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Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Something Blue”

March 22, 2011

Hello, friends. Miss me?

I owe the Buffy Fashion Roulette universe a big explanation, and an even bigger apology. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been missing in action since October, and it was rather sudden. I peaced out: didn’t give any notice, didn’t call or write. I imagine that my disappearance was similar to the feeling you get when the friendly barista at your local coffee shop randomly disappears one day. You might feel awkward asking the staff about it, so you sit there and wonder. Or you might ask them where she went, and they’re like, “dude, I dunno. She just up and left one day.” And that’s it; she’s just gone. It’s not the end of your world or anything like that, but she did make a pretty mean cup of coffee that you don’t get to have anymore. It’s a bummer, and it’s a mystery. Where the hell did she go, anyway?

I’ve received lots of nice comments and emails in my absence, which is a really wonderful thing. It’s nice to feel like I’m contributing something worthwhile to the world with my silly little project here, that I’ve been missed by the Buffy faithful. Throughout these emails three questions come up over and over again. I’ll answer them here.

Are you okay?

Indeed, I am okay. Thanks for asking!

Where are you?

I have been exceedingly busy these past few months. Because of my Pen & Pixel Graphics posts from the summertime, I got in touch with Shawn Brauch, a Pen & Pixel Graphics founder and the creator of those genius bits of culture. We’re working on an art book about Pen & Pixel Graphics; I’ll be writing the text to accompany a selection of his favorite pieces. The working title is Flossed And Glossed, which is pretty perfect. The project is a dream project; it gives me the opportunity to wax poetic about something that is deeply meaningful to me. Therefore, I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on research for this book, brainstorming, and simply thinking hard about it. I want my contribution to this project to be as perfect as it can be.

I’ve also been busy with other things. The holidays make everyone’s heads spin, of course. I have school, a social life, work, and home life, all of which can get pretty hairy just like anyone else’s can. That said, I don’t plan on abandoning Buffy Fashion Roulette for long periods of time anymore. I’ve missed it. I like challenging myself to figure out methods of combining general snarkiness with a piece of pop culture that I love deeply. I like finding the contradictions between Buffy’s timeless themes and dated fashion. I also enjoy challenging myself to do projects that have some sort of a time/amount stamp on them; I enjoy the specificity of what I’ve set out to do, the same way that I enjoy collecting series of books and organizing things alphabetically. Basically, Buffy Fashion Roulette is a great deal of fun for me.

Are you ever coming back?

Here I am, and I apologize for the extended absence.

———————————————————————–

You may or may not remember that way back in October we last deconstructed “Flooded,” a cautionary tale about fiscal irresponsibility, the importance of properly utilizing copper piping in one’s home, and appropriate apparel choices for loan interviews/demon fights. Four months later, I am closing polling and reporting on the results of the recap. In one respect it was a monumental polling episode for Buffy Fashion Roulette. Third and second place were no surprise; the winners there were perennial victors Giles and Buffy, with 11.8% and 16.8%, respectively. The winner was a shocker, though: for the first time ever (and after lots of finishes at the bottom), Willow came out way ahead of the pack with a whopping 41.6% of all votes tallied.

Mmm, Pepperidge Farm!

Willow’s win wasn’t a huge surprise within the fashion context of the episode- her clothes were shockingly not-terrible- but compared to her previous trend of losing all over the place? Straight up shock-ing. In non-surprising news, Dawn and Anya were 3rd and 2nd worst dressed (with 13.6% and 19.6% of all votes cast), and long suffering Tara couldn’t catch yet another break with 24.8% of the votes, based solely on this nightmare of a shirt choice:

 

The roulette was kind to us this week, bestowing a fan favorite of an episode upon us. “Something Blue” is one of my favorites, anyway. It’s fun; it foreshadows left and right; the writing is snappy and hilarious. It’ll also make you feel super bad for Willow. So, without further ado, here we go!

We open with a lovely shot of Oz and Willow standing on a dock somewhere. Actually, it’s one of those preseason promo shots that the WB (and eventually UPN) used to torment us with for weeks before the season premiere; I’m pretty sure I saw this exact same photo in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer 2003 Wall Calendar, minus the random photoshopped background. Why are they on a dock? Why is Willow’s hair not moving with the sea breeze? Whatever. The only thing that’s notable about this photo is that Willow’s shirt is the color of a hamburger condiment, as is per the usual with these types of things.

Willow is, of course, devastated at the abrupt loss of her boyfriend. Who wouldn’t be? She’s wearing one of those super busy shirts from that era in time. Lots of tiny pictures forming a pattern. Contrasting colors. Rhinestones. She’s super forlorn, and I’m not sure that this is the best shirt to wear when attempting to express that emotion.

She has a t-shirt of Oz’s that he left behind, and she sniffs it like a creep. Let’s take a moment and be in awe of how awesomely expert Willow’s eye makeup looks here. It’s a bit unrealistic, considering that she would have cried it all over her face hours ago, but it looks nice. Good job, makeup department!

The next day at school, Buffy runs into Riley in the hall as he’s chivalrously helping the ladies of the UC Sunnydale Lesbian Alliance hang their banner. You know, I’m a homo and all, but if I saw that poster I would totally not join their alliance. Purple with daisies? What the hell do they do at those meetings, collect American Girls dolls and listen to LFO?

Buffy congratulates Riley on his coming out process. Riley’s wearing a typically boring Riley outfit, which is okay because he’s a boring guy. Buffy’s outfit is pretty boring as well. I notice that she has a tiny backpack. What does she put in there, tiny textbooks?

What is most noticeable about this scene isn’t the clothes, or the tween-y looking UC Sunnydale Lesbian Alliance banner. No, it’s the fact that Riley calls Buffy “a beautiful mystery.” What is this, a Shakira song?

Later that night, Willow accompanies Buffy on a patrol. From far away, her sweater doesn’t look half bad.

Once we get a little closer, the sweater starts to look a bit odd. It appears…constricting.

Oh my god, it’s a motherfucking poncho. A PONCHO.

Can someone explain why Willow would wear this stupid-ass poncho at all, much less on a patrol? It has nothing going for it. It’s ugly. It’s really, really tight. Are ponchos ever this tight? Literally, I’ve  never seen anything like this before. It seals her arms to her side, leaving her defenseless during an attack; she can’t physically or magically do anything in this mess of a poncho. Is it even technically a poncho? Its technical name might be, “knitted tube for rendering oneself defenseless during an attack, with fringe on the bottom.” I dunno, maybe she’s so sad over Oz leaving that she wants to die?

Buffy doesn’t fare well here, either. She’s giving a speech about her romantic ineptitude while wearing a jacket that looks like it’s made out of the same material as those garbage bag getups Missy Elliott wore in her video for “The Rain.” Nevertheless, she towers above her constricted competition.

Okay, I need to take a break for a minute. I need to ask you guys a question. Does anyone else ever watch the opening credits, see this split-second shot of Kristin Scott Thomas’ sister wearing the Glove Of Myhnegon, and momentarily think it’s Brad Pitt in Legends Of The Fall? Because I do that ALL THE TIME.

Buffy and Willow stop by Giles’ house, where our favorite Watcher is contending with a whiny, bathtub-captive Spike. He looks pretty sexy all tied up in that bathtub, although he seems a bit malnourished.

Buffy feeds Spike pig’s blood from Giles’ Kiss The Librarian mug. She can’t stop sassing Spike, which is, of course, hilarious. She has removed the garbage bag-looking jacket, and looks much better, even though I’m confused by her hoodie’s black pockets and hanging pink string things. Giles is wearing a shirt and pants. Casual Giles Season 4, you know the drill.

In the living room, Willow has removed her poncho. One can presume that she has done this in order to free up her arms for reading. Apparently arm-binding torture tube sweaters are impractical for reading, but they’re flippin’ great for vampire slaying. Who knew?

Maybe Giles is cleaning his glasses because the poncho she's strewn over the back of a chair momentarily blinds him.

Willow heads over to Oz’s house… why, exactly? Is she trying to prolong her torment? Eh, I should give her a break. I would have done the exact same thing at her age. Nowadays I’d just mail a dead fish to the offender’s mother’s house. Anyways, she appears to have lost the poncho permanently. Did Buffy hide it when she wasn’t looking? Her outfit looks perfectly fine without the poncho. Why the poncho, Willow? Why the constricting tube of death? If you’re going to act out after a breakup, why don’t you just eat seventeen boxes of Oreos and watch “Passions” with Spike?

Oz’s room is completely cleaned out. The set designers did a pretty good job of applying realism to the furniture selection in the room. Everything is broken and looks like it came from the trash, which is certainly the way any good nineteen year old musician’s room should look. Willow is upset because Oz “sent for his stuff.” Oh, Willow. I know you’ve never paid rent in your life, but it’s much more likely that Devon and the rest of the housemates needed to rent out his room and put all his shit on the curb.

As she relates all of this to Buffy, Willow looks wicked adorable in her plaid pajamas. Also, I want that blue telephone.

Buffy lends an ear in her own PJs. She has crazy hair. I know we long-haired ladies always put it up in horrendous messes like that at home, but that looks ROUGH.

Giles is getting so sick of Spike-sitting. Like, for real. But you know, I’d be pissed off if I was locked in the bathtub during Passions, too. Incidentally, Passions is the whole reason I got into Buffy in the first place. That whole back and forth between the two shows, where Joss would write a Passions reference into the script and Passions had this episode where Timmy, the talking doll, held up a homemade Buffy poster and declared it to be his favorite non-NBC show? Yeah. That’s what made me decide to give Buffy a shot. (Trivia: Timmy was never in the bottom of a well, although one time Tabitha, his witch creator, threw him in the washing machine. I’ll never forget watching his face rotate around and around in the glass window while Tabitha appeared in a bubble in the corner of the screen and reminded viewers, “Chiiiildren! Do not try this at hooooome! Mwahahahaha!”)

Anyways, the color of Giles’ sweater is all wrong for potentially getting Spike’s pig’s blood all over it.

The next day, Riley and Stevie Nicks go on a picnic together. Oh, wait.

What was Buffy thinking here? She looks like a low-rent fortune teller at a high school carnival. She seems to have spent a good hour-plus on her hair, which also looks terrible. All of this makes her ill=informed outfit choice even worse. Riley, on the other hand, is dressed appropriately for a casual first date, although his white sneakers are dorky (don’t worry, I can always find something wrong with Riley).

Riley starts talking about how awesome cars and driving are. It is a really, really intense speech. It is so intense that it kind of freaks me out. He is so intense about it that Buffy should have gone running for the hills. Check out this creepy intense Riley face.

Intense. Sarah Michelle Gellar, meanwhile, makes no attempt to hide how perplexed she is by both the writing and Marc Blucas’ dialogue delivery in this scene.

Cars. They Are So Cool And So Awesome.

Meanwhile, here comes forlorn ol’ Willow with one flower on each boobie. It kind of makes her shirt look like a sadface. Maybe it’s appropriate?

Willow’s two-for-two on cute sneaker-wearing this episode. Check out Buffy’s :/ face over having her date crashed.

Speaking of unflattering boobie decor in this episode, check out that waitress’s shirt. O.M.G.

Yeah, we’re Bronzein’ it. You know how we do.

All I can think to say about Anya’s dress is that it’s very grunge. I place it into its late 90’s/early 00’s context and neither love it nor hate it; I merely notice its grunge-ness. It’s too bad that we can’t see her shoes, because if she were wearing Doc Martens I’d straight up think it was an intentional throwback. Buffy, thankfully, has changed out of her Steven Tyler gear and is wearing a red eyelet tank top and what I think are grey leather pants.

Xander’s wearing a sweater that is neither brown nor orange. He looks fine.

Willow is drunk.

She’s moving so fast here that I can barely get a screen shot of her outfit. It’s bad, though. Does anyone else notice that she’s dancing with a lady here? Mmm hmm.

Willow runs back to the table and proclaims that the Blink 182 song that’s playing is “great!” Everyone gives her A Look. Why so judge-y, Scoobies? Getting drunk after a sudden, traumatic breakup sounds like a plan to me!

She can’t be all that drunk though, because later that night, as you know, Willow gets witchy in the dorm bathroom.

Remember how freaked out we were way back in “Buffy Fashion Roulette: ‘Wild At Heart'” when Willow was doing crazy magic in what we thought was her dorm kitchen? Well, doing magic in the dorm bathroom at 2 AM is way worse. Some girl is going to stumble in drunk and knock over a few candles, burning Stevenson Hall to the ground. At the very worst, everyone at UC Sunnydale will think Willow’s in a cult by noon tomorrow.

The next morning Willow feels certain that her spell has not worked. She cannot bend everything around her to her will, which strikes me as an exceedingly strange thing to hope for when you’re a nineteen-year old college freshman, rather than a dictator of a developing nation. Man, this is so season 6 foreshadow-y.

It’s hard to say much about Willow’s outfit here. She’s covering most of it with a pillow. As you know, Giles comes by and she accidentally curses him with blindness. To be more specific, the middle-aged man who has surely been through his own traumatic romantic losses (Jenny!) has come to chide the heartbroken teenager for being depressed and forgetful, missing her appointment with him. This causes her to fly off the handle and inadvertently wish for more than she actually wants. Geez, will everyone lay off of Willow here? Breakups are hard, especially ones brought about by infidelity, attempted murder, and regular murder, in that order. All of her friends have been through them before. Where’s the empathy, kids?

Anyways, I hate how Giles’s sweater has baggy sleeves. I find it doubtful that he would ever wear a sweater with sleeves that don’t fit.

Giles’ temporary blindness has always been one of the hardest parts of the entire series for me. I hate seeing him helpless, and I hate seeing him have to confront the fact that he’s getting old, which is arguably his biggest struggle during this season. I HATE IT.

Spike’s still a cutie. I wouldn’t mind having him tied up to various bathroom fixtures and pieces of furniture in my house.

And he escapes! It always cracks me up that Giles hung Spike’s filthy, never-washed leather duster on the coat rack along with his own clean coats and jackets. It would have made a lot more sense for them to store it in a trash bag.

Back at the dorm room, Buffy wants to catch Spike and Willow’s still mopey. We can finally see Willow’s entire outfit, and it’s horrible. There are neck ruffles. There is a giant belt. There is a plastic woven necklace. It contains all of the worst typical elements of Willow fashion, and there’s no endearing fuzzy sweater to carry us through the nightmare unscathed. Buffy’s not looking too hot, either. Those are some mighty high-waisted pants, my friend.

For the first time in like, ever, we notice that Amy has come to college with Willow. She de-rats for a minute, thanks to Willow’s awesome spell!

Just so we’re clear, Naked Amy won’t be an option for Best Dressed. I learned my lesson that time Naked Pawn Shop Jewelry-Wearing Spike won.

Willow makes a creepy-eyed wish for Buffy to find Spike. She sounds like a petulant child uninviting someone from her birthday party.

Buffy finds herself on the lawn along with Spike. Her coat is absolutely atrocious. The collar is a different color from the rest of it, it’s all woven together with strips of leather… YUCK. It looks like something a dominatrix would wear to church on Easter Sunday.

Over at Giles’s place, he’s panicking and applying eye drops. Look, commenters, it’s the infamous Giles Pinky Ring!

Right after Willow and Buffy talk about watching Steel Magnolias together, we find Xander wearing a shirt with a magnolia on it. That’s just precious. I like this shirt, but I’m biased, as magnolias are both my favorite tree and flower.

Meanwhile…

Check out the weird cut of the leather at the ends of her sleeves. They are literally cut with pinking shears. YUCK. Her pink manicure/Goth-y ring combination are kind of hilarious, but in a good way.

Willow calls Xander a demon magnet, which results in badness. The romance of Buffy and Spike is causing Giles to drink heavily. When Buffy claims that she’s “living the dream” I always LOL. I can’t be the only one.

Riley runs into Buffy staring at wedding dresses. He’s wearing a sweater with a flesh-colored t-shirt beneath it. It’s fine. It is what it is.

Anya and Xander are gettin’ cuddly. From the waist above, everything Anya’s wearing looks on the up-and-up. She’s wearing a simple long-sleeved top in a flattering shade of red. Easy enough, right?

By the time they flee demons all the way back to Giles’ place, it is clear that she is wearing flares with weird shit where the flare part of the pants begin. It’s flames or peacock feathers or something. I’m not even sure. All I can say for sure is that this is an atrocious look on anyone. I know the wardrobe people hadn’t assigned a specific look to Anya yet, but this is ridiculous.

Buffy and Spike’s cuddle fest leads to a lot of icky feelings for the Scoobies. Fortunately, they figure that they should head over to the dorms and check on Willow, where D’Hoffryn has found her and wants to make her into a vengeance demon. Anya explains the whole vengeance demon deal to Buffy, but it’s hard to pay attention to her when we get a closer look at her patterned flares and platform flip flops. Are you kidding me with this, Anya?

Spike rightfully mocks a skirt of Buffy’s. Maybe he should guest blog here sometime.

Hey D’Hoffryn, why’re you gonna grow a sweet-ass beard like that and tie it up in a weird little ponytail? Let your beard hair fun wild and free, man!

Willow, as you know, tells D’Hoffryn thanks but no thanks, but keeps the talisman for later. Instead she bakes some seriously delicious-looking cookies. Anya is wearing a pink thermal shirt and has awful-looking eye makeup, at least from this angle.

Xander is wearing a football jersey-style shirt. It’s kind of weird, if you look at it closely. The grey stripes on his arms look like armwarmers.

Willow is wearing some Delia’s-looking shirt. When you read the message, it’s an attempt at irony. She probably borrowed the apron from Giles, so I can’t knock it too hard.

Giles is wearing a sweater that can merely be described as “very season four.” However, he can see again. Hurrah!

Oh, BUFFY. What were you thinking here? Those cuff-printed flares make Anya’s cuff-printed flares look decent. And what’s up with the sweater tied around the shoulders? Dear, sweet baby Jesus.

She throws the sweater back on later for a walk with Riley. It is a nice sweater. I covet it. But paired with those flares, nobody’s even noticing it. I wonder if Riley dares to look down at the horrors below. Buffy’s knees are truly the hellmouth to a terrifying, unknown world of printed pants cuffs.

Buffy jokingly tells him, “You have a lot to learn about women, Riley.” He gets super serious, grabs her hair, and goes, “You’re gonna teach me.” Whaaaaa? Between this and the “I Like Awesome Cars That Zoom Fast” speech, she should have known better.

I don’t for the life of me know who the best dressed character is in this episode, but I know who the top two contenders are for worst dressed. What do you guys think? Remember: vote for the cumulative best and worst dressed characters of the episode, not just an outfit that I snarkily reference in the poll.

Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Flooded”

October 17, 2010

Oh, joy! It’s another draw from season 6! More of the characters you love so dearly wallowing in depression and self-destructive behavior! More “the bad guys are our inner demons” metaphors! Whee!

I’ll be the first to admit that season 6 has its moments. “Flooded”, in my opinion, is a brighter one. The script is punchy, and we get a bit of overall plot development. Nonetheless, I have my issues with the episode. But first! Your feelings about “Wrecked” were made abundantly clear in your votes. For the first time in Buffy Fashion Roulette history, I completely disagree with your choice for best dressed. Anya and Buffy made decent showings with 16% and 20% of the vote, respectively. The overwhelming winner, however, was Spike, who drew a relatively surprising 43% of the vote. I mean, I do understand what you guys are trying to communicate to me here. Really, I do. I understand. I empathize.

But might I remind you what we learned from Exhibits A, B and C?

Yeesh. With all that jewelry, one can only hope that Spike is left-handed. (I say that on Buffy’s behalf, of course.)

Worst dressed was a pretty damning display. Tara topped from the bottom once again with 38.5% of the vote, way ahead-behind her closest worst dressed competitors: Amy and her cutout sleeves with 27% of the vote, and Willow at 17%. Tara seems to have lost solely for wearing the same horrible bathrobe sweater that she lost for in “Tabula Rasa”. Funny how these things turn out.

(Gahhh, this picture just KILLS ME! Amber Benson is gorgeous even when she wakes up from passing out on the couch! So why do they have to make her wear a glittery, ill-fitting bathrobe sweater around everywhere?)

Alright folks, onto “Flooded.” Previously on Buffy The Vampire Slayer- or, as I like to acronymize it, POBTVS- a bunch of stuff happened over a couple of seasons. But mostly, people left, died, un-died, or were traumatized by their un-dying. Well then, I suppose the mood is set. Buffy’s in the basement fixing a leaky pipe. She fails. Oh, how she fails….

….leaving the Dawn-haters laughing their asses off. I’m not really a Dawn hater though, so mostly I sit through this scene and wonder if the pipes would really burst like that. I’m not buying it. Even with Buffy’s super strength, all she could do would be to block the pipe. Would this really happen? I mean, come on. During the original airing I sat there yelling at the TV, “Run to your shutoff valve. RUN TO YOUR SHUTOFF VALVE.”

By the time the opening credits are over, Dawn has changed her clothing. Miraculously, her hair looks impeccable. Once again: I’m not buying it.

Buffy is rendered zombie-fied by watching the water go down the drain, which means that they haven’t shut off the water and it’s still flowing into their basement. Whaaa? I’m not buying it!! I’m also not buying the fact that Buffy didn’t get one drop of water on her clothes or in her hair. Nope. Not buying it. She looks nice, though. I like her necklace. And hey, Willow doesn’t look half bad, either.

Check Tara out! She looks downright lovely! It’s a miracle!

Xander is here with the plumber, which makes the fact that they haven’t shut off the water even more preposterous. Wouldn’t the plumber suggest that they stop the incessant flow of water into their basement? Wouldn’t Xander wonder why they hadn’t done that already?

As far as Xander’s outfit goes, there’s not a lot to say about a brown t-shirt. Know what I’m sayin’? It is what it is.

Later Anya brings her fiscal prudence to the table and tries to help them out of their tricky situation. Unfortunately she doesn’t give them many valid options (like seeing if their homeowner’s insurance will cover the repipe; adding the cost of the flood cleanup to the bill; delicately insinuating that Tara and Willow should pay some damn rent around here), suggesting instead that Buffy charge for saving people’s lives, and using “Spider-Man does it” as an explanation. A big argument ensues, and Dawn’s right! Spider-Man, in fact, does NOT charge crime victims for saving their lives. However, Spider-Man does have a job. Superman has a job, too. Batman doesn’t really have much of a job, other than heading up his corporation. But he’s independently wealthy, so he doesn’t have to have one. Don’t worry, all ye Buffyverse faithful! Buffy has a solution. “Easy. we burn the house to the ground and collect the insurance.”

Based on her faraway location in this Disbelieving Group Shot, Anya’s outfit doesn’t look half bad at all. She appears to be riding the delicate line between stylish and business-savvy almost perfectly. But alas! As is so often the case, we soon get a closer look. And unfortunately, Anya is dressed like the entryway to a Renaissance Faire.

Who wears odd triangular flags on their shirts? Who substitutes them for sleeves? Has anyone ever done this? Once again Anya comes within a stone’s throw of looking amazing, but messes it all up with one bizarre aspect of her ensemble.

