Where the Wild Things Are
Written by: Tracey Forbes
Directed by: David Solomon
Air Date: April 25, 2000

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UGH. And also, whoo boy. This is an episode. Tracey Forbes did the other really bad episode from this season, “Beer Bad” – so you know this is gonna be a great sign. What is it with this writer and the horrors of over-indulgence? Where the previously mentioned episode was about the nightmare of being a lush asshole, “WTWTA” is all about how you can’t just sit around and have sex all day because YOU WILL DIE. You know, you have to eat something in there, somewhere. I don’t know. Be prepared for a nasty and possibly quite short review, folks. This one sucks so bad, I can’t even process it.

The episode starts out promising enough: Riley and Buffy take out a demon and a vampire, a team-up that shouldn’t happen in nature. Giles later posits that it must be the work of Adam (who, again, doesn’t show up in this episode once, only mentioned. There are only a handful of episodes left and he is dead by the finale – spoiler alert – so, you know, maybe six minutes of screen time, total?). But that’s the only real plot advancement. The rest of the runtime is a series of fake-outs and make-outs (nice wordplay, Skyler!) that make you want to shoot yourself. To death. First, you think Riley will find something nasty in the bathroom? Nope, just a leaky tub. Next, you think that ice cream truck playing creepy music is going to have a baddie in it? Nope, just Xander and Anya talking about their sex life in front of children and their parents. You think Spike is actually going to be a mean, nasty vampire? Nope, just scaring people to rob them, silly. Goodness.

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Some of these scenes are funny, and some even have weight and added character development. But it is either intercut with or replaced by magical sex metaphors or shots of Buffy and Riley doing it. Or both, nonstop. For the next 30 minutes. That’s a lot to swallow. I mean, what a load. Take, for example, the fact that the frat that the Initiative boys live in – which is throwing a party, soon – is freezing cold. Some low-level flunkie we’ve never heard of or seen before is building a fire to keep those sparse few who aren’t having intercourse to keep warm from freezing to death. And then, as someone upstairs reaches climax, the fire explodes, burning the dude who was just trying to do the right thing. Then there’s the orgasm wall. I could spend on all day on the orgasm wall, but I’ll finish quickly. And people are playing spin-the-bottle at thee party. Its all so dumb.

There is a pretty OK twist, but getting there is a bitch. After figuring out the party is haunted, Anya, Xander, Willow and Tara head to find Giles (who is playing guitar and singing in a coffee shop… and wearing an earring) and they do some research and find out the frat house used to be an orphanage-type place. No one died there, though. So, at first you’re like “this is interesting” but then you find out that, oh, no it isn’t. The magic in the house isn’t a ghost, its the manifestation of the repressed sexual energies of those kids, brought to terrible life by Buffy and Riley’s constant boning. Seriously. That’s the whole plot.

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There are so many great character moments and lines involved with trying to rescue Buffy and Doof. Poltergasm. Old lady Holt saying she can smell sin and Xander saying “whoever smelt it dealt it”. And Spike convincing himself to not help everyone else. Its all mixed in with the lame, stupid plot. Nothing even comes of it. The throwaway plot point of Adam uniting different demons (Like MLK? No, not at all) is important info, but you’d never know it. Again, we have more development of characters that don’t need it when the Big Bad is going to be dealt with in less than four episodes. We know nothing about him and never see him. Just hear about his exploits. Dumb.

And don’t get me started on that slow-motion sex stuff. Its so awful, as are the breathing sounds. And those vines/tentacles? And how about that crew members arm just jutting into frame to slap Anya with a rubber vine? Poor writing, poor production values. Poor everything. Despite the comedy of the anti-climax when Xander and Anya enter the bedroom, and despite the comedy of Riley and Buffy not really being too sorry about almost ending the world with constantly playing hide-the-pickle, it just sucks and I’m glad its over. This one won’t be the worst reviewed episode I’ve ever done (Thank you, “Dead Man’s Party” — at least up to this time), that’s not saying much.

Episode Rating: 48

Additional Notes:
-What to even say? Maybe reference Xander’s “timeless” pop-culture reference regarding “Felicity”?
-First real PDA between Willow and Tara – doesn’t go well
-Spin-the-bottle? Jesus.
-The other Initiative dudes are not impressed with Riley’s lie. ” And I’m the one who got a D in Covert Ops.” I think Buffy is gonna get the D now, boys. Hey-o!
-I do like that Giles is more comfortable with Tara using magic at this point.
-Was Xander actually charming, or was that chick just a skank?

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