Meet Joe Black. You know, I enjoy a shirtless Brad Pitt as much as the next person, but I don't think it was worth three hours of that drivel.
Willow and Xander, at her house. He's donning his cousin's tux, and she's trying on different outfits behind one of those Japanese screens. Her first selection is a dark red blouse and a white skirt. She looks good. Xander: "Nice." Lisa Loeb's "How" is playing throughout this scene. You know, when I think of Lisa Loeb, the word that comes to mind is not "how," but "why," as in "Why the hell did she have to subject us to the video for 'Stay' where she's skipping around that loft?" Sorry, but if I have to revisit that image, then so do you. And not a word out of you, Bitch-O-Meter. All that being said, the song really works for the scene. Willow's second choice is a brown ensemble that manages to be both nondescript and ugly. Xander: "Nice." She sees he's having trouble with his bow tie, and ties it for him as they wax nostalgic about their eighth grade cotillion. They ask each other how far they've been with their respective significant others, but neither one tells. As Xander finishes buttoning his vest and putting on his jacket, Willow emerges wearing a full-length black dress. She trails off when she sees him, and he draws a sharp breath when he sees her. He looks stunning, and I'm not normally a fan. Same goes for her. She asks what he thinks, then says, "I know. Nice." He corrects her that she looks gorgeous. The sexual tension starts to build. Willow worries about her dancing ability, which is Xander's cue to take her hands, ballroom-style. It's now a foregone conclusion that they'll kiss, and they do, slowly and passionately. They then pull away and start a spazfest, agreeing that the kiss was a "clothes fluke," and spaz some more before almost kissing again. Xander says they have to get out of the clothes. Realizing the innuendo, they spaz yet again and run away from each other to change.
Buffy is giving a speech wherein she says that the competition will be "won or lost in the trenches." We see that she's standing in front of a large magic-marker board on which she's detailed the strengths and weaknesses of the other three candidates. Yeah, you're taking school a lot more seriously, Buffy. And if you detail your own weaknesses, you might start with your hideous skirt. I giggle as I see some of the weaknesses on the board: "wears polyester," "dandruff," "too much make-up." Good thing this aired in SMG's pre-makeup-commercial era. Buffy asks Willow to make a database for her to facilitate her campaigning strategy. She starts to give assignments to Oz and Xander when Cordy walks in. Buffy says that since they're all going to the dance together, they should try to get along. Cordy agrees, and asks Willow how the database is coming. Oh, Bitch-O-Meter, I sense some work for you. Cordy calls Xander, Willow, and Oz to her side, and they meekly obey. Cordy: "Thanks for what you said, Buffy. I think we're getting along great. Don't you?" What's this? Turns out this Bitch-O-Meter goes to eleven! Yes, the fact that Cordy not only hit Buffy when she was down, but used her olive branch to do it, sends us into new territory. We've reached the domain of Simon Cowell. The group follows Cordy out. Giles emerges from hiding. Buffy says she's okay, but she "accidentally" crushes a glass bottle in her hand to let us know she's pissed off.