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Episode 50 - Gone / Doublemeat Palace / Dead Things (feat. Eric Sipple)

February 13th, 2020

For my 50th birthday (ugh), my gift to you is the 50th episode (egads) of this podcast, which will focus on the 50th worst episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (I made that last part up...it’s probably higher on most “Worst Of” lists. It’s a meat process.) Joining me this time is my good friend and frequent collaborator, first-time guest Eric Sipple. Together we share the DoubleMeat Medley that is the forgettable patty of 611, “Gone” above the mid-bun, and the processed trauma of 613, “Dead Things” below the mid-bun. But it’s really that bland, stale mid-bun of 612, “Doublemeat Palace” that gives us indigestion.

 

Am I straining the metaphor here? Well, it IS Season Six, so when in Rome...

 

Next: Jessica Hautsch is back with us to take a look at 614, “Older and Far Away,” 615, “As You Were,” and 616, “Hell’s Bells.”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:23:05

00:00:55  - Intro / Guest

00:08:30  - Main Topic

01:18:48  - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Broken Magic, by Eric Sipple

The Deli Counter of Justice, by Paul Smith, Eric Sipple, Arlo Wiley

 

THE LINKS

Gobbledygeek Podcast  - website - iTunes

The Avatar Returns Podcast  - website - iTunes

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Out of this World” by Bush, Golden State (2001)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 49 - Tabula Rasa / Smashed / Wrecked (feat. James Rocha)

January 21st, 2020

James Rocha, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fresno State and co-author, along with his wife Dr. Mona Rocha, of Joss Whedon, Anarchist? A Unified Theory of the Films and Television Series, returns to help ease us into the poor decision making of the Scooby Gang, and the heavy-handed “metaphor” application of the writers headed into the darker half of the darkest season. In episode 608, “Tabula Rasa,” James does his best to get into the philosophy of it all, while I just question if Buffy has jumped the shark. In 609, “Smashed,” we talk about Willow’s reasons for finally de-ratting Amy; the debate over Spike’s reasons for trying to bite the blonde in the alley is rehashed; and Buffy (the “good” Slayer) has now slept with twice as many named characters as Faith (the “bad” Slayer). And 610, “Wrecked” reminds us how important Merrie Melodies cartoons are; the so-called subtext becomes painful, bludgeoning text hammered directly into our innocent, trusting faces; and my oft-referenced issues with one particular writer are made just a little more clear. For better or worse.

 

Next: co-host of The Avatar Returns podcast, co-author of The Deli Counter of Justice, my friend Eric Sipple joins the conversation for the first time to discuss episodes 611, “Gone,” 612, “Doublemeat Palace,” and 613, “Dead Things.”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:54:55

00:00:55  - Intro / Guest

00:03:26  - Main Topic

01:51:15  - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Joss Whedon, Anarchist? A Unified Theory of the Films and Television Series, by James Rocha and Mona Rocha

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch, The Spirit Room (2002)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 48 - Once More, With Feeling (feat. Arlo Wiley)

January 12th, 2020

So you know how time flows differently from one dimension to the next? Yeah, I was sucked into a hell dimension where it felt like only a week went by, but here in the real world you guys have suffered through three Conversations with Dead People-free months! Or maybe I was in Heaven...I think I was in Heaven. YOU guys were stuck here in THIS hell dimension without me. But anyways, I apologize for the unsolicited hiatus. The good news is I’m back! The better news is I’m back with Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 607, “Once More, With Feeling.” The only so-so news is that guest Arlo Wiley is back too. And we may, we just may sing every word of our discussion. I mean you take the good, you take the bad, right?

 

The BEST news? Because you demanded it, as of 10:08 into the podcast the naughty words moratorium is officially ended. Bring on that EXPLICIT CONTENT warning!

 

Next: I’m joined by Assistant Philosophy professor and Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies contributor James Rocha, back to discuss episodes 608, “Tabula Rasa,” 609, “Smashed,” and 610, “Wrecked.” It’s about to start getting rough, folks.

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:40:05

00:01:00  - Intro / Guest

00:05:07  - Main Topic

00:10:08  - Someone has a potty mouth

01:35:40  - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Music, Sound, and Silence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, edited by Paul Attinello, Janet K. Half yard, and Vaness Knights

 

THE MUSIC

“Going Through The Motions” by Sarah Michelle Gellar & Orchestra, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More, With Feeling (Soundtrack from the TV Show) (2002)

“Where Do We Go From Here?” by Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cast, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More, With Feeling (Soundtrack from the TV Show) (2002)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 47 - Life Serial / All the Way (feat. Stephanie Graves)

October 18th, 2019

“Mist...cemetery...Halloween. Should end well.”

