Thursday, October 20, 2011

"The Harsh Light of Day" (Buffy 4.3): The Poophead Principle

Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in.
Love's bitch is back!
Wonderful to see you again, William! Aptly, he makes his reappareance in an episode all about how love disappoints. What does the Buffyverse have to teach us about the many ways "love hurts, baby" in this episode?

DO realize that some boys are like Parker Abrams.
Through him, Buffy learns that not all overnight stays turn bad because of Gypsy curses. Here's a handy Parker to English dictionary:
"My dad died last summer." = Let's have casual sex.
"It's okay to make mistakes." = Let's have casual sex.
"I'll call you." = I won't call you.
Those puppy dog eyes need some work, Abrams. You look like you have Graves' Disease.

Though Willow gently reminds her that the "poophead principle" stipulates she shouldn't want to be with such a tool, Buffy ends the episode alone and miserable.

Say what you will about Angel, or Angelus for that matter, but at least he was honest. My intrepid co-watcher Jenn has such a smart reading of how Parker's particular pick-up strategy resonates in the series as a whole, I shall quote it in full: "The whole 'living for now' philosophies never work well in the Buffyverse. Buffy gets burned with Parker, and going back to episode 1.1, Willow almost becomes vamp food after she heeds Buffy's 'Seize the Day' advice. Acting without thinking about the consequences didn't work too well for Faith either (i.e., 'want, take, have'). The show really is trying to advocate thinking things through; acting on emotion or desire alone leads ultimately to flaying people and that's no good."

DON'T forget that some boys are like Spike.
Spike, unlike Parker, is up front with his newly vamped girlfriend Harmony. He's not over Drusilla, he wishes she would shut up, and he loves "syphilis" more than he loves her.
Pictured: open and honest communication.

Harmony just doesn't want to hear it. She ends the episode alone and miserable.

DO remember that some boys are like Xander.
I.e., clueless. Anya is back in Sunnydale as well, and she's got some lovin' on her mind. She thinks that casual sex will purge this pesky human attachment, and tells (and shows!) Xander as much.
Ex-vengeance demon show-and-tell.

However, Anya is no Parker. Xander's baffled post-coital "okay" in response to her "I'm over you now" bravado only makes her realize how much she does want a relationship with him--a relationship he doesn't have time to discuss in the midst of trying to battle an invincible Spike, as he brusquely tells her. She ends the episode alone and miserable.
 Lonely Hearts Club: UC Sunnydale Chapter

I had forgotten how explicitly the writing (Jane Espenson again!) equates Buffy, Harmony, and Anya in their mutual heartbreak and disappointment. Well, at least Willow and Oz are happy and always will be! Right? RIGHT???!!!!

Crossover alert: In addition to an echo of "Lonely Hearts" (A1.2) with all the one-night stands, Buffy sends the Gem of Amara, the ring that enabled Spike to take a stake to the heart and walk in the episode's titular sunshine, to Angel via Oz. Wonder what the good detective will do with it . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment