Like Homecoming, this was another comedy episode. But, annoyingly, it didn't have the emotional resonance or logical sense that made Homecoming such a classic. I know that Band Candy is popular with so many folks out there, but I never really got the love for it. It's amusing, sure, but it's one of the few Buffy stories that's essentially a one-joke hour. And once you get over the initial humor of all the adults acting like teenagers, it becomes kind of flat. It's nowhere near a bad episode, of course, but I'm not exactly a fan. And can we please stop the 'Willow and Xander secret love affair' subplot, show. It's seriously grossing me out.
The theme here is responsibility. Joyce is still having problems with essentially sharing her parenting of Buffy with Giles, and is pretty insistant in maintaining her rule when it comes to ordinary teenage hoodoo, like Buffy wanting a car. Buffy, too, whines that both Joyce and Giles micro-manage her life and has proved her maturity enough to warrant a little freedom. Of course, the big switcheroo that occurs midway through the episode results in Buffy becoming the responsible parent in this relationship, having to take control of a wild Giles and Joyce as they make out and have sex on top of police cars.
Anthony Stewart Head and Kristine Sutherland are clearly having a ball here, especially the former, who makes teen Giles a snarky Spike-esque Cockney bad boy. It's pretty wonderful. But after the fun wears off, we're stuck with at least twenty minutes of not a whole lot. I never understood the logic in turning all the Sunnydale adults into teenagers so a couple of vampires could steal some babies, while Ethan Rayne's presence feels entirely shoe-horned in.
There's obviously a lot of fun watching Giles and Joyce be sixteen again, but it feels like the rest of the episode was formed after that central idea had taken shape, resulting in a kind of choppy and scattered script. Some great gags and memorable performances, but that's pretty much it. B-
Guest stars Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers); K. Todd Freeman (Mr. Trick); Robin Sachs (Ethan Rayne); Harry Groener (Mayor Richard Wilkins III); Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder)
Writer Jane Espenson Director Michael Lange