Buffy 7×06: Him

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg | Director: Michael Gershman | Aired: 11/05/2002]

“Him” is a stand-alone episode that suffers precisely the same problem as “Help” [7×04]: long-term character and/or story relevance. While “Help” [7×04] earns its points through a fairly engaging script, “Him” stays in a decent point area due to the fact that I cannot, in my right mind, allow anything that causes me to fall off my couch in laughter get anything under a B-. However, just because an episode is totally hilarious doesn’t mean it automatically deserves an excellent score. An episode that can put relevance together with comedy — like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” [2×16], “Doppelgangland” [3×16], “Something Blue” [4×09], and “Storyteller” [7×16] — can achieve an excellent score. So, in a nutshell, this is an episode that earns the vast majority of its points on how purely hilarious it is, but doesn’t offer very much more. With that said, let’s jump right into the thick of the review!

I’m a big fan of the fact that Buffy lived up to what she told Spike in “Selfless” [7×05]. Although Xander hates the idea, he lets Spike stay at his place for the time being for Buffy’s sake. It also, amusingly, flashes me back to seeing Spike tied to a chair and stuck in Xander’s parents’ basement in “Hush” [4×10]. I also like how, even though Buffy is standing up for soulful Spike, she still jumps when he grabs her arm from behind. The scars from “Seeing Red” [6×19] haven’t fully healed yet.

The next day, Dawn continues to probe Buffy on her treatment of Spike — something very wise of her to do. Dawn asks, “you didn’t do it [help Spike] out of pity, so what is it?” Buffy can only respond, “that’s a good question.” Buffy clearly doesn’t have all the answers yet, but she knows and feels that a soulful Spike is a brand new person that deserves a chance to prove himself. Dawn even outright asks the biggie: “Do you love him?” Buffy, truthfully, says, “No. But I feel for him.” What that exactly means is a complicated issue that hasn’t yet been sorted out. This whole conversation sets up the theme of the episode: love.

Well, poor Dawn spends most of the episode embarassing herself in the name of “true love.” I think there’s a lesson to be learned here in that the kind of true love Dawn experiences while under RJ’s spell, a metaphor, is not terribly real. Although that’s obvious to us, viewing it from the outside, it’s not so obvious to the person under the spell. A lot of people have relationships and even get married because, essentially, they’re under another person’s “spell.” As soon as that spell wears off, though, as it inevitably does with time and/or age, the relationship usually crumbles at an alarming rate. This is why I, personally, feel that relationships should be based on more than simply raw physical attraction. Otherwise, it’s doubtful to last. It’s easy to say that from the outside though. The real challenge is having the insight to look inside yourself and recognize whether or not you’re just under a spell, or genuinely love the person.

When Buffy later falls under RJ’s spell, we get some ‘interesting’ moments but also some more building comedy. One thing I love about Buffy when she’s under a spell is that she’s always convinced she has slayer immunity, so it can’t possibly be affecting her. Seeing Buffy romantically revert back to S1 is kind of like a shock to my system. It’s been so long since we’ve seen that kind of blind romanticism out of her — although, I’m selling S1 Buffy short, she was much smarter than spell-Buffy here. The best part of all of this is that RJ doesn’t even know why girls constantly fall for him, and he’s obviously not going to complain about it.

Xander, very experienced in the way of love spells, thankfully immediately calls it out the moment he sees Buffy straddling RJ on a desk. Then, Xander brings Spike along with him to get information out of RJ’s brother. The way these two look together is its own form of comedy. Haha. I also especially love the little moment where Spike turns the baby angel ceramic figure around so it’s not facing him, staring at him with judgement. It’s funny, clever, and relevant.

The comedy really kicks into gear, though, when Willow and Anya fall under RJ’s spell too. This leads to about six straight minutes of undiluted hilarity — some of the best raw comedy Buffy has pulled off since S4 (think “Pangs” [4×08] and “Something Blue” [4×09] ). I especially got a kick out of Willow’s confused and contorted facial expressions when falling under the spell. When Buffy, Dawn, Anya, and Willow all get into it, I’m starting to lose it with laughter. When Buffy drives like a spaz (I love that this is remembered) to kill Wood, I’m laughing even harder. Then there’s Anya telling Willow “his physical presence has a penis!” And the split-screen action-movie montage. When I see Buffy aiming the rocket launcher at Wood through the window, easy listening music in the background, I finally just fall out off my couch in pure glee. Spike and Buffy running back and forth outside of Wood’s window over the rocket launcher continues to adds to the fun! Wonderful!

