Once More with Feeling

A few weeks ago I went to an appointment with my midwives all by myself.  Since it is about a 30 minute drive, I decided to bring one of my favorite cds to listen to in the mini-van; usually husband wants to listen to sports radio and the kids want to listen The Beatles.  The CD I chose was the soundtrack to the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer titled Once More with Feeing.

For those of you uninitiated into the Buffy universe (how I pity you), you’re probably thinking “the what episode?”  During the sixth season of Buffy, a demon is summoned that makes the people of Sunnydale break into song and dance about their deepest feelings and fears including Buffy and her friends.  Unfortunately, some people are so overcome by their emotions that they spontaneously combust.  The episode was inspired by friendly get-togethers hosted by Joss Whedon (creator) that would usually end up with various cast members having drunken sing-a-longs.

All of the songs in the musical episode were written by Whedon himself, and they are actually pretty good.  Some of them are just fun, but there are a few songs that I could actually see as radio hits.  I think that if I ever made it on American Idol (which would never happen because I am too old and not talented enough) I would be tempted to break out “I’m Under Your Spell” for soundtrack night.

Inspired by my revisit of the soundtrack, I pulled out my Season 6 dvds and popped in the episode “Once More with Feeling” while the kiddos were at Granny’s house.  I hadn’t watched any of my Buffy in awhile as it’s not really appropriate for little one, but I really enjoyed it all over again.  There are so many great moments in that episode.  I love the line in the “I’ve Got a Theory” medley in where the characters sing “We have to try; we’ll pay the price.  It’s do or die…” and Buffy chimes in “Hey, I’ve died twice.”  One of the greatest things about the show was always it’s willingness to poke fun at itself.

Of course Spike, the vampire with a chip in his head that keeps him from attacking humans, totally stole the episode.  I love when Buffy initially visits him to ask if he knows what’s going on and he says that he is relieved that he has managed to avoid breaking into song.  Within minutes, though, he breaks into “Let Me Rest in Peace” and the look of disgust that crosses his face over not having dodged the bullet after all is priceless.  It’s also one of the best songs of the episode.  And the whole episode he is conflicted between his love for Buffy and his anger that she continually spurns him; he later angrily sings “I hope she fries.  I’m free if that b*tch dies.”  Then his face softens and he decides “I better help her out.”

In the end it is Spike that saves Buffy from her deep emotions, but the episode does not end happily as all of the characters have made unhappy realizations about their relationships with each other.  So the whole cast sings “Where Do We Go From Here?” as the big closing number.  And as they all go through the choreography, Spike backs into a pole, realizes to his annoyance that he has been caught up in one last song and dance, and promptly walks out.  I crack up every time.  At the very end, though, Buffy fans got the moment they had been waiting for ever since the Season Four episode where due to a spell Buffy and Spike thought they were getting married.

So if you ever come across a rerun of “Once More with Feeling”, know that you are watching Buffy at some of its finest.  Although, I should warn that you will be watching a much truncated version of the episode since it really runs to about an hour without commercials.  This has got me thinking that I may need to pull out my Buffy dvds again.  They might be the perfect thing to watch in the middle of the night if I am up with a newborn; my last baby had an awake period between about four and six in the morning in which I got addicted to the HBO show “Rome”.

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