The Spider-Man Economic Debate gets really heated, culminating with Anya rushing out the door in a tizzy (and giving us one of my favorite “I try to use this in everyday conversation” Buffy lines, ‘Why don’t you ask your good friend Spider-Man?!’). You know, I can’t blame Anya for being upset. She’s trying to find solutions while everyone else is just standing around expecting Buffy to fix it for them. They could sell the house and move into a three-bedroom apartment. Tara and Willow could get jobs. The Scoobies could start selling off their designer wardrobes and start wearing things more than one time ever. They could stop buying more and more new ugly clothes. Technically, Willow could just make money magically appear out of nowhere. But no. Rather than instituting some practical lifestyle changes in their household, Buffy heads on down to the bank to apply for a loan. American readers, take note: this mentality is part of the reason our economy is dangling by a thread right now.

Buffy dresses conservatively for her bank interview. Now, I could sit here and pick this outfit apart for you. I could complain that she’s not wearing pearls, or point out the general shabbiness of her top. I could stick a poll in here asking if you think she has on a suit jacket or a weird blouse. I could make a joke about her shoulder pads. Today though, I’m not going to do any  of that. What happens later in the scene is one of those moments that defines what I do here at Buffy Fashion Roulette. It reminds me why I started this wacky game.

Before the loan officer arrives, Buffy practices her lines. She breaks a bit at the end though, muttering, “Stupid skirt.” Either Buffy has dressed to reflect the insecurity she feels, or the clothing has chipped away at her confidence. (Methinks it’s a little of both.) This is not the typical “Buffy in the graveyard confidently sassing vampires while rocking a leather jacket” scenario. Indeed, this is the loan officer’s territory. He’s quick to point out the obvious to Buffy. “You have no income, no job.” And y’know, he’s right. Spiderman may not charge to save people, but he has a job. Superman has a job. Batman has a job (as well as some class privilege, but still! a job). However, that said, she’s certainly no slacker.

The opportunity to prove herself lands on the table in front of Buffy. Literally.

Suddenly their worlds have flipped. The loan officer’s safe space has been upended, but Buffy’s right back where she belongs.

Hey, check this guy out! The short-sleeved leather jacket is sort of weird, and everything is a bit ill-fitting, but all in all he doesn’t look half bad.

He should break into Shaquille O’Neal’s house and steal all of his clothes. That way, they would fit a little better.

Anyways, Buffy’s all like, fight fight fight! So she goes up to the demon and tries to kick him in the head. But alas! Her skirt is too tight. ‘Stupid skirt.’

The demon tosses her across the loan officer’s desk. Then: a pivotal moment of fashion truth!

Buffy borrows the loan officer’s letter opener, cuts a waist-high slit up the side of her skirt and kicks the demon’s ass.

She’s foiled by a foreshadow-y gun toting security officer though, and the demon slips away. Nevertheless, Buffy returns to the loan officer’s desk to demand her loan.

No dice.

Buffy heads to the Magic Box to work out in a sensible a-shirt and yoga pants combo. Willow tries to solve Buffy’s problems by riling her up. Ah, these kids. Always focusing on everyone else’s problems first.

The gang convenes around the lit-from-within Magic Box table (seriously, that table is so weird; who wants to read at a lit-up table?), and learns that the demon they’re fighting is called an M’Fashnik. They also learn why he’s wearing clothes: to hide his enormous penis. Well, then. Much more pivotal in this scene: the return of Rupert Giles, in his trusty suede heavy jacket.

Meanwhile, M’Fashnik is incredibly angry at the Trio for summoning him. They are dressed like, well, nerds. They are literally surrounded with piles of pilfered money, but haven’t made the decision to upgrade their wardrobes yet.

It is interesting to me that Jonathan steps up to confront the M’Fashnik first. This would have never happened later in the season.

The Scoobies are turning in for the night. Buffy is making a bed on the couch for Giles. He gets to sleep on girly butterfly sheets. Fun. She has changed into a slightly-odd-by-today’s-standards outfit. The colors don’t quite match, and that seriously draped neckline looks almost comical in 2010. (True story: I had a couple of those shirts. Ouch.)

Later, Willow’s in the kitchen eating cookies and Giles is getting some water. Willow is totally giddy about having brought Buffy back from the dead. She’s so clueless! Seeing her threaten Giles is still a little bit scary. She and Warren are a lot alike in some ways. It makes sense that they both went off the rails at the same time. Anyways, here’s a rare shot of Giles in a t-shirt.

Buffy heads outside to get some air, or maybe because she psychically feels Spike’s presence nearby. Since Spike’s a classy guy and all, he tosses a lit cigarette butt onto her wooden porch. Buffy’s square-toe camel boots are antiquated-looking. They are almost the exact same color as her pants. It’s a strange look. The strangeness is compounded by the fact that she changed into this after exercising until late in the night. Why would someone wear this to put sheets on the couch? Why didn’t she just change into a t-shirt and jeans? (Does Buffy even own any t-shirts?)

Spike is wearing, as commenter Tat accurately describes it, “wardrobe (a)” (guess what wardrobe (b) is).

Dawn can’t sleep. Her pajamas are pretty adorable. There’s nothing like a pair of pajama pants with random shit printed on it to really punch up a scene.

M’Fashnik shows up and as a result, there’s the requisite Buffy fight scene. For once, Buffy is super cautious about not breaking everything in the house. (She fails, but she’s cautious.) M’Fashnik breaks a lamp, which sends Buffy into an apoplectic fit. ‘That’s a designer lamp, ya mook!’ You know, when I’m so broke that I can’t pay my bills and am about to rack up many thousands of dollars of debt for a critical home repair on top of it all, one of my first orders of business tends to be to sell my designer friggin’ lamps. But, y’know. No judgment.

Buffy drags him into the basement, where the flooding is now knee-deep. No one has taken the not-yet-ruined cardboard boxes upstairs in an attempt to salvage their contents. No one has tossed a Shop Vac downstairs to suck up the water.

For that matter, no one has even turned off the water.

In contrast, the geeks are rolling in dough. by the next morning they’ve purchased all sorts of pointless fancy equipment and electronics. If this scene exists to prove a point about the severity of economic disparity, the writers have clearly succeeded. As far as costuming goes, that department has also succeeded, and wildly. The nerds look like nerds. Although you can’t see it so well in this picture, Andrew is still wearing the same t-shirt he was wearing the day before.

Jonathan is wearing the cutest widdle shiwt I ever did see. It’s so cute that the koala bear on it is smiling. Awwww.

Back at Camp Summers, we are expected to sympathize with the Scoobies’ plight. In some regards I do feel bad for these kids. But then I see Dawn and Willow pointlessly trying to glue their stupid designer lamp back together instead of tossing a Shop Vac into the basement and heading down there with a mop and I think, what the hell?

Clothing-wise, Dawn’s a mess. What’s up with that incredibly pointy collar? Willow, on the contrary, is looking downright snazzy. Really, it’s been a banner episode for everyone’s favorite Wiccan lesbian couple. I am shocked. A solitary tear is forming in my eye and is about to trickle down my cheek. As soon as it falls I’ll wipe it away before anyone sees. These two witches, man. They can really pull it together when it all comes down to it, and I-

Pink camouflage. Fuck it. Never mind.

Hey, but Giles! He looks just fine. We can also find solace in the fact that Xander has taken on a marginally more useful task than the one that Willow and Dawn have. He’s trying to repair the coffee table. He’s using an actual tool. To top it all off, he doesn’t look half bad doing it.

Anya and Buffy are crunching some numbers, and Buffy’s chair is literally held together with duct tape. Really, Buffy? You can’t throw the damn thing out with the shattered designer lamp and hit up Thrift Town for some replacements?  Buffy’s top is kinda cute. I had one of those, too. Man, I was a regular Buffy copycat. As far as Buffy’s hair goes, I like that she has stuck a pen in her hair to show that she’s really working on her budget.

Anya’s outfit is a bit confusing. As you can see from the photo two up, she’s got on some interesting slingbacks. I like ‘em, anyway. She’s also wearing an enormous belt and rust-colored capri pants or a skirt; I can’t tell which. Now that I think about it, there sure are a lot of orange and rust-colored ensemble pieces on this show (why?). I do like Anya’s shirt, but with reservations. At first glance I thought the picture was of some sweet metal princess riding a pegasus. Upon further inspection I learn that it’s one of those pin-up girl reproductions that were so popular at the beginning of the 2000’s. That’s a little less awesome.

Her hair is messy, but she gets a pass here. As far as I’m concerned, they should all be wearing Hazmat suits and face masks.

Vote below!

Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Wrecked”

October 6, 2010

Oh, joy. Today’s Buffy Fashion Roulette episode is a fashion recap of one of the most After School Special-y episodes of all, “Wrecked”. It’s so cautionary of a tale that you might even call it a “very special episode”, minus the neatly wrapped ending that the most very special of television episodes usually receive. I won’t lie, kids. “Wrecked” is one of my least favorite Buffy episodes of all time. It’s heavy-handed. The magic-as-addiction metaphor is ridiculous, bordering on corny. The “drug” montages are laughable at best. And Rack, the magic pusher who gets Willow hooked on the dark stuff? He’s a dead ringer for Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

Our results from “Faith, Hope & Trick” are officially set in stone. Cordelia and Willow both had good showings, garnering 23% and 18% of the votes, respectively. But it was runway-ready Mr. Trick who stole the show with a very solid 32.5% of the vote, showing that the BFR faithful have a great respect for impeccable tailoring and designer menswear.

On the losing end, Xander (with his nasty mudflap girl shirt) and Oz (with his Phish concert-anti chic) tied for third with 8% of votes each, which isn’t so damning for either of them. Scott Hope? More like Scott Nope, with 16.5% of “no” votes. But it was Faith who truly disgusted you the most, garnering a staggering 54% of all votes cast.

Now, onto “Wrecked”. Previously on Buffy, ALL KINDS OF HORRIBLE SHIT HAPPENED. Willow did mean magic on people with Amy after Tara left her, Giles peaced out of Sunnydale, and Buffy had self-hating sex with Spike until the abandoned house they were doing it in crashed all around them.

As we open the episode, Tara and Dawn are waking up on the couch. It’s morning, which to them means that nobody came home last night. Uh, Tara? Willow’s on the rebound. She could’ve just been sneaking a hottie upstairs. Don’t flatter yourself so much. But in fact when Tara and Dawn check Buffy’s and Willow’s bedrooms to investigate the situation, it’s true: they’re both still out in the big, bad world somewhere.

Dawn’s outfit is relatively cute: a glittery butterfly shirt, nice jeans and a sweater over it all. You know, we’re pretty harsh on Dawn and all, but she dresses a lot better than any of the Class Of 99’ers did in their day. Tara is wearing that ugly sweater bathrobe that I freaking despise, along with a slightly mismatched brown sweater and brown pair of pants beneath it. Is this what the Buffy wardrobe department thinks that lesbians wear when processing their way a breakup? Yuck.

At the abandoned building, Buffy wakes up and is like, Oh Shit, What Did I Do. There’s really no excuse for her behavior. She wasn’t even drunk. She doesn’t fare well in her attempt to run off all indignantly, either. She goes right back for some smoochies.

I like this outfit, when she’s wearing it and all. I’m surprised that she took such care not to rip holes in it or to pop any of her buttons, seeing as how the house was a rockin’ so hard.

Spike, meanwhile, is naked and gloating. Srsly, there’s nothing more humiliating then when someone is naked and gloating. It’s pretty demoralizing. He looks like a cat who caught a salamander and is holding it in his teeth while it’s squirming around and begging for mercy.

We do get one quick glance at his Hurt Face, when Buffy throws some shade his way.

