Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick Update

So I realize that things have been kinda quiet around here lately.  (To be fair I was on vacation for a week, so there's that excuse out of the way.)  I apologize.  I also am aware that I have one more doodle that is so late it's not even funny.  I decided that because I was already well past deadline on it that, instead of trying to get it done as soon as possible, that I would try and make it a cool and worthy final doodle.  As a result it has taken me a bit longer than I anticipated.  However, it is getting there and will probably be up pretty soon.

I also am getting back to my Buffy rewatch, and just posted 3 new rewatch posts earlier this evening.  Go ahead and check 'em out.  Having a lot of fun with this.

I think I shall also do a post talking about my thoughts on the major superhero films that have come out this summer now that I've seen the new Batman.

Finally, I am kind of busy trying to finish the new episode of my web series: Welcome to Sumwhere.  After that though I have a few paleoart-related-projects I have been planning for a while and have every intention to document here.

So, in short: I still have every intention to keep this blog updated so keep checking back.

Buffy Rewatch: The Puppet Show

The Puppet Show (1x09)
Writer: Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali

  • This writing team previously wrote Never Kill a Boy on the First Date (1x05)
  • I can't get over how much I love Giles being the director of the talent show.  He looks so pained about it!  Wonderful.
  • Willow is wearing a t-shirt that just has a picture of a rubber ducky on it.  I can't decide how to feel about that.
  • I LOVE Principle Snyder.  He's such a great antagonist.
  • I also love Giles' satisfied smile when the trio are made to participate in the talent show.
  • Buffy: "I saw a dummy, it gave me the wig.  There really wasn't a story there."
  • Willow: "It could be anyone!  It could be me!" (beat) "It's... not though."
  • Giles commenting on Cordy's hair to get her to leave is PERFECTION.
  • Lots of really great misdirects in this episode.
  • Having flash forwards to Willow's dream in Restless (4x22) where Giles is the director of the play.
  • I love that Sid doesn't get a happy ending.  His body is gone so when the curse is broken he just dies. It's sad but very real, too.  (Which is strange considering it's a story about an animated ventriloquists dummy.)
  • I find it very silly that Xander happened to come up with a perfect square for Willow to take the root of.  Couldn't there have been a different way to prove her intelligence that didn't seem so contrived?
  • Wouldn't that guillotine slice through Giles's brain?
  • Sid looks really stupid in action sequences.
  • The demon made a vampire dusting sound when it died.  That's weird.  I wonder if they were considering making that sound whenever any demon died.
  • Snyder: "What is it, avant-garde?"
  • The credits sequence is THE BEST EVER.
This is a solid episode.  Not terrible but not great either.  A quite well plotted mystery with a few great and unexpected red herrings.  Having the dummy turn out to be a good guy was quite clever and felt very BtVS.  Overall a pretty entertaining first season episode.

Buffy Rewatch: I Robot, You Jane

I Robot, You Jane (1x08)
Writer: Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden

  • I've decided to start taking note of the writer/writers for each episode, because that interests me.  I might spot trends I never noticed before.  Of course, this is a silly one to start that with because I don't think either of these writers come back.
  • Okay.  Here we go..
  • Jenny Calender!  I always forget this is her first episode.
  • Willow: "Yes.  It was  joke I made up."  I love that line.  I say it all the time when people ask me if I'm joking.
  • That scanner doesn't even scan the whole page!  It makes no sense!  How could a human hand be steady enough to scan a good image anyway!  Gah.  I'm a tech nerd so this is going to be quite painful for me I think.
  • Are free periods a thing?  I never had them in high school.
  • "I'm jacked in. I'm jacked in.  I'm jacked in."  NO COMPUTER NERD HAS EVER SAID THIS.
  • "To read makes our speaking English good."  Another great line I say all the time.
  • WHY DOES WILLOW HAVE A SPEECH SYNTHESIZER TURNED ON? WHY IS SHE TALKING ALOUD TO THE SCREEN WHILE SHE IS TYPING?!  I realize this is to show us what they are saying, but I've seen modern movies and TV shows that just show the screen and what is being typed and it works fine.
  • Moloch: "It's on her permanent record."  (beat)  "She must have mentioned it."   Hahahahaha, this is so funny to me.
  • I can see both Giles' and Jenny's points in the books vs. computers argument.  I do think information should be made available to everyone, but I also think we have become too dependent on the internet and technology in general in a lot of ways.
  • Hahahaaha.  When Buffy tries to delete the Moloch file.  And he's just like... NO.  He comes up all pixel-y.  Oh man.  That's fantastic.
  • Is that Joss on the radio that Giles is listening to?  It sounds a lot like him...
  • I think the idea of a technopagan could actually be really cool if done right (read: by someone who actually understands computers and the internet.)  I like the idea of combining magic and tech.
  • I like the Independence Day reference.  This episode is cheesey, but apparently not so cheesey that the problem could be solved by Jeff Goldbloom with a macbook.
  • I love Giles' speech about the smell of books.  This is why I will never give up on books completely.
  • The conversation the trio have at the end about how they will never have a normal love life is extremely sad/hilarious in hindsight.  You can almost see all the future tragedies transcending time back to this moment.
Well, I really don't have much to say about this episode.  It was exceptionally cheesey and boring.  This whole episode rings of a time before the internet when everyone was still worried about what the computer box was.  The metaphor against online relationships is extremely unsubtle and particularly dated, considering we have an entire industry built around finding romance via the internet now, and does nothing to help the episodes luddite-ity.  Is that a word?  It should be.  Also, I don't think I've EVER been in a chat room in my life.  Do they still exist even?  This episode isn't a complete loss though.  There is quite a few great one liners here, as well as the introduction of Jenny Calender and her and Giles' relationship.

However, I look forward to moving on from this one.

Buffy Rewatch: Angel

Angel (1x07)

  • Ooh, the Three.  Least scary villains ever.
  • Hey, this episode was written by David Greenwalt!  At first I thought it was his first, but after reading I discovered it was actually his second.  (Teacher's Pet was first.  Ha!)
  • Xander dances like I do.
  • Angel, stop being so damn creepy.
  • "Take your jacket and shirt off."  Nice one, Buffy.
  • They should do an episode about how Angel got his tatoo.  Like LOST did.  Because that was a great episode.  </sarcasm>
  • Why is Angel sleeping over at all?  I mean, sexual tension aside.
  • "Guys'll do anything to impress a girl.  I once drank an entire gallon of Gatorade without taking a break."  "It was pretty impressive.  Although later on there was an ick factor..."
  • Willow's delivery of the line "No, I was sleeping" after Giles mentions how late he was up is strangely hilarious to me.
  • Okay seriously.  I could maybe understand Angel staying the night.  But why does he stay there ALL DAY!?  I mean, I know it's because he's a vampire, but Buffy doesn't know that.  Doesn't that seem strange at all to her?
  • It's kind of strange that Angel vamps out when kissing Buffy.  Is it because this is the closest he's been to a human in years?  Bloodlust suddenly rising?
  • When Xander sees that Cordelia may have overheard: "How could you love an umpire?!  Everyone hates 'em!"
  • Angel, I know you like your image, but you could probably light the dark hole in the ground you live in just a BIT more.
  • "What's with the Catholic School Girl look?  Last time I saw you it was Kimonos."  According to my research (read: Wikipedia), Kimonos are Japanese clothing.  Later don't we find out that the last time Angel and Darla met was in China during the Boxer Rebellion?  Darla was not wearing a Kimono in that episode and probably would have looked very strange if she was.  Not a big deal, just a minor nitpick.
  • At first I really disliked how Angel doesn't try to explain to Buffy that he didn't bite Joyce.  It seemed like a contrivance for the sake of DRAMA to me, and I hate those.  But then later in the episode Buffy calls him out on it and he explains that it was because he wanted to feed on Joyce.  So he felt guilty, like he deserved Buffy's hatred.  This actually makes complete sense to me.
  • Why did Xander and Willow randomly just show up at Buffy's house?
  • Giles on why Buffy is not good at history: "She lives very much in the now and of course history is very much about the then."  This actually is a very consistent character trait of Buffy's that we see throughout the series.  Her disregard for tradition and old rules is a defining trait and what makes her a good slayer.  This will first be truly explored next season with Kendra.
  • "You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done, and care."  What a great line.
  • They had yet to refine the vampire teeth prosthetics enough at this point in the show, so Darla sounds really dumb trying to talk with her teeth in.
  • Aww.  I'm kind of sad for Darla this time around.  Considering how important a role she plays later in AtS, her death is really kind of affecting here.  Julie Benz acting as she realizes she was killed by her beloved Angel is really quite sad.
  • Okay, I know the cross burned into Angel's chest is SUPER CHEESEY, but I kind of like it anyway.
I would say that this is really the first great episode of this show.  Angel's story, while melodramatic and lacking in nuance, is really quite well done here and it is the first big thing to happen in this show.  His character has so much potential and it is good they didn't wait longer for the reveal of his true nature.  The idea of a tortured vampire, cursed with a soul and in love with the Slayer is actually very powerful.  Looking back from the perspective of both shows and the comics, this is actually a very important episode for Angel's character.  It is here that Angel finally chooses a side.  Up until now he has been a lonely, brooding wanderer: unable to be either monster or man.  But because of his love of Buffy, and, critically, her acceptance of him, he can begin to be something more.  He can start on the road to redemption, which will provide purpose for him long past his relationship with Buffy.

However, here we do not get the subtle Angel characterization we will eventually have.  This is really his first character developing episode and as a result it is all broad strokes.  Large operatic melodrama defines Angel's character and the Buffy/Angel romance at this point.  It makes sense, but I feel that one of the main problems of Angel's characterization on Buffy is that the show takes him too seriously.  It is kind of a silly story, and I think if the show poked fun at it a bit more it would go a long way towards making Angel more than an archetype and a more engaging, relatable character.

