Spotlight on Buffy Writer Marti Noxon

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Welcome back to the Hellmouth, gentle viewers! Be warned; here be spoilers.

Today I thought I’d depart from character stuff and talk about one of my favorite Buffy writers. This writer brought me some of my favorite episodes, both hilarious and heart-wrenching. She’s written some kick-ass blowouts and some punch-to-the-gut breakups — and one of my all time favorite funny moments.

And hey, we also saw her on screen a couple times!

I am, of course, talking about the indomitable Marti Noxon.

Marti1Marti joined the show back in its second season, and she went on to write at least three or four episodes per season through the end. So today I thought I’d showcase some of these awesome episodes and what made them so great for me. And why they’re still memorable so many years after the show left the air.

Gonna come out and say right now that I’m not going to tolerate any vitriol toward her, because I believe it is wholly undeserved. It takes a whole hell of a lot more than one person to make or break a television show. So…as usual, be civil, be respectful, and have fun talking about the Buffyverse. No writer-bashing on this blog. I know that when the show aired there was a LOT of drama and a lot of nastiness aimed at Marti, and I’ve seen enough of it, thank you. Keep it friendly.

So grab a stake and a Doublemeat burger and snuzzle in, folks!

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What’s My Line, Part 1 and Part 2

This little two episode arc is just fun. After a long buildup, Willow and Oz finally meet! I am the bug man, coo-coo-ca-choo! Cordy and Xander making out! Oz gets shot! Angel gets almost deader! Spike and Dru hijinks! Kendra’s accent is unrecognizable!

This is always a fun couple of episodes for me. The Order of Taraka, nerd-vamps — all of it.

BuffyRat

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

This episode is full of hilarity, and one of my all-time favorite sequences: the Buffy rat.

“We’ve got to catch the Buffy rat.”

When a love-spelled Amy turns Buffy into a rat to get a crack at Xander, they have a little Buffy rat cam for a bit that makes me die laughing each time I see it. The episode as a whole is a pretty traditional warning against love spells and abusing magic, but it’s just done with so much aplomb that it’s always one of my favorite episodes of the season.

BuffyClassProtectorThe Prom

There are so many things about this episode that are perfect.

Buffy has been fighting evil at Sunnydale High for two and a half years. She’s mostly gone unnoticed, unthanked. And even on the big night, she has to stop Tucker’s evil hellhounds from attacking the dance and ruining everyone’s night. But she does it, ensuring her friends can have their glittery evening without fear.

And she finally gets recognition from the entire school for what she’s done for them. Pretty perfect.

Plus, to top it off, we get to hear Giles tell Wesley he has the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone, and Angel stops being a prat long enough to show up and dance with Buffy. Wins and warm fuzzies for ALL! Except maybe for Wesley.

And Tucker.

And his hellhounds.

WildAtHeartOzVeruca

 

Wild At Heart

Talk about a punch to the feels. This episode reaches in, wraps its claws around your feels and jerks them right out of you.

After seeing the build between Veruca and Oz for a while — and the damage it’s wringing from Willow — this is where it comes to a head.

This episode is such an interesting look into the normally-stoic Oz. And it encompasses some really awful decision-making on his part. He had the option to go to Buffy or Willow with what he was feeling. He knew Veruca was hurting people. And instead he chose to give into something that caused him to lose the woman he loved. This is probably the most painful breakup episode for me, and it leads into the relationship between Willow and Tara, which comes to the forefront in another Marti-written episode…

NewMoonRisingOzWillow

New Moon Rising

Oz returns, now able to control his wolfy bits even on the full moon. And he wants Willow back…except Willow’s not available.

First of all, I love the interplay of emotions in this episode. Willow’s confusion, Oz’s disbelief, Tara’s fear. I think it’s masterfully woven together with Willow’s coming out, and what’s also made clear is how healing Tara’s love is for her. I’ve always loved Tara’s character, and I also love how much she and Willow grow together as they develop, bringing Tara out of her shell and Willow into her own power. As much of a beautiful first love story as Willow and Oz had together, I think this episode captures perfectly how first loves really are most of the time: an integral development that shapes your life, but isn’t meant to be worn forever.

You can’t escape them, not wholly, but 99% of the time, you have to move on. Sidebar: this is how I feel about the Buffy/Angel dynamic as well.

There are a whole heap of other episodes written and directed by Marti Noxon that I absolutely love: Forever, Into the Woods, Bargaining Part 1, Wrecked, Villains.

She was able to nail these stories, and I respect her tremendously. What are some of your favorite episodes she created?

 

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About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on March 20, 2013, in 16th Buffyversary, Buffy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hmm, I loved “The Wish” and “I Only Have Eyes for You”. Marti is great. The episode with Dracula was really fun, a great start to season 5.
    Oz cheating on Willow as just devastating, so out of character for him.

    • I think that’s what made it so real for me. I don’t think people are born cheaters, and that’s what made the shock of it so full of pathos. You can follow his line of thought/played on emotions down the path from the first time he sensed Veruca and felt he couldn’t go to his girlfriend with it. For me, it’s always a perfect “sometimes great people do awful things” moment.

  2. Wow, wasn’t aware of all the hate towards Marti. The Prom could easily make it into an all time top ten of Buffy episodes.

    Random observation: Ever notice how most every episode she wrote while Angel was on the show, he ended up shirtless? Hmm.

  3. You know, Emmie, you just may convert me to a Buffy fan yet!

  4. And let’s not forget her part in Once More With Feeling is awesome 🙂

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