Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Doublemeat Palace   Rewatch 
February 3, 2016 9:51 PM - Season 6, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Buffy takes a job at the Doublemeat Palace, and begins to suspect she's serving human meat. Amy endangers Willow's magic resistance. Anya's vengeance demon friend Halfrek visits in advance of the wedding.
posted by yellowbinder (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This is the most depressing episode of BtVS ever, and I include "The Body" in that tally. When the highlight of the hour is Buffy and Spike having halfhearted wall sex in the grimy alley next to a dumpster, the world has gone wrong.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:20 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's no doubt that this is a pretty bleak episode, but there is quite a lot of dark humour there. The episode functions mostly as a satire of working in fast food, and is effective at that, I love the idea of the deeply disturbing video all employees get shown. I think this also marks a continuing development of this series in that the supernatural plays a very small part, penis head monster aside. And hey, the penis head monster sprays a venom that literally paralyses Buffy, which is a good metaphor if anything.

This isn't quite low ebb Buffy, but she's pretty beaten down here, and in an important turn, at the end of this episode she stays in her job. She doesn't even get a raise!

I don't understand Amy. She won't appear again until the terrible Killer in Me, but apparently she's just a nasty addict who "gifts" Willow with magic. She's just become this completely unnuanced driver for plot and I'm glad Willow shuts her out. I suppose that's the point: Willow is giving up all the trappings of her magic addiction, but seeing as Amy only turned up 4 episodes ago, it's hardly a big moment for her.

-It does annoy me that apparently Willow can determine that there's no meat in the special recipe, but apparently no-one has noticed across all their chains at all?
-It also annoys me that Buffy doesn't just call the police when she finds the finger. That would be the correct reaction unless she thinks something supernatural is happening, but she thinks it's just Manny (poor Manny).
-Oh, also, the show doesn't really think about this, but having demons operating and killing people in places Buffy happens to go to implies that this stuff is happening all the time in Sunnydale. Which implies she's doing a really, really bad job if Sunnydale is just full of predatory demons killing people. In earlier seasons a new threat would arise and the gang would hunt it down and kill it, here the threats are just happily killing people until they happen to intersect with Buffy.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:15 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, the show doesn't really think about this, but having demons operating and killing people in places Buffy happens to go to implies that this stuff is happening all the time in Sunnydale. Which implies she's doing a really, really bad job if Sunnydale is just full of predatory demons killing people. In earlier seasons a new threat would arise and the gang would hunt it down and kill it, here the threats are just happily killing people until they happen to intersect with Buffy.

There's a level of background violence associated with the Hellmouth that people are just used to ("Mr. Mayor, you're dead wrong. (people begin to murmur) This is *not* a good town. How many of us have, have lost someone who, who just disappeared? Or, or got skinned? Or suffered neck rupture?"). Buffy goes after the big threats (long-term) and happens across minor one-victim-a-week stuff all the time.
posted by Etrigan at 6:06 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't know why I've always thought this episode was way earlier. Like, I kept expecting it to pop up in Season 4 for some reason, and then in Season 5. I don't know why.
posted by Etrigan at 6:06 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is literally the worst episode of Buffy ever, and I concur with nicebookrack as to why.

Yeah, so realistically the only job Buffy could ever have for pay would be fast food, but still...ughhhhhhhh.

The only thing not terrible about it is the mild joke that Doublemeat Palace is totally appropriate for vegetarians.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:31 AM on February 4, 2016


Oh how i LOATHE this ep. I've never been able to really articulate why but oh....so painful...

There's been indication through the show that this does in fact happen all the time. Oz comments about the school paper having an obituary column. Such is life on the Hellmouth.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:19 AM on February 4, 2016


I hate this entire misery-porn season, but this is probably its hottest plate of garbage. To be honest, though, I think Buffy (the show) really only works when it's set in a school. When Buffy dropped out, the story engine began to break down right away. By this point, the show is a fucking mess. I think that's why they find a roundabout way to put her back in high school in S7, but it's a bit late by then.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:29 PM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, so realistically the only job Buffy could ever have for pay would be fast food, but still...ughhhhhhhh.


