Thursday, August 28, 2014

Things I loved and loved to hate about the Buffy episode “I Robot, You Jane” during a recent rewatch:

The complete disregard for how technology works

I can’t really remember what computers were like in the late 90s: I used one at school and home but I wasn’t particularly tech savvy about how they actually worked and I’m assuming our desktops were not exactly top of the range. Still, I feel confident in saying that no suburban schoolkid – no, not even Willow – owned a computer that could silently connect to the internet the moment you walked in the room in order to tell you whether you did or did not have mail. I mean I know there’s a demon in there but come now.

The language, oh, the language

Giles is supposed to be an old stuff-in-the-box so that’s fine but I’m 95 per cent sure I heard Buffy refer to an email as an “e-letter”. At another point one of the random nerds, whose name I didn't bother to learn since he's so clearly never going to appear again, delivers a speech about the need to be "jacked in". I mean: there is literally nothing not to love about that.

The fearmongering

Beneath the demon-of-the-week storyline the episode is essentially about the danger of feeling like you know someone too well when you only know them online. It’s a fair point – and I say this as someone who frequented internet chatrooms as a teen – but the chances that guy you’re chatting to is going to turn out to be an ancient demon who apparently has enough spare time to spend it flirting with a 15-year-old (ewwww) has got to be pretty low. A married 70-year-old man masturbating furiously into a sock maybe.

Jenny Calendar

I’ve always loved the character of Jenny Calendar, which is saying something considering she describes herself in this episode as a “techno-Pagan” which… no. Not only was she a saucy strumpet of a love interest for Giles but knowing how spectacularly she will die and under what circumstances adds a certain poignancy to rewatching the episodes in which she plays a big role. So I am deadly serious when I say I just really enjoyed watching her interact with Giles, snarking about his stuffiness while presumably undressing his tweedy bodice with her eyes as we all would.

Buffy's wardrobe

Always a delight, Buffy does not disappoint with a series of incredibly inappropriate short and tight outfits, offset by the super bulky stuff she has to wear for fight scenes to smooth the transition between Sarah Michelle Gellar and her stunt double. Worst choice goes to the short, skintight black dress deemed suitable for computer class. Best choice goes to her bitching sunglasses at the end.

The sudden introduction of new characters, Miss Calendar aside

As a show Buffy does this all the time, for the sensible reason that a lot of people DIE on the show so they need a lot of, how do I put this, fresh meat. But for some reason it particularly stands out here with some clunky dialogue shunted in to explain how this guy you’ve never seen before has tooootally been part of the school all along. Honest. Just like these computers that are suddenly everywhere.

The final scene

Nothing not to love about a scene that nicely foreshadows the shitty relationship choices the members of the main cast will make for the next seven seasons and yet still fails to prepare the audience for the horror that will be Season 4's Riley.

No comments: