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From SFX Magazine September 2003 Issue

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Adam, Tom & Danny - 3 Buffy Geeks - SFX September 2003 Issue Interview

By Phoenixheart

Tuesday 12 August 2003, by Webmaster

The Geek Trio Couch Potato

They’re not nerds. They just played them in Buffy. Well, that’s what Adam Busch (Warren), Danny Strong (Jonathan) and Tom Lenk (Andrew) reckon, anyway....

Tom Lenk seems somewhat taken abacj when we describe the format of Couch Potato (A semi-regular feature in which several reviewers/guests spend an evening watching "classic" sci-fi and fantasy programmes/films and offer their opinions - relevant or not. LOL) to him. "We’re not nerds!" he protests. "We only play them!"

Danny Strong, though, immediately blows their cover. "So it’s like Mystery Science Theater 3000. Cool!"

We’re in London, in an annexe to our sister title Total Film. The team there laughingly descried the area to us as a screening room, which sounded grand enough for entertaining US television stars.

In reality, it’s more like a cupboard with a DVD player. It’s also so stiffingly hot that the sandwiches they have provided shrivel into something approaching fossilised cardboard in seconds. The couch is a two-seater, leaving Busch perched on an office chair with only one arm.

Oh, the glamour.

Luckily Busch, Lenk and Strong (despite the rock star sunglasses) are game for a laff. Their triple act of mutual insults, sarcasm and formation whooping has been honed into an art form. Lenk is the most sardonic, while Busch is endlessly enthusiastic and Strong is a weird mix of his Victim Johnny persona and a very sharp cookie indded, switching between the two in an instant. As we set up the DVD and video, they descend on a copy of the recent Buffy blitz issue of SFX left casually (ahem) on a nearby table.

"Hey, look at this," says Strong, proudly shoving teh mag under Lenk’s nose. "SFX’s best 25 Buffy moments ever. And I’m in two...no, three of them. ’Buffy being awarded her Class Protector Award.’ That was me. I was great."

"Hey," replies Lenk in a very Andrew whine, "I’m in there too. The wheelchair fight."

"Is Tara’s death in there?" asks Busch, somewhat hopefully.

Um, ’fraid not, I apologise. We had a problem with that scene. Not all that "negative representation of lesbians" stuff. It was just that we never worked out how the bullet from Warren’s gun travelled by such a bizarre route from teh garden to Willow’s upstairs room.

"Ah, the magic bullet theory," nods Busch. "You reckon there was a second gunman behind the grassy knoll. Warren was innocent all along!"

Before the conspiracy theories can get too wild the Couch session commences. In honour of our guests tonight we’re looking at teens in science fiction. Who better to judge them than the nerd trio?

Doctor Who, Logopolis

Tom Baker’s final outing as the Doctor features the double teen whammy of boy genius Adric and the saintly Nyssa, the taffeta princess from the planet of the repertory Shakespeare productions. Oh, and there’s Tegan. A stroppy teen in all but age.

Danny; "There’s something very, umm..." Jayne; "Cheesy?" Danny; "...unsettling about this show. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but it’s unsettling." Jayne; "We all grew up with this and hid behind the sofa because it was so scary. You wouldn’t believe it looking at it right now."

Tom catches his frst glimpse of The Master.

Tom; "I’m scared. The evil man scares me" Adam; (Checking out the satorial style of one of the Logopolitans) "And that amulet... whooo... There’s a hidden camera I believe." Dave; "That stuff sticking out of their hair is supposed to be their brains poking out." Adam; "Not good. Their enemies could just make them a whole lot stupider by whacking them on the back of the head." Jayne; "It’s so cheap. I really do apologise for Dave showing you this." Dave; "Er, well, we’re supposed to be checking out the child prodigies. Any thoughts on Adric?" Danny; "I don’t know what his haircut says." Adam; "It says ’Don’t look at my face.’" Danny; "The ones in skirts are hot! Do you have any of these actresses’ numbers? I’m about ready to party!" Jayne; "This was made in 1980. They’re all about 50 now!" Adam; "Like he can afford to be choosy." Tom; "So this Doctor Who’s an older guy? If he was American he’d be played by Gene Wilder."

A sthey seem to be enjoying it so much, I decide to give them a treat (no, don’t argue - it is a treat). We fast forward to the regeneration scene. The Doctor falls hundreds of feet from the gantry of a radio telescope. Not that we see the fall. We just see the reaction shots of his companions.

Immediately prior to turning into Peter Davison, Baker reminisces about all his assistants, his past flashing in front of his eyes.

Danny; "Who are all those women?" Dave; "The Doctor had all these gorgeous companions who travel with him..." Adam; "Just like Danny." Dave; "...And he never has sex with any of them." Adam; "Just liek Danny." Finally, Doctor Four becomes Doctor Five - Peter Davison. Danny; "I’d like to play Doctor Who. I could do it. I dunno why, but there’s something cool about this show."

StarTrek: The Next Generation. The First Duty

How could we NOT have Wesley Crusher in an "annoying teen" couch potato? In "The First Duty" Wes is back in a guest appearance, having left the Enterprise to attend Starfleet Academy a season before. He’s been getting in with a bad crowd, though (including Robert Duncan McNeil). Now he’s up in front of a tribunal, trying to explain why one of his fellow trainees ended up dead after a flight session ended in disaster.

