I just saw "The Body".
Thursday, October 6, 2005

Last night, I saw for the first time what many consider to be the best episode of BUFFY last night. Goin in, I was a bit dubious. But after the first ten minutes, when I saw Buffy put her hand to her mouth after she refers to Joyce as "the body", I'm inclined to agree with them.

I knew it was coming a mile away, but just seeing Joyce sprawled over the couch, her skin already pale and that wide eyed vacant look in her eyes, just terrified me more than any monster Joss could come up with. And seeing how all the characters reacted to the news and how they cope with the whole thing also really moved me. Especially Anya's little speech where she says "She's dead and I don't know why." That's it right there. That one line sums up the human race's attitude towards death.

I like how the ep deals with the physical aspect of death and the initial reaction in those first few hours of the news that someone close to you has died suddenly without warning. It leaves the spiritual aspect of it aside, which is something that you would expect to be dealt with first. I think the only other bit of tv that deals with death on such an intimate level that "The Body" did is all of SIX FEET UNDER, especially the last few episodes of the series. I know some people might think "How dare he compare that ep to anything that other show had produced", and vise versa. I'm a fan of both of those, and I actually think they're good companion pieces to how tv deals with actual death. I'd be interested in hearing what Joss Whedon or Alan Ball would have to say about each other's work.

The ep actually made me think about how I actually have perceived and dealt with a death in the family. It's happened twice for me. In 97, just before my 12th birthday, my Aunt Jill and Uncle Phil were expecting their third child. And we were cleaning out the combine (it was harvest around the end of August), and my grandpa had come to us to tell us the news that the baby was a stillborn. We stopped work then and we went back to the house to tell my mom the news. My brother and my dad had gone ahead to tell her the news and I had to go to the house first for some reason or another. But when I got to the shop where she was working on a project, she was already sobbing and cursing. We had a group hug, but then we kinda went our own ways. I agree with a lot of Joss's comments about death and how it actually splits us apart more than brings us together. I remember after that, I was in the basement by myself, just grieving. And to deal with the grief, I put on a movie. I didn't want to watch an action flick, or anything in which someone died. So I ended up putting on THE SOUND OF MUSIC, of all goddamn things. In retrospect, it didn't really do anything for me (the movie never did anything for me any time I had watched it). Eventually, I did get over it, and we went back to work that afternoon. It was actually a few days before Princess Diana was killed, so I always thought that Di was taking care of the baby up in Heaven. Unlike Joss, I do believe in the "Big Sky Bully", and I think that death is an essential component to life. Life and death is the ultimate ying/yang principle. One cannot exist without the other.



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