But then he goes right back to gloating. I can’t really fault him for that.

Buffy made a pretty great Accidental Sex Underwear Decision (ooh, but maybe it wasn’t accidental!). No granny panties or period stains for this slayer! When looking at Naked Spike here, I am thinking, what is up with all of this cheesy pawn shop jewelry? We can only see a small fraction of his body, but we can identify three pieces of jewelry. Whaaa? Since when did Spike dress like an extra on The Sopranos? All of his jewelry is silver or platinum (or God, maybe even white gold), and just from this angle we can see he’s wearing three pieces: a necklace (or, as the kids are calling it, “a chain”), a tacky bracelet, and a thumb ring. Maybe Spike has a burgeoning rap career on the side? Either way, after rewatching this scene I am seriously disturbed by how many squealing Buffy/Spike relationship fans were squealing about how cute this scene was. There’s nothing sadder when people mistake moments of succumbing to self-hatred for true love.

Back at the Summers abode, Tara is totally jealous of Willow coming home at the crack of dawn with another lady, even if said lady was a rat less than 24 hours ago.

Although the style is truly dated, Willow’s hair color is AMAZING. I love, envy and cherish it. The coat? Not so much. What’s up with all the suede points? It looks like something that a jester would wear. YUCK.  Amy is even worse off. Baby poo-colored pants (maybe she stole them from Tara when her back was turned?), a braided leather belt with a giant buckle, weird criss-crossed cutout sleeves… what is going on here? I guess I can’t knock her too hard, though: she did spend three years stuck in a rat cage, primarily observing the fashion of one Willow Rosenberg.

Tara gets mad about Willow’s burgeoning magic addiction (or gal pal, can’t tell which) and stomps away, almost knocking Buffy over in the process. It’s hard to make a stomp-off look dignified when you’re wearing a knitted bathrobe, though.

Here’s a much more hilarious look at Amy’s cutout sleeves.

Later at the Magic Box, Anya and Xander are investigating the whole diamond freeze-ray thing that Warren, Jonathan and Andrew pulled off in the previous episode. They aren’t having much luck, as there is no magical precedent for this. (Who woulda thunk it?!) They’re also having a hard time with the research because Anya stuck a bridal magazine in her research book and is reading that instead.

Xander is, y’know, typical, dependably boring-looking Xander. I can deal with that any day. Anya’s ensemble presents a much more challenging assessment. Here is a closer look, complete with lovely Emma Caufield doe eyes.

Her hair color does not sit well with me. I feel that it is a a few shades too blonde, and washes her out a bit. Her makeup looks perfectly alright, but does not compensate for the washed-outness that her hair has wreaked on her face. As far as her outfit goes, I cannot pick a team. Yes, the shirt is very “Anya”. But is a tight boatneck top covered in varying sizes of polka dots a good look on anyone? The lone aspect of her ensemble that I can fully get behind is her jewelry. Her matching brooch and earrings are to diiiiie foooor.

Buffy is suffering from a lack of sleep, but she still looks alright. She balks at Anya’s “traditional burlap with blood larvae” bridesmaid dress dilemma, which is a shame. That would have made for some Buffy Fashion Roulette magic.

Buffy looks like a modern-day Daisy Buchanan here, sleep deprivation and everything. I’m fully behind it.

Later that night Amy and Willow go on a hunt for Rack’s place. At first glance their outfits don’t look hideously awful, just average awful. This is probably because they are wearing a jacket and a coat, respectively.

They find Rack’s creepy magical meth lab, where he will take them to The Other Side. They’ll be Livin’ On The Edge. They’ll go Crazy. (Heh heh. Heh heh heh.)

I can’t decide if ol’ Rack/Steve gets the BFR exemption. He lives in a magical meth lab and all; it’s probably not terribly easy to shop for clothes when you’re constantly on the run from The Law. He kind of dresses like a medieval serf, which is weird. Nevertheless, you’d think he could take a magical bath or something.

The horror of both Amy’s and Willow’s outfits is revealed once they take their coats off. I mean, yeah, their magical drug dependence is revealed as well. Both their clothes and their witchy acid trips are pretty hilarious, which I can get behind.

Amy trips balls in a denim dress that appears to have been created from a repurposed pair of jeans. I can tell this because there’s a weird zigzag at the waist. As far as the fit goes, it doesn’t look terrible on her. But come on, dude. It’s a denim minidress with a fabric triangle at the bottom.

Whee!

Does Rack say that Willow tastes like strawberries because she’s a redhead? If so, I call Ginger Discrimination, from one ginger to another (ed. note: betcha didn’t know I’m a ginge). Anyways, she’s hanging out on the ceiling with, as is per the usual in season six, something that laces up the front. Gross. Also gross is the fact that it’s not just her body that’s defying gravity- her hair and clothing are sticking to the ceiling as well. I call bullshit (or maybe I call budgetary discretion?).

I hate that whole scene where she sees something trippy and crashes to the floor. I mean, how literal do these drugs/magic analogies have to be?

The next morning Willow cries in the shower and tries to sleep it off. I would feel really sad about watching this scene if it wasn’t so corny, and if she wasn’t trying to sleep off a ham-fistedly executed magical pseudo-drug trip. Anyways, Willow comes across a box of clothes marked “TARA”, makes them magically levitate out of the box and onto the bed, inflates them and cuddles in their lap.

I prefer to think that Tara left these clothes behind on purpose, because they are uuuugly.

Later that night Willow heads downstairs, where Dawn is making peanut butter-and-banana quesadillas. (This actually sounds kind of delicious to me.) You may look at this photo and think, “Dawn has weird sleeves.”

Then Willow goes to open the fridge, and you immediately forget about Dawn’s weird sleeves because you notice that Willow has freaking rayon cobwebs hanging from her wrists.

Willow offers to take Dawn out for burgers and a movie. Buffy comes home, hears some funny noises and feels like something is amiss. She’s right. Amy has broken into the house, and she’s upstairs stealing!…. sage. She’s stealing sage. Apparently she’s really hungover, because she almost hurls when Buffy throws her up against the wall and starts freaking out, yelling, “breaking into someone’s house for kitchen spices? No, i don’t think so!” Yeah, I don’t think so either. Why wouldn’t Amy just head on down to the Piggly Wiggly and buy some sage in the baking aisle? For that matter, why wouldn’t she just shoplift from the Magic Box? Lord knows nobody who hangs out there pays any attention to what’s going on in the shop. Anya’s reading bridal magazines, Willow’s sniffing fat lines of majick, Xander’s panicking about getting married… for that matter, why the hell didn’t Amy just ask Dawn to steal some sage for her? Dawn’s good at stealing. A regular Oliver Twist, that one.

Amy looks like hell, of course. It’s Bad Hangover Day; we’re lucky Crocs weren’t around when this episode was filmed. Buffy looks kind of weird. What’s up with the braided pigtails and the black turtleneck? Is she attempting to make up for her sexual indiscretions by appearing extra priggish today?

Willow is wearing the weird jester jacket again, and Dawn has changed into a warmer sweater for their big night on the town. Poor Dawn. She finally thinks she’s getting some attention, and all Willow can think about is getting high (on magic, of course).

Hence, Dawn is promptly deposited in Rack’s waiting room so Willow can get hi-i-iiiigh. Note the “no smoking” sign on the wall, as well as the giant ashtray full of cigarette butts on the coffee table. (Do drug dens generally have waiting rooms?)

I do find it quite charming that Rack leaves copies of National Geographic lying around for his clients to read. That’s very thoughtful of him.

Just in case the hilariousness of Willow’s webbed sleeve escaped you in the fridge picture, here’s a scene from one of Willow’s magic hallucinations. As you can plainly see here, she is reaching for the stars. Incidentally, the fates (?) are oohing a creepy song in the background. This only makes me laugh harder.

But then she hallucinates this, which is really weird and would perhaps be better suited as a Dio album cover.

(Seriously, why would any magical high be worth this?)

Buffy is worried about Dawn, who is missing. She recruits Spike, who is lying in bed naked and feels certain that she has come for the nookie. It occurs to me that most of Spike’s clothing up for critique is, well, nudity. Nudity and silver chains.

Buffy is wearing a leather jacket and that silver Y necklace that she becomes so fond of in season 6. Is it supposed to be some sort of S&M metaphor? Like a leash or something?

Stoner Willow is my favorite Alternate Willow that I’ve encountered thus far in my Buffy Fashion Roulette adventure. Vamp Willow and Evil Willow cannot hold a candle to Stoner Willow once she’s spent a few hours floating around on the ceiling of Rack’s magical crack den. She starts out by pushing Dawn’s buttons and pretty much calling her a loser. Fun!

Spike has put on his non-naked uniform and has joined Buffy in searching the streets for Dawn (and Willow). ‘Cept they aren’t so much searching as they are processing about their feelings. Barf.

Willow and Dawn encounter the scary Dio Demon that Willow magically conjured, and Willow mouths off to it. Hilarious!

Willow starts ‘drunk driving’ and she yells out, “take that, scuzz!” Only a stoner would say something that weird. Amazingly, she isn’t even steering with her hands. Dawn is terrified and screaming.

Then, as drunk drivers (even drivers who are drunk on magic) are prone to doing, Willow crashes the car. Dawn’s arm is broken and she’s almost devoured by the Dio Demon. Buffy saves the day, of course, and she and Spike look on with no reaction as Dawn uses her good arm to smack the ever lovin’ crap out of Willow.

As you can see from this photo, Willow loves to shower after her magical LSD adventures. She and Buffy have a heart to heart. Willow reveals her dependency on magic, and explains her insecurities. Magic makes her feel special. “Who was I? Just some girl.” Indeed, Willow. You were a girl in a crazy birthday cake shirt. A girl in a school uniform-style jumper that reveals ‘the softer side of Sears.’ A girl with the best sneaker collection this side of the hellmouth. And we loved you for it. Magical rehab, Willow. Hurry, before you end up like Lord Voldemort.

Later, Willow experiences serious withdrawals after two days of Rack Magic. Dang. Them’s some downright powerful magicks!

Aaaand Buffy strings up garlic all over her room in an attempt to keep Spike from coming in. He never drops by, which is beside the point; as soon as he knocked on her window she’d just yell at him, then throw all the garlic in the closet and invite him in.

Thus ends the after school special. Vote below!

And if you don’t mind, I have an additional poll. It’d be helpful if you could answer that one as well.

Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project: a counter-response

October 3, 2010

It is with great interest that I’ve spent much of my weekend reading the various responses within the LGBTQ community to Dan Savage’s It Gets Better video project. The It Gets Better project, for those who don’t know, began with a video that Savage and his husband made as a response to the death of 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who committed suicide after being ridiculed by his peers at school for his sexuality.

Savage’s video has inspired a slew of similarly-themed responses from the celebrity world, both from within and from outside of the gay community. In my smaller circle of queer friends and neighbors, most of the response I’ve seen seems to be angry, and the anger seems to be directed at Dan Savage. One blog response has been spreading like wildfire via Facebook and Twitter, and various friends and friends-of-friends are writing Facebook notes to summarize their feelings about it (I won’t link to those because it feels like an invasion of privacy, although I realize that the notes may have been left unlocked so that they could be read by the general public). While I generally have a myriad of criticisms of the direction that the gay and lesbian movement seems to be headed towards (i.e fighting for “marriage equality” rather than fair housing and an all-inclusive version of ENDA), I find myself a bit befuddled by all this anti-It Gets Better sentiment that I’m reading this weekend.

