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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
The Freshman
October 05, 1999
4ABB01

 
Credits

Writers:
Joss Whedon


Director:
Joss Whedon


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Marc Blucas as Riley
Dagney Kerr as Kathy
Pedro Balmaceda as Eddie
Katharine Towne as Sunday
Lindsay Crouse as Maggie Walsh
Cast:
Mike Rad as Rookie, the stoner vamp
Shannon Hillary as Dav, the unskinny vamp
Mace Lombard as Tom, the zapped vamp
Robert Catrini as Prof. Riegert, the mean teacher
Scott Rinker as R.A.
Phina Oruche as Olivia
Denice J. Sealy as Student Volunteer
Evie Peck as Angry Girl
Jason Christopher as Nonserious Guy
Jane Silvia as Conservative Woman
Mark Silverberg as Passing Student
Walt Borchert as New Vampire

 
Synopsis

Buffy is not enjoying her introduction to college — getting lost, getting kicked out of a class for talking, meeting her Celine Dion-loving roommate Kathy — while Willow can't contain her excitement about their new surroundings. On her first night of patrolling, Buffy gets roughed up badly by a female vampire named Sunday. Upset by how her new life is going, she heads to the Bronze and meets Xander, back from his summer road trip, who gives Buffy a much needed pep talk. Hunting down Sunday and eventually staking her, Buffy's spirits are lifted and she begins to believe in herself again. — Short synopsis by Boo.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Body Count

Human Eddie
Sunday's gang drains and vamps Eddie somewhere on the UCS campus.
Vamp Eddie
Buffy stakes him on the UCS campus.
Stoner Vamp
Willow nails him with a crossbow at the vamps' frat-house.
One of Sunday's lackey's
Xander stakes one at the frat-house.
Sunday
Buffy stakes her at the frat-house.
Total: Five
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Dialogue to Die For

Unskinny Vamp: "Does this sweater make me look fat?" Sunday: "No. The fact that you're fat makes you look fat. That sweater just makes you look purple."

Giles (after Buffy has seen Olivia): "I'm not supposed to have a private life?"
Buffy: "No. Because you're very, very old and it's gross."

Buffy (to Giles): "OK, remember before you became Hugh Hefner, when you used to be a Watcher?"

Willow (when they think Buffy has run away): "How can you be so calm?"
Oz: "Long, arduous hours of practice."

More quotes from this episode...

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References

  • Oz: "It's pretty much a madhouse, a madhouse."
  • Charlton Heston, as Col. George Taylor, spoke the words "It's a madhouse! A madhouse!" in the 1968 film, Planet of the Apes. Xander referenced this same line in "When She Was Bad."

  • Buffy (about the huge library): "Yeah, this is great, you know, if we ever need a place for the Nuremberg rallies."
  • Beginning in 1933, an area to the south of the German city Nuremberg was turned into a gigantic building site. The "Party Rally Grounds" were designed to be a stone memorial to the ideology of National Socialism (Nazis). The Nazis held their annual party rallies here from 1933-38, at which they developed their anti-Semitic laws.

  • Riley (regarding Professor Walsh and operant conditioning): "You know her treatise on Dietrich's work?"
  • We can only presume that that Professor Walsh must have written her own treatise based on Dietrich von Freiberg's Treatise of the Intellect and the Intelligible, written in the late 13th century. Operant conditioning is conditioning in which the desired behavior or increasingly closer approximations to it are followed by a rewarding or reinforcing stimulus.

  • Kathy hangs a Celine Dion poster on the wall.
  • Celine Dion is a popular singer of sappy love songs. Her most famous song, of course, is "My Heart Will Go On" from the 1997 movie, Titanic.

  • Eddie (to Buffy): "Of Human Bondage. Have you read it?"
  • Of Human Bondage, written by W. Somerset Maugham and originally published in 1915, is a classic tale of sexual obsession and man's hunger for freedom.

  • Stoner Vamp (regarding the artwork they have collected from dorms): "Monet still well in the lead, but look out for team Klimt coming from behind."
  • Claude Monet (18401926) was a French landscape painter and a founder of impressionism. Austrian painter and illustrator Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was the founder of the school of painting known as the Vienna Secession. "The Kiss," arguably his most famous piece, was the print seen in this episode. (Apparently, these two artists are very popular in freshman dorm rooms; who knew?)

