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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Living Conditions

Buffy: "It's simple. I'm going to have to kill her."

If you're going to do a series about college life, an episode about the joys of having roommates is a must.

A computer has matched Buffy with "Mini-mom of Momdonia," and what starts as minor irritation on both sides soon escalates into a full-fledged conflict. Having Kathy turn out to be a demon trying to steal Buffy's soul was even something of an anti-climax; a terrible roommate is probably worse, because they usually end up being a permanent problem instead of disappearing conveniently through a hole in the floor.

I did really enjoy the Buffy/Kathy scenes; the sweaters, the evil toenails, the labels on all the food in the fridge. We've all been there, haven't we? Although actually my first three roommates in college were more like Willow's roommates, and I might have been relieved to have someone like Kathy. If she weren't a demon, of course.

The scene where Willow introduces Giles to Kathy as our "adult friend — but not in a creepy way" was fun. And I enjoyed Oz and Xander trying to get up the nerve to check Buffy's bonds.

It seemed like a given that Buffy and Willow should room together, and now they are. It might be fun if, as they hinted at the end, they didn't get along as perfectly as they think they will.

Bits and pieces:

— That damned Cher song stayed in my head for three days after this episode.

— The big Jawa-like monsters were uninteresting demons.


Kathy: "I noticed that some of my milk was missing. Did you..."
Buffy: "Oh! Yeah, actually, I did. I meant to..."
Kathy: "No! It's totally okay, I was just wondering."
Buffy: "Yeah, I was making my coffee and I just..."
Kathy: "Buffy, it's fine. I just wanted to make sure that we didn't have a thief or something."
Buffy: "Like who? Sid the wiley dairy gnome?"

Buffy: "It had a cloak on, and glowing green eyes, and skin had a, like, super-bad fake rub-on tan."
Giles: "Translate?"
Buffy: "Orange-y?"
Giles: "Thank you."

Buffy: "Giles, Kathy. Kathy, Giles."
Willow: "He's our grown-up friend. Not in a creepy way."

Buffy: "Cool, you guys can do the brain thing. I'm gonna go to class."
Oz: "Which could also be construed as the brain thing."
Buffy: "Not when you're minoring in Napping 101."

Buffy: "So then Kathy's like, 'It's share time.' And I'm like, 'Oh yeah? Share this!'" (Buffy punches the air.)
Oz: "So, either you hit her, or you did your wacky mime routine for her."
Buffy: "Well, I didn't do either, actually. But she deserves it, don't you think?"
Oz: "Nobody deserves mime, Buffy."
Buffy: "Kathy does. She deserves to be locked in an invisible box and blown away by an imaginary wind and... and..."
Oz: "Forced to wear a binding unitard?"
Buffy: "Yeah, the itchy kind, it's perfect."
Oz: "Just here to help."

(Note from later: "Nobody deserves mime, Buffy" might be my favorite line in the entire series.)

Willow: "Toenails?"
Buffy: "Evil toenails. I took them off the floor last night when she was in the bathroom. She thought I was asleep."
Willow: "Good thinking, 'cause in the middle of the night those toenails could have attacked you and left little half-moon marks all over your body."

Let's give this one a three. I did enjoy it.

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. I found this episode kind of fun - I like the idea of Buffy having to deal with an annoying roomie. But as she turned out to just be a demon I found that kind of let down too.
    I thought the final scene with the sandwich was funny. A nice light hearted episode. A great way to ease into the season I think.

  2. Watching Veronica Mars season 3 is making me miss college which is making me miss Buffy season 4. I'm a complicated person.

    I liked the whole "Buffy's crazy" thing when Buffy turned out to be right. I totally thought she'd lost it for the first half of the ep. Why do people ever doubt her at this point, crazy as she's acting? I think she's only been wrong about anything big once in "Normal, Again."

    And a quick pity party for me: I've had worse roommates. Much worse. The student housing gods HATED me.

  3. I've always been really fond of this episode. Lots of fun. I loved all the Buffy and Kathy conflicts.

    And Willows line: "This is Giles...our adult friend...but not in a creepy way" made me laugh out loud.

  4. Unlike some of you, I was blessed with my roommate. We roomed together for four years and are still close friends, damn near thirty-five years later.

    I do, however, like this episode and it always makes me smile. The first time I saw it, I genuinely thought Buffy was morphing until ├╝ber-bitch, so I was glad there was an explanation for her behavior however convenient it was.

  5. I enjoyed it. It did seem like a long way to go to get Buffy & Willow rooming together which seems like it should have been a no brainer from the start. I never had a roommate as bad as Kathy, but I do recognize that simmering irritation with their quirks that were somehow so hard to adjust to.

    I'm interested to see what Xander does as the season progresses (a first for me after so much annoyance with him!) I do hope he gains some personal goals - the sad jokes about his parents trying to push him from the nest could get old.

    I'm not too impressed with potential Buffy boyfriends that we've seen in these two episodes. Hopefully they'll land on someone interesting who isn't either dull or a demon exchange student.

  6. I like how in Buffy they often depict a familiar situation with a Buffy twist, in this case, the experience of having an awkward roomie or flatmate'. We really wouldn't want the Cathy experience to go on any longer so its nice and convenient that she can be sent her back to her hell dimension, if only it was that simple in real life.

    This has the feel of a filler episode... or more like another introductory one, we don't really have any idea of where the series arc is going just now.

    My favourite quote -

    Oz: 'on the plus side you killed the bench, which was looking shifty'

  7. I thought that spacing out the episodes would help me keep up, but life has gotten incredibly busy all of a sudden.

    I do remember liking this one a lot both times I have seen it. Having had two bad roommate experiences over the years (and two good ones), I can certainly relate.

  8. Oz: 'on the plus side you killed the bench, which was looking shifty'

    I wish Buffy and Oz had more scenes together.
    I wish Oz had more scenes.
    I wish I had Oz.

  9. I finally have the time to rejoin the re-watch! (You'd think during the summer work would be lighter, but apparently not).

    Anyway, I always enjoy this episode. It's fun, and it takes us to Willow rooming with Buffy, so yey!

    I do agree that it's basically an introductory episode as of yet, seeing as we don't know anything about the main arc, or about where the character are going. I actually this season, while ultimately ok (and actually having some of my favorite Buffy episodes) suffers from a weird pacing. But that might just be me.

  10. Kathy, we hardly new ya'

    I must admit after being annoyed by her last week, I was glad to see her go. I did appreciate her labeled shelves though. I have shelves just like that in my classroom--but it's more so I will put things back where they belong, not because I am mad if others move them.

    Oz wins this episode for me--but that's true of most episodes. I'm glad Willow and Buffy are going to share that gianormous room together. Hopefully it will strengthen their friendship. Plus it just makes sense considering Buffy is supposed to hide her slayerness anyway.

  11. Newbie report:

    This episode is about bad roommates. Oh, Kathy, I feel your pain.

    Other than that soul-sucking thing, which I'll discuss in a minute, Kathy's crime seems to be being too perky.

    I think every single issue (even the soul-sucking) could have been avoided if Buffy had been willing to meet Kathy halfway and talk about their problems.

    Kathy likes sappy music. Buffy doesn't. Kathy smacks her lips when she sleeps. So? Kathy gets cold at night and wants the window closed. Buffy doesn't. Kathy wants the phone bill split up fairly. Buffy has some kind of issue with that. Kathy began to see a pattern of Buffy taking her food without asking. That is a bad roommate thing to do.

    So, what does Buffy do? She drinks Kathy's milk out of spite and makes a mess while doing so. She leaves chewing gum on the nightstand which gets all over Kathy's book. Ewww.

    Ten there's the sweater thing. Yes, this was a transgression on Kathy's part. But, seriously - pink cashmere with flowers? All it needed was a unicorn decal to make it unredeemably revolting. Buffy would never be caught dead in that thing. I get a happy thinking what Faith would have done to it.

    Flossing. What is Buffy's problem with flossing?

    Toenail clippings. By this time, it's revenge. Buffy deserved it.

    Buffy picks a fight, thinking that Kathy is a weak human girl. Surprise! Can you imagine if Kathy were a weak human girl? Buffy could have killed her.

    Ok. Now about the soul-sucking thing. Kathy only wanted to go to college. She wanted to dodge her parents and needed a soulless being to fool them. Now, Buffy is awash in soulless beings. If they had only talked it out, Buffy could have offered up a vampire. Problem solved. Plus, it would have had the extra advantage of actually having a vampire in this episode.

    I blame Buffy for the whole mess.

    The closing scene when Willow has moved in - Willow eats Buffy's sandwich and Buffy just seethes. Buffy is not a good roommate.

  12. I don't dislike Buffy quite as much as Pucklady seems to, but (for me) this episode does suffer from the same disconnect as "When She Was Bad." I don't like my heroines to be bad. :-(

  13. After watching this episode the first time I thought "yup roommates are terrible" and after watching it for the 5th time I thought "okay Buffy is acting crazier than usual"

    I think the fact that she overreacts makes her accusations of Kathy seem hardly believable. She doesn't hate her or do things on purpose (the egg roll crunching sound disturbed me though.)

    Honestly, I think Buffy would do best if she was living alone with mr. Gordo. Lol

  14. The comments to these reviews are as good as the review. Some of them make me see the episodes on a new light. I never thought of Buffy as a bad roommate but now that pucklady points out all her "transgressions" I am beginning to agree. The last comment about Buffy living with Mr. Gordo made me spit my tea all over my desk. Obviously I will have to be more careful with food and liquids before tackling the comments section here.

  15. Buffy: "I might become an old lady who can only live with her cats!"
    Willow:(about buffy)" She definitely sounded cordeliia-esque"
    I kinda agree with pucklady.. Buffy was really bitchy, specially if you compare with how much Willow was putting up with without complaining much..

  16. I laughed whenever I heard the
    Cher song. I was a freshman in 1995 so for me it was "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette and "Say It Ain't So" by Weezer that were played on repeat at top volume in our dorm.

    Yeah, I was also in the "Buffy's crazy" but felt reassured once we realized she was extra bitchy because she had lost some of her soul.

    Kudos to Whedon and co. for doing such a great job so far of portraying those first few weeks of freshman year!

  17. Wasn't Buffy acting like she did, because of the fact that every night she lost more and more of her soul to Kathy? When that happens you start to behave soulless, no?

    Another episode i really liked. The actress that played Kathy was very well cast. I did not see it coming that Buffy indeed was right about her.

    I was hooked on the screen and i didn't watch the clock. Very funny ep!

    I hope the rest of the season(s) is in the same line.

  18. I agree 100%. I was rooting for Kathy the whole time lol

  19. I'm an old lady who lives with her cats. Nothing wrong with it at all. :)


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