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Go Fish
May 05, 1998


Elin Hampton

David Semel

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 Star:
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Charles Cyphers as Coach Marin
Jeremy Garrett as Cameron Walker
Wentworth Miller as Gage Petronzi
Conchata Ferrell as Nurse Greenleigh
Danny Strong as Jonathan
Shane West as Sean
Jake Patellis as Dodd McAlvy


Willow is being leaned on by Principal Snyder to give a swim team member a better grade than he deserves, since they are soon to win the State Championships. To complicate matters, something is eating the swim team one by one, leaving only their skins. Xander decide to go under-not-a-lot-of-cover in the swim team, where he finds out they are being fed steroids by the coach. The steroids are turning the team into fish monsters, which eat the school nurse. The coach tries to give the fish-boys Buffy, but she throws him to them instead, and they escape into the ocean. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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While the obvious influence here is the 1954 horror classic The Creature From The Black Lagoon, the beach party scene and the fish-men are somewhat reminiscent of a whole slew of surf movie/monster movie hybrids from the 1960's, such as 1964's The Horror Of Party Beach. And was it just us, or did we detect the faintest whiff of the Flukeman (from the X-Files episode "The Host") in the sewer scenes?

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Dialogue to Die For

This episode was on One-Liner Overdrive. A few of the best:

Buffy: "So something ripped him open and ate out his insides?"
Willow: "Like an Oreo cookie. Well, except for, you know... without the chocolatey cookie goodness."

Buffy: "Unfortunately, we have a lot of something elses in this town."

Xander: "I figured I can keep an eye on Gage and the others when Buffy can't."
Willow: "When you're nude? (Buffy nudges her) I-I meant to say changing."

Buffy: "I think we better find the rest of the swim team and lock them up before they get in touch with their inner halibut."

Cordelia: "I think we can safely say we found Sean. He was in the pool, skinless-dipping."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Cameron's excuse for not beating on Xander in the hallway: "You're lucky I'm hungry."  It's about as lame and nonsensical an excuse as we've heard in ages.

From the "Yeah, right" department... Buffy: "Okay, okay, obviously my sex appeal is on the fritz today, so I'll just give it to you straight."

Giles: "How are you?"
Buffy: "I'm definitely feeling the burn."

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  • "The Yankees... Abbott & Costello... the 'A.'"  The Yankees are, of course, New York's American League baseball franchise; Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were the most popular comedy team of the 1930's and 40's, famous for the screamingly funny "Who's On First?" routine; and The A-Team was a comedic action series which ran on NBC from 1983-1987, starring Mr. T, George Peppard, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz. (Many appreciative thanks to Rod, who runs the Alyson Hannigan Appreciation Society, and to Tigger and Ryan for bringing the A-Team connection to our clueless attention. We missed it.)

    Richard Dreyfuss

  • "In other words... this was no boating accident."  Xander is doing a lousy impression of Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper in the 1975 movie Jaws. Not only does he sound more like Roy Scheider, who played Sheriff Brody in that movie, but the line is actually "This was no boat accident!"

  • "You're soaking in it, bud."  A reference to a series of commercials made in the 1970's starring Jan Miner as Madge the manicurist, who would surprise her clients by informing them that they were soaking their hands in Palmolive dishwashing detergent.

  • Buffy: "It's not like you were exposed more than once. Twice?"
    Xander: "Three times a fish guy."  The song "Three Times A Lady," written by Lionel Ritchie, was a big hit for his old band the Commodores in 1978, and features the famous chorus "Once, twice, three times a lady."

    The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Brooke Shields

  • Cordelia: "It's one thing to be dating the lame, unpopular guy, but it's another to be dating the Creature from the Blue Lagoon."
    Xander: "Black Lagoon. The Creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields."  He's right. One is from a famous 1954 horror movie starring Richard Carlson and Julia Adams, the other is a cheesy 1980 "teenagers come of age while romping around a desert island mostly naked" movie starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. Don't get them confused.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • There's a terrible dub with Cordelia in Act 2: When Willow corrects Xander, saying that it was Jefferson who wrote that all men are created equal, Cordelia says, "Kept slaves, remember?". However, her lips clearly say something else. The closed captions and some careful lip reading reveal that the original line was "Kept slaves. Got any more?"
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  • Naked - "Mann's Chinese (From Naked, Red Ant Records, 1997)
  • Nero's Rome - "If You'd Listen" (From Togetherly, Lazy Bones Recordings, 1994)
      This is the song playing at the Bronze as Buffy watches Gage play pool.
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Oh dear. An episode this light and bubbly can only mean one thing: that they're softening us up for the season finale. But I digress. What we have in "Go Fish" is a fun little stand-alone that actually works in spite of some real dramatic stretching. Fury and Hampton, the newcomer writers, had the characters doing and saying some pretty unbelievable things in the service of the plot, but said plot was pretty tasty in all honesty. The surprise revelation at the end of Act 3 took me particularly by surprise, quite pleasantly so. And it really was very nice to see Buffy cracking a couple jokes, instead of being in über-mope mode as she has been of late. Despite the hoops the characters jump through to facilitate them, the plot developments kept me interested, and as a red-herring-laden mystery this one worked even better than last season's "The Puppet Show," so full marks for ingenuity. All in all, an episode that succeeds in spite of itself. But the most disturbing image of all in this episode was that of the flabby Nurse Greenleigh dressed in white in the sewer water. Yikes. (7/10)
I actually found this week's episode a bit disappointing. It wasn't bad but unfortunately, compared to last week's gem, this one was less than perfect. My first problem with it was the monsters. They reminded me (as Xander pointed out) of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I liked the concept of how the swim team got infected and became fish, but the fish people lacked originality. Secondly, it lacked Spike and Drusilla. After last week's ending I was hoping for at least one word from Spike to clue me in to what might happen next week. On the positive side, I am noticing that more recently there is always a bit of a twist to the story. Just when you think you have it figured out... curve ball. This episode was no exception. In addition, I found this episode to be particularly witty. Buffy, Willow, Xander and even Cordy had some priceless lines. Unfortunately, for me the poor costume design of the monsters hurt the overall presentation of the episode. Overall I did like it, but not as much as some previous offerings. We should all take better care of our inner halibut. (8/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
May 05, 1998 3.6 92 of 111 (tie)
September 1, 1998 2.1 96 of 112 (tie)

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