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Halting Hex

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  1. Sorry to see Ryan go. I not only enjoyed him (TJ hasn't won me over, as yet) but I've been really hoping Alex gets to see one more dominant champion before…you know. (Well, maybe TJ will be the one. Who knows?) And it was a bit chilling that Alex was commiserating with Ryan about Ryan's father, when it's now less than a month to go. Sigh. On the plus side, TJ got the "Canadian Geography" question correct, so that probably made Alex happy.
  2. Oops! Obviously, I meant "no disrespect" to Jeremy, but it's been long enough that my edit button has been and gone, so I can't fix that typo now. And, ironically, that particular typo does indeed disrespect Mr. Ratchford, so… Back to the episode: Xillow-rific cuteness, to be sure…but not a sterling example of "Democracy in Action", it eventuates, given that Buffy ends up slaying exactly zero Gorches. (Mama Bezoar gets Tector; Lyle scarpers off.) Man, that Hellmouth screws up everything. So, is Giles just being amenable here, or is he agreeing that children are a burden? Is that why things never worked out between him and Ethan? I grant you it makes sense that the chaos-worshipper in the couple is the one who wanted kids, but still. (You'll regret it when the brats get peanut butter all over your Janus statue, Ethan! Don't say I didn't warn you.) Or, since Giles is already under the Bezoar's thrall (and is about to induct Joyce into the "family"), is this really Mama B speaking through him? Is she just really annoyed at having to go through all this "neural clamping" crap, any time she just wants her eggs polished? Why can't the kids be good little slaves and just do what she wants, instead of having this "free will" garbage going on? Grr, argh, indeed.
  3. So one of my critiques of Earshot is that it wastes pretty much the entire first act paying lip-service to the ongoing "Ascension" plot, which is actually completely irrelevant to this episode. The mayor isn't in the episode. Faith isn't in the episode. Nothing happens to advance the threat of the Ascension. No new knowledge is discovered. All we get are "jokes" about Wesley not making any progress, which serve no purpose other than to pad out the running time and delay this episode's plot. (Back when David Greenwalt was show-running, Buffy would have discovered her telepathy at the end of the teaser and the threat to the school at the end of Act 1, IMO.) Thus this another case of "you could skip this episode and not miss a thing", I'd say. That's a critique leveled against some popular later-season episodes, but that's spoilers for this thread. But I'm sure most people reading this recall those examples. The difference is, of course, that due to the tragedy at Columbine, Earshot was actually skipped, the first time around. And I haven't found much in the way of contemporary reports that indicate that people were deeply puzzled when Choices thus aired with a "missing" episode between Enemies and it. The only problem was that critics didn't understand what had happened between the "break" Buffy requested from Angel at the end of 3.17 and their being happily back together and out on patrol to start 3.19. (With Buffy being so used to that routine that she worries they're falling into a rut, no less.) So while 3.18 might be important on a romantic through-line, the larger plot was IMO proven rather useless. And thus when I hear people claim they prefer S3 to S2 because they dislike "standalone" episodes, I disagree. Earshot (and The Zeppo and The Prom) are just as much "standalones" as Phases and Go Fish were, the previous season. They're just papered over with hype for the season-arc, and I can't see how that serves any larger purpose. But JMO.
  4. As I understand it, once Will & James spotted Leo & Alana taking charge of a (minor) alliance that excluded them (helping the Blondes in Leg 2), they decided that Leo/Alana were a logical U-Turn target, which is why they attempted it in Leg 3. It didn't work, and so after the Leg, Will attempted to offer an "explanation". Which was obviously BS, and Leo knew it was BS, but the boyfriends presumably knew that Leo knew this, and all that was happening was a formality for the sake of good feelings. Instead, Leo cut off Will's "explanation" and mocked him. Apparently, Will (& James) didn't particularly like that. Understandable, IMO. As I understand it, the eliminated teams go through the motions significantly ahead of time, so that the locals can be deceived, but the active teams don't get any benefit from seeing production in action. Will & James shouldn't see Leo & Alana again until the Finish Line, or until they themselves are eliminated. (And I don't know that pretending to engage in a competition that you've already lost, knowing that others have the chance to win the $$$ you've already screwed yourself out of, would necessarily qualify as "having the time of their lives". I wouldn't want Leo & Alana to stew over their outcome, but I'm sure some teams have. ["JFC, if I hadn't wasted all that time on the 'spears', we'd totally be killing this Leg. ARRGGH!!!"] We'll never know, I suppose.)
