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Revisiting AOQ Review 1-6: "The Pack"

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Apteryx

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Mar 20, 2007, 2:44:44 AM3/20/07
to
> From: "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com>
> Date: Jan 15 2006, 3:55 pm
> Subject: AOQ Review 1-6: "The Pack"
> To: alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer
>
>
> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season One, Episode 6: "The Pack"
> (or "grrrr... arrrrgg")
> Writers: Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> Insert your own Therian joke here.
> [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> Therianthropy#Modern_subcultural_use_of_...]
>
> Bruce Seth Green, the series' first repeat director, seems to draw
> all the fundamentally ridiculous people-who-are-animals shows, based
> on
> our sample size of two. "Teacher's Pet," as regular watchers
> will recall, was saved only by the fact that the scenes not related to
> giant mantises were pretty good, but anything related to Xander acting
> weird and/or animals disguised as people was appallingly bad. This
> episode is also uses a Stock Fantasy Plot, features animals in human
> form, and Xander acting out of character. But the difference between
> the two shows is night and day; "The Pack" succeeds everywhere
> where "Teacher's Pet" failed.
>
> The best episodes of the show so far ["Witch" in particular] have
> used their supernatural stories as extensions of normal human behavior
> - that way the show can work as both a fantasy/action deal and a
> "serious" drama. "The Pack" sets up our wolfpack (or
> hyena-pack, as the case may be) as your prototypical juvenile
> delinquents; kids who actually live for the visceral thrill of hurting
> other people. Xander's line early in the show sums things up nicely:
> there's a set of them in almost any high school you can find. Most
> confine themselves to your basic bullying, but occasionally a pack of
> kids will emerge that's a little more out-of-control, a little more
> contemptuous of authority, and then they become frightening. So enter
> this episode, which uses its monster story to push things along a
> little, but works because even though the plot is ludicrous, we know
> the behavior, and it scares us.

Metaphor is what BtVS lives and breathes by. And metaphors are generally
either good or harmless. A metaphor generally only takes a second to make, a
passing reference, so even if its a bit dull you can just let it go -
there'll be another one along in a minute. But when you stretch that
metaphor out for 40 minutes and make everything in your show relate to it,
you've got yourself an allegory, and an allegory is a much more dangerous
beast. Because they take up much more or my time, I expect an allegory to
say something interesting or useful about whatever it is comparing the
surface events to. If it doesn't, I'm likely to think my time has been
wasted. Here the suggestion is that gang bullying is much like pack
predation. Which is pretty banal, and not very useful (the treatment for
bullying that this allegory would suggest - making sure bullies are well fed
before going to school - doesn't seem to work, even though it would work
pretty well for a pack of hyenas). So the allegory is not a plus for me.
That doesn't mean that fun can't be had - in fact there's a great deal of
fun to had in this episode.

> The show nails the right balance of how seriously it takes itself
> during the scene when Buffy goes to Giles for help. His disbelieving
> delivery of what the audience has already figured out ("so, you think
> he's possessed by a hyena?") is quite funny, and makes it clear
> that the show does know how silly the premise is. Buffy being the one
> trying to make is sound less goofy and insisting that he "look stuff
> up" is a nice little role reversal. With that taken care of, the
> show is free to move on and say that whatever the cause, violent teens
> who don't give a fuck are dangerous. The parallel scenes with the
> Pack attacking Flutie and Xander trying to rape Buffy is about the
> best
> fade-to-commercial cliffhanger I can remember thus far in the series.

For the first time in the series, one of the good guys turns evil, and goes
to a pretty dark place. Some grim irony also in the fact that the only
reason he isn't with the rest of the gang, becoming the first of the good
guys to kill an innocent, is that he is too busy trying to rape Buffy.

> We know Buffy could win in a straight fight, but she's handicapped by
> being concerned about not doing any permanent damage to her opponent.
> And the close-up of Flutie's picture sends a signal from writers to
> viewer: "yes, we're quite capable of killing him off. Stick around
> to see if we do." He was great comic relief; I'll miss him.

Not to mention Herbert.

> The Pack themselves aren't so interesting as characters - too much
> like TV Mean Kids as written by 50-year-olds. I also really don't
> buy that half of them are female; one girl I could see, but not two
> out
> of four. And the less said about Over-The-Top TV Nerd Lance, the
> better. But despite the fears raised by the teaser, the episode
> isn't about these people, so those weak scenes do too much damage.
> The show is about the core characters first and foremost, particularly
> Xander and Willow, and the characterization for them is top-notch.
> Granted, Xander isn't himself for most of the episode, but the early
> scenes re-establish him as an actual worthwhile character, and give
> him
> a few good quotables (the line about the Pack mentioned above; "this
> isn't about taking a field trip to the zoo; it's about getting out
> of class" is all right too).

Great line. But this trip to Sunnydale Zoo is I think the first indication
of Sunnydale's flexible size. It's only a one Starbuck Town, and the bad
side of town is only half block from the good side and yet it can support a
zoo. With elephants yet, which aren't easy to feed on a small town budget.

Of course Santa Barbara often stands in for Sunnydale, and a google search
reveals it has a zoo, with elephants (I'm guessing that in fact it's this
zoo). But then google also reveals Santa Barbara has at least 11 Starbucks.

And I like the way he goes into the
> hyena house; the right mix of principle and wannabe macho behavior.
> Testosterone can drive boys to good as well as evil, regardless of
> what
> Giles thinks about it (and what the writers sometimes seem,
> unfortunately, to believe). The rest of the show comes down to
> Brendan
> proving he can do "menacing," and he actually seems more
> comfortable with it than with the inconsistent character he usually
> gets.

Yep. He could have been a great Big Bad.

> When I first saw Our Heroes leave Willow by herself, it seemed like a
> stupid thing to do for a different reason than the one the show gives.
> It wouldn't be beyond BTVS's sometimes-shoddy character work to
> have her be taken in and let Xander out of his cage. I shouldn't
> have worried. The second half of the episode gives Willow some good
> moments. She knows Xander well enough to know when something's
> wrong. She's a little out of her league as always, but ready to suck
> it up and trade logic with him during the library scene, and then
> there's her reaction to his grabbing at her: "now I know."

Very tricky, our Will.

> She
> quickly puts things together when the Pack is surrounding the library,
> and doesn't let anyone waste time apologizing to her later. And
> she's a bit caught off guard by the zookeeper but quickly figures out
> what's up there too. I love Willow. She gives a good name to us
> normal non-Slayer types.
>
> You know, it's always nice to see fights in the dark where it's
> actually possible to tell what's going on. Other directorial
> highlights of "The Pack": the animal's-eye-perspective that seems
> scary but is actually the introduction of Herbert (nice sig, Ken) is a
> little silly, but fun. The musical dialogue-free montages work nicely
> (the dodgeball game itself is dull, just sending the message of
> "balls are being thrown," but once the music changes, the actors'
> facial expressions carry the scene. The "Pack prowling" sequence
> also works well, and wouldn't you walk in a confident prowl if you
> had a slow metal song ringing in your head constantly?).
>
> There were bits of plotting I didn't mention (Buffy's plan, the
> zookeeper's secret, etc., etc.), but just assume that they were good
> unless I say otherwise. That ending scene sends us off on an
> interesting note. Xander's little hug for Willow works with or
> without the revelation a minute later, and the fact that he'd keep
> things to himself... well, you decide if it's sweet or wussy, but
> either way, it's a Xander thing to do. This does unfortunately set
> the stage for a reset-button ending, and I really hope the
> ramifications aren't dropped entirely. At the very least, he should
> have a whole new kind of discomfort to work through when around Buffy.

The legal and news media ramifications alone would be enormous if Sunnydale
people weren't such forgive and forget types, even assuming Buffy wouldn't
press charges against Xander. What happens to school kids who murder and eat
their principal, and their only defence is "We were possessed by hyenas"?
And wouldn't the news media be just a teensy bit interested in the story?
And Buffy certainly could argue self defence as her reason for feeding the
zookeeper to the hyenas, but wouldn't there are least be a police
investigation normally?


> So....
>
> One-sentence summary: Appropriately creepy with great character work;
> tasty.
>
> AOQ rating: Excellent

Given I don't really go for the allegory, I wouldn't rate it that high. But
the story itself is exciting enough, so for me its Good. It's my 48th
favourite BtVS episode, 8th best in season 1

Apteryx


Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Mar 20, 2007, 3:25:23 AM3/20/07
to
Apteryx wrote:
> > From: "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com>

> Metaphor is what BtVS lives and breathes by. And metaphors are generally


> either good or harmless. A metaphor generally only takes a second to make, a
> passing reference, so even if its a bit dull you can just let it go -
> there'll be another one along in a minute. But when you stretch that
> metaphor out for 40 minutes and make everything in your show relate to it,
> you've got yourself an allegory, and an allegory is a much more dangerous
> beast. Because they take up much more or my time, I expect an allegory to
> say something interesting or useful about whatever it is comparing the
> surface events to. If it doesn't, I'm likely to think my time has been
> wasted. Here the suggestion is that gang bullying is much like pack
> predation. Which is pretty banal, and not very useful (the treatment for
> bullying that this allegory would suggest - making sure bullies are well fed
> before going to school - doesn't seem to work, even though it would work
> pretty well for a pack of hyenas). So the allegory is not a plus for me.

I don't separate allegory from metaphor by the amount of time
elapsed. If this episode were forty minutes of some kids we'd never
seen before acting like animals, I might have the same complaint.
Although I would say that it does a good job translating the fear that
animalistic behavior brings out in more normal people very nicely,
even if it doesn't say much about it. But this episode is all about
it happening to Xander, and Joss is entirely right (in his list of
favorite episodes that he didn't direct, from the Chosen Collection
manual) that the episode wouldn't have worked without it. We, through
Willow and Buffy, get betrayed by one of our friends being taken over
by the impulses that, much as he might try to deny it, are part of
him. It's thrillingly twisted stuff, and I don't need a message
beyond that.

> The rest of the show comes down to
> > Brendan
> > proving he can do "menacing," and he actually seems more
> > comfortable with it than with the inconsistent character he usually
> > gets.
>
> Yep. He could have been a great Big Bad.

Maybe a "dark" version of a good guy could still be a Big Bad later in
the show.

Strong performance from Nick Brendon. So much of the emotional core
of the episode rests on Xander that he has to be convincing, and he
delivers. And then he redeems himself at the end, but it gets to me
the way his only method of coping with what's happened is to try to
forgettyitis it. It's good to see a Xander episode approach this
level of weightiness. As discussed in the original review, a great
week for Willow too; Buffy's a little more in the background, but she
kicks ass whilst taking names.

I have a strong nostalgic attachment to this one. I liked BTVS before
"The Pack," but this is the one that made me care about these people,
and pretty much a lifelong fan. It holds up great on re-watching, a
much needed breath of dark air and pain to a series that always has it
lurking beneath the surface. Still an Excellent for me, and the first
of the series using my revised ratings.

