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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Some Assembly Required
September 22, 1997
5V02

 
Credits

Writer:
Ty King


Director:
Bruce Seth Green


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Robia LaMorte as Ms. Calendar
Cast:
Angelo Spizzirri as Chris
Michael Bacall as Eric
Ingo Neuhaus as Daryl
Melanie MacQueen as Mrs. Epps
Amanda Wilmshurst as Cheerleader

 
Synopsis

Someone is digging up corpses in Sunnydale, while Giles is fumbling about trying to start a romance with Jenny. Eric and Chris, two science club geeks, seem very keen on Cordelia. Chris and Eric have been making a Frankenstein's Bride for Chris' older brother, who died and was brought back to life by Chris. They kidnap Cordelia to use her head to finish the job, but Buffy and Co. find her in time, Daryl and Buffy fight, and the place is set on fire. Xander rescues Cordy from a horrible flamey death, while Buffy fights an enraged Daryl. The body that was to take Cordy's head is set on fire, and Daryl chooses to die with it rather than "live" alone. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

Weird Science The clear inspiration for this episode is the gothic horror classic Frankenstein, written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) and published in 1818, in which a brilliant scientist named Victor Frankenstein brings a creature made from parts of dead bodies to life. Considered one of the first works of science fiction, it is one of the most influential works in the history of speculative fiction. There also seems to be some influence from Weird Science, the 1985 John Hughes movie (later made into a syndicated cable TV series) about two bright but socially crippled misfits (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) who create a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) from scratch.


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Dialogue to Die For

The scene in which Buffy and Xander find Giles practicing to ask Ms. Calendar out is a classic, from beginning to end a beautiful example of near-perfect comic writing. Given our druthers, we'd put the whole scene here, but instead we'll just point out our favorite highlights:

    Buffy: "Being called an idiot tends to take people out of the dating mood."
    Xander: "It actually kinda turns me on."
    Buffy: "I fear you."

    Xander: "Now, is it time to have a talk about the facts of life?"
    Giles: "You know, I'm suddenly deciding this is none of your business."
    Xander: "Y'know, because that whole stork thing is a smoke screen."

    Giles: "Grave robbing? That's new. Interesting."
    Buffy: "I know you meant to say 'gross and disturbing.'"
    Giles, halfheartedly: "Yes, yes, yes of course. Uh, terrible thing. Must put a stop to it. Damn it."

Cordelia: "Eww! Why is it that every conversation you people have has the word corpse in it?"

Willow: "Love makes you do the wacky."

Buffy: "Sorry, but I'm an old fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies."

Buffy: "I don't get it. Why would anybody wanna make a girl?"
Xander, bitter: "You mean when there's so many pre-made ones just laying around? The things we do for love."
Buffy: "Love has nothing to do with this."
Xander, as Willow looks on: "Maybe not, but I'll tell you this: people don't fall in love with what's right in front of them. People want the dream. What they can't have."

Angel, about Xander: "He gets to be there when I can't. Take your classes, eat your meals, hear your jokes and complaints. He gets to see you in the sunlight."

More quotes from this episode...

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References

  • "Then if you wouldn't mind a little Gene and Roger..."  Gene Siskel (of the Chicago Tribune) and Roger Ebert (of the Chicago Sun-Times) are arguably the two most famous film critics in America.

  • "Oh, thank you, Cyrano."  In Cyrano de Bergerac, the classic 1897 play by Edmond Rostand (1868-1918), the title character (a soldier with a romantic soul and a gift for words but who is deformed with an immensely long nose) helps his dim-witted fellow soldier Christian romance the lovely Roxanne by giving Christian the right words to say to Roxanne, even though he is desperately in love with Roxanne himself.

    Bat-Signal

  • "Sorry to interrupt, Willow, but it's the Bat-Signal."  In DC Comics' Batman comics, the authorities of Gotham City have a "Bat-Signal," a large spotlight with the silhouette of a bat in the center, which they project on the clouds or on tall buildings to alert Batman that he is needed.