  5. Well, the point is that, if they always stand in order, you don't need to look for visual clues. (Maddison is notably taller than his brother, and his mustache has the Salvador Dali curved tips, which Riley's doesn't.) You just look at Kaylynn and Haley next to each other and know that the one on our left is Kaylynn, without going "slightly taller, nose is pointier" or other minor distinctions. (The famed "Cha-Cha-Cha" team raced as "Danny and Oswald" in Race 2, then flipped and returned as "Oswald and Danny" for the All-Star Race 11. Very disconcerting, I felt. But they got the exact same place, IIRC, so clearly they were a well-balanced team, after all. 🙂)
  6. So if they are "Gary & DeAngelo", why are they racing as though they're "DeAngelo & Gary"? it's driving me nuts. (For those who don't know, Racers are encouraged to always present themselves to the camera in the order of their billing, be it in cars, in confessionals, at Rip & Reads, whenever. Thus Will is always on our left and James on our right, for example, because they are "Will & James". Very useful for telling Kaylynn from Hayley, I must say.) But in this case, Gary gets top billing…even though he's The One on the Right. That's totally breaking the rules! At first, I thought that perhaps Gary had relitigated this after the Race, but when they did the sign-up board in the salt mine, back when, he signed it as "Gary & D". And if he was breaking protocol then, they had 12 hours or so to re-shoot the scene. (Or they could have just left it out of the edit.) Very odd. And I like them, so this annoys me even more. Hmm.
  7. For a second, I read that as "I wish you two happy years!" and I was like, "Kind of harsh, only two good years". Then I re-read it. Of course, back in the day, they would have had to already been in their "pre-existing relationship" for two years, IIRC. Instead they've only been dating for ten months. But it doesn't seem to have impaired them, admittedly.
  8. Okay, not actually. But still. Never have I seen a team so happy to place 5th. But good on the blondes for passing the engineers, no Yield required. And how did "We need to get a head" not make the episode title? Obvious pun, but the show loves those. Won't miss Leo & Alana at all. Wonderful karma that they got taken out by their own allies after they tried to ditch them last episode. And all the "oh, it wasn't the Yield, it was [not being able to tell the difference between a flag and a spear, time after time after time"] self-justification only goes so far. Do we know they weren't within 20 minutes of Stanford? Do they? In that case, you may have put yourself in a position to be hurt by the Yield, but the blondes still got you out. Give them the credit they deserve. OTOH, I have zero problems with Will & James.
  9. Well, yeah. But talk about low bars to clear… Possibly, but I didn't the feeling they much liked each other. And then there's the "rat" phase, and the "deranged-witch" phase. He never even met two of them. And he never spoke to Beth, or vice versa. I try to keep at least one foot in the realm of possibility. (Yes, Jenny never met Wesley, for obvious reasons. But since the AU where they did meet is easy to construct [Jenny does her decrypting from her computer at HOME, which is probably best just from the "keep it away from Snyder's prying eyes" viewpoint, never mind the more-tragic aspects], I'm okay with that.) I mean, if you're opposed to ANY m/m 'ships for Xander, that's one thing. But you'd have to argue with a lot of fanficcers on that. Not to mention the show's own tendency to do Gay Xander Jokes on a recurring basis. (He literally requests that Willow change his preferences at one point, let's recall.) So I'll take Xander chasing a hot jock over his hooking up with a bigot, a thicko (yeah, yeah "Anne" evolves on the spinoff, but still) or someone as evil as Lilah. (it wasn't exactly a moral high point for Wesley, either.) But JMO.
  10. I'm pretty sure there are pornfics of Xander/EVERYONE, if you're inclined to look. Some people don't lack for inspiration, it seems.
