Living Conditions

Episode Reviews (27)

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  • 7.0

    This episode is a stand-alone which doesn't do much for character or plot development, but remains very fun nonetheless.

    By tarafan2, Jun 15, 2013

    Buffy's in college now and it's fun to see the writers tackle the "bad roommate" topic through, of course, a metaphor! Buffy's roommate turns out to actually be a demon. It seems like Buffy and Willow weren't roommates from the beginning just so they could do an episode like this. I suppose that's convenient, but since Kathy goes away in this episode and it's so much fun, I think I can forgive the writers.

    Early on we see Buffy hanging out at Giles' apartment as a way to escape being with Kathy. I must say that Buffy is sweet, cute, and absolutely adorable during this scene. It's fun when Giles points out what all of us are thinking, "Uh, it's a good day for me, actually. A friend of mine recently acquired a-uh an original Gutenberg demonography... and it suddenly occurred to me that you've never once asked me what my day's plans were, which leads me to inquire whether you're feeling entirely Giles almost immediately gets the truth out of Buffy while at the same time illustrating the point that he is really at loose ends. Buffy says, "Ok, you're not having one of those mid-life things, are you? 'Cause I'm still going 'ick' from the last time you tried to recapture your The truth of the matter is that he actually is in the beginning stages of a "mid-life We'll see even more of this as he begins to hang out with Xander a lot in upcoming episodes.

    A small moment I enjoyed was Parker's dining card speech to Buffy and her subsequent excitement over a new guy making conversation with her. Sure in retrospect her giddiness with Parker is kind of painful to watch, but it's always fun to see Buffy this excited.

    I liked the zoom ins and sound effects used throughout the episode. During a few scenes sounds are amplified and mundane things like clipping nails or biting into a sandwich are brought into full focus. We've never seen BtVS do this, at least quite to this extent, and it's funny and fresh to see in a stand-alone. I really enjoyed the zoom ins on Buffy eyes as she scowls at the ketchup dripping on her shirt and then later Willow eating her food, right after she says that she thinks she is pretty outgoing. Sure it's lightweight, but it's done in such a way that it doesn't come across as cheesy or silly. All of these comments directly apply to the milk scene, which is: OMG. That's how much I love it when Buffy opens a carton of milk and tries to drink the entire thing in one chug, even when most of it starts pouring out of her mouth and onto the floor. The reason why I can be amused by a moment like this because this of its rarity in BtVS. Plus, the fact that Buffy's soul is slowly being taken away from her perfectly explains all of wonky behavior.

    One thing that bothers me a bit is how little conversation we get about no soul Buffy. We see that Buffy's soul dissipates to the point of willing to kill someone she thinks is human. Frankly, I'd be fascinated to see a little bit more of what a no soul Buffy is capable of -- that'd be really fun to watch. It would have been even more interesting if she'd killed a human in this state and then got her soul back afterwards. Imagine the possibilities for making commentary on Angel. This isn't a big deal for me or anything, it's just something I'm curious about.

    Pretty much the only outright complaint I have of the episode is the silly demons and their corny language. They do not get any development and were simply there to bring Kathy back to their dimension. Also, the joke at the end about Kathy being treated like she's only 900 year old wasn't funny to me in the slightest. Anyway, this episode delivers the goods -- I was thoroughly entertained by this amusing but completely inconsequential episode.moreless

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  • 6.0

    Funny and interesting

    By joxerlives, Jan 20, 2012

    The Good;

    Kathy is a wonderful character and I wish we'd seen her again (the actress later turns up as recurring character in Desperate Housewives, the nurse who accidentally kills Carlos' mother). I was genuinely suprised that she was a demon, I thought Buffy was going nuts (great performance from SMG, amazing what a little eye-shadow can do). The fight between the 2 at the end and the argument between Kathy and her dad is terrific. The final gag is excellent too although Buffy's scarf makes her look a lot like Joyce when she's had her operation.

    The Bad;

    Exactly how long would it have taken the demons to work out that Buffy wasn't Kathy?

    Best line;

    Kathy; I just wanted to make sure we didn't have a thief or somthing?

    Buffy; Like who? Sid the wiley dairy gnome?

    but I also like Oz; 'On the plus side you killed the bench which was looking shifty' and 'No one deserves mime'

    Character death; none

    Tied up;

    Buffy is netted and tied up by Xander, Oz and Giles. They need to work on their Boy Scout skills though (Buffy's been tied up and escaped countless times and I'm sure escapology must be part of Slayer training?)

    Knocked out;

    Yep, Oz and Xander by Buffy

    Women good/men bad;

    Patriarchical demons not letting their daughters go to college. On the other hand it seems that Hank still helps out with Buffy's tuition.


    Kathy slamming the phone into Buffy's face is gruesome yet oddly funny

    Kinky dinky;

    Xander wonders why Giles doesn't have any manacles like any self-respecting bachelor? Both Oz and Xander admire Parker's 'driveby' hitting on Buffy.

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Kathy puts the moves on Parker much to Buffy chagrin. Buffy and Willow end up in the end being roomates. And here is Veruca for the first time, the little scene between her and Oz subtle but incredibly significant. Willow refers to Parker as the cutie-patootie once again casting her as Bi rather than gay. Willow refers to Giles as their 'grown up friend' but not in a creepy way.

    Scoobies to the ER;

    Buffy isn't hurt despite the no-holds barred thrashing she and Kathy give each other

    Where's Dawn?

    Kathy comments that Buffy has always been an only child, well not always. She also says she and Buffy are like sisters, well Dawn and Buff fight too and Dawn turns out not to be what she seems

    Questions and observations;

    Giles reads Scooter and Motorbike magazine, did he sell Wes his? A funny but pretty slight ep with some good performances from the leads. I think season 4 is just taking a little time to find it's feet.