-AOQ

Michael Ikeda

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Mar 20, 2007, 6:23:48 PM3/20/07
to
"Apteryx" <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote in
news:etnvsu$boo$1...@aioe.org:

>> From: "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com>
>> Date: Jan 15 2006, 3:55 pm
>> Subject: AOQ Review 1-6: "The Pack"
>> To: alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer
>>
>>
>> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these
>> review threads.
>>
>> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
>> Season One, Episode 6: "The Pack"
>> (or "grrrr... arrrrgg")
>> Writers: Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer
>> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>>

>> There were bits of plotting I didn't mention (Buffy's plan, the


>> zookeeper's secret, etc., etc.), but just assume that they were
>> good unless I say otherwise. That ending scene sends us off on
>> an interesting note. Xander's little hug for Willow works with
>> or without the revelation a minute later, and the fact that
>> he'd keep things to himself... well, you decide if it's sweet
>> or wussy, but either way, it's a Xander thing to do. This does
>> unfortunately set the stage for a reset-button ending, and I
>> really hope the ramifications aren't dropped entirely. At the
>> very least, he should have a whole new kind of discomfort to
>> work through when around Buffy.
>
> The legal and news media ramifications alone would be enormous
> if Sunnydale people weren't such forgive and forget types, even
> assuming Buffy wouldn't press charges against Xander. What
> happens to school kids who murder and eat their principal, and
> their only defence is "We were possessed by hyenas"?

But you see, it wasn't schoolkids. It was wild dogs...

--
Michael Ikeda mmi...@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association

chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

unread,
Mar 21, 2007, 1:59:55 PM3/21/07
to
Apteryx <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote:
>> From: "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com>
>> Date: Jan 15 2006, 3:55 pm
>> Subject: AOQ Review 1-6: "The Pack"
>> To: alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer

.
>> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
>> Season One, Episode 6: "The Pack"
>> (or "grrrr... arrrrgg")
>> Writers: Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer
>> Director: Bruce Seth Green

.


>> there's a set of them in almost any high school you can find. Most
>> confine themselves to your basic bullying, but occasionally a pack of
>> kids will emerge that's a little more out-of-control, a little more
>> contemptuous of authority, and then they become frightening. So enter
>> this episode, which uses its monster story to push things along a
>> little, but works because even though the plot is ludicrous, we know
>> the behavior, and it scares us.

This is the main plot element that makes The Pack the success it is. (I
specify plot element because there's also some very strong acting in
there, and a few great visuals.) No matter how laughable the viewer might
find animal possession stories, the possessed kids' predatory behavior is
something any person can recognize from real life. This might not make
for a stronger metaphor (or allegory), but it does make for a gripping
story.

>> The show nails the right balance of how seriously it takes itself
>> during the scene when Buffy goes to Giles for help. His disbelieving
>> delivery of what the audience has already figured out ("so, you think
>> he's possessed by a hyena?") is quite funny, and makes it clear
>> that the show does know how silly the premise is.

"It's devastating. He's turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. Of course
you'll have to kill him."

> For the first time in the series, one of the good guys turns evil, and goes
> to a pretty dark place. Some grim irony also in the fact that the only
> reason he isn't with the rest of the gang, becoming the first of the good
> guys to kill an innocent, is that he is too busy trying to rape Buffy.

And all this happens to the good guy who is closest to being a comic
relief character.

>> The Pack themselves aren't so interesting as characters - too much
>> like TV Mean Kids as written by 50-year-olds. I also really don't
>> buy that half of them are female; one girl I could see, but not two
>> out
>> of four.

It does seem a little unlikely, but not impossible. And on the plus side,
they're pleasing to the eye. (And since they don't do as good a job as
SMG and AH at looking under 18, I don't have to feel so much like a dirty
old man for thinking that.)

>> And the less said about Over-The-Top TV Nerd Lance, the better.

I would mention briefly his reluctance to tell on the bullies -- he
doesn't just look afraid of retribution, he's also hoping to win the
approval or at least toleration of the mean kids. It's not a profound
insight, but it rings true, and reminds us of the pack-like behavior many
teens (and adults) can display even without being possessed by hyenas.

>> The show is about the core characters first and foremost, particularly
>> Xander and Willow, and the characterization for them is top-notch.

One minor bit that always catches my ear is Willow saying that she and
Xander haven't always been close, which would seem to contradict the canon
that they've been lifelong best friends. My interpretation is that Willow
and Xander became best friends in preschool, but that there have been a
few periods between then and 10th grade when they've temporarily drifted
apart. Perhaps Xander went through a "girls are icky" phase when he was
9 or 10 and started hanging out with Jesse more, but eventually drifted
back to spending most of his time with Willow. (Because really, who
wouldn't?)

HyenaXander is a aware that Willow is in love with him, something that
regular Xander previously seemed clueless about. Was that cluelessness
always a deliberate act, or did it take HyenaXander to consciously realize
something that NormalXander only new subconsciously? I vote for the
latter.

>> And I like the way he goes into the
>> hyena house; the right mix of principle and wannabe macho behavior.
>> Testosterone can drive boys to good as well as evil, regardless of
>> what
>> Giles thinks about it

Yeah, but it's traditional for us old men to be unfair to young men like
that.

>> unfortunately, to believe). The rest of the show comes down to
>> Brendan
>> proving he can do "menacing," and he actually seems more
>> comfortable with it than with the inconsistent character he usually
>> gets.
>
> Yep. He could have been a great Big Bad.

It's a shame they didn't explore that side of him more. We got a little
in The Wish, though there he was overshadowed by VampWillow. Oh, and of
course Xander was *totally* villainous when he criticized or hurt or
fought with [insert your favorite character here].

>> When I first saw Our Heroes leave Willow by herself, it seemed like a
>> stupid thing to do for a different reason than the one the show gives.
>> It wouldn't be beyond BTVS's sometimes-shoddy character work to
>> have her be taken in and let Xander out of his cage. I shouldn't
>> have worried. The second half of the episode gives Willow some good
>> moments. She knows Xander well enough to know when something's
>> wrong. She's a little out of her league as always, but ready to suck
>> it up and trade logic with him during the library scene, and then
>> there's her reaction to his grabbing at her: "now I know."