One criticism I’ve seen says that by telling teens who feel trapped in their small towns/rural environments and/or their religious upbringings, Dan Savage is perpetuating a stereotype that people who are rural and/or religious are more bigoted than people who live in urban settings and are not particularly religious. As someone who was raised in a rural, fundamentalist environment in the Deep South and still speaks with a Southern accent, I understand the stereotypes and societal limitations that are placed upon rural, religious folk as much as the next person. If I tell someone I’ve just met where I’m from and they respond by asking me if I wore shoes as a child or if I learned how to read later in life, it offends the hell out of me. It is a response that happens more often than you might think, and it’s pretty clearly ignorant and bigoted in a multitude of ways. That said, when someone asks me if it was difficult to grow up as a queer kid or as someone who generally felt “different” in a Mississippi community with a population of around 100, my response is that yes, it was incredibly difficult, at times intolerable. While I certainly don’t believe that every rural, small-town and/or religious person is an anti-gay bigot, I do believe- no, I know- that it is a mistake to discount the voices of queer kids who feel trapped by the constraints of rural or religious life.

Of course there’s no universal experience surrounding growing up queer in the South and/or in a rural community and/or in a religious environment. Similarly, there’s no universal experience for people of color, for immigrants, for disabled kids, for atheist kids, for kids who listen to punk rock, for kids who are artists, for progressive kids, for kids who want to choose a different career path than what their parents choose for them, or for any other kid who doesn’t fit into the very narrow definition of what constitutes normality in many rural and/or religious communities. Living in a constraining community can be dehumanizing for anyone who differs from what the rural notion of “the norm” often tends to be. For a queer kid, this is especially difficult if you’re dragged to church every week only to hear a sermon about how you’re going to hell, and if you live 100 miles away from the nearest bookstore or record store or LGBT community center. If you live in a community so isolated and homogeneous that you’ve never met anyone like you, imagine how terrifying of an experience that must be. Now, imagine that two nice, friendly, intelligent gay men who love each other are using Youtube to let you know that there is a world outside of the one that you know, and that once you’re finally old enough, you can run towards something instead of away from it. Is it so wrong for a kid to find a glimmer of hope in that message?

The notion that the concept of speaking to oppressed rural kids and reassuring them that it can, in fact, get better is something that oppresses rural, religious people as a whole: that is a notion that invalidates untold numbers of teenage experiences. Damien Echols is a small town Arkansan who is sitting on death row because he was a teenager who liked Metallica and was interested in Wicca. Constance McMillen was shunned, harassed and shamed by her small-town peers just because she wanted to wear a tuxedo to her prom. Personally, I wish that I’d had a Dan Savage to tell me half of my lifetime ago that my surroundings weren’t my entirety, that it was okay that I had pink hair and that listening to Bad Religion didn’t make me a devil worshipper and that being pro-choice didn’t mean that I wanted to murder babies and that it was perfectly fine for me to think that boyish girls were way more attractive than the farmhands and aspiring baseball players that I was expected to date. If a kid turns eighteen and feels the need to Get The Fuck Out, we should be encouraging them to follow their instincts, rather than making them feel guilty about abandoning some aspect of their identity, whether that’s intentional or not. Let them negotiate that for themselves, fellow adults. It’ll come.

Another criticism of the It Gets Better Project is that it’s not proactive enough, that each year spent as a miserably oppressed gay teenager feels like a lifetime, and that it certainly won’t keep any kid from killing themselves. My response is that in my experience working with children of various ages, different kids respond to different types of encouragement. What keeps hope alive in one child might not work for the next. I imagine that as a queer adult, Dan Savage created the It Gets Better video by thinking about what would have made him feel better as a teenager. I don’t see Dan Savage going around and proclaiming that his video is the magical cure for gay teenage oppression; I have a feeling that he realizes his project is a drop in a huge bucket. It raises visibility about the broader issue of anti-gay bullying, and it is something to brighten a kid’s day. That may not be the greatest solution of all, but it’s something. There’s no one solution that is going to keep kids from killing themselves; we should be providing a multitude of them.

Another problem with this “it’s not enough, it doesn’t give concrete solutions” criticism is that it ignores one of the few truly magical experiences of teenagerdom, and that is the ability to dream big, so to speak. Not every solution to the problems that bullied teenagers face is something that is concrete. Indeed, tangible solutions must exist; these are without a doubt the most important part of the solution. But what, pray tell, is wrong with encouraging kids to imagine a better future for themselves, one that they may not have thought possible before? Rather than merely giving them something in the distant future to hold onto, It Gets Better can give kids something to help them get through the torment they experience everyday: hope.

I know, hope is a concept that we, as adults, can’t necessarily do anything constructive with (some might say the Obama campaign is a great example of that). But then, since when are we in any place to say what should and shouldn’t, or what does and doesn’t, work for kids? Kids don’t necessarily want to hear our strategies for them, which is a normal part of a teenager’s developmental process. We need to support them in their struggle for their own agency, and part of that solution is giving them many different types of support. I’ve heard lots of feedback from angry adults about the It Gets Better project. But what about the kids? On the whole, are queer teenagers angry about this video? Instead of writing manifestos about how terrible this project is, why not use our blogs as a vehicle to give teens a chance to respond to the video in whatever way they feel works best? Let the kids hash this one out. They’re the ones with something at stake here, not us.

If I had stayed in my rural, religious community, I don’t know that I would have made it with my identity intact. What saved my life (honestly, I’m not even sure if that’s literal or figurative) was getting the hell out of it. I was lucky in that I spent most of my time as a child in the nearest city to me, so I had an inkling that there was a better world out there, even if what I saw every day wasn’t quite what I wanted or needed. That said, I can’t extricate my queer identity from any other aspect of my sense of self. I have gloriously complicated feelings about Mississippi, and I like that just the way it is. I would never discount how difficult it was to grow up with fundamentalist Christianity being shoved down my throat from many angles, and I will never forget how wonderful it felt to run for what felt like miles and miles with only easily climbed barbed wire fences in my way. Whenever I meet other Mississippi ex-pats (or folks from Alabama, or folks from Georgia, or folks from Tennessee, and so on), regardless of our sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, a shared experience seems to be this: it is possible to have a genuine love for a place that may not entirely love you back. As I’m writing this, I know that there are multitudes of rural, religiously indoctrinated kids who feel that pull and tug. I have faith that they are more than capable of working it out for themselves.

There  is no universal experience for growing up queer. As evidenced by much of the response to the It Gets Better project, there’s a pretty vast spectrum of differences. Part of embracing those differences means offering a wide variety of sources of confidence, support and comfort to the kids who are struggling. But please, let’s not discount the fact that what repulses one kid may validate the experiences of another. As far as I can tell, the It Gets Better project means something to some queer kids out there. That, my friends, is worth a great deal.

Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Faith, Hope & Trick”

September 16, 2010

Today I’ll be covering “Faith, Hope & Trick”, the monumental episode that introduced the world to a certain spunky hoodrat slayer from Southie.  Those of you who like to ooh and aah over the particularly trashy elements of Faith’s wardrobe will be quite pleased. Brace yourselves!

The results for “Prophecy Girl” are no huge surprise. Buffy’s white dress was a resounding success, with 63% of the vote. Giles and Angel (really, people?) were a distant second and third with 14% and 9%, respectively. On the other hand, you ridiculed Cordelia’s pink vagina pants over and over again in the comments, and declared her a massive fashion fail with 61% of the no votes. Angel and Willow were way behind her at 14% and 13%.

Onto season 3. The Scoobies are seniors now, and they’re gonna rule the school. More specifically, they are going to leave campus during lunch. They’re going to go all the way across the street. It’s really intense. Willow is freaking out about it, teetering back and forth on the steps. Oz has already had this privilege for a year, so he’s over it. Willow looks pretty cute from the waist down, I have to say, with her orange pants and her Adidases (This girl has quite a sneaker collection; I wish she’d discuss her sneaker fetish a little more often). Oz’s shoes are pretty nice, too. I had those in high school. Let’s put one more check mark in the “Oz dressed like a Riot Grrrl” column, shall we?

Eventually Oz, Cordelia and Xander literally drag Upstanding Citizen Willow off of the steps so that they can have a picnic with poor, expelled Buffy. As you can see, Willow is wearing a blue fuzzy sweater. It has a tiny bow at the neckline, sort of like the kind on girly pairs of panties. Xander is dressed like one of the Golden Girls’ suiters, with white sneakers, Miami cabana shirt and everything. I’m not sure what he was thinking here. Cordelia doesn’t look too bad; she sort of has a Michelle Obama thing going on. Wide bands of color interspersed with bands of black; sunglasses; sensible wristwear. I’m digging it. It’s a shame that her boyfriend is gonna ditch her after school to go listen to Sophia Petrillo tell “Picture it: Sicily, 19__” stories.

For being newly expelled and all, Buffy is dressed rather cheerily. Check it: the messy Palin hair is back!

Buffy’s all swoony over Scott Hope. Willow keeps raving to Buffy about “that thing you do with your mouth”, which I believe must be some sort of lesbian foreshadowing bit. Scott is wearing this polo shirt, which inspires zero feelings in me either way. Mostly, when I see Scott Hope I think, “hey, it’s that douchebag violin player from the US version of Queer As Folk.”

Later that night, Mr. Trick blows into Sunnydale, rips a cashier from the window of a fast food restaurant and eats him for din-din. Is that Gucci he’s wearing?

I have this thing where I hate TV show versions of dreams, because they’re always so ridiculously detailed. “Restless” is obviously an exception, because everything in that episode was so eerie and symbolic and genuinely dreamlike, but usually they just seem so cheesy to me. Case in point. Buffy’s dreaming about slow dancing with Angel. In her dream, Oz is wearing a Notre Dame shirt. What, did she get a catalog from them that day or something? Why on Earth would she dream this?

Anyways, due to Buffy’s guilt complex about how she had to kill Angel (and maybe about how she released the Angelus beast by having sex with him), she dreams about making Angel’s palm randomly start bleeding through his claddagh ring. Then she dreams that he has a stanky zombie face.

Buffy wakes up all traumatized-like and pulls her claddagh ring out of her drawer, just to make sure it’s all intact and whatnot. I wish I looked this good when I first sit up in bed in the morning. I guess the payoff is that instead of feeling horrible about killing my evil boyfriend, the first things I think about in the morning are peeing and feeding the cat.

When meeting with an authority figure to appeal an unfair punishment, one should always dress in a manner that is professional and no-nonsense. This is particularly important when the authority figure in question hates your freaking guts. Joyce understands this, and dresses for their reinstatement meeting accordingly. Buffy, on the other hand, looks like she does not give a shit.

I’m not sure what that print is. Cotton? Birds? Weird flowers? Penguins? The ruffles on the front are equally baffling. I am LOLing remembering that zig zag part trend. Anybody else remember that? It lasted for about six months. They sold these tools at Walgreens that assisted the user in making a many types of ugly parts: jagged lines, wavy lines, whatever. It was the successor to the Topsy Tail and the predecessor to the Bumpit.

Willow gets caught talking trash on Giles in the library, sort of. For some reason, once again I find myself not entirely hating what Willow is wearing. Maybe this is because I just slogged through the Willow Fashion Shit Show that is “Prophecy Girl” last week, but it’s very possible that she’s just not having a terrible week. Interestingly, she gay-foreshadows again with a beaded necklace that is really Pride-y.

I love season 3 Giles; he’s beginning his transition out of the super uptight Giles style into his business casual look of season 4 and beyond. Throughout most of season 3 he’s squarely on the border of these two fashion camps. The tweed isn’t so prominent, but it’s still there.

That evening, the Scoobies hit The Bronze. Before we officially meet Faith, we get a quick glance at her during an opening shot that pans the crowd. Fashionably speaking, it’s not looking good for our Faith.