Even though Buffy is totally in RJ’s thrall, Dawn trying to sacrifice herself for RJ’s love still really freaks her out. Buffy says, “no guy is worth your life — not ever!” Very, very true. Dawn later tells Buffy how stupid she feels over how she acted because of the spell. Buffy’s got some good advice here: “Get ready to feel even stupider when it’s not.”

After Buffy saves Dawn, we get to see Xander and Spike’s complex plan for dealing with RJ’s jacket: running up to him and stealing it. Haha! I like how, while the jacket is burning, Buffy asks Xander if he was even slightly tempted to slip it on for himself. Xander’s answer is perfect: “I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it didn’t fit.”

What more do I need to say about this episode? It’s, simply put, incredibly funny. I fully concede there’s not much more going on in it than that, but when an episode provides me with that much raw entertainment, I have to applaud. It’s not easy to do awesome comedy, and “Him” nails it. If you’re looking for a brilliant character study or foreboding drama, look to “Selfless” [7×05] and “Conversations with Dead People” [7×07]. If you want to laugh until you pee, watch “Him.”


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Buffy’s cute as hell in this episode. Drool.
+ D’Hoffryn sending lame demons after Anya just to annoy her.
+ Dawn pulling out Buffy’s old cheerleading outfit. We last saw that in “Witch” [1×03], right?
+ Xander figures out that it’s the jacket that’s causing all the girls to “woo” over RJ. Even though he didn’t mean it caused a love spell, he still got it right! πŸ™‚
+ We had a Dawn bedroom scene, and there was no “GET OUT!” Yay!
+ Dawn pushing random jock guy down the stairs. A little creepy.
+ Even creepier is Xander saying “daddy likie” before he knows he’s talking about Dawn! Willow joining in, “right there with ya,” is hilarious. Buffy’s shock at seeing Dawn all dancin’ dirty is palpable.
+ Dawn walking outside alone, tenseful music playing in the background, only to have an angry RJ-loving girl pop out for a tussle. That truly is frightening! Hilarious that battle music is playing during their cat fight, harkening back to Xander’s fight with Harmony in “The Initiative” [4×07].
+ Xander’s reaction to seeing Buffy straddling RJ on a desk. “Ahhh!”
+ Xander’s quick flashback to “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” [2×16]. Grinning, he simply states, “good times.”
+ We find out that RJ’s dad met his wife wearing that jacket. That’s probably the creepiest thing of all!
+ The look on Willow’s face when Anya gives her the idea of turning RJ into a woman.
+ Anya’s episode-ending cover-up.

–Β Although I know a spell is in effect, some of the Dawn-embarassing-herself scenes still made me cringe a bit. Maybe that was the point, to show how ridiculous blind love really is, but I felt it went a little over-the-top a couple times.




70 thoughts on “Buffy 7×06: Him”

  1. [Note: llinnae posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Haha hillarious episode, good review! I think one of your quotes may be off though, unless its me :

    XANDER: Dawn? What’s wrong? Is this? Did that guy in the jacket?
    DAWN: Uh! I don’t even want to hear his name anymore!
    XANDER: That’s what I used to call him in my head before I knew his real name!

    Doesn’t Dawn say that last part? it doesnt really make sense if Xander does…


  2. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    llinnae, you’re right. That’s a mistake. I’ll get that fixed when I get home from work tonight. πŸ™‚


  3. [Note: Paula posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Wow, another review! I can’t help but agree about everything. A pretty much feather-light episode when it comes to the content, but so funny I’m nearly rolling on the floor laughing just reading the review (and remembering all the best bits)! πŸ™‚

    Additionally, I kind of think of this episode of the show writers’ fond farewell to S1 – like, “if we could redo it now, it’d be a lot more like this”. πŸ™‚


  4. [Note: julieb posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Currently watching a re-run of series 7 in the UK – for the first time. Discovered your reviews. What a godsend! They have seriously enhanced my enjoyment of this brilliant show (box set ordered!). We’re up to “Bring on the night” and I’m checking your site daily. Impressive work ethic!Keep it up.


  5. [Note: Zillex posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Really funny episode. Originally when I read the preview, I was prepared to hate it…because there have been enough “love spell” episodes. One thing I love about BtVS is that there are quite a few episodes with a mediocre premise, but end up being great because of the character interactions.

    Buffy’s slayer immunity stuff makes me laugh every time…


  6. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Love this episode, one of my favourites of the season. I think something, as described above, ‘feather light’ as this was really required in the final seasons. Just one episode that’s all about having a bit of fun. As an episode that entertained me, Him gets an A. Not timeless or deep, but definitely amusing. With that said, I’ve found that on marathons of s7 I actually tend to skip this one out. I much prefer to watch it when I need cheering up. It’s the definition of a filler episode, and a damn perfect example of one.