  • As he works in the basement, Eric sings "My Girl," the 1965 hit written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White which became the signature song of Motown superstars the Temptations.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • In their newspaper photo, the three dead cheerleaders from Fondren High, inexplicably, have the letter J on their sweaters.

  • Ms. Calendar refers to football as America's national pastime, but in point of fact that's baseball. No idea if this is an unintentional mistake, or a deliberate jab by someone in the writing area who happens to be a football fan.
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Notes

  • Anthony Stewart Head recites the opening narration for the first time, replacing the announcer who recited the lines throughout the first season.

  • Amanda Wilmshurst reprises her role as the head cheerleader, last seen in "The Witch." Buffy addresses her as Joy.

  • In the opening scene, Angel and Buffy fight about her dance with Xander in "When She Was Bad," an incident which is referred to later in the episode by Willow.

  • Fondren High is a high school that is nearby. Xander's joke about Fondren beating Sunnydale in the cross-town body count competition seems to imply that Fondren High is actually in Sunnydale, but earlier comments about Sunnydale's small size would seem to contradict that.

  • In spite of endless speculation by fan fiction authors that her first name was either Nikki or Samantha, Ms. Calendar reveals in this episode that her first name is Jenny. (In fact, Joss Whedon originally intended her first name to be Nikki, but changed those plans at the last moment to avoid confusion with Nicholas Brendon, who is referred to on the set as "Nicky.")

  • Angel is 241 years old at the time of this episode.

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Comments

Brian:
I noticed the addition of X-Files writer and producer Howard Gordon in the credits as a "Consulting Producer," and his influence shows here. "Some Assembly Required" comes off as The X-Files with hormones. I seriously expected to hear Mark Snow music at some points, especially during the scenes with the creepy Mrs. Epps. I also noticed that all the characters are taking their relationships more seriously now. Xander's jealousy of Angel is more forceful and pronounced, as is the strained romance between Angel and Buffy. It all seems to point to a darker direction for the emotional aspects of the show, and the continued fall-out from Buffy's now-infamous Xander Dance leads me to believe that Joss is setting up several season-long romantic sub-plots. I applaud all these developments. All in all, everything about this episode glowed — the continued integration of Cordelia into the Slayer clique, the loose threads from "When She Was Bad" which were picked up, the hyped-up group dynamics involving Buffy, Angel, Cordelia, and Xander, and even the sweetness with which the Angel/Buffy and Giles/Calendar storylines were handled. I consider this a serious improvement over the uneven season premiere, and a worthy entry into the series canon. If not for the season premiere's sheer necessity, I would have picked this episode, rather than "When She Was Bad" as the season opener. (9/10)
Will:
I have recently been enlightened to two very simple truths: There is a God (his name is Joss) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the best shows on television. After the disappointment that I encountered with the season premiere, this week's episode had nowhere to go but up. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that everything that I love about this show has returned. In the season premiere it seemed like Joss was trying too hard to recreate last season's drama. With "Some Assembly Required," the writers were able to capture the essence of the show. It was fun, witty, intelligent, and most of all, true to the show and the characters. Buffy has returned to her form from last season. There seems to be an impending relationship brewing between Giles and Ms. Calendar (of which I absolutely love the idea). Giles is so adorably awkward and nervous about speaking to her. It is priceless. The frequent presence of Angel is a bit annoying because he seems to be acting like a guardian angel. It seems unnecessary. Cordelia's role in this episode was far less abrasive than in the season premiere. Her attempts to be sincere are still a bit hard to swallow, but I was able to deal with it. My only objection to this episode is that the existence of the thought-to-be-dead brother was a little corny. I believed it, but I thought that there could have been a better reason for two high school guys to be harvesting female body parts. Overall, Joss has redeemed himself with this little gem.
P.S. Note to Joss: Please address the ice cream on the nose incident... please... (9/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
September 22, 1997 3.2 100 of 109
December 15, 1997 2.6 100 of 113 (tie)
June 23, 1998 2.2 102 of 117 (tie)

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