Invasion of the Body Snatchers, anyone? Imagine if your parents turned into teenagers like they did on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 6. How would they act?!
Joyce, Giles, Principal Snyder, and all the adults in Sunnydale let loose in pure rebellious debauchery. It was funny, chaotic, and a tad strange to see their personalities change. Their comedic performances made this one of the funniest episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever.
Let's find out why by rewatching "Band Candy."
Buffy studying for her SATs seems so mundane now looking back after all this time.
We're talking about the girl who will eventually save the world countless times before the series ends. She had bigger issues to deal with, but she obsessed over her SAT scores to get into a good university.
Having the study scene be located in the graveyard offered a clever representation to showcase Buffy's priorities.
Even with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and a vampire literally coming to kill her, her biggest foe at that moment was acing the math section in the SATs. Buffy knew about the supernatural world and felt comfortable with it; the SATs posed an unknowing challenge to her.
During the series' run, we never officially learned Buffy's SAT scores. It had to have been a good enough number for her to be accepted into UC Sunnydale. And it shouldn't be surprising to anyone, especially when you think about her work ethic and problem-solving ability.
Buffy could solve complex problems quickly. She didn't get the recognition that she deserved for her cleverness.
Giles: This is the SATs, Buffy, not connect the dots. Please pay attention. A low score could seriously harm your chances of getting into college.
Buffy: Gee, thanks. That takes the pressure right off.
Giles: This isn’t meant to be easy, you know. It’s a rite of passage.
Buffy: Well, is it too late to join a tribe where they pierce something... or cut something off?
Giles: Buffy, please concentrate.
When Snyder made the Scoobies sell band candy to fundraise for the marching band, the plot fell into the same camp as the SATs.
From a distance, it looked to be another generic high school story to reinforce the Scoobies' setting. However, the twist of turning the adults into teenagers made the storyline more exciting and entertaining. The reveal was such a clever twist!
Much of the focus before Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 6 had mostly been on the teens and their lives. We barely knew anything about the adults when they were teenagers. With the exception, of course, of Giles and his ritualistic past.
The candy bar twist added new layers to the adults and explored their character development.
For instance, Principal Snyder was a hanger-on who wanted to join the cool kids at all costs. Joyce, on the other hand, was a popular girl who liked making bad decisions with bad boys. Their teenage selves were complete opposites of their adult personas.
The supernatural twist of "Band Candy" came at the perfect time because it connected to the frustration that Buffy felt for the parents in her life.
Both Joyce and Giles were overscheduling her with activities to prepare her for school and vampire battles, while also trying to keep an eye on her. Their increased attention also kept her sheltered and prevented her from truly flourishing as an adult. Regardless of what they said, they stuck to the approach of thinking they knew what was best for her.
During Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3, Buffy was 17 years old. Her senior year in high school marked a change in her priorities to start prepping for the future.
Joyce trying to keep her from driving, and the helicopter parenting, was only going to push her away.
It's a shame that all of the frustrations erupted in the living room. Buffy shouldn't have lied to both Giles and Joyce about where she was going, but the adults should've listened to her concerns too. A lack of honest communication faulted everyone involved.
Mr. Trick and Ethan Rayne were a dangerous combination.
Both were cunning, devious, intelligent, and they had the survival instinct to do whatever it took to persevere. Plus, they had no limits when it came to making a profit. Together, they potentially could be unstoppable.
Back when Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 6 originally aired, I was shocked to see Ethan return. He had no reason to return to town, but here he was again to cause more chaos.
Not learning how Mr. Trick and Ethan knew each other was a missed opportunity. How did they originally meet? Did they work on another project together?
Their pasts had to have been rich with evil deeds and clever twists. Just look at the band candy! The pair caused an entire town to revert back to teenagers; that's not an idea someone throws around often.
We could've learned so much more about them.
When did you start realizing that something was going on with the adults?
Was it when Ms. Barton wanted to ditch study hall? Was it when Joyce and Giles were drinking and smoking at his place? Or, did it not hit until the party at the Bronze?
For me, it was Joyce and Giles. The teacher making the comment seemed like an off-hand remark in retaliation to Principal Snyder. She let out her frustrations over having to watch study hall since Giles skipped his lesson.
When Joyce handed Buffy the keys, on the other hand, the truth became obvious that something was amiss. She would NEVER give her daughter the keys after having their argument the day before. Joyce is a proud woman; she wouldn't cave that quickly to let her drive just because they were having a meeting.
Once the bottle came out, and Giles lit the cigarette, shenanigans were afoot.
Though, and this may sound weird, but Joyce and Giles were the only two "teenagers" who acted normally during their transition.