Willow and Oz are making out on a couch, which is causing Buffy a bit of grief and misery. Understandably. I mean, who DOES that? It’s pretty obvious friend code that if you’re part of a couple, you don’t cuddle in front of your recently dumped friends. You sure as hell shouldn’t do it in front of your recently-traumatized-because-of-being-forced-to-murder-your-boyfriend-because-he-went-evil-due-to-having-sex-with-you friend.

Oz is dressed like a dweeb. His clothes make him look like the kind of guy who would try to hang out with the stoners in the boiler room, but wasn’t quite cool enough to fit in. That’s especially damning because stoners like everybody. The funniest stoner would be like, “Did you tie dye one of your dad’s old shirts, dude? Whoa.” And then everybody would laugh and choke on weed smoke, and Oz would feel bad, and nobody would pass him the pipe. Once again, we’re witnessing an Epic Oz Fail from the costuming department. Willow is wearing exactly what this burnout version of Oz’s girlfriend would wear- a fuzzy sweater anorak. She bought it from a craftsperson at a Phish show who smelled strongly of sandalwood and ethically harvested the wool from the alpacas she cares for at her tiny leftist radical farming university in Vermont.

Here are your drinks, jerks. I bought them for you while you were making out.

Scott Hope is such a bore and a weirdo. Buffy just liked him because he liked her first. She’s trying, and it’s admirable. But in general, Buffy does not mesh well with men who are pretentious.

Across the room, Faith is disco dancing with a Greg Brady knockoff. This scene always makes me laugh; I like that in her first scene on the show, Eliza Dushku displays some impressive physical comedy skills. Now that I live in Boston, I have a different sort of affection for Faith. I like to imagine sitting across from her at night on the T as she hunts for vampires, getting off and on regularly to patrol the old slate-filled cemeteries and grab another lahg regulah from Dunkie’s. In this episode, Faith’s Beantown charm is on full display. But y’know, even though I arrived in Boston a full seven years after this episode was made, I’m not sure that anyone from South Boston would ever wear anything that she’s wearing.

Let’s start with the pants, since they stick out the most. I mean, you DO think they stick out the most, don’t you? They are shinier than Cordelia’s legendary vagina pants. They are patterned. They are wildly colored. They appear to be made of a synthetic material, perhaps vinyl. Were the pants not glaringly horrifying enough, she is wearing a sleeveless shirt with one of those trashy boobie cutouts- and dangling from the top of the cutout, there is bobble trim. If you don’t know what bobble trim is, you should Google it. When people want their Halloween costume to be “racist caricature of a Mexican man”, they buy yards of this stuff to trim their clothing. Bobble trim is the kind of thing that looks cute on the edges of blankets and baby clothes. It’s not something that a young, hip woman typically wants to gussy up her cleavage with. Were the bobbled boobies not heinous enough, she accessorizes this mess with arm warmers. Really, Faith? Really?

Xander seems amused by the situation. He’s looking pretty casual cool here. Cordelia, perm notwithstanding, looks dynamite in a short red dress, accessorized with a withering glare that’s focused in Faith’s general direction.

Here is where things get hilarious. Due to the ridiculous dance moves she’s witnessing on the dance floor, Buffy is moved to take action, to rescue the presumed damsel in distress from a vampire. This is a nod to the scene in “Welcome To The Hellmouth” when, rather than using her Slayer Spidey Sense, Buffy relies on her fashion sense to root out a baddie that’s preying on Willow. The trouble is, Faith is much more of a fashion disaster than this guy. The vampire could very well have just been some ignorant high school kid who heard that vintage clothes were cool, so he grabbed the first thing he found on the clearance rack at Thrift Town. I’ve seen plenty of hipsters wearing this same type of shirt and doing this same type of dance, all in the name of ironic repurposing. If Buffy continues to rely on this supposed fashion sense of hers to spot vampires, hipsters will die. (You’ve all been warned. Burn your unicorn shirts and feathered headdresses now. Hurry.)

Outside, Buffy quickly realizes that Faith is the slayer who has been called to replace Kendra. Her dress is hideous. Upon second glance, I am icked out by Xander’s t-shirt selection. A mudflap girl? Really, Xander?

At school the next morning, Buffy wastes no time in dropping snarkitude after snarkitude upon the only girl in the world who can comprehend what her daily life is like. Way to go, Buffy. I wore my hair exactly like hers this morning, so I can’t complain about that. Her clothing choices are nothing special, but nothing too terrible. Giles’ pants don’t fit. Come on, Giles. You’re better than this. Faith is wearing leather pants and a less offensive version of Willow’s birthday cake shirt.

I don’t know what is wrong with me, exactly. Once again, I’m not totally hating Willow’s outfit. It’s what she would wear, anyway- sort of like, alternateen gone rave-y. She’s wearing the same white tights, orange sneakers combo that she wore in Band Candy. Xander doesn’t look bad, but his outfit is nothing to write home about. Typically Xander, no?

From the back, Cordelia looks extremely on point. The blouse, the pleated skirt, the Dawn Summers hair; it’s all very schoolgirl chic.

But then we peep her blouse from the front and there are all these pointless, unflattering darts sewn in, along with an odd Peter Pan collar. The darting makes me think that perhaps Cordelia bought this blouse in the maternity department by mistake.

Scott Hope, blah blah blah.

Mr. Trick is helping Kakistos plot his revenge against Faith. He is, of course, dressed impeccably. He eats the pizza delivery guy, which begs a question of Mr. Trick: what exactly is so delicious about young, male food service workers, anyway?

That night, Faith visits the Summers home for dinner. Faith covers up her crazy birthday cake shirt, which I find to be very respectful. Joyce is wearing paisley and a ribbed shirt.

Faith doesn’t abandon her leather pants, though. Buffy chooses to stake vamps in a more practical workout ensemble. Like night and day, those two.

The following morning, Buffy shoots the shit with Giles in the hallway. She appears to have raided her mother’s closet. Giles, on the other hand, looks downright natty. NATTY, I tell you.

Scott Hope alert! Scott tells Buffy, “I’ve given a lot of thought- some might say too much thought- to how I might be a part of your life.” Then he gives her a frigging ring. Ladies, when the guy you’ve been passively flirting with says some Sandra Bullock romantic comedy crap like this to you and then gives you a ring, RUN. Don’t think about it; just get away from him.

Because Scott gave her a claddagh ring that’s identical to the one that Angel gave her, Buffy freaks out a little. (Buffy, that’s not why you should be freaking out.) Instead of taking it as a hint that he might be acting like a total creep, Scott gets all passive aggressive on Buffy. From this point on, rather than being ambivalent about/bored by Scott Hope, I began to intensely hate him. Why? Because that’s how I roll.

At Faith’s fleabag motel room, the landlord drops by to collect her rent. He is exquisitely dressed and well-groomed, as you can see. Buffy comes by to rag on Faith, as we’ll soon learn is par for the course.

Attack! Mr. Trick directs vamp traffic in yet another designer suit. My goodness. On the other hand, he let the vampire in the right-hand corner wear THAT.

Finally, Faith is wearing something that a Southie girl circa 1999 would weah to the bah. It’s hideous, but it’s believable. I mean, check out all the front pockets on those mom jeans. Yowza.

Faith stakes Kakistos with a two-by-four (but not a five-by-five), and on the following morning some of the Scoobies gather to discuss the night’s events. Buffy has taken a paisley cue from her mother. Somehow, I don’t hate it. I think I’m probably really wrong for that. Willow perfects her trifecta of impeccable lesbian foreshadowing with this outfit. Giles is Gilesy and you love it.

For some reason, Buffy feels compelled to apologize to Scott Hope. That’s gross. Look, Scott also has weird front pockets! Hey, maybe he and Faith should hook up.

But it’s not like it matters, because there’s a new-old guy in town, and he’s naked. We can see his ass and everything- or, as Faith the Bostonian would call it, his “bum.”

Vote below, all ye BFR faithful!

Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Prophecy Girl”

September 9, 2010

It’s a great day here at The Bitter Buffalo when I randomly draw an episode where costuming is a key part of the plot, character development and/or theme. “Prophecy Girl”, as you are probably well aware, contains all three elements. Yippee!

Before we get started, I want to offer all of you Buffy Fashion Roulette fans a huge apology. It’s been a really long time since I’ve written a fashion recap, and for that I am truly sorry. The end of my summer got a little hectic; I worked a lot, moved from one apartment to another, and traveled more than I had initially anticipated. Now I’m back to my full-time work, full-time school schedule, and hopefully I’ll be churning these out with some regularity. My goal for the semester is to have a scheduled day of the week for new write-ups (articles? blog entries? What do I call these things?) to debut. We’ll see.

The results for “Band Candy” were pretty decisive. Giles garnered a full 33% of the vote for being a sexy punk. Oh, that Ripper.

Mr. Trick got about half the amount of votes that Giles did, which was very deserved. Hopefully we’ll see him placing in future episodes. Buffy garnered a few less votes than Mr. Trick, putting her in third place.

Guess who Worst Dressed was? Seriously, you’ll never guess! Okay, you will. It was Willow!

She got a full 41% of the vote, which is pretty overwhelming. Her closest contenders were Angel at 13.5%- all because he did Tai Chi in suit pants (God, I love you guys)- and Joyce and her weird feathered coat with exactly one vote less than Angel.

We start the show with a classic teen show/film setup: a boy practices asking out the girl he secretly loves to the girl who secretly loves him, and for a split second the viewer thinks he’s actually professing his love to the mousy best friend who pines away for him, rather than practicing for the previously assumed object of his affections. Alas, we’re wrong. Poor Test Run Willow. Xander is wearing a ribbed terry cloth polo shirt. Let us never speak of it again. Willow is wearing a frumpy sweater and a weird necklace. She took about five minutes to dress herself and an hour to brush her shiny, shiny hair. (Shades of Dawn Summers?) Meanwhile, Buffy is doing battle with a vamp as Cordelia and her boyfriend are necking in a car nearby. Strangely, her jacket laces up. I dunno about this one, both fashion and functionality-wise. It seems like an accidental slayer strangulation disaster waiting to happen. This is one of my mostest absolutest favorite scenes in the show’s history, and probably my favorite of all in the first season. I love the way the slow motion makes it looks like a well-executed dance, or perhaps like an episode of Wild Kingdom. The best part is when the vampire realizes who Buffy is, and she makes this smirk face. Imagine that moment of vampire realization: “Oh, shit. I’m up against a slayer who’s sporting a five-dollar acrylic ring from Claire’s Boutique.” Then boom, dead.

Across town Giles is studying in the library, which we learn has a glass ceiling. Sh’yeah, right. I know the ceiling turned out to be an important plot point, but I call bullshit. What public school would put “greenhouse-style library ceiling” in their construction budget? Is this really a thing? I did grow up in the impoverished Deep South and all, but really? I do like all the “breaking the glass ceiling” metaphors that were made when Buffy threw The Master through it, but I’m not sure I’m buying this set decision.

Giles, as you see, looks very dapper in a green and rust-colored sweater vest with a striped button-down beneath it. Hey, let’s deal with some The Master fashion, shall we? I really don’t get this outfit. We’re supposed to think he looks really old, but he’s dressed like he’s on Thursday night bear flogging duty at the local gay leather bar. Also, how does he rise out of the water in “Welcome To The Hellmouth” without ruining all that leather? Come to think of it: man, he must stink to the high heavens. Fruit punch mouth was the least of his worries. The Anointed One is, of course, wearing a truly adorable hoodie and jeans. What a cutie, that The Anointed One!

The next day at school, Giles has not changed his clothes from the night before. This is presumably due to being up all night at the li-berry studying the Buffy death prophecy and all.

