In the sixteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is the best thing in the universe and every alternate reality ever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.
THINGS I DID NOT LIKE
THINGS I LOVED
- ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING EVER
I’m pretty sure that when we all ascend to heaven that we will have to watch “Dopplegängland” before we are allowed through the pearly gates. Whenever a person views “Dopplegängland,” fourteen French bulldog puppies are born. Every time we laugh at a brilliant joke in “Dopplegängland,” scientists are one step closer to discovering a cure for the common cold.
I only have the desire to be ridiculous, egregious, over-the-top, exaggerated, and absurd at this point. I feel so much joy running through me after watching this episode. Never have I experienced something that’s so unnerving and hilarious at the same time. I watched this episode in a library, which means that I had to clutch my own face to not make any sound at all. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS? DO YOU KNOW HOW BADLY I JUST WANTED TO SHRIEK WITH HAPPINESS WHILE WATCHING THIS?
You know, I genuinely believed that this would be a deeply serious episode because it brought back both Faith and Anya. (ANYA IS BACK HELP ME.) We see how Faith is giving her services to the Mayor, and we’re left wondering how this is all going to be ruined. Instead, pretty much all my thoughts about “The Wish” are rendered moot and inconsequential when Willow’s spell BRINGS HER ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SELF INTO OUR WORLD. THIS IS SO AMAZING THAT I COULD PUKE. And as funny as this all is (I’ll get to that), it’s such a wonderful deconstruction of Willow’s character. She really is the most consistently dependable person in this show, aside from Giles. She’s used by others for her talents that many don’t appreciate openly. Everyone – from Principal Snyder to Giles to Xander to Buffy – knows that they can count on Willow, and they do this in ways that ignore that she also has a life that she’s trying to live. How is that fair to her?
It’s with the introduction of Vamp Willow that every character, including Willow, gets to see a side of their friend they never thought they would. Initially, I didn’t find it too funny, though I suspect I wasn’t supposed to. That first scene in the Bronze is HORRIFYING, especially when Angel and Oz realize that Willow has been changed to a vampire. Normally, I don’t know that anyone would be able to pull of a tonal change like Joss Whedon does here, but from the moment Angel leaves on, “Dopplegängland” is just comic brilliance.
Part of that obviously comes from the fact that Vamp Willow is so entertaining to watch; it’s a treat to see Alyson Hannigan expand on her version of herself from “The Wish” at a much greater length. What I liked the most, though, was the chance to see all these actors and actresses use their masterful sense of comic timing to bring out the humor of this situation. I had tears in my eyes from trying to hold in my laughter during the scene where Willow arrives and the Scoobies suddenly realize Willow is not a vampire. Ugh, Giles’s hug nearly destroyed me. It’s a good thing this scene was played for humor because I could have gotten so emotional then. But bless this cast for pulling that off so well, mixing disbelief and joy so believably. Even Angel’s reaction to Willow being alive nearly set me into a laughing storm.
There are just so many amazing jokes here. Anya’s age and her frustration at being stuck as a senior in Sunnydale is just beautiful to me. I have a feeling she’ll appear in this season again. The first scene where Willow and Vamp Willow meet is Buffy perfection, played equally between horror and humor. The entire part where they all admit that Willow was better than them all. AND CORDELIA’S LECTURE TO VAMP WILLOW ABOUT XANDER IS JUST SO PERFECT AND WONDERFUL TO ME. Oh my god, Cordelia and Wesley are totally going to do it one day, aren’t they? They are kind of adorable!
But seriously, can we talk about the beauty of Willow pretending to be a vampire? I can’t. I just can’t deal with it. I just laughed at the thought of it for a good thirty seconds. How did Anya not know immediately that this was the wrong Willow before her? Oh god, Willow, you tried so hard, and it was a gorgeous thing to witness. Alyson Hannigan, I want to give you all the awards.
You know, I really enjoyed that after all of this, Willow refuses to let her alternate-reality self get killed. Like, it’s such a noble thing of her to not let this end in violence, despite that she’d probably be justified in it. For Willow, she can’t escape the idea that Vamp Willow is evidence of what Willow could be if she made worse decisions. (Also, I know the episode totally didn’t mean to say this, but there’s a very unfortunate implication that Vamp Willow was a bad version of Willow, and since Vamp Willow was kind of gay, that might be a bad thing. Again, I think it’s just something no one thought through, but it made me laugh. OMG THIS SHOW IS BIGOTS.) I enjoyed that she described this as having “double guilt coupons.” To be fair, though, Vamp Willow did get Percy to stop trying to force her to do her homework, so there’s that.
For real, though, this might be my most perfect episode of the show so far. It was a goddamn treat to watch, intelligently written in terms of dialogue and character development, and one of the funnier things I’ve experienced. Bravo, Joss Whedon. You allowed joy to exist, and it was wonderful.