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14 June 2006 @ 11:53 am
2.5 Reptile Boy  
Xander: I gotta keep an eye on Buffy. Those frat guys creep me.
Willow: You wanna protect her?
Xander: Mm-hmm.
Willow: And prove that you're just as good as those rich, snotty guys?
Xander: Mm-hmm.
Willow: Maybe catch an orgy?
Xander: If it's on early.


Prompts and questions are there to spark discussion. If they're useful or interesting to you, go ahead and respond to any aspect of them. But please feel free to bring up anything else that interests you, as long as it somehow relates to the episode under discussion.

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Reptile Boy
Writer: David Greenwalt
Director: David Greenwalt
Airdate: October 13, 1997



1. "There Will Be Drinking"
Tom: We're not all a bunch of drunken louts. Some of us are sober louts.
Alcohol, the great social lubricant, and the great scenario for being punshed like crazy on television shows featuring teenaged characters. How does this episode combine PSA (Public Service Announcement) aspects with supernatural/genre elements? Are we getting more or less of the PSA vibe than earlier episodes? How successful are the "messages" here, if at all?


2. Expansion of Sunnydale
Willow: Kent Preparatory School. Just outside of town. That's where I've seen these bracelets.
Crestwood College. Kent Prepatory School. Sunnydale Press, the local newspaper. As the series continues, and the little town of Sunnydale apparently expands, we hear more about places and institutions that provide a sense of place, lend some depth to the world of the characters, and perhaps expand the supposedly little town of Sunnydale a little too much. How helpful or effective are these details? Is it important for us to have a larger sense of Sunnydale? Do we keep track of these other places/institutions? Does the series?


3. Sex and Snakes
Buffy: I told one lie, I had one drink.
Giles: Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words 'let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture.

Buffy shifts her focus to model-handsome frat boys instead of 241-year-old Angel. Angel tries to push Buffy away for wanting normal-girl things like dates but also shows his intense obsession with her. The fraternity brothers chain up girls in their basements and advance on passed-out Buffy in the upstairs bedrooms. When girls do bad things, like lie and drink, giant demon snakes try to eat them. Sex. Snakes. Discuss.


4. Great Lines
Cordelia: Oh, Buffy, it's like we're sisters! With really different hair.
Often with episode discussions, we end up speaking about the ep's larger themes, broader season arcs, or even issues that recur in the course of the series. But episodes like "Reptile Boy" are notable especially for particular funny or poignant moments. What are some of your favorite exchanges, lines, jokes, or one-scene realizations from this episode?


Other Potential Topics: Cinematic or narrative tropes, like the near-misses of Buffy and Xander at the party; pop-culture references; Willow's briefly-mentioned jealousy of Cordelia; fun facts about vampires; gender, power, and horror
 
 
 
Spaced Out Looneyspacedoutlooney on June 14th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Hmm... the funny. The scene in the teaser when they are watching the indian show is great. Also, totally something my friends and I would do.

Cordy's in fine form throughout the episode. I love Buffy saying "I want to have fun" then cut to Cordy telling her "this isn't about fun, it's about duty" and the look on Buffy's face.

I really like Buffy's hair in this episode, as opposed to around Passion, when something funky happens.

Have you listened to the commentary? Of all the episodes in season 2 to get a commentary, this gets one while Passion and Becoming 1 and 2 don't. And David Greenwalt is clearly so much more excited about this episode than the majority of the fans are.

Angel: This isn't some fairy tale. When I kiss you, you don't wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after.
Buffy: No. When you kiss me I wanna die.


What does that mean?



your royal pie-ness: don't speak latin (mouthfullofdust)entrenous88 on June 14th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
I do love the watching of the Hindi movie, and how Willow understands that it's personal when the male lead touches the heroine's feet.

I have listened to the commentary -- just discovered it existed last night, actually! I was rewatching the ep and clicked on Special Features, and was astounded to realize that there was an accompanying commentary. David Greenwalt -- though he said a few things that were interesting, and he made some funny remarks -- on the whole seemed to think that he would have to introduce the characters, the series, and the concept, even as he acknowledged that only hard-core fans would listen to him talk. It was a little odd. I mean, really, how many times can we hear the "so he decided to make the blond girl the hero instead of the victim!" explanation of Joss's germ of the idea for the series, and react in an interested manner in response?

