BuffyWatch: Season 3, Episodes 19-20

Janes (a True Stan) and Nerdy Spice (a New Fan) are watching all of Buffy together and comparing notes.

Season 3, Episode 19 “Choices”

Image description: Buffy and Angel having a picnic at a cemetery.

We’re getting closer to finding out what the Mayor’s endgame is. It involves a package shipped to him from Central America, which he informs us of while creepily feeding Faith homemade cookies. He also gives Faith a shiny new knife to play with. She promptly uses it to kill the courier who’s delivering the Mayor’s package.

All the other kids have the future on the brain, since graduation is fast approaching: Willow got into Oxford, Xander is planning a big Kerouac-style backpacking trip (insert massive eyroll here), and Buffy got into Northwestern but can’t go because Faith is no longer a very good backup Slayer. Oh, and Cordelia appears to spend the episode shopping for fancy prom dresses–but we find out at the end that she’s actually working at the fancy prom dress shop, throwing her college plans into question even though she got into good schools. Meanwhile, Buffy and Angel have gotten back together, and are patrolling for vampires every night together. But Buffy’s also a little worried about their future together if every date night is gonna just take place in the cemetery.

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Westworld: Season 3 — a review?

Well, that kinda sucked.

My reaction to prestige HBO series’ final seasons keeps being “Why did that have to get packed into one season?”, which bothers me for a number of reasons. First, do I really want more Game of Thrones, if the Game of Thrones I got made me so miserable? Why would I trust someone who made me watch Westworld Season 3 to instead make me watch Westworld seasons 3a, 3b, and 3c? Short answer, because I’m a masochist. Second, why can’t I just say that a season is bad, instead of trying to imagine a world where it was better?

Also, yes, this was the final season of Westworld, because I’m done watching it. As should you be.

Let’s try to recap this series in 3 sentences.

  • Season 1:  Dolores is conscious, and Old William is Young William is the owner of the park.
  • Season 2: The park existed to recreate human consciousness, but that project never worked, and now Dolores has escaped with the resulting data to destroy the human world.
  • Season 3: The world was run by a new omniscient AI, Rehoboam, but it could only predict humans, so Dolores could destroy it because she’s not a human, and she did but she needed help from a human who was Jesse Pinkman, and now humanity is going to destroy itself, and Hale-Dolores is making new hosts to take over the world which is still going to be destroyed, and also Jesse Pinkman is in charge of some “revolution” which has already ended, I guess? and everyone in the world knows what their future will… ok I think I’ve made my point here.

Instead, let me try to list all of the atomic plot concepts that were introduced and then discarded in this season:

  1. Hosts set loose in the human world
  2. Copies of Dolores interacting with each other and with their new bodies
  3. Hosts body-snatching real humans
  4. Omniscient predictive AI
  5. Ownership of said AI being its engineers or their capitalist funders
  6. Crime for hire
  7. Humans’ awareness of high-likelihood predictions of their future
  8. Reprogramming humans with false memories
  9. Icing thousands of non-compliant humans
  10. Certain human-generated apocalypse in ~200 years.

I got to ten massive ideas without even trying, and without discussing any of the relationships between pairs or sets of those ideas, like the hosts’ decisions about their morality with respect to these various actors. Can’t you imagine spending a compelling season of television on just one or two of those ideas? How about the first two: Westworld season 3 is about Dolores getting her footing in the human world, and her selves deciding who or what they are. Doesn’t that sound better than what we got? It’s crazy to realize that we actually… skipped that. By the time we see Dolores in season 3 she already knows that there’s an omniscient AI that rules human affairs and has decided to destroy it. Hale-Dolores has her subplot about self-harming into discovering love for her family, but all the other Doloreis are… fine. Wouldn’t it have been worthwhile to follow her/them in those discoveries and decisions?

One reason why I think I take this critical approach is that it lets me skip so much else – characterization, cinematography, soundtrack… 

Some of those might have been good, some were definitely bad, but you can just look at a storyboard for this season—not even a storyboard, a bulleted outline—and realize that it could not possibly work inside 10 hour-long episodes, no matter how good or bad those executional choices ended up being. 

As I said: that kinda sucked.

Image description: Jody in a red tutu, dancing on pointe between Charlie and Cooper.

Thoughts We Had While Re-Watching Center Stage (for the 40th time)

On May 12, the quintessential dance movie of our generation has its 20th birthday. No, not Black Swan! We’re talking something far better: a sweet, silly, bubbly confection full of actually great dancing that made every girl I knew want to be a ballet dancer: Center Stage.

We both rewatched the movie in honor of the big day — not that we don’t regularly rewatch it anyway — and found ample evidence to justify our predetermined conclusion that yes, this movie still rules. Continue reading →

Faith slams a knife into the wall next to Buffy's head, both of them staring intensely at each other.

BuffyWatch: Season 3, Episodes 16-18

Janes (a True Stan) and Nerdy Spice (a New Fan) are watching all of Buffy together and comparing notes.

Season 3, Episode 16 “Doppelgangland”

Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 6.06.29 PM

A Willow-centric episode! Sort of like Willow’s The Zeppo, but far more interesting. Willow is starting to get a complex about being the “good girl” all the time. Snyder basically forces her to tutor a dumb jock, who expects her to just do his homework for him. Giles asks her to drop everything to do research at the drop of a hat, and Buffy hits a nerve by calling her “Old Reliable.” Plus, her fashion choices have become 1000% more questionable since the previous episode, just in case you forgot she was nerdy:

Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 6.10.43 PM Continue reading →

Decameron III

Pack it in, the coronavirus is done, this is the peak:

…Hang on, I’m just now hearing that apparently the “coronavirus” is actually a disease and not a justification for generating a bunch of high-grade YouTube/Twitter content. Um… we didn’t know that until the last 24 seconds.

Well, here’s a bunch of other good stuff:

This whole concert thing happened:

Ok this next one starts in a cringy place, but it never gets that bad, and also it’s Susan Egan (the original Megara!) singing the 24th-best song Disney ever recorded:

And then a tangent… the channel that hosts that last video is amazing in general, and in particular is home to Nerdy Spice’s all-time favorite YouTube video:

But the reason this is still Decameron content is that the isolation prompted the editor to cut and release another take of Jeremy Jordan performing the same song earlier that day, which isn’t really better? But it’s at least the same, which is to say great, so it’s ok to watch it right after that last one:

No one’s judging.

Let’s cut back to that Twitter thread:

And yes, I buried the lede:

Tasneem, in a bright white outfit, and G'ulom stand in a corner looking cranky.

Homeland Recap: 8×04 “Chalk One Up”

Previously on Homeland: Carrie got a tip to pursue Samira Noori, and that helped her secure peace with the Taliban by blackmailing G’ulom; Saul made a ceasefire deal with Haqqani; a brash young soldier whose name I still don’t know thought Max was a lucky charm; Beau Bridges realized that his Republican VP was probably running against him in the next election; Jenna and Mike let Carrie meet with Yevgeny to incriminate herself, and when Carrie met with him she discovered to her horror that she and Yevgeny had apparently been rather intimate in the asylum; and she lied to Mike about the meeting, knowing he hadn’t been able to hear her. Continue reading →