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Angel: Smile Time

Nina: "Are you okay?"
Angel: "I'm made of felt. Ad by doze cubs off."

Unique, and absolutely hilarious.

The hair, the brows, the deep-set eyes, the frown, the broodiness — the Angel-puppet was perfect. Angel and his puppet even have the same two expressions. And the puppet's interactions with the human cast were all done so well: wrestling with Spike ("You're a wee little puppet man!"), facing down his employees, trying to use a remote, and especially the long shot of the gang walking out ready to confront evil, panning down to Angel-puppet in the lead with the sword – very, very funny. When Angel-puppet vamped out, I laughed so hard I scared my cat.

Love is in the air again. Fred and Wesley are finally a couple, although of course, no one in the Buffyverse is ever happy for long. There were some cute Angel and Werewolf Girl double entendres, like when Nina woke up in her cage with felt in her mouth ("Oh my god! I ate him!) and their exchange at the end ("What do puppets eat?" "Let's find out.") I'm not sure how I feel about Angel getting involved with Nina right after Cordelia's death, but I really enjoyed the scene where Wesley was lecturing Angel on picking up romantic signals, and acceptable happiness versus perfect happiness, all the while completely missing that Fred has been coming on to him.

Speaking of double entendres, the demon puppets were outright creepy. Polo the puppet was telling the little boy in the beginning to "come over here and touch it," and then when he did, Polo was making orgasm sounds. (shudder) Polo putting his hand up Framkin's back and Framkin begging the puppets to let him die was also really creepy.

It was nice to see Lorne flirting with Angel again. I've missed it. ("Your wish, dreamboat, my command." and "Angel, baby, muppet, pumpkin...") I especially loved Lorne carrying the wounded Angel-puppet in his arms, yelling, "Medic! Doctor! Is there a Geppetto in the house?"

Poor Gunn. For those of you who didn't catch the reference, "Flowers for Algernon" is a short story about a mentally disabled man who takes part in an experiment that makes him a genius. The catch is that it isn't permanent, and he knows what is happening as his intelligence slowly leaves him. Cliff Robertson won an Oscar playing the part in Charly, the movie version of the story. I wonder if Gunn finally sold his soul permanently this time.

Bits and pieces:

— Framkin the puppet creator was played by Buffy/Angel writer and director, David Fury. Fury also played the mustard guy in the Buffy musical, "Once More, With Feeling."

— Groofus: "Cool. 'Cause I've been working on this great new song about the difference between analogy and metaphor..." (That was such a Buffy line!)

— Smug Doctor: "X-ray vision. Very now." I wonder if Smug Doctor's "ancient curio" is a setup for a later episode...?

— We never did see Nina wolf out. Must not have been in the budget.

— As far as I know, there is no KTCE in the LA area. There is KCET, though, which is our local PBS affiliate. Usually Angel uses KTLA as their fictional station, which is the local WB affiliate. Not this time, though.

— How did Angel-puppet get from the television station back to Wolfram & Hart?

— I assume the guy with the towel over his head in the "Don't" room was also David Fury as Framkin?

— Nina referred to her sister thinking Nina was a "new age-y moon worshiping Wicca person." I miss Willow.

— "Self-esteem is for Everybody" was catchy, but personally, I want to hear the rest of "Courage and Pluck."


Angel: "Nina's down there right now, turning into a werewolf and liking me."

Angel: "Wes, it's not gonna happen."
Wesley: "Why?"
Angel: "Because I'm not that guy. That guy is charming and funny and emotionally useful. I'm the guy in the dark corner with the blood habit and the two hundred years of psychic baggage."
Wesley: "Get over it!"
Angel: "Why are you yelling at me?"
Wesley: "Because. Angel, if there's a woman out there who you find truly attractive, who you think about, let's say, most of the time, who represents even part of what you think makes the world worth fighting for, and who doesn't view you as an entirely sexless shoulder to lean on, you have to do something about it."

Wesley: "This transformation may have altered your stress response mechanism."
Angel: "What?"
Gunn: "He's saying you have the proportionate excitability of a puppet your size."

Spike: "You're a wee little puppet man."

It's ironic that Angel is having their best year ever and reaching such a creative high, and the WB, in its ultimate wisdom, is canceling it. This episode may be the funniest of the entire series. Four out of four stakes,

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


  1. I'll never see Sesame Street in the same way :/

  2. From personal experience, I can tell that, if a girl I've been pining for foa long time suddenly starts being interested, I'll never be able to tell. You've been burned with false alarms for so long, you tend to dismiss signals.

    Nina's and Angel's situation is very different, They're not in the friend zone and he knew she was interested when he met her ("She gave me a look").

    And, man, is that girl-wolf hot!

  3. Oh, and something about this ep bugs me: Lorne listened to the puppets sing and noticed nothing?! One could argue it was through TV, but he also heard Framkin sing too. Where has Lorne's power gone this season?

  4. I agree with Gustavo on all counts:

    1. You'd be amazed what signs men can miss if they're not in that headspace. I wasn't pining for her (I was into her sister), but a girl once kissed the back of my neck to say hello, and I still thought nothing of it.

    2. Nina the she-wolf is ridiculously attractive.

    3. Lorne's power thing is a rather big plot hole, although, in fairness, we could always argue Lorne reads people, not puppets.

    Having said that, this episode was fantabulous. I've been largely disappointed with season 5 (I recall liking it a lot more), but this was as good as I remembered, both hilarious and insanely creepy. The smiling catatonic kids will give me nightmares tonight, I suspect. Hopefully, I'll dream of Nina instead.

  5. "OK, which one of you short-bus bastards turned the CEO of Wolfram & Hart into a puppet?"

    Some serious gratification felt at Wesley's "Get over it!" It's kinda hilarious that it took over a 100 episodes for Angel to finally casually date again. But only 2 episodes after Cordelia's official passing >.>

    Puppet Angel excitedly going "It's Smile Time!" and hurrying over to the TV past a befuddled Wes really amused me.

    "I'm gonna tear you a new puppet hole, bitch!"
    And Puppet-vamping out still fucking gets me every time, along with the other puppet looking spooked by it.

    Oddly enough the thing that creeped me out the most was Ratio having his blowhorn mouth/nose torn off with his hole shooting popcorn or whatever that filler stuff is called.

    Puppet Angel doing his silent-brooding walk.

    Made me think of that voodoo doll of Gunn that was confiscated at the beginning of the season... I wonder if that's available as merchandise too

    Nina indeed was ridiculously hot, but how about some credit to Fred at the end? Her smile was dazzling when she said "I think you're right." And Wes stole Angel's turtleneck from the previous episode's flashbacks. He looked good in it too.

    Seconding @Dimitri, this episode refuses to wrong me.

    I wanna affix a sign on my door that just says "DON'T" too lol


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