Great moment. I also liked it that when the pack broke into the library,
Willow immediately ran like hell, when the writers might have had her
stand still and scream. She can keep her head in a crisis.

>> facial expressions carry the scene. The "Pack prowling" sequence
>> also works well, and wouldn't you walk in a confident prowl if you
>> had a slow metal song ringing in your head constantly?).

No, it's never really done much for me....

>> There were bits of plotting I didn't mention (Buffy's plan, the
>> zookeeper's secret, etc., etc.), but just assume that they were good
>> unless I say otherwise. That ending scene sends us off on an
>> interesting note. Xander's little hug for Willow works with or
>> without the revelation a minute later, and the fact that he'd keep
>> things to himself... well, you decide if it's sweet or wussy, but
>> either way, it's a Xander thing to do.

It can be both sweet and wussy. (Buffy and Willow were definitely sweet.)
Pretending not to remember does more than avoid the awkwardness
apologizing to his friends (and the confusion -- how do you say it wasn't
me, but I'm sorry anyway?) It's also Xander's way of distancing himself
from his hyena days, reassuring himself that it was all just the spell and
none of that darkness came from within.

I've never understood Buffy's nickname for the mean kids, the "dode
patrol." Is that an abbreviation for something, or a reference I didn't
get?

>> AOQ rating: Excellent

Excellent in my book too.


--Chris

______________________________________________________________________
chrisg [at] gwu.edu On the Internet, nobody knows I'm a dog.

mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

unread,
Mar 21, 2007, 2:23:44 PM3/21/07
to
> there, and a few great visuals.) No matter how laughable the viewer might
> find animal possession stories, the possessed kids' predatory behavior is
> something any person can recognize from real life. This might not make

ive never heard of eating a principal in real life

maybe a teacher but then she goes to jail afterward

> >> The Pack themselves aren't so interesting as characters - too much
> >> like TV Mean Kids as written by 50-year-olds. I also really don't
> >> buy that half of them are female; one girl I could see, but not two
> >> out
> >> of four.
>
> It does seem a little unlikely, but not impossible. And on the plus side,

technically hyenas are matriarchial with males mostly by themselves
except when the pack neeeds a sperm donor

> HyenaXander is a aware that Willow is in love with him, something that
> regular Xander previously seemed clueless about. Was that cluelessness
> always a deliberate act, or did it take HyenaXander to consciously realize
> something that NormalXander only new subconsciously? I vote for the
> latter.

it could be xander has placed her in the sister category
and then suppresses such thoughts as inappropriate
possessed xander is not bound by the usual mores
and seems to regard everyone outside the pack as prey (one way or another)

meow arf meow - they are performing horrible experiments in space
major grubert is watching you - beware the bakalite
impeach the bastard - the airtight garage has you neo

Rowan Hawthorn

unread,
Mar 21, 2007, 4:58:05 PM3/21/07
to
chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:
>
> I've never understood Buffy's nickname for the mean kids, the "dode
> patrol." Is that an abbreviation for something, or a reference I didn't
> get?
>

I always assumed she meant "Dodo." That's also what the transcript has,
but it's clear she doesn't actually *say* that, unless there was an
audio glitch on the DVD that made it come out that way.

--
Rowan Hawthorn

"Occasionally, I'm callous and strange." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer"

One Bit Shy

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Mar 22, 2007, 12:40:51 AM3/22/07
to
<chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu> wrote in message
news:1302skr...@corp.supernews.com...

> Apteryx <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote:
>>> From: "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com>

>>> The show is about the core characters first and foremost, particularly


>>> Xander and Willow, and the characterization for them is top-notch.
>
> One minor bit that always catches my ear is Willow saying that she and
> Xander haven't always been close, which would seem to contradict the canon
> that they've been lifelong best friends. My interpretation is that Willow
> and Xander became best friends in preschool, but that there have been a
> few periods between then and 10th grade when they've temporarily drifted
> apart. Perhaps Xander went through a "girls are icky" phase when he was
> 9 or 10 and started hanging out with Jesse more, but eventually drifted
> back to spending most of his time with Willow. (Because really, who
> wouldn't?)
>
> HyenaXander is a aware that Willow is in love with him, something that
> regular Xander previously seemed clueless about. Was that cluelessness
> always a deliberate act, or did it take HyenaXander to consciously realize
> something that NormalXander only new subconsciously? I vote for the
> latter.

Hyena Xander overheard Willow and Buffy talking (the scene you mention
above), when he would have heard Willow crying and talking about how the
problem must be her and how Xander doesn't have the same problem with Buffy.
I assume he still retained enough of Xander's brain to put that together and
realize Willow was pining for him.

The interesting question to me is whether there is any sign afterwards that
Xander knows of Willow's feelings. There ought to be.


OBS


One Bit Shy

unread,
Mar 22, 2007, 1:03:57 AM3/22/07
to

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1174375523....@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

Whether it's allegory or metaphor, I don't understand the seeming assumption
that it must impart a message in itself. Why can't it be a departure point
for defining an interesting way for people to act? One that creates in
story drama even if nothing especially useful transfers back to the item
being compared to.

I suppose that could lead to the question of a metaphor's direction. Is the
hyena possession being used to describe teen bullying? Or is teen bullying
being used as a model for how hyena possession would work? But I probably
don't want to get caught in that type of discussion again... <g>


> But this episode is all about
> it happening to Xander, and Joss is entirely right (in his list of
> favorite episodes that he didn't direct, from the Chosen Collection
> manual) that the episode wouldn't have worked without it. We, through
> Willow and Buffy, get betrayed by one of our friends being taken over
> by the impulses that, much as he might try to deny it, are part of
> him. It's thrillingly twisted stuff, and I don't need a message
> beyond that.