Okay, here’s another problem I have. What high school has periodicals dating back to 1921? Unless they are Giles’ personal vampire periodicals that he had shipped from England, once again- I’m not buying it. (Are there any librarians who can either back me up or debunk my theories? I know y’all are out there.)

Buffy, Willow and Giles take a stroll through campus to drop some snappy dialogue on us. Xander looks alright, although I’m not sure who irons those perfect creases into his pants at night. Buffy is wearing very thick pantyhose. To me, that is the most noticeable element to this outfit. That, and the fact that they made her wear Shih-Tzu hair. Fun fact: I had those same Jackie O-style plastic sunglasses in 11th grade. Buffy is definitely rocking the Riot Grrrl sunglasses in this scene.

But then, of course, there’s what Willow is wearing. It’s not the pants that are bothering me, nor is it the hair. It’s that awful, horrible sweater. It’s the strange, almost boxy fit, one that sweaters rarely create. It’s the headache-inducing pattern of wavy lines. It’s, for the love of all things unholy, the bell sleeves. Who, I ask, can rescue us from this fashion nightmare?

Could it be Ms. Jenny Calendar, who is posing sexily in the doorway even though the object of her affections hasn’t bathed in at least a day?

Despite the fact that she looks really great in this distant shot, the closeup reveals, well, a borderline disaster. The hair is incredibly dated, and the top is flat out weird. Who ever wore tops like this, other than upper crust grandmothers on Christmas? To make matters worse, I can’t figure out what the top IS, exactly. Is it a blouse? Is it a jacket? Is it a fancy t-shirt with a collar? I wish her creepy uncle would drop in and chastise her for wearing this thing. (Unrelated: every time I see one of the episodes with her uncle in it, I blurt out, “GET OFF MY TRAAAAAIN!” Every time.)

Perhaps Cordelia can rescue us.

Nope. Her leopard-print-purse-to-match-her-leopard-print-pants is one of those plastic atrocities that Macy’s gives you when you buy $30 worth of Lancome/Clinique/MAC/whatever products. Yuck.

Just so we’re clear on how horrific Willow’s shirt is, here’s a shot of her looking pensive in the sunlight. She looks like an extra in a bad movie about Woodstock.

Once again, Angel is dressed like a douchebag. Here you can see that he looks like one of those Jersey Shore guys. Not The Situation; he looks like that guy with the flat top. (I don’t know. I don’t watch that show. I only know who The Situation and Snooki are, since they’re the breakout stars or whatever.) Except, you know, he’s not tan and all, cos it would kill him. (Skin cancer metaphor!!)

Buffy mad. Buffy yell. Buffy cry! Buffy smart to wear waterproof makeup. (Oh man, I can’t WAIT to get to “Beer Bad”).

Wow. The library got wicked messy during the earthquake. Giles should have cleaned that up by now. I know this because he’s still wearing those clothes, meaning that he hasn’t left the library. He is one dedicated Watcher, that Giles.

Xander would have probably snagged his Buffster by now if he’d just start wearing simple, dressed-down ensembles like this to school.

Joyce is being super sweet to Buffy in that naive, “I can’t possibly understand the breadth of your problems but I think I do” way. She’s wearing a jeans shirt. Remember in the 90’s when moms wore these all the time?

She bought Buffy this dress, which would become one of the more iconic outfits on the show. Let’s take a look at it while it’s still resting on its hanger.

One thing I’ve always liked about this dress is that, in antithesis to most of what we see on Buffy, it’s an extremely accurate costuming choice. It’s exactly the kind of dress that a high school girl would see in a shop window and lose their breath over. It has all of the key prom dress elements: sequins, satin and gauze. Like all classic prom gowns, it’s a glorified bridesmaid dress. That’s exactly what it should be.

The next day at school… you know, I kind of think Willow looks better than Cordelia does here. Willow at least has her cute “I’m Willow, and I’m a wacky dresser!” thing going for her. Cordelia looks straight up terrible. The shirt would be passable if she would button more than just, like, a button. The pants are obscene. They’re pink. They’re satin. They’re incredibly high-waisted, almost covering her navel- which we know because despite the extreme high-waisted-ness of the pants, her navel is exposed. Were all of that not bad enough, the visible zipper makes it look like she has a camel toe that extends all the way up to her belly button. Seriously. Look at the picture, look away, and then glance back without focusing. Look at what it looks like. It’s disgusting. Poor Charisma Carpenter.

That afternoon, Buffy tries on her dress. I don’t know if I like the general hang of the fabric in the front. I definitely don’t like the hair. It looks like what a pony would wear in the most important pony show of the year. But, whatevs. All of this is incidental. The dress has a bigger purpose ahead of itself.

Willow is really sad about her AV club friends being killed. She is in her pajamas, which are comfortable. That is all that matters, really. Buffy is wearing her badass leather jacket over the dress. Now THAT is what I call Fashion Foreshadowing.

Because I am feeling particularly sadistic today, here is a shot of Willow crying for your perusal.

Finally, Giles has taken a shower and changed his clothes. It’s pretty much the same thing he always wears during season 1.

Jenny is wearing a ribbed something-or-other. And, well, if you’ve been reading BFR for awhile, you know how I feel about that ribbed-everything trend from the mid-to-late 90’s.

To sum up my ribbed feelings, I make the face Jenny’s making whenever I see someone wearing a “vintage” ribbed t-shirt.

Buffy puches Giles’ lights out, grabs her crossbow and heads out to find The Anointed One. The gauzy flow of her skirt is made more apparent by the fake moonlight.

I can’t really see what Xander is wearing, but it appears to be rather autumnal. Giles is now accessorizing with an ice pack.

Buffy goes to Angel’s house, WHERE HE IS WEARING MY ABSOLUTE ANTI-FAVORITE JACKET OF ALL TIME. That’s right, bitches! The velvet is BACK!

Willow has returned to school in the same outfit she wore before, which is weird considering that at some point, she took her clothes off and changed into her pajamas. Why wouldn’t she just throw on jeans and a t-shirt? Jenny has on a long skirt, white socks and some of those clunky black shoes that were so popular back then. (Yeah, I had a pair. Don’t blame me; I just did it because the members of Sleater-Kinney did it first.)

Then, the “Thriller” video.

And then there’s this vampire, who I’m having trouble believing is a vampire and not a zombie. Since when do vampires wear hats that likely, upon further inspection, have “World’s Greatest Grandpa” emblazoned across them?

Lots of dramatic cuts between scenes! Angel’s looking for Buffy! His velvet is reflected in the sewer lights!

It must be a chilly night in Sunnydale, because all the vamps have on long sleeves. In the back there’s a Sunnydale High football player. The coat that the lady vampire in front is heinous. It’s almost as though she time traveled to the future and stole one of Willow’s pimp coats.

Buffy wakes up, and the exaggerated shadow between her sternum and clavicle (what is that called, medically knowledgeable folks?) makes it look like they had to cut a hole in her throat with a pen knife.

Cordelia saves the day with her Zipper Camel Toe. Errr, I mean her luxury sedan.

The Master is on the roof looking extra leather daddy-like. Just one question- how does someone who has been hiding out underground for centuries attain trendy seat belt-buckles, exactly?

No matter, because Buffy has woken up and is going to kill the shit out of his ass. I like her hair better this way. It’s unruly and messy and dirty and it does what it wants to.

Oh man, remember vinyl Vans? Anyone? Well, if you don’t, here’s a refresher, complete with encroaching creepy phallic demon limb. Not that you didn’t figure it out as soon as you saw the words “vinyl Vans”, but the shoes are Willow’s. (REALLY?!)

Buffy is all muddy now, and she walks with new purpose. Before, the slit in her dress was barely visible in most shots. Now her stride is big enough that it’s one of the most noticeable aspects of her dress. Here’s some leg for you.

I am pleased to see that Cordelia is biting the World’s Greatest Vamp-pa. Normally, I think I’d see some sort of “good fashion triumphs over bad fashion” metaphor here. But since Cordelia is wearing what may be the worst pants in the history of Buffy, I think I’ll let the metaphor fall by the wayside.

Buffy finds The Master on the roof. He scratched her cleavage, and he must pay.

Buffy saves the day, of course. Here’s a nice shot of everyone staring at The Master’s bones. I know we’re supposed to think Buffy’s the biggest hot mess, due to the sewage in her hair and all. But when thinking about fashion fails, all I can do is stare at Willow’s typically confusing outfit, Angel’s velvet dinner jacket and pointy collar combo, Jenny’s ribbed frumpitude, and the fact that Cordelia’s zipper is extremely prominent on a pair of pants that some might say is the same shade of pink as their vagina’s.

When it comes to Worst Dressed, this one’s a toss-up. Have at it, friends.

My Encounter With Glenn Beck’s Tea Partying Fans In DC: No Faith, Hope, or Charity To Be Found

August 30, 2010

On Friday and Saturday I traveled to Washington DC for a wedding. I hadn’t realized that Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor nonsense was happening until I got into the city, but once I learned of it I didn’t expect it to put much of a damper on my weekend. I haven’t encountered many tea partiers here in Boston, but I’m from rural Mississippi; I figured that a tea party rally would probably be a lot like a reunion of much of my extended family. They wouldn’t bother me; I wouldn’t bother them. I might gawk at some weird costumes, but I’d go on about my weekend. Basically, I figured, the weekend would be entertaining at best, and mildly irritating at worst. I didn’t bring a camera to document anything; I didn’t plan on taking any notes. I didn’t expect to interact with them; I definitely didn’t expect to be writing this as soon as I returned home to Boston.

Boy, was I ever wrong about all of that.

The wedding and reception I was in town for were on Friday, the day before Glenn Beck’s rally. My first clue that I wouldn’t have a nice experience with these tea party people was at the wedding reception, which took place on a nice lunch cruise on the Potomac. The ceremony had been beautiful and sweet and genuine, and as a result all of the wedding guests were in a wonderful mood. There were three other parties aboard with us: an elderly group from a nursing home, a group of young, mostly African American folks celebrating a birthday, and some really angry-looking tea partiers wearing flag shirts and carrying homemade flag-print quilted bags.

Unlike the other parties, which took place in the main dining area of the boat, our reception took place in a private room with a closed door. The bathroom was on the other side of the boat, beyond the other groups on board. Every time I got up to use the ladies room I had to pass through the other groups. The members of the birthday party group were having fun and dancing to the band; even the elderly nursing home people were having somewhat of a good time. The tea partiers, however, were just sitting there scowling and looking miserable.

Despite the fact that our reception was in a room with a closed door, a few tea partiers kept opening the door to see what was going on, then walking right through so they could go onto our part of the deck. This happened about three times before the bride (yes, the BRIDE) had to get up and politely ask tea partiers to stop interrupting her wedding reception. One lady responded with, “Well, I just want to pass right through.” Who does that? I really want to understand the mentality of someone who thinks, ‘Well, I know this bride and groom are making heartfelt toasts and cutting their wedding cake on one of the most important days of their lives, but I really want to go on this deck instead of one of the other ones, and I don’t care if I’m walking through their photographs.”

Sadly, I can’t comprehend what this woman and her fellow tea partiers were thinking. No one from any of the other groups interrupted our party, leading me to believe that it wasn’t just an honest mistake made by people looking for the bathroom. To borrow one of Sarah Palin’s vague catchphrases, I was raised with what I believe to be “small town values”. Good manners go along with those values, as does a basic sense of respect for other people’s private moments. Perhaps these tea partiers we encountered have a different idea of what those sorts of values should embody, but it goes without saying that I was shocked by the boorish behavior they displayed. It’s interesting to me that they say they want the government to stay out of their business, but they have no problems barging  into two strangers’ wedding reception, of all things.