    “Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky” has to be my favourite quote, closely followed by “So are you doing anything later, or are you just gonna go down to the docks, wait for the fleet to come in?” I’m proud to say I’ve used both in real life, lol. (I’m not that popular, believe it or not)


  7. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    This is a fun little episode. It’s not as great as Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (its obvious inspiration), but it is extremely funny, especially the four-way screen and Buffy chasing Spike with the rocket. ROFL


  8. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    I know this episode wasn’t suppose to be taken seriously, but it does pose questions about Willow. Or, to be more accurate, Willow’s sexuality.

    Amusing and as in character as it is for Willow to change a person’s gender to fit in with her tastes and interests, I do find it inconsistent with the fact she loved, slept with, and obviously enjoyed her relationship with Oz. Not to mention her big crush on Xander for the first 3 seasons. Some fans emphasize, instead of strict definitions of homo/heterosexual interests, a more fluid sexuality for Willow. In light of that view, she comes off as inconsistent in this episode.

    That aside, I thought it was amusing that Buffy’s two best friends both thought her younger sister was hot. πŸ˜‰


  9. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Push the ‘enter’ button too soon. To continue my train of thought,

    “That aside, I thought it was amusing that Buffy’s two best friends both thought her younger sister was hot.”

    I wish that this was a commentary on Willow’s relationship with Buffy (season 8). Considering that the monks made Dawn from Buffy and Willow found Dawn hot, I consider this evidence for my next favorite ship, Buffy/Willow. (The first one sunk when Tara died).


  10. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Yay! More reviews!

    I just wanted to throw in one of my favorite parts, which was Xander and Spike at the end.

    Xander: Now, you sure you understand the plan?
    Spike: I think I got it. Yea.
    Then they run and just strip the jacket off the guy. Perfect, with the serious music and everything!


  11. [Note: rick posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Pretty much covered what you needed to in this episode. I’d probably score it slightly lower, but I have to say “Him” is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. “His physical presence has a penis!” ‘Nough said.


  12. [Note: Tommy posted this comment on March 10, 2009.]

    I loved the moment when Xander and Spike were at the door, and Xander was telling Spike about RJ’s brother being a possible charmer. Then the door opens up to this not-so-attractive guy, the two having a ‘Ookay…’ look in their eyes…


  13. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on March 10, 2009.]


    I completely agree with you about Willow’s inconsistency regarding her sexuality. You don’t go from obviously being attracted to men to one day and then “oops I don’t like guys anymore. Only girls for me.” the next. I could easily see her being bisexual, or perhaps that Tara was kind of a “fluke” of sorts, but Willow really shouldn’t be unattracted to men at all, now. That’s just not really how it works. 8S

    On another subject, I’ve forgotten what it was that Anya almost did. They did let the audience know, didn’t they? arg. I obviously haven’t watched this season often enough. I keep forgetting details.


  14. [Note: Paula posted this comment on March 10, 2009.]

    Darth Bunny and Leelu, I quite agree about the inconsistency of Willow’s sexuality, but I suspect this was something the writers were very aware of yet deliberately did this way at this point. It would have made more sense to make Willow bisexual, gender indifferent or something like that, but having Willow attracted to a man now after Tara’s death would have made a lot of viewers think that the show was chickening out of having a lesbian character and that they had killed Tara off in order to have Willow “head back to boys’ town” again. Which impression I guess they just didn’t want to give, even temporarily.

    (And then again, I don’t think it’s unheard of in the real world, either, for gay people to have heterosexual relationships which they don’t consider at all worthless before discovering their actual sexual identity.)


  15. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on March 10, 2009.]

    The last minutes are hilarious, really! Whenever I see Buffy trying to kill Wood or Willow trying to make RJ a woman, I just can’t stop laughing.
    mike, it’s funny you mention S1 because this episode does have that early season feel to it. Another good moment I always find is when Willow and Anya fall for RJ, the music is “Theme to a Summer’s Place” and that takes me back to Oz, in Inca Mummy Girl when he says that he wants a girl with a taste for a feather boa and “Theme to a Summer’s Place”

    btw, mike, don’take this the wrong way, but I think you might have a crush on our Buffy.


  16. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on March 10, 2009.]

    Mike, just reading your review was a treat! Even more so since I tend to only remember the bad points about this episode, so the great moments always take me by surprise. And boy, the plot is STUPID, so much so that after the introduction, I tend to fast-forward the first half of Him. But the second half… oh my. I end up literally howling with laughter, and I suddenly realise how much I’ve missed the show going crazy like this. (And I also feel that the whole cast had a field day shooting this.)
    By the way, since there are so many great little reminders of the good ole’ days, I cannot believe that nobody mentioned the return of our old buddy the rocket launcher, back from season 2!(It IS the same one, isn’t it?) Buffy seems to be a real sentimental as far as weapons are concerned.