Good question about the exchange with Angel. I know that lots of people seem to have felt the line affected them or created a depth to the scene, because I've seen it talked about and quoted with brief references.

But to me the exchange happens rather abruptly, and doesn't seem to fit in with how attuned to and careful of Buffy Angel has seemed so far in the show. He seems suddenly aggressive and upset with her, prompted by not much of anything (after all, he seems to have been on vacation the week prior during the events of "Inca Mummy Girl").

As for Buffy's line, well. We could extrapolate and say that she's refusing Angel's characterization of her as a girl looking to be a princess in a fairy tale, by bluntly telling him that she associates him with death, a kind of ultimate put-down of his arrogance that she doesn't *get* that he's a demon and she's a human. Or, more intriguingly, we could consider that despite Buffy's anger in her response, is looking for/is attracted to some kind of death that Angel represents. It works with later reflections on the Slayers and death wishes, of course with the whole concept of orgasm as la petite mort, or just with common associations of eroticism and death.

But in some ways her reply the also smacks of "Hey, that sounds great!" dialogue, something that DG or JW thought was nifty and kept in because it gave a bit of a shock in its surprising image. The sort of line the writer falls in love with, and would be advised in most workshops to get rid of, in other words.

What do you think?
Third Mouse: fandomthirdblindmouse on June 15th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC)
I do love the watching of the Hindi movie, and how Willow understands that it's personal when the male lead touches the heroine's feet.

Willow really has a thing about feet, doesn't she? ;)

But in some ways her reply the also smacks of "Hey, that sounds great!" dialogue, something that DG or JW thought was nifty and kept in because it gave a bit of a shock in its surprising image. The sort of line the writer falls in love with, and would be advised in most workshops to get rid of, in other words.

Bingo!
your royal pie-ness: willow eagerentrenous88 on June 15th, 2006 11:48 am (UTC)
Willow really has a thing about feet, doesn't she? ;)
Heee, does she? I believe it, though I can't remember another instance off the top of my head.
Third Mousethirdblindmouse on June 16th, 2006 06:20 am (UTC)
The only other time I remember is when she mentions that bowling is sexy because of the rental shoes. Willow's a little bit odd (mmm s'mores, yes?).
your royal pie-ness: willow disbeliefentrenous88 on June 16th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
Heee! Yes, she is an odd duck.
Trepkostrepkos on June 14th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
When girls do bad things, like lie and drink, giant demon snakes try to eat them. Sex. Snakes. Discuss.

To me, this comes over as a piss-take of a PSA - I mean, how often do people who get drunk get eaten by a giant snake?
your royal pie-ness: dr. evil cupcakeentrenous88 on June 14th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that'd be the wacky metaphor thing combined with genre elements.
mazal_mazal_ on June 15th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)


I interpret the "I wanna die" remark as Buffy's assertion that kissing Angel is as good as it gets for her -- the zenith of her human experience on Earth. (I know I'm conflating it with a friend of mine's brief wish that at the end of a wonderful family vacation, they would all run off a cliff to perish immediately and painlessly; not long after her husband left her, and he is now seriously ill.)

This may be the first episode to bash societal institutions -- in this case the elite fraternity of the type from which future rich WASP male leaders of society emerge. We will see this again in Season Three with the craven principal and the demonic mayor, and in Season Four with the corrupt college professor and the black-ops military.

your royal pie-ness: XanderEntre (xmirax)entrenous88 on June 15th, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
This may be the first episode to bash societal institutions -- in this case the elite fraternity of the type from which future rich WASP male leaders of society emerge. We will see this again in Season Three with the craven principal and the demonic mayor, and in Season Four with the corrupt college professor and the black-ops military.

That's a great observation. It's interesting to tie-in this brief interaction with/disgust for the fraternity to the next instance of a fraternity we get to know -- the cover of the Initiative, Riley's fraternity. (I have never known of an instance of grad students joining frats, but, er, I'll let that one go.)

