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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. 23rd, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
I have seen the theory floated that Giles has feelings for Buffy that are more sexual in nature than he would like, her attempt to turn him into a Dawn coparent puts those feelings front and center, and he isn't good at dealing with that, so he runs away.

I think the strongest support for this interpretation is the beginning of Giles' dream in Restless. This exchange:

GILES You have to stop thinking. Let it wash over you.

BUFFY You don't think it's a little old fashioned?

GILES This is the way women and men have behaved since the beginning, before time.

Has a lot of sexual tension -- then right away the scene change and he's turned Buffy into a little girl at a carnival.

But BTVS does have a recurring theme of men walking out on domestic responsibilities. So...

red_satin_doll
Dec. 26th, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
I have seen the theory floated that Giles has feelings for Buffy that are more sexual in nature than he would like

I very much disagree with any notion of erotic attraction; I didn't see that at all in the show or the actor's performances. I take Quentin Travers at his word when he says "you have a father's love for the child" at face value. (Which is really disturbing when you think about it - Giles, who almost let her get killed, is still a more attention "father" to Buffy just by virtue of being there, when Hank isn't. No wonder the poor girl is screwed up.)

I read that scene in Restless as an echo of Helpless - Giles is still, on some level and despite his dedication to Buffy, still stuck in the past on some level, still trying to deny or suppress his "Ripper" side by overemphasizing his rational "Watcher" side in order to protect himself and others. (His failure to do so by indulging Buffy's love for Angel led directly to Jenny's death; hence his disapproval of her bond with Spike in S7. Jenny is to Giles as Angel is to Buffy, the ghost lovers who haunt them to the very end of the show.) But I also think he genuinely believes on some level in the human/demon, good/evil distinctions that mark the WC but also the cultural beliefs of post-Renaissance, post-Enlightenment western patriarchial cultural. Buffy's laughter is a rejection of all this; she breaks all the rules, despite the pain and the enormous cost. Spike's "she's surpassed you" actually applies psychologically IMO - as the protagonist and hero of the story, she takes emotional risks that he never dares to.

I do agree that he's unwilling/unable to handle the parenting aspect - compare him with Xander in Lessons, S7 - but again, that's obvious in the early seasons; again, see Helpless, as well as Restless. He fails to parent/mentor Willow, or guide her to mentors in her witchcraft; he barely tolerates Xander, etc.

He is very much her metaphorical "father" in the sense that both he and Buffy share a tendancy to withdraw and disconnect emotionally, or lash out physically in rage and vengeance: as when Giles tries to kill Angel in Passions, (Oooh, shades of Willow in SR - must ponder this.)

But BTVS does have a recurring theme of men walking out on domestic responsibilities. So...

Very much so: Hank, Giles, Angel, Riley, Xander - even sweet, easygoing Oz.
mcjulie
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
His failure to do so by indulging Buffy's love for Angel led directly to Jenny's death; hence his disapproval of her bond with Spike in S7.

That's the best explanation I've seen yet for why Giles seems so much more set on getting rid of Spike when he *does* have a soul than when he doesn't. Soul = Angel = more dangerous, not less.

Jenny is to Giles as Angel is to Buffy, the ghost lovers who haunt them to the very end of the show

Nicely put. Buffy is haunted not just by the painful way her relationship with Angel ended, but by the scars of falling so deeply in love at such a young age.
red_satin_doll
Dec. 31st, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
Soul = Angel = more dangerous, not less.

I hadn't even thought of it that specifically in terms of the possibility of losing his soul, good call!

I just love their scene in First Date: the Slayer and her former mentor/father figure each trying to present a rational and logical case to one another, with all that history and emotion simmering underneath...I'll shut up now until we get to that episode. (Then I'll squee uncontrollably.)

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