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"Hush"--BtVS - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
You know, I generally consider "Hush," like "The Body," to be an overrated Buffy episode, leaning too hard on its gimmick, with a storyline that doesn't deserve the praise heaped on it.

But I have to shout out to the research scene, with the slide projector and all the failed pantomimes... that was a great application of the gimmick.
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forked From: forked Date: May 30th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee- the slideshow bit was one of my favorite Giles scenes ever! But the other thing about Hush? I think it was the only episode that actually scared me. Just something about the villians.... When that one glided past the window all up close? I'm pretty sure I yelled. I never do that.

Scary buggers.

(Now 'The Body' never hit me like it seemed to most folks. That one, I'll admit, is not on my list of favs.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 30th, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is the episode that my mother first watched, I heard the yelp through 3 walls because of that exact moment. Even when Joss writes lazily, it comes out pretty well.

And those episodes? The same two my little sister used to try and get our grandmother on the Buffy train, my nana deduced from this that my little sister was a little psychotic and wanted her mother to die. She was actually very concerned.

I love those two episodes, Hush for the sheer cheekiness of Joss to go 'You say my dialogue is the reason I'm popular? I'm going to go silent' and The Body because it does actually reflect my experience of death - the starkness, the confusion and the little daydreams you constantly have -without exploiting it and on that 'I look up to Buffy and like to see myself in her shoes' kinds of deals, it was comforting in a strange way to see her go through the loss of a loved one and to see her survive it.
in_a_tizzy From: in_a_tizzy Date: May 30th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee. That is a great scene. I actually just watched that episode yesterday. (I like to have Buffy on in the backround when I'm doing housework). I totally get what you're saying about Hush but I wonder if you could expand on your opinion of "The Body"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Basically, "The Body" came off, to me, as a "Very Special Episode" of Buffy--"Oh, look! We're going to do a major character death and rub your face in it really, really hard, and it's NOT metaphorical this time, dammit!"

For me, it had two major problems, one of which was inherent to the episode itself--it just didn't grab me much, and there wasn't much of a plot, just a lot of reactions. Joyce's death didn't really advance any of the ongoing plot lines or resolve anything. It seemed very much like someone making a Deep, Philosohpical Statement about death being random and out of the blue... which is fine in real life, but fiction needs more purpose than that.

The other problem isn't really the fault of "The Body," per se; it's just kind of the dividing line for me between Buffy as a metaphoric show with sparkling dialogue and well-used fantasy tropes and its later tendency to be a literal and rather turgid soap opera. I enjoyed some things in later seasons--the redemption of Spike, in particular--but "The Body" marked the moment when Buffy lost some of what made it a really exceptional show.
in_a_tizzy From: in_a_tizzy Date: May 30th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, my opinion of the episode is clouded by the fact that it hits so close to home. (I lost my father when I was quite young). Perhaps that's why the episode grabs so many people, not because it's necessarily a good 45 minutes of television but because it is very alarming to see your various reactions to death personified in these characters you know so well.

I've always thought of Joyce's death as necessary as part the growth of Buffy's character. Joyce's death forced Buffy to become an adult not just the slayer.

But you certainly make a valid point of the episode being about death for the sake of it rather than to advance the plot of season five.

I'm tempted to go watch The Body with the commentary on... see if Joss defends himself against your arguments. :)

And I agree that seasons 6 and 7 were soapy and literal.
in_a_tizzy From: in_a_tizzy Date: May 30th, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always thought of Joyce's death as necessary as part the growth of Buffy's character. Joyce's death forced Buffy to become an adult not just the slayer.

But you certainly make a valid point of the episode being about death for the sake of it rather than to advance the plot of season five.

I just realized how contradictory that sounds. What I meant to say was there is no real justification for having that episode exactly where it is in the season (other than it was during sweeps).
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
It lost its innocence in "Innocence." What it lost in "The Body" was its edge.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 30th, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved the slideshow scene. It reminded me of a time I had laryingitis and was trying to signal something to a little kid who promptly decided that, if I couldn't speak, she couldn't speak either. Frustrating at the time, pretty funny in hindsight.

Anyway, Mr. Whedon completely captured what moments like that are like.

Overall, I liked "The Body" but, somehow, it fell short for me. I've tried to put my finger on it, but it just feels very incomplete. I realize that's part of the story. The characters are supposed to be caught at the moment of loss. But, even for that moment, to me it felt like their reactions were all the shock and questions but none of the context. In some ways, I think they were like people who were dealing with death for the first time which, given the average episode, doesn't quite work.

marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: May 30th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I stopped watching BtVS during the 5th season, but yeah Hush was a great episode b/c of the little things like the slideshow.

