14 June, 2011

The Great Buffy Rewatch: Pangs


             We all loved seeing "Written & Directed by Joss Whedon" pop up in the Opening Credits (remember, Buffy's original run was before easy -- certainly in-depth, certainly ahead of airing -- Internet access) but I have to say, more so than most of the Writers in The Whedonverse, I tend to gravitate toward Ms. Espenson.  While Whedon himself hits us with The Big Ones, natch, Ms. Espenson tends to bring the funny, the off-kilter, and I often list more of hers under “personal faves.”
              Here she takes on Turkey Day.

w Jane Espenson
d Michael Lange

              Pangs is bitter-sweet.  On the one hand, given as big a Buffy/Angel fan that I am (that is their relationship as opposed to Buffy/Riley)  [i]  I was thrilled to hear we were getting our first crossover (after Angel left to L.A.).  Angel’s The Bachelor Party ends with Doyle having a vision of Buffy in danger, Angel returns to Sunnydale here, Buffy visits L.A. in Angel’s I Will Remember You, and it’s capped in Something Blue.  But I can’t help but feel “Angel’s return to Sunnydale” should have been bigger – later in the season? – than for a primarily comedic episode such as this.  [ii]  Now, on the other hand, as well as Ms. Espenson handles this episode – especially with The Funny – what could have been a monster-of-the-week peppered by Indian-Vs-Native-American soapboxing holds up really well, even after multiple viewings.
            The His Girl Friday banter of Giles and Willow arguing over that very “Vs” is really well written, from both sides, and is (almost) as funny as its counterpoint:  Buffy just wanting to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner.  There are great momens throughout like --

This isn't a Western, Buffy!  We're not at Fort... Giles,
with the cavalry coming to save us!  It's one lonely and
oppressed warrior guy who's just trying to --

-- kill a lot of people?

I didn't say he was right...

Will, you know how bad I feel.  This is eating me up --
(to Anya, who holds up the bottle of brandy)
-- a quarter cup, and let it simmer --
(to Willow, as Anya goes back)
-- but even though it's hard, we have to end this. Yes,
he's been wronged, and I personally would be ready to

Oh, someone put a stake in me!

            Capitalized by the great end with all of them at the table, even tied-to-the-chair Spike as returned-from-Syphillis Xander, loveable old Xander, blurts out that Angel was there. 

                                                                                 # # #

[i]  Or eventually Buffy/Spike
[ii] Though I Will Remember You is anything but comedic, and one of the really great tortured romance episodes in The Whedonverse.

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