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Challenge Details

Challenge Issuer(Past Donor)Ponder
Challenge NameListening to "Once More, With Feeling"
Challenge TypePersonal Challenge
Category Multiple Crossings
DescriptionDig out your copy of the soundtrack to "Once More, With Feeling", and listen to it. If you have the CD or MP3s, great. If you only have the DVD/tape/tivo/whatever, close your eyes or cover the screen, and only listen to the audio. Now, pretend while listening that you have never heard it before, and for that matter, you've never even heard of the show it came from. (sacrilege, I know :)

The challenge:

Someone from a fictional universe finds and listens to a bootleg/homemade copy of the soundtrack to "Once More, With Feeling". In that universe, the shows Buffy and Angel do not exist (but the Buffyverse characters might :). However they get the copy, initially there should be some mystery about it. The principal character(s) in your story should find it important to try to figure out as much as they can about what they're hearing, for whatever plot reasons you contrive. Their initial clues should be only what's in the audio recording itself and the media it came on. The audio recording they find must not be the store-bought commercially-produced version, instead it needs to be a homemade copy/dub, or MP3 files. Liner notes, if any, should be minimal, probably just the track titles.

Crossovers: Any. I'm explicitly including the possibility of someone(s) from the Buffyverse finding it, or getting to listen to it after being found by character(s) from some other 'verse.

Can they name all of the characters? Or at least can they enumerate them and properly peg who is singing what? Do they figure out who the hero is? The villain? What's up with those bunnies, anyway? :)

Possible options:

Bonus points if what they find isn't properly titled "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and no liner notes. (think about what a fan here in the RL universe is likely to handwrite on their CD-R). That makes figuring out what they're listening to a lot harder. :) The homemade copy might be a dub from the episode (with the sound effects and some dialog mid-music), or just music-only from the soundtrack CD. The episode (but not the soundtrack CD) also had the 20th Century Fox theme after the "grr arg", which can also be a major clue, possibly confirming to the listener that this music was professionally produced.

Another option is they have the entire audio component of the episode, not just the songs. The original "previously" segment (not present on the commercial DVD) will be majorly clueful, if you choose for them to have that original aired version. Sans decent liner notes, this variant is the only one in which a new listener has a fair shot at naming all of the Scoobies in the musical.

If at any point in your story you have a Scooby listen to it, they're probably going to recognize the music on it, but they still are going to wonder how the recording was made. They might learn things from it they didn't know before. If it's a Scooby who finds it initially, you may, at your choice, have the copy be the actual store-bought CD from the RL universe rather than a bootleg copy like I specify above. Won't that throw them for a loop. :)

There are some unconventional and risque elements to be found in the songs. For example, will they figure out from just what's in the songs that "I'm Under Your Spell" is being sung to another woman? :) The Tara/Giles duet later on might muddy that issue. :) The risque or unconventional elements might matter even more if you send the copy back in time more than a few years to fit the timeline in whatever universe meets your fancy.

Major bonus points if you include some thoughtful musical, lyrical, or theatrical analysis and/or critique coming from the story character(s). If your characters like what they hear, maybe they make copies and distribute them. Maybe in this universe the episode gets the attention it deserves and Joss wins an Emmy :) Or if they totally miss that it came from a TV show; it could be a Tony instead. :)

I know this is a wordy challenge. I've spent way too much time thinking about it, and I've come to the conclusion that the work I've been trying to do with the premise is going nowhere. Please don't include this entire challenge text in your story. The first paragraph or two is sufficient; no need to list all those options.

I'm available as a beta for any author who writes a response to this challenge.
Challenge Date22 Nov 07
Last Updated22 Jun 09

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