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11 August 2016 @ 04:23 pm
Beer Bad (or Xander's Bad Shirt Day)  
Mind you, every day in season 4 is Xander's bad shirt day.

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Exhibit 1) The pyjama top



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Exhibit 2) The...yeurch! I don't even know what to call this. Where on earth does he get these things from?

Anyway, this episode gets a lot of stick (geddit? That's a joke) and usually makes the list of Worst BtVS Episodes Ever when online bloggers gets nostalgic and create one.

I agree that it's a bit clunky in places, and it does seem odd that Buffy is still so obsessed with Parker, in the wanting to impress him enough to make him realise he was wrong and get him back sense, not just in the hurt and humiliated sense, given that in the previous episode, she knew quite well she'd been used and that Parker is a complete jerk. In fact, she still knows it in this episode....

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....when she wakes up from her daydream...

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....in which she saves Parker from some vampires...

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....and he's pathetically grateful and begs her forgiveness...

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(or, in an alterni-version, begs her foregiveness and offers her flowers and ice cream...)

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and she sees this:

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Parker and his latest victim conquest.

Come on, Buffy, give it up he's not worth it.

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Willow's already told her over and over, and now even Riley's telling her.

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And how she could still be mooning after Parker when Riley's standing right in front of her, I really do not know.

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He's a total sweetie (at this stage), Buffy. Snaffle him up quick.

Okay, I realise I'm probably making myself unpopular saying this, but I really like Riley in season 4. I just do. Seeing him and Buffy together makes me feel happy.

Besides, look at the competition.

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No, not Parker. This bunch - another hazard of the college scene, the snotty, know-it-all, pseudo-intellectual type.

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They've already made Xander's first night as a (underage) bar-tender less than pleasant by using long words and throwing their intellectual (light)weights about. Now, they've got Buffy joining in, if not with their pseudo-intellectual sneering (okay, they may actually be very clever, for all I know, and at least they're not ghastly frat boys, in fact they're quite jolly in their way, if you live up to their standards in some fashion, but I really don't like their sneery attitude) then definitely with their beer drinking.

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Yay! Beer!

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You know, it only just occurred to me yesterday that the reason why everyone is so censorious about Buffy's drinking in this episode is because in California law she's still underage. I honestly hadn't thought of that till now, and was getting quite irritated with everyone trying to prevent her undergoing yet another college rite of passage - the ghastly hangover the day after drinking too much.

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Buffy does have a hangover, though it's not the typical one. Instead of a banging headache, she seems to have forgotten how the TV works,

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that you should get dressed before going to classes,

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and that (literally) snatching food out of people's mouths is wrong and very anti-social.

No wonder Willow is worried enough about her behaviour to confront Parker, who Willow believes (rightly, in fact) is the source of Buffy's peculiar funk.

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Just goes to show what a good friend Willow is, given that she's somewhat on the outs with Oz...

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....who is suddenly obsessed with this girl,

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Veruca, who is either named after an unpleasant foot condition, or an unpleasant character from a Roald Dahl book. Either way, she's unpleasant. She even calls Willow Oz's groupie (off screen). I don't like her, and neither should Oz.

Xander's being a good friend too, especially considering Willow and Buffy continue to be less than enthusiastic about his attempts to find some way to join them on campus (which, okay, is not nice of them, but they do have a point. Xander needs to find his own way).

He tries to save Buffy from the beer drinkers,

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and just as well, because moments after he turfs Buffy out of the pub, this happens:

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The pseudo-intellectuals turns Neanderthal,

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run around the campus causing mayhem,

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get themselves run over,

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kidnap some girls to be their cavemates,

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knock out Parker and Willow (and after Willow had just put Parker firmly in his id-monster place too),

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and start a fire that almost gets everybody killed.

Fortunately for them, despite having devolved somewhat...

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....Buffy is still the Slayer underneath.

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The very sight of smoke billowing into the sky...

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...has Cave!Buffy running to the rescue,

and she's not so far gone...

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...that she can't work out this is a good way to get out.

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Once the window is broken, Buffy's erstwhile drinking buddies escape,

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Buffy, meanwhile rescues Willow.

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These two (nameless) girls, though, pretty much save themselves, or one of them saves the other.

