Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunnydale Minis

There's something I love in this world just slightly less than my two cats, yet have talked about on this website far less than the remake of It's Alive, odd because that is something I don't love at all.
I speak, of course, about a small television phenomenon known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. know, kinda dig it*

*Note: Kinda dig translates into have watched the entire series run in full at least three times*
Savvy Doll's House readers should be well aware that we're smack in the middle of a special month I've dedicated to vertically challenged villains. Over its seven year lifespan, Buffy introduces us to several bad boys that fit right in.

Fear Itself, Gachnar the Demon

Giles: Xander, don't taunt the demon.
Xander: Why, can he hurt me?
Giles: No. It's just...tacky.
But seriously, Gachnar IS a cute wittle dweam demon. Sure, he's the cause of the Scooby Gang's worst Halloween party ever, leading Buffy to fight zombies, Willow to flee fireflies, Oz to wolf out pre-full moon and Xander to go invsi-girl, but he's also the size of Dollman with the vocal strength of the Mayor of Munchkin City. Who knew Napolean complexes extended to the supernatural?

The Puppet Show, Sid the Demon Hunter

Sid: Though Buffy’s first season remains my own personal least watched and liked, it did produce perhaps my favorite conversation ever spoken on television:
Willow: I think dummies are cute. You don't?
Buffy: Eww. They give me the wig. Ever since I was little.
Willow: What happened?
Buffy: I saw a dummy, it gave me the wig. There really wasn't a story there.
Doesn’t that capture the very essence of dummies? We can't explain why they're so unsettling, but show a perfectly adjusted adult the horrifically horrible TV ad for Magic and I cannot promise you she will not require therapy or at the very least, a clean pair of pants. 

The beauty of The Puppet Show (aside from the show's sole ending cap featuring the worst/best ever rendition of Oedipus Rex) is that Sid, the frisky little talent show star-to-be, isn't actually the baddie of the episode. Quite the opposite: he's a demon killer himself, a former hero confined to a wooden body following a pesky 50+ year curse. He still remains a little creepy--dummies with Frank Sinatra smoothness still don’t fare well when hitting on high school girls--but ultimately, Sid is a a good guy confined to the body of, well, a Good Guy.
Superstar + Season 6, Jonathan

Buffy: "Giles, do you have a Jonathan swimsuit calendar?"
Giles: "No. (pause) Yes. It was a gift."
One of the many reasons teenage girls and college professors alike adored the world of Sunnydale was the fact that it felt like a genuine place. Remember how on Beverly Hills 90210, a school introduced as a large, thriving megapolis where two Minnesotan twins would never register on any radar, the Peach Pit gang ultimately ended up being the only kids that had any significance on campus (save for the occasional guest star)? 
Buffy didn't do that. This was a one-Starbucks town that felt real, primarily because of its residents. Week after week, we recognized the head football jock Larry and witchy outcast Amy. Cordelia's minions didn't always have lines, but they generally had a consistency that made us believe they were more than extras of the week. 
No character personified this better than the dweeby, conflicted, and incredibly short Jonathan, played for all of Buffy's running time by future Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce copywriter Danny Strong. At 5‘2 (still a half inch hanging over me) he was just about the only male that could make the diminutive Sarah Michelle Gellar look tall, something used to great effect for both comical and poignant reasons. 
But wait you say, isn't this month about villains? And now you’re throwing in TWO sympathetic little guys? Settle down, little ones. Remember that Sid may be a heroic demon hunter, but he’s still a ventriloquist’s dummy and hence, still evil. More importantly, dear Jonathan did indeed take on a darker turn as the years continued, flirting with a megalomaniacal alternate universe in the fan-favorite episode Superstar before turning all out evil--well, kinda sorta--in Season 6. Though Jonathan ultimately remained the least nefarious of Buffy's arch nemes--ises, he did indeed contribute to mild acts of civic crimes and for that alone, he earns his place here.

So give it up, wannabe Scoobs: who am I forgetting?


  1. Ah, I also loved Buffy....
    Just watched the whole series in order on DVD. Good times.

  2. Niiiiice. One of those DVD sets one must always have nearby.

  3. LOVE Jonathan, my second favorite BtVS character, thank you for giving him some love here! Off the top of my head for missed diminutive baddies, how about the Anointed One? More obnoxious than villainous, but still. Oh, and the gross baby bezoars from "Bad Eggs".

  4. Leave us not forget Principal Snyder.

  5. You forgot the SmileTime cast. Most of them were tiny.

  6. How about the little old lady in Doublemeat Palace?

  7. I'm slapping myself silly with doublemeat patties!

    Lisa: I think I might have blocked The Anointed One out of my head because I HATE HIM. Good point on the bad eggs though.

    MSB: I should be eaten by a giant snake for forgetting the Snyde!

    Jake: SmileTime is by far my favorite Angel episode ever. I have no excuse to not have it here, so I"ll just make up one and say I was only thinking about Angel.

    Jennaferthelma: I really need to rewatch that episode. I remember really not liking it when it originally aired, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ages better (like The Jacket in S7). And now it's all timely, what with the Taco Bell news!

  8. Wonderful. All Buffy-love is A Good Thing.

    Spike isn't very tall, and is a wonderful villain/Scoobie/hero. Can he count?

  9. How tall is Spike? I always wondered if it was just the shadow of those over 6 footers Angel and Riley that made him seem so short.

  10. James Marsters looks to be about 5'7", though he claims taller. When I've stood next to him for photo-ops he's only seemed to be a couple of inches taller than me.

  11. I read that James Marsters/Spike is my height 5'9". And speaking of DVD sets, I have 2 sets of Buffy and Angel and one is usually loaned out to new converts. :)

  12. I am pretty sure Andrew was short... if not he seemed little :P I LOVED Andrew.

    Lets also all say a big thank you to Netflix for having both BTVS and Angel on streaming... not that I don't have the DVD's but now I don't even have to get up to watch a random episode!

    Also, I too do not like the doublemeat palace episode... though it does have some good moments between Buffy and Tara.

  13. 5'7 or 5'9 still seems tall to the 5'1.5 tall me, and luckily for Marsters, Sarah Michelle Gellar is petite so he never looked TOOO puny. Still dwarfish compared to the man-beasts Riley and Angel I suppose though.

    I'm always so nervous to lend DVDs out (mostly because they usually come back with scratches). That does indeed make the Netflix streams a beautiful, beautiful thing. Almost as beautiful as being able to watch Spartacus: Gods of the Arena without paying for cable!

  14. Yep, good show, but it lost its way there the last few years. (whereas Angel just got better and better into its run)

    Didja ever watch Veronica Mars? Also a very good show you can stream on Netflix right now.

  15. I beg to differ. I think season 5 is actually the best in terms of its big story and wasted no episodes. 6 has some spectacular moments and sure, it gets dark, but it's got the NERDS! 7 is scattered and one my least favorites, but it's aged surprisingly well...I think.

    You're totally right about Angel though. Definitely hits its stride in its later seasons and the final year was amazing.