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THE MORNING BUZZ: Score One for Jessica the Remote Control Slayer

16 Oct, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf

I admit it. I am woefully Flinstonian when it comes to home entertainment technology.

I have a DVD player — but I didn't get it until after nearly a year of working for a video magazine.

I have surround sound — but since my boyfriend moved out I don't know how to make it work with the DVD player so I never use it.

And up until recently, the DVD remote often perplexed me. I would push the arrow buttons and watch with increasing frustration as the little blinky thing moved to menu selections all over the screen, but almost never the one I wanted. And then there's that red Ghostbusters circle-and-slash thingie. It actually took me a while to figure out that was the equivalent of my DVD remote yelling “No you dummy! You can't do that now!” I know, I know it's pathetic.

I have Monsters, Inc. and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to thank for teaching me how to use my DVD remote.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, my 5-year-old neighbor and I had some fun with the Monsters, Inc. DVD special features and played “Boo's Door Game” until my eyes were burning. But, while searching the same screens for the same clues hidden in the same places over and over, I started to figure out how those directional arrows really work. I got into their freaky warped mindset.

Then a few days later, felled by the flu, I began to indulge in my first taste of episodic DVD with the “Buffy” complete season one and season two DVD sets. (I am a recent initiate to the legion of the Buffy-obsessed. A friend loaned me these sets to get me caught up on the backstory. I've been dreaming of either killing or kissing vampires every night ever since.)

After about 10 or 15 episodes I figured out if I hit the double arrow button with a line under it, I could skip the opening credits sequence all together instead of hitting the fat single arrow and fast forwarding through it.

A beautiful thing about the Buffy season two discs is that the episode menus are circular, just like the arrow key configuration on my DVD remote. Finally, the arrows made sense. By the end of season two I was so quick on those buttons I didn't have to wait more than 30 seconds between Buffy doses.

It went something like this: Click “back to disc menu,” pick episode, hit “OK” button (that means play), episode menu loads, hit ”OK” again for “play episode” watch first few minutes of show, hit double arrow thingie to skip opening credits, relax, watch entire episode, as soon as Joss Whedon's name on end credits appears push “menu” key on remote, repeat process. Disc over, push “open” button, scramble up from couch, get next disc, curse at low-end DVD player as it takes 45 excrutiating seconds to read the disc, begin pushing “menu” button wildly in attempt to skip proprietary information, breathe sigh of relief when main menu screen finally appears, start the process all over again.

Whew. At least I can call myself a bona fide DVD user now.

Unfortunately, since my week of living only for Buffy on DVD, I can think about only two things: It is so UNFAIR that Buffy and Angel can't be together, and hey Fox, hurry up with season three. My DVD remote skills may lapse in the waiting.

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