Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: James A. Contner
Air Date: February 10, 1998

Fuck me if this episode isn’t just an hour of fun and laughs. Not since “Halloween” have I laughed this much during an episode of this show. Cordelia breaks up with Xander, Xander finds Amy (the witch’s daughter from… “The Witch“), Xander convinces her to do a love spell, the spell backfires, every girl loved Xander. This is the episode in its entirety. One good device is all it takes for this episode to be top-notch, and it does it so well, I can’t hardly believe it. Nicholas Brendan plays this episode so damned well, it isn’t even worth mentioning any of the bad parts of the episode. Its just lightweight, never-too-serious fun that is a welcome addition after the last few episodes being either very very dark or kinda weak, overall.

The strength of this episode is in each individual woman’s reaction to their love for Xander. Prior to the giant girl mob at the end of the episode, each female character has different interactions with him and each are funny. And it starts slowly, too, with Buffy telling Xander if he “plays his cards right” he might end up getting a lap dance. At this point it isn’t apparent to him that Buffy is affected by the spell and he is justifiably confused. After Amy and – eventually – Willow (in his bed and button-up shirt, no less!) start to get steamy with him, he picks up on what has happened and, before long, he’s running scared. Alas, everywhere he goes, another woman in his life is ready to get into his pants. Xander, being the stalwart, stand up guy he is, never once takes advantage of these situations, particularly with long-time crush Buffy who admits that what he did (or, more to the point, didn’t do) is classy and noble.

The number one standout moment, for me, is a tie between Xander and Buffy’s mom, and Xander and Drusilla. Joyce lets them into her house so that she can have him to herself. The second that Xander figures out what is going on is priceless, letting his head slowly bang upon the table while Ms. Summers slowly gets all up on him. Its a fun moment for her and Christine Sutherland likely had a hoot playing the part of the sex-crazed, knife-wielding mom in this episode. The alternative scenes, involving Angel pulling Xander onto the yard and is about to kill him, only to be thwarted by Dru… this scene is hilarious. Angel is so damn baffled by what is happening, and Xander is so scared. This scene is only heightened by Dru’s obvious dismay at not being able to enter the house after them because she hadn’t been invited in. She looks so damned sad.

The music throughout this episode actually helps things along. Aside from one or two spots, you’ll find that I don’t generally talk about the music in a positive fashion, but here I think it works very well. And the effects? Well, they’re still kinda lame, but getting better. Most of the best parts of the spells come from the lighting which, for the most part, does actually appear to come from the center of the spells, not simply off screen. Some of the wind effects during the last spell cast (and, of course, the fact that Amy and Giles don’t appear to be looking at the spell at all) are stupid and destroy the moment, but overall the production values are very good for this very funny episode.

I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about who does the overall writing for these episodes, but I’m going to start, here. Marti Noxon – who has done work on some of the past episodes – is coming into her own, here. She gets the Whedon-tone very well and has spent enough time with these characters to know and understand them and they way they work alone and together. For an episode about women falling helplessly and stupidly in love (dangerously. Did I mention dangerously?) its interesting to note that it was a woman that wrote the episode. Of course, its an episode in which Willow carries around a fire axe, so maybe there is some empowerment in this episode, after all. Regardless, many of Noxon’s writing credits throughout the series include personal favorites of mine. Just… just thought I’d mention that.

“BB&B” is a good episode. No, a damn good episode. It is depressing that the breakup of Cordy and Xander only lasts, like, two days. If it had gone on a bit longer, with Xander being more and more frustrated with his situation, it would have been perfect. As it is, it seems too clean and too quick. I get that Cordy actually likes Xander and doesn’t want to break up with him (but feels she must), but maybe showing them both struggle with it a bit more would have been for the better. Regardless, in comparison to what happens to people in the next episode, I think I can forgive a tiny, insignificant flub here. Things are so happy and fun… but not for long.

Episode Rating: 93

Additional Notes:
-I love Oz punching Xander, but not really understanding his own personal reasoning enough to know why
-Amy turns Buffy into a rat. Guess what? Amy will be going through that herself soon enough
-Lunch lady has a rolling pin. Nice touch
-One of the few times Dru is in vamp face. Also, for whatever reason I love her line about Xander’s face being a “poem”
-Fantastic work bringing Angel and Dru into an episode that doesn’t need them. I get that they celebrate Valentine’s Day, too, but their inclusion wasn’t necessary. By bringing them in, it makes the season-long arc more consistent and continual
-Spike
really doesn’t like Angel getting closer to Dru…

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