Episode Reviews (44)
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"Into every generation is born one who must run the annual talentless show".
I'm not dummies' fan -- they don't give me the wig ;), but... guess, I'd like the episode more if there was the talking table or some other talking thing. though, it is still good -- OMG, "Buffy" is such a great comedy (at least, in its early seasons). and again, till certain moment I had no clue that Sid was not a murderer, and especially that Marc -- the guy that we can see just in few short kinda pointless moments -- was a demon!.. well, no more words 'coz I have nothing to add here.
FAVE SCENE: Scoobies perform the play (after credits).
FAVE QUOTE: Buffy (about why dummies give her the wig): I saw a dummy. It gave me the wig. There really wasn't a story there.moreless
This episode, on the other hand, I give a little latitude to, because while it too lacks depth and while it too is corny, it doesn't really have the tone trouble that "I Robot, You Jane" does. In fact, as a standalone episode, "The Puppet Show" is a reasonably entertaining, better-than-average piece of horror-comedy, even as it recycles the hoary old "killer dummy" routine.
Ah, but there's a twist: This ventriloquist's dummy, "Sid," only appears to be possessed by a evil demon. In actually, he's a demon hunter, consigned to a dummy body until he completes his task of slaying seven key demons known for their organ-harvesting inclinations. Making the killer dummy a good guy doesn't make Sid's interactions with the non-wooden cast members any less awkward or silly-looking, but it's a neat twist regardless.
Also neat? The comic business in "Puppet Show," much of which revolves around Giles being forced by the new principal to take a more active role in Sunnydale High's campus life by commandeering the talent show. So we get Cordelia mangling "The Gretest Love Of All," Buffy and her gang razzing Giles relentlessly, and the great stinger scene in which Giles near-decapitation takes place in front of a stunned, full Sunnydale High auditorium. The good vibe of the talent show material spills over to Xander goofing around with Sid, and Buffy admitting that she's scared of dummies, but for no good reason.
You know,, there's a reason why "Puppet Show" was included on the very first Buffy VHS collection. It's not Buffy at its best, but it's a fun 45 minutes, and a glimpse at the kind of show Buffy might've become if the writers had chosen to make it a more conventional monster-of-the-week genre send-up.moreless
The Puppet Show
Well that was kind of pointless. All of the episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so far have been about something. Whether they were good episodes or poor episodes, they all had something they were trying to say about, if not the characters, life in high school through the lens of the Hellmouth. "The Puppet Show," alas, does not have anything to say. There is absolutely nothing substantive to analyze in a slow-paced all-plot outing where the only character relevance involves the introduction of Principal Snyder.
With none of the reasons I actually love Buffy so much for present, what's there left to say? Well, unlike "I Robot, You Jane" [1x08], "The Puppet Show" is reasonably pleasant to watch. This is mostly thanks to a good number of amusing scenes involving fun, albeit inconsequential, character interaction. This characteristic of the episode in conjunction with that hilarious end credits scene single-handedly keep this one out of 'F' territory, but not by a lot.
The first time I saw "The Puppet Show" the plot struck me as a mildly fun murder mystery in which a lot of characters are implicated and the perpetrator turns out to thankfully not be the possessed dummy. The problem with all-we-have-is-plot episodes -- like nearly every procedural out there is that once you've experienced it once, maybe twice, there's nothing more to do with it. Episodes like this simply offer no reason to ever revisit them. Lasting relevance is a problem a number of S1 episodes have, but I think "The Puppet Show" might just take the cake. With any possible surprise removed from the plot, all that's left are a lot of shots of Sid staring insidiously next to the one-off one-note Morgan.
In the end, there's just not much else to talk about here. I found "The Puppet Show" to offer relatively inoffensive fun, but that fun has its limits. It is completely lacking in all the things that I'm looking for in a quality episode of television: lasting relevance and resonance in story, theme, and characterization along with symbolism, subtext, and a dash of subtlety. If all you want in an episode of television is campy horror with a twist along with some fun quotes, then "The Puppet Show" will satisfy. If you expect more -- as I do -- it will not.moreless
One of the best of season 1
The Puppet Show;
The introduction of Snyder. Cordy's performance and the hair gag with Giles. The triple Keyser Soze, Buffy's relationship with Sid. The exciting finale, Snyders reaction to it and the Scoobies scene at the end. Don't you just love the fact that Buffy the superhero runs into her mum's arms when she get's scared in the night? Something only a female hero could do, what would we think of Clark Kent if he did that on Smallville?
Not much, a very strong episode, easily one of the best of the first season
Buffy; Euuuugghhhh, dummy! They freak me out, ever since I was little.
Willow; What happened?
Buffy; I saw a dummy, it freaked me out, there really wasn't a backstory there
(anyone else reminded of Gremlins?)
Observations and questions;
Our first hint that there are other individuals fighting the forces of darkness like Whistler and Doyle. The scene the Scoobies perform at the end is from Oedipus which Angelus references in season 4 of Angel and American Gothic. It was painted by Grant Wood who Riley refers to in season 4. Cordy sings 'The Greatest Love of all' which she also sings for Lorne on Angel. She hasn't the best voice. Giles in bondage, the first of a long line of Scoobies to be tied/chained up. Snyder obviously going to be a lot harder on Buffy than Flutie was although as an authority figure that probably works better for the series. At this point though he doesn't really seem to know what's going on (does he ever?). Flutie was a nice guy but has the misfortune to be the 2nd recurring character killed in the course of the series. The police put the butcher knife in a plastic bag? Don't they have some better form of container? Willow suffers from stage fright. Willow is clever enough to know that 841 has a square root of 29 but how does Xander know that to ask her? A shame Joyce doesn't come to the talent show. Will plays the piano?
