Cut to the rest of the gang in the library, regarding the cat. Willow brings up the gathering at Buffy's house, saying that she told Joyce they'd "bring stuff." Cordy: "I'm the dip." Xander: "You gotta admire the purity of it." Another grudging "heh." Cordy clarifies that she's bringing dip. Oz wants to figure out whether the event is a "gathering," a "shindig," or a "hootenanny." While his speech is cute, I'm too annoyed to transcribe it. I mean, Willow talked to Joyce and she's not clear on the fact that it's a dinner with just the group of them? This is bugging the hell out of me (and I'd like to use stronger language, but this isn't Six Feet Under). Plus, Oz mentions "malt beverage" as an option, and Giles doesn't even bat an eye. They're kids, people! They should do their drinking on the sly! Oz says he can get Dingoes to play at the party. Now they're having a band? This party would get shut down faster than you could say "buzzkill small-town neighbors." Giles wonders if a big party is the way to make Buffy feel welcome, but the rest of the gang wants it that way so that they can avoid any intimate contact with Buffy. Nice. They shoot Giles down. He says he's just glad she's back. He turns the page in his book, revealing the Evil Death Mask. He does not, however, look at it, his attention elsewhere. I guess Marti Noxon hates Giles as much as she hates us.
Buffy is setting the table. Her hair is up and she's clad in a hideous pink dress. She's the hideous clothing drawing winner this week. The doorbell rings, and Buffy opens the door to find Pat. She says Joyce told her there was room for one more. One, a hundred, what's the difference. She annoys Buffy, and me, until Buffy asks if Pat wants to see Joyce. Upon hearing an affirmative, she quickly yells, "MOOOM!" Hee. Joyce greets Pat, and they go into the dining room. Another ring, and it's Devon and the Dingoes, sans Oz. He asks where they should set up. This is so stupid.
The band plays. Buffy sticks out like a sore thumb. Couldn't she have changed her outfit? Not only is it awful, but she's way overdressed. I get that it's supposed to signify how out-of-place she feels. You know what else would do that? Good acting. Give SMG a little credit. Good writing would help too, but that's too much to ask in this episode. Buffy finds Willow. They chat, but when Buffy tries to express a desire for a more intimate conversation, Willow pretends she can't hear her because of the band. Again, nice. Sometimes I can't even believe these two are friends. Buffy starts to leave, but reconsiders and gestures to Willow to follow her so they can talk. Willow pulls a face, and man, I hate her this episode. Sars, I think you hate her, period. Am I right? ["I am not a fan of the Rosenberg, no." -- Sars] Buffy asks Willow if everything is okay. Willow says that it is, and everyone from Buffy to my dead grandmother knows she's lying. Willow hightails it out of there. Bitch. Buffy looks sad.