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Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Wild At Heart”

August 2, 2010

OMG WTF you guys, you will not believe how relieved I was to randomly select a season 4 episode today, “Wild At Heart”. Am I the only person who feels like watching seasons 1-3 feels like some kind of an epic time warp into Ye Ancient Times, while seasons 4-7 feel relatively modern? I have no idea what that is all about; maybe the production values were higher in later seasons. Anyway, here we are. I’m diggin’ it. We have a rare Oz-centric episode to dissect, which means there will be a plethora of band shirts to discuss. Yeah!

You may remember that last week I tore into the very first Buffy episode ever, “Welcome To The Hellmouth.” Awww! Buffy ran away with that ish, capturing 28% of the vote. Her nearest competitors were Willow (awww, you guys!!) with 22.3% and Darla with 21.7%.

The worst dressed competish was SO TIGHT! (This has been happening a lot lately.) One vote separated the two highest anti-vote getters, Cordelia (she wore puke pants) and Angel (he wore cheap velvet). In the end, Angel edged Cordelia 26.6% to 26%.

Angel with the anti-win, folks. Look at that mess.

We open “Wild At Heart” with a particularly punny slay session for our Buffy. She’s dressed practically. Or, rather, her stunt double is. Apologies as usual for the pitiful state of the best photo I could get; capturing fight scenes is an experiment in deciphering abstract blurry images.

Just as I was rejoicing in how particularly pun-filled her banter was, she references it. Dammit. That means it was intentional. Anyway, here’s her hair. It’s eh. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I doubt that a college freshman would wear that today.

Only one supervillain is worthy of observing a super-pun-alicious Buffy slay. That supervillian is Spike.

But then, not so badass after all, Spike! Zzzzzap! Oh, look at what he’s wearing. Unmatched blacks and that giant-ass belt buckle. It’s so unique to what he always wears. (I was being sarcastic there.) Speaking of which, God, I hate that belt buckle! It’s not even a cool belt buckle with like a whiskey bottle on it or something. I have a super great Jack Daniels belt buckle that I’d be happy to let him borrow, although methinks he prefers the whiskeys of the Irish variety. Anyways, here he is all laid out from the electrical shockings.

MeanwhileattheBronze. Buffy is wearing one of those annoying late-90’s (can we say ‘late-century’ now?) shirts that is constructed from a piece of cloth in the front and some strings in the back. Those tops always worried me. A couple of drinks, one errant bathroom lock or coat hook and bam! You’re topless at the bar. Let that be a warning to you, Buffy.

Willow’s sweater is less Willow Sweater, more Regular Sweater. Oz is wearing some stupid t-shirt with kanji characters on it that probably don’t mean anything to him but look hella cool, dude! He’s also wearing a weird studded bracelet, the kind that teenage posers typically wore during the end of the Clinton era. This is odd to me, because I thought Oz was supposed to be an awesome hipster that all the cool kids liked.

Buffy has a terrible headband on but her hair looks pretty spectacular.

Xander comes out smelling the least rose-like. There are many layers here, at least three, maybe four. Keep in mind, it’s so warm in The Bronze that Buffy is wearing a glorified handkerchief for a top. What is most odious about this look, however, is the fact that one of his many layers is ruffly. My goodness! Fortunately, Giles comes by to straighten Xander out fashion-wise and, well, to inspire feelings of pity in the Scoobs. I thought this was funny when I was twenty. Now I think, look at yourselves, fools. Look at you with your faux-punk bracelet and your fuzzy sweater and your hanky shirt and your fluffy ruffles. Who’s laughing in 2010? Who? Giles, that’s who. Giles and his talk about ‘gigs’.

In fairness, Oz did reference the time that he found The Velvet Underground’s Loaded in Giles’ record collection. THAT is cool.

Now, Veruca. Back in the day I remember thinking, “Why would anyone believe that this chick was the hottest, coolest band girl in town?” She had weird fashion, her band was pretty dang terrible, and she dressed in a manner that can only be described as “uncool.” I can only assume that she was sending off some magical primal werewolf vibes. Of course, some of it could come from the fact that she has sex with her microphone while she sings.

She doesn’t dress like a rock star. She dresses like a substitute teacher who couldn’t wait to get that last kid on the bus so she could hit the bar for the entire happy hour.