As soon as the boat cruise was over, the younger birthday party group asked the DJ to play Usher’s “OMG”. He did, and they rewarded his kind favor by getting up and dancing until the song was over. In contrast (response?), the tea partiers immediately ran off of the boat like it was slowly sinking into the river. Well, that’s one way to clear a room.

Many guests, myself included, stayed in DC until Saturday, the day of Glenn Beck’s rally. A group of us wedding guests decided that we wanted to head from our location west of Embassy Row into the center of the city, where we would split into groups based on what we felt like doing. I wanted to go to some of the Smithsonian museums, as did a couple of other people, and some folks wanted to gawk at tea partiers. We decided to take the Metro to the Smithsonian stop, get off there and go our separate ways.

Our transfer point to Smithsonian was Metro Center, where we encountered tea partiers en masse. Many of them were wearing shirts that parodied (ripped off?) Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama Hope poster; Obama’s face was replaced with George Washington’s. Other shirts went with a “Faith, Hope & Charity” theme, with Sam Adams’ face representing Faith and Ben Franklin’s representing Charity. Much like Sarah Palin’s weird catchphrases, the specific meaning and sentiment behind these shirts escaped me- how am I supposed to find faith in a long-dead Puritan Founding Father, exactly? (I also thought it was kind of sad that I didn’t see any original artwork on anyone’s clothing, only poorly designed statement shirts and ripoffs of other peoples’ art, but that’s another story for another day.)

Seeing as how these tea partiers idolize people who have been dead for more than two hundred years, it came as no surprise that they were utterly clueless about how to ride the Metro. They stood at the entry gates with shell shocked looks on their faces, no tickets in their hands. Once they got past the gates, they stood on both sides of the escalators on the way down to the platform. They stood shoulder to shoulder fifteen feet back from the platform, creating a huge traffic jam. They complained constantly about having to wait for trains, even though at that point the trains were still running regularly. Once the trains came, the tea partiers shoved their way onto the cars without waiting for others to get out first. Tea partiers’ arms and legs became constantly lodged in closing doors, causing one agitated non-tea partying woman to give a lecture on Metro safety to a man who tried to force the doors to stay open for him.

Every time the train stopped, they refused to move or to step out of the car to let other passengers on and off. Every time the train started moving again, most of them gleefully shouted and squealed like they were on a roller coaster at an amusement park. Many of the men carried boulder-sized backpacks on their backs, refusing to take them off despite the fact that we were packed into the car like sardines. I politely but firmly shouted things like, “Man with a backpack crushing my face! Please take it off and put it between your legs,” and, “It helps to step out of the train when people are getting on and off.” Rather than heeding my advice, most of the tea partiers called me rude.

After being poked in the face and neck by at least ten different flags that were dangerously sticking out of various tea partiers’ backpacks, I arrived at the Smithsonian ready for a respite from the throngs of Glenn Beck fans. The National Museum Of Natural History was my first stop, and for the most part it was gloriously free of tea partiers. Not surprisingly, the Human Origins exhibit was completely deserted.

Next door, the National Museum Of American History was a different story. It was packed to the gills with tea partiers. All of them appeared to be really excited to be there, even the ones who’d just stopped in to rest or to use the bathroom. The Presidential history exhibits were packed; the African-American history exhibits were relatively empty. One tea partier gave me an exceedingly angry glare as I exclaimed my glee at seeing Bill Clinton’s saxophone on display; another vocalized her disdain in the Hall of Musical Instruments, an exhibit of 300-year old classical instruments, upon realizing that none of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars were anywhere to be found. Downstairs in the gift shop I found myself observing a couple whose Southern accent specifically mirrored my own, leading me to believe that they must have been from somewhere near my Mississippi hometown. I watched them thumb through various cheesy reproductions of American historical documents, choosing which ones they wanted to take home with them. They grabbed the Declaration of Independence and the Bill Of Rights, but decided against purchasing the Emancipation Proclamation.

My friends and I exited the museum right as Al Sharpton’s Reclaim The Dream rally marched by. The energy and message were more positive than anything else we’d encountered all day, so we joined the march. We hadn’t gotten more than fifty feet before we encountered a group of tea partiers holding signs and aggressively heckling the marchers, shouting, “USA! USA!” and angrily pointing their fingers. The marchers’ response was pretty much the obvious, unoffensive (and most positive) one; they simply chanted “USA! USA!” right back. This was the first exchange that I’d witnessed between the two camps of demonstrators. The attack seemed to be unprovoked; there was one man carrying a flag that said “African” on it, and perhaps the offensive tea partiers were commenting on that. But no matter what their motivation was, the end result is the same- there’s no way that it wasn’t a racist, immature incident of aggression.

As the march wound its way onto the mall, one Sarah Palin button-covered female bystander with a small child in tow made a point of telling the marchers, ‘Martin Luther King would be ashamed of this.’ The “this” in question, of course, was the predominantly African-American march.  Wow.

By this point I was pretty angry, of course, and since I had to catch a flight in a few hours I decided to head back to the apartment where I was staying so that I could grab my backpack and head to Dulles. I wanted to be sure and give myself plenty of time, so I decided to give myself four hours to get from the apartment to Dulles. Thanks to the tea partiers, I almost didn’t make my flight. The Smithsonian stop was exit-only due to the massive amounts of people taking the Metro, so we had to blindly book it for a few blocks to L’Enfant Plaza (or, as we heard one tea partier call it, “Le Infant”). The sidewalk was completely clogged with tea partiers who’d decided to sit down and take a rest where everyone else needed to walk. I passed one guy in a shirt with a Bible on it who was taking a nap right in the middle of the sidewalk, his legs splayed out almost to the street as he snored loudly.

Once we got to the station, it was packed to the gills with confused, angry tea partiers. Most of them were going back to their hotels for the day, and many of them had gigantic flag-decorated lawn chairs strapped to their backs. Other passengers were getting smacked around left and right by these chairs, which their owners refused to take off their backs, even after boarding the train. Tea partiers waiting to take the blue line refused to step aside for people who were attempting to board the orange line (they use the same track), and vice versa. It was a mess. While I’d seen locals patiently giving directions and attempting to be helpful all morning long, by the afternoon the city’s dwellers seemed to be ready to be free of tea partiers.

We finally made it back to the apartment and back to the Metro again, and encountered yet another station full of clueless tea partiers. We disembarked from the train at Rosslyn, planning to take the 5A bus to Dulles like we had on the way there, and I figured that finally, FINALLY, I was free of tea partiers. Unfortunately, once we walked out to the bus stop there were at least thirty tea partiers there waiting for the same bus we were, the one that only comes once an hour on weekends. All around me complaints were being made about the slow time between buses. One man offered me a conspiracy theory that the reason the buses weren’t coming very often was because “they [the city? The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority?] don’t like us,” an assumption that the infrequency of bus arrivals was some sort of anomaly reserved only for weekends when the tea partiers are in town. Somehow he missed the fact that the bus schedule is set in stone, and that any late arrivals were probably due to the fact that a lot of people were attempting to ride the bus that weekend, specifically ones that seemed to be pretty ignorant about how to efficiently utilize public transportation.

Once the bus came, a mad dash of tea partiers pushed and shoved their way to the doors. The same man who’d theorized that there was a conspiracy behind the late bus arrival was kind enough to allow us to board instead of him so that we wouldn’t miss our flight, which I genuinely appreciated (and still do). He did snap at a European guy who was unfortunate enough to choose this weekend to visit DC, which wasn’t so nice. But all in all, out of the hundreds (thousands?) of tea partiers I’d been in close contact with throughout the weekend, this one guy’s act of thoughtfulness was literally the only kind thing I’d seen any tea partier do all weekend long.

The doors closed right behind me. I had to ride the bus in front of the yellow line the entire way to Dulles, a 40-minute interstate ride. Passengers who could have moved a little further back didn’t. As I held onto the doors’ handles and hoped that they wouldn’t fly open, I listened to countless tea partiers alternately complain about their bus ride and rhapsodize about what a “gripping” speech Glenn Beck had given. I’d certainly been on more crowded buses before, but I’d never been forced to ride in a way that was so blatantly unsafe. I kept looking back to see if people had started to descend to the rear a bit, but no one had. I made eye contact with one guy who asked me to tell the driver to turn on the air conditioner. “Seriously, tell him to turn it on! There’s nothin’ comin’ outta these vents!” I slowly turned my head around, acting like I hadn’t heard him.

The irony was not lost on me. A bunch of people who are against socialism were riding on the public transit system, which was hypocritical enough. In fact, they even fought their way onto the bus, meaning that people who perhaps regularly use and advocate for public transportation got left behind at the bus stop, essentially missing their flights. To top it all off, once the tea partiers were on the bus they constantly complained about the riding conditions, even though it’s voices like theirs that restrict funding for public transit, meaning that they are a big part of the reason that mediocre conditions on public transportation in the first place.

For the entire flight home I was surrounded by tea partiers watching Glenn Beck on their seat back TVs. I was starting to feel like I’d never escape these people, like they were following me home. Although I’ve traveled back and forth from Tennessee and Mississippi to Boston many times, I found myself having my first experience of yearning for my happy, shiny liberal enclave of a neighborhood. I was tired of hearing people complaining about the types of things that I deal with every day, of waiting in line behind people who jumped in said line before learning how to do whatever it is they were lining up to do, of hearing people speak about a man (Glenn Beck) as though he’s something greater than human, of avoiding being proselytized to and, perhaps worst of all, of realizing over and over again that I was succumbing to the same level of bitching and moaning that the Glenn Beck faithful around me were.

What I leaned this weekend is that it’s really easy for people to be morally and politically opposed to something that they don’t encounter on a regular basis: city mentality, public transportation, arts funding, black people advocating for their civil rights, whatever. To most of us, all of these things are pretty mundane. They’re a part of our everyday lives. But for tea partiers, our reality is something exotic and dangerous. What is interesting to me is that this weekend, once they encountered everything that they’re supposedly against, they were more than happy to experience it. These people who advocate for arts and museum funding to be chopped had a great time taking advantage of the free admission to the Smithsonian museum, happily snapping photos of Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers and Abraham Lincoln’s death mask. It’s a lot cheaper to take a six dollar public transit bus to Dulles than to spring for a fifty dollar cab ride, so the tea partiers made a point of cramming their way onto the bus first, even though they want to cut the same taxes that pay for the inexpensive bus to exist.

Unfortunately, I doubt that these people’s big city experience will be much of a game changer. Sure, most people allow their life experiences to shape their lives. But most people aren’t as blatantly selfish, as angry, as wildly unfocused as the vast majority of tea partiers I encountered this weekend are. It is easy for the rest of us to see the disconnects between the tea partiers’ political stances and their actions of convenience. Tea partiers choose to pretend to live in an unrealistically black and white world, one that the rest of us know cannot possibly exist. Theirs is a mentality that is literally childish by nature, one that most children grow out of once they step out into the real world.

I’m not the kind of person to snark on these people’s body types, class, level of education, home regions, level of fitness, intelligence, or any of the myriad of surface issues that I’ve seen various blogs poke fun at since Saturday. Overall, these are non-issues. However, I know hypocrisy when I see it, and these tea partiers had it in spades. Theirs is a movement that will never last, one that is made up of a bunch of people who each think that he or she should come first and that everyone else should line up behind them. It’s not merely that this isn’t a compelling enough philosophy to be sustainable. The tea partiers are too selfish to work as a group, too wildly unfocused to effect any real change, and too hypocritical to be accountable for anything. The biggest danger that the tea partiers pose is to each other.

Don’t worry, folks. If we ignore them, eventually they won’t merely go away; they’ll eat each other alive.

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