Previously on Buffy: Spuffy had lots of sex. Legion of Dim was unmasked, and Amy deratted. Willow starred in a very special episode of Buffy, while Buffy was broke. But who cares about any of that, because there's a rare Giles sighting. Come back to me, Giles!
Summers home. Xander, Willow, and Anya sit around clearing up loose plot threads from the last episode (except for the one where Social Services told Buffy that Dawn was missing too much school, and they were going to re-interview to see if Buffy was a fit guardian -- that thread is just left dangling). Willow says that by the time they made it to the Legion of Dim's basement lair, the Dimsters had already disappeared. Maybe if Buffy and Willow hadn't taken time out for a soiree of self-pity, complete with hors d'oeuvres and a live band, they might have gotten there in time to apprehend them. Willow gets all drooly talking about the mystical booty that the nerds had left behind. Anya then starts off on a tangent about demons being better than people and doesn't even tie it back to the original conversation and God I hate all of these people so much right now. "Workers are the tools that shape America," pronounces Anya, as a very labored set-up for Buffy's entrance in her stripey-uniform polyester fast-food outfit complete with rooster hat. Buffy: "I was kinda feeling like a tool. And now I know why."
Credits. Can someone please send a memo to my cat to tell her that cat-in-lap and laptop computer is not a workable combination? Because she just doesn't listen when I try to tell her. Or put her back down on the floor forty-seven times in a row.
We return to a fast-food training film which Buffy is watching in a dim, cramped room. She stares vacantly at a number of automatons who are proud to be part of the "Doublemeat experience," serving slabs o' crap on a double bun to the proles. Ooh! Star wipe! Gotta love the star wipe! As the film "takes a look at the process of harvesting these two special meats" that make up the Doublemeat burger, the camera focuses on Buffy growing increasingly more disgusted with the sounds of cow and chicken death. Heh. Looks like someone's going to Bovine University. What feels like hours later, we're on to personal hygiene. Then Manny the Manager flips on the light and interrogates Buffy as to why she desires to work fast food. Buffy starts to explain that she needs money fast, thus making herself sound like a strung-out junkie, but soon her brain cells rally and she stutters, "Because I wanted to be part of the Doublemeat experience?" Manny gives Buffy a tour of the restaurant, and things are strange. The listless coworkers. The still-occupied locker Manny assigns to Buffy. The ten-years-at-Doublemeat pin on Manny. The off-limits freezer. And, most disturbingly, the perfect slices of "chicken" and the dehydrated pickles. The hell? Who dehydrates pickles? Except maybe astronauts. Messing with pickles is just so wrong. It reminds me of how there used to be a yummy private hot dog stand here on campus that had turkey dogs and tofu dogs, but the university got all proprietary and had to replace it with their own stand, which doesn't have tofu dogs and serves their dogs topped with a gooey, chemical-tasting, neon green relish. Neon green! So no more dogs for me. Anyway, Manny finishes up the tour with the crown jewel of the restaurant, the Doublemeat Medley. It's a symphony of partially hydrogenated trans fatty acids. Manny makes Buffy eat one. Scary. When this episode first aired, I had just eaten some "low fat" frozen pizza that wasn't sitting too well. That, combined with my already weak stomach (especially where shots of greasy meat are concerned), made this episode a living hell of indigestion and ooginess for me. When Buffy had to eat the burger, I actually gagged. Buffy asks about the secret ingredient, but is only told, "It's a meat process." Oooooh. That isn't helping my poor tummy any.
Buffy's being trained on the counter. God, are we still in the damn restaurant? Fast food makes me break out in hives. Greg orders her to fill a drink cup while he assembles the rest of an order. Buffy makes a quip about drug testing, which Greg thinks is funny, but he also thinks she should cut it out because Manny thinks, "Levity is the time thief that picks the pocket of a company." Huh. Manny sounds like a latter-day Ben Franklin. ["And I have just HAD IT with Ben Franklin. That guy just really cheeses me off." -- Sep] Buffy retorts, "I prefer the one that goes: Manny is a humorless dolt that picks the pocket of he-should-bite-me." Oh my. I guess it hasn't really hit me before how deep into a well of depression Buffy has sunk. Her punning is far below its usual standards. Greg's head almost explodes from the insubordination, but luckily there's a long line of customers to attend to and he's able to wrap himself in the soothing blanket of never-ending repetitive drudgery. Next customer: An unassuming older woman who orders a small coffee and cherry pie. Obviously, she must be EVIL. Fast food pie is rank. Greg pushes the appropriate picture buttons. Buffy worries that she won't be able to keep up with the extensive button-pushing. Because a girl who is used to making life-and-death decisions in the blink of an eye would naturally be afeared of pressing a number of pictographs in a logical sequence. Greg explains the procedure in great and excruciating detail. So much so that I'm pretty sure that I could fill in should it be necessary to call me up from the Doublemeat reserves. Greg tells her to take the next customers. The guy orders, but Buffy is deeply confused by all the buttons because…well, just because. Don't make waves, people. Criticism is the thief that robs enjoyment of filler episodes of a show that used to be good and worth scheduling your Tuesday nights around, but now lately causes you to mumble defensively, "I have to watch Buffy tonight," while coughing into your hand and hoping that a semi-truck comes by that makes the other person think you said "Gilmore Girls," because what kind of FOOL would stay home to watch a show that makes you a part of the fast food experience in real time. Whew. I have to take a breath. Oh, and if you're one of the people that is still enjoying this season, I didn't mean it when I called you a fool earlier. I'm just jealous. Buffy is tired too. She's on a break. She eats! Later, Buffy opens the walk-in freezer, but is caught by Manny who tells her, "Curiosity killed the cat." "Theory number five: cat burgers," muses Buffy to herself.