Into every generation there is one man who must direct the school's talent show...
This episode was pretty good. The puppet was cool, but it looked unrealistic. The scene at the end was funny, how they were forced to be in the talent show, and they acted extremely bad. It's funny when a good actor has to act bad. Buffy also tries to get her revenge on Giles by just watching as he directs the talent show, but the new principal, Mr. Snyder, forces them into the talent show. This episode is also the first episode to show that Willow has stage fright, which will come up again in Nightmares and Restless. It also shows the first time that Buffy was right about something, and the rest of the gang don't believe her. This was a pretty good episode.moreless
The new Principal, Snyder, forces Buffy, Xander and Willow to take part in the annual talent show, ran by Giles. As if that wasn't bad enough, Buffy must face her fear of puppets when it appears that one is alive and harvesting body parts. Pretty good...
This review contains spoilers.
Well, you might think you've seen the whole "possessed killer dummy" in a dozen cheap 1980s horror movies, but, in true 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' style, here is it given a real twist.
This is the latest in a number of first season episodes with no Angel, no Master or overall season plot arc mention, or indeed any vampires at all. While this fact alone seems to instantly put a lot of fans off of these first season episodes, personally (as I've said in several previous reviews) I like it, as I feel it gives the show a lot more variety and real wonder of what's coming next, over the later open-ended, more "emotional" stories (though don't get me wrong, I like those too).
But either way, on the plus side, we get the return of Cordelia in this episode, after she was absent for a few stories. Her terrible singing alone makes this episode worth watching.
This episode is probably most notable for the introduction of Armin Shimerman ('Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Quark) as the replacement Principal, Snyder, after Principal Flutie was eaten (!) in "The Pack". Shimerman is perfectly snide as the aptly named Snyder, although (as mentioned on my review for "The Pack"), I did kinda wish that Principal Flutie had continued for longer, as I felt the character had more mileage in him.
Anyway, this is one of those quirky comedy-drama-horror blends that the series did so well in its early days, before it became more of an on-going horror soap opera.
The school talent(less) show, which Giles has been collared into running, is pretty amusing, as is Buffy, Willow and Xander being forced into taking part. Of course, there is the weekly monster on the loose to take their minds off of it a little!
The story plays out as a real "whodunit" (or should that be "whoisit"?), with us wondering if puppet Sid, his "owner" Morgan, or even Principal Snyder (whom we've only just met), is the real culprit.
The concept of the lecherous possessed puppet, Sid, is interesting, although does start to get old after a while. Long before Buffy and co. cotton onto it, I was kinda "Okay, the puppet is possessed, we get it already!". Although this plays out well, it did start to be stretched slightly later on, but thankfully, about 3/4 of the way through, there is the great twist that probably nobody saw coming – possessed puppet Sid is actually a good guy; he was cursed into living in the wooden body until he manages to kill off "the last of the Brotherhood of Seven", a morphing demon whom he thinks is Buffy (hence sneaking into her bedroom to try and kill her in the middle of the night)! In an episode where I was starting to tire of what I thought was a predictable plot, this came as a welcome surprise twist.
When it is finally revealed that the true demon is someone totally different involved with the talent show, I did kinda wish that a few more subtle clues had been given – bearing in mind this was supposed to be a whodunit, it kinda came out of nowhere; but it does lead to a very exciting climax, where the gang must save Giles from having his head loped off in a guillotine "trick".
There are some really nice touches in this episode – it is ironic that, considering the wide array of monsters she battles, Buffy is afraid of puppets (even before meeting a possessed one); I love Giles getting rid of Cordelia by staring at her hair; and I actually felt kinda sad when, breaking the curse, Sid finally "died" at the end. It is maybe strange that Sid was never used again in the series (I believe he was used in some of the graphic novels and console games, but I've never seen them).
Then, to cap it all, there is the hilarious close. The closing credits sequence, with Buffy, Xander and Willow giving very wooden (no pun intended) performances in the talent show, gets all the recognition, but even prior to that, I love how the curtains open in the aftermath of the battle with the demon, with Snyder bemusedly wondering "What is it – avant-garde?".
In all, this isn't one of my all-time favourite 'Buffy' episodes, but on its own merits, it is a very good one. There are others in the season that I like better, and the whole "Is the puppet the killer?" thing is maybe stretched out a bit before the welcome twist, but there is enough going for this one for me to give it a decent 9/10.moreless
Giles has to do a talent show that includes a tone deaf Cordelia, a doll that talks, a dancer, a guy who does magic.
So the dancer gets her heart cut out. nice. the other guy with the doll starts talking to it and it turns out to be real. Hilarious. and then just when you think the doll is evil and it turns out to be a demon hunter just like Buffy only smaller and made of wood. And the magician guy turns out to the demon. Who very easily lures Giles into a guilittine device.
So Buffy and G.I. Doll show up and kick some demon booty and then the doll stabs it in the heart and it's like totally dead.
Crazy weird talking dolls. Keep an eye on your barbies girls.moreless
Quark moves to Sunnydale!
"The Puppet Show" manages to have a campy yet still intense feel to it. I loved the plot! The whole dummy thing was great, a bit creepy, and a tad funny in parts. I enjoyed the action sequences in this one as well. The greatest addition of the episode though was Armin Shimmerman (Quark from DS9) as the new principal. He is a talented actor who is hilarious and he shines in this role as well! Bravo Armin. Last but not least Buffy and Xander also shine in this episode. O and before I forget.... funniest ending EVER... it was so funny and awkward. Well done Buffy!moreless