    Marks out of 10; 6/10, a slight ep but a cracker, funny and interesting.


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  • 9.5

    Great episode!

    By alirk, Jun 10, 2011

    This is def one of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes so far! I loved all the humor in it. Don't get me wrong I love all the heavy drama in this series, but it's nice to have a light-hearted feeling episode from time to time. So, it was def no surprise to me that Buffy & Willow end up becoming roomates, but I was surprised by the story that got them to that point. I really didn't expect Kathy to be evil! Annoying & socially maladjusted, yes. But not evil! That's one thing I really like about Buffy...It's always surprising me!moreless

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  • 9.5

    Living Conditions

    By TrueTvWatcher, Oct 18, 2010

    Living Conditions was a great second episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode saw Buffy trying to learn to live with her obnoxiously annoying roommate. Buffy tells Kathy she's going for coffee as an excuse to go patrol, but when Kathy tags along and their attacked by a demon things start getting weird! Both of them start having a crazy nightmare about the same kind of demon that attacked them performing a ritual on them. As Buffy grows continually agitated the gang starts to wonder if she will fly off the deep end and hurt someone. This episode was a very relatable rite of passage, for college viewers especially! I thought that the story was well thought out and delivered!moreless

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  • 9.0

    Season 4, Episode 2.

    By Wanted23, May 04, 2009

    Kathy plays music that Buffy hates, borrows her clothes without asking and stains them, labels all of her food in the refrigerator, and flirts with this boy Parker that Buffy is interested in. Buffy comes to the conclusion that she is evil.

    I loved the rivalry between Buffy and Kathy. I liked when they finally decided to annoy the other and Buffy drank all the milk. It was awesome. Haha. Parker's not that bad looking, but I miss Angel. Buffy looks really good this season! I liked Buffy and Oz on patrol together because I think it's the first time the two have a scene alone together. Awesome episode!moreless

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  • 8.8

    Do you believe in life after love?

    By goodridd, Apr 26, 2009

    I love this episode to be honest. It is jam packed with comedy. I agree with the reviewer below that I would have liked more Buffy dealing with an annoying roommate, but I don't know how long I would have liked it. Maybe a three episode arc. I thought the back and forth banter and revenge between Kathy and Buffy was hilarious. Also, every bit of the toenail bits were awesome. I also loved the short scene with Xander and Oz wondering if Buffy is properly restrained.

    This episode easily earns a spot in my top ten episodes for season 4.moreless

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  • 7.5

    A cute little episode that's gets a little silly and easy by the end.

    By RobGrizz, Feb 04, 2009

    It was charming and cute the little conflict here with Buffy so upset with her roomate that her only conclusion was that she must be a demon. The twist that she actually was a demon was also kind of fun- very Joss Whedon. Yet by the end of this, I felt a little cheated. Why?

    Perhaps it was the idea that Buffy was going to have to deal with just a regular annoying person really appealed to me. Turning her into someone they can just kill and get rid of seemed like an easy way out. But the most sense that came here was Willow and Buffy are now roomates. Why wasn't that the case from the start?moreless

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  • 9.5

    Sorry. This episode is hilarious.

    By TwistedConverse, Oct 09, 2008

    Living Conditions is an absolutely hilarious episode and one that is tragically underrated. It has some laugh out loud moments and whilst being a bit predictable, makes up for it for being plain fun.

    I really, really enjoyed Kathy. She's so very, very annoying and if she had gone on for more episodes, she would have just been hated but keeping her to 2 episodes really worked. She's just one of those overly cheerful, peppy, nice people that have so many annoying habits that you cannot like them. Of course, Buffy does all this and puts a supernatural twist on it!

    The dialogue between Buffy and Kathy is a real highlight of this episode. Their catty exchanges made me laugh a lot and Sarah Michelle Gellar revelled in her b!tchy role, as she always does. She would have made a brilliant Cordelia (although I'm very happy she got the part of Buffy and Charisma Carpenter got Cordelia). If there's one thing Buffy ALWAYS does well, it's dialogue. Even dull episodes have some quotes that makes them worth it. One of my favourite scenes is when Buffy takes Kathy's carton of milk and drains it in one while spilling it over herself. It always gets a laugh out of me.

    Dagney Kerr does very well in a simple role. She's not Emmy-winning but she does comedy and happy very, very well. Kathy could have come across as simply annoying but Dagney makes her funny.

    However, Buffy and Kathy aren't the only good things. Oz, Willow and Xander all had some great lines. Willow's "Good thinking, cuz in the middle of the night, those toenails could have attacked you and left little half moon marks all over your body!" is simply hilarious and one of the best lines of the show. Have I mentioned how well Buffy does comedy?

    Living Conditions is a fun, interesting episode that you will really enjoy if you don't go in expecting something outstanding. It's just a little episode that always get a smile out of me. Fantastic.moreless

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  • 8.8

    Oz: Oh, I'm not saying we'll braid each other's hair... probably. But I can hang with her, watch for signs she's going over the edge

    By addict666, Aug 01, 2008

    This episode is really funny and puts a nice demonic spin on the roommate from hell idea. Kathy is hilarious and the Celine Dion, toe nails, ironing, phone call list and her milk issues are really hilarious. I love how everyone just thinks that Buffy is being crazy, because it really seems like she acting that way in face of a bothersome roommate. Watching Oz and Xander tie her up is great and it is so funny to watch her get away in order to kill her roommate. It is such a good picture of college and dorm life that has a happy ending (at least for Buffy and Willow) as they become roommates.moreless

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