  17. [Note: Lighs posted this comment on March 10, 2009.]

    Regarding Willow’s sexuality… I thought that Buffy Vs. Dracula (in which Willow was as enthralled as the rest of the girls) established that Willow was, at least at that point, still attracted to men. I’m not sure exactly when the scales tipped from bisexuality to homosexuality, but I’d imagine that it must have been at some point during her relationship with Tara. When I first watched this episode, I thought that the fact that the jacket affected Willow at all suggested that she retained some attraction to men even then, but in retrospect I’d imagine that that had more to do with the mechanics of the spell than anything else. It was probably designed to affect all women, regardless of sexual orientation.


  18. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 11, 2009.]

    I should also add that I love the use of Coldplay’s “Warning Sign” in this episode–simultaneously haunting and funny.


  19. [Note: Paula posted this comment on March 11, 2009.]

    Mike, a correction to the Minor Pros (I think):

    Xander’s fight with Harmony in “The Harsh Light of Day” (4×03)

    Wasn’t that fight in “The Initiative”?


  20. [Note: Tommy posted this comment on March 11, 2009.]

    I loved the music that played every time one of the girls fell for RJ. Utter hilarity! And the rocket launcher scene between Buffy and Spike: only an emotionally stunted robot born without a ‘humour chip’ would be able to watch that scene without laughing.

    And…Oh, yeah “His physical presence has a penis!”


  21. [Note: MrB posted this comment on March 28, 2009.]

    This harkens back to the second season where there was a bit more balance between arc and standalone episodes. That lack of balance became a problem starting in S5. Very refreshing to see a true fun standalone in the middle of two BIG episodes.

    Yeay for the funny, yeay for the breather. It demonstrates how good those silly MOW episodes in the early seasons could be and what purpose they served.


  22. [Note: jarppu posted this comment on April 10, 2009.]

    Am I the only who’s bothered by the fact that D’Hoffryn now wants Anya dead even though in the previous episode he made a point to keep Anya alive so that she can suffer? Wasn’t that the whole point of him killing Halfrek instead of Anya? It seems that the writers are battling against each other now that there isn’t a clear leader anymore. Marti Noxon, who’s supposed to be the showrunner this season, has pretty much retreated into a shell after all the (unfounded) critisism she got over season 6. She only writes one episode this season and even that’s just a co-write.

    There are many more examples of the writers battling against each other during season 7 where one writer starts to do something in one episode then the next writer completely demolishes what the previous writer was trying to do. Did anyone else notice this or is it just my imagination?


  23. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on April 10, 2009.]

    jarppu, I always took the lame demon sent after Anya as an annoyance and a reminder of D’Hoffryn’s presence rather that a real attempt at her life. If D’Hoffryn really wanted to kill her, he could, easily.


  24. [Note: jarppu posted this comment on April 10, 2009.]

    Well Anya survived the demon attack because Buffy was there. D’Hoffryn can’t just assume that Buffy is there to protect Anya all the time especially since they were fighting to the death the last time D’Hoffryn saw them. (Quite the turn around for Buffy, btw again. First her readyness to kill Anya comes out of nowhere and then it disappears to nowhere). If D’Hoffryn wants to remind Anya of his presence, he could have just sent a threatening letter with lizard eyes in it or something. And if I do remember correctly Buffy and Anya talk about the fact that D’Hoffryn seems to have changed his mind about killing her.


  25. [Note: Paula posted this comment on April 10, 2009.]

    (Quite the turn around for Buffy, btw again. First her readyness to kill Anya comes out of nowhere and then it disappears to nowhere).

    Um, so Buffy shouldn’t have known what her duty was when a demon in the neighborhood had started slaughtering people obviously out of her own choice and without any apparent remorse? And at least should not have changed her mind after said demon had willingly gotten the previously mentioned slaughterings undone and turned from demon to human?


  26. [Note: Beth posted this comment on May 13, 2009.]

    I remember watching this episode twice in a row last year when going through the entire series because it made me laugh so hard! On the second viewing in a row the weaknesses were really apparent and I don’t care for the premise, but damn, when it’s funny, it’s FUNNY.


  27. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on May 19, 2009.]

    Sam: “I should also add that I love the use of Coldplay’s “Warning Sign” in this episode–simultaneously haunting and funny.”

