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'Buffy' nostalgia recap: Correction—this outfit is actually the worst

Season 5 | Episode 3 | “The Replacement” | Aired Oct 10, 2000

After a Dawn-centric second episode, season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer kicked things into really high gear with … a Xander-centric episode. I didn’t remember season five hitting such a stride of … thrillingly awesome episodes, but there you have it. Enter: “The Replacement.” The premise of “The Replacement” is amazingly simple. Xander is thinking about getting an apartment, and Anya is basically insisting on it. Like any grown, 1,100-plus–year-old-woman, she’s tired of spending her time in the Harris basement, listening to Xander’s parents argue. Xander, firmly settled into a state of loserdom, doesn’t really think he can afford an apartment, and hems and haws about filling out the application. Anya is looking just about ready to enact vengeance over his Peter Pan syndrome and, frankly, I don’t think anyone could blame her.

On patrol with Buffy, he’s hit by a mysterious blast that splits him into two. Schlubby Xander follows his doppelgänger around town, watching him live the best version of Xander Harris’s existence. Suave, hygienic Xander gets a promotion at work, lands the apartment, and even has the real-estate lady going gaga for him.

Meanwhile, Schlubby Xander desperately needs a shower and does the Snoopy dance in a desperate attempt to convince Willow that he’s him. In the end, Schlubby Xander and Suave Xander are just two sides of the same mostly-Schlubby coin. The second Xander isn’t an actual doppelgänger or evil spirit or replacement Xander; he’s just Xander’s full potential. The sad implication, of course, is that the half of Xander that lacks potential just feels like business as usual to him. Let’s take a second to feel sad about that.

Okay. Done? Because there’s something way sadder than Xander’s lack of potential in this episode. If you read my last BtVS recap, then you know I declared, just last week, that Dawn Summers was actually the worst. I was wrong. I stand corrected. “The Replacement” showed me the error of my ways. There is something worse than Dawn in the Buffy universe, something far, far worse.

This outfit:

buffy outfit

Can we all just take a second and let this whole thing sink in? Don’t look away. I know you want to, but really look at it.

Seriously, did Sarah Michelle Gellar lose a bet or something? I’ve seen a lot of BtVS, over the course of different years and in different times in my life. As a kid in the ’90s and early ’00s, I thought the clothes on Buffy were amazing. I looked up to these people. I was young, impressionable, and my judgment was clouded by the decade, I guess. Since then, I’ve looked back on Willow’s fuzzy sweaters and Buffy’s pleather pants and Cordelia’s teddy-bear purse, and, I’ll admit: I’ve thought things, not all of them kind. But, even with the worst wardrobe decisions, I can usually manage a justification.

“Well, it’s really in character. They were using the clothes to illustrate Willow’s insecurities,” I’ve thought about the fuzzy sweaters.

“It’s a stylistic choice. Action movies are full of women wearing impractical things in the name of looking ‘fierce,'” I’ve rationalized about the pleather.

“It was … the ’90s. Cher from Clueless convinced us all teddy bears should be backpacks. I was guilty of following that trend, too. Sure, I was in elementary school and Cordelia was clearly a 35-year-old woman posing as a high-school student, but still,” I’ve thought, finding camaraderie in the silliest of accessories.

But this outfit. Let’s look at it again, this time complete with sweater:

buffy outfit2

Time to take inventory, because none of the available screenshots do it justice. That’s a very bright, deceptively sparkly, striped halter top, striped in shades of pink, orange, lime green, and brown. None of those colors go well together. No two of them. Combining all of them is a Limited Too–technicolor nightmare. During some of the episode, Buffy covers the top in a long pink sweater that looks like it might have been sewn from a frayed old bath towel.

And then there are the pants. In case you’re having a hard time making it out, those are ill-fitting pink and brown tie-dye pants. Buffy looks like she was dressed by a sadistic, colorblind fashion genie who has purposefully twisted whatever intent she had for this outfit into something mangled, frightening, and barely recognizable.

I officially issue a challenge to myself (or to anyone who wants to participate, really), to find a worse outfit in any of the seven seasons of BtVS. I suspect this will be the last we speak of the subject because really, what could possibly beat this?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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