Tread Perilously — Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling

Tread Perilously’s musical month takes a sharp turn as they face the infamous musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Once More, With Feeling.”

An all singing, all dancing hell breaks loose when Xander unleashes an entertainment demon in Sunnydale. He and Anya involuntarily sing about their mutual cold feet. Buffy sings about how much she hates being ripped out of heaven. Giles sings about his doubts in Buffy’s abilities. Spike sings about dissatisfaction. Tara sings about Willow’s prowess. Dawn almost sings on a number of occasions. It all leads to the Bronze where the demon wants to marry Dawn for some reason and a “showstopping” number saves the day.

Fanbase Press’s Barbra Dillon joins Erik and Justin as Erik finds new ways to criticize Joss Whedon. Justin struggles to recap the light plot of the episode. All three attempt to break a better way to use musical tropes in the story. Barbra points out the worst note — literally — in the episode. Justin’s problems with relationships on Buffy leads to a discussion about TV’s tendency to break up successful couples. Whedon’s Wonder Woman script comes up several times. Justin takes a bold stance against ruffies. Barbra admits her Spuffy status and Erik admits he’s a Spangel. Justin unleashes his most terrifying creation yet: Hungarian Spiderman.

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Tread Perilously — Oz: Variety

Tread Perilously visits Emerald City with the musical episode Oz, “Variety.”

When the prison puts on a variety show, various inmates lives are drawn into the world of song. Omar resists a “performance enhancing” drug for the show. Said realizes his own power trip is akin to a narcotic. One the Aryan Nation guys gets his teeth examined — that’s not a euphemism. Sister Pete counsels an inmate and learns why the warden tolerates certain forms of violence. Ryan arranges for an informant to lose an arm and Fr. Mukada is horribly burned. Dominoes fall as Beecher arranges to visit Keller. Meanwhile, one other man wants to sing.

Erik gets charmed by Lee Tergesen and J.K. Simmons’ performance of “The Last Duet.” Justin explains some of the various factions and history of the Emerald City inside Oz. The discussion gets derailed to talk about Rita Moreno, The Karate Kid Part II and Twin Peak‘s Doug Milford. Sparta once again comes up. Erik takes a bold stance against tribalism. Erik and Justin discuss how the musical interludes fail to work in the structure of the show. Erik guesses a prison break and reveals his dislike of actor Kirk Acevedo.

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Tread Perilously — Xena Warrior Princess: The Bitter Suite

Tread Perilously wanders to the wild world of Xena: Warrior Princess with the third season musical episode “The Bitter Suite.”

Following the death of Xena’s child, Xena and Gabrielle are at odds. Calisto and Ares use the situation to goad one into killing the other. Instead, they find themselves in a music-filled world of high emotions. Ted Raimi shows up to sing about Gabrielle’s nakedness and Ares makes his case to Xena with a tango. Anubis also shows up to take a verse and Mr. Pickles returns to lead Xena to Castle Grayskull. But is this just all in Xena and Gabrielle’s minds? Will the powers of love and song overcome their animosity?

Justin realizes he watched far less Xena than he thought. Erik hopes to learn when Xena recognized its large lesbian fanbase, but instead learns of the Sword of Swords. Justin supports the merits of women kicking ass and explains why some men are terrified of it. Erik suggests that some men really want to be Spartans. Justin notes the 1990s make-up and hairstyles while Erik falls in love with the tone of Xena. He also learns that Xena and Gabrielle’s primary antagonist was a broadcast medium unwilling to recognize their love. The discussion leads to Dave Sim’s Cerebus the Aardvark and the revelation that men are dead inside.

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Tread Perilously — 7th Heaven: Red Socks

Tread Perilously begins a month of musicals — good and bad — with a return to Glenoak and 7th Heaven for “Red Socks.”

Love is sweeping the country as the Camdens tackle romantic foibles via song. Rev. Camden and Annie bicker about the origin of Eric’s annual red socks gift. Lucy gets mad when her husband, Kevin Kinkirk, goes back to work at the Glenoak PD. Simon’s new girl has a musical encounter with Annie. Ruthie’s relationship with John Connor (guest star Thomas Dekker) hits the skids, but is healed with help from the baseball team. It’s also Sam and David’s birthday, so they try their best to be “cute.” They fail miserably.

