fer1213 has already touched upon some of the same points I'm about to make, so forgive me for being redundant. I can't help it, we always seem to agree. ;)
To begin with, I know there are fans, especially of James, who refuse to watch the dailies because he now discusses how humiliating and degrading the experience of filming some of the scenes were. Granted, it's obvious that these dailies have been edited - there's much we aren't seeing - but from what we are seeing, he doesn't look all that uncomfortable. Actually, the nudity seems to be pretty much a non-issue during shooting.
As for Sarah, if knowing your lines, knowing your marks, apologizing for your mistakes, and asking to do a line reading over until you've got it right makes you a bitch on the set, well, I guess she is one. Though, I tend to think of her behavior as an example of professionalism. (Interesting to note, during the first or second take of Buffy confronting Amy after she breaks into the Summers home, Sarah/Buffy slams her into the door of Willow's bedroom. After the director yells 'cut' we immediately hear Sarah ask "Did I slam your elbows there?" Every other take after that has Buffy grabbing Amy by the upper arms and pushing her against the door.)
Nick seemed to flub his lines more than anyone else. And unlike the others, had cheat sheets to look at between takes. I hate to think about it, but it makes me wonder how long he has had a drinking problem.
James really does seem to be his own worst critic. Where the others shake off their mistakes, James seems to beat himself up over them. I'm also beginning to understand why his view of Spike and the Spike/Buffy relationship is so different from ours. He's viewing it all from being 'in the moment' and entirely from his perspective. We're seeing the same scenes at the end of a very long process - emotions, intent, and meaning created by, not just the actor, but the writer, director, and editor as well. I'm convinced if James sat down and watched the show as we have, his feelings would be different.
I'm not ignorant of the film making process. Yet, I think I admire actors and their craft more after seeing these dailies. I can't imagine spending an entire day just doing the same scene over and over and over again. In some instances it became tedious just watching.
While some scenes are the product of just a few takes from different angles, others, such as the 'morning after' scene, are a different story. I had no idea that so many different takes were cobbled together to make up that scene. Overall, a pretty damn good job was done in getting the tone of the scene just right.
James' portrayal during filming ranged from having Spike choking back tears (imho, Spike showing that much weakness and vulnerability to Buffy at that point would have been completely out of character) to downright vicious. In some instances, Sarah portrays Buffy as rather cold and harsh; others as emotionally fragile. You all know I love Buffy, but one particular reading by Sarah of the "convenient" bit had even me thinking 'what a bitch'. So, in the final broadcast version of the scene, we achieve a balance - two people lashing out at each other in an effort to avoid showing how they really feel.
I mentioned in a previous post that there were some cute moments between the characters that, rightfully so, did not belong in the final cut. I came across another one. :) Spike asks Buffy to stay with him, they kiss, he rolls her onto her back and kisses her some more. In one take Sarah pulls up for a moment and begins kissing his shoulder. I found Sarah's instinct to both be interesting and, well, hot. ;)
As for the final cut of the episode, before I get to some intriguing bits of edited dialogue, I need to address something else. It's easy to say that the moment things went off the rails for us Spuffy fans is when Spike uttered "I knew it. The only thing better than killing a Slayer is fu--". But having watched the scene play out repeatedly, in different ways, and knowing what ended up on screen, I think it's the moment after that that causes the problem.
"I'm just saying, vampires get you hot". It's not the words themselves, but how Spike says them - very casually. What does that convey to me? That Spike is just clueless at that point. He knows Buffy better than anybody, yet when he finally *thinks* he's gotten what he wants, he's oblivious to what Buffy truly is thinking and feeling. She's scared and confused and the last thing she needs is his flippancy. Because he doesn't see how much he's compounding her hurt, he's taken aback by her lashing out at him.
Now, after Buffy's "You're just...convenient" line there are several lines of dialogue that were presumably cut for time (by my estimation, the episode was originally around two minutes over).
Spike, as we know, is devastated and angered by Buffy's proclamation. At this point he gets up and walks toward her until he's only inches from her face.....
Spike: Before you go voicing anymore of your theories, you might do well to remember I can hurt you now.
Buffy: That's right. Because I came back *wrong*. Wanna know what's really wrong with me? *You*
Spike's 'threat' is delivered in a very matter of fact tone (though, one take had Spike near tears; another had him coming off as very sinister). He doesn't intend to hurt her, he's just reminding her that they are on equal footing now. Buffy's retort is delivered with a forced smile. He wants to hurt her? Fine, she can hurt him right back - with words. But, through the smugness we can sense the pain and, as with the rest of the scene, she's forcing back tears.
Interestingly, when Buffy asks Spike if he wants to know what is wrong with her, Spike pauses and looks as if he is seriously awaiting an answer. He doesn't realize that not only is he having his words thrown back in his face, but instead of some grand declaration of self awareness, she's about to place all the blame for her behavior on him. And that's why I'm ultimately glad the dialogue was cut. The Buffy bashers would have had a field day with her blaming Spike for her behavior. The Spike haters would have used his threats against her to 'prove' how evil he still was.
Another instance of Spike not realizing how what he is saying is having an effect on Buffy is with "It was a bloody revelation". I can't believe I didn't notice the look of fear on Buffy's face before. What if the girl who spent all night having sex with a soulless vampire in a collapsed building, forgetting about her calling, her family and friends, and doing things that should be repugnant to her really is her?
It's a damn shame that ME decided to go with the silly addiction storyline. Sure, they (and I) were able to wank it by the end of the season, but I've now seen hint of what they could have done with the character of Amy had they gone down a slightly different path. Some cuts were insignificant (after Amy announces she's going to go finally see her dad her dialogue continues on with..."he promised to save me a bunch of melon rinds and stuff for breakfast. Kidding!") but their was, in my opinion, one very revealing scene that was jettisoned for time.
The discussion between Willow and Amy as they are walking down the street was considerably longer. Prior to the topic of Rack, Amy reveals to Willow that seeing her Dad again was not the joyful reunion she expected. He's moved on, has a new wife and baby, and she's just a "reminder of all his old stuff". There's a nice parallel with Willow's feelings of abandonment by Tara and suddenly some of Amy's bad behavior makes sense. She goes on to say she wants to make up for lost time and "I wanna have fun Willow". Like the rest of them, she's looking to escape the problems of her new reality.
Throughout the episode Buffy is attempting to draw parallels with Willow - projecting the feelings she has about herself onto her. When Xander and Anya question Willow's recent behavior and reliance on magic, Buffy jumps quickly to her defense without really looking at the problem. "Willow's a grown up. Maybe she doesn't need to be monitored." "I don't think we should be talking about Willow this way." Hasn't Buffy felt as if she's been under the microscope? Being constantly watched and discussed? "Maybe she has reasons for acting this way." But Buffy, as with herself, really doesn't want to look at the reasons for Willow's behavior. If Buffy were to see the truth behind Willow's actions, her real motivations, then she'd be forced to confront the truth of her own.
It's far easier for both of them to place the blame for how they've been acting, not on themselves, but on their 'addictions'. Yes, part of Buffy views sex with Spike as an addiction - something she can't control. It's Willow that unknowingly plants the notion in Buffy's head. Still, even with addiction, generally, you can't just say "It's over" and move on - you have to examine the causes of it and understand it. Neither want to do that, Willow goes so far to say "I was out of my mind". No, she wasn't. She knew exactly what she was doing.
In the end, it really did have to be Xander who saved Willow and the world in 'Grave'. This time around, our heroine, Buffy, was empathizing with her to pull her back from the brink.