Mixed into hyena-Xander are some interesting messages. Such as his
conversation with Willow while caged.

Willow: That's not fair. Buffy saved both of our lives.
Xander: Before she came here our lives didn't need that much saving, did
they? Weren't things a lot simpler when it was just you and me?

We've just gone through a series of episodes showing how being a Slayer
messes with Buffy's life. At the start of this episode we see a slightly
depressed Buffy as reminder. (She's specifically being treated as an
outcast.) And then smiling, cheerful Willow and Xander show up to put her
in a good mood. Well, now we start impacting her friends. Much of the
conversation with Willow is interesting from that point of view - such as
Xander saying to Willow that she's just doing what she's told.

Another interesting moment is found in the confrontation between Xander and
Buffy.

Xander: Is that what you really want? We both know what you really want.
You want danger, don't cha? You like your men dangerous.

It's an ugly scene, and Buffy surely doesn't want what Xander is offering.
But he's not wrong either. Perceptive Xander take two. Cue Angel.

OBS


Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Mar 22, 2007, 2:11:23 AM3/22/07
to
On Mar 21, 11:40 pm, "One Bit Shy" <O...@nomail.sorry> wrote:
> <chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu> wrote in message

> > HyenaXander is a aware that Willow is in love with him, something that
> > regular Xander previously seemed clueless about. Was that cluelessness
> > always a deliberate act, or did it take HyenaXander to consciously realize
> > something that NormalXander only new subconsciously? I vote for the
> > latter.
>
> Hyena Xander overheard Willow and Buffy talking (the scene you mention
> above), when he would have heard Willow crying and talking about how the
> problem must be her and how Xander doesn't have the same problem with Buffy.
> I assume he still retained enough of Xander's brain to put that together and
> realize Willow was pining for him.

Either that or he's just caught up in the headrush and assumes that
everyone who's female wants a taste of him and just won't admit it.

> The interesting question to me is whether there is any sign afterwards that
> Xander knows of Willow's feelings. There ought to be.

Well, "The Pack" in general ought to be treated as something that
resonates, leads to some temporary or permanent changes in
perception. Instead, the only long-term purpose it really serves,
other than the change in principals, is for throwaway back-
references. The way my mind works, I blame the rest of the season
rather than this episode, but I say that it's a shame, and one of the
biggest gaps in the series's usually strong character continuity.

-AOQ

Don Sample

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Mar 22, 2007, 2:48:54 AM3/22/07
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In article <130426l...@news.supernews.com>,

"One Bit Shy" <O...@nomail.sorry> wrote:

There is. For example in "Prophecy Girl" when he asks Willow to come to
the Prom with him, after Buffy turned him down:

Willow: "You think I wanna go to the dance with you and watch
you wish you were at the dance with her? You think
that's my idea of hijinks? You should know better."

Xander: "I didn't think."

Xander knows how Willow feels about him, but he just wants to keep her
as a friend, so he keeps going on being deliberately oblivious.

--
Quando omni flunkus moritati
Visit the Buffy Body Count at <http://homepage.mac.com/dsample/>

Don Sample

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Mar 22, 2007, 2:56:48 AM3/22/07
to
In article <1174543883.4...@y66g2000hsf.googlegroups.com>,

Xander knew how Willow felt about him, but he didn't feel that way about
her, so he just kept on being her friend. There was the whole
unrequited love chain going on in the first couple of seasons with
Willow pining for Xander who was pining for Buffy, and they all knew it,
but Buffy wasn't interested in Xander that way, and Xander wasn't
interested in Willow that way, so they all pretended to ignore it, and
just stayed as friends.

One Bit Shy

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Mar 22, 2007, 3:06:16 PM3/22/07
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"Don Sample" <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote in message
news:dsample-211FC2...@news.giganews.com...

That's quite possible - and logical. Teenagers can certainly ignore an
issue every bit as easily as obsess on one. I just struggled being able to
tell if that was the reason. The Prophecy Girl moment might suggest that.
But Willow's remark and Xander's response makes sense even if Willow wasn't
pining for him. She'd want an event like that to be about her no matter who
took her - not about the date the guy couldn't get.

But maybe I'm going about it all wrong and The Pack is intended to be the
thing that shows us he's pretending not to know.

OBS


One Bit Shy

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Mar 22, 2007, 3:26:15 PM3/22/07
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"Apteryx" <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote in message
news:etnvsu$boo$1...@aioe.org...

>> From: "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com>

>> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER


>> Season One, Episode 6: "The Pack"

>> So....
>>
>> One-sentence summary: Appropriately creepy with great character work;
>> tasty.
>>
>> AOQ rating: Excellent
>
> Given I don't really go for the allegory, I wouldn't rate it that high.
> But the story itself is exciting enough, so for me its Good. It's my 48th
> favourite BtVS episode, 8th best in season 1

I run a little hot and cold with this episode. The episode is quite
striking - and tells us a lot about how far the series is willing to go.
Killing off a substantial (and sort of nice) recurring character. Making
one of the good guy stars go bad and actually attempt to rape the title
character... This is a lot darker than the show seemed previously. I mean,
the concept of vampire hunter is already dark, but the show had only toyed
at diving into those depths - and eased everything with a lot of humor.
There's humor here too - and a light hearted finish - but that can't cover
how harsh this episode is in places. The emotion gets ratcheted up a notch
with how disturbing it is to see Xander turn mean and to see Willow break
down in tears over it.

Some of the images are pretty evocative too. Xander and fellow hyenas on
the prowl to the beat of heavy metal may not have been the best rock video,
but it sure got across the idea of a pack of bullies looking for trouble.