I am going to say it now, there is nothing cuter than two redheads waking up next to each other. But how come Oz doesn’t have to wear a shirt and Willow does? Stupid censors.

Buffy gets a good grade on her paper, but not on her fashion sensibilities. The floral bandana, while very popular among the Claire’s Boutique crowd ten years ago, looks hilariously awful now. Professor Walsh looks alright, I guess. It’s one of those outfits that confirms to me that she should have just come out of the closet. It would explain why Willow was so obsessed with her.

Willow comes along in her “crazy birthday cake” shirt. There’s more on that to come, but right now I’m digging her eye makeup. Good job, Willow.

Oz comes up to Veruca at a table, and she’s wearing a black scoopneck thing. It’s no “crazy birthday cake” shirt. Also, she appears to be eating a veggie burger, which is weird since she’s a werewolf and eats people at night.

Due to excessive sunlight reflecting off of Oz’s shirt, I cannot tell whose face is on it. I think it’s either Ziggy Stardust or Beethoven.

He and Veruca participate in some seriously contrived conversation about amps. I mean, seriously. It’s clearly straight up recitation of lines that meant nothing to either actor. But the super cool band people amp talk is ruined, RUINED, when old Willow comes up and shatters their good conversation by trying to be friendly and stuff.

Let’s get a good look at Willow’s entire outfit, shall we?

Alright. We’ve got that shirt, a long denim skirt, olive socks and what appears to be a pair of sneakers made to look like hiking boots. What the hell, Willow. If you wanna keep your man, you’ve got to stop dressing this way. Dress more like Veruca. You wanna look less “crazy birthday cake”, more “lonely alcoholic twenty-something with no direction in life.” THAT, my dear, is how you keep a man.

Then Veruca says, “good shirt” to Willow. Except that she doesn’t actually mean it, it’s totally a backhanded compliment intended to make Willow feel like shit. Which she does. Then Willow famously asks Buffy why she didn’t tell her she looked like “a crazy birthday cake” in that shirt, to which Buffy replies, “I thought that was the point?” This too may be a backhanded compliment, but it’s one that is completely supportive of Willow and her fuzzy sweater-ed ways.

Willow is sad.

Then WereOz and WereVeruca attack Professor Walsh in her ugly suit jacket but she’s lucky and doesn’t get eaten because they end up hittin’ it instead. She needs to call Antoine Dodson to find these wild dogs.

I think it’s wicked funny that unlike Oz, Veruca has long, luxurious fur (hair?) when she’s a werewolf, presumably because she’s a weregirl. Do Oz and Veruca have werestylists? Werebarbers?

The next morning Oz and Veruca wake up nekkid and head down to a laundry room in a dorm to steal some clothes. Oz goes for a strange golfer hippie look, but Veruca can’t settle on anything beyond underwear because, as she puts it, “the kids in this dorm need fashion 101 in a big way.” You’re tellin’ me, weregirlfriend.

Professor Walsh and Riley are fuh-REAKING OUT about the “wild dogs” that attacked the Prof last night. How does Professor Walsh get her sweater to just hang over her shoulders like that without falling off? It’s weird. Riley has that bad early 90’s skater haircut and, you know, TA clothes. Whatevs.

Look at how cool Buffy’s hair looks? I don’t know why, but for some reason I like it. I know that is probably the wrong opinion to take on it.

Willow comes over to be all sexy and seduce Oz, who’s still wearing that weird outfit. Willow’s outfit is weird, too. Where did she get those leather pants? I’m not even sure what shade of green that is. The top is even weirder and, shock of all shocks, does not match the pants at all. Oh, Willow! You’re much more seductive in weird t-shirts and fuzzy sweaters.

Also, random Greg Ginn poster, Oz.

Giles is in his jammies and Buffy’s wearing something that looks like it’s from… oh ok, I’m just gonna say it. It looks like it’s from Talbot’s. It may definitely be from Talbot’s. There, I said it. (Oh, SNAP.)

Willow comes over to talk to Xander about “Guyville”, which I’m pretty sure is an intentional Liz Phair reference. Fun! Xander’s wearing some chill-out clothes and it’s nothing too terrible. Man, basement living sure keeps the bottoms of his feet dirty.

