Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Superstar

Buffy: "I'm just saying it doesn't make any sense. He starred in The Matrix but he never left town. And how'd he graduate from med school? He's only eighteen years old."

Definitely a cute and well-written episode, but it didn't thrill me. I think that I was too interested in what was going on with the Initiative and Riley and Spike's alienation from demon society, and this episode just came out of left field. I might have liked it better if it had been done earlier in the season.

The young man who plays Jonathan, Danny Strong, was very good, and I really enjoyed all the little Jonathan touches: the Johnny-Os cereal, Wonder Jonathan and his battle kittens, the picture of Jonathan instead of the balls poster on the back of Riley's door, and especially the swimsuit calendar. The James Bond music and the tuxes were fun, too. The end was predictable.

I really did like the scene in the Bronze, and the wonderful serenade in blue. What a marvelous voice the person who dubbed Jonathan has. (Turns out it was the bad guy with the hellhounds from "The Prom.")

One thing I enjoyed that they might have done more with was the discussions with Anya about alternate universes. And shrimp.

Quotes:

Willow: "I don't care if it is an orgy of death, there's still such a thing as a napkin."

Jonathan: "What are you doing here?"
Spike: "I live here. I wasn't exactly pining for a noisy visit from Wonder Jonathan and his Fluffy Battle Kittens."

Riley: "I'm a lot stronger. I'm no Jonathan, but I'm doing okay."
Buffy: "Are you? I mean, you're not..."
Riley: "What?"
Buffy: "Eating the Initiatives' technicolor food of strongness?"

Anya: "Oh! buck up, you. You kill the best. Go you. Kill, kill."
Buffy: "Actually not needing validation right now, but thank you."

Anya: "Say you really like shrimp a lot. Or we could say you don't like shrimp at all. Blah, blah, I wish there weren't any shrimp, you would say to yourself."
Buffy: "Stop, you're saying it wrong. I think that Jonathan may be doing something so that he's manipulating the world and we're all like his pawns."
Anya: "Or prawns."

Giles: "Xander, don't speak Latin in front of the books."

One out of four stakes,

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

11 comments:

Sooze said...

"Xander, don't speak Latin in front of the books" was the only good thing of the whole episode.

Josie Kafka said...

Awwww. I sorta like this one.

Remco said...

Wow, harsh rating. But this was written before the move from 5 to 4 stakes, right? So it's actually 2/5. I really like this episode. I consider it one of the great season 4 standalones.

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Season four spoilers are posted here.

Yes, Remco, I did change the ratings. That was because I never rated anything one star, though. :)

ChrisB said...

I kind of like this episode as well as it gives us an insight into a young man's fantasy life. The thing that struck me this time through was how did Jonathan know about the slaying, the Initiative, and everything else that is meant to be top secret. Did the spell make him all knowing as well?

I was pleased that the Faith story wasn't just blown past and that the repercussions of some of her actions are still being felt. It was also a nice touch that at least one thing Jonathan did was right and helped those he wanted to befriend.

Remco said...

The spell seems to be a reality warp, meaning Jonathan actually lived his entire life as if he was the most successful person in the world. In such a world, Jonathan would be desirable for any job, and he would be good at them all. Everything seemed to be affected, except Adam. And to some extent Buffy. Jonathan would not be able to defeat him, but he was most helpful in finding his weaknesses.

Lamounier said...

This is a cute one. I have a soft spot for episodes that play with the notion of reality, or change it completely, such as the brilliant “The Wish”. This is no “The Wish”, but it’s a fine episode all on its own.

Even though we never get a full explanation on how the logistics of the spell worked, I liked how the Jonathan-is-awesome reality blended with what has been happening so far this season. The scenes of Jonathan counseling Buffy and Riley on their relationship were great, because the dialogues were written in such a “life lesson” style, one that is, thankfully, not used on this show and was inserted for parody and exaggeration’s sake. Jane Espenson just hit the right tone again and again.

Buffy seemed much more relaxed and sweet on the Jonathan-is-awesome reality. Maybe that was because by having Jonathan as the ultimate hero she didn’t feel the burden of slayerness? She did love having her slayer confidence back, though, and I thought that there was a little message there that living your real life, no matter how much it brings you pain, is better than living a fake rainbowy version of it.

What I liked the most, though, were the several group scenes we got, with lots of character interaction. We actually got a scene with this season’s three new couples at the Bronze, and it was a great way to notice how much Buffy’s, Xander’s and Willow’s lives have changed. Season four might not be the greatest, but it certainly has a lot of new dynamics and conflicts, and that’s what makes it a good season overall, in spite of an arc story that’s not flying.

Speaking of it, Adam is an interesting character in small doses, but he’s still not convincing as the Big Bad. Does he even know that Buffy, the hero he’s supposed to be the antagonist of, exists?

Annie said...

Billie's review of this episode pretty much reflect my own opinion of this episode, it really doesn't work for me.
I do think it was an really fun idea but it felt like an unwelcome distraction for me.

Jane said...

To me, this was a fun and clever episode and a nice break after the Faith story.

One of the things that I think this show does better than most is develop secondary and tertiary characters with nice little bits of detail and insight into how it feels for them to be in the orbit of the local superstar. To suddenly shift that status to such a peripheral character was a great way to spotlight that differently.

drnanamom said...

I really liked this episode. Jonathan is an interesting character. He has tried all different ways to deal with his life on the fringes of high school and his loneliness. I like that Buffy tries to address loners and how our shunning of them creates some of the pain and the resultant evil in our world. Jonathan is basically a good guy or he would have thrown Buffy in that trench and lived his dream forever.

Billie Doux said...

And OMG, Adam's vampire minion is Rob Benedict.