Reality Shows Bite and Suck


Often times a television show will have an entire episode that only features cameo appearances by the lead cast members.  This is done for contractual reasons, pregnancy issues, and too many other nit-picky reasons to get into.  Those lesser-cast member shows often are throw away nothings, but in Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21, Jane Espenson is able to spin a most awesome tale that pokes fun at reality television and kills Andy Dick in the process.

buffy21cover.jpgI’ve never been a big fan of Harmony. I think she is a petty bitch that doesn’t deserve the things she’s been given, and even when she gets what she wants it’s never enough.  Of course that is the point of the character, and why so many people do like her – that and she’s pretty easy on the eyes. So when I found out this issue was going to be a Harmony centric issue, I thought about passing on it completely.  I’m glad I didn’t.
If you like all the sexual innuendoes scattered throughout the Buffy-verse, then you’ll be pleasantly pleased with this issue.  Not only do you get to see Harmony sucking the heck out of A. Dick (a character that bares a striking resemblance to Andy Dick), you also get boob jokes, dirty old man jokes, and just a hint of bestiality.  Well not so much on that last one, although a horse galloping up and presumably wanting to mount the centaur Dawn is pushing that boundary.

By far the biggest joke in the issue is the writer poking fun at reality television.  With networks and cable channels digging up any and all the C and D-listers it can scrounge and turning them into born again stars of their own reality series, it doesn’t take long for Harmony to realize she can capitalize on genre and make herself popular at the same time.  The reality show is called Harmony Bites (HA!) and features the night to night antics of H’wood’s “hottest” vampire.  Yes, Harmony does suck on screen and it gets broadcast across the country.

Any right minded individual would turn off the show in disgust and complain to the government that creatures of the night are roaming around and killing people.  But come’on this is America, where the lowest (and often dumbest) common denominator rules, and Harmony Bites becomes a huge hit, with people lining up to be on the show in hopes of being her latest victim.  The idiots probably get what they deserve.  The upside for the undead community is Harmony ends up making vampires as popular as those running around in HBO’s True Blood.

But even this second stringer episode has repercussions for the entire Buffy-verse.  As the story develops, readers meet a newly activate slayer, who decides to take it upon herself to kill Harmony.  The Slayer is never named, and it is probably a good thing that readers don’t get too attached to her as the very public (and broadcast) stabbing attempt goes wrong, as the Slayer getting her throat ripped out by Harmony.

One would think this kind of violence by the vampire community would be frowned upon, but because vamps are the new craze, everyone turns on the Slayers and views them as the bad guys.

Yeah, not only does Buffy and her crew have to contend with demonic forces, and governmental agencies that wish to take them down, they now have to deal with the court of public opinion.

As much as I didn’t want to like this issue, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Jane Espenson’s comedic pacing is right on, and she knows what she wants in a tale that barely features the most famous vampire slayer of them all.  The art by Georges Jeanty is pretty awesome as well as the characters in the book continue to look like characters from the television series.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21 is a must read and earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.



The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. January 14, 2009 at 9:30 am — Reply

    I totally called the centaur-Dawn / horse hook-up about the same time as they showed the preview cover for the issue. I’m surprised they’ve managed to restrain themselves this long.

  2. Roy
    January 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    I thought Harmony was great in season 5 of Angel, though I didn’t care much for her anywhere in BtVS. I’m assuming this means she made it out of L.A. prior to it becoming Hell-A…or does this take place prior to Angel Season 5?

  3. cory
    January 14, 2009 at 2:24 pm — Reply

    The Harmony-centric episode from Angel Season 5 was great but this issue of Buffy was the worst of Season 8 so far.

    NONE of the jokes were laugh-out-loud funny

  4. January 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    Hey, anything that kills Andy Dick is alright with me.

  5. Crash
    January 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm — Reply

    Ehhhh. It was an O.K. issue but I didn’t really like it. We may be silly Americans but I think I’d have rather seen the counter culture thing evolve where kids liked the show and adults are rebelling against its horrible violence.

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