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Finally! I finished the poll on the musical. It turned out to be challenging, mostly because it has so much going on -- so many character arcs and important moments -- and it's also such an interesting episode from a meta viewpoint -- I had to rewatch it three times! (Such torture, I know.)
Poll #1886393 BTVS Episode Poll: 6.07 Once More, with Feeling

1. Favorite song (note: you can interpret this as either "favorite song to have going through my head later and sing in the shower and stuff" or "favorite song in context of watching the episode")

Going Through the Motions
4(10.0%)
I've Got a Theory / Bunnies / If We're Together
1(2.5%)
Under Your Spell
0(0.0%)
I'll Never Tell
1(2.5%)
Rest in Peace
5(12.5%)
What You Feel (Sweet's intro)
1(2.5%)
Standing (Giles' song)
7(17.5%)
Walk Through the Fire
16(40.0%)
Something to Sing About
4(10.0%)
Where Do We Go from Here
0(0.0%)
Other
1(2.5%)

2. Second favorite song

Going Through the Motions
4(10.0%)
I've Got a Theory / Bunnies / If We're Together
2(5.0%)
Under Your Spell
5(12.5%)
I'll Never Tell
1(2.5%)
Rest in Peace
7(17.5%)
What You Feel (Sweet's intro)
0(0.0%)
Standing (Giles' song)
5(12.5%)
Walk Through the Fire
9(22.5%)
Something to Sing About
6(15.0%)
Where Do We Go from Here
1(2.5%)
Other
0(0.0%)

3. "Going Through the Motions" -- At the end of it Buffy sings "I just want to be alive," but by the climax of the episode, her refrain is "give me something to sing about" and she’s heading almost willfully into the dance of death. How do you reconcile those conflicting sentiments?

She starts the episode feeling a little better, but the events of the episode send her emotionally back down again.
0(0.0%)
She’s completely on the fence the whole time -- at any given moment she can’t work out whether she wants to try to feel better or just give up.
14(34.1%)
It’s based on association. In cemetery slaying monsters = marginally more cheery Buffy. Remembering her experiences being ripped out of Heaven by her friends = completely the most depressed Buffy.
11(26.8%)
It’s Sweet actively working to bring her to her most negative emotional state -- remember he wants to see The Slayer burn.
4(9.8%)
Other
12(29.3%)

4. "Under Your Spell" ends with a bit of explicit, yet TV-safe, romantic activity between Willow and Tara, including a very juvenile pun. What do you think?

Love it!
6(14.6%)
Sure, it’s juvenile, but it’s also sweet and sexy, so I like it.
5(12.2%)
It’s fine.
6(14.6%)
It’s sweet and sexy taken on its own, but in the context of what Willow did to Tara last episode it becomes a lot more problematic.
18(43.9%)
My reaction is... complicated.
4(9.8%)
I’m more disturbed by the weirdly... intense interest Xander displays in their sex life after we cut back to the gang in the Magic Shop.
1(2.4%)
Other
1(2.4%)

5. "I'll Never Tell" -- Xander and Anya's number. How strongly does it foreshadow the events of Hells Belles?

You know, after that musical number, I really thought those two crazy kids were going to make it
4(10.0%)
The song makes it obvious they aren't ready
17(42.5%)
At this point it could still go either way
17(42.5%)
Other
2(5.0%)

6. The reveal that Xander was Sweet’s summoner -- how does that work for you?

The arbitrary nature of the Xander choice emphasizes the fact that HOW Sweet got here isn’t important to the story, and fits with the idea that Sweet isn’t a “villain” in the usual BTVS sense
16(41.0%)
Drives me nuts. Only flaw in an otherwise perfect episode.
7(17.9%)
As usual, only Xander sucks.
3(7.7%)
Actually it totally fits his character, remember the love spell in Season 2?
9(23.1%)
Other
4(10.3%)

7. Giles’ “tough love” attempt, when he tells Buffy to save Dawn on her own. What do you think?

Makes sense but his timing sucks
17(42.5%)
It seems forced
9(22.5%)
It’s not tough love, it’s cowardice
1(2.5%)
I always fanwank that whole storyline into Giles making excusesfor going back to England because that’s what he wants to do anyway.
11(27.5%)
Other
2(5.0%)

8. When Buffy starts her dance of death, all her friends and family seem rooted to the spot, while Spike actually steps in to save her. What gives?

