Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tough Love

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Ace: C+ | 2 USERS: B
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Scenes from a passport office

Buffy: "You lied to me?" Buffy and Dawn are in a meeting with the principal of Dawn's school. It seems little Dawnie has started some school-skipping ways and Buffy has just been notified. Valiantly fighting for her life against a dastardly demon disguised as a man's necktie that's tied tightly around her neck, Buffy apologizes to the principal and explains "the last few months" have been difficult for the Summers girls. More condolences on Joyce's death from the principal, who then gives the usual administrator's speech about what a talented underachiever Dawn is. Memories of my entire school career wash over me. Oh, yeah. "You test scores indicate you could be doing better, Ace." "With your skills I expected more, Ace." Feh. Uh, right, recap. The principal sends Dawn out of the room and prepares to say something to Buffy.

Der Zauber Kasten. Willow and Xander are sitting at the round table in the back, and Anya is peering at some older customers. Oh god, I smell some "Anya makes insensitive comments about the aged" humor coming on. Xander tells her not to watch the customers, and Anya accuses said customers of being unpatriotic. Oh god. I called it wrong. We're going to get jingoistic humor, not ageism humor. Hey, Xander cut his hair. Finally. It looks nice, except, um, it draws attention to his double chin. Well, better luck next time, Nicky. Anya: I'm an American, a patriot, a capitalist, and I don't like old French people. Entire viewing audience: You are a waste of airtime and nobody cares. Buffy enters the shop with Dawn (sulking) in tow. She tells the gang she's now officially withdrawn from school, but is planning to return next semester. Xander offers his support. Sweet. Buffy then says she needs to speak with Giles, and leaves Dawn with instructions to do her homework.

In the training room, it seems that Buffy has explained the school-skipping to Giles. She worriedly tells him she doesn't know what to do, and Giles suggests she "put her foot down." Well, yeah, I guess, but I hope she puts it down in a compassionate, loving way. I mean, as if being fourteen isn't hard enough all by itself, Dawn has also recently had a very ill mother who then died, and has also discovered that she's the outcome of a complicated magical spell. Buffy starts begging Giles to play the disciplinarian with Dawn, but he demurs. "Dawn needs an authority figure. A strong guiding hand. She'll listen to you." Giles scoffs, "Like you always have?" and Buffy, hurt, responds that she does listen to him. Removing his glasses, Giles makes eye contact with Buffy and tells her that Dawn needs her, as family, to take on the guiding role. Buffy steels herself to do so, and she and Giles walk back out into the shop. Buffy's expression turns to shock as she hears laughing and sees Dawn standing in the middle of a triangle made by Xander, Anya, and Willow lying on the floor. Ruh roh. Buffy stomps up, bitching at Dawn, and Willow hurriedly tries to explain that she was trying some visual learning with Dawn. Buffy, not having had the benefit of the one million and two classes in educational theory that I sat through in college, still isn't pleased and plays the cold bitch. Dude, you're going about it all wrong. The key word is management, not discipline. You want to manage the classroom environment, not discipline the students. Thank you, thank you. Five and half years in college, folks. Icily, the Slayer tells Dawn to fetch her books 'cause they're going home; she won't give in to even more explanation from Willow, who defends herself by saying that she's very serious about schoolwork. "Go school! It's your birthday. Or something to that effect," cheers Willow, and I like her again for about 8.5 seconds. Buffy admonishes, "You just don't understand and there's no way that you could." You know how you went on that vision-quest because you were worried about not being able to love, Buffy? Maybe you should have slipped in a questions or two about your inability to share your problems with your friends? That might have been a profitable exercise for you. Willow doesn't understand because you aren't explaining anything. Willow suggests that Dawn and Buffy accompany her and Tara to the World Culture Fair for "educational-type fun," but Buffy declines. Hey, Buffy, every party needs a pooper, and that's why we invited you! Wheee. Buffy tells Willow, "Don't worry, it's not like I don't have a life. I do. I have Dawn's life." Wow, someone's been shopping at Martyrs 'R' Us. That hair shirt itchy enough for ya, Buffster? Because we could exchange it for another, hairier one. And did you remember to pick up your copy of Guilt Trips For Dummies? Buffy and Dawn leave the store.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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