And of course we can’t forget, uh, what’s his name? Um…it’s right on the tip of my tongue…oh yes. Angel.
So out of Buffy and what’s-his-name having sex for the first time and him ultimately losing his soul and finding out Oz was a werewolf and Zandar almost becoming the lover—and dinner—to a praying mantis aka his teacher, there is one episode that stands out in my mind.
Only one of the best and scariest episodes of the entire series. But it is also one of the most unique. Why? Forty minutes of the episode was in complete silence. No dialogue at all but the story was conveyed through body language, facial expressions and emotion.
Brief synopsis. The town of Sunnydale and its campus are terrorized by fairy tale ghouls called The Gentlemen. They steal everyone's voices so they are unable to scream as the skeletal men with their huge toothy grins and pristine black suits carve their beating hearts from their chests. Pretty freaky stuff. So Buffy and the gang must find a way to defeat them without using verbal communication. Classic moment: While discussing how to kill the knife-happy-but-oh-so-polite ghouls, Buffy emulates a stabbing motion by jerking her fist up and down but Giles, Zandar and Willow interpret it as something totally different…hee-hee! Get it? Get it? Fist pumping up and down...whew. Tough crowd.
Okey-dokey. So, in forty minutes of silence...
- Riley and Buffy discovered the truth about each other's identity and kissed for the first time.
- Zandar declared his feelings for Ana
- Willow and Tara realized they other was a practicing witch and established the foundation for their girl on girl thing.
- Giles discovered that blacker the berry sweeter the juice.
All this without one word.
As writers we rely heavily on dialogue. But we also balance it with the body language, the nonverbal expression. Describing whether the hero stalked, paced or sauntered across a room conveys without words whether he is aroused, worried or smug. If a heroine beams, smirks or grimaces we know without dialogue if she is happy, cynical or in pain. There are times when a character’s words are the opposite of what is felt. The words may be lies but the facial expression, gestures and sexual contact relay the truths. Some of my favorite loves scenes are when the hero and heroine express their love through their bodies when their hurt or pain won't allow them to verbalize it. It's at times like these when the nonverbal communication can be more powerful than verbal.
Hmm…see. I told my husband watching Buffy was research…