Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S04E17 – Superstar

In the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Jonathan the Perfect Human Being, what the fuck. Intrigued? Then its time for Mark to watch Jonathan.

Well, this seems like a pretty standard intro. A lot of these episodes begin with a fight and in the graveyard. Do the police just not notice that there’s tons of violent activity there? Or that people hang out there eating dead bodies all night? Man, the Sunnydale PD are awful at their job.

Wait. Why are they – what. What is this. Why is that. Why is Jonathan in a suit. Where has Jonathan been, for the record? Is he at UC Sunnydale? No, wait, why is he in a suit in a giant mansion?

Wait what the. what are the credits. what are they doing. oh. oh my god. why is. what the fuck is this. what is happening right now. why is he in the credits??? is this some weird alternate universe. my brain is so broken i refuse to use capitalization. this is now an anti-caps lock post because i don’t have the energy to hit the shift key because i can’t fathom a second of what is happening. it makes no sense. what is jonathon doing. why is he oh my god the end of the credits. i am laughing. i think i might start crying because it seems a fitting reaction. my brain and all my emotions and all my feelings are so confused right now.

jonathan is better than buffy. everyone likes him. what is happening. what the fuck is going on. why is there no device or narration to tell me what is happening. this is scaring me. now i’m scared. i am feeling forty things at the exact same time. i am happy for jonathan because i feel sad for him and then i am terrified and then i am laughing and then i am gripping my face and then i’m not breathing and i just don’t know what to do with anything in my life. i am falling apart

there is a shrine in tara’s dorm of jonathan

he has paparazzi following him

buffy is seeking jonathan out for advice (which i will concede is actually quite good)

oh god the initiative asked jonathan for advice

help me

help me

i can’t

this is all so fucking weird and strange and hilarious and confusing and disconcerting and disorienting and what am i supposed to do with this. holy shit is that the royal crown revue? oh my god i feel so old because i used to see them live. wow that can’t be jonathan’s voice but oh my god whomever is singing is so good and i can’t deal with one second of this.

Adam. Adam. Adam knows. ADAM KNOWS. IT’S ALL A LIE. Oh my god, everyone, it took until that very moment for me to start coping with the unbelievably surreal nature of “Superstar.” It’s fascinating to me that Adam grounds the alternate reality because his nature as a villain is so detached as it is. Not only does this reveal more about his character, but it truly is the first time you can say, “Okay, shit, I get this.” Obviously, the world was altered by Jonathan in some way, but what are the logistics of it? How is this going to pan out once things snap back to reality? Also, how the fuck are you supposed to defeat a creation that’s “more awake and alive” than anything ever? I suppose that since everything learned and experienced in this episode still counts as canon for the most part, that means Jonathan’s whole bit about Adam’s power source still holds. How do you completely annihilate something like Adam, though? BAH TOO MANY QUESTIONS.

I know this is a Jonathan-centric episode, but I’d also like to believe that this episode simultaneously focuses on how Anya is the funniest character in Buffy history. Any episode without her is now garbage in my mind. Okay, I’m being ridiculous, but this episode really has a special charm because of her. I want more episodes of Buffy hanging out with Anya. I want more of her direct sassiness. I can’t even eat shrimp and I want shrimp world. I just want to hang out with Anya and be her best friend and never leave her side.

I think this is also the point where the episode really stops being so explicitly funny and amusing, and it becomes really unsettling. It’s nice that the writers give all of the characters a chance to think about the horrifying implications of what Jonathan has done to him. And that’s putting aside the fact that his creepy monster manifestation of himself attacked Tara. HOW DARE YOU. But honestly, I think that’s something a lot of shows would never do. The characters (minus Buffy) talk about being used. They talk about how terrible they feel, how much they actually like being in this world (in Xander’s case, that is, which is a rather touching little detail), and how sad it is that their version of Jonathan won’t exist anymore. That’s kind of an interesting thing to think about, you know? Yes, they’re all hurt by what Jonathan did, and the show doesn’t ignore that. But then these characters have this realization that he also made them feel kind of better? And even if it isn’t explored much at all, I’m glad it’s there.

