buffymusical.com - Buffy the Musical "Once More, With Feeling"

Episode #107
Analysis of the musical
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Lyrics / Synopsis

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Some of the funniest lines in Once More, With Feeling are references to other musicals, songs, movies, or earlier episodes of Buffy. You probably picked up most of them, but if you missed any, here's a brief (and in some cases, probably not quite brief enough,) explanation of them. If I've missed any - or got something horribly wrong - please let me .

XANDER: Respect the cruller...and tame the donut!

This is a very funny reference to the Tom Cruise character in the movie Magnolia (1999) written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Cruise plays Frank T.J. Mackey, a motivational speaker lecturing men on the dating technique of "seduce and destroy":

MACKEY: Respect the ****...and tame the **** !

I can't include the full quote here, suffice to say the shape of those sugary snacks is a clue.

It's also interesting to note that music plays a significant role in Magnolia, and during one sequence the cast even "burst into song", each singing along to Aimee Mann's Wise Up.

ANYA: Bunnies! It must be bunnies!

Anya's song is an ode to her ongoing paranoia about bunnies, previously displayed in such episodes as:

Episode #60: Fear, Itself

ANYA: Bunnies frighten me.

Episode #100: The Gift

ANYA: ...it's an omen. It's a higher power, trying to tell me through bunnies that we're all gonna die. Oh god.

SWEET: That's entertainment!

This line is almost certainly a reference to the 1974 movie That's Entertainment! which was a tribute to the great MGM musicals, featuring clips from such talents as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra. It was followed by That's Entertainment 2, 3, and a few other variations...

It was also the ironic title of a 1980 song by the English group The Jam.

UPDATE: The script book states that That's Entertainment is a song from the musical The Bandwagon.

ANYA: His penis got diseases from a Chumash tribe!

A reference to episode #64: Pangs, in which an avenging Chumash Indian spirit infects Xander with the same diseases that were inflicted upon his people: malaria, smallpox, syphilis...

XANDER : Can we come rocketing back to the part about me and my new syphilis?

ANYA : It'll make you blind and insane, but it won't kill you... The smallpox will.

ANYA: When I get so worn and wrinkly that I look like David Brinkley

From imdb.com:

Brinkley hosted This Week with David Brinkley from 1982 until his retirement in 1997. In 1992, he won a Peabody Award for his report on the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As a news analyst, Brinkley was known for his terse, biting comments and his dry wit.

(Click for a wrinklier view)

There's a couple of funny jokes on musical / theater terms in the Parking Ticket scene that are easy to miss:

ANYA: It was like we were being watched...like there was a wall missing in our apartment. Like there were only three walls and not a fourth wall, and my toes are not hairy!

While Xander is talking at the same time, Anya expresses her confusion over the sensation that the "forth wall" was missing in their apartment.

The "forth wall" is the theatrical concept that the audience is separated from the actors by an invisible forth wall - the other 3 making up the stage - with the audience watching through that imaginary wall. This is called Representational style, and the actors do not acknowledge that there is an audience watching.

In Presentational style, there is no "forth wall" separating the audience and the stage, and the actors can speak directly to the audience - just as Anya and Xander do in I'll Never Tell.

Then, while the broom dance is upstaging the dialogue, is one of my favorite lines:

GILES: I was able to examine the body while the police were taking witness arias.

aria n.

  1. A solo vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment, as in an opera.
  2. An air; a melody.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Joss Whedon
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