Hmm, that's pretty heroic, actually. Hoorah! for Nameless Red Shirt Girl.

Buffy, meanwhile, because despite the sudden case of Neanderthalness, she is still Buffy underneath, goes back into the fire to rescue Parker...

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...and, in a moment I'm sure we all find very satisfying, knocks him over the head and drags him off to her cave to safety.

Then, when he tries to thank her, as per her daydream at the beginning of the episode,

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she does it again,

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and none of the firefighters milling around in the background calls the cops to have her arrested for GBH.

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Sadly, we never meet Buffy's drinking buddies again. I think maybe they went off to be in The Big Bang Theory instead.

We also never see justice catch up with...

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...the villain of the piece (apart from Parker), Xander's boss at the bar, who put a spell on the beer because he was fed up of snotty students looking down on him.

So, a fun episode, IMO, even if it does convey its various messages - scratch any man (and not just man, Buffy wants what she wants too) and there's a raging Id Monster underneath/drinking is bad - in rather a crude fashion.

In any case, it's worth watching just for Cave!Buffy.

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Evidence.

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More evidence.

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Yet more evidence. Aww, how cute! She's grooming Willow.

Best lines:

Giles: I can't believe you served Buffy that beer.
Xander: I didn't know it was evil
Giles: But you knew it was beer
Xander: well excuse me, Mr “I spent the sixties in an electric Kool-Aid
funky Satan groove”.

This is pretty good too.

Willow: Just how gullible do you think I am? I mean with your gentle
eyes and your shy smile and your ability to talk openly even to me!
You're unbelievable!
Parker: What?
Willow: This isn't sharing. This isn't connecting. It's the pleasure
principle. That's right, I got your number ID boy. The only thing
you're thinking about is how long before you can jump on my bones
Parker: Look, if you think that I'm...
Willow: I mean, you men. It's all about the sex! You find a woman,
drag her to your den, do whatever's necessary just as long as you get
the sex. I tell you, men haven't changed since the dawn of time.

The cavemen break in with the girls in tow

Willow: You see?

And this:

Buffy: Buffy. Want. Beer
Giles: You can't have beer
Buffy gives Giles an evil look
Buffy: Want. Beer
Xander: Giles, don't make cave slayer unhappy

Worst lines (worst in the I-cannot-believe-you-just-said-that sense):

Parker: People shouldn't have to preface casual sex with “just so you
know I'll never grow any older with you.” It takes the fire out of it.

Yeurch! What a douchebag!

Thoughts, anyone?
 
 
 
Kiki May: Buffy's smilekikimay on August 11th, 2016 03:53 pm (UTC)
THIS EPISODE IS ADORABLE. XD

I don't really get the all hate for it. Okay, it's not the best, well thought, artistic accomplishment of the ME, but it's funny and Buffy's so cute! How can somebody hate it so much? The group sex joke and then Giles trying to explain how Buffy looks to a random student (That scene always cracks me up) The fake ID, Willow's smackdown, the daydreaming sequence (SO TRUE) ... it's an episode with many pros.

I'd like to point out that Buffy's still not over Parker because he triggered her abbandonement issues and her deepest insicurities. She's not over losing Angel and her father, most of all, and she feels like there must be something wrong with her and that's why all these men leave her behind. Poor Buffy.

Also I don't particularly hate Veruca because she seems so ... lame? Like, she's super-cool and super-edgy and with a ridiculous and kinda gross name. How can she be an interesting character? XD

Shapinglight: Beershapinglight on August 11th, 2016 08:32 pm (UTC)
I don't really get the all hate for it.

I don't either. It's way, way better than some of the standalones in season 2- and I should know. I had to review most of them during this rewatch.

I'd like to point out that Buffy's still not over Parker because he triggered her abbandonement issues and her deepest insicurities.

This is true - and I do understand why what happened would bring those feelings on. I just don't get why Buffy would still want Parker back, given that she already knows what he is - what he does to girls. 'Course, it's not entirely clear that's what she does want, since we don't see her reaction to his pleas for forgiveness in her daydreams, but the way she more or less ignores Riley to keep watching Parker certainly suggests that.