!!!SPIKE!!! (he’s just that awesome)
9(23.1%)
They are paralyzed by the logic of the musical number
3(7.7%)
They are paralyzed by indecision and guilt
22(56.4%)
They were just ABOUT to do something -- Spike merely beat them to it
0(0.0%)
Other
5(12.8%)

9. The kiss! How did you react the first time you saw it?

I knew it!
2(4.9%)
Finally!
21(51.2%)
Wow! Didn’t see that coming!
6(14.6%)
Did they really just do that?
3(7.3%)
WTF?!?
0(0.0%)
Buffy, no!
1(2.4%)
Meh
3(7.3%)
Other
5(12.2%)

10. The musical frequently gets singled out for screenings at conventions and so on, so I’ve always wondered how common it is for people to see this episode first and then watch the rest of the series --

I watched the series in real time and saw this more or less when it first aired
17(41.5%)
I watched the series on DVD/Netflix/whatever, but all in sequence
12(29.3%)
I saw a handful of episodes before watching the whole series, and this was one of them
6(14.6%)
I saw a handful of episodes before watching the whole series, but this was not one of them
5(12.2%)
I’ve never seen any BTVS episode, I just like clicking on poll questions ;)
0(0.0%)
Other
1(2.4%)

11. -- and if it changes their overall interpretation of the series in a major way

It makes me less likely to watch the seasons with no Spike
2(5.9%)
It makes it harder to see Spike or Anya as real villains in their early episodes
5(14.7%)
It makes it harder to relate to the characters when they were still in high school
1(2.9%)
I don’t think it changes my interpretation much
19(55.9%)
Other
7(20.6%)

12. OMWF is usually on any short list of Buffy "best of" episodes (and for that reason I decided the usual numeric ranking wouldn't be that interesting). What say you?

Yeah, it’s my favorite, or close to it
6(14.6%)
Top five
21(51.2%)
Top ten
10(24.4%)
Top twenty
2(4.9%)
Actually, I kinda think it’s overrated
2(4.9%)
Other
0(0.0%)

13. Favorite thematic/quotable/hilarious

ANYA (in song) Bunnies, bunnies, it must be BUNNIES!
9(22.0%)
BUFFY Well, I’m not exactly quaking in my stylish-yet-affordable boots.
2(4.9%)
GILES I managed to examine the body while the police were taking witness arias.
6(14.6%)
SPIKE Drink? BUFFY A world of no.
0(0.0%)
SPIKE (in song) You know, you’ve got a willing slave, and you just love the play the thought that you might misbehave
3(7.3%)
TARA some Lord of the Dance -- but not the scary one. Just a demon.
1(2.4%)
DAWN Yes, the fifteen year old can spend half an hour alone in her locked house. (Included here because, actually, she can't.)
1(2.4%)
GILES Well, if we hear any inspirational power chords, we'll just lie down until they go away.
1(2.4%)
BUFFY (in song) to save the day, or maybe melt away -- I guess it’s all the same.
1(2.4%)
SPIKE (in song) I hope she fries! I'm free if that bitch dies. (pause) I'd better help her out.
11(26.8%)
DAWN The hardest thing in this world, is to live in it.
3(7.3%)
Other
3(7.3%)
Bonus question: when Buffy confesses that she burst into song while patrolling, Xander exclaims “Merciful Zeus” to express his surprise. Is Xander actually a neopagan worshiper of the Greek pantheon?

Comments

mcjulie
Dec. 22nd, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
8 They are paralyzed by the logic of the musical number.
Which might be almost the same thing as paralyzed by indecision and guilt. But if the logic of the musical can force people into doing a dance routine, it seems reasonable to expect that it can force them into not acting as well. Spike’s ability to say “bugger this” and leave the final number is meant to be a sign that the spell is fading.

9 Finally!
When they finally kissed, I had been shipping Buffy and Spike since early Season 4. It wasn't because I wanted to see them together so much as I thought it was obvious that they wanted each other.

10 I watched the series in real time and saw this more or less when it first aired.
Actually, funny thing. My husband Paul went over to a friend's house to watch the new The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, which was airing at the same time, and I made it clear that nothing short of complete Armageddon would keep me from watching the musical. Then, because the musical ran a bit long, he came back close to the climax and I was all, like, "can't talk. watching Buffy." I have seen that Treehouse of Horror since then. I am confident I made the correct choice.

11 It makes it harder to see Spike or Anya as a real “villain” in their early episodes.
Sure, I originally watched it in real time, but I’ve probably seen it more frequently than any other single episode -- and seeing Spike and Anya as they are now does make it weird to go back to the episodes where they first appeared. it’s not even that they seem inconsistent character-wise -- School Hard, which introduced spike, has a few scenes where he specs Buffy out before trying to kill her and there’s definitely a quasi-sexual quality to his interest in her. Similarly, in Doppelgangland, Anya is kind of a sympathetic character from the audience perspective -- even if not from Willow’s perspective.

Part of the prompting for this question was one time when I saw OMWF at the San Diego Comic-Con. Spike has two big moments where the audience cheered -- when he starts singing, and when he saves Buffy. Each time, just a little after most of the cheering had died down, somebody in the back shouted, "Booo!" That's when it first occurred to me that if you see the musical first, your interpretation of Spike might be very different.

12 Top five
It’s too hard to pick a favorite episode.

13 Well, I’m not exactly quaking in my stylish-yet-affordable boots.
I went with this one, because I said it just the other day. I wasn’t even wearing boots.

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