Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pleasant Surprises about Buffy

I'm having a lot of fun working my way through Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the last episode I've seen being Band Candy. I still wonder about MTV's motivations for airing Buffy, since it's heads and shoulders in quality better than all of those I'm 16 and Stupid types of shows that seem to be a staple of their network. Did MTV pick Buffy to help raise the overall quality of their broadcast schedule, and to teach young women the values of empowerment and self respect? Or is MTV just trying to cash in on the vampire craze that has inexplicably broken out around the world?

One pleasant surprise for me is Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase. I had read a lot of somewhat negative online comments about her character, and the meme seemed to be that she wasn't "that good" on BtVS, Cordelia was too obnoxious, and that she was a lot better on Angel. Normally, the biggest channel-turning moment that occurs for me is when the inevitable teenage bitch queen shows up. Although Cordelia isn't really supposed to be all that likable, I think Charisma Carpenter came up with the finest portrayal of the Teenage Bitch Queen to ever hit the screen. Cordelia's obnoxious, cutting, selfish, and wickedly funny, but has that spark of humanity and a heart of gold that reassuringly lets you know she'll always do the right thing in the end.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of moments like the ones that occurred in "Homecoming" where Cordelia and a gun-toting Buffy mixed it up with the evil demons and assassins, all while beautifully attired in their prom dresses. Although Buffy did most of the work to dispatch the Baddies, Cordelia's sense of vanity saved the day when she bluffed her way through her Faith the Slayer impression when the last remaining vampire was about to kill her, Buffy and Giles.

Another pleasant surprise for me, which I guess I've already mentioned in a prior post, is how much I'm liking Sarah Michelle Geller as Buffy. I was expecting to simply be able to tolerate her presence while I really get caught up with Cordelia and the rest of the cast. To me, Geller seemed all wrong as Buffy, since it seems that Buffy needed to be more Amazonian and less a small, slight wisp of a girl. Geller had that perfect combination of porcelain beauty and charm, intelligence and a cocky attitude that really carried the show.

I'm glad that I didn't have to wait long for the make-out scene between Joyce and Giles while they were under the influence of the teenage behavior-inducing chocolate bars in "Band Candy". Although the scene was way too brief, it was definitely worth a few scan back, slow motion and freeze frame looks. Alas, in the Whedonverse, even when the right people get together, it's for the wrong reason. I'm really liking Giles, but he's still way too low-keyed for me.

Although I'm sensing that it's still too early in the season for much to have happened, it still seems BtVS hasn't progressed as much as I would have thought after being on the air for that amount of time. As much as I'm enjoying the show, it seems odd that Buffy is still stuck in a "girl is a normal teenager by day, a slayer by night, and kills the Baddies by the end of the show" loop.

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