This is part of a bi-weekly series concerning the characterization of Buffyverse characters. The first installment in this series can be found here. Arguably the best place to begin reading this series is at the beginning, but that is up to each reader. As a reminder this column will cover major and some minor characters from the shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and Angel (1999-2004). Other Buffyverse media, such as the graphic novel Spike: Into The Light (2014) are not pertinent to this series. Also there will be no referencing real world events in this bi-weekly series
This week: Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) engages in underage drinking with mystical beer. Meanwhile Oz (Seth Green) displays interest in a new singer.
(Warning of spoilers from this point on!)
Buffy starts out the episode fantasizing and pining for Parker Abrams (Adam Kaufman). Throughout the rest of the episode she acts in a comedic fashion as she becomes Cave Buffy. Though she never truly loses her senses while under the beer curse, she does seemingly forget her strength. Whether or not this is just her holding back when Xander (Nicholas Brendon), and later Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), deny her beer is unclear. As for character growth she finally gets over Parker.
Xander Harris gets a lot of screen time in this episode. Unfortunately, these scenes mainly consist of him looking on in confusion. But he shows signs of growth with his first on-screen job. His presence is also still comedic at times, such as with a running joke that ends with a no smoking sign. Yet, his impact on the plot is more as a device than as a character.
Rupert Giles gets neither character growth or regression in this episode. He simply exists to enhance the comedic moments.
Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Oz have very little to do in this episode. Of the two, Willow gets the most screen time, but possibly less character growth — a side effect of taking part in two plots this episode. Something akin to advancement is the renewal of her waning confidence in both herself and relationship with Oz. Although, in this case, it is genuine due to Oz being either apathetic or ignorant of Willow’s feelings, especially pertaining to Veruca (Paige Moss). The only growth he has is the obvious — and sudden — attraction to Veruca.
Parker Abrams is duplicitous when conversing with Willow in an attempt to sleep with her. Other than that character trait, Parker exists only as someone for Buffy to pine over.
Professor Maggie Walsh (Lindsay Crouse) is just a college teacher giving a lecture. Thus, her inclusion here is just to espouse psychological context to Buffy’s pining for Parker.
Riley Finn (Marc Blucas) displays questionable ethics by failing to show concern for Buffy being in a bar despite her underage status. Also, he reveals a small amount of interest in Buffy despite her not doing the same.
Veruca is a mysterious singer. Other than apparently treating Willow badly, and enamoring Oz, there isn’t anything to her.
Jack (Steven M. Porter) is a menace with the mystical beer, but it is arguable whether he is a true villain. His motives are realistic despite his desire for revenge — and his method of doing so — on college kids being purely for the plot.
Kip (Jake Philips), Hunt (Kal Penn), Colm (Eric Matheny), and Roy (Bryan Cuprill) are all stereotypical college jerks. Besides being overly confident braggarts about their areas of study they also serve as physical threats.
Paula (Lisa Johnson), Stoner (Cameron Bender), Driver (Joshua Wheeler) Young Woman (Kate Luhr), the Bassist (Carla Betz), College Kid #1 (Patrick Belton), College Kid #2 (Kaycee Shank) and College Kid #3 (Steven Jang) are all extras. Yes, Paula and the Driver have lines, but like the rest they are simply plot devices.
This episode is extremely light on character growth. What there is of it either wraps up (Buffy’s fascination with Parker) or sets-up threads for the future (Xander’s job search).
This is part of a bi-weekly series concerning the characterization of Buffyverse characters. The first installment in this series canCOMICONRead More