  11. Without reading the article as yet: 1. Spike and Andrew. Yeah, yeah, Bottom Bois need tops, I know. But the benefit of their deciding to stay in Gilroy and open up a florist's shop (and never darken our screens again) far outweighs any other problems. 2. Jenny and Wesley. Far better to make a sexy fuddy-duddy squirm when he doesn't already think he knows all the answers, I say. 3. Giles and Drusilla. It's canon (Becoming, Part 2) that she prefers him to Angel and Spike, and she's far more deserving of "Redemption!" than her blondie bear is. Let old Ripper take a walk on the wild side, and let him heal the wounds that certain vampires have inflicted on poor innocent psychic girl. 4. Jonathan and Harmony. We know he digs cheerleaders (dated Cordelia) and she's willing to settle, obviously. They can be the (outright embarrassing) Willow/Xander equivalents in Cordy's sadly-inferior version of the Scoobies. 5. Buffy and Cordelia. Slaying. Sex. Sarcasm. Sex. Shoes. Sex. Shoes. The show could run 20 seasons and this couple would never get old. 6. Faith and Dawn. So the stuck-up tight-ass thinks she's too good for me, huh? Fine, whatever. Little sis has better boobs, anyhow. (Faith's not exactly deep, you might have noticed.) 7. Angel and Anya. If he thought Cordelia knew how to run an office, wait until he sees what Ms. Capitalist can do. Plus, he can shut her up when she starts fondly reminiscing about her days of slaughter without even trying. You ain't in Angelus's league, girl. Just saying. 8. Willow and Riley. (I assume this is already on the list.) 9. Kathy and Tara. Two demons on campus, pretty much just a fling, but a fun way to spend the time. Tara will teach Kathy how to ride horses, Kathy will help Tara organize the dorm room. 10. Xander and Hogan Martin. Clearly, he's the man of Xander's dreams, and as we see when Oz questions him, Hogan just wants to be liked. Wish granted, then. (I'd try and find him a girl, but we're all out of interesting women [Fred? Pass. Joyce? Oh, please!] and you may have noticed that Xan gets bored very easily. Maybe Gwendolyn Post, Mrs…but that would be a job of work, I'll admit.)
  12. Given that by I Robot, You Jane, Buffy is not merely telling Xander about Willow's feelings (which The Pack pretty heavily implies he's already aware of), but claiming that he's comfortable deriving pleasure from them ("Yeah, but you got used to being the belle of the ball."), I should think "oblivious" would be a rather difficult sell. He's emotionally reticent, not brain-damaged.
  13. "A stuck-up tight-ass with no sense of fun", to quote Fuffy. Just because a girl's psychotic, that doesn't mean she can't be right, too. "I could do anything I want, but instead I choose to whine and pout and feel the Burden of Slayerness." And this is BEFORE Dawn, I'm just saying. Anyway, new topic: Britain's back under quarantine, so let's dig out this article from March about The 50 Most Binge-Worthy Shows, Ever Guess who's #1?? 🤩 A certain amount of excusing the inexcusable, but I did appreciate their pointing out that this show is hardly the only one to make stupid later-season romantic pairing choices. I mean, Rachel/Joey was based on nothing more than Joey's being jealous of Chandler (!) for having an across-the-hall booty call, FFS. And I didn't know that Penn Badgeley was playing the much-hailed "Joe from You"; I must accelerate my plans to get around to that series. OTOH, claiming that LOST was once "a tightly-wound mystery series starring a small band of compelling characters" (did you even watch S1? I did, which is why I never watched after that) and only later started "treading water" and then got really silly is the scariest thing I've read since finding out that the two seasons of How I Met Your Mother that I'd left unseen got even worse. Eep!
  14. One of my great disappointments in life is getting rejected at the interview stage of tryouts in the '90s. (I had bought Chuck Forrest's book, which said that he and his co-author knew of nobody who had ever reached the interviews and not made it on the show. What is "wrong, Chuck!"? Aced the test [aided by a lucky guess about Christopher Wren and St. Paul's] and followed the advice to not go straight down the categories in the simulated games, reached the final hurdle and apparently showed the social skills of a doorstop.) So I have no picture to share, only my own sense of loss. 36 years of comfort and consistency, grace and good humor. I am somewhat pleased that the final week to air before his passing included Alex being depressed at contestants flubbing clues on Canadian geography. And all is right in the world… (How do three intelligent people not know that Labrador adjoins Québec? Strange.)
  15. A: Feeling in response to this news Q: What is "sad and empty"? I'm sure Ken (I assume) will do fine. But it won't be the same. I am happy Alex got to do what he loved until the end, though.
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