GAWD this was hard. However, I am ultimately settling on:
(If you are interested in more [better] OMWF picspammy goodness, follow the button.)
Ah, OMWF, how I love thee, let me count the ways.
Firstly: MUSICAL. Whatever, I love them. I understand that some people are ~discomfited by the disturbance of narrative with number, but this is successfully overcome with the MotW plot of Sweet enchanting the town populace. All the characters WTF-ing over the spontaneous bursting into song provides some amusing commentary on the nature of musicals as well, including most people’s aversion to them. (Woe.)
In typical post-modern Jossian style, the show simultaneously pays tribute to and subverts/parodies classical Hollywood traditions: There’s the Disney-ish "Going Through The Motions", complete with the cloud of ~magical dust surrounding the heroine on the last long note (the dark irony being that the dust is a slayed vampire representative of the soul-killing burden fueling her paralyzing depression!); the HYSTERICAL “Mustard Song” in the style of classic musical theater, including full dance troupe and choreography (the joke being that the number lasts all of 20 seconds, which only demonstrates Joss’s awareness of contemporary audiences’ short patience with musical traditions); “Under Your spell” is also extremely Disney-ish, complete with literal in-story magic and ~sparkles~ accentuating the dark irony of Tara’s words (the overtly romantic number going to a non-heterosexual romance is obviously a subversion of narrative conventions also); there’s the Fred Astaire style comedic “I’ll Never Tell”, which finishes with Xander and Anya collapsing into inexplicable sitcom-ish laughter that’s juxtaposed with their realistic aggravation after the fact; and of course, the curtains close on a swell of music, a la Gone With The Wind (Spike and Buffy as Rhett and Scarlett? I can see it), but the overt romantic cues are undercut by the very unromantic sentiments of the lyrics over the literal engraving of "The End".
(But I'm not saying anything new here.)
Aside from the success of the execution, the music. is. simply. fantastic. I know there are considerable reasons to have a beef with the Joss man, but I cannot. not. fangirl him for this. This is his first time writing music, dude. As a musician, I am well impressed. He tackles a notable range of musical genres, and they all work. (For me, anyway.) Four for you, Joss.
Also, considering the musical genre’s method of using camp to comment on taboo subjects, the overarching plot of the characters being led to reveal their deepest darkest secrets is so on point. Musicals: you’re doin’ it right.
And every single one of the songs. Every one of them. Is true to the characters. As a Buffy Summers fan first and foremost, I am particularly awed by her numbers. ”Life’s a show. And we all play our parts.” That shit hurts, man. Cuts to the bone. SMG might not be the greatest musical performer, but she sells the hell out of those lyrics.
I don’t really have anything to add about dancing and choreography? (A little outside the realms of my ~expertise, lol.) It’s good, obviously. I am particularly impressed by the tap and ballet numbers. Michelle T. and Hinton B.: let’s be bros.
Of course, this episode is also BtVS genre-blending at its best. COMEDY. TRAGEDY. BOTH ARE GOOD. The episode’s gradual shift from sitcom to melodrama is just. seamless. I like it when TV can make me LMAO and then ache on the inside in the space of five minutes.
Also, let me just LOL ABOUT EVERYTHING for a second. As soon as those three dancing demons (I hear Joss voiced one of them?) jump in on Buffy’s graveyard number, I am in stitches. Then there’s the “How can I repay –“/”Whatever” exchange, a nice reversal of the typical hero/damsel exchange, except with 100% more apathy from the hero’s side. There’s the mustard song IN GENERAL. There’s the same dancing trio from the start (HI LET’S BE BFFS) tearing up the sidewalk while Giles and Anya and Xander discuss the graveness of the situation (“the police were taking witness arias”). There are Sweet’s ridiculous colour-changing suits. There’s that FUCKING FIRE TRUCK. There’s “QUICK. SHE NEEDS BACK-UP.” And there’s “Does this mean I have to be your queen?” Whatever, I laugh.
Moreover: META-TASTIC. Oh, this show. The cameo appearances of David Fury and Marti Noxon as mustard guy and parking ticket woman respectively; Buffy declaring, “Dawn’s in trouble? Must be Tuesday”; Buffy’s direct address of “you can sing along”; a ton of other things I am undoubtedly missing but make me :D I LOVE WHEN YOU HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH ME, SHOW.
Also, on a shallow note, I really dig Buffy’s red top and trench-coat. Yep.