, the focus on his final joking with Buffy pales in comparison w/ what he experiences. Xander uses humor as a defense mechanism. I never thought he was remotely tempted to take advantage of a mind-controlled Buffy. I also don't think Buffy thinks so either. She remembers it all. Some people who are use to getting bashed all the time don't deal with compliments well and they deflect. I guess I feel that was what Xander was doing at the end. Should Buffy have "complimented" him on not being a rapist? No. But I thought of it more like "you're all talk but you really are a decent guy". He's constantly making jokes like the lap-dance joke. I guess I think that he and Buffy HAVE achieved that relationship. He was in a relationship w/ Cordelia and his comment about Buffy not being an option (first conversation of the episode) says to me that he has accepted the "FRIENDS ONLY" status. Whether or not he's happy, that appears to have been established.

      And let's not forget the pole dance Buffy did on Xander in "When She Was Bad". She wasn't under mind-control. She was being mean. Did Xander take her to task later for that? No. He let that go and never mentioned it again. And the look on his face was embarrassment, not enjoyment (while dancing). My point on this is that they've got a lot of water under the bridge in terms of shared life experience. I think they are good friends and if Buffy was perturbed in the slightest by their banter I would think she'd have shut him down really quickly. Does Buffy initiate sexually joking with him on a normal basis? Not that I recall thus far but she's certainly commented on men being horny and refers to him as her "Xander-shaped" friend as opposed to a guy. His response was along the lines of "on behalf of my gender.. hey". To me it seems that she sees Xander as a friend, not a guy.

      Personally I think Joss uses Xander in gender reversal situations ALL THE TIME. BBB was definitely one of them. I think Xander got all the classic sexist experiences: women hitting on him aggressively, the female version of the Male Gaze, abusive girlfriends, stalkers, and he was definitely the damsel in distress who was rescued by Cordy at least twice. He might have brought it on himself but that was the punishment — he walked a mile in the other gender's shoes (to an extreme) and I think it gave him perspective.

  88. theoopsgirl says:

    Okay, so I don't really understand why everyone is so hard on Xander for wanting the necklace back. The rest of what he did in the episode was icky, yeah, but if I gave someone a very expensive present thirty seconds before they ripped my heart out, I would want it back too. Especially when it's made pretty clear that Xander doesn't have all much cash to spare in the first place. Frankly, I'm shocked that Cordy didn't hand it right back when she broke up with him. Just a thought.

  89. RoseFyre says:

    Two days later and no one has done a Qnvyl Qnja Guernq yet?

    Huh. And there doesn't seem to be one for Phases either…

    So, both!

    Va Cunfrf, V qba'g guvax Qnja unq zhpu bs n ebyr. Ohssl pyrneyl onaarq ure sebz znxvat bhg va pnef, ohg yvxryl jbhyq unir qbar gung naljnl. Bgure guna gung, fur cebonoyl jnfa'g ernyyl gurer nyy gung zhpu.

    Nf sbe Orjvgpurq, Obgurerq, naq Orjvyqrerq…Qnja pyrneyl uvg ba Knaqre. V qba'g pner gung fur jnf ryrira ng gur gvzr, gurer vf ab cbffvoyr jnl gung fur qvqa'g, orpnhfr fur nyernql unq gur pehfu ba uvz, naq ba gbc bs gung…jryy, fcryy. V jbhyq cynpr vg evtug nsgre gur Wblpr fprar, cbffvoyl raqvat jvgu ure rvgure xabpxrq bhg be ybpxrq va ure orqebbz be fbzrguvat. Znlor Knaqre naq Pbeqryvn ena vagb ure ba gurve jnl hc gur fgnvef gb Ohssl'f ebbz? Vg zvtug znxr gur zbfg gvzvat frafr.

  90. Noybusiness says:

    Funny music for a funny episode:

    [youtube RzF9-GTIYOw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzF9-GTIYOw youtube]

  91. Noybusiness says:

    Not to mention the awesome music in The Bronze:

    [youtube XCnCVeKudU4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCnCVeKudU4 youtube]

  92. ladysugarquill says:

    I am surprised that you are so nice to Cordelia. She's awful and mean, ans she deserves a lot harsher words πŸ™

    On an unrelated note, this reminds me of the Amortentia in Harry Potter – Obsessive love can be very dangerous indeed.

Comments are closed.