I knew that the end of this episode would have to be kind of uncomfortable, so I’m glad that Buffy didn’t let Jonathan off easy. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t sympathetic to him. It’s really sweet that she essentially returns the same advice that helped her when she tells him that healing takes time. And that’s true for me, too. There is no grand gesture that just fixes everything. It’s gradual. It happens over time. Such is the case with Buffy and Riley, too. Even if they’re happy together at the end of the episode, they have to make sure they want to work on it. And it appears they do.

What a damn fine episode of television.

Mark Links Stuff

– My eBook adaptations of reviews I’ve posted are on sale at Harry Potter, Twilight, and Firefly books are priced from $2.99 to $3.99 a piece, and are available in ePub (iBook, iPod, iPad, Nook), Kindle, and PDF files.
– I now have a Lulu storefront, where you can purchase physical copies of all of my previously released books, including a full Mark Reads Twilight book that includes all four sets of Twilight reviews.
– I am going on tour in the following cities this month (click the name for the Facebook RSVP page): San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Albuquerque, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, Spokane, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver B.C. I still need venues/spaces in San Diego, Salt Lake City, Spokane, and Portland. Even if it’s your house, I don’t care. I’ll show up! Please let me know if you have any ideas. I can also be reached at markreadsandwatches [at] gmail [dot] com.
– I am presenting for three days at Ascendio 2012! Come hang out and have the best weekend ever in July!
– Mark Watches The Two Towers will happen most likely on Sunday at 1pm PDT, which is the same as this past weekend. Y’all better break the comment record again.
– I finish Mark Reads The Princess Bride on April 13th, and then Mark Reads Sandman begins on Monday, April 16th. I will split up reviews by issue, and I will be reading the extra books/volumes. IT SHALL BE GRAND.
– I’m on Twitter (@MarkDoesStuff) and I have a Facebook page y’all can Like and flail about on. Join me!
- This is my fifth consecutive year riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle! I’m aiming to raise $10,000 this year. For every $1,000 I raise, I will make a video live reading of a community-chosen fanfic. I am not bluffing. I will read as much of it as possible, and it will be beautiful. Help me out if you can!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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5 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S04E17 – Superstar

  1. weenie says:

    The guy singing is Brad Kane, who played Tucker in ‘The Prom’ episode, and also provided the singing voice for Disney’s ‘Aladdin’

  2. Rachael says:

    Another Jane Espenson-penned winner!

    I love ‘Superstar’. Everything about it, and especially Giles short-lived hold out that he does NOT have a Johnathan Swimsuit Calendar. Heh. Shallow Giles is shallow.

    My one worry about this episode is Jonathan’s twins. I have never understood the concept of sleeping with twins, especially from the point of view of the actual twins, but the fact that they are living with him under the spell of his ‘coolness’ makes me wonder what level of sexual consent they have given. Not a huge point, but one that leaves me feeling icky.

    I want a Jonathan swimsuit calendar!

  3. SallyAmber says:

    And suddenly the repetition of WBANGUNA!!!! Everytime Jonathan made his way into an episode becomes a whole lot clearer….

  4. Rhiannon says:

    I’m so glad you apparently don’t skip the opening credit sequence, Mark! It would have been somewhat of a spoiler to say “watch the credits for x episodes” so I didn’t say anything and just hoped you would see it, which you did. I had a friend who caught up with Buffy via the dvds and she always skipped them to get to the rest of the episode quicker and missed them for this ep. I made her go back and watch them when I found that out, hee.

    I love any episode of any tv show that messes with the standard formula of that show for an episode, so I was always going to love this ep, but it’s a great episode on its own, too.

    Good ‘ol Danny Strong. He’ll get cries of “Jonathan!” for the rest of his life, as is the case for any Buffy alum… I do love this fandom for that. <3Whedonverse<3

  5. Jeldaly says:

    Hmm. I didn’t really like this one, for some reason. I mean, I know it’s really good, but I feel the same way about it as I do about Lord of the Rings. Its great, just not for me.

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