Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Wild At Heart”
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!