Much of this works very well. However, it also feels a little discordant to
me in that it doesn't exactly feel like a BtVS episode. A lot of color rich
bright daytime shots. The aforementioned slo-mo rock music bit. There's a
curious mood shot of lightening striking the ground that's nothing like the
show's style before and after. None of it is bad, but it seems like I'm
watching another TV show.

And then there's all the plain meanness of it. Which makes sense, being
about mean teenagers after all. But there's a lot of it that makes for a
bit of an oppressive feel to the episode.... Depending on your mood going
in I guess. Sometimes this hits me more or less than other times.

I think I'll give it a Good rating with a nod for it aggressively pushing
the show to new places. But it's hard for me to truly love the episode
since an awful lot of it is kind of icky.

OBS


William George Ferguson

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Mar 22, 2007, 4:02:04 PM3/22/07
to

I always took it that way. In season 2, he tells Buffy, more or less
straight out, that he knows how Willow feels, and he just doesn't feel that
way about her. Willow, of course, overhears, which leads to:

Buffy: Hey!
Willow: Oh! Yes. I'm caring about mummies.
Buffy: Ampata's only staying two weeks.
Willow: Yeah. And then Xander can find someone else who's not me to obsess
about. At least with you I knew he didn't have a shot. Well, you
know, I have a choice. I can spend my life waiting for Xander to
go out with every other girl in the world until he notices me,
or I can just get on with my life.
Buffy: Good for you.
Willow: Wait! I didn't choose yet!

(that conversation also explains why Willow played along with Xander's
Buffy obsession and remained friends with Buffy)


--
... and my sister is a vampire slayer, her best friend is a witch who
went bonkers and tried to destroy the world, um, I actually used to be
a little ball of energy until about two years ago when some monks
changed the past and made me Buffy's sister and for some reason, a big
klepto. My best friends are Leticia Jones, who moved to San Diego
because this town is evil, and a floppy eared demon named Clem.
(Dawn's fantasy of her intro speech in "Lessons", from the shooting script)

Arbitrar Of Quality

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Mar 23, 2007, 1:03:38 AM3/23/07
to
On Mar 22, 2:26 pm, "One Bit Shy" <O...@nomail.sorry> wrote:

> And then there's all the plain meanness of it. Which makes sense, being
> about mean teenagers after all. But there's a lot of it that makes for a
> bit of an oppressive feel to the episode.... Depending on your mood going
> in I guess. Sometimes this hits me more or less than other times.
>
> I think I'll give it a Good rating with a nod for it aggressively pushing
> the show to new places. But it's hard for me to truly love the episode
> since an awful lot of it is kind of icky.

It's gloriously icky, and I love it.

-AOQ
~it does seem a bit dissonant with the mood of the show at this point,
but since "The Pack" is *better* than the gentler episodes, it has my
support. Plus it stands out by contrast~
~~speaking of which, I know some of you on the NG watched _Six Feet
Under_, which I'm finally seeing (mid-S4 now), mostly to keep Mrs. Q.
company after she was such a good sport about _Angel_. I'm not very
impressed, but once in awhile the show will suddenly bust out
something riveting like the second half of "That's My Dog." I was
just wondering whether that was a big polarizing episode~~

Arbitrar Of Quality

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Mar 23, 2007, 1:11:57 AM3/23/07
to
On Mar 22, 3:02 pm, William George Ferguson <wmgfr...@newsguy.com>
wrote:

> On Thu, 22 Mar 2007 15:06:16 -0400, "One Bit Shy" <O...@nomail.sorry> wrote:
>
> >"Don Sample" <dsam...@synapse.net> wrote in message

> >>> The interesting question to me is whether there is any sign afterwards
> >>> that
> >>> Xander knows of Willow's feelings. There ought to be.
>
> >> There is. For example in "Prophecy Girl" when he asks Willow to come to
> >> the Prom with him, after Buffy turned him down:
>
> >> Willow: "You think I wanna go to the dance with you and watch
> >> you wish you were at the dance with her? You think
> >> that's my idea of hijinks? You should know better."
>
> >> Xander: "I didn't think."
>
> >> Xander knows how Willow feels about him, but he just wants to keep her
> >> as a friend, so he keeps going on being deliberately oblivious.

See, that line could just as easily be read as Xander quite simply not
thinking. He doesn't even think of Willow as an eligible girl, or
that they might be anything other than best friends.

> >That's quite possible - and logical. Teenagers can certainly ignore an
> >issue every bit as easily as obsess on one. I just struggled being able to
> >tell if that was the reason. The Prophecy Girl moment might suggest that.
> >But Willow's remark and Xander's response makes sense even if Willow wasn't
> >pining for him. She'd want an event like that to be about her no matter who
> >took her - not about the date the guy couldn't get.
>
> >But maybe I'm going about it all wrong and The Pack is intended to be the
> >thing that shows us he's pretending not to know.
>
> I always took it that way. In season 2, he tells Buffy, more or less
> straight out, that he knows how Willow feels, and he just doesn't feel that
> way about her. Willow, of course, overhears, which leads to:

I looked through the transcript, and I don't see any indication that
he knows how she feels.

Basically, the text doesn't seem like it's going to unequivocably
support either view, but I prefer to think that Xander is oblivious
for one simple reason. If we say that he's clueless, he's annoyingly
and perhaps unrealistically dense. But if we say that he knows
Willow's in love with him, then he's a *dick*, plain and simple.
Watch the scene in "Prophecy Girl" in which he practices his pickup
lines on her with the assumption that he knows she's pining after
him. Ass. Hole. And not in keeping with the character, who's
generally only a jerk in a very reactive, focused, non-arbitrary way.