Meanwhile, Oz is re-welding his cage. I like the whole goggles and welding tool look. It’s very steampunk. Oh yeah, and later? We see that he’s wearing a Clash shirt. Heck yes.

More Veruca in da club. This time she’s practicing, so she’s not humping the mic stand as much. Just so we’re clear, the woman who suggested fashion 101 for an entire dorm is wearing flares with studs down the side. And what are those, lucite heels? Yeesh.

There’s this whole sad Willow and Oz montage where we get a glimpse of Willow matching her purple eyeshadow with her purple fuzzy sweater set and beaded choker. That is sad in a different way.

Does Veruca have a tattoo of a dog bone on her back because she’s a werewolf?

Then Willow catches Oz and Veruca, and she’s so shattered and sad! Plus, Veruca is so mean to her! I hate when girls like Willow get picked on by girls like Veruca. Here she is right before she almost gets hit by a car. From the waist down, this outfit is downright cute, darn it. The top is a tie dyed mess a la Tara later in the season.

Buffy’s all, noooo! Willow’s gonna get hit! She is dressed like she’s going to a job interview.

And then Riley comes over and saves Willow and is like, “whatever it is, it’s not worth hurting yourself over.” This advice seems very sensible until one realizes that he won’t be heeding it in, oh, about a year or so.

Check out this stupid ass bongo drum-as-bedside-table setup that Oz has going on. Terrible. He’s wearing a Slash shirt and has seemingly replaced his Greg Ginn poster with a Widespread Panic poster. That’s another thing that drove me bonkers about this show- there was no continuity about bands. Why would someone who’s enough of a Black Flag fan to put a Greg Ginn solo album poster on his wall be a Widespread Panic fan? I remember one season (I think when they were still in high school?) where the whole school was plastered with String Cheese Incident stickers. Really? Buffy’s a burnout now? Uh, ok, set designers.

Anyways, Buffy is not amused by any of this and needs Oz to use his werewolf nose to find Veruca before sundown. Geez, how many leather coats and jackets does Buffy OWN?! Her dry cleaning bills must be astronomically high, not to mention her clothing allowance. Managing art galleries in Sunnydale must be a very profitable business for Joyce. Either that or Buffy’s really running up those brand new freshman year credit cards.

Veruca left behind THIS OUTFIT to throw Oz off the trail. It looks a lot like what Willow wore when she got all veiny and tried to end the world’s suffering by wiping out humanity. Huh.

Someone’s going to walk into the dorm kitchen to cook up some Top Ramen and be severely disturbed by this scene. Or wait, maybe it’s a science lab? Yeah, definitely a lab.

Veruca comes along to KILL WILLOW and does all kinds of funky shit with her neck.

I have no idea what all that neck agility was supposed to convey to the viewers. But whatevs, it doesn’t matter because seconds later she and Oz were-out, she tries to kill Willow, but Oz kills Veruca first. Somehow, I was much more saddened by the scene of Willow sobbing in the corner while Buffy comforts her.

Later Buffy heads over to Giles’ to tell him about the mysterious stealth military-looking person she literally ran into in the woods. The outfit’s a little sloppier than I’m used to seeing on Buffy.

Giles is cozy in a sweater.

Willow comes over to talk to Oz. I certainly hope that, had he not left town at the end of this episode, she was planning to break up with him. Her outfit is noticeably subdued.

But she can’t stop Oz, who has to drive off to find himself. I like this coat a lot. It feels like one of Oz’s few articles of clothing that actually conveys the sense of who the writers want us to believe he is.

And he’s off, driving away in his van, a van that is covered in conflicting band stickers.

True story: I wrote this whole thing while battling a really loud case of the hiccups. Vote below!

26 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 8:29 AM

    I totally thought Willow was cooking up magic in her dorm kitchen too! It makes me sad now to realize that she was in the science lab. I’d imagine that the UC Sunnydale kitchen would be well equipped for her magical needs.

    I remember cooking up some strange things in my dorm back in the day, and since it’s a UC Sunnydale dorm there’s bound to be a bunch of strange stuff laying about. I can see the shelves filled with beakers, and magic stuff for the demon exchange students, secret underground government agency freshman and the stoners. Jars of blood with “Angel” and “Spike” written across the top in sharpie marker in the fridge. Boxes of kittens in the cabinets. I doubt that a dorm room mini fridge just wouldn’t be able to fulfill a UC Sunnydale student’s needs, so the kitchen would be a great place for culinary hijinks to ensue.