Tom; "Wil Wheaton... poor guy." Strong and Busch immediately start singing Stand By Me, the film Wheaton starred in before the double chin developed. Tom; "This is a lot more boring than Doctor Who. Definetely." Danny; "This is just, like, American’s talking. Doctor Who was kinda wild." Adam; "They’re acting like Americans act Shakespeare. They know the words are important, but they don’t know what they mean."

You can tell they’re bored. They don’t even notice the innuendo inherent in "Diamond Slot Formation" or, indeed, Wheaton’s dodgy, accompanying "slot" mime. They’re more interested in hair. Again."

Tom; "They’ve all got, like, pointy sideburns. I thought that was just Vulcans." Adam; "Pointy sideburns are the future." Jayne; "The pointier they are, the more important you are." Suddenly they all burst into nostalgic peals of "Mr Hand"! Adam; "It’s Ray Walston." Tom; "Mr Hand! Mr Hand!" Jayne; (Thinking of Mr Hat) "What? He didn’t do the voice in South park, surely?" Adam; "Nah. Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The teacher. Mr Hand." They keep saying it as if by saying it enough times we’ll get it. We don’t... Jayne; "Oh no! It’s an American thing." Danny; "You know, thinking about animated stuff, they were talking to me about doing Xander for the animated show." Jayne; "I thought only Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t going to do her own voice." Danny; (Shrugging)"Dunno. It was so on-off-on-off-on-off it kinda got confusing." Adam; "Would those guys have got paid for using their likenesses even if they didn’t do the voices." Danny; "Doubt it. I never got paid for the comic they did of ’Superstar’."

The Lost Boys

It’s trendy teens and Californian vampires in this ’80s slice of cinematic cool that must have been an influence on Buffy. As soon as the titles come on, Adam is singing again.

Adam; "People are strange, when you’re a stranger... La la la..." Tom; "I saw this movie at someone’s, like, seventh birthday party. I’d never seen an R-rated movie before!"

We skip to the scene in which Sam Emerson (Corey Haim), younger sibling of soon-to-be vampirised Michael (Jason Patric), meets geeky vampire hunters The Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and, er, somebody else) in a comic shop.

Adam; "Corey Haim and Corey Feldman - nerdy Slayer wannabes"

When Jason Patric and his poodle-perm put in an appearance, Busch returns to what seems to be developing into an obsession.

Adam; "He’s got great hair. A full head of hair."

The film also includes a very young-looking Kiefer Sutherland as...well, wouldn’t you know.

Dave; "A bleach-blond vampire on a motorbike - why does that seem so familiar." Danny; "I want to ride a motorcycle and go up to girls and like...talk to them. Hey, a pound to anyone who can name the director.’ Dave; "Joel Schumacher." Danny; "Right! Hey, anyone got a pound?" Tom; "You owe everbody money. You can’t go back to LA you’re so in debt." Danny; "Yeah, I get phonecalls in the middle of the night demanding I pay up. If I go back I could end up getting my little finger bent back or something."

Donnie Darko

The cult hit movie of last year. More ’80s teenagers. One of whom may or may not be bonkers. But he’s certainly a smart-arse, and you can’t get much nerdier than a conversation about Smurfs and their lack of genitals.

Tom; "This movie is so weird! What happens in this movie? What. Happens?" Adam; "I love this movie!" Tom; "But nothing happens!" Jayne; "I’ve heard good things about it." Tom; "Now hear bad things about it. Nothing happens. Tell me what happens! Tell me what happens! Weird teen. Weird Rabbit. That’s it." Adam; "My friend Gary scored this. And he had a hit with his cover of Tears For Fears’ Mad World." Dave; (Going all misty eyed)"I loved that version. When that version is used in the movie, it’s just, like, the best song ever!" Tom; (As Donnie and his two mates discuss the Smurfs)"This could easily be used in Buffy. But I need something visual. Where’s the rabbt? Where’s teh rabbit, man, where’s the rabbit?"

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Scott Evil isn’t a nerd. But he is a teenager. And he is played by Buffy’s Oz himself, Seth Green. So we couldn’t resist showing Lenk and co the Jerry Springer scene in which Doctor Evil goes on a talk show to protest that his son simply isn’t evil enough. That’s if Busch will let us get to that scene. No, he hasn’t spotted some nice dreads or a fine crewcut. It’s the music that opens the film - a Bond pastiche - that’s caught his attention.

Adam; "This is They Might Be Giants. It’s great. They produced my band." Jayne; "Oh, I meant to ask about your band! What are you called?" Adam; "Common Rotation. We’re playing in London tonight. Come along!"

I’m finally allowed to flick through to the Springer scene. We all laugh. A lot.

Tom; "Did you meet Seth, Danny?" Danny; "Yeah. A few eps. I owe him money."

And so the session ends. We’re shaking hands goodbye - and Busch is offering Common Rotation CD’s to anyone who looks slightly interested - when Adam asks what’s next on the agenda. "We’re doing an interview for MVC," informs their impossibly chirpy PR agent.

Tom; "Hey, is that the one we’re doing in Danny’s hotel room? Is that gonna be okay with you?" Danny; "So long as you don’t steal anything."

Ah, journalists and their ideas for gimmicky interviews. You wouldn’t catch us doing anything like that. SFX