Janes (a True Stan) and Nerdy Spice (a New Fan) are watching all of Buffy together and comparing notes.Warning: May contain spoilers for later episodes.
Episode 1 “Bargaining, Part I”
Buffy is dead, and in her place, the Scoobies are attempting to slay vampires as a gang, including Spike, the newly restored Tara, and even BuffyBot. (Janes explained this to me: apparently no new Slayer was called during this death because each Slayer only spawns (so to speak) one new Slayer, and Buffy’s first death already led to Faith being called, so this slightly more real death doesn’t cause any new Slayers. I feel like this is not made clear enough in canon.)
Janes turned me on to a particular strain of literary fiction of which Ottessa Moshfegh would be considered the standard-bearer: fiction about antiheroines who, rather than rebelling against social norms in a proto-feminist way (as in Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies or even Gone Girl), are simply petty and vain and shallow, while also being darkly hilarious. Elisa Victoria’s novel oldladyvoice answers the question you never thought to ask: “What if Ottessa Moshfegh wrote a book about a nine-year-old?”
“The Body” feels less like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more like a short film about grief. There are no gods in this one, no big battles, no Slayer quips, and aside from a quick, perfunctory vampire at the end, almost no supernatural elements at all. There’s just a body.
It is probably not surprising to readers of this blog, given that I have spent a large portion of my adult life writing about Dawson’s Creek twenty years after it ended, but I also really, really love holiday romantic comedies—despite the fact that the vast majority of them end up as disappointments. The pinnacle of the genre (which is While You Were Sleeping, and yes I will fight you on this) is so good that I’ve been left forever chasing the dragon, looking for other movies that are perfect to curl up on the couch with in December with a box of chocolates or an obliging husband, even though it often ends up with me watching some garbled mess of offensive stereotypes, barely-funny “jokes” and (worst of all) no chemistry between the leads.
So, this is the end of season 2. I know that a lot of people have felt that this season was a letdown after last season, which was a sort of perfectly formed pearl of excellent TV that came at the exact right moment to be maximally appreciated by everyone. As countless people have written, last year our lives were taken over by tragedy and darkness, and we had suffered through years of TV producers apparently believing that tragedy and darkness and antiheroes were the only signifiers of auteur TV. Ted Lasso provided an unexpected and badly-needed antidote: a high-quality TV show that was actually sweet and uplifting.