So certainly the Initiative is a parallel group in some ways, with particular kinds of privilege (perhaps in the form of technology, and certainly in organization/rank), but we could also play with Riley's fraternity offering a parallel view of a bunch of good-looking nice guys who turn out to be about something far more complicated and potentially sinister.

One thing that interested me with this frat was Xander's automatic dislike of them and of what they stood for -- wealth, social ease, privilege, but also bullying, a hierarchical system that left guys like him at the bottom of the totem pole. I'd have been curious to see the show pursue that more, especially given the class valences that are suggested in Xander's family/life.
Spaced Out Looneyspacedoutlooney on June 15th, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
I interpret the "I wanna die" remark as Buffy's assertion that kissing Angel is as good as it gets for her -- the zenith of her human experience on Earth. (I know I'm conflating it with a friend of mine's brief wish that at the end of a wonderful family vacation, they would all run off a cliff to perish immediately and painlessly; not long after her husband left her, and he is now seriously ill.)

Hmm. That's the first explanation that makes sense to me. I could see that. The only other thing I could think of was along the lines of entrenous88's discussion of deathwishes and such, but the only problem with that is that this is early yet in the series and Buffy is really not that self aware.
zandra_x on June 15th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
This episode is hard for me to watch because I’m such a Xander lover (Xanderite? Xanderian?) and I hate to see him mocked at the frat party.

What I do find fascinating, though, is the continuing benign attitude the characters have of Angel.

Willow: You two are so right for each other. Except for the, uh...

Buffy: Vampire thing.

Willow: That doesn't make him a bad person. Necessarily.

Well, yes, Willow, it does. A vampire is the quintessential bad person. Has Angel given the gang any reason to justify this abiding faith in him? Is his simply not biting anybody that they know of enough? He’s floated around, turning up on occasion when Buffy is in trouble; usually though he not a reliable, predictable friend-in-need (though I could see why ME wouldn’t want him there all the time; that would look too much like he was rescuing Buffy and take away from her story.). But he disappears when Buffy has to confront Spike, when it was Angel himself who confirms the danger Spike represents.

At this point the gang only has Angel’s version of his having a soul. I, for one, think Giles, at least, should be a little more wary.
Spaced Out Looneyspacedoutlooney on June 15th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
God, all the hazing stuff that Xander has to go through is just too embarrassing and painful for me. I guess it was supposed to be funny? Ptui.

I think Angel by this point has proven himself to be a good guy, though, as you point out, not at all reliable. At the very least, he saved Giles, Xander, and Willow in Out of Sight, Out of Mind. However, ITA about that Buffy/Willow exchange. Both girls romanticize Angel quite a bit, and Buffy's idea in particular of who Angel is sharply contrasts with the reality, which comes to a head in Innocence.
zandra_x on June 16th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's all about the romanticizing. After all, Buffy is only 16 and is desperate for that feeling of being normal and fitting in. She wants a boyfriend, damn it! Normal boys don't work out (Owen) so she sees Angel, despite his innate flaws, as The One.

I've always had a problem, though, with Giles accepting Angel so readily before Jenny's death and forgiving him so easily after Angelus killed her. That didn't make much sense to me.
Spaced Out Looneyspacedoutlooney on June 16th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of his attitude towards, outwardly at least, was largely for Buffy's sake.
your royal pie-ness: darla iconentrenous88 on June 16th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
This seems right to me too.

Also, it seems like part of the reason that the Scoobies trusted Angel comes from s1, when he did destroy Darla to save Buffy. So based on the bit the gang knows about vampires at that point, Angel made a large gesture of rejecting the menacing, soulless vampires in town (even if they didn't know exactly what Darla meant to him).
zandra_x on June 16th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
But Giles had access to the Watchers' books. He had certainly looked up and become familiar with Angelus, knowing that a vampire who survived as long as he had would have had to kill a lot of people to feed. Giles could have been much more forceful in sharing his knowedge with (a resistant) Buffy. (This is where a more intimate knowledge of the episodes would be useful. How much info was there on Angelus? I remember Giles talking about Angelus' disappearance from the records for 100 yrs or so.)