    I’m going to disagree with you there, Sam. I thought this was one of the few times in this show when they totally blew it with the music. If you read/listen to the lyrics, the song is about screwing up a relationship and losing someone you love. It is haunting and beautiful, but it definitely does not at all mesh with Buffy attempting to seduce a high school student. I found this episode hysterical, but that song has some special significance for me, and that total miss was enough to almost make me write off the episode at that point. The Spike/Buffy rocket launcher scene saved the day.


  28. [Note: cupcakey posted this comment on May 26, 2009.]

    Usually I just lurk about here but I have to pipe up to say that, even though my opinion is clearly the minority here, this episode is tied with “I robot you jane” for worst Buffy episode ever. Absolutely horrible. I can’t even sit through it a second time. Not funny, just asinine! I spent 3/4 of this episode cringing.


  29. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 17, 2009.]

    cupcakey, I totally agree with you!! The only part I find funny is the last quarter- like you said, I spend 3/4 of the episode cringing. IMO, it was so bad! However, I’m the kind of person who can’t watch episodes out of order or skip episodes, so I watch it every time I watch S7. And MT’s acting!!!!- I’m trying to be more objective when it comes to MT/Dawn, Mike, like I said, but her acting in this episode…*shudders*. (Though I have to admit that in “Same Time, Same Place,” she wasn’t so bad.)

    Anyway, I’d give this a 60, *maybe* a 65. No character development, no relevance, and not funny for most of the episode.


  30. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 17, 2009.]

    Also, notice the plaid skirt that Buffy is wearing when she seduces RJ- the “schoolgirl” outfit. It reminds me of how Darla dressed up for Angel in “Angel” [1×07] (on BtVS, not AtS).


  31. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on June 30, 2009.]

    Very, very nice and funny episode… I haven’t read through all comments in detail, so I don’t know wether this has been adressed to already: How comes that in the Bronze (during the dance scene with “tacky” Dawney), where RJ wears his jacket, neither Buffy nor Willow are affected by its charm already at this point? It cleary made itself felt over quite a distance when Dawn was seeing RJ on the football-field. Why not here, is there some explanation?


  32. [Note: GSilver posted this comment on July 29, 2009.]

    There’s good funny material in this one for sure, but just so much of it is groaningly bad, that personally I couldn’t rate it anything above the 60 range.


  33. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on October 23, 2009.]

    Leelu-Anya robbed some banks. We didn’t see it, just her pulling a balaclava over her face and then the news report on the radio at the end about a ‘masked bandit’

    I really loved this episode-but I hated the coldplay song. Not because it doesn’t fit, just because I hate coldplay!


  34. [Note: KatieJ posted this comment on December 21, 2009.]

    Since, I ultimately weigh comedy a bit more heavily on the proverbial scales when it comes to Buffy, this rates higher in my book. Now, in terms of larger developments, there is more here than meets the eye within the larger S7 arc, which is about the power of sharing power. In Dawn’s behaviors, there are so many refits of Buffy’s previous mistakes and relationships: example, Parker and S2 opener slutty dance. Joss is being very crafty here to set the stage to speak to how women can share physical and spiritual power, and, in this case, wisdom. Basically, it is a very mission-driven, very feminist episode about how women tend to, but ultimately should not fight each other to succeed. It is through sharing, collaboration, consensus that power systems are subverted. And, in the end of the series….this occurs.

    So, point being, this has HIGH larious scenes, but the hilarity does, in fact move the season arc, by setting up the ridiculous nature of women sapping the power of other women under the patriarchy. And, oh my god, Joss Whedon made feminism funny, which deserves high praise.


  35. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on December 21, 2009.]

    I completely agree with KatieJ. Besides the incredibly amount of fun that this episode has, the situations here are highly connected with the main themes of the season 8and the whole series as well).

    In this episode, I tend to think that RJ’s jacket is some kind of metaphor. All the women were atracted to him just because something on the surface, but because of him as a person. Please notice that once he takes it off (and much later when Spike and Xander steale it)the charm goes away inmediately.

    Many times women are attracted to some men that behave with them as if women were objects. Altough RJ probably doesn’t know about the magical jacket, he is fully aware about the control he has on women. Isn’t this, from a structural point of view, one of the central themes of S7? How men objectify women.

    Just like “Help”, this is an episode that develops S7’s arc from a thematic perspective. It serves the story in its stand-alone form.


  36. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on December 21, 2009.]

    I made a mistake in the previous post. I meant to say:

    All the women were atracted to him just because something on the surface, but NOT because of him as a person


  37. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 1, 2010.]

