Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Puppet Show

Episode #9: The Puppet Show

"There are things I will not tolerate: students loitering on campus after school, horrible murders with hearts being removed, and also smoking."

Giles gets roped into running the Sunnydale High Talent show auditions and is none too pleased to listen to Cordelia bulldoze through "The Greatest Love of All." And the Scoobies get roped into the talent show too...by PRINCIPAL SNYDER in his television debut! One can only imagine the kinds of job candidates the school received after the last principal was eaten by students, and Snyder is not about to let those meddling kids get away with it again.

Mark Zuckerberg shows impressive skill at ventriloquism, and apparently the ladies at Sunnydale High are so starved for non-demon dates that they find his dummy act swoonworthy.

In the meantime, something is slithering about attacking students, stealing their vital organs, and shouting, "I will be flesh!" in a way that invokes both, "Enemies of the heir, beware!" and, "I'm a real boy!" Hmm...what could it be?

The Scoobies find out that the culprit is a demon that periodically feeds on the hearts and brains of humans in order to maintain its human form. They set about interviewing the Sunnydale High talent asking them if they noticed anything fishy, and the number one suspect becomes Mark Zuckerberg. Why? He's, you know, skulkin' around, talkin' to his puppet...

Pedo dummy peers into Buffy's window and climbs into bed with her, and yet none of the Scoobies believe her story. Xanders says: "It was a cat!" Willow says: "Dummies just give you the wiggins!" You at home are saying: "The wiggins?"

Mark Zuckerberg gets separated from his dummy (via theft-by-Xander) and is going through some serious withdrawal. All the while, Buffy snoops around school to find out Morgan's dark secret, but at every turn she runs into...PRINCIPAL SNYDER!

[He's just so cuddly!]

After escaping the wrath of Snyder, Buffy happens upon Mark Zuckerberg sans brain. She's knocked unconscious by a booby-trap chandelier, and wakes up to one of the Top Ten Images I Didn't Realize I Never Ever Wanted To See Until I Saw Them:

Puppets and knives. Bad combo.

They duke it out, and then have the following exchange:

Dummy: You win. You can take your heart and your brain and move on!
Buffy: I'm sure they would've made good trophies for your case!
Dummy: It would've been justice.
Buffy: Except for one thing: you lost! You'll never be human!
Dummy: Yeah, well neither will you.
Buffy and Dummy: ...What?

It turns out that the dummy is not a demon, but a demon hunter! (And yeah, try saying that ten times fast!) Luckily, if you're one of the 248823492 people who refuse to ever watch this episode because of all the loving screen time showered upon stalking, potentially murderous anthropomorphized dummies, Joss Whedon scrapped the Dummy the Demon Hunter spin-off.

Anyway, the dummy's actual name is Sid, and he dons his Armani tux and lights up a cigar to tell his sordid tale to the Scoobies. He was cursed to inhabit the body of a dummy and needs to kill the six organ-harvesting demons to break the curse. But, sad face, his human body died long ago, so being released really means performing his next act at the great (ventriloquist) gig in the sky.

But the talent show must go on! Giles rushes to the auditorium to gather all the talent, only to be coaxed into a guillotine by the demon-disguised-as-student-magician. C'mon Giles, put your thinking cap on! So Buffy arrives on the scene and the demon is quickly dispensed of. Sid is released from his dummy body and transcends to A Better Place. And as Buffy cradles the dummy's lifeless corpse, the demon lies in the guillotine, beheaded, and Giles, Willow, and Xander stare dumbfounded...the curtain rises, and the talent show begins!

And who should be sitting perplexed in the audience but...PRINCIPAL SNYDER! He says, "I don't get it. What is it? Avant garde?" Aaaaand, roll credits.

Favorite moment: As the credits roll, the Scoobies perform that dramatic scene they were preparing behind the scenes for the whole episode. It's Oedipus Rex, of course!

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