Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Puppet Show   Rewatch 
February 11, 2015 11:07 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Sunnydale High's new Principal Snyder is determined to not repeat the faults of his predecessor, and forces Buffy and friends to perform in the talent show. But there's a murderous demon amongst the performers, and suspicions turn to Morgan and his ventriloquist dummy, Sid.
posted by yellowbinder (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have complete dummy fear, so the reveal that Sid is on the side of the angels is a relief to me. He's a fun character, and his eventual rapport with Buffy is really nice. I'm also a big Magic the Gathering fan, and head designer Mark Rosewater often mentions this episode as an example of playing up and subverting audience expectations. The evil dummy is a well worn trope, so we expect that here, but an inversion of the trope demonstrates once again that nothing is as it seems. This is a silly show at first glance, but more and more it operates on a deeper level.

Principal Snyder is a bit one note on first appearance, even repeating himself several times. Still a great character and sets up a strong authoritarian obstacle going forward. I do love his "I don't get it." when the final fight tableau ends up on stage. It's a nice, small, softening moment for him. We'll see if his hard hand approach works to avoid getting eaten.

The mystery is fairly well set up, although a little dark with murders and brain tumors and such. I also have issues with "Smartest guy around" Giles sticking his head in a guillotine (minutes before the show?) with a brain craving demon on the loose, but I guess we need stakes somehow.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:23 PM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Snyder is a wonderful not-quite-antagonist, and he's easily one of the most fun characters o the show.

I like the performance of "So the horny dummy thing isn't just an act?" "Nope." The way they read those lines is so stilted and awkward that it seems to radiate off the screen.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:09 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best line: "It's thinking like that which leads to getting eaten." I also like the way they play with Snyder lurking about creepily. There's lots of red herrings going on, not just the Sid/Morgan one. Mind you, it's funny how Sid changes from creepy to funny as soon as he's revealed. And creepy in a different way.

In Giles's defence, he's not there when they work out that the brain isn't suitable and another one's required. But yeah, not one of his finest moments.

I also love this episode because it reminds me so much of my favourite, Restless . Willow's even wearing a yellow jumper (not the same one) like she does later. Brilliant.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:59 AM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

You gotta feel sorry for Morgan really with this one. Poor kid has a brain tumour and has somehow come into posession of a dummy that is making him fight demons! Jeeze. Really Sid should feel a bit more guilty about that one, but there you go.

This is a pretty good episode. The misleads work quite well, and the show is quite happy for you to realise that the dummy is animate before the characters do (although, this is the start of a long trend of Buffy saying something is going on, everyone disbelieving her, then her being proven right by the end of the episode). I really like Sid and Buffy's conversation, and he's a pretty well drawn character for a dummy possessed by a demon slayer.


-Cordelia is very funny. I love her little smile when she comes up with a put down for Buffy
-The tuba player is the first person of colour to have a line on this show
-Joyce being woken up by Buffy: "don't worry about it I was dreaming about bills"
-Xander actually gets to save someone!
-First (and only?) credits sequence with the amazing version of Oedipus.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:09 AM on February 12, 2015

This was another one of the early episodes where you can tell that they're starting to really have some fun with the format. The twists are well-delivered (including the fake-outs with Snyder), and Sid is a memorable one-off character. It's too bad they never brought him back for anything later (perhaps in human form, in a 1930s Korean Slayer flashback), although he did show up as a playable character in the BtVS: Chaos Bleeds video game.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:44 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had never noticed the Oedipus bit at the end ... awesome.
posted by bunderful at 12:58 PM on January 2, 2016

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