    Good episode. I found Dawn’s look at the RJ girl just before she runs away to be a little scary. Finally Michelle showing a bit more anger. Buffy wearing a school girl-ish uniform to seduce RJ in the room with Coldplay in the background was my favourite scene, probably as Sarah was so hot here. Seeing Dawn wearing Buffy’s cheerleading uniform from ‘The Witch’ was also good as was the hilarious part with Buffy, Spike and the rocket launcher.

    On a con, how far away was Dawn? They could see her on the tracks, yet it took Buffy a while to reach her even using a train.


  38. [Note: Zaphe posted this comment on January 2, 2010.]

    In the beginning of this episode, they showed again that Buffy flinched when Spike touched her. However, in the very first episode in the basement, when she first saw Spike, he touched her face and said ‘Buffy … duck’ and she had no problem with it. She herself also had touched Spike a couple of time when checking the cuts on his checks. So there’s a bit of inconsistency there.

    I love this series very much and like Mike always says these little mistakes do not affect my enjoyment but I would just like to mention it.


  39. [Note: Randy posted this comment on January 6, 2010.]

    The scene with the rocket launcher outside the principal’s office may have been been the funniest moment of the whole series for me. πŸ™‚

    As a whole, I could have used less Dawn in this episode, and (like someone else mentioned) the inappropriate use of a Coldplay song weirded me out a little. Still, a hilarious episode that stands up to many rewatchings.


  40. [Note: sj posted this comment on April 6, 2010.]

    Re: Willow and sexuality,

    The lines are always blurred. We have terms to differentiate the degrees to which people are attracted to the same and opposite sexes because we need a vocabulary to discuss them, but sexuality is generally fluid. So I don’t see much inconsistency re: Willow’s sexuality. Here’s why:

    1. Lots of people who identify has gay or lesbian later in life spend much of their dating years with the opposite sex, usually because that’s what’s expected of them (think about the daily bombardment of social messages encouraging heterosexual relationships!). Heteronormativity is firmly entrenched in our cultural consciousness, and many people aren’t actually aware of their homosexuality (or bisexuality) until adulthood. Many of them repress it, or do not even consider it as a possibility until their formative years are over. During high school (and even college), many people are still learning the ropes of their sexuality. Willow was still figuring things out. Now that she’s into her twenties, she has a better idea of what she wants, both erotically and romantically speaking.

    2. Bisexuality has degrees; it is not as if every bisexual person is attracted to men and women equally. And, in fact, some people who *identify* as gay or lesbian still have some inclination toward the opposite sex. Labels are tricky. Someone who finds himself or herself vaguely attracted to the opposite sex but *primarily* attracted to the same sex might choose the term “gay” or “lesbian.” They choose to publicly identify as gay or lesbian because those are the relationships they prefer to pursue based on the “balance” of their individual desires. Willow has chosen to identify as a lesbian even though she enjoyed her one major relationship with the opposite sex, and found herself attracted to a few other men during her life, because she found that same-sex relationships fulfill her in ways that opposite-sex relationships cannot.


  41. [Note: Nia posted this comment on May 20, 2010.]

    It is really gross that Willow kept looking at the hotness that is Dawn since Dawnie later tells Buffy, “Willow is like a mom to me”. She saw Willow, and not her actual mother by blood and law (Buffy), as her substitute mother after Joyce died. Will didn’t turn her eyes away when she realized it was Dawn dirty dancing in the revealing outfit.

    I’m surprised that there wasn’t a storyline in future episodes about how the 23 year old hottie Guidance Counselor was making desk-time with a student. She ran the risk of getting fired. It was during school hours and students were in the hallway walking right past the classroom. She probably had a lot more students asking for sessions with her.

    Zaphe, I think she was okay with him touching her in Lessons because she was in shock and confusion over having not heard a word about his whereabouts in three or four months and then suddenly there he is right in front of her. She later tells him that when she saw him in the basement part of her thought he was a mirage.

    I think that grabbing her arm or touching her hand would have such a huge effect on her compared to her touching his wounded chest or his hand caressing her cheek because when he tried to rape her he held her arms above her head, his hands holding her wrists tightly so she that she was powerless.


  42. [Note: Andrea posted this comment on July 27, 2010.]

    LOL – Did anyone notice Spike’s unimpressed eyebrow-lift when RJ’s brother is explaining his horror at finding poetry under RJ’s bed (“turns out — *he* wrote it”). Nice added texture to the scene from James Marsters!


  43. [Note: Andrea posted this comment on July 27, 2010.]

    PS – YES this episode is HILARIOUS!!! My favourite moment is Spike silently chasing Buffy-with-a-Bazooka past the window and then silently tackling her while Principal Wood is listening to peaceful music inside his office, and you see them from over his shoulder through the window. Brilliant!