Special Review Unit regular Louis Allred joins Erik and Justin for what the Onion AV Club calls “one of the worst episodes of TV ever made.” It does not disappoint as series regular George Stults reveals he lacks a signing voice, Justin and Louis notice Rev. Camden is gaslighting Annie, and everyone gets lost in Superman’s dreamy eyes. An analysis of Annie’s big musical number reveals she’s not advocating abstinence, but warning a young woman away from Simon’s disease riddled body. Captain Michaels gets mistaken for Perd Hapley and Erik determines the role of Ape Law in dating.

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Tread Perilously — Burn Notice: Beseiged

Tread Perilously concludes Spy Month with Burn Notice and the episode called “Besieged.”

After successfully tracking down his imposter, Michael and Sam take on the case of a mother looking to get back her son. The father espouses certain right-wing philosophies and failed to send his boy home after a court ordered visitation period. The situation leads to a militia camp in the swamp where the team must extract the boy without starting a firefight. Can Michael convince the father to stand down and let him take the boy home?

Erik’s first exposure to Burn Notice leads to a protracted attempt to understand the show via Mass Effect and Commander Shepard. Justin offers some history of the show and a reason while Gabrielle Anwar must work with a phony accent. He also realizes that he is a Burn Notice superfan. Opinions of The Flash season finale sneak in. Erik hopes the CSI: Miami style gangsters in a handful of scenes unionized. He also hopes to one day watch a show both set and shot in Vancouver. Erik and Justin consider the spy month entries and choose one as the most entertaining.

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Tread Perilously — The Man from U.N.C.L.E: The My Friend The Gorilla Affair

Tread Perilously returns to 60s spy shows with the worst episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — “The My Friend The Gorilla Affair.”

Somewhere in Africa, Illya Kuryakin aids President Kufu in tracking down a rogue scientist. The unnamed professor has a super serum, but needs to exercise his Imperial privilege to test it. When Kuryakin goes missing, Napoleon Solo sets out to aid his friend. But even that goes awry when Solo encounters a flat tire, a wild jungle girl known only as “Girl” and Baby, her pet gorilla. Maybe the watsui can help him out. Meanwhile, back at the Elephant’s Graveyard, the Professor offers Kufu the chance to become King of Africa. Can Girl marshal friendly forces before it’s too late?

Erik reveals his ancient astronaut theory as both he and Justin enter another uncomfortable hour of vintage racist stereotypes. Erik quantifies types of White and forgets to mention the ivory trade. Justin characterizes Baby as an uptight roommate. The Flash once again invades the discussion. Robert Vaughn gets compared to Robert Mitchum and Larry Hagman. He also gets high marks for his appearance in Superman III. Justin declares The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as the opposite end of the TV spectrum from Parks and Recreation and Baby receives the voice of Charleston Heston.

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Tread Perilously — Alias: The Nemesis

Tread Perilously goes through the looking glass as Erik experiences his first episode of Alias: “The Nemesis.”

When Sydney is alerted to the survival of Allison, her father also puts her in charge of Sloan as he continues his new double-agent status. In addition to this, she’s ordered to track down a nuclear code skeleton key devised by a cartoonish looking Russian agent. Meanwhile, Allison and Sark are hired to kill the Russian Agent. It all leads to a hotel in Bulgaria where Sydney and Allison finally face off. What this has to do with Lauren’s plot with Kurt Fuller is anyone’s guess.

Erik and Justin use the episode to air criticisms of the current season of The Flash. Erik also points out shoulder hits are not deathblows on American television. Justin attempts to determine if the Spice would allow the Highlander to procreate. Erik criticizes the action scenes and tries to remember the Stoors of Middle-earth. Justin reveals his Invisible Child/Alias fan theory and explains the scope of the show via memory loss. Erik’s terrible Russian accent leads to an amazing journey. He also learns the awful truth about Red Matter.

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