Buffy, “Storyteller”

I knew Xander Harris. Xander Harris was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Xander Harris.

By Sarah Kuhn
February 26, 2003

You know what episode I love? That one where the nerdy guy, the seemingly non-heroic one, skulks around in the background and watches the rest of the Scoobs save the world. We see everything from his point of view and he has his own adventures and makes with his own heroics and the whole thing is pretty durn funny. That episode was season 3’s “The Zeppo,” and it starred Xander Harris, and Andrew? You’re no Xander Harris.

Yes, yes, it’s the big Andrew episode, the one you all were waiting for! Except by “all of you” I mean “none of you,” or possibly, “none of you except for that one guy with the Tom Lenk shrine.” (Note: The author does not mean to diss anyone with a Tom Lenk shrine. He seems like a fine chap, and I’m sure there are lots of photos of him available on the Internet.) Anyway, Andrew is taking a page from Felicity‘s Sean Blumberg, and has decided to make a documentary about Buffy and friends. He chronicles Buffy slaying vamps, kitchen Slayerette summits, and Anya and Xander’s tentative “I still love you” conversation. Meanwhile, that big seal thing that Andrew spilled Jonathan’s blood all over is acting up, and things at Sunnydale High are getting all crazy. Buff knows she has to put a stop to the seal, somehow, and she thinks the answer lies with Andrew.

Lest you think I am a big bad meanie for not loving all the Andrew funnies, there are a few moments that made me giggle, most notably when Spike is preening for the camera — kinda reminded me of his photo shoot in “Restless.” I also liked Andrew’s dissing of Buff’s big speeches and his complete ignorance of the hot girl-on-girl action going on right in front of his face. The rest of it, however, is tired, and that’s largely because we’ve seen all of this before, executed much more skillfully. We got the regular guy stuff in “The Zeppo,” and we’ve gotten the home video schtick on countless other shows, such as the aforementioned Felicity. Also, Andrew’s a character who’s great in small doses: throwaway mentions of funnel cake and the big board? Funny. An entire episode based around his whiny persona? Not so much. As for Andrew’s extended fantasy sequences, they’re amusing in concept, but again, we’ve seen umpteen billion exaggerated fantasy sequences, and his aren’t all that special. Well, except for maybe that “we are gods” one, but that one’s more flat-out weird than funny.

I am also not digging the resolution. Oh, so the big bad seal didn’t want Andrew’s blood? It just needed his tears? Is this supposed to be like Beauty and the Beast or something? Or is the seal all into dishing out the tough love, like Dr. Phil? Whatever, Seal of Dr. Phil.

I guess I should also mention that Xander and Anya sleep together and it feels like “one last time.” It might not be, though, judging from their expressions. I don’t know why that’s even in this episode.

Anyway. Gimmicks are fun when they work, but this one just doesn’t. Nice effort, though. I guess it could have been worse — you know, like an all-Kennedy episode.