Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn , who is trained in ballet, requested a dance sequence in lieu of a significant singing part,  and Alyson Hannigan Willow , according to Whedon, begged him not to give her many lines. And I never want to do it again. Battle, a three-time Tony-winner, wore prosthetic make-up for the first time to give him a demonic red face. Sweet was portrayed as "slick", smooth and stylish; in contrast, most demons on the series were designed to be crude and ugly. Running eight minutes longer than any in the series, [note 2] the episode was also the most technical and complex.
Whedon, who has stated this is one of his favorite Buffy episodes, used a widescreen letterbox format for filming the only episode in the series to get this treatment ,  different lighting to bring out the sets more vibrantly, and long takes for shooting—including a complicated shot with a full conversation, a song, and two choreographed dances that took 21 attempts to get right. These were designed to give viewers all the clues they needed to establish all the nuances of the relationships between characters. Network president Dean Valentine remarked he thought it was "one of the best episodes of television I ever saw in my life".
Critics hailed the episode as successful in telling a complex story about all the characters in a unique way, while retaining the series' effective elements of writing and character development.
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Throughout the show—as in the rest of the series—the characters self-consciously address their own dialogue and actions. Anya describes her own duet "I'll Never Tell" as "a retro pastiche that's never gonna be a breakaway pop hit".
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With a characteristic dry demeanor, Giles explains that he overheard the information about Sunnydale residents spontaneously combusting as he was eavesdropping upon the police taking "witness arias". The song introduces the character's emotional state but also removes the barrier between the actor and the audience, as Gellar the actor portrays Buffy, who feels she is merely playing the part of the Slayer. This hints to the audience that the episode's musical format is strange to the actors and characters. Rhonda Wilcox, . The dynamic nature of the characters was a unique element of writing in the series at the time.
Once they were established in the twelve episodes of the first season, characters began to change and relationships were developed in the second. This continued through the series to the point of unpredictability that sometimes became unsettling to fans. Buffy continues her charade in the chorus number "If We're Together", beginning the song by persuading others to join in one by one, as if each is convinced that she is still invested and in charge, and their strength as a group is infallible.
Secrets reveal themselves steadily throughout the episode.
Xander fears that his future marriage will turn him into an argumentative drunk like his father. He attempts to avoid his fears through the song "I'll Never Tell", singing "'coz there's nothing to tell", after summoning Sweet to Sunnydale to show him that he and Anya will be happy.
Once More With Feeling — 15 Years Later
Amid the various annoyances Xander and Anya express through this song, some verses are clear-sighted observations of behavior, such as Anya's accusation that Xander—once in love with Buffy—uses Buffy as a mother figure to hide behind. Anya and Xander's duet is the only song in the episode to address the audience directly.
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During the long single-shot scene when she and Xander talk over each other insisting to Giles that evil must be at play, Anya refers to the audience, saying "It was like we were being watched Like there was a wall missing Like there were only three walls and not a fourth wall. Giles' truth, according to Whedon, is that he realizes he must not "fight my kid's battles or my kid will never grow up",  which he sings in "Standing" while he throws knives at Buffy as part of her training.
Revisiting Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Musical Episode,"Once More With Feeling"
Whedon remarked that this touch "is the kind of complete turnaround that is a staple of the Buffy universe". Although "Once More, with Feeling" allows all the characters to confess truthfully, with the exception of Willow, it does not resolve the behavior that demanded confession in the first place. At the end of the episode, Buffy kisses Spike, initiating a romance that she hides from her friends.
Their relationship lasts until the end of the series, marked for a time by Buffy's loathing of him because he has no soul. Her relationship with Spike, however, allows her to feel lust and attraction, which she yearns for after being pulled back from a heavenly dimension. In earlier seasons, this takes the form of simpler pleasures such as dating and socializing, interspersed with defeating evil forces.
It reaches a climax in the ultimate sacrifice when Buffy offers to die to save the world. However, "Once More, with Feeling", according to Stroud, is the turning point at which she begins to face her responsibility to the community, her friends and her family. Not only does she continue her Slaying despite a lack of inspiration, but for the rest of the season she works at a humiliating job to provide for her sister and friends. He learned how to play guitar to write several songs.