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 2, 2010 3:55 PM

      Yeah, I’ve watched this episode at least 10 times, maybe more, and it’s only now that I’ve realized she’s in a science lab. Maybe they cook the meth in the dorm kitchen?

      You and your back stories! You’ve got a great blog topic there, too. Go for it!

      • August 2, 2010 8:00 PM

        Thanks so much! But to be honest with you I only come up with back stories after pondering some of the observations that you make on this blog (For instance, I’m also wondering where Oz learned to weld. Did he decide to take some votech classes when he failed to graduate?).

        If you wouldn’t mind I’d love to blog about the same episode you do each week, giving you full credit for being the inspiration for my uncorroborated observations of Sunnydale life. Because, seriously, just living in Sunnydale has got to be crazy entertaining.

      • msjacks permalink*
        August 2, 2010 8:51 PM

        Yeah, go for it! I’m fully behind this. Once you get it going, let me know and I’ll post it here.

  2. August 2, 2010 8:45 AM

    Oz wins with his band shirts imo !

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 2, 2010 3:56 PM

      Yeah, I love them too. Especially the rhyming-ness of Slash and The Clash. If we’re going by shirts alone, Oz has great taste in music so far!

  3. mfritter permalink
    August 2, 2010 9:36 AM

    Hi BB!

    The production values for Buffy were generally pretty poor as was the murky image quality — as your screen captures illustrate. I used to think it was the fault of the local WB affiliate (Denver), but the DVDs have most of the same problems.

    Perhaps these problems, coupled with the insane fashion choices, created a kind of alienation effect which intensified the drama: much as the humor offset and highlighted the moral urgency of the stories.

    There are numerous places where they do great things with light, btw.

    (Great site. Great work. Keep it up.)

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 2, 2010 3:58 PM

      Ah, thanks! You sound like you have expertise in this field. I always just look at it and think, “season one looks static-y! season two, a little less so! season three, much less so!”, etc. It seems to gradually “look” better, if that makes any sense.

  4. August 2, 2010 10:34 AM

    Please don’t post any more pictures of Willow being unhappy. I wake up and come here for some Buffy-related giggles and practically start weeping because you’ve got Willow’s Devastated Face in there.

    Also I KNOW RIGHT re: Buffy’s unending supply of jackets. In season six she wears, like, a different coat every episode (two different leather jackets in Once More With Feeling itself!), and I have no idea how she is funding this because the only one in the house who was earning any money at all was Joyce and she’s gone and Buffy isn’t at the Doublemeat Palace yet and WHERE IS IT ALL COMING FROM.

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 2, 2010 3:59 PM

      Arrghhh I kn0w! You’re so right! That bothered me SO MUCH in season 6, how they were so determined to keep the house, but nobody ever bothered to sell any of their clothes. Buffy goes to ask for a loan, but she doesn’t sell any of her 100 leather coats? Somebody call Hoarders!

      • mfritter permalink
        August 2, 2010 6:17 PM

        No special expertise. I’m just a nerd.

        Part of the grainy video quality thing could have been a totally limited budget. Maybe Whedon learning how to direct too. BTW, I’ve always appreciated that fact that they don’t get the women all slutted up, with boob jobs and what-not. When they bought Cordelia back from the dead in a later season of Angel and had he all tits-out and cleavage-y, I felt like they’d violated some basic rule of taste. The shows were always weirdly chaste. Especially how much sex they started to have.

        I mean, the original Charlie’s Angles was much more soft-core.

  5. August 2, 2010 4:55 PM

    I always get stuck on how grody it is that Veruca just put on some random college girl’s undies in that scene in the laundry room. Didn’t her mother ever tell her not to share underwear? And can we talk about how awful her singing voice is?

    I feel the same way about seasons 1-3 vs. season 4-7. I get to season 4 and it’s like a whole new show. But it makes sense that it feels that way anyway since the show does change a lot, with the college thing and the Initiative storyline. That was such a weird place to go, but it worked. And all the characters evolve so much starting in that season, it’s such a thrill to see that start. /nerd

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 2, 2010 5:06 PM

      Maybe Veruca doesn’t care about the inherent grody-ness of OPP (other people’s panties) because she also eats people at night, three times a month. That’s the only thing I can come up with.