 

Stephanie Graves is back with me to discuss two more episodes of the Happy Funtime Show, otherwise known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6. In episode 605, “Life Serial,” we get some genuine laughs as the show finds the humor in young adults struggling to find their way in the grown up world. There’s ANOTHER damn numbered shirt; Jonathan has a magic bone; and the second most important character in the entire series (after Spike) finally shows up: CLEM! And then, in 606, “All the Way,” Tara’s not much into timber; Giles cleans his glasses; and Dawn goes parking.

 

Next: it’s gonna be an all-singing, all-dancing podcast extravaganza as we finally get to the Big Show...episode 607, “Once More, With Feeling.” (Note: I will not actually be singing or dancing.)

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:21:20

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:04:06 - Main Topic

01:17:00 - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Joss Whedon vs. the Horror Tradition: The Production of Genre in Buffy and Beyond, edited by K. K. Woofter and Lorna Jowett

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Around My Smile” by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, Bavarian Fruit Bread (2001)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 46 - After Life / Flooded (feat. Faith Currant)

October 11th, 2019

“Every night I save you.”

 

Clearly I’ve set my listener expectations in terms of my Season 6 feelings. So to keep myself honest, it seems I have decided to frontload those discussions of Depression: The Series with avowed superfans of said season. Following on the heels of last week’s talk with Season 6 expert Elizabeth Rambo, this week I’m joined by possibly the most passionate Sixer I’ve ever met, former Hollywood script doctor and Buffy scholar Faith Currant. After I get over the shock of her methods for introducing new fans to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Faith and I go on to discuss Jungian psychology, the Buddhist idea of the bardo state, the disambiguation of “Normal Again,” and why, despite my troubled history with this era of the Slayer saga, “After Life” has always been and will always be one of my favorite episodes in the Whedonverse. (Hint: I like Spike. Surprise!)

 

Next: PhD student, author, and Mr. Pointy Award-winner Stephanie Graves returns to discuss episodes 605, “Life Serial,” and 606, “All the Way.”

 

THE CROSSOVER

Angel 305, “Fredless.” This episode ends with Buffy going to meet Angel. “Fredless” opens with Angel coming back from that meeting. At this point in production, direct crossovers, with actors appearing on both shows is forbidden by the competing networks.

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:38:45

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:10:42 - Main Topic

01:36:44 - Outro / Next

 

THE LINKS

Faith’s website

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Hell” by Squirrel Nut Zippers, Hot (1996)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 45 - Bargaining, Part1 / Bargaining, Part 2 (feat. Elizabeth Rambo)

October 1st, 2019

“Is this hell?”

 

We begin our 22 Stages of Season 6 Grief with the two-part season premiere “Bargaining.” Professor, author, and undeniable Season 6 expert Elizabeth Rambo makes her triumphant return to the Conversations graveyard to help us all get through these difficult times. We talk about the new Giles-less title credits, the amazing performance (again!) of Sarah Michelle Gellar, the clear difference in broadcast standards and practices between the WB and UPN, and how 9/11 may have played a role in the response some fans have had to this season.

 

Also, I wave the flag and light the fireworks to officially declare this and everything going forward Spike’s Time(™) at last!

 

Next: first time guest Faith Currant joins me to discuss episodes 603, “After Life” and 604, “Flooded.”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:21:15

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:05:30 - Main Topic

01:18:10 - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls, edited by Douglas L. Howard and David Bianculli

Buffy Goes Dark: Essays on the Final Two Seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Television, edited by Lynne Y. Edwards, Elizabeth Rambo, and James B. South

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Work Song” by Hozier, Hozier (2014)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 44 - The Gift (feat. Michael Holland)

September 23rd, 2019

“But...you’re just a girl.”

“That’s what I keep saying.”

