Saturday, April 28, 2012


In our most recent class, we discussed the lack of score in the episode “The Body,” I found this to be interesting because in another Buffy episode, entitled “Hush” for more than half of the episode there is almost no dialogue at all. “Hush” is often regarded as being one of the scariest Buffy episodes to be created, I know we have yet to watch this episode, however I was intrigued with all the hype behind it and decided to simply watch it (therefore, for those of you who are marathoning the show: SPOILER ALERT!!). In “Hush,” the voices were stolen by these demons called The Gentleman from all the residences in Sunnydale, this was seen as a very turning and different episode for never before had a show been filmed almost entirely without any dialogue and was mainly based off of the actors facial expressions to convey emotions, feelings, words, etc. This is very different from the lack of sound within “The Body” this is described very thoroughly in a blog post entitled, “Cultural Catch-UpProject: “The Body” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Within this blog, the author brings up many good points discussing the differences in lack of sounds and dialogue and compares them to see the completely different message they send off to the audience.
 In one of the more resounding points the author makes is that, “we need to pay careful attention to silence: it’s not only about what is being said, but about who isn’t speaking, what isn’t being said.” I found this to be very clever, because often times when people are in the stages of early grieving, it is often the comfort of someone’s presence, rather than their words that often times can help someone much more. Or rather, this shows just how hard these situations can be—no one really knows what to says, no one knows how to make it better, so instead people just gather together and be there for one another. 
 One of the best excerpts, which truly describes the silence within “The Body” follows: “…silence in “The Body” is less awkward and more unsettling than the silence within "Hush": in silence lies the cold truth of Joyce Summer’s death from a brain aneurysm, and in silence lies the absence of what you’re supposed to be saying, how you’re supposed to be responding to a particular crisis. While The Gentleman were meant to represent the terror of silence in “Hush,” an in their actions did demonstrate how the inability to cry for help endangered the citizens of Sunnydale, there is no need for demonification of silence in the wake of this tragedy. When all is silent, each character starts to think about the gravity of what has happened, and each character begins to break down; for the audience, Whedon’s purposeful use of silence throughout the episode forces the same reflection, delivering a statement about the power of which is unheard or said.”
This last statement can definitely be seen throughout the episode, in particular when Buffy goes to tell Dawn of their mother’s death and in Dawn’s art class they are learning about negative space, this silence that comes with watching Buffy tell her sister is a negative space, we might not be hearing directly the exchange, but the visual we receive is enough for the audience to truly understand the despair the two young girls are feeling for their mother.
In contrast to what the author said earlier about the silence making what is not said to be important, he also argues that “the silence also increases the power of the things which are said, or the things which we implicitly say within silences. The small exchanges between the characters mean much more due to the lack of sound within this particular episode, for example Anya’s speech in the dorm room about no understanding the meaning behind death is often regarded as one of the best moments within the episode for the lack of words and the sudden rush of her words create this meaningful message that we all take away from this episode.
What did you all think of the lack of sound, dialogue, etc. within the episode? I definitely have to agree with the author of the blog, that the lack of score make both what is not said and what is said all the more important, for example I found the word, “cold” to stick out very much throughout the entire episode—from the very beginning when Buffy tells the 911 dispatcher, “she’s cold,” all the way to the very end of the episode when Dawn is looking at her dead mother and asks Buffy, “is she cold?”. I find these exchanges and words much more meaningful due to the lack of score and other sounds within the episode, focusing on the few words that are said, but making them all the more meaningful .


  1. I thought the most effective scene in this episode was the one where Buffy gets really sweaty, vomits and then goes to the back door to listen to the world that continues on without her mother. I literally felt quite nauseous watching Buffy nervously sweating after the paramedics declare her mother, Joyce, dead. Another striking point in this episode, was when Buffy told Dawn about their mother's death. The whole class watches Dawn scream out with sorrow at the news of the very surprising tragedy. In having the audience view Dawn's reaction from her classmates perspective, the director allows us to enter the seen and feel as though we are closer to Dawn; therefore, intensifying our reaction.

  2. I agree you that the use of silence and lack of background music accentuated the meanings of what was said and what was not said. It presents an element of reality that is not present in other Buffy episodes. In most of "The Body" lacks the element of supernatualness. Only in the episode do we see a vampire in the hospital, attacking Dawn. Although it may appear out in context, this scene may represent the urgency of Buffy's duties as a vampire slayer. The silence and camera work in this episode are designed to allow the viewer to experience and feel what Buffy is going through. For example, in the scene where Buffy first discovered the body and is trying to revive Joyce, the camera appears to be held by a hand and moves the similar to Buffy's path. This allows us to relive what she is going through. Also, her lack of dialogue and her memories of the dinner evokes a sense of realism and grief from the viewer.

  3. I agree with you in this post. I felt like the lack of background sound also accentuated how certain things were said. For example, after finding Joyce's dead body, Buffy calls out to her, "Mom...Mommy?" in a pitch higher than her normal voice. Though this dialogue is short and seems somewhat irrelevant, the silence highlighted the almost child-like confusion in Buffy's tone, showing that even Buffy's powers are limited.

  4. Alexandra, I really liked your comment on the part about Dawn learning the news of her mother's death. I feel like the filming was much more obvious on its effect that it has on the audience. In most episodes we think we feel happy or sad based on the dialogue that the actors and actresses are saying to one another, but truthfully those filming have a huge part of it as well. By having us be seen from the classmates' perspectives it allows us to feel like we are in the room with them as it is happening, making it much more emotional.

    Another example of this is when Buffy is coming down the hall right after her mother's death and the camera is following her directly. You feel like you are with her, a part of her. The pain of her loss is much more effective this way.

  5. When Inez mentioned this quote: "When all is silent, each character starts to think about the gravity of what has happened, and each character begins to break down; for the audience, Whedon’s purposeful use of silence throughout the episode forces the same reflection, delivering a statement about the power of which is unheard or said.” I completely could relate instantly. I remember watching this episode and being so aware of my thoughts about everything. Since having dialogue feels so natural during TV episodes, when it isn't there, it has to be filled with what you feel and take from the episode. Again, (like mentioned in the previous comments,) this adds to your closeness to the characters in the show. It makes you feel as if you are experiencing every emotion with the characters...almost making you a character in the show as well. This is a very powerful filming tactic, considering it is as simple as closing your mouth.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.