      In a way, I kind of wish I wasn’t doing seasons 1-3. For one thing, the disses are too easy and it’s not very challenging. There’s not a lot to root for. Then there’s the whole grainy film issue. But then again, I am all about doing things in a complete manner. And the episode I just drew for the next write-up, although later in the series, is a total doozy. So, eh.

  6. Lucy permalink
    August 2, 2010 11:52 PM

    This is definitely your most hilarious Roulette yet, I seriously couldn’t stop laughing.😀

    “she has sex with her microphone while she sings”
    “Willow is sad.” *pic*
    “You’re tellin’ me, weregirlfriend.”
    And the Veggie Burger comment.:)

    Oh, and I love Xander’s ruffles! They’re so cute! (I’m on a Nick Brendon high right now – this may result in bad fashion sense on my end…)

  7. Smeleanor permalink
    August 3, 2010 7:07 AM

    I’m sure I remember reading an interview with Joss or someone else from the show who said that they started using a different type of film from season 4 onwards which explains is better quality, I can’t remember the specific film types though.

    The leather trousers Willow wears always confused me, lots of fanfiction writers seem to like Willow in leather trousers too but I think I missed the memo where they are supposed to be sexy and not just bizarre. Also never noticed Oz’s chunky bracelet before but I think you’re spot on with the costumers misinterpreting his character quite a lot.

  8. Chromde permalink
    August 3, 2010 11:00 PM

    Another lovely update. The only other time I laughed for this episode was while listening to the commentary. (It is a sad, sad episode, after all.)

    I don’t know enough about bands to spot the wacky differences, but I can appreciate your points on the matter.

    Interesting point about the pile of clothes looking like Cruella D’Will’s outfit … I’m pretty sure that look is one Willow wore before going evil, but probably not in season four … but who knows. I mostly try to ignore the fashion when watching, because otherwise I devolve into shouting “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?!” at the screen.

    Smeleanor already said something similar, but in the commentary for Welcome to the Hellmouth (I’m pretty sure), Joss mentions that he had to use a lower-quality film for the earlier seasons, but season four he got to upgrade. Also, seasons 4-7 were from 1999-2003, so that could be where the more modern feel comes from as opposed to the “Hey! It’s The Nineties!” feel of the first three seasons.

    I voted Oz for best dressed, because he had a themed style and he stuck with it. It was something you could see a teenaged hipster wearing, even if it didn’t fit Oz exactly at points.

    For worst dressed, I wavered between Willow and Veruca, but since the episode pointed out Willow’s hideous style *and* she was sad during it, I voted Veruca. (Besides, I hate Veruca, with her stupid “sexy” headbobbing and making Willow sad.)

  9. August 6, 2010 7:33 PM

    i like so much buffy

  10. August 8, 2010 1:27 PM

    Ever since starting to follow along here, I’m looking at all of my favorites from the 90s in a new way. I’m loving the roulette aspect, too. I’m half tempted to do the same with Charmed (my guilty pleasure when it first began) but it was so easy to do when it was fresh that I feel like it would be shooting fish in a barrel now.:)

    Did you see that there’s a post at SyFy’s UK site on the fashion of Buffy season 1? I think they did one for season 2, also, and my first thought was of you.

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 9, 2010 1:26 AM

      Oh wow, I’d never seen that! It’s definitely way less obsessive than my blogs, which lends a whole new eye to it. Pretty awesome! Thanks for the link!

  11. August 22, 2010 11:17 AM

    verry interesting all about buffy, thanks for post buffy Pics.

  12. schneapoca permalink
    August 24, 2010 2:13 PM

    The Chinese characters on Oz’s t-shirt that he wore at the Bronze translate to “Big Change.” Most likely a reference to his status as a werewolf and a foreshadowing his departure from the show/Sunnydale.

    • msjacks permalink*
      August 24, 2010 5:14 PM

      Wow! Good insight, and thanks for the translation!

  13. John Roberts permalink
    September 22, 2010 6:34 PM

    OK that was much too funny to be written by a human. Tbe best Roulette yet!

    Thanks for your great work. Sorry to be unfunny myself. I am so very humbled.


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