-AOQ

Michael Ikeda

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Mar 23, 2007, 7:47:27 AM3/23/07
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in
news:1174626717....@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.com:

> Basically, the text doesn't seem like it's going to
> unequivocably support either view, but I prefer to think that
> Xander is oblivious for one simple reason. If we say that he's
> clueless, he's annoyingly and perhaps unrealistically dense.
> But if we say that he knows Willow's in love with him, then he's
> a *dick*, plain and simple. Watch the scene in "Prophecy Girl"
> in which he practices his pickup lines on her with the
> assumption that he knows she's pining after him. Ass. Hole.
> And not in keeping with the character, who's generally only a
> jerk in a very reactive, focused, non-arbitrary way.

Except that:

1) Xander has probably always done things like talk about crushes
etc. with Willow (at least since he started having crushes). An
abrupt change in behavior would be more awkward than continuing as
usual.

2) There's never been any indication that Willow dislikes having
Xander talk to her about crushes, rehearse pickup lines, etc. Willow
actually seems to enjoy it because it allows her to fantasize. And
also because it's a sign of her having a special place in Xander's
life (not the special place she'd most like to have but still...).

Anyway, unless Willow actually says something there isn't any real
need for Xander to change behavior. No need for Xander to reject
Willow before he has to.

chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

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Mar 23, 2007, 11:37:55 AM3/23/07
to
Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> Basically, the text doesn't seem like it's going to unequivocably
> support either view, but I prefer to think that Xander is oblivious
> for one simple reason. If we say that he's clueless, he's annoyingly
> and perhaps unrealistically dense. But if we say that he knows
> Willow's in love with him, then he's a *dick*, plain and simple.
> Watch the scene in "Prophecy Girl" in which he practices his pickup
> lines on her with the assumption that he knows she's pining after
> him. Ass. Hole. And not in keeping with the character, who's
> generally only a jerk in a very reactive, focused, non-arbitrary way.

I agree with all that. It would also be out of character in another way:
Xander is usually not such a good actor, and he rarely if ever has such
good control over his emotions. If he was just pretending the whole time,
I'd expect him to slip up occasionally, or at least occasionally betray
some discomfort at having to maintain the pretense. This is another
reason why I prefer to think Xander was honestly oblivious to Willow's
feelings in season 1 (at least until The Pack, and successfully
suppressing the knowledge afterwards). Things change in the course of
season 2, though.

One Bit Shy

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Mar 23, 2007, 3:35:58 PM3/23/07
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"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1174626717....@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

Hmmm. I think I'm moving towards somewhere in the middle. I get the sense
that Willow's feelings for Xander are stepping forth within her more than
they have in the past. Probably part of her own sexual awakening taking an
existing feeling and adding color and urgency to it. This would be a change
from Xander's point of view - one that he's not ready or eager for. Some of
that would be not seeing Willow that way - wanting to hold onto the simpler
friendship instead. Some of it would be Xander's own innocence where it's
probably easier for him to lust from afar than to deal with it up close. In
that context it would be natural for him to avoid thinking about it and,
especially, ignore any hints at it. A kind of semi-denial where he knows
about it, but avoids facing it at all costs both externally and internally.
All of which is made easier (sort of) by having an established non-sexual
relationship as pals that he already runs to as a safe haven.

His knowledge of Willow's feelings would also be tempered by a degree of
uncertainty that itself is scary for teenagers. Does Willow really feel
that way? How humiliating would it be for Xander to speak of it and be
shown wrong? I note that Willow doesn't say anything about it to Xander
directly. Just a few signals that can be taken other ways. Probably
deliberately since Willow is afraid to confront it herself.

So the Prophecy Girl scenes would have an element of asshole within them -
in the sense that teens (and too many adults for that matter) can act like
assholes all too easily when avoiding feelings. But not in the sense of
deliberately toying with Willow. I think it's fairly clear that he's
genuinely turning to his life-long friend for help and encouragement and
then some small solace. (He has always confided in Willow about his
interest in Buffy after all.) Just not thinking about how it would come
across to Willow. Instead counting on her to understand what he barely has
a grip on himself.

I also would not underestimate how much his obsession and desires for Buffy
could cloud his judgment.

What I like about that approach is that it's so connected to teen angst
about all things around relationships and whatever is sexually tinged. BtVS
at this point is quite consciously about high schoolers growing up - and how
much they fumble at it.

OBS


Arbitrar Of Quality

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Mar 24, 2007, 11:30:08 AM3/24/07
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On Mar 23, 6:47 am, Michael Ikeda <mmik...@erols.com> wrote:

> "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote innews:1174626717....@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.com:
>
> > Basically, the text doesn't seem like it's going to
> > unequivocably support either view, but I prefer to think that
> > Xander is oblivious for one simple reason. If we say that he's
> > clueless, he's annoyingly and perhaps unrealistically dense.
> > But if we say that he knows Willow's in love with him, then he's
> > a *dick*, plain and simple. Watch the scene in "Prophecy Girl"
> > in which he practices his pickup lines on her with the
> > assumption that he knows she's pining after him. Ass. Hole.
> > And not in keeping with the character, who's generally only a
> > jerk in a very reactive, focused, non-arbitrary way.
>
> Except that:
>
> 1) Xander has probably always done things like talk about crushes
> etc. with Willow (at least since he started having crushes). An
> abrupt change in behavior would be more awkward than continuing as
> usual.
>
> 2) There's never been any indication that Willow dislikes having
> Xander talk to her about crushes, rehearse pickup lines, etc. Willow
> actually seems to enjoy it because it allows her to fantasize. And
> also because it's a sign of her having a special place in Xander's
> life (not the special place she'd most like to have but still...).
>
> Anyway, unless Willow actually says something there isn't any real
> need for Xander to change behavior. No need for Xander to reject
> Willow before he has to.