But it's not! Part of what made this episode and season so frustratingly bleak was watching Buffy drag herself deeper into masochistic misery by failing at jobs for Nice Normal Girls™. If Peter Parker can sell pictures of Spider-Man, why can't Buffy the Vampire Slayer make money doing something she could be actually good at? Bartender, bouncer, exotic dancer, construction worker who lifts heavy things, martial arts / gymnastics / yoga instructor, bodyguard, film stuntwoman, etc. Flexible things she could juggle while she's earning her History of Medieval Weaponry degree in a self-paced online course.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:21 PM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


And hey, the penis head monster sprays a venom that literally paralyses Buffy, which is a good metaphor if anything.

And then a lesbian chopped the penis-head off. Not sure if they meant to extend the metaphor to that part of the story or not.
posted by creepygirl at 6:07 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


This episode ran a little long, maybe about 200 minutes?
posted by skewed at 6:56 PM on February 4, 2016


why can't Buffy the Vampire Slayer make money doing something she could be actually good at? Bartender, bouncer, exotic dancer, construction worker who lifts heavy things, martial arts / gymnastics / yoga instructor, bodyguard, film stuntwoman, etc.

There was an episode where she tried being a construction worker, but she freaked out the dudes with her strength. And also demons attacked. I think it was before this one, even. I imagine she'd run into the same how-does-she-do-that problem with other strength-based jobs like martial arts, bouncer, and stunt woman (and is she close enough to LA for stunt woman to be a real option). Is gymnastics a job, aside from Olympic level? I can't see her teaching it since she wouldn't have any idea what it takes for someone without super strength to do the moves. And, exotic dancer? Really? Is that where anyone saw a female empowerment story going? Bartender is, I guess, a plausible option, since even a noted booze hater like Buffy can serve it to other people.

In conclusion, the entire point of this episode is that super heroes have shit job options.
posted by Mavri at 9:03 PM on February 4, 2016


Right, the construction worker episode is Life Serial, which is several eps before this one. Maybe a dude could get away with being unusually strong in traditionally male industries, but Buffy would also be dealing with being a female construction worker/bouncer/bodyguard. Her lack of options, despite being a super hero, is what makes this episode work. And her lack of options is also very tied to the fact that she's a woman. This episode is bleak, but it's well-established and well-earned.
posted by Mavri at 9:15 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can absolutely see why people hate this episode, but I don't. I don't love it either, but I see it as what the whole of 6 is: trying to do something different with Buffy. This episode doesn't feel like BtVS, that's definitely true, it feels like something different, but as such it forms a continuity with the general feeling of this series. Personally, I think that's a valuable thing to do. Buffy as a show had already done adventures at high school, and if you wanted to watch that, you could always just buy the DVDs and watch it again. What I find valuable about Buffy is that it's a show about lots of different things, and is never afraid to experiment, even if those experiments don't always work. 6 will never be my favourite season, certainly not to watch for pleasure, but then that's true of the Wire Season 4 too.

I do agree though that in plotting terms, her being forced to work at the Double Meat Palace. As I mentioned in the Life Serial thread, the reasons for her failing to do other jobs were extremely contrived, and really the only difference between her not working at the magic box anymore and her deciding to go back to the DMP is desperation on her part.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:50 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


On reflection: The revelation that the Doublemeat burgers are basically vegetarian is pretty funny, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:25 AM on February 5, 2016


I very specifically resent this episode, because it is the first and only episode one of my best friends in high school ever watched. She had heard me raving about the show and finally decided to give it a shot, and caught this episode as a rerun. I lost some credibility with her taste-wise for a while after that. Damn you, Doublemeat Palace.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:27 PM on February 5, 2016


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