Sure, Giles broke into a store, beat up a police officer, and he had sex with Joyce on the hood of a police car (twice!). But, for the most part, both adults were level-headed and grounded in the way they acted. They didn't revert to the chaos that the majority of the town suffered.
Willow: It'll be okay when we get to Giles.
Oz: Of course. I mean, even if he's sixteen, he's still Giles, right? He's probably a pretty together guy.
Willow: Yeah, well...
Buffy: Giles at sixteen. Less 'together guy,' more 'bad magic, hates the world, ticking time bomb’ guy.
In particular, the adults at the Bronze were acting erratically. They may have been drunk, but they went off the deep end pretty quickly. Not all of them would've descended into that state of madness.
The same goes for the adults drag racing, begging for candy outside the factory, and those hanging around town not doing their jobs.
Possibly the candy heightened specific traits of the adults? The theory would explain why some of them acted the way they did in such a dramatic state. Mr. Trick needed the adults to be distracted; this increased version of themselves would be the answer.
One of the positives from the band candy storyline was seeing Buffy having to parent Joyce outside the factory.
In all her complaints about Buffy's recklessness and disobedience, Joyce was just like her at that age. She sought out danger, and she wanted to do whatever she liked. At least Buffy felt bad about lying to her mother and living a dangerous life as the slayer.
Their role reversal perfectly showed how similar they were. Excluding the supernatural responsibilities, of course.
Also, Joyce's car wasn't that bad. It wasn't a geek machine and, even as a teenager in her mind, she should've been happy to have a car at all.
The Willow and Xander plot needed to stop earlier.
My mind hasn't changed since rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 5. The best friends didn't need to be flirting with each other. Any sparks that could've been mustered were killed in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 when Xander started dating Cordelia.
Luckily, this storyline is going to end soon. Harsh as it may be, but this side-plot was a low point for the season.
Buffy: So Ethan, what are we playing? We're pretty much in a talk or bleed situation. Your call.
Giles: Hit him.
Ethan: I-I'd just like to point out that this wasn't my idea.
Ethan: I'm subcontracting. It's Trick you want. I'm just helping him collect a tribute... for a demon.
Giles: He's lying. Go on hit him.
Buffy: I don't think he is and shut up.
Giles: You're my slayer. Go knock his teeth down his thro...
[She turns to Ethan]
Buffy: What demon?
Ethan: I don't remember.
[Buffy punches Ethan]
Giles: [He punches the air] Yes!
On the opposite side, Buffy's interrogation of Ethan was a high point.
The sheer joy on Giles' face when Buffy punched Ethan because he lied was so much fun to watch. And, his punch into the air was the perfect cherry on top. He looked so ecstatic to see his frenemy hurt.
Ethan had his moments as an evil mastermind. We can't forget that he did cause the Halloween transformation on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 6. However, this band candy incident didn't seem like something up his alley.
He had no personal reason to cause a mass outbreak of this magnitude. Ethan being a hired contractor suited his freelancing and neutral position; he leans more toward evil, but he'll do anything for the right amount of money.
This latest job for Mr. Trick and Laconis was simply another task for him.
Speaking of Laconis, this enemy has to be one of the worst special effects villains in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's history ever. The entire CGI of the giant snake looked so fake and computerized.
Sure, "Band Candy" came out in 1998 and the show was on an extremely tight budget. However, the work done on the end product of the snake looked bad overall. Production could've done anything else once they saw how the enemy turned out, but they stuck with this CGI mess.
It's a shame that nothing was done to change Laconis because the plot had potential, and the scenes up until the villain's reveal were great. Transforming the town into teenagers so that they could steal babies for the ritual was an engaging story that kept me hooked. Plus, the humor added plenty more to the plot!
The villain, unfortunately, squandered the momentum it built up beforehand. Even utilizing the parts of previous monsters to create a new creature would've been much better than the giant snake we ended up with at the end.
Buffy needed to light that thing on fire a lot sooner.
Willow: We can work on it tonight.
Xander: Work on what tonight?
Cordelia: Oh God, are we killing something again?!Buffy: Only my carefree spirit.
Oz: Buffy has SAT prep.
Willow: Oz’s helping. He’s the highest-scoring person...
Cordelia: We know! We’ve already done the impressed thing.
Xander: I hate they make us take that thing. It’s totally fascist, and personally I think it discriminates against the uninformed.
Cordelia: Actually, I'm looking forward to it. I do well on standardized tests.
[They all look at her]
Cordelia: What? I can't have layers?
What did you think of "Band Candy"? Which teenager transformation was your favorite? Would you trust teen Buffy behind the wheel of a car? Should Giles and Joyce have continued their romance?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts onTuesdays and Thursdays. Come back here and share your thoughts of the episode in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.