First I must make apologies for my slacking on the conjecture about the shenanigans that occur in and around Sunnydale. In my non-defense I’ve also been slacking on my personal web site redesign and buying birthday cards, so it’s nothing personal. Unless it’s your birthday.
This week, Buffy Fashion Roulette brings us an awesome review of season 6′s Flooded. In this episode Buffy has to deal with the financial woes of home ownership as the pipes in the Summers home burst. The trio makes their first move by robbing a bank with the help of an M’Fashnik demon. Hijinks ensue.
I have to admit I not a fan of this episode. As sometimes happens with Buffy there are certain things I actively to ignore because logically they make absolutely no sense. The economic stability of the characters on this show is one of those things
Scoobies Financial Responsibilities
Buffy laments the stack of bills that piled up while she was dead. This is what happens when your friends spend all of their time trying to resurrect you instead of being fiscally responsible.
Buffy Fashion Roulette author msjacks makes many good points on how Buffy’s whole financial situation is just ludicrous. For instance, why aren’t Willow and Tara paying rent? They’re both saving quite a bit of money by not having to pay for on campus housing, so you’d think they could reallocate that cash in the form of a monthly rent check. Just saying.
And who was in charge of the bills while Buffy was dead? If you’ll notice in the shot above it looks like they just let the bills pile up. Had Buffy not been brought back would they have just let the house be repossessed? Would Dawn be living on the street? Would Willow and Tara have to move back to the dorms? Why wasn’t anyone coming up with a solution for this? My suggestion? Use the tools you have. Like a robot that looks like your dead friend who’s credit you’re destroying by not bothering to open any mail that isn’t from Amazon.
Oh Buffybot. She had such a tough, short life spent being abused and misused in so many different ways. She may have been created as Spike’s sex toy, but we saw her rise above it and battle Glory, vampires and teachers, and yet she could have done so much more. She is after all a highly complex computer. I don’t understand why Willow wouldn’t have installed QuickBooks on her operating system and let her take care of the finances during Buffy’s death. Buffybot’s OS can have multiple programs running at the same time so I don’t see why she couldn’t be monitoring the NASDAQ while on patrol. Some stock trading software and they Scoobies could have had those bills paid off and started that nice little college fund for Dawn that Anya mentioned. This would have been a far better use of memory than programming in new puns, I’m deeply disappointed in you Willow.
Shady Sunnydale Economics
As I said before, I spent a good deal of the show ignoring the logic behind the financial situations of these characters. There are so many things that make little to no sense, unless of course Sunnydale is a Utopian society where people trade goods and services instead of using actual money. So how is it these characters aren’t part of the welfare system?
In Flooded Buffy says, “I’ve trashed this house so many times. How did mom pay for this?” Good question Buffy! I know Joyce worked at a Gallery, but I’m pretty sure wasn’t the owner. Even still, owning a gallery isn’t a goldmine, even if it is located in cultural hot beds like New York or Paris. For Joyce to need to replace any number of destroyed household items, her daughters torn and bloody leather separates, and still be able to order Chinese on a regular basis Joyce would have had to have a higher income than just a gallery job.
Perhaps the gallery was really a front for a secret underground art smuggling ring. Joyce was really fencing some high end artwork and antiquities. Plus, since she lived on the hellmouth, she would have prime access to much sought after items of the mystical variety. Looking for the Ark of the Covenant? How about a nice Golden Fleece? You say you want to get your hands on Excalibur? Joyce knows this lady, she lives in a lake, Joyce can totally get that for you.
Could it be that the M'Fashnik demon is wearing a Rupert Giles original?
Season 4 introduced a us to a slightly depressed, unappreciated and unemployed Giles. Although the first two are dealt with in the coarse of the season we never find out how Giles can afford to keep his homey Sunnydale apartment and expensive aged brandy. I suppose that Giles could just be really good at saving and investing money, but a year of unemployment would have had to put a serious dent in his finances and would have likely made it difficult to get a loan to open the Magic Box. Buffy can tell you how hard it is to get a loan while unemployed.
Now, I’ve speculated before that Giles may have a secret demon leather goods store. After all, while vampires may turn to dust there are all of those demon bodies up for grabs, and their skin does in fact look pretty leathery. This would also help explain away the Scoobies proclivity to outfit themselves in leather. Buffy especially. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the M’Fashnik’s leather jacket may have once belonged to a friend of his.
Have you ever noticed that Angel always has one heck of a swanky apartment? He’s always got excellent choices in furniture and his chachkies look expensive. I guess one could argue that he picked up all of these things over the years living as a vampire, but the amount of times he’s moved during the time he’s known Buffy alone make me wonder if all of these items really moved with him. He leaves his first apartment to move in with Spike and Dru because he’s turned into Angelus, but I really can’t see Angelus hiring movers to cart his crap from his apartment to the Factory and then over to the Mansion.
We know Spike furnishes his place with choice items from the Sunnydale dump, and I wouldn’t put it past him to just steal the items he can’t find while dumpster diving
, but I can’t see Angel in a thrift store much less the dump. Plus he tends to be a law abiding citizen so I’m fairly sure pays for things like the rest of us. So I have to wonder, where does he get the cash to furnish his posh vampire pad?
I still haven’t come up with a great explanation for him paying for his dramatic flair in interior design, but I’d put my money on smart investing. If you were around to buy Ford stock while the marketing department still called them “horseless carriages” and then traded it to invest in Microsoft while they were still using DOS you could be set for life, or unlife.
Angel's Vampire Pads. Clockwise from the top left. Buffy Season 2 swanky vampire pad, Buffy Season 3 swanky vampire mansion, Angel Season 1 swanky LA vampire pad, Angel Seasons 2-4 swanky vampire hotel room, Angel Season 5 swanky corporate tool vampire pad. I left out the swanky vampire guest room he must have lived in during the time he was at the factory because we never see it.