The Body didn't do anything for me. I think it would have worked better if they had her die of an accident or something else Buffy couldn't have stopped but wasn't supernatural either. Here they sort of had you prepared for it, and then you had all this reactions from people all heartbroken that just didn't feel... I don't know it just didn't connect with me.

gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: May 30th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked Hush -- but not The Body and really, started liking it less when it became clear where they were going with Willow and Tara. I'm not homophobic -- I just loved Willow/Oz so much.

What do you see as the pinnacle ep?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved Willow/Oz, too, and it wasn't so much the pairing with Tara that was problematic as Willow's "gay now" attitude that translated into, "Oh, I don't like men!"--which was in contrast to the character as established--instead of just adding, "Hey, wow, I like women, too."

"Becoming, Part 2" is probably the best, though my adoration for "Restless" knows no bounds.
emmyaward From: emmyaward Date: May 31st, 2006 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
That was my biggest issue with Willow/Tara also. Because I loved Oz, and I loved Tara, but Willow being all "gay now" annoyed me, like previous canon didn't matter.

"Becoming, Part 2" was one of the first episodes I ever saw (so was "Hush", actually) and it was what made me fall in love with a show I'd previously written off as rubbish (I'd actually never really watched it, but judged anyway. How bad of me.) I love "Restless" as well. It's so mental and hilarious.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: May 31st, 2006 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I never got the "women and women ONLY" attitude that Willow seemed to develop. Like in that 7th season episode ("Him" I think it was called) when she gets a crush on the guy with the magic letter jacket and is thinking about turning him into a girl. I mean, while it's traumatic to have a guy leave you because of werewolf issues (cf Tonks :)) why would it somehow result in her going off of men forever? It didn't make sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 31st, 2006 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it was the "Him" storyline that really made me go "WTF?" Willow-wise. It's not like she developed some vast bitterness about men after she lost Oz. Anya, she's not. In "New Moon Rising," we see a very mature, if melancholy, handling of the situation on her part, even implying that a future reconciliation isn't impossible ("I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you").

Of course, "Him" was just a light comedy episode, and that was just a gag, but it was still indicative of an attitude in the character at that point in the series that just didn't jive with what had come before, or seem to follow on any particular line of her development.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 31st, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
The only way I was able to reconcile it was to assume Willow was latently bi (as implied when she met her vampire double).

Add that to the really nasty curse she almost put on Oz. Assume that she had already fed power into it and that, when she stopped it, part of the curse recoiled on her. Assume that her curse was aimed at messing up Oz ever loving another woman or heterosexual romance. This is what the curse recoiled on in her. This brought out the latent alternative part of her personality.

The idea also seems like a PC landmine, able to offend both the more liberal and the more conservative viewer. I just can't think of anything else that resolves the contradiction.

Unless Willow just traded places with her double from another universe and never noticed.

emmyaward From: emmyaward Date: May 31st, 2006 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I really liked "Hush", actuallly. "The Body" I didn't like the first time I saw it, but I saw it out of context (the way I watched Buffy was mental. On cable, reruns would be on in the afternoons of say, season 2, more reruns would be on the weekends of season 4, and "premier" season 5 eps would be on Wednesday nights. Meanwhile, on network television, they would have actual premier eps on Monday nights of season 6. I had dozens of tapes.)

"Hush" I liked for the absurdity - the overhead scene was part of that. I love Giles. Giles and Spike were the reason I liked that episode, I think.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 31st, 2006 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I actually like "Hush"--it's not a bad episode. I just tend to think it's a little overrated on its own merits. The Gentleman just struck me as the usual monster-of-the-week. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing that special, either.
keestone From: keestone Date: May 31st, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
The research scene is hysterical. I might have found the entire episode overrated if I didn't think the Gentlemen were the scariest things in Buffy and Angel combined. They actually creep me out.

I thought "The Body" was very uncomfortable to watch, but mostly in a good way. It was like a Whedon was pointing out exactly how contrived the writing for most TV deaths is. Also, I love Anya to bits, and I think she's written wonderfully in that episode. It's Anya that makes that episode for me, and really, it's her reactions to realism that keep it fantasy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 31st, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Anya was dead on in that episode.

It's the aspect of Whedon consciously "pointing out" that makes me a little hostile to it. I tend to think that meta works best when it's not actually done on the screen.
keestone From: keestone Date: June 2nd, 2006 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Fair enough. It doesn't bother me any more than Shakespeare pointing out that he can use the unities exactly as prescribed and then ignoring Aristotelian theory for the rest of his plays.
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