Joss Whedon’s Obsessions Recycled in The Avengers

Big meat hive FTW

Now that it’s summer, rewatch season is officially in full swing. One series that I am working through, fairly slowly, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The snail’s pace is partly due to balancing it with other series and partly due to the millions of times I have seen most first season episodes. It has already paid off because similar dialogue to The Avengers keeps cropping up. Okay, it has cropped up twice and is not as egregious at the Sorkinisms video floating around but is a prime example of how writers have a (sometimes unconscious) stock of examples they reference.

While watching “Teacher’s Pet,” which gives us great phrases like “full-on exorcist twist,” a new section of dialogue stuck out in particular (probably because my sheltered younger self didn’t get it). With thanks to my Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One, Vol. One Script Book (yay, a decade later I found a use for it!), here is the excerpt from the original shooting script:

Natalie: I’m sorry, would you like something else? I just need to relax a little, I’m kind of nervous around you. You’re probably cool as a cucumber.

Xander: (mile a minute) I like cucumbers — you know in that Greek salad thing with the yogurt — you like Greek food? I’m exempting schwarma here, what is that all about, big meat hive…

Are there any other hidden shawarma references (the shooting script spelling was in fact “schwarma”) hidden in Angel, Dollhouse, or Firefly? Is this one of Joss Whedon’s absolute favorite food items? Inquiring minds want to know. Other benefits to the shooting script: the inclusion of scenes that didn’t make the final cut and even alternate lines…fun! The shawarma mystery deepens…

Moving on to “Angel,” another (sort of) throwaway bit of dialogue makes a bigger impression after seeing The Avengers. Let’s compare some Angel/Darla dialogue with some Hawkeye/Black Widow dialogue: both sets of characters who have a significant and murky past together.

Darla: Remember Budapest, turn of the century, you were such a bad boy during that earthquake.

Angel: You did some damage yourself.


Black Widow: This is just like Budapest all over again.

Hawkeye: You and I remember Budapest very differently.


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About Staciellyn Chapman

Grad student at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. This blog is an attempt to condense the craziness that is my TV viewing habits (with the occasional aside into film, music, and general life).

2 responses to “Joss Whedon’s Obsessions Recycled in The Avengers”

  1. Don Macfarlane says :

    The Mrs and I have just begun a Buffy rewatch ourselves, and hearing Xander’s shawarma comment was a rewind moment for us (and brought me here). For all that it was a massive studio blockbuster, The Avengers was very much a Mutant Enemy Joint – thanks for these couple of reminders.

  2. Caitlin says :

    To my knowledge, the shawarma thing entered the Whedon brain-verse when Nick Brendon randomly mentioned it during his Buffy audition, and Joss maintains that it’s the reason he got the part. Obviously he found it funny at the very least. I’m pretty sure the interview I’m thinking of is the cast/crew roundtable on the bonus disc that came with the Chosen collection box set.

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