Of course, these are problems for the future.  For now, Angel the episode is a great start and has the grand distinction of being the first episode to really demonstrate the potential this show has. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BtVS Rewatch: The Pack

The Pack (1x06)

  • I love the zoo!  Don't know why Buffy isn't into it.
  • Oh my god!  That's Eion Bailey fom Once Upon a Time as the lead bully!  I never noticed him before!
  • Ick.  It's an episode with hyenas so they must have jungle-y music.  I hate the season 1 score.
  • Nicholas Brendan actually has a really pretty great evil smile.
  • Hyena Fact 1: They are evil.
  • Moment.  When Xander is being a dick at the Bronze, Willow asks him if he's okay and then proceeds to ask: "did I do something?"  Aww, Willow.  I love how cute and mousey you are in season 1, but I can't wait until she grows up and becomes a badass, because that line is all kinds of sad.
  • Buffy is known for taking baths?
  • What the heck is a Razorback anyway?  Is it a real animal?  I REFUSE TO GOOGLE THIS.
  • Hyena Fact 2: They are bad at math.
  • "God, this game is brutal.  I love it."  I wish we had seen that gym teacher again.  (I don't think it's the same guy that was the swim coach at the end of season 2.)
  • Xander, I know you are possessed, but when you make Willow cry I want to punch you SO HARD.
  • It would be really funny if the episode ended early because they all got sick from eating raw pig.
  • What is that song at the beginning of Act 2?  (Google reveals it is "Job's Eyes" by Far.  Never heard of them.  Not sure that I like it, but it definitely works for the sequence.)
  • This will become a theme in these rewatches: when Alyson Hannigan cries, I cry.
  • The scene with Xander being all misogynistic (Hyena Fact 3: They hate women.) reminded me of Wesley in the Angel episode Billy (AtS 3x06).
  • Poor Principle Flutie.  I actually kind of liked him.  This is significant because it shows the show is not afraid to kill off important secondary characters.  And so it begins...
  • There's the Willow I want: not susceptible to fake sweet-talk.
  • Oh that book cage.  That strangely indestructible book cage.  Is this the first time they lock something in there?  I think it is!  I'm going count this.
    • People/Monsters Locked in Book Cage: 1
  • Why on earth are the Hyena people so strong?  Proportionate to Buffy they are some of the strongest single-episode villains she faces in the series.  Because why?
  • I should count how many times Giles is knocked out.  This is the second.  (The first was in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, I believe.  Correct me if I'm wrong.)
    • Giles Knockouts: 2 
  • Yeah, you were possessed and tried to rape your friend.  That must have been really embarrassing for you.  /sarcasm.  Sorry, that just bugs me.
  • One other thing that bugs me.  I wish pop culture wouldn't demonize hyenas.  At some point someone decided that hyenas are gross, evil monsters.  This is a general trend with opportunistic animals in general.  I don't like it though.  Hyenas are cool!  Did you know that Hyenas are more closely related to cats than to dogs?  (A real Hyena Fact!)  Convergent evolution in action!

I actually really like this episode.  It's easily the strongest of the series so far.  (That will change when I get to the next episode, though.)  I think it is the first episode to really show how close these characters have grown in the past few weeks (months?)  When Xander is acting like a dick to Willow and Buffy, it feels like a huge betrayal, which only works because we have seen their friendship grow.  The fact that the monster-of-the-week story takes over one of our own makes it personal.  Imagine how much less interesting this episode would have been had just the bullies and not Xander had been possessed.

This episode also does a lot to explore the relationship between Xander and Willow.  She may have a crush on him right now, but their relationship goes much deeper than that.  They have been best friends since they were kids.  This is why Xander's possession affects Willow so much.  It's not just that he rejected her romantically, he rejected their friendship.  This episode also pulls a "show don't tell" trick.  Instead of just saying that they've been best friends forever, Willow demonstrates it by seeing through Hyena Xander's sweet talk in the cage.  She knows him extremely well.  It's moments like this that will make the Yellow Crayon speech at the end of Season 6 so powerful.  While the Xander/Willow friendship doesn't get a lot of focus in the series as a whole, it's still one of my favorite relationships in the show and its nice to see it so firmly established here.

One final note.  My girlfriend has decided to follow my lead and start her own BtVS rewatch.  You can read her thoughts on Welcome to the Hellmouth here.

Doodle-A-Day 364

Yes.  I've been putting this off.  I just... don't want this to be over, guys!

I drew a version of this guy way back in high school and just found the drawing and redrew it.  (2 ink sketches below.)

I know I suck at doodles, but mostly I just got nervous that my last doodles wouldn't be good enough.  Which is stupid, I realize.  However, it might still be a while before the last one.  The final one DOES need to be suitably epic I think.  Wish me luck!