I never thought the Halloween themed posts would be hard for me. I struggled with the Candy one last week (although I feel like I came up with a good list). This week…Halloween specials? The problem is that every show has a Halloween episode nowadays (hell, “Modern Family” had one). So there’s really nothing special. I could dig into the usual bag (“Great Pumpkin” for instance) but that’s too easy.
3) Treehouse of Horrors – “The Simpsons” Now, maybe Treehouse of Horror II was better (or VII or whatever). I don’t recall any specific segment of any of the episodes. But, even after “The Simpsons” went downhill, I still watched the Treehouse episode. Those times are gone now, sadly, but I still appreciate them.
2) This one is a cop-out. I was going to go with the Slutty Pumpkin from “How I Met Your Mother” but Janie used it. And, since my #1 is also on Janie’s list…I needed to change.
In my mind’s eye I have a vision. My 8-year old self watching an episode of “Knight Rider.” I don’t know if it was a Halloween episode (officially) or not. But I have an image of KITT at the Psycho house. It’s one of those freeze frames from childhood that stays with you forever. I don’t know what the episode was about (I could google it, but that seems like a waste of 10 seconds of my life) but the thought of it still freaks me out.
1) Halloween – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – This one takes the cake (er…candy?) for me. What any show should aspire to in a Halloween episode. It is filled with character and plot that isn’t “out of nowhere.” It fits naturally into the environment and theme of the show. Plus, it gives us our first glimpse into the background of Giles (as Ethan appears – is this the episode where “Ripper” comes from? I can’t recall (and am too lazy to check right now)).
The plot is relatively simple – the Scooby Gang buys costumes and they turn into that costume (Xander a military action figure, Willow a ghost and Buffy an 18th-Century damsel in a-dress. Bonus is that it started the tradition of Halloween-themed episodes for the show.
This might, might, come as a surprise, but we here at Sweep The Leg enjoy the works of Joss Whedon. Now while you cinch your jaw back up and pick yourself up off the floor, I would like to point out that we understand that carrying a torch for a pair of shows that have been off the air for nearly a decade is unhealthy, maybe even foolhardy. So we are not going to obsess about “Buffy” and “Angel,” no.
We’re going to obsess about what the alum of those shows have been up to since!
3. Can we talk for a second how unrepentant of a nerd Seth Green is? That wall of action figures in Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” video? His. The Twitter feed that’s littered with gushing send ups of NASA and various video games? Also his. That stop-action animation show where you’re just as likely to see Voltron break dancing as you are Clifford being castrated by a bucket crane? You bet your ass that’s his. Green’s greatest hat trick was getting cast as the “cool” kid on Buffy; because he could then use his spotlight to illuminate hardcore geekdom and somehow convince everyone else that it was just as “cool” as playing in a band and occasionally wolfing out and trying to eat your friends. “Robot Chicken” was his first big production credit after “Buffy” ended and it seemed incredibly niche: 80s nostalgia-bait, as depicted by their action figures, acting out the horribly inappropriate scenarios that all nerds have entertained themselves with since time immemorial. But it worked, because he knew what all nerds know, pop-culture characters acting in ways that go deeply off-script is damn funny. Just queue up the…OK, you know what, I just spent a good 15 minutes lost in “Robot Chicken” clips and can’t even remember which one I went looking for. It’s funny, it’s nerdy, and it’s the best thing Green’s done since “Buffy.” M’kay?
2. Ah, Wes. Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham Price was by far my favorite character in “Angel.” So much so, that I wrote up a long treatise wherein I proposed that the underlying story of that series was more of a character development arc for him than for the main character. So maybe I’m biased. Scratch that, I’m biased. Still, his character on “How I Met Your Mother,” Sandy Rivers, is goofy fun personified. It’s not quite an “Anchorman” quality send-up of network news anchors; but the barely-believable American accent and over-exaggerated mannerisms come together in a way that’s wonderfully watchable and makes me wish that they’d get rid of Ted and replace him with Sandy.