For me, Giles has some sort of personality quirk so that he needs to see Angel as a hero. Just as there's some unconscious thing going on inside Giles about Spike, who never harmed him personally and who helped the gang and whom Giles wants very much to kill. So, while Giles listens to his own commnon sense when Angel gets involved with W&H and refuses to have much to do with him, neither has he repeated expressed, repeatedly, a desire to plunge a stake into him as he had with Spike.
your royal pie-ness: Entre G/Xentrenous88 on June 16th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
Then it's a question about timing, because Giles didn't seem to go back, back to look up more details about Angelus until Angelus actually appeared later on in s2.

Do you mean he must have known those things prior to the Angelus arc? What would make us think that?

As for Giles's attitudes towards Spike or Angel, well, Angel did take part in saving Giles's life a number of times -- s1 with "Out of Sight", s2 "When She Was Bad", "The Dark Age" (since presumably Eghyon would have come after Giles after killing Bufy), just to name some off the top of my head. And i always thought part of the developments unfolding in "Amends" was Giles's grudging separation of the things Angel did versus the things Angelus did when he tries to help Buffy save Angel.

I don't know if there was/wasn't motive for Spike to take part in saving Giles at different points, but there wasn't as much opportunity. By the time Spike was with the gang and going on patrols occasionally, Giles had very nearly stopped that kind of participation. And hey, Giles lived with Spike, which seems to have been not super fun for him. In a way his threats to stake Spike always seemed to spring out of irritation, and to be similar to Buffy's pre-s6 threats to stake Spike -- comic frustration, rather than keen menace.
zandra_x on June 16th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
Well, in Angel...

Giles: There's mention some two hundred years ago in Ireland of, of
Angelus, the one with the angelic face.

I mean, if you're a Watcher and your Slayer came to you and said there's this really cute guy, but he's a vampire, that's ok, right? wouldn't you research the heck out of him?

And (sort of off-topic) as someone mentioned in an earlier ep comment, there's the moral question. If vampires are evil, then Angel should be staked. If he can be redeemed, can't all vampires be? What's the justification for killing them? This thought doesn't seem to enter Giles' adult head. He just thinks a Vamp/Slayer 'ship is poetic, in a maudlin sort of way.

(Man, I love episodic_buffy)
your royal pie-ness: angelus/xanderentrenous88 on June 16th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
I think because Angel has a soul. It's what lets Buffy get close to him, makes Xander grudgingly deal with him, inspires Willow to have perfect-couple Buffy/Angel fantasies. It's the thing that inserts neatly in between the extremes (i.e., all vampires are bad versus vampires might be able to be redeemed). Until the end of BtVS s6, he's the exception that proves the rule.

Yay, I love it too! *beams*
your royal pie-ness: giles iconentrenous88 on June 16th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
So odd, because Owen was clearly freakier than the Scoobies. Getting a rush from the fight, er, okay; wanting to go down to a bar just to start a fight to get action, eep. Loving violence for violence's sake is creepy for the BtVS context (and of course becomes one of the major things marking out and making Faith dangerous).

To me it seemed that Giles remained cold to Angel after Angel's return. The extent that he accepted him back did seem, as SOL said, for Buffy's sake, but also for what Angel could do for the group and for Buffy in terms of demonic solutions, fighting, etc. When Angel returns again in s4's "Pangs", Giles seems very unwelcoming, although he does keep Angel's secret of visiting town. And then of course in the context of Ats, we know that Giles refuses to help Angel and the AI gang with Fred's case, and presumably is at least in part in on getting the rogue slayer away from W&H and Angel.
samsomsamsom on June 17th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
Just breaking in (hope you don't mind) to say that you're probably right. During Pangs, Giles barely looks at Angel, and is fairly distant with him while they're talking. I think that suggests he tolerates Angel out of respect for Buffy's feelings, but his own feelings are far from warm, or even neutral.
hpchickhpchick on June 16th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC)
I think the term used to be "Xanderista" back in the day, but I could be wrong.

ITA about the Xander hazing and Buffy and Willow romanticizing Angel.