 

We’ve come at last to the end. Well, *AN* end. We’ve reached what could have (and maybe should have?) been the end of all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the Season 5 finale “The Gift.” Michael Holland returns, with a shiny new job title, to help me wish a fond farewell to the WB era as our beloved hero takes the plunge (literally) into a darker, more confusing adulthood. We talk about a lot of things, as you might expect, including Giles’ angry push back, Xander’s big ball, Spike’s sobs, and Olaf’s totally unnecessary retcon into godhood. And in the end I try, with mixed success, to broach the potentially uncomfortable topic of Buffy’s final heroic act vs. her growing deathwish. [CW: suicide]

 

Next: back at last after literally ages, professor and author Elizabeth Rambo joins me to kick off the cheeriest season in the entire run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’ll be discussing 601, “Bargaining (Part 1)” and 602, “Bargaining (Part 2).”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:21:57

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:04:48 - Main Topic

01:17:55 - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Library Closed For Filing - Please Come Back Tomorrow

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever (1989)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 43 - Spiral / The Weight of the World (feat. Margaret Ann Robbins)

September 10th, 2019

“Do we suspect that there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory?”

 

Great question, Giles. First time guest Margaret Ann Robbins joins me to answer that and other ponderables. For example, in “Spiral,” is Buffy the Vampire Slayer really just a retelling of Milton’s Paradise Lost? Are the ren faire reject Knights of Byzantium a tonal bridge too far? If killing humans is a no-no, but killing Knights of Byzantium goes unmentioned from now to the end of time, does that kind of answer my previous question? And in “The Weight of the World,” why is it okay for Glory to whine, “Get out, get out, get out!” without catching grief from the fans? Does the Gollum / Sméagol scene between Glory and Ben work? And what if the Key were a velvet Elvis painting?

 

Next: we’re in the endgame now. Buffy’s world comes tumbling down, literally, in the Season 5 finale. Join me and returning guest Michael Holland as we discuss episode 522, “The Gift.”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:28:13

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:04:47 - Main Topic

01:24:47 - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Bite Me!: The Chosen Edition The Unofficial Guide to Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Seven Seasons One Book), by Nikki Stafford

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Knight Rider Main Theme” by Stu Phillips, Knight Rider (Original TV Soundtrack) (2005)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 42 - Forever / Intervention / Tough Love (feat. Melanie Scala)

August 30th, 2019

Stage and screen legend Joel Grey joins the series, and so from this point on Conversations with Dead People is a Joel Grey fan podcast. Sorry Buffy fans.

 

Okay, seriously, we’re into the darkness of the near-end of Season 5 now, which of course is also a LOT of foreshadowing of the darkness awaiting us in Season 6. To help me get through the pain of these episodes Melane Scala is back, bringing with her a refreshing appreciation for the character of Dawn. In 517, “Forever,” the Summers girls, with Spike’s help, just barely manage to stay out of full-blown zombie mom territory. Episode 518, “Intervention” gives us a Buffy and Giles wearing turtleneck sweaters and jackets in the desert, Spike’s post-coital hair, and a Scooby Gang that inexplicably can’t recognize a Buffybot just weeks after instantly spotting the Aprilbot. And 519, “Tough Love” struggles with writing/pacing issues, but still gives us our first glimpse of Dark Willow. And my questions about the way the show treats issues of mental health, raised way back at the beginning of the season, are brought back for further consideration.

 

Next: things get seriously dire in the next couple of episodes, so what better time to welcome a shiny new guest to the podcast? Margaret Ann Robbins joins me for her debut Conversation as we discuss episodes 520, “Spiral,” and 521, “The Weight of the World.”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:35:25

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:03:35 - Main Topic

01:31:35 - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Library Closed For Filing - Please Come Back Tomorrow

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Tales of Brave Ulysses” by Cream, Disraeli Tears (1967)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

Episode 41 - The Body (feat. Arlo Wiley)

August 17th, 2019

“But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I knew her, and then she's—there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead ... anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And ... and Xander's crying and not talking, and ... and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why!”

 

Next: someone (TBD) will join me to discuss episodes 517, “Forever,” 518, “Intervention,” and 519, “Tough Love.”

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Run Time: 01:44:16

00:00:55 - Intro / Guest

00:06:27 - Main Topic

01:40:56 - Outro / Next

 

THE LIBRARY

Library Closed For Filing - Please Come Back Tomorrow

 

THE MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Now Only” by Mount Eerie, Now Only (2018)

 

THE SCHOLARS

Whedon Studies Association is a non-profit academic organization devoted to the study of the works of Joss Whedon and his associates. They put out Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, and Watcher Junior​: The Undergraduate Journal of Whedon Studies, both blind peer-reviewed twice-yearly online publications. They also host the biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, which brings all these incredible scholars together to present papers, discuss ways of incorporating Whedon Studies in education, and basically just geek out together. 

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/

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