How can she be an interesting character? XD

I don't think she is particularly. I just resent her for Willow's sake, and roll my eyes a bit at the way Joss only seems to like the same sort of bands.
freecat15: familyfreecat15 on August 11th, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
Funny, I just discovered the comm and am coming straight from your comment that you, too, love Beer Bad (in the comments for the Band Candy Recap, which I just read), and you hope you get to review it...:)

I love Beer Bad, even though the heavy anvil dropping about how very evil alcohol is kinda annoys me, since I would much prefer to get a message about it depending on the *amount* you're drinking. But Cave!Buffy is so adorable, Willow is soo great with Parker, and I love Xander in this episode despite his shirt! Overall it's such a funny episode that I can easily forgive some clunkyness.

I always cheer when Buffy clocks Parker over the head for the second time! That alone is worth her binge!

I also like Riley in s4. Well, I kinda still like him later; he just displays more of his flaws and behaves like an isecure jerk sometimes, but I can't not like the guy only because he has flaws. They all have. (And yes, I'm aware that I'm pretty lonely out here...)

'Xander: well excuse me, Mr “I spent the sixties in an electric Kool-Aid
funky Satan groove”.' - that's the best line handsdown this episode! Gotta love Xander-speech!

Great recap!
Shapinglight: buffy want smash thingsshapinglight on August 11th, 2016 08:40 pm (UTC)
and am coming straight from your comment that you, too, love Beer Bad (in the comments for the Band Candy Recap, which I just read), and you hope you get to review it...:)

So wishful thinking does pay off sometimes? :)

I love Beer Bad, even though the heavy anvil dropping about how very evil alcohol is kinda annoys me, since I would much prefer to get a message about it depending on the *amount* you're drinking.

Same here, and as a beer drinker, I'd like to think Buffy (or anyone) can have the occasional glass without becoming an alcoholic (which they seem to be implying here she can't).

I always cheer when Buffy clocks Parker over the head for the second time! That alone is worth her binge!

I agree - especially since what he says about her not that many episodes later shows his remorse doesn't exactly last that long.

I also like Riley in s4. Well, I kinda still like him later; he just displays more of his flaws and behaves like an isecure jerk sometimes, but I can't not like the guy only because he has flaws. They all have. (And yes, I'm aware that I'm pretty lonely out here...)

I still like him later too. I know he behaves badly towards Buffy in season 5, but I still just end up feeling exasperated by him rather than hating him outright. He's a nice boy. He's just out of his comfort zone. And he does try to adapt. He just can't quite manage it in the end.

Great recap!

:Bows:

Edited at 2016-08-11 08:41 pm (UTC)
Double Dutchess: Buffy scythedouble_dutchess on August 11th, 2016 08:42 pm (UTC)
I agree that cave Buffy is wonderful. Her knocking Parker over the head is what makes the episode most memorable for me.
Shapinglight: Beershapinglight on August 11th, 2016 08:48 pm (UTC)
Twice. She does it twice.

Actually, lots of men get hit on the head in this episode. Not just Parker, but Xander too. And Giles, of course, but you kind of expect that. ;)

But Parker's the only one who really deserves it.
Double Dutchess: Buffy scythedouble_dutchess on August 11th, 2016 11:48 pm (UTC)
But Parker's the only one who really deserves it.

Exactly, and that's what makes it memorable!
Shapinglight: Beershapinglight on August 12th, 2016 03:03 pm (UTC)
Not that it causes him to have a real change of heart, given what he says about Buffy to Riley only a few episodes later.
Double Dutchess: Buffy scythedouble_dutchess on August 12th, 2016 08:35 pm (UTC)
He was such a hopeless jerk that I think he wouldn't have had a change of heart no matter how hard or how many times she clubbed him. Still it was satisfying to see. No re-education, just retribution!
Rebcake: btvs_buf_slayerpinkrebcake on August 11th, 2016 09:21 pm (UTC)
I like this episode, too!

My interpretation of Buffy being stuck on Parker is not so much that she yearns for him, but that she wants him to admit that she's wonderful. Which she obviously is. The hardest thing about being jilted, IMO, is that your confidence takes a hit. It's always nice when people who dumped you come around to say they made a BIG mistake, even if you don't have any interest in them anymore.

Cave!Buffy is the best. The only thing better would be the addition of Spike, which we can easily find in fanfic, thank god.

