Friday, November 4, 2011

"Beer Bad" (Buffy 4.5) is pretty bad

Remember on Halloween when I was all "Buffy takes a somewhat simple message and makes it awesome and entertaining"? Well, "Beer Bad" is like the opposite of that. The message is something like beer makes you stupid, or beer makes all men equal . . . and stupid, or don't be mean to bartenders. But rather than play out that idea in a clever way, everyone just turns into cavepeople after drinking bewitched brewskis. And it's about as entertaining as watching those Geico ads for 42 minutes. So here's the Buffy guide to basically inverting the premises of other, more enjoyable, films.

DON'T make like Good Will Hunting.
Xander has taken a job as a bartender at the local "Pub" in order to make ends meet. He gets shown up (in a matter of speaking) by an undergraduate (d-bag #1) with philosophy 101 lingo logorrhea. The reason the beer is bewitched in the first place is because Xander's boss is sick of snotty kids looking down on him. The fact that his "brother is a warlock" might be the only line that made me laugh in the episode.
In my experience, pitchers of beer only make undergraduates more likely to spew pseudo-theoretical B.S.

DON'T drown your sorrows with Kumar.
Yes He Can . . . knock a couple back with the best of them.
Kal Penn, actor, professor, and Obama aide, makes a somewhat ignominious appearance as another of the philosophizing d-bags who Buffy, trying to forget Parker, gets drunk with on the Black Frost beer that turns them all, literally, into cro-Magnon men and Slayer. This will not be the last time that alcohol consumption is linked with personal devolution on this show. Later in this season, Willow and Giles will also be judged for drinking in order to numb existential pain. If my memory serves, no one on the show is just a casual, social drinker. Even Spike's whiskey serves as a marker of his overall depravity. D-bag # 1 might articulate the reason why: according to him, ethical systems constructed under the influence of alcohol allow for moral relativism. If there's one thing this show cannot tolerate, it's moral relativism.

DON'T fall for the manic pixie dream girl.
There's a bad moon on the rise as we draw ever closer to "Wild at Heart." Oz has been spending more and more time with Veruca, and Willow is understandably jealous and bitter about it. Girl, just wait.
Pictured: The reason the philosophizing d-bags are only the second though fourth most intolerable people in this episode.
All in all, probably in my bottom three of Buffy episodes. The writing is lazy and the premise half-baked. And am I wrong, or was there not one stinking vampire in the whole thing? My intrepid co-watcher Jenn is busy being an academic superstar this week, so I will update if she has a more generous opinion of "Beer Bad."

No comments:

Post a Comment