  44. [Note: Jason posted this comment on September 14, 2010.]

    I’m in the negative camp here. πŸ™‚ One of my five least favorites of all time.

    I just don’t find it that interesting when Buffy characters act all out of character, under the influence of some spell. It just becomes… regular lazy two-dimensional television. Oh well!


  45. [Note: Jermzy posted this comment on December 2, 2010.]

    I’m gonna make a bold statement- this is my favourite episode of the series. Okay I say this because I don’t rate episodes on character development or depth- I rate them on how appealing/novel their concept would be to a series newcomer. The kind of episode you can just jump into without any prior knowledge and be taken away without feeling like you’re watching something lame or cultish.

    It’s HILARIOUS and can keep the series feeling fresh and new at it’s SEVENTH and final season. It is able fully play on the history of all it’s characters now that they’re all developed and brings out the best sides of them (I haven’t seen Dawn this quirky, Willow this ridiculous or Buffy this seductive in a long time).

    Plus Buffy with a rocket-launcher pretty much had the episode sold before I finished watching it.


  46. [Note: Jermzy posted this comment on December 2, 2010.]

    Oh and also chipping in as a fellow bisexual guy here, it does kind of annoy me how Willow’s relationship with Oz is rendered moot because she dated one girl- if she started of gay and later “turned straight” there’d be an uproar.

    Joss even said that Willow pretty much HAD to be lesbian because if they had her be go back to dating guys after Tara as a bi he’d be killed for it.

    Which is a pity cause Oz coming back, sweeping Willow off her feet and pushing Kennedy through a window would have been a nice touch.


  47. [Note: John posted this comment on January 6, 2011.]

    Amen to that! We can dream, I suppose. Glad to meet another Kennedy hater. πŸ˜›

    I agree with Jermzy- this might be my favorite episode of Season 7. It just captured the quintessential humor of the show SO well and was uproariously amusing. Willow’s confusion, Xander and her commenting on Dawn dancing, the rocket launcher…just great.


  48. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 10, 2011.]

    Not nearly one of my favorite episodes but it is cute and has its charm.

    I liked how they used RJ spraying water on his face as a sensual moment for him. That’s usually a typical trick you see when a guy is looking at hot girl and she is flipping her hair and pouring water on her head. I like how they flipped the script on that one.

    Poor Dawn in this episode, so uncomfortable to watch her when she approaches RJ and his friends in the hall at the beginning. Makes me cringe every time. And her cheerleading routine — good god. LOL

    My favorite line of the episode: “Now get off the boy, Buffy. We’re going home”. Hysterical.

    @Jermzy — Anyone pushing Kennedy through a window would have been a nice touch. πŸ˜›


  49. [Note: keekey posted this comment on November 24, 2011.]

    Very funny episode, particularly the last 10 minutes. It did make me miss the “old” Spike (vintage Season 4/Season 5) a bit because he would have had some entertaining reaction to and comments re: Buffy throwing herself at RJ. New soulful Spike was pretty low-key. Still, Buffy and Spike’s struggle over the rocket launcher made me laugh out loud.

    I also was glad to see Buffy found Spike a place to live in order to get him away from the Hellmouth. For me, it seemed to confirm my earlier impression that Buffy’s experience with Cassie in Help made her re-think her approach to Spike (i.e., rather than staying away from him because she might make things worse, she’s going to at least try to help him).

    Re: Zaphe’s point about the inconsistency in Buffy’s reaction to Spike touching her: I took her reaction here to be partly due to the fact that Spike unexpectedly grabbed her arm from behind. That could be pretty startling under normal circumstances and, given their history, understandably freaked her out for a minute.


  50. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 21, 2012.]

    I just realized: the monks set it up so that Dawn was about 11-12 during Bewitched (2×16). Was she also part of the Xander-mob? Or was it only post-pubescents?


  51. [Note: Mike posted this comment on August 22, 2012.]

    I also liked the part where the brother was talking bout the nerd stuff his little brother RJ used to do and he made comment about writing poems and spike has this very subtle reaction to it XD


  52. [Note: SomeMeddlingKid posted this comment on December 18, 2012.]

    I agree- this episode was probably one of my favorite too. This is the kind of episode that I am proud to show my friends to introduce them to the series. Season 7 was a season I was very impressed with because the show finally found a lighthearted-character-strong format where it was accessible to the wider public (including the awesome Coldplay music) and this episode epitomized that.Also the Buffy/RJ pairing sparked something in me- there’s something about it that I really liked. I’m not saying she should have entertained a relationship with an underage quarterback. I just liked her being paired with an attractive, sensitive, human guy who was weaker than her and WASN’T bothered by it. Her sitting on top of him during their straddling was perfectly representative of how well their dynamic worked. His character let Buffy be playful but still in charge which would have been better than her constantly having boyfriends who rival her in strength.Buffy having a boyfriend like that would have been a gender role reversal unlike anything on TV and would have been awesome to watch (although I’m still mad about Spuffy).


  53. [Note: Queeg123 posted this comment on January 16, 2013.]

    I think RJ does know the effect the jacket has, since when Buffy is initially yellling at him, then briefly turns her back he seems to deliberately put the jacket on, so as it seems to me to get out of trouble


  54. [Note: WCRobinson posted this comment on August 12, 2013.]

    The main thing that annoyed me about this episode was how – as far as I could tell – this is the first time she talks to her friends about Spike having a soul. It seems that she told them off-screen, so we were deprived of what could have been an insightful reaction scene.

    Also, I found it interesting that Spike turned the Angel statue around in the brother’s room. This seems like a little nod to how his morality has changed, and possibly even a nod to the character of Angel himself!


  55. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on September 8, 2013.]

    It also reminded me a bit of Drusilla, who turned around the doll when it had been ‘bad’. Now Spike’s crazy and turns around the statue because he’s been bad. I thought that was a very funny touch.


  56. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on October 21, 2014.]

    First Letterman jackets used to be considered babe magnets. Second the funniest scene for me is after the epically disastrous cheerleading scene where Buffy and Zander give romance advice to Dawn. Not exactly PhDs in that area either of them. And it shows.


  57. [Note: Vincent posted this comment on April 20, 2015.]

    A really funny episode. I love the scene with Wood working in his office and Spike trying to stop Buffy. An excellent moment of television.
    I also LOVE a line by Buffy : ” (…) or are you just going to go down to the docks, wait for the fleet to come in?”. You should have mention this one in your quotes section :p
    But, hey, this episode has some flaws. Especially because, even if some moments are terribly funny, most of the episode is also too easy, too repetitive ; the love spell thingy is something we’re fed up with.


  58. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on April 20, 2015.]

    For reference, the first time I saw this episode, the DVD I borrowed was scratched and I missed the last ~10 minutes of this episode (including, yes, the rocket launcher scene).

    So I speak with authority when I say that if you ignored the final act, this is quite possibly the worst episode of the entire show. Even counting shitfests like “Teacher’s Pet.”


  59. [Note: cinf posted this comment on May 24, 2016.]

    Just watched this episode (as part of a rewatch of the series). It is very funny, but I was struck by something which has already hit me a few times in rewatching the series: what seems to me an iffy attitude towards sexual assault. This episode, for example, makes a joke out of a member of school staff (Buffy) seducing and having sex with a student. In real life, that sort of thing isn’t a joke, and I don’t really see why it is made a joke of here (I can easily imagine other not-so-iffy scenes that could replace it). In some ways this reminds me of a scene in Gone, where the joke is that invisible buffy “sneaks up” on spike, jumps him and starts having sex – without him knowing what’s happening or even who it is. The problem I have isn’t with sexual assault, and indeed intimate violence, happening in the show: there’s a lot of that, especially between buffy and spike, obviously (in season six they are practically a textbook example of reciprocal domestic abuse). Usually, however, it’s treated seriously (buffy’s beating of spike in Dead Things, spike’s attempted rape of buffy and so on). The problem I have is with the decision to portray this type of thing as a joke.

    I didn’t really notice this when I watched buffy when it came out first; but rewatching it now nearly twenty years later, it sort of stood out. Maybe its just a reflection of how attitudes have changed? Or maybe I’ve just become too serious in my old age…


  60. Very funny episode that made me laugh out loud repeatedly, and I do not laugh out loud easily over tv shows.

    Willow: Right there with you!

    Buffy’s lining up the shot of the rocket launcher at Wood, aims, and…is tackled by Spike!

    Xander and Spike’s intricate plan for getting the jacket from RJ…running up to him, stripping it off him, and running away.

    All of them along with some others LOL moments for me.

    When I watched the show in real time, I wasn’t happy about Willow turing out to be gay and hooking up with Tara. Not that I cared if a character is gay, but there was no foundation for it at all. Willow crushes on Xander, she crushes on Giles, she has a deep, intimate, romantic, sexual relationship with Oz. No hint of liking girls at all. And then POOF! she likes Tara. It’s like they decided “hey, we need a gay character, who should it be? Eenie meenie minie moe, Willow!” In order to reconcile this for myself, I just decided Willow is bi. She likes boys, she likes girls, I don’t sweat it anymore.


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