Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Once More, With Feeling

Episode Report Card
Sep: A | 14 USERS: A+
Once More, With Feeling

I have a feeling we're about to get our answer. Street at night. We hear tap-dancing. A man in a three-piece suit frantically taps his way into the scene. His whimpering and desperate confusion clue us in to the fact that he's not so much enjoying his little jig. As his feet go faster and faster, smoke begins to rise around him and he suddenly bursts into flames. It would make sense if his feet started burning first but the way the scene is shot makes it look rather like it's his ass that burns first. What is this, a Preparation H commercial? He dances and burns, and then his crispy corpse falls at the feet of a figure dressed in a sharp red zoot suit. Do you think it's easy in Hollywood to find a stunt-man who can tap-dance like that? I'm fascinated by this guy. He's manly enough to set himself on fire, but soft enough to dance his wee heart out. Is he a stuntman who's a frustrated dancer, or a dancer who's a frustrated stuntman? Camera pans up, and the zoot-suited demon -- whose head is completely red, reminding me of nothing so much as Tandoori chicken -- declares, "That's entertainment!"

Xander's apartment. He and Anya lie in bed, and Xander offers to prepare waffles for breakfast. Anya throws aside the covers and, clad in a red bra and tap pants with a forties-type hairstyle, begins to sing about her love for Xander. "This is the man that I plan to entangle / Isn't he fine? / My claim to fame was to maim and to mangle / Vengeance was mine!" She warbles a little more and concludes, "The only trouble is -- / I'll never tell." Then it's Xander's turn. He too sings a few bars about how much he cares for Anya and concludes, "There's just one thing that -- / No. I'll never tell." They head out into the living room and take turns singing directly to the camera with these little complaints they were never going to reveal: "He snores." "She wheezes." "She doesn't know what 'please' is." "His penis got diseases from a Chumash tribe!" Then together they sing: "God knows, I'll never tell." Song's not over, though, and the debate gets heated when Xander sings, "She clings / She's needy / She's also really greedy / She never --" and is interrupted by Anya popping up in front of him to emphasize, "His eyes are beady!" "This is my verse, hello," interjects Xander. He tries to continue but, always the attention grabber, Anya gets a brassy horn line and suddenly bursts into some frantic sort of Charleston or Lindy. Be kind to me -- the thimble in which I store all of my knowledge of musicals has plenty of room left over for my awareness of dance styles. The loving duo Charleston some together, do what appears to be a few steps of modified tango, and then go into a whole series of dance steps I'm not even going to try to identify. It's all rather cute, peppy, and retro, though. Then comes the soft, lovey duet part of the song; Xander calls her a charmer and the cutest of the Scoobies, and Anya refers to him as her knight in armor. They both sing about how scared they are to get married and admit their fears. Xander worries that she's a gold digger, and Anya worries that he won't love her when she's old and wrinkly. There's more, much more, and it's all very charming but I think we get the point. As Xander sings right about now, "Nothing to see / Move it along." Exhausted, they flop onto their sofa, giggling.

Later that day, Anya and Xander walk with Giles and blather frantically about what a "nightmare" their number was. They're both talking at once, but the gist is that they said some really mean things to each other and they want Giles to stop the singing. I don't know what they're so worked up about -- those two say mean things to each other every day without being under a singing spell. Anya does get a smile from me, though, by fretting that their number was "a retro pastiche that's never going to be a breakaway pop hit." Giles is about to explain some "disturbing" things he's learned, when he and Xanya walk behind a woman (played by Buffy executive producer Marti Noxon) who is protesting her parking ticket. "It isn't right, it isn't fair! / There was no parking anywhere / I think that hydrant wasn't there." Marti has a nice voice, and I like her better singing than writing scripts and trying to shove the Wonder of Riley down our throats. By the time she's done, we've missed some exposition, but from Xander's dialogue, we can tell that Giles thinks the singing might be causing people to spontaneously combust. As he explains that he examined a burned body while "the police were taking witness arias," a trio of janitors dances in the background with push-brooms. Every musical theater cliché gleefully trotted out for your approval. Giles tells Xanya that Buffy is checking into the demon world for information, or at least he thinks she is, as she's been behaving oddly lately. Xander expositions for the umpteenth million time that Buffy was pulled from a HELL dimension and that could mess anyone up. Get that? The Scoobies think she was in HELL and they saved her. From HELL. Did you hear me and the show the first eighty-seven times?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer




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