Once More With Feeling, the 20th Anniversary Buffy Fancast presents our take on Consequences
Christophe Beck , a regular composer for the series, filled in the overture and coda and composed "Dawn's Ballet". Whedon is a fan of Stephen Sondheim , and used him as the inspiration for much of the music, particularly with the episode's ambiguous ending. Maybe it's a Beatles thing. He doesn't know enough to know what he can't do and he's smashing rules.
The episode's musical style varies significantly. Whedon wanted to use a similar opening in which the heroine explains her yearning. While singing her song, Buffy fights three vampires and a demon who themselves break into a choreographed dance; Whedon wanted this to be fun but not distracting. The song ends with chord influences from Stephen Schwartz's Pippin and a visual tribute to Disney: as Buffy stakes a vampire, it turns to dust that swirls around her face.
Whedon chose the most complicated scene, with the most dancers and choreography in the classic style of musical theater, to accompany an second song "The Mustard" "to get it out of the way" for more personal numbers later in the episode. Whedon assigned Emma Caulfield the rock-opera format because Caulfield often sang in such a way to him on the set.
Xander and Anya's duet—the most fun to shoot but difficult to write, according to Whedon  —is inspired by Fred Astaire - Ginger Rogers comedies as evidenced by the silken pajama costumes and art deco apartment setting.
Buffy's not hearing his song was intentional; Whedon explained, "You can sing to someone in musicals and they can never know how you feel or how much you love them, even if they're standing right in front of you". Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first show in U. Buffy essayist Ian Shuttleworth writes that Amber Benson Tara has "the sweetest singing voice of all the lead players", referring to "Under Your Spell" as "heavenly and salacious"; author Nikki Stafford concurs, writing that Benson "has the most stunning voice, showing a surprising range".
He considers this an example of Tara's quieter strength coming out in front of Willow's showy demonstrations of powerful magic. The most complicated song, "Walk Through the Fire", leads all the characters to the climax from different locations for different reasons, reminiscent of the " Tonight Quintet " from West Side Story. Whedon called the shot the "single greatest thing we ever did".
Buffy's numbers are the most complex, changing key and tempo when she begins to reveal the secrets she swore she never would. Whedon attempted to make the song tuneful yet chaotic to express the main point of the episode. The couples in the group wear opposite colors Giles in green and Buffy in red, Anya in blue and Xander in orange, Tara in yellow and Willow in purple , and Rhonda Wilcox interprets the color-coding and choreography to represent the "tension between the individual and the group".
As Spike and Buffy kiss, a swell of music accompanies them, similar to the ending of Gone with the Wind.
Lyrics sung moments before, however, forecast the uncertainty of the relationship between Spike and Buffy, as well as their contrasting reasons for initiating any romance; Spike wants to feel love from Buffy, while she simply wants to feel. This placed the episode in sixth place in its timeslot, and 88th among broadcast television for the week of November 5—11, Although Salon.
Writers agree that the episode was risky and could have failed spectacularly. Rather than adopt the 'Hey, wouldn't it be wacky if we suddenly burst into song? Quite simply, television at its best. NATAS attempted to remedy this by mailing a postcard informing its voters that it should be included, but the episode did not win. NATAS' oversight, according to the Washington Post , was "another example of the lack of industry respect afforded one of television's most consistently clever shows".
Nothing here is real; nothing here is right.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer' s musical episode, 'Once More, with Feeling', registers a paltry outstanding music direction nomination. Nice for the musical directors. An album including all 14 songs in the episode, with Christophe Beck's scores for three other Buffy episodes, was released by Rounder Records in September as season seven premiered.
John Virant, president and chief executive of Rounder Records, told the Los Angeles Times , "I remember watching the episode when it aired last October, and after it was over, I said to my wife, 'That's the best hour of TV I've ever seen. Someone should put that [soundtrack] out.