  • Stoner Vamp (regarding freshmen): "And you can never eat just one."
  • Lay's brand potato chips have been using variations of the "You can't eat just one" slogan since 1963.

  • Buffy (to Giles): "OK, remember before you became Hugh Hefner, when you used to be a Watcher?"
  • Hugh Hefner is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine (for the sheltered people, that's a magazine featuring nude women). He is known for his parties at the Playboy Mansion, attended by celebrities and Playmates. He is often photographed wearing just a smoking jacket (a la Giles).

  • Stoner Vamp (wanting to feed on Buffy): "Cuz I'm thinking Slayer's blood's gotta be, whoa, like Thai stick."
  • Thai stick is one of the seemingly endless list of slang names for marijuana, this one being particularly potent and usually laced with another drug.

  • Xander (regarding his road trip): "There's some purple mountains majesty, I'm gonna have to say."
  • Purple mountains majesty" refers to the lyrics of "America the Beautiful," written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 and revised in 1913. The following is part of the first verse: "O beautiful for spacious skies, / For amber waves of grain, / For purple mountain majesties / Above the fruited plain!"

  • Buffy: "You saw the Grand Canyon."
    Xander: "I saw the movie Grand Canyon, on cable."
  • The Grand Canyon is a gorge of the Colorado River in Northern Arizona over 200 miles long and 1 mile deep, attracting millions of visitors a year. The movie Xander probably saw on cable (as there are 1949 and 1958 movies of the same name) is the 1991 movie, Grand Canyon with Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, and Danny Glover.

  • Xander: "Avengers assemble. Let's get it going."
  • "Avengers" is a Marvel comic book featuring a team of superheroes, currently including Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America.

  • Xander: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to anger..."
  • This mangled quote is of course from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Yoda senses the fear in young Anakin Skywalker (later to become Darth Vader) and says the following: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

  • Xander: "First you get the women, then you get the money, then you..."
  • This is Xander's attempt at quoting 1983's Scarface. The line, spoken by Al Pacino's character, is: "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women."

  • Buffy (in response to Xander's ramblings): "Thanks for the Dadaist pep talk."
  • Dada was an art movement from the early 20th century. The literary manifestations of Dada were mostly nonsense poems with meaningless random combinations of words.

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Continuity

  • Choices

    The road trip Xander took (though he didn't get too far down the road) was an idea he had during "Choices," when he was reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

  • Becoming, Part One and Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

    Buffy tells Eddie she doesn't have a security blanket, unless one counts Mr. Pointy. Though she doesn't explain to Eddie, Mr. Pointy was Kendra's lucky stake, which she gave to Buffy in part one of "Becoming." Interestingly, Buffy told Owen in "NKaBotFD" that she had an actual security blanket. Perhaps she didn't want to admit it to a total stranger ... or perhaps Joss forgot about it.

  • What's My Line, Part One

    Buffy sees that Sunday and friends have Mr. Gordo, her stuffed pig, whom Angel was introduced to in "What's My Line, Part One."

  • Becoming, Part Two and Anne

    Willow mentions "the one time [Buffy] disappeared for several months and changed her name," referring to when Buffy hid out in L.A. after sending Angel to hell.

  • The Prom

    Sunday breaks the staff of the gold parasol which was presented to Buffy at the prom, as a symbol of her status as Class Protector.

  • Angel and Ted

    Buffy's diary has been seen twice before: When she thought Angel had read it in "Angel," and when Ted did read it in "Ted."

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • When Buffy is alone and lost on campus (the first time), she is carrying a bag. Its stripes are slightly different on each side, and it starts out one way, but after a shot-switch, the bag has turned around.

  • In the scene in which Buffy tries to sleep while Kathy snores, Buffy's covers are up high during close-ups (almost to her chin), but quite a few inches lower in the farther shots.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • When the vamps clean out Eddie's room, you can see a couple of them in the mirror above the sink.