You don't think it's at all nasty to, in the full knowledge that
someone is rather single-mindedly in love with you, fuck with her head
like that? I grant that Xander's not the most perceptive of people so
he might not register the full impact, but that's a sick way to
behave, and I don't see it from him. It only works if there's a
strong level of denial (see OBS's post) or just total cluelessness
(which is what I think the show gives us. I'm also not sure I feel
the need to think that Xander had any special insight into Willow's
feelings when he was a hyena, except by accident, other than that he
ascribed the same mate-seeking behaviors to everyone).

-AOQ

Don Sample

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Mar 24, 2007, 4:12:27 PM3/24/07
to
In article <1174750208....@y66g2000hsf.googlegroups.com>,

He isn't fucking with her head. He isn't pretending to ask Willow out,
and then saying "ha ha, I'm just practising my Buffy pickup lines." She
knew right from the start that was what he was doing. She may have even
invited him to test out his lines on her.

Michael Ikeda

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Mar 24, 2007, 6:06:33 PM3/24/07
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Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote in
news:dsample-5DE3DE...@news.giganews.com:

And Willow suggests that Xander keep practicing his lines on her:

Xander: I'm ready. I wanna do it now. I *gotta* do it now.
Willow: Oh, Buffy's not here. You can practice on me some more.

As I said above, aside from the fantasizing, Willow likes having a
part of Xander's life that's just, you know, hers.

chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

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Mar 25, 2007, 3:47:57 PM3/25/07
to
Rowan Hawthorn <rowan_h...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>> I've never understood Buffy's nickname for the mean kids, the "dode
>> patrol." Is that an abbreviation for something, or a reference I didn't
>> get?
>
> I always assumed she meant "Dodo." That's also what the transcript has,
> but it's clear she doesn't actually *say* that, unless there was an
> audio glitch on the DVD that made it come out that way.

It just occurred to me that I could check the script book. It says "dode
patrol" too. I guess it could still be short for "dodo," though the fat
and harmless dodo was the very opposite of hyena-like. I still can't
think of anything else it could refer to, though.

Rowan Hawthorn

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Mar 25, 2007, 10:53:20 PM3/25/07
to
chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:
> Rowan Hawthorn <rowan_h...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>>> I've never understood Buffy's nickname for the mean kids, the "dode
>>> patrol." Is that an abbreviation for something, or a reference I didn't
>>> get?
>> I always assumed she meant "Dodo." That's also what the transcript has,
>> but it's clear she doesn't actually *say* that, unless there was an
>> audio glitch on the DVD that made it come out that way.
>
> It just occurred to me that I could check the script book. It says "dode
> patrol" too.

Really? Must be a later revision than the shooting script I have, which
is considerably different in the dialogue. The one have says this:

WILLOW: I've been friends with Xander since we were five. Now first
chance he gets, he insults me to join the "Soshes." -- And it's my
fault. (off Buffy) Because I'm not like you!

Willow begins to cry and Buffy hugs her, confused. She's a Slayer, not a
psychiatrist.

BUFFY: Hey c'mon, Willow -- I'm no Sosh.

WILLOW: No, but you're cool enough to be one. He wants you in -- you saw
how he treated you last night at the Bronze --

BUFFY: Willow -- that wasn't Xander last night. That was Buddy Love.

WILLOW: No, it's just like those Zoo videos said about the Animal
Kingdom -- high school as a Pecking Order --

Willow looks up, tears in her eyes.

WILLOW: And I just have to face it -- I'm a really low peck.

BUFFY: Pity-party over. Look, it's not just you that Xander and the rest
of the Attack Pack are harshing.

> I guess it could still be short for "dodo," though the fat
> and harmless dodo was the very opposite of hyena-like. I still can't
> think of anything else it could refer to, though.

The dodo also has a reputation for being stupid, which is what I figured
Buffy was getting at: just calling them stupid in a round-about way.

One Bit Shy

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Mar 25, 2007, 10:59:32 PM3/25/07
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"Rowan Hawthorn" <rowan_h...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:k8CdnXrVyKs...@giganews.com...

What the hell is a "Sosh"?

OBS


mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Mar 25, 2007, 11:06:21 PM3/25/07
to
In article <130dkfd...@corp.supernews.com>,
chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:

> Rowan Hawthorn <rowan_h...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> >> I've never understood Buffy's nickname for the mean kids, the "dode
> >> patrol." Is that an abbreviation for something, or a reference I didn't
> >> get?
> >
> > I always assumed she meant "Dodo." That's also what the transcript has,
> > but it's clear she doesn't actually *say* that, unless there was an
> > audio glitch on the DVD that made it come out that way.
>
> It just occurred to me that I could check the script book. It says "dode
> patrol" too. I guess it could still be short for "dodo," though the fat
> and harmless dodo was the very opposite of hyena-like. I still can't
> think of anything else it could refer to, though.

i think its supposed to be a deragatory degradation of dude
perhaps the result of breeding a dude with doofus

so it would translate as the idiot patrol

mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Mar 25, 2007, 11:10:38 PM3/25/07
to
> What the hell is a "Sosh"?

its from an old gold the whoopi song

all the young sosh
all the young sosh

all the young sosh
all the young sosh

(repeated ad nauseaum)

Don Sample

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Mar 25, 2007, 11:20:20 PM3/25/07
to
In article <130edol...@news.supernews.com>,

I don't know, but that bit is from an early writer's draft script, not
the completed script. Flutie doesn't even get eaten in it. (Someone
else, a student named "Bobby," becomes the main meal of the pack.)

Rowan Hawthorn

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Mar 26, 2007, 1:06:11 AM3/26/07
to

Yeah, there's a *lot* of differences in it from the final. All of the
scripts I have are in various stages of draft, but it's interesting to
compare them to the aired version.

(Sosh: stuck-up, snooty, thinks they are better than everyone else.)

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