The thing that I get sorta excited about in this episode is Kal Penn, the southeast asian-american neanderthal. Not only does he show up in AtS as the weird brain dude torturing Cordelia from afar, but he's also Kumar from Harold and Kumar, AND he actually worked in the Obama administration! He and Danny Strong (Jonathan) have the most impressive resumes amongst Buffy side players. Amy Adams (Cousin Beth) has gone pretty far as well, though she's still mostly an actor, while those guys really branched out.

I think Xander gets his shirts from secondhand or charity stores, myself.

I like Riley okay, although I don't like the way he bullies Buffy in "Doomed", which dims my enthusiasm.

Willow goes above and beyond in this episode! And, while I understand not liking Veruca, I do think she adds some much-needed tension. She's "cool" and I remember college as when you get exposed to cool people and have to figure out if that's something you want to incorporate, or if it just means being subjected to still more casual cruelty. Veruca definitely falls into the casual cruelty camp of coolness, but other cool people are not-cruel creative types. I can see why Oz's head is turned.
Shapinglight: buffy want smash thingsshapinglight on August 12th, 2016 03:20 pm (UTC)
The hardest thing about being jilted, IMO, is that your confidence takes a hit. It's always nice when people who dumped you come around to say they made a BIG mistake, even if you don't have any interest in them anymore.

You could well be right. It is true that her fantasies all end at the point where Parker admits he's been wrong and asks her forgiveness. We never see her response.

Cave!Buffy is the best. The only thing better would be the addition of Spike, which we can easily find in fanfic, thank god.

Oh, I dunno. I think the episode manages fine without him. Is there a lot of Cave!Spuffy fanfic?

The thing that I get sorta excited about in this episode is Kal Penn, the southeast asian-american neanderthal.

I just looked him up on imdb. He has quite a resume, doesn't he? Good for him. I quite enjoy the four neanderthals, have to admit. I know it's obvious they only invite Buffy to join them because she's so pretty, but I don't get any sense of it being a prelude to serious predatory behaviour. That's why I said they probably left to be in The Big Bang Theory. Buffy was sort of the Penny to their Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj.

I think Xander gets his shirts from secondhand or charity stores, myself.

Quite likely. Probably, they were the best of a bad bunch.

I like Riley okay, although I don't like the way he bullies Buffy in "Doomed", which dims my enthusiasm.

I completely adore him until we discover he's one of the commandos. Then I become more ambiguous about him. On the whole, though, I think he's a really nice guy with faults, which I guess everyone has.

I can see why Oz's head is turned.

I can too, and you're right about the sort of person she is. I remember people like that when I was at uni too. Some of them were perfectly nice, but some...well, as you say, she's one of them.

lusciousxander: Unable to Fit In made by thiscanbeginlusciousxander on August 11th, 2016 10:19 pm (UTC)
I honestly love this episode. I remember my college friend hating it so much it made her stop watching the show. I was like, "Are you kidding? That episode was FUNNY!" I always love hated episodes. They're filled with awesome Scooby moments. I mean Willow's scene with Parker is so kickass.

Xander's shirts are like Buffy's hair. Bad shirts/short hair = depressed, self-loathing directionless loser. Smart clothes/long hair = confident I'm in a good place right now hero.
Shapinglight: Beershapinglight on August 12th, 2016 04:04 pm (UTC)
Xander's shirts are like Buffy's hair. Bad shirts/short hair = depressed, self-loathing directionless loser. Smart clothes/long hair = confident I'm in a good place right now hero.

That does seem to be the case, though must admit I like his hair better short.

There are quite a few of the disliked episodes that are much better than I remembered. I never disliked this one to start with, but I really can't understand how anyone could. It's great.
Dannachasingdemons on August 12th, 2016 04:49 am (UTC)
You know, it only just occurred to me yesterday that the reason why everyone is so censorious about Buffy's drinking in this episode is because in California law she's still underage.

I don't see that as the reason. It's pretty much accepted that in college there will be underage drinking. I think Willow and Xander were concerned about her drinking because she was in a really bad state of mind and was doing it as a way of convincing herself that she was moving on. And also that she was doing it with 4 guys she didn't know.