  • Granted, it's a pretty dark scene to be sure, but it looks like the stoner vamp is packing Eddie's stuff by the sink. After a quick cut to the stereo that the pudgy vamp is stealing, the stoner vamp is shown sitting at a desk, just finishing the goodbye note.

  • There is some concern over the fact that the vamps in this episode live in a place with a skylight. However, frat houses are generally very large with lots of bedrooms, so it wouldn't be difficult to avoid the skylight during the day — especially since they're likely to be sleeping then.

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Notes

  • Buffy, Willow, and Oz are taking Introduction to Psychology (Psych. 105) with Professor Maggie Walsh. Willow is also taking Ethnomusicology.

  • Oz's band has played at UCS on multiple occasions.

  • Campus buildings we know of so far: Richmond Hall, Weisman Hall, Fischer Hall (Buffy's dorm), and Dunworth Building (Eddie's dorm, a library, an auditorium, and a bookstore.

  • Buffy passes a guy wearing only a bath towel in her dorm. This would seem to imply that the dorms are co-ed (or Buffy's is, at least) and not even separated by floor.

  • When Buffy answers the phone and no one speaks, it's Angel on the other end (we saw him make the call during the premiere of Angel, "City of").

  • Oxnard, where Xander spent most of his summer, is a real city, located only about 40 miles Southeast from where Sunnydale supposedly is.

  • The male strip club Xander washed dishes at in Oxnard was called "Ladies' Night."

  • Xander's parents have made him move into the basement — and pay rent for it.

  • Oz and his bandmates are living in a house off-campus.

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Music

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Comments

Jeremy:
A pretty weak opener to what seems will turn out to be a promising season, however. Am I making any sense here? What I mean, is that it seems like it will be yet another great season, with the great twists and turns that we all love, but this is not the opener that I was hoping for. Sure, we get to meet Riley and see what everyone is starting to make of their post-high-schoolianism. The writing was good, but not brilliant; there were many lines, in my mind at least, that simply fell flat. I do, however, think they treated Buffy's entry to higher education very well. Sure, most of us have never had it that bad, but it can be very overwhelming to a lot of people. Sarah was on top of things with her acting, delivering many scenes exactly the way they should have been (her stuttering after she dropped the books on Riley, for example). For a season premiere I was hoping for better, but it was still a good episode, and better than last season's opener, "Anne." (6.5/10)
Jamie Marie:
I'm iffy on this one. It didn't suck, but it wasn't up to my idea of Joss's potential. (It probably doesn't help that I watched the premiere of Angel first, and liked it better.) I was greatly looking forward to this season (and still am), because Buffy is now in college, theoretically making the show more identifiable with my life. However, little details about her college experience are bugging me, because that's the kind of person I am. Psychology counts as a science requirement? Not in any of the schools I or my friends have gone to. And it appears that there's only one section of Intro Psych, taught by only one professor. Not gonna happen. Also, Buffy and Willow aren't roommates? Many schools these days will let you pick a roommate if you both request each other (and I said many, not all, so spare me the emails, if you will). At the very least, there needed to be a line such as, "I can't believe we didn't get to be roommates," to acknowledge it. I wouldn't be surprised if they become roommates later, though. Another thing that disturbed me was the thing with Buffy's arm. Sunday tries to break her arm, and Buffy favors it for a while, then seems to forget about it. Then, when she's on the skylight, she's suddenly favoring it again — only (IMHO) to remind us that Sunday hurt her arm and Buffy is at a disadvantage. That, plus all the lines about her arm, just made it seem like a forced (and unnecessary) plot device. Don't despair, though, there were some good things. I loved the "But you made one mistake" scene, in which Buffy tries to be dramatic but can't follow through, and the whole hugging scene when Xander arrives as Buffy's dorm. And I always love it when the vamps react before being dusted (stoner guy's "Whoa" and Sunday's hands-on-hips pose). But, overall, I feel as though I drank a cup of instant coffee — it was good enough to give me a lift and satisfy a craving, but not good enough to make up for the bad aftertaste. (7.5/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
October 05, 1999 4.4 87 of 135 (tie)
December 7, 1999 2.9 97 of 139 (tie)
August 8, 2000 2.2 95 of 140 (tie)

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