It’s Pancake Day! A DAY ENTIRELY ABOUT EATING PANCAKES. (And, y’know, preparing for Lent and stuff, but mostly: PANCAKES.)
I love pancakes, as does (I assume) everyone. They’re tasty, light enough that they don’t fill you up immediately, and so versatile that you get to try out lots of fascinating food combinations. THEY’RE BASICALLY A TASTY VERSION OF PILOT SEASON, BUT IN YOUR MOUTH INSTEAD OF ON THE SCREEN.
Which I think is why they seem to be used as a subtle symbol of affection in season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Food, and particularly balanced breakfasts, took on more significance in the later seasons, when Buffy (and the other Scoobies) became responsible for raising her younger sister (formerly a blob of mystical energy), Dawn.
In ‘Bargaining (Part One)’, Tara’s pancakes were part of the pleasant domesticity she and Willow tried to create for Dawn after Buffy’s death, will the help of the Buffybot’s mega-sandwich making skills and Xander’s tools. After Willow and Tara broke up due to Willow’s magic addiction, Tara maintained a good relationship with Dawn.
In ‘Wrecked’ Tara ended up making Dawn breakfast again because Willow and Buffy had both stayed out all night. It initially seemed like another sweet scene- she was offering Dawn funny shaped or round pancakes again- and there was sunlight streaming into the very same kitchen. However, things soon turned sour.
This was probably the darkest season of Buffy, what with Willow’s magic addiction and Buffy’s depression after being dragged out of Heaven by her friends. Once Willow returned to the house, with her freshly human-shaped friend Amy in tow, Tara became uncomfortable and left, and since Buffy had been having secret shameful sex with Spike all night and was trying to hide that fact, she wasn’t exactly communicative either.
Both Willow and Buffy slunk off to sleep, leaving Dawn alone. The burnt pancake, left abandoned on the oven, seemed like the perfect metaphor for just how ruined everything was.
But pancakes appeared again, in ‘Entropy’, as a symbol of Buffy repairing her relationship with Dawn, and starting to move on with her life. (There’s also apparently a goof in that scene, tut.) It’s also the episode which features Willow and Tara’s make up kiss, and it seems appropriate that pancakes should feature in an episode with such happy times! Even if there’s also lots of grumbling, sadness and an axe in the mix. Ahem.
So enjoy your pancakes today, whether you’re calling the day Shrove Tuesday, Fatsnacht, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, or just a Very Good Idea, and I hope that you agree that they’re a pretty good show of love. Even if ‘Pancakes’ doesn’t seem like an appropriately dignified name for a pet to Illyria from the spin-off Angel.