Yes, this episode is often on worst episode lists, and I have to say I enjoy it more each time I watch it. Cave!Buffy is so cute! Especially in her pajamas. And I love how Xander and Giles react when they realize they might be making her mad. Kind of a similar theme in "Living Conditions" where Buffy is rendered dangerous because she temporarily loses her sanity.

But interspersed in all this slapstick are some moments of real emotion. This was an episode where Xander and Willow really showed themselves as tender and caring friends. Buffy's inability to get real about what happened with Parker was touching. And Willow absolutely knowing something is up with Oz, but not having it be overt enough for her to discuss it with him. Xander. I mean he IS trying to find his own way. He got a job. And I think he was kind of excited about it. But the way he is treated just ends up reinforcing his feeling worthlessness. Like a guy, he sort of shrugs it off, but you just know it's hurtful.

In Riley's scene, the difference between him and Parker is stark. Riley is a decent person. He would never intentionally hurt anyone (except demons). He goes off the rails in season 5, but so does everyone else. Also, being boring does not make one deserving of derision. I am a Riley-liker.
Shapinglight: season 4 scoobiesshapinglight on August 12th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
I think Willow and Xander were concerned about her drinking because she was in a really bad state of mind and was doing it as a way of convincing herself that she was moving on. And also that she was doing it with 4 guys she didn't know.

You could be right, but that's really not the impression I had - except maybe from Willow. Where Giles is concerned, it does come across to me very much as if he disapproves of Buffy touching alcohol at all, in a rather censorious way - which is rather hypocritical of him, given his scotch habit.

Oddly, despite the fact they only invite Buffy to join their little drinking club because she's pretty, the proto-Big Bang Theoryists don't exude any sense of sexual threat at all, which is possibly why my brain went there with them. ;)

And I love how Xander and Giles react when they realize they might be making her mad. Kind of a similar theme in "Living Conditions" where Buffy is rendered dangerous because she temporarily loses her sanity.

Hee! Yes, they know from experience there's nothing more dangerous than a rogue Slayer, they're just not used to thinking of Buffy in that context.

Also, being boring does not make one deserving of derision. I am a Riley-liker.

Agreed. And he's not really that boring anyway. Good thought on Willow and Xander and their relationship with Buffy.
Trepkostrepkos on August 12th, 2016 07:51 am (UTC)
I love this episode too - and couldn't believe someone named their child Veruca for real. I really dislike her from the start. She's mean and wrong - Willow isn't a groupie - Oz fell for her first. I love Cave! Buffy, and hadn't noticed her grooming Willow! That is sweet! Cave! Buffy is kind-of foreshadowing the First Slayer here, right? That's who she's drawing on her wall? I think the "lesson" about beer being bad is very much diluted by the fact that it was Magic Beer that caused the trouble.
I think we do see one of the college boys again - in "Where the Wild Things Are."
Shapinglight: buffy want smash thingsshapinglight on August 12th, 2016 03:02 pm (UTC)
She's mean and wrong - Willow isn't a groupie - Oz fell for her first.

Yes, exactly. I guess it's as rebcake says above, she's too 'cool' to be nice, and besides she wants Oz for herself.

I love Cave! Buffy, and hadn't noticed her grooming Willow! That is sweet!

I thought so. :)

I'm not sure who she's drawing the wall, though. She's grumbling about Parker while she does it, so maybe it's a drawing of what she'd like to do to him.

I think we do see one of the college boys again - in "Where the Wild Things Are."

We do? I think I probably have to review that one too, so I guess I'll find out soon enough.
beer_good_foamy on August 12th, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC)
Shapinglight: Beershapinglight on August 12th, 2016 02:57 pm (UTC)
:)

Just had a quick look through the comments and relieved to see I agreed with you about this episode even back then even if my review is to your meta what Charmed is to BtVS.

Edited at 2016-08-12 02:58 pm (UTC)
Butterflysnogged on August 14th, 2016 04:15 am (UTC)
I usually get a kick out of this episode. It's funny and manages to cover some ground in terms of relationship and character development.

I loathe Veruca. She sucks so hard.
Shapinglight: buffy want smash thingsshapinglight on August 31st, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC)
Hello. Sorry I never answered this comment before. I agree about Veruca. She's just plain...nasty.